Based on a novel by
Still-life tableaus. Lawford, N.H., a town of fifty buildings
on a glacial ridge, neither mountain nor plateau. Developed
as 1880's forestland, discarded in the Depression. Winter
has set in. Halloween day. Snowy fields yield to overcast
skies: oppressive, horizonless, flourescent.
-- Wickham's Restaurant. Where Route 29 bends. 24-hour diner.
Margie Fogg works here.
-- Trailer park in shadow of Parker Mountain. Home of Wade
-- Toby's Inn. Roadhouse three miles from town on the river
side of Route 29. Everything not tied down ends up here.
-- Glen Whitehouse farm. White clapboard.
-- First Congregational Church. North on the Common from
-- LaRiviere Co. Ramshackle well-digging firm embarrassingly
near the town center. Wade works here.
-- Merritt's Shell Station. Cinder-block.
-- Alma Pittman's house. Like so many others.
-- Town Hall.
ROLFE WHITEHOUSE'S VOICE, thirtiesh, articulate, speaks over
This is the story of my older
brother's strange criminal behavior
and disappearance. We who loved him
no longer speak of Wade. It's as if
he never existed. By telling his
story like this, as his brother, I
separate myself from his family and
those who loved him. Everything of
importance -- that is, everything
that gives rise to the telling of
this story -- occurred during a single
deer-hunting season in a small town
in upstate New Hampshire where Wade
was raised and so was I. One night
something changed and my relation to
Wade's story was different from what
it had been since childhood. I mark
this change by Wade's tone of voice
during a phone call two nights after
Halloween. Something I had not heard
before. Let us imagine that around
eight o'clock on Halloween Eve,
speeding past Toby's, Route 29, comes
a pale green eight-year-old Ford
Fairlane with a police bubble on
top. A square-faced man wearing a
trooper's cap is driving the vehicle.
Beside him sits a child, a little
girl with a plastic tiger mask
covering her face. The man is driving
-- Route 29 tableau dissolves to night. A pale green police
Ford Fairlane drives past.
INT./EXT. POLICE CAR - NIGHT
WADE WHITEHOUSE, driving, sits beside JILL, his daughter,
ten years-old, wearing a black-and-yellow tiger plastic mask.
I'm sorry for the screw-up. But I
couldn't help it it's too late to go
trick-or-treating now. I couldn't
help it I had to stop at Penny's for
the costume. And you were hungry,
Who's fault is it then if it's not
yours? You're the one in charge,
Look. Those kids are still trick-or-
treating. They're still out.
Wade watches boys in the headlights, lights cigarette.
Those are the Hoyts.
I don't care. They're out.
Can't you see... look out there.
Nobody's got their porch lights on
anymore. It's too late. Those Hoyt
kids are just out to get in trouble.
See, they put shaving cream all over
that mailbox there. They chopped
down Herb Crane's new bushes. Little
bastards. Jesus H. Christ.
Wade grimaces, holds his jaw. The Fairlane swerves around
broken pumpkins under a caution light.
Why do they do that?
Yeah. It's stupid.
I guess they're stupid.
Did you do that when you were a kid?
Well, yeah. Sort of. Nothing really
mean. Me and my pals, me and my
brothers. It was kind of funny then.
Stealing pumpkins, soaping windows.
Stuff like that.
Was it funny?
To us it was.
But it's not funny now.
It's not funny now. I'm a cop and I
gotta listen to all the complaints
people make. I'm not a kid anymore.
I bet you did lots of bad things.
What are you talking about?
I just think you used to be bad.
No. I didn't used to be bad. No sir.
Where do you get this stuff? From
No. She doesn't talk about you
Wade looks at her, wanting to lift her mask, see her face.
EXT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
The Fairlane approaches Town Hall, a square two-story building
on the north side of the Common. Exhaust billows from idling
cars as parents and children come and go.
INT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
Clowns, tramps, angels and vampires fill the brightly lit
room. Parents watch from the walls as GORDON LARIVIERE, a
beefy fiftiesh man with a silver flat-top, announces the
costume contest. Wade nods to various townspeople.
We're looking for the funniest
costume! And the scariest! And the
most imaginative! And the best costume
Got here just in time. Go ahead.
Jump in line. Maybe you'll win a
Jill steps forward, retreats. Wade looks at her flaxen hair,
her blue sneakers protruding from her pathetic costume. His
heart aches he loves her so.
Go on, Jill. Some of those kids you
I don't want to.
Why? Why not? You know these kids
from when you went to school here.
It hasn't been that long.
It's not that.
I want to go home.
(Wade kneels down)
I don't like it here.
Oh, Jesus, come on, will you? Don't
mess this up anymore than it's already
been messed up. Join the other kids.
Do that and before you know it you'll
be as happy as a goddamned clam.
Wade inches her toward the circle of children. Gordon spots
Wade! And who's that tiger? Is that
Jill? Come and join us.
Jill in the spotlight, joins the costumed children. A former
classmate calls her name. Wade, relieved, watches, then steps
outside for a smoke.
EXT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
Wade steps outside, lights a cigarette. JACK HEWITT, 23,
clean-cut, handsome, cocky, stands with CHICK WARD and FRANKIE
LACOY, local boys.
What are you boys up to?
Same old shit.
You see the damage these little sons-
of bitches been raising tonight?
You're going to have to move your
(offers whiskey pint)
Take a bite.
Don't mind if I do.
LaRiviere's having a hell of a time
in there. Master of fucking
Where's that gun you were bragging
Jack stops over to his double-parked burgandy pickup, removes
a Browning BAR .30/06 with a scope, hands it to Wade.
No brag. Just fact.
Got you for -- 450, 500 bucks?
(passes it to Frankie)
See you got Jill tonight. How'd you
Don't forget to move your truck.
INT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
On stage, LaRiviere arranges the contest winners. A fairy
godmother with a wand beams while, nearby, a hobo writhes in
his mother's grip -- a hard loser.
Wade looks for Jill, first among the winners, then among the
losers; she's nowhere to be found. He heads toward a hall
leading to the restrooms.
Jill stands alone in the corner next to the pay phone, tiny,
forlorn. Wade realizes at once he was wrong to leave her
before she had found a friend.
Some party, huh? Sorry I lost sight
of you. I had to step outside for a
smoke. You find anybody you know
here? There must be some kids you
used to know from school. You want
to go tomorrow? See your old teachers?
Be more fun than hanging out with me
(lifts mask atop head)
No I didn't see anybody I know. No I
don't want to go to school here
tomorrow. I want to go home.
You are home. There are lots of kids
you still know here.
I don't want to be here. Don't worry,
I love you, Daddy, I do. But I want
to go home.
Jesus. Listen, Jill, tell you what.
Tomorrow morning, you still want to
go home, I'll drive you down. I'll
get off work or something.
I called Mommy.
What? You called Mommy? Just now?
I... because I want to go home. She
said she'd come and get me.
Come and get you! Shit! It's a damn
half hour drive each way. Why didn't
you talk to me about it first?
See, I knew you'd be mad.
Yeah. Yeah, right, I'm mad. What'd
you tell her, for Christ sake?
I told her I wanted to come home.
Daddy, don't be mad at me.
Well, I guess I am. I planned this,
I planned all this, you know. I mean,
it's sort of pathetic, but I planned
it. You shouldn't have called your
(takes her arm)
C'mon, we're gonna call her before
EXT. POLICE OFFICE - NIGHT
Wade leads her to a frosted-glass door reading "POLICE",
enters. Inside, he flips on flourescent light, dials the
desk phone. More utility room than office.
He waits. There's no answer. Jill looks down.
She's gone already!
Gone already! Couldn't wait.
That's all you got to say? "Yes".
She won't be here for a half hour.
Think you can stand it that long?
Where do you expect to wait for her?
Obviously downstairs with the other
kids isn't good enough.
Jill sits in a chair facing the dark window pane.
Sit right there by yourself if you
want. Wait for her by yourself. That's
fine with me. Just dandy. I'm going
That's fine with me too. When Mommy
comes, tell her I'm up here.
Wade Whitehouse stalks out.
EXT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
Wade steps outside, notices Jack Hewitt and his kewpie-doll
girlfriend HETTIE, 20, sitting in the cab of his double-parked
pickup, sharing a joint, talking to LaCoy alongside.
I thought I told you to move that
Relax, Chief. We're leaving. You
You gotta be more careful about that
shit. Gordon or one of those guys
sees you smoking that wacky tabacky
around me they'll expect me to bust
you. And I'll be outta a job.
Some job. Here, have a hit. Don't be
such a hardass. I know you got
problems, but everybody's got
LaCoy laughs: that Jack Hewitt, some guy. Wade holds his
aching jaw. He looks at Jack's young athletic body, his pretty
girlfriend, envies him.
Well, c'mon, then. Get in and we'll
take a little ride, my man.
Wade looks up to the window where Jill waits, walks around
the front of the truck, gets in.
INT./EXT. JACK'S TRUCK - NIGHT
Jack's high-bodied pickup growls in low gear as it drives
past Merritt's Shell station toward Saddleback Ridge. Jack
lowers the radio as Wade asks him about deer season; Hettie
leans forward to hear the music.
Got a job first thing in the morning,
first day of season. Saturday I'll
hunt for myself. Twombley something. -
Evan. He's a mucky-muck union official
from Massachusetts. You're lucky.
Don't know about lucky. The guy's a
full-blown asshole. Pay's good,
though. $100 a day. I got to guarantee
a kill, of course. Which I can do.
There's some monster bucks hiding
out up there.
How'd you get the job?
Gordon, he's always got some angle
working. He wants to keep Twombley
happy, I'm his boy.
Wade grimaces as he passes the joint back.
What's wrong with you?
You should get close to him. Make
yourself irreplaceable. Guy's loaded.
Like you and Gordon?
Right. The sonofabitch couldn't get
along without me.
Yeah, he'd go broke tomorrow if you
A car flashes past.
Bastard's got his high beams on.
My ex-wife Lillian and her husband.
That was them in the Audi that just
Audi's a good car.
What's she up here for?
Aw, shit, she's here to get Jill. Me
and Jill had a little argument. Jack,
I got to get back, get back to town.
Move this thing, will you? See if
you can get back to the Town Hall
before they get there, okay?
Piece of fucking cake.
Jack brakes, wheels the 4x4 around, heads back to town.
EXT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
Most parents have left or are leaving with their costumed
children. Hewitt's burgundy pickup breaks alongside the Audi.
Wade swings open the passenger door, jumps to the ground:
LILLIAN, 40, attractive in an ankle-length hooded coat.
Whatever pose Wade strikes, she strikes the opposite. Her
dress and demeanor set her apart.
Me and Jill, we just had a little
spat. She felt kind of left out, I
guess, from not knowing some of the
new kids --
Where is she now? Is she in the truck
with your friends?
Jack and Hettie neck inside the cab.
She told me she wanted to wait for
Jill at the window in her tiger mask. Lillian waves; Jill
motions she'll be down.
While you went off for a few beers
with your friends? Is that Hettie
Rodgers there, with whatzizname?
She's grown up some, hasn't she?
Oh, Jesus, lay off, will you? It
looks like you've won this fucking
round already, so lay off a little,
for Christ's sake.
HORNER, 45, Lillian's new husband, thin with thinning hair
and a Tyrolean hat, sees Jill at the entrance and heads toward
Horner! Leave her be. This's got
nothing to do with you, so just act
like the chauffeur. Got it?
Wade. Nobody wants any trouble.
Horner greets Jill, walks her to the silver Audi. Passing
parents, listening, give Wade a wide berth.
I don't want her to go, Lillian.
Don't cause a scene. No one's trying
to win any 'rounds'. Don't make it
I'm not making it any worse. You
are. Me and Jill could've worked
this thing out. It's normal, it's
even normal for me to get a little
touchy about it. Believe it or not.
How do you think this makes me look,
treating her like some tragic victim
Horner opens the car door for Jill, shuts it. Wade shoves
Just wait till we're through,
Horner's hat falls. Lillian, icy, stares at Wade. He backs
off. Wade sometimes wonders: how'd Lillian Pittman of Lawford,
N.H., get so much class?
Don't you say a word. I didn't hit
him. I'm not going to hit anybody.
Horner sits behind the wheel. Lillian silently stares Wade
up and down, gets in the car beside Jill. The automatic locks
latch as the Audi drives away. Its taillights merge with
Wade looks down, picks up Horner's dark green Tyrolean hat,
examines it, as if unsure of its function.
Wade walks toward Town Hall. MARGIE FOGG, exiting, greets
Jill's up, I see.
For a while.
How's she doing?
Okay. She's fine.
You two want to do anything tomorrow
and need a third party, give me a
call, okay? I'm off.
NICK WICKHAM, 45, Marg's boss, passes by:
Like hell you are. Tomorrow's first
day of deer season. I'll need you at
least in the morning.
Well, that's that.
Take care, Wade.
You be careful of that little bastard.
He's dying to get in your pants, you
Don't worry. I can protect my virtue.
I mean, c'mon, Wade, give me a break.
See you tomorrow, maybe.
Wade, lost in thought, continues toward Town Hall. At the
door, LaRiviere, one of the last to leave, eyes him. Wade
tosses Horner's hat inside.
Watch this snow. It's coming down
Wade nods as he lights a cigarette. Alone, he watches the
last cars pull out. He holds his jaw.
EXT. WADE'S TRAILER HOME - DAWN
Pre-dawn light silhouettes a dozen weather-beaten mobile
homes set off Route 29. Snow continues to fall. A sheet of
white stretches down Parker mountain.
INT. WADE'S TRAILER - DAWN
6:40. A clock radio pierces the silence with classic rock.
Wade Whitehouse rolls over, runs his tongue across mossy
teeth, shuts off the music. He looks out the window, grunts:
"Shit!" He steps over to the phone by the frayed plaid couch,
Wade's trailer is surprisingly neat, considering its owner
smokes too much, drinks too much, eats take-out and rarely
Lugene? Wade. Hoya doin?
(fumbles for cigarette)
Look, I was wondering, with the snow
and all, if you got school today?
How the hell do I know? You're the
principal. All I'm supposed to do is
direct traffic from 7:30 to 8:30.
Yeah, okay, I'm sorry -- I only just
now saw it was snowing, that's all.
My whole day is fucked. I gotta plow
all day. If I don't get over to
LaRiviere's early enough, I'm stuck
with the grader. I was just hoping
you'd have called school off.
You check the weather bureau?
Okay, I hear you. I'll be over in a
EXT. WADE'S TRAILER HOME EARLY - MORNING
Jack Hewitt's 4x4 passes Wade's trailer, continues up 29.
Tire chains splice the path.
EXT. JACK'S TRUCK EARLY - MORNING
Jack behind the wheel. Beside him EVAN TWOMBLEY, 60, fleshy,
Irish, wearing brand new scarlet wool pants, jacket and cap.
He feeds on the misfortunes of others.
It's not enough snow, not for tracking
the bastards. No advantage there,
Don't worry, Mr. Twombley, I know
where those suckers are. Rain or
shine, snow or no snow. I know deer.
We'll kill us a buck today.
Guaranteed. Before ten.
Yep. Right about now the does are
holing up in the brush piles. The
bucks are right behind them and we're
right behind the bucks.
(gestures to gun rack)
This gun gets fired before ten
o'clock. Whether it kills a deer or
not is more less up to you. I'll put
you inside 30, 35 yards of a buck
the first four hours of the season.
That's what you're paying me for,
Hewitt looks at Twombley's rifle: a Winchester M-94 pump-
action, custom carved stock and not a scratch on it. Never
fired, at least not by Twombley.
Done much shooting with that rifle
Tell you what. You get me close to a
big buck by ten, kid, there's another
hundred bucks in it.
If you get it?
You might not kill it.
You think so.
You might gut-shoot it or cripple it
for somebody else to find and tag.
Can't guarantee that won't happen,
especially with a new gun. I may
have to shoot it.
You take care of your end, kid, I'll
take care of mine.
You understand what I'm saying? I
want a deer, a dead one, not a cripple
I get it.
No sweat. You'll get yourself a deer
and you'll get him dead. And you'll
have him by coffee time.
And you'll get your extra hundred
The pickup disappears behind a curve of pine and spruce trees.
EXT. SCHOOL - MORNING
Wade Whitehouse, wearing a reflective vest, waves a district
school bus into the parking lot. Noisy, jostling grade
schoolers emerge from the bus. Jill's former classmates.
Straight as a statue, Wade holds back traffic. Cars and trucks
are backed up on the unplowed road. Horns honk and bleat; a
woman's voice yells, "Whitehouse, we 'ain't got all day!"
Wade, daydreaming, seems oblivious to the commotion. Oblivious --
or just plum contrary.
A shiny black BMW approaches, speeding, passing traffic on
the shoulder. A man and a woman in a fur coat sit in front,
two children in back. Whitehouse waves for it to stop.
The BMW accelerates through the intersection, ignoring Wade
and the traffic. It whizzes past, spinning Wade, and is
quickly up the road, spewing ice and exhaust. Wade slips to
one knee. Honking ensues; every car goes where it wishes.
Wade, brushing off snow, follows the last bus as it pulls
in. LUGENE BROOKS, 60, school principal, rushes over:
Are you okay, Wade? What was wrong?
Why were you holding everyone up?
Did you see that sonofabitch in the
BMW? He could've killed somebody.
Did you get his number?
I know who it is.
I still don't understand --
From Boston. Evan Twombley's son-in-
law -- he was driving. I know where
they're headed. Up the lake, Agaway.
The old man's out deer hunting with
Jack Hewitt, so they probably got
some big weekend party planned.
Wade sets his face, thinking.
EXT. WOODS - DAY
Snowprints lead from Jack's pickup to where he and Twombley
walk, guns pointed skyward. They enter a line of trees.
Jack watches Twombley walk ahead of him, wrapped like a huge
infant in red bunting, crunching twigs underfoot. He looks
from side to side, checks his gun, returns to watching
Twombley. They're alone.
Twombley nods, slips, thumps to the ground. His rifle lands
Jack sprints over, helps him up, safety latches the
Winchester. Hands it back.
Follow close. We'll cross the next
Jack finds a path, one eye on Twombley:
I used to play ball.
Drafted by the Red Sox.
You played for the Sox?
Double A. New Britain.
Pitcher. "Best ballplayer to come
out of New Hampshire since Carlton
The only difference between me and
that Clemens on TV is luck, shit
Ruined my arm. Brought me along too
fast. Why'd it have to be my fucking
arm, I used to think. Then I realized
it had to be somebody's fucking arm.
Jack waits for Twombley as they enter a meadow. Jack aims
his rifle at Twombley as he approaches.
Hey, Hewitt! Slow the fuck down!
Jack aims away, following an imaginary bird. Twombley steps
Sun's gettin high.
(fingers to lips)
Deers have ears too.
EXT. LARIVIERE CO. - DAY
Milky sky flatters LaRiviere Co., a sprawl of well-digging,
septic and snow plow equipment. Billboard declaimes:
"LARIVIERE CO. -- OUR BUSINESS IS GOING IN THE HOLE!" a motto
repeated on every truck and piece of equipment. Wade's green
Fairlane is parked outside the office.
INT. LARIVIERE CO. - DAY
Wade, puffing a cigarette, passes ELAINE'S (LaRiviere
secretary) desk, her large red "No Smoking" sign, eases into
an office modum chair. He unzips his jacket, slaps his cap
against his thigh, spraying drops of melted snow.
Gordon LaRiviere, speaking on the phone past a glass
partition, calls to Wade:
Told you the snow was coming down.
Take the grader.
Where's the plow?
Jimmy took it. Jack's out hunting
with Evan Twombley.
His son-in-law damn near killed me.
At the school crossing. In his BMW.
Coulda hurt some kids. I'm gonna
bust his ass.
Don't go playing policeman.
What am I -- a security guard? You
hired me, you and your Selectman
You don't want the extra police pay?
I'm not saying that.
Get the grader. Go out 29 past Toby's.
Don't let Lillian get to you. She
didn't belong here. That's why she
That's what I love about a small
town. You know everybody.
Wade exits toward the blue grader.
EXT. WOODS - DAY
Jack and Twombley walk through fresh snow. The hillside's
thick with pine trees. Twombley, red-faced, puffing, leans
to speak to Hewitt. Jack lifts a finger to his lips:
Stay here, stand where I am.
Twombley peers over a slight cliff at a lumber trail twenty
feet below. Jack points:
Deer shit. Big one. Here's your buck,
Mr. Twombley. I'll circle around.
You only got a little while if you
want your hundred bucks.
Jack zig-zags down the incline, while Twombley, gun poised,
waddles along the edge.
Jack stops fifty feet away, watches Twombley, a cartoon
character. A stag pokes his nose through the pines, steps
into a clearing. Jack aims his rifle, looks at Twombley.
Twombley turns to see the buck, loses his footing, TUMBLES
down the twenty-foot cliff.
EXT. TOBY'S INN - DAY
An open cab grader ("Our Business Is Going In The Hole")
sits in the rutted lot outside Toby's, a beer joint with
fake wood siding and 24-hour neon sign.
A four-wheel drive plow with the LaRiviere motto pulls in,
parks beside the blue grader. JIMMY DAME, 40, gets out,
glances at the grader as he enters.
INT. TOBY'S INN - DAY
Jimmy joins Wade at the bar, calls for a beer. Frankie LaCoy
bullshits with two long-haired locals at a nearby table;
their conversation drifts in and out. Country music plays
through a broken juke box speaker. Wade touches his tooth,
How's it goin?
Cold. How you think?
Sorry about that. Why's it every
year, come first snow, you get stuck
with the grader?
School. Traffic crossing.
I gotta quit these things.
What we doing after? Wells?
Don't work too fast. Business the
way it is, Gordon's probably looking
to lay me off earlier than usual
this year. He's got too much money
as it is. Why's it always the little
guy that gets kicked in the butt in
Wade shrugs. LaCoy's conversation has caught his ear. He
turns to watch.
...That was no pisser. I'll tell you
who was a pisser. Glen Whitehouse.
There was a real pisser. He was mean
normal, but when he drank it was
like he burst on fire. Canadian Club.
Always drank CC. One Christmas there's
this cord of wood out back he forgot
about and he decides to have his two
boys stack it. Except it's been out
back two months and it's snowed and
rained and froze so now the wood's
all iced in. He takes the boys. He
was drunk, of course.
Wade's face as the story comes to life:
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY (1964)
Thirty years before. GLEN WHITEHOUSE ("POP"), 42, pushes his
boys, Wade (13) and Rolfe (10), toward snow-covered lumps of
firewood behind the barn. He's drunk. The boys carry shovels
and a pickaxe.
Move it! Daylight in the swamps!
Pop, the kids are waiting for us.
A lesson in work and its rewards.
You'll thank me for this one day.
Sally, turn off that TV!
His sons chip at the wood. Hopeless. Frozen solid.
Just do it.
Please, Pop. Let's go back.
Wade notices his mother, SALLY, watching from the window.
What are you, a quitter?
INT. TOBY'S INN - DAY
LaCoy roars with laughter.
So what happened?
Beats me. That's all I heard. Wade
would know more about it.
Wade! We were just talking about
your Old Man. "What are you, a
Wade grabs his keys, walks over. Jimmy follows.
Jesus, LaCoy, you got nothing better
to do than sit around and tell
stories. Pity is, some college student
will come some day and believe this
shit cause you're the only one dumb
enough to talk to him. Take care.
Wade and Jimmy head out.
EXT. BACKROAD - DAY
Wade, shivering in the open grader, plows a narrow winding
road. He lights a cigarette, exhales steamy smoke. LaCoy's
laugh triggers a memory:
INT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY (1964)
The flashback continues: Glen Whitehouse pushes his sons
inside. Sally steps from sight. Out back, the firewood lies
frozen amid futile shovel marks.
That was some job.
We'll work at it everyday, promise.
I think we made the point.
You just needed a drink.
Pop, swigging Canadian Club, turns:
What was that?
You got something to say, say it!
You no-good pup!
Rolfe runs from the room screaming, "Mom!"
EXT. WICKHAM'S - DAY
The town's 24-hour restaurant. A bright new sign reads: "Home
Made Cooking." Wade's grader out front.
INT. WICKHAM'S - DAY
Wade, eating lunch at the counter, talks with Nick Wickham:
It don't look right.
The sign. It looks like it's spelled
wrong or something.
Fuck. Wade Whitehouse. It's people
like you that keep this fucking town
from prospering. Whatever somebody
does to improve things around here,
you gotta find fault with it.
I'm not finding fault. It's a good
idea, good for you, good for the
town. Real modern too.
This town sucks.
Aw, c'mon, I was only saying there's
something wrong with "Home Made
Cooking", that's all. The sign's
fine. What it says is wrong.
Margie Fogg heads over, sits:
Who needs it? Everybody who comes
here has been coming for years so
what they need a sign for?
Nick goes back to work.
I'm sorry about what I said.
About you and Jill and needing a
third person. She went back to
(touches his arm)
I'm going to start one of those
custody suits. I don't give a fucking
shit. You know?
Wade's eyes well up.
You don't mean that.
Yeah. I mean that.
(arm around his
No you don't. You're pissed, that's
all. You ought to cool off for a few
days then have a long talk with
Lillian. You know? Work it out with
her, tell her how you feel. Lillian's
not out to get you.
The hell she isn't. Lillian's been
trying to nail me to a cross since
the day I met her. I'm gonna hire me
a fucking lawyer from Concord and
get this thing, this divorce thing,
rearranged. I've been thinking about
it a lot. It's like she owns Jill or
something. Nobody owns nobody,
especially not kids. And I pay her.
That goddamned woman. Thinks she can
cart Jill off and leave me alone
like this. I'm more than pissed,
Margie. I'm a whole lot more than
pissed. I been that plenty and I
know the difference. This is
Marg! You got orders!
Wade and Margie stand. She wants to kiss him.
Tonight. Let's get together.
Wade meets Nick halfway to the door.
You talked to Jack?
Not since last night. He took a guy
The fucker shot himself. Ker-bang!
That's what it sounds like. Not on
purpose. I assume accidental.
The other guy.
Where... how'd you hear that?
CB. Little while ago. One of the
boys on the way in picked up Jack on
the CB calling for state troopers. I
figured you'd know what really
happened. The fucking guy kill
himself? This Twombley, who the fuck
is he, anyhow?
No, I... I've been out on the grader
all morning. Twombley's summer people.
Massachusetts. Friend of Gordon's.
It was his idea for Jack to take him
I gotta go.
Margie steps over as Wade exits.
He don't care for you.
Stop being jealous.
EXT. LARIVIERE CO. - DAY
Elaine looks up from her desk as Wade pulls the grader into
the lot, jumps out, heads for his car. Laviviere stands
What's the hurry?
A hunting accident. Jack and Twombley.
I figured you already heard.
Twombley, Jesus. We got to get moving:
I got to get up there. How would I
know? C'mon, you drive. We'll take
They head for LaRiviere's blue 4x4 Dodge.
INT./EXT. LARIVIERE'S PICKUP - DAY
Gordon and Wade drive up the same road Jack took Twombley.
Wade fiddles with the CB. No use: static.
Fuck. Turn it off.
All you heard was there was some
Twombley's shot. I heard that. Not
Jack. He's okay, I assume.
Fuck. You don't know how bad or
You mean Twombley?
Yes, Wade, I mean Twombley. Put out
that cigarette. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
LaRiviere grunts disapproval as Wade slips the butt out his
He more than likely just shot himself
in the foot or something. That's
what usually happens.
I shoulda sent you instead of Jack.
I wish you had. I'd rather be deer
hunting instead of freezing my ass
on that fucking grader.
You ain't the hunter Jack is. And he
can't drive the grader worth shit.
Ahead, they see flashing lights and cars. A white emergency
vehicle passes, jolting the pickup.
That must've been Twombley. Jesus. I
bet that was Twombley.
You want me to follow them to
Let's get to the top and talk to
Jack first. He'll know what happened.
He fucking better. If this coulda
been avoided, I'll put that kid's
ass in a sling.
EXT. ACCIDENT SCENE - DAY
Wade pulls behind three state trooper cars. Jack stands joking
with the TROOPERS, one of whom holds a German shepherd on a
leash. LaRiviere and Wade jump out. Jack, suddenly serious,
turns to LaRiviere:
You heard the news.
I hear Twombley got shot.
Wade walks over to trooper ASA BROWN, pets the shepherd.
Watch the dog, Wade. Takes a mind
to, he'll tear your fucking head
Thirty-thirty at close range.
Will he make it?
D.O.A. Blew the bastard wide open.
Had a hole in back you could put
your head into. Pretty big hole in
front too. You could've put your
fist into that one.
You see it?
Nope. Heard it. We wasn't far apart.
I spotted this buck, then I heard
the gun go off and Twombley was gone.
I looked over the little cliff we
was using for a stand and there the
fucker was, deader'n shit. Called it
This is gonna be one fucking mess to
clean up. Twombley's son-in-law and
daughter are up the weekend. Didn't
you say you'd seen him, Wade?
I seen 'em. Near ran me over.
You wanna tell 'em, Gordon? You knew
the old man.
What the fuck. My day's already
Give me the keys. You can go back
with Jack. You still got a shitload
of plowing to do.
It ain't done, if that's what you
Something bugging you?
Yeah. A few things.
Well, right now we're not too
interested. Finish up what you gotta
do, then you can get bugged on your
Brown walks off with shepherd.
Might as well take the rest of the
day off. You look sort of fucked up.
You've been paid for the day, anyhow,
Not exactly. I mean, he never paid
You'll get your money. Don't talk to
any newspapers about this. Twombley's
a big deal down in Massachusetts,
you know. Tell them your lawyer says
you shouldn't comment.
Lawyer? I don't need no lawyer, do
No, of course not. Just say it, that's
Wade watches LaRiviere get into his pickup, drive off.
Where'd Twombley get shot?
In the chest.
No, I mean whereabouts.
A half mile in, along the old lumber
You bring him up yourself? That's a
The ambulance guys lugged him up.
You stayed away?
Where'd you get the blood?
On your sleeve.
Musta... How'd I know? What're you
doing, playing cop?
I gotta make a report to Fish and
Game. I was just wondering, that's
all. What'd he do, to shoot himself,
Who the fuck knows? Musta slipped or
something. I just heard the gun go
I never seen a man shot before. Not
even in the service. Must be
Well, I didn't actually see him do
it. Like I said.
Sure you did.
Saw him do it?
What the fuck you telling me, Wade?
I never seen the guy get shot, I
told you that.
You musta seen him get shot. I know
Let's get the fuck outta here. You're
not making any sense, man.
They walk over to Jack's burgundy pickup. Wade eyes the rifles
in the gun rack.
There's your old twenty-gauge, and
that there's the new Browning you
was showing me last night. This must
be Twombley's gun. Brand new. Very
fancy tooling. Probably fired one
time. It's a beautiful piece of work.
But what the hell, Jack, I guess you
deserve it. Right's right.
Twombley sure as hell won't be
shooting it again.
He sure as hell won't.
INT. WADE'S TRAILER - NIGHT
Late. Wade Whitehouse, lying in bed with an icepack on his
cheek, talks on the phone:
Yeah, brother, look, I was calling
cause -- has there been anything on
TV in Boston about a hunting accident
with a guy named Twombley, Evan
There was something. It happened up
Yeah, I know him -- the kid that was
with him. Maybe you do too. Jack
Hewitt. He works for LaRiviere with
me. He's my best friend.
Wade, it's late. I know you're
probably at Toby's, but I'm in bed
reading. We got different habits.
No, not tonight. I'm in bed too. I'm
calling because I need you to listen.
You're supposed to be a smart guy.
You're a professor. I got this theory.
Jack says he didn't see Twombley
shot but he did.
EXT. ACCIDENT SCENE - DAY
Wade's theory -- in black-and-white: Twombley's footing slips.
Jack turns to watch. Twombley's gun hits frozen rocks, fires,
blows a hole through his chest.
INT. WADE'S TRAILER - NIGHT
It'll come out Jack lied and the
kid'll get hung for it.
He was scheduled to testify for a
committee investigating organized
crime in New England and the
You think Jack shot him?
Well, it was an accident.
They were out deer hunting, right?
Jack probably heard the gun go off,
then came back and found the body.
EXT. ACCIDENT SCENE - DAY
Another theory: Black-and-white. Jack sees a figure run from
INT. WADE'S TRAILER - NIGHT
Wade shifts the phone from ear to ear:
Lillian was here. In Lawford.
The night before the shooting.
How was she?
Picked up Jill. She was supposed to
visit for the weekend for Halloween.
She wanted to go home.
Jill. I was thinking of getting a
lawyer. Maybe you can help me.
A divorce lawyer. A custody lawyer.
You know, 'cause of Jill.
EXT. WADE'S TRAILER - NIGHT
TIMECUT: mobile homes.
INT. WADE'S TRAILER - NIGHT
Don't think about it. You're
Yeah, I guess.
Get some sleep.
I get to feeling like a whipped dog
some days, Rolfe, and some night I'm
going to bite back. I swear it.
Haven't you already done a bit of
No, no, I haven't. Not really. I've
growled a little, but I haven't bit.
Sound of GUNSHOT.
EXT. MOUNTAINS - DAY
Wade's bubble-top Fairlane drives through snow covered hills.
EXT. MEL GORDON'S HOUSE - DAY
The Fairlane is parked outside a substantial summer house
with a wide porch and frozen pond. The "speeding" BMW in the
drive. Wade knocks on the front door. An 8 year-old boy
answers the door. Wade speaks; the boy goes back inside.
MRS. GORDON, 30, delicate, beautiful, wearing a dark green
robe, comes to the door. Her eyes are red-rimmed. Wade has
seen her before, but not this close. He feels awkward.
Who are you?
I was... I'm Wade Whitehouse. I was
wondering, is your husband here?
He's asleep. We were up very late.
Well, yes, I'm... I want to say that
I'm real sorry about your father,
Mrs. Gordon. Thank you.
Well, yeah, I suppose. Sure. I just
had a little business to settle with
Mr. Gordon. I'm the local police
Something about my father?
Oh, no. No, it's a... it's a traffic
thing. No big deal.
Can't it wait, then?
MEL GORDON, 40, dark-eyed, wearing a tartan robe, steps behind
Whitehouse. Next time, phone ahead.
Mel folds his arms. His wife goes inside.
I said, 'Next time, phone ahead.'
Jesus Christ. Mr. Gordon, when I
come all the way to serve somebody a
summons, I don't call ahead for an
What the hell are you talking about?
I'm issuing you a ticket. Moving
Moving violation! I just got out of
bed and you're telling me you're
giving me a goddamn speeding ticket?
Now? Are you nuts? Is that it,
Whitehouse? You're nuts?
Yesterday morning, you passed a
stopped school bus, which was flashing
its lights, then you--
(stops Wade's arm)
(wrenches hand free)
Don't ever put your hands on me, Mr.
You're talking about a goddamned
ticket, from when I passed you at
the school where you were deciding
to hold up traffic while dreaming of
becoming a traffic cop or something?
Don't give me a hard time, Mr. Gordon.
I'm just --
Doing your fucking job. I know. I
watch television too.
Yes. Here's your ticket.
You get the hell out of my house
now, asshole. And know this -- you
are going to be a lucky asshole if I
haven't got you fired before the day
is out. I can do it with one phone
call, and I'm pissed enough to do it
Mel Gordon moves Wade out of the door, slams it. Wade steps
away, looks back at the house. Mrs. Gordon watches him from
EXT. MARGIE FOGG'S HOUSE - NIGHT
A wood frame house off the main drag. Snowing.
INT. MARGIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Wade and Margie, post-coital:
Jack's sort of sensitive, I guess.
More than most. But he'll be okay in
a few weeks.
There's something funny about that
shooting. There's lots funny about
I heard he was drunk at Toby's last
night and got in a fight with Hettie.
He drove off without her...
I'm sure, I'm positive it didn't
happen the way Jack says it did.
...Jack's turned into one of those
men who are permanently angry. He
used to be a sweet kid, but it's
like, when he found out he couldn't
play ball anymore, he changed. Now
he's like everyone else.
I've been wondering if maybe Jack
shot Twombley, instead of Twombley
shooting himself. I've been wondering
maybe Jack shot him on purpose.
Wade! How can you even think such a
thing? Why would Jack Hewitt do that,
shoot Twombley on purpose?
EXT. ACCIDENT SCENE - DAY
Black-and-white. A further theory: Jack bends over the fallen
Twombley, holds a tarp to protect his chest from blood spray.
He shoots Twombley with his own gun.
INT. MARGIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Jack doesn't need money.
Everybody needs money. Except guys
like Twombley and that sonofabitch
son-in-law of his. People like that.
Jack wouldn't kill for it. Besides,
who would pay him?
Lots of people. Guy like Evan
Twombley, Boston union official,
probably got lots of people want to
see him dead. The Government's been
investigating his links with the
The Mafia hire Jack Hewitt?
No, I just know Jack's lying about
what happened. He just seemed -- I
know that kid, what he's like inside.
He's a lot like I was at his age.
You wouldn't have done anything like
that, shot someone for money.
No. Not for money. But, if somebody'd
given me half a damned excuse -- I
was pretty fucked up, you know.
But not now.
Wade sits on the edge of the bed, sighs. Lapses into thought.
Margie caresses his back, kisses it. He winces.
When you gonna get that tooth fixed?
Wade looks at her, brushes the hair off her face:
I can see what you looked like as a
You knew me as a kid.
Yeah, but never what you looked like.
Not really. Never really studied
your face, like now. I was never
able to see you as a kid when you
were a kid until now, this way.
After making love. I like it. It's
nice to see that in a grown-up person.
Wade walks naked to the kitchen, returns with two beers, one
for Marg. He gets in bed. She, thinking, sips:
Don't you think, do you still think
it's a good idea to press this custody
thing -- just now?
I'm her father -- supposed to be,
but I'm not able to. Yes. Yes, I am.
It may be the only thing in my life
I've been so clear about wanting.
Even if it takes a big fight.
Then... I guess you have to.
There's another thing I've been
thinking about. I don't know how you
feel about the idea, Margie, because
we've never talked about it. But
I've been thinking lately, I've been
thinking we should get married
sometime. You and me.
I've been thinking about it, that's
You've been married twice --
It was to the same woman. I was just
It's not like a marriage proposal or
anything, just a thought. Something
for you and me to talk about and
think about. You know?
Alright. I'll think about it.
He kisses her. His jaw winces in pain.
INT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAYBREAK (1964)
THE FLASHBACK CONTINUES:
Glen Whitehouse, plastered, yells at Wade, age 13:
I've got sons, Goddamnit, oh my God,
have I got sons! Wade? Rolfe?
Elbourne? You love me boys? Do you
love your Pop? Of course you do!
Wade, frightened, retreats as Sally enters in her housecoat.
Glen, stop --
Oh, Jesus, Sally, you are such a
Goddamned good person! Capital G.
You are so much better than I am, I
who am no good at all, you who are a
truly good person, like a fucking
saint! Beyond fucking com-pare.
Glen reaches for the Canadian Club; Sally tries to block his
hand. Glen pulls his arm from hers, clipping her cheek with
Sally gasps, grabs her cheek.
Wade pushes between them, protecting his mother.
My big boy bursting out of the seams
of his jeans!
Pop clenches his fist. Wade vainly looks Rolfe's direction
You little prick!
Pop's fist comes crashing down. Wade raises his arms to
protect himself. Wade's arm bone CRACKS with the blow. Wade
grimaces in pain.
EXT. MARGIE FOGG'S HOUSE - DAY
Margie gets into Wade's idling Ford.
INT./EXT. WADE'S CAR - DAY
Wade, washed and changed, drives; Marg sits beside him. They
head north. Deer rifles echo from the woods.
Did you tell them?
That we were coming?
Don't you think it's proper for a
fella to introduce his girl to his
I know your parents.
I just want to pick up my divorce
papers. For the lawyer. It won't
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Sun slants over Parker Mountain; they pull up. The house,
once white, is peeling. Polyurethane flaps over dark windows.
The 1960 red Ford pickup sits long frozen in the open barn.
Are you sure they're home? Did you
The truck's here. Looks like they've
stayed inside since the snow started.
They stamp their feet on the porch; Wade turns the knob.
Locked. It seems abandoned.
Think they're alright?
Of course! I would've heard.
I don't know for Christ's sake!
They round the house, try the back door. Wade knocks loudly.
GLEN WHITEHOUSE, 70, opens the door, stands inside. He wears
long underwear, stained woolen trousers, slippers.
INT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Pop, Pop, you okay?
Glen shuffles toward the stove; they follow. He starts a
Jesus, Pop, how can you stand the
cold, dressed like that? Where's Ma?
You remember Margie Fogg?
From Wickham's. Been a while. Like
How you and Ma doing? Haven't seen
you in town for a while.
We're alright. Your Ma's sleeping.
You want me to get her?
Pop goes to the bedroom.
Jesus. Nothing's changed around here.
Have you been heating the house? Not
just with the stove.
There's a furnace.
You're not using it today?
It's broke I guess. There's an
electric in the bedroom.
Maybe Wade should take a look at it.
Your pipes'll freeze.
Wade, would you do that?
Wade, concerned, pushes open the BEDROOM door:
Ma? It's Wade. Can I come in?
He steps inside. On the bed, Sally Whitehouse, wrapped in
blankets, lies dead. He walks over, beside the small electric
heater, touches her forehead. Her skin is chalk white.
Margie steps into the doorway. Pop joins:
When did she die?
Is...? She's dead then?
I checked on her. She had the electric
heater. Cold don't bother her as
much as me. Which is why I give her
(kneels over mother)
Is there something wrong with the
In the living room.
Why didn't you call and have the
Wade. I thought she was alright.
Till this morning she was.
Pop goes to the dresser, pours himself Canadian Club. Wade
opens his mother's mouth, attempts respiration.
It makes me sad.
Makes me sad it was her. Instead of
me. I shoulda froze.
EXT. ROLFE'S CAR - DAY
ROLFE WHITEHOUSE, 38, drives his four-door Toyota west:
through Massachusetts, toward New Hampshire. His face bespeaks
tolerance, objectivity -- in short, education. It's also
Wade called me, as usual, late at
night. I knew it was Wade -- no one
else calls me at that hour -- and I
was ready to listen to another chapter
in one of his ongoing sagas. There
was the detective story concerning
the shooting of Evan Twombley and
the family melodrama about Wade's
custody fight with Lillian. But not
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Rolfe's Toyota sits with other cars.
Wade was telling a different story,
or so it seemed then, one in which I
myself was a character. He had called
to tell me that sometime the previous
night our mother had died, and he
had discovered the body when he'd
gone over to visit her and our father
with Margie Fogg. Pop was okay, but
kind of out of it. Worse than usual,
maybe, though no drunker than usual.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Friends and relatives gather in the living room: Wade, Rolfe,
Glen, LaRiviere, Margie, an aging couple, REVEREND DOUGHTY,
30, thin, wearing glasses and an avocado-green suit.
(finishing a beer)
Shouldn't we get this show on the
road, now that Rolfe's here?
No one moves. LaRiviere checks his watch. Wade shrugs:
Pointless to stand around in church
with nothing to do, I guess.
What about Jill? Is Lillian bringing
Margie's face tells Rolfe he's touched on a sensitive subject.
They'll be at the church and the
Wade opens the frig, takes out another beer:
Anyone else want one? Rolfe?
No thanks. I don't drink.
Yeah. I forgot.
How you holding up, Wade?
I'm fine, fine.
I remember you from high school.
You're a teacher now? Harvard?
I haven't seen you around. I don't
suppose there's much reason for you
to come this way.
Rev. Doughty calls for Glen Whitehouse, who has been sitting,
silent, drinking, to join the others:
Come, Glen, join us. Let's kneel for
a moment of prayer before the service.
Wade, expressionless, looks at Rolfe. Rolfe, embarrassed,
trying to do the right thing, helps his father kneel beside
Rev. Doughty. The others join the circle.
This is nuts.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord of Hosts,
we come to Thee to beseech Thy
blessings and commend to You the
soul of our beloved wife and mother,
Sally Whitehouse, to be one with You
and walk with You --
Pop mutters something. Wade, Rolfe and Marg exchange glances.
He mutters louder:
...goddamned hair on her head.
He rises over LaRiviere, turns, exclaims:
Not a one of you is worth a goddamned
hair on that good woman's head!
Pop! Don't do this now, Pop.
Pop knocks back a drink as the others stand.
Maybe I'll head on over to the church.
This is a difficult time.
Gordon and the couple file out. Doughty, Glen, Rolfe, Wade
and Margie remain.
Listen, it's no big deal, Pop.
Come on, smart guy. Tell how it's no
big deal. Tell me how a single one
of you is worth a single hair on
that woman's head.
Give up this demon.
Go fuck yourself!
Wade, eyes blazing, squares off. Son to father.
Wade, just leave it.
Listen to your little brother. 'Wade,
just leave it.' Candy-asses. All of
you. That's what I've got for
children. Candyasses. 'Wade, just
leave it.' Praise the Lord! 'Just
Wade stiffens. Pop cocks his fist. Marg, screaming, jumps
between them as Pop swings.
The old man bounces blows off Margie's arms and shoulders.
Wade pushes Marg aside, grabs his father in a bear hug and
walks him backwards, flat against the wall. Wade releases
him. Pop, frail, collapses to the floor. Wade kneels over
If you ever touch her again, I'll
kill you. I swear it.
EXT. CEMETERY - DAY
Townspeople and friends cluster around the gravesite: Pop,
LaRiviere, Jack and Hettie, LaCoy, Chub Merritt, Nick, Jimmy,
Lillian, Jill and Horner, Rolfe, Wade and Margie.
The day of the funeral was almost
springlike. The snowline crossed New
Hampshire west to east, retreating
northward to Concord where it melted
Rev. Doughty finishes. The mourners exchange farewells. Wade
looks at Lillian. Margie and Rolfe, escorting Wade's father,
let him be. He walks over, hugs Jill.
I'm glad you're here. Can you stay
for a while?
Lillian hesitates, shakes her head 'no.'
You ever come to your father's grave
No, not anymore. It's too... it's
We should talk.
We've done all our talking, Wade.
Let the past be.
I'm sorry about your mother. I liked
her. You never know how much women
like that suffer. It's like they
live their lives with the sound turned
off -- and then they're gone.
(tugging at Lillian)
She has an ice-skating lesson at
I'm taking ice-skating, Daddy!
He kisses Jill, says goodbyes, walks back to Rolfe and Margie.
Ahead, LaRiviere walks with Jack.
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Wade and Rolfe leave Margie and Pop in the kitchen as they
step out back.
Let's dig out Pop's truck before the
skin of the snow freezes up.
They grab snow shovels propped against the porch, walk to
the barn. Firewood's stacked alongside.
INT. BARN - DAY
Shafts of light filter through the ramshackle structure. A
snow drift nearly buries Glen's red truck. Wade and Rolfe
break away the packed snow.
What about Margie?
What about her?
Well, do you still plan to get
Yeah. She'll probably quit her job
and stay out here with Pop. We can't
leave him alone here, he'll set the
damn place on fire. With Jill here a
lot, it'll be good to have Margie
around. Things are going to change
in that department, by the way. I
got a custody lawyer in Concord. I'm
gonna see him tomorrow. All hell's
gonna break loose, but it's worth
They finish clearing the snow. Wade gets in the truck, starts
the engine. Rolfe waits for Wade.
I want to let the gas run out. I
don't want the bastard driving drunk,
and he's always drunk now. After,
we'll hide the keys.
Anything new about the shooting?
I guess it was an accident, like
Want to know what I think happened?
Wade opens the glove compartment, finds a bottle of Canadian
Club. He unscrews the cap.
Find them everywhere.
I think your first response to the
Twombley shooting was the correct
That it wasn't an accident.
Then who shot him?
Well, your friend, I think. Jack
Motive. You gotta have a motive.
Who'd pay him that kind of money?
Not the mob. They got their own guys.
They wouldn't deal with a guy like
Jack. Who else benefits if Twombley
is suddenly dead?
I don't know. You tell me.
Okay. It's likely there are people
in the union who don't want Twombley
to testify. They probably include
his son-in-law who's vice-president
and will probably be the next
president. I read that in the papers.
What's his name, Mel Gordon?
Yeah, the guy with the BMW I told
you about. I did, didn't I?
Here's my theory. Twombley, unaware
of illegal union loans or whatever,
starts nosing around cause of the
investigation and finds out. Finds
out his son-in-law is involved.
So Mel Gordon wouldn't want a
professional hit. That'd make the
feds dig deeper. He wants an accident.
A hunting accident is perfect.
Shit, around here, you shoot somebody
in the woods, you say it was an
accident, you get fined fifty bucks
and your hunting license lifted.
Jack's probably saying the guy shot
himself cause he ain't got his deer
yet and don't want his license pulled.
The truck sputters, stops. Wade pulls the keys.
It's too neat. Things ain't that
neat. It makes me mad. That somebody
can pay to kill somebody, his own
father-in-law, and not be punished
for it. Don't that piss you off?
Right's right, goddamnit! Don't you
care what's right?
I care about what happened. The truth.
I'm a student of history, remember?
The sun is down. Wade tucks the keys in a knotted board.
I was thinking about that story you
told me, about Pop and chopping the
firewood out of the ice and after.
I hate to disappoint you, but I don't
think it happened.
Of course it happened. Why would I
lie about it?
It may have happened, but not the
way you said.
You think I wouldn't remember a thing
It wasn't me. I wasn't there, but I
heard about it. When I heard about
it, it was about Elbourne.
We'd have to go digging in Vietnam
to ask him.
And Elbourne and Mom took you to the
doctor and told him you fell from
the hay loft.
Well, I never heard that one.
I remember clearly cause when I heard
I became real careful around Pop. I
was a careful child and I became a
careful adult, but at least I wasn't
afflicted by that man's violence.
That's what you think.
Rolfe looks out: the cobalt sky has turned black.
I gotta head back. It's a long drive.
They walk toward the house.
EXT. LARIVIERE CO. GARAGE - DAY
Wade walks in as Jack and Jimmy prepare to head out, their
drilling rig loaded with pipe. Gordon yells at Jack:
Put out that fucking cigarette!
Jack opens the truck ashtray.
Not there, asshole. Flush it!
Hewitt trudges to the john.
LaRiviere smiles, goes to his office as Wade hangs his coat
in his locker. Jack cruises over.
I'm fucking out of here.
Out of this fucking job. This job
sucks. Working outside in the winter
Jack gets in the cab of the drilling truck. Wade follows.
Open the door, will ya?
Why don't you quit now, you want out
Open the door. We're late.
I mean it -- you got enough money
now. Head out for California. Surf's
up, Jack, and you're digging wells
in the snow.
What do you mean I got money? I'm as
broke as you.
Wade grins, goes to activate the door.
Looney Tunes, Jack. Fucking Looney
The drilling truck pulls out the garage, onto the road. From
the opposite direction a black BMW slows, enters. Mel Gordon.
Wade, all eyes and ears, watches. Mel Gordon parks in front
of the office, gets out. Elaine calls:
The boss in?
Wade flips the door switch. Mel Gordon and LaRiviere talk.
EXT. CONCORD - DAY
The South Main Street office of J. Battle Hand, lawyer.
Concord is a real town, with traffic, stores, people with
places to go.
INT. LAWYER'S OFFICE - DAY
J. BATTLE HAND, 60, sits in a wheel chair behind his desk.
Wade, uncomfortable in work clothes, tries not to show it.
I screwed up the divorce. I agreed
with everything she said. I wanted
her to like me. I just want to be a
It would help if you were married,
if there was someone at home while
I plan to. Soon.
Good. It would help if there were
some drug or alcohol abuse on the
part of your ex-wife. Sexual problems
upsetting to the child.
It looks pretty hopeless, don't it?
No, not exactly. I'll look at the
divorce decree, see if we can get it
redrawn. Interview your daughter.
Fine. I'll need a $500 retainer. You
can mail it.
Jesus. How much... how much will the
whole thing cost?
Hard to say. If we go for custody,
depositions, psychiatric evaluations,
it could drag on. Ten or twelve
thousand dollars. She could win on
appeal. If we just want to get the
visitation rights redrawn, assuming
they're unduly restrictive, it
wouldn't be more than twenty-five
You might be better off legally as
well as financially to just go for
Yeah. I know. The custody suit thing
was just my getting back at her. I'm
not as dumb as I look. Whatever you
say. I love my daughter.
I'll send you the five hundred.
Wade stands; Hand motors to the door. Wade puts his fingers
in his mouth. His tooth throbs.
EXT. LARIVIERE CO. - DAY
Fairlane squad car in its customary spot.
INT. LARIVIERE'S OFFICE - DAY
Wade and Gordon speak. LaRiviere is relaxed, open: a "new
Sorry about the long lunch. My clutch
is going out again.
You ever think of getting a new car,
On what you pay me?
Elaine! Call Chub Meritt and have
him pick up Wade's car, fix the
Use the pickup. I'll bill it to the
town. You're the town police officer
and the town police officer should
have a decent car. You want a new
car or not?
What do I have to do for it?
Nothing, Wade, I've been thinking.
You don't get enough appreciation
around here and it's time we changed
things a little.
I saw Mel Gordon in here this morning.
He say anything about the summons I
tried to give him? Sonofabitch
wouldn't accept it.
Wade, that wasn't smart. Going out
right after the man's father-in-law
shot himself. Let it go. Call it a
favor to me.
Mel's doing some business with me.
It's nice to do favors for people
you do business with. He was in a
hurry. No big deal.
That was before Twombley was shot.
Before he knew.
What's the difference? Take my truck,
take a rest -- stop worrying about
Mel Gordon. Have you decided what to
do with your old man's place -- he
going to stay there?
(takes out cigarette)
Want to buy?
Don't light that in here. I'm
I won't. You interested?
You and Mel Gordon?
Always count on old Wade for a good
screwing. Why should I always pay
more, sell cheap? Why should you
guys make all the money. You and Mel
and Jack. Right's right.
Wade pulls out Bic, lights cigarette.
Wade smiles, exits.
EXT. RT. 29 - NIGHT
Wade, driving Gordon's 4x4 with running lights and roll bar,
takes 29 toward Pop's farm.
A pickup passes him: Jack Hewitt's burgundy Ford. Wade stops.
Jack turns up Parker Mountain -- the road to the accident
scene. Something's up.
Wade turns and follows. Jack's fresh tracks lead the way.
Hewitt is driving fast. Wade keeps up.
Jack, far ahead, approaches the accident scene. Stops. Night
Wade comes over a low rise, spots Jack's pickup. He kills
the lights, parks to block Jack's exit.
Silence. Footsteps in the snow. Wade watches, listens. What's
he doing? Looking for evidence?
The burgundy pickup engine suddenly ROARS -- Jack's back and
at the wheel -- the tires squeal, spit snow as he spins past
Wade starts his engine, gives pursuit. The pickups gun their
engines, bumper to bumper, down mountain roads, lumber roads,
rocky trails. Wild headlamps their only guide.
EXT. POND - NIGHT
A trail turns sharply past a shallow beaver pond -- too
sharply for Jack. He crashes through a stand of skinny birches
straight out onto the pond. The pickup's momentum carries it
across the pond.
Wade drops into first gear, follows, his headlights reflecting
ice. He drives directly to Jack, bumper to bumper, headlight
to headlight. Jack sticks his head out:
You crazy sonofabitch! You'll sink
us both! Get off the fucking ice!
Wade doesn't budge. Jack backs away; Wade inches forward.
Hewitt's trapped. Trees behind him. Neither truck has traction
Jack steps out, swinging his fists wildly. Wade gets out.
Jacks grabs his rifle, points it:
I'll shoot you, Wade, I swear it!
I'll fucking shoot you dead if you
don't move away from that truck!
Wade backs off.
Don't move! I'll shoot you dead if
Jack gets back in his pickup, maneuvers it slowly around the
Dodge, crosses the ice and is gone.
Wade stands in darkness. The only sound his idling truck,
the wind. Then a third sound -- the snap of ice. Ice cracks
ripple from the middle of the pond. Ice planes tip around
LaRiviere's snazzy Dodge slips, descends, disappears.
Headlights glow under water, then go out. "Our Business Is
Going In The Hole."
Wade, alone in darkness, plops into the water, paddles to
shore. Freezing, he finds Jack's tire tracks in the snow. He
bangs his jaw.
EXT. WICKHAM'S - NIGHT
A car drops Wade off. "Home Made Cooking."
INT. WICKHAM'S - NIGHT
Wade enters the empty diner. His clothes frozen.
Your father's in back, Wade. Marg
had to babysit him. She moved in
with you, huh?
Wade goes to the kitchen. Glen Whitehouse, washing dishes
with Margie, looks up:
Ah, the prodigal son.
About fucking time.
Look, got me a new job, second cook
and bottle washer!
Jesus Christ, Pop, let's go home. I
got waylaid. Sorry.
The fuck you got waylaid. You follow
your prick around like it was your
Can it, Whitehouse.
Get him out of here. It was funny at
first, but I'm tired.
There's clothes in the back.
Wade's old man talks as he dresses:
Let's go home? What home is that?
Your home? My home? Let's have a
talk about that. You're fucking sly,
Wade. Your mother's dead so she can't
make any excuses for you anymore!
You gotta deal with me! No more sugar
Wade, redressed, enters:
Pop, for Christ's sake!
You think you can take me now? Come
Margie and Nick guide pere et fils to MARG'S CAR. Nick speaks
Marg, get out of this. Fast.
Marg drives off.
INT. MARGIE'S CAR - NIGHT
Wade leans close to his father, his breath on his:
I wish you would die.
Pop spits directly into Wade's face, raises his arm. Wade
catches it, twists it. Margie shrieks:
Stop it! Stop it! Just stop it!
They do, glaring as they approach the farmhouse.
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
Wade looks in the bedroom, sees Margie sleeping, goes to the
He peers, stands before the sink, washes his hands slowly.
Drying his hands, he looks into the mirror, startled by the
image of his own face.
A phone conversation plays over:
No shit, Rolfe, I glanced up and
there he was, only it was me. But it
was like I had never seen myself
before. It was a stranger's face.
Hard to explain. You fly on automatic
pilot, like I was doing all night,
and you disappear.
INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Wade sits alone in the darkened room, speaking on the phone.
His cigarette glows.
Then you accidentally see your body,
or your face, or whatever, and you
don't know who the hell it belongs
to. Strange. It's the business with
the old man, I know, and how
incredibly pissed I was at him, and
also chasing Jack Hewitt like that,
and the Goddamned truck going through
the ice, not to mention Margie's
being so upset -- one thing on top
Wade, are you alright?
But you gotta hear this. You won't
believe it. Mel Gordon had come by
to visit LaRiviere and so now I'm in
INT. LARIVIERE'S OFFICE - DAY
Wade's theory expanded: Jack and Gordon argue in the office.
An extension of Scene 55. Like Wade's other theories, in
He's on to us!
Shit! What are we gonna do?
Maybe I can buy him off. I gotta
talk to Mel.
You can't buy Wade off.
We bought you.
That was me.
EXT. ALMA PITTMAN'S HOUSE - DAY
Wade drives Margie's car toward LaRiviere's. In his rear
view window he spots Chick Ward driving Chub Merritt's tow
truck, lights blinking, pulling LaRiviere's pickup like a
He pulls over, lets it pass. He's parked in front of Alma
Pittman's house. A sign on the lawn reads, "Alma Pittman,
He looks at the house, decides to go in. Wade walks up the
shoveled steps, knocks on the door. ALMA, 60, wearing plaid
shirt and slacks, greets him with a smile:
Wade! Come in! Have a cup of coffee.
INT. ALMA PITTMAN'S HOUSE - DAY
They step into Alma's living room/office. She's been keeping
the town secrets for as long as anyone can remember.
You got yourself a computer, Alma.
Been putting my files into it. You
take sugar and milk?
They sit by her desk at the bay window. She studies him.
Are you alright, Wade?
Yeah, sure. Why? I got this damned
tooth, I got a few things bugging
me, like everybody else. But I'm
Well, you look... sad. Upset. I don't
mean to pry. I'm sorry about your
mother. It was a nice funeral.
Alma, I think there's some dirty
business going on in this town.
Always has been.
This is maybe worse than you and I
are used to.
What I'm talking about, I'm talking
about murder. Among other things.
Evan Twombley, the union boss who
got shot. Somebody murdered him.
You know Jack Hewitt, the kid I work
EXT. MERRITT'S STATION - DAY
Gordon LaRiviere examines his damaged pickup outside the
INT. ALMA PITTMAN'S HOUSE - DAY
...if Jack told the truth, he could
be free by the time he's my age.
Sometimes things are simpler than
you think. Let me ask you a question.
You don't believe me?
(crosses to her desk)
About Jack? No. Have you checked out
the tax bill on your father's farm
I know he's due for the last two
years. I was thinking of paying it
when the insurance comes in.
Has anybody offered to buy it?
As a mater of fact, yes. LaRiviere.
Alma punches her computer. Dozens of items flash up.
This is all the real estate
transactions in this town the last
year. Most of it unused land. Most
of it for little more than the back
She punches again: only three items.
This is from three years ago. Some
What is the Northcountry Development
I went down to Concord to check it
out. The president is Mel Gordon.
The vice-president and treasurer is
Gordon LaRiviere. Those boys are
buying up the mountain, Wade. $364,000
this year. I believe that's out of
He musta found out. They had to get
rid of him. And Jack'll get blamed.
All the figures show is that Gordon
LaRiviere is going to be a very rich
man using his position as Selectman.
In a year or two, you won't recognize
INT. LARIVIERE'S OFFICE - DAY
Wade storms in, shouting. Jack and Jimmy choose donuts by
the file cabinet. LaRiviere's behind his desk. Wade's tooth
makes it hard for him to talk without pain:
You sneaky sonofabitch! I've got
your number now, Gordon! All these
years I actually thought you were a
(pounds fists on desk)
Can you believe that?
Jack, combative, looks at Wade. Gordon stands before Jack
Wade, you're done.
Let me have the shop keys.
(to Jack and Jimmy)
You two, don't you get it? He's using
you. You're his slaves.
Jesus Christ, Jack, don't you see
The key, Wade.
Yeah, you can have the key. It's the
key that's kept me locked to you all
these years. I give it to you with
Now I'm free. See how easy it is,
Jack? All you got to do is give back
what the man gave you, and you're
free of him.
(turns to leave)
I've got to call my brother.
Wade's phone conversation plays OVER as he goes to Margie's
I know what it means. I'm just running
out of ways to use it.
EXT. ROUTE 29/MERRITT'S - DAY
Phone conversation continues as Wade drives to Merritt's
To help, Jack, of course -- and to
nail those sonsofbitches, the Two
Gordons. That's what Alma calls them.
Jesus, Rolfe, whose side are you on?
Take care of the little things first,
the things that are distracting you
from taking care of the big things.
Call Chub Merritt, get your car back,
call a dentist, for God's sake, and
get your tooth pulled, don't trust
the locals, get your facts straight
and go straight to the state police.
Let them work on this.
CHICK WARD, 30, Chub Merritt's mechanic, greets Wade outside
the station. We join their conversation:
The good news is we haven't got to
your car yet. The bad news --
Just tell me when you'll have it
-- the bad news is there's a problem
with Gordon's truck what somebody
drove through the ice last night.
Figured you'd know something about
Yeah. I know about that.
LaRiviere says he ain't gonna pay
for the fixin' of your car. A couple
hundred for the clutch. I got some
more bad news. Wanna hear it?
Chub says you're fired.
He can't fire me. LaRiviere already
did that this morning.
He's a Selectman. The town. He said
to tell you to turn your badge in
and clean out your office. I'm
supposed to pull the CB and police
light out of your car. They're town
INT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Wade, open phone book in hand, walks back and forth speaking
into the receiver. Margie looks up from the KITCHEN table,
an old newspaper in front of her.
What do you mean, you can't take me
today? I told you --
The other party has hung up. Margie stands, upset. Wade slams
the phone down.
What on earth is happening to you?
Why are you acting this way?
It's my tooth! My fucking tooth! I
can't even think anymore because of
I heard you talking. You got fired
this morning, didn't you?
Look, that's temporary, believe me.
There's so much shit gonna hit the
fan the next few days, my getting
fired by LaRiviere and Merritt won't
matter a bit.
Pop enters from outside with firewood, passes.
I'll get another job. People are
going to need me. After this is over,
they'll make me into a Goddamned
hero. You wait: you'll see, I'll
deliver. I'll be the best father who
ever lived. You need me, even Pop,
for Christ's sake, he needs me. This
town needs me. Maybe now they think
they can send me howling into a corner
like a kicked dog, but my God, it'll
be different soon.
Margie's face falls. She retreats from the room as he speaks,
taking her coat and pocketbook. Wade and his old man, she
thinks: just the same.
Wade looks out the window and she gets in her car, drives
Wade holds his inflamed jaw; he can hardly see straight. Pop
turns on the TV in the living room, boosts the volume.
Pop comes back in the room, gets the Canadian Club, pours
himself a drink.
Leave the bottle out!
Pop growls, goes back to wrestling on the TV. Wade walks to
the cabinet, removes a pair of pliers from the tool drawer,
goes toward the bathroom.
In the BATHROOM, Wade opens his mouth -- it hurts -- takes a
bite of whisky, sets the bottle on the toilet tank.
He looks at the stranger in the mirror, reaches inside his
mouth with the pliers. Prying his mouth open, Wade Whitehouse
locks the pliers onto a large molar in the back, squeezes
He steadies himself, pulls again, yanking the pliers from
his mouth. The bloody rotted tooth clatters in the sink. He
takes another bite of whisky.
Rolfe's voice plays over:
You will say I should have known
terrible things were about to happen,
and perhaps I should have. But even
so, what could I have done by then?
Wade never went inside. He lived
almost wholly out there on his skin,
with no interior space to retreat
to, even in a crisis.
Wade takes another swig, sets the whisky bottle in the LIVING
ROOM beside the TV set. Wade and Pop exchange looks.
Wade exits through the KITCHEN, snatching his coat.
EXT. BARN - DAY
Wade spits blood into the snow as he grabs a gallon can of
gasoline from under the porch.
He crosses to the barn, prepares to pour the gas into the
beat-up red truck.
EXT. CONCORD - DAY
Wade's Ford pickup passes J. Battle Hand's office, keeps
going. Grass peeks through the snow at this lower altitude.
EXT. LILLIAN'S HOUSE - DAY
Wade parks the truck, walks past leafless bushes to a charcoal-
gray split-level with pink shutters. He pushes the door bell;
the first notes of "Frere Jacques" play.
Lillian opens the door; Jill's footsteps approach.
Wait there. She'll be right out.
Is there snow on the ground up in
See. Get your boots.
(going back inside)
Have her back tomorrow night by six.
No problem. Look, I...
You make me sick. I can't believe
you've sunk so low.
Low as what? What have I done? It's
bad to want to see your own daughter?
You know what I'm talking about. For
what you're doing to me and to the
child you say you love so much. Love.
You won't get away with it.
Jill returns, wearing parka and boots, heads out with her
Bye, honey! Call me tonight if you
Wade and Jill approach the truck.
Are we going in this?
Yeah. My car's in the shop. This'll
It's pretty old.
It belongs to Pop.
Grandpa. My father. It's his.
Wade opens the truck door. Jill climbs in with her overnight
bag, looks back to the door where Lillian watches.
INT./EXT. WADE'S TRUCK - DAY
The Ford heads north.
How about a Big Mac?
Mommy won't let me eat fast food.
You know that. It's bad for you.
C'mon, we can always sneak a Big
Mac. And a cherry turnover. Your
favorite. What do you say?
What do you want, then?
You can't have nothing, Jill. We
need lunch. Mr. Pizza?
Same thing, Daddy. Mommy says --
I know what Mommy says. I'm in charge
Okay. So we'll get what you want.
What do you want?
They stop for a light. Silence.
Nothing, I guess. I guess I can wait
till we get home. Maybe we'll stop
by Wickham's for a hamburger when we
get to Lawford. That suit you? You
always like Wickham's.
Pause. Wade looks over at Jill and realizes she is crying.
Oh, Jesus, Jill, I'm sorry. What's
the matter, honey?
She shoves her clenched fists hard against her legs.
Please don't cry. Please, honey.
What are you sorry for?
I don't know. For the food business.
I guess. I just thought, you know,
we'd sneak a Big Mac on Mommy, like
we used to.
I want to go home.
Jill looks away. Wade pulls a six-pack from under the seat,
pulls off a beer, takes a swig.
That's illegal, you know.
You're a policeman.
Nope. Not anymore. I'm nothing
INT. WICKHAM'S - DAY
Wade and Jill enter Wickham's, crowded with out-of-state
hunters at the end of the deer season.
Jillie, you want a cheese grilled
It's called a grilled cheese sandwich,
Wade, flaring, reaches across the counter and grabs Nick by
the shirtfront! Nick's arm knocks over a cup of coffee.
The diner goes silent. Hunters look up. Jill's face is white;
she starts to cry.
Wade looks over -- it takes him a moment to react -- bends
down, comforting her. He wipes her nose with a napkin.
Jill, please, it's alright. Nothing
I want to go home.
Okay, let's go home, then.
They head for the door. Nick eases over:
Wade, I got a message for you.
Jack Hewitt, he's looking for you.
Wants you to clear your stuff out of
his office in Town Hall.
His office. You mean my old office.
Well, I guess -- that's what he said.
He got his deer yet?
No, he's out now. Somewhere on the
mountain. I'd stay away from him if
I were you. He's real pissed.
Wade takes Jill's hand, exits.
EXT. TOWN HALL - DAY
Jill waits in the old red truck parked outside.
Wade emerges with cardboard boxes of office miscellany, rifles
laid across top. He shoves the boxes and guns into the back
of the pickup, gets in and drives off.
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Wade and Jill pull up the drive, past Margie's car, into the
barn. Her trunk and two side doors are open.
Margie comes out back with a battered suitcase, goes to her
car. She's leaving. A plastic bag of clothes sits in the
Wade and Jill get out, approach:
Going somewhere, Margie?
I'm just cleaning out some of this
stuff that's built up. For the rummage
sale. And some things for the
cleaners. And the laundromat.
Don't lie to me. You're leaving me,
I can see that.
Don't be silly. Hi, Jill.
Jill, suitcase in hand, looking pathetic, tries to smile. A
sadness passes over Wade's face.
Margie, watching him, quivers, starts to cry. She drops her
suitcase, out of nowhere bawling like a baby.
Wade goes over, puts his arms around her, pats her back. His
face is racked. He, too, seems about to cry -- if he could.
In his arms Margie feels trapped, overwhelmed by Wade's
circumstances and terrible sadness. She pushes:
Leave me alone! Leave me alone!
She struggles in Wade's grasp. Jill, frightened, wildly hits
him from behind:
Leave her alone! Leave her alone!
Wade moves back like a bear, covering his face and arms.
Jill, near hysterical, keeps after him, arms and fists flying.
Wade stumbles backwards into the snow. Jill still swings.
Margie dashes to intervene as Wade swings his arms wide.
Jill flies into Marg. Her nose is bleeding. Wade's caught
her across the mouth and nose. She takes cover behind Margie,
Margie and Jill stand side by side, saying nothing. Wade
looks up stunned, as if hit by a rock. Marg slowly backs
away, her arms behind her holding Jill.
Marg eases Jill into the front seat, closes the door, edges
around the car slamming the trunk and gets into the driver's
seat. Wade stands.
I want to go home. Will you take me
She closes the front door, starts the car. She backs out the
In her rear view mirror she sees the image of Wade receding,
standing frozen, staring down at the snow. Pop emerges from
the house, looks at his son, grinning.
Wade looks at his old man, that dumb devilish grin plastered
on his father's face. Glen Whitehouse holds an empty whiskey
bottle like a pistol.
Hunters' gunshots echo in the distance.
You! By Christ, you -- I know you.
Yeah, you goddamn sonofabitch, I
know you. You're a goddamn fucking
piece of my heart!
You don't know me. You don't know
So fuck you. Fuck you.
Nah-nah-naw! You done done finally
done it! Like a man done it. Done it
right. I love you, you mean
Pop holds up the bottle, pretends to fire it at Wade.
Love! What the fuck do you know about
Love! I'm made of love!
Call it what you want.
Everything you know is from me.
You and me.
Wade waves his old man off, trudges toward the barn.
Where the Christ you going? You
sonofabitch, you leave my fucking
truck where it is! I need... Give me
the Goddamn keys! I need to get me
Nothing in the fucking house to drink.
Not a fucking thing. My house, my
money, my truck -- stolen!
I don't know you. My goddamn father
and I don't know you.
Wade walks from the glistening snow into the dark barn.
INT. BARN - DAY
Wade unloads the cardboard boxes filled with his office
belongings from the back of the truck and sets them on the
ground. He gathers up his rifles.
Suddenly! A whiskey bottle SLAMS against the back of his
head. He drops to his knees, the guns scatter. He looks up
with child's fear and guilt at his father.
Glen Whitehouse hovers over him, huge and ferocious: a
colossus, lifting the bottle like a jawbone.
Wade cringes, scrambles for the dropped rifle. He grabs it
by the barrel and, twisting around, swings it in a slow motion
arc, smashing the edge of the wood stock against his father's
head. A cold hard CRACK of bone.
Glen Whitehouse -- shriveled again, no longer mythic -- flies
back like a stuffed dummy. He collapses beside the empty
Wade, bleeding from the head, stands, staggers off Pop's
inert body, aims his rifle at the old man's face.
I know you now. I love you too.
Wade bolts the rifle, flicks off the safety, fires -- a loud
CLICK. The gun's empty.
Joke. You scared me.
He kneels down, lovingly touches the old man's face, caresses
his lips, cheeks, nose, brows, smoothes back his stiff gray
Pop's eyes are clouded. Blood suddenly drips from his ear to
Wade rests the rifle against the truck. He bends over, slips
his hands under his father's body, lifts him up. He carries
Pop over to the workbench, lays him out.
Groping beneath the bench, Wade finds the kerosene lamp. He
unscrews it, pours kerosene the length of Pop's body.
Wade takes out his cigarette lighter, ignites it, holds it
for a moment, places it to Glen Whitehouse.
Fire spreads the length of Pop's body, bursting like a shroud
of yellow flame. The oil-stained bench crackles; flames shoot
up the old weathered wall.
Burning flesh and heat drive Wade backwards.
EXT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Wade stands in snow and sunlight. The entire barn is engulfed
in flames. Black smoke billows through the clear winter sky.
Inside Glen Whitehouse, a pyre, burns.
The historical facts are known by
everyone -- all of Lawford, all of
New Hampshire, some of Massachusetts.
Facts do not make history. Our
stories, Wade's and mine, describe
the lives of boys and men for
thousands of years, boys who were
beaten by their fathers, whose
capacity for love and trust was
crippled almost at birth and whose
best hope, if any, for connection
with other human beings lay in an
elegiac detachment, as if life were
EXT. PARKER MOUNTAIN - DAY
Pop's red truck is parked behind Jack Hewitt's 4x4 on a snow-
banked road. Wade, hunting rifle pointed up, traces Jack's
footsteps down the slope of the mountain.
It's how we keep from destroying in
turn our own children and terrorizing
the women who have the misfortune to
love us; how we absent ourselves
from the tradition of male violence;
how we decline the seduction of
Wade spots Jack poised in a spruce grove, watching for deer.
Wade bolts his rifle, releases the safety, aims and FIRES.
Jack, hit in the chest, falls bleeding between trees. Blood
stains the snow.
Jack's truck turned up three days
later in a shopping mall in Toronto.
Even without the footprints, the
bullet, Wade's utter disappearance
seemed evidence enough of his guilt.
INT. WHITEHOUSE FARM - DAY
Camera glides from room to room, glimpsing details, fragments
of former times, as if this were an historical site or
memorial. The walls resonate: lives were molded here.
LaRiviere and Mel Gordon were indeed
in business. The Parker Mountain Ski
Resort is now advertised all across
the country. Jimmy Dame tends bar at
the lodge. Chub Merritt opened a
snowmobile dealership, Nick Wickham
runs the new Burger King. Margie
Fogg moved to Littleton, nearer her
mother; Lillian and Jill went with
Bob Horner to a new job in Seattle.
Out a window, workers gather charred timbers from the barn,
throw them on a truck.
We want to believe Wade died, died
that same November, froze to death
on a bench or a sidewalk. You cannot
understand how a man, a normal man,
a man like you and me, could do such
a terrible thing. Unless the police
happen to arrest a vagrant who turns
out to be Wade Whitehouse -- or maybe
he won't be a vagrant; maybe he will
have turned himself into one of those
faceless fellows working at the video
store and lives in a town-house
apartment at the edge of town until
his mailman recognizes him from the
picture at the post office -- unless
that happens, there will be no more
mention of him and his friend Jack
Hewitt and our father. The story
will be over. Except that I continue.