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Blood for Dust (2023) | Transcript

Cliff, a traveling salesman drowning under the weight of providing for his family and the myth of the American dream, finds himself on a dangerous path after a chance encounter with Ricky, a colleague from a dark past.
Blood for Dust (2023)

Cliff, a traveling salesman drowning under the weight of providing for his family and the myth of the American dream, finds himself on a dangerous path after a chance encounter with Ricky, a colleague from a dark past.

* * *

[gentle orchestral music playing]

[intense horn melody layers in]

[fizzling, popping]

[loud rumbling, clattering]

[dramatic ambient music playing]

[electronic bagpipe tone playing]

[dramatic electronic music playing]

[tennis ball hit echoing] [crowd cheering]

[waves crashing]

[door opens]

[door closes]

[door lock clicks]

[footsteps approaching]

[case lock clicking]

[rustling]

[gun slide clicks]

[gun cocks]

[gunshot] [squelching]

[grim, suspenseful music playing]

[droplets plunking softly]

[elevator pings]

[suspenseful music continues]

[elevator closes]

Motherfucker.

[suspenseful music continues]

Motherfucker! Agh!

Stupid motherfucker!

[panting]

[dark, ominous instrumentals playing]

[man] Look, our boy needs that money.

Did you try Prairie Mountain or, uh, Central Bank

over there by Second Ave.?

[woman] Montana Federal. Was the same thing.

Look, Amy, our house is more than enough collateral,

even if we have refinanced before.

[Amy] Well, bankers don’t seem to think so.

He needs that money.

[Amy] You’ll find a way. You always do.

We’ve been through this before.

This isn’t any different.

Yeah.

[Amy] Can you make it tonight?

[inhales deeply] Look, I’ll try.

[Amy] It’ll help.

You know, it may not seem like it, but it will help.

Yeah.

[tense, dramatic music playing]

AED stands for “automated external defibrillator.”

It’s an AED. It’s a medical device

we use when a person is in cardiac arrest.

[switch clicks] [machine beeps, whirs]

[crunching thud]

[door opens]

[door closes]

[man] So, what happens if you don’t apply the goo?

Let’s just say, always apply the goo.

But you’re trying to sell us something

that we can all do with our hands.

What do you call that?

CPR. Oh, the CPR.

Well, not even the best-intentioned palms

can deliver a pulse of life-saving electricity.

Hmm. Cliff Ackerson.

[man] Don Falstaff.

Thanks for being there today, Don.

I know your schedule’s really busy.

[Don] It is. It is.

You been doing this long?

[Cliff] Uh, sales? STX? Not as long as I’d like.

Bill Mueller still the overlord there?

You know Bill?

Part of the herd. Boulder Buffs.

All right.

Do any sales in the Boise area?

[Cliff] Sure. Yeah, I’m…

all over Midwest, Northwest, uh, Alberta,

all the way up to Saskatchewan even.

Good companies are buyin’ up everywhere,

so hopefully here in Wyoming’s crown jewel as well.

And I used to work for E&P a few years ago.

Swore you sold us some hard drives.

Company called Meridian, if I recall?

Uh, I don’t really mess with data storage.

Hard drives are a hard sell.

I’m pretty sure it was you.

Yeah, well…

that’s the peddlin’ job hazard.

You know, we all start to look the same.

But sorry, you must have me confused with someone else.

[Don] I don’t get confused very often.

Well, I’m sorry to catch you on an off day, Don.

Cliff.

[eerie, unsettling music playing]

[squeaking softly]

[clicks open]

[music fades]

[brakes squeaking softly]

[engine shuts off]

[soft, solemn music playing]

[clattering]

[garage door rattles, creaks]

[grim music playing] [engine idling]

[dial tone]

[dial tone continues]

[handset clicks into receiver] [dial tone ends]

[door opens]

[music fades]

[music resumes]

[Amy, groggily] How’d it go?

[music fades]

Okay.

It was, um…

It was okay.

Hmm.

[Cliff] Sorry about missing last night.

Are you?

Sorry. I… I know your schedule isn’t your own.

Did it help?

Always does.

But if you’d been there…

I know.

I’m just trying to get us into the black.

You know there are more important things than that.

I know.

But the companies that we owe don’t care about family.

They don’t.

But I do.

I’ll be there next time. I promise.

[grim music playing]

I don’t need you to promise.

I just want you to try.

[glove compartment opens]

[plastic rustling]

[somber music playing]

[reverend] Guide all here today,

children and parent alike.

Teach them to not waver

and remain ever faithful to Your love.

Spread over them Your protecting mantle

when danger, illness, or temptation threatens them.

[mouths silently]

[reverend] Keep all firm

when they are about to stray from the path of virtue.

And if they should fall,

reconcile them with Your divine son

and restore them to grace.

[metallic scraping]

[dramatic music with emphasized drumbeat playing]

[projector clicks]

What exactly is the AED?

Well, this is something…

[continues indistinctly]

[projector clicks]

High-level stress conditions. [loud whirring]

Is your manager here?

[projector clicks]

[intense, ominous drumbeat continues]

[projector clicks]

[muted chatter]

All right, I’ll see ya. Take care.

[projector clicks]

[sports broadcast plays indistinctly over radio]

[Cliff] And, um… what’s my take

on the Sun Vista sale?

That’s it? Off the gross?

No. No, no. It’s– it’s… it’s a fine sale.

Thank you, Pam.

No, I appreciate it.

Yep. Mm-hmm.

You too.

[train whistle blowing in distance]

[grim music playing]

[muted chatter]

[loud, sultry rock music playing]

[glass clinking]

[music quiets slightly]

[low ambient electrical buzzing]

[door opens]

[door closes]

Always with your back to the action.

Just focused on what’s important.

Fuck you are.

Aw, shit, you must’ve made a sale,

or you’d still be in that shit hotel eating in bed.

Glad you remember how I celebrate.

Never understood why you came here.

Food’s crap. Girls ain’t much better.

Then why are you here, Ricky?

‘Cause I don’t got to take any of these girls

out to dinner prior.

Who you peddling for?

Circadian STX.

[Ricky] Out of Boise?

Mm-mm, Spokane.

Yeah, guess they would be.

Well…

let me buy a fellow good ol’ boy a beer.

Toast to the man whose numbers

always made me feel better about my own.

Finally, I said, fuck it.

What am I doing?

Convincing poor widows to buy a product

I wouldn’t take if it was given to me.

You know, if there’s money in it,

or money to be made off it, I can believe in it.

But this company had me and my team by the balls.

Receipt payout after a four-week audit.

A bunch of middle managers managing middle managers.

Ten times worse than our time at Meridian.

So, I left and never looked back.

Did you leave or d’you get fired?

Uh, you know they both result in the same thing.

What does, uh…

STX sell anyway?

[Cliff] Automated external defibrillators.

[clicks tongue]

Heart zappers. [Rick] Fuck.

Selling the possibility of escaping a death

that may never come. That’s a hard sell.

It is. It is.

Do you like it?

[Cliff] Does it matter?

What was your take today?

[Cliff] Not nearly as much as I need.

Well, then…

it matters.

[neon buzzing]

Nice.

But?

I know when I’m being sold something.

New truck.

Shittin’ 100-dollar bills all night.

What’re you sellin’?

Just a way to make money.

I just made money.

No. No, Cliff.

The last time me and you partnered up,

it didn’t end so well.

[Ricky] Wasn’t our fault Mark cracked.

None of us saw the cash we should’ve.

Man fucked it all up by doing what he did.

He took the blame.

Yeah, well, that ain’t no burden for a dead man.

Wasn’t a burden, it was a favor.

Fuck.

I know you two downed a lot of beers back in the day,

but dead or not, when’s taking all our money a favor?

What’s your product?

So, you’re interested then?

Only if I know what you’re selling.

Well…

give me a call when you want to find out.

I could use a man don’t mind breaking the rules.

[tense, ominous music playing]

[truck engine starts]

[telephone ringing]

[ringing continues]

Hello?

Bill? Cliff.

The reason I called you down here

is because I got a phone call from

an ol’ college buddy of mine down at Dinsco.

Yeah. No, I… I met Don.

He spearheaded a tough crowd down there.

Well, Don told me a few things that’s got me a little worried.

A perfect pitch can’t make the stubborn buy.

[chuckles softly] Ain’t about no pitch, Cliff.

It’s about your time at Meridian.

And some money that’s still missing.

I didn’t know Don worked at Meridian.

He didn’t.

But the people I call on still do.

It’s easy for them to blame a salesman

who isn’t there.

Meridian merged territories

so I felt like my skills– Don’t try to sell me on that.

Meridian didn’t merge no territories.

They walked in one morning to find some accountant

with his brains blew all over the fucking wall.

The same accountant that oversaw the team

you sold with.

Did they tell you that that accountant was responsible?

They did.

For some of it.

But what matters now is you’re still sellin’ for me.

And you ain’t told a damn soul about it.

So, I’m supposed to tell you

about a past coworker who stole some money

and then decided to swallow a bullet?

You never told me you was working for them.

[scoffs] Left that off your resume, Cliff.

What kind of innocent man does that?

Oh, now I’m involved

because I didn’t update a piece of paper?

You’re involved because a CSO

of a Fortune 500 told me you and some others

were doin’ things you shouldn’t have been doin’.

Listen, Bill.

I’ve been peddling your hard-to-push products,

making less than a fucking waitress for months.

I’m not on the phone. I’m not a CSO.

I am a faithful salesman for this company–

It ain’t about faith, Cliff.

That’s bad business. No business is good business.

You know that.

Careful what you say.

Advance my Sun Vista Airlines commission plus 20 percent,

and you won’t have to find out what I know.

Increasing and falsifying depreciation lengths

for defibs that you haven’t sold in years.

Half.

Half the commission on the Sun Vista Airlines…

Bill? Bill?

[Bill] You’re done, Cliff.

[suspenseful music playing]

[cows bellowing]

[auctioneer chanting indistinctly]

[man] It’s me paying for something that I don’t need.

Look around.

You’re a paper industry and working in an evolving market.

I’ll bring new technology,

a vast understanding of the territory,

connections in the agricultural field.

Hell, your computer hasn’t been updated since–

[man] Since you and I sold that piece of shit to my dad.

You know why I kept it?

So folks that don’t know what we do around here

think it’s an office.

Paper business? Damn right I’m in it.

Every stack here is a dollar made

or about to be made.

It’s white paper for green.

No better business than that.

Which I will further monetize and capitalize.

You know my background. You know my sales record.

Hell, you know I even worked cattle and pens.

You worked cattle and pens?

Well, yeah.

You know why my hat sits crown-side down?

You know what Bang’s disease is?

You know the difference between a roan and an appaloosa?

You know I can learn cattle breeds quick.

Those are fucking horses, Cliff.

Look, Gus.

I called you because we go way back.

No, you called me because someone found out

you had a hand in the Meridian cookie jar.

We all had our hands in that cookie jar.

I know why mine was in there.

Yours?

I’m guessing greed.

Don’t high-road me.

I know what happened to your son…

and I’m sorry.

But…

I got out early and clean.

No, you were smart enough to listen to me

and get out clean.

I didn’t have to warn you then

and I shouldn’t have to remind you now.

You stepped out of a con at a crooked company

into, what I remember, it wasn’t exactly

an above-the-board family business.

Now, that’s gotta be worth something right now.

Look, all I need is something that pays.

[truck rumbles past outside]

I am beggin’.

[soft, somber music playing]

I don’t need a salesman.

[music builds slowly]

[car engine idling]

[Cliff] I wanted to offer you

my years of experience as well as my Rolodex

to continue the growth over at your company and…

Mm-hmm. Okay.

Nah… You don’t even know what I’m offering yet.

[dramatic music playing]

[rapid, ragged breathing]

[machine beeping steadily]

Okay. Well, I appreciate your time.

Fuck.

[ragged breathing continues]

[music swells dramatically, then falls off]

[cattle huffing]

I’m calling from Spokane.

Nah, I think we spoke about a year ago.

Well, no. Actually, the reason I’m calling today is, uh,

to see if you guys needed any salesmen over there.

[snorts softly]

Yeah, I understand.

Okay.

All right. Well, Jim, it was nice talking to you.

[shrill musical flourish]

[music drops off abruptly]

[gentle, dramatic music playing]

[coin clattering]

[phone keypad clicking]

[gunshot]

[glass shattering]

[birds squawking]

[Ricky] Shoots .44 Magnums and Specials.

Only carries six, but you only need one

to drop whatever it is you’re aiming at.

What are your clients aiming at?

Whatever they don’t like.

[clears throat]

Beretta M92F, 15-round mag,

seen on the hip of every GI since ’89.

GLOCK 20, short recoil, double action,

Plain Jane, but just as reliable.

Classic Bulldog .44 Special. No frills, snub-nosed,

preferred by just about everybody,

including the Son of Sam.

That fun fact sell a lot of those?

Oh, you’d be surprised.

You spin it to the boy who wants to kill, then yes.

You spin it to the gal who wants to stop the boy

from killing, then also yes.

I’m afraid to ask if any of this is legal.

Then don’t ask.

[gun slide clicks, gun cocks]

[four rapid gunshots]

Whoo!

This isn’t your first rodeo.

Deer. Pheasant.

Odd coyote or two.

Barrel’s usually longer and the target’s moving.

Well…

I didn’t think you’d call me.

Neither did I.

How’d you meet these clients?

I was running guns to ex-cons on the Hi-Line.

Highway 2 from Whitefish out to Wolf Point

where you can crisscross the border with fucking bells on,

ain’t no one gonna stop you.

And I met this certain crowd

that started buying a shit ton of metal.

Six-shooters, shells,

automatics, semis, you name it.

Anyway… they kept expanding and I kept selling.

We got to talking, decided to merge our ventures.

Whenever I cross county lines

or the border for a client, rival or not,

I drop a little merchandise off for ’em.

You’re an arms dealer who sells drugs, Ricky.

I sell products that sell themselves.

That’s one way to put it.

What do you need me for?

I’m a good ol’ boy in a nice truck

that doesn’t get pulled over by highway patrol

or piss off any of the cartels or MCs

that route through the Truck Stop State.

I need another one.

I’m not a drug runner.

You do the same as one every day of the week,

just different product in your trunk.

What I sold was legal.

Yeah, sure as shit was.

Now you’re here.

Risks?

Gettin’ caught.

How much?

I’ll make a call.

[suspenseful music with ominous percussive beat playing]

[car approaching]

[brakes squeaking]

[door squeaks, slams]

[percussive beat intensifies, music builds slowly]

[muted conversation on radio]

[dramatic drum roll]

[music softens]

[radio shuts off]

[music fades]

Expected you earlier.

[Ricky] Well, you know how it is.

Well…

you always say that, I never do.

This him?

Yeah. Uh, Louis, John, meet Cliff.

Gentlemen.

[laughs] Gentlemen?

Gentlemen? Are you fucking kidding me?

You know I don’t kid when it comes to money.

[John laughs] He’d show up at Ruby’s, knock on the door,

and they’d know the fucking DEA was there.

Or he was just some schlub peddling aluminum siding.

Well, Ruby knows that the, uh, Feds don’t put their narcs

in Haggar slacks.

And I’ve peddled aluminum siding.

You never show up unannounced.

Hm.

You travel I-90?

[Cliff] All the time.

How often?

Dozen times. Maybe more.

[John] In the past year?

Past week.

Listen, John, Cliff’s, uh, he’s–

I’m used to a route and a routine.

I know every motel owner, burger flipper,

and waitress from here to Baker.

Nobody’s ever asked or wanted to know

what was in my trunk.

And if they did, all they’d find

is a bunch of heart zappers in boxes.

He’s the perfect cover.

A middle-aged schlub driving a shitty Bonneville.

Oldsmobile.

It doesn’t fucking matter what kind of car you drive.

The only thing that matters

is that you are a man no one would expect.

Did you expect me tonight?

[laughs]

The balls on this guy.

[John laughs]

What do you think?

I’ll put my take on it.

Anything goes wrong, it’s yours.

[John] Oh, shit.

All right.

Ricky, you ride with him.

Make sure the siding salesman just doesn’t get up to anything.

Yeah. Well, I can’t.

I’m driving up to Kalispell.

Send Antonio.

[Ricky] The thing is, uh,

Antonio wouldn’t be seen drivin’

with Northern Exposure over here.

Slim. Send Slim.

Skin color matches the profession.

[John] All right. [clears throat]

Give me your keys.

[keys jingle]

[loud thud] [Cliff groans]

[dramatic music playing]

[thuds] [groans]

What you’re carrying,

it isn’t yours.

It’s ours.

And we don’t like anybody that takes what’s ours.

Anybody who takes what’s ours,

we find anything remotely close to them,

and we take it back.

Now I’m gonna say this once, and only once.

You fuck with us,

and you and everything you are connected to will die.

You got me?

You don’t have to acknowledge.

You don’t have to say you agree.

You don’t have to nod your head.

‘Cause the second I tell Antonio here to let you up,

you are in agreement, and you and I, we are in a deal.

[grunts]

[whispers] Fuck!

Car’ll be ready tomorrow.

[radio clicks on]

[staticky radio broadcast plays]

[Amy] Isn’t Dickinson Jim’s territory?

It’s just overflow.

Jim needs some help, and so if anything comes of it,

then we’ll split commissions.

[Amy] Are you going through Grass Range?

Probably I-90 through Billings.

[Amy] You should call her.

My sales schedule’s really tough.

So, I just… I don’t know if there’s gonna be time.

[Amy] Well, you haven’t seen the boys in a while.

You know, it’s been rough for them.

It’s been rough for us.

[Amy] But you know we have each other to get through it.

She doesn’t.

[cart wheels clattering]

[grim, dramatic music playing]

[wheels clattering]

[car door closes]

Ruby’s happens tomorrow.

Slim knows where you need to be.

You drop it off, you bring it back.

That’s all there is to it.

Okay. Um… We’ll be safe.

[laughs] I don’t give a fuck about your safety.

You bring the bricks to Ruby’s, you get the money,

everyone will be happy.

[car door opens]

For the unexpected.

How often does the unexpected happen?

[Ricky taps car roof]

[glove compartment opens, closes]

[tense, softly pulsing drone playing]

[car engine starts]

[tense music with emphasized drumbeat playing]

[radio turns on, static pops as channels change]

♪ So why pretend ♪

[“Journey’s End” by Ernest Tubb playing]

♪ ‘Cause the sign ahead ♪

Didn’t take you for a country fan.

♪ Reads “Journey’s end”… ♪

I’m not.

[tense music continues]

[Cliff] Thank you. [waitress] Mm-hm.

[Cliff] Can I get some ketchup, please?

[tense music continues]

[door chimes tinkle]

[Slim] Next rest stop, pull over.

[Cliff] There’s a gas station just a couple miles up the road.

Next rest stop. Not before.

[tense music continues]

[engine turns off]

All right, well, I’m gonna go take a piss.

Wait.

What?

[car approaching]

Who is that?

[Slim] Don’t know.

It’s been on us since lunch.

[seatbelt clicks]

[gun cocks]

[car door closes]

Where’s your gun?

In the glove box.

Just be friendly.

And don’t lean forward.

Howdy. Howdy.

You have a light?

Uh, no. Sorry, I don’t– I don’t smoke.

He’s got a light.

[driver] Huh.

Most appreciated.

[Cliff] Wh– where you coming from? Bozeman?

[driver] Close. Three Forks.

Yeah. No, I, uh… I know it well.

Lewis and Clark Inn. Got great cinnamon rolls.

That so? Okay. Cool.

[tense, unsettling music playing]

Thanks, fellas.

Yeah, sure thing.

[music ends abruptly]

[glove box opens]

Keep it where you can reach it.

Don’t you think that’s a little exposed?

Nope.

[neon buzzing]

[Slim] Ford Bronco, I think.

Or a Blazer. Brown.

Mid-’80s, maybe.

I don’t think so.

Just a kid sucking a Winston.

Asked us for a light. [tap turns off]

If he was gonna hit us,

he would’ve done it then and there.

Because that’s when I would’ve done it.

[whispers] Where are my keys?

Uh, the keys?

I was gonna take the car.

Car stays.

I’m going to meet someone.

No one’s stopping you.

[somber music playing]

[somber music continues]

Okay.

[receding footsteps]

Come on, keep going. What are you doing?

Jump over. I’m shooting them.

Oh.

Get back up. There you go.

[game crackling]

You boys have gotten big.

Hey, Simon.

How’s it going, buddy?

Good to see ya.

Get over there. I won’t take you from your game.

[dramatic game music playing]

[whispering] Right there. See that?

How you doin’, Kyle?

I’m fine.

You still playin’ hockey?

Yeah.

[game music continues]

[woman] Hey, boys.

Why don’t you go outside and play?

[clattering]

Score!

[woman] I kept hoping that you’d stop.

That I’d be on shift,

and you’d walk through the doors,

we’d pick up where we left off.

Just a quick trip to come visit our godsons,

and check up on you. See how you’re doin’.

The same feeling I got when you called.

That it was about us.

That you remembered what we had.

I never forgot what we had.

No?

No.

[scoffs]

Forgetting is different than hiding.

One’s innocent and the other’s a deception.

[Cliff] Well, you had a lot more to hide than just us.

Mark got involved with Meridian

because we needed money.

So did you.

He was helping his friend and his family.

Amy sent us money.

Did you know that? Rebecca, come on.

[Rebecca] We both knew it was a mistake.

But I loved you.

You didn’t even say goodbye.

Does she know you’re here?

[Cliff] Yeah. She does.

Keeping her in the dark is what you do best.

Tell Amy that I’m okay.

So are the kids.

That she should save her money for her own family.

[door opens, closes]

[hockey sticks clattering outside]

[dull, ominous beat plays]

[muted conversation]

[suspenseful music builds slowly]

[Kyle] Come on, Simon.

What’re you doing? [Simon chuckles]

[tense, unsettling music playing]

[loud thud] [music ends]

[Amy] I’m glad she’s doing okay.

Yeah. Um, me too.

[Amy] Are you in Dickinson?

No. Um, I’m headed there now.

[Amy] Travel safe, and call me when you get there.

I love you. [Cliff] Yeah. All right.

I love you too.

[receiver clicks]

[suspenseful music playing]

[brakes squealing]

[engine turns off]

[suspenseful music continues]

[car trunk unlocks, opens]

[music fades]

[Ruby] Where’s Ricky?

He couldn’t make it.

[tense music playing]

[zipper unzips]

[knock on door]

[gun cocks]

[gun cocks]

Fuck, brother. [gunshot]

[tense music playing]

[gunshots]

[grunts]

[gunshots]

[groans]

[gunfire continues]

[panting]

[dramatic music playing]

[footsteps crunching in snow]

[tense music with ticking rhythm playing]

[door clattering]

[gunshot ricochets]

[gunfire resumes]

[grim, unsettling music playing]

[panting]

Whoo! [gunshot]

[tense, dramatic music playing]

[sheep bleating]

[gunshot echoing]

[sheep bleating]

What the fuck, Ricky?

[chuckles]

[gunshot echoing]

[tense, jarring music playing]

Fuck, Cliff!

Fuck, how’s that for a fucking score, man?

Fuck! Fuck! Shit!

Whoo! Fuck!

[water running]

[vomiting]

[spits]

[sighs]

What the fuck?

[Ricky] You don’t look so good.

Where were you? Huh?

How the fuck did you get there?

All right, don’t worry about it.

[Cliff] You needed me.

So everyone was lookin’ at me,

so they weren’t payin’ attention to what you were doing, right?

Man, you act like it’s you who’s done me a favor.

If it weren’t for me, you’d be in that fucking strip joint,

eating a burger alone.

Quit your moanin’.

You presented a solution to my problem.

Of what? Huh? Fucking over your partner?

I needed you…

so I could be halfway across the state

selling ammo to the same cartel

they’re gonna think killed Slim.

You happy?

So what? This is part of some fucking plan?

[Ricky] One part, yeah.

[dramatic music playing]

[music fades]

You gotta be fucking kidding me.

[engine shuts off]

Wait right here.

Shit.

[gunshot echoing]

Fuck.

[gunshot echoing]

Whoo!

You plan on killing me next? Huh?

He was a tweaker who would’ve snorted all that by sundown.

I did him a favor.

He kept good tabs on you, though.

Why not tell me from the start?

Ah, ’cause you can only sell a lie

about something you’ve done, Cliff.

Not something you’re about to do.

Yeah, well, you sold that lie pretty fucking well.

I didn’t sell shit. I just put you in the room.

Let me in on the full sale,

or I’m walking with that duffel bag.

[gun cocks]

Hey, easy. Easy.

[Ricky] I’m sure your gun is right

where Slim told you to put it.

As far as hombres go,

Slim wasn’t one of the worst, but fact of the matter is,

you don’t keep your gun under your front seat.

You keep it on you.

Wouldn’t it be easier if my back was turned?

I don’t care which way you’re facing.

You tell me what you have in mind…

and I’ll tell you whether or not I want to be a part of it.

[snorts softly]

Yeah. Well, if puking your guts out

for the last hour and a half is calming,

then yeah, I’m pretty fucking calm.

Listen. I’m not sure of anything.

All I know is there was shaved heads

and Slim yelled something like that before I ran.

Yeah, well, it didn’t feel right.

[pager beeps, vibrates]

Like fucking clockwork.

[TV chatter]

You see this shit?

Television marketing.

It’s gonna make men like you a thing of the past, huh?

You think what you’re doing doesn’t have an expiration date?

Course it does.

Why do you think I’m doing this?

Get out, get out big.

Well, anyway,

let’s see if two good ol’ boys made the nine o’clock.

[telephone ringing]

[suspenseful music playing]

[Cliff] Hello. You’ve reached Cliff…

[Amy] …Amy… [Daniel] …and Daniel.

[Cliff] We’re away– [receiver clicks]

[phone keypad clicking]

[telephone ringing]

[receiver clicks]

Hey. Slim’s too. Grab everything he had.

[keypad clicking]

[telephone ringing]

Yeah, it’s Ricky.

Same place. Tomorrow at eight.

Bring enough for the… for the whole sale.

[receiver clicks]

[door opens]

[dramatic music playing]

[thud]

[grunts] [Cliff] Where to?

[Ricky] Easier if I drive.

Where to?

[Ricky] Left out of the lot.

What you want, a fucking address?

It’s a house here in Billings.

A place where we’ll have the upper hand.

Satisfied?

[music fades]

These all look empty.

Not according to the building department.

Gotta seem occupied or about to be

to launder off the American dream.

Buy a house in cash. Instant equity.

Cash-out loan from your banker who cares more about numbers

than he does the home you’re supposedly buying,

and bam, you’re clean.

Build a bunch like my client here

and wash, rinse, repeat.

Leaving your clients more money for guns and drugs.

Oh, not always about where the money comes from

but where it goes.

[brakes squealing]

[engine shuts off]

Is this one yours?

Not yet.

[glass shattering]

[door latch clicks]

[garage door rumbling]

[clattering]

[approaching footsteps]

[gas hissing]

[lighter clicks]

[lighter clicks]

[Cliff] What you did to that kid… and Slim.

How do I know you’re not gonna do that to me?

Well, you should be thanking me that kid’s gone.

He was the only other one except for me

that knew about Mark’s wife.

I knew you two were buds,

but I didn’t know you were banging her.

[Cliff] That was a long time ago.

Yeah.

If that’s the way you want to play it.

You know…

I’ll never know why that son of a bitch Mark joined us.

[Cliff] He joined us…

because I asked him to.

[laughs]

Fuck.

Let me get this straight.

That man killed himself

because of something you told him to do,

and you were fucking his wife?

Fuck. That’s cold.

Yeah, shit. Well…

he was a godsend at first.

And then…

And then you invited too many people on

and you made the scheme too big.

Yeah, ‘course I made it big.

Making it big makes us money.

It made Mark take the fall.

[Ricky] And I’m thankful for that.

And you should be too.

Every scheme needs a scapegoat doesn’t know he is one.

It’s always best if it’s the man closest to the accounts.

[Cliff] So, the kid…

and Slim…

and Mark…

they were just another way out.

Another out. Another loose end.

One less share to dole out. Take your pick.

[Cliff] Which one of those have you chosen for me?

None.

How do I know that?

[Ricky] I left the guarantee business long time ago.

But I’ll make an exception for you.

If I wanted you gone…

you’d be gone.

I need to piss.

[engine rumbling]

[garage door rumbling]

[Cliff] 1031 Crestwood Drive.

‘Cause I know when it’s in my best interest to tell the truth.

Look, you told me that you don’t like when people take what’s yours, right?

Well, Ricky did just that.

Nothing’s taken yet, especially since I’m telling you how to get it back.

Well, then I’ll expect you–

[Ricky] Hey! Come on!

[Cliff] Then I’ll expect that you’ll be leaving soon.

See, this is why you don’t want to get married.

Don’t gotta run off and check in.

She suspect anything?

No.

She trusts me, so…

she never does.

You owe me four bucks.

You want it right now?

[hissing softly]

[tense suspenseful music playing]

[inhales sharply]

[suspenseful music continues]

[music ends abruptly]

[Ricky] Hey, what did that, uh… what did that guy Kurtis, what did he have inscribed on his desk plaque at Meridian?

“Patience with persistence.”

Ha! Yeah, that was it.

Ah, some bullshit engraved in brass.

He sold a lot.

A lot more than any of us.

He sold to his old college buddies.

Just pushed a POS form to any pecker from Alpha Beta and they’d sign.

Persistence, my ass.

You wanna keep on?

Sell the hardest thing to the most pigheaded man in the room?

You ever do that?

Yeah, what was it?

[grunts]

What was it?

I’m not talking about product. Ah, what was your hardest sell?

At Meridian?

Nah. Anywhere.

Anytime.

Man, you know what mine was?

Selling some cooked-up memory of my old man to my stubborn-ass mule grandma.

First time, when my mom was driving, we were getting our stories straight.

The level of detail was important, she always said.

You embellish it too much, and you can’t keep track of it all.

Not enough, well, she’ll sniff out a lie.

Yeah.

And my mom always sent me in first and my grandma would fuss over me.

Pouring out… piss-warm Dr. Pepper while I convinced her the bruises were from something else.

That her, uh, darling boy would never thrash me or my mom.

Never, uh, steal embalming fluid just to get fucking high.

Never run off.

And if he did, he’d come back again.

Well, each time she bought what I hustled, the bar was raised… so that I had to work twice as hard for the next sale.

The next, uh… next lie.

Yeah.

That was my hardest sell.

Selling those lies to that old woman for years just to protect some son of a bitch who used to beat on me.

You didn’t peddle trust. You sold her hope.

Ignorance, more like it.

Sometimes that’s just as valuable.

You see, you sold her what she wanted to hear.

The truth she needed.

It’s the same thing I sell my wife, and will continue to sell until I need her to stop buyin’.

There’s a world that she deserves.

Until I can get that for her, all I can do is… keep my stories straight, keep the details, so that I remain the provider that she thinks I am.

I’m just like you, Ricky.

Setting one up to make the next one more challenging.

That’s what a good salesman does.

He takes that lie…

and turns around and sells it himself.

Yeah.

Maybe we should get that engraved in brass.

Put it on our desks.

I don’t think you’ll be sitting behind a desk for a while.

Yeah, no shit. Neither of us will be.

[receding footsteps]

[thudding]

[suspenseful music continues]

[car engine roaring]

[gun cocks] All right.

Bring ’em in.

[engine shuts off]

[garage door rumbling]

So you got us doing this here?

Yeah.

[sniffs]

[suspenseful music continues]

All right. We can do business.

Knew we could.

[man] How many?

Thirty for 500 grand.

That’s a steal.

You’re the one on the shit end of that stick.

[Ricky] Then your hands are clean for a damn good price.

Yeah.

It comes cheap, it comes with problems.

Price is low. And that’s all there is to it.

All right.

Show ’em.

[car trunk opens]

[engine rumbling]

[suspenseful music continues]

[engine shuts off]

[gun cocks softly]

[tense music playing]

What the fuck?

[gunfire]

[whimpers] Son of a fucking–

[gunshot]

[gunshots]

[gunshot] [groans]

[bullets clattering]

Who is it?! It’s John and Louis.

They just showed up.

[Ricky screams]

[gunshots]

[gunshot]

[gunfire]

[grunts]

[tense music playing]

[grunts]

[gunfire echoing]

[gun cocks]

[gunfire]

[grunts]

Fuck.

[tense music playing]

[speaking indistinctly]

Fuck.

[tense music continues]

[AED paddles buzzing] [screaming]

[dramatic music playing]

[panting]

[scraping in nearby room]

[gunshot] [grunts]

[gunshot] [groans]

[groaning]

[gunshot echoing]

[tense, ominous music playing]

[groaning]

Oh… [mutters indistinctly]

[groaning sigh]

Fuck.

[gun clatters on floor] [Ricky groans]

[groaning] Oh, motherfucker.

[panting]

[panting ceases]

[wind blowing]

[dramatic music playing]

[spray hissing]

[music fades]

[engine shuts off]

[mellow rock music plays]

[patrons chattering]

[music and chatter continue, muted]

I’m sorry.

[dramatic music playing]

[dramatic music with emphasized drumbeat playing]

[drumbeat intensifies]

[music softens slightly]

[Amy, groggily] How’d it go?

It went well.

Really well.

[Amy, contentedly] Hm.

[dramatic music playing]

[clicking]

He’ll love these.

Especially this one.

Yeah.

[muted chattering]

[reverend] . ..and we all have them in our lives!

Our modern form of the gigantic Philistine.

And it’s a defining moment to face our Goliaths.

To battle him. Over and over.

Because we don’t have slings. We don’t have stones.

We have God.

Honesty.

Those around us.

And there will be moments when you need to face your Goliath and decide whether to put on the armor of Christ, or allow yourself to succumb.

And that defining moment was told in Ephesians chapter 6, verses 11-13.

It reads,

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”

And that day of evil will come.

You need to ask, will you fight?

Will you arm yourself with God?

With courage? Arm yourself with honesty?

[indistinct police radio chatter]

Will you decide to stand your ground?

[door rattling]

[suspenseful music playing]

[door rattling]

[objects clattering]

[music ends with dramatic note]

[gentle acoustic guitar melody playing]

[“My Images Come” performed by Tim Bruns playing]

♪ From the people who do the work ♪

♪ From the people who sing the songs ♪

♪ From the people who live the life ♪

♪ And the people who get along ♪

♪ And a bottle of rum ♪

♪ From the demon that always lurks ♪

♪ For the demon that does me wrong ♪

♪ For the fury that is my wife ♪

♪ And the struggle that is my song ♪

♪ Oh, it gets me down sometimes ♪

♪ It gets me down but only ♪

♪ A little look around and I find ♪

♪ That I’m not so lonely ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ And my images come ♪

♪ From the pleasure I had before ♪

♪ From the pleasure I’m still to know ♪

♪ From the pleasure my dreams provide ♪

♪ And the pleasure that I bestow ♪

♪ And a bottle of rum ♪

♪ For the trouble that’s at my door ♪

♪ For the trouble where’er I go ♪

♪ The misfortunes that I abide ♪

♪ And the courage I’m trying to show ♪

♪ Oh, it gets me down sometimes ♪

♪ It gets me down but only ♪

♪ A little look around and I find ♪

♪ That I’m not so lonely ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ And my images come ♪

♪ From the woman that’s on my knee ♪

♪ From the woman that’s in my head ♪

♪ From the woman out in the sun ♪

♪ And the woman that shares my bed ♪

♪ And a bottle of rum ♪

♪ For the broken love’s misery ♪

♪ For a love that has grown dead ♪

♪ For a love spent foolishly ♪

♪ And illusions that I’ve been fed ♪

♪ Oh, it gets me down sometimes ♪

♪ It gets me down but only ♪

♪ A little look around and I find ♪

♪ That I’m not so lonely ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ My images come ♪

♪ From the world in which I live ♪

♪ From the world I love so well ♪

♪ From the world of changing light ♪

♪ And the Lord of which I tell ♪

♪ And a bottle of rum ♪

♪ For the feelings I cannot give ♪

♪ For the feelings my fears compel ♪

♪ The screams of fraught-filled nights ♪

♪ And the time that’s spent in hell ♪

♪ Oh, it gets me down sometimes ♪

♪ It gets me down but only ♪

♪ A little look around and I find ♪

♪ That I’m not so lonely ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ We’re in the same boat, brother ♪

♪ My images come ♪

[music fades]

[dark, ominous music playing]

[music fades]

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