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The Man Who Wasn't There


                                "THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE"

                                            BY

                                  Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

                

               Black.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Yeah, I worked in a barbershop. But 
                         I never considered myself a barber...

               We track back from a barber's pole.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I stumbled into it--well, married 
                         into it more precisely...

               We track back from a shopkeeper's bell triggered by an opening 
               door. The pull back and tilt down show the top of the head 
               of a customer entering in slow motion.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I wasn't my establishment. Like 
                         the fella says, I only work here...

               We track along a shelf backed by a mirror and holding pomade, 
               aftershave, hair tonic, a whisk brush.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...The dump was 200 feet square, 
                         with five chairs, or stations as we 
                         call 'em, even though there were 
                         only two of us working...

               We track in on a big man in a barber's smock scissoring across 
               a lock of hair that he pulls taut between two fingers of one 
               hand. In slow motion, he laughs and chats.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Frank Raffo, my brother-in-law, 
                         was the principal barber. And man, 
                         could he talk...

               Another man in a barber's smock is running electric clippers 
               across a child's head. A cigarette between his lips.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Now maybe if you're eleven or 
                         twelve years old, Frank's got an 
                         interesting point of view, but 
                         sometimes it got on my nerves. Not 
                         that I'd complain, mind you. Like I 
                         said, he was the principal barber.  
                         Frank's father August--they called 
                         him Guzzi--had worked the heads up 
                         in Santa Rosa for thirty-five years 
                         until his ticker stopped in the middle 
                         of a Junior Flat Top. He left the 
                         shop to Frankie free and clear. And 
                         that seemed to satisfy all of Frank's 
                         ambitions: cutting the hair and 
                         chewing the fat. Me, I don't talk 
                         much...

               He plucks the cigarette from his mouth and taps its ash into 
               a tray.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I just cut the hair...

               LATE IN THE DAY

               The barbershop is empty of customers. Late sun slants in 
               through the front window. The two barbers--the narrator and 
               his brother-in-law--sit in two of the barber chairs, idly 
               reading magazines.

                                     FRANK
                         Says here that the Russians exploded 
                         n A-bomb and there's not a damn thing 
                         we can do about it.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     FRANK
                         How d'ya like them apples?

               Beat.

                                     FRANK
                         ...Ed?

                                     ED
                         Huh?

                                     FRANK
                         Russians exploded an A-bomb.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     FRANK
                              (shaking his head)
                         Jesus...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Now, being a barber is a lot like 
                         being a barman or a soda-jerk; there's 
                         not much to it once you've learned 
                         the basic moves. For the kids there's 
                         the Butch, or the Heinie...

               We cut to examples of the haircuts as they are ticked off:

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...the Flat Top, the Ivy, the Crew, 
                         the Vanguard, the Junior Contour 
                         and, occasionally, the Executive 
                         Contour. Adults get variations on 
                         the same, along with the Duck Butt, 
                         the Timberline...

               Ed trims the fringe around a balding head.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and something we call the Alpine 
                         Rope Toss.

               He snips one long lonely strand of hair and carefully drapes 
               it across a bald pate.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I lived in a little bungalow on 
                         Napa Street. The place was OK, I 
                         guess; it had an electric ice box, 
                         gas hearth, and a garbage grinder 
                         build into the sink. You might say I 
                         had it made.

               We float slowly toward a white bungalow on a quiet street as 
               a black coupe pulls into the driveway.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Oh yeah. There was one other 
                         thing...

               We track in through a bedroom door to discover a woman putting 
               on a girdle.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Doris kept the books at 
                         Nirdlinger's, a small department 
                         store on Main Street. Unlike me, 
                         Doris liked the work, accounting; 
                         she liked knowing where everything 
                         stood. And she got a ten per cent 
                         employee discount on whatever she 
                         wanted--nylon stockings...

               Close on her legs as she rolls up a stocking and clips it to 
               the garter.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...make-up, and perfume...

               Close on an atomiser misting her bosom with Jungle Gardenia 
               by Tuvache.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...She wore a lot of perfume.

               Doris in a flouncy dress is setting coasters on a coffee 
               table.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Doris's boss, Big Dave Brewster, 
                         was married to Ann Nirdlinger, the 
                         department store heiress. Tonight 
                         they were coming over for dinner--as 
                         Doris said, we were 'entertaining'...

               Ed sits on the living-room davenport in an uncomfortable 
               suit, smoking.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Me, I don't like entertaining.

               The doorbell rings.

               THE DOOR

               Ed opens it to reveal a large man in a suit and his demure, 
               bird-like wife.

                                     DAVE
                         How ya doin', Ed?

                                     ED
                         OK. Take your coat, Ann?

               DINNER TABLE

               The two couples are in the middle of the meal.

                                     DAVE
                         Japs had us pinned down in Buna for 
                         something like six weeks. Well, I 
                         gotta tell ya, I thought *we* had it 
                         tough, but, Jesus, we had supply. 
                         *They* were eating grubs, nuts, 
                         thistles. When we finally up and 
                         bust off the beach we found Arnie 
                         Bragg, kid missing on recon; the 
                         Japs had *eaten* the sonofabitch, if 
                         you'll pardon the, uh... And this 
                         was a scrawny, pimply kid too, nothin' 
                         to write home about. I mean, I never 
                         would've, ya know, so what do I say, 
                         honey? When I don't like dinner, 
                         what do I say?

               Ann smiles wanly.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I say, Jesus, honey, Arnie Bragg--
                         *again*?!

               He roars with laughter.

               Ed gives an acknowledging smile.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Arnie Bragg--*again*?!

               He dries his eyes with the corner of a napkin.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Were you in the service, Ed?

                                     ED
                         No, Dave, I wasn't.

                                     DORIS
                         Ed was 4F on account of his fallen 
                         arches.

                                     DAVE
                         Mm, that's tough.

               FRONT PORCH

               Ed is standing alone on the porch, watching the sun go down. 
               Crickets chirp. From inside the house we hear laughter and 
               clattering dishes.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Yeah... I guess Doris liked all 
                         that he-man stuff. Sometimes I had 
                         the feeling that she and Big Dave 
                         were a lot closer than they let on...

               He turns and looks through the screen door into the house.

               Across the dim living room we can see a sliver of the brightly 
               lit kitchen. Big Dave, wearing a frilly apron, stands at the 
               counter drying dishes. His broad back heaves with laughter 
               while Doris, just hidden by the wall, chats away, handing 
               dishes across.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...The signs were all there plain 
                         enough--not that I was gonna prance 
                         about it, mind you. It's a free 
                         country.

               Footsteps approach the front porch.

               With the squeak of the screen door, Big Dave emerges.

                                     DAVE
                         Holding down the porch area?

               Ed gives a half-grin of wry acknowledgement. Big Dave relaxes, 
               forearms against the porch railing, gazing out at the front 
               lawn.

                                     DAVE
                         ...That's quite a wife you got there.

                                     ED
                         Mm.

                                     DAVE
                         She's a rare one.

                                     ED
                         How's business, Dave?

                                     DAVE
                         Couldn't be better. These're boom 
                         times in retailing. We're opening 
                         another store, Big Dave's Annex, 
                         there on Garson. This is strictly 
                         haberdashery--casual wear, pyjamas, 
                         ladies' foundations and undergarments. 
                         Matter of fact, I'm thinking of making 
                         Doris the comptroller. How're things 
                         at the, uh, the barbershop?

                                     ED
                         All right, I guess.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Fine. Fine. Well, you might want 
                         to drop by the Annex when we open, 
                         update your suit--'course, you're in 
                         the smock all day.

               He chuckles.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Say, where do you get those things 
                         anyway?

                                     ED
                         Specialty store down in Sacramento.

                                     DAVE
                         Uh-huh.

               There is a silence. At length, gazing out at the lawn, Big 
               Dave clears his throat.

               CHURCH

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Doris and I went to church once a 
                         week...

               We are tilting down a long stained-glass window depicting 
               the resurrection of Christ.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Usually Tuesday night...

               Faintly, we hear an amplified voice:

                                     CALLER
                         I... seven...

               Ed sits at a long table, staring at the window, a lit 
               cigarette in his mouth.

                                     CALLER
                         ...Bee... Four...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Doris wasn't big on divine worship...

               Doris is concentrating on the six cards spread in front of 
               her.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and I doubt if she believed in 
                         life everlasting; she'd most likely 
                         tell you that our reward is on this 
                         earth and bingo is probably the extent 
                         of it...

               Still focused on her cards, Doris mutters to Ed:

                                     DORIS
                         Watch your card, honey.

                                     CALLER
                         I... sixteen...

               Ed continues to gaze off at the window, smoke pluming from 
               his cigarette.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I wasn't crazy about the game, but, 
                         I don't know, it made her happy, and 
                         I found the setting peaceful.

                                     CALLER
                         Gee... nine...

               Doris sucks in her breath.

                                     DORIS
                         Jesus, bingo--BINGO!

               BARBERSHOP

               Sun slants in through the big window at the end of the day. 
               Ed sweeps hair trimmings, looking intently down at the floor, 
               a cigarette dangling from his lip. Frank sits on one of the 
               vinyl waiting chairs, talking at Ed's back.

                                     FRANK
                         ...so you tie your own flies, Ed. I 
                         mean, if you're really serious. You 
                         tie your own flies, you do a--I know 
                         it's matickless, I know, people say, 
                         hey, you can buy flies at the store--
                         but you can buy your fish at the 
                         store, Ed, you see what I'm saying?

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     FRANK
                         The point is there's a certain art 
                         to the process. The point is not 
                         merely to provide, and let me point 
                         out, these fish are not as dumb as 
                         you might think.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     FRANK
                         Sportsmanship! That's my point. June 
                         fly, Ed? Mosquito? Which of these? 
                         Well, what fish do you seek?

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     FRANK
                         Sure, go to the store. Go there, 
                         describe to the man where you will 
                         be fishing, and for what, and the 
                         weather conditions, sun, no sun, 
                         whatnot, and so forth, and then you 
                         might as well have the man go ahead 
                         and sell you the goddamn FISH, Ed...

               We see a black-suited figure approaching through the windows 
               at the far end of the shop. He is almost blown out by the 
               late-day sunlight hitting the window.

                                     FRANK
                         ...My point is, this is a man who 
                         knows nothing no matter how much you 
                         tell him, so sell him the goddamn 
                         FISH, Ed.

               The bell over the front door tinkles, and the swarthy middle-
               aged man walks in. He is well dressed--perhaps a little too 
               snazzily for this small town--and has a sporty pencil 
               mustache.

                                     MAN
                         OK, boys, which of you gets the 
                         privilege?

                                     FRANK
                         We're just closing, friend.

                                     MAN
                         Oh, happy days! I wish I was doing 
                         well enough to turn away business! 
                         More power to ya, brother! The public 
                         be damned!

                                     FRANK
                         Hey, what's your problem, friend? 
                         This is a business establishment 
                         with posted hours--

               Ed cuts in with a jerk of the head.

                                     ED
                         I'll take care of him, go ahead, 
                         Frank. Have a seat, mister.

               Frank looks sourly at the stranger.

                                     FRANK
                         ...You sure, Eddie?

                                     ED
                         Yeah, yeah--go home.

               As Frank leaves:

                                     FRANK
                         In your ear, mister.

               The stranger chuckles.

                                     STRANGER
                         Oh, those fiery Mediterraneans. Say! 
                         Not so fast there, brother--

               Ed has switched on the clippers, but the stranger waves him 
               back; he lifts off a toupee.

                                     STRANGER
                         ...Pretty good, huh? Fools even the 
                         experts. 100 percent human hair, 
                         handcrafted by Jacques of San 
                         Francisco, and I'd hate to have to 
                         tell you what I paid for it.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     STRANGER
                         Yes, it's a nice rug. I'm paying for 
                         it down on the installment plan...

               Ed starts to trim the stranger's fringe.

                                     STRANGER
                         ...A lot of folks live with the pate 
                         exposed. They say the dames think 
                         it's sexy. But for my money it's 
                         just not good grooming--and grooming, 
                         my friend, is probably the most 
                         important thing in business--after 
                         personality, of course...

               He twists around to offer his hand.

                                     STRANGER
                         ...Creighton Tolliver, pleased to 
                         know ya.

                                     ED
                         Ed Crane. What brings you to Santa 
                         Rosa?

                                     CREIGHTON
                         A goose, friend. I was chasing a 
                         wild goose. Ed, have you ever heard 
                         of venture capital?

                                     ED
                         Uh--

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Well, it's the wildest goose there 
                         is. Risk money. Very speculative. 
                         Except, Ed, in certain situations, 
                         it's not, see? I thought I had a 
                         prospect here. Well, I make the haul 
                         up and this lousy so-and-so tells me 
                         his situation has changed--all his 
                         capital's gonna be tied up in 
                         expansion plans of his own. Thank 
                         you, mother! Pop goes another bubble! 
                         It's only the biggest business 
                         opportunity since Henry Ford and I 
                         can't seem to interest a soul!

                                     ED
                         That right.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         It's called dry cleaning. You heard 
                         me right, brother, 'dry cleaning'--
                         wash without water, no suds, no 
                         tumble, no stress on the clothes. 
                         It's all done with chemicals, friend, 
                         and your garments end up crisp and 
                         fresh. And here's the capper: no 
                         shrinkage.

                                     ED
                         Huh.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         That's right! Dry cleaning--remember 
                         the name. It's going to revolutionize 
                         the laundry industry, and those that 
                         get in early are gonna bear the fruit 
                         away. All I need is $10,000 to open 
                         my first store, then I use its cash 
                         flow to finance another, and so on--
                         leap frog, bootstrap myself a whole 
                         chain. Well, me and a partner. 
                         Cleanliness, friend. There's money 
                         in it. There's a future. There's 
                         room to grow... Say, that's looking 
                         pretty good. Let's see it with the 
                         hairpiece on...

               BATHROOM DOORWAY

               It is evening. Ed leans against the bathroom doorjamb 
               contemplatively off, hands thrust into his pockets, a 
               cigarette between his lips pluming smoke.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Dry cleaning...

               The reverse show Doris soaking in the tub, reading a magazine.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Was I crazy to be thinking about 
                         it? Was he a huckster, or opportunity, 
                         the real McCoy?

               Ed takes the cigarette from his mouth, exhales.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...My first instinct was, no, no, 
                         the whole idea was nuts. But maybe 
                         that was the instinct that kept me 
                         locked up in the barbershop, nose 
                         against the exit, afraid to try 
                         turning the knob. What if I could 
                         get the money?

                                     DORIS
                         Honey?

                                     ED
                         Mm.

               She lifts one leg and rests the heel on the rim of the tub.

                                     DORIS
                         Shave my legs, will ya?

               Ed saunters over, perches on the tub and puts the cigarette 
               back in his mouth to free his hands. He picks up a bar of 
               soap and starts soaping the leg.

               He sets down the soap and picks up a safety razor.

               The razor takes long slow strokes along the lather, dark 
               bits of hair flecking the white foam.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...It was clean. No water. Chemicals.

               He shakes the razor in the tub. Shavings float away across 
               the soap-slicked water.

                                     DORIS
                              (absently, as she 
                              reads)
                         Gimme a drag.

               Ed pulls the cigarette from his mouth between two fingers, 
               uses the two fingers to flip it over, and holds it for Doris 
               as she sucks.

               He brings the cigarette, now marked with lipstick, back to 
               his own mouth. She murmurs:

                                     DORIS
                         ...Love ya, honey.

               A DOOR

               We hear a voice, muffled through the door, breaking into 
               laughter.

               A hand enters to knock.

                                     VOICE
                         Yeah, come in.

               The door swings open to show Creighton in his shirtsleeves 
               sitting on the bed, talking on the phone. A tray of room-
               service dishes sits near him.

               He is bald; his hairpiece sits on the pillow next to him.

                                     CREIGHTON
                              (into the phone)
                         OK... yeah. I'll see you tomorrow.

               He hangs up, looks quizzically at Ed.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...Oh, I thought you were the 
                         porter... Can I help you?

               Ed stands awkwardly by the door.

                                     ED
                         ...I'm, uh, Ed.

               The stranger's look does not show recognition.

                                     ED
                         ...Ed Crane. Remember? Today?

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Sorry, friend, I, uh, you got me at 
                         a disadvantage.

                                     ED
                         I'm, uh, I'm--the barber.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Jesus! The barber! I'll be a 
                         sonofagun. Why didn't you say so? 
                         'Course--the barber.

               Ed nods, his smile faint and forced.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...I didn't recognize you without 
                         the smock. Did I--damn--did I leave 
                         something at the shop?

                                     ED
                         No. I might be interested in that, 
                         uh, business proposition--

               Creighton, surprised, quickly picks up his hairpiece and 
               arranges it on his head.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         You got the dough?!

                                     ED
                         I can get it, yeah.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Come in, come in, siddown over there. 
                         Coffee?

                                     ED
                         No. I--tell me--

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Sure.

                                     ED
                         What's involved, aside from putting 
                         up the money? What're you looking 
                         for the partner to do?

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Do? Hell, nothing. Well, you'll want 
                         to keep tabs on your investment, of 
                         course, but I'm looking for a silent 
                         partner. I've done the research, 
                         I've contacted the vendors, the deal 
                         is set. I'm just looking for venture 
                         capital, friend. Disappear if you 
                         want, check in whenever you like--I 
                         want the dough; I don't take 
                         attendance.

                                     ED
                         And how do we share--

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Fifty-fifty, straight down the line. 
                         You and me. Finance and expertise. 
                         So--you've got the dough then, do 
                         ya?

                                     ED
                         I'll have it in a week.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Well, I'll be damned. The barber! 
                         And I thought this trip was a bust. 
                         Well...

               He reaches for a bottle of bonded whiskey on the night stand 
               and hands Ed a glass.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...it just goes to show, when one 
                         door slams shut, another one opens. 
                         Here's to ya, uh...

                                     ED
                         Ed.

               They both knock back the whiskey. Creighton leans back and 
               gives Ed a heavy-lidded stare, a faint smile on his lips, 
               his hairpiece slightly askew.

               Ed stares back.

               After a beat, without taking his eyes of Ed, Creighton reaches 
               up and loosens his tie. An almost imperceptible wink.

               Ed stares.

                                     ED
                         ...Was that a pass?

                                     CREIGHTON
                              (hoarsely)
                         Maybe.

                                     ED
                         You're out of line, mister.

               Creighton throws up his hands apologetically.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         No problem!

                                     ED
                         Way out of line.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Right! Strictly business.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

               CLOSE ON TYPEWRITTEN NOTE

               It says:

               I KNOW ABOUT YOU AND DORIS CRANE.  COOPERATE OR ED CRANE 
               WILL KNOW.  YOUR WIFE WILL KNOW. EVERYONE WILL KNOW. GATHER 
               $10,000 AND AWAIT INSTRUCTIONS.

               A hand pulls the note out of a typewriter carriage.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I sent it to Dave the next morning. 
                         And I waited.

               BARBERSHOP

               We are looking down at the top of an eight-year-old's crew 
               cut as clippers buzz its perimeter.

               Frank reads a magazine. The youngster reads a comic as Ed 
               works his head.

                                     ED
                         Frank.

                                     FRANK
                         Huh?

                                     ED
                         This hair.

                                     FRANK
                         Yeah.

                                     ED
                         ...You ever wonder about it?

                                     FRANK
                         Whuddya mean?

                                     ED
                         I don't know... How it keeps on 
                         coming. It just keeps growing.

                                     FRANK
                         Yeah--lucky for us, huh, pal?

                                     ED
                         No, I mean it's growing, it's part 
                         of us. And we cut it off. And throw 
                         it away.

                                     FRANK
                         Come on, Eddie, you're gonna scare 
                         the kid.

               Ed shuts off the clippers and give the apron a flap.

                                     ED
                         OK, bud, you're through.

               The kid hops down, still reading his comic, and ambles out 
               the door. Ed gives Frank a considering stare.

                                     ED
                         ...I'm gonna take his hair and throw 
                         it out in the dirt.

                                     FRANK
                         What the--

                                     ED
                         I'm gonna mingle it with common house 
                         dirt.

                                     FRANK
                         What the hell are you talking about?

               Ed turns back to the counter to hang up his clippers.

                                     ED
                         I don't know. Skip it.

               EXT. ED'S HOUSE

               It is twilight. Ed lifts the latch on the front gate and, 
               cigarette in his mouth, heads up the walk.

               Music filters out from the house.

               INT. ED'S HOUSE

               Ed walks though the living room, hands in his pockets. The 
               music emanates from a radio in the bedroom.

                                     DORIS
                         Ed?

               A track forward reveals Doris sitting at a vanity, doing her 
               hair. Her dress is half zipped at the back.

                                     DORIS
                         ...Gimme a zip.

               Ed walks over behind her.

                                     ED
                         Where you going?

                                     DORIS
                         Me? Us! The party at Nirdlinger's--I 
                         told you last week, for the Christmas 
                         Push.

                                     ED
                         Yeah, right.

               We are close on the zipper as Ed's hand takes the tab, pauses, 
               the lowers it slightly. Her back blooms through the dark 
               fabric of the dress.

               He slides the zipper up, and Doris reaches for a perfume 
               atomizer.

                                     DORIS
                         Come on, get ready. It's important.

                                     ED
                         Nah, go ahead. I'm not big on parties.

                                     DORIS
                         Oh, don't be a grump.

               SALES FLOOR

               It is festooned with streamers.

               Ed leans against a wall, one hand dug into a pocket, the 
               other bringing a cigarette to his lips.

               Band music plays and Nirdlinger's employees whirl on the 
               dance floor. Bobby-soxed teenagers Lindy-hop and pass palms 
               over their knees.

               A thin young man in a sports coat stands next to Ed, watching, 
               his Adam's apple bobbing.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Wild, man!

               He goes out onto the dance floor. Ed, left by himself, gazes 
               across the floor.

               His view, broken by dancers' crosses, shows Big Dave worriedly 
               talking to Doris.

               Doris reacts angrily.

               Big Dave morosely absorbs the angry words from Doris. He 
               glances up toward Ed and notices his gaze with consternation. 
               He gives Doris a jerk of the head, and she too looks over.

                                     VOICE
                         You in ladies' wear?

               The young man with the Adam's apple is back, looking out at 
               the floor, snapping his fingers.

                                     ED
                         ...Huh?

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Haven't I seen you up in ladies' 
                         wear?

                                     ED
                         I don't work here. My wife does.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Uh-huh. Some beat, huh?

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Check out the rack on that broad in 
                         the angora.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

               A hand is laid on Ed's shoulder. It is Big Dave; he leans in 
               to murmur:

                                     DAVE
                         Ed. Can I talk to you?

               BIG DAVE'S OFFICE

               Music from the party drifts in only faintly. The office is 
               built into a corner of the sales floor. It is dominated by a 
               large desk. A large window on the far side affords a partial 
               view of the floor.

                                     DAVE
                         Siddown. Siddown...

               Ed sits in a leather chair in front of the desk. Dave fumbles 
               nervously on top of the desk for a cigar. He trims the end 
               of the cigar with a short double-bladed knife with a steel 
               grip.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Souveniered it off a Jap in New 
                         Guinea.

               He hands one cigar to Ed, takes one for himself, then drags 
               up a chair to face Ed's.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I guess you're wondering what 
                         Doris was so hot about.

               The office is dark, the only illumination coming from the 
               window onto the bright sales floor behind Big Dave. Ed leans 
               forward for Dave to light his cigar.

                                     DAVE
                         ...These're Havanas. Romeo and 
                         Juliets. Private stock.

               Dave, having lit Ed's cigar, draws nervously on his own.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Ed, I...

                                     ED
                         What is it, Dave?

               Dave breaks down, weeping. He buries his face in his hands, 
               the burning cigar in his right hand perilously close to his 
               hair.

                                     DAVE
                         Ed, I've been weak...

               His shoulders heave.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I've, uh... I've, uh... thanks.

               Ed has taken Dave's cigar so that he won't burn himself.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I've, uh... Oh, Jesus. I've been 
                         carrying on with a married woman. 
                         Uh, no one you know. And now the, uh--
                         what is it they say?--the--the--the 
                         chickens are coming home to roost.

               Ed awkwardly holds the two burning cigars.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     DAVE
                         Hell, I, I'm not proud of it. But, 
                         uh, that's not the worst of it. I 
                         got a note. A blackmail note. You 
                         know, come across or everybody knows.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     DAVE
                         Well, you know what that would do to 
                         me.

                                     ED
                         I guess it would be pretty awkward.

                                     DAVE
                         Awkward?! Ann'd throw me out on my 
                         keister! Hell, it's her family's 
                         store--*her* store. I serve at the 
                         indulgence of the goddamn ownership, 
                         Ed.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     DAVE
                         I only work here! And the lady's 
                         husband would know... Oh, Jesus.

                                     ED
                         How much to they want, Dave?

                                     DAVE
                         $10,000! I don't know what to do, 
                         Ed. I don't know what I *can* do. 
                         Even though I know who the sonofabitch 
                         is.

                                     ED
                         ...You know... who *who* is?

                                     DAVE
                         The sonofabitch. The blackmailer. 
                         It's, uh, it's no one you know. It's 
                         a businessman from Sacramento. A 
                         goddamn pansy, Ed. He tried to rope 
                         me into some crackpot scheme; I heard 
                         him out and then told him to go to 
                         hell. And the very next day, the 
                         very next day, Ed, I get blackmailed 
                         for the same amount.

                                     ED
                         Would he... it sounds pretty obvious.

                                     DAVE
                         Well, I guess he don't care that 
                         it's obvious.

                                     ED
                         Mm. How, uh... how did he know that--

                                     DAVE
                         He's staying at the hotel I've gone 
                         to with, uh, with the lady in 
                         question. Must've seen us.

               Big Dave blows his nose, reaches to take his cigar from Ed.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Thanks...

               He exhales with a long sigh.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Oh, Jesus.

                                     ED
                         ...Why don't you just pay him, Dave?

                                     DAVE
                         That's my capitalization on the Annex! 
                         *My* operation, Ed! Christ almighty. 
                         That's what I was just talking to 
                         Doris about, a way of getting the 
                         money from the store that we could 
                         hide from Ann.

                                     ED
                         Mm.

                                     DAVE
                         Embezzling, Ed. From my own goddamn 
                         wife!

               He give a tearful chuckle.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Doris, she was pretty hot about 
                         that. God bless her. She doesn't 
                         know I'm telling you this--she's mad 
                         enough already. But Jesus, Ed, you're 
                         the only one I can talk to. I'm, I'm 
                         sorry I... I better get back to the 
                         party.

               He rises and clears his throat as he rubs the tears from his 
               face.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I look all right?

               PULLING ED

               He has left the office to wander through an adjacent room 
               lit only by spill from the party. It is the music department; 
               pianos and spinets are arranged across the floor.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         In a way I felt bad for Big Dave. I 
                         knew the ten grand was going to pinch 
                         him where it hurt...

               Ed sits on a piano stool next to a standing ashtray. He takes 
               out a cigarette, lights it off his cigar, stubs out the cigar.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But Doris was two-timing me and I 
                         guess, somewhere, that pinched a 
                         little too.

               His attention is caught by a distant knock of wood. Someone 
               is raising the key-guard on a piano across the room.

               The person can only be seen only obscurely, from three-
               quarters behind, through the sales floor's jumble of 
               haphazardly arranged instruments. The person begins to play.

               Ed listens. The piece is slow, sweet, almost a lullaby.

               The player, unaware that there is an audience, plays on, and 
               Ed listens, eyes narrowed against the smoke curling past his 
               face.

               The piece ends.

                                     ED
                         That was pretty.

               The player turns, surprised. It is a young woman.

                                     ED
                         ...Did you make that up?

                                     YOUNG WOMAN
                         Oh, no. That was written by Mr Ludwig 
                         van Beethoven.

               Ed nods recognition of the name.

                                     ED
                         That was quite something.

                                     YOUNG WOMAN
                         He wrote some beautiful piano sonatas.

                                     ED
                         That was something. I'm Ed Crane.

                                     YOUNG WOMAN
                         I know who you are, Mr Crane.

               His look shows surprise.

                                     YOUNG WOMAN
                         ...My father used to take me with 
                         him when he got his hair cut. Walter 
                         Abundas?

               Ed's head tilts back in acknowledgment.

                                     YOUNG WOMAN
                         ...I'm Rachel Abundas. Everyone calls 
                         me Birdy.

                                     ED
                         Sorry, I just didn't remember.

                                     BIRDY
                         Oh, that's all right. You can't be 
                         expected to remember every skinny 
                         girl who comes in with her dad.

               Ed give a wry smile.

                                     ED
                         ...You don't like the music out there?

                                     BIRDY
                         It's OK, I guess. No, I don't really. 
                         I'm not big on music, ordinarily.

               A woman calls sharply from offscreen:

                                     VOICE
                         Ed.

               He looks.

               Silhouetted in the doorway to the party room is Doris, coat 
               over her arm, purse in hand.

               ED'S CAR

               Doris and Ed are driving home.

               Doris draws heavily on a cigarette, looking flintily out at 
               the road.

                                     DORIS
                         ...What a knucklehead.

                                     ED
                         Who?

                                     DORIS
                         Dave.

                                     ED
                         How's that?

                                     DORIS
                         Ahh...

               She waves angrily.

                                     DORIS
                         ...Money problems. He's thinking 
                         about canceling the Annex.

                                     ED
                         So?

                                     DORIS
                         *That means I don't run Nirdlinger's!*

                                     ED
                         Mm.

               They ride in silence for a beat. Doris shakes her head.

                                     DORIS
                         ...What a knucklehead.

               STREET

               As the car roars past and into the distance.

               ANOTHER STREET

               It is day. We are looking from inside a parked car toward a 
               hotel entrance. Big Dave emerges from the hotel, gets into a 
               Packard and drives off.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Big Dave did it, though...

               Ed, sitting in his car, is watching.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I sent a note telling him where 
                         to drop the money...

               HOTEL HALLWAY

               Ed emerges from a stairwell and goes to a standing ashtray 
               by the elevator.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and he did. He came across.

               Ed reaches into the trash hole in the ashtray column and 
               pulls out a Nirdlinger's bag.

               He goes back to the stairwell.

               ANOTHER FLOOR

               Ed emerges from the stairwell, goes to a door and knocks.

               The door swings open.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Yeah, good, how are ya, come in...

               Ed follows him into the room.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...You bring a check?

                                     ED
                         Cash.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Cash?!

               He gives Ed a look.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...Usually we do this kind of thing 
                         with a bank draft. But cash--that's 
                         fine--it's all the same in the end--
                         dough's dough, huh?

                                     ED
                         Sure.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         I got the paperwork here. Partnership 
                         papers here, they reflect our 
                         agreement: fifty-fifty on the net, I 
                         supply professional services, you 
                         supply the capital. I'll give you a 
                         receipt on the dough there, huh?

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Pretty straightforward, but I don't 
                         know if you wanna show this stuff to 
                         a lawyer--

                                     ED
                         It's OK.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Yeah, screw 'em, huh? Pay 'em to 
                         tangle it up and then you pay 'em to 
                         untangle it, what's the point?

               He perspires as he counts the money.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...Just a second here, I'll give you 
                         a receipt on the, uh... Whoa, 
                         Nellie... Oh, by the way, we didn't 
                         talk about this, I, uh, I think I'm 
                         gonna call the place Tolliver's, 
                         after me, you know, I didn't think 
                         you were much interested in, uh--

                                     ED
                         That'll be fine.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Yeah, good. Lemme just, uh...

               He wipes his brow, finishes counting.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         ...Yeah, that's it. As per our 
                         discussion.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

               Creighton hands Ed an executed agreement and a receipt.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         Well, there it is. Writ large in 
                         legal escriture, next step is--

                                     ED
                         Look, uh... Creighton...

               He gives Creighton a level stare, smoke pluming from the 
               cigarette planted in his mouth.

                                     ED
                         ...You're not gonna screw me on this?

                                     CREIGHTON
                         *Screw* you--Jesus! Take it to a 
                         lawyer! No, I insist! This is *dry* 
                         cleaning, this is not some fly-by-
                         night thing here! I must say, I've 
                         been an entrepreneur for thirteen 
                         years and I've never--

                                     ED
                         All right.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         And I've never been asked--Look, you 
                         want the dough back? You know who I 
                         am! You--

                                     ED
                         OK.

               Creighton mops his brow again.

                                     CREIGHTON
                         So, uh... Tolliver's is OK then?

               CAR

               Ed drives with the usual cigarette in his mouth. Doris sits 
               next to him. Rural scenery slips by in the background.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         The next day was Saturday. We were 
                         going to a reception for Doris' cousin 
                         Gina, who'd just married a wop vintner 
                         out near Modesto. Doris didn't much 
                         feel like going, and I didn't either, 
                         but, like she said, we had a 
                         Commitment.

               Doris gazes stonily out at the road. At length:

                                     DORIS
                         ...I hate wops.

               Ed gives her a brief glance. Doris glares at him.

                                     DORIS
                         ...What's so damn strange about that?

                                     ED
                         I didn't say a word.

               She looks back out at the road.

                                     DORIS
                         ...*You* didn't have to grow up with 
                         'em.

               This brings nothing from Ed. Doris shakes her head.

                                     DORIS
                         ...Family. Boy.

               BY A BARN

               Wops in Sunday clothing greet each other around tables piled 
               with food.

               A small child runs up to his mother, yanks on her dress and 
               screams:

                                     CHILD
                         He's ridin' Garibaldi! Uncle Frankie's 
                         ridin' Garibaldi!

               Surrounded by cheering children, with a jug of wine slung 
               over his shoulder, Frank is riding an enormous pig. He slaps 
               at the pig's ass with a large straw hat.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         That was when she started drinking.

               Doris is standing by one of the tables, drinking red wine 
               from a water glass. Ed stands nearby.

               A large woman hugs Doris.

                                     WOMAN
                         How you doin', Doris, you been OK?

                                     DORIS
                         How're you, Constanza?

                                     WOMAN
                         Oh, you know, I got my healt'. And 
                         how you been, uh...

                                     ED
                         Ed.

                                     WOMAN
                         Ed. How's a business?

                                     ED
                         OK.

                                     WOMAN
                              (to Doris)
                         He's a barber, right? It's a good 
                         trade. So how come you got no kids?

               PICNIC TABLE

               A group of kids pulls Frank, laughing, by the hand toward a 
               picnic table set out with pies in a row.

                                     VOICES
                         Uncle Frankie's gotta join! Wait for 
                         Frankie!

                                     FRANK
                         No, come on, kids--I just ate lunch!

                                     VOICES
                         No, no--Uncle Frankie's gotta join!

               An old man stands by with a stopwatch.

                                     OLD MAN
                         Ready...

               He clicks the timer.

                                     OLD MAN
                         ...Go!

               Frank and the line of children plunge their faces into the 
               line of blueberry pies.

               The other picnickers cheer them on.

               ELSEWHERE

               Ed and Doris approach the innocent-looking young couple 
               accepting congratulations.

               Doris, holding her empty glass, is not a happy drunk:

                                     DORIS
                         'Gratulations, Gina. It's so goddamn 
                         wonderful.

                                     ED
                         Congratulations, Gina.

                                     DORIS
                         Life is so goddamn wonderful, you 
                         almost won't believe it.

                                     ED
                         Honey...

                                     DORIS
                         It's just a goddamn bowl of cherries, 
                         I'm sure.

               Ed tries to lead her away.

                                     ED
                         Honey...

               Doris calls back over her shoulder:

                                     DORIS
                         Congratulations on your goddamn 
                         cherries!

               As Ed and Doris recede we hear her petulant:

                                     DORIS
                         ...Leggo my goddamn elbow.

               ELSEWHERE

               In a long shot we see Frank at the crest of a hill, staggering 
               slowly, painfully, toward a tree. In his right hand he 
               clutches a trophy.

               When he reaches the tree he swings his free hand up against 
               it, leans forward, and vomits.

               CAR

               Late afternoon, driving home.

               Ed drives. Doris sits in the front passenger seat, snoring 
               lightly. Frank sits in the back seat hugging his trophy to 
               his chest, eyes closed, murmuring:

                                     FRANK
                         I never wanna see another blueberry 
                         pie...

               Silence.

                                     FRANK
                         ...I never even wanna hear those 
                         words.

               Doris moans.

               More silence.

                                     FRANK
                         ...Don't says those words, Ed.

               EXT. BUNGALOW

               It is twilight. Ed's coupe is parked in the driveway. He is 
               just rounding the back of the car to open the passenger-side 
               door. He pulls Doris from the car, half asleep, half drunk.

               INT. BUNGALOW

               The door swings open and Ed stumbles in supporting Doris, 
               who has one arm draped around his neck. He helps her into 
               the bedroom and eases her onto the bed.

               He sits on the edge of the bed and looks down at her.

               Shadows from branches just outside wave across her face. She 
               is breathing through her open mouth; her face is moist with 
               perspiration.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I'd met Doris blind on a double-date 
                         with a loudmouthed buddy of mine who 
                         was seeing a friend of hers from 
                         work. We went to a movie; Doris had 
                         a flask; we killed it. She could put 
                         it away. At the end of the night she 
                         said she liked it I didn't talk much. 
                         A couple weeks later she suggested--

               A harsh jangle from the telephone. Doris moans but does not 
               wake; Ed rises and does to the living room and picks up the 
               phone.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     VOICE
                         Ed, it's Big Dave. I gotta talk to 
                         you.

                                     ED
                         What--now?

                                     DAVE
                         Please, Ed.

                                     ED
                         But it's...

                                     DAVE
                         Please, Ed.

               Ed sighs.

                                     ED
                         Your place?

                                     DAVE
                         I'm at Nirdlinger's. Let yourself 
                         in.

                                     ED
                         OK.

               He hangs up.

               He nudges Doris.

                                     ED
                         ...Honey.

               She murmurs.

                                     ED
                         ...Honey.

               She rolls away and burrows into a pillow.

               Ed opens her purse and pokes through it.

               NIRDLINGER'S

               We are looking over Ed's shoulder as he hesitantly swings 
               open a door.

               It reveals Big Dave's office, quiet and rather dark.

               A down-facing banker's lamp on the desk illuminates Big Dave's 
               hands on the desktop.

                                     ED
                         ...Dave?

                                     DAVE
                         Come on in.

               Ed enters, sits.

               An awkward silence.

                                     ED
                         ...What's the problem, Big Dave?

               Another silence.

                                     DAVE
                         ...I'm ruined.

               His hands writhe on the desktop.

                                     DAVE
                         ...It ruined me. This money. No annex. 
                         I'm all shot to hell.

                                     ED
                         So you paid the guy?

               Big Dave stares without speaking.

               After a long beat:

                                     DAVE
                         ...What kind of man *are* you?

                                     ED
                         ...Huh?

                                     DAVE
                         What kind of man *are* you?

                                     ED
                         Big Dave--

                                     DAVE
                         I'd understand if you'd walked in 
                         here. Socked me in the nose. Whatever. 
                         I deserved it.

                                     ED
                         I, uh...

                                     DAVE
                         I'm not proud of what I did. But 
                         *you*.

               No one talks.

               Big Dave sighs.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Yeah, I paid up. As you well know. 
                         And then I went and found the pansy.

               He looks at Ed.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Got nothin' to say, huh? Yeah, 
                         well, you already know the story. I 
                         didn't, I hadda beat it out of the 
                         pansy. *Your* money.

               No response.

                                     DAVE
                         ...What kind of man *are* you?

               Big Dave rises.

                                     DAVE
                         ...Well.

               He crosses around the desk and adds, sadly:

                                     DAVE
                         ...I'm all shot to hell.

               Ed starts to rise, but Big Dave is already looming over him. 
               Big Dave bear-hugs him and then spins him into a wall.

               Ed hits the wall and bounces off, back into Big Dave. Big 
               Dave wallops him in the stomach. Ed doubles over.

                                     DAVE
                         ...What kind of man *are* you?

               Big Dave hurls him against the desk, then slams his face 
               against the desktop. Ed's hands scrabble at the top of the 
               desk as Big Dave grabs him by the neck and lifts. He slams 
               him face-first into the window between the office and the 
               dark sales floor.

               Ed twists around, the back of his head now pressed against 
               the glass. Big Dave's hands lock around his throat.

               Big Dave sweats and strains.

               A crack shoots up the pane of glass.

               Ed's hand sweeps up and plunges something into Big Dave's 
               neck.

               Big Dave grunts and turns away, gurgling. His hands go up to 
               his throat.

               Ed watches. He is holding Big Dave's cigar trimmer.

               Big Dave takes a couple of deliberate steps backward, his 
               head twisted away.

               He falls back, tripped up by a chair, which spins him face-
               down onto the floor.

               Big Dave crawls away face-down across the floor, on his knees 
               but with his hands still at his throat. His face and knees 
               awkwardly support his weight as if he were pushing something 
               across the floor with his nose.

               He reaches a corner but still pushes forward, wedging himself 
               in, legs still scraping away as if to push himself through 
               the wall. Blood is pooling out from under him.

               Big Dave's legs are still working. His gurgling continues.

               Ed watches.

               Big Dave's legs start to move furiously. They convulse. His 
               whole body shakes as he goes into shock.

               Ed watches.

               Big Dave stops shaking. He remains wedged awkwardly into the 
               corner, face-down. He is still.

               The room is very quiet.

               Ed looks down at his hands.

               He walks across the room, pushes the door open and walks 
               across the darkened sales floor.

               EXT. STORE

               Ed walks to his car. He does not look about, is not 
               particularly furtive. He gets into the car. He starts the 
               ignition.

               EXT. HOUSE

               He pulls up, sits motionless for a beat. Gradually, something 
               draws his attention; he cocks his head and looks up through 
               the windshield.

               A branch creaks and sways in the breeze.

               INT. HOUSE

               Ed gets into bed next to Doris. He stares at the ceiling. 
               Wind rustles outside.

               The shadow of a branch on the ceiling nods in time with the 
               wind.

               He looks at Doris.

               Her face is still lightly sheened with sweat but her mouth 
               is closed now, her breathing more peaceful. The leafy shadows 
               play over her face.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...It was only a couple of weeks 
                         after we met that Doris suggested 
                         getting married. I said, Don't you 
                         wanna get to know me more? She said, 
                         Why, does it get better? She looked 
                         at me like I was a dope, which I've 
                         never really minded from her. And 
                         she had a point, I guess. We knew 
                         each other as well then as now...

               He is gazing at her.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Anyway, well enough.

               Sound and image face.

               BARBERSHOP

               The next day.

               Ed cuts hair, a cigarette between his lips.

                                     FRANK
                         Holy-moly, do I got a headache.

               Frank is giving a haircut as well.

                                     FRANK
                         ...How you today, Ed?

                                     ED
                         OK.

                                     FRANK
                         You don't got a headache?

                                     ED
                         ...Nah.

                                     FRANK
                         Damn, I got a headache to beat the 
                         band.

               LATER

               Ed sits in his chair, hands folded in his lap, head tilted 
               back, eyes closed.

               We hold on Ed as we hear a clipper buzzing and Frank talking 
               to someone in his chair.

                                     FRANK
                         Ya can't pump it. Did ya pump it? 
                         That'll just flood it.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Ya gotta pump it. Ya can't just hold 
                         it down. *That'll* flood it.

                                     FRANK
                         You crazy? You pumped it?

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Well, ya can't hold it down.

               There is the jingle of the door bell. Ed opens his eyes.

               Two men in fedoras are entering.

               Ed starts to rise.

                                     MAN 1
                         Ed Crane?

                                     ED
                         Right.

                                     MAN 1
                         Come on outside.

                                     ED
                         Sure.

               OUTSIDE

               The two men are staring at the sidewalk, smoking, hesitant 
               to speak. One of them finally comes up with an icebreaker:

                                     MAN 2
                         ...So you're a barber, huh?

                                     ED
                         That's right.

                                     MAN 1
                         I'm Officer Persky. This is Krebs.

               Ed nods toward their car:

                                     ED
                         ...We goin'?

                                     KREBS
                         Huh? No.

               Beat.

                                     PERSKY
                         ...Cigarette?

               Ed holds up one hand with its smoking cigarette.

                                     PERSKY
                         Right. Uh... Pete's got some news 
                         for you.

               His partner gives Persky a dirty look.

                                     KREBS
                         ...Look, pal, it's a tough break, 
                         but, uh... well damnit, your wife's 
                         been pinched.

                                     PERSKY
                         They sent us to tell ya.

                                     ED
                         Huh?

                                     KREBS
                         They sent us to tell ya. We pulled 
                         the detail.

                                     ED
                         My *wife*?

                                     PERSKY
                         Yeah, uh, they brung her to the county 
                         jail, uh...

                                     KREBS
                         Homicide.

                                     PERSKY
                         Well, embezzlement. And homicide. A 
                         guy named David Brewster. He's, uh... 
                         He's the decedent.

                                     ED
                         I don't understand.

                                     KREBS
                         He's the dead guy.

               Ed stares at him.

                                     PERSKY
                         ...Yeah, it's a tough break.

                                     KREBS
                         Visiting ends at five. Too late today. 
                         You can see her tomorrow.

                                     PERSKY
                         Sorry, pal. They sent us to tell ya.

               He shakes his head.

                                     PERSKY
                         ...Crap detail.

               RESIDENTIAL STREET

               It is evening. Ed is pulling up to a house on a tree-lined 
               street similar to his own. He gets out of his car and goes 
               up the walk, and a man sitting on the porch swing holds up a 
               hand of greeting.

                                     MAN
                         'Lo, Ed.

                                     ED
                         Hello, Walter.

               He steps up on the porch.

               The man is holding a tumbler of whiskey and ice that clinks 
               as the swing moves. His skin glistens with drinker's sweat, 
               and he has the slightly expansive manner of someone who's 
               put at least a couple away.

                                     WALTER
                         Have a seat.

               Ed glances around but the swing is the only seat. He sits 
               next to Walter.

                                     ED
                         Thanks. Thanks for seeing me, at 
                         home.

                                     WALTER
                         Oh, hell. Drink?

                                     ED
                         No thanks.

                                     WALTER
                         Sure you don't need one?

                                     ED
                         I'm fine.

                                     WALTER
                         OK. Boy. Jesus!

                                     ED
                         Yeah. What do I, uh...

                                     WALTER
                         Well, of course, I, uh, it's out of 
                         my league, criminal stuff. I do, uh, 
                         probate, real estate, title search, 
                         uh... I'd be absolutely worthless, 
                         something like this. Absolutely 
                         worthless.

               He belches.

                                     WALTER
                         'Scuse me, just finished dinner. Um. 
                         Frankly, Doris'd be better off with 
                         the county defender.

                                     ED
                         He a good man?

                                     WALTER
                         Bert's OK, sure, he's a good man. I 
                         won't kid you though, Ed, nobody 
                         around here has any experience with 
                         this kind of, er... And I hear they're 
                         bringing a prosecutor up from 
                         Sacramento. Capital offense. Taking 
                         it seriously... Hmm...

                                     ED
                         So--

                                     WALTER
                         Taking it seriously.

                                     ED
                         So, who should I--

               The front door opens and someone speaks through the screen:

                                     VOICE
                         You want any coffee, Dad?

               Ed looks around at the voice.

                                     VOICE
                         Oh, hello, Mr Crane.

               She steps out: it is Birdy Abundas.

               Ed rises, and they awkwardly shake hands.

                                     ED
                         Hello, Rachel.

                                     BIRDY
                         I'm so sorry... I was sorry to hear.

                                     ED
                         Yeah. Thanks.

                                     WALTER
                         Coffee, Ed?

                                     ED
                         I'm fine. Thanks.

                                     WALTER
                         No thanks, honey.

                                     BIRDY
                         OK. Nice to see you, Mr Crane.

               They watch her go back in.

                                     WALTER
                         Damnit! She's a good kid.

               Ed nods.

               A beat.

                                     ED
                         ...So, uh, who should I--

                                     WALTER
                         Well, there's Lloyd Garroway in San 
                         Francisco. Probity--you know, no one 
                         ever said anything iffy about Lloyd 
                         Garroway. Conservative. Jury might 
                         like that. Might like that here.

               He takes a sip of his drink.

                                     WALTER
                         ...Probity.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh. Is he the best then, for, 
                         uh...

                                     WALTER
                         Well, the best, the money-is-no-object 
                         best, for a criminal case, any lawyer 
                         would tell you Freddy Riedenschneider. 
                         Out of Sacramento. 'Course, I don't 
                         know how you're fixed for money.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh. He's the, uh...

                                     WALTER
                         Yeah, the best.

               He sniffs.

                                     WALTER
                         ...Yeah, Riedenschneider. Wish I 
                         could tell you more. Hell, I wish I 
                         could handle it myself. But I'd be 
                         absolutely worthless for this kind 
                         of thing.

               He takes a musing sip.

                                     WALTER
                         ...Criminal matter? Freddy 
                         Riedenschneider.

               He thinks.

                                     WALTER
                         ...No question about it.

               ED AT A TABLE

               It is a long table with chairs stretching down both sides, 
               one side for prisoners, the other for visitors. The room is 
               empty except for a guard and an elderly woman who sits across 
               from a younger woman at the far end of the table. The younger 
               woman, in a prison smock, is wailing. The elderly woman is 
               holding her hand.

               Ed sits across from an empty chair, clutching a flower-printed 
               toiletries kit. There are echoing voices suggesting large 
               spaces outside the room.

               He sits and waits.

               Approaching footsteps.

               The door opens. A large prison matron steps aside to let 
               Doris enter.

               Doris looks lost in a prison-issue jumper that is too big 
               for her. Her hair is uncurled and bedraggled. Not only is 
               she not made-up, she has a couple of bruises and a cut on 
               her lip.

               As Ed stands, she gives a hollow look around.

                                     ED
                         Honey... I brought your make-up.

               She looks at him.

                                     DORIS
                         Honey.

                                     ED
                         How are you?

               She shrugs.

                                     DORIS
                         I don't know what's going on. I--

                                     ED
                         What happened to you?

               She shakes her head.

                                     DORIS
                         ...I don't know what happened to Big 
                         Dave. I know some of it. 
                         Irregularities in my books, they 
                         said. Can I explain it.

                                     ED
                         You don't have to--

                                     DORIS
                         I helped him cook the books, Ed. I 
                         did do that.

                                     ED
                         You don't have to tell them anything. 
                         We're getting you a lawyer.

               Doris doesn't seem to be listening. She sighs:

                                     DORIS
                         I know all about that. But I don't 
                         know how much to tell them.

                                     ED
                         Don't tell 'em anything. We're getting 
                         you Freddy Riedenschneider.

               Doris finally looks at him.

                                     DORIS
                         Should I... should I tell you why?

                                     ED
                         You don't have to tell me anything.

               Her gaze drifts away again. She notices the sobbing woman.

                                     DORIS
                         Jesus Christ.

               Doris looks around and laughs.

                                     DORIS
                         ...My books used to be perfect. Anyone 
                         could open them up, make sense of 
                         the whole goddamn store.

                                     ED
                         Honey...

                                     DORIS
                         I knew we'd pay for it.

               BARBERSHOP

               Ed sits in a waiting-customer chair, wearing his smock. Frank 
               paces in front of him. He smacks a fist into his palm.

                                     FRANK
                         This is what family is for, Ed! This 
                         is when ya come together!

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     FRANK
                         Close ranks! Goddamnit! Those sons 
                         of bitches!

                                     ED
                         Frank, uh, you know I'll try to 
                         contribute, but, uh--Freddy 
                         Riedenschneider--

                                     FRANK
                         I don't care what it costs! This is 
                         when ya come together!

                                     ED
                         That's very generous.

                                     FRANK
                         The hell with it, Eddie!

               BANK

               Ed and Frank sit waiting on a bench in the high-vaulted lobby. 
               Frank looks uncomfortable in an ill-fitting suit. As they 
               wait, he looks nervously about.

               In a hushed voice:

                                     FRANK
                         They're just people like you and me, 
                         Ed. Remember that.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     FRANK
                         Just people. They gotta put up the 
                         big front so that people will trust 
                         them with their money. This is why 
                         the big lobby, Ed. But they put their 
                         pants on one leg at a time. Just 
                         like you and me.

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     FRANK
                         They too use the toilet, Ed. In spite 
                         of appearances. And their money will 
                         be secured by the barbershop. A rock. 
                         A *rock*, the barbershop. I mean, 
                         how long has *this* place been here?

               A door opens. A conservatively dressed man of late middle 
               age emerges.

                                     MAN
                         Mr Raffo?

               Frank hops to his feet.

                                     FRANK
                         Yes, sir.

                                     MAN
                         Could you come with me please?

                                     FRANK
                         Sure. Can Ed come too?

               The man looks dubiously at Ed.

                                     MAN
                         Mr...?

                                     ED
                         Crane. Ed Crane.

                                     MAN
                         You also have an interest in the 
                         securing property?

                                     FRANK
                         He's a barber.

                                     MAN
                         Ah.

                                     FRANK
                         Second chair.

                                     MAN
                         Not an owner.

                                     FRANK
                         No, he's family, he's my brother-in-
                         law.

                                     MAN
                         Ah-hah. It would be best if he waited 
                         here.

               He goes to the glass-paned doorway to his office, Frank 
               trailing dejectedly behind. They enter, the door closes, and 
               we hear their muffled voices from inside, the sense of the 
               words lost.

               Ed sits and watches the two men perform their pantomime of 
               business: Frank nervously reads documents with one hand cupped 
               to his forehead for concentration; the banker passes 
               successive documents across his desk with a word of 
               explanation for each as Frank signs.

               Ed takes out a cigarette and lights it, watching impassively.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         The barbershop. Doris and Frank's 
                         father had worked thirty years to 
                         own it free and clear. Now it got 
                         signed over to the bank, and the 
                         bank signed some money over to Frank, 
                         and Frank signed the money over...

               TRACKING POINT OF VIEW

               It is midday. We are tracking along the sidewalk toward a 
               long cream-colored Packard parked at the curb. A couple of 
               kids have stopped to peer into the car's windows; the car is 
               no doubt the fanciest in town.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...to Freddy Riedenschneider, who 
                         got into town two days later...

               Ed, coming up the sidewalk, looks up at the storefront: a 
               restaurant with a large window with a plush red drape that 
               obscures the interior. Gilt lettering on the window spells 
               out "DaVinci's".

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and told me to meet him at 
                         DaVinci's for lunch.

               TRACKING POINT OF VIEW

               Inside the restaurant. We are tracking toward a table whose 
               lone occupant sits with his back to us holding open a menu 
               as he orders from a facing waitress:

                                     MAN
                         ...not fried, poached. Three of 'em 
                         for two minutes. A strip steak medium 
                         rare, flapjacks, potatoes, tomato 
                         juice, and plenty of hot coffee.

               He flips the menu over.

                                     MAN
                         ...Do you have prairie oysters?

                                     WAITRESS
                         No, sir.

                                     MAN
                         Then bring me a fruit cocktail while 
                         I wait.

               He looks up at Ed.

                                     MAN
                         ...You're Ed Crane?

                                     ED
                         Yeah--

                                     MAN
                         Barber, right? I'm Freddy 
                         Riedenschneider. Hungry? They tell 
                         me the chow's OK here. I made some 
                         inquiries.

                                     ED
                         No thanks, I--

               The waitress sets a fruit cocktail in front of 
               Riedenschneider.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Look, I don't wanna waste your time 
                         so I'll eat while we talk. Ya mind?  
                         *You* don't mind. So while I'm in 
                         town I'll be staying at the Hotel 
                         Metropole, the Turandot Suite. Yeah, 
                         it's goofy, the suites're named after 
                         operas; room's OK though, I poked 
                         around. I'm having 'em hold it for 
                         me on account of I'll be back and 
                         forth. In addition to my retainer, 
                         you're paying hotel, living expenses, 
                         secretarial, private eye if we need 
                         to make inquiries, headshrinker should 
                         we go that way. We'll talk about 
                         appeals if, as and when. For right 
                         now, has she confessed?

                                     ED
                         No. Of course not. She didn't do it.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Good! That helps. Not that she didn't 
                         do it, that she didn't confess. Of 
                         course, there's ways to deal with a 
                         confession, but that's good!--one 
                         less thing to think about. Now. 
                         Interview. I'm seeing her tomorrow. 
                         You should be there. Three o'clock. 
                         One more thing: you keep your mouth 
                         shut. I get the lay of the land, I 
                         tell *you* what to say. No talking 
                         out of school. What's out of school? 
                         Everything's out of school. I do the 
                         talking; you keep your trap shut. 
                         I'm an attorney, you're a barber; 
                         you don't know anything. Understood?

                                     ED
                         ...OK.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Good! Any questions give me a ring--
                         Turandot suite; if I'm out leave a 
                         message. You sure you don't want 
                         anything? No?

               He points a finger at Ed.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...You're OK, pal. You're OK, she's 
                         OK. Everything's gonna be hunky-dory.

               The waitress puts down a plate of steak and eggs.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...And the flapjacks, honey.

               DRIVING POINT OF VIEW

               We are looking at pedestrians on the sidewalk through the 
               windshield of a moving car.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         All going about their business. It 
                         seemed like I knew a secret--a bigger 
                         one even then what had really happened 
                         to Big Dave, something none of them 
                         knew...

               On Ed, driving.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Like I had made it to the outside, 
                         somehow, and they were all still 
                         struggling, way down below.

               ED IN BED

               Arms folded behind his head, staring at the ceiling.

               On the ceiling is the moving shadow of a tree limb.

               A distant, muffled knock.

               Ed turns his head.

               FRONT DOOR

               Ed opens it as he finishes cinching a bathrobe.

               The woman waiting on the front porch is dressed in black: a 
               black dress and a black veiled hat that is too big for her 
               bird-like frame.

               Wind rustles in the trees behind her.

               She stares at Ed.

                                     ED
                         Ann.

               For the first time, we hear her speak, in a low, tremulous 
               voice:

                                     ANN
                         Hello, Ed.

                                     ED
                         Ann. Will you come in?

               She shakes her head.

                                     ANN
                         ...No, No, it's very late.

               Ed nods.

               After an uncomfortable beat, through which she continues to 
               stare:

                                     ED
                         ...I'm so sorry about your loss.

                                     ANN
                         Yes. Thank you.

                                     ED
                         Of course, you know, Doris had nothing 
                         to do with it. Nothing at all.

               She lays a black-gloved hand on his arm.

                                     ANN
                         Oh, I know. Don't worry, Ed. I came 
                         to tell you...

                                     ED
                         Yes, Ann?

                                     ANN
                         And you should tell Doris...

               She falls silent. The trees behind her rustle.

               She gives a wary look back. Then, confidingly, to Ed:

                                     ANN
                         ...You know how Big Dave loved 
                         camping. And the out-of-doors.

               Ed is puzzled:

                                     ED
                         Yes?

                                     ANN
                         We went camping last summer. In 
                         Eugene, Oregon. *Outside* of Eugene, 
                         Ed.

               She gives him a searching look, hoping, it seems, that he 
               will find this significant.

                                     ED
                         ...Yes?

                                     ANN
                         At night, there were lights--we both 
                         saw them. We never told anyone, 
                         outside of our official report.

                                     ED
                         Ann--

                                     ANN
                         A spacecraft. I saw the creatures. 
                         They led Big Dave onto the craft. He 
                         never told anyone what they did, 
                         outside of his report. Of course he 
                         told *me*. No one else.

                                     ED
                         Ann--

                                     ANN
                         The government knows. I cannot repeat 
                         it to you. But this thing goes deep, 
                         Ed. This was not your wife. I goes 
                         deep, and involves the government. 
                         There is a great deal of fear. You 
                         know how certain circles would find 
                         it--the knowledge--a threat. They 
                         try to limit it, and--

                                     ED
                         Ann, will you come in, sit down, 
                         maybe have a drink?

                                     ANN
                         Sometimes knowledge is a curse, Ed. 
                         After this happened, things changed. 
                         Big Dave... he never touched me again.

               Ed says nothing.

               She touches his arm.

                                     ANN
                         ...Tell Doris not to worry. I know 
                         it wasn't her. Perhaps this will 
                         bring it out, finally. Perhaps now 
                         it will all come out.

               She turns and heads down the walk.

               Her high-heeled footsteps echo on the walk, then the sidewalk, 
               then are lost in the rustle of leaves.

               Ed watches her go: a small black figure, growing smaller.

               PRISON MEETING ROOM

               It is an unadorned room with a simple wooden table and chairs. 
               One high window lets in a shaft of sunlight.

               Ed and Doris sit at the table; Freddy Riedenschneider stands 
               to one side staring up at the high window, hands dug into 
               his pockets.

               All three are motionless for a long beat. Finally:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...It stinks.

                                     DORIS
                         But it's true.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         I don't care it's true, it's not 
                         true; it stinks. You say he was being 
                         blackmailed; by who? You don't know. 
                         For having an affair; with who? You 
                         don't know. Did anyone else know 
                         about it? Probably not; you don't 
                         know.

                                     ED
                         I knew about it. Big Dave told me 
                         about it, and the spot he was putting 
                         himself in by getting the money.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Terrific. Your husband backs you up. 
                         That's terrific.

               He starts pacing.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...You've gotta give me something to 
                         work with. Freddy Riedenschneider is 
                         good, but he's not a magician. He 
                         can't just wave his little wand in 
                         the air and make a plausible defense 
                         materialize. Look. Look at what the 
                         other side is gonna run at us. They 
                         got the company books, prepared by 
                         you--*cooked* by you--that's Motive. 
                         They got a murder scene *you* had 
                         access to. That's Opportunity. They 
                         got that little trimmer thing he was 
                         stabbed in the throat with--a *dame's* 
                         weapon--

                                     ED
                         It was Big Dave's.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         --don't interrupt me--that's Means. 
                         They got a fine upstanding pillar of 
                         the business community as a victim, 
                         and then they got *you*, a disgruntled 
                         number-juggling underling who on the 
                         day in question was drunk as a skunk 
                         and whose alibi for the time in 
                         question is being passed out at home, 
                         alone.

                                     ED
                         *I* was with her.

               Riedenschneider gives him a hard look.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Like I say, it stinks.

               Another long pause.

                                     ED
                         ...I killed him.

               Riedenschneider eyes him. Wheels start turning.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         OK, we forget the blackmail. *You* 
                         killed him. How come?

                                     ED
                         He and Doris... were having an affair.

               Doris eyes him. His manner does not reveal anything.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         OK, how did you know?

                                     ED
                         I... just knew. A husband knows.

               Riedenschneider rolls his eyes.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Will anyone else say they knew?

                                     ED
                         I don't know. I don't think so.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         How did you get into the store?

                                     ED
                         I took Doris's keys.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Will anyone say they saw you there? 
                         On your way there? In there? On your 
                         was back?

                                     ED
                         ...I don't think so.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Will anyone corroborate and goddamn 
                         part of your story at all?

               Ed returns Riedenschneider's stare. Riedenschneider resumes 
               pacing.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Come on, people. You can't help 
                         each other like that. Let's be 
                         realistic now. Let's look at our 
                         options. Well, frankly, I don't *see* 
                         any options.

               A nod of the head indicates Doris:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...I cannot present Story A.

               Another nod indicates Ed:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...I cannot present Story B. I could 
                         plead you for a nutcase but you look 
                         too composed. I could offer a guilty 
                         plea and in return they don't give 
                         you the juice, but I don't think you 
                         want to spend the rest of your life 
                         in Chino and I know you didn't hire 
                         Freddy Riedenschneider to hold your 
                         hand at a sentencing hearing. Hell, 
                         you could've gotten Lloyd Garroway 
                         for that. No, we're not giving up 
                         yet; you hired Freddy Riedenschneider, 
                         it means you're *not* throwing in 
                         the towel. I litigate, I don't 
                         capitulate. All right, no options, 
                         we gotta think. All right, we go 
                         back to the blackmail thing. It 
                         titillates, it's open ended...

               His pacing becomes more animated.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...And it makes *him* the bad guy--
                         ya dig around, ya never know, 
                         something unsavory from his past, he 
                         approaches you to help with the money, 
                         it's too late, his past comes back 
                         to haunt him, who's to say...

               He is heading for the door.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Yeah. OK. Forget the jealous 
                         husband thing, that's silly; we're 
                         going with the blackmail. I'll be in 
                         touch.

               The door slams.

               HOTEL LOBBY

               The camera drifts in toward the reception desk. Ed talks to 
               the clerk behind the desk, but the scene plays silently; we 
               hear only Ed's narration.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Of course, there was *one* person 
                         who could confirm Doris's story, or 
                         plenty of it: the dry-cleaning 
                         pansy...

               The desk clerk is shaking his head.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But he'd left the hotel, skipped 
                         out on his bill...

               HALLWAY

               It is a rooming-house hallway. A stern middle-aged woman is 
               on the hall telephone. This too plays silently under the 
               narration.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         He'd also disappeared from the 
                         residence he gave me...

               ED'S LIVING ROOM

               We are drifting in toward Ed, who nods at the telephone and 
               then cradles it. He stares down at the business card he holds.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...owing two month's rent. How could 
                         I have been so stupid. Handing over 
                         $10,000. For a piece of paper. And 
                         the man gone... like a ghost...

               PULLING BACK FROM ED

               In a different living room. He sits on a sofa, hands clasped 
               behind his head, listening. For the first time, as the voice-
               over continues, we hear atmosphere from the scene: piano 
               music.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...disappeared into thin air, 
                         vaporized, like the Nips at Nagasaki. 
                         Gone now. All gone. The money gone. 
                         Big Dave gone. Doris going. How could 
                         I have been so stupid?

               The continuing pull-back reveals Walter Abundas on a nearby 
               chair, also listening as Birdy plays.

               Walter holds a drink in one hand; he is nodding; his eyelids 
               droop. As the piano piece reaches its mournful conclusion 
               his chin alights on his chest, his eyelids tremble closed, 
               and he starts lightly to snore.

               BARBERSHOP

               The distinctive buzz of electric hairclippers bangs in at 
               the cut. Ed and Frank stand behind their respective chairs, 
               administering haircuts.

               The customer in Ed's chair is in white shirtsleeves that do 
               not hide rolls of fat. He has a hot towel over his face that 
               does not slow his speech, although it does muffle it to some 
               extent:

                                     CUSTOMER
                         She makes this stuff, she calls it 
                         gatto, it's got egg in there, it's 
                         got sugar, it's got--it's cake, 
                         basically, except she calls it gatto. 
                         Like if you don't call it cake maybe 
                         you won't put on any weight, like I 
                         need to eat gatto, you know what I'm 
                         saying? This stuff, if I've had a 
                         square meal, I've had my steak and 
                         potatoes, I can just have another 
                         cup of coffee afterward, I won't ask 
                         for the desert if it's not there...

               His voice turns into a drone under the narration.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Sooner or later everyone needs a 
                         haircut...

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Got the recipe from a magazine, 
                         woman's magazine...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         We were working for the bank now. We 
                         kept cutting the hair, trying to 
                         stay afloat, make the payments, tread 
                         water, day by day, day by day...

               CRANE DOWN

               Inside a courtroom we boom down toward the defendant's table, 
               the fat customer's drone turning into the drone of the bailiff 
               reading an indictment. Doris stands next to Freddy 
               Riedenschneider.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Most people think someone's accused 
                         of a crime, they haul 'em in and 
                         bring 'em to trial, but it's not 
                         like that, it's not that fast. The 
                         wheels of justice turn slow...

                                     BAILIFF
                         ...did willfully and with malice 
                         aforethought take the life of one 
                         David Allen Brewster, a human being...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         They have an arraignment, and then 
                         the indictment, and they entertain 
                         motions to dismiss, and postpone, 
                         and change the venue, and alter this 
                         and that and the other. They empanel 
                         a jury, which brings more motions, 
                         and they set a trial date and then 
                         change the date, and then often as 
                         not they'll change it again.

                                     BAILIFF
                         What say you to these charges?

               Our boom down has ended close on Doris. We hear Freddy 
               Riedenschneider, off:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         We plead not guilty, your honor.

               BARBERSHOP

               Booming down toward the fat man.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         And through all of it we cut the 
                         hair.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         I say, Honey, if you're gonna make a 
                         cobbler, make a little bit of cobbler, 
                         don't put a whole pan in front of me 
                         and tell me it's not gonna be any 
                         good when it's cold...

               OPERA SINGERS

               We are panning photographic portraits of opera singers in 
               character, wearing the wardrobe of different eras, armies, 
               dukedoms, and boudoirs, and displaying the heights and depths 
               of various emotions, their mouths stretched wide in song. We 
               pan off the pictures to discover that we are in a hotel room, 
               floating in toward a bed on which Freddy Riedenschneider, a 
               mask over his eyes, slumbers.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Meanwhile, Freddy Riedenschneider 
                         slept at the Metropole...

               RESTAURANT

               Tracking in toward Freddy Riedenschneider, who sits twirling 
               spaghetti with a fork against a spoon.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and shoveled it in at DaVinci's.

               LATERAL TRACK

               From inside a car. Pedestrians bustle along a sidewalk. Among 
               them scurries a weedy little man who has one hand clamped to 
               the crown of his hat to keep it in place in a stiff wind.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         He'd brought in a private investigator 
                         from Sacramento...

               LATERAL TRACK

               Moving the opposite way. A different day, but again a crowd 
               moves along the sidewalk, and among them the little man 
               scuttles in the opposite direction, hand still raised to his 
               hat, his forearm and the tilt of his head largely obscuring 
               his face.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...to nose around into Big Dave's 
                         past.

               PUSHING IN TO ED

               In the Abundas living room again, again listening to Birdy 
               at the piano, but now the two of them are alone.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I found myself more and more going 
                         over to the Abundas's. It was a 
                         routine we fell into, most every 
                         evening. I even went when Walter was 
                         away on his research trips. He was a 
                         genealogist, had traced back his 
                         side of the family seven generations, 
                         his late wife's, eight. It seemed 
                         like a screwy hobby. But then maybe 
                         all hobbies are. Maybe Walter found 
                         something there, in the old county 
                         courthouses, hospital file rooms, 
                         city archives, property rolls, 
                         registries, something maybe like 
                         what I found listening to Birdy play. 
                         Some kind of escape. Some kind of 
                         peace...

               The piano music ends in a sustain which begins to fade, but 
               then is snapped by a sharp clang.

               PRISON DOOR SWINGS OPEN

               We are pushing into the high-windowed prison meeting room. 
               None of its three occupants is moving.

               The tableau consists of Doris staring down at the table; the 
               private investigator sitting on a straightbacked chair tipped 
               back against a wall, his arms folded across his chest, his 
               fedora pushed back on his head, a toothpick clamped between 
               his teeth; and Freddy Riedenschneider, standing, hands clasped 
               behind his back, gazing with a distant smile up into the 
               shaft of light that slants through the high window.

               A warder shuts the door behind Ed.

               Doris and the private investigator turn to note his entrance; 
               Riedenschneider does not.

               Ed pulls out a chair across from Doris, clasps his hands on 
               top of hers.

                                     ED
                         'Lo, honey.

               She looks at his hands on top of hers.

               A long beat.

               Still gazing up into the shaft of light, Freddy 
               Riedenschneider announces:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...They got this guy, in Germany. 
                         Fritz something-or-other. Or is it. 
                         Maybe it's Werner. Anyway, he's got 
                         this theory, you wanna test something, 
                         you know, scientifically--how the 
                         planets  go round the sun, what 
                         sunspots are made of, why the water 
                         comes out of the tap--well, you gotta 
                         look at it. But sometimes, you look 
                         at it, your looking *changes* it. Ya 
                         can't know the reality of what 
                         happened, or what *would've* happened 
                         if you hadden a stuck in your goddamn 
                         schnozz. So there *is* no 'what 
                         happened.' Not in any sense that we 
                         can grasp with our puny minds. Because 
                         our minds... out minds get in the 
                         way. Looking at something changes 
                         it. They call it the 'Uncertainty 
                         Principle.' Sure, it sounds screwy, 
                         but even Einstein says the guy's on 
                         to something.

               His gaze up at the window breaks. He strolls around the room, 
               still smiling.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Science. Perception. Reality. 
                         Doubt...

               He stops to examine a bur on his fingernail.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Reasonable doubt. I'm sayin', 
                         sometimes, the more you look, the 
                         less you really know. It's a fact. A 
                         proved fact. In a way, it's the only 
                         fact there is. This heinie even wrote 
                         it out in numbers.

               He looks up at the private detective.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Burns?

               With a slight weight shift, Burns tips his chair so that its 
               front legs slap down onto the floor. He fishes a small 
               notebook from an inside pocket.

               His boredom is profound; his only concession to performance 
               is to move the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the 
               other where, perhaps, it will less inhibit speech.

                                     BURNS
                         Subject: David Allen Brewster. Born: 
                         Cincinnati, 1911. Father: insurance 
                         salesman; mother: homemaker. One 
                         year Case Western University on 
                         football scholarship. Flunks out. 
                         1931: retail appliance salesman in 
                         Barnhoff's department store, 
                         Cincinnati. 1933: meets Ann 
                         Nirdlinger, married later that year, 
                         moves here. 1935: arrested on an 
                         assault complaint; complainant, an 
                         organizer for the ILGWU, has a broken 
                         nose, couple of ribs, wife's family 
                         intercedes, some kind of settlement, 
                         charges dropped. 1936: another assault 
                         beef, bar altercation--

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Yeah, yeah, couple of fistfights. Go 
                         to his service record.

               Burns looks at him sourly. He flips a couple of pages.

                                     BURNS
                         ...Inducted March 15, 1942, assigned 
                         to fifth fleet US Navy, petty officer 
                         first class, serves in clerical 
                         capacity in US naval shipyards in 
                         San Diego, one fistfight broken up 
                         by MPs, no court martial, honorable 
                         discharge May 8, 1945. Since then 
                         he's been clean.

               Riedenschneider nods, smiling.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Thank you, Burns, get lost.

               Burns pockets his notebook, adjusts his hat, jams his hands 
               into his pockets, and ambles out of the room.

               The slam of the door leaves quiet.

               At length:

                                     ED
                         ...So?

               Riedenschneider's fixed smile now fades.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         So? *So?!* This could be your dolly's 
                         ticket out of the deathhouse, so!

               Ed and Doris look at each other.

                                     ED
                         ...I don't get it.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Look, chum, this is a guy, from what 
                         I understand, told everybody he was 
                         a war hero, right? Island hopping, 
                         practically liberated the Pacific 
                         all by himself with a knife in one 
                         hand and a gun in the other and twenty 
                         yards of Jap guts between his teeth.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         And now it turns out this dope spent 
                         the war sitting on his ass in some 
                         boatyard in San Diego. You asked for 
                         blackmail, let me give you blackmail: 
                         Mr Hale-Fellow-Well-Met, about to 
                         open his own business here, has been 
                         lying to everybody in this town for 
                         the last four years, probably 
                         including half the people sitting on 
                         that jury. Well, it finally caught 
                         up with him--these dopes, it always 
                         does; someone threatened to spill 
                         it. Somebody knew his dirty little 
                         secret, just like your wife says. 
                         They called, they demanded money...

               He is looking at Doris.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Did Big Dave mention that it was 
                         something about his war service? I 
                         don't know, I wasn't there, *you'll* 
                         have to tell *us*. Maybe he specified, 
                         maybe he didn't; I'm not putting 
                         words in your mouth; the point is 
                         that this liar, this cynical 
                         manipulator, this man who through 
                         his lies sneered and belittled the 
                         sacrifice and heroism of all our 
                         boys who *did* serve and bleed and 
                         puke and die on foreign shores, and 
                         who made a fool out of this entire 
                         town, turns to *you* to help him out 
                         of his jam. Fat-assed sonofabitch!

                                     ED
                         So... who... who actually--

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Who? *Who?!* I don't know who! But 
                         the point is that if Mr Prosecutor 
                         over there had devoted half the time 
                         he's spent persecuting *this* woman 
                         to even the most cursory investigation 
                         of this schmoe's past, then we might 
                         *know* who! But we can't *know* what 
                         really happened! Because of Fritz, 
                         or Werner, or whatever the hell his 
                         name is! And because Me Prosecutor 
                         is *also* a lazy fat-assed sonofabitch 
                         who decided it's easier to victimize 
                         your wife! Because it's easier *not* 
                         to look! Because the more you look, 
                         the less you know! But the beauty of 
                         it is, we don't *gotta* know! We 
                         just gotta show that, goddamnit, 
                         *they* don't know. Reasonable doubt. 
                         Science. The atom. *You* explain it 
                         to me. Go ahead. Try.

               He chuckles as he heads for the door.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...Yeah, Freddy Riedenschneider sees 
                         daylight. We got a real shot at this, 
                         folks. Let's not get cocky.

               The door shuts behind him.

               Doris stares down at the table, as at the head of the scene.

               A silent beat; a smile starts to tug at the corners of her 
               mouth.

                                     ED
                         Honey...?

               The smile twitches, and then stays. Doris starts to laugh. 
               Ed frowns.

                                     ED
                         ...Honey?

               Her laughter builds, almost to hysteria. Finally it subsides 
               and, still staring at the tabletop and smiling, she shakes 
               her head:

                                     DORIS
                         What a dope.

               ABUNDAS LIVING ROOM

               Ed sits listening as Birdy plays. She talks, after a moment, 
               her eyes on the sheet music:

                                     BIRDY
                         He was deaf when he wrote this.

                                     ED
                         Who?

                                     BIRDY
                         Beethoven. He created it, and yet he 
                         never actually heard it. I suppose 
                         he heard it all in his head, somehow.

               Over her continued playing:

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         So maybe Riedenschneider could get 
                         Doris off. Maybe it would all work 
                         out. And I thought--I hoped--that 
                         maybe there was a way out for me as 
                         well...

               A SIGN

               The cardboard sign on an easel says "COME ONE, COME ALL / 
               PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL TALENT SHOW / WEDNESDAY APRIL 29, 1949, 
               8:00 P.M.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         The girl had talent, anyone could 
                         see that. And *she* wasn't some fly-
                         by-nighter, she was just a good clean 
                         kid...

               SCHOOL GYMNASIUM

               A young man holding a saxophone is just leaving the makeshift 
               stage to a smattering of applause. Birdy walks out to the 
               baby grand that has been set out center stage.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...If she was going to have a career 
                         she'd need a responsible adult looking 
                         out for her...

               We track up the rows of folding chairs that have been set 
               out on the gym floor for the audience of students and parents, 
               many of whom fan themselves with programs. We come to rest 
               on Ed.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...some kind of... manager. She'd 
                         have contracts to look at, be going 
                         on tours, playing on the radio maybe. 
                         I could help her sort through all of 
                         that, without charging her an arm 
                         and a leg, just enough to get by...

               Birdy begins to play for the quietly attentive audience.

               EXT. SCHOOL

               Ed is among the crowd streaming from the gym into the warm 
               summer night. He looks around the parking lot.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I could afford to charge less 
                         than the usual manager, not having 
                         to put up a big front like a lot of 
                         these phonies. And I could be with 
                         her, enough to keep myself feeling 
                         OK...

               A trace of a frown as he spots her leaning against a car, 
               laughing, passing a cigarette back and forth with another 
               student--a boy.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Why couldn't that work?... Why 
                         not?...

               Birdy's easy smile remains as Ed approaches, but the boy's 
               drops; he puts on a face more suitable for meeting adults.

                                     BIRDY
                         Hi, Mr Crane.

                                     ED
                         Hello, Birdy. I thought that was 
                         very good.

                                     BIRDY
                         Oh, in there? I messed up a little 
                         bit in the scherzo. I guess, if nobody 
                         noticed, it's OK. Mr Crane, this is 
                         Tony, a friend of mine. Tony, Mr 
                         Crane.

                                     ED
                         Hello, Tony.

                                     TONY
                         Hello, sir.

               Silence. The teens wait for the adult to direct the 
               conversation; Ed has nothing to say. At length, he clears 
               his throat.

                                     ED
                         ...Well, congratulations. I guess 
                         I'll be getting home.

                                     TONY
                         Nice to meet you, sir.

               TURANDOT SUITE

               It is morning. We are tracking past an unmade bed toward the 
               bathroom, where we hear water running.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Anyway, that's what I was thinking 
                         about in the days leading up to the 
                         trial. It seemed like once that was 
                         over, I'd be ready for a new start. 
                         Freddy Riedenschneider was very 
                         optimistic. He was busy preparing...

               We have rounded the open bathroom door to find Riedenschneider 
               hunched over the sink, toothbrush in hand, spitting out water. 
               He rises, looks at himself in the mirror, sprinkles some 
               tonic in his hair.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...And finally it came... the first 
                         day of the trial...

               Riedenschneider runs his fingers through his hair.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...What Riedenschneider called the 
                         Big Show.

               He straightens his tie, gives his neck a twist.

               COURTROOM

               We are close on the back of Riedenschneider's gleaming hair. 
               He is sitting at the defense table.

               There is a murmur of a crowd that has yet to be called to 
               order.

                                     FRANK
                         Where's the judge? How come there's 
                         no judge?

               Ed and Frank sit next to each other in the first gallery row 
               directly behind Riedenschneider.

                                     FRANK
                         ...Where's the judge, Ed?

               Ed shrugs. Frank looks at Riedenschneider's back.

                                     FRANK
                         ...How come the judge doesn't come 
                         out?

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         The judge comes in last. He'll come 
                         in when Doris gets here.

                                     FRANK
                         So where's Doris? I thought we started 
                         at ten. Hey, Riedenschneider, where's 
                         Doris?

               Riedenschneider is curt:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         She's late.

                                     FRANK
                         Late? How can she be late?

               Riedenschneider doesn't answer; Frank turns to Ed.

                                     FRANK
                         ...She's in prison, Ed. None of *us* 
                         are in prison, and yet we're not 
                         late. We're on time, Ed. How can 
                         Doris be late? What, they don't have 
                         wake-up calls?

               The murmur of the crowd subsides as a door behind the judge's 
               bench opens and the judge hurriedly enters.

               The gallery rises but the judge quickly waves them back down 
               and, rather than seating himself, leans forward over his 
               desk to give a peremptory beckoning wave to Riedenschneider 
               and the prosecutor.

                                     JUDGE
                         Counselors.

               Riedenschneider, puzzled, approaches the bench, as does his 
               counterpart from the other table. The judge, still leaning 
               forward, speaks to them in a low voice that is not audible 
               from the gallery.

               The crowd has started murmuring again, also in hushed tones. 
               Frank leans in toward Ed.

                                     FRANK
                         What's going on, Ed? I thought there 
                         would be arguments. The bailiff, and 
                         so forth...

               Ed, also puzzled, is watching Riedenschneider, who suddenly 
               stiffens. As the judge continues to talk, Riedenschneider 
               looks back over his shoulder at Ed.

                                     FRANK
                         ...Ed, what is this? Is this 
                         procedure?

               The two lawyers nod at the judge and walk back to their 
               respective tables. The judge now summons a uniformed man 
               standing to one side.

                                     JUDGE
                         Bailiff.

               As the judge and the bailiff confer, Riedenschneider looks 
               down at his desk and, for something to do, straightens various 
               papers.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         I don't understand... We had a real 
                         shot at it... We could have won this 
                         thing...

               The Bailiff Announces:

                                     BAILIFF
                         In the matter of the State of 
                         California versus Doris Crane, Case 
                         Number 87249 assigned to this Superior 
                         Court...

               As the bailiff drones, Riedenschneider shakes his head.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...It doesn't make any sense...

               BARBERSHOP

               Late afternoon sun slants in.

               The shop, not open for business, is very still. Ed, in his 
               courtroom suit, sits in one of the vinyl chairs that line 
               the wall, hunched forward, forearms on his knees.

               Frank, also still in his suit, is up in one of the barber 
               chairs, one hand cupped to his forehead, weeping.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         She'd hanged herself. I'd brought 
                         her a dress to wear to court and 
                         she'd used the belt. I didn't 
                         understand it either. At first I 
                         thought maybe it had something to do 
                         with me, that she'd figured out 
                         somehow how I fit into it and couldn't 
                         stand it, couldn't stand knowing...

               BEDROOM

               Night. Ed is in bed, staring at the ceiling.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...That wasn't it, I would find out 
                         later. For now, everything just seemed 
                         ruined...

               METROPOLE LOBBY

               Riedenschneider is at the cashier's desk, checking out. Behind 
               him a bellman's cart is piled high with his bags.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Freddy Riedenschneider went back 
                         to Sacramento still shaking his head, 
                         saying it was the biggest 
                         disappointment of his professional 
                         career...

               FRANK'S HOUSE

               Day. Frank's kitchen.

               Frank sits at his kitchen table, staring, in a bathrobe thrown 
               over his pyjamas, unshaven.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Frankie fell to pieces. I suspect 
                         he was drinking; anyway, he stopped 
                         coming to work...

               BARBERSHOP

               Ed, in his smock, works on a customer.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...That left me to keep the place 
                         going, or the bank would've taken 
                         it.

               As he uses the electric clippers, a cigarette plumes between 
               his lips. He squints against the smoke drifting past his 
               eyes.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...*I* was the principal barber now. 
                         I hired a new man for the second 
                         chair...

               Ed's former chair is indeed being manned by a newcomer, a 
               gangly young man who animatedly chats up his customer.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I'd hired the guy who did the 
                         least gabbing when he came in for an 
                         interview. But I guess the new man 
                         had only kept quiet because he was 
                         nervous; once he had the job, he 
                         talked from the minute I opened the 
                         shop in the morning...

               EXT. BARBERSHOP

               It is evening. Ed is locking the barbershop as, next to him 
               on the sidewalk, the new man continues to chat, gesticulating 
               to illustrate his store.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...until I locked up at night. For 
                         all I know, he talked to himself on 
                         the way home.

               STREET

               Ed walks along the sidewalk.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...When *I* walked home, it seemed 
                         like everyone avoided looking at 
                         me...

               Indeed, none of the passers-by establish eye contact; their 
               averted eyes make the crowd a faceless throng.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...as if I'd caught some disease. 
                         This thing with Doris, nobody wanted 
                         to talk about it; it was like I was 
                         a ghost walking down the street...

               HOUSE

               As Ed lets himself in.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...And when I got home now, the place 
                         felt empty.

               He sits on the couch and, after a beat, takes a cigarette 
               pack from his pocket and taps out a smoke.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I sat in the house, but there was 
                         nobody there. I was a ghost; I didn't 
                         see anyone; no one saw me...

               BARBERSHOP

               Ed is in his smock again, operating the clippers.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I was the barber.

                                                                   FADE OUT

               The drone of the clippers has continued over the black. A 
               voice fades up:

                                     VOICE 1
                         So two blocks later I look at the 
                         change she gave me and, golly, I'm 
                         two bits short.

                                     VOICE 2
                         Two bits short.

                                     VOICE 1
                         So I walk back over to Linton's, 
                         find this gal--big argument; she 
                         doesn't even recall the transaction.

                                     VOICE 2
                         No recollection.

                                     VOICE 1
                         Doesn't recall the transaction, no 
                         recollection, so I said, Look, dear...

               FADE IN

               We are looking at a magazine story. Its headline, over an 
               illustration of a cresting wave, is: WAVE OF THE FUTURE.

               Underneath are black-and-white photographs of heavy equipment 
               and racks of clothing on motorized tracks. Subheadlines read: 
               NEXT TO GODLINESS - Dry Cleaning Sweeps The Nation - The 
               Thoroughly Modern Way To Clean.

               Ed sits in one of the vinyl chairs, staring at Life magazine. 
               The offscreen conversation drones on as the new man works on 
               a customer.

                                     NEW MAN
                         ...go ahead, look at the menu, if 
                         you're in before six o'clock it's 
                         the, whatchamacallit, the--

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Early Bird Special.

                                     NEW MAN
                         What? Yeah, the Early Riser...

               Ed flips the pages of the magazine, and stops on a photograph 
               of a dark desert landscape with one bright light hovering in 
               the sky. The caption underneath: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO.

                                     VOICE
                         Crane?

               Ed looks up.

               A man in a black suit and fedora has directed the question 
               at the new man, who looks up from his gabbling, momentarily 
               slackjawed.

                                     ED
                         ...I'm Crane.

                                     MAN
                         My name is Diedrickson. County medical 
                         examiner.

                                     ED
                         Yeah?

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         Just came for an informal chat...

               Diedrickson looks around uncomfortably.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...Why don't I buy you a drink?

               Ed rises from his chair and, as he unbuttons his smock, 
               addresses the new man, who still gapes.

                                     ED
                         Dwight, you OK here for a few minutes?

                                     DWIGHT
                         Whuh--uh, yeah, sure Ed, take your 
                         time.

               BAR

               It is late afternoon, dusty and empty.

               Ed and Diedrickson sit on adjacent stools, Diedrickson cocking 
               his hat lower to its man-sitting-at-a-bar position.

               As the bartender approaches:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         Rye.

                                     ED
                         Just coffee.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         You sure you don't want something 
                         stiffer?

               Ed shrugs and shakes his head.

                                     BARTENDER
                         Coffee it is.

               He leaves. Diedrickson interlaces his fingers on the bartop 
               and stares at them. After a beat:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...County M. E. does an autopsy on 
                         anyone who dies in custody. I don't 
                         know if you knew that. It's routine.

               Ed doesn't answer. Diedrickson, after some more staring at 
               his hands, plows on:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...Doesn't become a matter of public 
                         record unless there's foul play. 
                         However. I don't believe I'm 
                         *prohibited* from telling you this. 
                         I guess I'm not obliged to tell you, 
                         either. I don't exactly know.  But 
                         if *I* were the man, I'd want to be 
                         told.

                                     ED
                         Told what?

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         I, uh... thanks.

               The bartender has set down the drinks.

               Diedrickson waits for him to leave. He takes a hit from his 
               glass. Finally:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...I'm sorry to add to your burden, 
                         Crane, but I'd want to know it it 
                         was me. Your wife was pregnant. First 
                         trimester.

               A pause.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...Well, there it is.

               Another pause.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...I'm sorry.

               He mutters to himself:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...Hell, I hope I've done the right 
                         thing.

                                     ED
                         My wife and I had not... performed 
                         the sex act in many years.

               Diedrickson stiffens.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                              (murmuring)
                         ...Jesus.
                              (aloud)
                         ...Well, that's not really my 
                         business.

               He is hastily digging for money.

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...I'm sorry. Well, there it is.

               He leaves a couple of bills on the bar and mumbles as he 
               leaves:

                                     DIEDRICKSON
                         ...Good luck, Crane.

               His retreating footsteps echo down the bar.

               APARTMENT HALLWAY

               It is a dingy hallway lit by bare bulbs. Ed stands in the 
               middle background, knocking on a door.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Doris and I had never really talked 
                         much. I don't think that's a bad 
                         thing, necessarily. But it was funny: 
                         now I wanted to talk--now, with 
                         everyone gone. I was alone, with 
                         secrets I didn't want and no one to 
                         tell them to anyway.

               The door opens and Ed is admitted by the unseen tenant.

               APARTMENT

               We hear a low murmuring as we slowly pan the apartment. It 
               is overfurnished with heavy, ornate chairs, sideboards, chests 
               too big for the space and all going too seed. Surface areas 
               are covered with yellowing lacework or exotic brocades; the 
               one lamp has a veil thrown over it to further scrim down its 
               feeble light.

               Our pan brings us onto Ed seated at a small card table across 
               from a small elderly woman in a shawl who is the source of 
               the murmuring. Her eyes are squeezed shut in concentration 
               as she mumbles.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I visited a woman who was supposed 
                         to have powers in communicating with 
                         those who had passed across, as she 
                         called it. She said that people who 
                         passed across were picky about who 
                         they'd communicate with, not like 
                         most people you run into on this 
                         side...

               The woman opens her eyes and looks at Ed.

                                     WOMAN
                         Giff me your hant.

               Ed places his hand in the center of the table.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...so you needed a guide who they 
                         didn't mind talking to, someone with 
                         a gift for talking to souls...

               Ed looks at the woman's spotted and vein-lined hand as it 
               rests upon his. Her mumbling resumes.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Well, first she told me that my 
                         wife was in a peaceful place, that 
                         our souls were still connected by 
                         some spiritual bond, that she had 
                         never stopped loving me even though 
                         she'd done some things she wasn't 
                         proud of...

               Ed looks up at the old woman.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...She was reading me like a book.

               She is stealing a glance at Ed to check his reaction.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...And then she started talking about 
                         'Dolores' this and 'Dolores' that 
                         and was there anything I wanted to 
                         tell 'Dolores,' and I knew I'd just 
                         be telling it to the old bat. And 
                         even if somehow Doris could hear, it 
                         wouldn't be on account of this so-
                         called medium.

               APARTMENT HALLWAY

               Ed is leaving.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         She was a phony. Just another gabber.

               EXT. TENEMENT

               Ed emerges from the building.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I was turning into Ann Nirdlinger, 
                         Big Dave's wife. I had to turn my 
                         back on the old lady, on the veils, 
                         on the ghosts, on the dead, before 
                         they all sucked me in...

               Ed disappears into the night.

               ABUNDAS HOUSE

               It is night. We are looking through the screen door. Walter 
               Abundas sits in yellow lamplight by a small table on the 
               side of the staircase, over which papers are strewn. He is 
               murmuring into the telephone as he examines the papers, 
               glasses halfway down his nose, a drink in one hand.

               Ed's hand enters to rap on the door. Walter looks up, sets 
               the phone down and comes to the door.

                                     WALTER
                         Ed, how're you holding up?

                                     ED
                         I'm OK, Walter, thanks.

               Walter opens the door to him.

                                     WALTER
                         I'm so damn sorry about your loss. 
                         Terrible thing. Just damn terrible.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     WALTER
                         Birdy's in the parlor--I'm on long 
                         distance here.

                                     ED
                         Sure, Walter. Thanks.

               PARLOR

               Birdy also has papers spread across a table in front of her: 
               homework. She looks up at Ed's entrance.

                                     BIRDY
                         Hello, Mr Crane.

                                     ED
                         Hello, Birdy.

                                     BIRDY
                         We haven't seen you since... I'm 
                         terribly sorry.

               Ed sits across from her.

                                     ED
                         Yeah.

                                     BIRDY
                         We've certainly missed you.

                                     ED
                         Birdy, I've been doing a lot of 
                         thinking. There are a lot of things 
                         that haven't worked out for me. Life 
                         has dealt me some bum cards...

               He is loading a cigarette into his mouth.

                                     ED
                         ...or maybe I just haven't played 
                         'em right, I don't know. But you're--

                                     BIRDY
                         Pop doesn't like people smoking in 
                         here.

               Ed stares. This takes a moment to register.

                                     ED
                         Oh. Sorry.

               Birdy lowers her voice:

                                     BIRDY
                         Sometimes I have a cigarette in here 
                         when he's away. Never when he's in 
                         the house. He can smell it a mile 
                         off.

               Ed is pocketing the cigarette.

                                     ED
                         Sure... Sure, it's his house.

                                     BIRDY
                         That's what he keeps telling me.

               Ed smiles thinly.

                                     ED
                         Anyway, uh... my point is you're 
                         young. A kid really, your whole life 
                         ahead of you. But it's not too soon 
                         to start thinking... to start making 
                         opportunities for yourself. Before 
                         it all washes away.

                                     BIRDY
                         Well, sure, I guess. Pop says so 
                         too. I work pretty hard at school.

                                     ED
                         That's swell. However, the music, if 
                         you want to pursue it, well, the 
                         lessons from Mrs Swan, they'll only 
                         take you so far. There's this guy in 
                         San Francisco, I've made inquiries, 
                         everybody says he's the best. Trained 
                         lots of people who've gone on to 
                         have big concert careers, symphony 
                         orchestras, the works. His name is 
                         Jacques Carcanogues. I'm not sure 
                         I'm pronouncing it right. Anyway, 
                         he's a Frenchman.

                                     BIRDY
                         Boy.

                                     ED
                         You've got talent, anyone could see 
                         that. And he's the best. If he thinks 
                         a student has talent, he'll take 'em 
                         on for next to nothing. You're a 
                         cinch to be accepted, I could cover 
                         the cost of the lessons, like I said, 
                         it's pretty modest--

                                     BIRDY
                         Oh, Mr Crane--

                                     ED
                         I have to do it. I can't stand by 
                         and watch more things go down the 
                         drain. You're young, you don't 
                         understand.

                                     BIRDY
                         Geez, Mr Crane, I don't know. I hadn't 
                         really thought about a career or 
                         stuff.

                                     ED
                         I know you haven't. Look, just go 
                         meet him as a favor to me. I talked 
                         to this guy. Hope I pronounced his 
                         name right. He sounded very busy, 
                         but he's not a bad egg; he loosened 
                         up a little when I told him how 
                         talented you are. He agreed to see 
                         you this Saturday. He said maybe you 
                         were a diamond in the rough. His 
                         words.

                                     BIRDY
                         Geez, Mr Crane.

                                     ED
                         Just see him, as a favor to me.

               STUDIO WAITING ROOM

               It is a small square room with straightbacked chairs set 
               against the walls. At the far end of the room a door leads 
               to a studio from which piano music dully emanates; it is a 
               fast and difficult piece of music.

               Ed sits waiting. He is the only adult; two or three youngsters 
               of different ages sit apparently waiting for their lessons.

               Ed looks at one of the waiting boys in a white shirt and bow 
               tie. He is perhaps eleven. His hair is greased back in a 
               Junior Contour.

               Another boy, in a cardigan sweater, sports a Butch.

               The piano piece is ending. There is the murmur of voices. 
               Dull footsteps.

               The studio door swings open.

               A small man in a rumpled black suit smudged with cigarette 
               ash is bowing Birdy out the door. He has a goatee and a 
               knotted foulard. His eyes flit over the waiting room and 
               settle on Ed.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...You are ze fahzer?

                                     ED
                         No. Uh... family friend.

                                     MAN
                         I am Carcanogues.

               He smiles at Birdy.

                                     MAN
                         ...You wait, my dear?

                                     BIRDY
                         Sure, Mr K.

               A jerk of Carcanogues' head bids Ed rise.

               STUDIO

               Ed enters, uncomfortable. He looks around, taking in the 
               high-ceilinged space, which is dominated by a grand piano.

               Carcanogues has followed him and now runs water from a tap.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         I speak to you on ze phone, non? You 
                         have a special interest in music?

                                     ED
                         Uh-huh.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Ah yes, a music lover.

                                     ED
                         Well, I don't pretend to be an expert.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Ah.

               He uncaps a small bottle of pills, shakes two into his palm, 
               tosses them back and washes them down.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...Ah-hah.

               He twists a cigarette into a long holder, sticks it in his 
               mouth and lights it.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...Mm.

                                     ED
                         Well? How'd she do?

               This elicits a Gallic frown of consideration.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Ze girl?... She seems like a very 
                         nice girl. She *plays*, monsieur, 
                         like a very nice girl. Ztinks. Very 
                         nice girl. However, ztinks.

                                     ED
                         I don't understand.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Is not so hard to understand. Her 
                         playing, very polite.

                                     ED
                         Did she make mistakes?

               Another gallic moue:

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Mistake, no, it says E-flat, she 
                         plays E-flat. Ping-ping. Hit the 
                         right note, always. Very proper.

                                     ED
                         I don't understand, no mistakes, 
                         she's just a kid--I thought you taught 
                         the, uh, the--

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Ah, but that is just what I cannot 
                         teach. I cannot teach her to have a 
                         soul. Look, monsieur, play the piano, 
                         is not about the fingers. *Done* 
                         with the fingers, yes. But the music, 
                         she is inside. Inside, monsieur...

               A two-handed gesture, indicating his heart.

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...The music start here...

               He waggles his fingers:

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...come out through here; then, 
                         maybe...

               His wave takes in the heavens:

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         ...she can go up there.

                                     ED
                         Well, look, I don't claim to be an 
                         expert--

                                     CARCANOGUES
                         Then you listen to me, for I am 
                         expert. That girl, she give me a 
                         headache. She cannot play. Nice girl. 
                         Very clever hands. Nice girl. Someday, 
                         I think, maybe, she make a very good 
                         typist.

               DRIVING

               We are driving through the rural countryside of northern 
               California. It is a two-lane road with little traffic. Sun 
               strobes the car through the passing trees.

               Ed drives, glaring. Birdy, next to him, seems unperturbed, 
               ever cheerful.

                                     BIRDY
                         ...I stank, didn't I?

                                     ED
                         He didn't say that.

                                     BIRDY
                         But more or less.

                                     ED
                         Look, I'm no expert, but--

                                     BIRDY
                         It doesn't matter, Mr Crane.

                                     ED
                         I'm sure there's a dozen teachers 
                         better than this clown. More 
                         qualified. Goddamn phony.

                                     BIRDY
                         But it doesn't matter. Really, I'm 
                         not interested in playing music 
                         professionally.

               Ed looks at her.

                                     BIRDY
                         ...I'm not certain I'll have a career 
                         at all, and if I do, I'll probably 
                         be a veterinarian.

                                     ED
                         ...Uh-huh.

                                     BIRDY
                         I do appreciate the interest you've 
                         taken, though.

                                     ED
                         Ah... it's nothing.

                                     BIRDY
                         I'm only sorry that I didn't play 
                         better for you. I know it would've 
                         made you happy. You know what you 
                         are?

                                     ED
                         Huh.

                                     BIRDY
                         You're an enthusiast.

                                     ED
                         Huh. Yeah. Maybe...

               He loads a cigarette into his mouth.

                                     ED
                         ...I guess I've been all wet.

                                     BIRDY
                         But I do appreciate it, Mr Crane...

               She reaches over to touch his thigh.

                                     BIRDY
                         ...I wanted to make you happy.

                                     ED
                         Birdy--

                                     BIRDY
                         It's OK...

               She is leaning over his lap.

                                     BIRDY
                         ...I want to do it, Mr Crane.

               Ed is shocked:

                                     ED
                         Birdy!

               He reaches awkwardly, wanting to push her away but not wanting 
               to be violent.

                                     ED
                         ...No, please.

                                     BIRDY
                         Please, Mr Crane, it's OK, please--

               The blare of an oncoming horn.

               Ed looks up, one hand struggling with Birdy, the other on 
               the wheel.

               The oncoming car.

               Ed swerves, tires screech into a skid, Birdy screams.

               CRASH: the car hits a roadside tree.

               BLACK.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         Time slows down right before an 
                         accident, and I had time to think 
                         about things. I thought about what 
                         an undertaker had told me once--that 
                         your hair keeps growing, for a while 
                         anyway, after you die...

               A hubcap is skipping in slow motion along the road and then 
               off the road, down an embankment.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and then it stops. I thought, 
                         what keeps it growing? Is it like a 
                         plant in soil? What goes out of the 
                         soil? The soul? And when does the 
                         hair realize that it's gone?

               We are high, looking down at Ed, who is motionless, head 
               resting on the steering wheel of the stopped car. We boom 
               down toward his, slowly rotating as we move in. As we move 
               we lose focus; Ed becomes more and more blurry.

               The blurry shape is now slowly spinning away from us, a bright 
               revolving disc spinning up into the darkness until it 
               disappears, leaving only black.

               FADE IN

               Ed sits on the front porch of his bungalow, smoking a 
               cigarette in the late afternoon light.

               A dog barks next door; a distant screen door slams; children 
               are playing somewhere up the street.

               Ed looks down at his watch. It is 5:30.

               Something attracts his attention: at the foot of his driveway 
               stands a man in a cream-colored suit and hat. He is a small 
               figure, perfectly still, staring at the gravel driveway.

               After a beat he lifts up a small clipboard, squints at the 
               house, and jots something down.

               He finishes writing, screws the lid back onto his pen, and 
               is sticking it into a breast pocket when he realizes he is 
               being watched. His manner instantly warms.

                                     MAN
                         Hello!

                                     ED
                         Hello.

               The man starts up the walk.

                                     MAN
                         I notice you still have peastone in 
                         your driveway.

               Yeah.

                                     MAN
                         Well, of course, you don't have to 
                         rejuvenate that once every couple of 
                         years, don't you, when the peastone 
                         thins out.

               Ed shrugs.

                                     MAN
                         ...Where does it go, huh? Like the 
                         odd sock. But you *know* where it 
                         goes--you probably pick pieces of it 
                         off your lawn all the time, churn it 
                         up with your lawn mower, sweep it 
                         off the walk here--pain in the neck.

               Ed shrugs again.

                                     ED
                         Doesn't bother me.

                                     MAN
                         Well, have you ever considered tar 
                         Macadam? People think it's just for 
                         public works and commercial purposes, 
                         roads, parking lots, so forth...

               A car pulls into the drive.

                                     MAN
                         ...but we have the technology now to 
                         bring it to the homeowner, the 
                         individual consumer, at a very 
                         reasonable price.

               Doris emerges from the car.

                                     MAN
                         ...Mind if I show you the 
                         specifications?--Evening, ma'am.

               Doris gives him a hard look.

                                     DORIS
                         What're *you* selling?

               The man gives a practiced laugh.

                                     MAN
                         Well, ma'am, I was just telling your 
                         husband here about tar Macadam, for 
                         your home driveway here--these are 
                         the specs...

               Doris takes the brochure he has pulled from a small case.

                                     MAN
                         ...It's the modern way to--

               Doris tears the brochure in half and hands it back.

                                     DORIS
                         Get lost.

               The man gazes at her. His smile fades fast and he and Doris 
               stare at each other, two hard cases.

               He turns stiffly and stalks off.

               Once his gaze has broken, Doris turns as well. She stalks up 
               the stairs to the porch and bangs through the screen front 
               door of the house, letting it slam behind her.

               Quiet, early evening.

               Ed sits, smoking.

               At length he rises and goes in to the house.

               INT. BUNGALOW

               It is dim, no lights on yet. We hear banging and clomping 
               from the kitchen.

               Doris emerges with a clinking sound, chasing ice cubes around 
               a drink with a swizzle stick. Her face is still hard-set.

               With a groan of its old upholstery springs she sits onto the 
               couch.

               Ed sits as well. He draws on his cigarette, drags an ashtray 
               closer on the coffee table.

               She sips. He puffs.

                                     ED
                         ...Doris--

                                     DORIS
                         Nah, don't say anything. I'm alright.

               The sit. The light is failing. The clink of ice cubes.

                                                                   FADE OUT

               In the black we hear machine noise of indistinct origin. As 
               the noise becomes more defined we also hear shouting, faint, 
               distant:

                                     VOICE
                         Are you there? Are you awake?

               A blurry white disc is fading up. As it focuses it resolves 
               into the reflector worn by a white-robed doctor, leaning in 
               close.

               He leans away, murmuring:

                                     DOCTOR
                         He's coming around. Can you talk, 
                         sir? These men have to talk.

               Ed is lying in a hospital bed. His face is bandaged and one 
               side is grotesquely swollen. The machine noise is life 
               support.

                                     DOCTOR
                         ...Sir? Are you awake? He's awake.

               Two police officers, Persky and Krebs, lean in.

                                     PERSKY
                         Are you awake?... Is he awake?

                                     KREBS
                         Crane? We have to tell you, as soon 
                         as you're conscious--is he conscious?

                                     PERSKY
                         His eyes are open.

                                     KREBS
                         Uh... you're under arrest.

                                     PERSKY
                         As soon as the doctor lets us, we 
                         gotta move you. Does he understand 
                         that? We're supposed to tell him. 
                         Are you conscious?

                                     KREBS
                         You'll go to the prison hospital.

                                     PERSKY
                         Under arrest for murder.

               Ed's speech is thickened by injuries and anesthesia:

                                     ED
                         Birdy... I didn't mean to--

                                     KREBS
                         What'd he say?

                                     ED
                         Birdy...

                                     DOCTOR
                         Birdy. The girl. No, the girl's OK. 
                         Broken clavicle.

               The doctor leans in.

                                     DOCTOR
                         ...That's the collarbone, Crane. 
                         Broken. She's OK though.

                                     KREBS
                         So he understands? He's under arrest 
                         for murder?

                                     ED
                         Big Dave.

                                     PERSKY
                         Huh?

                                     KREBS
                         What'd he say? Does he understand?

                                     PERSKY
                         He said OK. Is that what he said?

               Krebs raises his voice:

                                     KREBS
                         You're under arrest for the murder 
                         of Creighton Tolliver! Do you 
                         understand?

               The voices are fading away:

                                     PERSKY
                         ...Does he understand?...

                                                                   FADE OUT

               UNDERWATER

               Light glimmers in water. We are drifting down, down, down.

               We bring in languidly waving arms--the arms of a child, waving 
               to keep himself submerged. It is a ten-year-old boy staring, 
               wide-eyed, at something in front of him. Bubbles 
               intermittently stream from his open mouth.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         The pansy. A kid diving at a waterhole 
                         outside of town had found his car...

               The reverse shows the car, also submerged, with Creighton 
               Tolliver inside, also wide-eyed, his hairpiece attached at 
               only one corner, the rest of it waving free.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...They'd winched it out...

               TRACKING

               We are tracking laterally across a line of faces: seated 
               men. The men rise.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and found he'd been beaten, just 
                         like Big Dave said--beaten to death...

               We arc around a judge entering the chamber through the small 
               door behind his raised bench.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Inside the briefcase were the 
                         partnership papers I'd signed...

               The judge seats himself and we resume out lateral track on 
               the jury, now reseating itself.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...showing that I'd given him ten 
                         grand. For the district attorney...

               In response to a prompt from the judge the district attorney 
               rises to read the charge. His voice plays distantly, muted, 
               the words not discernible under the continuing voice-over.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...that made it fall into place: I'd 
                         gotten Doris to steal the money, the 
                         pansy had gotten wise somehow, and 
                         I'd had to kill him to cover my 
                         tracks. I was in a spot. I called in 
                         Freddy Riedenschneider...

               Riedenschneider rises into frame at the defense table. As he 
               listens to the charge:

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...and signed the house over to him. 
                         He said he didn't ordinarily work 
                         that cheap, but he figured he owed 
                         me something since the last one hadn't 
                         played out...

               The drone of the D.A. has ended and Riedenschneider's echoing 
               voice drops into the hole:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Not guilty, your honor...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         I tried to tell him the whole story, 
                         but Riedenschneider stopped me. He 
                         said the story made his head hurt, 
                         and anyway he didn't see any way of 
                         using it without putting me on the 
                         hot seat for the murder of Big Dave...

               Riedenschneider claps Ed reassuringly on the shoulder as he 
               sits next to him. Ed still wears a cast on one arm and one 
               leg.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...He told me not to worry, though, 
                         said he'd think of something, Freddy 
                         Riedenschneider wouldn't let me down.

               JAIL

               We are tracking in on Ed, lying on the bunk in his cell.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...They put me on twenty-four-hour 
                         deathwatch...

               A reverse track shows a guard on a tilted-back straightbacked 
               chair, outside the cell door, staring at Ed.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...so that I couldn't Cheat Justice 
                         like they said my wife had done...

               COURTROOM

               The district attorney is rising again, this time to address 
               the jury.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But in front of the jury they had 
                         it that Doris was a saint; the whole 
                         plan had been mine, I was a Svengali 
                         who'd forced Doris to join my criminal 
                         enterprise...

               The district attorney is pointing at Ed.

                                     DISTRICT ATTORNEY
                         ...cynically used his own wife as a 
                         cat's paw in a scheme of diabolical 
                         cunning...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         On and on it went, how I'd used Doris 
                         and then let her take the fall. That 
                         stuff smarted because some of it was 
                         close to being true...

               The district attorney seats himself. The jury's eyes turn to 
               Freddy Riedenschneider, who studies the tabletop in front of 
               him, either digesting the D.A.'s opening statement, or seeking 
               inspiration for his own.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...And then it was Freddy 
                         Riedenschneider's turn.

               Riedenschneider rises, paces, begins to talk.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I gotta hand it to him, he tossed 
                         a lot of sand in their eyes. He talked 
                         about how I'd lost my place in the 
                         universe...

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...a puny player on the great world's 
                         stage...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...how I was too ordinary to be the 
                         criminal mastermind the D.A. made me 
                         out to be, how there was some greater 
                         scheme at work that the state had 
                         yet to unravel, and he threw in some 
                         of the old truth stuff he hadn't had 
                         a chance to trot out for Doris...

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...who among us is in a position to 
                         say...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...He told them to look at me--look 
                         at me close. That the closer they 
                         looked the less sense it would all 
                         make, that I wasn't the kind of guy 
                         to kill a guy, that I was the barber, 
                         for Christ's sake...

               We pan the jury, solemnly listening to Riedenschneider.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I was just like them, an ordinary 
                         man, guilty of living in a world 
                         that had no place for me, guilty of 
                         wanting to be a dry cleaner, sure, 
                         but not of murder...

               Riedenschneider is striding energetically into the foreground 
               to point a finger directly at Ed's face.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...He said I *was* Modern Man, and 
                         if they voted to convict me, well, 
                         they'd be practically cinching the 
                         noose around their own necks. He 
                         told them to look not at the facts 
                         but at the meaning of the facts, and 
                         then he said the facts *had* no 
                         meaning. It was a pretty good speech, 
                         and even had me going...

               A tap on the shoulder turns Ed around.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...until Frankie interrupted it.

               Frank socks Ed, sending him clattering to the floor.

               A bailiff immediately restrains him, but Frank looms over 
               Ed, bellowing through tears:

                                     FRANK
                         What kind of man *are* you? What 
                         kind of man *are* you?

               Riedenschneider interposes his body between Frank's and Ed's, 
               loudly protesting:

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         Move for a mistrial, your honor! 
                         Move for a mistrial! This outrageous 
                         display cannot help but prejudice...

               Ed moves to get up, but Riedenschneider, with a sidelong 
               glance and furtive gesture, motions for him to stay on the 
               floor.

                                     RIEDENSCHNEIDER
                         ...and inflame the passions of these 
                         twelve fine men and women...

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Well, he got his mistrial, but 
                         the well had run dry. There was 
                         nothing left to mortgage; 
                         Riedenschneider went home and the 
                         court appointed Lloyd Garroway...

               Ed is now standing next to a distinguished older gentleman 
               who enters the plea in the new trial:

                                     GARROWAY
                         Your honor, we plead guilty, with 
                         extenuating circumstances.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...who threw me on the mercy of the 
                         court. It was my only chance, he 
                         said. I guess that meant I never had 
                         a chance...

               The judge starts droning the sentence:

                                     JUDGE
                         ...a menace to society... a predator 
                         on his own wife, his business 
                         associates, on an innocent young 
                         girl... social contract... line 
                         crossed... the offender forfeits the 
                         right to his own life... I hereby 
                         order that you be taken to a place 
                         of confinement...

               PRISON HALLWAY

               We are tracking down the hall.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         He wasn't buying any of that Modern 
                         Man stuff, or the uncertainty stuff, 
                         or any of the mercy stuff either. 
                         No, he was going by the book, and 
                         the book said I got the chair...

               Ed is in the cell at the end of the hall, lying on his bunk, 
               hands clasped behind his head.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...so here I am. At first I didn't 
                         know how I got here. I knew step by 
                         step of course, which is what I've 
                         told you, step by step; but I couldn't 
                         see any pattern...

               LATER

               Ed sits at the little table next to his bunk, writing.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Now that I'm near the end, I'm 
                         glad that this men's magazine paid 
                         me to tell my story. Writing it has 
                         helped me sort it all out. They're 
                         paying five cents a word, so you'll 
                         pardon me if sometimes I've told you 
                         more than you wanted to know...

               Recent issues of the magazine, Gent, and its sister 
               publication Nugget lie on the little desk. Their lurid covers 
               depict feature stories like I WAS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS and 
               AFTER TEN YEARS OF NORMAL LIFE, I DISCOVER I AM AN ESCAPED 
               LUNATIC.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But now, all the disconnected 
                         things seems to hook up.

               Ed sets aside the pen, lies down on his bunk, and closes his 
               eyes.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...That's the funny thing about going 
                         away, knowing the date you're gonna 
                         die--and the men's magazine wanted 
                         me to tell how that felt...

               We hear a pulsing treble hum. Ed opens his eyes.

               The door to his cell is open.

               He rises and goes through the door.

               PRISON HALLWAY

               Ed, alone, walks down the hallway. The pulsing treble hum is 
               louder.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Well, it's like pulling away from 
                         the maze. While you're in the maze 
                         you go through willy-nilly, turning 
                         where you think you have to turn, 
                         banging into dead ends, one thing 
                         after another...

               PRISON YARD

               Ed emerges into the empty prison yard ringed by high stone 
               walls. A hard spotlight shines down from above. Ed squints 
               into it.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But get some distance on it, and 
                         all those twists and turns, why, 
                         they're the shape of your life. It's 
                         hard to explain...

               The spotlight is from a hovering flying saucer. We see its 
               revolving underside and, as it irregularly cants, a bit of 
               its top bubble.

               After spinning briefly, it tips and flies away, carrying the 
               tremolo hum with it.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...But seeing it whole gives you 
                         some peace.

               Ed turns and re-enters the prison.

               ED'S CELL

               Ed is lying on his bunk, eyes closed, hands clasped behind 
               his head. A hand enters to shake him awake.

               Three men loom over him: two guards and another man wearing 
               a surplice and holding a bible.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...The men's magazine also asked 
                         about remorse. Yeah, I guess I'm 
                         sorry about the pain I caused other 
                         people...

               PRISON HALLWAY

               He is walking the last mile.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...but I don't regret anything. Not 
                         a thing. I used to. I used to regret 
                         being the barber.

               A door at the end opens:

               An electric chair. Straps open, and waiting:

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I dont know where I'm being taken.

               Ed is placed in the chair.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...I don't know what waits for me, 
                         beyond the earth and sky. But I'm 
                         not afraid to go.

               A man stoops at his feet. He has a bucket of water and a 
               straight razor.

               He waggles the razor in the water and starts shaving a patch 
               of Ed's calf.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Maybe the things I don't understand 
                         will be clearer there, like when a 
                         fog blows away...

               Ed watches as the razor makes the trip from his leg to the 
               bucket of water, which begins to spot with small floating 
               hairs.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...Maybe Doris will be there.

               They are strapping him in, connecting the electrodes.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...And maybe there I can tell her...

               The men withdraw.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...all those things...

               A thin man in a dark suit and fedora stands by the switch. 
               As he reaches for the switch, Ed looks up into the light.

                                     ED (V.O.)
                         ...they don't have words for here.





Man Who Wasn't There, The



Writers :   Joel Coen  Ethan Coen
Genres :   Comedy  Drama  Crime


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