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Wonder Boys Movie Script

Writer(s) : Steven Kloves

Genres : Comedy, Drama

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                            WONDER BOYS

                BASED ON THE NOVEL BY MICHAEL CHABON

                       Screenplay/Steve Kloves

	January 21, 1999 (Pink Revision) 
	January 15, 1999 (Blue Revision) 
	December 18,1998


	All IS A BLUR. . .

	...then WORDS appear, twisting and vaguely transparent, 
	reflected on the window GRADY TRIPP stands before as he 
	reads from a sheaf of NEATLY-TYPED PAGES.

					GRADY
		'The young girl sat perfectly still in the 
		confessional...

1	INT. CLASSROOM - UNIVERSITY - AFTERNOON

	Grady--45-year-old novelist, professor, and insomniac--is 
	in the midst of reading a story to the dozen college 
	STUDENTS who make up his Advanced Writing Workshop.

					GRADY
		...listening to her father's boots scrape like 
		chalk on the ancient steps of the church, then 
		grow faint, then disappear altogether.'

	As he finishes, GRADY ponders a PAIR of MAINTENANCE MEN, 
	perched on ladders in the quad below, stringing a LARGE 
	BANNER between two bare trees. The BANNER reads:

	WELCOME TO WORDFEST

	GRADY turns, peers at his students. They look as if 
	they've been on a field trip to the DMV.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
			(a wave of the pages) 
		So. .Anyone?

	A GIRL with jet-black hair turns to a PALE YOUNG MAN 
	sitting at a desk in the back of the classroom. He is JAMES 
	LEER, 19. Like GRADY a moment before, he is staring out the 
	window.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY 
		Let me get this straight. The girl with the 
		big lips is depressed because, each night, when 
		her father goes off to work at the bakery, her 
		mother sneaks some mysterious lover into the 
		house. Not only does this girl have to listen 
		to her mother working this guy in the next 
		room, she has to wash the sheets each morning 
		before Daddy gets home. After a few weeks of 
		this, she starts to go a little nutty/ so Daddy 
		takes her to confession--only, once she gets in 
		the box, she gets a whiff of the priest and 
		realizes he's the mother's secret lover. Is 
		that it?

	James Leer says nothing, huddling lower in the PATTY 
	OVERCOAT he wears.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY
		I mean, Jesus. What is it with you Catholics?

					GRADY
		All right. Let's try to keep it constructive, 
		shall we? Howard, what about you?

					HOWARD 
		I hated it.

					GRADY
		That's not exactly what I meant by 
		constructive, Howard.

					HOWARD 
		I think James should try to be more 
		constructive. This is my second semester with 
		him. His stories are brutal, man. They make me 
		want to kill myself.

	GRADY glances at James, but his face remains impassive. 
	Then--with a visible sense of relief--GRADY notices the 
	raised hand of the achingly beautiful HANNAH GREEN. 

					GRADY
		Yes, Hannah?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I think maybe we're missing the point. It 
		seems to me James' strength as a writer is that 
		he doesn't take us by the hand. He treats us 
		like adults. He respects us enough to forget 
		us. That takes . . . courage .

	GRADY nods, smiles subtly. Appreciative.

					GRADY
		Well put, Hannah. And a good note to end on, I 
		think. 
			(as the students rise) 
		Don't forget about WordFest this weekend. And 
		remember: those of you driving V.I.P.s to 
		tonight's cocktail party need to have them at 
		the Chancellor's house no later than 5:30.

	Hannah Green gathers her things, pauses by Grady.

					GRADY
		Thanks for that. He all right?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I think so. ..What about you?

					GRADY
		Me? Sure. Why?

					HANNAH GREEN
		Just checking.

	GRADY watches her glide away in her CRACKED RED COWBOY 
	BOOTS, then starts to exit himself. 

					JAMES LEER 
		Turn out the light, please.

	GRADY pauses, studying the wan figure sitting at the back 
	of the classroom, then--reluctantly-hits the switch on the 
	wail, leaving James Leer alone in the DARK.

2	INT. STAIRWELL/CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON (MOMENTS LATER) 

	GRADY hurries down the steps, then spies SARA GASKSLL, 
	45, standing below. She is talking to a BOY with an armful 
	of SLICK PROGRAMS.

					SARA 
			(calm but firm) 
		No, Elliot, I said five hundred programs for 
		today. This means we have no programs for the 
		weekend. This means that tomorrow morning, at 
		9AM, several hundred people will walk into Thaw 
		Hall and have absolutely no idea where they are 
		going. 
			(shaking her head) 
		It's all right, Elliot. I'll take care of it.

	GRADY watches Sara take the programs, turn, and spot him. 
	There is the slightest of hesitations, then....

					SARA 
		Professor Tripp.

					GRADY
		Chancellor.

					SARA 
		I got the message you called.

					GRADY
		I got the message you called too.

	This hangs in the air, awkward somehow, then both nod and 
	continue on, without so much as a backward glance. 

3	INT. GRADY'S CAR - MOVING

	The RADIO BLASTS as GRADY pops the glove box, removes a 
	JOINT as big as his pinky, and wheels his DARK MAROON '66 
	GALAXIE RAGTOP away from campus, cruising under another 
	BANNER:

	WELCOME TO WORDFEST FEBRUARY 26-28

4	EXT. GALAXIE - MOVING.. - PITTSBURGH 

	GRADY cruises past the three rivers and modest 
	skyscrapers of downtown, sipping at the weed. 

5	INT. PITTSBURGH AIRPORT

	GRADY rides the long, automated treadmill that runs half 
	the length of the terminal, until...

6	INT. ARRIVAL GATE - PITTSBURGH AIRPORT

	...TERRY CRABTREE--Grady's editor and friend-exits the 
	tunnel with a STUNNING YOUNG WOMAN in a skin-tight black 
	dress, bright red topcoat, and three-inch spike heels.  
	Grinning devilishly, Crabtree whispers something in the 
	woman's ear, then spots Grady.

					CRABTREE 
		Tripp!

					GRADY
		How are you, Crabtree?

					CRABTREE 
		Brimming. Say hello to my new friend, Miss 
		Antonia. . .uh. . . .

					WOMAN 
		Sloviak.

					CRABTREE 
		I took the liberty of inviting Antonia to 
		tonight's festivities. You don't mind, do you. 
		Trip? ?

					GRADY
			(a slight beat) 
		The more the merrier.

					MISS SLOVIAK 
		Terry was telling me about you on the plane. 
		It was ail so interesting.

					CRABTREE 
		I was explaining to Antonia how a book comes 
		to be published. What you do as a writer, what 
		I do as an editor...

					GRADY
		I sweat blood for five years and he checks for 
		spelling.

					MISS SLOVIAK 
			(indicating Crabtree) 
		That's exactly what he said.

					CRABTREE 
		We know each other pretty well. 
			(to Grady) 
		So where's Emily?

					GRADY
		Emily?

					CRABTREE 
		Your wife.

					GRADY
		Oh. We're picking her up. Downtown.

					CRABTREE 
		Perfect. Well then, shall we?

	GRADY nods, but lingers briefly--studying the 
	architecture of Miss Sloviak's ankles as she CLICKS off in 
	her spike heels, arm in arm with Crabtree.

7	INT. BAGGAGE CAROUSEL - AIRPORT - MOMENTS LATER

	GRADY and Crabtree watch suitcases tumble as Miss Sloviak 
	sits across the way, inspecting her face in a compact.

					CRABTREE 
		Do you know how many times I've boarded an 
		airplane praying someone like her would sit 
		down beside me? Particularly while I'm on my 
		way to Pittsburgh.

					GRADY
		Lay off Pittsburgh. It's one of the great 
		cities.

					CRABTREE 
		If it can produce a Miss Sloviak you'll get no 
		argument from me.

					GRADY
		She's a transvestite.

					CRABTREE 
		You're stoned.

					GRADY
		She's still a transvestite.

					CRABTREE 
		Mm.

					GRADY
		Isn't she?

	Crabtree ignores Grady's question, smiling placidly as he 
	watches the carousel spin.

					CRABTREE 
		So how's the book?

	GRADY stiffens. He had been expecting this, but not so 
	soon. He tries to act casual.

					GRADY
		It's fine. It's done. Basically. I'm just sort 
		of. ..tinkering with it.

					CRABTREE 
		Great. I was hoping I could get a look at it 
		sometime this weekend. Think that might be 
		possible?

					GRADY
		I don't know. I'm sort of at a critical. . . 
		juncture .

					CRABTREE
		I thought you were tinkering.

					GRADY
		I just mean. . .

					CRABTREE
		Forget I asked. I don't want to pressure you, 
		Tripp. But...
			(pointedly)
		 ...I get pressure. Know what I mean?

	GRADY ponders this, troubled by it. Suddenly, Crabtree's 
	face brightens again.

					CRABTREE
		Ah. ..well now. What do you suppose that would 
		be?

	GRADY turns, watches an immense PONY HIDE CASE drop onto 
	the carousel.

					GRADY
		That would be a tuba.

8	INT. GRADY'S CAR - MOVING - LATE AFTERNOON                8

	As the Galaxie emerges from a TUNNEL, GRADY watches the 
	great city of Pittsburgh reveal itself in the distance, 
	then glances in the rearview mirror.

					GRADY
		That perfume you're wearing, Antonia. It 
		wouldn't happen to be Cristaile, would it?

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Why yes. How did you know?

					GRADY
		Lucky guess.

					CRABTREE
		You didn't actually purchase this car, did 
		you. Trip??

					GRADY
		It was Jerry Nathan's. He owed me money.

					CRABTREE 
		He owes God money. You know, he queered 
		himself for good with Esquire.

	GRADY takes a joint from the ashtray, snaps a Scripto 
	butane.

					GRADY
		He said something about being between things.

					CRABTREE
		Yeah, between a bookie and a pair of broken 
		legs.

9	EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - MOMENTS LATER  

	A YOUNG WOMAN with a crumpled PITTSBURGH STEEIERS 
	UMBRELLA exits the building and-seeing GRADY parked in 
	front of a fire hydrant--stops, a puzzled expression on her 
	face. As she approaches, GRADY roils down the passenger 
	window.

					GRADY
		Hi, Tanya. 
			(to the others) 
		This is Tanya. My wife's secretary.

	CRABTREE and MISS SLOVIAK smile and nod. Tanya smiles and 
	nods back, her eyes passing uneasily over Grady's joint.

					TANYA 
		Grady.. ..Emily's not here.

	GRADY just smiles, nods.

					TANYA (cont'd) 
		Is there anything I can do for you?

	GRADY watches a tiny stream of water trickle through 
	Tanya's sad umbrella.

					GRADY
		You're leaking, Tanya.

	Tanya nods--at a loss-then turns away into the rain.

					CRABTREE
		Trip? ?

					GRADY
		She left me. Crabs.

					CRABTREE
		Left you...?  Who? Emily?

					GRADY
		This morning. I found a note in the kitchen.

					CRABTREE
		But. ..why didn't you say something, Tripp? I 
		mean, what are we doing here?

	GRADY gazes at the glittering scene beyond his 
	windshield, turns on the ignition.

					GRADY
		I thought maybe I made it all up.

10	EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - EVENING 

	Through the windows, a rabble of writers, faculty and 
	select students can be SEEN, mingling under a haze of 
	cigarette smoke. GRADY brings the Galaxie to a lurching 
	halt across the street, parks in front of another fire 
	hydrant. As the trio steps out. MISS SLOVIAK notices a 
	GREENHOUSE, shimmering quietly in the chill night air.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		That's a nice greenhouse.

					GRADY
		It's Mrs. Gaskell's. Her hobby.

					CRABTREE
		I thought you were Mrs. Gaskell's hobby, 
		Tripp.

					GRADY
		Piss off, Crabs. I lost a wife today.

					CRABTREE
		Oh, I'm sure you'll find another. You always 
		do.

11	EXT. FRONT PORCH - GASKELL HOUSE  

	As the front door swings open, Sara Gaskell appears, 
	riding a wave of jagged party CHATTER onto the porch.

					SARA 
		Well, hello, everyone. Terry, good to see you 
		again. 

					CRABTREE
		Chancellor. Don't you look ravishing.

					SARA
		Aren't you sweet to say so. I was beginning to 
		wonder if you were ever going to--oh!

	As Sara steps forward, her heel-catches and she pitches 
	forward ...into Grady's arms.

					GRADY
		Easy there.

					SARA
		I'm sorry. It's these goddamned shoes. I don't 
		know how anyone actually walks in these things.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Practice.

	Sara looks at Miss Sloviak, a faint glitter of scientific 
	curiosity in her eye.

					SARA
		I don't believe we've met...

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Antonia. Antonia Sloviak--

	Just then, a THICKLY-MUCSCLED DOG with very strange EYES 
	skitters around the corner, BARKING SAVAGELY in the general 
	direction of Grady.

					SARA
		Poe!

					CRABTREE
			(mildly)
		This wouldn't be Walter's dog, would it?

	Poe continues to rage, his paws doing crazy eights on the 
	hardwood floor, until he's spun himself completely around 
	and is barking at the living room.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Who ' s he barking at now?

					GRADY
		He's still barking at me. He's blind.

					SARA
		Poe' Hush! Now stop this. Honestly.

	As Poe simmers to a deep growl, GRADY leans forward.

					GRADY
		I need to talk to you.

					SARA
		That's funny. I need to talk to you, too. 
			(strategy in her tone)
		Perhaps you could put some of these coats in 
		the upstairs guest room, Professor Tripp.

					GRADY
			(reading her)
		I don't believe I know where the upstairs 
		guest room is.

					SARA
		Well then. I'd better show you. Terry--

					CRABTREE
		We'll just make ourselves at home.
			(kneeling by Poe) 
		Won't we, Poe? Yes, yes....

12	INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM 

	GRADY enters a room swimming in BASEBAIL MEMORABILIA. 
	AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALLS abound, as well as PHOTOGRAPHS of 
	famous big-leaguers. In one somewhat-dated PHOTO a TRIM MAN 
	IN HIS FORTIES (a younger Walter Gaskell) stands with 
	PITTSBURGH PIRATE BILL MAZEROSKI at an old-timers game. As 
	Sara eases the door shut, GRADY nods to a 1951 YANKEE'S 
	PENNANT hanging over the mantle.

					GRADY
		New?

					SARA 
			(nodding)
		Walter just got it back from the framer today.

	Sara takes Grady's hand, drawing him away from the 
	pennant and down onto the coat-covered bed.

					SARA 
		You go first.

					GRADY
		All right. This morning--

					SARA 
		I'm pregnant.

	A flash of LAUGHTER flutters from the living  room below. 
	GRADY starts to speak.

					SARA 
		I'm sure.

					GRADY
		Well. This is...surprising. Does Walter... ?

					SARA
		I think Walter would find this a little more 
		than surprising.

	GRADY nods, getting her drift, then roils onto his back.

					GRADY
		Emily left me this morning.

					SARA
		She's left before...

					GRADY
		She's left the room before. She always came 
		back.

	Sara nods. Considers this.

					SARA
		So. I guess we just divorce our spouses, marry 
		each other, and have this baby, right? Simple.

					GRADY
		Simple.

	GRADY and Sara stare at the ceiling. Sara sniffs the coat 
	lying beneath her. Miss Sloviak's coat.

					SARA
		Is that Cristaile?

					GRADY
		Hm.

					SARA 
			(weary)
		My God, I wear the same scent as a 
		transvestite. She IS a transvestite, isn't: 
		she?

					GRADY
		If she's not now, Terry will make sure she is 
		by the end of the evening.

					SARA
		Has he asked to see the book yet?

					GRADY
		Yes.

					SARA
		And? Are you going to tell him?

					GRADY
		No. Maybe. I don't know. I don't know what I'm 
		going to do.

					SARA 
			(distantly) 
		Neither do 1.

	GRADY starts to pull up, but his arm is underneath Sara.

					GRADY
		Sara, my arm. I'm stuck, honey.

					SARA
		I guess you're going to have to chew it off 
		then.

13	INT. LIVING ROOM - GASKELL HOUSE   

	Poe noses blindly through a forest of legs, pauses by 
	Miss Sloviak's high heels and scores a Rye Krisp. Crabtree, 
	returning with a pair of DRINKS, tiptoes around him, finds 
	MISS SLOVIAK chatting with a trim MAN in his 50's.

					CRABTREE
		Walter! I see you've met my friend.

					WALTER GASKELL 
		Yes . She' s charming.

					MISS SLOVIAK
			(taking her drink)
		Walter's been telling me the most fascinating 
		things about Marilyn Monroe and. ..who was it?

					WALTER GASKELL
		Joe DiMaggio. Simply put, Antonia, it' s my 
		contention that their marriage tapped into the 
		very id of American popular culture. Joe 
		DiMaggio represented, metaphorically speaking, 
		the Husband as Slugger.. And, though it may be 
		controversial, I personally believe every 
		woman, in some way, desires to be Marilyn 
		Monroe.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Oh, I couldn't agree more.

	NEW ANGLE

	GRADY works his way through the crowd, spies Walter, and 
	changes course. Directly ahead is an oddly commanding MAN 
	("Q"). From the behavior of the people in his vicinity it's 
	clear he is someone of interest. Presently, he is putting 
	the make on Hannah Green.

					Q
		And while my latest has been on the New York 
		Times bestseller list for 40 weeks, I can't 
		help but lament that my first book, which 
		contains what I consider my finest writing, was 
		remaindered in less than five. So, I find 
		myself conflicted.

					GRADY
		Ask him if he's conflicted about his house in 
		the Hamptons.

					HANNAH GREEN
			(brightening)
		Grady.

	Q eyes GRADY over his wine glass.

					Q 
		Hello.. .Professor.

					GRADY
		Q,. Hannah's had two stories published in The 
		Paris Review. You'd best dust off the 'A' 
		material for her.

	As GRADY moves off, he sees Poe sniffing, and goes the 
	other way, heading directly into the crosshairs of a MAH IN 
	TWEED, who is talking to another, shorter MAN.

					MAN IN TWEED 
			(to short man)
		A supermarket for the mind, my ass. I'm 
		telling you, they're nothing but a big, fat mob 
		laundry. Have you ever been to Davenport, Iowa? 
		Let me tell you, they need a 30,000-square-foot 
		bookstore like they need another goddamn cow.
			(as GRADY passes) 
		Grady!

					GRADY
		Hello, Nathan.

					MAN IN TWEED
		My God, I haven't seen you since, what? The 
		PEN/Faulkner Awards. That was a big night for 
		you, Grady.
			(to his friend)
		GRADY was there for Arsonist's Daughter,

	The short man blinks, impulsively takes Grady's hand.

					SHORT MAN
		Douglas Triddly, Amherst. I kid you not when I 
		say Arsonist's Daughter belongs in the pantheon 
		of late twentieth century fiction. I've had it 
		on my Graduate Studies syllabus three years 
		running.

					GRADY
			(pulling away) 
		No wonder it's still in print.

	As GRADY flees, he passes a WOMAN holding a cigarette.

					WOMAN WITH CIGARETTE
		...can take my word for it, writer's are lousy 
		fucks. Poets aren't bad, but then you've got to 
		deal with the sweater thing. They'll discover 
		the cancer in your heart every time, but God 
		forbid they find a decent dry cleaner.

14	EXT. REAR GASKELL HOUSE - NIGHT   

	GRADY comes out the back: door and ferrets a JOINT from 
	his pocket, lights it. He takes a long draw, walks around 
	the side of the house. As he passes a window, a VOICE 
	accosts him.

					MAN'S VOICE 
		There you are.

	GRADY starts, but when he looks through the window, he 
	sees that the VOICE belongs to WALTER GASKELL and the 
	person to whom he's talking is Sara. They are standing in 
	the kitchen, near an elaborate WINE RACK.  

					WALTER
		I could swear I had a '63 Chateau Latour in 
		here. You haven't seen it, have you?

					SARA
		I doubt I'd recognize a '63 Chateau Latour if 
		I was sitting on it.

					WALTER
		You'd recognize it if you tasted it.

					SARA
		I doubt it, darling.

					WALTER
			(angling & bottle to the light)
		Well, Q certainly will. And, given that he 
		will be addressing 500 people in little over an 
		hour...

					SARA
		You want to keep him happy.

					WALTER 
		If he' s happy. . .
			(kissing her as he exits) 
		I'm happy.

	As Walter goes, GRADY studies Sara as she stands alone in 
	the quiet little room, looking small and tired. Finally, 
	she takes a breath, steeling herself, and moves off, 
	returning to the clamor inside her house.

	GRADY sighs, guilt-stricken, then detects a FLICKER of 
	LIGHT coming from the darkness beyond. A FIGURE is watching 
	him from the retaining wail that leads to the Gaskell's 
	garage. GRADY blinks, chagrined that he's been caught 
	eavesdropping, then his eyes narrow and he steps off the 
	porch.

					GRADY
		James?

	James Leer wears the same nasty overcoat from class, a 
	GREEN KNAPSACK hanging off one shoulder. GRADY looks at 
	what appears to be a sliver of moonlight in James' palm.

					JAMES LEER 
		It's fake.

	James' face betrays his own fragile chagrin and GRADY 
	peers more closely at what lies in his extended hand. The 
	sliver of moonlight is, in fact, a shiny PEARL-HANDLED 
	PISTOL.

					JAMES LEER
		It was my mother's. She won it in a penny 
		arcade in Baltimore when she was in Catholic 
		school.

					GRADY
		It's very convincing.

					JAMES LEER
		It used to shoot these little paper caps, but 
		they don't make them anymore. The caps.

	GRADY reaches for the gun, but James closes his fingers 
	and slips the tiny thing back into his overcoat.

					JAMES LEER
		It's just. ..for good luck. Some people carry 
		rabbits' feet...

					GRADY
		...You carry firearms.

	As GRADY exhales a plume of smoke, James' eyes pass 
	briefly over the jay. GRADY
	notices, offers.

					JAMES LEER
		No, thank you. I don't like to lose control of 
		my emotions.

	GRADY nods, accustomed to James' weirdness.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm not supposed to be here, in case you were 
		wondering. I crashed. I mean, not 
		intentionally...

	James nods toward the house, where Hannah Green can be 
	seen in a window, still fending off the determined Q.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd)
		...but the other night, Hannah and I were 
		together, at the movies, and she asked me. 
		Since she was coming. So I ended up coming. 
		Too.

	GRADY nods, ponders this over-elaborate explanation.

					GRADY
		Are you and Hannah seeing each other, James ?

					JAMES LEER 
		No! What gave you that idea?

					GRADY
		Relax, James. I'm not her father. I just rent 
		her a room.

					JAMES LEER
		She likes old movies like I do, that's ail.
			(glancing back at the window) 
		Besides, she doesn't really know me. She 
		thinks she does, but she doesn't. Maybe it's 
		because she's Mormon and I'm Catholic.

					GRADY
		Maybe it's because she's beautiful and she 
		knows it and try as she might to not let that 
		screw her up, it's inevitable that it will in 
		some way.

	James looks away from the window, at Grady.

					JAMES LEER
		You're not like my other teachers, Professor 
		Tripp.

					GRADY
		You're not like my other students, James. So 
		what was the movie you two saw?

					JAMES LEER
		Huh? Oh. Son or Fury. With Tyrone Power and 
		Frances Farmer.

					GRADY
		She went crazy, Frances Farmer.

					JAMES LEER
		So did Gene Tierney. She's in it too.

					GRADY
		Sounds like a good one.

					JAMES LEER 
			(a crooked smile) 
		It's not bad.

	GRADY considers James' fragile face.

					GRADY
		Listen, James, about this afternoon. In 
		workshop. I'm sorry. I think I let things get a 
		bit out of control.

					JAMES LEER
		They really hated it. I think they hated it 
		more than any of the other ones.

					GRADY
		Well...

					JAMES LEER
		It doesn't matter. It only took me an hour to 
		write.

					GRADY
			(truly impressed) 
		Really? That's remarkable.

					JAMES LEER
		I have trouble sleeping. While I'm lying in 
		bed I figure them out. The stories.

	As James gazes off at the gloaming greenhouse, GRADY 
	looks down at the left front POCKET of James' overcoat. 
	Like a nervous tic, James' hand- hidden-twitches against 
	the modest bulk of the cap gun.

					GRADY
		You cold, James?

					JAMES LEER 
			(distant) 
		A little.

					GRADY
		So what are you doing out here?

					JAMES LEER 
		It's colder in there. -

					GRADY
			(laughing) 
		You're right.

	James blinks, startled by Grady's laughter, startled that 
	he's said something funny. He looks back to the greenhouse

					JAMES LEER
		Actually, I saw the greenhouse. So I thought 
		...I thought I'd come out here and take a look 
		at it. You don't see one of those every day. It 
		looks like heaven...

					GRADY
		Heaven?

					JAMES LEER
		I saw a movie once. Part of it took place in 
		heaven. Everyone wore white and lived in 
		crystal houses. Like that. At least that's the 
		way I remember it...

	Abruptly, James glances at his watch.

					JAMES LEER 
		I should be going.

	James turns away, then stops. He stands like this a 
	moment, then turns back. Holds out his right hand.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd) 
		Goodbye, Professor Tripp.

	GRADY hesitates, then shakes James' hand. James moves off 
	then, leaving the light of the house behind.

					GRADY
		James. 
			(as he stops)
		Don't leave just yet. There's something I 
		think you ought to see.

					JAMES LEER 
		I'll miss my bus.

					GRADY
		This is worth it.

	James looks conflicted.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		Trust me.

15	INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER  

	It's quieter now, the party winding down, as GRADY sneaks James past 
	the departing guests and toward the stairs.        

					HANNAH GREEN
		Hey, you two.

	GRADY stops, sees Hannah slipping on a coat in the foyer.

					HANNAH GREEN (cont'd) 
		Are you riding with me, James?

					JAMES LEER 
		No, I'm going ho--

					GRADY
		He's going with me. You take Crabtree. And his 
		friend. All right?

					HANNAH GREEN
		Ail right. By the way, his friend...?

					GRADY
		The answer's yes. I think. Yes. I don't know. 
		Where are they exactly?

					CRABTREE
		Here we are!

	CRABTREE appears at the top of the landing with Miss 
	Sloviak. Her lipstick is blurry.

					CRABTREE
			(spying James) 
		Nell, hello there.

	CRABTREE steps down the stairs, hand extended. James 
	Leer's pale fingers rise as if on a string.

					GRADY
		James. This is my editor, Terry Crabtree.

					HANNAH GREEN
		James'll know about George Sanders.

					JAMES LEER 
		George Sanders?

					HANNAH GREEN
		Mr. CRABTREE was saying how George Sanders 
		killed himself, only he couldn't remember how.

					JAMES LEER
		Pills. August 25, 1972. In a Costa Brava hotel 
		room.

	The few people within earshot glance oddly at James, but 
	Crabtree's eyes glitter with intrigue.

					CRABTREE
		How comprehensive of you.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Oh, James is amazing. He knows all the movie 
		suicides. Go ahead, James. Tell them who else.

					JAMES LEER 
		There's so many...

					HANNAH GREEN
		Just a few then. The big ones.

	James glances at the loose group of people around him, 
	watching, then...

					JAMES LEER
		Pier Angeli, 1971 or '72, also pills. Charles 
		Boyer, 1978, pills again. Charles Butterworth, 
		1946, I think. In a car. Supposedly it was an 
		accident, but, you know. . . 
			(a trace of irony)
		He was distraught. Dorothy Dandridge, she took 
		pills in, like, 1965. Albert Dekker, 1968, he 
		hung himself. He wrote his suicide note in 
		lipstick on his stomach. Alan Ladd, '64, more 
		pills, Carole Landis, pills again, I forget 
		when. George Reeves, Superman on TV, shot 
		himself. Jean Seberg/ pills of course, 1979. 
		Everett Sioane-- he was good--pills. Margaret 
		Sullavan, pills, Lupe Velez, a lot of pills. 
		Gig Young. He shot himself and his wife in 
		1978. There are more but I don't know if you 
		would have heard of them. Ross Alexander? Clara 
		Blandick? Maggie McNamara? Gia Scaia?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I haven't heard of half of those.

					CRABTREE
		You did them alphabetically.

	James turns, finds Crabtree's laser eyes on him. James 
	blinks, as if he had forgotten about Crabtree, then shrugs 
	shyly, looks away.

					JAMES LEER
		That's just how my brain works, I guess.

					CRABTREE
		Fascinating. Listen, why don't you come out 
		with us after the lecture. There's a place on 
		the Hill I always get Trip to take me.

					JAMES LEER
		Actually. ..I just want to go home.

					CRABTREE
		Oh, don't be silly. No one your age just wants 
		to go home. Besides, faculty will be present. 
		Just think of it as a field trip.

	As he exits, CRABTREE raises an eyebrow to Grady, as if 
	to say: "Bring him."   MISS SLOVIAK follows, eyeing James 
	glacially as we CUT TO:

	BLACK

	The dull PURR of a COMBINATION LOCK is HEARD, a DOOR 
	opens, and a triangle of LIGHT falls on a PHOTOGRAPH of 
	MARILYN MONROES JOE DIMAGGIO on their wedding day.

16	INT. CLOSET - GASKELL HOUSE   

	GRADY and James Leer stand in the doorway. Just below the 
	photograph of Marilyn and Joe--hanging next to a PIN-
	STRIPED JERSEY bearing the number 5--is a SHORT BLACK SATIN 
	JACKET trimmed with an ERMINE COLLAR.

					JAMES LEER 
		Is that really it?

					GRADY
		That's really it.

					JAMES LEER
		The one she wore on her wedding day?

					GRADY
		So I'm told.

	James, in the presence of the holy grail of suicide 
	garments, stands speechless.

					GRADY
			(cont'd) 
		Go ahead.

					JAMES LEER 
		Really?

					GRADY
		Really.

	James swallows, then'-goes to the jacket. Carefully, he 
	reaches out his fingers and touches the yellowed collar, 
	barely making contact, as though it might crumble to dust.

					JAMES LEER
		They're glass. The buttons.

					GRADY
		Like the lady herself.

	GRADY says this airily, ironically, riding his buzz a 
	bit, but James nods solemnly, eyes transfixed on the 
	jacket, as if Marilyn herself were inside it.

					JAMES LEER
		She was small. Most people don't know that. 
		The shoulders are small.
			(touching the satin)
		It looks so perfect. I bet it's the only time 
		she wore it. That day. She must've felt so 
		...happy.

	GRADY studies James as he takes the fringe of the jacket, 
	lifts it lightly.

					JAMES LEER
		It's feels unreal, like butterfly wings or... 
		something. It must've cost Dr. Gaskell a lot.

					GRADY
		I guess. Walter never tells Sara the truth 
		about how much he pays for these things.

					JAMES LEER
		You're really good friends with the 
		Chancellor, aren't you?

	Grady's eyes slide, paranoid, but James' face remains 
	unchanged, consumed with the jacket.

					GRADY
			(carefully)
		Pretty good. I'm friends with Dr. Gaskell, 
		too.

					JAMES LEER
		I guess you must be, if you know the 
		combination to his closet and he doesn't mind 
		your being here in their bedroom like this.

					GRADY
		Right.

	A DOOR SLAMS downstairs and GRADY and James jump. The 
	CLICK of a woman's HIGH HEELS sends GRADY to the bedroom 
	window, where he watches Sara slide into a WHITE CITROEN 
	DS23, turn on the ignition, and motor away.

					GRADY
		We, better skedaddle. Close that closet-- 
		James? You ail right?

	James is slumped on the Gaskell's white linen bed, 
	knapsack between his knees, head in hands.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm sorry. Professor Tripp. Maybe it's seeing 
		that jacket that belonged to her. It just 
		looks...really lonely. Hanging there. In a 
		closet. Maybe I'm just a little sad.

					GRADY
		Maybe. I'm feeling a little sad myself 
		tonight.

					JAMES LEER 
		You mean, with your wife leaving you and ail? 
			(off Grady's look)
		Hannah mentioned something about it.   About a 
		note.

					GRADY
		Yes. Well. It's complicated, James. I think we 
		should go now.

	Without thinking, GRADY flicks out the bedroom light, 
	leaving James Leer in the dark for the second time today.

	James just sits there, a shadow in a room of shadows.

17	INT. HALLWAY

	A LOW RUMBLE freezes GRADY
	as he enters the hail. A few feet away, Poe lies belly to 
	the ground, his blind blue eyes trained, more or less, in 
	Grady's direction.

					GRADY
		Okay. Easy now. Eee-zy. . . .

	GRADY starts to take a step, when.... Poe shoots forward 
	and sinks himself deep into Grady's ankle.

					GRADY
		Jesus!

	GRADY hops gracelessly, momentarily lifting Poe off the 
	ground as he swings his leg up. Poe, countering, rolls his 
	head in a snapping motion and drops GRADY in a clumsy heap.

					GRADY
		Get off of me, you son-of-a-bitch!

	Poe regains his feet, but doesn't let go, whipping his 
	head back and forth, back and forth, over and over, 
	growling low, dark, and hideously from the back of his 
	throat, until there is a sharp...

	CRACK! CRACK!

	Poe YELPS, goes perfectly still, then topples heavily 
	onto Grady's legs. GRADY
	turns. James Leer stands in the doorway, posed with the 
	little pearl-handled pistol like Steve McQueen.

	GRADY looks at James. Then Poe. Then back to James.

					GRADY
		Shit, James. You shoe Dr. Gaskell's dog.

					JAMES LEER 
		I had to. Didn't I?

					GRADY
		Couldn't you've just pulled him off me?

					JAMES LEER
		No! He was crazy. I didn't-he looked-- 1 
		thought --

					GRADY
		Okay, okay. Take it easy. Don't freak out on 
		me.

	GRADY roils down his sock. Apparently, Poe went through 
	life with a slight overbite.

					JAMES LEER
		Do you have a mirror? It's the best way to see 
		if someone's breathing.

					GRADY
		He's dead, James. Believe me, I know a dead 
		dog when I see one.

	James looks miserably at Poe.

					JAMES LEER
		What are we going to do?

	GRADY rises awkwardly, holds out his hand.

					GRADY
		First you're going to give me that little cap 
		gun of yours.

18	INT. GALAXIE - MOVING 

	GRADY and James stare gloomily out the windshield.

					JAMES LEER
		Professor Tripp? Can I  ask you a question?

					GRADY
		Yea, James.

					JAMES LEER 
		What are we going to do with...

	James glances in the backseat, where Poe lies, strange 
	blue eyes gleaming.

					GRADY
		I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out 
		how to tell the Chancellor I murdered her 
		husband's dog.

					JAMES LEER
		You?

					GRADY
		Trust me, James, when the family pet's been 
		assassinated, the owner doesn't want to hear 
		one of her students was the triggerman.

					JAMES LEER
		Does she want to hear it was one of her 
		professors?

					GRADY
		I've got tenure.

19	EXT. PARKING LOT -- THAW HALL (CAMPUS) 

	As sporadic APPLAUSE wafts from the high windowpanes of 
	Thaw Hall, GRADY leans into the Galaxie's trunk, creates a 
	space between the tuba and a ZIPPERED SUITCASE.

					GRADY
		Okay.

	James totters forward, arms hooked under Poe's front legs 
	looking like a sorry marathon dancer. GRADY frowns, limps 
	forward, and takes the hind legs.

					JAMES LEER
		He's still a little warm.

	They lay him down, push him deep into the trunk--until 
	there is a SOUND like a pencil SNAPPING.

					JAMES LEER 
		Yuck.

	GRADY grabs Crabtree's garment bag, frisks the pockets.

					JAMES LEER 
		That's a. big trunk. It fits a tuba, a 
		suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost 
		perfectly.

					GRADY
			(searching)
		That's just what they used to say in the ads. 
		Come on, Crabtree, I know you're holding...

					JAMES LEER
		Whose tuba is that anyway? 

					GRADY
		Miss Sloviak's.

					JAMES LEER
		Can I ask you something about her?

					GRADY
		She is. Ah. Here we go...

	GRADY unravels a pair of boxer shorts, finds an airplane-
	size bottle of JACK DANIELS, then grabs another pair of 
	boxers.

					JAMES LEER
		Oh. So. Is--is your friend Crabtree-- is he--
		gay?

					GRADY
		Most of the time he is, James. Some of the 
		time he isn't. Now what do we have here?

	GRADY rattles a prescription bottle, then shakes out a 
	pair of WHITE PILLS, each etched with a tiny numeral 3.

					GRADY
		Looks like ...our old friend Mr. Codeine. That 
		should take the pinch out of my ankle.
			(handing the bottle to James) 
		Have one.

					JAMES LEER
		No thanks. I'm fine without them.

					GRADY
		Right. That's why you were standing in the 
		Chancellor's back yard twirling that little cap 
		gun of yours tonight.  You're fine, all right, 
		you're fit as a fucking fiddle.

	GRADY opens the tiny bottle of Jack with his teeth, 
	drinks down two number 3's, then looks at James.

					GRADY
		I'm sorry, James. I'm sorry I said that.

	Recklessly, James takes a pill, tosses it in his mouth, 
	and tips back the tiny bottle of Jack. Half a second later, 
	he spits it all out. GRADY looks down, peels the soggy pill 
	from the lapel of his jacket.

					GRADY
		How 'bout we try that again.

20	INT. AUDITORIUM - LATER

	On the stage. Walter Gaskell stands alone at a podium.

					WALTER
		...really needs no introduction. Walk down the 
		aisle of any airplane or by the pool of any 
		hotel and you'll see his face beaming back at 
		you. You all know the name, you all know the 
		books, so welcome if you will, the man those of 
		us who know him simply call.. .Q.

	As the audience THUNDERS, GRADY and James slink into the 
	auditorium. It's standing room only. As they head for an 
	open space against the back wail, GRADY squeezes past a KID 
	with a GOATEE .who regards him warily.
 
					Q 
		Good evening.

	GRADY stares, over the gleaming sea of heads before him, 
	watching as Q pauses, ..for a very long moment... waiting 
	until the auditorium is consumed in a heavy, anticipatory 
	hush. Finally, he speaks again.

					Q 
		I am a writer.

	As the audience EXPLODES with glee, GRADY frowns. He 
	glances to his right, sees James' left brow crinkled with a 
	similar look of bafflement.

					Q (cont'd)
		As a writer, one thing you learn is that 
		everyone you encounter has a story. Every 
		bartender, every taxi driver, everybody has an 
		idea or a. story that would make a "great book" 
		or a "great movie." Presumably, each of you has 
		an idea. (gestures to the audience)
		But, how do you go from there to here? How do 
		you go from having an idea to having a book? 
		How do you get across? What is the bridge, the 
		bridge that allows you to walk on air from the 
		shoreline of inspiration to the terra firma of 
		accomplishment? Faith. Faith that your story is 
		worth the telling, faith that you have the 
		wherewithal to tell it, faith that the 
		carefully woven structure you create won't 
		collapse beneath you...

	GRADY glances at James, sees that his eyes are unblinking 
	and glazed, then sees, beyond him, Sara standing by the far 
	EXIT. A blink later, she is gone.

					Q (cont'd)
		...and faith that when you get to the other 
		side someone will be waiting who gives a damn 
		about the tale you have to tell.

	GRADY leans back, listening to the BEATING of his own 
	HEART, the soft GLIMMER of the chandeliers hanging by a 
	thread forty feet above his head...

	Abruptly, James LAUGHS OUT LOUD--some private amusement: 
	bubbling up from the bottom or his brain and out into the 
	auditorium. As Q looks and four hundred other heads turn, 
	James ducks down--mortified. Crabtree, sitting a few rows 
	away, studies James with amusement, then winks at Grady.

	GRADY blinks, turns to James.

					GRADY
		I'll be right back.

21	INT. LOBBY

	GRADY bursts through the auditorium doors and into the 
	lobby. A PAIR. of local BOOKSELLERS, chatting quietly 
	behind a table arrayed with the BOOKS of attending authors, 
	glance up as GRADY limps toward the restrooms. 

22	INT. CORRIDOR  

	GRADY stumbles down the sloping carper, but the corridor 
	begins to turn sideways on him and he stops, resting his 
	cheek against the cool...cool...wall. ..as...ail..-goes....

	BLACK FOR A 

	MOMENT AND THEN....

					SARA'S VOICE 
		Grady? Grady?

	GRADY opens his eyes, finds Sara's face swimming above 
	him. He is lying on his back in the corridor, his corduroy 
	blazer bundled under his head like a pillow.

					SARA
		You had another one, didn't you? You have to 
		see a doctor, Grady. First thing Monday 
		morning. All right?

					GRADY
		Is the thing-is it over?

					SARA 
		Almost. Wane to sit up?
			(as he winces) 
		What's the matter?

					GRADY
		Nothing. I think I twisted my--

	GRADY looks at his ankle and feels a rush of guilt.

					GRADY
		I have to tell you something. Something.. 
		.hard.

	Sara's face stiffens, becomes more Chancelloresque.

					SARA
		Then stand up. I'm too old for all this 
		roiling around on the floor.

	GRADY lets her pull him up, watches her light a 
	cigarette.

					GRADY
		Well...

					SARA
		Don't. I know what you're going to say.

					GRADY
		No, really, Sara, I don't think you--

					SARA
		You love Emily. I know that. And you need to 
		stay with her.

					GRADY
		I don't think I really have a choice in, that. 
		Emily left me.

					SARA
		She'll come back. That's why I'm going to. 
		..to not have this baby.

	GRADY watches her flip her hand up, bring the cigarette 
	to her lips, and inhale ...then grimace and drop it to the 
	floor.

					GRADY
		Not have it.

					SARA
		No. There's no way. I mean, don't you think 
		there's no way?

					GRADY
		Well, no, I don't see any way.
			(taking her hand)
		And I know how hard it is for you to-- to lose 
		this chance.

					SARA
			(jerking away)
		No you don't. And fuck you for saying you do. 
		And fuck you for "saying. . .
			(quietly)
		...for saying there's just no way. Because 
		there could be a way, Grady.

	Somewhere deep in the building, APPLAUSE swells.

					SARA
			(composing herself)
		He must be finishing. We should go.

	GRADY looks sadly at Sara then stoops to retrieve his 
	coat.  As he grabs it, James Leer's little pistol CLATTERS 
	to the floor.

					SARA
		Who's gun is that?

					GRADY
		It's-it's a souvenir. Of Baltimore.

	Before GRADY can close his hand, Sara has it in her own.

					SARA
		Heavy. Smells like gunpowder.

					GRADY
		Caps.

	She points it-at Grady's chest. He smiles nervously.

					SARA 
		Pow.

					GRADY
		You got me.

					SARA
		I love you, Grady.

	GRADY places his fingers gently over Sara's... and 
	removes the gun from her hand.

					GRADY
		I love you, too.

23	INT. LOBBY 

	The auditorium doors swing open and James Leer emerges, 
	arms draped over CRABTREE and a LARGE STUDENT.

					JAMES LEER
		Woah! The doors made so much noise!

	As they make for the restrooms, Sara and GRADY appear.

					JAMES LEER
		This is so embarrassing! You guys had to carry 
		me out.

					GRADY
		Is he ail right?

					CRABTREE
			(rolling his eyes) 
		He's fine. He's narrating.

					JAMES LEER 
		We're going to the men's room. Only we might 
		not make it in time.

					SARA
		Terry CRABTREE and James Leer. Leave it to you 
		to make that mistake, wait here.

	As Sara heads off after James, GRADY turns toward the 
	lobby...directly into the hostile gaze of Miss Sloviak.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		I need a ride.

					GRADY
		I'm your man.

24	EXT. STREET 24

	As the Galaxie's big trunk yawns open. MISS SLOVIAK 
	stares at what's wedged up against her suitcase.

					GRADY
		There's an explanation.

	MISS SLOVIAK raises an eyebrow and then, leaning in, 
	unzips her suitcase.

25	INT.    GRADY'S CAR - MOVING   

	As GRADY drives, MISS SLOVIAK finishes with the top 
	button of a man's shirt, then reaches into the zippered 
	COSMETICS BAG in her lap. Onto the open tray of the 
	glovebox, she places a JAR of COLD CREAM, a BOTTLE of NAIL 
	POLISH REMOVER, and a cloud of COTTON BALLS.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Couldn't he have just thrown a shoe at the 
		poor thing?

					GRADY
		James is. ..I don't know...

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Disturbed. And when your friend CRABTREE gets 
		done with him, he's going to be even more 
		disturbed.

					GRADY
		I'm not sure that's possible.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Sure it is.

	GRADY watches MISS SLOVIAK peel the wig from her 
	forehead.

					GRADY
		Listen, Antonia--

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Tony. Now that I'm home.

					GRADY
		Tony. I'm sorry if things didn't work out so 
		well for you tonight. With Terry.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Forget it. I should've known better. Your 
		friend is just, I don't know, into collecting 
		weird tricks. Mind?

	Tony angles the rearview mirror toward himself.

					GRADY
		He's writing his name in water.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		What's that?

					GRADY
		Like most editors, he really wants to be a 
		writer, but he's too busy living a novel to 
		bother writing one.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		That sounds like a fancy excuse for being a 
		shit.

					GRADY
		He'd call it habit. But now. ..I get the 
		feeling he's going through the motions a bit.

	Tony peels off a pair of false eyelashes, blinks.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		You mean because his career's ruined and all?

					GRADY
		Jesus. Is that what he told you?

					MISS SLOVIAK
		He said he hasn't had a success in ten years 
		and everyone in New York thinks he's kind of 
		.a. . .

	As Tony re-sets the rearview mirror, GRADY gets a glimpse 
	of his own swollen eyes.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		...loser. But I'm sure your book is so good 
		that he'll be able to keep his job.

	Hearing this, GRADY looks troubled. MISS SLOVIAK points.

					MISS SLOVIAK
			(cont'd) 
		Turn here.

26	EXT. SLOVIAK HOUSE

	GRADY pulls in front of a small brick house. On the front 
	lawn, a small statue of the BLESSED VIRGIN stands under a 
	little white BAND SHELL painted with stars.

					GRADY
		That'' s nice. All we have is a Japanese 
		beetle trap.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		It's a bathtub. What she's standing under.

	The PORCH LIGHT conies on and a SMALL, WHITE-HAIRED MAN 
	squints through the screen door.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		There's Pop. 
			(turning)
		Let me see it. The gun.

	GRADY reaches into his pocket, hands it over. Tony 
	smirks.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		Figures. It's like the kind of gun Bette Davis 
		would carry. In a little beaded purse?

	GRADY studies the gun in Tony's hand, then glances at the 
	front screen door. Pop is still there.

					GRADY
		I'd better go. I think I may have to rescue 
		James Leer.

	MISS SLOVIAK returns the gun, .steps out of the car, and 
	peers in at Grady.

					MISS SLOVIAK
		You know, Grady, if I were you. I'd think 
		about going home. You look like you need a 
		little rescuing yourself.

27	EXT. PARKING LOT - HI-HAT CLUB 

	GRADY parks near a VAN that has KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS 
	stenciled on the side. He watches a BOUNCER frisk a patron 
	in the PINK LIGHT of the Hi-Hat Club's entrance, then 
	slides -James Leer's little PISTOL into the glovebox.

27A	EXT. ENTRANCE - HI-HAT CLUB     

	As GRADY steps to the door, the bouncer gives him a 
	perfunctory pat-down.

					BOUNCER 
			(kidding him) 
		Clean tonight, hub, Professor?

					GRADY
		As a whistle.

28	INT. HI-HAT CLUB

	Hannah Green is dancing with a sweat-drenched Q as GRADY 
	enters this SMOKE-FILLED RHYTHM AND BLUES club. She beckons 
	with a finger, but Grady--Nervous at the sight of her 
	glistening Mormon skin--merely pantomimes an exaggerated 
	shrug and she points.

	CRABTREE and James Leer sit at a dark corner table. James 
	slouches, eyes half-closed, while CRABTREE stares in the 
	general vicinity of the dancers, his hand extended beneath 
	the table, in the general vicinity of James' lap.

	Grady, looking a little alarmed, grabs a passing 
	WAITRESS.

					GRADY
		Double Dickel on the rocks.

29	INT. BOOTH 

	As GRADY arrives, CRABTREE withdraws his hand delicately 
	and James' eyes flutter open .briefly, ..then close.

					GRADY
		Is that just beer?

					CRABTREE
		Primarily. Although I gather you two staged a 
		little raid on the CRABTREE pharmacopoeia. You 
		missed a few bottles, by the way.

					GRADY
		I'm sure. Where is everyone?

					CRABTREE
		Sara and Walter declined. Guess they wanted to 
		go home and curl up on the couch with the dog.

	GRADY cuts James a glance, trying to determine if he's 
	copped on Poe, but James is winking out. His head drifts 
	back against the wail, settles with a gentle ...thunk.

					GRADY
		Jesus. He's out.

	CRABTREE glances over, nods.

					CRABTREE
		He has a book.

					GRADY
		I know. He started it Fall semester.

					CRABTREE
		He finished it Winter Break.

	GRADY looks up, unable to disguise his surprise.  He 
	glances at James' slack face tilted against the wall.

					CRABTREE
		So. Is he any good?

					GRADY
		No. Not yet he isn't.

					CRABTREE
		Well, I'm going to read it anyway.

					GRADY
		Come on. Crabs. Don't do this. He's . one o� 
		my students, for Christ sake. I'm not even sure 
		if he's-

					CRABTREE
		He is. Take my word for it.

					GRADY
		I think it's more complicated than that. 
		Besides, he's a little...scattered. He almost 
		...did something stupid tonight. At least, I 
		think so. Anyway, he doesn't need sexual 
		confusion thrown into the stew right now.

					CRABTREE
		On the contrary, it 'could be just the ticket.

					WAITRESS 
			(ducking in) 
		Double Dickel.

					GRADY
		Thanks.

	GRADY notices the waitress's nametag (OOLA) and realizes 
	she is conspicuously PREGNANT. He watches her disappear 
	beyond the blur of bodies on the dancefloor, where Hannah 
	Green's slinky form seizes his attention.

					CRABTREE
		No sexual confusion there, eh, Professor?

					GRADY
		Shut up and drink.

	CRABTREE grins, brings his bottle up, then stops.

					CRABTREE
		Oh my goodness. Do you see what I see?

	GRADY follows Crabtree's glance and finds Oola again, but 
	it's not Oola CRABTREE
	is eyeing, it's her CUSTOMER.

					GRADY 
		President of the James Brown Hair Club For 
		Men.

	Sitting alone in the dark booth is a SMALL BLACK MAN with 
	big hands, a face peppered with scar tissue, and--most 
	noticeably--a tsunami of hair sprouting from his scalp.

					GRADY
			(initiating an old game) 
		He's a boxer. A flyweight.

					CRABTREE
		Huh uh. A jockey. His name's, um, Curtis.. 
		.Curtis Hardapple.

					GRADY
		Not Curtis.

					CRABTREE
		Vernon, then. Vernon Hardapple. The scar's are 
		from a--from a horse. He fell during a race and 
		got trampled.

					GRADY
		And now he's addicted to painkillers.

					CRABTREE
		He can't piss standing up anymore.

					GRADY
		He lives with his mother.

					CRABTREE
		And he had a younger brother who . . .was . . 
		. a. . .

					GRADY
		Groom. Named Claudell.  And his mother blames 
		Vernon for his death.

					CRABTREE
			(stumped)
		Because. . .because. . .

					JAMES LEER 
			(sleepily)
		.. .he was killed, when a gangster named 
		Freddie Nostrils tried to shoot his favorite 
		horse. He took the bullet himself.

	GRADY and Crabtree turn to look at James Leer, who opens 
	one bloodshot eye to regard them.

					JAMES LEER
		Vernon, over there, was in on the hit.

	James' eye closes. CRABTREE looks over at Grady.

					CRABTREE
		That was good.

					GRADY
		He heard everything we were saying.

	Just then, Hannah Green bounces up in her red boots.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Come on. Teach. I want you to dance with me.

30	INT. DANCEFLOOR - MOMENTS LATER                          30

	GRADY and Hannah, reflected in bits and pieces in the 
	jack 'o lantern wail of MIRRORED TILE, slow-dance to a 
	sexy, measured blues.

					HANNAH GREEN
		I've been re-reading Arsonist's Daughter. It's 
		so beautiful, Grady. So natural. It's like ail 
		your sentences always existed, just waiting 
		around in Style Heaven, or wherever, for you to 
		fetch them down.

					GRADY
		I thank you.

					HANNAH GREEN
		And I love the inscription you wrote to me. 
		Only I'm not quite the downy innocent you think 
		I am.

					GRADY
		I hope that isn't true. We need all the downy 
		innocents we can get.

	GRADY spies the corner table, watches CRABTREE say 
	something to Q and then, casually, stroke a lock of hair 
	from James Leer's forehead.

					HANNAH GREEN
		So what are you going to do?

					GRADY
		Do?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I just mean, I--I guess Emily isn't going to 
		be there when you get home.

	GRADY looks down into Hannah's translucent face, then 
	catches a glimpse of himself in the fractured, wail. The 
	tile that would reflect his head is missing.

					GRADY
		Are you holding me up or am I dragging you 
		down?

	Hannah snuggles closer, lays her head on Grady's chest.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Shush.

31	EXT. PARKING LOT - HI-HAT CLUB (2 AM)       

	Grady, limping on his bad ankle, carries James to 
	Hannah's rumpled RENAULT, props him against the fender.

					GRADY
		Look, Hannah. When you get him home ...make 
		sure he's ail right. Before you leave. Okay?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I would if I knew where I was taking him.

					GRADY
		Hannah, are you telling me you don't know 
		where James Leer lives?

					HANNAH GREEN
		Some apartment somewhere. But I've never seen 
		it.

					GRADY
		That strikes me as odd.

					HANNAH GREEN
		James is odd. I know he has an aunt in 
		Sewickley Heights. I dropped him there once, 
		but... 
			(remembering)
		Come to think of it, it-wasn't even his Aunt's 
		house. He said she worked there. Or something. 
		I don't remember.

	James MUMBLES, starts to slide onto the hood of the car.

					JAMES LEER 
		Mmhmmm.. . . knap ...sap....

					GRADY
		What's he saying?

					HANNAH GREEN
		His bag. You know that ratty green thing he's 
		always carrying around. He must've left it 
		inside.

					GRADY
		Hh-uh. Last time I saw it was...

	GRADY glances at the idling Galaxie across the street. 
	CRABTREE
	and Q huddle inside.

					GRADY
		Shit. He must've left it back at Thaw. In the 
		auditorium.

					JAMES LEER
			(delirious, but insistent) 
		Mmrrmmm.. .KNAP SAP!

	GRADY frowns in annoyance, opens the passenger door.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		All right. Take him to my place. He can crash 
		on the sofa.

					HANNAH GREEN
		The one in your office? It's the best one .for 
		naps.

					GRADY
		I don't think it really matters, Hannah. We 
		could probably stand him up in the garage with 
		the snow shovels at this point.

	As GRADY lowers James into the seat, he WHIMPERS, curls 
	into a bail. Hannah turns her puppy dog eyes on Grady.

					GRADY
		Ail right. In my office.

	As GRADY starts to turn away, Hannah's fingers graze his 
	face.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Hey. If you want to talk later...I'll be up.

	GRADY watches her fold her lovely self into the car and 
	drive away. He sighs, crosses to the Galaxie, and just has 
	his hand on the doorhandle when a TINY FIGURE appears.

	Vernon Hardapple.

					VERNON HARDAPPLE 
		You driving this car?

					GRADY
		Excuse me?

					VERNON HARDAPPLE
		This 1966 maroon Ford Galaxie 500. You driving 
		this car?

					GRADY
		It's mine.

					VERNON HARDAPPLE 
		Bullshit. It's mine, motherfucker.

					GRADY
		You must be mistaken.

					VERNON HARDAPPLE 
		Bullshit.

	GRADY shakes his head wearily, opens the door.

					GRADY
		Go home to your mother, Vernon.

32	INT. GALAXIE      

	GRADY slides in next to Q, puts the car in gear, and 
	starts to pull away. As he glances in the rearview, he sees 
	CRABTREE smiling darkly in the backseat.

					GRADY

		All right, what's the matter?

	CRABTREE just keeps smiling.

					GRADY
		Christ, Crabs, what do you expect me to do? 
		The kid's practically in a coma.

					CRABTREE
		Tripp.

					GRADY
		Yes.

					CRABTREE
		Hit your brakes.

	GRADY flicks his eyes from the rearview mirror just as a 
	SHADOW looms in his headlights. As he squashes the break 
	pedal, Q's EYEGLASSES go flying into the windshield.

					Q 
			(squinting)
		Oh my God! What is that?

	It's Vernon, waving his arms, his shadow enormous in the 
	beams of light.

					GRADY
		What's this guy's problem?

					CRABTREE
		Just go around him.

	GRADY taps the accelerator, but each time, Vernon dances 
	back in front of Grady's grille.

					GRADY
		Shit.

					CRABTREE
		Back up. Go out the other way.

	GRADY throws the car in reverse, backs straight up, then 
	turns up a one-way street. He shoots down the alley behind 
	the Hi-Hat, turns onto the adjoining street, ..and watches 
	in amazement as Vernon materializes from behind the high 
	wooden fence that runs parallel to the Galaxie.

	As GRADY pinches the brakes, Vernon grins.

					GRADY
		Now what?

					Q
			(mischievously)
		You could always go over him.

	Then, as the three men watch, Vernon rocks back on his 
	heels and--with a gymnast's precision-pitches himself onto 
	the Galaxie's big hood. He -lands on his ass, slides 
	smoothly off, then takes a deep bow and disappears into the 
	night.

					Q 
		What just happened?

	GRADY peers at the wrinkled asterisk on his hood.

					GRADY
		I just had my car jumped on.

33	EXT. THAW HAIL - NIGHT (TWENTY MINUTES LATER) 

	Grady stops the car in the red zone and gets out.

					GRADY
		Wait here. I'll be right back.

					CRABTREE
		Where would we go?

34	INT. LOBBY   

	The JANITOR, the same shaggy-haired kid GRADY saw rigging 
	the WordFest banner earlier, is struggling with a balky 
	FLOOR WAXER as GRADY steps up to the double doors and slaps 
	his hand against the glass.

					JANITOR 
		It's open.

	GRADY pushes on the door and it opens.

					JANITOR (cont'd) 
		Hey, Professor Tripp. 
			(off Grady's look)
		Traxler. Sam. I took your class freshman year. 
		Then I dropped out of school.

					GRADY
		I hope it wasn't my fault.

					TRAXLER
			(taking him seriously)
		No. I guess you're here for the backpack. 

					GRADY
		Oh.. .yeah.

35	INT. AUDITORIUM       

	The knapsack is sitting on one of the metal folding 
	chairs as Sam and GRADYenter the silent hail.


					TRAXLER
		I saw the manuscript inside. So when you 
		showed up, I figured. . .

	GRADY lifts the knapsack, peers inside. There is no title 
	page to the MANUSCRIPT, Just the words The Love Parade and 
	then, halfway down, TEXT.

					TRAXLER 
		Is it good?

					GRADY
			(reading)
		I don't know. It might be...

36     CUT

37	EXT. THAW HALL - NIGHT - A MOMENT LATER 

	GRADY steps outside, closes the flap of the knapsack and, 
	hunching his shoulders against the cold... stops.

	Crabtree. Q. The car. Gone. 

38	INT. TRAXLER'S HONDA - NIGHT   

	Traxler gives GRADY a ride in his Honda, one of the 
	original Hondas best suited for sidewalk driving. The 
	backseat bulges with a huge AMPLIFIER and BASS GUITAR.

					TRAXLER
		Say, Professor Tripp, is ail that stuff true 
		about Errol Flynn? How he used to put coke on 
		his dick. To make himself, you know, like, last 
		longer?

					GRADY
		Christ, Traxler. How the hell should I know?

					TRAXLER 
		Well, jeez, you're reading his biography, 
		aren't you?

	Sam points and GRADY glances at the knapsack riding on 
	the seat between him and Sam. A BOOK'-bearing ERROL FLYNN'S 
	PICTURE--IS tucked into the side pouch.

					GRADY
		Oh, right. Yeah, that's true. He used to rub 
		ail kinds of things on it. Paprika. Ground 
		lamb.

					TRAXLER 
		Sick.

39	EXT. SASKELL'S HOUSE - NIGHT (MOMENTS LATER)

	Sam brings the car to a coughing idle across the street 
	from the Gaskell's house.

					TRAXLER
		Wow, check out that greenhouse. Is that your 
		wife?

	GRADY gazes at Sara, a .vaporous blur in the greenhouse.

					GRADY
		No, my wife's out of town.

	Just then, the Honda FILLS WITH LIGHT. HEADLIGHTS loom, 
	then a POLICE CAR sweeps into the Gaskell's driveway. 
	Walter appears on the front steps.

					TRAXLER (cont'd) 
		Who's that guy?

					GRADY
		Her husband.

	Traxler looks anxiously at the police car.

					TRAXLER
		What exactly are we doing here, Professor 
		Tripp?

					GRADY
			(staring at Sara) 
		Taking the long way home.

39A	EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT - A LITTLE LATER

	As Traxler drives away, GRADY mounts the porch with James 
	Leer's knapsack hanging from one shoulder. He reaches above 
	the door, feeling for a key, but his fingers come away with 
	only dust. He stands, dispirited, then an idea strikes. He 
	takes the doorknob, turns it. It opens.

40	INT. .HALLWAY - GRADY'S HOUSE

	GRADY enters, closes the door quietly behind him.

41	INT. LIVING ROOM     

	The room is dim but the TV is on, throwing crazy slashes 
	of light onto the wails and ceiling. As GRADY limps by, he 
	finds a sleeping Hannah Green, bundled in a blanket, T-
	shirt, and little else. On the floor, near her dangling 
	hand, Woolf's A Common Reader lays open next to a Diet 
	Coke. GRADY considers the smooth geography of her body, but 
	his eyes 'are most powerfully drawn to. ..her feet. He 
	steps forward, lifts the blanket gently, but finds-to his 
	disappointment--only the red cowboy boots.

	He picks up the remote, turns off the TV, and exits.

42	INT. GRADY'S OFFICE

	James Leer slumbers on a green sofa, draped in an old 
	sleeping bag. GRADY drops behind his desk, lets James' 
	knapsack slide to the floor. He lifts his cuff, inspects 
	his ugly ankle, then glimpses something in the knapsack.

	Something yellow. Something soft.

	GRADY reaches down and, slowly--like a magician producing 
	a magical scarf-extracts MARILYN MONROE'S WEDDING JACKET 
	from James Leer's ratty green knapsack. 

	GRADY glances at the young man on his sofa, then, looking 
	very tired, reaches for the desk lamp ...and turns out the 
	light on the both of them.

43	EXT. FRONT PORCH - SATURDAY MORNING (NEXT DAY) 

	GRADY steps outside in a WOMAN'S CHENILLE BATHROBE and 
	plucks the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the second porch 
	step. He fishes out a charred ROACH, starts to light it, 
	then notices the Galaxie sitting in the driveway.

44	INT. GUEST BEDROOM - MINUTES LATER     

	As CRABTREE SNORES thunderously, GRADY eases open the 
	door, spots the CAR KEYS on the dresser, grabs them.

44A	INT. LANDING - CONTINUOUS

	GRADY eases the door shut, starts to turn, then stops, 
	his eyes drawn to the door just across the landing from 
	Crabtree's room.

44B	INT. EMILY'S OFFICE 

	GRADY pushes open the door with the tips of his fingers, 
	lets it glide open. The room that is revealed is bright and 
	well-ordered, in direct contrast to the lazy clutter of 
	Grady's office. There is a DRAFTING TABLE and a COMPUTER, 
	pads and pens neatly arranged alongside.

	A BULLITEN BOARD hangs on one wall, bearing an intricate 
	mosaic of multi-colored index cards. There are PRINTS, 
	framed, from various art exhibits, and two of Grady's 
	DHSTJACKETS--including, most prominently, Arsonist's 
	Daughter.

	There are PHOTOGRAPHS of EMILY too. In a black turtleneck 
	with friends. In a sundress with Grady. In a billowing 
	Burberry, floating like a dark butterfly against a BLUR of 
	YELLOW TAXIS on a street in Manhattan.

	Smiling brilliantly. Beautiful.

45	INT. GRADY'S OFFICE

	GRADY enters with a THERMOS--pauses--redistributes the 
	sleeping bag over James Leer's pale body.

					JAMES LEER 
			(without waking) 
		Thank you.

					GRADY
		You're welcome.

	GRADY sits at his desk, pours himself a cup of coffee 
	from the thermos, then sets the cup directly in the center 
	of a galaxy of previous coffee rings. Next, he takes a 
	clean piece of paper, balls it up, and-with ritual 
	precision-strokes it into the MINIATURE BASKETBALL HOOP 
	that crowns the rim of the WASTE BASKET across the room.

	All net.

	A 9-VOLT CROWD ROAR belches from the hoop and, without 
	further ceremony, GRADY
	turns to the blank page curling from his IBM SELECTRIC 
	and SPACES to the top right corner, TYPES:

		(beat) 2611

	In other words: Page 2611.

	CLOSE UP - THE TYPEWRITER PAPER -- darkening with WORDS, 
	the KEYS SNAPPING faster and faster, a CRAZY CLAMOR that 
	grows and grows until, finally, it just ....Stops.

					GRADY
		James I  

	GRADY awakes with his back to the floor, James leer's 
	quizzical face floating like a cloud above him.

					GRADY
		I'm okay. I just lost my balance.

					JAMES LEER 
		I put you on the floor.

					GRADY
		Oh.

					JAMES LEER
		I thought you might--l don't know-- swallow 
		your tongue or something.
			(nodding to Grady's robe)
		I guess you really miss her, huh?

	GRADY peers down at the geraniums blooming on the pockets 
	of the robe, its overall fuzziness.

					GRADY
		Huh? Oh, no. This isn't Emily's. I just write 
		in it.

					JAMES LEER
		I guess there's probably a story behind that.

					GRADY
		There is, but it's not that interesting.

	James nods. Down the hallway, in another room, the 
	TELEPHONE RINGS.

					JAMES LEER 
		Want me to get that?

					GRADY
		Sure.

	As James shuffles away in the sleeping bag, GRADY rises 
	delicately and turns toward the window, ..just in time to 
	see a POLICE CAR roil slowly by on the screen below.

					JAMES LEER 
			(returning)
		He didn't give his name.

					GRADY
		Who?

					JAMES LEER 
		The guy on the phone.

					GRADY
		What'd he say?

					JAMES LEER
		He wanted to know if a GRADY Trip? lived here 
		and drove a dark maroon 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 
		with black interior.

					GRADY
		What'd you tell him?

					JAMES LEER
		Yes.

					GRADY
		Good, James. If the Zodiac killer calls, be 
		sure to mention the back door pops open with a 
		couple hard shakes to the right.

					JAMES LEER
		I thought maybe you'd won a radio contest or 
		something. Is that single-spaced?

	James has noticed the towering stack of 20 Ib. bond on 
	Grady's desk.

					GRADY
		Afraid so.

					JAMES LEER
		That's a big book you're writing.

					GRADY
		I think it's sort of writing itself at this 
		point.

					JAMES LEER
		Wow, Hannah always swore you were working, 
		but--

					GRADY
		But . . . ?

					JAMES LEER
		Nothing, it's just that,, well, it's been 
		awhile since Arsonist's Daughter, and some 
		people--some of the kids in workshop--thought 
		maybe you were...

					GRADY
		Washed up?

					JAMES LEER 
		Blocked.

					GRADY
		Ah. I don't believe in writer's block.

	James takes another glance at the mammoth manuscript.

					JAMES LEER
		No kidding.

	A LOUD HACKING is HEARD. GRADY and James turn, watch 
	Crabtree, wearing only a pair of striped boxers, 
	materialize in the hallway.

					CRABTREE
		Good morning, boys. James.

	James waves feebly from beneath the sleeping bag.

					GRADY
			(re: James' "attire") 
		If-you 're planning on staying for breakfast, 
		I'd put on something a little less comfortable 
		if I were you.

	As GRADY moves to his desk to reacquaint himself with the 
	page curling from the typewriter, James continues to stare 
	into the emptiness of the hallway. The sight of CRABTREE 
	seems to have made him suddenly queasy.

					JAMES LEER 
		Professor Tripp?

					GRADY
		Hm.

					JAMES LEER 
		How did I get here last night?

					GRADY
		No one seems to know where you live, James. 
		Hannah thought you'd like my couch.

					JAMES LEER
		And ...and before that. Did I do anything? 
		Anything bad?

					GRADY
		Well, James, you did shoot the Head of the 
		English Department's dog and steal his most 
		prized piece of memorabilia.

	As James contemplates this, the DOORBELL RINGS. GRADY 
	looks up, sees the POLICE CAR he noticed earlier, now 
	parked at the bottom of his driveway.

					GRADY
		Do yourself a favor, James ...Hide.

46	EXT. FRONT PORCH

	A POLICEMAN not much older than James Leer waits. As the 
	door opens, GRADY
	appears.

					OFFICER PUPCIK
		Good morning... 
			(eyeing Grady's robe)
		Professor Tripp? Sorry to bother you, sir, but 
		I understand you attended an event at Sara and 
		Walter Gaskell's house last night and were one 
		of the last to leave...

47	INT. LANDING - SAME TIME                                  47

	James lurks at the top of the stairs, swaddled in the 
	sleeping bag, straining to hear.

					OFFICER PUPCIK (O.S.)
		...was just wondering if maybe you saw anyone. 
		Someone you didn't know. Who seemed out of 
		place. Suspicious maybe...

48	EXT. FRONT PORCH 

	GRADY is  scratching his head in mock thought.

					GRADY
		Well, there's always people you don't know at 
		these things, but I can't say there was anybody 
		particularly suspicious. ..Wait. There was one 
		guy. Tiny fella. Claimed to be a jockey.

					OFFICER PUPCIK 
		A jockey? You mean, like--

					GRADY
		Horses, right. Vernon something...
			(thinking... )
		Hardpple

	Pupcik stops on his pad, looks up.

					OFFICER PUPCIK 
		Hardapple?

					GRADY
		I could be wrong. What happened anyway?

					OFFICER PUPCIK
		Huh? Oh, someone pulled a B&E on Dr. Gaskell's 
		closet. And the dog's missing.

					GRADY
		That's weird.

					OFFICER PUPCIK
		We figure the perpetrator let him out. He's 
		blind and we figure he just wandered off and 
		got run over.

					GRADY
		The perpetrator.

					OFFICER PUPCIK
		No, the dog.

					GRADY
		Just kidding.

	Pupcik nods slowly, as if re-filing GRADY under "Dealing 
	With Assholes."

					OFFICER PUPCIK
		One other thing. About this kid, this student 
		of yours- Leer--James Leer. You wouldn't know 
		how I could get in touch with him, would you?

					GRADY
		I might have his number on campus.

					OFFICER PUPCIK 
		That's all right. We'll find him.

	Pete Pupcik smiles, tips his big blue police hat, and 
	turns away. GRADY frowns, starts to close the door...

					HANNAH GREEN (O.S.) 
		There you are...

	GRADY stiffens, then turns to find Hannah Green across 
	the room in her t-shirt and cowboy boots, looking ail dewy-
	eyed and delectable.

					HANNAH GREEN
		I thought we were going to talk. Last night.

					GRADY
		Oh. Well. I...

	Hannah stretches and the t-shirt slides dangerously up 
	her thighs.

					HANNAH GREEN
		It's okay. ..I'm here when you want me.

	GRADY stands frozen as Hannah smiles sleepily, pushes 
	through the swinging door into the kitchen. A THUMPING is 
	heard as James, tangled in the sleeping bag, hitches down 
	the last few steps of the stairway. He watches Pete Pupcik 
	drive away in his big police car.

					JAMES LEER 
		What do we do now?

#####Before GRADY can reply, .the TELEPHONE sitting on the table next to him 
#####RINGS.

					GRADY
		Hello?

					SARA'S VOICE
		Grady, it's Sara. Thank God you're there. You 
		won't believe what's happened.

					GRADY
		Could you hold on a minute, honey?

	With a look of wonderment, GRADY watches his hand ever-
	so- gently ...hang up the phone.

					GRADY
		How 'bout we get the hell out of here?

49	EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MORNING (MOMENTS LATER) 

	James, now wearing one of Grady's flannel shirts beneath 
	his ratty overcoat, follows Grady-to the Galaxie, knapsack 
	swinging from his shoulder. GRADY tosses him a ring of 
	KEYS.

					GRADY
		You start her up.

	As GRADY runs a plastic WEDGE over the GLAZE of ice 
	blanketing the windshield, James stares curiously at the 
	keys, as if they were some strange artifact, then slides 
	behind the steering wheel.

					JAMES LEER
			(as the engine roars) 
		How's that?

					GRADY
		Well done, James.

	As GRADY works, James' face comes into view, then ...the 
	wedge SNAPS, splintering into the flesh of Grady's hand.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		Shit!

	James blinks, pokes his head out the window.

					JAMES LEER
		You're bleeding. Professor Tripp.

50	INT. AISLE - MARKET - MORNING (LATER)   

	GRADY and James stand in the sundries aisle of a 
	neighborhood MARKET. GRADY
	has a TIN of BAND-AIDS open and is presently plastering 
	his ragged thumb.

					GRADY
		Where exactly do you live, James?

	James, in the midst of chugging from a 64-OUNCE JUG of 
	ORANGE JUICE, stops.

					GRADY
		Apparently not even Hannah Green has a clue as 
		to the location of your apartment.

	GRADY tosses the tin of band-aids into a small plastic 
	hand basket, begins to move down the aisle.

					JAMES LEER
		I got kicked out. Well, not exactly kicked 
		out. I was asked to leave.

					GRADY
		I guess there's probably a story behind that.

					JAMES LEER
		There is, but it's not that interesting.

					GRADY
		So where have you been staying?

					JAMES LEER 
			(a long pause) 
		The bus station.

	GRADY stares incredulously at James.

					JAMES LEER
		It's not -so bad. I know the night janitor. 
		And there's a broken locker I can put my stuff.

					GRADY
			(trying to fathom this) 
		But James. I mean. ..How long?

					JAMES LEER
		A couple weeks. That's why... that's why I had 
		the gun. For protection.

					GRADY
		Jesus, James, you should've told someone.

					JAMES LEER 
		Who?

					GRADY
		I don't know...
			(unconvincingly)
		Me.

	GRADY drops the basket at the check-out counter and, 
	abruptly, finds himself face to face with a BABY, lolling 
	on the shoulder of the woman before him. The baby is 
	staring, spellbound, at a display of...Q'S LATEST 
	PAPERBACK. GRADY
	frowns, then detects the true source of enchantment: a 
	spray of SHINY MYLAR GIFT BALLOONS.

	A thought evolves.

					GRADY (cont'd)
			(the balloons)
		What do you think of these?

	James takes another chug from his jug, nods.

					JAMES LEER 
		Nice.

51	EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - MORNING 

	Grady, squinting through the ten-inch panel of cleared 
	ice on the windshield, roils slowly up onto the curb in 
	front of Walter and Sara Gaskell's house ...then off.

52	INT. GALAXIE - CONTINUOUS  

	GRADY pops the glovebox, takes out a PEN, and scratches 
	something on the GIFT CARD attached to the BALLOON. James 
	glances briefly at a plump ZIPLOC OF POT stashed in the 
	glovebox, then peers at the house.

					JAMES LEER 
			(the house) 
		Isn't this...?

					GRADY
		Hm.

	GRADY gets out, then pauses, glancing at the giant orange 
	juice jug between James legs. It's about half-down.

					GRADY
		You better ease off that stuff, James. It's 
		pretty acidic.

	James takes a powdered donut that lies on his coat, 
	studies it curiously.

					JAMES LEER
		I can't help myself. I don't know what's the 
		matter with me.

					GRADY
		Shit, James, you're hungover. What do you 
		think's the matter with you?

	As GRADY turns away, James ponders this, then considers 
	the ring of white sugar imprinted on his coat and re-sets 
	the donut in precisely the same place.

53	INT. GREENHOUSE - MOMENT LATER

	Through the steamy panes, we SEE GRADY approach with the 
	balloon, enter. He crosses to a high table, sets the 
	balloon down, and steps back, considering the placement.

					SARA O.S.) 
		Feeling guilty?

	GRADY jumps--startled--and turns. Sara has materialized 
	behind a ficus, large POTTING GLOVES on her hands.

					SARA (cont'd) 
		I can't believe you hung up on me, you dick.

					GRADY
		Totally.  I'm sorry. A lot was happening this 
		morning. Can you talk?

	Sara nods, moves the ficus to another table.

					SARA
		Walter's on campus, being the good soldier for 
		WordFest. But he's a basket case. Someone stole 
		Marilyn's jacket last night. And Poe's missing, 
		too.

					GRADY
		I-heard.

					SARA 
		You heard? How?

					GRADY
		A twelve-year-old policeman came by the house 
		this morning.

					SARA 
		Did you confess?

	GRADY looks up, mildly alarmed.

					SARA
		Your fingerprints were all over the bedroom.

					GRADY 
		Really? That was fast.

					SARA 
			(frowning)
		I'm kidding. Hello?

					GRADY
		Oh. Right. Ha. Listen, about last night. There 
		is something I need to tell...

					SARA
		Are you limping? Why are you limping?

					GRADY
		Hub? Oh, well, that's part of what I need to . 
		. .

					SARA
		Did you pass out again, Grady? Did you fall 
		somewhere?

					GRADY
		No. I mean. Well, actually, yes. Sort of. I 
		don't remember. Listen, Sara, I have to tell 
		you something.

					SARA 
		All right.

	Sara settles back, folds her arms. Waiting.

					GRADY
		I...

	As GRADY stares into Sara's eyes, things begin to blur. 

					GRADY (cont'd)
		 ...want to be with you.

	Sara looks at him.

					SARA
		Gee, Grady, that sounded so heartfelt.  I 
		don't know whether to swoon or smirk.

					GRADY
		Really, Sara, I...

	Sara holds up one gloved hand.

					SARA
		I believe you. I believe you want to be with 
		me. But this is not just about me anymore.

					GRADY
		I know that. I know what's at stake here...

					SARA
		No, I don't think you do. And besides... I 
		haven't decided yet.

					GRADY
		About the baby.

					SARA 
		That ...and you.

	GRADY goes still, watches Sara strip off the gloves, drop 
	them on  a table.

					SARA
		I'm not going to draw the map for you on this 
		one, Grady. Times like these you have to do 
		your own navigating.

	Sara turns to leave, then stops, squinting far down the 
	street.

					SARA
		Who's that sitting in your car?

					GRADY
		James Leer.

					SARA 
		What's he doing out there?

					GRADY
		I'm sort of helping him work through some 
		issues.

	Sara raises an eyebrow, then pushes through the door.

					SARA 
		Isn't he lucky.

	GRADY watches her ripple across the glass, head for the 
	house, and wave. James, slumped low in the Galaxie, offers 
	a limp hand in return, but it's too late.

	She's already gone.

54	INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - LATER 54

	GRADY cradles the wheel in his bandaged paw, while James 
	sits stiffly, the orange juice jug bobbing between his 
	thighs.

					JAMES LEER
		She seemed to take it pretty well.

					GRADY
		Yeah, well, actually. . .

	James looks over.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		The moment didn't really present itself.

	James nods, unsurprised, then turns back to the window, 
	staring at the landscape, still sitting oddly still. GRADY 
	glances at him. At the orange juice jug.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		You' re not planning on puking in my car, are 
		you, James?

	Nothing.

					GRADY
		Don't be proud, James. We're in Sewickley 
		Heights. We could find you a nice golf course 
		to barf on.

					JAMES LEER 
			(sharply) 
		No.

	GRADY looks over, surprised by the James' tone. James 
	blinks, looks embarrassed.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd) 
		I mean. I'm fine. I'm sorry. I just...

	James peers out the window at passing landscape.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd)
		I've got a thing about, ..places like this. I 
		know what those houses are like. I know what 
		the people are like.

					GRADY
		Your aunt ?

	James turns, eyes flashing with surprise.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Hannah mentioned something about an aunt.

	James nods vaguely, then reaches into the ashtray, takes 
	a JOINT between his fingers, sniffs it.

					JAMES LEER 
		Humboldt County?

					GRADY
			(surprised)
		Maybe...

					JAMES LEER
		It's my father. He gets it from his doctor.

					GRADY
		Glaucoma?

					JAMES LEER 
		Colon cancer.

					GRADY
		Jesus, James. Wow.

	James puts the joint back in the ashtray.

					JAMES' LEER
		It's a bit of a scandal. My parents live in a 
		small town.

					GRADY
		Where's that?

					JAMES LEER
		Carvel.

					GRADY
		Carvel? Where's Carvel?

					JAMES LEER 
		Outside Scranton.

					GRADY
		I never heard of it.

					JAMES LEER
		It's a hellhole. Three motels and a mannequin 
		factory. My dad worked there for thirty-five 
		years.

					GRADY
		Your father worked in a mannequin factory?

					JAMES LEER
		Seitz Plastics. That's where he met my morn. 
		She was a fry cook in the cafeteria. Before 
		that, she'd been a dancer.

					GRADY
		What kind of dancer? .

					JAMES LEER
		Whatever kind they wanted her to be.

					GRADY 
			(in disbelief)
		James Leer, are you telling me your mother was 
		a stripper?

					JAMES LEER
		I'm telling you what I was told by my uncle. 
		And he should know. He ran half a dozen men's 
		clubs in Baltimore before he skipped town on a 
		bad debt.

					GRADY
		Didn't you say your Mom went to Catholic 
		school?

					JAMES LEER 
		When we fall, we fall hard.

					GRADY
		Amazing.

	GRADY takes the joint from the ashtray, lights it, then 
	notices-with surprise--James has his hand out.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		I thought you were the guy who didn't like to 
		lose control of his emotions.

					JAMES LEER
		Maybe I just needed the moment to present 
		itself.

55	EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD (KINSHIP) - DAY .(ONE HOUR LATER)

	GRADY glides down the graceful, tree-lined streets of a 
	modest, but well-kept neighborhood. James still has the 
	JOINT-now only a tiny nub-pinched between his fingers.

					JAMES LEER
		This is so nice. It's like where Andy Hardy 
		would live. What's it called again?

					GRADY
		Kinship.

					JAMES LEER
		Kinship. And what's here?

					GRADY
		Unless I miss my bet...my wife.

	James' heavy eyelids flutter with surprise.

					JAMES LEER 
		The one that left you?

					GRADY
		That's right. That one.

56	EXT. FRONT PORCH - WINTERS FAMILY HOUSE

	GRADY RAPS on the front door, then cups his hands against 
	the glass of the living room window, squints inside. 
	Nothing. As he turns away, GRADY sees James sitting on the 
	hood of the Galaxie with the box of powdered donuts. He's 
	sitting in the indentation.


					JAMES LEER
		Someone jumped on your car with their butt ..-

					GRADY
		How can you tell?

					JAMES LEER
		You can see the outline of a butt.

	As GRADY nods, James holds out the donut box.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd)
		Want one. They're incredible. Incredible.

					GRADY
		Smoke the rest of that joint, James, and you 
		can start on the box.

58	EXT. BACK PORCH - BACK YARD (MOMENTS LATER)

	As GRADY steps onto the back porch, James follows.

					JAMES LEER
		Maybe she didn't come here.

					GRADY
		She came here. We'll just wait. In the 
		meantime, I need you to shimmy through.

	James stares at the "Doggy Door" cut into the back porch 
	door.

					GRADY
		Relax. Emily hasn't carried a house key since 
		she was twelve years old. And your hips are as 
		slim as hers.

					JAMES LEER
		It's not that. It just reminded me of-- you 
		know-of what's in the car. In the trunk.

					GRADY
			(a pang of guilt himself)
		Oh. Right. Well, let's try not to think about 
		that.

	James takes another sad glance at the little door, then 
	drops onto ail fours.

59	INT. LIVING ROOM - WINTERS HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER     

	GRADY leads James through the house. Everything about it 
	speaks of family. Even the furniture seems arranged so that 
	people will gather together, light a fire, talk.

					JAMES LEER 
		It feels really... good. ..here.

					GRADY
		I know. It's the house you want to wake up in 
		on Christmas morning.
			(moving off)
		Make yourself at home. I'll be right back.

60	INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 60

	Grady, laboring badly on his ankle", enters and finds a 
	DUFFEL BAG open on the floor, its contents a tangle of 
	quickly-packed clothes. Everything else in the room feels 
	of another time. PHOTOGRAPHS are everywhere, documenting a 
	PRETTY GIRL'S life, from first recital to cap and gown.

	One photograph lies face down. GRADY turns it over and 
	finds the pretty girl grown into a beautiful young woman, 
	standing in a white gown next to a younger Grady--on their 
	wedding day.

61	INT. DEN     

	James enters, FRENCH ROLL in hand, and sees a REMOTE 
	CONTROL atop the BAR. Taking it, he points it at the WIDE- 
	SCREEN TELEVISION imbedded in the opposite wall and, 
	seconds later, GEORGE SANDERS walks into his CLOSE-UP.

					GEORGE SANDERS
		There's no such thing as a good influence, Mr. 
		Gray. All influence is immoral...

62	INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - SAME TIME  

	Grady, a PINK PRINCESS PHONE to his ear, lies on the bed 
	next to a huge TEDDY BEAR.

					GRADY
			(into phone)
		Yes, I' m looking for the Chancellor... I 
		don't know. She should be in the main hall 
		...Thank you.

63	INT. DEN     

	James runs through the channels, pauses on MARTIN MILNER 
	and GEORGE MAHARIS, riding in their curvy Corvette.

64	INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - SAME TIME   

	A Nelson Riddle's THEME FROM ROUTE 66 BOOMS from below, 
	GRADY
	cups a hand over his ear.

					GRADY
		Sara? Hi. It's Grady.

					SARA'S VOICE
		Where are you, Grady? An elevator?

					GRADY
		I'm in Kinship. Listen, Sara, there's some 
		things we need to talk about...

					SARA'S VOICE
			(evenly)
		You're in Kinship?

					GRADY
		Yes. But that's not why I called...

					SARA'S VOICE
		With Emily?

					GRADY
		What? No'. There's no one here. I'm just 
		...just....

					SARA'S VOICE
		Just what? Doing a little dusting?

	As GRADY endeavors to respond, TWO YOUTHFUL VOICES, 
	CHEERFULLY SINGING, rise from below.

					CHEERFUL VOICES       
		Good Morning! Good Morning!

					GRADY
			(yelling)
		James! For Christ sake, will you turn that 
		thing down!

					SARA'S VOICE
		James? He's still with you?

65	INT. DEN 

	James, in the midst of pouring himself a tumbler of 
	Bushmills, smiles as JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY sing 
	their hearts out in Babes In Arms.

					JUDY/MICKEY
		We talked the whole night through!

66	INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 

	GRADY shakes his head, carries the phone toward the 
	bedroom WINDOW.

					GRADY
		Look, Sara. ..I'm not here. ..I'm not here to 
		. . .

	As GRADY watches, a late-model PONTIAC BONNEVIlLE turns 
	into the driveway below him.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		 ...reconcile with Emily.

					SARA'S VOICE
		Are you there to not reconcile with her?

	The Bonneville's trunk pops open, revealing THREE BAGS OF 
	GROCERIES, and HANK and IRENE WINTERS, both in their 60's, 
	get out. An enormous NEWFOUNDLAND vaults from the backseat.

	Sara, eating phone static this whole time, interprets 
	Grady's silence her own way.

					SARA'S VOICE (cont'd) 
		Goodbye, Grady.

					GRADY
		No. Sara, you don't understand...

					SARA'S VOICE
		Trust me, I understand. I just want to say 
		something to you, Grady.

					GRADY
			(dreading it) 
		Yea?

					SARA'S VOICE
		How you choose to live your own life is your 
		business. But you be careful with that boy, 
		Grady. With James. He belongs to somebody else.

	As the line goes dead, GRADY watches Hank and Irene 
	Winters disappear below him.

69	INT. DEN       69

	James--Irish whiskey in one hand, the pride of Humboldt 
	County in the other--watches with deep absorption as Judy 
	and Mickey have a heartfelt conversation. Then, sensing 
	something ...he turns.

	Hank and Irene Winters, grocery bags in arm, stand 
	frozen.

					JAMES LEER     
		Hullo.

	FOOTSTEPS are HEARD on the staircase and GRADY hobbies 
	into view. He tries a smile.

					GRADY
		Mom. Dad.

70	INT. DEN - WINTERS HOUSE - (A BIT LATER) 

	Hank Winters emerges from the bathroom with a roll of 
	tape, a bottle of alcohol, and some cotton wool.

					HANK
		Well, it's infected, I can tell you that. I'm 
		just going to clean it up a bit. It's up to you 
		to-find someone who knows what they're doing. 
		Here. Put your foot up.

	GRADY puts his foot up on Hank's lazy-Boy, then notices a 
	BOOK lying face down on the seat. The AUTHOR on the back 
	cover looks as if he's trying very hard to look 
	consequential. To his surprise, GRADY realizes the author 
	is himself.

					HANK
		So he's one of your students, this boy?

	GRADY glances into the living room, where James and Irene 
	sit on a long couch together, sipping something hot. James 
	is looking out the window, a curious expression on his 
	face. GRADY looks out his own window, sees the Newfoundland 
	sniffing curiously at-the Galaxie's trunk. When he glances 
	back into the living room, he and James make brief eye 
	contact, then blink, look away.

					GRADY
		Yes. He's a good kid. Maybe a little messed 
		up.

					HANK
		Well, I'm sure with the proper guidance he'll 
		be fine.

	GRADY tries to read Hank's face---is he messing with 
	him?--but Hank gives nothing away. GRADY nods to the book.

					GRADY
		What made you pull out that old thing?

					HANK
			(shrugging)
		I was thinking of you.

					GRADY
		And?

					HANK
		It's no Arsonist's Daughter, but I guess you 
		know that. It's a young man's book. It got me 
		remembering how it felt to be young.

					GRADY
		Maybe I should read it.

					HANK
		Oh, I don't think there's any danger of you 
		aging prematurely, Grady.

	GRADY doesn't have to read Hank's face this time.

					GRADY
		Where's Emily, Hank?

					HANK
		I 'don't know if she'd want me  to tell you 
		that, Grady.

					GRADY
		I'm not going to stalk her. Hank. I just. 
		..want to know where I stand.

	Hank looks up, incredulous.

					HANK
		Where you stand?

					GRADY
			(embarrassed)
		l-just want to say I'm sorry.

					HANK
		She's in Philadelphia seeing Linda Aahby. The 
		neurologist.

					GRADY
		Neurologist? Why? What's wrong?

					HANK
			(frowning)
		Nothing's wrong. They went to Wellesley 
		together.

					GRADY
			(sheepishly)
		Oh. Right. Linda ...I haven't been doing a lot 
		of sleeping lately. My editor's in town and I 
		have the book to finish and--

					HANK
		Ah, right. The book.

	GRADY starts to continue, then stops, cowed by something 
	in Hank's tone, something dismissive. Instead, he looks 
	away, toward the living room, and catches sight of James 
	again, sitting alone now with his big cup of cocoa.

					GRADY
		Listen, Hank, I'm sorry about ail this. I 
		didn't come here to upset you and Irene. I want 
		you to know that.

					HANK
		Why did you come here, Grady?

	GRADY gestures vaguely.

					GRADY
		I -just wanted to see her, I guess-- Emily. 
		And to see you too-you and Irene. And to let 
		everyone know that, even though it may be 
		difficult to comprehend now, this-everything 
		that's happening-it's not forever. It doesn't 
		mean "Goodbye."

					HANK
		Give me a break, Grady.

	Hank snaps off the tape, slaps Grady's ankle.

					HANK
		You're done.

71	INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - DUSK   71

	GRADY glowers darkly at the road, then puts his hand up 
	against the HEATING VENT which, apparently, is not putting 
	out any heat.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm having a really good time, Professor 
		Tripp.

	GRADY glances over, sees James burrowing into the Ziploc.

					GRADY
		I'm really happy for you, James. But do me a 
		favor, will you? Lay off my dope. That stuff's 
		not for amateurs.

	James looks at Ziploc as GRADY fiddles with the heat 
	LEVER.

					JAMES LEER 
		I just wanted a little sip.

					GRADY
			(squinting at him)
		I just wanted a little sip? Tell me, James, 
		exactly what point was it that you turned into 
		Serpent Boy?

					JAMES LEER
		Probably about the time you gave me the 
		codeine pills last night.

	GRADY stops with the heater, glances over at James, whose 
	face bears not the slightest trace of irony.

					GRADY
		Jesus... 
			(thinking, then. . . )
		Look, James, you appear to possess-like many 
		an aspiring writer before you, by the way-a 
		rather ardent affinity for the stuff of which 
		dreams are made. However, I 'think it's best 
		if, for the moment at least
			(taking the Ziploc)
			...we abstain.

					JAMES LEER 
		You're mad at me, aren't you?

					GRADY
		What?

					JAMES LEER
		You're mad because I shot your girlfriend's 
		dog.

					GRADY
		It wasn't her dog. It's her husband's--
			(stopping)
		Who said anything about girlfriend?

	James eyes shift slowly, as if to 'say: Who are you 
	kidding?

					GRADY
		Okay, James, I wish you hadn't shot my 
		girlfriend's dog. Even though Poe and I weren't 
		exactly what you'd call simpatico, that's no 
		reason for him to take two in the chest. Still, 
		the fact remains that I'm the one who took you 
		up into the Chancellor's bedroom. I'm the one 
		who has to take the blame. I- don't know what 
		the hell I was thinking.

					JAMES LEER
		Sure you do. You were thinking: 'That's no cap 
		gun in that kid's overcoat.' You were thinking 
		'I can't let that kid get on. the bus alone-he 
		might never get on the bus again.' You were 
		thinking: 'I've got to find a way to distract 
		this kid. ' So you did. It was--in its way--a 
		noble act.

					GRADY
		Thanks for the halo, James, but I've . never 
		done that much thinking ahead in my" life-ever.

	James looks -out the window, pondering this.

					JAMES LEER
		So, why did you take me up there?

					GRADY
			(feeling for the heat again)
		I -don' t know, James . I don' t know why I do 
		half the things I do. Who does?
			(looking over)
		Why do you wear that coat?

	James looks down, a little defensive.

					JAMES LEER 
		It's warm.

					GRADY
		James, fall semester, first day of class, it 
		was 95 degrees and you were wearing the coat.

	James just blinks, no ready answer-available.

					GRADY
		That's why they all give you such a hard time 
		in workshop.

					JAMES LEER 
		Because of my coat?

					GRADY
		Because you act like a goddamn spook all the 
		time. Not to mention the fact that every last 
		one of them is jealous of you.

					JAMES LEER 
			(smirking) 
		Jealous? Of me?

					GRADY
		Not you. Your talent.

	James' face hardens. He looks away.

					JAMES LEER 
		You're lying.

					GRADY
		The hell I am.

					JAMES LEER
		Yes you are. My stuff stinks. I know it. You 
		said so yourself.

					GRADY
		I never said that.

					JAMES LEER
		Yes you did. Last night. To your friend 
		Crabtree. "Is he any good?" he said. And you 
		said: "Not yet he isn't." I heard you myself.

					GRADY
		I didn't mean it that way.

					JAMES LEER
		It's okay, Professor Tripp. Carrie, Howard, 
		the others--they 're right. My stories are 
		annoying. They go on and on and on, and the 
		longer they go on the more annoying they 
		become, until finally you just want to grab 
		something heavy and--

					GRADY
		Shut up, James. You're annoying. Carrie and 
		Howard don't know what the fuck they're talking 
		about, okay? The entire class combined-
		including the lovely Hannah Green-has about one 
		tenth of one percent the talent you have, okay?

	James stares blankly at Grady, then turns his face to the 
	window. He ponders Grady's words, the praise inherent in 
	them. A hint of pleasure glints in his eyes.

					JAMES LEER 
		But, last night...

					GRADY
		Who cares what-. I said last night, James I I 
		was drunk, I was stoned. I'd been bitten by a 
		dog. My wife had left me. How 'bout cutting me 
		some slack?

					JAMES LEER 
			(quietly) 
		I'm sorry.

					GRADY
		And don't be so goddamn sensitive. Who cares 
		what anybody thinks anyway? You want to .be a 
		good writer? You want to be-a great writer? 
		Then stop giving a damn what other people 
		think. Most of them haven't thought in .years.

	James turns, studies Grady's face as it flickers in the 
	first headlights of the evening.

					GRADY
		Let me spell it .out for you, James. Books 
		don't mean anything. Not to anybody. Not 
		anymore.

					JAMES LEER
		Arsonist's Daughter meant something.

	GRADY smiles contemptuously.

					JAMES LEER
		I mean it. It means something to me. It's one 
		of the reasons I came to school here. To be in 
		your class. To be taught by you.
			(quietly)
		It's one of the reasons I wanted to become a 
		writer.

	GRADY stares ahead, watching the darkness tumble away 
	before the wide sweep of the Galaxie's headlights.

					GRADY
		Well, for that, if nothing else, James, I'm 
		sorry.

72	EXT. COFFEE SHOP/MOTEL - OFF THE HIGHWAY - EVENING 

	GRADY rolls into a space near the coffee shop and James 
	slides out. GRADY
	stays put, hands still on the wheel.

					JAMES LEER
		You coming?

					GRADY
		In a minute. Get us a table.

	James nods, pushes past the glass doors into the coffee 
	shop, and a big REDHEAD in a waitress cap leads him to a 
	table with a view of the highway. GRADY
	watches James-- stick figure in black brogues--slide into 
	the booth and open his big, laminated menu.

	Finally, as if concluding some internal debate, GRADY 
	kicks open his door, steps out.

73INT/	EXT. PHONE BOOTH - PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER  

	GRADY rests his forehead against the PAYPHONE as he 
	speaks.

					GRADY
		C-a-r-v-e-I. That's right, Carvel. Yes, I'm 
		sure. It's outside Scranton.

	GRADY straightens up, takes a peek at James, sitting by 
	himself on the far side of the coffee shop.

					GRADY
		You have no listing. Okay, well, lady-- at 
		this very moment, as we speak, I'm looking of a 
		resident of Carvel, Pennsylvania. I think he'd 
		be pretty interested to learn that the good 
		people of Bell Atlantic have misplaced his 
		entire hometown. It's not like I'm making this 
		up as I go along--

	GRADY stops, his own words ringing in his head.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Never mind. My mistake.

74	EXT. GALAXIE - PARKING LOT     74

	GRADY upends James' knapsack, sifts through: An 
	AUTOGRAPHED POSTCARD of FRANCES FARMER. A wrinkled box of 
	CHICLETS. Nothing. Then he notices ERROL FLYNN'S eyebrows 
	peeking at him from the knapsack's side pouch.

	He takes the book, opens it. Bingo. A library notice: 
	James Seiwyn Leer is three weeks overdue. Under ADDRESS it 
	says only: "On File." But if one was to dial the PHONE 
	NUMBER, odds are it won't be the night janitor at the 
	Greyhound depot who picks up.

75	INT. BOOTH - COFFEE SHOP - NIGHT (LATER)

	The remains of a FRIED CLAM SANDWICH sit before James as 
	he turns his attention to a GIANT PIECE OF LEMON MERINGUE 
	PIE. GRADY sips only coffee, stealing glances at the cars 
	that whip by on the highway beyond the window.

					JAMES LEER 
		Want a bite?

					GRADY
		No thanks.

					JAMES LEER
		That's why you're having them. Your spells.

					GRADY
		Spells? Jesus, James, you make it sound like 
		we're in a Tennessee Williams play. I don't 
		have spells.

					JAMES LEER 
		What would you call them then?

					GRADY
		I don't know. ...'Episodes.'

	James shrugs, spears a fluffy chunk of pie.

					JAMES LEER
		It's because you don't eat.

					GRADY
		I eat.

					JAMES LEER
		When?

					GRADY
		When nobody's looking.

	GRADY watches a pair of headlights approach...

					JAMES LEER
			(mouth full, garbled)
		I just worry about you, that's all.

	...then pass. James' words finally register. GRADY looks 
	at him.

					GRADY
		You just worry about yourself, James. Okay?

					JAMES LEER
		Okay.

	Just then, a long, pale WAND of LIGHT splinters against 
	the coffee shop windows and a CAR sweeps into the parking 
	lot. GRADY follows it with his eyes, rises.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd) 
		Where you going?

					GRADY
		Nowhere. You just sit here and... eat.

	GRADY moves off, then stops, looking back at James and 
	his giant piece of pie, still troubled by his words.

76	EXT. COFFEE SHOP/MOTEL   

	As GRADY limps out of the coffee shop, he finds an OLDER 
	MAN in a TUXEDO standing in the open door of a gleaming 
	BLACK MERCEDES. Beyond him, in the front passenger seat, a 
	WOMAN in MINK examines her eye shadow in the tiny mirror of 
	the sun visor.

					MAN
			(eyeing GRADY dubiously) 
		Professor Tripp?

					GRADY
		Grady.

					MAN
		Fred Leer. This is my wife Amanda.

					GRADY
			(re: their clothes)
		Looks like I've dashed a-wonderful evening.

					FRED LEER
		Hardly.

					AMANDA LEER
		We were on our way to a benefit. But, as luck 
		would have it, the club was on the way, so... 
			(snapping shut the visor)
		We were able to put in an appearance.

					FRED LEER
		Otherwise we would've been here earlier.

					GRADY
		Ah. Well, that's ail right. James and I 'had a 
		little dinner.

					FRED LEER
		Well, certainly we'll reimburse you.

					GRADY
		That's not necessary. I just felt. ..it might 
		be good for James to be with his family this 
		weekend.

					FRED LEER
		Well, of course, we can understand that.

	GRADY considers the two glittering ghosts before him. 
	They seem to be waiting. Just waiting.

					GRADY
		Well. Let me go get him.

	GRADY turns for the coffee shop, then stops, looks back.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		I "hope you won't consider this forward of me, 
		Amanda, but I wonder if I might ask. ..did you 
		ever attend Catholic school?

	Amanda Leer's eyes narrow ever-so-slightly.

					AMANDA LEER 
		Excuse me?

77	INT. BOOTH - COFFEE SHOP77 

	James is glowering at the parking lot as GRADY returns.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm not going with them..

					GRADY
		James. Listen. Things-things are a little 
		weird with me right now and I-- well--I have 
		enough blame to shoulder these days without 
		having to take the blame if something bad 
		happened to you. And if you hang around me long 
		enough, something bad is going to happen, trust 
		me. That's why I need you to go home. 
		Understand?

					JAMES LEER 
		I'm not going, with them.

					GRADY
		James, like it or not, they're your parents.

					JAMES LEER
		Parents? They're not my parents. They're my 
		grandparents. My parents are dead.

	GRADY stares at-James wearily.

					JAMES LEER
		I swear. My father had his own airplane he 
		used to fly up to Quebec. One Christmas, he and 
		my mom were flying up to our house in the 
		Laurentians when the plane went down. It was in 
		the newspaper.

	GRADY doesn't flinch, unpersuaded.

					JAMES LEER
		I 'swear. My father was a senior vice 
		president at Dravo. My mother was a socialite. 
		Her maiden name was Guggenheim.

	GRADY starts to protest, then pauses.

					GRADY
		I remember that. Five or six years ago.

					JAMES LEER
		Six. Their plane went down right outside 
		Scranton.

					GRADY 
			(sardonically) 
		Near Carvel?

					JAMES LEER
		I'm sorry about all that. I just-I don't like 
		to talk about my family. They treat me like a 
		freak. 
			(nodding towards Amanda)

	She makes me sleep in. the basement of my own house. It's 
	mine. My parents left it to me.

	GRADY glances toward the parking lot, studies the  
	contours of Fred Leer's face. Frowns.

					GRADY
		James, come on. That man is obviously your 
		father. You look just like him.

	James looks down at the table, takes a deep breath, and 
	speaks in a voice heavy with implication.

					JAMES LEER
		There's a reason for that.

	Grady's addled brain grapples with this dark little 
	riddle, finally deciphers what James is suggesting.

					GRADY
		Get out of here.

					JAMES LEER
		That's why she hates me. That's why she makes 
		me sleep in the basement.

					GRADY
		In the crawl space, with the rats and the 
		casks of Amontillado. Come on. Up.

	As GRADY lifts him from the booth, James attempts a 
	plaintive tone, but his heart's not in it.

					JAMES LEER 
		I swear.

78	EXT. COFFEE SHOP - MOMENTS LATER       78

	As Fred Leer SLAMS the back door of the Mercedes, GRADY 
	waves vaguely, peers into the darkness of the back seat.

					FRED LEER 
		Thank you. Professor Tripp.

					GRADY
		Take care of him.

					AMANDA LEER
		Oh, don't worry. We'll take care of him. You 
		can be sure of that.

	Fred Leer hits the gas and swings the Mercedes around in 
	a tight little arc, feathering Grady's pants--from the knee 
	down--with a pudding of ICE and MUD. GRADY glances down at 
	his spattered self, then notices, sitting on the front 
	passenger seat, James' knapsack. GRADY grabs it, turns.

					GRADY
		Hey!

	GRADY'S POV - REAR WINDOW
	as the Mercedes begins to pull away and James turns, 
	elbows on the back dash, his pale face slack. Spying Grady, 
	he raises one limp hand, and then-as if it were held by a 
	string-lets it drop.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
			(softly) 
		Hey.

79	EXT. PARKING LOT - MQTEL/COFFEE SHOP - A. BIT LATER   

	GRADY sits in-the GREEN GLOW of .the radio dial, smoking 
	a joint. He glances at the knapsack, sees James' 
	MANUSCRIPT:

	The Love Parade

	He reaches in, takes the manuscript and, in the light 
	that rains from the PARKING LAMP overhead, begins to read.

80	EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT (LATER)      80

	Grady's HOUSE looks like a three-dollar whore on a block 
	full of nuns. MUSIC BLARES, LIGHT BLAZES from every window, 
	and there are so many CARS GRADY is forced to leave the 
	Galaxie in the middle of the street.


					GRADY
			(knowingly) 
		Crabtree.

81	INT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER  

	Times Square before the ball drops. GRADY enters, scans 
	the room, then shoulders his way to the stairs.

82	INT. GRADY'S OFFICE  

	Hannah Green sits on the sofa, twisting a long strand of 
	hair around her finger as she reads a THICK MANUSCRIPT.

					GRADY
			(entering) 
		Hey.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Grady!

	She slaps the page she is reading back onto the stack at 
	her thigh. GRADY
	stares. The manuscript. It's his.

					HANNAH GREEN
			(embarrassed)
		I know I shouldn't have, but there it was, 
		just sort of lying out, and I couldn't resist 
		and-and--I suck.

					GRADY
		No, it's okay. I just can't believe I left it 
		out in the open like that. CRABTREE hasn't been 
		in here, has he? Poking around?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I don't know--maybe- I don't think so.

	Grady's  mind races with unfortunate possibilities, but 
	only briefly: his immediate thoughts are elsewhere.

					GRADY
		Listen, Hannah. You don't remember where that 
		aunt worked, do you? James' aunt.

					HANNAH GREEN
		He shot the Chancellor's dog, didn't he? The 
		blind one.

					GRADY
		Actually, He's not the Chancellor' s--What?

					HANNAH GREEN
		At first the police thought he just ran away, 
		but this afternoon Dr. Gaskell found some blood 
		spots on the carpet -

					GRADY
		Jesus.

					HANNAH GREEN
		CRABTREE said it sounded like something James 
		would be messed up in.

					GRADY
		Crabtree? He doesn't even know James.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Who does?

	Just then, Crabtree's VOICE bellows in the hallway 
	outside.

					CRABTREE (O.S.) 
		Trip?! Where are you'

	GRADY looks anxiously toward the door.

					GRADY
		The aunt, Hannah. Where did you take James 
		that day?

					HANNAH GREEN
		I told you, Sewickly Heights.      

					GRADY
		But where? I need the street.

					HANNAH GREEN
		I don't know, Grady. I just dropped him on a 
		corner. 

					CRABTREE (O.S.)
		Trip?!

					GRADY
		Shit.

	As GRADY starts to turn away, Hannah hooks her finger 
	inside his belt buckle.

					HANNAH GREEN
		No! Don't go. I've been waiting ail night for 
		you.

	GRADY looks at Hannah's hand, where it rests. He looks 
	terrified.

					GRADY
		Listen, Hannah, I'm flattered, really, but 
		right now I--

					CRABTREE
			(bursting in)
		Tripp, where the hell. . .

	CRABTREE stops, takes in the tableau before him.

					CRABTREE (cont'd)
		Oh, I'm sorry. Am I interrupting a. student-
		teacher conference?

	GRADY delicately removes Hannah's hand from his buckle, 
	points at Crabtree.

					GRADY
		You stay there.

					CRABTREE
		What? Ohhhh. Is that... it?

	CRABTREE cocks his head toward the reams of paper stacked 
	on Grady's desk.

					CRABTREE
		Honestly, Tripp. Do you actually think I would 
		sneak in here and read your book without asking 
		you?

					GRADY
		Gee, I don't know. Crabs. I don't seem to 
		remember you actually asking me if you could 
		invite 200 people over to trash my living room.

					CRABTREE
		Sometimes we have to improvise.

					GRADY
			(ignoring him)
		Think, Hannah. Does James have any friends. I 
		mean, besides you and. ..me?

					CRABTREE
		James? My James? What's happened?

					GRADY
		Nothing, he's just been sort of, I don't 
		know.. .kidnapped.

					CRABTREE
		Kidnapped? By who?

					GRADY
		His parents.

					CRABTREE
		Good God. Let's go rescue him.

					GRADY
		Good idea. Crabs. Only one problem. I don't 
		know where they live.

					CRABTREE
		Ah. Wait a minute. The university must know 
		where he lives.

					GRADY
		It's a little late to call Admissions.

					CRABTREE
		Is it a little late to call the Chancellor?

					GRADY
		Maybe ...I don't know.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Two-sixty-two Baxter Drive.

	GRADY and CRABTREE turn, see Hannah sitting on the corner 
	of Grady's desk with the WHITE PAGES open on her lap.

					HANNAH GREEN (cont'd)
		They're in the book.

83	INT. GALAXIE - MOVING - TEN MINUTES LATER

	CRABTREE snaps James' manuscript closed.

					CRABTREE
		You know--based on what I've read-- this is a 
		very exciting piece of material, this Big 
		Parade.

					GRADY
		Love. It's Love facade--and what do you mean 
		'based on what you've read'? You skimmed two 
		chapters at 80 miles an hour while gargling 
		methamphetamines.

					CRABTREE
		I've been doing this a long time, Tripp. I 
		feel this kid in my bones.

					GRADY
		Only in your bones?

	GRADY smirks, glances at Crabtree, but gets a surprise; 
	CRABTREE offers no snappy come-back, no antic wordplay. He 
	just stares out the window, his voice distant.

					CRABTREE
		No. I think I might be right. I've felt it 
		before...

	As Crabtree's voice trails off, GRADY studies him.

					GRADY
		How bad is it for you?

					CRABTREE
		Bad enough. And God knows I don't exactly fit 
		the new corporate profile.

					GRADY
		Which is?

					CRABTREE
		Competence.

	GRADY and CRABTREE look at each other a moment, then 
	CRABTREE smiles, gives a little shrug, and picks up James' 
	knapsack, rummaging through the contents.

					CRABTREE (cont'd) 
		So tell me about you and the Chancellor.

					GRADY
		What's to tell?

					CRABTREE
		Plenty, I'm sure. But, for what it's worth...

	CRABTREE fishes out the biography of Erroll Flynn, gives 
	it a look.

					CRABTREE
		...I like her.

	GRADY peers at the stars, his voice barely audible.

					GRADY
		Me too.

84	EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS     84-

	The battered Galaxie floats up a narrow road, gliding 
	through a canyon of mansion walls and the occasional 
	winding drive. Up ahead a stone post marker with the 
	numerals "262." GRADY kills the headlights.

					GRADY
		This is it.

84A	EXT. LEER HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

	Grady--limping like an aging prizefighter--leads CRABTREE 
	up a steep incline toward an enormous three-story house. 
	The Leer's Mercedes gleams in the shadows.

					CRABTREE
		Jesus. There must be two dozen windows on . 
		that thing. How are we-supposed to find his?

					GRADY
		I told you. They keep him chained in the 
		basement. Come on.

85	EXT. REAR - LEER HOUSE

	LIGHT GLOWS from a low BASEMENT WINDOW. From one side, a 
	WOMAN is HEARD SINGING. GRADY and CRABTREE pause, listen.

					WOMAN SINGING 
		Why should I care though he gave me the air? 
		Why should I cry, heave a sigh, and wonder why? 
		And wonder why?

					CRABTREE
		Doris Day.

	CRABTREE and GRADY look at each other.

					GRADY/CRABTREE
		James Leer.

	GRADY moves to the window and RAPS on the glass. A moment 
	later, James peeks out. Seeing Grady, his face brightens 
	briefly, unguarded, then quickly resumes its usual Leerian 
	aspect. He motions with his hand, as if to say, "That way."

86	EXT. BASEMENT DOOR    

	The DOOR swings open to reveal James Leer, decked out in 
	a pair of RED, INK-STAINED PAJAMAS sagging badly in the 
	seat. He looks like one of Santa's elves.

					JAMES LEER
		Hey. What are you guys doing here?

					CRABTREE
		We're springing you. Leer. Get some pants on.

	As they step inside, GRADY gives James' PJs the once-
	over.

					GRADY
		I can't believe you made fun of my robe.

87	INT. JAMES' ROOM - BASEMENT    87

	Electric CANDELABRAS light a large converted cellar whose 
	walls are crowded with MOVIE POSTERS and LOBBY CARDS. There 
	are STACKS of what look suspiciously like LIBRARY BOOKS and 
	an enormous BAROQUE BED, complete with CANOPY.

					CRABTREE
		I like what you've done with it. When's 
		Captain Nemo moving in?

					JAMES LEER 
		The candelabras were my Gran's.

					GRADY
		Oh, Christ, don't start on ol' Gran or we'll 
		leave you here.

					CRABTREE
		Hey, I heard all about it--the parents, the 
		grandparents, the China town thing-- and I 
		believe you, okay? That's why we're here. Now 
		go get dressed.

	James scoops up the shirt GRADY lent him. this morning.

					JAMES LEER
		Can I--I mean--do you mind--if I wear this 
		again. Professor Tripp?

					GRADY
		Ah, wear whatever you want.

	James flinches, stung, then disappears into a bathroom.

					CRABTREE
		So modest.

					GRADY
		So sensitive.

					CRABTREE
			(nosing around the room)
		Oh, come on, Tripp. Cut the kid some slack.

					GRADY
		It's just ail that crap he spins out. Just 
		once I'd like to know if the little bastard is 
		telling the truth.

					CRABTREE
		The-truth. I know that's always been real 
		important to you. Key, check this out...

	CRABTREE leans over an old ROYAL TYPEWRITER, reads from 
	the freshly-typed PAGE curling from the carriage.

					CRABTREE
		Finally, the door opened. It-was a shock to: 
		see him, shuffling into the room like an aging 
		prizefighter. Limping. Beaten.'
			(with an amused smile) 
		Sound like anyone we know?
			(resuming) 
		But it was later, when the great man squinted 
		into the bitter glow or twilight...
			(frowning)
		Bitter glow of twilight? This kid definitely 
		needs an editor.
			(resuming)
	...and muttered simply, "It means nothing. All of it. 
	Nothing," that the true shock came. It was then that the 
	boy understood that his hero's true injuries lay hidden in 
	a darker place. His heart...'

	CRABTREE stops abruptly.

					GRADY
		Yes? 'His heart...'

	CRABTREE hesitates, then... reads on:

					CRABTREE
		'His heart, once capable of inspiring others 
		so completely, could no longer inspire so much 
		as itself. It beat now only out of habit. It 
		beat now only because it could. '

	GRADY nods, his face unreadable, then James returns.

					JAMES LEER 
		I'm ready...

	James stops, sees the two men looking at him.

					JAMES LEER 
		You all right, Professor Tripp?

					CRABTREE
		He's great. Come on, let's blow before ol' 
		Gran decides to boil your bones for breakfast.

					JAMES LEER
		Oh, well, that's just it. She's been coming 
		down here, every half hour or so, to, sort of, 
		check on me. If I'm not here, she might ...call 
		the police or.. .something.

					CRABTREE
		Hhhuh. So we decoy her. Stick a couple pillows 
		and one of your teddy bears under the spread 
		and she won't know the difference.

					JAMES LEER 
			(brightening)
		Yeah. Like in Against All Flags. Only they use 
		a couple big hams.

					GRADY
		No.

	CRABTREE and James turn.

					GRADY
		I've got something better than a teddy bear.

	CUT TO: POE -- as he's lowered delicately onto James' 
	bed. 

88	INT. JAMES' ROOM - BASEMENT (A FEW MINUTES LATER) 

	GRADY strategically arranges the coverlet, gently 
	adjusting Poe's head so only a TUFT of FUR shows. He steps 
	back, joining CRABTREE and James for an assessment.

					GRADY
		Sweet dreams, Jimmy.

89	EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - LATER 

	The lights are still blazing, the front door is wide 
	open, but not a soul remains.

90	INT. LIVING ROOM

	A quiet disaster, the only sound an LP playing meekly on 
	the STEREO. James passes through first, ignoring the 
	TORTILLA CHIPS POPPING under his shoes, then CRABTREE and 
	GRADY appear.

					CRABTREE
		Things must've picked up after we left.

	CRABTREE pats Grady's cheek, heads upstairs. 

91	INT. HALLWAY

	Crabtree's door is closing as GRADY hobbles into view.

					GRADY
		Crabtree.

					CRABTREE
			(sticking his head out) 
		Ye-es?

	GRADY looks down, sees James Leer's black brogues sitting 
	on the floor outside Crabtree's door.

					GRADY
		Nothing.

	The door closes, the LATCH CLICKS, and GRADY is left 
	alone, the bossa nova floating softly in the air.

92	INT. HANNAH'S ROOM 

	Hannah Green lies tangled in the sheets, surrounded by 
	little colonies of Grady's manuscript. GRADY studies her, 
	then detects something on the floor. The red boots.

	Delicately, he lifts the sheet. Hannah Green's feet-- 
	finally revealed in ail their naked glory--prove to be 
	thick, wide, and ordinary. GRADY
	sighs.

93	INT. GRADY'S OFFICE 

	The TV is on. GRADY steps to the doorway, pauses.

					VOICE 
		Hey.

	A HEAD cranes over the sofa. It's the Goatee Kid from 
	Thaw Hail.

					GRADY
		How are you--is it Joe?

					GOATEE KID
		Jeff. Sorry. I didn't even know this was your 
		house until about an hour ago.

					GRADY
		Don't sweat it. Well. 'Night, Jeff.

					GOATEE KID
		Oh, Professor Tripp? You know, last semester, 
		what I said that time in office hours-I hope 
		there's no hard feelings.

					GRADY
		No...

					GOATEE KID
		I mean, I was breaking up with this girl at 
		the time and my car was ail fucked up and--
		well--I was pretty bent in general.

					GRADY
		It's cool, Jeff. Really.

					GOATEE KID
		I just want you to know that's why I dropped 
		your class and said all that shit about the 
		university stealing my money and you being a 
		pseudo-Faulknerian nobody.

94	EXT. PORCH - GRADY'S HOUSE - NIGHT (A BIT LATER)

	GRADY sits quietly on the porch steps, a joint burning in 
	his fingers. To his left, perched atop a Haagen-Dazs 
	container, is a TELEPHONE. As he pulls it into his lap, a 
	LAMP in the living room pirouettes clumsily, spins free of 
	the cord, and SHATTERS on the floor.

	GRADY blinks, looks away, and DIALS, just as. ..the 
	CLATTERING COUGH of an ENGINE is HEARD and a VAN appears. 
	Stenciled on its side panel is:

	Kravnik's Sporting Goods

	The van slows, almost coasting, then abruptly bursts past 
	Grady's house and disappears around the corner. GRADY 
	frowns, then realizes a MAN'S VOICE is coming from the 
	RECEIVER in his lap.

					MAN (O.S. ) 
		Hello? Hello...?

	The VOICE is groggy. It is Walter Gaskell's voice.

					GRADY
		Walter?

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		Yes?

	GRADY says nothing, as if wondering what he's doing.

					WALTER'S VOICE (cont'd) 
		Who's this ?

					GRADY
		It's Grady, Walter.

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		Grady?

					GRADY
		GRADY Tripp. English Department.

					WALTER'S VOICE
		I know it's you, Grady, I just... Christ, 
		Grady, do you know what time it -is?

					GRADY
			(looking at his watch)
		I have ...eight-fifteen. That's not right, is 
		it?

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		It's three-thirty, Grady.

					GRADY
		This is important.

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		Oh? 

					GRADY
		I... I...

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		What is it, Grady?

					GRADY
		I'm in love with your wife.

					WALTER'S VOICE 
		Excuse me?

					GRADY
		Sara. I'm in love with her.

	Silence. Then Walter's VOICE returns: even, 
	administrative.

					WALTER'S VOICE
		Are you drinking. Professor Tripp? Right now.

	GRADY sips on his roach, responds in a pinched voice.

					GRADY
		No. 

					WALTER'S VOICE
		Nevertheless, I'd like to see you in my office 
		Monday morning.

	As the line goes dead, GRADY stares at the phone, 
	wondering if he has, in fact, just done what he thinks he's 
	just done.

95	EXT. GRADY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - SUNDAY MORNING (NEXT DAY)

	A CAR rattles down the street, NEWSPAPERS pinwheeling 
	from-the window.

96	INT. GRADY'S OFFICE - SAME TIME

	A heavy THHNK hits the driveway outside and GRADY blinks. 
	Sitting in his pink robe, bleary-eyed, he reconsiders the 
	piece of paper curling from his typewriter.

	GRADY'S POV - of THE PAGE

	It's obvious he's been sitting like this for some time. 
	Just then, the DISTINCTIVE PURR of an ENGINE is HEARD. 
	GRADY peers through the window, watches a CAB. glide to the 
	curb below. A Citroen DS23. Sara.

97	EXT. FRONT PORCH - GRADY'S HOUSE

	GRADY steps onto the porch, unintentionally punting a 
	BOTTLE of Iron City Beer onto the front lawn..

					GRADY
		Sara.

					SARA
		I tried to call, but apparently there's 
		something wrong...

	Sara leans down, replaces the uncradled phone.

					SARA (cont'd) 
		...with your phone. Unfortunately, mine was 
		ringing loud and clear this morning.

	GRADY doesn't know what this means, but he's pretty sure 
	it's not good.

					GRADY
		Oh?

					SARA
		It seems one of our students is - missing and 
		his parents found a dead dog in his bed.

					GRADY
			(slumping to the porch)
		I'm sorry, Sara. I've been trying to tell you. 
		It's all my-

	Sara raises her hand, silencing him.

					SARA
		I'm not very happy with you right now, Grady. 
		But more importantly, Walter's not very happy 
		and he's gotten the police involved. They seem 
		to think James Leer is somehow responsible for 
		all of this. You wouldn't happen to know where 
		James is, would you, Grady?

					GRADY
		Inside.

					SARA 
		And the jacket?

					GRADY
		Over there. In the backseat of the...

	Grady's hand hangs in mid-air, gesturing pointlessly to 
	the driveway, where the only thing that exists is an oil 
	stain roughly the shape of North Dakota.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		Someone stole my car.

					SARA
		Grady.

					GRADY
		Honestly. Someone stole my car. I parked it 
		right there last night.

					SARA
		Are you sure you parked it there?

					GRADY
		Of course, I'm sure.  Ah, Christ, the puberty 
		police are back.

	Sara turns, sees Officer Pupcik cruising to the curb.

					SARA
		I'll deal with this. You dig up James.

98	INT. CRABTREE'S ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

	CRABTREE sits in bed, flipping through the pages of The 
	Love Parade while stroking a tiny TUFT of HAIR that is the 
	. sole visible part of .James Leer.

					GRADY
			(swinging in)
		Is he awake?

					CRABTREE
		I'm afraid he's pretty worn out, poor kid.

					GRADY
		Nevertheless. There's a police officer 
		standing on the porch and I don't think he's 
		going away.

					JAMES LEER
			(from under the covers) 
		That same guy?

	CRABTREE peels back the blankets and James Leer opens one 
	eye.

					JAMES LEER 
		You snore.

					CRABTREE
		So I hear.

					JAMES LEER 
			(studying Grady)
		No offense, Professor Tripp, but you look 
		sorta crappy.

					CRABTREE
		He's right, you look horrible.

					GRADY
		Thank you, Frankie and Annette.

	James swings his pale little legs to the floor and walks 
	bare assed across the room to retrieve his BVDs.

					JAMES LEER 
		It's the Chancellor.

					CRABTREE
		Ah, right. Well, I gave you my opinion.

					GRADY
		And we both thank you for that, but we're... 
		we're... fine.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm fine, right. Fit as a fucking fiddle.

	GRADY squints at James as he pulls on his pants.

					GRADY
		Shut up, James.

					CRABTREE
		So what's the problem?

					GRADY
			(a tad tense)
		There is no problem. Did I say there was a 
		problem?

	As James' head pops through Grady's fully-buttoned 
	flannel, he and CRABTREE
	exchange a knowing glance, at once referring to and 
	excluding Grady.

					SARA (0. S.)
		How's it coming back there, Professor Tripp?

					CRABTREE
		Who's that?

					GRADY
		Who do you think it is?

					CRABTREE
		The Chancellor's here? Now?

					GRADY
		Evidently. 
			(calling)
		Coming!     

					JAMES LEER
		Does she mean--does she know about ...her dog?

					GRADY
		It's Walter's dog and yes, she does. Know. But 
		let's spare her the details. Come on, your 
		shoes are in the hail.

					CRABTREE
		James. This book of yours. It's not bad. Not 
		bad at all.

	James stops, considers this piece of news with a look of 
	deep seriousness, then nods.

					JAMES LEER 
		Thank you.

					CRABTREE
		You're welcome.

	As James shuffles off into the hail, CRABTREE looks at 
	Grady, his eyes dancing with excitement.


					CRABTREE
		I want to publish this.  I've got to.  I think 
		they'll let me.  With a little editorial 
		guidance it could be brilliant. 

					GRADY
		Great. Between you and Officer Pupcik out 
		there he can be the next Jean Genet. It's been 
		awhile since somebody wrote a good book in 
		jail.

99	EXT. GRADY'S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

	Sara and GRADY stand by as Pete Pupcik deposits James in 
	the back of the squad car, SLAMS the door.

	PUPCIK
	As I told the Chancellor, Professor, I'm. just going to 
	run James here over to the university. It'll be up to Dr. 
	Gaskell where we go from there.

	GRADY nods, leans in the window to James.

					GRADY
		Don't worry, James, I'll figure something out.

					JAMES LEER
		I'm not worried. You're not worried, are you. 
		Professor Tripp?

					GRADY
		I'm a little worried, James.

					JAMES LEER 
		Don't be. I don't care if they expel me. I 
		probably should be expelled.

					GRADY
		Well, let's see if we can keep that from 
		happening.

	James nods and GRADY starts to step back from the car.

					JAMES LEER
		Professor Tripp...?

					GRADY
		Yes, James.

					JAMES LEER
		Even if I end up going to jail....

	James smiles his crooked grin.

					JAMES LEER (cont'd)
		You're still the best teacher I ever had.

	On this,  Pete Pupcik pulls away, leaving GRADY standing 
	on the curb, watching the back of James' head, framed in 
	the rear  window of the police car, growing smaller.

					SARA
		This is not what the university has in mind 
		when it promises a liberal education, Grady.

					GRADY
		Would Walter really press charges?

					SARA
		It's within the realm. He takes his souvenirs 
		pretty seriously. And he was just a wee bit 
		prickly this morning.

	Grady, detecting something in Sara's tone, turns, watches 
	her take a drag on her cigarette.

					SARA (cont'd) 
		You didn't happen to call the house last 
		night, did you, Grady?

					GRADY
		I think I might have.

					SARA
		And what do you think you might have said?

					GRADY
		I think I might've said I was in love with 
		you.

	Sara's face remains .unchanged.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
		He told you.

					SARA 
		He told me.

					GRADY
		And what did you say?

					SARA
		I said it didn't sound like you. 

	Sara tosses her cigarette in .the gutter, gets into her 
	car, and dives away.  GRADY looks after her sadly, then 
	turns, sees CRABTREE standing on the porch wearing a shirt 
	which claims "Ativan Chases the Clouds Away."

					CRABTREE
		So- what do we do now? ,

					GRADY
		Find the jacket.

					CRABTREE
		Oh' huh. Exactly how do we do that?

					GRADY
		First I see if Hannah will let me borrow her 
		car.

					CRABTREE
		It seems to me that girl would let you borrow 
		her pancreas.

100	INT. HANNAH'S ROOM   - 100

	Hannah, wrapped loosely in cotton sheets, SMILES as she 
	listens to the Goatee Kid, who sits cross-legged at the 
	foot of-her bed, fully clothed.

					GOATEE KID
		I'm telling you, the tango is ail about latent 
		homosexual love. Look at the way they dance--
		it's sodomy.

					HANNAH GREEN
			(laughing) 
		Stop it.

	Hannah looks up, sees GRADY in the doorway and blushes. 
	She pulls the sheet up, gives an oddly formal wave.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Grady. Hi. What's up?

	Jeff eases off the bed, past GRADY uneasily.

					GOATEE KID
		I'll be ...somewhere else.

					GRADY
		Hey, Jeff. If you're really interested in 
		discussing that business with the tango, try 
		the guy at the end of the hall.

	Jeff nods--puzzled--then goes. GRADY smirks.

					GRADY
		He cribbed that from Borges.

					HANNAH GREEN
		It beats 'What's your major?'

	GRADY nods, detecting a new aloofness in her voice.

					GRADY
		Right. Anyway, I was wondering if I could 
		borrow your car. Mine's sort of out of 
		commission.

					HANNAH GREEN
		Sure. The keys are on the dresser next to. 
		..to your book.

	The hitch in Hannah's voice hangs in the room like a 
	cloud.

					HANNAH GREEN
		I uh, I didn't finish, I ...fell asleep.

					GRADY
		That good, hub?

					HANNAH GREEN
		No, it's not that, it's...

	Hannah glances at the huge stack of paper sitting on her 
	dresser, then, hesitantly, looks back to Grady.

					HANNAH GREEN
		It's just that, you know, I was thinking about 
		how, in class, you're always telling us '-that 
		writers make choices--at least the good ones. 
		And, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the 
		book isn't really great-I mean, really great-
		but at times it's, well, very detailed, you 
		know, with the genealogies of everyone's horses 
		and ail the dental records and so on-and I 
		don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but it sort of 
		reads, in places, like, well, actually, like... 
			(with trepidation)
	...you didn't make any choices at all. And I was 
	wondering if it might not be different if, maybe, when you 
	wrote, you weren't always ...under the influence.

					GRADY
			(stung)
		Hh huh. Well, thanks for the thought, but, as 
		shocking as this may sound, I'm not the first 
		writer to sip a little weed. And furthermore, 
		it might interest you to know that one book I 
		wrote, as you say, 'under the influence, ' 
		happened to win a little something called the 
		PEN award which, by the way, I accepted 'under 
		the influence. '

	Hannah nods, averts her eyes, and immediately GRADY feels 
	ridiculous. He starts to say something, but instead gathers 
	his manuscript and exits.

101	INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER   

	Crabtree, dressed now, studies the freight 'in Grady's 
	arms as he reaches the bottom of the stairs.

					CRABTREE
		Want some help with that?

					GRADY
			(passing by)
		Don't touch it.

102	INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT - MOVING  

	CRABTREE sucks on a Kool, driving Hannah's rattling 
	Renault too fast, shifting gears apparently at random. 
	GRADY rides shotgun, still wearing the robe over his 
	clothes, the Wonder Boys manuscript sitting like a 
	watermelon on his lap-looking, all in all, fairly pathetic.

					CRABTREE
		Let me get this straight. Jerry Nathan owes 
		you money. So, as collateral, he gives you his 
		car.

					GRADY
		Only now I'm starting to think the car wasn't 
		exactly Jerry's to give.

					CRABTREE
		So whose car is it?

					GRADY
		My guess-Vernon Hardapple.

					CRABTREE
		The hood jumper?

					GRADY
		He said a few things that lead me to believe 
		the car's his.

					CRABTREE
		Such as.

					GRADY
		'That's my car, motherfucker.'

					CRABTREE
		Hh hub. So. We find Vernon, we find the car. 
		We find the car...

					GRADY
		...we find the jacket.

					CRABTREE
		There's only one problem, Tripp. We don't know 
		his real name. We just made it up. In fact, we 
		made the whole guy up.

					GRADY
		No wonder he screwed us over.

	CUT TO:

	BILL MAZEROSKI legendary Pittsburgh Pirate second 
	baseman, large as a Macy's Day float, his weathered image 
	scaling three floors on the BRICK face of a RIVERFRONT 
	STOREFRONT.

103	INT. HANNAH'S CAR

	CRABTREE takes a corner recklessly, immediately slows, 
	and blinks in amazement.

					CRABTREE
		Christ, Tripp. How did you know?

					GRADY
		Call it a hunch.

	Parked in front of KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS is the white 
	van. A few feet behind, the battered Galaxie.

					CRABTREE
		I'd call it genius.

	GRADY steps out, strips off the robe, and drops the lumpy 
	leviathan that is his manuscript on the front seat.

					GRADY
		It's good to know I'm still talented at 
		something. Keep the motor running.

104	EXT./	INT. GALAXIE    104

	GRADY peers into the backseat, squinting against the WIND 
	that swirls around him. Errol Flynn's face leers back at 
	him. But no jacket. GRADY slides in, pops the glove box, 
	and frowns at the ZIPLOC of Humboldt County. He pockets it 
	anyway, then spies something else.

	James Leer's little PEARL-HANDLED PISTOL.

	GRADY takes it, rotates it-in his palm. SUNLIGHT GLINTS 
	off the chrome barrel and everything slowly turns to a 
	SWEET, SOFT BLUR...

105	INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT 

	CRABTREE stomps on his Kool. GRADY looks very much like a 
	man who has pulled off the road to take a nap.

					CRABTREE
		What the hell...

106	INT. GALAXIE

	As GRADY lolls behind the steering wheel, a CLOUD 
	appears, hovering, then slowly mutates, and GRADY realizes 
	it's not a cloud at all, it's

	MARILYN MONROE standing by the side mirror, wearing a 
	bright pink dress under her wedding jacket.

					MARILYN 
		I know you. . .

	Marilyn's face swims before Grady's eyes, but there's 
	something wrong with it. This girl's eyes are brown and 
	besides, she's ...fat.

					MARILYN (cont'd) 
		Double Dickel on the rocks.

	The last of the fairy dust evaporates and GRADY finds- 
	standing before him in a pink jersey dress and Marilyn 
	Monroe's wedding jacket--0ola, the pregnant waitress from 
	the Hi-Hat Club.

					GRADY
		Oola.

					OOLA 
		I never forget a drink.

					GRADY
		I never forget an Oola.

	Suddenly, there is a HEAVY CLICK.

					MAN'S VOICE (0.S.) 
		Forget me?

	GRADY starts to turn, but his head won't  move: largely 
	because the BARREL of a GERMAN NINE is pressed to his 
	temple. Grady's eyes slide.

					GRADY
		Vernon.

					VERNON
			(to Oola)
		Move away, cupcake.  He's got a gun.

					GRADY
		Who's got a gun?

					VERNON 
		You've got a gun, motherfucker. Drop it!

					GRADY
		Relax, Vernon...

					OOLA 
		Why's he calling you Vernon?

					VERNON
		Why's he sitting in my car? He's crazy, that's 
		why. He probably calls everybody Vernon.

					GRADY
		Not true. You're the only Vernon I know. 
		Actually, I'm wrong. I once knew a Vernon 
		Peabody at Penguin U.K.

					VERNON 
		Shut up. 
			(to Oola)
		Cupcake. Please. Inside.

					OOLA 
		You' re not going to shoot him, are you?

					VERNON
		I'm going to shoot him. If he doesn't put that 
		gun down.

					GRADY
		It's just a souvenir. They don't even make the 
		caps anymore.

					VERNON
		Bullshit. I know a gun when I see one. And 
		that's a gun.

					GRADY
		No, really....

	GRADY lifts his arm, points the little pearl-handled 
	pistol to the DARK CLOUDS overhead.

107	INT. HANNAH'S RENAULT

	CRABTREE jumps as the tiny pistol at the end of Grady's 
	arm FLASHES, makes a FEEBLE POP in the wind.

					CRABTREE
		Holy shit.

108	EXT. KRAVNIKS 

	Vernon stands half-hunched, stunned.

					VERNON 
		Are you crazy!

	The gunshot seems to have cleared Grady's head. He stares 
	at the gun, watches Vernon wrest it from his hand.

					VERNON (cont'd)
		Get out! What's the matter with you? Can't you 
		see the condition my girl's in?

	As GRADY gets out of the car, Vernon places his hand on 
	Oola's tummy.

					VERNON 
		You all right, cupcake?

					OOLA 
		Who's Vernon?

	A rude SQUEAL breaks the silence--rubber scratching 
	asphalt--and Grady, Oola, and Vernon turn to see Hannah 
	Green's rattling Renault lurching awkwardly toward them.

					VERNON 
		What the...?

	Gears GRINDING, tires smoking, CRABTREE fish-tails 
	wildly, then kicks open the passenger door.

					CRABTREE
		Tripp! Run!

	GRADY doesn't move an inch, watching in mute amazement as 
	CRABTREE whistles by, proceeds halfway down the block, then 
	turns back for another pass.

					VERNON
		Who the hell is that?

					GRADY
		A Manhattan book editor murdering a Mormon 
		girl's clutch.

	The car bucks crazily, picks up speed, and Crabtree-- 
	swiping aside a flutter of MANUSCRIPT PAGES that have taken 
	flight inside the car--begins to veer right toward Grady, 
	Vernon, and Oola.

					VERNON 
		Woah.

	Vernon steps into the street, levels the German Nine.

					VERNON (cont'd) 
		Pull off, you crazy motherfucker!

	Frantic, GRADY steps between Vernon, the German Nine, and 
	the oncoming Crabtree.

					GRADY
		No! Don't shoot! He's just a lousy driver.

	CRABTREE fans the wheel wildly, goes into a slide and the 
	passenger door snaps wide, releasing what looks to be a 
	FLOCK OF WHITE DOVES into the wind-whipped sky.

	Only, these ain't birds.  . - ^

					GRADY
		Oh... my... God! 

	These are PAGES. Seven years of-pages.

	CRABTREE goes into another slide, one-hops the curb, and 
	smashes flat into the weathered GLOVE of BILL MAZEROSKI 
	painted on the front wail of KRAVNIK'S SPORTING GOODS.

	As Hannah Green's RADIATOR EXPLODES, CRABTREE steps free 
	of the car and looks skyward. It's a ticker-tape parade ail 
	the way down the street, ending in the frigid waters of the 
	Ohio River. 

					GRADY (cont'd)
			(to Vernon)
		I take it back.  Shoot him. 

109	INT. GALAXIE - MOVING

	Vernon drives, Oola at his side. In-the back, CRABTREE 
	puffs philosophically on a Kool while GRADY sits grimly 
	with the sad remains of his manuscript: SEVEN RUMPLED 
	PAGES, one of which bears the watermark of a shoe print.

					CRABTREE
		Naturally you have copies.

					GRADY
		I have an alternate version of the first 
		chapter. 

					CRABTREE
		You'll be all right then.  Look at Carlyle, 
		when he lost his luggage.

					GRADY
		That was MacCaulay.

					CRABTREE
		Or Hemingway, when Hadley lost all those 
		stories.

					GRADY
		He was never able to reproduce them.

					CRABTREE
		Bad examples. Look, Tripp, I don't want to 
		depreciate the loss here, but perhaps--in a 
		sense- this--
			(nodding to the pages)
		is for the best.

	Grady's eyes shift, study Crabtree.

					GRADY
		Kind of a sign, you're saying.

					CRABTREE
		In a sense.

					GRADY
		I don't think so. In my experience, signs are 
		usually a lot more subtle.

					VERNON
		Let me get this straight. All that paper that 
		went into the river. That was the only copy?

					GRADY
		'Fraid so.

					VERNON
			(glowering at Crabtree)
		And you're saying it's some kind of sign? What 
		the fuck's the matter with you?

					CRABTREE
		I'm just saying that sometimes, 
		subconsciously, a person will put themselves in 
		a situation-perhaps even create that situation-
		in order to have an arena in which to work out
		an unresolved issue. It's a covert way, if you 
		will, of addressing a problem.

	Vernon stares at CRABTREE as if he's from another planet.

					VERNON
		I'll tell you the problem. You behind the 
		wheel. There's your fucking problem.

					CRABTREE
		That's pretty simplistic, don't you think?

					VERNON
		Hey, pal, you don't start doing crazy eights 
		in the middle of the street none of this 
		happens.

					CRABTREE
		Excuse me. Did you, or did you not, have a gun 
		to his head?

					VERNON
		He was trying to steal my car!

					GRADY
		Ail right, all right It's done. There's no 
		need to talk about it. It's done.

	They ride in silence for a moment, then Oola turns, 
	glances at GRADY
	and his little sheaf of pages.

					OOLA 
		So what was it about? 
			(as GRADY looks up)
		Your book.  What was the story?

	GRADY stares into Oola's sweet, brown eyes.

					GRADY
		I don't know...

	Oola's brow wrinkles. CRABTREE glances at his old friend, 
	genuine compassion in his eyes.

					CRABTREE
		What he means is, it's difficult to distill 
		the essence of a book sometimes. It-lives in 
		the mind.

					VERNON
		Yeah, but you gotta know what it's about, 
		right? I mean, if you didn't know what it was 
		about, why were you writing it?

					GRADY
		I couldn't stop.

110	EXT. CAMPUS ENTRANCE

	Grady, James Leer's hollow knapsack in hand, stands with 
	CRABTREE at the campus entrance as Vernon and Oola prepare 
	to leave in the Galaxie.


					GRADY
		Hey, Vernon. Can I ask you a question?

					VERNON 
		Shoot.

	GRADY glances at little round Oola.

					GRADY
		Boy or girl?

					VERNON
		As long as it looks like her, I don't care. 
		You know what I'm saying?

	GRADY watches Vernon give Oola a kiss on the forehead.

					GRADY
		Right. Well, thanks. For the lift.

					VERNON
		No sweat. Only do me a favor?

					GRADY
		Sure.

					VERNON 
		Stop calling me Vernon.

	CRABTREE leans into Grady, WHISPERS.

					CRABTREE
		The jacket, Tripp. We need the jacket.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Oh, right. Oola. About that jacket...

					OOLA 
		Yea?

	GRADY looks at the waitress in her pink jersey dress, 
	snuggled up in the silk wedding jacket.

					GRADY
		It used to belong to Marilyn Monroe. She had 
		small shoulders, like you. Most people don't 
		know that.

	As Oola smiles, pleased, Vernon shakes his head.

					VERNON
		Man, that book of yours must've been one nutty 
		motherfucking ride.

	Vernon points an imaginary gun, fires a friendly cap into 
	Grady, and pulls away. CRABTREE stands stunned.

					CRABTREE
		You mind explaining what you just did?

	GRADY watches the shrinking Galaxie sail under a drooping 
	NORDFEST BANNER, lost in thought.

					GRADY
		Came to my senses. CRABTREE

		Ah. Well. Congratulations. Meanwhile, what is 
		James supposed to do? Pray for Walter Gaskell 
		to come to his?

					GRADY
		Walter Gaskell isn't going to send James Leer 
		to jail, Crabs. I know that.

					CRABTREE
		Do you know he won't expel him?

					GRADY
		No. But I don't think that matters.

					CRABTREE
		That's very enlightened, Professor. It's 
		comforting to know that America's children have 
		you for a teacher.

	GRADY blinks, ponders this briefly, then looks toward the 
	buildings of the campus, his VOICE still distant.

					GRADY
		Nobody teaches a writer anything. You tell 
		them what you know. You tell them to find their 
		voice and stick with it, because that's all you 
		have in the end. You tell the ones who have it 
		to keep at it and you tell the ones who don't 
		to keep at it, too. Because that's the only way 
		to get where you're going. 
			(ruefully) 
		Of course, it helps if you know where you want 
		to go. 
			(thoughtfully)
		Maybe that's the only thing--that and Sara--
		that's made the last seven years worthwhile.

	GRADY slides James' knapsack off his shoulder, smiles 
	cryptically as he considers it. -

					GRADY (cont'd)
		As for James, he doesn't need me anymore...

	Without warning, GRADY tosses CRABTREE the knapsack.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		He's got you.

	CRABTREE stares at the saggy green canvas in his hands, 
	watches GRADY walk away.

					CRABTREE
		Me? What can I do?

					GRADY
		Gee, I don't know, Crabs...
			(over his shoulder)
		Improvise. You're good at that.

	GRADY continues on, leaving CRABTREE to stand alone, as 
	he walks toward the buildings in the distance.

					CRABTREE
		I'm sorry, Tripp.

	GRADY stops, turns.

					GRADY
		You peeked, didn't you?

					CRABTREE
		I peeked. 

	GRADY considers this. Nods. It-doesn't seem to matter 
	anymore

					CRABTREE
		It really had the makings, Tripp. There was a 
		lot to admire. I've ...never read anything 
		quite like it.

	If there was a Kentucky Derby for editorial bullshit, 
	Crabtree's last three utterances would finish win, place, 
	and show. And GRADY knows it.

					GRADY
		You're not just trying to make me feel better?

	CRABTREE looks directly at Grady, his old friend.

					CRABTREE
		Scout's honor.

	CRABTREE and GRADY stare into each other's eyes. Both are 
	acutely aware of the subtext of this conversation.

					GRADY
		Well, thanks for that, Crabs.

111	INT. HALLWAY - ENGLISH DEPARTMENT 

	Dead quiet. Gradually, STEPS are heard, coming from the 
	stairwell, then GRADY limps into view.

112	INT. GRADY'S CLASSROOM - MOMENTS LATER

	GRADY surveys the room. Empty chairs. Empty desks.

	He walks to a WINDOW, the same window he stood at two 
	afternoons ago when reading James Leer's story. A chill 
	breeze pitches the fabric of his shirt as he studies the 
	barren benches and icy walkways of the quad. Finally, he-. 
	turns away, settles behind his desk and, reaching into his 
	pocket, removes the seven remaining pages of his 
	manuscript. He considers them, then folds them in half 
	length-wise. He continues, folding the top right corner 
	down into a triangle along the first crease...

113	EXT. QUAD  

	A moment. Then-from the third floor window-a PAPER 
	AIRPLANE glides into view, soaring then dropping, soaring 
	then dropping, again and again, graceful as a dove.

114	INT. LOBBY - THAW HALL - LATER

	GRADY hobbles into the lobby just as one of the 
	auditorium doors swings open. APPLAUSE SWELLS and he spies 
	Sara standing inside, talking to a STUDENT USHER.

					GRADY
		Sara!

	Sara turns ...as the door glides shut. As GRADY hustles 
	forward, Q, wine glass in hand, intercepts him.

					Q
		Grady. I have to tell you. I took another look 
		at Arsonist's Daughter the other night. There's 
		a description of a bald cypress that left' me 
		breathless.

					GRADY
			(pushing past him)
		Thanks, Q. I felt the same way about the bank 
		teller's breasts in your last one.

115	INT. BACK ROW - AUDITORIUM - THAW HALL

	GRADY enters, but Sara is ...gone. He picks his way 
	behind the back row, scanning the aisles.

					GIRL'S VOICS 
		Hey, Professor Tripp.

	It's Carrie McWhirty, James' tormentor from workshop. 
	GRADY takes another look around, then drops into the seat- 
	next to her.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY
		If you're looking for Hannah, she's on the 
		aisle.

					GRADY
		No...

	But GRADY looks anyway. Hannah sits a dozen rows down the 
	aisle, hair pulled back in a clip, glorious skin gloaming. 
	The Goatee Kid sits close beside her.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY
		Who's that guy she's with? Didn't he used to 
		be in workshop?

					GRADY
		Jeff. He comes from a long line of tango 
		dancers.

116	INT. MAIN STAGE

	Walter turns over the last page of-his prepared notes.

					WALTER
		And now, as those of you who've been with us 
		in previous years know, we have a tradition of 
		sorts here at WordFest. I'm speaking, of 
		course, of The Plums.

	An anticipatory BUZZ sweeps through the audience as 
	Walter begins to read from a separate list.

					WALTER
		This weekend, Susan Lowery, of North Braddock, 
		found a publisher for her children's book. The 
		Loneliest Prawn, Susan, stand up.

117	INT. BACK ROW - THAW HALL^

	As a CHUBBY WOMAN stands to acknowledge the applause, 
	GRADY cranes his neck, searching the sea of seats. To his 
	surprise, he finds CRABTREE sitting prominently in the 
	front row, in his shirtsleeves, smiling his spookily 
	complacent smile. James is next to him, now wearing 
	CRABTREE'S METALLIC SPORTS COAT over Grady's flannel shirt.

					WALTER
		And Robert Wilkenson--who many of you know for 
		his City Beat column in the Post-Gazette--has 
		found a home with Putnam for his new Three 
		Rivers thriller. Blood Patterns. Robert.

	A SHORT, BALDING MAN stands briefly then Walter's VOICE 
	takes a shift in tone.

					WALTER
		Now, this next one, I think, is especially 
		exciting to announce, because it concerns a 
		student here at the university. Our own James 
		Leer, a sophomore in English literature, has 
		found a publisher for his first novel, which I 
		believe is called The Lovely Parade.

	GRADY blinks, leans forward, and watches Walter smile 
	warmly toward the front row. CRABTREE gives James a jab in 
	the ribs and slowly, awkwardly, James rises. Stunned, 
	Carrie McWhirty turns to the GIRL next to her.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY 
		I have a class with him.

	James hangs-like a scarecrow from a nail, waiting as the 
	APPLAUSE slows, then sputters, then dies out altogether.

					CARRIE MCWHIRTY
		The guy's kind of an alien probe, if you know 
		what I mean.

	Grady, in a last attempt to save James from himself, cups 
	Hi his hands around his mouth.

					GRADY
		Take a bow, James!

	James turns, spots GRADY in the back row, then-a sheepish 
	grin on his face--spreads his arms, hangs his head, and 
	takes his first sweet public bow.

					GRADY (cont'd) 
			(softly)
		Wonder Boy.

					WALTER
		And finally--and perhaps not least 
		importantly--Terry Crabtree, of Bartizan, has 
		also decided to publish my own book--a critical 
		exploration of the union of Marilyn Monroe and 
		Joe DiMaggio and its function in American 
		mythopoetics-which, tentatively, I've entitled 
		The Last American Marriage.     "

	Wild, obsequious APPLAUSE. GRADY smiles cynically, 
	watches Walter take a brief, dignified bow of his own.     
	. :

					WALTER 
		Until next year. Thank you, everyone.

	The LIGHTS come up. As the auditorium empties, CRABTREE 
	shakes Walter's hand and Jeff and his goatee escort Hannah 
	Green down the aisle, where she drapes her lovely arms 
	around James.

	GRADY watches them ail, sitting alone in his row, when 
	suddenly Sara appears over James' shoulder. She says 
	something congratulatory, turns, and exits out a side door. 
	GRADY blinks, scrambles up.

118	INT. CORRIDOR - THAW HALL - MOMENTS LATER

	GRADY bursts into the corridor.'

					GRADY
		Sara!

	Its empty. Quiet. GRADY pauses. Somewhere, a HEAVY METAL 
	DOOR CLOSES. GRADY rushes on.

119	INT. NEW CORRIDOR

	Grady, limping badly, turns a corner and sees a DOOR. He 
	moves to it, pushes past...

120	INT. STAIRWELL - CONTINUOUS

	...and finds himself standing in a stairwell. He leans 
	out over the railing, peers down. It's a steep drop, very. 
	steep, ending in a small rectangular space, a kind of 
	basement office, with VENDING MACHINES, PLASTIC CHAIRS, and 
	a COLLAPSIBLE CARD TABLE.

	GRADY turns back to the door he came through, pushes 
	against it. Locked. He sighs, looks back at the stairs, his 
	ailing ankle, then sits. He fishes out the Ziploc of- 
	marijuana, considers the perfectly roiled JOINT floating 
	atop the bag of buds, but, for once, isn't up to it. The 
	SOUND of FOOTSTEPS echoes far below and, hopeful they're 
	Sara's, GRADY pulls himself up, peers over the railing.

	It's Traxler, with a broom, a big plastic bag.

					GRADY
		Yo, Traxler.

					TRAXLER 
			(looking up)
		Hey, Professor Tripp.

	GRADY considers the Ziploc in his hand, looks down again.

					GRADY
		Do you get high, Sam?

					TRAXLER
		Only when I'm working.

	GRADY hangs-over the railing and lets fly the Ziploc.  It 
	pinwheels through the vortex of stairs, lands at Sam's 
	feet.

					TRAXLER 
		Holy shit. Are you serious?

					GRADY
		As a heart attack.

					TRAXLER
		Thanks-Whoa, Professor Tripp, careful ^here...

	GRADY is still hanging over the railing-but looking dizzy 
	now. His eyelids flutter and he tips forward-a Steinway on 
	a window ledge-and as he starts to drop...

	...there is a SHARP JERK on his- COLLAR, a SHIRT BUTTON 
	caroms off his cheek, and slowly, he is hauled back.

					SARA
		Grady, what are you doing, you idiot?

	GRADY looks up into Sara's freckled face.

					GRADY
		Looking for you.

	He wants to say more, he opens his mouth, but then... ALL 
	GOES BLACK AS SARA'S VOICE CALLS...

	faintly at first, then more forcefully, calling Grady's 
	name, calling so insistently that the earth seems to RUSH 
	upward until we see that she is...

	KISSING him or something, and all goes softly... Blue.

121	INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

	GRADY lies in a powder blue paper gown surrounded by blue 
	plastic curtains in a blue room. Through a gap in the 
	curtains, he can see the bottle of-GLUCOSE that drips 
	slowly into his arm, and beyond, a window. Flakes of SNOW 
	fall outside.

	The DOOR SQUEALS, a SHADOW ripples across the blue, then 
	the curtains part and a RESIDENT with a clipboard appears. 
	His NAMETAG says GREENHUT.

					GRADY
		I passed out.

					GREENHUT
		You did.

					GRADY
		I've been doing that a lot lately.

					GREENHUT
		So I hear. You've also been smoking a lot of 
		marijuana, I understand.

					GRADY
		Do you think that's why I've been having 
		these...
			(grabbing James' term)
		 ... spells?

					GREENHUT
		How long have you been having them?

					GRADY
		The last month maybe.

					GREENHUT
		How long have you been smoking marijuana?

					GRADY
		Spiro T. Agnew was vice president, I believe.

					GREENHUT
		That's probably not the problem, then. What 
		about your lifestyle. Any major changes 
		recently?

					GRADY
		I've been trying to finish a book...

					GREENHUT
		And your wife left you.

					GRADY
		Is that in my chart?

					GREENHUT
		I spoke with the woman who saved your life. 
		You're lucky she came along when she did.

	GRADY considers the larger ramifications of this 
	statement

					GRADY
		I know.

					GREENHUT
			(tapping the glucose bottle)
		You need to see a doctor, Mr. Tripp. An 
		internist. And I think you really ought to 
		consider seeing a therapist, as well.

					GRADY
		She told you about. . .

					GREENHUT
		Her dog, yes.

					GRADY
		Actually, it was her husband's dog...

	Greenhut glances up, looking GRADY in the eyes for the 
	first time, and GRADY
	stops.

					GREENHUT
		Look, Mr. Tripp. You have a drug problem, all 
		right? On top of that, you have a bite on your 
		ankle that is severely infected. We pumped you 
		with antibiotics so you'll be fine, but another 
		day or two and you might have lost the foot. As 
		for your spells. I'm guessing they're a result 
		of the anxiety you've been experiencing lately.

					GRADY
		They're anxiety attacks? That's a little 
		disappointing.

					GREENHUT
		Better luck next time.

					GRADY
		So is my friend...is Sara still here?

					GREENHUT
		No. There's no one here.

					GRADY
		I have to see her. As soon as possible.

	Greenhut studies Grady, calibrating the desperation in 
	his eyes, then takes a quick glance at his watch.

					GREENHUT
		Look, Mr. Tripp. If you really want to leave, 
		I can't stop you. But I'm going to write you a 
		prescription for a course of ampicillin and I 
		want you to follow it to the end-no matter how 
		stupid you decide to be with everything else. 
		All right?

122	INT. HOSPITAL/BRIDGE WALKWAY - AFTERNOON

	GRADY sits in a WHEELCHAIR, watching the snow fail around 
	him as a NURSE escorts him through the tunnel of glass that 
	connects one building to another.

					GRADY
		I wonder if you could show me something. 

123	EXT. NURSERY - HOSPITAL - MOMENTS LATER

	GRADY stares through the glass. There are only TWO BABIES 
	on display, heads dented from natural delivery, skin purple 
	and crazy with veins.

					GRADY
		Are these the only ones you have?

	The nurse's eyes crinkle.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Kidding... 

124	EXT. GASKELL HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

	GRADY pays a TAXI CAB DRIVER, then turns,     looks at 
	the Gaskell house.

125	EXT. FRONT DOOR - MOMENT LATER

	GRADY KNOCKS. Nothing. Peers into the living room window.  
	Dark.  He stands helplessly, then spies the greenhouse, 
	standing ghostly across the yard, feathers of snow drifting 
	onto its roof, melting.

126	EXT. GREENHOUSE - MOMENT LATER12S

	GRADY hobbles to the greenhouse, puts both hands to the 
	glass as he looks inside. Quiet. Empty. Dispirited, he 
	pulls away, but not before leaving...

	...the IMPRINTS of his hands, perfectly etched in the 
	frost of the glass.

127	EXT. STREET  127

	The snow continues to fall as GRADY lumbers down the 
	street. Finally, wearily, he stops, sits his crippled self 
	on the curb. He plunges his fist into his jacket and. 
	..straight through the lining, James Leer's silly little 
	pistol at the end of his hand. He considers the pistol, 
	then looks up into the sky.

	GRADY'S POV - of the SKY... 

	...dark and menacing. Suddenly, a THUNDERCLAP shatters 
	the silence.

	NEW ANGLE - GRADY ...still sitting with the gun in his 
	hand.

					GRADY
			(as if addressing God) 
		Is that a suggestion?

	GRADY sits, blinking the snow out of his eyes, then TWO 
	SHAFTS of-LIGHT dance across his shoes. A white Citroen 
	DS23 appears.  It passes.  Slows.  Stops. 

	GRADY stares at the car, burbling at the curb, then lifts 
	himself up and makes his way to the driver's window. Sara 
	makes a face, bugging her eyes a little-mad at him, but- 
	not without humor. Then she rolls down the window.

					GRADY
		I'm so glad to see you, Sara.

					SARA
		I believe you. Did that nice doctor let you 
		out? Or-is this you improvising again, Grady?

					GRADY
		I'm through improvising. 

					SARA
		Terry told me about Wonder Boys. Is  it true? 
		Did you lose it all?

					GRADY
		I lost it ail.

					SARA
		Oh, Grady. You're such a putz.

					GRADY
		I know.

					SARA 
		And you're old.

	Sara strokes his scalp, takes a gray hair between her 
	fingers. Yanks.

					GRADY
		Ouch. How many?

					SARA 
		Dozens. It's very sad.

	Sara smiles at Grady, but the mischief leaves her eyes 
	when she looks into his, and-she glances away.

					GRADY
		I went and looked at-some babies just now.

					SARA
		Oh?

					GRADY
			(trying to make her laugh)
		I guess you have to go on faith.

					SARA
			(she doesn't)
		Some times...

	GRADY studies her as she traces her finger around the 
	HOSPITAL BRACELET still encircling his wrist.

					GRADY
		Did you tell Walter?

					SARA
		I told Walter. 

					GRADY
		Does he still love you?

					SARA
		It didn't come up. 

	GRADY studies Sara's freckled cheeks, her anxious 
	profile, then turns her chin gently toward him.

					GRADY
		Well I do. I've always loved you, Sara. I 
		didn't know it at the time, but I'd always been 
		waiting for you. My whole life. Because you're 
		who I need. Because nothing makes sense without 
		you. Because the best moment of every day is 
		the moment I first see your face. And because 
		when you leave a room, there's no reason to be 
		in it any more. It's just a room again.

	Sara cocks her head.

					SARA 
		Did you just make that up?

					GRADY
			(shaking his head)
		In the hospital. I "was kind of excited about 
		it at-the time, but then I was on pretty heavy 
		painkillers.

	She frowns good-naturedly. 

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Even so...it's still true. Every word.

	Sara just nods, looks away, her face unreadable.

					GRADY (cont'd)
		Sara, I promise, even though commonsense might 
		tell you...

	Sara turns, puts a finger on GRADY's lips...

					SARA 
		Don't write a page when a paragraph will do.

	GRADY nods, takes her hand. Looks at it as he speaks.

					GRADY
		You don't deserve me, you know.

					SARA
		I know, but sometimes... 

	Sara turns, looks at Grady. Her eyes are glistening. 

					SARA (cont'd) 
		You just go on faith.

	GRADY looks into her eyes, then rises, and we do too, 
	drifting above the streetlights as GRADY limps to the other 
	side of the car and gets in. As GRADY snaps shut his door, 
	the car drifts off, gradually losing itself in- the soft 
	veil of falling snow. After a moment, GRADY and Sara are 
	lost too, nothing more than a blur.


	THE END