Closing Numbers (1993) Script

There was a piece in the paper.

A man lost his job and hid it from his wife for six months.

She only found out when she phoned the police to describe the man she'd just seen driving away her car.

Curious post coital conversation.

I was wondering why we hadn't tried these athletic postures when we were both a bit more supple.

And it struck me, supposedly he's spending the rest of the afternoon in the library because he's lost his job.

Is this a ploy to get me back into the office, hm?


Not if you don't want to go.

I have to.

Of course, partners don't lose their jobs.




But on the jobs, they don't make an example for me.

I'm going to see a client in Redby.


Not again.

Different client, same inconvenience.

Keep me something hot.

I'll have it when I get back.

Looks like the buggers have been cheating on their income tax.

Think I can magic them out of it.

I can't, of course.

We're sending books to Moscow for the parents committee.

I wanted you to pick some out.

Well, don't send any of mine.

When did you last read a book?

Come on then.


Good boy.

Off you go.


Good boy.

Come in.


Thank you.


You've caught me.

Not another late night.

Still got soap in your ear.


See you.



Good day?


He asked where you were.

He wants to see you.

Used to getting what he wants, is he?

His friend said there might not be another chance.

Chance to what?

Brynfield nursery.

This is the Brynfield Nursery again.

Look, please say something, even if it's only goodbye.

That's the third time this morning.


Mrs.-- I'm sorry.

I think you must have made a mistake.

Well, let's try and correct it then, shall we?

I'll book a table.


As nutty as a fruit cake.

A complete stranger phones all yesterday and can't bring herself to speak, then accuses me of having an affair with her husband.

Says we ought to be civilized, and can we meet for lunch to, uh, discuss the situation.

I'm almost tempted to go.

Excuse me.

Are you saving this seat for someone.



It's mine.

I'm very late.


I'm Steve.

Do you think I could have a sip of your wine?

I'm in a bit of a state.

She sent you instead of coming herself.

What are you, her brother?


If it's a joke, it's not a very good one.

It's not a joke.

I'm the person you want to talk to.

Would you like to see the wine list, sir?

A bottle of dry house white, please.

I'll order later.

You had no idea, had you?

What I mean about me.

I mean, about Keith.

I'd always assumed wives sensed when their husband were bisexual.

We met three months ago.

He was sitting on his own in a gay pub one lunchtime.

New face, wearing a city suit.

Apparently married.

I knew at once he needed protecting.

From himself, if nothing else.

I recognized the look of someone who's inches away from being beaten up and robbed.

Actually, I'm glad you found.


I've insisted we only do safe sex.

He has to accept that.

But not long ago, he and I were talking about ourselves.

About the past.

Keith told me about a promiscuous period three years ago.

He was very down at the time.

He behaved as if the risk of AIDS didn't exist.

And anyway, I thought that you and he were sleeping apart.

A convenient conclusion to jump to, I suppose.

He rang you once from my flat, and from the way he spoke, I guessed that you might still be sleeping together.

Is that a question?

It is important.

More so for you, I think.

We're married.

We do make love.


Two, sometimes three afternoons a week for the last three months.

Before that, not so often.

Nowhere near so often.

Very imaginative sex, too, most unusual for Keith.

You should write a manual.

You're trying to tell me I might be infected.

Two years ago, I'd have said, what's the point of being tested.

But now, if you were HIV positive, there's a lot more help.

Why should you care about me?

I'm a carer.

It's my nature.

Has it really been three months?

And still?

When I told your colleague I was civilized, I didn't mean as civilized as this.

You'll excuse me if I leave now.

Look, will you take my number?

What for, to compare notes?

Only safe sex, you said.

There's no need for guilt.

Is he?

Not until late.


We won't wait supper.

Thank you, Marie.





What are you doing?

Just trying to get things sorted out.

I'd offer to help, but I think our methods would be incompatible.

I just need a moment.

You always look at me when I come home.

I will in a minute.

How's that?

I was thinking of going away for a few days.

Can you cope?

Can't even work the microwave.

I'd better stay then.

I must say that I've missed you and all your letters and care packages.

And I'm looking forward to getting back some of your favorite pieces of music.

So without much further ado, here's a letter from Mrs.--

Is he with you?


Not at the moment.

Have you seen him?

No, I don't mean that.

I just need to know if you've told him that we met.


That's up to you.

My son's taking the Oxford entrance exam this term.

I can't move him.

I can't go anywhere at the moment.

It's all rather a mess.

I don't know what to do.


I understand.

I'm glad one of us does.

Sorry to have bothered you.

Should have stayed.

At least for his birthday.

I always end up doing what you want.

You're the one who gets his own way.




All you need to know is I'm not leaving you.

Aren't you going to be late for work?

Is this what they call unmaking house?

You've forgotten the sweater I bought you.

Whatever you thought you might gain isn't going to happen.

Do you understand?

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

I intend to be humored.

Oh my god.

Who's been knocking you about?

None of your business.

Two men being physical with each other.

I won't put it any stronger than that.

It is a violence against nature.

A man always wants a son, if he's honest.

Waiting until he can afford the very best for him.

And the anxiety.

Now nothing.

How did you expect me to accept that?

He's gobbed in our faces.

Cut him out.

Make a clean break.

That's best.

That's the only way.

Did you say something?



I'm doing my walk down from the very back of the stage, the heel-licking darkness behind me getting deeper with each step.

And the light draws me forwards.

When I get to the footlights, I can feel the warmth from them creeping up my legs and see the flesh-tinted gels winking up at me in welcome.

Like all those white corpses fighting off the enemy invaders.

I can see the exit signs, the dress circle, the balcony.

The gods packed solid with well-hung Greeks.

I can see the gilt cherubs cavorting among the ruby velvet and the hundreds and hundreds of beautiful, young, male faces all looking up at me like the flags of all nations.

And now the audience is really going wild.

They're standing and waving their arms, cheering and whistling and stomping their feet.

And I haven't even opened my mouth.

Just as well.


You need more mouthwash.

Oh, you're so dominant.


Stop it.

I love it.

Well, finally the cheering subsides.

I get the nod from the conductor, and just as I'm filling my dried prune lungs to gasp out My Way, a thought occurs to me.

That you've been fucked stupid by your entire audience.


Drum rolls.

The follow spot changing color, blue, red, green, amber for the final thrust.

And after the g-string has floated out over their heads to land on a cherub holding up the balcony, I wake up--

You wake up shivering with that bloody shit stained duvet on the floor and a pain in the ass.



When what?

Did I tell you?

Does it matter?

Just before we opened our birthday cards.

Who were they?


They were just man I sought comfort from.


That's what you were so desperately searching for, was it?

And you couldn't get it at home!

Look, if I knew what I wanted, none of what you so graphically described need have happened!

And you still need comfort, do you?

People change.

Needs change.

Why did I lose my home and my son because of your sexual appetite?

Did I leave you?

Not necessarily.

Let's consider an alternative.

Might not be exactly what you're searching for, but it's a fair copy.

Safe sex, too.

I think you'll agree.

The assistant considered safety a very strong selling point.

For god's sake, tell me why!

Even your boyfriend is worried you might have infected me.

You said I ought to get myself tested.

Everyone makes their own decisions.

Why warn me then in the first place?

How could you decide when you didn't know?

Salve your conscience, and it might just pay dividends.

Who for?

For you, if I had left him.

But you haven't.


Why did he do it?

Have you asked him?

All this talk of not being his true self.

How the hell do you find the meaning of life, groping some stranger in the dark?

You don't.

It's a strong compulsion, and like most drugs, it only gives temporary relief. From what?

One's self.

One's situation.


No, you're not.

You're safe.

You know more about him than I do, and you were clever enough to protect yourself.

Why should you be sorry?

He isn't even your problem any more, is he?

Is he still yours?

Oh, yes.

I think so.

Don't you?

It may have been only a registry office, but I agreed to every word.

It was-- it was an informed decision.

Now I need to know that-- I have to know.

I'm just so frightened.

Up and down.

Keep breathing.

That's it.

There's a whole world of new experience out there, just waiting, foot rot being one of them.

You have to be careful.

How many lessons have you had?

Only three so far.

I keep scraping my toe on the bottom.

Well, they won't let us into the deep end until they're quite sure we can float.

Everything all right?


Yes, of course.

Then what are you doing here?

It isn't my birthday.

Certainly isn't Christmas.

I just wanted to see you.

Nothing special. Peter working hard?

Keith behaving himself?

What makes you ask that?

Just the way you look, as if you're about to burst into tears.

You can if you want.

No one will notice in here.

The chlorine makes all their eyes smart.

I thought I might visit Mum's grave.

Isn't that what people do when they've been given bad news?

Visit aging parent.

Retrace their steps back to the womb.

Take a look at where they've come from before they settle themselves to where they're going.

I haven't got a womb. More's the pity.

Always wanted one.

Womb envy isn't fashionable.

It's not lumps, then?

No, of course not.

You have regular checks, sensible girl like you.

No breast lumps?


Another woman, perhaps?

Accountacy is so lucrative, he's keeping two families?

Dad, why can't you just enjoy the fact that I'm here?

You get rid of that haunted look, and I'll enjoy its replacement.

It's important for you to feel you'll be able to cope should the result be positive.

Can anyone be sure of that?


But you should have time to think about it.

I thought you wanted people to be tested.

We don't want people to rush into it.

I'm not rushing, believe me.

Do you have children?

One son.

He's 18.

Why do you believe you may have been at risk?

My husband had unsafe sex three years ago.

Now will you please just take a blood sample?

Is he also going to be tested?

Have you discussed it?

He had sex with men.

Quite a lot of men.

I don't have a total.

It went on over a period of about six months, and included unprotected anal sex with enough men to have caught the virus many times.

Since then, he and I have had unprotected sex, also many times.

Anna, please.

Don't stay in here again tonight.

Don't upset Peter.

Look, with his entrance exam so close--

Don't upset Peter?

Have you been for the test?


When will you know?

In about 10 days.

If I go back for it.

You mean you might not go back?

Most probably I will.


How do you know who to approach?

How do you avoid propositioning someone who isn't gay?

Someone who might turn nasty and beat you up?

Most of the time, I wait until I'm approached.

It's easier to be generous or demanding when-- when you're anonymous.

Not being judged.

There are very few words, and the hollow feeling goes away for a little while.

But Steve was different.

He was just someone who reminded me of a friend at school.

Someone who looked after me.

I used to think I was rather good at that.

I go with another man in the dark, in-- in a toilet, wherever, it's just as much me.

It's part of me.

Mike, the man who counseled me, said he'd be happy to see you at any time.

No obligation.

Just to chat.

What do you think about it?

But then if you wait and I test positive, there'll be no need for you to think about it, will there?

Don't go.

I've decided.

I don't understand you.

You understanding isn't important anymore.

Your love, if you had any, might have been a help.

I'll see you later.


It's Anna.

Steve said he'd mentioned me.

He said you'd be expecting me.

It it all right to come in?


This is all I have.

Please take it, and do not use gas.


James Thurber, The Night the Bed Fell.

Steve said you wouldn't mind my dropping by.

I thought he was at least going to introduce us.

It's better like this.

Me Jim.


Minus your banner.

Take a pew.

Well, I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours.

Is he yours?

I'm not into possessions anymore.

Are you?

I meant I'd show you my life.

That was part of it.

Me at 19.

I'm sorry.


Who would want to be 19 again, with all those hormones.

Having to fight people off.

Now I get the unemployed scaffolder next door to come in once a fortnight for a hand job.

That was my hell freak period.

Lasted almost until Brian died.




What should I do?

What's wrong?

It's a-- it's a sudden-- sudden surge of drugs through the veins.

Happens sometimes.

Scares the hell out of me.

Oh, Christ!



There is no warning, and I never know when.

It'll pass.

You'll be all right.

Dark, oh, shit.

I'm really frightened.

Wha-- wha-- what-- what I'm suppose-- what I'm supposed to do to stop the fear.

I'm supposed to visualize it waking up whole macho T cells.

All four of them.

Can you name them?


Give them names, the T cells.

Then you'll be able to see them.

No. No.

I can't.

Cause they're just-- they're just dots in your blood, tiny tadpole things.


Macho, you said.

What-- what humans are macho?

Make them human.

Uh, uh, do-- Ameri-- American life guards.


Doing press ups?



They're-- they're writing Mother's Day cards.

Theodore's got black, curly hair and eyelashes I'd kill for.

Ty-- Tyrone's blonde, with a palm tree of chest hair.

And who are the other two?

Uh, Tobias, Torquil, Two Ton Tennessee.

That's five.

You've been holding out on me.


Passing-- it's just passing off now.


Now that we've been formally introduced, how about me making us both some coffee?

In-- in a minute.

I just want to make sure it's all gone.

Where's your mother, Jim?

I don't see her often.

She thinks I'm a slut.

What's wrong, Mum? This is.

Is he waiting in the park again?

What's in the case?

I've come to stay until you're better.

Do you know how to protect yourself?

I can learn.

Look at this!

It's so bloody dishonest.

It just reinforces prejudice against people who actually have AIDS.

Them and us.

Them queers and drug users.

Irene, would you be kind and get Mrs. Reynolds a cup of tea.

It's an attempt to frighten teenagers away from sex altogether!

The light's so low I can hardly see what I brought.

Did you tell him what I look like?

How could I?

I've only ever seen you in the dark before today.

What did you tell him?

That you'd lost a lot of weight.

And the lesions?

I didn't mention those.

Or that I was forgetting things?


Are you?

I didn't know about that.

You seem all right to me.

You think if he knew that I'm also going blind he might come?

While I can still see him.




I thought you didn't like this place.

I guessed you'd be here.

I wanted to say I'm sorry.

Look, I don't know what I'm doing, where I'm going, or anything.

I don't need a death sentence should worry.

What did you really come here for, ay?

What do you want from me? Nothing.

I don't want anything. Yes, you do.

You want me to comfort you.

Be gentle, kind, understanding.

You want me to tell you that it's all right to be scared.

Is that such a terrible thing?

I'm not Anna.

And I'm not a fucking saint.

I don't need to understand you or even like you.

I don't think you'd find my pity very helpful.

Back at 17.

Off to London every day.

You told me once about the girls you traveled with.

Working girls, you called them, didn't you?

I was very slow to catch on to what they worked at.

Little devil.

Claimed London was the only place he'd find the reference books he needed.

I used to come across the odd exercise book and drawings that he drew.

What with him not having got into college or anything, we didn't take it seriously.

I suppose I didn't want to think about what you were really doing.

Why don't you ask him?

No point now, is there?

Best not to know about such things.

What about Over the Rainbow?


There's a Mozart Mass in d-minor I'm rather fond of, but it's too long.

Never forget the three minute attention span.

The home help may want to visit less often if she knows you're going to stay.

It might be best not to be too specific till we see how things go.

I-- I thought he was on his own here, apart from one or two friends.

He's not going to let on how pleased he is you came, Mary.

Not yet.

Got it!

Got what?

Closing Number.

I saw it on a documentary.

Terry, his name was.

At the end, when the coffin slides past a little curtain, we'll have a hand in a black glove-- elbow length with a diamante bracelet-- come back through the curtain and wave goodbye.

What do you think?

How did he get what-- what he's got?

Like anyone gets it.

By being unlucky.

Steve, I've got this great idea.

I've got this great idea for the program.

What program?

Not now, Jim.

Later, OK?

I've changed my mind about the closing number.

Tell him about it later.

No, now.

He has to remember.

We're talking about my funeral service.


I don't want to be buried.

It's too claggy.

One thing at a time, Jim.

What's the matter with you?

It's no big deal.

Gran did it.

Don't you remember?

It's exactly what me Gran did.


That's right.

When she knew that they couldn't , she chose all her own hymns.


Well, I'm doing the same, except it won't all be hymns.

Right at the end, we'll have this black diamante glove--



Great idea.

But no.

Oh, well.

Back to the drawing board.

Can't win them all.

It's time.

Well, I want to be early.

Wish me luck.

Good luck, darling.

I'll come out with you.

Well, you'll be all right.

I promise.

I just know. And you?

Is-- what about you two?

Oh, we'll be all right.

Nothing to worry about.


See you.

You're really going for result today?

This afternoon.

What about Peter?

Peter's got nothing to do with it.

He doesn't know, and he won't.

Steve said he'd drive me.

Can't you drive yourself?

Which was stronger, your need to be married or wanting to marry me?

I love you.

Still do.

I wasn't sure about love at first.



Brought up in a close, loving family, and out of my element.

Do you remember how we made a joke about my fear of sex?

I knew I was wrong to marry without being in love, you see.

The guilt. All the bloody guilt.

And then when Peter was born, and you were such a good father.

Still are.

And the three of us were so close.

I loved you for that.

And for the sex, too, of course, after I learned to enjoy it.

It was wonderful.

And all thanks to your gentleness. your patience.

When we found I couldn't have any more after Peter, it was our problem.

We faced it together.

We faced most things together in the beginning.

Do you remember?

I don't know what's happened to that.

Wish me luck.

Hello. Come in.

Take a seat.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

The buffet car is now open.

We have a wide selection of freshly made sandwiches, cakes and biscuits, teas, coffees, hot chocolates, and.

You've kicked him out, haven't you?


He wouldn't just take off like that without a word.

Not now.

Not when I'm in the middle of all this.

It's too complicated to explain.

Look, I'm not a child!

Look at it!

This is me.

This is all I'm allowed, all I'm good for.

Passing bloody exams to make my parents proud.

But of course, I'm not going to pass, am I?

I can't-- I can't remember a bloody thing!

10 Days ago, I was tested for HIV.

He left because I was getting the result today.

What are you on about?

Three years ago, he put himself at risk.

One night stands.

Anonymous sex in lavatories.

That kind of thing.

Now he's out there somewhere, too scared to be tested and convinced that we're both HIV positive.

I am sorry.

I had hoped you wouldn't have to know.

I don't believe a word of it.

You're just a filthy-minded, lying bitch.

Can I help you?

This was my school.


I'm an old boy, Reynolds, Allenby House, '64 to '69.



Well, if you'll excuse me.

What do you teach?

Communications studies.

We didn't have that.

Shall I go and look for him?

He's 18.

He's making a gesture.

He'll be back.

So much for Oxford.

Isn't it rather futile, punishing someone who isn't around to be hurt?

How do you know who I'm punishing?

I could have covered for you.

I could have said you were ill and hadn't had time to phone the school.

As it was, I didn't know what to say.

When have you ever?

You mustn't cry.

It's not the end of the world.

Not if you like someone.

No one is going to know, are they?

You mustn't tell.



No one must ever know what we did.


The postmark is Yeovil.

It's near where he went to school.

I could find him.

Bring him home.

How would you find him?

He could be anywhere.

Mark an area on the map and just keep looking.

You're right to go.

Steve might drive you.

My test was negative, by the way.

But not conclusive.

It has to be done again in three months to be sure.

Always remember that he dumped me.

That being jealous of something after the event is obsessive.

Did you think I'd have two heads or something?


I knew that one would be more than sufficient.

I was simply wondering what you and Dad talked about.

If he was here now, I expect we'd be discussing what a bloody fool you were to throw away the chance of Oxford.

The whole of life isn't going to stop because of this, you know.




Keeley, wait a minute.

I'm talking.

Now, stand there.


Never guess you would.

Emma. Emma?

Yeah, Emma Davis.

She used to be in my class at school.

Sit at the back..

No! Yeah.

You are joking.

I couldn't believe it myself, but I know.


Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah.


She was pregnant before he met.

Oh, my god!

Oh, Jim!


What's he got?

Tell me!

What's he ill with?

Are you all right?

You better tell me what's the matter with him.

He He shouldn't be allowed out, you know.

It's disgusting.

Just look at him.

You should keep him indoors!


This is Steve.

I'm not here at the moment.

Please leave a message.

Thanks for bringing me.

Any time.

Now, we're going to have to replace all nourishment you wasted in that shop.

Just a little liquid then, hey?

Something for the T cell boys, stuck out there in all that heat.

Something for Steve.

How about your mother, then?

I know what you're holding out for, you bastard.

You want to see a middle-class housewife beg.


You won't get rid of me as easy as that.

Where are you living?

Peter, please, go home.


No transport.

Catch a bus or take the train from Yeovil.

Not unless you come with me.

At least talk about it.

I deserve that much, surely.

I can't explain anything to you.

I haven't asked you to.

That's not what I want.


Show me where you're staying.

I'm just going to put the belts on you, Jim, keep you nice and safe.

You just bring what he'll need and don't worry.

We've had lots of practice getting him out of here.

All right, Jim.

We're going to take you down to the ambulance now.

Everything seemed so vivid.

Leaning against the school wall, waiting to be asked to join in.

If you feel cold, we could light a fire.

I'm not cold.

He always laughed a lot.

Found ordinary things funny.

The attraction of opposites, really.

He was good at most subjects, except maths.

Sports, too.

He always liked team games.

Tough and confident.

I admired that.

Almost a year older, and wanted to protect me.

His body was so warm.

I felt cold badly in those days.

Even in the summer.

During holidays I wore two vests.

Kept a squash ball he'd given in my trouser pocket, turning it over and over and digging my fingernails into it.

Sad, guilty child, counting off the days.

In the end, it doesn't matter who you love, does it?

The only important thing is to be capable of it.

You sure you don't feel cold?

No, I don't.

I'm really quite warm.

You're coming home with me now, aren't you?

I'm sorry.

He left you a message.

He says if you wear that old, green jacket to the funeral, he'll come back and haunt you.


You thought he was a prostitute, didn't you?

Well, when he came to London, he was studying at the reference libraries.

Steve told me.

Wouldn't have mattered what he was.

Look at all these people.

I've applied to be a volunteer.

I might have offered my services to the Samaritans or the Citizens Advice Bureau, but I think I've discovered a way to please my son.

Pathetic, really, but one must have something.

If you want to be part of this family again, then you must be tested.

You have all been at risk of HIV infection at some point in your lives, but you haven't really taken it seriously.

Either you've noticed more about HIV and AIDS in the media, and you've been thinking about it more over the past few months because you've been having little unexplained illnesses.

They've been getting more frequent, and your doctor can't explain why.

So you start to worry about HIV.

So you go to a local clinic, discuss it further, and the doctor takes some of your blood.

The ask you to come back in about a week for the result.

So you wait.

And it's the longest wait of your life.

Finally, you go back for the result.

The doctor sits you down and says, I'm sorry.

It's positive.

I couldn't get used to coming second.

I hated him sometimes.


I have to say that.

But I never wanted his death.

I never wished for that.

I think you did, Frank.

It doesn't matter now.

You get into the habit of checking yourself out, looking for anything that might be unusual to try and keep on top of any problems of opportunistic infections.

Then one day, you notice a small lesion.

It might be on the back of your leg.

Perhaps on your trunk.

Kaposi's sarcoma on its own is rarely a direct cause of death, not like pneumonia or a viral infection that might affect your eyes or your brain.

But it is a very visible condition.

Everyone will know.

The small blotches get bigger.

In time, months, perhaps years, you may have as many as three or four hundred lesions.

Look into your mirrors now, please.

And consider these questions.

How do I feel?

Who can I tell?

What do I want?