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High Fidelity Movie Script

Writer(s) : Nick Hornby, D.V. DeVincentis

Genres : Comedy, Drama, Romance

Search IMDb : High Fidelity


                                      HIGH FIDELITY

                                            By

                       D.V. De Vincentis, Steve Pink, & John Cusack

                            Based on the novel by Nick Hornby

                                         9/11/98

                              London Draft Registered: WGAw

                

                                                                    FADE IN

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               STEREO

               Not a minisystem, not a matching set, but coveted audiophile 
               clutter of McIntosh and Nakamichi, each component from a 
               different era, bought piece by piece in various nanoseconds 
               of being flush.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         What came first?  The music or the 
                         misery?  People worry about kids 
                         playing with guns and watching violent 
                         videos, we're scared that some sort 
                         of culture of violence is taking 
                         them over...

               RECORDS

               Big thin LPs.  Fields of them.  We move across them, slowly...  
               they seem to come to rest in an end of a few books... but 
               then the CD's start, and go on, faster and faster, forever 
               then the singles, then the tapes...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         But nobody worries about kids 
                         listening to thousands -- literally 
                         thousands -- of songs about broken 
                         hearts and rejection and pain and 
                         misery and loss.

               It seems the records, tapes, and CD's will never end until...  
               we come to ROB -- always a hair out of place, a face that 
               grows on you.  He sits in an oversized beanbag chair and 
               addresses us, the wall of music behind him.

                                     ROB
                         Did I listen to pop music because I 
                         was miserable, or was I miserable 
                         because I listened to pop music?

               INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Group of bags huddled next to the door.  Not the go-on-

               vacation set, but the clothes-to-coffee-maker moving out 
               variety.  Rob stares at them, his face unreadable, his head 
               gripped by a big pair Boudokan headphones.  We hear what he 
               is hearing, something foreboding and upbeat at the same time.

               LAURA, Rob's girlfriend, enters the room, and he immediately 
               pulls the headphones off.  She clocks him for a moment, 
               catching him in what seems to be an old and repeated moment 
               of nonpresence.  She begins to heft the bags, Rob goes to 
               her, a little tardy for his big goodbye.  Laura begins to 
               cry a bit.

                                     LAURA
                         I don't really know what I'm doing.

               He smiles, and she doesn't.  He adjusts.

                                     ROB
                         You don't have to go this second.  
                         You can stay until whenever.

                                     LAURA
                         We've done the hard part now.  I 
                         might as well, you know...

                                     ROB
                         Well stay for tonight, then.

               Laura shakes her head, lifts the last small bag, and backs 
               out the door.  A strap catches on a handle and the two of 
               them wrestle with it a bit, while trying to keep the door 
               open, until Laura awkwardly disappears from view and the 
               door shuts behind Rob.  He stays right there staring at the 
               shut door for a long moment, listening to the fading sound 
               of Laura and her dragging bags.

               STEREO

               Rob's left hand cranks the volume knob while his right 
               switches the CD changer to something loud and adrenal.  He 
               addresses us again.

                                     ROB
                         My desert-island, all-time, top five 
                         most memorable break-ups, in 
                         chronological order are as follows: 
                         Alison Ashworth, Penny Hardwick, 
                         Jackie Allen, Charlie Nicholson, 
                         Sarah Kendrew.

               INT. APARTMENT STAIRWELL

               Laura drags her bags, banging down the stairs --

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT

               Rob moves around the apartment, seeming to expand physically, 
               looking for change as he continues.

                                     ROB
                         Those were the ones that really hurt.  
                         Can you see your name in that list, 
                         Laura?  Maybe you'd sneak into the 
                         top ten, but there's no place for 
                         you in the top five.  Sorry.  Those 
                         places are reserved for the kind of 
                         humiliations and heartbreaks that 
                         you're just not capable of delivering.

               He adjusts the angle of the TV, stuffs a creepy family 
               portrait into a drawer.

                                     ROB
                         That probably sounds crueler than 
                         it's meant to, but the fact is, we're 
                         too old to take each other miserable.  
                         Unhappiness used to mean something.  
                         Now it's just a drag like a cold or 
                         having no money.

               He moves through the living room to an open window facing 
               the street.  Looking down two stories, he sees Laura emerge 
               from the building and drag her bags toward her car across 
               the street.

                                     ROB
                         If you really wanted to mess me up, 
                         you should have got to me earlier.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. SUBURBAN PARK - DUSK -

               Rob and Alison sit on the bench, kissing awkwardly.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Which brings us to number one.  Alison 
                         Ashworth.

               PARK BENCH - DUSK

               The same shot, the next night: new clothes, same clumsy make-
               out session.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         My relationship with Alison Ashworth 
                         lasted six hours.

               PARK BENCH - DUSK

               ...Next night...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         The two hours after school and before 
                         The Rockford Files, three days in a 
                         row.  On the fourth afternoon.

               SAME PARK BENCH

               ...And the fourth night...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Kevin Bannister.

               Alison and another boy, KEVIN BANNISTER.  Kissing.  In the 
               background, Rob approaches and stops.  He implodes with self-
               consciousness and humiliation and attempts to affect a casual 
               gait as he mopes away.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         It would be nice to think that since 
                         I was fourteen, times have changed, 
                         relationships have become more 
                         sophisticated, females less cruel, 
                         skins thicker, but there still seems 
                         to be an element of that afternoon 
                         in everything that has happened to 
                         me since.  All my other romantic 
                         stories seem to be a scrambled version 
                         of that first one.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT

               Rob sits in his chair, a cord leading from the stereo to 
               headphones draped around his neck.  Behind him is the wall 
               of music.

                                     ROB
                         Number two.  Penny Hardwick.  Penny 
                         was great-looking, and her top five 
                         recording artists were Carly Simon, 
                         Carole King, James Taylor, Cat 
                         Stevens, and Elton John...

               He lets the needle down on the turntable next to him.

               "Nobody Does It Better" by Carly Simon begins to play as

               PRESENCE...

               EXT. HIGH SCHOOL LAWN - FLASHBACK - MOS

               ...and continues as SOUNDTRACK.  PENNY, 16, is walking across 
               the grass toward us.  She's the clean, sporty, nice wholesome 
               girl-next-door.  She waves to off-camera friends, smiling a 
               winning smile.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Everybody liked her.  She was nice.  
                         Nice manners.  Nice grades.  Nice- 
                         looking.

               INT. PENNY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Penny and Rob sit on the edge of the bed, kissing.  Rob moves 
               his hand up toward the breast, but the hand then seems to 
               have a new idea, and dives south to follow the thigh into 
               Penny's skirt...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         She was so nice, in fact, that she 
                         wouldn't let me put my hand 
                         underneath, or even on top of, her 
                         bra.

               ...when he contacts skin, Penny rolls like a gymnast away 
               and off of the bed, out of frame.  Rob looks away balefully.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               "Nobody Does It Better" continues as Rob walks Penny to her 
               front door.  She is smiling, he seems distant.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Penny was nice, but I wasn't 
                         interested in nice, just breasts, 
                         and therefore she was no good to me.  
                         And so I was finished with her.

               She leans in to kiss him, and he shrugs her off.

                                     ROB
                         What's the point?  It never goes 
                         anywhere.

               Without looking at her, Rob turns and walks down the street, 
               getting smaller.  Penny watches for a while.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. "EL" TRAIN CAR - MORNING - PRESENT

               Rob sways with the other commuters.

                                     ROB
                         She cried, and I hated her for it, 
                         because she made me feel bad.  I 
                         started dating a girl who everybody 
                         said would put out, and Penny went 
                         with this asshole Chris Thompson who 
                         told me that he had sex with her 
                         after something like three dates.  
                         How had Penny gone from a girl who 
                         wouldn't do anything to a girl who 
                         would do everything?

               A BUSINESSMAN looks up from his paper at Rob, then back down.

               EXT. CLARK STREET - DAY

               An old Chicago block of local merchants, on a busy street.

               Rob makes his way down the street, jangling a set of keys 
               and talking to us.

                                     ROB
                         My store's right up here.  It's called 
                         The Record Exchange.  It's carefully 
                         placed to attract the bare minimum 
                         of window shoppers.

               Rob arrives at a storefront, and begins unlocking a rusty 
               gate with two locks and then a beaten-down door.

                                     ROB
                         I get by because of the people who 
                         make a special effort to shop here 
                         on Saturday young men, always young 
                         men, who spend a disproportionate 
                         amount of their time looking for 
                         deleted Smiths singles and "original 
                         not rereleased" underline Frank Zappa 
                         albums.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               In almost darkness.  More light might penetrate the windows 
               if there weren't so many record-release posters taped to 
               them.  A dusty narrow corridor clad in burlap and shag rug.  
               On the walls are bagged 45's you will never hear unless you 
               commit your life to the losing proposition of listening to 
               every noodling of Jah Wobble and Glen Glenn and other people 
               you've never heard of.

               But as Rob opens the door, enters, and flips a switch causing 
               the fluorescents to sputter, we see in his eyes the reverence 
               and earnestness of a football coach gazing across an empty 
               field or a priest drawn at midnight to his empty church.

                                     ROB
                         The fetish properties are not unlike 
                         porn.  I would feel guilty taking 
                         their money if I wasn't, kind of, 
                         well, one of them.

               As he walks one of the two slim aisles toward the back, he 
               stops on a dime, steps back and pulls a CD from the sea and

               replaces it almost the same position, but not quite --
               meticulousness and pride in this gesture...

               After a moment the door creaks open behind Rob, admitting 
               DICK, a nervous, forlorn but sweet and intelligent discophile 
               with long greasy black hair, a Sonic Youth T-shirt, a 
               monstrous pair of headphones, and a canvas record bag 
               emblazoned with a label logo.

                                     ROB
                         'Morning, Dick.

                                     DICK
                         Oh, hi.  Hi, Rob.

                                     ROB
                         Good weekend?

                                     DICK
                         Yeah, OK.  I found the first Licorice 
                         Comfits album at Vintage Vinyl.  The 
                         one on Testament of Youth.  Never 
                         released here.  Japanese import only.

                                     ROB
                         Great.

                                     DICK
                         I'll tape it for you.

                                     ROB
                         No, that's okay.  Really.

                                     DICK
                         'Cause you like their second one, 
                         you said, Pop, Girls. etc.  The one 
                         with Cheryl Ladd on the cover.  You 
                         didn't see the cover though.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, I haven't really absorbed that 
                         one.

                                     DICK
                         Well, I'll just make it for you.

                                     ROB
                              (resigned)
                         Okay.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - LATER

               Dick is behind the counter, Rob in the aisles with a clipboard 
               doing inventory.

                                     ROB
                              (re: music)
                         What's this?

                                     DICK
                         The new Belle and Sebastian.  Like 
                         it?

               The door flies open and BARRY, an acid-tongued post-punk 
               rock misanthrope without quite enough intelligence to 
               conceptualize his own rebellion, walks in.  His teeth are 
               clenched in air-guitar concentration and he's phonetically 
               cranking a Clash riff:

                                     BARRY
                         BAA!  BA BA DANG!

               Dick shrinks back from him instinctively.  He stops mid-step 
               and cocks his ear at the music playing in the store.  His 
               face adopts an exaggerated grimace.

                                     BARRY
                         Holy Shiite!  What the fuck's this?

                                     DICK
                         It's the new --

                                     ROB
                         It's the record we've been listening 
                         to and enjoying, Barry.

               Barry moves in on the stereo behind the counter, and Dick 
               gets out of his way.

                                     BARRY
                         Well that's problematic because it 
                         sucks ass.

               He pops the CD out and frisbees it to Dick.

                                     BARRY
                              (re: the CD)
                         Yours, I assume...

               Barry pulls a tape out of his jacket and jams it in.  "How 
               to Kill a Radio Consultant" by Public Enemy comes through at 
               through the red levels.

                                     ROB
                              (over the blare)
                         TURN IT OFF, BARRY.

                                     BARRY
                         IT WON'T GO ANY LOUDER.

               Barry walks in rhythm toward the stockroom and disappears.

               Rob goes behind the counter and stops the tape.  Barry's 
               head pops out of the stockroom.

                                     BARRY
                         What are you doing?

                                     ROB
                         I don't want to hear Public Enemy 
                         right now.

                                     BARRY
                         Public Enemy!  All I'm trying to do 
                         is cheer us up.  Go ahead and put on 
                         some old sad bastard music see if I 
                         care.

                                     ROB
                         I don't want old sad bastard music 
                         either.  I just want something I can 
                         ignore.

                                     BARRY
                         But it's my new tape.  My Monday 
                         morning tape.  I made it last night 
                         just for today.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, well it's fucking Monday 
                         afternoon.  You should get out of 
                         bed earlier.

                                     BARRY
                         Don't you want to hear what's next?

                                     ROB
                         What's next?

                                     BARRY
                         Play it.

                                     ROB
                         Say it.

                                     BARRY
                              (sighs)
                         "Little Latin Lupe Lu."

               Rob groans.

                                     DICK
                         Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels?

                                     BARRY
                              (defensive)
                         No.  The Righteous Brothers.

                                     DICK
                         Oh well.  Nevermind.

               Barry bristles and moves slowly in on Dick.

                                     BARRY
                         What?

                                     DICK
                         Nothing.

                                     BARRY
                         No, not nothing.  What's wrong with 
                         the Righteous Brothers?

                                     DICK
                         Nothing.  I just prefer the other 
                         one.

                                     BARRY
                         Bullshit.

                                     ROB
                         How can it be bullshit to state a 
                         preference?

                                     BARRY
                         Since when did this shop become a 
                         fascist regime?

                                     ROB
                         Since you brought that bullshit tape 
                         in.

                                     BARRY
                              (sarcastic)
                         Great.  That's the fun of working in 
                         a record store.  Playing crappy pap 
                         you don't want to listen to.  I 
                         thought this tape was going to be, 
                         you know, a conversation stimulator.  
                         I was going to ask you for your top 
                         five records to play on a Monday 
                         morning and all that, and you just 
                         had to ruin it.

                                     ROB
                         We'll do it next Monday.

                                     BARRY
                         Well what's the point in that?

               From outside.  HEAR THE SOUND OF SKATEBOARD WHEELS CLACKING 
               AND SCRAPING, GETTING LOUDER.  Rob, Dick and Barry stop 
               fighting to listen, then each moves purposefully to a spot 
               in the store.  Dick to the register, Barry to the back, Rob 
               next to the door, as if bracing for a street fight.

               The SOUND gets closer, then stops.  The door swings open to 
               admit VINCE and JUSTIN, two fifteen-year-old skate punks.

               Vince's hair is post-apocolyptically hacked to different 
               lengths, Justin's in uniformly shaven with leopard spots 
               dyed browse.  Rob follows them, watching their every move.

               Dick counters from his perch, getting another angle.  Barry 
               cracks his knuckles threateningly.  Vince and Justin do their 
               best browser impersonations.  Finally Justin plucks a CD, 
               and the two move to the counter.

                                     ROB
                         Hey.  Didn't you steal that one 
                         already?

                                     DICK
                         Can I help you?

                                     JUSTIN
                         Just this.

                                     DICK
                         That'll be fifteen-twenty-seven.

               Vince reaches into his deep pocket and pulls out a paper 
               cup, with piece of paper attached that says "Please help me.  
               I'm retarded."  He pours a mass of change and crumpled singles 
               onto the counter.  Dick begins counting it out.

                                     VINCE
                         Isn't your name Dick?

                                     DICK
                         Yes.

                                     VINCE
                         That sucks.  Get it?

               Dick cracks a sad smile for a second.  He bags the CD and 
               Vince and Justin are off.  Rob walks back through the stock 
               room door.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - STOCK ROOM - LATER

               Rob is on his knees, opening boxes with a razor knife.  He 
               talks to us as he works.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sick of the sight of this place, 
                         to be honest.  Some days I'm afraid --

               Dick sticks his head in the door, looks at Rob, looks where 
               Rob is looking (camera), and retreats back through the door.

               Rob continues.

                                     ROB
                         I'm afraid I'll go berserk, rip the 
                         Elvis Costello mobile from the 
                         ceiling, throw the "Country Artists 
                         Male A-K" rack out onto the streets, 
                         go off to work in a Virgin Megastore 
                         and never come back --

               He hears the bell on the front door RING, and he stops and 
               listens, looks a bit worried.

                                     CUSTOMER (O.S.)
                         I'm looking for a record for my 
                         daughter.  For her birthday.  "I 
                         Just Called To Say I Love You." Do 
                         you have it?

                                     BARRY (O.S.)
                         Oh yeah.  We got it.

               Rob relaxes and goes back to work.

                                     CUSTOMER (O.S.)
                         Great.  Can I have it then?

                                     BARRY (O.S.)
                         No, you can't.

               Rob deflates, shaking his head.

               STORE FLOOR

               Barry leans back, elbows up on the counter behind him, talking 
               to the CUSTOMER, a middle-aged graying man in a raincoat.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Why not?

                                     BARRY
                         Because it's sentimental tacky crap, 
                         that's why not.  Do we look like the 
                         kind of store that sells "I Just 
                         Called To Say I Loved You?" Go to 
                         the mall and stop wasting our time.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         What's your problem?  What did I...  
                         Why are you --

                                     BARRY
                         Do you even know your daughter?  
                         There is no way she likes that song.  
                         Or is she in a coma?

               The Customer throws up his hands and starts out of the store.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Okay, okay, buddy.  I didn't know it 
                         was Pick On the Middle-Aged Square 
                         Guy Day.  My apologies.  I'll be on 
                         my way.

               He steps out of the door.

                                     BARRY
                         B'Bye!

               Outside, anger catches up to the Customer.  He turns and 
               throws up a middle finger --

                                     CUSTOMER
                         FUCK YOU!

               -- and bolts.  Barry smiles and turns to see

               ROB

               standing in the doorway of the stock room.  He feigns 
               applause.

                                     ROB
                         Nice, Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         Rob.  Top five musical crimes 
                         perpetrated by Stevie Wonder in the 
                         '80's and '90's.  Subquestion -- is 
                         it in fact unfair to criticize a 
                         formerly great artist for his latter-
                         day sins?  "Is it better to burn out 
                         than to fade away?"

                                     ROB
                         You just drove a fucking customer 
                         away, Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         We didn't even really have it.  I 
                         happen to know for a fact that the 
                         only Stevie Wonder single we have is 
                         "Don't Drive Drunk." I was just 
                         goofing on the straight, and it never 
                         cost you a penny.

                                     ROB
                         Not the point.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh, so what's the point then?

                                     ROB
                         I don't want you talking to our 
                         customers like that again.

                                     BARRY
                         "Our customers?" You think that Mr.  
                         L.L. Bean out there is going to be a 
                         regular?

               Rob's face begins to redden with anger.

                                     ROB
                         Barry, I'm fucking broke!  I know we 
                         used to fuck with anyone who asked 
                         for anything we didn't like, but 
                         it's gotta stop.

                                     BARRY
                         Bullshit.  The guy was going to buy 
                         one record -- which we didn't even 
                         have -- and leave and never come 
                         back again anyway.  Why not have a 
                         little fun?  Big fucking deal.

                                     ROB
                         What did he ever do to you?

                                     BARRY
                         He offended me with his terrible 
                         taste.

                                     ROB
                         It wasn't even his terrible taste.  
                         It was his daughter's.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh, now you're defending that 
                         motherfucker?  You're going soft in 
                         your old age, Rob.  There was a time 
                         when you would have chased him out 
                         of the store and up the street.  Now 
                         all of a sudden I'm offending your 
                         golf buddy.
                              (sarcastic)
                         You're right, Rob.  I am so sorry.  
                         How are we ever going to make enough 
                         money to get you and Laura into the 
                         country club?

               Rob is red and seething.

                                     BARRY
                         And by the way, I tell you this for 
                         your own good: That's the worst 
                         sweater I've ever seen.  I have never 
                         seen a sweater that bad worn by anyone 
                         I'm on speaking terms with.  It's a 
                         disgrace to the human race.

               Rob springs on Barry, grabbing him by the lapels and jerking 
               him up against the wall.  Rob is so mad he can't say anything.

                                     DICK
                         Hey, guys... Hey.

               Rob runs out of steam and drops Barry, who backpedals fast.

                                     BARRY
                              (extremely shaken)
                         What are you, some kind of fucking 
                         maniac?  If this jacket's torn you're 
                         gonna pay big.

               Barry stomps out of the store.  Rob turns and goes back to 
               the stockroom, and sits on the stepladder.  Dick appears in 
               the doorway, terrified.

                                     DICK
                         Are you all right?

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.  I'm sorry... Look Dick, Laura 
                         and I broke up.  She's gone.  And if 
                         we ever see Barry again maybe you 
                         can tell him that.

                                     DICK
                         'Course I will, Rob.  No problem.  
                         No problem at all.  I'll tell him 
                         next time I see him.

               Rob nods.  Dick sets out into the uncharted conversational 
               territory of interpersonal relationships.

                                     DICK
                         I've ah... got some other stuff to 
                         tell him anyway, so it's no problem.  
                         I'll just tell him about, you know, 
                         Laura, when I tell him the other 
                         stuff.

                                     ROB
                         Fine.

                                     DICK
                         I'll start with your news before I 
                         tell him mine, obviously.  Mine isn't 
                         much, really, just about Marie LaSalle
                              (flashes CD of pretty 
                              woman)
                         playing at Lounge Ax tonight.  I 
                         like her, you know, she's kind of 
                         Sheryl Crowish... but, you know, 
                         good.  So I'll tell him before that.  
                         Good news and bad news kind of thing.

               Dick laughs nervously.

                                     DICK
                         Or rather, bad news and good news, 
                         because he likes this person playing 
                         tonight.  I mean, he liked Laura 
                         too, I didn't mean that.  And he 
                         likes you.  It's just that --

                                     ROB
                         I understand, Dick.

                                     DICK
                         Sure.  'Course.  Rob, look.  Do you 
                         want to... talk about it, that kind 
                         of thing?

               Rob looks up at Dick, who is so nervous that his brow is 
               wet.

                                     ROB
                         No.  Thanks though, Dick.

               Dick sighs with relief, and smiles his way out of the stock 
               room.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         Number three in the top five break- 
                         ups was Charlie Nicholson, sophomore 
                         year of college.  Some people never 
                         got over 'Nam, or the night their 
                         band opened for Nirvana.  I guess I 
                         never really got over Charlie.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. COLLEGE QUAD - DAY - FLASHBACK

               About twenty feet away we see a tall, thin beauty, bleach-
               blonde hair cropped short in darling '80's new-wave asymmetry.

               She is speaking animatedly to a PAMPHLETEER, driving her 
               points home with a forefinger.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         She looked different.  Dramatic.  
                         Exotic.  She talked a lot, about 
                         remarkably interesting things like 
                         music, books, film, and politics...

               INT. CAFE - DAY

               A younger Rob sits amongst a group of STUDENTS who are engaged 
               in a heated conversation.  He is smiling, mouth closed, just 
               happy to be there.  Charlie sitting next to him, tousles his 
               hair as she talks incessantly.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                              (over her talking)
                         ...so we didn't have those terrible, 
                         strained sentences, that seemed to 
                         characterized most of my 
                         relationships.  And she liked me.  
                         She liked me.  She liked me.

               Charlie gives Rob a quick kiss and keeps talking...

               EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON

               Rob and Charlie walk arm in arm, Rob in cool clothes and 
               sunglasses trying to look cool, Charlie making a point about 
               something.

               Rob checks out how cool he looks with her as they walk by a 
               store window REFLECTION.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         We went out for two years, and for 
                         every single minute I felt as though 
                         I was standing on a dangerously narrow 
                         ledge.  I couldn't get comfortable, 
                         couldn't ever stretch out and relax.  
                         Why would a girl -- no, a woman -- 
                         like Charlie go out with someone who 
                         only a few years ago sewed a Foghat 
                         patch on his jacket?  I felt like 
                         all those people who suddenly shaved 
                         their heads and said they'd always 
                         been punks.  I felt like a fraud.  
                         And I was depressed by the lack of 
                         flamboyance in my wardrobe...

               INT. CHARLIE'S APARTMENT - DAY

               The fabulous sophomore design student's studio apartment:

               White wood floor, white walls, overvarnished door, Doisneaux 
               print on the wall, futon on the floor.  Rob lies back on his 
               elbows, watching Charlie in uncomfortable, worried awe.  She 
               stands, her back to him, wearing only her underwear and 
               pulling on a T-shirt -- a heartbreaking image to look back 
               on.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         ...I worried about my abilities as a 
                         lover.  I was intimidated by the 
                         other men in her design department, 
                         and became convinced that she was 
                         going to leave me for one of them.

               Charlie turns around and looks at Rob with naked ambivalence.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         She left me for one of them.  The 
                         dreaded Marco.

               EXT. CHARLIE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               It is RAINING like crazy, and Rob is shouting up at a lit 
               window, maniacally gesturing.  The curtains part and Charlie's 
               figure appears, clad only in a sheet.  Next to her is a tall, 
               built, handsome man, MARCO, also in a sheet.

               Eventually he falls to his knees with a splash and buries 
               his head in his hands.  The light goes out.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         And I lost it.  I lost it all.  
                         Dignity, faith, fifteen pounds...

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Rob wandering through the rain.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Any small idea of personal identity 
                         that I had acquired up to that point.

               INT. SOME RECORD STORE - DAY

               A younger and catatonic Rob listlessly sorts through a stack 
               of records.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         I came to three months later, and to 
                         my surprise had flunked out of school 
                         and started working in a record store.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob stands in front of his wall of music, shifting LPs around 
               between the shelves and piles on the floor as he talks to 
               us.

                                     ROB
                         What I really learned from the Charlie 
                         Debacle is that you gotta punch your 
                         weight.  Charlie was out of my Class: 
                         too pretty, too smart, too witty, 
                         too much.  What am I?  Average.  A 
                         middleweight.  Not the smartest guy 
                         in the world, but certainly not the 
                         dumbest.  I've read books like The 
                         Unbearable Lightness of Being, 
                         Angela's Ashes, and Love in the Time 
                         of Cholera, and understood them, I 
                         think -- they're about girls, right? -- 
                         just kidding -- but I don't like 
                         them very much.  My all time top 
                         five favorite books are Johnny Cash's 
                         autobiography, Snow Crash by Neil 
                         Stevenson, Zen and the Art of 
                         Motorcycle Maintenance, The Trouser 
                         Press Guides to Rock, and, I don't 
                         know, probably something by Kurt 
                         Vonnegut.  I look through the New 
                         Yorker when my neighbor's done with 
                         it, and I'm not averse to going down 
                         to the Fine Arts to watch subtitles 
                         films, although on the whole I prefer 
                         American films.  Top five being Blade 
                         Runner, Cool Hand Luke, the first 
                         two Godfathers which we'll count as 
                         one, Taxi Driver, and The Shining.  
                         I'm okay looking, average height, 
                         not skinny, not fat.  My genius, if 
                         I can call it that, is to combine a 
                         whole load of averageness into one 
                         compact frame.  You might say there 
                         were millions like me, but there 
                         aren't, really: Alot of guys have 
                         impeccable music taste but don't 
                         read, alot of guys read but are really 
                         fat, alot of guys are sympathetic to 
                         women but have stupid beards, alot 
                         of guys have a Woody Allen sense of 
                         humor but look like Woody Allen.  
                         Some drink too much, some drive like 
                         assholes, some get into fights, or 
                         show off money, or do drugs.  I don't 
                         do any of these things, really.  If 
                         I do okay with women it's not because 
                         of the virtues I have, but because 
                         of the ugly flaws I don't have... 
                         So.  Charlie and I didn't match.  
                         After her I was determined to never 
                         get out of my league again.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob presses play on the answering machine.  A pleasant, older 
               female voice is heard.  It's JANET, Laura's mother.

                                     JANET
                              (on machine)
                         Hello, you two.  Laura, it's your 
                         mother.  Your father's angina is a 
                         little rough today and I thought 
                         he'd like to talk to you.  No big 
                         deal.  I love you two.  Bye.

               Beep.

                                     LIZ
                              (on machine)
                         Rob, it's Liz.  Just calling to see, 
                         well, if you're okay.  Give me a 
                         ring.  I'm not taking sides.  Yet.  
                         Lot's of love.  Bye.

               He pulls an LP from a shelf, puts it on the turntable and 
               sits back in his chair.

               EXT. LAKE MICHIGAN WATERFRONT - MOS - THE PAST

               The MUSIC becomes SOUNDTRACK to the following scenes.  Rob 
               and SARAH, a thin, modestly attractive young woman, SARAH, 
               walk and talk.  They seem to be emphatically complaining 
               together.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Charlie and I didn't match.  Marco 
                         and Charlie matched.  Me and Sarah, 
                         number four on the all time break- 
                         ups list, matched.  She wore more or 
                         less the same clothes as mine, had 
                         an acceptable working knowledge of 
                         music, and she had been dumped by 
                         some asshole named Michael.  He was 
                         her moment, Charlie was mine.  Sarah 
                         had sworn off men.  I had sworn off 
                         women.  It made sense to pool our 
                         loathing of the opposite sex, swear 
                         them off together, and get to share 
                         a bed with someone at the same time.

               INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - MOS - NIGHT

               Rob and SARAH sit up in bed, staring at the television...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         We were frightened of being left 
                         alone for the rest of our lives.  
                         Only people of a certain disposition 
                         are frightened of being alone for 
                         the rest of their lives at twenty- 
                         six.  We were of that disposition.  
                         Everything seemed much later than it 
                         was.

               INT. SARAH'S KITCHEN - MOS - DAY ROB'S POV

               of Sarah, sitting across the table, mid-confession.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         When she told me that she met someone 
                         else it made no sense.  Her meeting 
                         someone else was contrary to the 
                         whole spirit of our arrangement.  
                         All we really had in common was that 
                         we were dumped by people, and that 
                         we were against dumping.  We were 
                         violently anti-dump.  So how come I 
                         got dumped?

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               The MUSIC becomes PRESENCE again, and Rob takes the needle 
               off the record.

                                     ROB
                         You run the risk of losing anyone 
                         who is worth spending time with.  
                         But I didn't know that at the time.  
                         All I saw was that I'd moved down a 
                         division and that it still hadn't 
                         worked out, and this seemed cause 
                         for a great deal of misery and self-
                         pity.  And that's when Laura came 
                         along.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob is surrounded by stacks of records on the floor.  He 
               looks to camera.

                                     ROB
                         I'm reorganizing my records tonight.  
                         It's something I do in times of 
                         emotional distress.  When Laura was 
                         here I had them in alphabetical order, 
                         before that, chronologically.  
                         Tonight, though, I'm trying to put 
                         them in the order in which I bought 
                         them.  That way I can write my own 
                         autobiography without picking up a 
                         pen.  Pull them all off the shelves, 
                         look for Revolver and go from there.  
                         I'll be able to see how I got from 
                         Deep Purple to The Soft Boys in twenty-
                         five moves.  What I really like about 
                         my new system is that it makes me 
                         more complicated than I am.  To find 
                         anything you have to be me, or at 
                         the very least a doctor in Rob-ology.  
                         If you wanna find Landslide by 
                         Fleetwood Mac you have to know that 
                         I bought it for someone in the fall 
                         of 1983 and then didn't give it to 
                         them for personal reasons.  But you 
                         don't know any of that, do you?  You 
                         would have to ask me to--

               The phone rings again.  Rob picks it up.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah?

                                     MOM
                         Hi, Rob.  It's your mother.

               Rob deflates a bit.

                                     ROB
                         Hi, Mom.

                                     MOM
                         Everything all right?

                                     ROB
                         Great.  Super-fantastic.

                                     MOM
                         How's the store?

                                     ROB
                         So so.  Up and down.

                                     MOM
                         Your lucky Laura's doing so well.  
                         If it wasn't for her, I don't think 
                         either of us would ever sleep...

               Rob holds his lips together with thumb and forefinger, but 
               succumbs --

                                     ROB
                         She left.  She's gone.

                                     MOM
                         What do you mean?  Where did she go?

                                     ROB
                         How would I know?  Gone.  Girlfriend.  
                         Leave.  Not say where gone.  Laura 
                         move out.

                                     MOM
                         Well call her mother.

                                     ROB
                         She just called.  She doesn't even 
                         know.  It's probably the last time 
                         I'll ever hear her voice.  That's 
                         weird, isn't it?  You spend Christmas 
                         at somebody's house, you know, and 
                         you worry about their operations and 
                         you see them in their bathrobe, and... 
                         I dunno...

               Silence.

                                     ROB
                         There'll be another mom and another 
                         Christmas.  Right?

               Silence... More silence.

                                     ROB
                         Hello?  Anybody there?

               THE SOUND OF SOFT CRYING

                                     ROB
                         I'm all right, if that's what's 
                         upsetting you.

                                     MOM
                         You know that's not what's upsetting 
                         me.

                                     ROB
                         Well it fucking should be, shouldn't 
                         it?

                                     MOM
                         I knew this would happen.  What are 
                         you going to do Rob?

                                     ROB
                         I'm going to drink this bottle of 
                         wine watch TV and go to bed.  Then 
                         tomorrow I'll get up and go to work.

                                     MOM
                         And after that?

                                     ROB
                         Meet a nice girl and have children.  
                         I promise the next time we talk I'll 
                         have it all sorted out.

                                     MOM
                         I knew this was going to happen.

                                     ROB
                         Then what are you getting so upset 
                         about?

                                     MOM
                         What did Laura say?  Do you know why 
                         she left?

                                     ROB
                         It's got nothing to do with marriage, 
                         if that's what you're getting at.

                                     MOM
                         So you say.  I'd like to hear her 
                         side of it.

                                     ROB
                         Mom!  For the last fucking time, I'm 
                         telling you Laura didn't want to get 
                         married!  She is not that kind of 
                         girl!  To use a phrase.  That's not 
                         what happens now.

                                     MOM
                         Well I don't know what happens now, 
                         apart from you meet someone, you 
                         move in, she goes.  You meet someone, 
                         you move in, she goes.

               Silence.  Rob busted.

                                     ROB
                         Shut up, Mom.

               Rob hangs up the phone.  He fills up his glass again, takes 
               a swig, and slumps into a chair.  If there was any wind left 
               in Rob, it just got knocked out.  After a moment, he gets to 
               his feet, grabs his jacket and heads out the door.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LOUNGE AX CLUB - LINCOLN AVE. - NIGHT

               Rob comes down the street and gets in the short line to enter 
               the club.  From inside he hears a GUITAR, playing a tune 
               that becomes familiar not only to Rob, but to us.  When a 
               strong, lilting female VOICE begins to sing, we hear what it 
               is: "Baby I Love Your Way," by Peter Frampton.

               Rob smiles at first, but begins to darken as the verse 
               continues.  He steps out of line and leans against the outside 
               wall, listening.  Is he beginning to cry?  Yes, he is...

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

                                     ROB
                         Peter.  Frampton.  That perm! "Show 
                         Me the Way"!  A phenomenon based on 
                         a live album that was actually 
                         recorded in a studio!  What is 
                         happening?  I am getting misty, choked 
                         up at a song that I had the good 
                         sense at twelve to realize was so 
                         saccharine and stupid as to be 
                         inarticulatable, until Michael Bolton, 
                         that is.

               CUT BACK TO:

               EXT. LOUNGE AX CLUB - LINCOLN AVE.

               He looks around self-consciously, and paces a bit, deciding 
               whether or not to stay.  He takes a deep breath, and heads 
               in the door.

               INT. LOUNGE AX - NIGHT

               As Rob enters he looks to the stage, where MARIE LASALLE is 
               standing alone with her acoustic guitar, heading toward the 
               song's finish.  Rob's expression begins to shift from the 
               melancholy to something else altogether.  Marie is beautiful, 
               and Marie has touched his heart.  Rob navigates toward her 
               though the small crowd as if pulled by something unseen.  He 
               addresses us over his shoulder.

                                     ROB
                         Sentimental music makes you nostalgic 
                         and hopeful at the same time.  Marie's 
                         the hopeful part.  Laura's the 
                         nostalgia part.  These things happen.  
                         They happen to men, at any rate.  
                         This is why I shouldn't be listening 
                         to pop music.

               As he gets closer to the stage --

                                     DICK
                         ROB!

               Rob looks over to see Dick sitting with Barry, a few feet 
               away.  He shakes it off and sits with them, extending a 
               meaningful hand to Barry, who takes it.  They turn back to 
               the stage as Marie finishes the song.

                                     ROB
                         I always hated this song.

                                     DICK
                         Yeah.

                                     BARRY
                         Yeah.

                                     ROB
                         But now I kind of like it.

               Dick and Barry nod, then keep watching.  All three of them 
               are in their own private fantasies with Marie.

                                     DICK
                         She shouldn't done it on "The Number 
                         Four With a Smile."

                                     BARRY
                         Isn't her album called "Number Four 
                         With A Smile?"

                                     DICK
                         That's what I said.

                                     BARRY
                         No, no, no, you said "The Number 
                         Four With a Smile," and there's no 
                         "The" at the front of the title of 
                         the album.

                                     DICK
                         It's a reference to a Chinese meal 
                         in Toronto and I think that there is 
                         a "The."  But I could be wrong.

                                     BARRY
                         You can be and are wrong.

               They drop it, so that their eyes can drift back to Marie.

                                     BARRY
                         I wanna date a musician...

                                     ROB
                              (nods in agreement)
                         I wanna live with a musician.  She'd 
                         write songs at home, ask me what she 
                         thought of them, maybe even include 
                         one of our private jokes in the liner 
                         notes.

                                     BARRY
                         ...Maybe a picture of me in the liner 
                         notes...

                                     DICK
                         Just in the background somewhere.

               MARIE

               as the song ends, and she smiles out over the room.  The 
               audience applauds.

                                     MARIE
                         Thanks, you guys, I know I'm not 
                         supposed to like that song, but I 
                         do.  I'm gonna take a break for a 
                         second.  Anybody wants to buy one of 
                         my tapes, they're five bucks up here.  
                         One of my other personalities will 
                         be selling them.

               ROB, DICK, AND BARRY

                                     BARRY
                         Let's go get one.

                                     ROB
                         Let's not.

                                     DICK
                         I want a tape.

               Barry and Dick stand and begin to move off...

                                     ROB
                         I don't need to go up there right 
                         now.

               ...and they're gone.  After a beat, Rob gets up and follows 
               them.

               FOOT OF THE STAGE

               Dick and Barry wait nervously to buy a tape, Rob just behind 
               them.  Marie processes sales with polite monosyllables, until 
               the three get up front.

                                     MARIE
                         Enjoying yourselves?

               They dart eyes to each other, then nod.

                                     MARIE
                         Good.  'Cause I'm enjoying myself.

                                     ROB
                         Good.

               Rob hands her a ten and she roots around in a duffel bag for 
               change...

                                     ROB
                         So you live in Chicago now?

                                     MARIE
                         Yup.  Not far from here, actually.

                                     BARRY
                         You like it?

                                     MARIE
                         It's okay.  Hey.  You guys might be 
                         the sort to know.  Are there any 
                         good record stores around here or do 
                         I have to go downtown?

               Barry and Dick do not try to control themselves.  They point 
               to Rob.

                                     DICK
                         He's got one!

                                     BARRY
                         On Clark Street!

                                     DICK
                         A couple blocks!  About six!

                                     BARRY
                         We work there!

                                     DICK
                         You'd love it!

               Marie laughs.

                                     MARIE
                         What do you sell?

                                     BARRY
                         A little of anything that matters.  
                         Rock, soul, R&B, punk rock, hip- 
                         hop, ska, new wave...

                                     MARIE
                         Sounds great.

               The line behind them is moving in, and Marie smiles at them 
               and turns to someone else.  They scurry back toward their 
               table.

                                     ROB
                         What did you tell her about the shop 
                         for?

                                     BARRY
                         I didn't know it was classified 
                         information.  I mean, I know we don't 
                         have any customers, but I thought 
                         that was a bad thing, not, like, a 
                         business strategy.

               Rob looks over Barry at Marie.  She catches his eye as she 
               looks over the room.  His eyes shoot to the floor.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - STOCK ROOM - LATER

               Rob is going through a huge stack of used CD's, sorting them 
               off into different bins, bouncing his head absently to the 
               music -- the same song of Marie's that Rob had on when Laura 
               called last night.

                                     BARRY (O.S.)
                         ROB!  PHONE!

               Rob reaches over and hits the SPEAKER button on the phone, 
               still in the groove of sorting.

                                     ROB
                         Rob here.

                                     LIZ (O.S.)
                         Hey.  It's Liz.

                                     ROB
                         What's happenin'.

                                     LIZ
                         You called this morning?

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.  I just wanted to thank you 
                         for that message last night.  It 
                         made me feel like... like less of an 
                         asshole.

                                     LIZ
                         How're you holding up?

                                     ROB
                         Actually, I'm fine.  I'm great.  
                         Last night I got to thinking, "you 
                         know what?  Maybe it is time to move 
                         on.  Maybe we're just not right for 
                         each other.  Or maybe we are.  But 
                         time will tell and at this point I'm 
                         going to be fine with whatever's 
                         meant to be." You know?

                                     LIZ
                         Yeah.  Like I said, I don't want to 
                         take sides.  And I like Laura with 
                         you.  She's more fun, more open.  
                         You guys are good together.  I just 
                         wish you two could, I don't know.  I 
                         don't think much of this Ian guy --

               -- Dick bursts in, huge-faced --

                                     DICK
                         Rob.

                                     ROB
                         Liz, hold on a second --
                              (turns to Dick)
                         What?

                                     DICK
                         Marie LaSalle is in the store!  Here, 
                         she's here, and now!

               Rob freezes, he and Dick turn to the speaker, which cranks 
               Marie's voice.  Rob goes to the phone and picks up the 
               handset.

                                     ROB
                         Liz, can you hold for a second?

               He hits hold.

                                     ROB
                              (to Dick)
                         I'll be out there!  Go!
                              (picks up the phone)
                         Hey, Liz, I gotta go... Tomorrow 
                         night?  Great.  Green Mill.  Fine.  
                         Seven?  Done.  Thanks.  Right.  Bye.

               He hangs up fast, spins around to look in a cracked one-foot-
               square cracked mirror bearing the logo of Aerosmith that is 
               mounted on the wall, and moves out into the

               FRONT ROOM

               and up the aisle fast toward the stereo where he turns Marie's 
               music off.  He takes a deep breath and looks up, meeting her 
               eyes.

                                     ROB
                         Oh.  Hi.

               Marie smiles.

                                     MARIE
                              (re: music)
                         Don't you like that?

                                     ROB
                         No, no, I love, it's just, thinking 
                         you're, you must be so sick of it...  
                         Well.

               He reaches back and puts it back on.  He cracks his face 
               into a smile, then walks fast back to the stock room door.  
               Marie watches him go.

               STOCK ROOM

               where as soon as he crosses the threshold his fist clench 
               and he grimaces:

                                     ROB
                         WHAT FUCKING IAN GUY?!!

               Dick comes in --

                                     DICK
                         Rob --!

                                     ROB
                         -- FUCK OFF!

               Dick backs out fast.  Rob leans on a wall.  Barry enters --

                                     BARRY
                         We're only on the fucking list for 
                         Marie's gig at the Pulaski Pub, that's 
                         all!  All three of us.

                                     ROB
                         That's fucking great, Barry.  We can 
                         spend fifteen bucks on a cab to save 
                         five each.  Fantastic, Barry!

                                     BARRY
                         We can take your car.

                                     ROB
                         It's not my car, now is it?  It's 
                         Laura's car, and thus Laura has it.  
                         So it's an ass-bumping double- 
                         transferring bus ride through 
                         bumblefuck or a fat wad on a cab.  
                         Wow.  Fucking great.

               Barry sighs, throws up his hands and heads out the door.

                                     BARRY
                         Jaggoff...

               Barry exits.  Rob seems to be having trouble staying on his 
               feet.

                                     ROB
                         Who the fuck is Ian?!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ROB'S BUILDING'S LOBBY - NIGHT

               Rob enters and walks to the mail table, looking like shit.

               He starts sifting through envelopes for his.

                                     ROB
                         Laura doesn't know anybody called 
                         Ian.  There's no Ian at her office.  
                         She has no friends named Ian.  She 
                         has never met anyone called Ian in 
                         her whole life.  Although there may 
                         have been one in college -- but I am 
                         almost certain that since 1989 she 
                         has lived in an Ian-less universe.

               He slows... and stops.  His face gets a little paler as he 
               lifts a letter up to his face.

               CLOSE-UP: LETTER

               A cable service bill to a Mr. I. Raymond.

               ROB

               as he looks at it, divining.

                                     ROB
                         "I. Raymond." Ray. "I." IAN.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         Mr. I Raymond. "Ray" to his friends, 
                         and, more importantly, to his 
                         neighbors.  The guy who up until 
                         about six weeks ago lived upstairs.  
                         I knew it was him the moment I saw 
                         the letter.  I start to remember 
                         things now: His stupid clothing, his 
                         music -- Latin, Bulgarian, whatever 
                         fucking world music was trendy that 
                         week--stupid laugh, awful cooking 
                         smells.  I can't remember anything 
                         good about him at all.  I never liked 
                         him much then, and I fucking hate 
                         him now... I manage to block out the 
                         worst, most painful, most disturbing 
                         memory of him until I go to bed.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Darkness.  We move silently through the rooms, and enter the 
               bedroom... closer to the bed, we see Rob on his back, sheets 
               held clenched up to his chin.  He stares at the ceiling, 
               sadly.

               JUMP CUT

               To almost the same shot, but it's Rob and Laura in the bed, 
               semi-tangled.  Laura has a book in her lap.  A CREAKING is 
               heard.  Laura's eyes go to the ceiling, and Rob sits up at 
               attention.  They look up at the light fixture, which shakes 
               a little faster, with the rhythm of the creaking.  Someone 
               is definitely having sex upstairs, and they are going for 
               it.

                                     ROB
                         Jeez.  He goes on long enough.

                                     LAURA
                         I should be so lucky.

               They turn to each other and laugh.

               JUMP CUT BACK

               to Rob lying still in bed, staring at the ceiling.

                                     ROB
                         You are as abandoned and as noisy as 
                         any character in a porn film, Laura.  
                         You are Ian's plaything, responding 
                         to his touch with shrieks of orgasmic 
                         delight.  No woman in the history of 
                         the world is having better sex than 
                         the sex you are having with Ian in 
                         my head.

               ROB'S IAN-LAURA SEX NIGHTMARE - QUICK CUTS

               Ian mercilessly savages Laura from behind, below, and above, 
               champagne showers, toe-sucking, and animal screams --

               BACK TO ROB IN BED,

               imploding with disgust and sorrow.  Tears run down his cheeks 
               into his ears.

                                     ROB
                         Number five -- Jackie Allen.  My 
                         break up with Jackie Allen had no 
                         effect on my life whatsoever.  I 
                         just slotted her in to bump you out 
                         of position, Laura.  Yes, you do in 
                         fact make it into the top five.  
                         Welcome.  And just to remind you, 
                         the list is in chronological order, 
                         not in the order of pain and 
                         suffering.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Dick and Barry are stocking the racks.  Rob stands at the 
               register, rocking back and forth sort of like an idiot, to 
               "Always and Forever" by the Commodores.  He is a mess.

                                     FEMALE VOICE
                         Hey.

               Rob looks up to see a nineteen or twenty-year-old GIRL 
               standing in front of him.

                                     GIRL
                         Do you have soul?

               Rob smiles bitterly at her, clearly having a different meaning 
               in mind.

                                     ROB
                         That all depends.

               She kind of backs away and goes back to browsing.  The phone 
               rings and Rob picks it up.

                                     ROB
                         Record Exchange... How many records... 
                         Right, well if you could bring them -- 
                         okay, well, where do you live?  
                         Right... how about now?  I can come 
                         right over...
                              (Rob scribbles)
                         Okay.

               He hangs up and grabs his jacket.  Dick emerges from the 
               back.

                                     ROB
                              (to Dick)
                         Some lady's got some singles to sell.  
                         I'll be back in a half-hour.

               Rob walks out.

               EXT./INT. FANCY LINCOLN PARK TOWNHOUSE - DAY

               Rob mounts the stairs and rings the doorbell.  The door opens, 
               revealing a too-tan WOMAN in her late forties, in designer 
               jeans and a T-shirt bearing a rhinestone peace sign.

               She says nothing.

                                     ROB
                         Hi.  You called about the records?

               She turns and walks into the house, leaving the door open 
               for him.  He follows her in and through a fabulous first 
               floor, packed with big-bucks bourgeois: Rugs, art, and 
               antiques:

               She ushers Rob into a large study, and turns the light on.  
               He misses a breath.  The walls are lined with mahogany cases 
               custom-built for CDs, albums, epicurean stereo components, a 
               couple priceless vintage guitars -- every one of the thousands 
               of items bear a little numbered sticker, like a museum.  She 
               points to several boxes on the floor, full of hundreds of 
               singles.

                                     WOMAN
                         Those.

               Rob steps into the room like an Undeserving, and carefully 
               drops to his knees to examine the singles, each pristine in 
               a plastic sleeve: the original God Save the Queen by the Sex 
               Pistols, original Otis Reddings, Elvis Presleys, James Browns, 
               Jerry Lee Lewises, Beatles... on and on.  The mother lode.  
               Rob is doing the best to control the onset of 
               hyperventilation.  He dares a glance over his shoulder to 
               her to see if this is a joke.

                                     WOMAN
                         What do you think?

                                     ROB
                         It's the best collection I've ever 
                         seen.

                                     WOMAN
                         Give me fifty bucks and they're all 
                         yours.

               Rob's face goes funny.  He looks around for a hidden camera.

                                     ROB
                         These are worth at least, I don't 
                         know --

                                     WOMAN
                         I know what they're worth.  Give me 
                         fifty and get them out.

                                     ROB
                         But you must have --

                                     WOMAN
                         I must have nothing.  Their my 
                         husband's.

                                     ROB
                         And you must not be getting along 
                         too well right now, huh?

                                     WOMAN
                         He's in Jamaica with a twenty-three-
                         year-old.  A friend of my daughter's.  
                         He had the fucking nerve to call me 
                         and ask me to borrow some money and 
                         I told him to fuck off, so he asked 
                         me to sell his singles collection 
                         and send him a check for whatever I 
                         go, minus a ten percent commission.  
                         Which reminds me.  Can you make sure 
                         you give me a five?  I want to frame 
                         it and put it on the wall.

                                     ROB
                         It must have taken him a long time 
                         to get them together.

                                     WOMAN
                         Years.  This collection is as close 
                         as he's ever come to an achievement.

               Rob looks back at the records but avoids the trance.

                                     ROB
                         Look.  Can I pay you properly?  You 
                         don't have to tell him what you got.  
                         Send him forty-five bucks and blow 
                         the rest.  Give it to charity.  Or 
                         something.

                                     WOMAN
                         That wasn't part of the deal.  I 
                         want to be poisonous but fair.

                                     ROB
                              (looking back at the 
                              records)
                         Look... I... I'm sorry.  I don't 
                         want to be any part of this.

                                     WOMAN
                         Suit yourself.  There are plenty of 
                         others who will.

                                     ROB
                         That's why I'm trying to compromise.  
                         What about fifteen-hundred?  They're 
                         worth five times that.

                                     WOMAN
                         Sixty.

                                     ROB
                         Thirteen hundred.

                                     WOMAN
                         Seventy-five.

                                     ROB
                         Eleven-hundred.  That's my lowest 
                         offer.

                                     WOMAN
                         And I won't take a penny over ninety.

               They start smiling at each other.

                                     WOMAN
                         With eleven hundred he could come 
                         home, and that's the last thing I 
                         want.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sorry but I think you better 
                         talk to someone else.

                                     WOMAN
                         Fine.

               Rob half stands, then drops again for one last lingering 
               look.

                                     ROB
                         Can I buy this Otis Redding single 
                         off you?

                                     WOMAN
                         Sure.  Ten cents.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, come on!  Let me give you ten 
                         dollars for this, and you can give 
                         the rest away for all I care.

                                     WOMAN
                         Okay.  Because you took the trouble 
                         to come up here.  And because you've 
                         got principles.  But that's it.  I'm 
                         not selling them to you one by one.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FANCY LINCOLN PARK TOWNHOUSE - DAY

               Rob comes down the stairs holding his single, and walks down 
               the street talking to camera.

                                     ROB
                         How come I end up siding with the 
                         bad guy, the man who ran off to 
                         Jamaica with some nymphette?  I just 
                         got left for someone else, so why 
                         can't I bring myself to feel whatever 
                         it is his wife is feeling?  All I 
                         can see is that guy's face when he 
                         gets that pathetic check in the mail 
                         for those records, and I can't help 
                         but feel desperately, painfully sorry 
                         for him.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. GREEN MILL - NIGHT

               The bar where Al Capone used to party, and it looks about 
               the same: colored lightbulbs, shadowboxes, deep plush booths 
               and a stage for jazz.  Rob slumps back in a booth, stirring 
               a drink with his finger.  After a beat, we hear a DOOR SLAM 
               off camera, and Rob looks up with a bit of fear.

               Heavy footsteps get louder and closer, until a shadow shrouds 
               Rob -- LIZ stands in front of him.

                                     LIZ
                         MOTHERFUCKER.

               She is enormous, and she is mad as hell.  Rob reflexively 
               shrinks.

                                     ROB
                         What's the -- hey, Liz --

                                     LIZ
                         -- No, no, no, don't even.  I talked 
                         to Laura, Rob.  I talked to her and 
                         she gave me a little background.  
                         And you're a fucking ASSHOLE.

               She turns and stomps toward the door.  Rob gets up and 
               follows.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Rob comes out of the club and follows Liz.  She hears him 
               and turns on him, punctuating with a finger in his chest.

                                     LIZ
                         To think I sympathized with you for 
                         two seconds!  Poor Rob!  Laura left 
                         him out of nowhere for the schmuck 
                         upstairs.  You let me believe that!

                                     ROB
                         It's true!

                                     LIZ
                         Rob!  Two years ago you got Laura 
                         pregnant; you then proceeded to cheat 
                         on her!  You borrowed money from her 
                         and never paid a dime back!  And 
                         then, just a few weeks ago, you told 
                         her you were unhappy with her and 
                         were "kind of looking around for 
                         somebody else!"

                                     ROB
                         Well she --

               She turns again and keeps walking, holding a defiant middle 
               finger over her shoulder as she fades down the street.

               INT. SUBWAY CAR - NIGHT

               Rob sits, rocking slightly with the movement of the train.

               He stares at an OLD COUPLE who do not speak to each other.

                                     ROB
                         She's right, of course.  I am a 
                         fucking asshole.  I did and said 
                         those things.  But before you judge, 
                         although you've probably already 
                         done so, go off for a minute and 
                         write down the top five worst things 
                         that you have done to your partner, 
                         even if -- especially if -- your 
                         partner doesn't know about them.  
                         Don't dress things up or try to 
                         explain them.  Just write them down 
                         in the plainest language possible...

               A LONG BEAT, even five or ten seconds.

                                     ROB
                         Pencils down.  Okay, so who's the 
                         asshole now?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Saturday.  For the first time we see the place kind of busy.  
               Rob watches the room.  Barry is toward the back, talking to 
               a CUSTOMER. "Cruel to Be Kind" by Nick Lowe plays.

                                     BARRY
                         It's almost impossible to find, 
                         especially on CD.  Yet another cruel 
                         trick on all of the dumbasses who 
                         got rid of their turntables.  But 
                         every other Echo and the Bunnymen 
                         album --

                                     CUSTOMER
                         I have all of the others.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh really.  Well what about the first 
                         Jesus and Mary Chain?

                                     CUSTOMER
                         They always seemed...

                                     BARRY
                         They always seemed what?  They always 
                         seemed really great, is what they 
                         always seemed.  They picked up where 
                         your precious Echo left off, and 
                         you're sitting here complaining about 
                         no more Echo albums.  I can't believe 
                         that you don't own that record.  
                         That's insane.

               He plucks it from the rack, and sticks it in the Customer's 
               hand, who regards it with a bit a of shame.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Well what about the new Echo --

                                     BARRY
                         Do not get ahead of yourself.

               DICK

               is listening to a female customer, but he doesn't hear her 
               voice.

               CUSTOMER - DICK'S POV

               The army bag with a red cross on it.  The ring-of-ivy tattoo 
               around the wrist.  The monkey boots.  The eye shadow.

               DICK

               thinking, calculating...

                                     DICK
                         The interesting thing about Green 
                         Day is that so much of their music 
                         is in truth directly influenced by, 
                         in my opinion, two bands.

                                     FEMALE CUSTOMER
                         The Clash.

                                     DICK
                         Correct.  The Clash.  But also the 
                         Stranglers.

                                     FEMALE CUSTOMER
                         Who?

                                     DICK
                         I think you would love the 
                         Stranglers...

               Dick pulls a Stranglers record and puts it on the stereo.  
               Her brow furrows, and then she smiles.

                                     FEMALE CUSTOMER
                         This sounds great.

               Dick smiles humbly.  Two people in the store turn and 
               approach.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         Is this the new Green Day?

               BARRY still talking to his Customer, who now has several 
               CD's in his hand.  He looks at Barry with a mixture of hate 
               and adoration.

                                     BARRY
                         That is perverse.  Do not tell anyone 
                         you don't own fucking Blonde on 
                         Blonde.  What about Television?

                                     CUSTOMER
                         I have a television.

                                     BARRY
                         NO--!

               Barry adds more records to the Customer's stack.

               A FEW MINUTES LATER - ROB AND DICK

               stand behind the counter.  Rob holds a CD in his hand, and 
               surveys the roaming customers with a semi-serious air of 
               authority.

                                     ROB
                         I will now sell four copies of Cats 
                         and Dogs by the Royal Trux.

                                     DICK
                         Do it.  Do it.

               Rob pops the CD in and it begins to play... He stands there 
               with his arms folded, waiting.  After a moment, a Customer 
               approaches.

                                     CUSTOMER
                              (re: music)
                         What is this?

                                     ROB
                         It's the Royal Trux.

                                     CUSTOMER
                         It's great.

                                     ROB
                         I know.

               ROB'S POV

               of the room.  Something has caught his eye: a cropped head 
               with a leopard skin pattern surfaces and disappears, like 
               Nessie.

               Rob's face gets hot and mad.  He jumps out from behind the 
               counter.

                                     ROB
                         Dick, ring the man up...

               He moves like a cat through the crowd.  Justin sees him coming 
               and counters around the middle island and heads for the door.  
               Vince appears next to him, fiddling with his belt.

               He sees Rob now, and he and Justin bolt for the door.  Rob 
               doubles back.

                                     ROB
                         DICK!  THE DOOR!

               Dick sees Vince and Justin too late.  Rob is right behind 
               them and as they get out the door, he reaches... and comes 
               up with the back half of a skateboard.

               EXT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob emerges behind them, Vince's skateboard in hand.  They 
               have enough distance to bolt, but they can't leave that board 
               behind.

                                     ROB
                         Okay, fuckos.  How much is this deck 
                         worth to you, and how many CD's did 
                         you rip off?  Can you do the math?

               Justin pulls two CD's out and slides them over to Rob.

                                     ROB
                              (to Vince)
                         And what about you, dork?

               Vince pulls about six, and puts them down in a neutral spot.

               Rob picks all of them up and starts looking through them.

               Dicks pokes his head out of the door.

                                     ROB
                         Dick, call the police, please.

               Vince and Justin look at each other.

                                     ROB
                              (looking through the 
                              CD's)
                         Eno import.  Sigue Sigue Sputnik.  
                         Break beats.  Serge Gainsbourg.  
                         Ryuchi Sakamoto, Syd Barrett...  
                         What's going on here?  Are you guys 
                         stealing for other people now?

                                     VINCE
                         Naw.  Those are for us.

                                     ROB
                         Oh really.  You two are slamming to 
                         Nico now?

                                     JUSTIN
                         You're, like, so bigoted to look at 
                         us and, like, think you know what we 
                         listen to.

                                     VINCE
                         You got the CD's so can I have my 
                         board back?

                                     ROB
                         I think you have more.

                                     VINCE
                         Well we don't.

                                     ROB
                         I can't frisk you but the cops can.

               Justin reaches down again into his baggy shorts and comes up 
               with a tattered old book, "How To Make A Record."  He tosses 
               it over.

                                     ROB
                         Jesus.  That thing's been in the 
                         bargain bin for six months!  Was it 
                         just your criminal nature or what?  
                         Hell, I would've given it to you for 
                         free.

                                     VINCE
                         No, we...

                                     JUSTIN
                         We don't know how it works.  Nobody 
                         even knows, so we wanted to check it 
                         out in that mag.

               Rob snorts.

                                     JUSTIN
                         Like, do you know how to actually 
                         make a CD?

               Rob can't resist edifying them -- the curse of the 
               underappreciated expert.

                                     ROB
                         Uh, yes I, like, do... It's simple.  
                         You make the tracks -- recording 
                         studio -- deliver them to the pressing 
                         plant where a master is cut, the 
                         master is then dubbed to submasters, 
                         which are the "mothers," as their 
                         called, for each press in the plant.  
                         You press the CD's or records, put 
                         in your cover art, and that's it.

                                     VINCE
                         Records are those big round black 
                         things, right?

                                     ROB
                         Fuck off.

               Rob turns to go back in the store.

                                     VINCE
                         Hey, can I have my board?

               Rob drops it and enters the store.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - NIGHT - QUICK CUTS:

               Barry emerges from the back with three opened bottles of 
               beer as the last customer goes out the door... The three 
               lean against the bins, tired and smiling.

                                     BARRY
                              (to Rob)
                         What?

                                     ROB
                         What do you mean, "what?"

                                     BARRY
                         What are you snickering about?

                                     ROB
                         I'm not snickering.  I'm smiling.  
                         Because I'm happy.

                                     BARRY
                         What am I missing?  What do you have 
                         to be happy about?

                                     DICK
                         Well we rang $900 today.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah but more than that.  I'm happy 
                         because I'm proud of us.  Because 
                         although our talents are small and 
                         peculiar, we use them to their best 
                         advantage.

               Dick and Barry look at each other.  They almost know how to 
               take a compliment.

               EXT. RECORD STORE - NIGHT

               Rob, now alone, turns the sign from "open" to "closed" shuts 
               the door behind him, and pulls the gate across.  Laura appears 
               from the next doorway.  He jumps.

                                     ROB
                         Shit!

                                     LAURA
                         Hi.

                                     ROB
                         Hi.

                                     LAURA
                         I thought I could give you a lift 
                         back.

                                     ROB
                         Are you coming home?

                                     LAURA
                         Yes.  Well, I'm coming over to your 
                         house to get some things.

                                     ROB
                         My house?

               Laura turns and begins walking.  Rob looks at camera.

                                     ROB
                         First of all: The money.  The money 
                         is easy to explain: She had it and I 
                         didn't, and she wanted to give it to 
                         me.  If she hadn't, I would have 
                         gone under.  I've never paid her 
                         back because I've never been able 
                         to, and just because she's took off 
                         and moved in with some Supertramp 
                         fan doesn't make me five grand richer.  
                         So that's the money --

               Laura's CAR HORN is heard.  He heads off.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAURA'S CAR - NIGHT

               They move down the street, and it's a little tense.  Laura 
               pushes a tape into the stereo.  Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes" 
               begins to play.  Rob turns away from her and makes a face, 
               but she knows he's making it.

                                     LAURA
                         You can make all the faces you want.  
                         My car.  My car stereo.  My 
                         compilation tape.

               Rob tries not to speak, but --

                                     ROB
                         How can you like Art Garfunkel and 
                         Marvin Gaye?  It's like saying you 
                         support the Israelis and the 
                         Palestinians.

                                     LAURA
                         It's not like saying that at all, 
                         actually, Rob.  Art Garfunkel and 
                         Marvin Gaye make pop records --

                                     ROB
                         -- Made.  Made.  Marvin Gaye is dead, 
                         his father shot him in --

                                     LAURA
                         -- whatever, and the Israelis and 
                         the Palestinians don't.  Art Garfunkel 
                         and Marvin Gaye are not engaged in a 
                         bitter territorial dispute, and the 
                         Israelis and the Palestinians are.  
                         Art Garfunkel and Marvin Gaye --

                                     ROB
                         -- Alright, alright but --

                                     LAURA
                         -- and who says I like Marvin Gaye, 
                         anyway?

               He reels on her.

                                     ROB
                         Hey!  Marvin Gaye! "Got to Give It 
                         Up!" That's our song!  Marvin Gaye 
                         is responsible for our entire 
                         relationship!

                                     LAURA
                         Is that right?  I'd like a word with 
                         him.

                                     ROB
                         But don't you remember?

                                     LAURA
                         I remember the song.  I just couldn't 
                         remember who sang it.

               Rob shakes his head in disbelief.

                                     LAURA
                         I can see why you prefer Gaye to 
                         Garfunkel.  I get it, really.  But 
                         there are so many other things to 
                         worry about.  They're only records, 
                         and if one is better than the other, 
                         well, who cares, besides you and 
                         Barry and Dick?  I mean really, who 
                         gives a flying fuck?

               Silence.

                                     ROB
                         You used to care more about things 
                         like Marvin Gaye than you do now.  
                         When I first met you, and I made you 
                         that tape, you loved it.  You said -- 
                         and I quote -- "It was so good it 
                         made you ashamed of your record 
                         collection."

                                     LAURA
                         Well, I liked you.  You were a deejay, 
                         and I thought you were hot, and I 
                         didn't have a boyfriend, and I wanted 
                         one.

                                     ROB
                         So you weren't interested in music 
                         at all?

                                     LAURA
                         Yeah, sure.  More so then than I am 
                         now.  That's life though, isn't it?

               The car slows, and Laura parks.

                                     ROB
                         But Laura... that's me.  That's all 
                         there is to me.  There isn't anything 
                         else.  If you've lost interest in 
                         that, you've lost interest in 
                         everything.

                                     LAURA
                         You really believe that?

               Laura turns the engine off and unbuckles her seat belt.

                                     ROB
                         Yes.  Look at me.  Look at our -- 
                         the apartment.  What else do I have, 
                         other than records and CDs?

                                     LAURA
                         And do you like it that way?

                                     ROB
                         Not really.

               She half smiles.

                                     LAURA
                         Let's go in.

               She gets out of the car.  Rob turns to camera, speaking 
               quietly and urgently.

                                     ROB
                         Okay, Number two: The stuff I told 
                         her about being unhappy in the 
                         relationship, about half looking 
                         around for someone else: She tricked 
                         me into saying it.  We were having 
                         this state of the union type 
                         conversation and she said, quite 
                         matter-of-factly, that we were pretty 
                         unhappy at the moment, and did I 
                         agree, and I said yes, and she asked 
                         whether I ever thought about meeting 
                         someone else.  So I asked her if she 
                         ever thought about it, and she said 
                         of course, so I admitted that I 
                         daydream about it from time to time.  
                         Now I see that what we were really 
                         talking about was her and Ian, and 
                         she suckered me into absolving her.  
                         It was a sneaky lawyer's trick, and 
                         I fell for it, because she's much 
                         smarter than me.

               He scrambles out of the car.

               INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

               The lock turns and Rob enters, holding the door for Laura 
               who slips by, her coat in her hands.  She glances down at 
               the table by the door and sees Ian's envelope.

                                     ROB
                         You can take it with you if you want.

               She slips it into her purse.  He stands facing her for a 
               moment, then crosses to her, takes her coat and tosses it on 
               a chair.  She opens the closet and takes out a big laundry 
               sack.

                                     LAURA
                         Have you tackled the Great 
                         Reorganization yet?

                                     ROB
                         Don't you think there are more 
                         important things to talk about than 
                         my record collection?

               She begins putting books and other things into the bag...

                                     LAURA
                         You bet.  I've been saying that for 
                         years.

               Having no comeback, Rob goes for the moral high ground.

                                     ROB
                         So.  Where have you been staying for 
                         the last week?

                                     LAURA
                         I think you know that.

                                     ROB
                         Had to work it out for myself, though, 
                         didn't I?

               Laura looks suddenly tired and sad, and looks away.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry.  I haven't been very fair 
                         to you.  That's why I came here to 
                         the store this evening.  I feel 
                         terrible, Rob.  This is really hard, 
                         you know.

                                     ROB
                         Good.
                              (beat)
                         So.  Is it my job?

                                     LAURA
                         What?  Gimme a fucking break.  Is 
                         that what you think?  That your not 
                         big enough a deal for me?  Jesus, 
                         gimme a little credit, Rob.

                                     ROB
                         I don't know.  It's one of the things 
                         I thought of.

                                     LAURA
                         What were the others?

                                     ROB
                         Just the obvious stuff.

                                     LAURA
                         What's the obvious stuff?

                                     ROB
                         I don't know.

               She stands and walks toward the bathroom.

                                     LAURA
                         I guess it's not that obvious, then.

                                     ROB
                         No.

               As soon as she shuts the door behind her, he turns to camera.

                                     ROB
                         And number three: The Pregnancy.  I 
                         didn't know she was pregnant.  Of 
                         course I didn't.  She hadn't told me 
                         because I had told her I was... sort 
                         of... seeing somebody else.  We 
                         thought we were being very grown-up, 
                         but we were being preposterously 
                         naive, childish even, to think that 
                         one of us could fuck around and then 
                         own up to it while we were living 
                         together.  So -- I didn't find out 
                         about it 'til way later.  We were 
                         going through a good period and I 
                         made a crack about having kids and 
                         she burst into tears.  I made her 
                         tell me what it was all about, and 
                         she did.  I felt guilty and so I got 
                         angry.  She told me that at the time 
                         I didn't look like a very good long-
                         term bet.  That it was a hard decision 
                         and she didn't see any point in 
                         consulting me about it...  When the 
                         whole sorry tale comes out in a great 
                         big --

               We hear the bathroom door open.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         What?

                                     ROB
                              (covering)
                         What, what?

               Laura comes out with a toiletry bag and places it by the 
               door.

                                     LAURA
                         Did you say something?

                                     ROB
                         No.  So.  Is it working out with 
                         Ian?

                                     LAURA
                         Rob.  Don't be childish.

                                     ROB
                         Why is that childish?  Your living 
                         with the guy!  I'm just asking how 
                         it's going.

                                     LAURA
                         I am not living with him.  I've just 
                         been staying with him for a few days 
                         until I work out what I'm doing.  
                         Look, this has nothing to do with 
                         anyone else.  You know that, don't 
                         you?  I left because we weren't 
                         exactly getting along, and we weren't 
                         talking about it.  And I suddenly 
                         realized that I like my job, and I 
                         like what my life is could be turning 
                         into, and that I'm getting to a point 
                         where I want to get my shit together 
                         and I can't really see that ever 
                         happening with you, and yeah, yeah, 
                         I sort of get interested in someone 
                         else, and that went further than it 
                         should have, so it seemed like a 
                         good time to go.  But I have no idea 
                         what will happen with Ian in the 
                         long run.  Probably nothing.

                                     ROB
                         Well then why don't you quit it while 
                         you seem to not be ahead?

               Laura rolls her eyes and head off into the bedroom with the 
               laundry bag.  Rob turns back to camera.

                                     ROB
                         -- When the whole sorry tale comes 
                         out in a great big lump like that, 
                         even the most shortsighted jerk, 
                         even the most self-deluding and self 
                         pitying of jilted, wounded lovers 
                         can see that there is some cause and 
                         effect going on here, that abortions 
                         and Ian and money and affairs all 
                         belong to, all deserve each other.

               Laura reappears, her bag half-filled with clothes, and goes 
               to the book shelves next to the records.  She starts topping 
               off the bag with books.

                                     LAURA
                         Look.  Maybe you'll grow up and we'll 
                         get it together, you and me.  Maybe 
                         I'll never see either of you again.  
                         I don't know.  All I know is that 
                         it's not a good time to be living 
                         here.

                                     ROB
                         So, what, you haven't definitely 
                         decide to dump me?  There's still a 
                         chance we'll get back together?

                                     LAURA
                         I don't know.

                                     ROB
                         Well, if you don't know, there's a 
                         chance, right?  It's like, if someone 
                         was in the hospital and he was 
                         seriously ill and the doctor said, I 
                         don't know if he's got a chance of 
                         survival or not, then that doesn't 
                         mean the patient's definitely going 
                         to die, now does it?  It means he 
                         might live.  Even if it's only a 
                         remote possibility.

                                     LAURA
                         I suppose so.

                                     ROB
                         So we have a chance of getting back 
                         together again.

                                     LAURA
                         Oh, Rob, shut up.

                                     ROB
                         Hey, I just want to know where I 
                         stand.  What chance --

                                     LAURA
                         -- I don't fucking know what chance 
                         you fucking have!

               She abandons her attempt at packing.

                                     ROB
                         Well if you could tell me roughly it 
                         would help.

                                     LAURA
                         Okay, okay, we have a nine percent 
                         chance of getting back together.  
                         Does that clarify the situation?

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.  Great.

                                     LAURA
                              (shaking her head)
                         I'm too tired for this now.  I know 
                         I'm asking a lot, but will you take 
                         off for a while so I can get my stuff 
                         packed up?  I need to be able to 
                         think while I do it and I can't think 
                         while you're here.

                                     ROB
                         No problem.  If I can ask one 
                         question.

                                     LAURA
                         Fine.  One.

                                     ROB
                         It sounds stupid.

                                     LAURA
                         Nevermind.

                                     ROB
                         You won't like it.

                                     LAURA
                         Just ask it!

                                     ROB
                         Is it better?

                                     LAURA
                         Is what better?  Better than what?

                                     ROB
                         Well.  Sex, I guess.  Is sex with 
                         him better?

                                     LAURA
                         Jesus Christ, Rob.  Is that really 
                         what's bothering you?

                                     ROB
                         Of course it is.

                                     LAURA
                         You really think it would make a 
                         difference either way?

                                     ROB
                         I don't know.

                                     LAURA
                         Well the answer is that I don't know 
                         either.  We haven't done it yet.

                                     ROB
                         Never?

                                     LAURA
                         I haven't felt like it.

                                     ROB
                         But not even before, when he was 
                         living upstairs?

                                     LAURA
                         No.  I was living with you, remember?  
                         We've slept together but we haven't 
                         made love.  Not yet.  But I'll tell 
                         you one thing.  The sleeping together 
                         is better.

                                     ROB
                              (trying not to smile)
                         The sleeping together is better but 
                         not the sex because you haven't done 
                         it was him yet.

                                     LAURA
                         Will you please just go?

               INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY - NIGHT

               Rob shuts the door behind him and does a crazy 
               Charleston/Cabbage-Patch/Boxstep/Touchdown dance of pure 
               elation, then bounces down the stairs.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Rob bounces along, a smile wider than we have seen yet.

               Maybe even jumping to touch an awning.  He lands and tells 
               us:

                                     ROB
                         I feel good!  I feel great!  I feel 
                         like a new man.  I feel so much 
                         better, in fact --

               INT. WEEDS BAR - NIGHT

               Rob moves through the room, still grinning a bit like a proud 
               new father, toward the table where Barry, Dick, Marie and T-
               Bone sit, listening to a story T-Bone is telling.

               Marie turns to him.

                                     ROB
                         Hi, Marie.

                                     MARIE
                         Everything go alright?

               Rob glances at Barry, who averts his gaze.

                                     ROB
                         She just wanted to pick up some stuff.  
                         No big thing.  A relief, actually.

                                     MARIE
                         God, I hate that time.  That pick up 
                         stuff time.  I just went through 
                         that before I came here.  You know 
                         that song "Patsy Cline Times Two" I 
                         play?  That's about me and my ex 
                         dividing up our record collections.

                                     ROB
                         It's a great song.

                                     MARIE
                         Thank you.

               Rob glances at T-Bone, his mind calculating the new info.

                                     ROB
                         Is that why you came to Chicago in 
                         the first place?  Because of, you 
                         know, dividing up your record 
                         collection and stuff?

                                     MARIE
                         Yup.

               Marie slides closer, turning her back on the others.  The 
               loop is closed.

                                     ROB
                         You share a place with T-Bone?

                                     MARIE
                         No way!  I'd cramp his style.  And I 
                         wouldn't want to listen to all that 
                         stuff happening on the other side of 
                         the bedroom wall.  I'm way to 
                         unattached for that.

                                     ROB
                         I understand completely.

               SERIES OF CUTS - ELAPSED TIME

               Rob and Marie lean in to each other, everyone else out of 
               focus.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Awhile back, Dick and Barry and I 
                         agreed that what really matters is 
                         what you like, not what you are 
                         like...

               ROB AND MARIE - LATER

                                     MARIE
                         Yeah, but if you heard this band 
                         called the Crumblers, you'd --

                                     ROB
                         What do you mean, the Crumblers?  
                         You know the Crumblers?  Nobody's 
                         heard the Crumblers.  Except me.

                                     MARIE
                         Yeah, I know the Crumblers!  I bought 
                         a used Blasters album in New York 
                         about ten years ago and somebody 
                         left a Crumblers single in it.  My 
                         everything changed for a couple of 
                         weeks.

               Rob glows --

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Books, records, films -- these things 
                         matter.  Call me shallow but it's 
                         the damn truth, and by this measure 
                         I was having one of the best dates 
                         of my life.

               ROB AND MARIE

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, but you know what's his best 
                         film and nobody's even seen it?

                                     MARIE
                         The Conformist.

                                     ROB
                         Exactly!  Fucking ex-actly!

                                     MARIE
                              (laughs)
                         You haven't even seen it!

                                     ROB
                         Nor have you!

               They just laugh and laugh --

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         References, titles, lyrics, flew and 
                         met each other in mid-air embraces.  
                         The evening goes with breathtaking 
                         precision.

               INT. MARIE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob and Marie are kissing standing up.

                                     MARIE
                         Are you okay?

                                     ROB
                              (nodding)
                         Yes.  You?

                                     MARIE
                         For now.  But I wouldn't be if I 
                         thought this was the end of the 
                         evening.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sure it isn't.

                                     MARIE
                         Good.  In that case, I'll fix us 
                         something else to drink.  You sticking 
                         to the whiskey or you want coffee?

                                     ROB
                         Whiskey.

               Marie goes into the kitchen, and they keep talking around 
               the corner.

                                     MARIE
                         Tops off two whiskeys and starts 
                         into the other room where she sees 
                         Rob, standing and holding his jacket.

                                     ROB
                         I'd better go.  I gotta get up early.  
                         Go over to my parents'.

                                     MARIE
                         When I said before that I hoped it 
                         wasn't the end of the evening, I 
                         was, you know... talking about 
                         breakfast and stuff.

               She plants the whiskeys firmly on the coffee table.

                                     MARIE
                         I'd like it if you could stay the 
                         night.

                                     ROB
                              (as if it is dawning 
                              on him)
                         Oh, right.  Alright.

                                     MARIE
                         Jesus, so much for delicacy.  I pegged 
                         you for a master of understatement, 
                         beating around the bush and all that 
                         buzz.

                                     ROB
                         I use it but I don't understand it 
                         when other people use it.

                                     MARIE
                         So you'll stay?

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.

                                     MARIE
                         Good.

               Marie picks up the drinks again and exits to the bedroom.

               Rob just stands there... and the LIGHTING CHANGES.

                                     ROB
                              (to camera)
                         Over nine million men in this country 
                         have slept with ten or more women.  
                         And do they all look like Richard 
                         Gere?  Are they all as rich as Bill 
                         Gates?  Charming as Oscar Wilde?  
                         Hell no.  Nothing to do with any of 
                         that.  Maybe fifty or so have one or 
                         more of these attributes, but that 
                         still leaves... well, about nine 
                         million, give or take fifty.  And 
                         they're just men.  Regular guys.  
                         We're just guys, because I, even I, 
                         am a member of this exclusive, nine 
                         million member club.  In fact, Marie 
                         is my seventeenth lover. "How does 
                         he do it?" you ask. "He wears bad 
                         sweaters, he's grumpy, he's broke, 
                         he hangs out with the Musical Moron 
                         Twins, and he gets to go to bed with 
                         a recording artist who looks like 
                         Susan Dey-slash-Meg Ryan.  What's 
                         going on?  Listen up, because I think 
                         I can explain, with all modesty aside: 
                         I ask questions.  That's it.  That's 
                         my secret.  It works precisely because 
                         that isn't how you're supposed to do 
                         it, if you listen to the collective 
                         male wisdom.  There are still enough 
                         old-style, big-mouthed, egomaniacs 
                         running around to make someone like 
                         me appear to be refreshingly 
                         different.  If you can't hack this 
                         simple strategy, there are some women 
                         out there, of course, who want to 
                         get pushed around, ignored and mowed 
                         over, but do you really want to be 
                         with them anyway?

               ...he goes through a door into the bedroom.  Marie is taking 
               off her earrings.

                                     ROB
                         Would you like me to turn the lights 
                         out?  Or would you like them on?

                                     MARIE
                         God, you ask a lot of questions.

               INT. MARIE'S BEDROOM - MORNING

               Rob stares at the ceiling as Marie sleeps on next to him.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         But in the morning we were just two 
                         people, slightly hung-over, who were 
                         not in love, sharing the same space.  
                         And I feel...

               Rob looks to the camera.

                                     ROB
                         Sex is about the only grown-up thing 
                         that I know how to do; It's weird, 
                         then, that it's the only thing that 
                         can make me feel like a ten-year-
                         old.

               CUT BACK TO:

               EXT. MARIE'S APARTMENT - MORNING

               The two of them come out of the building and into the street.

                                     ROB
                         Which way are you going?

                                     MARIE
                              (points left)
                         That way.  You?

                                     ROB
                              (points right)
                         That way.

                                     MARIE
                         And so it is.  I'll talk to you later.

                                     ROB
                         I'll call you.

                                     MARIE
                              (smiles)
                         Right.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Empty.  Dick prices records out on the floor.  Rob leans 
               against the register.  Barry sits on a stool next to him.

               They're top-fiving it.  Rob's heart isn't in it.

                                     ROB
                         Okay.  Top five side one track ones.  
                         Number one... "Janie Jones," the 
                         Clash, from The Clash.

                                     BARRY
                         Ehh.

                                     ROB
                         "Thunder Road," Bruce Springsteen, 
                         from Born to Run. "Smells Like Teen 
                         Spirit," Nirvana, Nevermind.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh no, Rob, that's not obvious enough.  
                         Not at all.  Dick, did you hear that?

                                     ROB
                         Shut up. "Let's Get It On," Marvin 
                         Gaye, from Let's Get It On. "Airbag," 
                         Radiohead, from OK Computer.

                                     BARRY
                              (sarcastic)
                         Ooh!  A kind of recent record!  Rob's 
                         sly declaration of new classic-status 
                         slipped into a list of old classics!  
                         Nice! "Let's Get It On?" Couldn't 
                         you make it more obvious than that?

                                     DICK
                         Rob.  Phone.
                              (whispers)
                         It's Laura.

               Rob springs to his feet, takes the phone and walks to the 
               end of the cord.  Deep breath.

                                     ROB
                         Hi.

               LAURA - INTERCUT

                                     LAURA
                         Hi.  I've been looking for an envelope 
                         of my receipts from last month and 
                         I'm thinking I didn't take them with 
                         me.  Have you seen them around?

                                     ROB
                         I'll look for 'em.  How you doing?

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry to call, but I need that 
                         stuff...

                                     ROB
                         Fine, I'm sure it's in the file at 
                         home.  I'll call you when I find it, 
                         and then we'll talk.

                                     LAURA
                         We'll talk some other time.

                                     ROB
                         Great... That's great.

               Rob comes back to the counter and hangs up the phone.

                                     BARRY
                         Rob!  What about the Beatles?  What 
                         about the fucking Rolling Stones?  
                         What about fucking... fucking...  
                         Beethoven?  Track one side one of 
                         the Fifth Symphony?  You shouldn't 
                         be allowed to run a record shop.  
                         You shouldn't be allowed to --

               SFX: BARRY'S VOICE FADES OUT.  Rob's mouth slacks and he 
               stares off.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         There's something different about 
                         the sound of her voice... And what 
                         did she mean last night, she hasn't 
                         slept with him yet.  Yet.  What does 
                         "yet" mean, anyway?  "I haven't 
                         seen... Evil Dead II yet." What does 
                         that mean?  It means you're going to 
                         go, doesn't it?

               SFX: BACK TO THE ROOM.

                                     BARRY
                         -- You're like a little squirrel of 
                         music, storing away dead little nuts 
                         of old garbage music, musical lint, 
                         old shit, shit, shit --

                                     ROB
                         -- Barry, if I were to say to you I 
                         haven't seen Evil Dead II yet, what 
                         would that mean?

               Barry just looks at Rob.  He pulls out a Game Boy and begins 
               playing.

                                     ROB
                         Just... come on, what would it mean 
                         to you?  That sentence? "I haven't 
                         seen Evil Dead II yet?"

                                     BARRY
                         To me, it would mean that you're a 
                         liar.  You saw it twice.  Once with 
                         Laura -- oops -- once with me and 
                         Dick.  We had that conversation about 
                         the possibilities of the guy making 
                         ammo off-screen in the Fourteenth 
                         Century.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, yeah, I know.  But say I hadn't 
                         seen it and I said to you, "I haven't 
                         seen Evil Dead II yet," what would 
                         you think?

               Barry shuts off the Game Boy.

                                     BARRY
                         I'd think you were a cinematic idiot.  
                         And I'd feel sorry for you.

                                     ROB
                         No, but would you think, from that 
                         one sentence.  That I was going to 
                         see it?

                                     BARRY
                         I'm sorry, Rob, but I'm struggling 
                         here.  I don't understand any part 
                         of this conversation.  You're asking 
                         me what I would think if you told me 
                         that you hadn't seen a film that 
                         you've seen.  What am I supposed to 
                         say?

                                     ROB
                         Just listen to me.  If I said to you --

                                     BARRY
                         "-- I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet," 
                         yeah, yeah, I hear you --

                                     ROB
                         Would you... would you get the 
                         impression that I wanted to see it?

                                     BARRY
                         Well... you couldn't have been 
                         desperate to see it, otherwise you'd 
                         have already gone...

               Rob brightens.  Barry finally considers.

                                     BARRY
                         ...But the word "yet..." Yeah, you 
                         know what, I'd get the impression 
                         that you wanted to see it.  Otherwise 
                         you'd say you didn't really want to.

                                     ROB
                         But in your opinion, would I 
                         definitely go?

                                     BARRY
                         How the fuck am I supposed to know 
                         that?  You might get sick of people 
                         telling you you've really gotta go 
                         see the movie.

               Rob darkens.

                                     ROB
                         Why would they care?

                                     BARRY
                         Because it's a brilliant film.  It's 
                         funny, violent, and the soundtrack 
                         kicks fucking ass.

               They look at each other for a strange moment.

                                     BARRY
                         I never thought I would say this, 
                         but can I go work now?

                                     ROB
                         Let's pack it up.  We haven't had a 
                         customer in four hours.

               Barry stands.

                                     BARRY
                         Fine by me.  I still want pay to 7 
                         o'clock.

                                     ROB
                         Ha.

                                     DICK
                         I can't go to the club tonight, guys.

                                     BARRY
                         Why?

               Dick smiles sheepishly.

                                     BARRY
                         Who are you going to see?

                                     DICK
                         Nobody.

               Barry's eyes widen.

                                     BARRY
                         Rob, looky looky.  Dick!  Are you 
                         getting some?!

               Silence.

                                     BARRY
                         Un-fucking-believable.  Dick's out 
                         on a hot date, Rob's boning Marie 
                         LaSalle, and the best-looking and 
                         most intelligent of all of us isn't 
                         getting anything at all.

                                     ROB
                         How do you know about that?

                                     BARRY
                         Oh come on, Rob.  What am I, an idiot?  
                         I'm more bothered by Dick's thing.  
                         How did this happen, Dick?  What 
                         rational explanation can there 
                         possibly be?  What's her name?

               Barry is going a little hard.  Dick shrinks back.

                                     DICK
                         Anna.

                                     BARRY
                         Anna who?  Anna Green Gables?  Anna 
                         Conda?

                                     DICK
                         Anna Moss.

                                     BARRY
                         Anna Moss.  Mossy.  The Mossy Thing.  
                         The Swamp Thing.  Is she all green 
                         and furry?

                                     ROB
                         Shut the fuck up, Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         Yeah, you would say that, wouldn't 
                         you?  You two have to stick together 
                         now.  Boners United.  United in 
                         getting some.

               Barry picks up his bag and heads for the door.

                                     ROB
                         Don't be sad, Barry.  You'll find 
                         true love someday.

                                     BARRY
                         Suck my ass.

                                     ROB
                         Terrific.

               Rob looks to Dick, who looks guilty.

                                     ROB
                         Don't worry about it, Dick.  Barry's 
                         an asshole.

                                     DICK
                         Yeah... Well... I'll see you tomorrow, 
                         Rob.

               Dick exits.  Rob watches the door close behind him, and looks 
               out over the empty store.  He TALKS TO CAMERA as he goes to 
               the light switches and begins shutting them off, one by one...

                                     ROB
                         Why does it bother Barry that much 
                         that Dick is seeing someone?  He's 
                         worried about how his life is turning 
                         out, and he's lonely, and lonely 
                         people are the bitterest of them 
                         all.

               ...until all the lights are out.  Rob's silhouette slips out 
               the door.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               A downpour is on.  Rob has himself wedged into a phone booth, 
               the little kind.

                                     ROB
                              (into phone)
                         Hi.  It's me... I'm right outside...  
                         I know... I know... I figured I could 
                         just walk you to the train and you 
                         could go... home.  Or whatever it 
                         is... No!  Of course not -- okay.  
                         I'll be right here.

               EXT. OFFICE BUILDING

               Rob stands under the overhang, watching Laura walk the long 
               hallway from the elevators to the door.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Laura looks different.  Less stress-
                         out, more in control.  Something has 
                         happened, maybe something real, or 
                         maybe something in her head.  Whatever 
                         it is, you can see that she thinks 
                         she's started out on some new stage 
                         in her life.  She hasn't.  I'm not 
                         going to let her.

               She emerges from doors, says something to him and they start 
               walking, sharing her umbrella.

               INT. OLDE TOWNE ALE HOUSE - NIGHT

               Rob and Laura have just sat down in a booth.

                                     LAURA
                         So, how are you?

                                     ROB
                         Have you slept with him yet?

                                     LAURA
                         I told you I slept with him.

                                     ROB
                         No, not -- I mean have you, you know --

                                     LAURA
                         Is that why you wanted to see me?

                                     ROB
                         I guess.

                                     LAURA
                         Oh, Rob.  What do you want me to 
                         say?

                                     ROB
                         I want you to say that you haven't, 
                         and I want it to be the truth.

               She looks past him.

                                     LAURA
                         I can't do that.

               She starts to say something else but Rob is up and out.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Rob pushes through the rush hour raincoats, seeming to be 
               the only one going his way.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob is soaking, slumped in his chair, his headphones on and 
               the stereo lit up behind him.  He talks a little loud, due 
               to the headphones.

                                     ROB
                         Tonight we're gonna figure out the 
                         five best angry songs about women.  
                         Let's go...

               He holds up a stack of records and CDs.

                                     ROB
                         You kind of have to start with Elvis 
                         Costello, but where? "Motel Matches?" 
                         "I Want You?" "I Hope You're Happy 
                         Now?" "Green Shirt?" His records 
                         should be sealed in cases that say 
                         "in case of vicious betrayal, smash 
                         glass." "Where Did You Sleep Last 
                         Night," sure, but by Robert Johnson 
                         or by Nirvana?  Maybe a Liz Phair 
                         track.  There are a couple to get 
                         angry at instead of being angry with.  
                         Some devil's advocate stuff.  The 
                         Silver Jews could be good when you're 
                         ready to start putting it all behind 
                         you...  But I think we're getting 
                         ahead of ourselves there.  Ah.  Dylan.  
                         Bob fucking Dylan.  Now Bob Dylan 
                         would --The phone rings.  He pulls 
                         off his headphones and picks it up 
                         but says nothing.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         You must have known it would happen.  
                         You couldn't have been entirely 
                         unprepared.  Like you said, I've 
                         been living with the guy.  We were 
                         bound to get around to it sometime.

               She laughs a bit nervously.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                              (machine)
                         And anyway, I keep trying to tell 
                         you, that's not really the point, is 
                         it?  The point is we got ourselves 
                         into an awful mess, Rob...  Are you 
                         there?  What are you thinking?

                                     ROB
                              (barely a whisper)
                         Nothing.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         We can meet for another drink if you 
                         want.  So I can explain it better.  
                         I owe you that much.

                                     ROB
                         Look, I gotta go.  I work too, you 
                         know.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         Will you call me?

                                     ROB
                         I don't have your number.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         Call me at work.  We can arrange to 
                         meet properly.  I don't want this to 
                         be the last conversation we have.  I 
                         know what you're like.

                                     ROB
                         You do, huh.

               He hangs up and stares at the wall for awhile.  He gets a 
               beer from the fridge and sits back down.  He picks up the 
               phone and dials.

                                     ROB
                         Yes, a residence, a Mr. Ian Raymond, 
                         North Side... thank you.

               He writes down a number and hangs up, then looks to camera.

                                     ROB
                         You know the worst thing about being 
                         rejected?  The complete lack of 
                         control due to loss of control.

               He picks up the phone and dials, while continuing to talk to 
               us --

                                     ROB
                         If I could only control the when and 
                         how of being dumped by somebody then 
                         it wouldn't seem as bad.  But then, 
                         of course --

               He hangs up quickly --

                                     ROB
                         -- it wouldn't be rejection, would 
                         it?  It would be mutual consent.  It 
                         would be musical differences.  I 
                         would be pursuing a solo career.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. IAN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob is tucked into a phone booth across the street.  He can 
               see the silhouettes of Laura and Ian in the window.  He picks 
               up the phone, drops a quarter, and hits the numbers hard as 
               he dials... a muffled male "hello?" is heard and Rob hangs 
               up.  He does it again.  And again.  And again.  Until --

               INT. IAN'S APARTMENT - INTERCUT

               Still an unpacked box or two, but it's set up: a framed 
               "Woodstock - The Movie" poster, stacks of new fiction, a 
               bread maker -- you get the idea.  Ian is shorter than Laura, 
               scruffier than Rob, and looks not unlike Leo Sayer/Steve 
               Guttenberg.  He stares at Laura with amused exasperation.

               She picks up the phone --

                                     LAURA
                         Hello.

                                     ROB
                         It's me.

                                     LAURA
                         I figured it was.
                              (re: traffic noise)
                         Where are you?

                                     ROB
                         I think the big question here is 
                         where are you, if you don't mind my 
                         saying so, and I think I know where 
                         you are.  You're running.  On the 
                         run.  You're running from a point 
                         that everyone hits in any 
                         relationship, and you're just going 
                         to hit it again with Ian but it's 
                         going to be with a World Music bunny-
                         rabbit-looking earth-shoe-wearing 
                         "Doctor Who"-watching twit who doesn't 
                         really understand you, not the way 
                         that I do and will more in the future, 
                         and you'll have just wasted more 
                         time and arrive in the exact same 
                         place that you're in now, only later.  
                         And with... him.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm not -- hold on...

               She walks into another room, shutting the door behind her.

               On a bookshelf is a picture of a younger Ian in a tunic, 
               emoting on some college stage.  She turns it face down.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm not in love with Ian, okay?

               She wanders over to the window, looking out absently.  She 
               sees Rob down there at the phone booth.

                                     ROB
                         Are you still in love with me?

                                     LAURA
                         Jesus.  I do not know.  I'll talk to 
                         you later.

                                     ROB
                         Think about what I said.  I mean, if 
                         you want to experiment, or whatever --

                                     LAURA
                              (indignant)
                         I'm not experimenting.  Why don't 
                         you go experiment.

                                     ROB
                         I don't want to.  Don't need to.  I 
                         love you.

                                     LAURA
                         You don't ever think about other 
                         people?

                                     ROB
                         No... not really... I mean, I think 
                         about it... but no, I don't really 
                         think about it.

                                     IAN (O.S.)
                              (through the door)
                         Laura?  Are you okay?

                                     LAURA
                              (covering the 
                              mouthpiece, to Ian)
                         I am fine...
                              (to Rob)
                         I gotta go.  Goodbye.

               She clicks the phone off.  The door cracks and Ian sticks 
               his head in.

                                     IAN
                         Are you sure you're okay?

               She moves past him back into the apartment.

                                     LAURA
                         Yeah, I'm fine.  I'm off the phone.

                                     IAN
                         You look upset.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm upset, but I'm fine.

                                     IAN
                         Maybe I should talk to him.

                                     LAURA
                         Mmmm, no.  Not a good idea.

                                     IAN
                         Conflict resolution is my job, Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         Nothing to resolve, Ian.  Let's get 
                         a drink.

               She grabs her coat and opens the door.  The phone begins to 
               ring.

                                     LAURA
                              (waving toward the 
                              door)
                         C'mon, c'mon.

               EXT. IAN'S APARTMENT

               Rob stands on the sidewalk in the rain, Ian's building behind 
               him and down a few doors.

                                     ROB
                         I wish I could be one of those guys 
                         who doesn't call, the kind of guy 
                         that gets broken up with and appears 
                         not to give a shit.  He doesn't make 
                         an ass out of himself, or frighten 
                         anybody, and this week I've done 
                         both of those things.  One day Laura's 
                         sorry and guilty, and the next she's 
                         scared and angry, and I'm entirely 
                         responsible for the transformation, 
                         and it doesn't do my case any good 
                         at all.  I'd stop if I could but I --

               His head turns at the sharp SOUND of a door opening -- Ian 
               and Laura are coming out of the building.  He jumps behind a 
               tree, peering around it as they fade down the street.

               INT. GREEN MILL - NIGHT

               Rob sits alone, nursing a scotch.  Rob looks up into the 
               mirror behind the bar and sees an older woman, MRS. ASHWORTH, 
               sitting alone a few stools down.

                                     ROB
                         Do I know you?

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         I don't know.

               Rob remembers, and his gaze has a new found seriousness.

                                     ROB
                         You're Mrs. Ashworth.  I'm Rob.  An 
                         old boyfriend of you're daughter's.

               Alison's Mom's brow furrows and her face darkens.

                                     ROB
                         Alison's.

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         Really.

                                     ROB
                         Long time ago.  I was just thinking 
                         about her.  I was her first boyfriend.

               ALISON'S MOM What did you say your name was?

                                     ROB
                         Rob.  Rob Gordon.  Circa junior 
                         high...

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         I hate to quibble with you Rob, but 
                         she married her first boyfriend.  
                         Kevin Bannister.

                                     ROB
                         You gotta be kidding me.

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         That's right.  Kevin.  She's Mrs. 
                         Kevin Bannister.  She lives in 
                         Australia.

               She doesn't seem too happy that Alison lives in Australia.

               Rob is thrilled.

                                     ROB
                         Really?  Married Kevin?  Her junior 
                         high sweetheart... What chance would 
                         I have had against that?  None, no 
                         chance.  That's just fate.

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         I beg your pardon?

                                     ROB
                         Technically, I'm number one.  I went 
                         out with her a week before Kevin 
                         did.  Her first boyfriend.  Me.

               She stands.

                                     ALISON'S MOM
                         Well Rob, I'll tell her you said 
                         hello.  If she remembers you.

               Alison's Mom strolls out.

                                     ROB
                              (calling after her)
                         I think she will.  But it's okay if 
                         she doesn't.  I'm fine now.

               Rob turns to the bartender, smiling giddily.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Rob walks through Uptown toward the train.

                                     ROB
                         And suddenly I am fine.  For the 
                         moment there is not one extra pound 
                         on my chest.  This is fate.  Alison 
                         married Kevin.  You get it?  That's 
                         fate.  That's got nothing to do with 
                         me, that is beyond my control, beyond 
                         my fault...

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob into camera, digging through a box, fishing through 
               pictures and letters, concert tickets and other mementos.

               He begins to assemble a small pile of pictures of women.

                                     ROB
                         I want to see the others on the Big 
                         Top Five.  Penny, who wouldn't let 
                         me touch her and then went and had 
                         sex with that bastard Chris Thompson.  
                         Sarah, my partner in rejection who 
                         rejected me, and Charlie, who I have 
                         to thank for everything: my great 
                         job, my sexual self-confidence, the 
                         works.  There's this Springsteen 
                         song, "Bobby Jean," off Born in the 
                         USA.  About a girl who's left town 
                         years before and he's pissed off 
                         because he didn't know about it, and 
                         he wanted to say goodbye, tell her 
                         that he missed her, and wish her 
                         good luck.  Well, I'd like my life 
                         to be like a Springsteen song.  Just 
                         once.  I know I'm not born to run, 
                         and it's clear that Halsted Street 
                         is nothing like Thunder Road, but 
                         feelings can't be that different, 
                         can they?  I'd like to call up all 
                         those people and ask them how they 
                         are and whether they've forgiven me, 
                         and tell them that I have forgiven 
                         them.  And say good luck, goodbye.  
                         No hard feelings.  And then they'd 
                         feel good and I'd feel good.  We'd 
                         all feel good.  I'd feel clean, and 
                         calm, and ready to start again.  
                         That'd be good.  Great even.

               CUT BACK TO:

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob holds an old crumpled address book in one hand and the 
               phone in the other.

                                     ROB
                         Penny Hardwick?  This is Rob Gordon... 
                         From High school... Yeah.

               EXT. MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT

               Rob and Penny walk out of the theater mid-conversation.

               They look happy as they walk down the street.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         Penny is as beautiful as she was in 
                         high school when I broke it off with 
                         her because she wouldn't sleep with 
                         me.  In fact she's even more 
                         beautiful, and really grown into 
                         herself.

               INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               A mid-scale trattoria.  Rob and Penny sit at table laughing 
               and talking.  If we didn't know better we might think there 
               is chemistry.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         She tells me about her life, and I 
                         get it.  And I tell about mine, and 
                         she's interested.

               CLOSE-UP -- ROB TALKING

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         And then, with no real explanation, 
                         I just launch into it: I tell her 
                         about Laura and Ian, and Charlie and 
                         Marco, and about Alison Ashworth and 
                         Kevin Bannister...

                                     ROB
                         ...and you wanted to sleep with Chris 
                         Thompson instead of me, and... and I 
                         thought you could help me understand 
                         why it keeps happening, why I'm doomed 
                         to be left, doomed to be rejected 
                         and...

               He slows to a stop.  We see Penny as she goes from happy to 
               livid.

                                     PENNY
                         Rob.  I was crazy about you.  I wanted 
                         to sleep with you, one day, but not 
                         when I was sixteen.  When you broke 
                         up with me -- when you broke up with 
                         me -- because I was, to use your 
                         charming expression, tight, I cried 
                         and cried and I hated you.  And then 
                         that little shitbag asked me out, 
                         and I was too tired to fight him 
                         off, and it wasn't rape because I 
                         said okay, but it wasn't far off.  
                         And I didn't have sex with anyone 
                         else until after college because I 
                         hated it so much.  And now you want 
                         to have a chat about rejection?  
                         Well, fuck you, Rob.

               Penny stands and leaves.  Rob just sits.

                                     ROB
                              (cheerful)
                         So that's another one I don't have 
                         to worry about.  I should have done 
                         this years ago.

               Rob indicates to an off-screen waiter.

                                     ROB
                         Check...

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         Sarah's easy to find.  She still 
                         sends me Christmas cards with her 
                         address and phone number on them.  
                         They never say anything else, except 
                         for "Merry Christmas, Love Sarah." I 
                         send her equally blank ones back.

               INT. APARTMENT BUILDING HALLWAY - NIGHT - ROB'S POV

               of a door opening, revealing Sarah, a few years older but 
               still pretty in her mousey way.  She looks at Rob with a bit 
               too much in her eyes.

               INT. CARMEN'S PIZZA - NIGHT

               Rob and Sarah face each other over a half-eaten pizza.

                                     SARAH
                         I can't believe I left you for him... 
                         Crazy.

               Sarah looks down at her plate, shaking her head, blushing.

               Rob looks uncomfortable.  This is more than he was looking 
               for.

                                     ROB
                         Well... probably seemed like a good 
                         idea at the time.

               She looks up again...

                                     SARAH
                         Probably.  I can't remember why, 
                         though.

               ...and back down again.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         I haven't got the heart for the 
                         rejection conversation.  There are 
                         no hard feelings here, and I am glad 
                         that she ditched me, and not the 
                         other way around.

               INT./EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING HALLWAY - NIGHT

               Sarah, in the doorway, smiles painfully.  It's clear she 
               doesn't want to shut the door, but she does.  Rob turns and 
               walks down the hall toward the door to the street as he talks 
               TO CAMERA.

                                     ROB
                         I could've ended up having sex back 
                         there.  And what better way to 
                         exorcize rejection demons than to 
                         screw the person who rejected you, 
                         right?  But you wouldn't be sleeping 
                         with a person.  You'd be sleeping 
                         with a whole sad single-person 
                         culture.  It'd be like sleeping with 
                         Talia Shire in "Rocky" if you weren't 
                         Rocky.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               CLOSE-UP: PHONE BOOK

               as Rob's finger moves down the column, then stops.

               Rob looks up with a little shock, almost recoiling from the 
               phone book.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         Charlie's in the fucking phone book.  
                         She has come to assume such an 
                         importance, I feel she should be 
                         living on Mars.  She's an 
                         extraterrestrial, a ghost, a myth, 
                         not a person with an answering 
                         machine, in the phone book... I call 
                         and hang up on her voice mail a couple 
                         of times, then I leave my name and 
                         number and throw in a "long time-no-
                         see..." I don't hear anything back 
                         from her for a few days.  Now that's 
                         more like it, if you're talking about 
                         rejection: someone who won't even 
                         return your phone messages a decade 
                         after she rejected you.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob hears the door open as he stocks shelves, and turns.

               It's Ian.  Rob reacts, gunfighter eyes.

                                     ROB
                         Can I help you?

                                     IAN
                         Hello, Rob.  Remember me?  I'm Ray.  
                         Ian.

               Rob says nothing.

                                     IAN
                         I thought maybe we should talk.  
                         Sort a few things out?

               Rob is disoriented on the way to angry.  Dick and Barry's 
               ears perk up.

                                     ROB
                         What needs sorting out?

                                     IAN
                         Come on, Rob.  My relationship with 
                         Laura has obviously disturbed you a 
                         great deal.

                                     ROB
                         Funnily enough I haven't been too 
                         thrilled about it.

                                     IAN
                         We are not talking jokey 
                         understatement here, Rob.  We're 
                         talking actionable harassment.  Ten 
                         phone calls a night, hanging around 
                         outside my house...

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, well, I've stopped all that 
                         now.

                                     IAN
                         We've noticed and we're glad.  But, 
                         you know... how are we going to make 
                         peace here?  We want to make things 
                         easier for you.  What can we do?  
                         Obviously I know how special Laura 
                         is, and I know things can't be good 
                         for you at the moment.  I'd hate it 
                         if I lost her.  But I'd like to think 
                         that if she decided she didn't want 
                         to see me anymore, I'd respect that 
                         decision.  Do you see what I'm saying?

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.

                                     IAN
                         Good.  So shall we leave it at that 
                         then?

                                     ROB
                         I dunno.

                                     IAN
                         Think about it, Rob.

               CUT TO FANTASY #1:

               Rob looking sure of himself, righteous.

                                     IAN
                         Good.  So shall we leave it at that 
                         then?

                                     ROB
                         I've already left it, you pathetic 
                         rebound fuck!  Now get your patchouli 
                         stink out of my store.

               Ian leaves, rattled.

               CUT TO FANTASY #2:

               Same thing.

                                     IAN
                         Good.  So shall we leave it at that 
                         then?

                                     ROB
                         We won't leave it, Ian.  Not ever.

               Rob springs toward Ian, but Barry blocks his way.  Dick helps 
               hold Rob back.

                                     DICK
                         Don't do it, Rob!

                                     BARRY
                         He's not worth it!

               Rob reaches a pointed finger over Barry's shoulder.

                                     ROB
                         Leave town.  Leave the country, you 
                         little bitch, because you're gonna 
                         look back on walks by the house and 
                         ten phone calls a night as a golden 
                         age.  Get ready, mutherfucker.

               Ian trips backward and scurries out the door.

               CUT TO FANTASY #3:

               Rob, Dick, and Barry just beating the living shit out of 
               Ian, Rodney King style.  Ian lies on the floor trying to 
               cover himself.  Dick, already out of breath, breaks from the 
               pack and jerks the air conditioner from the wall and hefts 
               it over his head, preparing for the death blow.

               CUT BACK TO REALITY

                                     IAN
                         So shall we leave it at that then?

                                     ROB
                         I dunno.

                                     IAN
                         Think about it, Rob.

               Ian walks out.  Rob looks spent.  He shuffles toward the 
               back of the store.

               INT. RECORD STORE - BACK ROOM - DAY

               Rob is laying on his back, staring at the ceiling.  Dick 
               sticks his head in the door.

                                     DICK
                         Phone, Rob.  Somebody named Charlie.

               Rob pulls the phone into the bathroom and shuts the door.

                                     BATHROOM
                         Rob curls up with the phone.

                                     ROB
                         Hello?

               INT. CHARLIE'S HOUSE - INTERCUT

               Charlie looks even better than when we saw her in college.

                                     CHARLIE
                         Rob, hi, so sorry I missed your call.  
                         In LA on business.  You know how it 
                         gets.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah, sure...

                                     CHARLIE
                         Good.  Great.  Yeah... Wow.  Rob 
                         Gordon.  Seems like a 100 million 
                         years ago now.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.  A billion.  Right... How are 
                         you?

                                     CHARLIE
                         Fantastic but I'm a little busy right 
                         now.  Listen.  Do you want to come 
                         to dinner Saturday?  I'm having some 
                         friends over and I need a spare man.  
                         Are you a spare man?

                                     ROB
                         Uh...yes, at the moment.

                                     CHARLIE
                         Great.  Gotta go.  See you then.

               INT. CHARLIE'S DINING ROOM

               SERIES OF SHOTS OVER THE COURSE OF DINNER

               Sexy version of a hip wine commercial: a small mid-thirties 
               crowd of successful, beautiful people.  Rob sits at the table 
               silently as the other guests talk and eat.  Rob's central 
               activities are working his way through maybe a few too many 
               wines making sure his cigarette smoke doesn't get in anyone's 
               face.  His eyes occasionally dart around the table, but he 
               says nothing to anyone.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. CHARLIE'S LIVING ROOM - LATER

               Rob is a little too settled into the couch, somewhat bleary.

               Everyone gone but the two of them, Charlie plops down into a 
               chair across from Rob.

                                     ROB
                         Hey Charlie.

                                     CHARLIE
                         Hey Rob.

                                     ROB
                         Why did you break up with me for 
                         Marco?

                                     CHARLIE
                              (on her feet)
                         Fuck!  I knew it!  You're going 
                         through one of those what-does-it- 
                         all-mean things.

                                     ROB
                         Huh?

                                     CHARLIE
                         There's been a rash of them, recently.  
                         I find it a little unnerving.  In 
                         fact Marco called a few months back, 
                         and he wanted to see me, and rehash 
                         the past as they say, and I wasn't 
                         really up for it.  Do all men go 
                         through this?

                                     ROB
                         C'mon, just answer the question.  
                         You can say what you like.  What the 
                         hell?

               Charlie looks off at a corner of the ceiling, musters a look 
               of "contemplation."

                                     CHARLIE
                         It's all kind of lost in the... in 
                         the dense mists of time now... It 
                         wasn't that I really liked Marco 
                         more.  In fact I thought you were 
                         more, shall we say, attractive than 
                         him.  It was just that he knew he 
                         was good-looking and you didn't, and 
                         that made a difference somehow.  You 
                         used to act as if I was weird for 
                         wanting to spend time with you, and 
                         that got kind of beat, if you know 
                         what I mean.  Your self-image started 
                         to rub off on me and I ended up 
                         thinking that I was strange.  And I 
                         knew that you were kind and 
                         thoughtful... you made me laugh, and 
                         I dug the way you got consumed by 
                         things you loved... and Marco seemed 
                         a bit more, I don't know, glamorous?  
                         More sure of himself?
                              (pause)
                         Less hard work, because I felt like 
                         I was dragging you around, sort of.
                              (pause)
                         A little sunnier.  Sparkier.
                              (pause)
                         I don't know.  You know what people 
                         are like at that age.  They make 
                         very superficial judgements.  Do you 
                         think that's superficial?  He was a 
                         clown, if it's any consolation.

                                     ROB
                         Did you tell that to Marco when he 
                         did his what-does-it-all-mean thing 
                         with you?

                                     CHARLIE
                         Oh God, no.  I didn't want to hurt 
                         his feelings.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         I wanted the works and I got it.  
                         None of Alison Ashworth's fate, none 
                         of Sarah's rewriting of history, and 
                         no reminder that I'd got all the 
                         rejection stuff a little backward, 
                         like I did about Penny.  Just a 
                         perfectly clear explanation of why 
                         some people have it and some don't.  
                         All I've learned from Charlie is 
                         that maybe my one talent, my genius 
                         for being normal, is a little 
                         overrated.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob enters the already open store, in a bad mood, to find 
               Barry putting up a poster.  It reads:

               "BARRYTOWN/appearing Saturday night/Bucktown Pub"

                                     BARRY
                         Hey.

                                     ROB
                         What the fuck is that?

                                     BARRY
                         My band.

                                     ROB
                         What band?

                                     BARRY
                         The band that found me and asked me 
                         to join.

                                     ROB
                         You are not in a band, Barry.  You 
                         are not a musician.  And no posters.

                                     BARRY
                         Thanks for your support, Rob.  Really 
                         appreciate it.

                                     ROB
                         Barrytown.  Barrytown?  Is there no 
                         end to your arrogance?

                                     BARRY
                         I didn't make up the name.  It's the 
                         Steely Dan song.  And it was in The 
                         Commitments.

                                     ROB
                         You can't be called Barry and sing 
                         in a group called Barrytown.

                                     BARRY
                         They were fucking called that before 
                         I was in it, okay?  It wasn't my 
                         idea.

                                     ROB
                         That's why you got the gig, isn't 
                         it?

               Barry says nothing.

                                     ROB
                         Isn't it?

                                     BARRY
                         That was one of the reasons they 
                         asked me to join originally, yes.  
                         But --

                                     ROB
                         Great!  That's fucking great!  They 
                         only asked you to sing because of 
                         your name!  You can stick it above 
                         the browser racks over there.

                                     BARRY
                         How many tickets can I put you down 
                         for?

                                     ROB
                         None.  Christ!

                                     BARRY
                         You're not even coming?

                                     ROB
                         Of course I'm not coming.  Do I look 
                         like I'd want to listen to some 
                         terrible experimental racket played 
                         in some hideous cave?  Where is it?
                              (looks at the poster)
                         The fucking Bucktown Pub?  Ha!

                                     BARRY
                         So much for friends, then.  You're a 
                         bitter bastard, Rob, you know that?

                                     ROB
                         Bitter?  Because I'm not in Barrytown?  
                         You should be shot like a lame horse, 
                         you jerk.
                              (re: the poster)
                         Just keep that out of my window.

               INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob opens the door to find Laura filling a duffel bag in the 
               living room.

                                     LAURA
                         I called and called but you were 
                         out.  I thought I'd be gone before 
                         you got back.

                                     ROB
                         Is that the last of it?

                                     LAURA
                         Yep.  I might have missed some stuff.  
                         I'm so used to some things being 
                         here that I don't even notice them.

                                     ROB
                         Those look heavy.  Where's Ian?

                                     LAURA
                         He's at home.  Listen, I can't believe 
                         he went to the store.  I'm mortified, 
                         actually.  I'm really sorry.  He had 
                         no right to do that, and I told him 
                         so.

                                     ROB
                         It was kind of funny.

               They smile.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sure.

                                     ROB
                         You still together?  Going all right?

                                     LAURA
                         I don't really want to talk about 
                         it, to be honest.

                                     ROB
                         That bad, eh?

                                     LAURA
                         You know what I mean.

               Rob flops onto the couch and surveys the room.

                                     ROB
                         It's a dump, isn't it?

               Laura sits down, on the other side of the couch.

                                     LAURA
                         Fix it up.  It'll make you feel 
                         better.

                                     ROB
                         I'll bet you can't remember what you 
                         were doing here, can you?  I mean, 
                         how much are you making now?  Sixty?  
                         Seventy?  And you were living in 
                         this shitty place.

                                     LAURA
                         You know I didn't mind.  And it's 
                         not as if Ray's place is any better.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sorry, but can we get this 
                         straight?  What is his fucking name, 
                         Ian or Ray?  What do you call him?

                                     LAURA
                         Ray.  I hate Ian.

                                     ROB
                         I hate him too.  So I just call him 
                         "Mavis." Or "Sissyboy." Or "Mavis 
                         the Sissyboy."

               Laura starts laughing, laying on the couch on her back, very 
               close to Rob.  Rob leans in, sort of looking down into her 
               eyes.

                                     ROB
                         This is where you're supposed to say 
                         that you haven't laughed this much 
                         in ages, and then you see the error 
                         of your ways.

                                     LAURA
                         You make me laugh much more than Ray 
                         does, if that's what you're getting 
                         at.  But I already knew you could 
                         make me laugh.  It's everything else 
                         I don't know about.

                                     ROB
                         You know I'm a good person.

                                     LAURA
                         Mmm hmm.

                                     ROB
                         You know that I can cook my ass off 
                         when I feel like it.

                                     LAURA
                         Oh ho, so very infrequently.

               He moves a little closer.

                                     ROB
                         You know my favorite beverage is 
                         your bath water.

               She laughs.  He moves in, not really trying to kiss her but 
               leaving the door open for her... She almost goes for it, but 
               instead gets to her feet.

                                     LAURA
                         Time to go.

               She goes to her bags.  Rob points to a pile of CDs.

                                     ROB
                         Don't forget your CDs.

                                     LAURA
                         Those aren't mine.

                                     ROB
                         Sure they are.

                                     LAURA
                         They're not really, though, are they?  
                         I know you bought them for me, and 
                         that was really sweet of you, but 
                         that was when you were trying to 
                         turn me into you.  I can't take them, 
                         I know they'd just sit around staring 
                         at me, and I'd feel embarrassed by 
                         them and... they don't fit in with 
                         the rest of what's mine, do you 
                         understand?  That Sting record you 
                         bought for me... that was a present 
                         for me.  I like Sting and you hate 
                         him.  But the rest of this stuff...
                              (bending down to the 
                              pile)
                         Who the hell is Nick Lowe?  Or Gram 
                         Parsons?  Or the Boredoms?  I don't 
                         know these people.  I...

                                     ROB
                         Okay, okay.  I get the picture.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry to go on about it.  But, I 
                         don't know, there's a lesson here 
                         somewhere, and I want to make sure 
                         you get it.

                                     ROB
                         I got it.  You like Sting but you 
                         don't like Gram Parsons, because 
                         you've never heard of him.

                                     LAURA
                         You're being deliberately obtuse.

                                     ROB
                         I guess I am.

                                     LAURA
                         Well, think about it.

               She hefts the duffel bag, opens the door and exits.

                                     ROB
                         Fuck.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to the camera.

                                     ROB
                         What's the point in thinking about 
                         it?  If I ever have another 
                         relationship, I'll buy her, whoever 
                         she is, stuff that she oughta like 
                         but doesn't know about -- that's 
                         what new boyfriends are for.  And 
                         hopefully I won't borrow money from 
                         her, or have an affair, and she won't 
                         need to have an abortion or run away 
                         with the neighborhood, and then there 
                         won't be anything to think about.  
                         Laura didn't run off with Ian because 
                         I bought her CDs she wasn't that 
                         keen on, and to pretend otherwise is 
                         just... just... psychowank.  If she 
                         thinks that, then she's missing the 
                         Brazilian rainforest for the twigs.  
                         If I can't buy the Plastic People of 
                         the Universe's first album for new 
                         girlfriends, then I might as well 
                         give up, because I'm not sure I know 
                         how to do anything else.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. STREET - MORNING

               Rob walks toward the record store, and looks into a Starbuck's 
               window he passes.  He stops for a second, seeing Ian at the 
               counter, chatting merrily with the espresso jockey.  Rob 
               keeps walking.

               INT. RECORD STORE - BACK ROOM - DAY

               Rob tosses his coat down and picks up the phone and dials...

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                              (muffled, almost a 
                              whisper)
                         Hello.

                                     ROB
                         Hey, how ya doin'?

               No answer.

                                     ROB
                         Guess who I just saw, right by my 
                         store?  Ian.  In Starbuck's.  Neat, 
                         huh?

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         I can't talk right now.

                                     ROB
                         God, that's a cold and a half.  Maybe 
                         you should bet back in bed.

               No response.

                                     ROB
                         Are you alright?

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         Pigsty.

                                     ROB
                         Don't worry about it.  Just get into 
                         bed.  Worry about that when you're 
                         better.

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                         Pig died.

                                     ROB
                         Who the fuck's Pig?

                                     LAURA (O.S.)
                              (louder)
                         My dad died.  My dad, my dad.

               She hangs up.

               FRONT ROOM

               Rob comes out of the back, in a daze.  Dick and Barry notice.

                                     BARRY
                         What's up?

                                     ROB
                         Laura.  Her dad died.

                                     BARRY
                         Ooh.  Drag.

               Barry goes back to his comic book and burrito.

                                     DICK
                         I'm sorry, Rob, that's, it's --

                                     ROB
                         You're a horrible person, Barry.  I 
                         mean it.

               Barry looks up at him, shrugs, then gets an idea.

                                     BARRY
                         Hey.  Top five songs about death.  A 
                         Laura's Dad Tribute list.

               Nobody can help thinking about it.

                                     BARRY
                         Okay, okay -- "Leader of the Pack." 
                         The guy fucking cracks up on a cycle 
                         and dies right? "Dead Man's Curve," 
                         Jan and Dean...

                                     DICK
                         Did you know that after that song 
                         was recorded, Jan himself crashed 
                         his --

                                     BARRY
                         -- It was Dean, you fucking idiot.

                                     ROB
                         It was Jan, and it was a long time 
                         after--

                                     BARRY
                         Whatever.  Okay. "Tell Laura I Love 
                         Her." That'd bring the house down.  
                         Laura's mom could sing it.

                                     ROB
                         Fuck off, Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         I'd want "One Step Beyond" by Madness.  
                         And "You Can't Always Get What You 
                         Want."

                                     ROB
                         Because it's in The Big Chill.

                                     BARRY
                         Haven't seen it.

                                     ROB
                         Liar.  We saw it in the Lawrence 
                         Kasdan double-bill with Body Heat.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh.  Right.  But I'd forgotten about 
                         that.  I wasn't biting the idea.

                                     ROB
                         Not really.

               The phone RINGS.  Rob picks it up.

                                     ROB
                         Record Exchange.

               INTERCUT - IAN'S APARTMENT

               Laura is curled up on the couch.  Dick and Barry keep listing.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry.

                                     ROB
                         No, no.  When are you going home?

                                     LAURA
                         In a minute.  When I get it together.

                                     BARRY
                              (to Dick)
                         What about Sabbath?  Or Nirvana?  
                         They're into death.

               Rob tries to signal to them to shut up but they don't see 
               him.  He moves as far away as the cord will let me.

                                     ROB
                         Can I do anything?

                                     DICK
                         "Abraham, Martin, and John." That's 
                         a nice one.

                                     BARRY
                         "Somebody's Gonna Die" by Blitz. 
                         "Bella Lugosi's Dead," Bauhaus.  
                         It's got that creepy Halloween 
                         feeling.

                                     LAURA
                         No.  No.  Mom wants you to come to 
                         the funeral.  It's on Friday.

                                     ROB
                         Me?

                                     LAURA
                         My dad liked you.  And Mom never 
                         told him we'd split, because he wasn't 
                         up to it and... oh, I don't know.  I 
                         don't really understand it.  I think 
                         she thinks he'll be able to see what's 
                         going on.  It's like...
                              (small laugh)
                         He's been through so much, what with 
                         dying and everything, that she doesn't 
                         want to upset him any more than she 
                         has to.

                                     ROB
                         Do you want me to be there?

                                     LAURA
                         I don't care.  As long as you don't 
                         expect me to hold your hand.

               Rob is silent.

                                     LAURA
                         Look, are you coming or not?

                                     ROB
                         Yes, of course.

                                     LAURA
                         Liz'll give you a lift.  She knows 
                         where to go and everything... I don't 
                         have time to talk, Rob.  I've got 
                         too much to do.

                                     ROB
                         Sure.  I'll see you on Friday.

               She hangs up.

                                     BARRY
                              (to the tune of "Candle 
                              In the Wind")
                         "Goodbye Laura's dad/blah blah la di 
                         da di da/
                              (belting it out)
                         Seems to me/you lived your life/like 
                         a dentist in the wind...

               Rob stomps toward Barry, who jumps over the counter to keep 
               singing --

               INT. LIZ'S CAR - DAY

               THUNDERCLAPS and RAIN.  Rob is in a somber suit, looking 
               through the windshield wipers as Liz drives.

                                     ROB
                         So the minister says nice things, 
                         and then, what, we all troop outside 
                         and they bury him?

                                     LIZ
                         It's a crematorium.

                                     ROB
                         You're kidding.  A crematorium?  
                         Jesus.

                                     LIZ
                         What difference does it make?

                                     ROB
                         Is Ray going?

                                     LIZ
                         No.  They don't know him.  And Ken 
                         liked you.  Rob, Ken didn't die for 
                         your benefit, you know.  It's like 
                         everybody's a supporting actor in 
                         the film of your life story.

                                     ROB
                         Isn't that how it is for everybody?

               INT. CHAPEL TWO

               Liz and Rob sit in the back of the dark, smallish 
               nondenominational room.  At the front is a coffin, resting 
               on a stand.  Laura, her younger sister JO, and her mother 
               sit in the front row, listening to the MINISTER.

                                     MINISTER
                         ...Now and forever, Amen.

               He nods "offstage," and a muffled mechanical noise is heard.

               The coffin begins to lower through a trap door beneath it.

               A low, baleful human HOWL is heard, starting quietly but 
               gaining in volume.

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         I hear something in Laura's voice, 
                         but I know what it is, and at that 
                         moment I want to go to her and offer 
                         to become a different person, to 
                         remove all trace of what is me, as 
                         long as she will let me look after 
                         her and try to make her feel better...

               INT. CHAPEL PARLOR

               Rob stays back, watching mourners approach Laura and her 
               mother, hugging them.  After awhile, Laura sees Rob through 
               the throng, hanging back.  She breaks through and to him, 
               holding him close for a long time...

                                     ROB (V.O.)
                         ...And when she let's go of me, I 
                         feel I don't need to become a 
                         different person.  It's happened 
                         already.

               INT. LAURA'S PARENTS' HOUSE - AFTERNOON

               A cozy old Victorian house, full of things -- furniture, 
               paintings, ornaments, plants -- which don't go together but 
               which have obviously been chosen with care and taste.  Rob 
               and Liz stand, drinking wine.  Jo approaches them.

                                     LIZ
                              (to Jo)
                         How are you?

                                     JO
                         I'm all right, I suppose.  And Mom's 
                         not too bad.  But Laura... I dunno.

                                     LIZ
                         She's had a pretty rough few weeks 
                         already, without this.  It's hard 
                         when you're putting all of your 
                         efforts into one part of your life 
                         and it doesn't work out.

               She glances at Rob, embarrassed.

                                     ROB
                              (sincere)
                         Don't mind me.  No problem.  Just 
                         pretend you're talking about somebody 
                         else.

               Jo smiles, Liz gives him a look.

                                     LIZ
                         We are talking about somebody else.  
                         Laura.  Laura and Ray, actually.

               Rob begins to turn red.  Anger, sorrow, everything else 
               building.

                                     ROB
                         Enough, Liz.

                                     LIZ
                         Enough of what?

                                     ROB
                              (getting louder)
                         I know I can't speak now because 
                         Laura's father died, and I just have 
                         to take it because otherwise I'm a 
                         bad guy, with the emphasis on guy, 
                         self-centered.  Well, I'm fucking 
                         not, not all the time, anyway, I'm 
                         really sorry Jo.
                              (lowering his voice)
                         But you know, Liz... I can either 
                         stick up for myself or believe 
                         everything you say about me and end 
                         up hating myself.  And maybe you 
                         think I should, but it's not much of 
                         a life, you know?

                                     LIZ
                         Maybe I've been a little unfair.  
                         But is this really the time?

                                     ROB
                         Only because it's never the time.  I 
                         can't go on apologizing my whole 
                         life, you know?

                                     LIZ
                         If by "we" you are referring to men, 
                         then I have to say that just the 
                         once would do.

               Rob looks around the room, beginning to hyperventilate and 
               near tears.  He sees Laura in a corner of the room surrounded 
               by four or five mourners.  He crosses to them and breaks 
               through to her.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sorry.

               He breaks away from her and slips out the front door.

               EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - AFTERNOON

               So darkened by weather that it is almost night, raining 
               torrents and big sheets.  Rob emerges from the front door of 
               Laura's parents' house and begins walking down the street, 
               hands thrust into his pockets.  The rain almost immediately 
               soaks him.

               EXT. ANOTHER STREET

               In the distance, Rob runs toward us.  As he gets to us we 
               move with him down the street.  He is drenched.  We hear the 
               rain, and his ragged breath.  Headlights appear behind him 
               and backlight him, getting brighter as the sound of an engine 
               gets louder.  Rob takes a look over his shoulder, looks 
               desperately left and right, and vaults himself over a small 
               brick wall and into a flower bed, landing on his back in the 
               black wet earth.

               The big drops of rain splash mud on his face, and he burrows 
               deeper into the dirt and flowers with his back, panting and 
               staring up at the sky.  Off-camera the car engine catches 
               up, and a door opens and shuts.  He sighs and shuts his 
               eyes...

               He opens his eyes again, to see Laura's face, wet as well, 
               staring down at him.  It is difficult to distinguish rain 
               from tears.

                                     LAURA
                         Are you going to lie in that flower 
                         bed all night?

                                     ROB
                         Uh... No.

               But Rob keeps lying there.  Laura pulls herself to a sitting 
               position on the wall just above him.

                                     LAURA
                         You're soaking.

                                     ROB
                         Mmnn.

                                     LAURA
                         You're also an idiot.

               Rob pulls his muddy self to his feet and sits on the wall 
               next to her.

                                     ROB
                         I can see why you say that.  Look, 
                         I'm sorry.  I really am.  The last 
                         thing I wanted was... that's why I 
                         left, because... I lost it, and I 
                         didn't want to blow my top in there, 
                         and... look, the reason I fucked 
                         everything up was because I was 
                         scared.  I just wanted you to know, 
                         that's all.

                                     LAURA
                         Thank you.  I appreciate it.  I can't 
                         reciprocate.

                                     ROB
                         What do you mean?

                                     LAURA
                         I didn't mess things up because I 
                         was scared.  I slept with Ray because 
                         I was sick of you.  And I needed 
                         something to snap me out of it.

                                     ROB
                         Sure, I understand.  Look, I don't 
                         want to take up any more of your 
                         time.  You get back, and I'll wait 
                         here for a bus.

                                     LAURA
                         I don't want to go back.

                                     ROB
                         What do you want to do?

                                     LAURA
                         C'mon.

               They swing their legs over the wall and walk to Laura's VW.

               INT. LAURA'S CAR - NIGHT

               They drive sort of aimlessly through Laura's old neighborhood.  
               Laura sees something on her left, and makes a sudden turn up 
               a narrow road through some overgrown trees.  They come to a 
               stop in a formerly paved clearing, looking out on a field 
               with an old abandoned school on the other side.  Laura shuts 
               down the engine.

                                     ROB
                         When are you going back?

                                     LAURA
                         I don't know.  Sometime.  Later.  
                         Listen, Rob, would you have sex with 
                         me?

                                     ROB
                         What?

                                     LAURA
                         I want to feel something else than 
                         this.  It's either that or I go home 
                         and put my hand in the fire.  Unless 
                         you want to stub cigarettes out on 
                         my arm.

                                     ROB
                         I've only got a couple left.  I'm 
                         saving them for later.

                                     LAURA
                         It'll have to be sex, then.

               She pulls herself over him, staddling him in the passenger 
               seat and kissing his neck.  She pauses and regards him from 
               above.

                                     LAURA
                         Hello.  It doesn't seem so long ago 
                         that I looked at you from here.

                                     ROB
                         Hi.

                                     LAURA
                         I knew there was a reason I wore a 
                         skirt today.

               Laura reaches down and unzips his pants, as they keep kissing.

                                     ROB
                         You know, with Ray...

                                     LAURA
                         Oh, Rob, we're not going to go through 
                         that again.

                                     ROB
                         No, no.  It's not... are you still 
                         on the pill?

                                     LAURA
                         Yes, of course.  There's nothing to 
                         worry about.

                                     ROB
                         I didn't mean that.  I mean... was 
                         that all you used?

               Laura looks at him, motionless, then begins to cry.

                                     ROB
                         Look, we can do other things.

                                     LAURA
                         I lived with you.  You were my partner 
                         just a few weeks ago and now you're 
                         worried I might kill you, and you're 
                         entitled to worry.  Isn't that a 
                         terrible thing?  Isn't that sad?

               She rolls off of him into her seat.  They sit there in 
               silence, watching the rain run down the windshield.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         Later, I wonder if I was really 
                         worried about where Ian has been.  I 
                         have no idea where he's been, and 
                         that gives me every right to insist 
                         on protection.  But in truth, it was 
                         the power that interested me more 
                         than the fear.  I wanted to hurt 
                         her, on this day of all days, just 
                         because it's the first time since 
                         she's left that I've been able to.

               INT. BAR - LATER

               Rob and Laura lean back in a booth, facing each other.  We 
               get that feeling that not another word has been spoken since 
               we last saw them.

                                     ROB
                         Laura...

                                     LAURA
                         I'm too tired not to go out with 
                         you.

               Rob leans forward.

                                     ROB
                         So if you had a bit more energy we'd 
                         stay split.  But things being how 
                         they are, what with you wiped out, 
                         you'd like us to get back together.

                                     LAURA
                              (nodding)
                         Everything's too hard.  Maybe another 
                         time I would have the guts to be on 
                         my own, but not now I don't.

                                     ROB
                         What about Ian?

                                     LAURA
                         Ray's a disaster.  I don't know what 
                         that was all about, except that 
                         sometimes you need someone to lob 
                         into the middle of a bad relationship 
                         like a hand grenade, I guess, and 
                         blow it all apart.

                                     ROB
                         Mission accomplished.

                                     LAURA
                         I know it's not very romantic, but 
                         there will be romance again at some 
                         stage, I'm sure.  I just... I need 
                         you, Rob.  That's it.  And we know 
                         each other and we care for each other, 
                         and you've made it clear that you 
                         want me back, so...

               She looks up at him.

                                     LAURA
                         Let's go home.  Okay?

                                     ROB
                         Okay.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         But wouldn't you know it?  Suddenly 
                         I feel panicky, and sick, and I want 
                         to run around and sleep with female 
                         recording artists...

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT - MORNING

               Post-lovemaking.  Rob and Laura lie on their backs.

                                     ROB
                         C'mon.  I want to know.

                                     LAURA
                         Want to know what, exactly?

                                     ROB
                         What it was like.

                                     LAURA
                         It was like sex.  What else could it 
                         be like?

                                     ROB
                         Was it like good sex or was it like 
                         bad sex?

                                     LAURA
                         What's the difference?

                                     ROB
                         You know the difference.

                                     LAURA
                         Look, we're okay now.  We just had a 
                         nice time.  Let's leave it at that.

                                     ROB
                         Okay, that's cool, okay.  But the 
                         nice time we just had... was it nicer, 
                         as nice, or less nice than the nice 
                         times you were having a couple of 
                         weeks ago?

               Laura is silent.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, c'mon, Laura.  Just say something.  
                         Lie, if you want.  It'd stop me asking 
                         you questions and it'd make me feel 
                         better.

                                     LAURA
                         Well I was gonna lie and now I can't, 
                         because you'd know I was lying.

                                     ROB
                         Well why the fuck would you want to 
                         lie, anyway?

                                     LAURA
                         To make you feel better.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, great...

               Rob begins to get out of bed.  She grabs his hand and pulls 
               him back down.

                                     LAURA
                         Look, Rob.  If great sex was as 
                         important as you think it is, and if 
                         I was having great sex with him, 
                         then we wouldn't be lying here now.  
                         And that is my last word on the 
                         subject, okay?

                                     ROB
                         Okay.

               She pulls him close and they lie there, the matter seemingly 
               settled.

                                     LAURA
                         I wish your penis was as big as his, 
                         though.

               He turns slowly to her.  A giggle from her turns into a laugh, 
               then a howl, a roar --

               EXT. LAKEFRONT - TWILIGHT

               Rob and Laura walk the cement breakfront.

                                     LAURA
                         ... Like Mexico.  Or Jamaica.  Or 
                         New York, even.

                                     ROB
                         Hey, great idea.  What I'll do is, 
                         tomorrow I'll get a hold of a box 
                         full of mint Elvis Presley 78s on 
                         the Sub label, and I'll pay for it 
                         that way.

                                     LAURA
                         I'll pay for you.  Even though you 
                         owe me money.  We have to do something 
                         with the money I earn.  I need to.  
                         I deserve it.  You can just think of 
                         it as winning the lottery.

                                     ROB
                         Fantastic.  The Girlfriend Lottery.

                                     LAURA
                         Money does not matter.  I do not 
                         care how much you earn.  I'd just 
                         like you to be a little happier in 
                         your work, but beyond that you can 
                         do what you like.

                                     ROB
                         But it wasn't supposed to be like 
                         this.  When I met you we were the 
                         same people and now we're not, and...

                                     LAURA
                         How?  How were we the same people?

                                     ROB
                         Well, you were the kind of person 
                         who came to the Artful Dodger and I 
                         was the kind of person who deejayed 
                         at the Artful Dodger.  You wore jeans 
                         and T-shirts, and so did I.  And I 
                         still do, and you don't.

                                     LAURA
                         Because I'm not allowed to.  I still 
                         do, after work.  So, what?  Should 
                         we just break up?  Is that what you're 
                         saying?  Because if you are, I'm 
                         going to run out of patience.

                                     ROB
                         No, but...

                                     LAURA
                         But what?

                                     ROB
                         But why doesn't it matter that we're 
                         not the same people we used to be?

                                     LAURA
                         You haven't changed so much as a 
                         pair of socks in the years I've known 
                         you.  If we've grown apart, then I'm 
                         the one who's done the growing, and 
                         all I've done is change jobs.

                                     ROB
                         And hairstyles and clothes and 
                         attitude and friends and...

                                     LAURA
                         I can't go to work with my hair dyed 
                         pink.  And I can afford to go shopping 
                         more now, and I've met a couple people 
                         I like over the last year or so.

                                     ROB
                         You're tougher.

                                     LAURA
                         More confident, maybe.

                                     ROB
                         Harder.

                                     LAURA
                         Less neurotic.  Are you intending to 
                         stay the same for the rest of your 
                         life?

                                     ROB
                         I'm alright.

                                     LAURA
                         Yeah, you're alright.  But you're 
                         certainly not happy.  So what happens 
                         if you get happy?  And yes I know 
                         that's the title of an Elvis Costello 
                         album, I use the reference 
                         deliberately to catch your attention.  
                         Should we split up because I'm used 
                         to you being miserable?  What happens 
                         if you, I don't know, start you're 
                         own record label, and it's a success?  
                         Time for a new girlfriend?

                                     ROB
                         You're being stupid.

                                     LAURA
                         How?  What would be the difference 
                         between you having a record label 
                         and me going from legal aid to private 
                         practice?

               Rob is silent.

                                     LAURA
                         All I'm saying is, you have to allow 
                         for things to happen to people, most 
                         of all to yourself.  Otherwise, what's 
                         the use?

                                     ROB
                         No use.

               INT./EXT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob comes out of the stock room and walks toward the counter 
               where Dick and Barry stare at the tape deck like two concerned 
               doctors, listening to a song that is raw and moody and lyrical -- 
               Minor Threat meets Brian Eno, if that's possible.  Rob joins 
               them in contemplation.

                                     ROB
                         What is this.

                                     DICK
                         It's Vince and Justin.

                                     ROB
                         Who's that?

                                     BARRY
                         The little skate-fuckers.

                                     ROB
                         No way.

                                     BARRY
                         Yes way.  It's really...

               Rob and Dick look at him, ready to pounce --

                                     BARRY
                              (pained to say it)
                         It's really fucking good.

               Dick and Barry look to Rob, who continues to just listen...

               He takes a deep breath and walks to the front door and out, 
               seemingly with a mission.

               Vince and Justin are doing noisy skate tricks against the 
               curb across the street.  When they see Rob they stop, get 
               ready to flee.  He walks across to them.  Dick comes out and 
               hovers in the background.

                                     ROB
                         Your tape.  It's good.

               They mumble thanks.

                                     ROB
                         It's rough.  But it shows promise.  
                         We record a couple of songs right, 
                         in a studio.  I'll take care of the 
                         rest.  I'll put out your record.  
                         Any profits after recouping expenses 
                         get split down the middle, between 
                         us and you guys.

                                     VINCE
                         Wait a minute.  Island Records charged 
                         U2 a million five against their 
                         overhead for one plane ride.

                                     ROB
                         We're not there yet, Justin.

                                     VINCE
                         I'm Vince.

                                     ROB
                         Whatever.

               He begins to move toward the store.  Vince and Justin look 
               at each other.  Rob gets to the door but stops and turns.

                                     ROB
                         Hey.  What's the name of your band?

                                     JUSTIN
                         The Kinky Wizards.

                                     ROB
                         What?

                                     VINCE
                         We saw this ad in the personals for 
                         two swingers lookin' for a Renaissance 
                         fair.

                                     ROB
                         Nice.

                                     VINCE
                         What's the name of your label?

               Rob looks at them.  Then at Dick.  Then through the window 
               at Barry, inside looking out.  Then at his own reflection in 
               the window.  Then back at them.

                                     ROB
                         Broken Records.  Welcome aboard.

               Rob walks back inside.  He seems to be shaking a little.

                                     BARRY
                         What the fuck is that?

                                     ROB
                         What?

                                     BARRY
                         I heard you, man.  Don't give me 
                         that "what" shit.  You just told 
                         them that you're gonna put out a 
                         record with them.

                                     ROB
                         So?  You even said they're good.

                                     BARRY
                         HELLO.  DO YOU SEE ANYONE ELSE around 
                         here with a band, Mr. Branson?  Mr. 
                         Phil Spector?

               Rob waves him off and disappears into the stock room.  Laura 
               enters.

                                     LAURA
                         Hey, Barry.

                                     BARRY
                         Oh, hi.

                                     LAURA
                         Where's Rob?

                                     BARRY
                         The Malcolm McClaren of Clark Street 
                         is in his executive suite.  Do you 
                         have an appointment?

                                     LAURA
                         What are you talking about?

                                     BARRY
                         Just that Rob seems to think it would 
                         be wiser to start a record label by 
                         putting out a record with business-
                         crippling Nazi Youth shoplifters 
                         than with someone he knows in his 
                         bitter jealous heart is a musical 
                         visionary.  That's all.

               Laura puts it together, and smiles.  She goes to the back 
               and crack the door, finding Rob sitting on a box, thinking.

                                     ROB
                         Hi.

                                     LAURA
                         Hi.  What are you doing?

                                     ROB
                         Nothing.

                                     LAURA
                         Wanna go to dinner?

                                     ROB
                         Where?

                                     LAURA
                         At Paul and Miranda's.  Paul from 
                         work.

                                     ROB
                         Oh.  Well.  We don't really get along.  
                         Paul and I.

                                     LAURA
                         I know.  But you've never met.  It 
                         just seems like a stone unturned in 
                         your relationship with him.

                                     ROB
                         Ha.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         We're at a point where I can't really 
                         walk away from gauntlets she might 
                         throw down, and so I go.  And wouldn't 
                         you know it, I sort of fall in love 
                         with Paul and Miranda -- with what 
                         they have, and the way they treat 
                         each other, and the way they make me 
                         feel as if I'm the new center of 
                         their world.  I think they're great, 
                         and I want to see them twice a week, 
                         every week, for the rest of my life.  
                         Only right at the end of the evening 
                         do I realize I've been set up.

               INT. PAUL AND MIRANDA'S LIVING ROOM - LATER

               After dinner.  Rob ambles in from the dining room.  Laura 
               close behind.  He looks through the bookshelves until he 
               finds a meager little grouping of CDs.  He moves up to them 
               and scans the titles: Tina Turner.  Billy Joel.  Kate Bush.  
               Pink Floyd.  Simply Red.  The Beatles.  The Windham Hill 
               Sampler...

                                     PAUL
                         Lame, right?

               Rob turns around to see PAUL behind him.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, I don't know.  The Beatles are 
                         okay.

               Paul laughs.

                                     PAUL
                         We're kinda out of date.

                                     ROB
                         Hey, to each his own, I say.

                                     PAUL
                         Maybe we can come by your store and 
                         you can hook us up.

                                     ROB
                         Sure, sure.  Any time.

                                     LAURA
                         Better hurry, though, Paul.  Rob 
                         started a record label, so he's gonna 
                         be in the shop less and less.

               Rob looks at her.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               as they come in the door.

                                     LAURA
                         ..."To each his own!" Unbelievable!  
                         You!  Rob Gordon said that.  You 
                         even sounded like you meant it.

               They throw their jackets over a chair.  Rob turns on the CD 
               player and "Call Me A Liar" by Palace begins to play.

                                     ROB
                              (smiling)
                         You did that deliberately.  You knew 
                         all along I'd like them.  It was a 
                         trick.

                                     LAURA
                         I tricked you into meeting some people 
                         you'd think were great.  I thought 
                         it would be fun to introduce you to 
                         someone with a Tina Turner album and 
                         then see whether you still felt the 
                         same way.

               She moves to Rob and wraps her arms around him.  They look 
               deeply at each other.  She breaks away from him and walks 
               into the bedroom.  He turns off the stereo and follows her.

               EXT. CLARK STREET - MORNING

               Rob walks to work, drinking his coffee.  He stops and backs 
               up a few feet, and stares at a poster on a plywood board-up.

               "'I SOLD MY MOM'S WHEELCHAIR'/the debut single from The Kinky 
               Wizards/on Broken Records/Record release party July 20 at 
               The Artful Dodger/Featuring the triumphant return of DJ ROB 
               GORDON/"Dance Music For Old People"

               Rob scowls, and storms off.

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Rob paces, Laura sits on the couch, smiling.

                                     LAURA
                         I called Dan Koretzky because he --

                                     ROB
                         Has Drag City Records, I know, I 
                         know.  You told Dan Koretzky about 
                         this?

                                     LAURA
                         Yeah, and he said it's a good way to 
                         break out a record.  Especially for 
                         what he said, and I quote, "would be 
                         a highly anticipated event, locally." 
                         He helped me put out a press release.

                                     ROB
                         WHAT?

                                     LAURA
                         Just local, of course.

                                     ROB
                         And the "triumphant return of DJ Rob 
                         Gordon?" "Triumphant?" "Return?"

                                     LAURA
                         I had that idea when I was living 
                         with Ian and it was such a good idea 
                         that I was annoyed we weren't together 
                         anymore.  It might even be why I 
                         came back.

                                     ROB
                         You had no right.  Supposing I was 
                         doing something that couldn't be 
                         cancelled?

                                     LAURA
                         What do you ever do that can't be 
                         cancelled?

                                     ROB
                         That's not the point.  I mean, what 
                         if the single isn't done in time?

                                     LAURA
                         Barry said its done.

                                     ROB
                         Barry?  Barry knows about this?

                                     LAURA
                         Yeah.  His band is playing a set.

               Rob wheels on her.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob and Barry.

                                     ROB
                         Like fuck you are.

                                     BARRY
                         Laura said we could.  If we helped 
                         out with the posters and stuff.  And 
                         we did.  And we are.

                                     ROB
                         I'll give you 10% of the door if you 
                         don't play.

                                     BARRY
                         We're getting that anyway.

                                     ROB
                         What is she doing?  Okay, 20%.

                                     BARRY
                         No.  We need the gig.

                                     ROB
                         110%.  That's my final offer.  I'm 
                         not kidding.  That's how much it 
                         means to me not to hear you play.

                                     BARRY
                         We're not as bad as you think, Rob.

                                     ROB
                         You couldn't be.  Look, Barry.  
                         There's going to be people from 
                         Laura's work there, people who own 
                         dogs and babies and Tina Turner 
                         albums.  How are you going to cope 
                         with them?

                                     BARRY
                         We're not called Barrytown anymore, 
                         by the by.  They got sick of the 
                         Barry/Barrytown thing.  We're called 
                         SDM.  Sonic Death Monkey.

                                     ROB
                         Sonic Death Monkey.

                                     BARRY
                         What do you think?  Dick likes it.

                                     ROB
                         Barry, you're over thirty years old.  
                         You owe it to yourself and your 
                         friends and to your parents not to 
                         sing in a group called Sonic Death 
                         Monkey.

                                     BARRY
                         I owe it to myself to go right to 
                         the edge, Rob, and this group does 
                         exactly that.  Over the edge, in 
                         fact.

                                     ROB
                         You'll be going over the fucking 
                         edge if you come anywhere near me 
                         next Friday night.

                                     BARRY
                         That's what we want.  Reaction.  And 
                         if Laura's bourgeois lawyer friends 
                         can't take it, then fuck 'em.  Let 
                         'em riot, we can handle it.  We'll 
                         be ready.

               Barry wanders off laughing.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT - DAY

               Rob and Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         They'll go on early.  Nobody will 
                         even be there yet and I told them 
                         they can't play for more than a half 
                         hour.

                                     ROB
                         It's no joke.  I'm responsible for 
                         what happens, you know.  Embarrassment 
                         aside, there's a lot of money and 
                         effort in this, at least by my 
                         standards.  I have to put down a 
                         deposit for the room.  I have to pay 
                         the pressing plant for the records, 
                         sleeve them, sticker them --

                                     LAURA
                         We took care of that.

               Rob's brow furrows.

                                     LAURA
                         Barry and Dick and me.  Look in the 
                         bedroom.

               Rob goes to the bedroom door and opens it.  It's sort of 
               like Christmas: hundreds of Kinky Wizards CD singles, 
               painstakingly packaged and stacked on the bed.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         I suddenly feel choked up.  It's not 
                         the money, it's the way she's thought 
                         of everything: one morning I woke up 
                         to find her going through my records, 
                         pulling out things that she remembered 
                         me playing when I deejayed and putting 
                         them into the little carrying cases 
                         that I used to use and put away in a 
                         closet somewhere years ago.  She 
                         knew I needed a kick in the ass.  
                         She also knew how happy I was when I 
                         used to deejay.  From which every 
                         angle I examine it, it still looks 
                         as though she's done all of this 
                         because she loves me.

               CUT BACK TO:

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT

               Rob turns from the bedroom and goes to Laura, putting his 
               arms around her.

                                     ROB
                         I'm sorry I've been acting like a 
                         jerk.  I do appreciate what you've 
                         done for me, and I know you've done 
                         it for the best possible reasons, 
                         and I do love you, even though I act 
                         like I don't.

                                     LAURA
                         That's okay.  You seem pissed off 
                         all the time, though.

                                     ROB
                         I know.  I don't get it.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         But if I had to take a wild guess, 
                         I'd say that I'm pissed because I 
                         know I'm stuck with Laura, bound to 
                         her, and I don't like it.  That dreamy 
                         anticipation you have when you're 
                         fifteen or twenty or thirty even, 
                         that the most perfect person in the 
                         world might walk into your store or 
                         office or friend's party at any 
                         moment... That's all gone, I think, 
                         and that's enough to piss anybody 
                         off.  Laura is who I am now, and 
                         it's no good pretending otherwise...

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob is standing shelves.  A very pretty young woman, CAROLINE, 
               comes through the door and looks around.  She sees Rob.

                                     CAROLINE
                         Excuse me?

               Rob looks up and takes her in like a dish in a window.

                                     ROB
                         May I help you?

                                     CAROLINE
                         I'm looking for Deejay Rob Gordon.

                                     ROB
                         Uh.  That's me.

                                     CAROLINE
                         I'm Caroline Fortis from The Reader.  
                         I want to do a story on you.

                                     ROB
                         Right.  Why?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Well, I used to go to the Dodger on 
                         your nights, and I saw you're doing 
                         it again and that your putting out a 
                         record, and it's sort of a then-and-
                         now story against the backdrop of 
                         the Chicago music scene with the 
                         emphasis on now.

                                     ROB
                         Oh.  Okay.

                                     CAROLINE
                         I thought I would ask you a few 
                         questions if that's okay.

                                     ROB
                         Huh.  You used to come to the club?  
                         I shouldn't have let you in.  You 
                         must have only been about sixteen.

               Rob realizes what he must be sounding like.  He blushes and 
               retreats.

                                     ROB
                         What I mean is, I didn't mean you 
                         look young.  You don't.  You don't 
                         look old either.  You look just as 
                         old as you are.  A bit younger maybe, 
                         but not a lot.  Not much.  Just right.

                                     CAROLINE
                         So.  Is now a good time?

               Rob looks around: there is absolutely nothing going on in 
               the store.  He nods.  She pulls out a pad and pencil.

                                     CAROLINE
                         Right.  So.  You must have an enormous 
                         record collection.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.  I could show it to you if you 
                         want to come over and see it.

               He winces immediately.

                                     CAROLINE
                         Yeah, well... Let's see... What are 
                         you're all-time top five records?

                                     ROB
                         Pardon me?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Your desert island top-five.

                                     ROB
                         Oh boy... In the club, or at home?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Is there a difference?

                                     ROB
                              (a little too shrill)
                         OF COURSE... Well yeah, a bit. "Sin 
                         City" by the Flying Burrito Brothers 
                         is an all-time top five, but I 
                         wouldn't play it at the club.  It's 
                         a country-rock ballad.  Everybody'd 
                         go home.

                                     CAROLINE
                         Nevermind.  Any five.  So four more.

                                     ROB
                         What do you mean, four more?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Well if one of them is this "Sin 
                         City" thing --

                                     ROB
                         Can I go home and work this out and 
                         let you know?  In a week or so?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Look if you can't think of anything, 
                         it doesn't matter.  I'll do one.  My 
                         five favorite from the old days at 
                         the Dodger.

               Rob is aghast, humiliated, quietly outraged.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, I'm sure I can manage something... 
                         "Sin City." "New Rose," by The Damned. 
                         "Hit It and Quit It" by Funkadelic. 
                         "Shipbuilding," Elvis Costello, 
                         Japanese import, no horns, or 
                         different horns, anyway... um... 
                         "Mystery Train" by Elvis Presley...  
                         And... "Spaced Cowboy" by Sly and 
                         the Family Stone.  A bit 
                         controversial, I know, but...

                                     CAROLINE
                         Fine.  That's great.

                                     ROB
                         Is that it?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Well, I wouldn't mind a quick chat, 
                         if you got the time.

                                     ROB
                         Sure, but is that it for the list?

                                     CAROLINE
                         That's five.  So.  Why did you decide 
                         to deejay again?

                                     ROB
                         Well it was a friend's idea, really, 
                         and the record release party seemed 
                         like a good place to do it.  So...
                              (looking over her pad 
                              at the list)
                         I should really put a James Brown in 
                         there --

                                     CAROLINE
                         Nice friend.

                                     ROB
                         Yeah.

                                     CAROLINE
                         What's his name?

                                     ROB
                         Who?  Oh.  My friend.  My friend is 
                         Laura.  A girl.  A friend who's a 
                         girl.

                                     CAROLINE
                         "Music for Old People." What does 
                         that mean?

                                     ROB
                         Look, I'm sorry about this, but I'd 
                         like "the Upsetter" by Lee "Scratch" 
                         Perry, in there.  Instead of "Sin 
                         City."

               She scribbles and writes.

                                     CAROLINE
                         Okay. "Dance Music For Old People?"

                                     ROB
                         Oh, you know... a lot of people aren't 
                         too old for clubs but they're too 
                         old for acid jazz and garage and 
                         ambient and all that.  They want to 
                         hear old funk and Stax and New Wave 
                         and Old School Hip Hop and some new 
                         stuff all together and there's nowhere 
                         for them.

                                     CAROLINE
                         And the new label?  And the Kinky 
                         Wizards?

                                     ROB
                         Oh, well, the Kinky Wizards are -- 
                         you know what?  Why don't I just 
                         make you a tape?

                                     CAROLINE
                         Would you?  Really?  Wow.  I could 
                         have deejay Rob Gordon play in my 
                         own home.

                                     ROB
                         Haha.  Right.  It's no problem.  I 
                         love making tapes.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         A good compilation tape, like breaking 
                         up, is hard to do and takes ages 
                         longer than it might seem.  You gotta 
                         kick off with a killer, to hold the 
                         attention.  Then you have to take it 
                         up a notch, but not blow your wad, 
                         so maybe cool it off a notch, and 
                         you can't put the same artist twice 
                         on the tape, except if some subtle 
                         point or lesson or theme involved, 
                         and even then not the two of them in 
                         a row, and you can't woo somebody 
                         with Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow 
                         Taxi" and then bash their head off 
                         with something like GBH's "City Baby 
                         Attacked by Rats," and... oh, there 
                         are a lot of rules.  Anyway, I worked 
                         hard at this one.

               INT. ROB AND LAURA'S APARTMENT - DAY

               Rob sits Indian-style on the floor in front of the stereo.

               He has a pad of paper with scrawled titles and cross-outs, 
               and is surrounded by piles of CDs and records.

                                     LAURA
                         Who's that for?

               Rob winces, turns.  He's busted.

                                     ROB
                         This?  Oh, just that woman who 
                         interviewed me for The Reader.  Carol?  
                         Caroline?  Something like that.

               Laura turns and walks out of the room.

               INT. RECORD STORE - DAY

               Rob is tucked into the corner, on the phone.

                                     ROB
                         Hi, Caroline... Oh, it's Rob.  Yeah, 
                         listen, I have a new list for you 
                         and -- Oh.  Yes.  Of course...  Well 
                         maybe next week they could print a, 
                         uh, retraction.  Or a correction.  
                         Because the list I have now it really 
                         much more -- right.  Okay.  Anyway, 
                         I have your tape.  That's right.  
                         Shall I mail it to you?  Or... would 
                         you like to have a drink?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ROB IN HIS CHAIR

               Rob to camera.

                                     ROB
                         How are you not going to fall for 
                         someone who wants to interview you?  
                         Now Caroline is all I can think about.  
                         And in the daydreams I imagine every 
                         detail, the entire story of our future 
                         relationship, until suddenly I realize 
                         that there's nothing left to actually, 
                         like, happen.  I've done it all, 
                         lived through it all in my head.  I 
                         know the whole plot, the ending, and 
                         the good parts.  Now I'd have to 
                         watch it all over again in real time, 
                         and where's the fun in that?  And 
                         fucking--when is it all going to 
                         stop?  Am I going to jump from rock 
                         to rock for the rest of my life until 
                         there aren't any rocks left?  Am I 
                         going to bolt every time I get itchy 
                         feet?  Because I get them about once 
                         a quarter, along with the store's 
                         tax bill.  I've been thinking with 
                         my guts since I was fourteen years 
                         old and, frankly speaking, I've come 
                         to the conclusion that my guts have 
                         shit for brains.  You know what's 
                         wrong with Laura, what my problem 
                         is?  What's wrong with Laura is that 
                         I'll never see her for the first or 
                         second or third time.  That's all.  
                         Fuck it.  I'll probably mail the 
                         tape.  Probably.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. NORTH SIDE TAVERN - DAY

               Rob sits at a table in the bar, nervous.  He watches the 
               door, sits up straight when it opens, and follows someone 
               with his eyes, all the way to his table.  She sits.  It's 
               Laura.

                                     LAURA
                         A drinking lunch on a school day.  
                         What a nice surprise.

               Rob says nothing.

                                     LAURA
                         Are you worried about tomorrow night?

                                     ROB
                         Not really.

               He plays with his drink.

                                     LAURA
                         Are you going to talk to me, or shall 
                         I get my paper out?

                                     ROB
                         I'm going to talk to you.

                                     LAURA
                         Right.

               He plays with his drink some more.

                                     LAURA
                         What are you going to talk to me 
                         about?

                                     ROB
                         I'm going to talk to you about whether 
                         you want to get married or not.  To 
                         me.

                                     LAURA
                         Ha ha ha.  Hoo hoo hoo.

                                     ROB
                         I mean it.

                                     LAURA
                         I know.

                                     ROB
                         Oh, well thanks a fucking bunch.

                                     LAURA
                         I'm sorry.  But two days ago you 
                         were in love with that girl who 
                         interviewed you for The Reader, 
                         weren't you?

                                     ROB
                         Not in love, exactly, but...

                                     LAURA
                         Well forgive me if I don't think of 
                         you as the world's safest bet.

                                     ROB
                         Would you marry me if I was?

                                     LAURA
                         No.  Probably not.

                                     ROB
                         Right.  Okay, then.  Shall we go?

                                     LAURA
                         Don't sulk.  What brought all this 
                         on?

                                     ROB
                         I don't know.

                                     LAURA
                         Very persuasive.

                                     ROB
                         Are you persuadable?

                                     LAURA
                         No.  I don't think so.  I'm just 
                         curious about how one goes from making 
                         tapes for one person to marriage 
                         proposals to another in two days.  
                         Fair enough?

                                     ROB
                         Fair enough.

                                     LAURA
                         So?

                                     ROB
                         I'm just sick of thinking about it 
                         all the time.

                                     LAURA
                         About what?

                                     ROB
                         This stuff.  Love and marriage.  I 
                         want to think about something else.

                                     LAURA
                         I've changed my mind.  That's the 
                         most romantic thing I've ever heard.  
                         I do.  I will.

                                     ROB
                         Shut up.  I'm only trying to explain.

                                     LAURA
                         I mean, maybe you're right.  But 
                         were you really expecting me to say 
                         yes?

                                     ROB
                         I dunno.  Didn't think about it, 
                         really.  It was the asking that was 
                         the important thing.

                                     LAURA
                         Well, you've asked.

               She leans over and takes his hands in hers, smiles at him.

                                     LAURA
                         Thank you.

               INT. ARTFUL DODGER - NIGHT

               TWO TURNTABLES

               with the mixer in the middle. "Just Begun" by Jimmy Castor 
               spins on turntable #1.  A hand reaches in, and begins to 
               draw the slides down, quieting the music.

               Rob looks up from behind the deejay table, set up amongst 
               the instruments.  The place is packed with people, and 
               everyone seems to be having a great time.

               Almost everyone -- Rob sees Barry, who pretends to nod off 
               when Rob catches his eye, and Justin, who looks back at him 
               and mocks a bulimic act.  Rob gives him the finger.  He sees 
               Laura, and she beams at him.  He comes to the front of the 
               stage, and taps a microphone.

                                     ROB
                         Uh, thanks for uh, coming out tonight.  
                         I hope you have a good time.  And I 
                         hope you like the record.  The one 
                         by the Kinky Wizards.  The record 
                         that we're having this record release 
                         party for.
                              (hoots from the crowd)
                         Thanks.  Listen to it first, though.
                              (laughs)
                         Okay.  We'll get to that later.  
                         Right now, I'd like to introduce...
                              (mumbles)
                         Sonic Death Monkey.

               Good-natured applause.  Rob steps down and bee-lines to Laura.  
               Barry and his crew mount the stage.  Rob takes a big gulp of 
               beer.

                                     ROB
                              (to Laura)
                         I'm an idiot.  I should have played 
                         the record first.  This place is 
                         about to get burned down.

                                     LAURA
                         It's gonna be fine.  These people 
                         are ready for anything.

                                     BARRY
                              (dubious)
                         Yeah, well...

               Barry stands in front of the mic, surveying the crowd with a 
               smile.  He and the band all wear suits and ties.

                                     BARRY
                         Thanks for the enthusiastic intro, 
                         Rob.  We're not called Sonic Death 
                         Monkey anymore, though, ladies and 
                         gentlemen.  We might be on the verge 
                         of becoming the Atavistics, but we 
                         haven't decided yet.  But tonight, 
                         we are... BARRY JIVE AND THE UPTOWN 
                         FIVE!  ONE TWO THREE --And they launch 
                         into Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It 
                         Up," almost flawlessly faithful to 
                         the original.  Barry is transformed -- 
                         shuffling footwork, a wide smile, 
                         and when the intro winds up, an almost 
                         perfect falsetto.  The crowd goes 
                         nuts, filling the floor.  Rob is 
                         stunned, begins to smile.  Laura 
                         takes his hand and leads him out 
                         into the crowd...

               THE END