Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Script

WOMAN 1: Good night. WOMAN 2: Good night.

(GEORGE COUGHING)


(MARTHA LAUGHING)

Shh, Martha, it's 2:00 in the morning.

Oh, George.

Well, it is.

What a cluck. What a cluck you are.

GEORGE: It's late, you know. It's late.

MARTHA: No kidding.


(DOOR CLOSES)

(SIGHS) Shit!

What a dump.

Hey, what's that from? "What a dump!"

How would I know?

Oh, come on, what's it from? You know.

Martha.

MARTHA: What's it from, for Christ sake?

GEORGE: What's what from?

MARTHA: I just told you. I just did it.

"What a dump!"

Huh?

What's that from? I haven't the faintest idea.

Dumbbell.

It's from some damn Bette Davis picture, some goddamn Warner Bros. Epic.

Martha, I can't remember all the pictures that came out of Warner Bros.

Nobody's asking you to remember every goddamn Warner Bros. Epic.

Just one. Just one single little epic. That's all.

Bette Davis gets peritonitis at the end.

And she wears this big black fright wig all throughout the picture.

And she's married to Joseph Cotten or something.

Somebody. Somebody.

And she wants to go to Chicago all the time because she loves that actor with the scar.

But she gets sick, and she sits down in front of her dressing table...

What actor? What scar?

I can't remember his name, for God's sake. What's the name of the picture?

I want to know what the name of the picture is.

She gets this peritonitis but she decides to go to Chicago anyway. And...

Chicago. It's called Chicago.

Hmm?

What? What is?

I mean the picture. It's called Chicago.

Oh, good grief.

Don't you know anything?

Chicago was a '30s musical starring little Miss Alice Faye.

Don't you know anything?

This picture...

Bette Davis comes home from a hard day at the grocery store...

She works in a grocery store?

(SIGHS) She's a housewife. She buys things.

She comes home with the groceries and she walks into the modest living room of the modest cottage modest Joseph Cotten set her up in.

Are they married? And...

Yes, they're married. To each other, cluck.

And she comes in, and she looks around this room and she sets down her groceries.

And she says, "What a dump!"

Uh-huh.

She's discontent. Oh.

Well, what's the name of the picture?

I really don't know, Martha.

Well, think!

Well, I'm tired, dear. It's late.

Oh, I don't know what you have to be tired about. You didn't do anything today.

Oh, I'm tired. You didn't have any classes or anything.

Well, if your father didn't set up these damned Saturday-night orgies all the time...

Oh, that's just too bad about you, George.

Well, that's how it is anyway.

You didn't do anything. You never do anything. You never mix.

You just sit around and talk.

Well, what do you want me to do?

You want me to go around braying at everyone all night, the way you do?

I don't bray!

All right, you don't bray.

I did not bray.

I said you didn't bray.

Fix me a drink.

Haven't you had enough?

I said, fix me a drink.

Well, I don't suppose a nightcap would kill either one of us.

(SCOFFS) A nightcap? Are you kidding?

We've got guests.

We've got what?

Guests. Guests.

Guests.

Yeah, guests. People. We've got guests coming over.

When?

Now.

Good Lord, Martha, do you know what time it is?

Yeah.

Who's coming over? What's-their-name.

Who? What's-their-name!

Who's what's-their-name? (SIGHS) Oh.

I don't know their name, George.

You met them tonight. They're new.

He's in the Math Department or something.

I don't remember meeting anybody tonight.

MARTHA: (SIGHS) Well, you did.

Of all the asinine... Who are these people?

He's in the Math Department. Who?

He's in the Math Department. He's young and he's blond.

He's good-looking, well-built?

Yes, good-looking, well-built.

(SIGHS) It figures. What?

Nothing. Nothing. (SHOWER RUNNING)

His wife's a mousy little type without any hips or anything.

Do you remember them now?

I guess so. But why in hell do they have to come over here now?

Because Daddy said we should be nice to them. That's why.

For God's sake.

Daddy said we should be nice to them. But why now?

Because Daddy said we should be nice to them.

Yeah, but I'm sure your father didn't mean we were supposed to stay up all night with these people.

I mean, we could have them over some Sunday or something.

Well, never mind. Besides, it is Sunday.

Very early Sunday.

It's ridiculous. Well, it's done.

(DOOR CLOSES)


Okay, where are they? If we've got guests, where are they?

They'll be here soon.

What'd they do, go home and get some sleep first or something?

They'll be here.

I wish you'd tell me about things sometimes.

I wish you'd stop springing things on me all the time.

I don't spring things on you all the time.

Yes, you do. You really do. You're always springing things on me.

Oh, George. Always.

Poor Georgie Porgie, put-upon pie.

Oh!

What are you doing? Are you sulking?

Let me see. Are you sulking?

Is that what you're doing? Huh?

Never mind.

Oh!

Just don't bother yourself. Oh!

Oh!

Oh.

Hey.

Hey. (MUFFLED) What?

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? ♪

(GROANS)

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? ♪

(LAUGHS)

What's the matter? Didn't you think that was funny?

I thought it was a scream. It was all right.

You laughed your head off when you heard it at the party.

I smiled. I didn't laugh my head off. You laughed your goddamn head off.

It was all right. It was a scream.

It was very funny, yes.

Oh, you make me puke.

What? You make me puke.

Wasn't a very nice thing to say, Martha. That wasn't what?

A very nice thing to say.

Oh, I like your anger.

I think that's what I like about you most.

Your anger. (EXCLAIMS)

You are such a simp.

(STUTTERING) You haven't even got the...

Oh, the... The what? Uh...

Guts?

Phrasemaker.

(CHUCKLING)

(CHUCKLES)

(BOTH LAUGHING)

Ah.

You never put any ice in my drink. Why is that, huh?

I always put ice in your drinks, Martha. You eat it, that's all.

It's this habit you've got of chewing on your ice cubes like a cocker spaniel.

You'll crack your big teeth.

Well, they're my big teeth.

Yeah, some of them, some of them.

I've got more teeth than you have.

Two more. Mmm.

Well, you're going bald.

So are you. (BOTH LAUGHING)

(COUGHS)

Hello, honey. (CHUCKLES)

Hey, go on, give your mommy a big sloppy kiss.

No.

I want a big sloppy kiss.

I don't wanna kiss you right now, Martha.

Where are these people you invited over?

Where is this good-looking, well-built young man and his slim-hipped wife?

Stayed on to talk to Daddy. They'll be here.

Why didn't you want to kiss me? (SIGHS)

George?

George? Yes, love?

Why didn't you want to kiss me?

Well, dear, if I kissed you I'd get all excited. I'd get beside myself and then I'd have to take you by force right here on the living room rug.

(CHUCKLES) And our little guests would walk in and, well, what would your father say about that?

(CHUCKLES) Oh, you pig.

Oink oink.

Fix me another drink, lover.

My God, you can swill it down, can't you?

Well, I'm thirsty. Oh, Jesus.

Look, sweetheart, I can drink you under any goddamn table you want, so don't worry about me.

And I gave you the prize years ago, Martha.

There isn't an abomination award going that you haven't won.

I swear if you existed, I'd divorce you.

Just stay on your feet, that's all. These people are your guests.

I can't even see you.

If you pass out or throw up... I haven't been able to see you for years. And try to keep your clothes on, too.

There aren't many more sickening sights in this world when you have a couple of drinks... You're a blank.

And your skirt over your head. A cipher. A zero.

Your heads, I should say. (DOORBELL RINGS)

Party. Party.

Oh, I'm really looking forward to this, Martha.

Go answer the door. You answer it.

Get to that door, you. To you.

(DOORBELL RINGS) Come on in!

I said get over there and answer that door.

All right, love. Whatever love wants.

Just don't start on the bit, that's all. The bit?

The bit? What kind of language is that?

You're imitating one of your students, for God's sake?

Just don't start in on the bit about the kid, that's all.

What do you take me for? Much too much.

Yeah? Well, I'll start in on the kid if I want to.

I'd advise against it, Martha.

Well, good for you. (KNOCKING ON DOOR)

Come on in! Get over there and open that door.

You've been advised, Martha. Yeah. Sure. Get over there.

All right, love. Whatever love wants.

It's nice the way some people still have manners and just don't come breaking into other people's houses.

Even if they do hear some subhuman monster yowling at them from inside.

Goddamn you!

(GEORGE CHUCKLES)

Hi there. (CHUCKLES)

Hello. Here we are. Come on in.

We finally made it. You must be our little guests.

Just ignore old sourpuss here. Come on in, kids. (CHUCKLES)

Uh, just hand your coat and stuff to old sourpuss here. (LAUGHS)

Well, perhaps we shouldn't have come. Oh, yes, yes, it is late and I...

Late? Are you kidding? Uh, just throw your stuff down anyplace and come on in.

Anywhere. Furniture, floor. Doesn't make any difference around this place.

I told you we shouldn't have come. I said, come on in. Now, come on.

HONEY: Oh, dear. (CHUCKLES) Oh, dear.

Look, muck-mouth, you cut that out.

Martha. Martha's a devil with language. She really is. (CHUCKLES)

Uh, kids, sit down.

Oh... Oh.

Isn't this lovely?

Oh, yes, indeed. Very handsome. Oh, well, thank you.

Uh, who, uh... Who did the painting?

That? Oh, that's by...

Some Greek with a mustache Martha attacked one night in a...

(LAUGHING)

It's got a...

Quiet intensity? Well, no, a...

Well, then a certain noisy, relaxed quality maybe?

No, what I meant was...

How about a quietly noisy relaxed intensity?

Dear, uh, you're being joshed. (CHUCKLES)

I'm aware of that. Oh.

I'm sorry. What it is, actually, it's a pictorial representation of the order of Martha's mind.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Fix the kids a drink, George. What would you like to drink, kids?

Honey...

What would you like? Oh, I don't know, dear.

Uh, a little brandy maybe. Never mix, never worry.

Brandy? Just brandy. Simple, simple.

What about you, uh...

Uh... Uh...

Bourbon on the rocks, if you don't mind. Mind? I don't mind. Don't think I mind.

Martha, rubbing alcohol for you?

Sure. Never mix, never worry.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Never mix, never worry.

Uh, Hey. Hey. (LAUGHS)

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia... ♪

♪ Virginia Woolf? ♪ Wasn't that funny?

That was so funny, huh? Yes, it was.

I thought I'd bust a gut. I really did.

George didn't think it was funny at all.

Martha thinks that unless you, as she puts it, bust a gut, you're not amused.

You know, unless you carry on like a hyena, you're not having any fun.

Well, I certainly had fun. It was a wonderful party.

Yes, it certainly was. And your father, oh, he is so wonderful.

Yes, yes, he is. Yeah.

Oh, I tell you. He's, uh, quite a guy, isn't he?

Quite a guy. You better believe it.

Oh, he's a marvelous man. I'm not trying to tear him down.

He's a god. We all know that. You lay off my father.

Yes, love. What I mean is, when you've had as many faculty parties as I have...

I rather appreciated it. You what?

I mean aside from enjoying it, having fun, I appreciated it. Everything.

Meeting everyone, getting introduced around.

The way he had us put up out at the inn till our place is ready.

Why, when I was teaching in Kansas... You won't believe it but we had to make our way all by ourselves. Isn't that right, dear?

Why, yes... We had to make our own way.

I would have to go up to the wives in the library or the supermarket and say, "Hello, I am new here.

"You must be, uh, Mrs. So-and-So, Dr. So-and-So's wife."

It really wasn't very nice at all. Mmm.

Daddy knows how to run things.

He's a remarkable man.

You bet your sweet life.

Let me tell you a secret, baby. (SIGHS)

There are easier things in this world if you, uh, happen to be teaching at a university.

There are easier things than being married to the daughter of the president of that university. There are easier things in this world.

It should be an extraordinary opportunity.

For some men it would be the chance of a lifetime.

There are, believe me, easier things in this world.

Some men would give their right arm for the chance.

Alas, Martha, in reality it works out that the sacrifice is of a somewhat more private portion of the anatomy.

Ah...

I wonder if you could show me where the...

Are you all right? Oh, oh, oh!

Of course, dear. I just want to put some powder on my nose.

Martha, will you show her where we keep the, uh, euphemism?

What? (MUMBLES)

Oh, uh, I'm sorry. Come on. I want to show you the house anyway.

We'll be back, dear.

Honestly, George, you burn me up. All right.

You really do, George. You really do. Okay, Martha, just trot along.

Just don't shoot your mouth off about you-know-what.

I'll talk about any goddamn thing I want to.

Okay, okay, vanish.

Any goddamn thing I want.

Vanish.

Come on.

(SIGHS)

Oh, uh...

Uh, what'll it be?

I'll stick to bourbon, I guess.

Ah.

So you're in the Math Department?

No.

Uh, no.

No? Martha said you were. I think that's what she said.

(SIGHS)

What made you decide to be a teacher? Oh.

Well, the same things that, uh, motivated you, I imagine.

Uh-huh, what were they? Pardon?

I said, what were they? What were the things that motivated me?

(SCOFFS) Well, I'm sure I don't know.

You just finished saying that the things that motivated you were the same things that motivated me.

I said I imagined they were. Oh, did you?

Oh, well.

You like it here?

Yes, it's fine.

I meant the university.

Oh, I thought you meant...

Yeah, I could see you did. I meant the university.

Well, I like it fine.

Just fine.

You've been here for quite a long time, haven't you?

What?

Oh, yes. Yes, ever since I married, uh, what's-her-name, Martha.

Even before that. Forever.

Dashed hopes and good intentions.

Good, better, best, bested.

How do you like that for a declension, young man?

Sir, I'm sorry... Sir? You didn't answer my question.

Don't you condescend to me.

I asked you how you liked that for a declension?

Good, better, best, bested.

Huh? Well?

I really don't know what to say. You really don't know what to say?

All right! What do you want me to say?

Do you want me to say it's funny, so you can contradict me and say it's sad?

Or do you want me to say it's sad so you can turn around and say, "No, it's funny"?

You can play that damn little game any way you want to, you know.

Very good, very good.

Now, when my wife comes back, I think we'll just...

Now, calm down. Just calm down. All right?

You want another drink? Here, let me... I still have one.

And I do think when my wife comes down... Let me freshen it for you. Stay there.

What I mean is, you two, you and your wife seem to be having some sort of a...

Martha and I are having nothing. Martha and I are merely exercising, that's all.

We're merely walking what's left of our wits. Don't pay any attention to us.

Still, I think we... Well, now, let's sit down and talk, huh?

It's just that I don't like to become involved in other people's affairs.

Oh, you'll get over that. Small college and all.

Musical beds is the faculty sport here. Sir?

I said, musical... Never mind. I wish you wouldn't go, "Sir" like that.

How old are you? Twenty-eight.

I'm 40-something.

Well? Aren't you surprised? I mean, don't I look older?

I think you look fine.

I've always been lean. I use the handball courts.

How much do you weigh?

Hundred fifty-five, 60, something like that? Do you play handball?

Not very well.

Then we should play sometime.

Martha is 108 years old. She weighs somewhat more than that.

How old is your wife?

She's 26.

Martha is a remarkable woman. I would imagine she weighs around 110.

Your wife weighs... No, my boy...

Yours. Your wife. My wife is Martha.

Yes, I know. Yes.

Yes, well, if you were married to Martha you would know what it means.

And if I were married to your wife, I would know what that means, too, wouldn't I?

Yes.

Martha says you're in the, uh, Math Department or something.

No, I'm not.

Well, Martha's seldom mistaken.

Maybe you should be in the Math Department or something.

I'm a biologist. I'm in the Biology Department.

Oh.

Oh.

Sir? You're the one.

You're the one's gonna make all that trouble, making everyone the same.

Rearranging the "chromozones," or whatever it is. Isn't that right?

Not exactly. Chromosomes.

I'm very mistrustful.

I, uh... Do you believe people learn nothing from history?

I'm in the History Department.

Yes, I know.

Martha tells me often that I'm in the History Department as opposed to being the History Department, in the sense of running the History Department.

I do not run the History Department.

Well, I don't run the Biology Department.

You're 21. Twenty-eight.

Twenty-eight.

Perhaps when you're 40-something you will run the History Department.

Biology. Biology Department, of course.

I'm really very mistrustful.

I read somewhere that, uh, science fiction is not really fiction at all.

That you people are rearranging my genes so that everyone will be like everyone else.

I suspect we will not have much music, much painting.

But we will have a civilization of sublime young men very much like yourself.

Cultures and races will vanish. The ants will take over the world.

You don't know much about science, do you?

I know something about history. I know when I'm being threatened.

(CHUCKLES)

Your wife doesn't have any hips, does she? I mean, does she?

What?

Oh, I, uh... I didn't mean to suggest that I'm hip-happy.

I was implying that your wife is slim-hipped.

Yes, she is.

You got any kids? No, not yet. You?

That's for me to know and you to find out.

Indeed.

No kids, huh?

What's the matter?

Nothing. We just, uh... We wanted to wait till we're settled.

Oh.

Do you think you'll be happy here at New Carthage?

Well, we hope to stay here. I don't mean forever.

Well, I wouldn't let that get bandied about. The old man wouldn't like it.

(COUGHING)

Martha's father expects his staff to come here and grow old and, uh, fall in the line of service.

One man, a professor of Latin and elocution actually fell in the cafeteria line one lunch.

But the old man is not gonna fall anywhere. The old man is not gonna die.

There are rumors which you must not breathe in front of Martha, for she foams at the mouth that the old man, her father is over 200 years old.

There's probably an irony there in some place, but I'm not drunk enough to figure out what it is.

Martha!

Damn it.

I wonder what women talk about when the men are talking.

I must find out sometime.

MARTHA: What do you want? (CHUCKLES)

Isn't that a wonderful sound?

MARTHA: George! How many kids you gonna have?

NICK: I don't know. My wife is, uh...

Slim-hipped. Well, there's one of you at least.

You must see this house, dear.

Oh, this is such a wonderful old house. NICK: Yes.

Martha!

MARTHA: For Christ sake, hang on a minute, will you?

She'll be right down, she's changing.

She's what? She's changing? Yes.

What, her clothes?

Her dress. Why?

Uh, why... I imagine that she wants to be comfortable.

Oh, she does, does she?

Well, heavens, I should think... You don't know.

You all right, dear? Yes, dear, perfectly fine.

So she wants to be comfortable, does she?

Well, we'll see about that.

I didn't know that you had a son.

What? A son. I hadn't known.

You to know and me to find out, huh? Tomorrow is his birthday.

He will be 16. Well.

She told you about him? Well, yes.

She told you about him? Yes.

You said she's changing? Yes.

And she mentioned... Your son's birthday, yes.

Okay, Martha. Okay.

You look little pale. Would you like... Yes, dear, a little more brandy maybe.

Just a drop. May I use the...

Okay, Martha. What? Bar.

What? Yes, yes. By all means, drink away. You'll need it as the years go on.

Damn destructive...

Oh, what time is it, dear?

2:30. Oh, so late.

Maybe we should be getting home.

For what? You keeping the babysitter up or something?

I told you we didn't have children.

GEORGE: Yeah, I'm sorry. I wasn't even listening.

Or thinking. Whichever one applies.

We'll go in a little while.

Oh, no. No, you mustn't.

Martha is changing, and Martha is not changing for me.

Martha hasn't changed for me in years.

If Martha is changing, it means we're gonna be here for days.

You're being accorded an honor.

And you mustn't forget that Martha is the daughter of our beloved boss.

She is his right arm. (CHUCKLES)

I was gonna use another word, but we leave that sort of talk to Martha.

MARTHA: What sort of talk?

Well, now.

Why, Martha, your Sunday chapel dress.

HONEY: Oh, that's most attractive.

You like it? Good.

What the hell do you mean screaming up the stairs at me like that?

We got lonely, darling. We got lonely for the soft purr of your little voice.

Well, you just trot over to the bar-i-poo and...

And make your little mommy a great big drink.

That's right. (CHUCKLES)

(LAUGHS) Say, you must be quite a guy getting your master's when you were, what, 12?

Hear that, George? Twelve-and-a-half, actually.

(LAUGHS)

No, 19, really.

Honey, you needn't have mentioned that. Oh, I'm proud of you.

I'm very impressed. You're damn right.

I said I was impressed. Beside myself with jealousy.

What do you want me to do, throw up?

That's really very impressive. You should be right proud.

Oh, he's a pretty nice fella. (CHUCKLES)

I wouldn't be surprised if you did take over the History Department...

Biology Department. Biology Department, of course.

I seem preoccupied with history.

(CHUCKLING)

Oh, what a remark. "I am preoccupied with history."

(LAUGHING) (HONEY LAUGHS)

George is not preoccupied with history.

George is preoccupied with the History Department.

George is preoccupied with the History Department because...

Because he's not the History Department but is only in the History Department.

We know, Martha, we went through all that while you were upstairs getting up.

That's right, baby, you keep it clean.

George is bogged down in the History Department.

(CHUCKLES) He's an old bog in the History Department.

That's what George is. (HONEY AND NICK CHUCKLING)

A bog, a fen, a G.D. swamp.

(LAUGHING)

A swamp.

Hey, swamp. Hey, swampy.

Yes, Martha?

Can I get you something?

Oh... Well, sure.

You can, uh, light my cigarette if you're of a mind to.

No. There are limits.

I mean, a man can put up with only so much without he descends a rung or two on the old evolutionary ladder, which is up your line.

Now, I will hold your hand when it's dark and you're afraid of the bogeyman.

And I will tote your gin bottles out after midnight so no one can see.

But I will not light your cigarette. And that, as they say, is that.

Jesus.

(COUGHS)

Hey, you, uh, played football, huh?

(CHUCKLES) Well, yes, I was a quarterback.

But I was much more adept at boxing, really.

Boxing? You hear that, George? Yes, Martha.

You must've been pretty good at it.

Don't look like you got hit in the face at all.

He was intercollegiate state middleweight champion.

Honey. Well, you were.

You still look like you have a pretty good body now, too. Is that right?

Martha, decency forbids... Shut up.

Is that right? Have you, uh, kept your body?

It's still pretty good. I work out. Do you?

Yeah. Yes, he has a very firm body.

Have you? Well, I think that's very nice.

Well, you never know. You know, once you have it...

You never know when it's gonna come in handy.

(LAUGHING)

I was gonna say, why give it up until you have to?

I couldn't agree with you more.

I couldn't agree with you more.

Martha, your obscenity is beyond human...

George here doesn't cotton too much to body talk.

Paunchy here, uh, isn't too happy when the conversation moves to muscle. How much do you weigh?

Uh, a hundred and fifty-five, 150...

Still at the old middleweight limit, huh? (CHUCKLES) That's pretty good.

Hey, uh, George.

Tell them about the boxing match we had.

Christ.

George, tell them about it.

You tell them, Martha, you're good at it.

Is he all right? Him? (CHUCKLES) Oh, sure.

See, George and I had this boxing match a couple of years after we were married.

NICK: A boxing match? The two of you? HONEY: Oh, really?

(NICK LAUGHING) MARTHA: Yeah, the two of us. Really.

HONEY: I can't imagine it.

MARTHA: Well, it wasn't in a ring or anything like that, you know.

See, Daddy was on this physical-fitness kick.

So he had a couple of us over one Sunday and we all went out in the back and Daddy put the gloves on himself and he asked George to box with him. NICK: Uh-huh, yeah.

MARTHA: And George didn't want to.

NICK: Yeah. MARTHA: So Daddy was saying, "Come on, young man. What sort of a son-in-law are you?"

And stuff like that. (NICK AND HONEY LAUGHING)

And while this is going on, I don't know why I did it.

I got into a pair of gloves myself and I snuck up behind George, just kidding, and yelled, "Hey, George!"

And let go with a sort of roundhouse right.

Just kidding, you know. NICK: Yeah, yeah.

And George wheeled around real quick and caught it right in the jaw.

(SCREAMS)

(LAUGHING)

MARTHA: He caught it right in the jaw.

And he was off-balance... He must have been.

And then he landed flat in a huckleberry bush.

NICK: Yeah.

MARTHA: It was awful, really. It was funny.

It was...

I think it's colored our whole lives.

(SCREAMING)

Pow, you're dead. Lord.

Oh, my goodness.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Where'd you get that, you bastard? Let me see that.

I've had it a while.

Liked that, did you? Oh, you bastard.

I've never been so frightened. You liked that?

That was pretty good. Hey, give me a kiss.

Later, sweetie. Give me a kiss.

NICK: Oh, boy.

(MARTHA MOANS) Ah!

So that's what you're after, is it?

What are we gonna have? Blue games for the guests?

Huh? Huh? You son of a...

Everything in its place, Martha. Everything in its own good time.

Drinks now. Drinks for all.

Why, Martha, you've been nibbling away at your glass.

I have not.

Oh, I think I need something. I was never so frightened in my life.

Weren't you frightened, just for a second?

Mmm.

I don't remember. HONEY: Oh, now, I bet you were.

Did you really think I was gonna kill you, Martha?

You kill me? That's a laugh. Well, now, I might someday.

Fat chance. Where's the john?

Oh, it's, uh... It's down the hall and to the right.

Now, don't you come back with any guns or anything.

Oh, no.

You don't need any props, do you, baby? (CHUCKLES)

I'll bet not. No fake gun for you, huh?

May I leave my drink here?

Sure, why not? We've got half-filled glasses all over the house, wherever Martha forgets she's left them.

In the linen closet, the edge of the bathtub.

I even found one in the freezer once. (HONEY CHUCKLING)

You did not. Yes, I did.

You did not. Yes, I did.

Brandy doesn't give you a hangover? I never mix.

And then, I don't drink very much either.

Oh, good, good. (CHUCKLES)

Your husband was telling us all about the chromosomes.

What? Chromosomes, Martha. He's a biologist.

He's in the Math Department. Biologist.

He's in the Math Department! Oh, uh...

Uh, Biology.

Are you sure? Well, I ought to be sure.

So he's a biologist. Good for him.

Biology's even better.

It's right at the meat of things. You're right at the meat of things, baby.

She thought that you were in the Math Department.

(HONEY AND NICK CHUCKLE) Maybe I ought to be.

You stay right where you are. You stay right at the meat of things.

You're obsessed by that phrase, Martha. It's ugly.

You stay right there.

You can take over the History Department just as easy from there as anyplace else.

God knows, somebody's gotta take over the History Department someday.

And it ain't gonna be Georgie-boy over there, that's for sure.

Are you, swampy? Are you, huh?

Martha, in my mind, you are buried in cement right up to the neck.

No, up to the nose. It's much quieter.

(CHUCKLING)

(COUGHS)

When is your son...

What? Something about your son.

Son? When is your son... (CHUCKLES)

Where is your son coming home?

Oh.

Martha, when's our son coming home? Never mind.

GEORGE: No, no, I want to know. You brought it out into the open.

When's he coming home, Martha?

I said, never mind. I'm sorry I brought it up.

"Him" up, not "it." You brought him up. Well, more or less.

When's the little bugger going to appear?

I mean, isn't tomorrow meant to be his birthday or something?

I don't want to talk about it.

GEORGE: But, Martha... I don't want to talk about it.

I bet you don't. Martha doesn't wanna talk about it. Him.

Martha is sorry she brought it up. Him.

When's the little bugger coming home?

(CHUCKLING)

Yes, Martha, now that you've had the bad taste to bring the matter up in the first place, when is the little bugger coming home?

George talks disparagingly about the little bugger because...

Well, because he has problems.

The little bugger's got problems?

What problems has the little bugger got?

Not the little bugger. Stop calling him that!

You. You've got problems.

Never heard of anything more ridiculous in my life.

Neither have I. Honey...

George's biggest problem about the little...

About our son. About our great big son is that deep down in the private most pit of his gut he is not completely sure that it's his own kid.

My God, you're a wicked woman.

And I told you a million times, baby, I wouldn't conceive with anyone else.

You know that, baby. A deeply wicked person.

Oh, my, my, my. I'm not sure that this is a subject for...

Martha's lying.

I want you to know that right now. Martha is lying.

There are very few things that I am certain of anymore.

But the one thing, the one thing in this whole, sinking world that I am sure of is my partnership, my chromosomological partnership in the creation of our blond-eyed, blue-haired son.

Oh, I'm so glad.

That was a very pretty speech, George. Thank you, Martha.

You rose to the occasion good. Real good.

HONEY: Well. Real well. Honey.

Martha knows. Martha knows better. That's right.

I've been to college like everybody else.

George, our son does not have blue hair.

Or blue eyes for that matter. He has green eyes like me.

Beautiful, beautiful green eyes.

He has blue eyes, Martha.

Green. Blue, Martha.

Green, you bastard. Tut-tut-tut.

Tut-tut-tut yourself, you old floozy.

He's not a floozy. (CHUCKLES)

He can't be a floozy. You're a floozy.

Now you just watch yourself.

All right.

I'd like another little nipper of brandy, please.

Honey, I think you've had enough. GEORGE: Nonsense.

We're all ready, I think. Nonsense.

Okay.

George has watery blue eyes, kind of milky-blue.

Make up your mind, Martha.

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. Daddy has green eyes, too.

He does not. He has tiny red eyes.

Like a white mouse. In fact, he is a white mouse.

You wouldn't dare say that if he was here. You're a coward.

You know that great shock of white hair and those little beady red eyes?

A great big white mouse.

George hates Daddy. Not for anything Daddy's done to him, but for his own...

Inadequacies?

That's right. You hit it right on the snout.

Wanna know why the SOB hates my father?

When George first came to the History Department about 500 years ago.

Daddy approved of him.

And do you wanna know what I did, dumb cluck that I am?

I fell for him.

Oh, I like that.

Yes, she did. You should have seen it.

She'd sit outside my room at night on the lawn and howl and claw at the turf.

I couldn't work, and so I married her.

(CHUCKLES)

I actually fell for him.

It. That. There. Martha's a romantic at heart. (CHUCKLES)

That I am.

I actually fell for him. And the match seemed practical, too.

For a while Daddy really thought that George had the stuff to take over when he was ready to retire. We both thought that...

Stop it, Martha. What do you want?

I wouldn't go on with this if I were you. Oh, you wouldn't? Well, you're not.

You've already sprung a leak about you-know-what.

What? What?

About the sprout, the little bugger. Our son.

If you start in on this other business, Martha, I warn you...

I stand warned.

NICK: Do we really have to go through all this?

So anyway, I married the SOB. I had it all planned out.

First he'd take over the History Department, then when Daddy retired, he'd take over the whole college, you know.

That was the way it was supposed to be. Getting angry, baby, huh?

That was the way it was supposed to be. All very simple.

And Daddy thought it was a good idea, too. For a while.

Until he started watching for a couple of years.

You getting angry yet?

Until he watched for a couple years and started thinking that maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all.

That maybe Georgie-boy didn't have the stuff.

That maybe he didn't have it in him.

Stop it, Martha. Like hell, I will.

You see, George didn't have much push. He wasn't particularly aggressive.

In fact, he was sort of a flop.

A great big, fat flop.

God, I said stop it, Martha.

I hope that was an empty bottle, George. You can't afford to waste good liquor.

Not on your salary. Not on an associate professor's salary.

So here I am, stuck with this flop, this bog in the History Department... Go on, Martha. Go on.

Who's married to the president's daughter.

Don't, Martha. Don't.

Who's expected to be somebody.

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? ♪

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? ♪ MARTHA: A bookworm who's so goddamn complacent that he can't make anything out of himself.

That doesn't have the guts to make anybody proud of him!

♪ In the morning Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? ♪

♪ Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? ♪ All right, George, stop it!

I'm gonna be sick. I'm gonna be sick. Sick...

(GLASS SHATTERS)

(HONEY RETCHES)

MARTHA: Jesus.

(CLANGING)

MARTHA: She'll be all right. I'll make some coffee.

You sure? MARTHA: She'll be okay.

(SIGHS)


(COUGHS)


NICK: I'm really very sorry.

She really shouldn't drink. She's frail.

Slim-hipped, as you'd have it.

GEORGE: Where's my little yum-yum? Where's Martha?

I think she's going to make some coffee.

She...

She gets sick quite easily.

GEORGE: Martha? No, she hasn't been sick a day in her life.

Unless you count time she spends in the rest home.

No, no. My wife.

My wife gets sick quite easily. Your wife is Martha.

Why, yes.

I know.

NICK: She doesn't really spend any time in a rest home?

Your wife?

NICK: No, yours.

Mine?

Oh, no. No, she, uh...

She doesn't. I would.

I mean, if I, uh...

If I were her... She.

I would. But then I'm not and so I don't.

I'd like to, though.

It gets pretty bouncy around here sometimes.

NICK: Yes, I'm sure.

Your wife throws up a lot, huh? I didn't say that.

I said she gets sick quite easily.

Oh.

Oh, by "sick," I thought that you meant she...

Well, it's true, actually. She does throw up a lot.

The word is "often."

Once she starts there's practically no stopping.

I mean, she'll go right on for hours.

Not all the time.

Regularly.

You can tell time by her? Just about.

May I...

Oh, sure. (CLEARS THROAT)

I married her because she was pregnant.

Oh.

But, uh, you said you didn't have any children when I asked you. You said...

She wasn't really. It was a hysterical pregnancy.

She blew up and then she went down.

Uh-huh. And when she was up, you married her?

Then she went down.

(BOTH LAUGHING)

Bourbon. (COUGHS)

Bourbon.

(COUGHING)

When I was 16 and going to prep school, during the Punic Wars,

a bunch of us used to go into town on the first day of vacations before we fanned out to our homes.

And in the evening, this bunch of us would go to a gin mill owned by the gangster father of one of us and we would drink with the grownups and listen to the jazz.

And one time, in the bunch of us there was this boy who was 15, and he had killed his mother with a shotgun some years before.

Accidentally. Completely accidentally without even an unconscious motivation, I have no doubt. No doubt at all.

And this one time, this boy went with us and we ordered our drinks.

And when it came his turn, he said, "I'll have 'bergin.'

"Give me some bergin, please. Bergin and water."

And we all laughed.

He was blond and he had the face of a cherub, and we all laughed.

And his cheeks went red, and the color rose in his neck.

The waiter who'd taken our order told people at the next table what the boy had said and then they laughed, and then more people were told and the laughter grew, and more people, and more laughter.

And (SIGHS) no one was laughing more than us and none of us more than the boy who had shot his mother.

Soon everyone in the gin mill knew what the laughter was about and everyone started ordering bergin and laughing when they ordered it.

Soon, of course, the laughter became less general, but did not subside entirely for a very long time.

For always at this table or that someone would order bergin and a whole new area of laughter would rise.

We drank free that night.

And we were bought champagne by the management.

By the gangster father of one of us.

And, of course, we suffered next day, each of us alone, on his train away from the city and each of us with a grownup's hangover.

But it was the grandest day of my youth.

(WHISPERS) What... (CLEARS THROAT)

What happened to the boy?

The boy who had shot his mother.

I won't tell you.

All right.

The following summer on a country road, with his learner's permit in his pocket and his father on the front seat to his right, he swerved the car to avoid a porcupine and drove straight into a large tree.

He was not killed, of course.

In the hospital, when he was conscious and out of danger and when they told him his father was dead, he began to laugh, I have been told.

His laughter grew and would not stop.

And it was not until after they jammed a needle in his arm, not until after that, not until his consciousness had slipped away from him that his laughter subsided and stopped.

And when he was recovered from his injuries enough so he could be moved without damage should he struggle, he was put in an asylum.

That was 30 years ago.

Is he still there?

Oh, yes.

I'm told that for these 30 years he has not uttered one sound.

(CLATTERING)

GEORGE: Must be Martha.

She's making coffee.

For your hysterical wife, who goes up and down.

Went up and down.

Oh, went? And no more?

No more. Nothing.

Martha doesn't have hysterical pregnancies.

My wife had one.

Martha doesn't have pregnancies at all.

Do you have any other kids? Do you have any daughters or anything?

Do we have any (CHUCKLES) what?

Do you have any...

I mean, do you only have the one, uh, kid, your son?

Oh, no, no, just one.

One boy. (CHUCKLES)

Our son.

Well...

That's nice.

Yeah, well, he's a comfort.

He's a beanbag.

A what?

Beanbag. Beanbag. You wouldn't understand.

A beanbag!

I heard you. I didn't say I was deaf, I said I didn't understand.

You didn't say that at all.

I meant I was implying I didn't understand.

Christ sake. You're getting testy.

I'm sorry. All I said was that our son, the apple of our three eyes, Martha being a Cyclops...

Our son is a beanbag, and you get testy.

I'm sorry, it's late. I'm tired. I've been drinking since 9:00.

My wife is vomiting.

There's been a lot of screaming going on around here.

So you get testy, naturally. Don't worry about it.

Anybody who comes here ends up getting testy. It's expected.

Don't be upset. I'm not upset.

You're testy. Yes.

I'd like to set you straight about something while we're out here.

If I could set you straight about something Martha said.

MARTHA: Hey!

Hark. Forest sounds. Hmm?

Animal noises.

MARTHA: Hey!

(CHUCKLES) Well, here's nursie.

MARTHA: We're sitting up. We're having coffee.

NICK: Is there anything I should do?

MARTHA: No, you just stay there and listen to Georgie's side of things.

Bore yourself to death.

You clean up the mess you made in here, George?

GEORGE: No, Martha, I did not clean up the mess I made.

I've been trying for years to clean up the mess I made.

Have you been trying for years?

Accommodation, adjustment.

Those do seem to be in the order of things, don't they?

Don't try to put me in the same class with you.

No? No, of course not. I mean, things are simpler for you.

You marry a woman because she's all blown up.

Whereas I, in my clumsy, old-fashioned way...

There was more to it than that. Sure. Sure.

I bet she has money, too.

Yes.

Yes?

(CHUCKLES) Yes?

You mean I was right? I hit it? Well...

My God, what archery. First try, too. How about that?

You see... There were other things.

Yes. To compensate.

Yes. There always are. There always are.

Allow me.

Tell me about your wife's money.

No. Okay, don't.

My father-in-law was a man of the Lord.

And he was very rich.

What faith? He, um...

My father-in-law was called by God when he was six or something.

And he started preaching, and he baptized people, and he saved them

and he traveled around a lot and he became pretty famous.

Not like some of them but pretty famous.

And when he died, he had a lot of money.

God's money? No, his own.

What happened to God's money? He spent God's money and he saved his own. (CHUCKLES)

Well, I think that's very nice.

Martha has money because Martha's father's second wife...

Not Martha's mother, but after Martha's mother died.

Was a very old lady who had warts, who was very rich.

(CHUCKLES) She was a witch.

(BOTH LAUGH)

She was a good witch, and she married the white mouse with the tiny red eyes and he must have nibbled her warts or something like that because she went up in a puff of smoke almost immediately.

Poof, poof! (LAUGHS) Poof! (LAUGHS)

And all that was left, apart from some wart medicine was a big fat will. Oh.

Maybe... (LAUGHING)

Maybe my father-in-law and the witch with the warts should have gotten together.

Because he was a mouse, too.

He was? Sure. Sure.

He was a church mouse.

(BOTH LAUGHING)

Your wife never mentioned a stepmother.

Well, maybe it isn't true.

You realize that I've been drawing you out on this stuff because you represent a direct threat to me and I want to get the goods on you.

Sure, sure.

Well, I mean, I've warned you. You stand warned.

I stand warned.

You sneaky types worry me the most, you know.

You ineffectual sons of bitches, you're the worst.

I'm glad you don't believe me. After all, you got history on your side.

Uh-huh.

You got history on your side. I got biology on mine.

History. Biology.

I know the difference. You don't act it.

No, I thought we decided you'd take over the History Department first, before you take over the whole works.

You know, one step at a time.

No. What I thought I'd do is I sort of insinuate myself generally, you know.

Find all the weak spots. Mmm-hmm.

Like me.

Become sort of a fact and then (CLEARS THROAT) turn into a...

A what?

An inevitability?

Exactly. An inevitability.

Take over a few courses from the older men.

Uh...

Plow a few pertinent wives.

Now that's it.

I mean, you can shove aside all the older men you can find, but until you start plowing pertinent wives you're really not working.

That's the way to power. Plow them all.

(LAUGHING) Yeah.

The way to a man's heart, the wide, inviting avenue to his job is through his wife, and don't you forget it.

And I'll bet your wife's got the widest, most inviting avenue on the whole damn campus.

(LAUGHS)

No, I mean, her father being president and all.

(CHUCKLES) You bet your historical inevitability.

Yessiree, I just better get her off into the bushes right away.

Why, you'd certainly better.

You know, I almost think you're serious.

No, baby, you almost think you're serious and it scares the hell out of you.

Me? Yes, you.

You're kidding.

I wish I were. I'll give you some good advice if you want me to.

Good advice? From you? Oh, boy.

You haven't learned yet. Take it wherever you can get it.

Listen to me now. Come off it.

I'm giving you good advice now. Good God.

There's quicksand here and you'll be dragged down before you know it.

Sucked down. Oh.

You disgust me on principle, and you're a smug son of a bitch, personally, but I'm trying to give you a survival kit. Do you hear me?

I hear you. You come in loud.

All right. You want to play it by ear, right?

Everything's gonna work out anyway because the timetable's history, right?

Right, right. You just tend to your knitting, grandma. I'll be okay.

I've tried to...

Tried to reach you, to...

Make contact? Yes.

Communicate? Yes, exactly.

Oh, that's touching. That's downright moving, that's what that is.

Up yours.

What? You heard me.

Honey?

Honey?

Take the trouble to construct a civilization, to build a society based on the principles of, uh...

Of principle. Honey?

You make government and art and realize that they are, must be, both the same.

You bring things to the saddest of all points.

To the point where there is something to lose.

Then all at once, through all the music, through all the sensible sounds of men building, attempting, comes the Dies Irae.

And what is it? What does the trumpet sound?

Up yours.

Oh. (LAUGHS)

Bravo. (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

Thank you. Thank you.

Here we are. A little shaky, but on our feet.

It wasn't too bad, really. Here. Just put this on.

I'm not cold. Just put it on, we're leaving.

You're what? We're leaving, going home.

Wait a minute, what's been going on here?

What have you been up to? I'll go get the car.

You don't have to. I'll call a cab. I insist.

George. Yes, love?

Just what the hell do you think you're doing?

Now, let me see. I think what I'm doing is, I'm getting the car to take our little guests home.

(TIRES SCREECH)

Oh.

(SIGHS)

(CLEARS THROAT)

Well, aren't you going to apologize?

It wasn't my fault, the road should've been straight.

Not that. For making her throw up.

I did not make her throw up. You most certainly did.

I did not. Who do you think did, sexy back there?

You think he made his own wife sick?

Well, you make me sick. That's different.

No, now, please. I throw up.

I get sick occasionally all by myself, without any reason.

Is that a fact? You're delicate, honey.

I've always done it.

Like Big Ben, huh? Just watch it.

George makes everybody sick.

Why, when our son was a little boy... Don't, Martha.

He used to throw up all the time because of George.

I said don't, Martha.

It got so bad that whenever George came into a room, he'd start right in retching.

The real reason why our son used to throw up all the time, wife and lover, was because he couldn't stand you fiddling at him all the time.

Breaking into his bedroom, your kimono flying, fiddling.

Yeah, and I suppose that's why he ran away from home twice in one month.

Twice in one month. Six times in one year.

Our son ran away from home all the time because Martha here used to corner him.

I never cornered the son of a bitch in my life.

He used to run up to me when I'd get home and say, "Mama's always coming at me." That's what he'd say.

Liar. Liar! That's the way it was.

She was always coming at him. I thought it was very embarrassing.

If you thought it was so embarrassing, what are you talking about it for?

Thank you. I didn't want to talk about it at all.

Oh, I wish I had some brandy. I love brandy, I really do.

Good for you. It steadies me so.

I used to drink brandy.

You used to drink bergin, too.

Shut up, Martha. (TIRES SCREECHING)

What? Nothing, nothing.

Did he tell you about that? NICK: Well...

Come on, he must have said something. Actually, what we did is we sort of, uh, danced around a little.

Oh, I love dancing. I really do.

He didn't mean that. Well, I didn't think that he did.

Two grown men dancing. Heavens.

You mean he didn't start in on how he tried to publish a book and Daddy wouldn't let him?

Please, Martha. A book? What book?

Please, just a book. Just a book? (LAUGHS)

Oh, look, dancing.

Oh, Why don't we dance? I'd love some dancing.

Honey, Honey. We're almost home.

I want some dancing.

That's not such a bad idea. I love dancing, don't you?

With the right man, yeah. I dance like the wind.

Stop the car. We're going dancing. Martha.

For heaven's sakes. Did you hear me?

(SIGHS) All right, love. Whatever love wants.

(HUMMING)

♪ I dance like the wind ♪ Well, put one on, will you?

Yes, love. How are we gonna work this, mixed doubles?

You don't think I'm gonna dance with you, do you?

No, not with him around, that's for sure. And not with twinkle-toes here either.

♪ I'll dance with anyone I'll dance by myself ♪ Honey, you'll get sick again. I dance like the wind.

(SCREAMS)

♪ Wonderful ♪

All right, kiddies, choose up and hit the sack.

♪ (MUSIC STARTS PLAYING) ♪ All right, George, cut that out.

Honey. Cut it out, George!

What, Martha? What?

(MUSIC STOPS PLAYING) All right, you son of a bitch!

What'd you say, love? It stopped.

Why did it stop?

MARTHA: Give me some change. GEORGE: What?

MARTHA: I said give me some change. GEORGE: No.

Honey. Honey. Honey.

Stop that!

You are always at me when I'm having a good time!

I'm sorry, Honey. Just leave me alone.

I like to dance and you don't want me to.

I would like you to dance. Just leave me alone!

Choose it, Martha. Do your stuff.

You're damn right.

Hi, sexy.

You wanna dance, angel boobs?

♪ (MUSIC PLAYING) ♪ What'd you call my wife? Oh, boy.

No, if I can't do my interpretive dance, I don't wanna dance at all.

I'll just sit here.

Okay, stuff, let's go.

We'll just sit here and watch. That's right.

Hi. Hi.

Mmm, you are strong, aren't you? Uh-huh.

I like that.

They're dancing like they've danced before.

It's a familiar dance, Monkey Nipples, they both know it.

I don't know what you mean.

I like the way you move. I like the way you move, too.

They like the way they move. That's nice.

I'm surprised George didn't tell you his side of things.

Well, he didn't. (GASPS) That surprises me.

Does it? GEORGE: Aren't they cute?

He usually does when he gets the chance.

I don't think he trusts me.

It's really a very sad story.

Is it? Oh, it would make you weep.

GEORGE: You have ugly talents, Martha.

Is that so?

Don't encourage her.

Encourage me. Go on.

I warned you, don't encourage her.

He warned you.

Don't encourage me. I heard him.

Tell me more.

Well, Georgie-boy had lots of big ambitions in spite of something funny in his past which Georgie-boy here turned into a novel.

His first attempt and also his last.

Hey, I rhymed. I rhymed. (LAUGHS) Yeah, yeah, you rhymed. Go on.

I warn you, Martha.

But Daddy took a look at Georgie's novel.

You're looking for a punch in the mouth, you know that Martha?

Do tell.

And he was very shocked by what he read.

He was? Oh, yes, he was.

A novel all about a naughty boy-child.

I will not tolerate this. Oh, can it.

A naughty boy-child who, um, killed his mother and his father dead!

Stop it, Martha!

And Daddy said, "Look here. I will not let you publish such a thing."

All right! The dancing's over. Violence, violence.

And Daddy said, "Look here, kid.

"You don't think for a second I'm gonna let you publish this kind of crap, do you?

"Not on your life, and not while you're teaching here.

"You publish that and you're out on your ass."

Desist, desist. Desist.

(ALL LAUGHING) I will not be made mock of.

He will not be made mock of, for Christ's sake. I will not. The game is over.

Just imagine. Yeah.

A book all about a boy who murders his mother and kills his father and pretends it's all an accident.

Hey. Hey, wait a minute.

Do you wanna know the clincher? Yeah.

Do you wanna know what big, brave Georgie said to Daddy?

Yeah. Hey. No, no, no.

Hey, wait a minute. Georgie said, "But, Daddy...

"I mean, but, sir, this isn't a novel at all."

You will not say this. The hell I won't. You keep away from me.

"No, sir, this is no novel at all.

"This is the truth. This really happened to me."

I'll kill you.

"It happened." (MUTTERS INDISTINCTLY)

Hey. (GROANS)

Violence!

Violence, violence!

Stop that.

Right.

All right. Very quiet now.

We'll all be very quiet.

(GROANS)

Murderer. (PANTING) Okay, that's enough.

All right, what's the trouble in here?

Honestly, nothing. No trouble. Just playing a game.

Well. Well, we're closing.

Oh, one more round.

Same for everybody.

Just give us one more round and we'll be on our merry way, all right?

All right? Good, good.

Thanks.

Thanks.

Well, that's one game. What shall we do now?

Come on. I mean, let's think of something else.

We played Humiliate the Host. We've gone through that one.

What should we do now? Oh, look...

Oh, look? Oh, look?

I mean, come on. We must know other games, college-type types like us.

That can't be the limit of our vocabulary.

Haven't you had enough?

Let's see, there are other games.

How about...

How about Hump the Hostess? How about that?

How about Hump the Hostess? You wanna play that one?

You wanna play Hump the Hostess? Calm down.

Or you wanna wait till later, get her off into the bushes?

Hump the Hostess! Just shut up, will you?

You don't wanna play that now. You wanna save that for later.

What shall we play now? We gotta have a game.

Portrait of a Man Drowning.

I'm not drowning.

You told me to shut up. I'm sorry.

No, you're not. I'm sorry!

Okay. I know what we do.

Now that we're through with Humiliate the Host, we're through with that one for this round anyway and we don't want to play Hump the Hostess yet, not yet, so I know what we'll do.

How about a little round of Get the Guests? How about that?

How about a little game of Get the Guests?

Jesus, George.

Book-dropper, child-mentioner. I don't like these games.

No, no, we've only had one game.

We've got to have another. You can't fly on one game.

Look, anyway, I... Silence!

Now, how are we gonna play Get the Guests?

Good God. You be quiet!

I wonder, I wonder.

Ah...

Yeah. Yeah.

Well, now, Martha, in her indiscreet way, told you all about my first novel.

True or false that there ever was such a thing.

Anyway, she told you about my first novel, my memory book, which I preferred she hadn't, but hell, that's blood under the bridge.

But what Martha didn't do, but what Martha didn't tell you, what Martha didn't tell us all about was my second novel.

No, Martha, you didn't know about that, did you, my second novel?

True or false? True or false? No.

Well, it's an allegory, really. Probably.

And it's all about this nice, young couple who comes out of the Middle West.

It's a bucolic, you see.

And this nice, young couple comes out of the Middle West and he's blond and he's about 30.

And he's a scientist... A teacher, a scientist.

And his mouse is a wifey little thing, who gargles brandy...

Just a minute here.

This is my game, you've had your game. You people, this is my game.

I wanna hear this story. I love stories.

And mousy's father was a holy man, see.

And he ran a traveling clip joint, and he took the faithful, that's all, he just took them.

This is familiar. No kidding.

Anyway, blondie and his frau out of the Plains states came.

Very funny, George.

(CHUCKLES) Thank you, Martha.

And they settled in a town just like Nouveau Carthage.

I don't think you better go on, mister. Do you not?

I love familiar stories. They're the best.

How right you are.

But blondie was all in disguise, all got up as a teacher because his baggage ticket had bigger things writ on it. "H.I." Aye.

Historical Inevitability.

Look, there's no reason for you to go any further.

Let them go on.

We shall. And he had this baggage.

And part of his baggage was in the form of his mouse.

We don't have to listen to this.

Why not? Your bride has a point.

But what nobody could figure out about blondie was his baggage, his mouse.

I mean, here he was, Pan-Kansas swimming champion or something, and he had this mouse.

Of whom he was solicitous to a point that faileth human understanding, given that she was something of a simp in the long run.

Look, this just isn't fair of you. Perhaps not. Like as I said, his mouse, she tooted brandy immodestly and spent half her time in the upchuck.

I know these people. Do you?

But she was a money baggage, amongst other things.

Godly money ripped from the golden teeth of the unfaithful, and she was put up with.

I don't like this story. And she was put up with.

Stop, George. Stop?

Please. Please, don't. Beg, baby.

George. Oh.

And now we get a flashback to how they got married.

No! Yes!

Why? How they got married?

Well, how they got married was this.

The mouse got all puffed up one day and she went over to blondie's house and she stuck out her puff and she said, "Look at me."

I don't like this. Stop it!

"Look at me, I'm all puffed up." "Oh, my goodness," said blondie.

And so they were married. And so they were married.

And then? What? And then what? And then?

And then the puff went away again like magic. Poof.

The puff went away?

Honey, I didn't mean to. Honestly, I didn't mean...

You told.

(SOBBING) You told him.

Honey. Baby. You couldn't have told them, please.

No. No, you couldn't have told them. No.

And that's how you play Get the Guests.

Please. I'm gonna be sick. Honey.

Just leave me alone, I'm gonna be sick! Honey.

You shouldn't have done that. You shouldn't have done that at all.

I hate hypocrisy. That was cruel and vicious.

She'll get over it. She'll recover. And damaging.

Damaging to me. To you?

To me. To you?

Yes! (CHUCKLES)

Beautiful.

My God, you gotta have a swine to show you where the truffles are.

You just rearrange your alliances, boy.

You look around and make the best of things.

Better put your wife in the car.

No, thanks. I've had enough rides for tonight.

We'll walk home.

That's right, you go plan some new strategy.

You're gonna regret this. No doubt. I regret everything.

No, no, I mean I'm gonna make you regret this.

Go clean up the mess.

You just wait, mister.

Very good, George. Thank you, Martha.

Really good. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I mean, you did a good job.

You really fixed it. Uh-huh.

That's the most life you've shown in a long time.

You bring out the best in me, baby.

You really are a bastard.

That's all right for you, you can go around like a hopped-up Arab slashing at everything in sight, scarring up half the world if you want to.

But let somebody else try it? No. You miserable...

Why, baby, I did it all for you.

I thought you'd like it, sweetheart.

It's to your taste, blood, carnage and all.

I thought you'd, sort of, get excited.

Sort of heave and pant and come running at me, your melons bobbling.

You have really screwed up, George.

Oh, come on, Martha. I mean it. You really have.

You can sit around with a gin running out of your mouth, you can humiliate me, you can tear me to pieces all night. That's perfectly okay. That's all right.

You can stand it. I cannot stand it!

You can stand it. You married me for it!

That's a desperately sick lie.

Don't you know it even yet?

Martha.

My arm has gotten tired whipping you. You're mad.

Year after year. Deluded, Martha.

Deluded. It's not what I wanted.

I thought at least you were onto yourself. I didn't know, I didn't know.

I'm onto myself. No, no, no. You're sick.

I'll show you who's sick. I'll show you who's sick! I'll show you!

All right, Martha! I'll show you!

Show you! I'll show... Stop it! Stop it!

(MARTHA SCOFFS)

Oh, boy.

You really are having a field day, aren't you?

Well, I'm gonna finish you before I'm through with you.

You and that quarterback? You both gonna finish me?

Before I'm through with you, you'll wish you died in that automobile, you bastard.

And you'll wish you never mentioned our son.

I said I warned you. I'm impressed!

I warned you not to go too far!

I'm just beginning.

I'm numbed enough so I can take you when we're alone.

I don't listen anymore.

If I do listen, I sift everything so I don't really hear you, which is about the only way to manage it.

But you've taken a new tack, Martha, in the last century or two which is just too much.

Too much!

I don't mind your dirty underthings in public.

Well, I do mind, but I've reconciled myself to that.

But you move bag and baggage into your own fantasy world...

You're nuts.

Well, you have. Nuts!

You can go on saying that as long as you want but...

Have you finished your sentences, George?

You're so convoluted, that's what you are.

You talk like you're writing one of your stupid papers.

Actually, I'm rather worried about you. About your mind.

Don't you worry about my mind, sweetheart.

I think I'll have you committed. You what?

I think I'll have you committed.

Oh...

Baby, aren't you something?

Well, I've got to find a way to get at you.

You've got at me. You don't have to do anything, George.

A thousand years of you has been quite enough.

You'll go quietly then?

Do you wanna know what's happened, George?

Do you wanna know what's really happened?

It snapped. Finally. Not me, it. The whole arrangement.

Boy, you can go on forever and ever. Everything is manageable.

You make all sorts of excuses to yourself. To hell with it, this is life.

Maybe tomorrow he'll be dead. Maybe tomorrow you'll be dead.

All sorts of excuses.

Then one day, one night, something happens, and snap!

It breaks and you just don't give a damn anymore.

I tried with you, baby. I really tried.

Come off it, Martha.

I really tried.

You're a monster. You are.

I'm loud and I'm vulgar and I wear the pants in the house because somebody's got to.

But I am not a monster!

I'm not!

You're a spoiled, self-indulgent, willful, dirty-minded, liquor-riddled...

Snap. It went snap.

I am not gonna try to get through to you anymore.

There was a second back there.

Yeah, there was a second, just a second, when I could've gotten through to you.

When maybe we could've cut through all this crap.

But it's past. And I'm not going to try.

Once a month, Martha. I've gotten used to it.

Once a month and we get Misunderstood Martha, the good-hearted girl underneath the barnacles.

The little miss that the touch of kindness will bring to bloom again.

And I believed it more times than I'd like to admit because I don't like to think I'm that much of a sucker.

But I don't believe you. I just don't believe you.

There is no moment, there is no moment anymore when we could come together.

You know what? Maybe you're right.

You can't come together with nothing and you're nothing.

Snap.

I looked at you tonight and you weren't there.

I finally snapped.

And I'm gonna howl it out! And I'm not gonna give a damn what I do.

And I'm gonna make the biggest goddamn explosion you've ever heard.

Try and I'll beat you at your own game.

Is that a threat, George? That's a threat, Martha.

You're gonna get it, baby.

Be careful, Martha, I'll rip you to pieces.

You are not man enough. You haven't the guts.

Total war?

Total!

Oh, come on, Martha.


(HORN BLARING)


No. No. No.


(GRUNTS)

(BELLS CHIMING)


(LAUGHS)

(CONTINUES LAUGHING)

(SOBBING)

(SNIFFLES)

(COUGHS)

(CONTINUES SOBBING)

(SNIFFLES)


Bells.

I've been hearing bells.

Bells ringing.

Bells ringing.

I've been hearing bells.

Jesus. And I couldn't sleep for the bells.

Ding, dong, ding, dong.

They woke me up.

What time is it?

Don't bother me.

Bells.

I was asleep.

And I was dreaming of something and I heard the sounds coming, and I didn't know what it was and it frightened me.

It was so cold. The wind... I'm gonna get you, Martha.

The wind was so cold. Somehow, Martha.

And there was someone there, and, oh, I didn't want someone there.

I was naked.

You don't know what's going on, do you?

I don't wanna know.

Listen to them.

No, I don't want to! Look at them!

I don't want to! Please leave me alone!

No. I just...

I don't want any children.

I don't want any children, please.

I'm afraid. I don't wanna be hurt.

Please, please.

I should have known. What?

Does he know that? Does that stud you married know about it?

About what? Stay away!

How do you do it? How do you make your secret little murders? Pills?

You got a secret supply of pills or what? Apple jelly? Willpower?

I feel sick. You're gonna throw up again?

Where is he? I want my husband. I want a drink.

That's right, go at it! I want something!

You know what's going on up there, little miss?

I don't wanna know anything.

You leave me alone.

Who rang? What?

What were the bells? Who rang?

Your husband's up there and you wanna know who rang?

Who rang? Someone rang.

Someone... Rang.

Someone rang.

Yes. Bells rang.

Yes, the bells rang and it was someone... Somebody.

Somebody.

Somebody rang.

Bells rang and it was somebody.

With him.

I've got it.

I've got it, Martha.

It was a message. And the message was our son.

It was a message. The bells rang and it was a message, and it was about our son.

And the message was...

And the message was our son is dead. Oh, no.

Our son is dead and Martha doesn't know. I haven't told Martha.

Our son is dead and Martha doesn't know. No. No. No. Oh, God.

And you're not gonna tell her. Heaven no, your son is dead.

I'll tell her myself. In good time, I'll tell her myself.

I'm gonna be sick.

Are you? That's nice.

I'm gonna die. Good, good. Go right ahead.

Martha.

Martha, I have some terrible news.

It's about our son.

He's dead.

Do you hear me, Martha?

Our boy is dead.

MARTHA: Hey.

Hey!

George?

Where the hell is everybody?

George?


I'll give you bastards five to come out from wherever you're hiding!


George!


George!

Clink.

Clink.

Clink.

Clink.

Clink.

NICK: By God, you've gone crazy, too.

Clink.

I said, you've gone crazy, too.

Probably.

Probably.

You've all gone crazy.

I come downstairs and what happens?

What happens?

My wife's in the can with a liquor bottle and she winks at me.

Winks at me.

She's never wunk at you?

What a shame.

She's lying down on the floor, on the tiles, all curled up.

And she starts peeling the label on the liquor bottle, the brandy bottle.

Maybe she'd be more comfortable in the tub.

And I ask her what she's doing and she goes, "Shh... Nobody knows I'm here."

And I come down here and you're stumbling around going "clink" for God's sake.

Clink.

Clink.

You've all gone crazy.

Yeah.

Sad but true.

Where is your husband?

He is vanished. Poof!

You're all crazy.

Nuts.

Oh, 'tis the refuge we take when the unreality of the world sits too heavy on our tiny heads.

Relax. Sink into it.

You're no better than anybody else.

I think I am.

Well, you're certainly a flop in some departments.

What'd you say?

I said you certainly are a flop in some departments.

I'm sorry you're disappointed.

Maybe sometime when I haven't been drinking for 10 hours.

Baby, you sure are a flop.

Boy, you're something. You know that? I mean, you're really something.

Boy, you know, to you...

To you, everybody's a flop.

Your husband's a flop, I'm a flop.

You're all flops.

I am the earth mother and you are all flops.

(SIGHS)

I disgust me.

You know, there's only been one man in my whole life who's ever made me happy.

You know that? One.

That the gym instructor or something?

No, no, no.

George.

My husband.

NICK: You're kidding.

Am I? You must be. Him?

Yeah. Sure, sure.

You don't believe it.

Why, of course I do.

You always deal on appearances?

For God's sake.

George, who is out somewhere there in the dark.

Who is good to me, whom I revile.

Who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them.

Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy.

Yes, I do wish to be happy.

George and Martha.

Sad, sad, sad.

Sad.

Whom I will not forgive for having come to rest.

For having seen me and having said, "Yes, this will do."

Who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving me.

I must be punished for it.

George and Martha.

Sad, sad, sad.

NICK: Sad, sad, sad.

Someday.

Some night, some stupid liquor-ridden night, I will go too far.

I'll either break the man's back or I'll push him off for good, which is what I deserve.

I don't think he's got a vertebra intact.

Oh, you don't, huh?

You don't think so?

Little boy.

You've got yourself so hunched over that microphone...

Microscope.

Yeah. And you don't see anything, do you?

You see everything but the goddamn mind.

You see all the little specks and the crap, but you don't see what goes on, do you? NICK: All right, now.

You know so little.

And you're gonna take over the world?

I said, all right.

Oh, the stallion's mad, huh?

The gelding's getting all upset?

Boy, you swing wild, don't you?

Oh, you poor little bastard. Hit out at everything.

(DOORBELL RINGS) Go answer the door.

What'd you say to me?

I said, go answer the door. What are you, deaf?

You want me to go answer the door?

That's right, lunkhead, go answer the door.

Must be something you can do well.

You too drunk to do that, too?

Look, there's no need for you to...

Answer it!

You can be houseboy around here for a while.

You can start in being houseboy right now.

Look, lady, I'm no flunky to you.

Sure, you are. You're ambitious, aren't you?

I mean, you didn't come back here with me out of mad, driven passion, did you, now?

You were thinking a little bit about your career, weren't you?

Well, you can just houseboy your way up the ladder for a while.

There's no limit to you, is there? No, baby, none. Go answer the door.

Go on, get!

Aimless. Wanton.

Now, now, now, you just do as you're told.

You show old Martha there's something you can do.

I'm coming, for Christ's sake!

Wonderful, marvelous!

♪ Just a gigolo, everywhere I go... ♪ Stop that!

Sorry, baby. Now, you go answer the little door, huh?

Christ.

(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

Oh, how lovely.

Why, sonny, you came home for your birthday at last.

Stay away from me.

That's the houseboy, for God's sake. Really?

That's not our own little sonny, Jim?

Our own little all-American something or other?

I certainly hope not.

He's been acting awful funny if he is.

I'll bet. Chippy, chippy, chippy, huh?

Martha, I brung these flowers, uh, 'cause I... 'Cause you...

Oh, hell, Martha, gee. (LAUGHS)

Pansies, rosemary, violence.

My wedding bouquet.

Well, if you two kids don't mind, I think I'll just get my wife... (YELLS)

You stay right where you are. Make my hubby a drink.

I don't think I will.

No, Martha, no. That would be too much. He's your houseboy, baby, not mine.

I'm nobody's houseboy!

Now. Now.

BOTH: ♪ I'm nobody's houseboy now ♪ Vicious. Children, huh? That right?

Vicious children with their oh-so sad games hopscotching their way through life, etcetera, etcetera, is that it?

Something like that.

Screw, baby.

Him can't. Him too full of booze.

Really?

Here. Dump these in some gin.

BOTH: Oh!

What a terrible thing to do to Martha's snapdragons.

Is that what they are? Yep.

And here I went in the moonlight all the way to Daddy's greenhouse to pick them for her.

There is no moon. I saw it go down from the bedroom.

From the bedroom? (CHUCKLES)

Well, there is a moon.

There is no goddamn moon, the moon went down.

That may very well be, chastity, but it came back up.

Bull.

Once when I was sailing past Majorca, the moon went down, thought about it for a while, and then, pop, came up again, just like that.

That is not true.

That is such a lie.

You must not call everything a lie, Martha. Must she?

Hell, I don't know when you people are lying or what.

You're damn right. You're not supposed to.

Right.

Anyway, now, I was sailing past Majorca... You never sailed past Majorca.

Martha.

You were never in the Mediterranean at all, ever!

I certainly was. My mommy and daddy took me there as a college-graduation present.

Nuts. Was this after you killed them?

Maybe.

Yeah. And maybe not, too.

Jesus. Truth and illusion.

Who knows the difference, eh, toots? Eh, houseboy?

I'm not a houseboy. Look, I know the game.

You don't make it in the sack, you're a houseboy.

I am not a houseboy! Then you must have made it, yes? Yes?

Somebody's lying around here, somebody's not playing the game straight.

Come on, come on, who's lying? Martha? Come on.

Tell him I'm not a houseboy.

No, you're not a houseboy.

So be it. (SIGHS)

Truth and illusion, George. You don't know the difference.

No, but we must carry on as though we did.

Amen.

Snap went the dragons. Thank you.

Skip it. I said, snap went the dragons!

Yeah, yeah, we know. Snap.

Don't, George!

Snap. Don't do that.

Shut up, stud. I'm not a stud.

Snap. Then you're a houseboy. Which is it? Which are you?

Snap. Does it matter to you, George?

Snap. No, actually it doesn't. Either way I've had it.

Stop throwing those damn things at me!

Either way. Snap. Do you want me to do something to him?

You leave him alone.

Which are you, baby, houseboy or stud? For God's sake.

Snap. Truth or illusion, George?

Doesn't it matter to you at all?

Snap. You got your answer, baby?

Got it.

You just gird your blue-veined loins, girl.

Now we got one more game to play and it's called Bringing up Baby.

For Lord's sake. George.

I don't want any fuss, you don't want any scandal around here, do you, big boy?

You want to keep to your timetable, don't you? Then sit!

And you, pretty miss, you like fun and games, don't you?

You're a sport from way back, aren't you?

All right, George. All right. Good, good.

But we're not all here.

You. You, you, you.

Your little wifelet isn't here.

Look, she's had a rough night...

Well, we can't play without everybody here now. That's a fact.

We gotta have your little wife.

(YELLS)

Cut that!

You just get off your butt and bring that little dip back in here.

Now be a good puppy, go fetch.

Fetch, good puppy. Go fetch.

One more game.

I don't like what's gonna happen.

Do you know what it is?

No. But I don't like it.

Maybe you will, Martha. No.

It's a real fun game.

No more games.

One more, Martha. One more game and then beddy-bye.

Everybody pack up his tools and baggage and stuff and go home.

And you and me, well, we're gonna climb them well-worn stairs.

Oh, no, George, no.

Yes, baby.

No, George. Please, no. It'll all be done before you know it.

No. No climb stairs with Georgie?

No more games. It's games I don't want, George. No more games, please.

Sure, you do.

Original game girl and all. Of course you do.

No, George, please. I don't...

Don't you touch me!

Keep your paws clean for the undergraduates.

Listen to me, Martha! You've had yourself an evening.

You've had yourself quite a night.

You can't cut it out just whenever there's enough blood in your mouth. We're going on.

And I'm gonna have at you, and it's gonna make your performance tonight look like an Easter pageant.

I want you to get yourself a little alert.

I want a little life in you. Stop that!

Pull yourself together!

I want you on your feet and slugging because I'm gonna knock you around and I want you up for it.

All right, George. What do you want?

An equal battle, baby, that's all. You'll get it.

I want you mad. Get madder. I'm mad. Don't worry about it!

Good girl. We'll play this one to the death.

Yours? Yeah. You'll be surprised.

Here come the little tots.

You be ready for this. I'm ready for you.

Here we are. (MUMBLING)

Are you a bunny, honey? I'm a bunny, honey.

Well, now, how's the bunny? Bunny funny.

Bunny funny. Good for bunny. Come on, George.

Honey, funny bunny.

For Christ's sake. All right, here we go.

Last game. All sit.

Sit down, Martha. This is a civilized game.

Just get on with it.

Now, I think we've been having a real good evening, all things considered.

We've sat around and we've got to know each other, and we've had fun and games.

Curl Up on the Floor, for example. The tiles.

The tiles, Snap The Dragon...

Peel the Label! Peel... Peel the what?

Label. Peel the Label.

I peel labels.

We all peel labels, sweetie.

Now, when you get through the skin, all three layers and through the muscle, and slosh aside the organs, them which is sloshable and get down to the bone, do you know what you do then?

No. When you get down to the bone you haven't got all the way yet.

There's something inside the bone. The marrow.

And that's what you got to get at.

I see. The marrow.

But bones are pretty resilient, especially in the young.

Now, take our son.

Who? Our son. Martha's and my little joy.

George? Yes, Martha?

Just what are you doing?

Why, love, I'm talking about our son. Well, don't.

But I want to, Martha.

I think it's very important we talk about him.

You, my dear, you want to hear about our bouncy boy, don't you?

Whom? Martha's and my son.

Oh.

You have a child?

Oh, yes, indeed, do we ever.

Martha, do you want to talk about him or shall I?

Don't, George. All righty. Well, now, let's see.

He's a nice kid, really, in spite of his home life.

I mean, most kids would grow up neurotic, what with Martha here carrying on the way she does.

Sleeping till 4:00 in the p.m., climbing all over the poor bastard, trying to break down the bathroom door to wash him in the tub when he's 16.

Dragging strangers into the house at all hours.

Okay, you. Martha?

That's enough. Well, do you want to take over?

Why would anyone want to wash somebody who's 16 years old?

For Christ's sake, honey. Well, why?

Because it's her baby-poo.

All right.

Our son, you want our son? You'll have it.

Do you want a drink?

Yes.

NICK: We don't have to hear about it if you don't want to.

GEORGE: Who says so? You in a position to set the rules around here?

NICK: No.

GEORGE: Good boy. You'll go far.

All right, Martha. Your recitation, please.

What?

Our son.

All right.

Our son.

Our son was born on a September night, a night not unlike tonight, though tomorrow and 16 years ago.

GEORGE: See, I told you.

It was an easy birth. No, Martha, you labored. How you labored.

It was an easy birth.

Once it had been accepted.

Relaxed into. Ah, that's better.

It was an easy birth, once it had been accepted.

And I was young.

He was healthy.

A red, bawling child.

GEORGE: Martha thinks she saw him at delivery.

With slippery, firm limbs.

And a full head of black, fine, fine hair.

Which only later...

Later it became blond as the sun.

Our son.

GEORGE: He was a healthy child.

And I had wanted a child. Oh, I had wanted a child.

GEORGE: A son? Daughter?

A child!

A child.

I had my child.

GEORGE: Our child.

Our child.

And we raised him.

(SNIFFLES)

Yes, we did. We raised him.

And he had green eyes.

Such green, green eyes.

GEORGE: Blue, green, brown.

And he loved the sun.

And he was tan before and after everyone.

And in the sun, his hair became fleece.

Fleece?

Beautiful, beautiful boy.

(SPEAKING IN LATIN)

So beautiful, so wise.

GEORGE: All truth being relative.

It was true.

Beautiful, wise, perfect.

GEORGE: There's a real mother talking.

I want a child.

Honey. I want a child.

GEORGE: On principle?

I want a child. I want a baby.

Of course, this perfection could not last.

Not with George.

Not with George around. There, you see, I knew she'd shift.

HONEY: Be still. Sorry, Mother.

NICK: Can't you be still? (SPEAKING LATIN)

MARTHA: Not with George around.

A drowning man takes down those nearest, and he tried.

And, God, how I fought him. God, how I fought him.

The one thing I tried to carry pure and unscathed through the sewer of our marriage through the sick nights and the pathetic, stupid days, through the derision and the laughter. God, the laughter.

(SPEAKING LATIN)

Through one failure after another.

Each attempt more numbing, more sickening than the one before.

The one thing, the one person I tried to protect to raise above the mire of this vile, crushing marriage, the one light in all this hopeless darkness, our son!

Stop it!

HONEY: Stop it!

Just stop it. Why, baby? Don't you like it?

You can't do this. Who says?

I say. Tell us why, baby.

No.

Is this game over? Yes, it's over.

Oh, no. No, not by a long shot.

I've got a little surprise for you, baby. It's about sonny Jim.

No more, George. Yes.

NICK: Leave her be. I'm running this show!

Sweetheart, I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you.

For both of us, I mean. Some rather sad news.

What is this?

Well, Martha, while you were busy, while the two of you were busy...

I mean, I don't know where, but, hell, you must have been somewhere.

While you were busy for a while, missy and I were having a little talk.

You know, a chaw and a talk.

And the doorbell rang.

Chimed. Chimed.

And...

Well, Martha, I...

It's hard for me to tell you. Tell me.

Please don't.

Tell me.

Well, what it was, it was good old Western Union, some little boy about 70.

Crazy Billy? Yes, Martha, that's right. Crazy Billy.

And he had a telegram and it was for us.

I have to tell you about it.

Why didn't they phone it? Why did they bring it?

Why didn't they telephone it?

Some telegrams you have to deliver, Martha.

Some telegrams, you cannot phone.

What do you mean?

Martha.

I can hardly bring myself to say it. Don't.

You want to do it? No, no, no. (SNIFFLES)

All right.

Well, Martha, I'm afraid our boy isn't coming home for his birthday.

Of course he is. No, Martha.

Of course he is. I say he is. He can't.

He is. I say... Martha!

Our son is

dead.

He was killed late in the afternoon on a country road with his learner's permit in his pocket.

He swerved the car to avoid a porcupine and drove straight into...

You can't do that.

A large tree.

You cannot do that! NICK: Oh, my God.

GEORGE: I thought you should know. No. No!

You cannot do that!

You can't decide these things for yourself.

I will not let you do that.

I have to leave around noon, I suppose.

MARTHA: I will not let you decide these things.

Because there are matters of identification, naturally, and arrangements to be made.

You can't do this! I won't let you do this!

Get your hands off me! Well, I haven't done anything!

Now, you listen to me. Our son is dead!

Can you get that through your head? (YELLS INDISTINCTLY) Let go of me!

Listen to me carefully. We got a telegram.

There was a car accident and he's dead! Poof.

Just like that! Now, how do you like it?

No!

All right, Let go now. She'll be all right.

(WEEPING)

No.

No. He is not dead. (SOBBING)

He is not dead.

GEORGE: He is dead.

(SPEAKING IN LATIN)

You cannot.

You cannot decide.

He hasn't decided anything, lady.

It's not his doing.

He doesn't have the power.

GEORGE: That's right. I'm not a God.

I don't have any power over life and death, do I?

You can't kill him. Lady.

You can't let him die! Lady, please.

You can't.

There was a telegram, Martha.

Show it to me. Show me that telegram.

I ate it.

What did you just say to me?

I ate it.

Good for you, Martha.

That's the way to treat her at a time like this? Making a lousy goddamn joke?

Did I eat the telegram or did I not?

Yes, yes, you ate it. I watched you and you ate it all down.

Like a good boy. Like a good boy, yes.

You're not gonna get away with this.

You know the rules, Martha, for God's sake. You know the rules.

No. What are you two talking about?

I can kill him if I want to. He is our child.

Yes, you bore him. It was a good delivery.

He is our child.

And I have killed him.

No. Yes.

Oh, my God, I think I understand this.

Do you?

NICK: Oh, my God, I think I understand this.

Good for you, buster.

Oh, my God, I think I understand this.

You've no right. You've no right at all.

I have the right, Martha. We never spoke about it, that's all.

I could kill him any time I wanted to.

Why? Why?

You broke our rule, Martha.

You mentioned him. You mentioned him to somebody else.

I did not. Yes, you did.

Who? Who?

To me, you mentioned him to me.

(GROANS)

I forget.

Sometimes when it's night and it's late and everybody else is talking, I forget and I want to mention him.

But I hold on.

I hold on.

But I've wanted to so often.

George, you've pushed it.

There was no need, there was no need for this.

I mentioned him, all right?

But you didn't have to push it over the edge.

You didn't have to kill him.

(SOBBING)

(SPEAKING IN LATIN)

Amen.

You didn't have to have him die.

(SPEAKING IN LATIN)

That wasn't needed.

(MARTHA CONTINUES SOBBING)

It's dawn.

I think the party's over.

You couldn't have any?

We couldn't.

We couldn't.

Home to bed, children. It's way past your bedtime.

Honey.

Yes?

You two go now.

Yes.

Yes.

I'd like to... Goodnight.

(GEORGE EXHALES)

You want anything?

No. Nothing.

All right.

Time for bed.

Yes.

Tired?

Yes.

I am.

Yes.

Sunday tomorrow.

All day.

Yes.


(SNIFFLES)

Did you...

Did you have to?

Yes.

It was...

You had to?

Yes.

I don't know.

It was time. Was it?

Yes.

I'm cold.

It's late.

Yes.

It will be better.

I don't know.

It will be. Maybe.

I'm not sure.

No.

Just us?

Yes.

You don't suppose maybe... No.

Yes.

No.

You all right? Yes.

No.

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? ♪ I am, George.

♪ Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? ♪ I am, George.

I am.


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