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.
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
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
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 o£
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