Hey folks. This is my ending to the film Collateral. It is a one-shot.

All I own of Collateral is one copy of it that I bought at the local Hollywood video. The copyright does not belong to me, and if the copyright holders are upset by me writing this, merely email me and I shall cease and desist at once.

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Max ducked back as the train's doors slid shut again. He winced. The next stop would not be for another fifteen minutes, far to long for him to avoid Vincent. The lights flickered, then came back to normal power.

"Max!" Vincent roared from the other compartment. "I do this for a living!"

Max pushed Annie to the side, stepped out to the middle of the cab, and raised his stolen H&K .45. Vincent did the same, aiming, prepared to kill. The lights flickered.

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!BLAM!BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!BLAM! The noise was deafening. Max's ears were ringing loudly, Annie was sitting on the ground, with her hands on her ears.

Max recoiled as the lights came back to full power. There were three bullet holes in the door in front of him, and the glass panels. The slide on the H&K handgun was locked back, meaning the gun was empty. He looked through the broken glass in the door. Vincent was bent over, coughing. Max gingerly opened the door and stepped through, pointing the empty gun at the hitman. Vincent wheezed a little more and sat down. Max did the same. Vincent moved his suit jacket aside. There was a black bullet hole in Vincent's white shirt. He was having obvious trouble breathing. Annie walked in and took a seat next to Max.

"We're almost to the next stop." Max said quietly. Max suddenly felt sorry for the man, despite that he had tried to kill him a moment earlier. Vincent coughed a few more times. He slowly unbuttoned three buttons on his shirt and looked under the cloth. There was no blood. Vincent rapped his knuckle against the hard white material under his shirt. Then it hit Max what it was. A concealed bullet-proof vest. He had seen them a few times before. Alarm shot through Max, eradicating the pity he had been feeling a moment ago.

Vincent stood, rubbing his chest, ignoring the blood that was still oozing down the side of his head. "No, I'm fine, thanks for the concern. Just wasn't sure for a moment if the round penetrated the vest, though." He glanced at Max's shocked face. "I'd think of all people, you'd understand planning ahead, Max." He stepped a few feet back, and raised his handgun, which, unlike Max's, was loaded. Annie cried out in terror.

"It does surprise me though." Vincent said. "You drive a cab for twelve years, then one day you're suddenly willing to die to save a girl you met a few hours earlier."

"Wait!" Max said. "Can't you just let her go? Four out of five, you did eighty percent of the contract! You killed all the witnesses, how could they indite those people?"

"Give me one good reason why I should let her go." Vincent said coldly, now aiming the pistol at Max. Max had no doubt that if he failed to answer, Vincent would kill them both. His pulse started racing again, and he felt slightly dizzy, just like when Vincent had killed the jazz player in the club, killed the man after sitting down and having a drink with him.

"Because… you're that coyote we saw on the road. Roaming around a concrete jungle filled with people you can't understand, killing for food and pleasure, acting completely without a conscious." Max said. He was probably going do die anyway, so he might as well say whatever he felt like saying. "You've lost the very human traits of compassion and remorse and in the end you've turned into nothing more than an intelligent animal."

Vincent didn't move for a few moments, repeating what Max had said in his mind, about those coyotes that crossed the road on the way to Club Fever. He had been surprised, really, that Max had bothered to stop for the animals and had not just kept driving...

Max stared at Vincent, defiant. He wasn't afraid anymore. The train rumbled to a halt, and the doors slid open. Vincent calmly put the pistol in his holster and exited the train, without looking back. A minute later and he was gone from sight. The doors slid shut and the train rumbled on as the light of dawn started to brighten the train.

Two and a half years later…

A well-dressed man paused outside a business office, glancing up at the sign. Island Limousines, the building said. He walked through the doorway and took the elevator to the fifth floor, greeting the secretary with a smile and a nod. He walked past a line of rooms, and stopped outside the door marked

Island Limosines'

President/Owner

Max Durocher

Max opened the door, putting a small suitcase down on a chair, and flipping through the mail on his desk. Next to the computer was a picture of him and Annie in a church, both grinning hugely and showing off rings to the photographer. Max picked up one piece of mail, a postcard with a picture of nighttime Los Angeles on the back. Max flipped it over and read the brief message on it.

Limos, huh?

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Well, there you have it, an alternate, slightly cheerier ending to the great film Collateral. Please a review if you liked it. I did not try to outdo Michael Mann, I merely am exploring the possibility of another ending that could have fit the movie as well as ended it on a higher note.

I realize the part where Vincent lets Max and Annie go may not have been totally in line with Collateral, but I felt since the ending was so sad I needed to write a cheerier alternate ending. Why did I feel it was sad? Vincent's corpse goes riding off on the train, unnoticed. I find that gloomy.