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Daily Speculations The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner

CUT TO:

A knife pointed at a throat -- PULL BACK TO REVEAL Vizzini
munching on an apple, holding the knife to Buttercup's
throat. She is blindfolded.

A PICNIC SPREAD is laid out. A tablecloth, two goblets and
between them, a small leather wine container. And some
cheese and a couple of apples. The picnic is set on a lovely
spot, high on the edge of a mountain path with a view all
the way back to the sea.

The Man In Black comes running around the path, sees Vizzini,
slows. The two men study each other. Then --

VIZZINI
So, it is down to you. And it is
down to me.

The Man In Black nods and comes nearer --

VIZZINI
If you wish her dead, by all
means keep moving forward.

And he pushes his long knife harder against Buttercup's
unprotected throat.

MAN IN BLACK
Let me explain-

VIZZINI
-- there's nothing to explain.
You're trying to kidnap what I've
rightfully stolen.

MAN IN BLACK
Perhaps an arrangement can be
reached.

VIZZINI
There will be no arrangement --
(deliberate)
-- and you're killing her!

CUT TO:

BUTTERCUP'S THROAT

as Vizzini jabs with his long knife. Buttercup gasps against
the pain.

CUT TO:

THE MAN IN BLACK

stopping fast.

MAN IN BLACK
But if there can be no
arrangement, then we are at an
impasse.

VIZZINI
I'm afraid so -- I can't compete
with you physically. And you're
no match for my brains.

MAN IN BLACK
You're that smart?

VIZZINI
Let me put it this way: have you
ever heard of Plato, Aristotle,
Socrates?

MAN IN BLACK
Yes.

VIZZINI
Morons.

MAN IN BLACK
Really? In that case, I challenge
you to a battle of wits.

VIZZINI
For the Princess?

The Man In Black nods.

VIZZINI
To the death?

Another nod.

VIZZINI
I accept.

MAN IN BLACK
Good. Then pour the wine.

As Vizzini fills the goblets with the dark red liquid, the
Man In Black pulls a small packet from his clothing, handing
it to Vizzini.

MAN IN BLACK
Inhale this, but do not touch.

VIZZINI
(doing it)
I smell nothing.

MAN IN BLACK
(taking the packet back)
What you do not smell is called
iocane powder. It is odorless,
tasteless, dissolves instantly in
liquid, and is among the more
deadlier poisons known to man.

VIZZINI
Hmm.

CUT TO:

VIZZINI

watching excitedly as the Man In Black takes the goblets,
turns his back. A moment later, he turns again, faces
Vizzini, drops the iocane packet. It is now empty.

The Man In Black rotates the goblets in a little shell game
maneuver then puts one glass in front of Vizzini, the other
in front of himself.

MAN IN BLACK
All right: where is the poison?
The battle of wits has begun. It
ends when you decide and we both
drink, and find out who is right
and who is dead.

VIZZINI
But it's so simple. All I have to
do is divine from what I know of
you. Are you the sort of man who
would put the poison into his own
goblet, or his enemy's?

He studies the Man In Black now.

VIZZINI
Now, a clever man would put the
poison into his own goblet,
because he would know that only a
great fool would reach for what
he was given. I'm not a great
fool, so I can clearly not choose
the wine in front of you. But you
must have known I was not a great
fool; you would have counted on
it, so I can clearly not choose
the wine in front of me.

MAN IN BLACK
(And now there's a
trace of nervousness beginning)
You've made your decision then7

VIZZINI
Not remotely. Because iocane
comes from Australia, as everyone
knows. And Australia is entirely
peopled with criminals. And
criminals are used to having
people not trust them, as you are
not trusted by me. So I can
clearly not choose the wine in
front of you.

MAN IN BLACK
Truly, you have a dizzying
intellect.

VIZZINI
Wait till I get going! Where was I?

MAN IN BLACK
Australia.

VIZZINI
Yes -- Australia, and you must
have suspected I would have known
the powder's origin, so I can
clearly not choose the wine in
front of me.

MAN IN BLACK
(very nervous)
You're just stalling now.

VIZZINI
(cackling)
You'd like to think that, wouldn't
you?
(stares at the Man in Black)
You've beaten my giant, which
means you're exceptionally strong.
So, you could have put the poison
in your own goblet, trusting on
your strength to save you. So I
can clearly not choose the wine
in front of you. But, you've also
bested my Spaniard which means
you must have studied. And in
studying, you must have learned
that man is mortal so you would
have put the poison as far from
yourself as possible, so I can
clearly not choose the wine in
front of me.

As Vizzini's pleasure has been growing throughout, the Man
In Black's has been fast disappearing.

MAN IN BLACK
You're trying to trick me into
giving away something -- it won't
work --

VIZZINI
(triumphant)
It has worked -- you've given
everything away -- I know where
the poison is.

MAN IN BLACK
(fool's courage)
Then make your choice.

VIZZINI
I will. And I choose --

And suddenly he stops, points at something behind the Man In
Black.

VIZZINI
-- what in the world can that be?

CUT TO:

THE MAN IN BLACK

turning around, looking.

MAN IN BLACK
What? Where? I don't see anything.

CUT TO:

VIZZINI

busily switching the goblets while the Man In Black has his
head turned.

VIZZINI
Oh, well, I-I could have sworn I
saw something. No matter.

The Man In Black turns to face him again. Vizzini starts to
laugh.

MAN IN BLACK
What's so funny?

VIZZINI
I'll tell you in a minute. First,
let's drink -- me from my glass,
and you from yours.

And he picks up his goblet. The Man In Black picks up the
one in front of him. As they both start to drink, Vizzini
hesitates a moment.

Then, allowing the Man In Black to drink first, he swallows
his wine.

MAN IN BLACK
You guessed wrong.

VIZZINI
(roaring with laughter)
You only think I guessed wrong --
(louder now)
-- that's what's so funny! I
switched glasses when your back
was turned. You fool.

CUT TO:

THE MAN IN BLACK

There's nothing he can say. He just sits there.

CUT TO:

VIZZINI

watching him.

VIZZINI
You fell victim to one of the
classic blunders. The most famous
is "Never get involved in a land
war in Asia." But only slightly
less well known is this: "Never
go in against a Sicilian when
death is on the line."

He laughs and roars and cackles and whoops and is in all
ways quite cheery until he falls over dead.

CUT TO:

THE MAN IN BLACK

stepping past the corpse, taking the blindfold and bindings
off Buttercup, who notices Vizzini lying dead.

The Man In Black pulls her to her feet.

BUTTERCUP
Who are you?

MAN IN BLACK
I am no one to be trifled with,
that is all you ever need know.

He starts to lead her off the mountain path into untraveled
terrain.

BUTTERCUP
(a final glance back
toward Vizzini)
To think -- all that time it was
your cup that was poisoned.

MAN IN BLACK
They were both poisoned. I spent
the last few years building up an
immunity to iocane powder.

And with that, he takes off, dragging her behind him.