Actor Point >> Movie Scripts >> The Shipping News Film Script

The Shipping News Movie Script

Writer(s) : E. Annie Proulx, Robert Nelson Jacobs

Genres : Drama, Romance

Search IMDb : The Shipping News


                     THE SHIPPING NEWS




                    Ron Bass
                    Third Draft Rewrite
                    February 23, 1999


                    Previous Drafts By:
                    Laura Jones
                    Beth Henley



INT. LAUNDROMAT, MOCKINGBURG, NEW YORK - NIGHT

Glaring fluorescence, trash overflowing with cheap detergent boxes,
empty Coke machine flashing all lights orange. Only two dryers are
humming. It's very late. Keep PANNING to...

...a wiry, gimlet-eyed WOMAN, furtively removing crumpled
newspapers from a dryer. She flattens and folds them meticulously,
her glance darting angrily everywhere. Top secret mission.

...a natty little black man. PARTRIDGE has spread a late supper on
a neat cloth atop a dryer. Small cold fowl. Brie, baguette,
olives. Bottle of red. An air of competence, of indomitable
upbeatness. He ignores the spy-dressed-as-bag-lady as if she were
normal. More curious about...

...a hulking, rumpled figure scrutinizing Help Wanted ads as if
cramming for life's midterm exam. Thoughtful. Circles one,
slowly. Set out on QUOYLE's dryer are one Snickers bar and four
empty snickers wrappers. His version of cold supper. He reaches
for the candy, but seeing it's the last one, he...

...rises. Goes to the candy machine. Drops in his 65 cents, hits
the button. The Snickers starts to fall, but gets caught in the
mechanism at the last moment. Quoyle blinks dully. One more
retelling of the story of his life. He BANGS the machine half-
heartedly. Nope. Shakes it with his shambling strength. Nada.
POUNDS the coin return button. Hat trick. He empties his pocket.
Studies the results. Not enough. And without so much as a sigh...

...he ambles back to his dryer. Starts to unwrap the last
Snickers. Partridge taking this all in. But Mata Hari of the
Neat Newspapers goes to the candy machine, KICKS it violently. Out
fall the Snickers and the 65 cents. She scoops up both, turns in a
single motion to...

...GLARE death at the enemy. Quoyle opens his mouth to comment.
But. Doesn't. Resumes unwrapping his supper, as...

...his dryer STOPS. He pops it open. Stares in. Blinks.
Suddenly YANKS a tangle of graying shirts out onto the grimy floor
to reveal they have been...

...STAINED streaky BLUE by a cheap pen, quietly melting amid the
pile. This slips beneath even Quoyle's expectation level. The
big, soft face is pitifully, yes, even adorably, devastated.

                             QUOYLE (a murmur)
                Ruined.

And to the bystander.     This seems a comment on more than shirts.

                          PARTRIDGE (softly)
                Nah. Rub the ink with hot salt and
                talcum powder.

Quoyle's head WHIPS around.     As if he thought he was alone.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                If you're shocked when someone aims
                kindness your way. That oughta tell
                you somethin' about yourself.

Watches the little guy's undemanding smile.

                          QUOYLE (V.O., just staring)
                Then again. If you're that kinda
                guy. It don't.

                          PARTRIDGE
                And put a cuppa bleach in, next
                time through.

As Quoyle gazes at his benefactor, the woman sneaks up, SNATCHES
his Help Wanted ads. Races them over to her dryer. As the boys
watch, she shoves them in, starts the machine with Quoyle's coins,
and glares fiercely back at us. A mother bear protecting her cubs.
Partridge chuckles. Holds out his hand...

                             PARTRIDGE
                Partridge.

Quoyle glances at the little man's cold fowl supper.

                           QUOYLE
                Uh.   No thanks.

                          PARTRIDGE
                It's my name.

Oh.

INT. MOCKINGBURG RECORD CITY ROOM - DAY

Shabby one-floor newspaper. Old equipment, listless personnel,
stale you can smell from here. Only guy working is Partridge, who
is laying out the front page, and glances up to see across the
floor...

...Quoyle enter in his best suit. It is also his worst suit.
Partridge points to the only enclosed office, and gives his buddy a
hearty thumbs-up. Quoyle nods, his smile a rictus, his eyes a
glaze of panic. We see now that he is chewing, somehow. On the
way into the office, he snags a doughnut from a paper plate by the
coffee. Enters...

INT. ED PUNCH'S OFFICE - DAY

...ED PUNCH, managing editor, looks up from a reverie with a
startled expression. He wears really thick glasses which MAGNIFY
his eyes, giving him a frightening aspect.

                             PUNCH

                 Quoyle?     You're early.

From the rear, we see Quoyle can barely squeeze himself into the
chair.

                           PUNCH
                 I don't like that.

All the change SPILLS out of Quoyle's pockets, and CLATTERS onto
the wood floor, ROLLING interminably, as Quoyle fidgets.

                           PUNCH
                 Partridge says you're not as
                 dumb as you look.

REVERSE ANGLE now to see Quoyle's face.        The neat moustache of
powdered sugar.

                           QUOYLE (V.O.)
                 How could I be?

And takes a healthy bite from what's left of the doughnut.

                           PUNCH
                 Anyway, that's why I'm takin' a chance
                 on you. Partridge said he'd re-write
                 whatever of your stuff. Stay late...

Quoyle nods, dumbly.     Knows this.

                           PUNCH
                 We're a family paper. Upbeat
                 stories with a community slant.
                 Self-help stuff: Are You a Break-
                 fast Alcoholic?...Guide to Getting
                 Dumped...like that.

Quoyle nods bigger. Like he gets it.         Punch shoves an antique tape
recorder across the table.

                           PUNCH
                 City Planning Board meeting at two-
                 thirty. Three hunnerd words max.
                 Sink or swim.

HOLD on Quoyle's eyes.      Recalling...

FLASHBACK:   EXT. PUBLIC POOL - DAY

...Quoyle as a fat kid in a baggy bathing suit, being savagely
pummeled by his vicious OLDER BROTHER...

                           QUOYLE (V.O.)
                 I think my brother said that once.

                              BROTHER
                 LARDASS!     SNOTFACE!    FARTBAG!

Being pulled off the sniveling Quoyle by a rough hairy man with
dead eyes.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Maybe it was my father.

Quoyle's FATHER hauls him off the deck, and in a single motion,
FLINGS him INTO the pool!

                          FATHER
                Sink or swim, pig-butt.

Watches the THRASHING with mild contempt.     Turns away before Quoyle
simply SINKS beneath the surface.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                I'm not a water person.

INT. CITY ROOM - LATE NIGHT

The empty room a haven of dust motes floating in sickly fluor-
escence. Quoyle sits across the desk, gazing with endearing
fearfulness as Partridge turns page after page...

                          PARTRIDGE
                See, three hunnerd words would be,
                like, one page. This is...oh,
                fifteen, sixteen.

                          QUOYLE
                So we should cut it.

Partridge does glance up on that.

                          PARTRIDGE
                Gonna have to.

                          QUOYLE
                Or you could tie me in a sack, throw
                me in the river. Tell the police you
                thought it was oddly-wrapped lard.

                          PARTRIDGE
                Might be quicker.

Nobody smiles. Nobody has to. Quoyle pulls a big glass jar from a
paper sack. Sets it on the desk.

                          QUOYLE
                Does your wife like special pickles?
                They're fine with cold cuts.

Partridge looks at the cornichons.     They look expensive.

                          PARTRIDGE
                Come by for supper, tomorrow.     We'll

                   find out.

DISSOLVE to...

EXT. PARTRIDGE'S BACK YARD - DAY

Sausages on the BBQ, interesting colors and sizes. A huge hand
delicately places cut-up pieces of quail on the grill. It is
Quoyle, trusted, paying attention. MERCALIA, a slim black woman
with fiery eyes and an enticing smile, hands him a glass of white
wine, and...

...goes to slip her arm around Partridge. He watches Quoyle's
concentration approvingly. Shares a smile with his sexy wife.       And
raps a knife on his glass. Announcement.

Quoyle looks up with innocent eyes.         Which makes Partridge
hesitate.

                                PARTRIDGE
                   We.     Got you this.

Mercalia takes out the package. Wrapped in tissue, a neat ribbon.
She hands it to Quoyle, and leans up to kiss his cheek. Quoyle
looks down at it, dumbfounded. A silence.

                             MERCALIA
                   It's...an anniversary present.
                   Anniversary of our friendship.

Quoyle smiles.     Sweet and slightly confused.

                             QUOYLE
                   Seven and a half month anniversary?

He starts to unwrap...

                                PARTRIDGE
                   Well.     Why wait?

...a wristwatch.     A nice one.     He is overwhelmed, but still
uncomprehending.

                              MERCALIA
                   It's because we're happy.      About
                   something.

And steals a glance at her husband.

                             QUOYLE (BIG grin)
                   You're havin' a baby!

That stops Partridge's face.        No more stalling...

                             PARTRIDGE
                   Mercalia and me are movin'.
                   To California. Friday night.

Quoyle so pole-axed he can't even lose the smile.    It just turns
stupid and transparent. His friend swallows.

                          PARTRIDGE
                You know she's been learnin' to
                drive a rig. She got the Oakland
                to New Orleans run. I'm gonna
                make her smoked duck sandwiches for
                the road. I can edit copy anywhere.

Quoyle nodding slowly, smile still there. Yep. I guess y'can.
Partridge sees that it's a death blow. Mercalia looks at her feet.

                          PARTRIDGE
                Love's all that counts.   It's the
                engine of life.

As if parting advice. As if Quoyle should file that away.      So
Quoyle nods some more. As if he will.

                          PARTRIDGE
                We'll just. Stay in touch.

On this, Quoyle's smile deserts him. So Partridge reaches out his
hand. Quoyle paralyzed, then takes it. CLOSE ON their handclasp,
and DISSOLVE to...

INT. DOUBLETREE MEETING ROOM - EVENING

...a slender feminine hand.   Buried in Quoyle's.

                          PETAL (O.S.)
                Petal Bear, Mr. Quoyle.

PAN up to see her. Tiny, twitchy, moist ringlets. A gray-eyed
predator. She looks around at the milling suits and their name
tags. As if they were alternatives.

                          PETAL
                Do you hate this shit, or what?

Quoyle transfixed by her slight form in its loose but clingy
wrapping. The smile that sees him again and flickers...

                          PETAL
                What do you think? You want to
                marry me, don't you?

Don't you? No answer. She laughs, as if at some off-color
response. Runs hot fingers up his arm, leaning to his face...

                          PETAL
                Buy me a drink somewhere, it's
                seven-thirty. I think I'm going
                to fuck you by ten. What do you
                think of that?

Quoyle.   Blinks.     She laughs again.   Bright, like whiskey music.

                              PETAL
                    You are quite. The raconteur.

INT. QUOYLE'S TRAILER - LATE NIGHT

Petal naked in near-darkness, moves with authority toward the
massive lumpy creature nearly overflowing his bed. Draws the
covers back.

Stares.

                               PETAL
                    Christ.   I won the lottery.

Climbs on, the lithe move of a leopardess.         Feeding time.

                              QUOYLE (V.O.)
                    It was pretty much like that for
                    a month.

Petal RIDING in silhouette, with great, violent swoops.            CLOSE on
his face, his eyes. Lovelight.

                              QUOYLE (V.O.)
                    Somewhere in there. We got married.

INT. BAR - NIGHT

Horrible place. Smoke and bodies. Quoyle alone, carrying his
sloshing beer, apologies unheard, toward...

                              QUOYLE (V.O.)
                    After that, I had to follow her to
                    see her.

...the back of Petal, talking to a big guy in a shiny suit.

                              QUOYLE (V.O.)
                    Which I know was wrong of me.

Closer.   Close enough to hear...

                              PETAL
                    What do you think? You want to
                    marry me, don't you?

HOLD on Quoyle's face. The lovelight has never left.          It shines
through the shock. As if in apology...

                              QUOYLE (V.O.)
                    She didn't know she was pregnant.

DISSOLVE to...

INT. PARLOR - DAY

One-year-old BUNNY is SCREAMING in a rickety crib festooned with
mobiles and bright toys. HEAR Quoyle POUNDING in. He reaches to
lift her...

...WAY UP, starts running around the faded little parlor making
cheerful airplane noises, as he DIVES and SWOOPS the shrieking kid,
until he...

...stops. Sniffs. Oh. Gives her a kiss, which doesn't put a dent
in the screaming, and flops her down on the diaper table. She is
screaming LOUDER. He is fumbling with the diaper, the Baby Wipes,
getting a wad of ten or so at once. When...

...the phone rings. He runs off. Runs back, lifts Bunny, diaper
dangling from the tape stuck to her skin, and SNATCHES up the
phone, hoping with everything in him that it's...

                          PETAL (O.S.)
                 Hey. How do you make an Alabama
                 Slammer?

He takes a breath.     Can hear the noise of a rowdy spot.     Country
juke box.

                             QUOYLE
                 Uh.    Where are y...

                              PETAL (O.S.)
                 Alabama.     Hence, the question.

Bunny.   Has stopped screaming.

                              QUOYLE
                 Come home.     I'll make you one.

                           PETAL (O.S.)
                 That's a swell idea. Now go look on
                 top of the fridge, where I keep the
                 Mr. Boston. I'll wait.

What should he do? He sets Bunny carefully on the floor. She
starts screaming again, and he LIFTS her quick, cuddles her. LOPES
off, leaving the phone on the floor...

...RACES back in with the Mr. Boston, a bag of pork rinds, and
a pacifier. Something for everyone. As he flips the pages, he
murmurs into the phone...

                              QUOYLE
                 You okay?     Except for being thirsty?

She laughs, almost friendly.      He smiles.   Ever hopeful.

                           PETAL (O.S.)
                 I'm busy, I'll see y...

                             QUOYLE (reads)
                   Ounce Southern Comfort, ounce Sloe
                   Gin. Ounce Triple Sec. Three ounces
                   o.j....

                               PETAL (O.S.)
                   Got it.

CLICK. The BUZZ of her disconnect. He glances down at Bunny,
working the pacifier. Murmurs to the receiver...

                               QUOYLE
                   Me too.    I'll tell Bunny you miss her.

Hang up the phone. Kiss a baby. Eat a pork rind. Slow. As he
gazes down on Bunny, we PUSH INTO her face, and MATCH DISSOLVE
to...

INT. BUNNY'S ROOM - NIGHT, FIVE YEARS LATER

...an ECU of Bunny, now six years old, asleep in the flickering
blue light of a nearly-mute TV. Apparently she was watching
Sportscenter. PAN the darkened shoebox room. Toys everywhere, in
a clutter. A pile of used Barbies, limbs jutting in all
directions, waiting for a mass grave. BACK to Bunny, to see...

...she sleeps in her father's lap. His chin resting on her head,
an industrial-size bag of cookies handy. Somewhere, a door OPENS..

...SLAMS HARD. Quoyle gently lays Bunny on her bed, and lurches
INTO the hall, to see Petal disappearing into her bedroom, and he
hurries to stop the door before it slams in his face.

When she turns, she is wasted, feral, and somehow as sexy as ever.
Her laser glare. What the fuck do you want?

                               QUOYLE
                   There's.    Cold chicken.

Really? She tears off her jacket, revealing that she has left her
shirt somewhere and is down to her bra. She stalks toward him.
Straight to the doorway. He flinches.

                             PETAL
                   Find yourself. A girlfriend.
                   With what you got down there,
                   you'll do fine.

Quoyle swallows.     Shakes his head.

                             PETAL
                   Only thing can work, here.    Is
                   divorce.

No.   No.   Tears of shock pool in his eyes.

                           QUOYLE (V.O.)
                 I knew we had our problems. But
                 I never thought I'd hear that word.

She shivers with disgust. Walks around in a frustrated circle.
Back to his face. Are you sure? What does a girl have to do? And
now...

...the tears are on his face.     She flashes her hardest look.      And
yet...

...her slender fingers reach out.     Wipe his face, not as roughly as
she might have intended.

                           PETAL
                 Your funeral, pussy.

And CLOSES the door, quietly, but firmly.      In his face.

He stares at it. His lips part. But no sound comes.           Instead, he
walks the few steps to Bunny's room, to find her...

...wide awake.   Sitting on the edge of her bed.     No question, she
heard it all.

So Quoyle smiles. He reaches to the top of her battered armoire.
His eyes damp but dancing for his daughter. Pulls down...

...a box of chocolates. Their stash.       He sits on the floor.     Opens
the lid, like buried treasure.

She comes to cuddle in his lap.     He feeds her one.   She feeds him
one. They've done this before.      As they chew...

                           QUOYLE (V.O.)
                 I knew if I could take it. In the
                 end. It would all work out.

INT. CITY ROOM - MIDDAY

Everyone trooping back from lunch, twos and threes. Quoyle last,
alone, still stuffing down a snack cake as he heads for the coffee
pot. There's one answering machine for everybody here, glowing a
red number 2. Someone hits it, and everybody shuts up a beat, to
see if they got lucky.

                           MALE VOICE (O.S.)
                 Lila, it's Daniel. Ten-thirty.
                 Bring the. You know.

LILA doesn't even bother to blush.      A shrug is plenty.

                           FATHER (O.S.)
                 Quoyle, this is your father. Calling
                 you. Dicky's machine is full. Your
                 home one's broke. Well. It's time
                 for your mother and I to go.

Quoyle listening.      Go?

                              FATHER (O.S.)
                    Instructions about the undertaker.
                    The cremation. On the dining room
                    table.

Oh.     Go.   Eyes are sneaking over now.   Lots of them.

                              FATHER (O.S.)
                    You'll have to make your own way.
                    I did. Nobody gave me nuthin'.
                    Other men woulda give up, turned to
                    bums. I sweated, wheeled barrows of
                    sand, went without so you and yer
                    brother could have advantages. Not
                    that you did much with your chances.

Everybody just openly staring now.       Quoyle's snack cake and coffee
frozen in mid-air.

                              FATHER (O.S.)
                    Hasn't been much of a life. Tell
                    Dicky and my sister Agnis Hamm.
                    Her number's on the dining room ta...

BEEP!

                              MACHINE (O.S.)
                    That was your final message.

Quoyle nods. Sounded that way. Despite the hateful coarseness of
this message, Quoyle is deeply moved. Lips pursed inward to stem
tears. In the silence...

                              FAT GUY (trying)
                    Were they sick, or something?

Quoyle stares into distance.       Somewhere, feet shuffle.

                              QUOYLE
                    Brain tumor and liver cancer.
                            (afterthought)
                    One apiece.

                              FAT GAL (sad for him)
                    That's rough.

He nods, it is that. Wanders       on over to his desk. They're still
watching, but he doesn't seem      to notice. Turns his ratty Rolodex
with solemn slowness. Not to       dishonor the moment. Finds the
number, dials. Winces at the       harshness of the voice he hears.
Then...

                               QUOYLE
                    Dicky.   It's Mom and Poppa.    They.

He can't say any more.     Turns out, he doesn't need to.

                          BROTHER (O.S., snorts)
                Jeez, they did it? I never
                thought he'd find the fucking guts.

Quoyle licks his lips.     His eyes puddling now.

                             QUOYLE
                So.     For the funeral, I thou...

                          BROTHER (O.S.)
                You think I'd go pay that prick
                respects? You got me confused
                with you!

Quoyle shakes his head once.     That confused he isn't.

                             QUOYLE (quietly)
                Well.     Mom'll be there, too.

Silence.

                          BROTHER (O.S.)
                Hey, Barfbag. They leave us
                anything, y'think?

                          QUOYLE
                Don't see how. Big mortgage.
                Spent their savings on the doctors.
                I hadda send some grocery mon...

                          BROTHER (O.S.)
                Well, see, that's why he did it.
                I mean, think how it felt. Taking
                from you.

LONG ANGLE...they are watching him replace the receiver in its
cradle. Think. Stumble slightly, as he makes his way toward...

INT. PUNCH'S OFFICE - DAY

Punch looks up, startled at Quoyle's entrance. His oversized
glasses seem to magnify his eyes more than ever.

                          QUOYLE
                Sorry, Ed. I gotta drive down to my
                parents' place. I'll be back, Friday.

A full beat.

                          PUNCH
                Take yer time. I gotta let you go.

Quoyle's eyes sharpen.

                           QUOYLE
                 In what sense do you m...

                           PUNCH
                 As in canned.

Oh.   Once again, life slips beneath even Quoyle's expectations.

                            QUOYLE (a little dazed)
                 Uh.   Would next week be better?

                           PUNCH (sighs)
                 I got the summer interns comin' next
                 week. They're free and they're smart.
                 Gotta do somethin' to fight this
                 slump. But don't worry...

Don't?

                           PUNCH
                 Yer not the only one.
                           (beat)
                 Eventually.

A beat.

                           QUOYLE
                 Should I finish the sawmill piece?

INT. QUOYLE'S HOUSE - DAY

Quoyle enters carrying a spray of violets.     HEAR Springer turned up
loud. He goes to the parlor to find...

...MRS. MOOSUP, the babysitter, smoking and swigging a Pepsi. She
is mean-ugly with flesh hanging beneath her arms. She stares at
him, the flowers.

                           MRS. MOOSUP (dry)
                 Mr. Quoyle. You shouldn't have.

                           QUOYLE (taking her literally)
                 They're for Petal, Mrs. Moosup.
                 I got something to tell her.

                           MRS. MOOSUP
                 Well, that may take awhile.

Uh-oh.

                           MRS. MOOSUP
                 She came in at one, packed like
                 crazy. Said she was movin' to
                 Florida with the guy in the red Geo.
                 You know the one.

He knows the one.

                            MRS. MOOSUP
                  She says you gotta pay my wages for
                  the sittin'. Seven weeks, comes to
                  $3080. 'Preciate a check right n...

He is heading toward the hall.

                            MRS. MOOSUP
                  Don't bother. She took Bunny
                  with her.

That stops him.    Cold.     He turns...

                            QUOYLE
                  That's the last thing she'd ev...

                            MRS. MOOSUP
                  She was real clear about my check.
                  It's no fun workin' if you don't
                  get paid.

He TEARS out, DOWN the hall, INTO Bunny's room...

...closet open. Empty. No more tangled pile of Barbies.                He
surveys the wreckage of his life.

                            QUOYLE (V.O.)
                  At least she took her toys.       Wanted
                  her to be happy.

He staggers out of the room, down the hall...

                            MRS. MOOSUP (O.S.)
                  Mr. Quoyle? I ain't got all day, here!

...into the kitchen.       Lifts the receiver.    Thinks.     Dials.

                               QUOYLE (quietly)
                  Yes.     I need to report a kidnapping.

And straightens his spine.       Just a little.

                           QUOYLE
                  Quoyle. Q-U-O-Y-L-...no, Y, then
                  L-E. Yeh, it's my kid.

He's still holding the violets.         He notices this.     Sets them down,
almost tenderly, in the sink.

INT. QUOYLE'S HOUSE - LATE NIGHT

Quoyle alone in absolute darkness. Bumping around the house.
There's a large bag of something in one hand, maybe M & Ms. But
he's not eating. Just murmuring to himself...

                               QUOYLE

                 Who knows?     Who knows?

INT. QUOYLE'S PARENTS' HOME, BROOKLYN - DAY

Quoyle moving in his parents' cluttered parlor like a man
underwater. A room as drab, as neglected, as Brooklyn through
the window. He stands at a shelf now, staring at a row of framed
photos. Lifts one...

...a BOY of 15, bundled for winter, stands by a frozen pond.
Stocky, sullen, something unpleasant in the narrow eyes. Next
to him, not touching, a GIRL, big for 12. Rawboned, husky. Flat
gaze, like something's dead or hidden.

Quoyle walks to the table. A cardboard box has been filled with
mementos. A slip of paper: AGNIS HAMM, a telephone number. The
phone is RINGING now. Quoyle staring at the paper. Finally, lifts
the phone, breathes an absent greeting, and...

                           MALE VOICE (O.S.)
                 Is this Mr. Guy Quoyle?

                           QUOYLE (weary)
                 He's not here.

                           MALE VOICE (O.S.)
                 This is Lt. Amos Figg of the
                 Mockingburg, New York Police. Could
                 you have him call me when he ret...

                           QUOYLE
                 He's passed on. He's dead.
                           (beat)
                 You said Mockingb...

                           FIGG (O.S.)
                 We're a small town upstate. I'm
                 actually trying to reach his son.
                 He allegedly went down to his
                 parents' place two days ago.

Quoyle blinks.   Not in the mood.

                           QUOYLE
                 Are you a detective, Lieutenant?

                              FIGG (O.S.)
                 Yes sir.

                           QUOYLE
                 Well, as you've probably deduced, I
                 am his son. Cause I'm at his
                 place. As alleged.

Silence.

                              FIGG (O.S.)

                  There's no need for that tone,
                  sir. I'm calling with urgent news.

And says no more.     We can feel Quoyle's heart beating from here.

                            QUOYLE
                  Which is...?

                            FIGG (O.S., hesitant)
                  You want the good news? Or
                  the bad news.

Ominous.   Would be an understatement.

                               QUOYLE
                  The good.     Please.

                             FIGG (O.S.)
                  Your daughter Bunny was sold by
                  your wife to a child pornographer.
                  For $9000.

Quoyle's heart.     Has stopped.

                            FIGG (O.S.)
                  But she's fine. We got her. And
                  the doc says she wasn't touched.
                  Yet. If you catch my drift.

INTERCUT...a dingy kitchen, scuzzier than we could even have
guessed. Bunny in her underpants sliding merrily on a floor made
slippery with dish detergent. PAN past the video camera on its
tripod to the PORNOGRAPHER at the window, also in his underpants,
screaming into a cordless phone. And...

BACK to Quoyle.     His heart must have started again, because he is
able to say...

                               QUOYLE
                  That's.     The good n...

                               FIGG (O.S.)
                  Well.     Compared.

INTERCUT...a riverbank somewhere high above swiftly-flowing water.
Police and bystanders gathered. A winch reaching its chain into
the depths.

                            FIGG (O.S.)
                  Your wife was in a red Geo which
                  went through a guardrail over the
                  Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Here comes part of the Geo.        Streaming water and mud.

                            FIGG (O.S.)
                  They were doin' 97 in a fog.      The

                car was cut in half by the impact
                with the rail. Her male companion's
                body floated up downstream.

BACK to the horrified husband.     Waiting in silence.

                          QUOYLE
                And Petal...?

                          FIGG (O.S.)
                May never find the body. But she
                was mercifully killed on impact,
                without a doubt. They found her
                shoes under the dash and her...
                trousers for some reas...

                          QUOYLE
                That don't mean for sure she w...

                          FIGG (O.S.)
                ...and her purse. With the nine
                large.

Oh. Tears finally force their way through the shock.      As he
realizes...

                          QUOYLE (a murmur)
                Yeh. If she was alive. Don't
                guess she'd a left that.

INT. COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES - DAY

Quoyle moving his bulk FAST down a corridor, a uniformed COP almost
skipping alongside to keep up, watching Quoyle like a hawk all the
way to....

...the threadbare common room. Kids playing, arguing, sleeping,
staring at an antique TV. Quoyle goes THROUGH them all, cop
doggedly in his wake, and sinks to his knees beside...

                          BUNNY
                I can't do this.

Bunny on the ratty sofa, legs dangling, holding out a vintage
Gameboy. She wears clean clothes, freshly-washed hair, and a
comfortable smile.

                          QUOYLE (very soft)
                Me neither.

And kisses her, lightly, on the lips.

                          QUOYLE (softer still)
                Hi.

She kisses him back, much harder, on the mouth.     The lopsided grin
of a practicing imp.

                              BUNNY
                 Hi, too.     That for me?

We hadn't seen them, hidden beside his leg.          A bunch of DAISIES.
He gives them to her. Like her best beau.

                           BUNNY
                 Where's our candy?

                           QUOYLE
                 In the store. That way, you've
                 got the whole selection.

And then...

                           QUOYLE
                 Give us a minute.

Bunny doesn't understand.

                           QUOYLE
                 I mean him.

PULL BACK to the cop, staring down on them from point-blank range.
He doesn't move. Quoyle looks up, with an easy smile that says
he'd just as soon tear all the arms and legs off, and sweat the
consequences later. The cop backs well off. He can take a hint.

                            BUNNY
                 Petal went to Florida.       She'll be
                 back soon.

He looks in her eyes.      Shakes his head.    No.

                           QUOYLE
                 She had an accident.

                              BUNNY
                 So do you.

He nods, I do.   Tenderly pulls a strand of her hair aside.

                           QUOYLE
                 There was a car crash, sweetie.
                 And they found...you know, the
                 body. Of her friend.

                              BUNNY
                 Nestor.

That's right. His big hand has wrapped around one of hers.           She
doesn't seem to mind. Their faces so close.

                           QUOYLE
                 Petal can't come back, she's dead.
                 You know dead. Like the turtle.

She drills his eyes.   Calm as a moose.

                           BUNNY
                 We found the turtle. And they
                 found Nestor. Did you find Petal?

He shakes his head.

                           BUNNY
                 You never do. But she always
                 comes back.

And leans her forehead.      To rest against his.

                           BUNNY
                 Don't worry.

INT. QUOYLE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Quoyle stumbling toward the front door, drawing his robe around
him. Squinting through the peephole. OPENING the door, to
reveal...

                           AGNIS
                 Nephew, I'm your Aunt.     Agnis Hamm.

Tall and rawboned and 60. A rugged, maybe even handsome face, set
with ice-blue eyes. Calm, slightly scary eyes, that drift to his
robe...

                              AGNIS
                 You sick?     It's nine o'clock.

He is completely off-balance here.

                           QUOYLE
                 Uh. No, Bunny and I like to...
                 uh, early to bed, earl...

                           AGNIS
                 Losin' your wife, your folks, and
                 your job'd depress anybody. It's
                 a wonder you don't sleep all day.

Not that she seems to approve. Not at all. His eyes now drift to
the large, well-used SUITCASES dangling from her powerful hands.

                           AGNIS
                 Thought I'd stay a day or two.
                 Give you some relief with th...

And stops.   The mouth doesn't smile.     But the eyes crinkle slightly
toward...

...Bunny. Who has crept out in her jammies.         Hugging a sack of
Pepperidge Farm cookies like it was a teddy.

                          AGNIS (to Bunny)
                You like blue dogs named Warren?

The little girl nods.     As if she certainly does.

                          AGNIS
                I got one in the car.

INT. PARLOR - LATER

In the far corner of the room, Bunny plays with WARREN, a sweet,
ugly dog. Toothless and, undeniably, blue.

                          QUOYLE (O.S.)
                I never knew her, really.

See him now, sipping his tea.     Wallowing in the detritus of his
emotions.

                          QUOYLE
                But she was driven by terrible
                forces, no one could understand.
                She was a locked door. Even to me.

Agnis in the good chair. Teacup on her ample lap. Assessing a
photo on the end table, Petal's arctic eyes, rigidly seductive
pose. The snapshot enshrined by a neighboring votive rose in its
jelly jar glass.

                          AGNIS
                So she wasn't just a bitch in
                high heels?

Quoyle's eyes cut instinctively toward his daughter, her innocence
protected by distance and absorption with Warren's passivity.

                          AGNIS
                Don't stress. She mighta heard worse
                from her momma. I'm only guessin'.

                          QUOYLE
                Some people probably thought Petal
                was bad clear through.

                             AGNIS
                People.     Are a cynical lot.

                          QUOYLE
                I think she just couldn't get
                enough love.

Agnis' unblinking eyes.

                           AGNIS
                I think the evidence.     Is on
                your side.

The eyes study him.     Dissect him, even.

                             AGNIS
                   I'm headed north, Nephew, to
                   where our family comes from, in
                   Newfoundland. Thought I'd never
                   go back. But the older y'get...

Clucks her tongue.

                             AGNIS
                   There's a pull. Becomes an ache.
                   As if where your people started
                   held a purpose for you. Like
                   you're a piece in a puzzle...

Not a smile. But something.        A softening of timbre, a flicker
behind the eye.

                             AGNIS
                   ...lookin' for where y'fit.

Lifts her cup.

                               AGNIS
                   You, too.

Takes a sip.     His eyes have narrowed in a burlesque of suspicion.

                             QUOYLE
                   In what sense do you m...

                             AGNIS
                   You need to come, Nephew.

Just like that.

                             AGNIS
                   Nothin' here but hurt. You got
                   to start fresh, everythin's gone!

Hmmn?

                             AGNIS
                   The trip'll clear your head.
                   Be educational for the squirt.
                   Teach ya the world's still spinnin'
                   outside this toxic slice o'Hades.
                   And who knows...?

Tilts her head.     Who knows.

                             AGNIS
                   They must have a newspaper up
                   there. Somebody's gotta write it.

He just stares.     The blankest of the blank.

                            AGNIS
                  Tell the truth, I'd appreciate
                  the company. You two are pretty
                  much my family.

His face softens.       Hadn't thought of it that way.      And seeing
this...

                            AGNIS
                  A pot o'coffee would hit the spot.
                  Drop o'whiskey would fit nice in it.

She waits.   He rises.      And when he does...

                            AGNIS
                  Which one's my brother?

He blinks.   She looks at two URNS on the mantle.

                               QUOYLE
                  Uh.     There's Mom.   And that's Poppa.

The name of the funeral home tastefully stenciled.           He clears his
throat...

                            QUOYLE
                  Those are temporary.

                               AGNIS
                  Coffee.     And maybe a sweet.

Quoyle nods, glad to serve.       Heads off to the kitchen.      Agnis looks
at Bunny and Warren.

                            AGNIS
                  She needs to go outside.

                            BUNNY
                  I know why.

She runs out, the dog trotting after.        Alone now...

...Agnis pulls something from her large carpetbag purse.           It is an
oversized ZIPLOC BAG. She stands. Crosses to...

...her brother's urn. She removes the lid. Turns the huge Ziploc
upside down to COVER the urn. Then, in one deft movement...

...UPENDS the urn, a cascade of ash tumbling into the Ziploc.
Seals it. Sets it to one side. Then, from her purse...

...another ziploc already filled with replacement ashes. She pours
just enough into the urn. That should do it. Stashes the rest
back in her purse. Turns now to lift...

...the Ziploc with her brother's remains.     Stares at it.   Think
Hamlet with Yorrick's skull.

                             AGNIS
                   What say, Guy? The dumpster?

A beat.     Eyes flat and neutral.

                             AGNIS
                   Just a thought.

EXT. PHANTOM HIGHWAY - MISTY NIGHT

A world of fog and reflected high beams. Big rig pulls over, and
Petal climbs up and in, her short red dress fluttering about her
thighs.

The truck is roaring heedlessly through dense cloud. The DRIVER is
gross and bald, snot suspended from his nostrils. He lets go of
the wheel to run his hairy hands UNDER Petal's dress, while through
the shotgun window, we see...

...Quoyle FLYING along outside, like a superhero. Except he is
shocked bug-eyed by the tableau. The disgusting driver buries his
face in Petal's hair, she throws her head back laughing, and the
driver becomes Quoyle's FATHER, Quoyle silently SHRIEKING outside
the window, and SMASH cut to...

EXT. DECK, PORT-AUX-BASQUES FERRY - DAY

...Quoyle    blinking awake on the deck of a pitching ferry. Fog
and cliff    and the raw Atlantic. And SOARING alongside, an amazing
number of    MARITIME BIRDS...the gulls and terns seeming to stare
Quoyle in    the eye as they glide past. Maybe they prompted his
dream.

                             AGNIS (O.S.)
                   They draft off our air currents,
                   it's quite premeditated.

She stands at the rail.     Smoking, despite the wind.

                             AGNIS
                   They actually know the ferry
                   schedule. Show up on time
                   better'n the Newfies.

He smiles a seasick smile. Lurches from his bolted-down chair to
join her. She nods back toward...

...Bunny through the glass window, snuggled with Warren, feeding
the dog french fries.

                             AGNIS
                   ...image of m'sister, Feeny.
                   She's married to a falconer in
                   Arabia, now. Has to wear a black

                 thing over her face.

                           QUOYLE
                 Like the falcon.

She stares in his eyes. Yes, like the falcon.       They are growing on
each other in a companionable way.

                              AGNIS
                 Nice.     To be with family.

He smiles.   It is nice.

                           AGNIS
                 'Specially big shots. Who can
                 land a job with one phone call.

His smile changes color.      A quiet pride in the modest...

                            QUOYLE
                 Well, that was my friend Partridge.
                 Made the call. And it's just an
                 interview.

When Quoyle looks back in at Bunny, he sees she is staring off at
something with full attention. He follows her gaze to...

...a honey-haired MOTHER with her small BOY snuggled in her lap.
She is feeding him an ice cream bar with evident tenderness. And
though the child's face is blissfully vacant, she murmurs to him
with serious intent.

INT. CAR, GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA - DAY

Quoyle driving a winding, rutted road, high above the coastline.
Cracked cliffs in volcanic glazes. Long-abandoned settlements
jutting from raw granite. Icebergs on the horizon above the
rumpled, creased fabric of a brilliant blue sea. Beside him...

                           AGNIS
                 On the map, here. Quoyle Point.
                 Named after us. You.

It all seems at once awe-inspiring, frighteningly lonely.      And
hostile as hell.

EXT. QUOYLE'S POINT - SUNSET

The car pulls up in a shroud of mist. Our family climbs out,
stares into what seems the center of a dense cloud, until...

...the fog LIFTS. And like a ghost, a GREEN HOUSE appears.       Then,
disappears. Then, APPEARS again. This time, to stay.

                           AGNIS (bottomless pride)
                 I was born here.

                          BUNNY
                The green makes me hurl.
                    (Warren whimpers)
                Her, too.

The cloud lifts further, and we see the house stands alone on a
rocky point. The bay roils far below. Half the window panes are
gone. Holes in the roof, paint flaking everywhere. Lonely and
scary as any haunted house.

                          AGNIS
                Empty 44 years. And look at that
                roofline, straight as a ruler.

Quoyle looks at her.     Looks at the house.   Looks at her.

                          QUOYLE
                Take it easy. Floor mighta fallen
                into the cellar.

                          AGNIS (laughs)
                Not likely. There is no cellar.
                No foundation, neither.

She takes Bunny's squirming hand and starts toward the house, as if
crossing Jordan.

                          AGNIS (calling back)
                The whole thing's lashed with cable,
                to iron rings set in the rock!

He just stands there.     Sees the cables now, the rings.

                             QUOYLE (calling out)
                Uh.     Why would they do th...

                          AGNIS (calling back)
                Long story!

Apparently a private one, too.     Keeps walking.

INT. GREEN HOUSE - TWILIGHT

Inside the dank, corroding place. We can feel all 44 years of
abandonment. CRASH! The door FLIES open. Quoyle with his tire
iron steps aside, and...

...Agnis drags Bunny inside. The wind shrieking low through
openings like proper spirits. Even this bold child is frightened.
So Agnis leans to murmur...

                          AGNIS
                Up those stairs, Aunt Pinkie slept.
                So fat she couldn't get down to her
                chamber pot. Wanna see if she's
                still there?

Asked as a serious question.     Bunny nods.   Let's.

ANGLE...upstairs now. Agnis marching through like MacArthur
reclaiming the Philippines. Room after rough-hewn spacious room,
light spiking through a thousand roof holes in assorted shapes.

                             AGNIS
                   Well. Too late to drive that road
                   back 'round the bay. We'll camp
                   in here tonight. Be right as rain.

Quoyle looks down to his daughter.     Who nods, as if that were a
perfectly natural suggestion.

                             BUNNY
                   Which one's Petal's room?   I'll
                   sleep there.

INT. GREEN HOUSE - LATE NIGHT

CLOSE on Bunny's sleeping face.     PUSH INTO her closed eyes, and
FADE to...

...a WINDOW, unearthly tendrils of FOG drifting past in moonglow
wisps. Suddenly, a FACE appears, an animal. White. Wolf, or more
likely, dog. It stares in at us, is fleetingly joined by a
grizzled HUMAN ghost, eyes FLASHING crazy, and...

...gone in mist.     CUT to...

REAR ANGLE of Quoyle and Bunny, each rolled over onto one side,
asleep in their sleeping bags. His arm across her protectively.
Hers across Warren, who sleeps curled to her chest. PAN up to...

...the window.     Only the shimmer of cloud-like mist.     SNAP to...

REVERSE ANGLE...Bunny's eyes.     wide open.

INT. ROOM - DAWN

CLOSE on Quoyle, stirring at the end of sleep.        His eyes flutter
open. A beat. He is alone. sits...

...BOLT UPRIGHT.

ANGLE...front hallway, Quoyle's bulk POUNDING toward us, boots in
his hand. The front door ajar. And at the threshold, in a
decorous semi-circle, six naked Barbies. Legs spread wide for
balance. Each staring out the doorway, to where...

...Bunny sits on the cold ground. Making some craft project with
great care. Quoyle can breathe again, she's safe. Ambles out,
crouches beside her. Close.

She keeps working. Almost eerie concentration. He sees now that
she is weaving a loop of dandelion stems, connected by aluminum pop
tops. He leans down. Kisses her head.

                          QUOYLE
                Is that a belt or a crown?

No answer. That concerns him. The intensity of her focus. He
notices now, the soda and beer cans with their tops popped. Lined
up in a row. He lifts one, liquid sloshes out. They're full.

                          QUOYLE
                Sodas get flat withou...

                          BUNNY
                This is important.

She won't look up.     He glances back to the doorway.

                          QUOYLE
                That why the Barbies are
                watching?

                          BUNNY
                They're being nice and patient.

                          QUOYLE
                They must be chilly, tho.     Should
                I get their clo...

                          BUNNY
                They look better this way.        They
                have great bodies.

He looks back. Well. Maybe so. Holds up one of the heavy boots
he's carrying. It has a thick blue shoelace. The other. Has
none. Sticks that one in front of her face.

She looks up to him.     Tugs on the shoelace, which she now wears as
a necklace...

                             BUNNY
                I need it.     I look good in blue.

                             QUOYLE (smiles)
                Well.     I look good in shoes.

...sees now what she has tugged from inside her shirt.     The
shoelace necklace holds a dull metal KEY as a pendant.     He blinks.

                          QUOYLE
                I was lookin' for that all over
                our old place. The landlady s...

                             BUNNY
                I need it.

He takes that in.    The urgency of it.   She is staring in his eyes.
So he grins...

                          QUOYLE
                You had quite the heavy morning.
                Take the rest of the day off.

She doesn't smile back. Returns to her work. He looks out by the
cliff, to see Agnis staring across the bay, Warren sitting at her
side. He pulls on his boots. Gets to his feet.

                          QUOYLE
                Be right back, and we'll start
                talking breakf...

                          BUNNY (not looking up)
                Watch out for the dog.

He looks across the ground toward old Warren.

                          QUOYLE
                Yeh, her farts are pretty scary.

                             BUNNY
                I mean.     The white one!

Now their eyes meet.    Matter-of-fact...

                          BUNNY
                The White Dog with the big
                teeth and the red eyes. The
                Skinny Ghost owns him. They
                came last night.

He draws a breath...

                          BUNNY
                I didn't dream 'em, don't say
                I did.

He thinks this over.

                          QUOYLE
                I was gonna say.     I'll keep my
                eyes peeled.

And makes a funny gesture, like peeling his eyeballs. She goes
back to work. His eyes linger. Then, he heads off toward the
cliff. When he gets there...

                          AGNIS (staring across the bay)
                I'll get us a carpenter. Fix
                the place up in no time. We'll
                find a rooming house til th...

                          QUOYLE
                Be cheaper to build a new one.
                On the Riviera, even.

Now she looks at him.     Her flat, bottomless eyes.

                          AGNIS
                Only I weren't born.     On the
                Riviera.

O-kay. That's settled. He nods, humbly, dumbly.         She points off
across the water. An actual TOWN.

                          AGNIS
                Flour Sack Cove. What time's
                your interview at that paper?
                Ten o'clock?

Ten o'clock.

                           AGNIS
                The drive's a bitch.     We'll buy
                us a boat.

He tries a smile.    Unavoidably lame.

                             QUOYLE
                I'm not.     A water person.

                             AGNIS (dead straight)
                A boat.     That's the ticket.

His grin hardens. Just enough to say that on this issue, maybe
even she can't push him. He turns around. Starts back toward his
daughter.

                          QUOYLE
                ...not a water person.

INT. CAR - MORNING

Quoyle driving alone in his best suit. Which is also his worst
suit. Which is also the suit he wore to interview Ed Punch, years
ago. Hard rain. Potholes. Around a curve, to see ahead...

REAR ANGLE of a tall WOMAN, holding the hand of a CHILD as they
walk in their slickers through the downpour. As he passes them,
they TURN and..

...the woman is Petal.     The child is Bunny.    They both stick their
tongues out at him.

Past now. Looking in the rear-view. The woman is lovely and
no longer Petal. The child is a BOY, with a slack face and warm
smile. Surprisingly, the same mother and son that Bunny watched on
the ferry.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Someone found a pretty wife.

Still staring in the mirror.     The receding figures small against
the rain.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Someone always does.

EXT. THE GAMMY BIRD - DAY

Quoyle pulls up to a ramshackle place, its sign: THE GAMMY BIRD
over a painted quacking duck. As he climbs out, he hears SHOUTING
from inside. A door opens, and...

...a crab-Iike figure scuttles out, jumps in a Toyota truck, turns
the key. Kills the engine. He looks out at Quoyle standing in
what's left of the rain. Climbs back out. Rasps...

                          CARD
                As you can see, sometimes y'can't
                get away. I'm Tert X. Card, the
                bloody so-called managing editor,
                copyeditor, rewrite man, mechanicals,
                ad makeup department, mail and
                distribution chief, and snow shoveler.

More of a leering rictus than an actual smile. TERT CARD is aging,
balding, potbellied over a once-rawboned frame. His face looks
like cottage cheese clawed with a fork. He scratches his balls
with a rough-hewn hand. He is never happy.

                          CARD
                And you are either a big advertiser
                come to buy a four-page spread to
                push your warehouse of left-footed
                Japanese boots. Or. You. Are the
                breathlessly-awaited Quoyle.

                          QUOYLE
                That'd be me. The second one.

Card rakes his privates once more, and offers the same hand in
dubious greeting. Quoyle takes it.

                          CARD
                Have to do without the Ultimate
                Cheese, y'will. Himself, Mr. Jack
                Buggit, is up at the house having
                charms said over his scrawny chest to
                clear out that impressive accumulation
                of phlegm he's been hawking all week.

Claps a mirthless hand on Quoyle's back, leading him into...

INT. GAMMY BIRD NEWSROOM - DAY

A newsroom. Makes the Mockingburg Record look like the Washington
Post. Only two employees at their vintage desks. Card points as
he bellows...

                            CARD

                  Now, there's Billy Pretty. He's
                  something of a landmark and an
                  old fish dog.

BILLY PRETTY is wizened and wiry, pushing 70. A tiny, energetic
creature with well-weathered hide, watering crystal-blue eyes, and
a slanted smile. He waves a bony hand.

                            CARD
                  Billy does the Home News page.
                  Poems, baby photos, household
                  tips, and a gossip column, under
                  the byline of Junior Sugg, that
                  is pretty much straight libel.

Billy nods.    That pretty much covers it.

                            CARD
                  In short. He writes the only
                  stuff anybody actually reads.

Little salute from the Managing Editor.      If Card likes anybody, he
likes Billy. And he doesn't.

                            CARD
                  Now this miserable ugly Brit, is
                  B. Beaufield Nutbeem. Imagines
                  he's the foreign news chief. Steals
                  every story off that foul shortwave
                  radio and rewrites it in Limey prose.

                            NUTBEEM (smiling)
                  Which bloody Card rewrites in a
                  mystical tongue most charitably
                  referenced as an unacquireable taste.

NUTBEEM is 50 and gangly. Buttery hair swept behind ample ears.
A thin moustache, a bounteous bowtie, a ratty pullover. He opens a
file folder. Gives Quoyle a piercing, meaningful glance.

                            NUTBEEM
                  Mine: 'Burmese sawmill owners and
                  the Rangoon Development Corporation
                  met in Tokyo Tuesday to consider a
                  joint approach to marketing tropical
                  hardwoods.'

Got it?   Turns the page.

                            NUTBEEM
                  Card's rewrite: 'Burnoosed sawbill
                  awnings and the Ranger Devotional
                  Competition met Wednesday near
                  Tokyo to mark up local hairwood.'

A stunned.    Silence.

                           CARD
                 It's shorter, and I got Tokyo right.

                           NUTBEEM
                 If misspelled.

                           CARD
                 Now what's funnier, Quoyle? My
                 writing style, or the fantasy that
                 any Newfie would read that
                 moosepuckey in the first pIa...

                           QUOYLE (to Nutbeem)
                 How'd the meeting go? Did they
                 agree on a joint marketing approach?

The beginning.   Of a beautiful friendship.

                           NUTBEEM (gentle smile)
                 Still in progress, old bean.
                 One can only hope.

Card, who likes no one.   Doesn't like Quoyle, too.

                           CARD
                 There's your miserable desk, Quoyle.
                 We've got no idea what yer s'posed
                 to do. But Mr. Jack Buggit will
                 drop by someday and enlighten us
                 all. Til then...

And he turns away. Through the swinging door.       SLAM.   Quiet.
Except for Nutbeem's chuckle.

EXT. GREEN HOUSE - DAY

Quoyle pulls up beside the ancestral home. Agnis stands at the
back of a rented truck, sorting through materials in the payload.
Across a stretch of ground, Bunny is earnestly pretend-reading a
book to Warren, who lies listlessly before her.

Quoyle comes up behind Agnis.   He carries a newspaper and an
excited air.

                           QUOYLE
                 Listen to this. 'Well, we see
                 the postman has landed in jail for
                 45 days for throwing the mail in
                 Killick-Claw Harbor. He said he
                 had too much to deliver, and folks
                 could just take a dip and help
                 themselves.'

He looks up, eager for her reaction. She is still sorting through
bolts of thick cloth, spools of heavy thread, odd mechanical
devices.

                           QUOYLE
                 This is great stuff. 'A snowmobile
                 mishap has taken the life of 78-year-
                 old Rick Puff, who was on his way
                 home from what the Widow Puff calls
                 a 'screech-in and a carouse,' when his
                 machine fell through the ice. A well-
                 known accordion player, Mr. Puff had
                 served four years in the 1970s for
                 sexual assault on his daughters. Bet
                 they aren't crying, either.' This
                 Billy Pretty can really write!

                           AGNIS (absently)
                 ...passes as colorful.

He looks into the truck.      Sees all the stuff.   She surveys his
puzzlement.

                           AGNIS
                 Nephew, we can't fix up the house
                 proper on a journalist's wages.
                 So I have un-retired.

Oh.   Absorbs that.

                              QUOYLE
                 From what?

                           AGNIS
                 Upholstery. Been sought after for
                 33 years, wherever I've lived.
                 This should be the real test, huh?

Quoyle nods. Could be that. The sudden sound of footsteps above
them, makes him look up sharply, to see...

...a fit young MAN in a toolbelt climbing down a ladder from the
roof. The muscles of a stud, the shy smile of a boy, he waves a
greeting and HOPS down the last six feet to the ground.

                            AGNIS
                 This is Dennis Buggit, master
                 carpenter.

DENNIS offers a hand, and a smile that says he's expecting to like
you. Makes the sentiment contagious.

                           DENNIS
                 Only til I get my lobster license.
                 I'm a fisherman in my soul.

A strong handshake.   On both sides.

                           DENNIS
                 It's a Newfie thing, the compulsion
                 to fish. Y'hear yesterday's tragedy

                   'bout the Newfie who went ice fishin'?

Quoyle hasn't.

                             DENNIS
                   Brought home 200 pounds of ice. His
                   wife fried it. They both drowned.

Quoyle laughs good and honest.      Dennis likes that.

                             AGNIS
                   With me workin', we'll need day
                   care for Bunny after school. Turns
                   out Dennis and his wife send their
                   little girl to this wonderful saintly
                   woman. How's that for us livin' a
                   charmed life?

Quoyle nods, if a bit cautious.      Dennis squints out across the bay.

                             DENNIS
                   Agnis says yer buyin' a boat.
                   Sooner's prob'ly better'n lat...

                             QUOYLE (quiet smile)
                   I'm not buyin'. No boat.

Sounds pretty sure of that.      Punctures the amiable ambiance with a
shard of silence.

                             AGNIS
                   Well, course we're buy...

                             QUOYLE (to Dennis)
                   Buggit, huh? Any kin to my boss on
                   the Gammy Bird?

The silence.     Just got thunderous.   A full beat.

                              DENNIS (low)
                   Oh, yeh.   He's m'dad.

Even the eyes glance down.      What is that?   In the wake of it...

                             AGNIS (cheerful)
                   Gonna chat up yer daughter, or just
                   ignore her as usual?

Quoyle nods. Better do that. Dennis sends a shy smile, as if
apologizing for the awkwardness. Quoyle holds up a finger, be
right back, and...

...heads on over to where Bunny is reading to Warren.

                             BUNNY
                   Warren threw up in your sleeping bag.
                   She's got a stomach problem.

Quoyle takes a breath to answer, but stops.     He's caught a whiff.

                             QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Headline.     Dog Fart Fells Freelance
                Reporter.     Promising Career Nipped
                in Bud.

                          BUNNY
                It's called cancer.

Oh. Quoyle holds his face together, as Bunny strokes the limp
Warren. Then, he crouches down...

...strokes Warren, too.     Good dog.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - MORNING

Quoyle enters. Billy Pretty's on the phone, hand cupped over the
receiver, like it's top secret. Nutbeem's tuning his ancient
shortwave with a butter knife through the hole where a knob ought
to be. And as Quoyle sets down his sack lunch and thermos, as he
peels off his parka, he's staring straight into the eyes of...

...Tert Card across the way. Wearing a wicked and mysterious
smile. As Quoyle's butt lowers toward his chair...

                          BOOMING VOICE (O.S.)
                ATTENTION QUOYLE!

Ouoyle JUMPS a foot.   Looks from Card to Billy to Nutbeem.    What's
going on?

                          BOOMING VOICE (O.S.)
                IT'S AN I.Q. TEST, ME OLD SON, AND
                YOU AIN'T EXCELLING!

WHIPS around. Through the glass of the only private office, sits a
rumpled codger with a bullhorn. JACK BUGGIT, has his rubber boots
up on the desk, scale-spattered overalls over his compact, sinewy
body. His hair is wisps and shocks, and his face is strewn with
stubble split by a leprechaun's grin around a stained hand-rolled
ciggie.

                          JACK (into bullhorn)
                DOES PAYIN' YER SHAMEFUL WAGE ENTITLE
                ME TO A PERSONAL AUDIENCE? OR WOULDJA
                RATHER JUST STAND THERE AN' DROOL?

                          NUTBEEM
                Tell the truth.

Jack WAVING him in, with great energetic loops. The grin more
rowdy than his boy's. But the charm is there and more so. Quoyle
goes...

                             CARD (O.S.)

                 Hold onto yer danglies, little
                 sister.

...closes the door behind him. Jack's eyes are crinkly blue.   They
study Quoyle good. And right in his face...

                           JACK (into bullhorn)
                 I PREDICT! A COCKADOODLE-BRIGHT
                 FUTURE IN JOURNALISM!

                           QUOYLE
                 Based on my I.Q. test, huh.   Where'd
                 I rate?

                           JACK (sets the bullhorn down)
                 Advanced squirrel. This ties you
                 with me, an' I own the place.

Holds out a brown fisherman's hand.   Quoyle takes it.

                           JACK
                 Pleased t'meetcha, Billy says yer
                 workin' out.

A wink.

                           JACK
                 Tert Card says he's keepin' an eye
                 on ya. Since he's a self-servin'
                 liar, helluva ad salesman tho, it
                 means he's jealous. And Nutbeem...

Lifts the bullhorn...

                           JACK (into bullhorn)
                 NUTBEEM'S TEMPORARY ANYWAY! YOU HEAR
                 THAT NUTBEEM!

                           NUTBEEM (O.S., through glass)
                 WITH PROFOUND RELIEF!

Jack's grin grows a twinkle.   Soft spot for the Brit.

                           JACK
                 Nutbeem's obsessed with actual news.
                 Makes up for it by manning the sexual
                 abuse desk. Can't keep up with the
                 volume there, we're runnin' three,
                 four a week.

Leans forward.   Like he's dishing the lowdown.

                           JACK
                 Card's in charge. Ya hear this and
                 that 'bout his typos, but typos is
                 part of Gammy Bird. Everyone gets
                 a laugh, and gets to figger 'em out.

                   Better'n a crossword.

Stabs out his cigarette.     Pulls a new one from a damp little box.

                              JACK
                   An' Billy. Well, Billy's a writer
                   and a fisherman. Me, I'm just a
                   fisherman.

Offers the box.     Quoyle shakes him off.

                             JACK
                   Fishin' and the sea is all I am.
                   My pap the same. My boy.

                             QUOYLE
                   So he said. Waitin' for his license.

Ah. Jack's smile doesn't actually fade.       But the eyes flicker, and
Quoyle is sorry he opened his yap.

                             JACK
                   Naw, my boy's passed. Went to sea
                   and there he rests. Bless his bones.

His glance goes to a photo. Jack and a strapping blond son.
Not Dennis, that's for sure. Somehow, we are suddenly down to
business...

                             JACK
                   Want two things from ya, Quoyle.
                   First. You cover every local car
                   wreck, take pictures. Front-page
                   photo every week, whether we have a
                   wreck or not, an' we always do. When
                   we don't, we dip into Card's file,
                   he's got some beauties.

INTERCUT...half a red Geo being fished out of the water. Petal's
lifeless torso hanging backwards out the door, arms gracefully
extended like a ballerina or Olympic diver. Over this...

                             JACK (O.S.)
                   Knack to this. If there's a dark
                   patch on the ground, it reads blood,
                   whether it's motor oil or Diet Coke.
                   Gloves, hat, lyin' in the road...

BACK to Jack.     Canny and keen.   He knows this stuff.

                             JACK
                   ...somethin' that humanizes, makes
                   ya feel. That's what a wreck is.
                   It's always saying, 'There but for
                   the grace of God...'

Do ya follow?     Quoyle follows.

                            JACK
                  Plus. We're starting a feature on
                  the shipping news. What ships come
                  in, what goes out. Whatever's of
                  interest. Throwin' it to you, son.
                  Chance to shine.

A beat.

                            QUOYLE
                  Mr. Buggit. I'm not.     Well, a
                  water person.

Ah.   Jack takes this in.     The smile returns.

                              JACK
                  Chance.    To shine.

If you catch my drift.      Quoyle shuts up.

                            JACK
                  One peculiarity. I'm no joke,
                  son, and I don't tolerate jokes
                  about Newfies. Or them that does.

SMASH CUT to...

INT. SKIPPER WILL'S DINER - NIGHT

CLOSE on Dennis, holding a half-eaten squidburger in two hands.
Oblivious to sawdust, smoke and stench, he is charmingly,
engagingly, smashed.

                            DENNIS
                  So this Newfie comes to Toronto.
                  Cabbie says, take ya to meet girls
                  for a good time. Boy says, okay,
                  but I only want a Newfie girl.

His audience is Quoyle and Nutbeem. Each holds a squidburger of
his own, tentacles dangling. Quoyle has his next one handy by his
beer.

                            DENNIS
                  Right section of the party district,
                  he finds a girl, they have sex,
                  she says that's a hunnerd dollars.
                  He says fine, tips her another
                  hunnerd! She says, wow, can y'come
                  back t'morrow?

Quoyle takes a humongus BITE.      Tentacles now dripping from his
jaws. Rapt. Hypnotized.

                            DENNIS
                  Next two nights, same thing!

                   Finally she says, I never met so
                   sweet a guy, where ya from? He says,
                   Misky Bay, Newfoundland. She says,
                   really? Me, too!

Quoyle hanging on the punch.

                             DENNIS
                   He says, I know. Yer ma asked me
                   t'give ya six hunnerd dollars!

Quoyle SNORTS his laughter, dislodging a tentacled morsel or two.
Nutbeem has to look away, as Quoyle retrieves the chunks, stuffs
'em back in his mouth.

                             DENNIS
                   Yer the model Newfie, Q, but fer
                   th'boat. Why doncha buy Nutbeem's?

Drunken, devilish smile.     Quoyle turns, innocent questioning eyes.
You got a boat?

                             NUTBEEM
                   I built a Chinese junk. Sailed it
                   up from Brazil. Missed Manhattan by
                   a mile or so, got stranded here when
                   I shipwrecked by Gaze Island.

So casual and falsely modest, Quoyle's eyes are big.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Almost finished my repairs. Be
                   leaving soon. As paleontologists
                   define the term.

Studies Quoyle's amazement.     Confides...

                             NUTBEEM
                   She's ugly. And the only thing
                   I've ever loved.

Dennis rises.   Belches.

                             DENNIS
                   Yer story tugs at me bladder.

And off he lurches to correct the situation.       Once he's gone...

                             QUOYLE
                   Him and Jack. Tell it.

Their eyes meet.     The Brit sighs.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Jack Buggit's psychic, start with
                   that. He's got the gift. Specially
                   about the sea.

Thinking. Should he tell it?      Quoyle makes a rolling hand motion,
hurry it up.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Older brother Jesson, everyone's
                   favorite, even Dennis'. Goes to
                   sea like his dad. One day, rest
                   of the family's sitting by the radio,
                   and Jack goes white...

That's right.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Stands up. Says, Jesson's gone.
                   Walks out of the house. Grief too
                   big for walls to hold it.

Sets down the burger.     Runs a finger down the frost on his beer
mug.

                             NUTBEEM
                   So Dennis is forbidden the sea.
                   But being free, Newfie, and 21,
                   he goes anyway.

                             QUOYLE
                   And that's enough t...?

                             NUTBEEM
                   Death storm. Monster wave cracks
                   her steel hull amidships, one inch
                   crack from starboard to port. Men
                   go in the water. Dennis lost.
                   After a week...

A week.

                             NUTBEEM
                   They come to Jack, call off the
                   search. He stands like a stone. Then
                   turns, sharp, the way he does. Says
                   only, 'He's alive. And I know where.'

                             QUOYLE
                   Man's a witch.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Went to sea, alone, in just a skiff.
                   Finds him. Can you guess the odds?
                   Finds him. Finds him. Both arms
                   broke, 99% dead.

Leans.    Close.

                             NUTBEEM
                   Boy comes to. Jack says if you ever

                 step in a boat again, I'll drown ya
                 m'self. And you know what the kid
                 said...?

Quoyle glances over.      Dennis wobbling his way back through the
tables.

                           QUOYLE
                 Say it fast.

                           NUTBEEM
                 Says fishin' licenses are all spoken
                 for, I'd appreciate you givin' me
                 yours. Jack looked in his eyes.
                 They never spoke ag...

                           DENNIS
                 What's bein' blabbed here?

                           NUTBEEM (not missing a beat)
                 Quoyle says you got a nice ass.

                           DENNIS
                 Quoyle's right.

He raises his beer.

                              DENNIS
                 To my ass.

                           QUOYLE
                 I'll drink to that.

And, by God.   They do.

EXT. WAVEY'S YARD - AFTERNOON

Quoyle and Bunny climb out of the wagon. A small house, its grassy
yard strewn with a phantasmagoria of painted wood figures,
galloping horses, dogs balanced on wheels, a row of chrome hubcaps
on sticks. A zoo of the mind. To one side, a table piled with
crafts, ignored by...

...fifteen LITTLE KIDS running in all directions, like bundled,
unbridled banshees. Looks like fun. Two harried MOTHERS are
trying to cope with the chaos. And there, under a tree...

...the honey-haired WOMAN Quoyle had seen on the ferry. And in
the rain. She is on her knees, tying the shoes of her vacant-faced
SON. He trips and sprawls, but he is laughing. The woman smiles
tenderly and tousles his brown-straw hair.

Quoyle gets up his courage. Walks Bunny over to them.       As we
arrive, the woman looks up...

                              QUOYLE (really nervous)
                 Hullo.     It's our first day, and I

                  was wond...

                            BUNNY
                  What's wrong with him?

Quoyle freezes.    She means, of course, the blankly-staring boy.

                            QUOYLE
                  Hey, how 'bout we ask what's wrong
                  with you? There's nothing wr...

                            WOMAN (to Bunny, softly)
                  Sure, there is. This is Herry, and
                  he has Down's Syndrome. It means
                  he learns things very slowly.

Oh.   HERRY smiles at Bunny.      Suddenly, wonderfully.

                            BUNNY (to Herry)
                  Know how to be a dog?

She DROPS to all fours and starts YAPPING like a terrier. Herry
LAUGHS with delight. Tumbles down to the grass and does his
impression of a Chihuahua on speed.

                            BUNNY (to the woman)
                  He looks fast to me. Maybe he's
                  cured.

                               WOMAN
                  Maybe.

The kids waddle off in their canine personas. Alone with the woman
now, Quoyle is near-catatonic. Come on, brain!

                            QUOYLE
                  Which one of those women is in
                  charge here?

The woman looks at him. Clear cornflower eyes. As comfortable in
silence as he is agonized. Then, she squints out at the other
women, desperately running ragged after the kids.

                            WOMAN
                  Neither of 'em.      They're just moms.

Oh.

                            QUOYLE
                  Well, my lord, whoever runs the
                  place should be giving this a
                  little more attention.

She looks back at him, blankly.

                               WOMAN
                  You think.

                            QUOYLE
                  I mean, children need structure.
                  No one's even guarding that craft
                  table, they could be running around
                  with scissors and get hurt.

The woman's eyes bottomless, unreadable.       The silence excruciating
for poor Quoyle. He clears his throat.

                             QUOYLE
                  Um.   I write for the newspa...

But she stands.    The grace and quickness of a jungle cat.

                           WOMAN
                  Well. I'd better get to work, I
                  see. Providing structure and all.

Brushes off her skirt.       He is in the dawning panic of beginning to
realize...

                            WAVEY
                  I'm Wavey Prowse, and this is
                  my place. Pardon our antiquated
                  emphasis on individuality and the
                  freedom to have fun.

Heads off with a loose-limbed stride.       Spins back around...

                               WAVEY
                  Oh, yeh.     Running with sharp
                  objects?     We save for Tuesdays.

Got it? He gawks like a stupid animal.        Nods, got it.   She's
already gone.

EXT. BARGE DECK - DAY

Quoyle and Billy Pretty stroll the teak deck of a massive,
elegantly-outfitted BARGE. The wiry little fellow keeps his
smile to his eyes...

                            BILLY
                  Well, she don't wear a ring, cause
                  she lost her husband at sea. Just
                  after the boy was born.

Oh.   Quoyle nods, blandly.      As if it is a matter of no real concern

                            QUOYLE
                  Well, I was just...

                            BILLY
                  ...sharpenin' those observation
                  skills. First tool of a quality
                  reporter.

Keep walking.

                           QUOYLE
                 She has wonderful.     Posture.

                           BILLY (has to smile)
                 Yer know, I never notic...

                           MELVILLE (O.S.)
                 JESUS F. CHRIST! YOU BOYS WANT THIS
                 STORY OR NOT?

Look up ahead to the bow, where a rolling bar has been set up.
BAYONET MELVILLE is mixing drinks. He has a florid face and
striking white hair. Dapper, arrogant, a guy with more money than
he's worked for. As we approach...

                           MELVILLE
                 Ever seen anything like her?

Quoyle looks to the sour-faced middle-aged lady, who glances
disdainfully at us above her gimlet. SILVER MELVILLE used to be
pretty and rich. She's still rich.

                           QUOYLE (politely)
                 No sir, your wife is very lovl...

                            MELVILLE
                 I mean.   The ship.

Oh.   Billy keeps a straight face.     Silver ROLLS her eyes.

                           MELVILLE
                 It was built for Hitler. You've
                 heard of Hitler? Up here in Canada?

                           QUOYLE
                 Oh, yessir. He was in all the
                 papers. Way back.

Silver snorts a laugh. Melville wonders if that was irony.
Looking at Quoyle, he doubts that's possible.

                           MELVILLE
                 Finest botterjacht ever built in
                 Holland. Flat-bottomed, she can
                 go right up on shore in a storm.
                 Incredibly heavy, forty tons of oak.
                 Not unlike the barges of Henry VIII
                 and Elizabeth I.

                           BILLY (helpful)
                 We heard a them, too.

                           SILVER
                 Tell them what happened.     In

                  Hurricane Bob.

He looks at his wife. Clear in a glance they hate each other's
guts. Go on, she nods. Tell it.

                            MELVILLE
                  Pounded twelve beach houses.
                  Expensive ones. To rubble.

                               SILVER
                  WHAMM!

Drunk and mean.    And smarter than he is.

                            SILVER
                  Now tell them. Who let our
                  insurance lapse.

Silence.

                            SILVER
                  Took six very expensive lawyers to
                  weasel us out of it. An inch from
                  bankruptcy.

She winks.

                            SILVER
                  Moral of the story? When you marry
                  a tour guide. Confine his authority
                  to mixing the drinks. Same again,
                  dear?

And holds out her glass.       Billy looks out to sea.   Like he hasn't
heard this.

                            QUOYLE (cheerful)
                  So. What brings you folks up
                  from Long Island?

A beat.    While husband and wife glare at each other.

                            SILVER
                  My dining salon needs refitting.
                  And the best custom yacht upholsterer
                  in the Northern Hemisphere just
                  moved here. I was forced. To follow.

She turns to Quoyle.       Who just gapes at her.   Open-mouthed.

                               QUOYLE (softly)
                  Oh.   My.    God.

INT. GREEN HOUSE - DAY

Quoyle enters, impressed by the progress of the renovation.
Windows are in, walls patched, floor sanded, lights are working.

Through the place into...

...the kitchen, which is in surprisingly usable shape. Agnis sits
alone at a butcher block table with a set of ledgers spread before
her. A large mug of tea. A bottle of Bushmill's Irish.

                             QUOYLE
                   You are a woman of mystery, Aunt.
                   Mystery and surprise.

                             AGNIS (still working)
                   Silver Melville says you was out
                   there. Be nice in yer story, she's
                   payin' for a piece of this house.

Silence.

                             QUOYLE
                   You said upholstery.   Never said
                   yacht uphol...

                             AGNIS
                   ...never said not. Ask better
                   questions, you got a chance fer
                   better answers. Got my shop set
                   up in Killick-Claw, now.

Looks up.    Sees he's dazzled by how she moves right along.

                             AGNIS
                   Two good workers. Mrs. Mavis
                   Bangs is an old plow horse like
                   m'self. But Dawn...

She winks.

                              AGNIS
                   Dawn's young and on the sexy
                   side. You oughta drop by and
                   say hullo.

He absorbs that.     How fast can he change the subject?

                             QUOYLE
                   Where's Bunny?

Agnis looks at him.     Reaches for the Bushmill's.

                             AGNIS
                   Upstairs, in what will soon become
                   her room. She'll be all right.

                             QUOYLE
                   What does that mean?

She pours some whiskey into her tea cup.

                            QUOYLE
                  Little early in the day f...

                            AGNIS
                  Warren died today.    That's what that means.

Drinks the whiskey.    Stares straight in his eyes.     Sees his sorrow.
The honesty in...

                            QUOYLE
                  Poor old girl.

Agnis deciding.    Whether to tell him...

                            AGNIS
                  I used to live with someone named
                  Warren. Died of cancer, after
                  nine years together. Dearest soul
                  on this earth.

Quoyle shocked. What can he say? His empathy so naked, so real,
even Agnis has to soften her voice...

                            AGNIS
                  Went from the funeral, and bought
                  that dog. Named her Warren. Just
                  so I could say the name a hunnerd
                  times a day. Women are foolish, huh?

                            QUOYLE
                  I never thought so.

A good moment for them.    It holds a beat.

                            AGNIS
                  Bunny wants to bury the dog with
                  me. But I told her I'd rather do
                  it alone.

Quoyle nods.   Rises slowly.   He'd better go to her.

                            AGNIS
                  Some advice about the child?

Another sip.

                            AGNIS
                  Don't get down on her level, the way
                  you do. She'll never respect you.

INT. BUNNY'S ROOM - DAY

Bunny sits on the floor in dim light, wearing an enormous blue
sweatshirt. Obviously dad's. Her naked Barbies sit in a semi-
circle watching her braid a meticulous loop out of the paper and
foil from chewing gum wrappers. Quoyle enters, and sits close
beside her. Watches in silence, as she works.

                            BUNNY (not looking up)
                  Warren died today. She's not
                  coming back.

No tears.   Just a hollow sound in her voice.

                            BUNNY
                  That's the difference.

He knows what she means.      Strokes her hair.

                            QUOYLE
                  Another necklace, huh?    Can
                  I help?

                            BUNNY
                  You can watch.

Okay.   He looks at the Barbies.

                            QUOYLE
                  Do I have to take my clothes off?

She looks up at him.     Straight to his eyes.

                            BUNNY
                  You look better with 'em on.

Goes back to work.     He watches her.

                              QUOYLE
                  You know.    You do look good
                  in blue.

EXT. ROAD - DAY

Quoyle driving the wagon, Dennis at his side. Up ahead on the
road, two figures. Herry holds tight to his mom's hand. Quoyle
pulls over, and they stop. Wavey squints at him, against the sun.

                            QUOYLE
                  Give you folks a lift?

That extra beat before she says...

                            WAVEY
                  We're enjoyin' the walk, thank you.

Doesn't smile.    Doesn't look angry either.      Just comfortable.

                            QUOYLE
                  Well. My aunt can't bring Bunny to
                  the daycare, she's got her shop now.
                  But I worked it out with my boss. So
                  I'll be bringin' her come next week.

No reaction.

                            QUOYLE
                  If that's all right.

                            WAVEY
                  Love to have her. I'm sorry,
                  Mr. Quoyle, about the other time.
                  Women can be moody, you know. And
                  temperamental.

Now she smiles.    One-tenth power.     Still a dazzler.

                            QUOYLE
                  Only the best ones.

Did she like that?    Hard to tell.     She looks around him...

                            WAVEY
                  Good afternoon, Dennis. Give our
                  respects to Beety and Marty.

He waves, will do. She takes Herry's hand, starts off down the
road. Quoyle sits and watches.

                            DENNIS
                  Excellent posture.

Quoyle looks over.    His pal shrugs.

                            DENNIS
                  People talk.

EXT. SHORELINE - SUNSET

Rear ANGLE of Agnis, walking over stones to the edge of the sea,
carrying something in her arms. Walking to meet the sun, as it
gives its last to the shimmering water. REVERSE ANGLE to see...

...she carries her old dog. On a clean sheet. Rests the burden
gently down. The incoming tide laps over. The sheet billows in
it. She takes a step back.

                            AGNIS
                  You were a good girl, Warren, no
                  trouble a'tall.

Surf rolls out.    Swims back in.     Flows around her friend.

EXT. GREEN HOUSE - DAY

An outhouse stands unobtrusively near the edge of the cliff. See
Agnis alone, approaching. Something in her hand. As she reaches
the outhouse, we see it is...

...the ziploc bag. With her brother's ashes.        She gazes back at
the house now. Then, at the bag...

                              AGNIS (cold, low)
                   Hope ya like. What we done with
                   the place.

She opens the door, enters.       Stares down into the deep hole.
Unzips the bag, and...

...TIPS the ashes DOWN INTO the hole. Watch them in SLO-MO,
falling free. Hear the rustle of Agnis lifting her skirts, and...

CLOSE ANGLE on Agnis' face.       Staring out at the sea through a small
crack in the outhouse wall.       HEAR the splatter as she voids
herself.

                             AGNIS (a murmur)
                   Welcome home.

INT. WAVEY'S PARLOR - DAY

Daycare in progress. The comfy parlor has been given over to the
kids. A wall of Polaroids of each child faces a map of
Newfoundland with drawings of moose, caribou, and lobster. Little
Herry sits alone in a doorway, watching with big eyes as...

...Quoyle, Bunny astride his back, RAMPAGES around the parlor on
all fours, SNORTING like a crazed boar. The kids are squealing,
delighted, making excited little runs at him, swatting him with
throw pillows and rolled-up sweaters. Thrill of the hunt.

Wavey comes through the doorway, drying her hands, just behind
where her boy sits. Quoyle doesn't see her, he's thrashing and
bellowing, lost in the game. She watches, for a long beat. Then
leans down to Herry.

                               WAVEY (a whisper)
                   Go on.    Get the pig.

Herry grins like the devil. Dashes off to PLOW INTO the prey,
knocking them sprawling. Kids PILING on.

Wavey's unseen smile.       The start of something?

INT. WAVEY'S KITCHEN - LATER

CLOSE on Quoyle.     He is happily washing a mountain of dishes and
cups.

                             QUOYLE
                   So the Newfie drills another hole
                   in the ice, aways off from the first
                   one. Once again, the voice booms,
                   NO FISH DOWN HERE!

PULL BACK to see Wavey beside him.       She's drying what he washes.

                               QUOYLE

                 So he moves way down the ice.
                 Drills another hole. Voice comes
                 again, I SAID, NO FISH DOWN HERE!

They don't look at each other.      Poker-faced, just alike, working
side by side.

                           QUOYLE
                 The Newfie looks around. Still
                 nobody. Hollers, WHO ARE YA?
                 THE VOICE O' GOD? Voice comes
                 back, NO! THE ARENA MANAGER!

He can't help but snort out a chuckle of his own.       Sneaks a look
over at her, and she...

...laughs out loud.    Healthy.   Sexy, even.   But from the delay, he
guesses...

                           QUOYLE
                 Heard it before, huh?

She looks over at him.     Her eyes dance a little.

                           WAVEY
                 Sometimes, passion in performance.
                 Beats the element of surprise.

And he is lost in those eyes.     Knows it's showing.     Glances away to
where...

...Bunny sits in a corner.     Reading to a rapt Herry.

                           QUOYLE
                 You guys hungry?

                           BUNNY
                 Shhh. I'm teaching Herry to read.
                 Just like I did Warren.

                           QUOYLE
                 Is he learnin'?

Bunny looks over at him.     He is so dumb.

                           BUNNY
                 First is the teaching part.     The
                 learning comes later.

Herry nods.   Later.   And out of the blue...

                          BUNNY
                 Wavey? Now are the berries ready
                 to pick?

Quoyle looks over to the woman. But instead of Wavey, he sees
PETAL, staring at him with slow predatory heat.

                             PETAL
                   Want to pick my berries, do you.
                   Should I climb right up on this sink?

And then, once more she is...

                             WAVEY
                   Almost. Almost ready.       You know,
                   it's all about timing.

Quoyle.   Takes note.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - DAY

Quoyle alone in the office, pretending to peck away at a story.
Actually, he's looking...

...through the window. Where Jack Buggit, Tert Card, Billy Pretty
and Nutbeem are all circling around a small, roughly-made boat,
attached to its rented trailer. They are talking to each other in
learned tones. A Talmudic chat. And...

...in they come.     First through the door...

                             CARD
                   That's yer boat.

                             QUOYLE
                   Said it was.

                             CARD
                   One question remains.     Why.
                   Is that. Yer boat?

Uh-oh. He looks from one face to another. Even Billy is
irritated. Nutbeem gazes down, embarrassed for him.

                              QUOYLE
                   Well.   A boat's a boa...

                             CARD
                   It's a shit boat. Best thing,
                   get rid of it some dark night.

Quoyle can't believe this.      Hot shame burns.

                             BILLY
                   Go hire Alvin Yark to build ya a
                   sweet little rodney. This thing's
                   a wallowing cockeyed bastard that'll
                   sink in a bathtub.

And standing in the doorway, the scariest sight of all.    The boss.
Just shaking his head.

                              JACK (sadly)

                 You don't have the sense God gave
                 a doughnut, do ya?

The word from Sinai on Quoyle's worth.       A pity.

                           JACK
                 I'm goin' fishin'.

Out the door with a SLAMM!      Quoyle stares hopelessly after him.

                           NUTBEEM
                 Don't jump off a bridge over it.
                 Anyone can make a brainless, asinine,
                 devastatingly revealing blunder.

                              QUOYLE (actually means this)
                 Thanks.

                           CARD
                 What in th' furry pit of Newfie hell.
                 Is this!?

Holds up some sheets of paper.       Photos of the Melvilles'
botterjacht. Reads...

                           CARD
                 Hitler's Barge...?

                           QUOYLE
                 That goes with the shipping news.
                 Profile of a vessel in port.

                           CARD
                 What about the car accident?

                           QUOYLE
                 That's the one I didn't do. Mrs.
                 Diddolate sprained her wrist. Period.

Card still reading.

                           CARD
                 So you didn't do the one Jack told
                 yer to do, and you did one he don't
                 know yer did!

Silence.

                           QUOYLE
                 Pretty mu...

                              CARD
                 This copy.     Is worse.   Than yer boat.

He looks up.   Equal parts disgust and delight.

                              CARD

                 Jack even sniffs this, he cuts you
                 up fer lobster bait. I've half a
                 mind to run it.

Quoyle straightens his spine.

                            QUOYLE
                 Run it.

Strides off for the door.     Turns back...

                           QUOYLE
                 As for the part about you havin'
                 half a mind? No comment.

Out the door.   SLAMM harder than Jack's.

EXT. GAMMY BIRD - DAY

Quoyle stumbling toward his wagon with vacant eyes.

                           QUOYLE (V.O.)
                 Headline. Reporter Disembowels
                 Self With Rusty Joke.

EXT. GREEN HOUSE ROOF - DAY

Quoyle in a carpenter's belt, climbing very carefully from a ladder
onto the roof. His vertigo apparent as he keeps to his hands and
knees, trying to fight the compulsion to look down. Gives in to
it, peering from the corner of his eye down the cliff, the rocks,
the sea so far below. Not a good 1dea.

Comes to the shingles. Eases his way into a fearful crouch.   Okay.
Starts hammering. And rehearsing.

                           QUOYLE
                 Jack, I completely understand, I
                 would fire me, too.

Nodding, in time to the hammer strokes.

                           QUOYLE
                 In a heartbeat.

Hammers LOUDER, speaking in rhythm...

                           QUOYLE
                 You give me a chance, and what
                 happens? I buy the wrong boat,
                 I write the wrong story, I am the
                 lowest form of alleged life. In
                 fact, your comment...

Stops.

                            QUOYLE

                ...was an insult to the doughnut.

Hear now what the hammering had masked. Someone is reaching the
top of the ladder, climbing onto the roof.

Bunny. Somehow she has managed to climb while carrying a sandwich
on a plate. And an open bottle of soda. He stares at her,
uncomprehending.

                          BUNNY
                Egg salad and Nehi grape.

She sets them down.     Stands UP on the steep pitch.

                             QUOYLE (shocked stupid)
                Baby...

                          BUNNY
                They're mine but I'll share.

As the plate and bottle slip neatly OFF the roof and, after a
noticeable beat, shatter softly far below. Bunny's turn to be
shocked. She's contemplating going after them.

                          QUOYLE
                DON'T MOVE!!

Okay, that was a little loud. It has also scared the kid out of
her wits. Quoyle regrets this. Starts scooching awkwardly down
the slope, inches at a time...

                          QUOYLE (too casual)
                We're gonna play Wait For Daddy.
                Can you play that?

She's just staring over the side. Hypnotized by the sight.        He's
slipping toward her. Toward the edge.

                          QUOYLE
                And if you don't move.     Until I
                get there. Then...

Closer, reaching toward her back...

                          QUOYLE
                ...then you win!

...GRABS her arm, she STARTLES, violently LURCHING, but he YANKS
her to him. Holds her to his heart. Holds her. He is breathing
like a freight train.

                             QUOYLE
                That.     Was so easy.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - MORNING

Jack Buggit enters with energy.     Looks around.    Billy's typing,

Nutbeem's reading. Quoyle is cleaning out his desk, pulling things
off his little shelf to pack away. Goofy photo of Bunny. Ceramic
child-made three-legged turtle. Tiny padded box with what looks to
be carefully-preserved empty eggshells.

Jack heads toward him.

                          CARD
                Did ya see the Hitler's barge
                piece, Jocko?

                          JACK
                I saw it. And heard from some
                who'd done the same.
                      (to Quoyle)
                Good. Neatness.

Quoyle turns. Pretty much all his possessions are in a big
cardboard box. Jack peers into it.

                          JACK
                Reorganize. Start over.      Good
                thinking.

But he's smiling.   Like he's got the point.

                          QUOYLE
                Thing about the barge piece? I
                just thought it'd perk up th...

                          JACK
                Got six phone calls 'bout that
                piece. Six. That'd be like half
                a million calls in Toronto.

Grasps Quoyle around the back of the neck.

                          JACK
                People liked it, old son. Crowd
                went down to the dock t'see the
                thing, but it'd already pulled out.

Quoyle stares, slack-faced into the elfin eyes...

                          JACK
                Course you don't know anything
                about boats, but that's entertaining,
                too. So go ahead with it. That's
                the kinda stuff I want, see?

Just now, Card's jaw is scraping his boot tops.

                          JACK
                From now on, you write a column every
                week. The Shipping News. Gonna order
                you a computer and everything. And
                y'know the beauty part...?

Quoyle doesn't.

                            JACK
                  I don't have to tell Card all
                  over again, cause he's already
                  eavesdroppin'. So I'm free to
                  take m'leave.

                            QUOYLE
                  Goin' fishin'?

                            JACK
                  Ah. You've an instinct for character
                  and idiosyncrasy, old son.

A wink.   He heads toward the door.    And never looking at him...

                            JACK
                  Zip yer fly, Card.

Card looks down. He zips up, as the door slams. Billy Pretty
sends Quoyle a thumbs-up, without turning. Nutbeem clasps his
hands above his head, like a winning prizefighter.

Quoyle slides a sheet of paper into his typewriter.         Stares at it.

                            QUOYLE (V.O.)
                  Thirty-eight years. First time
                  anybody said you done it right.

INT. AGNIS' SHOP - DAY

A woman looks up from her stitching. She is solidly built, pushing
60, Emily Dickinson hair. A cheerful, calmly butch way about her.
Trustworthy eyes.

                            AGNIS
                  Nephew, this is Mavis Bangs.     A real
                  professional.

Mavis holds out a hearty hand. Agnis is showing him the shop. A
cutting table, two sewing stations. Billowing sailcloth hung over
the windows. Racks of leathers and fabrics.

                            AGNIS
                  And this is Dawn Budgel.   She's a
                  vegetarian.

Dawn, once described by Agnis as young and on the sexy side, is
that. Red lipstick and nails. Her eyes float up in a way that
suggests reflexive sensuality. Agnis nods to her, and the girl
reaches a slender pale hand...

                            DAWN
                  Agnis is always saying such...things
                  about you. It's nice to fit a man.

                  With the name.

And as she releases his hand, her eyes flick to Agnis. Some
conspiracy there. Quoyle follows his aunt back to the big cutting
table.

                            QUOYLE
                  I just, uh, came to see if you'd
                  heard abou..

                            AGNIS
                  Silver Melville?    Snuck off in the
                  night, they did.    Not a penny paid
                  for all we done.

Shows him sheets of baby blue leather.

                            AGNIS
                  We'd installed the banquettes in
                  her salon. Three of the chairs done
                  and delivered, three to go...

Points to them.    A neat row by the makeshift kitchenette.

                              QUOYLE
                  That's.    That's just terrible.

But Agnis is thinking...

                              AGNIS
                  Strange.    Leavin' the chairs.

And as he glances off, he sees Dawn across the way.      Her skirt
hiked up, as if she were adjusting a stocking.

She isn't wearing any.

EXT. HILLSIDE - DAY

Billowy clouds frame a languid KITE, silver and sleek, darting this
way and that. Graceful, in command of the currents.

                            WAVEY (O.S.)
                  HERRY PROWSE! LOOK HOW WELL YOUR
                  KITE IS DOING!

See her now, seated atop a grassy slope. It is she who holds the
string, and her boy is way down at the bottom of the hill with
Bunny. Blue jumper billowing, the girl is teaching him how to make
necklaces from wildflowers and garbage bag twisty-ties. Herry and
the naked Barbies watch with great attention. The learning will
come later.

                            WAVEY
                  ARE YOU MAKING IT DANCE WITH
                  YOUR THOUGHTS?

On this he looks up.     Serious.

                            WAVEY
                  KEEP THINKING YOUR THOUGHTS!
                  YOUR KITE IS DOING SO MUCH BETTER
                  THAN MR. QUOYLE'S!

PULL BACK slightly to reveal that Quoyle has been sitting right
beside her all along. He holds the string of a big, glum kite that
hangs motionless in space with barely a flutter. As she watches
the kids, he stares at her, fixedly deciding whether to ask...

                            QUOYLE (barely audible)
                  Do you think Bunny's. Strange?

Wavey looks over.     Sees that he's worried half to death.

                            QUOYLE
                  In New York. They said she had a...
                  personality disorder.

                            WAVEY (softly)
                  And it was named Petal.

Do you understand that?

                            QUOYLE
                  All these hallucin...

                            WAVEY
                  The White Dog. Sometimes with the
                  Skinny Ghost. Kids do things like
                  that, it's called imagination. Like
                  the necklaces.

The necklaces, yeh.     A thought that frightens him.

                            QUOYLE
                  You know how many she makes?

She does.

                            WAVEY
                  It's a skill, she's proud of it. And
                  she brings her dolls along. And she
                  looks good in blue. And she wears a
                  key for a good luck charm.

Her kind smile.     No big deal.

                            QUOYLE
                  And she's saving her mother a room.
                  Did she tell you that?

Wavey's slow nod.

                             QUOYLE

                  She talks to her at night.        I can
                  hear through the door.

Very quiet now.    The wind.     The kites.

                            QUOYLE
                  You know how kids think.       You have
                  all those books.

                            WAVEY
                  The ones I read to teach Herry.
                  They don't make me an exp...

                               QUOYLE (blurting)
                  Just.     Is she okay?

That was naked.    He swallows.

                               QUOYLE
                  I mean.     If you had to guess..

Too serious a subject.       Too good a woman.     For an easy lie.

                            WAVEY
                  That child is the only friend my son
                  ever had. So she's strange, you bet.

She swallows, too.    Her eyes are damp.

                            WAVEY
                  I love that little girl. And I will
                  see to it. That she's all right.

Hold the look.

                            WAVEY
                  And I don't have to guess about it.

EXT. WOODS - LATER

Quoyle RUNNING, huffing, through a bog with every color of berries
imaginable. Around another bend in the path. Stops. Hands on his
knees.

Listens.   Nothing.   Shit.

                            QUOYLE
                  IF YOU GUYS AREN'T CHASING ME, I'M
                  GONNA BE COMPLETELY CHEESED OFF!

More nothing. He trudges back the way he came.              Peeks around a
bend to see...

...Bunny is teaching Berry to pick gooseberries. This time, the
learning has started. They are being very careful.

                               QUOYLE

                   If you pick enough, we can sell 'em
                   for a thousand dollars. And give it
                   to Aunt Agnis to make up for those
                   Staties who didn't pay h...

                             BUNNY (means business)
                   Then don't. Slow us. Down.

Quoyle SLAPS his hands across his mouth.         Sorry!     He tiptoes off.
Rounds a bend. Walking faster now...

Around another bend. And stops.         Hold on his face.      REVERSE ANGLE
to take his view of...

...Petal, kneeling in a flimsy sundress, picking berries.
Barefoot, her skirt hiked up, stained with berry juice. And when
she turns to him...

...she is still Petal. Her face is beautiful, and filled with
tender desire. She looks at him the way he has always dreamed she
would. He goes to...

...kneel beside her.       Touch her waist.    And now she is...

...another woman. His hand is on Wavey's waist, and it comes
slowly away. But her eyes are locked to his. Making her choice.

                               WAVEY (very soft)
                   Look.    I like you.

Even in kindness, he can smell rejection.          He starts to back away,
but she takes his hand. Holds it.

                                WAVEY
                   I want us.     To be friends, okay?

He nods, dumbly.     Of course.     Okay.

                             WAVEY
                   And friends. Need.       To understand
                   each other.

                             QUOYLE (so sorry)
                   I understand. Believe m...

                             WAVEY
                   My husband drowned.      Herry was...

Hard for her.   He quiets.

                             WAVEY
                   He was two months old. And Herold
                   took the boat out. Overnight. To
                   fish for haddock.

Do you understand?

                           WAVEY
                 Because I liked.     Haddock.

Silence.

                           WAVEY
                 It's four years.

She stares in his eyes.

                           WAVEY
                 And it's yesterday.

No smile.

                           WAVEY
                 Now, did I blow it.     Or can you
                 still be my friend?

A beat. Quoyle nods, sure. I'll be your friend. But what she
sees is a lifetime of being Quoyle washing past his eyes. It makes
her murmur...

                             WAVEY
                 What?    What are you thinking?

And from his heart...

                           QUOYLE
                 I'm thinking I'm sorry.     For
                 everything.

He stands up.   HEAR him stumble off.     HOLD on her.

EXT. GREEN HILLSIDE - DAY

A grassy place above an empty sea.      The rest of the world far away.
Two figures climb the gentle hill.

                           BILLY
                 How're you doin' with the Tall
                 and Quiet Woman?

                           QUOYLE
                 Cindy Crawford and me is doin' fine.

                           BILLY
                 I meant Wavey Prowse.

Oh.

                           BILLY
                 My dad used to say there's four
                 women in every man's life. The
                 Stouthearted Woman...

                             QUOYLE

                 Oh, that'd be Agnis.

                           BILLY
                 ...the Maid in the Meadow...

                           QUOYLE (has to think)
                 Bunny I guess. Weavin' a daisy-chain
                 necklace.

                           BILLY
                 ...the Tall and Quiet Woman...

                          QUOYLE
                 Well. She does have that posture
                 goin'.

                           BILLY
                 ...and the Demon Lover.

On this. Quoyle's smile fades. He looks away. They've reached a
fence where blunt pickets enclose crosses and wooden markers, many
fallen on the ground.

                           BILLY (wistful)
                 Me dad said that.

Billy finds the right marker. Sets his satchel onto the grass.
Kneels. His old fingers clear debris from painted words:
W. PRETTY. 1897 - 1944. THROUGH THE GREAT STORMS OF LIFE, HE
DID HIS BEST. GOD GRANT HIM ETERNAL REST.

                           BILLY
                 That's me poor father.     Thirteen
                 I was when he died.

He hears the thread of feeling in his simple words. And says no
more. Withdraws two cans of paint from his bag. One white, one
black. Two brushes. Lays them out carefully, for this task is
sacred.

                            BILLY
                 Every time I wonder.     Is this the
                 last coat?

Pries the lid off the tin of black.     And when he sees Quoyle's
eyes...

                            BILLY
                 Well, there's no one else to do
                 it, y'see.

                           QUOYLE (straight back)
                 There is now.

An easy smile.   Stating the obvious.

                           QUOYLE

                There's me.

The old man's face just stops.     The eyes sharpen.   Into a question.

                          QUOYLE
                Well, you said. There's no
                one else.

As if that were enough.

                         QUOYLE
                Hey. If you wanna rest next to
                him. I'll paint yours at the same
                time. No extra trouble.

Billy stares at him.     Stares at him.   Clears his throat, gruffly.

                          BILLY
                Then better get Alvin Yark.
                T'build yer a real boat. So
                yer'll be around.

EXT. GREEN HOUSE - DAY

Quoyle exits the house, pulling on his jacket, and...

...stops. Something laid across his threshold. A long piece of
TWINE has been placed there. KNOTS tied evenly along its length.
He glances back up to the second floor, thinking Bunny. Looks at
the thing again. Neat work. Odd. Slips it in his pocket.

EXT. CLIFFSIDE - DAY

Quoyle now making his way down a steep primitive trail through lush
vegetation. The green house is far above him. The shimmering bay
now just below. This way down as treacherous as it is wondrous,
and Quoyle SLIPS in the tangle and wet, half-slides through wild
angelica stalks and patches of dogberry, suddenly...

...LOSING his balance, TUMBLING roughly down a stretch, rolling,
grasping a spruce trunk. Pulling himself to his feet, he hears...
RUSTLING. Looks up, just as...

...a WHITE DOG appears through the bushes. Red eyes. Lips curled
back. A frozen second of mutual indecision, and Quoyle...

...SCREAMS and falls on his butt.     The dog...

...TAKES OFF, bounding down a path we hadn't noticed. Toward an
upright SILHOUETTE. Who steps into sun just long enough to
become...

...a MAN, grizzled and scrawny and quick.      Gone in a flash.   Like a
skinny ghost. And there, on his butt...

...Quoyle laughs softly.     How 'bout that?   Murmurs...

                           QUOYLE
                 Attaway, girl. You're smarter'n all
                 of us.

As he climbs to his feet, he sees the rocky beach just below.
Squints, as if at something that doesn't belong. We see it now...

...a SUITCASE, washed up onto a tangle of rocks, just offshore.

ANGLE...Quoyle wading into the water. Up to his knees, slips,
sinks to his waist. Stays upright. Snatches the suitcase from its
perch. Brings it back to shore, holding it high. Already, he is
making the face of someone smelling something he'd rather not.

He sets it down. The face is worse.     His curiosity running the
show, he unhooks the latch...

...and stops. Because he's staring inside. Suddenly, he SCREAMS
and FLAILS back, his leg STRIKING the case, and out tumbles onto
the wet ground...

...the head.   Of Bayonet Melville.

INT. SKIPPER WILL'S DINER - NIGHT

Three guys. Three beers. Five squidburgers (Quoyle likes his
backups ready and waiting).

                           CARD
                 Y'know none a that impresses Jack
                 Buggit. He's not one fer blatant
                 ambition.

Quoyle thinks better of his answer.    Chomps a bite instead.

                           NUTBEEM
                 Even if you don't recognize 'Human
                 Head Packed in Satchel' as the most
                 compelling piece ever to appear in...

                            CARD (snorts)
                 Even if.

...takes his hand from his greasy burger.    Scratches his crotch
below the table.

                           NUTBEEM
                 A triple increase in ad revenue.
                 Does get. The man's attention.

And winks at the silent hero.

                           CARD
                 Weren't even double if yer figger
                 it right.
                        (to Quoyle)
                 Point is. A real reporter woulda

                 named the obvious suspect.

                           QUOYLE
                 More obvious. Than the wife?

                           CARD
                 Yer aunt, ya thick Statie lardface
                 dumbass!

Quoyle.   And Nutbeem.   Just look at each other.

                           CARD
                 She gets stiffed by the guy, after
                 basin' her new shop on that revenue.
                 And she ain't one ta fool with.
                 Capable a anything, that woman!

                           QUOYLE (angry now)
                 Okay, where's the wife? Agnis kill
                 her too?

                           CARD
                 Okay, where's this week's shipping
                 news? Or you gonna rest on yer
                 Crisco-coated laurels.

Quoyle viciously BITES into his squidburger.

                           CARD
                 Uh-oh. The way he's chewin', he ain't
                 a fat boy t'be trifled with!

                              NUTBEEM (quietly)
                 His piece.     Is about oil tankers.

Card blinks.   Looks at Quoyle with, dare we say, new respect.

                           CARD
                 Hope fer ya yet. Now that's
                 news, the McGonigle oil field.
                 Petrodollars, a golden flood a jobs.
                 That's th'future a this god-forsaken
                 ice rock. Civilization!

Scratches his crotch savagely.      To honor civilization.

                            CARD
                 That's why those with half a brain
                 already put our money where our
                 mouths is!

Puts his squidburger.    Where his mouth is.    Nutbeem clarifies for
Quoyle...

                           NUTBEEM
                 Two shares. Of Mobil.

INT. WAVEY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

ANGLE...brightly lit kitchen. Bunny sits at the little table, a
large mixing bowl filled with popcorn before her, little Herry at
her side. They are watching Freakazoid on a tiny TV. Bunny
shovels in a mouthful of popcorn. Then makes a sage, if
unintelligible, comment about the show to Herry. Still chewing,
she takes another huge handful of popcorn...

...Herry opens his mouth like a baby bird. Bunny stuffs the snack
in. It's a stare-and-chew, side by side. Just alike.

ANGLE...cozy parlor. Quoyle sits in a Barca-lounger with a huge
bowl of chips in his lap. He is watching hockey on a modest TV,
the action is fierce. Stuffs his mouth full of chips, yet somehow
manages to say...

                           QUOYLE
                 ...so there they were, this goofy
                 old codger and his dog, big as life.

PULL BACK to see Wavey now. Curled on the sofa, under a lap robe.
She is knitting something in a heavy oxblood-colored wool. He
watches her work.

                           WAVEY (softly)
                 That'd be old Nolan. He's actually
                 your uncle, last of the crazy Quoyles.
                 I should have realized.

Keeps her eyes on her work.

                           WAVEY
                 Sad, really. Lives like a hermit
                 in a run-down shack. No one to
                 look after h...

                           QUOYLE
                 Here I was worried about Bunny night
                 and day, and there's absolutely
                 nothing wrong with her.

A silence.   Which makes him uneasy.

                           QUOYLE
                 Her only problem is her dad worries
                 too mu...

                           WAVEY (not looking up)
                 You are a loving and wonderful father.
                 You're not the problem.

She meant to reassure him.    Instead...

                           QUOYLE
                 So what is th...

                             WAVEY
                   Nice to see you.

Looks up with smoky eyes.

                             WAVEY
                   ...after all this time.

Oh.

                             QUOYLE
                   Well. I've been workin' longer hours.
                   So Dennis and Beety were kind enough
                   to bring Bunny to the daycare. Fed
                   her a lotta meals, too. They're real
                   friends.

Quoyle's smile tries to sell the innocence of his absence.

                             WAVEY (very quiet)
                   I thought you forgot. That I'm your
                   friend, too.

No smile from her. She wants him to know she was hurt.           He shakes
his head, serious now. No, I didn't forget.

                             WAVEY
                   You want another sandwich?    There's
                   roast pork.

He holds up what's left of his four-decker.          This is plenty.   Takes
a huge bite to show how much he likes it.

                               WAVEY
                   You said.    You'd read me your
                   article.

He did, he nods.     But just now he's scared to. And so she smiles.
Which traps him.     He pulls out a single sheet of paper. Clears his
throat.

                             QUOYLE
                   Nobody Hangs a Picture of an Oil
                   Tanker. That's the header.

She nods. Likes that. He gestures, go back to your knitting.             So
she smiles, slyly. And commences to knit.

                             QUOYLE (reads)
                   There's a 1904 photo hung in the
                   library. Eight schooners heading
                   out to fishing grounds, sails spread
                   it like white wings. Beautiful. Beyond
                   compare.

This means something to him.       Hear it in his voice.

                            QUOYLE (reads)
                  More common today is the low black
                  profile of oil tankers. Like the
                  ruptured Golden Goose, which last
                  week bled 14,000 tons of crude onto
                  seabirds, fish and boats at Cape
                  Despond.

He stops.    As if revisiting that little thought in his mind.

                            QUOYLE (reads)
                  There will be more and more tankers.
                  They will grow old and corroded, and
                  their tanks will split. They have
                  already done to fishing. What their
                  spill has done to fish.

He sneaks a glance.       She has never looked up.

                            QUOYLE (reads)
                  Nobody hangs a picture of an oil
                  tanker. On their wall.

Silence.    A full one.

                               QUOYLE
                  Well.     Whatcha think?

She reflects.

                            WAVEY
                  I think when Card sees it, he'll
                  split a gut. I think he'll sit up
                  nights thinking of cheap shots to pay
                  you back. I think he'll never stop
                  until you're fired.

Quoyle keeps nodding at each point.          Yep.   Yep.

                            WAVEY
                  I think I haven't been so proud. Of
                  a friend. Since I don't know when.

Quoyle's heart explodes in his chest.          And shines in his eyes.
There is a long silence.

                            WAVEY (softly)
                  Maybe another sandwich. There's
                  roast pork.

He swallows.    He just doesn't want to cry from happiness.

                            QUOYLE
                  Well, sure.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - DAY

CLOSE on Card. Who is RIPPING the single page in half. Then
again. And again. And again. See Quoyle now, standing at the
desk like a statue. Billy and Nutbeem at their stations, watching
as Card...

...flutters the pieces down onto his desk.       Like falling snow.

                            CARD
                  Oh, I'll run it. Just easier
                  t'copy edit. When yer can move
                  th'pieces around.

A hush.    A frozen tableau in this room.

                             QUOYLE
                  Run it.   Like I wrote it.

                            CARD
                  How does this suit yer, Quoyle?
                  I'll do my job. You do yers, which
                  means a four-vehicle pile-up south
                  a Killick-Claw. And don't ferget
                  the camera.

He slides the battered camera across the desk. They glare at each
other a full beat. Card belches, softly. Quoyle takes the camera,
heads for the door...

                            CARD
                  I fergot somethin'.

Quoyle turns.    Card doesn't.

                            CARD
                  You pinko Greepeace sack a quivering
                  pigfat.

Thinks.

                            CARD
                  Did I leave out moosebutt-ugly?
                      (nods to himself)
                  You may go.

HOLD on him.    Making a neat little pile of the torn pieces.

                            QUOYLE (O.S.)
                  Like I wrote it.

SLAMM! Across the room, Nutbeem stands.        Takes his cigarettes.
Passing Card's desk, on the way out...

                            NUTBEEM
                  Tough love. Impressive.

SLAMM!    Card shoots Billy a challenging look.     You got something to
say?

                           BILLY
                 I hope you get him fired.

Do you.

                           BILLY
                 So I can watch him beat yer to jelly.

Just turns around.     Flicks ON his computer.   Back to work.

EXT. GREEN HOUSE - TWILIGHT

Bunny jumping out of the wagon, running to the house.      As Quoyle
locks his car...

                           BUNNY (O.S.)
                 Why'd you leave the house open?

He looks up.   She is pushing the front door with one finger.     It
swings OPEN.

                           BUNNY
                 Can I keep the necklace?

...and lifts a long piece of TWINE. There are KNOTS neatly tied
along its length. Quoyle stares. Stares.

                              QUOYLE (calm)
                 Sweetie.     Come sit in the car.

INT. FRONT HALLWAY - TWILIGHT

Quoyle climbing the stairs in fading light. He carries a tire
iron. Stops midway. Listens to the silence.

                           QUOYLE
                 IF ANYBODY'S THERE, YOU BETTER COME
                 OUT NOW!

Up, up, to the top.     Looking down the empty hall to see...

...knotted twine.     At every door.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - EARLY MORNING

Quoyle enters, haggard and distracted. The place is lit, but
empty. A toilet FLUSHES. From the loo, appears...

                              CARD
                 S'tell me.     Yer fancy it?

Nodding toward something behind Quoyle. Turning, we see that
hanging over Card's desk is an oversized framed photo of: QUIET
EYE - WORLD'S LARGEST OIL TANKER. Quoyle stares blankly.

                              QUOYLE

                   Like I said.    Nobody hangs those.

Card just goes to the fresh stack of newspapers on his desk.       Hands
one toward Quoyle...

                             CARD
                   Yer column's front page stuff. Only
                   now, it's more like a caption, is all.

A photo of the same tanker.       That hangs on Card's wall.

                             QUOYLE (reads)
                   More than 3000 tankers proudly ride
                   the world's seas. Even the biggest
                   take advantage of Newfoundland's deep-
                   water ports and refineries.

                             CARD
                   Spelled everthin' perfect.     So as not
                   t'embarrass yer.

                             QUOYLE (reading)
                   Oil and Newfoundland go together like
                   ham and eggs, and like ham and eggs
                   they'll nourish us in the coming
                   years.

                             CARD
                   Even put yer name on it.

                             QUOYLE (finishes reading)
                   Let's all hang a picture of an oil
                   tanker. On our wall.

Stares at the paper.     In his hand.

                             CARD
                   Man a yer principles. I unnerstan'
                   resignation is th'only honorable
                   course.

Quoyle looks up.     Card flinches back.    But all that comes is...

                             QUOYLE
                   How can a man resign.    To nobody?

Drops the paper on the floor.       Steps on it, on his way toward the
door.

                             CARD
                   If yer off to see Jack Buggit,
                   yer'll hafta swim some.

Quoyle turns back.

                             CARD
                   Yer can whine an' beg t'him.     But I

                 runs his paper, every inch of it,
                 every dirty time-eatin' job which he
                 would have t'do without me.

A wink.

                           CARD
                 An' if yer think he's gonna choose
                 you over fishin'...yer not as smart as
                 even you look!

The cackle of the guy holding the straight flush.

                           CARD
                 Me an' Jack. Has a sym-bi-otic
                 relationship. Yer can look that up.

Quoyle puts his hand on the door.

                           QUOYLE
                 I know the word, Card. It means
                 you two deserve each other.

Out the door.   It closes behind him.    Card alone, crosses his arms
in glee...

                           CARD
                 I'LL TELL JACK YER SAID SO!

HOLD on Card.   DISSOLVE TO...

INT. GAMMY BIRD - DAY

CLOSE on a box of assorted doughnuts. Two dozen. A hand reaches
down toward a raspberry swirl, thinks better of it, moves
thoughtfully along the selection to pluck a maple glaze, and bring
it to...

...Quoyle's mouth. The box rests beside the cardboard carton into
which Quoyle is packing his things. Nutbeem sits on the edge of
the desk, nibbling a cruller. Billy is bringing three mugs of
coffee. Looks like a going-away party. Through the glass of the
only private office...

...Jack Buggit is talking. Card is not. Card stands now, strides
to the door, flings it OPEN. Nutbeem taps Quoyle's shoulder with
his pastry. They look to...

                             CARD
                 So.    This is what Jack and I think.

He's looking straight in Quoyle's eyes.     Defiant as ever.

                           CARD
                 We wanna run Quoyle's oil spill
                 piece b'cause controversy sells
                 papers and papers sells ads.

                            NUTBEEM
                  Sounds reasonable to me.

Lives to needle this guy.     Card keeps his laser gaze on Quoyle.

                            CARD
                  And we're gonna let Quoyle have
                  his head on these columns, up to
                  500 words. So he'll get his
                  confidence up.

                            NUTBEEM
                  Well, let's not go overboard.    He's
                  rather green doncha thi...

                            CARD
                  But we wanna expand his responsi-
                  bilities to boat crashes. There's
                  maybe four a week.

                            NUTBEEM
                  He'll need a raise. And need to be
                  represented in the negotia...

                             CARD
                  And.   The oil tanker picture.   Stays!

Nutbeem's eyes WIDEN. He mimes catching an arrow shot through his
chest. Falls OFF the desk.

                            CARD (to Quoyle)
                  All that clear?

Quoyle looks him in the eyes.     Starts putting his things back in
his desk.

                            CARD
                  One more thing...

Hear the SLAMM!

                            QUOYLE (never looks up)
                  Jack's gone fishing?

EXT. OMALOOR BAY - DAY

The sky threatens black. Quoyle picks his way across the rocks to
his ungainly, much-maligned boat, as it bobs against the weathered
dock. He crouches, and as he begins to untie it, his gaze drifts
out toward the nearby point, and...

...something catches his eye. A boulder in the shape of a great
dog. And as he stares, there is something below it. Something in
a cove protected from intrusion by a jagged ring of menacing
rocks...

...it is a MAN in a yellow suit. His head under the surface as if
looking for fish. Arms and legs spread out like a starfish, the
body slides in and out of a small cave. Tugged by the sea like a
top on a string.

Quoyle stares in frozen shock.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Headline. Reporter Becomes Magnet
                For Dead Men.

No way in past the pounding surf, the savage rocks.    So Quoyle
turns sharply. Squints across the bay.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                What was my panic? He was already
                dead. Maybe I thought, in some dim
                way...

CLIMBS into his boat, TURNS the engine over.    KICKS it in overdrive
toward the town across the bay.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                ...if it wasn't too late for him.
                It wouldn't be for Petal.

STREAKING out, toward the black sky.    Racing to open sea where the
chop INCREASES drastically. Closer.     Closer...

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Once I was past the shelter of the
                lee shore, and into the real wind.
                I realized my mistake.

...clear of the point's protection, the wind ROCKS the tiny craft,
swells coming BROADSIDE. The boat RISES, then DROPS with cruel
speed. Quoyle tries to swing the boat around, the propeller RACES,
the bow PITCHES violently, SLAMMING down, the stern SWAMPED, the
hull filling, swerving broadside just as the oncoming sea HITS with
all its force, and the little boat...

...rolls OVER, Quoyle suddenly FLYING under water, limbs flailing
in all directions...

                            QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Headline.    Reporter Becomes Anchor
                Man.

INTERCUT...Quoyle's dad FLINGING him into the public pool, the
youngster SINKING like an anvil in a profusion of bubbles, and
CUT...

BACK to Quoyle, struggling madly somehow to the surface, THRASHING
toward the overturned boat, GRASPING the stilled propeller shaft,
which causes the bow to lift, the next wave turning the boat
upright, FILLING it with water, and it SINKS forever, as Quoyle...

...TUMBLES once more beneath the surface, watching the boat
DISAPPEAR into darkness below him.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                Stupid. Stupid to drown with Bunny
                so young. No life jacket, no floating
                oar. No sense.

Back to the surface, GASPING for air. And then, daintily rowing a
small boat, unaffected by the waves, her filmy dress rippling in
light breeze...

                          PETAL
                Look, it floats.     Just like you.

Is the lilting smile cruel?   Or only the irony that conveys
intimacy, even affection.

                          PETAL
                Maybe it's filled with fat.

And VANISHES. In her place, bobs a red BOX. A plastic beer
cooler. He LUNGES for it, GRIPPING the handles, resting his chest
on its top.

The waves RISE, mountainous now, and he rises and falls with them.
He has been swept a mile from the nearest shore.

INTERCUT...a winch pulling part of the Geo, streaming mud, from
swiftly flowing water. Police and bystanders gathered.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                And I wondered. Am I going where
                she's gone?

BACK to the bay. A barely-conscious Quoyle still clings somehow to
the plastic cooler. But hours have passed. Light is fading.

                          QUOYLE (V.O.)
                ...and will I see her?

He turns. And there she is. Beaming at him from the bow of her
little rowboat, a smile ambiguous in the growing dusk. It could be
love. From behind her a light GLOWS, giving Petal the aspect of an
angel.

She drops a wink.   FADES away.    And the light becomes...

...the BEAM from a fishing boat. Quoyle squints his swollen eyes,
as strong hands WRENCH him from his box. From the sea. A voice
warbles, distorted by wind and Quoyle's diminished consciousness...

                          JACK
                Jesus Cockadoodle Christ!     I knowed
                somebody was out here.

Quoyle's teeth are chattering so hard, his body shivering so

painfully, Buggit hauls him over the rail and lays him down on a
wriggling mound of fish.

                           JACK
                 Thank god fer yer figure, me old son.
                 A thin man woulda froze.

Quoyle burrows into the fish, like nestling in a down comforter.
Jack covers him with a heavy tarp. Crouches down close...

                            JACK
                 Good.   Yer lost th'boat.

INT. BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT

Dim light. Quoyle stirs beneath the billowing down coverlet.   His
eyes flutter. Open. Where...?

                           VOICE (O.S., very soft)
                 It's all right. You're in heaven.

His head SNAPS around. She's sitting just beside the bed in half-
shadow. Her oxblood knitting across her lap.

                             WAVEY
                 Actually.    It's just my bed.

Now he sees the cigarette.

                           WAVEY
                 Actually, it's not. I just wanted
                 to see your eyes bug out like that.

Now he sees the smile.

                           QUOYLE
                 You don't smoke.

His voice was a croak. So he CLEARS his throat with a massive and
disgusting effort. It is gross and funny, and she smiles again.

                           WAVEY
                 Only when I'm worried.      I don't
                 worry much.

He rolls over, to see her better.      They are very close.

                           QUOYLE
                 You don't have to, I'm all right.
                 I'm in heaven.

                           WAVEY
                 I'm not worried.    About you.

Oh.   As he draws a breath to ask...

                             WAVEY

                   You're in the boys' room at Jack's
                   house. Wonder how long since Dennis
                   slept here.

She glances to the nightstand. Beneath the dim lamp.       A picture of
Jack and blond son Jesson. Guess what they're doing.

                             WAVEY
                   Mrs. Buggit called, knew Bunny was
                   still with me. The kids are camped
                   out in the parlor.

A beat.

                              QUOYLE
                   Nice.   You sittin' up with me.

A longer one.

                             WAVEY
                   S'okay. Someday you'll do somethin'
                   nice for me.

He nods.   He will.

                             QUOYLE
                   Who you worried ab...

                             WAVEY
                   You didn't find a second dead man.
                   Just the rest of the first one.

Ah.   He nods.   Well, that figures.

                              QUOYLE
                   I asked.   Who you worried about?

On this, she stubs out her cigarette.      Takes another from the pack.

                             WAVEY
                   You said Bunny talks to Petal at
                   night. You ever listen?

He shakes his head.

                             QUOYLE
                   Not really. Wouldn't be right.

                             WAVEY
                   Well, I'm not that nice a person.

STRIKES a match.

                             WAVEY
                   She plays Petal. Talks to the
                   Barbies, like Petal talking to her.

Brings her cigarette.   To the flame.

                          WAVEY
                She says she's sorry she left them.
                It was just to see if they could be
                good girls. And they were...

And.

                          WAVEY
                ...and she loves them.

His eyes at once rapt and suffering.     She watches that.

                          WAVEY
                The Barbies look better naked, Bunny
                looks good in blue, guess who said
                that?

Draws on her smoke.

                          WAVEY
                So we talked. Just before Petal
                left her with that...stranger? Bunny
                had snapped her mom's bead necklace.
                That's why she's making more.

Do you understand?

                          WAVEY
                When she's made enough.     She'll
                be forgiven.

Tears are pooling in his eyes.   Hers, too.     She keeps going...

                          WAVEY
                She saves Petal a room at the house,
                but she's also got the key to the old
                place. In case her mom would rather
                go there.

A thin stream of air escapes from his lips.

                          QUOYLE
                And she talked about it.      Just like
                that.

                          WAVEY
                Sure, I lied. I said nice things
                about her mother.

Bitter smile.

                          WAVEY
                See, there's only one problem.
                Petal isn't gone.

Quoyle thinking.     Madly.   What can he do?

                             QUOYLE
                   So we're patient. And we wait, and
                   we're good to her.
                             (beat)
                   And. Maybe. Time.

She stares back.     Unease to match his own.   Maybe time.

INT. ALVIN YARK'S BOAT HOUSE - DAY

A wiry wisp of an aged elf, ALVIN YARK is shaping the center beam
of what will become a tidy boat. Its wooden skeleton across two
sawhorses in his spacious workshop.

                             ALVIN (sings softly to himself)
                   Oh, the Gandy Goose, it ain't no use.
                   It ain't no use, the Gandy Goose.

Quoyle, Wavey and Dennis stand in a row. Watching the little
artisan shave wood as if his tools were his hands.

                             ALVIN (keeps singing, as if alone)
                   The Gandy Goose, she ain't no uuuuse...
                   Cause all her nuts'n bolts is loose.

Wavey can't help but smile.      She really likes the old duck.

                             ALVIN (never turning)
                   See, I'm already buildin' yers in me
                   mind. The singin' helps that. But.
                   Gotta take a walk in the woods, find a
                   spruce with jest th' right curve fer
                   yer stem.

And says no more. Keeps working. They are like acolytes at the
feet of a guru who never bothers even to glance their way.

                             QUOYLE
                   Well, hurry up. Thirty, forty years
                   I'll be rarin' to get back out on the
                   water.

Everyone smiles.     Except the guru.

                             ALVIN
                   Gotta build her solid. Who knows,
                   mebbe Jack Buggit'll give his fishin'
                   license to his boy. So next time,
                   won't be nobody to pull yer out.

                             DENNIS (real quiet)
                   Jack Buggit's boy is drowned.

Everyone looks.     Except the guru.

                             ALVIN (cheery)
                   Dennis. Y'hear the one about the
                   Newfie who lived ferever?

A beat.

                             DENNIS
                   No sir.

                             ALVIN
                   His kid never got a fishin' license.

Now he turns.     A maritime Yoda, squinting to discern if his message
is received.

                             ALVIN
                   What we wait fer? She's like
                   the main stem. Gives us our shape,
                   doncha see.

He runs his hand along the backbone of the boat he's building.

                             ALVIN
                   Death's one shape.     Fergiveness is
                   another.

Crinkly old eyes, laser bright.        Dennis isn't angry.       Just
resolved.

                             DENNIS
                   Thing 'bout waitin' on fergiveness?
                   Mixes up who's waitin' on who.

No smile, no spin.     Just the truth.

                             DENNIS
                   Death is simpler.     An' a lot shorter
                   wait.

In the silence.     A door opens.

                             MRS. YARK (O.S.)
                   Mr. Quoyle...?

A sprightly bird-like woman.        Wears apology and concern.

                             MRS. YARK
                   The school is callin'?     It's about
                   yer daughter?

INT. PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

The PRINCIPAL is spare, dressed for England, her voice
authoritarian by its pace, exaggerated diction, and lack of volume.

                             PRINCIPAL
                   ...not only pushed Mrs. Lumball.        Not

                  only pushed her very hard...

Seated in a semi-circle around the desk of power. Quoyle,
stricken, respectful. Wavey, already pissed off at the principal.
And Bunny,her hat and coat on, arms folded, face crimson and set.

                            PRINCIPAL
                  She knocked. Her down.

Do you understand the severity of this, Mr.       Quoyle?

                             PRINCIPAL
                  And. Refuses to explain her act.      Or.
                  Apologize.

Is that right, young lady?

                            PRINCIPAL
                  Under the circumstances.     We have no
                  choice but to suspend.

Bunny looks down.    Glaring an evil spell of death at her own
kneecaps.

                            WAVEY (quietly)
                  I think Bunny and I. Should take
                  a walk.

And stands.

                            QUOYLE
                  Uh. Wavey? If it's all the same
                  to you...

EXT. PATH - DAY

Quoyle and Bunny alone, hand-in-hand, walking slow where they once
picked berries. Nobody's talking.

                            BUNNY
                  When you gonna ask?

                            QUOYLE (calm)
                  When you're in the mood.

Apparently, that hasn't happened yet.      More walking.

                            QUOYLE
                  She musta done something.     Really bad.

Said like he means it.    Which he does.     And Bunny, squinting up,
sees that.

INTERCUT...the crime. Playground filled with kids. Bunny and
girlfriends on the jungle gym. Bunny the best, a natural jock.
MRS. LUMBULL large, sour, doughy, and betrayed by life, stands with
her silver whistle in the midst of chaos. Her thoughts on a higher

plane.

                          BUNNY (O.S.)
                She's the worst one of all!

Little Herry Prowse comes to tug at the teacher's wool coat. He is
holding his crotch and jumping up and down. This does not require
an advanced credential to interpret.

                          BUNNY (O.S.)
                Herry told her he had to pee. But
                the way he talks. He could just
                say 'eeee,' like that.

Mrs. Lumbull looks down. From her face as she responds, she has
already devoted, over time, more professional attention to this
troublemaker than should be asked of any dedicated educator.

                          BUNNY (O.S.)
                She told him that recess was almost
                over, an' she wasn't gonna make a trip
                special, an' he could hold it.

Herry, seemingly, disagrees. Still holding his crotch, he jumps up
and down with greater agitation. She grabs him, rather roughly, by
the arm. Marches him over to...

                          BUNNY (O.S.)
                She made him stand against the wall.

...and walks off, pointedly ignoring him from ten feet away. He
screams, pumping his fists in frustration. Grabs himself,
suddenly. Whether or not we can see the dampness spread, we can
see his humiliation all too clearly. As his tears come...

...a figure BOLTS into frame from behind Mrs. Lumbull. Hunched
over like a linebacker, full speed ahead, LAUNCHING herself into
the back of the large woman's knees. Her feet go UP, and the rest
of her goes...

...DOWN like the proverbial amount of bricks. Herry's tears stop
fast. Watching the woman shriek, and keep shrieking. Makes him
laugh. CUT...

BACK TO...the berry path.   They are sitting on a fallen log.

                          QUOYLE
                See, a good dad would say hitting
                is always wrong. You coulda hurt
                her bad. I guess you know that.

                          BUNNY
                She wasn't hurt for real.     Just
                screamed like a baby.

Quoyle pulls out a single Snickers bar.

                             QUOYLE
                   Wish I'd seen it.     It really sounds
                   funny.

                             BUNNY
                   Petal'll think so, too.

He looks at her.      Nods, probably will.    Peels the candy bar free of
its wrapper.

                             QUOYLE
                   Well, there won't be any trouble at
                   school. I'II take care of that.

                              BUNNY
                   How?

He breaks the candy bar in half.        Tho not quite equally.

                             QUOYLE
                   Because the best thing about people.
                   Is they can forgive each other. I
                   heard that this morning.

                             BUNNY
                   That teacher. Is gonna forgive me?

He nods.   Oh, yeh.

                             QUOYLE
                   That. And she won't want the story
                   printed in the paper.

Oh.

                              BUNNY
                   Well.   I don't wanna forgive her.

                             QUOYLE
                   Me neither.

He holds out the two pieces of candy. She takes them both.         the
bigger one in his mouth. As he chews...

                             BUNNY
                   I had to do it. 'Cept for Wavey,
                   I'm the only family Herry's got.

She nibbles at her own piece.

                             BUNNY
                   Like the ghost.     Who's not a ghost.

Hmmn?

                             BUNNY
                   The one who ties the knots?     You're

                  the only family he's got.

Right?   Her father doesn't react.       He's even stopped chewing.

                              BUNNY
                  You said.

And slowly.    Quoyle nods.    I said.

EXT. NOLAN'S SHED - DAY

Quoyle picks his way down to the battered boat shed, hidden at the
foot of his cliff. He carries a big carton, which we see has made
the journey slow and awkward. Across the gravel now, to...

...the door. HEAR the fire crackling, see the smoke curling.
Takes a breath. Knocks softly. Then LOUDER.

                            QUOYLE
                  UNCLE NOLAN? CAN I COME IN?

No answer.    Juggle the box, lift the latch.      Enter...

INT. NOLAN'S SHED - NIGHT

The old man and the dog huddled together at the fire. They look
over with red eyes. Just alike. Only one growls. Quoyle finds a
smile, a soft voice...

                             QUOYLE
                  Uncle. My daughter Bunny and I.
                  We got you some hot bread. And some
                  meat. Some dried fish. Some squash
                  and vegetables...a cake...some warm
                  clothes...

Nolan is listening. Sharp-eared, sharp-eyed. What trick is this?
So Quoyle sets the carton down in the squalor. Takes out a loaf of
fresh bread. One step forward. Lay it down.

Good faith offering.    And...

...Nolan scuttles to it. Like a wary crab. He tears off a chunk
of bread. Nibbles. He likes it. And as he eats...

                            QUOYLE (softly)
                  You tied those knots, huh?
                  At my house?

...crouches down to the old man's size.        Almost close enough to
touch.

                            NOLAN
                  Ain't yer house, it's th' Ouoyle
                  house!

He's found the meat.    Ripped off a chunk.

                           QUOYLE
                 See, I am Qu...

                           NOLAN
                 Old ones. Got run outta Omaloor Bay a
                 hunnerd years ago. Dragged that house
                 across th' ice. On spruce runners.

Stuffs some into his face.      Like this, even better.

                           NOLAN
                 Hadda lash it to th' rock.     She'll
                 tell yer.

She.

                           NOLAN
                 Course she never come t'see me.
                 That's obvious why.

And as Quoyle draws a breath to ask...

                           NOLAN
                 Your Aunt Agnis Hamm, me son. That's
                 cause she can't face me. I knows she
                 killed 'im.

A moment.   Of stone silence.

                              QUOYLE
                 Him.

                           NOLAN
                 That baby she was carryin'. What was
                 she t'do? She wuz only 12. An' it
                 was her own brother what done 'er.

Quoyle's wide-eyed shock.

                              QUOYLE (numb)
                 Her own...

INTERCUT...a tiny frozen pond. Long ago. A girl of 12, rawboned,
husky, skating alone. We've seen her, in the photo at Quoyle's
dad's house. And as she skates, she looks up to see...

...a boy of 15, stocky, sullen. He was in the same photo. Only
now, he steps onto the ice. Unbuttons his pants. Begins to slide
toward her on the soles of his fishing boots. She looks around.
Snow banked on all sides of the pond. Nowhere to run on her
skates.

                           NOLAN (O.S.)
                 Her brother, me son. She only
                 had th' one.

The girl, breathless, skating this way and that. The boy closing
in, cutting off her angle. A deadly endgame. There are no words.
And...

...he is ON her. Pulling her TUMBLING to the ice in SLO-MO.
No sound but their hot breath, the grunt of the struggle, and
CUT BACK to...

                           NOLAN
                 Course no one alive knows no more.
                 So her an' me...
                           (winks)
                 Our. Little. Secret.

INT.   AGNIS' NEW SHOP, KILLICK-CLAW - DAY

Agnis and Mavis are showing Wavey their new shop. It is big and
bright with more elaborate fittings, the amount of work piled up
carries the scent of success. Quoyle trails behind, as Agnis dotes
on Wavey like a prize new daughter-in-law. When she turns, she
sees her nephew staring...

                           AGNIS
                 What? My hem crooked?      As if
                 I was wearin' a hem.

He was staring pretty intently.    Realizes that.

                            QUOYLE
                 Naw, I just come from seein' your
                 cousin Nolan. Guess I was thinkin'
                 about him.

She holds his gaze with her own.    Is she wondering?

                           DAWN
                 Mr. Quoyle? What do you think of
                 my dress?

Everybody turns on that one. Mavis cuts her alter ego Agnis a
look. Can you believe this slut?

                           DAWN
                 I wore it just for you.

She actually looks pretty good in it.      Wavey noticing that.
Watching Quoyle say...

                            QUOYLE
                 That was more consideration.       Than
                 I deserve.

Polite banter? Or outright flirting? Hard to tell if it's Wavey
or Agnis who disapproves more. Dawn ignores them.

                           DAWN
                 Did your aunt tell you about all

                 the money?

Agnis just blinks.   Can scarcely believe she heard that.

                           DAWN
                 Agnis told us it came from Macau.

                           AGNIS (quietly)
                 Hush yoursel...

                           DAWN
                 ...from Silver Melville. And it
                 was more than she expected. And we
                 shipped the chairs off to her.
                 Y' know, the three remaining?

A really frozen beat.

                          QUOYLE (casual, to Agnis)
                 Uh. Why would she send you more
                 tha...

                           AGNIS (to Dawn)
                 Do you have enough attention now,
                 young lady?

                           DAWN
                 Yes, Ma'am, I think so.

Mavis echoes Agnis' glare.

                           QUOYLE (really casual)
                 Macau, huh? So. That where y'sent
                 th' chairs?

Agnis turns.   Sizes him up.

                           AGNIS
                 It's flatterin' you showin' me how
                 you've turned into such a competent
                 reporter and all. But even if I
                 remembered where I sent 'em. I
                 couldn't tell ya.

Puts her fingers to her lips.      Leans closer, to confide something
he is obviously unaware of...

                           AGNIS
                 Professional ethics.

INT. WAVEY'S KITCHEN - LATE NIGHT

CLOSE on Wavey, cooking flapjacks.      Talking to them.

                              WAVEY
                 Only you.     Could do this.

And she's not pleased.

                            WAVEY
                  You fed him. You gave him clothes.
                  You're the first human ever was kind
                  to him...

She scoops them expertly into a stack.

                            WAVEY
                  Accordingly. You're sick with guilt.

Serves them to...

                            WAVEY
                  You sure you're not a complex guy?

...Quoyle, who nods absently. About the one thing he is sure of.
Just now, he's examining the prodigious status of her oxblood
knitting. Still attached to the needles, it looks too broad for
a muffler.

                            QUOYLE (decides)
                  Horse blanket.

                            WAVEY (ah!)
                  That's what that is!

A beat.   Another.

                            QUOYLE
                  So if y'called around.      Musta
                  found somepla...

                            WAVEY (quietly)
                  One decent golden age home. It's
                  in St. John's. You can maybe afford
                  it, tho God knows why you should.

She pushes the flapjacks closer to him, CLANKS down the fork, eat!
She's exasperated. Thinks he's wasting his money.

                            QUOYLE
                  I can't put him there, til I go
                  down to St. John's. See it's all
                  right.

                                WAVEY
                  Great!      Let's not be rash!

                            QUOYLE
                  Come with me.

And everything.      Sorta.    Stops.

                            QUOYLE
                  I mean, the kids could stay with

                 Dennis and Beety.       Or Agnis, or...

A meaningful beat.

                            WAVEY
                 Why.   Would I. Do that?

She looks deep in his eyes. Hard to guess the answer she wants to
hear. He clears his throat. Looks down.

                           QUOYLE
                 Well. Remember when you said.
                 Someday, I'd do something nice
                 for you?

And when he looks to her, she is...

                           PETAL (Wavey's voice)
                 And this is it.

A witheringly sexy smile.

                           QUOYLE
                 Hey. Overnight trip to St. John's.
                 All expenses paid.

Petal arches a delicate brow.

                              PETAL (Wavey's voice)
                 Overnight?

He blinks.   And sees...

                           WAVEY
                 What's wrong with a weekend?

With a playful smile.      Of her own.

EXT. DOUBLE-DECKER BUS, ST. JOHN'S - DAY

Not London, but it might as well be. Wavey and Quoyle atop a red
double-decker bus, wind whipping their hair. She is watching the
big city flow past, drinking every inch of it. He's watching her.

INT. DEPARTMENT STORE - DAY

Wavey carries an armload of little girl's tights and corduroy
pants, picking through a bin of barrettes. Quoyle appears with a
fistful of neckties. Holds them up hopefully to his chest one at a
time, each more breathtakingly godawful than the last. Well? She
SHIVERS with disgust. Lifts from her shopping bag a nice conser-
vative one she's already picked for him. He SHIVERS, just as she
did. They share the trace of a grin, just alike. He walks off.

...Wavey trying on furry hats in a full-length mirror, as Quoyle
keeps feeding her an endless supply from a double armful. She
pouts and poses like a runway model, basically frowning that the

hats aren't working. He's staring at her as if nothing else exists
in the universe. She knows it.

...Wavey alone at a cash register. The checker is ringing up a
selection of lacy bras and panties. Suddenly, Wavey looks up to
see Quoyle at the register one aisle over, staring fixedly at her
purchases. Seeing she's noticed him, he holds up a huge pair of
loud boxer shorts he's buying, and WAVES them at her. She laughs
and waves her bras right back. Civilians watching think they're
in love.

EXT./INT. ST. JOHN'S - DAY/NIGHT

...Quoyle and Wavey stroll the grounds of Nolan's future retirement
home. It is twilight, and the modest place looks pleasant and
welcoming. Quoyle listens earnestly, as the director points things
out. Wavey watching Quoyle, her gaze not so disapproving after
all.

...CLOSE on Quoyle with a bowling ball, poised, glaring our way.
Here he comes. Stumbles. Lets go. REVERSE ANGLE to see the ball
rolling, rolling real slow. Quoyle turns his back, strides away
with confidence like he doesn't even have to watch, this is too
easy. Wavey points, look. He turns in time to see two pins fall.
Pumps his fist. YESSSS!

INT. BAR - NIGHT

It's late. It's dim. It's as romantic as urban Newfoundland will
ever get. Our couple nursing beers at the corner table of a
passably stylish bar. Piano playing show tunes, but soft. He
pulls from his pocket...

...a travel brochure.     Slightly drunk, completely merry, almost
wicked smile.

                             QUOYLE
                   Now, listen to this for t'morrow.
                   After I sign the papers at the home...

She's already grinning.     Feels so comfortable.

                             QUOYLE (reads)
                   The answer to your annual outing!
                   Rainbow trout fishing in four ponds.
                   You pay for what you catch. Prizes
                   in the ponds. If it drizzles or gets
                   chilly, heated and lighted building
                   available, right next to the ponds,
                   with soft drinks, candy bars, ice
                   cream and chips!

His subtle smile.     A guy could get used to this irony stuff.

                             WAVEY
                   Or we could sleep in.

...innocent, natural.       At some primal level, his panic begins.

                            WAVEY
                  I just feel so guilty about all
                  your expenses. Two separate rooms.
                  Both so big.

                            QUOYLE
                  Hey, it's my treat.     You agreed.

She nods.    She did.

                           WAVEY
                  Still. Seems like we could figure
                  out. Something.

Even Quoyle. Has the message. He looks down at his beer, as he
thinks about what he should say. Turns the glass in his fingers.

                            QUOYLE
                  A friend told me once. Love is
                  the only thing that counts.

He nods.    Almost to himself.

                            QUOYLE (a murmur)
                  It's the engine of life.

He looks up.    Her eyes are waiting.

                            QUOYLE
                  So when you told me how you think
                  about your husband. I really
                  understood, becau...

                            WAVEY
                  That's what I wanted us to talk
                  abou...

                            QUOYLE
                  ...because real love.     Just comes
                  once.

And everything.    Stops.

                            QUOYLE
                  See, you know some of the stories
                  about Petal. Some of the bad things.
                  What you don't know...

But she's looking in his eyes.       And so, she does.

                            WAVEY (just above a whisper)
                  ...is how much you love her.

That's what it is.

                               WAVEY
                   Even tho.    She never loved you.

A beat.

                               QUOYLE
                   Sorta.    Because of it.

He sighs. The most miserable and the most honest he has ever been.
All at once.

                             QUOYLE
                   See, love. Isn't about what's good
                   for you. Isn't about what you wish
                   it was. Isn't about what...would
                   make you happy.

His eyes are swimming.       Can she possibly hear this?

                             QUOYLE
                   Love. Is about want. What you
                   really want. And you can't change
                   that. Even if it's poison.

Silence.   The piano plays something gay and stupid.

                             QUOYLE
                   So that's why it's great. To have a
                   real friend. When you're. Lonely.

The last word was a tough one.       It makes her nod. She stares in
his eyes for the longest time.       And when she speaks, he can scarely
hear her voice...

                             WAVEY
                   I know you have to stay tomorrow.
                   To sign the papers. But.

But.   One word.    And even a stupid guy.    Gets it all.

                             WAVEY
                   I should be heading back. Before
                   Herry. Misses me. Too much.

Wow. He nods, dumbly.        Watching his worst nightmare unfold before
his eyes.

                              WAVEY
                   And I'm not feeling so well.
                   What I get for mixing vodka and
                   beer, huh.

She gets to her feet.       She does seem a little unsteady.

                             WAVEY
                   So I'll grab a taxi. You stay and
                   finish. Listen to the music. Is

                   that all right?

                              QUOYLE
                   I cou...

But he stops.     Because she's shaken her head once.      Don't.

                             WAVEY
                   And don't worry.     I'm still your friend.

Her voice chokes a little on that.        She shakes her head, half-
grinning at how foolish she feels.        She smiles at him now. Like
she means it.

And leaves.     Without another word.

                             QUOYLE (V.O.)
                   She did stay my friend. In her way.
                   Even tho, for awhile, we didn't see
                   each other a lot.

He wants to cry. He wants to be sick. He doesn't know what he
wants. Fumbles in his pocket for some wadded-up bills.

                             QUOYLE (V.O.)
                   Funny. How one little talk.      Can
                   change everything.

DISSOLVE SLOWLY TO...

INT. SKIPPER WILL'S DINER - NIGHT

The boys, the beers, the squidburgers.        The usual.

                             QUOYLE
                   Tell me about it. Just get the
                   aunt's house fixed perfect, and
                   I gotta move.

Move?

                             QUOYLE
                   Three hours to drive from the Point,
                   with all the ice. Alvin won't have
                   my boat ready til New Years. Agnis
                   can stay over her shop. Bunny and I
                   have to find a room in town.

                             DENNIS
                   Stay with us. My kid follows yours
                   around, they'll bunk t'gether. And
                   we gotta fluffy couch that's more'n
                   you deserve.

A good friend.     Quoyle is touched.

                              QUOYLE

                  Hopin' you'd offer, almost
                  worth it just t'inconvenience ya.
                  Unfortunately, I'm too fond a
                  yer wife.

                            NUTBEEM (casual)
                  Take my trailer. Timing's perfect.

The way he said that.     They both turn.     A shrug...

                            NUTBEEM
                  It's two years. My boat's ready.
                  If I stay any longer, I'll begin
                  to like it here.

Wouldn't want that. Very silent at this table.            Against the din of
the place. Is he serious?

                            NUTBEEM (softly)
                  I'm throwing myself a farewell
                  party on Saturday. Departure
                  to follow Sunday. Regrets, soon
                  after, no doubt.

And smiles.    Serious as a heart attack.      A long beat.

                            QUOYLE (a murmur)
                  Be careful.

Careful?

                            QUOYLE
                  Last friend left me.      Turned into
                  a truck driver.

So much feeling behind his eyes.     Nutbeem can only say...

                             NUTBEEM
                  Well.   With that warning.

And return the feeling.     With his own.

EXT./INT. NUTBEEM'S TRAILER - TWILIGHT

Quoyle GROANING under the weight of cases of beer and cheap rum
pulled from the back of his wagon. Plenty more to go. Staggers
into...

...Nutbeem's   tiny, threadbare trailer. Every conceivable surface
under stacks   of plastic-wrapped party platters of cold cuts, cheese
and red-eyed   olives. Nutbeem is jamming beers into tubs of ice.
Quoyle peers   into the teensy closet that is the only bathroom...

                            QUOYLE
                  What's the barrel for?

SEE it now.    Half a sawed-off empty BARREL, with MOLASSES stenciled

in orange, fills the shower stall.

                           NUTBEEM
                 I'm British. I bathe.

Quoyle sends him a blank look.

                           QUOYLE
                 Perfect for th' chips.

He gestures to thirty bags of potato chips, filling the
kitchenette.

                           NUTBEEM
                 It's coated with two kinds of scum.
                 Soap. And mine.

                             QUOYLE
                 Works.    We forgot to buy dip.

INT. TRAILER - NIGHT

VIEW out a window at the line of HEADLIGHTS still arriving. We are
immersed in the ungodly WHITE NOISE of an all-gentleman's Newfie
soiree, music pushed beyond the level of distortion, assorted
grunts, squeals, unintelligible words, things breaking. As we
struggle to look around...

...every square inch is    crammed tight with semi-conscious drunks.
Tert Card and some boys    circle the potato chip barrel, which has
become a handy urinal.     Near the door, Dennis holding forth, arm
tight around Quoyle who    listens, listens, chuckles. Then Quoyle
fights his way...

...OUT of the trailer, to cold night air where the party is MUCH
wilder, given the elbow room. Quoyle steps OVER the supine form o
Billy Pretty, who is singing to himself. Finds Jack Buggit with a
beer in one hand a rum in the other. Wraps a drunken arm around
Jack's neck. Starts to talk in his ear. Jack looks suspicious. A
FIGHT breaks out a few feet away. They don't notice. Closing in,
to hear...

                           QUOYLE (shouting against the din)
                 SO THE NEXT DAY, THEY ALL SIT DOWN
                 ON THE GIRDER. THE BRIT OPENS HIS
                 LUNCH BOX. 'OH, NO! SCOTCH SALMON
                 AGAIN! FAREWELL, BOYS!' AND HE
                 JUMPS OFF THE GIRDER TO HIS DEATH.

Jack nods.   Grins.    That's pretty funny.

                           QUOYLE
                 THE QUEBEC GUY OPENS HIS LUNCH BOX.
                 'MON DIEU! MEAT PIE AGAIN! AU
                 REVOIR CRUEL WORLD!' AND HE JUMPS.

This.   Is even funnier.

                           QUOYLE
                 NOW THE STATIE IS ALL ALONE ON
                 THE GIRDER. HE OPENS HIS BOX.
                 'HOLY MOLEY! BOLOGNA SANDWICH
                 AGAIN! I DON'T HAVE TO TAKE THIS!'
                 AND LEAPS OFF.

Funniest yet.   Jack is chuckling already.

                           QUOYLE
                 AT THE FUNERAL. THE BRIT' S WIFE
                 SAYS, 'WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME HE HATED
                 SALMON?' FRENCHY'S WIFE SAYS, 'WHY
                 DIDN'T HE COMPLAIN ABOUT THE MEAT
                 PIE?' STATIE'S WIFE SAYS, 'I DON'T
                 GET IT. HE ALWAYS MADE HIS OWN LUNCH!'

Quoyle is chortling.   But Jack stares him dead in the eyes.

                           JACK
                 YOU'RE SURE. THE FELLER WAS A STATIE.

                             QUOYLE
                 OH, YAR.    FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

At which point Jack BUSTS OUT laughing fit to wet his pants...

                           JACK
                 MADE HIS OWN LUNCH!

POUNDING on poor Quoyle, who is also dissolved in hysterics.
Nearby, the biggest and ugliest GUY at the party (no small
distinction) leaps onto a tree stump brandishing an AXE.
Even in this crowd, it commands a certain degree of attention.

                           BIG UGLY GUY
                 NOW WE ALL LOVES OLD FOOKIN' NUTBEEM,
                 YAR???

Cries of YAR! fill the woods. Nutbeem himself is HOISTED on
shoulders, whooping and sloshing his grog.

                           BIG UGLY GUY
                 SO LESS KEEP 'IM 'ERE BYES! AXE
                 'IS FOOKIN' BOAT! GOT YER CHAIN
                 SAW, NEDDIE??

An idea that wins IMMEDIATE MASS APPROVAL. Soused Nutbeem's eyes
open bug-wide, as he is borne in a tidal wave of mayhem toward the
docks. Whatever he is shrieking may well prove ineffective.

And rather suddenly.   Quoyle is left alone.

Among the conscious, that is.

INT. WAVEY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Knitted wool, the color of oxblood, lies across a timeworn leather
ottoman. In front of it, little Herry dances a shuffle-foot jig of
his own design. The music seeps from a venerable accordian, played
earnestly by his serious mom, nodding and tapping her foot to the
time of his steps.

There is a feeling of empowerment and release in Herry. His grin
splits his round face. His eyes say that his heart is dancing.

PULL SLOWLY BACK...through the window, past the porch, across the
front yard. To a figure. By the fence. He stands motionless.
Except his foot is tapping, very slightly, to the time of the
music.

We can't tell how much Quoyle sees.    But his eyes say that his
heart is drowning.

EXT. NUTBEEM'S TRAILER - MORNING

As Quoyle shuffles up, we see Nutbeem's trailer has been turned
completely OVER onto its side. Walls are crushed and splintered.
It's a train wreck.

Sitting on the cinder blocks that once supported it, Nutbeem,
and Dennis swig beers.

                          NUTBEEM (cheery)
                You're looking dishy, Q.

                           QUOYLE
                Feeling that and more.    What's the
                situation?

Nutbeem hands him a beer.

                          NUTBEEM
                One. You're moving in with Dennis, no
                matter how fond you are of his wife.

Quoyle looks sadly at the trailer.    Realizing it was his place that
got trashed.

                          NUTBEEM (laughs)
                And the boat! Omigod!

                          BILLY
                I'm some disgusted.    With the human race.

                          NUTBEEM
                I'da never made it, anyway. Storms
                would have blown me to bits. You
                boys saved my life. Yes, you did.

The boys look at each other.    Humiliated by his generosity.

                            NUTBEEM

                   I've gathered my savings, and am
                   flying to Brazil. Where water is
                   swimming pool green. And I grill
                   yellowtail steaks with lime and
                   garlic, watercress and Tobasco.
                   Touch of curry. What?

Quoyle is looking at him somewhat strangely.

                             QUOYLE (light)
                   I collect friends who cook.     Just
                   can't keep 'em.

Maybe too light not to be obvious.     Billy looks from Quoyle to the
trailer. And back.

                             BILLY
                   It's too bad.

Which seems to cover everything.

EXT. JACK BUGGIT'S SKIFF - DAY

Quoyle alone with Jack in open water. Pulling on a slicker,
gloves, picking up a knife. Jack is pronging cod onto the deck.

                             JACK
                   Hands might as well be movin' while
                   we chat. Always hated th' sight a
                   grown men around a table workin'
                   nuthin' but their jaws.

And so, together, they begin to clean a small mountain of cod.

                             QUOYLE
                   Editorial meetin', y'say.     'Bout
                   what?

                             JACK
                   Well, Tert Card's gone, fer one
                   thing.

Doesn't look up.

                             JACK
                   Yar, I know, he never said g'bye.
                   Well, don't get all weepy-eyed
                   about it, old son. Try t'be a man.

Quoyle will.

                             JACK
                   They called him from St. John's,
                   he tells me. Wants him to help
                   put out th' newsletter fer them
                   oil rig suppliers.

Yup.     Believe it.

                             JACK
                   He was sassy an' he was smug. Oh,
                   there's a waitin' list, he assures
                   me. They only skims th' cream.

                             QUOYLE
                   Well, don't get all weepy-eyed abou...

                             JACK
                   Truth t'tell. I was a wee help.
                   B'hind the scenes, doncha know.

Keeps working.

                                JACK (quietly)
                   Sometimes.     Enough is enough.

No arguments arise.

                             QUOYLE
                   Well, Billy'll do a helluva job...

                             JACK (nods)
                   ...right where he is. Too old a
                   fish t'swim faster'n be wants.
                   Gotta find someone a little dumber
                   t'take on a shit job like this!

Uh-oh.     You don't mean...

                             JACK
                   Spot I'm in, Christmas and all.
                   Might have to offer th'mess. To you.

Quoyle swallows.       Arguably the proudest moment of his life.

                                QUOYLE
                   Course.     I'd need a raise.

Jack looks at him for the first time.        A real twinkle behind...

                             JACK
                   Y'know. Yer do have the sense God
                   gave a doughnut.

                             QUOYLE (genuinely touched)
                   I'II try to live up to that.

Said with such sincerity, Jack can only nod.          Good.

                             JACK
                   Any other outrageous demands?
                   Seein' as yer got me over a
                   barrel. Here's your one chance.

And before he can stop his mouth...

                            QUOYLE
                  Well, your son...

The mirth dies in his host's eyes. Like a 60-watt bulb in a
brownout. Quoyle swallows the rest.

                            JACK
                  You were sayin'...?

Quoyle sucks it up.

                            QUOYLE
                  His whole life would be changed.
                  If he could come upon. A fishing
                  license.

Jack's eyes.   Flat and cold as the cod he's gutting.

                            JACK
                  Well, there's only one a those
                  issued per family. So how exactly
                  would he do that?

This is not.   Going well.   A dangerous silence.

                            JACK
                  Even doughnuts, y'know.   Can
                  push their luck.

INT. WAVEY'S PARLOR - DUSK

The day care contingent more organized today. Sort of. Bunny
leading a spirited round of red-light/green-light, as...

...Quoyle enters with a big cardboard box full of presents. As he
shrugs off his coat, he looks at the Christmas tree, its winking
lights. The decorations that seem to be everywhere, many handmade
by these children. He watches Bunny call out 'Red Light!', only to
have Herry ignore it and tackle her anyway.

Mixed emotions, to be sure. A feeling of family he can at least
visit, yet will never be his own. The sad edge catches up with
him, so he strolls on into...

...the kitchen. Wavey baking, what else.      She smiles to see him.
A friend's smile.

                            WAVEY (Southern belle)
                  Why, Mistuh Quoyle. You shouldn't
                  have!

He smiles back.    Takes her in for a telling beat, before...

                             QUOYLE
                  Uh.   I didn't. Most of these

                 are for Herry.

Even better.

                           QUOYLE
                 There's two. Are yours.

They are on top. Personally wrapped in his slightly bulging,
fine-motor-control-challenged, personal style. Be sets them on the
counter.

                            QUOYLE
                 You prob'ly want to wait for
                 Christmas.

Meaning, please don't. So she wipes her hands on her apron.    Lets
him see her eyes dance just a flicker.

                           WAVEY
                 Oh, I'm much too excited.

Delicately unwraps the first. Lifts out a PORCELAIN TEAPOT, finely
painted with an assortment of BERRIES. She holds it in her hands,
at once admiring and wistful. Wondering if there's a message about
their moment together while berry-picking.

                           QUOYLE
                 It's from a museum catalogue.       But
                 it's not real. It's a copy.

                           WAVEY (still gazing at it)
                 It is my favorite teapot.

A simple pronouncement. She opens the second, flat and narrow. It
is a TURQUOISE BRACELET. Actually, kind of stunning. She blinks,
taken back by the beauty and perhaps the expense.

                           QUOYLE
                 It's nice for your eyes.     I thought.

She doesn't sayanything.   Lets it dangle from her fingers, catch
the light.

                           QUOYLE
                 It's for everyday. You don't have
                 to save it for special.

She looks to him. Her eyes are shining maybe more than she wants.
Her voice perhaps softer than she even intends...

                           WAVEY
                 Oh, I'll save this, all right.

Covers.   With only a slightly more than friendly smile.

                           WAVEY
                 And I'll think of you.     When I

                put lot on.

He can only nod. He'd like that.    She holds up one finger, wait a
second. And hurries off.

So he waits. Looking at her kitchen. Feeling his feelings.         She
is back, with two boxes. Sets them down. Nods, go ahead...

...one is heavy and square. He opens it to find a LEATHER-BOUND
CASE. He looks at her, smiles in his childlike way. Opens the
case, which reveals...

...two leather-bound VOLUMES. One a dictionary.      The other a
thesaurus. He is obviously moved.

                          QUOYLE (a murmur)
                You must have me mistaken. For
                a writer.

And when he looks up.

                          WAVEY
                I don't make mistakes.     About
                that kind of thing.

He stares at her long enough to make her nod toward the other
package. Big and flat, but not heavy at all. He lifts the lid,
and pulls out...

...a huge comfy SWEATER.   In oxblood wool.    He is completely
stunned to realize...

                          WAVEY (so pleased)
                Well, you can't be surprised. You've
                seen me knitting it for months.

                          QUOYLE
                It was so big, I thought it was a
                tea cozy for your car. But if it's
                for me, it has to be bigger, huh?

Put it on, put it on! So he slips it over his head. Big enough
and then some. This worries her. She plucks at it...

                           WAVEY
                Well.   You'll grow into it.

                          QUOYLE
                You kiddin'? After the holidays,
                we'll have to stretch it.

He's just beaming. Hugs himself to show how warm it is.      The
silence is companionable. Then...

                          QUOYLE
                Not used to a woman.     Giving me
                presents.

She raises a brow.     Can scarcely believe that.

                            QUOYLE
                  One Christmas with Petal, I gave her
                  eleven things. And I wrapped them.
                  And watched her open them up.

She holds her friendly smile.     But her eyes have changed.
Slightly.

                            QUOYLE
                  She didn't have anything for me.
                  Like every year. But this one
                  time, she said, 'Wait a minute.'

Wait a minute.

                            QUOYLE
                  She ran to the kitchen. I heard
                  the fridge open. She came back.
                  With her hands hidden behind her.
                  Then, she held out...

Even his voice.    Betrays the longing.

                             QUOYLE
                  Two brown eggs. She gave them
                  to me from her own hands. They
                  were cold.

He smiles, self-conscious.

                            QUOYLE
                  Must sound really stupid.   But
                  they meant a lot to me.

Silence.   A soft...

                             WAVEY
                  Well.   It's the thought that counts.

He nods.   He's glad she understands.

                            QUOYLE
                  I broke 'em, careful. Made her an
                  omelette with 'em. And I saved the
                  shells. In a little box.

She can't help but show her surprise at that.

                            QUOYLE
                  Oh, yeh. They're on a shelf
                  behind my desk. At the paper.

He looks worried now.     Shouldn't have brought this up.   And seeing
this...

                             WAVEY
                   I know how it is. To hold onto
                   something good. In the middle of
                   all the bad.

He nods.     But feels truly awkward now.     So...

                             QUOYLE
                   Well. I gotta collect Bunny.
                   Beety's gonna have supper waiting.

Right.     She nods.   She understands this, too.

                                WAVEY
                   Thank you.     Thank you, very much.

Takes her teapot and her bracelet.        Holds them.     A gentle barrier.
Her hands now too full for a hug.

                              QUOYLE
                   Well.   Merry Christmas!

With a wonderful smile.

                             WAVEY
                   Merry Christmas.

With one of her own.

INT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - NIGHT

Quoyle enters a packed auditorium, festooned for Christ's birthday
with every trimming imaginable. Rough fishermen in black jackets
they wear once a year, women in finery, schoolkids at their well-
scrubbed best, antsy with anticipation. The BUZZ is audible,
palpable. No Broadway opening could hope for this level of
eagerness.

As Quoyle comes down the aisle, we see faces we know. Boys from
Nutbeem's party. Billy Pretty with Jack and Mrs. Buggit. Alvin
Yark and his bird-like wife. The old-timer who sold Quoyle his
boat. Mavis Bangs with an empty seat next to her, must be saved
for Agnis. All the kids from daycare. Still, Quoyle searching for
the face he doesn't find. And finally...

...to the third row, where Dennis and Beety have saved him a seat.
Beety gives him a peck on the cheek, and he smiles, settling in,
nervous as hell, just as...

...the school principal, still dressed for England, walks to the
mike at center stage. Holds up her hands like the disciplinarian
she prides herself on being, and they quiet pretty fast.

                             PRINCIPAL
                   Your friends and neighbors, and
                   most of all, your children. Have

                worked hard to bring you the best
                pageant ever.

THUNDEROUS applause, whistling, stamping. She is frustrated for a
moment. Then, waves cheerily against the din, shouting...

                          PRINCIPAL
                LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!

And RUNS off-stage, as we DISSOLVE THROUGH a SERIES OF ANGLES...

...the Big Ugly Guy who led the raid on poor Nutbeem's boat stands
in a threadworn suit bulging with his bulk, singing DANNY BOY in
the sweetest tenor one could dream of. PAN an audience, rapt,
motionless. Pavarotti never had more respect.

...Bunny and Marty walk timidly to the front of the stage. Marty
dressed in Christmas reds and greens. Bunny all in blue, which
does look good on her. Kids CALL OUT their names. The place falls
quiet. And the girls begin to sing a plaintive West African HYMN
in small brave voices that sometimes harmonize. It is unexpected
and breathtakingly courageous. Two dads in the third row have
tears flooding their eyes...

                          DENNIS (gruff whisper)
                Not bad, my kid, eh?

                            QUOYLE (gruffer whisper)
                I'll say.    She's as good as mine.

...Agnis Hamm walks out alone onto the stage, wearing a brown
jersey, tweed skirt, yellow stockings and red slippers. She has
an odd look on her face, all serious and curious. The laughter and
calls die away to silence. Suddenly, one of her feet SCRATCHES at
the stage, her arms become WINGS, and with a CROONING and CACKLING
she metamorphoses into a PEEVISH HEN protecting an egg. The house
comes DOWN with laughter and UNISON applause. Quoyle glances back
at Mavis Bangs who puts her fingers between her teeth and WHISTLES
in pure delight.

...Wavey Prowse walks onto the rear of the stage, in a long black
smock, carrying her accordion. She turns to the wings, nods, and
out comes little Herry clacking across the stage in tap shoes. A
beat of silence. Mom calls out: ONE, TWO, THREE, rolls into a
savage hornpipe and Herry commences the JIG Quoyle once glimpsed
through a window. Three hundred HEELS coming STOMPING down in
perfect rhythm and lift Herry into a joyous bouncing, rattling
performance that builds in intensity until the finish. He runs
to the edge of the stage, bows DEEP from the waist, stands beaming
in their applause. Then RACES offstage, his mom following with
dignity, and we go with her into the wings...

Once there, Wavey slips OUT of the smock, revealing to the dimness
of the wings, that she is wearing dancer's tights over drop-dead
legs. A close-fitting tunic covered with sequins and glass bugles,
crystal diamonds, and dozens more glittering baubles that send a
shimmer of prisms with her every breath. Herry hands her a top

hat, a cane, and...

...she STALKS back onto the stage, her lithe body strutting and
glinting. A hush of stupefaction falls, only to be washed away
by SHOUTS and WHISTLES, the kind of which have not been heard
since Gypsy Rose Lee startled her first roomful of rubes. In
the bedlam...

...she TWIRLS the top hat on one finger, FLIPS it up in a double
somersault, catching it square on her head. She leans on her cane

And when at last they quiet...

                           WAVEY
                 We all know Billy Pretty's ways.
                 Never save fifty cents, if you
                 can save a dollar.

She winks.   They laugh.   Billy laughing loudest.

                           WAVEY
                 Well, last Feb'ry, Billy wants
                 t'get his grandfather clock repaired.
                 Calls old Leander Mesher. Local
                 call. No charge.

Twirls the cane recklessly.    In the third row, a goggle-eyed Quoyle
couldn't blink if he tried.

                           WAVEY
                 Well, says Leander, the big cost is
                 pickup and delivery. Got t'charge
                 fifty dollars, each way. Two strong
                 boys. Gasoline. Air in the tires!

That's right.

                           WAVEY
                 There's no cost for air in yer
                 tires!, says Bill. Get wi' th'times,
                 he's told. Tis called inflation!

WAGGLES her eyebrows, Groucho-style.    They are busting their guts
laughing. Connoisseurs of wit.

                           WAVEY
                 Billy lives at the top of the hill,
                 Leander at the bot tom, doncha know.
                 So Billy gets a rope, HOISTS the
                 grandfather UP on his back. And
                 muttering the words fifty bucks...

She puts her toe out, SLIPS wildly, windmilling her arms,
pantomiming as she bends double under the phantom clock.

                           WAVEY
                 Mite slick. Four feet thick a ice.

Tears are streaming from a hundred eyes and more.

                           WAVEY
                 Meanwhile, at the bottom, Auntie
                 Fizzard, 91 years young, sets out
                 in her non-slip galoshes and her
                 cane with the rubber tip. Didn't
                 yer, dearie?

Bows to the old gal in the front row, who is scarlet-faced in
hysterics, as all around her applaud. Wavey becomes her, inching
along, casting fierce glances right and left to warn the world.

                           WAVEY
                 Meanwhile, at the top...

She is Billy once more, beneath his burden, her long legs stutter-
stepping to one side, then the other, slipping, skidding, the
howling all around her threatening to shatter walls, and...

                           WAVEY
                 ...OVER he goes, clock-side down,
                 and PICKIN' UP SPEED!

Miming the wild ride as they ROAR...

                           WAVEY
                 ...eight blocks, NINE, missing
                 everything like a miracle, zeroing in on...

She becomes Auntie Fizzard once more, shuffling, looking left,
right, and suddenly up WILD-EYED!

                           WAVEY
                 CLIPS 'er inta the snow bank!

Nods sadly.   Leaning on her cane.     When at last they quiet.

                           WAVEY
                 Just two galoshes stickin' outta
                 the snow. She digs 'er way out.
                 Brushes herself off. Looks at
                 him sprawled like a turtle on his
                 back, tied to his massive burden.
                 She says...

She says.

                              WAVEY
                 YOU THERE!     BILLY PRETTY!

Levels a dead-eyed killer gaze.

                           WAVEY
                 WHY CAN'T YOU WEAR A WRISTWATCH
                 LIKE EVER'BODY ELSE?

The place comes DOWN like a house of cards. Bedlam surrounds
Quoyle who sits still as a stone. Too dazzled to breathe.

EXT. ROADSIDE DINER - EARLY MORNING.

Lonely stretch of wooded road, middle of nowhere. Light snow just
starting to fall. A truck pulls up beneath a tree. Out climbs...

...Wavey. Looking grim, walking slow. Crosses the road to a
weathered diner. The woman who only smokes when she's worried,
pulls out a pack of Camels. Looks through the diner's frosted
window...

...a lone customer sits nursing his coffee. He is 40, lean, very
attractive. Dark hard eyes, set into worries of their own. Wavey
lights up. Watches in silence until...

...the man looks up. Their eyes meet through the glass.      Hold.
And on his faint smile...

She turns her back.   Starts up the road.

ANGLE...he is walking beside her now. Snow drifting lazy, her
smoke curling up. He watches her anger, how cold and quiet and
closed. Smiles at her profile...

                           HEROLD
                 I shoulda come last night.     Seen
                 the show.

She can't even believe he said that.     Never looking at him...

                           WAVEY
                 Woulda been a thrill for the
                 Christians among' em. They
                 think you're dead.

Keep walking.   His smile is gentle.

                           HEROLD
                 Well, then we got good news
                 for th...

                           WAVEY
                 So does your son.

A beat.

                           HEROLD
                 Even better news for him.

                           WAVEY (low)
                 You think so.

Breaking the words off.   He's watching her profile.

                           HEROLD (very soft)
                 I can't undo the hurt I've done.
                 Unless you let me.

Gauging the feeling behind the bitterness.

                           HEROLD
                 There's a million reasons to send
                 me away. Good ones. And only two
                 reasons not to.

Is she even listening?     He lets the silence hang.

                           HEROLD
                 I love you. And you love me.

She stops walking.     Flips her cigarette off into the snow.       Turns
now...

Looks into his face.     And sighs.

EXT. SHORELINE - DAY

Rear ANGLE of Agnis, crouching in the lightly falling snow. At the
edge of the sea. The spot where she once sent her dog to rest.
HEAR footfalls crunching slowly across the rocks. A bulky figure
comes into frame. Crouches down beside her. Close. She stares at
the gray horizon.

                           QUOYLE (softly)
                 Mavis Bangs. Told me where
                 you'd be.

No answer.   But she hears him all right.

                           QUOYLE
                 We get so little mention in the
                 wires. Thought you'd like to see.

He hands the folded print-out to her.

                           QUOYLE
                 Head in the suitcase.       The mystery's
                 solved.

She looks briefly at his eyes.        Takes it.   Starts to read.

                           QUOYLE
                 Silver Melville was captured in
                 Moored with a cruise steward. The
                 boy was twenty, a looker, wearing
                 Armani clothes. Driving a nice Lexus.

Agnis keeps reading.

                           QUOYLE
                 Says she did it all for love.

She nods at that.      Folds the paper neatly, as if conveying respect.
Hands it back.

                              AGNIS
                    She'd call me, time to time.
                    Husband was a pig. More women should
                    do what she done. Her situation.

He looks in her eyes.      And decides to say...

                              QUOYLE
                    Some women. Shoulda done it to
                    their brother.

The look holds.      She sees the compassion in his eyes.        Knows he's
so on her side.      She clears her throat.

                              AGNIS (softly)
                    Cousin Nolan. Hafta pay him
                    a visit.

They share a look.      He glances at the sea.        Beautiful spot.

                              QUOYLE
                    Mavis said you buried Warren here.
                    Called it an anniversary.

She stares deep and unblinking into his eyes.            She will tell him.

                                 AGNIS
                    Of a loss.     But not the dog.

A held moment.

                              AGNIS
                    What makes us do that, nephew?
                    Give ourselves away to someone.
                    So we can't eat or think or
                    breathe without 'em?

                              QUOYLE (just above a whisper)
                    I don't know. We just do.

Silence.   And...

                              AGNIS
                    Wonderful, ain't it?

And now she smiles.      Something we have rarely seen.

                              AGNIS
                    Irene Warren died. The mornin'
                    after a Christmas. We get one
                    true love in life, nephew. She
                    was mine.

He's not surprised.     And that, in turn, does not really surprise
her.

                          AGNIS
                Don't mean we can't give love
                again. And get some back.

                          QUOYLE
                For some, it does.

                          AGNIS (straight back)
                Not for me.

Strong with that.     Sure.

                          AGNIS
                And if that ruffles some small
                town feathers...

His smile in return.     Very real.

                          QUOYLE
                Y'know what the feathers around
                here need th' most? A good ruffling,
                I say.

He sounds pretty sure himself.         Their look ho1ds.

                          QUOYLE
                Y'know what I need th' most?

She doesn't.

                          QUOYLE
                A really big breakfast!

She nods, one last time.      Sounds like a plan.

INT. GAMMY BIRD - LATE NIGHT

Quoyle alone with his cut-and-paste, making up the front page
layout. Moonlight on fallen snow through the window. Late enough,
quiet enough, to hear...

...the vehicle drive up, the engine turn off. The footfalls to the
door, which swings open. The last person he'd expect to see.
Especially with a bottle. Of Cuervo Gold.

They stare at each other.      Only he smiles.

                             QUOYLE
                Hey.     Congratulations.

She shoots him a quizzical look.         We see the edge right off, even
if he doesn't.

                              QUOYLE

                Last night.     On the stage?    You
                were...

Shakes his head with innocent admiration.       She puts the bottle on
his desk.

                          WAVEY
                It was easy. I just kept thinkin'.
                How would Petal do it?

He hears it now, right enough. The anger, the Cuervo. She stalks
on over to the coffee counter, only a bit wobbly. Plucks up two
styrofoam cups.

                          WAVEY
                We're friends, right?     Friends
                drink together.

Back to his desk. Shrugs her coat off onto the floor. Pullover
and jeans, she looks terrific. Hikes her butt up onto the edge of
his desk.

                          WAVEY
                I asked a quest...

                          QUOYLE (quiet)
                I'll drink with you. If you're
                not done yet.

Her soft throaty laugh. He hasn't seen her this way.        Can't decide
if it's more scary or exciting.

                          WAVEY
                Not drunk enough yet to talk about
                Petal. Which we always seem to do.

Opens the bottle.   About four fingers are gone.

                          WAVEY
                Let's talk about me.     Which we don't.

Pours herself another two.    Thinks before she says...

                          WAVEY
                Growin' up, all I wanted from this
                place was out. Imagine. Give up
                all this.

Pours two fingers for him. Stretches her body to slide the cup
across the desk. The Cuervo sloshes.

                          WAVEY
                I ran off to Toronto, went to
                school. Wanted to be a social
                worker. For kids.

She's looking at her cup now.     Not at him.

                             WAVEY
                   Came back one summer.     Fell for
                   Herold Prowse. That.      Was that.

Takes a swallow.     Closes her eyes.

                             WAVEY
                   Did you know I was a liar?

Opens her eyes.     Straight into his.     Did you?

                             WAVEY
                   Herold liked other women.     But you
                   know how that is.

Sure you do.

                             WAVEY (whispers)
                   He didn't die. Not that he didn't
                   deserve to.

Quoyle blinks.     A perfect stunned ox gape.

                             WAVEY
                   See, I'm a good liar.

Drains her cup.

                             WAVEY
                   He ran off to Seattle with some
                   bitch. When his damaged son was
                   two months old. And nobody knew.

An ice-cold wink.

                             WAVEY
                   Like I said. It's four years ago.
                   And it's yesterday.

Pours herself another.     Savors the memory.

                             WAVEY
                   So I took his boat out. I sunk it.
                   And told my little story. Grieving
                   widow.

Shrugs a drunken, careless shrug.

                             WAVEY
                   I was leaving, of course. Why
                   humiliate myself on the wayout?

Yes?

                             WAVEY (softer)
                   But a funny thing happened.        On

                   my way out.

Her eyes are deeper now.      And for a beat, the anger slips away.

                             WAVEY
                   All these funny, odd little folks?
                   They put their hearts around me.
                   So I wouldn't be alone. Having
                   lost the man I loved.

Silence.   A real one.

                             WAVEY
                   And since I knew, to my shame, that
                   is exactly what I had lost. I let
                   go of the will to leave. I did.

I did.

                             WAVEY
                   Decided to let my child grow up.
                   Around folks better than his mom.

Stares in his eyes.

                             WAVEY
                   You're quite the talker.

                             QUOYLE (quiet)
                   I take pride in that.

So she smiles.     But the bitterness is there in it.

                             WAVEY
                   Well, this morning.     The man I
                   loved. Came back.

And the world. Ceases to spin.         One man's world, at least.   She
watches that. Assesses it.

                             WAVEY
                   Told me he knew.     I loved him still.

Sips at her second drink.        Slides the rest of it down.

                             WAVEY
                   Okay. Now I'm drunk enough.         To
                   talk about Petal.

Her eyes ask.    Are you?

                             WAVEY
                   You're thinking we're kindred
                   souls, you and me. In love with
                   our nightmares.

Shakes her head.     Uh-uh.

                             WAVEY
                   You don't love your Petal. You
                   hate. Her cheating. Guts.

Means those words as an opening blow.      Jacks or better.      Here comes
the hole card...

                              WAVEY
                   You have to think it's love.
                   Because if it's not, you're dead
                   inside. So you keep that flame a
                   flickering. Cos it's all you'll
                   ever have.

Pure contempt.     And honesty.

                              WAVEY
                   You see.   You're a good liar, too.

Lifts the cap.     Screws it back on the bottle.

                             WAVEY
                   Where's the damn eggshells?     That's
                   all I came to see.

And from his prison of shock and shame.      He points to a shelf.      She
is OFF his desk, like a panther...

...SNATCHES the tiny padded box with its treasure.          RAISES it high
to smash it, and...

...stops.    To see the panic.    In his eyes.

It brings tears.     Pooling in hers.

And she sets the treasure down, with the tenderness that decency
requires.

                             WAVEY
                   Can you guess how I know about
                   Petal?

He cannot.

                             WAVEY
                   Because you and I.   Are kindred
                   souls. After all.

And that.    Is what she came to say.

                             WAVEY
                   So I told my husband. To fuck
                   himself. And the ego he rode in on.

She crosses the floor. Scoops up her coat.         Walks, just a little
wobbly, to the door. Sighs.

                           WAVEY
                 Thanks for the mirror.

Nods.   Means that.

                           WAVEY
                 If I don't see you.   Happy New Year.

And leaves. The door closes quietly.      Quoyle looks from it.   To
the eggshells.

And back.

INT. DENNIS' HOUSE - LATER

ANGLE...Dennis and his wife BEETY bundled together asleep, as a
ferocious storm HOWLS around the house.

ANGLE...Quoyle awake on the sofa in Dennis' parlor. Clutching his
blankets around him. Eyes jumping with every SHRIEK of the
marauding wind. Mind racing with thoughts of Wavey. And
eggshells.

ANGLE...Bunny asleep with Dennis' daughter MARTY. The room seems
to vibrate under the violence of the weather's assault. CLOSE on
Bunny now, and...

...her eyes OPEN. A strange intent in them. A knowledge. She
slips from Marty's bed in her thin blue nightdress. Through the
house in the dark, as the wind SCREAMS its warning. Into the par-
lor where her father sleeps, as the wind suddenly INVADES, and...

...SUCKS her straight UP the chimney and out INTO the heart of the
storm. SAILING like a loosened kite out across the black water.
Out and out, as gray light rises, to...

...Quoyle Point, where she is blown FLAT against a granite boulder
just in front of the Green House, which SHIVERS and pleads against
the wind, its steel cables STRAINING, and suddenly from within the
house, lights come ON...

...the WHITE DOG is in a window. No longer snarling and menacing,
but whining pitifully, begging to be saved. And on the second
floor...

...PETAL alone, wild-eyed with terror. She is dressed all in blue,
and her daisy-chain necklace flies about her throat as she POUNDS
against the glass, her eyes staring directly AT her daughter, who
can only scream soundlessly against the gale as the house...

...begins to come LOOSE, the first cable SNAPPING and WHIPPING
about with the fierce destructiveness of unleashed power, then the
NEXT, and ANOTHER, and with Petal still visible, HOWLING in horror,
windows BURSTING everywhere else like flash bulbs, the house...

...slides FREE, along the rocks, toward the cliff, Bunny screeching

as it goes OVER the edge, TUMBLES down toward the sea, and Bunny...

...sits BOLT UPRIGHT in bed, a single GASP as her dad is THERE,
holding her tight. She is soaked with sweat. But her eyes are not
wild. They are filled with the knowing.

                            BUNNY (a whisper)
                 Daddy.   The Green House is gone.

He smooths her hair. The wind bellows in rage.       Little Marty
somehow sleeps on, undisturbed, beside her.

                           BUNNY (a whisper)
                 I didn't dream it. Don't say I did.

EXT. QUOYLE POINT - DAY

They climb from the station wagon into cold, clear sunlight.
Stare in wonder at the naked rock. The snapped, spent, cables.
Only shards of wood and glass leaving a hapless trail toward the
cliff.

Bunny RUNS toward the debris, and through it.     To a tangle of
bushes near the cliff.

He walks to a broken cable. Crouches. His eyes running over the
space. Where his ancestor's home once stood. And then. He
turns...

                           QUOYLE (calls out)
                 What you got there?

We see now. Bunny has unearthed a huge wooden crate from its
hiding place. Too engrossed in counting its contents to respond.

As he comes over...

                           BUNNY (not looking up)
                 Petal's things.

She is counting her treasure trove of NECKLACES. More than any
sound mind could imagine. Yet, in their infinite variety, somehow
wonderful. A testimonial to the power of love.

                           BUNNY
                 I think they're all here.

She looks up.   Sees him staring so fixedly at them.

                           BUNNY (alerted)
                 What's wrong?

                           QUOYLE
                 They're beautiful. I never saw
                 'em. All together.

Oh.   The kid doesn't smile.   She decides whether to ask him...

                           BUNNY
                 Will she be proud to wear 'em?

He looks in her eyes.     His heart breaks behind his smile.

                             QUOYLE
                 Well.    Any woman would.

EXT. JACK BUGGIT'S SKIFF - MORNING

Steel gray morning. The sea is more than a little rough, as Jack
lays out his lobster traps. Two other boats, not too close by,
appear and disappear in mist. He is checking the lines, knotting
hefty weights onto the traps to take them down.

                           JACK (sings to himself)
                 Oh, th' Gandy Goose she ain't no uuuuse
                    Cos all her nuts'n bolts is...

Stops.   Halfway to lowering the next trap over the side.

                           JACK (mutters)
                 Sweet Jesus. I'm turnin' inta
                 Alvin Cockadoodle Yark!

As it nears the water line, Jack's cat SKIPPER TOM suddenly LEAPS
down ONTO the trap. Jack blinks.

                           JACK
                 What is this? Suicide attempt?

Tries to let go of the trap and grab the cat in one motion, but the
cat JUMPS BACK to the boat, Jack STUMBLING out of his way, STEPS in
the coiled line which WHIRRS as the trap goes...

...DOWN, the line STRANGLING Jack's leg and WHIPPING him flailing
OVER the side in one startling heartbeat. Almost comic to watch.

But then. It is very quiet.      Air bubbles appear at the surface.
In a few seconds...

The water is unbroken.     The boat bobs silently in the swells.

INT. ALVIN YARK'S BOAT HOUSE - DAY

Quoyle and Alvin inspect Quoyle's newly-finished boat. It is a
beauty, to be sure, and the old builder watches Quoyle lovingly
running his hand across the smooth gunnel. Alvin doesn't smile.
That's not his style.

                           ALVIN
                 Gotta paint the name. What'll it be?
                 'The Tall And Quiet Woman'?

Quoyle glances over.     The old boy's eyes are dancing.

                           QUOYLE
                 You knew Billy's dad?

                           ALVIN
                 Ever'body knows ever'body. But
                 Billy's pap didn't invent the
                 Four Women in a Man's Life.

Quoyle nods.   Guess not.

                           ALVIN
                 Well. Which one is Bunny, I wonder?
                 The Maid in the Meadow, mebbe.

But Yoda is just staring at him.     And quietly...

                           ALVIN
                 Doncha know? They're all the same
                 woman. That's the point.

His pupil blinks.   Like a crystal bullet of clarity his brain.

                           ALVIN
                 The Maid in the Meadow, that's
                 her innocence and play. The
                 Stouthearted Woman, is when you
                 need to lean on her.

For some reason he could never name.     Tears are pooling in eyes.

                           ALVIN
                 The Tall and Quiet Woman? That's
                 the silent partner who always walks
                 'longside, so's yer never alone.

Quoyle is nodding, now.     It all seems so right.

                           ALVIN
                 And the Demon Lover. That's just
                 the frostin' on th' cake.

A soft knocking at the door.

                            ALVIN
                 When y'find the woman who's all
                 four? That's when y'got yer one
                 true love.

The bird-like woman enters.     The old man nods toward her.

                           ALVIN
                 ...like m'Gertie.

But she isn't alone. A man enters behind her. It is Dennis
Buggit. And there are tears on his face. He brings a dreadful
silence with him, because the face is an open grave.

                          DENNIS
                My dad went over the side this
                mornin'. Tangled in th' sling-
                stone line.

A sob escapes from this strong man's throat.    He ignores it.    No
one knows what to say.

                          DENNIS
                If you could write a memorial t'
                him. Fer t'morrow's Gammy Bird?
                I'd be real grateful.

EXT. JACK BUGGIT'S HOUSE - NIGHT

The road is jammed with parked cars and trucks and vans and wagons
Folks still streaming toward the brightly-lit house. Ever'body
knows ever'body.

INT. JACK'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Every room is filled with folks who wear their best. There is
eating and chatter and even some pockets of laughter, as we move
through the crowd. As if some have taken hold of a wake's well-
meaning purpose. Others stand dazed, still wearing their pain and
confusion. There are children here, some hold a parent's hand,
some giggle with each other. Snapshot of a community. Struggling
to cope.

Quoyle and Bunny enter, holding hands, looking around.      As they
cross the room...

...two figures step into their path. Two women holding hands,
their bodies close together. Their feeling for each other open for
all to see. One is Agnis. And the other. Isn't Mavis Bangs.

                          DAWN
                Happy New Year, Mr. Quoyle. I'm
                sorry I missed you at the pageant.

Slightly startled, Quoyle can't help but smile, despite the solemn
occasion. At the proud look on his aunt's face.

                          DAWN
                I was in the wings, a course.
                Wasn't our girl somethin'?

Our girl, a course, is Agnis.   Who nearly blushes at the
compliment.

                          DAWN
                I say, y'have t'love a woman. Who's
                in touch with her inner chicken.

Well, who could argue with that. Dawn leans up, kisses Quoyle on
the cheek. And with surprising softness...

                              AGNIS
                   Nephew.   You okay?

                                BUNNY
                   He's okay.     He's not sleeping in
                   the box.

Her great aunt looks at this child. Bends to plant an unexpected
kiss on the top of Bunny's head. The kid squirms, tugs her dad
firmly off, as he sends a parting wave.

Into the parlor now. Quieter here, as the new arrivals thread past
Jack Buggit in his open coffin, resting on black-draped sawhorses.
Dennis and his mom stand by Jack, a hand and a word for each. And
moving into the line...

                             QUOYLE
                   Remember what I told you.

His words a murmur.     Hers are bolder...

                             BUNNY
                   If he's not sleeping.     Why do they
                   call it a awake?

He thinks.   As if it is a worthwhile question.

                             QUOYLE
                   We're the ones have to be awake.
                   To how much we love him...

Nods to himself.     Yes.

                             QUOYLE
                   And how we should be good to each
                   other. While we have the chance.

He looks down.     They are almost there.

                                QUOYLE
                   You think?

She is thinking. Keeping the thoughts to herself. At the coffin
now, he lifts her up to see. Jack lies motionless, a wax figure of
himself. Serene behind violet eyelids.

                             BUNNY
                   He looks like he's sleeping.

Dennis looks over.     His stolid, grim face releases a smile for his
friend.

                             QUOYLE
                   That's cos he's peaceful. No
                   worries, anymore. No troubles.

He sets her down.     Clasps Mrs. Buggit's hand.     And from his

pocket...

                          QUOYLE
                I found this in Jack's drawer at
                the paper. I don't know if it's
                somethin' special...

An enameled wreath with the initial R, backed by a long, sharp pin
She tears up again, just to see it.

                          MRS. BUGGIT
                Oh, it's his lodge pin.    We were
                lookin' all over.

She smiles bravely as she takes it.    Leans up to kiss his cheek.

                          MRS. BUGGIT (a whisper)
                Dennis showed me what y'wrote fer
                th' paper. Did Jack proud.

So they look at each other. Dennis clears his throat, looks away.
And then, Quoyle is leading Bunny off.

                          QUOYLE
                You hungry? There's sandwi...

                          BUNNY
                Petal's peaceful, too.

Just a statement of fact.    To no one in particular.   Dad squeezes
her hand. Manages...

                            QUOYLE
                You bet.    You can count on tha...

But she lets go. Scampers to a corner of the room.      To Herry
Prowse. And his mom.

So Quoyle starts toward her, his heart in his throat. And when
Wavey looks up. She is glad to see him. As he reaches her...

She holds up her wrist. Dangling from it, her turquoise bracelet
She wore her best for Jack. Quoyle stands very close. One last
thing from his pocket...

                          QUOYLE
                New Year's present.

A small box. Wrapped as careful as he could.     She looks to his
eyes, really?

                            QUOYLE
                Oh, yeh.    It's a Quoyle tradition.

Well, in that case. She takes it into her slender fingers. Undoes
the ribbon, the paper. Lifts the lid to see, resting in tissue...

...eggshells. Crushed almost to powder. Her heart comes straight
to her eyes, even before the whispered...

                              QUOYLE
                   Thanks.   For the mirror.

And across the room, Mrs. Buggit leans with trembling hands to fix
the Lodge pin to Jack's lapel. Shaking as she is, the hand
lurches, the big pin goes PLUNGING, and...

...a rattling COUGH. Rolls across this room. The world falls
silent. Jack's wife grabs her son's arm, and their eyes bug out,
staring into the box.

                             DENNIS
                   DAD'S COME BACK!

And LUNGES to help hs gurgling father free his shoulders from the
coffin's wedge. A sudden ROAR, there are SCREAMS, there is even
LAUGHTER and WHISTLING, complete chaos. And in the bedlam, a tug
on Quoyle's coat...

                              BUNNY
                   See.   He woke up.

EXT. OMALOOR BAY - DAY

Sunlit day of crystal perfection. The majesty of ice and towering
rock and shimmering water. A scale so majestic, any cynic would be
hard put to deny God's hand. And gliding into FRAME...

...a tiny skiff.     On its maiden run.   We CLOSE to see...

...painted on its side. THE FOUR WOMEN. One woman is rowing just
now, doing all the work. Her son sleeps in the bow. And in the
middle of the little boat...

...father and daughter. Are unpacking the picnic lunch.        There is
a lot of food. This could take awhile.

                             BUNNY
                   That's a funny thing to say.   For
                   the first thing he said.

                             QUOYLE
                   What? 'I'm keepin' m'damn lobster
                   license'?

Yeh.   That.

                              QUOYLE
                   Maybe he just said it. To make
                   your Uncle Dennis laugh so hard.
                   You think?

She keeps unpacking.      Her face quiet and serious.   Her thoughts her
own.

                           QUOYLE (very softly)
                 It's not fair, is it. That Jack
                 woke up. And Petal didn't.

And since he's said her thought aloud.      She tells him...

                              BUNNY
                 Well.     The world's not fair.     You
                 said.

She's not looking up.      But he knows she's listening.

                           QUOYLE
                 That's something the world is
                 always teaching us. And sometimes,
                 the learning comes later.

That gets through.    Both adults can see it.

                           QUOYLE (a murmur)
                 You taught me that.

Eyes resolutely down, she nods.      Remembers.

                           QUOYLE
                 You know. What we wait for?
                 It's like the main stem of this
                 boat. It gives us our shape.

Her brow furrows.    Doesn't understand that.

                           QUOYLE
                 See, I know why you saved a place
                 for Petal. All this time.

On this.   She looks up.     Her dad is smiling from his eyes.

                           QUOYLE
                 Cos I'm the daddy. And you learn
                 how to do. By watching me.

And...

                           QUOYLE
                 You just watched.     Better than
                 I knew.

Still holding Bunny's eyes. He beckons to the woman rowing.
C'mere, a second. So Wavey sets down her oars. Slides over.
And Quoyle whispers to his daughter...

                           QUOYLE
                 Watch this.

He leans his face. To Wavey's mouth. A kiss so tender, even a
child can't turn away. The moment lingers. And when it ends...

                           WAVEY
                 I'm thanking your daddy.     For all
                 my presents.

                           BUNNY
                 There was only two.

Wavey looks at this girl.

                           WAVEY
                 More than two. Everything I need.
                 Except...

Except.   She gathers all the courage it takes to say...

                           WAVEY
                 Except a necklace.

And waits. We can feel her heart pounding in her throat.       Bunny
stares back with eyes no one could read. And then...

                           BUNNY
                 I got a box of 'em.   You could
                 pick one.

A hush over this bay.   A woman stunned and grateful.

                           BUNNY
                 Then you'd have everything you need.

Well, that seems true. So, the woman nods.       Her eyes flutter down.
In the silence, she unwraps a sandwich...

                           WAVEY (a murmur)
                 You want the cheese?

                            BUNNY
                 No.

Okay, then. She hands that one to Quoyle.       And as she and Bunny
look for another, we PULL...

...UP and AWAY, an AERIAL ANGLE swirling above the shimmering bay.
The boat so far below us. The people tiny specks. They could be
anyone.

Anyone at all.


FADE TO BLACK.   ROLL END CREDITS.