Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) Script

# Skylark #

# Have you anything to say to me? #

# Can you tell me where my love can be? #

# Is there a meadow in the mist #

# Where someone's waiting to be kissed? #

# Skylark #

# I don't know if you can find these things #

# But my heart is riding on your wings #

# So if you find them anywhere #

# Won't you lead me there? #

Quit eyeballin' me, Flavis.

I knew you when you was a two-bit hustler on bull street.


Excuse me... you know where a fellow could get a cab?

Yeah, he just left.

You can call the company, but I'd just wait on him to come back...

Unless you want to take a ride.

Goin' to Jones street?

I'll get you there.

Put your stuff in there.

To your right, the pirates' house, built in 1794.

All the ne'er-do-Wells and scalawags divided up their Booty there.

Sherman stayed in the Green-Meldrim house to rest up after his fiery march through Atlanta.

Oh, he was gonna burn Savannah, too, but the locals drowned him in Chatham Artillery Punch and fancy parties till he decided to spare our fair city.

Forsyth Park, ladies and gentlemen.


You lookin' for somethin'?


Mr. Kelso? Are you Mr. Kelso?


I'm Loreen Baxter. Welcome to Savannah.

Town & country is my favorite magazine.

Oh, my land! Where are my manners?

What can I get you to drink?

Anything cold would be great.

Mr. Williams restored this home... one of the many he saved from the wreckin' ball.

The carriage house is reserved for Jim's clients, and guests such as yourself.

He's here.

Oh, welcome, Mr. Kelsey.

Oh, I'm sorry... Mr. Kelso.

John Kelso.

Ah, yes, I'm Betty Harty.

Sonny's been expecting you.

Uh, I'm here to see Jim Williams.

Sonny is Jim's attorney.

Well, hell!

Come on in, coach.

John Kelso.

Welcome to "the old curiosity shop."

You take a seat. I'll be right with you.

Uh-huh. Oh?



Oh, well, you let me know.

How was your trip?

Fine, fine. Mr. Williams said he was gonna meet me here.

Well, he will be right along.

We have a little business to attend to first.

Confidentiality agreement... just boilerplate stuff...

Plus a paragraph outlinin' Jim's editorial privileges.

Uh, town & country flew me down to write a 500-word story on a Christmas party.

It's a literary postcard. Are you serious about this?

It's not just any party.

Have you talked to the magazine about this?

Well, I'd rather have your word than some New York lawyer.

Uh, well, be that as it may, uh, I'm not gonna sign that.

Damn! How come?

It's just a little old party write-up.

All the more reason not to compromise my ethics.

It's a slippery slope.

As a professional, I'm sure you understand.

Promise to be fair?

Yes, of course.


This is John Kelso.


Let's take a walk, shall we, sport?


We'll go around Forsyth Park.

Um... Would y'all mind?

Oh, not at all, Betty.

Come on.

Did you sign Sonny's papers?

Actually, no.

Good for you.

Sonny's overly protective of my interests.

You walkin' the dog, Mr. Glover?

Yes, sir... Patrick do love his morning walk.

Would you mind?

Could I please have my picture made with Uga?

Yeah. Great.


All right. Smile.

Thanks. Dang good dog.

Thank you very much. You're welcome.

Thank you for asking.

No matter what you and I ever do in our lives, Mr. Kelso, neither of us will ever be as famous as Uga.

He's the university mascot of the Georgia bulldogs.

Is that right? Mm-hmm.

Now, I know I'm gonna regret asking this, but that man said he was walking a dog?


What dog?

Well, Mr. Glover was the law-firm Porter.

Mr. Bowen left instructions in his will that Mr. Glover should continue to be paid

$15 every week for walking Patrick, his Labrador.

So... Where's Patrick?

Oh, Patrick went on to his great reward about two years after Mr. Bowen, about 1974.

The dog's dead?

Mm-hmm, quite.

Why d-doesn't Mr. Glover walk Uga?

Well, then who'd walk Patrick?

I see.

There it is. This is your house?

Mm-hmm, built by general Hugh Mercer in 1860, but he never lived in this house.

His great-grandson was Johnny Mercer.

The songwriter?

Mm-hmm, Savannah's own.

What's your favorite of his tunes?

Well, my mother was always partial to "fools rush in."

Your mother?

Yeah. Indeed.

Well, I would love to take you in and give you the grand tour, but they're still settin' up for the party tonight.

I thought the party was tomorrow night.

Well, there are two parties.

Tonight is for bachelors... gentlemen only.

Would you like to come?

I'd like to cover it.

Oh, well, sorry, it's private.

Reporters aren't allowed.

Would you like to see my shop?

It's back here in the carriage house.


Now, this house is one of the largest houses in Savannah.

It covers an entire block.

Right in here... this is where we do all of our restorations.

This landscape... it's a stubbs.

Very good.

My father was a dealer.

It's called "Newmarket Heath, with a rubbing-down house."

It's a recent purchase that I will unveil at tomorrow night's event.

It's an odd piece.

Yes, the impasto is interesting.

Where's your black light?

It's an overpaint.

Very good, sport.

Had it x-rayed yet?


Then how will you know what it's obscuring?

Oh, I rather enjoy not knowing.

Just a minute!

Who is it?




I don't believe I know a Mandy.

Well, of course not... you won't open the damn door.

Hi. Nice to meet ya.


Y'all got some ice?

Sure, help yourself.

Joe Odom's fridge is on the blink, and plus, at present, we don't have electricity.


Me? No. No, not really.


If you're thirsty, a drink'll cure it, and if you're not, a drink'll prevent it.

Prevention is better than a cure.

Put on some pants, John Kelso.

Sure, just let me get a pair.


This is our newest addition to the Odom house.


And as you can see, Joe's gettin' creative with our electrical dilemma.

Anyway, we'll try the green wire.

Now, I've done this before, and I ain't been killed yet, but there's a first time for everything.

We done it!

Ain't a problem!

Joe Odom?

The one, the only.

Hey, where's my libation? Hold these, please.

Now, to Savannah electric and power!

And let's not forget our friends, the... Whoever!

Here's to ya!

All right, inside.

Honey, that's a tough job.

You're talkin' to the lady, hello!

Have you met Mr. Kelso, our newest addition to Savannah?

Jerry Spence.

Hello, how are you?

I'm charmed now. How are you?

I'm pretty good, pretty good... enjoying the party.

I wonder if he goes to my church.

I wonder. We'll find out.

# ...see, all night long, haulin' in great big cans #

# I hope one day soon #

# She'll let me be her hefty man #

# In the dumpster we'll be makin' love #

# In the dumpster beneath the stars above #

# In the dumpster I smell paradise #

# Don't have to ask her twice #

# 'Cause all I'm thinkin' of #

# Is me and that trash girl makin' that dumpster love #

Do you like that?

It's strong.

Yeah, strong and good...

Chatham Artillery Punch.

What's in it?

3 parts fruit, 7 parts liquor... whatever's available on both counts.

Great party. This is a great house.

Mmm, yeah, the fellow that owns this place is in New York for a year... asked me to look in on it for him, you know, water the plants.

You're squatting?

Whoo! Hey, now, that's a vicious word!

You're not a lawyer, are you?

No, no, no, no, no.

Good, 'cause they're the scum of the earth, lawyers, and I should know, bein' an ex-barrister myself.


Mm-hmm, ceremoniously disbarred nigh two years ago... had a little canon snafu.

What do you do now?

Me and Mandy... we're gonna open a piano bar.

I'd say you already have one.

Looks that way, doesn't it? Hmm.

Oh, wait a minute... hold the music!

Looky there!

Look at this!

Jerry Spence...

You have outdone yourself again.

That is a coif definitely befittin' your stature as the future ex-Mrs. Joe Odom.

Keep dreamin', darlin'.

Come on, Jerry.

She's one beautiful woman.

You two engaged?

Not yet.

Well, it's getting kind of late. I gotta get up in a few hours, so I'm gonna hit the road. Nice to meet you, Joe.

Hit the... no, wait a minute.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Joe's rule number 2... if you have to leave a party, you always take a traveler.

I can live with that one. Nice to meet you.

All right, then.

Hey, there.


Better to be on the edge of a party, don't you think?


Well, thank you for inviting me.

Any time... Every time.


Earlier... how'd you know my name?

Welcome to Savannah.

Mr. John Kelso?


This is for you. Thank you.

I'm not here right now.

Leave a message. I'll get right back to you.

Mr. Kelso? Yes.

Oh. I'm Lucille Wright.

I cater Mr. Williams' parties. Nice to meet you.

He should be down shortly.

Would you like me to show you what we're gonna serve?

Of course. Yes, come in.

Uh, lots of fresh vegetables, hot bread, jumbo shrimp, and... oh, let's see, this is smoked ham and Turkey.

Oh, both.

Great big fruit platter, and this is a wonderful crab dish.

Is it a bisque?

Jeff Braswell.

John Kelso.

I shoot Jim's parties.

Great, great. Let's get a shot of the whole spread... town & country loves its pretty pictures.

And pumpkin cornbread.

Mr. Williams insists on low-country cookin' for his parties.

Oh, you're gonna have fun tonight.

Indeed he is, Lucille.

Good fit... 44 long.

I have an eye for framin' things.

Welcome to Mercer house, Mr. Kelso.

Thank you.

Lucille, you have outdone yourself again this year.

Well, thank you.

Evenin', Sonny.


Ha ha, hello, Claire.

Good to see you.


I'm glad to see you. Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas.

Hey, hey, hey. How are you? Good to see you.

I'm so happy you're back. Mm-hmm.


Did you watch my drink for me?

Or did you try to steal it from me?

No. Ha ha.

Senator, how are you?

Doin' great.

Good to see you. Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas to you. So happy to have you here.

Hey. Look at you.

Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas. Good to see y'all. Welcome to Mercer house.

I think we have quite a party goin' tonight.

Oh, look at that niece of mine.


Hey. How are you?

John Kelso. Yeah, John.

Oh. Good to see you. Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas. Happy to have you here.

Oh, darlin', don't you look so pretty tonight!

I have one just like that at home.

I see our emerald bird has arrived.

Darling, good to see you.

Oh, handsome as ever.

How are you, dear?

I'm just fine. Harry! Oh, my God!

Oh, it's lovely to see you.

Jim, now, who is that magnificent creature?

Well, that is Serena Dawes.

You look gorgeous as ever!

Yes, well, I try.

A celebrated beauty in her day.

When her tycoon husband died, she moved back to Savannah and created a... well, a sort of a museum to herself in her boudoir.

Come here. I'll introduce you.

Who are these people?

Serena, how lovely to see you out of bed.

Why, Jim, I'd get out of bed for you anytime.

Oh! Harry was just about to show us the latest addition to his arsenal.

Oh, my God!

You know what that is? That is a.25.

My late husband blew his brains out with one of those.

So did mine! What?

I was fixin' myself a drink, and "gunsmoke" was on TV, and I heard a shot.

I thought it was part of the show till I walked in, and there was Lyman bleedin', sprawled in his favorite chair.

You know, everyone knew our marriage was a disaster.

If I'd so much as touched that gun, they'd have charged me with murder!

Yes, well, one day...

...I will shoot a man! Yes, I will!

I may start with you! Or you!


Is that loaded? Oh, yeah.


Which conversation shall we join?

The one least likely to involve gunfire.

Oh, excuse me for a moment.

Well, that's from Napoleon's coronation carriage.

You have a most impressive collection.

Oh, no, no, no, Mr. Kelso, look around... it's not a collection, it's my home.


Mm-hmm, I'm a minor enthusiast.

Minor? Three eggs, a jewelry box, and, I believe, the gold-leaf album.

Nicholas himself would be lucky to have so much fabergé.

Yes, well...

Wouldn't he?

I'll admit to that.

Would you care to see something a little more... Unusual?

That'd be very nice.


Hello, mother darlin'.

You enjoyin' yourself this evenin'?

I'm havin' a wonderful time, dear.

John Kelso. Mr. Kelso.

He's a writer, mother.


This is what we call the ballroom.


Is this the prized relic?

Well, it's a very rare relic.

This is the dagger that Prince Yusupov used to murder Rasputin.

He sliced off his cock and balls with it.

True story...

And deliciously evil, don't you think?


German Luger?

Mm-hmm. Be careful... it's loaded.

We've had burglaries.

Everybody's got loaded guns around here.

So tell me, Jim, has your family always collected?

Well, that's a very genteel way of asking if I come from old money.

Do you?


I was born in Gordon, Georgia, a little town outside of Macon.

My father was a barber and sometime housebuilder.

My mother was a secretary.

What money I have is about 11 years old.

So, yes, I am nouveau riche, but then, it's the "riche" that counts, now, isn't it?

There's only two things that interest me... work, and those trappings of aristocracy that I find worthwhile... the very things they're forced to sell when the money runs out... And it always runs out.

And then all they're left with is their lovely manners.

Fuck you, goddamn bitch!

Wouldn't even let me in the fuckin' house!

I had to come in the servants' entrance!

Will you excuse me for a minute?

Billy, I thought we agreed you'd stay away tonight.

Don't give me that drag-ass shit, Jim!

I got stood up tonight, and I'm pissed off!

Give me $20.

You get paid on Friday like everyone else.

What do you need $20 now for?

Give me $20.

I need it to get fucked up is what.

Well, I'd say you've accomplished that, sport.

Give me the money!

I ain't even close to gettin' fucked up the way I want to be!

No, I'm not gonna give you money for liquor or marijuana cigarettes or whatever else you...

Fuck you, Jim!

You don't give me warnings... I give 'em to you, remember, 'cause I can back mine up!

And you, you piece of shit!

You better watch yourself!

Fuck you.

Uh, that's Billy Hanson.

He works part time in the shop, and can, on occasion, be a very colorful character.

Well, I don't know who hates me more... the Atwells or their dogs.

Loren Atwell's been upset with me ever since I had him removed from the museum board.


There's only one way to remedy this.

Thank you, senator.

It was a hell of a bash, Jim.

You've outdone yourself.

Delightful, delightful. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you for coming.

Thank you for havin' us.

This... you have my book!

You seem surprised.

Well, it didn't exactly fly off the bookshelves.

What a coincidence that I'd be assigned to this story, and you'd have read my only book.

There are no coincidences.

Have you ever written for town & country before?


You requested me?

They've been wantin' to cover my Christmas party for years, and my acceptance of their offer this year was contingent on one thing... your participation.

Thank you for that.

No, thank you.

Now sit back, relax, enjoy your Brandy, and tell me your life story, John Kelso.

It's gettin' late, and I have an early flight, so maybe I can take a raincheck on that...

Next Christmas.

If you make the cut.

Well, we'll hope for the best.

Well, I-I can't wait to see the article, and I certainly hope that you have enough for your 500-word essay.

Believe me, I could use 10,000.

Thank you for everything, Jim. I'll show myself out.

Oh, and, sport...

...I really did like your book.

Thank you.

Such a beautiful jacket...

I believe that's an endangered species.

Look at that 14-karat-gold dress and Tony Manero.

Who's hungry?

Want some punch, baby?

Oh, you're such a good pony!

What are you doin' gettin that horse drunk?

Hey, Joe...

What happened?

Oh, that Jim Williams went and shot somebody.



Mm-hmm, he sure did.

Those lights ain't part of the Christmas display.

For real?

Yes, sir, he did... he shot somebody.

Look at that man go.

I believe I'm startin' to like that yankee.

What's that sayin'... "curiosity killed the yankee"?

I think that's it.

Uh, well, he was drunker when he got back, and, uh, I'll tell you, when he's been drinkin', he's got, like, another personality altogether.

He'd already smashed some things upstairs earlier in the evenin', and he must have gone to some drive-in "B" movie with throats bein' slashed and that sort of thing, and no doubt it had an effect, because I have never seen him that angry.

He and I got into an argument.

He... he destroyed this beautiful, priceless antique clock in the hallway.

If you'd like to spike that up, there's a bar right there in the livin' room.

No, thank you, I'm still on duty, Mr. Williams.

Yes, I-I know that.

I'm sorry. This is very upsetting.

How much longer is this all gonna take?

Hey, Jeff, what are you doin' here?

I work for the city, too. I got that film from the party.

I'll get it to you.

Great, great.

He yelled at me.

He came into the office, and he stood there and he yelled, "I might be leavin' tomorrow, but goddamn it, you're leavin' tonight!"

And he fired at me twice, and I pulled the Luger from my desk, and I fired back.

And I tell you, if it had happened to you, you would have done exactly what I did.

I have never been so scared in my life.

If I had not shot at Billy, I have no doubt it'd be my obituary you'd be readin' in the papers.

What the hell are you doin' here?

Jesus Christ! Frank...

My client has nothin' to say.



I can't believe you would do this without callin' me!

How long have we known each other?

Is this entrapment, Frank?

What the hell is goin' on?!

We'll wrap it up indoors as soon as we can.

Sorry, but I'm not gonna have time to process this film for you.


Jim told me you heard Hanson threaten him.


No-good street hustler.

I told Jim he was dangerous.

Darlin', forget about town & country.

Yeah, I know I've only been here three days and it's just a shooting, but give it time.

Okay? This place is fantastic.

It's like "gone with the wind" on mescaline.

I-I know you're my agent. Listen to me.

They walk imaginary pets here, garland, on a fucking leash, all right?

And they're all heavily armed and drunk.

New York is boring. I'll call you later.

Finley Largent's up for re-election, so he'll try his damnedest to get this thing to trial.

He won't take my damn phone calls, so we'll just have to use the back door.

I'll be back.

Thanks for comin' over, coach.


Jim's in the office.

Jim and I had a talk about something we would like to run by you.

You want me to kill the story.

Uh-huh. Done.

Great, great!


Actually, I was...

Considering writing a book.

Sweet Jesus! A book about what?

Self-defense... happens all the time.

Then why are you worried about the D.A.?

I...Overheard in the lobby.

We're a small town.

We defend ourselves... our reputations... against the outside world.

Word gets around some new yorker's tryin' to make us look bad, you're gonna find Savannahians can get pretty tight-lipped.

If there's a trial, will you call me as a witness?

You threatenin' me?

Absolutely not.

You perjure yourself, you'll find yourself in jail, bubba.

I wouldn't do it.

My point is, when it comes to this, I'm at ground zero.

If there's nothing worth writing, you got no worries.

That's what I get paid for. I will not permit this.


I don't need anyone's permission.

Not really.

Then why are you soliciting it?

You need my permission, my help, my acquiescence, or you don't have a story.

Not really.

And we both know that.

So, would the river flow both ways?


Would you share whatever information you garner with me and Sonny?

Yes... But it won't change what I write.

And you don't get to see a word of it until it's published.

So... Who would be the main character in this book?

You written up cases like this before?

A few of them in New York for esquire, yeah.

So, what do you think?

What do I think?

Well, if you're worried about the D.A., grand juries read papers.

Proper spin control could make a big difference.

What the hell are you talkin' about?

You said Hanson was a street hustler, right?

Did he have a record? Take drugs, deal drugs, pimp?

Who are his friends?

That's the kind of spin that can influence a grand jury.

Get your investigators. Hit the streets.

Every P.I. In town's an off-duty cop.

Besides, why would we need a P.I.

When we got ourselves a hotshot New York writer?

Fill in all the gaps.

Take care, bubba.


Yes? Hi.

Are you the flower man?

I'm John Kelso. I'm a writer, and I wanted to ask you... honey, if you're not the flower man, then just leave me be.

The lady's in mourning, and I haven't received a flower or a rose or anything to show for it.

Just please leave me be.

I just know that... uh...

Miss Deveau, I... I know Billy Hanson used to live here.

I wanted to ask you a few questions.

If it's an inappropriate time, you know, I'll come back later.

Honey, I can't believe that you're runnin' around, ringin' on my doorbell.

Where are you from? Where are your manners?

Just leave me be.

My condolences. I'll c...

...come back another time or...

I apologize for the, uh, delay.

Why, thank you.

They're lovely... they're absolutely lovely.

I'd love to ask you a few questions, if you have a minute.

Is this your car?

Yeah? How about a ride home?




Thank you.

What I want to know is, what is a white boy like you doing driving a big old brother's jived-ass heap like this shit here?

I just bought this thing, actually.

I kind of like it. It's not a bad car.

No, it's not bad, and I didn't mean to hurt your... did I hurt your feelings?

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

I can't help it. I just call things out.

I just call it out as I see it.

I just can't help it. I just do that.

But there's one thing you don't have to worry about.

What's that?

Ain't nobody damn sure gonna try to steal this piece of shit.

That's for sure.

Well, just practicing up till I can save enough money to get my rolls.

Now, Chablis is a pretty name. It's unusual.

Why, thank you.

Yeah, I got it off a wine bottle.

It's a show name.

You're an actress?

No, I'm not an actress. I'm a showgirl.

I work at the pickup on congress.


I lip-sync, I emcee, I dance.

You know, shit like that.

The person you're seeing now is just little old simple Chablis, but in the evenings, when I put on my gowns and my makeup and my jewelry and my perfume, I become the lady Chablis.

You are just so cute.

A cool white wine for a cool black girl.

Oh, and you're full of flattery, too.

Hoo! It's gettin' hot up in here, honey.

My shots are kickin' in!

Hoo! Excuse me?

Yes, honey, my shots. Um, never mind that.

Let me ask... what did you want to talk to me about?

Billy Hanson.

No, Billy's dead.

Case closed.

Was he your boyfriend?

Billy... my boyfriend?

Were you two lovers?

No, hell no.

Billy was way too trashy for me, honey.

I'm a lady.

However, he did date my roommate Corinne for a while.

The two of those had some wild times together.


Mmm, those are beautiful.

So, tell me more about Corinne.

Corinne's like a lot of girls.

She found herself attracted to the wrong type of man.

Billy was not the right type of man.

She thought she could change him, but there was no way of changing that evil son of a bitch.

I'd love to speak to Corinne.

I'd like to speak to her, too, but she skipped town, owin' me two months' rent.

And Billy said that he would pay for it, but now he's... you know, he's...

He's... but you know, I'm... thank you.

But, you know, it's like my mama always said.

Two tears in a bucket.

Motherfuck it.

I have to remember that one.

No, don't remember that one. That's off the record.

All right. All right.


I'm gonna get your door for you.

Thank you, hon.

In the phone book, you were listed as "F. Deveau."

What's the "f" stand for?

The "f" stands for "Frank," hon.

That's me.


She's a he? Correct.

You're shittin' me.

Nope. If this thing heats up, I think you're gonna want to talk to her, Sonny.

Proper folks don't discuss such things.

She paints a pretty rotten picture of Billy Hanson.

Let me tell you a story, coach.

There was a judge here years ago.

His oldest boy was messin' around with a gangster's girlfriend.


One morning, they found him lyin' under the porch, his privates tucked into his lapel.

Dead men tell no tales.

Next day, headline read...

"fall from porch proves fatal."

Some fall. What's your point?

Savin' face in the light of unpleasant circumstances... it's the Savannah way.

I'll try and track down that real girl.

Corinne, you said?


Well, I got to skedaddle.

Doin' Christmas at Tybee Island.

We got all sorts of folks comin'.

Have a great Christmas, Sonny.

You too, John.

See you later. Bye, now.

Merry Christmas.

He's got 'em on a string.

Luther's not eatin'.


Check, please.

What's the matter, you didn't like it?

No, they were very good. They were excellent.

What was in the vial?

Well, he says it's enough poison to kill everybody in the county.

Oh. Hmm.

If he eats and it's a good day...


If he doesn't eat... well, let's just put it this way... if I were you, I wouldn't drink the water today.

Where does he put the poison?

In the water-supply system.

Is that true? Do you believe that?

I've lived here a long time, honey.

I believe most anything about anybody.

Where are we going, Jim?

Patience, dear boy.

I think it's time you meet the most important member of my defense team.

We goin' to the cemetery?

Not Bonaventure.

The colored cemetery's down the road.


Looks like we got the garden all to ourselves tonight.

John, meet Minerva.

How do you do?

You tryin' to work me, boy?

Put that hand back in your pocket.

I feel sorry for ya.

Oh, do tell, Minerva.

He think nobody love him.

That's silly. We've never met.

You got a hole in you.

Too many questions.

Don't know whether to feel this way or that without answers.


...there ain't no answers.

You come a long way to find that out, didn't you?

Now we got to get to work. You bring the money?


Put it on the grave.

Kiss it first, so it come back to you.

You bring the shiny dimes?

Bury 'em.

He's workin' hard agin you, James.

Who, Dr. buzzard?

No. No.

The boy... the dead boy.

Oh, Billy. Well, that doesn't surprise us.

Dr. buzzard?

Don't got much dead time left.

Dead time?

Lasts an hour... half-hour before midnight till half past.

Half-hour before midnight, for workin' good.

Half-hour after, for evil.

And we're gonna need a little of both tonight.

You got the bottle of water?

Ain't been through no pipe?

Give it to me.

We got to make him loosen up on James.

I need Shango...

And a little Ogoun.



Tell me somethin' about him.

He tried to kill me?

No, before then... something good.

Your kind words take root.

Loa will come back to bless you.

Something that made him happy?


His Camaro... he loved his Camaro.

He wouldn't let anyone near it.

That car was his pride and joy.

Keep talkin'. It's workin'. It's workin'.

He, um, spray-painted it flat black.

Oh, you should've seen him.

He spent hours on that car, fixin' it, cleanin' it.

He painted racing stripes on it and all kinds of other things.

He was very creative.

That's something most people didn't know about Billy... he was an artist.

Ah, just now, when you was sayin' them things, I felt him ease off.

He heard you say you love him.

No, that... that's preposterous.

He tried to kill me.

He was workin' agin you, James, and now I know why.

He wants you to tell the whole world you hated him.

And maybe they'd think you hate him enough to kill him!

If you do that, you go to jail, and he know that.

Most important thing... you got to beg that boy's forgiveness each and every day!

Time for evil.

Quick, quick! Tell me his name.

Finley Largent.

When you get home, write his name seven times on a piece of paper.

Connect all the names into one.

Dot no I's, cross no T's.

Fold it twice and put it in your pocket.

Get a picture.

Sew up the mouth with dove's blood.

Blacken the eyes.

Now, go. I got work.


Take these words to heart... to understand the living...

You got to commune with the dead.

Now go...

And don't you dare look back.

Uh, Jim...

On the grave, who... who is Dr. buzzard?

Well, Minerva was married to Dr. buzzard, who was the foremost voodoo practitioner in Buford county.

You may not know it, but you are deep in voodoo country.

I don't give much stock to the hocus-pocus of it, but I do believe in the spiritual force behind it.

The, um, shiny dimes were easy, but the virgin water was a trick or two.

How do you know she wouldn't know the difference if it was tap water?

Not by lookin' or taste, but she would have known in an instant, just lookin' at my face.

I think the, uh, photo doctorin' is gonna be good therapy.

What about the pleas for daily forgiveness?

No, I don't think that's gonna be happening... definitely not.

All right. You have a good time. Thank you.

Hey! Hi.

Hey, you. How are you?

How you doin'? Good.

You work here?

What you see is what you get.

Nothing wrong with that. Gee, thanks.


Those are nice.

So, you want to send some flowers?

Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I don't know, though.

It's kind of complicated, you know.

For whom?

What's she like?

I don't know her that well yet, actually.

Roses are her favorite?

A bit presumptuous.

How about... Poinsettias?

Yeah, but perennials might give the wrong impression.

Too long-term?

Yeah, it's hard to say.

Hmm. This is complicated.


How about petunias?

They're pretty without being presumptuous.

They smell nice.

In three days, you just throw 'em out.

Sound like what you're lookin' for?

Sorry, we're all out of petunias.

Mm-hmm. Come on, get up, Louis, get up.

Get on up.

Whoa! Afternoon, yankee John.


That sounds like a dead battery.


Oh, uh, woman that owns the tour company rear-ended me...

So to speak.

So, where are we headed?

How about a little live entertainment?

Well, all right.

Get off, Louis. That's a good horse.

Hey, bitch.

Hey, bitch! Hey, bitch! Hey, bitch!

Oh, come on, let the house say it like you mean it.

Let the house say, "hey, bitch."

Hey, bitch!

Yes, I am a bitch and proud of it, honey.

Whoo, mama is just sweatin'.

I'm puttin' a sweatin' down in front of you white folks.

But then again, I want y'all to know how hard a girl is workin' for you, baby.

Excuse me, darlin'.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

Oh, my God.

"Oh, my God" nothing, honey.

"Oh, my empress" is what you should say.

Y'all been neckin' since I walked out on stage, honey.

Look, an ivory soap-usin' girl, huh?

Love them kind of bitches, baby.

Either he got some good old stuff, girl, or you're horny as hell.


If this your boyfriend, your husband?


What does Mr. man do for a livin'?

He's a doctor.

He's a doctor?

Girl, you better go use some nails, honey, because if he's a gynecologist, he is mine.

I'm serious, honey.

He is mine. A doctor?

Go get your nails, honey, 'cause I'm gonna take him away from you.

Look at him just blushin'. You're so cute!

You want to give me a physical?

Huh? I have nothing to hide.

You better have American express, baby.

Whoo! But you know what?

That's okay about him. Because you know what?

The doll has already got some white boy runnin' after her good old, good old stuff, baby.

Spotlight... shine the spotlight over there.

You see that fine white male? Yeah, that one, right there.

Baby, he has been runnin' the doll all around Savannah, tryin' to get some, honey.

First day I met him, honey, he brought the girl roses.

But then again, as you well know, honey, ain't nothin' too good for the doll.

Ain't nothin' too good for the lady, honey.

I am serious about that.

If I catch any of you bitches near him, honey, I want you to know you're gonna have to deal with the lady Chablis, the doll, the grand empress, and my motherfuckin' ice pick.

So keep your hands off of that one, okay?


Hey, hon.

How are you, doll?

I'm fine. Who is that handsome man?

Joe Odom.

Very pleased to meet you.

My pleasure. We met before.

We... we slept together one night.

Baby, you're gonna have to narrow it down for the doll a little bit more, because there are certain nights I cannot remember.

That's another tale for another time.

My ice cubes are gettin' a little bit dry.

I'll leave you two alone. Ma'am.

Thank you, sir.

I will talk to you later, you sentimental gentleman, you.

Hurry back.

Don't let him hurry back.

I need to spend some time with you.

How are you?

I'm fine, honey. Still hidin' my candy.

You want me to unwrap it for you?

No, you don't have to show me your candy. You sure?

Not now... I mean, not ever. It's a small little wrapper.

Like a little tootsie roll wrapper.

No. Some people don't need to see candy.

Okay. Okay, that's fine.

Oh, but I got something to tell you.

I have something to tell you.

I have boyfriend number four.


Yes. A tall, blond hunk of a hunk of man.

He's a mechanic, and he works over there on Abercorn street.

I know where that is.

Treats me like a queen.

No pun intended... none whatsoever.

But you must promise me, if you should ever meet him... which I doubt you will... you must never tell my "T." He has no idea.

Your "T"?

You know what I'm talkin' about. My "T," my truth. Oh.

The hide-my-candy thing.

He doesn't know, so you mustn't say anything if you should ever meet him, okay?

Promise me you won't.

Don't you think he's gonna find out?

When I'm ready for him to find out, he'll find out.

Just like when I was ready for you to find out... but I wasn't looking for your candy.

No. But you was kind of like smellin' for it.

I did not smell your candy. Well, why are you here?

I want to interview you.

And I enjoyed your show.

Well, thank you. You still want to interview me?

Yes, very much so.

Sonny! Sonny!

Hey, Sonny! What happened?

Grand jury's indicted... murder one.

They're tryin' to put our friend away for life.

Your honor, the community that put us both in the positions we now hold would be less than pleased with an order allowing a wealthy defendant in a first-degree murder case bail.

And they'd be right.

All right, gentlemen, I have listened carefully to these arguments.

Mr. Williams is charged with a very violent crime.

And, Mr. Seiler, I can't grant bail under these circumstances...

...but I will put this case on a fast track for a speedy trial.

That's all.

That's a dead stop.

Well, sport, looks like there might be a book in this, after all.

Does he have any idea how serious this is?

You know it and I know it, and after tonight, damn hell, so will he.

What is it?

You told Sonny that I heard Billy threaten you the night you shot him.


I heard you threaten him, too. If I'm called to testify...

I didn't threaten Billy, I warned him.

He had a history of violence, he was drunk and high, and while trespassing, he profanely demanded money and brandished a broken bottle in my face.

Is that not your recollection as well?

More or less.

Well, then your testimony can only help me.

What was it between the two of you, Jim?

We can turn this off.

I don't mind that.

Was it just sex?

Tell me about the nature of the relationship.

Billy and I had a bond.

That's not something that they're ever going to understand.

They'll just see the sex and the age difference.

But Billy was going to make something of himself.

Great things, great people...

Can come from humble beginnings.

He needed what I gave him...

...and I needed what he gave me.

Now, do you wish to pass judgment on that?


I'm innocent, John.

It's important that you believe that.

Do you believe that?

Yes, I do.

I'm having trouble getting anyone to talk to me out there, Jim.

I'll make some arrangements.

Oh, and tomorrow when you come, can you bring the Sotheby's and christie's catalogs?

They serve dinner here at 7:00, so that's when we'll make our calls.


Our calls?


Yes, accept the charges, operator.

Jim, how are you?

All right, sport, let's give this a try, shall we?

All right, let's see if we can get this to work.

All right, it's ringing.

Hello, uh, Jim Williams calling for a Geza Von Habsburg.

Thank you.

Thank you.


Uh, Geza...

James! How nice of you to call.

Uh, would you be interested in my Maximilian desk?

Someone please ask him to be quiet!

It sounds like your dog doesn't want to sell.

What's his breed?

Uh, that's, uh, Russian wolfhound.

Sounds more like a Shar-pei.

Uh, no, no, that's my, uh, Yorkie.

Will someone please put the dogs in the garden?!

I'll take care of the dogs for you.

Now, uh, Geza, you know I'll want top dollar.

As always.

Shut up!

Shut up!

Shut up!



Excuse me. Is this the married women's card club?


Is anybody gonna ring the doorbell?

Oh, heavens no.

We have very strict rules.

The door opens precisely at 4:00.


You all look lovely.

Actually, Jim suggested that I introduce you around.

But if we could just keep that between us...

Sure, sure. Good.

Why? Just a minute.

Everything all right, ladies?


Jim was a true friend to me over these years.

But most of these ladies are still trying to decide how they'll respond to this current... Predicament.

You know, the incident.

If you'll excuse me, I have work to do in the kitchen.

But if you'd like to take a seat... I don't play bridge.

Oh, I don't mean play. Men aren't allowed.

Especially single men.

But, uh, you could sit down and wait, and I'll be right back.

Thank you.

Isn't is the same as murder.

What's the trump?

Fifth clubs.

It was a crime passionnel, a lovers' quarrel.

That may be, but I gather it's going to be rather sticky for Jim.


There was no gunpowder on that boy's hands.

That means he couldn't have fired the gun, as Jim claims.

Good lord.

And the location of the bullet wounds.

Seems to be at odds with Mr. Williams' scenario of self-defense.

How so?

One entered the chest.

The second bullet hit the boy in the back.

And the third... well, the third bullet...

What do you think's gonna happen to Jim?

Well, it's difficult to say.

Those who are happy that Billy is no longer burnin' rubber through the squares are the exact people who think that Jim picked a very unseemly way to exit the closet...

If you will.

With a bang.

Ha ha ha!


And then... There are the others.

Tell me about the others.

Well, honey, there's bound to be a certain resentment about Jim havin' killed that boy... that boy in particular, I mean.

Why? Well...

Billy was a very accomplished hustler, mm-hmm... by all accounts, very good at his trade...

And very much appreciated by both men and women.

The trouble is, he hadn't finished makin' the rounds, no.

Billy Hanson was known to be a good time, but...

A good time not yet had by all.


They're sayin' that Jim Williams killed the best piece of ass in Savannah.

Is that true?

Well, I don't know. Jerry, you know a little bit about ass in Savannah. What do you think?

Credit card.

Good gossip's hard currency in this town.

Folks just payin' their bills.

When the chips are down, they'll be there for Jim.

Everything will be just fine... trust me.

I'd rather hear your legal strategies.

Well, our game plan's still percolatin'.

Come on. I thought we had a deal.

I've shared every bit of information I've come across.

Come along here.

Now, don't mind us.

Trial date...

Big game... three weeks from now.

It's a shootout.

Both teams got one silver bullet.

Gunshot residue test... that's their silver bullet.

No gunshot residue on Billy's hands means he didn't fire... means Jim killed him in cold blood, mocked up the whole scene.

How do you plan to counter that?

Gunshot residue test is unreliable.

Hell, it's not even admissible in some jurisdictions.

Finley's got Doc Poe.

We will counter with cutting-edge science with an expert we got from up north.

They say the scene was contrived, yes?

What do you say?

That's our silver bullet... shoddy police work.

Take a look at this.


That's me!

Just like you said.

Ground zero... cops should never have let you in.

I kind of let myself in through the back gate.

That's... well, they shouldn't have let you get in.

# happy together #

# Unhappy together #

# And won't it be fine? #

# Days may be cloudy or sunny #

# We're in or we're out of the money #

# But I'm with you always #

# Come rain or shi-i-i-i-ne #

Hey, you're good! I didn't even know you sang!

You never asked.

How you doin'? Good. How are you?

Hey, Joe.

You guys got another set?

No, me and Joe are just sittin' in. Why?

Want to get a cup of coffee with me?

Business or pleasure?

Well, normally there wouldn't be a problem, seein' as the general rule is rich people get off.

The problem is, though, they're usually straight.

See? So it's a volatile issue. Yeah?

I'm not crazy.

No, neither is Sonny.

Jim's friends knew he was gay.

Secretly they congratulated themselves on bein' so Cosmopolitan.

But if they knew he was completely open with his sexuality, they would've shunned him.

Maybe the jury will, too.

You think? Yeah.

You know that no one's ever gonna really know what happened that night.

Jim's told his story a thousand times... never wavered once.

You're quite the advocate.

What happened to "stick around, keep my eyes and ears open, stay objective"?

Oh, objectively speaking, it's starting to look like they're gonna hang a guy for his sexuality.

Somethin' that would never happen in New York, right?

Well, you said it, not me.

You know, you don't seem like you're from here.

I was born here, didn't like it, moved away, figured out the part I didn't like was me.

So I worked on that and then moved back.

Yeah. I got my first kiss right here.

Sammy Jenks... Gave him a black eye.

You did? How hard?


That's what love will do.

You know, Kelso, I'm havin' trouble picturin' what kind of woman you'd take the trouble to marry.

Oh, yeah? Yeah.

First-love situation.

We got married a week after graduating college, if you can believe that.

So, what happened?

You want to hear my sob story?


Well, I think she thought she was marrying Norman mailer.

Yeah, I think she thought I'd be famous.

And after the book was published, she'd wake up at the crack of dawn on Sunday, make coffee, cross her fingers, and she'd look in that Sunday times, and she was sure it was gonna be a bestseller.

And then one Sunday, she didn't wake up early, didn't make any coffee, she didn't cross her fingers...

And I knew.

She left you 'cause your book wasn't a hit?

I don't know, Kelso, that seems pretty shallow to me.


So, what about you and Joe Odom?

Well, me and Joe... We're just friends.

You know, we have a real musical relationship.

We're kind of like the Steve and Eydie of Savannah.

Oh, my God, and it's quiet.

It's too quiet.

Well, Joe will be playin' at that bar until dawn.

Well, I should probably go.

In case you were wonderin', this is the perfect time for a kiss.

Sammy Jenks warned me about you.

Good night.

Ladies and gentlemen, you constitute our jury for this trial.

This trial's expected to last several days.

I'm gonna let you go home for the evening, instruct you to be back in the morning at 9:30, and report to your jury room.

If anybody tries to approach you about this case, I want to you report it to me the first thing in the morning.

You're excused for the evening.

Mr. Driggers, let me speak to you.

Luther, listen, this is a courtroom.

Don't bring those flies back in here tomorrow.

And leave that vial of water or whatever that stuff is at home tomorrow.


You know when we were in Georgia, I know how you hated my bugs.

And you know how I love them.

We're no longer at the university.

This is a courtroom.

Now, I'm telling you to leave all that foolishness at home tomorrow.

Do you understand that?

I do take umbrage.

But I'll do it.

Now, what is this story with the guy with the horsefly epaulets?

Oh, Luther diggers. He's a genius.

He developed a no-bug strip.

The company he worked for took the credit and the money.

Now he just wanders around town with a bottle of poison in his pocket. Of course he does.

Yeah, says someday he's gonna put it in the water supply, do us all in.

Why do you want him on the jury?

We're the defense team, coach. We need all the nuts we can get.

What about Largent?

Finley's up for re-election.

If he strikes Luther, he might just upset him enough to... You know.

Well, I'll be back in on Sunday.

You got a murder trial starting in three days.

Where are you going?

Home opener against Bama. Betty, Henry.

Go, dogs!

Is he really leaving?

Oh, yeah. Better say a prayer.

All right, Mr. Largent, the state has the burden of proof, and you have the opening.

Your honor.

Thank you and good morning, your honor.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

The state of Georgia stands ready and is most anxious to proceed.

Your honor.

If the court pleases...

The philosopher Thomas Hobbes is quoted as saying that life is nasty, brutish...

And short.

And surely it must have seemed so to Billy Hanson...

As he lay wounded, his blood and his life oozing out onto Jim Williams' Persian rug.

It's important for you to know that the defendant in this case...

...by the end of this trial, I believe that, when faced with the evidence, you will render the verdict that is fair and just... guilty of first-degree murder.

Thank you.

All right, Mr. Seiler, we've been going for some time now.

Would you prefer to make your opening statement after recess?

I would prefer to address the jury now, your honor.

What I have to say won't take long.

I apologize if I look tired, if my eyes are red, if my complexion is sallow, but I came by it honestly...

Because I have not had much sleep lately.

For while my bed is soft...

My client's is not.

And while I'm surrounded by my lovin' family, Jim Williams...

My friend, my client...

Is locked up in a room full of thieves, murderers, and rapists.

Oh, yeah.

You're the ones I want.

You're the ones I trust.

Because although it is Jim Williams on trial here today, when I look at the circumstances, I think to myself, "there, but for the grace of God, go you or I."

Know why?

Because I guaran-damn-tee... someone comes into my home, and they shoot at me, I will shoot back!

And I will shoot back again and again and again until I'm sure that they're dead... until I'm sure that my home and my family are safe!

And then...

Old Finley here, my friend, would be prosecutin' me!

I'd be the one on trial, and my life would be in the hands of good folks like you...

He is way out of bounds.

He didn't object once during ours.

We'd look like assholes.

...and fancy words... folks who would not be prejudiced...

Who would not judge a man by the color of his skin or the amount of money that he makes.

I will say the simple fact of the matter is Jim Williams... Murdered no one.

How did you think it went? Because I was very pleased.

Sonny has a certain style, a flair, doesn't he?

A certain flair?

From what I've seen, that man could weave horse shit into Egyptian cotton.

Pleasantly surprised.

Oh, John Kelso, I hope you understand...

That I consider you my friend.


The lack of gunshot residue in the hand, plus the other things I mentioned, led me to the conclusion that the scene was contrived.


Thank you, detective Boone.

No further questions.


I would like to revisit some of the things you said just then in direct.

You testified that there was blood on Hanson's hand.

Is that correct?


There was blood in the palm of the victim's hand.

And that's important because if Hanson had been holding the gun, there'd be no blood.


But you never saw the blood on the victim's hand, did you?


The blood was noted in the autopsy report.

I didn't turn him over when I bagged him.

I believe you also testified that you believe the final shot was fired from above the victim.

Is that correct?

I concluded that the shot came from someone standing over the victim... execution style.

A coup de grâce.

A coup de grâce?

Will you tell the jury, please... did you find Jim's prints on Billy's gun?

The, uh, the Luger handle has a textured surface.

Is the answer "no," detective?

Yes, the answer was "no."

"Yes, the answer is 'no.'" state's 22, your honor.

Who's this handsome fella here?

That's me.



Who's this?

That's that reporter fella from up north... the one that's workin' with Williams.

Uh, I don't know how he got in.

And this?

A young officer... Name escapes me.

That's understandable.

I mean, you'd need a program to keep track of everyone in that room.


Counsel's testifyin'.

Strike that.

I would much rather have the detective tell us.

How many people was in that room, detective?


No, eight.

"Seven... no, eight," and a pussycat.

You read the funny papers, detective?

Not often.

Well, in the funny papers, they sometimes have this little competition where you have to find an animal hidden in an illustration.

I love to play it with my grandson.

You know that game?


We're gonna play "where's Shelton?"

Your honor, I don't know what Mr. Seiler is tryin' to prove with all of this, but I...

Finley, we can all play.

Shelton Williams is the defendant's tabby cat.

Now, detective...

Let's play "where's Shelton?"

I'll give you a clue.

Take a look at the rug.

Mm-hmm. Is the answer "yes"?


State's 22, your honor.

Tabby cat.

Detective, is Shelton Williams on your payroll?

Well, I've heard...

I've heard tell of cat burglars.

Is this a cat detective we have here?

Don't be ridiculous.

I'll tell you what's ridiculous... you sayin' that the scene of the crime was secure!

That's what's ridiculous!

Seven... no, eight people and a pussycat walkin' all around that room...

...you call that secure?!

Um, we hung around a lot.

Billy had a car and he'd give me a ride sometimes.

Mr. Tucker...

Do you, of your own knowledge, know anything of the relationship that existed between Billy Hanson and Jim Williams?


Objection, your honor!

Let me see you gentlemen over here just a minute.

What's this about?

Your honor, if this boy says what I think he's gonna say, you can't ask the jury to ignore that.

You can't let a skunk go in the box and then tell them they didn't smell it!

Our intention with Mr. Tucker is to show that the victim was afraid of the defendant.

In order to do that, he has to describe the nature of the relationship.

Your intention is to paint Jim Williams pink and then rely on some prejudice in the jury.

Besides which, whatever he says will be secondhand.

It would be hearsay.

He asked the witness if he knew of his own knowledge.

If he knows, it's not hearsay.

I'm gonna allow it, but I'm gonna grant you the same latitude when it's your turn.

Objection's overruled.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Tucker, the question was... do you, of your own knowledge, know anything of the relationship that existed between Billy Hanson and the defendant?

Yes, sir.

Jimmy would give Billy money when he needed it.

He, uh, bought him a car and clothes for goin' to bed with him.

To sleep with him... to, uh, have sex with him?

Yes, sir.

Now, did Billy and, uh, Jim Williams ever have any disagreements... if you know?

Oh, all the time.

Jim would be pissed off at Billy for one thing or another.

He was real jealous of Billy.

And, uh, what feelings, if any, did Billy have about the defendant?

Well, Jim's a rich and powerful man.

Billy was a little afraid of him, I guess.

Thank you, Mr. Tucker.

Mr. Tucker...

You tell me... how well did you know Billy Hanson?

Uh, what... what kind of friends were you?

Yes, sir.

He was about my best friend in the world.

We saw each other all the time.

There's nothin' he wouldn't do for me.

And nothin' you wouldn't do for him?

Look, if you're tryin' to say I'm lyin', I'm not.

Now, take it easy, young man.

Everything I'm sayin' here is true.

Of course it is.

There's no reason for it not to be.

That's all we're after here is the truth.

Now, how well did you know Jim Williams?

I mean, you never did meet him, did you?

Well, not shakin' hands or nothin', but I stood next to him in the emergency room when, uh, Billy O.D.'D.

Billy Hanson overdosed on drugs?

When was this?

Uh, about a month before Jim killed him.

So, Jim Williams took Billy Hanson to the hospital?

He saved his life!

I mean, if he wanted him dead, w-why would he do that?

I-I don't know.

Um, I guess, uh...

Mr. Tucker...

Did you ever have sex with Billy?

No. No, sir.

Are you, yourself, a homosexual?



Mr. Largent, you opened that door.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I'm gonna let it in.

Thank you, your honor.

Would you like me to repeat the question, George?

I could have the court reporter read it out.

No, sir, I ain't no fairy!


Look, uh...

I-I had some experiences, but... I'm out of it now.

Out of it?

Yes, sir.

Mm-hmm. Would you care to explain to the jury what you mean by that... "out of it"?

It's wrong. The Bible says so.

The Bible also says it's wrong to lie, doesn't it?

Now, how long have you been out of it?


Almost three weeks.

Congratulations, George.

Good for you.

No further questions, your honor.


Chablis, it's a subpoena!

They'll hold you in contempt!

I don't give a damn if it's an invitation from God.

You tell them if they fuck with the doll, I'll turn state's evidence.

You got that off the television. Whatever, John.

They're gonna hold you in contempt if you don't go.

I been held in contempt before. That does not scare me.

Besides, a man's life's at stake.

What do I have to do with that man's life? Nothing.

Absolutely noth... wait a minute.

I'll tell you what. I'll make you a deal.

All right. What kind of deal?

What kind of deal?

Wait, John. Be patient.

I'll tell you what.

You bring me a truckload of good-lookin' boys to see my show tonight, and I'll think about it.

I'd love to, Chablis, but I can't.

I got to go to some cotillion.

A cotillion? How boring!

What cotillion are you going to, hon?

The Alpha phi.

The black people's ball?

You're goin' to the black people's ball?


Oh, John, John, John...

No. No. Absolutely not.

Please take me. I'll be on my best behavior.


I promise, John. Please take me. Come on!

No, I can't!

I won't shake my ass. I won't cuss. Chablis, I can...

I won't do anything. Please take me.

These girls are debutantes, Chablis.

So what does that mean...

I can't clientele with these uptown, black-ass people?

No, but debs are... they're carefully scrutinized.

Oh, please!


For the most part... you know, not many of them hide their candy.

Very few of them have been caught shoplifting... you know, not many.

Well, you know what?

These bitches must do it damn good then, if they haven't gotten caught yet.

See, I imagine they do a lot of volunteer work, Frank.

Stay out of bars, go to churches... those kind of ladies.

First of all, don't you ever call me Frank again, and... Are these black girls we're talkin' about?


If these are black girls, they must be some ugly bitches.

Take me. Please? Come on, John, take me.

Cut it out.

Please take me?

Yeah, New York.

It's good to have you here.

Thank you, sir.

You know, this is our 40th year.

It's lovely.

Thank you, sir.

You know, I do believe that we've almost caught the white cotillion.


Good evening.

Excuse me, sir, is this spot taken?

No, ma'am.

Oh, please don't call me ma'am.

My name's Chablis. What's yours?

Phillip... I'm an escort.

An escort?

You work for one of those services?

I'm escorting my sister.

Please don't tell me you're doin' it with your sister.

No. But George, my sister's boyfriend, decided not to come.

So I kind of got roped into it.

Let me ask you somethin'.

You ever been arrested?


Oh, come on.

Well, once me and a couple of guys had a few drinks, and I got a ticket for disturbing the peace.

Disturbin' the peace?

Phillip, I got a piece you can disturb, hon.


I've been admiring your gown.

Why, thank you very much. This little old thing?

It's very glamorous.

Thank you very much.

Of whom are you a guest?

I'm here with my cousin.

My cousin...



Oh, she's a lovely girl.

Oh, I think so, too. She's always wanted this.

We've talked about this since we were kids.

She didn't ever thought she'd get it.

Oh, she had nothing to worry about.

You know what, hon? I told her the same thing.

I said if Vanessa Williams can pull one over on the miss America committee, then her little whoring around in Atlanta, Georgia, was not going to mean anything to a little steering committee in Savannah.

And she got it, and I'm so happy for her.

Would you mind watching my purse?

'Cause I think Phillip and I are gonna go disturb the peace.

What you think, hon?

Let's go disturb some peace. Come on.


Would you excuse me for one moment?

Can you share the love? Okay?

You have a hell of a lot of nerve bustin' in here like this.

I got plenty of nerve to do anything I want to do.

How far are you gonna take this? I'm just starting.

Well, then I'm going to leave because I don't intend on insulting these people any more than I have to.

Behave yourself.


Come on. Let's go.

Good night.

Stop pushin' me. I'm goin'.


Bartender, can I please have two apple schnapps?

I think you better make those doubles.

So, John, tell me... you mad at me, hon?

Are you mad? Are you?

We're still friends.

I hope so. Then I got to tell you somethin'.

You are so sexy when you're mad.

Behave yourself.

Stop tellin' me what to do.

I want to propose a toast.

From my top...

To your bottom...

From your bottom to my top...

From my middle to your middle...

Be good, John, and I just might give you a little.

Just behave yourself.

Oh, stop tellin' me what to do, hon.

Besides, your star witness is testifyin'.

Since when?

Since I thought about it, and I realized how nice you've been to me.

You know what?

You've treated me like a perfect lady.

You've even made me feel so very special.

You know, people can be so mean sometimes...

But not you.

I want to ask you something.


John, do you think I'm beautiful?

Um... Yes, I think you're very pretty.

Pretty? I'm just not your type, huh?

Chablis, are you testifying for me?

Of course I am.

Do you think I give a shit about miss Jim Williams?

I don't even know that bitch... never even met her.

Well, listen, you should know that on cross-examination they're gonna be pretty rough on you... on your background, your arrests, your livelihood.

John, I have nothing to hide, and I'm not ashamed of anything I've ever done.

I'm just saying you should know that you taking the stand is gonna be a blanket indictment of Billy Hanson.

So, let me get this right now.

So, what you're saying is because Billy hung out with a drag queen, he deserved to die?

It's fucked up, but yeah.

Yeah, that's fucked up.

Maybe you shouldn't testify.

Oh, John, how sweet! You really care.

Good, 'cause guess what? I'm testifyin'.

I am testifyin'.

You see, those folks think they're usin' the doll, but the doll's usin' them right back.

I'm gonna use their courtroom as my comin' out par-Ty!

See, John, you know who I am.

I am the lady Chablis.

Hear me roar.

Look out.

Besides, I've already bought a new ensemble.

Really? Is it nice?

Oh, you'll see, hon.

Listen to me.

We got to get out of here because these people invited me, and I think it's really rude of you to bust in on me like this.

I would never do that to you.

Lavella's mother is about to have a seizure.

Somebody put a spoon in her damn mouth, then, because I'm not leavin'.

Just stop it. You're leaving with me right now.

I am not. I'll buy you a drink.

Buy me a drink? Outside of here.

Buy me a diamond.

I'll buy you a diamond.

Give me some. I'm not giving you shit.

Oh, come on!

I-I'm straight.

So am I. Straight to my house. Let's go.


Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear the evidence you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?

I do.

Now, miss Deveau, I'm gonna ask you a question, and I want you to answer the jury so that, uh, they can understand.

Yes, and what is that?

You'd like for me to explain my "T"?

Your... your... your "T"?

Yeah, my "T."

Yeah, I would like you to explain your "T," and I would like you to do that in as plain of language as you possibly can for our friends here.

I will try my best to explain to you jurors.

I could throw words and labels at all of you, but you seem like nice people.

So I'm gonna be open and honest.

I have a man's toolbox.

But everything else about me is pure lady.

I love to dress in women's clothes.

I love to go shopping.

I love to have my nails done.

And I love men.

Any questions?

And, by the way, ma'am, I hope you don't mind my saying, blue is definitely not your color.

Okay, okay, okay, gals, you're both pretty, now.

What I want to know now... and I want you to tell the jury... is how you and Billy Hanson first met.

Billy hit on me one night at the cl... oh, strike that your honor!

Billy and I clienteled.


Will you explained to the jury what "clienteled" means?

We socialized together for a little while until he met my roommate Corinne.


Now, are you tellin' me that Corinne and Billy Hanson were intimate?


Hot and intimate.

Will you tell the jury, miss Deveau, did Billy Hanson use drugs?

Yes, Billy, uh, did pills, smoked pot, a little coke.

He sold drugs.

He'd stay with us sometimes.

So, sometimes we had stash around the house.

Um, Mrs. Chablis... miss.

Of course, miss Chablis.

Do you yourself take drugs?

I smoke a little pot.

You see, I'm a mellow kind of girl.

I understand.

Now, tell me, if you know, what effect, if any, these drugs had on the relationship between your friend Corinne and Billy Hanson?

Oh, now, when Billy got high, he could be very, very hostile.


Hostile when he was high.

Would you explain to the jury what you mean by hostile?

Oh, I can do more than that, hon.

Let me show you something.

You must see this. Look at my driver's license.

Wait just a minute!


This isn't proper.

Now you be quiet. I'll handle this.

Just a minute. That's not proper procedure.

Mr. sheriff?

Pick up this item, please.

My eye... he hit me.

I looked like that dog from "little rascals."

Members of the jury, I'm gonna instruct you to disregard this outburst.

Pay no attention to that picture.

Why, your honor?

It's the truth. I'm not lying.

Your honor, the people has to... and you be quiet!

Now, we got to get this thing under control.

You sit down, Mr. Deveau.

Miss Deveau... I'm a single girl, your honor.

Miss Deveau... whatever.

Have a seat.

Okay. Please don't get too huffy.

Now, you listen to me.

I'm in charge of this courtroom, not you.

And here's the way it works... these lawyers are gonna ask you questions... look at me!... and you answer 'em.

If I tell you to stop, you stop.

If I tell you to sit, you sit.

And I don't want you to communicate directly with that jury.

Don't produce any more items.

Don't show any photographs. Now, do you understand that?

Uh, yes, your honor, I understand.

I think so.

Hey, this is rice.

They threw in some gumbo.

I got your cigarettes.

Ah! Thank you.

So, how are we coming with our character witnesses?

Well, I thought we would limit it to three because we don't need too much fawnin' in the court.

Well, why not?

John, you tell him how many of my friends are linin' up to defend me.

I suggest Wanda Gevits.

She has a commanding vocal presence.

She, um, declined, Jim, along with some others.



They clamored for my friendship, hoping and praying for invitations to my parties.

Where were their judgments then?

Well, I hope Wanda understands this definitely puts her in the "out" box for my Christmas party.

I don't think we have to worry about character witnesses.

They got theirs. We got ours.

When do I take the stand?


Good. They'll have heard all the theories.

We'll finish them with the truth.

I'm looking forward to this. Do you know why?

Because it's important not that I'm just acquitted, but that everyone knows I'm innocent.

I refuse to live in a world where whispers become fact.

Guilty men murmur.

The innocent shout to the rafters.

Hear, hear.

Jim, we may need you to come clean about the relationship with Billy.

Your sexuality, Jim.

Finley's takin' this whole thing in a direction we didn't count on... his own private witch hunt.

It's going to destroy mother.

Jim, she was in court.

She heard George Tucker.

Let's face it. She already knows.

Not from me, she doesn't.

What if she wasn't in court?

What's the matter, Sonny? Gunpowder?

Damn gunshot-residue test.

Your expert witness covered it.

He said the tests are unreliable.

The jury thinks that's a cop-out.

Every one of them knows Doc Poe.

Why are they gonna listen to some egghead from up north?

No offense, though.

No, none taken, none taken.

He said the gunpowder's easily wiped off.

Maybe when they were handling the body, they...

Boone says he bagged them.

Doc Poe says they were bagged when he performed the autopsy.

When did they get wiped off?

I don't know.

Do you remember when you told me that dead men tell no tales?

See, I think that that may be true, but it does not apply here.

I mean, look around.

Every picture on every wall in this town is of someone who's gone.

Every story here begins with someone who's dead.

The only living national treasure you have is your own slathering mutt.

You writin' your book?

What the hell are you talkin' about, coach?

Billy Hanson may not be talkin', but his hands are.

Billy Hanson's hands?

I got to go.

Where you goin'?

To understand the living...

You got to commune with the dead.

I need Shango.

Now, go, and don't you dare look back.

Huh! I hope you can communicate with someone, John.

Hey, Mandy, you feel like goin' for a walk?

Where are you headed?

I don't know.

I was thinking about maybe stoppin' by the morgue.

What are you, a necrophiliac or somethin'?

I thought we agreed you wouldn't talk about my ex-wife.

How long you been at the bar?

Long enough. Come on. It'll be fun.

Why do you want to go to the morgue?

If I could answer that question, I wouldn't have to go.

Well, the morgue's closed.

And trust me, by tomorrow, this won't seem like such a good idea.

Precisely the reason why I want to go tonight.

I'll break in if I have to. I don't care.

I'll pretend I'm dead. Come on.

You sure you want to do this?

I think so. Yeah.

Well, there is a back way... a hallway off the emergency room... but, of course, it's off-limits.

How would you know that?

I candy-striped one summer.

We create a distraction... we?

Well, you create the distraction, and I'll just slip in and check it out.


No, you'll get lost.

All right, it's a 3-man job. Where's Joe?

Perfect castin', but he's out of town till tomorrow.

He is? Mm-hmm.

All right, who do we know who can cause a commotion?

Ohh! Ohh-ho-ho!

Hello! Nurse! Oh! Oh!

Get her in the chair! Oh, please help!

What's wrong with her?

Her stomach, I think!

I think my water broke.

Girl, I'm pregnant! Something's wrong!

I don't know what... please, help!

What's wrong?

Let's get her up on the table.

Please help me! Ow! Wait, baby.

Okay. Here we are.

Commune away.

Is this where it hurts?

Oh, doctor, wait. Wait, wait, wait.

Is this where it hurts?

No, I think you need to go just a little bit lower.

I've never been in a morgue.

So, what are we lookin' for?

Uh... I don't know.

I was thinking about the bagging of the hands... something special.

Oh, look... Teddy Lipscomb!

Excuse me? You know this guy?

Yeah. He's my dad's dentist.

Oh, man.


Cardiac arrest. Yeah, right.

A medical term for dying in the arms of a 25-year-old cocktail waitress.

Poor guy.

Remind me never to get sick in Savannah.

See? He's wearing a hospital I.D. Bracelet.

Your supposed to get well in hospitals, but not in this city.

Well, the morgue doesn't have its own ramp, so all DOA's come through the emergency room.

So, technically, they'd have to be admitted.

They're all wearing those bracelets.

You know, it's like bureaucratic red tape.

I told you I candy-striped, right?

Yeah, you did. That's like volunteer work?

Yeah, cute little striped outfit, short skirt.

Girl scouts.

Is this where it hurts?

Almost. Just a tad bit...

This? This?

That's the spot. I love you. I love you.

Oh, Dr. feelgood, that's the spot.

You got it.

You wouldn't take a bag off to put an I.D. Bracelet on, would you?

Yeah, probably.

Maybe? Yeah.

The pleasure's been all mine, doctor.

Yes, a pleasure.

How you doin', mom?

Excuse me, nurse, I have a question for you.

Were you on duty the night Billy Hanson's body came in?

Yes, I was. Where did you come from?

How'd you get back there?

Back door. I was lo... I was with the sick lady.

I have a question for you. Hanson's hands were bagged.

Somebody had to put the I.D. Bracelet on.

Would you have to take the bag off to slide the bracelet on by any chance?

No, no. They snap on.

They snap on.

Thank you. Mm-hmm.

Of course, it was easier with him 'cause I bagged him after.

Excuse me?

Well, Doc Poe called from the crime scene and said if they weren't bagged there, that I was to bag the hands when he came in.

You bagged the hands?

Yes, I wrote it up.

It's right over there on the admission sheet.

May I see that?

Hold on, hold on. I want to let Sonny tell you. He'll be here any minute.

Well, before Sonny gets here, while we're waitin', I'd like to run somethin' by you, John...

Fire away.

...about that night.

What do you got?

The evening started out as I've always said... the argument, the shouting...

You let me down, just like everyone else.

My mama let me down.

She hates me because I look like my daddy!

What are you yelling about?

I'm yelling about you!

Who are you to talk to me, livin' in this grandeur and all!

And someday you could do it if you took responsibility!

Bullshit! And you know it!

If you don't like it, why don't you just get the hell out?!

Don't you... get the hell out!

This is about to go through that there paintin'!

Big threats. They don't mean a hell of a lot.

I'll stop payin' the goddamn insurance on your Camaro.

See how you like that. You want to leave here, you can do it tomorrow mornin' for all I care.

...the damaged clock...

God damn it!

Walk through my house and ruin my furniture!

...Billy pointing the Luger...

I may be leaving tomorrow, but, God damn it...

...but here's the difference... when he went to pull the trigger...

You're leavin' tonight.

...nothing happened... the gun was on safety.

And as he fumbled to take the safety off, I grabbed my own gun...

...and I shot him.

He fell dead.

He... he never fired?


I thought, "God damn it! What have you done?"

It explains why there's no powder on Billy's hands.

Now, when I sit on that stand, and I tell this to the jury, Largent's case will crumble.

I don't see how you figure that, Jim.

If you tell that story, you're admitting that you lied...

lied to everyone... the police, the press... everyone.


Of course.

I'd rather be convicted of lying than of murder.


Hey, coach, we got it!

Just keep your seat. You're gonna need it.

Sonny, I need to tell you somethin' first.

Now, me first.

Now, you know that gunshot-residue test?

What I have to say has direct bearing on the gunshot... can I get this out?

We got 'em by the gonads, jimbo.

Detective Boone lied.

Doc Poe called the admitting nurse at Chandler and told her to bag the hands if they were not already, which she did... Right here in this document.

Any number of people could have handled that body between the scene of the crime and the hospital, which explains how the powder got rubbed off.

There it is...

The death knell to Finley Largent's precious gunshot-residue test.

Well... Your turn.

What did you want to say, Jim?


Oh, it's not important.

Take a look here.

We got 'em, jimbo.

Goin' somewhere, coach?

What's his story?

Detective, you're still under oath.

Frank, are you absolutely sure that you bagged Billy Hanson's hands at Mercer house?



I have no further questions, your honor.

Redirect, Mr. Largent?


No, your honor.

All right. Detective, you're excused.

You're still under subpoena. Thank you very much.

Defense calls Sara Warren, R.N.

You won't find her in your notes.

She's not on your list, Finley.

Sara Warren is a direct rebuttal to the testimony of detective Boone.

She is, in fact, an admitting nurse at Chandler emergency room.

Mr. Williams, will you describe the nature of your relationship with the deceased?

I first met Billy Hanson when he came around to the house and said that he wanted the job.

So, I hired him in the workshop to refinish furniture.

He had some talent, and I wanted to encourage him.

Now, during this time, I also developed hypoglycemia.

I blacked out at times. I don't eat very well.

The doctor told me that it was not good for me to be alone when this condition occurs, so Billy would stay over and take care of me when I wasn't feeling well.

He did not live at Mercer house as has been stated.


Was that the full extent of your relationship with Billy Hanson?


No, over time, it evolved into something less formal.

We became intimate.

Now, Billy could be very charming.

He had his girlfriends, and I had mine.

But to me, sex is a perfectly natural thing.

Didn't bother me. Didn't bother him.

It was just an occasional natural occurrence between consenting adults.


Would you describe to the jury events that occurred in your house after the party?

Well, by the time Billy got back to the house, he was quite high.

And we got into an argument about a planned trip to London.

I was going to an auction, and Billy was going to accompany me because of my condition.

But he insisted on wanting to take marijuana cigarettes.

I do not approve of drugs, and I told him he could not go.

He became verbally abusive, and I ordered Billy out of the house.

He went into the hallway.

The argument continued out there for a while.

And then he knocked over a clock.

I went into the office to call the police, and he followed me in there with the gun in his hand.

He said... and I'll never forget this as long as I live... he said, "I might leave tomorrow, but, God damn it, you're leavin' tonight!"

And the second I saw that Luger, I got out of the way.

I reached into the drawer for my own weapon, and as I came up, the first shot I felt breeze by my shoulder.

And I fired.

I don't remember how many times.

It was horrible.

Well, Savannahians, our paths cross from time to time, greet each other, smile here, nod there.

But even if we don't know each other, we have one thing in common... this beautiful place where we all live.

And as one Savannahian to twelve, I'd like to thank you...

For your civic pride, for your diligence, and here in this courtroom, for your rapt attention.

I watched you takin' notes.

Now, the prosecution here started this whole thing with quotin' someone by the name of Hobbes.

I don't know who that is.

But I do know who Perry Mason is.

Y'all watch "Perry Mason"?

Well, I do.

And I got to thinkin' if some TV writer was to come to Perry Mason and say, "here you are, Mr. Raymond burr.

Here's a story like this."

You know what I think he'd say?

I think old Raymond would say, "That's not a very good story.

"I wouldn't have to be a very good lawyer to get that man off, now, would I?"

He'd be right.

Because by all the evidence, Jim Williams is an innocent man.

Now, I'm not Perry Mason.

I'm not some TV lawyer.

So I got to scratch and tear at the prosecution's case, tryin' to whittle it down to nothin'.

And darned if I don't think I have.

Because the fabrication of the prosecution's case just comes tumblin' all down into pieces when you consider how detective Boone has consistently lied about baggin' the hands.

Now, does that surprise you... that a detective would lie?

Well, of course he will.

He's not a bad man.

But how else is he gonna play the cards that have been dealt to him from a pack of lies?

Now, if Jim Williams is guilty of anythin'...

He's guilty of bad association.

But that's not what he's on trial for.

Now, if you don't like, or if you don't cotton to his lifestyle, just think about this... we deal with these people all the time... some good...

Some bad.

They're a part of our community.

And you can't judge a man for that.

This is God's world.

Let God be the judge of that.

And let you good folks be the judge of this.

Come on, now.

Let this man go home.

He's had enough.

Thank you.

Mr. foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?

Yes, we have, your honor.

Is it unanimous?


Hand it to the sheriff, please.

Pick that up.

Hand it to me.

Give it back to him.

The defendant and attorneys rise, please.

Publish the verdict.

We, the jury, find the defendant...

Not guilty.


Members of the jury, this concludes your work.

You've rendered a great service to Savannah and the Chatham County.

I'm gonna dismiss you now with the thanks of the court.


Congratulations, Jim.

Thank you, John.


Yes, bless you.

God bless.

Hey, boy.

What do you got?

Come on down.

We got to go visit the boy.

We got to make him quit workin' James.

The trial's over, Minerva.

Billy can't do anything to James now.

Why I come to you?

Because you out of everybody know it ain't over yet.

I know, the boy know, and you know justice ain't been done yet.

I'll come down for a minute.

I don't know about this.

That's exactly why you come this far.

Billy always loved wild Turkey.

He ain't happy here.

Ain't what he thought it'd be.

If you ain't in heaven yet, you want to get there, don't you, boy?

Well, the only way you gonna get up is if you quit playin' with James.

I have influence with the dead.

They can lift you up.

Nobody else can do that for you... nobody.

Don't you laugh at me!

You think you had a harsh life!

You got no idea!

Never had no bills to pay, no children to feed, no house to clean!

You had it easy.

Well, you can just lay there.

Where's Jim?

Thanks for droppin' by.

Hello, Jim.

Oh, I've, uh, finished my Christmas party list.

And, uh...

You made the cut.

Well, I'm honored, but I won't be here, Jim.

Oh? Many will be disappointed.

So, obviously you've decided to stay in town, Jim.

Mm-hmm, yes.

Living here pisses off all the right people.

What can I do for you?

Oh, I have something for you.

Yusupov's dagger may have seemed more useful given your chosen profession, but the painting somehow seemed appropriate.

I hope you will accept it as an expression of my gratitude.

"Newmarket Heath," the overpaint.

Thank you.

I'll have it... I'll have it sent along.

Well, I don't want to keep you from your party, Jim.

But, Jim, one more question... you know, for the book...

do you want to tell me what really happened that night?


Truth, like art, is in the eye of the beholder.

You believe what you choose, and I'll believe what I know.

Good luck, Jim.

Oh, you think you can?!


Tell you what, Jimmy...


Why don't you come in?

I never enter the office on Sunday... bad juju.


Well, I still got a lot of questions.

You know all you need to know.

One thing... don't commune so long with the dead you forget the livin'.

What's this?

I love you, boy, but I ain't the only one.

You know that, don't you?

How long's your lease?

Six months.

Welcome to Savannah.

You hungry? Yeah.

Come on. Let's go, girl.

Yep, that's it.


Hi. Now, you two know you're not going anywhere without a chaperon.

I cooked my Chablis' famous chicken.

Let's go have a picnic.

And guess what, John? What?

You get your choice of breast or thigh.

What's it called... the chicken?

Chablis' kickin' chicken.

Still walkin' the dog, Mr. Glover?

Yes, sir.

Patrick do like his morning walk.

Well, Patrick is walkin' kind of fast this mornin', isn't he?


# Skylark #

# Have you anything to say to me? #

# Can you tell me where my love can be? #

# Is there a meadow in the mist? #

# Where someone's waiting to be kissed? #

# Skylark #

# Have you seen a valley green with spring #

# Where my heart can go a-journeying #

# Over the shadows and the rain #

# To a blossom-covered Lane? #

# And in your lonely flight #

# Haven't you heard the music in the night #

# Wonderful music #

# Faint as a Will-O'-the-Wisp #

# Crazy as a loon #

# Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon #

# Skylark #

# I don't know if you can find these things #

# But my heart is riding on your wings #

# So if you see them anywhere #

# Won't you lead me there? #

# Skylark #

# I don't know if you can find these things #

# But my heart is riding on your wings #

# So if you see them anywhere #

# Won't you lead me there? # #

# Someday we'll be close together #

# Wait and see #

# Oh, by the way #

# This time the dream's on me #

# You'll take my hand #

# And you'll look at me adoringly #

# But as things stand #

# This time the dream's on me #

# It would be fun #

# To be certain that I'm the one #

# To know that I at least #

# Supply the shoulder you cry on #

# To see you through #

# Till you're everything you ought to be #

# It can't be true but #