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The Billionaire's Vinegar
by Zachary Murdock (zacharybednar90@gmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Horror   User Review:

Written for fun. Part I of II.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


IAN, late thirties, makes a pot of coffee. Alone.

He is grinding up the coffee beans. He is already dressed
for work, in a tie and dress pants. He wears glasses and a
Ian sits at the table, sipping his coffee.

His house is littered with wine bottles. Full fine bottles.
For this is not the home of a drunk, but of a wine merchant
and collector of rare wine.
He lives a very lonely existence of routine and quiet. He
makes a full pot of coffee each morning, although he can
only stomach about half a cup.

He believes that the things that interest him matter, and
that by being interested in these things that matter to him,
maybe he will eventually be able to find some self worth.

He thinks that women laugh at him. And they do.

He also thinks that people generally don't remember him
after they meet him. And they don't.
Ian opens up his wine shop.

There's no one waiting to get inside. There never is.

His shop is very small, but he puts great care into storing
the wines he sells perfectly.

His selection is the best in town, this much is irrefutable.
His prices are another story.

Since he only carries high premium vintages from exclusive
premiere vintners, his most affordable bottle of wine comes
in at a heavy $62.99. And even at that price, this
particular bottle of wine has been considerably marked down
for the customer's benefit.


He steps behind the counter. And waits.

Knowing full well that he's going to be waiting quite a

He usually only has one regular customer, and on occasion, a
handful of curious townsfolk and tourists who accidentally
confuse his shop with a more successful one just a few
blocks down the street.
And who his prices don't scare away, his awkward stare
surely does.
So he waits.

And he gets surprised when the door to his shop swings open
earlier than expected, and an attractive woman in her late
forties to early fifties enters his shop.

She looks around the empty store and snickers.
What do you want, Linda?
LINDA stretches out her back and arms as she strolls around
the shop.
I was in the neighborhood--
      (cuts her off)
Your shop's three blocks north.
You're always in the neighborhood.
Linda repeats herself.
I was in the neighborhood, and I
just thought I'd stop by and check
in on my fierce competitor.
Linda looks around the shop, shaking her head, and continues
to snicker softly and with a total lack of respect.
Wow, Ian. I must say, I am very
Linda walks over to the counter.


Most people say that you can't run
a business if you don't have any
Ian glares art her.
Some people even have the audacity
to say that you actually have to
sell something every once in a
while in order to be considered a
real business.
Linda laughs briefly.
But not Ian Cobble. He went
against the ebb and flow of
accepted modern economic
principles, and disproved that
business model once and for all.
Ian must be used to this kind of treatment from her, since
he hardly seems upset by what she says. He just seems a bit
Why aren't you at work?
Linda shrugs.
I've been selling wine every day
for the last twenty seven years to
middle aged divorcees who can
hardly move their lips to drink it
due to all the Botox they've had
shot into them. I think I've
earned myself a brief furlough.
My shop's hardly the place for a
Are you kidding me? It's perfect.
Linda shoots her arms around the shop, as if to say "Look At
This Place'!


It's so quiet and dull and dark.
It's the perfect place to get away
from it all and hide out from the
Linda giggles.
I'm telling you, you can keep the
wine if you want, it's a nice
aesthetic. But you should really
start selling 'alone time',
strictly for SUCCESSFUL people to
come and collect their thoughts.
It's meditative just being here.
Color me jealous, Ian Cobble, for
your store has ravaged me.
Ian puts two wine glasses on the table.
White or red?
White. Bordeaux. Graves. Sémillon.
Ian takes a bottle from the shelf and begins to unscrew the
Tell me, Linda. Is your store's
inventory still mostly made up of
wine that's cheap and horrible? Or
is that the ONLY kind of wine you
sell now?
Linda smirks as he fills the two wine glasses with a white.
Last I checked, your store didn't
really sell wine. It sold gallon
jugs of adjunct crap.
I sell what sells.
And I sell what's actually decent.


Correction: You don't sell
anything. I bet most of these
bottles have been here since the
day you opened. I know for a fact
that don't get a truck. You don't
sell enough product to make an
order of that size.
I get deliveries.
Linda takes a sip of wine and looks at him in disbelief.
From who?
Traders. I only buy what I want to
see on the shelf.
I'm afraid I can't give out any
Does his name happen to be Byron?
Ian takes a swig of wine. And doesn't answer her.

She grins, because she knows she's right.
I'll let you in a little secret.
Linda begins to whisper, mocking him.
Byron comes to my store first.
Then he brings you my leftovers.
Byron doesn't trade the kind of
wine he has for the mass produced
atrocity that you stock.


No. No he doesn't. But he will
trade for money. And I have plenty
of that.
The door to his shop swings open again.
Ian, this is not a dream. There
are really about to be two actual
people in this store besides you.
Oh shut up.
Calm down, I'll walk you through
the rush.
ALAN, late fifties, enters.

She recognizes him and they don't like each other.
Oh. It's you.
Linda looks away from him.

Alan looks questionably at both Ian and at Linda. Ian offers
a shrug.
Hello Linda. What brings you this
far south of the mall?
Boredom. What brings you to a wine
merchant at nine in the morning?
Alan grins wryly.
I see your fangs are still intact.
I see your AA membership has been
Ian reaches down under the counter and gives a special
bottle of wine to him.

His eyes light up as he takes the bottle.


Rhône, 1966.
Alan holds it up to the light and examines the bottle.
A vintage worth celebrating.
Alan looks back at Ian, and gently places a wad of money on
the counter for him.

Linda stares at the wad of money, until Ian puts it in his
Alan looks at her.
Do you want to know why this shop
will always be better than yours?
It's not. So you're wrong already.
But go ahead, humor me.
It's because Ian cares about the
service he does. About the wine he
sells, and about the people he
sells them to.
Do you know what you sound like?
You sound like a has-been writer
turned irrefutable wino who is
stumbling over his last leg of
Alan looks back at Ian.
Have a good one, Ian. And thanks
for the wine.
He looks back at Linda.

And he doesn't say a word.

He leaves the wine shop in silence and stride.
Once he's gone, Ian looks Linda over with a quiet smirk.
He's outwardly happy that Alan put her in her place.


Linda notices this right away and walks away from the
counter, toward the door.
The Bordeaux was too dry for
comfort. If you're going to insist
on selling rare wine, I must
insist that you at least store
them properly.
So long, Linda.
Linda leaves the shop in a huff.

And Ian is alone.
As Ian walks up to the door of his apartment, he is startled
to find it left open by a crack.

Carefully, he nudges the door open and steps inside.
Inside his apartment Ian finds his next door neighbor,
CASSIE, rifling through his cupboards and filling up two big
bags worth of his wine.

Ian thinks Cassie is a very pretty girl, and she knows that
he does. She is in her mid to late twenties, and she is
constantly taking advantage of him, his money, and his wine.

Whether or not Ian can tell that he is being wronged is
unclear, but regardless, seeing her is always the best part
of his day.
She looks at him and smiles.
Hey, Ian. You had a key made for
me, remember?
Cassie shows him the key.
I remember.
Ian looks around at the bags full of wine.


What's all this?
Oh. I'm just getting ready for a
party. And I needed some good wine
for us drink. I knew you wouldn't
She bends over in front of him.

He stares.

She is doing this on purpose.
Is that okay?
Ian isn't even listening, his mind is lost in the view she's
giving him.

She pops back up and giggles.
Ian Philip Cobble. You were
staring again, weren't you?
His eyes snap out of it and gaze dreamily at her.
I'm sorry?
I caught you, Mr. Cobble. It's no
use denying it.
The form fitting clothes she's wearing are working to her

She stretches, popping her chest out.
You're such a good neighbor. I
wish everyone had a neighbor like
Ian is staring again as she stretches.


No joke. You are SUCH a nice guy,
I don't know where I'd be without
Cassie finishes up her impromptu sexy stretches and picks up
her bags full of Ian's wine and heads for the door.
Everything about her is fake. Even the sound of her voice.
She's good at putting on a show.
Thank you SO much for the wine,
Sweetie. I know you don't mind me
helping myself to a bottle or two.
A bottle or two? Yeah. But I
counted twelve in those bags.
Cassie puts her pouty face on.

She fakes sadness.
And gets in close.
I'll put 'em back if you want me
to. I just thought you'd be okay
with it, seeing how you're such a
nice guy.
Ian can't resist her.
Just ask next time, alright?
Cassie caresses his shoulder.
You sure? I wouldn't want to do
anything to jeopardize our
friendship, because that is so
very important to me.
I'm positive. Have fun at your
Cassie's hand snaps away from his shoulder and her pouty
face miraculously disappears.


You're a life saver. I'll pay you
back this time, I swear.
You can pay me back by inviting me
to your party.
Cassie freezes up and looks him over in what can readily be
described as disgust.

Ian catches this, and quickly backs off.
You know what? On second thought,
forget about it. I've got a lot of
work to do in here, a lot of new
wines are coming in tomorrow. I'm
gonna be really busy.
Cassie smiles again.
Awesome. You wouldn't like it
anyway. It's just a couple people
from work, and I think it's
actually gonna be pretty boring.
Cassie is almost out the door.
I mean it, Ian, you're a life
He shuts the door behind her.

And stands there alone, looking at all the open cupboards
and drawers she had gone through.
Ian is sitting at his dinner table. Alone.

An empty dinner plate with tomato sauce stuck to it sits in
front of him, and a glass of wine is resting snug beside it.

He can hear Cassie's party through the walls.

It sure doesn't sound like a boring work party. The bass is


BOOMING and he can hear incessant chatter among the many
guests that are there being entertained.

He hears a rumble and then a few bangs on the wall.

Cassie's voice can be heard. Giggling.

A slam and some scratching sounds follow it. And a man's low
voice telling her what to do.

And then he hears Cassie moan heavy as she starts to have

The man occasionally moans with her.

She is being very loud and the man must have her pinned
against the wall.

She sounds like she's enjoying herself immensely.


Ian reaches for his glass and downs the rest.

And just sits there.


Ian is finishing up his lunch and rotating his stock.

He is alone, as usual, and he is surrounded by wine.
The door to his shop swings open.

Enter Byron, early thirties, with a backpack over one

They smile when they see each other.
Byron Young. It's been too long.
Ian hugs him at the door.
It hasn't been THAT long. I was
just in here last month.


Ian leads him to the counter where he pulls out a bottle of
wine and two glasses for them.
That won't be necessary this time.
Ian pays him no mind and pours two full glasses of red wine.
I'm serious. I'd love to stay for
a while, but I'm in a hurry.
Oh, nonsense.
Ian hands a glass out to him.

Byron shakes his head.
I'm sorry, Ian, but I got places
to be.
Just try it. It's the best Pinot
I've got.
Byron shakes his head repeatedly and swings his backpack up
on the counter and unzips it.
I know you like Pinot, and I know
you really wanna try it.
I wouldn't mind a glass but--
      (cuts him off)
Then drink it. Stop being so busy.
I can't just stop being busy, I
actually have things I need to do
while I'm in town.
Ian shoves the glass in his face.
Just smell it.
Byron takes a whiff, and closes his eyes.


Aw, fuck it.
Byron takes the glass and drinks half of it's contents in
one gulp.

He savors it. Briefly.
That's good Pinot.
I knew you'd like it.
Ian sips his glass in return.
Byron finishes his, hands it back to Ian, and pulls out two
bottles of wine from his backpack.
The Montelena you asked for.
Ian examines the bottles.
The vintage was hard to find, but
I managed to seek them out.
Ian is a very satisfied customer.
This is fine work, Byron. How much
do I owe you?
Byron holds up a closed fist.

First, he extends his thumb.

Then his index finger.

Followed by the middle.

Then the ring.

And lastly the pinky.
Byron shakes his head and extends his thumb on his other


Byron nods his head.
Seems pricey.
Do you know how much of a pain in
the ass it is to find two bottles
of Monetlena Chardonnay from 1972?
I would assume that it would be a
little difficult, but surely six
hundred dollars for two bottles is
asking a little too much.
Byron sighs and starts to put the bottles back in his pack.
The vintage alone is only worth
half that.
No worries, Bud. I'll find real
interest elsewhere.
Byron starts to zip up his bag.
Ian freezes. He doesn't barter well.
Well? Do you want the wine or not?
Ian reaches into his pocket and takes out a money clip
bulging with dough.

He drops six hundred large on the table.
Byron glances at the money quizzically.
Is that a 'yes'?
Shut up and give me the


Byron smirks as he takes the bottles back out of his back
and puts them on the counter.

And then he takes out another, a third bottle.

It contains red wine, this much is obvious, but there is no
label on it, and it looks very old and dirty as if it had
been through several world wars.
Ian is drawn to it.
What's this?
THAT. Is Sangue di Giuda.
Ian picks up the strange and mysterious bottle and looks at
it closely.
It means 'Blood Of Judas'.
I know what it means.
Ian holds the bottle up to the light and looks out for
How old is this?
Byron shrugs.
The man did not specify the age of
the wine, but he did go into great
detail about the fermentation
Ian puts the bottle back on the table.
I heard a lot of strange myths
surrounding that bottle. All of
them were different, from one
township to the next, but they all
shared the same common thread.
Let me guess: The Devil.
Byron grins at him.


You've heard this one before.
Of course I have. And it's just a
legend. A curious myth. They say
that the Devil once walked the
Earth and that he made his own
wine. For one whole year, he
produced it endlessly. And that
inside every bottle was a drop of
his own blood. It was sold under
the guise of French Cabernet
Sauvignon to unsuspecting patrons
of various well established wine
shops and restaurants.
Ian refills their wine glasses.
But those who drank it began to
see demons and evil specters. So.
Once these merry townsfolk figured
out what the cause of all these
hallucinations were, they went to
France to track down the vineyard.
But the Devil made it up. No such
vineyard existed, nor did such a
region ever come into prominence.
The bottles were banned
thereafter. Most of them were
taken and destroyed by a secret
Christian Sect called 'Sangue di
Giuda'. Blood Of Judas. And the
wine was never seen again.
I like it best when you tell it.
But the whole thing's made up.
History does not coincide with
these events, and there is
absolutely nothing to support such
a wine ever existing.
You believe it's only a fairytale?


Yes. It's something wine snobs
like to talk about amongst
themselves after their third or
fourth bottle.
How much would you ask for it?
I'm not understanding you.
If you were selling this wine, how
much money would you ask for it?
The only person who would ever buy
something like that is a sucker.
And I don't like to take advantage
of people that way.
Ian gazes down at it.
Why do you ask? Are you looking
for a buyer?
I've been trying. But everyone's
like you. They've all heard the
story before.
Ian bites his lower lip in thought.
I could probably find you one.
Do you think you know someone this
might interest?
On a purely novel level. His
name's Alan Lordes. He's a
I know who he is.
Byron thinks this through, he is in a hurry.


You're sure this is something he
might like?
I'm positive he'd at least
entertain the idea of it.
When are you expecting to see him
He comes in every other day.
Well, when was he here last?
Byron zips up his backpack and flings it over his shoulder.

He leaves the Sangue di Giuda on the counter.
I'm leaving it with you, because I
am very busy and now I'm running
With me?
Yes. I'm going to trust you. I
want you to see if you can
interest your friend Alan into
buying it.
How much should I try to sell it
to him for?
I don't that wine to leave your
possession for anything less than
fifteen hundred.


But's that's an extreme premium to
ask for a novelty purchase.
If you got a problem with it, I
could just take it with me.
No. Leave it. Fifteen hundred
sounds doable.
Alright. I'm trusting you, Ian.
Don't let me down.
Byron is almost out the door when Ian asks:
When can I expect to see you
Give me a few days. I'll be back.
Maybe I'll have a surprise for
I won't let you down, Byron.
I know you won't, Bud.
Byron exits.

Ian is alone with the Sangue di Giuda.

He is mesmerized by it's color.
Ian has brought the wine home with him.

He just can't stop looking at it.

His gaze is broken by a knock on the door.

He opens it and Cassie pushes him out of her way and heads
straight for the kitchen.
She opens his refrigerator and takes out a bottle of wine
for herself like she owned the place.


Hey, Cassie. How was your party?
It sucked.
Ian shuts his apartment door.
How did it suck? It sounded pretty
It just sucked, okay?
He stands there looking at her.

She rolls her eyes at him and brushes past him.
I gotta go.
Are you sure you can't stay for a
Cassie pauses when she sees the Sangue di Giuda on the

She walks toward it, as if she's been pulled in by some
unseen force.
What's this?
Cassie holds it in her hand.
It's Sangue di Giuda.
What kind of wine is it?
I've no idea. It could be vinegar
for all I know about it.
Cassie looks up at him and grins.
Let's open it.


No. Absolutely not.
But why not?
First of all, it's not even mine.
It's a friend's.
Who cares? You'll pay him back.
Second of all, it is very
That just makes me want to try it
even more.
Cassie puts the bottle back on the table and takes an
on-the-go corkscrew out of her pocket and jabs it into the
Ian rushes at her and snatches the bottle away from her.

The corkscrew is impaled into it.
Ian, give it back.
But it's not even mine.
It's already happened, you can't
stop it now.
Why don't you ever listen to me?
Cassie tries to yank the bottle out of his hands.
Just let go of it.
He lets go.

And she pops off the cork.


See? What was so hard about that?
Cassie smells the cork, and licks her lips.
Fetch us some glasses.
Ian does what he's told.

Cassie pours them two glasses of Sangue di Giuda.

Her glass has noticeably more wine in it than his.
They clink glasses.

He watches her drink it first.

He's taken aback by how much she enjoys it. More than he's
ever seen her enjoy any other wine he's given her.

She closes her eyes and savors every long lasting moment.

When she opens them again, they are fluttering and she can't
help but genuinely smile at him.
What do you think?
Ian takes a deep breath and drinks.
So. Do you like it?
Yeah. I like it.
Cassie picks up the bottle again.
Ian holds out his glass.
Fade Out.


The morning after.
Ian woozily opens his eyes, hung over.

He is laying naked in bed with Cassie.

They had spent the night together.

He grins.

And holds her close.

She starts to wake up slowly.

She opens up her eyes and lays there. Frozen. Figuring it

Then she leaps out of bed and covers herself with a blanket.
Cassie can't believe what happened.
Want some coffee?
No, no, no. This isn't happening.
She rubs her eyes with one hand while the other one is busy
covering herself.

Hers is a look of shame and embarrassment and hell.
I had fun.
Cassie looks as if she's about to cry of shame.
It was the best night of my life
actually. You were AMAZING.
Now she does cry.
Ian gets out of bed and tries to console her.


She lets him hug her for a few seconds, before pushing him
I gotta go.
Stay for coffee.
She refuses to look at him. She is absolutely devastated.
Please? I insist.
Cassie looks around the room.
Maybe just one cup. Why not,
Cassie motions to the unmade bad.
I already did this much.
He smiles. He can finally utilize the full pot of coffee he
makes each morning.
Just make it fast.
Cassie sits at the kitchen table. Still hoping this is all
some kind of bad, bad dream.

She glares at the culprit: the almost-empty bottle of Sangue
di Giuda on the table where they left it.

Ian pours them a cup of coffee.
How do you take it?
Black. I take mine black.


Ian joins her at the table.

All is quiet for a few moments.

Cassie is nervously scratching her head and looking him over
in embarrassment.
Do me a favor? Keep your mouth
shut about this.
Whatever you want. We don't have
to go public just yet. No need to
make thing's official now. Just go
with the flow.
He is truly oblivious.
It was a mistake, Ian. We should
never have done that.
Ian sips his coffee, shrugs nervously, but can't help but
smile at her.
I'm being serious. What was the
ABV on that wine we were drinking?
Don't blame the wine. We slept
together because we wanted to.
Cassie laughs in his face.
I'm sorry --
Cassie can't stop laughing.

Ian looks down at his cup of coffee and waits for it to end.
I shouldn't laugh. It's just, I'm
not attracted to you.
You've told me before--


--I was fucking with you, man. I
wanted some free wine or rent
money. That's all it ever was.
Ian is getting sad.
I don't believe you.
You have to. I don't want you to
get the wrong idea about this. It
meant nothing. It was just a
mistake, a horrible mistake.
She shakes her head. Not at him, but at herself.

And rolls her eyes. At herself.

She actually has a soul. She feels bad for the things she's
Why do I do this to myself?
She looks at him as he fights back tears, and tries to act
tough in front of her, as if the things she's saying have no
effect on him.
But he's horrible liar. Even when he's not speaking.
Her heart goes out to him in a way. She knows that the night
they shared was probably the best thing that has ever
happened to him. And she feels rotten about it.
She reaches out and covers his hand with hers.

And forces a friendly smile. This time she's not acting for
her own benefit, but for his.
Hey. It wasn't all bad. I did have
fun with you.
You did?
Of course. I just don't want to
get stuck in another relationship.


I can understand that.
Her lies are working. But at least they are lies with good,
well meaning intentions.
I'm mean to you, Ian. All the
time. Don't you see that? You
shouldn't want anything to do with
me. I've been absolutely horrible
to you. A total bitch.
You're just busy and stressed.
You're not mean to me. You just
need me here to vent. And I'm
perfectly comfortable with that.
You should hate me.
But I don't and I never will.
Why not? It's easy. I hate me
right now. I'm not a good person.
Don't ever say that. You are one
of the most amazing people that I
have ever known. Don't ever hate
yourself. Not when you know you
don't deserve it.
If anyone deserves to be hated,
it's me.
Listen to me, Cassie. I'm your
friend. And I'm telling you that I
know deep down your a good person.
You just have to let your guard
down from time to time so people
can see it.
Cassie caresses his hand.
You really are a good friend.


You've told me that before.
This time I actually mean it.
Ian breathes in deep through his nose and exhales back
through it slowly and patiently.
So. What happens now?
I think we should go back to just
being friends. But real friends
this time. Friends who stay for
drinks and friends who go out for
lunch. Something real this time.
For now. Who knows what the future
holds? I don't think either of us
could have predicted this.
But sometimes dreams do come true.
That did it. That one crushed her. Absolutely crushes her as
she realizes that she is all he has. And she treats him like

She feels so horrible. She looks so sad and solemn and true.

She grabs his face and kisses him. Good and long.

Then she leaves him there dazed and heads for the door.
There's something to remember this
by. I don't want you asking for
another one any time soon, okay? I
mean it.
Ian's got stars in his eyes and has lost the ability to
speak. He simply nods his head at her with his mouth wide


As Ian is walking to his shop, he hears what sounds like a
fleet of marching behind him.

Odd as it may seem, when he turns around to investigate the
sound, he sees a lone black robed figure staring at him from
the other end of the street.

The black robed figure does not move and Ian does move
toward it.

He turns around and continues walking.

Cassie looks herself over in the mirror.

She thinks about how sweet and goofy Ian was acting. And
smiles. And thinks about him.

And is soon horrified by what she sees in the mirror in
front of her.

A mass of tiny black dots and yellow bumps of puss are
covering most of her upper torso.

She watches it in horror as it spreads up her neck before
her eyes.

As if it were alive.

Fade To Black.

Title Card Reads: "TO BE CONTINUED"


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