Black Market Heart
I have always wanted to be in love. The real kind of love, the kind that burns. The kind that eats you like acid and changes you. The kind of love that is bigger than the sun. The kind of love that you kill for, the kind of love that you do anything for. I have always thought that I would be good at that kind of love.
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL. DAY.
A long hospital hallway. Ground floor. Double doors at the end. The doors open and three men enter dressed as doctors, white coats flapping as they walk briskly. JACKSON leads them. In close up his coat flaps back and we see there is a squarish Glock 18 handgun in a nylon holster on his hip. He carefully pulls his coat closed. Buttons it at the waist. Behind him, BINGO and KRILL. KRILL is muy flaco. BINGO is thick and wearing a big backpack.
The three of them get into an elevator. An orderly steps in behind them. They shove him out. The doors close.
The doors open on the fifth floor and BINGO steps out. A sign on the wall lists the departments on the fifth floor. Close on one of them: SECURITY.
JACKSON and KRILL continue to the seventh floor where JACKSON steps out. A sign on the wall reads: SURGERY.
In the elevator - alone - KRILL presses the button for the roof.
EXTERIOR. HOSPITAL HELIPAD. DAY (Continuous).
A slim and modern MEDEVAC helicopter is coming in to land on the roof of the hospital. It looks like a locust as its gear hatches from its metal belly.
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL SURGERY WARD. DAY. (Continuous)
JACKSON is striding down another hallway. Close on his face, his jaw is tight, his eyes are focused. He is a man on a mission. Close on the badge clipped to his jacket. The badge has a picture of RICK on it.
*** FOUR HOURS AGO ***
EXTERIOR. AN UPPER WEST SIDE NEW YORK CITY STREET. DAY.
A fit young woman, CARRIE, is riding a bicycle down the street. She is riding too fast. She shoots toward an intersection. The light changes but she goes for it and is quite suddenly hit broadside by a speeding taxi.
Screaming/Sirens/INTERIOR of an ambulance/Siren (Continuous)/Gurney jerked from ambulance/INTERIOR of the Emergency Room/Shouting/Dirty ceiling tiles rush by overhead/INTERIOR chaotic surgery room/CARRIE has a massive head wound/Close on the doctor. He shakes his head and pulls his gloves off as he walks away.
*** THREE HOURS AGO ***
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL. DAY.
RICK is a young resident. He puts a telephone to his ear and dials. He is trying to be sly but looks nervous. He is subtly comparing a handwritten note to a patient chart.
INTERIOR. AN APARTMENT IN ALPHABET CITY. DAY(Continuous).
A smooth and perfectly black cell phone sits on a square black coffee table in front of a red leather sofa. The flat screen lights up with a photo of RICK. A hand grabs the phone. It is JACKSON’s hand. The hand moves the phone to JACKSON’s ear as he thumbs the button to answer.
I think I have one for you.
*** TWO HOURS AGO ***
EXTERIOR. A MEDICAL UNIFORM SUPPLY STORE. DAY.
KRILL walks out of the store with two full bags.
EXTERIOR. LENOX AVENUE, HARLEM. DAY.
BINGO is walking briskly down the street. He is carrying his heavy backpack in his right hand. He has to stop at a red light. A bum named FERG sits on the curb, shakes a dirty Yankees cap at BINGO. Coins in the hat jingle. BINGO grins at the bum. The light changes to green. BINGO reaches into the bag, flips a switch and the coins fly out of the bum’s hat and stick to the backpack. The BUM screams. BINGO flips him off, but doesn’t look back.
INTERIOR. THE APARTMENT IN ALPHABET CITY (Same). DAY (Continuous).
JACKSON sits on the red leather sofa, the square black coffee table is in front on him. On the table: the phone, a bottle of water, a squarish Glock 18, an open box of 9mm ammunition. He is calmly loading rounds into the clip. This makes a clicking noise that he likes. From behind him, PENNY enters the room. She is too skinny, sunlight flows through her thin hair a little too easily, but otherwise one would barely know that she is sick. But JACKSON knows.
PENNY looks at the gun, concerned.
JACKSON smiles at her. He blows her a kiss.
*** 60 MINUTES AGO ***
INTERIOR. A SUBWAY CAR. DAY.
JACKSON, KRILL and BINGO sit next to each other as the train rumbles. They are all dressed as doctors
*** 10 MINUTES AGO ***
EXTERIOR. THE HOSPITAL. DAY.
RICK walks out a staff exit. He lights a cigarette as he crosses the street. He walks fast as he rounds a corner and then into the alley where JACKSON, KRILL and BINGO are waiting.
JACKSON tosses RICK a roll of money, which RICK catches in the air. RICK hands over his identification badge and security card.
Where do you want it?
In the face I guess. Makes it look real.
BINGO steps forward and punches RICK hard across the face. RICK goes over on the ground, blood sputtering out of his mouth.
Sorry about that. Would you put your wrists and ankles together please?
RICK does and they zip-tie his wrists and ankles.
When I met her two years ago, you wouldn’t have known that she was sick, because she isn’t exactly sick. They say that it isn’t exactly a sickness. The heart is a muscle after all, it is supposed to get stronger. But hers is withering. With every single beat it gets weaker, the tissue becomes a little thinner, a little more frayed. Every minute of her life kills her a little bit.
When I decided that I loved her, I also decided that I would find a way to fix her.
Her heart really was broken. How perfect a thing to fix was that?
*** TWO YEARS AGO***
They can’t put me on the transplant list because I’m not as severe as other people.
Will they ever put you on the list?
I would probably have to die first.
So you’re not actually severe until the very moment when your heart stops?
That’s about it.
What about an artificial heart?
They don’t think my body would accept it. Because my system is too weakened.
So you’re just supposed to wait to die?
That’s basically what everyone who has ever been alive has done. They call it 'life'.
*** RIGHT NOW ***
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL (Same). DAY (Continuous).
SEVETH FLOOR: JACKSON is dressing into a surgical gown and gloves. He peeks into a chaotic surgery room where organs are being removed from CARRIE’s still-warm body. JACKSON pulls a surgical mask over his face and backs in through the door.
FIFTH FLOOR: BINGO knocks on a door labeled SECURITY STATION. He knocks fast and over and over. Finally the door opens and a security guard named DION pokes his head out.
BINGO quickly presses a nasty little hand-held tazer into the DION’s gut and forces him back into the room, kicking the door closed behind them. The tazer is loud and the man is yelling. BINGO pushes him to the floor. Inside the room, another guard - this one named ROBERT - is eating a BUDGET GOURMET microwavable dinner. His heavy leather belt and holster are on the table next to him. ROBERT goes for the gun but BINGO aims a pistol-shaped tazer and shoots. Sparking metal snakes stick into ROBERT’s chest and he goes over onto the floor.
BINGO quickly he zip-ties and gags them both.
THE ROOF: On the Roof of the hospital KRILL is watching the MEDEVAC helicopter land. His coat blowing around him in the down-draft. The helicopter touches down on its skinny insect legs and KRILL jogs over to it half bent down. He peeks in the back to see that it is empty. He darts around to the nose and opens a little metal flap and starts to disconnect something. The PILOT watches curiously from inside the helicopter.
KRILL comes around and knocks on the THE PILOT’s window. THE PILOT opens it.
What the hell were you doing?
Disconnecting your radio.
KRILL pulls a thin Beretta 92F from his pocket and points it at the PILOT’s face.
SEVETH FLOOR: The surgery room is packed. Different teams of surgeons are harvesting different organs from CARRIE’s body. The organs are placed in hard plastic coolers and the coolers are placed in padded insulated bags for transport. One team is working on the heart. JACKSON is stranding in the corner, unnoticed.
The surgical team snips away the veins and arteries from around CARRIE’s still-beating heart.
FIFTH FLOOR: BINGO is in the hospital surveillance room. It is all surveillance monitors and computers. He sets down, and unzips, the backpack. He lifts out of it a large industrial magnet and battery. He flips it on and paper clips fly across the room toward him. He passes the buzzing magnet across the bank of servers recording all of the security video. The monitors flicker out as the servers sizzle out.
BINGO puts the magnet back in the bag. He walks calmly past DION and ROBERT on the floor.
*** ONE YEAR AGO ***
INTERIOR. THE APARTMENT IN ALPHABET CITY. NIGHT.
I am not going to buy someone’s heart. I won’t do it.
It’s a solution.
Where are you thinking that you can get a heart from anyway?
I found a guy who can get us one.
He can get us a human heart? Where is this guy?
You found a guy in Mexico who can says that he can get us a compatible human heart?
How exactly is he going to do that?
I don’t want to ask because I don’t want to know.
I’m not doing it.
Well then what the hell are we supposed to do?
*** RIGHT NOW ***
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL (Same). DAY (Continuous).
SEVETH FLOOR: The heart is lifted out of CARRIE”S dissected chest cavity. It is carefully placed into a cooler. The cooler is carefully placed into a padded red bag.
Okay, let’s go.
THE SURGEON strips off his gloves and mask and gown and moves out into the hallway. His small team of doctors trail after him. One of them is carrying the padded red bag. JACKSON doesn’t take his mask off. He crowds into the elevator with them, they are all too excited to notice. THE SURGEON is on his cell phone.
We just got it. We are in the elevator so I might lose you. What? Yeah, it went great. We are on our way to the MEDEVAC. What? Yeah no, it is a great looking heart.
In the packed elevator JACKSON is able to snake his hand into the pouch on the side of the insulated red bag. He carefully pulls the little GPS transponder out of the bag.
*** ONE WEEK FROM NOW ***
EXTERIOR. MEXICO CITY. DAY
JACKSON walks up to a newsstand and buys a copy of the New York Times. He tosses most of it into a trash drum on the street corner and flips through it until he finds an article titled: FBI and NYPD still searching for Heart Thieves.
*** RIGHT NOW ***
INTERIOR. HOSPITAL ELEVATOR (Same). DAY (Continuous).
The elevator arrives at the roof. It dings. The doors open. BINGO is there. He has a short and ugly Ruger Speed-Six revolver in his hand and he is wearing a black ski mask.
JACKSON smoothly pulls out his Glock and holds it up for everyone to see.
Everyone look at me please. This is a gun. It is loaded. No screaming please. We do not have a lot of time. I need all of you to put your wrists together.
BINGO demonstrates, while still keeping the gun pointed into the elevator.
JACKSON zip-ties each set of wrists and then gently pushes them out of the elevator.
*** 26 MINUTES FROM NOW ***
INTERIOR. A WAREHOUSE IN JERSEY CITY. DAY (Continuous).
In the center of the warehouse there is a makeshift clean room. Sealed plastic tarps dangle from the ceiling. In the center of the clean room there is a surgical table. PENNY is laying on it, naked and already anesthetized.
Look Doc, you’re going to do this for two reasons. The first: you’re a world-class heart surgeon, you have your own world-class team here with you and there is a woman in there who needs a heart transplant. The second: If you don’t, I will murder you until you are quite simply dead.
*** RIGHT NOW ***
EXTERIOR. THE HOSPITAL HELIPAD. DAY (Continuous).
BINGO and JACKSON lead THE SURGEON and his zip-tied team across the roof toward the helicopter. KRILL is still standing at THE PILOT’s window, Beretta still at the ready.
BINGO pats down THE SURGEON and takes the cell phone and keys and everything else and then he loads THE SURGEON up into the helicopter. BINGO does this to each of them while JACKSON keeps his Glock calmly aimed.
When the last of them is inside, JACKSON climbs inside himself. He has the insulated red bag in his lap. He looks at the terrified team of surgeons.
Relax. You are all going to be fine. Nobody is going to get hurt. Don’t think of this as a kidnapping, think of it as a character building exercise. You are all - now - the most interesting people that any of you know.
*** TWELVE HOURS FROM NOW ***
INTERIOR. THE WAREHOUSE IN JERSEY CITY (Same). NIGHT.
THE SURGEON exits the clean room and walks to JACKSON, who is sitting in the only chair in the warehouse.
Okay. It’s done.
Tell me how it went.
It went smoothly, all things considered. But her recovery is going to be lengthy and difficult.
I have worked that out.
Is she going to have to travel?
I will worry about that.
I’m asking because I’m a doctor.
I’m not telling you because you’re also a witness.
*** RIGHT NOW ***
EXTERIOR. THE HOSPITAL HELIPAD (Same). DAY (Continuous).
BINGO puts all of the cellphones and keys and the GPS transponder into a plastic bag. He hands the plastic bag to KRILL then circles around the helicopter and climbs in next to THE PILOT.
I’m a nice man. Do what I say and everybody will be okay.
KRILL backs away from the helicopter as it begins to lift slowly up into the air. Its skinny legs fold up and back inside its thorax. The nose of the helicopter moves left and points off toward Jersey City.
KRILL watches it dart off and then heads to the elevator. He rides it all the way down. He exits the hospital. On the street he ditches the plastic bag in a trash can.
*** ONE YEAR FROM NOW ***
INTERIOR. A BEDROOM IN THE CATEDAL DISTRITOS OF SAN JOSE, COASTA RICA. NIGHT.
PENNY and JACKSON are in bed. The room is completely dark.
Sometimes, when I’m laying here, when I can feel it beating, I think about where it was supposed to be. Whose body is it supposed to be in. What happened to that person? Did she live? Did she die while she was there on the table waiting for it? Did I kill her?
Do you ever think about that?
Why not? How can you not?
Because I love you. And loving you means that I don’t have to care about anyone who isn’t you.
Is that love? Is that really what love is?
I’m not sure if you love me, or if you love that you fixed me.
I fixed you because I love you.
That’s a completely fucked up thing to say.
*** 16 MONTHS FROM NOW ***
INTERIOR. JUAN SANTAMARIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SAN JUAN COASTA RICA. MORNING.
One ticket, one-way to New York. Any airport. Whatever leaves soonest.
*** RIGHT NOW ***
INTERIOR. HELICOPTER (Same). DAY (Continuous).
JACKSON peeks out the window of the helicopter as the Hudson River slips by below. He smiles and thinks of PENNY. He closes his eyes for just a moment. Beneath the thumping of the rotor blades and the palpable fear of the doctors, he can feel his own heart beating. He clutches the insulated red bag tightly. He imagines that inside of it he can feel PENNY’s heart beating too.
I have always wanted to be in love. The real kind of love that burns. The kind that eats you like acid and changes you. The kind of love that is bigger than the sun. The kind of love you kill for, the kind of love that you do anything for. I have always thought that I would be good at that kind of love.
JAMES BEZERRA is a writer and MFA student in Portland, Oregon. His work has been published in Chaparral, The Bicycle Review, Citizen Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of The Northridge Review Fiction Award, The Oliver W. Evans Writing Prize, and was a 2016 artist-in-residence with the Angeles National Forest. He blogs at standardkink.com.