Damsels in Distress (2011) Script

-Look. -Where?

There.

Yes. l think so.

Hello.

Are you a new student?

-Yes. -Good. We thought so.

We'd like to help you.

Help me? What do you mean?

As a freshman, it can be very tough.

You get to college and it's supposed to be great, but it's not.

University life can be pretty bad.

-There are a lot of suicides. -Well, attempted ones. l'm not actually a freshman. l'm a transfer student.

-Oh, an entering sophomore? -Yes.

You were unhappy and are looking to recover here.

-Well, l think you will. -Yes.

Would you welcome that? Would our help be something you'd appreciate?

Or would you rather sink or swim on your own?

-Either way is fine. We'll be friends. -Yes, whichever you'd prefer.

Yes. Sure.

Great. We should start immediately.

Clothes can be crucial for confidence and an overall sense of well-being.

-Clothes don't have to be expensive. -You need friends of the same size.

-You don't like my clothes? -l'm just saying. Move it out.

What? What's wrong?

-What's wrong? -You didn't notice that?

-No. What? -Those guys.

That smell. That awful, acrid odor.

Have you heard of nasal shock syndrome?

Any harsh, acrid or just disgusting odor sends Rose into nasal shock.

Just from some BO?

"Just some BO"? Oh, my God, Lily.

You must have a very high threshold for pain.

That'll serve you well at Seven Oaks.

-What do you mean? -Seven Oaks is notorious for its BO. lt was the last of the Select Seven to go coed.

An atmosphere of male barbarism predominates...

-...but we're going to change that. -Yes.

Where are you going?

Gotta get to the Housing Department. They lost my rooming assignment.

That's terrible. You have no place to stay?

Was it just mislaid?

No, there were more acceptances than they anticipated...

...and not enough rooms to go around, so....

Why don't you stay with us?

Really?

Don't think of this in the old-fashioned sense of going to a party...

...to find someone or not find someone.

That's not the dynamic that we're talking about.

-What dynamic are you talking about? -Glad you asked.

Our going to a party of this kind is more a form of youth outreach.

-Of what? -Youth outreach. lt's not just some moronic frat-house social function.

Though it will be that too.

We've gotta keep in mind that these guys are young people.

They're essentially immature and crying out for help and guidance.

-Though they don't know it. -No, they don't, but we do.

-Aren't they the same age as we are? -Only numerically. l'm a lot fatter than you are, but l think we could pin it.

Oh, my gosh, that's beautiful.

Stunning.

Take Frank, my friend.

He's not some cool, handsome, studly macho type.

No, not at all. l can't stand guys like that.

He's more of a sad sack really, wouldn't you say?

-Definitely. -What is a sad sack?

A loser.

-You like losers? -Very much so.

Do you know what's the major problem in social life?

What?

The tendency, widespread, to always seek someone cooler than yourself. lt's always a stretch. Often a big stretch.

Why not find someone who's inferior?

-Someone like Frank. -Yes. lt's more rewarding.

And, in fact, quite reassuring.

You mean someone you can help, not just thinking of yourself.

Yes, that's it, precisely. But without the goody-goody implications.

Our aspirations are pretty basic.

Take a guy who hasn't realized his full potential...

...or doesn't even have much...

...and then help him realize it or find more.

There's enough material here for a lifetime of social work.

What's really worrisome is that that was intentional.

Frank.

Frank, this is Lily.

She's just come to Seven Oaks as a transfer student. lsn't she great?

Lily failed or wasn't happy at her last school.

We're sure that she's going to adapt here.

-ln fact, she already has. -Oh, good.

Oh, my God. A golden oldie. l love these.


-Oh, my gosh. Wasn't that great? -That was really fun. l know that people can have useful careers in many areas.

Medicine, government, law, finance.

-Education. -Yes, even education.

But l'd like to do something especially significant in my lifetime.

That could change the course of human history.

-Such as starting a new dance craze. -Really?

Yes. Something that could improve the lives...

...of every person and every couple.

l'm so proud of what you accomplished last night.

You showed those guys a really good time.

Without anything really bad happening. That's good.

The guys you know, are they all Greeks?

-What? -Are all the guys you know Greeks?

Excuse me. l don't understand.

Are all the guys you know Greeks?

-l don't think we know any Greeks. -Greeks, like frat boys.

Oh, yes. Fraternities.

You mean members of the Greek-letter fraternities.

Yeah. Like last night.

Actually, last night we were at the DU house. DU.

Roman letters. Not Greek.

Seven Oaks has never had a Greek-letter fraternity system. lt's always been a Roman-letter system here. lt's very different.

-What house is this? -Oh, this isn't a fraternity.

At least not one anyone should want to join.

You probably think we're frivolous, empty-headed college coeds.

You're probably right. l often feel empty-headed.

We're trying to make a difference in people's lives.

One way to do that is to stop them from killing themselves.

Have you ever heard of "Prevention is nine-tenths the cure"?

Well, in the case of suicide, it's actually 1 0-tenths the cure.

-Those are clichés, aren't they? -Yes, they are. lt's interesting you say that. l love clichés and hackneyed expressions.

-Do you know why? -No.

Because they're largely true.

The hundreds, perhaps thousands...

...of such clichés and hackneyed expressions...

...that our language has bequeathed us...

...are a stunning treasure trove of human insight and knowledge.

-Really? -Yes. Oh, please sit down.

During these formative college years...

...we should learn as many clichéd and hackneyed thoughts as possible.

Furthermore, l think we will.

Speaking of suicide prevention, do you have a boyfriend, Lily?

-Are you dating anyone? -l don't see the connection.

-You don't? -Boyfriends are a primary suicide risk.

You don't have any particular friend?

No one at all?

No. Well, there's this grad student l met over summer.

Xavier. We became pretty good pals.

He has a girlfriend whom l've met. She's very nice.

"Zavier." With a Z?

-No, l think it's with an X. -No, l'm certain it's Z.

Zavier, like Zorro. lt's the same sound.

Zorro marked his name with a Z. lt's an X.

But Zorro's with a Z.

Okay, let me see if l can figure this out.

Used at the beginning of a name, Z and X have the same pronunciation.

-But it's Zorro with a Z. -Actually, there were two Zorros.

One spelled his name with a Z and made a Z mark for Zorro.

And there's Xorro who spelled his name with an X...

...and with his sword he'd make an X mark.

What was really unfair was because he marked his name with X...

...everybody assumed he was illiterate...

...when he was spelling correctly.

-Hello. -Can we help you?

Of course we can. No case is too challenging.

-Would you like a doughnut? -Okay.

Please, sit down.

-Here, have some coffee. -Thank you.

-What's your name? -Jim Bose.

-But my friends call me Jimbo. -Why?

-What? -Why do your friends call you Jimbo?

Well, it's a contraction of Jim and the first part of my last name, Bose.

Yeah, l got that. But why bother?

-What do you mean? -Jim is already a lovely name. lt's short, simple, evocative.

Shouldn't a nickname simplify the name that it replaces?

Jimbo doesn't really simplify anything. l don't know.

Well, maybe you should ask your friends.

Where do you live or reside?

Doar Dorm.

-Oh, my God. Yuck. -What?

-The smell, it's notorious. -What smell?

You're right, it's more like a stink. Unclean clothing, l'd say, mostly.

-Vomit. -Stale beer.

Pot. Cheap deodorant. There might be a vermin infestation.

Did you know a good-smelling environment...

...is crucial to our sense of well-being?

Have you tried to find a better-smelling place?

Wait, wait. lt's not me, l'm not depressed.

-You're not? -No.

Are you sure? You kind of seem on edge.

-No, l'm fine. -That's a terrible expression. "Fine."

"l'm fine."

Something smug about it. "l'm fine."

-Why do you say that you're fine? -l'm not depressed. l'm not suicidal.

Why are you here, then? Are you a con man?

-A confidence trickster? -No, there's a girl.

Her boyfriend dumped her. She was crying but now is silent.

Oh, my God. Why didn't you say so?

We have to go. Call the cops! A suicide might be in progress!

-The campus cops? -Yes, of course the campus cops.

Take this.

We have a lot of students coming to the center...

...pretending to be depressed to get doughnuts.

-Confidence tricksters. -Yes, it's really bad. Really cynical.

We pledged to the doughnut company...

...we would only give doughnuts to students who were depressed...

...or otherwise nutty.

We're a nonprofit, so the rules are pretty strict.

-This man could still be a trickster. -Well, we'll soon find out.

Tell me about this girl.

Well, her name is Priss. She's very pretty.

Oh, yes. lt's very hard for beautiful women to experience rejection.

Priss? Priss. Are you okay?

Priss! Priss, say something!

Priss! Open up!

Oh, thank God. We're gonna have to force this door.

Priss? Are you okay?

-What? -Please don't. Please, come with us.

Do you wanna talk about it?

What was his name?

Josh. lf you'd rather not talk, we don't have to.

No, it's okay, l just.... l keep thinking how he used to gaze at me with such love in his eyes.

You know what l mean?

No. No, l've never actually seen that.

Yes. Just days ago, he'd gaze at me.

His eyes, so blue.

He had blue eyes?

So does Frank. Frank's the guy that l go out with.

Otherwise, he's not conventionally good-looking, which l actually prefer.

Would you describe Josh as handsome?

-That's a problem. -Could l join you guys?

Yes, please. Priss and l were just talking. ln my view, handsome men are to be avoided. l don't even consider good looks to be flattering in a man.

-Do you know what l mean? -No.

Cookie-cutter, good-looking guys, with their chiseled features...

...running around, full of themselves...

...getting everything they want, never suffering or experiencing--

We suffered?

We're not under discussion. That's irrelevant. That's besides the point.

-ls this making you feel any better? -Yes. l think so.

Good. l hoped it would.

Okay, it's nearly 4 and The Daily Complainer's orientation meeting...

...is about to start and l think we should go.

The editor, Rick DeWolfe, he's terrible. A real jerk.

Why do you think he's such a jerk?

He's one of those that l was talking about. Tall.

Probably considers himself very smart and handsome.

A journalist, so you can imagine the mindboggling arrogance and conceit.

-But, Violet, don't you think--? -What?

Well, don't you think that the way you talk could be considered arrogant too? l mean, a little?

Yes, of course. But what's your point?

Wouldn't that be hypocritical, criticizing Rick...

...for something you could be criticized for yourself?

No. l don't see why. We're all flawed.

Must that render us mute to the flaws of others?

Must we tether ourselves from comment...

...because our natures are human too?

We've got a rebel amongst us.

That's good, l think. lt's good to be challenged and criticized. l know your intentions are good, it's just--

That's it precisely. Our intentions are good.

We're seeking to help people rescue their lives...

...from terrible sadness and failure...

...which is a worthy goal, don't you think?

Yes. But not exactly a humble one.

No. l agree with you there. You're right, absolutely. l'd like to thank you for this chastisement.

-l'm sorry, l didn't mean to chastise. -No, l think you did...

...and l think it's good. lt's good to have a friend...

...to put one in one's place when that's what one needs.

Now l see that l have that kind of friend in you. l think that's great.

Hello, people. Listen up.

People, quiet. Quiet, people. Shut up!

Okay, that's better. l'm Rick DeWolfe, editor of The Complainer.

Over the next weeks, l'm the person you're gonna hate most in the world.

You're gonna hate me because l'm gonna work you...

...point out your stupidity and incompetence...

...and do everything in my power to turn you into journalists.

-Albeit barely literate ones. -Oh, brother.

Any questions?

No?

Yes. How did The Daily Complainer get its name? lsn't that pretty obvious? lt comes out every day and it's the university daily.

So The Daily Complainer.

-The Daily-- -No, l meant--

Oh, you mean, why The Complainer?

The name dates from Seven Oaks' earliest days as a divinity school.

The reference is to the Book of Job. Job's complaint with the world.

Before justice can be achieved, a complaint must be made.

That is what we do and people don't like it a bit.

Right now, what that means...

...is extirpating Seven Oaks' elitist Roman Letter Clubs...

...that are like a cancer on the community.

They're not elitist in the least.

Yes, they are.

Have you met any of their members? The guys from the DU, for example?

They're barely competent for the tasks of everyday life.

They have to drink a quart of beer just to talk to a woman?

-Two quarts. -Yet you salivate at the idea...

...of taking the roof off their heads and throwing them on the street...

...where who knows what would happen. You call yourself a Christian.

-No, l don't. -What unkindness and cruelty.

This is the darkness in the heart of man, which Joseph Conrad...

...wrote about most eloquently.

-He was actually Polish. -Oh, my God.

Unkind, self-righteous and pedantic. ln short, a model journalist.

You should know something about these girls.

They run the suicide center where their preferred therapy for depressed...

...and suicidal people is...

...tap dancing.

-l kid you not. -Tap is a highly effective therapy...

...as well as a dazzlingly expressive dance form...

...that has been sadly neglected for too many years. lt's moronic and barbaric.

You expect tap dancing to solve people's problems?

No, we don't.

We're using the whole range of musical dance numbers...

...which have proven themselves to be effective therapies...

...for the suicidal and the hopelessly depressed.

That really got me down.

-l thought you handled it well. -You did? Thanks.

No, it's all this aggression and hostility that gets me down.

Not just his but also my own. lt leaves you feeling unclean.

Have you thought of taking a shower? Maybe you'd feel better.

You're probably right. No, there's something else.

What Lily was saying about me being conceited and arrogant.

-l'm sorry. -No, l think you're right. l'm really ashamed.

-You're joking. -No, it's terrible how l've acted.

We're all Christians.

Or l should say Judeo-Christians.

Humility should be our watchword. The essence of being a good person.

Humility comes from within. lf it's not there in the first place, where do you go to get it? l stopped looking a long time ago.

Very good, Freak.

-You really think so? -Yes. Certainly.

-Five, six, seven, eight. -Violet. ls it such a good idea to call him Freak?

What?

He's already depressed and you're calling him Freak.

That's his name. Freak. Freak Astaire. That's how he wants to be called.

What are you talking about?

Lily was just saying she likes your dancing.

Five, six, seven, eight.

Are you okay?

What do you mean? l thought you looked sad and was wondering...

-...if there was anything we could do. -What could you do?

Oh, l know.

You think l'm gonna kill myself and make you look bad.

No, l'm worried that you'll kill yourself and make yourself look bad.

Do you have any idea how demoralizing it is...

...to be constantly questioned about whether you're suicidal or not?

No.

After a while, you wonder, why is everyone asking me this?

They want me to be suicidal?

Or is it just the consequence of your utter absurdity?

Excuse me.

What scent are you wearing?

-What are you talking about? -The perfume you're wearing. l'm not wearing any perfume!

You see, that could be the problem.

-l've become friends with a group. -Really?

-Although they're perfume-obsessed. -Oh, them? Those girls?

The ones who volunteer at the center?

-Yeah. -But they're terrible.

The blond one? She's notorious.

-What do you mean? -Such a bitch. Terrible, isn't she?

-Would balsamic be okay? -What?

Balsamic vinegar. For the dressing.

Yeah, sure.

-What's that? -What?

-Those. -Artichokes? ls that what they look like?

Come on, Lily. You've seen an artichoke before.

-You haven't? -They look so weird.

l'm not convinced that having a suicide-prevention center...

...prevents any suicides.

Well, the coffee's good. lf someone were determined to destroy themselves...

-...l don't think they'd stop for coffee. -lt depends on what it tastes like.

-Where are we going? -l thought l'd take Priss over to DU.

Why? lt might be helpful for her to meet some of the guys.

How would that be helpful? They're morons.

-Oh, come on, Lily. -No, they're morons.

No. Not medically. l like them.

They're in that sympathetic range of being not good-looking...

...and yet not smart. There's something likable about that.

Spending time with them, you get the sense that you're making a difference.

For somebody suicidal, like Priss, that could be a real boost.

-l'm not suicidal. -Oh, that's good. lt's better not to have an identity as a suicidal person, don't you think?

-Well, bye. -Well....

-Where are you going? -Over to Xavier's.

-ls that a good idea? -Why wouldn't it be?

-ls his girlfriend gonna be there? -Of course.

-Gosh, you're nosy. -No, no, it's just a general foreboding.

"Foreboding"?

You know, you're absolutely right. l was being nosy.

Terribly so.

-l've gotta watch that. -Yes, we must improve ourselves.

-Bye. -Bye.

Bye.

Lily.

-You were coming over? -Hey. Yeah. ls Alice home?

Alice is working.

-Oh, she is? -But it's not a problem. lt's good you came.

Let's go to the Oak Bar. l'll buy you a beer.

-l thought Alice would be back. -l'll call her. She'll join us there.

Come on.

Okay.

She's actually quite a good person.

Her entire identity revolves around helping people.

You really think that's true?

What's she have against The Complainer? That's bizarre.

Well, she thinks the editor, Rick DeWolfe, is completely egotistical.

And your friend isn't?

-Hi. -Hi.

-Hi, Lily. -Hi.

-Great. You got the message. -Yeah.

-Who's egotistical? -Lily's roommate.

She sounds unbearable. She's on a rampage against The Complainer.

Really? Why?

She thinks the editor, Rick DeWolfe, is conceited.

-And, in fact, quite mean. -Mean?

Yes. He wants to close the Seven Oaks Roman Letter Clubs.

That's good, isn't it? Everyone was against them.

-No. -Come on.

There's no justification for those places.

They're exclusive and elitist.

The point that Violet makes is that they can't be elitist.

-They're morons. -Yeah, elitist morons.

You'll grant they're morons. That's a handicap.

Such people should be helped, not hounded and persecuted.

-Persecuted? -Yes, losing the roof over your head?

That's the worst thing that can happen.

Violet thinks there could be some risk of suicide.

Because some boy might kill himself, Seven Oaks can't do what's right? lt's a factor to be considered.

-Yeah. -No, it isn't.

You can't set policy that way.

-Excuse me, we didn't order these. -Compliments of the guy at the bar.

That's a playboy or operator move. Operators like that are to be avoided.

Why? lt seems generous, sending drinks to people you don't know.

-Drinks are expensive. -Drinks to two gorgeous girls.

His intention was to seduce and he assumed he could.

-Both? -That seems a bit harsh.

You don't know what he was thinking. Was he alone?

Yes.

You see? He was alone and probably lonely.

He could see that Alice and Lily were students.

Students are known for their intelligent conversation.

They can always talk about their courses.

That was probably what attracted him.

Nonsense.

Perhaps his view was even loftier.

To court Lily with a view to matrimony.

We're in the north, but a southern gentleman...

...can wander into these parts.

Rubbish.

Seeing Lily across a crowded bar filled with the usual undergraduate slobs.

Why wouldn't a thoughtful young man seek her out?

She's lovely. lsn't it incumbent on men and women to find ways to meet each other?

Buying drinks for a person you don't know seems to be a generous one.

Yes. Most guys won't even pay for the women they do know.

What you've described is a playboy or operator move. l'll grant you that it's a tactic or perhaps even a ruse...

...but without some of that, would our species even survive?

The Lord said, "Be fruitful and multiply."

Oh, my gosh.

No, this is how the world works, seeing someone across a room.

This could be the romantic story you tell your grandchildren.

And if you do marry and have children...

...then he'll really learn how to squander cash. lsn't it good to know that he's basically generous from the start?

Where's Priss?

Your eyes are so striking. So blue.

-Really? They're blue? -Yes.

The most piercing blue.

You must know your eyes are blue.

-No. -What do you mean?

What?

You must know what color your eyes are.

Your eyes are very blue. You know that. l'm not gonna go around checking what color my eyes are.

When you look in the mirror, you see that your eyes are blue.

-Oh, come on. -What? l don't think my eyes have a color. lf my eyes are so blue looking out, wouldn't everything be kind of blue?

Like, have a bluish tinge to it?

Doesn't. Just looks normal.

That's...? That's blue?

-That color? -Yes, of course.

Then what color is that?

Green.

You're saying that chair's green but Frank's eyes are blue?

Yes.

Then what color are the walls?

Also green.

You didn't know that?

No.

How's that possible?

You think knowing the colors is so important?

You're in college and you don't know the colors?

Doesn't that embarrass you?

Well, no. Why should it?

That's why the 'rents are paying big bucks to send me here.

You know, to learn stuff.

Well, gotta go hit the books.

l don't think anyone should feel embarrassed about not knowing stuff.

What's embarrassing is pretending to know.

Or putting people down because you think they don't know as much.

Look, l'm happy to admit l'm completely ignorant.

That's why l'm here and plan to really hit the books.

So the next time you see me, l will know more than l do now. l'll be older but also wiser.

Or at least know more stuff.

For me, that's education.

Cheers.

Thor's great. He's very clear about his objectives.

He really wants to learn things.

Frank?

What a jerk.

-He's a monster. -Oh, my gosh, Violet.

You did everything for them. They're nothing without you.

-What a rat. -He's a moron.

-Don't waste a tear on that creep. -Don't waste a single breath.

-Jerk. -Stop.

-Please. -What? l love Frank. l love him.

Come on, Violet, Frank's a moron. You are well rid of him.

-Don't say that. -Frank's not a moron?

You know, Lily, you're a bit harsh.

This obsession with intelligence.

Do you think it has some magical quality transforming everything?

The intelligence line is not an immutable barrier.

Love can cross it.

You can love someone whose mental capacity is not large. l know. l have.

-Well, there's a mutable barrier, then. -Frank's stupid, we knew.

That he's a rat playboy operator, l hadn't realized. l don't want to turn bitter.

-l worry for Frank. l care about him. -Well, l'd stop.

No. l love Frank. l always will. lf that's the case, why not fight for him?

-Against Priss? l'd never win. -Sure you would.

Priss is a rat. A bitch.

A rat bitch.

Don't blame Priss.

She was crushed when her blue-eyed Josh left her. l should've known.

Of course she'd fall for Frank.

Josh and Frank are both blue-eyed heartbreakers.

Poor Violet.

She's the roommate who's so self-confident?

Yeah. But now she's a wreck.

But there's no logic to the algebra of love.

"The algebra of love."

That sounds like the title to some lame book. lt's a title, but the book's not lame at all.

Love's algebra? l thought it was more geometry.

Okay, the title's not good, but the book is.

What's it say?

Well, that while we're all perverse in our romantic preferences...

...there's actually this logic or algebra to our perversity...

...and it has something to do with how the species has evolved.

-The survival of the species? -Yes.

And whether it will continue to do so.

No booze?

Just to find the nearest package store, you had to drive 40 miles.

-These aren't so strong. -No, they're really strong. l think l'd like another.

-That wouldn't be a good idea. -Why not?

-Well.... -Are you trying to stifle me?

-Lily? -Oh, hi.

Listen, we're gonna get something to eat. Why don't you come with us?

-l'm with Charlie. -l can see that.

-But you really should come. -Why? l just think it would be a good idea.

-But why? -You really must come. l insist.

Lily?

Lily, are you angry?

Lily, this is it. We're here.

What's the matter?

That was so rude. He's a nice guy and you embarrassed him.

He's not nice. He was trying to get you drunk.

-No, he wasn't. -Plying you with martinis?

-l was plying myself with martinis. -Come on, the guy's a total sleaze.

-A creep. -You don't know anything about him.

The way he sent drinks over to our table?

Alice.

Alice, what's wrong? l had no idea that Xavier could be so mean.

Sounds as if he was just trying to protect you.

This Charlie Walker sounds like an operator or playboy type.

No, he's not like that. He's actually a really nice guy. l thought he was a slick businessman.

No. He dresses well, but he works in strategic development.

-What? -Strategic development.

He works at SDA. Strategic Development Associates.

-He's an associate there. -What he is, is a strategic operator.

Violet, are you okay?

Hey, miss, rain's coming! Better get back!

-Polly, have you seen Violet? -No. ls something wrong?

We're not sure.

Violet!

-Violet! -Violet! Oh, my gosh, what happened?

l don't understand. What were you doing?

How long were you gone for? l'm sorry, l don't know. l lost track of time.

But you feel better now?

Well, cleaner.

She'll say anything to get in the show.

-She'll want doughnuts. -You don't have to be suicidal...

-...to get doughnuts, just depressed. -Clinically depressed. From a clinic.

-Would you say you're depressed? -l don't like the term.

-l prefer to say l'm in a tailspin. -Oh, my God. A tailspin?

She can't even say she's depressed.

She's gotta say something special. Priss was honest.

She was depressed and she had a right to be in the show.

Now every silly tailspinner's trying to get in.

-The show is for everyone. -No, it isn't, Freak.

To be in the center's programs, you have to be clinically depressed.

That means that you've been to a clinic...

...and they've said that you're depressed.

Have you been to a clinic?

Have you been to a clinic? Then you're not clinically depressed.

Violet. Violet. What is it? Where are you going?

All l wanted was to make Frank happy. l had all these plans.

Things we could've done together. l never even got to tell him.


Hey! Where all your boyfriends at? Come on!

They don't wear bikinis. They're ladies, they wear thongs. l can't imagine where she could've gone.

Wherever she went, she should be back by now.

How did she seem when you last saw her?

Really sad about Frank.

-Still? -Yeah.

How can someone so smart continue mooning over a dope like that?

People aren't exactly as you assume. The Violet you know...

...bears little resemblance to the girl l met in seventh grade.

-You met Violet in seventh grade? -Well, her name wasn't Violet then.

What's your name?

You can tell us your name. We won't bite.

What's your name? Tell us.

Are you retarded? Tell us your name.

Emily Tweeter.

-Tweeter? Like a bird? -That's ridiculous.

Tweeter? Like a bird?

-Not an easy name to have at that age. -Not at any age.

What was she like?

Timid. Bookish. Classic scholarship student.

Her parents were writers.

They didn't have a dime. Finances were the least of her worries.

-What do you mean? -Well, she was crazy. l got stuck rooming with her on a trip when no one else would.

-lt was awful. -Did she smell bad?

No. Obsessive cleanliness was part of her insanity.

-You were nice to her. -No.

The idea of being nice to weird kids hadn't arrived.

-Why was she so unpopular? -Well, she was very strange.

Constantly setting herself odd, repetitive tasks.

Tasks?

For example, on that trip she had with her a little square suitcase.

The idea came into her head she had to move it...

...in a precise pattern over and over again...

...and if she didn't execute this movement flawlessly 1 0 times...

...she'd start over.

Another was to slide her hand across her forehead...

...trying not to touch her hair or eyebrows on either side...

...also repeating it 1 0 times.

Any niggling thought she'd touched the hair, she'd start over.

-My God, that is insane. -Why would she do that?

She had the conviction that if she didn't complete these tasks...

...her parents would die.

-Was she Catholic? -No.

But what made the whole thing really sad...

...was that her parents did die.

Oh, my God.

Violet!

Violet?

Violet!

Violet, where are you?


Something's wrong, isn't it, dear? You mind my asking?

Well, l do mind a little.

-Excuse me, Your Highness. -l'm sorry.

-lt's just kind of awkward to talk about. -No matter. l hope you haven't come to get run over on the highway.

-What do you mean? -Suicides.

They come down from the university. Jump out in the road.

Get hit by the blind curve.

Hope you're not one of them.

Do l look like one of them?

l don't know.

Maybe.

Messy people, suicides.

Think only of themselves and their own deaths.

Not what comes after.

They leave quite a mess.

They don't stick around to clean it up.

So you're not one of those depressed students from the university? l don't like the word "depressed." l prefer to say that l'm in a tailspin.

A tailspin?

-Does this tailspin involve a man? -Yes, it does.

But l'm not as crazy as l was up till yesterday.

Apparently that's due to the salutary effect of scent on the human psyche. lts importance is, l believe, almost incalculable.

At the motel, l happened to use this soap. lt was provided to me as a courtesy as one of the guests.

That an economical motel...

...would provide such good soap is quite unusual.

-The scent is very precise. -Really?

Tell me if it provokes any particular reaction in your psyche.

A state of mind.

l always knew she was unstable.

They're gonna have her photo at the registrar's.


Violet! Violet!

You're back! You're okay!

Not really.

Oh, my gosh, Violet, we were so worried.

Why didn't you tell us or leave a note? l did leave a note.

Would that be a suicide note?

-l wouldn't leave without a note. -Where did you go? l took the train to Villafranca and checked into a motel there.

-The Motel 6? -No, the Motel 4.

-lt's even less expensive. -The Motel 4 in Villafranca?

-My God, you really were suicidal. -Why'd you go? l had to do something.

And you really thought you were gonna find the answer in Villafranca? l'm not sure what l expected, but l might have found it.

What?

Soap?

This scent and this soap...

...is what gives me hope.

Hello? ls anyone here?

Hello?

Lily?

-Hello? -Oh, my gosh. l couldn't understand where everyone was.

Sorry, l just went out to get some things.

-Where's Alice? -Gone.

What do you mean?

Left.

We broke up.

-But when you called, you said-- -l know, l'm sorry. l thought it better to tell you in person.

Alice couldn't control her jealousy. lt completely overwhelmed her.

Really? What was she jealous of?

Come on.

No, what?

You.

After a while, l just couldn't handle it.

Things became impossible.

She was jealous of me?

Of course.

Would it be okay if we watch a film?

Yes.

What would you like to see? l thought maybe Truffaut's Baisers volés. Stolen Kisses.

Do you know it?

No, is it new? lt's a classic of French New Wave cinema. l think you'll like it.

-But it's in color? -Yeah.

-You don't know Truffaut? -No.

Do you know Godard, Á bout de souffle?

-Why was Alice so jealous? -What do you think?

She was jealous because Lily's lovely. l don't know. They had a lot of problems.

Of course.

You wouldn't break up a happy couple.

-What's that? -A note Frank left.

-Really? Recently? -No, when we were together.

Now that most correspondence is electronic...

...it's rare to be left anything written by hand.

Frank can write by hand?

-What is it? -lt's not very important. lt's just all l have.

-What's it say? -"Out for brewskis. Back in a giff."

What's a "giff"?

One of those little motor scooters, isn't it? l'm sure he meant to write "jiff" with a J. "Back in a jiff."

But he wrote "giff."

-Could Frank be dyslexic? -No. Dyslexics are intelligent.

-What's that? -Frank's bean ball.

-He gave you his bean ball? -Not exactly. This is an extra.

He thought he'd leave it here just in case he lost his other one.

Gosh, Violet, you've really gotta stop thinking about Frank.

Why? l don't wanna stop thinking about him.

Recently l had a thought that cheered me up a lot.

Life is like a long, flowing river...

...and as a long, flowing river, some debris you never expect to see again...

...is almost certain to reappear floating to the surface.

Frank and l may very well be together again one day.

Maybe it'll take years, but somewhere down the line...

...he's very likely to pop up again, and l'll be there to catch him.

l don't think we've spoken about this.

What?

Have you been to the south of France? To the walled city of Carcassonne?

-l've never been anywhere. -But you've seen pictures of it.

No, l don't think so.

Oh, it's fascinating.

-l'd like to visit. -You never studied the Cathars?

They were a religious movement...

...very idealistic...

...located mostly in the southwest of France...

...that the Catholic Church repressed.

Oh, my God. The Catholic Church is, like, always bad. ldeas can't be killed as easily as people.

Especially such enlightened ones as the Cathars held. ln recent years, more and more people have returned to their beliefs.

So you're a Cathar?

Yes. l aspire to be. l'm trying to follow the path the Cathars marked out.

That's so impressive. l can tell you we didn't have any Cathars back home. l think you'd be surprised.

ln the Cathar view...

...the highest form of lovemaking avoids procreation entirely.

Sure. Condoms, right?

Well, according to Cathar ideas...

...sex with condoms is just a parody of the procreative act.

What do you mean?

The standard, cliché form of sexual intercourse...

...is for the man to approach a woman from the front.

Cathar lovemaking, l think you'll find very fulfilling. l'll be very careful, we'll go slowly. lt'll be a new experience...

...but one which l think you'll find brings an inexpressible closeness.


Might your drinks-buying friend be around? lt would be great to get complimentary cocktails.

-Charlie? No. -Do you still see him at all?

-He calls from time to time. -He does?

-Why don't you introduce us? -Why should l introduce you?

Because you know him, and we don't.

So?

"So?"

"So" is probably the unkindest word in the English language. l can't bear it. l think it should be outlawed. "So."

You're crazy.

Come on, Lily, you have Xavier.

-You can't keep two guys for yourself. -Guys do that all the time.

We're not guys, fortunately. lt's unconscionable for you not to bring him and introduce us.

Charlie is a friend. He's a nice guy.

What do you mean? l hate to think what'd happen if you got your claws into him.

That's outrageous.

We're perfectly nice.

We've met lots of pathetic guys and nothing bad's happened.

-Charlie's not pathetic. -Well, all the better, then.

The Roman Holidays will be coming soon.

-What's that? -A festival Roman Letter Clubs put on.

A kind of moron jamboree.

The Roman elements are the worship of Bacchus, Beerus and Blotto.

-lt could've all been so uplifting. -Charlie.

Hey, Charlie.

Hey. What are you doing here?

-Have you the day off? -Yeah.

This is my friend Charlie, whom l think l've mentioned.

And, Charlie, these are my roommates. This is....

This is Rose. And this is Heather. And Violet.

Charlie works for Strategic Development Associates.

He's an associate there.

You work in strategic development?

-You've heard of it? -Of course, yes.

My cousin Jay in Philadelphia works in strategic development.

Something business-related?

Mostly business, but any kind of organization.

-Only businesses pay the big bucks. -Nonprofits and government pay well.

That's how they keep from having profits...

...by paying lots of money to companies like yours.

Excuse me, but aren't you in Professor Ryan's course at the Ed School?

No.

You're not in Professor Ryan's Flit Lit course?

No.

-Flit Lit? -The dandy tradition in literature.

-l'm sure l've seen you there. -Yeah, l'm sorry. l'm not in any courses at the Ed School. Good to meet you.

-lt was great to see you. -Bye.

God, Violet, what was that about?

That guy is definitely in Professor Ryan's class.

Not possible. He has a fulltime job for Strategic Development Associates.

He never got his coffee.

-Why lie about something like that? -He's lying. l find that very attractive.

What are you going to do? l'm gonna stop cutting Professor Ryan's class.

lt can be argued that Firbank was too little disciplined...

...too unserious in his unseriousness...

...to create works of enduring value.

But as a liberating influence on later writers such as Waugh...

...his importance should not be discounted. lt's not Firbank's work itself but the idea of his work...

...that so helped later writers...

...as Thomas Love Peacock did in the previous century. l'm not gonna come anymore.

-What a waste of time. -Charlie.

Charlie.

-Charlie? -Charlie, you are taking the course.

Charlie?

Who's Charlie?

-Fred, what's going on? -Fred?

Fred. sounds like you got some explaining to do.

-Well, you were lying. -l wasn't lying, l was making it up.

Why were you making it up? lf you were an eighth-year Ed School student, would you advertise that?

Eighth year. lmpressive. But your whole life was a lie.

Dressing up in suits. Buying people drinks.

The suits were real. The drinks, real.

Not just drinks for people. They were for cute girls.

There's a perfectly rational, easily explainable agenda.

So it was a playboy or operator move.

-Of course. Transparently so. -l admire that. Drinks are expensive.

But strategic development, that was made up too?

-You said your cousin Jay was in it. -What cousin Jay?

-ln Philadelphia. -l don't have a cousin in Philadelphia.

You said your cousin Jay was working in strategic development. l was just saying that to be friendly. To make a kind of link.

-So your name's Fred something? -Yes. Fred something.

-Packenstacker? -Oh, my God. How crazy.

He's completely insane. l almost dated him.

-You can say that about a lot of guys. -l don't think he's crazy.

Making up an entirely fictitious identity, that's not crazy?

-lt's insane. lt's psycho. -Violet's identity is made up.

-l don't think she's crazy. -No, l am.

No, this is different. lt's crazy and pathetic.

All that about strategic development he just made up.

Don't tell me that's not weird. l've heard of strategic development. l think it's something pretty important.

Violet, you're not gonna start going out with him.

You're not, are you?

Well, we had planned to go to the library.

-Not to the stacks, l hope. -Yes.

Oh, my gosh, do you realize how dangerous that is?

-Dangerous? -Yes, the stacks.

They're dark and deserted. Anything could happen. lt's true.

With the study habits at Seven Oaks...

...your body won't be found until spring.

Promise you won't go with him to the stacks. Please.

Okay. l'll suggest the Randall Room.

-Don't suggest. lnsist. -And please not at night.

Okay.

What are you reading?

Have you chosen a topic for your final paper?

The decline of decadence.

You think that decadence has declined?

Definitely. Bigtime. Major, major decline.

How?

How or in what ways?

Either.

Well, take the flit movement in literature, or homosexuality. lt's gone completely downhill, right down the tubes.

What do you mean?

Before, homosexuality was something refined, hidden...

...aspiring to the highest levels of creativity and often achieving it.

Now it seems to be musclebound morons running around in T-shirts. lt's pretty disillusioning.

Are you gay?

Not especially, but in another era, it might have had some appeal.

-Now l just don't see the point. -You might be romanticizing the past.

We'll never know. The past is gone, so we might as well romanticize it.

You could be right. l wanted to ask, how's Lily?

Lily.

She's okay.

Here, check it out. A.L.A. Nope. Hello. Good afternoon.

Check it out. The A.L.A. Heard of it? We have a meeting on Tuesday.

-You should come by. -What is the A.L.A.?

Just join us. Come Tuesday. l think you'll really like it.

So....

A fellow was passing these out, and invited us to a meeting on Tuesday.

The A.L.A.?

Oh, my God. l thought it was something related.

No?

The A.L.A. has got nothing to do with us.

Can't you see that?

The way we express love has meaning. lt's in the context of something beautiful.

We're following our creator's teaching. Aspiring to an ideal.

A beautiful one that brings an inexpressible closeness.

Not just to each other, but....

For the A.L.A., and those like them...

...the love act is just hedonistic pleasure-seeking...

...of a perverted nature. l can't believe you'd think we had anything in common with them.

We don't.

Nothing, not an iota.

My God, can't you see that?

Lily. Lily, come back.

Please. Don't be that way.


-Oh, my gosh, Lily. Are you okay? -lt's all right.

You don't wanna talk about it? l don't understand.

-You don't understand what? -What is non-procreative lovemaking?

-lt could be a lot of things. -Yeah, but in this case?

-We don't have to talk about this. -l don't mind.

Could somebody explain what this is about?

Well, if--

Cathars don't believe in procreative sex.

They don't have intercourse the usual way.

The usual way?

-You don't have to talk about this. -No, it's okay. lt's the normal way, from the front where you can have procreation...

...not from the other side, where you can't.

The other side? That's their religion?

No, but it's the direction their beliefs head in.

When they express love, that's what they do.

How horrible.

You poor girl.

What?

That's terrible...

...what he obliged Lily to do.


Violet.

Can we talk?

You must be pretty mad at me.

No.

You're not?

Not really.

But it was so terrible how everything happened.

Your walking in on us.

Maybe it's easier that way.

That bitch!

l can't believe it. what a bitch.

-Priss? -Of course Priss.

"l'm so stressed. Sad. Depressed. l'm so tired. l'm fatigued."

She was so depressed...

...she had to get everything her own way.

"l'm so stressed.

Frantic."

Man.

What a bitch.

Priss dumped you?

No. lt was mutual.

Oh, listen, l have a question.

You remember that bean ball that l left in your room?

Yeah.

Do you still have it?

Yeah.

Do you think l could get it back? l lost the other one, and with everything that's happened...

...l'd really like to have it.

Nothing like some bean ball after a breakup.

Yeah. God, you're smart.

You always get it.

Whatever l say...

...you understand.

Man.

Hey, Heather.

-Hey. -Hey.

Hey.


Violet.

Violet, what's wrong? l'm sorry. Lily's lovely.

Now she's free. Go. l understand.

Latin! Et cetera!

-Yeah! -Yeah!

This is what comes from not teaching Latin in the schools.

Yeah, it's moronic and boorish, but it's also kind of fun, don't you think?

No.

What's that stench?

l suppose this is what happens when decadence rots society from within.

And from without.

Such a society is, l fear...

...destined to fail and be overrun.

Maybe that's good.

Finally. lt's about time those cesspools were drained.

What color would you say that chair is?

That's a chair? l have no idea.

-Guys have preferences. -You're going to accept that?

-You're not going to do anything? -There's nothing to be done.

-Fred must know his own mind. -Oh, really?

-l seriously doubt that. -Come on.

Lily's got that slender, delicately swelling beauty...

-...that no man can resist. -Okay, you're probably right.

Poor Lily. Just think of all Xavier put her through.

He just used her body. And not even the right side.

Have you noticed that good people tend to have large posteriors?

Not everyone, by any means. l know it's not logical.

But it does seem to be true.

The genetic link between morality and large posteriors?

Yes, l think that's well known.

You and Violet have that build. lt's nice.

You're still very attractive, but also sensible and moralistic. l don't. l have narrow hips, but also no very strong principles.

Yes?

Oh, hi.

-Hi, Frank. -Hey, Heather.

So l guess you guys all heard.

University's closing all the Roman Letter Houses.

Sorry. This year's Roman Holidays did seem like the end of civilization...

...but when civilization ends people are going to need a place to stay.

Man. lt's bad. lt's that bastard from The Complainer.

Someone from the administration's been reading it.

Hard to believe.

Bastard.

Listen...

...we were wondering...

...if you thought it would be okay if we stayed at the suicide center.

Okay, sure. That sounds like a good stopgap measure.

Thank you. Thank you.

So there's one more thing.

Remember that bean ball we talked about?

Yes.

You think l could pick that up?

Just after everything that's happened, it-- l could really use it right now.

Yes.

-What's that? -What?

The note.

One gets so few things written by hand anymore, l guess l kept it.

"Out for brewskis, back in a giff."

What's a giff? lt's the scooter. Like a Vespa, right?

-That's what l thought. -l was thinking about getting one.

You must've meant "jiff." "Back in a jiff."

And then misspelled it, or spelled it in a nonstandard way.

Yeah. Not a good speller.

Thanks.

You're great. Priss was such a bitch.

Damn.

Hey, Heather.

Bye.

-Bye. -Bye.

Heather is really cute.

She going out with anyone?

There might be something between her and Thor.

Thor?

Damn. Heather and Thor?

Damn.

l'm worried about Thor. lt's hard for us to imagine...

...how upsetting it is not knowing the colors. lt's impossible for me to imagine.

When Thor sees a rainbow, it's so much gibberish to him.

There was one this afternoon. Oh, my gosh, he took it hard.

Recently, there was a parade in the city...

...where the marchers carried rainbow-colored flags and banners.

Thor was so upset. He had no idea what it meant.

What kind of retard is he?

See, that's the conclusion people jump to.

-Well, it is somewhat understandable. -Not if you knew the full story.

What's the full story?

You know how parents love bragging...

...about how precocious their children are?

Thor's parents had become precocity addicts...

...constantly needing an ever-greater precocity fix.

He should've entered kindergarten. They pushed him into first grade.

"Thor skipped a grade," they could tell.

What Thor's parents failed to consider is the work done in nursery school.

Key being the study of colors. l suppose they just assumed...

...that colors are knowledge people pick up.

Like, for example, not stepping on sidewalk cracks.

What's that? l think Rose is sleeping.

Am l boring?

No, not at all.

When you have problems, it's great to hear someone else's idiotic ones.

Please go on.

-What? -What you said about...

...depressed people being mean, you weren't joking. l'm sorry, you're right. Please go on.

No. l'm sorry. You know how l am. Please continue.

Thor decided he absolutely had to learn all the colors.

Both primary and mixed.

He's been hitting the books hard, and thought he'd mastered them.

Then, in town, he said, "That traffic light's blue." l had to say, "No, it's green."

He was really upset.

Oh, hi, Lily.

Hi.

We were worried about you.

I can't bear this tension with Lily. lt's terrible to have the group divided this way.

Better not next to Robertson.

What?

Didn't you hear?

Ed students have been going up to the roof...

...and throwing themselves off.

-But it's only two stories. -Yes, l know. lt's terrible. Not high enough to kill, but high enough to maim.

And particularly dangerous for anyone below. l've got to forget about Fred.

But you really liked him.

This whole thing of a person meeting someone else first, it's so arbitrary.

-lt's terrible and cruel. -l have to say, l was wrong about Fred. l thought he was a playboy or operator type. ln fact, he's just another guy rendered helpless...

-...by the attentions of a pretty girl. -Cary! No, don't! l love you!

-Why did you do that? -Oh, my God!

Cary, l love you! lsn't the Ed School essentially a teacher's college?

Yeah. lf they can't even destroy themselves...

...how are they going to teach America's youth?


-What do you think you're doing? -Sorry. Did l disturb you?

Why are you wearing tap shoes? You out of your mind?

-l think that's pretty clear. -l'm so sick of that.

Oh, really? l think it's cute.

Since you won't be treating us to one of your incompetent tap routines...

-...why don't you take those things off? -No. We'll do the routine. Rose.

-Madge wants to see the routine. -l don't want to see your routine.

-l asked you to take those off. -We need a break.

Just briefly, please. lt's helpful to have an audience. Rose, the music. l'm gonna report you.


Suzanne.

For me, it'd be Madame Curie, Simone de Beauvoir...

-...and Margaret Sanger. -Good.

Violet. l would say...

...Richard Strauss, Roderick Charleston...

...and Chubbard Checker.

-Richard Strauss? The composer? -Yes, that was one of his posts. l'm not familiar with the others. Could you tell us who they are?

Yes. Each one of these men started an international dance craze.

Richard Strauss, the waltz. Roderick Charleston, the Charleston.

Chubbard Checker, known as Chubby...

...the dance we know as the twist.

Why do you consider a dance craze important?

Dance crazes enhance and elevate the human experience...

...bringing together millions of people...

...in a joyous celebration of our God-given faculties...

...and passing these modes of physical expression...

...down through the generations. Though not so much anymore. l thought-- Well, l assumed that the Charleston...

...was named after the city of Charleston.

No. Though that misconception is quite widely held. lt was Roderick Charleston.

Usually, behind some great creative phenomenon...

...there's a person, not a town.

This is so exciting. lt's really great, isn't it?

-Hey, could you guys help? -Sure. What's up?

We need help packing soap...

...which we'll distribute to Doar Dorm residents.

Cool.

What would you say are effective means to fight depression?

Maybe some of your DU brothers have an idea?

-Beer? -No. Beer's a downer.

Cocktails. Hard liquor and spirits is what really gives you a lift. lt's interesting what you say.

My cousin Jay is a medical officer in Philadelphia.

He says that alcoholism...

...by which l mean chronic, excessive consumption of alcohol...

...is the primary self-administered treatment for depression.

-Cool. -No. lt leaves you much worse off than before.

Oh, no, not me. l just boot and then l feel fine.

-By "boot" do you mean vomit? -Yes.

No. None of the effective anti-suicide treatments involve vomiting.

-Hygiene? -Exactly. lt's very important.

That's why we have such hope in the wonder bar.

Do you know its scent?

Transformative, we think.

This is so exciting. When should we go over there?

-l don't think there's any rush. -l'd like to go soon.

Doar Dorm has the highest fatality rate, as well as the worst hygiene.

Highest suicide rate.

Fatality rate. lt's uncertain what percentage were intentional...

...and how many were just due to unawareness of gravity's laws. l can just see those guys getting the gold packages, opening them...

...and finding the good-smelling soap inside.

The cute packaging should prove irresistible.

And once clean, they'll start to see the world with new eyes.

The change could be dramatic.

Doar Dorm could soon become Dior Dorm. l doubt that, to be perfectly, absolutely honest. l love the idea. Dior Dorm. l adore optimism, even when it's completely absurd.

-Perhaps especially then. -Great. Ready? Let's go.

Let's hurry.

Let's not get our hopes up too high, Heather.

No, you said yourself, the wonder bar is transformative.

-Hey, Violet. Hi. -Hi.

-Where you going? -Doar Dorm.

-Fred, hi. -Hey.

Good one.

Oh, no.

Oh, my God. l guess it wasn't realistic to expect Doar Dorm...

...to turn into Dior Dorm overnight.

They wouldn't even open them.

They said without the soap, the discs wouldn't fly properly.

Are you coming Friday? Violet's launching her dance craze.

Oh, really? That's great.

-What's the dance? -The Sambola.

The devil's dance.

-Oh, cool. We'll go, right? -Yes, l'd like to.

But l have several papers to finish. But l'd like to.

Great. Thanks, Gus. l don't see how we're going to start a dance craze if no guys show up.

Most guys aren't very good with the dance-craze thing.

Very good news. l was just in my procrastination seminar...

...and the two guys from Doar Dorm had showered. lt was clear they'd used soap. Oh, my gosh, what a difference.

Seems they'd been throwing packages so energetically, a soap bar fell out.

The unfamiliar ivory-like object intrigued them...

...and one thing led to another, and, well.... lt was just as you said. lsn't that great?

-Oh, look, here's Jimbo. -Jimbo doesn't count.

Where is everybody?

Aren't we gonna be late for Violet's dance craze?

You wanna go to that?

Yeah.

-You're kidding. -No, l love dance crazes.

Gosh, you're strange.

But aren't we already late?

No, it's later on. Like 1 0, l think. l have to confess, l've started losing patience with Violet.

Depression calls for serious treatment.

Medication. Psychopharmaceuticals.

Talk therapy.

Are those approaches effective? Despite the medication and therapy...

...Ed School students are still throwing themselves off Robertson Hall.

Violet's ideas might seem a little offbeat--

A little? Oh, my God. l don't know how much you know about Violet...

...but there's some pretty weird stuff.

You know, Violet. Violet Wister. lt's not even her real name.

-lt isn't? -No, it's Emily Tweeter.

When she was 1 1 , she went completely crazy...

...and has had several relapses since.

So it's a little worrisome to have her counsel nearly suicidal individuals. l can't believe it.

-What? -Emily Tweeter. ln first grade, l had an enormous crush on a girl with that name.

-And you remember that? -Yeah.

Pretty huge Dr. Zhivago stuff.

Any idea or even mention of her filled me with emotion. l had a strange perspective on the world. l don't think my brain was functioning properly.

Everything was a bit of a dream.

You think this was Violet?

You have any idea if Violet attended willamette Montessori? ln Portland?

-We didn't order these. -Compliments of the guy at the bar.

lt was so brutal how it ended between us. l know l was too angry and a bit crazy...

...but l thought that what we had was stronger than that.

That you would not just walk away after one disagreement. lt wasn't just that.

You mean my Cathar beliefs.

Well...

...l am no longer a Cathar.

How is that possible? lt's been very difficult.

You've dropped your adherence to the Cathar faith?

-Yes, l have. -Good.

Normally l'd be reluctant to comment on anyone's religion, but....

What? l'm sorry. l guess-- l guess l'm a bit of a bigot. l just-- l could never take seriously any religion that worships on Tuesdays.

Major religions require worship on the weekend. Friday, Saturday or Sunday. l find it just really laudatory...

...that people sacrifice their weekend time to worship God.

Having the Sabbath on Tuesday always seemed very bizarre to me. lt's not right.

You know what? We'd better get to the Lone Star.

Why are you so concerned about that?

Well, it's not as if international dance crazes start every day.

We'd better hurry.

What's wrong?

Another fiasco.

Sometimes our struggle reminds me of the myth of Sisyphus.

-Who? -The myth about the guy...

...who pushes an enormous rock only to have it keep rolling back.

Oh, yeah. What a knucklehead.

The important thing to remember is that he was mythical.

He never really existed.

Violet? Did you spend any part of your education...

...at Willamette Montessori? ln Oregon?

Why?

Sound like "tweaker."

Would you say today is very gray? l'd say so. Maybe blue-gray.

Yeah, no, that rings a bell now.

Bye. l'm sorry. Her name wasn't Emily Tweeter, but Lucy Wurlitzer.

They're not similar. l'm beginning to realize that the human memory...

...is not the foolproof instrument we sometimes imagine.

What's worse, everyone knew about my obsession, including my parents...

...those from whom l most wanted it kept.

So from your earliest years, you were already a playboy or operator type?

Yes. l suppose that's why secrecy seemed so desirable.

Violet, can we talk?

-What's the plural of doofus? -Doufi.

Not doofuses?

You can say either.

"Doufi" respects the Latin root and is preferred.

"Doofuses" is also correct, although a bit inelegant.

-You've thought a lot about this. -Yes, l've had to.

Why? What is it?

l like Fred, he's a nice guy. And l can see why you like him.

When l first met you and Rose, l thought you were the cool crowd.

And in many ways you are. l find your perfume and fashion sense excellent.

Thank you.

But there's a reason, l think...

...why you are so strongly attracted to...

...doufi.

And it's not an accident how different groups divide up. lsn't that a rainbow?

-That's a rainbow! -Thor.

No, Thor! Thor, no! Stop!

Please, stop!

He's headed for Robertson Hall!

Red. Orange.

Yellow. Green. Blue. lndigo.

Hallelujah! Lord God, thank you.

Education. Education.

We can learn the subjects we set out to master...

...no matter how hard or impossible they may seem.

Thank you.

Thank you. l wasn't sure l was gonna make it.

Magenta.

Pink. Mauve.

l miss my nice American friend.

No, you're mistaken.

-You go to London for four weeks? -Six. lt's dangerous, parents letting children travel.

They send them off and they don't know what they'll be getting back. l don't know what you're referring to.

You're not from London. l'm from London. l was there, now l'm here. l'm from London. l just miss my nice American friend.

Nice?

Nice? Fine. l'm fine.

Those are not adjectives l like to use.

God gave us abilities. He requires that we use them.

Good, better, best, excelsior, higher.

Only excellence can glorify the Lord.

Vulgarity is, in essence, blasphemous.

l'm sorry for what l was saying before.

Of course you're not linked to the doufi...

...or even that such distinctions are valid.

No, don't apologize. l probably do have a doufi orientation.

But behind coolness, isn't there a certain repressing...

...squashing down, or lack of cultivation of one's humanity?

Oh, so you think that cool people have less humanity?

No, l don't think cool people are entirely inhuman.

Just enough to be cool. ln our society, there's all this propaganda...

...in favor of uniqueness, eccentricity, et cetera.

But does the world really want or need more of such traits?

Aren't such people usually terrible pains in the neck?

What the world needs to work properly...

...is a large mass of normal people. l would like to be one of those.

Sorry.

But you'll still do the part?

Yeah, of course.

So do you know every number...

-...in every Fred Astaire movie? -There were two in our school musical.

-l know those. -Did performing those two numbers...

...help you overcome feelings of discouragement and despair?

Absolutely.

Freak.


Hey, everybody,