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Henry Fool Movie Script

Writer(s) : Hal Hartley

Genres : Comedy, Drama

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                                       HENRY FOOL



                                       Written by

                                       Hal Hartley



                                     SHOOTING DRAFT

                

               EXT. JUNK YARD -- DAY

               A garbage truck roars by and...

               Simon Grim hangs from the back of it. He is a shy, skinny 
               and terrified-looking guy around thirty years old.

               The truck rumbles to a halt and Simon climbs down off it to 
               go punch out at the time clock.

               EXT. BEHIND THE WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               He comes walking up a small alley and sits to drink his beer.

               He begins to relax. This is his quality private time.

               Then he hears something and looks up.

               He peeks up over the edge of some junked kitchen appliances 
               and sees...

               Two teenage kids -- Warren and Amy -- smoking crack and having 
               sex.

               Simon looks on, intrigued, as Warren smokes, then...

                                     WARREN
                              (to Amy)
                         You want some?

               Amy takes the pipe and smokes as he feels her up.

               Simon is fascinated. He drinks and looks on as...

               Amy grins up foolishly at Warren and lowers the pipe. The 
               boy undoes his belt and hikes up the girl's skirt.

               Simon can't believe this. He looks around to see if the coast 
               is clear, then returns just in time to see...

               Warren takes Amy by the waist and enter her.

               The pipe falls from the young girl's hand.

               Warren throws his head back and grinds himself into her.

               Simon's mouth falls open in awe.

               But Amy tosses her head back to the side and sees...

               The amazed garbage man; caught.

               Amy starts screaming insanely.

               Simon runs for his life.

               Amy and Warren throw rocks and bottles at him as they chase 
               him away.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Simon runs up and throws open the screen door. He stands 
               there in the doorway catching his breath.

               His sister, Fay, is at the kitchen table watching a small 
               portable TV while their mother, Mary, sits a few feet away 
               in the living-room watching another TV tuned to a different 
               channel.

                                     FAY
                              (to Simon)
                         Where the hell have you been?
                              (to Mary)
                         Mom, come on and eat.

                                     MARY
                         I'm not hungry.

                                     FAY
                              (pissed)
                         Then why'd I cook!

               Mary is a manic-depressive, still in her bathrobe at six in 
               the evening.

                                     MARY
                         I don't know why you cooked! I don't 
                         know why you bother!

               Fay holds her head in her hands and sighs. She glares at her 
               brother.

                                     FAY
                         Sit down and eat, Simon.

               Simon sits at the table and Fay slams down before him a bowl 
               of some sort of gruel. He hesitates, then lifts his spoon. 
               Supper is horrible and he screws up his face in disgust. Fay 
               gives him a sideways glance and he leans back down over the 
               bowl and eats some more.

               Pushing the bowl away gently, he reaches out for the container 
               of milk on the table and drinks straight from it.

               He suddenly jumps back and spits out sour milk all over the 
               table. The container drops to the floor and thick globs of 
               cheese roll out.

               He stands back against the fridge, holding his stomach 
               while...

               Fay and Mary look on in disgust.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Simon crosses the lawn and sits on the curb outside his house. 
               He stares at the ground before him as he holds his stomach 
               and spits, sickened.

               He looks up, though, and sees...

               A little seven-year-old girl -- Pearl age seven -- standing 
               there in the street watching him.

               Simon tries to smile at her.

               But she throws a rock at him and hits him in the head.

               He falls forward, hurt, as the little girl runs away. Lowering 
               his hand, he sees he's bleeding. Desperate, lonely and ill, 
               he drags his bloodied fingers across the coarse pavement.

               Fay slams out of the side door of the house in a tight-fitting 
               dress and stands on the lawn, applying lipstick.

                                     FAY
                         God, I wanna get fucked.

               Fay snaps shut her compact, straightens her skirt and sighs.

                                     FAY
                         You OK?

               Simon loses track of what he is hearing and relaxes. He looks 
               back at his sister.

               Fay fluffs out her hair and walks off.

                                     FAY
                         See ya later.

               Simon watches her go, but is still drawn to something he 
               seems to hear up the street in the other direction. He cocks 
               his head, sits perfectly still and listens.

               He hears it now. We do, too. Footsteps. Big ones. Like a 
               giant somewhere in the distance. The neighborhood trembles.

               Titles begin.

               Simon tries to figure out where it's coming from; the sky, 
               the house, the highway at the end of his block... Finally, 
               he focuses on...

               The blacktop right before him, smeared with his own blood.

               Music starts.

               He kneels out slowly into the street and stares at the 
               pavement. He stretches out his hand and places it flat on 
               the road. The pounding is louder now, becoming the beat of 
               the music over the scene.

               Simon lowers his face to the pavement, closes his eyes and...

               Puts his ear right down against the road. He hears...

               The steady tread of somebody very much larger than life.

               Kneeling forward, with his ear to the ground, Simon opens 
               his eyes and sees...

               A man approaching. The music swells up full.

               Simon lifts his head slowly from the road, looking off in 
               wonder at...

               This stranger coming towards him; an oddly handsome freak 
               striding over the crest of the distant intersection with a 
               windswept mane, two over-stuffed suitcases and a crumpled 
               tie fluttering back over his broad but crooked shoulders.

               Simon rises till he's kneeling up straight in the road.

               Henry Fool finally reaches him and stops.

               Titles finish.

               Simon says nothing and watches as Henry looks off at the 
               house.

               Satisfied, but wary, Henry Fool looks around the neighborhood 
               and then down at Simon.

                                     HENRY
                         Get up off your knees.

               He tosses the suitcases down in front of Simon and walks off 
               towards his new home.

               EXT. BACK OF THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Henry comes around behind the house and finds the door to 
               his basement apartment. He approaches. Simon follows, carrying 
               the suitcases.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Moments later.

               The door is wrenched open and Henry is hit square in the jaw 
               by a decade of dank airless gloom. He coughs.

               Entering, he finds a few old wooden chairs littering the 
               main room. He inspects the old wood stove, then takes a chair 
               and smashes it. He tosses the wood in the stove.

               Simon looks on, amazed. Henry lights a fire with unusually 
               quick results, then stands back and looks at Simon.

                                     HENRY
                         Where you gotta go to get a six-pack 
                         of beer around here?

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               This is a convenience store with a number of tables at which 
               to eat donuts.

               Warren is shoplifting while Amy terrorizes Gnoc Deng, the 
               Vietnamese cashier, who stares out at them from behind the 
               safety of the counter.

                                     AMY
                         Say something.

                                     WARREN
                              (calling)
                         She's mute.

                                     AMY
                         What?

                                     WARREN
                         She don't -- you know -- talk.

               Amy looks back at Gnoc, snarls, then follows the cashier's 
               gaze to the door.

               Simon enters. Clutching Henry's cash, he stops dead in his 
               tracks when he sees...

               Warren and Amy.

               He steps forward and approaches the beer cooler.

               Warren and Amy hover around, just out of reach, like a couple 
               of vampires.

               Dragging a six-pack out of the cooler, Simon crosses to the 
               counter. Warren and Amy hang back, silent and threatening.

               Gnoc rings up the purchase and glances over at...

               Amy, staring a hole into the side of Simon's skull.

               Gnoc hands Simon back his change and he makes for the door, 
               but...

               Warren shoves himself between it and Simon.

               Simon freezes. Warren is expressionless. Simon looks back at 
               Amy. She turns away, reaches up under her skirt, jerks down 
               her panties, then leans forward on to the counter. Leering 
               back over her shoulder, she hisses...

                                     AMY
                         Kiss my ass.

               Simon is nonplussed.

               Gnoc presses a button on the wall that sets...

               A red light flashing above the stockroom door.

               Warren grabs Simon by the neck and drags him over to Amy's 
               bare behind. Amy laughs as Simon is forced to his knees and 
               has his face shoved up right into the crack of her ass.

               But then... Simon throws up all over her.

               Warren falls back in disgust.

               Gnoc covers her face with her hands.

               Amy looks around at herself, realizes, and starts screaming 
               bloody murder.

               Simon falls back on to the floor, clutching his stomach, as 
               Amy staggers around with her vomit-strewn underwear down 
               around her ankles.

               Then Gnoc's father, Mr Deng, appears at the stockroom door 
               holding a shovel and ready to fight.

                                     WARREN
                              (scared)
                         Oh, shit!

               Mr Deng comes running at them and Warren drags Amy from the 
               store. Simon crawls out of the way as the old man throws 
               open the door to the parking lot and screams at the retreating 
               delinquents...

                                     MR DENG
                              (in Vietnamese)
                         Stay the hell out of my store, you 
                         good-for-nothing punks!

               Having scared them off, he comes back in and starts screaming 
               at Simon.

                                     MR DENG
                         Look at this! What's going on here? 
                         Simon, get up off the floor! Is this 
                         beer paid for?

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- NIGHT

               Later.

               Simon splashes water over his face at the kitchen sink, then 
               watches as Henry unpacks one of his suitcases. It is filled 
               with dozens of old, worn notebooks. Henry stacks them on the 
               mantelpiece over the fireplace; the fire is now crackling 
               and bright.

               Simon steps over and looks at...

               The name tag on the other suitcase: 'Henry Fool'.

                                     HENRY
                              (off-screen)
                         Centuries ago it had an 'e' at the 
                         end.

               Simon looks over and sees...

               Henry's silhouette against the fire. He steps forward into 
               the light and grabs a beer from the six-pack on the floor. 
               He hands one to Simon.

               Simon takes it and stares at it a moment before raising his 
               eyes to Henry.

                                     SIMON
                         Where do you come from?

                                     HENRY
                         Nowhere in particular.

               He winks at Simon, then struts around the room, hugely 
               impressed with himself.

                                     HENRY
                         I go where I will and I do what I 
                         must.
                              (stops, drinks)
                         That's why I'm in trouble. I'm sort've 
                         what you might call... 'in exile'.

                                     SIMON
                         Why are you in trouble?

                                     HENRY
                              (stopping)
                         An honest man is always in trouble, 
                         Simon. Remember that.

               Simon comes away from the fire, watching him carefully. Henry 
               stands in a dim corner across the room.

                                     SIMON
                         How do you know my name?

               Henry pauses, looks aside, drinks, then grins demoniacally. 
               He steps forward and comes face to face with Simon. He lifts 
               his finger and points to...

               Simon's name stitched upon the breast of his work shirt.

               Realizing this, Simon moves off and thinks.

               Henry throws more wood on the fire, glancing back over his 
               shoulder, laughing mischievously.

                                     SIMON
                              (stopping him)
                         I am not retarded.

                                     HENRY
                              (pauses)
                         Well... I'll take your word for that.

                                     SIMON
                              (explaining)
                         People. I mean. They think. You know. 
                         Because.

               He tries to articulate what he thinks he feels but winds up 
               gesticulating curiously with his hands. This finally dissolves 
               into a dumb stare into empty space.

                                     HENRY
                         I see.

               Simon looks at him. Henry stands and grabs a notebook from 
               off the mantelpiece. He tears out a few pages and shoves 
               them in his pocket. He hands the now fresh writing tablet to 
               Simon.

                                     HENRY
                         Here. Take this. And...

               He searches his pockets and finds a pencil.

                                     HENRY
                         ...this. Keep them with you at all 
                         times. You ever feel like you got 
                         something to say and you can't get 
                         it out, stop and write it down. OK?

               Simon hesitates, then accepts the gifts. Henry goes for 
               another beer while his new friend studies the dozens of 
               notebooks on the mantelpiece.

                                     SIMON
                         What are these?

                                     HENRY
                              (proudly, returning)
                         This? This is my life's work. My 
                         memoirs. My 'Confession'.

                                     SIMON
                              (carefully)
                         What have you done?

               Henry drinks and looks down into the raging fire.

                                     HENRY
                              (wistfully)
                         I've been bad. Repeatedly.
                              (shrugs and steps 
                              away)
                         But why brag? The details of my 
                         exploits are only a pretext for a 
                         far more expansive consideration of 
                         general truths.
                              (contemplating the 
                              notebooks)
                         What is this? It's a philosophy. A 
                         poetics. A politics, if you will. A 
                         literature of protest. A novel of 
                         ideas. A pornographic magazine of 
                         truly comic-book proportions. It is, 
                         in the end, whatever the hell I want 
                         it to be. And when I'm through with 
                         it, it's gunna blow a hole this wide 
                         straight through the world's own 
                         idea of itself!

               He smokes. Simon is impressed. They hear a bottle smash 
               outside in the street and Henry goes to the window. They're 
               throwing bottles at the house.

                                     HENRY
                              (throwing down his 
                              cigarette)
                         Come on, let's go break their arms!

               Simon jumps up.

                                     SIMON
                         No!

               Henry stops. Simon looks away and sits back down.

                                     SIMON
                              (pauses)
                         If I'm quiet.

               He is ashamed of himself.

               Henry sees this and settles down. He considers his new friend 
               with genuine care as he gets himself a new cigarette. He 
               lights up, thinks, then grabs another chair and sits close 
               by Simon. They sit there in silence a while, then...

                                     HENRY
                         Once. I forget where I was. Central 
                         America maybe. Somewhere hot. Stupid 
                         job. Bad pay. Dangerous location and 
                         water so foul the natives wouldn't 
                         even piss in it. This crowd of drunken 
                         motherfuckers hired by the local 
                         drug cartel shows up at my hotel 
                         room and threatens to tear me limb 
                         from limb. And I say, listen, hombres, 
                         OK, you've got me outnumbered four 
                         to one and you're gunna kill me here 
                         tonight and not a soul in this dimly 
                         lit world is ever gunna notice I'm 
                         gone. Fine. But one of you... one of 
                         you... one of you is gunna have his 
                         eye torn out. Period. Silence. I 
                         repeat myself. One of you poor, 
                         underpaid jerks is gunna have an eye 
                         ripped out of its socket. I promise. 
                         It's a small thing, perhaps, all 
                         things considered. But I will succeed. 
                         Because it's the only thing I have 
                         left to do in this world. So why 
                         don't you just take a good look at 
                         one another one last time and think 
                         it over for a few minutes more.
                              (smokes, waits)
                         They sober up a little, look at their 
                         shoes in confusion, then step out 
                         into the hall to talk among 
                         themselves.

               Henry stares into the flames and falls silent. Simon is 
               riveted. He leans forward, on the edge of his seat...

                                     SIMON
                         What happened?

                                     HENRY
                              (winking)
                         Well, here I am, still, after all.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE. UPSTAIRS -- NIGHT

               Later that night.

               Simon climbs the stairs and stops when he hears raunchy sex 
               from his sister's room. He stands outside her door and 
               listens.

                                     MARY
                              (off)
                         Did you throw up all over some girl?

               Simon looks up the hall and sees his mother in her room, 
               sitting on the edge of her bed, smoking. He approaches and 
               stands in her doorway.

                                     MARY
                         They were throwing bottles at the 
                         house.

               Simon says nothing. He looks down at his feet.

                                     MARY
                              (gesturing to Fay's 
                              room)
                         She's got some ex-con in there she 
                         met at the bar. Tattoos all over 
                         himself and a big red bloated nose.

                                     SIMON
                         Did you take your pills?

               Now she says nothing. She smokes and looks away.

               Simon steps into the bathroom and gets her medication. He 
               runs a glass of water and brings it in to her.

               She swallows the pills and washes them back with water.

                                     SIMON
                         You want me to tell her to be quiet?

               She looks away, unconcerned and cynical.

                                     MARY
                         What's the use? She might as well 
                         get it while she can. She's not always 
                         gunna have the ass she has now, you 
                         know. That's just how life is.

               She throws the blanket over herself and turns off the light. 
               Simon stands there in the dark.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               Simon comes downstairs into the quiet, dark kitchen and sits 
               at the table. He listens to the traffic on the highway and 
               stares off into space. Finally, he takes the notebook Henry 
               gave him from his pocket and places it before him. But then 
               he just gazes off into the dim living-room and scratches his 
               head. Returning his attention to the notebook, he digs down 
               into his pocket and retrieves his short stub of pencil.

               He opens the notebook and carefully flattens back the cover. 
               Lifting the pencil, he pauses and stares at the blank page. 
               Then, after more intense hesitation, he brings the pencil's 
               dull tip to the very top left edge of the page and begins 
               writing in a slow, laborious hand.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               The next morning.

               Henry barges in the kitchen door with two containers of coffee 
               and some jelly donuts. Simon jumps up from where he sits 
               asleep over his notebook at the table.

                                     HENRY
                         Good morning, Simon! Glorious day, 
                         huh? Here, have a donut. Can you 
                         lend me twenty dollars?

               Simon rubs the sleep from his eyes, blinks, disoriented and 
               reaches for his wallet.

                                     HENRY
                         Thanks. Where's the library in the 
                         scruffy little burgh?

                                     SIMON
                              (handing him cash)
                         Down the highway about a mile and a 
                         half and then make a left.

                                     HENRY
                         Excellent! I'm polishing up the final 
                         chapters of my 'Confession' and I 
                         need a reasonably well-stocked 
                         reference section.

               He lifts up Simon's notebook.

                                     HENRY
                         What's this?

               Simon hesitates, shyly.

                                     SIMON
                         I thought. Um. I was. I wanted to. 
                         Maybe.

               He gives up, sighs and gazes at the floor. Henry flips through 
               the book, impressed. It is full from cover to cover, every 
               page dense with Simon's cryptic scrawl. Henry frowns, 
               intrigued. Then...

                                     HENRY
                         Can I take this?

               Simon looks up, terrified. But his friend puts him at ease.

                                     HENRY
                         I'll correct the spelling.

               EXT. JUNK YARD -- DAY

               Later that day.

               Simon finds a number of volumes of the classics while crushing 
               garbage.

               EXT. BEHIND WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               That evening.

               Simon sits with his evening beer and his new collection of 
               soiled classics. He cracks open a volume of Shakespeare and 
               tries to read. It's an obvious struggle. He puts it aside 
               and lifts up Wordsworth, studying its cover and the texture 
               of the pages. A page flutters away and he climbs down to the 
               edge of a greasy puddle to retrieve it. It's now wet and 
               torn, so he flattens it out on the concrete and tries to fit 
               it back into the book.

               He reads a little, furrowing his brow, then drinks. He bites 
               his lip and tries again.

               He sits back, exhausted and thinks. He hears a twig snap and 
               looks back over his shoulder to see...

               Amy throws a bottle at his head.

               Smash!!!! He falls to the ground, blood streaming down his 
               neck.

               Warren runs over and grabs him by the shirt, lifting him out 
               of the puddle and smacking him in the head.

               Amy runs forward and waits with a rolled-up newspaper which 
               she sets aflame with her lighter.

               Warren punches Simon in the stomach and throws him to the 
               ground, then unzips his fly and pisses on him.

               Amy watches, giggling excitedly, waving the flaming torch.

               Simon crawls away and grabs hold of an old section of fence, 
               while Warren zips up and grabs the fire from Amy.

               Simon pulls himself to his knees, rests his face against the 
               rusted fence and gasps for breath. Warren waves the flaming 
               torch in his face.

                                     SIMON
                              (weakly, unheard)
                         One of you is gunna lose an eye.

               Amy comes nearer with a can of gasoline. Simon pulls himself 
               to his feet as she splashes him with fuel. Warren is waving 
               the torch deliriously above his head.

                                     SIMON
                              (screaming)
                         One of you is gunna lose an eye!

               Warren stops.

               Amy steps back and lowers the gas can.

               Simon turns with effort to face them, adjusts his glasses 
               and continues...

                                     SIMON
                         One of you. I promise.

               Warren watches him blankly, then is burned by the torch which 
               is too hot to handle. He drops it.

               Amy giggles, then stops, excited, but confused.

               Simon grips the rusted chainlink so that it cuts into his 
               hands and stares straight at Warren.

                                     SIMON
                         You can set me on fire. But one of 
                         you is gunna have an eye torn out of 
                         your head. I promise.

               Warren is transfixed. He shivers and looks at Amy, who steps 
               back, scared, and puts down the gas can. She turns and walks 
               away.

               Warren looks back at Simon, troubled.

               He hangs there still, glaring at him.

               Further away, Warren rejoins Amy and stares at his hands. 
               Amy looks ill.

                                     WARREN
                         Fuck.

                                     AMY
                         Take me home.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Henry is at one of the tables, correcting the spelling in 
               Simon's notebook, when he looks up and sees...

               Simon stumble in, beaten and bruised, dropping his classics 
               to the floor. Henry and Mr Deng rush over to him.

                                     HENRY
                              (scared)
                         Simon! Who did this to you?

                                     SIMON
                         I was gunna tear out their eyes. I 
                         knew I could do it.

                                     HENRY
                         Whose eyes?

                                     SIMON
                         I told them. Like you said. I told 
                         them. And I knew I could do it.

               He passes out. Henry looks at Mr Deng.

                                     MR DENG
                         You should take him home. He smells 
                         like a toilet.

               Henry nods, agreeing, then lifts Simon off the floor. Mr 
               Deng holds the door open as Henry carries his friend out 
               into the parking lot.

               Meanwhile, Gnoc gathers up the classics from the floor and 
               places them beside Simon's notebook, where it still sits 
               open on the table. She looks at it, then reads. She lifts it 
               off the table and reads further, immediately and deeply 
               engrossed.

               Mr Deng watches as Henry departs with Simon, then comes back 
               into the store and stops, startled, when he sees...

               Gnoc sitting there, staring off into space, the notebook 
               open in her hands before her, singing quietly.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Twenty minutes later.

               Fay is in the bathroom helping Simon out of his clothes, 
               trying to clean his wounds.

                                     FAY
                              (calling)
                         Shit, Mom, we gotta get him to a 
                         hospital!

                                     SIMON
                         No!

                                     FAY
                         Oh, shut up! Turn around.

               Henry is at the kitchen table with Mary. She watches him 
               suspiciously. He lets her.

                                     MARY
                         This kinda thing has happened before.

                                     HENRY
                              (standing)
                         It won't happen again.

               She watches him as he walks around the room, browsing.

                                     MARY
                         How do you know?

               He stops and lifts a small framed photo of a soldier off the 
               piano.

                                     HENRY
                         This your husband?

               Violated somehow, she gets up and snatches it out of his 
               hands. She puts it in a drawer and cringes as Henry plays 
               one note on the piano.

                                     MARY
                         Stop that.

               He fixes her with a steady, knowing stare which causes her 
               to gather the collar of her bathrobe up around her neck. She 
               steps back, exposed, when there's a knock at the door. They 
               look over to see...

               Mr Deng enter with the notebook.

                                     MR DENG
                              (nods to Mary, then)
                         Mr Fool, what is this?

                                     HENRY
                         It's poetry.

                                     MR DENG
                         Are you sure?

               Henry comes over, takes the notebook from him and shoves it 
               in his pocket.

                                     HENRY
                         Of course I'm sure. I corrected the 
                         spelling myself.

                                     MR DENG
                         It made my daughter sing.

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah, well, you know -- that's what 
                         poetry does.

                                     MR DENG
                         But she has never spoken in her life.

               Meanwhile, back in the bathroom...

                                     SIMON
                         Owww!!!

                                     FAY
                         Keep still!

                                     SIMON
                         Let me do it!

                                     FAY
                              (fed up)
                         Fine! You do it, Simon! I don't care!

               She storms out to the top of the stairs, cocks her hip and 
               whines...

                                     FAY
                         Mom! Simon's got a broken rib, his 
                         shoulder's dislocated or something, 
                         and he won't let me disinfect the 
                         gash in his head!

                                     MARY
                         Fay, just take him to the hospital, 
                         will ya!

                                     FAY
                              (stamping her foot)
                         But he won't go!

                                     MARY
                              (screaming)
                         Simon Grim, you go to the hospital 
                         with Fay right now, do hear me!

               Simon reaches out and slams the bathroom door.

               Fay looks from the bathroom door down the stairs to Mary. 
               Mary, her nerves rattled, glances over at Mr Deng, who turns 
               and leaves the house.

               Henry lights a fresh cigarette, loosens his tie and heads 
               upstairs.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE BATHROOM -- DAY

               A moment later.

               Henry throws open the door and enters. He steps over Simon, 
               who is on the floor, folded up against the toilet.

                                     HENRY
                         We gotta talk.

               Henry sits on the edge of the bathtub and takes the notebook 
               from his pocket.

                                     HENRY
                         What the hell were you trying to do 
                         when you wrote this thing?

               Simon just looks at him, not certain what he means.

                                     SIMON
                         Nothing.

                                     HENRY
                         Well, you know you wrote it in a 
                         kind of iambic pentameter.

                                     SIMON
                         Iambic what?

                                     HENRY
                         Verse.

               He scratches his chin and smokes.

                                     HENRY
                         Look, in my opinion, this is pretty 
                         powerful stuff. Though your spelling 
                         is Neanderthal, and your reasoning a 
                         little naive, your instincts are 
                         profound. But the whole thing needs 
                         to be given a more cohesive shape. 
                         It can be expanded. Followed through. 
                         Unified.
                              (smokes, then)
                         You see what I'm getting at?

               Simon just stares at him, overwhelmed. Henry drops the 
               notebook on the floor and points at it with his cigarette.

                                     HENRY
                         Are you willing to commit yourself 
                         to this? To really work on it? To 
                         give it its due? In the face of 
                         adversity and discouragement? To 
                         rise to the challenge you yourself 
                         have set?

               Simon just blinks, looks away and wonders.

                                     HENRY
                         And don't gimme that wonderstruck 
                         'I'm-only-a-humble-garbage-man' 
                         bullshit, either.

                                     SIMON
                         It hurts to breathe.

                                     HENRY
                              (nodding)
                         Of course it does.

               Simon coughs and Henry leans back and smokes.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE UPSTAIRS -- NIGHT

               An hour later.

               Fay cringes outside Simon's room as Henry goes about setting 
               her brother's arm.

                                     SIMON
                         Like this?

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah. No. OK?

                                     SIMON
                         Wait!

                                     HENRY
                         Don't move! Fuck. There.

                                     SIMON
                         Are you sure that's right?

                                     HENRY
                         Yes. Now shut up and lie back.

               Simon does.

                                     SIMON
                         Is this gunna hurt?

                                     HENRY
                         Yes.

               He pauses, then leans back.

                                     HENRY
                         You gunna be alright?

               Simon nods and stares at the ceiling. Henry hands him a towel.

                                     HENRY
                         Here. Bite on this.

                                     SIMON
                              (spots blood on it)
                         What's that?

                                     HENRY
                              (looking)
                         It's blood. From your head. Lie back. 
                         Shove that in your mouth and hold on 
                         to something.

               Simon bites down on the towel and grips the edge of the bed 
               with his free hand. Henry sits on his legs and gently raises 
               the broken arm.

               Outside the door, Fay bites her knuckles. Further down the 
               hall, Mary listens from her bedroom.

                                     HENRY
                         Okay. You ready?

               Simon nods. Henry grabs hold of the arm, swallows and braces 
               himself. Simon waits, then Henry tugs the arm straight.

                                     SIMON
                         Aaagghhh!!!!!!!

               Fay turns and runs down the stairs. Mary backs away into her 
               room and shuts the door.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- NIGHT

               Later that night.

               Henry comes downstairs and stops, tired. Fay is sitting at 
               the table with a bottle of gin and two glasses. She has dolled 
               herself up a little and Henry likes what he sees. He looks 
               her over and she smiles. He sits. She pours. They drink.

                                     FAY
                         So, do you have, like, you know, a 
                         girlfriend, Henry?

                                     HENRY
                         No.

               They drink again in silence. He lights her cigarette and 
               they watch each other closely. Finally, Fay leans on the 
               table and twirls a strand of her hair between her fingers.

                                     FAY
                         Do you find me attractive?

                                     HENRY
                         Yes, I do.

                                     FAY
                         I look young for my age, don't I?

                                     HENRY
                         How old are you?

                                     FAY
                         How old do you think I am?

                                     HENRY
                         You look young.

                                     FAY
                              (playfully)
                         How young?

                                     HENRY
                         I don't know. Young.

                                     FAY
                         But how... I mean, do I look more 
                         like twenty, or... you know, thirty?

               He drinks and studies her. She presents her profile. Finally, 
               he leans back.

                                     HENRY
                         Thirty.

               Fay jumps up, furious.

                                     FAY
                         Listen, you geek, after a couple of 
                         drinks plenty of people mistake me 
                         for eighteen!

               She grabs her bag and storms out of the house. Henry watches 
               her go, then chuckles deviously and splashes himself another 
               drink.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Next morning.

               A thirty-year-old cocktail waitress named Vicky walks up and 
               stops when she sees...

               Warren, sitting back against the side of World of Donuts, 
               smoking a joint and thinking about his future.

               She sighs and approaches.

                                     VICKY
                         Hey, Warren, are you a registered 
                         voter?

                                     WARREN
                         Bug off, Vicky!

               Unruffled, she hands him a flyer.

                                     WARREN
                              (reading)
                         'Saving America From Itself.' What 
                         the fuck is this?

                                     VICKY
                         It's everything you need to know 
                         about the upcoming elections and 
                         congressman Owen Feer and all the 
                         really good things he wants to do 
                         for our country.

               He tokes deeply, then...

                                     WARREN
                         Oh yeah, like what?

                                     VICKY
                         He wants to win back this country 
                         for us Americans, Warren, and restore 
                         some kind of cultural-moral standard 
                         to our way of life.

               Warren looks over the flyer, then reconsiders Vicky.

                                     WARREN
                         What time's your kid go off to school?

                                     VICKY
                              (carefully)
                         Nine o'clock.

                                     WARREN
                         How about I come over and visit you 
                         later?

               Vicky sighs, troubled. She adjusts her waitress uniform and 
               looks mildly offended.

                                     VICKY
                         Well, I don't know, Warren. I mean...

               Warren gets up, too.

                                     WARREN
                         Come on. I mean it. I'm trying to 
                         change.

               Vicky is hard-pressed. She wants to believe him, but knows 
               better. She thinks about it while...

               Henry passes by and approaches the store.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry enters and takes Simon's notebook from his pocket. He 
               flips through a few pages and selects one in particular.

               He tears it out of the book and tapes it up beside the 
               register so customers can read it. He winks at Gnoc. She 
               smiles shyly and makes him a coffee. He takes it and moves 
               off to a table just as...

               Vicky enters. She starts accumulating groceries, placing 
               them on the counter one item at a time.

               Henry settles down and watches as...

               Vicky returns to the counter with a bottle of orange juice 
               and notices the poem. She reads, holding the orange juice 
               out to her side.

               Gnoc starts to ring up the other purchases as her father 
               comes up behind her, busying himself with an inventory of 
               the cigarettes.

               Vicky's lip starts to tremble as she reads, a horrified 
               expression clouding her face. Finally...

               Smash!!!! She drops the bottle of orange juice and stands 
               back. Mr Deng and Gnoc jump back, alarmed.

               Henry tilts his head and pays close attention.

                                     VICKY
                              (screaming at Mr Deng)
                         How dare you put something like this 
                         up where anyone can see it!

               Mr Deng looks from her to the poem and then over at Henry. 
               Henry urges the man to stand up for himself.

                                     MR DENG
                              (to Vicky)
                         It's poetry.

                                     VICKY
                         It's pornography! The product of a 
                         diseased mind! You oughta be ashamed 
                         of yourself, Mr Deng!

                                     MR DENG
                         It made Gnoc sing.

                                     VICKY
                              (pauses, confused)
                         It's disgusting! There oughta be a 
                         law or something!

               She grabs her things and leaves. Mr Deng holds his head and 
               looks over at Henry.

                                     HENRY
                              (winking)
                         There's no accounting for taste, is 
                         there, Mr Deng?

               Mr Deng has no idea. He sits, worried, as Gnoc comes out 
               from behind the counter and begins mopping up the mess.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN - DAY

               Later.

               Henry is at the kitchen table with Simon, working on the 
               poem. Simon is bandaged up, his arm in a sling, black eyes, 
               etc.

                                     HENRY
                         See, Simon, there are three kinds of 
                         there. There's 'There'. T-H-E-R-E. 
                         There are the donuts. Then there's T-
                         H-E-I-R; which is the possessive. It 
                         is their donut. Then, finally, there's 
                         'they're'. T-H-E-Y-'-R-E. A 
                         contraction, meaning they are. They're 
                         the donut people. Get it?

                                     SIMON
                         Uh-huh.

               Henry lifts up one of Simon's newly acquired classics...

                                     HENRY
                         And look, if you're gunna read 
                         Wordsworth you've gotta get a more 
                         up-to-date edition. This odoriferous 
                         tome you're so attached to doesn't 
                         even have all fourteen books of the 
                         Prelude. And you need notes. 
                         Commentary. I'll go to the library 
                         and find you the best edition they 
                         have.

                                     SIMON
                         Thank you, but that's OK. I'll stop 
                         there on my way back from work. Well, 
                         yes, maybe not today, but, you know, 
                         tomorrow, probably.

                                     HENRY
                         Quit.

                                     SIMON
                         My job?

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah.

                                     SIMON
                         Why?

                                     HENRY
                         You need time to write, Simon. To 
                         study. To reflect.

                                     SIMON
                         But I like my job.

                                     HENRY
                         We all have to make sacrifices. A 
                         vocation like ours, Simon, is not a 
                         nine to five thing. You can't put a 
                         fence around a man's soul. We think 
                         and feel where and when we can think 
                         and feel. We are the servants of our 
                         muse and we toil where she commands.

               Simon looks past him and Henry follows his gaze to find...

               Mary standing at the foot of the stairs, listening to them. 
               She says nothing. She looks Henry up and down, then shakes 
               her head disdainfully and grunts. She throws herself on the 
               couch and turns on the TV, casting acid glances over at the 
               kitchen.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE - DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry and Simon come outside...

                                     SIMON
                         She's clinically depressed.

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah, and what's that mean?

                                     SIMON
                              (thinking, then)
                         I guess it means it's not her fault.

               Henry wanders out to the road, checking his wallet, then...

                                     HENRY
                              (sighing)
                         You ever think of leaving?

                                     SIMON
                         Here?

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah.

                                     SIMON
                         To go where?

                                     HENRY
                         Out there. You know, into the world. 
                         Where ever.

               Simon looks off, thinks it over and slowly nods.

                                     SIMON
                         Yeah, I guess.

                                     HENRY
                              (reciting)
                         'Opportunity will step away and make 
                         room for a man to pass it by.'

                                     SIMON
                         Is that from your book?

                                     HENRY
                         No. I found it in a fortune cookie.

               He pulls the tiny piece of crumpled advice out from one of 
               his pockets and shows it to Simon.

                                     SIMON
                         Can I read your confession?

                                     HENRY
                         No. Not yet. Soon. We'll see.

                                     SIMON
                         Is it almost finished?

                                     HENRY
                              (puffing himself up)
                         Well, you know, Simon, a piece of 
                         work like this, it's... A vocation 
                         like ours... You can't put a fence 
                         around a man's soul. What I'm trying 
                         to achieve, it's... Well, it takes a 
                         lifetime really. It's a life's work.
                              (looking around)
                         But soon. Don't worry. I'd appreciate 
                         your feedback. I gotta go. See ya.

               He hurries away around the corner. Simon walks back to the 
               house and stops when he sees...

               A plain-clothes policeman, Officer Bu�uel, drive up and park 
               before the house.

               Simon spies as the man gets out of his car and knocks on 
               Henry's door. He, of course, gets no answer.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Later that day.

               Simon works on his poem at the kitchen table while Fay flips 
               through a magazine and watches TV. Mary, lying on the couch 
               in her bathrobe, watches her own TV.

               The cacophony is augmented by the rattling dishwasher and 
               the trucks rumbling by on the highway outside.

               Mary looks over at her son, suspicious, and leans off the 
               couch.

                                     MARY
                         What are you doing there, Simon?

               He carefully finishes writing a word, then looks up and 
               pauses.

                                     SIMON
                         I'm writing a poem.

               Mary looks at Fay, who looks up from her magazine and 
               considers her brother. Then they break out laughing.

               Simon looks on.

               They laugh and laugh and laugh...

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Later.

               Simon is bent over his notebook, consulting a dictionary, 
               hard at work.

               Amy and three kids are grouped around the register, reading 
               the page Henry taped up earlier. As they read, Amy glances 
               anxiously back at Simon.

               They finish reading and stand back.

                                     PAT
                         So what? It ain't so great.

                                     CHRIS
                              (to Amy, of Simon)
                         That him?

               Amy nods 'Yes', then leads them towards Simon.

               Simon scribbles away.

                                     AMY
                              (off)
                         Pardon me, Simon.

               He looks up, sees her, panics and slides away on the seat. 
               Amy looks down and bites her lip, contrite. She sighs.

                                     AMY
                         Uhm. Look, ah... I'm the editor of 
                         the high school newspaper now and...

                                     PAT
                         One of the editors.

                                     AMY
                         One of the editors, and we...

                                     PAT
                         You.

                                     AMY
                         I... wanted to know if we could print 
                         your poem in this month's issue.

               Simon looks around at them all, threatened.

                                     SIMON
                         Why?

                                     AMY
                         Because I think it's great.

                                     PAT
                         I don't.

                                     CHRIS
                              (to Pat)
                         Who cares what you think?

                                     TED
                         You're a drag.

                                     CHRIS
                         A well-known drag.

                                     AMY
                              (to Simon)
                         Please?

               Simon fumbles with his pencil, ill at ease and self-conscious. 
               Then, to get rid of them, he nods his consent.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               That evening.

               Fay comes downstairs in only a towel and wet hair. She 
               switches on the TV and looks for cigarettes. She finds Mary's 
               pills on the table and remembers to ask...

                                     FAY
                         Ma, you take your medication?

               Mary is lying on the couch. She drags her eyes from the TV 
               and glances lazily at Fay, then back to the TV.

                                     FAY
                              (to herself)
                         Guess so.

               She sits at the kitchen table and lifts her magazine.

               Henry shows up at the kitchen door with a pile of library 
               books. His eyes brighten when he sees...

               Fay sitting there wearing only her towel. He knocks. She 
               looks back over her shoulder and sees him.

                                     HENRY
                         Evening, Fay.

                                     FAY
                              (disdainfully)
                         What do you want?

                                     HENRY
                         I've got these books for Simon.

               She turns away.

                                     FAY
                         Well, leave 'em there on the counter, 
                         then.

               He comes in and stacks the books near the sink. Fay pretends 
               to ignore him, but rakes her fingers through her wet hair 
               anyway, to show more shoulder.

               This is not lost on Henry, who tarries and leans back against 
               the counter, salivating.

               Fay flips through her magazine and Henry steps closer and 
               leans against the fridge.

               She casts a bored glance in his direction, then returns her 
               attention to the TV. She senses him step aside and follows 
               his movements without turning. Suddenly his hand appears 
               from behind her and gently strokes her hair. She freezes, 
               waits, wonders...

               He leans his face down beside her. She looks at him. He looks 
               at her, then down to...

               Her bare legs crossed before her on the kitchen chair. His 
               hand moves down and slides itself deep in between her things.

               Her mouth drops open.

               He looks back up at her. He grins.

               Fay jumps up and away, breathlessly clutching the towel around 
               herself.

               Henry casts a glance over her body, throws his hair back out 
               of his face and shivers with lust.

               Fay steps back and grabs hold of the staircase banister, 
               making an unconvincing gesture of injured pride.

               Henry comes closer and she steps backwards up the stairs.

               He stops, loosens his tie, holding her with his gaze.

               She readjusts her towel, throws back her wet hair, sighs 
               defiantly, then sashays into her room, leaving the door ajar.

               Henry waits there at the foot of the stairs, reaches down, 
               grabs his crotch and repositions his hard-on. He takes a 
               step up the stairs, then stops. He looks over to the couch 
               and sees...

               Mary, lying there, sedately amazed.

               He pauses, then grins.

               Mary blinks and smiles sleepily.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon sits back from his writing and rubs his neck. Putting 
               down his pencil, he looks up and sees...

               Warren enter the store and grab a beer from the cooler. Seeing 
               Simon, he waves and approaches.

                                     WARREN
                         Hey, Simon, you a registered voter?

               Simon hesitates, but then nods uncertainly. Warren hands him 
               a flyer. This year when you go to the polls, I want you to 
               consider Congressman Owen Feer. He wants to restore America 
               to its position of unmatched wealth, power and opportunity; 
               to revitalize American civilization and lead the human race 
               to even greater levels of freedom, prosperity and security! 
               He's a good man.

               He steps over to the register and pays for his beer. Mr Deng 
               glares at him, distrustfully. Warren stops on his way out 
               and snarls at the old man...

                                     WARREN
                         Immigrant.

               He leaves. Simon looks down and studies the flyer.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE. UPSTAIRS -- DAY

               Same time.

               Fay lies across her bed in her towel, holding a pose and 
               glancing anxiously back at the door. Finally, losing her 
               patience, she gets up.

                                     FAY
                         Where is he?

               She opens the door and looks out into the hall.

               He's not there.

               She steps out into the hall and listens.

                                     FAY
                         Henry?

               Nothing. She comes to the top of the stairs and hears faint 
               activity from down below. She proceeds downstairs.

               She sees no one in the kitchen, then looks in the living-
               room and stops. She goes white, her mouth falling open in 
               horror.

               Henry and Mary are screwing one another on the couch. Sloppy, 
               impassioned, brute sex.

                                     FAY
                              (screaming)
                         Mommy!!!!!

               They fall away from each other in terror and fatigue. Mary 
               clutches wildly at her bathrobe as Henry falls over the coffee 
               table, stumbles to his feet and pulls up his trousers.

               Fay is crushed. She breaks out in tears and runs upstairs.

               Henry catches his breath and starts after her, but stops, 
               uncertain and confused.

                                     MARY
                         You bastard!

                                     HENRY
                         What?

                                     MARY
                         Get out!

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Simon is asleep with his head down on the table. He wakes 
               finally and sees...

               Henry sitting across from him, gripping a beer and reading 
               the poem. He finishes, shuts the book and drinks.

                                     HENRY
                         Listen. I know a man. He's a big 
                         shot in the publishing business. 
                         Angus James. Smart, adventurous and 
                         tons of integrity. When this thing 
                         is ready, I'll recommend he reads 
                         it. He'll respect my opinion.

               Simon takes this in, then looks down at his hands and proceeds 
               carefully.

                                     SIMON
                         A man was here today looking for 
                         you.

                                     HENRY
                              (alert)
                         What man?

                                     SIMON
                         I don't know. He drove by the house 
                         a few times.

               Henry throws his eyes heavenward and pulls his hair. Jumping 
               to his feet, he paces maniacally.

                                     HENRY
                         Why do they torment me like this? 
                         Why? They're like a bunch of fucking 
                         mosquitoes!

               A customer a few tables away gets nervous and leaves.

                                     SIMON
                         What do they want from you?

                                     HENRY
                         They want to suffocate me, Simon! 
                         They wanna extinguish me like a flame!

               Some kid named Tim, sitting at another table, turns around 
               and asks...

                                     TIM
                         But why?

                                     HENRY
                         They're afraid, that's why! They're 
                         afraid of what I might do! What I 
                         might say! Think! They're afraid of 
                         my ideas!

               He drinks, then returns and sits beside Simon.

                                     HENRY
                         You and I are alike in this way, 
                         Simon.

                                     SIMON
                         Yeah?

                                     HENRY
                         We're outsiders. We think and feel 
                         too much and too deeply. And the 
                         world can't handle that. Our mere 
                         existence is a threat to its illusion 
                         of security. Sure, they'll name a 
                         wing of a new library after us when 
                         we're dead! But now... Now, when 
                         we're alive... Now, they wanna burn 
                         us at the stake!

               He drinks, burps, then slams down the can. He glances over 
               at Tim who is still looking on.

                                     HENRY
                         Scram.

               Tim hesitates, but then obeys. He gets up and leaves. Henry 
               returns to Simon.

                                     HENRY
                         For example, I made love to your 
                         mother about half an hour ago and 
                         now I'm beginning to think that maybe 
                         it wasn't such a good idea.

               Simon blinks. Henry adds...

                                     HENRY
                         I mean to say, I think Fay may be 
                         jealous.

               Simon is deeply confused. He looks ill. He stands and takes 
               a few steps away, staring at the floor.

                                     SIMON
                         I don't want to think about this.

                                     HENRY
                         Bad move, Simon.

               Simon stops and looks at him.

                                     HENRY
                              (pointing at him)
                         A poet has got to be able to think 
                         about anything.

               Simon pauses, then comes closer to Henry and stops.

                                     SIMON
                         Am I really a poet?

               Henry jumps up, strides around the store and speaks at the 
               top of his voice.

                                     HENRY
                         Of course you are! A great poet! But 
                         you need experience. You need to do 
                         something to be ashamed of every 
                         once in a while, for cryin' out loud.

               He walks to the door.

                                     HENRY
                         Come on! Let's go out! There's a den 
                         of iniquity right across the street! 
                         You got any money?

               He strides out of the store.

               Simon stands there, stunned and looks at Mr Deng as the old 
               man wipes off the table with a wet rag.

               INT. THE INFERNO -- NIGHT

               Later that night.

               Henry is dancing wildly on the bar with two sloppy-drunk 
               topless dancers. The place is rocking and the crowd cheers 
               them on.

               Simon sits perched on a stool, gripping the bar with white 
               knuckles and clutching a beer, looking on in terror as...

               Henry starts stripping.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- NIGHT

               Later that night.

               Simon stumbles in and heads upstairs. But he stops, seeing...

               Mary, sitting on the top step, smoking. She looks guilty and 
               tense. So does Simon.

                                     MARY
                         That man's a bad influence.

                                     SIMON
                         On who?

               She gets up and storms into her room.

               INT. FAY'S ROOM -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               Simon comes upstairs and stops outside his bedroom door when 
               he sees...

               Fay, passed out drunk on her bed. Her clothes are half off 
               and her lipstick smeared. She still grips a bottle of tequila 
               in her hand.

               Simon hesitates, but then goes in and removes her shoes. He 
               gets her out of her jacket and rolls her into the bed.

               Her bare limbs have their effect on Simon and he finds himself 
               staring at her thigh.

               He reaches out and almost caresses her leg where her hiked-
               up skirt reveals the bottom of her behind. He catches himself, 
               snaps his hand away and covers Fay with a blanket.

               He flees.

               INT. SIMON'S ROOM -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               Simon is alone in the room with his bed.

               The pale sheets beckon.

               He is flushed. He blinks.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               He creeps down the stairs with an arm-load of books. Sitting 
               at the table, he wrenches a nearby lamp into a more useful 
               position and begins to read.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               The next morning.

               Henry stumbles up the stoop carrying a laptop computer, its 
               various accessories and a couple of coffees.

               He lets himself in and dumps the computer on the kitchen 
               counter.

               Simon is asleep on the couch, still in his clothes.

                                     HENRY
                              (shoving him)
                         Simon. Hey, Simon.
                              (Simon wakes)
                         Come on. I got ya some coffee.

               Henry trudges back to the kitchen, where he whips out his 
               red pen and immediately begins to correct Simon's poem.

               Simon rolls off the couch and makes his way to the table. 
               Seeing the computer...

                                     SIMON
                         What's this?

                                     HENRY
                         It's a computer. You write on it.

               He reaches into his pocket.

                                     HENRY
                         Here's the manual.

               Simon looks over the computer and flips through the manual.

                                     SIMON
                         Where'd you get it?

                                     HENRY
                         I stole it. Now listen. Remember how 
                         yesterday we discussed the relative 
                         desirability of cadence in relation 
                         to the readability of...

                                     FAY
                              (off)
                         Oh, shit! Not you again!

               Fay is on the stairs, hungover and disgusted. Henry throws 
               up his hands and gets up to go.

                                     HENRY
                         Simon, I can't work under these 
                         conditions.

                                     FAY
                         Yeah! Get outta here, you freak!

                                     HENRY
                         Get a life!

                                     FAY
                         Eat shit and die, Henry!

               Mary throws open her bedroom door.

                                     MARY
                              (screaming)
                         Beast! Fiend! Rapist!

                                     FAY
                         Oh, shut up, Mom!

               Fay stomps back upstairs. Mary slams her door shut. Simon 
               runs out after Henry.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Simon follows Henry out into the street and over towards 
               World Of Donuts...

                                     SIMON
                         Henry, wait up!

                                     HENRY
                         I am not a rapist!

               But Henry stops short, seeing...

               Officer Bu�uel enter World of Donuts.

                                     HENRY
                         Shit. Come on, this way.

               And he runs down the street in the opposite direction. Simon 
               hangs back, but then follows...

               INT. CHURCH -- DAY

               Moments later.

               They scramble in and Henry is out of breath. He slumps down 
               into a pew.

                                     HENRY
                         Keep a look out. Tell me when he's 
                         gone.

               Simon does, but then...

                                     SIMON
                         Henry, what's going on? Who is that 
                         guy? What's he want?

                                     HENRY
                         He wants to help me! He wants to be 
                         my friend.

               He pats his pockets, looking for his smokes. Simon looks on, 
               baffled. He comes closer.

                                     SIMON
                         Help you with what?

                                     HENRY
                              (suddenly)
                         Shhh!

               He hears something, stands and moves further into the church. 
               Simon hesitates, but then follows. They hear someone crying. 
               Finally, in a pew off to one side in the shadows, they find...

               A young priest named Father Hawkes. He's a wreck. He looks 
               up from his quiet sobbing and sees...

               Henry and Simon standing there looking on with embarrassed 
               distaste. He lowers his head in shame. Henry moves closer 
               and sits beside the distraught priest.

                                     HENRY
                         What's wrong?

               The priest sighs hopelessly.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         I doubt.

               Henry leans back with a sigh and reaches for his cigarettes.

                                     HENRY
                         So, you're an honest man. Why beat 
                         yourself up about it?

               He offers a cigarette to the priest and he accepts.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         I don't know if there are grounds 
                         for faith. Is my vocation relevant? 
                         Does it make a difference?

                                     SIMON
                         A difference in what?

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         The world. The way it is. Is this a 
                         way to help relieve suffering?

                                     HENRY
                         Your vocation makes a difference.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         How can you be so sure?

                                     HENRY
                         Because vocation is the difference. 
                         Only someone who really cares doubts. 
                         Listen, father, as I was about to 
                         tell my friend Simon here, I am, 
                         without doubt, the biggest sinner 
                         within a hundred miles of this parish. 
                         But still, I've gotta stay up late 
                         at night to outdo the unending parade 
                         of mundane little atrocities I see 
                         committed every day right out in the 
                         open spaces of this loud and sunlit 
                         culture we call home.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         You seem to me to be a sensitive and 
                         generous man.

                                     HENRY
                         I like to think so. But the fact is 
                         I appreciate depravity. Nevertheless, 
                         I insist your vocation makes a 
                         difference, because to hold out 
                         anything other than a spiritual 
                         yardstick to reality is to be jerking 
                         off grandly into the abyss. Listen, 
                         have you got any money? Let's go 
                         have a drink.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Warren is stopping people on their way in and out of World 
               of Donuts.

                                     WARREN
                         Excuse me, miss, are you a registered 
                         voter?

                                     MISS
                         Oh God, really I don't know.

                                     WARREN
                         Well, I'd like to give you some 
                         information about Congressman Owen 
                         Feer. This man is gunna make a big 
                         difference in the lives of every 
                         American in the years to come...

                                     MISS
                         Thanks, sure. I gotta go, thanks.

               A man, Bill, steps up...

                                     WARREN
                         Pardon me, sir...

                                     BILL
                         Fuck off!

                                     WARREN
                         Right.

               Warren stands back and loosens his tie. He looks over at 
               Pearl age seven, who is sitting outside the store.

                                     WARREN
                         What time's your mother get off work?

               She doesn't respond. He shakes his head and approaches. He 
               sees Fay exit the store...

                                     WARREN
                         Fay, are you a registered voter?

                                     FAY
                              (stopping)
                         Don't you dare talk that way to me! 
                         And keep your hands off my brother. 
                         Pearl, what are you doing here?

                                     WARREN
                         I'm watchin' her.

               Fay figures it out and approaches.

                                     FAY
                         You and Vicky get back together?

                                     WARREN
                         I gotta regular job now and 
                         everything.

               She lifts a flyer and reads.

                                     FAY
                         I saw this retard on TV this morning.

                                     WARREN
                         He's gunna be the next president of 
                         the United States of America, Fay.

                                     FAY
                         Keep dreamin' Warren. The guy's a 
                         Nazi.

                                     WARREN
                         I like him!

                                     FAY
                         Gimme a light.

                                     WARREN
                              (lighting her cigarette)
                         He's a decent man. He takes 
                         complicated issues and totally 
                         simplifies them. And I appreciate 
                         that.

                                     FAY
                         You still sell dope?

                                     WARREN
                         No. You know what the problem is 
                         with this country, Fay? Me. I'm the 
                         problem. We live in a culture of 
                         poverty and crime, where the work 
                         ethic is undermined and male 
                         responsibility is made irrelevant.

               She studies him a moment more, lost, then shakes her head 
               and helps the child off the car.

                                     FAY
                         Come on, Pearl, let's go play at my 
                         house.

                                     WARREN
                         She gives you any trouble, Fay, you 
                         just let me know.

               INT. THE INFERNO -- DAY

               An hour later.

               Henry and Father Hawkes are drinking. Simon leans on the 
               bar, nodding off to sleep. After a while, Father Hawkes leans 
               back and...

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Do you think human beings are innately 
                         bad?

                                     HENRY
                         Worse than bad! Monstrous! But I 
                         love that about them.
                              (banging on the bar)
                         Wake up, Simon!

               Simon falls off his bar stool.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Warren straightens his tie and looks over to see...

               Simon stagger up.

               Warren shakes his head in dismay and approaches. Simon 
               steadies himself against the wall of the building.

                                     WARREN
                         Jesus Christ, Simon, you're letting 
                         yourself go to hell! You read that 
                         flyer I gave you?

                                     SIMON
                         What?

                                     WARREN
                         Simon, wake up and smell the coffee, 
                         huh! It's up to guys like you and me 
                         to help create a better tomorrow!

               Simon is lost.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               He staggers into World of Donuts and heads for the coffee 
               machine, but stops when he sees Bu�uel talking to Mr Deng. 
               Bu�uel looks over. Their eyes lock.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Same time.

                                     WARREN
                              (to Vicky)
                         Why would I steal a computer from 
                         the campaign office?

                                     VICKY
                         I'm not saying you did, I'm just 
                         saying one was and since you do have 
                         this criminal background...

               Whack!!! He slaps her...

                                     WARREN
                              (pointing)
                         Don't judge me!

               Simon runs out of the store and limps away towards home as 
               Bu�uel storms out in pursuit. Simon tries to run, but Bu�uel 
               catches him easily.

                                     BU�UEL
                         Look, I know you know him. People 
                         have seen you around together.

               Simon ceases to struggle, but shakes himself free and stands 
               looking down at his feet. Bu�uel stands aside and watches 
               him a moment, then reaches in his jacket and brings out his 
               badge.

                                     BU�UEL
                         I'm his parole officer.

               Simon studies the badge and waits a little, before asking...

                                     SIMON
                         What did he do?

                                     BU�UEL
                         I'm not supposed to talk about that 
                         stuff with people.

                                     SIMON
                         He's my. Friend.

               Bu�uel pauses, then puts away his badge and looks around the 
               parking lot.

                                     BU�UEL
                         Mr Deng says you're some sort of a 
                         poet, or something.

               Simon doesn't corroborate this. He looks away and readjusts 
               his sling. Bu�uel scratches his head, satisfied and prepares 
               to leave. But first...

                                     BU�UEL
                         You tell Henry to call me -- Officer 
                         Bu�uel -- pronto! Or they're gunna 
                         chuck his ass straight back into 
                         jail! Got it?

               Simon shrugs.

               Bu�uel waits a moment, then steps away and gets back in his 
               car. Simon watches as the parole officer drives away and 
               passes...

                                     WARREN
                         Vicky, look I'm sorry.

                                     VICKY
                         Don't you even come near me!

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Later.

                                     FAY
                         What do you mean, you quit?

                                     SIMON
                         I quit my job.

                                     FAY
                         Why!

                                     SIMON
                         There are things I want to do.

                                     FAY
                         Like what?

               Simon thinks of trying to explain, but then decides not to.

                                     SIMON
                         'Opportunity will step out of the 
                         way to let a man... pass it by.'

                                     FAY
                         Are you drunk?

                                     SIMON
                         Now you have to go out and get a 
                         job!

                                     FAY
                         I am not gettin' a job!
                              (paces, then)
                         Who's gunna look after Mom!

                                     SIMON
                         I will.

               Fay looks at the ceiling and sighs.

                                     FAY
                         Pearl, go outside.

               They wait as the child goes outside.

               Mary listens, unseen, from her bedroom door.

               Fay comes over and frowns at her brother. She's about to 
               lecture him, but he cuts her off.

                                     SIMON
                         If you treat Mom like a sick person, 
                         she's gunna stay like... you know, a 
                         sick person.

               Fay tries to control herself. She sighs tiredly and attempts 
               to reason with him...

                                     FAY
                         Simon, don't be retarded...

                                     SIMON
                              (banging the table)
                         I am not retarded!

               Fay steps back, startled. Simon stands, but can't decide 
               which way to go. He sits back down.

                                     SIMON
                         I can see with my own eyes.

               Mary turns away from her door and sits on her bed.

               Fay leans over the stove, where a large pot of water is 
               beginning to boil.

                                     FAY
                         Mom can't be left alone with no one 
                         to keep an eye on her.

               Simon is frustrated and lashes out.

                                     SIMON
                         Well, who's been keeping an eye on 
                         her while you've been out getting 
                         fucked by every OTB winner in town?

               Fay's mouth falls open and she staggers back, hurt.

               Simon regrets it already and stands to leave, scared. But 
               Fay grabs the pot off the stove and hurls it at him, splashing 
               boiling water all over his back.

                                     SIMON
                         Aggghhhh!!!

               Outside, Pearl turns and looks back at the house.

               Simon lies gasping on the floor of the kitchen. Fay falls 
               back against the stove, terrified and drops her head into 
               her hands.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE BATHROOM -- DAY

               Later.

               Fay is crouched on the floor, sobbing, while Simon lies in a 
               tub of cold water. Mary comes in with a pathetic little 
               freezer tray of ice cubes and dumps them into the tub.

               She steps back into the hall and throws the ice tray down 
               the stairs. She glares back at Fay, who cries even louder as 
               Simon stares up at the ceiling.

               Mary shakes her head and walks into her room, slamming the 
               door behind her.

                                     FAY
                              (sniffling)
                         What happened to her, Simon? How did 
                         she get this way? Will it happen to 
                         me too? Huh? Why are we so fucked 
                         up?

               Simon has no answers. But he reaches out and touches his 
               sister's hand.

               INT. LIBRARY -- DAY

               Evening.

               Simon comes limping in, all stiff because of his scalded 
               back. He's not familiar with the library, so he stands looking 
               around, trying to figure it out.

               INT. LIBRARY STACKS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               He wanders into an aisle, overwhelmed by all the books. Coming 
               to the far end of the aisle, he looks off to his left and 
               sees Henry sitting on a small stool, reading, with ten or 
               twenty open volumes scattered around him on the floor.

                                     SIMON
                              (approaching)
                         Henry?

                                     HENRY
                              (looking up and rising)
                         Simon! What are you doing here?

                                     SIMON
                         Henry... Your parole officer, Officer 
                         Bu�uel, came by again today.

               Henry sighs and sits back down.

                                     SIMON
                         He told me to tell you that if you 
                         don't call him they're gunna put you 
                         back in jail.

                                     HENRY
                         Simon...

                                     SIMON
                         He gave me this number...

                                     HENRY
                         Simon...

                                     SIMON
                         He was talking to Mr Deng too, and, 
                         well, you know, I was thinking...

                                     HENRY
                         Simon, just shut the fuck up!

               Simon blinks and looks down at his feet, unable to respond. 
               Deeply hurt, he simply turns to walk away. But Henry reaches 
               out and grabs his arm. Simon stops, pauses and looks back at 
               his friend.

                                     HENRY
                         Forgive me.

               He lets go and turns away on his stool.

                                     HENRY
                         Forgive me, Simon.

               Simon comes back over to him.

                                     SIMON
                         Call him, Henry. Please.

               Henry gives in slowly to the inevitable. He sighs deeply and 
               stands, handing Simon a book...

                                     HENRY
                         OK. Look, do me a favor. You got a 
                         library card?

                                     SIMON
                         Yeah.

                                     HENRY
                         Check this out for me.

               Simon looks at the cover: Paradise Lost.

                                     HENRY
                         Milton. Seventeenth century. English. 
                         You see, Simon, it's important my 
                         'Confession' dig up the past, comb 
                         previous evidence and help chart the 
                         historic -- even the aesthetic -- 
                         inevitability of my ideas. And...

               A young woman passes by, scanning the stacks. She and Henry 
               have a split second of eye contact, then she turns and moves 
               away. Henry straightens his tie and watches her go.

                                     HENRY
                         This place is crawling with chicks, 
                         Simon. Wander around. Leer a little. 
                         Cop a feel. Impose yourself on 'em. 
                         See what happens.

                                     SIMON
                         I make girls uncomfortable.

                                     HENRY
                         Bullshit! You've got a rough hewn 
                         charm that sets 'em on edge. Now, 
                         listen, I gotta go.

                                     SIMON
                         Henry?

               Henry stops and turns. Simon pauses, then...

                                     SIMON
                         What did you do?

               Henry watches him for a moment, then swaggers closer...

                                     HENRY
                         I got caught.

               Simon waits for more but is disappointed. With one final 
               cracked grin at his friend, Henry throws back his shoulders, 
               slicks back his hair and strides off. Simon watches him go 
               and frowns, not comforted. He flips through the pages of 
               Paradise Lost.

                                     SIMON
                              (voice over)
                         'Whereto with speedy words the arch-
                         fiend replied Fallen Cherub, to be 
                         weak is miserable...'

               INT. LIBRARY READING ROOM -- DAY

               Moments later.

               He comes out from the stacks, working his way through the 
               first page of Paradise Lost. He nearly bumps into a girl and 
               they stop and look at one another. He tries to hold her gaze 
               for a moment, challenging himself, but then turns away and 
               stalks to a table. He sits and leans over the page.

               After a moment, though, he lifts his face and glances at...

               Another girl, sitting further down the table. She looks up 
               from her reading and returns his gaze.

               He smiles at her.

               She gets up and leaves.

               Simon frowns, confounded and returns to his book. He takes 
               out his notebook and pencil, meaning to take notes, but sees 
               instead...

               A third girl sitting at another table, listening to her 
               Walkman and typing her homework into a laptop computer.

               He finds himself staring at her and forces himself back to 
               his book. But he can't help himself and glances back over at 
               her.

               With a sigh, he begins to write in his notebook...

                                     SIMON
                              (voice-over)
                         Why is it this beautiful girl makes 
                         me sad? Does she know how beautiful 
                         she is? Do people tell her? Does she 
                         ever feel stupid?

               He looks back over at her. She happens to look up and their 
               eyes meet. She smiles. Horrified, he looks down.

                                     SIMON
                         Why don't I smile when she looks at 
                         me? I look away. Ashamed of myself.

               He watches her again, thinks, then writes...

                                     SIMON
                         Her figure makes me violent. I want 
                         to somehow break her. But tenderly. 
                         How is this possible? Ask Henry.

               He writes a few moments more, scribbling across the page, 
               then stops and looks back over at the girl.

                                     SIMON
                              (voice-over)
                         I can't breathe.

               He tears out the page and folds it in half. Then he gets up 
               and crosses the room to where the girl is busily engaged in 
               her work. She looks up, sees him, and removes her headset 
               with a pleasant smile. He places his note on the table before 
               her, then turns and walks quickly away.

               The girl watches him go, confused, then lifts the note and 
               reads...

                                     SIMON
                              (voice-over)
                         Why do I do this to myself? And why 
                         do I reduce you to only one 
                         possibility? These are not even 
                         questions anymore. I know the answers 
                         myself. This isn't a page of notes. 
                         It's a letter. A letter to you. A 
                         desperate act. You are a miracle to 
                         me. I can't breathe.

               By now, Simon is gone from the library. The girl finishes 
               reading the letter and looks around in astonishment.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Evening.

               Henry enters and sits with Bu�uel.

                                     BU�UEL
                         How are you, Henry?

                                     HENRY
                              (frowning)
                         Peachy. Gimme a light.

                                     BU�UEL
                         Have you found a job?

               Henry just glares at him and smokes.

                                     BU�UEL
                         How 'bout those Alcoholics Anonymous 
                         meetings, did you go over and visit 
                         them yet?

                                     HENRY
                         What happened to this assistant 
                         librarian position you were supposed 
                         to set me up with?

               Bu�uel looks down, disappointed.

                                     BU�UEL
                         I tried, Henry. I really did.

                                     HENRY
                         So what happened?

                                     BU�UEL
                         Henry, with your background... Well, 
                         I mean, with your record, they didn't 
                         think it'd be right to have you at 
                         the neighborhood library.

                                     HENRY
                         Why not?

                                     BU�UEL
                         They thought you'd be a bad influence 
                         on the kids.

               Henry sits back, offended.

                                     BU�UEL
                              (adds)
                         Or worse.

                                     HENRY
                         So my word is not enough. My promise 
                         worthless. The fact I've served my 
                         time nothing but the emblem of my 
                         continuing guilt.

                                     BU�UEL
                         Apparently.

               Henry leans back and sighs, furious and indignant.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- NIGHT

               Simon comes in, excited and preoccupied, and finds Fay working 
               at the computer.

                                     FAY
                         What's up?

                                     SIMON
                              (guiltily)
                         Nothing.

                                     FAY
                         I'm creating my r�sum�. This 
                         computer's got a program especially 
                         for it. I bought some special 
                         stationery too. It's scented. Look.

               She shoves a sheath of papers up under his nose and he backs 
               away in disgust.

                                     FAY
                         It's roses.

               Simon takes his notebooks from a cabinet above the fridge.

                                     SIMON
                         Can you type my poem into that thing?

                                     FAY
                              (shocked)
                         That's your poem?

                                     SIMON
                         Yeah.

                                     FAY
                              (smokes, then)
                         Simon, Mom's right about you. A poem's 
                         supposed to be a small, delicate 
                         kinda thing. Kinda feminine. Gentle. 
                         Look at this. You've made a fuckin' 
                         telephone book.

               He places the notebooks on the table and leaves the house. 
               Fay clears the computer screen, pulls the notebooks closer 
               and gets down to work.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               Simon arrives with a six-pack and finds Henry sitting in 
               front of the fire, staring into the flames, brooding darkly.

                                     HENRY
                         I was caught. Yes, I was caught... 
                         once. I was caught in flagranti 
                         delicto screwing a thirteen-year-old 
                         girl named Susan. She was an ugly 
                         and mean-spirited kid, but she knew 
                         how to play upon my weaknesses which, 
                         I admit, are deep and many.

               He drinks, then looks at Simon and adds...

                                     HENRY
                         You appear shocked.

                                     SIMON
                              (he is)
                         Sorry.

               Henry stands and leans over the fire.

                                     HENRY
                         It was a pathetic little conspiracy. 
                         A transparently desperate attempt to 
                         discredit me and my ideas; to label 
                         me a mere pedophile. As if I'd be 
                         ashamed of such a thing. As if 
                         Socrates himself hadn't been taken 
                         out of circulation for corrupting 
                         the youth of Athens!

               He comes over and takes a beer. He strides around the room, 
               thinking, reflecting.

                                     HENRY
                         Seven years. Seven years for one 
                         afternoon of blissful transgression. 
                         But what of it? Who cares? Prison's 
                         not so bad; particularly if one's a 
                         sex offender, free from the popular 
                         and conventional horror of sodomy.

               Stops, drinks declares...

                                     HENRY
                         They were not 'lost years'.

               He approaches the notebooks lined up on the mantelpiece.

                                     HENRY
                         I put them to good use. I began my 
                         major work. My opus.

               He glances over at Simon, who sits gripping his beer, 
               watching, rapt.

                                     HENRY
                         Believe me, Simon, this incident 
                         with the girl, prison... It pales to 
                         insignificance in the wider context 
                         of my career.

               He pauses and swills back some beer. He brightens up, gets 
               excited...

                                     HENRY
                         Nothing in comparison to the day my 
                         'Confession' is unleashed.
                              (beginning to pace)
                         What an orgy we'll have then, huh? 
                         What shouts of outrage from the 
                         offended populace, from the 
                         sanctimonious purveyors of culture 
                         and quality, the righteous defenders 
                         of what ever inane and haphazard 
                         notion of progress then in vogue. 
                         They'll be beside themselves with 
                         fiercely reasoned critical analysis. 
                         Apoplectic with indignation!

               Drinks sloppily, burps, wipes his mouth with his arm.

                                     HENRY
                         Their feelings will be hurt.

               He smashes the bottle in the fireplace.

                                     HENRY
                         Yes, like a mirror which reflects 
                         only the inside of the person before 
                         it, my 'Confession' will lovingly 
                         render humanity's common monstrosity 
                         in all of its lurid wide screen glory.

               He grabs a new beer and twists off its cap.

                                     HENRY
                         Why should I blush or feel shame 
                         before the common lot of humanity, 
                         anyway, for a few banal and, again I 
                         admit, inelegant transgressions?

               He drinks, sighs and sits back down.

                                     HENRY
                         After all, really, I'm doing 
                         civilization a favor.

               Simon sits back in awe. He waits a moment and thinks. Finally 
               he stands and approaches the 'Confession'. He reaches out 
               and drags his hand across the notebooks.

                                     SIMON
                         When can I read it?

               Henry sits staring into the flames again. He pauses, then...

                                     HENRY
                         Soon.

               INT. CHURCH -- DAY

               Next day.

               Simon and Father Hawkes are deep in conversation.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         We are told not to judge. But to 
                         forgive. Not to look into our 
                         neighbor's eye to find the bad, but 
                         to find the good.
                              (pacing)
                         Now this is difficult. I admit.
                              (pause)
                         But having a good friend is not always 
                         easy.

               Simon listens and carefully considers all the priest says.

                                     SIMON
                         Yes, but... do you think Henry is... 
                         dangerous?

               Father Hawkes pauses, then comes closer and sits.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         He needs help. Our help. Yours 
                         especially.

                                     SIMON
                         But what can I do?

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         The best parts of himself come to 
                         the surface when he's helping someone 
                         learn. I've seen this. Let yourself 
                         be taught. Show your appreciation 
                         for his guidance. In this way, you 
                         know, perhaps. Well. There's hope 
                         for everyone. Even. Even Henry.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Fay comes walking up through the parking lot with Simon's 
               notebooks and a pile of typed papers. She's a wreck; tear-
               stained face and a ball of tissues gripped in her hand like 
               a weapon. She throws open the door to the World of Donuts 
               and looks around.

               The place is crowded with teenagers hanging around like it 
               was a caf� or student union.

               Fay sniffles tragically and falls on the counter.

                                     FAY
                         Gnoc, gimme a value pack of Kleenex, 
                         will ya?

               Gnoc gets the Kleenex while Fay overhears two kids near 
               Simon's poem...

                                     TIM
                         The violence of the imagery reminds 
                         me of early Clash, while the lyricism 
                         of the verse recalls, for me, Walt 
                         Whitman.

                                     BIBI
                         I would have said Dickinson, maybe 
                         even Eliot, and so on. But I agree 
                         with the punk roots...

               Fay pays for her tissues and makes her way to the back of 
               the store where she finds Simon with Henry, who is holding 
               forth to his friend and the small coterie of high school 
               students surrounding them...

                                     HENRY
                         The greats all say the same thing: 
                         little. And what little there is to 
                         be said is immense. Or, in other 
                         words, follow your own genius to 
                         where it leads without regard for 
                         the apparent needs of the world at 
                         large, which, in fact, has no needs 
                         as such, but, rather, moments of 
                         exhaustion in which it is incapable 
                         of prejudice.
                              (drinks)
                         We can only hope to collide with 
                         these moments of unselfconsciousness. 
                         This divine fatigue... this...

                                     FAY
                              (sitting)
                         Push over.

               Henry takes the typed manuscript from her and continues...

                                     HENRY
                         As I tried to make plain in Paris: 
                         'Nous savons que nous avons chut� 
                         parce que nous savons qui nous 
                         sommes.' 'We know we have fallen 
                         because we know who we are.'

                                     FAY
                              (skeptically)
                         When were you in Paris?

                                     HENRY
                              (interrupted)
                         That's beside the point. But did 
                         they listen to me? Of course not!

               Fay blows her nose and Simon is concerned.

                                     SIMON
                         You alright, Fay?

                                     FAY
                              (lighting a cigarette)
                         No, I'm not alright! Your poem brought 
                         my period on a week and half early! 
                         So just shut up. Everybody just shut 
                         up!

               She drops her head to the table and cries. Henry and Simon 
               look on in silence. Then Henry continues...

                                     HENRY
                         For is this not the best of all 
                         possible worlds? Are not the evils 
                         of this world necessary components 
                         of a cosmos that could not exist 
                         without them?

               Amy's girlfriend, Chris, leans forward studiously and asks...

                                     CHRIS
                         So, do you believe in God?

                                     HENRY
                              (smokes, shrugs)
                         Unfortunately.

                                     FAY
                              (lifting her head)
                         Yeah, but when were you in Paris?

                                     HENRY
                              (aggravated)
                         At. One. Time.

                                     CHRIS
                         Simon, can I have your autograph?

               Simon looks from her to Henry. Henry winks at him.

                                     HENRY
                         Go ahead. But never let yourself be 
                         flattered.

               Simon signs the girl's book.

                                     FAY
                              (to Henry)
                         So what about this friend of yours, 
                         Hot Shot? The publisher.

                                     HENRY
                         Who?

                                     SIMON
                              (reminding him)
                         Angus James.

                                     FAY
                         Yeah. Angus James. How about sending 
                         this poem to him?

               Henry seems a bit put upon.

                                     HENRY
                         Because it's not done yet.

                                     FAY
                              (to Simon)
                         When's it gunna be done, Simon?

                                     SIMON
                         I don't know.

                                     FAY
                         Well, you oughta be home writing 
                         instead of hanging out over here 
                         with all your groupies.

                                     AMY
                         Hey, I'm not a groupie.

                                     FAY
                         Pardon me, swivel-hips. Is that your 
                         PowerBook?

                                     AMY
                         Yeah.

                                     FAY
                         Can I see it?

               Fay and Amy talk tech as...

                                     HENRY
                              (continues)
                         The thing to do is to send parts of 
                         it to different magazines and literary 
                         journals first. That kinda thing. 
                         You know. Substantiate it.

                                     AMY
                              (looking up)
                         What's 'scatalogical' mean?

               Henry sips his beer and looks at her.

                                     HENRY
                         Filth, child. A preoccupation with 
                         excrement. Why?

                                     AMY
                         That's what the Board of Education 
                         called Simon's poem, yesterday; 
                         scatological.

               Henry reaches across the table and shakes Simon's hand.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               The next day.

               Fay is frying something on the stove, a cigarette hangs from 
               her lip. A middle-aged woman with a press ID on her lapel 
               appears at the kitchen door and taps.

                                     EDNA
                         Hello?

                                     FAY
                         Yeah, I'm listening.

                                     EDNA
                         My name is Edna Rodriguez and I write 
                         the human interest column for the 
                         Queens County Examiner and I was 
                         just wondering if I could have a 
                         word with Simon Grim?

               Intrigued, Fay steps over to the door with her spatula. She 
               looks Edna over, studies her ID, then steps away and screams 
               upstairs.

                                     FAY
                         Simon!

                                     EDNA
                              (startled)
                         Thank you.

               Fay comes back over near the door, waving her spatula.

                                     FAY
                         You can't talk to him for, you know, 
                         too long or anything, 'cause he's 
                         gotta, you know... he writes all 
                         day. That's all he does. Can you 
                         believe that?

               No response.

                                     FAY
                              (calling again)
                         Hey! Simon! Get down here!

               Simon finally shuffles into the kitchen.

                                     FAY
                         Simon, this is Edna. She's from the 
                         newspaper.

                                     EDNA
                              (rapid fire)
                         Simon, the Parents' Association at 
                         the local high school are calling 
                         your poem pornography. The teachers 
                         are defending the students' right to 
                         exercise their critical tastes and 
                         sensibilities. The county agrees 
                         with the Church and considers the 
                         poem emblematic of modern society's 
                         moral disintegration. How do you 
                         feel about these controversial 
                         reactions to your poem?

               Simon says nothing. He just stares at her.

                                     FAY
                              (punching him)
                         Simon, answer the woman.

               Simon just looks away, thinks, then wanders back upstairs. 
               Mary passes him on his way out of the kitchen and comes up 
               to Fay and Edna at the door.

                                     MARY
                         I need my prescription filled.

                                     FAY
                         Mom, this is Edna. Edna, Mom.

                                     EDNA
                         Mrs Grim, what was Simon like as a 
                         child?

                                     MARY
                         We all thought he was retarded.

                                     FAY
                         Everyone did.

                                     MARY
                         Never said a word.

                                     FAY
                         He masturbated constantly.

                                     MARY
                         Had no friends.

                                     FAY
                         Till he met Henry.

                                     MARY
                         And that's when all the trouble really 
                         started.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Henry is shaving. Simon sits in the kitchen, sorting through 
               rejection letters...

                                     SIMON
                              (reading)
                         Dear Mr Grim, we here at the magazine 
                         consider ourselves and the publication 
                         open-minded and cutting edge and 
                         have consistently printed the work 
                         of the most brilliant and farseeing 
                         young talent of the day. Every week 
                         we are forced to return writing which 
                         we can not for one reason or another 
                         publish and include a brief but polite 
                         refusal. But this tract you've sent 
                         us demands a response as violent as 
                         the effect your words have had upon 
                         us. Drop dead. Keep your day job. 
                         Sincerely, The Editors.

                                     HENRY
                         De gustibus non disputandum est.

                                     SIMON
                              (thinking)
                         You can't argue with taste?

                                     HENRY
                         About taste. You can't argue about 
                         taste. God, Simon.

               Simon gives up and pushes the letters away, beaten.

                                     SIMON
                         The other twenty-five are almost as 
                         bad. I don't know why I bother.

               Henry drops his razor and stomps out into the hall.

                                     HENRY
                         What do you mean you don't know why 
                         you bother? You bother because you 
                         know the poem is excellent!

                                     SIMON
                         Do I?

                                     HENRY
                         Of course you do!

                                     SIMON
                         I'm not so sure sometimes.

                                     HENRY
                         Can you sit there, look me straight 
                         in the eye, and tell me you don't 
                         think this poem is great? That it is 
                         not at once a work of great lyrical 
                         beauty and ethical depth? That it is 
                         not a genuine, highly individual, 
                         and profound meditation on the miracle 
                         of existence?

               Simon holds the stare, overwhelmed.

                                     SIMON
                         I, ah...

                                     HENRY
                         Can you?

               Simon looks away, thinks a moment, then looks back at Henry.

                                     SIMON
                         No. I can't.

                                     HENRY
                         So, you see, you have no choice!

               He goes back into the bathroom. Simon thinks a while, then...

                                     SIMON
                              (calling)
                         Can you recommend it to your friend, 
                         the publisher?

               No response.

                                     SIMON
                         Henry? Can you recommend the poem to 
                         him?

               Still no response. Simon gets up and stands in the bathroom 
               doorway. Henry is shaving.

                                     SIMON
                         I mean, I think it's finished and, 
                         for better or worse, it is book 
                         length.

                                     HENRY
                         That might not be as easy as it seems.

                                     SIMON
                         Why?

                                     HENRY
                         Well, it's been a long time. My name 
                         might not carry as much weight as it 
                         once did with Angus.

                                     SIMON
                         But he's your friend, right?

                                     HENRY
                         We were close at one time.

                                     SIMON
                         You said he respected your opinion.

               Henry puts down his razor and looks at Simon in the mirror.

                                     HENRY
                         Look, Simon, opinions come and go.

               He sees Simon looks worried.

                                     HENRY
                         To be honest; my ideas, my writing, 
                         they haven't always been received 
                         well or even calmly. They're 
                         upsetting. I'm a controversial man.

               He walks around the bathroom, gesticulating.

                                     HENRY
                         You see, what I'm doing is too 
                         radical. Too uncompromising. It'll 
                         take time for people to see its value. 
                         It's ahead of its time, perhaps, or 
                         maybe just...
                              (stops)
                         A recommendation from me might do 
                         you as much harm as it does good.

               Simon patiently absorbs all this, then walks through the 
               kitchen and looks across at the 'Confession' notebooks.

                                     SIMON
                         Henry, why can't I read the 
                         'Confession'?

                                     HENRY
                         Because certain work needs to be 
                         experienced all at once in order for 
                         one to appreciate the full force of 
                         its character.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Simon talks with Fay as she eats her lunch.

                                     FAY
                         Simon, wake up! The guy's in a dream 
                         world!

                                     SIMON
                         He's afraid that his reputation will 
                         prevent people from giving my work 
                         an honest chance.

                                     FAY
                         His reputation as what?

                                     SIMON
                         As a writer.

                                     FAY
                         Gimme a break.

                                     SIMON
                         He's kinda like in exile. Marginalized 
                         on account of his ideas.

                                     FAY
                         If he's such a great big fat genius, 
                         why doesn't he write books? Like you 
                         do.

                                     SIMON
                         He has. He's written a book. It's 
                         almost completed. He's been working 
                         on it for years. It's just not 
                         published.

                                     FAY
                         Yeah, I bet. It's probably disgusting.

                                     SIMON
                              (defensively)
                         It's a quite serious and difficult 
                         piece of work, apparently.

                                     FAY
                         Have you read it?

                                     SIMON
                         No. Not yet. Soon. Certain work needs 
                         to be experienced all at once in 
                         order for one to appreciate the full 
                         force of its character.

                                     FAY
                         Yeah, well, what ever. Listen, Simon, 
                         forget Henry. Go straight up to this 
                         Angus James character yourself and 
                         make him read your poem.

               She gets up to go. She's wearing a smart outfit.

                                     FAY
                         I'm gunna apply for a job at the one-
                         hour photo joint and then go over to 
                         the Mall to see about that job in 
                         the bank. Make sure Mom takes her 
                         pills. See ya.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Mary is sitting, brooding in front of the TV, which displays 
               only static white noise. She turns it off with the remote 
               and sits in silence for a moment.

               She gets off the couch and moves to the kitchen table, where 
               Fay's computer sits. She goes over and reaches up above the 
               fridge, opening the cabinet containing Simon's notebooks.

               She hesitates, then takes them down and holds them in her 
               hands, as if to begin reading. But then she puts them back.

               She walks over to the piano and stands there, hesitating, 
               before slowly sitting down and opening it. She lifts her 
               hands to play, then pauses and looks around behind her, making 
               sure no one is there.

               But, finally, she turns back and begins playing.

               She plays a sad-sounding modern classical piece with rusty 
               accomplishment. At one time she was probably quite good.

               She plays for a while, gradually letting herself become moved 
               by the music. But then she stops, pauses, and looks behind 
               her.

               Simon is standing in the kitchen. He has been deeply affected 
               by her playing.

                                     SIMON
                         Please don't stop.

               She stares him down a moment longer, then looks away and 
               closes the piano. She returns to the couch and switches on 
               the TV.

               Simon comes closer. He sits.

                                     SIMON
                         That was nice what you were playing.

                                     MARY
                         Yes, it was nice. But it was 
                         unremarkable.

               Simon waits. Eventually...

                                     SIMON
                         Does that matter?

                                     MARY
                              (looking right at him)
                         Yes. It does.

               She gets up off the couch and goes upstairs. She slams her 
               bedroom door and leaves Simon alone on the couch. He thinks. 
               Then, he gets up and goes into the kitchen.

               He takes the typed manuscript of his poem from the cabinet 
               above the refrigerator and goes to the door. He pauses, 
               clutches the poem and goes out.

               EXT. SUBWAY STATION -- DAY

               Simon waits, clutching his poem to his side, as a train pulls 
               into the station. Excited and determined, he gets on.

               INT. TRAIN -- DAY

               Simon travels to New York City. He finds an envelope on the 
               floor to put the poem in.

               INT. MARY'S ROOM -- DAY

               Mary wakes up and sits on the edge of the bed, feeling 
               regretful about her tone of voice with Simon.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Mary comes down into the kitchen and listens.

                                     MARY
                         Simon?

               No answer. She steps over to the cabinet and almost takes 
               down Simon's notebook. But doesn't. She grabs her pills and 
               is about to take them. But then she stops. She puts them 
               down and goes to the cabinet. She takes down Simon's notebooks 
               and sits at the table, pauses, then pulls them closer and 
               begins to read.

               INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE LOBBY -- DAY

               Simon enters a big, posh lobby and checks the registry.

               INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE RECEPTION -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Simon comes out of the elevator and enters the reception 
               area of James Midriff and Sutton Publishing. He walks 
               hesitantly up to the receptionist, a bright and spirited 
               young woman named Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         Hi, I'll take that.

               Simon steps back defensively.

                                     LAURA
                         Aren't you the messenger?

                                     SIMON
                         No.

                                     LAURA
                         Are you here to fix the plumbing?

                                     SIMON
                         I'm here to see Mr. Angus James.

                                     LAURA
                              (amused)
                         Are you?

                                     SIMON
                         I'm not a plumber. Or a messenger. I 
                         was once a garbage man. But now I'm 
                         a poet.

               Laura steps back, cocks her head and removes her designer 
               eye-wear.

               INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY

               Same time.

               Angus is at a big table with two other men, Steve and Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         The book, as we know it, Angus, will 
                         be a thing of the past within the 
                         next few years. Novels, articles, 
                         newspapers will all be downloaded on 
                         to our personal computers anyway.

                                     ANGUS
                         So you're telling me to get out of 
                         the publishing business?

                                     STEVE
                         No. But we've got to re-invent the 
                         publishing business for the electronic 
                         age.

               Laura knocks.

                                     ANGUS
                         Yes, Laura?

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry to disturb you, gentlemen, 
                         but... Angus, there's a particularly 
                         wound-up young garbage man out here 
                         who seems to have written a poem. A 
                         long poem. And I recall how, at last 
                         month's meeting, you stressed the 
                         need for us to be on the look-out 
                         for more marginalized verse from 
                         unestablished quarters of the American 
                         scene.

                                     ANGUS
                         Did I say that?

               Steve and Barry nod.

                                     STEVE
                         Yeah. You did.

                                     BARRY
                         Twice.

                                     ANGUS
                         Well, OK. Make an appointment, Laura. 
                         Sometime next month.

                                     LAURA
                         Right-e-o.

               And she's gone.

                                     ANGUS
                              (returning)
                         So, anyway, how is the digital 
                         revolution going to help me sell 
                         books?

               INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE RECEPTION -- DAY

               Simon looks disappointed.

                                     SIMON
                         Why can't I see him now?

                                     LAURA
                              (sincerely)
                         Because he's a very important man 
                         and, well, you're not.

               Simon just looks down at his shoes. Laura touches his arm 
               and reassures him.

                                     LAURA
                         Be reasonable.

               He looks up, pauses, then...

                                     SIMON
                         Why?

               INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY

               Same time.

                                     ANGUS
                         I don't think people are going to 
                         prefer reading books on television, 
                         Steve.

                                     STEVE
                         It won't be television!

                                     BARRY
                         It'll be interactive.

                                     STEVE
                         Angus, look, we have a number of 
                         charts here...

                                     BARRY
                         In every home in America the PC will 
                         be where the TV used to be.

                                     STEVE
                         And it'll be a direct connection to 
                         all forms of media.

                                     BARRY
                         An unprecedented transformation of 
                         American social life...

                                     STEVE
                         We'll all become better informed, 
                         more literate, increasingly 
                         productive, and... Well, and, like I 
                         said, we have a number of charts...

               Laura re-enters...

                                     LAURA
                         Sorry to disturb you again, gentlemen, 
                         but... Angus, I'd like to call 
                         security for this one. Though, before 
                         I do, I just wanted to ask just how 
                         marginal the as yet undiscovered 
                         voice of American poetry should be?

                                     ANGUS
                              (thinking)
                         Pretty damn marginal, I'd think.

                                     BARRY
                         Down right controversial, probably.

                                     ANGUS
                         How's he strike you?

                                     LAURA
                         He's been denounced by his local 
                         Board of Education.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh, I read about him in the paper. 
                         Hangs out in a delicatessen somewhere 
                         and writes pornography.

               INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE RECEPTION -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Angus comes out to the water cooler and glares at Simon as 
               he gets a drink.

                                     ANGUS
                         Hello, and why do you think I should 
                         take valuable time out of my busy 
                         schedule to read...

               He grabs the envelope and sees no title.

                                     ANGUS
                         This?

               Simon is stumped. He looks over at Laura, who purses her 
               lips and tilts her head. He twists a button on his shirt, 
               thinking, then returns to Angus.

                                     SIMON
                         Because it's a masterpiece.

                                     ANGUS
                         Really?

                                     SIMON
                         Yes.

                                     ANGUS
                              (to Laura)
                         Are you hearing this?

                                     LAURA
                         He's adorable.

                                     SIMON
                         I wouldn't want to waste your time.

                                     ANGUS
                         I'm sure you wouldn't and I appreciate 
                         you being so straightforward.

                                     SIMON
                         Thank you.

                                     ANGUS
                         I assume you can take straightforward 
                         criticism?

               Simon looks over at Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         Just say 'Yes'.

                                     SIMON
                              (looking back)
                         Maybe.

                                     ANGUS
                         Get him a coffee, Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         Have a seat, Mr Grim.

                                     ANGUS
                         Hold my calls for the next half hour.

                                     LAURA
                         What about Steve?

                                     ANGUS
                         He doesn't drink coffee. Steve, do 
                         you drink coffee?

                                     STEVE
                              (off)
                         Angus, listen to me!

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Henry paces back and forth. With the fingers of one hand 
               pressed against his forehead and his eyes closed tight in 
               concentration, he dictates to Amy, who is sitting at a table 
               with her laptop computer, typing his every word.

                                     HENRY
                         In the infinite amplitude of his 
                         love, God wants to create the largest 
                         number of best elements that can 
                         exist together in one cosmos... OK.

               Amy types away, fascinated by Henry's intelligence.

                                     HENRY
                         In an instantaneous calculation made 
                         in eternity, God computes the best 
                         possible world and creates it. Fine. 
                         This 'decision' by God is uncontingent 
                         and eternal rather than temporally 
                         or ontologically sequential.

               Stops, zeroing in on his point.

                                     AMY
                         How do you spell that?

                                     HENRY
                         What?

                                     AMY
                         Ontologically.

                                     HENRY
                         O-N-T... Don't you have some kinda 
                         spell-check on that thing?

                                     AMY
                         Never mind.

                                     HENRY
                         It is impossible for every perfect 
                         good to be compatible with every 
                         other perfect good. The intense beauty 
                         of the mountain must be set off by 
                         the fertility of the plain, so to 
                         speak.

               He smokes, drinks, paces some more. Amy waits with bated 
               breath, devastated by his obscure profundity. He comes back 
               and sits beside her, reaching his conclusion.

                                     HENRY
                         The good of freewill must entail 
                         real choices for sin.

               She gazes at his profile, in love.

               Henry sits thinking and Amy watches him reverently. She leans 
               over close and whispers in his ear. He turns and looks at 
               her, alarmed.

                                     HENRY
                         Listen, Amy, back off. I'm on parole.

                                     AMY
                         You feel the same way. I can tell. I 
                         can see it when you look at me.

               Henry jumps up and looks around, paranoid. He keeps his voice 
               down and points at her.

                                     HENRY
                         Hey! I don't look at you.

                                     AMY
                         Yes you do. In the street. In the 
                         parking lot yesterday. That night on 
                         the highway.

                                     HENRY
                         I look at a lot of people that way.

               Disappointed, Amy turns away and sulks.

                                     AMY
                         You think I'm stupid.

               Henry sees she's genuinely upset and feels bad. He sits back 
               down and lays his hand on hers.

                                     HENRY
                         No, as a matter of fact, I think 
                         you're a real bright kid and I like 
                         that about you.

                                     AMY
                              (looks up, pouts)
                         You do?

               Now Henry tries to scare her away. He leers at her.

                                     HENRY
                         I like it so much I've got half a 
                         mind to do perverse things to you. 
                         Right here. Right now. Things you 
                         might just learn to like.

               She just stares at him, blinks, then looks away and tries to 
               imagine this. She takes her laptop and leaves, confused and 
               blushing.

               Henry watches her go and grins, satisfied with himself.

               INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE RECEPTION -- DAY

               Angus throws on his coat and thrusts the poem at Simon as 
               they walk down the hall.

                                     ANGUS
                         This is really quite unbelievably 
                         bad, my friend. I mean, I'm all for 
                         experimentation and I've made a career 
                         out of a healthy disregard for 
                         convention, but... Look, this is 
                         profoundly irrelevant material. This 
                         is only my opinion. But it's an 
                         opinion I value highly. Goodnight, 
                         Laura. Call Norton Press. We're still 
                         on for tomorrow.

               Simon looks pale as Angus strides towards the elevator.

                                     ANGUS
                         I've been wrong before as a publisher. 
                         But I refuse to admit I've ever been 
                         wrong as a reader. You have talent, 
                         I admit. You have an innate sense of 
                         the musicality of language. A good 
                         ear, maybe. But you do nothing 
                         significant with it. And this twisted 
                         reasoning that poses as... conviction 
                         or insight, it's... well, it's 
                         embarrassing.

               They reach the elevator and stop. Simon tries to catch his 
               breath.

                                     ANGUS
                         Why did you bring this thing to me, 
                         anyway?

                                     SIMON
                              (weakly)
                         A friend of mine spoke of you. He 
                         said you had a lot of integrity.

                                     ANGUS
                         Yes, well, of course, I do. But I'm 
                         not crazy, am I? Who is this person? 
                         Do I know him?

               Simon hesitates, almost decides against it, but then...

                                     SIMON
                         Henry Fool.

               Angus looks back at him.

               Simon waits.

               Angus looks aside, thinks, then shakes his head.

                                     ANGUS
                         Never heard of him.

               Simon just looks at him blankly, confused.

               The doors slide open and Angus gets in the elevator. He's 
               gone. Simon sinks into a chair and stares at the carpet. He 
               is so surprised and hurt he gasps for breath.

               His poem slips from his hand and falls to the floor.

                                     LAURA
                              (off)
                         I remember Henry.

               Simon doesn't register this right away. But then he looks up 
               and over at the receptionist.

               Laura stands and comes around her desk. She pauses, seeing 
               his disappointment, then comes closer and picks up his poem. 
               Handing it to him, she explains...

                                     LAURA
                         He used to be the janitor here.

               He just stares at her, demolished.

               EXT. SIDEWALK/SUBWAY ENTRANCE -- DAY

               Later.

               Simon dumps his poem in a trash can, pauses, then enters the 
               subway.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Henry is leaning on the counter, flipping through pornographic 
               magazines and smoking.

                                     MR DENG
                              (off)
                         Henry, put those magazines back.

                                     HENRY
                         I'm just looking at the pictures.

                                     MR DENG
                         It's not good for you.

               Henry flips through pages and nods, impressed.

                                     HENRY
                         I learn so much from these magazines, 
                         Mr Deng. I refuse to discriminate 
                         between modes of knowing.

                                     MR DENG
                         And you can't smoke in here anymore.

               Henry looks up, outraged.

                                     HENRY
                         Why not!

                                     MR DENG
                         It's the law.

               Henry throws his cigarette to the floor, steps on it and 
               returns to his magazine.

                                     HENRY
                         This place is losing all its charm, 
                         Mr Deng.

                                     MR DENG
                         Business is good. The kids, they 
                         hang out all day and drink coffee, 
                         talk about art and read poetry.

               Henry shakes his head in dismay and studies a centerfold.

                                     HENRY
                         It's just a fad, Mr Deng. These kids 
                         today, they're just slaves to fashion.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Same time.

               Fay comes in, hot and tired from walking around in high heels.

                                     FAY
                         Anybody home? Mom?

               She stands on the stairs and hears the water running in the 
               bathroom.

                                     FAY
                         Ma, that you?

               No answer. She discovers she's out of cigarettes.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Henry is leaning on the counter with a six-pack of beer, 
               pleading with Mr Deng.

                                     HENRY
                         Come on, Mr Deng! How much do I owe 
                         you?

                                     MR DENG
                         Twenty-five dollars.

                                     HENRY
                         That can't be right! And so what? My 
                         credit's good.

               Warren comes in.

                                     WARREN
                         Henry!

                                     HENRY
                         Hey, Warren, you gotta couple of 
                         bucks I can borrow?

               Warren reaches for his wallet.

                                     WARREN
                         Listen, Henry, I wanna remind you to 
                         vote this Thursday.

                                     HENRY
                         Ah, yes, of course. When noble minds 
                         shrink from the task of leadership 
                         scoundrels will rush in to fill the 
                         void.
                              (takes cash)
                         Thanks.

                                     WARREN
                         It's every American's right. A 
                         blessing. Yet another opportunity to 
                         save America from itself.

               Henry pays Mr Deng for his beer.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Fay bangs on the door.

                                     FAY
                         Hey, Henry, you in there? Gimme a 
                         cigarette.

               No answer. She tries the door. It's open. She hesitates.

                                     FAY
                         Henry?

               She goes quietly in.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry steps out of the store and stops when he sees Amy 
               standing there, pouting. He looks away and sighs. Amy picks 
               at the fabric of her stockings and bites her lip.

                                     AMY
                         Henry?

               Henry smokes.

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah.

                                     AMY
                         What kind of... Well, I mean... What 
                         kind of... perverse things would you 
                         do to me?

               It's more than he can stand. He holds his head.

                                     HENRY
                         Take a powder, cupcake.

                                     AMY
                         No, really.

                                     HENRY
                         Evaporate!

               Crushed, she breaks out in tears and flees.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon comes in, furious and throws open the fridge. He finds 
               nothing to eat or drink. He slams the door, then hears the 
               water running in the bathroom upstairs. He stops and listens.

               The bathroom door; the water heard running steadily.

               Simon turns away then sees...

               The poem notebooks face down on the table.

               He thinks.

               The bathroom door; the water heard running...

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry comes into his house, hot and bothered, cradling his 
               six-pack. But he stops, listens, then steps through the 
               kitchen towards the living-room. He stops in the entrance 
               and sees...

               Fay on the floor of the living-room, reading his 'Confession', 
               her mouth hung open in an astonished 'O'.

               He drops his six-pack and...

               She spins around, caught in the act.

               Henry stands in the doorway, pent up, sweating and with 
               perverse things on his mind.

               Fay, her hands palm down on the floor behind her, bites her 
               lip, coquettishly.

               Henry looks her over like she was something good to eat.

               She feels his gaze all over her and twists to one side with 
               a breathless little shudder.

               He steps nearer, stands over her and she looks up at him.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon climbs the stairs to the bathroom...

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry and Fay kissing passionately...

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon knocks on the bathroom door.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry and Fay groping and shoving one another as they stagger 
               from room to room.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon bangs on the bathroom door.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Fay falls to the couch...

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon crashes through the door and finds...

               Mary, kneeling over the edge of the tub, her wrists slit and 
               the blood running down the drain, the shower raining down 
               over her back.

               Simon looks on in horror.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry tears open his trousers...

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon lifts Mary from the bathtub.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry and Fay clutch and grind and heave...

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon drags his mother from the bathroom and down the stairs.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry and Fay are making mad, passionate love, oblivious to 
               the world around them.

               INT. GRIM HOUSE DAY -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon drags Mary through the house.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry and Fay fuck.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Simon drags Mary out the kitchen door and into the yard, 
               looking desperately for help. He reaches the street, her 
               limp body hanging grotesquely before him, and looks helplessly 
               up and down the block.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. CEMETERY -- DAY

               Simon, Henry, Mr Deng, Fay, Gnoc and Bu�uel stand with Father 
               Hawkes at the grave.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Let us pray. Lord, grant that peace 
                         be within reach for our friend, Mary. 
                         May the pain and confusion she endured 
                         on earth be fought through in the 
                         after life, so that she may enter 
                         the Kingdom of Heaven and live in 
                         the light of God. Amen.

               He sprinkles holy water on the coffin and they all drop 
               carnations at the grave. Simon and Fay remain there looking 
               down at the coffin. Henry waits for them a few yards away, 
               wishing he could help, but feeling out of place.

               EXT. JUNKYARD -- DAY

               Simon is back working on the garbage truck. He collects 
               garbage and throws it in the truck as Henry, who is just 
               along for the ride, hangs from the side of the truck and 
               pulls the lever whenever Simon tells him to.

                                     HENRY
                         So I was a janitor! So what?

                                     SIMON
                         But Angus James said he didn't even 
                         know you!

               Henry shrugs and qualifies...

                                     HENRY
                         Well, I mean, we weren't like bosom 
                         buddies or anything. But we used to 
                         talk sometimes. In the elevator. In 
                         the morning. He said he liked my 
                         ideas. Being a janitor's a good job 
                         if you're a writer. Especially the 
                         night shift; all that time to think 
                         and develop my ideas.

                                     SIMON
                         Do it.

               Henry pulls the lever and the garbage gets crushed.

                                     SIMON
                         Anyway, he hated my poem.

                                     HENRY
                         Well, what the hell does he know? He 
                         wouldn't know a vital piece of 
                         literary art if it came up and bit 
                         him in the leg. To hell with him! 
                         He's not the only publisher in the 
                         world!

                                     SIMON
                         But nobody likes it.

                                     HENRY
                              (smokes)
                         It's true. A prophet is seldom heeded 
                         in his own land. Remember that.

                                     SIMON
                         Do it.

               Henry is about to pull the lever again, but sees something 
               in amongst the garbage...

                                     HENRY
                         Hey, look, treasure!

               Henry steps down and leans over into the garbage. Simon joins 
               him as he lifts something that is either a ring or a stray 
               piece of machinery.

                                     HENRY
                         What is this?

                                     SIMON
                         Brass maybe. Some kinda copper.

                                     HENRY
                         It's a ring. Jewelry.

                                     SIMON
                         I think it's a gasket. A fitting 
                         from off of that old refrigerator 
                         over there.

               Henry puts it in his pocket, satisfied and Simon jumps on 
               the back of the truck as it turns the corner and rolls away. 
               Henry starts to walk off in the opposite direction, but stops 
               when he sees Pearl age seven.

               EXT. VICKY'S HOUSE -- DAY

               Henry comes up the street with Pearl age seven on his back. 
               He walks into Vicky's yard and finds Warren lifting weights 
               in the garage.

                                     HENRY
                         Hey, Warren, I found Pearl wandering 
                         around by the garbage dump.

                                     WARREN
                         He lost.

                                     HENRY
                         Who lost?

               Warren rests. He sits up on the bench and takes a toke off 
               the joint he has waiting.

                                     WARREN
                         Congressman Feer.

                                     HENRY
                              (realizing)
                         Oh. Well, you know. Somebody's gotta 
                         lose.

                                     WARREN
                         What's the fucking use. You make 
                         sacrifices. You try to be a decent 
                         human being. Try to contribute 
                         something meaningful to society. And 
                         what happens? They lose to a bunch 
                         of cultural elite liberal fuck-ups. 
                         I don't give a shit anymore. People 
                         deserve what they get.

               Henry pauses, then leads Pearl age seven towards the house. 
               Warren lies back down and continues his lifting.

               INT. VICKY'S HOUSE -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry knocks on the door as he enters...

                                     HENRY
                         Vicky?

               No answer. He comes in and finds her sitting on the couch 
               with a drink. She's got a black eye.

                                     HENRY
                         What happened to you?

                                     VICKY
                         He's a good man, Henry. Nobody's 
                         perfect.

                                     HENRY
                         I guess not.

                                     VICKY
                         He's terribly disappointed.

                                     HENRY
                         I found Pearl wandering around with 
                         no shoes on her feet.

               Pearl comes over and stands beside her mother.

                                     VICKY
                         Thanks. She gets scared.

                                     HENRY
                         And you don't?

               Vicky caresses Pearl's hair, then drinks and looks over at 
               Henry.

                                     VICKY
                         I love him.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Bu�uel is waiting when Henry walks in and steps up to the 
               beer cooler.

                                     HENRY
                              (alarmed)
                         Where's the beer?

                                     MR DENG
                         No more beer. Coffee. Espresso! 
                         Cappuccino! Caf� au lait. Carrot 
                         juice. Herbal tea.

               Henry looks at the man, disgusted, then falls in to a seat 
               and motions to Gnoc, who is now the waitress.

                                     HENRY
                         A double espresso and a jelly donut, 
                         Gnoc.
                              (to Bu�uel)
                         You mind paying? My credit's no good 
                         here anymore, apparently.

                                     BU�UEL
                              (nods amiably)
                         Did you go to the employment agency 
                         today, Henry?

                                     HENRY
                         No, but it's OK. Simon's gunna try 
                         to get me a job on the garbage truck.

                                     BU�UEL
                         Listen, I'm a little concerned about 
                         your friend.

                                     HENRY
                         Simon?

                                     BU�UEL
                         Seems he gave an obscene note to a 
                         girl in the library.

                                     HENRY
                         Get outta here! When?

                                     BU�UEL
                         I'm not sure.

                                     HENRY
                         It couldn't have been Simon.

                                     BU�UEL
                         It almost certainly is. He mentions 
                         you. Look...

               He unfolds a print-out of the letter. Henry reads and Bu�uel 
               leans over, pointing out...

                                     HENRY
                         'Her figure makes me violent. I want 
                         to somehow break her. But tenderly. 
                         How is this possible? Ask Henry.'

               Henry thinks this over, gulps back some espresso and nods 
               his approval. Then...

                                     HENRY
                         Bu�uel, this is obviously a love 
                         letter.

                                     BU�UEL
                              (taking it back)
                         We've had complaints.

                                     HENRY
                         Where did you get it?

                                     BU�UEL
                         She posted it on the Internet.

                                     HENRY
                         Oh, the slut!

                                     BU�UEL
                         She was trying to warn other girls 
                         about a potential rapist.

                                     HENRY
                              (smokes)
                         Is all this true about the Internet? 
                         About how you can get pornography on 
                         it?

                                     BU�UEL
                         Well, yeah, sure. It's a big problem. 
                         You can send dirty pictures and 
                         everything.

                                     HENRY
                         On the Internet?

                                     BU�UEL
                         Yeah.

               Henry is impressed.

                                     HENRY
                         No kiddin'?

               Bu�uel gets up to go.

                                     BU�UEL
                         See you on Thursday, Henry.

                                     HENRY
                              (thinking)
                         Sure. See you.
                              (calls the waitress)
                         Gnoc, gimme one of these double 
                         espressos to go, will ya?

               He is having ideas.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Fay, still dressed in black, is tapping away on the keys to 
               the computer, surfing the Internet, as Henry appears at the 
               kitchen door, gripping his tall double espresso.

                                     HENRY
                         Hello, Fay.

                                     FAY
                         Go away.

                                     HENRY
                         You gotta get outta the house, Fay. 
                         You can't blame yourself for not 
                         being here. You did all you could 
                         for her.

               She turns and glares at him.

                                     FAY
                         Is there something you want?

               Henry stops, pauses, looks away. Then...

                                     HENRY
                         You got the Internet on that 
                         contraption?

                                     FAY
                              (resumes typing)
                         Yeah. So what?

               He changes the subject again, preoccupied and continues 
               tenderly...

                                     HENRY
                         Look Fay, about, you know, between 
                         us -- what happened...

                                     FAY
                         I don't wanna talk about it, Henry!

               He sighs and drinks his coffee, then looks back at her.

                                     HENRY
                         Type a part of Simon's poem onto the 
                         Internet.

                                     FAY
                              (stops)
                         What?

                                     HENRY
                         Go ahead.

                                     FAY
                         No.

                                     HENRY
                         Why not?

                                     FAY
                         Because.

                                     HENRY
                         Come on, Fay. It's a great idea.

                                     FAY
                         I don't know if he would want us to 
                         do that.

                                     HENRY
                         Sure he would. Just the first ten 
                         verses.

               Fay is tempted.

                                     FAY
                         I don't know.

                                     HENRY
                         He'll thank you for it later.

               Frowning, she reconsiders. She gets up and takes the notebooks 
               from the cabinet above the fridge. She flips through the 
               pages but suddenly stops and turns to the door with a nicer 
               attitude.

                                     FAY
                         Henry...

               But he's gone. It's as if he has vanished into thin air. She 
               sighs, sits back down, and begins typing the poem onto the 
               Internet.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry comes back into the store, satisfied with himself. He 
               finishes off his coffee, tosses away the cup and takes a 
               pornographic magazine from the rack. He leans on the counter 
               where Mr Deng is busy working and flips through the pages.

                                     HENRY
                         Gimme another one of those tall double 
                         espressos, Mr Deng.

               Mr Deng starts to make him one and sees him with the magazine.

                                     MR DENG
                         You gunna buy that?

                                     HENRY
                         I'm just looking.

                                     MR DENG
                         Well then put it back.

                                     HENRY
                         There's this fascinating story about 
                         a famous rock band and how they tied 
                         a friend of theirs to a bed in their 
                         hotel room and inserted a live fish 
                         into her vagina.

               Mr Deng shakes his head and frowns.

                                     HENRY
                              (explains)
                         They say she had numerous orgasms.

                                     MR DENG
                         Henry, you need to do something with 
                         your life. Get a job, or something.

                                     HENRY
                         I mean, it wasn't the entire fish, 
                         it was just, you know, the nose. The 
                         nose of the fish.

               Mr Deng brings over the coffee. Henry is surprised to notice 
               he is not riveted.

                                     HENRY
                         You don't find that interesting?

                                     MR DENG
                         No.

               Henry closes the magazine and puts it back. Leaning on the 
               counter, he sips his coffee and ponders.

                                     HENRY
                         You ever wonder what it would be 
                         like to have sex with an animal, Mr 
                         Deng?

                                     MR DENG
                         That coffee is free. Just take it 
                         and get out of here.

                                     HENRY
                         I mean, some dogs are almost as big 
                         as people and often more attractive.

               Mr Deng just goes back to work, leaving Henry there at the 
               counter thinking big thoughts.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- EVENING

               Simon hangs from the garbage truck as it comes up the street 
               and pauses in front of his house. He jumps down and the truck 
               barrels away.

               INT. FAY'S ROOM -- EVENING

               Simon taps at the door. She looks over at him and he sees 
               she's been crying. He comes into the room and she sits up on 
               the edge of the bed.

                                     SIMON
                         Did you see him?

                                     FAY
                         He came by this afternoon.

                                     SIMON
                         Did you talk?

                                     FAY
                         No.

               He comes over and sits beside her. He thinks a moment, then...

                                     SIMON
                         You've got to tell him, Fay.

                                     FAY
                         He thinks I'm a slut.

               And she starts crying again. Simon awkwardly touches her 
               shoulder, then moves his hand away. Fay pulls herself 
               together, sniffles and goes into the bathroom.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE, AT THE PIANO

               Moments later.

               Simon comes downstairs and finds Henry at the piano. He looks 
               ill and is clutching a nearly empty container of espresso. 
               He is staring sickly at 'the ring'.

                                     SIMON
                         Henry?

                                     HENRY
                         Simon, I don't feel so good.

                                     SIMON
                         What's wrong?

                                     HENRY
                         I feel all kinda clammy. And damp.

               Simon lifts the coffee container and smells it.

                                     SIMON
                         How many of these did you have?

               Henry tries to remember. He squints.

                                     HENRY
                         Seven.

               Simon puts the container down and sits at the table.

                                     SIMON
                         Henry, we have to talk.

                                     HENRY
                         Can I use your toilet?

                                     SIMON
                         Fay's taking a shower.

               Henry grabs his stomach. He presses his hand against his 
               chest, holds his head, then stares at the ring.

                                     HENRY
                         How much you think I can get for 
                         this?

               He looks at Simon.

                                     SIMON
                              (pauses)
                         Henry, Fay's pregnant.

               Henry looks at him.

                                     SIMON
                         Fay's pregnant with your child.

               Henry lets this sink in. He stands and the room tilts. White 
               with fear, he clutches at his rumbling gut.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE BATHROOM

               Moments later.

               Fay is in the shower as...

               Henry bursts into the bathroom, tearing at his belt and 
               trousers. She starts screaming and wraps herself in the shower 
               curtain. He drops his pants and throws himself on the toilet 
               just in time to begin shitting his brains out. Fay crouches, 
               terrified and disgusted, in the shower.

                                     FAY
                         Jesus, Henry!

               Henry sweats and moans as he empties his bowels in a violent 
               and messy blast of noise and foul air.

               Fay covers her face and whimpers sickly.

               Finally, he's done. He hangs with his face out over his knees, 
               sick, exhausted and in shock. Fay wraps herself in a towel 
               and steps out of the shower. She creeps carefully around him 
               and flushes the toilet, growing increasingly concerned.

                                     FAY
                         Hey, Henry. You OK?

               He is destroyed, staring down at...

               The 'ring' he still holds in his hand.

               Fay sees this, looks at Henry, then kneels and takes it from 
               him. He doesn't resist. She lifts it up and breathlessly 
               admires it. Totally misunderstanding, moved beyond words...

                                     FAY
                         Oh. Oh, Henry.

               And she throws her arms around him as he sits there, sweating 
               and spent, on the toilet.

               INT. CHURCH -- DAY

               A month later.

               Mr Deng and Bu�uel drag Henry, kicking and screaming, into 
               the church foyer. Once inside, he shakes them off and they 
               stand back. He huffs and puffs and tosses the hair back out 
               of his eyes. He paces back and forth like a caged animal, 
               then stops, sees...

               Fay, at the altar, waiting with Simon. She is beautiful.

               Henry calms down, deeply affected.

               Fay smiles down the aisle at him.

               Henry throws back his shoulders, straightens his tie and 
               strides up the aisle.

               Also present at the ceremony are Vicky and Warren. Gnoc is 
               maid of honor.

               INT. CHURCH -- DAY

               Later.

               Henry holds Fay's hand and repeats after Father Hawkes.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         I, Henry, take you, Fay to be my 
                         wife.

                                     HENRY
                         I, Henry, take you, Fay to be my 
                         wife.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         And do promise before God and these 
                         witnesses...

                                     HENRY
                         And do promise before God and these 
                         witnesses...

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         To be your loving and faithful 
                         husband.

                                     HENRY
                         To be your loving and faithful 
                         husband.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         In plenty and in want.

                                     HENRY
                         In plenty and in want.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         In joy and in sorrow.

                                     HENRY
                         In joy and in sorrow.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         In sickness and in health.

                                     HENRY
                         In sickness and in health.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         For as long as we both shall live.

                                     HENRY
                         For as long as we both shall live.

               The gasket everyone is now mistaking for a ring is lifted 
               high before the altar.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Bless, O Lord, this ring, that he 
                         who gives it and she who wears it 
                         may abide in your peace and continue 
                         in your favor until their life's 
                         end.

               The gasket is placed on Fay's finger.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Whom God has joined, let no man 
                         separate.

               The doors of the church swing open with a tremendous creak 
               and everyone turns from the altar to see...

               Amy enter. She steps in and stands there, alarmed, clutching 
               a long scroll of fax paper.

                                     HENRY
                         Oh, shit.

                                     FAY
                         Simon, do something.

               Simon walks down the aisle to see to Amy.

               The guests watch and wait.

               As Simon reaches her, Amy looks away from the altar and shows 
               him the fax scroll.

                                     AMY
                         Look.

               He studies the fax and recognizes his poem. He grows 
               concerned.

                                     SIMON
                         Where did you get this?

                                     AMY
                         It's all over the Internet.

               Simon looks up the aisle at...

               Fay and Henry. They look away, caught.

                                     AMY
                         They're even talking about it on the 
                         TV news.

               Confused, Simon starts for the door, shoving the fax in his 
               pocket. Fay steps down from the altar...

                                     FAY
                         Simon?

               Amy hurries along beside him.

                                     AMY
                         There's a guy from the radio station 
                         over at World of Donuts and a story 
                         in the newspaper about some kids 
                         burning down a school near Boston!

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- NIGHT

               Later that evening.

               The whole neighborhood is celebrating Fay's wedding. The 
               music is loud. The people are drunk. The place is a shambles. 
               A big dance number is playing. Amidst all the festivities, 
               though, Simon and Bu�uel have the small TV propped up on top 
               of the fridge, following the evening news...

                                     REPORTER
                              (on TV)
                         It all started right here in Queens, 
                         Jim, at World of Donuts about one 
                         year ago today, when local garbage 
                         man, Simon Grim, put pencil to paper 
                         and began to compose what many have 
                         come to regard as vicious, antisocial 
                         and pornographic poetry -- 112 lines 
                         of unrhymed free meter verse which 
                         would one day serve to spark the 
                         flames of controversy across the 
                         nation and -- indeed -- the world.

               Fay leads the neighbors in the dance...

                                     OWEN FEER
                              (on TV)
                         This is outrageous! Measures must be 
                         taken. Have we debased our culture 
                         to such an extent that a garbage man 
                         with a head full of sick ideas is 
                         legitimately referred to as a poet, 
                         and where the filth he spews can be 
                         accessed by any child old enough to 
                         turn on a computer? Is this what we 
                         have come to? Not the transmission 
                         of our highest ideals, but a cynical, 
                         atheistic delirium!

               Henry and Fay dance, surrounded by the dancing neighbors...

                                     POET LAUREATE
                              (on TV)
                         Poetry of this kind, and this poem 
                         in particular, is, I think, a worthy 
                         form of desperation; a digression on 
                         the extremes of human experience; of 
                         solitude, of community. It is perhaps 
                         alarming, even upsetting to some -- 
                         myself included -- but it must be 
                         allowed to exist.

               Henry throws an arm around Warren, who stands looking dejected 
               in the doorway, and raises his glass to the happiness in the 
               room.

                                     ANCHORMAN
                              (on TV)
                         Meanwhile, in Rome today, the Pope 
                         issued a message of hope for believers 
                         in their fight against what he termed 
                         the godless and lost. He did not 
                         mention Simon Grim by name, but 
                         offered a prayer for the young whom 
                         he described as sadly in need of 
                         faith and not the illusion of 
                         conviction offered by rock music, 
                         drugs and contemporary poetry.

               The TV is switched off. It's later now. People are passed 
               out on the kitchen floor and various neighbors are sitting 
               around the table. Fay steps back from the TV, drains a glass 
               of beer and wipes her mouth on the sleeve of her wedding 
               gown. She hugs Simon, who is deeply unsettled by the news of 
               his growing infamy.

                                     FAY
                         God, Simon, I mean, like, you're a 
                         total fucking rock star.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               A huge crowd of kids are pressed up against the doors, trying 
               to get a peek at their hero, Simon Grim.

               Angus comes away from the window. He stands and regards Simon, 
               who is sitting at a table tearing a napkin to shreds.

                                     ANGUS
                         I'm willing to negotiate, Simon.

                                     SIMON
                         I know, it's just...

                                     ANGUS
                         You've had other offers.

                                     SIMON
                         Well, yes. But.

                                     ANGUS
                         What?

                                     SIMON
                         Why have you reconsidered?

                                     ANGUS
                         Because I think your writing will be 
                         tremendously successful.

                                     SIMON
                         But you don't like it?

                                     ANGUS
                         It's growing on me.

                                     SIMON
                         What made you change your mind?

               He points to the fans outside.

                                     ANGUS
                         Other people's responses. I don't 
                         live in a vacuum, you know. Two months 
                         ago I didn't have the proof of your 
                         poem's appeal. Now I do.

               Simon thinks this over, but says nothing. Angus comes over 
               and lays his hand on his shoulder.

                                     ANGUS
                         Consider my offer carefully. Get 
                         some professional advice. I'll call 
                         you tomorrow.

               Simon nods.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Angus emerges and has to fight his way through the throng of 
               excited adolescents. He reaches his limo and gets in. But he 
               pauses before closing the door and considers the crowd.

               Simon emerges from the store and kids begin screaming and 
               shouting for autographs. Angus shakes his head, impressed.

               INT. CHURCH -- DAY

               Simon consults Father Hawkes.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         What were the terms?

                                     SIMON
                         A hundred thousand in cash up front.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Royalties?

                                     SIMON
                         A seventy/thirty split.

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Well, that could be better. But it 
                         is a hundred thousand dollars up 
                         front. Guaranteed money. You could 
                         use that.

                                     SIMON
                         So it's a good deal?

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         Of course it's good.

                                     SIMON
                         So I should take it?

                                     FATHER HAWKES
                         No. Try to get him up to a hundred 
                         and fifty thousand.

               EXT. JUNKYARD -- DAY

               Evening.

               Henry stalks along, all fired up. Simon tries his best to 
               keep up with him.

                                     HENRY
                         I've let myself down, Simon! I've 
                         let myself be caught in the bloody 
                         maw of banal necessity! How did I 
                         get here? How did this happen to me? 
                         I'm going to be somebody's father! I 
                         need time to think. To write. Time 
                         to finish my 'Confession'! I can't 
                         work for a living! It's impossible! 
                         I tried once. My genius will be wasted 
                         trying to make ends meet!

               He collapses extravagantly.

                                     HENRY
                         This is how great men topple, Simon. 
                         Their hearts are in the right place 
                         too much of the time! They get 
                         sidetracked! Distracted. Oh! How 
                         could I have been so careless!

                                     SIMON
                         Henry, please, let me read the 
                         'Confession'.

                                     HENRY
                         No. Not now. It's not done. I'm all 
                         washed up. I'm finished!

                                     SIMON
                         Angus James is convinced my poem is 
                         going to make him incredibly wealthy. 
                         He'll read your book and seriously 
                         consider publishing it. If I ask him 
                         to. I'm certain.

               Henry glances back at his friend, digesting this. He thinks 
               it over, then...

                                     HENRY
                         Really? You really think so?

               Having finally got through to him, Simon comes forward, 
               anxious to help Henry.

                                     SIMON
                         I'll insist he publish the 
                         'Confession'.

               He paces back and forth, thrusting out his chest, for the 
               first time in his life displaying something like pride or 
               arrogance.

                                     SIMON
                              (adds)
                         Or I won't let him publish my poem.

               Henry sits there watching Simon, impressed with this evidence 
               of increased self-esteem. He realizes the profundity of the 
               gesture.

                                     HENRY
                         You'd do that? You'd do that for me?

               Simon stares off into the distance.

                                     SIMON
                         You saved my life.

               Henry is moved. He stands and comes forward. He grabs his 
               friend by the shoulders and turns him around.

                                     HENRY
                         Do you realize what you're saying?

                                     SIMON
                              (pausing)
                         I owe you everything.

               Henry steps away, considering, then looks back at Simon and 
               extends his hand.

                                     HENRY
                         OK.

               Simon smiles. Henry smiles. They shake hands.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Simon enters, comes forward into the room and pauses, looking 
               off at...

               The stack of twelve books that comprise the 'Confession'.

               EXT. HOUSE/BACKYARD -- DAY

               Henry stands outside, watching his door.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               Simon lifts the first volume, opens it and begins reading. 
               He sits.

               EXT. BACKYARD -- DAY

               Henry paces, drinking and smoking nervously.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- NIGHT

               Simon strides the length of the living room, reading. He 
               stops, frowns.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- NIGHT

               Simon reads in front of the fire.

               EXT. BACKYARD/GARAGE -- NIGHT

               Bu�uel, Hawkes and Mr Deng sleep sitting up as Henry talks 
               to himself. Fay leans out the back door and interrupts him. 
               He looks at her, but says nothing. She sighs and goes back 
               inside: turning off the lights.

               INT. HENRY'S APARTMENT -- DAY

               The next morning.

               Simon sits wearily reading the final page of volume twelve 
               as the morning sun streaks into the room. Finally, he finishes 
               and slowly closes the book. He stands and crosses the room. 
               Leaning against the wall, he removes his glasses and rubs 
               his aching eyes.

               EXT. BACKYARD -- DAY

               Simon steps out of Henry's apartment and sees Henry asleep 
               on the back stoop.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Simon stares into a glass of water. Fay sits ten feet away, 
               waiting. Finally...

                                     FAY
                         It's really that bad?

                                     SIMON
                         It's terrible.

               INT. ANGUS JAMES' OFFICE -- DAY

               The 'Confession' lies on the big desk. Angus' hand comes 
               down upon it.

                                     ANGUS
                         You've read this?

                                     SIMON
                         Yes.

                                     ANGUS
                         And you want me to consider publishing 
                         it?

                                     SIMON
                         Yes.

                                     ANGUS
                         As part of our deal?

                                     SIMON
                         Yes.

                                     ANGUS
                         Simon, this book, it's... It's really 
                         quite bad.

                                     SIMON
                         That's what you said about my poem.

               Angus pauses and figures. He changes the subject.

                                     ANGUS
                         I'm offering you a very real 
                         expression of my faith in your 
                         writing. Two hundred thousand dollars 
                         and a sixty/forty split.

                                     SIMON
                         But just exactly what is the nature 
                         of your faith in my writing?

                                     ANGUS
                         Look, Simon, you don't require my 
                         admiration. You require my experience 
                         as a publisher. And that experience 
                         leads me to believe your poem will 
                         make more money than any book of 
                         poetry ever published. In history. 
                         Virtually make you a household name 
                         within two years. You'll never have 
                         to work on a garbage truck again, I 
                         assure you. Or do anything else for 
                         that matter. Whereas this 'Confession' 
                         by Henry Fool...

               He is at a loss for words.

                                     ANGUS
                         The most I can say for this is... 
                         The man is a scoundrel.

                                     SIMON
                         He taught me everything I know.

                                     ANGUS
                         No! He encouraged all that was 
                         expressive in you to become manifest. 
                         He inspired you to act. He influenced 
                         your perception.

               Simon waits a while, staring at his shoes.

                                     SIMON
                         How about if my advance is only a 
                         hundred thousand?

                                     ANGUS
                         It's not about money, Simon.

                                     SIMON
                         We could split the royalties 
                         seventy/thirty.

                                     ANGUS
                         I will not publish Henry Fool's 
                         'Confession'.

               Simon sits and lets this sink in. Angus waits, then...

                                     ANGUS
                         Will you sign the contract?

               Simon continues looking out at the city. Angus waits, but 
               there is no response. Finally, Simon turns, pauses and slowly 
               crosses the room.

               He sits at the table and looks down at the contract.

               He signs.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Fay is in labor. Henry helps her into her coat as they rush 
               for the door.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry runs into the store and stands there, panicked, looking 
               at Hawkes, Bu�uel and Mr Deng. Gnoc runs out to get Fay.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Henry and Gnoc load Fay into the van. The van pulls out.

               INT. VAN -- DAY

               Henry drives recklessly. Fay rolls around in the back.

               INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR -- DAY

               Fay is in a wheelchair being rushed down the hall. She is 
               gripping Henry's hand as he runs along beside her.

               INT. HOSPITAL DELIVERY ROOM -- DAY

               Fay gasps and sweats as the Doctor and Nurse prepare her. 
               She is scared. She looks over at...

               Henry, looking in through the window. He looks scared too.

               Fay is sedated by gas.

               Henry is taken away by the Nurse.

               Fay stares up at the ceiling.

               INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM -- NIGHT

               Henry is asleep on a row of waiting-room chairs, exhausted.

               Simon comes running up the hall and finds him. It's late and 
               no one is around. He sits down beside Henry and shakes him.

               Henry wakes.

                                     HENRY
                         Simon? You're here.

               He sits up and Simon sits beside him.

                                     SIMON
                         What happened?

                                     HENRY
                              (coughs)
                         It's a boy.

                                     SIMON
                         And Fay?

                                     HENRY
                         She's alright.

               Simon sits back, relieved. Then he remembers the rain-soaked 
               shopping bag he has with him. He pulls out a couple of cans 
               of beer and hands one to Henry.

                                     HENRY
                         Thanks.

               They look around, seasoned conspirators and make sure the 
               coast is clear. Then they pop open the beers and toast.

               They drink. Then...

                                     HENRY
                         How did it go?

               Simon pauses, scared, then gets up and crosses the room. He 
               looks out of the window and gathers his strength.

                                     SIMON
                         Listen, Henry, Angus James didn't 
                         like your 'Confession'.

               Henry looks at Simon blankly, then blinks and looks away.

                                     HENRY
                         Ah. I see. Well, what now?

                                     SIMON
                         What do you mean?

                                     HENRY
                         Did he suggest changes?

               Silence. Simon comes back and sits again.

                                     SIMON
                         No. He didn't.

                                     HENRY
                         I mean, after all, there are things 
                         I can do to make it more accessible.

                                     SIMON
                         Accessible?

                                     HENRY
                         I can soften up some of the language 
                         and make it read easier. Take out 
                         some of the more intratextual 
                         references and popularize the 
                         underlying Sturm und Drang, so to 
                         speak. I can change its mode. Make 
                         it more of a conventional novel 
                         instead.

               Simon just stares at him blankly, then sighs and shakes his 
               head.

                                     SIMON
                         No. Don't.

                                     HENRY
                              (laughing)
                         Oh, Simon, don't be such a purist! I 
                         appreciate your protectiveness, but 
                         the integrity of the work gives it a 
                         durability that can sustain such 
                         things.

               Simon comes over and lays his hand on Henry's shoulder.

                                     SIMON
                         No. Really, Henry. Don't.

                                     HENRY
                         What are you saying; that it doesn't 
                         merit revision?

                                     SIMON
                         I'm saying... Angus James didn't 
                         like it.

               He steps away and sits. Henry pauses, then approaches and 
               leans down over him.

                                     HENRY
                         Well, did you tell him what you think?

                                     SIMON
                         What I think doesn't matter.

                                     HENRY
                         Yes, it does. You've got to use your 
                         influence with him.

                                     SIMON
                         I gave it to him to read and he hated 
                         it. What more can I do?

                                     HENRY
                         You can refuse to let him publish 
                         your poem.

                                     SIMON
                         I can't do that.

                                     HENRY
                         You said you would.

                                     SIMON
                         That was before I read your book.

                                     HENRY
                              (hit hard)
                         Oh.

                                     SIMON
                              (looking up at him)
                         I signed the contract, Henry.

               Henry stands there a moment longer, then lowers himself into 
               the nearest seat, weakened.

                                     SIMON
                         Look, Henry, what did you expect?

                                     HENRY
                         I... I don't know. Honesty, perhaps.

                                     SIMON
                              (indignantly)
                         Look, if I had told you, when at 
                         first I read it, that I thought it 
                         was no good, what would you have 
                         done?

                                     HENRY
                         I would have respected your opinion.

                                     SIMON
                         And insisted that there's no 
                         accounting for taste.

                                     HENRY
                         Well, is there?

               Simon's words catch in his throat. He turns away, frustrated.

                                     SIMON
                         I don't know. I didn't bring it to 
                         Angus because I thought it was good. 
                         I brought it to Angus because you're 
                         my friend.

                                     HENRY
                              (staggered)
                         Oh how perfectly enormous of you, 
                         Simon.

                                     SIMON
                              (explodes)
                         Look, Henry, I did it! I wrote. I 
                         wrote poetry because you told me to! 
                         I worked! I worked while you sat 
                         back and comfortably dismissed the 
                         outside world as too shallow, stupid 
                         and mean to appreciate your ideas.

                                     HENRY
                         Is that such a priority? Is that 
                         some sort of measure of a man's worth? 
                         To drag what's best in him out into 
                         the street so every average slob 
                         with some pretense to taste can poke 
                         it with a stick?

                                     SIMON
                              (sits, tired)
                         Maybe. Maybe it is.

               Henry just stares at him, stands, then turns on his heel and 
               waves him off.

                                     HENRY
                         You must be pretty impressed with 
                         yourself, huh? The all too obviously 
                         talented new man, the important new 
                         voice, the early clue to a new 
                         direction, or whatever, etc., etc., 
                         etc! A popular new trend conveniently 
                         packaged for the distracted young 
                         herd! You want to be liked more than 
                         you know, Simon Grim! You'd be nowhere 
                         without me and you know it.

               Simon hangs his head, destroyed.

                                     SIMON
                         I'm leaving.

               Henry is scared all of a sudden. But he puts on a defiant 
               exterior.

                                     HENRY
                         Yes. It's time you left.

               He stands, drinks and walks over to the window...

                                     HENRY
                         I saw you for what you were in the 
                         beginning, Simon. I hold no grudge 
                         and I'm certain you will, in time, 
                         leave some serious and small dent in 
                         this world.

                                     SIMON
                              (weakly)
                         The world is full of shit.

               Henry take advantage of Simon's disillusionment and puts on 
               a big show of secure wisdom.

                                     HENRY
                         The world is full of shit. It's true. 
                         And you have to walk through it. 
                         That's your part. I'm sorry. But 
                         you're no good at it. Perhaps I'm 
                         not. Perhaps I wasn't made to walk 
                         through shit. Go on now. Leave. Do 
                         what you're good at. Go.

               Simon sits there a moment, numb with grief. Henry, red in 
               the face, stares at the floor. Suddenly, Simon stands and 
               walks out. Henry looks up and watches him go. He can hardly 
               believe it. He almost raises his voice and apologizes, but 
               can't. He lowers his head again and covers his face with his 
               hands, listening to Simon's footsteps receding through the 
               halls.

               Simon walks on, away from us, down the hospital corridor.

                                                              FADE TO BLACK

               EXT. STREET -- DAY

               Seven years later.

               Fay bangs out of the kitchen door with her seven-year-old 
               son Ned. Frazzled and overworked, she grips a loaded laundry 
               basket to her side as she sits Ned down on the curb and points 
               at him.

                                     FAY
                         Play!

               The kid sits still, obviously guilty of some unspeakable 
               mischief, as Fay storms back into the house. He looks around, 
               bored, then brightens up when he sees...

               Henry, coming up the street, hanging from the back of a 
               garbage truck.

               INT. THE INFERNO -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry enters with Ned on his back and the bartender, Patty, 
               goes ballistic.

                                     PATTY
                         Henry, what did I tell you about 
                         bringing the kid in here!

                                     HENRY
                         Say hello to Patty, Ned.

                                     NED
                         Hi.

               She suddenly becomes all soft and cuddly.

                                     PATTY
                         How you doin', sweetie? You wanna 
                         Coke?

               He nods and Henry stands him on a stool at the bar.

                                     HENRY
                         So what did you learn at school today, 
                         Ned? Anything?

               He shakes his head.

                                     HENRY
                         Here, I'll teach you something.

               He hands Ned a cigarette and lights it for him. Ned takes a 
               drag and coughs.

                                     HENRY
                         Horrible, isn't it?

               Ned nods in agreement.

                                     NED
                         It burns.

                                     HENRY
                         See. That'll teach ya. Here, sip 
                         this.

               And he offers the kid his whiskey.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Same time.

               Fay comes out of the house and looks for her son.

                                     FAY
                         Ned!

               She comes out to the street and looks around.

                                     FAY
                         Ned!

               EXT. VICKY'S HOUSE -- DAY

               Fay comes up looking for Ned and sees...

               Pearl, age fourteen, come out of Vicky's House. She is 
               fourteen years old now. Warren steps out the door and grabs 
               her by the arm. She shakes him off. He slaps her.

               She runs down the steps and glares back at him.

                                     WARREN
                              (pointing at her)
                         I'm warning you, Pearl!

               Pearl turns defiantly away and walks into the street.

               INT. THE INFERNO -- DAY

               Same time.

               Henry is teaching Ned how to tip a topless dancer. A dancer 
               stands on the bar and stretches her garter as Ned slips a 
               dollar bill in beneath it.

                                     HENRY
                         That's it. That's it. Perfect!

               Some other guy down the bar is reading a newspaper...

                                     BILL
                         Hey, Fool, it's about your friend -- 
                         what's his name. Your brother-in-
                         law.

               Henry looks over. The guy, Bill, shows him the article.

                                     HENRY
                         What about him?

                                     BILL
                              (reading)
                         The controversial and reclusive 
                         American poet Simon Grim has been 
                         awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. 
                         The Swedish Academy, who will confer 
                         the award late next week, praised Mr 
                         Grim for works of great and difficult 
                         striving, for the rendering of the 
                         desperate, the ugly and the mundane 
                         in a language packed with our shared 
                         human frailties...

                                     HENRY
                         God, they must be hard up for geniuses 
                         to pin medals on because, listen, I 
                         gotta tell you, when I first met 
                         this guy he didn't even know what an 
                         iambic pentameter was.

                                     BILL
                         He's a fraud.

                                     HENRY
                         Keep a lid on it, Bill, you're outta 
                         your league.

                                     BILL
                         Stir things up so as to stay in the 
                         newspapers. That's his racket.

                                     HENRY
                         He's a great American poet, you dumb 
                         fuck!

                                     BILL
                         Poet, my ass! I could puke all over 
                         a piece a loose leaf and be more 
                         profound than he is!

                                     HENRY
                         Come over here and say that and I'll 
                         cripple ya in three different ways, 
                         you boozed-up Philistine!

                                     FAY
                         Henry!

               Henry and Ned crouch and quiver -- caught. Fay strides up to 
               the bar and grabs the kid.

                                     FAY
                         Listen, you degenerate, I've had 
                         about enough of this!
                              (smells Ned's breath)
                         Ned, have you been drinking?

               The kid checks with Henry then looks back at Fay and nods. 
               Fay looks at her husband, outraged.

                                     HENRY
                              (explains)
                         His throat hurt from smoking.

               Fay slaps him across the face -- hard -- and the place goes 
               quiet. Henry shakes his head clear and she pokes him in the 
               chest with her finger.

                                     FAY
                         Henry, don't come home tonight! I'm 
                         warning you! Don't come home at all! 
                         Ever!

               And she storms out with the kid. Henry snaps his jaw back 
               into place, then looks at Patty and Bill and shrugs. He knocks 
               back his drink and motions for another.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- NIGHT

               Later (evening).

               Henry staggers out of the back door of the Inferno and comes 
               across Mr Deng sitting against the wall of the store, watching 
               the basketball game on a small TV. World of Donuts vibrates 
               with loud music.

                                     HENRY
                         Who's winning?

                                     MR DENG
                         Nobody.

               Henry gestures to World of Donuts...

                                     HENRY
                         What's going on in there?

                                     MR DENG
                         We gotta have rock 'n' roll shows 
                         these days, Henry. The poetry readings 
                         just don't pay the bills no more.

                                     HENRY
                         What did I tell you! It was just a 
                         fad. I told you that! I told everyone!

                                     MR DENG
                         Did you hear about Simon? It was on 
                         the news today.

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah yeah yeah. So what? A Nobel 
                         Prize. Anybody can get one of them 
                         these days. That's the problem, with 
                         this world, Mr Deng... Nobody's got 
                         any standards anymore. You seen Fay?

                                     MR DENG
                         You better sleep in my office tonight, 
                         Henry. She was very angry. You've 
                         gotta let her cool off.

                                     HENRY
                         I can't sleep in there with that 
                         racket!

                                     MR DENG
                         Suit yourself.

               Henry considers his options, then...

               INT. GARAGE -- NIGHT

               The place is abandoned.

               Henry comes in and, just as he is laying down to go to sleep 
               on an old couch, finds Pearl age fourteen.

               She is hardened and disturbed, but frequently vulnerable and 
               scared; a troubled kid.

                                     HENRY
                         What are you doing here, Pearl?

                                     PEARL
                         You want some?

                                     HENRY
                              (pauses)
                         Some what?

               Pearl comes towards him. He is kneeling with his face at her 
               crotch level when she reaches him. She holds out a bottle of 
               cheap rot-gut wine. Realizing, he takes it and drinks. He 
               winces.

                                     HENRY
                         Shit!

               Pearl laughs and falls back onto the couch, her sweater 
               hanging off her shoulder and her skirt hiked up and displaying 
               her underwear.

               Henry stands and searches for something to sit on.

                                     PEARL
                         Come sit here.

               She pats the couch beside her.

               He comes over, eyeing her carefully and sits. He hands back 
               the bottle. She drinks, winces and sits staring at the flames.

                                     PEARL
                         That's what my dad always says.

                                     HENRY
                         What?

                                     PEARL
                              (dead)
                         'You want some?'

               Henry looks away, uncomfortable. She slides her gaze over to 
               him, their eyes meet, and she pins him to the spot.

                                     PEARL
                         People say you were once in jail for 
                         having sex with a girl my age.

                                     HENRY
                         That was a long time ago.

               He gets up and stands at the window. Pearl age fourteen 
               watches him closely as she drinks, then...

                                     PEARL
                         You want some?

               He looks over at her and she slides her coat off her shoulder. 
               Henry is sweating.

                                     HENRY
                         You oughta get outta here, Pearl.

                                     PEARL
                         I was here first.

                                     HENRY
                         Go home.

                                     PEARL
                         You go home.

                                     HENRY
                         Fine.

               And he starts to leave. But Pearl sits up...

                                     PEARL
                              (scared)
                         Wait!

               Henry stops and looks back at her.

                                     PEARL
                              (hanging her head)
                         I can't go home.

                                     HENRY
                              (concerned)
                         Why not?

                                     PEARL
                         He beat her up again.

               Henry holds his head, tries to sober up. He looks around the 
               room, then focuses on the girl.

                                     HENRY
                         Warren beat up your mom?

               Pearl stares at the floor. She glances over at him, then 
               back down at the bottle gripped in her hands. She nods.

               Henry pauses, then comes across the room, lowering himself 
               tentatively to the couch.

                                     HENRY
                         Is she alright?

               She says nothing for a moment, then...

                                     PEARL
                              (sadly)
                         Do you think I'm pretty?

               Henry lifts his hand and covers his face. He looks up at the 
               ceiling and sighs. He returns to Pearl...

                                     HENRY
                         Does she need help?

               Pearl reaches over and grabs his thigh. Looking up at him, 
               with tears rolling down her face, she suggests...

                                     PEARL
                         I'll suck your cock if you kill him 
                         for me.

               Henry jumps away from her and Pearl throws herself down on 
               the couch, covering her face.

               INT. VICKY'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

               Moments later.

               Henry barges in and starts searching for...

                                     HENRY
                         Vicky! Vicky, it's Henry from across 
                         the street! Vicky!

               He runs through the house, checking the rooms. He throws 
               open the door to the bedroom and finds...

               Vicky, sitting on the edge of the bed, smoking. She has a 
               black eye and a swollen cheek.

                                     HENRY
                              (taken back)
                         Vicky?

                                     VICKY
                              (standing)
                         What do you think you're doing, you 
                         idiot!

                                     WARREN
                              (off)
                         Hey!

               Henry looks over and sees Warren stumble drunkenly out of 
               the bathroom. What are you doing in my house?

                                     HENRY
                              (to Vicky)
                         It's about Pearl.

               Vicky looks troubled. She sits back down with a sigh.

                                     VICKY
                         Mind your own business, Henry.

                                     WARREN
                              (shoves him)
                         Yeah, who the hell do you think you 
                         are, anyway?

               Henry falls back and looks at Vicky. She looks away.

               Henry looks at Warren, pauses, then gives him a sharp, hard 
               shove.

               Warren stands back against the wall, pauses, then erupts 
               into viciousness.

               He grabs Henry and throws him violently down the hall, where 
               he hits the wall and collapses.

               As Henry gets to his knees, Warren kicks him in the ribs. 
               Henry curls up and rolls out on to the kitchen floor. Warren 
               kicks him in the side of the head.

               Vicky sits back down on the bed, covering her ears.

               Warren beats the hell out of Henry, kicking him in the face 
               and ribs whenever he manages to get up on his hands and knees. 
               Henry crawls under the kitchen table for safety. Warren grabs 
               his feet and drags him out. As he is dragged across the floor, 
               Henry finds a screwdriver and grabs it. He rolls over on his 
               back as...

               Warren lunges down at him again and...

                                     WARREN
                         Ah.

               Warren is stabbed in the heart.

               Henry can't believe it.

               Warren can't believe it. He stands there in the middle of 
               the kitchen, amazed, with the screwdriver sticking out of 
               his chest.

               Henry, semi-conscious and severely beaten, falls against the 
               back door and coughs up a few of his teeth. Vicky steps into 
               the hall from her room and shudders.

               Warren sits at the table, stunned. He looks from the 
               screwdriver to Vicky, then...

                                     WARREN
                         Fuck.

               He falls to the floor.

               EXT. STREETS -- NIGHT

               Henry staggers away, limping. He comes to the intersection 
               at the end of the block and doesn't know which way to run. 
               Panicked, he looks round, holding his arm to his chest. He 
               runs towards the highway.

               INT. POLICE STATION -- NIGHT

               Later.

               Fay is wired beyond belief. Trying to listen attentively, 
               but still too overwhelmed to maintain her concentration.

                                     LAWYER
                              (off)
                         It is true your husband served seven 
                         years in prison for statutory rape.

                                     FAY
                         Yes. It is.

                                     LAWYER
                         And when was that?

                                     FAY
                         That was... I dunno. Fifteen... 
                         Sixteen years ago.

                                     LAWYER
                         And when were you married?

                                     FAY
                         We were married seven years ago.

                                     LAWYER
                         Were you aware at all of the victim's 
                         relationship with his daughter?

                                     FAY
                         Pardon me?

                                     LAWYER
                         The girl, the daughter, Pearl. She 
                         had been having sexual relations 
                         with her father.

               Fay is overwhelmed.

                                     FAY
                         I didn't know that. No.

                                     LAWYER
                         Pearl claims she offered your husband 
                         sexual favors if he would kill her 
                         father.

               Fay just looks at him blankly, overwhelmed, confused. She 
               starts to cry quietly.

                                     LAWYER
                         I'm just repeating what she said, 
                         Mrs Fool. The victim's wife, Vicky, 
                         claims your husband broke into the 
                         house and forcefully entered her 
                         bedroom.

               Fay trembles and catches her breath trying to take this all 
               in. A cop hands her some tissues. She takes them and tries 
               to concentrate on what the lawyer says.

                                     LAWYER
                         Fay, I know this isn't easy. But we 
                         need your help here. The girl claims 
                         she asked your husband to kill her 
                         father in exchange for, well, I guess 
                         the promise of sexual relations with 
                         her.

               INT. POLICE STATION CORRIDOR -- NIGHT

               Later.

               Fay staggers out into the noisy corridor and rests against 
               the wall. Looking down the hall she sees...

               Pearl and Vicky, sitting in a blank, brightly lit room beyond 
               a glass door.

               Fay comes closer and looks in at them.

               They don't see her. They stare at the floor before them, 
               dazed and confused.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Morning.

               Fay is lying on her bed with her coat still on, trying to 
               think. Ned stands by the side of the bed, watching her.

                                     NED
                         Mom?

                                     FAY
                         Yeah.

                                     NED
                         Where's Dad?

                                     FAY
                         I don't know, honey. Leave me alone 
                         a minute, I gotta think.

               He picks at the bedspread and looks at the ceiling, then...

                                     NED
                         Mom?

                                     FAY
                         What!

                                     NED
                         Is Dad in trouble?

                                     FAY
                         Yes, Ned, he is. He's in big trouble. 
                         Now just be quiet for two minutes.

               He walks around to the other side of the bed and waits a 
               moment before...

                                     NED
                         Mom?

                                     FAY
                         I'm warning you, Ned.

                                     NED
                         Mom, can I be a mailman when I grow 
                         up?

               Fay sits up, pauses and studies her son.

                                     FAY
                         Sure you can, honey. You can be 
                         anything you want.

               Ned is happy to hear this. He shuffles out of the room and 
               Fay falls back on the bed.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE KITCHEN -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Ned comes into the kitchen and digs through the drawers 
               beneath the sink. He finds an envelope. He reads the return 
               address: Chelsea Hotel, New York City.

               EXT. SUBWAY -- DAY

               Ned approaches the subway station and climbs the stairs to 
               the platform.

               EXT. SUBWAY PLATFORM -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Ned runs up the stairs to the elevated platform just as a 
               train pulls into the station. He runs down a few cars and 
               hops in as the doors slide open.

               INT. TRAIN -- DAY

               Ned rides the train to New York City.

               EXT. SUBWAY STOP -- DAY

               Twenty minutes later.

               He comes up out of the subway on to the street, looks around.

               INT. HOTEL LOBBY -- DAY

               He comes into the hotel and rings an annoying buzzer which 
               brings out the concierge, who is in his little office, 
               watching TV.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         Yeah, what do you want?

                                     NED
                         My uncle.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         What's his name?

                                     NED
                         Simon Grim.

               The concierge looks through his book as Ned waits.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         There ain't no one here by that name.

               Ned pulls the envelope from his pocket, unfolds it and shows 
               it to the concierge.

                                     NED
                         Room 423.

               The concierge studies the envelope and hands it back.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         This is post marked five years ago.

               Disappointed, Ned takes back the envelope and stands looking 
               at his sneakers.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         What does he look like?

                                     NED
                              (hopeless)
                         I don't know.

                                     CONCIERGE
                         Sorry, kid. Can't help ya.

               Ned steps away from the front desk and moves towards the 
               door. But then he stops and looks back at...

               The concierge, sitting back in his office, returning his 
               attention to the TV set.

               The boy heads for the elevator.

               The concierge looks up and sees him.

                                     CONCIERGE
                              (jumping up)
                         Hey!

               Ned checks his step and runs for the service stairs.

               The concierge goes after him.

               INT. HOTEL STAIRCASE -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Ned runs up the stairs, the concierge in pursuit.

               INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Ned jumps out into the hall, narrowly escaping the clutches 
               of the concierge, who falls to the floor.

               Ned runs up the hall, checking the room numbers as the 
               concierge gets to his feet. He finds...

               Room 423.

               He knocks.

               The concierge strides up the hall towards him.

               Ned knocks again.

               The concierge bears down upon him.

               He knocks again and...

               The door opens a crack, held by its safety chain. A female 
               figure in silhouette is at the narrow gap.

               Ned looks from the door to the concierge approaching.

               The concierge arrives and reaches out for him, but the door 
               opens wide and Ned dives in.

               INT. HOTEL ROOM 423 -- DAY

               Same time.

               The concierge stands in the hallway. The door swings shut in 
               his face.

               Ned kneels on the floor of the hotel room, waiting to be 
               smacked, or something.

               But when nothing happens, he opens his eyes and looks back 
               over his shoulder at...

               Laura, the secretary from the publishing house. She is dressed 
               for travel and has her coat hung over her arm, a suitcase in 
               her hand. She smiles at him, then looks from the boy to 
               someone across the room and...

               Ned follows her gaze to find...

               Simon, standing there before him, a suitcase in his hand as 
               well. He looks down at Ned with a calm, intrigued expression.

               The boy looks up at him in awe.

               Simon steps forward, pauses, then...

                                     SIMON
                         Get up off your knees.

               He does.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               A taxi pulls up. Simon and Ned climb out and Laura leans out 
               of the window.

                                     LAURA
                         Promise me you'll be on that plane 
                         at seven, Simon.

                                     SIMON
                         I'll see you in Stockholm.

               They kiss. The taxi pulls away. Simon comes down beside Ned, 
               takes the boy by the shoulders and whispers in his ear.

               The kid takes off.

               Simon looks over at World of Donuts and sees Gnoc waiting 
               there at the door.

               EXT. BEHIND WORLD OF DONUTS -- DAY

               Gnoc leads Simon out through the kitchen. A band is seen 
               doing a sound check, inside.

               Bu�uel and Hawkes are waiting there, looking concerned.

               Simon gives Bu�uel his passport.

               Bu�uel nods and leaves.

               Hawkes and Gnoc open the cellar doors.

               INT. WORLD OF DONUTS BASEMENT -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Simon is lead down the stairs and stops. He looks on in horror 
               at...

               Henry, lying on a makeshift bed, badly beaten up and weak. 
               Mr Deng is wrapping his chest in bandages.

               Simon pauses, then comes closer. He reaches out and touches 
               Henry's shoulder, standing there looking down at his friend. 
               Henry looks up at him, pauses and then gestures vaguely with 
               his hand.

                                     HENRY
                         Look, Simon, the world's a scary 
                         place. I admit it. But it's not my 
                         fault. I swear!

               Simon thinks about this and looks away.

                                     SIMON
                         I'm sorry, Henry.

                                     HENRY
                         Don't be. You had things to do.

                                     SIMON
                         So did you.

               Henry thinks about that, sighs and looks away.

               INT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Fay packs up the many books of the 'Confession' into one of 
               the old suitcases Henry first came to town with. She slams 
               it shut.

               EXT. THE GRIM HOUSE -- DAY

               Ned runs along the street and stops at the police car. He 
               points down the street with great urgency. The cops jump in 
               their cars and take off. He then looks over at...

               Fay, leaving the house with Henry's suitcase.

               EXT. WORLD OF DONUTS BACK ALLEY -- DAY

               Same time.

               Bu�uel backs his car into the alley behind World of Donuts. 
               Stepping out of the car he hands Simon back the passport.

               Simon checks it and then looks up to see...

               Father Hawkes and Mr Deng helping Henry outside. Coming out 
               into the daylight, he straightens up and manages to walk on 
               his own. He motions Ned over and leans down to the kid with 
               difficulty.

                                     HENRY
                         Gotta light?

               Ned does. He has his own Zippo lighter and he proudly lights 
               his dad's cigarette.

               Henry smokes, hugs Ned, then leans back and pauses. Finally...

                                     HENRY
                         Take care of your mom and don't start 
                         trouble you can't finish.

               Ned nods and Henry pats him on the shoulder. Then he stands 
               before Fay and looks at his feet. With her arms folded across 
               her chest and her hip cocked, she taps her foot impatiently 
               and waits for his last line of crap.

                                     HENRY
                         I love you, Fay.

                                     FAY
                              (rolls her eyes)
                         Yeah, well, tough.

               But then she looks at him and softens. He leans in and kisses 
               her passionately on the mouth.

               Moments later, they all help Henry into Bu�uel's car and 
               Simon gets in behind the wheel. The doors slam shut and Simon 
               steers the car slowly up the alley. Henry gazes out at Fay 
               running along beside the car with the rest of the 
               neighborhood, some of them laughing, some of them crying...

               EXT. AIRPORT TERMINAL -- DAY

               Simon pulls up at the curb and jumps out. He helps Henry 
               climb out and together they enter the terminal.

               INT. AIRLINE TICKET COUNTER -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Henry steps up.

                                     AIRLINE TICKET CLERK
                         Passport and ticket, please.

               Henry hands them over. He glances back at...

               Simon, waiting.

               The clerk compares Henry to the picture in the passport, 
               checks again, then...

                                     AIRLINE TICKET CLERK
                              (recognizes)
                         It's an honor to meet you, Mr Grim. 
                         Really. I mean, God. Congratulations 
                         on the Nobel Prize.

                                     HENRY
                         Thanks.

                                     AIRLINE TICKET CLERK
                         I know all your work by heart. It 
                         changed my life.

                                     HENRY
                         Yeah, well. Look, thanks, but..

                                     AIRLINE TICKET CLERK
                         Yes. Of course.

               She types something more into the computer, then looks up 
               urgently.

                                     AIRLINE TICKET CLERK
                         You'll have to hurry, sir. They're 
                         holding the plane for you on the 
                         runway.

               INT. AIRPORT GATE -- DAY

               Moments later.

               Airline representatives come rushing up with walkie-talkies 
               to meet Henry and Simon as they run through the terminal.

                                     AIRLINE REP #1
                         This way, please, this way! This 
                         way, Mr Grim! This way! Excuse me!

               As they are ushered up towards the gate, Henry stops and 
               looks off at the security guards and ground crew waiting for 
               him, certain they can spot him as a wanted criminal.

                                     SIMON
                              (shoves him)
                         Go on.

               Henry is ushered through security. They take his ticket and 
               check his passport again. They take his suitcase and place 
               it on the conveyor belt. He passes through the metal detector. 
               They pass the metal detector wand over him and he stands 
               there with his hands outstretched, as...

               Simon waits and watches.

               The suitcase rolls out from the x-ray machine and as Henry 
               grabs it, he stops and looks across the security checkpoint 
               at...

               Simon, standing there. He steps forward anxiously.

               Henry lingers, speechless, but the airline representatives 
               are at his side...

                                     AIRLINE REP
                         Mr Grim, please, the plane is waiting! 
                         We have to hurry!

               They drag him away, but Henry looks back as...

               Simon stops and watches.

               EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY -- DAY

               Moments later.

               The plane is waiting out on the asphalt and the airline 
               representative runs straight for it, calling back over her 
               shoulder to Henry...

                                     AIRLINE REP
                         This way, Mr Grim! This way!

               Runway technicians rush to their positions, but Henry hangs 
               back and struggles across the tarmac, looking back over his 
               shoulder at...

               Simon, behind the huge plate glass window of the terminal.

               He stops and waits.

               Simon raises his hand in farewell and...

               Henry raises his in reply.

               Then Simon, unheard behind the gigantic glass wall, silent 
               amongst the roar of the runway, says...

                                     SIMON
                              (unheard)
                         Run.

               And Henry understands. He lowers his hand, waits just a 
               moment, then turns and looks out at...

               The airplane. The airline representative is shouting at him 
               from the foot of the stairs and waving him on with her walkie-
               talkie.

               He glances back once more at Simon. Then...

               Henry is running, struggling towards us, forcing himself 
               towards the plane, getting stronger and running faster with 
               every step he takes.

                                                               CUT TO BLACK

                                         THE END