To Sir With Love Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the To Sir With Love script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Sidney Poitier movie.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of To Sir With Love. 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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To Sir With Love Script




           This is PeterMackintosh for the BBC, London.

           The weather forecast today...

             He's in the staff room. Where he belongs!

             Let's take a look at South America.

             I am a lady, I am.

             He was just about to show us a new and valuable trick.

            I thought I'd find you here. I was just thinking about you.

            Lots of memories? Every brick and floorboard.

            I feel too young to be retiring.

            I'm so glad you came.

            For a hug like this? I'd have died for this years ago.

            I hear your son's at university. Yes. You see, we are getting older.

            I suppose that means I'd better go face the music.

            Oxford offered him a position. He'll want time to finish his book.

            I heard he'd been invited to Yale.

            But I'm not sure he's interested in America. It's so...


            Oh, look, here he comes. He's here.

            In    years,    of them in his classroom,

            the last    developing and administering a programme

            that has given hope and direction to education in the inner city,

            Mark Thackeray has served his community.

            We are proud of our school.

            That pride is the legacy that Mark Thackeray leaves behind. Mark.

            Thank you very much.

            The one thing I take exception to in the remarks here tonight

            is who it is who's thanking whom.

            You've got it all backwards, people.

            I came to this country a stranger. You gave me a home.

            You trusted this stranger with your children.

            There is no greater job in the world than that.

            I found my wife here.

            My only regret is that she didn't live to see this day.

            We never had children of our own.

            Over    years, I have been privileged to have over     of your children.

            For that, allow me to say,

            from sir, with very much love, I thank you.

            I almost forgot. You are wondering what I will do with my retirement.

            I have taken a teaching position in Chicago.

            The University of Chicago, a wonderful idea!

            Actually, it's an inner-city high school in Chicago.

            Would      Forest Avenue be out of the way?

            A mile or two. Could we stop there?

            Is this the right address? It's the address you give me.

              Is there a police station or post office?

              You come here from England. You've never been here.

              You're looking for a family that was here    years ago.

              Name was Douglas. The gentleman owned a contracting company.

              I should file a missing person's report? He could be dead!

              It's possible, but there were children.

              Well, thank you for listening.

              All right, here's what I can do. No promises.

              I'll check around the records. There's records on everything.

              Let me go, man! Wilsie, let's go.

              Get off me, man! Wilsie, will you settle down?

              Mister, make sure you get served!

              What did he do?

              That bum's gang is into enough major felonies to fill a law book.

              Shakedowns. That's extortion in your country.

              They steal. They go after other gangs like there's no tomorrow.

              He'll go to jail? I wish. He'll be out by breakfast.

              Maybe you have a better way to handle it in England, but we're tapped out.

              I'll let you know if I find anything. Where are you staying?

              Excuse me.

              Mark, you're a day early. I changed my flight.

              I was eager to get here. I was going to meet your flight.

              Horace, say you're glad to see me. I'm thrilled.

              I'm thrilled. Luggage?

              I've already been to the flat. It's very nice.

              You son of a gun, I can't tell you how glad I am you're here.

              Let's get you to work.

              I'm afraid we're a couple of decades behind on maintenance.

              For all these years... How long has it been?

              Since you've been in London? It's only been...    years.

              It has been that long, hasn't it? Excuse me.

              Let me introduce this son of a gun. He's a day early. Mark Thackeray.

              He'll be joining us, teaching honors history.

              You're gonna teach us a thing or two.

              Louisa Rodriguez teaches social studies. This is her room.

              Please grab a roller if the spirit moves you.

              Rob Doerr teaches math. Welcome to our fair city.

              We have a serious problem.

              Why don't you introduce yourselves?

              I'm Helen Goldfarb. I teach physical science. Welcome.

              Thank you. Greg Emory. History.

              Bill Plummer and Joan Warren. We're both in the English department.

              Don't let me keep you, unless there's anything I can do.

              By all means.

              We're all thrilled that you're here.

              Horace talks about the two years he spent with you in England

              as a high point in his education as a teacher.

              Those were good years for all of us.

               I read your articles in Modern Education. Very impressive.

              When you teach as long as I have, you learn a few things.

              I'm amazed that you're here. Oh?

              As far as education goes, this is a town where the train doesn't stop.

              That's an interesting metaphor.

              Have you heard of the blackboard jungle? This is a swamp.

              Trouble brewing. Jonesy has chickened out on us.

              The school runs on tracks A for the brightest kids

              and H for the incorrigible.

              Gil Jones taught H last year. One of many.

              Can't remember their names. One left after a month.

              Next one left after Frankie Davanon broke the guy's arm.

              Two left after three weeks. Jones finished the year.

              He said he'd be back, but thought better of it.

              What did he teach? History.

              What about Greg? He won't do it, sir.

              I will. That wouldn't be a good idea.

              Of course it is. We've got an honors course for you.

              You didn't come from London to get stuck in a quagmire.

              That's what I do. Give me a quagmire any day.

              How long since you took a class? Too long.

              It's out of the question. These kids are uneducable.

              There's no such thing. They're impossible to teach.

              They're dangerous. Greg, I want you to take over the H Section.

              That's a union matter. Take that up with them.

              I don't have time for that. I'm here, and I'm willing.

              All right. Just till I can find somebody suitable.

              Excuse me. Excuse me.

              You go right ahead, sir. He's got a bomb!

              Morning, Mr. Thackeray. Miss Rodriguez.

              How are you? Very well.

              Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

              All right, stop! Now!

              Get out of that briefcase! Move it!

              Move away from that window!

              Erase that board!

              Get off. Get off!

              Break it up. Break it up.

              Take your seats!

              Arrange these desks. Get them in order and take your seats.

              This class is in session. Sit! Move it. Move it!

              I just wanted to make sure that everyone's sitting down.

              Let's make sure we're all in the right place. This is Room    .

                 ? No, no, no, I'm in the wrong place, guys.

              Let me see your schedule. Nice try. Sit back down.

              Have a seat, Miss Mariner.

              You too. Does anyone else feel that his or her schedule needs checking?

              I think we're ready to start.

              The course is American history. My name is Mr. Thackeray.

              Hackery? Thwackery? Did he say Thwackery?

              Do you think you can say that? Thackeray.

              Thackeray. Good. Now try Mr. Thackeray.

              Give it to him, Evie. Give it to him!

              Mr. Thackeray.

              Good. Beautiful!

              My name is not dude or bro or man.

              I'm sure you can manage to address me as Mr. Thackeray.

              Yeah, but what if we can't? Then you will address me as sir.

              Yes, sir.

              Thought you got popped, man.

              Are you supposed to be in this class?

              That's right, brother. It's Thackeray. Mr. Thackeray.

              Say it, please.

              You must be new here. That's right.

              Don't look like you're from here. No. England.

              Like up in Boston? Not New England, stupid. England.

              Ever been there? Yeah. I zip over every weekend.

              Do you take a train, a bus, a plane?

              He's figuring out if you know where it is.

              She hitchhikes. Ooh, looking good!

              Mr. Laredo, do you know where it is? I never told you my name, man.

              No, but I told you mine. He looked at your schedule.

              You're calling Danny "mister"?

              It's called respect. Miss...? Hillis. But you can call me Evie.

              No, thank you.

              Tell me where England is, Miss Hillis.

              Europe. And it's an island, so you have to take a boat.

              You could fly. I could get there in five minutes.

              Nose candy'll get you there in one.

              You think that's funny? You're a bunch of fools, you know that?

              Don't you see that this brother is trying to mess with your heads?

              That's what I'm here for.

              Maybe you've forgotten, but I asked you to say my name.

              Then I'm going to ask you to sit down.

              Hot in here, ain't it?

              Sit down, Mr. Laredo. You didn't get permission.

              It's hot in here. It's a warm day. Sit down.

              It's hot. We're smarter if we're comfortable.

              I'm going to faint. Let me open one window, man.

              Man? Sir.

              Open a window.

              We're gonna need more than just one.

              Check out the windows.

              Come in.

              Did you see the windows? I saw them.

              Turn that off. Turn it off. All right, get in your seats.

              Look at the windows. Where's my seat?

              Over there. That ain't my seat.

              Take it for the time being. Okay, sit.

              Where are you sitting? Sit there.

              That's my seat. Just take your seats.

              Come, come, come. Get in your seats. You know where you were.

              To your seat, please. To your seat. All right. Sit down.

              That ain't my seat. Put that down. Put that down!

              History. It wouldn't make much sense

              to get on a subway if we didn't know where we wanted to go.

              Stan does it all the time. He's cruising.

              Bastard. Enough of that.

              When you want to speak, raise your hand.

              My point is, it matters where we are going.

              History is how we know who we are.

              We are all products of history. What's so funny, Mr. Laredo?

              I didn't say nothing. But you laughed.

              Ask him. I'm asking you.

              Frankie says he don't know about history, but he knows who he is.

              But does he?

              Frankie don't know who he is!

              Maybe our boy think he Elvis.

              Why don't you have your mom put your name in your mittens, Frankie?

              All right! Sit.

              Sit, sit.

              Sit down.

              We're all pretty much agreed that it's a very funny idea,

              someone not knowing who he is.

              But let's see what we actually know.

              Who would like to go first? Tell me who you are.

              You the one we don't know nothing about.

              Yeah, Mr. Thackeray.

              I was born and raised in Guyana in South America.

              It's a very poor country.

              When I was a year older than most of you are now, I moved to England,

              where I had a much better chance of finding a job.

              I found one, teaching in a school very much like this school.

              That sounds like a messed-up country.

              Most places are messed up, Mr. Laredo.

              The only way that will change is if we can get most people educated.

              That's the story of my life.

              I taught in London until I retired this year.

              Retired? Man, you must be old.

              You're so stupid. Don't you know better than calling old people "old"?

              How come you came here? That's really not your concern.

              No one in their right mind comes to this hole.

              They send us a teacher who's not in his right mind, we deserve to know.

              I have my reasons for being here. I assure you, I am in my right mind.

              Mr. Laredo, tell us who you are. Sure thing.

              Who I am, by Danny Laredo.

              I'm the man. The man?

              You need something, talk to me. Such as what?

              All right. Assuming I knew what I wanted, you are the man I'd see?

              That's right. That's who you are?

              Right again.

              Let's say I wanted something you couldn't get.

              Who would that make you, then, Mr. Laredo?

              That could be arranged, Louis. That definitely could be arranged.

              What do you mean, arranged?

              You're interested. Come on.

              Yo, Wilsie, look up. Raise up. Here.

              If it isn't the "Casmothers Brothers. " Can we play too?

              You step over here, there won't be no playing.

              Is that right, dark side? What say we get this party started?

              You ain't saying nothing but a word, brother.

              Look, Arch!

              Behind you!

              Get up, punk!

              Get up, punk. This ain't over, dark side.

              What you gonna do?

              Cops. Let's go!

              Come on, man, let's go. This ain't over.

              Get the hell out of here.

              Come on!

              All right, the party's over. Don't worry, Arch.

              They won't be able to hold me.

              They got nothing on him. Did you screw up again?

              Shut up, man!

              My family is from Santo Domingo, and I'm proud to be Dominicana.

              My mom's Italian and my dad's Polish. What's that make me?

              A pizza with sausage.

              A good answer, Miss Guzman.

              A lot of us define ourselves by where our families come from. Who else?

              Mr. Radatz? Who are you? Leo Radatz.

              That's an answer to my question. What about you, Miss Torrado?

              A set of boobs that talk. Somebody hold Billy down.

              My name is Rebecca Torrado, and I am the hottest thing here.

              All right, enough of that.

              Your definition of yourself has to do with how you see yourself as a woman,

              as a young lady, is that right?

              Yeah. That's what I am. I'm no genius, you know what I mean?

              But I got some things going for me.

              And that's important? Being popular?

              You kidding? That's what it's about. That's sick.

              Being popular don't mean a thing. What does?

              A woman wants to be popular, so she puts out.

              The tight clothes and makeup ain't got nothing to do with who she is.

              It's just a male stereotype.

              Guys, let her finish! Shut up! It's simple.

              You guys got pictures in your heads

              relating to what women are supposed to be like.

              We try to be like those pictures, but it don't get us a thing. It's a trap.

              Yeah? Well, maybe it's a trap if you don't got it, but I got it.

              I'd be a damn fool if I acted like I didn't.

              That's who I am, Mr. Thackeray. Sir.

              I can't believe you just said that. This is stupid.

              Why is it stupid, Mr. Cameli?

              This is great if you're somebody. If you're nobody, what's the point?

              Is there such a thing as being nobody?

              Yes, there is. It's your own damn fault.

              You let everybody push you around. Who pushes him around?

              Everybody. You?

              Yeah. Me. Everybody.

              It don't make him nobody. Everybody's somebody.

              Maybe he's got better things to do than fighting a bunch of idiots.

              The only nobody is people that beat up on people that ain't fighting back.

              Does this bitch ever make any sense in her whole life?

              That's it. Let's get out of here. We'll pick this up tomorrow.

              Just a minute. Yeah, what?

              Go to the nurse and have that looked at.

              Stay out of my brother's face, man. Is that hard?

              At the moment it is. You listen to me, okay?

              I been listening to you since you got here.

              I understand this deep, caring line of crap that you're handing us.

              I ain't buying that. Neither's my brother.

              The sooner you figure that out, less chance you got of getting hurt.

              Let's go. I told you they was going to let me go.

              You wanted to see me? You heard about the gang incident.

              An atrocity on one side has to be answered by an atrocity on the other.

              Who was involved? Wilsie and his brother Arch.

              They're in your class. I've got to get an experienced teacher.

              Experienced? I have    years! In London, and you're retired.

              I need to get somebody in there who knows what these kids are like.

              Someone who's made up his mind without meeting them?

              It's not experience. It's prejudice. You know me better than that.

              The minute those kids were put in H Section, their futures were closed.

              That's prejudice.

              They don't look bright and shiny like winners, so you let them lose.

              That's prejudice!

              I'm trying to open up their minds, Horace,

              but what good is that if your mind is already closed?

              The battle was against segregation at restaurants in the South.

              The principle those people used was called "passive resistance. "

              When people poured coffee and mustard and ketchup on them, they just sat.

              Sometimes not fighting back can be a powerful answer.

              I would have clocked them. It's dumb letting people do that.

              They won.

              If Stan don't want to fight back, he don't have to.

              Is that it? Possessive whatever? Passive resistance.

              I just don't want to...

              Yeah. It is. That's what it is.

              Mr. Cameli seems to have a pretty good sense of who he is.

              What about you, Mr. Davanon?

              I don't have to. Everybody knows who I am.

              You are someone everybody knows? Damn straight.

              Are you listening to yourself? Are any of you listening to yourselves?

              "Everybody knows who I am. " "I'm the hottest thing here. " "I'm the man. "

              You all talk about who you are

              like it's easy, like all you got to do is look in the mirror.

              It's hard to know who you are. Is that what you're saying?

              The only honest one is Stan.

              Everybody is pretending to be something. They're scared.

              What of? Everything.

              Being nothing. Graduating. Then what are they gonna do?

              I'm home free.

               My mom is an actress... What's she in? Cats?

               Les Miserables? She's touring.

              Being an actress is making yourself somebody you're not.

              She says that we do it all the time.

              I wrote a poem about what we were talking about. I'd like to read it.

              Yes, I would like very much to hear it.

               I'm new at this, but you, Mom Have got the art down to a science

               Being what you're not

               Was it fun when you started?

               Maybe you could get a part Where you play a mother, Mom

               Like Rebecca plays the tramp And Danny plays at being Danny

               It is fun, isn't it? Being what you're not?

               Except in the morning sometimes

               Or late at night when the room is Empty except for myself

               And it's time to stop pretending

               There's no one to fool In an empty room

               I can be me in an empty room

               What's the matter, Evie? You're someone else your whole life

               Try being Evie in an empty room

               Did you forget Or didn't you ever know?

              Hi. Hi. I heard your students talking.

              What did you do today?

              Evie Hillis read a poem she wrote. Amazing, really. Let me help you.

              Thank you. Evie's very talented.

              Why is she in Section H? She worked her way down.

              It's a pity. I tried to get her to write for the school paper.

              I gotta go.

              How are you doing, Mr. T? Hell of a class we had today.

              Yes, it was.

              What did I tell you about staying out of my business?

              What is your problem, brother?

              What you've got under your jacket. What might that be?

              I assume it's something you can't get past the metal detector at the door.

              My guess, it's a gun. Say it is, what are you gonna do?

              Take it away from me? No. You're going to give it to me.

              Either I got a gun or I don't, which means you're either wrong or crazy.

              Let me explain it to you. I'm aware you don't like me very much.

              But I assume that's nothing personal.

              I don't know what problems make you think you need a gun in this school.

              Whatever those problems are, they've got nothing to do with me.

              Nothing at all. You don't want to shoot me.

              I wasn't thinking about it, but it's changing fast.

              Let's think about that a little.

              If you just look at the two of us, you'll see I'm not going to move.

              Now... think about where we are. Right above the police in the lobby.

              If you shot me, you wouldn't make it out of this room.

              I don't think you want to throw your life away on account of me.

              Got it all figured out, don't you, man? You know I do, son.

              Now, give me the gun.

              Then what?

              I turn the gun in. Either way, I'm cooked.

              I'll turn the gun in, not you. They'll ask where you got it.

              You let me figure that out.

              There's a lot of people looking to waste me. You just made it damn easy for them.

              Tommie's waiting for us. Come on.

              You got the piece, didn't you? Let's go.

              He's got a piece.

              In the second-floor washroom, I found... this.

              You found it? That's right.

              Look, if you took that off some kid, we need to know who that kid is.

              I found it. Are you the person I turn it over to or not?

              Thank you.

              Listen to me, man, I thought someone was gonna get hurt or killed,

              maybe shot or something.

              But nobody even got hurt. Nothing happened.

              Are you lost, sir? No, not at all.

              Maybe you can help me. The Douglases used to live here.

              They've been gone a long time. A long time.

              Whether we make it or not,

              whether we continue to exist or stop existing.

              The question before us is,

              what do we need in order to survive in a country like this?

              A job. Connections.

              Guts. You gotta be smart.

              You mean, get an education? Not in this sorry-ass school.

              You don't think you can?

              You can get education from books, but it don't count.

              Why doesn't that count? They're not giving us jobs anyway.

              Read the papers. There ain't gonna be welfare much longer.

              What are you gonna do then?

              My mama don't get welfare. Relax. Hold it. Relax.

              Let me ask you a question, Mr. Carrouthers.

              Does your mother have an education? Leave my family out of this.

              My mama got two jobs and she works her ass off!

              And she survives.

              All of us are here because our mothers or fathers or someone

              figured out some way to survive.

              Now it's your turn.

              Think about that for tomorrow,

              how you're going to help yourselves survive.

              That's a bunch of crap, man. This is Class H.

              If they put you in Class H, they got a good idea you ain't gonna survive.

              H means you're going to hell.

              They made their minds up about us. Then change them.

              Yeah, right. Maybe that would work where you're from or where you went.

              You went off to England and you teach in some school. You think you're something.

              I am something. Everyone is. In this country, you're nothing.

              No matter how many schools you teach in, all people see is black skin.

              What do you want them to see? Me.

              Who are you? Do you see you the way you want to be seen?

              Then you must see character in yourself, discipline in yourself,

              determination in yourself, to survive with dignity,

              no matter how tough the world around you is.

              Is that who you are? If not, is that who you want to be?

              If so, come.

              Let's go walk down a street

              and see what we can get them to see.

              Well, aren't you coming?

              Are we going shopping?

              We're conducting an experiment. I need a volunteer.

              How about you, Mr. Davanon?

              We want to see what we can learn about how people react to us.

              You see that woman over there by the bus stop?

              Walk up to her. Ask what she thought when she saw you walking up to her.

              That's it? Then come and tell us what she said.

              All right, Frankie. He's white. It don't prove a thing.

              When you conduct an experiment, you need what scientists call a control.

              Mr. Davanon is our control.


              Go, Frankie, go!

              Way to go, Frankie!

              Hey, Frankie, give it up, bro!

              Now I need another volunteer. Arch.

              I want to talk to you about it first.

              Hey, what are you talking about?

              Excuse me, ma'am. Can I talk to you?

              My name is Archie Carrouthers. I'm a student at John Adams.

              I'm working on a school project. Can you help me out?

              What we saw out there yesterday is that, to a considerable extent,

              we control how we are perceived.

              "Yo!" gets you one response,

              "Excuse me, sir," another.

              When we address someone with respect, we are more likely to get respect.

              Not always, but more often than you think.

              If you're smart, that ought to be enough.

              Common courtesy. "Please. " "Thank you. " "Excuse me. " Magical words.

              Yo, Mr. Thackeray. Miss Torrado. How are you doing?

              I was wondering if we could talk. Of course. What's on your mind?

              I've been thinking about some of that stuff we're talking about,

              like the way Evie says that sometimes we really don't know who we are.

              Sometimes it's very hard.

              Yeah, okay. But I was thinking, what if we know who we are,

              and that's not who we want to be anymore?

              People can change.

              I get up in the morning, and I gotta think about what I'm going to put on,

              and my hair and my makeup.

              It drives me crazy. I want to cry. You wonder why you do it.

              I mean, I know why I do it.

              Nobody likes a girl, you know, that doesn't take care of herself.

              I know I'm kind of good-looking and they like that.

              And that's important to you?

              I mean, you've gotta have some self-respect.

              I don't know. If nobody likes you...

              You've got to like yourself first, isn't that right?

              Rebecca, where the hell are you going?

              I gotta go, Mr. Thackeray, thanks for listening.

              I just ran into Mr. Thackeray... Yeah, well, I was waiting.

              Mr. Thackeray. See you, Mr. Thackeray.

              You kept me waiting. That don't cut it, bitch.

              I'm sorry. I said I was sorry.

              Look at you. Your face is messed up. You look like a cheap whore.

              I just need a minute. I can get it together.

              Forget it. Nobody gives a damn what your face looks like anyway.

              Hey! She's a little late, but she's here. Party time.

              Frankie, I don't know if I want to do this anymore.

              Come on. Here she comes. I'm sorry she's late, guys.

              Say you're sorry. "I'm sorry!" Come on, say it. She's sorry, guys.

              Come on, give me the money before we do anything.

              They're beautiful. Hi, Mr. Thackeray.

              Do you do this often? Whenever I get the chance.

              I like... growing stuff.

              They're beautiful. I had a garden in the back of my flat in London.

              I'll let you get back to your work. See you in class tomorrow.

              Mr. Thackeray, maybe you'd better not mention this in class.

              Kids give me a hard enough time.

              There's nothing wrong with flowers, or making the neighborhood prettier.

              Don't worry. If you don't want me to, I won't say anything.

              Excuse me, miss. Yes, sir. Can I help you?

              Yes. Yes, I think you can.

              Get off me, man. Get off me! Shh! Don't worry, little bro.

              I ain't gonna cut you too bad.

              As a favor, would you be so kind as to deliver a message to your brother?

              Ask him, " How does it feel to be a dead man?"

              Mr. Thackeray, that's so great. Thanks. That's nice.

              You will go to see him? Yeah, I will.

              All right. Okay. I have an announcement to make.

              I will be talking to business people in the community,

              from contractors to computer stores to the gas company.

              Anyone interested in after-school work...

              Is this help for the disadvantaged? I didn't see your hand, Mr. Davanon.

              I am sick and tired of everybody taking care of everybody else.

              What about us for a change? Who's "us"?

              It don't include you. If you have a point, Mr. Davanon...

              I got a point. Everybody's falling all over themselves

              to help out blacks and Puerto Ricans and fruits and women.

              Only I'm a white guy, so I'm not on anybody's list.

              That's dumb. Let me tell you why.

              In the first place, ain't nobody giving nobody nothing.

              If the old boy wanna get you a job, you gotta keep that job.

              Second, these favors where they're "letting" black people into jobs,

              those jobs never had no black people in them.

              All this time, all them jobs is going to white people.

              I don't hear you complain about that.

              You ain't never in your lazy life looked for no damn job,

              so you don't know what you're talking about.

              My dad always has to hire a black guy because his boss says...

              Is your father a foreman? You bet he is.

              Why don't you tell me how many black foremen they got?

              That was very impressive. It was the simple truth.

              Wait. Simple truth is the best kind. You don't speak up in class often.

              When I got something to say, I just say it.

              People listen. Did you ever notice? No.

              You have more important concerns? Yeah. Like keeping my ass alive.

              I don't need no brother in no fancy suit

              giving me lessons that got nothing to do with where I'm coming from.

              If you've got a point, why don't you make it and get out of my face?

              You have a gang, don't you?

              That's cop talk. "Gang leader," they put that on your record.

              So you're not a leader.

              I must be talking to the wrong person. You must be.

              When are you going to grow up?

              Leadership is in short supply.

              It's born in a person. You didn't ask for it, but you've got it.

              You've got people to follow you, but you've got no place to take them.

              So you don't like the way the system works. That's clear.

              Why don't you take that talent and anger and get something done?

              Look, I do things for myself. What? Get into fights?

              Protect that pathetic square-inch of turf?

              There is no such thing as a   -year-old gang leader, and you are pushing    already.

              Well, things happen. Dying for nothing is stupid.

              I don't think you're stupid. Maybe I just don't give a damn.

              Your brother is one of those people following you into nowhere.

              Do you give a damn what happens to him?

              Maybe you can answer a question.

              Arch and Wilsie Carrouthers are about a year apart in age.

              I think so. About two years. But they're in the same class.

              Wilsie repeated  th grade, and   th.

              What is the law in this country? Is he required to graduate?

              No, you can quit at age   . Why? Because he's still here.

              See you tomorrow.

              Yo! How you doing, Mr. Thackeray? Mr. Laredo, you're in good spirits.

              Yeah. About that job stuff you were talking about, I was thinking...

              I'm always thinking. I think it's the coolest

              thing in the world that you care about us.

              And then I got to talking to Herbie and Angel and

              they could use a job, only they're scared to ask you.

              You're not relaying this information out of the goodness of your heart.

              You're charging them something for these services.

              They take care of me and I'll take care of you.

              I'm not interested in your taking care of me, Mr. Laredo.

              See, that's what I figured. You're one of these "altuist" dudes.

              Firstly, it's altruist. Secondly, let me set you straight.

              I'm not interested in your little scheme,

              because I'm not interested in a cut of a percentage of someone's part-time job.

              It's not worth my while.

              I'm doing the best I can. No, you're not.

              You don't come close to doing the best you can.

              You never will, as long as you look for nickels here and dimes there.

              You're a very smart boy. I do okay.

              No, you don't do okay. That's the point.

              You're always hustling, but you never get anywhere.

              Do you?

              Yeah, I'm coming.

               Mr. Thackeray! I stopped at the Clarion.

              You never went back to see them. I wondered if...

              I don't really need a job.

              Can I speak with your mother? She's not here right now.

              Is there a reason I can't come in? No, of course not.

              She's not home. You could come back, but I'm sure she'd say it's up to me.

              You talked it over with her? Yeah.

              She didn't... She said that it's up to me.

              There's no reason to talk to her.

              Your mother doesn't live here. She's on tour.

              But she's gonna be back.

              She's gonna be back soon. I know that she is, as soon as she can.

              It's important to her career.

              Otherwise she wouldn't have... She's not on tour.

              She's not in a play.

              I have to stay here. If anyone knew, they would put me in a foster home.

              But she's gonna come back.

              I have to be here. I have to take care of her.

              She doesn't have anyone else, Mr. Thackeray. Please.

              Where is she? She's in jail.

              But she's in a drug programme, and it's a good programme.

              She's gonna stay off this time.

              I wouldn't put you in a foster home. Don't worry about that.

              How would it be if I found someone to stay here with you?

              Can you really do that?

              Harder things than that get done all the time, Evie.

              Going out with a girl is not like hanging with the guys. You expect something.

              Oh, so a girl's supposed to put out because you bought her a hamburger? That's sick.

              Who are you kidding? Girls want the same thing guys do.

              Oh, please. In your dreams! You don't think that's true?

              Sex is sex, okay? It's just guys are dogs.

              They think there's going to be action,

              their brains drop to their shorts and their hands are like an octopus.

              I've seen you Friday night with your see-through shirt and tight skirt.

              If you want guys to chill out, what you get them heated up for?

              I don't think girls want to avoid sex. It's just gotta mean something.

              Is that really the difference? No. See, that's the thing.

              Everybody thinks all a guy wants with a chick is to get in her pants.

              And you don't? Not always.

              They have it in their heads what we're gonna do, even if we're not.

              Nobody knows where you're coming from. You know, just two people.

              That's what it ought to be. And whatever happens, happens.

              Very interesting.

              Mr. Thackeray, what about you? You got a little squeeze going on?

              Watch it. No, that's a fair question.

              I was married. You leave your wife in England?

              He was married, stupid! My wife died a number of years ago.

              Was she English? Just shut up.

              You shut up! Yes, she was English.

              Black, if you're wondering.

              So you got something going on over here?

              Not now. We're finally getting into it.

              It seems we are. Tell us what "not now" means.

              Years ago, when I was much younger, I knew a woman from around here.

              So you was here before? She was from here.

              But she was in Guyana. Her family was there for a year.

              And you wasn't married? It was before I met my wife.

              What happened between you and this South Side lady?

              I don't know. I really don't know.

              I've sometimes thought,

              when something is good between a man and a woman, it lasts...

              a whole lifetime.

              Sometimes more.

              Sorry to interrupt, but Mr. Weaver wants to see you.

              Fine. I will be there as soon as this period is over.

              He said for me to take over the class.

              Mark, Detectives Dennis and Alvarez have some questions for you.

              Would you rather I leave the room? It shouldn't be necessary. Sit down.

              Do you recall turning in a gun? Yes, I certainly do.

              Good. We ran tests on it. The weapon was used in a shooting five months ago.

              A police officer was critically wounded.

              I'm sorry to hear that. We want to know who you got it from.

              I wish I could help you, but I can't tell you that.

              That gun shot a cop.

              That doesn't make anyone here the shooter.

              You let us worry about that. I can't help you. I gave my word.

              You're obstructing justice, Mr. Thackeray, hindering

              a police investigation, concealing a felony.

              Let's not start flinging charges around.

              You wouldn't have that gun if someone didn't trust me.

              That hasn't changed, and it's not going to.

              If you gentlemen will excuse me, I have to get back to my class.

              Mark, I'm sorry, but I don't really have any choice.

              Under the circumstances, I don't see how you can teach here.

              Emory will take over your class until I find a replacement.

              I heard Mr. Emory gave you a composition. I hope you were ready.

              How come you're leaving? It's personal.

              We did a lot of personal stuff in here too.

              Did you get a better job? Teaching kids who can survive?

              I bet it ain't personal. I bet it just got a little too hot for him.

              What are you talking about? I was downstairs after class.

              He came out of Weaver's office with some cops.

              I bet he ratted someone out and can't stick around.

              I don't believe it.

              I don't know what the procedure is for turning in keys.

              I thought I'd just give them to you. I'm sorry this had to happen.

              Had to? You didn't leave me any choice.

              I gave a student my word. What are we teaching here if that doesn't count?

              That's easy to say from where you stand,

              but I have to think about the whole school, not one student or another.

              That's all a school is, Horace,

              one kid and another.

              And another.

              You used to know that. Before you start laying blame...

              Once you start compromising, it's hard to stop.

              Tell that to the school board. You'll compromise too much.

              Tell that to the state, the federal people.

              You realize you may have protected your job,

              but whatever it is you're running is not a school anymore.

              Mark, what's wrong here can't be fixed here.

              This is just where the dust settles.

              Each man has to draw his own line and stand there, no matter what.

              That's what I see. And that's what you don't see... yet.

              I wish you luck.

              You too.

              Any problem? No.

              Does the newspaper keep files of old papers?

              There's    years of them, kid, all the way back to the first issue. Why?

              Evie, what are you doing? Come in.

              Come in! My goodness! Is there anything wrong?

              I wanted to ask...

              You are leaving!

              Everybody's got us pegged as a bunch of losers, but we didn't quit on you.

              Danny's thinking about college.

              Rebecca's through turning tricks for Frankie.

              I even went down to that newspaper.

              That's wonderful. Only you're quitting on us.

              I can't help it if that's the way it seems.

              What did you want to see me about? It's not about me.

              This lady that you used to know. Was her name Emily Douglas?

              How did you know that? I was working at the newspaper.

              I was looking through old newspapers.

              In the business section, I found Lawrence Douglas, a contractor.

              He had a contract to put up a mall in Guyana. There was a big write-up.

              That's very resourceful. I'm impressed.

              I looked in the yellow pages. His company doesn't exist anymore.

              I tried the phone book, Evie. I even tried the police.

              You didn't try the social pages. What?

              Emily Douglas got married    years ago to a man named Jack Taylor.

              The wedding announcement gave the parents' addresses.

              It took a few phone calls. Her husband died two years ago.

              She has a son. He wants to meet you.

              I'll call you later. I'm supposed to meet a Mr. Taylor.

              That's me. How are you, Mr. Thackeray? My mother's been very ill.

              I'm sorry to hear that. Come on, I'll take you to her.

              I suppose I ought to explain what this is all about.

               A long time ago, your mother and I had a very close relationship.

                She was very much in love with you. She told you that?

                Yeah. Then why did...?

                Why did she leave? I'll let her explain that to you.

                She just vanished. I wrote letters. They all came back.

                My grandfather confiscated those letters. He had them sent back.

                I see.

                After my wife died, I never really cared about getting married again.

                But I found myself wondering what happened to your mother.

                When I was offered this job in Chicago, I took it.

                I guess I wanted one more chance to find her.

                You did.

                Ma? I got someone here to see you.

                I'm going to get a cup of coffee. You two will want to talk.

                It's been a long time, Emily. A long, long time.

                Just look at us, Mark. How many years is it?

                It's been years. It feels like yesterday.

                Mark, thank God you haven't changed.

                You always knew exactly what to say to me.

                I've thought a lot about you these last few months.

                I wanted so much to see you one last time before the end.

                Is that what this is? Let's not talk about that.

                I've had a good life. Sit down here.

                Mark, did you get married?

                She passed away, quite a long time ago.

                But she made you happy? She did.

                Good. I'm glad.

                I've spent the better part of    years

                going over the year and a half we had.

                I've wondered, is that what it would have been like

                if we had had the chance to be together?

                The garden.

                I can still feel your hands on my skin in that garden.

                Is anything really that perfect?

                We can't ever lose that. It can't ever change.

                The way the stars seemed to get tangled up in the leaves.

                We always thought they'd get stuck there.

                And they did, Emily. They're still there.

                Oh, Mark.

                Oh, Mark.

                Then why...? I was so terribly confused.

                My father got us out of there as fast as he could. My head was spinning.

                I hadn't exactly conducted myself quite properly, had I?

                Not for those times, anyway.

                It hurt so much sometimes, thinking about you, Mark.

                Your pain was my pain, Emily.

                No. No, Mark. It was much harder for you, alone, not knowing.

                At least I wasn't alone.

                I had your son.

                Sorry to break this up. The doctor said...

                She told you.

                Where the hell have you been? I've been waiting for you!

                Waiting? There's gonna be trouble.

                Calm down. What kind of trouble? Wilsie's got another piece. A gun.

                What do you mean, another? The one you took off him...

                He told you about that? Come on. Figure it out.

                I'm the guy who gets everything. He asked if I could get him a piece.

                That wasn't his gun? I got that off some dude.

                It was used in a shooting. Wilsie never saw that gun before.

                Will you tell the police? Tell the cops I got this dude a gun?

                He could go to jail for shooting a police officer.

                You shouldn't have handed him over. I didn't!

                What the hell are you saying? They didn't know Wilsie had the gun.

                You handed it over but never said a name? They're not gonna let you...

                They didn't let you get away with it! That's why you got canned.

                Wilsie don't know that. He thinks the cops are looking for him.

                He was gonna get a piece and settle up with Tommie.

                One of them'll be dead or both. He figures he's got nothing to lose.

                We've got to find him. When we do, will you stand up for him?

                You did and you got canned. What do you think's gonna happen to me?

                That's not the point. That's what you're trying to say.

                I'm not saying anything. You are, man... sir... Mr. Thackeray.

                I don't know how you're talking me into this.

                You find him, and I'll stand up for him.

                All right, Mr. Thackeray, this is it. I'm out of here.


                What are you doing here? I'd like to talk to your mother.

                You got a lot of balls coming here. Who is it?

                I know Wilsie could have quit school two years ago, but he didn't.

                The only reason for that must be that he's got the kind of mother

                who's had an impact on his life.

                That's why I'm hoping that you will help me now.

                Help me help Wilsie. This man don't want to help Wilsie.

                He's the one who got him in trouble. Let me hear the man out.

                What trouble is my boy in? So far, I don't think it's serious.

                He doesn't know that. He's desperate. He had a gun. He turned it over to me.

                You gave him up to the cops. Am I gonna have to tell you again?

                I gave the gun to the police, not your brother's name.

                He thinks the police are after him. He's got another gun.

                I've got to find him before he makes any more mistakes.

                He's gonna help the cops find Wilsie.

                You don't know anything if you don't know who to trust. I trust this man.

                You had better too. You know where your brother's hid. Take him there.



                It's me, Arch. I'm coming in.

                Who's that with you? Thackeray.

                Stop right there. Get out of here, Arch.

                It's all right... Look, I'm handling this. Go.

                You don't think that little magic act of yours is going to work again.

                That gun was involved in a police shooting. I know you had nothing to do with it.

                Is that right? Did you bring the cops?

                No. But they're looking for me?

                No. Stop lying, man!

                Rebecca saw you with them.

                You don't have the nerve to call me a liar without that gun in your hand.

                This better, old man? Now you tell me again that you didn't talk to the cops.

                Don't be an idiot. Of course I was talking to them, but I didn't give them your name.

                Why do you think I left the school? They fired me. Why?

                Why am I supposed to believe that?

                The one thing I try to do is to get my students to think for themselves.

                It wouldn't be a bad idea to do that before your life goes up in smoke.

                You let me worry about that. Your mother worries about that.

                Leave my mother out of this. How?

                I'm not gonna stand here talking to you.

                Look, if we go to the police... I said, leave it alone!

                Nice try, Tommie. I got four pieces.

                How many have you got, dark side? You don't worry about that.

                You can't shoot your way out. I'm gonna even the odds up a little.

                Let's make this between you and me. You stand up, and I'll stand up.

                That way, me and you settle this.

                What you doing? Get down, man!

                You can't do that, man!

                Who the hell is that? What's he doing?

                It's Thackeray. Thackeray?

                Is he crazy? I'm not armed.

                They'll kill you, man. Just walk out of here.

                There's gotta be some cops. This has gotta be a trick.

                Man, he's still coming. Chill, chill! Wait.

                Make up your minds.

                You're either going to shoot me or you're going to leave.

                Come on, get down. There ain't no one.

                Wait, wait! Nobody walks into a gun.

                You've only got a few more seconds to figure it out.

                We pop a teacher and we're toast. Let's get out of here. Come on!

                Man, you are one mean mother, Mr. Thackeray.

                You be straight tripping. Straight up, man. Here.

                I already handed one in. It's your turn.

                You're tripping, man.

                I want to turn this in. Someone's gonna want to talk to me for questioning.

                I'd like to make a statement. Where do I find a detective?

                They busted Wilsie last night. They got Danny, too, man.

                Take your seats. I want to introduce...

                What happened to Danny and Wilsie? That's not your concern. Sit down.

                Why won't you tell us? Why isn't Mr. Thackeray here?

                This is a history class. Mr. Vollick will be your teacher.

                Get in your seats and open your books.

                He's not our teacher. Yeah, our teacher was black.

                You might want to give them a quiz. A quiz?

                I thought you guys got busted. No, everything's cool.

                Mr. Thackeray took care of everything. It was like having a lawyer.

                You got your answer. Now, sit down. No, we're not doing it.

                No one is sitting down until you tell us why Mr. Thackeray isn't here.

                That's none of your concern. He's our teacher.

                Your teacher is boarding a plane to London this morning.

                That's not true.

                I want order here. You want respect, Mr. Weaver?

                Then give us some. That's right.

                Mr. Weaver, we finally got ourselves a real teacher. You ain't taking him away.

                Ever hear of a sit-in, Mr. Weaver? Except we're all standing.

                Yeah, passive resistance.

                Still in there, huh? For the duration.

                Did you put them up to this? I guess so.

                I taught them a little history. Then you'd better get in there.

                Thackeray! Thackeray! Thackeray! Thackeray! Thackeray! Thackeray!

                I might as well leave.

                Mr. Vollick had a difficult time with you people.

                I'd like to hear you thank him for his trouble.

                Thanks, Mr. Vollick.

                That's better. Now, let's sit down. We've got work to do.

                We were discussing healthcare and the upcoming national elections.

                Welcome back.

                Oh, hi. Good to be back.

                That's all I wanted to say. I'll see you tomorrow.

                Yeah, see you tomorrow.

                No, there was one other thing.

                You're the most remarkable man I've ever met.

                William Lopatynski.

                Arch Carrouthers.

                La Verne Mariner.

                La Verne has signed on as an intern in Senator Butler's campaign.

                I think the senator is in for more than he can handle!

                Danny Laredo!

                Rebecca Torrado.

                Evie Hillis.

                Evie is taking journalism classes at night.

                Wilsie Carrouthers.

                Wilsie is working for the Federal Outreach Program for street gangs.

                Lynn Guzman.

                There must have been times when you didn't think they'd make it.

                There were times when I didn't think I would make it.

                What do you think? I made the floral arrangements myself.

                I'll bet there never was a graduation like it.

                You're a genius. It's so beautiful. Come on, you wanna dance?

                Mr. Thackeray, there's     classes I could take!

                Don't do them all in the first year. I'll try.

                Frankie? What's he doing here?

                He didn't even graduate.

                What the hell are you doing? I'm dancing with a friend.

                You dance with who I tell you. I told you, I am through with you!

                Is that what you said? That's what just happened.

                I just graduated from John Adams. I graduated from you a long time ago.

                Get your hand off my arm, or I'll take it off.

                Nobody walks out on me. The sister made herself clear, man.

                Keep your hands off her. You gonna make me?

                Yeah, if I have to. You gonna bring your whole gang?

                I'm here. Yeah. Me too.

                And me.

                Well, why are we just standing here?


                May I have this dance?

                You were supposed to ask him. I will.

                When? Later, I guess.

                How about now? Come on.

                Excuse me, Mr. Thackeray. We all wanted to say goodbye.

                Let's not say goodbye yet. The party's not over.

                We kind of wondered when you were going back to England.

                I've given that a lot of thought.

                In London, they put me out to pasture.

                I think, maybe, this is the pasture.


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