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THE STAGE 32 LOGLINES

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THE BITTER FRUIT
By James B Brandt

GENRE: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
LOGLINE: CRISTINE MARBELLA, a mixed Filipina/American student living with her half-sister while in college, is brutally gang-raped. Terrified that the boys will keep their promise to repeat the assault, afraid to talk to the police, ashamed of herself, she decides to eliminate the threat - decisively.

SYNOPSIS:

On her way back from a late night college class, CRISTINE MARBELLA is gang-raped by three Hispanic boys: ENRIQUE, his younger brother MIGUEL, and Enrique's sidekick JUAN. Afraid of the police, shamed by the rape, she is terrified when the boys confront her again at work with threats of repeating the rape and worse if she talks, Cristine falls into a deep melancholy. Worried, her half-sister JANA tries to bring her out of the morass, reminding her of their father's efforts to teach them self-reliance and self-determination before he was killed in an oil rig accident in the South Pacific. Encouraged by the reminder of their father's proud and honorable spirit, Cristine begins Krav Maga martial arts lessons. She also begins studying at the library. She is determined to not let fear or the evil of others destroy her life. A plan evolves... if she cannot live with the threat, she will eliminate it. She begins by planning her revenge and gathering her material. Her first target is Enrique, the instigator of the rape. Disguised as a deaf/mute Hispanic, she sets-up in a parking lot she expects the boys to visit. She is selling fish tacos. But one is special. It is made with the deadly poisonous puffer fish, cooked with care from what she has learned in her research to be most toxic blend of fish and oils; she hides the special burrito in her cooler under the regular burritos. Enrique, Juan, and Miguel are attracted to her sign and request three burritos. Cristine tries to give the "special" burrito to Enrique, but Juan snatches it from her hand. While the boys walk off, refusing to pay, Cristine calmly walks away. The newspapers reported Juan's death as an allergic reaction to seafood. Encouraged by her reading, with growing confidence from her martial arts classes, Cristine makes another attempt on Enrique. She observes him while he works at the tire shop and builds a plan around the large cup of tea he drinks from throughout the day. Later, disguised as a "dot", a woman from India, she drives a borrowed car with a flat tire to the shop. While Enrique is checking for a leak, she swaps his mug with an identical one she has distressed to look used. The new mug is laced with Oleander leaves and flower juice, another deadly poison. Another mysterious death... She is torn over Miguel. He did try to stop the rape at first, but still participated. She prepares her surprise for him, but holds off, wrestling with her own conscious. But Miguel has figured it out... and he has his own surprise. Grabbing her on her way home from the store, he drags her into a closed store that he has fitted out with soundproofing, a mattress, and a way to bind her to the walls. The pepper spray Jana bought is only partly effective and Miguel manages to overpower Cristine. But the spray has some effect and he leaves her bound while he goes home to wash away the residue. That is a mistake that allows Cristine to free her hands just before he returns. Using what she learned in Krav Maga, she turns the tables on Miguel. She tells him she will leave him tied overnight while she decides what to do. He whines about hunger, so she leaves him two brownies she has in her purse, promising a decision on his fate in the morning. Frustrated over his failure to duplicate Cristine's escape, Miguel slumps back. He eyes the brownies... unable to resist, he manages to get them and eats them... not knowing that when Cristine had told him they were flavored with ground apple seeds and raw almonds, she was also telling him that they were deadly poison.

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