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#206 : Exaspération

Sarah, la soeur de Ruth, arrive pour une visite inattendue. Claire découvre alors une tante pour le moins extravagante qui lui révèle ses talents artistiques. Côté affaire, David et Nate doivent faire face à la concurrence. Refusant les propositions de rachat malgré leurs difficultés financières, ils décident de contre-attaquer. C'est aussi l'occasion pour Nate, d'annoncer lors d'un repas familial son futur mariage avec Brenda.

Titre VO
In Place of Anger

Titre VF

Photos promo

Nate a une annonce à faire

Nate a une annonce à faire

La soeur de Ruth est en ville

La soeur de Ruth est en ville

Claire découvre sa tante sous un nouveau jour

Claire découvre sa tante sous un nouveau jour

Plus de détails


Scene: Party Boat, nighttime

A party boat, the "Dapper Dina," is sailing in the water, filled with revellers.

Man's Voice on the PA System: I know you're all tired of sitting down! So c'mon up on the floor, all you bad boys! It's time to find your bad girls!

On the top deck, we see a man and a woman, quietly talking and flirting with each other, away from the crowd.

Woman: Over there! I just saw a fin.

Man: Right... in the most polluted port in America? Nothing could live here.

Woman: Really?

Man: (laughing) Nooooo!

Woman: That makes me sad. It looks so beautiful at night.

Man: Yeah, well so's Burbank.

She laughs too.

Man: You're gorgeous, you know that?

Woman: Shut up! So why haven't you ever talked to me before?

Man: (smiling) I was intimidated. You're very intimidating.

Woman: (smiles, laughs gently) And full of shit.

They lean in and begin to kiss. Suddenly, they are rudely interrupted by a very drunk 43 year-old man, MATTHEW COLLINS, approaching them on the deck.

Matt: Of course they pick a goddamn boat this year so nobody can leave before Parkinson's jerk-off speech about what a fucking great company this is, right?

Man: (uneasily) Right.

Matt: Like anything that self-important fuck says could change the fact that we'll be filing for bankruptcy by the end of the year... (points to the man, drunkenly) You're new here, aren't you?

Man: Yeah, about 6 months.

MATT pats him on the shoulder. The MAN continues to act uneasy. The WOMAN looks away, amused by MATT's drunkenness, but at the same time, wanting to get the Hell out of there.

Matt: Well, I'd start sending out my resume now... unless you're one of Parkinson's fuckin' inner circle-- if you are, well, then fuck me, right? (laughs)

Man: (ignoring MATT, who continues laughing; to WOMAN) Do you want to go get another drink?

Woman: Please.

They quickly leave.

Matt: (stops laughing) Oh, oh, excuse me, I guess I'm the asshole, for telling the fucking truth! (spreads his arms out wide and accidentally drops his beer overboard) Oh, shit, that's not fair! (leaning over the edge of the boat, yelling after his lost beer) YOU SUC--!

As he's finishing the word "suck," MATT leans too far, and falls overboard and hits the water like a log. The boat sails on.

The screen fades to white.


Act One

Scene One: Brenda's Kitchen, morning

BRENDA sits typing at her PowerBook. NATE runs in and vaults onto the countertop beside her. BRENDA is a bit startled.

Nate: Morning!

Brenda: God, you scared me!

Nate: You're up early.

Brenda: I slept like a fucking baby.

They kiss.

Nate: Yeah, me too.

Brenda: After the night we had?! The sheer exhaustion factor alone!

Nate: Yeah, I gotta say it was worth the wait! (she smiles coyly) So does this mean the ebb is over?

Brenda: For now. (smiles and stands up) Want a coffee? (goes to the coffee pot)

Nate: Yep. (turns her laptop around so the screen is facing him and starts to read) Wow, this is kinda racy.

Brenda: (comes up to the computer and shuts it) Hey, hey, no!

Nate: Well, is that your novel?

Brenda: I don't know what it is yet.

Nate: When do I get to read it?

Brenda: (preparing the coffee) When it's ready, if it's ever ready.

Nate: Well, now, who's Christina? Is that like your fictional alter ego? Your Holden Caulfield?

Brenda: She's more like my Humbert Humbert. (he doesn't get the reference) You know... my Constance Chatterley. (he still doesn't get it. She simplifies it for him) She's like Hermione in the "Harry Potter" books.

Nate: What would you rather have, some overly educated gas-bag like Trevor, or a semi-literate fuck-machine like me?, come on!

Brenda: That's a no-brainer, no pun intended. (hands him the coffee)

Nate: (takes a sip) Hey, I have something for you. (reaches into his pocket and takes out a ring) Uh, I know it's small, but it is a diamond.

Brenda: Aw, you think I care about diamonds?

Nate: (putting the ring on her finger) Will you marry me, Brenda Chenowith?

Brenda: (sweetly) Haven't we done this already?

They kiss. When they're done, NATE pauses for a second and just looks into her eyes.

Brenda: (smiling) What?

Nate: I love you.

Brenda: Good.

They kiss. Again, when they're done, he looks into her eyes.

Brenda Something else?

Nate: I thought we could announce it to my family at dinner tonight.

Brenda: Oh, Nate--

Nate: Well, I was gonna ask my mom to make dinner. Look, we have to do this sometime. (holds her) And what about your family?

Brenda: Oh, are you kidding? They are way too consumed in their own divorce drama to even notice. Let's just not tell them and say that we did.

Nate: What about Billy?

Brenda: You know, I haven't really talked to him for a while... (changing the subject) Hey, why don't I make you pancakes from scratch like a good little wife-to-be before I fuck your brains out and send you off to the office?

Nate: Well, how about we skip the pancakes?

Brenda: Oooh!

He picks her up and they start making out.

Scene Two: David's Apartment

DAVE is all dressed for work and is tying his tie, as BEN enters the bedroom, right out the shower, wearing a bathrobe. His hair is still wet.

Ben: Oh, shit, you're already dressed? Am I holding you up? (kisses the back of DAVID's neck)

David: No, not really. (pause) Well... maybe a little.

Ben: You've got the best shower. Mine's just this weird bolt stickin' out of the wall that sends out mist. It takes like five minutes just to get wet. (gets his clothes on, buttons his shirt) Hey, how come I always stay here? It's time for you to stay at my place.

David: After that great recommendation?

Ben: (chuckles) Aw, it's nice. MGM built it back in the 30s to house starlets-- great parquet floors, unbelievable molding, but some idiot did an 80s retrofit and ripped out all the good fixtures.

David: I'll be happy to stay at your house, fixtures aside.

Ben: (approaches him) You know, I never thought you'd call me back after that second date.

David: Why?

Ben: Well, because... I never think the good guys are gonna call back.

David: (laughs) Who said I'm a good guy?

Ben: Well, it's been three weeks. It's usually a sign. Check with me in three months. I'll tell you how you're doing.

DAVID kisses him on the mouth.

Scene Three: Fisher Kitchen

NIKOLAI is sitting at the table, eating breakfast. RUTH stands at the stove. CLAIRE enters, a little weirded out.

Nikolai: Ah! Good morning! Sit, sit! Have some breakfast! Most important meal of the day.

Ruth: Good morning, dear.

Claire: (bemused) Apparently.

Ruth: How would you like your eggs?

Claire: Uh... surprise me. (sits at the table)

DAVID enters, just as taken aback by NIKOLAI's presence as CLAIRE was.

Nikolai: Now, this is good-- yeah-- all together for breakfast!

David: (sits down) Well, I see it's good neighbor day at the Fisher house.

Ruth: David, was that a new friend I saw leaving this morning?

David: Mom, please, I'd rather not discuss...

Ruth: (pours DAVID some coffee) What does he do?

David: He's a public defender.

Ruth: You should have asked him in for breakfast. We'd all like to meet him.

Nikolai: Yes, bring him next time! I would like to meet him!

David: Where's Nate? We have an intake in 15 minutes.

Ruth: He called from the car. There was an accident on the 10, and he told me to ask everyone to be here for dinner tonight. He has something important to tell us.

DAVID and CLAIRE give each other concerned looks, thinking NATE is finally planning on revealing his AVM condition to RUTH.

Nikolai: A big family dinner! Heh-heh-heh! Will be fun, uh, yeah? (laughs and grabs some bacon)

Scene Four: Room Behind the Curtain

CATHERINE COLLINS, MATT COLLINS' widow, is at an intake meeting with DAVE and NATE.

Catherine: Everybody had gotten off and the lights were on, and you could see what a dumpy little boat it actually was, and... and he just wasn't there.

Nate: Well, I know it's hard to believe right now, but time...

Catherine: I got dumped at a party in college once. It was the Kappa Sig luau by some guy whose name I don't even remember. (laughs) The sun was coming up and I just sat there staring at this stupid pig carcass in my stupid Hawaiian print sundress. (the laugh turns into a cry)

Dave: Mrs. Collins, have you thought about...

Catherine: (cries) Matthew and I had been married for almost 20 years. Can you believe that? I met him when I was barely 20... and now he's dead and, and I'm just that much closer to it.

She takes out a cigarette from her purse, and lights it.

Nate: Um, I'm sorry, we don't... we don't allow smoking inside.

She ignores him and keeps puffing away. She is not being rude so much as not focusing on what they're saying.

David: Please put that out. It's against California State law. We could be fined.

CATHERINE finally listens. She looks down at the cigarette in her hand, as if it is somebody else's. She brings the cigarette to her lips for a final drag, before stubbing it out.

Catherine: Oh, sorry. (pause) How long will it take?

David: It depends on the kind of service you were thinking of... length of visitation, should you choose an open casket...

Catherine: My husband was dredged up from Long Beach Harbor with a propeller sliced halfway down his body.

David: Closed casket then.

Catherine: How much? I can't spend a lot of money.

David: We're probably looking at around $7000.

Catherine: (suddenly very accusatory) That seems like a lot.

David: It's about average, maybe a little less.

Nate: We'll take care of everything, make it as easy on you as possible.

Catherine: (stands up quickly) Well, I need to think about this.

DAVID and NATE both stand up, as well.

David: Of course. Let us know what you decide.

Catherine: I can show myself out.

She marches out quickly.

David: (impatient and annoyed) Shopping around for the best deal.

Nate: Isn't that her right?

David: She's wasting our time.

Scene Five: Fisher Kitchen

RUTH waters her potted plants in the kitchen.

Ruth: (calmy, gently, to the plant) Oh, dear! When did you get so dried out? You must be thirsty.

Suddenly SARAH O'CONNOR, RUTH's long-estranged sister, comes to the door, holding a bouquet of flowers. RUTH looks absolutely stunned and stands there for a moment before opening the door and letting SARAH in. SARAH is the opposite of RUTH. Although her hair is also red, she wears it down and curly. She is a free spirit-- very spiritual and hippyish.

Scene Six: Fisher Kitchen

RUTH is putting the flowers in water.

Ruth: The flowers are lovely, Sarah. Thank you.

Sarah: I just cut them on my morning walk through the canyon. Don't worry, you didn't put me out one bit. (walks around the room) This kitchen is exactly the same.

Ruth: (feels as if SARAH's implying something negative, so responds a bit defensively) Yes, it is.

Sarah: You look well.

Ruth: So do you.

Sarah: I only just got your messages. I was in Madrid. I wanted to stay through Christmas--but I ran out of money.

Ruth: The reason I was calling was because, well, what I wanted to say was that I--I forgive you. You're the only family apart from the children that I have left. I didn't want more time to go by with our not talking. We're sisters. We shouldn't be estranged. I took this course, called "The Plan".

Sarah: (obviously very impressed) You did "The Plan"? You're shitting me! That is so great, Ruth! You, of all people!

Ruth: (again, defensively) What's that supposed to mean?

Sarah: No, it's very brave. I know it couldn't have been easy for you. I did it myself back in the 70s when it was still called "Transitional Focus," before Ernst Vollhoffer was busted for tax evasion and sold it to the Canadians. That's when it became "The Plan".

Ruth: Oh.

You can tell by the tone of her voice that she's a little jealous that SARAH already knew about "The Plan" and even did it.

Sarah: I met Vollhoffer at a party once, and he came on to me. But I'd just dropped acid for the first time and I thought he was some Mayan death priest who wanted to cut out my heart and throw it into a pit. So I blew him off.

SARAH laughs it off. RUTH is very uncomfortable.

Scene Seven: Fisher & Sons Office/Prep Room

NATE stands near DAVID, who is talking on the phone. DAVID slams the phone down.

David: Catherine Collins has decided to go with the Unger mortuary.

Nate: Well, I guess that's that.

Dave: Unger is a Kroehner home, Nate.

Nate: Yeah, so?

Dave: So Kroehner charges about double what we do. That's the third funeral Kroehner has stolen from us since Mitzi Huntley came to visit. They are after us again.

While they are talking, they leave the office and go downstairs to the prep room, where RICO is working on a female corpse.

Nate: Ooh, look, now you're just being dramatic.

David: This from a man who basically lives in denial.

Nate: Hey, look, Stan told me at lunch last week that Kroehner stock had just taken a nose dive. Why would they be wasting their time with small potatoes like us?

Dave: Uh, maybe because you told Mitzi to shove her gesture of good faith up her ass?

Rico: I told you guys that Kroehner wasn't gonna let up, but nobody listens to me.

Dave: Not now, Federico. (back to NATE) We needed that funeral. How else are we supposed to pay for the fine from the DCA? That's 1800 dollars we don't have right now!

Nate: Hey, I asked you to check the proof.

Dave: No license number on a billboard opposite a retirement home makes us look like amateurs. We can not afford to be vulnerable.

Rico: David, I'm not comfortable starting on this woman's perm until I have a photo.

David: Fine.

Rico: Yeah, well, any idea when that's supposed to arrive? I have an inspector coming out to my house this afternoon.

David: It came in this morning and I put it in her file which you would know if you'd bothered to look. (back to NATE) I'm calling Catherine Collins and I'm going to lowball Unger. Even if we cut our profits in half, we can still show Kroehner we're willing to fight. (leaves)

RICO looks back at NATE who just makes a “what are you gonna do?” gesture with his hands.

Scene Eight: Fisher TV Room

SARAH sits by herself on the couch, looking through an old photo album filled with pictures of NATE and DAVID when they were boys, and of a younger RUTH and NATHANIEL, SR.s. CLAIRE enters the room and sees SARAH from behind. Because of the red hair, CLAIRE assumes it's RUTH.

Claire: Hey, Mom.

SARAH looks up.

Sarah: Hello.

CLAIRE is very taken aback.

Claire: Who are you?

Sarah: (stands up, approaches CLAIRE) I'm your Aunt Sarah. Oh, Claire, (takes her hands in her own) the Goddess is clearly manifesting through you! It's very obvious!

Claire: (not knowing quite how to respond to that) Thanks... I thought you were dead.

Sarah: (laughs, puts her hands on CLAIRE's face) Oh, the skin like milk, treasure it while it lasts.

RUTH enters.

Sarah: (teasing) Ruth, you told your daughter I was dead? Shame on you!

Ruth: I never told her any such thing. (angrily) Claire, why would you lie about that?

Claire: Whenever you talked about her, it just sounded like she was dead. I just assumed...

Sarah: (with a flourish) Well, I've made a miraculous recovery. (laughs)

She admires CLAIRE's hair and runs her hand through it.

Sarah: Oh... (CLAIRE looks a little weirded out)

Scene Nine: Claire's Bedroom

SARAH follows CLAIRE into her bedroom. SARAH admires some paintings that CLAIRE has made, hanging on the wall. One is a self-portrait.

Sarah: Tell me exactly what you were feeling when you made this.

Claire: Boredom.

Sarah: Liar! There's anger and yearning, passion, resentment of the status quo, some jealousy of it, as well. Not the most original perspective, but it's authentic.

She walks up to a heart-shaped wreath, made of dried flowers.

Sarah: Ooh, I love this! The technique very precise, very adult. The death of romance in a regimented, artificial world -- lovely!

Claire: Actually I found it in the garbage. My dad threw it out after a funeral and I thought it looked cool, so I kept it.

Sarah: (laughs) You're an artist, Claire.

Claire: (brushing the notion aside) Oh, please.

Sarah: I'm not saying you're any good... (CLAIRE is again taken aback) yet. But if you focus and live fully, you could become something. If you're lucky and don't self-destruct.

Claire: Right.

Sarah: You've got an eye. You see through the veil. Oh, it's a blessing and a curse.

Claire: (laughs) Okay.

Sarah: (lies down on CLAIRE's bed) You need something red in your Relationship Corner, like a red velvet pillow -- something bordello-y. You're resisting the carnal -- that's your mother rubbing off on you. And put a plant in your Knowledge Corner if you want to grow into your potential...

Claire: What is that, like Feng Shui? You're kidding, right?

Sarah: You can drop the generic apathy crap. That's just laziness. You're more than that, and you know it.

CLAIRE actually seems impressed that SARAH's called her on her sarcasm.

Scene Ten: Rico and Vanessa's House

RICO enters the house through the front door.

Rico: Hey, baby, sorry I'm late!

Vanessa: Rico, we are fucked!

She is standing with a building inspector, who is examining mold over the fireplace.

Inspector: It's definitely mold.

Vanessa: (to RICO) I told you so! See, this is why Julio's cold don't get any better!

Inspector: ...But my guess is you've got structural damage in your chimney and water's leaking in somewhere. When the rain starts, it'll get worse.

Rico: Okay... well, what can we do?

Inspector: Well, I got to rip this all out and see what's going on inside. Maybe we can patch things up; maybe it will be bigger than that.

Rico: How much is it all gonna cost?

Inspector: Well, you got serious water damage here. It could be anywhere from three to -- I don't know -- maybe seven grand if your roof is involved.

VANESSA mutters something in Spanish.

Rico: Excuse me one second. (pulls VANESSA aside) Hey, we can get Ramon to fix it.

Vanessa: Fix it? He didn't even spot it! You heard the man. There's serious water damage. Any idiot would know that!

Rico: Hey, hey, don't call my cousin an idiot!

Vanessa: Oh, ok, no, I'll call you an idiot, because you were too cheap to get a real inspector the first time around.

Rico: (angry) Oh, I'm an idiot? Hmmm. Well, maybe it wasn't the smartest idea to go to your sister and buy this piece of shit house behind my back. Now you think about that! (walks away)

Vanessa just stays there closes her eyes and shakes her head.

Scene Eleven: Mitzi Dalton Huntley's Car

MITZI pulls to the side of a busy road, talking on her cell phone to her assistant.

Mitzi: God damn it!

Assistant: (O.S.) What happened?

Mitzi: I just got snapped running a red light.

Assistant: (O.S.) Ooh!

Mitzi: We are living in-- in a motherfucking police state, I tell you what! (her assistant laughs) Any calls while I was at lunch?

Assistant: (O.S.) The Unger mortuary called to say that the funeral we poached from Fisher and Sons has gone back to them.

Mitzi: (laughs, amused) You're kidding! We undercut them by almost $500!

Assistant: (O.S.) Well, now they've undercut us by almost a grand!

Mitzi: (laughs) Oh, my God, I love this! They're cute, but they are such bad business men! (lights a cigarette)

Assistant: (O.S.) Well, they won't last.

Mitzi: Hey. What have I got tomorrow?

Assistant: (O.S.) Uh, your trainer at nine, then back-to-back performance reviews from one to five.

Mitzi: Cancel everything-- except the trainer.

Assistant: (O.S.) All right.

Mitzi: I think I need to spend a little quality time with the fabulous Fisher boys! (laughs and peels off)

Scene Twelve: Fisher Kitchen, evening

RUTH and SARAH are working on dinner. CLAIRE sits at the table.

Sarah: (she’s barefoot and we only see her feet. She’s got tatoos on them) Ruth, do you have any tarragon?

Ruth: All the spices are in that cabinet.

Sarah: (looks through the cabinet) Well, now I know what to get you for Christmas. Dean and Delucca have these fantastic spices in test tubes -- very mad scientist. You'll love them.

Claire: What are you making?

Sarah: I'm not sure yet.

Ruth: I'm making Chicken Kiev. I bought all the ingredients to make Chicken Kiev.

Sarah: So we'll make Chicken Kiev.

SARAH looks through her pocketbook until she finds a small bag of tarragon.

Sarah: Aha! Have tarragon will travel!

Ruth: Tarragon is not listed in the ingredients.

Sarah: Following the instructions... where's the creativity in that? Cooking is alchemy, not a science.

Ruth: It is if you want it to turn out right.

Claire: Is there anything I can do to help?

RUTH cannot believe CLAIRE has just offered help, and is angry that SARAH is the one to bring it out in her.

Sarah: (places the tarragon under CLAIRE's nose) Smell!

Claire: (likes the smell) Mmm.

Sarah: Mmm.

RUTH looks incredibly jealous.

Scene Thirteen: Fisher Kitchen, later that evening

NIKOLAI has now joined them. RUTH and CLAIRE stand at two separate counters, working on dinner. SARAH and NIKOLAI sit at the table. NIKOLAI pours a shot of vodka for him and one for SARAH.

Nikolai: This vodka is from Poland. You will like it. (pours) Ruthie, why don't you join us?

Ruth: Thank you, Nikolai, but I'll wait till dinner is served to have a glass of wine.

She is now jealous that SARAH is horning in on her boyfriend.

Nikolai: Ok, suit yourself. Nostrovya. (clinks glasses with SARAH)

SARAH starts singing a Russian folk song, "Bublichtki," and Nikolai joins in. They get more and more boisterous as they go along.

Nikolai: Where you learning to speak the Russian?

Sarah: It's a long story. Let's just say there was a man involved.

Nikolai: (laughs) Huh! Of course there was!

Sarah: (gets up, goes to CLAIRE) Claire, when you are finished mixing the herbs in, you want to form the butter into little logs. Eight of them.

Claire: (grossed out) Eewww...

Sarah: No, not at all! It's deliciously sensual!

Ruth: Wash your hands first, Claire.

Sarah: (goes to RUTH, whispers in RUTH's ear) Ruth, you wild woman, Nikolai is adorable and hot. The sex must be spectacular! Good for you.

RUTH looks like she wants to crawl into a hole. DAVID enters. He stands still, shocked to see who is there.

Sarah: Oh, my god! (hugs him hard) Oh, you're all grown up but your face is still 12 years old!

Ruth: David, you remember your Aunt Sarah?

David: Uh. Yes, hi.

Ruth: (implying something -- but we don't know what yet) I'm sure you couldn't forget her if you tried. (David just stares at her)

Nikolai: (O.S.) David, have some vodka.

Sarah: Yes. (drags DAVID behind her)

Scene Fourteen: Fisher Front Hall

BRENDA and NATE enter in the front door. NATE is holding a bottle of wine.

Brenda: This is so surreal -- the engagement dinner. I feel like I'm in a training movie from the 50s about how normal people behave.

Nate: Yeah, well, my family's anything but normal.

They walk up the stairs.

Brenda: Compared to mine they're the fucking Cleavers.

Nate: Look, just relax and enjoy yourself, alright? You look gorgeous. Everybody loves you.

Brenda: Not your mother.

Nate: All you have to do is sit back and be the center of attention, alright? Come on!

NATE kisses her on the head and leads the way to the dining room. BRENDA does not look very comforted.

Scene Fifteen: Fisher Dining Room, later

Everybody is seated around the table, eating dinner. SARAH is completely smashed.

Sarah: So, Linda, what do you do?

Brenda: It's Brenda.

Sarah: Ah, forgive me... I'm drunk. It's all Nikolai's fault... He’s been plying me with vodka since the moment he arrived.

Brenda: I'm a massage therapist.

Sarah: Oh, oh.

Nate: She's an amazing massage therapist, and she's writing a novel.

Claire: You are?

Brenda: I'm writing something. We'll see what it turns into.

Claire: (to SARAH) Have you ever read "Charlotte: Light and Dark"?

Sarah: Yes.

Claire: Well, she's Charlotte!

David: (O.S.) I didn't know that!

Ruth: What is this, Charlotte light and who?

Claire: It's this book about this girl who's being analyzed and she's like way smarter than the people who are analyzing her, and so she's constantly fucking with them. It's hilarious.

BRENDA is even more uncomfortable now than before. RUTH looks upset to be not "in" on the joke.

Sarah: Well, well, Nate, you continue to be drawn to strong, complex women. Bravo!

Brenda: (whispers to NATE, mockingly) Bravo!

David: Mom, this dinner is delicious.

Ruth: (laughs uneasily) Well, I think it's a little sour, myself.

David: No, it's one of the best things you've ever made.

Nate: It's great.

Another nail in the coffin!

Nikolai: Yeah, more vodka?

Sarah: Please. (he fills her shot glass) I had a lover who was Russian. He once told me that vodka was to Russians what therapy is to Americans.

Brenda: (laughs) Something habit-forming and expensive that totally destroys your ability to lead an authentic life.

Suddenly the whole table gets very quiet and looks at her.

Brenda: Sorry, both my parents are shrinks.

Sarah: Ah, and that was very painful for you, but-- but if it weren't for that, you probably wouldn't be writing your novel, right? Speaking of creativity, is everyone aware of the budding artist in the family?

CLAIRE pulls her hair in front of her face, a little embarassed by the attention.

Nikolai: No, who?

No one at the table knows who she's talking about.

Sarah: You haven't seen Claire's work? Shame on you! She needs feedback, even if it's just so she can learn to ignore it. Claire, I know so many creative people from all over the world. You must come stay with me in Topanga Canyon and meet some of them.

Claire: Ok.

RUTH slams her fork down on the plate. She is at her wit's end. There is a brief silence.

Claire: (innocently) What?

There is another silence. NATE decides, unwisely as it turns out, that this would be the best time to clear his throat, stand up and announce his engagement to BRENDA.

Nate: Um, now's as good a time as any I guess-- um, the reason that I wanted us all to get together for dinner tonight... is that Brenda and I... have decided to get married.

DAVID smiles and laughs. RUTH sits there, stunned, and says nothing, staring blankly.

Nikolai: Good, married, this calls for a toast, yes!

Sarah: Absolutely!

Nate: (pours a glass of wine for SARAH) There you go, something to toast with!

Sarah: To romantic love-- both the inspiration and utter folly of it.

Brenda: (a bit sarcastically) Thank you, that's really kind.

David: Cheers!

Claire: Congratulations!

Nikolai: Nostrovya!

Still no response from RUTH.

Sarah: So, Linda, I never would had taken you as the type to get married.

Again, SARAH makes BRENDA uncomfortable.

David: Show us the ring!

Nate: Yeah... don't blink. You might miss the diamond.

Brenda: (shows everybody the ring) Here you go.

David: No, it's beautiful.

Sarah: Oh, it's lovely! Ruth, did you see?

Ruth: (devastated) Yes, very nice... I'll go put on some coffee.

RUTH gets up and goes into the kitchen. NIKOLAI gets up and follows her. Both BRENDA and NATE look uncomfortable now.

David: Is there any more of that vodka left?

Scene Sixteen: Fisher Kitchen, a few moments later

NIKOLAI enters the kitchen, where RUTH is preparing coffee.

Nikolai: Ruthie, what's wrong? Your son is going to marry. This is a beautiful thing!

Ruth: (weepy) It's been a long day, that's all... I'm fine.

He hugs her gently.

Ruth: Just look at this mess.

Nikolai: Don't worry, I going to help you clean up.

Ruth: Thank you.

He kisses her on the head.

Scene Seventeen: Fisher Dining Room, same time as previous scene

Sarah: God, there is so much emotion to navigate where family is concerned... (takes out a bottle of pills) Vicodin anyone?

Brenda: (totally weirded out) Uh, no, thanks, I'm fine.

Claire: Okay, what's the deal with me going to Topanga Canyon? Mom like totally freaked!

Sarah: No one ever told you? Oh, my. Well, it seems I'm a terrible influence.

She puts the pill in her mouth and takes a sip of wine to wash it down, completely unaware of the irony.

Nate: David and I went to stay with Aunt Sarah one weekend, and I kind of lost my virginity.

BRENDA looks amused. DAVID drinks shot after shot of vodka, smiling.

Claire: How old were you?

Nate: 15.

Claire: How old was she?

Nate: I'm not sure-- 20 something.

Sarah: She was 32.

Claire: Oh, my god, that's totally fucked up!

Sarah: Your mother has never forgiven me, and she never will, no matter what she says. Granted, there was an awful moment when David was lost, but he was found, completely unharmed, in the canyon the next morning.

Claire: Damn, I miss out on all the best stuff in this family!

DAVID smiles.

Scene Eighteen: Fisher Front Hall, after dinner

NATE walks BRENDA to the front door. BRENDA is incredibly shaken up.

Brenda: Well, that was a disaster. Your mother hates me more than ever now.

Nate: My mother does not hate you.

Brenda: Oh, come on, Nate.

Nate: Well, who cares if she does?

Brenda: I'm just glad it's over. On to the next. We have a whole lifetime of tense and uncomfortable family gatherings to look forward to...

She kisses him and leaves.

Scene Nineteen: David's Apartment/Ben's Bedroom

The phone starts to ring as DAVID enters his apartment. He is completely smashed. He answers the phone. It's BEN, who is sitting on his bed.

David: Hello.

Ben: Hey, where have you been?

David: Hey, we had kind of a family dinner. My brother's getting married.

Ben: Are you drunk?

David: Yes! My mother's boyfriend kept pouring vodka. I'm going to have such a fucking headache tomorrow.

Ben: Your mom's boyfriend was there? So how come you didn't invite me?

David: Uh-- because I knew it would be excruciating and I wanted to spare you?

Ben: Hmm... I wish you were here, or me there.

David: Why?

Ben: So we could have hot sex and then fall asleep together. You could always come over here...

David: I'm too drunk. I shouldn't drive.

Ben: Or I could come over there?

David: I'm too drunk. I shouldn't drive.

They both laugh.

Ben: Well, take some aspirin before you go to bed and vitamin C and drink lots of water.

David: I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Ben: Ok, bye.

Scene Twenty: Fisher Dining Room

NATE is helping RUTH clear the dining room table.

Nate: Hey, Mom. Here, let me help you. Ready?

NATE and RUTH take the extension out of the middle of the dining room table, and push the two main pieces of the table together, closing it.

Ruth: You should have used your grandmother's ring. God knows your brother isn't going to use it, and who knows if Claire will ever settle down! That ring was for you!

Nate: I didn't even know about it.

Ruth: You are the first-born and probably the only opportunity for grandchildren that I will ever live to see.

Nate: Mom, you never even told me about it. You know?, what I think this is really about is that you don't like Brenda.

Ruth: That's not true! I just don't want you to get hurt. Is she pregnant?

Nate: (a bit insulted) No, she's not... but she is the woman I love, Mom. Now you may not think she's the best person for me, but I do, and I need you to accept that.

RUTH polishes the table and NATE leaves the room.

The screen fades to white.

Act Two

Scene One: Intake Room, next morning

DAVID and NATE have another intake meeting with CATHERINE COLLINS.

David: We're glad you came back to Fisher and Sons.

Catherine: You gave me the best price. That's the only reason I'm here. That other place wanted me to sign some waiver before I could see the body. You want me to do that as well?

David: Mrs. Collins, I really don't think you want to put yourself through that. Your husband's body experienced severe trauma. It's beyond restoration.

Catherine: Restoration? No, I don't want him restored. What's the point?

Nate: Perhaps we should chose a casket.

Catherine: You think it's a day like any other. What you don't realize is that anything can happen... and then it does. It happens, and there's so much left-- unsaid. And it was all just wasted time. I just want somebody to help me understand-- just to help. Can you help me? (looks into NATE's eyes beseechingly)

Nate: The first line of C. S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed" is: "No one ever told me grief felt so like fear." I'll-- I'll get you a copy. I think it will help. It's going to be okay.

Catherine: No, it's not.

NATE looks at her, not knowing how to respond to that.

Scene Two: Fisher & Sons Office, a few minutes later/Second Intake Room

NATE and DAVID are in the office. NATE has been staring off into space.

David: Nate? Nate, what's wrong?

Nate: Doesn't it ever get you down?

David: Sure, all the time.

Nate: You know, I keep thinking it's going to get easier, but it just doesn't.

David: No, it doesn't. It just gets more familiar.

They hear the front door open and MITZI call.

Mitzi: (O.S) Hello! Anybody home? Hello!

They go into the second intake room, where she's standing.

Mitzi: Wow, don't you two look sharp, just as sharp as a couple little tacks!

David: Miss Huntley. What can we do for you?

Mitzi: Well, for one thing, you can call me Mitzi. Stop being so goddam formal! Now, how come you all have not thanked me for this snazzy casket wall? Oh, maybe I should thank you for selling our beautiful and highly profitable caskets!

Nate: Seeing as how you've bought up, absorbed, and shut down every other competitor? (she smiles widely) What the fuck do you want?

Mitzi: (hardly covering how pissed she is) What the fuck do I want? I want you boys to come the fuck with me on a little fucking trip, what do you fucking say, huh?

Nate: Well, what kind of fucking trip?

Mitzi: (back to playing nice) Well, see, now, that's a secret.

David: We're very busy.

Mitzi: Well, I suggest you get unbusy! I understand Fisher and Sons neglected to place their license number on a recently printed advertisement.

Nate: No, we've already been fined for that, so you can just turn around and--

Mitzi: No, no, I'm not talking about the billboard. I'm talking about the two column incher in the funeral pages of the L.A. Times. It's run-- uh-oh-- three weeks in a row now, so that is three fines that you can avoid if you just-- drop the attitude and come with me.

NATE and DAVID look at each other.

Scene Three: Kroehner Jet

NATE and DAVID are on Kroehner's Lear Jet, which is currently whisking them away to a resort for Kroehner's people in Palm Springs. DAVE has a drink and is on the phone.

David: Federico, hi, it's David.

Rico's Voice: Hi, David.

David: Nate and I are tied up for the rest of the day, so we need you to pick up the Collins body from the Unger mortuary.

Rico's Voice: You can't just expect me to drop everything--

David: (interrupting) Federico, I just need you to do this.

Rico's Voice: Fine.

DAVID hangs up the phone.

Mitzi: Collins? Ooh, you bad boy, that wasn't very nice of you, stealing a funeral from us!

Nate: (not looking up from the magazine he's reading) One that you stole from us first.

DAVID sits nexts to NATE.

Mitzi: Oh, please! This whole self-reighteous chip-on-the-shoulder thing-- it kind of worked for Russell Crowe in "Gladiator," but honey, you don't have the special effects to back it up.

Nate: You get a big kick out of yourself, don't you?

Mitzi: And you are a stick in the mud, aren't you? Lighten up! The whole purpose of this trip is to have fun! Just ask Bobo.

BOBO walks up to them. He's wearing a golf hat.

Bobo: I said, now, what's Mitzi doing hiding all the way in back?

Mitzi: Oh, hi, darlin', you know the Fishers?

David: (snidely) Bobo.

Bobo: Good to see you guys again!

Mitzi: (getting up and leaving) Well, I got to mingle. I'm not being a very good hostess.

Bobo: She's quite a little spitfire, isn't she? So when did you all become members?

Nate: Members?

Bobo: Nothing beats flying out to Palm Springs twice a month for a little golf. You know I met Merv Griffin last time? Helluva guy!

Nate: We're never selling to Kroehner.

Bobo: Oh, well, then, you're idiots. No offense.

He gets up and leaves them. DAVE sips his drink.

Scene Four: Second Intake Room

CLAIRE walks by in the hallway and peers into the second intake room, to see SARAH doing Tai Chi exercises. CLAIRE stands there a few moments, entranced and fascinated.

Scene Five: Fisher Kitchen, a few minutes later

CLAIRE talks to RUTH in the kitchen.

Claire: It must have been fun having a sister growing up.

Ruth: Fun is not the word I would choose.

Claire: God, I can't believe I never even met her before!

Ruth: It's for the best. Sarah has no boundaries and she's completely self-involved. She would have only disappointed you.

Claire: Whatever.

Ruth: Claire, you know that I think if you work hard you can be good at whatever you put your mind to.

Claire: (completly apathic) Yeah, sure, Mom.

CLAIRE leaves. RUTH looks upset.

Scene Six: Rico's Living Room

RICO and RAMON are working on demolishing the fireplace. VANESSA takes care of AUGUSTO.

Vanessa: How long is my house gonna be like this?

Ramon: This is a big job, you gotta be patient.

Vanessa: Patient?! Where was patient when you told us to buy a house full of mold?

Ramon: I'm not a licensed house inspector. You knew that. Besides, you should call that realtor and sue her ass for non-disclosure.

Rico: (checks his watch) Oh, shit, I got to head down to Long Beach before rush hour.

Vanessa: Oh, no, no, no, no, come on, baby, you got to stay here. You have to deal with this.

Rico: I got to pick up a body, okay? That's what pays the mortgage.

Vanessa: Well, let David go do it. What are you, his lap dog?

Rico: (she's pushed him too far; he yells) SHUT UP, OKAY? JUST SHUT UP! CAN YOU DO THAT FOR ONCE?!

Ramon: Whoa, whoa, Rico, come on, man, she's just stressed with the mess and two kids. Who wouldn't be? Cut her some slack, primo.

Vanessa: Thank you.

Rico: I'm out of here. (he storms out the door)

Ramon: He can be a real pain.

Vanessa: Yeah, you don't have to tell me that.

Ramon: Hey, don't you worry, V, we'll get this fixed just as soon as we can, OK? (touches her chin and winks at her, totally innocent, though)

RAMON turns away and VANESSA smiles, looking in his direction. Seems to be checking him out, in fact. Then the baby in her arms distracts her and they play a little.

Scene Seven: Kroehner Vacation House

MITZI leads NATE and DAVE through the house.

Mitzi: The house was built in '59 for Frank Sinatra. If these walls could talk, huh? (they stop for a second in the living room) Ooh, I don't even want to know what all happened on that coffee table! (continues moving along) C'mon.

Bobo: (walking by) You see what you boys are missing? This is the life!

Mitzi: Aw, don't hurt yourself, Bobo! (to a waitress) Listen, would you be a dear, darling, and fix us up another batch of those frozen margaritas? Thank you, lovely! (to NATE) She's single--

Nate: I'm engaged.

Mitzi: Yeah, well, I'm married! (laughs)

They move to the large wall of glass separating the house from the pool outside.

Mitzi: There's swimsuits and towels and such in the cabana out by the pool. (looks over at a muscular man who is drying himself off with a towel) Oooh! (to DAVE) Pepper used to be captain of the USC swim team. (NATE looks up to the sky unbelieving it) Now he's trying to make it as an actor. Ugh, God, they're a dime a dozen, aren't they?

They move outside to the pool.

Nate: Why are we here?

Mitzi: To have fun. My god, boy, I don't even think you know what that is! Listen to me: I understand exactly how exhausting and depressing running a small business like yours can be. Your only job today is to forget about all that. (hands them frozen margaritas) Enjoy.

She leaves them.

David: Well... (looks at PEPPER) We should at least try to have a good time.

DAVID moves on and NATE takes a sip from his drink and follows him.

Scene Eight: Claire's Bedroom

RUTH knocks on CLAIRE's bedroom door. Then she comes in and places laundry on CLAIRE's bed. On her way out, she looks up at the self-portrait on CLAIRE's wall. She walks up to it and stares, entranced by this talent of her daughter -- talent that she never knew about before. CLAIRE walks in.

Claire: What's up?

Ruth: (shyly) I was just leaving you some laundry.

Claire: Thanks.

CLAIRE waits leaning on the jam of the door until RUTH leaves. Then she immediatly shuts the door and leans on it, thinking.

Scene Nine: Kroehner Hot Tub

NATE and DAVE are sitting side-by-side, relaxing in the hot tub, with warm towellettes over their eyes. MITZI walks up to them, wearing a swimsuit.

Mitzi: You got room in there for me, boys? (gets into the hot tub with them) I want you to know Matt Gilardi never got to come here.

David: Is that supposed to make us feel better about how he harassed us?

Nate: And how you're continuing to harass us?

Mitzi: Please, you boys have got to get over this victim mentality! (calls PEPPER) Pepper!

She whistles and PEPPER comes over with an envelope, which he hands to NATE.

Nate: Ah, finally the sales pitch!

NATE opens the envelope to look at the check.

Mitzi: That's considerably more money than we've ever offered you.

DAVID is stunned by the price, but pulls himself together.

David: You know this was our father's business, it's not something we can just walk away from.

Mitzi: David, nobody is asking you to leave.

Nate: We like things just the way they are.

DAVID looks a little upset that NATE's tearing the check.

Nate: We like our lives just the way they are.

NATE tears the check into little pieces, dunks them in the water and throws them aside.

Mitzi: (beat as she contains herself, now she's really pissed. Comes out of the hot tub and Pepper put a robe on her shulders) Honey, it may be tomorrow or it may be 10 years from now, but you all are going under. It is just evolution. Kroehner's got the size, the resources, the market share, the lobbyists in Washington. What do you all got? Your pride? Woo hoo!

She gets out of the tub.

Mitzi: Car's leavin' for the airport in 5 minutes. You all better hurry! (leaves in a huff)

DAVID and Nate start to come out of the hot tub too.

Scene Ten: Kroehner Jet

NATE and DAVID travel alone on the plane ride back. NATE brings DAVE a cup of coffee. He has one for himself too. NATE sits down next to DAVE.

David: Should we have taken that offer?

Nate: (surprised) What?

David: Why are we doing this, fighting so hard? Maybe she's right. Maybe this is a losing battle.

Nate: Don't tell me you got seduced by a hot tub? I mean, so she dangled a big fat check in front of us? So the fuck what?

David: Nate!

Nate: No, we can't give up, David, alright? We can't-- we just can't!

NATE is visibly upset. He squints and starts to rub his forehead. DAVID looks very worried.

David: Your medication?

NATE just sighs and moves his eyes.

David: Have you told Brenda yet?

Nate: (lying through his teeth) Yeah, yeah, like a week ago.

David: How'd she take it?

Nate: You know Brenda; she pretends to be stronger than all of us.

DAVID still looks concerned. NATE closes his eyes and relaxes.

Act Three

Scene One: Brenda's Bedroom, Sunday morning

BRENDA lies in bed, sleeping. NATE jumps onto the bed, gently. BRENDA smiles, knowing he's there, even though she's hasn't opened her eyes yet. He kisses her on the back, and works his way higher and higher up to her face.

Brenda: Hey, you. I didn't think you were coming.

Nate: Well, you know me... can't sleep without you. (snuggles with her, kisses her cheek again)

Brenda: You're the only thing in my life that works.

Nate: Mmmm.

The doorbell rings.

Brenda: Oh, shit, my client!

She tries to get up, but NATE lovingly hugs her tighter, and won't let her get up. She smiles and laughs.

Brenda: Nate, Nate, I gotta get this. (laughs)

Suddenly he looks her in the face in a very intense manner, and holds her arms down.

Nate: Oh, God, I love you so much! I just love you.

From NATE's tone of voice, BRENDA starts to feel a little uneasy. Suddenly he grabs a pillow, and puts it over her face, smothering her. She starts to scream under the pillow.

BRENDA jumps up in bed, breathing in gasps, as if she actually were just deprived of oxygen. She looks around her. NATE’s not there. There is a knock at her front door, which takes her out of her dream. She hurries to answer it.

Scene Two: St. Stephen's, right after services

DAVE and BEN leave the church together.

Ben: I enjoyed the sermon. So do you have to work today?

David: Uh, not really.

Ben: Good.

David: I thought you had to prepare for a hearing tomorrow.

Ben: I'm thinking about blowing that off. The guy's like totally guilty. I'd rather spend the day with you.

They kiss. Suddenly, TAYLOR runs across the yard to DAVID and hugs him. DAVID looks up and sees KEITH and EDDIE standing by a refreshment table, farther away.

Taylor: (ecstatic to see him) David!

David: Hey, I didn't know you were here!

Taylor: That's a big-assed lie. I saw you staring in church!

Ben: Who's this?

David: Uh, this is Taylor. Taylor, this is my friend: Ben.

Ben: Hi! (extends his hand)

Taylor: (shakes his hand clearly unhappy by BEN's presence, if not very existence) Hey...

David: So how are you?

KEITH and EDDIE watch them.

Eddie: Wanna go over and say “Hi”?

Keith: Nah, we'll be late for the movie.

Eddie: You guys not talking now?

Keith: We had an argument. It's nothing. (calls TAYLOR) Taylor, c'mon! Gotta go!

Taylor: (ignores him; to DAVE) I miss you.

She hugs DAVID again, and DAVID looks over her shoulder to KEITH.

David: You too. (TAYLOR runs back over to KEITH) Bye.

Ben: Who's she?

David: Uh, her uncle's an old friend of mine.

Scene Three: Brenda's Living Room

BRENDA is massaging a male client.

Brenda: Roll onto your back nice and slow.

BRENDA looks away as he rolls onto his back, and places a towel over his lower body. She turns back to him, and notices that he has an erection.

Client: Sorry. Happens to me all the time.

Brenda: (as she puts a head support under his head, her breast in his face) Nothing I haven't seen before, so don't be embarrassed.

Client: Who said I'm embarrassed?

Brenda: (looking at him. Beat) Hmmm. (laughs gently, tries to go back to her work) Okay.

She stares at his erect penis, then stares at him. Suddenly, she puts her hand on it and starts jerking him off. The CLIENT looks pleasantly surprised.

Client: Oh... easy.

She does it a little more gently.

Client: Yeah, feels good...

Brenda: Like that?

Client: Oh, yeah.

Brenda: Yeah?

Client: Oh! Harder.

She obliges.

Client: Oh, God, yeah!

Brenda: Yeah?

Client: Yeah, yeah... Faster! Yeah, oh oh... yeah, oh, God, oh! Oh! Oh!

Brenda: C'mon!

The CLIENT moans in ecstacy as he finally comes.

Scene Four: Brenda's Kitchen

BRENDA washes her hands at the sink, her back turned to her client.

Client: So, um... thanks... uh, can I make another appointment for next week?

Brenda: I don't think that's such a good idea.

Client: Oh, ok.

He places money on BRENDA's counter.

Brenda: I don't think I can see you again.

Client: (awkwardly) Well, thanks again, take care.

BRENDA looks at him as he leaves. Although she knows that what she’s done is wrong, her face is expressionless, revealing neither guilt nor elation. She goes back to her hand washing.

Scene Five: Slumber Room

NATE sets up chairs for the COLLINS funeral, when CATHERINE marches in.

Catherine: I know your brother doesn't want me to, but I have to see him.

Nate: I really don't think you should put yourself through that before the service. There's been no restoration. Seeing him like this could make it that much worse.

Catherine: (pleading) I spent over half of my life with that man. I slept with him every night for 20 years. Please just let me see him. I have to see him once more. I want to see him.

Nate: Alright.

NATE takes her over to the casket and opens it up. He steps back as she looks down and stares at the mutilated corpse of her husband. She makes a noise that at first almost sounds like crying, but NATE soons realizes is not -- it is laughter. She laughs uproariously at the corpse. NATE just looks down.

Catherine: Look at you now, you fucking pig! I'm glad you're dead! I'm fucking glad. And I hope it hurt like hell! (to NATE, rhetorically, still looking at the corpse) He can't hit me any more-- can he? (turns around, starts to leave) Thank you.

She leaves. NATE is stunned by what just happened. He closes the casket.

Scene Six: David's Bedroom

DAVID and BEN enter the room. DAVID falls back on the couch and BEN falls on top of him, making out passionately. BEN stops and looks into DAVE's eyes.

Ben: I could really love you, David Fisher.

There is a silent pause. DAVID looks uneasy.

Ben: Not quite the response I was hoping for. I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

The moment is gone. They both sit up.

David: (profusely apologetic) I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry. I like you a lot, Ben.

Ben: But?

David: (sighs, sadly) But I'm in love with someone else.

Ben: I see. And when exactly were you planning on telling me this?

David: It's not that I haven't enjoyed being with you. You're a great guy! You're a catch, and he's not even available. I just-- I don't want to lie to you.

Ben: You...

David: I just thought it would be a good idea for me to get involved with someone else-- you know-- healthy.

Ben: (very upset and hurt) Great, then next you'll be saying you-- you just want to be friends.

BEN gets up and goes to the door.

David: Ben!

Ben: Well, now I know why you never wanted to introduce me to your family!

BEN slams the door behind him.

Scene Seven: Fisher Kitchen

SARAH enters with a bag of herbs. RUTH is already in the kitchen, mopping the floor.

Sarah: Organic herbs and spices from the Farmers' Market. Is Claire here?

Ruth: No I--I don't know where she is.

Sarah: If I'm going to avoid traffic I'm going to have to miss her. Damn. (puts a small bonzai plant down) Tell her this is for her Knowledge Corner. She'll know what to do.

Ruth: (uneasily) I'm sure she'll appreciate that.

Sarah: Okay, Ruth, what the hell is going on?

Ruth: What's going on? You waltz in here after 20 years, insulting my cooking, getting drunk with my boyfriend, filling my daughter's head with all kinds of ideas, and reminding my sons of traumatic events in their lives!

Sarah: Jesus Christ, the boy was gonna lose his virginity sooner or later, and Fiona is a great woman, very compassionate...

Ruth: He was molested!

Sarah: He was a horny 15 year old who couldn't believe his good luck.

Ruth: Of course I shouldn't be surprised that you won't take any responsibility-- you never have.

Sarah: Okay, that's what this is about!

Ruth: When mother died, someone had to step up. Someone had to take care of Nanny, but you just did as you pleased.

Sarah: You never let anybody help you. God forbid anything should interfere with you feeling sorry for yourself!

Ruth: If that's what you need to believe to justify your own selfishness--

Sarah: What do you want me to say, Ruth?

Ruth: (almost in tears) I want you to apologize!

Sarah: Fine. I apologize! Does that make it any better?

Ruth: (yells, crying) No! Because you had more fun than I did!

Sarah: (baring her soul to RUTH) Fun? The only man I ever loved died when I was 21. The children I so desperately wanted were impossible, because my ovaries are dry as stone. (RUTH looks shocked) And I'm a terrible artist, but I surround myself with people who have talent that I will never realize. It's all hard, Ruth. We just made different choices.

Ruth: (quietly, sits) I'm sorry. I didn't know about the ovaries.

Sarah: (sits on the table) It's fine.

RUTH sighs.

Sarah: I'm sorry about Nathaniel.

Ruth: Thank you. I got your flowers-- a couple of months later.

Sarah: (crying) I was in Peru. (pause) Let me finish mopping.

The two sisters have finally reached an understanding. SARAH stands, takes the mop from Ruth and starts mopping.

Scene Eight: Brenda's Living Room, nighttime

NATE enters the front door as BRENDA types at her TiBook, sitting on the floor.

Nate: Hey.

Brenda: Hey.

Nate: How's the writing?

Brenda: (smiling, happy) Good, really good.

NATE sighs and sits by her on the floor.

Brenda: (sarcastically) Somebody had a good day.

Nate: Ah-- it's just this woman (BRENDA shuts her computer, listening) who was screaming at the mangled body of her dead husband who used to beat her.

Brenda: (disturbed) Oh.

Nate: (beat) Can you imagine hating someone that much and staying with them for 20 years?

Brenda: What makes you think people stay together because it makes them happy?

She kisses him. Then they kiss some more.

Nate: Promise me if things ever start to go nutso or you ever hate me, that we'll deal with it. We won't just cover it up?

Brenda: Don't worry, I'll be long gone before you can hate me. (makes him lie on the floor and stays on top of him)

Nate: I don't think I could ever hate you. (holds her tight) Besides, we know what we're doing here.

Brenda: (genuinely) Absolutely.

Nate: So. What did you do today?

Brenda: (very horny) Not much-- a client.

She starts to unzip his fly.

Nate: What do you think you're doing?

Brenda: Releasing your cock from the prison of your pants!

Nate: Do you think that's wise? (sits up)

Brenda: Do you want me to stop? (pushes him back down)

They start to make out.

Scene Nine: Claire's Bedroom

CLAIRE has put the bonsai plant in her "Knowledge Corner." She is sitting at her computer, IMing someone. She laughs while she types. RUTH enters, in her robe, carrying a box. CLAIRE stops typing.

Ruth: It's just me. Were you busy?

Claire: I was just chatting with this friend of mine online.

Ruth: I found some things that I thought you might want. (moves to the bed)

Claire: (stands) What things?

Ruth: Just some things I've collected over the years.

RUTH puts the box down on the bed and CLAIRE sits on the bed beside her, going through the box, which is full of CLAIRE's toys and art projects she did as a little girl.

Claire: (truly, genuinely happy) Are these all mine?

Ruth: Yes.

Claire: No way! (takes out a clay pot and a small clay figure she made) Oh, my God, it's Blue-Pajama man! I totally forgot about him!

Ruth: I kept everything you ever did.

Claire: (truly touched) Mom!

CLAIRE takes out a drawing she made when she was a little girl, of her, DAVID, and RUTH standing outside their house.

Claire: (childishly) Where's Nate?

Ruth: Oh, he had left home already.

Claire: What about Dad?

Ruth: (smiles) He was probably working.

CLAIRE nods and puts the drawing aside. Then she pulls out a paper mache figure.

Claire: My god!

CLAIRE is almost in tears. RUTH smiles and gently brushes CLAIRE's hair. CLAIRE continues to go through the box, taking out items like a paper bee and a cut-out she made of her own hand. RUTH is finally having one of those moments of intimacy with her children that she had so desperately craved, and CLAIRE realizes that her mother truly does believe in her talent. The camera moves away from this very special moment.




Kikavu ?

Au total, 17 membres ont visionné cet épisode ! Ci-dessous les derniers à l'avoir vu...

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