The Stooper

Left for dead after bungling a petty scam on a sadistic gambler, a lowly racetrack stooper fights back with the help of the gambler’s ex-girlfriend to regain his dignity and recover a valuable ticket that rightfully belongs to him.

Watch a table read of a couple scenes from The Stooper:

Everyman Larry discovers a way to supplement his meager income as a dishwasher in a diner: stooping for discarded tickets at Off-Track Betting, hoping to find a few winners cast about the floor. Hardly glamorous, Larry’s life could be tolerable if not for the torment meted out by a thuggish gambler known as Vic the Prick.

On a trip to the hospital, Vic hits it off with a member of the staff – a helpful and attractive worker named Maddie – and the two make a date. Although Vic has a secret taste for Asian hookers, he takes Maddie out as his legitimate girlfriend. Their relationship starts out well, with Vic offering to pay Maddie’s rent so she can quit the hospital.

In the meantime, Larry finds a crumpled race ticket worth $700. Instead of paying some bills, Larry purchases 700 lottery tickets. At the diner that evening – feeling buyer’s remorse for spending his winnings – Larry encounters Vic who is appalled that a dirty stooper works in the food service industry. Vic browbeats the owner to fire Larry.

Maddie becomes concerned about her relationship with Vic after he reveals his darker side during a trip to Atlantic City with his goons and their girlfriends. Maddie confides in her friend Lisa who pushes her to call it quits with Vic, but she can’t bring herself to do so. Vic has already made plans for the following day with Maddie and his friends to see a pro football game and enjoy an expensive meal afterwards. Also in store is a visit to a strip club which irritates Maddie. A strident argument turns violent when Vic clocks Maddie, and she stabs him with a knife in retaliation. Astutely aware now of Vic’s capacity for evil, Maddie abandons her apartment and seeks safety at Lisa’s apartment.

In a funk, Larry scans his lottery tickets hoping to recoup some of his investment. Almost out of hope, Larry discovers he’s won seven grand. Suddenly Larry can ditch stooping and start anew, but before he leaves town he decides to screw over Vic the Prick. Using the lottery ticket as bait, Larry tricks Vic into paying a thousand dollars for a bogus ticket that looks like the real one. Vic soon learns he’s been conned and forces one of the OTB workers to give up Larry’s location. After torturing the real ticket out of Larry in the New Jersey swampland, Vic stuffs the bogus ticket in Larry’s shirt. Then Ray, one of Vic’s goons shoots Larry in the back of the head.

Or so he thought. Left for dead with a bullet hole in his ear, Larry ends up in a hospital in Jersey. There he meets Maddie who has resumed the duties of her former job. Maddie finds virtue in the downtrodden Larry who appreciates her attention. In time the two develop a relationship. Just before Larry is set to be discharged from the hospital, Vic learns that he’s still alive and is in possession of an item of tremendous value – the ticket he stuffed in Larry’s shirt. Ray goes to the hospital and takes the ticket. He also encounters Maddie and takes her to Vic. Having gained the confidence that eluded him in the past – thanks to the attention from Maddie – Larry fights back.

He recovers the ticket, saves Maddie and leaves Vic the Prick in a broken heap of trouble.