Speakeasy #164: The Maltese Cockatiel


…There is no warning rattle at the door. It swings silently inward. Someone passes through and quietly shuts the door behind them. Sam lights a match illuminating his own face and startling the intruder. It’s Carlotta. Sam turns on the desk lamp.



Establishing shot shows a bird’s eye view of a cluttered desk in a cluttered office it is clear that they are in a building of many similar offices, the door is closed but a faint glow comes from the lighted hallway through the frosted panel, the transom is open. INVESTIGATIONS can be read backwards through the window glass. Sam sits at his desk, with half a bottle of whiskey, a smudged glass, and a full ashtray. Carlotta is across the office near the door. She is holding a handgun at her side.


So it’s you, Doll. I thought it might be. What are you doing here?
(monotone, terse, tough-guy delivery spoken while lighting a cigarette)


Sam, you startled me. I didn’t think you’d be… well, I thought…

I confess, I’m here looking for the Maltese Cockatiel.
(clearly flustered)



I know you got it off the ship, Sam, and I need it. The money that bird represents can solve a lot of problems. I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could ever believe.
(pointing the pistol at Sam, threatening)



You know, it’s good that you’ve been bad, because if you actually were as good as you pretend to be, there’d be no future for us. I don’t meet a lot of nice dames in my line of work and I’d like to get to know you better but, I don’t have the bird. Sorry, Doll.
(shaking out his match and blowing smoke into the air, nonchalant)



This isn’t about us Sam. We’ll never get anywhere. We can never be ‘us’ – all because of that cursed, jewel encrusted Cockatiel . That million dollar bird.
(remorseful, hurt, pistol drops back to her side)

Camera pulls back to bird’s eye view looking down from behind Sam’s desk. The door is visible behind Carlotta at the top of the screen. Sam pours a shot of whiskey into the dirty glass and drinks it down. He opens the desk drawer and removes his pistol, keeping it low. The door bursts open and a large, overweight man steps in with a gun. Carlotta quickly hides her pistol behind her back.


I want the Cockatiel.
(menacingly, moving the gun back and forth between Sam and Carlotta)

Carlotta brings her gun around quickly and fires once at the fat man, he falls back, into the hallway, dead. Sam sets his gun on the desk and gets up to comfort Carlotta who’s broken down with the death of the fat man. Sam kisses her deeply. She kisses him back.


Now that the fat man’s dead we’ll never find the Cockatiel . He was our best lead. Whatever he knew he’s taken to the grave.
(matter of fact)

Carlotta breaks away from Sam’s embrace, rushes out of the office down the hall. Sam shuts the door, returns to his desk and pours another two fingers of whiskey into the glass. Reaching down and opening the bottom drawer he removes a cloth covered bundle, about the size of a football, unwraps it and sets the Maltese Cockatiel on the desk, next to his broken heart.


So long doll. We coulda made beautiful music together.
(tough guy again, lighting another smoke, shaking the match out slowly while staring wistfully at the door)



If the speakeasy is open you can click the badge, above, and see what this is all about.  There are only 40 seats at the bar but if you hurry you might get one!

25 thoughts on “Speakeasy #164: The Maltese Cockatiel

    • My first shot at a play. I’ve never done this before so, some research was done to get the proper formatting down. The result is a short story with a lot of overhead, and when dealing with a word count limitation this doesn’t leave a lot of room for character development and such. I had fun but I probably won’t do it again for a yeah write challenge. Glad you liked it though. Thanks


  1. Great play. It was very well written and a good read. When you read good things like this, it makes me sad that the prompts only allow 750 words.

    God bless you,


  2. Fabulous!! Definitely not apparent that it was your first shot and I honestly think you managed fabulous character development and scene setting within the word limit. As I was reading it, in fact, I kept thinking “this must be over 750 words!” It certainly pays to go out on a limb 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for encouraging me to continue to take risks. Expect to see me fall on my face in the near future but, I’ll have fun doing it!


  3. What a fantastic take on the prompt! I love that you did it as a screenplay – and that you told the story so well in that format. Nicely done! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Darnit, I thought my comment went through last night…

    Again, this was fantastic! I could see every single shot playing out in my head.


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