Voila! Finally, the The Lost Weekend
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Billy Wilder movie
starring Ray Milland. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of The Lost Weekend. If you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
THE LOST WEEKEND
by Charles Brackett
WICK : You better take this along, Don. It's going to be cold on the farm.
DON : Okay.
WICK : How many shirts are you taking?
DON : Three.
WICK : I'm taking five.
DON : Five?
WICK : Yeah, I told them at the office I might not be back until Tuesday. We'll get there this afternoon. That'll give us all Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. We'll make it a long wonderful weekend.
DON : Sounds long, all right.
WICK : It'll be good for you Don, after what you've been through. Trees and grass and sweet cider and buttermilk and water from that well that's colder than any other...
DON : Wick, please, why this emphasis on liquids? Very dull liquids.
WICK : Sorry, Don.
DON : You know, I think it'd be a good idea if we took along my typewriter.
WICK : What for?
DON : To write. I'm gonna write there. Get started on that novel.
WICK : You really feel up to writing?
DON : Why not?
WICK : I mean, after what you've been through.
DON : I haven't touched the stuff for ten days now.
WICK : I know. I know you haven't Don. Where is the typewriter?
DON : In the living room, in the closet, kinda towards the back.
WICK : Are you sure it's in the closet? I can't find it.
DON : Well look by the desk.
WICK : Isn't it under your bed? Did you find it?
DON : Oh sure, sure here it is.
WICK : And here's some paper. Tell you what we'll do, we'll fix up a table on the south porch and nobody'll disturb you, i'll see to it. And maybe Saturday we can run down to the Country Club.
DON : I'm not going near that Country Club.
WICK : Why not?
DON : Because they're a bunch of hypocrites and I don't like to be whispered about; Look who's here from New York. The Birnam brothers or rather the nurse and the invalid.
WICK : Oh. Stop it Don. Nobody there knows about you.
DON : No? The minute we get off the train the alarm is sounded: The leper is back, Hide your liquor.
WICK : That's Helen. I'll take it. Helen.
HELEN : Hello, Wick. Where's Don? I'm glad I made it. I was afraid you'd be gone. Presents. The new Thruber book, with comical jokes and pictures. A nice quiet little double murder by Agatha Christie. Cigarettes, chewing gum and darling, have a wonderful time. And don't forget, lots of sleep, lots of milk...
DON : Lots of cider, lots of ice cold water from the well. I know.
HELEN : Bend down. And now I must be going. I've missed ten minutes of the concert already. So long Wick.
DON : What concert?
HELEN : Carnegie Hall. Barbirolli conducting. They gave me two tickets at the office.
DON : Who are you going with?
HELEN : Nobody.
DON : Nobody? What are they playing?
HELEN : Brahms' Second Symphony, something by Beethoven, somehing by Handel and not one note of Grieg.
DON : Sounds wonderful.
HELEN : Goodbye, boys. See you Monday.
WICK : Tuesday.
DON : Wait a minute. Wick, I just had a crazy idea.
WICK : As for instance.
DON : Who says we have to take the three fifteen train? We could go on the six-thirty.
WICK : What are you talking about?
DON : Well, I just thought we could take a later train and Helen wouldn't have to the concert by herself. She's got two tickets, hasn't she?
HELEN : No, no. I'm not going to upset any plans. You're going on that three fifteen.
DON : Oh. Now Helen, it's so silly! A whale of a concert and an empty seat next to you.
WICK : No, Don. Everything's all set. Now they'll be at the station to meet us and dinner'll be waiting.
DON : Put in a call that we're talking the later train and have dinner at nine o'clock, we'll be in bed by ten.
WICK : Nothing doing. We're going.
HELEN : Wick is right. And don't worry about that empty seat. I'll find myself a nice handsome South American millionaire.
DON : There you are. Did you hear her. Besides, we'd have to break our necks anyway to catch the train.
HELEN : It's five to three.
DON : You see? Oh, don't be so stubborn Wick.
WICK : All right. Go ahead.
DON : Just a minute. I'm not going.
WICK : Then what are we talking about?
DON : Well, I want you to go. You and Helen.
WICK : Me and Helen?
DON : That's the idea. Who likes Brahms, you or I?
WICK : Since when don't you like Brahms?
DON : I'll just stick around here and finish packing. Take a little nap maybe.
WICK : Nonsense. If anybody goes...Helen's your girl.
HELEN : There's something in that, Don.
WICK : And what's more, I don't think you should be left alone.
DON : I shouldn't?
WICK : No.
DON : I oughtn't be trusted. Is that it?
HELEN : Really, Don.
WICK : After what you've been through...
DON : After what I've been through, I couldn't go to a concert. I couldn't even face the crowds. I couldn't sit through it with all those people. Besides, I want to be alone for a couple of hours and kind of assemble myself. Is that such an extraordinary thing to want?
WICK : Don't act so outraged, would you mind?
DON : All right. Anything else?
HELEN : Please, boys.
WICK : Come on, Helen.
HELEN : You'll stay right here?
DON : Where would I go?
HELEN : Then you'll be here when we come back?
DON : I told you, I'm not leaving this apartment.
WICK : You've told us a good many things, Don.
DON : All right, if you don't belive me, why don't you tak emy key and lock me in like a dog.
HELEN : (to Wick) We've got to trust Don. That's the only way.
WICK : Sorry, Don. (to Helen) Let's go Helen.
HELEN : So long, Don.
DON : So long.
HELEN : Bend down.
WICK : What's this?
DON : That? It's whiskey, isn't it?
WICK : How did it get there?
DON : I don't know.
WICK : I suppose it dropped from some cloud. Or someone was bouncing it against this wall and it got stuck there.
DON : I guess I must have put it there.
WICK : Yes, you must.
DON : Only I don't remember when. Probably during my last spell, maybe the one before. I don't know. (to Helen) Don't look at me like that, Helen. It doesn't mean a thing. I didn't know it was there. Even if I had, I wouldn't have touched it.
WICK : Then you won't mind.
DON : Mind what?
WICK : Now, you trot along with Helen.
DON : Why? Because of that? You think I wanted you out of the apartment because of the bottle? I resent that like the devil, and if there's one more word of discussion, I don't leave on your blasted weekend.
HELEN : Let's go, Wick. (to Don) You'll be good. Won't you, Don, darling?
DON : Yes, Helen. Would you just stop watching me all the time, you two. Let me work it out my way. I'm trying, I'm trying.
HELEN : I know you're trying, Don. We're both trying. You're trying not to drink and I'm trying not to love you.
WICK : Call the farm Don and tell them we're taking the six-thirty.
DON : Sure.
WICK : So long. (to Helen) Come on, Helen.
HELEN : Should Wick...
WICK : He'll be all right.
HELEN : What if he goes out and buys another bottle?
WICK : With what? He hasn't a nickel. There isn't a store or bar that'll give him five cents' worth of credit.
HELEN : Are you sure he hasn't got another bottle hidden someplace?
WICK : Not anymore, he hasn't. I went over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb. The places he can figure out!
DON : Who is it? WHO IS IT?
MRS. FOLEY : Mrs. Foley. Come to clean up.
DON : Well, not today. Does it have to be today?
MRS. FOLEY : I ought to change the sheets, and it's my day to vacuum.
DON : Come on Monday.
MRS. FOLEY : All right, Mr. Birnam. Is your brother in?
DON : No, he isn't
MRS. FOLEY : What about my money? Didn't he leave my money?
DON : What money?
MRS. FOLEY : My ten dollars. Didn't he leave it?
DON : Probably. And where would he leave it?
MRS. FOLEY : In the kitchen.
DON : Where in the kitchen?
MRS. FOLEY : In the sugar bowl.
DON : Just a minute. I'm sorry, Mrs. Foley. It isn't there. He must have forgotten.
MRS. FOLEY : Oh, Putt! I wanted to do some shopping.
DON : You'll get it Monday.
MRS. FOLEY : All right Mr. Birnam.
DON : Two bottles of rye.
BROPHY : I'm sorry, Mr. Birnam.
DON : What are you sorry about?
BROPHY : Your brother was in. He said he's not going to pay for you anymore. That was the last time.
DON : Two bottles of rye.
BROPHY : What brand?
DON : You know what brand, Mr. Brophy. The cheapest. None of that twelve year old, aged-in-the-wood chichi. Not for me. Liquor is all one, anyway.
BROPHY : You want a bag?
DON : Yes, I want a bag.
BROPHY : Your brother said not to sell you anything even if you did have the money to pay for it, but I can't stop anybody, can I? Not unless you're a minor.
DON : I'm not a minor, Mr. Brophy and just to ease your conscience, I'm buying this to refill my cigarette lighter.
FRUIT MAN : Yes, sir. Thank you.
DON : Good afternoon, Mrs. Deveridge.
DEVERIDGE : Hello, Mr. Birnam. (to her companion) That's that nice young man who drinks.
DON : How is my very good friend, Nat, today?
NAT : Yes, Mr. Birnam.
DON : This being an espeically fine afternoon, I have decided to ask for your hand in marriage.
NAT : Look, Mr. Birnam...
DON : If that were to be your attitude, Nat, I shall have to drown my sorrows in a jigger of rye. Just one, that's all.
NAT : Can't be done, Mr. Birnam.
DON : Can't? Let me guess why. My brother was here, undermining my financial structure.
NAT : I didn't tell him nothing about the wrist watch you left here, or your cuff links.
DON : Thank you very much, Nat. Today, you'll be glad to know, we can barter on a cash basis.
NAT : One straight rye.
DON : That was the idea. Don't wipe it away, Nat. Let ;me have my little vicious circle. You know the circle is the perfect geometric figure. No end, no beginning...What time is it?
NAT : Quarter of four.
DON : Good. We have the whole afternoon together. Will you let me know when it's a quarter of six. It's very important. I'm going to the country for a weekend with my brother.
GLORIA : Hello, Mr. Birnam. Happy to have you back with the organization.
DON : Hello, Gloria. (to Nat) I wish I could take you alond, Nat. You...and all that goes with you. Not that I'm cutting myself off from civilization altogether. Now of course there arises the problem of transportation into the country. How to smuggle these two time bombs past the royal guard. I'll roll one bottle in a copy of the Saturday Evening Post, so my brother can discover it like that. And I want him to discover it, because that'll set his mind at ease. The other bottle...Come here. That one I'm tucking into my brother's suitcase. He shall transport it himself, without knowing it, of course. Then, while he's greeting the caretaker, I'll slide it out and hide it in a hollow of the old apple tree.
NAT : Aw, Mr. Birnam, why don't you lay off the stuff fora while?
DON : Well, I may never touch it while I'm there. Not a drop. What you don't understand, all you you, is that I've got to know it's around. That I can have it if I need it. I can't be cut off completely. That's the devil. That's what drives you crazy.
NAT : Yeah. I know. I know a lot of guys like that. They take a bottle and put it on the shelf. All they want is just to look at it. They won't even carry a corkscrew along, just to make sure. Then, all of a sudden, they grab the bottle and bite off the neck.
DON : Nat, one more reproving word and I shall consult our lawyer about a divorce. Now don't forget, quarter of six. My brother must find me home, ready and packed. (to Gloria) Shall we dance?
GLORIA : You're awfully pretty, Mr. Birnam.
DON : I bet you tell that to all the boys.
GLORIA : Why, natch. Only with you it's on the level.
DON : Yeah. Sit down.
GLORIA : No thanks. Thanks a lot, but no thanks. There's somebody waiting.
DON : Him? I bet he wears arch supporters.
GLORIA : Oh. He's just an old friend of the folks. Lovely gentleman. He buys me dimpled Scotch.
DON : He sould buy you Indian rubies, and a villa in Calcutta overlooking the Ganges.
GLORIA : Don't be ridic.
DON : Gloria, please, why imperil our friendship with these loathsome abbreviations.
GLORIA : I could make myself free for later on, if you want.
DON : No Gloria, I'm going away for the weekend. Some other time.
GLORIA : Any time. Just crazy about the back of your hair.
DON : Nat, weave me another.
GLORIA : You'd better take it easy.
DON : Oh. Don't worry about me. Just let me know when it's a quarter of six.
NAT : Okay.
DON : Come on, Nat. Join me. Just one little jigger of dreams.
NAT : No thanks.
DON : You don't approve of drinking?
NAT : Not the way you drink.
DON : It shrinks my liver, doesn't it, Nat? It pickles my kidNeys. Yes. But what does it do to my mind? It tosses the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar. Suddenly, I'm above the ordinary. I'm competent, supremely competent. I'm walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. I'm one of the great ones. I'm Michelangelo molding the beard of Moses. I'm Van Gogh, painting pure sunlight. I'm Horowitz, playing the Emperor Concerto. I'm John Barrymore before the movies got him by the throat. I'm Jesse James and his two brothers, all three of them. I'm W. Shakespeare. And out there it's not Third Avenue any longer. It's the Nile, Nat. The Nile and down it moves the barge of Cleopatra. Come here. Purple the sails, and so perfumed that the winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke...
HELEN : Maybe he's at Morandi's or Nat's bar, or that place on Forty-second street?
WICK : What difference does it make?
HELEN : You're not really going, Wick.
WICK : I certainly am.
HELEN : But you can't leave him alone. Not for four days.
WICK : Yes I can.
HELEN : Oh. For heaven's sake, Wick. If he's left alone, anything can happen! And I'll be tied up at the office every minute. All Saturday. All Sunday. I can't look out for him. You know how he gets. He'll be run over by a car. He'll be arrested. He doesn't know what he's doing. A cigarette might fall from his mouth and he'll burn in his bed...
WICK : Oh, Helen. If it happens, it happens. And I hope it does. I've had six years of this. I've had my bellyful.
HELEN : Wick, you can't mean that.
WICK : Yes I do. It's terrible, I know, but I mean it.
HELEN : For heaven's sake, Wick...
WICK : Who are we fooling? We've tried everything, haven't we? We've reasoned with him, we've babied him. We've watched him like a hawk. We've tried trusting him. How often have you cried? How often have I beaten him up? We scrape him out of the gutter and pump some kind of self-respect into hims, and back he falls, back in, every time.
HELEN : He's a sick person. It's as though there were something wrong with his heart or his lungs. You wouldn't walk out on him because he had an attack. He needs our help.
WICK : He won't accept our help. Not Don. He hates us. He wants to be alone with that bottle of his. It's all he gives a hang about. Why kid ourselves? He's a hopeless alcoholic.
DON : The cloud-capp'd towers; the gorgeous palaces. Nat! The solemn temples, the great globe itself...
NAT : Mr. Birnam, you ought to go home. It's late.
DON : Yea, all which it inherit shall dissolve...
NAT : You ought to be home, on account of your brother.
DON : Who says so?
NAT : You said so. On account of you're going away somewhere, don't you remember?
DON : What time is it?
NAT : Ten past six.
DON : Well, why didn't you tell me?
NAT : What do you think I've been doing for a half an hour? Hey, hey, your change.
WICK : Taxi! Taxi! (to Helen) I'll give you a lift as far as Grand Central.
HELEN : No thanks. I'm gonna wait here.
WICK : You're crazy.
HELEN : Because I won't give up? Maybe I am.
WICK : Let go of him, Helen. Give yourself a chance.
HELEN : Goodbye, Wick.
LETTER : Don Dear:
I waited for you to come home. Please be careful. Get some sleep. Eat. And call me, call me, call me, Helen
NAT : Hi. I thought you was going away for the weekend.
DON : Petes sake, what are you doing? Come on and give me a drink!
NAT : Right with you, Mr. Birnam. I'm just fixing myself some lunch.
DON : Well, stop it and come on and give me a drink, for heaven's sake. Come on, come on!
NAT : Okay.
DON : Can't you hurry it up a little?
NAT : Here you are, Mr. Birnam. That young lady stopped in last night, looking for ya.
DON : What young lady?
NAT : The one with the leopard coat.
DON : Yeah?
NAT : Yeah. She was acting like she just happened to drop in, but I know she was making the rounds after you.
DON : What did you say to her?
NAT : I said you hadn't been in for two weeks.
DON : That's good. I can't let her see me. Not now while I'm "off" like this.
NAT : Why don't you cut it short?
DON : Don't talk like a child. You can't cut it short! You're on that merry-go-round and you've got to ride it all the way, round and round, till the blasted music wears itself out and the thing dies down and clunks to a stop.
NAT : Hey, how about you eatin' some of this?
DON : Take it away.
NAT : You gotta eat somethin' sometime.
DON : Just give me another drink.
NAT : Mr. Birnam, this is the mornin'.
DON : That's when you need it most, in the morning. Haven't you learned that yet? At night, this stuff's a drink. In the morning, it's medicine.
NAT : Okay if I eat?
DON : A little to one side. Nat, are you ever scared when you wake up? So scared the sweat starts out of ya, huh? No, no you. With you it's simple. Your alarm clock goes off and you open your eyes and brush your teeth and read the Daily Mirror. That's all. Do you ever lie in you bed looking at the window? A little daylight's coming through, and you start to wonder: is it getting lighter, is it getting darker? Is it dawn or dusk? That's a terrifying problem, Nat. Because if it's dawn, you're dead. The bars are closed and the liquor stores don't open till nine o'clock, and you can't last till nine o'clock. Or it maybe Sunday. That's the worst. No liquor stores at all. And you guys wouldn't open a bar, not until one o'clock. Why? Why, Nat?
NAT : Because we gotta go to church once in a while. That's why.
DON : Yeah, when a guy needs it most.
NAT : What happened to those two quarts? You polish them off last night?
DON : What two quarts?
NAT : The two bottles you had.
DON : That's right, I did have two bottles, didn't I? I hid one of them. I've still got it. I'm a capitalist, Nat! I've got untapped reserves. I'm rich!
NAT : If you had enough money, you'd kill yourself in a month.
GLORIA : Say, Nat, was there a gentleman here...(to Don) Hello, Mr. Birnam. Didn't you go away for the weekend?
DON : Apparently not, Gloria.
GLORIA : Was there a gentleman here asking for me?
NAT : Not to my knowledge there wasn't.
GLORIA : Well, he was supposed to come around twelve o'clock. He's from Albany.
DON : Another friend of the folks?
GLORIA : More a friend of a friend of the folks type. A fellow called me about him. Wants me to show him the town.
NAT : Like Grant's Tomb for instance?
GLORIA : But def.
NAT : Hey, ain't it amazing, how many guys come down from Albany just to see Grant's Tomb?
GLORIA : Sometimes I wish you came from Albany.
DON : Yeah? Where would you take me?
GLORIA : Lots of places. The Music Hall, then the New Yorker Roof, maybe.
DON : There is now being presented at a theatre on Forty-Fourth Street, the uncut version of Hamlet. Now, I see us as setting out for that. Do you know Hamlet?
GLORIA : I know Forty-fourth Street.
DON : I'd like to get your interpretation of Hamlet's character.
GLORIA : I'd like to give it to you.
DON : Dinner later, I think. Nothing before. I want you to always see Shakespeare on an empty stomach.
GLORIA : Not even a pretzel?
ALBANY : Could I have a glass of water?
NAT : Why, sure. What'll it be for a chaser?
ALBANY : This is Nat's Bar, isn't it?
NAT : That's what the man said.
ALBANY : I'm looking for a young lady, name of Gloria. (to Gloria) Are you Miss Gloria?
GLORIA : Who, me? No, I'm not. I just live with Gloria. She's not here.
ALBANY : She isn't?
GLORIA : No, she's sick. She went to the hospital. Ruptured appendix. Middle of last night. Went like that! It scared the life out of me.
ALBANY : Oh, that's terrible.
GLORIA : Goodbye.
ALBANY : Goodbye. Could I have a word with you?
GLORIA : No thanks. Thanks a lot, but no thanks.
ALBANY : Oh. You're welcome, I'm sure.
GLORIA : Don't mensch.
DON : Nat!
NAT : Comin'.
DON : Now, Gloria. Wasn't that rather rude to send that nice man all alone to Grant's Tomb?
GLORIA : When i've got a chance to go out with you? Don't be ridic.
DON : Oh, is our engagement definite?
GLORIA : You meant it, didn't you?
DON : Oh. Surely, surely.
GLORIA : Well, I've gotta get a facial, a fingerwave, the works. Right now. You're going to call for me, aren't you? And, if so, what time?
DON : What time do you suggest?
GLORIA : How about eight?
DON : Eight's fine.
GLORIA : I live right in the corner house. You know where the antique shop is, the one with the wooden Indian outside? They got the Indian sign in me, I always say.
DON : I'll be there.
GLORIA : Second floor, front. Oh, Mr. Birnam, all I got is a semi-formal. Will that be all right?
DON : That'll be fine.
GLORIA : So long, Nat.
DON : Last one, Nat. Pour it softly, pour it gently, and pour it to the brim.
NAT : Look, Mr. Birnam, there a lot of bars on Third Avenue. Do me a favor, will ya, get out of here and buy it somewhere else.
DON : What's the matter?
NAT : I don't like you much. What was the idea of pulling her leg? You know you're not going to take her out.
DON : Who says I'm not?
NAT : I say so. You're drunk and you're just making with your mouth.
DON : Give me a drink.
NAT : And that other dame...I mean the lady. I don't like what you're doing to her either.
DON : Oh, shut up.
NAT : You should've seen her come in here last night. Lookin' for you with her eyes all rainy and her mascara all washed away.
DON : Give me a drink!
NAT : That's an awful high class young lady.
DON : You bet she is.
NAT : How the heck did she ever get mixed up with a guy who sops it up like you do?
DON : That's the problem, isn't it. That nice young man who drinks, and the high-class young lady, and how did she ever get mixed up with him, and why does he drink and why doesn't he stop? That's my novel, Nat. I wanted to start writing it out in the country. Morbid stuff. Nothing for the Book-of-the-Month Club. A horror story. The confessions of a booze addict, the log book of an alcoholic. Oh, come on, Nat, break down, will ya? Do you know what I'm going to call my novel? The Bottle...that's all. Very simply, The Bottle. I've got it all here in my mind. Let me tell you the first chapter. It all starts one wet afternoon about three years ago. There was a matinee of La Traviata at the Metropolitan.
ATTENDANT : Did you forget something?
DON : No. Just going home, if it's all right with you.
ATTENDANT : Say, this isn't yours, is it?
DON : It certainly isn't.
ATTENDANT : That's what it says though...Four seventeen.
DON : I don't care what it says.
ATTENDANT : The checks must have got mixed up.
DON : Maybe they did. Find me my coat. It's a plain man's raincoat and a derby.
ATTENDANT : Are you kidding? Do you know how many plain men's raincoats we have on a day like this? About a thousand.
DON : Well, let me get back there. I can find it.
ATTENDANT : No. Please, that's against regulations, sir.
DON : I am not going to wait here until the end of the performance.
ATTENDANT : Well, you can get your coat tomorrow.
DON : Tomorrow?
ATTENDANT : Yeah.
DON : Look, man, there's something in the pocket of that coat. I...Well, it so happens I find myself without any money and I need that coat. And I need it now!
ATTENDANT : Listen, if everybody went in there digging through those coats...There's regulations. There's got to be regulations.
DON : Then, what do you suggest?
ATTENDANT : Wait till the other party arrives, then swap.
DON : I want my coat.
ATTENDANT : As far as I'm concerned Mister, that's your coat.
DON : You're a great help. (to Helen) That's my coat you've got.
HELEN : And that's mine, thank heaven. They mixed up the checks.
DON : They certainly did. I thought you'd never come.
HELEN : Well you couldn't have waited so long.
DON : Only since the first aria of the first act. That's all.
HELEN : Do you always just drop in just for the overture?
DON : Goodbye.
HELEN : Oh, oh. Just a minute! Oh, my umbrella if you don't mind.
DON : Catch.
HELEN : Thank you very much.
DON : I'm terribly sorry.
HELEN : You're the rudest person I've ever seen. What's the matter with you?
DON : Oh, just rude I guess.
HELEN : Oh, really. Somebody should talk to your mother.
DON : They tried, Miss St. John.
HELEN : My name's not St. John.
DON : Well, St. Joseph then.
HELEN : St. James.
DON : First name Hilda or Helen, or Harriet, maybe?
HELEN : Helen.
DON : Alright, Helen. I also know that you come from Toledo, Ohio.
HELEN : You do? How?
DON : Well, I've had three long acts to work you out from that coat of yours. Initials, labels...Alfred Spitzer, Fine Furs, Toledo, Ohio.
HELEN : Maybe I should have explored your coat.
DON : But you didn't though.
HELEN : Didn't have time.
DON : Good. My name is Don Birnam.
HELEN : How do you do?
DON : Well, how do you like New York?
HELEN : Love it.
DON : You intend to stay long?
HELEN : Oh, sixty years, perhaps. I live here now. I've got a job.
DON : Doing what?
HELEN : Time Magazine.
DON : Oh. Time Magazine? Then perhaps you could do something for me.
HELEN : Yes.
DON : Could you help me become Man of the Year?
HELEN : Delighted. What do you do?
DON : Yes, what do I do? I'm a writer. I've just started a novel. As a matter of fact i've started several. But, I never seem to finish one.
HELEN : Well, in that case, why don't you write short stories.
DON : Well, I have some of those. First paragraph. Then there's one-half of the opening scene of a play which takes place in the leaning tower of Pisa. It tempts to explain why it leans. And why all sensible buildings should lean.
HELEN : They'll love that in Toledo.
DON : Oh, by the way, are you coming here to Lohengrin next week?
HELEN : I don't know.
DON : Because if you are, I'm not going to let this coat out of my hands.
HELEN : Don't worry.
DON : Oh, but I do. You know, to be really safe, we should go together.
HELEN : We could.
DON : Are you in the phone book?
HELEN : Yes, but I'm not home very much.
DON : Well, I'll call you at your office.
HELEN : Editorial Research. If Henry Luce answers, hang up.
DON : All right. Would you like a taxi?
HELEN : No, thanks. I'm taking the subway.
DON : Oh, very sensible.
HELEN : As a matter of fact, I'm going to an extremely crazy party on Washington Square. If you'll like, I'll take you along.
DON : Oh. Thank you very much, Miss St. James, but I have to see a friend uptown.
HELEN : Oh. Goodbye, Mr. Birnam.
DON : Goodbye.
HELEN : Who threw that?
DON : It fell out of my pocket.
HELEN : Do you always carry those things?
DON : Well, no. You see...that friend of mine, the one uptown, he has a slight cold and I thought I'd take this along and make him a hot toddy.
HELEN : Well, see that he gets a hot lemonade and some asprin.
DON : I shall.
HELEN : Goodbye.
DON : Bye. Oh, Miss St. James!
HELEN : Yes?
DON : What kind of a party was that you asked me to?
HELEN : A cocktail party.
DON : Invitation still stand?
HELEN : Of course. Come on.
NAT : Okay. So they go to that cocktail party and he gets stinko and falls flat on his face.
DON : He does not. By this time, he's crazy about that girl by then. He drinks tomato juice. Doesn't touch liquor for that whole week...for two weeks, for six weeks.
NAT : In love, huh?
DON : That's what's going to be hard to write. Love is the hardest thing in the world to write about. It's so simple. You've got to catch it through details, like the early morning sunlight hitting the gray tin of the rainspot in front of her house. The ringing of a telephone that sounds like Beethoven's Pastoral. A letter scribbled on her office stationery that you carry in your pocket because it smells of all the lilacs in Ohio. Pour it, Nat! He thinks he's cured. If he could only get a job now, they could be married and that's that. But it's not Nat. Not quite. Because one day, one terrible day.
NAT : Yeah? Go on.
DON : You see, this girl's been writing to her people in Toledo. They want to meet the young man. So they come to New York. They stay at the Hotel Manhattan. Their very first day, she's to introduce him to her parents. One o'clock. Lobby of the hotel...
MR. ST. JAMES : Just walked in for a simple haircut. No, that wasn't enough, not for New York. They gave me a shampoo, scalp massage and a manicure. Thought they were going to tear my shoes off and paint my toenails.
MRS. ST. JAMES : I had a lovely morning. Just did a little window shopping. Didn't want to get all tired out.
MR. ST. JAMES : On account of meeting that young man? Now, Mother.
MRS. ST. JAMES : Who did you get a haircut for?
MR. ST. JAMES : Wonder what's keeping Helen.
MRS. ST. JAMES : She'll be here.
MR. ST. JAMES : This Birnam fellow went to Cornell, didn't he?
MRS. ST. JAMES : I believe so.
MR. ST. JAMES : But he never graduated. I wonder why. How old is he?
MRS. ST. JAMES : Thirty-three.
MR. ST. JAMES : He has no job. As far as I can find out, he never had one. I wish Helen wasn't so vague.
MRS. ST. JAMES : Maybe he has a little money. Some people do, you know, Father.
MR. ST. JAMES : He ought to have a job anyway.
MRS. ST. JAMES : He's a writer.
MR. ST. JAMES : Writer? What did he write? I never heard of his name.
MRS. ST. JAMES : Now Father, relax. You always expect the worst.
MR. ST. JAMES : I hope he realizes that Helen's our only daughter and we ought to know a few things about him.
MRS. ST. JAMES : Those'll all come out...his background, his prospects, his church affiliations.
DON : Hotel Manhattan? Would you please page Miss Helen St. James? St. James. Yeah, she's in the lobby. Helen?...Don. Darling, I'm terribly sorry but I won't be able to get there for a while. Will you please go ahead and have your lunch and apologize to your parents...Oh, nothing serious. I'll be there. Goodbye. (to Wick) Turn off that light.
WICK : Don?
DON : Turn it off!
WICK : For heaven's sake, Don. I thought you were with Helen and her father and mother. What happened? Come on Don.
DON : I couldn't face it.
WICK : Couldn't face what? Didn't you go to see them?
DON : Certainly I went. One o'clock sharp. I saw them all right. Only they didn't see me.
WICK : How was that?
DON : Such nice, respectable people. I couldn't face them Wick, and all the questions they'd ask me. I just couldn't do it. Not cold. I had to have a drink first. Just one. Only the one didn't do anything to me.
WICK : So you had another and another. Oh, you poor idiot, Don. Won't you ever learn with you, it's like stepping off a roof and expecting to fall just one floor?
DON : Will you call her up Wick? Tell her something. Tell her I'm sick. Tell her I'm dead. Will you call?
WICK : Yes, I'll call.
DON : You know she must have written them a lot of nice things about me. What a gentleman I am. A prince.
WICK : Which hotel is it?
DON : The Manhattan. Mr. and Mrs. Charles St. James of Toledo, Ohio.
WICK : Get up, Don. (to Helen) Just a minute, Helen.
HELEN : Hello, Wick. Is Don here?
WICK : Don? No.
HELEN : Any idea where he could be?
WICK : Wasn't he meeting you?
HELEN : Oh, he was supposed to meet us for lunch, then he telephoned he'd be late. Mother's beginning to think I just made him up. Do you suppose something happened to him?
WICK : Nonsense.
HELEN : Oh. But surely he'd have called back; if her were all right.
WICK : Where did he call you from?
HELEN : I don't know.
WICK : I think I have got an idea. He called from out of town.
HELEN : Out of town? Where?
WICK : Philidelphia.
HELEN : What's he doing in Philadelphia?
WICK : Well, there's an opening on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the book section and Don wrote them, he wired them and I think this morning he just took an early train.
HELEN : Oh. Why, he didn't tell me a word about it.
WICK : I, I'm not supposed to tell you either. He wanted it to be a surprise.
HELEN : He did?
WICK : Yes, he, he probably couldn't meet the right people right away, missed a train. You know how it is.
HELEN : Oh, it would be just wonderful if he got the job and started working. Or would it, Wick, with him in Philadelphia and me in New York? Don't ever tell him I said that though, will you?
WICK : Of course not.
HELEN : I can never understand why somebody like Don, a person with such talent, such flashes of real brilliance...Maybe I'm a bit prejudiced. What are you doing, Wick?
WICK : Nothing.
HELEN : Where did that bottle come from?
WICK : It just rolled out.
HELEN : From under the couch.
WICK : Yes, Helen. You know it's my guess that Don caught an early train and...
HELEN : Is that Don's bottle?
WICK : What makes you think that?
HELEN : There was a bottle the first time we met.
WICK : There was?
HELEN : Fell out of Don's pocket.
WICK : That was for me, Helen. This one's mine too. You might as well hear the family scandal. I drink. Don thinks I drink too much. I had to promise to go on the wagon. That's why I hid the bottle so he wouldn't see it.
HELEN : Oh. I'm so sorry, Wick. I shouldn't have started asking questions. It's really none of my business.
WICK : Forget it, Helen.
HELEN : I better be getting back to the hotel. Don's probably there already. And don't worry, Wick, I won'T mention a word of it to him.
WICK : Thank you, Helen.
HELEN : Bye.
WICK : Bye.
DON : Helen. I'm sorry, Helen. I can't let you go. Not like this.
HELEN : Don!
WICK : Shut your mouth, Don. (to Helen) I'll take you downstairs.
DON : Thanks very much for your Philadelphia Story, Wick. Nice try. That looks so silly on you.
WICK : Don't listen to him.
DON : You don't even have to. Just look at the two of us.
HELEN : Yes. What is all this covering up?
WICK : All that happened is that Don was nervous at the idea of meeting your parents and so he took a couple of drinks.
DON : Come on, Wick, she'd have found out sooner or later.
HELEN : Stop it, both of you. Don's a little tight. Most people drink a little. A lot of them get tight once in a while.
DON : Sure. The lucky ones who can take it or leave it. But then there are the ones who can't take it and leave it either. What I'm trying to say is I'm not a drinker. I'm a drunk. They had to put me away once.
WICK : He went to a cure.
DON : Which didn't take. You see, that first time we met, I should have had the decency to get drunk, just for your sake.
HELEN : For my sake? We're talking about you. (to Wick) Is it really that bad, Wick?
DON : Yes, it is.
WICK : Can't we go over this tomorrow, Don, when you're feeling more like yourself?
DON : Helen's heard the facts. That's all there is to it.
HELEN : Yes, I've heard them and they're not very pleasant. But they could be worse. After all, you're not an embezzler or a murderer. You drink too much and that's not fatal. One cure didn't take. There are others.
WICK : Of course there are.
DON : This has a familiar ring.
HELEN : But, there must be a reason why you drink Don. The right doctor could find it.
DON : Look, I'm way ahead of the right doctor. I know the reason. The reason is me. What I am. Or, rather, what I'm not. What I wanted to become and didn't.
HELEN : What is it you want to be so much that you're not?
DON : A writer. Silly, isn't it? You know, in college I passed for a genius. They couldn't get out the college magazine without one of my stories. Boy, was I hot, Hemingway stuff. I reached my peak when I was nineteen. Sold a piece to the Atlantic Monthly. Reprinted in the Readers' Digest. Who wants to stay in college when he's Hemingway? My mother bought me a brand new typewriter, and I moved right in on New York. Well, the first thing I wrote, that didn't quite come off. And the second, I dropped. The public wasn't ready for that one. I started a third and a fourth...only by then, somebody began to look over my shoulder and whisper, in a thin, clear voice like the E-string on a violin. Don Birnam, he'd whisper, it's not good enough. Not that way. How about a couple of drinks just to set it on its feet, huh? So I had a couple. Oh, what a great idea that was. That made all the difference. Suddenly I could see the whole thing...the tragic sweep of the great novel, beautifully proportioned. But before I could really grab it and throw it down on paper, the drinks would wear off and everything would be gone, like a mirage. Then there was despair, and a drink to counterbalance despair, and one to counterbalance the counterbalance. And I'd sit in front of that typewriter, trying to squeeze out one page that was halfway decent, and that guy would pop up again.
HELEN : What guy? Who are you talking about?
DON : The other Don Birnam. There are two of us, you know: Don the drunk and Don the writer. And the drunk would say to the writer, come on, you idiot. Let's get some good out of that portable. Let's hock it. Let's take it to that pawn shop over on Third Avenue, it's always good for ten dollars, another drink, another binge, another bender and a spree. Such humorous words. I tried to break away from that guy a lot of times but, no good. You know once I even got myself a gun and some bullets. I was gonna do it on my thirtieth birthday. Here are the bullets. The gun went for three quarts of whiskey. That other Don wanted us to have a drink first. He always wants us to have a drink first. The flop suicide of a flop writer.
WICK : All right, maybe you're not a writer. Why don't you do something else?
DON : Sure, take a nice job. Public accountant, real estate salesman. I haven't the guts, Helen. Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can't take quiet desperation.
HELEN : But you are a writer. You have every quality for it. Imagination, wit, pity...
DON : Come on, let's face reality. I'm thirty-three, I'm living on the charity of my brother. Room and board free. Fifty cents a week for cigarettes. An occasional ticket to a show or concert, all out of the bigness of his heart. And it is a big heart and a patient one.
WICK : Now, Don, I've only been carrying you along for the time being.
DON : Shut up, Wick. I've never done anything, I'm not doing anything, I never will do anything. Zero, zero, zero.
HELEN : Now you shut up. We'll straighten it out.
DON : Look. Wick has the misfortune to be my brother. You just happened to walk in on this. Now if you know what's good for you, you'll turn around and walk out again and walk fast and don't turn back.
HELEN : Why don't you make some coffee, Wick? Strong, three cups.
DON : Look, Helen. Do yourself a favor. Go on, clear out.
HELEN : Because I've got a rival? Because you're in love with this? You don't know me, Don. I'm going to fight and fight and fight. Bend down. All right.
DON : That was three years ago, Nat. That's a long time to keep fighting, to keep believing. She knows she's clutching a razor blade but she won't let go. Three years of it.
NAT : And what? How does it come out?
DON : I don't know. Haven't figured that far.
NAT : Want me to tell ya? One day your guy gets wise to himself and gets back that gun. Or, if he's only got a buck then, he goes up to the Empire State Building, way up on top and then...or he can do it for a nickel, in a subway under a train.
DON : You think so, Nat? What if Helen is right, and this guy sits down and turns out something good...but good...and that pulls him up and snaps him out of it?
NAT : This guy? Not from where I sit.
DON : Oh, shut up, Nat. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it now. It's all there. You heard it.
NAT : Yes, Mr. Birnam.
DON : That's why I didn't go away on that weekend, see, so I can be alone up there and sit down at my typewriter. This time I'm going to do it, Nat. I'm going to do it.
NAT : Maybe you will.
DON : Thank you, Nat. Am I all paid up?
NAT : Yes, Mr. Birnam.
DON : Goodbye, Nat. I'm going home. This time I've got it. I'm going to write.
NAT : Good luck to you.
BOOK TITLE PAGE : THE BOTTLE A Novel by Don Birnam To Helen - With All My Love
DON : You had another bottle, you know you did. Where did you put it? You're not crazy. Where did you put it?
MATCHBOOK : HARRY'S AND JOE'S Where Good Liquor Flows 13 W. 52nd St. NY
SONG : It was so beautiful, so wonderful, the stars above us shone, we were alone, we were alone...
DON : Check please.
WAITER : Right here, sir.
SONG : The time was right, the moon was low, I held you tight, how could I let you go, It was so beautiful, so wonderful, so gorgeous, so divine...
SONG : And you were mine...
WAITER : Yes sir?
DON : Another gin vermouth, please.
WAITER : Yes, sir.
SONG : Mmm, you were mine... Nightime found us, happy nights around us, Church bells ringing, day is done, They'll be ringing when we've won, Evenings blessing, you and I caressing, Music, moonlight, melody, Only there for you and me, It was so beautiful, so wonderful, so gorgeous, so divine, And you were mine, And you were mine, It was so beautiful, so wonderful, the stars above us shone, We were alone, we were alone, The time was right, the moon was low...
DON : Thank you.
SONG : I held you tight,
DON : Where's your wash room?
SONG : How could I let you go,
WAITER : Over there, sir.
ATTENDANT : Hows about a carnation for your buttonhole?
CUSTOMER : No thank you.
ATTENDANT : Thank you, sir. (to Don) Wash your hands?
DON : Thank you.
ATTENDANT : All rightie, sir.
DON : Would you wipe my shoes?
ATTENDANT : Yes, sir.
SONG : Each little rose, held me at nose, I love you, love you, Every little beat that I feel in my heart, Seems to repeat what I felt at the start, Each little sigh...
ATTENDANT : Carnation, sir?
DON : I already took one.
ATTENDANT : You did?
DON : For a very kind lady.
ATTENDANT : Yes, sir.
SONG : Just to see you, hear you...
DON : Thank you.
ATTENDANT : Thank you, sir.
SONG : Brings joy I never knew, But to be so near you, Thrills me through and through, Ooh, Anyone can see what I wanted you kiss, It had to be but the wonder is this...
WAITER : That's him.
SONG : Can it be true...
WAITER : That's the man.
HEADWAITER : You were sitting here, sir?
DON : I beg your pardon.
GEORGE : You took this lady's bag, didntcha?
HEADWAITER : All right, let's have it.
DON : Of course.
GEORGE : Somebody call a cop.
M.M. : No, George, no. It doesn't matter as long as I have the bag.
GEORGE : Well, look in it. Maybe he took something.
DON : Ten dollars, to be exact.
GEORGE : Why I ought to kick your teeth in.
M.M. : George, George! He's drunk.
HEADWAITER : Come on. Get out of here.
WAITER : How about the check?
DON : That's why I had to borrow from the lady. I didn't have enough. I'll come back and pay the rest.
HEADWAITER : Don't you show your face in here again ever. Mike!
WAITER : Mike!
HEADWAITER : Take him out of here.
SONG : Somebody stole the purse, Everybody, Somebody stole the purse
DON : I assure you, I'm not a thief. I'm not a thief!
SONG : Somebody came and...he didn't even...
DON : Stop it, Helen, stop it, stop it. I'm all right. I just can't talk. Please, stop it. (to himself) You'll never make it. You'll never make that hock shop. It's a block and a half away.
DON : This isn't Sunday, is it?
WOMAN : Huh?
DON : I asked is this Sunday.
WOMAN : No, Saturday. Why?
DON : But, it's closed. Nothing else is closed.
WOMAN : Somebody passed away, most likely.
MAN 1 : What's the matter with you?
DON : Why are they all closed? They're all closed, every one of 'em.
MAN 1 : Sure they are. It's Yom Kippur.
DON : It's what?
MAN 1 : It's Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday.
DON : It is? What you talking about? Then what about Kelly's and Gallagher's?
MAN 1 : They're closed too. We've got an agreement. They keep closed on Yom Kippur and we don't open on St. Patrick's.
DON : That's a good joke. That's funny, that's very funny. (to Nat) Nat.
NAT : Yeah, Mr. Birnam? What do you want?
DON : Let me have one, Nat. I'm dying. Just one.
NAT : I thought you was home writin' that book.
DON : They're playing a trick on me. A dirty trick, Nat. Give me one. I'll pay it whan I can. Only just don't let me die here.
NAT : No credit, and you know it.
DON : All right it's charity. I'm begging you. Give me one.
NAT : Yeah, one. One's too many and a hundred's not enough. That's all.
DON : Oh, come on Nat, come on. I'll let you have my typewriter.
NAT : I'm no writer. You're the writer.
DON : Please Nat.
NAT : Now go, go away. I mean it. Get outta here.
GLORIA : Who is it? Who is it?
DON : It's me.
GLORIA : Why, Mr. Don Birnam, as I live and breathe! Only if you're comin' for our date, you're a little late, aren't you, Mr. Birnam? And if you're comin' to apologize...no thanks. Thanks a lot, but no thanks.
DON : Gloria...
GLORIA : Save your saliva. I've had enough of you. Def, but def. What do you think I am? I break a business date. I buy me an evening purse, a facial, a new hair-do. Well, maybe you can do that to your ritzy friends. You can't to me, understand?
DON : Gloria.
GLORIA : Okay, what do you want, Mr. Don Birnam Esquire?
DON : I need some money.
GLORIA : You what?
DON : Could you let me have some money?
GLORIA : Say, you out of your mind? Don't be ridic. Get out of here. Make with those stairs, go on! I waited half the night like it was the first date I ever had. The other half I was crying. How much money?
DON : Could you let me have ten or five, or something?
GLORIA : I'll see. You look awfully sick, Mr. Birnam. Have you got a fever or something?
DON : I'm all right now.
GLORIA : Thank you a lot. You do like me a little, don't you, honey?
DON : Why, natch, Gloria. Natch.
GLORIA'S MOM : Gloria, who have you got out there?
GLORIA : Coming.
GIRL : It's a happy, happy, happy day...
DON : What's this place? Hey, you, what is this place? I'm talking to you.
BIM : Good morning, merry sunshine. How's your head?
DON : Where am I? What is this place?
BIM : This? This is the Hangover Plaza.
DON : What hospital is this?
BIM : Alcoholic Ward. How's your head?
DON : It aches.
BIM : Thought you had a fracture till we looked at the X-rays. Everything in one piece. Just a slight concussion.
DON : Why did they put me in the Alcoholic Ward?
BIM : Are you kiddin'? We took a peek at your blood. Straight applejack. Ninety-six proof.
DON : What day is it?
BIM : Sunday. Are these yours? You and the colored fellow were being undressed at the same time. They fell out of somebody's pants.
DON : They're mine. Are you a doctor?
BIM : I'm a nurse. Name of Nolan. They call me Bim. You can call me Bim. What's your name?
DON : Birnam.
BIM : What kind of Birnam?
DON : Don Birnam.
BIM : Where do you live?
DON : Two-o-nine East Fif...what do you need that for?
BIM : For the post card.
DON : What post card?
BIM : To your folks, so's they'll know where honey-boy is and can pick him up when he's feeling better.
DON : No address.
BIM : Okay. We'll get it out of the phone book, or the directory, or your wallet.
DON : Look, no postcard. Understand? Nobody's going to pick me up.
BIM : The management insists. If we let you guys go home alone a lot of you don't go home. You just hit the nearest bar and bounce right back again. What we call the Quick Richochet.
DON : Look, I'm as well as you are. I can get out of here right now.
BIM : Think so?
DON : Where are my clothes?
BIM : Downstairs.
DON : How do I get out of this place?
BIM : Right through there.
GUARD : Well, where do you think you're going?
DON : To get my clothes.
GUARD : Got you discharge?
DON : My what?
GUARD : Your release?
DON : I'm all right. Let me out.
GUARD : Get back there, go on.
DON : Keep your hands off me.
BIM : Birnam! Come here, Birnam.
DON : Is this a jail?
BIM : Well, this department...side of a halfway hospital, halfway jail.
DON : Listen, Bim, in my clothes there's five dollars. That's all for you if only you won't send that post card.
BIM : Nothing doing.
DON : I don't want anybody to know.
BIM : Your folks might as well get used to our little post cards.
DON : What are you talking about?
BIM : There'll be more of 'em. You'll be back.
DON : Oh, shut up.
BIM : Listen, I can pick an alky with one eye shut. You're an alky, you'll come back. They all do. Him, for instance, shows up every month, just like the gas bill. And the one there, with the glasses, another repeater. This is his forty-fifth time. Big executive in the advertising business. Lovely fellow. Been coming here ever since nineteen twenty-seven. Good old prohibition days. Say you should have seen the joint then. This is nothing. Back then we really had a turnover. Standing room only. Prohibition! That's what started most of these guys off. Whoopee! Now be a good boy and drink this.
DON : I don't want it.
BIM : Better take it. Liable to be a little floor show later on around here. Might get on your nerves.
DON : Floor show?
BIM : Ever have the D.T.'s?
DON : No.
BIM : You will, brother.
DON : Not me.
BIM : Like to make a little bet? After all, you're just a freshman. Wait'll you're a sophomore, that's when you start seeing the little animals. You know that stuff about pink elephants, that's the bunk. It's little animals. Little tiny turkeys in straw hats. Midget monkeys coming through the key-holes. See that guy over there? With him it's beetles. Come the night, he sees beetles crawling all over him. Has to be dark, though. It's like the doctor was just telling me, "Delirium is a disease of the night." Good night.
NURSE : Get the restraints and get the doctor.
DOCTOR : Get him to the violent ward.
NURSE : Over here doctor. Violent ward, get the elevator.
DEVERIDGE : Good morning.
MILKMAN : Shhh.
DEVERIDGE : Anything wrong up there? Anything wrong? Are you all right?
HELEN : Oh. I'm fine, thank you.
DEVERIDGE : Have you been there all night?
HELEN : I've been waiting for Mr. Birnam.
DEVERIDGE : Mr. Don Birnam?
HELEN : Yes. I suppose he stayed over night with some friends. He has some friends in Long Island.
DEVERIDGE : Now, now. What kind of story is that?
HELEN : I beg your pardon.
DEVERIDGE : I'm his landlady. I know what goes on in this house. I know Mr. Don Birnam. I knew all about him the first week they moved here, five years ago. Heard those bottles rattle in the garbage can. I know all about you. You're Helen St. James. Your working on the Time Magazine and you're his best girl. Well, I also know he's not staying with any friends in Long Island, he's off on another toot and you know I'm darned right. Now come on down and I'll make you some breakfast.
HELEN : I don't care for any breakfast, thank you. Nor do I care for that kind of talk, even supposing you're right.
DEVERIDGE : Which I am. I could have kicked him out fifty times. The last, when two taxi drivers dumped him into the entrance hall out cold on the floor. With all my tennants going in and out and children leaving for school.
HELEN : Please, please.
DEVERIDGE : Well, I didn't put him out. Not as long as his brother could pay the rent. You couldn't help liking him anyway. He's was so good looking. He had such nice manners. He always had a little joke.
HELEN : Stop talking about him as if he were dead.
DEVERIDGE : Best thing for you if he was.
DON : I want a quart of rye. Quick.
PROPRIETOR : Care if I take off my coat first?
DON : No. No cracks, no questions. Just a quart of rye.
PROPRIETOR : Be two fifteen.
DON : Come on. I need that liquor, I want it, I'm going to get it, understand. I'm going to walk out of here with that quart of rye, one way or another.
DEVERIDGE : Miss St. James?...He's back. He's upstairs, this is Mrs. Deveridge. Yes, he's back. Up in the apartment. I heard him yelling.
HELEN : Don, open the door. Open it, please. Don, won't you let me in? I know you're there. Please, open the door. Don, don't you hear me? I want to help you. Don, I won't go away. Do I have to go down and get the janitor with the pass key to let me in?
DEVERIDGE : Dave! Dave!
DAVE : Yes, Mrs. Deveridge?
DEVERIDGE : Come on up with the pass key. Come on, come on, come.
HELEN : Thank you very much.
DEVERIDGE : You'd better let us come too. You can't go in there alone.
HELEN : I'll be all right, thank you.
DEVERIDGE : Come Sophie. Let's go.
HELEN : Don, darling.
DON : Go away, Helen.
HELEN : I'm here to help you, Don.
DON : No, no.
HELEN : Look at you. You want to get up, Don. Put your arm on my shoulder. You'll have a bath and I'll help you shave and you'll eat and sleep, and when Wick comes back everything will be all right.
DON : No, Helen, don't look.
HELEN : What's the matter, Don?
DON : That wall.
HELEN : What wall?
DON : The mouse and the bat.
HELEN : Mouse and the bat?
DON : Yes, that hole in the wall right behind you.
HELEN : There's no hole in the wall, Don.
DON : Yes there is.
HELEN : No, there isn't.
DON : Yes.
HELEN : Don please, look for yourself. Come on. Come on Don, please look. You see? Everything's gonna be all right. I'll stay right with you.
DON : It's little animals. It's always little animals. That's what Bim said.
HELEN : You're not making much sense Don.
DON : You know what Nat said about the ending? Like this. Or like that. Like this or like that.
HELEN : Don! Don! Where are you going, Don? Don.
HELEN : All right, Don. Give me the pawn ticket.
DON : No scene, please.
HELEN : No scene. Just give me the pawn ticket.
DON : Look, I don't want you to go in there and claim it now. It would look queer.
HELEN : You're ashamed of what the pawn broker will think, is that it? It doesn't matter what I think.
DON : Wick'll get you back your coat.
HELEN : You couldn't have taken my bracelet or my pay check? It had to be that coat?
DON : You mean the one that brought us together? Stop being sentimental.
HELEN : Oh, I have Don, I assure you. It's finished. It's dead. For three years they couldn't talk me out of you. I was the only one that really understood you. I knew there was a core of something...well there is a core, and now I know what it is. A sponge. And to soak it full you'll do anything that's ruthless, selfish, dishonest.
DON : I asked you not to make a scene.
HELEN : Then give me the ticket.
DON : No, Helen, not now, please.
HELEN : I don't want the money. You can get as drunk as you like for all I care.
DON : Thank you.
HELEN : A gentleman was here a while ago. How much did you give him for that coat?
PAWN BROKER : Why?
HELEN : Well, I want it back. It's my coat.
PAWN BROKER : It's your coat?
HELEN : Oh, it's all right. He had my permission. How much did you give him?
PAWN BROKER : He didn't want any money. He wanted to swap it.
HELEN : Swap it? For what?
PAWN BROKER : Oh, something he hocked here a long while back.
HELEN : What?
PAWN BROKER : A gun.
HELEN : A gun?
PAWN BROKER : Now if you want that coat I can a...
DON'S LETTER : As for the survivors, dear old Wick, I'd recommend no flowers, and few good jokes. Goodbye, Don.
DON : What is it, Helen? What's the matter?
HELEN : Nothing. Dave gave me the keys, I didn't think you were here.
DON : What do you want here?
HELEN : It's just that the rain is worse and I couldn't get a taxi. I thought perhaps I could borrow a...a coat under the circumstances.
DON : Sure. How about my raincoat?
HELEN : Funny, that we should wind up after all these years just as we met, I with your raincoat...
DON : And I with your leopard coat. I always got the best of the bargain. Goodbye, Helen. What are you looking for?
HELEN : Well I thought perhaps, maybe you might have something for my hair.
DON : Would you care to wear my black derby?
HELEN : Any old thing, any old scarf.
DON : All right. Here you are.
HELEN : Thank you.
DON : So long.
HELEN : Do you know Don, there was still some whiskey left in the bottle after I cleaned up last night.
DON : Was there?
HELEN : Wouldn't you like to know where I put it?
DON : Nope.
HELEN : Don't you want a drink, Don?
DON : No.
HELEN : Here it is, right here. Why don't you have one. Just one.
DON : What are you up to?
HELEN : Nothing. I'm just ashamed of the way I talked to you, like a narrow-minded, insensitive, small-town teetotaller.
DON : I told you, I don't feel like a drink. Not now.
HELEN : Come on, Don. Just one. I'll have one with you. I'm in no hurry. This is my easy day at the office.
DON : Look Helen, there are a few things I want to put in order before Wick comes.
HELEN : Let me stay please.
DON : No.I don't want to sound rude but, I'm afraid you'll have to leave now.
HELEN : Here Don.
DON : You're very sweet. Goodbye. Don't let me bend for nothing.
HELEN : You need this, Don. Drink it. I want you to drink it. I'll get you some more. I'll get you all you want.
DON : What kind of talk is that?
HELEN : It's just that I'd rather have you drunk than dead.
DON : Who wants to be dead?
HELEN : Stop lying to me.
DON : Give it to me. All right. Now go! No fuss, please. No calling the neighbors. It won't do any good, I promise you.
HELEN : I won't. You've made up your mind. But could you tell me why? Why?
DON : Because it's best all around, for everybody. For you, for Wick, for me.
HELEN : But that's not true. We love you, Wick and I.
DON : All right. Then for me. Selfish again.
HELEN : That's a sad final word, Don.
DON : Look at it this way, Helen. This business is just a formality. Don Birnam is dead already. He died over this weekend.
HELEN : Did he? What did he die of?
DON : Of a lot of things. Of alcohol, of moral anemia, of fear, of shame, of D.T.'s.
HELEN : Oh, that Don Birnam. And now you want to kill the other one.
DON : What other?
HELEN : There were two Dons. You told me so yourself. Don the drunk and Don the writer.
DON : Let's not go back to a fancy figure of speech. There's only one Don, he's through.
HELEN : Don.
DON : I'm all right, I have enough strength left...
HELEN : I know you have. I can see it. Don't waste it on pulling a trigger, Don.
DON : No, let me get it over with or do you want me to give you another one of my promises that I never keep?
HELEN : I don't want you to give me your promise, I don't want you to give your promise to anybody but Don Birnam.
DON : It's too late. I wouldn't know how to start.
HELEN : The only way to start is to stop. There is no cure besides just stopping.
DON : Can't be done.
HELEN : Other people have stopped.
DON : People with a purpose, with something to do.
HELEN : You've got talent and ambition.
DON : Talent. Ambition. That's dead long ago. That's drowned. That's drifting around with a bloated belly on a lake of alcohol.
HELEN : No it isn't. You still have it.
DON : Quit trying to stall me Helen. It's too late. There's no more writing left in me, it's gone. What do you expect, a miracle?
HELEN : Yes, yes, yes! If I could just make you...
DON : Who is it?
NAT : It's me, Mr. Birnam.
DON : What is it, Nat?
NAT : I got somethin' for you, Mr. Birnam. I hope I ain't intrudin.
DON : What is it?
NAT : You know when you had that accident? Afterward I found this floatin' around on the Nile. She writes pretty good. I oiled her up a little. And I didn't oil her up so you can hock her.
HELEN : I'll take it, Nat.
NAT : Hello, Miss.
DON : Thank you, Nat.
NAT : How are all them lilacs in Ohio?
HELEN : Well Don, here it is. What do you say now?
DON : Say about what?
HELEN : This. Someone, somewhere, sent it back. Why? Because he means you to stay alive, because he wants you to write. I didn't ask for a big miracle.
DON : Write! With these hands? And a brain that's all out of focus?
HELEN : It'll clear up again. You'll be well.
DON : And I'll be sitting there staring at that white sheet, scared.
HELEN : No you won't. You've forgotten what it feels like to be well.
DON : What am I gonna write about? What?
HELEN : What you've always wanted to write. Where was the page I found? "The Bottle. A Novel by Don Birnam," What was that to be?
DON : About a messed-up life. About a man and a woman and a bottle. About nightmares, horrors, humiliations, all the things I want to forget.
HELEN : Put it all down on paper. Get rid of it that way. Tell it all, to whom it may concern. And it concerns so many people, Don.
DON : Yeah.
HELEN : I'll fix us some breakfast.
DON : We have quite a supply of milk. You'll notice I didn't even find a first line.
HELEN : Course you couldn't write the beginning because you didn't know the ending. Only now...Only now you know the ending.
DON : I'm gonna send one copy to Bim, one to the doctor who loaned me his coat, and one to Nat. Imagine Wick standing in front of a book store. A great big pyramid of my books. A Novel by Don Birnam. "That's by my brother, you know."
HELEN : That's by my fellow. Didn't I always tell you?
DON : I'm going to put this whole weekend down, minute by minute.
HELEN : Why not?
DON : The way I stood in there, packing my suitcase...Only my mind wasn't on the suitcase, and it wasn't on the weekend, nor was it on the shirts I was putting in the suitcase either. My mind was hanging outside the window. It was suspended just about eighteen inches below...And out there in that great big concrete jungle, I wonder how many others that are like me. Poor bedevilled guys, on fire with thirst. Such comical figures to the rest of the world, as they stagger blindly towards another binge, another bender, another spree...