Wonder Boys Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Wonder Boys script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, and Tobey Maguire movie.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Wonder Boys. 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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Wonder Boys Script





A worried man

with a worried mind



 No one in front of me

and nothing behind



 There 's a woman on my lap

and she's



 Drinkin' champagne



 Got white skin

got assassin 's eyes



 I'm looking up into

the sapphire-tinted skies



 I'm well-dressed



 Waitin' on the last train 



 Standing on the gallows

with my head in the noose



Any minute now I'm expecting

all hell to break loose



 People are crazy

and times are strange



 I'm locked in tight

I'm out of range



 I used to care but



 Things have changed



[Bell Chiming]



[Man Reading]

"The young girl...



sat perfectly

still in the confessional...



Iistening to her father's boots

scrape like chalk...



on the ancient steps

of the church...



then grow faint,

then disappear altogether.



She could sense the priest

beyond the grate--"



[Same Man Narrating] On that

particular Friday afternoon...



Iast February...



I was reading a story to

my advanced writer's workshop...



by one James Leer,

junior Lit major...



and sole inhabitant

of his own gloomy gulag.



"She bit the flesh of her lip...



closed her eyes, mute."



[Narrating]James' stories were

about as sunny as his disposition.



I was distracted.



Maybe it had something to do

with the fact...



that my wife

had left me that morning.



So. Anyone?



Maybe not.

Wives had left me before.



- Carrie.

-As usual, James' classmates...



aware of a writer's

inherent vulnerability...



offered their sensitive,

gentle opinions.



I mean, Jesus,

what is it with you Catholics?



- [ Laughing ]

- All right. All right.



Let's try to be

constructive here, shall we?



Howard , what about you?



- I hated it.

- [Laughter]



His stories make me

want to kill myself.



That's not exactly what I meant

by being constructive, Howard .



Yes, Hannah?



I think maybe we're

missing the point.




Hannah Green.



A talented writer who

rented a room in my house.



I knew her to be

insightful, kind...



and compulsively clad

in red cowboy boots.



I had, in fact, never once

seen her without them.



He respects us enough to forget us,

and... that takes courage.



Well put, Hannah. And a good note

to end on, I think.



Oh, don 't forget about

WordFest this weekend.



And those of you who are

driving V.I.P.s...



to the

cocktail party this evening...



should have them

at the chancellor's house...



no later than  :  .



[ Chattering ]



Thank you for that.

Is he all right?



I think so.

How about you?



Me? Yeah. Why?



Just checking.




Turn off the light, please.




It felt good to be in the car.




Where I could clear my head.



Tonight was

the opening of WordFest...



the university's annual

three-day "gabathon "...



for writers and wanna-bes.



My editor, Terry Crabtree,

was flying in for the event.



He alone had championed my

last novel, Arsonist's Daughter...



and its critical success

had put us both on the map.



But that was seven years ago...



and I still hadn't

finished my follow-up.



I knew Terry didn't give

a rat's ass about WordFest.



He was coming to town to get

a look at my long-overdue book.



I had to keep him at bay.



-Ah, Tripp.

-Crabtree, how are you, my friend?



- It's good to see you, Tripp.

- Let me help you with this.



Say hello to my new friend.



- Miss Antonia--

- Sloviak.



Nice to meet you.

This way.



I took the liberty of inviting

Antonia to tonight's festivities.



The more the merrier.



Terry was telling me

about you on the plane.



It was all so interesting.



I was just explaining how

a book comes to be published...



what you do as a writer,

what I do as an editor.



I sweat blood for five years,

and he corrects my spelling.



- That's exactly what he said.

- We know each other pretty well.



And actually,

it's seven years.



You know how many times I've

board ed an airplane just praying...



that some gal like her would be

sitting down beside me?



- She's a transvestite.

- You're stoned.



- She's still a transvestite.

- So, how's the book?



Uh, it's fine.

It's done.



Basically. I got a little tinkering

I've still got to do.






I was hoping I could get a look

at it sometime over the weekend.



It's gonna be a little tough. I'm

at a critical juncture right now.



I thought you were

just tinkering.



W-Well, I am, but I have little

details I've got to work on.



I'm not gonna pressure you.

I just got off the plane.



I mean, I get pressure.

You know? I get--



Know what I mean?



What the hell in the hootenanny

do you suppose that would be?



[ Tripp ]

That would be a tuba.



[ Terry] You didn't actually

purchase this car, did you?



No, I got it from Jerry Nathan.

He owed me some money.



Ah! He owes God money.



Including my commission

on that faux novel of his.



That perfume you're wearing,




that wouldn't happen

to be Cristalle, would it?



Um, uh, yes, it is.



- How did you know?

- Lucky guess.



[ Tripp Narrating]

The WordFest kickoff party...



was always held at

Sara and Walter Gaskell's house.



She was the chancellor, which

meant she oversaw the university.



Her husband, Dr. Gaskell...



was the chairman

of the English Department...



which meant he oversaw me.



Isn't that a nice greenhouse?



It's Mrs. Gaskell's.

It's her hobby.



[ Terry ] I thought you were

Mrs. Gaskell's hobby.



Piss off, will you, Crabs?

I lost a wife today.



You'll find another. She'll be

young, beautiful. They always are.



Oh, hello, everyone.

Terry, good to see you again.




Don't you look ravishing.



-Oh, oh. Easy.

-[ Chuckling ] I'm sorry, I'm sorry.



It's these goddamn shoes.



I don't know how anyone

can walk in these things.






- I don't believe we've met.

- Antonia Sloviak.



- [Dog Growling]

- Poe.



- [ Barking ]

- Poe! Poe!



Poe, stop! Poe!



That wouldn't be

Walter's dog, would it?



- Poe!

- Who's he barking at now?



He 's still barking at me.

He 's blind.



Stop this.



[ Chuckling ]




Excuse me, I need to talk to you

for a second, Chancellor.



I need to talk to you too.



Maybe you could help me take these

coats to the upstairs guest room.



I'd be happy to if I knew where

the upstairs guest room was.



I could show you.



- [ Continues Barking ]

- Terry.



Yeah. Oh, yeah.

We'll make ourselves at home.



We'll let Poe show us around.




That's new, isn't it?



Yeah, Walter just

got it back from the framer.



You first.



- This morning--

- I'm pregnant.



I'm sure.



Well, that's--

That's very surprising.



Does Walter know that, uh--



I think Walter would find this

a little more than surprising.



Emily left me this morning.



She's left before.



She's left the room before,

but she's always come back.






I guess we just divorce

our spouses, marry each other...



and have this baby, right?






Yeah, right. Simple.



Is that Cristalle?



- Mm-hmm.

- Oh, God.



I wear the same scent

as a transvestite.



She is a transvestite,

isn't she?



If she's not now,

Terry'll make sure she is...



by the end of the evening.



Has he asked you

about the book yet?









Are you gonna tell him?



No. Maybe. I don't know

what I'm gonna do.



Me either.



- [ Sniffing ]

- [Man ]DiMaggio 's record...



for hits in consecutive games...



is probably the most impressive

feat in all of sports...



and in my opinion,

will never be broken.



- Come here, big guy.

- His condition's so sad.



Yes, but even blind,

he still gets around.




I don't drink normally...



but this was turning out to be

one fucked-up day.



And now I found myself in close

proximity to Sara 's husband...



and his dog, Poe.



-Walter, I see you've met my friend.

-Oh, yes. She's charming.



Despite his much-vaunted

Harvard education...



Dr. Walter Gaskell didn't have

a clue about his wife and me.



Simply put, Di Maggio represented--

metaphorically speaking, of course--



the husband as slugger.



[Narrating]Poe had been

on to me since day one.



- [ Poe Growling ]

- In fact, I personally believe...



that every woman in some way

desires to be Marilyn Monroe.



Oh, I couldn't agree more.



[Man ] I've had a lot

of successes over the years.




Q. Q was rich.



Q was famous.



Q completed a novel

every    months.



I hated him.



...finest work vanished

in less than five.



So I find myself conflicted.



Ask him if he's conflicted

about his house in the Hamptons.



- Grady.

- Well, Professor.



Q. for your information...



Hannah already has

two stories published...



in The Paris Review, so you

better dust off your "A " material.



You didn't tell me

you were a writer.



You didn't ask.



[Man ]How did you feel

about the adaptation?



I thought it was more literary

than cinematic.



[Man ]




Douglas Triddley, Amherst.



I've had Arsonist 's Daughter...



on my graduate-studies syllabus

three years running.



No wonder it's still in print.



[ Woman ]Long time since

Arsonist's Daughter.



[ Walter]

There you are.



I could have sworn I had a bottle

of      Lafite Rothschild for Q.



Given that he's going to be

addressing     people...



in less than an hour--



- You want to keep Q happy.

- If he's happy, I'm happy.



[ Twig Snaps]






It's fake.

It was my mother's.



She won it in a penny arcade

in Baltimore...



when she went

to Catholic school.



Well, that's very convincing.



I used to shoot

these little paper caps...



but they don't make them anymore,

the caps.



It's just for good luck, you know?

Some people carry rabbit's feet.



You carry firearms.



No, thank you. I don't like

to lose control of my emotions.



I'm not supposed to be here,

in case you're wondering.



But the other night I was out

with Hannah at the movies...



and she asked me since she was

coming, so I ended up coming too.



You and, uh, Hannah,

you're seeing each other?



- No! What gave you that idea?

-James, relax.



I'm not her father.

I just rent her a room.



She likes old movies like I do,

that's all.



- What's the movie you guys saw?

- Son of Fury...



with Tyrone Power

and Frances Farmer.



She went crazy,

Frances Farmer.



So did Gene Tierney.

She's in it too.



- Sounds like a good one.

- It wasn't bad.



You're not like

my other teachers, Prof. Tripp.



You're not like

my other students, James.



Look, James...



about this afternoon

in workshop, I'm sorry.



I think I let things

get a little out of hand.



They really hated it.



I think they hated it more

than any of the other ones.



- Well--

- Doesn't matter.



It only took me

an hour to write.



Really? That's remarkable.



I have trouble sleeping.



While I'm lying in bed,

I figure them out, the stories.



- You cold, James?

- Oh, a little.



Why don 't we go inside?



It's colder in there.



[ Chuckles ]

I guess you're right.



Actually, I saw the greenhouse.



I thought I'd come outside and take

a look at it. It looks like heaven.



- Looks like heaven?

- I saw a movie once.



Part of it took place in heaven.

Everyone wore white.



Lived in crystal houses

like that.



I really should be going.



- Good-bye, Prof. Tripp.

- Hey, James.



James, don't go. No.



There's something

I want you to see.



- I'll miss my bus.

- It's worth it.



Trust me.



[Hannah ]

Let me help you with that.



Thank you, dear.

Thank you.



Come on.



[Hannah ]Hey, you two.

James, are you riding with me?



- No, I'm going home--

- No, he's going with me.



Why don't you take Crabtree

and his friend? All right?



- All right.

- Where are they anyway?



Here we are.



Hmm. Well, hello there.



James, this is my editor,

Terry Crabtree.






[Hannah ]James'll know

about George Sanders.



- George Sanders?

- Mr. Crabtree was saying...



how George Sanders killed himself,

only he couldn't remember how.



Pills. April         

in a Costa Brava hotel room.



- How comprehensive of you.

- [Hannah ]James is amazing.



He knows all the movie suicides.

Go ahead, James. Tell him.



- There are so many.

- Well, just a few. The big ones.



Pier Angeli,      or '  

also pills.



Donald " Red " Barry,

shot himself in      .



Charles Boyer,

     pills again.



Charles Butterworth,     

I think. In a car.



Supposedly, it was an accident,

but, you know, he was distraught.



Dorothy Dandridge, pills,     .

Albert Dekker,     .



He hung himself.



He wrote his suicide note

in lipstick on his stomach.



William lnge,

carbon monoxide,     .



Carole Landis, pills again.

I forget when.



George Reeves,

"Superman" on TV, shot himself.



Jean Seberg, pills,

of course,      .



Everett Sloane--

he was good-- pills.



Margaret Sulla van, pills.

Lupe Velez, a lot of pills.



Gig Young, he shot himself

and his wife in      .



There are tons more.



- I haven't heard of half of them.

- You did them alphabetically.



It's just how my bra in works,

I guess.






Come out with us

after the lecture.



There's this place

I always get Tripp to take me.



-Actually, I just want to go home.

-Don 't be silly.



No one your age

just wants to go home.



Besides, faculty will be present.

Just consider it a field trip.




ls that really it?



That's really it.



The one she wore

on her wedding day.



So I'm told.



- Go ahead.

- Really?






She was small.



Most people don't know that.



The shoulders

are so small.



It looks so perfect.



I bet it's the only time

she wore it.



That day.



She must have felt so happy.



- Must've cost Dr. Gaskell a lot.

- I guess.



He also never tells Sara

the truth...



about how much

he pays for these things.



You're really good friends

with the chancellor, aren't you?



Pretty good.



I'm friends

with her husband too.



I guess you must be if you know

the combination to his closet...



and he doesn't mind you being

in here in their bedroom.



- Right.

- [Door Closing]



[People Chattering]



[ Woman ]

Drive carefully.



Stick close

to me in case it gets slippery.



We better skedaddle.




[ Sniffling ]



You all right, James?



Oh. I'm sorry,

Prof. Tripp.



Maybe it's...



seeing that jacket

that belonged to her.



It just looks

really lonely...



hanging there

in a closet.



Maybe I'm just

a little sad tonight.



I'm a little

sad tonight too, James.



You mean, with your wife

leaving you and all?



Hannah mentioned something

about it.



Yeah, well,

it's complicated, James.



I think we should go now.



[Metal Jingling]



[ Sniffing ]



[ Growling ]



[ Gasps ]

Easy, easy.



He's a good boy, Poe.

Poe's a good boy. Easy, Poe.



Easy. Good dog.



- [ Barking ]

- [ Yelling ]



Jesus Christ!

Get off!



[ Gunshots ]



Shit, James.



You shot Dr. Gaskell's dog.



But l--

I had to, didn't l?



You could've

pulled him off me.



No, the dog was crazy, Prof. Tripp.

The dog was attacking you!



Calm down, James.

Don't freak out, all right?



Okay. All right.

Do you have a mirror?



It's the best way to see

if someone's still breathing.



The dog is dead, James.

Believe me.



I know a dead dog

when I see one.



- Oh, shit.

- What are we supposed to do now?



First, you're gonna give me

that little cap gun of yours.



Come on.



Prof. Tripp,

what are we gonna do with...






[ Sighs ] I don't know.

I'm still trying to figure out...



how to tell the chancellor

that I murdered her husband's dog.



- You?

- Trust me, James.



When the family pet's

been assassinated...



the owner

does not want to hear...



that one of her students

was the triggerman.



Does she wanna hear

it was one of her professors?



I've got tenure.



Hang on.



It's still warm.



Let's try feet first.



Yuck! That is a big trunk.



It holds a tuba, a suitcase...



a dead dog and a garment bag

almost perfectly.



Yep. That's just what they

used to say in the ads.



Come on, Crabtree.

I know you're holding.



Whose tuba is that anyway?



-Miss Sloviak's.

-Can I ask you something about her?



- Yes, she is.

- So is your friend Crabtree--



Is he-- Is he gay?



Most of the time he is, James.

Some of the time he isn't.



What do we have here?



This looks like--



That's our old friend

Mr. Codeine.



That should take the old pinch

out of the ankle. You want one?



- No, thanks. I'm fine without them.

- Right.



That's why you were standing

in the chancellor's backyard ...



spinning that cap gun of yours.



You're fine. Yeah, you're just

as fit as a fucking fiddle.



[ Sighs ] I'm sorry, James.

I'm sorry I said that.



How about we try that again?



[ Walter] It is

a great pleasure to introduce...



best-selling author

Quentin Morewood...



known to his friends

simply as Q.



[ Applauding ]



[Applause Subsides]



I... am a writer.



[ Applauding ]



As a writer, you learn that

everyone you meet has a story.



Every bartender,

every taxi driver...



has an idea that would make

a great book.




each of you has an idea.



But how do you get

from there to here?



What is the bridge from

the water's edge of inspiration...



to the far shore

of accomplishment?



[ Laughing ]






Faith that your story

is worth the telling.



Faith that you have

the wherewithal to tell it.



And faith that the carefully woven

structure that you create...



won 't collapse beneath you.



And faith that when you

get to the other side...



there will be someone waiting...



who gives a damn

about the tale you have to tell.



- I'll be back in a minute.

- Like Whitman, I admit...



I worship at the shrine

of formal construction.



But like Conrad, I confess that

I have a secret sharer in my work.



My double, my other self.



I am haunted by this

malignant, remorseless shadow--



[Fading, lndistinct]









You had another one again,

didn't you?



Is the thing--



Is it over?



Almost. Wanna sit up?



[ Groaning ]



What's wrong?



Nothing, I just twisted--



Sara, there's something

I've gotta tell you.



Something hard .



Stand up then. I'm too old for all

this rolling around on the floor.



Give me a hand?



- Well, this evening--

- Don't.



I know what you're gonna say.



I don't think you do know

what I'm gonna say, Sara.



You love Emily. Of course you love

Emily. She's young, beautiful.



She's your wife.

You have to stay with her.



B-But I don't have a choice.

Emily left me.



She'll come back.

That's why I'm going to--



[ Softly ]

To not have this baby.



You're not gonna have it?



No, there's no way. I mean,

don't you think there's no way?



Well, I don't see any,

but I know what it means to you.



No, you don't.



And fuck you for saying you do,

for saying that there's no way.



Because there could

be a way, Grady.



[Applause, Distant]



They must be finishing.

We should go.



Whose gun is that?



A souvenir

from Baltimore.



It's heavy. Smells like--

[ Sniffing ]



- Gunpowder.

- Caps.






You got me.



I love you, Grady.



The doors made so much noise.



It was so embarrassing.

They had to carry him out.



- Is he all right?

- He's fine. He's narrating.



They were going

to the men's room...



but would they

make it in time?



Terry Crabtree

and James Leer.



Leave it to you to make

that mistake. Wait here.



- I need a ride.

- I'm your man.



There's an explanation.



Couldn't he have just thrown

a shoe at the poor thing?



- Antonia, listen--

- Tony. Now that I'm home.






I'm sorry tonight didn't work out

the way you'd hoped to with Terry.



Forget it.

Your friend is just...



I don't know,

into collecting weird tricks.



I think he'd

call it a habit.



I do get the feeling he's going

through the motions a little bit.



You mean because his career

is ruined and all?



Is that what he told you?



He said he hasn't had a success

in over five years, and...



everyone in New York

thinks he's kind of a loser.



But he said he's sure

your book's so good that...



he'll be able to keep his job.



And you're not one of those writers

who has a success and then...



freezes up

and never has another one.



You can turn here.



[Dog Barking]



Gotta go. I think I may

have to rescue James Leer.



You know, Grady, maybe...



you should think about

going home.



You look like you need

a little rescuing yourself.






- [Man ]Hey, Grady.

- How are you?



Can I get a double Dickel

on the rocks, please?



I'm right over here.



Double Dickel.

[ Chuckles ]



- Is that just beer?

- Primarily.



Although I gather that the two

of you staged a little raid...



on the Crabtree pharmacopoeia.




So where is everybody?



Sara and Walter declined.

I guess they just wanted...



to go home and curl up

on the couch with Poe.



-Jesus, he's out.

- He has a book.



I know. He started it

in fall semester.



Finished it winter break.



So is he any good?



- No, not yet he isn't.

- Well, I'm gonna read it anyway.



Oh, Crabs, come on, will ya?



He's one of my students,

for Christ's sakes.



-Besides, I'm not sure if he's, uh--

-He is.



I'm sure. Take my word for it.

I see myself in him.



I'm sure you do, but it's a little

more complicated than that.



Besides, he's a little

scattered right now.



He almost did something

really stupid tonight.



I don't think he needs

sexual confusion...



to mix up

the stew a little more.



On the contrary, I think

it might be just the ticket.



Double Dickel on the rocks.






[ Terry]

Thanks, Oola.



- [Glasses Clink]

- Cheers.




[ Grunting ]



Oh, my goodness.

Do you see what I see?



Look there.

Let 's go. You first.



President of the James Brown

Hair Club for Men.



He's a boxer.

A flyweight.



No, no, he's a jockey.

His name is Curtis Hard apple.



Not Curtis.



Okay then, Vernon.

Vernon Hardapple.



The scars are from a horse. He fell

during a race. He got trampled.



He's addicted to painkillers.



He can't even piss

standing up anymore.



- Lives with his mother.

- That's right.



And he's got

a younger brother who's a--



- Who's a groom named Claudelle.

- Yeah.



His mother blames Vernon

for Claudelle 's death.










- Because--

- Because why?



[ Both Muttering ]



[James]He was killed when

a gangster named Freddy Nostrils...



tried to shoot

his favorite horse.




took the bullet himself.



Vernon, over there...



was in on the hit.



That was good.



Yeah, he heard

everything we said.



[Hannah ] Come on, Teach.

I want you to dance with me.



- No.

- Come on.



So I've been rereading

Arsonist's Daughter.



It's so beautiful, Grady.



It's so natural.



It's like all of your sentences

always existed, just...



waiting for up there in style

heaven for you to fetch them down.



I thank you.



And I love the inscription

you wrote to me.



Only I'm not quite

the downy innocent you think I am.



I hope that's not true.



We need all the downy

innocents we can get.



And it 's time to go 



 I need your love so bad



What this boy could use

is a nice, tall Coca-Cola.



- Let me help.

- No, we got him.



- I'll meet you two at the car.

- Oh, I see.



All right. Well, give me

the keys to the trunk.



I gotta get my property

out of there.



The trunk's a little sticky,

Crabs. I gotta do it.






Professor... Tripp.



Hannah, when you get James

back to his apartment...



make sure he's all right

before you leave, okay?



I would if I knew

where I was taking him.



Are you telling me you don't

know where James lives?



Some apartment somewhere.

I've never seen it.



- That strikes me as very odd.

-James is odd.



I know his aunt lives in Sewickley

Heights. I dropped him there once.



Come to think of it,

it wasn't his aunt's house.



He said

she worked there or something.



- I don't remember.

- I need my knapsack.



What's he saying?



His bag. You know that ugly green

thing he's always carrying around?



He must've

left it inside.



Aw, shit. He left it at Thaw.

The auditorium.



- Knapsack!

- All right.



- Let him crash at my house.

- Where should I put him?



In the shape that he's in,

you could stand him up...



in the garage next to the snow

shovels, and he'd be all right.



Grady, if you

wanna talk later...



I'll be up.



Hey, guy! Tripp, the trunk.

You're killing me.



- I'm gonna get it!

- Killin' me!



- [Man ] You drivin' this car?

- Excuse me?



This       maroon

Ford Galaxy    .



- You drivin' this car?

- This is my car.



-Bullshit! It 's mine, motherfucker!

-I'm afraid you're mistaken.



- Bullshit!

- Who is that?



Oh, Vernon, go home

to your mother, will you?



- What are you lookin' at?

- I'm lookin' at you, fella.



[ Chuckling ] Hit it, will you?

Come on, killjoy, go!



- Can we go now, den mother?

- What's with you?



I wonder.



Come on, Crabs.

The kid was comatose.



- Who started that?

- I was trying to calm him down.



Oh, yeah, you calmed him down,

Dr. Feelgood.







- Hit the brakes!

- Stop the car!



- Stop! Hey!

- What's his problem?



- Back up!

- Get out of the car! Hey!



[ Terry]

Go around, go around him.



- I'm stopping you!

- I don't think so!



[ Whooping ]



Come back here!



- What's this?

- [ Terry] It 's a one- way, guy.



- [ Laughing ]

- [Q] Go, go, go!



[ Terry]

Look out! He 's back!



-Now what?

-[ Terry] You owe him a book too?



You could always

drive over him.



What the hell

was that?



I just got

my hood jumped on.



- Wait here. I'll be right back.

- Where would we go?



[Machine Running]



Hold on a second.



Prof. Tripp.



I guess you're here

for the backpack.



It's Traxler.




I saw the manuscript inside,

so when you showed up I figured--



[Grady Narrating]

The Love Parade. So it was true.



The little prick

had finished his book.



- Is it good?

- I don't know. It might be.



[Bell Chiming]




So there it was.



Somewhere in the night

a Manhattan book editor...



was prowling

the streets of Pittsburgh...



best-selling author

at his side...



dead dog in his trunk.



Say, Prof. Tripp.



Is all that stuff true

about Errol Flynn?



How he used to put paprika

on his dick...



to make it,

you know, like...



more stimulating

for the chick?



Christ, Traxler,

how the hell should I know?



You're reading his biography,

aren't you?






No, it's true. He used to rub

all sorts of things on it.



Salad dressing,

ground lamb.






[Narrating] Whenever I wondered

what Sara saw in me...



and I wondered

more than once...



I always came back to the fact

that she loved to read.



She read everything,

every spare moment.



She was a junkie

for the printed word.



And lucky for me...



I manufactured

her drug of choice.



[ Traxler]

ls that your wife?



No, my wife's out of town.



What exactly

are we doing here...



Prof. Tripp?



Taking the long way home.



- Take it easy, Prof. Tripp.

- Thanks for the ride.




I told myself...



I needed to put

everything aside for the moment.



Emily, Sara,

the purloined jacket...



and the dead dog,

and work on my book.



It was started out

as a small book.



Probably about,

oh,        pages.



[ Dings ]



It had gotten

a little larger in scope.



[ Keys Clattering ]



And the ending,

it kept getting further away.



But the ending was there.

I knew it.



I could almost see it.




James? I'm okay.



I just lost my balance.



I put you on the floor.



Oh. Thank you.



I thought you might

swallow your tongue or something.



I guess you must

really miss her, huh?



Hmm? Oh, this. No.



No, I just write in this.

This wasn't Emily's.



I guess there's

probably a story behind that.



There is,

but it's not very interesting.



Is... all of that

single spaced?



I'm afraid so, yeah.



That's a really big book

you're writing.



Wow. Hannah always swore

you were working, but--



- But?

- Nothing.



It's just-- It's been a while

since Arsonist 's Daughter...



and some people, some of the kids

in workshop thought...



- maybe you were--

- Washed up?






Well, I don't believe

in writer's block.



- No kidding.

- [Phone Ringing]



- You want me to get that?

- Please. Could you?



- Glasses.

- Thank you.







- He didn't give his name.

- Who?



- The guy on the phone.

- Well, what did he want?



He wanted to know

if a Grady Tripp lived here...



and drove a dark maroon       Ford

Galaxy     with black interior.



- Well, what'd you tell him?

- Yes.



- Oh, good, James.

- Well, I just thought maybe--



 [ Whistling ]

Good morning, boys.



- Good morning, James.

- Good morning.



[ Whispering ]

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.



I'm gonna take a shower.



 [ Whistling]



- Prof. Tripp?

- Hmm?



How did I get here last night?



No one knows where you live,




Hannah thought

you'd like my couch.



And before that,

did I do anything?



I mean,

did I do anything bad?



Well, James, you did shoot the head

of the English Department's dog...



and steal his most prized

piece of memorabilia.




A w, shit.



Do yourself a favor.




- Good morning.

- Good morning.



- Prof. Tripp?

- That's right.



I understand

you attended an event...



at Sara and Walter Gaskell's

house last night.



What's this all about, anyway?



Somebody pulled a B&E

on Dr. Gaskell's closet...



and the dog's missing.



I was just wondering if you saw

someone who seemed suspicious.



I wouldn't say there was

anybody particularly suspicious.



About this kid,

student of yours, Leer?



James Leer? You wouldn't

happen to know...



howl could get

in touch with him, would you?



I think I have his number

on campus.



That's all right.

We'll find him.



- Morning.

- You have a good one.



There you are.

I thought we were going to talk.



- W-Well, I was--

- [James]Prof. Tripp?



- [Phone Ringing]

- I heard what he said.



[ Terry]

What time's breakfast?



- What do we do now?

-Just one minute. Hello?



- Grady?

- Sara.



Thank God you're there.

You won't believe what's happened.



Could you hold on

just a minute, honey?



May I ask you something,

Prof. Tripp?



- Sure, James.

- Where exactly are we going?



There's a few things

I've got to do today.



- See my wife--

- The one that left you?



Yes, that's the one--



Ow! Oh, shit!

Son of a bitch!



Ooh, you're bleeding,

Prof. Tripp.



No shit, James.



So where exactly

do you live, James?



Apparently, not even

Hannah Green has a clue...



as to the location

of your apartment.



I got kicked out.



Well, not exactly kicked out.

I was asked to leave.



I guess there's

probably a story there.



There is, but it's

not very interesting.



So where are you staying?



At the--



The, uh, bus station.



It's not so bad.

I know the night janitor...



and there's a broken locker

I can put my stuff.



Jesus, James.

I mean, uh, for how long?



A couple of weeks.

That's why--



That's why I had the gun.

For protection.



- You should've told someone.

- Who?



I don't know. Me?



[Narrating]James' story

was the stuff of bad fiction...



and under other circumstances,

I might've wondered...



where the page ended with him

and real life began.



But I had other things

on my mind.



[Grady Narrating]

The Gaskell house looked deserted...



which figured since WordFest

was in full swing on campus.



What are we--



You oughta ease off on that stuff,

James. It's pretty acidic.



I can't help myself. I don't know

what's the matter with me.



James, you're hung over. What do

you think's the matter with you?



I'll be right back.



[Grady Narrating]

I knew I needed to have...



a heart-to-heart with Sara.



But until then,

I'd just make a little gesture.



- [Sara ]Feeling guilty?

- [ Yelps ]



I can't believe you

hung up on me, you dick.



Sara, I am so sorry

about this morning.



There was a lot going on.



Walter's a basket case. Someone

stole Marilyn's jacket last night.



And Poe's missing.



- Oh, I heard .

- You heard? Ho w?



I, uh-- A    -year-old policeman

came by my house this morning.



Did you confess? Your fingerprints

were all over the bedroom.




That was fast.



I'm joking. Hello!



Oh, right, right, right.



Look, about last night...



there's something I have

to talk to you about.






Uh-- I--



Well, l, um--



I want to be with you.



Gee, Grady,

that sounded so heartfelt.



No, really, Sara, I do.



No, I believe

you want to be with me...



- but it's just not good enough.

- I know that.



- I know what's at stake here.

- No, I don't think you do.



Besides, it doesn't matter.

I haven't decided yet.



- About the baby?

- That... and you.



I'm not gonna

draw you a map, Grady.



Times like these, you have to do

your own navigating.



Why is your car over there?

And who's that sitting in it?



-James Leer.

- What's he doing here?



I'm sort of helping him

through some issues.



Isn't he lucky?



- [Radio.: Soft Rock]

- She seemed to take it pretty well.



Yeah, yeah, well, the moment

didn't actually present itself.



You feel like

taking a ride, James?






Humboldt County?






My father, he gets it

from his doctor.



- Glaucoma?

- Colon cancer.



Jesus, James. Wow.



It's a bit of a scandal.

My parents live in a small town.



It's a bit of a scandal.

My parents live in a small town.



- Where's that?

- Carvel.



- Carvel? Where's Carvel?

- Outside Scranton.



I've never heard of it.



It 's a hellhole. Three motels

and a mannequin factory.



My dad worked there

for    years.



Your father worked

in mannequin factory?



Seitz Plastics.

It's where he met my mom.



She was a fry cook

in the cafeteria.



Before that,

she'd been a dancer.



What kind of dancer?



Whatever kind they

wanted her to be.



Didn't you say that your mom

went to Catholic school?



When we fall, we fall hard .



 I really love

to watch them roll



 No longer riding

on the merry-go-round



I thought you were the guy...



that didn't like to lose

control of his emotions.



Maybe I just needed

the moment to present itself.



 I just had to let it go 



- Mmm. Mmm!

- [Knocking On Door]



- Mmm. Mmm!

- [Knocking On Door]



[Grady Narrating]l had

come to the childhood home...



of my soon-to-be ex- wife

to set things straight...



to say something that would

end things on the right note...



to make Emily

feel better about it all...



or maybe to make me

feel better.



Truthfully, I wasn't

really sure why I was there.



Someone jumped on your car

with their butt.



How can you tell?



Well, you can see

the outline of a butt.



You want one?

They're incredible. Incredible.



Smoke the rest of that joint, James,

you can start chewing on the box.



- Hey, maybe she didn't come here.

- She came here.



We'll just wait.



In the meantime, I'm gonna need you

to shimmy right through there.



Relax, James. Emily hasn't used

her keys since she was     years old.



Besides, your hips aren't

much bigger than hers.



It's not that.



Just reminded me

of what's in the car.



In the trunk?



Oh, right, right.



Let's try not to think

about that, okay?



- Thank you.

- Mm-hmm.



Feels really good in here.



Yeah, I know.



It's the kind of house...



you like to wake up in

on Christmas morning.



I'll be right back.

Uh, make yourself at home.



I'm gonna make

a phone call.









[Clock Ticking]



[Man On TV] There 's no such thing

as a good influence, Mr. Gray.



- All influence is immoral.

- [ Man ] Why?



Because the aim of life

is self-development...



to realize one's nature




That's what we 're here for.



A man should live out his life

fully and completely...



give form to every feeling,

reality to every dream.



[Grady Narrating]

Sitting there among her things...



I was reminded I didn't

really know Emily at all.



Even though we had lived

together as man and wife...



it was when I left the house,

when I was with Sara...



- [ Phone Ringing ]

- that I felt like I was home.



- [ Woman ] University.

- Chancellor, please.



[Man On TV] There 's only one way

to get rid of a temptation...



and that's to yield to it.



Resist it, and the soul

grows sick with longing...



for the things it has

forbidden to itself.



- Thank you.

- [ TV Continues]



[ TV Channel Changing]



 [ "Theme From Route    " ]



- Hello?

- Sara? Hi, it's Grady.



- Where are you?

- Kinship.



Listen, Sara, there's something

I gotta talk to you about.



You're in Kinship.



Yes, but that's not

why I'm calling you.



- You're with Emily.

- What?



No, no, no. There's no one here.

I'm just, uh--



Doing a little dusting?



- [ TV Channel Changes]

- [Judy Garland] Good mornin'



 We've danced

the whole night through 



 Good mornin'

Good mornin' to you 



-  [ Humming ]

-  Good mornin' 



 Good mornin '

It 's great to stay up late



 Good mornin '



Sara, I am not here-- I'm not here

to, uh, to reconcile with Emily.



It doesn't matter.



How you choose to live

your own life is your business.



 To say good night

So good mornin '



 Good mornin '



 Sunbeams will soon

smile through 



Sara, you don 't understand.



Probably not, but I have

something to say.



And I want you

to listen carefully, Grady.






I can't wait for you

because if I do...



I could end up

waiting forever, so...



I'm going to make

this decision on my own.



- Good-bye, Grady.

- [ Hangs Up ]



[Mickey Rooney]

Makin' a comeback.



Gee, it must be terrible

to be a has-been.



[Judy Garland] Don 't talk

like that. It scares me.



[Mickey Rooney] We gotta

work harder. Make a lotta dough.



[ Coughing ]



Hello. Hi.




-It's infected. I can clean it up.



But then you need to see someone

who knows what he's doing.



Ho w would you like

some hot chocolate...



and fresh cookies to go with it?



- That sounds nice. Thank you.

- You're welcome.



-[ Barks ]

-This is really good hot chocolate.



He 's one of your students,

this boy?



- [ Whining ]

- [Grady] Yeah, he's a good kid.



He's just a little messed up.



Oh, then I'm sure he'll be fine...

with the proper guidance.



[ Woman ]So, you're at

the university in Pittsburgh?



[James] I'm working in a steel

mill while I finish my first novel.



So where's Emily, Hank?



I don't know if I should

tell you that, Grady.



I don't wanna stalk her.

I just wanna--



I wanna tell her

that I'm sorry.



I'm not trying

to get her back.



Things haven't been

right with us for a while.



Well, all I know is Emily felt

you weren't there for her...



and she's felt that

for a long time, Grady.



Right now, she's, uh--



She's in Philadelphia

visiting Linda Ashby.



For Christ's sakes,

they went to Wellesley together.



Linda spent a week

at your house--



- Oh, Linda! Oh, oh.

- Yes.



I haven't been sleeping

a whole lot lately...



and I got my editor in town.



- I'm trying to finish my book.

- Ah, right.



The book.



I hope it's really good, Grady.



I'm having a really good time,

Prof. Tripp.



I'm really happy for you,




Do me a favor.

Lay off my dope.



That stuff's

not for amateurs.



You're mad at me,

aren't you?



You're mad because

I shot your girlfriend's dog.



It wasn't her dog.

It was her husband's.



Who said anything

about a girlfriend?



Okay, James, I wish you hadn't

shot my girlfriend's dog...



Even though Poe and I were not

exactly what you call simpatico...



that's no reason he should've

taken two in the chest.



I don't know.



You just keep acting like

a goddamn spook all the time, James.



Well, I guess that explains why

all the kids in workshop hate me.



All the kids in workshop

hate you because right now...



you're ten times the writer

any one of them will ever be.



My stuff stinks.



You said so yourself last night

to your friend Crabtree.



I didn't mean it like that.



And what does it matter

what I think?



I mean, what does it matter

what anybody thinks?



Most people don't think,




And if they do,

it's not about writing.




They don't mean anything.



Not to anybody.



Not anymore.



Arsonist's Daughter

meant something.



It meant something to me.



It 's the reason

I came to school here.



To be taught by you.



It's one of the reasons

I wanted to become a writer.



Well, for that, James,

if nothing else...



I'm really sorry.



- What are we doing?

- I'm gonna get you a nice meal...



a couple of cups of coffee,

then I'm taking you home.



- Take me now.

- What?



- I'm not hungry.

-James, you gotta eat.



I'll get something

out of the vending machine.



Vending machine?

What are you talking about?



At the bus station,

they have these cheese sandwiches.



They're pretty good.

It's better if you take me now.



That way,

Carl won't get my spot.






-Never mind.

-James, go get us a table, will ya?



I'm not letting the most

talented writer in my class...



eat some week-old

cheese sandwich, okay?



I'm not letting him sleep

on some bench in a bus station.



So go on inside. I'll--

I'll be there in a minute.




C-A -R- V-E-L.



Yes, I'm sure, ma'am.

It's outside of Scranton.



You have no listing.



Okay, well--



Lady, as we speak, I am looking at

a resident of Carvel, Pennsylvania.



I'm sure he'd be

pretty interested to learn...



that the good people

at Bell Atlantic...



have misplaced

his entire hometown.



It's not like

I'm making this up as we go--



Never mind.

It's my mistake.



[Hangs Up Phone]



- You want a bite?

- No, thanks.



That's why you're having them,

your spells.



Spells? Jesus, James...



you make it sound like we're in

a Tennessee Williams play.



I don't get spells.



What would you

call them then?



I don't know. Um--




Uh-huh. I just worry about you,

that's all.



You just worry

about yourself, okay?



- Where you going?

- Nowhere.



You just stay here and eat.

I'll be right back.



Good evening.



- Prof. Tripp.

- Grady.



Fred Leer.

This is my wife Amanda.



Well, looks like I dashed

a wonderful evening here.



We were on our way to a benefit,

but as luck would have it...



the club was on the way, so we

were able to put in an appearance.



I just thought it would be

good for James...



to be with his family

this weekend.



Oh, well--

Of course we can understand that.



Right. Okay, I guess, uh,

I'll go get James.






I hope you don't find this forward ,

Amanda, but I wonder if I might ask.



Did you ever go

to Catholic school?



Excuse me?



I'm not going with them.



Things are a little weird

for me right now, James.



Things are a little weird

for me right now too.



I know, but I got my editor

in town, I gotta finish my book...



and there's some

extenuating circumstances--



I won't bother you.

I won't even talk to you.



Like it or not, those people

out there are your parents.



- They're not my parents.

- What?



They're my grandparents.

My parents are dead.



James, the man is obviously

your father. You look just like him.



There's a reason for that.



- Oh, get out of here.

- No. That's why she hates me.



That's why she makes me

sleep in the basement.



Crawl space. With the rats and

the cask of amontillado, right?



It's true!

They treat me like a freak!



Well, you are a freak, James.

All right? Welcome to the club.



You don't understand.

You don't know what it's like.



You're right, I don't.



Don't expect me to feel sorry

for you, all right?



Because I don't know

who you are.



Let me ask you

something, James.



In the past    hours, have you

told me one thing that's true?



One thing that comes from you?



I just wanted to stay with you

for a little while, that's all.



I'm a teacher, James.

I'm not a Holiday lnn.



Thank you,

Prof. Tripp.



[Engine Starting]



[Engine Starting]



 Old man

look at my life



 I'm a lot like you were



 Old man

look at my life



 I'm a lot like you were









 Old man

look at my life




and there 's so much more



 Live alone in a paradise



 That makes me

think of two 



 Love lost

Such a cost



 Give me things

that don 't get lost



 Like a coin

that won 't get tossed



 Like a coin

that won 't get tossed



 Rolling home to you



- [Chattering]

- [Rock]



Crabtree. Jesus.



 [Stereo.: lndistinct]



[ Chattering ]



Do you mind?



- [Door Opens]

- Grady!



- Hey.

- Uh, I know I shouldn't have...



but there it was just in the open,

and I couldn't resist.



No, no. I just can 't believe

that I left it out like this.



[ Terry]

Tripp, where are you?



Has Crabtree been in here?

Has he been snooping around?



I don't know. Maybe.

I don't think so.



Let's put this away.



[ Terry]




- Oh, shit.

- No. Um--



Don't go. I've been

waiting all night for you.



I'm really flattered, honey,

but this just isn't--



I'm sorry. Am I interrupting

a teacher-student conference?



No offense, Tripp. You're not

exactly the most attentive host.



Well, you've been taking good care

of that, huh, Crabs?




we have to improvise.



Where the hell

have you been anyway?



I took a drive

with James Leer.



He popped the chancellor's dog,

didn't he?



- What?

- Yeah.



First the police thought

he just ran away...



but this afternoon, Dr. Gaskell

found blood spots on the carpet.



Oh, Jesus.



Most everyone figured it was

an intruder, but right off...



Terry said it sounded like something

James would be messed up in.



Has anybody else come up

with this brilliant deduction?



Well, not yet, but they will.

It's just a matter of time.



Come on.

You don't even know James.



Who does?



I do. I do now.



I spent some time

with him...



and I read

something of his.



- His book? You read his book?

- Yes.



- Is it good?

- It's good. It's very, very good.



It's-- It's true.



I knew it.

So where is he now?



I sent him home

with his parents.



What? What?

His parents?



- Mm-hmm.

- Why? Why did you do that for?



Because under

the circumstances...



I thought it was

the best thing for him, but...



I'm beginning to think maybe

it was the best thing for me.



I just, uh--

I wasn't there for him.



Imagine that.



Hannah, don't you remember

where you took James that day?



Was it his aunt's?



- Yes.

- I told you. Sewickley Heights.



- What was the address?

- Mm-hmm.



I don't know. He had me

drop him on a corner.



Call the university.

I'm sure they know his address.



Little late to call Ad missions.



Is it a little late to call

the chancellor, hmm?



- I don't know. Maybe.

- Hmm?



God, you really have just made

an awful...



stinky little mess

of everything, haven't you?



Is that it?



Do not even think about it.



- Don't go near it.

- No, no, no.



Never without your permission,

but that is a lot of book.



    Baxter Drive.



They're in the book.



- I'll drive.

- I'll drive.



"The Love Parade. "



I got a feeling about this.

I feel this kid in my bones.



Only in your bones.



I've had this feeling before.






It's been a long time, but--



How bad is it for you,




It's pretty bad.



They've had enough of me.



They look at me like

I don't work there anymore.



I guess I just don't fit

the new corporate profile.



- Which is?

- Uh, gosh--






- [ Laughing ]

- Down on the high way



 ls a byway



-All alone

- [Grady] This is it.



[ Engine Turns Off ]



[Grady Narrating]

I had no business...



trudging up

to James Leer's parents' house...



in the middle of the night, not

when all that really mattered...



was trying to

make things right with Sara.



But we had decided

to rescue James Leer.



I wasn't quite sure from what...



because I was pretty much

convinced that everything...



that came out of James' mouth

was basically horseshit.



- Yikes.

- Must be two dozen windows.



How are we

supposed to find his?



I told you. They keep him

chained in the basement.



[Grady Narrating]But maybe

that didn't really matter.



Sometimes people

just need to be rescued.



 [ Woman Singing, lndistinct]



 [ Woman Singing, lndistinct]



 Unrequited love's a bore



- Rodgers and Hart?

- Yeah.



-James Leer.

-James Leer.



- [Continues]

- [ Typing, Bell Dings]



Hey. What are you guys

doing here?



Shh. We're springin' you, Jimmy.

Put on some clothes.



Whoa. Well, l, uh-- I love

what you've done with the place.



When's Captain Nemo

moving in?



I cannot believe that you

made fu n of my bathrobe.



The candelabras

are my great grandmother's.



Please. Don't start with

the family history, all right?



- I'll leave you right here.

- I just want you to know...



I heard everything--

the parents and grandparents...



and the whole

Chinatown thing.



I believe you. That's why

we're here. Now go get dressed.



I mean, do you mind if I wear

this again, Prof. Tripp?



Wear whatever

you want to.



- He's so modest.

- He's so sensitive.



Tripp, why don't you

cut the kid some slack?



These are all overdue

library books, every one of them.



Then it looks like our Mr. Leer

is facing some monster late fees.



I just can 't believe

all the shit he spins.



Just once I'd like to know if the

little bastard 's telling the truth.






Check this out.



" Finally, the door opened.

It was a shock to see him...



shuffling into the room

like an aging prizefighter...



Limping, beaten."



Does that sound like

anyone we know?



" But it was later

when the great man...



squinted into

the bitter glow of twilight-- "



"Twilight." This kid

definitely needs an editor.



"And muttered simply,

'lt means nothing.



All of it. Nothing. '

that the true shock came.



It was then that the boy




that his hero's true injuries

lay in a darker place.



His heart--"



His heart what?



" His heart, once capable of

inspiring others so completely...



could no longer inspire

so much as itself.



It beat now

only out of habit.



It beat now only--



because it could."




I'm ready.



- You all right, Prof. Tripp?

- He 's fine.



Can we go before Granny comes down

and boils your bones for breakfast?



That could be a problem.

She's been coming down here...



every half-hour or so

to check up on me...



and if I'm not here, she might

call the police or something.



Okay. Decoy. We'll put your pillows

and a teddy bear under the spread.



- She won't know the difference.

- Like in Against All Flags...



only they used a couple

of gigantic hams.



No, no, no, no.

I got a better idea.



Good night,

sweet prince.



 Shadows are fallin'



And I've been here

all day



[ Clears Throat ]



- It 's too hot to sleep 

- [ Terry] Let 's go upstairs.



- Bad vibes down here.

- Time is runnin' away



Things must've picked up

after we left, huh, Grady?



 Feel like my soul

has turned into steel



[Can Rattling]



 I've still got the scars

that the sun didn't heal



 There 's not even

room enough 



 To be anywhere



[ Laughing ]



- It 's not dark yet

- Good night, bro.



 But it 's gettin' there



[Dialing Phone]



[Phone Ringing]



[Ringing Continues]



[Sara On Machine] You've reached

the home of Sara and Walter Gaskell.



Neither Walter or I

can take your--



- Hello.

- Walter?



Grady? Oh, Christ, Grady,

do you know what time it is?



Yeah. I got, uh,  :    .



I don't think

that's right, though.



It's  :   Grady.



Well, this is important,







[ Sighs ]

l, um-- I--



What is it, Grady?



I'm in love with your wife.



Excuse me?



Sara. I'm in love with her.



Are you drinking,

Prof. Tripp, right now?






Nevertheless, I'd like to see you

in my office Monday morning.



[ Hangs Up ]



Oh, boy.



- Sara, what--

- I tried to call, but...



it seems there's

something wrong...



with your phone.



It appears one of our students

is missing...



and his parents

found a dead dog in his bed.



It's my fault. I'm sorry.

I've been trying to tell you--



I'm not feeling very happy

with you right now.



And more importantly,

Walter isn't very happy.



He's gotten the police involved.



They seem to think James Leer is

somehow responsible for all this.



You wouldn't happen to know

where James Leer is, would you?



He's inside.



And Marilyn's jacket?



Oh, it's in my car.



- Somebody stole my car.

- Oh, man!




Somebody stole my car!



I parked it right there

last night!



- Are you sure it was parked there?

- Of course I'm sure! It was--



Oh, Christ. Here comes

the puberty police now.



Okay, okay, I'll deal with this.

You go dig up James.



Is he awake?



There's a police officer on

the porch, and he's not going away.



- That same guy?

- Same one.



No offense, Prof. Tripp,

but you look sort of crappy.



He's right. I mean,

you do look horrible.



It's the chancellor.



- We're fine. We're just fine.

- [James]Fine, right.



- Fit as a fuckin' fiddle.




come on.



Uh, James,

this book of yours?



It's... not bad.

It's not bad at all.



- Thank you.

- You're welcome.



[ Whispering ]

I'm wanna publish this.



I think with the proper

editorial guidance...



this could be brilliant.



Aw, that's great.

That's great.



Between Officer Pupcik and you,

he can be the next Jean Genet.



Been a long time since somebody

wrote a really good book in jail.



Don't you worry, James.

We 're gonna figure something out.



I'm not worried. You're

not worried, are you, Prof. Tripp?



I'm a little worried, James.



Don't be.

I don't care if they expel me.



I probably should be expelled.



Well, let's hope

it doesn't come to that.



Prof. Tripp.



- Yes, James?

- Even if I end up going to jail...



you're still the best teacher

I ever had.



[Sara ] I wonder if this is

what the university has in mind...



when it promises

a liberal education.



Walter wouldn't really

press charges, would he?



We'll know soon enough.



In a couple of hours...



he's gonna sit down with

the police and James' parents...



and he was a wee bit prickly

this morning.



You didn't happen to call

our house last night, did you?



I think I might have, yes.



What do you think

you might have said?



I think I might have said

I was in love with you.



He told you.



- He told me.

- And what did you say?



I said it didn't

sound like you.



[Engine Starting]



[ Terry] Hey, Tripp!

[ Whistling]



So, what do we do now?



Find the jacket!



Exactly how do we do that?



I've got an idea

where it is.



We could ask Hannah

if we could borrow her car.



Sure. Keys are on the desk,

next to your book.



I didn't finish it.

Fell asleep.



Oh, it's that good, huh?



It's not that. It's just--



It's just... what?



Grady, you know how in class...



how you're always telling us

that writers make choices?






And even though your book

is really beautiful...



I mean, amazingly

beautiful, it's--



It 's, at times, it 's, uh--



Very detailed. Uh--



You know, with the genealogies

of everyone's horses...



and the dental record s

and so on and--



And I could be wrong, but it just,

it sort of reads in places like--



You didn't really

make any choices.



At all.



And I was just wondering if

it might not be different if--



if when you wrote,

you weren't always...



under the influence.



[ Clears Throat ]






Well, uh, thank you

for the thought.



But shocking

as it may sound...



I am not the first writer

to sip a little weed.



Furthermore, it might

surprise you to know...



that one book I wrote as you say

"under the influence"...



just happened to win a little

something called the PE N Award ...



which, by the way,

I accepted under the influence.



[ Chuckles ]



Hey, let me

help you with that.



- Don't touch it.

- Okay. I'll drive.



Let me get this straight.

Jerry Nathan owes you money...



so as collateral,

he gives you his car.



Only I'm beginning to think

that the car...



- [ Honking Horn ]

- wasn't exactly Jerry's to give.



Ah, so whose car was it?



- My guess? Vernon Hard apple.

- The hood jumper?



He said a few things that lead me

to believe that the car was his.



- Such as?

- "That's my car, motherfucker. "



All right, so we find Vernon,

we find the car.



- We find the car--

- We find the jacket.



[ Train Whistle Blowing ]



Wow. Christ!

How'd you know, Tripp?



Oh, I don't know.



- Let's just call it a hunch.

- I call it genius.



Good to know I'm still

talented at something.






Keep that motor running.



I know you.



Double Dickel

on the rocks.






I never forget a drink.



I never forget an Oola.



Forget me?




-Go inside, cupcake. He's got a gun.



- Who's got a gun?

- You've got a gun! Drop it!



- Uh-oh.

- Vernon, relax.



- Why is he calling you Vernon?

- Why is he sitting in my car?



He's crazy, that's why!

He probably calls everybody Vernon.



- Now drop that gun!

- Oh, dear.



It's a souvenir. They don't

even have caps for this thing.



- It's a souvenir.

- Bullshit!



I know a gun when I see one,

and that's a gun!



- No! No, really--

- [ Gunshot ]



- [ Oola Screaming ]

- [ Terry] Oh, God! Oh!



Gimme that gun!

Are you crazy?



Can't you see the condition

my girl's in? Get out! Get out!



- Hey! Stop!

- [ Honking Horn ]



- [Honking Continues]

- Cupcake, you okay?



- [ Engine Starting ]

- Tripp, run!



[ Vernon ]

Who in the hell is that?



- Oh, shit!

- Vernon, don 't-- No! Don 't shoot!



- Oh, no! Don't!

- Don't shoot!



Come on, Tripp!

Jump in! Run!



- He's a crazy man.

- [Horn Honking]



[ Honking Continues ]



- [ Horn Honking ]

- [ Tires Screeching ]



Oh, my God.




I take it back.



Shoot him.



Naturally, you have copies.



I have an alternate version

of the first chapter.



You'll be all right, then.

Look at--



Look at Carlyle

when he lost his luggage.



- That was Macaulay.

- Oh.



Well, what about Hemingway

when Hadley lost all those stories?



He was never able

to reproduce them.



Look, Tripp, I don't wanna

depreciate the loss here...



but maybe, you know,

in a sense, it's for the best.



You suggesting

it 's some kind of sign?



- In a sense.

- In my experience...



signs are usually

a little more subtle.



Let me get this straight. All that

paper that blew away back there...



that was the only copy?



I'm afraid so, yes.



And you, you're saying

that it's some kind of a sign?



Man, what in the fuck

the matter with you?






All I'm saying is that

sometimes, subconsciously...



a person will put themselves

in a situation...



perhaps even create

that situation...



in order to have an arena in which

to work out an unresolved issue.



It's a covert way, if you will,

of addressing a problem.



I'll tell you

the problem.



You behind the wheel,

there's your problem.



Did you or did you not

have a gun to his head?



- Watch the road, please.

- He was trying to steal my car.



Did you or did you not

have a gun to his head?



- [ Arguing ]

- All right! All right!



That's enough!

That is enough!



What is done is done! I don't

wanna hear about it anymore, okay?



So what was it about,

your book?



What was the story?



I don't know.



What he means is...



it's difficult to distill

the essence of a book sometimes...



because it lives in the mind.



[ Vernon ]But you got to know

what it was about, right?



If you didn't know what it

was about, why were you writing it?



I couldn't stop.



[Bell Chiming]



[ Tires Screeching ]



Vernon, can I

ask you a question?



Boy or girl?



[ Giggles ]



As long as it looks like her...



- I really don't care.

- You--



You know what I'm saying?






- Thanks for the ride, Vernon.




-And another thing.

- Yeah?



- Stop calling me Vernon.

- Okay.



- [ Whispering ] Jacket, Tripp.

- What?



We need the jacket.



Oh, right.



Oola, about that jacket--






It used to belong

to Marilyn Monroe.



- Really?

- Mm-hmm.



She had small shoulders...



just like you.



A lot of people

don 't know that.



Thank you.



Man, that book of yours

must have been one nutty ride.



Come on, baby. Let's go.



Would you mind explaining to me

what you just did?



Came to my senses.



Oh. Congratulations. Meanwhile,

what's James supposed to do?



Pray that Walter Gaskell

comes to his?



Walter Gaskell doesn't wanna

send James Leer to jail.



He's up in his office

right now.



He's talking to his parents,

local police...



trying to find a solution.



Tripp, the least

they're gonna do is expel him.



[ Sighs ]

It doesn't matter.



That's very enlightening,




It's comforting to know

that America's children...



have you for a teacher.



Nobody teaches

a writer anything.



You tell'em what you know.



You tell'em to find their voice

and stay with it.



You tell the ones

that have it to keep at it.



You tell the ones that don't

have it to keep at it too...



because that's the only way they're

gonna get to where they're going.



Of course, it does help

if you know where you wanna go.



Helping my students

figure that out...



that and Sara...



that's what's made

these last years worthwhile.



As for James, well,

he doesn't really need me anymore.



He's got you.



Me? What can I do?



Oh, I don't know, Crabs.






You're pretty good at that.






I'm sorry.






[Grady Narrating]As for me,

I was through improvising.



I knew what I had to do.

I had to find Sara.



I had to convince her

that she was my choice...



that, in fact, she had been

from the very beginning.






And now, as those of you who've been

with us in previous years know...



we have a tradition of sorts

here at WordFest.



I'm speaking, of course,

of the Plums...



those fortunate local writers...



who have successfully

placed their manuscripts...



with visiting publishers'




This weekend, Susan Lowery

of North Braddock...



found a publisher

for her children 's book...



The Loneliest Prawn.



- Stand up, Susan.

- [ Applause ]



No w, this next one is, I think,

very exciting to announce...



because it concerns

a student here at the university.



Our own James Leer...




in English Literature...



has found a publisher

for his first novel...



which I believe is called...

"The Lovely Parade."






- Love Parade.

- Love Parade.




- Stand up. Go on.



He 's a real alien probe,

if you know what I mean.



Take a bow, James!



[Cheering, Whistling]



Wonder boy.



And finally, and perhaps

not least importantly...



Terry Crabtree of Bartizan has also

decided to publish my own book...



a critical exploration of

the union of Joe DiMaggio...



and Marilyn Monroe...



and its function

in American mythopoetics...



which, tentatively,

I have entitled...



The Last American Marriage.



So, until next year,

thank you, everyone.



Grady, I took another look...



at The Arsonist's Daughter

the other night.



That description of the bald

cypress left me breathless.



Thanks, Q.

I appreciate that.



[Door Closes]



[Door Closes]



Sara !



[Door Opens]



[Footsteps Approaching]



 [ Humming ]



Yo, Traxler.



[ Whistles ]



Hey, Prof. Tripp.



- You get high, Sam?

- Only when I'm workin'.



Holy shit.



Are you serious?



Careful there,

Prof. Tripp.






[Grady Narrating]

I didn't fall.



Not then, not ever again.



Once the Monongahela River

swallowed my never-ending opus...



there were no more spells.



James Leer didn't

get expelled or go to jail...



thanks to Crabtree 's

wheeling and dealing.



But he quit anyway,

went to New York...



to rework his novel

for publication.



Hannah Green has decided to take

a position as a junior editor...



when she graduates.



And Crabtree, well, Crabtree 's

gone right on being Crabtree.



As for me,

I lost everything.:



my wife, my book, my job...



everything that I thought

was important.



But I finally knew

where I wanted to go.



[Car Approaching]



 [ Woman Vocalizing]



And now I had someone

to help me get there.



A worried man

with a worried mind



 No one in front of me

and nothin' behind



 There 's a woman on my left

and she's



 Drinkin' champagne



 Got white skin

Got assassin 's eyes



 I'm lookin ' up into

the sapphire-tinted skies



 I'm well-dressed



 Waitin' on the last train 



 Standin' on the gallows

with my head in a noose



Any minute now

I'm expecting all hell



 To break loose



 People are crazy

and times are strange



 I'm locked in tight

I'm out of range



 I used to care, but



 Things have changed



 This place ain't doing me

any good



 I'm in the wrong town

I should be in Hollywood



Just for a second there, I

thought I saw something move



 Gonna take dancing lessons



 Do the jitterbug rag



Ain't no shortcuts

Gonna dress in drag



 Only a fool in here would think

he's got anything to prove



 Lot of water

under the bridge



 Lot of other stuff too



 Don 't get up, gentlemen

I'm only



 Passin' through 



 People are crazy

and times are strange



 I'm locked in tight

I'm out of range



 I used to care, but



 Things have changed



 I've been walkin'

   miles of bad road



 lf the Bible is right

the world will explode



 I've been trying to get

as far away from myself



As I can 



 Some things are

too hot to touch 



 The human mind

can only stand so much 



 You can 't win 



 With a losing hand



 Feel like falling in love



 With the first woman I meet



 Putting her

in a wheel barrow



And wheeling her

down the street



 People are crazy

and times are strange



 I'm locked in tight

I'm out of range



 I used to care, but



 Things have changed



 I hurt easy



 I just don 't show it



 You can hurt someone

and not even know it



 The next    seconds

could be like an eternity



 Gonna get lowdown 



 Gonna fly high 



All the truth in the world

adds up to one big lie



 I'm in love with a woman

who don 't even appeal to me



 Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy

they jumped in the lake



 I'm not that eager

to make a mistake



 People are crazy

and times are strange



 I'm locked in tight

I'm out of range



 I used to care, but



 Things have changed


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