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#106 : La chambre

Un veuf affecté et un peu méchant vient camper dans la maison funéraire des Fisher suite à la mort de sa femme de 56 ans. Claire a un coup de foudre avec le frère de Brenda, Billy. Ruth tombe sur Hiram à l'église et le rejette à nouveau; Plus tard, elle se fait draguer par Nikolai, le fleuriste Russe des Fisher. En servant des repas de l'église pour les sans-abris, David se fait harceler par Tracy Montrose Blair, une jeune fille récemment divorcée. Finalement, en regardant dans les comptes de la maison funéraire, Nate découvre des secrets laissés par son père...

Titre VO
The Room

Titre VF
La chambre

Photos promo

Les Fisher  dans leur entreprise de pompes funèbres

Les Fisher dans leur entreprise de pompes funèbres

L'homme reste auprès de sa femme décédée

L'homme reste auprès de sa femme décédée

Plus de détails


Scene: Jones House

MR. JONES, an old black man, is lying in bed with his wife, HATTIE, in the early morning. The window is open. He wakes up and gets out of bed.

Mr. Jones: Damn, this house is cold. Shit, Hattie, it's like a goddamn ice box. (sees the open window and goes to close it) Well, no wonder! Girl, are you crazy? We live in the desert, it gets cold at night. You plan on sleeping all day? Plan on gettin' me some breakfast before nightfall! Come on, bitch. (he nudges her with a pillow) Get your lazy ass up. Come on, this ain't the old folks' home. (He touches HATTIE. She is not moving.) Hattie? Hattie? Hattie!

The screen fades to white.

JANUARY 7, 1922-MARCH 10, 2001"

Act One

Scene One: Brenda's House

BRENDA is putting food in the fridge, while NATE sits and reads "Charlotte: Light & Dark". She tries to talk to him, but he ignores her, totally engrossed in the book.

Brenda: I hate this client. Every time she gets dumped by a guy, she gets a puppy. So now she's got like 15 dogs, they're all male, they're all huge, and they sit there and watch with their tongues hanging out while I work on her. It's like being in some live sex show for Asian businessmen, frat boys--(realizes he's not listening) which I actually did for a while, back in the 80s, make some money. I got this great thing going with ping pong balls you'd really like. I must show it to you sometime. (still, no response) Hey, wouldn't it be funny if I got some hedge clippers and cut off your dick?

Nate: (not paying attention) What?

Brenda: Do me a favor, OK? Don't read that shit in front of me.

Nate: You gave it to me.

Brenda: Yeah, come on, I'm late.

Nate: I'm at the part with the doll.

We see a flashback, in grainy film footage, of BRENDA, as a young girl in DR. GARETH FEINBERG's office, holding her doll.

Dr. Feinberg: Why is your doll angry?

Young Brenda: Because she got raped.

Dr. Feinberg: Really? By who?

Young Brenda: By you.

Dr. Feinberg: Brenda, do you know what "raped" means?

Young Brenda: It means she was forced into sexual intercourse against her will.

Nate: It's so cool. You were obviously doing it to scare him into leaving you alone, right?

Brenda: What do you want from me? I was 8.

Nate: Did it work?

Brenda: No, it didn't work. I just got a whole new level of scrutiny by a whole different set of vultures, only this time they were women. I'm leaving. You still want a ride?

NATE follows her out the door.

Scene Two: Fisher Kitchen

DAVID enters the room to see RUTH standing motionless, staring at a pot she is holding.

David: You alright?

Ruth: (not moving) Yes, I'm fine.

David: What are you doing today?

Ruth: (still preoccupied) Um, well, the cabinets. I'm gonna try to organize the cabinets.

David: Good. (kisses her on the cheek) I'll be downstairs.

Ruth: Alright.

DAVID leaves, and RUTH continues to stare at the pot.

Scene Three: Car Repair Shop

NATE is standing at the front desk with the MECHANIC.

Mechanic: Hey, Bobby!

Bobby: Yeah?

Mechanic: Bring the Lincoln Town Car round front.

Bobby: OK. (He goes.)

Mechanic: You're the other Fisher boy, huh? The one from... where? Oregon?

Nate: Seattle.

Mechanic: Right. The health food thing.

Nate: Yup.

Mechanic: I remember your dad talked about you. Sorry to hear about him, man. He was a funny guy.

Nate: Yeah? (takes out his wallet)

Mechanic: No, you don't pay.

Nate: Don't pay?

Mechanic: Yeah, your dad buried my brother a few years back. It was in trade.

Nate: My father traded a funeral for oil changes?

Mechanic: (laughs) Yeah, I guess so.

Scene Four: Fisher Kitchen

CLAIRE enters the kitchen, on her way out the door. She grabs a banana. RUTH is still staring at the pot.

Claire: Bye, Mom. Have a good day.

CLAIRE leaves. RUTH pays no attention.

Scene Five: Room Behind the Curtain

DAVID is having a meeting with MR. JONES.

David: So would you like us to take care of finding you a cemetery plot, Mr. Jones?

Jones: Yeah, I don't wanna do that.

David: Would you like a double plot?

Jones: What for?

David: Well, one for your wife and one for you. Next to each other.

Jones: Is this what you do all the time? Sell people their own graves?

David: Well, yes, sir. This is my job.

Jones: Don't try to pull that shit with me, boy. I want a simple box. No frills. You can't take advantage of me because I'm old. I'll kick your ass!

David: Just a single plot, then.

Jones: No. Double plot. Shit.

David: Will you want Mrs. Jones prepared for viewing?

Jones: Yes, I want to see her, but I don't want you messin' with her none. I don't want you to cut her or stick her or pickle her like an egg.

David: If you want a viewing, I strongly would recommend--

Jones: That's my wife, boy, I don't want you to touch her!

David: Mr. Jones, I can guarantee that you will not want to see her, nor will anybody else, unless she's been embalmed. I would beg you to consider what your wife would want.

Jones: She's dead, fool! Don't matter what she wants!

David: Well, yes, sir, but--after death, the body immediately begins to decompose much quicker than you might think. The skin begins to separate, there's quite an unpleasant odor. Should you choose to forego embalming, my recommendation would be cremation, as soon as possible. That's just the way it is, Mr. Jones.

Jones: I don't want to burn her up. I want to see her.

David: Fine. You do understand, however, that that means she'll have to be embalmed.

Jones: I ain't payin' for that.

David: Sir, the cost is minimal--I will waive the embalming fee, Mr. Jones, alright?

Scene Six: Basement

NATE is going through his father's records and ledgers. They contain the information for all the funerals, the prices, and what was paid. Near some of the names, however, including FRANK McCLUSKY and VICTORIA WILCOX, next to the word "PAID" under their names, there is a small asterisk (*). NATE takes a separate piece of paper and writes down all the names with asterisks next to them.

Act Two

Scene One: Outside St. Bart's, after the service

David: That was a good sermon, I thought.

Ruth: Did you?

David: You didn't?

Ruth: I didn't really listen to it.

TRACY appears behind DAVID and waves to him.

Tracy: (sing-song voice) Hello! Hello!

David: Hello.

Tracy: Hello, Mrs. Fisher, I'm Tracy Blair, David's friend.

David: Tracy.

Tracy: I keep asking him when we're gonna meet his fiancee. Does she go to another church?

David: Yes.

Ruth: What fiancee?

David: Tracy, I told you, Jennifer and I had broken it off years ago.

Tracy: You did? So there's no fiancee now?

David: (to RUTH) Excuse us. (grabs TRACY by the arm and pulls her aside) That's really a sore subject for us all.

Tracy: Ow! You're hurting my arm.

The camera moves back to RUTH. HIRAM walks up to her.

Ruth: Hiram! How are you?

Hiram: I'm fine, thank you.

Ruth: Have you come to church? I haven't seen you.

Hiram: I wanted to give you some space.

Ruth: Please don't sacrifice anything on my account.

Hiram: A little late for that. I miss you. Can I see you?

Ruth: No.

Hiram: Ruth, haven't you punished yourself enough?

In the background throughout this small scene, we have seen DAVID talking his way out of having to talk to TRACY. Finally, he returns to RUTH.

David: (to RUTH) Shall we go? (notices HIRAM, shakes his hand) Hi, I'm David Fisher.

Hiram: Hiram Gunderson.

David: Nice to meet you--(notices RUTH turning away) You're the hairdresser.

Hiram: It's nice to meet you, son.

David: Don't call me that.

Ruth: David!

David: What? I'll go get the car.

Ruth: No, I'm coming with you. (DAVID walks ahead; to HIRAM) It's good to see you. You look well.

Scene Two: Fisher Front Hall

Someone is knocking very loudly and insistently at the door. CLAIRE has just woken up. She stumbles downstairs, in the clothes she wore last night.

Claire: OK! I hear you! Jesus! (she opens the front door)

Jones: Who are you?

Claire: I live here. Who are you?

Jones: I want to see my wife.

Claire: Oh, I'm sorry. We're not open yet. Everyone who knows anything is gone.

Jones: I want to see my wife.

Claire: Look, sir, I'm sorry. I don't deal with the dead people, so you're just gonna have to come back when my brothers are home.

Jones: Bitch, I don't need your permission. (sticks his foot in the door)

Claire: Sir, I'm sorry, you're just gonna have to come back later. (starts to close door)

Jones: (yells) Ow, my foot!

Claire: What?

Jones: (louder) Help! Help! There's a white girl trying to cripple an old black man!

Claire: Honestly...

MR. JONES pushes his way inside and heads for the basement. CLAIRE follows.

Claire: Look, sir, you can't go in there!

Scene Three: Fisher Front Hall/Slumber Room, a few minutes later

BRENDA knocks at the front door and lets herself in.

Brenda: Hello! Hello, is anyone home?

Claire: Yes, in here!

BRENDA comes to the slumber room, where CLAIRE is sitting at a bench. MR. JONES is asleep or unconscious, his hand firmly grasping CLAIRE's.

Brenda: Who's your friend?

Claire: Hell if I know! His wife died, and he wanted to see her. I guess she isn't ready yet. He looked like he was about to keel over, so I helped him sit down. Then I had to listen to him bitch and moan about public transportation for fucking ever, and then he just, like, passed out. Now I can't get his fucking hand to let go!

Brenda: Maybe he died.

Claire: Very funny. No, he's still breathing. And farting. Can you help me pry his hand loose?

Brenda: (smiles) Sure. (she helps her pry his hand lose, but continues to hold JONES' hand) Is Nate around? I just bought this fabulous antique chest, weighs a ton. I'm gonna need a hand getting it home.

Claire: No, I haven't seen him. I can help you move it, though.

Brenda: Uh, no, thanks.

Claire: So what? I'm no good because the whole cabinet thing is just foreplay for you to fuck my brother?

Brenda: No. I'm just not into babysitting high school girls. No offense.

Jones: (wakes up with a start) Let go of me! Goddamn! What are you all trying to do? Trying to steal my watch? I oughtta call the goddamn cops!

Claire: Why? You're the one who's breaking and entering! Look, we've gotta go move a chest. Someone should be back soon to let you see your wife.

Jones: Hey, little girl.

Claire: What?

Jones: You ain't foolin' nobody.

Claire: Great. Thanks. I'll work on that. (to BRENDA) Look, I'll be like one minute to change, OK? (She leaves.)

Brenda: Are you gonna be OK here alone?

Jones: Everybody's alone. You're born alone, you die alone, goddamn it.

Brenda: I'm sorry about your wife.

Jones: You didn't know her.

Scene Four: Garden

NATE walks up to JESSICA WILCOX, an older woman, one of the names in his dad's records. She is gardening.

Nate: Jessica Wilcox? I'm Nate Fisher, Nathaniel's son.

Scene Five: Hothouse, a little later

Jessica and Nate are sitting opposite each other.

Jessica: I wondered why I hadn't heard from Nathaniel in quite a while. I hate this. I hate that I'll never see him again. He was such a kook!

Nate: Kook? Dad?

Jessica: I don't think anybody made me laugh like that. He had such a sense of humor.

Nate: So I hear.

Jessica: He was really proud of you.

Nate: I'm Nate, not David.

Jessica: I know who you are. You're the one who took off. Your father really respected you for that. Said he wished he'd had the guts to do that when he was a kid.

Nate: Mrs. Wilcox, did you have some kind of arrangement with my father?

Jessica: Arrangement?

Nate: In our ledgers, some of the funerals were marked differently, and your mother's was one. Seems my father sometimes traded his services for payments other than cash.

Jessica: Please don't take this the wrong way, but can I see some kind of identification? Driver’s license would do.

Nate: Uh--sure. (shows her his license)

Jessica: (looking at it) Libra, huh? I would've taken you for a Capricorn. You drink a lot of coffee up in Seattle?

Nate: Yeah.

Jessica: Better be careful. Give you kidney stones. (She hands him a plastic Zip-loc sandwich bag with marijuana in it. NATE looks shocked.) Oh, come on! Surely you wouldn't begrudge your father such a minor indulgence!

Nate: My father never smoked pot.

Jessica: Not in front of you, he didn't. It's the finest organic. Grown in San Francisco by my son. Take it. It's your father's monthly supply.

Scene Six: Park

DAVID is doing volunteer work today for St. Bart's, feeding the homeless. He is now helping FATHER JACK take boxes out of the van's trunk.

Father Jack: How is your mother doing with the grieving, David?

David: She is fine. As far as I can tell. You know her, she likes to suffer in silence.

Father Jack: Ah hah. That seems to be a family trait. You know it's God's will for us to live our lives fully. Breathing in the joy around us, not just shouldering the pain. God wants us to be happy.

Through this scene, they have walked over to a folding chair and started taking out food. TRACY walks over and takes out food.

Tracy: I call them energy buns. They're my own recipe. Well, not really. Adding the peppers was something I picked up on my honeymoon. Have you ever been to Brazil?

David: Uh, no.

Tracy: Oh, my God, Brazilians are the most beautiful people alive. They're like these fabulous mongrels who've incorporated all the very best attributes from every race. I mean, all that crossbreeding, hello! (TRACY’s voice starts to fade now, as DAVID becomes more and more bored) I had a half-breed mutt who lived to be almost 20, and then I got this purebred, Corky, and its hips disintegrated before it was even 2... (faded away completely)

Scene Seven: Park, a little later

DAVID and TRACY stand on one side of the table, behind trays of hot food. They hand out the food to a line of homeless people on the other side.

David: Here you go.

Homeless Man: Fuck you, church freaks!

David: Well, enjoy.

Tracy: (to DAVID) Do you cook? I hate cooking just for myself. That's the worst part about being divorced. That and the no regular sex thing.

Hiram: (walks up to them; he is also volunteering) David, could I talk to you for a moment? Alone.

David: (to TRACY) Excuse us. (pulls HIRAM aside) What do you want?

Hiram: Ruth won't talk to me. I'm worried about her. I was hoping that you could--

David: You were fucking my mother while my father was still alive, and now you want me to--

Hiram: I understand if you're upset with me.

David: Understand this. Whatever you have with my mother is between you and her, but I have no interest in helping you. (walks away)

Scene Eight: Restaurant

Restaurant Owner: Table for one?

Nate: Are you the owner?

Restaurant Owner: Yes.

Nate: Did you know my father, Nathaniel Fisher?

Scene Nine: The Room

The RESTAURANT OWNER takes NATE behind the restaurant and opens the door to a small room.

Restaurant Owner: This used to be our storeroom. But when I finally got a loan from the bank, I put an extension onto the kitchen. Your father buried my wife seven years ago. I had very little money for the funeral. He asked if he could have this room as his own, and that would be my settlement.

Nate: What did he do here?

Restaurant Owner: I don't know. (leaves NATE the key) Stay as long as you would like.

Nate: How often did he come here?

Restaurant Owner: Well, sometimes we wouldn't see him for months. Sometimes he was here everyday. (leaves)

NATE sees a pack of cards on the table. He goes through a box of records. He puts a record on, and walks around some more. He finds a glass with lipstick smudge on it. NATE looks up and sees NATHANIEL, SR. sitting at the table, smoking pot and drinking alcohol. Then he is sitting at the couch, listening to rock music. Then he is dancing. Then the room is filled with bikers and NATHANIEL, SR. is doing bong hits with them. Then, they disappear. A blonde hooker appears and gives NATHANIEL, SR. a blowjob. Then she is gone and NATHANIEL, SR. stands by the window, shooting outside people with a rifle. NATE watches, stunned. NATHANIEL, SR. then appears, standing behind NATE.

Act Three

Scene One: Front Porch of Fisher House

RUTH is outside, doing some gardening. NIKOLAI, the owner of a local flower shop, gets out of his truck and brings flowers up to her. He has a heavy Russian accent.

Nikolai: Aah, Mrs. Fisher!

Ruth: Good afternoon, Nikolai! I don't believe I've had the chance to thank you yet. When Kroehner started pressuring everyone to cut us off, most of our suppliers just abandoned Fisher & Sons. You stuck with us.

Nikolai: Of course I stick with you!

He sees a bead of sweat on RUTH's forehead. He takes out a small handkerchief from his pocket and wipes it away. RUTH becomes very uncomfortable.

Ruth: Thank you. (referring to the flowers she is planting, not the ones he brought) These flowers are not gonna plant themselves.

Nikolai: Such delicate skin. You have Russian color.

Ruth: I do?

Nikolai: You don't like the beauty you have?

Ruth: The front door is open. You can leave the flowers inside.

Nikolai: OK.

Scene Two: Brenda's House

BRENDA and CLAIRE move the very heavy chest to the corner.

Brenda: OK, that is where the chest is gonna have to stay.

Claire: God, that shit is heavy.

Brenda: You wanted to help.

CLAIRE notices NATE's copy of "Charlotte: Light & Dark" on the table.

Claire: Oh, my God, is this yours?

Brenda: No, that's Nate's, but he keeps leaving it in my car.

Claire: I love this book!

Brenda: You read it?

Claire: Oh, yeah, my friends and I were all over this like 2 summers ago, before they turned into pretentious drama nerds and totally abandoned me. Thank God. What's your favorite part?

Brenda: Oh, they're too numerous to mention.

Claire: (looking through the book) Where is that part where she like stops speaking for a month and just barks at them?

Flashback in grainy footage, again. YOUNG BRENDA refuses to talk to DR. FEINBERG.

Dr. Feinberg: Brenda... Brenda, I know you're angry.

YOUNG BRENDA starts barking at him, like a dog. She puts her doll in her mouth and starts shaking it like a chew toy.

Dr. Feinberg: Can you talk to me?

Claire: You know, they put me in therapy 'cause I stole that foot.

Brenda: Yeah, Nate told me.

Claire: God, I would love to go into one of those sessions and just bark. (laughs) Just to see the look on his face. Do you totally identify with this book?

Billy: (entering) Of course she does. It's about her.

Claire: What?!

Billy: She's Charlotte.

Claire: You're shitting me! Is he for real?

Billy: Completely.

Claire: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! This is like meeting Ghandi or Jesus!

Brenda: Don't tell me: the book spoke to you, like it was written specifically for you. (goes to the fridge, gets a beer)

Claire: Well, yeah, in a way.

Billy: Have you been to the website?

Claire: There's a website?

Billy: Oh, yes, there's a fan club.

Brenda: Yeah, those lonely little girls desperate for something to emulate, because, apparently, they're not original enough to come up with anything on their own.

Billy: Well, that's what I like to see. Drinking before sundown. (takes BRENDA's beer away from her, she leaves. BILLY walks to CLAIRE.) Hi, I'm Billy.

Claire: I'm Claire.

Billy: How do you know my sister?

Claire: Through my brother, Nate. They're dating.

Billy: Oh, yeah. Dating. Like what? Going steady? He give her his ID bracelet? She carve his initials in her arm so they'd be there forever? Yo, Bren, you should've seen me out on the ocean. All those Venice dicks, taking themselves so seriously! (sits near CLAIRE, hands her the beer) You surf?

Claire: (drinking) Me? Do I look like I surf?

Billy: Do I? Uh oh. (wipes beer off the side of CLAIRE’s mouth)

Brenda: (entering) You'll freeze your ass off this time of year, wearing that kind of thing.

Billy: So? It's my ass.

Brenda: Oh, fine, you wanna get pneumonia again? Go right ahead! Claire, I should take you home. I got stuff to do.

Billy: No, that's alright. I'll take her.

Claire: Great.

Brenda: Oh, no. I've got time. We just need to go right now.

Claire: Well, if you have got stuff to do, don't worry about it.

Billy: Yeah, do your stuff. I just have to take a shower.

CLAIRE continues to drink the beer. BRENDA watches CLAIRE watch BILLY take off his clothes as he walks away, towards the bathroom.

Scene Three: The Room

NATE is smoking pot, sitting in the room. NATHANIEL, SR. talks to him.

Nathaniel, Sr.: So, I'm walking along one day, and this asshole stops me and asks if I'm alright. He says I got a look. He'd seen a man with that same look once and had ignored it. (NATE passes the joint to NATHANIEL, SR.) And that man had jumped out of a 9 story window. (laughs and inhales) You know the reconstruction involved in a death like that? This business gets under your skin. It's like a fucking virus. They can even see it on your face. Smell it on you.

Nate: What the hell is this place? This music? Since when do you listen to The Classics Four? What the hell did you do here? Who the hell are you?

Nathaniel, Sr.: So many questions. Why couldn't you ask them when I was still ALIVE?! It's OK, I couldn't answer most of them anyway. Unlike now. Now, I'm a fucking prophet.

Nate: Right.

Nathaniel, Sr.: You think I'm kidding, buddy boy? That's one of the perks of being dead. You know what happens after you're dead and you know the meaning of life.

Nate: That seems fairly useless.

Nathaniel, Sr.: Yeah, I know. Life is wasted on the living.

Nate: Could have told me you were proud of me.

Nathaniel, Sr.: You were never around for me to tell, which is exactly what I was proud of you for. Therein lies your catch-22. (Both laugh.)

Nate: So, what's the meaning of life?

Nathaniel, Sr.: Really wanna know?

Nate: I don't know. Will it fuck me up if I do?

NATHANIEL, SR. walks over to NATE and whispers in his ear. NATE wakes up with a start, as if from a nightmare. It is nighttime, and he is alone.

Scene Four: Fisher Kitchen

RUTH is standing on a stool, going through the top cabinets. She finds a jar of baby food in the back of the cabinet. She smells it and thinks.

Scene Five: Park, nighttime

TRACY and DAVID are packing the chairs and tables away.

Tracy: Oh, David, you make such a handsome deacon. All those old stiffs... Finally, a dose of viagra to the place! Oh, I don't mean that literally. Not like you'd need it.

David: Thank you, Tracy.

Tracy: So, no fiancee, huh?

David: No, no, that's over. But she broke my heart, and I'm just not ready or interested in any sort of relationship right now.

Tracy: Oh, come on, any relationship?

David: I'm just not ready, and I doubt I will be for quite some time.

Tracy: Well, what if Cindy Crawford were to walk up to you and say: "Just use me for sex"?

David: I would say no.

Tracy: Liar. (suddenly, she becomes very sad and tearful) Is it so wrong to want a little human contact? You're lonely, too. I can tell.

David: For Chrissake, Tracy, what does it take? No.

Tracy: Well, you don't have to be so mean about it.

David: Apparently I do. Look, I come here to feed these people because I don't want to talk to anybody. Do us both a favor: go to a bar, pick somebody up. (walks away)

Scene Six: Billy's Car

CLAIRE and BILLY are making out in his car, which is parked near her house.

Claire: No, no, we just met.

Billy: I know. I'm sorry. I'm just so turned on by you.

Claire: (laughs) Shut up. I have to go home.

Billy: Hey, I wanna see you again.

Claire: Good. But I'm not some skank for you to fuck. If that's what you're into, just go and find that somewhere else.

Billy: That's not what I'm into, Claire. I swear.

Claire: If you're lying, I swear to God, I will kill you. I will kick your ass. You do not want to mess with me.

They both smile and kiss some more.

Scene Seven: Outside Ramrod's

DAVID drives by a local gay bar, Ramrod's, in the church van. It says "St. Bartholomew's Church" on the outside. Two men see the van, and start sloppily French-kissing in front of DAVID. He looks at them longingly and drives on.

Act Four

Scene One: Fisher House

MR. JONES sits by the open casket, in which HATTIE lies. FEDERICO enters.

Jones: That ain't her.

Federico: Excuse me?

Jones: That ain't my wife. That ain't my Hattie. What'd you do with my Hattie?

Federico: Mr. Jones, with all due respect--

Jones: I don't want your respect. I want my wife.

Federico: Sir, that is your wife.

Jones: You married?

Federico: Yes, sir.

Jones: Is she all young and pretty and knows how to treat you right?

Federico: Yes, sir.

Jones: You can't believe how lucky you are, how life can be so good to you, right? She gonna turn into that. (points to HATTIE)

Federico: We all do.

Jones: Well, don't that piss you off, boy?

Federico: Not yet.

Scene Two: The Room

NATE brings BRENDA to his father's secret room.

Brenda: He used this how long?

Nate: Seven years.

Brenda: It's weird how you keep showing me rooms people used to live in.

Nate: I just think it's so fucking weird. He'd sit in this sad, little room doing God knows what.

Brenda: Why does it have to be sad?

Nate: Look around.

Brenda: I think it's fascinating.

Nate: Really, why?

Brenda: Such a mystery, ya know? You'll never know what went on here.

Nate: That's exactly what's driving me crazy.

Brenda: So what if you did know, had it all explained to you? I bet it wouldn't be nearly as interesting or fun. Your father would be a lot more boring. Enjoy this!

Nate: Come on, don't you pick up on something? I thought things left marks in people, in places, in time.

Brenda: So, what? You think I'm a witch?

Nate: You really don't get any kind of vibe from this place at all?

Brenda: You wanna know what I think? I think your father wanted some place that was just his and nobody else's. Nate, if you didn't know him when he was alive, you never will.

Nate: I don't wanna be somebody who when I die nobody knows who I was.

Brenda: So don't be.

Scene Three: Slumber Room/Front Hall

Ruth: (wearing a red dress) How are you doing, Mr. Jones?

Jones: I'm sitting here, holding my dead wife's hand. How do you think I'm doing?

Ruth: Well, you'll let me know if you need anything. (NIKOLAI enters with flowers.) Oh, hello.

Nikolai: For Jones.

Ruth: Oh, Mr. Jones, see the beautiful flowers for your wife's viewing tomorrow?

Jones: I don't know why you so excited. They're just gonna grow up and die.

Ruth: (to NIKOLAI) Well, thank you. (NIKOLAI smiles.) I'll see you out. (takes him into front hall) I don't know what you think you're doing, but I'm going to have to ask my sons to order flowers from another florist if this behavior continues.

Nikolai: Which behavior?

Ruth: This is our place of business, there are grieving people here. I can't have you skulking round with that look in your eye.

Nikolai: What look?

Ruth: That sex look.

Nikolai: Maybe you like it.

She slaps him hard across the face. She is shocked by her actions. He just smiles and leaves.

Jones: (from next room) Lady wear red, she means business.

Ruth: This is just what was clean.

Jones: Lady, I can see you from here, and I'm blind and deaf. You need to get yourself laid.

Scene Four: Outside the High School

CLAIRE walks away from the school building to see BILLY snapping pictures of her on his camera. She smiles.

Scene Five: Fisher TV Room

Billy: Whoa! Time warp!

Claire: I told you.

Billy: Pretty cozy for a morgue. Must be weird living here.

Claire: You get used to it.

Billy: You ever done it with anyone in here?

Claire: Yeah, right. And have my mom walk in? No.

Billy: Wow, you look great.

Claire: (laughing) Shut up.

Billy: Come on, seduce me. (He lies on top of her on the couch and takes pictures of her with his camera) There ya go. Oh, yeah, there ya go. Wow! Wow! Don't pretend like you haven't done this before. You are a natural! Look at you! Look at you! No, no, don't hide, don't hide!

Claire: This what you do? You shoot models and stuff?

Billy: Hardly. (He sets the camera on the TV and runs to sit next to CLAIRE) Alright, it's on timer. (He starts making out with her, grabs her breast, and the camera shoots the picture.) Something to remember me by. Hey, what do you think about Brenda and your brother? Think they have a chance in hell?

Claire: Oh. I hope so. She's pretty amazing. He'd be a real idiot to let her go. But again, he's capable of being an idiot sometimes.

Billy: So what is she to him? Just hot sex?

Claire: I think he's really in love with her. How could he not be?

Billy: (looks weird, stops shooting) Shit, I'm thirsty. You got any beer?

Claire: No, sorry.

Billy: It's alright. I should be heading out anyway.

Claire: Oh, OK.

Billy: I had fun today.

Claire: Me too.

Billy: Let's do this again.

Claire: OK.

He leaves.

Scene Six: Basement, nighttime

Federico: OK, Mr. Bosun is all juiced up. I'll be in around 7 tomorrow to airbrush him. Get him ready for the viewing tomorrow. Unless, you know, you want me to do him now. I was kind of hoping to get home before Vanessa put Julio down.

David: (preoccupied) That's fine. Good night.

Federico: Need any help?

David: No, Federico, go home to your family.

Federico: Don't work too hard. (leaves)

Scene Seven: Outside Ramrod's

DAVID approaches Ramrod's and goes inside.

Scene Eight: Slumber Room

MR. JONES is asleep on the couch. NATE comes over and nudges him.

Nate: Mr. Jones? Time to go home.

Jones: Who the hell are you?

Nate: I'm Nate. Work here.

Jones: That's my wife in that box.

Nate: I know. I'm very sorry.

Jones: 56 years I spent sleeping in the same bed with that woman. 56 years of listening to her talk about the same shit, day in, day out.

Nate: It's late. Maybe I should drive you home.

Jones: Shut the fuck up, boy, and let an old man speak.

Nate: OK.

Jones: She chased me across the front yard with a steak knife once, tried to cut my ass. Then we spent close to a year apart. That time's like a hole in me now. She was the only one who ever really knew me.

Nate: You know, your wife will always be with you in your memories. When you love somebody that much, they never really--

Jones: You sell that shit to somebody who's buyin' it cause I ain't. You don't know nothin' about love. Some pretty little thing catches your eye and the next thing you know it's been 56 years and you've shit all over yourself in the movie theatre, and she the only one to help you clean it up. That's love. You don't know nothin'.

Nate: I won't argue that.

Scene Nine: David's One-Night Stand's Apartment

DAVID has gone home to some guy's apartment.

Man: Can I get you anything to drink? I have beer, red wine, a little vodka.

David: No, just water, thanks.

Man: I don't usually go out on a school night, but you know how it is.

David: Yeah. (sees a picture on the mantel as the man gives him a bottled water)

Man: Here ya go. My ex. We were together for nearly 2 years and then he dumped me for a 22 year-old stand-in he met on location. I think that's the only picture I had of him that I didn't tear up. Funny, you know, you think you know somebody, and--I hear he's in AA now. So, are you in the business?

David: No, no, I'm a lawyer. I'm from Boston.

Man: God, how refreshing! You tend to forget sometimes living in LA that there's this world outside the entertainment industry. And that's the real world.

David: So what do you do?

Man: Production accounting. I told you that.

David: Oh, right. I'm sorry.

Man: It's OK. So, Jim, what do you like to do? (unzips DAVID’s coat, sensually)

David: Can we sit down?

Man: Sure.

They sit down on the couch.

Man: Had a little too much to drink there, Jim? Are you OK?

David: Yeah.

They lean into kiss but do not. The man starts to undo the buttons on DAVID’s shirt, and gets down on his knees before DAVID. We hear him unzip DAVID's fly and see DAVID close his eyes.

Scene Ten: David's Car

DAVID stumbles into his car, after the blowjob. He looks frazzled and upset. He looks as if it has left him feeling empty inside.

Act Five

Scene One: Fisher Front Porch, next morning

Ruth: I want to apologize for what happened yesterday.

Nikolai: It's OK.

Ruth: I should never have lashed out at you like that. It's just, I don't know what's wrong with me.

Nikolai: Shh, shh, shh.

Ruth: I was holding a saucepan the other day and, all of a sudden, I remembered making creamed corn in that pan. Some night when it was raining outside, and both the boys had colds, and my husband was on a call, picking up a body, and then, yesterday, I was cleaning out the cabinets, and I found a jar of baby food in the very back--strained carrots--from when Claire was a baby. That jar had been sitting there for over 15 years. I am surrounded by these relics of a life that no longer exists.

He kisses her passionately on the lips and just at that moment, an old black couple comes up the steps.

Old Man: We're here for the Jones viewing.

Ruth: (flustered) Right this way, please.

Scene Two: Outside the High School/Brenda's House

CLAIRE calls BILLY on her cell phone. He is sleeping on BRENDA's couch when the phone rings.

Billy: Yeah?

Claire: Oh, shit, Billy, did I wake you? I'm sorry. Fuck!

Billy: Who is this?

Claire: It's Claire.

Billy: Who?

Claire: It's Claire, Nate’s sister. I just wanted to see if maybe you wanted to hang out again after school today.

Billy: Not really. Come on, Claire, you're what? 16? What do you think I am, a pedophile?

BILLY hangs up, and BRENDA watches from the other room. She has heard everything. CLAIRE looks dejected.

Scene Three: The Room

DAVID enters the secret room, followed by NATE.

Nate: Well?

David: I don't know what you want me to say.

Nate: Well, I don't want you to say anything. I just thought you should see it.

David: I've seen it. So, great!: Dad traded a room for a funeral. No wonder we never had any money.

Nate: Didn't Dad ever say anything to you about this place at all?

David: Dad and I never talked about anything but work.

Nate: Huh. That's exactly the relationship you and I have.

David: Nate, people are allowed to have private lives. So what if Dad had a secret room? I don't care. I don't care if he brought women back here to fuck. I don't care if he brought men back here to fuck.

Nate: You think we should tell Mom about it?

David: Sure, why not? You won't be happy until this whole family's in therapy.

Nate: That's kind of a leap. Dave, look, I know you're pissed off about a lot of shit, but I didn't make any of that shit happen. Oh, right, I--I abandoned you. Well, you know what? I'm not your father. I'm not the one whose responsibility it was not to abandon you. So just get over it, please. Life is just too fucking short.

David: Thank you, Nate. I appreciate your honesty, wrapped as it was in such a bouquet of condescension. If I were you, I'd pack this place up before they start charging us for rent. (leaves)

Scene Four: The Room, later

NATE is alone, packing things away in plastic bags. He picks up the glass with the lip smudge, then puts it down, leaving it. He packs the records into a small crate. Eventually, he finds a photo album. He sees pictures from a long time ago. In one, NATHANIEL, SR. smiles, with some of his teeth blacked out. In another, NATHANIEL, SR. and RUTH, both much younger, hold DAVID and NATE, as children. Folded up inside the book he soon finds an envelope. He opens it to discover nude photos of a very young RUTH, sitting on a bed.

Nathaniel, Sr.: (appears) Quite a hottie, huh?

Nate: This is Mom?

Nathaniel, Sr.: You have no idea how beautiful she was, buddy boy.

Nate: I have no idea who you were.

Nathaniel, Sr.: Oh, I wasn't really that interesting.

Nate: No, I think you probably were. I think you were this great guy who was funny and weird and... high. I was just always so afraid of everything you did. Death. You know, I made the decision to come back home, to become a fucking undertaker, because I thought it was something you believed in, and now I find out you think running away was the best thing I ever did?

Nathaniel, Sr.: Maybe.

Nate: Jesus Christ, I kept us from selling to Kroehner, and I'm taking the Funeral Director's License Test next month.

Nathaniel, Sr.: Well, maybe I was just covering up for how embarrassed I was when you left.

Nate: Is that why you left half the business to me? To get back at me?

Nathaniel, Sr.: Maybe. Maybe I just wanted to see if you had the balls to go against me. Or maybe I really wanted you to have it. You'll never know.

Nate: Goddamn it, when are you gonna stop fucking with me?

Nathaniel, Sr.: When are you gonna stop caring what I thought. (mimics NATE, in a cry-baby voice) "I never knew my father!" (fake baby cry) Get over it! Please! Life is just too fucking short. (disappears)

Scene Five: Outside the High School

CLAIRE walks away from the school and finds BRENDA waiting for her. BRENDA smiles.

Scene Six: Outdoor Cafeteria

BRENDA and CLAIRE sit at the high school's folding lunch tables.

Brenda: My brother is a very complicated man and very high-maintenance. And, don't get me wrong, I love him dearly, but I pity the woman he ends up with.

Claire: See, that's the same thing I'd say about my brother.

Brenda: Nate is not even in the same league.

Claire: Was I crazy? I mean, Billy was really acting like--

Brenda: Did you fuck him?

Claire: No.

Brenda: Well, you dodged a bullet there.

Claire: Is every man alive a total asshole?

Brenda: At some point or another. Then, again, so are we. Come on, we've gotta go.

Claire: I still cannot get over the fact that you are “Charlotte: Light & Dark”!

Brenda: Well, you have to, because it's very irritating.

Scene Seven: Slumber Room/Kitchen, nighttime

NATE walks by the slumber room, and sees MR. JONES lying asleep, next to his wife's casket. He walks into the kitchen, where RUTH is sitting. He sits.

Nate: Mr. Jones is still downstairs.

Ruth: (looking at silverware) I know this silver has been in your father's family for three generations. I don't believe I've ever used it. I'm going to put an ad in the paper and see if I can sell them.

Nate: Mom, I found something you should probably have.

He gives her the envelope. She opens it, smiles, and giggles like a young girl. NATE smiles.

Ruth: Where'd you find these?

Nate: In the office, among Dad's things.

Ruth: Look at what a child I was! Your father was leaving for Vietnam. He'd volunteered as a medic. Your grandfather was furious! You don't remember your grandfather, do you?

Nate: No.

Ruth: He was a very unhappy man, and he wanted everyone else to be unhappy, too. We were all living in this house. Well, you were a baby and there was no privacy, so Nathaniel and I got a room in a motel. Some seedy place in the Valley. And we made love like maniacs. Like it was the last time. Your father took these pictures, in that damp little room. Told me he kept them in his pocket in Vietnam to protect him. It's frightening how much we change. Are you staying for dinner, dear?

Nate: Yeah.

Scene Eight: Slumber Room

NATE goes down to the slumber room, to wake up MR. JONES.

Nate: Mr. Jones? Probably should think about heading home. You've got a long day ahead of you tomorrow. Funeral. Mr. Jones? Mr. Jones? Mr. Jones? (MR. JONES does not move or show any response. He is dead.) Oh, shit.

Scene Nine: Park

DAVID is putting chairs away at night. He sees a cop car drive by. For a moment, he thinks he sees KEITH in the car. It is not him. DAVID looks longingly as the car drives away.

Scene Ten: Brenda's Front Porch

BRENDA sits on her front porch with CLAIRE. They are both talking, smoking pot, and drinking beer.

Scene Eleven: Hiram's Front Porch

RUTH runs in the pouring rain to Hiram's house with an umbrella. She knocks on the door and HIRAM answers. They both smile, fall into each other's arms, and kiss passionately.



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