Melinda And Melinda Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Melinda And Melinda script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie by Woody Allen starring Radha Mitchell, Will Ferrell, Wallace Shawn, Chloe Sevigny, yadda yadda.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Melinda And Melinda. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Melinda And Melinda Script


            The essence of life isn't comic.

            lt's tragic.

            There's nothing intrinsically funny about the terrible facts of human existence.

            l disagree. Philosophers call it absurd because, in the end, all you can do is laugh.

            Human aspirations are so ludicrous and irrational.

            l mean, if the underlying reality of our being was tragic,

            my plays would make more than yours,

            because my stories would resonate more profoundly with the human soul.

            l mean, it's exactly because tragedy hits on the truly painful essence of life

            that people run to my comedies for escape.

            No, no.

            Tragedy confronts. Comedy escapes.

            Look, you guys, what are we discussing here?

            ls there a deeper reality in comedy or tragedy? Who can make such a judgment?

            Look, let me tell you a story and you tell me, is it material for a comedy or a tragedy?

            This happened to some people l know.

            lt's a small dinner party. The hosts are trying to impress one of their guests.

            Suddenly the doorbell rings and out of nowhere an unexpected person shows up.

            - A man or a woman? - A woman. l'll give you the details

            and you tell me comedy or tragedy.

            So, the guest enters and everyone is surprised, especially the host.

            Turns out she's got a particular problem...

            My God, that's quite amusing.

            l mean, she barges in unannounced while they're eating.

            What you told us would make a very good romantic comedy.

            - Because you see the world comically. - You're missing the tragic implications.

            The entanglement it suggests. No, l see the whole thing quite differently.

            l see this lone figure -

            a woman who's maybe just come off a bus.

            She's toting a suitcase. Maybe she's searching nervously for an address.


            Who is it?



            - Can l help you, miss? - The Springers.

            Top floor.

            - lt's really good. - These speakers are wonderful.

            You do pick up every little nuance of the orchestra.

            Tell me again why l can't have a glass of wine?

            Every pregnancy, she asks the same question.

            This is the ''Concerto in D''.

            Yes. My God, you really know your Stravinsky.

            This would be good theme music for the play.

            - Lee? - That's a brilliant idea.

            l need a little help with the final touches.

            - Can you get the two big serving dishes? - l'm running out of obsequious banter.

            - How's it going? - He thinks l'm perfect for the part.

            The goddamn producer wants more of a name.

            l don't understand why they make such a big deal. lt's not like it's the lead.

            My first audition went better. l don't know what happened.

            - And l know it's not the lead, Laurel. - Doesn't he have any clout?

            They want a name. l'm not a name. You didn't marry a name.

            - Sally said how much she loves your place. - How long are you here?

            Six months, and we're still not finished.

            We have to furnish slowly cos we used up all our money.

            We could not go on in that one-bedroom. The piano ate up the living room.

            We're living beyond our means. l get nervous. Laurel is certain God will provide.

            - They're poor, but happy. - Definitely poor.

            - What do you do, Peter? - l'm a lawyer. No jokes, please.

            Think the music's a little too loud?

            l saw you listening to the Mahler and crying. You should have seen her.

            She was listening to Mahler with tears streaming down her face.

            She looked so beautiful. l wanted to hug her.

            Yeah. But l had to get up early and film a deodorant commercial.

            That's work at least, right?

            l think someone rang before. Did you hear?

            - So, how do you all know each other? - We grew up together, Cassie and l.

            We were those little girls at school with the plaid skirts.

            - And Lee and l met at Northwestern. - He was the star actor, the handsome athlete.

            Everybody wanted him. But Laurel got him.

            - Melinda? - Hi.


             - Hi, Melinda, hi. - My goodness.



              l'm stunned.

              Here, let me take these.

              God, look at you. You look so...

              No, don't. Don't say what you're thinking of.

              l've been on a bus. l've been on a Greyhound bus since Tuesday,

              so l'm sure l look like the wreck of the Hesperus.

              A bus from where? l mean, what are you doing here?

              l've moved around. l had to keep moving.

              Events unfolded

              in such a way that...

              ls it all right if l smoke?

              l just feel a little nervous barging in on you like this.

              Why don't you sit down and eat with us? This is Jack and Sally Oliver.

              - Hi. - Hi.

              l'm Melinda Robicheaux.

              l've gone back to my mother's name. lt's French. She was Parisienne.

              You must have dropped off the goddamn moon.

              - Shall l get a chair? - l could use a drink.

              Champagne or white wine.

              The truth is, l've gotten very used to single malt Scotch.

              An acquaintance of mine introduced me to it, so...

              l really should freshen up, though.

              lf l could just get a single malt Scotch, and...

              Look at me. Jesus. l need a hot shower.

              Yeah. OK, please...

              Excuse us. Please start.

              This is so unexpected.

              l'll say.

              - You had no hint she was coming? - She was nuts then, and she's nuts now.

              - Did you see the look in her eyes? - She's been on a bus.

              You were asking how we know each other.

              Melinda is the third musketeer. We went to school together.

              - We haven't heard from her in ages. - Yeah. She's had personal difficulties.

              She said she'd be coming to New York from... l can't remember, Chicago or lndiana,

              and could we put her up? Laurel said, ''Sure.'' l myself...

              This is not the time to discuss this. Let's just eat and change the subject.

              Well, what can you do? We've all had friends drop in unannounced. Remember your aunt?

              l put up an extra bed. l fix up the room for her. She doesn't show when she says she will.

              So we try to contact her and there's no trace of her.

              Two months later, she calls up unannounced in the middle of a frigging dinner party.

              - Am l unreasonable? - No, no!

              You're missing the whole point. You have the makings of a delightful human comedy here.

              You missed the humour in everything.

              l see a sweet, tree-lined block on the Upper East Side.

              lt's a dinner party. The husband is fawning over his guest. He's a moviemaker.

              No, wait.

              Here's the idea. Make the film director the wife. He's just her out-of-work actor husband.

              She's trying to impress the guest and raise the money for an independent film.

              l just told Jennifer that Steve is interested in investing in Susan's next movie.

              Yeah. l have most of the money. l've just been trying to get it going now for two years.

              l liked your first picture. Would you do this one on video too?

              No. That was just because we only had $      .

              - This one will be on   mm for sure. - Well, how much do you need?

              l've raised about four million and we need another two million.

              The problem is the theme is controversial.

              - What's the theme? - Well, let's put it this way.

              lt's a mostly all-female cast and it's called The Castration Sonata.

              - Do you happen to have single malt Scotch? - You know, let me check.

              - Hurry. l'm running out of obsequious banter. - Don't throw me. Everything's timed.

              Chilean sea bass and caramelised filo is not like scrambled eggs.

              Well, he happens to love it. Does he love it $  million worth? God, l hope so.

              l told you we should keep single malt Scotch.

              - Who drinks it? - He does.

              God, you're definitely going all out. You're dressed very sexy.

              - Hobie, keep your eyes on the sea bass! - OK, OK, OK.

              She goes down to buy a bottle of single malt Scotch.

              Are you OK?

              Yeah, l'm fine.

              - Are you sure? - Yeah.

              Here we go. These are Coquilles St Jacques with cinnamon.

              And we're having sea bass in a caramelised filo pastry, lightly dusted with lime powder.

              - Did someone send you a yuppie cookbook? - Susan says you're a wonderful chef.

              l'm an out-of-work actor.

              Who's that?

              - Hi. - Hi.

              l'm sorry. l hope l'm not intruding.

              No, it's OK.

              l've been having a kind of bad time and l just took some sleeping pills.

              - Sleeping pills? - How many?

              -   . - Whoa! Call    .

              Stay and just eat. lt's gonna get cold. Sit. Just stay and eat.

              lt's OK. lt's OK.

              - Hobie, make some black coffee. - OK, OK.

              l'm allergic to coffee, but do you have any vodka?

              - Vodka? - Maybe we should call a doctor.

              lt's OK. l just need something to calm my nerves.

              - Do you live in this building? - l've been subletting for a month.

              - Somebody call a doctor. - Careful.

              - l'm gonna be sick. - That's the best thing.

              No, no, not on the carpet. That's a new carpet. Go to the bathroom.

              l smell smoke. Can you smell smoke?

              God! The Chilean sea bass lightly dusted with lime!

              Should you be taking those pills? You didn't have any dinner.

              lf l don't, l can't sleep.

              Well, Cassie's put on weight, not that l'd ever say anything to her.

              - Cassie's pregnant. - Again?

              They swear they're stopping at three children.

              For me, two was just the right number.

              - ls there any word? - No, there's none. There's nothing.

              Now, l don't want you to get panicky, but l am planning on staying. Just for a while.

              l just need to find a place and settle in and rebuild my career.

              And you did say that you had enough room to put me up.

              We were surprised you never showed up. We had everything ready.

              Lee had gotten your room in order.

              l apologise for that. l was going through a kind of confused down period.

              l was worried. Lee couldn't figure out how to get in contact with you.

              l'd no idea you were using different names.

              What happened? l thought the worst was over.

              - Can l speak openly? - Of course.

              l tried to commit suicide.

              You didn't.

              l did, and it wasn't a half-hearted attempt.

              lt wasn't a cry for help.

              Why? l thought everything that happened was past. l thought you'd pulled yourself together.

              Because that's what l wrote you, and some days l honestly thought it.

              But in the end, l just couldn't take it any more.


              You didn't find me because l was indisposed.

              lf you've never been in a state mental hospital in a straitjacket, l wouldn't recommend one,

              especially not the one l was in, in the Midwest.

              l'm overwhelmed.

              Are you OK? l mean...

              l'm all right. l'm on the road back.

              l'm still a little fragile when everything closes in,

              but l get stronger every day.

              You know you're welcome to stay here as long as you like.

              - There. How long is she gonna stay? - Why?

              We promised my sister could stay for Thanksgiving.

              - Well, Thanksgiving's not for a while. - Well, l'm just saying.

              - She's trying to pull her life back together. - She's her own worst enemy.

              - You don't know the details. - Details? What details?

              She was married to some doctor. She had two kids.

              What was she doing playing around with... What was he?

              He was a photographer.


              Lee's right. Whatever l went through, l'm responsible for.

              Look, we've all been drinking and we're really tired. lt's...

              No, he's right.

              l was married to a man who loved me and gave me the two most beautiful children.

              That l'm not allowed to set eyes on them is just proof

              of my weakness and my husband's strength.

              No. lt's disgusting how much influence he had on the judge.

              lt's who you know. Life is all networking.

              l brought it on myself because l was bored.

              l mean, not bored with my children.

              God, they were the light of my life.

              But l was bored being a doctor's wife,

              just as my mother was bored being a doctor's wife.

              Like Madame Bovary. lt's not that St Louis isn't very beautiful.

              lt's just that

              everything that had seemed so magical when l married Josh

              somehow just melted away.

              lt was OK, you know?

              And no matter what l did, l couldn't make it any better.

              And then this

              man with a romantic name -

              John San Giuliano -

              took my photograph.

              And l fell in love with him,

              and we began having this love affair.

              And he wanted to know if l could see myself living in ltaly,

              and l said, ''Well, look, Mr San Giuliano, l'm married to a surgeon with two children.''

              ''My life is fixed, so don't ask me to tax my imagination.''

              ''Let's just confine our passion to local motels and forget Capistrano.''

              And then

              reality set in in the person of a private detective

              with the unlikely name of Woodkrutch,

              and my children

              were handed over to my humiliated husband forever.

              Mr San Giuliano

              took me on a safari to help me forget things.

              But l can't forget, no matter how hard l try.

              Then he met someone else.

              Stop, Melinda.

              Why? lt only gets worse.

              So that's pretty much how l got here.

              My God, that's a sad story.

              Guy leads her on, causes her to break up her marriage, then dumps her.

              l caught him in bed with one of his models. l mean, who can blame him?

              She was a  ft Swede who was a Miss World runner-up. Her legs started at her chin.

              See, that's why my film, The Castration Sonata, puts male sexuality in perspective.

              lt's lucky you didn't have children. He could have made custody trouble.

              l always wanted to have children, but my husband wouldn't hear of it.

              He couldn't bear having sex with a pregnant woman for nine months,

              especially the fat months.

              - So, what are you gonna do now? - l'm an art historian.

              At least, that's what l majored in at Brandeis.

              And l may be getting offered a job in an art gallery.

              lt's only cataloguing, but l'm in no position to turn it down.

              Anyone for more Ants Climb a Tree before l throw it out?

              - l can't eat another bite. - Dinner was delicious.

              Sorry about burning the sea bass and the kitchen curtains.

              - l'm sorry about busting in on you. - No, no.

              We love it when unexpected women barge in and throw up. l'm kidding.

              l hope tonight didn't kill my chances of getting my movie made.

              No, no. l think Steve Walsh was OK.

              l told him l was gonna play a male character in the movie.

              - What did he say? - We discussed acting.

              l told him about my award-winning Pygmalion.

              - Hobie, that was in college. - lt was brilliant to play Henry with a limp.

              God, l hate being an assistant director. After you've made your own film?

              Sad thing is, he could have my movie happen like that.

              What's $  million to a real-estate billionaire?

              The upkeep of his private jet is worth more than that.

              He was very impressed with you, and you looked very sexy.

              - Really? You thought l looked sexy? - You are sexy. Really, you're very sexy.

              - Hobie, it's  am. - What's going on?

              We used to make love all the time, and now there's always an excuse.

              l'm going through an emotionally difficult time creatively.

              - You feel we don't communicate? - Of course we do. Can we not talk about it?

              Hi. Sorry l'm late.

              l saw these the other day. l think they would look very beautiful on you.

              Beautiful, but you know Lee. He gets crazy about my spending.

              How's he doing? You're not hurting for cash?

              He's on tenterhooks about the play, but we're fine.

              He's got a number of irons on the fire, some promising possibilities.

              - l have a very good prospect for Melinda. - Ajob prospect?

              A guy.

              - Remember Bud Silverglide? - No. Have l met him?

              Remember we had Thanksgiving at my house and he brought his little girl Emily?

              - Emily... Emily? - His wife had died the year before.

              Yes. l sat next to him. He's average-looking.

              He's fine. He'd be perfect.

              He's a very lovely guy. He's smart. He's been through his share of suffering.

              Melinda would have a ready-made family.

              You think he's right for her? l remember him as pleasant, but...

              She should be so lucky. He's got a very successful dental practice in Manhattan.

              He plays bridge. He likes to hike.

              Think he'd be interested in Melinda, especially when her past unfolds?

              l know. She's in no bargaining position when all the facts come out.

              Look, l can only bring them together.

              He's not the kind of guy who'd ever wind up hurting her. That means a lot.

              Left to her own devices, Melinda can be self-destructive.

              Bud is sweet, and l know he's lonely because he's taken ads in the personal columns.

              Don't tell Melinda that.

              Peter's checking into her custody case to see if it's a lost cause.

              l told her to meet us here for lunch after herjob interview.

              - Should we sit? - l don't know. Can we take this table?


              l know it's here somewhere. We got this house guest living here.

              Everything's messed up. l wish she would check before she moves my possessions.

              l love your loft. lt's really amazing.

              Here we are. An essay on Desdemona's role in Othello.

              The scene you should do in our next class is the one we talked about yesterday.

              - You really think l'm ready for it? - l do.

              You're among the two or three most talented students in my class,

              and the sooner you challenge yourself, the better.

              You're the only one who makes me feel confident enough to take chances.

              Aren't you nervous bringing me back here?

              lt's OK. My wife's shopping, then going to lunch. She's always shopping and lunching.

              She grew up shopping and lunching. Her mother did, and her grandmother.

              You shouldn't really drink so early in the day.

              Shopping and lunching's what you get when you marry a Park Avenue princess.

              - What does your wife do? - Besides shopping?

              She teaches tin-eared teenagers at a music school a few days a week.

              lt's funny, but life has a malicious way of dealing with great potential.

              My God. Get...


              l just got back from my job interview.

              l don't think it went too well, so just stopped off for a little pick-me-up.

              - You OK? - Yeah.

              Yeah. Well, l'm gonna go and meet Laurel and Cassie for lunch in our old neighbourhood.

              l'm just gonna go freshen up.

              - The park hasn't changed a bit. - Not at all. lt brings back so many memories.

              Those days are gone when the three of us thought we could call the shots.

              What l wouldn't give to wake up and find my life has been a bad dream

              and we're all still   .

              Tell me about it.

              You wouldn't change anything. l mean, your life is pretty much on track, right?

              Well, the question's not fair. l mean, who wouldn't profit from a second go around?

              So, what about Bud Silverglide?

              The dentist with the charming little daughter?

              He's a wonderful guy. lf anything ever did happen and you hit it off,

              you could establish something solid.

              Not more unrealistic pipe dreams that can't help but wind up badly.

              l'm sorry. Did that come out harsh?

              The truth is, l'm nervous. l wanna meet someone so desperately,

              but when the chance comes along, l just panic.

              lt won't be a date. l'll make a dinner party and we'll all be there to support you.

              l'll invite a number of nice guests and he'll be one of them,

              and if you meet and hit if off, then great, and if not, then no obligation.

              Yeah. When he hears my story... My God. l come with such baggage.

              - Well, don't go in with a defeatist attitude. - Yeah. First see if you even like him.

              lf he's as nice as Cassie's painting him...

              He's a good catch, if l can speak pragmatically,

              especially for you, cos he's got his feet on the ground.

              lf l find him at all attractive, l think l should just tell him my whole story right off.

              Or do you think it's better to wait? Let him take the hook first, and then run with it?

              God. l can't believe l'm even asking this.

              l'm already strategising. l haven't met this guy yet.

              lf we're gonna do this, it has to be completely informal,

              cos l can't handle it any other way. l don't have any dressy clothes anyhow.

              Funny part of that is, as elegant as l can look -

              and you know, l can look pretty stylish -

              men find women sexier in casual attire.

              lt's true. l could wear my hair down and loose.

              That's enticing already. At least it's not intimidating.

              - You haven't told him anything about me? - l can if you like.

              No. No.

              My sad tale should come from my lips, if and when l choose to reveal it.

              Cut. OK, great. That was great. lt was great.

              You took the note great. Print one and six.

              You got it? OK, hey, everybody, that's lunch. One hour. Thank you.

              - Hey, are you gonnajoin us? - No. l'm meeting a friend.

              Tell the actors we're gonna do scene ten instead of   .

              OK. We're doing scene ten instead of   .

              - Hey. - Hey.

              - Should we just sit here? - Yeah.

              - So, what did he say? - That Steve is inclined to put up the money.

              He likes your script and wants to have lunch with you.

              - Fantastic! - Yeah, it looks really good.

              He was concerned that you intended for Hobie to play the psychiatrist.

              - You know, he wants a name. - l understand.

              lt's gonna be kind of a touchy subject at home

              because, l mean, the truth is he'd make the perfect shrink, and he knows it.

              But, let's face it, he's not a name, and l want people to see my movie too, so...

              Well, l'm sure that you guys will figure it out, and l think it's very exciting.

              Doug and l know somebody perfect for Melinda,

              your downstairs neighbour who crashed dinner.

              - Remember Greg Earlinger? - No.

              - Doug's dentist. You met him with us once. - Yes. He has a great sports car.

              The Bentley. He's single and available.

              She would find him fascinating. He's smart, sensitive...

              Why would he be interested in her?

              She seemed quite pretty, she's offbeat and Greg always likes complicated women.

              Doug has already hyped him on her. Ask her if we can give him her number, OK?

              - Hey. - Melinda.

              - Hey. - Hi.


              My friend Walt. This is Melinda. She just moved in.

              - How are you? - Nice to meet you.

              - How's it going? - All right.

              l just interviewed for ajob at an art gallery and l don't think it went too well.

              You never know. l had a voice-over audition today. Thought l'd never get it.

              Bang, l was chosen. lt's the voice of a toothpaste.

              That's good. l'm trying to decide whether to stay and wait for the phone call

              or whether l should go out and treat myself to a movie.

              Why don't you come with us?

              - Where? - Going to the track.

              - To the track? - Yeah. Horse races. Belmont.

              - What, you play the horses? - Never.

              Well, l go every ten years. Walt's always going. He's a gambling degenerate.

              - Yes. Can't you tell l'm a degenerate? - l'm a complete novice, like you.

              Come on. lt's a beautiful day. We'll have some laughs.

              - Sure. l don't have any money. - l've got plenty of money.

              For both of us. We'll pool our resources.

              - lf you want. - OK. All right. Yeah.

              - Nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you again.

              - Come on! Come on, Bedazzled! - Let's go, Bedazzled.

              No, no. You did not bet on Bedazzled. lt's a   -  horse!

              - lf it wins, we're rich. - He's right, Hobie. He's dropping back.

              No, no, no, no, no. He's second. He's second... second from last.

              So, l have to ask you, how'd you go from living on the Upper East Side to St Louis?

              l moved there for him. He was gorgeous.

              He was talented, he was sexy, he was a doctor, he was charming...

              Yes, but where's the attraction?

              - He just knew how to touch me. - You mean emotionally?

              No, with his hands.

              l'm a very passionate person, so sex is very important to me.

              You know, l need a lot of physical intimacy very often and creatively.

              Right. Right, right, right, right. That's... that's... Yeah.

              - Am l being too frank? - No, no, no. No, l just...

              l'll be OK. l get hot flashes.

              - Your wife is passionate. l can tell by looking. - Right, right.

              A lot of people have noticed. Why did your marriage fail again?

              He was cheating with his secretary.

              l felt neglected, so l started seeing someone else.

              l just wanna find someone, fall in love and have a life.

              - Hello. - Hey. Guess what?

              - What? - Steve is putting up the money for my film.

              That's great. Congratulations.

              So if l'm suddenly very busy and distracted, don't take it personally.

              - And we have to talk about casting. - Yes.

              - What did you do today? - l told you. l went out to the track.

              Yeah. With who again?

              With who? With me, with me. With me... me and Walt. Walt Wagner.

              - Well, l hope you didn't lose a lot. - No. We don't have a lot, so l couldn't.

              ln fact, if l had more money, we could've lost more.

              lt's a system l developed.

              Why didn't you just tell her Melinda came along?

              - What did you just say about Melinda? - What? No.

              l didn't say anything about Melinda.

              - You just muttered her name. - l was wondering how the poor thing's doing.

              You know, plain-looking girl, all alone...

              - l'd hardly call her plain-looking. - Well...

              Jennifer wants to set her up with someone. Remember Greg Earlinger, Doug's dentist?

              We met him once. He's a tall, sexy, handsome-looking guy. The Bentley.

              Very well off. Charming, bright.

              - You commented on how impressive he was. - Vaguely.

              - Anyway, Doug's hyped him on Melinda. - Yeah, l think... Why, l do recall him.

              Wasn't he full of himself, though? Kind of an unjustified self-confidence?

              - As l recall, it was justified. - Someone who has an answer for everything.

              l'm gonna ask Melinda if it's OK if we give him her number.

              No. No, don't be silly. What does she wanna do with a dentist?

              She was already married to a doctor. She found that dull.

              - A dentist is the same thing, but oral. - Greg's not dull.

              He hikes. He's a great bridge player. Tennis. He goes on safaris.

              Well, it ... l mean, who goes on safaris?

              - You need shots to do that. - Melinda, hey, it's Susan. How are you?

              Good. l was wondering if it was OK with you if we give your number to this wonderful guy.

              l'm not giving the number out. Don't say that l am...

              He's a very rich dentist. He's cultivated and athletic. He's gorgeous-looking.

              ''Gorgeous dentist'' is an oxymoron.

              And... There's nothing to be nervous about. Look, we'll all go out, the four of us.

              We'll go to dinner or we'll go to a show or something. l don't think you'll be sorry.

              - l think she's never, ever gonna go for it. - OK, great.

              - Not in a million years. - Fantastic. OK, bye.

              - She loves the idea. - l told you.

              Hi. What are you doing down here?

              l got the part! The director kept insisting and the producers finally gave in.

              - That's great, Lee. - Finally, a role l can make sing.

              You're certainly a natural for the character.

              - Why would you say that? - You've said it a hundred times.

              l said l could act the hell out of it. He's a loser.

              Let's not fight. l meant nobody can play the part like you can.

              You see me like that, don't you? l'm asking. ls that how you see me?

              l'm really happy for you. l know how much you wanted this. Can't we leave it at that?

              l'm wired. l didn't mean to seem snappish. Shall we go out to dinner and celebrate?

              - Tonight's Cassie's party. - Yeah, right. OK. Jesus.

              lt's time Melinda met someone, moved on. l'd like a little privacy in the apartment.


              l've got a couple of options.

              l could wear...

              l can wear this skirt

              with this shirt, like this.

              This goes around the other way, like this, and l could wear it with this shirt here.

              - What do you think? - The silk one is sexier, but this one's elegant.

              You think the silk one's sexier? So maybe l should wear this. Sex works best in the end.

              Men like to feel there's some hot payoff waiting for 'em somewhere down the track.

              - God, look at me. l'm so fat. - Fat? Melinda, everyone should be so fat.

              l didn't eat anything since Friday. l wanted to lose six pounds.

              lt's not healthy. l mean, an empty stomach and all those pills, and...

              l don't know. Maybe this is better. Maybe sex is too predatory a message to send,

              and elegance is a wiser opening gambit.

              l don't think it matters much. You look great. Doesn't she?

              Yeah. Very stylish.

              Look at me. l'm fat. l can't lose any weight. l think l need another drink.

              Alcohol's fattening.

              - Can you make it a vodka? - Plus an empty stomach with pills?

              Vodka's not fattening. l need something to calm me down,

              just to make me a little more confident.

              - l've got goddamn circles under my eyes. - You look fine.

              That's easy for you to say because you're still beautiful.

              l feel like l'm running on empty.

              l don't wanna go. Honestly, l don't wanna go to this thing.

              Come on. lt's just a little party with friends.

              How did l wind up desperate? Because that's what l am, Laurel. There's no other word.

              You're a catch for the right man. You really are.

              Falling in love is gonna work wonders for you.

              - Congratulations. l hear Lee got that part. - We're very excited.

              No one at school played the classics like Lee. They still talk about the Strindberg series.

              Yes. He's held himself back from commercial work because he's got such high standards.

              - He won't do anything just for the money. - Yeah.

              l knew that director would have his way, and he wanted you.

              My agent'll bring film people to the opening cos there's talk of a project in California.

              l'd drink to your good fortune, but vodka's not good for Samantha.

              lt's gonna be a girl.

              Cassie, l never slept with a pregnant woman before.

              - No? - No.

              lt always struck me as so erotic - doing it with your big belly.

              Peter says it's just like screwing any fat person.

              l don't suppose he'd lend you out to me so l could satisfy a lifelong lustful curiosity?

              Why don't you get Laurel pregnant? Then you wouldn't need to make arrangements.

              Maybe if things work out now, we can start to think about it. l always wanted to have kids.

              Knock her up, then you can make love to her in all the trimesters.

              lf you knew how much l wanted to do it with you, you'd do itjust out of human kindness.

              Too late. Ball was in your court years ago. You ran in another direction.

              How's our matchmaking going? They seem to be hitting it off well.

              Peter, what's it like to sleep with a pregnant woman?

              Have you ever made love with a loser at Weight Watchers?

              Didn't l tell you?

              The great thing about hiking is you're free.

              You feel free.

              You're up there in the mountains or in the woods, and it's beautiful.

              Almost religious.

              And l am not religious.

              Certainly not after Dorothy passed away.

              That must have been really tough on your daughter.

              l've tried to explain it all to Emily, including the whole religious aspect,

              but what the hell? She's four.

              l just don't want her to be angry at God or against religion.

              l want her to be happy and educate herself

              and make her own decisions about the big questions.

              Look, Melinda,

              l'd love to call you. Maybe we could spend some time getting to know one another.

              l know you just returned to New York, but it's really changed.

              l'd be glad to show you around.

              To tell you the truth, Bud, l don't really think l'm ready to go out yet.

              l don't think it would be fair to you. Maybe when l'm a little more settled.

              Sure. At your leisure.

              l understand.


              Emily's with a new sitter tonight and, of course, l'm a basket case.

              - That's very sweet. - Would you excuse me?

              Laurel, you know this one. Play.

              - l can't. He plays so beautifully. - Hey, here. Come on.

              Come on.

              Take over. You're wonderful.

              Sorry. l didn't mean to interrupt. l'm just gonna get a drink.

              That's OK. l was just rubbing this lamp, hoping to change my life.

              Well, l believe in magic. ln the end, l think it's the only thing that can save us.

              - You're the piano player. - Not any more. l'm on a break.

              A mysterious stranger has temporarily taken over. l must say, she plays beautifully.


              Are your eyes misting over?

              This song, it's meaningful to me. lt was playing the night l met someone.

              So are they tears of sorrow or tears ofjoy?

              Well, aren't those the same tears?


              Why do things that start off so promisingly always have a way of ending up in the dump?

              - Not for everyone. - Well, for anybody with any imagination.

              You know, life is manageable enough if you keep your hopes modest.

              The minute you allow yourself sweet dreams you run the risk of them crashing down.

              There's plenty of old songs that l cry over.

              My name is Melinda.

              Melinda Robicheaux. lt's French.

              - That's a very beautiful name. - Thank you. lt's my mother's.

              She married a Dr Nash, so l grew up Nash, but l've changed it to her name.

              And that is a wise choice.

              lt's very musical.

              My name is Ellis Moonsong. l am from Harlem, USA.

              Ellis Moonsong. ls that really your name?

              Yes, it is. Let's go and sit down.

              lt's wonderful. You also play beautifully.

              Well, one thing l could always do was make music.

              l can play all the instruments, but my specialty is composition.

              l've written two operas. One was done at Yale, l'm proud to say successfully,

              and the other one is being done in Santa Fe next summer.

              - Very impressive. - Yeah, listen to me brag.

              l'm insecure, so l sell myself. The truth is, not everybody likes the music.

              They're kind of modern, but the critics were extremely supportive.

              ls that what you wanna be - another Verdi or Puccini?

              l don't kid myself, you know, but, yeah.

              lf l could rub that lamp and have my wish... Operas, symphonies, string quartets.

              There's a lot of interest in my work in Europe. l might go to Barcelona or to Paris to live.

              God, l can't stop gushing about myself. You've opened Pandora's box.

              And you?

              l don't write opera, but my life has been one.

              l'm one of those heroines too high-strung for existence on this planet,

              although l brought my worst troubles on myself.

              l shouldn't have reached so thoughtlessly for my dreams.

              We grab without thinking because we're passionate people.

              l knew you were passionate once we started talking.

              - How? - How?

              Well, your eyes, your voice.

              l got a great instinct about people.

              You know, l do. lt's a gift.

              Let me get right to the point. Can l get to know you better?

              l gotta go back and play, but could we have lunch, you know, or dinner?

              You can certainly have my number, if that's what you're asking.

              Let me... l'll just get a pen.

              There you are.

              - l saw Mr Bud Silverglide. - The mystery pianist.

              Mr Moonsong, Ellis Moonsong, this is Laurel.

              Laurel? l dated a Laurel. She broke my heart.

              l wrote this piece of music and l dedicated it to her hoping it would win her back.

              - Let me be the first to tell you, it did not. - He composes serious music.

              You two should have a lot to discuss cos Laurel gave concerts.

              Those days vanished with the lost chord.

              His opera was a big success at Yale and they're doing the other one where?

              At the Santa Fe Opera House.

              lt's great when it's stretched out in front of you.

              Well, l wish l was as optimistic as you.

              - Well, l'll call you tomorrow. - l'm busy tomorrow.

              - What's tomorrow? - Well, then, l'll call you the day after.

              lf you feel like it.

              What happened with you and the swell dentist?

              He was very, very sweet.

              Very cute.

              Butjust not for me.

              But Ellis Moonsong is very poetic.


              Things are amazing.

              You meet a stranger, and in a sudden rush,

              you're thinking to yourself, ''Could l live in Barcelona?''

              Be careful. l mean, you can't go through life rubbing lamps and wishing.

              lt doesn't work. Take it from me.


              Greg Earlinger.


              - Greg Earlinger. - l'm Susan. We've met.

              - This is Melinda. - Yes, wow.

              - Nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you.

              - So, this is Hobie. - You're the gynaecologist.

              - Close. No, l'm the dentist. - Dentist.

              Dentist. What were you thinking?

              - l love it at this time of year. lt's so beautiful. - lt's nice when it's so bright, huh?

              You know, it's really sexy, isn't it?

              - You look a little carsick. - Why? Cos l'm the colour of guacamole?

              This is going well. Look how happy she looks.

              l wish we could afford a pad in the Hamptons. Everybody who's anybody has one.

              But if you're somebody who's nobody, it's no fun to be around anybody who's everybody.

              lsn't he charming? And don't tell me he's not gorgeous.

              lf you like perfect features.

              Don't be such a crab.

              l'm gonna try to come out here more often.

              - Wow, it's so big. - Thank you.

              lt's so clean, too. lt's a great place to entertain, which l love.

              - God, Hobie, isn't it amazing? - Yeah, l love the ramp.

              lt's wheelchair accessible. That's important out here.

              - Go ahead, guys. Go in. - Thanks.

              lt's tremendous for aerobics. Come on, try it, Hobie.

              What do you do for exercise?

              Tiddlywinks. And an occasional anxiety attack.

              - Try it, Hobie. lt's good manners. - Since when do l have good manners?

              - What is that? ls it a pig? - l don't know.

              Hey, Greg, did you shoot this?

              Well, actually, l shot all of those.

              Twice a year l go to Africa. The experience would take your breath away.

              Huge herds of kudu - greater kudu and lesser kudu.

              - Which is bigger? The greater or the lesser? - Hobie!

              l think it would be the sexiest thing to sleep under the stars in the middle of the jungle...

              lf you don't mind waking up with a python in your sleeping bag.

              No, no. The whole thing is very civilised. They have beds and bathrooms and showers.

              But no elevators. ln case you're being chased by a tiger and you have to get up into a tree.

              - l'd have to take the elevator. - l don't understand.

              - Me neither. - Did you shoot all the furniture?

              - So, Melinda, have you ever shot a gun? - How quickly was it shot? Freshly shot?

              - Right here? - That's fine. This was fun. Thank you.

              - Are you sure you'll be all right? - l'm fine.

              - Do you wanna come up for a drink? - A drink! Yeah, we could do that.

              - We can't. You have to get up early. - Why? l'm out of work.

              Hey, do you have any tequila? l make the world's most potent margarita.

              - They're very strong. - l sure do.

              - Are you all right? - Here, can l help you?

              - Very good. You know this car so well. - He's like an old man.

              - Thank you. - l'm fine.

              lt's like we're dancing.

              - Tequila's on the surgeon general's list. - Just be quiet.

              Why'd he stop twice to get the car washed?

              God, he's incredible, isn't he? lt'd be great for Melinda if things worked out.

              l wouldn't let that guy fill my teeth.

              l mean, anyone who gets his jollies putting holes in animals...

              The Ernest Hemingway of the root canal set.

              He's probably got her in bed by now.

              l didn't think she could stand him.

              Not every woman falls for that phoney social rap,

              you know, with the Haut-Brion and special cheeses and backgammon trophy.

              Someone must blow him up with an air hose.

              You know what? Can we just not discuss it? And, frankly, l thought you acted like a clown.

              Now, can l talk to you for a minute? And try not to get upset.

              What? You wanna spend more time in the Hamptons whether l go with you or not?

              l told you Steve Walsh is gonna co-produce my film.

              Yes, that's fantastic. l figured out a great way to play the psychiatrist.

              lt's fresh. With a limp. l do a great limp,

              and that will account for his crushing insecurity.

              That way, when l make a pass at Rosalie, l expect the rejection.

              You won't be able to play the shrink.

              - Why not? - Steve wants a name.

              - l have a name on my driver's licence. - He won't go with an unknown.

              - You're the director. You say what goes. - Without him, there's no film.

              But l'm the perfect psychiatrist. You said it.

              l think l can find something else for you in the script.

              - Like what? - What about Moe Flanders?

              You'd be a natural. You're more Flanders than you are the shrink.

              Flanders? The retarded elevator operator with the cleft palate?

              - ls that how you see me? - When have l said you had a cleft palate?

              - Help! - My God. That's Melinda.

              He's raping her. Probably put Novocaine in her margarita.

              - Help! Help! - What is it? What's wrong? What's wrong?

              l got a tick! There's a tick in my leg.

              - Where's Greg? - He's a dentist. He doesn't do tick extractions.

              His beeper went off. He had some kind of emergency.

              Someone saw a rhino on Sixth Avenue and they needed a hunter.

              - Get it out! Quick! Please! Please! - l don't know how. ln the Bronx we had mice.

              You need a doctor. You can't pull it out cos the body comes out and the head stays in.

              - l feel terrible. l think l'm gonna faint. - Take her to the emergency room.

              - There's a tick inside me sucking my blood! - lt's not sucking your blood.

              Those are leeches. But this is disgusting enough.

              l'm so sorry. lt was so nice of you to come and hang with me.

              That's OK.

              Actually, l love watching a live creature being pulled out of somebody's body at  .  am.

              - lf that happens again, please call me. - lt was really nice of you - this whole day.

              lt's obvious you don't care much for the beach.

              lt's not the beach so much as the ocean, the sand and the seagulls and things like that.

              Well, go.

              You've had a long day. Rest.

              Call me. l'm over here if you need me. OK?

              But try not to panic. The screaming frightened me.

              And you would be totally cool if you had a live insect crawling around under your skin?

              l wouldn't enjoy it, but l wouldn't panic.

              That's good because there's one in the back of your neck.

              - My neck? - Your neck.

              - My neck? - Yes. Right here. lt's OK.

              - Get it off! Get it off me! - Relax. OK.

              This is exciting. l've never been to the races before.

              Here's a horse called Broadway Melody. l think that's a lucky name.

              Well, it's not very sensible to pick horses by their names, but l guess it's romantic.

              That was so beautiful.

              There is no more sublime music than that second movement.

              Laurel cannot listen without crying. Her eyes are all red.

              l'm with her. When Raphael first laid eyes upon the Sistine Chapel he passed out.

              - Aren't you gonna find us a taxi? - Yeah, let's go.

              She's head over heels in love with him.

              He's gifted, sensitive. He is unfazed by the details of her past.

              He is, in fact, moved by her suffering.

              Even the awful story she's been reluctant to tell but feels that she must.

              l killed him.

              But it was an accident.


              ln my defence, l will say l was out of my mind on drugs.

              l shouldn't say drugs. Pills.

              Pills to help me sleep at night, pills to keep me awake,

              whatever l could get my hands on to sweep my various pains and anxieties under the rug.

              But if l'm honest about it, l did mean to do it.


              l denied it in the trial, of course.

              But the fact is, l...

              l couldn't think of what else to do.

              l thought about killing myself.

              Why l didn't, l can't say. lt would have been much more rational.

              l thought about killing his girlfriend.

              Maryanne was her name.

              Maryanne Lane.

              And it was...

              lt was so easy buying a gun.

              l just drove out of state and l walked into a store and l bought one.

              There were no questions asked.

              l bought a box of bullets and l loaded it like l'd been handling one my whole life.

              lt was all very premeditated,

              despite what my attorneys would have everyone believe.

              And then l

              drove back to where he worked.

              lt was next to a Christian Science reading room. l remember that.

              And l just waited out the front for him to come out.

              And even that wasn't very difficult.

              There was a slight drizzle, l remember that, but the wait wasn't interminable.

              And then

              when he came out and walked to his car, l simply confronted him.

              And he said some very cold and cruel things to me,

              and l shot Mr San Giuliano

              as l had planned to.

              As l had planned.

              Well, they must have felt the circumstances were extenuating if you got off so lightly.

              lt may seem lightly to you,

              but it was nothing but hell.

              And if you've never been arrested and put on trial, well, that alone is sentence enough.

              The horror, the...

              the tension, the police, the journalists... l went over my story hundreds of times -

              the jilted mother, seduced away from her family, sick on drugs,

              the struggle for the gun, the gun goes off.

              But there was no struggle.

              That was legal fiction.

              Well, you had good lawyers.

              Not like your child custody team.

              l rememberjust lying in my cell at night and thinking,

              ''My God.''

              ''You are Melinda Nash from Park Avenue.''

              ''What the hell are you doing in a women's prison in lllinois?''

              So, naturally, after l got out l decided to end it all.

              What do you want?

              l want to want to live.

              Everybody wants to live.

              Now that l met you, l'm feeling a little more positive about it.

              Congratulate me. l just got canned.

              My version differs from theirs. They would have you believe l couldn't hold my liquor,

              which anyone who knows me knows is a baseless canard.

              Lee, l knew this would happen.

              You did? Well, why didn't you tell me?

              l'm angry and disgusted. l mean, Christ, can you blame them?

              Thank you for the emotional support. l'll see you around.

              - Hey. - Hi.

              - You all right? You seem a little glum. - Lee got fired.

              What happened?

              lt was the producer. They'd always wanted a name.

              - They got nervous cos ticket sales were slow. - l'm sorry.

              - l know the realities of the marketplace. - Yeah. So, what are you gonna do?

              l don't know if l should feel sorry for myself or shop to blot out my depression.

              - Neither. Come with us. - With you?

              Sure. l'm taking Melinda to a recording session. Bartók.

              - No... - lt'll take your mind off things.

              - You love Bartók. They're doing a quartet. - You remembered?

              - Come on. - Do l have time to change?

              - You look fine. Look at me. - l feel so grungy. l've been working all day.

              - All right, but hurry, then we'll get a coffee. - OK.

              - lt's beautiful, isn't it? - They're so good.

              l could never decide between the piano and the cello. The result is l play them both badly.

              - And the viola. - l heard you play the piano. You're good.

              - No. - Yes.

              Full of feeling. You have a lovely touch of the keys.

              l can see a person's soul by their intonation on an instrument -

              - keyboard, horn or strings. l can. lt's a gift. - You saw my soul?

              Right off the bat. That first party, when you sat down next to me to play,

              the minute you touched the keys the chord went through me like a knife.

              l don't dare ask you what you saw.

              lt's great.

              Although l find the more turbulent parts a little scary.

              - He's still not home. - Come to dinner with us.

              - No, l can't. - Come on. lt's gonna be fun.

              We'll go down to this little bistro downtown west. lt's very quiet, very dark, very French.

              - l haven't been to a dark bistro since college. - You'll love it. l've fallen in love there.

              No more for me.

              - Melinda was the fast, advanced one. - Come on.

              All the men were crazy for her. They were drawn to her.

              Her unpredictability.

              No, Laurel was the star of our group.

              l remember how jealous everyone was when you married Lee.

              Lee was the most attractive, most charismatic actor.

              My God. You almost broke Cassie's heart, not that she'd ever admit it.

              Forgive me. Am l being too open here? lt's just l feel great.

              - What is this? - lt's a Haut-Brion.

              My head is swimming. But it feels good.

              You were the first one in our group to sleep with a man. You were so very sophisticated.

              - l admired it. l did. - Yeah, well, it was probably true.

              - l had a deep hunger for physical intimacy. - A hunger that could not be denied.

              Not once adolescence descended and the hormones kicked in.

              Melinda had a reputation for being postmodern in bed.

              Life is short. That was a sobering discovery l made when my mother killed herself.

              Short, and not about anything except what you can touch and what touches you.

              Whereas l...

              l've only made love with one man in my life.

              Lee was the first and Lee was the whole story ever since.

              That's perfect. No, l mean it.

              l think there's something almost mystical about two people who only know each other.

              And, really, you're both very alike.

              You know, you're both very, very passionate women.

              You're poured into one person, and you've wanted to live out different experiences.

              - ls that you? - No.

              No, l think it's me.

              So, l got a message.

              That was Peter. l think he's got some news about my children.

              - Would you excuse me for a minute? - Yeah, go ahead.

              l was determined not to ask you

              what you saw when you looked right through to my soul when we met.

              But l wanna know.

              Something very clouded



              with lots of longing. There was...

              Wow, there was a great longing in the notes you played.

              That's as accurate a diagnosis as a shrink would make. lt took you a much shorter time.

              You sat down and pressed the keyboard,

              and l thought, ''Who is this lovely creature with the melancholy touch on the keyboard?''

              Then l saw your wedding ring, and l thought, you know, story of my life.

              ls that the story of your life?

              Well, it's the main chapters.

              My first impression was,

              he's handsome,

              he's lost,

              he's got inscrutable eyes...

              Melinda would like him.

              Speaking of Melinda.

              l don't dare say this, but it looks hopeful.


              l almost wish this opportunity hadn't come up, you know.

              l just don't know if l can handle the tension.

              l mean...

              - Just say it doesn't work out. - lt will. You have to think positively.

              She's right. You were correct when you said that life is short and not about anything,

              but one thing l do know is that we were not put on this Earth to be dragged all the time.

              We should go.

              l was hoping that you could come by my class one afternoon and lecture the students.

              - lt would be so meaningful to them. - l'd love to.

              l'm a good lecturer. l just hope l'm not a better lecturer than a composer.

              - You're home. - l'm sorry, Laurel.

              l really messed things up.

              Yes, well, you really have to get a handle on your drinking.

              Yes. And l will.

              Of course, now the boat sailed.

              - Made you some dinner. - l ate.

              Where were you?

              l had some late meetings at school.

              - l don't know what to do. - And you're sure?

              - Yes. lt was there in his talk, in his eyes. - And you flirted back?

              Yes. l was outta control, letting him know l was there for him.

              God. Poor Melinda.

              l don't wanna hear about poor Melinda. Other people's lives are falling apart.

              Peter and l suspected it was not going well with Lee.

              Does everyone? Am l gossiped about?

              God, that poor girl.

              - Don't worry. l'm not gonna do anything. - You already have.

              lf you get divorced, there'll be lots of men. Peter and l can help.

              No. l'm not gonna be the pathetic single friend getting introduced to some dentist.

              You're gonna act on this. l see it.

              l don't know what to do. l can't stop thinking about Melinda.

              She just knocked on our door carrying her neurosis in her arms.

              - Now l can't get her out of my mind. - Come on. You're married.

              l know. l know that. l'm consumed with guilt. l dream of myself kissing Melinda.

               - Then l'm on trial at Nuremberg. - How does Melinda feel?

                l haven't been able to tell her that. The subject of infidelity's out of the question.

                - You don't know if she feels the same? - No, l think she does.

                l just haven't had a chance to pursue it. l mean, Walt, here's the thing.

                My marriage has been on the decline for a long time.

                We hardly ever sleep together.

                The last time we did Susan just lay there staring into the darkness

                as if her parents had been killed in a fire.

                Well, why can't you just tell her it's not working any more?

                l don't wanna hurt her. l couldn't fire my podiatrist who operated on my wrong foot.

                Maybe you should go back to your shrink.

                He'd just recommend Prozac. l think he has stock in the company.

                - Maybe you're using Susan as an excuse. - No.

                Yes. Maybe you don't even really wanna do it.

                No, cos if there was a button l could push to be with Melinda but not hurt Susan, l'd do it.

                Tell me this. How wise is it to get involved with a woman with Melinda's track record?

                That's why l'm convinced l'm in love with her, because there's no logical reason to be.

                - Be a man. Be honest with Susan. - l don't know...

                That's what you have to do! Be honest with her. She'll live, you'll live.

                Then you go out, you buy Melinda a nice little bauble -

                l heard her say that she likes Art Deco -

                - take her out, confess your feelings. - You sure?

                - Yeah. That's the way. - This is gonna crush Susan.

                How you doin'? The Deco pin there.

                - How much is that? - That's $   .

                - Could you giftwrap that for me? - Yes, of course.

                l wish l could be with Melinda without hurting my wife.

                - Hobie, what are you doing here? - Now, don't get upset.

                Hobie, l think you should know that Steve and l have become attracted to one another.

                - You have? - lf you punch me in the nose, l'd understand.

                He came here to be with me while l told you.

                You have to admit, things have run out of steam between us.

                l just... Try to understand.

                l do.

                l think we've been drifting a... Wait. You do understand?

                l do. Most definitely.

                You're having an affair with Steve Walsh. He's wonderful. He's clever.

                He's smart. He's fabulously wealthy.

                l know. l just want you to know l don't want anything.

                l know how tough your work has been for you,

                and we've decided Steve is just gonna help with all the legal expenses,

                and l just want everything to be as painless and as civilised as possible.

                You know, l think that we can always be friends.

                Melinda. Hobie. Can you meet me for a few minutes?

                There's something l'm dying to tell you when you get off work.

                You know that little French bistro on the corner of Tenth Avenue?

                The little candlelightjoint, near where you work.

                Are you sure you should be drinking so much without having any lunch?

                Well, we worked through lunch. l was doing a voice-over commercial.

                lt's not what l envisioned when l was at Northwestern.

                They still talk about my portrayal of King Lear.

                l played it with a limp.

                How are you liking the job at the gallery?

                Well, my boss is great.

                - She has amazing taste. - Good.

                l mean, it's not a very high-paying job, but it's fantastic

                cos l have plenty of time to think about what l wanna do with my life.

                Well, l'm glad you said that.

                God, you look very pretty in this candlelight.

                l'm sure anyone would look amazing with all this flickering shadows

                and all the wine you're drinking.

                Right. Right. Well, l'm drinking

                because life moves so fast.

                So unpredictably.

                You know, it's over so fast and in the end, what is it?

                Chekhov said a soap bubble.

                Did l tell you l played Uncle Vanya once?

                With a limp. lt was interesting.

                You know, it's funny that you should say ''unpredictable'',

                because l was walking home yesterday.

                l have to tell you this story.

                So, some people were moving into an apartment on   th Street.

                And they were moving this piano, so there was this piano just, you know,

                sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.

                And l couldn't resist the temptation just to go up and give it a little tinkle.

                l play a little piano. l used to play in high school.

                l actually gave some concerts.

                Anyway, l'm playing this piano. l'm playing this little tune that my mother taught me.

                And this...

                this guy came up

                and started talking to me.

                - Hi. - Hi.

                That's good.

                - You play the melody. - All right.

                ls that what you're trying for?

                - Exactly. - Good.

                So, his name is Billy Wheeler,

                and he's a piano player.

                And he also writes pretty music.

                And he walked me back to my apartment and he invited me out on a date.


                l think l'm in love.

                - ln love? - Well, l mean, l'm exaggerating, of course,

                but some bell definitely went off.

                - A bell? - One of those bells that now and then rings,

                as Mr Cole Porter put it. So, anyway, l just thought that you would be pleased to know.

                So, what is it that you wanted to tell me?

                l don't... lt doesn't matter.

                OK. This situation is perfect - he's despondent, he's desperate, he's suicidal.

                All the comic elements are in place.

                Now she's going out with Billy Wheeler, and Hobie's the single upstairs neighbour.

                Now she's fixing him up.

                We must know somebody for Hobie.

                - The woman who owns your art gallery? - Phoebe's married.

                l don't need to meet anyone. l'm fine just staying in my room and...

                And what? Moping?

                Get out and reinvest your emotion. Don't indulge your depression.

                - Hey. Stacey Fox. Why not? - Who?

                She recently broke up with some Wall Street guy. She's bright and great-looking.

                - What does she do? - lnvestment.

                One of those business suits who makes love to you on a conference call.

                She's no stereotype. She posed for a feature for Playboy on naked political conservatives.

                Well, uh, l don't know if that's his type. She's probably got augmented cleavage.

                She's anybody's type. Come on. Wednesday's Halloween.

                We were gonna go out. You should meet Stacey. l think she just broke up.

                Hobie agrees to being fixed up, but he's still madly in love with Melinda.

                He dreams about her all the time. He's consumed with jealousy.

                He can't bear the thought that she might be making love with another man.

                He wants to know! But he doesn't wanna know.

                lt's driving him crazy.

                Did you hear something? l heard something at the front.

                Can you just go check the door? Make sure it's locked.

                - What is it? What's the matter? - l need to talk to you.

                You look terrible. What happened?

                l think Laurel and Ellis are having an affair.


                l'm going crazy. l just...

                - Take it easy, will you? - l don't know what to do.

                - Well, what makes you think so? - l just know it, OK?

                l've been through this once before. Laurel is supposed to be my closest friend.

                But what makes you think that something's going on?

                l thought it was my paranoia. Then last week l was coming home from house hunting.

                Ellis was out of town. And l overheard this argument between Laurel and Lee.

                - What's this? - What?

                Whose key is this? Who's A?


                Whose keys are in our bathroom? Who was here?

                l don't know.

                - You were with someone. - Laurel.

                - You had a woman here! - l can't listen to these accusations.

                - You slept with someone here? - Leave me alone.

                l can't get into another big discussion of my life.

                Just because l was up here with someone talking, doesn't mean we went to bed.

                l am finished with this, Lee.

                - You're a fine one to talk. - What does that mean?

                You'd love to call it quits now your eye's on someone else.

                - What? - You throw yourself at Melinda's boyfriend.

                - Don't try and turn this around! - l'm amazed she tolerates it.

                You're mixing things up cos you were caught.

                No, you were caught. l know you when you slip into your seductive mode.

                - l'm not gonna have this stupid conversation! - Don't worry, l won't be around much longer.

                And then you can feel free to pursue whoever you want!

                From that moment, the demons set in.

                l just couldn't sleep. Doesn't matter how many pills l take.

                l just feel myself consumed with suspicion and l'm ashamed of it.


                Cassie, you know it's true. l can see it in your face.

                Look, you have to pull yourself together. You've been popping pills.

                - You've been drinking... - Stop avoiding answering me.

                l don't know anything.

                l called Ellis today. He's not where he said he'd be, so l called Laurel's school.

                She'd called in sick. Clearly, she's not home sick.

                Listen, even if your worst fears were true, you can'tjust go off the deep end.

                l pick up the phone extension. l have to know. At the same time, l don't wanna know.

                Listen, you cannot give yourself over to fantasies.

                Let's find out the reality first, and stop drinking.

                For God's sakes, it's not even noon yet.

                God. l have an appointment with your husband at noon.

                Well, you're gonna be late.

                l'm afraid the news is not good.


                My partner gave it everything he had, but the politics of the situation is just too difficult.

                Your ex-husband is very well connected

                and very determined to keep the children from you.

                Naturally, the criminal conviction didn't help.

                lt's funny. l steeled myself for this result,

                but now that it's come...

                You know, l know this will sound very Pollyanna, but it's true.

                When they grow up, they will want to know who their mother was and get to know you.

                My guess is they'll be quite angry at their father for his unreasonableness.

                You'll see. They'll grow up and come to you.

                Well, l'm certain that they will.

                l'm sure that they'll take after me and look very much like my mother.

                My mother

                was a very gifted interior decorator.

                And l studied art, so l've always had this flair for graphics.

                Can l get you anything?

                No, l just hope that you'll be sending some of your clients to me

                when l get more established, you know.

                Did l tell you that my mother... my mother...

                my mother was a very gifted interior decorator?

                She was very talented. She did some amazing houses on the Upper West Side.


                There's been no easy way to handle this situation.

                l think we need to talk.

                No, these situations are never easy.

                l'm sorry, Melinda.

                l really am sorry. lt's just...

                We planned to tell you, but each of us was so bewildered as how to approach it.


                lt's not like we planned on it happening.

                We were going to explain things as soon as we figured out the best approach.

                - l loved you. - l don't have a satisfying explanation.

                You know, these things happen.

                Living is messy.

                My head is spinning.

                l need to lie down and rest.

                l wanna close my eyes

                and never open them again.

                - l'm going out the window. - Ellis.

                Meli... What are you doing?

                l'm going out!


                Melinda has to come and stay with you for a while.

                No, there is no other answer.

                She has to be watched, and it's awkward with me and Ellis under the circumstances.

                Well, l can't be responsible either.

                Let's face it, Cassie. She's one of those people who will always need help.

                lt's sad, but we have to move on with our lives.

                You killed her. You killed her as l am about to kill you.

                Come, Vitus.

                Are we men or are we children?

                - Of what use... - So, what do you think?

                She's gorgeous. Hard to believe a Republican could be that sexual.

                l bet she could put your portfolio in order.

                - l thought you didn't like to dance. - l'm just trying to be a good sport.

                l think it'd only be fair to tell you, l'm a liberal.

                Are you talking politically or in the bedroom?

                l was talking politically. ln the bedroom, l'm a left-wing liberal.

                ln the bedroom, l'm a radical.

                Look, can l level with you?

                ln the past few months of my marriage l really didn't sleep with my wife.

                We weren't sleeping at all.

                l... So it's,... you know.

                l'm a little out of practice.

                Politically speaking, l'm ready for a little affirmative action.

                What do you say we blow this joint and go back to your place?

                My place? Yes, by all means. lt'd be great. This is like a drea...

                So you're not gonna hold the fact that we have conflicting viewpoints

                on the direction America should take against me?

                l mean, l'd hate to get all worked up and then we find we differ on a tax cut.

                Come on. l haven't made love in a while either.

                Yes. l will never vote against school prayer again.

                - Hey, what are they up to? - What do you think?

                - So much dancing. - That was so much fun.

                You'll have to forgive the disarray.

                My cleaning woman won $    million in the lottery and she asked for the day off.

                - Ajoke. - You must get depressed sleeping alone.

                The truth is, l frighten myself. l'm always worried burglars are gonna break in.

                - l bought a baseball bat. Oh, drinks. - l know the feeling of being dumped.

                Except in my case, it was between my fiancé and my best friend.

                - No! - Yes.

                l'd known her all my life. We were school mates. We went through everything together.

                She was the one who was responsible for my meeting my fiancé.

                lt's a sad story. lt's awful.

                Do you mind sleeping on cotton sheets? l know you posed for Playboy on satin.

                l couldn't help noticing how they'd always make eye contact.

                l thought l was paranoid, but l should have trusted my instinct.

                Always go with your gut feeling.

                Sometimes l would pick up the phone after it would ring, and there'd be no one.

                - But they were signalling each other. - Stacey.

                Making love, meeting secretly, laughing at me...

                - l'm sure they weren't laughing at you. - We were moving in together.

                Looking for an apartment together, to live together. l loved him.

                - l'm sure. - My closest friend knew that.

                She knew how much l cared about him. She knew my whole life was wrapped up in him.

                Of course. Should l dim the lights? Maybe a little jazz. Do you like jazz?

                - l can't bear it. l can't bear to think about it. - Don't think about it.

                You know, life is so rotten, so cruel, and then, finally, about nothing.

                We can just stretch out on the carpet if you...

                l can't stand it! l'm going out the window.


                - l'm going out the window. - Stacey, wait! Are you crazy?



                - Leave me alone. l wanna end it all! - No, no, no!

                - Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! - Please!

                Let's talk about what...



                Please, let me go.

                Let me go!

                Kiss me. l love you.

                Kiss me. Please.

                My gosh.

                What a dream.

                Melinda! What...

                - What are you doing here? - My God.

                l was listening at your door.

                - For what? - l was jealous.

                - Jealous? Jealous of what? - Well...

                You went home with Stacey, and all night long l've been upset.

                So l guess l've realised how much l care for you.

                - Really? - ls she here? l heard lovemaking talk.

                No, that was a dream.

                You were dreaming about her?

                l was dreaming of you, actually.

                - Me? Why were you dreaming about me? - l dreamt l was making love to you.

                - Really? - Melinda...

                l'm in love with you.

                Me? You never said anything.

                l was married, and when it was breaking up you met Bill.

                My God. Couldn't you tell l've been in love with you for a long time?

                l couldn't even tell that l was in love with you.

                And now you're spying on me.

                What a silly thing -

                a grown woman, a mature, sophisticated woman, outside a door, spying.

                By the way, l found a piece of your bathrobe in my door.

                - Strange. l should tell my laundress. - You don't have a laundress.

                Well, marry me and we'll get a laundress.

                So, you see, it's all in the eye of the beholder. We hear a little story, a few hearsay details.

                You mould them into a tragic tale - a woman's weakness for romance is her undoing.

                And that's how you see life.

                Whereas you, you take those details, you put them into an amusing romance.

                Great. That's your take on life.

                But, obviously, there is no one definitive essence that can be pinned down.

                Well, moments of humour do exist. l exploit them.

                But, you know, they exist within a tragic overall framework.

                ls everybody going to Phil Dorfman's funeral next week?

                He dropped dead of a heart attack. He just had his cardiogram, which was perfect.

                - l hate funerals. - Me too. Always, at the wrong time, l laugh.

                See, that's my point. We laugh because it masks our real terror about mortality.

                l didn't mean to bring up the subject of funerals.

                Well, how can it be a romantic, funny world if you can't trust your own cardiogram?

                - l wanna be cremated. - Now? Or after your death?

                Let's change the subject. We came out to have a fun and relaxing evening.

                Let's drink to good times. Comic or tragic,

                the most important thing to do is to enjoy life while you can

                because we only go round once, and when it's over, it's over.

                And, perfect cardiogram or not, when you least expect it, it could end like that.



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