The Omelet Files

Rockford meets an informant, thugs with pipes at Egg Heaven

Photo by James Bunoan

INT. ROCKFORD'S TRAILER

ROCKFORD'S ANSWERING MACHINE: Hey, this is Tommy down at the cleaners. You need to tell us if these are ketchup stains, wine stains or blood stains. Call us back at . . .

EXT. 4TH STREET

Cut on ANSWERING MACHINE BEEP to ROCKFORD in his car.

ROCKFORD (V.O.): Angel had a hot tip—he figured he deserved a hot breakfast to go with it. So I told him to meet me at Egg Heaven in Long Beach. It was my kind of place: plenty of wood paneling, a liquor store across the street, and a big picture of Elvis next to the kitchen. Kinda reminded me of home. And they had anything you can make out of an egg except the chicken—well, now that I think of it, they had chicken sandwiches and salads, too. Huh. Really is like heaven.

EXT. 4TH ST.

ROCKFORD (V.O.): And they always have a parking space right out front.

As ROCKFORD backs his car against the curb, we see his tires bump into the red. And as he slams the door and trots into EGG HEAVEN, we see a meter maid's shapely legs scissor into frame—and watch as she deftly whips out her ticket pad.

INT. EGG HEAVEN

A homey little family café, settled comfortably between Late American Truck Stop and Early Mom's Kitchen. Big bay windows let in plenty of sun. Everyone inside looks like a regular. Except ANGEL.

ROCKFORD (signals waitress): Get me two cups of coffee, a Queen María omelet with no cream cheese—keep the jack and Cheddar, easy on the Worcestershire and sour cream. Flour tortillas. And for my friend, veggie chorizo with avocado and salsa.

ANGEL: Veggie?

ROCKFORD: One day you'll thank me. Now what have you got?

ANGEL: I'm seeing this gal, lives in Signal Hill. Lives next to one of the old dry oil wells. At night, we've been hearing weird things, weird even for Signal Hill. Someone's running the pumps again. In the morning, I see tanker trucks. I think someone hit a fresh deposit out there.

ROCKFORD (skeptical): This is what I get for all that nice chorizo?

ANGEL (hurt): It's a good tip.

ROCKFORD: But it's really good chorizo.

EXT. CHERRY AVENUE, TWILIGHT

ROCKFORD behind the wheel. The parking ticket flaps forlornly in the slipstream.

ROCKFORD (V.O.): Angel's story didn't click. There couldn't be much left in those old wells, and if there was, you'd still need a refinery to process it. More trouble than it's worth. But then Angel's never been wrong—well, completely wrong before.

EXT. WELL SITE, LATE TWILIGHT

ROCKFORD weaves through the brush. Something is humming away, but the rig is motionless. Then he spots it. A thick hose connected to a shuddering, poorly hidden generator, creeping out of the oil well and disappearing into the dirt. ROCKFORD carefully peers over a fence: his POV to a set of dirty tanker trucks. CUT to the hose connected to the back of the truck; PAN UP to a freshly applied set of stickers: POISON. BIOHAZARD. NO SMOKING PLEASE!

ROCKFORD (V.O.): Toxic waste. They're not pumping out—they're pumping in.

Then OUT LOUD:

ROCKFORD: This is what I get when my informants will work for food.

VOICE OFFSCREEN: Naw, buddy. THIS is what you get.

QUICK CUT. Someone in a gray jump suit swings something hard. CUT TO BLACK.

INT. EGG HEAVEN

Battered, droopy, black-eyed ROCKFORD massages his swollen temples in a corner booth, the sun shining through the window at his back. We can see the roof of his car outside. Dad ROCKY sits opposite, squinting against the light. A WAITRESS glides up and fans out two menus but doesn't get a chance to set them down.

ROCKFORD: Tomato juice. And coffee. Black. And a San Vicente, extra chili.

The WAITRESS folds her menus and disappears, careful not to spend too much time looking at ROCKFORD's shiners.

ROCKY: San Vicente? What is that?

ROCKFORD: It's good. Jack cheese and chili. It's got a kick but it goes down easy.

ROCKY: Yeah? I had a kid like that once . . .

ROCKFORD lets it slide, mashing a thick pile of hash browns into the avocado and sour cream sliding off the San Vicente. Without taking his eyes off his plate, he gropes toward a jar of salsa with his free hand and ladles it all over the omelet. The San Vicente is drowning.

ROCKY: I ever tell you you're the kind of guy who can't leave well enough alone?

ROCKFORD: It's better this way.

WAITRESS: Um, sir, is that your car outside?

ROCKFORD spins around. His POV: two THUGS IN GRAY JUMP SUITS laying into his windshield with thick lengths of pipe. Suddenly, the METER MAID reappears, shaking her fist at the thugs and waving in a tow truck with CITY OF LONG BEACH PARKING CONTROL on the door.

ROCKFORD: Hey, cover this check for me, okay?

He jumps up and rushes outside. ROCKY grimaces and opens his wallet. It's empty. Forcing a smile, he orders another cup of coffee, and then digs his fork into the San Vicente.

BREAK FOR COMMERCIAL.

Egg Heaven, 4358 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 433-9277. Open Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 7 a.m.-3 p.m. No alcohol. Breakfast for two, $20, food only. Cash only.
 
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