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Margot At The Wedding Movie Script

Writer(s) : Noah Baumbach

Genres : Comedy, Drama

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                        MARGOT AT THE WEDDING



                             Written by

                            Noah Baumbach






1   INT. TRAIN CAR - DAY                                          1

    A cashier hands a boy, 13, his change across a counter. The
    boy stuffs the coins in his pocket. He lifts the cardboard
    tray with two hot dogs, a bag of chips, and two Cokes. This
    is Claude.

    We follow him: He carefully carries the meal down the aisle,
    balances it in one hand as he opens the door.

    The train noise blares as he traverses the area between cars.

    He enters the new car repeating the balancing act. He waits
    while a man shoves his back-pack onto the metal rack above
    the seats. Claude hurries a bit more now, his concentration
    alternating between the food and the path.

    He sits next to a brunette woman.   He hands her a hot dog.

                           CLAUDE
              Here.

    He's met by a severe and pinched face. The eyes have black
    circles -- there is a scar above her lip. Claude instantly
    blushes and mumbles:

                           CLAUDE
              Sorry.

    He gets up and hurries a few seats further. He slides next
    to a pretty brunette woman, late 30's, with straight shoulder
    length hair. Her name is Margot.

                        MARGOT
              That was quick.

                        CLAUDE
              I sat next to the wrong person.

                         MARGOT
              Really?   Where?
    She stretches up and peers over the seats.   He grabs her
    shirt.
                        CLAUDE
              Please don't look.    She'll see you.
                        MARGOT
              Careful with my blouse.

                                                             2.


2   CUT TO:                                                       2

    Margot is sleeping, her head against the window. Claude
    listens to his iPod. He takes out the earphones, gets up,
    and walks to the front of the car. Opens the door and goes
    between cars.

    The train roars and screeches. Claude screams.   He stops,
    looks around. He screams again.

3   CUT TO:                                                       3

    Claude and his mother gaze out the dirt streaked window at a
    river. An old castle-like structure emerges from the water.

    Houses are run-down. In the distance there's a power plant.
    Electrical lines crisscross the sky. Claude puts his finger
    against the glass and traces the wires.

                        CLAUDE
              Will the wedding be crowded?

                        MARGOT
              I don't know. I think she doesn't
              know anyone anymore.

                        CLAUDE
              How long has she known Malcolm?

                        MARGOT
              Only a year.

                        CLAUDE
              Is that short?

                        MARGOT
                  (pointedly)
              Would you marry someone you'd only
              known a year?
                        CLAUDE
              I'm not going to ever get married.
                        MARGOT
              I can't say I have a lot of hope
              for the whole thing.
                        CLAUDE
              Why are we going then?

                        MARGOT
              We're supporting her.

                                                               3.


                        CLAUDE
              I thought she wasn't speaking to
              you.

                        MARGOT
              No...no...I wasn't speaking to her,
              but I'm over it.

4   EXT. FERRY DOCK - DAY                                           4

    A ferry is docked. Cars pull up onto the boat. Margot runs,
    clutching a suitcase, holding down a floppy wine colored sun
    hat. Claude hurries alongside her, a bag slung over his
    shoulder.

5   EXT. FERRY - DAY                                                5

    The rumbling and sputtering of the boat.    People get out of
    their cars and stretch their legs.

    Claude leans against the rail and lets the spray hit his
    face. Margot's cell vibrates. The caller ID: HOME. She
    stuffs the phone in her pocket.

                        MARGOT
              Why aren't you wearing your new
              shades?

                        CLAUDE
              I don't think I need them right
              now.

                        MARGOT
              You begged for those glasses.

                        CLAUDE
              I know, but...I will wear them, I
              just feel like people might think
              it's weird that a kid is wearing
              dark shades.
                        MARGOT
              That's ridiculous.
    Claude reluctantly takes out a pair of thin wrap-around punk
    sunglasses and puts them on. He looks around self-
    consciously.
                        MARGOT
              You look very cool.
    He takes them off.

                                                             4.


                        CLAUDE
              I don't need them right now.

6   CUT TO:                                                       6

    Margot and Claude wait.   The ferry has emptied out.

                        CLAUDE
              Do they know we're here?

    A maroon Volvo station wagon peels around a bend and stops
    across the road. Two eyes peer out from just below the
    backseat window. A man, 40, in dumpy cargo shorts rolls down
    the window. He has a small moustache -- he's harried and
    sweaty. This is Malcolm. He points at Margot and Claude.

                        MALCOLM
              Are you...?

7   INT. VOLVO - DAY                                              7

    Malcolm drives. He smokes with the window open. Margot is
    in the passenger seat. In the back, Claude and the girl,
    Ingrid, sit shyly, their hair blows turbulently in the wind.
    Ingrid, 11, wears shorts, sandals, and a batik shirt with a
    panda on it.

                        MALCOLM
              Paul apologizes for not coming,
              she's still getting the house
              ready.

                        MARGOT
              I'm sorry it was such short notice.

                        MALCOLM
              I don't care. Paul's frantic, but
              I don't give a shit. Oh, and
              Ingrid wants me to tell you that
              she made us all bracelets.
                        INGRID
                  (embarrassed)
              No, I wanted...I wanted to wait...
                        MALCOLM
              Oh, I thought you asked me to tell
              them. Anyway...

    Malcolm holds up his wrist and shows a knit blue and orange
    bracelet.

                                                           5.


                    MALCOLM
          I got Knicks colors.

                    INGRID
          They're not Knicks colors!

                    MARGOT
          It's beautiful, Ingrid.

                    INGRID
              (to Claude)
          I made this one for myself.

She shows him the purple and green one around her wrist.

                    INGRID
          Yours is yellow. Is that okay?

                          CLAUDE
          I guess.

                    INGRID
          Where's your dad and Josh?

                    CLAUDE
          They might come later.

                    MARGOT
          Josh's spring break is next week.
          Jim teaches through Friday and then
          they open the house in Vermont on
          the weekend.

                    MALCOLM
              (bluntly)
          It means a lot to Pauline that
          you're here.

Margot nods awkwardly -- she blushes.
                          MARGOT
          Oh.     Good.
A car suddenly pulls out of a driveway, but nowhere near
their car. Malcolm swerves anyway.
                    MALCOLM
          Holy Jesus! Watch it, dicksack!
Ingrid giggles.    Margot clutches the handle above the door.

                                                                 6.


                        MALCOLM
              If you're wondering about the
              moustache --

                        MARGOT
              No, I wasn't.

                        MALCOLM
              I had a full beard   for a while and
              then when I shaved   it I left this
              part for last, you   know to see how
              it looked, and...    It's meant to be
              funny.

    Margot nods politely.   The sound of tires on gravel:

8   EXT. HOUSE - DAY                                                  8

    The trunk slams shut. The Volvo is parked in a driveway
    alongside a grey Colonial house that sits above the water.
    They lift bags. An old mutt ambles toward them.

    Pauline emerges from the house. She's pretty like her
    sister, late 30's. She walks briskly toward them. Margot
    smiles and opens her arms, but Pauline passes her and dips
    down to embrace Claude. She kisses him on the lips.

                        PAULINE
              You're so handsome.

    Now she hugs Margot.    They both tear up.   Claude beams.

                        PAULINE
              I never thought I'd get you here.

    A loud thud. They all turn toward the property fence. A
    large pile of dead flowers and rotting plants has been dumped
    into their yard. There's whispering and movement through
    brush on the other side. Margot looks at Pauline with
    concern.
                        PAULINE
              You're arriving in the midst of a
              drama. Ingrid, make sure Wizard is
              inside.
    Malcolm trudges over to the trash cans.
                        INGRID
              It's the Voglers.

                                                                7.


                        PAULINE
              The neighbors want us to cut down
              our tree.

    She indicates a large oak that extends up and into the
    adjoining property.

                        MARGOT
              No, that's our tree!

                        INGRID
              They think it's sick and rotting
              their property.

                        PAULINE
              We're having the ceremony under it.

                        MARGOT
              You took the swing down.

                        MALCOLM
              Pauline thinks this is their way of
              trying to be friends. I think they
              resent us because we're...

    He searches for the word, but can't come up with anything.
    He says wearily:

                        MALCOLM
              I don't know what we are.

9   INT. CLAUDE'S GUEST ROOM/INGRID'S ROOM - DAY                     9

    Claude sits on the squeaky bed, a yellow bracelet on his
    wrist. An old flip-clock hums on the night-table. A door
    opens onto a bathroom which has another door open onto
    another bedroom.

    Ingrid sits on her bed observing Claude. She holds a
    realistic-looking stuffed rooster in an old-style tuxedo.
                        INGRID
              This is my room.
                         CLAUDE
              Okay.
                        INGRID
              Do you like showers or baths?

                         CLAUDE
              Showers.   What about you?

                                                                8.


     Ingrid shrugs.   She says, already bored with the topic:

                         INGRID
               I don't care.

10   INT. STAIRWELL/MARGOT'S GUEST ROOM - DAY                    10

     Pauline and Margot carry bags up the stairs. Margot now
     wears a knit red bracelet. They're tentative with one
     another.

                         PAULINE
               Is Malcolm what you thought he'd
               be?

                         MARGOT
               Well, I didn't know what to --

                         PAULINE
               The moustache is temporary. He
               left it for last when he was
               shaving. It's meant to be funny.

                         MARGOT
               He told me.

                          PAULINE
               Yeah...

     They enter the guest room. The windows are wide open, the
     curtains blowing, but the room is very neatly made up.

                         PAULINE
               I'm sorry -- with so little time to
               prepare, we had to put you in
               Malcolm's storage room --

                         MARGOT
               This was Becky's room.   Poor Becky.
                         PAULINE
               Yeah, poor Becky. Now it's a
               storage room. I've just started to
               feel like it's our house not my
               parents. You know?
                         MARGOT
               Our parents.

                         PAULINE
               Of course. It might still smell
               like paint, but...

                                                           9.


                     MARGOT
           I thought he was a musician.

Pauline jimmies down the stiff windows. Margot begins to
unpack and hang up clothes in the closet.

                     PAULINE
           Well, music's officially a hobby...
           He's painting now. And writing
           letters to newspapers and
           magazines. He's very meticulous,
           he'll spend up to a week writing a
           response to a music review. He's
           incredibly smart. Maybe too smart.
           I don't know. We're doing very
           well.

                       MARGOT
           Good.    I mean, you must be.

Silence.

                     PAULINE
           I don't know where to begin. What
           can I tell you? It seems I'm
           pregnant, but it's really early
           so... I haven't told anyone. I
           mean, I haven't told Malcolm or
           Ingrid.

                       MARGOT
           Wow...

                     PAULINE
           Yeah, if it sticks. We'll see. I
           hope so. Things are good. We did
           a couples seminar two months ago or
           so in Maine. They give you
           exercises and things to do. I know
           you're not convinced, but...
                     MARGOT
               (vaguely)
           Mm hm.
                     PAULINE
           We got engaged right afterwards.
           The guy who runs it, Strickland,
           wrote a really interesting book
           about loving which I'll lend you if
           you want.

                                                10.


                    MARGOT
              (non-committal)
          Okay.

                    PAULINE
          But only if you'll read it.
          Because I need it back. I made
          notes in the margins.

                    MARGOT
          I may not get to it for a while.

                    PAULINE
          Well, I'm not going to lend it to
          you if you're not going to read it.

They meet eyes.   Pauline quickly turns away.

                    PAULINE
          It's going to be very informal by
          the way. Just Mom and Becky.
          Malcolm's brother. Few friends.
          And now you and Claude. Nothing
          like the first one.

                     MARGOT
              (wary)
          Becky's coming?

                    PAULINE/MARGOT
          She isn't how you.../I'd really
          like...

                     PAULINE
          You go.

                    MARGOT
          I was going to say, "I'd really
          like some white wine."
                    PAULINE
          Oh. Yeah. We have a...
          Well...I'm glad you changed your
          mind and came. I never heard from
          you after I sent the invite...I
          even wondered if you got it.
                    MARGOT
              (quickly)
          Well, I'm so pleased we're here.
                    PAULINE
          Did you get it?

                                                               11.


                         MARGOT
               Yeah.

     Pauline waits for an explanation.

                         MARGOT
               I'm sorry you were so angry...

                         PAULINE
               I wasn't angry. I
               was...disappointed.

                         MARGOT
               Uh huh. But you see when you say,
               "disappointed" it puts me in a
               crummy situation. Like I let you
               down.

                         PAULINE
               But you did in a way.

                         MARGOT
               I don't see it like that.

                          PAULINE
               Fine. I felt betrayed.    Is that
               word okay?

                          MARGOT
               Again, you're making me the
               aggressor.

                          PAULINE
               You were the aggressor.
                   (pause)
               Let's not... I've become a really
               good cook.
11   INT. LIVING ROOM - LATE DAY                                 11
     Malcolm strums his guitar and smokes. Pauline sits at his
     feet with Ingrid and Claude. The kids look at a record
     sleeve. Margot is curled up on the sofa writing in a little
     brown notebook. She wears oval tortoise-shell glasses.

                         MARGOT
               I can't believe you've still got
               all of our old records.
     Ingrid pulls an album toward her. Her eyes widen at the
     scary image on the cover. She quickly turns it over and
     hands it to her mother.

                                                       12.


                    INGRID
          Mom, can you hide this please.

Pauline puts the record sleeve on top of a shelf.

                    PAULINE
              (for Margot's benefit)
          Malcolm played with Ric Ocasek
          once?

                    MALCOLM
          In the late `80's. It was a solo
          gig after he left the Cars.

                    CLAUDE
          So, you're kind of famous.

Malcolm reddens.

                    MALCOLM
          No. No. Believe me, I'm not. I
          used to want to be, but, No. Do
          you want to be famous?

                    MARGOT
          Claude wants to be very famous.

                    MALCOLM
          Well, make sure you can handle
          rejection. I can't. For me,
          expectation just turns to
          disappointment. So, ultimately I'd
          rather not try. It'll all go black
          for us soon enough anyway.

                    PAULINE
          Claude, ignore him.

Pauline sneaks a look at Margot who is watching Malcolm with
an expression of either contempt or confusion. Pauline grows
uncomfortable. She says to Claude:

                    PAULINE
          When your mother moved to New York
          she used to send me books and
          records. She sent me REM's
          Murmur...
                    MARGOT
          And the Pixies.

                                                            13.


                   PAULINE
          And X. She was very cool your
          mother.

                    MARGOT
          You only liked top forty.

                    PAULINE
          Yeah, but I love REM now.

Margot takes off her reading glasses and rubs her eyes.

                    MARGOT
          I don't really listen to music
          anymore.

                    PAULINE
          I was dating that guy, Horace back
          then. Remember him?

                    MARGOT
          Was that the guy who liked to rough
          you up?

                    PAULINE
          No, that was our dad.

Pauline and Margot crack up laughing.   Malcolm raises an
eyebrow at Claude.

                    MARGOT
          Our father used to strip down to
          his skivvies and beat us with a
          belt.

                    MALCOLM
          That man had a sexual screw loose.

                    PAULINE
          It's awful -- that stuff that
          happens to kids. Malcolm was
          fondled by a male baby-sitter.
                    MALCOLM
          Just use that information however
          you want...
                     PAULINE
          Sorry. We're with family.     I
          figured...
Claude looks at Malcolm.   Malcolm doesn't meet his eyes.

                                                              14.


                         PAULINE
               I think Becky got it the worst.

                          MARGOT
               Did she ever. Raped by the horse
               trainer...

     Margot breaks into laughter. Pauline spits her seltzer back
     into the glass. They both laugh hysterically. Tears stream
     down Margot's face. Claude watches.

12   EXT. PATIO - NIGHT                                         12

     Malcolm, Pauline, Margot, Claude and Ingrid sit with a
     homosexual couple, Alan, 40's, and Toby, 30's, and their son,
     Bruce, 8, at an old wooden table eating crab, salad and soup.
     Part of Alan's face is paralyzed.

                         TOBY
               Alan rolled over in bed and looked
               at me and he said I can't feel my
               face. It took three doctors before
               we knew it was Bells Palsy.

                         ALAN
               They say a brush of wind can do it.

                         TOBY
               Feeling is slowly coming back.

                         MALCOLM
               We're all getting older... Which
               is terrible -- I don't care how
               universal it is. I can't remember
               names anymore.

                         MARGOT
               I have that. I blank out on
               certain words now too. Like the
               other day, I couldn't remember the
               word for...
                   (laughs)
               I've forgotten it again. The stuff
               in wine. Sediment! That was it.

                         MALCOLM
               I know that. I was talking more
               about not remembering who was the
               bassist for Motley Cr�e.
     Malcolm lights up a cigarette.   He offers one to Claude who
     shakes his head, No.

                                                            15.


                    PAULINE
          Ingrid, why don't you show Claude
          and Bruce the game trunk.

                    INGRID
          Okay.

Claude reluctantly follows Ingrid and Bruce.      He looks back
longingly at the table of adults.

                     MALCOLM
              (relieved, to himself)
          Mick Mars.

                    MARGOT
          Toby, I think you need to have
          Bruce diagnosed.

                    TOBY
          Margot, I don't want to have this
          conversation with you.

We follow the kids inside.   We hear in the background:

                     MARGOT
          It's vital. If you keep telling
          him he's like everyone else he'll
          wonder why he isn't. He's
          suffering.

                     TOBY
          He's tested very well.    He does B's
          in school.

Claude stops -- his mother and Toby are arguing out the
window. Her eyes meet his for a second -- they make no
connection -- she goes back to Toby.

                    MARGOT
          But, that's how autism works. One
          part of the brain can work fine
          while the other is damaged.
                    ALAN
          We had him diagnosed, Margot.
          Nothing was found wrong.
                    MARGOT
          Did you really, though?
                    TOBY
          I'm...I'm not going to have this
          conversation. I'm sorry.

                                                              16.


     Silence.

                          MARGOT
                I know it must be so difficult for
                you, but I think you have to --

13   INT. KITCHEN - SAME                                          13

     Pauline unloads the plates onto the kitchen counter.   She
     hesitates and exhales a deep, anxious breath.

14   EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT                                           14

     Margot paces while talking on a cell phone in the herb
     garden. She drinks a white wine with ice cubes and smokes a
     joint. The bottle lies at her feet, three-quarters empty.

                          JIM'S VOICE
                What are you doing?

                          MARGOT
                I left you a note.

                          JIM'S VOICE
                Come back. Or meet me in Vermont
                on Saturday.

                           MARGOT
                No...no. The wedding is on
                Saturday. I'm here for that. I
                can't really pull out. How would
                that look?

                          JIM'S VOICE
                You haven't spoken to her in years -
                -

                          MARGOT
                Well, we're speaking now. She is
                my closest friend despite it all...
                You're the one who's been trying to
                get me to call her.
                          JIM'S VOICE
                Did you tell Claude what you're
                doing?
                          MARGOT
                    (suddenly laughing)
                Jim, this guy, Malcolm. He's
                exactly what you'd imagine except I
                think he's clinically depressed.
                          (MORE)

                                                                17.

                         MARGOT (CONT'D)
               Not ugly, but completely
               unattractive. And he has no job.
               The best I can make out is that
               he's a letter writer. I don't
               know, the house looks weird to
               me...she's trying too hard and it's
               kind of a mess...they took down the
               swing...

     Silence on the other end.

                            MARGOT
               Hello?

                         JIM'S VOICE
               You said you weren't a hundred
               percent on this. You said that
               like a week ago. Can I come up
               there?

                         MARGOT
               No. I don't want to see you -- I
               feel happier already having done
               it.

                         JIM'S VOICE
               Really? You feel happier...
                   (silence)
               Please don't tell Claude anything
               please, until we've talked more.

                         MARGOT
               I need to tell him. And we need to
               tell Josh. Did he do his homework?

                            JIM'S VOICE
               Yes.

                         MARGOT
               This is happening and you have to
               get your mind around that.
15   INT. CLAUDE'S GUEST ROOM - NIGHT                             15
     Claude sleeps in bed.    Margot gently touches his face.   She
     whispers:
                         MARGOT
               Are you asleep?

                            CLAUDE
                      (softly)
               Yes.

                                                       18.


                    MARGOT
          Will you remember this?

                       CLAUDE
          Yes.

                    MARGOT
          I just talked to your dad...

Claude's eyes remained closed, but he smiles.

                    MARGOT
          I'm only going to tell you if you
          won't remember.

                       CLAUDE
          Okay.

Margot hesitates.    She changes her mind and says
thoughtfully:

                     MARGOT
          Everyone finds you so funny and
          charming. I always get compliments
          about you.

Margot stands. She catches herself in a warped mirror and
smears some eye make-up off of her face.

                    MARGOT
          Are you having fun?    Is it nice to
          see Pauline?

                    CLAUDE
              (opens his eyes)
          Yeah, I really like her.

                       MARGOT
          Yeah.     She is crazy though.
                    CLAUDE
          In what way?
                    MARGOT
          She's really berserk. Maybe it's
          hormones. You don't notice
          anything different about Pauline?
                       CLAUDE
          No.

                                                             19.


                         MARGOT
               She's pregnant -- she told me. But
               she's keeping it a secret -- I mean
               from Malcolm and even Ingrid.
               Which I think is unforgiveable.
               Now she'll have to marry him.
               What's she planning -- to get
               married and not drink champagne?
               Then she'll just be lying. I guess
               she's afraid she'll miscarry. She
               probably will. I think on some
               level she's ambivalent about the
               marriage and that's why she's not
               telling him.

                         CLAUDE
               Are you stoned, Mom?

                         MARGOT
               Maybe a little.

                         CLAUDE
               I don't like it.

16   INT. MALCOLM AND PAULINE'S ROOM - NIGHT                     16

     Water runs from the bathroom. Malcolm cradles a glass of
     whiskey and stands nude in front of a full length mirror.

                         MALCOLM
                   (shakes his head)
               My scrotum is longer than my penis.

     He turns around and looks at his ass. Pauline walks out of
     the bathroom. She wears mens pajamas, the top open.

                         MALCOLM
               It's sweet how Claude looks up to
               me.
     He waits for a reaction and gets none.

                         MALCOLM
               Margot doesn't seem as crazy as you
               made her out to be.
                         PAULINE
               What she did to Toby and Alan
               tonight didn't seem crazy enough
               for you?
                         MALCOLM
               I guess that seemed pretty crazy.

                                                        20.


                    PAULINE
              (immediately defensive)
          Well, she cares deeply.

                    MALCOLM
          Yeah, she's really worried about
          Bruce.

                    PAULINE
          This has nothing to do with Bruce.
          She thinks everyone is autistic.

Malcolm is about to speak, but instead he halts, paralyzed.

                    PAULINE
          What?

                    MALCOLM
          Nothing, you keep changing your
          position -- I'm just trying to
          figure out if I should agree with
          you or not?

                    PAULINE
          Well, can't she be both, care
          deeply and be crazy? Do people
          have to be all one thing?

                    MALCOLM
          I guess not.

                     PAULINE
          Well, okay...
              (back into it)
          It is nice she came for the
          wedding. She's so pretty, don't
          you think?

                    MALCOLM
              (warily)
          She's attractive.

                    PAULINE
          A little thin maybe...   But it is
          nice she came.
                    MALCOLM
          Let's fuck.

                                                                  21.


17   INT. MARGOT'S GUEST ROOM - SAME                                17

     Margot lies on her front, her hand underneath her. She tries
     to masturbate. The bed creaks. Finally, she flips over and
     gives up. She wears a rubber night-guard in her mouth.

18   EXT. HOUSE - DAY                                               18

     A croquet game in progress. Pauline and Malcolm play Margot
     and Claude. Ingrid lies in the grass singing to herself.
     The dog next to her. Malcolm concentrates -- he carefully
     lines up his shot. Finally, he swings --

     The ball misses the wicket.    He shakes with frustration.

                          MALCOLM
               Fuck it!

     Claude looks through a slit in the wooden fence and into the
     neighbor's yard: A naked man, 40's, crouches. Arms extend
     from below and pull him downward. His ass pokes up over the
     weeds.

                         MARGOT
               Honey, you're up.

     Claude shakes out of his reverie. He walks briskly up to his
     ball and smacks it. It bullets forward and lands just short
     of Pauline's ball.

                         MARGOT
               Claude, don't just whack it.    Think
               about it before you hit.

                          CLAUDE
               Sorry.

     Pauline knocks her ball into Claude's. She holds her ball
     down with her foot and prepares to swing.
                         MALCOLM
               Paul, what are you doing?
                         PAULINE
               I'm sending Claude's ball into the
               bushes.
                         MALCOLM
               Take the extra hit.

                         PAULINE
               I don't want to do that.

                                                         22.


                    MALCOLM
          It's the smarter play.

She whacks -- Claude's ball travels about two feet.

                       PAULINE
          Shit.

                    MALCOLM
          Pauline! See, I knew you
          couldn't... Your feet are too
          small!

Margot steps up to take her turn.   She regards the house.

                    MARGOT
          You took the awnings down.

Claude looks back into the adjacent yard: Flashes of skin. A
breast. Pubic hair. Claude crouches to see more clearly --
the bodies disappear from sight.

Malcolm draws a deep breath and takes a few practice strokes.
He swings -- his ball rockets past Margot's, rolls up over a
ridge and onto the cement drive. It quickly sails down into
the road and bounces into a ditch.

Malcolm shakes furiously. He lifts his mallet, turns toward
the house, rethinks momentarily, and hurls it up over the
incline and down to the water. Pauline puts her hands on her
hips.

                       PAULINE
          Well done.

                       MALCOLM
          Fuck you.

Malcolm hesitates then tramps down the stairs to the beach.
Claude watches the pink of flesh moving up and down.

                    MARGOT
          Honey, you're up.
He approaches his ball and smacks it toward the double
wickets.
                    MARGOT
          You're going the wrong way.
                       CLAUDE
          Oh.

                                                                23.


     He blushes and laughs.    Pauline laughs.   Margot shakes her
     head.

                            MARGOT
               So stupid.

                         CLAUDE
               Mom, I'm sorry. Jesus.

     Margot places her mallet down and starts toward the house.

                         CLAUDE
               We're in the middle of it.

                         MARGOT
               This is why I hate games.    I hate
               what it does to me.

     Pauline cackles loudly. Margot turns around and stares at
     her. Malcolm calls from the stairs:

                         MALCOLM (O.S.)
               Wait, we're not finished!

19   EXT. PATIO - DAY                                                19

     The five eat a salad nicoise lunch.

                         MARGOT
               Malcolm, do you notice how Pauline
               sometimes can't make eye-contact.
               How her gaze hovers just above your
               head.

                         MALCOLM
               Yeah, I kind of know what you mean.

                         MARGOT
               I always think I have something in
               my hair. It's not necessarily bad,
               Paul. It's just something you do.

     Pauline looks mildly horrified.   She suddenly turns to
     Claude.
                         PAULINE
               Claude have you ever seen your
               mother climb a tree?

                            CLAUDE
               No.

                                                                24.


                          MARGOT
               We don't have much opportunity in
               Manhattan.

                         PAULINE
               As kids Margot climbed everything.
               She could even climb that tree.

     She points at the tall oak that stretches over the fence into
     the neighbor's property.

                         CLAUDE
               Can you do it, mom?

                         MARGOT
               Maybe later.

                          CLAUDE
               No, now.

                         INGRID
               Do it now, Margot!

                         PAULINE
               Show him, Margot.

20   CUT TO:                                                       20

     Margot strides toward the tree.   The group follows behind.

     She grabs hold of a branch and lifts herself.

     Claude grins, impressed.

     With brisk dexterity, Margot scales the tree.

     Claude, Pauline, Malcolm and Ingrid watch with glee from
     below.

                         PAULINE
               I told you.
     Margot reaches a perch near the top and looks down at the
     gang. They wave. She waves back.
     The sun is hot. She sweats, flushed. She takes a deep
     breath and relaxes against the bark. Trees for miles. The
     neighbors' house is faded and grey. In the far distance,
     toxic white smoke comes out into the sky.

     An earwig walks across her arm. She flicks it off, slips for
     a moment and catches herself. Her breathing grows more
     rapid.

                                                                25.


     A bug buzzes around her head.   She swats at it.

     Her family has stopped watching. Claude and Malcolm throw a
     baseball. Pauline's gone back inside. Ingrid clears the
     table.

                         MARGOT
                   (under her breath)
               Shit.

     She wipes her face, her shirt is almost entirely soaked.    The
     buzzing continues.

     Close on Margot's ear. A small black gnat lands on the lip
     of the lobe. It hesitates and darts inside the hole.

     Margot gasps.   She jams her pinky in her ear.

     Pauline comes back out with an ice tea.

                         CLAUDE
               What's she doing now?

                         PAULINE
                   (dryly)
               She's stuck.

21   CUT TO:                                                      21

     A young volunteer fireman climbs a long ladder up the side of
     the tree and toward Margot. He reaches out his hand to her.

                         MARGOT
                   (annoyed)
               I got it.

     She slowly lowers herself.

22   INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY                                       22
     Pauline is laughing, recounting the story. Claude and Ingrid
     laugh too. Margot shakes her head, embarrassed and furious.
                         CLAUDE
               You were great on the way up.
                         MARGOT
               Don't patronize me, Claude.
     Margot turns her head to the side and pats on the top of it.
                         PAULINE
               We're all laughing, Margot.

                                                               26.


                           MARGOT
                You're laughing in a kind way.
                Claude is taking too much pleasure
                out of it.

                            CLAUDE
                I am not.

                           MARGOT
                You are. You like to make fun of
                me. To see me get embarrassed.
                It's mean.

     Silence.   Margot puts her pinky back in her ear.   She frowns.

                          PAULINE
                What are you doing?

                          MARGOT
                I've got a fucking bug in my ear,
                okay?

23   EXT. FOREST - DAY                                           23

     Pauline and Margot hike along a dirt trail. Claude and
     Ingrid idle behind, carrying walking sticks.

                           PAULINE
                I thought Claude could hand out
                programs. Ingrid's going to sing.
                Do you want to read a poem or
                something?

                          MARGOT
                You know I can't speak in front of
                people. I'm doing this
                "conversation" at the bookstore in
                town on Friday and I totally regret
                having said I'd do it.
                          PAULINE
                You're doing a "conversation?"
                          MARGOT
                Yeah, talking about my work in
                front of a crowd. I didn't invite
                you because...I thought it'd be
                boring.

                            PAULINE
                Uh huh.

                                                        27.


                      MARGOT
          What?    Say it.

                     PAULINE
          It's nothing. It's just...I would
          come...I want to come. I get a
          kick out of it. It's just weird,
          you know... So, you're not here
          for...
               (she stops herself)
          Okay, I get it. When did they ask
          you?

                    MARGOT
          A while ago. I'd said, No, but
          then when I was coming here anyway
          and...I guess it helps sales
          and...so...so.

                      PAULINE
          I see.

We catch a quick glimpse of people walking ahead in the path.

                    PAULINE
          Did I tell you, Becky got her tubes
          tied.

                    MARGOT
          Why? Is she seeing someone?   She's
          still obese, I assume.

                    PAULINE
          I think it's symbolic.

                     MARGOT
          I bet mom paid for it.   We should
          audit mom.

                    PAULINE
          I considered it in my twenties.
          You know, when I was fucking
          everyone. You remember.
                    MARGOT
          I did my share.
                    PAULINE
          But not like me.

                    MARGOT
          You want to count?

                                                         28.


                    PAULINE
          No, Margot, I don't want to count.
              (pause)
          What was it about Dad that had us
          fucking so many guys?

                    MARGOT
          I think it was the only time we
          could really feel unselfconscious
          and get out of our heads.

                    PAULINE
              (dismissive)
          I don't think that's it. I just
          think it was something we were good
          at.

Behind, Ingrid smacks her walking stick into Claude's.

                    INGRID
          Your mom thinks Bruce is gay.

                    CLAUDE
          No, she said she had Aspergers.

                    INGRID
          I thought that's what that means.

                    CLAUDE
          No, it's like lesser retarded.

                    INGRID
          I have adult ADD.

                    CLAUDE
          You mean child ADD.

                    INGRID
          No, for some reason I have the
          adult one. Maybe I'm retarded.
Up ahead -- in the path -- is a couple, 40's, with a six year
old girl. The back of the man's pants are smeared with dirt
and the woman is packed into acid washed jeans. The little
girl whines and lags behind.
Margot and Pauline slow down.   Claude and Ingrid catch up.
                     MAN
          Come on!
                    LITTLE GIRL
          I don't want to!

                                                        29.


                     MAN
          Come on!

                    LITTLE GIRL
          I don't want --

The woman grabs the girl harshly by the arm and pulls her.
The girl screams.

                     MARGOT
          Hey!

The man and woman turn around sharply.

                    MARGOT
          Be careful!

                     WOMAN
          What?

                    MARGOT
          Be careful the way you pull on that
          child's arm. You'll take it out of
          its socket.

                    MAN
          Don't tell us how to treat our
          child.

                    MARGOT
          I don't care how you treat your
          child as long as you don't hurt
          him.

                    PAULINE
              (under her breath)
          It's a girl.

                    WOMAN
          She threw a rock at me.
                    MARGOT
          She's a little girl!
                    WOMAN
          She knew what she was doing.
She starts suddenly toward Margot.
                    WOMAN
          There is no hitting in our family.
          Do you understand?

                                                                   30.


     Margot backs up quickly.    The woman stops about ten feet
     away.

                         WOMAN
               Stay out of it, bitch.

     The woman turns back around. She lifts the girl into her
     arms and they trudge over the incline and out of sight.

                         INGRID
               That was the Voglers.

                         PAULINE
               Jesus, Margot, what are you doing.
               They already hate us.

                         MARGOT
                   (wiping her eyes)
               Don't tell me what I can and can't
               do. That's child abuse.

                         CLAUDE
               Mom, she was psychotic.

                         MARGOT
               Stop picking on me.    Everyone.

24   CUT TO:                                                         24

     The four of them emerge into a clearing.     Nobody speaks.    A
     child's pink sneaker lies in the path.

                         MARGOT
               Oh God.

     Pauline walks over to it.    She crouches.

                         PAULINE
               It could be anyone's.
     Margot bursts into tears.    Pauline hesitates then holds her.

                         INGRID
               What are they going to do to us?
                         PAULINE
               They're not going to do anything,
               honey.

25   EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY                                          25
     Malcolm looks at Pauline. He's in the midst of writing a
     letter on a legal pad. Pauline is worked up.

                                                         31.


                    PAULINE
          We have to cut down that tree.

                    MALCOLM
          Where are we going to get married
          then?

                    PAULINE
          I don't...we'll do it in the
          fucking drive-way if we have to.

Claude and Ingrid listen from just inside the house.   Ingrid
looks at Claude nervously.

                    INGRID
          Your mom started a war. We have to
          make sure we wear shoes because
          they might start throwing glass.

                    CLAUDE
          Has that happened before?

                    INGRID
          I can't remember. I think so. No,
          it definitely has. Now I remember.

Behind them, Margot, made-up and wearing a dress, clomps down
the stairs, across the carpet and onto the porch.

                    PAULINE
          Where are you going?

                    MARGOT
              (tersely)
          To town. I'll be back for dinner.

                    PAULINE
          Come on, nobody blames you, Margot.

An old orange BMW idles at the end of the driveway. Pauline,
Malcolm, Claude and Ingrid watch Margot cross the drive-way.
A man, 50's, opens the passenger door. He smokes a brown
cigarette. Margot gets in. The man waves at the group on
the patio. Pauline, Malcolm and Ingrid and Claude wave back.
                    CLAUDE
          Is that Dick Koosman?
                     PAULINE
          Yeah.   He has a house up here.

                                                              32.


                         CLAUDE
               What's he doing with mom?

                         PAULINE
               Good question.

26   EXT. HOUSE - DAY                                              26

     Ingrid sits at the roots of the tree, squeezing honey out of
     a honey bear onto her hand -- she watches the ants come.
     Claude sits on a low branch and looks over the fence:

                         INGRID
               How much do your parents make in a
               year?

                         CLAUDE
               I think about a hundred.    They bank
               at Chase.

     The front door of the Vogler's opens and a boy, 14, pees from
     the entrance-way into the plants in the yard.

                         INGRID
               Are they rich?

                          CLAUDE
               No.   They're middle class.

     The boy finishes and violently hurls a toy car at the fence.

                         BOY
               Just let me live!

     The toy lands a few feet short.   He goes inside and closes
     the door.

                         INGRID
               Upper or lower?
                         CLAUDE
               I think just middle.
     Claude watches: Malcolm scurries around the side of the
     Vogler house holding a dead mole by its tail. He stumbles,
     recovers and flings the animal at the front door.   He races
     back toward his property.
27   EXT. PORCH - EVENING                                          27

     Margot and Malcolm have cocktails. Pauline drinks a bottled
     water. Ingrid has cray pas, markers and paper and draws at a
     table. She draws a mole.

                                                           33.

Claude draws a boy with a big claw for a hand and CLAWED
under it. Wizard, the dog, lies at his feet.

                    MARGOT
          Dick and his daughter asked us over
          to swim tomorrow.

                    PAULINE
          We didn't invite them to the
          wedding.

                    MARGOT
          You're not really friends.

                    PAULINE
          We're friends enough that's it's
          awkward. Maisy baby-sits for us
          all the time.

                    MARGOT
          He's doing the interview with me in
          town on Friday. Did I tell you, he
          and I are collaborating on a
          screenplay, an adaptation of one of
          Dick's novels.

                    PAULINE
          No, I didn't even know you knew he
          was up here.

Malcolm takes one of Ingrid's markers and doodles.

                    MALCOLM
          Is he even a good writer?    Why do
          people care about him?

                    PAULINE
          You're competitive with everyone.
          It doesn't matter if they even do
          the same thing as you.
              (to Claude)
          He's competitive with Bono.

                    MALCOLM
          It's true. I don't subscribe to
          the credo that there's enough room
          for everyone to be successful. I
          think there are only a few spots
          available and people like Dick
          Koosman and Bono are taking them
          up.

Pauline looks at Malcolm's drawing.    It's a graphic image of
a man fucking a woman in the ass.

                                                                34.


                          PAULINE
               Malcolm, what would ever make you
               think that's something to draw
               right now?

     Claude and Ingrid stare at it.    Malcolm balls it up.

                         MALCOLM
               Sorry, I wasn't thinking about it.
               Sorry, Margot.

28   INT. VOLVO - DAY                                               28

     The car pulls into a driveway.    A modern house.   Dick and
     Maisy come out to greet them.

                         DICK
               You found it!

     Margot, the kids and Pauline get out. We stay in the car
     with Malcolm. Pauline comes to his window.

                            PAULINE
               What's up?

                         MALCOLM
               I don't want to do this...

                         PAULINE
               Come on, don't be that way.

     Maisy sits on the hood of the car and Ingrid introduces her
     to Claude. Dick approaches Margot -- she turns back to
     Pauline.

                         MALCOLM
               I'm not being that way -- I just
               don't feel like it. I'm going to
               go back and... I have work to do.
                         PAULINE
               Dick doesn't care that you don't
               make any money.
                         MALCOLM
               Is that why you think... That's
               not why I'm...I just hate swimming.
               I really hate it. It's disgusting
               to me. My mistake was saying I'd
               do it to begin with. You have fun.
                         PAULINE
               Fine, we'll have fun.

                                                                35.


     Malcolm's gaze goes to Maisy's breasts.    Margot watches him
     watch her.

                         MALCOLM
               People always pee in the pool.

                         PAULINE
               I don't think Dick and Maisy pee in
               their pool.

                         MALCOLM
               I'll bet you 500 dollars there's
               pee in that pool.

29   EXT. DICK'S POOL - DAY                                       29

     Pauline and Margot float beneath Claude who stands above
     them.

                         PAULINE
               To the end and back.   Claude, you
               say Go.

                         CLAUDE
               Okay.

     Margot knocks on the side of her head with her hand.

                         CLAUDE
               Go!

     Pauline flings herself in and is off. Margot hesitates then
     follows. Maisy and Dick watch from the chairs. Ingrid
     floats on a raft and cheers. Claude runs along the pool-
     side.

                         DICK
               How's your dad?

                         CLAUDE
               Good.
                         DICK
               He and I shared a thesis advisor at
               Stanford. Did you know that?
                         CLAUDE
               No.
     Pauline hits the far wall with her palm and flips around.
     Margot stops short and follows her sister. They're neck and
     neck. Their arms cut in and out of the water.

                                                               36.


                     DICK
           I was dating your mom back then,
           did you know that?

                      CLAUDE
           No.

Pauline lands -- touches the wall first.    Margot a close
second.

                     CLAUDE
           Pauline wins!

Pauline beams. Margot immediately drifts to the ladder.
She's panting heavily.

                     CLAUDE
           Mom cheated. You didn't touch the
           wall!

                     MARGOT
           I did so. It doesn't matter.     I
           lost anyway.

                     PAULINE
           It was close.

Pauline floats on her back, exhausted.

Ingrid swims beneath Claude -- long strands of hair stream up
from beneath the surface.

Margot gets out of the water and Dick wraps her in a towel.
For a moment it's an embrace. Margot looks quickly over at
Claude --

His foot slips.

He topples in.
Water roars around him.

He opens his mouth.   Bubbles spurt out.
He drifts down.
Lying next to the drain is a field mouse.       Its eyes are
white.

Splash.   Hands wrap around him.
He goes up.

                                                                37.


     The sounds of wind and blurry voices now clearer.

     Pauline brings Claude to the surface and pushes him to the
     ladder. She helps him climb out. Ingrid and Maisy are
     grinning. Their expressions slowly shift as they see
     Claude's face.

     Claude is sobbing.

                            PAULINE
               It's okay.

     Margot immediately wrenches Claude from Pauline's grasp.    She
     looks shocked and angry.

                            MARGOT
               I got him.

     She leads her son behind the bushes out of everyone's sight.

                         MARGOT
               It's okay, my baby.

     She gently lets him down. His sneakers squeak and slosh.
     Claude, soaking wet and ashamed, looks at his mother. She
     breaks into laughter. Claude wipes the water and tears from
     his eyes.

                         CLAUDE
               I'm sorry I laughed about the tree.

                         MARGOT
               Now we're even.

30   INT. PAULINE AND MALCOLM'S DEN - DAY                         30

     Margot, reclining on the couch, drinks a white wine with ice
     cubes. Pauline passes the doorway and stops. She holds tear-
     sheets of flowers and wedding decorations from various
     magazines.
                         PAULINE
               Here you are.
                         MARGOT
               You've got a problem.
                         PAULINE
               What do you mean?

                         MARGOT
               I don't like the girl and I don't
               like the way Malcolm looks at her.

                                                       38.


                    PAULINE
          Oh, come on, it's sexy.

                    MARGOT
          You didn't see it. I saw it.
          You've got a problem.

                    PAULINE
          I'm not worried.
              (pause)
          We could teach Claude how to swim.

                    MARGOT
          He won't want to do it.   It's too
          late.

Pauline waits for more -- nothing comes. She takes a couple
steps into the room. She holds out her hand for the glass.
Margot passes it to her. Pauline sips.

                    MARGOT
          Are you supposed to be doing that?

                     PAULINE
          No.

She hands it back.

                    PAULINE
          I liked your last story in, was it
          Harpers? The one about mom. I was
          very...I liked it very much.

                    MARGOT
          It wasn't really about mom.

                    PAULINE
          I thought it was. Anyway. Why
          don't you want Claude to know how
          to swim?
                    MARGOT
          I didn't say I didn't want him to.
          Why do you care? It's not in his
          life -- we're New Yorkers. If he
          wants to learn when he's older, he
          can. I'm curious why you're so
          interested in the whole thing.
                    PAULINE
          I'm not. I'm just... As a safety
          thing and...I'm... Forget it.
              (pause)
                    (MORE)

                                                             39.

                         PAULINE (CONT'D)
               It's interesting -- this is the
               first time Dick has invited us
               over.

                         MARGOT
               But are you really friends?

                         PAULINE
               Kind of. We're neighbors. We
               employ Maisy. I mean I don't care,
               I just think it's interesting.
                   (pause)
               Are you excited about the talk? I
               thought I'd come if that's okay.
               My friend, Agnes, asked me, "What's
               it like to have a celebrity as a
               sister?" I said, I've got no
               problem with celebrity. Alice
               Munro taught at Bennington and was
               kind of a friend of mine.

                         MARGOT
               I'm not a celebrity.

                         PAULINE
               Well, you're well known.

                         MARGOT
               To a very few people.

                         PAULINE
               Just accept the compliment.

                         MARGOT
               I guess I didn't realize it was a
               compliment.

31   EXT. FOREST - LATE DAY                                     31

     Margot walks the path alone. She hugs herself as a light
     breeze kicks up. Her footsteps echo in the trees.
     The little pink sneaker still lies in the dirt.
     She crouches down and takes it.
32   CUT TO:                                                    32
     CLOSE: A note is being written.

     "...and if you are acting with any sort of abuse toward your
     child I will call the police."

                                                               40.


     The word "any" is then underlined twice.   The page is torn
     from her little brown book.

33   EXT. VOGLER HOUSE - EVENING                                   33

     Margot's fist is raised about to knock on the front door.
     She stops herself. She puts the note on the Welcome mat and
     holds it in place with the child's shoe. She wanders around
     to the back of the house. She looks into a lighted window:

     It's a white tiled bathroom.

     A wet brown animal body covered in clear plastic is balanced
     on the sink. Mr. Vogler tears into the plastic. The carcass
     is butterflied open exposing the innards and ribs.

     Mrs. Vogler runs the tub. She pours salt from a box in the
     water. The man slides his hand in her waist-band. She rubs
     against him.

     Margot chews her cuticle.

     The man saws the legs. His arm jerks back and forth,
     straining to cut through the bone. Sweat pours down his
     temples.

     Margot raises her hand to her face and presses against the
     window. She peers through her fingers. The blade pierces
     the bone with a violent release and the hoof falls to the
     floor.

     Margot moves to another window.   The pig's face now looks at
     her.

     Blood drips and leaks into the crevices of the tile. The
     woman brandishes a syringe filled with an orange liquid.

     Suddenly a face appears in the glass. Margot leaps back.
     It's a thin boy. He says something. The family turns to the
     window. The father flicks off the bathroom light.
     From inside Margot illuminates like an apparition.
     Margot scampers into the trees.   She pushes through branches,
     her shirt tears. She runs.
34   INT. CLAUDE'S GUEST ROOM - EVENING                            34
     Claude sits on the bed. The record sleeve from Blondie's
     "Parallel Lines" rests in his lap. He reads the lyrics to
     the song, "Sunday Girl." He depresses the red record button
     on an old portable tape recorder. He sings a cappella and
     full voice, passionately, as sweetly as he can.

                                                              41.


     Maisy appears in the doorway and watches.   Claude turns mid-
     lyric. He jumps, startled.

                            MAISY
               Singing?

     Fumbling, Claude shuts off the tape recorder.

                            CLAUDE
               Hm?     A bit.

     She drifts into the room and hovers closely above Claude who
     remains on the bed.

     Margot passes by in the hallway, disheveled from her escape.
     She watches: Maisy takes the lyric sleeve from Claude's
     hands. Her T-shirt hangs above her waist showing her smooth
     stomach.

                         MAISY
               Can I make a suggestion?

                            CLAUDE
               Uh huh.

                         MAISY
               You should get underarm deodorant.

                            CLAUDE
               Uh huh.

                         MAISY
               You kind of smell.

     Claude blushes.

                         MAISY
               Better I tell you than someone
               else.
35   INT. MARGOT'S BATHROOM - EVENING                           35

     Margot puts on mascara and watches Claude, who stands behind
     her, in the mirror.
                         MARGOT
               I think you smell nice.    You smell
               real.

                            CLAUDE
               I stink.

                                     42.


          MARGOT
It causes cancer.

          CLAUDE
Underarm deodorant?

          MARGOT
Yes. It's got chemicals and things
that are extremely harmful.

          CLAUDE
I'm not going to die from underarm
cancer.

           MARGOT
No, you'll get it somewhere else.
Like your stomach or your
testicles.

           CLAUDE
    (laughs)
Testicles.

          MARGOT
Don't laugh, that's a serious
thing.
Who told you this, anyway? Maisy?

          CLAUDE
Yeah.

          MARGOT
I hope you're not interested in
that girl. I find her
insufferable.

          CLAUDE
What does that mean?

          MARGOT
It means I can't suffer her. She's
loud and stupid. She goes on about
things of which she knows nothing
about.
          CLAUDE
She got into Harvard early.
          MARGOT
Stupid people get into Harvard
early all the time.

                                                             43.


                         CLAUDE
               Where did you go again?

                         MARGOT
               Barnard.
                   (pause)
               I just don't think you should do
               anything with her.

                         CLAUDE
                   (embarrassed)
               We're just friends.

                         MARGOT
               If you do, use a condom.

     Claude looks into the toilet. A square of toilet paper with
     a red lip outline floats on top of the water.

                         CLAUDE
               Where are you going?

                         MARGOT
               Out with Paul and Malcolm and Dick.

                         CLAUDE
               Are kids coming?

36   INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT                                  36

     Claude's POV through the window: Dick and Margot in the back
     seat of the Volvo. Malcolm and Pauline the front. The
     ignition turns.

     Claude leaves the window. We hear the car rumble away.
     Claude and Ingrid sit on the couch, hamburgers in front of
     them. Maisy is cross-legged on Wizard's dog bed and chews a
     stalk of celery.

                         INGRID
               Who do we know who's gay?
                         MAISY
               How do I know what gay people you
               know.
                         CLAUDE
               Alan and Toby.
                            INGRID
               And Bruce.     He's gay and Aspergers.

                                                      44.


                    CLAUDE
          I don't know if Bruce is gay.

                    INGRID
          He might be, it's very common.

                    CLAUDE
          Your mom is pregnant.

                    INGRID
          No she isn't.

                       CLAUDE
          She is.

Ingrid looks stricken.

                    MAISY
          How do you know that, Claude?

                    CLAUDE
          She told my mom. But you can tell -
          - she's hormonally weird.

                    MAISY
          Holy shit, Ingrid you're going to
          have a baby sister or brother.

                    INGRID
              (quietly)
          My mom thinks your mom is
          unreliable.

                       CLAUDE
          Who cares.

But he does. Claude bites into his burger. His eyes fix on
the crease between Maisy's breasts. Maisy says to Claude:

                    MAISY
          Do you think your mom is fuckable?
                    CLAUDE
          I don't know.
                    MAISY
          I think she's hot, your mother.
          I'd do her if I was gay. I might
          anyway. I mean if she came on to
          me.
                       CLAUDE
          She won't.

                                                               45.


                         INGRID
               I'm not going to do anyone.

     There's a scraping sound on the window.   The kids turn
     quickly:

                         CLAUDE
               What was that?

                         INGRID
               Is it scary?

37   EXT. FIELD - NIGHT                                          37

     The three kids lie in the grass and watch through the slats
     in the fence: The Vogler family eats at an outdoor table. A
     pig turns on a spit over a smoky barbecue. Mrs. Vogler says
     something and the kids and Mr. Vogler laugh.

     Maisy climbs over Claude to see better. He feels her breasts
     press against his back. Suddenly he swats crazily at his
     ear. Ingrid is poking him with a blade of grass.

38   INT. VOLVO - NIGHT                                          38

     Malcolm drives quickly with Pauline next to him. He's
     smoking with the window open, Dick and Margot in the
     backseat.

                         PAULINE
               Margot used to never speak. I
               remember when we went on a double
               date in high school, that kid Ron
               asked you if English was your first
               language.

                         MARGOT
               It's true. I used to think I might
               have some kind of brain defect.
                         PAULINE
               You thought you were aphasic.
                         MARGOT
               I'm still not sure.
                         PAULINE
               Oh, Jesus, Margot.
                         MARGOT
               It's very possible, Paul.

                                                        46.


                    PAULINE
          I just...your diagnoses sometimes
          irk the hell out of me.

Malcolm lights another cigarette -- the car jerks sideways.

                    MARGOT
          Malcolm, can you slow down.

                    MALCOLM
          What?

                    DICK
          I can drive if you like.

                    MALCOLM
          No, you got dinner, the driving's
          on me.

                    DICK
          Well, I'll let you pay your half if
          you'll slow down.

                    MALCOLM
          Well, neither Pauline or I ordered
          dessert.

                    PAULINE
          Malcolm, let it go.
              (taunting)
          Margot would insist on driving if
          she knew how.

                     MARGOT
               (to Dick)
          My license elapsed.   But I know
          how.

                    MALCOLM
          It's probably for the best. I have
          this theory, I think, historically,
          women have been held back in so
          many ways that when they get power,
          like they do behind the wheel, they
          can't help but abuse it. It's akin
          to Hannah Arendt's Eichmann theory
          about prison guards and prisoners
          switching rolls.
                    DICK
          That's a charming philosophy.

                                                           47.


                     MARGOT
          Yeah.   Tell that one a lot.

                    MALCOLM
          This isn't a blanket thing. I
          mean, women can be great drivers
          too...

He takes a long satisfied drag on his cigarette.

                    PAULINE
          Said the man with the moustache
          that he thinks he's wearing in
          quotes.

                    MARGOT
          It's meant to be funny.

                    MALCOLM
              (to Pauline, re: Margot)
          Are you doing this for her benefit
          or mine?

Malcolm pumps the brake.

                    MALCOLM
          What the fuck?

                      PAULINE
          What?

                    MALCOLM
              (momentarily sober)
          No, there they go. Okay. It's
          fine. I thought I had no brakes
          for a minute...

Malcolm pitches his cigarette out the window -- it flies
through Margot's window and lands on her lap.
                      MARGOT
          Malcolm!
Dick grabs the lit butt and chucks it in the road.
                    MALCOLM
              (turning around)
          What?!

The car swerves again -- everyone jumps.
                      MARGOT
          Watch it!

                                                              48.


                         MALCOLM
               It's fine, Margot!

                         PAULINE
                   (to Malcolm)
               You're just so incompetent.

                         MALCOLM
                   (exploding)
               Why don't you fucking drive
               yourselves home!

     Malcolm screeches the vehicle over to the shoulder.   They
     jolt to a stop.

                         PAULINE
                   (quietly furious)
               Oh, God.

     Pauline opens the door and staggers toward the brush. She
     leans against a tree and looks like she might vomit. Malcolm
     watches in the rearview mirror.

                         MARGOT
               You should go after her.

     Malcolm sighs heavily and gets out of the car. Margot and
     Dick watch out the back window. Pauline sees Malcolm coming
     and bolts into the woods. Malcolm charges after her.

                         DICK
               Come back with me tonight.

                         MARGOT
               I've got Claude.

                         DICK
               Come on, I've been trying to get
               you up here all year.
                         MARGOT
                   (vaguely)
               She's pregnant.
     Dick leans over to Margot's neck.    He licks her.
39   INT. INGRID'S ROOM - NIGHT                                   39
     Claude lies in bed with Ingrid. He chews off a piece of his
     pinky fingernail. He hesitates and places it on an end-
     table.

                                                       49.


                    INGRID
          Why are you putting that there?

                    CLAUDE
          I just want to keep it.

                    INGRID
          I left a piece of skin in a movie
          theater once so it could watch
          movies all its life.

                    CLAUDE
          I don't know if it's the same
          thing.

                    INGRID
          Are you obsessed with Maisy?

                     CLAUDE
          No.

                    INGRID
          You're always staring at her tits.

Ingrid traces Claude's upper lip with her finger.

                    INGRID
          You have a moustache.

                    CLAUDE
          My mom bleaches it.

                    INGRID
          I'm going to kiss your cheek and
          then you kiss mine.

                    CLAUDE
          I don't want to do that.

                     INGRID
          Why not?
                    CLAUDE
          Because it's pointless...
Claude hears footsteps creak downstairs. He goes to the door
and peers out: Pauline and Malcolm, a little disheveled and
dirty, climb the stairs. Neither speaks. Malcolm goes into
the hall bathroom. Pauline into their room. Running water
groans through the old pipes.

                                                              50.


                         INGRID
               Where are you going? I thought we
               were having a conversation.

                         CLAUDE
               You're starting to annoy me.

40   INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS                                    40

     Claude walks -- he passes an open door: Malcolm is shaving
     his moustache -- the electric razor whirring.

41   INT. MARGOT'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS                              41

     Claude enters.   It's empty. Her brown notebook rests on the
     bedside table.   He hesitates then opens it:

     It's packed with writing -- a nearly indecipherable cursive
     in black ink. The name Claude can be made out on the page.

     Claude takes the book and climbs up into bed. He nestles
     against the pillow and squints to read the writing.

                         MARGOT (O.S.)
               What are you doing?

     Claude startles.   Margot stands in the doorway with a glass
     of water.

                         CLAUDE
               I didn't think you came home.

                         MARGOT
               Where would I be?

                         CLAUDE
               Can't Josh and Dad come to the
               wedding?

                         MARGOT
               We've been through this.    Go to
               bed.
     Claude slides down to the floor.    He hesitates.
                         CLAUDE
               Can I sleep in here?
                            MARGOT
               No, honey.
                         CLAUDE
               We can put a pillow between us.

                                                              51.


                          MARGOT
               Okay.   Just for tonight.

     Claude takes a long pillow and places it like a barrier in
     the bed. We stay on him as he waits. Finally Margot climbs
     into the covers in a nightgown.

                         MARGOT
               When you were a baby I wouldn't let
               anyone else hold you. I think that
               may have been a mistake.

42   EXT. HOUSE - MORNING                                       42

     Malcolm, his moustache gone, a cigarette dangling from his
     mouth, hammers in a stake at the base of a collapsed, white
     tent. A workman holds a pole steadily.

     Pauline sets up chairs around a series of tables. Ingrid
     idles a few feet away. They're in the midst of talking:

                         INGRID
               Why was it a secret?

                         PAULINE
               Because I didn't want to get you
               excited before it was real. It's
               not really a baby yet. In two more
               weeks we can celebrate together,
               okay?

                         INGRID
               Why did you tell Margot?

                         PAULINE
               Because she's my sister and I trust
               her. How do you feel about it?

                         INGRID
               I don't want a sister.
     Pauline touches Ingrid's hair gently.
                         INGRID
               I'm going to go get Wizard.
     She runs toward the house.   Pauline marches toward Malcolm.
                         PAULINE
               Margot told Claude something I
               expressly told her in confidence.
               And he told Ingrid.
                         (MORE)

                                                   52.

                    PAULINE (CONT'D)
          I'm stunned that she put me in this
          position. It's so fucking
          infuriating.

                    MALCOLM
          Well it's that thing where--

                    PAULINE
          Don't say anything. You know
          what...just be there for me.
          Silently.

                    MALCOLM
          Okay.

                    PAULINE
          Why do I have to be so careful
          around her, but everyone is allowed
          to make fun of me?

                    MALCOLM
          I don't know if --

                     PAULINE
          Malcolm, what did I just say?
              (sighs)
          You know, I just want you to take
          my side, I don't need you to make
          it better.

Malcolm puts his hand awkwardly on her shoulder.

                    PAULINE
          Ingrid's really upset about it.
          Fuck. I can't believe she did this
          to me!
              (pause)
          I didn't tell you because... I
          didn't want you to feel like you
          had to marry me. I found out right
          before our seminar... I'm
          pregnant.
                    MALCOLM
          Uh huh.
                    PAULINE
          Well...does that sound good to you?
                    MALCOLM
          I'm still digesting Margot telling
          Claude. What a fucking nut job.
              (quickly)
          Sorry. I think I'm really happy.

                                                              53.


     Ingrid is watching from across the field.

                         PAULINE
               Come here, honey!

     Ingrid hurries through the sparkly, dewy grass.   Pauline hugs
     her and they spin.

43   CUT TO:                                                     43

     Margot watches from the upstairs window. The mother and
     daughter walk arm in arm down what will be the aisle.
     Finally, Margot turns away -- she's in Pauline and Malcolm's
     room.

     She opens drawers: Underwear, socks, bras. Topless photos
     of Pauline posing in the bedroom. A photograph of Margot and
     Pauline in their teens on Halloween dressed as Pat Benatar
     and Patty Smyth respectively.

     Margot grins.

     Another photo of Margot, Pauline and an obese woman -- Becky -
     - in their 20's.

     Margot's expression saddens. She opens another drawer.
     Polaroids of Pauline and Malcolm in different sexual poses.

     She flips through these and drops them on the bureau.

     Amidst the underwear and socks she finds pill containers.
     She squints to read the labels. She opens one and shakes out
     a few blue pills into her palm. She swallows one and puts
     the rest in her pocket.

     More drawers open: Self-help books, incense, pamphlets on
     Buddhism. A stack of pornographic DVD's.

                         CLAUDE (O.S.)
               Hey.
     Margot starts and shoves the drawer shut.
                         MARGOT
               Hey. I'm just looking at Pauline's
               incense and self-help books. I
               don't understand it. This junk
               makes her look stupid and she's
               not. I don't like to think of her
               this way.

                         CLAUDE
               Uh huh.

                                                             54.


                         MARGOT
               She's such a hypocrite. Somehow
               I'm a kook for going to therapy,
               but she's got enough drugs here to
               medicate a...
                   (settles on a word)
               ...an elephant. And she's always
               with these losers.

                         CLAUDE
               Malcolm's not a loser.

                         MARGOT
               Claude...think about it.

                            CLAUDE
               He's cool.

                         MARGOT
               What makes you think he's cool?
                   (softens)
               I'm more talking about her
               investment in things like the Forum
               and ashrams.

                         CLAUDE
               What's the Forum?

                         MARGOT
               Like a cult.

                         CLAUDE
               She was in a cult?

                         MARGOT
               Years ago. She and Lenny also
               followed some guru who was a
               follower of the Mukdananda who made
               her drink his bath water. Who
               knows what she's doing now.
                          INGRID (O.S.)
               Margot!   Claude!
44   EXT. FIELD - DAY                                          44
     Claude hacks his way through the tall weeds.
                            CLAUDE
               Wizard!
     We move past him, obscured by grass, Pauline and Ingrid yell:

                                                         55.


                      PAULINE/INGRID
          Wizard!    Wiz!

Margot enters the frame.   The kids walk ahead.

                      MARGOT
          Wizard!    Here, boy!

She stands a few feet away from Pauline.   The kids can be
heard shouting in the distance.

                    MARGOT
          How long has he been gone?

                    PAULINE
          I don't know. Ingrid brought him
          in last night, but we couldn't find
          him this morning.

                      MARGOT
          Oh boy.

                    PAULINE
          Did you tell Claude I'm pregnant?

                    MARGOT
          I don't know.

                      PAULINE
          You did.

                    MARGOT
          I guess I said something.

                    PAULINE
          You did. You don't have to tell
          him everything.

                    MARGOT
          He wants to know. If I don't tell
          him, he figures it out.

                    INGRID (O.S.)
          Where is Wizard?
Ingrid approaches with Claude.
                    PAULINE
          I don't know, honey.
Ingrid sinks into her mother's body.   Claude and Margot walk
ahead.

                                                             56.


                         CLAUDE
               You didn't let him go out into the
               road or something where something
               could've happened to him?

                         MARGOT
               Why would you think I'd do
               something like that? That's awful.

                           CLAUDE
               I just...    I'm just making sure.

                         MARGOT
               That's a terrible thing to say to
               me.

                         CLAUDE
               I didn't mean on purpose, I just
               meant maybe in case...you knew
               something. I'm sorry.

45   INT. KITCHEN - DAY                                         45

     Margot enters and opens the refrigerator. She gets out a
     white wine bottle. She turns around and jumps, startled.

                           MARGOT
               Woa!

     Malcolm sits at the table, eating saltines out of the box, a
     pad and paper in front of him.

                         MALCOLM
               Hey, sorry. I'm here.

                           MARGOT
               No, I...    I should've looked.

                         MALCOLM
               I'm just writing my vows. Trying
               to do something appropriate but
               also funny -- not jokey, more
               character based humor.
     Margot pours herself a glass of wine. She looks to Malcolm
     to see if he wants some. He shakes his head. She takes a
     long drink. Silence.
                         MALCOLM
               You having an okay time?
                           MARGOT
               Oh, yeah.    Besides Wizard getting --

                                                 57.


                     MALCOLM
           Yeah, we'll...we'll find him...or
           else, I don't know...

                       MARGOT
           We won't.

                      MALCOLM
           Right, or else he's dead or
           something.
               (pause)
           It means a lot to Paul that you
           came.

                       MARGOT
           Yeah.

Silence.   Malcolm mumbles a tune.

                     MARGOT
           Oh God, this is the same toaster we
           had here as kids. Paul is so
           weird.

                     MALCOLM
           I hear you've heard the news.

                      MARGOT
           Yeah.   Congratulations.

                     MALCOLM
           Pretty cool. Hard to fully take
           in. It's a little abstract still.
           I haven't had that thing yet where
           you realize that you're not the
           most important person in the world.
           I'm anxious for that to happen. I
           guess I have to thank you -- I
           wouldn't know yet if you hadn't
           arrived.
                     MARGOT
           You're welcome.
                     MALCOLM
           Of course I can't help but worry
           I'll pass some not so great genes
           onto the kid. I mean, in my family
           there's a lot of hand washing, you
           know. I don't have it, but my
           brother does.
               (pause)
           You working on anything now?

                                                          58.


                     MARGOT
           Besides the thing with Dick?

                        MALCOLM
           Oh, right.

He nods.   She nods.    Silence.

                     MARGOT
           How about you?

                     MALCOLM
           Oh, I'm working on some acrylic
           paint --

                     MARGOT
           Nobody fills the ice cube trays.

Malcolm stops, immediately embarrassed. Margot is looking in
the freezer. She takes out the trays and brings them to the
sink. She runs the water.

                     MARGOT
           Sorry, what were you --

                       MALCOLM
           Nothing.    It doesn't matter.

                     MARGOT
           No, what were you saying?

                     MALCOLM
           It really... Nothing.

                        MARGOT
           Okay.

She treads back to the refrigerator, balancing the full
trays.
                     MALCOLM
           I was saying I'm doing these
           abstractions in acrylic paint. But
           it's not... I'm not getting paid
           or anything. I don't know, I hate
           that question, "What do you do?"
                     MARGOT
           You asked me.
                     MALCOLM
           I know, but...

                                                             59.


     Malcolm exhales in frustration.

46   EXT. FIELD - DAY                                          46

     Pauline and Malcolm open the gate to the Vogler's property.

                         MALCOLM
               I think we shouldn't mention the
               tree, we should let them know that
               there will be people and music on
               Saturday and it will be louder than
               usual.

                         PAULINE
               And that they can come for a glass
               of champagne. But you tell them.
               I think they respond to you better.

     They approach the Vogler's sun-worn and paint chipped house.

                         MALCOLM
               Well, I am ultimately one of them.
               You shouldn't've made me shave the
               stache.

                         PAULINE
                   (laughs)
               Yeah, right.

                         MALCOLM
               Oh, hey, Ingrid is asking me if I
               was ever gay. Do you know what
               that's about?

                          PAULINE
               No.

     Mr. Vogler, wearing a fleece vest and carrying a hatchet over
     his shoulders, tramples out of the brush.
                          PAULINE
               Hi.
     Vogler stops.   His face is jagged and worn.
                          PAULINE
               Hi, I'm Pauline. This is Malcolm.
               We've met before. We're your
               neighbors.
     The man watches them strangely with icy blue eyes.

                                                           60.


                    VOGLER
          You gonna cut that tree down?

                    PAULINE
          Well, we grew up with that tree and
          we're getting married under it
          Saturday and --

She waits for Malcolm to jump in.    He doesn't.   Vogler says
softly, but sternly:

                    VOGLER
          The roots are growing into our
          property. It's rotting, it's
          killing our plants.

                    PAULINE
          We had a tree doctor out and he
          said it was healthy.

Pauline smacks Malcolm's arm.

                    PAULINE
          Would it hurt you to say anything?

                     MALCOLM
          What?   What do you want from me?

                    PAULINE
          You're making me do the whole
          fucking thing.

                    MALCOLM
          You brought up the tree.

                    PAULINE
          He brought up --

She stops herself.   She says to Vogler:
                    PAULINE
          I'm sorry... This was better
          thought-through back at the house.
Pauline's gaze goes above Vogler's head -- like Margot
described earlier. He runs his hand through his hair as if
something might be caught in there.
                    PAULINE
          We were wondering if you and your
          wife -- I'm sorry I forgot her name
          -- would like to come over for...

                                                           61.


                    VOGLER
          You should ask her. She makes the
          plans. I'm going to go in now.

He tramps inside.   The screen door bangs.

                    MALCOLM
          I felt like you didn't give me a
          chance to say what I wanted to say.

Pauline hits him in the chest and starts to walk away.
Malcolm comes after her, his rage growing.

                    MALCOLM
          I want to punch that guy in the
          nose!

                    PAULINE
          You've never hit anyone.

                    MALCOLM
          I have too!

                     PAULINE
          Who?

                    MALCOLM
          Lots of -- You don't know them.
          They're not around because I've
          punched them.

A smile breaks across Pauline's face.   Malcolm seethes.

                    MALCOLM
          Don't laugh, Pauline. It's not
          funny. I'll fucking punch your
          sister.

Malcolm clenches his fists.    He points at Vogler's place.
                    MALCOLM
          The threat is not out there. It's
          in our house. It's sleeping in my
          studio. I mean, I wouldn't
          actually hit her, but I feel...I
          feel like doing it. She's such a
          fucking idiot.
                    PAULINE
          She's not an idiot.    You might not
          like her --

                                                            62.


                    MALCOLM
          She is. She is an idiot!    You're
          an idiot.

                    PAULINE
          Jesus.

                    MALCOLM
          You're both fucking morons. I'm so
          fucking... I'm trying so hard.
          You don't give me any credit.

                    PAULINE
          What is wrong?

                    MALCOLM
          I don't know, I have the emotional
          version of whatever bad feng shui
          would be. I don't know. You tell
          me, you understand this shit.

                    PAULINE
          Did you drink your teas?

                    MALCOLM
          Yeah, I drank my fucking teas!
          Don't judge me now. Really, I
          think when you look back at this
          you're going to see I'm not acting
          like a crazy person. That this is
          the right reaction. In proportion
          with what is going on. This is
          right!

Malcolm looks around furiously. The only thing available to
him is a leafy stalk. He pulls on it, but it won't uproot.
He tears the leaves off in a rage.

                    PAULINE
          You have the most oddly self-
          conscious form of rage I've ever --

                    MALCOLM
          I hate you.
Exhausted he approaches her.   He says, still with anger:
                    MALCOLM
          Let's make love.

                                                             63.


47   CUT TO:                                                     47

     Pauline walks back to the house, buttoning her dress. She
     looks up suddenly and stops: A man watches her from the lawn.
     He holds a bouquet of flowers. Pauline runs to him.

                           PAULINE
               Jim...

     They embrace.    Her hand cups the back of his neck.

                           CLAUDE (O.S.)
               Dad!

     Claude runs from the house.

48   EXT. PATIO - LATE DAY                                       48

     Pauline, Malcolm, Margot, Jim, Claude and Ingrid eat fish
     stew and peasant bread. Jim's flowers sit in a vase. He
     wears a tan knit bracelet that Ingrid made.

                         JIM
               It was a difficult    decision because
               Claude has so many    friends at
               school now, but it    is expensive and
               Bronx Science is a    great public
               school.

                         CLAUDE
               I didn't get into Stuyvesant.

                         MARGOT
               He's not a good test taker.

                         MALCOLM
               I went to Stuy.

                         MARGOT
                   (caught off-guard)
               Really?

                           MALCOLM
               Really.
                         CLAUDE
               I'd rather stay at Packer, but it's
               so expensive.

     Malcolm lifts up a bottle of Jameson from the floor near his
     chair and pours himself another stiff drink.

                                                64.


                    JIM
          Josh is a great test taker, but
          Claude thinks more abstractly.
          He's more creative. Right?

                    CLAUDE
          I guess so.

Jim smiles warmly at his son.

                    JIM
          I saw the one armed man who really
          has two arms at the bodega.

                    CLAUDE
          Did you give him confusing change?

                   JIM
          I did. I tripped him up with some
          nickels. And a Canadian quarter.

                    MALCOLM
          You know what I tried the other
          day? Sitting down to pee. Have
          you done this, Jim?

                     JIM
          No...no.

                    MALCOLM
          I did it as a lark. As a joke
          really. I was going to call
          Pauline in and say, guess what I'm
          doing here...

                    PAULINE
          I'm sorry I didn't get to have that
          experience.

                    MALCOLM
          I was thinking, you know, my dad
          used to say, "Why stand when you
          can sit." And this is a really
          good example of that. I mean, it
          took me so long to try because I
          was embarrassed.
              (to the sisters)
          You guys do it all the time.
                    MARGOT
          I never sit down in a public place.
          I squat and hover.

                                                           65.


Ingrid goes wide eyed for a moment.

                     MALCOLM
          Anyway, I recommend it.     At least
          to try it.

                    PAULINE
          Jim, I'm sorry about the room.
          It's usually Malcolm's storage room
          so it's kind of make-shift right
          now.

                       JIM
          It's fine.

Margot stares at Jim.

                    JIM
          Margot, open your gift.

An unopened present in blue tissue paper sits beside Margot's
plate.

                    MARGOT
          I get self-conscious opening
          presents in front of people.    This
          weekend is about Pauline.

                       PAULINE
          Oh...poo.     Open it Margot.

Margot slowly unties the white ribbon and peels away the
tape. Pauline groans:

                    PAULINE
          Come on, get to it.

Margot takes out a pair of furry slippers.

                    MALCOLM
          Those look warm.
                    JIM
          I remember last year in Vermont you
          said your feet were freezing.
Her eyes find Claude who watches his parents carefully. She
leans across the table to Jim and they kiss chastely and
briskly on the lips.

                       MARGOT
          Thank you.

                                                             66.


49   INT. JIM'S CAR - NIGHT                                      49

     Jim drives with Margot in the passenger seat.

                         MARGOT
               I already have slippers.

                         JIM
               Well, that's okay.   Two sets are
               fine, right?

                         MARGOT
               It makes me sad to get a present
               that I already have.

                         JIM
               Why?

                         MARGOT
               It makes me feel like you don't
               know me.

     She jams her pinky into her ear trying to get at the bug.

                         JIM
               What's wrong with your ear?

                         MARGOT
               I asked you not to come. I was so
               clear and you did it anyway so
               blithely.

                         JIM
               We need time alone to sort this
               out. You can't just run away --

                         MARGOT
               Okay, so we're here.   I'm giving
               you this time.
                         JIM
                   (trying a joke)
               Well, now you're putting too much
               pressure on me.
     Jim smiles crookedly at her. She half-smiles back.   He takes
     a moment, preparing to speak. Then:
                         JIM
               What is that?
     His headlights catch a woman cowering at the roadside. They
     pass.

                                                                67.


                         MARGOT
               Keep driving.

     Jim slowly pulls over to the shoulder.

                         MARGOT
               No...no...no. Jim, no.

                         JIM
               Let me just...

     Jim gets out of the car.     A sobbing woman crouches, cradling
     a bloody dog.

                         WOMAN
               Please help me.

     Jim comes toward her.

                         WOMAN
               Please help me. He got hit by a
               car. Please help me.

     Margot opens her door and steps out.

                         MARGOT
                   (warily)
               Jim...

     Jim kneels down by the whining pit bull.    The woman screams:

                          WOMAN
               Help me!

                         MARGOT
               Careful, he might bite you!

     Jim suddenly lifts up the twitching animal.

50   INT. RENTAL CAR - NIGHT                                      50
     Jim drives, his front covered in blood. Margot is shot-gun.
     The lady rides in back with the panting pit in her lap.
                         WOMAN
               Hurry...he's dying.     He's dying.
     Margot puts her hands over her ears.    Jim speeds up.
                         WOMAN
               He didn't do anything. Roger is an
               innocent. He's an innocent
               creature.

                                                                68.


                          MARGOT
               Oh, God.

                          JIM
               Margot.

                         MARGOT
                   (whispering)
               I can't stand her.

51   EXT. VETERINARY HOSPITAL - NIGHT                             51

     Jim comes outside tucking his wallet in his back pocket.
     Margot sits on the car hood smoking a joint.

                         MARGOT
               You paid, didn't you?

                         JIM
               She didn't have her purse with her.
               It wasn't so expensive. Roger's
               going to live.

                         MARGOT
               I don't give a fuck about Roger.
               And...that makes me feel like shit.
               You make me feel like shit. I
               wouldn't have stopped.

                         JIM
               Of course you would've.

                         MARGOT
               No, I wouldn't've. I would have
               kept driving. I hate myself when
               I'm with you.

                         JIM
                   (frustrated)
               Margot, I'm not... I can't talk to
               you when you're this fucked up.

                         MARGOT
               You're just like Claude in that
               way...you make me feel guilty.
               Sometimes I find you so despicable.
     Margot stubs out the joint on the car roof. Jim suddenly
     removes his sweater and puts it around her shoulders. He
     fishes into his pants pocket for his keys. Tears start down
     Margot's cheeks.

                                                                69.


                         JIM
               What's wrong?

                         MARGOT
               I don't know.
                   (pause)
               Before you gave me your sweater I
               think I didn't realize I was cold.

     Margot leans in to him, her forehead presses against his
     cheek. After a moment, he puts his arms around her.

                         MARGOT
                   (quietly)
               Take me home and go away.

52   INT./EXT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT                                52

     Margot smokes by the open door. She drinks a glass of white
     wine. Pauline eats from a left-over Chinese container.

                         MARGOT
               If it were someone else I'd
               understand it, I'd feel sympathy
               even. But since it's me, I just
               feel bad. And horribly critical.
               I haven't been able to tell Claude
               what's happening. And I have to.
               I'm going to.
                   (frustrated)
               How can I be all these people? How
               can I be married to Jim. And fuck
               Dick. And want them both and then
               neither of them...

                         PAULINE
               I know. We're at the age where
               we're becoming invisible to men and
               if a guy wants to fuck us, it's
               very tempting.
                         MARGOT
               What are you saying?
                         PAULINE
               I'm saying, if you get your sense
               of self from being fuckable and
               that starts to wane -- it's very
               hard. I almost had an affair too.
               But you know, you don't have to do
               it. You can, I don't know, get a
               manicure or something.

                                                        70.


Margot grows furious.   She turns to hide her face.

                    PAULINE
          You know I tell people you're my
          closest friend. I really miss you.

                    MARGOT
              (barely)
          Me too.

                    PAULINE
          But I can't help feeling that you
          really came to my wedding because I
          live a mile away from the guy
          you're fucking.

                    MARGOT
          Come on, Pauline. You make it
          sound like I'm using you.

                    PAULINE
          Yeah.

There is a long silence between them. Finally, Pauline
indicates to Margot that she has something in her nostril.

                    PAULINE
          You have a...

Margot clears her nose quickly with her finger.

                    MARGOT
          Did I get it?

                    PAULINE
          Yeah, I think so.

                    MARGOT
              (suddenly)
          Paul, what are you doing getting
          married to this guy? He's not good
          enough for you. He's so coarse,
          he's like guys we rejected when we
          were sixteen. You know...don't
          make a mistake like this.
              (pause)
          I'm sorry, maybe I have no right to
          say that, but you know I'm truthful
          so... Would you rather I lie?

                    PAULINE
          Who should I be with then?

                                                               71.


     A smashing sound. Margot steps outside: Two hooded figures
     turn over a recycling can, glass smashes on the ground.
     Garbage is strewn across the driveway.

                         MARGOT (O.S.)
               Hey! Hey, you! You pick that up.
               I will call the police. This is
               our property. Pick that up.

     Pauline remains seated at the table, stunned.    Margot comes
     back inside.

                            MARGOT
               Creeps.

53   EXT. DRIVEWAY - MORNING                                     53

     Malcolm crams the trash back in the cans. He sees something
     amidst the milk cartons and corn husks. He reaches down and
     lifts up a severed pig's hoof.

54   EXT. FIELD - MORNING                                        54

     Claude and Ingrid idle in the tall grass calling to Wizard.

                         CLAUDE
               Dogs usually come back, I think.

                         INGRID
               What happened to your dad?

                         CLAUDE
               He went to Vermont.

                         INGRID
               He didn't want to come to the
               wedding?

                         CLAUDE
               I don't think he could...    I think
               he couldn't.
                   (pause)
               You want to see me dance?
                            INGRID
               Okay.
     Claude dances. The gangly weeds blow around him. There's a
     rustling in the brush. A patch of fur catches Ingrid's eye.
                         INGRID
                   (under her breath)
               Wizard...

                                                         72.


The animal is gone.

A figure appears in the distance behind Claude. The boy, the
Vogler's son, approaches shirtless in swimming trunks.
Ingrid's attention goes to him.

                    CLAUDE
          You're not watching.

The boy comes into focus. He holds a dead squirrel by its
tail. Ingrid backs up next to Claude. The boy stops a few
feet away and hurls the squirrel at them. The kids jump back
as it lands at their feet.

                    BOY
          Where are you going?

                    CLAUDE
              (stopping)
          We have to get home.

                    BOY
          Is that your girlfriend?

                    CLAUDE
          No, she's my cousin.

                    BOY
          You a fruity?

                      CLAUDE
          Um...no.

                    BOY
              (to Ingrid)
          You a fruity?

                      INGRID
                (with certainty)
          No.
                    BOY
          We will hurt you.
Claude takes Ingrid's arm and they start to walk away.
                    INGRID
          He's a Vogler.

                    CLAUDE
          He's just a stupid boy.

                                                                73.


     Claude sneaks a look over his shoulder -- the boy follows.
     Claude's gait quickens.

                         INGRID
               Hold it, I have a rock in my
               sandal.

                         CLAUDE
               Come on, Ingrid.

     Ingrid slows, lifts her leg and removes a sandal. The boy is
     behind them. Claude yanks Ingrid's arm and she topples over.

                            INGRID
               Oww!

     Claude leans down to help her. The boy leaps on Claude.
     They both crash to the ground and roll through the grass.

                         CLAUDE
               Get him off me. Ingrid!

     Ingrid hesitates then runs toward the house.

     Claude wrestles with the boy. The boy growls. He grabs hold
     of Claude's arms and sinks his teeth into Claude's shoulder.

                            CLAUDE
               Ayy!     Help me!

     Claude kicks and yanks himself free.     He runs wildly.

     Close on Claude.    Tears stream down.   He coughs and spits.

55   INT. HOUSE - SAME                                               55

     Claude bursts through the front door. Ingrid sees Claude and
     runs to the kitchen. Margot, in a suit, goes over notes.

                         MARGOT
               Woa, don't run so fast.
                         CLAUDE
               There's a boy! He bit me!
                         MARGOT
                   (alarmed)
               Who bit you?
                           CLAUDE
               A boy.    A Vogler!   Where's Ingrid?

                                                                74.


                         MARGOT
               Let me see.

     He tilts his head, she leans down and looks at his neck.
     There are red and purple bite marks.

                         MARGOT
                   (rising)
               I'm calling the police.

     Claude grabs her arm.

                         CLAUDE
               No, don't! It'll get worse. Why
               did you say anything to them?

                         MARGOT
               Claude, this isn't my fault.

                         CLAUDE
               That boy bit me because you
               couldn't keep your fat mouth shut.

                         MARGOT
               Claude, you're being a jerk.

                          CLAUDE
               You shit in your shoes and then you
               fuck them!

     Margot smacks Claude in the face.   Ingrid stares wide eyed.

56   INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY                                         56

     A placard reads: A Conversation with Margot Zeller and Dick
     Koosman. People mull about with drinks. Pauline and Claude
     admire the display of Margot's books.

                         PAULINE
               You really want to know? I'll tell
               you. She wrote a story about Lenny
               and me.
                   (flips through pages)
               Yeah, it's in here. I mean we were
               talking almost every day at this
               point and there was no warning.
               Maybe a couple of remarks that
               she'd used some things of ours...
               Then The New Yorker comes -- we
               have a subscription -- and there's
               the story and... It's things we
               said and did -- stuff I told her in
               confidence.
                         (MORE)

                                                                75.

                         PAULINE (CONT'D)
               I think it helped end our marriage.
               I read it and thought, "She hates
               me."

                         CLAUDE
               She doesn't hate you.

     Pauline stares at a blown up author photo of her sister.

                         PAULINE
               You think? Margot tried to murder
               me when we were girls. She put me
               on a baking sheet, sprinkled me
               with paprika and put me in the
               oven.

57   CUT TO:                                                      57

     The crowd files in.   Margot and Dick stand in a corner.

                         MARGOT
               Jim was here.

     Dick flips through some notes.

                         DICK
               Is Jim still writing?

                          MARGOT
                   (nods)
               I told him to go to Vermont without
               me.

                         DICK
               I'd love to see him tell a linear
               story for a change. Jim never
               wanted to make it easy for the
               reader, did he. The nicest man
               I've ever met, but he can't play
               the game.
                         MARGOT
               I'm not joining him. I'm going to
               stay here and then...we'll see.
               Right. Okay?
                         DICK
               I didn't ask you to do that.
                   (pause)
               The guy's pointing at us...

                                                               76.


58   CUT TO:                                                     58

     Margot and Dick sit on stools holding microphones in front of
     rows of fold-out chairs. Only a few empty seats remain.
     Pauline and Claude sit in the back.

                         DICK
               I'm very interested in your story
               "Middle Children."

     Some people applaud, but it trickles off before it gets
     started.

                         DICK
               The father is a loathsome character
               yet we also feel a strange sympathy
               for him.

                         MARGOT
               Yeah, well I was very interested in
               exploring a father-daughter
               relationship. While he clings
               desperately to her, suffocates her
               really, he also silently resents
               the responsibility of parenthood.

                         DICK
               There's this sexualized push-pull
               with Daphne which I find --

                         MARGOT
               He craves isolation really. I
               always thought of him as someone
               who so over identifies with
               everyone around him that he begins
               to lose all sense of himself.

                         DICK
               You make his only recourse to
               abandon his family, including his
               beloved daughter.

                         MARGOT
               Right, that's true.   That's true.
                         DICK
               I write historical fiction so I
               don't have to answer to this, but I
               wonder for someone who writes so
               nakedly about family, how
               autobiographical is this portrait?

     Margot rests her lips on the tip of the microphone.

                                                           77.


                    MARGOT
          My father was a loving person. He
          had his days, of course, but...he
          was devoted to us as children. I
          wouldn't have written this portrait
          were it true.

Pauline nods slightly.

                    DICK
          But I'm interested in how the
          father could be in fact a portrait
          of you.
Margot stares, dumbstruck.

                    MARGOT
          Umm...I don't... Why do you assume
          it's based on... We all take from
          life. I had to have our
          refrigerator repaired the other day
          at our apartment in Manhattan. I
          was alone with a guy, I think he
          was Puerto Rican, sent over
          by...Whirlpool, I think it is who
          made our fridge. Although he said
          he worked for an independent
          organization who Whirlpool
          subcontracts. I think he was
          retarded. There was an anger in
          him and suddenly I became afraid
          for my life. I called Jim at NYU.
          I asked him to come home.

Margot stops.   Her face is awash in sweat.

Pauline takes Claude's hand and presses it to her chest.    His
eyes widen, fixed on his mother.

                    MARGOT
          It might be Frigidaire... I'm
          sorry... I don't... I'm not sure
          what I'm... I think I need to take
          a moment...

She stands and walks off the stage. She realizes she still
has the mike. She goes back and places it on her seat.
                    MARGOT
              (almost incoherently)
          You're an asshole...

                                                             78.


59   INT. BOOKSTORE BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER                      59

     Margot grabs a pill from her pocket, puts it on her tongue
     and drinks from the faucet. There is a knocking. Margot
     opens the door. Claude looks up at her. Pauline and Dick
     wait in the background.

                         MARGOT
               I need to be alone right now, okay?

                         CLAUDE
               What's wrong?

                         MARGOT
               I don't know. I'll tell you
               sometime. Go on.

                         CLAUDE
               Are you sure?

                        MARGOT
               Yes. Go with mom.    I'll see you
               later.

                         CLAUDE
               You said, mom.

                         MARGOT
                   (snapping)
               But you know what I mean. Go with
               Pauline. Jesus, do I...do I need
               to spell it out for you?
                   (she points)
               Go. With. Her.

60   INT. CHURCH - DAY                                            60

     A simple, spare space, empty except for Pauline and Claude.

                         PAULINE
               Are you okay?
                           CLAUDE
               I'm okay.
                          PAULINE
               You're your mom's favorite.     Do you
               know that?
                         CLAUDE
               I don't think she has a favorite.

                                                       79.


                    PAULINE
          She's always liked you best.   More
          than Jim even.

                     CLAUDE
          But they're married.   It's
          different.

                    PAULINE
          But she still loves you best. It's
          hard, I think, to find people in
          the world you love more than your
          family.

                    CLAUDE
          I like Malcolm.

                     PAULINE
          Yeah? Good. I don't know. I do
          too.
               (pause)
          I can teach you to swim if you
          like.

                    CLAUDE
          No, thanks.

Claude looks at the floor. His sneaker rests next to her
open toed sandals. She taps his foot with hers.

                    PAULINE
          Has your mother talked to you yet?

                    CLAUDE
          I don't think so.   About what?

                    PAULINE
          Are you okay? It's hard to see
          your mom like that -- get attacked
          like that. Right? It was mean
          what he did. I think it was really
          shitty.
                    CLAUDE
          Mm hm.
                    PAULINE
          You know, I think your mom's going
          through a rough time right now
          and...whatever she tells you...like
          if she says she's leaving your
          father...remember that she often
          changes her mind and...
                    (MORE)

                                                             80.

                         PAULINE (CONT'D)
               I don't want you to worry about
               anything right now.

     Claude says nothing.

61   EXT. HOUSE - LATE DAY                                     61

     Pauline's Volvo rolls into the drive. She and Claude get out
     of the front seats. Margot climbs out of the back holding a
     big cake box. No one speaks.

     Malcolm, in a fleece vest and safety goggles, drags a
     chainsaw toward the oak tree. Ingrid runs to her mom.

                         INGRID
               He's cutting it down.

                            PAULINE
               Good.

     Pauline passes Maisy reading on the patio.

                         MAISY
               My dad's late to pick me up.    I
               hope I'm not a pain.

                         PAULINE
               You're not a pain.

     Margot sits on the back stairs drinking a glass of wine with
     ice. The tent is up. The tables and chairs are placed
     around the lawn. She watches Malcolm prepare to take the
     tree down. She puts her pinky in her ear and twists. Claude
     approaches.

                         MARGOT
               I told Paul I didn't want you guys
               to come.

                         CLAUDE
               I thought it was interesting.
                         MARGOT
               What did Paul say?
                         CLAUDE
               I think she liked it.
                         MARGOT
               Yeah, right. Did you talk about me
               afterwards?
                            CLAUDE
               No.

                                                           81.


                    MARGOT
          I can tell you're lying.

                    CLAUDE
          We didn't, mom.

                    MARGOT
          I don't trust her.

                    CLAUDE
          She really loves you.   She does.

Margot tosses the remainder of her drink into the weeds.

                    MARGOT
          Pauline told me she's very
          disappointed in you.

                    CLAUDE
          Why?

                    MARGOT
          She thinks you laze about the
          house. Ingrid is always offering
          to help clean or cook. She made
          bracelets for all the guests. Even
          Malcolm puts up the tent. You just
          wait until everyone else does it
          for you.

                    CLAUDE
          That's not true.

                    MARGOT
          It is true. You're never helpful.
          I wish I had taught you better
          manners.

                    CLAUDE
          I can try to make popovers.   If I
          can remember how.

                    MARGOT
          Don't bother.
She looks at him with grave disappointment.
                    CLAUDE
          Why are you looking at me like
          that?

                                                                82.


                         MARGOT
               I just see how much you've changed.
               Your body language. You used to be
               rounder and more graceful. You're
               so stiff now. So blase.

                         CLAUDE
               What do you mean?

                         MARGOT
                   (retreating)
               I can't explain it.

     Margot shakes her head.   She's suddenly distraught.

                         MARGOT
               It's okay though.

                         CLAUDE
               Uh huh.

     Claude looks devastated. He starts toward the beach.
     Margot's eyes well up -- she says, trying to make things
     better:

                         MARGOT
               You're still handsome.

62   EXT. HOUSE - SAME                                             62

     Pauline marches toward Malcolm.    Malcolm wears the safety
     goggles and revs the chainsaw.

                         PAULINE
               Are you able to do this yourself?

                         MALCOLM
               Pauline, do you want me to cut it
               down or not?
                         PAULINE
               Watch the tent.
     The jagged blades pierce the trunk.   Pauline crunches her
     face. Malcolm stops suddenly.
     He walks around the tree and inspects the bark.
                         MALCOLM
                   (indicating his fleece)
               I liked how it looked on Vogler.
     Pauline starts to say something -- stops.    Then:

                                                         83.


                    PAULINE
          I think it's over between Dick and
          Margot. He was so cruel to her
          today. And poor Claude had to
          watch it all. She should just get
          out of the marriage and then she
          can fuck whoever she wants, you
          know. It's cowardly. And Dick
          Koosman. What a choice. I
          mean...you know?

                    MALCOLM
          I agree. I hate the idea of Dick
          fucking Margot.

                    PAULINE
          What does that mean?   You want to
          fuck Margot?

                    MALCOLM
          Pauline, that's not what I said.

                    PAULINE
          I know you have a crush on her, you
          already told me that.

Malcolm reddens and starts the chainsaw again.   They yell
over the noise:

                    MALCOLM
          I didn't say that. I said I
          thought she was attractive after
          you grilled me. She has no
          interest in me anyway. Not that it
          would matter if she did.

                    PAULINE
          Have you ever done anything like
          that.
                    MALCOLM
          What do you mean?
                    PAULINE
          Have you ever cheated on me?
                    MALCOLM
          No!
Malcolm shuts the motor.
                    MALCOLM
          Can I do this?

                                      84.


          PAULINE
Those emails you had with that
student of mine.

          MALCOLM
    (exhales)
Uh huh.

          PAULINE
Did that...I know you said it was
nothing.

             MALCOLM
It was.

             PAULINE
I just...     Can you say it again?

          MALCOLM
I just did. Now, can I cut down
the tree?

          PAULINE
You never did anything with her?

          MALCOLM
No. She emailed me after we met at
that reading at the college and...
You know we were friends.

          PAULINE
Right, just a regular friendship
between you and a twenty year old
girl.

           MALCOLM
Pauline, how many times do I have
to say it.

          PAULINE
But...why don't I believe it?
          MALCOLM
Because Margot can't understand why
you're with me and now when she's
around you look for things.
          PAULINE
    (hesitates)
You promise.
             MALCOLM
I promise.

                                                         85.


Pauline looks at him long and hard.   Malcolm takes off his
goggles.

                      PAULINE
          Okay.    I'm sorry.

                       MALCOLM
          It's okay.

Malcolm and Pauline continue to stare at one another. He
guns the chainsaw. Tears spill suddenly from his eyes.
Pauline startles. He flicks the switch off.

                    MALCOLM
          I'm going to tell you something.

                    PAULINE
              (suddenly terrified)
          What?

                    MALCOLM
          I don't want to lose you, though.
          Okay?

Pauline's face goes pale.

                    MALCOLM
          I'm going to tell you...    Just let
          me... Maisy...

Pauline teeters.

                    PAULINE
          I don't want to know.

                    MALCOLM
          ...we didn't really do anything.
          We were goofing around, I was
          making fun of her cause she dates a
          jock...
                    PAULINE
          I don't want to know.
                    MALCOLM
          I shouldn't've put myself in that
          position, I know that. We brushed
          lips really. It was barely a kiss.
          And then we stopped. That was it.
His nose runs.    He wipes it messily with his arm.

                                                                86.


                         MALCOLM
               Our tongues touched. I don't want
               to under-sell it either. I mean...
               We made out. I made out with her.
               I don't know why. I don't even
               like her. It's been a heady time.
                   (Pauline says nothing)
               What are you thinking? Please,
               tell me what you're thinking.

     Pauline rushes at the tree -- she smacks her hands on the
     trunk and throws all her weight behind one great shove. It
     doesn't budge. In frustration and rage, she runs.

63   CUT TO:                                                      63

     Ingrid is the only one on the patio as Pauline approaches.

                         INGRID
               Has anyone seen Wizard?

                          PAULINE
               No.   Where's Maisy?

                         INGRID
               Upstairs, I think with Claude.

64   INT. PAULINE'S BEDROOM/HALLWAY - DAY                         64

     Pauline enters in a daze.   A toilet flushes.    Maisy comes out
     of Pauline's bathroom.

                         MAISY
               Oh, hi. Sorry, I had to go. I
               hope that's okay I used yours.

     Pauline nods strangely. She goes to the window. Her dove
     grey wedding dress hangs on the back of the door.

                         MAISY
               I love your wedding dress.   It's so
               unconventional and great.
     Pauline nods. Her eye catches the Polaroids of her and
     Malcolm nude which lie on top of the bureau. Maisy looks at
     the pictures too.
     Maisy shifts uneasily and leaves the room. Pauline follows.
     Maisy walks down the hallway, aware that Pauline is right
     behind her.
                         MAISY
               Is everything okay?

                                                              87.


                         PAULINE
                   (pause)
               Nothing.

     Maisy stops at the landing. Claude sits at the bottom of the
     staircase playing with a string.

                         MAISY
               Claude, do you want to play
               croquet?

                          CLAUDE
               Okay.

     Pauline raises her leg -- her foot hovers at Maisy's lower
     back. She hesitates. Claude reacts with horror. Maisy
     turns around to see Pauline with her foot in the air like
     she's doing karate. Pauline's eyes dart around aimlessly.

     Maisy stares, confused. Pauline slowly lowers her leg.
     Something dawns on Maisy. She races down the stairs.

65   EXT. HOUSE - DAY                                             65

     The deafening shriek of the blade as it cuts into the tree.
     Malcolm is soaked in sweat. Ingrid watches from a few feet
     away.

     In the distance -- Dick's orange BMW grinds into the
     driveway. Maisy hurries toward him.

     Ingrid says, buried in the noise:

                         INGRID
               There's Dick.

     Malcolm sees Dick.   He pushes the blade harder into the wood.

                         INGRID
               Is it almost ready?
                         MALCOLM
                   (distracted)
               Almost.
     Maisy is talking to her father. Dick spots Malcolm. He
     immediately starts toward him. Malcolm hesitates. Cold fear
     creeps up his neck.

     Dick speeds up.
     Malcolm backs up slowly -- drops the chainsaw -- and bolts
     toward the water. Ingrid watches, confused.

                                                           88.


Dick takes off after him. Malcolm stumbles down the long
wooden stairs to the beach.

Malcolm runs wobbily -- he pants, already out of breath.
Sweat pours down his face and body.

Dick's gait is swift -- his arms stiff, bent at the elbow.
His jeans make a swish swish. He takes the stairs two at a
time.

Malcolm grasps the railing, moving as fast as he can
sideways, trying not to fall. He reaches the beach, his feet
sinking in the sand. He trips and topples forward.

He looks up -- Dick lunges.

Dick pounds Malcolm's head and face.     Malcolm throws his arms
up and tries to block the punches.

                    MALCOLM
          I didn't do anything!    I didn't do
          anything!

                    DICK
          Fucking sleazebag!

Dick gets up.   He kicks Malcolm hard.

                    DICK
          I don't ever want to see you again.

Malcolm balls himself up against a rock.    He cries:

                    MALCOLM
          Fuck off, dickhead.

Dick marches forward and kicks Malcolm again hard.

                     MALCOLM
          Ow!
Dick lights a brown cigarette and walks away.    Malcolm
screams:
                    MALCOLM
          Fucking dickbag! She's lying!
He touches his face and sees the blood on his fingers.
                    MALCOLM
              (choking on tears)
          Oh, man.

                                                               89.


     There's a rustling noise in the wind. Malcolm looks -- a mud-
     and sea-coated Wizard watches him with a panting smile.

66   CUT TO:                                                     66

     Wheels sputter in the gravel. Dick's car peels out with
     Maisy in the passenger seat. Claude and Margot watch from
     the porch.

67   INT. LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM - SAME                         67

     Pauline is seated at the table with place cards, flowers,
     silverware, napkins, dishes. Margot enters. Claude follows.

                         MARGOT
               Come with me to New York.

                         PAULINE
               I can't talk about it --

                         MARGOT
               Okay, but you can't marry him. You
               have to go now. We can think about
               what to do with the baby --

                         PAULINE
                   (stands)
               Margot, I can't --

                         MARGOT
               Don't turn vague, listen to me --

                         PAULINE
               I want you to pack all your things
               and get out of here. You can take
               our car and leave it at the ferry.

                         MARGOT
                   (startled)
               What?
                         CLAUDE
               I'll help out more.   I can make
               popovers.
     Pauline looks at Claude strangely.    She leans down and kisses
     him on the lips.
                         PAULINE
               Do you love me?
                   (Claude nods)
               Good.

                                                        90.


                     MARGOT
          Don't take this out on me?   I'm on
          your side.

                    PAULINE
          No, you're not. You're not.

                    MARGOT
          I've kept my mouth shut because --

                    PAULINE
          No, you haven't kept your mouth
          shut! No you haven't...kept your
          mouth shut...

                    MARGOT
          Okay, I told you and I was right.
          He's done an insane thing. You
          don't know this man. What he did
          is criminal.

                    PAULINE
          Margot, I can't...

                    MARGOT
          It's pedophilia.

                     PAULINE
          Get out!

Pauline shoves a stack of plates and silverware off of the
table. The plates shatter. Silence save for their
breathing.

                    PAULINE
          Becky and I talk about you -- about
          what a monster you are. Is it
          cause Mom gave me the house? Can't
          I have anything? What was I
          thinking? I let you in. Get!
          Out!

                    MARGOT
          What? What are you saying? I
          don't recognize you -- it's like
          you're channelling someone.
                    PAULINE
              (suddenly)
          Ingrid!

                                                              91.


68   EXT. FIELD - CONTINUOUS                                      68

     The purple of Ingrid's batik shirt shines in the grass
     beneath the tree.

     The trunk -- a gash at its base -- teeters.

     Pauline takes off into the field.

     Ingrid sings to herself and traces the branches in the air
     with her finger.

     Pauline sprints --

                            PAULINE
               Ingrid!

     Ingrid says to no one in particular:

                            INGRID
               What?

     Pauline's breaths are rapid, jagged.

     Ingrid stands.

     A wind whips up.    The tree sways.

     Pauline thrusts her arms out, seizes Ingrid and hurls herself
     away from the tree.

                            INGRID
               Ow!

     Ingrid sobs as they run. Pauline looks back. The tree is
     still standing. They embrace a few feet out of its range.

                         INGRID
               It wasn't going to fall!
                            PAULINE
               I'm sorry.
     Malcolm trudges up the stairs.   He's bloody and tattered.
     Wizard trots behind him.
                            INGRID
               Wizard!
     She hugs the dog and holds him by the collar.   The three of
     them stand a few feet apart.
     There's a horrible creak -- and suddenly --

                                                             92.


     -- crack --

     Malcolm pulls both girls toward him --

     The tree topples -- the thick trunk rips through the wedding
     tent and crashes through tables and chairs and the fence --

     -- onto the Vogler's property.

69   INT. VOLVO - DAY                                            69

     The speedometer needle wavers around 30. Margot clutches the
     steering wheel. Claude looks morose. Pauline and Ingrid sit
     stonily in the back seat. The Volvo jerks into the oncoming
     lane and back. Margot draws a deep breath.

                         CLAUDE
               I thought you couldn't drive.

                         MARGOT
                   (irritated)
               I can drive. Why does everyone say
               that? I used to drive.

     They inch up a small hill. A car cascades down past them.
     The Volvo shakes. Pauline suddenly snaps out of her daze:

                         PAULINE
               We have to call people and cancel.

                         INGRID
               What happened? Can I still sing?

     Margot rolls down the window.

                         MARGOT
                   (to Claude)
               You do smell.

                          CLAUDE
               Well, I'm not wearing any
               deodorant.
     They reach the top of the hill, over the crest, and descend.
     The vehicle picks up speed. Margot presses down on the
     brake.
                         MARGOT
               Shit.

                         CLAUDE
               What?

                                                             93.


                         MARGOT
               I don't think...
                   (she pumps again)
               No... We don't have brakes.

                         PAULINE
                   (resigned)
               The brakes are bad, that's right.

                         CLAUDE
               What does that mean?

                         MARGOT
               What do you think it means?

                         CLAUDE
               I mean, what can we do?

     The car coasts faster down the hill.

                         CLAUDE
               Mom.

     Margot places her arm stiffly across Claude's front.

     Pauline wraps her body around her daughter.

     Margot swerves into the shoulder -- she makes a sharp turn
     into the forest and crashes through the bramble and muck.
     The car slows until it comes to a sudden stop at the base of
     a tree.

70   CUT TO:                                                   70

     Margot and Claude, Pauline and Ingrid trudge through the bony
     white trees of the forest -- their bags weigh them down.
     They're all covered in sweat and there's dirt caked on their
     feet and ankles.

                         MARGOT
               I ruined these shoes.
     Pauline's face screws up. She's suddenly in pain.   She races
     behind a tree. Margot follows.
                         INGRID
               Mom, are you okay?
                         PAULINE (O.S.)
               Don't look!

     Margot stops.

                                                              94.


                          PAULINE (O.S.)
               Shit!

                         INGRID
               Mom, what happened?

                          PAULINE (O.S.)
               Nothing.

     Margot steps to see around the trunk. The kids follow
     behind. Pauline removes her panties from under her skirt.
     She tosses them in the brush.

                          PAULINE
               Fuck.
     Margot turns to the kids.   Ingrid hides a smile.

                         CLAUDE
               Did she poop in her pants?

                         MARGOT
               It happens to everyone. Not just
               babies. It'll happen to you too
               someday.

71   EXT. FERRY - DAY                                            71

     Margot and Claude sit, streaked with mud and perspiration.
     Margot drinks a beer, Claude a Coke. Margot pops a blue pill
     in her mouth and swallows. Ingrid swings on the rail.

     Pauline hangs up a cell phone and hands it back to her
     sister. She takes the beer and swigs.

                         PAULINE
               I left mom and Becky a message.

                         MARGOT
               I don't think mom knows how to work
               the machine.
     Margot puts her pinky in her ear.

                         MARGOT
               I can hear it flapping.
                         PAULINE
               You should take care of that.   It
               can hatch eggs.

                                                              95.


     Claude turns his head. In the Chevy next to them sits Mrs.
     Vogler and the Vogler boy. She sings along to the radio.
     She runs her hand through her son's hair gently. He nestles
     into her shoulder.

72   EXT. SEASIDE TOWN STREET - EVENING                         72

     The four of them get out of a taxi.   A small, peeling hotel.

73   INT. HOTEL ROOM - CONTINUOUS                               73

     A dark tight space with a faded and dirty green wall-to-wall
     carpet. Pauline combs Ingrid's hair on one of the two double
     beds. Ingrid practices her wedding song. Claude sits on the
     other bed and looks into the open bathroom door: Margot
     stands with her back to him. She talks on her cell phone in
     a whisper. She hangs up. Claude walks inside. The sink
     drips.

                         MARGOT
               Sweety, there's a bus that leaves
               to Vermont from town tomorrow
               morning. I just talked to your dad
               and he's going to pick you up.

                         CLAUDE
               Aren't you coming?

                          MARGOT
               No.

                          CLAUDE
               Why not?

                         MARGOT
               I have to help out Paul and Ingrid.

     Claude tugs gently on his yellow bracelet.

                         CLAUDE
               I don't want to go tomorrow.
     The distant bong of a low drum and beneath that -- chanting.
     Claude follows Margot to the window. Ingrid and Pauline are
     already looking out.
     Clumps of demonstrators march in the street. Some people
     hold up signs with slogans -- NO MORE -- BRING BACK -- the
     rest is obscured from the window. Some marchers are dressed
     in black hoods with white face paint and carry cardboard
     coffins.

                                                       96.


                    PAULINE
          There's Malcolm.

Pauline points to a guy in a vest. As he turns around we see
it isn't him. Pauline withdraws, suddenly on the verge of
tears.

                    PAULINE
          I can't live in that house alone.

                    MARGOT
          You're going to be fine.

                    PAULINE
          Maybe...maybe I could get a place
          in Brooklyn -- Williamsburg or
          something. People are living there
          right?

                    MARGOT
          You don't want to live there.   It's
          all young people.

                    PAULINE
          But what do you think of that idea?

                    MARGOT
          Maybe. Let's see. You know if you
          don't want to come with me, I'm
          sure mom will let you stay with her
          --

                    PAULINE
              (through tears)
          You're already trying to pass me
          off on mom...

                    MARGOT
          Don't say that. Come on, you'll
          come home with us.
                    PAULINE
          You don't even know where you're
          going to live. You might have to
          move in with mom too.
Margot tightens.
                    PAULINE
          What? Oh.
              (mouthing a whisper)
          Didn't you tell him?

                                                              97.


     Margot looks at her son who continues to watch out the
     window.

74   CUT TO:                                                    74

     Pauline emerges from behind the armoire doors wearing a long
     nightshirt that reads: I Spent The Night With Arsenio Hall.
     She enters the bathroom. She mutters to herself.

                         PAULINE
               What have I done? What have I
               done?

     Margot jimmies up the stiff window to let in some air. A few
     stragglers still march in the street. Trash and pieces of
     signage line the gutter. Margot turns into the room. She
     puts her hand to her cheek and strokes her smooth skin. She
     watches her son who removes his jeans for bed.

                         CLAUDE
               What?

                         MARGOT
               Nothing. Just then I felt so much
               love for you.

75   CUT TO:                                                    75

     Pauline tucks in Ingrid who lies next to Claude. Margot sits
     on the other bed scribbling in her brown notebook. Pauline
     marches around and across to the other side of the room. She
     snatches the book out of Margot's hands.

                         MARGOT
               Hey!

                         PAULINE
               You cannot write about this.   You
               can't have it.
                         MARGOT
               I wasn't writing about you.
                         PAULINE
               You already took a part of my life,
               you can't have any more. And that
               goes for Ingrid and Malcolm and
               Wizard. We all own our own rights.
               They're not for sale.
                         MARGOT
               Give it back.

                                                          98.


Pauline glances at the book.

                    PAULINE
          If I could read your handwriting
          I'm sure I'd be furious. But if I
          ever see a story that involves a
          hotel room or any of this shit, I
          will fucking take your bowels out.

Pauline thrusts the book back at Margot --

CUT TO:

The kids sleep in one bed.    Margot and Pauline lie awake in
the other.

                    PAULINE
          You've now successfully ruined two
          of my marriages.

                    MARGOT
          You're not wearing any underwear.

                    PAULINE
          It's hot, I'm pregnant.    Move over.
          Jesus.

                    MARGOT
          You're not hot, your feet are cold.

                    PAULINE
          Stop touching me. I am so hot.
          Feel my head.

Margot puts her lips to Pauline's forehead.

                    MARGOT
          You have a fever.

                    PAULINE
          I don't have a fever... I'm
          pregnant...are you always like
          this?
                    MARGOT
          Get used to it... Mom and Becky
          share a bed -- you and I will
          probably get the other.

                    PAULINE
          You should just go to Vermont.

                                                            99.


                         MARGOT
               I was thinking -- you know if you
               want -- you and Ingrid could go to
               Vermont. Keep Claude company and
               Jim adores you.

                         PAULINE
               You don't like Malcolm because
               you're not attracted to him.

                         MARGOT
               Will you do it?

                         PAULINE
               No. I won't do that for you.

                         MARGOT
                   (pause)
               Did you two talk about me in town?
               What did you say?

                         PAULINE
                   (pause)
               I told him you often change your
               mind.

76   INT. BAR/RESTAURANT - MORNING                            76

     Cheap plastic tables. A small karaoke stage in front.
     Margot, Claude, Pauline and Ingrid sit at the bar. Margot
     drinks her wine with ice. She wears Jim's sweater. The kids
     have Cokes. The remains of ketchup-soaked french fries in a
     plastic red basket lie between them.

     A man with a mullet climbs up on the karaoke stage. The
     music begins. The man sways and sings "On and On" by Stephen
     Bishop. He croons sweetly and beautifully. Claude's eyes
     moisten. Margot swallows a blue pill and chases it with the
     wine. She takes her son's hand and whispers:
                         MARGOT
               I'm sorry, sweety. There's
               something wrong with me.
                         PAULINE
               I'm going to call him.
     Margot quickly turns to her sister.
                          MARGOT
               No.   Don't. I'm telling you.

                                                            100.


                         PAULINE
               I...I need some clothes and things.

                         MARGOT
               He should get the hell out of our
               house.

                         PAULINE
               Okay. I'll tell him to get the
               hell out of our house.

     Pauline walks over to a pay phone.

77   CUT TO:                                                      77

     Pauline holds the receiver to her ear. She stares at a
     drawing of a monster fucking a woman on the wall above the
     pay phone. Malcolm is crying.

                         MALCOLM'S VOICE
               The tent looks so lonely.

                         PAULINE
               It has no one to get married in it.

78   EXT. HOUSE - INTERCUT                                        78

     Malcolm sits in the grass, the tree and wreckage behind him.

                         MALCOLM
               I know. And it's smashed. I'm
               such a fucking idiot. Please don't
               take me seriously. I mean take me
               seriously, but not the fucked up
               parts, you know. I love you so
               much. Please marry me.

                         PAULINE
               You can't do what you did again.
               Do you understand?
                            MALCOLM
               I promise.
                         PAULINE
               No matter how tempting.
     At the bar: Margot watches her sister carefully. She absent-
     mindedly picks through her red knit bracelet and drops it
     onto the floor.
     Ingrid slides something small and grey across the bar to
     Claude.

                                                         101.


                    INGRID
          You left it in my room.

It's a piece of fingernail.   He hesitates then puts it in his
pocket.

At the phone: Pauline rests her head against the wall.
Malcolm is bawling on the other end.

                    PAULINE
          I don't know. I don't know.

Malcolm clutches Wizard and sputters:

                    MALCOLM
          I ate some of the cake.   I don't
          know why, but I did it.

                    PAULINE
          What was... How was it?

                    MALCOLM
          Good.

                    PAULINE
          It's not too sweet? They sometimes
          make their stuff too sweet.

                    MALCOLM
          Maybe. Maybe it was. I didn't
          even notice... They fucked up the
          cake. How sad. I love our little
          baby. I miss you.

                    PAULINE
          I miss you too. Maybe we should do
          another seminar.

Malcolm says something incomprehensible.
                    PAULINE
          I can't understand you, honey.
Margot finishes her glass of wine, her eyes still on her
sister.
                    INGRID
          There's gramma and Aunt Becky!
Margot startles and looks out the window. Across the street
is an older woman, 70's, and a large woman, mid 30's, eating
ice cream cones and looking in a boarded-up shop window.

                                                                   102.


                         PAULINE
               They didn't get my message.

     Pauline now stands above them.

                          MARGOT
               I told you she can't work the
               machine --

     Ingrid's chair scrapes as she stands.      She takes her mother's
     hand. Margot remains seated.

                          PAULINE
               What?   You're not coming?

                         MARGOT
               I'm coming, I'm coming.       What did
               he say?

     Pauline and Ingrid head for the door.      Claude waits for
     Margot.

                         MARGOT
               What did he say?

     She grabs her bags and drops some bills on the table.

                         MARGOT
                   (to herself)
               Don't worry, I got it.

79   EXT. STREET - MORNING                                            79

     The sisters and children come outside.      The mother and Becky
     now idle further down the street.

                            PAULINE/INGRID
               Mom!/Nana!

     Margot takes Claude's arm and walks quickly in the opposite
     direction. Claude, confused, glances over his shoulder.
                         MARGOT
               Don't look. Keep walking.
                         CLAUDE
               Why are we --
                         MARGOT
               We have to get you to your bus.

                                                            103.


80   CUT TO:                                                   80

     A huge parking lot. A bus in the distance.   Claude tries to
     keep pace with his mother.

                         CLAUDE
               Did you do something?

                         MARGOT
               What do you mean, do something?

                         CLAUDE
               I mean, why is the wedding not
               happening? Is there something that
               you did?

                         MARGOT
               Pauline has transferred all her
               stuff onto me. I don't understand
               her anymore. Why'd she pick this
               man? It is really berserk. And
               you know, she referred to me as her
               closest friend. We never see one
               anoth --

     An unfamiliar sound comes out of Margot. The sadness is
     unexpected -- she sobs uncontrollably. She tries to speak:

                         MARGOT
               I mean we're not close.   Even if we
               want to be. You know?

                         CLAUDE
               But was there anything real?

                         MARGOT
               No! How many times do I have to
               say it? Jesus. You think so
               little of me.
                   (through her sobs)
               It's good you're going. You
               shouldn't be around me either. I'd
               go if I were you...
                         CLAUDE
               Will you find Pauline and Nana
               after I leave?
                         MARGOT
                   (half-serious)
               I don't know. Maybe I'll go to
               church.

                                                         104.


Margot is sweating. She wipes her brow with her sleeve. She
periodically looks behind her. Nobody seems to be following.

                    CLAUDE
              (growing nervous)
          Are you angry at me?

                       MARGOT
          No, honey.     I'm not mad at you.

                    CLAUDE
          I don't want to go with you mad at
          anyone.

                    MARGOT
          Everything's fine.    I'm not mad at
          anyone.

Up ahead is a tiny depot.    People climb onto a white bus.

                    CLAUDE
          Can you come with me?

                    MARGOT
          No, you know that.
              (pause)
          We should talk about the next few
          months a little bit and what's
          going to happen --

                    CLAUDE
          I don't like Vermont.

                    MARGOT
          Your dad will be very happy to see
          you. And I'm sure Josh is dying to
          hang out.

                    CLAUDE
          Please come, mom.
                    MARGOT
              (suddenly irritable)
          Claude, stop it. Okay?
She watches a man sustain a long embrace with another man.
Margot closes her eyes. She breathes deeply.
                    MARGOT
          You used to need me to watch you
          when you played.

                                                       105.


                    CLAUDE
          What do you mean?

                    MARGOT
              (vaguely)
          When you first started to play with
          friends, you wouldn't do it unless
          I watched you. You were afraid I
          would go out the back door. I
          don't know where I would go. Our
          yard didn't lead anywhere anyway.

She takes off her sweater and reveals an old faded yellow T-
shirt. She isn't wearing a bra. Claude says suddenly:

                    CLAUDE
          I masturbated last night. While
          everyone was asleep I went into the
          bathroom and did it.

                    MARGOT
          You don't have to tell me, sweety.

The bus driver slams the luggage compartment closed.

                    MARGOT
          You've got to go.

Margot ties her sweater around her waist and takes Claude's
hand. They approach the bus. Claude's body tenses.

                    CLAUDE
          How will you get home?

                    MARGOT
          I don't know. I'll see. Maybe
          Dick can drive me to the...
              (pause)
          Jesus, I lost the word for a
          second. The train.
                    CLAUDE
          Uh huh.
He looks at her longingly.
                    MARGOT
          Come on. You always don't want to
          leave me and you always have a good
          time once you do.
              (provocatively)
          I think you like getting away from
          me.

                                                      106.


                      CLAUDE
          I do not.    I like hanging out with
          you.

She hugs him.   He clutches her.

                    CLAUDE
          The world feels strange to me right
          now.

Margot nods sympathetically. She kisses his lips and
releases him. He reaches into his bag and shyly puts on his
wrap-around punk sunglasses. Margot makes a face.

                      CLAUDE
          What?

                    MARGOT
          They make your face look too wide.

Claude removes them and puts them back in the bag.

                    CLAUDE
          See you soon.

                    MARGOT
          Bye, sweety.

                    CLAUDE
          Say, you'll see me "soon."

                    MARGOT
          You're acting like a baby.

She backs away --

                    CLAUDE
          Don't see Dick.

                    MARGOT
          Don't worry. I don't think he
          wants to see me anyway.
                    CLAUDE
          Please, Margot. Promise me.
                    MARGOT
              (hesitates)
          Don't call me that.

Claude doesn't move. Margot points at the bus and mouths
"Go". She turns in the other direction. Claude, frustrated
and anxious approaches the vehicle.

                                                               107.


81   INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS                                        81

     Claude hurries toward the back and finds a window seat.    He
     puts his bag next to him and looks out the dirty glass.

     Claude's POV: Margot, her back to him, puts her finger in her
     ear and shakes her head.

     The sweater around her waist loosens and drifts to the
     pavement. She starts walking.

     The bus hisses and lurches forward.    Claude strains to see:

     Margot looks back.

     The bus groans as it picks up speed.   Margot sprints.

                          MARGOT
               Wait!

     She's runs full speed, waving her arms wildly.

                          MARGOT
               Wait!   Wait!

     She pants, breathless.

     The bus brakes.

     She passes Claude's window. We stay on Claude. He waits.
     Finally, she appears next to him, covered in sweat, and
     panting. She kisses him on the head. The bus starts moving.

                         MARGOT
                   (almost euphoric)
               Did you see me running out there?

                          CLAUDE
               Yeah.
     Margot cranes her neck to see outside.

                         MARGOT
               Good. That was a lot of running.
               I'm out of breath.
     Claude turns away from his mother and looks out the window.



     CUT TO BLACK.