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Sling Blade - by by Billy Bob Thornton


	FADE IN:
	
	INT. A MENTAL HOSPITAL - DAY
	
	A few patients sit around fumbling with themselves. One man
	sits at a table scratching back and forth on a piece of paper
	with a crayon. Another stands in a corner smoking a cigarette
	and staring at the crayon guy. This is CHARLES. Another man,
	KARL, sits in a chair staring at the floor and rubbing his
	hands together. We cut back and forth between Charles staring
	and Crayon Man scratching. After a moment, an attendant
	approaches Charles.
	
	                    ATTENDANT 
	          You can't smoke in here.
	
	Charles stares at him blankly for a moment and continues
	smoking. He looks back to Crayon Man again for a moment then
	looks over at Karl and then goes and sits down beside him.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          A Mercury is a good car and that's
	          what I was driving that day. I've
	          owned a lot of cars. Different
	          kinds. Lots of different kinds of
	          cars. She was standing, this girl,
	          on the side of the street where
	          there was a chicken stand; not the
	          Colonel, mind you, but nevertheless
	          a chicken stand, and I pulled the
	          Mercury over and rolled down the
	          window by electric power. She was
	          wearing a leather skirt and she had
	          a lot of hair on her arms. I like
	          that. I like it a lot. It means a
	          big bush. I like a big bush. She
	          said, "Are you dating?" I said,
	          "yes," and she got in the car. We
	          pulled to a remote location, one
	          that she and I both felt
	          comfortable with and she said, "How
	          much can you spend?" I said, "What
	          it takes to see your bush. I know
	          it's a big one." She said "twenty
	          five dollars," which to a working
	          man is not chicken feed. I produced
	          the money and she put it in her
	          shoe and pulled up her skirt. There
	          before me lay a thin, crooked,
	          uncircumcised penis. You can
	          imagine how badly I wanted my
	          twenty-five dollars back.
	
	INT. A HALLWAY - DAY
	
	Two young women, MARSHA DWIGGINS, carrying a briefcase, and
	THERESA EVANS, carrying two camera bags are being led down
	the hallway by a GUARD.
	
	                    THERESA 
	          I don't know why you're so weirded
	          out, this is not San Quentin, it's
	          just a nuthouse. Most of these
	          people don't even know where they
	          are, they're not gonna hurt you.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          In a few minutes we're gonna be in
	          a room with a killer. That doesn't
	          bother you?
	
	                    THERESA 
	          Hey, you're the one that wanted to
	          major in journalism. Anyhow, wasn't
	          the guy something like twelve or
	          thirteen when he did it, it was
	          twenty-five years ago, he probably
	          doesn't even remember it.
	
	                    MARSHA
	              (wrinkling her nose)
	          Do you smell shit?
	
	                    THERESA 
	          Yeah.
	
	They reach a door and the guard ushers them through.
	
	INT. AN OFFICE - DAY
	
	JERRY WOOLRIDGE stands up from behind the desk as they enter.
	He's in his fifiles and looks like a school teacher, shop
	class or perhaps eighth-grade science.
	
	                    GUARD
	          These are the people from that
	          newspaper deal.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Oh yeah, from the college?
	
	                    MARSHA
	          Yes sir.
	
	Woolridge shakes hands with them. 
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          My name's Jerry Woolridge.
	
	                    MARSHA
	          Nice to meet you. I'm Marsha
	          Dwiggins and this is Theresa Evans.
	          She's here to take the pictures.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Y'all have a seat. Is this all of
	          you?
	
	                    MARSHA
	          Yes sir.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          I think there must have been a
	          little mix up. I told your sponsor
	          or teacher or whatever he is, there
	          couldn't be any pictures. It's
	          s'posed to be just a little story
	          or article or something, isn't that
	          right?
	
	                    MARSHA
	          Well, yeah, it's for the school
	          newspaper. But it has pictures. I
	          mean it's a regular paper, you
	          know. 
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Karl's real sensitive about having
	          his picture made. He wouldn't even
	          be on the bulletin board for the
	          Easter Collage. 
	              (to guard) 
	          Melvin, would you get me a good hot
	          cup with two sugar substitutes? You
	          girls want some coffee?
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          No thank you.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          The other thing is I told your boss
	          on the phone to send a man. Karl
	          won't talk to women.
	
	INT. REC ROOM - DAY
	
	CLOSE UP on Karl's face. Charles has started another
	monologue.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          There was a young man named John
	          Liggit Hunter who was in the
	          filling station business and a good
	          filling station business. He was
	          one of those young men that we run
	          across so often in life. I'm sure
	          you've run across them, that didn't
	          deserve the things he had. One of
	          those things was his beautiful
	          bride, Sarah. She was a Georgia
	          Peach. As a matter of fact she
	          looked more like the picture I've
	          had in my head than any woman I've
	          ever seen. I took it upon myself to
	          take her away from John Liggit
	          Hunter, who didn't deserve her. I'm
	          not sure if I mentioned that he was
	          a Frenchman who claimed to be an
	          Englishman. It took some very
	          strong nylon cord to take her away
	          from him. She was a fighter as well
	          as a Georgia Peach.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE'S OFFICE
	
	The girls look confused.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I don't know what to tell you. I'm
	          sorry. I made myself pretty clear I
	          thought. He probably got busy and
	          wasn't thinking. I know how that
	          is. I used to teach shop and eighth
	          grade science.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Well, what do we do? We drove all
	          the way out here.
	
	                    THERESA 
	          Let's just go, Marsha.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          No, we have to get this story.
	
	                    THERESA 
	          I thought you'd be happy to leave.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Why won't he talk to women?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          He has problems. You know. With all
	          that. He won't hardly talk to
	          anybody really. Just certain
	          people. He's very troubled.
	
	INT. REC ROOM
	
	                    CHARLES 
	              (leaning in to Karl)
	          A shovel just makes too goddamn
	          much racket.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE'S OFFICE
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	              (takes a drink of coffee)
	          I don't think he's talked to a
	          woman in twenty-five or so years.
	          That I know of anyway. That's why I
	          said to send a man. At least maybe
	          he'd answer a question or two for a
	          man. I'm all for helping the
	          college out, believe me. It might
	          be a real good article or story.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Can't you talk to him? Maybe talk
	          him into it. I'm a real good
	          interviewer. Just get me in the
	          room with him.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	              (to guard)
	          Melvin, go get Karl and take him
	          down to the old classroom.
	
	INT. HALLWAY - DAY
	
	Woolridge and the two women walk down the hallway.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I'll talk to him and see what we
	          can do.
	
	INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
	
	Woolridge is opening a door. He enters and the women follow
	him in. He flips on a light switch and very bright florescent
	lights illuminate the room.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          You see, Karl, growing up, only
	          knew that sex was wrong and that
	          people who did it should be killed
	          for it. He couldn't really read
	          but, well, neither could his
	          mother. But, his father made sure
	          that his mother knew what the Bible
	          said. And she made sure Karl knew.
	          You know he slept in a hole in the
	          ground under a toolshed, right?
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          I knew he slept in a toolshed.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          His mother told him that he was
	          their punishment. Hers and his
	          father's; from God, for having sex--
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Before they were married?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I don't think so. Just period, I
	          think. She told him... God gave
	          them the ugliest creation he could
	          think of. Karl has an entire book --
	          a notebook. On every page it says
	          "Franklin Chapter 1 Verse number
	          1." He wrote that a few years ago
	          after he'd learned to write. His
	          father's name was Franklin.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          That's really strange. What does it
	          mean?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          One of his Daddy's Bible lessons I
	          imagine. Y'all pull up a chair.
	          I'll go out and talk to him.
	
	INT. REC ROOM
	
	CLOSE UP on Charles's face.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          You have to make something explode
	          to truly understand it. You have to
	          examine the tiny particles while
	          they're on fire.
	
	Off screen we hear FOOTSTEPS approaching. We pull back and
	see MELVIN the guard.
	
	                    MELVIN 
	          Karl, I gotta take you down to the
	          old classroom. Mr. Woolridge has
	          some people for you to see down
	          there. Come on. Let's go.
	
	INT. HALLWAY - DAY
	
	Melvin and Karl walk down the hallway. Woolridge stands
	outside the door of the classroom. They reach him and
	Woolridge talks quietly to Karl.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Karl, you know, do you remember
	          when I told you about those people
	          from that newspaper? 
	              (pause)
	          They want to ask you some questions
	          about your release. They think it
	          would make an interesting story.
	          Will you talk to 'em? Get
	          interviewed. 
	              (pause)
	          Now, they're women. I think it
	          might be good for you to. You're
	          gonna be seein' all kinds of people
	          when you go on the outside. This'll
	          help you I believe.
	
	INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
	
	It's just Woolridge and the two women in the room.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, it surprised the dickens out
	          of me. He said he'll talk to you.
	
	Marsha smiles and looks at Theresa.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE (CONT'D)
	          But, here's the thing. He'll only
	          talk to you. He doesn't want you to
	          ask him anything. And you shouldn't
	          stare at him.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          How am I going to conduct an
	          interview if I can't ask him any
	          questions?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          It's the best you're gonna get. I'm
	          sorry.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Can I ask you a question? If he's
	          so troubled, why are you letting
	          him out? What if he does it again?
	          It happens all the time.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          He's free. His time's up. That's
	          the rules. He's been treated and
	          reevaluated. He doesn't show any
	          signs any more.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Signs?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Homicidal signs. Oh, we're gonna
	          change the light in here for Karl.
	          I hope you can see to write.
	
	Woolridge turns on a lamp on a desk and turns off the
	overhead lights. He opens the door and Melvin brings Karl in.
	In the semidarkness Woolridge pushes a chair up and motions
	for Marsha to sit. Karl stands beside Melvin motionless.
	Woolridge whispers to Theresa.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE (CONT'D)
	          You'll have to step outside.
	
	Theresa starts to protest.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE (CONT'D)
	          Please.
	
	Karl sits down in a folding chair near a lamp as Melvin
	ushers Theresa outside into the hallway. Karl sits staring at
	the floor. Rubbing his palms together and breathing
	strangely, as usual. He sits silent for what seems like
	forever.
	
	INT. HALLWAY - DAY
	
	Theresa stands on one side of the door, Melvin on the other.
	
	                    THERESA
	          Can I just sneak in there? I won't
	          take any pictures, I promise. I
	          just want to listen.
	
	                    MELVIN
	          No ma'am. I'm sorry you can't.
	
	Theresa takes a cigarette from her purse and starts to light
	it.
	
	                    MELVIN (CONT'D)
	          You can't smoke in here. I'm sorry.
	
	INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
	
	Marsha is staring at Karl. Karl, still breathing and rubbing
	his palms, starts to speak. His voice is low and raspy, but
	not just low and raspy; strange.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Well, I reckon what you're a
	          wanting to know is what I'm doing
	          in here. I reckon the reason I'm in
	          here is 'cause I killed somebody.
	          But I reckon what you was a wanting
	          to know is how come me to kill
	          somebody. Well, I reckon I'll start
	          at the front and tell you. 
	              (pause, heavy breathing)
	          I lived most of my life out behind
	          my mother and father's house in a
	          little old shed and my daddy'd
	          built for me. They didn't too much
	          want me up there in the house with
	          the rest of 'em. I mostly just set
	          around out there in the shed all
	          the time a lookin' at the ground.
	          It didn't have no floor but I had
	          me a hole dug out to lay down in
	          and a quilt or tow that I put down
	          there. 
	              (pause, more breathing)
	          My daddy was a hard workin' man
	          most of his life, not that I can
	          say the same fer myself. I most
	          just set around the shed and
	          tinkered around with a lawn mower
	          or two and went to school off and
	          on from time to time but the
	          children there made quite a bit of
	          sport of me, made fun of me quite a
	          bit. Some of 'em roughed me up
	          sometimes so mostly I stayed out
	          back there in the shed. My daddy
	          worked down at the sawmill there,
	          down there at the planer mill for
	          an old man named Dixon.
	          Old man Dixon was a very cruel
	          feller, he didn't treat his
	          employees very well, didn't pay 'em
	          much of a wage, didn't pay my daddy
	          much of a wage, just barely enough
	          to get by on. But I reckon he got
	          by all right, they come out one or
	          the other of 'em, usually my
	          mother, and fed me pretty regular.
	          At least I know he made enough for
	          me to have mustard and biscuits
	          three or four times a week. Old man
	          Dixon had a boy named Jesse Dixon.
	          Jesse was really more cruel than
	          his daddy. He made quite a bit of
	          sport of me and takened advantage
	          of the little girls around the
	          neighborhood quite a bit. 
	              (pause)
	          He used to say my mother was a very
	          pretty woman. He said it quite a
	          bit from time to time, when I was
	          at the school house. Well, I reckon
	          you want me to get on and tell you
	          what happened so I reckon I'll tell
	          you. I was settin' out in the shed
	          one evenin' not doin' too much,
	          just kindly starin' at the wall and
	          a waitin' fer my mother to come out
	          and give me my Bible lesson and I
	          heared a commotion up in the house
	          there so I got up and run up on the
	          screened-in porch there to see what
	          was a goin' on, and I looked in the
	          kitchen window and I seen my mother
	          a layin' there on the floor without
	          any clothes on. 
	              (pause, breathing)
	          And seen Jesse Dixon a layin' on
	          top of her having his way with her. 
	              (pause)
	          Well, I just seen red. I picked up
	          a kaiser blade that was a layin'
	          there by the screen door, some
	          folks calls it a sling blade, I
	          call it a kaiser blade. It's just a
	          long handle like a axe handle with
	          a long blade on it that's shaped
	          kind of like a banana. Sharp on one
	          edge and dull on the other. It's
	          what the highway boys use to cut
	          down weeds and whatnot.
	          I went in the kitchen there and I
	          hit Jesse Dixon up side the head
	          with it and knocked him off my
	          mother. I reckon that didn't quite
	          satisfy me so I hit him again in
	          the neck with the sharp edge and
	          just plumb near cut his head off.
	          Killed him. Well, my mother, she
	          jumped up from there and started
	          yellin', "What did you kill Jesse
	          fer? What did you kill Jesse fer?"
	              (pause, intense breathing)
	          Well, come to find out my mother
	          didn't really mind what Jesse was a
	          doin' to her. I reckon that made me
	          madder than what Jesse had made me.
	          I takened the kaiser blade, some
	          folks calls it a sling blade, I
	          call it a kaiser blade and hit my
	          mother up side the head with it an'
	          killed her.
	              (long pause, breathing)
	          Some folks has asked me if I had it
	          to do over again would I do the
	          same thing. I don't know, I reckon
	          I would. Anyhow, they seen fit to
	          put me in here and here I've been
	          for a great long while. I've
	          learned to read some; took me four
	          years to read the Bible. I reckon I
	          understand a good deal of it. It
	          wasn't what I expected in a lot of
	          places. I've slept in a good bed
	          for a great long while. They've
	          seen fit to put me out now. They
	          tell me they're a settin' me free
	          today. Anyhow, I reckon that's all
	          you need to know. If you want any
	          more details I reckon I can tell
	          'em to you. I don't know if that's
	          enough for your newspaper or not.
	
	Suddenly Marsha speaks from the darkness.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Will you ever kill anybody again,
	          Karl?
	
	This seems to startle the very room itself. Woolridge motions
	for Marsha to shut up and Karl stops still. Very still. He
	breathes hard for a moment then starts to calm down. He seems
	almost at ease. He slowly looks up. From Karl's point of view
	we barely see Marsha's face in the dim light. Karl is looking
	straight at Marsha.
	
	                    KARL 
	              (slowly)
	          I don't reckon I got no reason to
	          kill nobody.
	
	INT. HALLWAY - DAY
	
	Woolridge stands just outside the classroom door with Marsha
	and Theresa. Karl stands down the way a few feet with Melvin.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Is he leaving right this minute?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          We've got some paperwork to take
	          care of. Pretty soon. Don't worry,
	          you won't run into him in the
	          parking lot.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          I didn't mean that.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I hope the best for you, Miss
	          Dwiggins, with your school and your
	          paper and all.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Where will he go?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Wherever he wants to. I think he's
	          going back to Millsburg where he's
	          from. It's just about twenty miles
	          from here.
	
	                    MARSHA 
	          Will he be supervised?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          As much as anybody else is, I
	          guess. Y'all have a good rest of
	          the day now.
	
	Marsha and Theresa walk toward the exit. As they pass Karl he
	speaks to Marsha.
	
	                    KARL
	              (looking down)
	          Thank you.
	
	                    MARSHA
	              (immediately extends her
	               hand) 
	          Thank you.
	
	Karl doesn't take her hand.
	
	Karl continues to stare at the floor until the women exit.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon I'm gonna have to get used
	          to looking at pretty people.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Yes, I guess you are.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon I'm gonna have to get used
	          to them lookin' at me, too.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          You better go get your things.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I ain't got nothing but them books.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          You better go get 'em.
	
	                    KARL 
	          All right then.
	
	Karl walks slowly down the hallway.
	
	EXT. BUS STATION - MILLSBURG - DAY
	
	Karl steps off the bus carrying a few books by a strap. He
	stands there for moment staring at the bus station as the few
	people around stare at him, then he starts walking.
	
	A SERIES OF SHOTS
	
	Karl standing in front of a barbershop looking through the
	window at a man having his hair cut.
	
	In front of the police station.
	
	Staring at an empty school yard...
	
	EXT. DAIRY QUEEN - DAY
	
	Karl stands and stares at the building for a moment. He sees
	a woman take a tray of food from the window.
	When she's gone, he walks up to the window. A pimply-faced
	TEENAGE BOY comes to wait on him. 
	
	                    BOY
	          Can I help you?
	
	                    KARL
	          I was kindly wantin' somethin' or
	          'nother d'eat.
	
	                    BOY
	          Well, what did you want?
	
	                    KARL
	          You have any biscuits for sale?
	
	                    BOY
	          Naw, we don't have biscuits.
	
	Karl stands in silence for a moment.
	
	                    BOY (CONT'D)
	          Did you decide, sir?
	
	                    KARL
	          What you got that's good to eat?
	
	                    BOY
	          Well, I guess it's all good.
	
	                    KARL
	          What do you like to eat here?
	
	                    BOY
	          French fries. I like to eat them
	          pretty good.
	
	                    KARL
	          French-fried potaters.
	
	                    BOY
	          Yeah.
	
	                    KARL
	          How much you want fer 'em? I'll get
	          some of them I reckon.
	
	                    BOY
	          Sixty for small and seventy-five
	          for large.
	
	                    KARL
	          Give me the big'uns.
	
	Karl digs in his pocket for money.
	
	EXT. LAUNDROMAT - DAY
	
	Karl sits on a bench eating french fries. After a moment, a
	twelve- or thirteen-year-old BOY comes out of the laundromat
	wrestling three or four big bags of laundry. He can't seem to
	get a plan together for carrying them all. Karl gets up and
	goes over to him. The boy looks up at Karl, a little startled
	by Karl's strange figure looming over him.
	
	                    BOY
	          These dang things are heavy. Hard
	          to carry, too.
	
	                    KARL
	          What you got in there, warshing?
	
	                    BOY
	          Yeah.
	
	                    KARL
	          Ain't you got no mama and daddy to
	          tend to it?
	
	                    BOY
	          I got a mama, but she's at work
	          over at Ben's Dollar Store. My
	          daddy's dead. 
	              (pause)
	          He got hit by a train.
	
	                    KARL
	          How fer you going with them sacks
	          full of warsh?
	
	                    BOY
	          About a half a mile I think it is.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'll help you tote 'em if I don't
	          give out first.
	
	                    BOY
	          Okay. You don't have to though.
	
	Karl picks up two sacks and they walk away.
	
	EXT. STREET - DAY
	
	They walk in silence for a while before the boy finally
	speaks.
	
	                    BOY
	          My name is Frank Wheatley. What's
	          your name?
	
	                    KARL
	          Karl's my name.
	
	                    FRANK (BOY)
	          What's you last name?
	
	                    KARL
	          Childers.
	
	                    FRANK
	          What are all them books?
	
	                    KARL
	          Different ones. One's the Bible.
	          One of 'ems a book on Christmas.
	          One of 'ems how to be a carpenter.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          How come you're carryin' them
	          around with you.
	
	                    KARL
	          Ain't got nowhere to set 'em down.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Don't you live somewhere?
	
	                    KARL
	          I did live there in the state
	          hospital.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Why'd you live there?
	
	                    KARL
	          I killed some folks quite awhile
	          back. They said I wadn't right in
	          the head and they put me in there
	          in the nervous hospital instead of
	          puttin' me in jail.
	
	                    FRANK
	          They let you out?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah.
	
	                    FRANK
	          How come?
	
	                    KARL 
	          They told me I was well. They had
	          to turn me loose.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Are you well?
	
	                    KARL
	          I reckon I feel all right.
	
	                    FRANK
	          You don't seem like you'd kill
	          nobody.
	
	They reach a little white frame house and the boy turns up
	the sidewalk.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          This is my house. You can just set
	          those bags on the porch.
	
	Karl sets the bags down and he and the boy stare at each
	other in silence for a moment.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          Do you like to play football?
	
	                    KARL
	          I never was much count at it. I
	          never did get picked out fer it.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Me and the Burnett twins and some
	          boys plays down at the junior high
	          practice field all the time. If you
	          ever want to come by and play. We
	          ain't no good either. Well, I'll
	          see you later.
	
	He goes inside leaving Karl staring at the front door.
	
	INT. BUS STATION - DAY
	
	Karl stands at the counter. A middle-aged man is selling
	tickets.
	
	                    KARL 
	          How does a feller go about gettin'
	          up to the state hospital?
	
	                    MAN 
	          You buy a ticket for fourteen
	          dollars and then set and wait for
	          the four-fifteen bus to Kelton.
	
	                    KARL 
	          All right then.
	
	INT. MENTAL HOSPITAL - DAY
	
	Karl walks down the hallway carrying his books. A couple
	staffers give him 'Why are you still here' looks. He reaches
	a door and goes in.
	
	INT. WAITING ROOM - DAY
	
	There is no one at the desk in the outer office, so Karl goes
	into Woolridge's office.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE'S OFFICE - DAY
	
	Karl finds Woolridge doing paper work. Woolridge looks up
	startled.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Karl, what in the world are you
	          doing here?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I want to come back and stay here.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, you can't do that. You're a
	          free man. You've been let out to do
	          as you please.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon I don't care nothin' about
	          bein' a free man. I don't know how
	          to go about it.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, you have to learn. It'll take
	          some time. Don't you know anybody
	          down there to help you out?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Your daddy's still livin' down
	          there from what you told me. 
	              (pause)
	          I guess he wouldn't help you any,
	          would he? I wasn't thinking. You
	          don't know anybody?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw. Never did know too much of
	          nobody. Not to he'p me out anyway.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	              (sighs)
	          Listen, Karl, the truth is I don't
	          know where they expect you to go or
	          what they expect you to do. If it
	          was up to me, I'd let you stay here
	          if that's what you wanted. I'm just
	          doin' my job. 
	              (they sit in silence for a
	               moment)
	          You follow me? 
	              (no answer)
	          Listen, I know an old boy that runs
	          a fix-it shop deal down in
	          Millsburg. He used to go to church
	          with me. You're good workin' on
	          small engines and things. If I put
	          my neck out for you with him, will
	          you work at it if he'll hire you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'm pretty handy I reckon on lawn
	          mowers and whatnot.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I know, I've seen it myself. Would
	          you give that a try?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I can't promise he'll hire you.
	          I'll have to tell him about your
	          history.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I never was no good with history.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          No, I mean your past. About why you
	          were in here. 
	              (pause)
	          I'll take you first thing in the
	          mornin'. You have anyplace you can
	          stay tonight at all?
	          I just can't let you stay here.
	          It's the rules. If something
	          happened well, I'd be liable.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon I can just walk around
	          till the mornin'. Or set and read
	          me a book somewhere.
	
	They sit and stare at each other for a moment.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE DEN - NIGHT
	
	Woolridge, his WIFE, his teenage SON, BUBBA, and teenage
	DAUGHTER sit in various comfortable chairs looking extremely
	uncomfortable and staring at Karl, who is sitting on the edge
	of a chair looking at the floor. After a long creepy moment,
	Mom speaks.
	
	                    MRS. WOOLRIDGE
	          Karl, would you like a muffin?
	
	                    KARL
	          No thank ye.
	
	                    MRS. WOOLRIDGE
	          I understand Jerry is going to take
	          you somewhere else tomorrow.
	
	                    KARL
	          I don't reckon I know nobody name
	          Jerry.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          She's talkin' about me, Karl.
	          That's my first name.
	
	                    KARL
	          He's a-carryin' me to look fer work
	          in Millsburg where I was borned.
	
	                    MRS. WOOLRIDGE
	          Would you like some coffee?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Coffee makes me a might nervous
	          when I drink it.
	
	                    DAUGHTER 
	          Daddy, can I be excused to go to
	          bed?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Sure, honey. You sleep with Mama
	          tonight. I'll sleep with your
	          brother and Karl can take your
	          room.
	
	                    DAUGHTER
	          Why?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          We have company. Now you go on.
	
	INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
	
	It's an all-American girls room. Everything is pink. There
	are stuffed animals everywhere and posters of pop idols.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, Karl, there's plenty of
	          blankets and things there.
	          Bathroom's right there in the hall.
	          We'll leave first thing tomorrow.
	
	Karl stands in the middle of the room holding his books.
	Woolridge closes the door.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE KITCHEN - NIGHT
	
	Woolridge walks into the kitchen where Mom and Son sit at the
	table.
	
	                    MRS. WOOLRIDGE 
	          Jerry, why didn't you give him
	          Bubba's room? Sister's is kind of
	          girly, isn't it?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Yeah, I thought about that. No
	          sense in moving him now I guess.
	
	                    BUBBA 
	          Daddy, don't you think one of us
	          ought to stay up all night and kind
	          of - guard or somethin'?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Why, hell no, son. What's wrong
	          with you?
	
	                    BUBBA 
	          Well, he's crazy. He's a nut ain't
	          he?
	
	                    MRS. WOOLRIDGE 
	          'Isn't' he, Bubba. Don't say ain't.
	
	INT. WOOLRIDGE DEN AND HALLWAY - MORNING
	
	Woolridge, already dressed, walks through the den and down
	the hallway. He knocks on the bedroom door.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Karl, you up?
	
	                    KARL (O.S.) 
	          Yes sir.
	
	Woolridge opens the bedroom door and sees Karl sitting on the
	edge of the bed beside his books. The light is on, the bed
	still as it was the night before.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Didn't you go to sleep at all,
	          Karl? You been sittin' there like
	          that all night?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, I guess we better hit the
	          road.
	
	INT. FIXIT SHOP - DAY
	
	Woolridge's car pulls into the parking lot. He and Karl get
	out and walk toward the shop.
	
	INT. FIXIT SHOP - DAY
	
	Two men, BILL COX, a large man in his forties, and SCOOTER
	HODGES, a really country-looking guy in his thirties, look up
	from behind the counter as Woolridge and Karl enter.
	Woolridge goes to the counter, Karl stands by the door
	looking at the floor.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Hey Jerry, how it's goin'. Good to
	          see you. Been a long time.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE
	          Good to see you, Bill. How's
	          everybody doin'?
	
	                    BILL 
	          Aw, pretty good. Kids are drivin'
	          me crazy and Phyliss is gonna put
	          me in the poorhouse. Can't complain
	          other than that. Wouldn't do any
	          good if I did. 
	              (laughs)
	          Do you know Scooter, Jerry?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          No, don't guess I do. 
	              (he shakes hands with
	               Scooter who sort of
	               smiles)
	          Scooter, good to meet you. 
	              (Woolridge leans in and
	               gets confidential)
	          This is him, the one I talked to
	          you about on the phone. Now like I
	          said, I'll understand if you get
	          nervous about it. I'm not gonna lie
	          to you now, he did get in that
	          trouble but then he was real young.
	
	                    BILL 
	          I remember it real well. Cut them
	          folks to pieces. His mama one of
	          'em.
	
	                    SCOOTER 
	          And that ol' Dixon boy. Hell, I
	          always wanted to kill him myself.
	          Asshole's what he was. I remember
	          that ol' boy 
	              (points to Karl)
	          too. Kind of retarded or somethin'
	          back in school.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Well, he seems pretty well-adjusted
	          these days. I don't think he'd ever
	          hurt anybody.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Don't look much like he could. You
	          say he can fix a small engine like
	          nobody's bidness.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          He's a regular whiz at it. That's
	          all he did when he was a kid.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Well, I ain't scared of him workin'
	          here. You know me. I'm a church
	          goin' man. Forgivin' man. When your
	          time's up the Lord's gonna come git
	          you. You seared of him, Scooter?
	
	                    SCOOTER 
	          I don't guess. Can he talk?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Oh yeah. Listen I really appreciate
	          it. He needs the job. I don't know
	          what to do with him. He don't have
	          anybody really.
	
	                    BILL 
	          That old man of his still livin'
	          over there on Clark Street I
	          believe.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          He won't have anything to do with
	          him. Now you say it's all right for
	          him to stay out here in the back?
	
	                    BILL 
	          Fine with me. If he steals
	          anything, I'll take it out of your
	          pocket anyway.
	
	Bill slaps Woolridge on the shoulders and wheezes with
	laughter.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          He won't steal. I'm tellin' you
	          he's a pretty good ol' boy. Keeps
	          to himself.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Well, I've got a roomful of work
	          for him to do. Can't get Scooter to
	          do any of it.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Karl, come over here. I want you to
	          meet your new boss. 
	              (Karl obediently shuffles
	               over)
	          This is Bill Cox, runs this place.
	          Says you can work here and stay in
	          the back.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Good to know you, Karl.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Thank ye.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Now it's minimal wage and there
	          ain't nothin' but a army cot and a
	          toilet back there.
	
	Karl doesn't say anything.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          That'll be fine. Karl, I'll go to
	          the car and get your books.
	
	Woolridge exits. Bill and Scooter just stare at Karl and Karl
	stares at the floor.
	
	                    BILL 
	          They say you're a whiz on fixin'
	          lawn mowers and things.
	
	                    KARL
	          I've tinkered around on 'em a
	          little bit.
	
	                    BILL 
	          We order from Dairy Queen at
	          noontime usually. We can buy your
	          lunch till you get on your feet a
	          little.
	
	                    KARL
	          I like them french-fried potaters.
	
	                    BILL 
	              (long pause)
	          Yeah, me too.
	
	                    SCOOTER
	          They make a good double meat
	          burger.
	
	INT. SHOP WORKROOM - NIGHT
	
	The place is cluttered with mowers, edgers, weed-eaters, and
	other equipment, most of it in pieces. A small cot is in a
	little clearing in the corner by the bathroom. Karl is
	sweeping up oil with sawdust and a push broom while Scooter
	puts some tools away. Bill comes to the door.
	
	                    BILL
	          All right then, I'll see y'all
	          later. Karl you done a good day's
	          work. They right about you.
	          Scooter, he's gonna knock you out
	          of a job if you're not careful.
	          I'll see you tomorrow.
	
	                    SCOOTER 
	          Wait up, I'll leave with you and
	          lock up.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Karl, they's a blanket up in under
	          that cot and soap in the bathroom
	          to clean up with. 
	              (pause)
	          Now there's one more thing. The way
	          we lock these doors at night, you
	          can't get out. You didn't want to
	          go anywhere, did you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't reckon.
	
	                    BILL 
	          If it works out and all, maybe
	          we'll get you a key so you can get
	          out at night if you need to. See
	          you later.
	
	They leave Karl standing in the midst of the lawn mowers. He
	sets the broom down and goes and sits on the cot. After a
	moment, he gets back up and starts sweeping again.
	
	INT. SHOP - DAY
	
	It's lunch time and Bill, Scooter, and Karl are sitting in
	folding chairs behind the counter eating from their Dairy
	Queen to-go bags. Karl has french fries.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Scooter, did I tell about the two
	          old boys pissin' off the bridge?
	
	                    SCOOTER 
	          I can't remember.
	
	                    BILL 
	          There was these two old boys hung
	          their peckers off of a bridge to
	          piss, one old boy from California
	          and one old boy from Arkansas.
	          Old boy from California says, "Boy
	          this water's cold." Old boy from
	          Arkansas says "Yeah, and it's deep
	          too." 
	              (starts wheezing)
	          Get it? That's a goodun.
	
	                    SCOOTER
	              (laughing)
	          Yeah, that's a goodun. I believe
	          you did tell me that one before.
	          I've heard that a bunch. Long time
	          ago.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Well, yeah it's a classic. You
	          know, Karl, I got to thinkin' about
	          it last night and it's just not
	          Christian of me to not let you have
	          a key. I mean you been in lockup so
	          long, you don't need me keepin' you
	          locked up. You need to come and go
	          as you please. Here, take this key,
	          it'll get you in and out that back
	          door. 
	              (Karl takes the key and
	               keeps eating french
	               fries)
	          Them french fries good?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yeah, they's good all right.
	
	                    BILL 
	          You got any money?
	
	                    KARL 
	          They give me fifty dollars when
	          they turned me loose. I spent up
	          some of it on ridin' the bus and
	          eatin' french-fried potaters.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Well, I'm gonna pay you today for
	          this comin' week, so you'll have
	          some walkin' around money. When you
	          get off this evenin' you better go
	          buy some toothpaste and cleanin' up
	          supplies to have back there. Some
	          hard candy and some magazines.
	          Somethin' to keep you busy at
	          night.
	
	                    KARL 
	          All right then.
	
	                    BILL 
	          I'll let you off while it's still
	          daylight.
	
	EXT. STREET - DAY
	
	Karl is walking down a residential street. He stops in front
	of the house where the boy, Frank, lives and stares at the
	house for a moment, then he walks up to the door and stares
	at it. A curtain moves and the boy's face appears at the
	window. He comes and opens the door.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Hey there. I thought I heard
	          somebody on the porch. Wasn't your
	          name Karl?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah it is. Your name's Frank.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Yeah. What you doin' by here?
	
	                    KARL
	          You told me to come by.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Did you want to play ball with us?
	
	                    KARL
	          I ain't no good at it. I just come
	          by.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Well, anyhow, I was just fixin' to
	          go see my mama down at Ben's Dollar
	          Store. She's workin' two till
	          eight.
	
	                    KARL
	          All right then.
	
	He starts to walk away.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Wait a minute. You want to go with
	          me? You can meet my mama.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't want to worry your mama
	          with company.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Aw, come on. You'll like her. She's
	          real nice. She'll give us somethin'
	          if we ask her to. Candy or
	          somethin'.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I was kindly needin' to do some
	          tradin'. Reckon they sell
	          toothpaste?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          They sell some of everything. Come
	          on let's go. I won't tell her about
	          you bein' in the state hospital for
	          killin'.
	
	INT. BEN'S DOLLAR STORE - DAY
	
	Frank and Karl make their way through the fairly crowded
	store. It's sort of a mini-version of a Walmart. They find
	Frank's mother in her red smock talking to a guy in a red
	Ben's knit shirt. They are laughing together and pricing some
	mouthwash. LINDA WHEATLEY is a short, plain woman in her
	thirties. The man, VAUGHAN CUNNINGHAM, is in his forties,
	with a neat flattop hair cut, glasses, and a paunch hanging
	over his belt. They eye Karl suspiciously, as the boys
	approach.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Hey, Mama. Hey, Vaughan.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Hey, sweetheart. What you up to?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Let me guess. You want a bunch of
	          candy and a pop.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          You're gonna rot your teeth that
	          way. But I bet I know what you
	          would like even better.
	          I put potted meat on special, four
	          cans for a dollar and they're not
	          moving very well. I'd sure let a
	          few cans go for free to the right
	          boy.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I don't like potted meat. Daddy
	          used to say it was made out of lips
	          and peckers and intestints.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank, don't talk that way. Who's
	          that strange lookin' man behind
	          you? Did he follow you in here?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Can I help you, sir?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Oh, that's Karl. I met him at the
	          laundrymat. Karl, this is my mama.
	          And Vaughan, Vaughan's the manager.
	          He lets mama off any time she feels
	          like it 'cause they're best
	          friends.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Nice to meet you, Karl.
	
	                    KARL
	              (keeping his distance)
	          Pleased to know y'all.
	
	There's an uncomfortable silence.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank come back here with me for a
	          minute.
	
	She shuffles him away and leaves Vaughan staring at Karl.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I don't think I've ever seen you
	          before.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw, I don't believe you have. I
	          don't reckon I never been in here.
	          This store didn't used to be here.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          It's been here seventeen years. Did
	          you live here before or something?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I's horned and raised here up till
	          I's twelve year old.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          What brings you back?
	
	                    KARL 
	          What's that you say?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Why are you here now?
	
	                    KARL 
	          They turned me loose from the state
	          hospital.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Is that right? 
	              (pause)
	          Are you going to be staying here
	          long?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon Mr. Woolridge got me hired
	          on to work for Bill Cox's outfit.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Do you have family here?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Not really to speak of.
	
	Linda and Frank return from the back.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Hey Karl, guess what. Mama said you
	          can stay with us. Out in the
	          garage. Our car won't fit in there
	          anyway. It's real neat.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank told me about your situation.
	          And Frank loves company. You know,
	          especially after his daddy passed
	          and all. There ain't no sense in
	          you stayin' in that old greasy
	          shop. 
	              (to Vaughan, hushed)
	          He's mentally retarded, poor thing.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	              (hushed)
	          He just got out of the state
	          hospital.
	
	                    LINDA
	              (put out)
	          I know.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Can we get some candy and pops?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Sure, go ahead.
	
	They walk off down the aisle leaving Vaughan a little
	puzzled.
	
	                    VAUGHAN (CONT'D)
	          Are you sure it's safe to let him
	          around that guy?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank's just crazy about him. He
	          likes the way he talks. He helped
	          him carry home the clean laundry.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          He's been in the state hospital a
	          long time, something must be wrong
	          with him.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          He's retarded's all. You know he's
	          always after a father figure and
	          Lord knows Doyle ain't a good one
	          with his mean ass.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          What about me?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          I don't think he sees you as a guy
	          guy.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	              (wrinkles his brow)
	          Karl is a guy guy?
	
	EXT. WOODED AREA - LATE AFTERNOON
	
	Karl and Frank sit on stumps in a little clearing enjoying
	the spoils of their Ben's Dollar Store visit.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          This is what I call my secret place
	          'cause I come out here when I feel
	          like bein' by myself. I used to
	          come here with Karen Cross. She's
	          kind of like my girlfriend, or used
	          to be. She says she likes Jerry
	          Maroney now. But I'm gonna get her
	          back 'cause I love her. We used to
	          come here and hold hands and talk
	          and read books to each other with a
	          flashlight. She didn't want to have
	          anything to do with me in front of
	          other people 'cause I don't have
	          any money. Well, mama and me, I
	          mean. She seemed to like me a whole
	          lot when we were out here though.
	          She said she loved me, too. Out
	          here. Settin' right on that stump
	          you're on. See, her daddy's a
	          dentist so they're rich. So's Jerry
	          Maroney's daddy. He owns the ice
	          plant. Was your folks well off?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw. Didn't have too much. Enough
	          to scrape by on, I reckon.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          They still around, your folks?
	
	                    KARL 
	          My mother's dead. My daddy's
	          s'posed to be around still. He
	          don't want to have nothin' to do
	          with me though.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          How do you know?
	
	                    KARL 
	          He never did want to. I figure he
	          ain't changed his mind much.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          How did your mama die?
	
	                    KARL
	              (long pause)
	          You don't need to know all of that.
	          You're just a boy.
	          You need to think about good
	          thoughts while you're still a boy.
	          They'll be plenty of time for the
	          other.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I've had a lot of bad thoughts
	          since my daddy died. Sometimes I
	          wish I was still real little and he
	          was still here. My mama's real
	          good, but I wish I had both of 'em. 
	              (pause)
	          When we went to Memphis one time in
	          the car, it was rainin' so hard we
	          couldn't see the road. But I wadn't
	          scared because I thought as long as
	          daddy was drivin' nothin' could
	          happen to us. I feel that way about
	          mama now. 
	              (he looks at the ground
	               for a moment)
	          Mama has a boyfriend now. His name
	          is Doyle Hargraves. He works
	          construction so he makes a pretty
	          good livin'. He still don't help
	          mama out with any money though. He
	          ain't no good. He's mean to her. He
	          don't like me at all. Mama says
	          it's because he's jealous I belong
	          to my daddy instead of him. He
	          stays with us all night sometimes,
	          but he's got his own house.
	          Somebody told me it's so he can
	          still have other girlfriends. I
	          like it on the nights when he ain't
	          at our house. I'm not so nervous
	          then.
	
	                    KARL 
	          How come her to keep bein'
	          girlfriends and all with him if
	          he's mean to her?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          She says it's for the times when
	          he's good to her. She's lonely
	          since daddy died. She said
	          sometimes she don't know why. 
	              (pause)
	          He threatened to kill her if she
	          ever left him. My daddy would kill
	          him if he was here and somebody was
	          mean to mama. Vaughan, he's real
	          good to mama. Vaughan that you met.
	          But he's not able to do anything to
	          Doyle, he's funny you know. Not
	          funny ha, ha, funny queer. He likes
	          to go with men instead of women.
	          That makes him not to be able to
	          fight too good. He sure is nice
	          though. He's from St. Louis. People
	          who are queer can get along better
	          in a big town. He got transferred
	          here to work. But mama said the
	          real reason he left is 'cause his
	          daddy hated him. For bein' the way
	          he is. I wish he liked to go with
	          women. I'd rather him be mama's
	          boyfriend than Doyle.
	
	Pause as Frank looks at the ground again. He seems troubled.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          Karl. 
	              (pause)
	          You know when I said daddy got hit
	          by a train.
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah, I remember you a-tellin' me
	          that.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          It ain't the truth. He shot hisself
	          with a shotgun on purpose.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Why did he do that, reckon.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          'Cause he didn't have enough money
	          to take care of us the way he
	          wanted to. That's what the letter
	          said. He got laid off from work and
	          had to just work odd jobs. I
	          thought he took care of us fine. 
	              (pause)
	          Karl, did you really kill somebody?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yeah, I did.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Who did you kill?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Two people.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Were they bad people?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I thought they was.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Maybe they needed it.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I growed up and got taught it ain't
	          right to kill nobody.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          It's okay if you're lookin' out for
	          yourself. If it's self-defense. Was
	          it self-defense?
	
	Karl shifts around and makes a noise in his throat and
	doesn't answer.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          My daddy was good. I think too many
	          good people die. It ain't right.
	          That's what I think.
	
	INT. SHOP - DAY
	
	Karl is tying the strap around his books. His sack of
	toiletries is on the bed. Bill Cox comes in.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Now, Karl, you sure you want to go
	          stay with these folks? You're
	          welcome to keep on stayin here.
	          It's workin' out real good.
	
	                    KARL 
	          That boy wants me to.
	
	                    BILL 
	          All right then. I'll see you bright
	          and early. How you comin' along on
	          that garden tiller?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I fixed it. Hit's a workin' pretty
	          good.
	
	                    BILL 
	          You done fixed it? I'll be damned.
	          Scooter told me it couldn't be
	          fixed.
	          'Course Scooter's about as shitless
	          as one poor son-of-a-bitch can be.
	          You done fixed it. I'll just be
	          damned. See you tomorrow.
	
	INT. WHEATLEY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	DOYLE is in the comfortable easy chair with adjuster handle
	drinking beer. He's in his late thirties and dressed in his
	construction clothes. Linda sits on the arm of the chair and
	Frank stands before them.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, honey, I don't guess I give a
	          shit. I ain't here half the time
	          anyway. If you want a retard livin'
	          in the garage, I don't guess I
	          care. I've got a good tool box and
	          socket set out there I don't want
	          stol'd. I guess I could take it
	          home with me.
	
	                    FRANK
	          He's real honest. He wouldn't steal
	          nothin'.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Now son, I wadn't talkin' to you,
	          was I? 
	              (pause)
	          Was I?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          No sir.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          No sir's right. I'm talkin' to your
	          mama. This is your mama's decision,
	          not yours. I'm lettin' it go on
	          because she asked me, not you. 
	              (to Linda)
	          Now is this the kind of retard that
	          drools and rubs shit in his hair
	          and all that, 'cause I have trouble
	          eatin' around that kind of thing.
	          Just like I am about antique
	          furniture and midgets. I can't so
	          much as drink a glass of water
	          around a midget or a piece of
	          antique furniture. Same thing with
	          a droolin' retard.
	
	                    LINDA
	          Doyle, you're awful. You shouldn't
	          be that way.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          I ain't sayin' it's right. I'm just
	          tellin' the truth. What was he in
	          the nuthouse for?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          He's just mentally retarded, I
	          guess.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          He had of went nuts and did
	          somethin'. They don't put you in
	          there for just bein' a retard.
	          They's retards all over the place
	          that ain't in the nuthouse. Do you
	          know, Frank?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I ain't sure.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You might want to find out. He
	          might of hacked his family to
	          pieces with a hatchet or somethin'.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Yeah, that's right, Frank, you
	          better ask him. I mean, don't hurt
	          his feelin's or anything, but it
	          would be good to know. I'm sure
	          it's nothin'. He seems real sweet.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You sure are hung up on people
	          bein' sweet. 
	              (takes a long pull on his
	               beer)
	          Speakin' of which, where's your
	          girlfriend? I thought he was comin'
	          by here for something.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          He'll be here in a little while,
	          he's takin' me to get an ice cream.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Ain't that the sweetest thing. What
	          am I supposed to do about supper
	          with you traipsin' around with that
	          fag?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          You're not crippled. Get in there
	          and make somethin'.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Boy, ain't you somethin' else.
	          Talkin' back and everything. It
	          kinda makes me horny when you talk
	          back.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank, why don't you go off and
	          play in your room if Doyle's gonna
	          talk nasty.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I want to watch T.V.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Yeah, honey, let the kid watch T.V.
	          Hell, let's all watch T.V. like a
	          family till your retarded friend
	          and your homosexual friend gets
	          here.
	
	EXT. PORCH - NIGHT
	
	Karl is standing on the porch with his bag and his books
	staring at the door. After a moment, we hear a car door slam
	and footsteps on the porch. Then we hear Vaughan's voice.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Karl?
	
	Karl turns to face Vaughan.
	
	                    KARL
	          Yes sir.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          So, you're really going to stay
	          here?
	
	                    KARL
	          That boy wants me to.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Did you knock on the door yet?
	
	                    KARL
	          Naw, I ain't.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          How long have you been standing
	          here?
	
	                    KARL
	          Quite a spell, I reckon.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Listen, before you get very used to
	          staying here, I think you and I
	          need to talk about a few things.
	          Can I take you to lunch?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I done et just a little bit ago.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I mean tomorrow or the next day.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon I can stand to eat a
	          little somethin' or 'nother at
	          noontime tomorrow. Bill Cox
	          generally gets me a box of french
	          fried potaters. But I reckon he can
	          lay off doin' it tomorrow.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Okay, I'll come by Mr. Cox's and
	          get you at noon.
	
	They stand therefor a moment. Vaughan doesn't really know
	exactly what else to do, so he knocks on the door. After a
	moment, Frank answers the door.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Hey. Y'all come on in.
	
	INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	Vaughan ushers Karl in and they stand behind the sofa. Doyle
	looks up and grins.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Hey, Vaughan. How are you, Karl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Tolerable, I reckon.
	
	                    LINDA
	              (in a hurry to get out)
	          Karl, this is my boyfriend, Doyle.
	          Frank, why don't you and Karl go
	          out in the garage and fix him up a
	          place or play a game or somethin'.
	          Vaughan, you ready to go?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Sure, I guess.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Don't rush ever'body, honey.
	
	She starts to get her things together.
	
	                    LINDA
	              (to Frank)
	          Maybe you and Karl want to go with
	          us?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Naw, I don't want to. Me and Karl
	          got things we need to do.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Hey, Vaughan, you know what I
	          heard? I heard you been puttin' it
	          to Albert Sellers that works over
	          at the funeral home.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I know Albert. We're friends.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          I heard you was more than friends.
	          I heard Dick Rivers caught y'all
	          all bowed up and goin' at it in the
	          same room with poor, little, old
	          Mizz Ogletree and her dead as a
	          doornail layed out on a gurney.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          That's ridiculous. That's just a
	          total lie.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Let's go, Vaughan. 
	              (they start for the door)
	          Frank, we'll be back in a little
	          while. I'll bring you back
	          somethin'. You're food's in the
	          oven warmin' over.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          See, you made him somethin'. Hey
	          Vaughan, I was just goin' on with
	          you, jokin' around, buddy.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	              (smiles a little)
	          Yeah, I knew that. You're a card
	          all right.
	
	Linda kisses Frank on the forehead and they leave.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          So, Karl, come have a seat, talk to
	          me.
	
	Karl sits on the couch.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Come on, Karl, let's go out to the
	          garage.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Goddamnit, I'm talkin' to the man.
	          You set right there, Karl.
	
	Frank leans on the sofa arm beside Karl.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          What's in your bag?
	
	                    KARL
	          This and that. Toothpaste and
	          whatnot.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          What's all them books?
	
	                    KARL
	          Different ones. The Bible's one of
	          'em.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          You believe in the Bible?
	
	                    KARL
	          A good deal of it, I reckon. Can't
	          understand all of it.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, I can't understand none of
	          it. This one begat this one and
	          that one begat this one and begat
	          and begat and begat and lo somebody
	          sayeth some shit or another. Just
	          how retarded are you?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Stop it, Doyle!
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You be quiet, Frank, we're talkin'.
	          The adults are talkin'. Were you in
	          the lockup for cuttin' somebody up
	          with a hatchet?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I ain't never used no hatchet that
	          I remember.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You're just crazy in a retarded
	          kind of way then. 
	              (pause)
	          It wouldn't matter to me if you did
	          do violence on somebody 'cause I
	          ain't afraid of shit. You think I'm
	          afraid for you to stay here. You're
	          just a humped over retard it looks
	          like to me. Not really, I'm just
	          jokin' with you. Welcome to our
	          humble home, buddy. Frank needs all
	          the friends he can get. Frank's a
	          real weak little kid. His daddy
	          taught him how to be a pussy.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Stop it, Doyle! Don't talk about
	          daddy, you hear me!
	
	                    DOYLE 
	              (mocking)
	          Don't talk about daddy. Y'all go on
	          to the garage and let me be.
	
	Frank is crying now.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Come on, Karl.
	
	They get up and walk away.
	
	                    DOYLE
	              (yelling to Frank)
	          Don't tell your mama we had a
	          little spat. She don't need to be
	          worried with your ass.
	
	INT. GARAGE - NIGHT
	
	Karl sits on an old sofa and Frank sits on an upside down
	paint bucket, still upset.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I'd like to kill that son of a
	          bitch. I hate him.
	
	                    KARL
	          You ort not to talk that way.
	          You're just a boy.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Well, I hate him.
	
	                    KARL
	          He ort not to talk that away to you
	          neither. He ain't no count. He's
	          mean to you and your mama. 
	              (pause)
	          Yore mama and that feller that's
	          carryin' me to get somethin'
	          d'eat's gonna be back here
	          directly.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Will you stay here with us for a
	          long time?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon if you want me to. 
	              (pause)
	          I got some of that potted meat and
	          sodie crackers left over if you
	          want some.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I don't see how you can eat that
	          stuff with all those insides it's
	          made out of.
	
	                    KARL
	          I reckon it tastes pretty good to
	          me.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I like the way you talk.
	
	                    KARL
	          I like the way you talk.
	
	Karl starts to put together a cracker and potted meat delight
	as we:
	
	                                        DISSOLVE TO:
	
	INT. HAMBURGER ESTABLISHMENT - DAY
	
	Vaughan is carrying a tray of food as Karl follows him to a
	table and they sit and immediately start to eat. After a few
	bites, Vaughan starts to speak in an official manner.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Okay, Karl, the reason I brought
	          you here was to talk to you about
	          something that is on my mind. 
	              (pauses for a response,
	               instead Karl eats french
	               fries and stares at the
	               table)
	          I guess I'll put it right out on
	          the table. Where do I start. Linda
	          and Frank are very important to me.
	          They're like family. My own family
	          was never like family. They're
	          horrible people. As a matter of
	          fact I prayed every night for years
	          that my father would die. I finally
	          realized through a lot of therapy
	          that I was wasting my energy on
	          hating him. Now I just don't care. 
	              (pause)
	          You see, you and I are a lot alike,
	          strange as that may seem. I mean
	          not physically or even mentally
	          really, just well, maybe
	          emotionally or actually the hand
	          we've been dealt in life. We're
	          different. People see us as being
	          different anyway. You're -- well
	          you have your affliction or
	          whatever and I, well mine's not as
	          easy to see. I'm just going to say
	          it. I'm gay. 
	              (watts)
	          Does that surprise you? 
	              (watts)
	          That I'm gay. You know what being
	          gay is, don't you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon not.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Homosexual. I like men. Sexually.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Not funny, ha, ha, funny queer.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Well that's a very offensive way to
	          put it. You shouldn't say that. You
	          were taught that, weren't you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I've heard it said that way.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Anyway, it's hard to live gay,
	          that's the right way to say it, in
	          a small town like this. I've wanted
	          to leave many times, but my love
	          for Linda and Frank and another
	          certain person that we won't go
	          into have kept me from it. Anyway,
	          I'm rambling. If you're going to
	          live in the Wheatly garage you need
	          to know that it won't be easy.
	          Doyle is a monster. Not just a
	          closed minded redneck, but a
	          monster. A dangerous person. I've
	          told Linda that one day that man is
	          going to really hurt her or that
	          boy. Maybe even kill one of them. I
	          see it in his eyes. I'm very in
	          tune, maybe even psychic. Doyle
	          will make your life hell. You're a
	          perfect target. When I first saw
	          you I was afraid of you. Not really
	          afraid, I guess, just taken aback.
	          But also, I felt a real sensitive
	          feeling from you. And for some
	          reason, Frank has adopted you. Much
	          like a stray animal. I'm sorry, I
	          didn't mean it like that. In a good
	          way. Anyway, I just want you to
	          know what you're in for. I have a
	          good feeling about you. You're good
	          for Frank. Maybe it's that he can
	          have an adult friend on a child's
	          level.
	          I'm sorry, I didn't mean it in a
	          bad way.
	              (pause)
	          There's one more thing. It's none
	          of my business why you were in the
	          state hospital. Everyone has
	          something in their past, maybe you
	          tried suicide, maybe you did
	          something -- terrible. But what I
	          see before me is a gentle, simple
	          man. All I want you to promise me
	          is that you're capable of being
	          around Linda and Frank. You know.
	          You would never hurt them under any
	          circumstances, would you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I wouldn't never hurt them.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          That's what I thought. I hope I
	          haven't offended you in any way.
	          You seem like a thinker. You seem
	          to always be in deep thought. Tell
	          me something. What are you thinking
	          right now?
	
	Karl looks up and stares for a moment.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I was thinkin' I could use me
	          another helpin' of these potaters.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Oh. How about before that?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Before that I was thinkin' it'd be
	          good if I could get another three
	          or four cans of that potted meat if
	          you got any extry.
	
	INT. WHEATLEY KITCHEN - NIGHT
	
	Linda, Frank, and Doyle are eating.
	
	                    LINDA
	          How come Karl won't eat here with
	          us?
	
	                    FRANK
	          I don't know. He just said he'd eat
	          out there.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Well, I wouldn't let it get to you.
	
	                    LINDA
	          I just feel sorry for the poor
	          thing.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Who could eat with him settin'
	          there makin' that goddamn racket
	          with his throat.
	
	                    LINDA
	          He does make some funny noises.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I sure like the way he talks. It
	          sounds like a race car motor
	          idlin'. It makes me not be nervous.
	
	                    LINDA
	          I'm glad of it, honey.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          What have you got to be nervous
	          about? You're a damn kid. You ain't
	          got any bills to pay or bidness to
	          run or old lady to stay on your ass
	          all the time.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I get nervous, that's all I know.
	
	They eat in silence for a while. Linda and Frank know where
	this conversation could lead and know when to leave well
	enough alone.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You know what, by God?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          What?
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You know what we ought to do
	          tonight?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Please Doyle, don't.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Have a damn party! Call Morris and
	          them and get the band together and
	          just party our asses off. I'd like
	          to show that fuckin' Karl to the
	          guys. They'd get a kick out of
	          that. Don't you know they would.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Please don't. Not tonight. I'm not
	          up for it. They always stay till
	          mornin'. I'm just give out, Doyle.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You don't have to do anything but
	          pour some potato chips in a bowl
	          and bring beers out when we get
	          low.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Last time you got mad and run
	          Morris and them off and said to
	          stay away from here.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          That ain't none of your damn
	          bidness. Besides that's the way
	          friends do one another. Fuck it,
	          I'm gonna go call 'em. Honey, find
	          my guitar, I think it's out there
	          in the garage with that loony tune.
	
	INT. GARAGE - NIGHT
	
	Karl sits on his cot eating from the plate Frank brought him.
	Frank and Linda come through the door. Frank comes and sits
	beside Karl. Linda gets a guitar case down from a shelf and
	comes over and stands in front of Karl.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Karl, now listen, there's gonna be
	          a party tonight here at the house.
	          Doyle's invited his music-playin'
	          buddies over to make a bunch of
	          racket out on the patio.
	
	                    FRANK
	          They ain't even no good. The only
	          one can play is Randy
	          Horsefeathers. He claims he's an
	          Indian. His real name's Randy
	          Collins and he works at the feed
	          mill. He can at least play guitar.
	
	                    LINDA
	          He's no more an Indian than I am
	          though. Anyhow, Doyle's gonna try
	          and tease you and be mean to you to
	          show off to his friends. Just like
	          he does to Frank and me sometimes.
	          You just ignore it. Or stay out
	          here away from 'em if he'll let
	          you. He's an okay guy till he gets
	          drunk but tonight he'll get drunk.
	          I guarantee it.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          He ain't ever okay to me.
	
	The garage door opens and Doyle appears. He seems really
	happy.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, it's on! We're gonna rock.
	          Linda, call Vaughan. Tell him to
	          get over here. I'd like him to be
	          here. I owe him a good time.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          No Doyle. Vaughan don't want to
	          come to a party with you.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Too late, Honey. Fooled you. Done
	          called him. He'll be here. 
	              (grins)
	          Or I'll go get him. Come on Karl, I
	          need you to help me ice down a tub
	          of beer, you and Frank.
	
	INT. BACKYARD - NIGHT
	
	White Christmas tree lights are strung above the patio. Karl
	sits to the side in a kitchen chair staring at the ground
	alongside Vaughan, Frank, and Linda. The "band" is set up on
	the patio. The band consists of MORRIS, a heavyset guy in a
	military uniform on tambourine, TERENCE, a skinny guy in a
	wheelchair on bass, RANDY, a long haired younger guy who's
	not an Indian on guitar, Doyle on a guitar which he can't
	play and MONTY "The Johnson " Johnson, a large guy with a ZZ
	Top beard on drums. A tub of beer is in front of them.
	They're all hooting and hollering and drinking. They've
	obviously been at it for a while. Doyle steps forward to
	address the 'crowd.'
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Okay ladies and gentlemen 
	              (points to Vaughan)
	          or both. It's come to the time in
	          our show when we like to introduce
	          the band. Over here on lead guitar
	          Mr. Randy Horsefeathers. Come on
	          hit a hot lick, Randy. 
	              (Randy plays a lick)
	          Well, come on, y'all are supposed
	          to clap now. Come on! 
	              (they clap a little except
	               for Karl)
	
	ANGLE ON LINDA
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Karl, you better clap your hands or
	          he'll just keep on.
	
	Karl claps his hands a little.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          On the bass, give it up for Terence
	          "One Ball" Atkins. 
	              (more half-assed clapping)
	          On the tambourine and lyrics Morris
	          Hobbs the fuckin' genius of the
	          group. 
	              (claps)
	          On drums "The Johnson." 
	              (claps)
	          And last and most importantly,
	          Doyle Hargraves on rhythm guitar
	          and business affairs and the only
	          motherfucker with a truck big
	          enough to haul this outfit on the
	          next world fuckin' tour. Come on, a
	          big hand for these guys. They're
	          workin' their asses off here. 
	              (pauses for a slug of
	               beer)
	          Okay I'd like to dedicate this next
	          one to some very special people in
	          our audience tonight. To my lovely
	          female companion Linda, her lovely
	          son Frank, our new boarder Karl -
	          what's your last name Karl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Childers.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Karl Childers just in from the
	          state facility. Make one of them
	          gruntin' sounds Karl or whatever it
	          is you do. 
	              (nothing)
	          Oh well, Karl's a little retarded,
	          he don't know what the hell I'm
	          talkin' about. And to Vaughan who
	          fucks a mortician in the rear
	          entrance right in front of his
	          clients. Now that takes balls. Our
	          number one tune for the folks,
	          boys. Kick it off Johnson!
	
	They play "Walk Don't Run" while the audience of four sits in
	motionless silence. They finish the song and hoot and holler
	and drink some more and say nasty things to each other.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          You like that Vaughan?
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Sure. It sounded like a number one
	          tune all right.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You enjoying yourself, Karl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon.
	
	We hear the voice of an OLD MAN NEIGHBOR in the near
	distance.
	
	                    VOICE (O.S.) 
	          I wished you all would lay off for
	          tonight. I can't hear myself think
	          for that racket. It's nighttime,
	          now let folks be! I'll call the
	          law!
	
	                    DOYLE
	              (hollers back)
	          I told you already three times, the
	          laws on my side. I play cards with
	          J.D. Shelnutt, chief' of police.
	          Get fucked you old bastard! 
	              (to the party)
	          Okay now, Linda, you and the kid
	          clean up and get a tarpaulin over
	          this instruments. Me and the boys
	          are goin' to the county line.
	          We're out of liquor and beer. Come
	          on Karl, you and Vaughan are goin'
	          with us.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I'd better go on home now, it's
	          late. I have to work tomorrow.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Come on, don't be a pussy.
	          Everybody has to work.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          He don't want to Doyle. Don't go
	          Vaughan if you don't want to.
	          You'll wreck Doyle, you're drunk.
	
	                    DOYLE
	              (very sincere)
	          But honey, I'll be good. I promise.
	          I love you sweetie. I'm just tryin'
	          to help these two be part of
	          things.
	
	INT. DOYLE'S TRUCK - NIGHT
	
	Doyle is driving, Vaughan in the middle, and Karl by the
	window. Doyle cranks up the truck and pops in a cassette
	tape. The first few notes of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" play.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Are you sure you can drive? You've
	          really had a lot of alcohol.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Shhhh! This is the national anthem.
	
	They take off, tires screaming on the pavement as the song
	goes louder.
	
	EXT. STREET - NIGHT
	
	The truck fishtails into the night and we see the rest of the
	"band" in the back of the truck trying to control Terence's
	wheelchair as it rolls back and forth.
	
	INT. TRUCK - NIGHT
	
	                    DOYLE
	              (points to tape player)
	          Not that you afflicted sons of
	          bitches would know anything about
	          it, but this is art.
	
	They are stopped by a red traffic light. A police car pulls
	up beside them and Doyle looks over at the RED-FACED COP on
	the passenger side and turns down the music.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          Hey Freddy, what's goin' on boy. I
	          seen your pitcher in the paper for
	          catchin' that big-ass bass.
	
	                    FREDDY 
	          Yeah She was a big 'un. You ain't
	          drunk drivin' are you Doyle?
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    FREDDY 
	          I figured that. Well you better be
	          careful with that cripple in the
	          back. You'll throw him out. Looks
	          like you got a wagonful.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          We run outta somethin' to drink.
	          Goin' to the county line. You want
	          to race?
	
	                    FREDDY
	              (laughing)
	          You know better than that. We're on
	          duty. Catch me in that Camaro next
	          week one night.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Catch you later Freddy!
	
	Doyle peels out and the music blares again.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          I bet you like sittin' between two
	          men in a dual wheel truck don't
	          you?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Oh, yeah, I'm thrilled.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Sarcastic right? 
	              (pause)
	          You know the boys in the band are
	          probably gonna stay over tonight.
	          We'd be glad to have you.
	
	INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	Doyle slouches in his chair drinking whiskey from the bottle.
	Terence and Morris are sitting facing Karl and Vaughan who
	are on the sofa. Randy and The Johnson are sitting across the
	room in straight-backed chairs drinking beer. They really
	stocked up at the county line and beer and liquor bottles are
	strewn everywhere. Morris is in the middle of a monologue,
	which has obviously been going on for awhile.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          Anyhow I'm not sure if you follow
	          me on those particular points, but
	          it's not really important in the
	          smaller picture, which is where
	          most people dwell anyway. Not that
	          being manager of Ben's Dollar Store
	          is insignificant. Or that making it
	          through years of incarceration in a
	          state supported facility is any
	          small feat.
	
	                    THE JOHNSON 
	          Morris, he's the only one in the
	          band that went to college.
	
	                    RANDY
	          I'm in junior college right now
	          over in Westfield.
	
	                    THE JOHNSON 
	          That ain't no college, that's trade
	          school. Auto repair ain't ever made
	          a genius out of nobody.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          Holidays are for campers.
	
	                    RANDY 
	          What do you know about bein' a
	          genius, Johnson. You can't even
	          hardly keep a steady beat on that
	          high-price drum set.
	
	                    TERENCE 
	          I think y'all play really tight
	          together, Randy. Y'all shouldn't
	          throw off on one another.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          Anything that has to be discussed
	          can't mean anything.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You got that shit right.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          What exactly do you mean by that? I
	          don't understand.
	
	                    MORRIS
	          Exactly the point, my young
	          levelheaded friend.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I don't get it.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          I rest my case.
	
	                    TERENCE 
	          Morris is real smart with
	          philosophies and things. That's why
	          him and me are the songwriting team
	          of our group. I make up good tunes
	          or melodies as we call them and
	          Morris is the lyrics.
	
	                    MORRIS
	          Not unlike Gary Brooker of the
	          Protocol Harum.
	
	                    RANDY 
	          We don't ever play any songs that
	          y'all wrote. I never even heard one
	          of 'em. Y'all just talk.
	
	                    THE JOHNSON 
	          We don't even play any songs with
	          words at all that I remember. We
	          ain't got no fuckin' microphone. Or
	          speaker set up.
	
	                    TERENCE
	          We wrote one last night standin'
	          outside Mini-Mart. Morris called it
	          "Stuart Drives a Comfortable Car."
	          Then, you know, like on country
	          songs in parenthesis it says "There
	          is usually someone in the trunk." I
	          came up with a tune just humming.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          See Vaughan, you shouldn't question
	          a genius. Morris is a modern day
	          poet like in the old days.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          Our latest composition is as
	          follows: entitled: 
	          "The Thrill" --
	          "I stand on the hill 
	          Not for a thrill 
	          but for a breath 
	          of a fresh kill 
	          Never mind the man 
	          who contemplates 
	          doing away with license plates 
	          He stands alone anyway 
	          Baking the cookies of discontent 
	          By the heat of a laundrymat vent
	          Leaving his soul" 
	          (Then like in poetry I have dot dot
	          dot then drop down to the next line
	          kind of off center.)
	          "Leaving his soul parting waters
	          Under the medulla oblongata 
	          of (then dot dot dot again)
	          mankind."
	
	Silence for a moment as everyone in the room just stares at
	something other than Morris.
	
	                    TERENCE 
	          I don't think that's right. I
	          believe dot dot dot come between
	          medulla and oblongata or something
	          like that. 
	              (Morris stares at him)
	          Well it did. It wadn't before
	          mankind, I know that much.
	
	                    MORRIS 
	          The dots are where I say they are.
	          Melody and tune. That's your trade.
	          You're a tunesmith Terence.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          I don't really understand the
	          meaning of the words.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          If y'all don't shut up I'm gonna go
	          out of my mind. And plus you're
	          liable to bust a spring in Karl's
	          head. He's already off balance.
	
	                    TERENCE 
	          That wadn't the way you made it up
	          before, Morris. That's all I know.
	
	                    RANDY 
	          We don't need fancy words, we need
	          to practice. We don't ever
	          rehearse.
	
	                    THE JOHNSON 
	          We need some payin' gigs instead of
	          just messin' around on first one
	          patio and then another'n.
	
	                    RANDY 
	          Morris, you should just be the
	          manager, you can't play nothin'
	          anyway.
	
	Doyle jumps up and throws his whiskey bottle through the
	window. He has changed from groggy drunk to a wild-eyed
	madman in a flash.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          We don't have a goddamn band! Y'all
	          just shut the fuck up! We don't
	          need no practicin' or managers
	          cause we ain't no fuckin' band!
	          Morris ain't no genius and the rest
	          of you are just losers. Am I the
	          only one sane human bein' around
	          here? Just get the hell out of my
	          house and don't come back!
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          It's not your house, Doyle, it's
	          Linda's.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          I'll kill you, you fuckin' faggot!
	          You mind your own business. Now get
	          out! Now, before I get too mad to
	          turn back.
	
	                    TERENCE 
	          What about our instruments?
	
	Doyle grabs the handles of Terence's wheelchair and pushes
	him right out the screen door. We hear the chair clatter down
	the steps and a cry of pain from Terence.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Now!
	
	They all file out the door except Vaughan and Karl who sit
	frozen on the sofa.
	
	                    THE JOHNSON
	              (turning back)
	          You ain't right Doyle. Somethin's
	          wrong with you. Nobody needs your
	          shit.
	
	                    MORRIS
	              (stops at the door)
	          The dots just look good on paper.
	          You don't sing 'em anyway. You're
	          showing your true Aries colors now.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Get out of my goddamn face, you
	          fuckin' buzzard!
	
	He slams the door and turns to see Vaughan and Karl on the
	sofa and Linda and Frank, in their nightclothes, standing in
	the doorway.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          I thought I told everybody to get
	          out of my house. That includes
	          cocksuckers and retards. Get off
	          your asses and go.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          This is not your house, Doyle. This
	          is my house and I'll say who stays
	          and goes. You've got a house, why
	          don't you go get one of your
	          girlfriends and go home to it.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You know better than to talk like
	          that when I'm hurtin'. Don't make
	          me knock the piss out of you.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Doyle, don't you lay one hand on
	          her.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          That's funny. 
	              (to Linda)
	          You go to bed and take snot nose
	          with you.
	
	Linda walks up to him with Frank close behind. Vaughan gets
	up also. Karl stares at the floor rubbing his hands together.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          You're not stayin' here tonight. Go
	          get sober before you come back. I'm
	          tired of my child seein' this. Now
	          you get yourself straight or I'll
	          lock your ass out of my life for
	          good.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You know what I told you, you even
	          think of leavin' me, I'll kill you
	          dead as a doornail.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          That might be better than this.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          I'm a witness. I heard you threaten
	          her life.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          I thought I told you to keep out!
	
	                    LINDA
	          Leave.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Don't tell me what to do.
	
	                    LINDA
	          Leave.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Don't tell me what to do.
	
	                    LINDA
	          Leave.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          Don't tell me what to do.
	
	                    LINDA
	          Leave.
	
	                    DOYLE
	              (an inch from her face)
	          Don't tell me what to do.
	
	She shoves him in the chest and he slaps her hard in the
	face. Vaughan starts looking for a weapon and Frank goes
	wild. He starts throwing anything he can find at Doyle. Empty
	cans, bottles, a lampstand.
	He connects with an encyclopedia to the head. Doyle goes to
	the door. His face has changed from angry to sad, almost
	pitiful.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          Okay, I'll leave and sober up.
	          Everything's botherin' me, that's
	          all. I'm hurtin' Linda. I love you.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I hate you!
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, I hate you, too. No I don't.
	          I love your mama. Nobody
	          understands what I go through. I'll
	          leave. You bunch of freaks have
	          fun. I'll call you tomorrow honey.
	          I'm sorry. You can kiss my ass,
	          really. 
	              (to Frank)
	          You ever hit me again you little
	          bastard and I'll make you sorry
	          your daddy ever squirted your
	          little ass out.
	
	He leaves and slams the door. Frank goes to Linda's side, as
	does Vaughan.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You all right, Mama?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          I'm fine, honey. Let's just try and
	          forget about tonight.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          We don't need to think bad
	          thoughts, do we Mama?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          No, honey, we don't. 
	              (pause)
	          I'll make some coffee and start
	          cleanin' up this mess. Karl, you
	          want some coffee, huh?
	
	                    KARL 
	          No, ma'am. Coffee kindly makes me
	          nervous when I drink it.
	
	                                        DISSOLVE TO:
	
	INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	Linda cleaning up the last of the mess. Frank comes in sleepy
	eyed in his pajamas.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          What are you doin' up again, Frank?
	          You need to get a little sleep.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Did Vaughan go home?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Yeah, he has to go to work in a
	          little while. I do too.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Did Karl go to bed?
	
	                    LINDA
	          I guess. He went to the garage.
	          Poor thing, he's probably never
	          seen such a crazy mess. He probably
	          wants to go back and live in Mr.
	          Cox's shop.  
	
	                    FRANK
	          I bet he don't. Karl likes me. 
	
	                    LINDA
	          I know he does.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Mama?
	
	                    LINDA
	          Huh?
	
	                    FRANK
	          Is everything gonna be all right
	          someday? I just stay nervous all
	          the time just about. 
	
	                    LINDA
	          Yeah, honey, someday everything's
	          gonna be all right.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Doyle wouldn't really kill you,
	          would he?
	
	                    LINDA
	          I promise we're gonna get away from
	          him. The time has to be right,
	          that's all. I'd rather him get
	          tired of me and leave me. Then he
	          wouldn't want to hurt me. He
	          wouldn't care then. We'll be fine.
	          I promise. You go to bed now. 
	              (she hugs him)
	          I love you.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I love you, too, Mama.
	
	He goes to his room.
	
	INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
	
	Linda goes into the kitchen and pours a cup of coffee and
	sits at the table. After a moment, she looks up and is
	startled to see Karl in the doorway.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          You scared me.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I didn't aim to.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Want to sit down? Did you need
	          somethin'?
	
	                    KARL 
	          No ma'am.
	
	Karl just keeps standing there and Linda keeps staring.
	
	                    KARL (CONT'D)
	          Two fellers was on a bridge a
	          takin' a leak and one feller says
	          the water was cold and the other
	          said it was deep water. One of 'em
	          came from Arkansas, I believe.
	
	                    LINDA
	              (puzzled)
	          I'll be dog.
	
	More silence.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Do you reckon you can make me some
	          biscuits?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Right now?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Just whenever you take a notion to.
	          I don't aim to put you out.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Well, it is nearly breakfast time
	          anyway. I can't go to sleep. I have
	          to be at work in three hours. You
	          know how it is when you just sleep
	          an hour or two, you feel worse than
	          if you hadn't slept at all?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes ma'am.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Well, set down and I'll make some
	          biscuits and gravy.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Mustard's good on 'em to me.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Okay.
	
	Karl sets at the table and Linda starts to make the biscuits.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Thank ye.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          It's all right. 
	              (pause)
	          You know I was thinkin' there's
	          this girl that works with me. She's
	          real heavy, but she's cute in the
	          face. Well, you know, she's slow.
	          She's a little bit, I think. She's
	          not retarded, just -- it don't
	          matter, listen to me. I thought you
	          might like to meet her. Vaughan
	          wants to have a little supper over
	          at his house and we could invite
	          her. Would you like that?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I wouldn't mind a havin' supper.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Vaughan's "friend" will be there,
	          too. He works at the funeral home.
	          And Frank. You know Frank likes you
	          a lot. He says you make him feel
	          calm.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I like Frank. He's a good boy. Me
	          and him's made friends.
	
	She keeps working.
	
	                    KARL (CONT'D)
	          Hit ain't right for me to keep from
	          tellin' you how come me to be put
	          in the state hospital.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          That's okay. It's not really my
	          business. I have wondered though.
	          Why was it? Was it like a nervous
	          breakdown?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I killed my mother and a old boy
	          name Jesse Dixon. I thought they
	          was a-doin' wrong. I was about your
	          boy's age. They say I'm well now
	          from it.
	
	Linda stops working and turns to Karl, a little shocked, but
	not as much as you would think.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Was that you? I remember that. I
	          was only three or four, but I
	          always heard about it growin' up. 
	              (pause)
	          They say you're well?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes ma'am. 
	              (pause)
	          I like your garage. 
	              (pause)
	          I wouldn't never hurt you or your
	          boy. I'd lay my hand on the Bible
	          and say the same thing.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          I believe you. I really do.
	
	EXT. COVS PARKING LOT - DAY
	
	Bill Cox is standing beside a garden tiller with an old man.
	Bill is trying to crank it up, but it won't start. A car
	pulls into the parking lot and Gerry Woolridge gets out of it
	and comes over to Bill.
	
	                    BILL 
	          How 'bout you, Jerry.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          How are you, Bill?
	
	                    BILL 
	          Doin' pretty good. Got a sick
	          tiller here. What's got you down
	          this way?
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Just thought I'd check on Karl and
	          see if everything's working out.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Well, he's pretty quiet. Except for
	          them rackets and breathin' things
	          he does. Ain't threatened me with a
	          killin' or anything. 
	              (laughs)
	          But boy you couldn't of been more
	          right about him fixin' things. That
	          son of a bitch is a regular Eli
	          Whitney on a lawnmower. Loves
	          french fries. Eats four larges and
	          don't even so much as belch. I'm
	          proud to have him.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Is him stayin' here workin' out?
	
	                    BILL 
	          He's gone to stayin' over with that
	          Wheatley boy and his mama in their
	          garage. I think that little boy
	          adopted him damn near like a
	          mascot. But he's got a key here to
	          come and go as he pleases.
	          Everything's worked out good.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Can I see him?
	
	                    BILL 
	          Sure.
	
	Bill looks over at Scooter, who is putting up a sale sign on
	new mowers in the front window.
	
	                    BILL (CONT'D)
	          Scooter! Run get Karl for me.
	
	EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
	
	Woolridge and Karl lean on the hood of Woolridge's car. In
	the background, Bill and the old man tinker with the tiller.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Are you sure you're okay staying
	          with that woman and boy?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Do they know about you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          My history.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I told 'em about it. They know I'm
	          well. That Mizz Wheatley made me
	          some biscuits.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I'll be.
	
	                    KARL 
	          That boy, he's my friend. He likes
	          the way I talk and I like the way
	          he talks.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I knew you'd do all right. Well, I
	          just wanted to check on you. I'll
	          say bye to Bill and get on back.
	
	They walk over to Bill.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Karl, see if you can figure out
	          what's wrong with this thing. It
	          won't crank up and ever'thing seems
	          to be put together right.
	
	Karl squats beside the tiller.
	
	                    WOOLRIDGE 
	          I'll see you, Bill.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Okay, stop back by. Don't worry
	          about your boy here, he's doin'
	          good.
	
	Karl looks up from the tiller holding the gas cap.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Hit ain't got no gas in it.
	
	                    BILL 
	          See there. Thinks of the simplest
	          thing first.
	
	INT. VAUGHAN'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	Vaughan, ALBERT the "friend," Linda, Frank, Karl, and
	MELINDA, the Dollar-Store girl, are seated at the table. Karl
	and Frank are going at the delicacies while Melinda shyly
	picks at hers and the others are engaged in idle chit chat.
	This goes on for a few moments, then Albert's attention turns
	to Karl.
	
	                    ALBERT 
	          So Karl, do you intend to stay in
	          the lawnmower business for a while
	          or do you have other plans?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I think Karl is going to be a
	          writer or a librarian eventually.
	          You should see all the books he
	          has. He must read constantly.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I ain't read 'em yet except two or
	          three of 'em. I can't understand a
	          lot of what I try to read. My mind,
	          hit wonders off to somethin' else
	          when I try to read.
	
	                    ALBERT 
	          I'm the same way. Of course, in my
	          line of work, I stay too busy to
	          read.
	          But at least I have job security.
	          People may stop doing a lot of
	          things, but one thing is for sure,
	          they won't stop dying.
	
	                    LINDA
	              (looks at Frank)
	          Why don't we talk about something a
	          little more festive.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Does everyone like the food?
	
	Nods and yeses.
	
	                    VAUGHAN (CONT'D)
	          Good. I haven't decided yet if I'm
	          a good cook.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Hey Karl, you know what? Melinda
	          was voted employee of the month at
	          the Dollar Store last February.
	          Isn't that somethin'?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes ma'am, I reckon.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Well, when you like pricing items
	          as much as I do, I guess it's just
	          bound to happen sooner or later.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Karl, maybe you and Melinda might
	          want to take a walk or something
	          after dinner. It's a nice night.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Vaughan, don't get pushy.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          I'm sorry.
	
	                    KARL
	          I like walkin' quite a bit from
	          time to time.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          I stay on my feet all the time at
	          work. I just can't find shoes
	          that's comfortable.
	
	                    ALBERT 
	          Hospital shoes might be the answer.
	          Nurses' shoes.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Or the kind old ladies who work in
	          the school cafeteria wear.
	
	                    ALBERT 
	          Same difference.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          I get real mean when my feet hurt.
	          It's the only time I don't like
	          checkin' out the customers, when my
	          feet hurt.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Frank, you and Karl aren't talkin'
	          much, you boys must really like
	          that food.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I just don't have anything to say
	          about shoes.
	
	Silence for a moment.
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Listen everybody, I know this may
	          sound corny, I've had a few glasses
	          of wine and that kind of makes me a
	          little emotional, but I'm going to
	          say it anyway. It just came over me
	          in a rush. I want you all to know
	          that I care about each and every
	          one of you at this table.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          That's very sweet of you Vaughan.
	          We care about you, too. Don't we
	          y'all?
	
	Nods, grunts, "Sure do's."
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Also, Melinda, please don't tell
	          anybody at the store that Albert
	          was here tonight, okay.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Why?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Well, a lot of people in town talk
	          and spread cruel rumors.
	          Unfortunately, I have to keep
	          certain parts of my life private.
	
	                    MELINDA
	          You mean about y'all bein' together
	          in "that" way?
	
	                    VAUGHAN 
	          Yes.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          I think everybody at the store
	          knows that already. They always
	          talk about it. Maureen Ledbetter
	          told a awful story about why you
	          ain't allowed over at the First
	          Baptist Church no more.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Karl, why don't you and Melinda go
	          take a walk. It's nice out.
	
	                    KARL 
	          All right then.
	
	He gets up and walks toward the front door. Melinda gets up
	and tries to catch up.
	
	EXT. SIDEWALK - NIGHT
	
	Karl and Melinda are walking in the moonlight. It seems a
	little hard for Melinda to keep up.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          You walk fast, don't you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon.
	
	They walk a little farther in silence.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          These is the worst shoes I own for
	          walkin'. How far did you want to
	          go?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I ain't really thought about it too
	          much I don't reckon.
	
	They walk until they disappear into the darkness.
	
	INT. COX'S SHOP - DAY
	
	Karl is on the floor working on a mower with Scooter, they
	are ad libbing semi-technical lawnmower things. Bill Cox
	appears in the door.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Hey Karl, they's somebody out here
	          to see you. Some gal holding a nice
	          bouquet. 
	              (Karl doesn't move)
	          Come on now, she wants to talk to
	          you. Don't just set there.
	
	Karl gets up and goes to the counter followed by Scooter.
	Melinda stands on the other side of the counter holding a
	cellophane wrapped store-bought flower assortment. Nobody
	says anything for a moment.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Hi, Karl, I'm on lunch break. These
	          was on sale 'cause they're not
	          fresh. Two ninety-nine a bunch plus
	          my ten percent employee discount.
	          Since I didn't bring you anything
	          to our date last night, I thought
	          you'd like to have 'em.
	
	She hands them to him.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Thank ye.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Scooter, let's me and you go over
	          to Dairy Queen and pick up a few
	          things for lunchtime.
	
	                    SCOOTER
	          I can go. You don't have to. You
	          don't never go.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Goddamnit, Scooter, come on. Pardon
	          my language, ma'am.
	
	They start to leave. At the door, Bill Cox turns and winks at
	Karl. They exit leaving Karl and Melinda staring at the
	counter. They are silent for a while.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Well, I just thought I'd give you
	          them. I liked walkin' with you. I
	          got a blister the size of a quarter
	          on one heel. Well, I'll see you
	          sometime, I guess.
	
	She walks to the door and stops as if she expects Karl to say
	something.
	
	                    KARL 
	          A blister shore can hurt.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    KARL
	          Flowers is pretty. I've always
	          thought that.
	
	                    MELINDA 
	          Me, too.
	
	She leaves and Karl goes to the window holding the flowers
	and watches her walk away.
	
	EXT. SIDEWALK - DUSK
	
	Holding the flowers, Karl is walking down the sidewalk toward
	the Wheatley house when he sees Frank coming out the front
	door with a book and a flashlight. He sees Karl.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Hey Karl, you off work?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Where'd you get them flowers?
	
	                    KARL
	          That gal that made employee of the
	          month give 'em to me for awalkin'
	          with her.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I was goin' to the secret place. I
	          borried one of your books to take
	          down there. You ain't mad, are you?
	
	                    KARL
	          Naw. You can look at all my books
	          you want to.
	
	                    FRANK
	          It's name's A Christmas Carol.
	
	                    KARL
	          That's than un on Christmas I was
	          tellin' you about.
	
	                    FRANK
	          You want to go with me?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah.
	
	EXT. SECRET PLACE - NIGHT
	
	Karl and Frank sit in the clearing, Karl on the stump, Frank
	on the ground. Frank is shining the flashlight on the book.
	He finishes reading a few lines and turns off the flashlight.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I'm gettin' tired of readin' for a
	          while.
	
	                    KARL
	          All right then.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Boy, folks sure had it rough back a
	          long time ago, didn't they?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah, I reckon they did. Hit like
	          to tore me up when I read about
	          that pore little cripple boy.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Yeah, me too. 
	              (pause)
	          That was nice of that woman to give
	          you them flowers.
	
	                    KARL
	          Hit was right thoughty of her.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I was wantin' to ask you somethin'.
	
	                    KARL 
	          All right then.
	
	                    FRANK
	          You know that girl I told you
	          about. The one I love.
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah, I recollect it.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Would you go see her with me? I
	          kind of thought I might take her
	          some flowers like that woman done
	          you.
	
	                    KARL
	          If you want me to.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I ain't got no money to get 'em
	          with but I bet Vaughan will let me
	          have some of them flowers at the
	          store.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I bet he will. I got a little money
	          if he don't. I'll get 'em for ye.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I usually get run off by her mama
	          or daddy if they're home. Reckon
	          why they don't like me?
	
	                    KARL 
	          They ort to. You're a good boy.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Just 'cause I'm not rich don't mean
	          I don't love her.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          And I don't try to touch her. You
	          know, in a bad way. Foolin' around,
	          sex and all.
	
	                    KARL 
	          That's real good. You ort not to if
	          ye ain't married to somebody. Bible
	          tells you that much. Hit tells some
	          things that don't seem right too, I
	          reckon. I guess a feller ort to
	          foller it close as he can, though. 
	              (pause)
	          You don't touch yourself, do you?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          What do you mean?
	
	                    KARL
	          Pull on your works. Your privates.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Oh, jackin' off?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir. You ort not know that
	          language.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I didn't know till here while back
	          a year or two ago when I spent the
	          night with Ronnie Smart one time.
	          He said just tug on your peter and
	          think about your mama. I tried it,
	          but I felt funny thinkin' about my
	          mama. So, I switched over to
	          thinkin' about his mama and then
	          what he told me would happen,
	          happened. It sure tingles, don't
	          it?
	
	                    KARL 
	          You ort not to pull on yourself
	          that away.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I kind of like you tellin' me what
	          to do and not to do. Just like my
	          daddy. I didn't mind him tellin'
	          me. I hate Doyle to tell me what to
	          do. Mama said the only way to ever
	          get away from him is for him to get
	          away from us. That we can't leave
	          him or he'll try and hurt her.
	
	                    KARL 
	          He ain't no count.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You don't seem like a daddy. You
	          seem like a brother. 
	              (pause)
	          Wonder what makes you like somebody
	          right off when you don't even know
	          'em like what happened with me and
	          you.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't reckon I know.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          And then some people you don't like
	          right off. It's funny. 
	              (pause)
	          You know why I want you to play
	          ball with me?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          'Cause it's fun. It don't matter if
	          you ain't no good. It takes your
	          mind off of everything else while
	          you're doin' it. When you run real
	          fast tryin' to make a touchdown you
	          don't think about anything else. I
	          ain't no good, but my daddy always
	          said he was proud of me when I
	          threw a ball or ran with it. Did
	          you have any brothers and sisters
	          growin' up to play with?
	
	                    KARL
	          I had one there for little bit. Hit
	          didn't get old enough to play with.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Why not? It died?
	
	                    KARL
	          Yeah.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Why?
	
	                    KARL
	          Hit was borned a little too early
	          on. My mother and father made hit
	          come too early some way or other. I
	          reckon they changed their mind
	          about havin' another'n. I was about
	          six or eight year old then and they
	          didn't care too much for me so I
	          reckon they didn't need somethin'
	          else to worry 'em with.
	
	                    FRANK
	          So it died when it come out?
	
	                    KARL
	          My daddy come to the shed out back
	          and got me and said throw this here
	          away and handed me a towel with
	          somethin' in it. I went for the
	          trash barrel there and opened up
	          the towel to see 'cause they was a
	          noise and somethin' movin' in it.
	          Hit was bloody-like around that
	          towel. Hit was a little ol' bitty
	          baby, no bigger than a squirrel.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          It was alive?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir. Right then it was.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          A boy or girl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          A little ol' boy.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You threw it in a trash barrel?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I didn't feel right about doin'
	          that. I takened a shoe box from
	          there in the shed and emptied out
	          some screwdrivers and nuts and
	          warshers from it and put the little
	          feller in that and buried him in
	          the corner of the yard there. That
	          seemed more proper to me, I reckon.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          It was still alive when you buried
	          it?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I heared it cryin' a little through
	          that box.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          That don't seem right. It seems
	          like you should have kept him alive
	          and took care of him if he was your
	          brother.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I wadn't but six or eight. I reckon
	          I didn't know what to do. I didn't
	          know how to care for no baby. Mama
	          and Daddy didn't want him. They
	          learned me to do what they told me
	          to. These days I figure it might of
	          been best to give him right back to
	          the Good Lord right off the bat
	          anyhow.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          That makes me feel real sad.
	          Couldn't you have done somethin',
	          Karl? I would have. I wish I would
	          of had him. He'd be here right now.
	          Livin'.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Hits been hard thinkin' about it.
	          They ain't a day goes by I don't
	          think about it. I kindly have a
	          picture of it up in my head that I
	          see. Hit makes me sad, too. I have
	          bad thoughts on it. I wished they
	          was somethin' I could of did, too.
	          Shouldn't no bad things happen to
	          childern. All the ol' bad things
	          ort to be saved up for folks that's
	          growed up, the way I see it. I
	          shouldn't of told you about that. A
	          boy ort not hear about such things.
	          It just kindly come out.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I didn't mean to say anything bad
	          about you. I know you're good. You
	          didn't mean no harm. 
	              (pause)
	          Did you ever think about killin'
	          yourself on purpose like my daddy
	          did?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I've studied about it. The Bible
	          says not to or you end up goin' to
	          Hades. Some folks calls it Hell, I
	          call it Hades.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Bible says the same thing about
	          killin' others, too.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir, I reckon it does.
	
	EXT. RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
	
	Frank, flowers in hand, and Karl approach a very nice two
	story house. They get to the door and Frank rings the
	doorbell.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I always get nervous when I hear
	          that doorbell. I'm okay just
	          walkin' over, but somethin' about
	          that dang doorbell. They have one
	          room where you can't walk on the
	          carpet or sit on the furniture. I
	          don't see much sense in havin' it.
	
	The door opens and we see an older black lady, the
	HOUSEKEEPER.
	
	                    HOUSEKEEPER
	              (eyes Karl)
	          Son, I don't know why you keep
	          comin' over here. You know these
	          folks don't want you here. They run
	          you off ever' time. Don't keep
	          doin' this to yourself. You a sweet
	          boy. Now go give them flowers to
	          somebody that'll enjoy 'em.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Ma'am, I really want to give them
	          to Karen.
	
	                    HOUSEKEEPER
	              (to Karl)
	          You his daddy?
	
	                    KARL 
	          No ma'am.
	
	                    HOUSEKEEPER 
	          Well, whoever you are, you ought to
	          talk some sense into him. That
	          little old girl is way too fast for
	          him and don't wanna see him no way.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Will you get her for me. Please. I
	          really want to see her.
	          She'll want to see me, too, 'cause
	          we're not in public. Just don't
	          tell her folks I'm here.
	
	                    HOUSEKEEPER
	              (sighs)
	          Okay.
	
	She disappears and a moment later KAREN appears. She's
	thirteen, pretty and very neatly dressed.
	
	                    KAREN
	              (put out)
	          Hey Frank. You shouldn't be coming
	          over here. My parents really don't
	          want you to.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I wanted to bring you some flowers.
	          They're pretty good ones.
	
	                    KAREN 
	          They're from the Dollar Store. I'm
	          not an idiot. Besides we have a
	          garden full of flowers.
	
	She eyes Karl.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I wanted for you to meet Karl, too.
	          He's my new friend. But I feel like
	          I've always known him. I thought
	          you should meet him.
	
	                    KAREN 
	          Why? Hi, Karl.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          He's gonna be around a lot and I
	          hope you are too, so...
	
	                    KAREN 
	          Here give me the flowers, I'll do
	          something with them. Thank you. Now
	          you better go. Maybe I'll see you
	          down at the secret place one day in
	          a week or two or something. I have
	          a boyfriend now you know. And we're
	          pretty serious. He gave me a ring.
	
	She proudly displays the ring.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Can you go there with us now? Me
	          and Karl. We could just hang out.
	          Karl has some cool books.
	
	                    KAREN 
	          Frank, I just like you as a friend.
	          Only at the secret place. Okay? I
	          can't go there now. I'll see you
	          later.
	
	                    FRANK
	          But maybe just for awhile -- 
	
	                    KAREN 
	          I'm closing the door now. I told
	          you, I'll see you later.
	
	She closes the door. They stand therefor a moment, then walk
	away down the sidewalk.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          She said she'd see me later. That's
	          kinda good, right?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I reckon.
	
	EXT. WHEATLEY HOUSE - DAY
	
	Frank and Karl walk up the steps to the house. Frank opens
	the door and they enter.
	
	INT. HOUSE - DAY
	
	As Frank and Karl enter, they see Doyle sitting on a
	footstool facing Linda who's in a chair. Doyle is holding
	both her hands and talking very softly to her. He sees the
	guys and looks up.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, I'll be damned, there's the
	          boys. I'm glad y'all came in. I
	          wanted to talk to y'all, too. I was
	          just tellin' Linda here -- Oh hell,
	          I'll just start over, set down you
	          boys.
	
	They do, on the couch.
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          Well, what it is is, I just, well I
	          took off work early today and your
	          mama was good enough to do the same
	          so we could talk. I guess you'd say
	          I'm really here to apologize, which
	          ain't easy for me to do, about the
	          way I acted the other night. I was
	          just drunk and kinda got a little
	          too worked up and one thing led to
	          another. I care about y'all a lot,
	          I do. I don't mean to be so damned,
	          assholish I guess the word would
	          be. Now Karl, I don't believe I hit
	          you, did I? So no apology needed
	          there I guess, but Frank, I'm
	          sorry. I'm sorry I hit your mama.
	          I'm just jealous of her. I don't
	          like her life or the way she runs
	          it. I don't like homosexuals and
	          she buddies with one. I don't like
	          little wimpy ass kids or fuckin'
	          mental retards and she's got one of
	          each livin' with her. 
	              (laughs)
	          I was just kiddin'. But really I
	          guess people need to get along even
	          if they have differences. 
	              (pause)
	          You see, I work construction. I
	          build things. Do you realize how
	          important that is to the world. I
	          have a lot of pressure on me. The
	          upshot is, I'm gonna spend a lot
	          more time over here and we're gonna
	          get along. Like a family should. 
	              (to Linda)
	          I may even surprise you one day and
	          pop the question. 
	              (he gets up)
	          Well, I'm goin' back to work. I
	          just wanted to give y'all some
	          little piece of happiness today. 
	              (kisses Linda)
	          See you tonight honey. Karl. Be a
	          good boy, Frank.
	
	He leaves.
	
	                    LINDA
	          Well, at least he's tryin'. But who
	          knows for how long.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          He's lyin' Mama. He ain't gonna do
	          better.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          I know honey. Just remember what I
	          said, we'll bide our time. You just
	          steer clear of him as much as you
	          can. Doyle's had a real hard life.
	          It's just about run him crazy I
	          think.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          We've had a real hard life, too,
	          Mama.
	
	Linda moves to the couch and puts her arms around Frank.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          You're a hell of a boy, Frank.
	          Someday you're gonna get all the
	          good things you deserve. And Karl
	          here's gonna get some more biscuits
	          tonight. What do you think about
	          that?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I could shore use some. Thank ye.
	
	INT. SHOP - DAY
	
	Karl is cleaning some parts in a bucket of gasoline. Bill
	comes to the door.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Hey there Karl, can you come unload
	          a generator for me?
	
	Karl wipes his hands on a shop towel and starts outside.
	
	EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
	
	A MAN and a TEENAGE BOY stand by a pickup truck. A small
	generator is on the tailgate.
	
	                    BILL 
	          Karl, lift this thing down and
	          carry it to the back. It's on the
	          blink. 
	              (to man as Karl unloads
	               it)
	          We'll have it for you in a day or
	          two, Walter.
	
	                    WALTER 
	          Y'ont us to he'p you there liftin'
	          that?
	
	                    BILL 
	          Oh no, that dang Karl can lift a
	          bulldozier. Fix anything, too. 
	              (confidentially)
	          He's mentally retarded, but he's a
	          whiz on small engines. Lord works
	          in mysterious ways.
	
	Karl carries the generator toward the shop. He turns and
	watches the man and boy talking and laughing with Bill. The
	man playfully puts an arm around his son's neck and tousles
	his hair.
	
	                    WALTER 
	          Hell, he didn't just make the team,
	          Coach says he's probably gonna
	          start at end on defense. He's a
	          chip off the old block. Ain't you,
	          Steve?
	
	                    STEVE 
	          I guess so.
	
	Karl turns and goes in the shop.
	
	INT. WHEATLEY GARAGE - DAY
	
	Karl is on his cot reading a book. Frank comes in. He looks
	very depressed. He sits beside Karl.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          What you readin'?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Readin' on this book on how to work
	          carpentry. I aim to learn how to
	          build things out of wood one of
	          these times. I've always been
	          partial to wood buildin's and
	          cabinets and whatnot. These
	          drawin's they got here don't make
	          no sense to me so far. 
	              (he looks directly at
	               Frank, which he seldom
	               does)
	          You seem like yore tails a'draggin'
	          a might. You got somethin' wrong
	          with ye?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Seems like Doyle's wormed his way
	          back in. Mama said he's stayin'
	          over tonight and he's talkin' about
	          movin' in for good. We ain't ever
	          gonna be happy. We'll always be
	          nervous, won't we Karl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't reckon I know. I ain't
	          found no way yet and I'm three or
	          four times as old as you. Might be
	          that's just the way folks is.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I feel sad about Karen Cross, too.
	          I just make like to myself she
	          loves me. I know better, though. It
	          just feels good to me when I
	          imagine it.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Make believin' always made me feel
	          good too from time to time.
	
	They sit in silence for a moment.
	
	                    KARL (CONT'D)
	          Bill Cox is goin' to a funeral for
	          a Mister Turner tomorrow and a
	          closin' up shop early.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Is that right?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'll play ball with ye. I reckon if
	          neither one of us is no count it
	          won't make no difference.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You will? For sure?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          We'll be on teams, me and you?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yessir.
	
	EXT. JUNIOR HIGH FOOTBALL FIELD - DAY
	
	It's the practice field, so it's not very well kept. Karl,
	Frank, and two other boys around Frank's age are huddled up.
	Four boys are lined on defense. They break the huddle and
	come to the line. They are on about the fifty-yard line.
	Frank hikes the ball to one of the boys. He later als it to
	Karl who stands there for a minute as the defenders run
	toward him. Then he takes off like the wind. He runs funny,
	kind of humped over and pigeon-toed, but fast. All the others
	are chasing him. Two of the other team's boys catch him on
	about the fifteen-yard line, but he drags them along. Karl
	sees Frank out of the corner of his eye and tosses him the
	ball just as Karl bites the dirt. Frank goes into the end
	zone untouched. There are cheers from Frank and the other
	boys. Frank runs over to Karl who's still on the ground.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Way to go, Karl. We got a
	          touchdown. That was a good lateral,
	          man. That was just like the
	          Wishbone.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I dern near had me a touchdown till
	          them boys got a-hold of me there so
	          I figured I better give it off to
	          you. I seen you over there
	          follerin' me.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          We're liable to win if we keep this
	          up. For somebody like you, you sure
	          run fast.
	
	He grabs Karl by the hands and helps pull him up.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          Come on, let's kick off to 'em.
	
	EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY
	
	Karl and Frank, dirt, grass stains and all, walk toward home.
	
	                    FRANK
	          I know you could of scored them
	          three touchdowns by yourself
	          instead of throwing 'em over to me.
	
	                    KARL
	          Them boys was tryin' to pull me
	          down pretty hard.
	
	                    FRANK
	          You're strong though. You let me
	          make them touchdowns so I'd feel
	          good. My daddy used to do that kind
	          of thing.
	
	They walk in silence for a moment.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          It don't matter to me about us
	          losin' does it to you?
	
	                    KARL
	          No sir.
	
	                    FRANK
	          It was fun, anyhow.
	
	                    KARL
	          I wadn't thinkin' about nothin'
	          else just like you told me I'd do.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Can we play ever' Saturday?
	
	                    KARL 
	          If I ain't too stove up. I ain't
	          like you. I'm old and give out. 
	              (pause)
	          I'm proud of ye.
	
	INT. GARAGE - DAY
	
	Karl sits on his bed rubbing his hands together, deep in
	thought.
	
	EXT. STREET - DAY
	
	Karl is walking down the street past rundown houses. He comes
	to an old gray woodframe house. It is in bad repair, the
	paint is peeling, the yard is grown up. There is an old
	wooden shed in the back yard. He stands looking at it for a
	moment then walks through the yard and opens the door to the
	shed. He's motionless for a moment, then goes inside.
	
	INT. SHED - DAY
	
	Sunlight comes through the cracks in the wood. The shed has
	nothing but dirt for a floor. A few tall patches of grass
	shoot up between boxes and rusty lawnmowers. A few old garden
	tools hang on the wall. In the center is a low circular spot
	in the ground and a few tattered shreds of an old quilt.
	Karl stands looking at the hole for a moment, then turns and
	walks out of the shed.
	
	EXT. YARD - DAY
	
	Karl walks across the yard to the house.
	
	INT. SCREENED-IN PORCH - DAY
	
	Karl goes onto the screened-in porch, looks through the
	kitchen window and goes inside.
	
	INT. KITCHEN - DAY
	
	The place is a mess. Dirty dishes are piled in the sink and
	on the table. It's not just clutter, but filth everywhere.
	
	INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
	
	Karl walks into an equally filthy living room where an OLD
	MAN in overalls sits slumped in a chair looking at his lap.
	Karl stands facing him for several moments.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'm ye boy.
	
	                    OLD MAN 
	          I ain't got no boy.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'm ye oldest boy name Karl.
	
	                    OLD MAN 
	          I ain't got no boy.
	
	                    KARL 
	          They turned me aloose from the
	          nervous hospital. Said I was well.
	
	No response.
	
	                    KARL (CONT'D)
	          I got hired to work for a Mr. Cox
	          fixin' lawnmowers and whatnot.
	
	No response.
	
	                    KARL (CONT'D)
	          That grass out in the yard's all
	          growed up. I figured I might cut it
	          fer ye.
	
	                    OLD MAN 
	          I told you, I ain't got no boy, now
	          get on out from here and let me be.
	
	Long silence.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I learned to read some. I've read
	          on the Bible quite a bit. I don't
	          understand all of it, but I believe
	          I understand a good deal of it.
	          Them stories Mama and you told me
	          ain't in there. You ort not to of
	          done that to ye boy. 
	              (pause)
	          I've studied on killin' you. But I
	          don't reckon they's no reason fer
	          it if all you're gonna do is set
	          there in that chair. You'll be dead
	          soon enough I reckon and the
	          world'll be shut of ye. 
	              (Karl walks toward the
	               kitchen and turns back to
	               the old man)
	          You ort not to of killed my
	          brother. He ort to have had a
	          chance to grow up. Sometimes he
	          would of had fun.
	
	EXT. YARD
	
	Karl walks out of the house and across the yard to a hedge in
	the corner and kneels down. He pushes some grass aside to
	reveal a rock about afoot tall and afoot across. In front of
	it, the ground is raised a little. He stares at the rock for
	a moment and touches it.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Little feller.
	
	EXT. A LARGE OLD WOODEN SLAT BRIDGE - DUSK
	
	Karl stands on the side of the bridge looking into the river
	below.
	
	INT. WHEATLEY HOUSE - NIGHT
	
	All the lights are out. We see a shot of Frank in his bed
	asleep, but tossing and turning. Then a shot of Linda in bed
	staring at the ceiling and Doyle beside her snoring.
	Suddenly, the lights come on and Linda lets out a little yelp
	and sits up, which wakes up Doyle and he sits up with a
	start. From their P.O.V. we see Karl standing in the door
	holding a hammer.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          What in the goddamn hell are you
	          doin'? It's the middle of the
	          night.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          What do you want, hun?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I want to be baptized.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Baptized? Well, get baptized then.
	          I don't give a shit. Call a fuckin'
	          preacher, goddamnit! I can't
	          baptize you.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          We'll go to church and get you
	          baptized, tomorrow's Sunday. You go
	          on back to bed.
	
	                    DOYLE
	          What are you doin' with that damn
	          hammer?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't rightly know. I just kindly
	          woke up a-holdin' it.
	
	INT. CHURCH - DAY
	
	We see a shot of Frank and Linda and Vaughan in a church pew.
	The church is pretty full. From their P.O.V. we seek Karl in
	a robe standing in the baptismal tank. The preacher takes
	Karl and dunks him under the water and brings him back up.
	
	INT. WHEATLEY LIVING ROOM - DAY
	
	Doyle is in his favorite chair as Linda, Frank, and Karl come
	through the front door.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          How'd your baptizin' go?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          It went real good.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Well, that's good. It's about time
	          to eat and you know what I'm
	          cravin'? Some of that take out
	          chicken. Why don't you run get some
	          of it, honey, for lunch?
	
	                    LINDA
	              (to Frank and Karl)
	          Would y'all like that?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Yeah, I guess.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes ma'am. I like a fried chicken
	          leg.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          All right, y'all gonna go with me?
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Naw, hell, let them stay here with
	          me and do men things. There might
	          be some kind of ball game on we can
	          watch. You go on.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          I'll be back in a little bit then.
	
	She leaves and Doyle walks up to Karl and Frank.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          I really just wanted to git your
	          mama out of the house for a minute
	          so we can have a talk. Y'all set
	          down.
	
	They sit on the couch and Doyle kneels in front of them.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Now here's the deal. Now that I'm
	          gonna throw my entire life away
	          doin' what I want to come live here
	          with y'all, we have to get a few
	          things straight. See, Frank, me and
	          you mama wouldn't have any problems
	          if it wadn't for you. We'd never
	          have a bad word between us. But
	          since you do exist, if I'm gonna be
	          here as the head of the household,
	          we'll have to live by my rules.
	          And my rules are you don't speak
	          unless you're spoken to. Stay out
	          of my way and do what a regular kid
	          does. You're a weird little shit. I
	          don't get you. So wake up. Face
	          what they call reality. We're gonna
	          be a family now. And it's my
	          family. I'll be payin' the bills so
	          you got me. But I ain't your daddy.
	          You just treat me like I am. I'm
	          the boss, okay. And the other thing
	          is your friend Karl has to go. We
	          can't have a normal family with him
	          livin' in the garage and comin' in
	          the bedroom at four in the mornin'
	          with hammers and shit. See?
	
	                    FRANK
	          Karl can stay if he wants to. Mama
	          said --
	
	Doyle slaps him across the face and Karl grabs Doyle's arm.
	Doyle shakes him off.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Don't hit that boy no more.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          You shut up you, fuckin' retard.
	          Get your shit and get out of here. 
	              (to Frank)
	          That was a wake-up slap, Frank.
	          Remember. Reality, like I said.
	          Don't forget any bit of what I said
	          to you and we'll be fine.
	
	Frank jumps up and runs from the house and Doyle sits back in
	his chair and pops a beer. Karl gets up and goes to the
	garage.
	
	INT. GARAGE - DAY
	
	Karl ties his books up with his strap and gets a bag from his
	bed and leaves.
	
	EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY
	
	Karl is walking away as Linda pulls up in her car and gets
	out with fast-food bags.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Where are you goin', Karl? Didn't
	          you want some chicken and things?
	
	                    KARL 
	          No ma'am. I'm a'goin' off sommers.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Well, okay. I got you some.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Frank, he went off, too. He ain't
	          gonna be in there when you get
	          indoors.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Where'd he go? What's goin' on?
	
	                    KARL 
	          He wanted to go off and play, I
	          reckon. 
	              (pause)
	          You go in there and you and that
	          Doyle eat ye dinner. You don't have
	          to worry yourself none.
	
	                    LINDA
	          All right then. Well, I'll see you
	          later. If you see Frank, tell him
	          to come on back home. I don't get
	          to see him all day except Sundays.
	          He can play tomorrow.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Ma'am?
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Yeah.
	
	                    KARL 
	          You're a good mama to that boy. You
	          care for him. You work hard fer him
	          to take care of him. You light him
	          up in his eyes, I've seen it. He
	          wouldn't know what to do without
	          ye.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          Well thank you, hun. That's real
	          good of you to say. I wouldn't know
	          what to do without him either.
	
	                    KARL 
	          You've been real good to me, too.
	          It ain't ever'body that'd make
	          biscuits in the middle of the
	          night. You and that boy has give me
	          a good feelin'.
	
	                    LINDA 
	          We sure like havin' you.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Thank ye. 
	              (Karl walks away, then
	               turns)
	          I'm just getting around to tellin'
	          you, but I fixed your warshin'
	          machine.
	
	EXT. SECRET PLACE - DAY
	
	Frank is on the ground digging a trench in the dirt with a
	stick. He hears footsteps in the leaves and looks up and sees
	Karl coming toward him.
	
	                    FRANK
	          Hey, Karl. How'd you know to come
	          out here?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I knowed you'd be here. 
	              (Karl sits on the stump)
	          What are you a-doin' digging with
	          that stob?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Just diggin'. 
	              (pause)
	          I ain't ever gonna be happy now.
	          Not with that son of a bitch movin'
	          in for good. I wish me and you and
	          Mama could just run away. But she
	          said he would find us wherever we
	          went. He's crazy. Sometimes I think
	          it would of been better if I wadn't
	          ever born.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'm glad of it you was borned. 
	              (pause)
	          I reckon I ain't gonna be there in
	          the garage no more.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You have to Karl. You have to look
	          out for me. You don't let that son
	          of a bitch run you off.
	
	                    KARL 
	          You're just a boy. You ort not to
	          use that sort of language.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Karl, I ain't tryin' to say nothin'
	          bad about you, but why don't you
	          stop Doyle when he gets that away?
	          You're older than him. You're
	          strong, too. My daddy wouldn't let
	          him do that to me and Mama.
	
	                    KARL 
	          That feller's a whole sight meaner
	          than me. He'd just whup the tar out
	          of me.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Yeah, I guess so. I'm real tired,
	          you know that. A kid my age
	          shouldn't be tired of things.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I'm tired, too, Frank. 
	              (pause)
	          If I ain't around no more, it don't
	          mean I don't care fer ye. I care
	          for ye a good deal. I care for you
	          more than anybody they is. We made
	          friends right off the bat.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I care for you, too. But you'll be
	          around, don't say that.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Hit don't make no difference where
	          I was to be. We'll always be
	          friends. There ain't no way to stop
	          that. 
	              (pause)
	          I aim for you to have these books.
	
	He hands him the books.
	
	                    KARL
	          Maybe you can make more sense out
	          of them than I can.
	          I made you a little old book marker
	          and stuck it in that book on
	          Christmas.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You don't want to give away all
	          your books.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I aim fer you to have 'em.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Man. Thanks. 
	              (pause)
	          You know when you get a feelin' and
	          you don't know why?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Yes sir.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          I've got a feelin' today.
	
	                    KARL 
	          Reckon what kind of a feelin'?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Like something different. I don't
	          know. 
	              (pause)
	          You're leavin' ain't you, Karl?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Will ye do somethin' for me if I
	          ast you to?
	
	                    FRANK 
	          You know I would. Whatever you
	          want.
	
	                    KARL
	          Don't go home tonight and stay with
	          that Doyle. He's got it in for ye
	          tonight. I got me a feelin', too.
	          Feels like to me you ort not be
	          there in that house with him
	          liquored up and mean. Ye mama
	          neither. When you get up from here,
	          I want you to go to that feller's
	          house. Your mama's friend. I want
	          you to give me your word on it.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Okay. I give you my word. Is
	          ever'thing gonna be okay? Are you
	          all right?
	
	                    KARL
	          Ever'thing's okay, boy. I kindly
	          want to put my arm around ye for a
	          minute and then I'm gonna go on and
	          leave here.
	
	                    FRANK 
	          Okay.
	
	Karl lays his arm on Frank's shoulder and Frank puts his hand
	on Karl's arm. They sit like that for a few moments, then
	Karl gets up with his paper sack and walks away. Frank takes
	the book marker out of the Christmas book. It is just a
	folded piece of notebook paper. On it is written 'You will be
	happy.' He looks up at Karl who is now thirty yards away in
	the trees.
	
	                    FRANK (CONT'D)
	          Karl!
	
	Karl turns around and he and Frank stare at each other
	through the trees.
	
	EXT. VAUGHAN'S HOUSE - DAY
	
	Karl knocks on the door. After a moment, Vaughan answers in a
	pair of big shorts and a sweatshirt.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Karl, what are you doing here? Come
	          in.
	
	                    KARL
	          I ain't a-stayin'. I need to ast
	          you fer a favor.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Okay.
	
	                    KARL
	          This evenin' I want you to go get
	          Mizz Wheatley and that Frank and
	          have them stay with you tonight.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          What's wrong? Is everything okay?
	
	                    KARL 
	          That dern Doyle is in a bad way
	          again with that drinkin' and bein'
	          mean to folks. Will you give me
	          your word you'll do it?
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          Well, sure, okay. He hasn't hurt
	          them, has he?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Naw, not yet. 
	              (hands the bag to Vaughan)
	          I want ye to give this to Mizz
	          Wheatley. Hit ain't much, but maybe
	          there's a little somethin' to hep
	          out. Hits what I've earned fixin'
	          lawnmowers and whatnot fer Bill
	          Cox.
	
	Vaughan takes the bag.
	
	                    VAUGHAN
	          What about you, Karl? Do you want
	          to stay here?
	
	                    KARL 
	          I don't reckon you have to go with
	          women to be a daddy to a boy. 
	              (pause)
	          You've been real square dealin'
	          with me. The Bible says two men ort
	          not lay together. But I'll bet you
	          the Good Lord wouldn't send nobody
	          like you to Hades. Some folks calls
	          it Hell, I call it Hades. 
	              (Karl starts away)
	          That boy lives inside of his own
	          heart. Hits an awful big place. You
	          take care of that boy.
	
	Vaughan watches Karl walk away.
	
	EXT. BUS STATION - NIGHT
	
	Karl stares at the bus station door.
	
	EXT. WHEATLEY HOUSE - NIGHT
	
	Karl stares at the house from the sidewalk.
	
	EXT. OLD WOODS BRIDGE - NIGHT
	
	Karl stares into the river.
	
	INT. COX'S SHOP - NIGHT
	
	Karl has a lawnmower blade sharpening it on a grinding wheel.
	
	EXT. WHEATLEY HOUSE - NIGHT
	
	Karl carrying the blade walks onto the porch and enters the
	living room.
	
	INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
	
	Doyle is in his chair drinking beer and watching TV. He looks
	up as Karl comes around and sits on the sofa.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Where's ever'body else? You seen
	          'em? 
	              (no response)
	          I thought I told you to get the
	          hell moved out of here anyway.
	
	                    KARL 
	          How does a feller go about gettin'
	          ahold of the police?
	
	                    DOYLE (CONT'D)
	          Pick up the fuckin' phone and call
	          'em, I guess.
	
	                    KARL 
	          What numbers do you punch?
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          I told you to get away from here,
	          didn't I? I'm tryin' to relax and
	          look at TV. 
	              (notices blade)
	          What are you doin' with that piece
	          of iron? I swear to God you're the
	          weirdest son of a bitch I ever
	          heard of.
	
	                    KARL 
	          I aim to kill you with it.
	
	Doyle keeps drinking and watching TV.
	
	                    DOYLE 
	          Yeah, okay. Well, to get the police
	          you push 911. You'll need to tell
	          'em to send an ambulance, too. Or a
	          hearse. You fuckin' idiot. You're
	          gonna kill me. 
	              (laughs)
	
	Karl gets up and walks slowly toward Doyle out of frame. We
	see the flickering light of the TV on the wall. O.S. we hear
	one short dull thud.
	
	                    DOYLE (O.S.) 
	          Oh God! Oh God!
	
	We hear one more thud, then the sound of Doyle's body hitting
	the floor. Karl appears in frame again and we follow him to
	the kitchen where he picks up the wall phone. He stares at it
	for a moment, then pushes 911. He has a few specks of blood
	on his face, hand and shirt.
	
	                    KARL 
	              (into phone)
	          Yes ma'am. I need the police over
	          here at the Wheatley house. 
	              (pause)
	          I've killed somebody with a mower
	          blade. 
	              (pause)
	          Yes ma'am, I'm right sure of it. I
	          hit him two good whacks. That
	          second time just plumb near cut his
	          head in two. 
	              (pause)
	          Hits a little old yeller house
	          right on the corner of Marigold
	          Street and some other street.
	          They's a red pickup truck out front
	          says DOYLE HARGRAVES CONSTRUCTION
	          on it. I'll be a settin' here
	          waitin' on ye. Beside sendin' the
	          police, Doyle said you might want
	          to send a ambulance or a hearse.
	          Thank ye.
	
	He hangs up and goes to the refrigerator and takes out a jar
	of mustard. He gets a knife out of the drawer and sits at the
	kitchen table and pulls back a table cloth that is covering
	up some leftovers. He picks up a biscuit and opens the
	mustard jar and runs the knife around it.
	There's hardly any mustard in it. He dabs a little on the
	biscuit and takes a bite and relaxes to wait for the law.
	
	                                        CUT TO:
	
	CLOSE UP OF CHARLES THE NUT CASE
	
	He's in the middle of one of his sick monologues. We pull
	back and see we're in the recreation room of the hospital
	again with Karl in his usual chair listening to Charles. Karl
	is now wearing the hospital issue clothing.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          ... on the third day I washed her.
	          She wasn't very clean. I got all
	          the right spots. She was the first
	          one I ever kept for any length of
	          time, you see I get bored easily, I
	          have a short attention span. I
	          can't say she enjoyed her stay,
	          although the washcloth in her mouth
	          held in place by good duct tape
	          kept any complaints to a minimum. I
	          don't really like people who talk a
	          lot. I like to do the talking. I
	          guess that's why I'm so fond of
	          you. You're so easygoing, although
	          I do sense a little tension in you
	          sometimes. By the way, how was it
	          out there? Did you have any fun?
	          Make any new acquaintances? Tell me
	          what it was like.
	
	                    KARL 
	          They was a boy. We made friends.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          I bet you did. I was never bent
	          that way. I'm bent the other way.
	          So, you liked it out there in the
	          world.
	
	                    KARL 
	          It's too big.
	
	                    CHARLES 
	          Well, it's not too big in here, is
	          it? 
	              (pause)
	          I feel very generous today. I feel
	          like listening. I'm sure you have
	          plenty to tell me. And please bore
	          me with the details. 
	              (long pause) )
	          Come on Karl, who did you kill? Was
	          it the boy?
	
	                    KARL 
	          Don't say nothin' about that boy.
	
	Karl looks him right in the eye for the first time ever.
	
	                    KARL
	          Fact the bidness, don't you say
	          another word to me. I ain't
	          listenin' to you no more.
	
	Karl gets up and goes to the window and looks out at the
	grass that separates him from the next building. He stares
	out the window, as we:
	
	                                        FADE OUT.
	
	                          THE END


Sling Blade



Writers :   Billy Bob Thornton
Genres :   Drama


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