The Story (continued)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
THE BONNIE SITUATION [Story 3]
[This was a continuation of the Post-Credits Prologue - the Prelude to "Vincent Vega & Marsellus Wallace's Wife"]
Hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules were in the Hollywood apartment, performing their early-morning assignment to retrieve Marsellus' briefcase from a group of college kids. Jules was at the point of reciting the memorized Bible passage to Brett, who was about to be assassinated (seen a second time, with slight variations):
Well, there's this passage I got memorized. Sort of fits this occasion. Ezekiel 25:17. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee!'
During the brutal execution as Marvin (Phil LaMarr) cowered in the corner, a fourth man (Alexis Arquette, credited as Man #4) was huddled in the bathroom, clutching a large silver .357 Magnum. He burst out of hiding as the two hit men were calming down Marvin - [Discontinuity: bullet holes appeared in the wall behind them even before the shooting occurred!] The fourth individual charged while shouting: "Die, you motherf--kers!" and wildly fired six shots point-blank at them. The two hit men were astonished that they were unharmed - not a single bullet hit either of them, but only embedded themselves in the wall behind them. They returned fire and murdered the shooter, (Body Count #7) who had wielded a formidable "hand cannon" at them.
Afterwards, Vincent spoke to their informant Marvin: "Why the f--k didn't you tell us somebody was in the bathroom?" Jules muttered to himself: "We should be f--kin' dead, man." He regarded their salvation as a miraculous sign from God and wanted Vincent to acknowledge the fact: "That s--t wasn't luck...This was divine intervention." Vincent offered his definition: "That means that God came down from Heaven and stopped the bullets." As Jules drove off with Marvin (in the backseat), taken as a hostage, the two hitmen continued their "theological discussion" in the car.
Jules felt that his eyes were now "wide f--kin' open" after their miraculous escape from being shot. He interpreted it as a sign that he should retire from his deadly profession - working for Marsellus: "It means that's it for me. From here on in, you can consider my ass retired." Vincent asked Marvin: "What do you make of all this?" He replied: "Man, I don't even have an opinion." Vincent turned around, with his gun in his right hand, as he sardonically asked again: "Well, you gotta have an opinion. I mean, do you think that God came down from Heaven and stopped --- "
Suddenly, Vincent's mispointed gun fired accidentally. It was a sick, gruesomely funny, and blood-splattering back-seat death for Marvin. (Body Count #8) The inside of the back window was sprayed with blood. After Jules exclaimed: "What the f--k's happenin'?", Vega offered a lame explanation: "Oh, man, I shot Marvin in the face." Jules asked: "Why the f--k'd you do that?" Vega could only admit: "I didn't mean to do it. It was an accident," and then he blamed it on Jules' driving, claiming he went over a bump. He kept saying: "I didn't mean to shoot the son-of-a-bitch. The gun went off. I don't know why." Jules was worried they would be discovered by the police: "Look at this f--kin' mess, man! We're on a city street in broad daylight here...We gotta get this car off the road. You know, cops seem to notice s--t like you're drivin' a car drenched in f--kin' blood."
Now 8:00 am, they fled to the Toluca Lake home of Jules' friend Jimmie (director Quentin Tarantino) - [Note: This was an oblique reference to the New Wave film by director Francois Truffaut, Jules et Jim (1962).] There, the two bloodied the towels in the bathroom while washing their blood-soaked hands. In the kitchen, Jules complimented Jimmie on his coffee: "This some serious gourmet s--t. Me and Vincent would have been satisfied with some freeze-dried Taster's Choice." After they had arrived and parked the car in Jimmie's garage, he was dismayed by the bloody car and the corpse. Whiny Jimmie was anxious about the situation, not the quality of the coffee: "It's the dead nigger in my garage." He petulantly added:
"When you came pullin' in here, did you notice the sign on the front of my house that said, 'Dead Nigger Storage'?"
He was worried that his wife Bonnie was about to return home from her hospital nurse work (graveyard shift) in an hour and a half, and they needed to clean up the bloody evidence before she arrived - otherwise, she would threaten a divorce. Jules phoned for help from Marsellus, explaining that there was no way Bonnie could return home from work and find "a bunch of gangsters in the kitchen doin' a bunch of gangster s--t." [The dilemma was briefly dramatized.]
Jules was relieved ("That's all you had to say") when the crime boss promised to call upon the Wolf, a problem-solver. The efficient and quick professional killer, a suave, dapper, dinner-jacketed Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel), was summoned to assist from an 8:30 am cocktail party being held in a hotel suite, where fancy-dressed players were gambling. [Note: The role was similar to Keitel's role in director John Badham's The Assassin (1993), aka Point of No Return, in which he was a cleaner who disposed of bodies and evidence.] After jotting down brief notes, The Wolf asserted: "It's 30 minutes away. I'll be there in ten." According to a caption, he arrived at the scene "nine minutes thirty-seven seconds later" - with tires on his silver Acura screeching to a halt. He curtly said there was only 40 minutes left to deal with the situation. After savoring a cup of Jimmie's coffee, with "lotsa cream, lotsa sugar," the Wolf took charge. He ordered Jules and Vincent about what must be done, in great detail, showing off his expertise:
- "Take the body, stick it in the trunk."
- "Take those cleaning products and clean the inside of the car -- I'm talkin' fast, fast, fast."
- "You need to go in the back seat, scoop up all those little pieces of brain and skull. Get it out of there. Wipe down the upholstery."
He also asked for items from Jimmie's linen closet (blankets, comforters, quilts, bedspreads) to camouflage the interior of the car. (He later reimbursed Jimmie with a wad of cash for the cost of the replacement of the bedroom set.] When he ordered the hitmen to get to work, Vincent asked for a please, and was reprimanded for being disrespectful: "I'm not here to say please. I'm here to tell you what to do." He explained that his curtness was because "time is a factor" - "So pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the f--kin' car." As the two argued inside the car about their "repugnant" duties, Jules insisted that they switch roles: "We're f--kin' switchin'. I'm washin' the windows, and you're pickin' up this nigger's skull." Phase Two of the job required that the hitmen clean themselves up, dispose of their own "bloody rags" in a large plastic trash bag, soap up under a stream of water from a garden hose, and change into dorky casual-wear (shorts and T-shirts) provided by Jimmie - Jules wore a "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt, while Vincent wore a UC Santa Cruz "Banana Slugs" T-shirt.
Wolf and Jules drove off in the "tainted" Chevrolet to Monster Joe's Truck and Tow, a used auto junkyard in North Hollywood, owned by Joe and his earthy red-haired daughter Raquel (Julia Sweeney), while Vincent followed in the Wolf's Acura. Apparently, Wolf was having an affair with Raquel, and after dropping off the car, he invited her out to breakfast. After they sped off, Jules and Vincent were forced to take a cab ride to their homes, Inglewood and Redondo Beach respectively, but first decided to go have breakfast.
EPILOGUE [Interlocking with the Prologue]
In the film's epilogue, hitman Jules was eating breakfast (only coffee and a muffin) in a booth in LA's Hawthorne Grill with his partner Vincent (gorging himself on pancakes and pork sausages). Jules refused an offer of pork, and they entered a discussion of the pros and cons of eating pork. Jules thought pigs were dirty animals: "Pigs sleep and root in s--t. That's a filthy animal." Then Jules returned to the discussion about the Miracle that he had experienced, describing: "I felt the touch of God. God got involved." He insisted that because of this spiritual revelation, he was seriously going to forsake the "Life" and quit being a gangster. First, he would deliver the case to Marsellus, then "I'm just gonna walk the Earth...You know, like Caine in Kung Fu." [Note: The half-Chinese, half-Caucasian Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine, was played by David Carradine in the early 1970s ABC-TV show.] He would "walk from place to place, meet people, get in adventures...'til God puts me where He wants me to be...If it takes forever, then I'll walk forever." He refused to let Vincent call him a "bum" like the homeless begging for spare change on the streets. Vincent excused himself "to take a s--t," but first asked when Jules had made his decision. Jules said he had "a moment of clarity" during his breakfast when he contemplated quitting.
Suddenly, Jules witnessed the two robbers from the film's pre-credits sequence, ordering the patrons from their booths, getting the Mexicans out of the kitchen, threatening and intimidating the manager, and stealing from the patrons by having them deposit their valuables in a plastic trash bag held by Ringo. [Note: This was the name of one of Tarantino's favorite spaghetti western characters.] When Jules was personally confronted by Ringo, he calmly deposited his wallet in the bag, but wouldn't easily part with the briefcase. After a count to three, he relinquished the case, snapped it open, and revealed to the thieves the mysterious, glowing orange contents. When they expressed amazement ("It's beautiful"), Jules took advantage of the situation, grabbed Ringo's gun, and held his own .45 pistol under Ringo's chin. While her partner was held hostage, Honey Bunny/Yolanda became hysterical.
To have crazed neurotic Honey Bunny relax her trigger-finger, Jules asked her: "What's Fonzie like?" When she rightly answered with "Cool," he replied appropriately: "Correctamundo. And that's what we're gonna be." Because Jules was in a "transitional period" and starting a new life, he didn't want things to end in bloodshed, and promised that he wanted to help them. Vincent appeared with gun drawn and aimed at Honey Bunny, but was instructed to "hang back." Jules had Ringo retrieve his wallet (inscribed "Bad Motherf--ker") from the plastic bag, and uncharacteristically handed over almost $1,500 dollars as a reward to them (for not taking the briefcase), and then explained: "I'm giving you that money so I don't have to kill your ass."He reprised and reinterpreted his Biblical speech to thieving Ringo, this time changing its meaning to rationalize his mercy rather than rebribution:
You read the Bible, Ringo?...Well, there's this passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.'
I been saying that s--t for years, and if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded s--t to say to a mother f--ker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some s--t this mornin' made me think twice. See, now I'm thinkin' maybe it means you're the evil man and I'm the righteous man, and Mr. 9-millimeter here, he's the shepherd protectin' my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd, and it's the world that's evil and selfish. Now, I'd like that. But that s--t ain't the truth. The truth is, you're the weak and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd. (He uncocked his gun and lowered it) Go.
Ultimately, to redeem himself, he let the two robbers flee with $1,500 from his wallet (but not with the briefcase, which wasn't his), and the patrons' valuables. After hesitating for a moment, the two walked out the front door with the trash bag. The film concluded with the two hit men also calmly leaving, to the tune of the Lively Ones' "Surf Rider":
Vincent: I think we should be leaving now.
Jules: Yeah. That's probably a good idea.