King Con


TEASER

The Casino.

EXTRA
Come on.

Joxer is at the craps table.

JOXER
One for the...

He roles the dice.

JOXER
I did it again! All right, you sweet beauties, come
to Papa.

He pulls in his winnings as Titus steps up to him.

TITUS
Name is Titus.

JOXER
Great, great.

TITUS
I own the place. You know, you're really good.
How about we really test your skill? Maybe,
double your money?

JOXER
That sounds great! Um, unfortunately, I'm meeting
some friends.

He walks away, humming "Joxer the Mighty." Titus sends Leo after Joxer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Village. Joxer walks along.

RAFE
Try that again, and you're a dead man!

ELDON
Hey! I saw'r it first, pal!

RAFE
Who you calling "Pal," pal?!

ELDON
Hey! Who you shoving?!

JOXER
Whoa, whoa, hold on a second, fellas! Sorry, I
just, couldn't help overhearing.

ELDON
Butt out, buddy!

JOXER
Wait a minute. Maybe I can help.

ELDON
I said scram!

RAFE
No wait! Maybe we could use a third opinion. See,
me and him, we found this gold nugget worth at
least, oh, fifty dinars. The only problem is neither
of us has the money to buy the other one out.

ELDON
And we don't trust each other to cash it in even
going together, he tried to run off with it.

RAFE
Only after you attempted to swallow it. You see
the problem?

Joxer chuckles.

JOXER
I'd have to be an idiot not to. Swallowing something
like that can be very dangerous. Hmm.

RAFE
Yes, but the more immediate problem we have
is finding someone who has enough money
in order to cash out this nugget right here on the
spot. Who walks around with that kind of change,
huh? Huh.

JOXER
This is your lucky day. I just took the gaming house
for a hundred dinars.

RAFE
No kiddin'?!

JOXER
Ah!

RAFE
Why, if you're serious about helping us out, here's
what we'll do. I'll borrow fifty dinars from you.

JOXER
Uh-

RAFE
But, I'll only keep twenty-five. I'll use the other
twenty-five to pay you back and that way, we're
even. (to Eldon) Then I give you twenty-five, you
give me the nugget.

ELDON
Uh, but that shorts me twenty-five dinars.

JOXER
Yeah.

RAFE
No, 'cause you'll get paid the other twenty-five
from the fifty that I gave you.

JOXER
Ohhh.

RAFE
(to Joxer) Then, I give you the nugget. You give
me the fifty dinars that it's worth and we're
all square, right?

ELDON
Right!

JOXER
Wrong. We're not square...until you two clasp
hands in the spirit of true fellowship.

They do.

ELDON
Appreciate you making this so easy.

RAFE
Yeah, thanks friend.

JOXER
Thank you.

He walks off.

JOXER
Sucker. Hmm-hmm. Hmmmm. Just call me Mr. Lucky.

Joxer leaves and is followed by Leo.

RAFE
What do you think'll happen when he finally figures
it out?

ELDON
That he's holding fools' gold?

RAFE
No, that you took his sword?

They laugh and leave.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move along, Gabrielle on Argo.

XENA
No, you are not getting off, your ankle's too swollen.

GABRIELLE
I'm telling you Xena, this sprain is not half as
bad as the last one.

XENA
The less you're on it, the faster it'll heal. Besides,
when we hook up with Joxer we'll stop and make
camp. It's not like him to be late.

GABRIELLE
What do to want to bet that he stopped to watch
the paint dry or the grass grow and he completely forgot-

XENA
Huh.

GABRIELLE
-hmm? Believe me, I know Joxer almost as well
as I know you.

XENA
And how well is that?

GABRIELLE
Well enough to know what you're thinking most
of the time. Like right now, you're thinking, "She
thinks she knows me, huh? We'll see about that."

XENA
Easy guess.

GABRIELLE
Okay. Now you're thinking, "Oh, wait, I haven't
thought of anything yet." Right?

XENA
And what am I thinking, now?

She looks at Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
You wouldn't dare. Not to an injured woman.

XENA
Listen.

There's sounds of a fight.

XENA
Come on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two thugs hold Joxer while Leo beats him. He is battered, bruised and bleeding.

LEO
For the last time, where's Pop's money?

He draws his sword.

LEO
So long, Mr. Lucky.

Xena uses her whip to disarm Leo.

SECURITY GUARD
Let's get outta here! Come on, Leo!

The thugs leave and Leo follows. Gabrielle takes Joxer in her arms.

GABRIELLE
Is he...

XENA
If we can treat him and get him to someplace
safe, he stands a chance...which is more than
I can say for the men who did this to him.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Eldon and Rafe are in a tavern. Rafe shuffles a deck a pulls out the same card three times.

ELDON
Forty-eight. Forty-nine. Fifty.

Eldon drops dinars on the table.

RAFE
Partners for three years, and still you bet against
me? Why is that, Eldon?

ELDON
Law of probability. You see? You're good, and
you're lucky, but, face it, Rafe, you gotta lose sometime.

RAFE
Wanna bet?

XENA
I'll take a piece of that action.

Xena slams Rafe's head into the table.

RAFE
Have we met?

XENA
Where'd you get that sword?

RAFE
Oh, actually, they say I take after my father in
that respect.

XENA
The sword on the table!

RAFE
Oh, that sword. Found it.

ELDON
Hey! What do you think you're-

XENA
That sword belongs to a friend of mine who was
beaten nearly to death.

She draws a dagger.

XENA
So either you start fillin' in some holes or I start
making 'em.

She starts to stab the dagger into the table around between Rafe's fingers, incredibly fast.

XENA
You're a bettin' man. Care to wager on how
long it'll take me to miss?

Xena doubles her speed.

ELDON
We took it off an easy mark, this morning-

Xena stops.

ELDON
-but, I swear, we never touched him. That sounds
more like Titus' style, right Rafe?

RAFE
Or his son, Leo's.

XENA
Who are they?

ELDON
Own the local gaming club. Your friend won big
there, but, Titus he'd rather die than lose.

RAFE
Or rather see someone else die. Odds are they do.

XENA
The odds just changed.

ELDON
You gonna kill him?

XENA
Maybe-

She takes Joxer's sword.

XENA
-but not before I make him pay for what he did
to Joxer. Come on, we got work to do. Unless
you'd rather that I hand you over to the authorities.
I hear that they cut out your tongue, brand your
arm, and jail you for life. What do you think?

RAFE May we confer?

XENA
Make it quick.

They turn their backs to Xena.

RAFE
What do you think?

ELDON
You kiddin'? I don't know about you, but my tongue's
a vital part of my anatomy.

RAFE
No, no, no, no, I--I meant her. What do you make
of her?

ELDON
Trust me, Rafe, no man can make her.

RAFE
Oh? I can.

ELDON
Thirty dinars says you can't so much as get her
to kiss you.

XENA
So, what's your answer?

RAFE
You're on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Titus' place.

TITUS
What do you mean, the money's gone?

He slaps Leo's head.

TITUS
How could it be gone?!

LEO
He tried telling us he traded it for fools' gold but
nobody's that dumb!

TITUS
Then, where is it?

LEO
I don't know.

Titus slaps Leo's again.

LEO
Ah-h! We were beating it out of him, when this
wo - when someone came along, we had to run
or risk being recognized.

TITUS
You mean you left him alive?

LEO
Barely.

Titus pulls Leo closer.

TITUS
Now, you listen to me, Leo. I don't care what it
takes, you find him and finish the job 'cause no one
makes a loser out of me. You got that, Leo? No one.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A temple.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside, Gabrielle cares for Joxer.

GABRIELLE
There you go. Joxer, I don't know if you can hear
me, but, um, stay with us. I mean, Xena and I,
we--we care about you, and, uh, I mean, I know
it's kind of hard to tell sometimes. You're like
family to us, s...don't leave us, okay?

Xena enters with Eldon and Rafe.

XENA
Still no change?

GABRIELLE
No. These the guys who conned him?

ELDON
Look, we never laid a finger-

RAFE
Wait--wait--wait--wait she said, "Conned." You
knew that we never beat him.

ELDON
She played us for suckers. Come on, let's go.

GABRIELLE
Wait a minute! Look at him. You took his sword,
you left him defenseless. How can you just walk away?

ELDON
Easy. Watch.

XENA
I've got a plan to take Titus for all he's worth. Help
me, and I'll cut you in for half.

RAFE
You asking?

XENA
I'm offering.

Rafe looks at Eldon who nods.

RAFE
We're in.

Joxer moans and starts to get up, but Gabrielle gently pushes him back down.

XENA
Hey, hey, Joxer. It's all right. We're here, now.

GABRIELLE
Sh.

XENA
Everything's gonna be all right, I promise.

GABRIELLE
Shh-sh-shh.

XENA
Get one of the acolytes, quick. It's okay. Joxer-

GABRIELLE
Shh.

XENA
-lie still. Come on, relax.

GABRIELLE
Joxer, sh.

XENA
He needs more arnica. I'll get another blanket.

Xena and Gabrielle leave. Rafe moves over to Joxer. Gabrielle enters as Rafe gets a blanket and lays it on Joxer. Xena enters and watches Rafe check Joxer's forehead and tuck him in.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena blows on three dice and tosses them.

RAFE
Nice come-out. You've done this before.

XENA
It's been a while.

RAFE
Well, that's too bad. A waste of talent.

XENA
I have many skills, most of which I use against
people like you.

RAFE
All right. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the
feeling that you don't like me much.

XENA
Not true. I don't like you at all.

She rolls again.

RAFE
You're some kind of friend. Teaming up with
somebody that you hate just to set things square
for your pal. Not everybody would do that. All right,
so what do you want from me? Table odds?

XENA
That's right, only don't make it too obvious. I want
to rattle Titus's cage a little. Shake him up.

She rolls again.

RAFE
Seeing what he did to your friend, I do not blame
you. Look, Xena, I'm sorry. Uh, you know for our
part in this. I swear, we would have never have
fleeced your friend had we known how it was gonna
to go down. Believe me.

XENA
Thanks. I'll tell you what I believe. I believe that
you bet your buddy that you could score with me
and that this whole line of bull is just you trying
to win a bet that you can only lose.

RAFE
Hmm.

XENA
Let's roll.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casino.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. Xena is now at the craps table, Rafe behind the Croupier/Dealer.

EXTRA
No more bets. The wheels spinning.

CROUPIER/DEALER
Place your bets. All bets down.

Xena blows on the dice and rolls them.

XENA
Lucky nine! Mamma needs a new pair of sandals.

The role is nine.

EXTRA
Yay!

CROUPIER/DEALER
Shooter stays lucky. No wonder they call luck a
lady, eh, men?

The Security Guard makes eye contact with the croupier/dealer who gestures with his head.

XENA
When you're hot, you're hot.

Xena blows on the dice and throws. Another nine.

EXTRA
Oh! Good roll!

EXTRA
Hey, nicely done.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Titus' office. The Security Guard enters.

SECURITY GUARD
Sorry, boss. Croup needs a new set of bones.
Think we got a hustler, but we can't suss her out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Titus and the Security Guard enter the casino.

TITUS
Okay, who's the wench?

Eldon moves over to the guards at the door to the office, acting drunk.

ELDON
Which way to the boxing match?

He chuckles.

ELDON
Forty dinars says mine's gonna win.

He chuckles and spills his dinars.

ELDON
Oh, could you guys help?

The guards help and Gabrielle sneaks into the office.

GUARD #1
Come on, butterfingers, pick 'em up!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The craps table.

XENA
Double-down.

Security Guard and Titus watch.

CROUPIER/DEALER
All bets down. Shooter's ready to roll. What's your pleasure?

Xena looks to Rafe who holds up five fingers.

XENA
Easy five.

She rolls.

XENA
Come on.

It's five.

XENA
Huh. Oh, yeah!

TITUS
She's cheating.

XENA
Okay.

TITUS
Nobody's that good.

SECURITY GUARD
How? Croup's already switched bones twice.

XENA
Ready?

She rolls.

XENA
Nothing but fives.

There's a crash in Titus' office. Titus runs off.

XENA
Yeah!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The guards are already in the office as Titus enters.

TITUS
What happened?

GUARD #1
I don't know. We heard a crash and came running but-

Titus holds up a hand and draws a dagger.

TITUS
Come out or die where you stand.

Gabrielle steps out from behind a curtain.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Casino.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Titus holds Gabrielle and has the dagger at her neck.

TITUS
You've got a heartbeat to tell me what you're
doing in here.

GABRIELLE
Oh.

Xena enters.

XENA
Relax. (to guards) Down, boys. (to Titus) She's
taking measurements for my new office.

TITUS
Your new...who in Tartarus are you?

XENA
The woman who's going to own this place, and
everything in it. Those paintings, that statue, hmm. Oh-

She picks up a necklace with a big red ruby in it.

XENA
-even this pretty little trinket.

She swings it around.

TITUS
Just put that down! Look! That belonged to an
empress! How...guards?!

XENA
Think fast, Titus!

She throws the ruby, and he lets go of Gabrielle to catch it. Xena and Gabrielle fight the guards. Titus tries to run, but Xena grabs him. She holds her fingers at his throat.

XENA
By the gods, it'd be so easy, just-

GABRIELLE
Xena!

XENA
No. No, killing's too good for scum like you. I
am gonna take you down piece by piece, 'til
there is nothing left. Not your club, your money,
your pride, not even your stinkin' ruby. I'm gonna
take it all, and I'm gonna love every minute of
it! Let's go.

TITUS
Now, look, I don't know what your angle is but
everybody's got a price. What's yours?

XENA
Everything...and there's nothing you can do
to stop me.

She and Gabrielle leave.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside.

GABRIELLE
So, how did I do? Was that crash loud enough,
huh? How about my timing?

XENA
Perfect. Phase one and phase two are done.
We've got some money and, more importantly,
we got Titus' attention.

GABRIELLE
What's next?

XENA
We gotta move fast. Rafe and I'll get the disguises,
you watch Joxer, while Eldon watches Titus. As
soon as he moves to have Leo stash that ruby,
and he will, we run the first con.

GABRIELLE
So, you and Rafe, huh? He's not too bad, is he?

XENA
You mean, for someone who makes his money
cheating others out of theirs? Yeah, he's a prince.

GABRIELLE
I didn't say he was perfect. But you saw him with
Joxer and you have to admit, he's smart and he's
funny. He's handsome.

XENA
Arrogant and self-centered, and-

GABRIELLE
Your typical bad boy. Just your type.

Gabrielle moves off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Village.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Rafe try on disguises. Rafe puts on an eye patch.

RAFE
Argh, what do ya think?

Xena takes off her leather and throws it to the ground, standing naked.

RAFE
Holy Hera.

Xena puts on a yellow dress as Rafe looks away.

XENA
We're pushing time. You got a problem?

RAFE
Uh, clearly not.

XENA
Good, then give me that hat.

RAFE
What do you say?

XENA
Or else?

She takes it.

RAFE
You're welcome.

She tries it on but then tosses it.

RAFE
So, you always this focused?

He starts to tie up back of dress.

XENA
That's right. You always this nosey, huh?

RAFE
Not anymore.

Hw takes off wig and moves away. Xena stops and watches him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joxer starts to get up.

JOXER
No, I won't let'cha. If anyone's going after Titus,
it's gonna be me.

GABRIELLE
Joxer, if Leo or Titus saw you, they'd kill you.

JOXER
Not if I saw 'em first.

GABRIELLE
What are you gonna do, bleed on them? Now,
make sense. Joxer! Lay still or I'll restrain you!
Joxer, swear to me that you'll lay still and forget
about Titus. We'll take care of him. I promise.

Joxer sighs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Titus' office. He moves to hit Leo, but stops.

TITUS
You idiot. Why didn't you tell me this before?

LEO
Oh, come on, Pop. I thought you'd get mad at me
for, for running away from a woman, even one
like Xena.

TITUS
You're right.

He slaps Leo.

TITUS
So, she's a friend of this little piss-ant, is she?

LEO
Gotta be. I've looked everywhere for him. She
must have him hidden.

TITUS
Then keep looking. We find this Joxer, we've got
a card to play against her. But first I want you to
do something very important for me.

He picks up the ruby.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside the casino. Gabrielle joins Eldon.

ELDON
What are you doin' here?

GABRIELLE
Joxer fell asleep. I thought you could use a break.

ELDON
Huh, not me, but your friend's headed for one.

GABRIELLE
Xena? Headed for what?

ELDON
Heartbreak, if she doesn't watch out.

GABRIELLE
We are talking about Xena, right?

Eldon chuckles.

ELDON
Joke if you want but when a guy like Rafe doubles
the bet we got on it, I'd say he's feeling pretty confident.

GABRIELLE
Doubles what bet? Did you and he-

Leo leaves Titus' office.

ELDON
It's showtime.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Village. Leo moves along.

GABRIELLE
Help! Somebody help, please!

Eldon pretends to beat up Rafe (Rafe and Gabrielle are dressed as a rich couple). Rafe falls and drops his money pouch. Eldon takes it and runs off. Xena (dressed in the yellow dress and in a blonde wig) throws her basket and trips Eldon, who throws the money pouch, which Xena catches. Eldon runs off. Xena speaks with a different voice.

XENA
You better run, you dirty thief!

She looks at the pouch.

XENA
There must be a small fortune in here.

GABRIELLE
It's our life savings. Please, just take it and
get a doctor. My husband's hurt real bad.

XENA
I wouldn't know where to look.

Leo takes the money.

LEO
I would. I'll get a doctor.

XENA
Then, at least have the good sense ta hide it!
That thug could strike at any moment! Here, I'll
show you. Give me your valuables.

LEO
Why?

XENA
Because, if they're all together, they're easier to
hide. Come on! He's dyin' already!

LEO
All right.

Leo hands her the ruby.

XENA
Now watch.

She sings as she puts the ruby in the pouch.

XENA
Na-na-na-na. Na-na. Na-na. Na-na-na-na-na-na.

She sticks the pouch in her cleavage.

XENA
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.

She hums.

XENA
See how simple?

LEO
For you. But I don't happen to own a pair of those.

XENA
Then lower your sights.

She pulls out the pouch (unknown to Leo it's a different pouch).

GABRIELLE
Hurry! Hurry!

LEO
All right.

Leo sticks the pouch down his pants.

XENA
Now, go! And don't stop for anything or anybody!

LEO
Lady, you can count on it.

He runs off. Xena drops the different voice.

XENA
Oh, I do, Leo, I really do.

She pulls out other pouch as Gabrielle and Rafe join her.

GABRIELLE
We did it.

Xena pulls out the ruby.

GABRIELLE
Titus will have a fit.

XENA
Well, that's nothing compared to what we're taking next.

GABRIELLE
What's that?

XENA and RAFE
Leo.

RAFE
Great minds...

GABRIELLE
We just had Leo. Why didn't we keep him?

XENA
Because, we don't wanna just defeat Titus, we
wanna destroy him bit by bit. Now, let's get going.
We'll check on Joxer, and then get the last phase
underway.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The three enter the temple. They look at the bed.

GABRIELLE
Poor guy, he's still sleeping.

RAFE
Ah, can you blame him?

XENA
No.

Xena flips back the covers and finds pillows.

GABRIELLE
(whispers) No.

RAFE
If Titus has him, we're finished.

XENA
So's Joxer.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Temple.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

XENA
According to the acolytes, Joxer was here when
they checked him at noon.

GABRIELLE
It's my fault. I should've hog-tied him when he
asked me to.

XENA
Hey, forget it. You're not to blame.

Eldon enters.

ELDON
Blame for what?

RAFE
Joxer's missing.

ELDON
What?! Oh, great! Of all the stupid, idiotic,
imbecilic...that's what we get, working with amateurs.

XENA
You got a problem with us? We'll take it up later.
Right now, we gotta find Joxer and get things
back on track.

RAFE
Right. We'll check the gaming clubs, in case Titus
made a grab for him.

ELDON
Are you crazy? If Titus has him, he's probably
spilled his guts by now. I say we fold the con
and blow.

GABRIELLE
You would like that, wouldn't you? Just make
a mess and walk away. You know, you wanted to
do that from the start.

ELDON
Hey! I didn't make this mess. Your friend did.
And you two are only making it worse.

XENA
All right that's enough.

ELDON
I'll say it is. We're the best in the business. What're
we doing with these two?

RAFE
I'll tell you. We're gonna help them find Joxer.
Then we're gonna make the grab for Leo. And
then the con is back into play. Do you understand?!

ELDON
You bet I do.

XENA
Let's go. We'll check the woods. We'll meet you
back at the tavern.

RAFE
Good luck.

XENA
You too.

Xena and Gabrielle leave.

ELDON
Man, you'd say anything to win that bet, wouldn't you?

RAFE
Bet's off, Eldon.

ELDON
Fine! You give me sixty dinars, it's off. Otherwise,
a bet's a bet. You've never welched yet, so why
start now?

RAFE
Hey, I'm not the one who wants to cut and run.
If we do that, well, even I can't score long-distance.

ELDON
Maybe you can't score at all. Maybe that's why
you're so willing to bail on this bet.

RAFE
Who's bailing? I just think we ought to focus on
the con.

ELDON
Wait. Don't tell me she's turned the tables. That's
it, isn't it? You're falling for the biggest con of all.
You're falling in love. I can't believe it.

RAFE
Good, 'cause if you're that big a fool, then I have
to start looking for a new partner.

ELDON
Hey, I know the one who's being played for a
sucker and I sure won't work with any mark who is.

RAFE
Then you have no problems.

ELDON
The bet stands?

RAFE
What do you think?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move along (Gabrielle on Argo) through the woods.

XENA
If Joxer did head for town, five'll get ya ten he's
headed this way.

GABRIELLE
Now, you're starting to talk like him.

XENA
Who?

GABRIELLE
Who do you think? Rafe.

XENA
I thought you liked him.

GABRIELLE
I did like him...at first. I think that your gut instinct
was right.

XENA
What changed your mind about him, hmm?

GABRIELLE
I don't trust him, Xena. Like you said, he is a con
man. A guy like that is always on the make.

XENA
This is about that bet, isn't it? Between Rafe and Eldon.

GABRIELLE
You know about that?

XENA
Enough to assure you that Rafe knows he can't
win. My guess is he's already called off the bet by now.

GABRIELLE
Xena, not according to Eldon. He said that Rafe
doubled it.

XENA
Well, has it occurred to you that maybe Eldon
wanted you to tell me that, so that I wouldn't
get anywhere near Rafe?

GABRIELLE
Do you think?

Leo and two thugs move along with Joxer.

LEO
Let's go, Mr. Lucky.

Joxer falls.

LEO
Come on! Get up, you wimp! You're my ticket out
of the doghouse!

He picks up Joxer.

XENA
And I'm the ticket-taker.

Xena runs in.

LEO
Get her.

Xena fights the thugs and then flips over to Leo with a yell. He draws his sword.

XENA
Smart money says you're going down.

She fights Leo.

GABRIELLE
Come on.

Gabrielle helps up Joxer and they move away. Xena knocks out Leo.

GABRIELLE
You okay?

Joxer nods and Xena joins them.

XENA
We'll get Joxer back after I've trussed up Leo for
safekeeping.

GABRIELLE
What then?

XENA
We take down Titus.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Village.

RAFE (voice-over)
Uh, relax.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rafe sticks a card in Xena's hair.

RAFE
This is not going to work if you're tense.

XENA
I'm not tense. I'm just concerned about Joxer.

RAFE
He'll be fine, thanks to you. All right, now, turn around.

XENA
Why?

RAFE
Just do it. Zeus, I'm not gonna knife you in the back.

He starts to massage her shoulders.

XENA
Not unless it improves the odds.

RAFE
What?

XENA
I said we don't have time for this.

RAFE
Look! Either you wanna take Titus down or not.

XENA
Okay.

RAFE
Huh, no-o-o-o-o-o-o, you're not tense.

XENA
Hey.

Xena grabs his hand.

RAFE
Nah, uh-uh. Come on, come on, come on, come
on. Give it a chance. You know what your problem is?

XENA
No, but I'll lay odds that you're gonna tell me.

RAFE
You are taking this con way too personal.

XENA
Joxer's a friend, that makes it personal.

RAFE
Wrong, that makes it important, which is exactly
why it's better to stay detached.

XENA
Better or safer?

RAFE
Smarter. Getting involved always blows things.

XENA
For you, maybe. Caring keeps you focused.

RAFE
Too risky.

XENA
I've learned that it's worth it.

RAFE
I've learned to play it safe.

Xena turns around to face him.

XENA
Well, that is exactly your problem! I don't
play safe.

They lean in to kiss when a barmaid enters.

BARMAID
O-o-ops! Excuse me. Sorry if I was...interrupting
anything.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casino.

TITUS
She may be good at killing in battle, but I've killed
at cards all my life. Bottom line is, I play Xena, I
win. So, why do I need you?

ELDON
Because you won't be playing Xena, at least not
just Xena. You'll be up against the best in the
business, a guy named Rafe. Trust me, no one
can beat them both without a little inside help.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Later. Xena, Gabrielle and Rafe enter with Leo. Xena is wearing the ruby around her neck.

XENA
Evening, Titus. Seems we've got a little something
you might want back.

TITUS
Sure do. That ruby's priceless.

GABRIELLE
She meant your son.

TITUS
Oh, did she? And how much is Leo gonna cost me?

XENA
Plenty. Here's the deal. You and me go head-to-head
in a single game of cards. Winner takes all.

TITUS
And if I refuse?

XENA
You lose Leo for good.

TITUS
You don't leave me much choice, do you?
Good-bye, Son.

LEO
Pop!

TITUS
You wanna use your sword, or do you wanna
borrow my dagger?

LEO
Pop! What're you doing?!

TITUS
Calling her bluff. Do you actually think I'd risk
letting you and your friend take everything I have?

XENA
Don't think I won't kill him.

TITUS
Think it? Huh, I know you won't. Just like I know
your whole con, thanks to a little inside information.

Eldon steps into view.

RAFE
You.

ELDON
Sorry, partner, but I play to win.

RAFE
You double-crossing bastard!

Rafe runs at Eldon, but Eldon stabs him.

XENA
No!

She runs over to Rafe and holds him.

XENA
Rafe.

Leo joins his father.

XENA
Rafe, I'm sor...I didn't realize-

RAFE
Shh. Shh. What did I say about staying detached?

Rafe kisses Xena and dies.

XENA
Gabrielle, help me get him outta here.

TITUS
Wait, where do you think you're going?

Xena stands

XENA
To honour a friend.

TITUS
What about our game?

XENA
There is no game. You turned me down.

TITUS
But you still have my ruby, if not my son. I want
it back.

XENA
Suffer.

TITUS
So, you wanted to play when Rafe was alive to
help you cheat. But, now that he's gone, you won't
play. That it?

XENA
It would've been a fair game.

TITUS
That so?

He pulls a card out of Xena's hair and tosses it aside.

TITUS
Play me now or shame your friend by walking away.

GABRIELLE
Don't listen to him, Xena. Let's just take Rafe
and get out of here.

XENA
You want a game? You got it.

GABRIELLE
Not now!

XENA
Yes, now is the time! For Rafe.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Titus sit at a table. The cards are dealt and they each look at their hand.

CROUPIER/DEALER
Titus?

TITUS
I'll check to the lady.

XENA
Give me three.

Xena tosses three cards to the table and is given three more.

TITUS
Two. Gimme two.

Titus tosses two cards to the table and is given two more.

CROUPIER/DEALER
Okay, folks show 'em if you've got 'em.

Titus shows his hand with a smile.

CROUPIER/DEALER
Full boat. Warlords over heroes.

EXTRA
There's your winner.

Titus moves to take the money on the table.

XENA
Uh-uh-uh. Four aces.

Xena flips over her cards in a pile.

TITUS
No. No, you can't. You couldn't! That-

Xena spaces out the cards to show the aces.

XENA
Read 'em and weep.

Titus takes the ruby.

TITUS
No!

Titus flips over the table.

GABRIELLE
No!

Titus holds a dagger at Gabrielle's throat.

TITUS
Anyone moves she cashes in for good.

XENA
Let her go. You won't get away.

TITUS
Who's gonna stop me? You?

XENA
No. Him.

Rafe grabs Titus' hand and Gabrielle gets away.

EXTRA
Get her!

Everyone fights. The guards are taken down and Titus starts to run out. Xena grabs a chandelier and swings over to Titus with a yell. She lands in front of him, grabs and head-butts him.

XENA
Leaving so soon? Don't bet on it!

She knocks him out. Xena and Rafe grasp hands and then Rafe and Eldon do.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later in the building, Gabrielle lays some flowers on the offering plate. Xena helps Joxer get his armour back on.

JOXER
Huh, wait a minute. You died?

RAFE
No, I pretended to die.

ELDON
Just like I pretended to switch sides and join Titus.

JOXER
And that's because, aah!

GABRIELLE
Xena knew that Titus would bet everything he had
thinking he couldn't lose once Rafe was dead.

JOXER
Oh-h, oh. Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, okay,
okay. You had a gold nugget-

XENA
We'll go over it on the road, huh? Right now, we
need some more bandages and salve to take
with us. (to Eldon and Rafe) Uh, you coming?

ELDON
Uh, right behind you.

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer move off.

RAFE
Wait a minute.

Xena doesn't hear and leaves.

ELDON
Let her go. You did it! Talk about a brilliant play.

RAFE
Huh? What do you mean?

ELDON
Using Xena's own con to win the bet! Stroke of
genius! Huh, you're the king, Rafe. You are.

RAFE
But, I didn't.

ELDON
Uh, what?

RAFE
Win the bet.

ELDON
Sure you did! I saw you kiss her.

RAFE
Exactly. I kissed her. The bet was that she would
kiss me which she didn't. So I lost. Uh, in fact,
these are yours.

He holds out the dinars.

ELDON
Uh no, you don't. You're setting me up, aren't you?
Playing some sort of angle I don't see. But I will.
And you know why? 'Cause you can't con a con
man, Rafe. Remember that, don't even try.

Eldon leaves. Rafe puts the dinars on the offering plate. He moves to leave, but bumps into Xena.

RAFE
Oop! I-

RAFE and XENA
I'm sorry.

RAFE
No, I--I. So, are you setting out?

XENA
That's right, I just wanted to thank you for all your
help. I know I didn't give you much choice.

RAFE
Well, you're welcome. So, maybe we will see each
other again, some time?

XENA
Yeah, maybe.

RAFE
Well, take care of yourself.

XENA
Yeah.

Rafe leaves. Xena sits and bumps the plate. She picks up one of the dinars and looks after Rafe. Then a small smile touches her lips.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Ted Raimi as Joxer
Patrick Fabian as Rafe
Cameron Rhodes as Eldon
Stig Eldred as Titus
Justin Curry as Leo
Bill Florian as Security Guard
Vikki Cottingham as Barmaid
Robert McMullen as Croupier/Dealer
Chris Sherwood as Guard #1

Written by: Chris Manheim
Directed by: Janet Greek

Disclaimer: No Con Men were conned during the production of this motion picture.