>>/ Hannibal

/ Hannibal

: / Hannibal.

/ Hannibal


Clarice Starling is dead, laid out in fatigues across a bench in the back of a ratty, rattling undercover van. Three other agents sit perched on the opposite bench, staring at her lifeless body.

BURKE How can she sleep at a time like this?

BRIGHAM She's on a jump-out squad all night; she's saving her strength.


Gray cement walls blur past as the panel van descends a circular ramp to a lower level. As it straightens out, the view through the windshield reveals a gathering of men and vehicles - marked and unmarked DC police cars - and two black SWAT vans.

The panel van - with Marcell's Crab House painted on its sides - pulls to a stop. The back doors open from the inside and Starling is the first one out - well-rested and alert - hoisting down her equipment bag.

One of the DC policemen, the one whose girth and manner say he's in charge, watches the woman by the van slip into a Kevlar vest, drop a Colt .45 into a shoulder holster, and a .38 into an ankle holster. She straightens up, approaches the men and lays a street plan across the hood of one of their cars.

STARLING All right, everyone, pay attention. Here's the layout -

BOLTON Excuse me, I'm Officer Bolton, DC Police.

STARLING Yes, I can see that from your uniform and badge, how do you do?

BOLTON I'm in charge here.

Starling studies him a moment. He sniffs as if that might help confirm his weighty position.


BOLTON Yes, ma'am.

Starling's glance finds Brigham's. His says, Just let it go. Hers says back, I can't.

STARLING Officer Bolton, I'm Special Agent Starling, and just so we don't get off on the wrong foot, let me explain why we're all here.

Brigham shakes his head to himself in weary anticipation of her 'explanation.'

STARLING I'm here because I know Evelda Drumgo, I've arrested her twice on RICO warrants, I know how she thinks. DEA and BATF, in addition to backing me up, are here for the drugs and weapons. You're here, and it's the only reason you're here, because our mayor wants to appear tough on drugs, especially after his own cocaine conviction, and thinks he can accomplish that by the mere fact of having you tag along with us.

Silence as the gathering of agents and policemen stare at her and Bolton.

BOLTON You got a smart mouth, lady.

STARLING Officer, if you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate it if you took a step or two back, you're in my light.

Bolton takes his time, but eventually backs away a step.

STARLING Thank you. All right. (re: the street plan) The fish market backs on the water. Across the street, ground floor, is the meth lab --


The Macarena blares from a boom box. Snappers, artfully arranged in schools on ice, stare up blankly. Crabs scratch at their crates. Lobsters climb over one another in tanks.

One of the black SWAT vans turns down a side street. The other takes an alley. The Marcell's Crab House van continues straight along Parcell Street.


A 150-pound block of dry ice tries to cool down the heat from all the bodies in the van - Starling and Brigham, the two other agents, Burke and Hare, and her new best friend, Officer Bolton. As they drive along, Bolton watches as she takes several pairs of surgical gloves from her equipment bag, slips one pair on, and hands the rest to the others, the last pair offered to him.

STARLING Drumgo's HIV positive and she will spit and bite if she's cornered, so you might want to put these on. (Bolton takes the gloves and puts them on) And if you happen to be the one who puts her in a patrol car in front of the cameras, and I have a feeling you will be, you don't want to push her head down, she'll likely have a needle in her hair.


The swat vans pull into position, one to the side of the building across from the fish market, the other around back. As the battered van pulls to the curb in front, a mint low- rider Impala convertible, stereo thumping, cruises past.


The thumping fades, leaving the Macarena filtering in. Starling pulls the cover off the eyepiece of a periscope bolted to the ceiling of the van and makes a full rotation of the objective lens concealed in the roof ventilator, catching glimpses of:

A man with big forearms cutting up a mako shark with a curved knife, hosing the big fish down with a powerful hand- held spray.

Young men idling on a corner in front of a bar. Others lounging in parked cars, talking. Some children playing by a burning mattress on the sidewalk; others in the rainbow spray from the fishmonger's hose.

The building across from the fish market with the metal door above concrete steps. It opens.

STARLING Heads up.

A large white man in a luau shirt and sandals comes out with a satchel across his chest, other hand behind the case. A wiry black man comes out the door behind him, carrying a raincoat, and behind him, Evelda Drumgo.

STARLING It's her. Behind two guys. Both packing.

BRIGHAM (into a radio) Strike One to all units. Showdown. She's out front, we're moving.

Starling and the others put on their helmets. Brigham racks the slide of his riot gun. The back doors opena and Starling is the first one out, barking -

STARLING Down on the ground! Down on the ground!

No one gets down on the ground - not Evelda Drumgo, not her men, none of the merchants or bystanders. The Macarena keeps blaring.

Drumgo turns and Starling sees the baby in the blanketed sling around her neck. She can also hear the roar of a big V8 and hopes it's her backup.

Drumgo turns slightly and the baby blanket flutters as the MAC 10 under it fires, shattering Brigham's face shield. As he goes down, Hawaiian Shirt drops his satchel and fires a shotgun, blowing out the car window next to Burke.

Gunshots from the V8, a Crip gunship, a Cadillac, coming toward Starling. Two shooters, Cheyenne-style in the rolled- down window frames, spraying automatic fire over the top.

Starling dives behind two parked cars. Hare and Bolton fire from behind another. Auto glass shatters and clangs on the ground.

Everyone in the market scrambling for cover, finally hitting the fish-bloodied cement. The Macarena still blasting.

Pinned down, Starling watches the wiry black man drop back against the building, Drumgo picks up the satchel, the gunship slowing enough for someone to pull her in.

Starling stands and fires several shots, taking out Hawaiian Shirt, the other man by the building, the driver of the accel- erating Cadillac, one of the men perched on the window frames - drops the magazine out of her .45 slams another in before the empty hits the ground.

The Cadillac goes out of control, sideswiping a line of cars, grinds to a stop against them. Starling moving toward it now, following the sight of her gun. A shooter still sitting in a window frame, alive but trapped, chest compressed between the Cadillac and a parked car. Gunfire from somewhere behind Starling hits him and shatters the rear window.

STARLING Hold it! Hold your fire! Watch the door behind me! Evelda!

The firing stops but the pounding of The Macarena doesn't.

STARLING Evelda! Put your hands out the window!

Nothing for a moment. Then Drumgo emerges from the car, head down, hands buried in the blanket-sling, cradling the crying baby.

STARLING Show me your hands! (Evelda doesn't) Please! Show me your hands!

Evelda looks up at her finally, fondly it seems, doesn't show her hands.

DRUMGO Is that you, Starling?

STARLING Show me your hands!

DRUMGO How you been?

STARLING Don't do this!

DRUMGO Do what?

She smiles sweetly. The blanket flutters. Starling falls. Fires high enough to miss the baby. Hits Drumgo in the neck. She goes down.

Starling crawling in the street, the wind knocked out of her from the hits to her chest, to her vest. Reaches Drumgo, blood gushing out of her onto the baby. She pulls out a knife. Cuts the harness straps. Runs with the baby to the merchant stalls as enterprising tourists click shots from the ground with disposable cameras.

Starling sweeps away knives and fish guts from a cutting table. Lays the baby down. Strips it. Grabs the handheld sprayer and washes at the slick coating of HIV positive blood covering the baby, a shark's head staring, Macarena pounding, disposable cameras clicking, the river of bloody water running along a gutter to where Brigham lies dead.


Gray sky. Rain coming down. A large gathering, many in uniform, standing in wet grass around an open grave, the rain spilling off the rims of their umbrellas.

A casket is being lowered in. Starling watches as it decends, watches the gears of the hoist working and the box disappearing beneath the edge of the muddy hole, not allowing herself to cry, or to meet the eyes of certain other mourners watching her.


Long line of parked cars, some marked, most not, many with government plates. Smoke plumes from the exhaust of the one idling nearest, a Crown Victoria.

Inside the car, Starling sits in the front passenger seat with a cardboard box on her lap, a middle-aged man in Marine dress blues beside her at the wheel. The wipers slap back and forth.

HAWKINS You like to think when it's over your things would fill more than one cardboard box.

Starling touches the things in the box: a BATF badge, a couple of laminated clip-on ID cards with Brigham's face on them, a medal, a pen set, a compass paper-weight, two guns and a framed desk photo of a dog.

HAWKINS John's parents don't want it. Any of it. Except the dog. Don't want to be reminded.

STARLING I want to be reminded.

HAWKINS I figured. He was your last compadre on the street, wasn't he.

STARLING My last compadre.

He sits watching her touch the things, and will continue to do so as long as she wants. Eventually, she folds down the cardboard flaps. Hawkins looks up ahead -

HAWKINS All they'll get with tinted windows is pictures of themselves, but it won't stop them from trying. You ready?

She is. He pulls away from the curb. A handful of wet photographers appears in the windshield's view up ahead. As the car passes, their cameras swing around to point at Starling's side of it and flash like stars.


The words "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity" skew as a glass door opens. Starling comes in to find several men awaiting her, all balanced on Florsheim wingtips and tasseled Thom McAn loafers.

PEARSALL Agent Starling, this is John Eldredge from DEA; Assistant Director Noonan, of course you know; Larkin Wayne, from our Office of Professional Responsibility; Bob Sneed, BATF; Benny Holcome, Assistant to the Mayor; and Paul Krendler - you know Paul. Paul's come over from Justice - unofficially - as a favor to us. In other words, he's here and he's not here.

A couple of the men bobbed their heads at the mention of their names; none offered his hand. Starling sits a thin manila folder on her lap. A silence stretches out as each man regards her. Finally -

SNEED I take it you've seen the coverage in the papers and on television. (nothing from Starling) Agent Starling?

STARLING I have nothing to do with the news, Mr. Sneed.

SNEED The woman had a baby in her arms. There are pictures. You can see the problem.

STARLING Not in her arms, in a sling across her chest. In her arms, she had a MAC 10. Mr. Pearsall? This is a friendly meeting, right?

PEARSALL Absolutely.

STARLING Then why is Mr. Sneed wearing a wire?

Pearsall glances to Sneed and his tie clasp. Sneed sighs.

SNEED We're here to help you, Starling. That's going to be harder to do with a combative attitude like -

STARLING Help me what? Your agency called this office and got me assigned to help you on the raid. I gave Drumgo a chance - two chances - to surrender. She didn't. She fired. She shot John Brigham. She shot at me. And I shot her. In that order. You might want to check your counter right there, where I admit it.

A silence before the man from the Mayor's Office speaks up -

HOLCOME Ms. Starling, did you make some kind of inflammatory remark about Ms. Drumgo in the van on the way?

STARLING Is that what your Officer Bolton is saying? (he chooses not to say) I explained to him, and the others in the van, that Drumgo was HIV positive and would think nothing of infecting them, and me, any way she could given the chance. If that's inflamma -

HOLCOME Did you also say to him at one point that a splash of Canoe is not the same as a shower? (she doesn't answer) Did Officer Bolton smell bad to you?

STARLING Incompetence smells bad to me.

HOLCOME You shot five people out there, Agent Starling. That may be some kind of record. Is that how you define competence?

A beeper goes off. Every one of the men checks the little box on his belt. It's Noonan's. He excuses himself from the room.

STARLING Can I speak freely, Mr. Pearsall? (he nods) This raid was an ugly mess. I ended up in a position where I had a choice of dying, or shooting a woman carrying a child. I chose. I shot her -

FLASHCUT to Drumgo - hit in the neck by Starling's bullet - silently falling to the ground -

STARLING I killed a mother holding her child. The lower animals don't do that. And I regret it. I resent myself for it. But I resent you, too - whichever of you thinks that by attacking me, bad press will go away. That Waco will go away. A mayor's drug habit. All of it.

FLASHCUT to Drumgo, lying dead in the road, then back here again to Starling, "watching" her in silence.

Noonan pokes his head in, gestures to Pearsall to join him in the anteroom. Krendler invites himself along. Sneed and Holcome get up and stare out the window. Eldredge paces, his wingtips soundlessy dragging on the carpet.

WAYNE I know you haven't had a chance to write your 302 yet, Starling, but -

STARLING I have, sir. A copy's on its way to your office. I also have a copy with me if you want to review it now. Everything I did and saw.

She hands it to him. He begins leafing through it. Pearsall and Krendler reappear -

PEARSALL Assistant Director Noonan is on his way back to his office, Gentlemen. I'm going to call a halt to this meeting and get back to you individually by phone.

Sneed cocks his head like a confused dog.

SNEED We've got to decide some things here.

PEARSALL No, we don't.

SNEED Clint -

PEARSALL Bob, believe me, we don't have to decide anything right this second. I said I'll get back to you. (Pearsall's look to Starling says she's free to leave; she gets up) And, Bob?

Pearsall grabs the wire behind Sneed's tie and pulls it down hard, the adhesive tape taking some chest hair along with it - judging from the grimace - as it comes away from his skin.

PEARSALL You ever come in here wired again, I'll stick it up your ass.


Krendler - the only man who didn't speak in the meeting - idles outside. As Starling approaches -

KRENDLER That was no free lunch, Starling. I'll call you.

She keeps going. He admires the back of her legs.


Jack Crawford misses a 20-foot putt by inches.

GOLF PAL Oh ... bad luck, Jack.

Crawford stares at the missed shot. Then spikes across the 18th green, taps it in, and groans the way anyone over forty does as he bends down to retrieve it.

Pocketing it he turns, sees Starling standing outside the club house. She waves, bending just a couple of fingers, and he smiles, pleased, but not surprised to see her.


Crawford and Starling driving in his car, the clubs in the back seat. Palm trees float by.

STARLING What's your handicap?

CRAWFORD My handicap is I can't play golf.

STARLING Maybe better clubs would help.

CRAWFORD I play with the best clubs money can buy. It's not the clubs, it's a woeful lack of talent.

STARLING Or interest.

He nods - yeah, that's the real problem with it - turns onto another street.

CRAWFORD Were my flowers at John's service okay? Lot of times, flowers by wire, you never know.

STARLING They were canary daffodils. (he groans) I put your name on my flowers.

CRAWFORD Thank you.

STARLING Thank you. For the call. At the Inquisition. I don't know what you said to them, but it worked.

CRAWFORD Don't thank me too quickly.


Downtown. Skyscrapers.


Frameless glass doors in a sleek office building, etched: Allied Security, Threat Assessment, Miami, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro. Crawford holds one open for Starling and follows her into a handsome reception area.

RECEPTIONIST How was it? Better today?

CRAWFORD The clubs are in the dumpster downstairs if anyone wants them.

He leads Starling deeper into the place, past pairs of men in nice suits conferring in the doorway of a kitchenette and over by a long bank of filing cabinets. Male and female secretaries move about.

CRAWFORD Nice, huh? This could all be yours, Starling. I can get you a PI ticket in Florida tomorrow, you can chase insurance scams, extortion against the cruise lines, put down the gun and have some fun with me.

Crawford accepts a handful of pink phone-message slips as they come past his secretary's desk, holds another door open and Starling steps into his office.

STARLING Tempting.

CRAWFORD Just wait.

The door closing softly behind her says, "expensive hardware."


They sit, Crawford behind his mahogany desk, Starling in a comfortable chair. As he rifles through the phone messages -

CRAWFORD The call I made wasn't to Assistant Director Noonan. Whoever called him, I don't know. I called Mason Verger.

He lets the name sink in, lets her dive for it, try to place it. She can't. It's familiar but doesn't connect to anything stable.

CRAWFORD Lecter's fourth victim, Starling. The one who lived, if you can call it living. The rich one.

He slides over a couple of photographs of a young man with a kind, trusting face. Now she remembers him.

CRAWFORD I told Mason I wanted you off the street. I told him what I told you when I left the Bureau, "You go out with a gun enough times, you will be killed by one." I told him I want you where you belong, in Behavioral Science. Know what he said?

STARLING He can speak?

CRAWFORD It's about the only thing he can do. He said, after a very long pause, "Oh, what a good idea, Jack." (Crawford tries to smile) Who he called, I don't know. Someone higher up than anyone in that room with you. Maybe Representative Vollmer, who Mason may not own, but does rent from time to time.

Silence as Starling tries to take it all in. She looks up with a question forming in her mind, and Crawford nods before she can say it. Very matter of fact -

CRAWFORD Yeah, that's right, it means going back on the Lecter case.

He busies himself with the phone messages again, arranging them in little, prioritized piles on his desk, as if perhaps this conversation is about nothing more important than a simple missing person case.

STARLING What if I said to you I'd rather not do that? What if I said to you I prefer the street?

CRAWFORD You think this is a cheap deal? What you were getting was a cheap deal. What they say about federal examiners is true: they arrive after the battle and bayonet the wounded. You're not safe on the street anymore.

Starling takes another look at the photographs of Verger.

STARLING Has something happened on the case?

CRAWFORD Has Lecter killed anybody lately? I wouldn't know, I'm retired from all that. Mason doesn't know either, but he does apparently have some new information - which he'll only share with you.

They consider one another for a long moment. Finally -

CRAWFORD He's not pretty, Starling. And I don't just mean his face.


Bare trees. Overcast sky. Starling's Mustang growling along the rain-slicked expressway.


A Maryland state map spread out across the passenger seat. Starling's eyes darting back and forth between the black and red route-veins and the shrouded countryside out beyond the slapping wiper blades.

An exit sign - and the exit itself - looms suddenly and rushes across the right side of her windshield. She curses to herself. It's the exit she wanted, but now it's gone, shrinking in her rearview mirror into the mist.


Coming back the other way along a service road, Starling slows to consider a chain-link gate stretched across a muddy road, then continues on.

At the gate house of the main entrance, a security guard checks her name against a list. He seems reluctant to get himself or his clipboard wet, but not her identification, handing it out past the edge of his umbrella to her.

The Mustang negotiates a long circuitous drive, taking her deeper and deeper into vast forest land. Eventually, though, a good mile from the gate house behind her, the trees give way to a clearing, and she sees the big Stanford White- designed mansion emerging from the mist up ahead.

A man waits under an umbrella out front, indicates to her where to park - anywhere, one should think - there's enough space for fifty cars - then comes around to the driver's side and opens the door.

CORDELL Ms. Starling. Hi. I'm Cordell. Mr. Verger's private physician.

STARLING How do you do?

She gathers her things out from under the map: file folder, micro-cassette recorder, extra tapes and batteries. He helps her out, then presses up against her to help maximize the umbrella's effectiveness.

CORDELL Shall we make a run for it?

As they hurry toward the porch - if it can be called a porch, as grand an entrance as a king's, or English rock star's manor - Starling notices the building's one modern wing, sticking out like an extra limb attached in some grotesque medical experiment.


They cross through a living room larger than most houses, then down a hall, their shoes moving along a Moroccan runner, sleeves past portraits of important-looking dead people.

As they cross a threshold there's an abrupt shear in style: the rich carpet giving way to polished institutional floors, the portrait-lined walls to shiny white enamel.

Cordell reaches for the handle of a closed door in the new wing, and Starling notices line of lights appear around the jamb where there were none.

As the door opens, she squints. Two small photographer's spots on stands pitch narrow beams of light into her face and seem to follow her progress into the room.

CORDELL (a whisper) One's eyes adjust to the darkness. This way is better.

He leads her to a sitting area where a print of William Blake's "The Ancient of Days" hangs above a large aquarium divided in two by a wall of glass - an ell gliding around on one side, a fish on the other. A bank of security monitors completes the decor. To the spotlight -

CORDELL Mr. Verger, Ms. Starling is here.

The light stands flank a hospital bed, the beams effectively camouflaging the figure on it in their glare.

STARLING Good morning, Mr. Verger.

MASON Cordell, do you address a judge as Mr?

The voice is steady and resonant. An "educated" voice, not unlike Lecter's. Before Cordell can answer him -

MASON Agent Starling is her proper title, not "Ms."

CORDELL Agent Starling.

MASON Correct. Good morning, Agent Starling. Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable.

STARLING Thank you.

Starling sits with her things. Snaps open the little door of her cassette recorder to verify there's a tape inside.

MASON Was that a Mustang I heard out there?

STARLING Yes, it was.

MASON Five-liter?

STARLING '88 Stroker.



MASON Where'd you get it?

STARLING Dope auction.

MASON Very good.

STARLING Mr. Verger, the discussion we're going to have is in the nature of a deposition. I'll need to tape record it if that's all right with you.

MASON Cordell, I think you can leave us now.

CORDELL I thought I might stay. Perhaps I could be useful if -

MASON You could be useful seeing about my lunch.

Starling gets up, but not to see him out. Once he's gone -

STARLING I'd like to attach this microphone to your - clothing, or pillow - if you're comfortable with that.

MASON By all means.

She walks slowly toward the bed, or rather to the lights, uncertain exactly what position Verger may be in - on his back, his side; she has no way of knowing.

MASON Here, this should make it easier.

A finger like a pale spider crab moves along the sheet and depresses a button. The lights suddenly extinguish and Starling's pupils dilate. As her eyes adjust to the darkness Verger's face materializes in it like something dead rising up through dark water:

Face is the wrong word. He has no face to speak of. No skin, at least. Teeth he has. He looks like some kind of creature that resides in the lowest depths of the sea.

She doesn't flinch. Maybe the hand with the microphone recoils an inch or two, but that's it. She clips it to the flannel lapel of his pajamas, drapes the skinny cord over the side of the pillow and sets the recorder on the medical table next to the bed.

MASON You know, I thank God for what happened. It was my salvation. Have you accepted Jesus, Agent Starling? Do you have faith?

STARLING I was raised Lutheran.

MASON That's not what I asked -

STARLING This is Special Agent Clarice Starling, FBI number 5143690, deposing Mason R. Verger, Social Security number -

MASON - 475-98-9823 -

STARLING - at his home on the date stamped above, sworn and attested. (she drags over a chair) Mr. Verger, you claim to have -

MASON I want to tell you about summer camp. It was a wonderful childhood experience -

STARLING We can get to that later. The -

MASON We can get to it now. You see, it all comes to bear, it's where I met Jesus and I'll never tell you anything more impor- tant than that. It was a Christian camp my father paid for. Paid for the whole thing, all 125 campers on Lake Michigan. Many of them were unfortunate, cast-off little boys and girls would do anything for a candy bar. Maybe I took advantage of that. Maybe I was rough with them -

STARLING Mr. Verger, I don't need to know about the sex offenses. I just -

MASON It's all right. I have immunity, so it's all right now. I have immunity from the U.S. Attorney. I have immunity from the D.A. in Owings Mills. I have immunity from the Risen Jesus and nobody beats the Riz.

STARLING What I'd like to know is if you'd ever seen Dr. Lecter before the court assigned you to him for therapy?

MASON You mean - socially? (laughs)

STARLING That is what I mean, yes. Weren't you both on the board of the Baltimore Phil- harmonic?

MASON Oh, no, my seat was just because my family contributed. I sent my lawyer when there was a vote.

STARLING Then I'm not sure I understand how he ended up at your house that night, if you don't mind talking about it.

MASON Not at all. I'm not ashamed.

STARLING I didn't say you should be.

MASON I invited him, of course. He was too professional to just sort of "drop in." I answered the door in my nicest come- hither leather outfit.

FLASHCUT of the door opening, revealing Verger, in his leather gear, his face young and pretty.

MASON I was concerned he'd be afraid of me, but he didn't seem to be. Afraid of me; that's funny now.

FLASHCUT of Verger leading Lecter upstairs, each with a glass of wine in hand.

MASON I showed him my toys, my noose set-up among other things - where you sort of hang yourself but not really. It feels good while you - you know.

FLASHCUT to some dogs watching Verger with the noose around his neck, and Lecter offering him some amyl nitrite.

MASON Anyway - he said, Would you like a popper, Mason? I said, Would I. And whoa, once that kicked in I knew it was more than simple amyl, it was some kind of custom meth-angel-acid highball. Lovely. I was flying -

FLASHBACK to Mason's image in a full-length mirror shattering as Lecter kicks it.

MASON'S VOICE The good doctor came over with a piece of broken mirror. Mason, he said -

LECTER - show me how you smile to get the confidence of a child.

Lecter holds a shard of mirror glass in front of him.

LECTER Uh-huh. Do you ever smile? Oh, I see how you do it. Now Mason, let's say you had to hide that kindly, fictitious mask? How would you do it?

Verger tries to look serious, or mean, but his features are just too sweet, even with a noose around his neck.

LECTER No, I still see it. Try again. (Verger tries again) No. No, I'm afraid not. Try this. (hands him the glass) Try peeling off your face with this and feeding it to the dogs.

As Verger lifts the broken glass to his face -

BACK TO the faceless Verger in the bed, his claw of a hand gripping invisible glass -

MASON Well, you know the rest. (shrugs) Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Starling looks like someone who has just received much more information than she ever needed or wanted. Cordell comes in quietly with Verger's lunch on a rolling cart, and trying not to interrupt, arranges the silverware and pours some water.

STARLING Mr. Verger, you -

MASON Are you shocked, Agent S?

STARLING You indicated to - (her eyes dart to the tape, and his follow them) - to my office - that you've received some kind of new information.

MASON Look in the drawer of the end table.

Starling takes out a pair of thin cotton gloves and puts them on. In the drawer she finds a large manila envelope and in it, an x-ray of an arm.

STARLING Where did this come from?

MASON Buenos Aires. I received it two weeks ago.

STARLING Where's the package it came in?

MASON The package it came in... good question. I don't know. There was nothing written on it of interest. Did I throw it out?

Starling smells a rat, but keeps it to herself. Takes a closer look at the x-ray while Cordell busies himself climb- ing a step ladder next to the aquarium.

MASON Think it will help? I hope so. I hope it'll help you catch him, if for no other reason than to heal the stigma of your recent dishonor.

She switches off the tape recorder.

STARLING Thank you, that's all I -

MASON Did you feel some rapport with Dr. Lecter in your talks at the asylum? I know I did while I was peeling.

STARLING We exchanged information in a civil way.

MASON But always through the glass.


MASON The eel and fish become accustomed to each other through the glass. They're even company for one another.

Cordell's gloved hand grips the snapper and transfers it to the other side of the aquarium, where the eel at once rips a piece out of it. Starling tries to ignore it and reaches to unclip the microphone from Verger's pajames lapel.

MASON Isn't it funny?

Nothing is particularly funny to her right now.

STARLING What's that?

MASON You can look at my face, but you shied when I said the name of God.


A clerk is cataloging strange items from another case as Starling inspects what he brought her on Lecter. There's not much there. One cardboard box-worth, some files, video tape.

CLERK Not finding what you want?

STARLING Are you sure this is all of it?

CLERK That's all of it now. There used to be more, but it's been picked over little by little over the years. It's worth a lot of money in certain circles. Like the cocaine that disappears around here. Little by little.


The room Starling's been given to work out of used to be the department's basement darkroom. There's almost nothing in it now. Couple of old enlargers, chemical trays, an ugly rented couch, a metal desk, a computer, and a blackboard on wheels she has chalked with the headings "Lecter" and "Verger," a few scribbled notes under each name.

She's taken the video tape from the paltry contents of the evidence box and puts in in a VCR. In a moment, a scene in black and white, captured by a security camera at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, plays out in silence:

Lecter wired up for an EKG. A female nurse getting too close. Lecter attacking her. Biting her. A black orderly rushing in and roughly subduing him, breaking his arm in the process, then attending to the fallen nurse.


A cursor blinks in a search panel. Starling types in "Hannibal Lecter," enters it and waits.

The laptop screen fills with a listing of sites, the first 20 of 611,046, according to the engine. A banner to one side offers, "Amazon.com ... Hannibal Lec ... Save up to 50% ... Shop-4-Pokemon."

One of the listings is the FBI's own consumer site, others refer to published articles by and about Lecter, but most have names like, "Hannibal's Chamber of Horrors," and "Fava Beans Anyone?"

Starling scrolls down to the bottom query panel to narrow her search. Adds, "memorabilia," and hits Enter. The screen fills with another listing of sites, like, "Kenny's Trading Post," and, "World Wide Collectibles," with brief descriptions of some of the wares offered:

"Credit card receipt from Dean & DeLuca w/genuine signature of Hannibal Lecter, $550 OBO / PP."

"Mark McGuire 1998 season home run ball (#67), w/papers, all reasonable offers considered."

"Flatware w/etched lions on handles, owned by Hannibal Lecter. 24 pieces, one spoon missing. Real. No dealers. $6,500."

"Hockey, basketball (and non-sports) trading cards."

"Lecter victim (#3) Sam Sirrah's death certificate. Not a Xerox. Nice frame. Price upon request."

"Hannibal Lecter's '62 Mercedes. Really. Only two owners since incarceration. Clean. 85,000."

"Valentine card from H. Lecter. Signed. Sweet sentiment. Hate to part with it but need money. $950."

No x-rays. Starling thinks. Clears the address in the top panel and types something else. A new screen appears, headed with bold, colorful lettering: "eBay."

She types in "Hannibal Lecter" again. Hits the "Find it!" button. An auction screen appears. 14 items. "H. Lecter x- ray" second from the top. "Item #194482661." 61 bidders. In red: "Ends in 49 Mins."

She highlights the item and is taken to the details screen. Scrolls down. No photo, but there is a description: "Left arm x-ray of Hannibal Lecter. Very rare. Slightly used metal light box included."

She backs up to the previous screen. Last bid, "$7,200." Next increment, $100. She types in "$10,000" and hits Enter.


Strange denizens - collectors - roam the shelves lined with plastic-sheathed science fiction comic books - browsing and humming - each in his own world.

In truth, they're not really browsing; they're stealing glances at Starling, the only woman in the place, and the most beautiful one any of them has ever seen in real life.

In truth, she isn't really browsing either. She's stealing glances at the proprietor behind the glass-top, trading card- filled, counter.

CUSTOMER December you mean -

PROPRIETOR No, not December. November. Volume Four, Number Four. Worst. Issue. Ever.

The customer moves on. Starling wanders over and several pairs of eyes wander with her. A tape of the X-Files plays on a small television set at one end of the counter, which the proprietor pays more attention to than her. Quietly -

STARLING I'm interested in Hannibal Lecter memorabilia.

The man's head slowly turns to her with the most withering of looks. She's the last person on earth who'd be interested in Hannibal Lecter memorabilia.

PROPRIETOR I don't handle Hannibal Lecter memorabilia. Hannibal Lecter memorabilia - real Hannibal Lecter memorabilia - would have to be stolen. I don't deal in stolen goods. Try Sotheby's.

STARLING I'm confused.

PROPRIETOR You're a policeman, of course you're confused.

STARLING Not exactly.

PROPRIETOR Oh, all right. Police woman. I keep the politically-correct comics in the back. By the toilet scrubber.

She show him her identification. Her FBI shield. Some of the other customers see it, too, and - crushed - begin gliding toward the door.

STARLING I'm confused because I just paid you ten thousand dollars for an x-ray of Hannibal Lecter. I don't want to wait for you to send it, I want to pick it up now.

The dime drops. Just a fleeting spark of realization.

PROPRIETOR No, if you paid me ten thousand dollars for an x-ray of Hannibal Lector, I would possess a money order, or cashiers check, for ten thousand dollars, which I do not. You bid ten thousand dollars for an x-ray of Hannibal Lecter. I've decided, in the interim, not to sell it. You're free to write a nasty comment about me on the e-Bay message board.

STARLING I'm free to write a nasty comment about you on your arrest report.

PROPRIETOR (sighs) The x-ray I was thinking of selling, but have now decided against, is not of Hannibal Lecter. How do I know this? Because it's of me. This arm. (pointing to it, then to the other one) No, this one.

Now she sighs. She should just leave.

PROPRIETOR Wait a minute. I know you. (he brightens considerably) You're -

He rummages behind the counter and comes up with a recent, plastic-wrapped issue of the National Tattler tabloid, with gory pictures of the shoot-out and the screaming headline - "DEATH ANGEL: CLARICE STARLING, THE FBI'S KILLING MACHINE."

PROPRIETOR Would you be so kind, Miss Starling, as to sign this for me? I apologize for my - um - my -


PROPRIETOR Rude - behavior - before.

He delicately slips the newspaper from its plastic cover. Checks the condition of the tip of a fine-line Sharpie. His eyes are eager now, his demeanor painfully solicitous, like a sweetly disarming little boy waiting for the baseball players to finish batting practive. Starling turns and leaves.


A wailing siren. Ambulance pulling up in front of an Emergency Entrance. Paramedics climb out, hoist down a gurney and the bleeding gunshot victim on in, and hurry him in past the automatic doors. The doors thump shut.

A moment later they open again and an orderly - same one from the tape - steps out, finished with his shift, coat over his uniform. He hitches up his collar and steps out into the drizzling rain as Starling, across the street in a hooded sweatshirt, watches.


The orderly moves along a wet sidewalk, heading home, Starling following at a distance. He stops. She stops. He glances to something in the middle of the street. A dead dove, one wing fluttering in the wind. He looks up. Sees its mate pacing on a wire. Car tires hiss past below.

Starling watches as he crosses to the center of the street, picks up the dead dove and pockets it, crosses back and continues on. She, and the surviving bird, follow.


Starling knocks. Waits. The door opens and the orderly peers out with the dead dove in his hands.

STARLING Hi, Barney. I need to talk with -

BARNEY Would you agree, for the record, Officer Starling, I've not been read my rights?

STARLING This is just informal. I just need to ask you about some stuff.

BARNEY How about saying it into your handbag?

Starling opens her purse and speaks down into it as though there were a troll inside -

STARLING I have not Mirandized Barney. He is unaware of his rights.

Barney widens the door so she can come in.


Barney sets the dove on a desk and drags a computer mouse to the "file close" x. Just before the screen reverts to the AOL Welcome page, Starling glimpses the site he was on when she interrupted him with her knock - stock quotes.

STARLING How you been?

He doesn't answer. Sits his huge frame down on his desk chair. She moves some newspapers aside on a couch, one of which shows a photo of her from the Drumgo raid. They consider each other for a moment. Eventually -

STARLING Barney, back when you turned Dr. Lecter over to the Tennessee Police -

BARNEY They weren't civil to him. And they're all dead now.

STARLING Yeah. They only managed to survive his company three days. You survived him six years at the asylum. How'd you do that? It wasn't just being civil.

BARNEY Yes, it was.

They both hear something - a flutter - and glance out to the fire escape. The dead dove's mate has landed on the railing.

STARLING Did you ever think, once he escaped, he might come after you?

BARNEY No. He told me once that, whenever feasible, he preferred to eat the rude. "Free-range rude," he called them.

He smiles. Glances out the window again to the cooing dove. Picks up the dead one, carries it out and sets it down on the wet grating.

STARLING Any idea what happened to all his stuff? His books and papers and drawings and -

BARNEY Everything got thrown out when the place closed.

He comes back in. She starts to say something, hesitates. Once she starts on this subject, she knows one of them will wind up very unhappy.

STARLING Barney, I just found out that Dr. Lecter's signed copy of The Joy of Cooking went to a private collector for sixteen thousand dollars.

BARNEY It was probably a fake.

STARLING The seller's affidavit of ownership was signed, Karen Phlox. You know Karen Phlox? You should. "She" filled out your employment application, only at the bottom she signed it, Barney. Same thing on your tax returns.

Long silence. Then Barney sighs.

BARNEY You want the book? Maybe I could get it back.

STARLING I want the x-ray. From when you broke his arm after he attacked that nurse.

Barney gets up again, but doesn't run off to get it. He slowly paces around.

BARNEY We talked about a lot of things, late at night, after all the screaming died down. We talked about you sometimes. Want to know what he said?

STARLING No, just the x-ray.

BARNEY Is there a reward?

STARLING Yeah. The reward is I don't have my friend the Postal Inspector nail you on Use of the Mails to Defraud, you don't get ten years, and you don't come out with a janitor's job and a room at the Y, sitting on the side of your bunk at night listening to yourself cough.

He stares at her, gets up finally, disappears into the bedroom. Starling looks out to the fire escape again. The surviving dove has dropped down and is now walking in circles around its lifeless mate.

Barney returns with a file box and a large envelope. Hands it all to her. She unfurls the string-clasp. Pulls out an x- ray of an arm. A radiologist's and Lecter's names are on it.

BARNEY I'm not a bad guy.

STARLING I didn't say you were.

BARNEY Dr. Chilton is a bad guy. After your first visit, he began taping your conver- sations with Dr. Lecter.

He produces from his jacket pocket several cassette tapes. As he hands them to her -

BARNEY I was good to you. Tried to make it easy for you the first time you came down to the violent ward to interview Dr. Lecter. Remember?


BARNEY You remember saying thank you?

She doesn't because she didn't, and now regrets it.

STARLING I'm sorry. Thank you.

BARNEY You mean it?


BARNEY I'm going to show you something then. I don't have to show it to you, remember that. But I believe your gratitude is sincere.

He goes to a fuse box on the wall. Takes something out of it. Turns around to face Starling, wearing the famous mask from Silence of the Lambs, and her hand flashes toward her sidearm, a movement quickly stopped.

BARNEY This is my retirement fund. (removes the mask) If you'll let me keep it. I can a lot of money for this and get out of here for good. I want to travel, and see every Vermeer in the world before I die.

She thinks about it, doesn't immediately answer him. He walks out onto the fire escape again and addresses the bird -

BARNEY Go on. You've grieved long enough.

He shoos the dove away, picks up the dead one, comes back in and drops it in the wastebasket by his desk.

STARLING What did he say? About me? Late at night.

BARNEY We were talking about inherited, hard- wired behavior. He was using genetics in roller pigeons as an example. They go way up in the air and roll over backwards in a display, falling toward the ground. There are shallow rollers and deep rollers. You can't breed two deep rollers or the offspring will roll all the way down, crash and die. He said, "Officer Starling is a deep roller, Barney. Let's hope one of her parents was not."

As Starling gets up and gathers everything except the mask, she hears the surviving dove call out once from somewhere in the trees.


The two x-rays, one overlaid on the other, clipped to a light box. A technician adjusts them so the bone structures correspond in position as closely as possible and points out to Starling -

TECHNICIAN They're the same arm. The discrepancy is the dates. This one -

He slides the x-rays apart, touches a thin gray line on one of them -

TECHNICIAN - shows the hairline fracture he sustained in the fight with the orderly. This one - (the other x-ray) - the more recent one, supposedly, doesn't. This is the newer of the two - (the other one) - the one from the asylum.


Starling puts the earliest-dated cassette into a player, presses "play," walks up to the blackboard and under Verger's heading - below "Meat-packing heir" and some other notes - writes, "He lies." From the tape player -

LECTER'S VOICE Surely the odd confluence of events hasn't escaped you, Clarice. Jack Craw- ford dangles you in front of me, then I give you a bit of help. Do you think it's because I like to look at you and imagine how good you would taste?

There's a pause. Starling, remembering the moment clearly even now, mouths along with her recorded voice -

STARLING'S VOICE I don't know. Is it?


It's Lecter's cell. And it's almost pitch black. Then, as he turns a rheostat, the lights slowly rise, revealing the cell to be almost empty, stripped of its books. He's lying on his cot.

LECTER I've been in this room for eight years, Clarice. I know they will never - ever - let me out while I'm alive. What I want ... is a view.


One of the most magnificent views in the world.

Drifting across it, then down, reveals a piazza below. Outside a cafe, a figure in a dark overcoat, his back to us, drops crumbs to a hundred pigeons surrounding him.

Closer, the pigeons swirl around his shoes. And slowly the figure turns to face us. It's not Hannibal Lecter. It's someone we don't recognize.

He lets go the last of the crumbs, brushes his gloves together, and crosses toward the ancient Palazzo Vecchio, glancing once at its high, stone walls and arched windows, its medieval bell tower soaring into the sky.


Checking his watch, but in no hurry, he climbs a flight of marble steps. Unlike here, one more often smokes indoors than out, and the man lights an MS cigarette, his reward for reaching the landing.

ECHOING VOICE The Capponi correspondence goes back to the 13th Century. Dr. Fell might hold in his hand, in his non-Italian hand, a note from Dante Alighieri himself, but would he recognize it? I think not -

He follows the echoing voice to the open doorway of a large frescoed room, the Salon of Lilies, where another gentleman, loitering outside it, pats at his pockets. The man we've been following offers, along with an outstretched hand holding his pack of cigarettes -

PAZZI They're still arguing.

RICCI (nodding) The curatorship. Sogliato wants the job for his nephew. The scholars seem satisfied with the temporary guy they appointed.

Pazzi lights Ricci, glances down the hall to the far end, where a janitor slowly guides a floor polisher back and forth like a big, weak motorcycle, then crosses to and peers into the Salon:

It's under long-term restoration, scaffolding everywhere. A large assembly of men ranging in age from middle-aged to the Middle Ages, it seems, are gathered around a long 12th- century table. The echoing voice belongs to -

SOGLIATO You have examined him in medieval Italian, and I'll not deny his language is admirable. For a straniero. But what if he came upon a note in the Capponi library, say, from Guido de'Cavalcanti to Dante? Would he recognize it? I think not.

Pazzi isn't sure which one is Fell. Scanning the room from the doorway, he tries to locate the source of the voice, but it's difficult, the high ceillings playing hell with the acoustics -

DR. FELL Professor Sogliato, if I might. Cavalcanti, as we all know, replied publicly to Dante's first sonnet in La Vita Nuova. If he commented privately as well, if he wrote to a Cappono, to which would it be? In your opinion? (Sogliato clearly can't even name the Capponi) No? Not even a guess? Andrea, don't you think? Since he was more literary than his brothers.

Several of the other scholars nod their heads in agreement, which only embarrasses Sogliato more. Pazzi knows which man at the table Fell is now, however he - and we - still can't see his face, seated as he is with his back to the door.

SOGLIATO If he is such an expert on Dante let him lecture on Dante - to the Studiolo. Let him face them, if he can.

DR. FELL I'd look forward to it. Shall we set the date now?

Sogliato has had enough and gets up, noisily gathering his things. As the meeting breaks up some of the other committee members shake Fell's hand. Pazzi comes in and approaches Fell - from behind - as the others straggle out.

PAZZI Dr. Fell?

Fell turns. Of course, it's Hannibal Lecter.

PAZZI Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi of the Questura.

DR. FELL (shaking his hand) Commendatore. How can I be of service?

PAZZI I'm investigating the disappearance of your predecessor, Signore de Bonaventura. I was wondering if -

DR. FELL Predecessor implies I have the job. Unfortunately, I don't. Not yet. Though I'm hopeful. They are letting me look after the library. For a stipend.

Fell begins gathering his books and papers, placing them neatly in his satchel.

PAZZI Yes. Well -

DR. FELL What do you think happened to him?

PAZZI To your - to the Signore - who can say? Perhaps he ran off. Bad debts. Bad love affair. I was wondering if you might -

DR. FELL Not another victim of Il Mostro?

PAZZI What? No. That I'm sure. We find Il Mostro's victims. He makes sure we find them.

DR. FELL Or she.

PAZZI Or she.

DR. FELL I never actually met Signore de Bonaventura. I have read several of his monographs in the Nuova Antologia.

PAZZI The officers who first checked, didn't find any sort of - farewell or - suicide note. I was wondering if -

DR. FELL If I happen to come across anything in the Capponi Library, stuffed in a book or a drawer - yes, I'll call you at once.

He accepts Pazzi's card and slips it under a paperclip holding some of his notes together.

PAZZI Thank -

DR. FELL You've been reassigned.

Pazzi was just turning to leave. Turns back.

PAZZI Pardon?

DR. FELL You were on the Il Mostro case, I'm sure I read.

PAZZI That's right.

And it was a humiliation being taken off of it, which he would no doubt rather not discuss here.

DR. FELL Now you're on this. This is much less - grand - a case, I would think.

PAZZI If I thought of my work in those terms, yes, I guess I'd agree.

DR. FELL A missing person.

Fell says it like it's not worth saying. Pazzi's had enough and turns to leave again.

DR. FELL Were you unfairly dismissed from the grander case? Or did you deserve it?

Pazzi looks back again. Fell isn't even looking at him; putting things in his case.

PAZZI Regarding this one, Dr. Fell. Are the Signore's personal effects still at the Palazzo?

DR. FELL Packed neatly in two cases with an inventory. Alas, no note.

PAZZI I'll send someone over to pick them up. Thank you for your help.

He starts to leave again.

DR. FELL Have you thought about Botticelli?

Pazzi looks back again. What is Fell talking about?

PAZZI Not since middle school art class, I'm afraid.

DR. FELL Those awful pictures in the papers of The Monster's victims. His careful arrangement of the young lovers' bodies. The flowers. The women's exposed left breast. The tableaux remind me of Botticelli. Don't they, you?

Frankly, it never occurred to him. Fell points to a place just behind Pazzi and he turns to see a beautiful Botticelli in a carved gold frame, the woman lying in flowers, her left breast exposed. Fell shrugs as he closes his satchel.

DR. FELL Maybe a clue.


A row of family palaces in an ancient street. A figure walking on the cobblestones. Only vaguely familiar, his path leads us to the front of an old residence, its windows behind iron grates, all but one on an upper floor dark. The figure continues on down the street, but we go inside -


Even though the foyer is dark, we can tell it's large and high-ceilinged. We become aware of music - Bach's Goldberg Variations - but can't be sure where it's coming from.

We notice a staircase and decide to climb it. It's longer than we thought at first - its steps made of thick slabs of ancient stone, its rail of cold hammered iron.

We reach the landing. Notice a small darkened room to one side. But the music seems to be coming from elsewhere, so we continue on, down the hall to a pair of tall double doors, open, allowing us into the main salon. The music seems to be coming from somewhere in here.

We move through the room, illuminated only faintly by the occasional candle, look up to see that the height of the room disappears into darkness, then down again as we are almost upon the figure sitting at a piano.

Lecter's fingers move among the yellowed ivory keys. He plays the Bach piece well, every so often glancing to a lyre- shaped music stand. But coming slowing around the stand, we discover there is no sheet music on it, but instead a copy of the National Tattler with a picture of a black woman dead in the street, and another picture of Clarice Starling - the FBI's "ANGEL OF DEATH" - washing down a baby next to the head of a shark.

LECTER'S VOICE Dear Clarice, I have followed with enthusiasm the course of your disgrace and public shaming. My own never bothered me, except for the inconvenience of being incarcerated, but you may lack perspective -

The music continues over:


Sitting at a 16th Century refectory table in a pool of lamp light, Lecter dips the tip of a fountain pen into an etched glass bottle of ink and signs the letter he has just written.

LECTER'S VOICE In our discussions down in the dungeon, it was apparent to me that your father - the dead night watchman - figures large in your value system.

He adds a brief post-script, folds the linen-fiber paper over once, careful to line up the edges, gives it a sharp crease.

LECTER'S VOICE I think your success in putting an end to Jame Gumb's career as a couturier pleased you most because you could imagine your father being pleased.

He places the letter in an envelope that is already addressed to Special Agent Clarice Starling, and seals it with wax. He places it into another, slightly larger envelope that already has written on it a Las Vegas, Nevada, address.


Lecter strolls across a bridge over the Arno and drops his envelope into a post box on the other side.

LECTER'S VOICE Now you are in bad odour with the FBI, alas. Do you imagine Daddy shamed by your disgrace? Do you see him in his plain pine box, crushed by your failure? The sorry, petty end of a promising career?


A U.S. Mail carrier's truck pulls into the parking lot of a strip mall.

LECTER'S VOICE Do you dream now, not of screaming lambs, but of yourself doing the menial tasks your mother was reduced to after the addicts busted a cap on Daddy?


Piles of mail on the counter. A middle-aged man slits open the envelope from Italy, takes out the smaller envelope, puts a stamp on it, drops it onto a pile of outgoing mail and throws the larger envelope away.

LECTER'S VOICE What is worst about this humiliation? Is it how your failure will reflect on them? Is your worst fear that people will forever now believe your parents were indeed trailer camp tornado-bait white trash? That you are? Hmmm?


The letter is among stacks of others in a metal cart as it is wheeled along a basement corridor.

LECTER'S VOICE I couldn't help noticing on its rather dull public web site, Clarice, that I've been hoisted from the Bureau's Archives of the Common Criminal up to the more prestigious 10 Most Wanted list.

The mail cart comes to and past a door on which, instead of a nameplate, is Scotch-taped a piece of legal pad paper with one hand-scrawled word: "Starling."

LECTER'S VOICE Coincidence? Or are you "back on the case?"


The mail room boy navigates the short maze of black right- angled darkroom walls that lead to the room itself.

LECTER'S VOICE I imagine you sitting in a dark base- ment room, bent over papers and computer screens at clerk's distances that mocks the prairie distance in your eyes. A zoo hawk, one wing hanging down.

The mail room boy sets three or four things down on Starling's desk.

LECTER'S VOICE Is that fairly accurate? Tell me truly, Special Agent Starling. Regards, Hannibal Lecter, M.D.

The music ends. To the mail room boy -


He doesn't immediately leave. He watches her tack to a bulletin board the last of several newspaper clippings and Internet downloads of grisly unsolved murders world-wide.

GEOFFREY How's it going? Any leads?

STARLING They're all leads. They just don't lead to him.

She sits at her desk to take a look at the mail. Geoffrey wanders over to take a look at the clippings. He grimaces at one of them.

GEOFFREY I don't know how you live with this stuff.


He turns. She's looking at one of her pieces of mail.

STARLING It's from the Guinness Book of World Records congratulating me on being "The Female FBI Agent Who Has Shot The Most People."

She throws it in the wastebasket, picks up the envelope with the wax seal and fine copperplate writing, and somehow immediately knows who it's from.

STARLING Geoffrey - ? Would you excuse me.

He sees she isn't looking at him. Leaves with his cart. Annoyed at herself for getting her paw prints all over the letter, she reaches for her key chain, slits the envelope with the Swiss Army knife on it, and extracts and unfolds the letter with the blade. As she reads it, there is a faint echoing refrain of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and -

LECTER'S VOICE P.S. Clearly this new assignment is not your choice. Rather, it is part of "the bargain." But you accepted it, Clarice. Your job is to craft my doom. As such, I'm not sure how well to wish you. Ta-ta. H.


Digitized images of the letter alongside "Early Lecter" handwriting samples on a computer monitor.

TECHNICIAN The letter was written by Lecter, but you could probably tell that just from reading it.

Starling nods. Other images replace the writing analyses: sets of fingerprints.

TECHNICIAN Naturally, there were several prints on the envelope, including yours -

STARLING - sorry -

TECHNICIAN On the letter itself there's only one "partial" - here - not enough to hold up in court, but -

STARLING We know it's him. Where he was when he wrote it is what I need.

The image changes again - a greatly magnified patch of the letter that reads, "screaming lambs."

TECHNICIAN The paper isn't going to help. Yes, it's linen fiber. Yes, it's on the expensive side. No, it's not so rare that you couldn't find it in a thousand stationery stores the world over. Same with the ink. Same with the wax. (an image of the envelope appears on the monitor) The post mark. Las Vegas. You could check it out, but odds are it came from a a re-mailing service. Afraid you're out of luck.

STARLING What about the crease?



Stainless stell tweezers pluck the letter from the evidence bag and hold it, crease up, under an enormous nose. The nose sniffs only once, but long, taking in a faint, pleasant aroma of residue and a lot of air.

The hand clutching the tweezers clutching the letter are passed to another - feminine - hand, which holds it up to another enormous nose with wide nostrils. This nose sniffs once and hands the tweezers to another - masculine - hand. This one lifts the letter to the biggest nose of all.

BIGGEST NOSE Hand soap ... Raw ambergris base ... Tennessee lavender ... mountain sage ... trace of something else ...



BIGGEST NOSE It's fleece, isn't it. Lovely.

The other two "perfume engineers" nod. All three, and Starling, are sitting in a sterile laboratory environment.

STARLING What's ambergris?

BIGGEST NOSE Ambergris is a whale product. Alas, much as we'd like to, we can't import it. Endangered Species Act.

The other two shake their heads as if to say, What a load of crap that Endangered Species Act is.

STARLING Where isn't it illegal?

BIGGEST NOSE Japan, of course. Couple of places in Europe. You'd almost certainly find it somewhere in Paris. Rome. Amsterdam.


LEAST BIGGEST NOSE But not at Harrod's. Small, exclusive shops. This bouquet was hand-engineered to someone's specifications.

STARLING Is there any way of knowing which shops?

BIGGEST NOSE Of course. We'll give you a list. It'll be short.

The Biggest Nose can't resist taking one last savoring sniff before returning the letter to the plastic bag.


Vespas, Fiats and Innocenti speed around a traffic circle. Pedestrians move along the boulevard. We follow one man who seems vaguely familiar - we glimpsed him briefly several days ago walking past Fell's residence just before we went in, and once before that, if we recall, polishing the floor in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Right now, though, we're more interested in Pazzi who joins the frame coming toward us, and we follow him instead, to and up the steps of the Questura building.


A black and white step-framed image of Dr. Fell entering a small perfume shop. It plays on a monitor sitting atop two VCR decks, one on Play, the other Record, the operator, a young agent, smoking as he writes out a label.

Pazzi hangs his coat on a rack, crosses through the large room, and sits at his desk which happens to be right next to the VCR, which he pays no attention to. At the next desk, Ricci sits working on a crossword puzzle.

PAZZI I need opera tickets.

RICCI (without looking up) Don't think I have any on me.

PAZZI It's sold out, whatever it's called.

A couple of Pazzi's colleagues, ones who are now working on the Il Mostro case instead of him, surrounded by photographs and clippings on the crimes, exchange a look.

DETECTIVE It's the pretty young wife with the ever-open beak who needs opera tickets.

Pazzi glances over at them, not sure he heard right. One sneaks a glance at the other. It's all they can do to keep from laughing. The tape of the customers coming and going at the perfume store contines, but Pazzi doesn't notice.

PAZZI Botticelli.


PAZZI He arranges his victims like that Botticelli painting. You hadn't noticed?

As Pazzi glances away from them, he catches a glimpse of the monitor, of Fell coming into the perfume shop again. He gets up and the Il Mostro detectives, thinking he's coming for them, decide to go out for coffee.

PAZZI Back that up.

YOUNG AGENT What? I can't back it up. I'm making a copy. I'm recording.

The black and white images of customers, most of them women, continue, until Pazzi hits the stop button and spins the jog. The young agent groans, but not too loud; Pazzi far outranks him. The image reverses. Pazzi freezes it on one of the step frames that shows Dr. Fell.

PAZZI What is this?

YOUNG AGENT Security camera from a perfume shop on Villa Della Scula. FBI through Interpol requested a copy.


YOUNG AGENT They didn't say.

PAZZI They didn't say?

YOUNG AGENT It was actually kind of weird. Like they were making a point of not saying.

Pazzi unpauses it. Watches Fell approach the counter and then wait, it seems, for a long time as the perfumer mixes up some kind of concoction. Money exchanges hands and Fell, with his purchase, leaves.


As a search engine works, Pazzi glances down at copies of Fell's state work permit and Permesso di Soggiorno resting next to the computer. The video cassette is there, too. And the over-night mailer.

The FBI's consumer home page appears on the screen. Pazzi selects the 10 Most Wanted button, and in a moment, the list - with pictures - is displayed.

The World Trade Center bombing mastermind is #1. Beneath him, nine other, lesser bombers and murderers, none of whom look anything like Fell.

He shifts back to the main page. Selects Archives. The 50 Most Wanted list appears - bank robbers and killers and arsonists, all with photos or police sketches, all but one man. He scrolls down, stops. Dr. Fell - Hannibal Lecter - "Hannibal the Cannibal" - is looking right at him.

ALLEGRA Rinaldo.

He doesn't seem to hear her as he begins reading the text under Lecter's digitally-enhanced picture.

ALLEGRA Rinaldo.

He glances up finally. His young wife - who is indeed pretty - stands in the doorway of the study.

PAZZI I'm sorry.

ALLEGRA Are we going to the Teatro Michahelles?


ALLEGRA You got tickets.

PAZZI No. But I will. In fact, I was just about to look here. (on the Internet)

ALLEGRA Please not the third balcony. I would like to see it.

PAZZI Not in the balcony. No matter what the cost.

Unconvinced the promise will hold, she leaves the room.

Pazzi opens his filofax to the F tab, finds a number written under no heading, a code, enters it into his computer and in a moment is taken to the FBI's private VICAP site - Violent Criminal Apprehensopn Program.

He types in Lecter and scans the internal 302 reports that are displayed, many of them prepared by Special Agent Clarice Starling.

He returns to the server screen. Begins a new search. Hannibal Lecter. Many of the same sites Starling found are listed, the ones posted by nuts.

He scrolls down to the Refine Search panel. Adds one word to his Hannibal Lecter query. Reward. Hits Return.

Only one site includes the word in its page name. Pazzi goes to it. No graphics other than the same picture the FBI site showed. No indication of whose site it is.

Dry text describes Lecter, reminds the reader he should be regarded as armed and dangerous, and encourages informants to call the provided FBI number with any information.

There is also a private number listed - European dialing code, not U.S. Oh, and one more small piece of information. The reward. $3,000,000.


The place is looking more and more like a museum, the bulletin and blackboards covered now with notes and newsprint photos, including some of Il Mostro's young victims.

Paul Krendler makes his way through the right-angled passageway leading into the darkened room. The only light is coming from a monitor showing Lecter's escape from Memphis, as caught by high-angle security cameras.

He considers a display Starling has erected to Lecter's nine known victims. One is Mason Verger. Another, a man attached to a tool shop peg board with metal rods piercing his body as in an illustration next to it of the medieval Wound Man.

He becomes intrigued by a sketch on a standing easel of Starling, signed by Hannibal Lecter. A piece of cloth has been tacked at the neck and drapes down like a sari. Is she naked underneath it? Krendler has to find out. As he carefully lifts the cloth -

LECTER'S VOICE What is your worst memory of childhood?

He jumps, startled, sees Starling sitting in a corner, in the shadows, next to the cassette deck.

STARLING Can I help you, Mr. Krendler?

KRENDLER Jesus. What are you doing sitting there in the dark?

STARLING Thinking.

She gets up. Lets the tape of Lecter's voice continue. Krendler works at slowing the pace of his heart, at regaining most of his unpleasant hauteur.

KRENDLER Some people in Justice are thinking, too. They're thinking, what exactly is she doing about Lecter?

STARLING Thinking. About cannibalism.

KRENDLER What's the point of that, are you catching a crook, or writing a book?

STARLING Aren't you curious why he dines on his victims?

KRENDLER Not particularly, no.

STARLING To show his contempt for those who exasperate him, I think.

Which she wouldn't mind showing Krendler in similar fashion.

STARLING Or, sometimes, to perform a public service. In the case of the flautist, Benjamin Raspail - (shows him a picture) - he did it to improve the sound of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra, serving the not-so-talented flute player's sweet- breads to the board with a nice Chateau d'Y quem at forty-six hundred dollars a bottle. That meal began with green oysters from the Gironde, followed by the sweetbreads, a sorbet and then, you can read here in Town & Country: A notable dark and glossy ragout, the constituents never determined, on saffron rice. Its taste was darkly thrilling with great bass tones that only the vast and careful reduction of the fond can give.

Krendler is looking at her, not at the magazine. Then -

KRENDLER I always figured him for a queer.

STARLING Now why would you say that, Paul?

KRENDLER All this artsy-fartsy stuff. Chamber music and tea-party food. Not that I mean anything personal, if you've got a lot of sympathy for those people.

There wasn't a lot of spin on his words, but they carried an inkling of implication which she doesn't misinterpret. She ignores it, though, and him, looks through her receipts.

KRENDLER What I came here to impress upon you, Starling, is I'd better see cooperation. There are no little fiefdoms. I want to be copied on every 302. Work with me and your so-called career here might improve. If you don't, all I have to do is draw a line through your name rather than under it, and it's over.

He turns to leave.

STARLING Paul? What is it with you? I told you to go home to your wife. That was wrong?

KRENDLER Don't flatter yourself, Starling. Why would I hold that against you? That was a long time ago, and besides, this town is full of cornpone country pussy.

He seems pleased he came up with the phrase so easily.

KRENDLER That said, I wouldn't mind having a go with you now if you want to reconsider.

STARLING In the gym, anytime. No pads.

He smiles. Leaves. She sits down at her desk, listens to his footsteps down the hall fade, glances at the tape of Lecter's escape.


A fistful of 1,000-lira coins makes a dull ching as Pazzi shakes them in his hand like dice he's not sure he wants to throw. He's staring at a pay phone ten paces away. No one's using it. It's his if he wants it; clearly he isn't sure.

He finally walks over to it. Lifts the receiver. Presses in the sequence of numbers scribbled in pen on the back of the hand that holds the change.

A series of long distance tones beeps like a tinny death knell. A tinny recorded voice tells him to deposit 9,000- lira for the first three minutes.

He drops nine coins in the slot with a shaky hand. The call connects and another recorded voice tells him the number he has dialed is no longer in service.

He hangs up, relieved. Begins to walk away with his so- called reputation intact. The phone rings. He looks back at it. It rings again. He begins to walk toward it. It rings again. He reaches for it, hesitates, picks it up, and hears a voice - not recorded - American accent - a man.

VOICE Yes? (Pazzi doesn't answer) Hel-lo?

PAZZI I have information about Hannibal Lecter.

VOICE Does it include where he is now?

PAZZI Is the reward still in effect?

VOICE Yes, it is. Have you shared your infor- mation with the police, sir?


VOICE I'm required to encourage you to do so.

PAZZI Uh-huh. Is the reward payable under ... special circumstances?

VOICE Do you mean a bounty? It's against international convention and U.S. Law to offer a bounty for someone's death, sir.

PAZZI I mean in the case of, say, someone who might not ordinarily be eligible to accept a reward.

VOICE May I suggest you contact an attorney, sir, before taking any possible-illegal action? There's one in Geneva who's excellent in these matters. May I recommend an attorney? May I give you his toll-free number?

The voice enunciates the number clearly. Pazzi writes it on the back of his hand next to the other one, the pen shaking.

VOICE Thank you for calling.

The call disconnects. Pazzi takes a breath. Crosses the street to another pay phone. Dials the toll-free number and pockets the coins. The call connects. Another male voice. This one with a dry, Swiss, lawyerly tone:

VOICE 2 Hello -

PAZZI Yes. I was just speaking with someone who suggested I -

VOICE 2 There is a one hundred thousand dollar advance. To qualify for the advance, a fingerprint must be provided - in situ - on an object - (the voice is a recording) Once the print is positively identified, the balance of the money will be placed in escrow at Geneva Credit Suisse, and may be viewed at any time subject to 24- hour-prior-notification. To repeat this message in French, press 2. In Spanish, press 3. In German, press 4. In Japanese -


Pazzi scrubs at his hands like Lady Macbeth, trying to get the stain of the phone numbers off his skin, the black ink clouding the water pooling in the sink before going down the drain.


A security tape of mostly-Japanese customers entering and exiting an exclusive Tokyo perfumery plays on Starling's VCR. The mail room boy watches it as Starling speaks on the phone -

STARLING Is it possible it went out with the regular mail?

YOUNG AGENT'S VOICE No. No, I over-nighted it. I filled out the slip myself.


It's the same young agent who copied the security tape -

YOUNG AGENT This was the day after your request. I did it right away. I don't understand what happened. You should have it.


There are three other tapes, marked with the names of stores in Paris, Rome and Amsterdam, stacked on top of the machine that plays the Japanese perfumery.

STARLING I don't. Can you send me another one?

YOUNG AGENT'S VOICE I'll have to make another one.

STARLING I'd appreciate it.

She hangs up. Geoffrey gestures to the monitor.

GEOFFREY Nothing, huh?

STARLING Nothing yet. Still waiting on Florence and London. London says they're sniffing around. I don't know, is that British humor?


Pazzi's clean finger presses a button on the intercom set into the stone wall of the entry. As he waits, he glances up at the security camera, then down at the hammered-iron handle on the door. No way to get a print off that.

DR. FELL'S VOICE Buongiorno.

PAZZI Dr. Fell? It's Inspector Pazzi.

DR. FELL'S VOICE Yes, I can see.

A buzzer releases the lock and Pazzi pulls the door open.


As Fell leads Pazzi across the main salon upstairs, past furniture draped with sheets, the inspector's glance darts from object to object he'd like to steal for prints - a glass, a book, a vase, a pen.

DR. FELL I should've encouraged you to bring someone along. The cases, I'm afraid, are on the heavy side.

PAZZI Maybe you could help me with them.

DR. FELL Hmmmm.

PAZZI Just down the stairs I mean.

They reach two big suitcases, closed. Two typewritten sheets of paper rest on a small table next to them.

PAZZI Is that the inventory?


PAZZI May I see it?

DR. FELL Of course.

Pazzi waits for Fell to hand it to him. Unfortunately, it's just as close to him. Once it's clear Fell has no intention of picking it up, Pazzi does - carefully, but not too carefully - and pretends to read it.

DR. FELL You are a Pazzi of the Pazzi, I think. (Pazzi doesn't answer) Wasn't it at the Palazzo Vecchio your ancestor was hanged? Francesco de'Pazzi? Thrown naked with a noose around his neck from the window? Writhing alongside the archbishop against the cold stone wall?

Pazzi stares at Fell, who only pleasantly smiles back.




2005-2024. ! homeenglish@mail.ru