Stephen Metcalfe

Veil On The Water

A Screenplay excerpt by Stephen Metcalfe
All Rights Reserved

CREDITS BEGINS – EXT. A BACK ROAD – NIGHT

A battered pick-up truck, engine laboring, comes swerving up the road. It veers across the center line and then jerks back. It cruises into the bushes and long grass alongside the road. It careens back to the middle of the road. Headlights approach from the opposite direction.

The pick-up seems aimed at the oncoming car. There is thescreech of tires and the blare of horns as the pick-up swerves at the last minute, barely missing the oncoming car. The driver of the pick-up sticks his head out the window and yells angrily.

DRIVER

Whereja learn t’ drive!?

The pick-up truck swerves up onto someone’s lawn, fishtails and makes it back onto the road barely missing a picket fence. It roars on.

THE PICK-UP

comes flying up the road. It takes a sudden turn into a driveway – takes it much too fast – and the rear end of the truck sends the two metal trash cans at the end of the driveway flying.

The driver doesn’t stop but accelerates up the long, gravel packed driveway in a cloud of dust and thrown stone.

EXT. THE HOUSE – NIGHT

The truck roars up and brakes to a skidding stop, barely missing a crash into the closed garage doors.

The driver pushes open the truck door… and falls out of the truck. He staggers to his feet. He is drunk.

PETER LARSEN is a strong looking man in his early forties.

He is very tan from working out of doors. He stands a moment to get his bearings… he starts walking… and immediately falls over a small hedge.

THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE

is on a slope. There is a walk leading up towards a deck and a back door. Peter comes around the corner of the house and up the lawn. He mumbles a steady stream of profanity as he goes. The grass slippery with dew and Peter slips and falls flat on his face. Cursing, he rises and staggering on, climbs the stairs to the deck.

ON THE DECK

Peter tries to pull open the door. It is locked. He shakes it, furious. He searches in his pocket for keys.

No fucking keys. Outraged, he throws himself at the door. The door is, of course, open and he hurtles through. There is the sound of him crashing into something and falling.

THE HOUSE

is quiet, peaceful, almost pristine in the moonlight.

There is the sudden sound of someone falling over furniture

– CRASH!

A light now goes on in a room on the first floor – YEN’S room. A light goes on in a room on the second floor of the house – GREGORY’S room. And then:

PETER (V.O.)

Everybody go the fuck back to bed!

The lights go out… one… two.

EXT. THE HOUSE –

IN A SERIES OF CROSSFADES –

Night moves towards dawn. Moonlight gives way to sunshine.

In the light of morning the house we see suggests craft and workmanship. It is a beautiful house; simple, yet elegant.

The grounds are beautifully maintained. Sunlight touches painted shutter, warms the red brick of the chimney. Birds begin to twitter through the trees in the yard. It is the beginning of a summer day.

IN THE HOUSE –

Sun light fills the kitchen…

The study…

The light plays across the living room rug. A table lies overturned on the floor near the stairway. The lamp that was on the table is on the floor in pieces. A stained-glass skylight turns the wall by the stairway into a rainbow.

CREDITS ENDS AS – INT. HOUSE – BEDROOM – MORNING

A gnarled, wrinkled, very strong looking hand reaches out and hits a switch on a stereo. The house is suddenly filled with music – waltzes.

IN A SERIES OF FAST CUTS –

STEREO SPEAKERS are everywhere throughout the house. The music blasts.

INT. A BEDROOM – MORNING

Under a messy pile of sheets, a blanket and pillows, there seems to be a dead body. The sound of waltzes echoes through the walls. The body thrashes. Then tosses. Then moans. Then bolts up from underneath the sheets and pillows. It is Peter and he is horribly hung over.

PETER

Yennnnns!!!

The music continues.

INT. YENS’S ROOM – MORNING

An old, regal-looking Great Dane lies next to a bed. The dog’s name is LOKI.

PETER (O.C.)

(from upstairs)

Turn that shit off!

That wrinkled hand reaches out to scratch Loki’s ears.

YENS (O.C.)

He’s up.

Loki thumps his tail against the floor in appreciation.

INT. THE HOUSE – MORNING

The remains of the shattered lamp are swept into a dustpan.

GREGORY LARSEN rises and walks from the living room into the kitchen. He’s 19, with the same strong frame as his father.

IN THE KITCHEN

Loki is eating from his bowl. Gregory kneels and pats him.

GREGORY

Is that good? Yeah. Good Loki.

He rises, goes to the wastebasket to dump the dustpan.

IN THE FOYER

Peter comes slowly down the stairs. He is now dressed.

Every step hurts. He turns at the bottom of the stairs and heads toward the kitchen.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Gregory looks up as Peter enters the kitchen. A moment as they look at one another. Gregory breaks it off by moving to put the broom and dustpan away.

There is a bottle of aspirin on the kitchen table. Peter dumps some into his hand, throws them in his mouth and chews them like candy. There’s a cup of coffee on the kitchen table.

PETER

Is that mine?

GREGORY

If you want it.

Peter picks it up; sips. And grimaces.

PETER

There’s no sugar in it.

GREGORY

Sugar’s no good for you.

PETER

Who says?

GREGORY

You do.

PETER

When did I say that?

GREGORY

The other night.

(a beat)

When you were drunk.

A beat. Peter reaches for – CLOSE ON – the sugar bowl.

Peter dumps two spoonfuls of sugar into his cup.

GUNNER

Your funeral.

Peter just glares. Gregory turns and goes outside. Peter sips his coffee. Better.

PETER

I must of been drunk.

EXT. THE HOUSE – THE DECK – DAY

Gregory is sitting at the deck table. Peter comes out on to the deck carrying his cup of coffee. He squints painfully as the light assaults his eyes.

GREGORY

You want something to eat.

Peter shakes his head.

GREGORY (cont’d)

A muffin?

PETER

No.

GREGORY

Bacon and eggs?

PETER

Christ, no.

GREGORY

French toast.

PETER

I don’t eat breakfast, Gregory.

GREGORY

…used to.

Peter grunts in disgust, turns and goes back into the house. Gregory sits there a moment, thinking of something else.

INT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Peter throws his coffee out into the sink. He stands a moment, feeling really awful. He looks to see if Gregory is coming back in. And then he opens a cupboard, takes out a bottle of Meyer’s Rum and fires a fast one down right from the bottle. He grimaces.

ON THE PORCH

Gregory rises, moves to the door.

IN THE KITCHEN

Peter, fumbling, quickly puts the bottle away – into the wrong cupboard – closing it just as Gregory enters.

Gregory stares suspiciously. Peter moves to the kitchen table, sits and lights a cigarette.

PETER

He up yet?

Gregory takes his cup to the sink; washes it.

GREGORY

His door’s open. He’ll come out when he’s ready.

Gregory dries the cup, puts it away. And sees the bottle of rum. He takes it down. Peter stares as he puts it back where it belongs. And then Gregory turns and walks out of the kitchen. A moment. Peter sighs and sips his coffee.

INT. THE GARAGE – DAY

The garage is filled with sudden light as Gregory raises the garage door. He picks up one of several large wood tool boxes and carries it to the bed of the pick-up truck.

He hoists it up and in. He looks back towards the house.

GREGORY

(calling)

We’re gonna be late!

INT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Peter is sitting at the kitchen table, smoking and drinking more coffee. Gregory appears in the doorway to the deck.

GREGORY

We’re gonna be late.

PETER

Is the truck loaded?

GREGORY

No.

PETER

Then you’re gonna load it and I’m gonna sit here till you’re finished. Then we’ll go.

There is the sudden sound of a door closing. Both of them freeze, almost guilty and look towards Yens’s room.

YENS’S BEDROOM

is on the first floor of the house, down the hall from the kitchen.

ANGLE ON – The bottom of an aluminum walker. The shoes and pants of the man using the walker. The man moves slowly.

He carefully plants the rear legs of his walker, walks two steps, then places the front legs of the walker down so that he stands steady. He repeats. Click – shuffle – bump.

IN THE KITCHEN

Peter and Gregory quietly and uncomfortably listen to the sound of the man in the walker making his way down the hall.

LOKI pads into the kitchen as if he’s the scout for the coming army. The dog whines, disturbed by the sound of the walker. Peter and Gregory are motionless, not looking at one another. The sound of the walker stops.

REVERSE ANGLE – It is YENS. Yens is in his mid to late sixties. He too is a powerful looking man but one who has been fighting a lengthy illness. He has a wonderfully thick moustache, and clear eyes. He stands ramrod straight in the walker. He glaresat Peter and Gregory.

YENS

(gruffly)

Go on, go ahead, make fun. Ungrateful bastards.

Peter rises from his chair.

PETER

Let me help you, Dad.

Yens beats him away. He moves to the kitchen table.

YENS

Get away! How can you help? You look

worse than I do.

(sitting; then)

You’re late for work.

PETER

Jesus, you too?

YENS

You are.

PETER

It’s my outfit. Work doesn’t start till I get there.

YENS

You’re staying home because of me. I won’t have it. Goddamn, useless old man.

GREGORY

You got that right.

YENS

I should be sent to – what? – an old age home.

GREGORY

Hah. Who’d have you? You’d be hitting on the old babes in their beds.

Yens almost smiles but he’s not about to be put off so easily. He forces a scowl.

YENS

I should be sent. They’re like summer camps, you know. Ice cream. Arts and crafts. Would you deny me arts and crafts, you ungrateful bastards, after all I’ve done for you?

GREGORY

Shots, Yens. Tubes in your arms.

YENS

What?

Gregory pulls a nail from the pocket of his work pants.

GREGORY

Needles like this! Every day! Like they’re drillin’ for oil in your ass!

YENS

Son of a bitch, not mine!

Gregory laughs and begins to dance like an Indian around

Yens.

GREGORY

Ha-ha-whoo-whoo-hee-hee-hoo!

Yens slaps at him.

YENS

Get out of here! Load the truck, get to work.

PETER

Work is listening to you two.

They stare as Peter rises.

PETER (cont’d)

All right. Let’s go.

YENS

What, so soon?

He winks at Gregory. Peter rolls his eyes.

PETER

Oh, you guys are great. You should charge admission. Really.

He exits.

GREGORY

(an endearment)

You.

YENS

(endearment returned)

You.

GREGORY

Hungry?

YENS

(gently)

Go on. Help him. I’ll get something myself.

GREGORY

I caught him hitting the bottle this morning.

YENS

Until you’ve walked in a man’s shoes, don’t throw stones.

GREGORY

Man, you always do that, you know? You take about twelve corny sayings and roll them into one.

YENS

You.

Gregory exits. Loki comes over and collapses with a contented sigh at Yens’s feet.

YENS (cont’d)

And what do you want?

Loki seems to be glaring at the walker.

YENS (cont’d)

This damn thing, eh? I might as well wear a bell around my neck; let everyone know the big cow is coming.

Mooo!

EXT. THE HOUSE – THE DRIVEWAY – DAY

Peter and Gregory finish loading tools and piles of wood and shingles onto the bed of the truck. Yens is “helping”.

He laboriously picks up one shingle and tosses it onto the truck. He sees a piece of wood on the ground. He bends to pick it up. Peter, lifting a large stack of shingles, spins and almost barrels into him. He bites his tongue and moves around the old man. Yens tosses his piece of wood into the truck. Gregory, who is standing on the bed of the truck, breathing hard from his work, grins down at Yens.

GREGORY

Don’t exert yourself too much.

YENS

Why is someone always blabbering in the morning to put off the leaving.

Peter comes out of the garage carrying the last two wood tool boxes. He puts them down by the truck. He squints at the sun. He takes sunglasses out of his pocket and puts them on. Yens comes over and reaches for one of the tool boxes as Peter lifts them.

PETER

Got it, Yens.

YENS

I’ve got it.

PETER

Let go, Dad.

Yens pulls stubbornly. The box comes out of Peter’s hand.

It’s too heavy for Yens and he drops it with a crash.

Tools spill. Peter stands, exasperated. Yens glares at the tool box as if it betrayed him. Gregory has been watching from the bed of the truck.

GREGORY

Boy, you guys work so well together.

Scowling, Peter gathers the tools together. Yens stoops and picks up a hammer. He tosses it in the truck. Peter hoists the tool boxes up to Gregory. Gregory puts them down and then leaps down from the truck.

YENS

Roofing today?

GREGORY

You said it.

YENS

You’re lucky.

Peter snorts with disgust.

YENS (cont’d)

How many young men get paid to work on their suntans? Where’s your hat?

GREGORY

I have a hat.

Peter closes the rear gate of the pick-up with a clang.

PETER

Okay, look. Doctor’s supposed to call with the results of your tests today,

Dad. So try answering the phone for a change, all right?

Yens and Gregory glance uncomfortably at one another.

PETER (cont’d)

What. It’s gonna be good news. Bad news they always tell you in person.

Peter comes around past them and opens the cab door of the truck.

PETER (cont’d)

The bastards’ll never get you if your only contact with’m is over the phone.

And Peter strides away down the driveway, not looking back.

PETER (cont’d)

Gregory! Lets get it in gear! I got three morons waiting who don’t know plywood from peanut butter!

GREGORY

Somebody knock over the trashcans last night, did they!?

PETER

Just move it!

Peter stalks off.

YENS

(sighing)

Ah, Gregory, they keep us alive too long.

GREGORY

Don’t worry about him. You have a good day.

Gregory gets into the truck, starts it up. He grins and waves at Yens. He puts the truck in gear and backs up.

Yens watches as he turns around and drives down the driveway. Yens waves. He turns finally and walks slowly up towards the house.

EXT. THE END OF THE DRIVEWAY – DAY

Peter has picked up the trash cans – they are well dented and not standing well – and is picking up the last of the spilled trash. The pick-up roars to a stop. Peter waves his hand, trying to keep the dust away from his face. He opens the door, gestures for Gregory to get over so he can drive, and gets in behind the wheel without saying a word.

He puts the truck in gear. The trunk accelerates down the road and disappears around a bend.

INT. THE TRUCK – DAY

Peter and Gregory drive in silence, not looking at one another. Finally Gregory speaks, still not looking anywhere but out the window.

GREGORY

He misses the work.

(a moment)

He liked it. He’da done it for free.

PETER

He just about did. That’s why we’re broke.

More silence. A “FOR SALE” SIGN is in front of a house.

Gregory shakes his head.

GREGORY

Another one. Where’s everybody moving?

PETER

Florida, kid. Swimming pool, tennis court and you’re ten minutes to the piss-ass freeway.

EXT. A GAS STATION – DAY

Peter is leaning against the truck as Gregory fills it with gas. A Mercedes, gleaming and new, pulls up to the full service pump next to them. Peter stares at it; stares at the driver – a man of his age in a suit coat and tie; a lawyer maybe, an executive definitely. The man gives Peter the once over, sees the jeans, the work shirt, and then looks away as if dismissing him. An attendant hurries up to fill the Mercedes with gas.

JIMMY

(to Peter) )

Hiya, Pete! Hot enough for ya?

Peter says nothing.

JIMMY (cont’d)

Some car, huh? A mere 90 thou.

PETER

Chickenfeed, Jimmy.

GREGORY

You want to pay Jimmy fifteen bucks?

Still staring enviously at the driver of the Mercedes,

Peter goes to his wallet. And sees that he doesn’t have enough.

PETER

Put it on my tab, Jimmy.

JIMMY

Sure thing.

Gregory and Peter get into the truck. Peter starts the truck. He glances over at the Mercedes driver. The guy’s in a white shirt and tie’; impeccably groomed. They drive off.

EXT. THE TOWN – DAY

The truck moves along a main road of the town. They pass a hospital.

INT. THE TRUCK –

Gregory stares out the window as further they pass a pancake house.

EXT. MAIN STREET – DAY

The truck moves down main street.

EXT. PARKING LOT – HARDWARE STORE – DAY

The truck comes into the parking lot of a large building supply store and takes a parking place between some equally beat up looking trucks and vans. Gregory and Peter get out of the truck.

INT. THE HARDWARE STORE – DAY

A clerk looks up from the morning newspaper.

PETER

Roofing nails, Tucker. Mountains of roofing nails. Rusty ones, you got’m.

GREGORY

We need tar paper too.

PETER

Tar paper, Tucker!

EXT. THE HARDWARE STORE – DAY

Tucker, Peter and Gregory carry supplies to the truck, put them in.

GREGORY

Put it on his tab, Tucker.

PETER

Don’t be a smart ass.

Tucker stares at him – well?

PETER (cont’d)

Put it on my tab, Tucker.

INT. THE TRUCK – DRIVING – DAY

Peter drives. Gregory looks out the window.

EXT. A HOUSE – DAY

The truck pulls up behind an already parked pick-up. They are in a typical suburban neighborhood; cookie cutter, middle class houses. Gregory jumps quickly out of the truck, anxious to get started.

VEGGO, Gregory’s cousin, and two other men up on the roof.

They are stripping old shingles and throwing them down to the ground. Veggo is Gregory’s age.

GREGORY

Heya, Veggo!

VEGGO

You’re late.

Peter has gotten slowly out of the truck, not at all enthused about facing this.

PETER

I’m the boss, Veggo. Work starts when

I say it starts.

GREGORY

So when’s it start, boss?

Peter stares a moment, angrily silent. He sighs – okay.

PETER

Now.

He starts forward. Gregory grins. He follows.

___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

___

EXT. THE LARSEN HOUSE – DAY

Yens is in the backyard filling birdfeeders. He is moving around now with a cane; moving slowly and carefully but gamely. Loki lies on the grass nearby. Yens carefully cleans each feeding station to make sure the feed will flow. He throws handfuls of feed on the ground.

YENS

I saw a cardinal yesterday, Loki….

The dog perks up its ears as if listening.

YENS

Mmm, a female. They’re not as gaily plumed as the males. The males are the color of blood. Of course, they frighten easily and they don’t live as long as the females and they’re always getting excited; tearing about in all directions. For such fine looking birds, they’re perfect idiots.

Loki cocks his head.

YENS

In all fairness, though, I suppose a bird is rarely born with beauty and brains.

(a moment)

Peter thinks they make a lot of noise.

No. They sing. But they wake him in the morning. And he wants to buy cats.

Cats, Loki! Big, vicious, cross-eyed

Siamese cats!

Loki jumps to his feet and barks.

YENS

Yes. I quite agree.

There is the faint sound of the phone ringing in the house.

YENS

(to Loki) )

Get that, will you?

The dog pads off toward the house. Yens smiles and continues to fill his feeders.

EXT. THE HOUSE – AFTERNOON

The men, some of them shirtless, are sitting in the shade of a tree eating lunch. In the background, one can see that the roof is half done.

INT. THE TRUCK – CONTINUOUS

The door opens. Peter, can of Pepsi in hand, leans in. He makes a show of sorting through some papers on the seat.

INTERCUT –

Over on the lawn, Gregory is watching him.

Peter opens the glove compartment. Reaches in. And pulls out a pint bottle of vodka. He quietly unscrews the cap and starts to pour vodka into his can of Pepsi. He stops. It’s almost as if he can feel Gregory’s eyes on him. He mutters to himself. He puts the cap back on the bottle, puts the bottle back in the glove compartment.

Gregory watches as Peter slams the door of the truck closed. Peter finishes off his Pepsi in a long swallow.

He crumples and tosses the can. He strides towards the house.

PETER

Let’s get back to work!

Groaning, the others rise and follow.

EXT. END OF LARSEN DRIVEWAY – LATE AFTERNOON

An old vintage Porsche comes to a halt. Gregory jumps out.

GREGORY

Thanks, Veggo! See you tomorrow, man!

He waves as the car roars away. He goes to the mailbox.

He pulls out a pile of mail and he sorts through it as he begins walking up the driveway.

FURTHER UP THE DRIVEWAY –

Gregory is walking along, reading mail.

YENS

Anything interesting?

Gregory stops, surprised. Yens is standing there. He has walked down the driveway using the cane and is proud of the fact. Loki pads up to Gregory to be petted.

GREGORY

(excited)

No walker!

YENS

I got sick of the damn thing.

(waving the cane) )

This is fine.

They walk up the driveway together.

YENS

Where’s Peter?

GREGORY

He had some stuff to do. A bill. A bill. Hey! Playboy! This must be for you.

Yens takes Gregory’s arm.

ON THE BACK DECK –

Gregory polishes off a glass of lemonade. He finishes.

Yens refills his glass from a pitcher. They’re sitting at the table. Loki lies on the deck.

GREGORY

The doctor call today?

YENS

He might of. I might have been asleep.

GREGORY

Uh-huh…

YENS

(a moment) )

He called. We talked.

GREGORY

And?

YENS

He wants to see me tomorrow.

GREGORY

(almost to himself)

Bad news they tell you in person.

YENS

Listen to you. You’re as bad as your father. My appointment’s at noon. I need a ride. I hope I disturb your lunch.

They smile at each other. A squirrel is in the tree just beyond the deck. Loki’s rises; his ears perk up.

GREGORY

Squirrel, Loki! Get him, get him!

Loki looks up at Gregory, whimpers once, and lies down.

YENS

Let him be. He’s old. He’s had a rough day.

EXT. A SMALL OFFICE COMPLEX – LATE AFTERNOON

The pick-up truck turns off the street and into the parking lot. The complex is very modern looking, recently built.

Even the trees and plants and swatches of lawn surrounding the building look like it was designed by an expert. Peter gets out of the truck. He’s still sweaty and grimy from the day’s work. He enters the building.

INT. OFFICE – RECEPTION ROOM – LATE AFTERNOON

The room is modern and clean. The receptionist is an attractive woman in her mid thirties. She looks up from a magazine as the door opens and Peter walks in. He’s feeling especially grubby in the clean office and is taken back by the woman behind the desk. Especially when she acts as if he’s mistaken the office for the maintenance man’s entrance.

RECEPTIONIST

Yes? May I help you?

PETER

Lennart Larsen, please?

RECEPTIONIST

Do you have an appointment?

PETER

Tell him his cousin is here?

The receptionist lifts a phone and speaks softly into it.

She puts it down.

RECEPTIONIST

He’ll be with you in a moment.

She goes back to her magazine. Peter stares at her. Her blouse is unbuttoned low and he can see just the hint of breast.

PETER

You… must be new.

RECEPTIONIST

Pardon?

PETER

I haven’t seen you here before.

RECEPTIONIST

Have you been here recently?

PETER

… no.

RECEPTIONIST

Mmm. You can sit over there.

It’s a dismissal. Peter moves away from the desk. He sits. The receptionist suddenly stretches. Her breasts push against her blouse. Peter realizes he’s staring and reaches for a magazine. He sees how dirty his hands are – filthy from the day’s work. He puts his hands in his lap.

He rises as LENNART, a out of shape version of Peter enters. Lennart is wearing a jacket and tie; looks immaculate and well barbered.

LENNART

Isn’t this a son of a bitch! What a surprise! Pete!

He offers a hand. Peter is embarrassed at how dirty his hands are.

PETER

Hi, Len… sorry… I was on a job.

LENNART

(shaking)

Hell with that. Ja meet Sheila?

Sheila, this is my cousin, Pete.

RECEPTIONIST

He said.

Lennart throws an affectionate arm around Pete and leads him into his office.

LENNART

Come on in, Pete, come on.

(confidentially)

Nice jugs, huh?

INT. LENNART’S OFFICE – CONTINUOUS

They enter into the large office.

LENNART

Hey, I wanted to thank you for taking

Veggo on for the summer. A kid should make his own spending money for going away to college in the fall, huh? He doin’ good?

PETER

No.

LENNART

Ah, he’s a kid. Where’s Gregory going again?

PETER

Huh?

LENNART

College, where’s he goin’?

Peter doesn’t know. Is surprised at himself that he doesn’t know.

PETER

I don’t, uh… State.

LENNART

Great, that’s great. Hey, what the hell time is it? How bout a drink?

PETER

Uh…

LENNART

Sit down for chrissake, sit down.

Peter sits. Lennart crosses to a beautiful built in bar.

He tosses ice from a silver ice bucket into crystal glasses.

LENNART

Scotch?

PETER

Okay.

He pours from a crystal decanter. And pours.

LENNART

Say when.

PETER

Hmm? Oh. When, when.

(as Lennart hands him the glass)

Thanks, Len.

LENNART

(pouring for himself)

How’s your Dad? I been meaning to get over to see him.

PETER

He’s… got something.

LENNART

(sitting)

Don’t tell me – legionaries disease.

He has this uncontrollable urge to wear a fez.

Lennart laughs at his own joke.

LENNART

Kidding, I’m – he needs anything, you let me know.

Silence. Pleasantries finished. Lennart now seems to be waiting. Until finally:

LENNART

So, Pete.

PETER

Yeah?

LENNART

So what’s up?

PETER

(a moment)

That condo complex of yours on the east side, you gonna be needing people for the finishing work?

LENNART

Aw, Jesus, Pete, I already subcontracted it out. You’da been interested?

PETER

We might have considered it.

LENNART

Well… next time, right?

PETER

Sure.

LENNART

If there is a next time. This economy – I tell you, Pete, three years ago, I’m rolling in money – now I can hardly get a fucking bank loan. Thirty years a doing business with these assholes and they won’t give me the time of day.

They’re scared, Pete. Everyone is.

Lennart pours himself some more scotch. Offers it to Peter. Peter holds out his glass. Lennart pours.

LENNART

Between you and me I hope I get to the finishing work on those condos. I might have to shut the whole fucking mess down, half built which, no shit, would put me in deep ca-ca.

Lennart spills a bit. Peter licks the spilled drops off his fingers. Is embarrassed that he did. He stares into his glass.

PETER

I’m thinking of selling the house, Len.

LENNART

Get out of here. Jesus, Pete, you’re kidding.

PETER

You think you could find a buyer?

LENNART

For what it’s worth? No way. It’s a buyer’s market, you know that.

PETER

Market price.

LENNART

Really? Jesus. I’m thrown for a loop here, I really am… market price… I mean, why would you want to?

PETER

We don’t need so much room. We could sell, get a smaller place. We’d have a few bucks left over to… I don’t know… invest.

LENNART

In what?

PETER

I don’t know – technology.

LENNART

(that raises an eyebrow)

What’s your Dad thinks of this?

PETER

I haven’t told him.

LENNART

Jeez… I dunno, Pete…

Peter drains his glass. He puts the glass down.

PETER

You think getting sick is cheap, Len?

Well, it’s not. You think the old bastard had blue cross or a health plan? You think I do? We have a house. Now you want to sell it or not?

If I’m gonna pay six percent to a broker, it might as well be you.

LENNART

Now you insult me.

PETER

I don’t mean to. It’s business, that’s all.

LENNART

I just… I always thought Yens’d live in that house forever.

PETER

No one lives forever, Len.

LENNART

Yeah. Hey, you’re right about that.

Ha!

(a beat)

Okay. Sure. I’ll start sending people over next week.

Lennart pours more scotch. Almost as an afterthought, he offers Peter some. Peter hesitates…. and holds out his glass.

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – EVENING

The pick-up comes up the driveway and pulls to a stop by the garage doors. Peter gets out, more weary than drunk.

He walks around the side of the house towards the back.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – LATE EVENING

Peter enters the kitchen from the deck. He goes to the sink, runs cold water. He splashes his face with some, then drinks from cupped hands. He goes to the fridge and, opening it, looks in. Not much. He takes out a previously opened can of chili. He sniffs it cautiously. It passes the smell test. Grabbing a spoon from the sink he digs in.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – NIGHT

The television is on, the sound turned off. Peter reaches out and turns off the TV. He turns.

Gregory is asleep, fully dressed, on the couch. Peter studies him a moment. His attention wanders to other things in the room; to athletic trophies on the shelves, to a basketball – a game ball – with a score written on it, to a photograph of Gregory in a basketball uniform.

There is a sewing machine in the corner of the room, its table cluttered with magazines and books.

Peter stares at another framed photograph. CLOSE ON – It is a photograph of a woman, perhaps an engagement picture – posed, beautifully lit. The woman is lovely with dark, glossy hair, huge eyes and glowing skin.

GREGORY (O.C.)

Hey.

Peter looks up. Gregory blinks at him from the couch.

GREGORY

M’pooped.

Peter puts down the photo.

PETER

You ought to go to bed.

GREGORY

Mmm. I left you some chili.

PETER

Yeah, thanks.

GREGORY

M’pooped.

And he closes his eyes and is asleep again. Peter looks at him. He looks at the photo again.

INT. HOUSE – HALLWAY – NIGHT

Peter makes his way down the hallway toward Yens room.

He’s about to knock. He stops, hearing something.

IN THE BEDROOM –

Yens is lying in bed. He is very tired, is mumbling to himself.

YENS

I could. Yes. I could feed the family for a week on five dollars.

Loki lies on the floor, as if listening.

YENS

Bacon, butter, bread, eggs, cheese…

Peter listens.

YENS

Apples! They made the hair blonde, the teeth white, the health good…

Peter knocks and enters.

YENS

Huh?

PETER

Hi.

On the floor, Loki looks up at Peter.

YENS

You’re home.

PETER

Yeah.

YENS

Come. Sit. Sit.

PETER

I haven’t showered yet.

YENS

So you smell. Sit.

Peter does.

YENS

Now. Tell me. How did the work go today. Did it go well?

PETER

It went well, Dad. Yeah.

YENS

Good, good. Ten, twelve hours a day, that’s what we worked.

PETER

I know, Dad.

On the side table Peter sees an open vial of pain medication. Several capsules spilled.

YENS

So proud of our work. Homes. Homes that people would live in. They’ve torn down my homes. To make shopping malls.

PETER

How many of these did you take?

YENS

… apartment buildings.

PETER

How many of these did you take, Dad?

YENS

… a few. It hurts tonight.

PETER

Try to get some sleep.

He pats Yens’ shoulder. He exits; closes the door behind him. He stands a moment. He can hear Yens talking to himself again.

YENS

Gone. All gone. The times changed. I didn’t. So foolish. To have nothing left.

ON YENS –

YENS

– to give my family but pride.

ON PETER –

YENS

Nothing left but pride….

Peter walks down the hall and away.

INT. THE BATHROOM – NIGHT

The room is filled with steam.

IN THE SHOWER STALL

Peter stands under hot water. It’s as if he’s too weary to even scrub.

IN SEVERAL VERY FAST INTERCUTS –

The woman in the photograph, Peter’s wife, is lying in a bed. She’s very thin, very pale. She’s dying.

CLOSE ANGLE ON –

Peter closes his eyes and lets the hot water beat down.

EXT. MEDICAL BUILDING – DAY

Establishing shot.

INT. WAITING ROOM – DOCTOR’S OFFICE – DAY

Gregory and Yens are sitting side by side on a couch. They are almost mirrors of each other in expression and posture.

They restlessly fidget identically; hands folded in their laps, both of them somewhat pigeon toed. They speak in whispers like children in a principal’s office.

YENS

This place.

GREGORY

Yeah.

YENS

What’s that smell? .

GREGORY

Something chemical.

YENS

It smells like the hospital.

GREGORY

Yeah.

YENS

(disdainfully)

The hospital – puh.

GREGORY

Yeah.

YENS

They made me use a bedpan, can you

imagine?

GREGORY

The pits.

YENS

I told them I’d rather be dead than

shit in something the size of a

coffeepot. They wouldn’t listen.

GREGORY

They never do.

YENS

Bastards.

Silence. And then:

YENS

You think they’re gonna give me a shot?

GREGORY

Without a doubt.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE – DAY

DR. MILTON GODFREY is a pleasant looking man in his late

forties. He sits behind his desk going over test reports

hmmming and humming. Yens sit in a chair in front of the

desk, nervous and expectant. Doctor Godfrey abruptly

speaks without looking up.

GODFREY

How we feeling, Yens?

YENS

Wonderful. Good be alive. How’s by

you, Milt?

GODFREY

I’m fine too.

YENS

Good. So we can both go home.

Dr. Godfrey smiles, continues reading. A moment.

GODFREY

I see you have a birthday coming up.

YENS

We all do.

GODFREY

We do?

YENS

Not you. My son and grandson. We do.

Did you know, the three of us were born

on the same day.

GODFREY

That’s… quite a coincidence.

YENS

Coincidence nothing. Fate. To have a

son born on your birthday. Huh? And

then! Unto you this day, a grandson

has been born. With six fingers.

GODFREY

What?

YENS

Listen. Both my son and grandson were

born with a sixth finger on each hand.

GODFREY

Really.

YENS

It’s the mark of the Vikings.

GODFREY

…football?

YENS

Norsemen! We’re Danish, for godssake.

What’re you?

GODFREY

Jewish.

YENS

Ah. I like Jews. Some people think

you’re stingy but in my experience you

spare no expense.

GODFREY

(reading again)

Mmm.

YENS

They had them taken off.

GODFREY

What’sthat

YENS

The sixth finger. Peter in high

school. He was embarrassed. Gregory

just after he was born.

GODFREY

Not much call for Vikings these days.

YENS

(disgusted with such a

sentiment)

Bullshit. The days more than ever.

Unto you this day a grandson has been

born. With six fingers!

Godfrey smiles. And keeps reading. Silence. He turns a

page. Yens leans forward in their chairs, trying to read

upside down. Godfrey looks up. They both sit back.

GODFREY

Well, Yens, here it is….

INT. MACDONALD’S – DAY

A food laden tray is placed on a table. Gregrory

distributes lunch.

YENS

You should go back to work. Your

father will wonder what happened to

you.

GREGORY

Nah, I deserve an afternoon off.

He unwraps his quarterpounder, digs in. There is a play

area for children in the restaurant. Some boys and girls

are on the small merry-go-round.

YENS

I like this place. I like children.

(a moment)

I remember the first time I ever came

to one of these places. Your

grandmother, she wanted to go. She

loved new things. A hamburger was 19

cents. We both thought it overpriced.

And the sign outside? You know what it

said? “Over two dozen sold”.

Gregory grins politely, his mouth full.

YENS

I’ve told you this before.

Gregory nods, his mouth still full.

YENS

Old farts. I swear, all we do is bitch

and moan and repeat ourselves and

rehash old stories.

GREGORY

I like your stories.

YENS

Well, that’s good. Stories, that’s

what I have left. It bothers me.

Sometimes when I think about the things

that have happened? Sometimes it’s

like they never happened at all. I

know they did, but there are moments,

all the pictures in my head, did I make

them up? Are they real? Or have I

been sitting here always.

Silence. Yens reaches for his shake with a suddenly

trembling hand and knocks it over. Gregory grabs napkins

to clean it up. And suddenly sees that Yens is staring at

the widening circle of chocolate sludge.

GREGORY

Yens?

YENS

It’s spreading.

GREGORY

What?

YENS

(looking up; smiling)

Nothing. Eat.

Gregory is staring at him.

YENS

Eat –

He reaches out and nabs one of Gregory’s french fries.

YENS

– or they’ll be all gone.

A moment. Gregory smiles and begins to eat.

EXT. A WORK SITE – EVENING

Peter finishes loading the pick-up. His workers are

starting their cars and trucks and calling farewells.

Peter takes off his nailing apron and tosses it into the

back. He looks at his watch, gets into the truck, starts

it up, and drives away.

EXT. A PACKAGE STORE – EARLY EVENING

Peter comes out of the store with a six of cold beer. He

gets into the truck.

IN THE TRUCK

Peter opens a can of beer and gulps thirstily. He starts

the truck, puts it in reverse, and starts to back up. And

slams on the brakes, spilling beer all over him.

A car is behind him, and he almost backed into it

broadside.

PETER

Jesus – !

In the car is an attractive woman of around forty.

PETER

Sorry!

She waves to him – it’s all right – and drives on. Peter

watches her go for as long as possible. He sits back,

puzzled. He knows her from somewhere. He takes a gulp of

beer trying to figure out where. He backs the truck up.

EXT. A STREET – EVENING

The pick-up comes to a stop sign. Peter, looking out the

window, sees something. He checks behind him, puts the

truck in reverse, and parks by the curb.

He gets out and, carrying the rest of the six of beer,

crosses the street.

He moves to a metal link fence, watching something. We

hear the sound of a basketball being dribbled, then the

sound of the ball clattering off a loose rim.

Gregory, shirt off, in jeans and sneakers, is shooting

baskets on a schoolyard playground.

Peter walks along the fence to an open gate. He enters and

walks towards the concrete basketball courts.

GREGORY

goes up high to let loose a jump shot. He grabs his

rebound, dribbles, spins, and takes it in for a graceful,

lay-up. He takes the ball out again, totally lost in his

imaginary game. He feints, feints again, dribbles behind

his back, drives, then pulls up short to let go a jump

shot. Swish!

PETER

Pretty good.

Gregory turns to see Peter standing at the edge of the

court, drinking a beer and watching. He grins.

GREGORY

Hey.

PETER

You know, either you’ve got bigger or

this place got smaller. I used to have

to lift you so you could touch the rim.

Peter tosses Gregory a can of beer. Gregory catches it

with one hand.

PETER (cont’d)

You never came back today. Everything

check out okay?

GREGORY

Yeah, other than the arthritis, he

checked out fine. He’s just gotta take

it easy.

He tosses the ball. Peter catches it, almost dropping the

beer.

GREGORY

Still got the touch?

PETER

You don’t lose it.

Peter puts down his beer. He sets. Shoots. And misses.

GREGORY

Some people do.

Gregory intercepts the rebound. Peter puts down the beer.

PETER

Okay, slick. Feed me some.

And through the following, Gregory rebounds for Peter and

feeds him passes as Peter shoots jump shots from different

places on the court. It’s obvious that Peter has played

the game and played it well.

PETER

Can I ask you a question?

GREGORY

Shoot.

PETER

How come you didn’t go to college?

GREGORY

(surprised, and then,

uncomfortable:)

Didn’t apply.

PETER

Why not?

GREGORY

Didn’t want to. Why you asking now?

PETER

(a moment; shooting)

I think you ought to apply. You can’t

do anything anymore without a college

degree, kid.

GREGORY

You can build.

Peter makes a sound of disgust.

PETER

Apply.

GREGORY

You’re a builder.

PETER

I never got to make a choice. The old

man was starting out, he needed the

help, he asked me. But we’re not

talking about me. You’re a smart kid,

Gregs. A bright kid. You can do a lot

better.

GREGORY

If I’m so smart and bright, how come

you pay me minimum wage?

PETER

Ha-ha.

GREGORY

Okay, one on one to eleven. Loser buys

the milkshakes after.

PETER

Why would I ever want to drink a

goddamn milkshake?

GREGORY

Spot you five?

PETER

Seven. And the ball.

GREGORY

(sarcastic)

Anything else yuou need?

PETER

Yeah.

Peter takes a long pull of beer, emptying the can.

PETER

… fuel!

Crumpling and tossing the can, he takes off his shirt.

LONG ANGLE ON –

In the dimming light of a summer evening, Peter and Gregory

play a very competitive game of basketball.

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – NIGHT

The house is dark and peaceful; at rest.

ON THE DECK –

Loki, curled up and resting, suddenly perks up his ears as

if he’s heard something. A moment. And then there is the

definite sound of… what? Someone calling? Moaning?

Crying out? The dog, as still as a statue, listens.

INT. PETER’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Peter, asleep in bed, is dreaming.

EXT. AN OUTDOOR GAZEBO – DAY

The gazebo sits above a clear lake. Peter and the woman in

the photograph – his wife – are on the gazebo, waltzing.

Peter is young, his hair is neat and short, his face

unlined by trouble and care. He is in formal attire, a

groom, and she is magnificent in a wedding dress. They

hold each other, dancing, their faces shining with love and

joy. Slowly, magically, they kiss. They hold the kiss as

they dance, gliding and spinning in space.

PETER

relaxes into the bed, seems almost at peace. But then:

EXT. THE GAZEBO – CONTINUOUS

Peter is alone. He is panicked. He calls. Calls again.

He turns. And out on the lake, he sees a white wedding

veil floating on the water.

PETER

jerks up in bed, wide eyed. A moment. He sags.

INT. THE KITCHEN – NIGHT

Rum is poured into a glass. Peter, in his underwear, takes

a long sip. He hears something at the door. He goes to

the door and opens it.

LOKI

is standing there in front of the door, waiting

expectantly.

PETER

What do you want?

The dog walks slowly by Peter taking all the time in the

world and then collapses with a contented sigh in the

middle of the floor. And farts.

PETER

You couldn’t do that outside?

Glass in hand, Peter walks out onto the deck. He moves to

the rail. He stands there taking in the sounds of the

night. Looks at the stars above him.

YENS

Can’t sleep?

Peter turns. Yens is standing at the door in his bathrobe,

using his cane for support.

PETER

Can’t get comfortable. Too much

basketball.

Yens moves out onto the porch to join him.

PETER

What about you?

YENS

I sleep, I wake up. Day or night, it

doesn’t make much difference lately.

PETER

Gregs said everything checked out okay

today.

YENS

I’m just an old house. Parts of me are

wearing out.

PETER

Tell me about it.

Yens sits stiffly next to him.

YENS

Remember watching Gregory play

basketball?

PETER

Never missed a game.

YENS

He was a star. A Viking.

PETER

He was a guard, Yens.

YENS

The cheers, eh?

PETER

Yeah.

YENS

Larsen, Larsen, he’s our man, if he

can’t do it… who did it after that?

PETER

Gillespie, I think.

YENS

(snorting in disgust)

That one, hands like sheet rock.

Larsen, Larsen, he’s our man, if he

can’t do it, no one can!

Peter almost grins. He takes a big sip of rum. And sees

the look on Yen’s face.

YENS

You drink too much.

PETER

I know.

YENS

Are you an alcoholic?

PETER

I don’t think so, no.

YENS

Then why?

PETER

I like being numb, Yens.

YENS

Being numb means you feel nothing. You

like feeling nothing?

PETER

Feeling nothing isn’t the problem.

(and then:)

I miss her, Dad. It’s been over a year

and I’m still… I’ll hear a sound, a

breeze, I turn expecting to see her

standing there. I mean, it’s not like

it was perfect. We’d fight, we’d yell.

It’s not like we had everything in

common either. We didn’t. But bottom

line, we loved each other. That we had

in common.

Yens reaches out and puts his arm on Peter’s shoulders.

His hand caresses the back of Peter’s neck.

PETER

I’m selling the house, Dad. People’ll

be comin by.

Again, Yens’ hand caresses the back of Peter’s neck.

YENS

Look. The sky is filled with stars.

It’s good be alive.

EXT. THE HOUSE – MID MORNING – THE DRIVEWAY

Gregory backs the family car, a beat up sedan, out of the

garage. He hops out. He is in shorts, t-shirt, and

sneakers. He runs up alongside the house.

INT. THE KITCHEN – MORNING

Gregory enters from the deck. Yens is sitting at the

table. He looks very sporty in white trousers, a baggy

white shirt, and a baseball cap. Gregory grins.

GREGORY

You ready?

EXT. THE HOUSE – MORNING

The sedan backs up, turns around, and starts down the

driveway. It stops. It backs up. A door opens. Loki

trots up to the car and gets in. The door is shut. The

car roars down the driveway.

EXT. A ROAD – DAY

The car is in mild traffic, moving at a steady pace.

INT. THE CAR – MOVING – DAY

Loki is in the back seat, his head stuck forward between

Yens and Gregory.

YENS

When I was young, there was a trolley

on this road.

GREGORY

No shit.

YENS

No shit. It cost a nickel. Right down

the middle here it went. I didn’t see

my first airplane till I was in my

teens.

EXT. A ROAD – DAY

They are driving on a faster moving thoroughfare.

Alongside the road now are a series of vast parking lots

and shopping centers.

YENS (V.O.)

This was all orchards once. Apple

trees. In the fall, they were laden

with fruit.

THE CAR

drives up an entrance ramp and into the fast moving traffic

of an interstate.

IN THE CAR –

YENS

I don’t like the interstate.

A truck horn bellows as Gregory moves into a lane. Yens

winces. Gregory just beeps angrily back.

GREGORY

Get outta here, you got lotsa room!

(and then:)

How come?

The truck passes, horn blaring.

YENS

It makes me want to piss my pants.

IN A SERIES OF CROSSFADES –

The land changes. It gets flatter. The trees thin out.

In the distance, the ocean gleams like a mirror in the sun.

The car turns off the highway onto an exit ramp.

THE CROSSFADES CONTINUE AS –

Marshy wet lands appear. The tall reeds waves in the

breeze. There are small dunes in the distance. Beyond

them the ocean gleams like a mirror in the sun.

EXT. BEACH ROAD – DAY

The car slows to a stop. Yens and Gregory stare out the

window. Gulls cry. Waves gently swell and roll.

YENS

Let’s find someplace where there aren’t

too many people.

The car moves on.

EXT. THE BEACH – DAY

They are on the sand back off the water. A blanket is

spread. Yens is sitting in a beach chair under a beach

umbrella. Loki is curled next to him. Gregory lies on his

stomach on the blanket, sunning. Yens sighs with

contentment.

YENS

I love the sea. Vikings placed their

dead in long ships. Did you know that?

GREGORY

I think you’ve mentioned it a few

hundred times.

YENS

Great dragon headed funeral pyres

swallowed by the waves. I would like

that, Gregory.

Loki suddenly moans, looking at something. Two very

attractive girls are walking down the beach. They are

splendid in brief bikinis.

YENS

Ah, good dog.

Yens pokes Gregory who rolls over and sits up.

YENS

If I was a young man, I’d go for a

swim.

They watch the girls in admiration for a moment.

GREGORY

The sun is hot.

Gregory gets up. He runs down to the water. He hits the

water in a sleek surface dive and comes up swimming.

YENS

Go on. Help him out.

Loki rises and trots down the sand. As Yens watches, Loki

goes right up to the two girls who, of course, pet him.

Gregory comes out of the water and goes up to them. They

all start talking.

YENS

A Viking.

ON THE BEACH – LATER –

Gregory, Yens and Loki are walking by the tide line. Yens

is collecting shells.

YENS

Look. It was once someone’s home.

GREGORY

Why do old farts always collect shells?

YENS

VBecause as you get older you discover

the beauty in small things.

Down the beach, a child is playing. She too picks up a

shell. She excitedly shows it to her mother.

YENS

(smiling)

Or rediscover.

They continue on down the beach.

YENS

A man must have children, Gregory.

They give him new eyes.

EXT. A BREAKWATER – LATER

Gregory and Yens are out on the rocks.

GREGORY

We get along but we don’t. I love him

but man, sometimes it’s like – and it’s

the same with you guys, I see that.

You love each other, but you drive each

other crazy. I just don’t get it. You

and I get along. don’t we?

YENS

We do. But t’s different. You expect

more of sons. Want so much for them.

No matter how many times you tell

yourself to keep your mouth shut, you

don’t. You can’t break the habit.

With grandchildren you don’t feel so

responsible. You can just sit back and

enjoy their blind stupidity.

GREGORY

Thanks a lot.

A shared smile. They turn and head back in across the rock

towards the beach.

YENS

I’m worried about him. He needs a

woman.

Gregory tries not to laugh.

GREGORY

Any ideas?

YENS

I’m afraid all the women in my little

black book are either dead or drooling.

I was hoping you’d have some.

GREGORY

(shaking his head; a moment)

We could take him out.

YENS

Out where?

GREGORY

Out. Y’know, a bar, a club. A place

where guys go to meet girls.

YENS

We?

GREGORY

Whoa. I’m not tackling this on my own.

YENS

We could, couldn’t we. Yes! We’ll do

it, Gregory, we’ll take him out. But

nice girls, they must be nice girls.

GREGORY

We trying to get him married or we

trying to get him laid?

YENS

Gregory.

(and then:)

Which do you think would be less

traumatic?

They laugh. Gregory breaks into a run.

GREGORY

If you don’t use it…!

Yens watches as Gregory runs down the beach.

GREGORY

(merrily)

You loose it!

Yens smiles.

YENS

(softly)

And you… I’m worried about you too.

INT. THE HOUSE – NIGHT

MUSIC BEGINS AS – IN A SERIES OF CUTS –

The three men get ready for A NIGHT ON THE TOWN! Yens and

Gregory are excited as they shave, primp and dress. Peter

looks like he’s anticipating the guillotine.

Fresh from the shower, Yens stands in front of the mirror,

shaving with an old straight razor. Gregory uses an

electric razor. Peter uses a double edge.

Gregory sprays deodorant. Yens is generous with baby

powder. Peter applies gobs of Kleenex to the shaving cut

on his chin.

They each attend to their hair. Gregory shakes it. Yens

carefully brushes it. Peter stares morosely at it – is

that a bald spot?

In his bedroom, Yens attaches his garters to his socks.

Gregory gives the clothes in his closet the old “smell

test”. Peter zips up the zipper on his pants in a swift

pull.. and gets stuck half-way.

Gregory pulls on cowboy boots. Yens ties his polished

oxfords. Peter can’t even seem to find a matched pair of

socks.

Yens fluffs his carefully knotted bow tie. Gregory buttons

a blazer over jeans and a t-shirt. Peter, his shirttail

sticking obscenely out the zipper of his pants, lies on his

bed, seemingly overwhelmed at the thought of dressing

further. THE MUSIC ENDS AS:

EXT. MAIN STREET – NIGHT

The car cruises Main Street.

IN THE CAR –

The three men sit in the front seat together.

YENS

We are a bunch of wild and crazy guys!

GREGORY

Oh, yeah! We are! Come on, loosen up,

Dad!

YENS

Are you a crazy guy, Peter?

PETER

I must be. I can’t believe I let

myself get talked into this.

EXT. A CLUB – NIGHT

The parking lot is jammed. A group of great looking girls

head towards the door. Yens, Gregory and Peter get out of

the car.

PETER

Tell you what, let’s go there, I’ll

treat.

He points to the lighted MINIATURE GOLF place across the

street.

YENS

Peter. The night is but a young dog

and the hep cat who stays at home never

catches the bird.

GREGORY

What!?

PETER

Please. Don’t ask.

Reluctantly, Peter allows himself to be led towards the

club entrance.

INT. CLUB – NIGHT

The music is blaring. The place is jammed.

AT THE BAR –

GREGORY

Gin and tonic.

BARTENDER

May I see an I.D.. please?

GREGORY

Aw, come on, me? You’re kidding.

Okay, okay, make it a club soda.

YENS

Make it two. Do you need to see my

I.D.. also?

BARTENDER

You, I’ll let slide.

(to Peter)

Sir?

PETER

Meyers and o.j.

BARTENDER

Out with the boys tonight?

PETER

I’m out with Abbott and Costello and

neither of them drink.

Two middle-aged, overweight, heavily made up women are

sitting on bar stools to Peter’s left. They beam at him.

PETER

(to the bartender)

Jesus. Make it a double.

INT. THE CLUB – NIGHT

Gregory is dancing with an attractive, young girl. Yens

and Peter are off to the side of the room, watching.

YENS

Shall we dance?

PETER

With who, each other?

Yens looks around. There are two woman in their early

thirties, sitting alone at a table.

YENS

How about them?

That’s the last thing Peter wants to do.

YENS

Come. We’ll go ask them.

PETER

Forget it.

YENS

Why not?

PETER

Yens, I don’t want to.

YENS

What’s the worst they can say but no.

PETER

Yes.

Peter watches Yens make his way to the table. The woman

look up as Yens approaches. Yens smiles at them politely,

almost bows as he introduces himself. The women smile

back. Yens turns and points at Peter. The woman turn to

look. Peter’d like to fall through the floor. He starts

to turn away. And almost bumps right into Gregory and his

girl.

GREGORY

Hey, how ya doing?

PETER

Going deaf.

GREGORY

This is Reba. This is, uh… Pete…

my older brother.

Peter can’t believe his ears.

PETER

You’re what?

REBA

Hi!

PETER

Hello.

REBA

Cool shirt. Really retro.

PETER

Yeah, I got it at the antique clothing

store – my closet.

GREGORY

Whoa – check it out.

He points. Yens is now sitting with the two women. He

waves them over.

GREGORY

He wants us to join him.

PETER

I really don’t want to join him.

GREGORY

Come on, we’ll join him.

PETER

Gregory, I don’t want to –

Gregory tugs Peter towards the table.

AT THE TABLE –

They approach. Peter is the only one not smiling.

YENS

Well, hello! Sit, sit! This is

Madolyne and this is Samantha.

GREGORY

Hi! Gregory! This is Reba. Reba,

this is Yens.

REBA

Hi.

MADOLYNE

(smiling at Peter)

And who’s this?

YENS

This is Peter… my younger brother.

Reba looks a little confused.

REBA

(to Gregory)

Wow. Dude, your mother led a long,

active life.

EXT. THE CLUB – LATER

Yens is on the dance floor dancing with Samantha. Gregory

is dancing with Reba. Yens is cutting quite the rug.

PETER

is at the table with Madolyne. They’re watching.

MADOLYNE

He does all right.

PETER

Yeah. Yeah, he does. He’s not my

bother, he’s my father.

MADOLYNE

I knew that? How old is he?

PETER

Sometimes I think he’s younger than me.

MADOLYNE

It’s too bad about your knee.

PETER

What? Oh…

(wincing)

Yeah, yeah, it’s… definitely going to

rain tomorrow.

MADOLYNE

Listen, I’m going to go see if anyone

wants to dance.

PETER

Yeah. You go ahead.

She rises. Peter watches as she moves to another table.

She smiles at a guy sitting there – a guy Peter’s age. the

guy smiles in return. He rises. He and Madolyne move

towards the dance floor. Peter sits, alone, watching.

Yens is now dancing with Reba, Gregory with Samantha. Pete

finally rises. He moves away from the table.

EXT. MINIATURE GOLF RANGE – NIGHT

A golf ball is putted into a Dinosaur’s mouth. It comes

out it’s ass, glides across green felt and misses the hole.

Peter comes around the dinosaur to line up his second shot.

YENS (O.C.)

So this is what happened to you.

Peter looks up. Yens approaches.

PETER

What are you doing here. The night is

still a young dog in search of a bird

in hand.

YENS

The night might be young, this dog

isn’t. My turn.

Peter hands him the putter. Yens lines up the putt.

PETER

Where’s Gregs?

YENS

He says go home without him. He thinks

he could get lucky.

Yens putts. And sinks it.

PETER

I hope he knows what he’s doing.

YENS

Didn’t you?

PETER

When I was his age, you worried about

dying a virgin. These days you worry

about dying.

YENS

Maybe you should talk to him about it.

PETER

Yeah… sometime.

INT. THE CAR – MOVING – NIGHT

Silence. Peter is driving.

YENS

A penny for your thoughts. If they’re

worth that.

PETER

When you’re on the outside looking in,

men and women seem like different

species.

YENS

What, you were always confident with

women.

PETER

Yeah? What was I eating back then?

YENS

Breakfast.

Peter almost smiles.

PETER

The way you were tearing up that dance

floor, I thought you were the one was

gonna get lucky tonight.

YENS

Oh, it’s easy to be charming when

you’re old. Women think you’re

harmless. And the really shitty thing

is, you are.

PETER

You’re gonna outlive all of us, Dad.

YENS

I hope not. Besides I already have a

girlfriend.

PETER

Huh? Who.

YENS

The nurse the town sends by.

PETER

I didn’t know they were.

YENS

They started this last week. Did I

tell you? She knows you from high

school.

PETER

Who does?

YENS

The nurse. Betsy Simmons.

PETER

I don’t know her.

YENS

Well, you should. She’s a fine looking

woman. She has a fine Danish bosom. I

press against it when she takes my

pulse.

PETER

Jesus, Dad.

YENS

She’s divorced. Three daughters. You

could steal her from me if you like.

PETER

She told you all this, huh?

YENS

Of course. People tell old farts

everything. Did I mention? She said

she thought you were handsome.

(a moment; waiting)

Between you and me, she didn’t just say

you were handsome, she said she thought

you were gorgeous.

And still Peter doesn’t react. Yens sighs.

YENS

And you were. Fine specimens of

manhood, all of us. It’s the Viking

blood.

PETER

Women should be born good looking,

Yens. Men should be born with money,

brains, or balls.

YENS

What were you born with? An

attractive, available woman and you sit

around on your duff.

PETER

It’s the Viking blood. Cold stuff.

YENS

Ahhhh….

PETER

No more trying to set me up with woman,

Dad. Don’t.

EXT. THE HOUSE – MORNING

Establishing shot.

IN THE HOUSE –

Peter comes out of his bedroom. He starts down the hall

for the bathroom. He stops. Looks back the hall. He

hesitates, then walks quietly down the hall towards

Gregory’s room. He carefully opens the door a crack. And

peeks in.

INT. GREGORY’S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Gregory’s bed looks like it hasn’t been slept in. Peter

looks concerned. He turns. And almost bumps into Gregory

who’s come up the hallway from bathroom. Gregory is

toweling himself off, still wet from the shower. Startled,

Peter tries to appear casual.

PETER

Hey.

GREGORY

Hey.

PETER

What time you… get in last night?

GREGORY

Late.

PETER

Uh-huh. How’d you… get home.

GREGORY

She had a car.

PETER

Oh. Right. Okay.

(a moment)

Look, are you being careful?

GREGORY

Careful?

PETER

Yeah, you know. Careful.

GREGORY

Ohhh! Careful. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I’m

being very careful.

PETER

Well, good, that’s good. Cause you

better be. I’m glad we had this talk.

GREGORY

Yeah. Let’s do it again real soon.

Gregory goes into his room and shuts the door. Peter turns

and moves away.

EXT. A WORK SITE – DAY

MUSIC BEGINS AS Peter and Gregory and the rest of the crew

are pouring concrete footings. Wide trenches have been dug

and the footings will be the base, the pads, the bed on

which the foundation will be built. The cement mixer is

turning. It is a matter of getting concrete from the mixer

into the trench and then leveled as quickly as possible.

PETER

Let’s go, let’s go, this guy and his

little toy are costing us $45 an hour!

It is messy, grueling work. The wet, gloppy concrete looks

like thick, green soup but is heavy as hell as it is filled

with crushed stone.

The cement truck driver hits a switch and wet concrete

pours from the turning barrel down the chute. Peter aims

the chute down into a trench. Gregory shovels the glop

down the chute to make it flow faster. The others are down

in the trench, shoveling and leveling. Everyone is quickly

spattered by the wet concrete.

A WHEELBARROW shudders as wet concrete hits it and fills it

to overflowing. Gregory and Veggo, straining, wheel the

load away and over wood planks to dump the load in places

the truck chute can’t reach. They’re not moving fast

enough for Peter and he yells. Of all the workers, he’s

the cleanest – he’s staying away from the dirty work.

Gregory dumps the wheelbarrow and glares at him, pissed.

Gregory is down in the trench, knee deep in the goop,

leveling. His pants are stiff and green with concrete.

Peter jumps over the trench and knocks dirt onto the

concrete Gregory has just smoothed out. Gregory glares.

Peter aims the chute down into the trench. Concrete flows.

Gregory and Veggo shovel madly, unable to keep up with the

deluge of concrete. They are both spattered from head to

toe with the stuff. Peter, still neat and clean, leaps

over the trench to direct the driver to another spot.

Again, he knocks dirt into the trench. Gregory is getting

really pissed off.

The men shovel and level. All except Peter who stands

there, chatting with the driver of the truck.

Peter leaps a trench again and Gregory, moving quickly,

reaches out and grabs his foot. Peter makes the other side

off-balance, windmills his arms, and then falls back into

the trench, landing ass first into two feet of fresh, wet

concrete. It covers his body like quicksand. He struggles

to his feet, falls back again. He finally makes it up. He

glares at Gregory who, along with the other workers, is

laughing. Peter scoops up a handful of wet goop and throws

it at Gregory. Gregory drops his shovel and throws

concrete back. A concrete fight ensues as the men splash

and scoop in the goop like it was water in a pond. The

driver stands there watching them as if they’re out of

their minds.

The cement fight concludes. The men are all laughing at

one another. Their teeth seem very white against the green

mask of the concrete mix. Gregory picks up a shovel and

tosses it to Peter who catches it out of the air. Peter

begins to work, hard and fast. The others join in, but can

hardly keep up with him. The MUSIC ends as –

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – AFTERNOON

Establishing shot. There’s a strange car in the driveway.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – KITCHEN – AFTERNOON

Yens sits at the kitchen table. The woman from the car,

BETSY SIMMONS, stands next to him, taking his blood

pressure. Betsy is an attractive woman, Peter’s age. She

is in the uniform of a day nurse. Yens watches the

proceedings with the curiosity of a child.

BETSY

Your blood pressure is a little high,

Yens.

YENS

Of course it is. This thing has my arm

squeezed so tight, the blood has

nowhere to go.

She smiles and removes it from his arm. She takes his

pulse, innocently pressing his forearm against her ample

breast as she checks the watch on her other hand. Yens

smiles to himself.

YENS

You’re a fine nurse, Betsy. The ones

at the hospital? Skin and bone.

She suddenly realizes where his arm is. She releases his

wrist, trying to not to smile.

BETSY

I’m sure they were highly qualified

nurses. And your pulse is up.

YENS

(sadly)

Mmm. It’s the only thing that is.

Again, she tries to hide a smile. She puts away the blood

pressure device.

BETSY

Yens, you should be in bed.

YENS

The hell with that. How about a walk

in the garden instead?

BETSY

… all right. But then bed.

EXT. THE BACK YARD – DAY

It’s a beautiful, sunny day. A gentle breeze blows. Betsy

and Yens walk slowly, arm in arm. He is using her for more

support than he’d like to admit.

YENS

Oh! Did I mention? My son, Peter, I

was telling him all about you.

BETSY

I’m sure he didn’t even remember me.

YENS

Remember you? Do you know what he

said? He said he always found you very

attractive.

BETSY

No.

YENS

Yes! And you are. Peter’s a widower,

you know.

BETSY

I know.

YENS

Cancer. Such a tragedy.

(as if suddenly thinking of

it)

Why – you know something? You and

Peter should do something together.

BETSY

I don’t think so, Yens.

YENS

Why not? A movie. A chocolate sundae?

No funny business. At least not enough

to mention.

BETSY

I wouldn’t be very good at a blind

date.

YENS

Who’s blind? You both know what each

other looks like.

BETSY

(a moment)

He really remembered me?

YENS

You know what? He didn’t just say you

were attractive, he said he thought you

were gorgeous.

BETSY

Now I know you’re making this up.

YENS

A movie? A chocolate sundae? Ah,

Betsy, if only I could take you for one

myself.

BETSY

Soon. And I’ll hold you to it.

YENS

You can’t tell it to look at me now but

I was the image of my son once. And

before that, my grandson. Thick hair,

clear eyed, strong.

BETSY

You can tell, Yens.

YENS

Really?

BETSY

You can tell.

Yens is very pleased at this. Betsy pauses to pick some

flowers.

YENS

You know, sometimes when I’m alone, I

raise my arm and look at it. The

muscle is gone. The skin hangs loose

from the bone. It doesn’t seem fair

that years from now, when you all think

of me, the picture you’ll carry is that

of me dying rather than that of me

living. That doesn’t seem fair at all.

BETSY

Let’s put these in water, shall we?

YENS

Put me in water too while you’re at it.

Betsy smiles, tucks his arm securely in her own.

BETSY

Come on.

They walk on.

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – DRIVEWAY – AFTERNOON

The pick-up roars up the driveway and stops. Gregory and

Peter, covered with dried concrete, get out of the truck.

Peter goes right to a coiled hose and turns on the water.

Stripping off his shirt, he begins washing the concrete

off. Gregory studies Betsy’s car.

GREGORY

Whose car?

Gregory takes the hose from Peter. Peter looks at the car.

He’s seen it but is not sure where, and he studies it,

trying to remember.

PETER

I don’t know.

He moves to the truck. Gregory does a perfunctory job of

cleaning himself. He turns off the hose and runs towards

the back of the house.

PETER

Hey! I want this unloaded!

GREGORY

After lunch!

Peter begins unloading the bed of the pick-up himself.

It’s filled with rolls of pink fiberglass insulation. He

tosses a roll into the garage; suddenly painfully curses.

He looks at his hand. He sucks at his palm, looks again to

see how deep the sliver of fiberglass has gone. He starts

up towards the house.

INT. THE HOUSE – KITCHEN – DAY

Gregory comes into the kitchen.

GREGORY

Yens!? Hey, Yens!? Ya hungry?

He goes to the fridge.

IN YENS’S BEDROOM –

Betsy has just tucked Yens into bed. She looks up,

suddenly nervous. Yens grins, pleased.

YENS

Go say hello.

BETSY

(hesitating)

I’ll be right back.

She walks out of his room.

IN THE HALLWAY

Betsy hesitates. She smooths down the lines of her

uniform, wets her lips. She takes a breath. She walks.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Gregory is pulling out things out of the fridge to make a

sandwich.

GREGORY

Hey, Yens, whose car!?

He turns from the fridge. Betsy is standing there.

BETSY

…hello.

Gregory stands there, speechless.

BETSY

I… uh…. I’m your…

Peter comes clomping through the door, clutching his hand.

PETER

Son of a bitch! I got some of that

goddamn, motherfu – –

He goes silent at the sight of Betsy. The three people

just look at one another. Betsy finally manages a nervous

smile.

BETSY

Hello, Peter.

PETER

Betsy Murray.

BETSY

Simmons now.

PETER

I almost backed into you the other day.

BETSY

Yes. That was me.

PETER

You should be more careful.

BETSY

Yes… I’ll try to remember that…

(a moment)

You must be Gregory.

GREGORY

(very) curious)

Yeah… hi.

He looks back and forth between from Betsy and Peter.

PETER

Uhm… Betsy was… in high school…

with your mom and me.

Peter suddenly realizes he’s shirtless. He crosses his

arms, embarrassed. Gregory almost starts to laugh.

BETSY

I’d better get back to Yens. Good to

see you, Peter.

PETER

You too.

She smiles and leaves the kitchen. Peter stands there.

Gregory is grinning at him.

PETER

What’s your problem?

GREGORY

Not a thing.

PETER

Good. Shut up.

Gregory smirks. Peter angrily turns and exits out onto the

deck. Gregory hurries down the hall.

EXT. THE DECK – AFTERNOON

Peter comes out into the sun. He’s disgruntled, not sure

why. Loki is lying on the deck in front of him. His tail

thumps on the deck in greeting.

PETER

Beat it.

Loki gets up, goes to the screen door, noses it open, and

goes inside. There are some fresh clothes drying on the

clothes line in the yard. Peter vaults over the railing

down off the deck.

INT. THE HOUSE – YENS’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

Betsy pulls the covers firmly up around Yens’s chest. She

smiles at him and then reaches for her bag.

BETSY

There. And now I’ll see you next week.

YENS

A movie? A chocolate sundae?

BETSY.

Not another word.

They both look up as Gregory appears in the doorway.

BETSY

(to Yens)

Bye.

(rising)

Nice meeting you, Gregory.

GREGORY

Hey, you too…

She exits. Gregory watches her go. Looking at Yens, he

grins.

IN THE KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

Betsy enters. Looks a bit disappointed not to see Peter

there. She heads towards the door.

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Ss she comes out, she almost collides with Peter – now in a

clean t-shirt – who’s coming in.

BETSY

Oh!

PETER

Sorry.

BETSY

No. My fault. I was just leaving.

They stand there. And then, speaking at the same time –

PETER

So what a ya been up to – ?

BETSY

I was so very sorry to hear about –

They stop.

PETER

Sorry?

BETSY

… your loss.

PETER

Oh. Yeah.

IN YEN’S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Yens and Gregory are now at the window. They speak in

whispers.

GREGORY

What are they doing?

YENS

Talking.

LOKI pokes his head into the bedroom, looks at the two men

at the window. He raises his ears.

GREGORY

About what?

YENS

Shush so I can listen.

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Peter rubs at his hand.

BETSY

Did you hurt yourself?

PETER

Huh? No. A splinter.

She reaches out and takes his hand; looks at it.

BETSY

Oooh. That should come out.

PETER

No. It’s nothing.

BETSY

I’m sure it’s loaded with infection.

Come on.

PETER

… really, it’s okay…

BETSY

It won’t take a second. Sit.

She leads him towards the table on the deck.

IN YENS’S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Yens peers out the window. He can just see the deck, can

now just see Peter and Betsy as they sit.

GREGORY

Think he’s going to ask her out?

YENS

If he had any Viking sense, he would in

a minute.

GREGORY

Vikings plundered and pillaged. They

didn’t go out on dates.

YENS

Shushh!

Loki moves to join them at the window.

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Betsy rummages through her bag.

BETSY

I wondered if we’d ever run into each

other. We almost did. Yesterday.

PETER

Listen, that was… my fault.

EXT. THE HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

angle on – Gregory and Yens are at the window. Loki pokes

his snout up. Gregory pushes him down and away. Loki

returns and looks again.

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Betsy takes out a needle. Peter blanches. Fear of needles

runs in this family.

PETER

Oh, shit…

BETSY

Hmm?

PETER

Nothing.

INT. YENS’ ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Gregory pushes Loki out the way again. He growls and

pushes back.

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Betsy takes Peter’s hand and begins to pick at the splinter

with the needle. Peter squirms.

BETSY

Hold still, I’m not going to hurt you.

Don’t look. Turn your head.

(he peeks)

No peeking! Talk to me about

something. Tell me about building.

PETER

Uh… Larsen and Son. Contractors.

Fine quality homes. Except no one

would hire us to build a fine quality

outhouse these days if they’re life

depended on it – ah!

BETSY

Sorry.

She puts down the needle, takes up the tweezers.

IN YENS’ ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Gregory and Yens (and Loki) can just see and hear the

conversation.

BETSY

I’ve had a leak in my bathroom floor

for over six months now. Any time

someone takes a bath, I get a deluge

over the stove.

YENS

(to Peter)

Say something. What are you, a

carpenter or a grocery clerk?

ON THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Peter has momentarily forgotten about the splinter.

PETER

What, you can’t get it fixed? The

leak?

BETSY

Not for less than an arm and a leg.

PETER

I… could take care of it for you.

BETSY

Can’t afford it.

PETER

I’d just charge a leg. Nice leg.

He winces at the sound of his own voice.

IN THE BEDROOM –

GREGORY

A line. He threw her a line.

YENS

Is it working?

GUNNER

Nah. Fair delivery, no follow-through.

ON THE DECK –

Silence. Betsy holds up the splinter.

BETSY

There.

PETER

Didn’t feel a thing.

BETSY

And now I’ve really got to go.

Putting away the needle and tweezers, she rises.

PETER

(rising with her)

I’ll walk you.

They move off the deck.

IN THE BEDROOM –

Yens and Gregory get to their feet and hurry out of the

room. Loki follows.

IN THE LIVING ROOM –

First Gregory, then Yens comes hurrying through. And then

Loki pads through, following.

IN THE DEN –

Gregory and then Yens enter. They move to the open window

and peeks over the window sill. Loki comes into the room

and sits, intrigued.

ANGLE ON – YENS’ AND GREGORY’S P.O.V. –

Peter and Betsy come around the side of the house into the

driveway.

EXT. THE DRIVEWAY – CONTINUOUS

Peter opens her Betsy’s door for her. She gets in.

BETSY

Thank you.

He closes it.

PETER

Listen, I appreciate what you’re doing

for Yens. I’d be happy to fix your

ceiling.

BETSY

Well… that’d be great. When?

PETER

When’s a good time?

BETSY

Anytime.

IN THE DEN –

YENS

Saturday night for god’s sake.

IN THE DRIVEWAY –

BETSY

Saturday night?

PETER

Uh… okay. Sure. Saturday night.

INT. THE DEN – CONTINUOUS

YENS AND GREGORY

Yes!

Gregory holds out a hand. Yens slaps it.

ANGLE ON – THEIR POV

PETER

It won’t take long. If you have plans,

you can keep them.

BETSY

I have no plans. Do you?

PETER

No.

IN THE DRIVEWAY – CONTINUOUS

BETSY

We could have dinner.

PETER

… all right

BETSY

Well. Good. Saturday night then.

She smiles. She starts the car, backs it up, drives down

the driveway. Peter watches the car disappear. The look

on his face seems to suddenly say – god, what have I done.

He turns and walks back up towards the deck.

IN THE DEN – CONTINUOUS

Gregory and Yens turns from the window.

GREGORY

Saturday night. Goddamn. The old

man’s going on a date.

YENS

He’s a Viking.

GREGORY

I’ll get his horned helmet out of

mothballs.

YENS

Ah, Gregory. Imagine them. In a tiny

ship, lost in the middle of a

tumultuous sea, no idea in which

direction to go. Do you know what they

did? They found land.

GREGORY

Yeah? Well, I bet you they were off

course to do it.

YENS

You.

GREGORY

(rising)

Saturday night! All right! Things are

looking up around here!

He exits. Loki pads over to Yens. Yens pets him. And now

Yens finds himself staring at the photo of Peter’s wife.

YENS

You’re smiling.

EXT. THE TOWN – DAY

The truck moves along a town street. Peter’s driving. He

passes the high school. There are a couple of cars in the

deserted parking lot. Something occurs to Peter. He

ponders a moment. He turns into the high school drive.

INT. THE HIGH SCHOOL – AFTERNOON

The school is quiet; cool and seemingly empty. Peter enter

and walks past display cases filled with photos and

trophies. He stops – there’s a picture of him in football

gear in one of the cases – team captain. He hears the

echoing sound of a door closing somewhere. And then

silence. He moves on.

Peter walks towards the school’s administration offices.

They’re locked and empty. He continues down the hall.

Peter stops in front of an open door. Looking in he sees

an outer office and an inner office. Both offices seem

filled with well stocked bookcases. He knocks. A man,

holding a heavy box, peeks out from the inner office. JOHN

MILLER is in his early thirties.

JOHN

Hi. Just a sec.

He disappears. He reappears without the box.

JOHN

Can I help you?

PETER

I’m looking for guidance?

JOHN

Aren’t we all. Well, you’re at the

right place. This is the guidance

office.

He disappears. He reappears.

JOHN

Come on in.

He disappears. Peter enters.

IN THE INNER OFFICE –

John is reorganizing a bookcase. Books, journals and

catalogues are stacked everywhere.

JOHN

Excuse the mess. We don’t usually get

visitors in the summer. You’re lucky

you caught me. I’m finally doing now

what I should have done last spring.

Clean.

Peter picks up a catalogue.

PETER

These colleges?

JOHN

From every state in the union.

(holding out a hand)

John Miller.

PETER

Peter Larsen.

JOHN

Gregory’s Dad.

PETER

Yeah.

JOHN

I thought I recognized you. Be with

you in a sec.

Peter glances through the catalogue.

JOHN

Good school.

PETER

Hmm? Mmm. Expensive?

JOHN

Most of them are.

PETER

Is that what you tell kids?

JOHN

Yup. And then I tell them it’s worth

every penny.

PETER

Might of told my kid that.

JOHN

I did.

Peter is surprised at this. He says nothing.

PETER

Uh… can I borrow some of these?

JOHN

Going back to school?

PETER

I want Gregory to. I’ll worry about

how to afford it later.

And for the first time, John Miller stops working and looks

closely at Peter. He pulls a chair out from the wall and

puts it in front of his desk.

JOHN

Sit down a minute. Let’s talk.

He closes the door.

EXT. THE HOUSE – EVENING

Yens is in the backyard filling his bird feeders. Peter’s

truck roars up the driveway. Peter gets out of the truck

and furiously heads into the house.

YENS

(to Loki)

Something’s up.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – KITCHEN – EVENING

Gregory sits at the kitchen table.

PETER

You are going.

Peter slams his fists down on the kitchen counter. His

face is red with anger.

PETER

You are, goddammit! You are!

GREGORY

(softly) )

I don’t think so.

PETER

Jesus! You want to pound nails the

rest of your life, is that it?

GREGORY

Maybe.

PETER

You’re dumber than I thought than.

GREGORY

What’s that say about you?

PETER

Yeah. Exactly. You want to end up

like me? A goddamn… accountant makes

more money in an hour than I do in a

week.

GREGORY

Let him.

PETER

Let him, huh? Let him?

(cuffing him)

Wake up! What you do in this life

might as well be your fucking name!

(cuffing him again)

So you better just wake the hell up!

GREGORY

(quietly furious)

You can talk but you don’t touch.

They glare at one another. They turn as Yens enters.

YENS

Deciding what to have for dinner?

PETER

Yeah, sure, joke. It’s your fault.

It’s you who put this – this building

crap into his head.

YENS

I see.

Peter moves now to make himself a drink.

PETER

I stop by the high school today to

pick-up some college catalogues… for

him –

GREGORY

Who asked you to?

PETER

– and you know what I find out?

GREGORY

What difference does it make –

PETER

The kid was offered scholarships. He

coulda played hoop at anyone of three

differnt places. Good schools.

Yens looks at Gregory, surprised.

YENS

You didn’t tell us?

GREGORY

There was no point. I wasn’t going.

PETER

You are now.

GREGORY

Hey, what is bugging you, man? That I

didn’t go or that you weren’t paying

enough attention to know I could have.

PETER

(a moment; hurt, defensive)

Your mother was dying, kid.

GREGORY

No kidding. She was in a hospital bed

dying. And you know where I was?

(his voice starting to break)

I was on a basketball court, playing a

stupid game.

PETER

Kid –

GREGORY

Don’t call me kid! I’m not a kid!

(pause)

I’m not blaming you. You’re just a

little late.

(and then:)

I got things to do.

Gregory leaves the kitchen. A moment.

PETER

What.

YENS

Did I say something.

PETER

You’re thinking it.

YENS

You’re a mindreader now.

Peter grabs car keys from the counter. He starts for the

door.

YENS

Where are you going?

PETER

Yens, I’m forty years old, I don’t have

to tell you where I’m going.

YENS

Oh, so you’re not a kid either.

Peter moves to the door. He hesitates.

PETER

Check on him, huh?

Peter leaves.

EXT. AN OVERLOOK – EVENING

The sun is setting, turning the horizon red-gold. Down

below, the lights of the town are begin to twinkle. Peter

is sitting on the hood of his parked car, drinking beer

from a can. He finishes the beer and then replaces the can

in the plastic ring of the six pack. He has finished the

six pack. There is a sound behind him and he turns. He

quickly tosses the empty cans into a convenient trash

barrel.

A POLICE CAR pulls to a stop behind Peter’s car. The

officer, a young guy, gets out and approaches.

PETER

(reaching into his pocket)

Officer.

OFFICER

You parked here for a reason, sir?

PETER

Just the view.

(offering) )

Lifesaver?

OFFICER

No, thank you.

Peter pops a lifesaver. The cop glances into the wastecan.

PETER

Do high school kids still come up here

at night and park?

OFFICER

Sir?

PETER

This used to be our lovers lane. Back

when.

OFFICER

High school students come up here and

smoke pot, sir. Parked cars are asked

to move on. I think you better too,

sir.

Peter nods.

PETER

Have a good evening, officer.

The policeman gets into his car and drives away. Peter

takes a last look out at the view.

PETER

(softly)

Larsen, Larsen, he’s our man.

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – EVENING

Establishing shot.

IN THE GARAGE –

A tool box is placed in the trunk of the family sedan.

PULLING BACK – Gregory quietly closes the trunk lid.

INT. THE HOUSE – EVENING

PETER comes down the stairs. He is wearing a sports

jacket. He checks himself out in the hallway mirror.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Yens and Gregory are playing gin at the table.

YENS

Remember. Not a word.

Peter enters. Yens and Gregory ignore him. Peter silently

makes himself a drink. Yens slaps down a discard. He

looks up.

YENS

Well, well. Don’t you look nice.

what’s the occasion?

PETER

Got a… business meeting.

YENS

Good, good. We could use some

business.

Gregory and Yens exchange looks. Gregory is fighting the

giggles. Peter sips his drink. And then:

GREGORY

I put the tools you’ll need in the

trunk of the car.

Peter slams down the bottle.

YENS

Gregory, we don’t know that.

GREGORY

Ah!

PETER

Is there anything around here you two

don’t know about?

YENS

I’ll knock with two.

PETER

Dad!

YENS

Oh, be quiet, be quiet. Fix her

bathroom floor, my god. Well, it’s a

start.

PETER

What, she’s giving you a hand, I

figured, y’know, it was the least I

could do…

GREGORY

Hey, Dad? You look good.

PETER

(pleased)

You think?

YENS

Like a Viking.

PETER

Great. I feel like I’m going to the

goddamn junior prom.

He starts to take another sip of his drink… thinks better

of it.

PETER

Ah… I’m out of here.

He puts it down and exits.

EXT. THE HOUSE – THE DECK – EARLY EVENING

Peter comes out of the house and moves down off the deck.

Yens and Gregory follow, watching.

YENS

Be a Viking, Peter, be a Viking!

GREGORY

Plunder and pillage her!

Peter flips them the bird as he disappears around the

corner of the house. And now standing there, Yens seems to

totter a bit as if suddenly dizzy.

GREGORY

Hey, you okay?

YENS

A little tired is all. Come. Let’s

play again. I cheated the last hand.

INT. THE CAR – MOVING – EARLY EVENING

Peter drives. He’s nervous. He plays with the radio

knobs, running through the channels, finding nothing he

likes.

ANGLE ON – He sees a pay phone booth on the side of the

road. It is in front of a small group of stores, one of

which is a package store.

EXT. THE CAR – CONTINUOUS

Peter does a 180 and heads back. He turns off into the

parking lot next to the phone. He gets out of the car and

walks to the booth. He picks up the phone and fumbles in

his pocket for a folded slip of paper and some change. He

puts a coin in. Reading carefully from the paper, he dials

and waits.

INTERCUT: INT. BETSY’S HOUSE – KITCHEN – EARLY EVENING

Three girls, ages 16, 14, and 8 are eating supper at the

kitchen table. There is the sound of vacuuming in the

background. The phone rings. The smallest girl, ANDIE,

gets up and answers the phone.

ANDIE

(still chewing) )

Lo?

PETER

Hello! Uh… hi….

Silence. The little girl isn’t going to volunteer

anything.

PETER

… is your mother there?

ANDIE

Who’s this?

PETER

It’s Mr. Larsen. The floor flixer.

Fixer.

ANDIE

Mom! It’s some guy!

IN THE LIVING ROOM –

Betsy, hair done but in a bathrobe, turns off the vacuum

and runs to the kitchen.

IN THE KITCHEN

ANDIE

I think it’s Mommy’s date.

BECKY

(middle girl)

Does he sound weird?

SARA (OLDEST GIRL)

I’ll bet he’s crapping out.

Betsy runs into the kitchen and grabs the phone off the

counter. She looks at her daughters and then self-

consciously turns her back on them.

BETSY

Hello?

PETER

It’s me.

BETSY

Hello!

Silence. He waits. She waits. They wait. Until –

PETER

Who was that.

BETSY

That was Andie, my youngest. Did I

mention I have daughters?

And they’re all staring at her.

BETSY

Three of them. Actually. They’re

going to the movies.

Sara rolls her eyes, not at all pleased about this.

BETSY

(turning away)

We’re still on, I hope.

PETER

Yeah, uh… I was just…

(seeing the liquor store)

What do you drink?

BETSY

I have white wine.

PETER

Any rum?

BETSY

Oh. Fraid not.

PETER

I’ll pick-up some rum.

BETSY

…okay.

Becky giggles again. Betsy gives her “a look”.

PETER

… see you.

BETSY

Soon I hope. Bye.

She hangs up. A moment. She turns. Her daughters are

still all staring at her.

BETSY

All right! Finish up and clean up.

Your movie starts in thirty minutes.

She hustles out of the kitchen.

SARA

(calling after her)

I still say he’s going to crap out!

EXT. PARKING LOT – CONTINUOUS

Peter stands there. He finally hangs up the phone, moves

across the lot and enters the liquor store.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – YENS’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Yens is lying on his bed. He looks pale and weak. Gregory

enters. He looks concerned but tries to hide it when Yens

turns to him.

GREGORY

Dinner’s ready. Hungry?

YENS

A little. I’ll try.

Gregory helps him up.

INT. THE DINING ROOM – NIGHT

The table has been set with linen, silverware, and china.

The room glows with candlelight. Yens and Gregory stand in

the doorway. Gregory has his arms around Yens – he has had

to support him in the walk from the bedroom. Yens’s face

is filled with surprised delight.

YENS

What’s this, china?

GREGORY

Why not?

YENS

Is it a holiday?

GREGORY

I thought we’d celebrate our birthdays.

YENS

Peter’s not here.

GREGORY

We’re just pretending.

YENS

Ah, well, then… is there cake?

GREGORY

Is there cake…!?

YENS

Candles for the cake?

GREGORY

You kidding? Candles for days. But

dinner first.

Gregory helps Yens to the table.

EXT. BETSY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

The house is similar to all the other houses that line this

pleasant suburban street. The girls come out of the house

with Betsy bringing up the rear. Betsy has changed into

slacks and a very attractive blouse. She herds the girls

into the car.

SARA

We’ll be home early.

BETSY

I think ice cream sundaes after the

movie are a good idea.

SARA

Who’s buying?

BETSY

You. I’ll pay you back.

Sara starts up the car.

SARA

Relax, Mother. I’m sure he puts his

pants on one leg at a time.

BETSY

Thank you, dear, I needed that.

LONG ANGLE ON –

The car backs out of the driveway and heads up the street.

It passes cars parked alongside the curb. Betsy turns and

goes back into the house.

PETER

is parked across the street in his car, watching.

INT. BETSY’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

The dining room table is set for two. The wine is an ice

bucket. Betsy is sitting on the living room couch,

thumbing through a magazine. She looks at her watch. She

tosses the magazine aside and rises.

EXT. BETSY’S HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

She comes to the front door, opens it. She stands on the

stoop, looking out into the night.

ACROSS THE STREET –

Peter’s car is gone.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – THE DINING ROOM – NIGHT

Waltzes play on the stereo. Yens sits at the table, dinner

finished. His eyes are closed and he gently sways to the

music. He opens his eyes and turns as Gregory enters

carrying a cake covered with lit candles.

YENS

Tonight I feel like I’m in Copenhagen.

The littlest mermaid is in the harbor,

weeping.

GREGORY

Why is she weeping?

YENS

She’s lost her love. She can’t follow

him. That’s what the story says. I

prefer to think she weeps because I

left her. She must have known I

wouldn’t return. I meant to. So much

happened.

Gregory lifts his glass of beer in toast. Yens smiles and

lifts his glass of club soda.

YENS

Tillykke Med Fodsendagen.

GREGORY

Happy Birthday to you, too, Yens.

YENS

Sa ma du lieve helt antid. Du har

vaert min mest.

GREGORY

You lost me.

YENS

You must live fully, always. You have

been my most precious gift.

(a moment) )

Shall we make a wish?

They do.

GREGORY

Ready? Go.

Together they lean forward and blow out the candles. One

remains lit. Yens leans forward and blows it out.

EXT. THE SKY – NIGHT

The wind whips clouds across the night sky covering the

stars. There is the faint sound of tires shrieking down on

the road.

EXT. DRIVEWAY – NIGHT

A car approaches, going fast and turns into the driveway,

wiping out the trash cans as it passes.

EXT. THE HOUSE – NIGHT

The car is coming up the driveway fast. It brakes to a

sudden, jarring halt in front of the garage. Peter gets

out. He is drunk. There is nothing funny about this

drunk. His face is filled with anger and self-disgust.

Peter weaves up the walk, heading towards the deck.

INT. THE HOUSE – KITCHEN – NIGHT

Peter enters. He stumbles into a chair, knocking it over.

He leans against the table a moment, breathing hard,

resting. He rises and heads down the hallway.

IN THE HALLWAY –

Peter drags off his sports jacket and drops it. He moves

towards the stairs. A light in the stairwell goes on.

Peter stops, blinking. Gregory is standing at the top of

the stairs looking down at him. They stare at each other a

moment. Peter reels away and heads back for the kitchen.

Gregory comes down the stairs.

IN THE KITCHEN

Peter enters and attempts to make himself a drink. Gregory

enters –

GREGORY

How’d it go?

And he freezes, staring as Peter pull

icetrays from the freezer, drops them,

picks them up; does anything but look

at his son.

GREGORY

So what’s her ceiling need – boards,

caulking?

Peter spills rum.

GREGORY

I’ll be glad to help.

PETER

I don’t want help.

GREGORY

You want coffee?

Peter drinks, pours more.

GREGORY

How bout a sandwich?

PETER

No, I don’t wanna – what kinna

sandwich?

GREGORY

Peanut butter?

PETER

(a bitter laugh)

Peanut butter. My life is half over

an’ I’m eating peanut butter. Go to

bed, Gregory.

(a moment, then angrily)

Go ta bed!

GREGORY

You’re going to wake up Yens.

PETER

Hah! He’s pro’bly eavesdropping

already. If he’s not, s’time t’ drag

his ass to the john.

(calling out)

Y’ wan’ some prune juice, Dad!?

He laughs. He drinks. And suddenly all the life seems to

drain out of him.

PETER

I chickened out, Gregs. I got there n’

all a could was sit in the car. I

chickened out, chickened –

He makes clucking sounds. He laughs. He drinks, spilling.

GREGORY

Call her.

PETER

What?

GREGORY

You gotta call her.

PETER

Aw, come on.

GREGORY

It’s not that late. Make an excuse,

make a joke –

PETER

Drop it.

GREGORY

You could tell her that –

Peter slams his glass down, slopping the contents.

PETER

I said stop! Don’t lecture me, don’t

tell me what to do. I don’t find it

appropriate. I’m the father here!

(and then:)

I’m… goin’ t’ bed.

He moves past Gregory towards the hallway.

GREGORY

Mom’d die all over again if she saw

what a bum you turned out to be.

With a furious snarl, Peter spins and backhands Gregory

across the face. A stunned moment. And Gregory furiously

strikes back. Peter reels, stunned. Gregory seems equally

stunned that he struck back. Peter attacks. They

grapple, Peter lands one, knocking Gregory down. And now

Gregory, equally furious, rises and fights. Nothing

graceful about this – clumsy, vicious; Gregory younger and

quicker – landing blows – but Peter stronger. Gregory

trying to box, Peter try to close and wrestle. Gregory

rocks him back with a series of quick jabs, through the

door and into –

INT. LIVING ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Peter falls back into the living room, sprawling. They

stare at one another, panting. And then Gregory moves

forward and offers a hand to help his father up. Peter

takes it – and surges up and into Gregory slamming him back

against the wall, knocking the wind out of him. Gregory

slides down the wall to a sitting position. Peter backs

away; then stumbles and falls to the floor. He crawls to a

sitting position. The two men, father and son, stare at

each other in the room.

PETER

(hoarsely)

I… want you out of this house by the

end of the month. And you’re off the

job as of right now. You’re fired.

GREGORY

Why.

PETER

Cause I’m sick of seeing you wash shit

from your hands at the end of the day.

You’re better than that.

GREGORY

Why you throwin’ me out?

PETER

Because I’m tired of you playing

nursemaid to a sick old man… and

babysitter to a middle-aged one. You

need some money, you let me know.

GREGORY

Money? No, I don’t need any money.

Gregory rises and walks out of the room. Peter just sits

there.

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

Crimson stained water washes down the drain in the sink.

Peter rinses out his mouth, spits out blood. He wiggles a

loose tooth. There is the sudden sound of a car starting

up in the driveway.

EXT. THE HOUSE – THE DRIVEWAY – NIGHT

Gregory backs the car up, turns around.

IN THE BATHROOM

Peter listens to the sound of the car pull away.

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

Peter enters the kitchen. And stops. Yens is sitting at

the kitchen table. Silence. He just stares at Peter.

There is ice, broken glass and rum on the kitchen counter.

Peter begins to clean up the mess.

YENS

Well, aren’t you a fool.

PETER

It’s for his own good.

YENS

If you believe that.

PETER

Look. Ever since his mother died, the

kid’s hasn’t been able to do a damn

thing. He holds onto the job and this

place like it’s the only thing there

is. Well, it’s not. He can do better.

He’ll find that out once he’s on his

own.

YENS

No. He’s been on his own since his

mother died. It’s you who will be on

your own. You and your bottle of rum.

Alone.

PETER

Alone!? Oh, no, never alone! You’ll

always be looking over my shoulder, old

man, giving your unwanted opinion on

everything I do!

YENS

(quietly)

Not for long.

PETER

What?

YENS

There is cancer inside. The doctor

said. So drink your rum. Clench your

fists. I’ll be in my room, mourning

for you.

Yens turns and exits. The sound of his walker fades.

Peter can only stand there, totally defeated by the events

of this night.

EXT. BETSY’S HOUSE – DAY

Establishing shot. The Larsen car is parked on the street.

INT. BETSY’S HOUSE – BATHROOM – MID DAY

Gregory, on hands and knees, finishes nailing boards into

place. He has fit in new wood, has recaulked around the

tub. Behind him, Sara comes to the door and watches for a

moment. She is totally infatuated. He glances up, smiles.

GREGORY

Almost finished. I’ll get the rug back

down and you’ll be all set.

SARA

Mom… Betsy wants to know if you’d

like some lunch.

GREGORY

Great.

INT. BETSY’S KITCHEN – MID DAY

Betsy is wiping down the kitchen counter when her daughter

enters.

SARA

I’m going to die, he is so gorgeous.

BETSY

Maybe you’d like to go out with him? I

could probably arrange it.

SARA

If you say one word to him, I’ll never

speak to you again.

BETSY

Yeah, you’re right. He’d probably just

“crap out.”

Sara turns and leaves the kitchen in a huff. Betsy smiles.

IN THE HALLWAY

Sara and Gregory pass. Gregory again smiles at her. She

turns and watches him go.

INT. THE KITCHEN – MID DAY

Gregory enters. Betsy is taking things from the fridge.

GREGORY

You’re set.

BETSY

I can’t thank you enough. I’m sure you

had better things to do on a Sunday

morning.

GREGORY

It’s a good deal if you’re making

lunch.

She opens a beer, puts it in front of him.

BETSY

How about a roast beef sandwich?

GREGORY

Really?

BETSY

I have some left over.

A look passes between them. He knows exactly what she’s

talking about.

GREGORY AND BETSY

sit out on the sun porch. Gregory is eating with real

enjoyment. Betsy is watching him.

GREGORY

(mouth full)

Good.

BETSY

You know, I miss seeing people eat?

Really eat. My girls don’t eat. They

push food around their plates. Men

eat.

He washes down his bite with some beer. A moment.

GREGORY

He planned on showing. Something

happened.

BETSY

(a moment)

Do you know… your father and mother

were the most splendid couple I’ve ever

seen. She looked like Greta Garbo and

he looked like… you. The bridesmaids

were all cheerleaders. We cried at the

wedding. We fought for the bouquet.

I liked your mother very much, Gregory.

It must have been very difficult.

Losing her.

Gregory nods.

BETSY

For your father too.

GREGORY

(a moment)

I wasn’t there when she died. I was

playing in a basketball game.

BETSY

Did you do well?

GREGORY

Yes.

BETSY

She would have been pleased.

Gregory looks at her.

BETSY

You want the lives of your children to

go onas if everything’s perfect.

Perhaps you can’t understand that until

you have children of your own. But

believe me, she would have been

pleased.

GREGORY

I had this basketball scholarship. I

didn’t take it.

BETSY

Why.

GREGORY

I dunno… her dying like she did,

just… it drained the kid stuff right

out of me, Betsy. I couldn’t see

myself drinking beer and shooting

baskets with a bunch of punks. Maybe I

could do it now but the old man starts

in on me and…

BETSY

All of a sudden it’s the last thing you

want to do.

GREGORY

Yeah. Stupid.

BETSY

No. But neither is his wanting you to.

GREGORY

She would have been pleased, huh?

BETSY

And proud.

GREGORY

(a moment)

This is a good sandwich.

He eats.

EXT. END OF LARSEN DRIVEWAY – DAY

It is raining. Peter is picking up soggy garbage and

putting it into the banged up trash cans. He is soaked. A

Cadillac pulls into the driveway. Lennart rolls down the

window. A middle-aged couple is with him.

LENNART

Pete! Hell of a day to be doin that!

These are the Fitzgeralds, Pete.

(a loud whisper)

They’re interested.

PETER

The place… isn’t so neat, Len.

LENNART

Hey, it’s fine, fine. What they’re

interested in, see, is potential.

Alexandra here loves to decorate and

Don loves to tear down walls. Don’t

worry about a thing, we’ll wipe our

feet.

He rolls up the window and drives on, leaving Peter

standing in the rain.

EXT. THE DRIVEWAY – CONTINUOUS

It is raining. Yens is at one of his birdfeeders. He is

in slicker and rain hat. He is making sure that wet seed

doesn’t clog the feeding station. Loki is with him. And

now the dog looks up at the sound of the approaching car.

The Cadillac is moving fast – too fast – up the driveway.

Loki barks.

YENS

Yes. Good. You’ve warned me.

He goes back to what he’s doing. Still barking, Loki moves

towards the driveway.

YENS

Loki. Stay. Loki!

IN THE CAR –

Lennart is paying no attention to what’s in front of him.

LENNART

– about four acres here. Room for a

nice tennis court over there –

LOKI

moves into the driveway, barking protectively. And

suddenly Yens realizes the car doesn’t seem to be slowing

down.

YENS

Stop!

He starts forward.

IN THE CAR –

The Fitzgerald woman turns to see the old dog in the

driveway in front of them.

FITZGERALD

Look out for the –

Lennart already sees him. He desperately hits the breaks.

ANGLE ON –

Wheels skid on wet gravel.

ANGLE ON –

The dog tries to move but is too old, too slow.

ANGLE ON –

Yens’ face. The sound of car into animal, the sound of the

dog yelping once. Silence. Yens doesn’t turn away.

PETER

is walking down the driveway. He stops. Up ahead he sees

the car stopped, sees Lennart and the Fitzgerald’s standing

in a clustered circle. He starts to run.

YENS

sits on the wet ground, holding the limp body of the dog in

his arms. The others stand over him in shocked silence.

Peter pushes into the group. And stops.

LENNART

Pete, I swear… it wasn’t my fault.

He jumped in front of the car, he

didn’t move.

Yens caresses Loki’s head and muzzle. The dog is dead.

YENS

He was trying to protect his family.

But he was old. And tired.

Yens rises, struggling up with the weight of the dog in his

arms. Without another word he turns and, carrying the dead

dog, walks towards the house.

PETER

Len. Get these people out here. My

father’s house isn’t for sale.

Lennart starts to say something. Then doesn’t. He and the

Fitzgerald’s turn for the car. Peter watches Yens carry

the body of the dog towards the house.

EXT. THE BACKYARD – AT THE EDGE OF THE WOODS – AFTERNOON

It rains. Peter shovels. Yens watches, a tarp covered

mound at his feet.

YENS

He was a good dog.

PETER

He was, Dad.

Yens is soaked. He begins to shiver. He looks very tired,

even frail. Peter finishes his digging. He wipes water

from his eyes.

YENS

I wish Gregory were here.

Peter picks up the tarp covered corpse. He gently lays it

in the grave. It rains. And rains.

EXT. THE HOUSE – NIGHT

Only a few lights burn in the house. The house seems to

sigh with the sound of the falling rain.

INT. LARSEN HOUSE – DEN – NIGHT

Peter stands in the doorway, looking into the room. He

comes further in, hits a light, then stands, studying the

trophies and photographs in silence. His eyes go to the

bookcase. A moment. He reaches for a volume, takes it

down. It is a high school yearbook. Peter sits and begins

leafing through the yearbook.

He stares at a shot of himself and the woman in the photo –

BEST COUPLE. He flips the pages. He studies a shot of

himself in a basketball uniform. He flips the pages. He

almost smiles at a shot of the cheerleaders – his wife and

Betsy Simmons are among them. Peter turns the pages. He

sees photos of a class play, of other classmates. Peter

flips the pages and finally stops. He’s now looking at his

own graduation picture. There is a paragraph beneath it;

his accomplishments, quotes.

CLOSE ON – Peter’s face as he reads. Something surprises

him. He ponders a moment. And then he continues reading.

EXT. LARSEN HOUSE – MORNING

It is a beautiful day. The house glistens as if it’s been

washed fresh and clean by the rain. The pick-up truck

comes up the driveway and pulls to a stop in the driveway.

Peter gets out, a bag of groceries in his arms.

INT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Peter enters. Puts the grocery bag down on the counter.

PETER

Yens? You hungry??

He heads down the hall.

INT. YENS’S BEDROOM – DAY

The room is dark, the shades are drawn. Yens is in bed,

propped up on pillows, asleep. Peter stands in the doorway

looking at him. He sees that the Yens is still in pajamas

and bathrobe; isn’t dressed as he normally would be; sees

that the walker, not the cane, is by the bed. Peter leaves

the room, closing the door behind him.

INT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Eggs are frying in a pan. A dark, potent looking liquid is

poured over ice.

Peter stares at the bottle in his hand. Prune juice. He

looks at the glass of juice distastefully and then…

tosses it back. Not bad. He turns. The eggs are burning.

Peter quickly grabs a spatula. He grabs the pan and burns

his hand. He grabs a dishtowel, grabs the pan again and

begins scraping, trying to save the eggs. There is a

sudden knock on the door. Holding the pan, he turns.

Betsy is at the screen door.

BETSY

Hello, Peter.

PETER

Hi.

BETSY

May I…?

PETER

Yeah. Come in.

She enters.

BETSY

I didn’t expect to see you. I… came

to check on Yens.

PETER

He’s asleep.

BETSY

Oh…

PETER

Want some eggs?

She looks at the charred, greasy mass in the pan he’s

holding.

BETSY

I’ll pass, thanks. I’ll… just check

on him and then go.

Peter nods. Betsy turns and exits down the hall. Peter

stands there a moment. Disgusted with himself, he turns to

empty the pan into the garbage.

INT. YENS’S ROOM – DAY

Yens is still asleep. Betsy pulls the covers around him.

Caresses his forehead. She exits. Yens smiles to himself.

INT. THE KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

Betsy enters.

BETSY

He’s still asleep. It’s probably the

best thing for him. I’ll come around

again tomorrow.

PETER

Look, about the other night –

BETSY

No, please. You don’t have to explain.

I misunderstood. I thought it was a

social as well as a business call.

PETER

Betsy, I still want to do your floor.

BETSY

Too late. Your son already did.

(ignoring Peter’s look of

surprise) )

Oh. He wouldn’t take any money. Send

me a bill?

PETER

Uh…

BETSY

Good. Have a nice day, Peter.

She smiles and exits out the kitchen door. Peter

hesitates… and then hurries after her.

EXT. THE HOUSE – DECK – DAY

Betsy comes out of the house and goes down the steps.

Peter comes out of the house.

PETER

Stop!

She turns back.

BETSY

What is it, Peter?

PETER

…feel like making a pot of coffee

before you go?

INT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Betsy pours boiling water into the coffee filled filter

paper.

PETER

I’ve been drinking nothing instant

lately. I don’t like it much.

BETSY

Cup?

Peter points to a cabinet.

BETSY

We are helpless.

PETER

Get two.

She gets only one. She pours the coffee. Something

suddenly occurs to Peter.

PETER

Okay. Okay, wait. Don’t move.

He rises and hurries out of the room. He hurries back in.

PETER

I want to show you something.

He hurries out again.

IN THE DEN –

Pete moves to the bookcase. He grabs the high school

yearbook from the shelf. He exits.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Peter enters only to find Betsy gone. He hurries for the

door, sure that she’s left.

ON THE DECK –

Peter comes flying out. And stops. Betsy is sitting at

the table. She doesn’t look up. However, two cups of

coffee are on the table. Peter crosses to the table.

PETER

I dug this out the other day.

He hands her the yearbook. A moment of surprise. And then

she begins to look through it. Peter sits.

PETER

We’ve changed.

He watches closely, trying to judge her reactions as she

flips pages. She suddenly giggles.

PETER

What?

BETSY

Look at you.

CLOSE ON – A photo of Peter.

PETER

What about you?

He draws closer to her and flips the pages until –

BETSY

Oh, no!

CLOSE ON – a photo of Betsy.

PETER

And here….

He flips pages.

BETSY

Oh…

CLOSE ON – The cheerleaders.

PETER

Here’s you and here’s….

A moment as they look at the photograph.

BETSY

She was very beautiful, Peter.

PETER

Yeah.

BETSY

We tried to be jealous, it was

impossible.

PETER

(a moment)

I’m sorry about the other night. I got

afraid.

BETSY

Of what.

PETER

Of you.

BETSY

Am I so scary?

PETER

I’m afraid you won’t like what I’ve

become.

BETSY

What have you become?

A moment. He starts to speak. But then he wordlessly

shakes his head. Betsy takes the year book and places it

on the table. Turning to Peter, she gently raises his face

to her, kisses him.

INT. PETER’S BEDROOM – DAY

The curtains have been pulled to soften the harsh afternoon

light. Peter and Betsy are in bed together. He lies on

his back; she rests comfortably against his chest. She

giggles softly.

PETER

What? What?

BETSY

I had such a crush on you.

PETER

Well, sure…

They laugh softly.

BETSY

You’d think I’d of outgrown infatuation

but there I was the other night,

changing my clothes, cursing my hair,

snapping at my daughters. I ended up

drinking a whole bottle of white wine

by myself. If you’d have come by,

you’d have found me… available.

PETER

I almost made it. I sat outside in the

car for about thirty minutes.

BETSY

And didn’t come in?

He shakes his head.

BETSY

If it hadn’t been my house I might of

run too.

(a moment)

My husband was a surgeon. Did I tell

you that? He stayed in San Francisco.

The divorce was my decision. He had

this mistress I couldn’t compete with.

His practice.

PETER

Must have been hard.

BETSY

It was. The only expectations I was

given as a girl were emotional ones;

love a man, love a family. I’d never

wanted more than that. When I finally

admitted my marriage wasn’t working, it

was like admitting that I was a

failure.

(a moment)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that

being lonely is something no one’s ever

prepared for.

EXT. THE DRIVEWAY – LATE AFTERNOON

Betsy gets into her car. Peter closes the door for her.

They smile at each other.

PETER

You busy tonight?

BETSY

What do you have in mind?

PETER

Dinner. Champagne. Dancing maybe….

BETSY

A movie? A chocolate sundae?

(at Peter’s look)

Nevermind.

She kisses him.

BETSY

(fiercely)

You better show this time!

She starts the car, puts it in reverse. She backs up,

turns around. She blows him another kiss. Peter watches

her drive away down the driveway.

INT. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

Peter enters. He stands a moment, the pleasure just

rolling off him. He almost giggles.

PETER

Hey, Dad!?

(starting down the hall)

Hey, Yens, you awake?

INT. THE HALLWAY –

Peter moves towards Yens’ room.

PETER

I sure as hell hope you’ve been

sleeping, you eavesdropping son of a –

Peter stops. Yen’s door is open and his bed is empty.

EXT. THE DECK – CONTINUOUS

Peter comes out onto the deck. Yens isn’t in the house.

How and where the hell could he have – ?

PETER

Yens!?

Peter freezes. Down at the edge of the backyard, near the

birdfeeders. A walker. A body lying prone in the grass

next to it, not moving. Yens.

PETER

Dad!!

Peter vaults off the deck and runs down through the yard

towards his father.

EXT. THE SCHOOLYARD – DUSK

LONG ANGLE ON – A solitary figure is shooting baskets in

the dwindling light. Gregory stops and turns at a sound.

Peter’s truck roars up to the playground and grinds to a

halt. Peter opens the door and waves frantically for

Gregory. Gregory runs forward. They speak. And Gregory

runs around the truck and leaps into the passenger side.

They roar away.

INT. HOSPITAL – I.C. U. WAITING ROOM – NIGHT

Gregory sits, waiting. Lost in his own thoughts. A cup

of coffee is thrust in front of him. He looks up. It’s

Peter. Gregory takes it. Peter sits. Silence. And

then:

PETER

Did you know that when I was in high

school I was most athletic, most

charming, most likely to succeed and

best looking to boot?

GREGORY

No way. Who says?

PETER

My yearbook does. It also says I gave

it all up to go into business with

Yens. Wants to go into business with

his father, that’s what it says. That

was the summer we built the house. It

was gonna be an advertisement. This is

what Larsen and Son can do. It was

good work we did.

A moment. They both look up. Milton Godfrey has entered.

GODFREY

He’s awake. He’d like to see you, one

at a time.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY

Yens is lying in bed. Tubes running to his arm and nose.

Hooked up to monitors. His eyes are closed. Gregory

slowly enters.

GREGORY

Yens…?

Yens’s eyes open. He sees who it is. He smiles weakly. He

gestures for Gregory to come close. Gregory moves to the

side of the bed.

YENS

Doctors – puh.

GREGORY

Huh?

YENS

They tell me I’m going die of cancer.

I wind up having a heart attack. I

wish they’d make up their minds.

GREGORY

Quacks, all of’m. So. What do you

think?

YENS

Old farts don’t think. We get senile.

GREGORY

Yeah, I don’t know why we keep you

around. You’re not good for much.

YENS

Complain, complain.

GREGORY

Moan, moan.

Silence.

YENS

Have you ever thought… about being an

architect?

GREGORY

Huh?

YENS

An architect. You’d be very good. You

have the eye, the imagination. What do

you think? Would you like to be an

architect?

GREGORY

Something to think about.

YENS

Good. And if not… anything you

decide to do, you’ll do well. You’re a

Viking.

(a moment)

I’d like to see Peter now.

INT. THE HOSPITAL ROOM –

Peter sits at Yens bedside.

PETER

That Gregory, huh? He fixed her floor

for me.

YENS

He saved your ass is what he did.

Silence. And then:

YENS

Bring him home. Let him decide when

it’s time to leave.

Peter nods.

PETER

You’re gonna have to do something for

me though. No more pulse taking. I

get jealous easy.

He smiles as Yens weakly laughs.

YENS

Done.

Yens looks down at Peter’s hands. Touches the scar by the

little finger.

YENS

You were so ashamed.

Peter takes Yens’s hands in his own. Yens’ hands are

gnarled and cut up and calloused.

PETER

Look at these hands. Like pieces of

old wood. You have beautiful hands,

Dad.

Silence.

YENS

I’m very tired.

Silence. No need for words. The physical contact is

enough.

EXT. THE HOSPITAL – MORNING

Establishing shot.

INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM – MORNING

Gregory is asleep in a waiting room chair. Peter

approaches, looks at him a long moment. Reaches out and

pushes the hair off his forehead. Gregory comes awake.

GREGORY

How long I been asleep?

PETER

Awhile. You hungry?

GREGORY

I could eat.

PETER

Me too. You know what I’d like? A

big breakfast. What a ya say we hit

the pancake house down on route ten.

We used to stop there on the way home

from visiting your mom.

GREGORY

I’m not crazy about that place. I

associate it with bad news.

PETER

So do I, kid. So do I.

And all at once, Gregory knows. Peter knows that he knows.

Peter holds out his arms. Gregory comes to him. Peter

wraps his arms around his son.

EXT. THE HOUSE – DAY

Light reflects off roof and windows. The yard seems

incredibly green and fertile; revitalized by the rain.

IN THE BACKYARD

Gregory is filling bird feeders. He turns, looking at

something.

GREGORY

Well, come here.

A Great Dane puppy, all huge feet and gawky legs, comes

running across the lawn. Gregory kneels and pets him.

GREGORY

Good Loki, yeah….

INT. THE HOUSE – YENS’S BEDROOM – DAY

Peter is standing in the room. It is neat and bright; the

bed made. A moment and then he reaches out and turns on

the stereo. There is music – waltzes.

EXT. THE YARD – DAY

Gregory can hear the music playing. Nice.

ANGLE ON –

Peter comes out onto the deck.

PETER

Let’s get ready, kid!

The MUSIC continues as:

EXT. THE KITCHEN – DAY

Peter, in a dark suit and a new tie, sits in a chair. The

pup is at Peter’s feet. Both look up as Gregory comes into

the kitchen. He, too, is in a suit and tie. Peter rises

and tightens the knot of Gregory’s tie. He steps back.

PETER

Not bad. Not bad at all.

EXT. THE HOUSE – DAY

Peter and Gregory come down around the side of the house.

PETER

I told Betsy we’d pick her up.

GREGORY

You sleeping with her?

PETER

Yeah.

GREGORY

Maybe there’s hope for you yet.

EXT. BETSY’S HOUSE – DAY

Peter stands by the car waiting. Peter and Betsy come down

from the house. Betsy’s oldest daughter stands in the

doorway. Gregory waves to her. She smiles and waves

back.

BETSY

You have a fan, Gregory.

GREGORY

Yeah, we’re irresistible. It’s the

Viking blood.

He opens the car door for her.

BETSY

I’ll get in the back.

GREGORY

There’s room for three in the front.

A warm look passes between them. They all get in. The car

drives on.

INT. THE CAR – MOVING – DAY

PETER

You hear? Someone’s going to college.

BETSY

Gregory, that’s wonderful.

PETER

Yeah, right. Ask him who’s paying for

it.

BETSY

Who?

PETER

Him, the bank and me.

GREGORY

Stop complaining. It’s a good move.

I’m gonna be an architect and the time

comes, maybe I’ll throw a little work

your way.

Betsy smiles.

PETER

What are you doin’ till then?

GREGORY

Dunno.

PETER

Cause I could use some help.

Gregory looks at him. Peter looks back. Small smiles.

GREGORY

I’ll think about it.

EXT. A CEMETERY – DAY

People are gathered around a grave-site.

PETER

steps out of the semi-circle of people and turns to face

them.

PETER

I guess we can start.

He takes out a speech he’s prepared. And reads.

PETER

There comes a twilight. The cold

Viking sun turns black and falls into

the sea. The sea overflows its banks

and the world is darkness and cold and

confusion. The Viking gods march forth

to do battle. The darkness consumes

them, and they are suffocated by its

venomous breath. And yet, they are

victorious. There is no trumpet of

defeat in their death. New life is

born. There is peace.

(looking up)

My father wrote that.

Peter folds the paper and puts it away. He turns and looks

at the polished wood box, small and smooth, that contains

Yens’s ashes. He turns back.

PETER

He was a good man. He loved his work

and he loved his family. He thought of

himself as a craftsman but he wasn’t.

He was an artist. The places that

people live were his palette. And as

long as those houses…

(correcting himself)

– homes – are with us… he is.

(a moment)

Thanks for coming.

The crowd slowly disperses. People shake Peter’s hand.

LENNART

You come see me.. we’ll talk.

Betsy puts a small bunch of flowers down next to the wooden

cask. Gregory comes forward to join her. His face is wet

with tears. Betsy gives him a hug; kisses his cheek.

Peter joins the two of them.

PETER

You okay?

GREGORY

Yeah.

They are looking at the small casket. The grave attendants

are preparing to bury it.

GREGORY

…some ship

PETER

Hmm?

GREGORY

He loved the ocean, you know? He told

me he wanted one of those Viking

funerals. A dragon headed ship, his

ashes swallowed by the waves. What a

crazy guy.

A long moment. And then Peter moves abruptly forward and

picks up the box.

PETER

All right, come on.

GREGORY

What?

The attendants look on, totally taken by surprise. Peter

turns his back on them and walks back past Gregory and

Betsy.

PETER

Don’t just stand there, come on!

ANGLE ON –

Peter walks across the cemetery towards his car, casket in

hand. Gregory and Betsy are hurrying after him.

GREGORY

What the hell you – ?

(to Betsy) )

What’s he doing?

BETSY

I don’t know.

ANGLE ON –

Peter opens his car door and puts the box carefully on the

front seat. He gets in as Gregory and Betsy get to the

car.

GREGORY

Dad, what are you doing?

PETER

Taking him down to the ocean. Get in.

Gregory laughs. He hustles Betsy around the car, opens the

door for her.

GREGORY

Of course we are. Why not?

Betsy gets in. Gregory opens the back door. He stops.

GREGORY

Hey, Veggo!

Veggo, along with some other people is moving towards his

car. He turns.

GREGORY

Follow us!

VEGGO

Where ya goin’, man?

GREGORY

The beach.

Gregory gets into the car. Veggo and everyone else, run

for their cars.

ANGLE ON –

Peter leaves a spray of dust and gravel in the cemetery

driveway as he roars off.

EXT. A STREET INTERSECTION – DAY

Peter, driving in the wrong lane, passes a string of six or

seven cars that are stopped for a light. He stops by the

lead car. It is Lennart. Peter leans across Betsy and

yells out the window.

PETER

Lennart! Follow me!

LENNART

Where you going?

PETER

We’re – never mind! Just come on!

The light turns and Peter roars off. Veggo, in his

Porsche, goes flying by in pursuit, horn beeping. Lennart

sticks his head out of his Cadillac window and calls to the

car behind him.

LENNART

Follow them!

The driver of the car behind him has his head stuck out the

window.

DRIVER

Where they going?

LENNART

Who the hell knows!?

Lennart drives off.

ANGLE ON –

All the cars follow one after another.

EXT. A STREET – DAY

Peter’s car comes speeding down the road. A moment.

Veggo’s Porsche comes flying along – zoom! And then one

after another, all the cars – lights on, this is a funeral

procession – come tearing down the road in hot pursuit.

EXT. ENTRANCE RAMP TO THE FREEWAY – DAY

Peter’s car turns up the long, curved entrance to the

freeway. And then, Veggo’s Porsche. And then all the

other cars. And then the hearse. And then a police on a

motorcycle goes flying up the ramp in hot pursuit, lights

flashing and siren blaring.

THE LAST CAR

in the line is pulled over by the patrolman. Jimmy, the

gas station attendant, sticks his head out the window as

the cop walks up.

COP

Where you think you going, buddy, a

fire?

JIMMY

No, a funeral!

EXT. THE FREEWAY – HIGH ANGLE – DAY

All the cars motor along in a speeding line. A moment.

And then the police motorcycle comes roaring along, lights

and siren going, passing the cars.

INT. PETER’S CAR –

Gregory leans into the front seat. With the windows down,

he has to shout to be heard.

GREGORY

What are we gonna do when we get there?

PETER

Give a handful of him the heave-ho!

GREGORY

Are you crazy!? There’ll be swimmers!

Fisherman! Hobey-cats!

PETER

We’ll time the toss!

(looking in the rear view

mirror)

Uh-oh.

The patrolman is catching up to them.

ANGLE ON –

The police motorcycle pulls even with Peter’s car. The

policeman gestures for Peter to pull over. Peter shouts

something. It’s inaudible. He points to Betsy who

suddenly seems to be in agony.

PETER

She’s having a baby!

The policeman nods and takes the lead. The lights and

siren go!

HIGH ALTITUDE ANGLE ON –

The police motorcycle is leading at least a dozen cars down

the highway at high speed.

EXT. HIGHWAY EXIT RAMP – DAY

The policeman roars off, roars past a sign that says

hospital. A moment. And then all the other cars go right

past the exit ramp.

EXT. ANOTHER STRETCH HIGHWAY – DAY

The cars go speeding by. In the distance, we can see the

ocean. And then the police motorcycle flies by, again in

hot pursuit.

EXT. BEACH ROAD – PARKING LOT – DAY

The cars all pull off the beach road and into the parking

lot. People in bathing suits watch as the men and women,

all dressed for a funeral, get out of their cars.

EXT. THE BEACH – DAY

The crowd of people led by Peter, Gregory, and Betsy come

over the dunes onto the sand. Sunbathers and surfers look

on in startled disbelief at the suits, ties, dresses, and

hats.

EXT. THE PARKING LOT – DAY

The police bike roars into the parking lot.

EXT. THE POINT – DAY

There is a long, hewn rock breakwater that juts out into a

point. The fishermen and sunbathers stop what they’re

doing and look up in surprise as Peter leads the funeral

goers out onto the breakwater. He is carrying the casket.

Women take off their high heels. Everyone struggles to

keep up.

THE POLICEMAN

brings up the rear. He stops and watches. He takes off

his hat and wipes the sweat from his forehead. Some

bathers cluster around him.

SURFER

Man, don’t they need, like, a permit,

you know, to do this?

COP

How do I know? I’m a highway cop.

And he walks slowly out onto the rocks following the

others.

AT THE END OF THE BREAKWATER

All the funeral goers have gathered. Breeze pulls at hair

and clothes. The water splashes off the rocks and sprays

high, catching the sunlight like diamonds.

PETER AND GREGORY

step forward to the edge of the rocks. Peter opens the box. Gregory reaches in. And then, holding his hand out, he lets the breeze take the ashes in a long, slow, dusty stream. Peter hands Gregory the box and then he, in turn, takes ashes in his hand and releases them into the sea.

When they are gone, he stands next to Gregory, puts his arm around him. He gestures for Betsy and she comes forward and stands next to him. He puts his arm around her too.

At the end of the rocky point, the crowd stands watching as out on the horizon, sailboats suddenly let fly their spinnakers. The billowing colors catch the wind and swell tight as if in tribute.