Fences (2016) Script

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Troy, you ought to stop that lying.

I ain't lying.

Nigger had a watermelon this big, talking about, "What watermelon, Mr. Rand?"

I'd like to fell out. "What watermelon, Mr. Rand?"

And it sitti ng there, big as life.

What Mr. Rand say? He ain't said nothing.

He figure, if the nigger was too dumb to know he's carrying a watermelon, he wasn't going to get much sense out of him.

Trying to hide that great, big, old watermelon under his coat.

Afraid to let the white man see him carry it home.

I'm like you. I ain't got no time for them kinda people.

Now, what he look like getting mad

'cause he seen the man from the union talking to Mr. Rand?

He come up to me, talking about "Troy Maxson gonna get us fired."

I told him, "Get away from me with that."

He walked away from me calling you a troublemaker.

What Mr. Rand say?

He ain't said nothing. Told me to go down to the Commissioner's office next Friday. Whoa!

They called me down there to see them.

Well, as long as you got your complaint filed, they can't fire you.

That's what one of them white fellas tell me.

I ain't worried about them firing me.

What, they gonna fire me 'cause I asked a question?

That's all I did.

I went to Mr. Rand and I asked him.

I asked him, "Why?

"Why you got all the white mens driving, and the colored lifting?"

Told him, "What's the matter? Don't I count?

"Think only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck?"

"Hell, that ain't no paper job. Anybody can drive a truck.

"How come you got all the whites driving and the colored lifting?"

He told me, "Take it to the union."

Well, hell, that's what I done.

Now they want to come up with this pack of lies.

I told Brownie if the man come and ask him any questions, just tell the truth.

Ain't nothing but somebody trumped it up on you

'cause you filed a complaint on.

Brownie ain't got that much sense.

Man wasn't thinking about nothing.

All I want them to do is change the job description, give everybody a chance to drive the truck. Oi!

Brownie can't see that. He ain't got that much sense.


How you figure he be making out with that gal, be up in Taylors' all the time?

That Alberta gal? Who?

Brownie.

Same as you and me, getting about as much as we is.

Which is to say nothing. It is, huh?

Well, I figure you doing a little better than me.

And I ain't saying what I'm doing!

Nigger, look here. I know you.

If you had gotten anywhere near that gal, 20 minutes later, you'd be looking to tell somebody.

And the first one you gonna want to tell, that you gonna want to brag to is going to be me.

Oh, I ain't saying that.

I see where you be eyeing her.

I eye all the women. I don't miss nothing.

Don't never let nobody tell you Troy Maxson don't eye the women.

Hey, you been doing more than eyeing her.

You done bought her a drink or two.

Hell, yeah, I bought her a drink. What that mean?

I bought you one, too.

What that mean, 'cause I buy her a drink?

I'm just being polite.

It's all right to buy her one drink.

That's what you call being polite.

But when you want to be buying two or three, that's what you call eyeing her.

Look here. As long as you've known me, you ever known me to chase after women?

Hell, yeah! Long as I've known you.

You're forgetting, I knew you when.

I'm talking about since I been married to Rose.

Oh... Not since you been married to Rose.

That's the truth, though. I can say that.

All right then. Case closed.

I see you be walking up around Alberta's house.

You supposed to be at Taylors', and you be walking up around there.

What you watching where I'm walking for?

I don't be watching after you.

No, I seen you walking around there more than once.

Hell, you liable to see me walking anywhere.

That don't mean nothing 'cause you seen me walking around there.

Where'd she come from, anyway?

She just kinda showed up one day.

Tallahassee. You can look at that and tell she one of them Florida gals.

They got some big, healthy women down there.

Grow them right up out of the ground.

She got a little bit of Indian in her.

Most of them niggers in Florida got some Indian in them.

Yeah, I don't know about that Indian part, but she damn sure big and healthy.

Woman wears some big stockings.

Got them crazy big legs, and hips wide as the Mississippi River.

Legs don't mean nothing.

You don't do nothing but push 'em out of the way.

But them hips, they cushion the ride. Troy, you ain't got no sense!

It's the truth. Like you riding on Goodyears!

What you all out here getting into?

What you worried about what we getting into for, woman?

This is men talk.

What I care what you all are talking about?

Bono, you gonna stay for supper?

No, thank you, Rose, but Lucille say she cooking up a pot of pigfeet.

Pigfeet? Hell, I'm going home with you.

I might even stay the night, you got some pigfeet.

You got something in there to top them pigfeet, Rose?

I'm cooking up some chicken. I got some chicken and collard greens.

Well, you go on back in the house.

Let me and Bono finish what we talking about.

This is men talk. I got some talk for you later.

And you know what kind of talk I mean, too.

You go on in there and powder it up.

Troy, stop it!

Oh, woman, come here.

Oh! Look here, Bono.

When I first met this woman, I got out that place.

Hitch up my pony Saddle up my mare There's a woman out there for me somewhere I looked at here, looked at there, saw Rose, and I latched on to her.

I latched on to her and I told her...

Now, I'm gonna tell you the truth.

I latched on to her and told her, "Baby, I don't want to marry.

"I just want to be your man."

Rose told me... Tell him what you told me, Ro.

I told him if he wasn't the marrying kind, then move out of the way, so the marrying kind could find me.

That's what she told me, "Nigger, you in my way.

"You blocking the view.

"Move out the way, so I can find me a husband."

I thought it over 2-3 days. Two-three days, nothing.

You was back the same night.

I come back, told her, "Okay, baby, "but I'm gonna buy me a banty rooster

"and put him out there in the backyard.

"And when he see a stranger come, "he gonna flap his wings and crow."

Look here, Bono. I done watched that front door by myself.

It was that back door I was worried about.

Don't talk like that! Troy, you're not but telling a lie.

Only thing was, we first got married, forget the rooster. We ain't had no yard.

I hear you tell it.

Me and Lucille was staying down there on Logan Street.

Had two rooms with the outhouse in the back.

I ain't mind the outhouse none.

But when that goddamn wind blew through there in the winter, that's what I'm talking about!

To this day, I wonder why the hell I ever stayed down there for six long years.

But, see, I didn't know I could do no better.

I thought only white folks had inside toilets and things.

A lot of folks don't think they can do no better than they're doing now.

Just something you gotta learn. A lot of folks still shop at Bella's.

Ain't nothing wrong with Bella's. She got fresh food.

I ain't said nothing about if she got fresh food.

I'm talking about what she charge.

She charges 10 cents more than the A&P.

A&P ain't never done nothing for me.

I spend my money where I'm treated right.

I go down to Bella, say, "I need a loaf of bread, I'll pay you Friday," she gives it to me.

What sense that make when I got money to spend it somewhere else and ignore the person who done right by me?

That ain't in the Bible.

We ain't talking about what's in the Bible.

What sense it make to shop there when she overcharges?

Well, you do your shopping where you want to, I do my shopping where people been good to me.

Oh, I don't think it's right for her to overcharge, that's all.

Look here, I got to be getting on.

Lucille gonna be raising all kind of hell.

Where you going, nigger? We ain't finished this pint.

Come here finish this pint.

Well, hell, I am, if you ever turn the bottle loose.

Only thing I'll say about the A&P is, I'm glad Cory got that job down there.

Help him with his school clothes and things.

Gabe done moved out, things getting tight around here.

He got that job, he can start to look out for himself.

Cory done got recruited by a college football team.

I told that boy about that college football stuff.

The white man ain't gonna let him get nowhere with that football.

I told him when he first come to me with it.

Now, you come telling me he done got more tied up in it.

He ought to get recruited in how to fix cars, or some way he can make a living.

He ain't talking about making no living playing football.

It's just something the boys in school do.

They're gonna send a recruiter by to talk to you. He'll tell you.

He ain't talking about making no living playing football.

It's an honor to be recruited.

It ain't gonna get him nowhere, Bono'll tell you that.

If he be like you in sports, he gonna be all right.

Ain't but two men ever played baseball good as you.

That's Babe Ruth and Josh Gibson.

Them the only two men ever hit more home runs than you.

And what it ever get me? I ain't got a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of.

Times have changed since you were playing baseball, Troy.

That was before the war. Times have changed a lot since then.

How the hell they done changed?

They got a lot of colored boys playing ball now.

Baseball and football.

You right about that, Ro. Times have changed, Troy.

You just come along too early.

There ought not never have been no time called "too early."

Now you take that fellow...

What's that fellow they had playing right field back then for the Yankees?

You remember who I'm talking about, Bono, played right field for The Yankees.

Selkirk? Yeah, Selkirk, that's it!

Man's batting 269, you understand? 269!

What sense that make? I'm batting 432 with 37 home runs!

He's batting 269, playing right field for the Yankees!

I saw Josh Gibson's daughter yesterday.

She's running around with raggedy shoes on her feet.

I bet you Selkirk's daughter ain't running around with no raggedy shoes on her feet. I bet you that.

They got a lot of colored baseball players now.

Jackie Robinson was the first.

Folks had to wait for Jackie Robinson.

I done seen 100 niggers play baseball better than Jackie Robinson.

Hell, I seen some teams Jackie Robinson couldn't even make!

What you talking about, Jackie Robinson?

Jackie Robinson wasn't nobody!

I'm talking about if you could play ball, then they ought to let you play.

Don't matter what color you are.

Telling me I come along too early.

If you can play, then they ought to let you play.

You gonna drink yourself to death.

You don't need to be drinking like that.

Oh! Death ain't nothing. I done seen him, I done wrestled with him. You can't tell me nothing about death.

Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner, and you know what I do with that.

Look here, Bono, am I lying?

You get one of them fastballs about waist high on the outside corner of the plate where you can get the meat of the bat on it, and, good God, you could kiss it good-bye.

Am I lying? No, you telling the truth.

I seen you do it.

If I'm lying, that's 450 feet worth of lying. That's all death is to me.

A fastball on the outside corner.

I don't know why you want to get on talking about death?

Ain't nothing wrong with talking about death.

That's a part of life! Everybody gonna die.

You gonna die. I'm gonna die.

Bono gonna die. Hell, we all gonna die.

But you ain't got to talk about it. I don't like talking about it.

Well, you the one brought it up.

Me and Bono talking about baseball.

You come telling me I'm gonna drink myself to death.

Ain't that right, Bono?

Now you know I drink just but one night out the week, that's Friday night.

I drink just enough to where I can handle it.

Then I leaves it alone. I cuts it loose.

So, you ain't got to worry about me drinking myself to death

'cause I ain't worrying about death.

I done seen him, done wrestled with him.

Look here, Bono.

I look up one day, and Death is marching straight at me, like soldiers on parade.

The Army of Death was marching straight at me.

It was the middle of July, 1941.

And it got real cold, just like it be winter.

And it seemed like Death, himself, reached out and touched me on the shoulder.

He touched me like I touch you now. I got cold as ice.

Death standing there, grinning at me.

Troy, why don't you hush that talk.

I said, "What you want, Mr. Death? You be wanting me?

"You done sent your army to be getting me?"

I looked him dead in the eye.

I wasn't fearing nothing.

I was ready to tangle, just like I'm ready to tangle now!

Bible says be ever vigilant.

So, I don't get but so drunk. I got to keep watch.

Troy was right down there at Mercy Hospital.

You remember he had that pneumonia, laying there with a fever, talking plumb out his head.

And Death standing there, staring at me, carrying that sickle in his hand.

Finally, he say, "You want to be bound over for another year?"

Just like that. He say, "You want to be bound over for another year?"

I said, "Bound over, hell! We can settle this right now."

He kinda fell back when I said that. And all the cold went out of me.

I reached down, I grabbed that sickle.

I threw it as far as I could throw it, and me and him commenced to wrestling.

We wrestled for... Carry the six... Three days and three nights!

Now, I don't know where I got the strength from, 'cause every time he tried to get the best of me, I reached way deep down inside myself, found the strength to do him one better.

Every time Troy tells that story, he find different ways to tell it, different things to make up.

I ain't making up nothing, woman.

I'm telling you the facts of what happened.

I wrestled with Death for three days and three nights, and I'm standing here to tell you about it.

All right. At the end of the third night, we done weakened each other to where we can't even hardly move.

Death stood up.

He threw on that robe, had a white robe with a hood on it.

He throwed on that robe and went off to look for that sickle.

He said, "I'll be back." Just like that. "I'll be back."

I said, "Yeah? Well, you gonna have to find me!"

I wasn't no fool.

I wasn't going looking for him.

I know Death ain't nothing to play with. And I know he's gonna get me.

I know I got to join his army, his camp followers.

But as long as I keep up my strength and see him coming, as long as I keep up my vigilance, he gonna have to fight to get me.

I ain't going easy.

Well, look here, since you got to keep up your vigilance, let me have the bottle. Oh!

Hell, I shouldn't have told you that part.

I should have left out that part.

Troy be talking all that stuff.

Half the time, he don't even know what he be talking about!

Yeah, Bono know me better than that. That's right, I know you.

I know you got some Uncle Remus in your blood.

You got more stories than the devil got sinners.

Oh, hell, I done seen him, too. Done talked to the devil.

Nobody wants to be hearing that stuff!

Hey, Pop.

What you come "Hey, Poppin"' me for?

How you doing, Rose?

Mr. Bono, how you doing?

Hey, Lyons, how you been?

He must've been doing all right.

I ain't seen him around here last week.

Troy, leave your boy alone. He come by to see you and you want to start all that nonsense.

I ain't bothering Lyons. Here, get you a drink.

Me and him got an understanding.

I know why he come by to see me, and he know I know.

Come on, Pop. I just stopped by to say hi, see how you was doing.

You ain't stopped by yesterday. You staying for supper, Lyons?

I got some chicken cooking in the oven.

No, Rose, thanks. I just was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by for a minute.

Yeah, you was in the neighborhood all right.

Nigger, you telling the truth there.

You was in the neighborhood 'cause it's my payday.

Well, hell, since you mentioned it, let me have $10.

I'll be damned. I'll die and go to hell and play blackjack with the devil before I give you $10.

That's what I want to know about, that devil you done seen.

Pop done seen the devil? You too much, Pop.

Yeah, I done seen him. He ain't seen no devil.

I told him that man ain't had nothing to do with the devil.

Anything he can't understand, he want to call it the devil.

Look here, Bono. I go by Hertzberger's to get some furniture.

You got three rooms for $298. That what it say on the radio.

"Three rooms, $298." He made up a little song about it.

I get down there, man tell me I can't get no credit.

I'm working every day, can't get no credit.

What to do?

I got an empty house with some raggedy furniture.

Cory ain't got no bed.

He's sleeping on a pile of rags on the floor.

Working every day, can't get no credit.

I come back here, Rose'll tell you, madder than hell, trying to figure out what to do.

Come a knock on the door.

I ain't been living but three days, who know I'm here?

I open the door. Devil standing there.

Bigger than life.

White fella, got on good clothes and everything.

Standing there with a clipboard in his hand.

Now, I ain't got to say nothing.

First words come out of his mouth, "I understand you need some furniture and can't get no credit."

I liked to fell over. He said, "I'll give you all the credit you want, "but you gonna have to pay the interest on it."

Now, I told him, he give me them three rooms, he can charge whatever he want.

Next day, a truck pull up here, two men unload them three rooms.

Man what drove the truck give me a book.

Said first of the month, send $10 to the address in the book, everything'll be fine.

Said if you miss a payment, the devil was coming back, and there'll be hell to pay.

That was 15 years ago.

To this day, first day of every month, I send my $10, just like clockwork. Rose'll tell you.

Troy lying.

I ain't never seen that man since.

Now, you tell me, who else that gonna be but the devil?

And I ain't sold my soul or nothing like that.

No, I wouldn't have truck with the devil over nothing like that.

But I got my furniture. And I send my $10, just like clockwork.

How long you say you been paying this $10 a month?

15 years.

Hell, ain't you finished paying for it yet?

How much the man done charge you?

Oh, hell, I done paid for it.

I done paid for it 10 times over.

Fact is, I'm scared to stop paying.

Troy lying. We got that furniture from Mr. Glickman.

He ain't paying no $10 a month to nobody.

Hell, woman, Bono know I ain't that big a fool.

I was just getting ready to say, I know where there's a bridge for sale.

I'll tell you this.

It don't matter to me if it was the devil.

It don't matter if the devil give credit.

Somebody got to give it. It ought to matter.

You walking around here saying you gonna make truck with the devil, God's the one you're gonna have to answer to.

He's the one gonna be at the Judgment.

Yeah, well, look here, Pop, let me have that $10.

I'll give it back to you.

Bonnie got a job working at the hospital.

Bono, what did I tell you?

Only time I see this nigger is when he want something.

That's the only time I see him.

Come on, Pop, Mr. Bono don't want to hear all that.

Let me have the $10. I told you, Bonnie's working!

What that mean to me if Bonnie's working?

I don't care if she working. Go ask her for $10 if she's working.

Talking about Bonnie working. Why ain't you working?

Ah, Pop, you know I can't find no decent job.

Where am I gonna get a job at? You know I can't get no job.

I told you, I know some people down there.

I can get you on the rubbish if you want to work.

I told you that last time you come back here asking for something.

No, Pop, thanks, that ain't for me.

I don't want to be carrying nobody's rubbish.

I don't want to be punching nobody's time clock.

What's the matter? You too good to carry people's rubbish?

Where you think that $10 you talking about comes from?

I'm just supposed to haul people's rubbish and give my money to you 'cause you too lazy to work?

You're too lazy to work and want to know why you ain't got what I got.

What hospital Bonnie working at, Mercy?

She down at Passavant, working in the laundry.

I ain't got nothing as it is. I give you $10, I got to eat beans the rest of the week?

No, you ain't getting no $10 over here.

You ain't got to be eating no beans.

I don't know why you want to say that?

I ain't got no extra money!

Gabe done moved out, giving his money over there to Miss Pearl, paying her rent.

Things done got tight around here.

I can't afford to be giving you every payday.

I ain't asked you to give me nothing. I asked you to loan me $10.

I know you got $10.

Yeah, I got it. You know why I got it?

'Cause I don't throw my money away on them streets.

You want to live the fast life, being a musician, running around in them clubs and things, then learn to take care of yourself.

You ain't gone find me asking nobody for nothing!

I spent too many years without.

Hey, you and me is two different people.

I done learned my mistake and I learned to do what's right by it.

You still trying to get something for nothing.

Life don't owe you nothing.

You owe it to yourself. Ask Bono. He'll tell you I'm right.

You got your way of dealing with the world, I got mine.

Only thing that matters to me is the music.

Yeah, I can see that. Don't matter how you gonna eat, don't matter where your next dollar coming from.

Yeah, you telling the truth there.

I know I got to eat. But I got to live, too.

I need something that's gonna help me get out of bed in the morning, make me feel like I belong in the world.

I don't bother nobody.

I just stay with my music

'cause that's the only way I can find to live in the world.

Otherwise, ain't no telling what I might do.

I don't come by criticizing you and how you live.

I just come by to ask you for $10.

I don't want to hear all that about how I live.

Boy, your mama did a hell of a job raising you.

You can't change me, Pop. I'm 34 years old.

If you wanted to change me, you should have been there when I was growing up.

I come by to see you, ask you for $10, and you want to talk about how I was raised?

You don't know nothing about how I was raised.

Let the boy have $10, Troy.

Hell you looking at? You know I ain't got no money.

You know what I do with my money.

Go on, give him $10 if you want him to have it.

I will, soon as you turn it loose.

There it is.

Seventy six dollars and twenty-two cents.

You see this, Bono? I ain't gonna get but six of that back.

He ought to stop telling that lie. Here, Lyons.

Thanks, Rose.

Look, I got to run. I'll see you all later.

Wait a minute. You gonna say, "Thanks, Rose," but you ain't gonna look to see where she got that money from.

You see how they do me, Bono?

I know she got it from you, Pop. Thanks. I'll give it back to you.

There you go, telling another lie.

Time I see that $10, you'll be owing me $30 more.

See you, Mr. Bono. Take care, Lyons.

Thanks, Pop. I'll see you again. Mmm-hmm.

I don't know why that boy don't go and get him a decent job and take care of that woman he got.

He'll be all right, Troy. The boy is still young!

The boy is 34 years old.

Let's not get off into all that.

Look here, I got to go. I got to be going. Lucille gonna be waiting.

See this woman, Bono?

I love this woman.

I love her so much, it hurts.

I love her so much, I done run out of ways of loving her, so, I got to get back to basics.

Don't you come by my house Monday morning, talking about time to go to work.

'Cause I'm gonna still be stroking. Troy, stop!

I ain't paying him no mind, Rose.

That ain't nothing but gin talk.

Go on, Troy! I'll see you Monday.

Don't you come by my house, nigger!

I done told you what I'm gonna be doing!

Come back on Tuesday!


Jesus be a fence All around me Every day

Good morning.

You ready for breakfast? I can fix you some soon as I finish hanging up these clothes.

I got the coffee on. That's all right.

I just have some of that this morning.

That 651 hit yesterday.

That's the second time this month Miss Pearl hit for a dollar.

Seems like those that need the least always get lucky.

Poor folks can't get nothing.

Them numbers don't know nobody.

I don't know why you fool with 'em, you and Lyons both.

Oh, it's something to do.

You ain't doing nothing but throwing your money away.

Troy, you know I don't play foolishly.

I just play a nickel here and a nickel there.

That's two nickels you done throwed away.

Nah, I hit sometimes. That makes up for it.

Always comes in handy when I do hit.

I don't hear you complaining then.

I ain't complaining now. I just say it's foolish, trying to guess out of 600 ways which way the number gonna come.

If I had all the money these niggers...

You negroes throw away on numbers in one week, just one week, I'd be a rich man.

You wishing and calling it foolish ain't gonna stop folks from playing the numbers.

That's one thing for sure.

Besides, some good things come from playing numbers.

Look where Pope done bought him that restaurant off of numbers.

I can't stand niggers like that.

Man ain't had two dimes to rub together.

He running around with his shoes all run-over, bumming money for cigarettes.

All right. Got lucky there, hit the numbers...

Troy, I know all about it.

Had good sense. I'll say that for him.

Man ain't throw his money away.

I done see niggers go through $2,000 in four days.

Man built him that restaurant down there.

Fix it up real nice, too.

Then he won't let nobody come in it.

Negro go in there, can't get no kind of service.

Seen a white fella go in there, he orders a bowl of stew.

Pope pick all the meat out of the pot for him.

Man ain't had nothing but a bowl of meat!

Negro go in there behind him, he ain't got nothing but the potatoes and the carrots.

Talking about what numbers do for people.

You picked the wrong example there.

Ain't done nothing but made a worser fool out of him than he already was before.

Troy.

You ought to stop worrying about what happened at work yesterday.

I ain't worried.

Just called me down there, the Commissioner's office, everybody's worried about them firing me.

I ain't worrying about them firing me.

You ain't got to worry about that.

Where's Cory? Cory in the house?

Cory! He gone out.

Out, huh? Yeah, he going out

'cause he know I want him to work on this fence.

I know how he is. That boy is scared of working.

He ain't done a lick of work in his life.

He had to go to football practice.

Coach wanted them to get in a little extra practice before the season start.

Oh, yeah, I got his practice all right.

Running out of here before he gets his chores done.

Troy, what is wrong with you this morning?

Don't nothing set right with you.

Go on back in there, go to bed, and get up on the other side.

Why something got to be wrong with me?

I ain't said nothing wrong with me.

Well, you got something to say about everything.

First, it's the numbers, then it's the way the man run his restaurant, then you done got on Cory.

What's it gonna be next?

Take a look up there, see if the weather suit you.

Or is it gonna be how you gonna put up this fence with the clothes hanging in the yard?

You hit the nail on the head then.

I know you like I know the back of my hand.

Come on in here and get you some more coffee, see if that don't straighten you up.

'Cause you ain't right this morning.


Three for a quarter Come and buy now 'Cause I'm here today Yes, sir, I got plums Ask me how I sell 'em Ten cents apiece Three for a quarter Come and buy now Hey!

'Cause I'm here today Tomorrow, I'll be gone There's Troy. Hey, Troy.

Hey, Gabe.

Hey, Rose. Hey, Gabe.

What you got there?

You know what I got, Rose? I got fruits and vegetables.

Where them plums you talking about?

I ain't got no plums today. I was just singing that.

I'll have some tomorrow. I put me in a big order for plums.

I'll have enough plums tomorrow for Saint Peter and everybody!

Troy mad at me.

I ain't mad at you, Gabe. What I got to be mad at you about?

You ain't done nothing to me.

I just move over to Miss Pearl's to keep out from in your way.

I ain't mean no harm by it.

Who said anything about that?

I ain't said nothing about that.

You ain't mad at me, is you?

I ain't made at you, Gabe. If I was mad at you, I'd tell you about it.

Come on, get on out of the street. Come on.

I got me two rooms in the basement. I got my own door, too.

You want to see my key? Mmm-mmm.

That's my own key. Ain't nobody else got a key like that.

That's my key for my two rooms.

That's good, Gabe. Got your own key, that's good.

You hungry, Gabe?

I was just fixing to cook Troy some breakfast.

I'll take some biscuits.

Ooh, you got some biscuits? Mmm-mmm.

Did you know, when I was in Heaven, every morning, me and Saint Peter would sit down by the Gate and eat some big, fat biscuits?

Oh, yeah, we had us a good time.

We'd sit there and eat us them biscuits.

And then Saint Peter would go off to sleep, and tell me to wake him up when it's time to open the Gates for the Judgment.

Well, come on, I'll make you a big batch of biscuits.

Hey, Troy. Saint Peter got your name in his book. I seen it.

It say, "Troy Maxson."

I say, "I know him.

"He got the same name like what I got.

"That's my brother."

How many times you gonna tell me that, Gabe?

Ain't got my name in the book. Don't have to have my name.

I done died and went to Heaven.

But he got your name, though.

One morning, Saint Peter was looking at his book, and he was marking it up for the Judgment, and he let me see your name.

He got it in there under "M."

He got Rose's name.

I ain't seen it like I seen yours, but I know it's in there.

He got a great big book! Whoo!

He got everybody's name what was ever been born.

That's what he told me.

But I seen your name. I seen it with my own eye.

Come in the house.

Rose gonna fix you something to eat now.

I ain't hungry. I done had breakfast with Aunt Jemima!

She come by, cook me up a whole mess of flapjacks!

All right. Come on, let's go in the house. Rose fix us...

Remember how we used to eat them flapjacks?

Yes, I remember. Come on now.

I got to go! Gabe!

I got to go! Gabe, come on now!

I got to go sell my plums!

I done sold some tomatoes.

Got me two quarters. Want to see?

I'm gonna save 'em and buy me a new horn, so Saint Peter can hear me when it's time to open the Gate.

You hear that?

You hear that? That's the hellhound.

I'm gonna chase them out of here.

Go on! Get out of here! Get out! Get out!

Ouch! Ouch!

All you hypocrite members Wasting your time away My God is calling for a workman You had better obey Better get ready for the Judgment Better get ready for the Judgment morning Better get ready for Judgment My God is coming down

Better get ready for the Judgment Better get ready for the Judgment morning Better get ready for the Judgment My God is coming down Better get ready for the Judgment Better get ready for the Judgment

Where's Gabe?

He's gone off somewhere.

He ain't eating right.

Miss Pearl say she can't get him to eat nothing.

What you want me to do about it, Rose?

I did everything I could for the man. I can't make him get well.

Man got half his head blown off, what you expect?

Seems like something ought to be done to help him.

The man don't bother nobody.

He just mixed up 'cause of that metal plate he got in his head. Ain't no sense in...

Thank you. Ain't no sense in sending him to the hospital.

At least he'd be eating right.

They could help him take care of himself.

Don't nobody want to be locked up, Rose.

What you want to lock the man up for?

Man going down there, over there and fight that war, messing with them Japs, getting half his head blown off.

They give him a lousy $3,000. I got to swoop down on that.

Is you fixing to get into that again?

He got a metal plate in his head.

That's the only reason I got a roof over my head is 'cause of that metal plate.

Ain't no sense in you blaming yourself for nothing.

Gabe was in no condition to manage that money.

You done what was right by him.

Can't nobody say you ain't done what was right by him.

Look how long you took care of him.

Till he wanted his own place and moved over there with Miss Pearl.

That ain't what I'm saying, woman. I'm just...

I'm just stating the facts.

If my brother didn't have a metal plate in his head, I wouldn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.

And I'm 53...

Where you going off to?

You been running out of here every Saturday for weeks.

I thought you were gonna work on this fence.

I'm gonna go down to Taylors' and, uh...


Mama?

Oh, Cory. Your daddy like to have a fit with you running out of here this morning without doing your chores.

You all right?

He say you supposed to be helping him with the fence.

I told you I had to go to practice.

And he's been saying that the last four or five Saturdays, and then don't ever do nothing but go down to Taylors'.

You told him about the recruiter?

Yeah, I told him.

Well, what'd he say? He didn't say nothing too much.

Go on and get started on your chores before he gets back here.

Go on and scrub down them steps before he come back here hollering and carrying on!

Go! Boy, go!


Go on, Troy. You liked to scare me to death.

What was the score of the game?

Lucille had me on the phone. I couldn't keep up with it.

What do I care about the game? Come here, woman.

I thought you went down to Taylors' to listen to the game. Go on, Troy.

I thought you're supposed to be putting up the fence.

I'll put it up when I finish with what...

Is at hand.

Go on, Troy. I ain't studying you!

I'm studying you. I'm finna do my homework.

Troy, you better leave me alone!

Where Cory? That boy brought his butt home yet?

He's upstairs doing his chores.

Cory, get your butt...

Where you going? I'll be right back.

When? I'm just going right down the street.

Where? Who?

Troy, go in the house!


You just now coming here from leaving this morning?

Yeah, I had to go to football practice... Yeah, what?

Yes, sir.

I ain't but two seconds off you, no way.

That garbage sitting in there, overflowing.

You ain't done none of your chores.

Now you come in here, talking about, "Yeah."

I was just getting ready to do my chores now, Pop.

Your first chore is to help me with this fence on Saturday.

Everything else come after that.

Now, get that saw, we gonna cut these boards.

Hey, Pop. Mmm?

Why don't you buy a TV?

What I want with a TV? What I want one of them for?

Everybody got one. Earl, Ba Bra, Jesse.

I ain't asked who had one, I said what I want with one?

So, you can watch it. They got lots of things on TV.

Baseball and everything. Yeah?

We could watch the World Series.

Yeah, how much this TV cost? I don't know.

They got 'em on sale for about $200.

$200? That ain't that much, Pop.

No, that's just $200.

You see that roof you got sitting over your head at night?

Let me tell you something about that roof.

It's been 10 years since that roof was last tarred.

See, now snow come this winter, sit up on that roof like it is, it's gonna seep inside, just gonna be a little bit, you ain't gonna hardly notice it, then next thing you know, it's gonna be leaking all over the house.

Then the wood rot from all that water, and you gonna need a whole new roof.

Now how much you think it cost to get that roof fixed?

I don't know. $264 cash money. See?

While you be thinking about a TV, I got to be thinking about the roof or whatever else go wrong around here.

Now if you had $200, what would you do?

Fix the roof, or buy a TV?

I'd buy a TV. And when the roof started to leak, if it needed fixing, I'd fix it.

Where you gonna get your money from?

You done spent it on a TV.

You gonna sit up in there, let that water run all over your brand-new TV?

Pop, you got the money. I know you do.

Where I got it at, huh? In the bank.

You want to see my bank book?

You want to see that $73.22 I got sitting up in there?

You don't have to pay for it all at one time.

You can put a down payment on it, and carry it on with you.

Not me. I ain't owing nobody nothing if I can help it.

Miss a payment, they come and snatch it right out of your house.

Then what you got, huh? See?

Now, when I get $200 clear, I'll buy me a TV.

Right now, when I get $264, I'm gonna get that roof fixed.

Oh, Pop...

You go get you $200 and buy you a TV if you want to.

I got better things to do with my money.

I can't get $200. I ain't never seen $200.

All right, I'll tell you what.

You get $100, I'll put the other $100 with it.

All right, I'm gonna show you.

Yeah, show me how you can cut these boards right now.

There you go. That's $200 worth.

The Pirates won today. Yeah?

That makes five in a row.

I ain't thinking about no Pirates.

They got an all-white team.

Got that boy, though, that Puerto Rican boy, Clemente?

Don't even half play him.

That boy could be something if they'd give him a chance.

Play him one day, sit him on the bench the next.

He gets lots of chances to play.

I'm talking about playing every day, playing regular, so you can get your timing, that's what I'm talking about.

They got some white guys on the team that don't play every day.

You can't play everybody at the same time.

If they got a white fellow sitting on the bench, you can bet your last dollar he can't play.

Colored guy got to be twice as good to get on the team.

That's why I don't want you getting all tied up in them sports.

Man on the team, what it get him?

Got colored on the team, don't even use him.

Same as not having them. All them teams the same.

The Braves got Hank Aaron and Wes Covington.

Hank Aaron hit two home runs today. That makes 43.

Aaron ain't nobody. That's what you supposed to do.

That's how the game's supposed to be played.

Ain't nothing to it. It's a matter of getting your timing and follow through.

Hell, I can hit 43 home runs right now.

Not off no major-league pitcher, you couldn't.

We had better pitching in the Negro leagues.

I hit seven home runs off of Satchel Paige.

You can't get no better than that.

Sandy Koufax, he leading the league in strikeouts.

I ain't thinking about no Sandy Koufax.

You got Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette. I bet you...

I'm through with it now.

Go and cut them boards.

Your mama told me you got recruited by a college football team.

Is that right?

Yeah, Coach Zellman say the recruiter gonna be coming by to talk to you.

Get you to sign the permission papers.

I thought you was supposed to be working down the A&P.

Ain't you supposed to be working down there after school?

Mr. Stawicki say he gonna hold my job for me until after the football season.

He said starting next week, I can work weekends.

Boy, I thought we had an understanding about this football stuff.

You supposed to keep up with your chores, hold your job down there at the A&P.

You ain't been around here all day on a Saturday, ain't none of your chores done.

Now you come telling me you done quit your job?

I'm gonna be working weekends. You damn right you are!

And ain't no need for nobody to be coming around here, talking to me about signing nothing.

Pop, you can't do that.

He's coming all the way from North Carolina.

I don't care where he coming from!

Look, boy, the white man ain't gonna let you get nowhere with no football no way.

Now you get your book-learning, so you can, uh, work your way up at the A&P and learn how to fix cars, or build houses, get you a trade.

This way, you got something can't nobody take away from you.

You go in and learn how to put your hands to good use besides hauling other people's garbage.

I get good grades, Pop.

That's why the recruiter want to talk with you.

You got to keep up your grades to get recruited.

This way, I'll be going to college, I'll get a chance.

First, you get your butt down there and get your job back.

Mr. Stawicki done already hired somebody else

'cause I told him I was playing football.

You a bigger fool than I thought.

You gonna let somebody take away your job, so you can play some football.

Where you gonna get your money to take care of your girlfriend and whatnot?

What kind of foolishness is that to let somebody take away your job?

I'm still gonna be working weekends.

No. You getting out of here and finding you another job.

Come on, Pop. I gotta practice.

I can't work after school and play football, too.

The team needs me, that's what Coach Zellman say.

I don't care what nobody say. I'm the boss. You understand?

I'm the boss around here. I do the only saying what counts.

Come on... I asked you, "Do you understand?"

Yeah. What?

Yes, sir. All right.

You get on down there to that A&P and see if you can get your job back.

If you can't do both, then you quit the football team.

You got to take the crookeds with the straights.

Yes, sir.

Can I ask you a question?

What the hell you got to ask me?

Mr. Stawicki the one you got the questions for.

How come you ain't never liked me?

Like you? Who the hell said I got to like you?

What law is there say I got to like you?

You want to stand up in front of my face and ask a damn fool-ass question like that.

Talk about liking somebody.

Come here, boy, when I talk to you.

Straighten up, God damn it! I asked you a question.

What law is there say I got to like you? None.

All right, then. Don't you eat every day?

Answer me when I talk to you.

Don't you eat every day? Yeah.

Nigger, as long as you in my house, you put a "sir" on the end of it when you talk to me.

Yes, sir. You eat every day?

Got a roof over your head? Yes, sir.

Got clothes on your back? Yes, sir.

Why you think that is? 'Cause of you.

Hell, I know it's 'cause of me.

But why do you think that is?

'Cause you like me?

"Like" you.

I go out of here every morning, I bust my butt putting up with them crackers every day

'cause I "like" you.

You about the biggest fool I ever saw. It's my job.

It's my responsibility.

A man is supposed to take care of his family.

You live in my house, fill your belly with my food, put your behind on my bed because you're my son.

Not 'cause I like you. 'Cause it's my duty to take care of you.

I owe a responsibility to you.

Now, let's get this straight right here and now, before it go along any further.

I ain't got to like you.

Mr. Rand don't give me my money come payday 'cause he like me.

He give it to me 'cause he owe me.

Now I done give you everything I got to give you.

I give you your life!

Me and your mama worked that out between us, and liking your black ass wasn't part of the bargain.

Now don't you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you, or not.

You best be making sure they're doing right by you.

You understand what I'm saying? Yes, sir.

Then get the hell out of my face and get on down to that A&P!


Why don't you go ahead and let the boy play football, Troy?

He just want to be like you with the sports.

I don't want him to be like me.

I want him to get as far away from my life as he possibly can get.

You the only decent thing ever happened to me, Rose.

And I wish him that.

But I don't wish him nothing else from my life.

I decided 17 years ago, that boy wasn't gonna get involved in no sports.

Not after what they did to me in the sports.

Why don't you just admit you were too old for the major leagues?

For once, why don't you just admit that?

Don't you come tellin' me I was too old.

I just wasn't the right color. Hell, I'm 53 years old, I can do better than Selkirk's.269 right now.

How were you gonna play ball when you were over 40?

Sometimes, I can't get no sense out of you.

I got good sense, woman.

I got sense enough not to let that boy get hurt playing no sports.

You mothering the boy too much.

Worrying about whether people "like" him or not.

Everything that boy do, he do for you.

He wants you to say, "Good job, son." That's all.

I ain't got time for that, Rose. He's alive, he's healthy.

He's got to make his own way. I made mine.

Ain't nobody gonna hold his hand when he get out there in the world.

Times have changed, Troy.

People change.

The world changing, and you can't even see it.

Huh.

Woman, I do the best I can do.

I come in here every Friday, I carry a sack of potatoes and a bucket of lard.

You all line up at the door with your hands out.

I give you the lint from my pockets.

I give you my sweat and my blood.

I ain't got no tears. I done spent them.

We go upstairs in that room at night, I fall down on you and try to blast a hole into forever.

I get up Monday morning, find my lunch on the table, go out and make my way.

Find my strength to get me through to next Friday.

That's all I got, Rose.

That's all I got to give.

Can't give nothing else!


Mr. Maxson?

Commissioner will see you now.

Rose!

Hey, Ro!

I wish I could've seen Mr. Rand's face when he told you.

He couldn't get it out his mouth.

Liked to bit his tongue.

When they called me down there to the Commissioner's office, he thought they was gonna fire me, like everybody else.

Oh, I didn't think they was gonna fire you.

I thought they's gonna put you on the warning paper.

Hey, Rose! Yeah, Mr. Rand liked to bit his tongue.

I see you run right down there to Taylors' and told that Alberta gal.

Hey, Rose! I told everybody. Hey, Ro!

I went down there to cash my check.

Hey!

Hush all that hollering. I know you out here.

What they say down at the Commissioner's office?

You supposed to come when I call you, woman.

Bono will tell you that.

Don't Lucille come when you call her?

Man, hush your mouth. I ain't no dog.

Talk about come when you call me.

You hear this, Bono? I used to have me an old dog get uppity like that.

You say, "Come here, Blue," he just lay there, look at you.

End up getting a stick chasin' him away, trying to make him come.

I ain't studying you and your dog.

I remember you used to sing that old song.

Hear it ring! Hear it ring!

Had an old dog His name was Blue Nobody wants to hear that old song.

You know Blue was mighty true Used to have Cory runnin' around here singin' that song.

Hell, I remember that song myself.

You know Blue Was a good old dog Blue treed a possum In a hollow log That's my daddy's song. My daddy made up that song.

I don't care who made it up. Don't nobody want to hear you sing it.

Come here, woman!

You come in here carrying on, I reckon they ain't fired you.

What they say down there at the Commissioner's office?

Look here, Rose. Mr. Rand called me in his office after I got back from talkin' to them people down there.

He called me in his office and told me...

They was making me a driver!

Troy, you kidding!

No, I ain't. Ask Bono.

That's great, Troy. Now you don't have to hassle them people no more.

Oh, hell. I didn't think I was gonna see you today.

I thought you was in jail.

Got it all over the Courier about them raiding Seefus' place where you be hanging out with all them thugs.

Hey, Pop, that ain't got nothing to do with me.

I don't go down there gambling.

I just go down there to sit in with the band.

I ain't got nothing to do with the gambling part.

They got some good music down there.

They got some rogues is what they got.

How you been, Mr. Bono? Hi, Rose.

I see where you playing down at the Crawford Grill tonight.

How come you ain't brought Bonnie like I told you?

You shoulda brought Bonnie.

She ain't been by in a month of Sundays.

I was just in the neighborhood.

Thought I'd stop by. Here it comes.

Your daddy got a promotion on the rubbish.

He gonna be the first colored driver.

Ain't got to do nothin' but sit up there and read the paper, like them white fellas.

Hey, Pop, if you knew how to read, you'd be all right.

Nah, nah. You mean if the nigger knew how to drive, he'd be all right.

Been fighting with them people about driving and ain't even got a license.

Mr. Rand know you ain't got no driver's license?

Driving ain't nothing.

All you do is point the truck where you want it to go.

Driving ain't nothing.

Do they know you ain't got no driver's license?

That's what I'm talkin' about.

I ain't asked if driving was easy.

I asked if Mr. Rand know you ain't got no driver's license.

The man ain't got to know my business.

Time he find out, I have two or three of them driver's license.

Say, look here, Pop. I knew it was coming.

I knew what kinda "Look here, Pop" that was.

Nigger finna ask me for some money.

It's Friday night, it's my payday.

All them rogues down on the avenue, the ones that ain't in jail, and Lyons is hopping in his shoes to get down there with them.

Now, see, Pop, if you gave somebody else a chance to talk sometime, you'd see I was fixing to pay you back your $10 like I told you.

Here. I told you I'd pay you when Bonnie got paid.

No, you keep that $10. Put it in the bank.

Next time you feel like you wanna come by here and ask me for somethin', you go down there and get that.

Here you go your $10, Pop.

I told you, I don't want you to give me nothing.

I just wanted to borrow $10.

No, you keep that for the next time you want to ask me.

Come on, Pop, here go your $10.

Troy, why don't you let the boy pay you back?

Here you go, Rose. If you don't take it, I'm gonna hear about it for the next six months.

You can hand yours over, too, Troy.

You see this, Bono? You see how they do me?

Yeah, Lucille do me the same way.

Better get Ready for the Judgment Better get ready

Hey. Hey, there's Troy's boy!

How you doing, Uncle Gabe?

Lyons!

The King of the Jungle!

Rose. Hey, Rose, I got a flower for you.

I picked it myself. That's the same rose like you is.

Aw, that's right nice of you, Gabe.

What you been doing, Uncle Gabe?

Oh, I been chasing hellhounds and waiting for the time to tell Saint Peter to open the Gates.

You been chasing hellhounds, huh?

Well, you doing the right thing, Uncle Gabe.

Somebody's got to chase 'em. Oh, yeah, I know it.

The devil's strong. The devil ain't no pushover.

Hellhounds snipping at everybody's heels.

But I got my trumpet waiting on the Judgment time.

Waiting on the Battle of Armageddon, huh?

Oh, ain't gonna be too much of a battle when God get to waving that Judgment sword. Whoo!

But the people's gonna have a hell of a time trying to get into Heaven if them Gates ain't open.

You hear this, Pop? Mmm.

Uncle Gabe, you all right. Lyons.

The King of the Jungle!

You stayin' for supper, Gabe?

You want me to fix you a plate?

I'll just take a sandwich, Rose. I don't want no plate.

I want to eat with my hands. I'll take a sandwich.

What about you, Lyons? You stayin'?

Got some short ribs cooking.

Nah. I won't eat nothing till after we finish playing.

You ought to come down, listen to me play, Pop.

Oh, I don't like all that Chinese music, all that noise.

Go in there and wash up, Gabe. I'll fix you a sandwich.

Troy mad at me. Huh?

What you mad at Uncle Gabe for?

He think Troy mad at him

'cause he moved over there to Miss Pearl's.

I ain't mad at the man. He can live where he want to live at.

Well, what he move over there for? Miss Pearl don't like nobody.

Oh, she don't mind him none. She treat him real nice.

She just don't allow all that singing.

She don't mind that rent he be paying. That's what she don't mind.

Troy, I ain't goin' through that with you no more.

He moved over there 'cause he wanted his own place.

He can come and go as he please.

He can come and go as he please here. I wasn't stoppin' him.

I wasn't putting no rules on the man.

That ain't the same thing, and you know it.

Now that's the last I wanna hear about that.

I don't wanna hear nothin' else about Gabe and Miss Pearl.

And next week...

I'm ready for my sandwich, Rose.

And next week, when that recruiter come from that school, I want you to sign that paper and go on and let Cory play football.

That'll be the last I have to hear about that.

Cory got recruited? What school he goin' to?

I ain't thinking about Cory nothing.

Boy walking around here smelling his piss, thinking he gonna do what he want to do, irregardless of what I say.

Look here, Bono, I left the Commissioner's office and went down to the A&P.

That boy ain't workin' down there, he lied to me.

T ellin' me he got his job back, tellin' me he workin' weekend, tellin' me he workin' after school.

Mr. Stawicki says he ain't working down there at all.

Cory just growing up.

He just bustin' at the seams, tryin' to fill out your shoes.

I don't care what he doing.

When he get to the place where he want to disobey me, then it's time for him to move on. Bono will tell you that.

I bet he ain't never disobeyed his daddy without paying the consequences.

I ain't never had the chance.

My daddy came on through, but I ain't never knew him to see him.

Or what he had on his mind, or where he went.

Just moving on through. Searching out the New Land.

That's what the old folks used to call it.

See a fella moving around from place to place, woman to woman, they call it "Searching out the New Land."

I can't say if he ever found it.

I come along, didn't want no kids.

I didn't know if I was gonna be in one place long enough to fix on 'em right as their daddy.

I figured I was going searching, too.

As it turn out, I been hooked up with Lucille for near about as long as your daddy been with Rose.

Going on 16 years.

Sometimes, I wish I'd never known my daddy.

He ain't cared nothing about no kids. A kid to him wasn't nothing.

All he wanted you to do was learn how to walk, so he could start you to working.

Come to eating, he ate first. Anything left over, that's what you got.

Man would sit down, eat two chickens, and give you the wing.

You ought to stop that, Pop. Everybody feed their kids.

No matter how hard times is, everybody care about their kids.

Make sure they have something to eat.

Only thing my daddy cared about was getting them bales of cotton in to Mr. Lubin.

That's the only thing that mattered to him.

Sometimes, I used to wonder why he was still living, why the devil hadn't come and got him.

"Get them bales of cotton in to Mr. Lubin."

Find out he owe him money.

He should have just went on and left when he saw he couldn't get nowhere.

That's what I would've done.

How he gonna leave with 11 kids? And where he gonna go?

He ain't knew nothing but how to farm. No, he was trapped.

I think he knew it, too. But I'll say this for him...

He felt a responsibility toward us.

May not have treated us like I felt he should have, but without that responsibility, he could have run off and left us, made his own way.

A lot of them did.

Back in those days, what you talkin' about?

Mmm-mmm. They walk out their front door and take off down one road or another and just keep on walkin'.

There you go. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Just keep on walking till they come to something else.

Ain't you never heard of nobody having the walking blues?

Now, that's what you call it when you just take off like that.

Mmm, my daddy ain't had no walking blues.

What you talking about?

He stayed right there with his family, but he was just as evil as he could be!

My mama couldn't stand him. Couldn't stand that evilness.

She run off when I was about eight.

She sneaked off one night, told me she was coming back for me.

I ain't never seen her no more.

All his women run off and left him. He wasn't good for nobody.

My turn come to head out.

I was 14, got to sniffing around Joe Canewell's daughter.

We had this old mule called "Greyboy".

My daddy sent me out to do some plowing.

I got to fooling around with Joe Canewell's daughter.

Found us a nice spot, got real cozy with each other.

She was about 13, so we done figured we grown anyway.

So, we were down there by the creek, enjoying ourselves, ain't thinking about nothing.

Didn't know Greyboy had gotten loose, wandered back to the house, and my daddy was lookin' for me.

So, we down there enjoying ourselves when he come up on us.

Surprised us.

Had them leather straps off that mule, commenced to whupping me like there was no tomorrow.

I jump up. I'm mad, embarrassed.

I was scared of my daddy.

Now, when he commenced to whipping on me, quite naturally, I run to get out of the way.

Now, I think he's mad 'cause I ain't done my work.

But I see where he's chasing me off, so he can have the gal for himself.

When I see what the matter of it was, I lost all fear of my daddy, and right there, I became a man.

Fourteen years of age.

Now, it's my turn to run him off.

I picked up them same reins he used on me.

I picked up them reins, I commenced to whupping on him.

Gal jump up, she run off.

When he turned to face me, I knew why the devil never come and get him

'cause he was the devil himself.

I don't know what happened.

I woke up, laying there by the creek, and Blue, this old dog we had, he was licking my face.

Both my eyes were swoll shut.

I thought I was blind, I couldn't see nothing.

I just laid there and cried.

And I didn't know what I was gonna do.

But I knew the time had come for me to leave my daddy's house.

Suddenly, the world got big, and...

It was a long time before I could cut it down to where I could handle it.

Part of that cutting down was where I got to the place where I could feel him kicking in my blood, and I knew the only thing that separated us was a matter of a few years.

What you got there, Uncle Gabe?

I got me a ham sandwich.

Rose gave me a ham sandwich.

I lost touch with everybody except Gabriel.

But...

I hope he's dead.

I hope he found some peace.

That's a heavy story, Pop.

I didn't know you left home when you was 14.

Fourteen's kinda young to be on your own.

I don't know what I would've done.

Well, I got up from that creek, walked on down to Mobile.

I was through with farming. I figured I'd do better in the cities.

So, I walked the 200 miles to Mobile.

Wait a minute, you ain't walked no 200 miles, Pop.

Ain't nobody gonna walk no 200 miles.

You talking about some walking there!

That's the only way you got anywhere back in them days.

Shit! Damn if I wouldn't have hitched a ride with somebody.

Who you gonna hitch it with?

There ain't no cars and things like they got now.

We talking about 1918.

What you all out here gettin' into?

I'm telling Lyons how good he got it.

He don't know nothing about this I'm talking.

Lyons, that was Bonnie on the phone.

She says you supposed to pick her up.

Yeah, okay, Rose.

I walked on down to Mobile, hitched up with some fellows that was coming up this way.

Got up here and found out, not only could you not get a job, you couldn't find no place to live.

I thought I was in freedom.

Colored folks living down there on the riverbanks in whatever kind of shelter they could find for themselves.

Right down there under the Brady Street Bridge.

Living down there in shacks made out of sticks and tar paper.

Messed around down there.

Went from bad to worse. Started stealing.

First, it was food. Then I figure I steal me some money, I can buy me some food, buy me some shoes, too.

One thing led to another. Met your mama.

I was young, anxious to be a man.

I met your mama and had you. Why'd I do that for?

Now, I got to worry about feeding you and her.

Got to steal three times as much.

I went out one day looking for somebody to rob.

That's what I was, I was a robber.

I'mma tell you the truth.

I'm ashamed of it today, but it's the truth.

I went to rob this fella, I pull out my knife.

He pulled out a gun, shot me in the chest.

It felt like somebody had taken a hot branding iron and laid it on me.

Now, when he shot me, I jumped at him with my knife, and they say I killed him.

Locked me up, put me in the penitentiary for 15 years.

That's where I met Bono.

Where I learned how to play baseball.

Got out that place, and your mama had taken you, went on to make a life without me.

Fifteen years was a long time for her to wait.

But that 15 years cured me of that robbing stuff.

Rose'll tell you.

I first met her, she ask me if I had gotten all that foolishness out of my system.

I said, "Baby, it's you and baseball, "all what count to me." You hear me, Bono?

And I meant it, too. She said, "Which one come first?"

I said, "Well, ain't no doubt it's baseball.

"But you stick and get old with me, "and we'll both outlive this baseball."

Am I right, Rose?

And it's true.

Man, hush your mouth. You ain't say no such thing.

Talkin' about, "Baby, you know you'll always be number one with me."

That's what you was talking.

That's why I love this woman.

Rose will keep you straight.

You get off the track, she'll straighten you up.

Lyons, you better get on up and get Bonnie.

She waiting on you.

Hey, Pop. Yeah?

You ought to come down to the Grill, hear me play.

Oh, man, I ain't goin' down there.

I'm too old to be hanging out in them clubs.

You got to be good to play down at the Grill.

Come on, Pop.

I got to get up in the morning. Well, you ain't gotta stay long.

No, I'm gonna eat my supper and go to bed.

Well, I got to go. I'll see you later.

Don't you come by my house on my payday!

And pick up the phone, let somebody know you coming, and bring Bonnie, you know I'm always glad to see her.

I'll do that, Rose. You take care now.

See you, Pop. All right.

See you, Mr. Bono.

See you, Uncle Gabe! Lyons! King of the Jungle!

Supper ready, woman?

Me and you got some business to take care of.

I'mma tear it up, too. Troy, I done told you now!

Oh, hell, woman, it's Bono. Bono like family.

I done know this nigger since...

How long have I known you? It's been a long time.

I done known this nigger since Skippy was a pup!

Me and him done been through some times!

You sure are right about that.

Hell, I known him longer than I known you, Rose, and we still standin' shoulder to shoulder.

Look here, Bono, a man can't ask for no more than that.

I love you, nigger.

Oh, hell! I love you, too.

But I got to get home, see my woman. You got yours in hand.

I got to go get mine.

What you do that for, Pop?

What's the matter? Cory, what's the matter?

Pop done went up to the school and told Coach Zellman I can't play football no more.

Wouldn't even let me play the game.

Told him to tell the recruiter not to come.

Troy. What you Troying me for?

Yeah, I did it. And the boy knows why I did it.

Why you wanna do that to me? That was the one chance I had!

Ain't nothing wrong with Cory playing football, Troy.

The boy lied to me.

I told the nigger, "You want to play football, "you keep up with your chores

"hold that job down at the A&P." That was the conditions.

I stopped down to see Mr. Stawicki...

I can't work after school during the football season, Pop.

I tried to tell you Mr. Stawicki was holding my job for me.

You don't never want to listen to nobody, and then you wanna go and do this to me?

I ain't done nothin' to you. You done it to yourself.

Just 'cause you didn't get a chance!

You're just scared I'm gonna be better than you, that's all!

Come here. Troy.

Troy.

Pick it up.

Put it on.

Strap it up.

All right.

See, you done made a mistake.

I didn't even do nothing! I'll tell you what your mistake was.

You swung at the ball and you didn't hit it.

That's strike one. You in the batter's box now.

You swung and you missed, see?

That's strike one.

Don't you strike out.


Cory, why don't you come on in here, help me clean out these cupboards.

I ain't quitting the team. I don't care what Papa says.

I'll talk to him when he get back.

He had to go see about your Uncle Gabe.

Police done arrested him again.

Said he was disturbing the peace.

He'll be back directly.

Come on in here and help me clean out these cupboards.

Come on.

Troy, what they say down there?

They ain't said nothing. I give them $50, they let him go.

I'll talk to you about it.

Where Cory?

He in the house, helping me clean out these cupboards.

All right, tell him to get his butt out here.

All they want is the money.

This makes six, seven times, I done went down there and got him.

See me coming, they stick out their hands.

Yeah, I know what you mean. That's all they care about, that money.

They don't care about what's right.

Nigger, why you got to go and get some hardwood?

You ain't doing nothin' but building a little old fence.

Get you some soft pinewood. That's all you need.

I know what I'm doing. This outside wood.

You put pinewood inside the house.

Pinewood inside wood. This here the outside wood.

Now tell me, where the fence gonna be?

You don't need this wood.

You can put it up with pinewood, and it'll stand as long as you gonna be here looking at it.

How you know how long I'm gonna be here, nigger?

Hell, I might live forever.

I'll live longer than old man Horsely.

That's what Magee used to say.

Ah, Magee a damn fool. Now you tell me who you ever heard of gonna pull their own teeth with a pair of rusty pliers?

They're old folks.

My granddaddy used to pull his teeth with pliers.

They ain't had no dentists for colored folk back then.

Well, get clean pliers. You understand? Clean pliers.

Sterilize them. Besides, we ain't living back then.

All he had to do was go down to Doc Goldblum's.

I see where you and that Tallahassee gal, that Alberta, see where you all done got tight.

What you mean, "got tight"?

I see where you be laughing and joking with her all the time.

I laugh and joke with 'em all. Bono, you know me.

Ain't the kind of laughing and joking I'm talking about.

How you doing, Mr. Bono?

Cory, get that saw from Bono and cut some wood.

He talking about wood too hard to cut.

Stand back there, Jim.

Let the young boy show you how it's done.

He's sure welcome to it.

Whew-ee!

Look at that. Big, ol' strong boy, looks like Joe Louis.

Hell, I must be getting old the way I'm watching that boy whip through that wood.

I don't see why Mama wants a fence around no yard no way.

Damn if I know, either.

I don't know what the hell she keeping out with it.

She ain't got nothing nobody wants.

Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.

Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.

Hell, nigger, I don't need nobody to tell me my wife loves me.

Cory, go in the house and see if you can find the other saw.

Where's it at?

I said find it. Look for it till you find it.

What is that supposed to mean? Want to keep us in?

Troy, I done known you seem like damn near my whole life.

You and Rose both. I known both of you all for a long time.

I remember when you met Rose.

When you was hitting them baseball out of the park.

A lot of them old gals was after you then.

You had the pick of the litter.

When you picked Rose, I was happy for you.

That's the first time I knew you had any sense.

I said, "My man Troy knows what he's doing.

"I'm gonna follow this nigger, he might take me somewhere."

I been following you, too.

I done learned a whole heap of things about life watching you.

I done learned how to tell where the shit lies.

How to tell it from the alfalfa.

You done learned me a lot of things.

Showed me how to not make the same mistakes.

To take life as it come along, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Rose is a good woman, Troy.

I know she a good woman.

I've been married to her for 18 years.

What you got on your mind, Bono?

I just say she's a good woman, like I say anything.

I ain't got to have nothing on my mind.

You just say she a good woman and leave it hanging out there like that?

Why are you telling me she a good woman?

She loves you, Troy. Rose loves you. Uh-huh.

You saying I don't measure up?

That's what you tryin' to say.

I don't measure up 'cause I'm seeing this other gal.

I know what you tryin' to say.

I know what Rose means to you, Troy.

I'm just tryin' to say I don't want to see you mess up.

Yeah.

Well, I appreciate that, Bono.

If you was messing around on Lucille, I'd be telling you the same thing.

That's all I got to say.

I just say that 'cause I love you both.

Oh. Yeah.

You know me. I wasn't out there looking for nothing.

You can't find a better woman than Rose, I know that.

But it seems like this woman just stuck on to me where I can't shake her loose.

I done wrestled with it and tried to throw her off, but now she stuck on tighter.

And now she stuck on for good.

You's in control. That's what you tell me all the time.

You responsible for what you do.

I ain't ducking the responsibility of it.

As long as it set right in my heart, then I'm okay.

'Cause that's all I listen to. It tell me right and wrong every time.

And I ain't talking about doing Rose no bad turn.

I love Rose.

She done carried me a long ways, and I love and respect her for that.

I know you do.

That's why I don't want to see you hurt her.

But what you gonna do when she finds out?

What you got then?

You try to juggle both of them, sooner or later, you gonna drop one of them.

That's common sense. I know what you're saying, Bono.

I been trying to figure a way to work it out.

Work it out right, Troy.

I ain't trying to get all up between you and Rose's business, but work it, so it come out right.

Hell, I get all between you and Lucille's business.

And when you gonna buy that woman that refrigerator she be wanting?

And don't tell me you ain't got no money.

I know who your banker is.

Mellon don't need that money as bad as Lucille wants that refrigerator.

I know that.

Tell you what I'll do. What?

When you finish building this fence for Rose, I'll buy Lucille that refrigerator.

You done stuck your foot in your mouth now.

Hey, nigger, where you going?

I'm going home.

I know you don't expect me to help you now.

I'm protecting my money.

I want to see you put that fence up by yourself.

That's what I want to see.

You'll be here another six months without me.

Nigger, you ain't right.

When it come to my money, I'm right as fireworks on the Fourth of July.

We gonna see.

You better get out your bank book!


What they say down there? What's happening with Gabe?

I went down there and got him out. Cost me $50.

Said he was disturbing the peace.

Judge set up a hearing for him in three weeks to show cause why he shouldn't be recommitted.

What'd you say? What'd you tell the judge?

I told him I'd take care of him.

It didn't make no sense to recommit the man.

He stuck out his big greasy palm, told me to give him $50 and take him on home.

Where's he at now? Where'd he go off to?

Gone about his business. He don't need nobody to hold his hand.

Well, I don't know, seem like that would be the best place for him.

To put him in a hospital.

I know what you gonna say, but that's what I think would be best.

Man had his life ruined fighting for what?

Now, they want to take him and lock him up?

Let him be free. Man ain't bothering nobody.

Everybody got their own way of looking at it, I guess.

Come on, get your lunch.

I got some lima beans and cornbread in the oven.

Come on, get somethin' to eat.

Ain't no sense in you fretting over Gabe.

Rose, I got something to tell you.

Wait till I put the food on the table. Rose...

Now, I don't know how to tell you this.

And I can't explain it none.

It just sort of grows on you.

It started off like a little bush, next thing you know, it's a whole forest.

Troy, what is you talking about?

I'm talking, woman. Let me talk.

I'm trying to tell you, find a way to tell you that...

I'm gonna be a daddy.

Yeah, I'm gonna be somebody's daddy.

Troy, you ain't telling me this. You're gonna be what?

You're gonna be somebody's daddy? Rose...

You're telling your wife this?

Now...

Hey, Troy! Hey, Rose!

I got to wait 18 years to hear something like this?

Hey, Rose.

I got a flower for you.

That's a rose. The same rose like you is.

Thanks, Gabe.

Troy, you ain't mad at me?

Them bad mens come and put me away.

You ain't mad at me? No. No, I ain't mad at you.

Eighteen years, and you want to come with this?

See what I got? Got a brand-new quarter.

Rose, it's just that...

Ain't nothing you can say, Troy. Ain't no explaining it.

The fella that give me this quarter had a whole mess of 'em!

I'm gonna keep this quarter till it stops shining.

Gabe, go on up front now. I got some watermelon in the Frigidaire.

Go on. I'll get you a piece.

Say, Rose, you know, I was chasing hellhounds, and them bad mens come and get me and take me away.

Troy helped me. He come down there and told them they better let me go before he beat them up!

Yeah, he did!

Go up front now, Gabe. I'll get you some watermelon.

Them bad men is gone now.

Okay. Rose gonna give me some watermelon, the kind with the stripes on it.

Why, Troy?

Why?

After all these years, you come dragging this in to me now?

It don't make no sense at your age.

I could've expected this 10, or 15 years ago, but not now.

Age ain't got nothing to do with it, Rose.

I done tried to be everything a wife should be.

Everything a wife could be.

I've been married 18 years, and now, I got to live to see the day you tell me you been seeing another woman and done fathered a child by her.

And you know I never wanted no half-nothing in my family!

My whole family is half.

Everybody got different fathers and mothers and my two sisters and my brothers.

You could hardly tell who's who.

Could never sit down and talk about Papa and Mama.

It was always your papa, your mama, my papa, my mama.

And I ain't never wanted that for none of my children!

And now, you want to drag your behind in here and tell me something like this!

Stop it now. You ought to know. It's time for you to know.

Well, I don't want to know, God damn it!


Rose?

I just can't make it go away. It's done now.

I can't wish the circumstances of the thing away.

And you don't want to, either.

Maybe you want to wish me and my boy away.

Maybe that's what you want.

Well, you can't wish us away.

I got 18 years of my life invested in you.

You ought to have stayed upstairs in my bed where you belong.

Now, listen to me. We can get a handle on this thing.

We can talk this out, come to an understanding.

All of a sudden it's "we."

Where was "we" at when you were down there, rolling around with some godforsaken woman?

"We" should've come to an understanding before you started making a damn fool of yourself!

You're a day late and a dollar short when it comes to an understanding with me.

Rose, it's just that she gives me a different idea.

A different understanding about myself.

I can step out of this house and get away from the pressures and the problems, be a different man.

I ain't got to worry about how I'll get the roof fixed, or pay the bills, or...

I can just be a part of myself I ain't never been before.

What I want to know is...

What I want to know is do you plan to continue seeing her?

That's all you can say to me.

I could sit up in her house and laugh.

You understand what I'm saying?

I could laugh out loud, and it feels good.

It reaches all the way down to the bottom of my shoes.

Rose, I...

I can't give that up.

Well, maybe you ought to go on and stay down there with her, if she's a better woman than me.

It ain't about nobody being a better woman, or nothing.

Rose, you ain't to blame.

A man couldn't ask for a better wife than you've been.

I'm responsible for it.

I done locked myself into a pattern, trying to take care of you all, that I forgot about myself.

Well, what the hell was I there for?

That was my job, not somebody else's.

Rose, listen to me. I done tried all my life to live decent.

To live a clean, hard, useful life.

I try to be a good husband to you, in every way I know how.

Maybe I come into the world backwards, I don't know, but you're born with two strikes on you before you come to the plate.

You got to guard it closely, always looking for the curveball on the inside corner.

You can't afford a called strike.

You can't let nothing get past you.

If you're going down, you're doing down swinging.

Everything lined up against you!

What you gonna do?

I fooled them, Rose. I bunted.

When I found you and Cory and a halfway decent job, I was safe.

Couldn't nothing touch me!

I wasn't gonna strike out no more.

I wasn't going back to the penitentiary.

I wasn't gonna lie in the street with a bottle of wine.

I was safe. I had me a family, a job.

I wasn't gonna get that last strike.

I was standing on first base, waiting for one of them boys to knock me in, to bring me home.

You should have stayed in my bed, Troy.

Then I saw the gal, she firmed up my backbone.

I got to thinkin' that if I tried, maybe I could steal second.

You understand? You should've held me tight.

You should've grabbed me and held on. I stood on first base for 18 years, and I thought, well, God damn it, go on for it!

We ain't talking about baseball!

We talking about you going off and laying up with another woman, then bringing it home to me.

That's what we're talking about. We're not talkin' about no baseball!

Rose, you're not listening to me.

I'm trying to explain it to you the best way I know how.

It's not easy for me to admit that I've been standing in the same place for 18 years!

Well, I've been standing with you!

I've been right here with you, Troy! I got a life, too.

I gave 18 years of my life to stand in the same spot as you!

Don't you think I ever wanted other things?

Don't you think I had dreams and hopes?

What about my life? What about me?

Don't you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men?

That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities?

That I wanted someone to make me laugh, so I could feel good?

You're not the only one who's got wants and needs.

But I held on to you, Troy.

I took all my feelings, my wants and needs and dreams, and I buried them inside you.

I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it.

I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom!

And it didn't take me no 18 years to realize the soil was hard and rocky, and it wasn't never gonna bloom!

But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter.

You was my husband.

I owed you everything I had.

Every part of me I could find to give you.

And upstairs in that bedroom, with the darkness falling in on me, I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn't the finest man in the world.

And wherever you was going, I was gonna be there with you, because you was my husband.

'Cause that's the only way I was gonna survive as your wife.

You always talking about what you give and what you don't have to give.

But you take, too, Troy.

You take and don't even know nobody's giving.

You say I take and don't give.

Troy, you're hurting me.

Troy, you're hurting my arm, let go! I gave you everything I got.

Don't you tell that lie on me.

Mama! Don't you tell that lie!

Troy, you're hurting me!

Troy! Troy!

All right. That's strike two.

You stay away from around me, boy. Don't you strike out.

You're living with a full count.

Don't you strike out!


Troy, I want to talk to you.

All of a sudden?

After all this time, you want to talk to me, huh?

You ain't wanted to talk to me in months.

You ain't wanted to talk to me last night.

You didn't want no parts of me then.

What you want to talk to me about now?

Tomorrow's Friday.

I know what day tomorrow is.

You think I don't know tomorrow's Friday?

My whole life, I ain't done nothing but look to see Friday coming, and you got to tell me it's Friday.

I want to know if you're coming home.

I always come home, Rose. You know that.

Ain't never been a night I ain't come home.

That ain't what I mean, and you know it.

I wanna know if you're coming straight home after work.

I figured I'd cash my check, hang out at Taylors' with the boys.

Maybe play a game of checkers.

Troy, I can't live like this. I won't live like this.

You're living on borrowed time with me.

Been going on six months now, you ain't been coming home.

I come home every night. Every night of the year.

That's 365 days.

I want you to come home tomorrow after work.

Rose, I don't mess up my pay. You know that.

I take my pay, I give it to you.

I don't have no money but what you give me back.

I just want a little time to myself.

A little time to enjoy life.

What about me? When's my time to enjoy life?

I don't know what to tell you, Rose. I'm doing the best I can.

You ain't been comin' home from work, but time enough to change your clothes and run out.

You wanna call that the best you can do?

I'm going over to the hospital to see Alberta.

She went into the hospital this afternoon.

Looks like she might have the baby early.

I won't be gone long.

Well, you ought to know. They went over to Miss Pearl's and got Gabe today.

She said you told them to go ahead and lock him up.

I ain't said no such thing. Whoever told you that is telling a lie.

Miss Pearl ain't doing nothing but telling a big, fat lie.

She ain't had to tell me. I read it on the papers.

What'd it say, huh? It said you told them to take him.

Oh, well, then they screwed that up, just like they screw up everything.

I ain't worried about what they got on that paper.

It say the government sends part of the check to the hospital, the other part to you.

I got nothing to do with that, if that's the way it works.

I don't make up the rules...

You did Gabe just like you did Cory.

You wouldn't sign the paper for Cory, but you signed for Gabe! You signed that paper!

I told you I ain't signed nothing, woman.

Hell, the only thing I signed was the release form.

Hell, I can't read, I don't know what they had on that paper.

I ain't signed nothing about sending Gabe away.

I said send him to the hospital, you said let him go free.

Then you went down there and you signed him to the hospital for half his money.

You went back on yourself, Troy. You're gonna have to answer for that.

You just been over there talking to Miss Pearl.

She just mad 'cause she ain't gettin' Gabe's rent money, that's all it is.

Troy, I seen where you signed the paper!

You ain't seen nothing I signed!

And what she doing got papers on my brother for, anyway?

Miss Pearl ain't doing nothing but telling a big, fat lie, and I'm gonna tell her about it, too!

You ain't seen nothing I signed!

Say...

You ain't seen nothing I signed!


Troy.

Troy. Mmm?

Hmm?

That was the hospital. Alberta had the baby.

Yeah? What she have? What is it?

It's a girl.

I...

I better get on down there to see her.

Troy.

I got to go see her now, Rose. That's only right.

What's the matter? Baby all right, ain't it?

Alberta died having the baby.

She died? You say she's dead?

Alberta dead?

They said they done all they could. They...

They couldn't do nothing for her.


Oh, what about the baby? Baby all right?

They say it's healthy.

I wonder who's gonna bury her.

She had a family, Rose.

She wasn't living in the world by herself.

I know she wasn't living in the world by herself.

Next thing you wanna know if she had any insurance.

You ain't got to talk to me like that!

First thing that jumped out your mouth. "Who's gonna bury her?"

Like I'm finna take that task on for myself.

I'm your wife. Don't push me away.

I ain't pushing nobody away. Just give me some space.

Just give me some room to breathe.


All right, Mr. Death.

I tell you what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna take and build me a fence around this yard, see?

I'm gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me.

And then I want you to stay on the other side.

You stay over there till you're ready for me, then you come on.

Bring your army, bring your sickle, bring your wrestling clothes.

I ain't gonna fall down on my vigilance this time.

You ain't gonna...

You ain't gonna sneak up on me no more.

When you ready for me, when the top of your list say Troy Maxson, then you come on up and knock on the front door.

Ain't nobody else got nothing to do with this.

This between you and me.

Man to man!

You stay on the other side of that fence till you ready for me!

Then you come up and knock on that front door anytime you want!

I'll be ready for you.


Bob Clemente with four home runs and 24 runs batted in.

Rose?

I'm standing here with my daughter in my arms.

Now, she ain't but a wee, bitty little old thing.

She don't know nothing about grownfolk business.

She innocent,

and she ain't got no mama.

What you telling me for, Troy?

Well...

Guess we'll go sit out here on the porch.

A man's got to do what's right for him.

I ain't sorry for nothing I done.

It felt right in my heart.

What you smiling at?

Your daddy's a great, big ol' man.

Got these great big ol' hands, but sometimes he's scared.

And right now, your daddy's scared 'cause we sitting out here on the porch and ain't got no home.

Oh, I've been homeless before.

I ain't never had no baby with me, but I've been homeless.

You just be out there on the road by your lonesome

and just see one of them trains coming by and just kinda go, say...

Please, Mr. Engineer Let a man ride the line

Please, Mr. Engineer Let a man ride the line

I ain't got no ticket Please Let me ride the blinds

She's my daughter, Rose, and my...

My own flesh and blood. I can't deny her.

No more than I can deny them boys.

You and them boys is my family.

You, them, and this child is all I got in this world, so...

I guess what I'm saying is,

that I'd appreciate it if you was to help me take care of her.

Okay, Troy,

you're right.

I'll take care of your baby for you.

'Cause, like you say,

she innocent.

You can't visit the sins of the father upon the child.

Motherless child's got a hard time.


From right now, this child's got a mother.

But you're a womanless man.


I'm coming in, everybody going out.

I'm taking this cake down to the church for the bake sale.

Lyons was by to see you. He stopped by to pay you your $20.

It's laying right here on the table.

Well, here go this money.

Well, put it in there on the table, Troy. I'll get it.

What time you coming back?

Ain't no use in you studyin' me. Don't matter what time I come back.

I just asked you a question, woman. Can't I ask you a question?

Troy, I don't want to get into it.

Now, your food is in there on the stove.

All you got to do is heat it up.

And don't be eating the rest of them cakes in there now.

I'm coming back for them.

We're having a bake sale at the church tomorrow.


Hey, Troy.

What's happening, Bono?

I just thought I'd stop by to see you.

Wasn't no one at the house, so I figured...

What you stop by to see me for?

You ain't stopped by in a month of Sundays.

Hell, I must owe you some money or somethin'.

Well, since you got your promotion, I can't keep up with you.

Hmm. Used to see you every day.

Now I don't even know what route you working.

Keep switching me around.

Got me out there in Green Tree now, hauling white folk garbage.

Green Tree, huh? Yeah.

You lucky.

At least you ain't got to be lifting them barrels.

Damn if they ain't getting heavier. Mmm.

I'm gonna put in my two years and call it quits.

Yeah, I'm thinking about retiring myself.

Oh, you got it easy.

You could drive for another five years.

Mmm. Ain't the same, Bono.

It ain't like working the back of the truck.

You feel like you working by yourself. Ain't nobody to talk to.

Naw, I'm thinking about retiring. How's Lucille?

She all right.

Her arthritis get to acting up on her sometimes.

Saw Rose on the way here. She going down to the church, huh?

Yeah, she took up going down there.

All them preachers looking to fatten their pockets.

Got some gin in here.

No, thanks. I just stopped in to say hello.

Well, you can take a drink, nigger. I ain't...

I ain't never known you to say no to a drink.

Oh...

You ain't got to work tomorrow.

I just stopped by.

I'm thinkin' of going over to Skinner's.

We got us a domino game going over his house every Friday.

Nigger, you can't play no dominoes.

I used to whup you four games out of five.

Well, that learned me. I'm getting better.

Yeah?

That's all right.

Look here, I got to be getting on.

Stop by sometime, huh?

Yeah, I'll do that, Bono.

Lucille told Rose you, uh, got her that new refrigerator.

Yeah. Rose told Lucille you had finally built your fence, so, I figured we'd call it even.

I knew you would.

Yeah.

Okay.

I'll be talking to you.

Yeah, good to see you, Bono.

I'm gonna stop over.

Yeah. Okay, Troy.

Hear it ring! Hear it ring!

Had an old dog His name was Blue

You know Blue was mighty true

You know Blue Was a good old dog

Blue treed a possum In a hollow log

Old Blue died And I dug his grave

Let him down With a golden chain

Every time old Blue barked

Blue treed a possum In Noah's Ark

I got to get by.

Say what? What you say?

You in my way. I got to get by.

You got to get by where?

This is my house. Bought and paid for.

Took me 15 years, and if you want to go in my house and I'm sitting on the steps, you say, "Excuse me," like your mama taught you.

Come on, Pop, I gotta get by.

You just gonna walk over the top of me?

I live here, too.

You just gonna walk over the top of me in my own house?

I ain't scared of you.

I ain't asked you if you was scared of me.

I asked you was you finna walk over the top of me in my own house? That was the question.

You ain't gonna say, "Excuse me."

You just gonna walk over the top of me.

If you want to put it like that.

How else am I gonna put it?

I was walking by you to go into the house, 'cause you sitting on the steps drunk, singing to yourself.

You can put it like that. Without saying, "Excuse me"?

I asked you a question. Without saying, "Excuse me"?

I ain't got to say "Excuse me" to you.

You don't count around here no more.

Oh?

Oh, I see. I don't count around here no more.

You ain't got to say "Excuse me" to your daddy.

All of a sudden, you done got so grown, where your daddy don't count around here no more, huh?

Around here in his own house and yard that he done paid for with the sweat of his brow?

All of a sudden, you done got so grown that your daddy don't even count around here.

What, you gonna take over?

Huh?

You gonna take over my house? You gonna wear my pants?

You gonna go in there and stretch out on my bed?

You ain't got to say, "Excuse me," because your daddy don't count around here no more.

Is that right? That's right.

You always talking this dumb stuff.

Now why don't you just get out my way?

I guess you got someplace to sleep.

Something to put in your belly. You got that?

Huh?

'Cause that's what you need. You got that?

Huh?

You don't know what I got! You ain't got to worry about what I got!

You right.

You 100% right.

I done spent the last 17 years worrying about what you got.

Now, it's your turn, see?

I tell you what we do.

You grown. We done established that.

You a man. Now, let's see you act like one.

Turn your behind around and walk out this yard.

And when you get out there in the alley, you can forget about this house, see.

'Cause this is my house.

You go on and be a man and get your own house.

You can forget about this, 'cause this is mine.

You go on and get yours, 'cause I'm through doing for you.

What you done for me. What you ever give me?

Them feet. Them bones. That pumping heart, nigger!

Give you more than anybody else ever gonna give you.

You ain't never gave me nothing!

You ain't never done nothing but hold me back, afraid I was gonna be better than you!

All you ever did was try and make me scared of you.

I used to tremble every time you called my name.

Every time I heard your footsteps in this house.

Wondering all the time, "What's Pop gonna say if I do this?

"What's he gonna say if I do that?

"What's Pop gonna say if I turn on the radio?"

And Mom, too! She tries, but she's scared of you.

Leave your mama out of this. Your mama ain't got...

I don't know how she stands you after what you did to her!

I told you, leave your mama outta this.

What are you gonna do? Give me a whupping?

You can't whup me no more! You're too old!

You're just an old man.

Nigger!

That's what you are. You're just...

You're just another nigger on the street to me.

You're crazy! You know that? Yeah, go on.

Get on away from around me. You got the devil in you.

You are just a crazy old man! Talkin' about I got the "devil" in me!

Yeah. I am crazy.

If you don't get the hell out of my yard, I'm gonna show you how crazy I am.

Now, go on, get the hell out of my yard!

This ain't your yard!

You took Uncle Gabe's money he got from the Army to buy this house, when you put him out!

Get your black ass out of my yard!

I ain't going nowhere!

Come on, put me out, I ain't scared of you.

That's my bat. Come on.

Put my bat down. Come on, put me out!

What's the matter? You so bad. Put me out!

You're gonna have to use it.

You want to draw that bat back on me, you're gonna have to use it.

Come on!

Come on!

You're gonna have to kill me.

You want to draw that bat back on me, you're gonna have to kill me.

Come on.

Come on. Then I'll show you.

Come on!


Huh?

Go on, get away from around my house.

Go on.

Tell Mama I'll be back for my things.

They'll be on the other side of that fence!

Can't taste nothing.

I can't taste nothing.

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah.

Hallelujah.

I can't taste nothing no more.

Come on.

It's between you and me now.

Come on. Anytime you want.

Come on. I be ready for you.

But I ain't gonna be easy.

Raynell?

Ma'am? What you doing?

Nothing.

Get in here and get dressed. What are you doing?

See if my garden growed.

I told you it ain't gonna grow overnight.

You got to wait.

Yeah, but it look like it ain't never gonna grow, Mama. Dag!

I told you, a watched pot never boils.

This ain't even no pot, Mama.

Get in here and get dressed.

This ain't no morning to be playing around, you hear me?

Yes, ma'am.

Bye, garden.


Hi. I bet your name is Raynell.

Mmm-hmm.

Is your mama home?

Mama, there's a man down here!

Mama!

Cory?

Cory.

Cory. Cory!

Oh! Lord have mercy! Cory.

Lookee here, y'all.

Aww, looka here.

Done got all grown up.

Don't cry, Mama. What you crying about?

I'm just so glad you made it.

Hey, Lyons. How you doing, Mr. Bono?

Look at you, man, look at you.

Don't he look good, Rose? Got on them corporal stripes.

What took you so long?

You know how the Marines are, Mama.

They got to get all their paperwork straight before they let you do anything.

Well, I'm sure glad you made it. They let Lyons come.

Your Uncle Gabe's still in the hospital.

They don't know if they're gonna let him out or not.

I talked to them a little while ago.

A corporal in the United States Marines.

Your daddy knew you had it in you.

He used to tell me all the time.

Hey, don't he look good, Mr. Bono?

Yeah, he reminds me of Troy when I first met him.

Ah, say, Rose, Lucille's down at the church with the choir.

I'm gonna go get the pallbearers lined up.

I'll be back to get you all.

Thanks, Jim.

See you, Mr. Bono.

Mmm-mmm-mmm.

Cory, look at Raynell.

Ain't she precious?

She's gonna break a whole lot of hearts.

Say hello to your brother. This your brother, Cory.

You remember Cory? No, ma'am.

Naw, she don't remember me, Mama.

Oh, well, we talk about you. She heard us talk about you.

This is your brother, Cory. Say hello.

Hi. Hi.

So, you're Raynell.

Mmm-hmm.

Mama's told me a lot about you.

Come on, let me fix you some breakfast. Keep up your strength.

I ain't hungry, Mama.

You can fix me something, Rose. I'll be in there in a minute.

You sure you don't want nothing, Cory?

I know they ain't feeding you right.

No, Mama, thanks. I don't feel like eating.

I'll get something later.

Raynell, get up there and get that dress on like I told you.

I always knew you was gonna make something out of yourself.

Your head was always in the right direction.

So, you gonna stay in?

Make it a career? Put in your 20 years?

I don't know. I got six already. I think that's enough.

Stick with Uncle Sam and retire early.

Ain't nothing out here.

I guess Rose told you about what happened with me.

They got me down at the workhouse.

I thought I was being slick cashing other people's checks.

How much time you doing?

They give me three years.

I got that beat now. I ain't got but nine more months.

It ain't so bad.

You learn to deal with it like anything else.

"You got to take the crookeds with the straights," that's what Papa used to say.

He used to say that when he struck out.

I seen him strike out three times in a row, and the next time up, he hit the ball over the grandstand.

Right out there in Homestead Field.

He wasn't satisfied hitting in the seats. He wanted to hit it over everything.

Then after the game, he had 200 people standing around, waiting to shake his hand.

You got to take the crookeds with the straights.

Papa was something else.

You still playing?

Cory, you know I'm gonna do that.

We got some fellas down there. We got us a band.

We gonna try to stay together when we get out, but...

Yeah.

I'm still playing.

Still helps me get out of bed in the morning.

As long as it do that, I'm gonna stick with it, try to make some sense out of it.

Lyons, I got these eggs in a pan.

Let me get in here and get these eggs, man.

Get ready to go bury Papa.

How you doing?

You doing all right?

Hi.

Hi.

You used to sleep in my room?

Yeah, that used to be my room.

That's what Papa call it. "Cory's room."

Got your football in the closet.

Raynell. Get up there, get dressed, and put them good shoes on.

Mama, can I just wear these? Them others hurt my feet!

Well, they're just gonna have to hurt your feet for a while.

You ain't said they hurt your feet when you went down to the store and got 'em.

They didn't hurt then. My feet done got bigger.

Don't give me no back talk!

Get up there, get dressed, and put them good shoes on.


Ain't too much changed.

He still got that rag tied to the tree.

He was out here swinging that bat.

I was just getting ready to go back in the house.

He swung that bat and just fell over.

Seem like, when he swung it, he stood there with this grin on his face.

Then he just fell over.

They carried him down there to the hospital, but I knew there wasn't no need.

Why don't you come on in the house? Mama, I got something to tell you.

I don't know how to tell you this, but I got to tell you.

I'm not going to Papa's funeral.

Boy, hush your mouth.

That's your daddy you talking about!

I don't want to hear that kind of talk this morning.

I done raised you to come to this?

You standing there all healthy and grown, talking about you ain't going to your daddy's funeral?

Mama, listen... I don't want to hear it, Cory!

Just get that thought out of your head.

I've got to say no to him. One time in my life, I got to say no.

I don't got to listen to that!

Now, I know you and your daddy ain't seen eye to eye, but I don't have to listen to that kind of talk this morning.

Disrespecting your daddy ain't gonna make you a man, Cory.

You gotta find some way to come to that on your own.

Not going to your daddy's funeral ain't gonna make you a man.

The whole time I was growing up, living in his house, Papa was like a shadow that followed you everywhere.

It weighed on you, and it sunk into your flesh.

It would wrap around you and lay there until you couldn't tell which one was you anymore.

That shadow just diggin' into your flesh!

Trying to crawl in. Trying to live through you.

Everywhere I looked, I saw Troy Maxson staring right back at me.

Hiding under the bed, in the closet.

I'm just saying I got to find a way to get rid of that shadow, Mama.

You just like him. You got him in you good.

Don't tell me that, Mama. You Troy Maxson all over again.

I don't want to be Troy Maxson!

I just want to be me.

You can't be nobody but who you are, Cory.

That shadow wasn't nothing but you growing into yourself.

You either got to grow into it, or cut it down to fit you, but that's all you got to make a life with.

That's all you got to measure yourself against the world out there.

Your daddy wanted you to be everything he wasn't, and at the same time, he wanted you to be everything he was.

Now, I don't know if he was right or wrong, but I do know he meant to do more good than he meant to do harm.

Sometimes, when he touched, he bruised, and sometimes, when he took me in his arms, he cut.

When I first met your daddy, I thought, "Here is a man I can lay down with and make a baby."

That's the first thing I thought when I seen him.

I thought, "Rose Lee, "here's a man you can open yourself up to

"and be filled to bursting!

"Here's a man that can fill up all them empty spaces

"you been tipping around the edges of."

When your daddy walked through the house, he was just so big.

He filled it up!

That was my first mistake.

Not to make him leave some room for me.

But

I wanted a house I could sing in.

And that's what your daddy gave me.

I didn't know to keep up his strength, I had to give up little pieces of mine.

I took on his life as mine and mixed up the pieces, so you couldn't hardly tell which was which.

It was my choice. My life.

And I didn't have to live it like that,

but that's what life offered me in the way of being a woman, and I took it.

I grabbed it with both hands.

And by the time Raynell came into the house...

I didn't want to make my blessings off of nobody's misfortune, but I took on to Raynell like she was all them babies I wanted and never had.

Like I'd been blessed to relive a part of my life.

And if the Lord see fit to keep up my strength,

I'm gonna do her exactly how your daddy did you.

I'm gonna give her the best of what's in me.

Mama!

Reverend Tolliver on the phone.

Hi.

Hi.

You in the Army or the Marines?

Marines.

Papa said it was Army. You know Blue?

Blue? Who's Blue?

Papa's dog, what he sing about all the time.

Hear it ring! Hear it ring!

Had an old dog His name was Blue You know Blue was mighty true You know Blue Was a good old dog Blue treed a possum In a hollow log From that you know Blue was a good old dog Hear it ring! Hear it ring!

Blue treed a possum Out on a limb Blue looked at me and I looked at him Grabbed that possum Put him in a sack Blue stayed there Till I came back Old Blue's feet was Big and round Never let a possum Touch the ground Old Blue died And I dug his grave I dug his grave With a silver spade Let him down With a golden chain And every night I call his name Go on, Blue, you good dog you Come on.

Go on, Blue You good dog you Blue laid down and died like a man Blue laid down and died Blue laid down And died like a man Now he's treeing possums In the Promised Land I'm gonna tell you this Just to let you know Blue's gone Where the good dogs go Blue's gone Where the good dogs go

Cory, we're getting ready to leave now!

Go upstairs and put your shoes on like Mama told you, so we can get ready to go to Papa's funeral.

Okay. I'll be back. Mmm.

Rose!

Hey, Rose!

Gabe? I'm here! I'm here, Rose!

Hey, Rose, I'm here!

Lyons, lookit here! See, Rose?

I told you. I told you they'd let him come.

How you doing, Uncle Gabe? How you doing, Uncle Gabe?

Hey! Hey, Rose, it's time!

It's time to tell Saint Peter to open the Gates.

You ready, Troy? Troy, you ready?

I'm gonna tell Saint Peter to open the Gates.

You get ready now.


Troy!

Troy.


That's the way that go.

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