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EIGHT: IN WHICH, amid the clatter of success, Elizabeth bares herself to her trusted companion, Molly, and we see the fear that lurks within ...

(a bittersweet poem of love and need)


The interior of a huge safe: row after row of shelves line the walls, form a composition that is identical to the cell-block of the prison. But instead of cells, each of the tiers is lined with cases and boxes and bins of diamonds -- cut and uncut, floor to ceiling, a magnificent hoard, a miniature sea of glimmering wealth. Moving noiselessly on its hinges, the giant steel door swings slowly shut.

And watching it close, amid a small army of guards, is Elizabeth. She regards the closed vault door for just a beat, then turns, begins to walk briskly down a long white corridor inside the television network building.

As she walks down the hallway, each of the bright young executives pops out of one of the doors she passes and jogs along with her for a few steps. Each one holds up some chart or graph or strip of ticker tape for her to see.

All of the men now sport diamonds in their teeth. All of them speak with a rhythm and high-powered delivery that is an exaggerated imitation of Sykes:

Hey! Hey! Hey! We got 'em goin', baby ... The man in the can has really got 'em ., , goin' ....!

Elizabeth glances at the chart he is holding out but never slows her pace. The first executive is immediately supplanted by the next:

(waving another chart)
People are glommin' onta him like he was the son of God hisself! ...

(replacing the second;
not dropping a beat)
_ And when he says Jump, Chump -- They jump! And when he says Diamonds is it, Jake -- They is it!

And we mean buyin' an' buyin' an' buyin' the precious gems ... By the handful, Chump!

An' holdin' on ta them for dear life ... Like they was high-potency vitamins ... Like they was an aphrodisiac for all of mankind!

And people out there ain't just walkin' down the avenue no more, Jake ... They're struttin'. ... And gleamin' and glistenin' in the sun with their heads held high!

And feelin' good, and tough, and I mean mean ... Like the world was their oyster ...
(takes a shadow boxing swing at
the air in his enthusiasm)
Diamonds is it, Jake! And we're gettin' richer!

Elizabeth is at the end of the hall now. We can see the executives spaced back along the corridor in a row. Each one in turn -- in reverse order, receding from us -- picks up the last executive's words and shouts them down the hall to Elizabeth. Each one has to shout louder than the last: "And richer!!" "And RICHER!!" "AND RICHER!!!" All the way back down the hall to the first executive, as Elizabeth, going into her office at the end of the hall, slams the. door, leaving them there in the hallway, glittering in their diamond-studded excitement.


Elizabeth stands inside the door she just slammed, speaks softly, to herself, really:

And that's just the beginning ...

She crosses her office to a wall-sized mirror, smiling as she passes her secretary, Molly.

I haven't had so much fun since I stabbed my fifth husband in the shower with a fondue fork ...

Elizabeth stands in front of the mirror. She is dressed elegantly in a black silk pants suit. A long white scarf wraps around her neck. Tiny diamonds are everywhere. Elizabeth is quite pleased at what she sees.

Molly comes up behind her, looks at her image in the mirror. Elizabeth smiles at herself and Molly. She winks. She seems at first as light as air; and her words make a poem -- spoken as much to herself as to Molly.

The temperature in Rome is 45 degrees ... I look gorgeous in black and wear white silk scarves ... I've been married seven times -- the first time to a guy named Guy, who was the best damned dancer in the whole damned land ... I do have children but I won't tell anyone where they are -- because I'm afraid of having them kidnapped...
(suddenly her mood changes;
a sadness overcomes her)
Take my children away from me and you'll break my heart ...

Molly is completely taken off guard by Elizabeth's sudden change of mood.

Is that true ... ?

(with a little shrug)

Why did you tell me that. .. ?

Because I want to talk to you ...

A long moment. Elizabeth -- for the first time since we have met her -- seems somehow unsure of herself. She is looking at herself in the mirror; then a little smile comes back to her face and her voice speaks softly and very, very simply:

The first time I saw Guy -- it was in a large gymnasium... He was dancing with another girl and I was watching him ... He was twenty-one then, and I was thirteen ... And when he asked me to dance ...

She smiles and opens her hand. She is holding a large, perfect diamond. She rests it on the very tips of her fingers.

Everythfng I felt inside of me was like this ...
(looking entirely at the diamond)
Alive... and new ... and dangerous.

She looks at Molly's reflection in the mirror for a long moment.

Remember that feeling...?


My Sucker-Sykes is a dangerous man, isn't he ... ?


Fact is -- he's about the most dangerous man in the whole damned land ...

A beat. Elizabeth's voice is suddenly and totally innocent -- defenseless:

Do you think my Sucker-Sykes will like me ... ?

Yes, I'm sure he would ...
(a beat)
I think he'd adore you ... Everybody adores you ...

(with a faint smile)

She looks in the mirror -- at Molly -- for a good, long moment.

My Sucker-Sykes would probably like you a lot better than he'll like me ...

No, he wouldn't. .. How could he ... ?

Elizabeth is looking at her. Molly is so absolutely young and beautiful...

(a beat; she can't say the words)
Because he just would ...

(answering her need)
All of my boyfriends ask me questions about you all the time ... They find you very elegant. .. very fuckable ...

(looking at her own reflection again)
I wish I were with my Sucker-Sykes ...
I wish I were with him right now ...

Then I.m sure you will be...

But Elizabeth isn't really listening any more. And as she continues to speak, so her confidence grows. The moment of need -- of fear -- is past.

... And because I like him so much, I'm sure that he'll like me ... And if he doesn't, then I'll make him like me until he loves me ... And when he loves me, then I'll love him ...
(she smiles)
Or vice versa ...
(she twirls in a graceful pirouette)
I'm a diamond-studded lady.

(smiling also)
You're a high-steppin' diamond-studded lady ...

I'm a high-steppin' diamond-studded lady, and I'm on the arm of my Sucker-Sykes, and I'm strollin' down the avenue -- and everybody's eyes are following our every move -- and I'm lookin' chic -- and I'm feelin' ...
(she does another perfect pirouette)
dangerous as Hell.

NINE>:IN WHICH it is revealed to our hero that his unique abilities have been exploited for the profit of others ... AND IN WHICH Elizabeth sorely tempts him with the promise of fabulous future fame ...

(a rag-time suite about lust and glory)


The "most dangerous man in the whole damned land" is strollin' down the "avenue": two GUARDS are leading Sykes down a walk-way in the cell-block, past a long row of cells.

The prisoners, seeing him pass, shout and bang on their bars: "Hey Sykes! Hey Diamond Jim! Where ya goin '??" "Where they takin I you. man?!" "You ain't fixing to leave us, are ya, Sykes?!" Their shouts are filled with an obvious love of Sykes, and he flashes his grin at them as he passes; but there is a terrible fear and urgency in their screaming, also. They need Sykes. He's the thread from which many of them are dangling. So their joking, shouting, loving voices have an edge of anger, too.

It's a need that Sykes can't sooth: he doesn't know where he's being taken.


Elizabeth, Warden Burkholst and a guard enter a small room somewhere inside the prison. Elizabeth is still dressed as she was in the previous scene; her elegance is almost startling in this setting.

A one-way mirror is set into the far wall. Elizabeth crosses to it, looks through it and down into another room: plain, white-walled, bare except for a wooden table in the center of the room.

The guard moves a microphone into place in front of Elizabeth. A film projector, already loaded with film, is just behind her.

Sounds are audible in the background now, faint but growing louder: the shouting of the prisoners. The warden looks at Elizabeth for a long moment. She is perfectly still, looking down into the empty room. The warden turns, and he and the guard leave.

A long moment passes, during which the background sounds grow slightly louder, then the door to the empty room opens. The shouts of the prisoners are almost distinguishable for the moment that it takes for the two guards to lead Sykes into the room, then to leave him there, alone.

A small velvet package sits on the center of the wooden table. Sykes walks over to it, opens it. The large, perfect diamond gleams up at him.

He turns, faces the mirror, faces Elizabeth, invisible behind it, and smiles.

Thank ya, Ma'am ... for whatever the reason ...
(his smile broadening)
Thank ya, Ma'am ...

A long beat; Sykes is scrutinizing the diamond.

I knew this guy who was cooped up in this prison over there in Oklahoma for twenty years ... And when they finally came ta get him out -- and when they were runnin' him inta town in that grey car with the name of the state written on the side of it -- he said that all of a sudden when they was about two miles outside the first town they was comin' upon -- he started smellin' somethin' ... And he said stop the car -- And they did -- And he got out and waffed the air real good . And then he said -- "Them Bitches ... Shit! . Them Bitches sure do smell good."

A beat; Sykes looks up at the mirror again.

Fact is, Ma'am, I can smell ya sittin' out there watchin' me ... Fact is, I could smell your smell from the time you walked through them gates separatin' us from the rest of them out there ...
(he smiles; turns away)
Diamonds -- and pretty-smellin' ladies ... And tryin' ta torture a poor man ta death ... And makin' him remember that he hasn't made love to a body since his flossie got run over by a locomotive outside of Plainfield, New Jersey in 1978 ... But I ain't complainin' neither ... 'Cause that smell of yours, Ma'am -- That a-little-older-smellin'-kinda-rich-smellin' kinda smell -- Well, it sure does smell good ...

A long beat; Sykes grins directly at the spot in the mirror behind which Elizabeth is standing. She is invisible to him, and she knows it, but she takes a little involuntary step backwards, anyway -- suddenly very naked, very vulnerable.

And, Ma'am, if you don't think I ever get a hankerin' for a rich-kinda-older-Iady kinda lady -- Then you're dead wrong -- 'Cause I do ...

Elizabeth turns very slowly away, takes a step, LEAVING SHOT. Sykes continues to speak to the spot in the mirror where she was standing.

So, Ma'am, if you care ta be with me -- you just tell them ta unlock that door and let ya in here ... And as soon as you come through that door, well the first thing I'd do is pull them panties you're wearin' offa ya -- and stand ya upside down and cross your legs and prop ya up against a wall so's you'd be comfortable ... And then I'd fiddle with that little button a yours till thoughts of age -- and who you are -- or used ta be -- mean no never mind -- and screams of lovin' presently fill the air -- and make ya holler with joy--

There is the shasp click of a switch. The lights in Sykes' room go out. The projector's motor whirs; then suddenly the image of Davis Burns stabs out into the room -- covering Sykes' face, and past him, filling the white wall behind him.

From a speaker somewhere, a loud, strident voice fills the air. Sykes turns, slowly, looks at the images covering the nearby wall. His shadow -- his silhouette -- covers part of the image, but he makes no move to get out of the way.

In a series of shots projected on the wall: Davis Bums sitting inside the prison set, talking, imitating Sykes, flashes his diamond at a television camera as it dollies in for a close-up. The voice narrating the film speaks with the inflated rhetoric of a Howard Cossell:

There he is, Ladies and Gentlemen -- Finally -- and justifiably -- and it's about time -- America -- in fact the world by and large - has a new hero. Not since the likes of Will Rogers and Babe Ruth has a man of this calibre -- of this wide appeal -- graced American soil -- A man of high self-esteem and self-pride -- A man - as in an Horatio Alger tale -- who started with nothing -- and using only what God had given him as a gift: his knack for spinning a yam -- and turning that knack and that inspiration into a cultural phenomenon ...

We see Davis Bums, outside the television studio now, moving amid crowds of people -- crowds of admirers who swarm around his limousine as it passes, desperate for just a glimpse of their hero -- crowds that scream and overturn police barriers and strain forward, arms outstretched, hoping for just the briefest touch: hands that for a moment now, seem to be reaching out toward the silhouette that still blocks part of the image -- toward the real Sykes inside the tiny room, watching.

... Into an actual revolution of sorts in which people everywhere -- both young and old alike -- have embraced his image -- and -- in thjs reporter's opinion -- are justifiably emulating their hero ...

We see the people in the adoring crowds more closely now: almost all have diamonds flashing from somewhere on their bodies -- a glittering sea that surrounds the black and motionless silhouette of Sykes.

Diamonds have been made into a symbol of another kind -- and I quote -- "Diamonds are the great divider, Jakel" "Diamonds are it!" they scream out as does Diamond Jim Sykes with passion -- and a lust for life - and continuation -- and never giving up - and being vital -- And that's some symbol -- That's something to embrace -- And most definitely something to write home about.

Davis Bums, grinning, flashing his diamond, moving through the crowd, surrounded by a tight knot of guards -- for a long, eerie moment -- is exactly hidden behind Sykes' motionless black silhouette.

The shadow of the real Sykes is surrounded by the guards, moved forward, it seems, against his will -- into the heart of the screaming crowd.

Then the small white room fills with light; the film is over. A long moment: Sykes doesn't move or react.

Elizabeth is watching him, from behind the mirror. His back is turned. There is no clue to what he is thinking now -- no clue to what he is feeling.

At last, Elizabeth breaks the silence. Her voice -- cold and bitterly ironical -- comes from a loudspeaker nearby: .

I thought you'd like to know ...
(a long beat)
My name is Elizabeth; and I'm the woman that made you ...

A long pause; Sykes remains silent, seems still to be looking at the now blank white wall in front of him.

(a soft, cruel smile in her voice)
Isn't it marvellous ... ? Aren't you thrilled...?

Another long pause;.. The CAMERA -- inside the room with Sykes now -- can see his face, but no hint or trace of emotion.

Elizabeth's voice is soft now, tempting:

No one knows that you exist, you know ... They think that I invented you ... But I could tell them that you're reaL.. I could make you famous ...
(a long beat)
Shall I...?

A long moment -- completely motionless -- completely silent -- until Elizabeth speaks again:

Shall I...?

Now Sykes moves, strides to the door through which he entered, pounds on it hard. It flies open and the two guards are there, alarmed, guns drawn and ready.

And Sykes simply takes his place between them and begins to walk, back down the corridor, back toward his cell.

The CAMERA HOLDS for a moment on the room -- empty now, except for the plain wooden table, and on it, the large, perfect diamond.

TEN>:IN WHICH Diamond Jim responds to Elizabeth's cruel temptation in the most dramatic fashion available to him, wreaking great havoc upon others but failing to dissuade her from her announced intentions ...

(a rock-'em, sock-'em free-for-all and death-defying boogie)


Night-time ... and rain ... a hard, steady downpour that washes across the concrete prison yard, glistens on the squat, grey walls of the cell-blocks ... Inside, the lights are still on ... row after row of small, barred rectangles shining out into the dark and the rain. Two guards in heavy yellow slickers scurry across the otherwise empty yard...

The CAMERA DRAWS BACK. We are inside the warden's office. Elizabeth is standing by the window, looking out at the prison. She is still dressed as we last saw her.

She turns from the window, glances over at a clock: five minutes until eight. The warden is seated at his desk, pretending to occupy himself with a stack of paperwork. But he, like Elizabeth, is really just waiting -- marking time.

A large television monitor in the comer of the room is the real focus of their attention. It shows Sykes, lying on his bunk with his arms crossed and his feet propped up and his eyes focused quietly on the small barred window as if the only thought in his mind is of the rain outside -- steady and hard and cold.

Elizabeth turns back to the warden's window ... and waits.


Superficially, the cell-block is just as we saw it before. But the mood is different now: the men are quieter -- moving and talking less -- like men at the end of a day that has been filled with rumor and speculation: "Where was Sykes taken earlier that day? And why was he so strangely and fiercely quiet after he returned? And when the lights go out, will he tell us?..."

And the guards, at their guard station, are nervous now, tonight, as they glance up toward Sykes' cell, and wait.

The lights go out. A long moment passes: silence. No one tonight will suggest a word -- a subject. Then Sykes, still lying quietly on his bunk, begins to speak. There is a powerful tension at the core of his voice:

It's raining outside, tonight ... You hear it...?

And the rain is the only sound now, for a long, long moment.

Rain!!... Don't that make ya feel cozy as Hell ...
(a long pause)
Listen to it...!! Doesn't the sound of it make ya just want ta crawl inta bed... And pull the covers up ... And snuggle up...!
(a long beat; loud now)
Do it!! Go on -- I said ... DO IT!!

And quietly, all over the cell-block, the men do as Sykes says: they crawl into their bunks and pull their blankets up cozily.

Sykes waits until the muffled sounds of their movements subside, leaving only the steady sound of the rain. Sykes' voice is soft at first, but the anger and the tension within it is only thinly disguised:

Now just think about your Mamma comin' in and givin' you a nice gentle kiss on your forehead ...
(a beat)
Don't that feel good! ... Damn!! ... You got just about everything, don't ya? .. Three squares a day ... ! A nice dry place ta sleep...! And me ta tell ya stories ... Life's mellow as Hell, ain't it ... ! The sun seems ta somehow always come up in the morning... And it takes an awful lot ta kill a being .
(a long beat)
You take the dyin' of Jerry Jeffries and how he about almost didn't slip away ... Even though he was filled with ten or more 45- calibre handgun bullets ... That's 'cause he was so fuckin' dumb, Jerry Jeffries was, he even needed someone ta tell him he was dyin' ... He just couldn't figure it out by himself ... Fact is, he never did nothin' 'cept when somebody told him what ta do first ... Sittin' and starin' was his delight ... "Sometimes I sit and think," he said, "But mostly, I just sit" ... Damn old dumb old Jerry Jeffries got plugged outside an airplane factory in Tuscaloosa, Idaho ... I know 'cause I was there with him that day on my way ta someplace near a mountaintop in Montana... When I said, "Go on inside that grocery store over there... Take out your pistol and ask 'em for the day's receipts ... You do that for me, Jerry Jeffries, and I'll be your friend forever ..." And away he went on that cold an' rainy sundown eve ... Lookin' like a charcoal ghost of a coal miner on relief. .. And from across the street I saw him take out his gun and enter that store ... And through the plate-glass window I saw a man behind him shoot him in the back ... Once ... Twice ... Three times ... I heard the gun go off ... But Jerry Jeffries kept right on standin' ... and askin' for the cash ... Nobody told him ta get shot... And nobody told what ta do if he did get shot... So he just kept goin' about his business as though nothin' unusual had happened ... The gun went off again and again... And then the man behind the counter opened fire ... "Poor fool. .. Lie down and die," I thought ta myself ... But he didn't ... And so a while later. .. a long good old while later... I crossed the street and told him he'd been shot. .. "You've beeen shot, Jerry Jeffries ... You've been shot a number of times and it's time for you to die," I said... "I want you ta lie down and die, Jerry Jeffries ... Life ain't worth livin' for you," I said. "You don't know how ta use it right. .. So die, Jerry Jeffries, die" ... And so he did ...

A long, long pause filled with the silence of the other prisoners until Sykes breaks it. He stands now, and screams out -- wails out as though his last words were a key that has unlocked all his tension and anger:

(a torrent of rage, of pain)
SHIT!!! We're bleedin' ta death on these cement floors right now and we don't know it -- 'Cause blood ain't red no more -- it's invisible!! It's been invisible for a long time now but nobody from out there ever took the time ta tell us so -- WASTE, JAKE!! I can't help myself no more -- I'm talkin' about WASTE!!
(a beat)
WASTE is fuckin' invisible! Hours and days pasin' away are invisible! Seconds and minutes and years passin' away are invisible!! Look at us ...!! Livin' yesterday all over again and again and again ... !! What about today?! What about tomorrow?! We're all gonna die!!! We're dyin'!... That's what I learned today ... ! And that's my story for tonight...!

A very long silence: so long that it seems that Sykes has finished. Then suddenly he shouts out, in a bitter self-parody:

Death is it, Jake!!

A beat; Sykes is looking off, up toward a corner of the cell-block, as if speaking now, not to the prisoners, but to someone else, someone unseen -- to Elizabeth:

And bein' famous -- If anybody's listenin' -- I want ta tell ya that famous don't mean nothin' ta me!. .. Famous is a word that old men with sons, and thirteen-year-old girls own up to ... Now if ya would have said fat -- that rhymes with cat and hat -- and fat -- if I think about it just right -- can make me come in my dreams -- but famous...! It's all alone and lonely as a word . Fact is, it's about as forlorn a word as a man could ever hope ta hear ...
(a beat)
I ain't never gonna be no rock-and-roll star...! I ain't never gonna be nothin'!!
(loud --loud as can be;
to all the prisoners now)
Did ya hear what I said ... !!! I said -- I SAID WE AIN'T NOTHIN'!!

Sykes' voice echoes in the cell-block, is lost at last beneath the steady sound of the rain outside. Then, from very far away, as if from the other end of the cell-block, one of the prisoners calls out, pleading:

Why you say them things ta us, Diamond Jim ... ? We know all about them things ... And we know not ta pay 'em no never-mind ...

Silence again, for a long, long time ... Then movement. .. and a sudden sound ... a crash from somewhere down among the cells ... The guards seem frozen to their spots, useless now, as from somewhere else in the cell-block another sound explodes, mixed this time with a cry of rage, of dumb, helpless pain so intense it has no words, is just a noise in a throat strangled by frustration and fury ...

And again... And more... And more ... until the entire cell-block is a single trapped animal screaming and thrashing ... tearing at itself. .. a thing of self-destruction and revenge ...

The guards are running now, and more guards are pouring into the block. .. Valves twist open and a dozen fire-hoses stiffen... Gouts of water stab in through the bars... And shouts and threats and commands are lost in the single greater scream of riot...


Elizabeth is seated in the back of a limousine. She is silent, her face emotionless, as the car glides across the prison yard. Outside, in the rain, men are running, carrying tear gas and riot guns, converging on the now brightly-lit cell-block that is visible in the background.

The car is stopped for a long moment, idling near the main gates as a truckload of soldiers or National Guardsmen lumbers past, and then another. Elizabeth watches them, then speaks quietly, to herself:

If this were a war, I'd say I won the battle ... If this were a battle, I'd say I still had the war to win ...

The limousine begins to move again, flagged forward by several frantic guards. It turns onto the State highway and begins to pick up speed, disappearing into the night and the rain.


Part 4