The Squid and the Whale (2005) Script

Mom and me versus you and Dad.

Long. That looked pretty good.

It was out. It did look good.

Frank, it was out. It's my call. Out.

If you can, try and hit it at your mother's backhand.

It's pretty weak. Got it.

Yes! Don't gloat, Walt.

Five games to three, us.

Fuck! Come on, Bernard.

Bernard, don't curse. I'm cursing at myself.

Nice shot. Thanks.

Walt, watch out. It's part of the game, Mom.

Fifteen-love.

Ow!

Joan, I'm sorry. It was an accident.

You gotta get a second serve.


Frank!

Did you just put that peanut up your nose?

Cashew, yes.

Pickle. That is such an idiotic, stupid thing to do.

No, it's out. I got it.

We're reading A Tale of Two Cities in English. Is that any good?

Mmm. It's minor Dickens. Popular in schools.

But I think David Copperfield or Great Expectations is much richer.

What is it about high school that you read all the worst books by good writers?

You should read it yourself and see what you think of it.

I don't wanna waste my time.

What are you doing?

Just fixing up the couch.

Did you sleep there? Yeah. Our bed is hurting my back.

Isn't the couch worse than the bed for backs?

No. This — This is better.

When does Mom's story come out in the magazine?

It's not a magazine. It's a literary journal.

Next month, I think.

It'll be weird having two writers as parents.

Yeah, well, Dad influenced her. She never wrote before she met him.

I haven't read any of Dad's books.

I've looked at them. They're great. They're very dense.

He needs a new agent. It's been too long since his last book.

But the publishing world isn't receptive, always, to real literary talent.

Maybe Mom will be famous instead.

No, Dad's the writer.

Maybe Mom is better.

No, that's way off base, Frank. That's way off base.

Ivan hit with Arthur Ashe once.

Wasn't he ranked, like, 402 or something?

Ivan could've been a champion, if he hadn't hurt his knee.

Okay, my brother, let's see some ground strokes.

You gotta ease up, my brother.

Jimmy Connors hits everything as hard as he can.

But we can't all get away with that, right?

All right, let's see the backhand.

Two hands. Two hands.

Hey, my brother, who taught you these junkyard strokes, huh?

My dad. He's self-taught.

I heard that.

Hey, Bernard, you teaching my brother here these junkyard chip shots?

One-handed backhand is an elegant stroke.

My brother here doesn't want a weak chip shot for a backhand.

I don't care.

It's McEnroe's stroke. He's the master of the chip game.

All right, fellas, that's it for today.

Ivan, you wanna hit a little?

I got a few minutes.

Frank, you and Carl hang out. Give me your racket.


Are you interested in any arts? I wouldn't mind being a pro.

It's very hard to be a professional player.

As good as even someone like Ivan is, he's not in a league with McEnroe or Connors.

Oh, I don't mean a pro like that.

I mean, like a pro at the bubble. Like Ivan.

You don't wanna be a pro.

I'm sure I've lost my parking space. We're gonna have to drive around.

Can you drop me off? No.

I picked you up. The least you can do is ride around with me.

♪ Hey you ♪

♪ Out there on the road Always doin' what you're told ♪

♪ Can you help — ♪

♪ Can you help me? ♪

♪ Hey you ♪

♪ Out there beyond the wall Breaking bottles in the hall ♪

♪ Can you help me? ♪

♪ Hey, you ♪ Don't tell me there's no hope at all ♪

♪ Together we stand ♪

♪ Divided we fall ♪ Terrific, honeys.

Walt, did you write that song? Yes.

Well, Frank had some good ideas too.

Very dense. Very interesting.

I signed up for the talent thing they have at school.

Great.

Just make sure you practice a lot. Mom, I'll be fine.

Just remember, you're gonna be in front of a lot of people.

Mom, don't ruin the whole thing for me.

You'll win. And if you don't win, something's wrong with 'em.

Which is probably the case, actually. People can be very stupid.

I'll get it.

Walt, you wanna come to my class tomorrow after school?

Yeah. Could I come?

Hello? You have tennis.

You're gonna be doing that, which is its own thing.

Look how young Dad looks.

That's funny. Dad, can I have this?

Okay. Would you write something in it?

Yeah.

Thanks.

"I absorb sex indiscriminately, numb and impartial.

I suck men of their interiors.

A fuck that unites John, Dan, Scott, whomever, in the popular lust and paternal hunt for my possession.

He was a large man, though his arms were thin.

The upper part soft, but not fleshy, like a young woman's.

He had long, delicate fingers and plump palms similar to a raccoon's.

With what is best described as finesse, he plied the meat from a crab claw and sucked oysters from their shells."

She's a very risky writer, Lili. Very racy.

I mean, exhibiting her cunt in that fashion is very racy.

I mean, Lili has her influences in postmodern literature, a bit derivative of Kafka.

But for a student, very racy.

Did you get that it was her cunt? Oh, yeah.

Did you like it? Yeah. A lot.

You'd like Kafka, one of my predecessors.

Particularly The Metamorphosis. Metamorphosis?

No fucking spaces.

I'll keep you company while we look. Thank you.

Dad, what were your wives like before Mom?

"Wife," really. The first one was annulled. I was 19.

What was she like? The annulled one?

No, the one you'd call a wife.

Difficult.

That's Mom.

Yeah, that's Mom.

What was she wearing?

No, I guess I've seen that before.

What are you writing?

I'm working on the Peugeot story.

Did you take my note about the ending?

Some of it.

Does he still die? Yeah.

Then you didn't take my note.


Um, boys, make sure you come home right after school.

Why? We're having a family conference.

What's that? A talk. Just... come home.

What about? We'll go over it tonight.

Can't you give us a hint? No, just — Tonight. We'll go — Everything. We'll go over it tonight.


Just waiting for your mother.

Oh, Mom. Sorry.

Okay. Okay, all set?

Yes.

Okay.

Your mom and I...

Okay, yeah. Uh, Mom and I are going...

We're going to separate.

You're not gonna be leaving either of us. We're gonna have joint custody.

Frank, it's okay. I've got an elegant new house across the park.

Across the park?

Is that even Brooklyn? It's only five stops on the subway.

It's an elegant block, the fillet of the neighborhood.

We'll have a Ping-Pong table. I don't play Ping-Pong.

We'll both see you equally. How would that work?

We're splitting up the week, alternating days. Why?

'Cause I love you, and I wanna see you as much as your mother does.

But there's seven days. Right.

So how will you split evenly with seven days?

I've got you Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and every other Thursday.

Every other? That's how we each have you equally.

That was your father's idea.

Don't do this.

How will I get to school?

There's a subway four blocks from the house. Four or five. No more than six blocks.

And wh-what about the cat?

Shit. The cat.

We didn't discuss the cat.

Your father will pick him up on those days when you're switching houses.

I'll have to drive here two additional times a week?

You got a place on the other side of the park.

If you'd gotten a place near here, it wouldn't be a problem.

This neighborhood's gotten very expensive.

It's very painful for me to stay in this neighborhood. You know that.

Don't be difficult. I feel banished.

Oh, Pickle.

So, Dad, what will happen with the cat?

We'll figure something out.

Is it 'cause Dad isn't as successful as he used to be?

Now that you're publishing and he isn't? Is that it?

That's not nice — Because this is a great family.

I don't know why you're screwing it up. If we could avoid it, I would.

Why are you doing this now? You've been together 16 years.

Seventeen.

Can't imagine living with you guys like this.

Don't most of your friends already have divorced parents?

Yeah, but I don't.

Well, now you do.

I think you're doing a foolish, foolish thing.

Listen, Chicken, I understand how unhappy you are. I'm unhappy too.

And I don't want you or Frank to blame yourself for any of this.

It has nothing to do with you.


Whoa. Whoa.

Shh. It's okay. Go back to sleep.

Are those books? Yes, these are my books.

Why are they going under my bed?

Because I bought them, and I don't wanna lose them.

We'll put them back on the shelf when your father leaves.

Until things are certain, I don't think we should say anything to anyone yet.

Why? 'Cause we never know.

And I don't want people to know our business.

I told Carl.

Already?

I called him last night.

I also told Matt and Dale.

And Dale? Shit, now everyone will know. Jesus, Frank.

Mom says we should tell people. Mom doesn't have to go to school.

Stop crying.

Joint custody blows.

I was told it's better. It's miserable.

My parents didn't wanna uproot me and Rebecca.

So we stayed in the house and they both took separate apartments and switched off coming to us.

And then my mom met Dexter. My dad freaked out.

And then they sold the house, and I go back and forth anyway.

God, joint custody blows.

Oh, thanks. Yeah, I forgot to take these.

She has a few of my books still.

She went around writing her maiden name in all the books when she knew we were splitting.

But these were definitely mine.

Are you and Walt stealing from Mom? These are mine, Frank.

Watch it! Jesus!

Hey, brother. Walt.

Uh, Bernard, Joan says you have a check for me.

She said that? No, tennis is hers.

In our separation agreement, it says she handles tennis and winter coats.

I do sneakers and camp. Okay.

I'll take it up with her.

Walt.

Ivan's a bit of a half-wit, isn't he?


It was important to me to have a place like your mother's.

I'm gonna cook and run the household like you're used to.

This is nothing like our house.

You mean, your mother's house. What?

This is nothing like your mother's house.

That's what I just said. No, you said, "our house."

That's your mother's house. This is your house too.

No, this is your house. It's our house.

I hate Nastase. You know that.

Ivan met Nastase and said he was an asshole.

Well, I couldn't find Vitas Gerulaitis.

I have a Vitas poster at home.

At Mom's. And all my turtles.

We can get you some turtles. I know you like the amphibians.

Turtles are reptiles.

Here's a desk for you to do your homework.

Dad, this is for a lefty.

Dad got me a lefty desk.

Frank, don't be difficult. We need to be supportive of Dad.

I hate it here. Don't be a chick.

You can get a righty desk later. Why do I want a desk at home, anyway?

I don't want a chalkboard or a bell going off every 45 minutes either.

Well, he likes being with us. He likes having us in the house.

You got books. I didn't get books.

'Cause these are the books Dad knows I like.

I wanna go back to Mom's.

Why? She caused this, Chick. I'm not a chick.

Yes, you are. You don't know what you're talking about, Chick.

This is Mom's doing. Stop calling me Chick!

Didn't Mom tell us they would never get divorced?

Yeah. So, Mom's a liar.

Ow, fuck! That hurt!

Ow!

I'm not being a chick, you fucking ass-man.

You're hurting me. Really hurting me.

Ow. Goddamn it.

One turtle would've made a difference.

You live in Park Slope, right?

Uh, my mom does. And I do sometimes.

I'm also gonna live on the other side of the park half the time.

Prospect Heights?

I'm not sure what the neighborhood's called.

The street's Stratford Road. My dad's moving there.

I hear it's the fillet of the neighborhood.

You like Franz Kafka? Uh, I don't know him.

He's great. The Metamorphosis is a masterpiece.

Sounds good. Yeah, it is.

Have you read This Side of Paradise? No, but it's minor Fitzgerald.

Is it? I loved it.

Well, it's a minor work. Gatsby's his masterpiece.

And Tender is the Night has dazzling moments.

Last Tycoon, had he finished it...

I hope you like it. Your notes were awesome, Bernard.

I loved your idea for the change in tense at the end.

I think it could be the coup of the story.

I reread A Hunger Artist on your suggestion and stole a couple things.

See if you can spot them. Good story to steal from.

Fuck!

Frank. Sorry.

How long were you and Mom not getting along?

Oh, couple of years.

I thought we would work it out.

I wanted to. I tried. As you know, I tried very hard.

Your mother ultimately wasn't interested in that.

Why not? I think it has very little to do with me.

Mother — Shit! Fucker! Frank!

She could never make up her mind.

She'd pull away, and then she'd get angry at me for not being more aggressive.

Her affair with that man Richard made it difficult, finally, for me to save the marriage.

It became a fait accompli. Affair?

With Richard. Who's Richard?

A man from the neighborhood.

She met him at one of Frank's Little League games.

A shrink. Seems sort of like an ordinary guy.

Not an intellectual.

How long was she having the affair? Mmm, about four years.

You're kidding. No. I thought you knew this.

No. No.

Fuck that cock shit!

Frank. You gotta relax, my brother.

Hey, Mom. Hey, honeys.

What are you doing? Just changing things around a bit.

I've come by to tell you I'm not staying here anymore.

Why? You know why.

No, I don't. Frank, do you know why?

No. Why don't you tell me, Walt?

Because you cheated on Dad.

How'd you hear that?

Your father told you. Yeah.

He told me.

Why did you, Mom?

I was having a hard time.

Where were we during all this? Did you bring men home?

Not while — Not...

Not when your father was in town.

You actually met Richard, both you boys.

He came over for takeout once.

You talked about the Stones.

Oh, God.

Under our noses, like a brothel. Men coming in and out.

Walt, shut up. If you want me to explain, I will.

I don't wanna hear about it. I do.

Well, Walt doesn't, so I'm not gonna say anything.

Walt can leave. You disgust me.

You weren't even a writer until recently.

You just bailed on Dad 'cause he's not as successful as he used to be and hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves.

You sound like your father. I'm glad I sound like him.

You disgust me. You're being a shit, Walt!

I'm taking the cat. You can't have him. It's his night here.

Okay, you can kiss me now.

No, the moment's ruined.

Maybe I'll go sneak up and surprise Chrissy.

It's not her birthday.

She also had an affair with some therapist.

I don't wanna know.

And Otto's father, Don.

Otto's father? - Yeah, but it's over.

She said the affairs have kind of been miserable for her.

She's dating now, but nothing serious.

She's crazy. She should keep her affairs to herself.

- I'm not going back to Mom's. You have to. Joint custody.

Fuck joint custody.

Is Mom letting you drink soda? - Beer.

- Since when do you drink beer? Since recently.

You think Don and she did it? God, I don't wanna think about it.

Imagine Don's dick in Mom's mouth.

Who are you? Stop it.

Do you think they do that? Do you think she has anal sex from Don?

Stop, okay? It's disgusting.

Don't.

- We have the same bone structure. No.

You have your dad's features.

Really? Mmm.

Fuck it. Frank.

I thought I had your bone structure. No.

You're ugly.

Pickle, why would you say that?

Because I think it's true. I think Carl thinks you're ugly.

I'm not though, sweetie.


I found out something last night. What's that?

That your dad was fucking my mom.

What? You heard me.

Supposedly going on for a year or so, about two years ago.

I'm so horrified by this.

Thanks. No, I don't mean by your mom.

She's very attractive.

It was just an affair. A fuck. We're not gonna be brothers or anything.

She said your dad's pretty fucked up with women.

Why'd she sleep with him then? I don't know.

Because she's an asshole?

Oh, I read The Metamorphosis. You were right. It's great.

Oh? Yeah. I mean, so bizarre.

What do you think is happening at the end, with the sister?

Oh, yeah, I think she's, um...

I mean, that's ambiguous, really. Yeah.

It's gross when he turns into the bug, but I love how matter-of-fact everything is.

Yeah, it's very Kafkaesque.

'Cause it's written by Franz Kafka.

Right.

No, I mean, clearly. Yeah, it would have to be.

Um, you're, uh — You're shoving the whole tongue in me. Oh. Sor — No, it's okay. Just do it a little. Like, little licks.

Like this? Yeah.

I wish you didn't have so many freckles on your face.

I mean, not — not really, though.

I'm feeling kind of feverish.

- Do we have any Tylenol? I don't know.

I didn't see any. Then there isn't any.

Can we get some?

Is this enough? Get a small one.

Three fifty-seven.

I don't have enough money. Okay.

I got it.

You have any change?

Yes.

Wanna play Ping-Pong?

I'm gonna lie down. One game.

Fuckin' shit. Nineteen-7.

Have you given more thought to what you're interested in?

Come on.

You have to try. It's no fun for me if you don't try.

I wanna be a tennis pro like Ivan. Come on. You don't wanna be a tennis pro.

Why not? It's not serious.

I mean, McEnroe. Borg is an artist. It's like dance.

Connors has a brutish brilliance, but at Ivan's level...

Ivan is fine, but he's not a serious guy. He's a Philistine.

What's a Philistine?

It's a guy who doesn't care about books or interesting films and things.

Your mother's brother Ned is also a Philistine.

Then I'm a Philistine.

No, you're interested in books and things. You liked The Wild Child when we saw it.

Lots of people liked that movie.

No. I'm a Philistine.

When am I going to meet the famous Sophie?

I don't know. She's not gorgeous, but she's cute.

You have plenty of time to sleep with gorgeous women.

Goddamn it!

They fell on the floor.

When my first novel came out, I had a lot of opportunities.

I was with your mother, so I didn't partake.

And I've never had an affair with a student, though many have come on to me.

That's why you might not wanna be attached at your age.

But it sounds like Sophie's good for now.

Why'd you yell "goddamn it"? I burned myself.

Cutlets are great. Dad, did you hear from that agent?

Mmm. Not yet.

But if he likes your novel, then you get it published, right?

Basically.

What happened to your old agent, Fred? Pissed me off.

He made a disparaging remark about the Knicks at a party.

Said they played like thugs. I found it really offensive. Kind of a jerk.

I think it was important to your mother that I achieve some sort of commercial success.

And when I didn't meet her expectations in that area...

What you're going to witness is a Greenberg family tradition — Friday-night Chinese at Hunan Palace. I hope you're prepared.

Hey. Hey.

Uh, why'd you let go of my hand? What?

When we passed Wendy, you let go.

I didn't realize.

Walt, is there anything special you'd like to order?

No, I'm just happy to have the same amount of dishes as people.

In my family, it's always one dish less the number of people.

That's our family tradition — not ordering enough food.

That's funny.

Oh, he's funny, Sophie. I know.

You're early. Hi, Joan.

Don't feed him the generic stuff. What?

Frank says you're feeding the cat generic food. Get Purina. It's what he likes.

It's the same damn thing, Joan. Okay, it's not, but...

He's my cat too, you know.

You remember when he got stuck in a wall in New Hampshire, and I rescued him?

I know how to handle him. It was a radiator.

What? He got stuck in a radiator.

You trimmed your beard.

Yeah, it was starting to get a little feral.

You look well. Yeah?

Thanks. Things are good here.

Teaching is going well.

I'm playing the best tennis of my life.

Maybe that's an illusion, but... feels that way.

That's good.

Hey, I was thinking we should sit together at Walt's performance next month.

Okay.

I think it'd be nice for him if we were both there together.

Maybe we could all go out afterwards.

I don't know. Maybe.

Okay. Maybe.

I think he's getting good at guitar.

I know.

The stuff he's writing is really wonderful.

Have you met his girlfriend? N-No.

He talks about her... with me though. Good.

I'd appreciate it if you didn't...

tell him about things like Richard.

My father told me you called him.

I did, yeah.

He said you, uh...

Said you were upset. Yeah.

I wanted to...

I like him.

You know that.

I just wanted to say — I don't know.

I just wanted to say hello.

He called me right after, and he said, "Bernie, I think you can save your marriage."

I told him...

I didn't think there was anything else I could do.

I did try everything.

Bye, Bernard.

Bernard?

I was wondering if you knew of any apartments.

I'm being kicked out of my sublet.

Unless I, I don't know, blow the super, I'm out on my ass.

Oh, I don't. No.

I... guess you don't know either, huh?

Oh, uh, no.

Actually, I have an extra room in my house. You could stay there till you find something.

You wouldn't have to blow your super.

Oh.

Wow. I... guess...

I'd hate to put you out. No, no.

Or your kids. No, no.

The Mother and the Whore. Looks like a cool movie.

That's a classic. I had it in my room.

Bathroom's right across the hall.

You'll have to share with the kids. They can come upstairs and use mine.

I don't care, as long as Walt remembers to put the seat down.

Thank you, Bernard. Thank you, Walt.

Joan tells me you don't like your sheets.

They're fine.

And that you disapprove of the food I feed the cat. Tell me these things, not her.

Fuck! Fifteen.

Fifteen-20.

Motherfucker! My serve.

I wasn't ready. Yes, you were.

Frank, I was not ready.

This is Mother Hubbard. There is nothing to eat or drink.

No soda. No, we're not allowed soda.

Goddamn it! I guess there's two kinds of parents — those who allow soda and sugar cereal, and those who don't.

We're not supposed to use paper towels to wipe our hands. The cloth is for that.

You're cute.

Thanks.

I can't believe this shit.

Shit! Good game.

It's hard to beat your father.

Hey!

Watch it!

Suck my dick, ass-man.

Where you going? Uh, the movies.

And then to a party with Sophie. What are you gonna do?

Oh, I don't know. Frank won't leave his room. He's being difficult.

You wanna come to the movie? Okay.

Not the party, but the movie.

So we were thinking Short Circuit.

Blue Velvet is supposed to be quite interesting.

I love you! Love me!

He put his disease in me.

Tell me it's all right. I opened myself to you.

No.

Stop, Frank.

No.

A student of mine writes very racy short stories you might like.

Oh.

Yeah. She has one that chronicles her vagina.

Dad. That sounds interesting.

Very feminist, but very interesting. Uh-huh.

Frank, I'm back.

Frank?

Frank?


- What were you doing? I was going to Mom's.

You don't do that on my night. Ever.

You hear me? Yes.

I'm your father. You listen to what I say.

But you were out. It's still my night, damn it.

Okay, okay.

Shit! Someone's taken my space.

Goddamn it. Son of a bitch. Sorry.

Frank!

Hello?

Hello?

Frank, what are you doing here? It's not your night with me.

I don't wanna look like Dad. Looks aren't everything.

It's not your night with me, sweetie. Did you have a party?

Well, I celebrated. Knopf is publishing my novel.

Pickle, you should be at your dad's.

Yeah? Yeah.

I need some nights without you guys sometimes.

What's up, brother?

Nothing.

Hello?

He just took off and went to your mother's. It's my night. He knows that.

You ever think we could ease up on whose night is whose?

I wanna see you guys. I love you.

Did you like Sophie?

Yeah. I think she's fine.

Is she a Knicks fan? I don't know.

You think she's pretty? Sure, yeah.

But she's not the type I go for.

You just have to decide if you want to be attached.

It's good to play the field at your age.

Lili is pretty. Mmm.

Would you go ring the bell? I hate walking up those steps.

It's very uncomfortable for me, very painful.

I used to live in this house.

As you know.

Pickle, your dad and Walt are here, and they're gonna take you back to Bernard's.

I'll be right out.

I'm sorry about... I'm sorry about your seeing Ivan like this.

I would've liked to have told you before you saw him.


Your mother.

I wanted to tell you about Ivan so you didn't hear it from anyone else.

Frank may have already said something.

Yeah, he did.

I've been seeing him a short time.

But I like him, and I thought you guys should know that.

And do you have any questions?

No.

Um, there was something else I was going to say.

Oh. I ran into Celia, Lance's mother, on the street, and she was telling me how wonderful she thinks you are.

How polite and funny and...

Uh-huh.

She said you did something with the salt and pepper shakers.

- A little play or something. Yeah. It was kind of stupid.

I said I already know all those things about him, but it's nice to hear it.

Oh, I remember what else I was going to say.

I wanted to know if you'd be interested in coming to dinner Saturday because I'm having the Dicksteins over.

No. I'm going to a party on Saturday, and I'm sleeping at Jeffrey's.

That's okay.

I'm gonna go to bed.

Okay. Good night, Chicken.

Night.

♪ Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel ♪

♪ Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night ♪

♪ Kyrie Eleison Where I'm going, will you follow? ♪

♪ Kyrie Eleison on a highway in the light ♪ You think she likes you? I get a feeling, yeah.

What about Sophie? If I can lose it to Lili, I'll do it.

I mean, I bet she's great in bed.

She can probably move her pussy muscles just the right way, so you blow your load in, like, seconds.

Yeah. It'd be pretty great. Maybe do 'em both.

Why not?

Hey, brother.

How's the grip?

Do you think you and I are Philistines? Frank!

What's a Philistine?

Someone who doesn't like books or interesting movies or things.

You're still here. It's my night with him.

I know. I just thought I'd watch him hit.

You married? No.

The whole thing's very complicated.

Mom's dating Ivan.

Really?

Ivan back there Ivan? Yeah.

Are you sure?

Why didn't you say something?

Why is your mother dating all these jocks?

Very uninteresting men. Ivan is very interesting.

Ivan's not a serious possibility for your mother.

I think he is.

I don't want to bad-mouth Ivan.

But I don't know what Joan is thinking.

I think Ivan is — Frank.

Ow. Ow. Sorry. Was that too hard?

Yeah, a bit.

Okay.

Is that better?

Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah, that's good. That's — Oh.

Um — Um... I — I guess, uh — I don't know — I don't know what... why that happened.

I mean, it's okay. Yeah. It's okay.

Okay.

Shit. Sorry.

Don't be sorry. I don't know why I didn't last longer.

I usually go for much longer. It's okay.

I guess I can take it as a compliment.

Did you take your shirt off for Nelson Barton?

I don't want to talk about it, Walt. Please, it's important.

Why is it important? 'Cause I need to know what happened.

Well, he felt me up and I touched him.

Down his pants? Walt, yeah.

I just... From what I can tell, not an intellectual.

I'm a virgin.

So am I.

When's your next book coming out? Soon, I hope. Soon.

Who's publishing it?

Well, I'm looking for a new agent first.

A friend of mine's an agent with Binky Urban.

If you like, I'll show it to him. Oh, that'd be great.

Hello.

Um, could I stay the night at Sophie's?

Thanks for doing that.

Okay. I'll see you tomorrow.

Or Tuesday. I'll see you Tuesday.

You don't need me home for anything? No. Everything's fine.

If you're interested, Walt and I are taking a road trip to SUNY Binghamton in a couple of weekends.

I'm giving a reading, and, uh, an ex-student of mine, now friend, Jeb Gelber, is feting me with a dinner.

Excellent.

You should read the cathedral scene from Under Water.

Oh. I've done that one a lot. I thought I'd do something new.

But, uh, okay. Well, maybe.

Sorry. My nose is running.

I'm your teacher.

I've wondered for a long time what it would be like to fuck you.

I think we should wait.

Really?

Yeah. Yeah, let's wait.


Okay. Up next, Walt Berkman, who is going to play us a song.

Thank you.

I'm going to play lead guitar and do vocals on a song I wrote.

♪ Hey you, out there in the cold, getting lonely, getting old ♪

♪ Can you feel me? ♪

♪ Hey you, standing in the aisles with itchy feet and fading smiles ♪

♪ Can you feel me? ♪

♪ Hey you, don't help them to bury the light ♪

♪ Don't give in without a fight ♪

♪ But it was only a fantasy ♪ That song was so good! Oh. Thank you.

Oh, Dad, you remember Sophie? Mm-hmm.

And Lili. Hi.

How much did you win? Hundred bucks.

Come by my room tonight before you go to bed. I want to show you something.

Okay. Oh, and this is my mom and Frank and Ivan.

Hi.

Some song, brother. Thanks.

Hi, Bernard.

I thought we'd all have dinner. Ivan suggested Gage and Tollner.

We could celebrate my book and your song.

I'm going to go with Dad.

Well, your Dad and I talked about all of us going.

I don't want to do that. See ya.

Ivan and I came to see your show. Don't treat us that way.

You think you hate me, but I know you don't.

Where'd you come up with some of those lyrics?

They were very dreamlike.

Reminds me of my second novel, End of the Line.

There's a rock star character in that. I love that novel.

Classic. The scenes with the baby in the middle are based on me as a baby.

That's right. It's Mailer's favorite of my books.

I loved your wife's piece in The New Yorker.

Really? In The New Yorker? Did you know about this?

I guess I did. How'd that happen?

It's an excerpt. She's getting a novel published.

Really?

Walt showed it to me. It was kind of sad, but really good.

The portions are very big here. You only need half an order.

Okay.

Jesus. Fifteen dollars for parking.

What do you think I should do about Sophie?

You'll make the right decision.

I regret sometimes I wasn't more of a free agent when I was younger.

There was a woman who approached me at a party at George Plimpton's after my first book.

She was very sexy. I could've gone home with her.

Why didn't you? I was with your mother.

Oh, right. Of course.

You should've probably done it. It didn't stop her.

Maybe you should sleep with her once.

See if you like it.

It doesn't mean you can't see other women too.

I don't know if Sophie will go for that.

Well, after your performance tonight, things might change for you.

Do you want to go to my house?

Jesus, you really want to do it, don't you?

I don't know.

What's the obsession with sex?

It's not an obsession. I'm not so sure I want to do it either.

I'm scared too. Scared is not the issue.

It's just everything is so serious suddenly.

We're not getting married. What are you saying?

Nothing. I just don't want to feel this pressure from you.

Do you like someone else? Your dad's girlfriend?

No. No. Why?

No! And she's not his girlfriend.

My father said you had a weak handshake, which is a sign of indecision.

His hands are so huge. I can't get a good grip.

And my mother said you don't have a very good model for relationships because of your parents.

What? Your mother doesn't know anything.

I thought it went well. You told me she said I was hilarious.

Don't be difficult. Please.

You want a beer?

I couldn't take relying on your Dad's shopping habits anymore.

You can have anything you want whenever.

Thanks.

I'm going to read you a draft of my new story.

I want to hear your thoughts first. Then I'm going to show it to your dad.

You like Pink Floyd, huh? What?

Don't worry. I used to hand in Lou Reed lyrics in my poetry class and pass them off as my own.

Although I hope you don't get caught.

I always did.

Do you — Oh! Fuck! Sorry.

Shit! Lili, sorry.

It's okay. It's just a bloody nose.

I'm sorry.

I might take a bath. Okay?

Oh. Okay.

Okay. Good night.

Hey. Hey.

When's Bernard coming to get you? In an hour.

Plan on 30 minutes.

He's always early to get you and late to bring you back.

I wish I could come with you guys. I heard that, brother.

I know. But Dad's got you on Saturdays.

Do you like his girlfriend? Is she his girlfriend?

I thought so. She lives with you.

He doesn't say? No.

I think Walt loves her.

So, they like the same women now too. What?

It's nothing. You got our number in Maine.

Remember to lock up. I will.

See you next week, Pickle-oo. Just Pickle, please.

I'll see you next week, Just Pickle.

Good grip, brother. You too, brother.

Dad, it's me.

Are you there?

Pick up.

Shit.

How are you? Good to see you.

It had been an emotionally draining day and night for the itinerant alienist —

I'm sorry about the turnout. A lot of the kids go home early for Passover.

They seemed to like it.


I mean, masturbating is his own issue.

But Hector witnessed the locker incident, and then later semen was found in the library.

Who's Hector?

How do you know they were both Frank's?

Well, I suppose it's possible other kids are masturbating and spreading their semen around the school as well.

It's possible, but, uh, somewhat unlikely.

Oh, it happens, I'm sure, much more than we know.

Bernard, have you ever done anything like this?

I'm not going to answer that.

Has anything been going on at home that might've provoked this behavior?

Well, Bernard left him behind for three days last week.

And, of course, Frank's mother divorced me earlier this year, which might also have something to do with it.

Ms. Berkman, I read your story in The New Yorker.

I thought it was quite moving.

Thanks.

Thanks a lot.

You're living with a 20-year-old.

It's none of your business, Joan. It's my business when you have our kids.

It's confusing for them.

Frank says Walt's in love with her.

Walt has a girlfriend.

Fuck off, Joan. I don't ask about you and Ivan.

Stay out of my life.

I can't believe you'd talk to me like this.

You left all those fucking ticket stubs and letters lying around.

You wanted me to know.

It was fucking torture, Joan!

Fucking torture!


He made his own interpretation.

Well, he's still going to have to give the prize money back.

But obviously, it's a bigger problem. He isn't doing any of his schoolwork either.

His paper on Gatsby was quite brilliant, I thought.

It's one of his favorite books.

That may be, but I don't believe he's read it.

You both should talk to him.

I think Bernard has to do it.

He wants you to see a therapist. I don't need that.

That's what I said. Does Simic know both your parents have PhD's in literature?

I've mentioned it. I think he's full of shit.

These public schools tend to hire well-meaning, but ultimately unsophisticated bureaucrats.

Yeah. I don't like him.

But you might have to do it just to please the school.

I don't need it. I know.

And unfortunately, probably a guy with a BA in psychology.

Not a real shrink.

I have an MA in Developmental Psychology from the Yale Child Studies Program.

Did you get a PhD? No, an MA is a masters.

Uh-huh. Right.

Have any thoughts about why you're here, Walt?

Not really.

You said you wrote the song you played in assembly.

Uh-huh. Why?

I don't know. Did you have a reason?

I felt I could've written it. Okay.

But you didn't.

It was written by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

I think you know that. Yes, but I felt I could've, so the fact that it was already written was kind of a technicality.

I see.

I can imagine this is a little uncomfortable for you to talk about.

I guess. It's hard to explain.

I wonder how you're feeling right now.

I don't know.

Why don't you tell me about something less uncomfortable.

Like a nice memory, maybe.

Isn't that kind of a stock question for a shrink?

Yes. That's more or less how this works.

I can't think of anything right now. Just think.

Come on. Just something.

Meet me halfway here.

Um, let's see.

Okay. Uh, when I was around six, my mom and I...

She and I ducked out of Julie Glynn's birthday party to watch Robin Hood together on our TV.

That sounds like a nice memory. I liked Errol Flynn.

Errol Flynn. That's all?

And I was glad she let me leave the party early to watch the movie.

She and I... She and I loved that movie.

It's like...

It's like we were pals then and we'd do things together.

We'd look at the knight armor at the Met, the scary fish at the Natural History Museum.

I was always afraid of the squid and the whale fighting.

I could only look at it with my hands in front of my face.

When we'd get home, after my bath, she'd go through all the different things we saw that day at the museum.

And we'd get to the squid and the whale, and she'd describe it for me, which was still scary, but it was less scary.

Anyway, it was fun. It was fun to hear about it.

Did your dad live at home back then?

Yeah. Why?

You didn't mention him.

Where was he during all of this?

He was...

I don't know exactly. He was... He was downstairs maybe.

He'd never come to the museum. This was before my brother was born.

It was before...

It was earlier.

Hello.

Hello.

Not now, Bernard. Why not?

Just not, okay?

Put me in your mouth. Walt!

Hi. Hey, Walt.

Hi. I'll be right out.

We can, uh, hang out.

Hi. Is Walt here?

No.

Oh. I'd like you to come to my house.

Isn't it Mom's night? Yeah, but I'd like you to come over.

Um, I have to put on my shoes.

Come in, I guess.

Place looks different.

She got some new furniture in Maine.

That was my TV. I bought that TV. Uh-huh.

That's my Jude the Obscure.

Want to take it? No.

She still has some of the books you wrote.

Dad, why are you taking me to your house on Mom's night?

Just a minute.

Oh. Hi.

Uh, Frank let me in.

I didn't realize you were here. I'm here. It's Monday.

I'd like to take him for just tonight.

I'll give you two Thursdays in a row or something.

Mom. It's my night. He wants to stay.

Be careful. That's an antique.

Where's Walt? I don't know where Walt is.

He's not up there. Bernard!

He doesn't come here.

You should go. You'll see him tomorrow.

Tell Walt to call me.


I dunked my head in that pond in the park.

The one near the zoo? Oh, sweetie, that's filthy!

I hope you didn't drink any of it. Some may have gotten in my mouth.

I tried not to swallow.

I shouldn't have broken up with Sophie.

Why did you? I thought I could do better.

Better how?

I don't know.

That's good, you miss her.

But I don't see myself as a person who's in this situation.

I just don't.

I don't see myself this way.

Well, this is how it is.

Did you ever love Dad?

'Cause if you didn't, why did you ever marry him?

If you were going to leave him, why did you put us all through this?

It wasn't planned. When we first met, he was unlike anyone.

In Columbus, there was no one like your dad.

I had had an affair with a man before your father.

He worked at the college bookstore. We used to make love in the stockroom.

Mom, I don't want to hear about your affairs, please.

I'm sorry.

I don't know what I can say to you.

You have a way of saying things that are a way I don't want to hear them.

I know, Chicken.

It's something I do. It's a bad habit.

Do you remember when we watched Robin Hood?

He knocked on my window. Bernard, what are you doing?

Joan, let me ask you something. All that work I did at the end of our marriage — making dinners, cleaning up, being more attentive.

It never was gonna make a difference. You were leaving no matter what.

You never made a dinner. I made burgers the time you had pneumonia.

Only after I insisted.

If I had made more dinners, would that have made a difference?

I was ready to leave a long time ago. I just didn't know it then.

I've been giving it some thought. You called my father at the last minute.

You said something. Whatever you said, he thought I could save the marriage.

You felt I wasn't aggressive enough.

I'll make more of an effort to do stuff.

I've been cooking and doing chores at my house.

I make veal cutlets, which the boys love.

Why don't we all have dinner and talk more about this?

I'm sorry.

It's just... burgers.

I'll sue you, Joan. You know I will.

You had an affair for four years with that fucking shrink that ruined our marriage, and I can get the kids.

I talked to Eddie Goodman, who works on these cases all the time, and I have an open-and-shut case.

Frank, Walt, get in the car! Sue me? That's... I can't...

You only wanted joint custody 'cause you'd pay less child support that way.

Because it's cheaper for you!

Walt, Frank! I don't want to go.

I don't give a shit! Frank, get in the car! Frank!

Hey, hey. Let him stay. Let him stay. I'm just asking this one thing.

Look, he wants to stay. Let him. I'll go. Fine.

Hold on.

You want him tonight? Okay.

Thanks.

That's all right, my brother.

The cat!

I got him. Joan, I got him.

I got him!

Goddamn it!

Dad! Did you see him go?

I'm moving it!

Fuck off.

Whoa. Bernard! You all right?

I had him. Joan, call an ambulance!

Walt, get in the car.

- Dégueulasse. What?

It means "bitch." Don't you remember?

You're calling me a bitch? No.

Don't you remember the last line of Godard's À Bout de Souffle?

Belmondo calls Seberg a bitch.

Dégueulasse.

We saw it at the Thalia with the Dicksteins. I got you in for the children's price.

You were pregnant with Walt.

Like six weeks. I still got you in for a children's ticket.

You told me you didn't like Godard.

You thought the jump cuts were — I'd check for the cat behind the ash cans under the Golodner's stoop!

Okay.

I didn't write it.

I know. Pink Floyd did.

Do you think we'll find him?

I hope so.

Do you think one day we could go to the Galápagos?

I don't know, Pickle.

Ivan and I could take you to the country on Saturday to see some real turtles.

Saturday's Dad's day.

There's my son. Hey.

Are you okay? I'm fine.

Thought it was a heart attack, but... I think I'm just exhausted.

Doctor said I'm exhausted.

Too many veal cutlets? Maybe.

Is that a good book?

Oh, this is pulp. It's not serious.

It's hard to read a good book in the hospital.

But this isn't bad of its kind.

Leonard is the fillet of the crime genre.

I'd like you to stay here for the day. I need the company.

Okay.

Lili moved out.

Do me a favor. Go out in the hall, get me another pillow.

My neck is hurting.

Maybe we could even things out a bit and I could stay at Mom's a few extra nights

'cause I've been staying more at yours.

It's not a good time. I'm not going to be a hundred percent for a while.

I'd like you around. I don't think I want to come for a while.

It's not up to you, Walt. You're a minor. You're in my custody.

My home is your home too.

I'm not coming.

Why?

That hurts my feelings.

Don't be difficult.

If you like, we can get you some more posters, make your room better.

Paint it a different color.

I can lend you my first edition of The Naked and the Dead.

As a present.

Let me get you a pillow.

You used to be very emotional when you were younger.

Did I look pretty silly out there, falling on the concrete?

Yeah.

What? What are you laughing at?

That was funny how you said, "Yeah."

Good comic timing. Thanks.

Why don't we get some breakfast?

See if you can find a nurse out there.

Try to get the blonde. She looks like a young Monica Vitti.

Excuse me.

The man in that room wants to order some breakfast.

Okay.