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#107 : Fraternité

Quand un jeune vétéran de l'Armée Américaine meurt du syndrome de la guerre du Golfe, son frère décide d'éviter un enterrement militaire en faveur d'une simple incinération et mise en urne. Ruth invite Hiram pour cuisiner puis diner, puis est engagée chez le fleuriste Nikolaï. David doit participer avec le comité de décision de l'église, à un vote pour engager un jeune prêtre associé. Claire a des problèmes pour reconnaître la valeur de l'algèbre à l'école et dans la vie. Nate et Brenda projettent de passer leur premier week-end hors de Los Angeles, mais Billy a d'autres projets en tête.

Titre VO

Titre VF

Photos promo

Les frères Fisher

Les frères Fisher

Nate au téléphone

Nate au téléphone

Plus de détails


Scene: VA Hospital

As the show starts, we see a video of a young soldier, VICTOR KOVITCH, during the Gulf War. He was making the video to send home to his family. During the course of the scene, the camera slowly pans away from the video, and we see that it is being played on a television set in an army hospital room, in the present.

Victor (in video): Hi, Mom and Paul and Patricia! Uh, well, I'm here. It's not exactly the Holiday Inn, as you can see. (another soldier belches in the background) Mostly, mostly, um, we're filling sandbags and cleaning vehicle filters. This particular war, it's really important to keep the mechanisms clean, because of all the sand, which can be as much of a threat as any missile that Sadaam can send. Captain Summers says--Uh, I can’t say much, but pretty soon, we're gonna get into the real action, and--and--we're prepared, I'll tell ya. (We hear loud music from a boom box playing in the background.) You guys, do you mind, please? I'm sending something to my folks. I'll be done in a minute. (to camera again) What else?

A friend, BAILEY, comes into view and kisses VICTOR on the cheek, in a teasing manner.

Bailey: We're protecting your ass, folks! I love you, America! Thank you!

Victor: Come on, Bailey, come on, I'm just--

BAILEY takes the camera, points it to two other guys.

Bailey: Hey, guys, wanna say “hello” to Vic and his folks?

Both: Hi, Mom!

One moons the camera and the other one makes humping motions. VICTOR grabs the camera back.

Victor: Come on, you guys! Damn it! Sorry, Mom. Listen, some of these guys are kind of crazy, but they're good soldiers. Um--I'm getting a lot of responsibility here. I think it's been very beneficial in terms of personal leadership skills and getting a job. A lot more than had I stayed at home. Well, I've got a lot to do before lights out, so until next time, this is Private First Class Victor Kovitch, signing off.

Now we see the hospital room. VICTOR is lying in bed, before the television. He looks much older than in the video, and also much older than his actual age, which is 30. He is also unconscious. His brother, PAUL, enters.

Paul: Hey, buddy, brought you the latest "South Park".

There is no response. VICTOR has died in his sleep. The camera fades to white.

OCTOBER 20, 1971-MARCH 21, 2001"

Act One

Scene One: Brenda's Bedroom

BRENDA's bedroom is in total darkness. NATE is lying alone in the bed, when he is awoken by his beeper, which he checks.

Nate: Fuck, David!

Brenda: (enters) Hey, sleepyhead! You know, I had the weirdest dream.

Nate: Really?

Brenda: Yeah. This guy comes into my house at like 4 AM, he climbs into my bed, but instead of having his way with me, he just passes out, and all night long, he keeps jerking.

Nate: That is weird.

Brenda: And he talked in his sleep.

Nate: Yeah, what did he say?

Brenda: It was completely unintelligible, but angry.

Nate: Oh.

Brenda: There was even teeth-grinding.

Nate: Well, that explains the headaches.

BRENDA opens the blinds. The sunlight pours in, and we see that it is later in the day than we had previously thought, from the darkness.

Nate: I was thinking that exposure to formaldehyde might give me a brain tumor.

Brenda: Hey, would you like some caffeine with that tumor?

Nate: OK.

Scene Two: Brenda's Kitchen/Basement

NATE is drinking coffee in BRENDA's kitchen. BRENDA stands near him. NATE is on the cell phone with DAVID, who is prepping a body.

Nate: David, I can't.

David: Why not?

Nate: Because last night I drove Mr. Sanopoulous' body all the way to San Jose, then straight back. I barely got four hours sleep and, frankly, I'm getting tired of always getting the shitty jobs you don't want. I'm half owner of this business.

David: You can't legally do intake without me. You're not a licensed funeral director.

Nate: I'm getting my license next month.

David: If you pass the test.

Nate: Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence, and how am I supposed to study for that test with only like four hours sleep a night?

David: Coffee and diet pills worked for me. Nate, I can't pick her up. I've got a deacons' meeting, and Rico's got Vanessa's ultrasound.

Nate: Shit, you know, the last time I had to pick somebody up at a nursing home, nobody'd even told the roommate she was dead. I had to.

BRENDA laughs, then makes an apologetic face.

David: Just be thankful we've got the business. (hangs up.)

Nate: Thankful I'm not you. (BRENDA gives him a plate of pancakes, kisses him, but then backs away from him) What? Oh, Mr. Sanopoulous. Sorry. Fuck! I smell like a dead guy!

Brenda: No, you smell fine. Your life stinks, you complain all the time, and that's really dull.

Nate: Huh. Didn't realize I was boring you.

Brenda: Nate, you need to take a break. Some major stress release that's not me. It's too much responsibility.

Nate: I thought you liked being an undertaker's girlfriend.

Brenda: Is that what I am to you? Your girlfriend? (They kiss.)

Nate: Well, I like to think of you as my mistress.

Brenda: (doing a Long Island accent) Well, then, you'd better start buyin' me a lot more shit, Mistah!

Nate: God, I love you. (He smiles, then laughs, shocked that he said that. She looks shocked too) OK, I said it. Let's just move on. Let's go to Two Bunch Palms this weekend.

Brenda: Uh--what?

Nate: Fuck it, yes, I'm just gonna--I'm gonna take the weekend off and David can just bite me.

Brenda: This weekend?

Nate: Yeah, we'll sit in the hot mud, we'll get massages, we'll eat like pigs, we'll drink a lot. If we leave Friday night, we could be naked for two whole days.

Brenda: I got three clients this Saturday.

Nate: Postpone, cancel, lie. Come on, we've never taken a trip together. We need to do this! (He picks her up, and she gives a small scream/laugh.)

Brenda: Two whole days? What if we drive each other crazy?

Nate: Well, we don't!

Scene Three: Fisher Kitchen

CLAIRE is reading "The Teachings of Don Juan" by Carlos Castaneda at the kitchen table, while she drinks her coffee. RUTH walks up behind her. In this scene Claire never looks back.

Claire: Hovering.

Ruth: (walking away) Claire, I've invited a friend of mine over for dinner tonight.

Claire: OK.

Ruth: And I want you to be nice to him.

Claire: Is this the guy? The guy that, uh--

Ruth: Yes.

Claire: (smiling to herself) OK.

Scene Four: Deacons' Meeting at St. Bart's

Father Jack: Thanks for your patience, everybody. I know we're running late. By the way, I spoke to Father Clark this morning. He's holding up well. He says you folks are the most thorough search committee he has ever encountered. (Everyone laughs.) David, I understand you're the last to meet with him.

David: This afternoon.

Father Jack: Good. We've been interviewing associate priests for three months. It'll be nice to have an open mind.

Walter Kriegenthaler: (an old man) Clark struck me as a player, a man of God, wants to listen, but there's ego there.

Connie: (a middle-aged woman) You didn't want Jack.

Walter: Connie, you say that so easily, and you know it's not true. I've never seen you so desperate.

Father Jack: Listen, you folks have to represent the whole congregation, and, believe me, if Clark's not right, I'm ready to start over from the beginning.

Connie: Let's vote right now. You know him, David, he's been a visiting rector. You've got his resume.

Father Jack: All the deacons are here. There's no reason why you can't vote now. I'll be happy to leave the room.

David: No, I want to meet with Father Clark myself so I can make the most informed decision.

Walter: This how it works, Jack? You bring in the new generation deacon, the new deacon brings in the radical priest you want.

David: I can assure you, there's no agenda here, Mr. Kriegenthaler.

Connie: (to Mr. Kriegenthaler) Except yours.

Father Jack: Don't worry, Dave. I had a parish in Ohio where punches got thrown. Steel workers. St. Bart's doesn't even come close.

Walter: Actually, David, your father was against Jack here and, as I said at the time, your father was wrong.

Scene Five: Brenda's Bedroom, afternoon

NATE and BRENDA are having sex, though we just see the inferior portion on their legs. First, he is on top, but then she asks him to lay on his back and he starts to take her from behind, both of them facing up. We see a shadow approaching the door, and then BILLY walks in the open bedroom door.

Billy: Wow!

Brenda: (screaming, covering herself up with the sheet) Shit! Fuck! Billy! Fuck you!

Billy: I've seen pictures of this on the internet, but--

Brenda: The rule is, you call before you come over, OK?

Billy: I know. I'm sorry! I was biking down the boardwalk. I didn't have my cell phone on me. Good morning, Nate.

Nate: Bill.

Billy: Oh, Bren, I got some fucking amazing shots of these hookers on Sunset I wanna show you. Real human tragedy shit. I think they're really good. (leaves the room)

Brenda: (to NATE) Well, your mom walked in on us once, so I guess now we're even.

Scene Six: Brenda's Living Room

BILLY is showing BRENDA some of his photos.

Billy: This chick has seen the fucking worst life has to offer.

Brenda: Jesus, Billy, these are incredible.

Billy: And what is that thing on her neck? She's got like this big tumor and she's still turning tricks. And you just know there is some freak for whom that is a big turn-on.

Brenda: I love the Bank of America in the background.

Nate: Well, I have to go to work.

Billy: Bring out your dead!

Brenda: They're great.

Nate: Don't forget. Cancel those appointments on Saturday. (kisses BRENDA) See you later. (leaves)

Billy: So what’s Saturday?

Brenda: We're going to California Cactus World out on Rosemary Boulevard. I want to get something really weird to plant out back.

Scene Seven: Room Behind the Curtain

NATE is approaching the room behind the curtain.

Nate: Yo, Dave!

David (O.S.): In here!

Nate: Sorry, there was an accident on the 405. Both cars totaled. Should have stopped to hand out cards. (He enters the room to see PAUL KOVITCH, whom DAVID is having a meeting with.)

David: This is Paul Kovitch. His brother, Victor, just passed away.

Nate: I'm sorry.

David: This is my brother, Nate.

Nate: Paul Kovitch? You went to Balventure High.

Paul: Yeah.

Nate: I was there when you pinned that huge guy from Eureka and won the State Wrestling Championship. You're the man! Me and my friend were so jealous 'cause we all knew how much you were getting laid.

Paul: You wrestle?

Nate: No, played a little baseball, but we always lost. So what are you doing now?

Paul: Oh, run Kovitch Checking up in Camrio. Wise. You know how expensive you can be?

Nate: No--

David: Paul and I were just going over the options for his brother's funeral.

Paul: OK, I run a business, too. Let's just get right to it.

David: Of course.

Paul: I've buried both my parents, and, no offense, but I hate you guys. I hate what you do. The whole thing of "Let's all gather and look at this plastic dead version of our loved one." It's really twisted. I want Victor cremated. No coffin. Put him in one of those cardboard boxes you charge $100 for. I'll take him up to where our mother's buried up in Tahatchapi and let his ashes blow away.

Nate: (examines paperwork) I see Victor's a veteran. If you'd like, we can research any death benefits he might--

Paul: No. We hated the army. Me and him been fighting the army for seven years. His unit cleaned up the place called Bunker 73 in the Iraqi desert. Chemicals all over. Sadaam's stuff we blew up. Soon as he came back, he got sick. Lung cancer at the age of 29. Never smoked a day in his life. Still, no one would say the word: "Gulf War Syndrome." He just wasted away, lying in that hospital. So, fuck the army. Let 'em keep their fucking money. I've gotta fly up to Idaho Falls, tell my stepfather. He’s got Alzheimer's. I don't know if he'll hear me or not.

David: You're absolutely sure you wouldn't like the opportunity to say goodbye to Victor before--

Paul: I already said goodbye. Just do it?

David: And as for a receptacle for his remains?

Paul: A paper sack oughtta do just fine. (leaves)

David: 900 bucks. Well, he obviously doesn't know about the Poseidon Society, or that's 900 we'd be out of.

Nate: That guy was the shit when I was in high school. You know, I never even knew he had a brother.

David: It's time you introduced yourself. He's at the VA hospital.

Nate: Alright, but first, I just gotta talk to you about something.

Scene Eight: Fisher Kitchen

David: Nate, it's out of the question. I cannot spare you. We have three bodies right now.

Nate: What is the problem? Mr. Jacobson's going into the ground tomorrow and Vic Kovitch will be toast by this weekend.

David: What if we get another body? Or two? We cannot afford to turn down business. No, I'm sorry.

Nate: I don't need your permission.

David: Do you know how long it's been since I've had two days off?

Nate: Well, you see, here's the difference: You're willing to live like that, I'm not.

Ruth: I've invited my friend, Hiram Gunderson, over to dinner tonight. You're welcome to join us.

David: Wouldn't a restaurant be better? This is our home.

Ruth: This is my home!

Nate: Oh, the camping guy! OK. Can I bring Brenda?

Ruth: Hiram will be cooking. He spent 17 years as the top chef in Chicago. The food critic of The Sun Times called him the "father of the new rustic cuisine." And then he gave it all up to become a hairdresser. And he has never been happier! (she storms out)

Scene Nine: Math Class in the High School

The TEACHER is at the blackboard, doing equations. CLAIRE is not paying attention, totally engrossed in her book.

Teacher: You're multiplying differing variables. So? You have to simplify! OK? And then finally... oops!... look at that! Same variable, OK? 4 and 4 gives us what? (nobody answers) 8! And finally these two binomials right here are exactly the same, so we what? (again, nobody) Combine! 2x to the 3rd, y to the 4th. OK? Any questions? (dead silence) Claire Fisher!

Claire: (startled) What?

Teacher: Can you explain this formula to the class?

Claire: Not really.

Teacher: Well, maybe if you paid attention in class instead of reading.

Claire: Well, maybe if you talked about something that was actually gonna be useful to me I would.

Teacher: Oh, algebra is useless? Mmm. Know a lot of physicists who'd beg to differ.

Claire: Well, I don't want to be a physicist.

Teacher: Algebra forces your mind to solve problems logically. It's one of the only perfect sciences--

Claire: You think the world runs on logic? Come on. Open your eyes.

Teacher: OK, I'll see you after class, Miss Fisher.

CLAIRE stares at her intently. The TEACHER looks nervous.

Teacher: What are you doing?

We see smoke billowing off of the TEACHER's hair.

Teacher: Ow!

Her head blows up into a million pieces. CLAIRE laughs out loud.

Teacher: OK, let's try this next one, and I'm gonna make this a little tougher.

CLAIRE continues to laugh. A popular, pretty female classmate, PARKER McKENNA, and her two friends, stare at CLAIRE strangely. CLAIRE stares back.

Teacher: X to the a power, times y to the b power. OK, now we've got to--

Scene Ten: Nikolai's Flower Shop

Nikolai: (on the phone) Of course we have catalogues for wedding package, but you have to come in and look. I can't show you over the phone. Website? Not website. We don't have website! Mister, you have to come into my shop and look at my work. (hangs up; to ROBBY, an effeminate man who works there) Website! (He notices RUTH) Ah! The day just got brighter!

Ruth: Hush!

Nikolai: So who's dead now and what do you need?

Ruth: Well, nobody's dead. I came to return these vases. You should recycle them. Save a little money.

Nikolai: So thoughtful! I am touched!

Ruth: Well, don't be silly! It's wasteful, that's all. (hands them to him)

Nikolai: (hands them to ROBBY) Here.

Ruth: You still have that sign in the window.

Nikolai: Yes. You know somebody good?

Ruth: I do. Me.

Nikolai: You? I am interested. Let's talk. Robby, I'm going to lunch.

Ruth: I'm not going to lunch with you, Nikolai. I'm seeing someone.

Nikolai: So what? This is business.

Ruth: I hope so, because otherwise, I withdraw my offer.

Nikolai: Tell me. Why I should hire you?

Ruth: I've been working with people for over 30 years and I know how to treat them with respect.

Nikolai: I respect people too.

Ruth: You're pompous and arrogant, and you're full of yourself. You act like the customer needs you.

Nikolai: Of course the customer needs me! I have what he wants!

Ruth: You'll never build a business that way! I'm better with people, and I know about flowers. And if you don't think so, you can fire me.

Nikolai: Fire you? How I can fire you? You don't even work here yet!

ROBBY gives her the bags of vases.

Scene Eleven: Chapel of St. Bart's

Father Clark: My parish in New Mexico, I think they were afraid of me.

David: They recommend you highly.

Father Clark: They always do after I'm gone. I won't lie to you, David: I'll push for some change at St. Bart's. This is one of those congregations that thinks that sitting through church once a week absolves them of all moral responsibility and they ignore the plight of others. But, don't get me wrong, they're good people. They're just lazy.

David: I don't think that's entirely fair, Clark. We have a homeless outreach.

Father Clark: You know you're the swing vote.

David: I've been a deacon three weeks. I'm still getting used to how political the whole thing is.

Father Clark: Well, religion is politics, David. Jesus was a revolutionary, threatened those in power, and they had him assassinated. And they'd do the same thing to him today.

David: I'm not sure how much luck you'll have to get St. Bart's to stage a coup.

Father Clark: The last thing that God wants from us is complacency.

David: Maybe you should be in the Peace Corps.

Father Clark: Already done it. Three years in Nicaragua, fresh out of Divinity School. That's where I lost my wife.

David: I'm sorry.

Father Clark: The hardest part about my work is the fact that most people don't want a real relationship with God. Yeah, sure, they'll pray to a man nailed to a cross, but they'll--they'll ignore the gay kid who gets strung up, or the black man who gets dragged behind a car, or someone's mother living in a box.

David: Were you this forthcoming with the other deacons?

Father Clark: Hardly.

David: What did you and Walter Kriegenthaler talk about?

Father Clark: Golf.

David: So, why did you decide to be so honest with me?

Father Clark: Because I can tell that right and wrong actually matter to you.

Scene Twelve: Basement

NATE goes down the elevator with VICTOR's body, but he can't get the door open.

Nate: This thing is fucking medieval. We've gotta get it fixed before somebody loses a finger.

Federico: Never cared until it was your finger.

Nate: Rico, a little help?

Federico: Why should I? You know, it's because of you I'm going to be working double shifts this weekend.

Nate: OK, that's just David being dramatic. We need to get at least two new bodies for that to be necessary. (FEDERICO helps him.)

Federico: They come in bigger numbers than that. Just forget it, I know the score. It's never gonna be Fisher & Sons & Diaz. I know that. Let's see what we got.

Nate: This one's a direct cremation. Nothing for you.

Federico: Oh, fuck! What is that? Shouldn't just burn people like they're garbage. (opens the body bag) What the--?

Two medals of honor are taped to VICTOR's bare chest, over his nipples.

Nate: (looking through the paperwork, finds a French Fry) Look, it came with fries. (reads, finds younger photo of VICTOR) Now, look at this. Doesn't even look like the same guy, does it? It says he applied to be buried at the National Cemetery. Signed a request for a flag fold, military escort...

Federico: Oh, man! Then you can't burn him. I can make him look like that again. Or almost.

Scene Thirteen: Gary's Office

Gary: You could ace algebra, Claire, and we both know it.

Claire: Power rests in the kind of knowledge one holds, so what's the use of knowing something that's useless?

Gary: Don't quote Castaneda at me.

Claire: Why not? You quote Bob Dylan at me.

Gary: You need algebra for college.

Claire: You're just assuming I'm going to college.

Gary: I know you're taking the PSAT tomorrow afternoon. It means you're thinking about it.

Claire: Is that the only option? Go to college, get a job so you could be a good consumer until you drop dead of exhaustion? I don't want that.

Gary: So what do you want?

Claire: I just want something to matter. Maybe I should wander around the desert and eat peyote and see God.

Gary: Yeah, be a homeless drug addict. You'd get bored with that pretty fast. Hey, have you heard of the Sierra Crossroads Program?

Claire: What is that? Like, "Bungee Jumping for Jesus"?

Gary: No, no, it's not affiliated with any religion. It's actually a really great program. I spent a couple of years there as an instructor. I think you might really like it.

Claire: Why?

Gary: Because it would take you out of yourself, out of your head. Now, I'll warn you, it's hard, but exhilarating. I think it might just give you the challenge you're looking for. There's an expedition going out over spring break. I could pull some strings, see if I could get you in.

Claire: Why do you care what happens to me?

Gary: Because I like you, and I want to see good things happen for you, and I know they can.

Scene Fourteen: VA Hospital

NATE is meeting with a VA ADMINISTRATOR. His name is Dave, but so as not to confuse characters, he will here be referred to as "VA Ad".

VA Ad: We're here to dig his service records out of St. Louis. Then there's the big question of whether his cancer was service-related. That means finding a doctor who thinks it was, and it took me four months to get all the approvals, but it means a burial allowance of up to 1500 from the VA. Might as well take that stuff, too. I packed it up for him.

Nate: It's too bad nobody told his brother what he wanted.

VA Ad: I did. Oh, yeah. I gave Paul the forms. I found them later in the trash.

Nate: Well, it's mostly someone else's writing on the forms. It doesn't match Victor's signature at all.

VA Ad: I filled them out for him. He tried to do it himself but those boxes are pretty small, and he shook a lot.

Nate: (looks at one of VICTOR's videos) Gulf War Victory Parade?

VA Ad: Victor said marching in it was the proudest moment of his life. Now, why would he keep it and watch it over and over if he hated the army?

Nate: Did Paul visit him much?

VA Ad: Oh, yeah. 3 or 4 times a week. He was really good about it.

Nate: So how come he--?

VA Ad: He couldn't. Paul would say, "The fuckin' army stole your life, Vic," and Vic would keep his mouth shut. I can tell you this: Victor wanted to believe that what he did in the Gulf meant something, that his life was not a waste. But, hey, I only counsel the veteran. I'm not supposed to interfere with what the family wants.

Nate: So you taped his medals onto his chest, fished his files out of the trash, and passed them onto me?

VA Ad: Well, you can always blow it off. I mean, you didn't even know the guy, right?

Scene Fifteen: Basement

DAVID walks in to see FEDERICO prepping VICTOR's body.

David: What are you doing?

Federico: There was a form that said he was getting a military funeral.

David: Who authorized this? Nate?

Federico: Uh--yeah.

David: Goddamn it, how many times have I told you when Nate gives you instructions, you are to check with me first? Turn him off. I'll drive him to the crematorium right now. (FEDERICO doesn't.) Do I have to do it myself? (FEDERICO does it, annoyed.) Fuckin' Nate! Paul Kovitch is who our contract is with, and if he finds out about this, he will either sue us or break our legs.

Scene Sixteen: Fisher Kitchen, nighttime

HIRAM and RUTH are preparing dinner. BRENDA and DAVID enter.

Brenda: Wow!

David: Uh, look who's here!

Brenda: Hello, Mrs. Fisher.

Ruth: Hello, dear.

Brenda: Hello, I'm Brenda.

Hiram: Hiram Gunderson.

Brenda: I understand you like to camp.

Hiram: Why, yes I do!

David: I wish I could tell you where Nate was, but I have no idea.

Brenda: That's OK. I can exist without him. (they both leave)

Hiram: Toss some sesame seeds in the salad?

Ruth: Yes, that would be lovely!

CLAIRE enters.

Ruth: There's my little girl. Claire, honey, this is Hiram Gunderson.

CLAIRE sees RUTH and HIRAM having sex against the cabinets.

Hiram: Pleasure to meet you, Claire.

Scene Seventeen: Fisher Dining Room

Brenda: This is delicious, Mrs. Fisher.

Ruth: Hiram is a chef.

Brenda: Oh.

DAVID sees RUTH stroking HIRAM, under the table.

Ruth: (laughing) I can't get enough of his cock!

DAVID looks horrified.

Claire: Oh, Mom, I need $1200 so I can go to Sierra Crossroads over spring break, and I need you to, like, sign this form like in case I die or something.

Ruth: Is this a school trip?

Claire: No, you go to the mountains and confront fear and get in touch with your most basic self. It looks good on your college application.

Nate: (enters) Sorry I'm late. There was this major accident on the Long Beach Freeway.

David: You always seem to get the bad traffic.

Nate: Yeah. (shakes HIRAM's hand) Hi, I'm Nate.

Hiram: Hiram. I've heard a lot about you.

Nate: Don't believe a word of it. (sits by BRENDA) Hey, I'm sorry. (kiss)

Brenda: Don't be. I'm having fun.

Nate: So what did I miss?

Claire: I wanna go to Sierra Crossroads.

Ruth: We'll talk about it later, Claire.

Nate: Oh, Mom, you should let her go. Crossroads is great.

Claire: You went?

Nate: Yeah, we went kayaking down the Colorado River the summer I was--what? 17? I don't think you were even born yet.

Ruth: I don't remember this.

Nate: Ah, that's because I lied to you and Dad. I know Dad'd never let me go, so I told you I was going to Sacramento to witness state government in action.

Everyone laughs.

Ruth: Oh, by the way, everyone, I got a job.

Nate: Cool.

Ruth: I'll be working at Nikolai's Flower Shop. I start tomorrow. It's just part-time.

Hiram: You didn't tell me about that.

Ruth: Didn't I?

Scene Eighteen: Fisher Kitchen, after dinner

DAVID is doing dishes.

Nate: Need some help?

David: Incidentally, Nate, I dropped Victor Kovitch off at the Oak Valley Crematory. I need you to pick him up first thing tomorrow.

Nate: Oh, fuck, David. He wanted a military funeral. He filled out the forms.

David: Is he paying our bill? You were there with his brother. It was clear he did not want the body embalmed. He could sue us and we wouldn't have a case.

Nate: OK, you know what, when you talk to me like this, it makes me want to not listen to a word you say.

David: You and I could lose everything. Mom could lose her home.

Nate: You know, Vic is eligible for a much bigger burial allowance from the VA than we thought.

David: Really?

Brenda: (enters) I'm leaving.

Nate: I'll walk you down.

Brenda: Bye, David.

David: Bye.

NATE and BRENDA go into the next room.

Brenda: Why don't you come over? Spend the night?

Nate: I can't. I've gotta be in Pasadena tomorrow morning and it'd add an extra hour to my trip.

Brenda: OK. (They kiss. She leaves.)

Nate: (calls after her) Give me five minutes. I'll follow you.

Scene Nineteen: TV Room

Hiram: Tonight wasn't so bad, was it?

Ruth: I suppose not. I don't know why I was so nervous. I mean, for Heavens’ sake, I gave birth to those people! You know what occurred to me tonight that's really strange?: I wish you'd known my husband. I think the two of you would have liked each other.

They both smile.

Scene Twenty: Brenda's Living Room

BRENDA and NATE enter, holding a gift basket.

Brenda: Who would get me a gift basket?

Nate: It's probably some Hollywood bigwig you work on who secretly wants to sleep with you.

Brenda: (checks card) Oh, it's from my brother, and it is addressed to both of us.

Nate: (reads; doesn't understand) "Sorry about this morning. Have fun at Cactus World"?

Brenda: (playin dumb) Who knows?

Nate: (opening wrapping) Well, this is nice. We could take it with us on the weekend. I cannot wait to get out of here. I'm in dire need of some serious relaxation.

Brenda: (pulling out a champagne bottle) Oh, fabulous!

Nate: (pulling out a small container) Smoked oysters.

Brenda: Really? Is there any caviar?

Nate: (takes out a small package) No, but there are condoms and... ok... edible underpants.

Brenda: That's a little scary.

Nate: I'd say this whole thing is a little scary.

Brenda: No, it just means he likes you. Believe me, there were guys Billy didn't like. It's much better this way.

Nate: I've been meaning to ask you: what's up with those matching tattoos you two have?

Brenda: We're in Vegas, we were very drunk and...(pulls out a very large dildo) oh dear! (shakes it around) These things always struck me as kind of ridiculous.

Nate: Would you just stop that? What does he think we're gonna do with this? Brenda, this is like hostile!

Brenda: Look, Billy is bipolar. He's medicated. Sense of what's appropriate can be a little off at times. Look, you have no idea what he's been through. Don't judge him... Please.

Nate: Alright. (They kiss.) Alright.

Scene Twenty-One: David's Bedroom/Walter Kriegenthaler's House

DAVID brushes his teeth in his bathroom, goes into his bedroom, and puts his suit away. He is in his underclothes now. He sits down with a glass of milk in front of the television and turns it on. He has a gay porn video on. On it, we see two SERGEANTS bullying a PRIVATE.

Sergeant #1: You're never gonna work your way out of this one, soldier.

Private: I was nowhere near the latrine, sir, I promise.

Sergeant #1: Give it up, private! Your ass is busted!

Sergeant #2: Yeah, you're in big trouble!

Private: But my father's on the Joint Chief of Staff!

Sergeant #1: Well, maybe we can't court martial you, but there is something else we can do.

SERGEANT #1 grabs the PRIVATE and forces him down on his knees and to give SERGEANT #2 a blowjob. Just at that moment in the tape, DAVID's phone rings.

Sergeant #1: Come on, private!

Both: Yeah!

Sergeant #2: You love that, don't you?

DAVID presses the pause button and answers the phone.

David: Hello?

We see WALTER KRIEGENTHALER sitting in his own home, in his armchair.

Walter: David? Walter Kriegenthaler. Did you meet with Father Clark?

David: Yes, today.

Walter: We'd like to meet at 9:30 tomorrow. Can you make it?

David: Absolutely.

Walter: And let me ask you a question, David: do you think Clark is gay?

David: Uh--I don't think so. He mentioned something about having a deceased wife.

Walter: I mean, I don't care if he is. I just don't want him to push that agenda, you know? Marriage, that whole thing. I have a cousin in DC whose church split because of that. Literally half the congregation left, and I don't want to see that happen to St. Bart's. I've been going there for 40 years. Well, it's late. I'll see you tomorrow morning. Good night. (hangs up)

DAVID places the receiver down and stares at the blowjob, frozen on the screen in front of him.

Act Two

Scene One: David's Bedroom, the next morning

DAVID is dressed and is putting on his shoes. NATE enters, holding VICTOR's videotapes.

Nate: OK, I got Victor, but I called the National Cemetery from the car and, you know what? They can bury an urn. They call it "in urn," and we could do it today at 3.

David: Why are you so determined to sabotage our business?

Nate: I don't think Paul ever knew how his brother ever really felt.

David: Nate, why do you even care?

Nate: Because it's what Victor wanted, and he deserves it. He'd get a raw fuckin' deal, I'm telling you. Victor Kovitch did not hate the army. You just watch these tapes he made in the Gulf.

NATE turns on the television. The gay porn tape is playing.

Sergeant #1: Come on, private!

Private: Yes, sir, fuck me, sergeant!

Sergeant #2: Oh, fuck, yeah!

Private: Give it to me!

Sergeant #2: Take it!

NATE laughs hysterically. DAVID quickly walks up to the television and turns it off, unamused. He starts walking out of the room.

Nate: Oh, come on, come on, it's funny.

David: I have someplace I have to be.

Nate: Dave, Dave, it's OK. I watch porn too!

Scene Two: High School Library

CLAIRE sits at a table, going through an algebra book. She sees PARKER and her two friends sitting at a table across from hers. She gives PARKER a small smile and packs up her books. She walks over to PARKER's table.

Claire: So, you guys taking the PSAT this afternoon too?

All three girls look at her weird.

Parker: Uh--yeah.

Claire: (laughs) What happens to you guys?

CLAIRE now sees what each of these girls will look like in the futures. All three are still sitting at the table.

Girl #1: (holding a baby, smiling) I go to UC Irvine and Northwestern Law, meet a totally great guy. He's a tri-athlete. We get married, and I practice law for 8 years, and we get really rich, and then I have 2 great kids.

Claire: So you're, like, unbelievably happy.

Girl #1: Kind of.

Parker: (in a dress suit; hair done up) I get a Masters in French, and then live in Paris for 6 months... and hate it. So I come back, become a TV development executive, and I work out all the time. I'm fairly miserable and have a slight substance abuse problem.

Claire: But you look great.

Parker: (whispers) Thanks.

Girl #2: (her skin looks green and sickly, as if she is rotting away) I start an interior lighting design firm with my college roommate and it totally takes off. And then I die of ovarian cancer before I'm 30.

Claire: Oh, that sucks.

Girl #2: Tell me about it.

GIRL #2 laughs. The other two girls laugh. CLAIRE laughs. CLAIRE continues to laugh out loud, and all the girls, now back to normal, stare at her weird again.

Claire: Well, good luck. (leaves)

Girl #1: What a freak!

PARKER and GIRL #2 nod in agreement.

Scene Three: Father Jack's Office

David: Father Jack?

Father Jack: David! Come in, sit. And call me Jack. We're beyond that. Meeting over already?

David: Yes.

Father Jack: Damn.

David: We all admire Clark's energy, but there is some concern that he may end up being divisive. As you said yourself, if we have to go back and start from the beginning--

Father Jack: And find some conservative lapdog who won't challenge anybody? Yeah, that's what we need here. (pulls a small bottle from his desk drawer) Scotch?

David: No, thank you.

Father Jack: (pours Scotch into small glass) Clark thought he came on a little too strong with you.

David: I liked him, Jack. I think the world would be a better place if there were more men like him. I just don't think that he's a good fit for St. Bart’s. Do you really think that Father Clark would be happy here?

Father Jack: Why should he be happy? How happy are you?

David: You're right. I'm not happy. My life is very complicated and confusing. I've experienced a lot of loss recently--my father and my--(catches himself) And the one thing that helps me to deal with it is having a place that hasn't changed like everything else in my life. There's a reason they call it a "sanctuary." (gets up) I think the majority of our congregation feels the same way, and my responsibility is to them, not you. Well, I've got a business to run. (leaves)

Scene Four: Basement

FEDERICO sits alone, downstairs, going over paperwork. The phone rings, and he answers.

Federico: Yo! Speaking. (looks around; in a low voice) Yes, what can I do for you, Mr. Gilardi?

Scene Five: Nikolai's Flower Shop

NIKOLAI is trying to help a young WOMAN who is standing with her fiancee, trying to pick flowers for their wedding from a catalogue. RUTH stands nearby.

Nikolai: Here. This is good choice here.

Woman: I don't like yellow. The bridesmaids' dresses are lilac. If the flowers are yellow, it's gonna look like an Easter egg hunt.

Ruth: How about white tulips? Very simple, just bunched together with a ribbon.

Woman: I was kind of thinking I would be the only one with white flowers.

Ruth: Or you could be the only one holding a gorgeous bouquet of color against your white dress.

Woman: People do that?

Ruth: It's your day, you can do whatever you want.

Woman: (to FIANCEE) Don't you think that would be pretty?

Fiancee: Mm hmm.

Woman: (to RUTH) I love the tulips thing.

Ruth: Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. So graceful and classic, like little ballerinas.

Scene Six: Slumber Room, Victor's Service

A VETERAN in a wheelchair sits in front of all of the seated mourners, most of them in army uniform, speaking about VICTOR. A small urn sits behind him.

Veteran in Wheelchair: The only reason I even met Victor is I jumped off a Hum-V and broke my feet. Here I am in the hospital with this guy who's dying, it turns out, and listening to me complain. Playing cards, giving me his dessert. I wish he didn't die. It sucks. Thank you. (wheels down)

NATE and DAVID watch from the other room.

David: Have you heard from Paul yet?

Nate: Not since I told him his brother was ready to be picked up.

David: Well, without his consent in writing, I cannot allow this funeral to take place.

Nate: Fine. At least we'll know we made an effort.

BAILEY is now speaking.

Bailey: When we were in the Gulf, Victor used to make these videotapes to send home to his family. We were always giving him a hard time, messing him up. (PAUL enters the other room, and sees NATE and DAVID.) He was a real good sport...

BAILEY's voice fades out, as the camera moves to NATE, DAVID and PAUL.

Paul: Is my brother ready?

Nate: Yes, he's right in here.

Paul: What is this?

Nate: Victor's friends wanted to say goodbye. The hospital referred them, and it's no problem for us.

David: And no charge to you.

Bailey: (noticing PAUL) Excuse me, are you his brother?

Paul: Yes, I'm Paul.

Bailey: This man here, I don't know if you people know it, was like a lion for Victor. He made federal waves over Victor's disability case. (Everyone claps.) I found a couple of pictures of us playing baseball. (takes them out) Victor was a lousy batter but a pretty good infielder. He's grinning like such a fool in these! I thought you might like them. (gives them to PAUL)

Paul: (looking at them, points to one picture) Is that you?

Bailey: Yeah.

Paul: You sick?

Bailey: No, never got sick. I don't know why. A lot of guys I knew over there did.

Paul: Well, thanks.

Bailey: Thank you for letting Victor have his military burial, even though I knew you were against it. I'm sure this means a lot to him.

Paul: (to NATE and DAVID) What the fuck is this military burial shit?

David: It's an option that can easily be cancelled at no charge to you.

Paul: Victor didn't want a military funeral. I told you that! You think I'm lying to you?

Nate: I think he was afraid to tell you what he wanted. He filled out those forms, Paul. He kept the videos.

Paul: Dave [the VA administrator] filled out those forms. This is all fuckin' army PR. And I threw those forms in the trash.

David: I'll call the service off right now.

Nate: He kept Saudi Arabian candy for 10 years.

Paul: You just want to jack up your price.

Nate: No. It's paid for. I just want your brother to have the funeral he wanted for himself, because that's his right. Victor wanted to believe he died for something. You really want to take that away from him?

Paul: Jesus. (gets teary-eyed) He's the only family I had left, and he can't even tell me what he wants when he's dead! He thought I would have talked him out of it, and he's right. I would've. (NATE puts his arm on his shoulder.)

Nate: Why don't you sit with his friends?

PAUL goes into the slumber room and sits with the other mourners. They all embrace him with open arms.

Scene Seven: Classroom in the High School

The PSATs are going on. We see that, instead of answering the questions, CLAIRE is circling in the bubbles on the test sheet in a skull-and-crossbones design.

Scene Eight: Nikolai's Flower Shop

Nikolai: Where is Ruth?

Robby: She's in the back, crying.

NIKOLAI runs to the back to find RUTH sitting on the floor, sobbing.

Nikolai: What is wrong?

Ruth: It's the smell of the flowers.

Nikolai: You'll get used to it.

Ruth: I am used to it! Today, I helped people choose flowers for weddings, for anniversaries, for new babies. I can't remember being surrounded by so much happiness. I'm used to the smell of flowers being something completely different. I'm used to people crying and being exhausted, people being shattered.

Nikolai: Do not worry, we get funerals too.

Ruth: (laughing amid her tears) I'm so happy! I can't wait to come back to work tomorrow!

Nikolai: You're not going to be like this every day, though? Right?

Ruth: (laughing) No.

Scene Nine: National Cemetery, interior of a building

NATE, DAVID and PAUL stand inside a building at the National Cemetery, where VICTOR's funeral service is being held. The urn sits in the middle of the room on a podium. VICTOR's name is engraved on it. A flag folding is done.

Sergeant: This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation as a token of our appreciation for honorable and faithful services rendered by your loved one.

He salutes and gives the folded flag to PAUL, who later hands it to NATE.

Paul: Give it to one of his friends.

Paul walks out of the building.

Scene Ten: National Cemetery, Outside

NATE and DAVID are walking past the gravestones. All of a sudden, NATE stops and taps DAVID on the back. When he turns around, NATE gives him a big hug.

Nate: I love you, David. I always will. I could get hit by a bus. I'm going out to the desert tonight. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

David: I love you, too. You did the right thing today.

Nate: I know. Feels good, doesn't it?

Scene Eleven: Brenda's House, nighttime

NATE opens the door to find BRENDA's house a mess. There are photos all over the floor. BRENDA and BILLY are sitting amidst them. BILLY looks crazed, and we can tell he has recently been crying.

Brenda: Hello.

Billy: She can't go.

Nate: Why not?

Billy: She has to help me pick prints for my show.

Nate: Does she have to do it tonight?

Billy: Yes, she has to do it tonight.

Brenda: Billy's got a show coming up in a gallery in Westwood.

Billy: Look, sometimes she gives me her eyes, OK?, because sometimes I go blind. 46 hours I've been looking at these pictures, and sometimes I see amazing things, and sometimes I just see shapes, and that's when I go blind. (He cries.) What if I lost the ability to tell the difference for real, for good?

Brenda: You won't.

Billy: You say that and then you give me your eyes, but what if I fuck up one day and I can't give them back to you?

Brenda: Well, that won't happen. We won't let that happen.

Billy: (looking at a picture) Oh, God, this is crap! This is pretentious, derivative crap!

Brenda: Well, then that's one less you have to consider. Right?

Billy: Right.

Brenda: Billy, I'm gonna go talk to Nate on the porch, OK?

Nate: Alright, and then he's gonna go away!

Brenda: We'll be right outside. Pick out 5 you like and you can show them to me when I come back.

Billy: Only 5?

Brenda: Or 10 or 20, and I'll look at them and I'll tell you what I see.

Billy: OK. (to NATE) You could fuck her some other time.

BRENDA takes NATE out onto the front porch and closes the door behind her. She lights a cigarette.

Brenda: Sorry. He's obviously off his meds.

Nate: What, intentionally?

Brenda: No. Happens occasionally. It's been a while.

Nate: Oh, Brenda, come on.

Brenda: Sorry, Nate, I can't. I'm all he has when he's like this.

Nate: You are letting him manipulate you.

Brenda: You don't know him. You don't know what he's doing.

Nate: Well, I know he doesn't like me, and I have a feeling he doesn't like any men in your life, am I right? Answer me!

Brenda: What, you think I fucked my brother?

Nate: (shocked) Jesus! I never said that! What--?

Brenda: Nate, he's sick. He's my brother and he's sick, and he needs me. This is who I am. This is what you get. (NATE makes a face.) Fuck you! You have no idea how much I wanted to go with you.

Nate: Can I do anything to help?

Brenda: Yeah. You can go to the desert, and sit in mud, and relax, and forget about everything, including us. (She opens the door, notices something.) Oh, shit! (to NATE) Just go, OK? Goddamn it.

She goes inside and closes the door in his face.


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