Two States Over | Script Revolution

Two States Over

The death of a fugitive bank robber brings a retired patrolman and the man’s surviving kin together
as each searches for answers to a decades old mystery and lay their guilt to rest.

Within the first hour of every Screenwriting 101, instructors explain the age-old adage “arrive late, leave early.” It means: start in the middle of the action or drama and leave the scene having created more questions, something new to discover. Seems simple enough, right?

To Steve Miles it is. Mr. Miles could teach this portion of the class through his authentically-voiced “Two States Over,” which begins with long-retired lawman Pat Hanlon arriving to the weeks-old scene of a dastardly villain’s demise. Why is this old man interested in a dead criminal’s former shack of a home? What’s the connection between the living and the dead?

These questions and more build as Hanlon approaches Workmen and Milt, a man in office attire donning vinyl gloves.

They told me crime scene had been through?

Yessir, couple weeks back. I’m with the county. Historic Preservation.

Hanlon frowns, nonplussed. The armchair loaded, the Workmen return to the cabin.

You want us to start on the grounds?

No, it’s junk. No sense in moving it. Just clear the stoop and inside.
See it’s well roped for that bone shaker out.

The Workmen file up the steps and set to work on the chair.

(re: the gloves)
I got spares.

I’m just looking is all.

What he’s looking for and what he finds dog us throughout, another master class in writing from Mr. Miles: the mystery within the mystery. We know right off someone significant by the name Dixon died on this property and we know Hanlon's come looking for answers. But, his questions are the real clues and he's got a few for the deceased's sister Sabine, who also arrived late to the party from two states over.

Sabine meets his eyes. Hard. Unforgiving.

Take a good look, Mister Hanlon. This where he saw
out his days. Half-blind, near crippled, just him and the bottle.
My brothers was born to hard times and Lord knows they died
no different.

It’s in me, I won’t deny. But that ain’t why I’m here.

She stares him down, prying the truth free.

The boy I shot.

The Workmen loiter about the doorway sharing a smoke, casting sidelong glances, growing impatient.

Maybe some truths is best left be.

The ending of “Two States Over” surely leaves the reader be. We’re left piecing together a fantastic puzzle of present and past, right and wrong. “I’ve seen all I need,” Hanlon laments.

I haven’t seen all I need, until I see this story on the big screen.

The Script

Two States Over

The death of a fugitive bank robber brings a retired patrolman and the man’s surviving kin together as each searches for answers to a decades old mystery and lay their guilt to rest.

About The Reviewer

Zack Zupke's picture
Real name: 

I am a Wisconsin-based writer. With a degree in journalism, news writing and editing gave me a superb foundation for my love of story and telling it via the written word. I have written several TV specs and two TV pilots along with several features. The three featured on this site: the "The Confession" was optioned by Little Flame Films July of 2021 and produced as "Confession Day." Watch the trailer!; "Brandy" is a sitcom pilot that has placed well...Read more

About The Writer

Steve Miles's picture
Real name: 

Started writing scripts around eight years ago after realising his social life was vastly overrated. Enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit - from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of plaid and uses a calculator for the most basic of sums.Read more