The Man Who Wasn't There Script - Dialogue Transcript

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The Man Who Wasn't There Script



Yeah, I worked

in a barber shop,



But I never considered

myself a barber.



I stumbled into it well,

married into it, more precisely.



It wasn't my establishment.

Like the fella says, I only work here.



The dump was 200 feet square...



With three chairs,

or stations, as we call 'em,



Even though there are only

two of us working.



But this is my point.



My point is that these traders and trappers

would come to this country,



Get their pelts

and their gold "ignots"



Frank Raffo, my brother-in-law,

was the principal barber.



Man, could he talk.



Maybe if you're    or    years old,

Frank's got an interesting point of view,



But sometimes

it got on my nerves.



Not that I complained,

mind you.



Like I said, he was

the principal Barber.



Frank's father August

they called him Guzzi



Had worked the heads up

in Santa Rosa for    years...



Until his ticker stopped

in the middle of a junior flattop.



He left the shop to Frankie free and clear,



And that seemed to satisfy

all of Frank's ambitions



Cutting the hair

and chewing the fat.



Me, I don't talk much.



I just cut the hair.



It says here that the russians

exploded an a-bomb...



And there's not a damn thing

we can do about it.



How do you like them apples?



Being a barber is a lot like

being a bar man or a soda jerk.



There's not much to it once

you've learned the basic moves.



For the kids, there's the butch,

or the heinie,



The flattop, the ivy,



The crew, the vanguard,



The junior contour...



And occasionally

the executive contour.



lived in a little bungalow

on napa street.



The place was okay, I guess.



Had an electric icebox,

a gas hearth...



And a garbage grinde

built into the sink.



You might say I had it made.



Oh, year,

there was one other thing.



Doris kept the books

at Nirdlingers,



A small department store

on main street.



Doris liked the work,




She liked knowing

where everything stood



And she got a ten percent employee

discount on whatever she wanted



Nylon stockings,



Makeup and perfume.



Doris and I went to church

once a week.



Usually Tuesday night.



Doris wasn't big

on divine worship,



And I doubt if she believed

in life everlasting.



She'd most likely tell you

that our reward is on this earth,



And bingo is probably

the extent of it.






Watch you card,




I wasn't crazy

about the game,



But, I don't know,

it made her happy,



And I found the setting




Jesus. Bingo.






Doris's boss,

Big Dave Brewster,



Was married to Ann Nirdlinger,

the department store heiress.



Tonight they were coming over for dinner.



As Doris said,



We were entertaining.



Me, I don't like




- How you doin', Ed?

- Okay.



Take your coat, Ann?



The japs had us pinned down

on Buna for somethin' like six weeks.



I gotta tell ya,

I thought we had it tough,

but we had supply.



The japs were eatin' bugs

and grubs and thistles.



Anyway, one day

we bust off the beach...



And we find Arney Bragg,

this kid missin' on recon.



the japs had eaten the son of a bitch.



If you'll pardon the, uh...



Anyway, he was a scrawny, pimply kid,

nothin' to write home about.



I mean, I never woulda,

you know.



So, what do I say, honey?



What do I say

when I don't like dinner?



Come on.

what do I say?



I say,

"Arney Bragg, again?"



Arney Bragg, again?



- Were you in the service, Ed?

- No, Dave, I wasn't.



Ed was  -f on account

of his fallen arches.



That's tough.



That's... That's tough.



Yeah, I guess Doris liked

all that he-man stuff.



Sometimes I had the feeling that



She and Big Dave were a lot closer

than they let on.



The signs were all there,

plain enough.



Not that I was gonna

prance about it, mind you.



It's a free country.



Holdin' down the porch area, Ed?



- That's some wife you got there.

- Yeah.



She's a rare one.



So, how's business,




Oh, uh, couldn't be better.



These are boom times

in retailin', Ed.



We're openin' another store

over there on carson,



Big Dave's annex.

Now, this is strictly haberdashery.



It's casual wear, pajamas,

ladies' undergarments and foundations,



That type of thing.



As a matter of fact,

I'm thinkin' of makin' Doris the comptroller.



Listen, when the annex opens up,

you gotta stop by.



Maybe we can update your suit

a little bit, huh?



Course, you're in

the smock all day.



Where do you get those things,




Specialty store

down in Sacramento.



You tie your own flies.



I mean, if you're really serious,

you tie your own flies.



You do, uh...



I know. It's meticulous.

I know.



People say, hey, you can

buy flies at the store.



The point is, there's a certain art

to the process.



The point is not merely to provide.



Let me point out, these fish are not

as dumb as you might think.




Go to the store.



Describe to the man

where you will be fishing and for what,



And then you might as well have the man

sell you the goddamned fish, Ed.



My point is,



This is a man who knows nothing,

no matter how much you tell him.



- So sell him the goddamned fish, Ed.

- Yeah.






Who gets the privilege?



We're just closing, friend.



Oh, happy days.



I wish I was doing well enough

to turn away business.



What's the problem, friend?

this is a business establishment with posted hours.



More power to ya, brother.



The public be damned.






I'll take care of him.

you go ahead, Frank.



Have a seat, mister.



- You sure, Eddie?

- Yeah, yeah, go ahead.



In your ear, mister.



Oh, those fiery




Uh, say, uh,

not so fast there, brother.



Pretty good, eh?



Fools even the experts.



One hundred percent human hair.

Handcrafted by Jacques



Of San Francisco.



I'd hate to have to tell you

what I paid for it.



Yeah, it's a nice rug.



I'm payin' it down

on the installment plan.



A lot of folks live

with the pate exposed.



They say the dames

think it's sexy,



But for my money

it's just not good groomin'.



And groomin' my friend,

is probably the most important thing in business.



After personality, of course.



Creighton Tolliver.

Pleased to know ya.



Ed Crane.



So, what brings you

to Santa Rosa?



A goose, my friend.

I was chasin' a wild goose.



Ed, have you ever heard

of venture capital?



Risk money.

very speculative.



Except that in certain situations

it's not, see.



I thought I had

a prospect here



Well, I make the haul up...

And this lousy so-and-so tells me...



That the situation has changed.



All of his capital's tied up

in expansion plans of his own.



Thank you mother.

Pop goes another bubble.



It's only the biggest business opportunity

since Henry Ford,



And I can't seem

to interest a soul.



Is that right?



It's called dry cleaning.



You heard me right, brother.

dry cleaning.



Wash without water.



No suds. No tumple.

No stress on the clothes.



It's all done

with chemicals, friend.



And here's the capper...



No shrinkage.



That's right.



Dry cleaning.



All I need is $     

to open up the first store.



Then I use its cash flow

to finance another, and so on,



Leapfrog, bootstrap myself

to a whole chain.



Well, me and a partner.



Cleanliness, friend.



There's money in it.

there's a future.



There's room to grow.



Say, that looks pretty good.



Let's see it

with the hairpiece on.



Dry cleaning.



Was I crazy

to be thinking about it?



Was he a huckster or an opportunity,

the real Mccoy?



My first instinct was

no, no, the whole idea was nuts.



But maybe that was the instinct

that kept me locked in the barber shop,



Nose against the exit

afraid to try turning the knob.



- Honey?

- Hmm?



Shave my legs, will ya?



What if I could

get the money?



It was clean.



No water.






Gimme a drag.



Love ya, honey.



What you...

uh, come in.



Okay, yeah.

I'll see you tomorrow.



Oh. I thought

you were the porter.



Can I help ya?



I'm Ed.



Ed Crane.



Um, I cut your hair today.



I'm the barber.



Jesus, yeah.

The barber.



I didn't recognize you

without the smock.



Did I leave somethin'

at the shop?



No. No,

it's nothing like that.



Um, l-I might be interested

in that business proposition.



You got the dough?



Well, I can get it.



Come in. Come in!



Sit down over there.



- Coffee?

- No.



Well, sit down,

make yourself comfortable.



So tell me...



Other than putting up the money, uh,

exactly what would you want the partner to, uh...






Hell, nothin'.



You're gonna want to keep

tabs on your investment,

The running of the business,



but I'm looking for a silent partner.



I've done the research,

I've contacted the vendors.



The deal is set.



Disappear, if you'd like.

Check in whenever you want.



I want the dough.

I don't take attendance.



And how do we share the...




straight down the line.



You and me.

Finance and expertise.



So you got the dough then,

do ya?



I can have it in a week.



The barber...



Well, I thought this trip

was gonna be a bust.



Just shows to go ya,

when one door slams shut,



Another one opens.



Here's to you, uh...



Was that a pass?






Well, you're out of line, mister



Not a problem.



Way out of line.






Strictly business.






I sent it to Dave

the next morning.



Then I waited.



- Frank?

- Huh?



This hair.






You ever wonder about it?



What do you mean?



I don't know.



How it keeps on coming.



It just keeps growing.




Lucky for us, huh, pal?



No, I mean,



It keeps growing,



And it's part of us.



And then we cut it off

and throw it away.



Come on, Eddie.

You're gonna scare the kid.



Okay, bud, you're through.



I'm gonna take this hair

and throw it out in the dirt.






I'm gonna mingle it

with common house dirt.



What the hell

are you talking about?



I don't know.

Skip it.



Ed, gimme a zip.



Where you going?



Us. The party at Nirdlingers.

I told you last week.



The Christmas push.



Come on, get ready.



It's important.



Nah, you go ahead.

I'm not big on parties.



Oh, don't be a grump.

Gimme a zip.



Hey, uh, ain't you

in ladies' wear?



Huh? Haven't I seen you

up in ladies' wear?



I don't work here.

My wife does



Uh-huh. Whew.

That's some beat, huh?




Lucky for us, huh, pal?



Check out the rack

on that broad in the angora.



Ed, can I talk to you?






Come in.



Oh, sit down.



Souvenired it off a jap

in New Guinea.



Guess you're, uh, wonderin'

what Doris was so hot about.






My private stock.



Romeo and Juliet.



Ed, I...



What is it, Dave?



Ed, I've been weak.



I've been weak.

The, uh...



You're gonna burn yourself.






l, uh...



Oh, Jesus.



I've been carryin' on

with a married woman.



No one you know.



And now the, uh,



The chickens are

comin' home to roost.



I got a note.



A blackmail note, you know.



Come across,

or everybody knows.



I guess you know

what that would do to me.



I guess that would be

pretty awkward.






Yeah. Yeah.



Ann would throw me

right out on my keister.



I mean, it's her st...

It's her family's store, Ed.

It's her store.



I serve at the indulgence

of the goddamn ownership.



The lady's husband

would know.



- How much do they want, Dave?

- Ten thousand dollars.



I don't know what to do, Ed.

I don't know what I can do.



You know,



I know who

the son of a bitch is.



You know... who who is?



The son of a bitch.

The blackmailer.



I know who he is.



It's no one you know.

It's a businessman from Sacramento.



A goddamn pansy, Ed.



Tryin' to rope me

into some crackpot scheme.



I heard him out,

then I told him to go to hell.



The very next day

the very next day I get a note,

the blackmail note,



Asking me for the same amout of money

he asked me for.



The very next day.

Ten thousand dollars.



How did he know that

you were seein' the woman?



He stayed at the hotel

that I went to with the, uh,



lady in question.

He must've seen us.



Oh, Jesus.



I don't know what to do.

I don't know what to do.



I don't know what to do.



Why don't you just pay him. Dave?



Cause that's my capitalization

on the annex.



That's my operation.



Christ almighty, Ed.



That's what I just talkin'

to Doris about down there



A way to get the money from the store

that we could hide from Ann.



Doris, she was, she was pretty hot

about that, god bless her.



Embezzlin', Ed.



Embezzlin' from

my own goddamn wife.



I'm sorry.



I'm sorry.



It's okay.



In a way,

I felt bad for Big Dave.



I knew that ten grand was going to

pinch him where it hurt,



But Doris was two-timing me



And I guess somewhere

that pinched a little too.



That was pretty.



Did you make that up?



Oh, no.



No, that was written

by Ludwig Van Beethoven.



Well, it was quite something.



Yeah, he wrote some

beautiful piano sonatas.



That was really something.



I'm Ed Crane.



I know who you are, Mr. Crane.



My father used to take me with him

when he went to get his hair cut.



Walter Abundas?



Oh, yeah, sure.




Yeah, I'm Rachel Abundas.



But everyone call me Birdy.



I'm sorry.

I just didn't remember.



Oh, no, it's okay.



You can't expect to remember

every skinny girl who comes in with her dad.



So you don't, uh, like

that music out there?



Not really.



I'm not big on music, ordinarily.






What a knucklehead.



- Who?

- Dave.



Why's that?



Money problems.



He's thinking about

canceling the annex.






That means I don't run Nirdlingers.



What a knucklehead.



Big Dave did it, though.



I sent a note telling him

where to drop the money.



And he did.



He came across.



Yeah. Good!

How are ya?



Come in.

I got everything organized.



How you doin'?

You got a check?



- Cash.

- Cash?



Usually these kinds of things

are done with a bank draft,



But cash, that's fine.



It's all the same in the end.



Dough is dough, huh?



Whoa, nellie.



I got the paperwork here.



Partnership papers.



They reflect our agreement.



Fifty-fifty on the net.



I provide professional services,

you provide the capital.



I'm gonna give you a receipt

on the dough here.



Uh, pretty straightforward.



- I don't know whether you wanna show it to a lawyer

- No, that's okay.



Yeah. Screw 'em, right?



Pay them to tangle it up,

then you have to pay them to untangle them.



What's the point?



You just give me a second,



I'll give you a receipt on the...



Whoa, nellie.



Okay, one thing

we didn't talk about was,



I am thinking about,

uh, calling the place Tolliver's.



After me, you know.



I didn't think you were, uh,

much interested in, uh...



- That's fine.

- Yeah, that's good. Good, good.



Now, ready?

One second and I will...



Okay, that's it.



As per our discussion.



All right, there it is,



Writ large in legal escritoire.



- And the, uh...

- Say, Creighton.



You're not gonna screw me

on this.



Screw you?






Take it to a lawyer.



No, I insist!



I insist!



This is dry cleaning.

This is not some fly-by-night thing here.



Oh, I'll tell you,



I have been    years as an entrepreneur,

and I have never...



- It's okay.

- Nobody's ever questioned me...



Hey, you want the dough back?



Huh? Huh? Do you know

who you're talkin' to here?



Do you know who I am?

Do you have any idea who...



It's okay.



So, Tolliver's is okay, then?



The next day was Saturday.



We were going to a reception

for Doris's cousin Gina...



Who just married a wop vendor

out near Modesto.



Doris didn't much feel like going,

and I didn't either.



But like she said,

we had a commitment.



I hate wops.



What's so goddamn strange

about that?



I didn't say a word.



You didn't have to

grow up with them.






Ed! Uncle Ed!



He's riding Garibaldi!

Uncle Frankie's riding Garibaldi!



That was when

she started drinking.









You been okay?



Mmm. Yeah.

How you doing, Costanza?



Oh, you know.

Still got my health.



And. Uh, how you been, uh...



- Ed.

- Ed.



He's a barber, right?



It's a good trade.

So, how come you got no kids, huh?



No, come on, kids!



l-I just ate lunch!

I couldn't eat another thing.



Oh, n... Anthony!



Anthony, it's you!



Okay, kids. Ready? And...



Congratulations. Gina.

It's so goddamn wonderful.



Life is just so goddamn wonderful,

You almost won't believe it.



- It's just a bowl of goddamn cherries.

- Let' go.






Congratulations on your goddamn cherries!



Let go of my goddamn elbow!



I never wanna see

another blueberry pie.



I never even wanna hear those words.



Don't say those words, Ed.



Don't say those words.



I'd met Doris blind

on a double date...



With a loudmouthed buddy of mine

who was seeing a friend of hers from work.



We went to a movie.

Doris had a flask.



Boy, she could put it away.



At the end of the night,

she said she liked that I didn't talk much.



It was only a couple weeks later

she suggested we get married.






Ed, it's Big Dave.

I gotta talk to you.









Yeah. It's important.



But it-it's...



Please, Ed.



Your place?



I'm at the store.



Let yourself in.






I'm ruined.



They've ruined me.



This money.



No annex.



I'm all shot to hell.



So, you paid the guy?



What kind of man are you?



What kind of man...



Are you?



I mean, I'd understand

if you came in here and...



Socked me in the nose, whatever.



I deserve it.



I'm not proud of what I did.



But you.



Yeah, I paid up.



As you well know.



But then I went and

found the pansy.



Oh, you got nothin' to say, huh?



Well, you know the story.



I didn't.



I had to beat it

out of the pansy.



I'm all shot to hell.



Well, Dave, uh...



It was only a couple weeks later

she suggested we get married.



I said, "Don't you want

to get to know me more?"



She said, "Why?

Does it get better?"



She looked at me

like I was a dope,



Which I never

really minded from her.



And she had a point,

I guess.



We knew each other

as well then as now.



Anyway, well enough.



Holy, moley,

do I got a headache.



- How are you today, Ed?

- Okay.



- You don't got a headache?

- No.



Damn, I got a headache

to beat the band.



Did you pump it? You can't pump it.

That'll just flood it.



No, no, no, you gotta pump it.

You can't just hold it down.

I mean that'll flood it.



You crazy?

You pump it.



You can't hold it down.



- Just turn the key.

- Not when it's cold.



Well, if it's cold, choke it.



And pump it.



How many time?



Ed Crane?



I'm Crane.



- Come on outside.

- Sure.



I'm officer Persky.

This is Krebs.



Well, we goin'?









Pete's got some news for ya.



Look, pal, um,



It's a tough break, but, um,



Well, damn it,

your wife's been pinched.



They sent us around

to tell you.



They sent us around to tell you.

We pulled the detail.



My wife?



Yeah, they brung her down

to county jail.






Well, embezzlement...



And homicide.



Guy named David Brewster.

He's the guy she...



H-He's the decedent.



I don't understand.



He's the dead guy.



Yeah, it's a tough break.



Visiting ends at  :  .



Oh, uh, missed it today,

but, uh,



You can go see her tomorrow.



Sorry, pal.



They sent us to tell ya.



Crab detail.



- Hello, Walter.

- Hello, Ed.




Thanks for seein' me at home.



Oh, hell.

Want a drink?



Uh, no, thanks.



You sure you don't need one?



I'm fine.



- Boy.

- Yeah.






So, uh,

What do l, uh...



Of course, uh, l, uh...



It's out of my league.



No, I... no, l-I do probate

and real estate...



And title search.



I'd be absolutely worthless,

somethin' like this. Absolutely worthless.



Excuse me.



I just finished dinner.



Frankly, Doris'd be better off

with the county defender.



- He a good man?

- Bert's okay.



Yeah, he...

he's a good man.



Listen. I won't kid you, Ed.



Uh, there's nobody around here

has any experience with this kind of thing.



I hear they're bringing a prosecutor up.



From, uh, Sacramento.



It's a capital offense.

They're taking it seriously.



- So...

- They're taking it seriously.



So, what-what, uh...



Do you want any more coffee, dad?

Oh, hi, Mr. Crane.



Hello, Rachel.



I was so sorry to hear.



Yeah, thanks.



- Coffee, Ed?

- No, thanks.



- Ah, no, thanks, honey. We're...

- Okay, dad.



It was good to see you again,

Mr. Crane.






A good kid.






Who do you think?



Lloyd Garroway in San Francisco.






You know, nobody ever said anything iffy

about Lloyd Garroway.



He's conservative.



Jury might like that.

Might like that here.






So, he's, uh,

the best man for...






The best, the money-is-no-object best,



any lawyer'll tell you,

is Freddy Riedenschneider from...






I don't know

how you're fixed for money.



- But he's...

- The best.



The best, yeah.






No question about it.






I brought your makeup.






What happened to you?



I don't know

what's goin' on... I...



I don't know

what happened to Big Dave.



I know some of it.



Irregullarities in the books, they said.

Can I explain it?



You don't have to

explain anything.



I did help him cook the books, Ed.

I did do that.



Should I...



Should I tell you

why I changed the books?



You don't have to

tell me anything.



No, no, no!



Jesus Christ!



My books used to be perfect.



Anyone could open 'em up

and make sense of the whole goddamn store.



I knew we'd pay for it.



I don't care what it costs!



This is when you come together.



Well, that's awfully

generous of you, Frank.



The hell with it.

The hell with it, Eddie.



This is when you come together.



This is family.



They're just people

like you and me, Ed.



Remember that.



Just people.



They gotta put up the big front

so that people will trust 'em with their money.



This is why the big lobby, Ed.



But they put their pants on

one leg at a time just like you and me.



They, too, use the toilet, Ed,

in spite of appearances.



And their money will be secured

by the barber shop.



A rock.

A rock, the barber shop.



Mr. Raffo.



Yes, sir?



Could you come with me,





Can Ed come too?







Ed Crane.



You also have an interest

in the securing porperty?



He's a barber.



- Second chair.

- Not an owner.



No, he's, uh, family.

He's my brother-in-law.



It would be best

if he waited here.



The barber shop.



Doris and Frank's father had worked

   years to own it free and clear.



Now it got signed over to the bank,

and the bank signed some over to Frank.



And Frank signed the money

to Freddy Riedenschneider.



Who got into town

two days later...



And told me to meet him

at Da Vinci's for lunch.



Not fried, poached.

Three of 'em for two minutes.



Strip steak, medium rare,

flapjacks, potatoes, tomato juice...



And plenty of hot coffee.



- You have any Prairie Oysters?

- No, sir.



Then bring me a fruit cocktail

while I wait.



- You're Crane?

- Yeah.



Barber, right?



I'm Freddy Riedenschneider.




Uh, not really.



They tell me the chow's okay here.

I made some inquiries.



Look, I don't want to waste your time,

so I'll eat while we talk.



Do you mind?

You don't mind.



While I'm in town

I'm staying at the Hotel Metropole.



Turandot Suite. Yeah, it's goofy.

They named their suites after operas.



Room's okay, though.

I poked around.



I'm having 'em hold it for me.

I'll be back and forth.



So, in addition to my retainer,

you're paying hotel,



Living expenses, secretarial,



Private eye, if we need to make inquiries,

head shrinker, should we go that way.



We'll talk about appeals

if, as and when.



- For now, has she confessed?

- No, of course not. She didn't do it.



Good. That helps. Not that she didn't do it

That she didn't confess.



Course, There's ways to deal with a confession,

but that's one less thing to think about.



Now, interview. I'm seeing her tomorrow.

You sholud be there  :  .



One more thing.

you keep your mouth shut.



I get the lay of the land,

I tell you what to say.



No talking out of school.

What's out of school?

Everything's out of school.



I do the talking.

You keep your trap shut.



I'm an attorney. You're a barber.

You don't know anything.






Good. Any questions,

give me a ring.



Turandot suite.

If I'm out, leave a message.



Sure you don't want anything?

No? Okay.



You're okay, pal.



You're okay, she's okay,

everything's gonna be hunky...



And the...

and the flapjacks, honey.



There they were,



All going about their business.



It seem like I knew a secret,



A bigger one, even,

than what had really happened to Big Dave,



Something none of them knew.



Like I had made it to the outside somehow,



And they were all still struggling

way down below.






Hello, Ed.



Would you like to come in, Ann?



No. No, it's very late.



I'm so sorry about your loss.



Course you know that Doris

had nothing to do with it.



Nothing at all.



I know.



Don't worry, Ed.



I came to tell you...



And you should tell Doris...






You know how Big Dave loved camping

and the out of doors?






We went camping last summer

in Eugene, Oregon.



Outside Eugene, Ed.






At night there were lights.

We both saw them.



We never told anyone

outside of our official report,



Our report to the government.



There was a spacecraft.



I saw the creatures.



They led Big Dave onto the craft.



He never told anyone

what they did.



Ann, would you like to...



I cannot repeat it to you,

but this thing goes deep, Ed.



It goes deep

and involves the government.



This was not your wife.

There's a great deal of fear.



You know how certain circles

would-would find it,



The knowledge, a threat.



They-they try to limit it, and...



Ann, would you like to come in,



Sit down?



Maybe have a drink.



Sometimes knowledge

is a curse, Ed.



After this happened,



Things changed.



Big Dave...



He never touched me again.



Tell Doris not to worry.



I know it wasn't her.



Perhaps this will

bring it out






Perhaps now

it will all come out.



It stinks.



But it's true.



I don't care it's true, it's not true.

It stinks.



You say he was being blackmailed?

By who? You don't know.



For having an affair.

With who? You don't know.



Did anyone else know about it?

Probably not. You don't know.



I knew about it.



Big Dave told me about it...



And the spot he was putting himself in

by getting the money.



Terrific! Your husband backs you up.

That's terrific.



I know it wasn't her.



Perhaps this will

bring it out






Perhaps now

it will all come out.



It stinks.



But it's true.



I don't care it's true, it's not true.

It stinks.



You say he was being blackmailed?

By who? You don't know.



For having an affair.

With who? You don't know.



Did anyone else know about it?

Probably not. You don't know.



I knew about it.



Big Dave told me about it...



And the spot he was putting himself in

by getting the money.



Terrific! Your husband backs you up.

That's terrific.



Come on, you gotta give me

something to work with.



Freddy Riedenschneider is good,

but he's not a magician.



He can't just wave his little wand in the air

to make a plausible defense materialize.



Look at what the other side

is gonna run at us.



They got the company books

prepared by you,



Cooked by you.

That's motive.



They got a murder scene you had access to.

That's opportunity.



They got that little trimmer thing he was

stabbed in the throat with.



- A dame's weapon.

- It was Big Dave's.



Don't interrupt me.

That's means.



They got a fine, upstanding pillar

of the business community as a victim,



And then they got you,



A disgruntled, number-juggling underling,



Who on the day in question

was drunk as a skunk...



And whose alibi for the time in question

is being passed out at home, alone.



I was with her.



Like I say,



It stinks.



I killed him.



Okay. You killed him.



Okay, we forget the blackmail thing.

You killed him.



How come?



He and Doris, uh,

were having an affair.






How did you know?



I just knew.



A husband knows.



Will anyone else say they knew?



And don't say your wife.



I don't know.



I don't think so.



How did you get into the store?



I took Doris's keys.



Will anyone say they saw you there,

on your way there, in there, on your way back?



I don't think so.



Will anyone corroborate any goddamn part

of your story at all?



Oh, come on! People,

you can't help each other like that.



Let's be realistic, now.



Let's look at our options.

Well, frankly, I don't see any options.



Look, I cannot present story "A."

I cannot present



story "B."



I could plead you for a nutcase,

but you look too composed.



I could offer a guilty plea,

and in return they don't give you the juice,



But I don't think you want to spend

the rest of your life in chino.



I know you didn't hire Freddy Riedenschneider



To hold your hand at a sentencing hearing.



You could have gotten

Lloyd Garroway for that.



No, no, no, no.

We're not giving up yet.



You hired Freddy Riedenschneider,

It means you're not throwing in the towel.



I litigate.



I don't capitulate.



All right. No options?

We gotta think.



All right. We go back

to the blackmail thing. Yeah, it titillates.



It's open-ended,

and it makes him the bad guy.



You dig around, you never know.

Something unsavory from his past.



He approaches you to help him with the money,

his past comes back to haunt him. Who's to say?



Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Forget the jealous husband thing. That's just silly.



We're going with the blackmail.

I'll be in touch.



I'm comin' out!



Of course there was one person

who could confirm Doris's story,



Or plenty of it.



The dry-cleaning pansy.



But he'd left the hotel,

skipped out on his bill.



He'd also disappeared

from the residence he gave me,



Owing two months'rent.



How could I have been so stupid?



Handing over $     

for a piece of paper.



And the man gone,

like a ghost.



Disappeared into thin air

vaporized like the nips at Nagasaki.



Gone now.



All gone.



The money gone,

Big Dave gone,



Doris going.



How could I have been so stupid?



Sooner or later,

everyone needs a haircut.



We were working for the bank now.



We kept cutting the hair,

trying to stay afloat,



Make the payments,

tread the water day by day,



Day by day.



Most people think someone's

accused of a crime,



They haul 'em in and bring 'em to trial,

But it's not like that.



It's not that fast.



The wheels of justice turn slow.



They have the arraignment,

then the indictment,



And they entertain motions to dismiss

and postpone and change the venue...



And alter this and that

and the other.



They impanel a jury,

which bring more motions.



Then they set a trial date,

and then they change the date.



And then, often as not,

they'll change it again.



Not guilty, your honor.



And through all of it,

we cut the hair.



Meantime, Freddy Riedenschneider

slept at the Metropole...



And shoveled it in

at Da Vinci's.



He'd brought in a private investigator

from Sacramento...



To nose around

into Big Dave's past.



I found myself, more and more,

going over to the Abundas's.



It was a routine we fell into

most every evening.



I even went when Walter was away

on his research trips.



He was a genealogist,



Had traced back his side of the family

seven generations,



His late wife's eight.



It seemed like a screwy hobby,



But then maybe all hobbies are.



Maybe Walter found something there

in the old county courthouses,



Hospital file rooms,



City archives, property rolls,






Something maybe like what I found

listening to Birdy play.



Some kind of escape.



Some kind of peace.



They got this guy in Germany.



Fritz something or other.



Or is it...

Maybe it's Werner.




He's got this theory.



You want to test something,

you know, scientifically...



How the planet

go 'round the sun,



What sunspots are made of,



Why the water

comes out of the tap...



Well, you gotta look at it.



But sometimes

you look at it...



Your looking changes it.



You can't know the reality

of what happened,



Or what would have happened,



If you hadn't stuck in

your own goddamn schnozz.



So there is no

"What happened."



Looking at something...



Changes it.



They call it

the uncertainty principle.



Sure, it sound screwy,

but even Einstein says

the guy's onto something.















Reasonable... doubt.



I'm saying that sometimes

the more you look,



the less you really know.



It's a fact, a proved fact.



In... In a way,



It's the only fact there is.



This Heinie even

wrote it out in numbers.







David Allen Brewster,



Born Brooklyn,       .



Subject educated public schools.

One year case western university.



Flunks out.



      Retail appliance salesman

in Barnhoff's department store, Cincinnati.



      Meets Ann Nirdlinger.

They marry that year.




on assault complaint.



Complainant has a broken nose,

couple of broken ribs.



'   Another assault beef

at a bar room altercation.



Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Couple of fistfights, right?

Go to his service record.



Inducted march         .



Served in a clerical capacity

in the U.S. Naval shipyards at San Diego.



One fistfight,

broken up by the M.P.S.



No court-martial.

Honorable discharge, may        .



- Since then, he's been clean.

- Thank you, Barns. Get lost.









This could be your Dolly's

ticket out of the death house.






I don't get it.



Look, chump.



This is a guy, from what I understand,

told everybody he was a war hero, right?






Practically liberated,

the pacific all by himself,



With a knife in one hand,

a gun in the other,



And    yards of jap guts

between his teeth.



and now it turns out this dope

spent the war sitting on his ass...



In some boat yard

in San Diego.



You asked for blackmail.



Mr. Hail-fellow-well-met,

about to open his own business here,



Has been lying to everybody in this town

for the last four years,



Probably including half the people

sitting on that jury.



Well, it finally caught up with him.



Somebody knew his dirty little secret,

just like your wife says.



They called,

they demanded money.



Did Big Dave say he'd recently

heard from an old friend?



Did Big Dave mention it was something

about his war service?



I don't know.

I wasn't there.



You have to tell us.



Maybe he specified,

maybe he didn't.



I'm not putting words

in your mouth, no.



But the point is that this liar,

this cynical manipulator,



Turns to you to help him

out of his jam.



Fat-assed son of a bitch.



- So who... who actually...

- Who?






I don't know who.



But the point is that

if Mr. Prosecutor over there...



Had devoted half the time

he's spent persecuting this woman...



To even the most cursory investigation

of this schmo's past,



Then we might know who.



But we can't know who.

We can't know what really happened.



Because the more you look,

the less you know.



But the beauty of it is...



We don't gotta know.



We just gotta show that,

god damn it, they don't know.



Because of Fritz, or Werner,

whatever the hell his name is.



Freddy Riedenschneider sees daylight.



We got a real shot at this, folks.

Let's not get cocky.



Comin' out!



Big Dave.



What a dope.



So maybe Riedenschneider

could fix it for Doris.



Maybe it would all work out.



And I thought,



I hoped,



That maybe there was a way out

for me as well.



He was deaf

when he wrote this.









He created it, but he never

actually heard it.



I guess he just heard it all

in his head somehow.



The girl had talent.

Anyone could see that.



And she wasn't

some fly-by-nighter.



She was just a good, clean kid.



If she was going to have a career,

she'd need a responsible adult...

Looking out for her,



Some kind of manager.



She'd have contracts to look at,

be going out on tours,



Playing on the radio, maybe.



I could help her sort through all that without

charging her an arm and a leg.



Just enough to get by.



Then I could be with her,



Enough to keep myself

feeling okay.



Why couldn't that work?



Why not?



- Hi, Mr. Crane.

- Hello, Birdy.



I thought that was real good.



Yeah, I messed up a little bit

on the, um, on the agitato,



But if nobody noticed,

then it's okay.



Oh, this is, um,

a friend of mine.



Tony, um, Mr. Crane.



Hello, Tony.



Hello, sir.






Think I'll be getting home now.



It was...

nice to meet you, sir.



You too, Tony.



Why couldn't it work?



Anyway, that's what I was thinking in the days

leading up to the trial.



It seemed like once that was over,

I'd be ready for a new start.



Freddy Riedenschneider

was busy preparing.



He was very optimistic.



And finally it came...

the first day of the trial,



What Riedenschneider called

'The big show. "



Where's the judge?

How come there's no judge?



Where's the judge, Ed?






How come the judge

doesn't come out?



The judge comes in last.

He'll come in when Doris gets here.



So where's Doris?

I thought we started at   :  .



Hey, Riedenschneider.

Where's Doris?



She's late.




How can she be late?



She's in prison, Ed.

None of us are in prison.



And yet we're not late.

We're on time, Ed.



How can Doris be late?



What, they don't have

wake-up calls?



- All rise.

- No, no.






What's going on, Ed?



I thought there

would be arguments,



The bailiff and so forth.



Ed, what is this?



Is this procedure?



In the matter of the people v. Doris Crane,



Case number SR-     



Cause now pending

is hereby dismissed...



I don't understand it.



Had a real shot at this.

I could've won this thing.



Ladies and gentlemen

of the jury,



Your service is no longer needed...

And you are now discharge.



she's hanged herself.



I'd brought her a dress to wear to court,

and she'd used the belt.



At first I thought she'd figured out somehow

how I fit into it...



And couldn't stand it,

couldn't stand knowing.



But that wasn't it, I'd find out later.



For now, everything

just seemed ruined.



Freddy Riedenschneider

went back to Sacramento,



Still shaking his head,

saying it was the biggest disappointment



Of his professional career.



Frankie fell to pieces.



I suspect he was drinking.



Anyway, he stopped

coming in to work.



That left me to keep the place going,

or the bank would've taken it.



I was the principal barber now.



I hired a new man

for the second chair.



I'd hired the guy who did the least gabbing

whie he came in for an interview,



But I guess the new man had only kept quiet

because he was nervous.



Once he had the job, he talked from the minute

I opened the shop in the morning...



Until I locked up at night.



For all I know, he talked to himself

on the way home.



When I walked home, it seemed like everyone

avoided looking at me,



As if I'd caught some disease.



This thing with Doris,

nobody wanted to talk about it.



It was like I was a ghost

walking down the street.



And when I got home now,



The place felt empty.



I sat in the house,



But there was nobody there.



I was a ghost.



I didn't see anyone.



No one saw me.



I was the barber.



Some bacon and potatoes,

which are supposed to come with it.



So I pay for it, and I

put the change in my pocket

without really looking...



'Cause, gosh,

who looks at the change

when you eat there every day?



Two blocks later I look

at the change she gave me.

Golly, I'm two bits short.



So I walk back over to Linton's,

find this gal, big argument.



She doesn't even recall

the transaction.



Doesn't recall the transaction.

No recollections.



So I said, "Look, dear.

Go ahead. Look at the menu."



If you're in before  :  

it's the whatchamacallit...



- The early bird special.

- Yeah, the early riser.






I'm Crane.



My name's Diedrickson,

county medical examiner.






I just came by

for an informal chat.



Why don't I

buy you a drink?






Just coffee.



You sure you don't want

something stiffer?



Coffee it is.



County M.E. does an autopsy

on anyone who dies in custody.



I don't know

if you knew that.



It's routine.



Doesn't become a matter of public record

unless there's been foul play.






I don't think I'm prohibited

from telling you this.



Of course, I'm not

obliged to either.



I just don't know.



But if I were the man,



I'd want to be told.



Told what?



I'm not here to add to your...






Your wife was pregnant.



First trimester.



There it is.



I'm sorry.



Hell, I hope I've done

the right thing.



My wife and I had not performed

the sex act in many years.






That's really none of my business.



I'm sorry.



There it is.



Good luck, Crane.



Doris and I had never

really talked much.



I don't think that's

a bad thing necessarily.



But it is funny.

Now I wanted to talk.



Now, with everyone gone,



I was alone with secrets

I didn't want...



And no one

to tell 'em to anyway.



I went to see a woman who was supposed

to have powers in communicating...



With those who had "Passed across",

as she called it.



She said that people who had passed across

were picky about



Who they'd communicate with.



Not like most people

you run into on this side.



So you needed a guide,

someone with a gift for talking to souls.



Give me your hand.



Well, first she told me that

my wife was in a peachful place,



That our souls

were still connected,



That she'd never

stopped loving me...



Even though she'd done some things

she wasn't proud of.



Man, she was reading me

like a book.



She was a phony,

just another gabber.



I was turning into

Ann Nirdlinger,



Big Dave's wife



I had to turn my back

on the old lady,



On the veils, on the ghosts,



On the dead,



Before they all sucked me in.






How are you holding up?



Okay, Walter.




l, uh... I was so damn sorry

to hear about your loss.



A terrible thing.

It's just damn terrible.



Uh, Birdy's upstairs.

I'm on long-distance, so...



Sure, Walter.



Hello, Birdy.



Hi, Mr. Crane.



We haven't seen you since...



We've certainly missed you.



Birdy, I've been doing

a lot of thinking.



There are a lot of things

that haven't worked out for me.



Life has dealt me some bum cards.



Or maybe I just haven't played them right.



Pop doesn't like people

smoking in here.



I'm sorry.



Well, sometimes I have a cigarette

when he's away, but never when he's home.



He can smell it a mile off.



Well, sure.

It's his house.



That's what he

keeps telling me.



Anyway, my point is

you're young,



A kid, really,

your whole life ahead of you.



But it's not too soon

to start making opportunities for yourself...



Before it all washes away.



Yeah, I guess.

Pop says so too.



You know, I work

pretty hard at school.



That's swell.



However, the music,

if you want to pursue it...



The lessons from Mrs. Swan,

they'll only take you so far.



There's this guy

in San Francisco.



I've made inquiries.



Everybody says

he's the best.



Trained people who've gone on to big concert

careers in symphony orchestras, the works.



His name is Jacques...






I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it right.

Anyway, he's a frenchman.



- Oh, boy. A frenchman, huh?

- You've got talent.



Anybody can see that.

And he's the best.



If he sees a student

that he thinks has talent,



He takes them on for next to nothing.

So you're a cinch to be accepted.



I could cover the costs of the lessons.

Like I said, it's pretty modest.



- Oh, Jeez, Mr. Crane.

- No, I have to do it.



I can't stand by and watch

any more things go down the drain.



You're young.

You don't understand.



Well, Jeez, Mr. Crane.

I hadn't really thought about a career or stuff.



Well, I know you haven't.



Look, just go see him

as a favor to me.



I talked to this guy.



He loosened up a little bit

when I told him how talented you were.



He's agreed to see you

this Saturday.



He said, uh, maybe you're

a diamond in the rough.



His words.



Jeez, I don't know,

Mr. Crane.



Just go see him

as a favor to me.



You are the father?



No, I'm her...

I'm a family friend.



I am Carcanogues.

You will wait, my dear.



I speak with you

on the phone, no?



You have a special interest

in music?



A music lover,




Um, I don't pretend

to be an expert.



How did she do?



She seemed like

a very nice girl.



She play, monsieur,



Like a very nice girl.






Nice girl,



However, stinks.



Well, I don't understand.



Is not so hard to understand.



Her playing, uh,

very polite.



Did she make mistakes?



Mistake? No.



It say "E-flat,"

she play E-flat.



Ping, ping. She play

the right note always.



Well, I don't understand.

No mistakes?



Look, she's just a kid.

I thought you taught these kids to...



No, no, no, monsieur.

That is what I cannot teach her, huh?

I cannot teach her to have the soul.



Hmm, voyez, monsieur.




To play the piano

is not about the fingers.



We make with the fingers.



But the music, monsieur,

she come from L'interieur, from inside, huh?



The music,



She starts here.



she come out through here.




Then perhaps,






She can go here.



Like I said,

I'm not an expert.



So you can listen to me,

for I am expert.



Voyez, monsieur.

This girl, nice girl.



Very clever hands.

Nice girl.



I think, uh,

perhaps some day...



She can make

very good typist, huh?






- I stank, didn't I?

- He didn't say that.



No, but more or less.



I'm no expert,



But there must be a dozen teachers

better than this clown.



- No, look, really...

- More qualified.



Goddamn phony.



Really, it's okay.



I'm not interested in

playing music pofessionally.



You know, I'm not sure

I want a career at all,



And if I did, I'd probably

be a veterinarian.



- Veterinarian.

- Yeah.



But l-I do appreciate

your interest.



It was nothing.



I wish I'd played better for you

'cause I know it would've made you real happy.



You know what you are?






You're an enthusiast.



Yeah, maybe.



You know, I really do appreciate

the interest you've taken.



I just wanted to make you happy.



No, it's really okay.

I wanna do it.



- Birdy!

- No, it's okay, really.



Mr. Crane, I wanna do it.

Mr. Crane!



- Birdy, please don't do that!

- Mr. Crane, please!



- Heavens to betsy, Birdy!

- Please, Mr. Crane.



Time slow down

right before in accident,



And I have time

to think about things.



I thought about what an undertaker

had told me once.



That your hair keeps growing

for a while, anyway,



After you die.



And then it stops.



I thought,

"What keeps it growing?"



Is it like a plant in soil?



What goes out of the soil?



The soul?



And when does the hair

realize that it's gone?






I noticed you still have

pea stone in your driveway.



Of course you have to rejuvenate

that every couple of years, don't you?

When the pea stone thins out?




Where does it go, huh?



Like the odd sock.



'Course, you know where it goes.

You probably pick pieces of it

off your lawn all the time,



Churn it up with your lawn mover,

sweep it off your porch there.



- Pain in the neck.

- Never bothered me.



Well, have you ever

considered tar macadam?



People think it's just for public works

or commercial purposes,



But we have the technology now

to bring it to the homeowner,



Individual consumer,

at very competitive prices.



Mind if I show you the specifications?

Afternoon, Ma'am.



What are you selling?



Ma'am, I was just telling your husband here

about tar macadam.



For your home driveway here.



Here's the brochure.

It's the modern way to...



Get lost.









Don't say anything.

I'm fine.






Mr. Crane?



Are you there?



Are you awake?



He's comin' around.



Can you talk, sir?

These men have to talk to you.



Are you awake? Sir?



He's... he's awake.

Go ahead.



Are you awake?



Is he awake?



Crane, as soon as you're conscious,

we have to tell you that...



- Uh, is he conscious?

- His eyes are open.



Uh, you're under arrest.



Soon as the doctor lets us,

we gotta move you.



Does he understand that?

We're supposed to tell him.

Are you conscious?



- They'll take you to the prison hospital.

- Under arrest for murder.




What'd he say?



Birdy. Uh, the girl.

No, the girl's okay.



Broken clavicle.



That's a collarbone, Crane.

It's broken.



She's okay, though.



So he understands, then,

he's under arrest for murder?



- Big Dave.

- Huh?




What'd he say?



He said okay.



Is that what he said?



You're under arrest for the murder

of Creighton Tolliver.



You understad that?



Does he understand?



The pansy.



A kid diving in a water holeoutside of town

had found his car.



They winched it out...



And found he'd been beaten,

just like Big Dave said.



Beaten to death.



Inside his briefcase

were the partnership papers I'd signed,



Showing that I'd

given him ten grand.



For the district attorney,

that made it fall into place.



I'd gotten Doris

to steal the money.



The pansy had gotten wise somehow,

so I had to kill him to cover my tracks.



On the arraignment calendar,



People v. Edward Crane.



I was in a spot.



You are charged

in a one-count complaint...



I called in Freddy Riedenschneider

and signed the house over to him.



He said he didn't ordinarily

work that cheap,



But he figured he owed me something

since the last one hadn't played out.



- How do you now plead?

- We plead not guilty, your honor.



I tried to tell him the whole story,

but Riedenschneider stopped me.



He said the story

made his head hurt.



He didn't see any way of using it

without putting me on the hot seat...



- For the murder of Big Dave.

- Trial date is set for Monday a week.



He told me not to worry, though.

Said he'd think of something.



They put me

on   -hour death watch,



So that I couldn't cheat justice

like they said my wife had done.



But in front of the jury,

they had it that Doris was a saint.



The whole plan had been mine.



I was a svengali

who had forced Doris to join



My criminal enterprise.



On and on it went,



How I'd used Doris,

then let her take the fall.



That stuff smarted because some of it

was close to being true.



And then it was

Riedenschneider's turn.



Ladies and gentlemen, members of the jury,

citizens of Santa Rosa,



We've just heard from the district attorney

a rather lurid description...



Of a truly despicable man.



I gotta hand it to him.

He tossed a lot of sand in their eyes,



He talked about how

I'd lost my place in the universe,



How I was too ordinary to be

the criminal mastermind...



The D.A. made me out to be,



How there was some greater scheme at work

that the state had yet to unravel.



And he threw in some of the old truth stuff

he hadn't had the chance to trot out for Doris.



May at first look at these lines

and see only the chaos

of a work of modern art.



He told them to look at me,

look at me close.



That the closer they looked,

the less sense it would all make.



This human, this barber.



That I wasn't the kind of guy

to kill a guy,



That I was the barber,

for Christ's sake.



I was just like them,

an ordinary man.



Guilty of living in a world

that had no place for me, yeah.



Guilty of wanting to be

a dry cleaner, sure.



But not of murder.



But most specifically,

this is a barber's dilemma.



For he is modern man.



He said I was modern man.



He is your reflection.



And if they voted to convict me,



They'd be practically cinching the noose

around their own necks.



He told them to look not at the facts,

but at the meaning of the facts.



And then he said

the facts had no meaning.



It was a pretty good speech

and even had me going,



Until Frankie interrupted it.



What kind of man are you?



What kind of man are you?



Move for a mistrial!

Your honor!



What kind of man are you?



Move for a mistrial.



Well, he got his mistrial,

but the well had run dry.



There was nothing left to mortgage.



Riedenschneider went home,

and the court appointed Lloyd Garroway,



Who threw me

on the mercy of the court.



Your honor,

we plead guilty...



With extenuating circumstances.



It was my only chance,

he said.



I guess that meant

I never had a chance.



He wasn't buying any of that

modern man stuff, or the uncertainty stuff,



Or any of the mercy stuff either.



This man is a menace

to society.



Nope, he was going

by the book,



And the book said

I got the chair.



He has forfeited the right

to his own life.



So here I am,



At first I didn't know

how I got here.



I knew step by step,

of course,



Which is what I've told you,

step by step.



But I couldn't see any pattern.



Now that I'm near the end,



I'm glad that this men's magazine

paid me to tell my story.



Writing it has helped me

sort it all out.



They're paying me

flve cents a word,



So you'll pardon me if sometimes I've told you

more than you wanted to know.



But now all the disconnected

things seem to hook up.



That's the funny thing

about going away,



Knowing the date

you're going to die.



And the men's magazine

wanted me to tell how that felt.



Well, it's like pulling away

from the maze.



While you're in the maze,

you go throught willy-nilly,



Turning where you think

you have to turn,



Banging into the dead ends,



One thing after another.



But you get

some distance on it,



And all those twists

and turns...



Why, they're the shape

of your life.



It's hard to explain.



But seeing it whole

gives you some peace.



The men's magazine

also asked about remorse.



Yeah, I guess I'm sorry

about the pain I caused other people.



But I don't regret anything.



Not a thing.



I used to.



I used to regret

being the barber.



I don't know

where I'm being taken.



I don't know what I'll find

beyond the earth and sky,



But I'm not afraid to go.



Maybe the things I don't understand

will be clearer there,



Like when a fog blows away.



Maybe Doris will be there.



And maybe there

I can tell her...



All those things...



They don't have words for here.



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