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#111 : Au coeur de la nuit

David, Nate et Brenda se rendent à Las Vegas où se déroule une conférence pour les entrepreneurs funéraires, et testent les avantages et les inconvénients de la ville. Ruth prend des cours de confection de bouquets de fleurs, et apprend au passage à entendre son soi intérieur. La mort d'un bébé sans réelle raison vient troubler la maison des Fisher & Sons; surtout Rico, dont la femme est de nouveau enceinte.

Titre VO
The Trip

Titre VF
Au coeur de la nuit

Photos promo

Nate et Brenda

Nate et Brenda

Rico et sa femme

Rico et sa femme

Billy et Brenda

Billy et Brenda

Plus de détails


Scene: Baby Dillon's Bedroom

This scene is shown from a baby's point-of-view. We do not see the baby, DILLON COOPER, but we do see his view out of his crib, of his mobile, and his parents. His mother and father are both very young themselves, in their early twenties. They look like kids. The baby begins to cry.

Dillon's Father: Dillon! Hey there, buddy! What are you doing awake so late? Does he look okay to you?

Dillon's Mother: He's just fussing a little, is all.

Dillon's Father: He doesn't look a little funny?

Dillon's Mother: Of course he looks a little funny. That's his daddy's nose. (Both laugh.) He's just a little sleepy. (sings) "The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the... " That's my baby's smile! (to her husband) Why don't you go back to bed? I'll be in as soon as he falls asleep.

Dillon's Father: Are you sure?

Dillon's Mother: Yeah, it's alright. Go back to sleep.

Dillon's Father: OK.

He leaves. His wife sits in a nearby rocking chair and watches her baby. The baby looks up at his mobile and watches it spin around and around. The camera closes up on the mobile. The picture gets fuzzy and fades to white.

APRIL 29, 2001 - MAY 17, 2001"

Act One

Scene One: David's Bedroom, morning

DAVID'S ONE-NIGHT STAND (not, of course, the same from "The Room") sleeps on his couch. DAVID enters, getting dressed.

David: You're still here.

Guy: (yawns) What? No breakfast?

DAVID throws him his clothes.

David: I've got to go to work.

Guy: You're a lot nicer on-line.

David: Yeah, well, people aren't always who they seem to be.

Guy: Tell me about it.

David: You need to leave. Now.

Guy: Whatever. (As he dresses, DAVID hands him the pack of cigarettes he left on the table.) See you in the chatrooms-- Jim.

Scene Two: Fisher Driveway

The ONE-NIGHT STAND emerges from DAVID's apartment, which is next door to the main house. He lights a cigarette. RUTH stands on the other side of the driveway, watering her flowers with a hose. She stares at him. She imagines a sadomasochistic scene between DAVID and him. It is nighttime. The ONE-NIGHT STAND, clad completely in leather, ties his leather boots and walks over to DAVID, who is tied up with chains. He whips DAVID over and over with a leather whip.

David: (laughing) Again! Again! Again!

The ONE-NIGHT STAND gives a friendly wave to RUTH.

Guy: Hey!

She takes her hose, and without saying a word, sprays him full-blast.

Guy: Fuckin' bitch!

Soaked, the ONE-NIGHT STAND leaves. A few moments later, DAVID comes down from his apartment and passes by RUTH.

David: Morning, Mom.

He goes into the house and RUTH continues watering her flowers and planting.

Scene Three: Brenda's Bedroom

NATE and BRENDA lie in bed together. The phone rings, and the answering machine picks it up. They both listen.

Billy's Voice: Bren, Bren, if you're there, pick up! It's Billy! Pick up the phone, Brenda!

Brenda: (does not pick up phone, but yells this to the air) Fuck you!

Billy's Voice: Pick up the fucking phone! Please!

Brenda: Fuck you!

Billy's Voice: OK. Look, I need you, Bren. OK? Things are not good. I need you. Brenda! Goddammit! Fuck! Bitch! (hangs up)

Brenda: (to NATE) Lovely way to wake up, huh?

Nate: Brenda, you're gonna have to face him sometime.

Brenda: Sometime, just not now. Let's get major espressos, take a walk on the beach.

Nate: Can't. Gotta get ready for my trip.

Brenda: What trip?

Nate: Vegas, baby, Vegas! Annual West States Funeral Conference.

Brenda: Is that today? I thought that was months away.

Nate: No. Just me and David and 300 funeral directors cutting loose in the City of Sin.

Brenda: Why would you do that to yourself?

Nate: Well, 1: we get to attend helpful seminars where we learn new tricks of the trade; 2: we get to commiserate with all of the other sad fucks who are being edged out by Kroehner; 3: we have the perfect opportunity to get in Matt Gilardi's face and tell him we know Kroehner burned down the house across the street.

Brenda: Aah! The ongoing pissing contest! It'll be good for you and David. You'll have fun.

Nate: I don't know how much fun he's gonna have. He's giving this big speech about the future of the independant funeral home.

Brenda: David doesn't strike me as the type of guy who gives speeches.

Nate: My dad was scheduled to do it. David volunteered to fill in. It's kind of a big deal for him. He's pretty nervous about it.

Brenda: Call me from Vegas.

Nate: I will. (kisses her) Unless I'm flailing about in a pool, having sex with some showgirl.

She smiles and he leaves.

Brenda: (calls to him) I'll miss you! (the phone rings again, and again she yells) Oh, fuck you!

Scene Four: Room Behind the Curtain

DAVID and NATE have an intake meeting with DILLON's mother and father.

David: I know this is an exceptionally difficult time for you, but can you tell us what you had in mind for your son's--?

Dillon's Father: Uh-- I'm sorry. We're only here because the hospital suggested we call you guys. Um-- we're not even sure what we're doing here.

Dillon's Mother: He's a perfectly healthy baby.

Nate: Can I ask what was the cause of--?

Dillon's Father: SIDS.

David: Yes, well, if you need to take some time before we start making arrangements, that's completely understandable.

Dillon's Mother: The arrangements?

Dillon's Father: What arrangements?

David: For his funeral.

Dillon's Father: Funeral? He was only three weeks old!

David: It might help if you think of it less as a funeral and more as a way of saying goodbye to him.

Dillon's Mother: I don't wanna say goodbye. You know, he just barely got here.

David: Of course, it's difficult for anyone to come to terms with something as unexpected as this, but--

Nate: It's not just difficult. It's not even remotely possible. Some babies are just too good for this world. We'll fix things so you can spend as much time with him as you need.

Scene Five: Basement

Federico: How old is he?

Nate: Uh-- barely three weeks.

Federico: SIDS?

Nate: Yeah.

FEDERICO unzips the tiny body bag and winces.

Federico: Oh, Jesus.

David: You should have been here for the intake. The parents are practically children themselves. They didn't even know they were supposed to have a funeral.

Nate: Welcome back, Rico.

Federico: (very upset) Thanks, Nate.

David: You're sure you're up to this?

Federico: Yeah, yeah, it's no problem.

David: We'll only be gone till Sunday. If you need anything, I can hop on a plane and be back here in an hour and a half.

Federico: I'll be fine.

Scene Six: David's Bedroom

DAVID is in his bedroom, packing his bags. RUTH enters with the laundry basket.

Ruth: (very uncomfortable) I have some of your t-shirts here. They're still warm.

David: Mom--

Ruth: Oh, don't let me stop you.

With horror, he notices a condom wrapper on the floor. He kicks it away, not knowing that RUTH has already seen it. Then, with mounting horror, he also notices a bottle of lubricant.

David: You know, I probably should take a couple of those t-shirts with me to Las Vegas.

He uses the shirts to hide the lubricant, not knowing Ruth has already seen it too.

Ruth: David, I want to ask you something.

David: I'm really kind of in a hurry here.

Ruth: I just wanted to know, are you--?

David: (interrupts) Mom, can we talk about this when I get back from Las Vegas?

Ruth: (laughs, nervously) Yes, of course! That's a lovely idea! We'll talk about it when you get back from Las Vegas... (exits)

Scene Seven: Fisher Front Porch

CLAIRE paces on the front porch and calls VICKIE DIMAS on her cell phone.

Claire: Mrs. Dimas, it's Claire Fisher. I'm sorry to keep calling. I was just wondering if you heard anything from Gabe yet. What? When? Oh, my God! Well, is he okay?! What hospital? OK. Thank you, Mrs. Dimas, thank you.

She runs to her car and drives away.

Scene Eight: Nikolai's Flower Shop

Nikolai: You are late. 10 minutes.

Ruth: I know. I'm sorry.

Nikolai: It's okay. I just want you to know that I notice this kinds of things.

Ruth: It won't happen again, Nikolai.

Nikolai: We have to talk. It's about your work.

Ruth: I said I was sorry for being late.

Nikolai: No, no, no, it has nothing to do with being late. Is about how you arrange the flowers.

Ruth: What?

Robbie: There have been complaints from some of the customers.

Ruth: There have not!

Robbie: I'm afraid so.

Nikolai: Ruth, you are not so good at arranging.

Ruth: I am too!

Robbie: No, you're not.

Nikolai: From now on, Robbie will handle arrangements and you will work the register and help with the books.

Ruth: I don't want to help with the books! I helped my husband with the books for over thirty years! I want to do flower arrangements! Tell me what's wrong with my arrangements.

Robbie: Not all arrangements are for funerals, cupcake.

Ruth: You think my arrangements are funereal?

Nikolai: It's like Robbie said: there have been a few complaints from some customers. We done talking now. Robbie will do the arrangements. You will work on the register.

Scene Nine: Fisher Driveway

NATE and DAVID pack the suitcases into the trunk of the car.

Nate: Hey, are you gonna nail Gilardi for that arson job in your speech?

David: No.

Nate: Well, why not?

David: Well, let's think... Possible libel charges, maybe.

Nate: Mind if I say something to him?

David: Yes. Don't.

Nate: Pussy.

David: Nate, do we have any evidence against him? No. Apparently, the police don't either. Look, I don't want you picking a fight with Gilardi.

Nate: Well, why not? You basically threatened to kill him that one time!

BRENDA enters the driveway in her van and honks.

Brenda: I'm coming with you!

Nate: (surprised but glad) Great!

DAVID unlocks the trunk and NATE puts her bags in.

Brenda: Is it OK?

Nate: Yeah.

Brenda: Oh. (They hug) I need to get out of here.

Nate: Alright!

Scene Ten: Obstetrician's Office

VANESSA is having her next ultrasound.

Federico: (ecstatic, looking at the screen) Oh, my God, is that a penis?!

Vanessa: Rico!

Federico: I'm sorry. It is, isn't it?

Obstetrician: (Female) Your wife doesn't want me to say.


Vanessa: The baby's OK, right?

Obstetrician: The baby's fine, but you have mild to moderate preclampsia.

Federico: What is preclampsia?

Obstetrician: $10 word for prenatal hypertension. Your blood pressure's a little higher than we'd like. Could cause you and the baby some problems if it gets out of hand, but we're not gonna let that happen.

Federico: What kind of problems?

Obstetrician: Let's not even go there. This baby's fine. Worst comes to worst, we go in a little early, we do a c-section. We'll take a look at your labs and check your blood pressure in a day or two. and see how we're doing then. Until then, I want you on strict bed rest. (VANESSA crosses her eyes.) I really wouldn't worry about this. The baby is fine.

Scene Eleven: Gabe's Hospital Room

GABE lies in a hospital bed. VICKIE sits beside him. CLAIRE enters.

Claire: Hey.

Gabe: Hey.

Vickie: If you came looking to collect more money for Anthony's funeral, I'm all tapped out at the moment. This one shoots up too much speed and heroine, now I'm stuck paying for this fancy-ass hotel room to the tune of 400 bucks a pop while they keep him under observation! I'm going out for coffee and smokes. (Ieaves)

Claire: Speed and heroine?

Gabe: Yeah, well, I thought I'd try something different.

Claire: Different like with a needle in your arm?

Gabe: (yells) Hey, what is this? 20 fucking questions? I've been through this already, alright?! With the doctors, with the police, with my mom. Now I've gotta put your mind at ease too?

Claire: I'm sorry.

Gabe: I would've been fine if you would've just minded your own fucking business.

Claire: Well, excuse me for giving a shit! This wasn't an accident, was it?

Gabe: I wish you would just fuckin' leave already.

He turns up the volume on the TV and ignores her.

Claire: Fine. Here.

She drops a pile of magazines on his lap and leaves. He angrily throws them onto the floor.

Scene Twelve: Funeral Directors' Covention, Las Vegas

A sign says, "Welcome, West State Funeral Directors Association! Sponsored by Kroehner Service International." NATE reads a booklet while BRENDA puts a nametag on his shirt that says "Nate Fisher", and a nametag on hers that says, "Jasmine Brecker."

Nate: (reading about a seminar) "The Emerging Realm of Funeral Directors and Mass Aviation Disasters." (sarcastic) That sounds like fun. You realize how many of these seminars are sponsered by Kroehner? (reads her nametag) Who's Jasmine Brecker?

Brenda: She's either a federal judge or a sex surrogate. I haven't decided yet.

Nate: Have you got any matches?

Brenda: Sure. (gets a book of matches from her pocketbook and gives it to him)

Nate: Thank you.

Brenda: (to NATE and DAVID) OK, boys, let's mingle.

Nate: When in Rome... I think maybe my expectations of this trip were a little high.

Brenda: Oh, great, happy hour!

They pass by many caskets and people mingling around them. One of the caskets has "The Last Supper" painted on it in bright colors. MATT GILARDI walks up to the Fishers.

Gilardi: Well, well, the Fisher Brothers! You know, I wondered if you'd even bother to show. I understand you'll be speaking tomorrow in place of your father. What was your topic again?

David: "The Future of Independant Funeral Homes."

Gilardi: Well, I'm certainly looking forward to that. I'd invite you boys to the Kroehner party over at the Luxor, but it's only for affiliates.

Nate: Oh, damn! Cause, you know, we'd really like to be there. I mean, I'm sure you corporate lackeys really know how to party!

Gilardi: Have fun with the other dinosaurs, boys!

Nate: Oh, Matt, I have something for you. (gives him the matches) This is a pack of matches. (gives him two dollars) This is for a can of lighter fluid. Next time you need to unload some cumbersome real estate, you'll be all set.

GILARDI looks absolutely shocked and quickly leaves.

David: Nate, that was not smart.

Nate: Well, I should have set his fuckin' hair on fire!

Brenda: (brings drinks for her, DAVID and NATE) Bottoms up!

They all do.

Scene Thirteen: Casino Exterior, early nighttime

Brenda: I love Las Vegas! It has to be the most artificial place on Earth!

Nate: Oh, you think so? More than Disneyland?

Brenda: Oh, come on! More than Japan!

A woman gives them a brochure for call girls. BRENDA looks at the naked women in the pictures, with cartoon explosion shapes covering their asses.

Nate: Ooh! Ooh!

Brenda: Oh, my God, what are all these little cartoon explosions all over their butts? They look like they're farting!

Nate: Yeah, look-- coupons! Hey, Dave, you wanna walk across the street with us, get some of that famous Las Vegas $4.99 prime rib. I have it on good authority it's just as good as the $6.99 prime rib over there.

David: (smiles) No, I think I'll just head up to my room, order some room service, make an early night of it.

Nate: You sure?

David: Yeah, I should work on my speech, anyway.

Brenda: OK, well, we'll see you in the morning.

David: Don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Nate: Yeah, not likely!

DAVID smiles and laughs again, and then leaves.

Brenda: I have two words for you: Lap Dance!

Nate: Yeah, who says I want a lap dance?

Brenda: Who says it's for you, baby?!

Nate: Ooh, kinky!

They walk away, laughing. Suddenly, by a large water fountain, we see BILLY emerge. He is unshaven, dishevelled, unshowered and unkempt. He stares after them, menacingly.

Act Two

Scene One: Gabe's Hospital Room, next morning

GABE wakes up in his bed. CLAIRE sits in the chair beside him, reading a magazine.

Gabe: I thought I told you to leave.

Claire: I drove all the way out here to Barstow! If you think I'm gonna just turn around and drive back, you're seriously whacked. This is like totally bum fuck Egypt out here.

Gabe: You spent the night?

Claire: Yeah, I slept in my car.

Gabe: My mom still here?

Claire: No, she went out for more cigarettes.

Gabe: You say anything to her about--?

Claire: No.

Gabe: Are you gonna?

Claire: I haven't decided. (Beat.) You hungry?

Gabe: No. I can't eat this hospital shit. It all tastes the same.

Claire: Here. (tosses a McDonalds bag to him) Got you an Egg McMuffin 'cause I know they're you're favorite.

He opens it and starts to eat.

Claire: How is it?

Gabe: Fuckin' cold. (She gives him a look.) But good. (She waits some more.) Thanks.

Scene Two: Fisher Basement

FEDERICO holds the scapel, readying himself to prep the baby. But he can't bring himself to do it. He gets up and walks away.

Scene Three: Floral Class

RUTH attends a class at the local community college for flower arrangement. She sits at a worktable, along with a large group of women. Flowers on stalks are laid out in front of each, and each has a hammer beside them. The INSTRUCTOR, also a woman, stands at the head of the table.

Instructor: In this class, we're gonna be working on free-form summer arrangements. And if we have any time at the end of class... I'm not promising, because I want us to get to our breathing exercises... but if we have time, we might try a spiky arrangement or two. (All the women ooh and aah!) But first we're gonna start by doing a little work treating our stems. And we're gonna start by working with our woody stems, because they can be a little on the tricky side and require the most TLC: tough loving care. (She laughs, as do all of the women, including RUTH.) OK. Let's start with andazalea, one of my favorites. (She starts to hammer the stem fiercely, scaring all the women at the table) Starting an inch or two from the bottom of the stem... and if it's a thick stem, we really have to smash them, we split the stem vertically. Does anyone know why we do this? Anyone?

RUTH raises her hand, almost shyly.

Instructor: Yes?

Ruth: (looks very proud of herself, and happy) So it will draw more water.

Instructor: Very good. Did everyone hear that? So it will draw more water. OK. Does everyone have their hammers? Let's begin.

All the women start hammering their stems, some with very aggressive looks on their faces.

Scene Four: Diaz Apartment

VANESSA enters the apartment, carrying some grocery bags. FEDERICO, who had been sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a glass of juice, jumps up to talk to her. He looks distraught and worried.

Vanessa: Hey.

Federico: Hey. You know you're supposed to be in bed.

Vanessa: I needed to get some turkey franks and milk for Julio.

Federico: Why didn't you call me? I could've stopped home on my way from work.

Vanessa: He has a snack at 3:30.

Federico: So why didn't you call your sister?

Vanessa: She just got two days in a new Nicholas Cage movie! She plays this hooker who witnesses a murder, then gets raped and killed. And she's got lines and everything! And she wants me to come visit her on the set!

Federico: Well, you're supposed to be in bed.

Vanessa: I got bored and went to the market. What's the big deal? What are you doing home this time of day anyway?

Federico: I came home for lunch. I was worried.

Vanessa: Oh, Rico, please, I'm fine!

Federico: I'm not just worried about you!

Vanessa: OK, this is about the baby at work.

Federico: I-I-just can't do it.

Vanessa: (sympathetically) Of course you can!

He begins to get choked up. She comes up behind him and massages his shoulder with one hand.

Federico: He looks-- he looks like he's sleeping. Like a baby who's fallen asleep. He was 3 weeks old. There was-- there was nothing wrong with him. And then... just like that... he dies. For no reason. How can that be? How can the beginning and end be so damn close together? And now, I've got this real bad feeling. I haven't done a baby since Julio was born. David always does them. (VANESSA hugs him.)

Vanessa: So make David do this one.

Federico: Nah, David's in Vegas until tomorrow. The viewing is this afternoon.

Vanessa: Some babies just aren't meant for this world, Rico. (re: theirs) But this one is.

She strokes his hair. He lays his head on her belly and strokes it.

Scene Five: Funeral Director's Convention

DAVID and NATE are seated in a dark room with a group of other funeral directors, watching a Kroehner-led seminar. The man at the podium points to a screen behind him, with projected slides. The first one is a picture of the Kroehner logo. The second says "New Trends and Techniques in Facial Restoration of the Accident Victim."

Speaker: If you'll turn to page 7 in your notebooks, we'll go step by step through the most challenging cranial/facial reconstruction I ever faced. Um, if we could go to the next slide please. Now, the challenge as I see it...

His voice fades out as the camera moves to DAVID and NATE, who are whispering to each other. A slide of CHLOE YORKIN, with her face smashed in, comes up on the screen. NATE is disgusted. DAVID has seen something in the booklet that shocks him.

David: Oh, my God!

Nate: Oh, Jesus! That shit is fucked up!

David: Nate, this is Chloe Yorkin! (NATE is clueless.) The job Federico left us to do for Kroehner.

Nate: Oh, God, that's like fuckin' science fiction!

The next slide comes up. It's a split screen. On the left is the smashed-in face. On the right is CHLOE YORKIN, her face fully intact, as it appeared at her viewing.

Speaker: The first question my team and I asked ourselves was not, as it might have been at a facility with less resources, "Can we do this?" It was "How?"

David: They don't even credit Rico by name!

Nate: Oh, man! He's gonna be furious!

DAVID nods.

Scene Six: Casino

BRENDA sits at a blackjack table, playing, and chatting with a guy named ROGER, who is wearing a cowboy hat.

Brenda: (laughs) Oh, God! Well, that is a very generous offer, Roger, but unfortunately I am in a relationship at the moment. If I wasn't...

BILLY sits down at the table.

Billy: Deal me in.

Brenda: (horrified) Jesus, Billy!

BRENDA gets up and walks away.

Billy: (to dealer) Hold on. (runs after BRENDA) Hey, hey, so where's your boyfriend?

Brenda: (angry) What are you doing here?

Billy: I love Vegas. You know I love Vegas. Sometimes, when my sister isn't there when I need her, I hop in my car, start driving, and I'm here.

Brenda: Billy, you're lying!

Billy: I'm really not, OK? I just saw you at the blackjack table. It was a total coincidence.

Brenda: You're a fucking liar! You're a selfish, manipulative, narcissitic liar!

Billy: What did Mom and Dad tell you?

Brenda: Uh-- they told me that you made a bomb.

Billy: That's fucking hilarious. So, now I'm like, what? A terrorist? Billy McVeigh? They're fucking liars, Brenda! They hate each other, and they're miserable, and they're jealous of us, and they want us to hate each other too, so they lie to us!

Brenda: No, they lied to me! You lied to me! You let me believe that you tried to kill yourself! Do you know how fucked that is?

Billy: OK, you know what? I was so fuckin' drugged up, I don't even really remember what happened.

Brenda: Dad showed me what you wrote.

Billy: I was kidding, OK? I wasn't serious.

Brenda: Do you have any idea what I gave up for you? Because I thought that if you tried to kill yourself again and succeeded, I could tell myself that I did everything I could to save you.

Billy: And you did. You've saved me every day since then.

Brenda: Well, fuck you!

NATE enters, and sees what's going on. He starts to approach them.

Brenda: I'm having a life, just back off--

Billy: Brenda, don't fuckin--

BILLY continues to follow her closely, until NATE comes up behind him, grabs him by the back of the coat, turns him around, and pushes him, roughly, away. Billy falls down.

Nate: OK, you heard her. Now fuck off!

Billy: (getting back on his feet) Nice. (leaves.)

Nate: Are you okay?

Brenda: (still shaken) He followed us here!

Nate: Well, I hate to say it, but I'm not entirely surprised.

Scene Seven: Fisher Basement

FEDERICO again is prepping the baby's body. He holds the baby's tiny hand in his for a few moments and touches its fingers. He starts to cry.

Scene Eight: Floral Class

The instructor goes from woman to woman, commenting on the arrangements each has made.

Instructor: (to one woman) Very nice! (to another) Luscious! (comes to RUTH, and shakes her head, dejected) This is a little... tight.

Ruth: Tight?

Instructor: You're not breathing right.

Ruth: I'm not?

Instructor: You're breathing from here (points to RUTH's head), when you should be breathing from here (points to RUTH's belly).

Ruth: (pointing to her upper chest) But my lungs are here.

Instructor: Of course they are. I'm speaking metaphorically. If you breathe from up here (RUTH's head), your arrangements will come from up here. If you breathe from down here (RUTH's belly), your arrangements will come from down here.

Ruth: And that's good?

Instructor: That's very good! Do you do yoga?

Ruth: No.

Instructor: OK, would everybody grab a yoga mat in the next room? We're gonna do some breathing exercises before we break for dinner. (All women go to the next room, except RUTH and the INSTRUCTOR.) You're a bit of a control freak, aren't you?

Ruth: No, I'm not. I don't think I am. Am I?

Instructor: Yes, and control freaks do not make good arrangers. Believe me, I know. I used to be a control freak too. But, you know what? You can get over it. All you have to do is learn to breathe. Are you on anti-depressants?

Ruth: No!

Instructor: Well, Lord knows I'd be lost without my St. John's Wort! (laughs)

Scene Nine: Funeral Director's Convention

DAVID is at the podium, making his speech, reading from notecards. A placard behind him reads, "The Future of Independant Funeral Homes: A Cautious Overview." The audience is comprised of the front row, filled with Kroehner executives, including GILARDI, and a scattered group of people among the other rows. NATE and BRENDA sit in the back. Everybody besides them seems to be dozing or nodding off.

David: There are countless challenges facing independant funeral homes today: changing social attitudes towards death and dying, economic hardship in communities both large and small...

DAVID stops, noticing that everyone is bored. GILARDI looks very satisfied. Suddenly, he takes his pile of notecards and flings them in the air. Everybody looks up.

David: Oh, what the hell? We all know what the real challenge is. How are you doing today, Mr. Gilardi?

Gilardi: (bemused) Fine, thank you.

David: Glad to hear it.

NATE and BRENDA smile.

David: We all know of a certain organization that controls the flow of prep room supplies, caskets, cemetary property, and flowers to everyone in this room, and believe me, that organization will stoop to almost any means to make sure that the independant funeral home has no future. But hear me out: my father was in this business for over 35 years, and he-- he thought it was okay to tell people about a cheaper casket. He didn't always try to talk people out of cremation. There were even times when I actually heard him say, "To hell with our profit margin on this!" These words are heresy to a certain organization, because profit is all it cares about, no matter how many PR-motivated seminars it sponsors. (NATE smiles, GILARDI gives a look to kill.) And that organization wants us independants to believe that we cannot afford to be like my father anymore. Well, I'm sorry, but that's bullshit! Don't get me wrong: my father worried about the bottom line too, but he worried more about other things, like comforting people and helping them face profound loss. Maybe now, maybe now more than ever, we should all try to be a little more like him. Thank you.

There is stunned silence. NATE stands up and begins clapping loudly. Everyone else, except for the front row stands, claps and cheers as well. The Kroehner execs, led by GILARDI, march out, angry and, for the moment, defeated. DAVID makes his way to the back of the room, shaking people's hands on his way back. When he gets to NATE, his face becomes worried again.

David: How'd I do?

Nate: (shakes his hand, then grabs and hugs him) Are you kidding? You kicked some serious ass, you big freak!

Scene Ten: Fisher Kitchen

RUTH practices her flower arranging as CLAIRE walks in looking exhausted.

Ruth: You didn't come home last night.

Claire: It's not like it was a school night.

Ruth: Would you like me to make you something to eat?

Claire: Yeah, that'd be great. (She sits. RUTH gets food out of the fridge, makes her a sandwich.)

Ruth: Do you think I'm a control freak?

Claire: Um-- yeah. Where do you think David gets it from?

Ruth: Your father was very controlling.

Claire: Not like you.

Ruth: That's not nice!

Claire: You asked... You're not as bad as you used to be.

Ruth: May I ask where you were all night?

Claire: In Barstow.

Ruth: What in God's name were you doing there?

Claire: I was visiting a friend of mine who's in the hospital.

Ruth: Who?

Claire: Gabriel Dimas.

Ruth: You mean the young man whose brother--?

Claire: Yeah.

Ruth: What was he doing in the hospital?

Claire: He ODed.

Ruth: Good Lord! Claire, he is obviously a deeply disturbed boy. You need to steer clear of him. Let his family deal with this.

Claire: Well, let's take stock for a minute, shall we? His little brother's dead. His father's dead. His stepfather beat him up. His white trash mother, who smokes like a fish, could give a shit. And that leaves no one.

Ruth: Was his overdose an accident?

Claire: Of course it was an accident.

Ruth: Because sometimes these things aren't. And if it wasn't, it could happen again. There's an 80% chance that someone--

Claire: It wasn't a suicide attempt!

Ruth: I hope, for his sake, you're right. But if you're wrong, Claire, I don't want you getting too close to him.

She starts to do deep, yoga breathing. CLAIRE looks at her oddly.

Scene Eleven: Funeral Director's Convention

NATE and BRENDA stand together, watching DAVID, who is shmoozing with tons of people, shaking hands, etc.

Brenda: Look at him! He's a star!

David: (to two men near him) I just want you guys to meet someone...

He walks them over to NATE and BRENDA.

David: This is my brother and partner, Nathaniel, Jr., and his--

BRENDA points to her nametag.

David: Jasmine.

The first man, NEIL SHAIGER, and then the second, RAYMOND DOOLEY, shake hands with them.

Neil: How are you doing? I'm Neil Shaiger. Shaiger & Sons from Flagstand.

Ray: Raymond Dooley. Dooley and Moss Funeral Home, Reno, Nevada. Moss couldn't be here. Bladder cancer.

Neil: That was a hell of a speech David made. Almost made me cry when those Kroehner bastards got up and left! Those fuckers have been trying to buy us out for five goddamn years!

Ray: (pointing to NATE) Your father was a good man!

Nate: Yes he was!

Neil: Y'all don't mind if we drag your little brother out with us, do you?

David: I really shouldn't.

Ray: Oh, you're gonna let us buy you a drink at least?! You're our hero!

David: Well, maybe just a quick one.

Neil: Quick one, my Aunt Fanny! We're gonna make a night of it.

Ray: (to NATE and BRENDA) Hey, you wanna go with? The more the merrier!

Brenda: Oh, I don't think so. We're just gonna lay low tonight.

Nate: Yeah, but you guys have fun.

Neil: OK, your loss.

DAVE, NEIL and RAY leave. NATE and BRENDA laugh.

Scene Twelve: Slumber Room, Baby Dillon's Viewing

FEDERICO walks around the room, carrying a box of tissues, offering them to mourners. He places a stuffed bunny next to the baby's coffin. The parents approach him.

Dillon's Father: Excuse me. We'd just like to thank you. Very much. (shakes his hand)

Dillon's Mother: He looks so beautiful.

Federico: I'm glad you're pleased.

Dillon's Mother: Mike's mom and dad drove down from Selinas.

Dillon's Father: Yeah, they never got a chance to meet him. Now it's almost like they did.

Dillon's Mother: Do you have children?

Federico: Yes, yes I do. I have a four year old boy, and-- yes.

Dillon's Father: We'd like to be alone with him for a little while, if that's okay.

Federico: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, please take as much time as you need.

He goes outside the slumber room and, after a final look, closes the doors behind him.

Scene Thirteen: Vegas Montage

NATE and BRENDA stand outside a replica of the Eiffel Tower. BRENDA takes a picture of him with a disposable camera.

Brenda: Say "Formage!"

Nate: Formage! Hey. (They kiss.)

Brenda: You were really great today, Nate, standing up to Billy. I felt like some white-trash girl whose boyfriend was the biggest bad-ass in town!

Nate: Your brother's seriously ill, Brenda.

Brenda: Yeah, whatever, but you know what? We're in faux Paree, so let's party!

She grabs his ass.

The scene shifts to BRENDA, sitting on ROGER's lap, wearing his cowboy hat. NATE takes a picture of it, smiling.

Then BRENDA takes a picture of NATE, sitting on ROGER's lap! NATE wears the cowboy hat!

Then ROGER takes a picture of NATE and BRENDA.

Outside, it is nighttime. BRENDA and NATE sit at a bar. BRENDA wears a beret. The waitress serves them a large, tall, blue drink in an Eiffel-tower shaped glass. BRENDA laughs.

Outside, NATE and BRENDA make out.

Cut to the hotel room. NATE and BRENDA undress each other and make love passionately.

Scene Fourteen: Strip Club

NEIL and RAY have dragged DAVID to a strip club. DAVID is very, very drunk, and pretending to have fun watching the strippers a little bit away from the others. NEIL gives a stripper money to give DAVID a lap dance. She goes over to him and proceeds to do it.

Stripper: Hi. I'm Amber.

David: David.

Amber: You're a lucky guy, David.

David: I am?

Amber: Very. Your friends just bought you a lap dance with me.

David: Excuse me?

Amber: So where you from, David? (takes off her bra, exposing her breasts)

David: Uh, Boston!

Amber: That's the coldest place I've ever heard of! What part of town you live in?

David: Downtown.

Amber: (laughs, rubs against him, notices) Uh, are you not enjoying this at all?

David: Yeah, I'm loving it. Why?

Amber: Because your dick isn't responding one bit.

David: (laughs) Look, I'm gay. It's not you.

Amber: It never is me. Well, if you're gay, you won't mind if I cut this one short, do you?

DAVID shakes his head. She gets up.

Neil: (calling to him) What happened, buddy? Pop your cork too soon? (laughs)

Amber: He's gay, you idiot! (leaves)

Ray: I wish you would've told us that.

David: Believe me, so do I. Thanks for a lovely evening, fellas.

He gets up and heads for the exit.

Scene Fifteen: Strip Club, a few minutes later

DAVID calls for a cab on his cell phone.

David: Great, great, I'll meet you out front. Thank you.

Hangs up. Checks out the sex catalogue he stuffed in his pocket the night before. He sees a muscular male prostitute in the catalogue named "Brad."

David: Well, hello, Brad!

He takes out his phone and dials the number.

Scene Sixteen: Floral Class

RUTH finishes an arrangement, steps back, and shakes her head dejectedly. Suddenly, she starts to do her breathing exercises and pulls out all the flowers she had already put into the pot. She starts spontaneously and quickly grabbing different flowers and placing them in, without planning beforehand. She comes out with a beautiful creation. All the of the other women stop and surround her, staring at her work in awe. The INSTRUCTOR smiles, with tears of happiness in her eyes.

Instructor: Very nice!

Scene Seventeen: Outside the Strip Club

DAVID sits, drinking a beer. A taxi pulls up, and BRAD steps out. He looks nothing like his picture. He's older, has a mustache, and isn't nearly as good-looking.

Brad: Jim?

David: Brad?

Brad: Yeah.

David: You look different from the ad.

Brad: Well, that's from '91. I've been meaning to update it. I've just been, you know, busy.

David: You're almost 20 minutes late.

Brad: My previous appointment ran a little over. What can I say? Brad's a busy boy!

David: How much--?

Brad: You're not a cop, right?

David: No, I'm not a cop.

Brad: Because if you are, that's entrapment.

David: I'm not a cop.

Brad: You are kind of cute. (caresses him)

David: Thank you.

Brad: Mm hmm. 200. Get you a pony ride all the way to the moon and back. Up-front. Now'd be a good time.

David: All I've got is 80.

Brad: Alright, fine, fine.

DAVID pays him.

Brad: Where do ya wanna go, Jimbo?

David: I don't know.

Brad: Where are you staying?

David: I'm not taking you back to my room!

Brad: Don't wanna wake the wife, I get it. Then, uh, where do you wanna do this?

Scene Eighteen: Parking Lot

It is late at night in a parking lot, behind a building. BRAD is leaning against a car, as DAVID is taking him from behind, quite aggressively, even roughly.

Brad: Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah, Jimbo! Give it to me!

David: Yeah! Yeah! You like that, don't you, faggot?

Brad: Oh, yeah!

Suddenly, just as he's about to come, a police car pulls up. DAVID looks horrifed and pulls up his pants.

Cop: Okay, boys, party's over.

Scene Nineteen: Police Station

A cop takes DAVID's fingerprints.

Cop: Alright, when you're done there, Sally, you're allowed one phone call.

DAVID wipes the ink off his hands with a wet towelette. Then he picks up the phone nearby and dials.

The screen fades to white.

Act Three

Scene One: Police Station, next morning

A cop walks DAVID to a window to sign some papers and collect his things. KEITH is waiting for him in the waiting room. DAVID looks dishevelled, exhausted and miserable.

Cop: (to DAVID) Your stuff. (to KEITH) He's all yours. (leaves)

Keith: Thanks.

David: Thanks for coming. I didn't know who else to call.

Keith: Are you okay?

David: Fine.

Keith: You didn't think you'd get caught doing something this fucked up?

David: I wasn't thinking.

Keith: Clearly... Were you using condoms?

David: I was drunk. I was very drunk.

Keith: You're lucky I had a couple of connections with the Vegas PD. All the charges are being dropped and your files are being tossed. Next time, you won't be this lucky.

David: Thank you for doing this.

Keith: David, I did this because I love you. But I won't ever do it again. This shit isn't good for either one of us. You need to get yourself some help. Goodbye, David. (KEITH leaves.)

Scene Two: Rico and Vanessa's Apartment

FEDERICO sits in the kitchen. Suddenly, VANESSA enters in her nightgown.

Federico: Hey, hey, what is it? What's wrong?

Vanessa: Something's not right with the baby.

Federico: Come on, let's go!

They leave for the hospital.

Scene Three: Outside the Hotel

DAVID meets NATE and BRENDA outside the car. They are putting their bags in the trunk. He still looks like shit.

Brenda: Hey, you! Late night?

David: Not really.

Nate: Tried calling your room this morning. You didn't seem to be in.

David: Uh-- I must've been in the shower.

Brenda: Did you have fun with the guys?

David: Uh-- I suppose so. From a purely anthropological standpoint. (NATE reaches to hand DAVID the keys.) Do you mind driving?

Nate: OK.

David: Thank you. Let's get the hell out of here.

DAVID crawls into the back seat and lies down. NATE drives. BRENDA sits in the passenger seat.

Nate: I think somebody got lucky last night!

Scene Four: Nikolai's Flower Shop

RUTH has her hair down. She is arranging flowers.

Nikolai: Oh! This is good, yeah! You have been practicing?

Ruth: Practicing? (takes out her floral class diploma) I am a graduate!

Robbie: (sarcastic) Learning Annex! Wow, I hear that school's really hard to get into!

Nikolai: Robbie, go take care of customer! Today, Ruth is going to do all the arrangement!

Robbie: Nikolai, get your head out of your pants for two seconds! That diploma means nothing! It just means she's plunked down a couple of hundred dollars.

Nikolai: (furious) Have you got diploma from flower class?!

Robbie: I have been arranging professionally for almost 20 years.

Nikolai: Good. Today Ruth does arrangement!

RUTH smiles and ROBBIE storms off.

Scene Five: Gabe's Hospital Room

CLAIRE enters. GABE and CLAIRE smile at each other.

Claire: Where's your mom?

Gabe: She drove home today 'cause she had to go into work. They say I may be getting out of here this afternoon, though. What are you--?

CLAIRE lies on top of GABE's chest and shushes him by putting her fingers to his mouth. She kisses him on the lips and strokes his hair.

Claire: I love you.

Gabe: I love you too.

She lies her head on his chest.

Scene Six: Brenda's Bedroom

NATE and BRENDA lie on their stomachs on her bed, going through photos.

Nate: There's an adorable shot of you!

BRENDA laughs.

Nate: I thought I only took 3 of you with that cowboy guy.

Brenda: Oh, yeah. By the way, I slept with him. Was that wrong?

Nate: Oh, man, you took one of me in the shower? Come on!

Brenda: Well, you looked so cute, I had to.

NATE picks up another picture and looks horrified.

Brenda: What? Come on, it can't be that bad!

She sees the photo. It is a picture of NATE and BRENDA asleep in their hotel room. A second picture is an even closer shot. Obviously, neither one of them could have taken it.

Brenda: Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck, Billy! Oh, shit!

She starts to shake with fear. NATE holds her.

Scene Seven: Hospital Room

This is obviously not Gabe's hospital room, but one in which VANESSA is giving birth, a local hospital. FEDERICO holds her hand.

Doctor: (female) OK, we're almost there. How are you doing, Mrs. Diaz?

Vanessa: Fine.

Doctor: Almost got him.

Federico: (ecstatic) Him?!

Doctor: Yeah, that's right. Hate to spoil the surprise, but you've got another son.

Federico: It's a boy, baby, did you hear that?! I knew it was gonna be a boy!

Vanessa: (playfully) Shut up!

A scanner starts to beep.

Nurse: Heart rate's dropping!

Doctor: OK, let's get him out! Here we go!

FEDERICO and VANESSA get very scared. The baby is taken out and quickly brought to a table at the other side of the room.

Federico: Hey, where are they taking him?

Doctor: Just to heat him up a little. Have you picked out a name yet?

Vanessa: Augusto, after my father. Is there something wrong with my baby?

Doctor: No, just warming him up. Making sure his airways are clear.

The baby cries. FEDERICO cries and smiles and kisses VANESSA's hand.

Federico: Is he okay?

Doctor: He's gonna be just fine!

Federico: Ar you sure?

Doctor: I'm positive.

Federico: Do you swear on a stack of bibles?

The baby is handed to VANESSA.

Doctor: Here, Augusto, time to meet the parents.

Vanessa: Hello, Augusto! He looks just like Julio! He's so pissed off!

Federico: Can I have him? (holds AUGUSTO) OK. (cries) Hey! Hey!

FEDERICO kisses AUGUSTO's hand.



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