The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) Script

Happy birthday.


Who is it?

Mr. Jacobs? Yes?

It's me, Frank Hallet.

Hallet?

Trick or treat! What?

Trick or treat!

It's Halloween, young lady. Why aren't you out trick-or-treating?

Oh, somebody's birthday.

Whose, yours? Yes.

Well, happy birthday. Thank you.

And besides your birthday, it's also Halloween.

Can I tell my father what you want?

My name's Frank Hallet. Your father knows me.

My two kids will be along. They're trick-or-treating.

I'm just going along to make sure... there aren't any real goblins hanging around.

Like dirty old men who try to give pretty little girls some candy.

Tell your father you've got company.

You better shut the door. You'll let all the heat out of the house.

I've seen you around, but we've never met, have we?

You came over from England, right? Right.

And they don't celebrate Halloween in England?

No.

It's a big day here... when all the kids get dressed up in costumes and masks... and go around to all the houses... and shout, "Trick or treat!"

And you're supposed to act scared.

And if you don't give them a treat, they pull some dirty trick on you.

You mean, no trick-or-treaters have been by here tonight?

Well, there will be. My two kids will be along here any minute.

One's a green skeleton and the other's a Frankenstein monster.

What's considered a treat?

Candy, popcorn, gum, anything like that.

Would they like a piece of cake?

But that's your birthday cake.

You shouldn't cut it just for them.

Bravo.

Where's your mother?

My mother's dead.

But your father's here.

He smokes French cigarettes, right?

Am I right about the French cigarettes?

Yeah.

Where is he, upstairs?

Your father's upstairs?

No, he's in his study, working. Oh, yes. He's a poet.

My mother says he's a poet.

And whatever my mother says automatically has to be true.

It wouldn't dare not be.

My mother's the lady that leased this place to you and your father.

Oh, that's great.

The kids are gonna love this.

Are my hands cold?

You're 13?

I counted 13 candles.

That's all I had. You're 14?

I'll bet you write poetry too.

I'd like to read your poems sometime.

Just you and your father live here? Just you two?

Yeah.

And I'll bet this is his favourite chair, isn't it?

Yeah.

What've you got there? What is that, a hamster?

Oh, let me see.

Well, I just wanna see.

What's his name?

Oh, come on. He's gotta have a name. Tell me his name.

Gordon.

Gordon? He's cute.

Shouldn't you tell your father I'm here?

No, not when he's working.

You're a very pretty girl, you know that?

Pretty eyes.

Pretty hair.

Pretty girl like you, and your birthday and all...

No boyfriend?

Come on, I'll bet you got a boyfriend.

I'll bet you got lots of boyfriends, pretty girl like you.

It's okay. It's all right. Relax.

I get to spank you on your birthday. That's a custom here.

Yes, you get one spank for every year, and one to grown on.

See, you got off easy.

Now, don't get mad. It's just a game.

It's just a silly birthday game, that's all.

You don't think I was trying to be fresh, do you? Don't be silly.

I've got two kids of my own, you know, and they'll be along any minute.

Here they come now, even. Well, I'm off.

Thank you for the treats.

No trick on you tonight.

Hello, boys!

Tell your father I'm sorry I missed him. Good night.

Hey, I've got some treats for you.

There we go. One for you and one for you.

Come on, boys, let's go. Happy birthday!

Come on, boys, let's go, go, go.


Jacobs, Lester and Jacobs, Rynn.

That's me.

It's what you call a joint account.

Sign here, please.

Have you got your key? Right here.

You can take it into one of these booths.

Yes, I know. Thank you.

Sign your name again, please.

She's only 13.

My father has an account here. Lester Jacobs.

Next, please?

Could I have that paper with my signature on it, please?

Thank you.


Crab apples. No grapes this year.

How are you two getting along out here?

Everything all right? Yes, just fine.

You do remember me?

I'm Cora Hallet.

Your father leased this house from me.

Yeah, I remember you.

Where did this come from? It's my father's.

This belongs here.

That table and braided rug belong over there.

Poets aren't supposed to live like other people, is that it?

I keep forgetting to ask him to autograph one for me.

"I love you." Signed, "Father."

Nice and simple.

We don't see much of you two in the village.

Not even at the market.

Well, the market does deliver.

If one can afford it.

Do you want me to give a message to my father?

Such a shame about those grapes.

Nobody bothered to spray.

I can give my father any message.

I came for the jelly glasses.

For as long as I can remember... the owners and I have made jelly out of those grapes.

The glasses are in the cellar.

Your father's not home?

No, he isn't.

Oh, that's too bad.

I was having a little gathering at my house and I was hoping that...

Is he in the village?

No, he's in New York.

When I was outside, I could have sworn I heard voices.

Hebrew?

I should think French would be more help.

Or Italian.

Lord knows there are enough of them around these days to speak it with.

Are you sure you don't want to give my father a message?

So many outsiders in the village these days.

Oh, from London.

Yeah. I adore crosswords.

Well, you can take it with you if you like.

But your father's doing it. I'm doing it.

And Hebrew.

My son's children tell me... you gave them some birthday cake the other night.

He came inside the house?

My son? Yeah, he came inside.

Your father?

Your father was here that evening?

He was in his study.

When he's working, he can't be disturbed.

Since that evening, my son's been back?

No.

Not been back at all? No.

If my son should come back and your father isn't here... it might be better if you didn't let him in.

Well, he didn't ask my permission the first time.

I hope you didn't intend that to sound so rude.

I'll tell my father you said not to let your son inside the door.

That won't be necessary.

Maybe I don't understand what you want, Mrs. Hallet.

One thing I certainly do not want... is to go on and on about something that doesn't matter in the slightest.

I came for jelly glasses. We'll get them now.

Your son says I have pretty hair.

Did he tell you that?

We'll get the glasses now.

They're in the cellar.

We'll move this table... so I can get the rug up and raise the trap door.

My father and I like the table where it is.

But the glasses are in the cellar.

I'll get them for you later, Mrs. Hallet.

Move the table.

This is my house.

You are an extraordinarily rude little girl... who's going to do exactly as I say.

Last week you took the only good grapes we have... and now the crab apples.

And you never asked if you might.

And today you just walked bang into my house!

This is not your house! My house!

Leased.

You're 13.

Why aren't you in school?

Thirteen means I have no rights, is that it?

Thirteen means you should be in school.

Look at me when I speak to you. I study at home.

It so happens I'm a member of the school board.

When we meet on Monday, they'll be very interested in your case.

Now, where's your father?

I told you, he's in New York. Exactly where in New York?

He's having lunch with his publisher.

I want the publisher's telephone number.

I don't have it. The publisher's name?

This one's London.

Your father will telephone me the moment he comes back, understood?

This is my house.


What are you doing here?

It's Saturday afternoon. Why aren't you at the game?

I've gotta do this report on government... and I need to know when the school board holds its meetings.

Well, would it help you to visit one?

No. Actually, all I really need to know is when it meets.

Twice monthly.

Someone told me it's meeting this Monday.

No, the board meets again a week from Thursday.

These are the bylaws.

If you need any further help... No. This is super. Thank you.

But you shouldn't be working now. You should be at the ball game.

The Wildcats need all the help they can get.

Whose class are you doing the paper for?

Excuse me. Maybe I can get there by halftime.

You're a liar, Mrs. Hallet. You're a liar.

Rynn, where you going?

Back home.

If you can wait a second, I'll give you a lift.

No, really. I'm fine.

I was hoping maybe you and...

Some other time, then.

Could you give your mother a message for me?

Tell her I have those jelly glasses... and any time she wants to come by, they'll be there.

I can come by later myself, if you like.

I think it'd be better if she came. My father wants to talk to her.

Yeah, I'll tell her.

Everything all right, miss? Fine, officer.

I mean, he wasn't bothering you, was he?

Mr. Hallet?

Your folks let you wander around town by yourself?

I live with my father. He lets me come into town when I want.

What's your name? Rynn Jacobs.

Do you have a name, officer?

Oh, sure, yeah. Sorry. The name's Miglioriti.

Miglioriti. Yeah. You got it.

But call me Ron.

Miglioriti. That's a nice name.

It's Italian.

It's hard for most Americans.

And have the Miglioritis been living in this town a long time?

Hey, you sound like you've been talking to Mrs. Hallet.

To her, if you weren't on the first ship that put in here... you'll always be an immigrant.

I guess we're the newest, me and my father.

You've been here, what, a couple of months?

Yeah, about that.

Like it?

Is school okay? Yeah, it's okay.

Yeah, being new isn't easy. There's the lane.

Around here, folks can be a little cold at first... but when you've been here longer, they'll seem even colder.

Thanks for the ride.

Maybe I could have a talk with your father.

Why? Nothing to worry your head about.

Well, I can't disturb him when he's working.

Yeah, well, let's see if he is.

Sorry, he's working. He's translating some Russian poetry.

When that door's locked, I can't bother him.

I suspect the only reason Mrs. Hallet lets us into her village... is because my father's a poet.

Mrs. Hallet loves poets.

That's one of his books over there.

He wrote that, huh? Yeah.

Want him to sign a copy for you?

Yeah, sure. I never met a real poet.

I mean, look, don't laugh at me... but I can't believe people like poetry.

I'm not talking about that birthday-card stuff, but real poetry.

I mean, when it doesn't even rhyme.

No, I'm not laughing at you.

My father says that most people who say they like poetry... only pretend to like it. You're honest.

He's your favourite poet, huh?

No. He's my father.

Emily Dickinson's my favourite.

Emily Dickinson, yeah.

You know, it can be pretty nice here in the village once you get used to it.

And just don't let Mrs. Hallet hassle you.

Her son says I'm a pretty girl.

That what he said?

What is he, a pervert?

I guess that means little girls shouldn't accept candy from him.

Not if they're smart little girls. Don't worry, I won't.

I'm glad you came by, though.

Yeah, me too, I'm glad, but...

Do you like turkey?

Well, to tell you the truth, no.

You know, birds are reptiles from way back.

Biologically.

Yeah, well, then I guess you don't wanna buy a raffle ticket, huh?

You mean if we buy a raffle ticket, we might win a turkey?

For Thanksgiving. Yeah, a big 20-pounder.

A big turkey, huh? Yeah.

Yeah, all right, we'll take two tickets.

Two dollars.

Look, I really hate to do this, you know? I mean...

It's all right.

Hold on. Here.

There's one for you, and one for your father.

And we'll see which one's the lucky one, okay?

All right.

Thank your father too. Sure.

See you around. Bye-bye.


Hello?

I may come in. I invited you, Mrs. Hallet.

We had a meeting of the school board this morning.

I spoke to them about you.

I must say, when they heard about your case, they were very interested.

I was just about to put a kettle on. Would you like some tea?

Very interested in your case.

You don't wanna hear what they said?

As for tea, Darjeeling or Earl Grey?

I came here prepared to forget about yesterday... but I must say, I don't care for your tone any better today.

Well, then it's up to me to apologise.

What I find particularly surprising... is that most boys and girls who are educated in England... are so well-behaved.

What did you decide for the tea?

Not a glass of that thick, sweet wine... you people use in your religious rituals?

Or aren't you old enough to drink wine?

You told my son 14, you told me 13.

Now, which is it to be?

Thirteen. And brilliant.

As so many of your people are.

Mrs. Hallet, will you please accept my apology for what happened yesterday?

I'm afraid it isn't that simple.

You told my son your father wished to speak to me?

I certainly wish to speak to him. Call him.

Well, he's translating right now.

I couldn't disturb him even for Officer Miglioriti.

Officer Miglioriti works for people like me.

In case you're wondering...

I'm waiting right here until you do call your father.

You never answered about the tea.

I can't imagine what made any of us think you could be happy here.

My father and I love this house.

No, I think we'll make other plans.

Our lease is for three years.

Leases have known to be broken.

Unless, of course, your father and I could come to some understanding.

And what would that be, Mrs. Hallet?

There it is again, that continual mocking tone.

And don't look at me with those hurt eyes... and pretend you've been misunderstood.

You and I both know you say exactly what you intend.

Here are your glasses, Mrs. Hallet.

I'm being dismissed?

Call your father. Right this minute.

Not when he's working.

You and I know perfectly well he isn't there.

Go in that study, Mrs. Hallet, and I tell my father about your son.

My son? About Halloween.

I haven't told my father yet.

Told your father what? What happened here.

Everybody in the village knows about your son.

Miglioriti. He's a liar. He hates my son.

Did he tell you he had an affair with my son's wife before they were married?

I even had to ask him why the police don't do anything about it.

Why should they do anything?

When your son gives candy to pretty little girls?

Your jelly glasses, Mrs. Hallet.

You are gonna get out of this house. My house!

With or without your father!

Sure, this is a lonely place. Often I'm alone.

That doesn't worry me, Mrs. Hallet.

And if it worries you, that's a problem you'd better take up with your son.

Goddamn you!

No seals.

Without rubber seals, these glasses are worthless.

The seals are in the cellar.

And this time, don't you dare tell me to come back later.

Get out of my house!

I'm warning you, Mrs. Hallet.

Get out of my house!

Mrs. Hallet, I'm warning you!


Hi. You been driving long?

How come you're in this car?

How come you're dressed like that? Because I'm a magician.

And what's that, your magic wand?

Oh, it's my cane. I'm a cripple.

I guess I should say I'm sorry. Why? It's not your fault.

Saturday, when all my brothers are playing football...

I'm putting on a magic show... for some rich kid's birthday party.

Let's see you do something magic.

Say, aren't you too young to drive?

Well, my neighbor's supposed to take it.

My father's really counting on it being at the station when he gets in.

You think you could take it? I can pay you.

Say, you know you got a chipped tooth?

How come I never see you in school? I don't go to school.

You sick or something? No, school is stultifying.

You say this was your father's car?

No, no. What I said was that my father needs it at the station.

It's hers. Whose?

Old lady Hallet's.

It's a beauty. Only 34,000 miles on it.

I ought to know.

My father has a service station. He works on it.

She's lending it to us. No way.

She's letting my father.

She won't even let her own creep son drive it.

Here's $5. I'm already late for my magic show.

You gonna come back afterwards?

Please?

Look, I need your help. Maybe after the magic show.

You promise?

Ma, the new trick with the hand puppet went over really big.

I'm still here at the birthday party.

No, Ma, they asked me, really. They asked me to stay for dinner too.

Just hamburgers and Cokes.

Come on, tell Tom he can take her to the movie for a change.

It's his turn anyway.

Look, I'll talk to you later, okay? Good...

Yeah, yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah, okay. Bye-bye.

You don't have any brothers or sisters, do you?

No.

That's something I can't even imagine.

Hey, light the candles, huh? Yeah, sure.

Hey, that's a pretty dress. Thanks.

My father and I bought it in Morocco.

Hey, they smoke a lot of hash there.

They do a lot of things there.

Did you ever smoke hash?

Hundreds of times.

Yeah? No kidding? Yeah.

You're a regular hippie, huh?

No, not really.

Go ahead, sit down. Want some wine?

Do you? No, I hate it.

Me too.

You're a pretty good cook.

Is that so surprising? I only meant for being 13 and all.

How old do you have to be before people start treating you like a person?

Hey, Mario. Yeah?

Thanks about the car and stuff.

You know, you may be smart, but you're stupid.

I mean, if you wanted to get her car away from the front of the house... why go to all the hassle of taking it down to the station?

You see, the trick in magic... is to do the one thing so simple and so obvious... that no one ever thinks of it.

You see? What's simpler than putting the car back where it came from?

Did anyone see you take her car back to her office?

Jesus, you think I wanna get busted... for ripping off old lady Hallet's most prized possession?

You know, you don't even trust me enough to tell me why I did it.

You did it to help me.

Did you lock her car doors?

You should've put them through her office mailbox.

No, I shouldn't. Let me tell you.

I'm sitting there in her Bentley in the dark, right... in front of her goddamn office, trying not to let anybody see me... and ask me what I'm doing.

I gotta be careful, right?

Now, I may not know why Mrs. Hallet didn't drive her own car back... but one thing I do know:

Why would Mrs. Hallet put her own keys... through her own goddamn office mailbox?

She wouldn't. She'd keep her keys. They'd be wherever she is.

I feel like some wine.

Hey, now, this is pretty fancy. Doesn't even unscrew.

It's got a cork and everything. Now, this is class.

You still didn't tell me why. How come she didn't drive her car back?

So, what do you care? I risked my goddamn ass for you.

You didn't have to.

Look, you better tell me what the hell is going on... because if I'd left that car down at the station like you told me... everybody in the village would've recognized it.

You don't trust anybody, do you?

You want another lamb chop? Shouldn't we save it for your father?

He's staying overnight in New York.

Hey, you never said that.

Have you ever stayed alone before? Sure, hundreds of times.

Like all those times you smoked hash?

Aren't you scared? Of what?

Of being alone. No.

You know, last week on TV I saw this old woman... who was strangled with a body stocking.

I mean, it can happen.

You know you got an outside light?

Leave it on all the time, okay? Thanks.

You know, with me, you got an indoor light.

Hey, that's neat.

Well, Mr. Show Biz, that's me.

You need more of an audience.

I'd like you to meet Gordon.

Gordon.

Isn't he cute?

Hey, hi, Gordon. Get away.

You don't even trust me with your rat.

It's a hamster. It looks like a rat.

You look like a rat. No.

Come here. You got any pets?

No, just my parents, which I water and feed regularly.

How nice.

I think we gotta get Gordon back to the cage.

I'll make a deal with you.

You tell me about the car, I'll tell you why I'm crippled.

No.

It was polio shots.

See, I have so many brothers and sisters... that my mother forgot who did and who didn't.

Okay, now I wanna know about the car. All of it.

We have some peach ice cream. Would you like some?

No.

The car. Her car?

Did you leave any fingerprints?

Presto! No fingerprints.

You're so magic, let's see you do a trick.

Okay. Hold on to my cane. I want a trick!

Hold on to my cane. All right.

Ladies and gentlemen, I shall now make an automobile disappear.

You already did that. Well, then, behold, I shall disappear.

Now, go hide your eyes in the corner and don't peek.

Okay, you ready? Now, don't peek. Don't peek, Gordon.

Here we go. One, two, three.

Ready or not, here I come.

Mario?

Hey, Mario?

Mario?

Give me that!

Well, Mary-fucking-Poppins.

Give me that! Come and get it.

Give it!

Mario.

Mario, I mean it. Now, stop.

Mario.

Listen.

Somebody's out there. Okay.

Hey, it's a police car.

Hey, don't worry. It's my uncle Ron.

Hi. Hi. Come on in.

Would you like a glass of wine?

Yeah, it's okay. You're off duty.

Hey, so, what's happening, unc?

I mean, where's your Playmate of the Week?

She's waiting outside in the car.

You know, he likes the ones who look like they were... blown up with a bicycle pump, you know?

What, are you gonna bust us for drinking here? I won't have it.

You're just lucky I don't smell any grass.

You got any? I'll buy it cheap.

No respect. No respect for the law.

Respect? You want respect?

He wants respect, and he's using his police car to get all his action.

Just the two of you, huh?

My father's sleeping.

You met her father? Oh, yeah, nice guy.

He had dinner with you, huh?

Hey, how many plates you see here? I count two. One...

Yeah, okay, okay, wise guy. All right.

He was tired, so he went upstairs to bed.

Candlelight, wine and a fireplace.

It's really very romantic.

Frank Hallet called in twice.

He said his mother's missing. She's probably out house-pimping.

Mario don't like the Hallets.

Me? I don't think you like them too much either.

I remember he tried to get Hallet busted... for dragging some little girl into the bushes.

He couldn't do it, though.

All Hallet's mother did was marry the creep off... to some waitress with two kids. That's enough.

To prove he was normal. Don't be such a smart-ass.

Anyway, her car's in front of the office, but no sign of her.

And Hallet said he was coming over here... to pick up some jelly glasses or something like that.

Yeah, well, you see, they're still here waiting for her.

No one's touched them. So she never came by, huh?

No. So you came looking for her here?

I came here because I thought that Rynn might be alone.

Did you think that fink would be waiting here for you to catch him?

Look, if you don't want your mom and dad to know you were here... don't be such a smart-ass. Who's a smart-ass?

Why don't you teach him some manners.

Oh, if Mrs. Hallet comes by, could you have her call the police station?

Okay? Fine.

Thanks for the wine. Good night.

And don't do anything I wouldn't do.

I mean, that was scary, wasn't it? Yeah.

Wasn't it? How'd you like the way I made your father disappear?

You lied. You bet your ass.

What did you want me to do anyway?

Well, where do you think you're going?

Just testing.

Like, you don't really want me to go or anything, do you? Do you, huh?

No. Oh, you got feelings, huh?

I thought you were a piece of cardboard. Come.

Come on.

Are you crazy?

He's back. Come on. Go ahead, answer the door.

You ready? Yeah, go ahead.

Hello.

May I come in?

I think it's time you and I had a little talk, don't you agree?

Are these the famous jelly jars?

Hello.

Only two for dinner?

Did your father quit smoking, Rynn?

Give us a light, son.

It's cold in here. Let's put some more wood on the fire.

I'll get it.

Hello, Gordon.

Where's your father, Rynn?

Do you love Gordon?

Yes.

Yes, what?

Yes, I love Gordon.

And I think Gordon loves you too.

No!

Hey, what are you? A maniac?

The son of a bitch bit me.

Give me some disinfectant.

It's upstairs in the medicine cabinet.

Now, listen to me, young lady.

I know you're up to something.

And I wanna know where your father is.

What'll you tell me this time? He's working? Or sleeping?

Did he have dinner here?

Did you have dinner here, son? Yep.

Just you and pretty Rynn?

Yep.

And where's he? Who?

Who are we talking about? Oh, her father's sleeping.

Upstairs? Upstairs.

You were gonna say in the study. No.

Don't lie to me, damn it. You were. No, I wasn't.

Who is he? I'm Mario Podesta.

I asked you. Who is he? He's Mario Podesta.

Oh, yes. I think I've seen you hobbling around the village, haven't I?

My uncle's a cop. Really?

He was just here.

Why was he here? And he's coming back.

That's not what I asked you. Tell him.

Yes, tell me.

He said you called about your mother. Said you might come looking for her.

Why would my dear mother be here?

Unless she ran off with the man of the house... which has happened on occasion.

She's not here. No, it was about the jelly glasses.

The other day you said you didn't have any boyfriends.

Yes.

Are you her boyfriend? Yes.

You told me no boyfriends.

She's very young. Did she tell you how old she was?

Thirteen. Don't you know any girls your age?

Or do girls your age like to dance?

The jelly glasses. What about them?

You can take them now. Not now.

Perhaps Mother came by but you weren't home.

I was here all the time.

Didn't you go to the football game? I couldn't have missed her.

So you say you've been here all along?

Yeah. That's very strange.

You can take the glasses now.

I'll put them in your car. Will you?

Yeah, I'll do it right now. No, you can't.

No car.

See, I walked here tonight, as my dear wife has the station wagon.

As for the Bentley, dear Mother has the keys.

What do you want, Mr. Hallet?

What do you want, son? What do you mean?

You want what all boyfriends want. You don't like girls?

Yes, I like girls. You don't want Rynn?

Be a good little magician, will you, son?

Disappear yourself. Tell him to get out of here.

He's my friend. But not your boyfriend.

First, I shall tell you what I want.

I wanna know what's been happening here in this house.

I wanna know what happened here today!

Nothing happened.

All day is a long time for nothing to happen.

Just now the police were here.

Yes or no? That happened, didn't it?

The police were here, yes or no?

Officer Miglioriti came to say you were looking for your mother.

Go on.

There are the jelly glasses. Meaning what?

Meaning she hasn't been here. That doesn't prove anything.

I guess I can't help you, can I? Do you wanna help me?

Do you wanna help me, son? Sure.

Then get your ass the hell out of here right now.

Hey, Rynn, call the cops.

Be my guest.

What's the matter, gimp? Got trouble staying on your feet?

I didn't think you'd call.

Hit the road, wop.

We'll both go. No, just you and your goddamn cape.

Get out of here.

I'm a wop. Wops carry knives, right?

Guinea. Dago. Wop.

Easy, son. Easy. I take it back. I take it all back.

What do they call guys like you who hang around little girls?

A pervert?

You know, if I stick this in your guts, all the cops will do is thank me.

Now, I think you'd better get the hell out of here.

Get out of here!

Call the cops. No.

Little son of a bitch.

I'm not through with you, that's for damn sure.

Is it hers?

Yeah.

Come on.


Oh, boy.

That's trouble.

I mean, how did...?

Why don't you take the cookies in where the tea will be.

Mario?

Rynn, how long has it been for your mother?

October 17th.

I don't understand. I mean, don't bodies...?

Decompose? Yeah.

Well, you can put stuff on them.

So why don't you take the tray in next to the fire, all right?

Yeah.

How do you know how to do that stuff?

I looked it up in the library.

In London we found out my father was dying.

My mother had run away when I was 3.

He didn't want her to get her red fingernails into me ever again.

We left England without a word to anyone.

It was the end of the summer when I came here... and I knew this was the place.

But he said I should think it over for a week... to make sure I wanted to spend the next three years of my life here.

The rent's paid up for the next three years.

So three more years like this?

Almost all September, he looked fine.

If the pain was terrible, he never said anything.

Then one Sunday evening... we were sitting in this room... and he whispered to me in a very soft voice... that I wasn't like anybody else in the world... that people wouldn't understand me.

They'd order me around, tell me what to do... and try to make me into the person they wanted me to be.

Since I was only a kid, I couldn't say anything.

I'd have to stay alone... keep out of trouble and make myself very small in the world.

All alone?

We worked out every detail.

We knew it wouldn't be easy.

Here's a letter from my father.

"Don't give in and play their game.

Fight them any way you have to.

Survive."

That's what he said.

Then he kissed me... and walked off into the trees and down the lane.

In that room, I found charts of tide tables and waters... in the sound and the ocean.

He'll never be found.

Did you cry a lot?

Depends what you mean by a lot.

No. I guess not very much.

Do you believe in God?

It'd be nice. But you don't.

I don't know.

You know, it's all so goddamn wild.

I mean... there's so many problems.

How do you pay for stuff? Traveler's checks.

Yeah, kids can have them too.

I keep them in a safe-deposit box in the bank.

I have to make them last for three years.

How'd your mother find you? By lying to my father's publisher.

She walked right in. Fingernails as red as ever.

My God, the nerve of her.

She sat right over there. Smoked her gold-tipped cigarettes... went on and on about the pollution in the Mediterranean... and how marvelous it would be to stay here.

I hated myself for doing it, but I actually acted happy to see her.

She asked me for a drink, but I lied and told her we didn't have any.

I gave her some tea with the same almond biscuits.

They're very good.

My father had given me a small bottle containing some white powder.

He said if she should arrive, I should put it in her tea.

It would calm her, make her less aggressive.

Well, it sure did.

But you didn't know what it was, huh?

No, not until after.

I looked it up based on its properties.

Potassium cyanide. And that's what you put in her tea?

Father meant what he said about doing anything you have to to survive.

How come you're not drinking yours?

Mine's still too hot. I didn't put in any cold milk.

I can still see her red nails holding up that cup.

After a few sips, she said that the tea tasted of almonds.

"It's the almond cookies," I told her.

"They come from Fortnum's." She loved that.

How long did it take? Quite fast, actually.

You mean, like, first you can't breathe?

Yeah. Apparently.

What's wrong with you? You okay?

Yeah, now I'm okay.

I'm all right.

Listen.

It's just the wind. Sounds like it's alive.

Look, about the telephone.

We better not call each other from now on... because somebody might be listening, okay?

Okay.


Let's go.

I'm not gonna play their game.

Would that be so awful?

The game is pretending, you know?

It's like going through the motions of living without really living.

But what about school?

School is having people tell you what life is... and never finding out by yourself.

Yeah, but kids have to go to school.

Why?

Okay, so your father taught you.

Everybody doesn't have a father like yours.

Everybody can't be like you.

If I'd listened to them, I'd be like them.

Damn. You keep saying "them" like everyone's out to get you.

Maybe they are.

Well, you gotta trust somebody.


Mario!

Come on.

Mario.

Come on, Mario. Mario!

You all right?

I've got a tub waiting for you upstairs.


Hello?

Mr. Hallet?

Mr. Hallet, I know this is you... because everybody else is at the football game this afternoon.

I should warn you that the police are watching our house... right this very minute, Mr. Hallet.

I found a pair of your father's pajamas.

It's a pretty good fit.

Come on, you're shivering. Sit down.

Who called? No one.

Rynn, who called?

Well, whoever called didn't leave their name.

Was it Hallet?

Yeah. That creep.

You're like ice.

Come on.

Is that better? Yeah.

It's dark already.

Mario...

if you want, I can get into bed with you.

Is that better? Yeah.

Mario?

I know what you're gonna ask.

Have you ever?

Hundreds of times.

Do they expect you home for dinner?

Would it be so terrible if you didn't go?

I mean, if your parents did find out about us?

Your uncle Ron knows.

Look, Rynn, they'd wanna know all about you.

Every goddamn thing.

And I'm not as good at lying as you are.

Here, take this. It's my father's.

Like your father said in that letter:

Since when do they let kids do what they want?

Come back after dinner? I'll try.


Who is it? Ron Miglioriti.

Hi. I'm just making my Saturday-night call.

Yeah, come on in.

You all right? Fine.

How are you? Fine, fine, thanks.

Can I get you anything...? No, no. I can't stay, really.

Your pumped-up lady waiting for you?

Sorry. Does make me sound like a smart-ass, doesn't it?

You're all alone, huh? My father's here.

Rynn, I don't believe what you've been telling me about your father.

No?

No, no, you're gonna tell me that he's in there working, right?

He was this afternoon. Translating.

Then he was, and now he isn't? That's it, huh?

No, he's resting upstairs.

I've been here three times.

And each time I notice how good you are with words.

The way you speak, you're very careful.

You're too goddamn careful.

You don't believe he's upstairs, then? No.

All right.

Father!

Father?

He should be down in a minute. Yeah, sure.

Look, I understand, because I haven't been telling you the truth all the time.

Because my father isn't a well man.

Maybe you don't understand about poets.

Edgar Allen Poe was a drug addict. Dylan Thomas drank himself to death.

Sylvia Plath took her own life.

Rynn, we're talking about your father.

Yeah, well...

Sometimes my father goes into his room and locks the door.

He keeps something in a desk drawer.

I don't know what it is.

But I know... when he locks that door... he doesn't want me to see the way he becomes, you know?

That may sound stupid, but you don't know my...

Yes, Rynn, what is it?

Father, I'd like you to meet Officer Miglioriti.

You know, the one I told you about. Good evening, sir.

Sorry to bother you. Yes, quite all right. Quite all right.

I'm the one to apologise.

I confess to being a bit tired.

So how can my daughter and I help you?

No, no problem, no problem.

Rynn, nip into my study, get one of my books, will you?

And a pen, please.

Rynn tells me we've promised you an autographed copy.

If you'd be good enough to spell Miglioriti.

"Ron" will be okay.

Yes, Ron, okay. Here.

Ron, from Lester.

Well, it's really been nice to meet you, sir.

Yes, it's a pleasure. Good night.

Good night, sir. Good night.

See you later, Rynn. Good night.

Guess I owe you an apology, huh?

That's all right. Don't worry about it.

Good night. I hope you enjoy the book.

Thanks.


You were great. Your voice was so deep.

Yeah.

Yeah, it's this damn cold.

How do you spell Miglioriti?

How would I have known if you hadn't come back?

I would have come back anyway. I hoped you would.

Remember? You said I don't trust anybody.

You know, we should have told Uncle Ron what he was interrupting.

A gentleman never tells.

Well, maybe in England they don't... but here they never shut up about it.

I'll bet half... Well, hell, most of the football team... that's all they ever do, is talk about it.

You know, I won't tell anybody.

You know, we have to trust each other... because most people don't go through as much as we have.

Not even in a whole entire lifetime.

No one will know about us.

I never knew how much I needed you.

Ever think maybe I'm playing your game?

Because you want to?

No. Because I love you.

Thank you.

You're gonna catch my cold. I don't care.

You know, when I told you I didn't mind being alone, I lied.

Don't ever leave, okay?


With all this snow, it's a good time to see... if you and your father have had any visitors.

I love detective stories. Do you read Agatha Christie?

All her murder mysteries take place... in the most beautiful old English country houses.

See these?

Footprints. They're mine and my father's, I expect.

They're not very clear.

As long as you're here, you wanna give me a hand?

You know, I can't figure you out at all.

You haven't even asked me about Mario.

What about him? He's in the hospital.

Pneumonia.

How bad?

Well, without the antibiotics, he would've died.

I've gotta see him. I've gotta see him.

Can you go now?

You've seen him? Yeah.

He was delirious and talking out loud.

About the two of you.

Yes?

Saying how much he loves you.


Mario.

Mario?

Mario, I love you.

My father worked it all out.

How I'd live.

What I'd do.

But it can't work.

It can't work without you.

He was wrong.


No...

Oh, Mario.

Anything for a trick. You weren't sick at all.

Get out of here! Trick or treat.

Mr. Hallet, if you leave right now, I won't say a word, okay?

Call the police? No? Why don't you call your father.

The least you could do is offer me a cup of tea after I got all dressed up.

If anybody came by... naturally they'd assume I was your little friend, don't you think?

I even limped.

Officer Miglioriti's gonna be coming by.

Officer Miglioriti is at his stupid raffle.

It's awful dirty down there in the cellar.

I had no idea what I'd find.

Certainly not those damn jelly jars.

I'll show you what I did find, if you're interested.

A hairpin.

Not yours, though. No.

You wouldn't wear pins in that pretty hair.

Could've been down there for years. No, it would've rusted.

Besides, it still smells of the perfume...

I gave my mother for Christmas last year.

One more thing.

A bright-red broken fingernail, wouldn't you say?

I wonder who that belongs to.

Not my mother's colour at all.

No telling what the police could come up with down there.

Or out in the garden.

At least I should thank you... for bringing the Bentley back to the office, though.

What do you mean? You know what I mean.

Had to call a locksmith.

Any idea where the keys might be?

Perhaps on that chain around your pretty neck.

Where are you going? You said you wanted some tea.

There are some details still to be worked out, of course.

Not to worry.

I'll enjoy figuring them out on our long winter nights together.

Hello?

Officer Miglioriti. What? Oh, really?

That's great.

No, no, not now.

I'll manage.

Okay, thanks. Bye.

Rule number one: No secrets.

I won the stupid Thanksgiving turkey.

Congratulations.

And you told him not to bring it by. Very wise.

You know... there's no reason you shouldn't go right on living the way you have been.

Only now, of course, we'll be friends, you and I.

Just us two, huh?

We could become very good friends.

I like the way you handled yourself on the phone.

You are brilliant.

You're inventive and resourceful... very cool under fire.

You know how to survive, don't you?

I thought I did.


What about Mario?

He's in the hospital. He knows. Everything.

Maybe he'll die. The doctor says no.

It really doesn't matter, you know. He's an accomplice.

Mr. Hallet? Yes, my dear?

Will you tell your wife?

What?

Will you tell your wife?

Well, suppose you let me take care of that, okay?

The fire's catching.

It's nice and cozy now, huh?

What are we listening to? Chopin. Piano Concerto No. 1.

Yes.

It's lovely.

You want milk? Yes, please.

Thank you.

Would you like some sugar? Just one, please.

I'll expect you to remember that.

That's easy. It's the same as I take.

Nothing like a nice hot cup of tea, is there?

No.

Something wrong, my dear? No.

Why aren't you drinking your tea?

I'm waiting for you. You're the guest.

You put more milk in yours.

Did I?

Actually, that's the way I prefer mine.

I'd prefer yours.

Look at me when I talk to you.

I want yours.

Gives us more a feeling of sharing, don't you agree?

Ladies first.

No, wait.

Is it good?

Just right.

You know why I switched cups, don't you?

No. Oh, now, think.

Some sort of test?

Just so you remember, none of your little tricks.

Tea tastes like almonds.

Must be the almond cookies.

Oh, yes.

Excuse me.


You should see the way the fire... lights up your hair.

All yellow and gold.

Such lovely hair.