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#108 : Crossroads

Titre en VF: Départs et rencontres

Chloé Yorkin, récemment divorcée, passe une soirée avec ses amies. Après avoir bien arrosé le tout, elle rentre en limousine. Elle sort la tête de la voiture en marche et s'écrase le visage contre un panneau. Comme Nate et David ont des difficultés financières avec l'entreprise familiale, ils décident de mettre en location une pièce des pompes funèbres. D'un autre côté, Rico est tenté d'aller faire des heures supplémentaires chez Kroehner. Claire essaye d'apprendre quelquechose au cours de sa randonnée à la montagne, et Ruth a toujours du mal à approfondir sa relation avec Hiram. Connor, un très vieil ami de Brenda qui vient d'Australie, vient s'incruster dans le couple Brenda-Nate et énerve ce dernier. L'épisode se finit assez bien puisque un accident de bus a fait de nombreux morts et beaucoup d'entre eux vivaient dans le coin.

Plus de détails

Prelude

Scene: Limousine

CHLOE YORKIN, a forty-one year-old woman, is celebrating her divorce. She is sitting in the backseat of a limo, very drunk, with her two best friends. They are being driven around for a night on the town, and they all have champagne glasses. "I Will Survive" plays in the background.

Chloe: I am such a fucking idiot. I should have dumped him years ago.

Friend #1: Oh, yeah!

Chloe: I feel 20 pounds lighter.

Friend #2: More like 180 pounds.

They all laugh riotously.

Friend #1: What do you think he's doing tonight?

Chloe: Oh, he's fucking his old grad student, thinking he's king of the world. God, I wish I knew who invented Viagra... so I could shoot him.

They all laugh again.

Friend #2: I'll drink to that.

Chloe: (spilling some wine) Shit, I got it on my shirt! (hands glass to a friend) Hold this. I've got an idea. (tapping on the divider in the front) Driver! Hey, driver! (knocks) Take us to Miagi's 'cause I feel like dancing! (finds more wine) Look what I found!

Friend #1: Promise me, no dancing on the tables tonight.

Chloe: You just open this.

CHLOE stands up and sticks her head out of the sunroof. She rejoices in her newfound freedom.

Chloe: I'm king of the world! I'm king of the world! I'm king of the world!

At that moment, the limo passes a cherry picker on the side of the road at the same level as CHLOE's head. It smashes her face in. Her friends are splashed with blood and scream in terror. The screen fades to white.

"CHLOE ANNE BRYANT YORKIN
DECEMBER 7, 1959 - APRIL 5, 2001"

Act One

Scene One: Fisher House

We see various interior shots of the Fisher House, which is completely devoid of people. It is silent and empty. Empty front hall. Empty slumber room. Empty meeting room. Empty basement.

Scene Two: Front Lawn, Fisher House/Brenda's Kitchen

NATE is sitting outside, shirtless, and sunbathing. He's wearing sunglasses and sitting on a lawn chair, holding a study book. DAVID walks up to him. He is in a suit.

David: This is how you study for the funeral director's license?

Nate: Now, you must really like wearing a suit.

David: There's always a chance we'll get a walk-in.

Nate: There's always a chance we might get abducted by aliens. (DAVID sits in the chair next to his.) What's the longest we've ever gone without a body?

David: I remember Dad saying something like 9 days during the '84 Olympics. "The Drought of '84." You remember how Dad used to do Walter Brennan? (mimics a Walter Brennan voice) "Come on, Lil' Luke, let's stitch this dead guy up, 'cause Maw's made a mess of catfish, and I'm powerful hungry!" (he smiles and laughs; NATE gives him a weird look) OK, well, thank you for making me feel like an idiot.

Nate: No, you just knew a whole side of Dad I never did. 9 days, huh? This might beat that.

David: (takes the study book and starts to quiz NATE) When a family places money in a funeral trust for a pre-need, how much money can the funeral home use for purposes until the family requires your services?

Nate: 50%. (DAVID gives him a look.) 25%.

David: Zero. None.

Nate: I knew that. (cell phone rings; he answers) Hello?

We see BRENDA wearing a robe in her kitchen.

Brenda: Hey, it's me.

Nate: Well, it's about time! I've only been calling you for 6 days straight.

Brenda: Yeah, I've been incredibly busy. Lots of new clients. Sorry.

Nate: How's Billy?

Brenda: Uh--better. It only happens once a year, you know. Twice at the most.

Nate: So when can I see you?

Brenda: I don't know--Tuesday?

Nate: Well, is he staying with you?

Brenda: Yeah, just for a few more days. Listen, I've gotta go. I'll call you, OK? I promise. (hangs up.)

Nate: You think we're weird being undertakers' kids? Just be thankful our parents weren't shrinks.

David: (reading) How many days does a family have to cancel a contract for services?

Nate: I'm so sick of this bizarre behavior that I'm supposed to figure out, and then she seems pissed off when I can't. It's fuckin' neurotic.

David: Would you concentrate on this, please? I need you to get your license so you can start handling your share of things. (reads) How many--?

Nate: 3 days. (that is correct) It's not exactly the LA Bar, David. Come on, make me earn it.

David: When a funeral home advertises their services, which 2 specific pieces of information are legally required on all advertisements?

NATE has no idea, and gives a face.

Scene Three: Kroehner Prep Room

FEDERICO is standing in the Kroehner Prep Room with MATT GILARDI. We see that it is much like an assembly line, as NATE earlier described it. It is very white, clean, and antiseptic. There are many bodies on different tables, and a team of workers at each one. GILARDI is showing CHLOE's body to FEDERICO. Her face is completely crushed in. It is a mess of blood and cartilage.

Federico: I'd start with some heavy-duty armature material and Plaster of Paris, mastic compound for her face, tissue builder and wax for her features. I'd finish her off with a good sealer. She'll leak like a garden hose. A little airbrushing and a high quality foundation, and she's good to go.

Gilardi: How much time would you need?

Federico: At least a day to do it right.

Gilardi: The Fishers can spare you for a full day?

Federico: I'm not auditioning for you. This is a one-time freelance job, and I use my own materials. Kroehner's tecturizers--they blow.

Gilardi: How much?

Federico: 1500.

Gilardi: OK. (they shake hands) For someone with your talent, that's a bargain.

Federico: Stop blowing smoke up my ass. I'm not quitting the Fishers. Mr. F. put me through school.

Gilardi: Have her done by 5... and she'd better look flawless. (leaves)

Scene Four: Mountains

CLAIRE is at the Sierra Crossroads Program. A large group of kids her age are hiking, carrying huge packs on their backs. Their leader is an older man, probably in his mid-to-late 20's, DENNIS. CLAIRE is hanging out with a guy named TOPHER. They both look miserable. We see that PARKER is here also, but hanging with another group.

Dennis: Don't think about how steep it is. We've got 8 more miles.

Claire: (to TOPHER) Carlos Castaneda wrote, "A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be, and accepts it in ultimate humbleness."

Topher: Well, yeah, Carlos Castaneda can blow me.

Claire: (laughs) Tell me about it. Where's the whole spiritual transcendence part from the brochure? This is like fuckin' boot camp.

Topher: Have I--Have I, uh, thanked you for getting me high this morning?

Claire: Like 12 times.

Topher: Just making sure.

Dennis: Claire, Topher, you're straggling! You know the rules. The group stays together. Period.

Topher: Yavo, mein commandant!

CLAIRE laughs.

Scene Five: Fisher Front Hall

Nate: I've got a new way to make money. We rent out the slumber room for meetings--12-step groups, that sort of thing.

David: Are you insane? Drunks and drug addicts inside our home? The insurance issues alone--

Nate: Well, then, how about senior dance lessons? Twice a week at 50 bucks a pop, that's 5200 a year. That's 6 months property tax.

David: What if we've got a viewing?

Nate: They'll work around our schedule. David, these old people have nothing else to do. They dance for twice a week, have fun. Who do you think gets a call when they drop?

David: That's actually not a bad idea.

Nate: Well, good, because they're coming here at 2, so no more comments about me not pulling my weight for a while, OK?

Federico: (enters, looks at them) Is this a new company policy? Casual Fridays?

David: Nice of you to drop by. It's almost noon.

Federico: And I stayed till after 9 last night restocking and sterilizing. You mean you didn't check? Look, if it's alright with you guys, I need the day off. Vanessa's got an ultrasound.

David: She just had one last week.

Federico: Well, they want to do another one. I think I should be there with her, don't you?

Nate: Well, of course. You could have just called.

Federico: I left my jacket in the prep room. It has my wallet, my insurance card, all that stuff. Thanks, guys. (goes downstairs)

David: Great! Once again I'm the asshole, and you're the cool guy. Well, you can tell him tomorrow that he's cleaning out the body fridge. I want it scrubbed and hosed and disinfected.

Nate: You tell him.

David: It's Fisher & Sons. Sometimes you have to be the bad cop.

Nate: But you're so good at it.

Scene Six: Basement

FEDERICO takes some bottles of tecturizer and other things he needs to work on CHLOE and puts them in a bag. NATE comes down the stairs.

Nate: Hey, Rico!

Federico: (jumping out of his skin) Whoa! Nate, don't do that! I've got a lot on my mind, with the ultrasound and all.

Nate: David wants you to clean out--

Federico: The body fridge. I know. I know your brother's got a bug up his ass about cleanliness.

Nate: I know. When we used to play G.I. Joes, he always used to want to give his a shower.

Federico: Yeah, well. Running late.

Nate: Where's your jacket?

Federico: Oh, shit! I must have left it at home.

Nate: Oh.

Federico: Told you, man. I've got a lot on my mind from the ultrasound. See ya. (leaves.)

Nate: See ya.

Then NATE notices the empty spaces in the shelf, from where FEDERICO had taken the bottles.

Scene Seven: Mountains

The whole group is sitting.

Dennis: Now begins the vision quest part of our journey.

Claire: (to TOPHER) Oh, great, now we get to starve and sweat ourselves into a hallucinogenic state of ecstasy. (TOPHER snickers.)

Dennis: It's gonna get harder and harder for the next couple of days. Now, you all know how tough physically. Now the mental challenges begin. OK? Starting now, you guys lead. I just follow. So, I hope, for my sake, you've all perfected your map and compass skills. Parker.

Topher: (to CLAIRE) Oh, God, not Parker!

Dennis: Which way do we go?

Parker: (checks her compass) Uh--(points in a direction) That way.

Dennis: What are you waiting for? You lead.

Everyone gets up and follows PARKER.

Claire: (to TOPHER) Fuckin' girl scout!

Girl: (in background) Good call, Parker!

Claire: (to TOPHER) So who do you think plays Parker in the movie of her life? Sandy Bullock or Julia Roberts?

Topher: Oh, please, she'd never rate that high. She'd get one of those Buffy or Dawson's Creek chicks, tops!

CLAIRE laughs.

Scene Eight: Nikolai's Flower Shop

RUTH and NIKOLAI are eating lunch together outside.

Ruth: What is that?

Nikolai: This? Inkali. It's like dumpling with spicy meat inside. I cannot believe you never hear of Inkali! You know, you need to go out from the house more.

Ruth: I get out. I took a very enjoyable trip to San Bernadino just a few weeks ago.

Nikolai: You should come to my neighborhood. All Russian. You would love it. People with passion, full of life. Not like your family.

Ruth: What do you mean?

Nikolai: Russians speak from here (points to chest), from the heart, with their souls, not like Fisher, like from here (points to throat) like a little mouse goes (makes squeak noises; RUTH laughs). Not like that.

Ruth: If it's so wonderful in Russia, you should take the first flight back.

Nikolai: In Russia, I was engineer!

Hiram: (approaches) Knock knock.

Ruth: Hiram!

Hiram: I tried my hand at Jamaican Jerk Chicken, turned out good. Thought you might like some for lunch. (takes it out)

Ruth: That's so thoughtful. Thank you. (kisses him) Hiram, this is my boss, Nikolai.

Hiram: Hi.

Nikolai: She has a lunch.

Ruth: (offering chicken to NIKOLAI) Here, try some.

Hiram: Please.

Nikolai: You burned it!

Ruth: Nikolai!

Nikolai: Ruth is busy.

Ruth: I'm on my lunch break.

Nikolai: Lunch is over! Now we work! (storms out)

Hiram: Sorry I got you in trouble with your boss.

Ruth: Don't you worry. I can handle him.

Scene Nine: Slumber Room

The slumber room is filled with old men and women, square-dancing in pairs. Their instructor is a handsome, young guy in his early-to-mid-twenties, KURT. DAVID peers into the room and sees KURT and is instantly attracted to him.

Kurt: Everybody ready? And round and left. Right. Left. Good! Good, swing your partners! And promenade home! Very good!

KURT sees DAVID and smiles flirtatiously. DAVID smiles back.

Scene Ten: Basement/Rico's Apartment

NATE is calling FEDERICO's house. VANESSA picks up the phone. She is standing in her kitchen. We see, JULIO, FEDERICO's and hers three-year-old son, sitting at the table, eating.

Nate: Hey, Vanessa. Is Rico there?

Vanessa: No. Should I page him?

Nate: No, no, it's nothing important. I just wanted to run something by him.

Vanessa: OK.

Nate: Hey, did you have your ultrasound already?

Vanessa: Yeah. Last week.

Nate: You're not having one today?

Vanessa: (looks horrified) Oh, yeah, yeah, but not till this afternoon.

Nate: Huh.

Vanessa: I'm sorry, Nate, but the UPS guy's at the door. I gotta go, and I'll tell Rico you called, OK? (she quickly hangs up) Shit!

Julio: Shit!

Vanessa: (laughs) Hey, don't say that, papito, that's a grown-up word.

Back at the Fisher House, we see NATE hang up the phone, and then stare up at the ceiling, where he hears the dancing going on above his head.

Scene Eleven: Slumber Room

Kurt: OK, very good! Very good, ladies and gentlemen. Now, if I could just have your attention, please, for just one second. I want to teach you a new figure for the repertoire. You're gonna love it, your friends are gonna be very impressed, I promise. It's called the Hungarian Swing, and I need a volunteer, (walks up to DAVID and takes his hand) so if I could just borrow you for one second. (DAVID looks nervous but slightly excited) I promise, it won't hurt a bit. It goes like this. (He demonstrates all of the dance moves, using DAVID as his partner) You're gonna stand right hip to right hip, your other hand is gonna go up on your partner's waist, and your left hand is gonna go up over the head. Now, you're gonna swing one and a half times, she will turn one and a half times (DAVID laughs as he spins), into the promenade position. That wasn't so bad, was it? Let's do it again, with the music. OK? (DAVID starts to walk away.) Uh, not so fast. (grabs DAVIDˆs hand) OK, ladies and gentlemen, with the music. (turns it on) Here we go, OK, and 1-2-3-4.

All of the couples dance, including DAVID and KURT, who smile at each other. Suddenly a nearby old man turns around.

Old Man: Kiss him!

DAVID and KURT kiss passionately on the lips, and all of the couples stop dancing and applaud. Back to normal. The dancing continues.

Scene Twelve: Kroehner Prep Room

FEDERICO is working on CHLOE, while a Kroehner worker watches him, while eating a candy bar. She is an overweight, young woman with curly hair named PAM.

Pam: Interesting technique. Where'd you train?

Federico: Cypress College. Interned at Fisher & Sons.

Pam: Oh, so, you're the guy from Fisher & Sons! You got out of there just in time. Kroehner's gonna bury him.

Federico: I don't think so. Somebody burned down the funeral home Kroehner was building across the street.

Pam: Somebody? You ever heard of Jewish lightning? Oh, sorry. Did I offend you? I'm Jewish. I can say that.

Federico: Kroehner burned down their own building for the insurance money?

Pam: Trust me, it's not over. It's like Matt Gilardi's personal vendetta. Fisher's history.

Scene Thirteen: Slumber Room

The lesson is over and all the old people are leaving.

Kurt: Take care now. Get home safe. (to DAVID) Aren't they a trip? I love 'em. Old people still know how to boogie.

David: Yeah. More than me.

Kurt: Oh, I can change that. I'm Kurt, by the way. (they shake hands)

Nate: (enters) How'd it go?

David: Uh, terrific.

Nate: Uh, great. So I guess you'll be coming back? (He can tell that KURT likes DAVID.)

Kurt: I hope so.

David: This really was a great idea, Nate.

Nate: (smiles) So it seems, Dave.

Kurt: So--Dave--you free tomorrow night?

DAVID is about to give a negative face, when NATE cuts him off.

Nate: Yes. We're in the middle of a dry spell. He's got nothing but time.

Kurt: How's 8?

David: 8 for dinner? Is OK.

Kurt: Great! I'll pick you up. See you tomorrow. (he leaves.)

David: You just pimped me out to that kid.

Nate: That kid wants to jump your bones. Oh, come on, David. I watch "Will and Grace." I've got gay-dar.

David: OK, don't say "gay-dar."

They both laugh.

Scene Fourteen: Mountains

Topher: Sure wish we could light up that joint.

Claire: Yeah, Dennis is watching us like a hawk now that we have officially established ourselves as the anti-social losers.

Topher: Uh, we'll just sneak off after we set up camp, while the rest of the bush group groom each other for lice.

Parker: (walking over) Hi, Claire.

Claire: Hi.

Topher: Whoa, whoa. You two are friends?

Claire: We go to the same school. We're not exactly friends.

Parker: We're not exactly enemies, either. We have classes together.

Claire: One. Shouldn't you be leading us?

Parker: Now the guy with braces is doing it. You know, everyone gets a turn.

Topher: Yeah, I thought we were gonna do some daredevil shit. I mean, we're just following a fuckin' map.

Claire: This is fucking adolescent.

Parker: You guys have some pot?

Topher: Maybe.

CLAIRE looks annoyed at TOPHER, afraid she has now lost him to PARKER.

Scene Fifteen: Kroehner Prep Room

GILARDI examines CHLOE, whose face is almost completely restored.

Gilardi: Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. What'd you use for the cheek bones?

Federico: Elmer's glue, dental floss, and modeling clay.

Gilardi: Should have had your work videotaped. These lesser lites could learn from you.

Federico: I have a lot to learn myself.

Gilardi: Any interest in consulting?

Federico: My plate is full.

Gilardi: How about something more permanent?

Federico: What's gonna happen to Fisher & Sons?

Gilardi: What do you care? Is your name Fisher? Within 8 months, I can offer you your own home. There's a position opening up in San Diego early next year.

Federico: I'll think about it.

Gilardi: Sure. Take some time. Talk it over with your wife. Oh, and, by the way, this offer lasts 48 hours.

Scene Sixteen: Brenda's House, nighttime

NATE walks up to BRENDA's front door, and sees that the glass in one of the windows is broken (it has been broken from the inside, the glass shards are on the outside). He gets very worried.

Nate: Brenda? (opens the door) Bren?

He sees that the house is a mess, with clothes and garbage all over the floor.

Nate: Hello? Billy?

He sees a shadow coming from the bedroom. He grabs a small statue for self-defense. All of a sudden, a completely naked Australian man named CONNOR walks out. He is in his late 30s/early 40s.

Nate: Fuck!

Connor: Crikey!

Nate: Who the fuck are you?!

Connor: Name's Connor. Connor Thompson. You gotta be Nate. Brenda's given me the John Dory on you. Never told me you were this territorial, though.

Nate: What's with the broken glass?

Connor: One too many largies last night.

Nate: Do you mind putting something on?

Connor: You, don't worry. Don't fancy blokes. Nice pants there. (goes to the kitchen, NATE follows)

Nate: Is Brenda here?

Connor: Doesn't look like it.

Nate: Well, do you know where she is?

Connor: No. I'm not ruining her, if that's what you think. No, she made it quite clear that wasn't an option. Her heart's got your name on it now.

Nate: No, that would be her ass.

Connor: You're thinkin' I'm pretty sass, arencha?

Scene Seventeen: Mountains

The camps have been made. CLAIRE approaches a group of kids sitting around a campfire.

Claire: Hey? Any of you guys seen Topher? (No one answers.) Bet you can't wait to get back to Stepford. (walks away)

Scene Eighteen: Brenda's Living Room

BRENDA enters, carrying a laundry basket. She sees CONNOR, who is wearing a towel, and NATE sitting together.

Brenda: Take it you two have met. These took forever to dry. (kisses NATE) Hey, you.

She gives CONNOR his clean pants and goes into the kitchen. CONNOR starts to undress and change in front of NATE, who gets disgusted and goes to the kitchen.

Nate: So apparently you were mad at me because I went to the desert without you.

Brenda: No.

Nate: Well, what's with Crocodile Dundee then? Why the fuck are you doing his laundry?

Brenda: Oh, dear. This is really unattractive behavior, Nate.

Nate: Huh. Sorry. I guess I'm just a little weirded out that I keep running into naked guys in your house.

Connor: (walks by) They're still warm. Thanks, Lollies! (goes away)

Brenda: Connor is a very old friend from a totally previous life. He hasn't been in LA for 10 years. Don't freak!

Nate: I am not freaking. Just exactly where does Nature Boy sleep?

She points to a sleeping bag, rolled up on the living room floor.

Nate: Why didn't you tell me about him?

Brenda: Because I knew that you would react like this. (she hugs him) I am touched that you're jealous. Now, get over it, because you have no reason to be. I promise. (kiss) If I was fucking him, I'd tell you.

Nate: Oh, Jesus, that's comforting! Thank you!

Brenda: Come to dinner tomorrow night. Connor's cooking some Australian thing. Billy's coming over.

Nate: Oh, Billy's coming over! Well, I thought he was staying with you. You've been fucking lying to me! I have spent the last 6 days worried sick about you, and you've been fuckin' partying your ass off!

Brenda: OK. I fucked up. OK? I've been under a little pressure, you know, with my brother having a nervous breakdown and everything. I was just trying to simplify things. Don't blow this out of proportion, please, Nate.

Nate: OK. What time tomorrow night?

They kiss.

Scene Nineteen: Mountains

CLAIRE walks through the woods with a flashlight, looking for TOPHER.

Claire: Topher?

Suddenly she hears two people having sex in a sleeping bag. She hears PARKER and is convinced she is sleeping with TOPHER, so CLAIRE walks up to them and shines the flashlight in their faces.

Claire: Fucking asshole!

She looks and realizes that it is not TOPHER that PARKER is having sex with... but DENNIS!

Dennis: Oh, Jesus!

Claire: Oh, fuck! Shit! I'm sorry. (she turns around, and while walking away, trips on a branch) Fuck me! (leaves)

Dennis: Aw, shit!

Parker: Look, look, she tells anybody, no one will believe her. Everyone thinks she's like crazy.

Scene Twenty: David's Bedroom

DAVID is watching a nature show on PBS. We hear the Australian host's voice.

Host: The sexual habits of the Koala are quite mysterious because of the complicated reproductive systems... The male Koala's penis is forked like a snake's tongue... The female has two vaginas. (fades out)

Nate: (suggestively) Whatchu watching?

David: Very funny. What's up?

Nate: Well, just thought you should know: I called Vanessa, and there was no ultrasound today. And I also think Rico took a couple of bottles of stuff from the prep room.

David: Shit. Fucking Kroehner. Alright, I'll call around, see what I can find out. Why didn't you tell me about this earlier?

Nate: I was going to, but I got distracted by you and the square dance guy. Look, it's not like Rico has an exclusive contract with us or anything. So he's moonlighting.

David: Moonlighting is when you take a job when your first job is over. When he takes a job for Gilardi while he's still on the clock with us, that's treason.

Nate: Stop being such a drama queen.

David: Stop acting like you're honorary mayor of West Hollywood all of a sudden. He lied to our faces.

Nate: Yeah, he did.

Act Two

Scene One: Mountains, next morning

Parker: Hey, Claire.

Claire: Hey, look, I'm sorry about last night. I thought you and Topher--

Parker: It's OK.

Claire: But, whatever, it's none of my business.

Parker: No, it's OK. I just--I don't know--I hope you won't just write me off now. I mean, maybe it'll even like break the ice.

Claire: Yeah.

Parker: I just kinda, you know, think you're funny and cool and, well, sometimes, I feel boring and lame around you, and I think it's 'cause, I don't know, I kind of wanna be your friend.

CLAIRE laughs and then stops when she realizes PARKER is not kidding.

Claire: Why?

Parker: Why not?

Claire: OK, this is totally weird.

Scene Two: Basement

FEDERICO enters. NATE and DAVID are waiting for him.

Nate: How's Vanessa?

Federico: She's great. Yeah. The baby's as strong as a bouncer.

David: How's Chloe Yorkin? Some of your more ardent fans in prep room around LA are calling this one your Sistine Chapel.

Federico: Look, I told Gilardi it was a one-time thing. I mean, come on, guys, you gotta--you gotta understand. It wasn't for the money. (smiling, enthused) I mean, her head was like a--like a watermelon somebody hit with a sledgehammer. I mean, a case like that doesn't come along every day.

David: What did he offer you to leave?

Federico: (he gets serious) What are you offering me to stay? What? You guys thought I would stay out of loyalty? Unlike you two, I have a wife and kids to think about.

Nate: What do you want?

Federico: I want to be a partner.

David: That would require a significant financial investment on your part. That's what partners are.

Nate: Rico, let Dave and me talk. Don't do anything until we have a chance to counter, OK?

Federico: OK. (he leaves)

Nate: Maybe we can work out some sort of profit-sharing plan.

David: He's finally figured out he's worth more than we can pay him. We're fucked.

Scene Three: Mountains

Dennis: OK, today we're gonna climb about 3000 feet to a shelter close to the summit. Now, we have to move fast. When it gets dark, it gets cold.

Claire: (to PARKER) Why did you sleep with him?

Parker: I don't know. Just to see if I could.

Dennis: So who hasn't been leader yet?

TOPHER and a few others raise their hands. One says "I haven't." Another, "Me, either."

Dennis: Claire.

Claire: (catched off-guard) What?

Dennis: Which way do we go?

Claire: I don't know. I really don't care. Somebody else pick.

Dennis: Come on, Claire. Don't you wanna consult your map and compass?

Claire: No, I think I lost my compass anyway.

Dennis: Well, borrow one from someone else.

Claire: Look, just pick someone else, OK? Please. OK, (points in a direction) that way. I think we should go that way. It's obviously the path.

Dennis: OK, maybe someone else would like to--

Parker: Hey, Claire paid her 1200 bucks too. Doesn't she get a turn?

Claire: Don't pull me into your shit, OK?

Dennis: OK, look, alright. Let's all take out our maps and compasses.

Parker: It's Claire's turn, Dennis. I think we should follow Claire, and she said we should go this way.

Dennis: (annoyed) OK, this way it is.

Claire: (to PARKER, sarcastically) Thanks a lot.

Parker: What? Now this trip is finally starting to be fun.

Scene Four: Nikolai's Flower Shop

RUTH and NIKOLAI are cutting and preparing flowers.

Nikolai: I prefer busy to quiet. Some peoples, they like nothing to do. Me, drives me crazy, and, besides, no customer, no money. When I'm walking by this restaurant every day while I'm going home, this Ethiopian restaurant, no customer, every night, night after night, no customer! How they can make a living, I don't know. I don't understand this...

His voice trails off as RUTH stops paying attention. RUTH closes her eyes and HIRAM comes up behind her and kisses her. They start to kiss passionately. NIKOLAI notices that RUTH has been drifting off.

Nikolai: I boring you?

Ruth: Heavens, no.

Nikolai: Good. Watch you don't cut your finger.

Scene Five: Mountains

Parker: Did you really put a foot in Gabe Dimas' locker?

Claire: Yeah.

Parker: Oh, my God, that is like the greatest thing ever. Anyone ever deserved it--

Claire: Did you have sex with him?

Parker: Oh, yeah.

Claire: Did you suck his toes?

Parker: Yup.

Dennis: I'm gonna have to ask the two of you to turn around.

Claire: What?

Dennis: I'll accompany you both back to the last camp. A jeep will meet you there, take you back to base parking.

Claire: You're kicking us out? You can't do that!

Dennis: Yes, we can. It's on the contract that you and your adult guardian signed.

Claire: What? Anyone who witnesses a group leader having sex with a student can be thrown out? I doubt it.

Dennis: You purposely lead us off the predetermined course, endangering everyone's safety, and I'd be willing to bet that there's drugs in your pack.

Claire: You can't go through my stuff. You need a search warrant!

DENNIS disregards what she says, unzips her bag, and takes out a bag of pot.

Dennis: OK? Now, look, we can do this the easy way or we can get the cops involved. What do you want?

Parker: You are such a total loser.

Dennis: This is not a game, you little bitch. You are fucking with people's lives here.

Claire: Some of those people are completely innocent bystanders! Hello!

Scene Six: Basement

David: (answering his cell phone) David Fisher.

Dennis: (we only hear his voice over the phone) Is this the adult guardian of Claire Fisher?

David: Uh--yes, that is correct.

Dennis: I'm with Sierra Crossroads. Your daughter was discovered with marijuana. She's leaving the expedition. Transportation's on its way to take her back to her car. She should be back in LA by midnight tonight instead of Sunday, as planned. Any questions?

David: Uh--no, thank you for calling.

Scene Seven: Mountains

DENNIS hangs up his cell phone. He is alone with CLAIRE, who is reading her Castaneda book.

Dennis: Your dad sounds like a real tight-ass. (sees book) Castaneda, huh? You still read that?

Claire: Look, don't even. All need for us to interact has been removed.

Dennis: Listen, how well do you know Parker?

Claire: Hardly at all.

Dennis: 'Cause I'd really hate it if she's one of those people who would, you know, create a huge stink and ruin my life just for the entertainment value of it.

Claire: Sorry, I don't really know her.

PARKER approaches them, with an unlit cigarette in her mouth.

Parker: God, I hate pissing outdoors!

Dennis: Parker, don't light that.

She lights it.

Claire: So who's in charge while you're here babysitting us?

Dennis: Topher.

Claire: What? He hates this whole Sierra Crossroads bullshit.

Dennis: What, are you kidding? He's been doing it since he's 14 years old.

Claire: You're so full of shit.

Dennis: It's one of the things that helped him get accepted to Stanford.

Claire: Topher is going to Stanford?

Dennis: Pre-law.

Claire: This whole experience just gets more and more irritating.

A jeep approaches.

Dennis: Here's your ride.

Scene Eight: Funeral Director's License Test

The room is full of people taking their tests. NATE is clearly having great difficulty with it.

Instructor: 10 minutes.

Scene Nine: Chloe's Service at a Kroehner Funeral Home

VANESSA is admiring CHLOE's body. CHLOE, incidentally, looks even better than she did when she was alive.

Vanessa: Damn, she looks good. You took Polaroids, right?

Federico: Polaroids? I borrowed Jacob's digital camera. (both laugh quietly)

Vanessa: You blended the filler material just perfect! Honey, she really is your Sistine Chapel!

Federico: You think?

Vanessa: Baby, you know. Too bad you gotta bury her. (she crosses herself)

Federico: Yeah.

CHLOE's two best friends (from the limo) approach the casket.

Friend #2: She looks beautiful, doesn't she?

Friend #1: Never better.

Vanessa: You should've seen her yesterday.

FEDERICO pulls her away quickly.

Vanessa: You're gonna take the offer.

Federico: I haven't decided yet.

Vanessa: No, I said: you're gonna take the offer.

Federico: Where would I be without the Fishers?

Vanessa: In a house. Not some lousy apartment. They treat you like a migrant worker.

Federico: They'll never make me a partner.

Vanessa: Not ever.

Federico: 1500 a restoration.

They both smile.

Scene Ten: Restaurant, nighttime

DAVID is on his first date with KURT. DAVID is wearing a tight black shirt.

Kurt: Tuition at SC's highway robbery, so calling helps pay for books and beer. It's either that or become a beeper boy. I'm not quite ready to go there. (DAVID laughs.) So what's with the International Male shirt?

David: This? Oh, I borrowed it from my sister.

Kurt: It looks good. I bet it looks even better off.

David: (embarrassed) So you were talking about square dance calling?

Kurt: Yeah, it's my grandparents' group. They practically raised me after my parents kicked me out.

David: Kicked you out? When they found out about you--?

Kurt: When my father walked in on me and my high school boyfriend fucking on the desk in his study. It was awful. My mother had a complete breakdown. My parents eventually split. It was a total movie for Lifetime. What about you? What did your parents do?

David: When I came out? Uh, my dad was OK with it. My mom's still a little uncomfortable.

Kurt: It still baffles me that anyone even gives a shit, you know?

Waiter: (brings drinks) Here you go. For you. Enjoy. (leaves)

Kurt: You have a boyfriend?

David: Uh--no.

Kurt: Why not?

David: I'm not sure.

Kurt: You ever have one?

David: Yeah. You?

Kurt: Yeah. Several. You've got the longest eyelashes I've ever seen. I've always liked older guys.

David: I'm "the older guy"?

Kurt: Guys my age are idiots. They're fun to fuck, but it usually ends there. And I hate the way they treat older men, you know? "Tired old queen, fossil, troll"? As if we're not gonna end up there ourselves one day, if we're lucky. Uh, I'm getting my Masters in Social Work with a concentration on Services for Seniors, so it's a pet peeve of mine. Are you a top or a bottom?

David: What? (KURT gives him a look.) Oh, I'm versatile.

Kurt: Bottom. Good. Wow. This'll work out well. You wanna get out of here?

David: Yeah.

Scene Eleven: Brenda's Living Room

BRENDA, CONNOR, BILLY and NATE are all sitting around a small table, getting high off a bong.

Connor: So the bastard took it! I lost my investment, my bike, fuckin' everything.

Brenda: Connor, that always happens to you!

Connor: Know, I guess I can always get back on the old Banana Roll, hey?

Brenda: You remember, what was that, that thing in Texas? You lost your bike in Texas?

Connor: Oh, not that fuckin one!

Brenda: Yes, that like '95 one, what was that.

NATE watches jealously.

Billy: Hey, Nate, listen. I'm sorry about last week. I go off the meds now and then, just to feel alive. I'm sure you must have thought I was a total psycho.

Nate: Crossed my mind.

Billy: Well, I'm not. (hands NATE the bong) I don't wanna come between you and my sister. She's happy with you. Happier than I've seen her in a long time.

He lights the bong and NATE inhales deeply. Almost immediately, he becomes extremely stoned. Everyone's voices fade in and out, sometimes sounding louder than usual, sometimes softer. The camera zooms in and out.

Brenda: That is so tragic...

Connor: So what's your story? Just another spunk to add to your collection? So what's left for me to do? Become an air hostess?

Brenda: I think you should get a TV show, where you wrestle things, right, but not animals... things!

NATE inhales again.

Connor: Like what things?

Brenda: Like... refrigerators... and here's the title of it...

Connor: Hey, Connor, what's Your John Dory?

Nate: WHAT FUCKING LANGUAGE ARE YOU SPEAKING?

Everyone freezes.

Billy: Hey, Nate, buddy. Chill.

NATE takes another huge hit.

Scene Twelve: Claire's Car

CLAIRE is driving PARKER back to LA with her.

Parker: This car is like total Graceland on wheels. Total love nest. Have you ever fucked in here?

Claire: Once.

Parker: This record exec, a friend of my dad's, he's got like this total makeout van from the 70's. He thinks it's so cool, and it's just not.

Claire: How do you think Dennis knew I had pot?

Parker: So your dad died, huh? What was that like?

Claire: I don't know. Doesn't seem real.

Parker: I never knew anybody that died.

Claire: Well, I grew up in a funeral home, so I was always around it.

Parker: OK, was that completely weird?

Claire: Yes.

Parker: My dad's a big shot at Disney.

Claire: Really? Why don't you go to a private school?

Parker: He divorced my mom a long time ago. He likes his new family better. He won't give my mom alimony because he caught her having sex with like this retarded guy.

Claire: Fuck.

Parker: I'm kidding. My mom gets killer alimony. I just keep getting kicked out of private schools.

Claire: (laughs) I thought you were like this little overachiever, like little Miss Perfect.

Parker: Good. That's what I want people to think.

Claire: When in reality you're like this compulsive liar/danger slut.

Parker: I thought you were like this Goth arty freak girl who was like tragic and suicidal.

Claire: Oh, my God, that's so not who I am.

Parker: Nobody's ever who they seem to be.

Claire: Nobody interesting.

Scene Thirteen: TV Room, Fisher House

RUTH and HIRAM watch "Change of Heart" on TV.

Ruth: I don't get this show.

Hiram: It's a game show.

Ruth: I know that. I just don't understand why people like it. My friend Amelia says it's her favorite show.

Hiram: It's a great show. My son likes "Once Upon A Hamster." When I was his age, I was crazy for Mad Magazine, Ernie Kovacks, the Marx Brothers. Anybody that took pot shots at sacred cows. I mean anybody.

HIRAM's voice trails off. Suddenly, NIKOLAI enters the room, dressed in a big, red Cossack outfit. He smashes a glass and ravishes RUTH. They passionately kiss on the couch, to the sound of Russian music playing in the background.

Hiram: Yeah, I loved that stuff. Irreverence was my drug of choice. Still is, I guess. (laughs)

Scene Fourteen: Brenda's House

NATE is very, very stoned, and beyond that, is hallucinating. He stands in the kitchen, when CONNOR enters.

Connor: Night, mate. I'm really glad you and Lolly's hooked up. I mean, personally, I couldn't handle her playing Freud all the fuckin' time. I mean, I don't give a fuck why I am the way I am, right?

Nate: Well, she is a complicated woman.

Connor: No, she's not. (leaves)

NATE exits the other way and enters the living room. BILLY dances. BRENDA and CONNOR continue to laugh on the floor. Words fade in and out, very hard to decipher, indicative of NATE's current state. We see BILLY take out a picture and show it to BRENDA and CONNOR. He again gives NATE the bong, and NATE again takes a big hit. NATE notices that the picture was taken on a beach and is of BRENDA and CONNOR. The room spins, and NATE sees BRENDA and BILLY making out.

Nate: WHEN WAS THAT TAKEN?

Brenda: Two summers ago.

Nate: I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU HADN'T SEEN HIM IN A DECADE.

Brenda: No, I said Connor hasn't been to LA in a decade.

NATE looks at the rolled-up sleeping bag and imagines it covered in cobwebs.

Nate: ALRIGHT, WHERE DO YOU SLEEP, MATE, BECAUSE THAT SLEEPING BAG HASNˆT MOVED AN INCH IN DAYS!

Billy: They sleep in the same bed, where else?

Connor: Don't crack a fit now, mate. I mean, she's totally wrapped up in you.

Nate: OH, JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, COWBOY!

Brenda: OK. OK. I didn't tell you, because I knew you would react just like this.

Nate: WELL, HOW ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO REACT?

Brenda: Oh, so I'm supposed to make an old friend sleep on the floor just to protect your macho pride?

Nate: YOU HAVE A SHIATSU MAT!

Billy: Come on, man. Haven't you ever slept with a woman and not had sex with her?

Nate: NO!

Brenda: Outside! Get some air!

Nate: (mimics her) "OH, GO OUTSIDE, GET SOME AIR!" FUCK YOU!! I'M LEAVING!!!

She pushes him out the door and closes it in his face.

Nate: HAVE FUN WITH YOUR AUSSIE FUCK, MINDFUCKER!!!

Scene Fifteen: Kurt's Apartment

KURT and DAVID are having sex.

Kurt: Damn, you are versatile!

They kiss.

Act Three

Scene One: Fisher Kitchen, morning

Nate: So, you think I'm being a possessive asshole for wanting Brenda for myself?

Ruth: Well, when you feel connected with someone, it doesn't mean you're possessive or an asshole. But until there's a commitment, you have no claim on her. A woman doesn't have to wait to be chosen anymore. Now she can do the choosing.

Nate: Yeah, but if she waits too long the right guy might just move on.

Ruth: You're right, dear. You're so right.

David: (enters) A chartered bus headed for Vegas overturned on the 10 last night! (ecstatic) 44 passengers, most of them dead!

Nate: (knowingly) Did you sleep well last night?

David: Yes, thank you.

Nate: Did you sleep at all last night?

David: How'd the funeral director's test go?

Nate: Oh, man, I choked. Had a cluster fuck.

Ruth: Language!

Nate: You just said "asshole."

David: Nate, I need you to pass that test.

Nate: Yeah, well, Dave, I need you to lighten up on me, starting now.

Federico: (enters) Hey, first of all, I just want to thank you guys for everything you've done for me. But I think it's time for me to move on. I have to think about my future, my family's future.

Ruth: You're leaving us? Oh, dear!

Nate: You haven't even given us a chance to counter Kroehner's--

Federico: Am I a partner? (no response) You guys didn't even talk about it.

David: Thank you, Federico. I'm sorry that we can't offer you more. (shakes his hand) You will always have a job waiting for you here.

Nate: Kroehner will never appreciate how good you are, Rico. You'll just be a part of their assembly line.

Federico: Hey, we'll see. A word of advice, guys: don't turn your back on Gilardi. (leaves)

Nate: Well, so much for loyalty.

David: Nate, he's given us five years. He doesn't owe us anything.

Ruth: Nobody does.

Scene Two: Brenda's House/Fisher Kitchen

NATE knocks on the door and opens it.

Nate: My only defense is I think I was hallucinating. That and the thought of you with another man makes me crazy. Sorry. I'm just a guy that way. So, where's Connor?

Brenda: Oh, God, I threw him out. There's only so much of him I can take.

Nate: So you forgive me?

Brenda: Sure. Why not?

Nate: Good. Now it's your turn.

Brenda: You want me to apologize?

Nate: Yes... For trying to use Billy's meltdown and Connor's visit to push me away. For being impatient with my very valid emotional response to each one, and for always asking me to adjust my behavior and feelings but never be willing to do that yourself.

Brenda: OK, that's fair. I apologize.

Nate: Part of you wants me to bail.

Brenda: Yeah, you're probably right.

Nate: Why?

Brenda: Because I've already gone further than I have with anybody since--(stops herself) since a long time ago. Because every time I've ever believed in a happy ending, I've gotten severely fucked. Sorry.

Nate: Well, do me a favor: promise me from here on out, I am the only man in your bed and in your life. (BRENDA laughs.) I'm serious, Bren. Promise me.

Brenda: I promise.

Nate: I love you, and I wanna be with you for the long haul, but there is a limit to the amount of shit I will put up with.

Brenda: Did you just make me a lifetime commitment, right before the thinly veiled threat of abandonment?

Nate: Well, I don't remember using the word "lifetime." (smiles)

Brenda: Well, I wouldn't hold you to it. (smiles) Sorry I'm so weird about intimacy. I guess spending your childhood getting picked apart by behavioral psychologists will do that.

Nate: Well, not being able to sleep at night because your basement's full of dead people takes its toll, too.

She laughs and they hold each other. NATE's cell phone rings.

Nate: Sorry.

Brenda: (whispers) It's OK.

Nate: (answers) Nate Fisher.

David: (in Fisher Kitchen) Remember that chartered bus that overturned last night? They were all locals! We're getting three of them! The first family will be here in an hour.

Nate: I'm on my way. And try to curb your enthusiasm.

David: This'll be tough without Rico.

Nate: See you later. (hangs up)

Scene Three: Fisher Kitchen

CLAIRE enters the kitchen, utterly exhausted, and drops her bags on the floor. She lies her head down on the table.

David: Good Lord, what'd they do to you?

Claire: Don't ask. So did Mom freak when you told her I got busted?

David: I didn't tell her.

Claire: OK. Why?

David: I don't know. Other stuff came up. Seemed like a low priority.

Claire: Are you going to?

David: Probably not. I'm sorry the Crossroads thing didn't work out like you had hoped.

Claire: Actually, it was kind of amazing. I think I really learned something valuable: everything I think I know is wrong. (DAVID smiles and laughs.) Hey, what happened to that guy, Keith?

David: It just didn't work out.

Claire: That's too bad.

David: Life goes on. (smiles)

Claire: That it does. (smiles)

David: Well, there's work to be done.

He pours a glass of orange juice for her and gives it to her. He leaves. CLAIRE looks at the juice and drinks it.

END OF ACT THREE

END CREDITS

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