THE WONDER BOYS
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY MICHAEL CHABON
January 21, 1999 (Pink Revision)
January 15, 1999 (Blue Revision)
All IS A BLUR. . .
...then WORDS appear, twisting and vaguely transparent,
reflected on the window GRADY TRIPP stands before as he
reads from a sheaf of NEATLY-TYPED PAGES.
'The young girl sat perfectly still in the
1 INT. CLASSROOM - UNIVERSITY - AFTERNOON
Grady--45-year-old novelist, professor, and insomniac--is
in the midst of reading a story to the dozen college
STUDENTS who make up his Advanced Writing Workshop.
...listening to her father's boots scrape like
chalk on the ancient steps of the church, then
grow faint, then disappear altogether.'
As he finishes, GRADY ponders a PAIR of MAINTENANCE MEN,
perched on ladders in the quad below, stringing a LARGE
BANNER between two bare trees. The BANNER reads:
WELCOME TO WORDFEST
GRADY turns, peers at his students. They look as if
they've been on a field trip to the DMV.
(a wave of the pages)
A GIRL with jet-black hair turns to a PALE YOUNG MAN
sitting at a desk in the back of the classroom. He is JAMES
LEER, 19. Like GRADY a moment before, he is staring out the
Let me get this straight. The girl with the
big lips is depressed because, each night, when
her father goes off to work at the bakery, her
mother sneaks some mysterious lover into the
house. Not only does this girl have to listen
to her mother working this guy in the next
room, she has to wash the sheets each morning
before Daddy gets home. After a few weeks of
this, she starts to go a little nutty/ so Daddy
takes her to confession--only, once she gets in
the box, she gets a whiff of the priest and
realizes he's the mother's secret lover. Is
James Leer says nothing, huddling lower in the PATTY
OVERCOAT he wears.
I mean, Jesus. What is it with you Catholics?
All right. Let's try to keep it constructive,
shall we? Howard, what about you?
I hated it.
That's not exactly what I meant by
I think James should try to be more
constructive. This is my second semester with
him. His stories are brutal, man. They make me
want to kill myself.
GRADY glances at James, but his face remains impassive.
Then--with a visible sense of relief--GRADY notices the
raised hand of the achingly beautiful HANNAH GREEN.
I think maybe we're missing the point. It
seems to me James' strength as a writer is that
he doesn't take us by the hand. He treats us
like adults. He respects us enough to forget
us. That takes . . . courage .
GRADY nods, smiles subtly. Appreciative.
Well put, Hannah. And a good note to end on, I
(as the students rise)
Don't forget about WordFest this weekend. And
remember: those of you driving V.I.P.s to
tonight's cocktail party need to have them at
the Chancellor's house no later than 5:30.
Hannah Green gathers her things, pauses by Grady.
Thanks for that. He all right?
I think so. ..What about you?
Me? Sure. Why?
GRADY watches her glide away in her CRACKED RED COWBOY
BOOTS, then starts to exit himself.
Turn out the light, please.
GRADY pauses, studying the wan figure sitting at the back
of the classroom, then--reluctantly-hits the switch on the
wail, leaving James Leer alone in the DARK.
2 INT. STAIRWELL/CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON (MOMENTS LATER)
GRADY hurries down the steps, then spies SARA GASKSLL,
45, standing below. She is talking to a BOY with an armful
of SLICK PROGRAMS.
(calm but firm)
No, Elliot, I said five hundred programs for
today. This means we have no programs for the
weekend. This means that tomorrow morning, at
9AM, several hundred people will walk into Thaw
Hall and have absolutely no idea where they are
(shaking her head)
It's all right, Elliot. I'll take care of it.
GRADY watches Sara take the programs, turn, and spot him.
There is the slightest of hesitations, then....
I got the message you called.
I got the message you called too.
This hangs in the air, awkward somehow, then both nod and
continue on, without so much as a backward glance.
3 INT. GRADY'S CAR - MOVING
The RADIO BLASTS as GRADY pops the glove box, removes a
JOINT as big as his pinky, and wheels his DARK MAROON '66
GALAXIE RAGTOP away from campus, cruising under another
WELCOME TO WORDFEST FEBRUARY 26-28
4 EXT. GALAXIE - MOVING.. - PITTSBURGH
GRADY cruises past the three rivers and modest
skyscrapers of downtown, sipping at the weed.
5 INT. PITTSBURGH AIRPORT
GRADY rides the long, automated treadmill that runs half
the length of the terminal, until...
6 INT. ARRIVAL GATE - PITTSBURGH AIRPORT
...TERRY CRABTREE--Grady's editor and friend-exits the
tunnel with a STUNNING YOUNG WOMAN in a skin-tight black
dress, bright red topcoat, and three-inch spike heels.
Grinning devilishly, Crabtree whispers something in the
woman's ear, then spots Grady.
How are you, Crabtree?
Brimming. Say hello to my new friend, Miss
Antonia. . .uh. . . .
I took the liberty of inviting Antonia to
tonight's festivities. You don't mind, do you.
(a slight beat)
The more the merrier.
Terry was telling me about you on the plane.
It was ail so interesting.
I was explaining to Antonia how a book comes
to be published. What you do as a writer, what
I do as an editor...
I sweat blood for five years and he checks for
That's exactly what he said.
We know each other pretty well.
So where's Emily?
Oh. We're picking her up. Downtown.
Perfect. Well then, shall we?
GRADY nods, but lingers briefly--studying the
architecture of Miss Sloviak's ankles as she CLICKS off in
her spike heels, arm in arm with Crabtree.
7 INT. BAGGAGE CAROUSEL - AIRPORT - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY and Crabtree watch suitcases tumble as Miss Sloviak
sits across the way, inspecting her face in a compact.
Do you know how many times I've boarded an
airplane praying someone like her would sit
down beside me? Particularly while I'm on my
way to Pittsburgh.
Lay off Pittsburgh. It's one of the great
If it can produce a Miss Sloviak you'll get no
argument from me.
She's a transvestite.
She's still a transvestite.
Crabtree ignores Grady's question, smiling placidly as he
watches the carousel spin.
So how's the book?
GRADY stiffens. He had been expecting this, but not so
soon. He tries to act casual.
It's fine. It's done. Basically. I'm just sort
of. ..tinkering with it.
Great. I was hoping I could get a look at it
sometime this weekend. Think that might be
I don't know. I'm sort of at a critical. . .
I thought you were tinkering.
I just mean. . .
Forget I asked. I don't want to pressure you,
...I get pressure. Know what I mean?
GRADY ponders this, troubled by it. Suddenly, Crabtree's
face brightens again.
Ah. ..well now. What do you suppose that would
GRADY turns, watches an immense PONY HIDE CASE drop onto
That would be a tuba.
8 INT. GRADY'S CAR - MOVING - LATE AFTERNOON 8
As the Galaxie emerges from a TUNNEL, GRADY watches the
great city of Pittsburgh reveal itself in the distance,
then glances in the rearview mirror.
That perfume you're wearing, Antonia. It
wouldn't happen to be Cristaile, would it?
Why yes. How did you know?
You didn't actually purchase this car, did
It was Jerry Nathan's. He owed me money.
He owes God money. You know, he queered
himself for good with Esquire.
GRADY takes a joint from the ashtray, snaps a Scripto
He said something about being between things.
Yeah, between a bookie and a pair of broken
9 EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - MOMENTS LATER
A YOUNG WOMAN with a crumpled PITTSBURGH STEEIERS
UMBRELLA exits the building and-seeing GRADY parked in
front of a fire hydrant--stops, a puzzled expression on her
face. As she approaches, GRADY roils down the passenger
(to the others)
This is Tanya. My wife's secretary.
CRABTREE and MISS SLOVIAK smile and nod. Tanya smiles and
nods back, her eyes passing uneasily over Grady's joint.
Grady.. ..Emily's not here.
GRADY just smiles, nods.
Is there anything I can do for you?
GRADY watches a tiny stream of water trickle through
Tanya's sad umbrella.
You're leaking, Tanya.
Tanya nods--at a loss-then turns away into the rain.
She left me. Crabs.
Left you...? Who? Emily?
This morning. I found a note in the kitchen.
But. ..why didn't you say something, Tripp? I
mean, what are we doing here?
GRADY gazes at the glittering scene beyond his
windshield, turns on the ignition.
I thought maybe I made it all up.
10 EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - EVENING
Through the windows, a rabble of writers, faculty and
select students can be SEEN, mingling under a haze of
cigarette smoke. GRADY brings the Galaxie to a lurching
halt across the street, parks in front of another fire
hydrant. As the trio steps out. MISS SLOVIAK notices a
GREENHOUSE, shimmering quietly in the chill night air.
That's a nice greenhouse.
It's Mrs. Gaskell's. Her hobby.
I thought you were Mrs. Gaskell's hobby,
Piss off, Crabs. I lost a wife today.
Oh, I'm sure you'll find another. You always
11 EXT. FRONT PORCH - GASKELL HOUSE
As the front door swings open, Sara Gaskell appears,
riding a wave of jagged party CHATTER onto the porch.
Well, hello, everyone. Terry, good to see you
Chancellor. Don't you look ravishing.
Aren't you sweet to say so. I was beginning to
wonder if you were ever going to--oh!
As Sara steps forward, her heel-catches and she pitches
forward ...into Grady's arms.
I'm sorry. It's these goddamned shoes. I don't
know how anyone actually walks in these things.
Sara looks at Miss Sloviak, a faint glitter of scientific
curiosity in her eye.
I don't believe we've met...
Antonia. Antonia Sloviak--
Just then, a THICKLY-MUCSCLED DOG with very strange EYES
skitters around the corner, BARKING SAVAGELY in the general
direction of Grady.
This wouldn't be Walter's dog, would it?
Poe continues to rage, his paws doing crazy eights on the
hardwood floor, until he's spun himself completely around
and is barking at the living room.
Who ' s he barking at now?
He's still barking at me. He's blind.
Poe' Hush! Now stop this. Honestly.
As Poe simmers to a deep growl, GRADY leans forward.
I need to talk to you.
That's funny. I need to talk to you, too.
(strategy in her tone)
Perhaps you could put some of these coats in
the upstairs guest room, Professor Tripp.
I don't believe I know where the upstairs
guest room is.
Well then. I'd better show you. Terry--
We'll just make ourselves at home.
(kneeling by Poe)
Won't we, Poe? Yes, yes....
12 INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM
GRADY enters a room swimming in BASEBAIL MEMORABILIA.
AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALLS abound, as well as PHOTOGRAPHS of
famous big-leaguers. In one somewhat-dated PHOTO a TRIM MAN
IN HIS FORTIES (a younger Walter Gaskell) stands with
PITTSBURGH PIRATE BILL MAZEROSKI at an old-timers game. As
Sara eases the door shut, GRADY nods to a 1951 YANKEE'S
PENNANT hanging over the mantle.
Walter just got it back from the framer today.
Sara takes Grady's hand, drawing him away from the
pennant and down onto the coat-covered bed.
You go first.
All right. This morning--
A flash of LAUGHTER flutters from the living room below.
GRADY starts to speak.
Well. This is...surprising. Does Walter... ?
I think Walter would find this a little more
GRADY nods, getting her drift, then roils onto his back.
Emily left me this morning.
She's left before...
She's left the room before. She always came
Sara nods. Considers this.
So. I guess we just divorce our spouses, marry
each other, and have this baby, right? Simple.
GRADY and Sara stare at the ceiling. Sara sniffs the coat
lying beneath her. Miss Sloviak's coat.
Is that Cristaile?
My God, I wear the same scent as a
transvestite. She IS a transvestite, isn't:
If she's not now, Terry will make sure she is
by the end of the evening.
Has he asked to see the book yet?
And? Are you going to tell him?
No. Maybe. I don't know. I don't know what I'm
going to do.
Neither do 1.
GRADY starts to pull up, but his arm is underneath Sara.
Sara, my arm. I'm stuck, honey.
I guess you're going to have to chew it off
13 INT. LIVING ROOM - GASKELL HOUSE
Poe noses blindly through a forest of legs, pauses by
Miss Sloviak's high heels and scores a Rye Krisp. Crabtree,
returning with a pair of DRINKS, tiptoes around him, finds
MISS SLOVIAK chatting with a trim MAN in his 50's.
Walter! I see you've met my friend.
Yes . She' s charming.
(taking her drink)
Walter's been telling me the most fascinating
things about Marilyn Monroe and. ..who was it?
Joe DiMaggio. Simply put, Antonia, it' s my
contention that their marriage tapped into the
very id of American popular culture. Joe
DiMaggio represented, metaphorically speaking,
the Husband as Slugger.. And, though it may be
controversial, I personally believe every
woman, in some way, desires to be Marilyn
Oh, I couldn't agree more.
GRADY works his way through the crowd, spies Walter, and
changes course. Directly ahead is an oddly commanding MAN
("Q"). From the behavior of the people in his vicinity it's
clear he is someone of interest. Presently, he is putting
the make on Hannah Green.
And while my latest has been on the New York
Times bestseller list for 40 weeks, I can't
help but lament that my first book, which
contains what I consider my finest writing, was
remaindered in less than five. So, I find
Ask him if he's conflicted about his house in
Q eyes GRADY over his wine glass.
Q,. Hannah's had two stories published in The
Paris Review. You'd best dust off the 'A'
material for her.
As GRADY moves off, he sees Poe sniffing, and goes the
other way, heading directly into the crosshairs of a MAH IN
TWEED, who is talking to another, shorter MAN.
MAN IN TWEED
(to short man)
A supermarket for the mind, my ass. I'm
telling you, they're nothing but a big, fat mob
laundry. Have you ever been to Davenport, Iowa?
Let me tell you, they need a 30,000-square-foot
bookstore like they need another goddamn cow.
(as GRADY passes)
MAN IN TWEED
My God, I haven't seen you since, what? The
PEN/Faulkner Awards. That was a big night for
(to his friend)
GRADY was there for Arsonist's Daughter,
The short man blinks, impulsively takes Grady's hand.
Douglas Triddly, Amherst. I kid you not when I
say Arsonist's Daughter belongs in the pantheon
of late twentieth century fiction. I've had it
on my Graduate Studies syllabus three years
No wonder it's still in print.
As GRADY flees, he passes a WOMAN holding a cigarette.
WOMAN WITH CIGARETTE
...can take my word for it, writer's are lousy
fucks. Poets aren't bad, but then you've got to
deal with the sweater thing. They'll discover
the cancer in your heart every time, but God
forbid they find a decent dry cleaner.
14 EXT. REAR GASKELL HOUSE - NIGHT
GRADY comes out the back: door and ferrets a JOINT from
his pocket, lights it. He takes a long draw, walks around
the side of the house. As he passes a window, a VOICE
There you are.
GRADY starts, but when he looks through the window, he
sees that the VOICE belongs to WALTER GASKELL and the
person to whom he's talking is Sara. They are standing in
the kitchen, near an elaborate WINE RACK.
I could swear I had a '63 Chateau Latour in
here. You haven't seen it, have you?
I doubt I'd recognize a '63 Chateau Latour if
I was sitting on it.
You'd recognize it if you tasted it.
I doubt it, darling.
(angling & bottle to the light)
Well, Q certainly will. And, given that he
will be addressing 500 people in little over an
You want to keep him happy.
If he' s happy. . .
(kissing her as he exits)
As Walter goes, GRADY studies Sara as she stands alone in
the quiet little room, looking small and tired. Finally,
she takes a breath, steeling herself, and moves off,
returning to the clamor inside her house.
GRADY sighs, guilt-stricken, then detects a FLICKER of
LIGHT coming from the darkness beyond. A FIGURE is watching
him from the retaining wail that leads to the Gaskell's
garage. GRADY blinks, chagrined that he's been caught
eavesdropping, then his eyes narrow and he steps off the
James Leer wears the same nasty overcoat from class, a
GREEN KNAPSACK hanging off one shoulder. GRADY looks at
what appears to be a sliver of moonlight in James' palm.
James' face betrays his own fragile chagrin and GRADY
peers more closely at what lies in his extended hand. The
sliver of moonlight is, in fact, a shiny PEARL-HANDLED
It was my mother's. She won it in a penny
arcade in Baltimore when she was in Catholic
It's very convincing.
It used to shoot these little paper caps, but
they don't make them anymore. The caps.
GRADY reaches for the gun, but James closes his fingers
and slips the tiny thing back into his overcoat.
It's just. ..for good luck. Some people carry
...You carry firearms.
As GRADY exhales a plume of smoke, James' eyes pass
briefly over the jay. GRADY
No, thank you. I don't like to lose control of
GRADY nods, accustomed to James' weirdness.
I'm not supposed to be here, in case you were
wondering. I crashed. I mean, not
James nods toward the house, where Hannah Green can be
seen in a window, still fending off the determined Q.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
...but the other night, Hannah and I were
together, at the movies, and she asked me.
Since she was coming. So I ended up coming.
GRADY nods, ponders this over-elaborate explanation.
Are you and Hannah seeing each other, James ?
No! What gave you that idea?
Relax, James. I'm not her father. I just rent
her a room.
She likes old movies like I do, that's ail.
(glancing back at the window)
Besides, she doesn't really know me. She
thinks she does, but she doesn't. Maybe it's
because she's Mormon and I'm Catholic.
Maybe it's because she's beautiful and she
knows it and try as she might to not let that
screw her up, it's inevitable that it will in
James looks away from the window, at Grady.
You're not like my other teachers, Professor
You're not like my other students, James. So
what was the movie you two saw?
Huh? Oh. Son or Fury. With Tyrone Power and
She went crazy, Frances Farmer.
So did Gene Tierney. She's in it too.
Sounds like a good one.
(a crooked smile)
It's not bad.
GRADY considers James' fragile face.
Listen, James, about this afternoon. In
workshop. I'm sorry. I think I let things get a
bit out of control.
They really hated it. I think they hated it
more than any of the other ones.
It doesn't matter. It only took me an hour to
Really? That's remarkable.
I have trouble sleeping. While I'm lying in
bed I figure them out. The stories.
As James gazes off at the gloaming greenhouse, GRADY
looks down at the left front POCKET of James' overcoat.
Like a nervous tic, James' hand- hidden-twitches against
the modest bulk of the cap gun.
You cold, James?
So what are you doing out here?
It's colder in there. -
James blinks, startled by Grady's laughter, startled that
he's said something funny. He looks back to the greenhouse
Actually, I saw the greenhouse. So I thought
...I thought I'd come out here and take a look
at it. You don't see one of those every day. It
looks like heaven...
I saw a movie once. Part of it took place in
heaven. Everyone wore white and lived in
crystal houses. Like that. At least that's the
way I remember it...
Abruptly, James glances at his watch.
I should be going.
James turns away, then stops. He stands like this a
moment, then turns back. Holds out his right hand.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
Goodbye, Professor Tripp.
GRADY hesitates, then shakes James' hand. James moves off
then, leaving the light of the house behind.
(as he stops)
Don't leave just yet. There's something I
think you ought to see.
I'll miss my bus.
This is worth it.
James looks conflicted.
15 INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
It's quieter now, the party winding down, as GRADY sneaks James past
the departing guests and toward the stairs.
Hey, you two.
GRADY stops, sees Hannah slipping on a coat in the foyer.
HANNAH GREEN (cont'd)
Are you riding with me, James?
No, I'm going ho--
He's going with me. You take Crabtree. And his
friend. All right?
Ail right. By the way, his friend...?
The answer's yes. I think. Yes. I don't know.
Where are they exactly?
Here we are!
CRABTREE appears at the top of the landing with Miss
Sloviak. Her lipstick is blurry.
Nell, hello there.
CRABTREE steps down the stairs, hand extended. James
Leer's pale fingers rise as if on a string.
James. This is my editor, Terry Crabtree.
James'll know about George Sanders.
Mr. CRABTREE was saying how George Sanders
killed himself, only he couldn't remember how.
Pills. August 25, 1972. In a Costa Brava hotel
The few people within earshot glance oddly at James, but
Crabtree's eyes glitter with intrigue.
How comprehensive of you.
Oh, James is amazing. He knows all the movie
suicides. Go ahead, James. Tell them who else.
There's so many...
Just a few then. The big ones.
James glances at the loose group of people around him,
Pier Angeli, 1971 or '72, also pills. Charles
Boyer, 1978, pills again. Charles Butterworth,
1946, I think. In a car. Supposedly it was an
accident, but, you know. . .
(a trace of irony)
He was distraught. Dorothy Dandridge, she took
pills in, like, 1965. Albert Dekker, 1968, he
hung himself. He wrote his suicide note in
lipstick on his stomach. Alan Ladd, '64, more
pills, Carole Landis, pills again, I forget
when. George Reeves, Superman on TV, shot
himself. Jean Seberg/ pills of course, 1979.
Everett Sioane-- he was good--pills. Margaret
Sullavan, pills, Lupe Velez, a lot of pills.
Gig Young. He shot himself and his wife in
1978. There are more but I don't know if you
would have heard of them. Ross Alexander? Clara
Blandick? Maggie McNamara? Gia Scaia?
I haven't heard of half of those.
You did them alphabetically.
James turns, finds Crabtree's laser eyes on him. James
blinks, as if he had forgotten about Crabtree, then shrugs
shyly, looks away.
That's just how my brain works, I guess.
Fascinating. Listen, why don't you come out
with us after the lecture. There's a place on
the Hill I always get Trip to take me.
Actually. ..I just want to go home.
Oh, don't be silly. No one your age just wants
to go home. Besides, faculty will be present.
Just think of it as a field trip.
As he exits, CRABTREE raises an eyebrow to Grady, as if
to say: "Bring him." MISS SLOVIAK follows, eyeing James
glacially as we CUT TO:
The dull PURR of a COMBINATION LOCK is HEARD, a DOOR
opens, and a triangle of LIGHT falls on a PHOTOGRAPH of
MARILYN MONROES JOE DIMAGGIO on their wedding day.
16 INT. CLOSET - GASKELL HOUSE
GRADY and James Leer stand in the doorway. Just below the
photograph of Marilyn and Joe--hanging next to a PIN-
STRIPED JERSEY bearing the number 5--is a SHORT BLACK SATIN
JACKET trimmed with an ERMINE COLLAR.
Is that really it?
That's really it.
The one she wore on her wedding day?
So I'm told.
James, in the presence of the holy grail of suicide
garments, stands speechless.
James swallows, then'-goes to the jacket. Carefully, he
reaches out his fingers and touches the yellowed collar,
barely making contact, as though it might crumble to dust.
They're glass. The buttons.
Like the lady herself.
GRADY says this airily, ironically, riding his buzz a
bit, but James nods solemnly, eyes transfixed on the
jacket, as if Marilyn herself were inside it.
She was small. Most people don't know that.
The shoulders are small.
(touching the satin)
It looks so perfect. I bet it's the only time
she wore it. That day. She must've felt so
GRADY studies James as he takes the fringe of the jacket,
lifts it lightly.
It's feels unreal, like butterfly wings or...
something. It must've cost Dr. Gaskell a lot.
I guess. Walter never tells Sara the truth
about how much he pays for these things.
You're really good friends with the
Chancellor, aren't you?
Grady's eyes slide, paranoid, but James' face remains
unchanged, consumed with the jacket.
Pretty good. I'm friends with Dr. Gaskell,
I guess you must be, if you know the
combination to his closet and he doesn't mind
your being here in their bedroom like this.
A DOOR SLAMS downstairs and GRADY and James jump. The
CLICK of a woman's HIGH HEELS sends GRADY to the bedroom
window, where he watches Sara slide into a WHITE CITROEN
DS23, turn on the ignition, and motor away.
We, better skedaddle. Close that closet--
James? You ail right?
James is slumped on the Gaskell's white linen bed,
knapsack between his knees, head in hands.
I'm sorry. Professor Tripp. Maybe it's seeing
that jacket that belonged to her. It just
looks...really lonely. Hanging there. In a
closet. Maybe I'm just a little sad.
Maybe. I'm feeling a little sad myself
You mean, with your wife leaving you and ail?
(off Grady's look)
Hannah mentioned something about it. About a
Yes. Well. It's complicated, James. I think we
should go now.
Without thinking, GRADY flicks out the bedroom light,
leaving James Leer in the dark for the second time today.
James just sits there, a shadow in a room of shadows.
17 INT. HALLWAY
A LOW RUMBLE freezes GRADY
as he enters the hail. A few feet away, Poe lies belly to
the ground, his blind blue eyes trained, more or less, in
Okay. Easy now. Eee-zy. . . .
GRADY starts to take a step, when.... Poe shoots forward
and sinks himself deep into Grady's ankle.
GRADY hops gracelessly, momentarily lifting Poe off the
ground as he swings his leg up. Poe, countering, rolls his
head in a snapping motion and drops GRADY in a clumsy heap.
Get off of me, you son-of-a-bitch!
Poe regains his feet, but doesn't let go, whipping his
head back and forth, back and forth, over and over,
growling low, dark, and hideously from the back of his
throat, until there is a sharp...
Poe YELPS, goes perfectly still, then topples heavily
onto Grady's legs. GRADY
turns. James Leer stands in the doorway, posed with the
little pearl-handled pistol like Steve McQueen.
GRADY looks at James. Then Poe. Then back to James.
Shit, James. You shoe Dr. Gaskell's dog.
I had to. Didn't I?
Couldn't you've just pulled him off me?
No! He was crazy. I didn't-he looked-- 1
Okay, okay. Take it easy. Don't freak out on
GRADY roils down his sock. Apparently, Poe went through
life with a slight overbite.
Do you have a mirror? It's the best way to see
if someone's breathing.
He's dead, James. Believe me, I know a dead
dog when I see one.
James looks miserably at Poe.
What are we going to do?
GRADY rises awkwardly, holds out his hand.
First you're going to give me that little cap
gun of yours.
18 INT. GALAXIE - MOVING
GRADY and James stare gloomily out the windshield.
Professor Tripp? Can I ask you a question?
What are we going to do with...
James glances in the backseat, where Poe lies, strange
blue eyes gleaming.
I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out
how to tell the Chancellor I murdered her
Trust me, James, when the family pet's been
assassinated, the owner doesn't want to hear
one of her students was the triggerman.
Does she want to hear it was one of her
I've got tenure.
19 EXT. PARKING LOT -- THAW HALL (CAMPUS)
As sporadic APPLAUSE wafts from the high windowpanes of
Thaw Hall, GRADY leans into the Galaxie's trunk, creates a
space between the tuba and a ZIPPERED SUITCASE.
James totters forward, arms hooked under Poe's front legs
looking like a sorry marathon dancer. GRADY frowns, limps
forward, and takes the hind legs.
He's still a little warm.
They lay him down, push him deep into the trunk--until
there is a SOUND like a pencil SNAPPING.
GRADY grabs Crabtree's garment bag, frisks the pockets.
That's a. big trunk. It fits a tuba, a
suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost
That's just what they used to say in the ads.
Come on, Crabtree, I know you're holding...
Whose tuba is that anyway?
Can I ask you something about her?
She is. Ah. Here we go...
GRADY unravels a pair of boxer shorts, finds an airplane-
size bottle of JACK DANIELS, then grabs another pair of
Oh. So. Is--is your friend Crabtree-- is he--
Most of the time he is, James. Some of the
time he isn't. Now what do we have here?
GRADY rattles a prescription bottle, then shakes out a
pair of WHITE PILLS, each etched with a tiny numeral 3.
Looks like ...our old friend Mr. Codeine. That
should take the pinch out of my ankle.
(handing the bottle to James)
No thanks. I'm fine without them.
Right. That's why you were standing in the
Chancellor's back yard twirling that little cap
gun of yours tonight. You're fine, all right,
you're fit as a fucking fiddle.
GRADY opens the tiny bottle of Jack with his teeth,
drinks down two number 3's, then looks at James.
I'm sorry, James. I'm sorry I said that.
Recklessly, James takes a pill, tosses it in his mouth,
and tips back the tiny bottle of Jack. Half a second later,
he spits it all out. GRADY looks down, peels the soggy pill
from the lapel of his jacket.
How 'bout we try that again.
20 INT. AUDITORIUM - LATER
On the stage. Walter Gaskell stands alone at a podium.
...really needs no introduction. Walk down the
aisle of any airplane or by the pool of any
hotel and you'll see his face beaming back at
you. You all know the name, you all know the
books, so welcome if you will, the man those of
us who know him simply call.. .Q.
As the audience THUNDERS, GRADY and James slink into the
auditorium. It's standing room only. As they head for an
open space against the back wail, GRADY squeezes past a KID
with a GOATEE .who regards him warily.
GRADY stares, over the gleaming sea of heads before him,
watching as Q pauses, ..for a very long moment... waiting
until the auditorium is consumed in a heavy, anticipatory
hush. Finally, he speaks again.
I am a writer.
As the audience EXPLODES with glee, GRADY frowns. He
glances to his right, sees James' left brow crinkled with a
similar look of bafflement.
As a writer, one thing you learn is that
everyone you encounter has a story. Every
bartender, every taxi driver, everybody has an
idea or a. story that would make a "great book"
or a "great movie." Presumably, each of you has
an idea. (gestures to the audience)
But, how do you go from there to here? How do
you go from having an idea to having a book?
How do you get across? What is the bridge, the
bridge that allows you to walk on air from the
shoreline of inspiration to the terra firma of
accomplishment? Faith. Faith that your story is
worth the telling, faith that you have the
wherewithal to tell it, faith that the
carefully woven structure you create won't
collapse beneath you...
GRADY glances at James, sees that his eyes are unblinking
and glazed, then sees, beyond him, Sara standing by the far
EXIT. A blink later, she is gone.
...and faith that when you get to the other
side someone will be waiting who gives a damn
about the tale you have to tell.
GRADY leans back, listening to the BEATING of his own
HEART, the soft GLIMMER of the chandeliers hanging by a
thread forty feet above his head...
Abruptly, James LAUGHS OUT LOUD--some private amusement:
bubbling up from the bottom or his brain and out into the
auditorium. As Q looks and four hundred other heads turn,
James ducks down--mortified. Crabtree, sitting a few rows
away, studies James with amusement, then winks at Grady.
GRADY blinks, turns to James.
I'll be right back.
21 INT. LOBBY
GRADY bursts through the auditorium doors and into the
lobby. A PAIR. of local BOOKSELLERS, chatting quietly
behind a table arrayed with the BOOKS of attending authors,
glance up as GRADY limps toward the restrooms.
22 INT. CORRIDOR
GRADY stumbles down the sloping carper, but the corridor
begins to turn sideways on him and he stops, resting his
cheek against the cool...cool...wall. ..as...ail..-goes....
BLACK FOR A
MOMENT AND THEN....
GRADY opens his eyes, finds Sara's face swimming above
him. He is lying on his back in the corridor, his corduroy
blazer bundled under his head like a pillow.
You had another one, didn't you? You have to
see a doctor, Grady. First thing Monday
morning. All right?
Is the thing-is it over?
Almost. Wane to sit up?
(as he winces)
What's the matter?
Nothing. I think I twisted my--
GRADY looks at his ankle and feels a rush of guilt.
I have to tell you something. Something..
Sara's face stiffens, becomes more Chancelloresque.
Then stand up. I'm too old for all this
roiling around on the floor.
GRADY lets her pull him up, watches her light a
Don't. I know what you're going to say.
No, really, Sara, I don't think you--
You love Emily. I know that. And you need to
stay with her.
I don't think I really have a choice in, that.
Emily left me.
She'll come back. That's why I'm going to.
..to not have this baby.
GRADY watches her flip her hand up, bring the cigarette
to her lips, and inhale ...then grimace and drop it to the
Not have it.
No. There's no way. I mean, don't you think
there's no way?
Well, no, I don't see any way.
(taking her hand)
And I know how hard it is for you to-- to lose
No you don't. And fuck you for saying you do.
And fuck you for "saying. . .
...for saying there's just no way. Because
there could be a way, Grady.
Somewhere deep in the building, APPLAUSE swells.
He must be finishing. We should go.
GRADY looks sadly at Sara then stoops to retrieve his
coat. As he grabs it, James Leer's little pistol CLATTERS
to the floor.
Who's gun is that?
It's-it's a souvenir. Of Baltimore.
Before GRADY can close his hand, Sara has it in her own.
Heavy. Smells like gunpowder.
She points it-at Grady's chest. He smiles nervously.
You got me.
I love you, Grady.
GRADY places his fingers gently over Sara's... and
removes the gun from her hand.
I love you, too.
23 INT. LOBBY
The auditorium doors swing open and James Leer emerges,
arms draped over CRABTREE and a LARGE STUDENT.
Woah! The doors made so much noise!
As they make for the restrooms, Sara and GRADY appear.
This is so embarrassing! You guys had to carry
Is he ail right?
(rolling his eyes)
He's fine. He's narrating.
We're going to the men's room. Only we might
not make it in time.
Terry CRABTREE and James Leer. Leave it to you
to make that mistake, wait here.
As Sara heads off after James, GRADY turns toward the
lobby...directly into the hostile gaze of Miss Sloviak.
I need a ride.
I'm your man.
24 EXT. STREET 24
As the Galaxie's big trunk yawns open. MISS SLOVIAK
stares at what's wedged up against her suitcase.
There's an explanation.
MISS SLOVIAK raises an eyebrow and then, leaning in,
unzips her suitcase.
25 INT. GRADY'S CAR - MOVING
As GRADY drives, MISS SLOVIAK finishes with the top
button of a man's shirt, then reaches into the zippered
COSMETICS BAG in her lap. Onto the open tray of the
glovebox, she places a JAR of COLD CREAM, a BOTTLE of NAIL
POLISH REMOVER, and a cloud of COTTON BALLS.
Couldn't he have just thrown a shoe at the
James is. ..I don't know...
Disturbed. And when your friend CRABTREE gets
done with him, he's going to be even more
I'm not sure that's possible.
Sure it is.
GRADY watches MISS SLOVIAK peel the wig from her
Tony. Now that I'm home.
Tony. I'm sorry if things didn't work out so
well for you tonight. With Terry.
Forget it. I should've known better. Your
friend is just, I don't know, into collecting
weird tricks. Mind?
Tony angles the rearview mirror toward himself.
He's writing his name in water.
Like most editors, he really wants to be a
writer, but he's too busy living a novel to
bother writing one.
That sounds like a fancy excuse for being a
He'd call it habit. But now. ..I get the
feeling he's going through the motions a bit.
Tony peels off a pair of false eyelashes, blinks.
You mean because his career's ruined and all?
Jesus. Is that what he told you?
He said he hasn't had a success in ten years
and everyone in New York thinks he's kind of
.a. . .
As Tony re-sets the rearview mirror, GRADY gets a glimpse
of his own swollen eyes.
...loser. But I'm sure your book is so good
that he'll be able to keep his job.
Hearing this, GRADY looks troubled. MISS SLOVIAK points.
26 EXT. SLOVIAK HOUSE
GRADY pulls in front of a small brick house. On the front
lawn, a small statue of the BLESSED VIRGIN stands under a
little white BAND SHELL painted with stars.
That'' s nice. All we have is a Japanese
It's a bathtub. What she's standing under.
The PORCH LIGHT conies on and a SMALL, WHITE-HAIRED MAN
squints through the screen door.
Let me see it. The gun.
GRADY reaches into his pocket, hands it over. Tony
Figures. It's like the kind of gun Bette Davis
would carry. In a little beaded purse?
GRADY studies the gun in Tony's hand, then glances at the
front screen door. Pop is still there.
I'd better go. I think I may have to rescue
MISS SLOVIAK returns the gun, .steps out of the car, and
peers in at Grady.
You know, Grady, if I were you. I'd think
about going home. You look like you need a
little rescuing yourself.
27 EXT. PARKING LOT - HI-HAT CLUB
GRADY parks near a VAN that has KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS
stenciled on the side. He watches a BOUNCER frisk a patron
in the PINK LIGHT of the Hi-Hat Club's entrance, then
slides -James Leer's little PISTOL into the glovebox.
27A EXT. ENTRANCE - HI-HAT CLUB
As GRADY steps to the door, the bouncer gives him a
Clean tonight, hub, Professor?
As a whistle.
28 INT. HI-HAT CLUB
Hannah Green is dancing with a sweat-drenched Q as GRADY
enters this SMOKE-FILLED RHYTHM AND BLUES club. She beckons
with a finger, but Grady--Nervous at the sight of her
glistening Mormon skin--merely pantomimes an exaggerated
shrug and she points.
CRABTREE and James Leer sit at a dark corner table. James
slouches, eyes half-closed, while CRABTREE stares in the
general vicinity of the dancers, his hand extended beneath
the table, in the general vicinity of James' lap.
Grady, looking a little alarmed, grabs a passing
Double Dickel on the rocks.
29 INT. BOOTH
As GRADY arrives, CRABTREE withdraws his hand delicately
and James' eyes flutter open .briefly, ..then close.
Is that just beer?
Primarily. Although I gather you two staged a
little raid on the CRABTREE pharmacopoeia. You
missed a few bottles, by the way.
I'm sure. Where is everyone?
Sara and Walter declined. Guess they wanted to
go home and curl up on the couch with the dog.
GRADY cuts James a glance, trying to determine if he's
copped on Poe, but James is winking out. His head drifts
back against the wail, settles with a gentle ...thunk.
Jesus. He's out.
CRABTREE glances over, nods.
He has a book.
I know. He started it Fall semester.
He finished it Winter Break.
GRADY looks up, unable to disguise his surprise. He
glances at James' slack face tilted against the wall.
So. Is he any good?
No. Not yet he isn't.
Well, I'm going to read it anyway.
Come on. Crabs. Don't do this. He's . one oŁ
my students, for Christ sake. I'm not even sure
He is. Take my word for it.
I think it's more complicated than that.
Besides, he's a little...scattered. He almost
...did something stupid tonight. At least, I
think so. Anyway, he doesn't need sexual
confusion thrown into the stew right now.
On the contrary, it 'could be just the ticket.
GRADY notices the waitress's nametag (OOLA) and realizes
she is conspicuously PREGNANT. He watches her disappear
beyond the blur of bodies on the dancefloor, where Hannah
Green's slinky form seizes his attention.
No sexual confusion there, eh, Professor?
Shut up and drink.
CRABTREE grins, brings his bottle up, then stops.
Oh my goodness. Do you see what I see?
GRADY follows Crabtree's glance and finds Oola again, but
it's not Oola CRABTREE
is eyeing, it's her CUSTOMER.
President of the James Brown Hair Club For
Sitting alone in the dark booth is a SMALL BLACK MAN with
big hands, a face peppered with scar tissue, and--most
noticeably--a tsunami of hair sprouting from his scalp.
(initiating an old game)
He's a boxer. A flyweight.
Huh uh. A jockey. His name's, um, Curtis..
Vernon, then. Vernon Hardapple. The scar's are
from a--from a horse. He fell during a race and
And now he's addicted to painkillers.
He can't piss standing up anymore.
He lives with his mother.
And he had a younger brother who . . .was . .
. a. . .
Groom. Named Claudell. And his mother blames
Vernon for his death.
Because. . .because. . .
.. .he was killed, when a gangster named
Freddie Nostrils tried to shoot his favorite
horse. He took the bullet himself.
GRADY and Crabtree turn to look at James Leer, who opens
one bloodshot eye to regard them.
Vernon, over there, was in on the hit.
James' eye closes. CRABTREE looks over at Grady.
That was good.
He heard everything we were saying.
Just then, Hannah Green bounces up in her red boots.
Come on. Teach. I want you to dance with me.
30 INT. DANCEFLOOR - MOMENTS LATER 30
GRADY and Hannah, reflected in bits and pieces in the
jack 'o lantern wail of MIRRORED TILE, slow-dance to a
sexy, measured blues.
I've been re-reading Arsonist's Daughter. It's
so beautiful, Grady. So natural. It's like ail
your sentences always existed, just waiting
around in Style Heaven, or wherever, for you to
fetch them down.
I thank you.
And I love the inscription you wrote to me.
Only I'm not quite the downy innocent you think
I hope that isn't true. We need all the downy
innocents we can get.
GRADY spies the corner table, watches CRABTREE say
something to Q and then, casually, stroke a lock of hair
from James Leer's forehead.
So what are you going to do?
I just mean, I--I guess Emily isn't going to
be there when you get home.
GRADY looks down into Hannah's translucent face, then
catches a glimpse of himself in the fractured, wail. The
tile that would reflect his head is missing.
Are you holding me up or am I dragging you
Hannah snuggles closer, lays her head on Grady's chest.
31 EXT. PARKING LOT - HI-HAT CLUB (2 AM)
Grady, limping on his bad ankle, carries James to
Hannah's rumpled RENAULT, props him against the fender.
Look, Hannah. When you get him home ...make
sure he's ail right. Before you leave. Okay?
I would if I knew where I was taking him.
Hannah, are you telling me you don't know
where James Leer lives?
Some apartment somewhere. But I've never seen
That strikes me as odd.
James is odd. I know he has an aunt in
Sewickley Heights. I dropped him there once,
Come to think of it, it-wasn't even his Aunt's
house. He said she worked there. Or something.
I don't remember.
James MUMBLES, starts to slide onto the hood of the car.
Mmhmmm.. . . knap ...sap....
What's he saying?
His bag. You know that ratty green thing he's
always carrying around. He must've left it
Hh-uh. Last time I saw it was...
GRADY glances at the idling Galaxie across the street.
and Q huddle inside.
Shit. He must've left it back at Thaw. In the
(delirious, but insistent)
Mmrrmmm.. .KNAP SAP!
GRADY frowns in annoyance, opens the passenger door.
All right. Take him to my place. He can crash
on the sofa.
The one in your office? It's the best one .for
I don't think it really matters, Hannah. We
could probably stand him up in the garage with
the snow shovels at this point.
As GRADY lowers James into the seat, he WHIMPERS, curls
into a bail. Hannah turns her puppy dog eyes on Grady.
Ail right. In my office.
As GRADY starts to turn away, Hannah's fingers graze his
Hey. If you want to talk later...I'll be up.
GRADY watches her fold her lovely self into the car and
drive away. He sighs, crosses to the Galaxie, and just has
his hand on the doorhandle when a TINY FIGURE appears.
You driving this car?
This 1966 maroon Ford Galaxie 500. You driving
Bullshit. It's mine, motherfucker.
You must be mistaken.
GRADY shakes his head wearily, opens the door.
Go home to your mother, Vernon.
32 INT. GALAXIE
GRADY slides in next to Q, puts the car in gear, and
starts to pull away. As he glances in the rearview, he sees
CRABTREE smiling darkly in the backseat.
All right, what's the matter?
CRABTREE just keeps smiling.
Christ, Crabs, what do you expect me to do?
The kid's practically in a coma.
Hit your brakes.
GRADY flicks his eyes from the rearview mirror just as a
SHADOW looms in his headlights. As he squashes the break
pedal, Q's EYEGLASSES go flying into the windshield.
Oh my God! What is that?
It's Vernon, waving his arms, his shadow enormous in the
beams of light.
What's this guy's problem?
Just go around him.
GRADY taps the accelerator, but each time, Vernon dances
back in front of Grady's grille.
Back up. Go out the other way.
GRADY throws the car in reverse, backs straight up, then
turns up a one-way street. He shoots down the alley behind
the Hi-Hat, turns onto the adjoining street, ..and watches
in amazement as Vernon materializes from behind the high
wooden fence that runs parallel to the Galaxie.
As GRADY pinches the brakes, Vernon grins.
You could always go over him.
Then, as the three men watch, Vernon rocks back on his
heels and--with a gymnast's precision-pitches himself onto
the Galaxie's big hood. He -lands on his ass, slides
smoothly off, then takes a deep bow and disappears into the
What just happened?
GRADY peers at the wrinkled asterisk on his hood.
I just had my car jumped on.
33 EXT. THAW HAIL - NIGHT (TWENTY MINUTES LATER)
Grady stops the car in the red zone and gets out.
Wait here. I'll be right back.
Where would we go?
34 INT. LOBBY
The JANITOR, the same shaggy-haired kid GRADY saw rigging
the WordFest banner earlier, is struggling with a balky
FLOOR WAXER as GRADY steps up to the double doors and slaps
his hand against the glass.
GRADY pushes on the door and it opens.
Hey, Professor Tripp.
(off Grady's look)
Traxler. Sam. I took your class freshman year.
Then I dropped out of school.
I hope it wasn't my fault.
(taking him seriously)
No. I guess you're here for the backpack.
35 INT. AUDITORIUM
The knapsack is sitting on one of the metal folding
chairs as Sam and GRADYenter the silent hail.
I saw the manuscript inside. So when you
showed up, I figured. . .
GRADY lifts the knapsack, peers inside. There is no title
page to the MANUSCRIPT, Just the words The Love Parade and
then, halfway down, TEXT.
Is it good?
I don't know. It might be...
37 EXT. THAW HALL - NIGHT - A MOMENT LATER
GRADY steps outside, closes the flap of the knapsack and,
hunching his shoulders against the cold... stops.
Crabtree. Q. The car. Gone.
38 INT. TRAXLER'S HONDA - NIGHT
Traxler gives GRADY a ride in his Honda, one of the
original Hondas best suited for sidewalk driving. The
backseat bulges with a huge AMPLIFIER and BASS GUITAR.
Say, Professor Tripp, is ail that stuff true
about Errol Flynn? How he used to put coke on
his dick. To make himself, you know, like, last
Christ, Traxler. How the hell should I know?
Well, jeez, you're reading his biography,
Sam points and GRADY glances at the knapsack riding on
the seat between him and Sam. A BOOK'-bearing ERROL FLYNN'S
PICTURE--IS tucked into the side pouch.
Oh, right. Yeah, that's true. He used to rub
ail kinds of things on it. Paprika. Ground
39 EXT. SASKELL'S HOUSE - NIGHT (MOMENTS LATER)
Sam brings the car to a coughing idle across the street
from the Gaskell's house.
Wow, check out that greenhouse. Is that your
GRADY gazes at Sara, a .vaporous blur in the greenhouse.
No, my wife's out of town.
Just then, the Honda FILLS WITH LIGHT. HEADLIGHTS loom,
then a POLICE CAR sweeps into the Gaskell's driveway.
Walter appears on the front steps.
Who's that guy?
Traxler looks anxiously at the police car.
What exactly are we doing here, Professor
(staring at Sara)
Taking the long way home.
39A EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT - A LITTLE LATER
As Traxler drives away, GRADY mounts the porch with James
Leer's knapsack hanging from one shoulder. He reaches above
the door, feeling for a key, but his fingers come away with
only dust. He stands, dispirited, then an idea strikes. He
takes the doorknob, turns it. It opens.
40 INT. .HALLWAY - GRADY'S HOUSE
GRADY enters, closes the door quietly behind him.
41 INT. LIVING ROOM
The room is dim but the TV is on, throwing crazy slashes
of light onto the wails and ceiling. As GRADY limps by, he
finds a sleeping Hannah Green, bundled in a blanket, T-
shirt, and little else. On the floor, near her dangling
hand, Woolf's A Common Reader lays open next to a Diet
Coke. GRADY considers the smooth geography of her body, but
his eyes 'are most powerfully drawn to. ..her feet. He
steps forward, lifts the blanket gently, but finds-to his
disappointment--only the red cowboy boots.
He picks up the remote, turns off the TV, and exits.
42 INT. GRADY'S OFFICE
James Leer slumbers on a green sofa, draped in an old
sleeping bag. GRADY drops behind his desk, lets James'
knapsack slide to the floor. He lifts his cuff, inspects
his ugly ankle, then glimpses something in the knapsack.
Something yellow. Something soft.
GRADY reaches down and, slowly--like a magician producing
a magical scarf-extracts MARILYN MONROE'S WEDDING JACKET
from James Leer's ratty green knapsack.
GRADY glances at the young man on his sofa, then, looking
very tired, reaches for the desk lamp ...and turns out the
light on the both of them.
43 EXT. FRONT PORCH - SATURDAY MORNING (NEXT DAY)
GRADY steps outside in a WOMAN'S CHENILLE BATHROBE and
plucks the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the second porch
step. He fishes out a charred ROACH, starts to light it,
then notices the Galaxie sitting in the driveway.
44 INT. GUEST BEDROOM - MINUTES LATER
As CRABTREE SNORES thunderously, GRADY eases open the
door, spots the CAR KEYS on the dresser, grabs them.
44A INT. LANDING - CONTINUOUS
GRADY eases the door shut, starts to turn, then stops,
his eyes drawn to the door just across the landing from
44B INT. EMILY'S OFFICE
GRADY pushes open the door with the tips of his fingers,
lets it glide open. The room that is revealed is bright and
well-ordered, in direct contrast to the lazy clutter of
Grady's office. There is a DRAFTING TABLE and a COMPUTER,
pads and pens neatly arranged alongside.
A BULLITEN BOARD hangs on one wall, bearing an intricate
mosaic of multi-colored index cards. There are PRINTS,
framed, from various art exhibits, and two of Grady's
DHSTJACKETS--including, most prominently, Arsonist's
There are PHOTOGRAPHS of EMILY too. In a black turtleneck
with friends. In a sundress with Grady. In a billowing
Burberry, floating like a dark butterfly against a BLUR of
YELLOW TAXIS on a street in Manhattan.
Smiling brilliantly. Beautiful.
45 INT. GRADY'S OFFICE
GRADY enters with a THERMOS--pauses--redistributes the
sleeping bag over James Leer's pale body.
GRADY sits at his desk, pours himself a cup of coffee
from the thermos, then sets the cup directly in the center
of a galaxy of previous coffee rings. Next, he takes a
clean piece of paper, balls it up, and-with ritual
precision-strokes it into the MINIATURE BASKETBALL HOOP
that crowns the rim of the WASTE BASKET across the room.
A 9-VOLT CROWD ROAR belches from the hoop and, without
further ceremony, GRADY
turns to the blank page curling from his IBM SELECTRIC
and SPACES to the top right corner, TYPES:
In other words: Page 2611.
CLOSE UP - THE TYPEWRITER PAPER -- darkening with WORDS,
the KEYS SNAPPING faster and faster, a CRAZY CLAMOR that
grows and grows until, finally, it just ....Stops.
GRADY awakes with his back to the floor, James leer's
quizzical face floating like a cloud above him.
I'm okay. I just lost my balance.
I put you on the floor.
I thought you might--l don't know-- swallow
your tongue or something.
(nodding to Grady's robe)
I guess you really miss her, huh?
GRADY peers down at the geraniums blooming on the pockets
of the robe, its overall fuzziness.
Huh? Oh, no. This isn't Emily's. I just write
I guess there's probably a story behind that.
There is, but it's not that interesting.
James nods. Down the hallway, in another room, the
Want me to get that?
As James shuffles away in the sleeping bag, GRADY rises
delicately and turns toward the window, ..just in time to
see a POLICE CAR roil slowly by on the screen below.
He didn't give his name.
The guy on the phone.
What'd he say?
He wanted to know if a GRADY Trip? lived here
and drove a dark maroon 1966 Ford Galaxie 500
with black interior.
What'd you tell him?
Good, James. If the Zodiac killer calls, be
sure to mention the back door pops open with a
couple hard shakes to the right.
I thought maybe you'd won a radio contest or
something. Is that single-spaced?
James has noticed the towering stack of 20 Ib. bond on
That's a big book you're writing.
I think it's sort of writing itself at this
Wow, Hannah always swore you were working,
But . . . ?
Nothing, it's just that,, well, it's been
awhile since Arsonist's Daughter, and some
people--some of the kids in workshop--thought
maybe you were...
Ah. I don't believe in writer's block.
James takes another glance at the mammoth manuscript.
A LOUD HACKING is HEARD. GRADY and James turn, watch
Crabtree, wearing only a pair of striped boxers,
materialize in the hallway.
Good morning, boys. James.
James waves feebly from beneath the sleeping bag.
(re: James' "attire")
If-you 're planning on staying for breakfast,
I'd put on something a little less comfortable
if I were you.
As GRADY moves to his desk to reacquaint himself with the
page curling from the typewriter, James continues to stare
into the emptiness of the hallway. The sight of CRABTREE
seems to have made him suddenly queasy.
How did I get here last night?
No one seems to know where you live, James.
Hannah thought you'd like my couch.
And ...and before that. Did I do anything?
Well, James, you did shoot the Head of the
English Department's dog and steal his most
prized piece of memorabilia.
As James contemplates this, the DOORBELL RINGS. GRADY
looks up, sees the POLICE CAR he noticed earlier, now
parked at the bottom of his driveway.
Do yourself a favor, James ...Hide.
46 EXT. FRONT PORCH
A POLICEMAN not much older than James Leer waits. As the
door opens, GRADY
(eyeing Grady's robe)
Professor Tripp? Sorry to bother you, sir, but
I understand you attended an event at Sara and
Walter Gaskell's house last night and were one
of the last to leave...
47 INT. LANDING - SAME TIME 47
James lurks at the top of the stairs, swaddled in the
sleeping bag, straining to hear.
OFFICER PUPCIK (O.S.)
...was just wondering if maybe you saw anyone.
Someone you didn't know. Who seemed out of
place. Suspicious maybe...
48 EXT. FRONT PORCH
GRADY is scratching his head in mock thought.
Well, there's always people you don't know at
these things, but I can't say there was anybody
particularly suspicious. ..Wait. There was one
guy. Tiny fella. Claimed to be a jockey.
A jockey? You mean, like--
Horses, right. Vernon something...
Pupcik stops on his pad, looks up.
I could be wrong. What happened anyway?
Huh? Oh, someone pulled a B&E on Dr. Gaskell's
closet. And the dog's missing.
We figure the perpetrator let him out. He's
blind and we figure he just wandered off and
got run over.
No, the dog.
Pupcik nods slowly, as if re-filing GRADY under "Dealing
One other thing. About this kid, this student
of yours- Leer--James Leer. You wouldn't know
how I could get in touch with him, would you?
I might have his number on campus.
That's all right. We'll find him.
Pete Pupcik smiles, tips his big blue police hat, and
turns away. GRADY frowns, starts to close the door...
HANNAH GREEN (O.S.)
There you are...
GRADY stiffens, then turns to find Hannah Green across
the room in her t-shirt and cowboy boots, looking ail dewy-
eyed and delectable.
I thought we were going to talk. Last night.
Oh. Well. I...
Hannah stretches and the t-shirt slides dangerously up
It's okay. ..I'm here when you want me.
GRADY stands frozen as Hannah smiles sleepily, pushes
through the swinging door into the kitchen. A THUMPING is
heard as James, tangled in the sleeping bag, hitches down
the last few steps of the stairway. He watches Pete Pupcik
drive away in his big police car.
What do we do now?
#####Before GRADY can reply, .the TELEPHONE sitting on the table next to him
Grady, it's Sara. Thank God you're there. You
won't believe what's happened.
Could you hold on a minute, honey?
With a look of wonderment, GRADY watches his hand ever-
so- gently ...hang up the phone.
How 'bout we get the hell out of here?
49 EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MORNING (MOMENTS LATER)
James, now wearing one of Grady's flannel shirts beneath
his ratty overcoat, follows Grady-to the Galaxie, knapsack
swinging from his shoulder. GRADY tosses him a ring of
You start her up.
As GRADY runs a plastic WEDGE over the GLAZE of ice
blanketing the windshield, James stares curiously at the
keys, as if they were some strange artifact, then slides
behind the steering wheel.
(as the engine roars)
Well done, James.
As GRADY works, James' face comes into view, then ...the
wedge SNAPS, splintering into the flesh of Grady's hand.
James blinks, pokes his head out the window.
You're bleeding. Professor Tripp.
50 INT. AISLE - MARKET - MORNING (LATER)
GRADY and James stand in the sundries aisle of a
neighborhood MARKET. GRADY
has a TIN of BAND-AIDS open and is presently plastering
his ragged thumb.
Where exactly do you live, James?
James, in the midst of chugging from a 64-OUNCE JUG of
ORANGE JUICE, stops.
Apparently not even Hannah Green has a clue as
to the location of your apartment.
GRADY tosses the tin of band-aids into a small plastic
hand basket, begins to move down the aisle.
I got kicked out. Well, not exactly kicked
out. I was asked to leave.
I guess there's probably a story behind that.
There is, but it's not that interesting.
So where have you been staying?
(a long pause)
The bus station.
GRADY stares incredulously at James.
It's not -so bad. I know the night janitor.
And there's a broken locker I can put my stuff.
(trying to fathom this)
But James. I mean. ..How long?
A couple weeks. That's why... that's why I had
the gun. For protection.
Jesus, James, you should've told someone.
I don't know...
GRADY drops the basket at the check-out counter and,
abruptly, finds himself face to face with a BABY, lolling
on the shoulder of the woman before him. The baby is
staring, spellbound, at a display of...Q'S LATEST
frowns, then detects the true source of enchantment: a
spray of SHINY MYLAR GIFT BALLOONS.
A thought evolves.
What do you think of these?
James takes another chug from his jug, nods.
51 EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - MORNING
Grady, squinting through the ten-inch panel of cleared
ice on the windshield, roils slowly up onto the curb in
front of Walter and Sara Gaskell's house ...then off.
52 INT. GALAXIE - CONTINUOUS
GRADY pops the glovebox, takes out a PEN, and scratches
something on the GIFT CARD attached to the BALLOON. James
glances briefly at a plump ZIPLOC OF POT stashed in the
glovebox, then peers at the house.
GRADY gets out, then pauses, glancing at the giant orange
juice jug between James legs. It's about half-down.
You better ease off that stuff, James. It's
James takes a powdered donut that lies on his coat,
studies it curiously.
I can't help myself. I don't know what's the
matter with me.
Shit, James, you're hungover. What do you
think's the matter with you?
As GRADY turns away, James ponders this, then considers
the ring of white sugar imprinted on his coat and re-sets
the donut in precisely the same place.
53 INT. GREENHOUSE - MOMENT LATER
Through the steamy panes, we SEE GRADY approach with the
balloon, enter. He crosses to a high table, sets the
balloon down, and steps back, considering the placement.
GRADY jumps--startled--and turns. Sara has materialized
behind a ficus, large POTTING GLOVES on her hands.
I can't believe you hung up on me, you dick.
Totally. I'm sorry. A lot was happening this
morning. Can you talk?
Sara nods, moves the ficus to another table.
Walter's on campus, being the good soldier for
WordFest. But he's a basket case. Someone stole
Marilyn's jacket last night. And Poe's missing,
You heard? How?
A twelve-year-old policeman came by the house
Did you confess?
GRADY looks up, mildly alarmed.
Your fingerprints were all over the bedroom.
Really? That was fast.
I'm kidding. Hello?
Oh. Right. Ha. Listen, about last night. There
is something I need to tell...
Are you limping? Why are you limping?
Hub? Oh, well, that's part of what I need to .
Did you pass out again, Grady? Did you fall
No. I mean. Well, actually, yes. Sort of. I
don't remember. Listen, Sara, I have to tell
Sara settles back, folds her arms. Waiting.
As GRADY stares into Sara's eyes, things begin to blur.
...want to be with you.
Sara looks at him.
Gee, Grady, that sounded so heartfelt. I
don't know whether to swoon or smirk.
Really, Sara, I...
Sara holds up one gloved hand.
I believe you. I believe you want to be with
me. But this is not just about me anymore.
I know that. I know what's at stake here...
No, I don't think you do. And besides... I
haven't decided yet.
About the baby.
That ...and you.
GRADY goes still, watches Sara strip off the gloves, drop
them on a table.
I'm not going to draw the map for you on this
one, Grady. Times like these you have to do
your own navigating.
Sara turns to leave, then stops, squinting far down the
Who's that sitting in your car?
What's he doing out there?
I'm sort of helping him work through some
Sara raises an eyebrow, then pushes through the door.
Isn't he lucky.
GRADY watches her ripple across the glass, head for the
house, and wave. James, slumped low in the Galaxie, offers
a limp hand in return, but it's too late.
She's already gone.
54 INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - LATER 54
GRADY cradles the wheel in his bandaged paw, while James
sits stiffly, the orange juice jug bobbing between his
She seemed to take it pretty well.
Yeah, well, actually. . .
James looks over.
The moment didn't really present itself.
James nods, unsurprised, then turns back to the window,
staring at the landscape, still sitting oddly still. GRADY
glances at him. At the orange juice jug.
You' re not planning on puking in my car, are
Don't be proud, James. We're in Sewickley
Heights. We could find you a nice golf course
to barf on.
GRADY looks over, surprised by the James' tone. James
blinks, looks embarrassed.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
I mean. I'm fine. I'm sorry. I just...
James peers out the window at passing landscape.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
I've got a thing about, ..places like this. I
know what those houses are like. I know what
the people are like.
Your aunt ?
James turns, eyes flashing with surprise.
Hannah mentioned something about an aunt.
James nods vaguely, then reaches into the ashtray, takes
a JOINT between his fingers, sniffs it.
It's my father. He gets it from his doctor.
Jesus, James. Wow.
James puts the joint back in the ashtray.
It's a bit of a scandal. My parents live in a
Carvel? Where's Carvel?
I never heard of it.
It's a hellhole. Three motels and a mannequin
factory. My dad worked there for thirty-five
Your father worked in a mannequin factory?
Seitz Plastics. That's where he met my morn.
She was a fry cook in the cafeteria. Before
that, she'd been a dancer.
What kind of dancer? .
Whatever kind they wanted her to be.
James Leer, are you telling me your mother was
I'm telling you what I was told by my uncle.
And he should know. He ran half a dozen men's
clubs in Baltimore before he skipped town on a
Didn't you say your Mom went to Catholic
When we fall, we fall hard.
GRADY takes the joint from the ashtray, lights it, then
notices-with surprise--James has his hand out.
I thought you were the guy who didn't like to
lose control of his emotions.
Maybe I just needed the moment to present
55 EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD (KINSHIP) - DAY .(ONE HOUR LATER)
GRADY glides down the graceful, tree-lined streets of a
modest, but well-kept neighborhood. James still has the
JOINT-now only a tiny nub-pinched between his fingers.
This is so nice. It's like where Andy Hardy
would live. What's it called again?
Kinship. And what's here?
Unless I miss my bet...my wife.
James' heavy eyelids flutter with surprise.
The one that left you?
That's right. That one.
56 EXT. FRONT PORCH - WINTERS FAMILY HOUSE
GRADY RAPS on the front door, then cups his hands against
the glass of the living room window, squints inside.
Nothing. As he turns away, GRADY sees James sitting on the
hood of the Galaxie with the box of powdered donuts. He's
sitting in the indentation.
Someone jumped on your car with their butt ..-
How can you tell?
You can see the outline of a butt.
As GRADY nods, James holds out the donut box.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
Want one. They're incredible. Incredible.
Smoke the rest of that joint, James, and you
can start on the box.
58 EXT. BACK PORCH - BACK YARD (MOMENTS LATER)
As GRADY steps onto the back porch, James follows.
Maybe she didn't come here.
She came here. We'll just wait. In the
meantime, I need you to shimmy through.
James stares at the "Doggy Door" cut into the back porch
Relax. Emily hasn't carried a house key since
she was twelve years old. And your hips are as
slim as hers.
It's not that. It just reminded me of-- you
know-of what's in the car. In the trunk.
(a pang of guilt himself)
Oh. Right. Well, let's try not to think about
James takes another sad glance at the little door, then
drops onto ail fours.
59 INT. LIVING ROOM - WINTERS HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY leads James through the house. Everything about it
speaks of family. Even the furniture seems arranged so that
people will gather together, light a fire, talk.
It feels really... good. ..here.
I know. It's the house you want to wake up in
on Christmas morning.
Make yourself at home. I'll be right back.
60 INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 60
Grady, laboring badly on his ankle", enters and finds a
DUFFEL BAG open on the floor, its contents a tangle of
quickly-packed clothes. Everything else in the room feels
of another time. PHOTOGRAPHS are everywhere, documenting a
PRETTY GIRL'S life, from first recital to cap and gown.
One photograph lies face down. GRADY turns it over and
finds the pretty girl grown into a beautiful young woman,
standing in a white gown next to a younger Grady--on their
61 INT. DEN
James enters, FRENCH ROLL in hand, and sees a REMOTE
CONTROL atop the BAR. Taking it, he points it at the WIDE-
SCREEN TELEVISION imbedded in the opposite wall and,
seconds later, GEORGE SANDERS walks into his CLOSE-UP.
There's no such thing as a good influence, Mr.
Gray. All influence is immoral...
62 INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - SAME TIME
Grady, a PINK PRINCESS PHONE to his ear, lies on the bed
next to a huge TEDDY BEAR.
Yes, I' m looking for the Chancellor... I
don't know. She should be in the main hall
63 INT. DEN
James runs through the channels, pauses on MARTIN MILNER
and GEORGE MAHARIS, riding in their curvy Corvette.
64 INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - SAME TIME
A Nelson Riddle's THEME FROM ROUTE 66 BOOMS from below,
cups a hand over his ear.
Sara? Hi. It's Grady.
Where are you, Grady? An elevator?
I'm in Kinship. Listen, Sara, there's some
things we need to talk about...
You're in Kinship?
Yes. But that's not why I called...
What? No'. There's no one here. I'm just
Just what? Doing a little dusting?
As GRADY endeavors to respond, TWO YOUTHFUL VOICES,
CHEERFULLY SINGING, rise from below.
Good Morning! Good Morning!
James! For Christ sake, will you turn that
James? He's still with you?
65 INT. DEN
James, in the midst of pouring himself a tumbler of
Bushmills, smiles as JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY sing
their hearts out in Babes In Arms.
We talked the whole night through!
66 INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM
GRADY shakes his head, carries the phone toward the
Look, Sara. ..I'm not here. ..I'm not here to
. . .
As GRADY watches, a late-model PONTIAC BONNEVIlLE turns
into the driveway below him.
...reconcile with Emily.
Are you there to not reconcile with her?
The Bonneville's trunk pops open, revealing THREE BAGS OF
GROCERIES, and HANK and IRENE WINTERS, both in their 60's,
get out. An enormous NEWFOUNDLAND vaults from the backseat.
Sara, eating phone static this whole time, interprets
Grady's silence her own way.
SARA'S VOICE (cont'd)
No. Sara, you don't understand...
Trust me, I understand. I just want to say
something to you, Grady.
How you choose to live your own life is your
business. But you be careful with that boy,
Grady. With James. He belongs to somebody else.
As the line goes dead, GRADY watches Hank and Irene
Winters disappear below him.
69 INT. DEN 69
James--Irish whiskey in one hand, the pride of Humboldt
County in the other--watches with deep absorption as Judy
and Mickey have a heartfelt conversation. Then, sensing
something ...he turns.
Hank and Irene Winters, grocery bags in arm, stand
FOOTSTEPS are HEARD on the staircase and GRADY hobbies
into view. He tries a smile.
70 INT. DEN - WINTERS HOUSE - (A BIT LATER)
Hank Winters emerges from the bathroom with a roll of
tape, a bottle of alcohol, and some cotton wool.
Well, it's infected, I can tell you that. I'm
just going to clean it up a bit. It's up to you
to-find someone who knows what they're doing.
Here. Put your foot up.
GRADY puts his foot up on Hank's lazy-Boy, then notices a
BOOK lying face down on the seat. The AUTHOR on the back
cover looks as if he's trying very hard to look
consequential. To his surprise, GRADY realizes the author
So he's one of your students, this boy?
GRADY glances into the living room, where James and Irene
sit on a long couch together, sipping something hot. James
is looking out the window, a curious expression on his
face. GRADY looks out his own window, sees the Newfoundland
sniffing curiously at-the Galaxie's trunk. When he glances
back into the living room, he and James make brief eye
contact, then blink, look away.
Yes. He's a good kid. Maybe a little messed
Well, I'm sure with the proper guidance he'll
GRADY tries to read Hank's face---is he messing with
him?--but Hank gives nothing away. GRADY nods to the book.
What made you pull out that old thing?
I was thinking of you.
It's no Arsonist's Daughter, but I guess you
know that. It's a young man's book. It got me
remembering how it felt to be young.
Maybe I should read it.
Oh, I don't think there's any danger of you
aging prematurely, Grady.
GRADY doesn't have to read Hank's face this time.
Where's Emily, Hank?
I 'don't know if she'd want me to tell you
I'm not going to stalk her. Hank. I just.
..want to know where I stand.
Hank looks up, incredulous.
Where you stand?
l-just want to say I'm sorry.
She's in Philadelphia seeing Linda Aahby. The
Neurologist? Why? What's wrong?
Nothing's wrong. They went to Wellesley
Oh. Right. Linda ...I haven't been doing a lot
of sleeping lately. My editor's in town and I
have the book to finish and--
Ah, right. The book.
GRADY starts to continue, then stops, cowed by something
in Hank's tone, something dismissive. Instead, he looks
away, toward the living room, and catches sight of James
again, sitting alone now with his big cup of cocoa.
Listen, Hank, I'm sorry about ail this. I
didn't come here to upset you and Irene. I want
you to know that.
Why did you come here, Grady?
GRADY gestures vaguely.
I -just wanted to see her, I guess-- Emily.
And to see you too-you and Irene. And to let
everyone know that, even though it may be
difficult to comprehend now, this-everything
that's happening-it's not forever. It doesn't
Give me a break, Grady.
Hank snaps off the tape, slaps Grady's ankle.
71 INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - DUSK 71
GRADY glowers darkly at the road, then puts his hand up
against the HEATING VENT which, apparently, is not putting
out any heat.
I'm having a really good time, Professor
GRADY glances over, sees James burrowing into the Ziploc.
I'm really happy for you, James. But do me a
favor, will you? Lay off my dope. That stuff's
not for amateurs.
James looks at Ziploc as GRADY fiddles with the heat
I just wanted a little sip.
(squinting at him)
I just wanted a little sip? Tell me, James,
exactly what point was it that you turned into
Probably about the time you gave me the
codeine pills last night.
GRADY stops with the heater, glances over at James, whose
face bears not the slightest trace of irony.
(thinking, then. . . )
Look, James, you appear to possess-like many
an aspiring writer before you, by the way-a
rather ardent affinity for the stuff of which
dreams are made. However, I 'think it's best
if, for the moment at least
(taking the Ziploc)
You're mad at me, aren't you?
You're mad because I shot your girlfriend's
It wasn't her dog. It's her husband's--
Who said anything about girlfriend?
James eyes shift slowly, as if to 'say: Who are you
Okay, James, I wish you hadn't shot my
girlfriend's dog. Even though Poe and I weren't
exactly what you'd call simpatico, that's no
reason for him to take two in the chest. Still,
the fact remains that I'm the one who took you
up into the Chancellor's bedroom. I'm the one
who has to take the blame. I- don't know what
the hell I was thinking.
Sure you do. You were thinking: 'That's no cap
gun in that kid's overcoat.' You were thinking
'I can't let that kid get on. the bus alone-he
might never get on the bus again.' You were
thinking: 'I've got to find a way to distract
this kid. ' So you did. It was--in its way--a
Thanks for the halo, James, but I've . never
done that much thinking ahead in my" life-ever.
James looks -out the window, pondering this.
So, why did you take me up there?
(feeling for the heat again)
I -don' t know, James . I don' t know why I do
half the things I do. Who does?
Why do you wear that coat?
James looks down, a little defensive.
James, fall semester, first day of class, it
was 95 degrees and you were wearing the coat.
James just blinks, no ready answer-available.
That's why they all give you such a hard time
Because of my coat?
Because you act like a goddamn spook all the
time. Not to mention the fact that every last
one of them is jealous of you.
Jealous? Of me?
Not you. Your talent.
James' face hardens. He looks away.
The hell I am.
Yes you are. My stuff stinks. I know it. You
said so yourself.
I never said that.
Yes you did. Last night. To your friend
Crabtree. "Is he any good?" he said. And you
said: "Not yet he isn't." I heard you myself.
I didn't mean it that way.
It's okay, Professor Tripp. Carrie, Howard,
the others--they 're right. My stories are
annoying. They go on and on and on, and the
longer they go on the more annoying they
become, until finally you just want to grab
something heavy and--
Shut up, James. You're annoying. Carrie and
Howard don't know what the fuck they're talking
about, okay? The entire class combined-
including the lovely Hannah Green-has about one
tenth of one percent the talent you have, okay?
James stares blankly at Grady, then turns his face to the
window. He ponders Grady's words, the praise inherent in
them. A hint of pleasure glints in his eyes.
But, last night...
Who cares what-. I said last night, James I I
was drunk, I was stoned. I'd been bitten by a
dog. My wife had left me. How 'bout cutting me
And don't be so goddamn sensitive. Who cares
what anybody thinks anyway? You want to .be a
good writer? You want to be-a great writer?
Then stop giving a damn what other people
think. Most of them haven't thought in .years.
James turns, studies Grady's face as it flickers in the
first headlights of the evening.
Let me spell it .out for you, James. Books
don't mean anything. Not to anybody. Not
Arsonist's Daughter meant something.
GRADY smiles contemptuously.
I mean it. It means something to me. It's one
of the reasons I came to school here. To be in
your class. To be taught by you.
It's one of the reasons I wanted to become a
GRADY stares ahead, watching the darkness tumble away
before the wide sweep of the Galaxie's headlights.
Well, for that, if nothing else, James, I'm
72 EXT. COFFEE SHOP/MOTEL - OFF THE HIGHWAY - EVENING
GRADY rolls into a space near the coffee shop and James
slides out. GRADY
stays put, hands still on the wheel.
In a minute. Get us a table.
James nods, pushes past the glass doors into the coffee
shop, and a big REDHEAD in a waitress cap leads him to a
table with a view of the highway. GRADY
watches James-- stick figure in black brogues--slide into
the booth and open his big, laminated menu.
Finally, as if concluding some internal debate, GRADY
kicks open his door, steps out.
73INT/ EXT. PHONE BOOTH - PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY rests his forehead against the PAYPHONE as he
C-a-r-v-e-I. That's right, Carvel. Yes, I'm
sure. It's outside Scranton.
GRADY straightens up, takes a peek at James, sitting by
himself on the far side of the coffee shop.
You have no listing. Okay, well, lady-- at
this very moment, as we speak, I'm looking of a
resident of Carvel, Pennsylvania. I think he'd
be pretty interested to learn that the good
people of Bell Atlantic have misplaced his
entire hometown. It's not like I'm making this
up as I go along--
GRADY stops, his own words ringing in his head.
Never mind. My mistake.
74 EXT. GALAXIE - PARKING LOT 74
GRADY upends James' knapsack, sifts through: An
AUTOGRAPHED POSTCARD of FRANCES FARMER. A wrinkled box of
CHICLETS. Nothing. Then he notices ERROL FLYNN'S eyebrows
peeking at him from the knapsack's side pouch.
He takes the book, opens it. Bingo. A library notice:
James Seiwyn Leer is three weeks overdue. Under ADDRESS it
says only: "On File." But if one was to dial the PHONE
NUMBER, odds are it won't be the night janitor at the
Greyhound depot who picks up.
75 INT. BOOTH - COFFEE SHOP - NIGHT (LATER)
The remains of a FRIED CLAM SANDWICH sit before James as
he turns his attention to a GIANT PIECE OF LEMON MERINGUE
PIE. GRADY sips only coffee, stealing glances at the cars
that whip by on the highway beyond the window.
Want a bite?
That's why you're having them. Your spells.
Spells? Jesus, James, you make it sound like
we're in a Tennessee Williams play. I don't
What would you call them then?
I don't know. ...'Episodes.'
James shrugs, spears a fluffy chunk of pie.
It's because you don't eat.
When nobody's looking.
GRADY watches a pair of headlights approach...
(mouth full, garbled)
I just worry about you, that's all.
...then pass. James' words finally register. GRADY looks
You just worry about yourself, James. Okay?
Just then, a long, pale WAND of LIGHT splinters against
the coffee shop windows and a CAR sweeps into the parking
lot. GRADY follows it with his eyes, rises.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
Where you going?
Nowhere. You just sit here and... eat.
GRADY moves off, then stops, looking back at James and
his giant piece of pie, still troubled by his words.
76 EXT. COFFEE SHOP/MOTEL
As GRADY limps out of the coffee shop, he finds an OLDER
MAN in a TUXEDO standing in the open door of a gleaming
BLACK MERCEDES. Beyond him, in the front passenger seat, a
WOMAN in MINK examines her eye shadow in the tiny mirror of
the sun visor.
(eyeing GRADY dubiously)
Fred Leer. This is my wife Amanda.
(re: their clothes)
Looks like I've dashed a-wonderful evening.
We were on our way to a benefit. But, as luck
would have it, the club was on the way, so...
(snapping shut the visor)
We were able to put in an appearance.
Otherwise we would've been here earlier.
Ah. Well, that's ail right. James and I 'had a
Well, certainly we'll reimburse you.
That's not necessary. I just felt. ..it might
be good for James to be with his family this
Well, of course, we can understand that.
GRADY considers the two glittering ghosts before him.
They seem to be waiting. Just waiting.
Well. Let me go get him.
GRADY turns for the coffee shop, then stops, looks back.
I "hope you won't consider this forward of me,
Amanda, but I wonder if I might ask. ..did you
ever attend Catholic school?
Amanda Leer's eyes narrow ever-so-slightly.
77 INT. BOOTH - COFFEE SHOP77
James is glowering at the parking lot as GRADY returns.
I'm not going with them..
James. Listen. Things-things are a little
weird with me right now and I-- well--I have
enough blame to shoulder these days without
having to take the blame if something bad
happened to you. And if you hang around me long
enough, something bad is going to happen, trust
me. That's why I need you to go home.
I'm not going, with them.
James, like it or not, they're your parents.
Parents? They're not my parents. They're my
grandparents. My parents are dead.
GRADY stares at-James wearily.
I swear. My father had his own airplane he
used to fly up to Quebec. One Christmas, he and
my mom were flying up to our house in the
Laurentians when the plane went down. It was in
GRADY doesn't flinch, unpersuaded.
I 'swear. My father was a senior vice
president at Dravo. My mother was a socialite.
Her maiden name was Guggenheim.
GRADY starts to protest, then pauses.
I remember that. Five or six years ago.
Six. Their plane went down right outside
I'm sorry about all that. I just-I don't like
to talk about my family. They treat me like a
(nodding towards Amanda)
She makes me sleep in. the basement of my own house. It's
mine. My parents left it to me.
GRADY glances toward the parking lot, studies the
contours of Fred Leer's face. Frowns.
James, come on. That man is obviously your
father. You look just like him.
James looks down at the table, takes a deep breath, and
speaks in a voice heavy with implication.
There's a reason for that.
Grady's addled brain grapples with this dark little
riddle, finally deciphers what James is suggesting.
Get out of here.
That's why she hates me. That's why she makes
me sleep in the basement.
In the crawl space, with the rats and the
casks of Amontillado. Come on. Up.
As GRADY lifts him from the booth, James attempts a
plaintive tone, but his heart's not in it.
78 EXT. COFFEE SHOP - MOMENTS LATER 78
As Fred Leer SLAMS the back door of the Mercedes, GRADY
waves vaguely, peers into the darkness of the back seat.
Thank you. Professor Tripp.
Take care of him.
Oh, don't worry. We'll take care of him. You
can be sure of that.
Fred Leer hits the gas and swings the Mercedes around in
a tight little arc, feathering Grady's pants--from the knee
down--with a pudding of ICE and MUD. GRADY glances down at
his spattered self, then notices, sitting on the front
passenger seat, James' knapsack. GRADY grabs it, turns.
GRADY'S POV - REAR WINDOW
as the Mercedes begins to pull away and James turns,
elbows on the back dash, his pale face slack. Spying Grady,
he raises one limp hand, and then-as if it were held by a
string-lets it drop.
79 EXT. PARKING LOT - MQTEL/COFFEE SHOP - A. BIT LATER
GRADY sits in-the GREEN GLOW of .the radio dial, smoking
a joint. He glances at the knapsack, sees James'
The Love Parade
He reaches in, takes the manuscript and, in the light
that rains from the PARKING LAMP overhead, begins to read.
80 EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT (LATER) 80
Grady's HOUSE looks like a three-dollar whore on a block
full of nuns. MUSIC BLARES, LIGHT BLAZES from every window,
and there are so many CARS GRADY is forced to leave the
Galaxie in the middle of the street.
81 INT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
Times Square before the ball drops. GRADY enters, scans
the room, then shoulders his way to the stairs.
82 INT. GRADY'S OFFICE
Hannah Green sits on the sofa, twisting a long strand of
hair around her finger as she reads a THICK MANUSCRIPT.
She slaps the page she is reading back onto the stack at
her thigh. GRADY
stares. The manuscript. It's his.
I know I shouldn't have, but there it was,
just sort of lying out, and I couldn't resist
No, it's okay. I just can't believe I left it
out in the open like that. CRABTREE hasn't been
in here, has he? Poking around?
I don't know--maybe- I don't think so.
Grady's mind races with unfortunate possibilities, but
only briefly: his immediate thoughts are elsewhere.
Listen, Hannah. You don't remember where that
aunt worked, do you? James' aunt.
He shot the Chancellor's dog, didn't he? The
Actually, He's not the Chancellor' s--What?
At first the police thought he just ran away,
but this afternoon Dr. Gaskell found some blood
spots on the carpet -
CRABTREE said it sounded like something James
would be messed up in.
Crabtree? He doesn't even know James.
Just then, Crabtree's VOICE bellows in the hallway
Trip?! Where are you'
GRADY looks anxiously toward the door.
The aunt, Hannah. Where did you take James
I told you, Sewickly Heights.
But where? I need the street.
I don't know, Grady. I just dropped him on a
As GRADY starts to turn away, Hannah hooks her finger
inside his belt buckle.
No! Don't go. I've been waiting ail night for
GRADY looks at Hannah's hand, where it rests. He looks
Listen, Hannah, I'm flattered, really, but
right now I--
Tripp, where the hell. . .
CRABTREE stops, takes in the tableau before him.
Oh, I'm sorry. Am I interrupting a. student-
GRADY delicately removes Hannah's hand from his buckle,
points at Crabtree.
You stay there.
What? Ohhhh. Is that... it?
CRABTREE cocks his head toward the reams of paper stacked
on Grady's desk.
Honestly, Tripp. Do you actually think I would
sneak in here and read your book without asking
Gee, I don't know. Crabs. I don't seem to
remember you actually asking me if you could
invite 200 people over to trash my living room.
Sometimes we have to improvise.
Think, Hannah. Does James have any friends. I
mean, besides you and. ..me?
James? My James? What's happened?
Nothing, he's just been sort of, I don't
Kidnapped? By who?
Good God. Let's go rescue him.
Good idea. Crabs. Only one problem. I don't
know where they live.
Ah. Wait a minute. The university must know
where he lives.
It's a little late to call Admissions.
Is it a little late to call the Chancellor?
Maybe ...I don't know.
Two-sixty-two Baxter Drive.
GRADY and CRABTREE turn, see Hannah sitting on the corner
of Grady's desk with the WHITE PAGES open on her lap.
HANNAH GREEN (cont'd)
They're in the book.
83 INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - TEN MINUTES LATER
CRABTREE snaps James' manuscript closed.
You know--based on what I've read-- this is a
very exciting piece of material, this Big
Love. It's Love facade--and what do you mean
'based on what you've read'? You skimmed two
chapters at 80 miles an hour while gargling
I've been doing this a long time, Tripp. I
feel this kid in my bones.
Only in your bones?
GRADY smirks, glances at Crabtree, but gets a surprise;
CRABTREE offers no snappy come-back, no antic wordplay. He
just stares out the window, his voice distant.
No. I think I might be right. I've felt it
As Crabtree's voice trails off, GRADY studies him.
How bad is it for you?
Bad enough. And God knows I don't exactly fit
the new corporate profile.
GRADY and CRABTREE look at each other a moment, then
CRABTREE smiles, gives a little shrug, and picks up James'
knapsack, rummaging through the contents.
So tell me about you and the Chancellor.
What's to tell?
Plenty, I'm sure. But, for what it's worth...
CRABTREE fishes out the biography of Erroll Flynn, gives
it a look.
...I like her.
GRADY peers at the stars, his voice barely audible.
84 EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS 84-
The battered Galaxie floats up a narrow road, gliding
through a canyon of mansion walls and the occasional
winding drive. Up ahead a stone post marker with the
numerals "262." GRADY kills the headlights.
This is it.
84A EXT. LEER HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
Grady--limping like an aging prizefighter--leads CRABTREE
up a steep incline toward an enormous three-story house.
The Leer's Mercedes gleams in the shadows.
Jesus. There must be two dozen windows on .
that thing. How are we-supposed to find his?
I told you. They keep him chained in the
basement. Come on.
85 EXT. REAR - LEER HOUSE
LIGHT GLOWS from a low BASEMENT WINDOW. From one side, a
WOMAN is HEARD SINGING. GRADY and CRABTREE pause, listen.
Why should I care though he gave me the air?
Why should I cry, heave a sigh, and wonder why?
And wonder why?
CRABTREE and GRADY look at each other.
GRADY moves to the window and RAPS on the glass. A moment
later, James peeks out. Seeing Grady, his face brightens
briefly, unguarded, then quickly resumes its usual Leerian
aspect. He motions with his hand, as if to say, "That way."
86 EXT. BASEMENT DOOR
The DOOR swings open to reveal James Leer, decked out in
a pair of RED, INK-STAINED PAJAMAS sagging badly in the
seat. He looks like one of Santa's elves.
Hey. What are you guys doing here?
We're springing you. Leer. Get some pants on.
As they step inside, GRADY gives James' PJs the once-
I can't believe you made fun of my robe.
87 INT. JAMES' ROOM - BASEMENT 87
Electric CANDELABRAS light a large converted cellar whose
walls are crowded with MOVIE POSTERS and LOBBY CARDS. There
are STACKS of what look suspiciously like LIBRARY BOOKS and
an enormous BAROQUE BED, complete with CANOPY.
I like what you've done with it. When's
Captain Nemo moving in?
The candelabras were my Gran's.
Oh, Christ, don't start on ol' Gran or we'll
leave you here.
Hey, I heard all about it--the parents, the
grandparents, the China town thing-- and I
believe you, okay? That's why we're here. Now
go get dressed.
James scoops up the shirt GRADY lent him. this morning.
Can I--I mean--do you mind--if I wear this
again. Professor Tripp?
Ah, wear whatever you want.
James flinches, stung, then disappears into a bathroom.
(nosing around the room)
Oh, come on, Tripp. Cut the kid some slack.
It's just ail that crap he spins out. Just
once I'd like to know if the little bastard is
telling the truth.
The-truth. I know that's always been real
important to you. Key, check this out...
CRABTREE leans over an old ROYAL TYPEWRITER, reads from
the freshly-typed PAGE curling from the carriage.
Finally, the door opened. It-was a shock to:
see him, shuffling into the room like an aging
prizefighter. Limping. Beaten.'
(with an amused smile)
Sound like anyone we know?
But it was later, when the great man squinted
into the bitter glow or twilight...
Bitter glow of twilight? This kid definitely
needs an editor.
...and muttered simply, "It means nothing. All of it.
Nothing," that the true shock came. It was then that the
boy understood that his hero's true injuries lay hidden in
a darker place. His heart...'
CRABTREE stops abruptly.
Yes? 'His heart...'
CRABTREE hesitates, then... reads on:
'His heart, once capable of inspiring others
so completely, could no longer inspire so much
as itself. It beat now only out of habit. It
beat now only because it could. '
GRADY nods, his face unreadable, then James returns.
James stops, sees the two men looking at him.
You all right, Professor Tripp?
He's great. Come on, let's blow before ol'
Gran decides to boil your bones for breakfast.
Oh, well, that's just it. She's been coming
down here, every half hour or so, to, sort of,
check on me. If I'm not here, she might ...call
the police or.. .something.
Hhhuh. So we decoy her. Stick a couple pillows
and one of your teddy bears under the spread
and she won't know the difference.
Yeah. Like in Against All Flags. Only they use
a couple big hams.
CRABTREE and James turn.
I've got something better than a teddy bear.
CUT TO: POE -- as he's lowered delicately onto James'
88 INT. JAMES' ROOM - BASEMENT (A FEW MINUTES LATER)
GRADY strategically arranges the coverlet, gently
adjusting Poe's head so only a TUFT of FUR shows. He steps
back, joining CRABTREE and James for an assessment.
Sweet dreams, Jimmy.
89 EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - LATER
The lights are still blazing, the front door is wide
open, but not a soul remains.
90 INT. LIVING ROOM
A quiet disaster, the only sound an LP playing meekly on
the STEREO. James passes through first, ignoring the
TORTILLA CHIPS POPPING under his shoes, then CRABTREE and
Things must've picked up after we left.
CRABTREE pats Grady's cheek, heads upstairs.
91 INT. HALLWAY
Crabtree's door is closing as GRADY hobbles into view.
(sticking his head out)
GRADY looks down, sees James Leer's black brogues sitting
on the floor outside Crabtree's door.
The door closes, the LATCH CLICKS, and GRADY is left
alone, the bossa nova floating softly in the air.
92 INT. HANNAH'S ROOM
Hannah Green lies tangled in the sheets, surrounded by
little colonies of Grady's manuscript. GRADY studies her,
then detects something on the floor. The red boots.
Delicately, he lifts the sheet. Hannah Green's feet--
finally revealed in ail their naked glory--prove to be
thick, wide, and ordinary. GRADY
93 INT. GRADY'S OFFICE
The TV is on. GRADY steps to the doorway, pauses.
A HEAD cranes over the sofa. It's the Goatee Kid from
How are you--is it Joe?
Jeff. Sorry. I didn't even know this was your
house until about an hour ago.
Don't sweat it. Well. 'Night, Jeff.
Oh, Professor Tripp? You know, last semester,
what I said that time in office hours-I hope
there's no hard feelings.
I mean, I was breaking up with this girl at
the time and my car was ail fucked up and--
well--I was pretty bent in general.
It's cool, Jeff. Really.
I just want you to know that's why I dropped
your class and said all that shit about the
university stealing my money and you being a
94 EXT. PORCH - GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT (A BIT LATER)
GRADY sits quietly on the porch steps, a joint burning in
his fingers. To his left, perched atop a Haagen-Dazs
container, is a TELEPHONE. As he pulls it into his lap, a
LAMP in the living room pirouettes clumsily, spins free of
the cord, and SHATTERS on the floor.
GRADY blinks, looks away, and DIALS, just as. ..the
CLATTERING COUGH of an ENGINE is HEARD and a VAN appears.
Stenciled on its side panel is:
Kravnik's Sporting Goods
The van slows, almost coasting, then abruptly bursts past
Grady's house and disappears around the corner. GRADY
frowns, then realizes a MAN'S VOICE is coming from the
RECEIVER in his lap.
MAN (O.S. )
The VOICE is groggy. It is Walter Gaskell's voice.
GRADY says nothing, as if wondering what he's doing.
WALTER'S VOICE (cont'd)
Who's this ?
It's Grady, Walter.
GRADY Tripp. English Department.
I know it's you, Grady, I just... Christ,
Grady, do you know what time it -is?
(looking at his watch)
I have ...eight-fifteen. That's not right, is
It's three-thirty, Grady.
This is important.
What is it, Grady?
I'm in love with your wife.
Sara. I'm in love with her.
Silence. Then Walter's VOICE returns: even,
Are you drinking. Professor Tripp? Right now.
GRADY sips on his roach, responds in a pinched voice.
Nevertheless, I'd like to see you in my office
As the line goes dead, GRADY stares at the phone,
wondering if he has, in fact, just done what he thinks he's
95 EXT. GRADY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - SUNDAY MORNING (NEXT DAY)
A CAR rattles down the street, NEWSPAPERS pinwheeling
96 INT. GRADY'S OFFICE - SAME TIME
A heavy THHNK hits the driveway outside and GRADY blinks.
Sitting in his pink robe, bleary-eyed, he reconsiders the
piece of paper curling from his typewriter.
GRADY'S POV - of THE PAGE
It's obvious he's been sitting like this for some time.
Just then, the DISTINCTIVE PURR of an ENGINE is HEARD.
GRADY peers through the window, watches a CAB. glide to the
curb below. A Citroen DS23. Sara.
97 EXT. FRONT PORCH - GRADY'S HOUSE
GRADY steps onto the porch, unintentionally punting a
BOTTLE of Iron City Beer onto the front lawn..
I tried to call, but apparently there's
Sara leans down, replaces the uncradled phone.
...with your phone. Unfortunately, mine was
ringing loud and clear this morning.
GRADY doesn't know what this means, but he's pretty sure
it's not good.
It seems one of our students is - missing and
his parents found a dead dog in his bed.
(slumping to the porch)
I'm sorry, Sara. I've been trying to tell you.
It's all my-
Sara raises her hand, silencing him.
I'm not very happy with you right now, Grady.
But more importantly, Walter's not very happy
and he's gotten the police involved. They seem
to think James Leer is somehow responsible for
all of this. You wouldn't happen to know where
James is, would you, Grady?
And the jacket?
Over there. In the backseat of the...
Grady's hand hangs in mid-air, gesturing pointlessly to
the driveway, where the only thing that exists is an oil
stain roughly the shape of North Dakota.
Someone stole my car.
Honestly. Someone stole my car. I parked it
right there last night.
Are you sure you parked it there?
Of course, I'm sure. Ah, Christ, the puberty
police are back.
Sara turns, sees Officer Pupcik cruising to the curb.
I'll deal with this. You dig up James.
98 INT. CRABTREE'S ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
CRABTREE sits in bed, flipping through the pages of The
Love Parade while stroking a tiny TUFT of HAIR that is the
. sole visible part of .James Leer.
Is he awake?
I'm afraid he's pretty worn out, poor kid.
Nevertheless. There's a police officer
standing on the porch and I don't think he's
(from under the covers)
That same guy?
CRABTREE peels back the blankets and James Leer opens one
So I hear.
No offense, Professor Tripp, but you look
He's right, you look horrible.
Thank you, Frankie and Annette.
James swings his pale little legs to the floor and walks
bare assed across the room to retrieve his BVDs.
It's the Chancellor.
Ah, right. Well, I gave you my opinion.
And we both thank you for that, but we're...
I'm fine, right. Fit as a fucking fiddle.
GRADY squints at James as he pulls on his pants.
Shut up, James.
So what's the problem?
(a tad tense)
There is no problem. Did I say there was a
As James' head pops through Grady's fully-buttoned
flannel, he and CRABTREE
exchange a knowing glance, at once referring to and
SARA (0. S.)
How's it coming back there, Professor Tripp?
Who do you think it is?
The Chancellor's here? Now?
Does she mean--does she know about ...her dog?
It's Walter's dog and yes, she does. Know. But
let's spare her the details. Come on, your
shoes are in the hail.
James. This book of yours. It's not bad. Not
bad at all.
James stops, considers this piece of news with a look of
deep seriousness, then nods.
As James shuffles off into the hail, CRABTREE looks at
Grady, his eyes dancing with excitement.
I want to publish this. I've got to. I think
they'll let me. With a little editorial
guidance it could be brilliant.
Great. Between you and Officer Pupcik out
there he can be the next Jean Genet. It's been
awhile since somebody wrote a good book in
99 EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
Sara and GRADY stand by as Pete Pupcik deposits James in
the back of the squad car, SLAMS the door.
As I told the Chancellor, Professor, I'm. just going to
run James here over to the university. It'll be up to Dr.
Gaskell where we go from there.
GRADY nods, leans in the window to James.
Don't worry, James, I'll figure something out.
I'm not worried. You're not worried, are you.
I'm a little worried, James.
Don't be. I don't care if they expel me. I
probably should be expelled.
Well, let's see if we can keep that from
James nods and GRADY starts to step back from the car.
Even if I end up going to jail....
James smiles his crooked grin.
JAMES LEER (cont'd)
You're still the best teacher I ever had.
On this, Pete Pupcik pulls away, leaving GRADY standing
on the curb, watching the back of James' head, framed in
the rear window of the police car, growing smaller.
This is not what the university has in mind
when it promises a liberal education, Grady.
Would Walter really press charges?
It's within the realm. He takes his souvenirs
pretty seriously. And he was just a wee bit
prickly this morning.
Grady, detecting something in Sara's tone, turns, watches
her take a drag on her cigarette.
You didn't happen to call the house last
night, did you, Grady?
I think I might have.
And what do you think you might have said?
I think I might've said I was in love with
Sara's face remains .unchanged.
He told you.
He told me.
And what did you say?
I said it didn't sound like you.
Sara tosses her cigarette in .the gutter, gets into her
car, and dives away. GRADY looks after her sadly, then
turns, sees CRABTREE standing on the porch wearing a shirt
which claims "Ativan Chases the Clouds Away."
So- what do we do now? ,
Find the jacket.
Oh' huh. Exactly how do we do that?
First I see if Hannah will let me borrow her
It seems to me that girl would let you borrow
100 INT. HANNAH'S ROOM - 100
Hannah, wrapped loosely in cotton sheets, SMILES as she
listens to the Goatee Kid, who sits cross-legged at the
foot of-her bed, fully clothed.
I'm telling you, the tango is ail about latent
homosexual love. Look at the way they dance--
Hannah looks up, sees GRADY in the doorway and blushes.
She pulls the sheet up, gives an oddly formal wave.
Grady. Hi. What's up?
Jeff eases off the bed, past GRADY uneasily.
I'll be ...somewhere else.
Hey, Jeff. If you're really interested in
discussing that business with the tango, try
the guy at the end of the hall.
Jeff nods--puzzled--then goes. GRADY smirks.
He cribbed that from Borges.
It beats 'What's your major?'
GRADY nods, detecting a new aloofness in her voice.
Right. Anyway, I was wondering if I could
borrow your car. Mine's sort of out of
Sure. The keys are on the dresser next to.
..to your book.
The hitch in Hannah's voice hangs in the room like a
I uh, I didn't finish, I ...fell asleep.
That good, hub?
No, it's not that, it's...
Hannah glances at the huge stack of paper sitting on her
dresser, then, hesitantly, looks back to Grady.
It's just that, you know, I was thinking about
how, in class, you're always telling us '-that
writers make choices--at least the good ones.
And, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the
book isn't really great-I mean, really great-
but at times it's, well, very detailed, you
know, with the genealogies of everyone's horses
and ail the dental records and so on-and I
don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but it sort of
reads, in places, like, well, actually, like...
...you didn't make any choices at all. And I was
wondering if it might not be different if, maybe, when you
wrote, you weren't always ...under the influence.
Hh huh. Well, thanks for the thought, but, as
shocking as this may sound, I'm not the first
writer to sip a little weed. And furthermore,
it might interest you to know that one book I
wrote, as you say, 'under the influence, '
happened to win a little something called the
PEN award which, by the way, I accepted 'under
the influence. '
Hannah nods, averts her eyes, and immediately GRADY feels
ridiculous. He starts to say something, but instead gathers
his manuscript and exits.
101 INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Crabtree, dressed now, studies the freight 'in Grady's
arms as he reaches the bottom of the stairs.
Want some help with that?
Don't touch it.
102 INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT - MOVING
CRABTREE sucks on a Kool, driving Hannah's rattling
Renault too fast, shifting gears apparently at random.
GRADY rides shotgun, still wearing the robe over his
clothes, the Wonder Boys manuscript sitting like a
watermelon on his lap-looking, all in all, fairly pathetic.
Let me get this straight. Jerry Nathan owes
you money. So, as collateral, he gives you his
Only now I'm starting to think the car wasn't
exactly Jerry's to give.
So whose car is it?
My guess-Vernon Hardapple.
The hood jumper?
He said a few things that lead me to believe
the car's his.
'That's my car, motherfucker.'
Hh hub. So. We find Vernon, we find the car.
We find the car...
...we find the jacket.
There's only one problem, Tripp. We don't know
his real name. We just made it up. In fact, we
made the whole guy up.
No wonder he screwed us over.
BILL MAZEROSKI legendary Pittsburgh Pirate second
baseman, large as a Macy's Day float, his weathered image
scaling three floors on the BRICK face of a RIVERFRONT
103 INT. HANNAH'S CAR
CRABTREE takes a corner recklessly, immediately slows,
and blinks in amazement.
Christ, Tripp. How did you know?
Call it a hunch.
Parked in front of KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS is the white
van. A few feet behind, the battered Galaxie.
I'd call it genius.
GRADY steps out, strips off the robe, and drops the lumpy
leviathan that is his manuscript on the front seat.
It's good to know I'm still talented at
something. Keep the motor running.
104 EXT./ INT. GALAXIE 104
GRADY peers into the backseat, squinting against the WIND
that swirls around him. Errol Flynn's face leers back at
him. But no jacket. GRADY slides in, pops the glove box,
and frowns at the ZIPLOC of Humboldt County. He pockets it
anyway, then spies something else.
James Leer's little PEARL-HANDLED PISTOL.
GRADY takes it, rotates it-in his palm. SUNLIGHT GLINTS
off the chrome barrel and everything slowly turns to a
SWEET, SOFT BLUR...
105 INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT
CRABTREE stomps on his Kool. GRADY looks very much like a
man who has pulled off the road to take a nap.
What the hell...
106 INT. GALAXIE
As GRADY lolls behind the steering wheel, a CLOUD
appears, hovering, then slowly mutates, and GRADY realizes
it's not a cloud at all, it's
MARILYN MONROE standing by the side mirror, wearing a
bright pink dress under her wedding jacket.
I know you. . .
Marilyn's face swims before Grady's eyes, but there's
something wrong with it. This girl's eyes are brown and
besides, she's ...fat.
Double Dickel on the rocks.
The last of the fairy dust evaporates and GRADY finds-
standing before him in a pink jersey dress and Marilyn
Monroe's wedding jacket--0ola, the pregnant waitress from
the Hi-Hat Club.
I never forget a drink.
I never forget an Oola.
Suddenly, there is a HEAVY CLICK.
MAN'S VOICE (0.S.)
GRADY starts to turn, but his head won't move: largely
because the BARREL of a GERMAN NINE is pressed to his
temple. Grady's eyes slide.
Move away, cupcake. He's got a gun.
Who's got a gun?
You've got a gun, motherfucker. Drop it!
Why's he calling you Vernon?
Why's he sitting in my car? He's crazy, that's
why. He probably calls everybody Vernon.
Not true. You're the only Vernon I know.
Actually, I'm wrong. I once knew a Vernon
Peabody at Penguin U.K.
Cupcake. Please. Inside.
You' re not going to shoot him, are you?
I'm going to shoot him. If he doesn't put that
It's just a souvenir. They don't even make the
Bullshit. I know a gun when I see one. And
that's a gun.
GRADY lifts his arm, points the little pearl-handled
pistol to the DARK CLOUDS overhead.
107 INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT
CRABTREE jumps as the tiny pistol at the end of Grady's
arm FLASHES, makes a FEEBLE POP in the wind.
108 EXT. KRAVNIKS
Vernon stands half-hunched, stunned.
Are you crazy!
The gunshot seems to have cleared Grady's head. He stares
at the gun, watches Vernon wrest it from his hand.
Get out! What's the matter with you? Can't you
see the condition my girl's in?
As GRADY gets out of the car, Vernon places his hand on
You all right, cupcake?
A rude SQUEAL breaks the silence--rubber scratching
asphalt--and Grady, Oola, and Vernon turn to see Hannah
Green's rattling Renault lurching awkwardly toward them.
Gears GRINDING, tires smoking, CRABTREE fish-tails
wildly, then kicks open the passenger door.
GRADY doesn't move an inch, watching in mute amazement as
CRABTREE whistles by, proceeds halfway down the block, then
turns back for another pass.
Who the hell is that?
A Manhattan book editor murdering a Mormon
The car bucks crazily, picks up speed, and Crabtree--
swiping aside a flutter of MANUSCRIPT PAGES that have taken
flight inside the car--begins to veer right toward Grady,
Vernon, and Oola.
Vernon steps into the street, levels the German Nine.
Pull off, you crazy motherfucker!
Frantic, GRADY steps between Vernon, the German Nine, and
the oncoming Crabtree.
No! Don't shoot! He's just a lousy driver.
CRABTREE fans the wheel wildly, goes into a slide and the
passenger door snaps wide, releasing what looks to be a
FLOCK OF WHITE DOVES into the wind-whipped sky.
Only, these ain't birds. • - ^
Oh... my... God!
These are PAGES. Seven years of-pages.
CRABTREE goes into another slide, one-hops the curb, and
smashes flat into the weathered GLOVE of BILL MAZEROSKI
painted on the front wail of KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS.
As Hannah Green's RADIATOR EXPLODES, CRABTREE steps free
of the car and looks skyward. It's a ticker-tape parade ail
the way down the street, ending in the frigid waters of the
I take it back. Shoot him.
109 INT. GALAXIE - MOVING
Vernon drives, Oola at his side. In-the back, CRABTREE
puffs philosophically on a Kool while GRADY sits grimly
with the sad remains of his manuscript: SEVEN RUMPLED
PAGES, one of which bears the watermark of a shoe print.
Naturally you have copies.
I have an alternate version of the first
You'll be all right then. Look at Carlyle,
when he lost his luggage.
That was MacCaulay.
Or Hemingway, when Hadley lost all those
He was never able to reproduce them.
Bad examples. Look, Tripp, I don't want to
depreciate the loss here, but perhaps--in a
(nodding to the pages)
is for the best.
Grady's eyes shift, study Crabtree.
Kind of a sign, you're saying.
In a sense.
I don't think so. In my experience, signs are
usually a lot more subtle.
Let me get this straight. All that paper that
went into the river. That was the only copy?
(glowering at Crabtree)
And you're saying it's some kind of sign? What
the fuck's the matter with you?
I'm just saying that sometimes,
subconsciously, a person will put themselves in
a situation-perhaps even create that situation-
in order to have an arena in which to work out
an unresolved issue. It's a covert way, if you
will, of addressing a problem.
Vernon stares at CRABTREE as if he's from another planet.
I'll tell you the problem. You behind the
wheel. There's your fucking problem.
That's pretty simplistic, don't you think?
Hey, pal, you don't start doing crazy eights
in the middle of the street none of this
Excuse me. Did you, or did you not, have a gun
to his head?
He was trying to steal my car!
Ail right, all right It's done. There's no
need to talk about it. It's done.
They ride in silence for a moment, then Oola turns,
glances at GRADY
and his little sheaf of pages.
So what was it about?
(as GRADY looks up)
Your book. What was the story?
GRADY stares into Oola's sweet, brown eyes.
I don't know...
Oola's brow wrinkles. CRABTREE glances at his old friend,
genuine compassion in his eyes.
What he means is, it's difficult to distill
the essence of a book sometimes. It-lives in
Yeah, but you gotta know what it's about,
right? I mean, if you didn't know what it was
about, why were you writing it?
I couldn't stop.
110 EXT. CAMPUS ENTRANCE
Grady, James Leer's hollow knapsack in hand, stands with
CRABTREE at the campus entrance as Vernon and Oola prepare
to leave in the Galaxie.
Hey, Vernon. Can I ask you a question?
GRADY glances at little round Oola.
Boy or girl?
As long as it looks like her, I don't care.
You know what I'm saying?
GRADY watches Vernon give Oola a kiss on the forehead.
Right. Well, thanks. For the lift.
No sweat. Only do me a favor?
Stop calling me Vernon.
CRABTREE leans into Grady, WHISPERS.
The jacket, Tripp. We need the jacket.
Oh, right. Oola. About that jacket...
GRADY looks at the waitress in her pink jersey dress,
snuggled up in the silk wedding jacket.
It used to belong to Marilyn Monroe. She had
small shoulders, like you. Most people don't
As Oola smiles, pleased, Vernon shakes his head.
Man, that book of yours must've been one nutty
Vernon points an imaginary gun, fires a friendly cap into
Grady, and pulls away. CRABTREE stands stunned.
You mind explaining what you just did?
GRADY watches the shrinking Galaxie sail under a drooping
NORDFEST BANNER, lost in thought.
Came to my senses. CRABTREE
Ah. Well. Congratulations. Meanwhile, what is
James supposed to do? Pray for Walter Gaskell
to come to his?
Walter Gaskell isn't going to send James Leer
to jail, Crabs. I know that.
Do you know he won't expel him?
No. But I don't think that matters.
That's very enlightened, Professor. It's
comforting to know that America's children have
you for a teacher.
GRADY blinks, ponders this briefly, then looks toward the
buildings of the campus, his VOICE still distant.
Nobody teaches a writer anything. You tell
them what you know. You tell them to find their
voice and stick with it, because that's all you
have in the end. You tell the ones who have it
to keep at it and you tell the ones who don't
to keep at it, too. Because that's the only way
to get where you're going.
Of course, it helps if you know where you want
Maybe that's the only thing--that and Sara--
that's made the last seven years worthwhile.
GRADY slides James' knapsack off his shoulder, smiles
cryptically as he considers it. -
As for James, he doesn't need me anymore...
Without warning, GRADY tosses CRABTREE the knapsack.
He's got you.
CRABTREE stares at the saggy green canvas in his hands,
watches GRADY walk away.
Me? What can I do?
Gee, I don't know, Crabs...
(over his shoulder)
Improvise. You're good at that.
GRADY continues on, leaving CRABTREE to stand alone, as
he walks toward the buildings in the distance.
I'm sorry, Tripp.
GRADY stops, turns.
You peeked, didn't you?
GRADY considers this. Nods. It-doesn't seem to matter
It really had the makings, Tripp. There was a
lot to admire. I've ...never read anything
quite like it.
If there was a Kentucky Derby for editorial bullshit,
Crabtree's last three utterances would finish win, place,
and show. And GRADY knows it.
You're not just trying to make me feel better?
CRABTREE looks directly at Grady, his old friend.
CRABTREE and GRADY stare into each other's eyes. Both are
acutely aware of the subtext of this conversation.
Well, thanks for that, Crabs.
111 INT. HALLWAY - ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
Dead quiet. Gradually, STEPS are heard, coming from the
stairwell, then GRADY limps into view.
112 INT. GRADY'S CLASSROOM - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY surveys the room. Empty chairs. Empty desks.
He walks to a WINDOW, the same window he stood at two
afternoons ago when reading James Leer's story. A chill
breeze pitches the fabric of his shirt as he studies the
barren benches and icy walkways of the quad. Finally, he-.
turns away, settles behind his desk and, reaching into his
pocket, removes the seven remaining pages of his
manuscript. He considers them, then folds them in half
length-wise. He continues, folding the top right corner
down into a triangle along the first crease...
113 EXT. QUAD
A moment. Then-from the third floor window-a PAPER
AIRPLANE glides into view, soaring then dropping, soaring
then dropping, again and again, graceful as a dove.
114 INT. LOBBY - THAW HALL - LATER
GRADY hobbles into the lobby just as one of the
auditorium doors swings open. APPLAUSE SWELLS and he spies
Sara standing inside, talking to a STUDENT USHER.
Sara turns ...as the door glides shut. As GRADY hustles
forward, Q, wine glass in hand, intercepts him.
Grady. I have to tell you. I took another look
at Arsonist's Daughter the other night. There's
a description of a bald cypress that left' me
(pushing past him)
Thanks, Q. I felt the same way about the bank
teller's breasts in your last one.
115 INT. BACK ROW - AUDITORIUM - THAW HALL
GRADY enters, but Sara is ...gone. He picks his way
behind the back row, scanning the aisles.
Hey, Professor Tripp.
It's Carrie McWhirty, James' tormentor from workshop.
GRADY takes another look around, then drops into the seat-
next to her.
If you're looking for Hannah, she's on the
But GRADY looks anyway. Hannah sits a dozen rows down the
aisle, hair pulled back in a clip, glorious skin gloaming.
The Goatee Kid sits close beside her.
Who's that guy she's with? Didn't he used to
be in workshop?
Jeff. He comes from a long line of tango
116 INT. MAIN STAGE
Walter turns over the last page of-his prepared notes.
And now, as those of you who've been with us
in previous years know, we have a tradition of
sorts here at WordFest. I'm speaking, of
course, of The Plums.
An anticipatory BUZZ sweeps through the audience as
Walter begins to read from a separate list.
This weekend, Susan Lowery, of North Braddock,
found a publisher for her children's book. The
Loneliest Prawn, Susan, stand up.
117 INT. BACK ROW - THAW HALL^
As a CHUBBY WOMAN stands to acknowledge the applause,
GRADY cranes his neck, searching the sea of seats. To his
surprise, he finds CRABTREE sitting prominently in the
front row, in his shirtsleeves, smiling his spookily
complacent smile. James is next to him, now wearing
CRABTREE'S METALLIC SPORTS COAT over Grady's flannel shirt.
And Robert Wilkenson--who many of you know for
his City Beat column in the Post-Gazette--has
found a home with Putnam for his new Three
Rivers thriller. Blood Patterns. Robert.
A SHORT, BALDING MAN stands briefly then Walter's VOICE
takes a shift in tone.
Now, this next one, I think, is especially
exciting to announce, because it concerns a
student here at the university. Our own James
Leer, a sophomore in English literature, has
found a publisher for his first novel, which I
believe is called The Lovely Parade.
GRADY blinks, leans forward, and watches Walter smile
warmly toward the front row. CRABTREE gives James a jab in
the ribs and slowly, awkwardly, James rises. Stunned,
Carrie McWhirty turns to the GIRL next to her.
I have a class with him.
James hangs-like a scarecrow from a nail, waiting as the
APPLAUSE slows, then sputters, then dies out altogether.
The guy's kind of an alien probe, if you know
what I mean.
Grady, in a last attempt to save James from himself, cups
Hi his hands around his mouth.
Take a bow, James!
James turns, spots GRADY in the back row, then-a sheepish
grin on his face--spreads his arms, hangs his head, and
takes his first sweet public bow.
And finally--and perhaps not least
importantly--Terry Crabtree, of Bartizan, has
also decided to publish my own book--a critical
exploration of the union of Marilyn Monroe and
Joe DiMaggio and its function in American
mythopoetics-which, tentatively, I've entitled
The Last American Marriage. "
Wild, obsequious APPLAUSE. GRADY smiles cynically,
watches Walter take a brief, dignified bow of his own.
Until next year. Thank you, everyone.
The LIGHTS come up. As the auditorium empties, CRABTREE
shakes Walter's hand and Jeff and his goatee escort Hannah
Green down the aisle, where she drapes her lovely arms
GRADY watches them ail, sitting alone in his row, when
suddenly Sara appears over James' shoulder. She says
something congratulatory, turns, and exits out a side door.
GRADY blinks, scrambles up.
118 INT. CORRIDOR - THAW HALL - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY bursts into the corridor.'
Its empty. Quiet. GRADY pauses. Somewhere, a HEAVY METAL
DOOR CLOSES. GRADY rushes on.
119 INT. NEW CORRIDOR
Grady, limping badly, turns a corner and sees a DOOR. He
moves to it, pushes past...
120 INT. STAIRWELL - CONTINUOUS
...and finds himself standing in a stairwell. He leans
out over the railing, peers down. It's a steep drop, very.
steep, ending in a small rectangular space, a kind of
basement office, with VENDING MACHINES, PLASTIC CHAIRS, and
a COLLAPSIBLE CARD TABLE.
GRADY turns back to the door he came through, pushes
against it. Locked. He sighs, looks back at the stairs, his
ailing ankle, then sits. He fishes out the Ziploc of-
marijuana, considers the perfectly roiled JOINT floating
atop the bag of buds, but, for once, isn't up to it. The
SOUND of FOOTSTEPS echoes far below and, hopeful they're
Sara's, GRADY pulls himself up, peers over the railing.
It's Traxler, with a broom, a big plastic bag.
Hey, Professor Tripp.
GRADY considers the Ziploc in his hand, looks down again.
Do you get high, Sam?
Only when I'm working.
GRADY hangs-over the railing and lets fly the Ziploc. It
pinwheels through the vortex of stairs, lands at Sam's
Holy shit. Are you serious?
As a heart attack.
Thanks-Whoa, Professor Tripp, careful ^here...
GRADY is still hanging over the railing-but looking dizzy
now. His eyelids flutter and he tips forward-a Steinway on
a window ledge-and as he starts to drop...
...there is a SHARP JERK on his- COLLAR, a SHIRT BUTTON
caroms off his cheek, and slowly, he is hauled back.
Grady, what are you doing, you idiot?
GRADY looks up into Sara's freckled face.
Looking for you.
He wants to say more, he opens his mouth, but then... ALL
GOES BLACK AS SARA'S VOICE CALLS...
faintly at first, then more forcefully, calling Grady's
name, calling so insistently that the earth seems to RUSH
upward until we see that she is...
KISSING him or something, and all goes softly... Blue.
121 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
GRADY lies in a powder blue paper gown surrounded by blue
plastic curtains in a blue room. Through a gap in the
curtains, he can see the bottle of-GLUCOSE that drips
slowly into his arm, and beyond, a window. Flakes of SNOW
The DOOR SQUEALS, a SHADOW ripples across the blue, then
the curtains part and a RESIDENT with a clipboard appears.
His NAMETAG says GREENHUT.
I passed out.
I've been doing that a lot lately.
So I hear. You've also been smoking a lot of
marijuana, I understand.
Do you think that's why I've been having
(grabbing James' term)
How long have you been having them?
The last month maybe.
How long have you been smoking marijuana?
Spiro T. Agnew was vice president, I believe.
That's probably not the problem, then. What
about your lifestyle. Any major changes
I've been trying to finish a book...
And your wife left you.
Is that in my chart?
I spoke with the woman who saved your life.
You're lucky she came along when she did.
GRADY considers the larger ramifications of this
(tapping the glucose bottle)
You need to see a doctor, Mr. Tripp. An
internist. And I think you really ought to
consider seeing a therapist, as well.
She told you about. . .
Her dog, yes.
Actually, it was her husband's dog...
Greenhut glances up, looking GRADY in the eyes for the
first time, and GRADY
Look, Mr. Tripp. You have a drug problem, all
right? On top of that, you have a bite on your
ankle that is severely infected. We pumped you
with antibiotics so you'll be fine, but another
day or two and you might have lost the foot. As
for your spells. I'm guessing they're a result
of the anxiety you've been experiencing lately.
They're anxiety attacks? That's a little
Better luck next time.
So is my friend...is Sara still here?
No. There's no one here.
I have to see her. As soon as possible.
Greenhut studies Grady, calibrating the desperation in
his eyes, then takes a quick glance at his watch.
Look, Mr. Tripp. If you really want to leave,
I can't stop you. But I'm going to write you a
prescription for a course of ampicillin and I
want you to follow it to the end-no matter how
stupid you decide to be with everything else.
122 INT. HOSPITAL/BRIDGE WALKWAY - AFTERNOON
GRADY sits in a WHEELCHAIR, watching the snow fail around
him as a NURSE escorts him through the tunnel of glass that
connects one building to another.
I wonder if you could show me something.
123 EXT. NURSERY - HOSPITAL - MOMENTS LATER
GRADY stares through the glass. There are only TWO BABIES
on display, heads dented from natural delivery, skin purple
and crazy with veins.
Are these the only ones you have?
The nurse's eyes crinkle.
124 EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
GRADY pays a TAXI CAB DRIVER, then turns, looks at
the Gaskell house.
125 EXT. FRONT DOOR - MOMENT LATER
GRADY KNOCKS. Nothing. Peers into the living room window.
Dark. He stands helplessly, then spies the greenhouse,
standing ghostly across the yard, feathers of snow drifting
onto its roof, melting.
126 EXT. GREENHOUSE - MOMENT LATER12S
GRADY hobbles to the greenhouse, puts both hands to the
glass as he looks inside. Quiet. Empty. Dispirited, he
pulls away, but not before leaving...
...the IMPRINTS of his hands, perfectly etched in the
frost of the glass.
127 EXT. STREET 127
The snow continues to fall as GRADY lumbers down the
street. Finally, wearily, he stops, sits his crippled self
on the curb. He plunges his fist into his jacket and.
..straight through the lining, James Leer's silly little
pistol at the end of his hand. He considers the pistol,
then looks up into the sky.
GRADY'S POV - of the SKY...
...dark and menacing. Suddenly, a THUNDERCLAP shatters
NEW ANGLE - GRADY ...still sitting with the gun in his
(as if addressing God)
Is that a suggestion?
GRADY sits, blinking the snow out of his eyes, then TWO
SHAFTS of-LIGHT dance across his shoes. A white Citroen
DS23 appears. It passes. Slows. Stops.
GRADY stares at the car, burbling at the curb, then lifts
himself up and makes his way to the driver's window. Sara
makes a face, bugging her eyes a little-mad at him, but-
not without humor. Then she rolls down the window.
I'm so glad to see you, Sara.
I believe you. Did that nice doctor let you
out? Or-is this you improvising again, Grady?
I'm through improvising.
Terry told me about Wonder Boys. Is it true?
Did you lose it all?
I lost it ail.
Oh, Grady. You're such a putz.
And you're old.
Sara strokes his scalp, takes a gray hair between her
Ouch. How many?
Dozens. It's very sad.
Sara smiles at Grady, but the mischief leaves her eyes
when she looks into his, and-she glances away.
I went and looked at-some babies just now.
(trying to make her laugh)
I guess you have to go on faith.
GRADY studies her as she traces her finger around the
HOSPITAL BRACELET still encircling his wrist.
Did you tell Walter?
I told Walter.
Does he still love you?
It didn't come up.
GRADY studies Sara's freckled cheeks, her anxious
profile, then turns her chin gently toward him.
Well I do. I've always loved you, Sara. I
didn't know it at the time, but I'd always been
waiting for you. My whole life. Because you're
who I need. Because nothing makes sense without
you. Because the best moment of every day is
the moment I first see your face. And because
when you leave a room, there's no reason to be
in it any more. It's just a room again.
Sara cocks her head.
Did you just make that up?
(shaking his head)
In the hospital. I "was kind of excited about
it at-the time, but then I was on pretty heavy
She frowns good-naturedly.
Even so...it's still true. Every word.
Sara just nods, looks away, her face unreadable.
Sara, I promise, even though commonsense might
Sara turns, puts a finger on GRADY's lips...
Don't write a page when a paragraph will do.
GRADY nods, takes her hand. Looks at it as he speaks.
You don't deserve me, you know.
I know, but sometimes...
Sara turns, looks at Grady. Her eyes are glistening.
You just go on faith.
GRADY looks into her eyes, then rises, and we do too,
drifting above the streetlights as GRADY limps to the other
side of the car and gets in. As GRADY snaps shut his door,
the car drifts off, gradually losing itself in- the soft
veil of falling snow. After a moment, GRADY and Sara are
lost too, nothing more than a blur.