Gladiator April 4, 1998 Script Draft: Page #5


INT. NARCISSUS' CELL - NEAR DUSK

Narcissus slowly wakes. He sees Adonis and Dala. Though Dala slumps in a corner, asleep, Adonis carefully crushes garlic bulbs in a mortar. Confused, his eyes stray around the room and fix on a CRUDE POSTER OF HIMSELF holding up a sword nailed to the wall.

Proximo enters, kicks Dala awake and kneels beside Narcissus. He helps him sip water.

PROXIMO
General, hang on... drink slowly.
You are blessed by the Gods to have
a physician and a Divine of Janus
with you tonight. A fan sent them
to you.

NARCISSUS
Alive... I'm alive...

Narcissus seems disappointed, disoriented and at first, possibly delirious. The doctor kneels on his right, the Divine on the left.

PROXIMO
Your fans have gathered below in a
vigil. Even the Senate, that swamp
of double talking dung beetles is
discussing you.

The Doctor carefully works on his arm taking garlic from Adonis and smearing it on the wound.

DIVINE
I'm here to guide you through the
gates of Janus, general.

NARCISSUS
My daughters, my wife. Are they
there?

But the Divine shuts her eyes, muttering almost inaudibly. The Doctor works -- as if it were a contest between the pair. The door opens and Vednas pokes his head in, gestures to Proximo who exits.

Narcissus looks up at the two windows and sees FACES peering in at him. They're the other GLADIATORS who live in Proximo's school. One is tying a charm of leopard claws to the bars.

Then the door opens and Lucilla is ushered in by an ultra fawning Proximo. Lucilla wears a veil which she lowers as she sits beside Narcissus.

LUCILLA
I knew they'd never kill you.

It takes Narcissus a second to focus and when he sees he grabs her by the throat with his good arm -- Proximo and Adonis pry him loose... for a second Lucilla chokes.

LUCILLA
It's my brother's neck you want, not
mine.

NARCISSUS
Yours will do!

Narcissus winces with pain from the effort and Lucilla leans beside him against the wall.

DOCTOR
General, you nearly opened your
wound.

LUCILLA
Keep that up and you'll make
everyone happy.

NARCISSUS
Proximo, if this is her doctor he's
an assassin.

PROXIMO
Don't be ridiculous.

ADONIS
If you die, general, I'll kill them
both for you.

The Doctor and the Divine look at Adonis, then to Lucilla for a clue.

LUCILLA
I came here to see that you stay
alive. The people need a living
breathing alternative to Commodus, a
hero.

NARCISSUS
You mean a symbol of someone who
doesn't exist.

LUCILLA
But you do exist. Narcissus: hero
of the battle of the Danube.

Narcissus tries to laugh, but it just hurts.

LUCILLA
You've got the Senate scared they'll
have to explain to the people how
they joined the Emperor in illegally
condemning you. And Commodus, he
lies awake thinking how he could
kill you, and finally rid himself of
my father. You are the only man in
Rome no one can touch. Live,
Narcissus Meridas, the citizens of
Rome protect you now.

The Doctor hands Lucilla a damp cloth and while he finishes bandaging the wound leaving a long lamp wick to help it drain, she gets closer and wipes his forehead. The longer she does it the more it becomes a caress.

NARCISSUS
Twenty years I've led men to die.
For me it was the glory of Rome.
But that was something. If it
wasn't that, then it was the pay or
the loot of the next whore -- but
that was something! These men here
are butchered for laughs! Their
lives are like jokes delivered in
the back alley theaters where their
death is a punch line!

LUCILLA
For the sake of the Gods, you're not
leading these men? How like my
father you are. You 'believe'... I
guess that's why you're still alive.

Narcissus grips the Divine by the sleeve.

NARCISSUS
When the door is open, I'll be ready
to pass through.

Lucilla looks over at Proximo, then the Doctor. Proximo nods and backs out of the room.

DOCTOR
Jove's hands are on him now.

As Narcissus starts to fade again she gestures them out and they dutifully follow Proximo.

NARCISSUS
To think I brought my daughters up
on all things Roman. Read to sleep
on Catullus, Lucretius... Virgil...
every night. My beautiful
daughters.

LUCILLA
Do you remember your Epictetus, that
little homily we recited when we
were children? The one that was
supposed to remind us we were
Romans?

She holds Narcissus' head, daubing away the perspiration with the cloth.

LUCILLA
"If you consider yourself to be only
one thread of many in the tunic,
then it is fitting for you to be
like the rest of men, just as the
thread has no desire to be any
better than the other threads.
But..."

NARCISSUS
"But what if I wish to be purple?"

They smile recalling the old, childhood words.

NARCISSUS/LUCILLA
"A small part, which is bright, and
makes all the rest appear graceful
and beautiful."

LUCILLA
"Why then do you tell me to make
myself like the many?"

NARCISSUS
"For if I do, how shall I still be
purple?"

Now they laugh, finding this connection. But Lucilla knows exactly where she's going.

LUCILLA
"Then when you ask me the question,
whether death is preferable of life?
I say "life." "Pain or pleasure?"
I say "pleasure."

She kisses him and as best he responds. In the end the best both can do is get close on his blanket.

LUCILLA
You cannot die.

NARCISSUS
Would that Marcus had lived.

LUCILLA
Marcus would have lived but... was
poisoned by his son.

NARCISSUS
He killed his father and then my
family...

LUCILLA
Narcissus, I have your family.
They're alive. All of them.

Narcissus forces himself to sit up -- in fact he tries to tand but just can't.

NARCISSUS
Where are they?

LUCILLA
Hidden. Where my brother cannot
place hands on them. He didn't have
the guts to watch them die so... I
took care of it all. The sooner he
is put out of our misery, the sooner
will they be safe.

EXT. PALATINE HILL - PALACE - NIGHT

Commodus looks out over Rome from the broad palace window. Lucilla enters, dismisses her slaves. Commodus is fixed on the only sound: voices of people WAILING.

COMMODUS
Where have you been?

LUCILLA
Taking my pleasure. Do I need to
clear my lovers with you?

COMMODUS
You must start clearing everything
with me -- especially your lovers.

LUCILLA
Why are you so surly -- you've won,
brother. The people have bread and
the city is quiet.

COMMODUS
What is that... wailing?

LUCILLA
The fans of Narcissus. They were on
vigil outside the school of Proximo.
They believe he's dying.

First time we've ever seen Commodus so pleased.

COMMODUS
Now that is a happy sound!
Tomorrow, I want the citizens -- my
people -- back in the arena. The
Gods know, I'm tired. Come to bed,
now; tonight we're celebrating.

LUCILLA
What are you talking about?

COMMODUS
Now that we're done with that
infatuation forever.

LUCILLA
If I ever loved Narcissus it wasn't
like you want.

COMMODUS
But I get what I want, always, don't
I?

He presses her against the wall and she shoves him back sinking her nails into his face. But he pushes her down on her knees as he twists her head back by her hair.

COMMODUS
Thanks to you I've been studying up
on all the great times of my
predecessors in the Colosseum:
Domitian had the daughters of
conquered kings raped to death by
Chimpanzees -- Vespasian's
unfaithful mistress pulled apart by
elephants; like they, I can do
anything so long as the citizens --
that stinking mob -- approves.

He yanks her to her feet -- she struggles again but he slams her against the marble wall, laughing.

COMMODUS
Come now, surely I'm more handsome
than a Rhinoceros or an elephant.

Dazed, Lucilla allows Commodus to walk her toward his bedroom. But he pauses by the window again to hear the cries. Then he yanks her toward the bedroom.

FADE TO:

INT. FARM HOUSE - COUNTRYSIDE - NIGHT

Manto and Themis on the rough floor by a blazing hearth as Selene reads from the AENEID.

SELENE
So clash their swords, and so their
shields resound.
Jove sets the beam; in either scale
he lays:
The champions' fate, and each
exactly weighs.
On this side, life and lucky chance
ascends;
Heavy with death, that other scale
descends...

INT. COMMODUS BEDROOM - DAWN

ON A PAINTING of leopards being captured for the circus. It drifts like a dream over a bed where Commodus seems to float in silk and linen. Lucilla lies asleep, face down naked but partly buried in the silk. Distant CHEERS from far below jar him AWAKE. Then Lucilla slowly wakes...

EXT. SCHOOL OF PROXIMO - DAWN

On a terrace over-looking the streets Proximo and Cos flank and support Narcissus.

Clearly still in intense pain, he's determined to let the people know he's alive. Proximo is a human grin.

Narcissus surveys these faces, POOR PEOPLE mainly, common WORKERS, probably UNEMPLOYED. Then he picks out the gang-kids... all look to him as a hero. Beside them the Cute Whore... wearing a purple wig. Narcissus raises his hand, waves and they break into cheering.

ON NARCISSUS

Feeling something overwhelming as the breeze blows up from the forum carrying the cheers of the crowd.

INT. GLADIATOR STORE HOUSE

as Proximo and Cos watch Narcissus prowl through heaps of armor looking for just the right 'effect'. He sets a gaudy silver inlaid bronze helmet aside.

PROXIMO
It will be good luck for you to wear
that helmet... It belonged to Cimon
of Smyrna... he was crushed by an
elephant.

NARCISSUS
Lucky it didn't step on his head.

Proximo and Cos swap looks. Narcissus comes up with a battered but wildly designed lorica segmentata studded with cheap gems and a SMILING SUN FACE of brass... he sets it aside. Then from the junk and comes up with a PLUME...

COS
So tell me, what happened between
you and the emperor? What really
happened on the German front? You
know the Senate's arguing your
case...

NARCISSUS
That's their job, isn't it? To
argue. So, I think my case will be
long on talk and short on action.

COS
I am prepared to write anything you
tell me.

Narcissus goes back to sorting armor.

NARCISSUS
My birth sign is Water Bearer,
twenty-fifth day in the month of
Janus.

COS
The exact month when the Emperor
must be confirmed!

Narcissus allows himself a smirk; he knows what Cos really wants to hear. Cos writes fast. Proximo looks from one to the other a little confused.

NARCISSUS
The Emperor and I are bound by the
threads of The Fates. He was born
on August thirty-first, you know.

COS
That makes his birth sign... Virgo!
Why that's the sign of a little
girl! Can you tell my readers more
about your star-crossed connection
with Emperor Commodus?

NARCISSUS
Proximo, we need to talk about my
one third... I imagine the betting
booths will be doing good business.
And, what was the name of that olive
oil company?

PROXIMO
Yes, of course, we'll go over
everything -- but Cos has a
wonderful surprise! This is all
over the city!

Cos unrolls a copy of the Daily Action and proudly reads his own words.

COS (READING OVER)
"Like Orpheus who ascends from
death's clutches, Narcissus The Good
has thrown back hell's gate!"

INT. PALACE - PALATINE HILL - MORNING

Commodus glares at a poster of Narcissus on the table as Lucilla reads from the Daily Action. She takes enormous pleasure in this.

LUCILLA
"... encased in the armor of a
demigod, Narcissus The Good
continues his impossible climb in
the arena where he was unjustly
cast..."

COMMODUS
Yes? Go on!

LUCILLA
"... by the emperor of Rome.
(pause)
This writer asks: between a Senate
that debates truth until they choke,
an Emperor who has the birth sign of
a woman, is it possible there is
more virtue within the arena than
without?"

Commodus looks like his head is going to explode... SHOUTING VOICES RISE OVER...

EXT. COLOSSEUM ARENA - MORNING

Narcissus messages his arm parading with the gladiators in his gaudy armor shiny as the massive chrome bumpers of a '59 Caddy, his wild plumed helmet under his arm. People shout 'Narcissus!', and 'General!' He raises his arms overhead like a super-hero -- accepting, encouraging and getting the wild adulation of the crowd.

Narcissus breaks away from the line of gladiators -- blowing kisses to the girls, absurdly striking muscle-man poses -- and the crowd goes completely berserk -- Narcissus is their man and they chant his name over and over.

'TRENCHES'

As Narcissus comes in from the arena Proximo gleefully hands him a fresh poster.

PROXIMO
No more bad luck now! The people
are anticipating you! I have
posters up over half the city
advertising you as the great warrior
-- the true Roman! The man who
fought side by side with the wolf of
Rome!

NARCISSUS
Make us rich, Proximo, make us very
rich...

INT. COLOSSEUM HALL

Colosseum Slaves shove Narcissus and the other gladiators against the walls as the double doors leading to the street swing wide and a CHARIOT drawn by two WHITE HORSES THUNDER DOWN THE HALL.

DALA
It's Tiger! 'Tiger of Death!'

THE ARENA

The TIGER OF DEATH charges into the arena. At his side is Commodus, hair and beard GLINTING WITH GOLD -- he wears a loin-skin gladiator costume. Tiger races brutally forcing the horses to 'skid' on their hind legs rodeo-style.

Cos joins them, reads from the scroll handed him by the Praetorian Guard.

COS
"Caesar Commodus discovering his
lineage converges with the Demigod,
Hercules, has determined to display
his magnificence before his beloved
citizens." The Emperor's going to
fight in the arena. I'm supposed to
write this for tomorrow's edition.

PROXIMO
Commodus... he's a gladiator... is
he mad?

To an eerie silence Commodus is escorted into the imperial box by Guards. All eyes are on him in his invisible passage inside the Colosseum -- catching up with him as he emerges into the imperial box. Still that silence.

Realizing the crowd is confused Commodus gestures toward Tiger who immediately struts for the fans who now see reason to CHEER.

Dressed in gold and silver inlaid gladiator armor, Tiger is fifty, but the guy looks terrific -- got muscles on muscles. Maybe bald, he wears a gaudy flowing RED WIG. His chariot is a tight-framed sport model, tough and cutting-edge.

DALA
This is the man! Tiger is the only
living gladiator ever to win the
Wooden Sword!

NARCISSUS
What's the wooden sword?

PROXIMO
A symbol of something no one ever
gets to keep the gladiators fighting
hoping they'll get it anyway.
Freedom, is the wooden sword. If
you perform extraordinary feats, the
Emperor can award you the wooden
sword... and you're free.

ARENA

Tiger of Death waves the audience to silence. Then he turns and bows deeply to Commodus.

TIGER OF DEATH
My people! I have returned!
(deafening cheers)
How I have missed my glory days in
this arena! And this is truly the
most glorious day in the history of
the Colosseum -- in the splendid
history of Rome! Caesar is to enter
the arena as a gladiator! At long
last an Emperor with enough guts to
be one of us! Upon receiving this
news I raced here in my new chariot
straight from Ostia -- nonstop! It
took me only four hours and these
new wood and leather wheel springs
designed by my personal craftsmen
smoothed out all the ruts!

A gush of 'OOOs' from the crowd. As Tiger shamelessly flogs his vehicle, the retainer slowly walks it around the perimeter of the Colosseum.(3)

ADONIS
Caesar must have promised Tiger if
he helped him he could flog his
crappy chariots in the Colosseum

NARCISSUS

watches as the crowd reacts to the fabulous absolutely-out-of-reach sport chariot. Some GASP. A WOMAN covers her mouth and sobs...

TIGER OF DEATH
The rails are crafted of the finest
black Akee from Africa. The
passenger shell rendered light by
alternating the orange Cedar of The
Lebanon with through-cut cream Manna
Ash from Gaul -- The entirety of
this sublime structure is secured
with Abyssinian Gilead Resins and
cold forged brazen pegs!

A portly rich MAN in a toga the size of a tent -- and who couldn't fit in the chariot if you used a twelve-foot shoehorn -- gestures to Tiger.

TOGA TENT
Tiger! Is it possible for mortals
to acquire such a vehicle?

TIGER OF DEATH
Mortals -- never! For like
Phaethon, son of Helios, who could
not control his father's sun-
chariot, the unskilled would
certainly crash! But I see you are
a friend of Caesar you must be no
mortal! I will take your order.

GLADIATOR AREA

Proximo puts his hand on Narcissus' shoulder.

PROXIMO
Tiger's challenged you and Jerses
has made me an offer, made us both
an offer: you take a fall.

NARCISSUS
What the hell are you talking about,
Greek?

Proximo gestures to Adonis who folds aside a cloth revealing a brown leather BLADDER.

PROXIMO
You put this inside your shirt --
when Tiger stabs your stomach --
it's full of pig's blood. Gushes
out everywhere! It's really
impressive. Fantastic! Better than
the real thing!

NARCISSUS
So I pretend I'm dead. You get
gold, what do I get?

PROXIMO
You get to come alive again in the
country!

NARCISSUS
As, what, 'The Galloping Gladiator?!'

PROXIMO
The point is you get to fight the
easy country circuit, the small
arenas, relax, live the good life!

NARCISSUS
Spend my days beheading country
bumpkins? I don't know, Proximo,
who has better wine than you?
Besides, I'm beginning to think of
the Colosseum as my home.

PROXIMO
But -- you have to go out there!
I'll give you more than your one
third! When I get paid... just take
the fall! You're too hurt to fight
and the man's a killer!

NARCISSUS
Pressures on, eh Proximo? There's
got to be a load of money in this.
Why else would you toss a red hot
commodity like me out the window?

PROXIMO
It's absolutely not like that! This
is for your own good! Come on get
the rest of your armor on!

But Adonis approaches holding Narcissus' shield.

ADONIS
General? Do you want me to strap on
a shield? You can't hold it.

In reply Narcissus lifts his injured arm as much as he can and Adonis works to attach the shield. Then he checks with Narcissus -- who seems noncommittal -- and stuffs the bladder under his shirt. Outside the CHANTING rises.

NARCISSUS
Tell me honestly, since this may be
our last earthly meeting: if this
were a fair fight where would you
put your money?

PROXIMO
On you! Of course! You are my
bravest fighter -- the best fighter
I have ever seen!

NARCISSUS
Such nobility from such an ignoble
mouth. Take my advice and make that
bet.

PROXIMO
Oh, shit. Take your time! Don't
get suckered! This man is a
murderer! In his career he's killed
over a thousand gladiators. Please,
just take the fall!

ARENA

Narcissus steps into the blistering sun. The crowd in the cheap seats is on its feet applauding.

COMMODUS

sits in his box watching grim-faced. To his right sits Lucilla. Falco sits near the emperor.

TRIBUUS
He's going to take the fall. It's
all set. He must, he was almost
killed yesterday. He has no choice.
By morning he'll be gone.

ARENA

As soon as Narcissus steps forward Tiger swirls around to face him, beckons dramatically.

TIGER OF DEATH
Come my sweet! The sacred sand of
the arena lust for another life!
Satisfy her hungering!

Then the cheap seats chant as one:

CROWD
Surrender or I'll kill you!

Tiger looks around, stunned. Narcissus yanks the bladder out of his shirt -- holds it up for all to see and stabs it gushing blood onto the sand.

GASPS from the crowd and Tiger realizes he's in deep guano.

The crowd works itself up again -- the noise they make is that accelerating train sound of a British Football Mob.

COMMODUS...

Furious but trying to stay calm. Lucilla can't hide a smirk of perverse pleasure.

LUCILLA
Looks like old Tiger is going to
have a good old fashion fight on his
hands.

ARENA

Tiger charges Narcissus. The crowd shouts as their swords cross and the battle is on. The two RAGE AT EACH OTHER.

COMMODUS

... motions to Tribuus.

COMMODUS
Tell Lykas to send a retiarius and a
Samnite to help Tiger.

LUCILLA
You can't do that... listen to the
mood of the crowd.

COMMODUS
I want that bastard dead!

LUCILLA
You want control of the crowd -- you
can't get it by killing their hero.

COMMODUS
I am their hero!

LUCILLA
Not yet, dear brother...

COMMODUS
Send them out!

THE ARENA...

Narcissus HAMMERS at Tiger as if he were trying to chop down a huge tree -- every blow rattles the old pro. With each blow the crowd in the cheap seats echoes with: "Yes! -- Yes! -- Yes!"

Then a RETIARIUS and a SAMNITE -- a lightly armed Italian (non-Latin) warrior with a jag-edge sword -- enter and move in on Narcissus. The crowd erupts in thunderous BOOING hurling Commodus' food back into the arena. Just as suddenly Bad Teeth and Vednas shove into the arena to flank Narcissus -- but they're unarmed.

PROXIMO

kicks a Slave -- yells out at them.

PROXIMO
Jack asses! You'll all die! Get
back in here!

The crowd chants: "ARM THEM -- ARM THEM!" That's good enough for Proximo -- he kicks the slave again.

ARENA

Two Arena Slaves dart out, hand Bad Teeth and Vednas swords, run off and the crowd CHEERS. For a second Narcissus spots Dala near the gate.

COMMODUS

watches the fight but Lucilla studies Commodus. Clearly Narcissus is driving him mad.

ARENA

The battle now shapes up even, Bad Teeth driving the Samnite back, Vednas and the retiarius circling. Narcissus and Tiger LOCK ARMS -- swords frozen overhead, they try to power the other down and it becomes a test of strength. Narcissus starts to cave from the pain to his wound.

COMMODUS

Stands -- this could be it... EVERYONE STANDS...

ARENA

But Narcissus digs deep, grits his teeth and Tiger STAGGERS and FALLS, losing his sword. Instantly he's on his feet and running like a scared rabbit as a slave rolls out his chariot. Tiger leaps into his hot-rod, hefts a thrusting spear and makes straight for Narcissus.

There's a universal howl of rage from the mob as they fill the air with pieces of food, sandals -- whatever is loose. At that moment the Lykas retiarius overwhelms Vednas.

Narcissus dodges Tiger's first charge and as the chariot swings back into position he surprises the retiarius by yanking his net backwards toppling the retiarius and freeing Vednas.

PROXIMO

turns to Dala who's strapping his wrists.

PROXIMO
He can't do that! And what the hell
are you doing?

DALA
Waiting for the general's orders.

ARENA

Bad Teeth and Vednas drive their opponents back: But then Narcissus motions Vednas and Bad Teeth back as Tiger lines up for another run on Narcissus. Absolutely trusting him -- like their general in battle -- Vednas and Bad Teeth move toward Narcissus just as Tiger charges -- and Narcissus WAVES AT DALA.

NARCISSUS
Cavalry! Attack!

Dala comes HOWLING into the arena on his ostrich buck naked, spinning his red toga overhead. Tiger's horses take one look at this yowling apparition and FREAK -- one goes left, the other leaps UP -- Tiger's chariot CRASHES hurling him onto the sand. The crowd CHEERS in one mad voice.

This love raining on him, Narcissus motions Bad Teeth and Vednas back as he stands over the fallen Tiger. Defeated and suddenly pitiful, he holds up his trembling forefinger in the sign for mercy. But the crowd shouts, stamps their feet and universally give the "thumbs down."

Narcissus looks around at the howling crowd, but does nothing and finally they quiet because they can't figure out why he hasn't killed him.

NARCISSUS
He's surrendered! I can't kill him!

For a second the crowd is dumbfounded. People look at each other as if to say "so what?" Then they start laughing.

VOICES
This isn't the army! Kill him!
Kill him!

Narcissus turns his sword around OFFERING THE GRIP TO THE AUDIENCE.

NARCISSUS
Who will do it?

They fall silent again. Then Narcissus laughs and HURLS his sword up into the audience.

LOWER SEATS

People duck as the sword clatters on the marble seats. A second -- then like a souvenir home-run ball everyone seems to leap for it at once. Then EVERYONE LAUGHS as Narcissus struts back across the arena, really PLAYING THE CROWD.

COMMODUS...

slowly closes his eyes as if forcing back his rage.

AND PROXIMO

all but doing a jig.

PROXIMO
This man! My god! He can't do
anything wrong! No matter how
stupid he is!

INT./ EXT. ROYAL CHAIR - LATE AFTERNOON

Surrounded as usual by Praetorian Guard, Commodus and Lucilla are carried in the enormous 'chair' by slaves through Rome. Commodus looks in the dumps, but then leans out.

COMMODUS
Tribuus! Go left here, I want to
see my new statue at Via Claudia.

TRIBUUS
Yes, Caesar.

COMMODUS
We need more statues -- perhaps I
should open medical clinics. For
the poor. Citizens only, though...

COMMODUS' POV

In the center of the bustling square is a magnificent STATUE OF COMMODUS holding up a sword.

But towering over the statue is an ENORMOUS MOSAIC BILLBOARD OF NARCISSUS HOLDING UP A BOTTLE OF OLIVE OIL. And it's done as an EXACT IMITATION OF THE POSTURING OF THE COMMODUS STATUE HOLDING HIS SWORD. Beneath, in GILT MOSAIC LETTERS: "NARCISSUS DRINKS ONLY GOLDEN POMPEII OLIVE OIL!"

AND COMMODUS...

literally getting the picture.

INT. COLOSSEUM - GLADIATOR AREA - LATE AFTERNOON

Arena Slaves basically packing it in for the day. Proximo slings an arm over Narcissus.

PROXIMO
Listen, there's some people who want
to talk to you.

He indicates A WOMAN, about forty and her son about twenty. They look prosperous.

NARCISSUS
How much money is involved?

PROXIMO
A great deal. They designed and
build Tiger's chariot...

NARCISSUS
They want to dump Tiger and have me
endorse their damned chariot, right?
They don't waste time...

PROXIMO
I can really rape them on this! Can
I at least tell them you'll think
about it?

NARCISSUS
No. Tell them I'll do it. But I
want more posters all over Rome.

PROXIMO
Fantastic! Wonderful! But posters
are very expensive.

NARCISSUS
Then get a large cash advance.

PROXIMO
Right, right... But they'll have to
bring in a lawyer. I don't want to
get sued over this.

NARCISSUS
Before they leave, get gold.

PROXIMO
Right, right, what am I thinking of?

NARCISSUS
I want another interview with Cos.
Tell him to bring plenty of ink.

PROXIMO
I'll do it! Sure as there's shit in
the Tiber we're all going to die,
but for you -- anything!

TRIBUUS
Proximo Palindromos?

PROXIMO
Ah! Already we're dead!

NARCISSUS
What do you want, mighty Tribuus?

TRIBUUS
Caesar wants to talk. I've come to
guarantee Narcissus safety.

PROXIMO
You've come to send us to hell!

As they talk other gladiators close around Tribuus.

DALA
Our general stays with us.

Tribuus puts hand on his sword.

TRIBUUS
Keep away from me, animal!

Vednas and Dala move closer. Narcissus steps in between and grabs Tribuus' sword arm.

NARCISSUS
Tell your master I'll meet here, on
the sand. After the Colosseum
closes.

Tribuus pulls lose, turns -- and runs smack into Bad Teeth -- who SMILES. He shoves past.