"LOOKING FOR THE MAN"
Doran William Cannon
CLOSE: An old SNAPSHOT
CREDITS AND MUSIC ROLL OVER:
-- A father, closing in on 40 and a son, 11, on a skating
rink, wearing hockey uniforms, holding hockey sticks like
swords in battle, frozen laughter on their faces.
Vague CHIRPING of birds in deep background.
DON'S 37 Y.O. VOICE OVER
Listen... my Dad isn't really sick,
and he's not really sad, if you think
that you won't understand our story,
or you'll cry instead of laugh.
PULLING BACK FROM SNAPSHOT TO REVEAL a wall full of snapshots
and family memories, Mom, Dad, Cicely, and Don, pets, cars,
house, time marching on... Dad and Mom getting old, kids
grown, college, girl friends, the time, place and meaning of
each itching to be discovered, as DON'S
VOICE OVER CONTINUES:
DON'S VOICE OVER
I call him My Dad instead of his
name because he's probably like your
Dad too. And that's why I want to
share our story... cause you have a
Dad too, and so you and I share the
PULLING BACK FARTHER TO REVEAL DAD, sitting at the kitchen
table in front of the gallery of snapshots, ageless, healthy,
strong, yet a gleamy stare in his eyes tells another story;
as he is lifting a spoonful of soup to his lips as a two
year old might, fascinated with the chanciness of whether it
will make it all the way to his lips. A lovable old dog,
MAX, sits by his side with big brown eyes also transfixed on
the wayward spoon's long journey.
DON'S VOICE OVER
When my Dad lost some of his marbles
to become an Alzheimer's case, at
first I thought, how sad, he's gone,
gone, gone. He was just entering a
new and very exciting phase of his
life. The rest of us would just have
to learn how to keep up.
DAD is attracted by the sound of the birds, he looks in that
direction, lets his spoon just plop into the soup; he grins
at the sloppy results, gets up and walks to the screened
window, REVEALING MOM, in her chair, working a crossword
puzzle, cigarette drifting smoke from the ashtray, looking
up as he goes by her, ingrained resignation in her eyes --
(in her smoker's
Will you... finish the soup. You
look so damn thin.
ON DAD, moving to watch the bird feeding station outside the
window -- just one bird pecking at slim pickings. Dad reaches
into a bag punches the screen window open, and throws a
handful of seed in the direction of the feeding station.
Luckily much of the seed hits its mark, and about six birds
suddenly fly in for a feeding frenzy.
A glint appears in Dad's eyes. MAX rises up to the window's
ledge, gives the birds an obligatory woof and growl. Dad
leans in to BARK with Max. Max looks at Dad in surprise,
then the two of them join in a barking frenzy. Brothers under
Okay, Okay... now the birds're eating,
so you come in and finish your soup.
She gets up, joins him, and tries to lead him back to the
table. MAX follows.
Dad turns to her... and BARKS right in her face. So does
I made this soup... and it's damn
DON'S VOICE OVER
Mom never really talked WITH Dad.
She always talked AT him... their
whole life... we all did that in our
family. Communication was not our
strong suit. So, when Dad lost his
ability to make sense, it really
didn't make much difference.
...you... took my money...
As she leads him to sit at the table by the elbow, Dad winces
like a dog in pain.
Your money is in the bank.
...nobody gloms the man do you see
the man pepper her if not today maybe
a way... get the ticket...
That's right. The soup is good. Come,
eat the soup... eat the soup.
Finally at the table, Dad barks, thrashes his arms up,
throwing her back. Angry, he thrashes at the bowl of soup
and it tips over. Mom catches herself at the kitchen sink,
grabs a towel and moves to the table to wipe up the soup.
Max starts lapping up the soup on the floor.
DON'S VOICE OVER
Now that I know what I know, I know
that we did have a strong suit. Our
strong suit was... love. L.O.V.E.
Deep, abiding, unspoken and buried
under a dozen layers of pure
dysfunctional shit. It didn't really
matter, we were just like everybody
Dad starts to scuffle with Mom. He doesn't want her to clean
up the soup. Ad-libbing scuffle, as OUR VIEW MOVES through
the gallery wall.
That's me, when I was ten. That's my
older sister, Cicely, she and I used
to write songs together, we even had
one on the charts... "Jumpin' Through
Hoops for You,"... but that was years
ago before she got married to this
rich guy and I became a Certified
Financial Planner... helping other
people to plan their insurance, and
retirements and how to save their
money. -- and that was my dog, Charlie --
I tried to take him to college, but...
oh, well... and, oops, there's my
wife... oops my ex-wife, Susie...
and my little boy, Richie. He was
six then, and now he's thirteen, and
he hates me.
DAD AND MOM, scuffling back and forth in front of the Gallery
of snapshots. Dad is now trying to put on his hat and a scarf.
Where are you going!?
...the man... back to the man he
knows. He knows.
Dad walks through a door, but it's the broom closet. Brooms
and buckets fly out hitting him on the head, he steps on a
bottle of dish soap, spurting its contents all over him, and
Mom too as she tries to stop him.
Where are you going! Stop... right
Dad throws some bird seed in her face and runs out the door,
Max following him. Mom is stunned, fighting to get the bird
seed out of her eyes, mouth and hair.
Damn it, you!... wait!
THE PHONE RINGS. She answers it.
MUFFLED PHONE VOICE
Mrs. Markopolis? I'm Rex Borden. Our
records here in Toronto show that
you own 200 Kruggerands and...
She hangs up and runs out the door.
EXT. OLD TOWN - MIDWESTERN SUBURBAN STREET - ICY - WINTRY -
Dad has moved quickly from the house, through the gate, where
Mom is just emerging, looking this way, then that way, when
she spots him and calls after him.
Dad pays no attention as he heads one way, looks around with
a puzzled and then a resolved look on his face, scurries in
the next direction, and across the street, Max at his side,
with Mom yelling after him to stop.
He and Max get to the other side of the street, when --
WE HEAR, BUT HE DOESN'T -- SCREECHING BRAKES.
The BIG CITY BUS glides on the icy street, trying to stop,
the driver's face looming large through the window, as he
frantically turns the steering wheel... too late.
ON MOM --
KA-BASH! -- as she's smashed and thrown aside by the bus
like a rag doll.
-- as he (and Max) determinedly pushes his way along the
street, unaware of what has happened in his wake.
...waiting... too late... today, NOT
tomorrow. No wait. The man won't
wait. No wait.
As he goes, the SCENE BEHIND HIM recedes into the background,
the ruckus. The bus, the crowd, Mom's lifeless body sprawled
on the ground.
Let me tell you about my own life.
It was a piece of crap, and getting
SIRENS SEGUEING TO:
INT. AN OFFICE - DAY
The BUSY EXECUTIVE sits behind her desk, trying to listen
DON, early 40's, dressed in his best suit, has his laptop
computer set up on her desk, and he pushes buttons from one
read-out to the next, a graphic journey through life's
...at age sixty, you'll have what
you need to retire...
Yes, but not what I WANT to retire.
Okay, good point. So, how much is
that? Supposing you want half a
million in securities, plus an income
of $65,000 a year, you'll have to
add to your IRA...
Um-hmmm-hah!!? I'll need ten million
in the bank, and one million a year.
That much? No one needs a million a
year. You have to be realistic.
How the hell do YOU know that I am
not being realistic. I'm a fucking
money machine. There's a pot of gold
on the other side of Mount Hood just
waiting for me! I, Mr. SalesMan have,
She flexes her bicep and her bosom simultaneously. Don nods,
getting the point.
The intercom buzzes. She picks it up.
It's your office... for you.
Don gets up to take the phone, knocks his laptop into a vase,
tries to catch it, but too late... the vase crashes into a
dozen pieces on the hard floor.
He grimaces, she rolls her eyes.
See what I mean? I was dead meat.
INT. A 747 AIRPLANE - NIGHT
On Don, squeezed in the middle seat, sleeping.
I hadn't been home in five years.
Duluth, Minnesota... the kind of
town people are from but never go
to. When I called, -- once a week,
every Sunday, when I had Richie with
me... those Sundays when I had paid
Susie her monthly pound of flesh...
the ransom... for letting me see my
own son... I'd talk to my Mom, but
she'd say Dad was in the basement
working on his wooden toys. He sold
his hardware store and retired just
so he could do that, it turned out
to be a pretty good business, little
toy stores all over the country bought
his old fashioned wooden toys --
then at Christmas, he'd send one to
Richie and one to my sister's kids...
and he'd always keep a few to give
'em away whenever he met a kid.
Anyway, when Mom said he was busy in
the basement, I always figured that
he just didn't want to talk to me...
sure he taught me to play hockey,
but he also beat the crap out of me
when I was thirteen, and to this
day, I never knew why... what had I
done? So it just seemed better if he
pretended to be working on his toys
when I called. I think we spend our
whole lives trying to please our
fathers, but I was beginning to
believe... you can't. And now, I
guess it was too late. Oh, well, oh,
shit, now Mom's dead, Dad's got...
what did they call it, Old Timer's
disease... Oh, well, oh, shit, life
is a bitch, and then you die. Ho.
Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas.
Don turns over in his sleep as best he can in the cramped
economy class seat in the middle. As he turns over, he pulls
on the seat in front of him with one hand, and elbows some
extra room from the heavyset lady next to him. Eyes burn at
him from two directions but Don doesn't notice it.
ON HIS LAPTOP COMPUTER SCREEN: Actuarial tables and
ON DON - CLOSE
His eyes pop open, staring, sad.
ON DAD - CLOSE
Mumbling to himself, sweating...
Dad? Is that you? Dad?
EXT. DAD'S HOUSE - FRONT LAWN BEHIND THE WHITE FENCE -
Dad's knees dug into the snow, as he searches through the
snow, pulling out dormant tulip bulbs as he finds them. Max
thinks it's a game, barks, grabs for the tulips, doesn't
like 'em, barks again. A "companion", a fat black woman,
stands in the doorway of the house.
Don is well behind Dad, suitcase in hand, speaking to him...
but not heard.
Hurry... hurry... nothing there.
Finally, Don drops to his knees next to Dad.
Dad... it's me.
Dad turns, looks at him, blinks, hands Don some tulips, and
keeps digging through the snow.
Don is bewildered, puzzled, sad, helpless.
No time. No time.
Dad, Max, Don. In the snow.
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY
Don is on the phone. The Black Woman is bundled up waiting
by the phone. Dad is sitting in his usual chair, staring
ahead, planning his next devilish move.
But I can't be in two places at once,
Mel. No. No. Of course I want my
son... to live with me... he's been
with his... can't you get a
continuance or whatever... it's today,
the funeral's today...
INT. MEL CHASE'S OFFICE - PORTLAND, OR. - DAY
Mel Chase, an overworked patrician, stands behind his desk
in Portland, Ore., signing documents for his secretary while
Don's disembodied voice crackles on a speakerphone.
...my mother's funeral, Mel.
I understand, Don... so then just
drag yourself on a plane... and get
back to Portland... if you want your
kid to live with you.
INTERCUTTING -- IN THE KITCHEN, Dad has that gleam in his
eye. The black teenager moves to Don, looks at her watch.
But, I've got my Dad now... can't
the judge... just...?
The judge can excuse a funeral...
but that's it... do what you have to
do, and get back or lose the deal,
that's the deal. Your "ex" is already
here in town, her lawyer is champing
at the bit and the hearing is day
after tomorrow, 1 PM.
Will this cover it? Overnight, plus
He hands the black teenager some money. She shrugs...
I guess so...
She opens the overhead latch to go out. Swish! Dad darts for
the door, squeezes in front of the girl... and he's gone!
Don drops the phone, and runs after him.
EXT. THE HOUSE - DAY
Dad and Max moving fast, across the yard, through the fence,
and just about to cross the icy street, as Don catches up,
grabs Dad by the arm.
Dad flails his arm free...
You! You! You!
Dad pokes his finger into Don's chest a half dozen times.
Don just takes it, as --
EXT. SUBURBAN STREETS - ICY - DAY
OUR VIEW - THROUGH THE WINDOWS OF A MOVING CAR,
revealing the icy streets of the small town, -- tableau's of
changing America-people jogging, their breaths steaming in
the cold air, shoveling snow on driveways and paths,
"hometown" is in the air.
...no, no! That way. Don't you know...
anything!? That way... no. no. no.
Not ping. Nose. Nose! Can't you see...
the man... the man... he's waiting...
you me late. Making.
ON DAD AND DON
-- in the back seat of a limousine, dressed in dark suits
Dad is agitated, wide-eyed, gesturing wildly, this way and
that. Don is trying to maintain his cool.
How can you... this way... it's THAT
way. Turn that way!
Dad... he can't turn that way.
No. Don't you know... the man...
Who is this man? Just say his name.
You know her name.
Her name? You mean your wife. My
Dad's eyes glaze over. Beat. Beat.
Yes. Where is he?
Dad... don't you remember? She died.
We're going to her funeral.
Dad cocks his head like a puzzled puppy.
(a beat, he thinks)
Will she be there?
Yes, Dad, she'll be there.
EXT. CEMETERY - WINTER - DAY
A bright day, the sun glistening on the snowy ground, as the
caravan of just five or six cars led by the hearse and the
family limousine pull slowly around the rolling grounds.
Some of the signs of the solemn side of Christmas in the
THE BURIAL SITE
The gravediggers help to unload the casket from the hearse
as the mourners take their places.
GREEK ORTHODOX PRIEST
In Greek or Latin:
For the Markopoulis family and its
friends, we gather in sorrow and to
celebrate God's eternal way, to lay
Gladys Spyros Markopoulis to her
The priest continues on as --
IN THE BACKGROUND, a taxicab pulls up, and a woman gets out
and hurries to join the crowd.
My older sister, Cicely, the righteous
bitch was always fashionably late,
even to her mother's funeral. It's
her Godgiven right to do as she
pleases without caring about anyone
else. She's perfect, and the rest of
us are only there as flaws to allow
her perfection to be seen by
comparison. Luckily for her, she
married a husband who can pay for
the luxury of her perfection.
Cicely arrives at the group, stands next to Don. Whispers
harshly for all to hear.
Why didn't you wait? Funerals don't
have to start on time. You could
have had them wait. My plane circled
the city for an hour.
Giving Cicely the satisfaction of an
answer could result in a ten minute
monologue on why I'm no good, and
she's the only one on earth worth
shit. That's why I limited my answer
to one word. "Oh."
Is that the best you can say? "Oh."
It's my mother's funeral, and all
you can say is "oh." Well, of course,
since you're the one who killed her.
Really. I thought she was killed by
a Pontiac station wagon.
See. Jokes. At your mother's funeral.
The priest had been droning on, and only WE HAVE NOTICED
that DAD drifted away from the whispering siblings... and
now, when they both look around... he's gone.
The two siblings each scan, turning their heads in opposite
directions and around their respective bodies, until their
heads meet on the backside with their eyes locked on the
Dad, in the distance, just disappearing into the oldest part
of the cemetery.
He's looking for the man.
What man? This is no time to look
for some man. It's his wife's funeral.
I'll get him.
Well, hurry up... how could you let
him do this?
Don slips away from the group, but not without notice, as
one, then all eyes, turn to his receding figure, as the Priest
HOLDING ON DON'S RECEDING FIGURE, AS:
I was beginning to enjoy the sheer
madness of it all. My Dad was no
crazier than my sister, at least he
had an excuse. I was starting to
feel a connection with him --
something that I hadn't felt in a
long time. It wasn't something I
could put my finger on, not yet. All
I knew for openers was that I wanted
to help him find the man. My Dad was
already in his second childhood, and
you know what, I was jealous. I wanted
to be in my second childhood too.
DON disappears through the same place in the cemetery's old
section, where the tombstones are high and the uncaretaken
growth around them is even higher.
EXT. IN THE OLD SECTION - DAY
Don makes his way through the aisles of gravestones and
Don goes through the crowded area, passing by tombstones,
which we read as he goes by. These are the stones of the
long departed, some going back to the turn of the century
and before that.
Dad, where are you? Dad?
He moves along, past tombstones, calling out for Dad, and
-- he trips and falls nearly flat on his face in the snow,
and from that vantage point, he looks up to see --
Dad! Scurrying through, confused, scared.
Dad...!! Dad... stop!
Dad, startled, stops in his tracks.
How did you be?... looking for you.
Dad comes over to him...and helps him get up out of the snow.
YOU were looking for ME? I was looking
Yes right... looking for you. Me
ON DON, his head cocked now like a puzzled puppy.
I couldn't figure it out, was he the
crazy man, or was I the crazy man?
From nowhere, the voice of Cicely is unmistakable.
Oh, there you are... just like you.
The funeral's not even over...
Everyone from the funeral is there, all ten or twelve people,
ad-libbing that they hope everything's okay.
Um, don't worry... it's okay, my
father just wanted to mourn in his
own way, away from... you understand.
And of course everyone says they understand except for Cicely,
as Don leads Dad along the way, and the whole crowd passes
by the old tombstones, and --
HOLD ON ONE TOMBSTONE as everyone passes by, but does not
Tyrus Markopoulis - Loving Son, Loving Father - 1866-1943.
And then, PANNING as people pass by, but do not notice the
stone is next to the first one --
SECOND STONE READS
Boris Markopoulis - Loving son, Loving Father - 1905-1966.
Okay... I admit it. I was stupid.
Dad had been looking for his own
father's grave... and he found it
but didn't see it. And neither did
I. I didn't see it. I just didn't
EXT. MOM'S GRAVESITE - LATE DAY
The cemetery workers are finishing the job of shoveling the
dirt into the grave over the coffin, as the mourners reemerge
from the Old Cemetery section in the deep background, with
the shrillness of Cicely's voice stinging the cold winter
What was going on here? So stupid,
at my mother's funeral. How can anyone
mourn with crazy people all around?
Don, it's really your fault...
One of the mourners, a man Don's age, approaches him.
Don... I'm Vic Hudnut... we were in
Miss Troxell's fourth grade class
(trying to remember)
Oh... yes, hi, Vic.
If there's anything, anything I can
do... don't hesitate to call.
Vic puts a business card into Don's lapel pocket, pats him
on the back for old times sake and he's gone before Don can
Really, Don... I have to catch the
8:30 flight, and you've just ruined
my Mom's funeral. Here, you take
She moves Dad in to Don, and -- the waiting cab having pulled
up, opened its door... she's gone.
Don's reaction as --
PULLING BACK, BACK, BACK TO REVEAL
Don and Dad and, of course, Max, standing together, alone,
and aimless in the vast cemetery.
INT. BEDROOM - DAWN
Don's face, horizontal, his eyes wide open, staring ahead,
as morning light streaks across his face, and PULLING BACK --
He is in his boyhood bedroom, and nothing has really changed.
Memorabilia of the mid-1980's- Michael J. Fox beams from a
poster of BACK TO THE FUTURE. Don as a member of the Duluth
High School track team. Skis. He's under a bedspread with a
racing car printed on it. His eyes roam the room and he
finally fixes on a big, no doubt purloined, burlesque
poster... ROSE LA ROSE, the Queen of Texas Burlesque... he
grins a little remembering the night he and his friends stole
off with the giant poster.
Suddenly, the door bursts open.
It's Dad, stark naked. Max by his side.
He's gone. Not in the place.
Dad. Mom died. She's not coming back.
He has the ticket.
Don rises, sits on the edge of the bed.
Mom died, Dad. She's gone.
He has the ticket.
He turns, walks out. Max following.
Don watches. The grin he wore for ROSE LA ROSE now replaced
by a sad grimace. He picks up the card he was given at the
funeral, and dials on his old Incredible Hulk dial phone.
Vic Hudnut please... oh, Vic, it's
Don Markel... I hope it's not too
early to call...
(Suddenly a CRASH is
heard... maybe a pot
Vic... could you come by my Dad's
house... well, as soon as you can...
I have to get back for a court case
in Portland... tomorrow.
Another CRASH is heard.
Thanks... yeah... see you then.
Don dashes out of the room... another crash is heard.
INT. THE KITCHEN - DAY
Don runs into the kitchen. The toaster is in the sink with
the water running, causing electrical sparks and buzzes, but
Dad is not there.
Another CRASH is heard, more distinctive, garbage cans and
(his eyes widen)
He runs out of the kitchen.
EXT. THE ICY PATH TO THE GARAGE - DAY
Crashing sounds, as Don slips and slides, falls, gets up and
enters through a side door.
INT. THE GARAGE - DAY
ON DON -- FROZEN in a stance of sheer terror.
HIS VIEW --
Dad is in the car, naked, driving back and forth, smashing
into the garbage cans and his old work shop machines, wooden
toys falling off the shelves above, then back into the wooden
garage door, cracking it. Max, the dog, is in the car too.
Dad... stop! Stop!
Don tries to open the car door but Dad is locked in, and
doesn't hear him. We can see Dad talking to himself inside,
and then he sees Don trying to open the door, but pays no
attention. He crashes into the garage door, bam, and then
crashes again, wildly shifting the gear lever back and forth.
Finally, Don gloms onto a shovel from nowhere, and with all
his might, he hits the back window of the moving car, but it
doesn't break. He keeps hitting it and hitting it, and doesn't
realize that the car has stopped and Dad, naked, has stepped
out of the car, and is watching Don curiously.
Don't act crazy. Don't act crazy!!
Don does a take, freezes the shovel above his head, and looks
He's not in the place.
Exhausted, Don exchanges a look with his Dad. His Dad gestures
meaninglessly. Relieved, Don mimics the gesture.
INT. DAD'S BEDROOM - DAY
Don has Dad into his underwear shorts and pants, and is
kneeling to put on socks and shoes.
Is this what Mom did for you everyday?
And she kept it all a secret...
I do my own!
Dad kicks off the shoe.
The DOORBELL RINGS...
Cut it out!
The DOORBELL RINGS again.
JUST A MINUTE! I'll be there in a
(struggling with the
Come on Dad. Let me do this.
He and Dad struggle some more, and he finally gets the other
Okay, now the shirt... and... we'll
get you down for some breakfast...
ON VIC HUDNUT
Is this the one?
As Vic enters the room, sees the problem, picks up Dad's
shirt and holds it open...
Your Mom's house was always open,
Don... just walk in -- cookies and
hot chocolate --
As Don directs Dad's arms into the sleeves.
How come you remember things, and I
remember nothing... my Mom had
You left town, Donny, and I stayed.
So, I remember... even if you don't.
They direct Dad out of the room. Max follows.
I thought you were a real estate
agent, not a psychologist.
Freud, that's who got us into all
this hot soup... and Hitler... but I
forgive them both...
INT. THE KITCHEN
Empty. Mom's chair is featured. The gallery wall in the b.g.
As Don and Vic lead Dad into the room. Max too.
Very few historians see the connection
between Freud and Hitler. They were
both just frustrated and angry men...
like everybody else. What's for
They sit Dad down in the chair in front of the gallery of
snapshots. The water is still running over the now smoking
toaster in the sink. Don turns off the water, wipes off the
toaster while Vic forages in the refrigerator.
...guess it won't be toast.
Guess not. But, here's some milk
and... cereal... and orange juice...
Worth a shot.
ON DAD --
sitting motionless, expressionless, staring, and then, he
starts to blink curiously at his view.
HIS VIEW -- MOM'S CHAIR --
BACK ON SCENE
As Don puts the glass of juice in front of Dad, and Vic puts
a bowl of cereal in front of him.
Here, Dad... you have to eat.
Dad stares ahead, blinking.
ON MOM'S CHAIR -- empty.
PULLING BACK FAST to Dad's hands as he suddenly sweeps across
the table, knocking the juice and the cereal all over the
Oh, Dad, come on! Don't do that.
Dad jumps up from the table and heads away. Don starts after
Let him go... he's okay. Here...
check this out.
Don spreads some papers on the kitchen table.
The listing. Sign here and the house
will be listed and advertised right
away. We'll price it, say, $15,000
over the market... leave some room
Suddenly Dad punches the window open, and throws out some
feed for the birds on the feeding station. The birds come
immediately. Max woofs and growls.
Vic... maybe we could just rent it
out, the house out, until...
Until when, Donny? -- you'll need
the cash to pay the nursing home.
Lots of cash.
Don nods, takes the pen and signs. Sighs.
Dad... let's go see if we can find
Dad turns from the birds.
...is she there now? You know his
You go ahead... go see the man. I
can clean up around here.
The man... she's there now?
Yes, Dad... he's there now.
Dokeyokey, you go.
Dad turns to go, trips over Mom's chair, then straightens
the chair back to its exact original position. Max starts to
follow him. Vic grabs Max.
Go ahead. I'll put the dog in the
Don is ready to break into pieces. He nods to Vic, and takes
Dad out the door.
HOLD on Mom's chair.
I didn't have the heart to tell Dad
where he was going. I felt bad about
tricking him... even though he...
INT. THE FAMILY CAR - DAY
Don and Dad. Don at the wheel. Dad is seat-belted in.
...wouldn't know the difference...
or maybe he would. I thought about
how when I was seven years old... He
asked me if I wanted to go to Camp
Cherokee for the summer.
DAD'S VIEW -- THROUGH THE WINDOWS
Dad is looking around, turns his head.
...no, no, not the place. Where are
you going... that way!
Okay, Dad... let's try it.
Don takes a left hand turn, hometown nostalgia blurs through
INTERCUTTING, DON AND DAD with the scenery
...I said no to Camp Cherokee. I
wanted to stay home... I had to stay
home. I had to conquer riding my new
bike, and I told him how important
THAT was to me. So, he said, okay
that we won't go to Camp Cherokee...
we'll just take a ride in the country.
EXT. DAD'S HOUSE - DAY
As Vic Hudnut says goodbye to Max the dog, shuts the door on
Max's sad look and gets into his car.
Where you going!! ...not the place!!
That way! You know which way it is!
Why do you do it!!?
BACK ON SCENE -- Dad and Don in the car, driving.
I'm trying to find the man for you,
Don takes another turn... heading in a new direction.
EXT. DAD'S HOUSE
Quiet. Then, suddenly, a window is smashed open and Max jumps
through the flying shards, lands on his feet in the snow,
and takes off across the back yard and into the woods.
For you? Why for you? The man can't
wait... where is the ticket! The
ticket! The ticket!
Max disappears into the woods.
BACK ON SCENE -- INSIDE THE MOVING CAR --
Needless to say when we got to Camp
Cherokee, I was beside myself. I
yelled and screamed at my Dad! You
tricked me! You tricked me! And I
swore too. You tricked me... you...
you... COMMUNIST! It was the worst
thing anyone could call anyone else.
Dad is getting very frustrated.
You... don't... not this way! That
No, Dad, I'm pretty sure. It's this
You! You! Never right! Stupid!
Stupid... Turn... turn!
Dad grabs the wheel and he and Don start struggling. Dad
strains to reach over the seat belt straps, and he has an
iron grip on the wheel.
INTERCUT: On the streets, the car swerves, barely missing
another car. A truck honks! The car slides on the ice, bounces
off a tree and keeps going.
INSIDE THE CAR, Don is pulling at Dad's hands, and they are
screaming at each other furiously.
Don wins the battle, but now Dad keeps flailing at Don's
No good! You're not good! Bad! Bad
Don, as a kid, rowing a boat like a demon in a race on the
lake at Camp Cherokee. Cheering spectators.
That did hurt. No matter how old we
are, I guess, we still want to show
our Dad that we're a good person...
not a bad person.
ON DON, THE KID'S determined face, teeth gritted...
BACK TO SCENE
Don turns up a long graveled driveway towards an old mansion.
Dad notices the long, snowy drive towards the mansion.
...this the place?
Yes, Dad, this is the place.
Dad struggles violently to undo his seat belt, but he can't
figure it out.
INTERCUT: CAMP CHEROKEE
Don almost wins the race. He comes in second. The winner is
accoladed by the other kids and counselors. Don, the kid, is
alone in his rowboat, destroyed and alone in the crowd.
BACK ON SCENE:
The car pulls up in front of the mansion where a small sign
OLD OAKS-RETIREMENT HOME (Mentally challenged)
Don helps Dad to undo his seat belt, and Dad bolts out of
the car... and despite Don's protest... scurries up the steps
of the portico... as a woman walks out.
Don takes a deep breath behind the wheel, watching Dad through
Funny thing... even though I was
really pissed about being tricked, I
really had a great time at Camp
Cherokee that summer. I won a boat
race. But, I never bothered to tell
my Dad. I wanted him to suffer for
ON THE WOMAN, MRS. OAKLEY, THE DIRECTOR
as Dad approaches her with purpose in his every step.
Her greeting is warm, and Dad responds sociably. He smiles
and takes her offered hand, babbling incoherently as if he's
known her all his life.
ON DON -- IN THE CAR --
Don shakes his head in disbelief.
That's another thing. Dad was always
nicer to complete strangers than he
ever was to me.
Well, come in, Mr. Metropolis.
(under his breath)
Suddenly, Max appears!... in a great leap over a rocky wall,
dashes across the snow, joins Dad at his side with Mrs. Oakley
as they go in the front door of the Mansion.
INT. THE NURSING HOME
As Mrs. Oakley takes Dad by the arm. He feels comfortable
with her, as Don catches up...
...You're also Mr. Metropolis?
I'm Don Markel. Mar-kel. My Dad's
last name is Markopoulis.
Oh, I see. Please hold on to the
dog... many patients are afraid of
dogs. And you understand... of
Oh... um... yes, of course.
Don sees Max, does a take, looks around; takes Max by the
collar and tries to keep up.
Mrs. Oakley walks them into the Activities Room. Antique men
and women wandering, sleeping, pretending to listen to the
Activities Director reading the newspaper to them.
A remarkably spry and zaftig older woman in a sort of ragtag
nurse's outfit approaches.
Welcome to the Old-Timers ward. Your
father has been diagnosed?
Yes, Miss Cooper. Yes, senile dementia
is Dr. Sidney's diagnosis.
I'm so glad. That means he'll be in
my care. Oho... how handsome and not
She takes Dad's arm and cuddles him close to her substantial
old bosom. Dad's eyes pop. He likes it. He reaches out for a
feel; and she moves her bosom right into his hands. He latches
on to her bosom for dear life.
Miss Cooper, please. Mr. Metropolis
still has to be admitted.
Dad looks at his son, Don. Still holding 'Nurse' Cooper's
bosom. His eyes steely and far off.
Don is taken aback. So sudden.
Dad... I want to see your room...
Don's eyes start to cloud. He moves to kiss his Dad. Dad
holds on to one bosom while he flails his other arm violently,
pushing Don away.
I told... GOOD-BYE. You!
Don is hurt like a little boy, his eyes beginning to tear.
Dad flails his arms violently again and again, he pushes Don
Dad. Why are you so angry with me?
What did I do?
...this is the place.
Now, Dad gives Don a mighty shove with both hands.
Dad... please... I need to know...
why did you beat me up... when I was
Now Dad rushes Don full force, flailing at him mercilessly,
while Don uses his arms to cover himself without hurting his
father. Max is barking. Mrs. Oakley is yelling. Don is being
pummeled mercilessly, when --
He beat you up? I don't remember
It's Vic Hudnut. As usual, he's appeared from nowhere. Dad
stops the pummeling --
I brought something for Dad's room.
I hope it's okay. He loves birds...
and I know they don't allow dogs.
Vic produces a birdcage with two parakeets, on a stand.
DAD grabs the birdcage and stand, and heads up the hallway
with Nurse Cooper on one arm, and Mrs. Oakley on the other.
Max starts to follow, but Vic catches him by the collar. Max
ON DON --
breathless and shaken. Max's whining is HEARD OVER, allowing
US the impression that it could be Don who is whining.
ON DON'S VIEW
...Dad disappearing down the hall and through a set of double
INT. 747 - CABIN CLASS - NIGHT
The "redeye", most people are sleeping in semi-darkeness,
but Don's face is spotlighted by the reading light above. He
stares ahead, his laptop computer on a musical notes screen
saver, waiting for his command.
I couldn't figure anything out. I
never did know why my Dad had beat
me up when I was thirteen and now he
tried it again. My son, Richie was
now thirteen and scheduled to tell
the judge whether he wanted to live
with his Mom, who was moving to
Hawaii, or with me who he had only
seen on some weekends and holidays
for the last three years. And
Christmas was only two days away.
Then, it struck me that I hadn't had
a moment to grieve the loss of my
mother, and I wondered why I hadn't
even shed a tear.
On the computer, little dancing musical notes. Just a glimpse.
INT. THE OLD OAKS RETIREMENT HOME - DINING ROOM
The 'Old Timers' patients are at dinner, in various states
of dress, some are in hospital robes, but most are dressed.
It is a study in slow eating. They are having soup, and each
eats his or her own soup in his own way... just watching the
soup, lifting a spoon in an agonizingly slow process to the
lips, and one man, the man next to Dad is slurping his soup
very quickly. He might be ninety, skinny as a rail. Dad is
not eating his soup.
...day but not too much...
I was pissed my first few days too...
but you gotta eat... and the food's
Where do you do?
I'm Sid Graybar. Remember Graybar
Heating... delivered coal... all
A good day. You had a ticket.
Best in town. How's your family.
Best in town.
Sid laughs loudly, upsetting some ladies.
Be quiet. You idiot.
Eat your soup, you old bitch.
Dad laughs. Sid nods knowingly.
You'll be okay. We can be buddies...
or didn't you notice... we're the
only two men here... these damn wimmin
outlive their husbands...
Too bad, you!
Yeah... too bad is right.
"Nurse" Cooper gets up, comes around the table to Dad.
Now, listen, Mr. Metropolis. You
listen to me... it's almost bedtime,
and I have a little extra time to
tuck you in early. Would you like
Dad looks up at her, blinking. She takes his hand and
practically lifts him out of his chair.
The other women shake their heads and ad-lib their
disapproval. Sid can only grin wickedly.
In the background, a few patients are putting gifts under
the Christmas tree.
INT. AIRLINES DEPARTURE AREA - NIGHT
Don walks off the plane amongst people being greeted all
around him, but he walks through alone.
The Portland airport is adorned with Martha Stewart K-Mart
Vic said Max would just keep escaping
to run to Dad at the Nursing home,
so it would be best if I gave Max
away to someone in Portland.
INT. BAGGAGE AREA - NIGHT
ON MAX -- IN HIS KENNEL CARRIER-BEHIND A METAL GRID
Well, hi Mr. Dog... did you have a
good trip? Waiting for your master?
PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
A funky, spunky young woman dressed like Annie Hall would if
she worked on a farm. She sweet talks Max, as --
IN THE BACKGROUND
Don has picked up his bag from the carousel and is walking
over to Max's cage.
He's so cute? What's his name?
This is Max.
He has an old spirit. My daughter
would love him.
Well... he's looking for a good home.
He is?... You've got to be joking?
Max had done it again. He found
himself a new home and introduced me
to the love of my life. Jan. Of
course, I didn't know that 'til later.
INT. THE NURSING HOME - DAD'S BEDROOM
Dad is lying on his stomach in his bed. His shirt is off and
"Nurse" Cooper is now pulling off his pajama pants.
Now, this is very good. Mr.
Metropolis. I need to examine you
completely, and then I'm going to
give you a full body sponge bath.
Are you comfortable?
...the tic-up rub the milk. Petes
...and you like it when I examine
the back of your thigh...? Yes?
Good... good. My money.
Sid Graybar ambles into the room, pays little attention to
what Nurse Cooper is doing, and she pays little attention to
So, this is your room? It's just
like my room... Oh, this IS my room.
Sid recalls that the lone Christmas card on his bedside table
is his, but he puzzles over just who "YOUR BISMARK INSURANCE
AGENT" might be.
I'm giving him a full body
examination, but I can't give you
one. Doctor's orders.
She has gone a little beyond the thigh. Dad's head pops up
in a state of wide-eyed ecstatic surprise.
But see my side of the room. I have
pictures of my wife and my sister,
but you don't have any pictures.
Nurse turns Dad over on his back. Now, her eyes pop.
Oh-oh. OoooOh. Look out. That's good,
honey, That's very good!
Quickly she throws a towel over his mid-section.
...and you have family still living.
You have two birds. But not me, I'm
86 and I've outlived everybody I
(Sid leans over
parallel to Dad's
face and into his
Nurse doing a good job on you?
Do you know I'm here with the nuts
in the Looney bin because I want to
Sid climbs into his own bed, just a few feet from Dad's.
Nobody brought me here. I brought
myself because I didn't want to live
alone. They didn't have a room for
me in the Cody Wing... so they put
me in here. I could've moved, but I
like it here.
A real nurse, Mrs. Russel, comes to the door.
Everybody tucked in. You need some
help Mr. Metropolis?
Dad gasps incoherently. Suspicious, Mrs. Russell enters
towards Dad. "Nurse" Cooper ducks down.
What's...? Oh, dear, Miss Cooper...
This isn't right.
She huffs past Mrs. Russel, with one last word at the door
as she escapes...
He only needs love.
Mrs. Russel gives a last bedcheck to both Dad and Sid. She
puts a cover over Dad's naked body, tucks him in.
Well... tomorrow's another day.
She goes, leaving FULL ROOM SHOT OF dad and Sid in the semi-
darkness lying in their beds. Sid looks at the ceiling as --
It's too bad you didn't meet Herb.
Well... of course, you couldn't meet
Herb because he died last week...
then of course if he hadn't died,
you wouldn't be my new roommate
because you're sleeping in Herb's
old bed. But you woulda liked Herb.
Bat for sincey... how date pile,
ticket for the man... then man.
You're looking for the man?
At the company... guess the birds...
to go but boxes lost to wooden... go
To see the man.
MOVING IN on the parakeets in their cage...
Okay... but you can't worry about it
The two parakeets are already sleeping.
FADE OUT on the two parakeets.
INT. COURTROOM - MORNING
ON A JUDGE
...so each parent wants you to live
with them... go to school. You've
lived with your Mom for the last
four years... why shouldn't you
continue to live with her now?
ON RICHIE -- Thirteen, bright, non-plussed.
...she's moving to Hawaii, but I
want to play Hockey. They don't have
WIDER -- Hearing room includes Don and his lawyer, Mel, and
Susie, Don's ex, and her lawyer.
So you want to live with your Dad,
here in Portland, where they do have
hockey? And some good schools, I
Well, maybe, but my Dad has to work
every day and he lives in a little
condo, but my Mom is rich... or her
new fiancÚ is rich... and they are
moving into a big house... and...
So, you'd be better off there...
she'll take you to school every day?
Um... Well, she sleeps 'till eleven
every morning, so, she can't take
me... but I could take a cab.
But, there's no hockey.
Judge turns to the parents and lawyers.
Now, which of you two really wants
Both parents and both lawyers answer simultaneously.
DON, SUSIE, MEL, HAL
I do. She does, your honor, he does,
The Judge looks at all of them.
You ever hear of the wisdom of
They look at him blankly.
Invoking the wisdom of Solomon...
and knowing that Richie here can
stay through New Year's to see how
he likes living with his Dad...
For a change. He's been living with
you for four years... and I really
think the only person here capable
of deciding who Richie should live
They all hang on his final word.
With a sly and knowing grin, he brings the gavel down!
They are all severally and individually dumbfounded, mouths
agape. Even Richie.
INT. DON'S TWO ROOM CONDO - NIGHT
It's small, but it has a great view of the city lights of
Portland, Ore. Good guess he's on the 20th floor of a downtown
high-rise condo building. Chic, but clinical. A tiny, plastic,
tabletop Christmas tree with a few gifts is a sad looking
concession to the holiday spirit.
Don is couch-potatoing, doing three things at once, watching
the Blazers on TV, working some actuarial figures on his
laptop computer, and talking to Max, who lies on the floor,
watching him for his next move.
(to the Blazers)
...good God, put the damn ball in
the basket!! Oh, no... Jesus!
It's half-time. Blazers lead by a point. He shakes his head,
starts typing, but Max is eyeballing him, and he feels it.
Hey! Max... don't look at me like
that. I didn't create the situation.
I just play the hand I'm dealt...
and if I can play the hand I'm dealt
so can you... 'cause you're a dog.
Just a dog.
The doorbell rings. His cell phone rings, too.
He walks with the cell phone to the door, looks through the
peephole. Opens the door. The young woman in jeans and a
funny hat is there, this time with little girl in hand.
YOUNG WOMAN (JAN PATRICK)
Hi... Mr. Markel?
Yes... oh, you're...
Jan Patrick. My daughter, Bren. To
The phone buzzes insistently. He finally answers it.
Okay... you want to meet Max.
Don Markel. Oh... um... hold on.
Is it okay...?
Sure. Max! Come here, Max.
Max looks over the couch with a curious look on his wise dog
See, Bren, isn't he great?
She goes to Max.
Bren this is Max.
She smiles. They both pet Max, who is friendly but cautious.
Don moves away into the kitchen area, with his back to them.
While Bren and Jan check out Max in the foreground.
Susie? Sorry... um... okay, so how
do you want to arrange this... fine,
he can stay with you tonite in the
hotel, and I'll pick him up
tomorrow... Yes, I've already got
him the hockey stuff. Yes, I can
afford it. Yes, I can afford the
time... I'll make the time.
He returns to the living area... carrying a leash and a dog
(to Jan and Bren)
You like Max?
...we need a big dog to protect the
chickens from the mountain lions.
Bren? You like Max?
I love him. Mom...?
Ok, yes... Mr. Markel?
Mountain lions... Max?
Don't worry he's big... so they won't
even try to fight him. Unless they're
Don's not sure, but nods anyway, and hands over the leash
and the dog dish.
We also have a cat... and Max will
A cat named Greta.
I just can't keep a dog. It's a no
(into the phone)
Hold on, Susie... hold on.
I understand. So, um, Merry Christmas.
Don blinks. Oh, yeah, Christmas.
Uh, yes... Merry Christmas.
Don gives Max a farewell pat on the head and ushers them
out. Watches them go down the hall. Max turns his head back
to look at Don, then continues down the hall with his new
Way down the hall, at the elevator, Bren hugs Max, then hugs
her Mom. Don remains in the foreground on cordless phone in
Oh, Mom, he's great. Thanks.
Susie... okay, so, it's O.K. I'll
pick him up. Send his P.J's... ok?
You're welcome. Have a good trip.
Merry Christmas Aloha.
They hug again and board the elevator.
Don hangs up the phone. FOLLOW DON back into his condo.
Aloha. Ho. Ho. Ho.
He plops back down on the couch. Scottie Pippen blocks a
He looks at the TV with a glassy eyed stare. Sighs.
Suddenly, with one sweeping, seething, flail of his arms,
like Dad, Don knocks everything off the coffee table,
including the sad little Christmas tree and gifts... and
Jesus! What kind of a life is this?
ON TV: Rasheed Wallace swoops through the air, and slam dunks.
INT. DAD'S ROOM - OLD OAKS - DAWN
ON THE TWO BIRDS... chirping at the DAWN.
Dad is staring at the ceiling, wide-eyed, in the same position
as he went to bed.
Sid is fast asleep.
Dad hears the birds chirping. He gets out of bed, looks at
the birds, throws some seed on their little feeding station.
They eat, chirp, he grins.
Dad grins, and responds... to the birds.
Merry Chr... Chri...
The voice belongs to a new nurse, a male nurse, Derrick, a
big black guy.
Here I am, Mr. Macropoulis
(Dad whirls around)
Dad looks at him like he's crazy. Derrick picks up the phone
at bedside, holds the receiver in the air.
It's your son. In Oregon.
Dad blinks. Puzzled.
No, your son, Don, in Oregon. He
wants to wish you a Merry Christmas.
(Dad just blinks)
On the telephone.
Dad just blinks. Sid sits up.
It's your son. On the telephone.
Dad looks at Sid, looks at the phone.
Oh... doo, your son.
Dad takes the phone to his ear, but he's got it upside down.
We can hear Don trying to talk through the phone. "Dad, are
you there...?" Dad blinks, knocks the receiver a couple of
times on the edge of the bedside table to make it work.
Here, try it this way.
Derrick takes the receiver and turns it around correctly to
Dad's ear. We can hear Don's Voice trying to make contact.
Dad can hear Don but he just blinks.
Say Hello, Mister Macropoulis.
Dad just blinks, not sure what to do.
Sid rises up again, looks at Dad.
Say Hello to your son.
Dad brightens, seems to understand Sid. What is it about
Derrick gives the high sign to Sid.
CUT AND INTERCUT TO:
INT. DON'S HI-RISE APARTMENT - DAY
INTERCUT WITH DAD'S ROOM ON PHONES
Don is on the phone while in the background Richie is putting
on an array of hockey equipment... just out of the boxes.
Don has a cheap electronic keyboard that Richie gave him.
Dad... how are you doing there? Are
they taking care of you?
It's frustrating. Dad's voice is all mumbles.
I called to wish you a Merry
Christmas. Merry Christmas.
I said... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
I'm with Richie on Christmas Day...
Richie! My son. Your grandson. He
wants to talk to you.
Richie... it's Grampa.
Don brings the phone to Richie's ear. Richie takes the phone.
Huh? What did you say?
I can't understand what you are
saying. Are you okay? How is Max?
Sex. Yes... play.
RICHIE'S PHONE VOICE
Your dog, Max. How is Max?
ON DON, biting his lip, eager to take the phone.
She can't hear.
Sid takes the phone.
Hello. This is Sid Graybar...
Huh? ...oh, it's for you. Sid Graybar.
Don grabs the phone.
Hello. Who is this?
I'm your Dad's roommate.
Oh, hi, how's he doing?
He and I are buddies. He's doing
fine. He wants me to tell you and
your boy... Merry Christmas.
But Dad is already wandering out of the room, having trouble
with the doorknob. Finally, he gets it and goes out.
EXT. PORTLAND RIVERSIDE - DAY
Don and Richie, walking along the riverside park near the
great fountain. Richie is definitely overdressed in the pads
and uniform of a big time hockey player, the white goalie's
mask is worn by Don flipped up on his forehead, and he also
carries Richie's hockey stick and Richie's skates are carried
over Don's shoulder.
...but why didn't anyone tell me?
I did tell you, Rich.
I mean then... WHEN she died.
Well, you were at your Mom's, and I
think she probably felt it would be
better if I told you.
I'm never going to see my grandma
A long pause. Don has his own feelings about his mother.
Will I see Grampa again, Dad?
(Richie looks at him.
...the truth, of
I don't know. In any case, you can
tell, Grampa will never be the same
person you knew.
Yeah, I can tell. But, you know
something, Dad. Grampa knows about
life... and I'll bet he still knows
how to have fun.
Ahead of them is the ice-rink... and also, some people
walking... a dog.
Don stops, does a take. Squints.
Yep, it's the young woman, Jan Patrick, and her daughter and
another kid, walking a dog, and yep, the dog is Max.
What about Grampa's dog... did they
allow Max at the old folks home?
Un... no... um... I mean yes, yes
They did! That's really neat... Grampa
loves that dog. They're... like,
The woman and kids and Max go into the enclosure of the
outdoor skating rink.
Um, Richie... it's getting awfully
cold, and... um... I forgot to tell
...um... to tell you... I'm not really
feeling that well, and... um... we
have that party to go to... we'll
just have to do hockey... um...
But, Dad, I'm taking a lesson. Mr.
Bolton is waiting... That party is
Max and the woman and kids are getting closer. Don physically
turns Richie around and heads the other direction.
Richie, I'm getting really sick... I
have to go back to the condo... I'm
Yeah. I think you're having your
Don gives him a funny look, and pushes him along.
I'd lied to my son, and... don't
think I didn't feel bad about it.
But why? Richie could handle the
truth. Hah! O.K. I got it. I'm the
one... who couldn't handle the truth.
ON JAN PATRICK --
with Bren and Max, the dog, and a couple of other kids, her
eye caught something at a distance... Don having turned and
walked the other way with Richie... she stops, wonders, then
joins the others again...
INT. THE LIVING ROOM - OLD OAKS - DAY
Almost all the patients are just sitting and sleeping in
chairs. A big Christmas tree dominates the room.
All right, everybody. Perk up...
we're going to light the Christmas
tree... and it's almost 2 o'clock...
visitors and singing... and gifts...
He turns the switch to light the big tree, which is beautiful.
Most everyone looks spacey-eyed at the tree, and one woman
applauds a little.
Sid and Dad sit together amongst fifteen women.
That's nothing. I've seen better.
Dad nods his agreement.
We could have some real fun if they'd
Dad nods. Sid looks at her.
You're not included.
She sticks her nose up indignantly.
You've gotten your share of sponge
baths from me.
They look at Dad. Sid and Nurse do a take.
Ho-ho-ho... Merry Christmas.
Several middle-aged people and a few kids are trooped in
through the main hallway into the living room, bearing
Christmas gifts... They spread out to their mothers and
grandmothers, "Merry-Christmas" ing as they go.
Nurse and Dad giggle.
EXT. A COUNTRY HOUSE - DECORATED - OREGON - NIGHT
Richie and Don are trekking in the rain with an umbrella,
gifts in hand towards the house. So is another father and
I don't get it, Dad. If you don't
know anybody... who do you give the
We just put 'em under the tree. I
give mine to any Mom, and you give
yours to any other kid.
And you don't even know 'em? How do
you know these people?
I saw it in the newspaper. It's for
single parents and their kids.
They ring the doorbell. Someone answers immediately. And
overweight earth mother with a big smile.
INT. THE CHRISTMAS PARTY HOUSE - PORTLAND - NIGHT
Hi... I'm Nan. Merry Christmas.
She hugs Don and then hugs Richie. They look at each other.
Come on in... put your gifts under
the tree. Betty, Peter... this is...?
I'm Don... this is Richie.
BETTY AND PETER
Hi... Merry Christmas !
Betty and Peter take turns hugging Don and Richie, who see
each other over the shoulders of the huggers and exchange
wide-eyed pleas of helplessness.
They stop hugging and three more people line up.
As they start to hug Don and Richie, we --
INT. LIVING ROOM - OLD OAKS - LATE DAY
Everyone, old patients, dressed up on their 40's and 50's,
their children, nurses, Mrs. Oakley, gifts have been
exchanged. The patients try on their new sweaters and warm
booties. Some have been given toys, rubber balls to squeeze,
a slinky, and --
Mrs. Oakley is at the piano, leafing through a book of
Look... I got a tie. My nephew in
North Dakota. He's seventy-two...
and you thought I didn't have any
living relatives. I think I gave HIM
this tie... fifteen years ago. What'd
Dad opens a little jewel box, and pulls out his treasure.
It's a Fashion Condom. Dad doesn't seem to know what it is.
Who gave you THAT?
From across the room, "Nurse" Cooper winks.
Where did SHE get it?
Derrick has a grin on his face. He shrugs.
Dad blinks, puzzled. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.
Mrs. MacKay, a patient who has always looked curious, reaches
out to Dad... takes the condom from his hand to inspect it,
then passes it along to another patient... Dad is not sure
he likes what they are doing.
ON SCENE -- AT THE PIANO
MRS. OAKLEY IS AT THE PIANO, AND ONE, AND TWO - AND -
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a
little shiny nose and if you ever
saw him you would even say it glows...
She starts to play and sing... and the crowd is slow to join
her, but the sing-a-long picks up as:
...the condom is passed around the circle of senile
inspectors, none quite sure what it is, as Dad's eyes follow
the condom from hand to hand in the circle --
INT. COUNTRY HOUSE IN PORTLAND - DAY
SEGUE SING-A-LONG-SAME SONG-DIFFERENT PEOPLE
...they wouldn't let poor Rudolph
play in any reindeer games. Then one
foggy Christmas eve Santa came to
Similar scene with younger people. Gifts opened and tried
out and worn.
Don and Richie are on the periphery of the sing-along carolers
around the piano. Don's gift is opened and in hand, it's
Natural Oatmeal Soap, nicely packaged. Richie is holding a
Barbie doll... negotiating a trade with a little girl for
the Action Figure she has in hand.
I have six Barbies! And I LIKE Action
Man. I feel sorry for you and all
but... what can I do?
Richie shrugs. They move in closer... towards the piano
player, who sits with her little girl on the bench, playing
She turns to Don. It's Jan Patrick.
(in between notes)
Hi, there. Mr. Markel.
Don gulps. Richie does a take.
You should see Max. He's great. He
barks at everybody,... he's very
protective of us.
Don smiles wanly. Richie is puzzled, thinks about it.
Look! You got MY gift. See, it says
Don nods weakly. Richie is starting to get it.
And... I think I got YOURS! Yes?
Chanel... how nice.
She holds up a tiny bottle of Chanel eau d'toilet. Don nods
uncomfortably as Richie gives him a sadly puzzled, dirty
look, and moves back and away into the crowd. Don doesn't
know which way to go. Jan gets his attention to sing-a-long.
JAN/DON ET AL.
Three French Hens, Two turtle doves...
INT. LIVING ROOM - OLD OAKS - LATE DAY
...and a Partridge in a Pear tree,
A short Conga Line has started, those few able bodies have
joined in the Conga Line, singing, circling through the living
room, singing. Dad and Sid included... and just as another
chorus is sung, Nurse Cooper joins the group from down the
hall... and she holds up her prize -- The birdcage with Dad's
...AND a Partridge in a Pear
Cheers. She has scored a triumph with the crowd, and they
continue to dance around and sing.
Dad looks funny... and moves to Nurse.
His dolls. His dolls.
Dad reaches for the cage. She pulls it away.
We're just having fun.
Agitated, Dad takes a swipe at the cage. She pulls it away.
taunting him. He takes another swipe.
His dolls!! His!
He lunges and grabs the cage from her. Both Dad and the cage
crash to the floor.
The birds fly out...
Chaos reigns. The nurses come to Dad's aid. Nurse Cooper is
shouting her defense. The singing stops. The patients are
frightened. The bird fly around through the people. Screaming.
One of the birds lands on Mrs. Oakley... she shrieks and the
bird takes off. The nurses are chasing the birds. The birds
Sid takes Dad's hand -- and just as they are about to reach
the door, Dad dashes over to the circle of patients, grabs
the condom as it's being passed by one gnarled hand to another
gnarled hand... and he's gone.
Yes... birds... come on.
Sid leads Dad through the crowd.
NEW ANGLE --
INT. THE FRONT HALLWAY - DAY
No one there as Sid leads Dad from the crowd seen in the
Living Room and into the hall. Sid looks around. No one there.
That's the sanest thing you've ever
The cloak room is there. Sid takes two overcoats, hands one
to Dad... and two scarves.
LET'S GO HAVE FUN!
Dad grins nervously, but follows Sid to the front door... as
in the background, Derrick is on a chair coaxing one of the
birds down from the chandelier.
Two men with Santa Hats walk out the front door. Sid and
EXT. OLD OAKS - NIGHT
Sid and Dad walk through the front gate and along the
ON DAD AND SID WALKING
Go. Where? We'll go to see the Man.
Want to find the man?
Ticket... see the man.
Dad smiles at Sid, bumps into a street lamp. Sid turns him
around and they go.
It's a real Christmas night. Snow glistening on the ground,
neighborhood street lamps casting the long shadows of leafless
One lone car is coming, it's headlights bright on the icy
street. It's very slippery and the car moves at a snails
pace. It's actually a mini-pickup truck...
The street lamp casts the long shadows of Two Men Walking
then picking up a little speed --
Hey, remember... ...we were kids!
Sid just fast enough to get behind the pickup truck, secretly
grab on to its back gate, and planting his feet just right,
Sid skates on the icy street. Dad loves it, and once Sid is
secured, Dad hurries to take a ride too.
OUR VIEW rides with them as they ride with joyous smiles.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle
all the way...!
...ingle -- boy-the way.
NEW ANGLE --
EXT. LOCAL THOROUGHFARE - NIGHT
FROM THIS ANGLE, it's a quiet night on the thoroughfare, and
the street isn't icy, unlike the icy side street which
intersects it. Just now, coming gingerly towards us on the
side street is the Mini-pickup truck, and when it gets to
the intersection, it turns! Sent siding and sprawling into a
big embankment piled at the side of the road are it's
riders... Sid and Dad.
ON THE SNOW BANK,
Dad and Sid are sprawled with ecstatic and exhausted smiles
on their faces, catching their breath.
Finally. Dad mumbles something and Sid agrees.
See. There's still life in the old
Dad is tracking something.
It's a city bus coming up the thoroughfare.
Dad jumps up. Starts running for the bus.
Go... go. Home.
Dad waves the bus down and the bus stops for him well before
the bus stop.
The bus door opens, the Black DRIVER is in uniform except
for a Santa Hat just like Dad's:
Merry Christmas, Brother Claus.
Therr -- stmash.
You are smart not to be drinking and
driving. Hop on board, Mr. Claus.
Dad gets on halfway through the door... mumbles something
excitedly, holds the door open.
No problem... I'll wait.
Huffing as fast as his old legs will allow, Sid hustles up
the street and onto a bus.
The driver shuts the door and the bus goes.
INT. THE BUS - NIGHT
Dad has gone to the back of the bus, but Sid, also in his
Santa hat, tries to find some change in his pocket.
...Ooops... looks like I'm an
Oh, hell... it's Christmas. Don't
worry about it.
Sid pats his fellow Santa on the shoulder and moves to the
back of the bus with Dad. Except from them, the bus is empty.
They sit quietly next to each other.
Dad grins devilishly.
Dad opens his clenched fist. Grins. In his palm is the Fashion
Sid smiles, grabs for it playfully; but Dad clinches his
fist. Holds it tight.
INT. OLD OAKS - NIGHT
The Christmas guests are just saying their goodbyes, kissing
their loved ones, saying good-bye to the nurses and the
smiling Mrs. Oakley at the front door.
Quickly, the regular patients are once again alone, making
way with their aluminum walkers amidst the after math of
wrapping paper, napkins, paper plates of the party.
Well, I hope you will all agree...
it was a wonderful Christmas... and
now it's 7:30 and I'm sure you're
all tired, and I know those staff
members not on duty would like to
The old folks start moving back to their rooms, slowly.
EXT. THE CITY STREET - NIGHT
The City Bus moves up the street and pulls up to a bus stop.
ON THE BUS' DOOR...
...as it opens and Sid gets out. Dad was behind him, but Dad
suddenly runs to the back of the bus. The bus driver shuts
the door and takes off.
Sid watches as the bus moves up the street, then stops, then
backs up all the way back to Sid.
ON THE DOOR --
-- as it opens and Dad is standing there. He just stands
Okay, now. Merry Christmas. Make up
your mind... in or out.
Okay, I'll get back in.
He gets in. So Dad gets out. Dad's outside and Sid is inside.
Okay, is that it? What street do you
Hey, roomie, get back in.
Dad stands in the snow, puzzled, looks around. Then he points
down the side street.
Home? This is where you live?
Dad gets excited, points down the street!
Look, I understand. You guys have
had one too many... but you have got
to make up your minds.
Dad had run and slipped and slided down the street... so Sid
shrugs and stumbles off the bus after him.
The driver rolls his eyes, shuts the door, and drives off.
As Sid runs towards him. Dad is standing next to someone's
garbage cans. He picks up the garbage can covers from two
cans, and has a gleam in his eyes.
Wait for me.
Dad barely waits for Sid as he throws one of the garbage can
covers on the ground and jumps on to it, leaves the other
can cover behind as he starts sliding down the hilly suburban
street, picking up steam as he goes, looking back to Sid
with a crazy smile.
Sid watches, calls after him.
Hey, don't do that. It's dangerous.
He's not heard. He picks up his garbage can cover, shrugs,
Okay, the nuts have taken over the
He gets on his can cover, and we watch him follow Dad down
the long hill of Christmas decorated fine homes.
They are screaming into the cold silent night as --
INT. OLD OAKS - DAD AND SID'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Mrs. Oakley, dressed in her overcoat, the O.D. nurses, Mrs.
Russel and Derrick and one or two onlooker patients are
standing in the room with two made and unfettered beds.
The parakeets are back in their cage, and the cage is taped
shut with silver plumbers tape.
Okay, let's go through this once
more. They were both seen when the
Mr. Metropolis... yes.
It got so crazy...
Well, they are definitely not HERE...
so we'd better call the police again.
They shrug and look at each other collectively, as:
EXT. A BIG CIRCA 1930'S CRAFTSMAN STYLED HOUSE - NIGHT
The view is like a picture postcard, decorated and lighted
with flashing lights, a big Christmas tree in the living
room window. Otherwise the house is dark.
ON SID AND DAD
Standing, looking, their garbage can sleds just behind them.
THIS is where you live?
Okay, let's go.
They trek up the steps...
ON THE FRONT PORCH
As they arrive...
I didn't know you were rich. You got
Dad looks at the big front door, nods his head like a mystic,
and reached up and over one of the porch lights, and...
viola... produces the key. Hands it to Sid, with a big grin.
Sid opens the door, and swings the door open.
They walk in.
INT. THE BIG HOUSE - NIGHT
It is a beautiful traditional home, replete with Craftsman
1930's furniture, Tiffany lamps, and... in the living room,
the huge Christmas tree with dozens of already opened gifts
left under it and around the living room.
See what a nice family you've got.
They look around, Sid takes Dad's arm and leads him through
the foyer, and as they go, Sid stops Dad short.
They are standing under a sprig of mistletoe.
Sid looks at Dad, who is confused, and Sid gives him a buss
on the cheek... Dad grins, and they continue in.
This is the best friggin' Christmas
INT. THE KITCHEN - NIGHT
PANNING A WALL FULL OF SNAPSHOTS... not unlike the gallery
of snapshots on Dad's kitchen wall at his real home.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
It's dinner hour. Dinner everyone.
DAD AND SID ARRIVE INTO FRAME.
Sid points out the gallery of snapshots.
Nice family. That your wife? And
your son, nice lookin' man, and that's
your grandson. Nice. Here, you sit,
I'll get dinner.
Dad sits as Sid moves to the refrigerator.
No picture of you, I see... just
like my family, I took all the
snapshots, so I'm never in any
Dad's eyes are focused on something.
One of the chairs at the kitchen table is on an angle. Dad
moves the chair to resemble the angle of MOM'S CHAIR at his
Sid moves to the table with an array of foods. The basic
food groups. Grapes, lettuce, two half gallons of ice cream,
two different flavors, and a big jar of pickles.
That's what I hate about Old Oaks.
You have to eat what they give you.
Sid accidentally bumps Mom's Chair out of its position, starts
to sit. Dad quickly moves the chair back to its Mom's chair
position. Sid blinks, decides not to sit there, and sits in
another chair, starts to serve the food.
Now we can find out just how come
pregnant women love to eat ice cream
And he serves ice cream and pickles onto Dad's plate.
Dad starts to eat a pickle, dips it into the ice cream and
eats it. He takes another long look at Mom's Chair, as we --
EXT. OLD OAKS - THE PORTICO - NIGHT
Mrs. Oakley with two police officers, and other officers
looking around the grounds in the b.g. with flashlights.
Three police cars are in the driveway, with flashing lights.
...now that I think of it, two of
our Christmas party visitors, Mr.
Sweeney, and Mr. Fiedler both reported
their overcoats missing...
(referring to notes)
...one a long, brown gabardine, and
the other a tweedy grey.
The Police Officer takes notes.
Is it possible that they might not
have walked off... but were taken
home by their families...?
...Well, Mr. Graybar has no family,
and Mr. Markopolis... just got here...
...maybe they went "home" to Mr.
Metropolis's house... Um, Nurse
Cooper, thank you, everything's under
Nurse Cooper has stuck her nose out the front door. And she
goes back in with a huff at Mrs. Oakley's insistence.
We're checking out Mr. Markopoulis's
house... but if they're not there,
we're going to have to put out a
Oh, dear, that would be negative
publicity for Old Oaks.
I understand... hopefully they'll
turn up in the next hour or two.
A piece of mistletoe hangs over their heads. Mrs. Oakley
gives the officer a little peck.
I couldn't resist.
The officer smiles, tips his cap, and --
EXT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT
Vic is guiding two policemen through the house IN ONE FLUID
CAMERA SHOT. Vic talks nervously and the cops say nothing.
This is the kitchen. Dining Room...
it's a Bert Norris built house...
1945, so you know it was well built
if you know Bert Norris' reputation...
but, hah, here I am trying to sell
you the house... when you're looking
to find out if... Mr. Markopoulis
tried to come home. You say he's
with Sid Graybar. I thought Sid
Graybar died... his daughter died
five years ago. I sold the house.
They inspected most of the house. Cop talks into a Cellular
(in to phone)
Officer Burton. We're at the house
on Dalton Street. No sign of them
Okay... we'll scout the bus station.
Thanks for your trouble.
EXT. THE FINE HOUSE - ANOTHER HOMETOWN TABLEAU - DAWN
The Christmas decorations are bright in the dark of the dawn
until, within a few seconds, a big orange ball rises over
the hill, and the dark turns to light.
INT. THE HOUSE - THE KITCHEN - DAWN
Dad is asleep sitting up in his chair at the kitchen table.
One of the two gallons of ice cream has tipped over and its
melted creamy contents are spilled on the table. The lettuce
is wilted. The pickle jar is empty.
A P.A. Amplified Voice fills the air with a Big Voice from
HELLO. TESTING. TESTING. THIS IS THE
VOICE OF YOUR CONSCIENCE. YES, I
MEAN YOU. THIS IS THE VOICE... OF
Dad's eyes pop open. The VOICE continues:
THE VOICE OF THE MAN KNOWS ALL...
EVEN THOSE THINGS YOU NEVER TOLD
Dad's eyes pop open more. He looks around. Nobody. Sid's
gravelly old voice continues:
AND EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE SENILE NOW
AND CONFUSED, YES, I, THE VOICE OF
THE MAN KNOWS THAT YOU CAN STILL
THINK AND REMEMBER AND FEEL THINGS.
Dad is really frightened. He starts to tremble and look to
...I didn't mean... who... you have
CUT AND INTERCUT TO:
INT. THE LIVING ROOM - DAY
Sid is by the Christmas tree, trying out one of the gifts, a
Karaoke Sing-A-Long System, now being used like an amplified
bullhorn. It bellows.
YES... I HAVE THE TICKET. I KNOW
EVERYTHING. HAVE YOU BEEN GOOD OR
BAD IN YOUR LIFETIME?
Dad's VOICE is heard from the kitchen.
...good! good! No... bad.
THAT'S RIGHT. YOU'VE BEEN BAD.
IN THE KITCHEN, Dad is unnerved. He thinks this is IT! The
end of it all.
No. Please... good. Please. Good.
Dad has been looking for The Voice, and he now starts to
walk into the living room.
IN THE LIVING ROOM --
HOW GOOD? HAVE YOU EVER HUGGED YOUR
Dad wanders into the room, listening to the voice, and even
though he sees Sid with the Sing-A-long toy, he doesn't get
My woman... ice cream.
HMMM. THAT'S... BAD. Oops!
He sees Dad standing right in front of him, puts down the
I... I... I... he... he...he.
Who? Who? Who? The man... the man
Dad nods. Nodding very low, then nodding very high. Nodding...
Oh, yeah... what'd the man say?
Dad points to himself, fingering his own chest several times.
You're a GOOD man?
Dad nods his head, yes, yes, yes.
Well, you must be a good man...
because... did you see how many
presents your family has given you.
Sid gets up, takes Dad by the hand, and they go over to the
tree, sit on the floor with all the gifts. There are the
gifts for the family, some for Mom, some for Dad, some for a
boy about 12, and some for a girl about 8.
MONTAGE SEQUENCE: OUR THEME IS UP, AS:
Sid and Dad play with the gifts.
1. They try on some clothes and hats. Sid puts a great, warm
sweater on Dad. Dad puts a fir hat on Sid's head. They stay
this way throughout.
2. Play with a radio controlled Ford Explorer SUV from room
to room. Dad runs the car from a battery operated remote in
his hand... and Sid runs after the car from room to room.
Just as Sid reaches the car and starts to pick it up, Dad
his the button and the car zooms away.
INT. DON'S PORTLAND HI-RISE CONDO - DAY
Don is packing a suitcase and talking on the phone at the
O.K., that's great... you'll buy the
non-taxable muni's -- pay seven and
a scrosh... you get the warrants
thrown in... and you let you IRA
sell Yahoo for the year end tax
loss... and you go into the new year
looking at a carryover.
Richie walks by him again on the return, silently. Sit on
the opposite side of the room, with his back turned.
Okay, John, Happy New Year... I'll
call tomorrow too. You, too. Thanks.
FLUID CAMERA FOLLOWING
Don hangs up, closes the suitcase, looks at his watch. walks
into the kitchen, past Richie, without a word Don opens the
refrigerator, bachelor empty, takes out a 7-Up.
Are you packed?
Want a soda?
No answer. He shrugs, walks back.
Look, Richie, this is an emergency...
I would really appreciate it if you'd
make it a little easier.
No answer from Richie.
Okay... I know it's not easy. So, if
you feel like you need to choose to
live with your Mom, I'll understand.
No answer from Richie. In fact, Richie's grim deadpan look
Don just looks out the window. On the street below, a cab is
just pulling up.
Okay. The cab is here.
He picks up his suitcase and heads out the front door.
He waits for Richie. Richie takes his time, picks up his
backpack and his hockey stick, and makes his way to the door,
passes his father within inches without a word.
Don sighs and closes the door.
INT. THE LIVING ROOM OF THE BIG HOUSE - DAY
Dad and Sid continue the silent but for MUSIC OVER MONTAGE,
now they --
3. Smash balls. Dad and Sid hit a soft rubber balls hard as
they can with wooden paddles, but it only floats through the
air, and they run to hit it... back and worth... back and
forth just missing several disasters, and then like two
outfielders running for the same ball in the air, they smash
into each other, and pratfall to the carpet, exhausted and
4. Dad is dressing a Barbie doll, and loves it. Sid comes
over with a big GI-Joe action figure and the two dolls start
talking to each other in Barbie and GI Joe talk. 'Oh, hi I'm
Barbie.' 'Okay, I like your boobs.' Then, in fun, the two
dolls start fighting, as --
INT. AIRPLANE - A 707 - DAY
It's a smaller interior, but again Don is crushed into his
seat, surrounded by larger people. Richie sits in an aisle
seat three or four seats away.
I wished I hadn't lied to my son
about Max. I wished my Mom hadn't
died. I wished my Dad hadn't become
senile and nutty. I wished Richie
would decide to live with me, ...but
I felt relieved by that Judge... I
didn't have to make the decision. I
wished I was making more money. I
wished I lived on a farm or in Paris.
I wished I wasn't on an airplane
going back to Duluth again. I wished
I had a better life. And I wished
that wishing would make it so, because
even with all that wishing, I didn't
feel better about anything. So, ring
in the damn new year. Might as well.
Happy F-word New Year.
Richie is looking at him, also wishing something. Don feels
his eyes... looks to Richie, smiles a little, and Richie
quickly averts his eyes.
INT. THE LIVING ROOM OF THE BIG HOUSE - DAY
-- as Dad and Sid continue their Montage sequence.
5. Sid picks up a video cassette, it's a home movie cassette
"To Jerry, from: Your 'LOVING' Wife." He puts it into the
They sit, stare at the TV with jaws agape.
ON TV: It's the wife (see snapshots in kitchen) and her
husband (see snapshots)... making love in their bedroom.
It's an amateur longshot, and as they have finished one phase
of love-making, they both laugh, turn to the camera, and
bow... and then applaud, then bow again, turn to each other
and resume the love-making.
Dad and Sid applaud vigorously.
6. They open a fruitcake tin, unwrap the fruitcake and start
to eat it in big chunks.
EXT. MINNEAPOLIS AIRPORT - NIGHT
Don and Vic are emerging from the Baggage Area. Don with his
one bag, and Richie tails behind with his attitude apparent.
There's a homeless man with two children, who simply mumbles
"Spare change?" Vic reaches in and hands him some spare
change. Don doesn't really notice.
Vic, I feel like you're an old, old
I know you'd forgotten, ol' buddy,
but I am an old, old friend. Don't
They arrive at Vic's car, a new Cadillac, throw Don's suitcase
in the back seat, and Richie follows silently.
This your kid?
What kid? You see a kid?
Hi, I'm Vic. You're...?
He's Richie, here only by accident
Vic shrugs and they go.
Okay, it's midnite... so not much
use doing anything about your Dad
tonite. So, we have plenty of room...
No, Vic, we can stay at a hotel.
You forget. It's Duluth, the last
hotel they built was the Bates Motel.
The car turns out of the airport onto the main thoroughfare.
INT. THE FINE BIG HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - MORNING
It is one big mess. Gifts and clothing everywhere.
Dad and Sid are sitting in big chairs. Sleeping sitting up,
each with fruitcake still in his hands. Dad with the Barbie
doll, also "sleeping", in the crook of his arm.
INT. VIC'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MORNING
ON TV IN KITCHEN
A TV photo of Dad, followed by a photo of Sid Graybar,
segueing into a local news team.
...both are local men, the two
retirees were discovered late last
night to have just walked out of the
annual Christmas Party at the Old
Oaks retirement home.
PULLING BACK REVEALS
Don and Richie at the breakfast table with Vic and his family.
It's a big unassuming kitchen for a big unassuming family.
Vic gets up and down to bring food to the table and to assist
his wife, Barb, capable and still pretty, and his three kids,
3, 8, and 13 are the good kind, helping and getting ready
TV remains on subliminally in background.
...your Dad is big news in Duluth.
Eat hardy, now... we got a big day
ahead of us... we gotta go find The
Dad, I need $1.50.
I'm the treasurer of the Art Club...
and we're short $1.50.
Vic rolls his eyes, digs into his pocket, hands Vic, Jr. a
That's what it's all about, Don.
Thanks, Dad... nice meeting you
Richie... if you're still here on
Saturday, we have a hockey game...
Vic, Jr. is out the door.
I give him $1.50 now... maybe, if
I'm lucky he'll take care of me when
I get old and senile.
You'll never get old and senile,
'cause I'm going to kill you with
(she gives Vic a buss)
More eggs, Don?... Richie?
No thanks, Barb... Richie, you want
Don pushes the eggs towards him. Richie burns.
No, thanks, Mrs. Hudnut.
Oh, he does talk; just not to his
Don looks at Richie and Richie's look in return could burn
through tempered steel.
Police have checked the bus station
and the rescue shelters... and not a
sign of the two retirees...
Well, Stacey... there is one clue,
Dick Falsey interviewed a bus driver
ON TV IN B.G.: There's the black Santa bus driver...
I thought they were drunk... they
acted... um... weird... I never
thought they were that old...
ON TV: CUT TO the corner of St. Clair and Mount Holyoke
Streets where the bus driver let them off.
...this is the corner he left them
off at... at about 6:30 last night.
If anyone has any information...
...just call the station.
Okay, that gives US an idea where to
...and, the two men are not thought
to be either armed or dangerous.
...depends on how you look at it.
Don laughs, looks to Richie to laugh with him, but Richie
still won't talk to him or recognize that he's alive.
INT. THE BIG HOUSE - THE MASTER BEDROOM - DAY
Sid is standing at the window, peeking through the curtains.
In the background, WE HEAR a shower going, then stop. SID
HIS VIEW: A squad car passes slowly in the streets, stops at
some neighborhood kids who are sledding, asks them something,
they shake their heads, and we overhear, we haven't seen
anyone... just people we know.
The car goes on.
Well, nothing lasts forever.
SID turns to Dad, now coming out of the bathroom... with his
pants on and trying to pull a woman's undies over his head
as he goes. In his mouth, he's carrying a brassier.
Well look at you.
Sid helps him to take the women's undies off his head, and
helps him into his own shirt.
This is very becoming, but you
wouldn't want me to get the wrong
He takes the brassier from Dad, looks him in the eye.
Are you getting bored, like me? Don't
you think we should get out of here
Dad agrees, nods yes, definitely, yes.
But don't you think we should get
caught... instead of just turning
Dad isn't sure, he shakes his head, no, then maybe, then
Dad pulls something from his pocket. It's the fashion condom.
Dad grins, tries like hell to wiggle his eyebrows like Groucho
Marx, on the make.
Now, that's a good idea. Let's call
"Nurse" Cooper, have her come over,
have some fun...
...and then they can catch us, we'll
say gee whiz we're really sorry, but
we're too old to know any better.
Here, take us away.
Sid puts his hands out to be "cuffed." Dad mimics the action.
Sid guffaws, and Dad guffaws with him, as Sid picks up the
bedside phone, punches in the number.
Now, of course, we're going to clean
up your house... your family'll never
know we were even here.
(phone answers "Old
Hello... is Nadine Cooper there?
This is her nephew.
INT. OLD OAKS - NURSES STATION - DAY
A nurse is at the desk holding the phone in the air.
Um, Miss Cooper, telephone. It's
"Nurse" Cooper hurries to the phone.
My nephew... ? All the way from
(she takes the phone)
Hello. Who...? Ohh. Ohhhhhhhh! Yes...
why... YES! Oh, I certainly could...
would... and... should.
She hangs up, looks around furtively, then heads back to her
INT. THE BIG HOUSE - DAY
Dad and Sid are raiding the utility closet, pulling out a
vacuum cleaner, a bucket and mop, a broom, duster, etc. Sid
starts to fill the pail with water, and suds are starting to
He sees Dad, struggling with the plug to the vacuum cleaner, --
he's trying to plug it into itself.
Here, let me help with that.
Sid plugs it into the wall, and then Dad starts to vacuum
Nooooo... this... is it.
Dad starts to vacuum in one direction... loves it...
Not that way... this way.
He turns the direction around, and Dad fights with him for
control of the vacuum, but Sid wins.
This way... okay?
Dad agrees now and starts to vacuum in that direction, so
Sid lets go and heads off, but see that --
Dad lets the vacuum cleaner go and watches it zoom off through
the doorway into the dining room, and it's heading for...
An huge antique art deco flower vase.
Sid runs to catch it, and... just before it hits the Ming
Vase... he does. He lifts the Deco vase as the vacuum goes
by, and he cannot stop the vacuum in time...
ON DAD -- delighted.
...when the vacuum drags a Tiffany standing lamp down and it
falls... slowly... teetering...
Dad is watching it, his neck turning with every teeter.
Sid now has the same problem, watching it teeter... and then
finally, fall, and Sid runs... and... slides... ...just in
time to catch the lamp by its shade on his chest, holds it
in the air triumphantly, just like a center fielder.
Sid is just returning the lamp to its upright position, when
he sees Dad's expression, puzzled.
Sid turns to see what Dad sees, which is --
Foaming water pouring out of the utility room, under the
door, and into the hall, and down the stairs... foaming and
Sid and Dad run to turn off the water, but of course they
must run through the foam to get to its source, and they
slip and pratfall, get up, fall, slide a few feet, get up
help each other, in fact hold on to each other as their legs
slip away and out from them in opposite directions.
They stare into each others eyes, facing the inevitable,
kind of liking the experience IN SLOW MOTION, but finally...
...slide and pratfall on their faces. They scream with
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS - VIC'S CAR - DAY
Vic's car is turning a corner as --
See, the real estate business is
like life. People. Family. People
taking risks, people making
commitments to other people, people
being with people, family... whatever.
INSIDE THE CAR --
Vic and Don in front seat, Richie, still with a chip, in the
You take a few risks, you sign 'em
up, hope for a sale... but when
there's a sale, Don, what a high!
You love the deal.
Don, shame on you. It's the people...
with every sale there's a story...
not just ONE story, but two. The
seller's got a story, and the buyer's
got a story. It's the process of
living... right in front of my eyes,
somebody has a baby, needs more room,
somebody's mother-in-law moves in...
the neighborhood gets old... they
move... and I like the naked city,
there's a story... and I'm there,
part of the story... and when I can
help someone... that's a high!
It's a sale.
Don shrugs...it's hard for him to listen to Vic's patter.
See, even now... we're looking for
your Dad, who's... woooee... HE'S
"looking for the Man"... I know you
want to help him find the man... and
They have passed through the neighborhood, and in fact they
are this moment passing right by the Big house with the
decorations, and the kids sledding nearby.
EXT. OLD OAKS - THE PORTICO - DAY
A taxicab pulls up outside and waits.
INT. OLD OAKS - THE FRONT CHECK OUT DESK - DAY
Two or three nurses are checking out for lunch.
...back after lunch.
CHECK OUT NURSE
Another nurse mumbles "back after Lunch," goes, and then a
third approaches the desk in a very large raincoat with the
collar pulled up and a snow hat pulled down to her nose. You
can only see her eyes.
CHECK OUT NURSE
"Nurse" Cooper heads for the front door, she can barely
believe it was so easy, too easy. Yep, too easy.
As soon as she goes out behind the other two, the Check Out
Nurse is joined by Mrs. Oakley and they go to the window,
pull the curtain back --
WHAT THEY SEE --
"Nurse" Cooper gets in the cab and the cab goes, and --
Mrs. Oakley and Check Out Nurse turn their heads --
THEY SEE --
Out of sight, Nurse Derrick and Nurse Russel get into the
back of a Police Car and it pulls out... following the
Well, soon enough... soon enough.
She shares a nod with the Check Out Nurse, as --
EXT. THE STREETS - DAY
Vic's car is driving on neighborhood streets... slowly.
INT. THE CAR - DAY
On Vic and Don and Richie, eating McDonald's burgers, as
...so when I met Barb... in the 7th
grade... you'd gone off to McKinley
Junior High... I stayed at Peabody...
and it was love at first sight...
and it was love at last sight too...
Don is getting annoyed, either by Vic or the frustration of
one house after another but nothing to find.
Yeah, I can see you still love her.
You have a great family, Vic...
...there's no magic to it, just be
open. You could do it, Don. Find a
good woman, a REAL woman, make it
easier for your son to decide to
live with you.
Oh, shit, Vic... will you hang it up
for a minute! I tried. You did it.
You stayed home, I left for the big
city. Fame and fortune. You made it
on your terms, and I've made it...
Vic smiles, throws up his arms.
In the back seat, Richie moves up to his father's ear in the
Why don't you listen to Vic? Why
don't you listen to anybody!?
Don turns his head, pretends to be cool.
I thought you weren't talking to me.
Well, now, I'm talking to you, you
Don looks back at him. Richie strikes out at him with the
hockey stick. Don grabs it.
Fine... you don't like me? Go live
with your mother.
Richie jumps out of the back door...
Fine, I will. You prick.
He's gone... slipping and sliding and the standing and running
Vic stops the car completely. Don jumps runs after Richie.
Richie... come back here.
Running... running...running... it's hard to run on the
street, it's slippery, so he cuts in through a snow bank ard
continues to huff through the snow.
Just stay away from me! You dumb
Running... running... running... it's hard to follow the
younger Richie and Don's starting to huff.
Richie runs some more. Huffing, looking back after his father,
catching up, calling to him. Richie still had his hockey
stick in hand, and... whoops, he trips on the stick, stumbles
and falls, starts to get back up, but -- Don jumps over him,
holding him by the arm.
Let go of me! I hate you! I hate
Richie tries to hit him with the hockey stick, but Don grabs
it, and pushes it against Richie's chest.
Yeah, if you hate me, I must be doing
a good job. Boys are supposed to
hate their fathers.
This enrages Richie, who can't move.
Real fathers don't lie! You lied to
me... you lied to me! Fathers don't
lie... that's why you're a prick!
His expression is wide-eyed and he's out of control, trembling --
he makes a fist, cocks his arm back --
Go ahead, you prick! Hit your own
son, beat me up... just like YOUR
father beat you, you prick!
Don smashes his fist... but --
Someone's hand catches his arm. Holds it. Holds it. Trembling.
Don looks up.
It's Vic, holding his arm, challenging him eye to eye, arm
Don looks into his eyes.
Who the Hell ARE you?
I'm your best friend. Check -- I'm
your only friend.
Vic still holds Don's wrist. Still trembling, Don takes a
deep breath, tries to catch his breath...
Vic finally lets go, and Don let's his trembling arm down.
Don, his whole body trembling now, looks at Richie.
Richie... forgive me.
Richie doesn't forgive him, not yet. Richie pulls himself
out from under his father, and gets up, picks up his hockey
stick and starts trekking back to the car.
Vic holds his hand out to Don, helps him up. Don brushes
himself off, starts to follow Richie. Vic puts his arm over
Don's shoulder as they go. Don just barely allows it.
LONG SHOT, AS THEY GO --
Have you ever had a shock run through
your whole body. Like an electric
current. Like the Electric Chair.
That's what happened to me. Sometimes
it takes some shock, some wild moment
in your life -- someone's death, or
maybe you come near dying yourself
somehow. Something to change your
life, something to shake you up from
the inside out... and you never really
know when or where it's going to
come from. In my case, it was my
son... and my... my... best friend,
Vic Hudnut, who did it for me.
They reach Vic's car in LONG SHOT; get back into Vic's car,
silently, and Vic drives off down the streets again.
INT. TAXICAB - DAY
"Nurse" Cooper is putting on lipstick, and unbuttoning the
top buttons of her blouse, pulling down the lapels to reveal
some substantial cleavage, albeit wrinkled.
The cabdriver turns up the main thoroughfare.
How soon? How soon? Juniper Street...
Streets are slippery, ma'am. We're
He looks into his rearview mirror, and sees what he expects
to see. The police car behind him has turned at the same
corner he turned at.
He takes a breath.
Nurse thinks for a second, makes a decision, and unbuttons
even one more button, looks ahead confidently.
INT. THE BIG HOUSE - DAY
ON DAD --
Peeking through the living room window. He gets excited.
HIS VIEW --
Vic's car is pulling up in front of the Big House, and Vic
and Don and Richie are getting out.
Dad runs to Sid, jumping up and down like a dog who needs to
go out to pee, now!
Tickets. The Ticket, She needs...
too many. BLISTER!
Your son? Here...? Now? What about
Sid runs to the window, looks out.
HIS VIEW THROUGH CURTAINS
Don and Richie and Vic walking up the walk.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy.
EXT. THE BIG HOUSE - DAY
Don, Richie, Vic walking up to the house, stopping to look --
...hard to say... I don't know why I
didn't think of it... the Hansen's
went to Florida Christmas Day...
it's worth a try...
They walk up further...
Dad in the window, holding the curtains back, frozen there.
Dad is frozen at the curtain, but Sid comes into view, looks
through the window, sees them coming and pulls Dad away from
Don and Vic look at each other.
If we break in, we're trespassing.
Maybe they'll answer the door.
They go to the doorbell, Don rings it. Richie looks through
the side windows.
HE SEES: Sid pushes Dad down the hall away from the door.
They're running away.
The three look at each other.
Vic and I'll go around back. Richie...
stay here in case they come out the
They split up as:
INT. THE TAXICAB - DAY
"Nurse" Cooper on the edge of the back seat, as the driver
turns... and yes it's down Juniper Street.
Okay, Lady... just down the street
Do I look all right?
If I may say it, lady, for your age...
Yes, for my age...?
...you're the sexiest fox I've ever
seen. There's the house.
Oh... what an adventure.
Nurse Cooper is excited.
Suddenly, her eyes widen, then pop.
HER VIEW THROUGH ADVANCING WINDSHIELD
FULL VIEW -- the house, with Richie out front and on the
roof... two men climbing on to the roof from an attic's peak
window... then working their way around the roof to the
backside of the roof's peak.
Do YOU see what I see?
Behind the cab, the Police Car turns on its SIRENS.
looking down the street, the cab and the police car with its
He wonders what's happening, then looks up to see Dad and
Sid just disappearing around to the backside of the roof.
Time to go!
Dad holds his nose like he's jumping into a pool, and they
slide down the snowy slope of the roof...
ON DON VIC AND RICHIE
...running around to the back of the house. Don leads the
way now, possessed, fearless, determined.
DAD! Where'd they go? Dad?
ON DAD AND SID
...landing in a pile of snow, Dad helps Sid getup and they
start to run through the back yard.
ON DON, VIC AND RICHIE
...running around the side of the house.
NEW ANGLE -- THE BACK YARD
As Don, Richie and Vic arrive where Dad and Sid just were.
They turn this way and that, trying to figure it out. Richie
points at the ground.
Don leads the way, as they all start following the footprints
like bloodhounds, methodically... and all too slowly... as --
ANOTHER ANGLE-FEATURING THE GARAGE OF THE HOUSE
With the three footprint detectives in the background, they
don't see what we see --
THE DOOR OF THE GARAGE OPENS AUTOMATICALLY, revealing Sid
just behind the door, and suddenly one of the cars in the
garage, The Jeep Cherokee-4WD revs its engine, starts backing
out without stopping and then the Jeep blasts out in reverse.
ON DON, RICHIE AND VIC
Their heads turn, and their eyes... POP!
DAD! DON'T...!! DAD, STOP!!
Don runs -- trudging through the snow... to get to the
driveway, too late to do anything, but just in time to watch --
DON'S VIEW -- DOWN THE DRIVEWAY
As the Jeep zooms out in reverse... and instead of stopping
or turning into the street, the Jeep runs across the street
and up the lawn of the house across the street, finally
stopping when it hits the trunk of the big oak tree, but now
digging a rut from the wheels reving against the force of
Don runs after -- as Vic and Richie struggle to keep pace,
NEW ANGLE -- ON THE STREET
The cab has stopped on the street, and the cop car has
stopped. The cops have gotten out of the car and are starting
to walk up to the house, when the Jeep slips and slides
quickly up the lawn across the street.
IN THE JEEP
Dad and Sid, with Dad at the wheel, trying to shift into
BLUR! See... more! Fast!
Here. Do it! I told you. I don't
...and Sid finally helps him, shift into first gear. Dad
steps on the gas... they go. The blind leading the blind.
As the Jeep swings out, slides, and finally goes down the
street, nearly missing a few parked cars, and the kids who
were sledding disperse fast.
The two cops jump into the squad car and take off, slipping
and finally sliding 180 degree turnaround to follow the Jeep.
arriving at Vic's car -- he jumps in, starts it, revs it,
burns rubber on the ice, slides around 180 degrees, just in
time to pick up Vic and Richie.
I'm driving, okay?
It's about time.
They jump in as the car moves off, slipping and sledding...
ON NURSE COOPER
Stepping out of the cab with one hand on the door, Watching
the events unfold, looking this way, then that way...
(she jumps back in
Follow that car. AND that one! And
that one too!!
The taxicab takes off.
ON SCENE --
OVERVIEW FROM A HIGH TOR OVERLOOKING JUNIPER STREET AND
ENVIRONS, THEN SEGUEING AND INTERCUTTING AS NEEDED BELOW:
Three cars, two of them following the Jeep, which is basically
frenetic in the directions it chooses to go. It goes up
Juniper Street, then turns into and through someone's
driveway, through the backyard, and right through a row of
bushes, and into the opposing house's back yard, then,
reversing angle, through and out their driveway onto the
next street, and Vic's car goes right through and the police
car follows and goes right through too, but not the taxicab,
which despite Nurse Cooper's directions goes around the block,
but comes out just in time to be actually ahead of the Jeep
as the Jeep emerges, and the Jeep slams into the back of the
taxicab and starts pushing it down the street, with the cab
driver yelling to stop, and Nurse Cooper having the time of
her life, waving to the drivers of the Jeep.
Look, it's Nurse Cooper.
Dad smiles, and they wave to Nurse Cooper.
As a fifth vehicle, the WDDD-TV "EYE WITNESS NEWSVAN" joins
The side door is open, and a videocam man hangs precariously
out the door, shooting the scene -- while another man holds
tight on to his shoulder harness.
IN VIC'S CAR - JUST BEHIND THE JEEP
Don is driving Vic's new Cadillac like a race driver, a white
Ok, hold on!
He's turning into the park.
THEIR VIEW -- as the Jeep turns into a rocky, hilly park.
The Jeep goes over one hill, and another -- and finally hits
a ditch, starts to rev its wheels and can't move out.
As Don's car runs over the same embankment and falls into
the same ditch, spins its wheels but it's no-go.
And after that, the police car runs into the same ditch,
spins its wheels and it's no-go.
The taxicab follows. Same deal.
The newsvan follows and dips into the same ditch. Same result.
The cameraman jumps out of the van with a Mini-Cam on his
shoulder to stay on scene, and a NEWSCASTER, STACEY, jumps
into the snow with a microphone.
INT. THE OLD OAKS - THE TV AREA - DAY
Most of the residents, elderly and nurses are glued to the
TV News event.
...Jim, the two retirees, may now be
trapped... in a ditch... and, let's
just hope they can be rescued without
OLD OAKS RESIDENTS
The Old Oaks residents, even the nurses, are on the edge of
ON TV SET: TV NEWS VIEW
While the Jeep spins its wheels, the police, Nurse Cooper,
and the Newscaster with the Mic are seen trudging through
the snow... from the ditch where their vehicles got stuck.
BACK ON SCENE
INT. THE JEEP
Dad is accelerating wildly. Sid looks at the gear box.
Sees: CLOSE: GEARBOX LEVERS, One level reads: "4WD"
Sid pushes the lever and --
The Jeep's wheels grab the ground and it grumbles out of the
INT. THE OLD OAKS - DAY
The residents cheer wildly.
Don and Richie and Vic watch the Jeep go over a ridge and
they groan -- Don hits the wheel with the palms of his hands.
He revs it hard, again and again, but it's no go.
The cops and the newsmen and Nurse Cooper... each forty feet
from the other, and groaning and turning nearly in unison,
and trudging through the snow in that direction.
INT. THE JEEP
Rough and tumble, slip and slide... Dad and Sid.
...turn it that way. That way!
I do my own...! ...find the man!
The Man you wanna find and The Man I
wanna find are two different guys.
You are gonna get us killed.
Dad looks at him with a Who-Cares grin... and turns it the
other way. They start to struggle for control of the wheel.
ON DON IN VIC'S CAR Reving it, again and again. Turning the
wheel, and then... suddenly the wheels catch a tree's root...
ON THE CAR
As it shoots out of the ditch, and they spin out and away.
ON THE JEEP
Slipping and sliding and rolling over a ridge, nearly tipping
over, then righting itself, and going strong --
-- his eyes popping at his view ahead. He holds on for dear
HIS VIEW THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD -- They are heading for a
EXT. THE JEEP IN THE SNOW - DAY
Heading for disaster... as the Jeep sails right up and over
the cliff --
ON THE CLEAR BLUE SKY AS -- IN TANTALIZING SLOW MOTION
The Jeep sails effortlessly through the blue.
ON FACES -- DON AND RICHIE
As Don drives towards the cliff... craning necks to follow,
then quickly chins drop and eyes turn down as --
In the blue sky in faltering slomo, then it plummets to earth
and plows head first into a snow bank in the gulley below.
ON VIC'S CADILLAC
flying through the snow towards the cliff, and just in time.
turns the wheel hard, and --
turns, slides around and around, and then stops... right at
the edge of the cliff... miraculously. Don jumps out and
runs to the edge of the cliff. Richie and Vic follow.
THEIR VIEW FROM ABOVE
The Jeep is buried head first in the snowbank, it's door
flung open, and on one side Dad's lifeless body is strewn on
the snow next to the Jeep.
Terror on his face.
Don leaps off the cliff without a second of hesitation.
Richie runs to the cliff side. Looks down, as does everyone --
they've all finally caught up.
THEIR VIEW OF THE SCENE IN THE GULCH BELOW -- INTERCUTTING
WITH VIEW ABOVE GULCH
Don has fallen in the snow face first, motionless for a split
second, GASPS HEARD from above, then he moves, looks to Dad's
body... and rolls over to it. He looks into Dad's dead face...
starts to weep...
Dad? -- Dad!
Suddenly, Dad opens his eyes, looks at Don... grins --
He throws snow in Don's face.
Dad -- my God. You scared the crap
out of me.
And Don throws some snow back in Dad's face. They both grin.
Richie... he's okay.
ON RICHIE AT THE TOP OF THE CLIFF
looking down, tears in his eyes. And before Vic can stop
him, Richie leaps... over the edge of the cliff.
ON SCENE BELOW
As Richie falls on the other side of his father, and he throws
snow in Dad's face too. The three of them in a snow fight.
Ticket... you got the ticket?
(with tears of joy)
Yes, Dad... yeah, I got the ticket.
And I found The Man, too. I did,
Dad. I found the goddamn Man.
Don, trying to throw snow, but he can't. He's laughing (or
is that crying) so hard he can't move. Richie puts his arm
around him, and Dad, laughing hysterically, jumps on them
QUICK INT. OLD OAKS - DAY
The residents watching TV... cheer!
BACK ON THE OTHERS AT THE TOP OF THE CLIFF
Nurse Cooper wiping a tear from her eye.
Vic nods and nods and nods as his joyous grin widens.
ON SID IN THE SHOTGUN SEAT OF THE JEEP
Motionless. Then, he falls over... dead.
OUR VIEW BEGINS TO PULL BACK -- PULLING BACK AND BACK AND
EXT. DULUTH, MN PARK - DAY
As the drama's participants start to disperse... the VIEW
PULLS BACK AND BACK AND BACK...
Dad, I think, had finally found the
man. And I knew that I had found the
man too... I still didn't know exactly
what it meant, but I understood that
Dad knew what it meant, and it was
better not to try to describe it...
you know... describe it... he just
KNEW. And now, I just KNEW. And I
think, maybe, Richie just KNEW too...
and, goddamn, what a wonderful thing
it is to find The Man. You know, the
one inside yourself.
As OUR VIEW PULLS BACK, the entire city of Duluth is revealed
below... and the heavy drone of a Jetliner becomes
overwhelming, mixing with the sound of DON'S VOICE, and --
INT. 747 AIRPLANE - DAY
Don is looking through the window at the scene below... the
City of Duluth receding into the distance, and PULLING BACK...
I finally got a window seat...
...his place at the window now REVEALED, AND PULLING BACK
MORE, DAD is sitting next to him, fast asleep, and the aisle
just across from Dad, Richie is playing a video game with
Don's laptop computer, looking over to check on Grampa every
once in a while.
It wasn't going to be easy. They say
that the things that are worthwhile
in life are never easy... you have
to work at it... at least you do in
this day and age.
Dad opens one eye, then the other, looks over at the dozing
Don, then the other way, sees Richie, winks, then looks at
Don again and grins. Reaches out for Don's hand. Don blinks
awake as Dad slams his palm against Don's palm, then takes
his hand away, like a magician... and leaving an object in
It's the Fashion Condom.
Don looks in his palm, and grins. Dad grins knowingly. Richie
looks at it, turns his head.
He starts to get up. Struggles with his seat belt.
No Dad! You can't get up. Please.
Richie leans in.
Dad... Grampa needs to go to the
Don't worry, I'll watch him.
Richie helps Dad out of his seat belt, and they head up the
If I learned anything about My Dad
as an Old Timer's patient it was
that more often than not, there was
a method to his madness... so I have
a hunch he knew how important he is,
how important it was for him to serve
as the missing link...
The lavatory door, reading "Occupied", and a line of people
waiting outside. Richie looks at his watch, and smiles
sheepishly at the next person in line.
Richie knocks on the door. A Stewardess now comes forward
and knocks on the door with a crowbar. And just as she's
about to force the door open, the "Occupied" sign turns to
"Vacant" and Dad emerges with shaving cream all over his
face and head and hands, and no razor to be seen. He didn't
need a shave anyway.
...not just the missing link between
my old home and my new home, but
between the generations... the link
to my own son.
Richie leads Dad back to his seat, helps him sit down, and
then straps his seat belt for him. Don and Richie exchange a
little knowing grin.
I think maybe Richie felt that too.
He understood how important my Dad
was to him, too.
Don shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath. Sunlight streams
in through the window over his face.
INT. THE AIRLINE BUILDING - PORTLAND AIRPORT - DAY
Dad and Richie and Don riding a walking sidewalk. Dad feels
funny about it, so he sort of dances to keep his feet off
the ground as much as he can.
Richie is holding an airline carton marked "Fragile, Living
Animals", with little holes and the sound of Parakeets
EXT. THE AIRLINE TERMINAL - OUTSIDE THE BAGGAGE AREA - DAY
Dad and Richie and Don emerge with their baggage. Formerly
Santa Claus, now the same guy has a sign, "Homeless... will
work for food" guy is outside the door, and this time, Don
gives him some money, returns the homeless man's nod.
Dad starts to cross the street, and they catch him just as
he's about to be hit by a Tram from the Portland Sheraton
And as the tram passes, an old pickup truck is revealed
pulling up to the curb.
It was New Year's Eve day, and...
surprise... I had made a New Year's
date... with, guess who, Jan Patrick.
Jan leans over Bren to open the shotgun door and waves. Don
doesn't see her, not until Max, the dog, barks from the back
of the truck... and Don waves back, moves with Dad and Richie
to the truck. The truck also has some young potted evergreen
trees in the truck bed.
Max is barking and shaking and jumping with joy at seeing
Dad, and Dad feels the same way, and just climbs in the
truckbed with him, and Richie follows.
We left Bren and Richie to baby-sit
Dad and the birds and Max, who was
so happy when he saw Dad that he
just went nuts. Dogs know. Dogs
experience what every human wants to
experience, unconditional love.
The truck pulls out into traffic, as --
EXT. A SMALL FARMHOUSE WITH A SIGN IN FRONT
"JAN PATRICK NURSERY - We have anything you need."
As the truck pulls up in front, and Jan lets everyone off...
except for Don. Then it drives off again.
ON DON AND JAN.
ON A MOUNTAIN CREST
She smiles and he smiles back.
Can you believe it, we never said
one word to each other that whole
magical New Year's Eve night. Jan
and I were experiencing something...
Don and Jan in the truckbed having dinner, wrapped in a big
Hudson Bay blanket. Mount Hood is in the distance as the sun
sets behind it.
They toast each other, clinking champagne glasses. Don's
Voice never has sounded so mellow, easy, right.
We drank champagne, waited patiently
'till midnite, drank more champagne.
TIME PASSING --
Don and Jan sitting up, wrapped together cozily in the
blanket, until the SOUND OF SOME NEW YEAR'S REVELERS' yelling
Happy New Year from a passing car.
TIME PASSING AGAIN --
Jan and Don come together and exchange their first kiss, and
they like it so much that they do it again... and again.
So, we kissed and kissed and kissed
and then we screwed our brains out.
Nobody makes love on the first date
anymore, but it just seemed right...
not only did we practice safe sex...
but we used the fashion condom Nurse
Cooper had given Dad, and he had
given me. That seemed just right.
Then we slept in the back of the
truck 'till dawn.
OUR VIEW has delicately MOVED AWAY to the STARLIT NIGHT and
then, as the Sun Rises over Mount Hood, OUR VIEW returns to
the sleepers, molded together, under the blankets in the
A VERY, VERY, LONG DISSOLVE TO:
A beautiful sunny day... mountains in the distance... birds
I must have been doing something
right... All my New Year's wishes
came true. Jan and I were married. I
sold my condo, and that paid off the
mortgage on Jan's little farm. We
grew things... and made a living at
Don loads some little seedlings onto the back of the truck.
Richie's mother called me that very day, New Year's, and
told me she'd gotten married in Hawaii...
INT. THE FARMHOUSE KITCHEN - DAY
CLOSE ON JAN
Cleaning up the kitchen table, a gallery of family photos on
the wall behind her. Many of the photos are from the old
gallery wall in the kitchen at Dad's house. But, just as
many or more are new, and many of them have Don in the
snapshots, with Jan, with Richie, playing with Max, with
Dad, with Bren. And, finally, a big one of Sid, in front of
the Christmas tree at the big house, smiling in heaven.
Wasn't it, she said, really unfair
to put so much pressure on Richie to
decide which parent he should live
with... and wasn't it time that a
son Richie's age lived with his father
and visited his mother once in a
Jan moves to the kitchen window, her back to us, revealing
in the FOREGROUND that the kitchen table she was wiping is
the dinette set from Dad's house, and, yes, MOM'S CHAIR is
set at the old Mom's Chair angle.
Jan watching through the window as --
HER VIEW THROUGH THE WINDOW --
Richie comes along to help... and approaches Bren, then pulls
a squirt gun out from behind his back and squirts her... she
pushes him, then runs... and he chases her.
Like what's her name -- Dorothy in
the Wizard of Oz, I'd learned so
much from the most surprising
places... from My Dad, who couldn't
think straight, from my son, who I
thought was supposed to learn about
life from me, and from Vic Hudnut in
my hometown, the best friend I didn't
even know I had... 'til he saved my
life... and from Jan, who came from
Heaven to share her love with mine.
STILL ON JAN LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW
-- as Don catches her glance and throws her a kiss. Jan grins,
Turned out Jan was not a divorced
woman... she was a widow. Her husband
caught a cold one day and just up
and died of Pneumonia. Shit happens.
Life is a bitch, and then you die. I
don't like that saying. Uh-uh. Life
is precious, live it! That's what I
say, that's what My Dad does every
EXT. OUTDOORS - DAY
ON DAD -- OUTDOORS
Dad is throwing bird seed to the winds, and a hundred birds
fly in and out of nowhere and start pecking at the ground.
Dad, well, you know My Dad, the
missing link... the man with a method
to his madness. He'd found the man
just like I had -- but it takes a
woman too. So, Jan and I figured Dad
ought to have a full time, around
the clock nurse...
Nurse Cooper breezes into frame, dressed like a real nurse,
frilled head crown and all, -- joins Dad, crushing her ample
bosom into his ribs.
Almost time for our nap, Lester.
Dad's eyes widen, as her hand moves down to his butt.
And it just seemed our family was
destined to grow...
The homeless guy from Portland Airport comes out of a shed
with a bushel of tomatoes, asks where he should put them,
and Don points to the spot.
...and grow... again.
Jan walks into frame, her belly heavy with child. She stands
with Don and squints as they look to the horizon.
Times have changed, it's harder to
find the man, and all this love stuff
must sound really corny now, but,
you know what, I'll put all my money
on corn any day of the week. There's
still a good life out there, you can
still look life right in the face,
and demand that good life and grab
it while there's still time. If you
haven't found the man yet, I know
you can, and I know you will.
MOVING OVER DON AND JAN'S SHOULDERS TO THE HORIZON, the
beautiful mountains, blue sky, and white clouds.
MUSIC, OUR THEME IS UP, AND AWAY.
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