Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001) Movie Script

Yeah, I worked
in a barber shop,
But I never considered
myself a barber.
I stumbled into it well,
married into it, more precisely.
It wasn't my establishment.
Like the fella says, I only work here.
The dump was 200 feet square...
With three chairs,
or stations, as we call 'em,
Even though there are only
two of us working.
But this is my point.
My point is that these traders and trappers
would come to this country,
Get their pelts
and their gold "ignots"
Frank Raffo, my brother-in-law,
was the principal barber.
Man, could he talk.
Maybe if you're 11 or 12 years old,
Frank's got an interesting point of view,
But sometimes
it got on my nerves.
Not that I complained,
mind you.
Like I said, he was
the principal Barber.
Frank's father August
they called him Guzzi
Had worked the heads up
in Santa Rosa for 35 years...
Until his ticker stopped
in the middle of a junior flattop.
He left the shop to Frankie free and clear,
And that seemed to satisfy
all of Frank's ambitions
Cutting the hair
and chewing the fat.
Me, I don't talk much.
I just cut the hair.
It says here that the Russians
exploded an a-bomb...
And there's not a damn thing
we can do about it.
How do you like them apples?
Being a barber is a lot like
being a bar man or a soda jerk.
There's not much to it once
you've learned the basic moves.
For the kids, there's the butch,
or the heinie,
The flattop, the ivy,
The crew, the vanguard,
The junior contour...
And occasionally
the executive contour.
lived in a little bungalow
on Napa street.
The place was okay, I guess.
Had an electric icebox,
a gas hearth...
And a garbage grinder
built into the sink.
You might say I had it made.
Oh, year,
there was one other thing.
Doris kept the books
at Nirdlingers,
A small department store
on main street.
Doris liked the work,
She liked knowing
where everything stood
And she got a ten percent employee
discount on whatever she wanted
Nylon stockings,
Makeup and perfume.
Doris and I went to church
once a week.
Usually Tuesday night.
Doris wasn't big
on divine worship,
And I doubt if she believed
in life everlasting.
She'd most likely tell you
that our reward is on this earth,
And bingo is probably
the extent of it.
Watch you card,
I wasn't crazy
about the game,
But, I don't know,
it made her happy,
And I found the setting
Jesus. Bingo.
Doris's boss,
Big Dave Brewster,
Was married to Ann Nirdlinger,
the department store heiress.
Tonight they were coming over for dinner.
As Doris said,
We were entertaining.
Me, I don't like
- How you doin', Ed?
- Okay.
Take your coat, Ann?
The japs had us pinned down
on Buna for somethin' like six weeks.
I gotta tell ya, I thought we
had it tough, but we had supply.
The japs were eatin' bugs
and grubs and thistles.
Anyway, one day
we bust off the beach...
And we find Arney Bragg,
this kid missin' on recon.
the japs had eaten the son of a bitch.
If you'll pardon the, uh...
Anyway, he was a scrawny, pimply kid,
nothin' to write home about.
I mean, I never woulda,
you know.
So, what do I say, honey?
What do I say
when I don't like dinner?
Come on.
what do I say?
I say,
"Arney Bragg, again?"
Arney Bragg, again?
- Were you in the service, Ed?
- No, Dave, I wasn't.
Ed was 4-f on account
of his fallen arches.
That's tough.
That's... That's tough.
Yeah, I guess Doris liked
all that he-man stuff.
Sometimes I had the feeling that
She and Big Dave were a lot closer
than they let on.
The signs were all there,
plain enough.
Not that I was gonna
prance about it, mind you.
It's a free country.
Holdin' down the porch area, Ed?
- That's some wife you got there.
- Yeah.
She's a rare one.
So, how's business,
Oh, uh, couldn't be better.
These are boom times
in retailin', Ed.
We're openin' another store
over there on carson,
Big Dave's annex.
Now, this is strictly haberdashery.
It's casual wear, pajamas,
ladies' undergarments and foundations,
That type of thing.
As a matter of fact,
I'm thinkin' of makin' Doris the comptroller.
Listen, when the annex opens up,
you gotta stop by.
Maybe we can update your suit
a little bit, huh?
Course, you're in
the smock all day.
Where do you get those things,
Specialty store
down in Sacramento.
You tie your own flies.
I mean, if you're really serious,
you tie your own flies.
You do, uh...
I know. It's meticulous.
I know.
People say, hey, you can
buy flies at the store.
The point is, there's a certain art
to the process.
The point is not merely to provide.
Let me point out, these fish are not
as dumb as you might think.
Go to the store.
Describe to the man
where you will be fishing and for what,
And then you might as well have the man
sell you the goddamned fish, Ed.
My point is,
This is a man who knows nothing,
no matter how much you tell him.
- So sell him the goddamned fish, Ed.
- Yeah.
Who gets the privilege?
We're just closing, friend.
Oh, happy days.
I wish I was doing well enough
to turn away business.
What's the problem, friend?
this is a business establishment with posted hours.
More power to ya, brother.
The public be damned.
I'll take care of him.
you go ahead, Frank.
Have a seat, mister.
- You sure, Eddie?
- Yeah, yeah, go ahead.
In your ear, mister.
Oh, those fiery
Uh, say, uh,
not so fast there, brother.
Pretty good, eh?
Fools even the experts.
One hundred percent human hair.
Handcrafted by Jacques
Of San Francisco.
I'd hate to have to tell you
what I paid for it.
Yeah, it's a nice rug.
I'm payin' it down
on the installment plan.
A lot of folks live
with the pate exposed.
They say the dames
think it's sexy,
But for my money
it's just not good groomin'.
And groomin' my friend,
is probably the most important thing in business.
After personality, of course.
Creighton Tolliver.
Pleased to know ya.
Ed Crane.
So, what brings you
to Santa Rosa?
A goose, my friend.
I was chasin' a wild goose.
Ed, have you ever heard
of venture capital?
Risk money.
very speculative.
Except that in certain situations
it's not, see.
I thought I had
a prospect here
Well, I make the haul up...
And this lousy so-and-so tells me...
That the situation has changed.
All of his capital's tied up
in expansion plans of his own.
Thank you mother.
Pop goes another bubble.
It's only the biggest business opportunity
since Henry Ford,
And I can't seem
to interest a soul.
Is that right?
It's called dry cleaning.
You heard me right, brother.
dry cleaning.
Wash without water.
No suds. No tumple.
No stress on the clothes.
It's all done
with chemicals, friend.
And here's the capper...
No shrinkage.
That's right.
Dry cleaning.
All I need is $10,000
to open up the first store.
Then I use its cash flow
to finance another, and so on,
Leapfrog, bootstrap myself
to a whole chain.
Well, me and a partner.
Cleanliness, friend.
There's money in it.
there's a future.
There's room to grow.
Say, that looks pretty good.
Let's see it
with the hairpiece on.
Dry cleaning.
Was I crazy
to be thinking about it?
Was he a huckster or an opportunity,
the real Mccoy?
My first instinct was
no, no, the whole idea was nuts.
But maybe that was the instinct
that kept me locked in the barber shop,
Nose against the exit
afraid to try turning the knob.
- Honey?
- Hmm?
Shave my legs, will ya?
What if I could
get the money?
It was clean.
No water.
Gimme a drag.
Love ya, honey.
What you...
uh, come in.
Okay, yeah.
I'll see you tomorrow.
Oh. I thought
you were the porter.
Can I help ya?
I'm Ed.
Ed Crane.
Um, I cut your hair today.
I'm the barber.
Jesus, yeah.
The barber.
I didn't recognize you
without the smock.
Did I leave somethin'
at the shop?
No. No,
it's nothing like that.
Um, I-I might be interested
in that business proposition.
You got the dough?
Well, I can get it.
Come in. Come in!
Sit down over there.
- Coffee?
- No.
Well, sit down,
make yourself comfortable.
So tell me...
Other than putting up the money, uh,
exactly what would you want the partner to, uh...
Hell, nothin'.
You're gonna want to keep tabs on your
investment, The running of the business,
but I'm looking for a silent partner.
I've done the research,
I've contacted the vendors.
The deal is set.
Disappear, if you'd like.
Check in whenever you want.
I want the dough.
I don't take attendance.
And how do we share the...
straight down the line.
You and me.
Finance and expertise.
So you got the dough then,
do ya?
I can have it in a week.
The barber...
Well, I thought this trip
was gonna be a bust.
Just shows to go ya,
when one door slams shut,
Another one opens.
Here's to you, uh...
Was that a pass?
Well, you're out of line, mister
Not a problem.
Way out of line.
Strictly business.
I sent it to Dave
the next morning.
Then I waited.
- Frank?
- Huh?
This hair.
You ever wonder about it?
What do you mean?
I don't know.
How it keeps on coming.
It just keeps growing.
Lucky for us, huh, pal?
No, I mean,
It keeps growing,
And it's part of us.
And then we cut it off
and throw it away.
Come on, Eddie.
You're gonna scare the kid.
Okay, bud, you're through.
I'm gonna take this hair
and throw it out in the dirt.
I'm gonna mingle it
with common house dirt.
What the hell
are you talking about?
I don't know.
Skip it.
Ed, gimme a zip.
Where you going?
Us. The party at Nirdlingers.
I told you last week.
The Christmas push.
Come on, get ready.
It's important.
Nah, you go ahead.
I'm not big on parties.
Oh, don't be a grump.
Gimme a zip.
Hey, uh, ain't you
in ladies' wear?
Huh? Haven't I seen you
up in ladies' wear?
I don't work here.
My wife does
Uh-huh. Whew.
That's some beat, huh?
Lucky for us, huh, pal?
Check out the rack
on that broad in the angora.
Ed, can I talk to you?
Come in.
Oh, sit down.
Souvenired it off a jap
in New Guinea.
Guess you're, uh, wonderin'
what Doris was so hot about.
My private stock.
Romeo and Juliet.
Ed, I...
What is it, Dave?
Ed, I've been weak.
I've been weak.
The, uh...
You're gonna burn yourself.
I, uh...
Oh, Jesus.
I've been carryin' on
with a married woman.
No one you know.
And now the, uh,
The chickens are
comin' home to roost.
I got a note.
A blackmail note, you know.
Come across,
or everybody knows.
I guess you know
what that would do to me.
I guess that would be
pretty awkward.
Yeah. Yeah.
Ann would throw me
right out on my keister.
I mean, it's her st... It's her
family's store, Ed. It's her store.
I serve at the indulgence
of the goddamn ownership.
The lady's husband
would know.
- How much do they want, Dave?
- Ten thousand dollars.
I don't know what to do, Ed.
I don't know what I can do.
You know,
I know who
the son of a bitch is.
You know... who who is?
The son of a bitch.
The blackmailer.
I know who he is.
It's no one you know.
It's a businessman from Sacramento.
A goddamn pansy, Ed.
Tryin' to rope me
into some crackpot scheme.
I heard him out,
then I told him to go to hell.
The very next day the very next day
I get a note, the blackmail note,
Asking me for the same amount of money
he asked me for.
The very next day.
Ten thousand dollars.
How did he know that
you were seein' the woman?
He stayed at the hotel
that I went to with the, uh,
lady in question.
He must've seen us.
Oh, Jesus.
I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to do.
Why don't you just pay him. Dave?
Cause that's my capitalization
on the annex.
That's my operation.
Christ almighty, Ed.
That's what I just talkin'
to Doris about down there
A way to get the money from the store
that we could hide from Ann.
Doris, she was, she was pretty hot
about that, god bless her.
Embezzlin', Ed.
Embezzlin' from
my own goddamn wife.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
It's okay.
In a way,
I felt bad for Big Dave.
I knew that ten grand was going to
pinch him where it hurt,
But Doris was two-timing me
And I guess somewhere
that pinched a little too.
That was pretty.
Did you make that up?
Oh, no.
No, that was written
by Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Well, it was quite something.
Yeah, he wrote some
beautiful piano sonatas.
That was really something.
I'm Ed Crane.
I know who you are, Mr. Crane.
My father used to take me with him
when he went to get his hair cut.
Walter Abundas?
Oh, yeah, sure.
Yeah, I'm Rachel Abundas.
But everyone call me Birdy.
I'm sorry.
I just didn't remember.
Oh, no, it's okay.
You can't expect to remember
every skinny girl who comes in with her dad.
So you don't, uh, like
that music out there?
Not really.
I'm not big on music, ordinarily.
What a knucklehead.
- Who?
- Dave.
Why's that?
Money problems.
He's thinking about
canceling the annex.
That means I don't run Nirdlingers.
What a knucklehead.
Big Dave did it, though.
I sent a note telling him
where to drop the money.
And he did.
He came across.
Yeah. Good!
How are ya?
Come in.
I got everything organized.
How you doin'?
You got a check?
- Cash.
- Cash?
Usually these kinds of things
are done with a bank draft,
But cash, that's fine.
It's all the same in the end.
Dough is dough, huh?
Whoa, nellie.
I got the paperwork here.
Partnership papers.
They reflect our agreement.
Fifty-fifty on the net.
I provide professional services,
you provide the capital.
I'm gonna give you a receipt
on the dough here.
Uh, pretty straightforward.
- I don't know whether you wanna show it to a lawyer
- No, that's okay.
Yeah. Screw 'em, right?
Pay them to tangle it up,
then you have to pay them to untangle them.
What's the point?
You just give me a second,
I'll give you a receipt on the...
Whoa, nellie.
Okay, one thing
we didn't talk about was,
I am thinking about,
uh, calling the place Tolliver's.
After me, you know.
I didn't think you were, uh,
much interested in, uh...
- That's fine.
- Yeah, that's good. Good, good.
Now, ready?
One second and I will...
Okay, that's it.
As per our discussion.
All right, there it is,
Writ large in legal escritoire.
- And the, uh...
- Say, Creighton.
You're not gonna screw me
on this.
Screw you?
Take it to a lawyer.
No, I insist!
I insist!
This is dry cleaning.
This is not some fly-by-night thing here.
Oh, I'll tell you,
I have been 13 years as an entrepreneur,
and I have never...
- It's okay.
- Nobody's ever questioned me...
Hey, you want the dough back?
Huh? Huh? Do you know
who you're talkin' to here?
Do you know who I am?
Do you have any idea who...
It's okay.
So, Tolliver's is okay, then?
The next day was Saturday.
We were going to a reception
for Doris's cousin Gina...
Who just married a whop vendor
out near Modesto.
Doris didn't much feel like going,
and I didn't either.
But like she said,
we had a commitment.
I hate wops.
What's so goddamn strange
about that?
I didn't say a word.
You didn't have to
grow up with them.
Ed! Uncle Ed!
He's riding Garibaldi!
Uncle Frankie's riding Garibaldi!
That was when
she started drinking.
You been okay?
Mmm. Yeah.
How you doing, Costanza?
Oh, you know.
Still got my health.
And. Uh, how you been, uh...
- Ed.
- Ed.
He's a barber, right?
It's a good trade.
So, how come you got no kids, huh?
No, come on, kids!
I- I just ate lunch!
I couldn't eat another thing.
Oh, n... Anthony!
Anthony, it's you!
Okay, kids. Ready? And...
Congratulations. Gina.
It's so goddamn wonderful.
Life is just so goddamn wonderful,
You almost won't believe it.
- It's just a bowl of goddamn cherries.
- Let' go.
Congratulations on your goddamn cherries!
Let go of my goddamn elbow!
I never wanna see
another blueberry pie.
I never even wanna hear those words.
Don't say those words, Ed.
Don't say those words.
I'd met Doris blind
on a double date...
With a loudmouthed buddy of mine
who was seeing a friend of hers from work.
We went to a movie.
Doris had a flask.
Boy, she could put it away.
At the end of the night,
she said she liked that I didn't talk much.
It was only a couple weeks later
she suggested we get married.
Ed, it's Big Dave.
I gotta talk to you.
Yeah. It's important.
But it-it's...
Please, Ed.
Your place?
I'm at the store.
Let yourself in.
I'm ruined.
They've ruined me.
This money.
No annex.
I'm all shot to hell.
So, you paid the guy?
What kind of man are you?
What kind of man...
Are you?
I mean, I'd understand
if you came in here and...
Socked me in the nose, whatever.
I deserve it.
I'm not proud of what I did.
But you.
Yeah, I paid up.
As you well know.
But then I went and
found the pansy.
Oh, you got nothin' to say, huh?
Well, you know the story.
I didn't.
I had to beat it
out of the pansy.
I'm all shot to hell.
Well, Dave, uh...
It was only a couple weeks later
she suggested we get married.
I said, "Don't you want
to get to know me more?"
She said, "Why?
Does it get better?"
She looked at me
like I was a dope,
Which I never
really minded from her.
And she had a point,
I guess.
We knew each other
as well then as now.
Anyway, well enough.
Holy, moley,
do I got a headache.
- How are you today, Ed?
- Okay.
- You don't got a headache?
- No.
Damn, I got a headache
to beat the band.
Did you pump it? You can't pump it.
That'll just flood it.
No, no, no, you gotta pump it. You can't
just hold it down. I mean that'll flood it.
You crazy?
You pump it.
You can't hold it down.
- Just turn the key.
- Not when it's cold.
Well, if it's cold, choke it.
And pump it.
How many time?
Ed Crane?
I'm Crane.
- Come on outside.
- Sure.
I'm officer Persky.
This is Krebs.
Well, we goin'?
Pete's got some news for ya.
Look, pal, um,
It's a tough break, but, um,
Well, damn it,
your wife's been pinched.
They sent us around
to tell you.
They sent us around to tell you.
We pulled the detail.
My wife?
Yeah, they brung her down
to county jail.
Well, embezzlement...
And homicide.
Guy named David Brewster.
He's the guy she...
H- He's the decedent.
I don't understand.
He's the dead guy.
Yeah, it's a tough break.
Visiting ends at 5:00.
Oh, uh, missed it today,
but, uh,
You can go see her tomorrow.
Sorry, pal.
They sent us to tell ya.
Crab detail.
- Hello, Walter.
- Hello, Ed.
Thanks for seein' me at home.
Oh, hell.
Want a drink?
Uh, no, thanks.
You sure you don't need one?
I'm fine.
- Boy.
- Yeah.
So, uh,
What do I, uh...
Of course, uh, I, uh...
It's out of my league.
No, I... no, I-I do probate
and real estate...
And title search.
I'd be absolutely worthless,
somethin' like this. Absolutely worthless.
Excuse me.
I just finished dinner.
Frankly, Doris'd be better off
with the county defender.
- He a good man?
- Bert's okay.
Yeah, he...
he's a good man.
Listen. I won't kid you, Ed.
Uh, there's nobody around here
has any experience with this kind of thing.
I hear they're bringing a prosecutor up.
From, uh, Sacramento.
It's a capital offense.
They're taking it seriously.
- So...
- They're taking it seriously.
So, what-what, uh...
Do you want any more coffee, dad?
Oh, hi, Mr. Crane.
Hello, Rachel.
I was so sorry to hear.
Yeah, thanks.
- Coffee, Ed?
- No, thanks.
- Ah, no, thanks, honey. We're...
- Okay, dad.
It was good to see you again,
Mr. Crane.
A good kid.
Who do you think?
Lloyd Garroway in San Francisco.
You know, nobody ever said anything iffy
about Lloyd Garroway.
He's conservative.
Jury might like that.
Might like that here.
So, he's, uh,
the best man for...
The best, the money-is-no-object best,
any lawyer'll tell you,
is Freddy Riedenschneider from...
I don't know
how you're fixed for money.
- But he's...
- The best.
The best, yeah.
No question about it.
I brought your makeup.
What happened to you?
I don't know
what's goin' on... I...
I don't know
what happened to Big Dave.
I know some of it.
Irregularities in the books, they said.
Can I explain it?
You don't have to
explain anything.
I did help him cook the books, Ed.
I did do that.
Should I...
Should I tell you
why I changed the books?
You don't have to
tell me anything.
No, no, no!
Jesus Christ!
My books used to be perfect.
Anyone could open 'em up
and make sense of the whole goddamn store.
I knew we'd pay for it.
I don't care what it costs!
This is when you come together.
Well, that's awfully
generous of you, Frank.
The hell with it.
The hell with it, Eddie.
This is when you come together.
This is family.
They're just people
like you and me, Ed.
Remember that.
Just people.
They gotta put up the big front
so that people will trust 'em with their money.
This is why the big lobby, Ed.
But they put their pants on
one leg at a time just like you and me.
They, too, use the toilet, Ed,
in spite of appearances.
And their money will be secured
by the barber shop.
A rock.
A rock, the barber shop.
Mr. Raffo.
Yes, sir?
Could you come with me,
Can Ed come too?
Ed Crane.
You also have an interest
in the securing property?
He's a barber.
- Second chair.
- Not an owner.
No, he's, uh, family.
He's my brother-in-law.
It would be best
if he waited here.
The barber shop.
Doris and Frank's father had worked
30 years to own it free and clear.
Now it got signed over to the bank,
and the bank signed some over to Frank.
And Frank signed the money
to Freddy Riedenschneider.
Who got into town
two days later...
And told me to meet him
at Da Vinci's for lunch.
Not fried, poached.
Three of 'em for two minutes.
Strip steak, medium rare,
flapjacks, potatoes, tomato juice...
And plenty of hot coffee.
- You have any Prairie Oysters?
- No, sir.
Then bring me a fruit cocktail
while I wait.
- You're Crane?
- Yeah.
Barber, right?
I'm Freddy Riedenschneider.
Uh, not really.
They tell me the chow's okay here.
I made some inquiries.
Look, I don't want to waste your time,
so I'll eat while we talk.
Do you mind?
You don't mind.
While I'm in town
I'm staying at the Hotel Metropole.
Turandot Suite. Yeah, it's goofy.
They named their suites after operas.
Room's okay, though.
I poked around.
I'm having 'em hold it for me.
I'll be back and forth.
So, in addition to my retainer,
you're paying hotel,
Living expenses, secretarial,
Private eye, if we need to make inquiries,
head shrinker, should we go that way.
We'll talk about appeals
if, as and when.
- For now, has she confessed?
- No, of course not. She didn't do it.
Good. That helps. Not that she didn't do it
That she didn't confess.
Course, There's ways to deal with a confession,
but that's one less thing to think about.
Now, interview. I'm seeing her tomorrow.
You should be there 3:00.
One more thing.
you keep your mouth shut.
I get the lay of the land,
I tell you what to say.
No talking out of school. What's out
of school? Everything's out of school.
I do the talking.
You keep your trap shut.
I'm an attorney. You're a barber.
You don't know anything.
Good. Any questions,
give me a ring.
Turandot suite.
If I'm out, leave a message.
Sure you don't want anything?
No? Okay.
You're okay, pal.
You're okay, she's okay,
everything's gonna be hunky...
And the...
and the flapjacks, honey.
There they were,
All going about their business.
It seem like I knew a secret,
A bigger one, even,
than what had really happened to Big Dave,
Something none of them knew.
Like I had made it to the outside somehow,
And they were all still struggling
way down below.
Hello, Ed.
Would you like to come in, Ann?
No. No, it's very late.
I'm so sorry about your loss.
Course you know that Doris
had nothing to do with it.
Nothing at all.
I know.
Don't worry, Ed.
I came to tell you...
And you should tell Doris...
You know how Big Dave loved camping
and the out of doors?
We went camping last summer
in Eugene, Oregon.
Outside Eugene, Ed.
At night there were lights.
We both saw them.
We never told anyone
outside of our official report,
Our report to the government.
There was a spacecraft.
I saw the creatures.
They led Big Dave onto the craft.
He never told anyone
what they did.
Ann, would you like to...
I cannot repeat it to you,
but this thing goes deep, Ed.
It goes deep
and involves the government.
This was not your wife.
There's a great deal of fear.
You know how certain circles
would-would find it,
The knowledge, a threat.
They-they try to limit it, and...
Ann, would you like to come in,
Sit down?
Maybe have a drink.
Sometimes knowledge
is a curse, Ed.
After this happened,
Things changed.
Big Dave...
He never touched me again.
Tell Doris not to worry.
I know it wasn't her.
Perhaps this will
bring it out
Perhaps now
it will all come out.
It stinks.
But it's true.
I don't care it's true, it's not true.
It stinks.
You say he was being blackmailed?
By who? You don't know.
For having an affair.
With who? You don't know.
Did anyone else know about it?
Probably not. You don't know.
I knew about it.
Big Dave told me about it...
And the spot he was putting himself in
by getting the money.
Terrific! Your husband backs you up.
That's terrific.
Come on, you gotta give me
something to work with.
Freddy Riedenschneider is good,
but he's not a magician.
He can't just wave his little wand in the air
to make a plausible defense materialize.
Look at what the other side
is gonna run at us.
They got the company books
prepared by you,
Cooked by you.
That's motive.
They got a murder scene you had access to.
That's opportunity.
They got that little trimmer thing he was
stabbed in the throat with.
- A dame's weapon.
- It was Big Dave's.
Don't interrupt me.
That's means.
They got a fine, upstanding pillar
of the business community as a victim,
And then they got you,
A disgruntled, number-juggling underling,
Who on the day in question
was drunk as a skunk...
And whose alibi for the time in question
is being passed out at home, alone.
I was with her.
Like I say,
It stinks.
I killed him.
Okay. You killed him.
Okay, we forget the blackmail thing.
You killed him.
How come?
He and Doris, uh,
were having an affair.
How did you know?
I just knew.
A husband knows.
Will anyone else say they knew?
And don't say your wife.
I don't know.
I don't think so.
How did you get into the store?
I took Doris's keys.
Will anyone say they saw you there,
on your way there, in there, on your way back?
I don't think so.
Will anyone corroborate any goddamn part
of your story at all?
Oh, come on! People,
you can't help each other like that.
Let's be realistic, now.
Let's look at our options.
Well, frankly, I don't see any options.
Look, I cannot present story "A."
I cannot present
story "B."
I could plead you for a nutcase,
but you look too composed.
I could offer a guilty plea,
and in return they don't give you the juice,
But I don't think you want to spend
the rest of your life in chino.
I know you didn't hire Freddy Riedenschneider
To hold your hand at a sentencing hearing.
You could have gotten
Lloyd Garroway for that.
No, no, no, no.
We're not giving up yet.
You hired Freddy Riedenschneider,
It means you're not throwing in the towel.
I litigate.
I don't capitulate.
All right. No options?
We gotta think.
All right. We go back
to the blackmail thing. Yeah, it titillates.
It's open-ended,
and it makes him the bad guy.
You dig around, you never know.
Something unsavory from his past.
He approaches you to help him with the money,
his past comes back to haunt him. Who's to say?
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Forget the jealous husband thing. That's just silly.
We're going with the blackmail.
I'll be in touch.
I'm comin' out!
Of course there was one person
who could confirm Doris's story,
Or plenty of it.
The dry-cleaning pansy.
But he'd left the hotel,
skipped out on his bill.
He'd also disappeared
from the residence he gave me,
Owing two months'rent.
How could I have been so stupid?
Handing over $10,000
for a piece of paper.
And the man gone,
like a ghost.
Disappeared into thin air
vaporized like the nips at Nagasaki.
Gone now.
All gone.
The money gone,
Big Dave gone,
Doris going.
How could I have been so stupid?
Sooner or later,
everyone needs a haircut.
We were working for the bank now.
We kept cutting the hair,
trying to stay afloat,
Make the payments,
tread the water day by day,
Day by day.
Most people think someone's
accused of a crime,
They haul 'em in and bring 'em to trial,
But it's not like that.
It's not that fast.
The wheels of justice turn slow.
They have the arraignment,
then the indictment,
And they entertain motions to dismiss
and postpone and change the venue...
And alter this and that
and the other.
They impanel a jury,
which bring more motions.
Then they set a trial date,
and then they change the date.
And then, often as not,
they'll change it again.
Not guilty, your honor.
And through all of it,
we cut the hair.
Meantime, Freddy Riedenschneider
slept at the Metropole...
And shoveled it in
at Da Vinci's.
He'd brought in a private investigator
from Sacramento...
To nose around
into Big Dave's past.
I found myself, more and more,
going over to the Abundas's.
It was a routine we fell into
most every evening.
I even went when Walter was away
on his research trips.
He was a genealogist,
Had traced back his side of the family
seven generations,
His late wife's eight.
It seemed like a screwy hobby,
But then maybe all hobbies are.
Maybe Walter found something there
in the old county courthouses,
Hospital file rooms,
City archives, property rolls,
Something maybe like what I found
listening to Birdy play.
Some kind of escape.
Some kind of peace.
They got this guy in Germany.
Fritz something or other.
Or is it...
Maybe it's Werner.
He's got this theory.
You want to test something,
you know, scientifically...
How the planet
go 'round the sun,
What sunspots are made of,
Why the water
comes out of the tap...
Well, you gotta look at it.
But sometimes
you look at it...
Your looking changes it.
You can't know the reality
of what happened,
Or what would have happened,
If you hadn't stuck in
your own goddamn schnozz.
So there is no
"What happened. "
Looking at something...
Changes it.
They call it
the uncertainty principle.
Sure, it sound screwy, but even
Einstein says the guy's onto something.
Reasonable... doubt.
I'm saying that sometimes
the more you look,
the less you really know.
It's a fact, a proved fact.
In... In a way,
It's the only fact there is.
This Heinie even
wrote it out in numbers.
David Allen Brewster,
Born Brooklyn, 1911.
Subject educated public schools.
One year case western university.
Flunks out.
1931, Retail appliance salesman
in Barnhoff's department store, Cincinnati.
1933, Meets Ann Nirdlinger.
They marry that year.
1935, Arrested
on assault complaint.
Complainant has a broken nose,
couple of broken ribs.
'36, Another assault beef
at a bar room altercation.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Couple of fistfights,
right? Go to his service record.
Inducted march 15, 1942.
Served in a clerical capacity
in the U.S. Naval shipyards at San Diego.
One fistfight,
broken up by the M.P.S.
No court-martial.
Honorable discharge, may 8, 1945.
- Since then, he's been clean.
- Thank you, Barns. Get lost.
This could be your Dolly's
ticket out of the death house.
I don't get it.
Look, chump.
This is a guy, from what I understand,
told everybody he was a war hero, right?
Practically liberated,
the pacific all by himself,
With a knife in one hand,
a gun in the other,
And 20 yards of jap guts
between his teeth.
and now it turns out this dope
spent the war sitting on his ass...
In some boat yard
in San Diego.
You asked for blackmail.
Mr. Hail-fellow-well-met,
about to open his own business here,
Has been lying to everybody in this town
for the last four years,
Probably including half the people
sitting on that jury.
Well, it finally caught up with him.
Somebody knew his dirty little secret,
just like your wife says.
They called,
they demanded money.
Did Big Dave say he'd recently
heard from an old friend?
Did Big Dave mention it was something
about his war service?
I don't know.
I wasn't there.
You have to tell us.
Maybe he specified,
maybe he didn't.
I'm not putting words
in your mouth, no.
But the point is that this liar,
this cynical manipulator,
Turns to you to help him
out of his jam.
Fat-assed son of a bitch.
- So who... who actually...
- Who?
I don't know who.
But the point is that
if Mr. Prosecutor over there...
Had devoted half the time
he's spent persecuting this woman...
To even the most cursory investigation
of this schmo's past,
Then we might know who.
But we can't know who.
We can't know what really happened.
Because the more you look,
the less you know.
But the beauty of it is...
We don't gotta know.
We just gotta show that,
god damn it, they don't know.
Because of Fritz, or Werner,
whatever the hell his name is.
Freddy Riedenschneider sees daylight.
We got a real shot at this, folks.
Let's not get cocky.
Comin' out!
Big Dave.
What a dope.
So maybe Riedenschneider
could fix it for Doris.
Maybe it would all work out.
And I thought,
I hoped,
That maybe there was a way out
for me as well.
He was deaf
when he wrote this.
He created it, but he never
actually heard it.
I guess he just heard it all
in his head somehow.
The girl had talent.
Anyone could see that.
And she wasn't
some fly-by-nighter.
She was just a good, clean kid.
If she was going to have a career, she'd need
a responsible adult... Looking out for her,
Some kind of manager.
She'd have contracts to look at,
be going out on tours,
Playing on the radio, maybe.
I could help her sort through all that without
charging her an arm and a leg.
Just enough to get by.
Then I could be with her,
Enough to keep myself
feeling okay.
Why couldn't that work?
Why not?
- Hi, Mr. Crane.
- Hello, Birdy.
I thought that was real good.
Yeah, I messed up a little bit
on the, um, on the agitato,
But if nobody noticed,
then it's okay.
Oh, this is, um,
a friend of mine.
Tony, um, Mr. Crane.
Hello, Tony.
Hello, sir.
Think I'll be getting home now.
It was...
nice to meet you, sir.
You too, Tony.
Why couldn't it work?
Anyway, that's what I was thinking in the days
leading up to the trial.
It seemed like once that was over,
I'd be ready for a new start.
Freddy Riedenschneider
was busy preparing.
He was very optimistic.
And finally it came...
the first day of the trial,
What Riedenschneider called
'The big show. "
Where's the judge?
How come there's no judge?
Where's the judge, Ed?
How come the judge
doesn't come out?
The judge comes in last.
He'll come in when Doris gets here.
So where's Doris?
I thought we started at 10:00.
Hey, Riedenschneider.
Where's Doris?
She's late.
How can she be late?
She's in prison, Ed.
None of us are in prison.
And yet we're not late.
We're on time, Ed.
How can Doris be late?
What, they don't have
wake-up calls?
- All rise.
- No, no.
What's going on, Ed?
I thought there
would be arguments,
The bailiff and so forth.
Ed, what is this?
Is this procedure?
In the matter of the people v. Doris Crane,
Case number SR-87249,
Cause now pending
is hereby dismissed...
I don't understand it.
Had a real shot at this.
I could've won this thing.
Ladies and gentlemen
of the jury,
Your service is no longer needed...
And you are now discharge.
she's hanged herself.
I'd brought her a dress to wear to court,
and she'd used the belt.
At first I thought she'd figured out somehow
how I fit into it...
And couldn't stand it,
couldn't stand knowing.
But that wasn't it, I'd find out later.
For now, everything
just seemed ruined.
Freddy Riedenschneider
went back to Sacramento,
Still shaking his head,
saying it was the biggest disappointment
Of his professional career.
Frankie fell to pieces.
I suspect he was drinking.
Anyway, he stopped
coming in to work.
That left me to keep the place going,
or the bank would've taken it.
I was the principal barber now.
I hired a new man
for the second chair.
I'd hired the guy who did the least gabbing
while he came in for an interview,
But I guess the new man had only kept quiet
because he was nervous.
Once he had the job, he talked from the minute
I opened the shop in the morning...
Until I locked up at night.
For all I know, he talked to himself
on the way home.
When I walked home, it seemed like everyone
avoided looking at me,
As if I'd caught some disease.
This thing with Doris,
nobody wanted to talk about it.
It was like I was a ghost
walking down the street.
And when I got home now,
The place felt empty.
I sat in the house,
But there was nobody there.
I was a ghost.
I didn't see anyone.
No one saw me.
I was the barber.
Some bacon and potatoes,
which are supposed to come with it.
So I pay for it, and I put the change
in my pocket without really looking...
'Cause, gosh, who looks at the
change when you eat there every day?
Two blocks later I look at the change
she gave me. Golly, I'm two bits short.
So I walk back over to Linton's,
find this gal, big argument.
She doesn't even recall
the transaction.
Doesn't recall the transaction.
No recollections.
So I said, "Look, dear.
Go ahead. Look at the menu. "
If you're in before 6:00,
it's the whatchamacallit...
- The early bird special.
- Yeah, the early riser.
I'm Crane.
My name's Diedrickson,
county medical examiner.
I just came by
for an informal chat.
Why don't I
buy you a drink?
Just coffee.
You sure you don't want
something stiffer?
Coffee it is.
County M.E. does an autopsy
on anyone who dies in custody.
I don't know
if you knew that.
It's routine.
Doesn't become a matter of public record
unless there's been foul play.
I don't think I'm prohibited
from telling you this.
Of course, I'm not
obliged to either.
I just don't know.
But if I were the man,
I'd want to be told.
Told what?
I'm not here to add to your...
Your wife was pregnant.
First trimester.
There it is.
I'm sorry.
Hell, I hope I've done
the right thing.
My wife and I had not performed
the sex act in many years.
That's really none of my business.
I'm sorry.
There it is.
Good luck, Crane.
Doris and I had never
really talked much.
I don't think that's
a bad thing necessarily.
But it is funny.
Now I wanted to talk.
Now, with everyone gone,
I was alone with secrets
I didn't want...
And no one
to tell 'em to anyway.
I went to see a woman who was supposed
to have powers in communicating...
With those who had "Passed across",
as she called it.
She said that people who had passed across
were picky about
Who they'd communicate with.
Not like most people
you run into on this side.
So you needed a guide,
someone with a gift for talking to souls.
Give me your hand.
Well, first she told me that
my wife was in a peaceful place,
That our souls
were still connected,
That she'd never
stopped loving me...
Even though she'd done some things
she wasn't proud of.
Man, she was reading me
like a book.
She was a phony,
just another gabber.
I was turning into
Ann Nirdlinger,
Big Dave's wife
I had to turn my back
on the old lady,
On the veils, on the ghosts,
On the dead,
Before they all sucked me in.
How are you holding up?
Okay, Walter.
I, uh... I was so damn sorry
to hear about your loss.
A terrible thing.
It's just damn terrible.
Uh, Birdy's upstairs.
I'm on long-distance, so...
Sure, Walter.
Hello, Birdy.
Hi, Mr. Crane.
We haven't seen you since...
We've certainly missed you.
Birdy, I've been doing
a lot of thinking.
There are a lot of things
that haven't worked out for me.
Life has dealt me some bum cards.
Or maybe I just haven't played them right.
Pop doesn't like people
smoking in here.
I'm sorry.
Well, sometimes I have a cigarette
when he's away, but never when he's home.
He can smell it a mile off.
Well, sure.
It's his house.
That's what he
keeps telling me.
Anyway, my point is
you're young,
A kid, really,
your whole life ahead of you.
But it's not too soon
to start making opportunities for yourself...
Before it all washes away.
Yeah, I guess.
Pop says so too.
You know, I work
pretty hard at school.
That's swell.
However, the music,
if you want to pursue it...
The lessons from Mrs. Swan,
they'll only take you so far.
There's this guy
in San Francisco.
I've made inquiries.
Everybody says
he's the best.
Trained people who've gone on to big concert
careers in symphony orchestras, the works.
His name is Jacques...
I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it right.
Anyway, he's a frenchman.
- Oh, boy. A frenchman, huh?
- You've got talent.
Anybody can see that.
And he's the best.
If he sees a student
that he thinks has talent,
He takes them on for next to nothing.
So you're a cinch to be accepted.
I could cover the costs of the lessons.
Like I said, it's pretty modest.
- Oh, Jeez, Mr. Crane.
- No, I have to do it.
I can't stand by and watch
any more things go down the drain.
You're young.
You don't understand.
Well, Jeez, Mr. Crane.
I hadn't really thought about a career or stuff.
Well, I know you haven't.
Look, just go see him
as a favor to me.
I talked to this guy.
He loosened up a little bit
when I told him how talented you were.
He's agreed to see you
this Saturday.
He said, uh, maybe you're
a diamond in the rough.
His words.
Jeez, I don't know,
Mr. Crane.
Just go see him
as a favor to me.
You are the father?
No, I'm her...
I'm a family friend.
I am Carcanogues.
You will wait, my dear.
I speak with you
on the phone, no?
You have a special interest
in music?
A music lover,
Um, I don't pretend
to be an expert.
How did she do?
She seemed like
a very nice girl.
She play, monsieur,
Like a very nice girl.
Nice girl,
However, stinks.
Well, I don't understand.
Is not so hard to understand.
Her playing, uh,
very polite.
Did she make mistakes?
Mistake? No.
It say "E-flat,"
she play E-flat.
Ping, ping. She play
the right note always.
Well, I don't understand.
No mistakes?
Look, she's just a kid.
I thought you taught these kids to...
No, no, no, monsieur. That is what I cannot teach
her, huh? I cannot teach her to have the soul.
Hmm, voyez, monsieur.
To play the piano
is not about the fingers.
We make with the fingers.
But the music, monsieur,
she come from L'interieur, from inside, huh?
The music,
She starts here.
she come out through here.
Then perhaps,
She can go here.
Like I said,
I'm not an expert.
So you can listen to me,
for I am expert.
Voyez, monsieur.
This girl, nice girl.
Very clever hands.
Nice girl.
I think, uh,
perhaps some day...
She can make
very good typist, huh?
- I stank, didn't I?
- He didn't say that.
No, but more or less.
I'm no expert,
But there must be a dozen teachers
better than this clown.
- No, look, really...
- More qualified.
Goddamn phony.
Really, it's okay.
I'm not interested in
playing music professionally.
You know, I'm not sure
I want a career at all,
And if I did, I'd probably
be a veterinarian.
- Veterinarian.
- Yeah.
But I-I do appreciate
your interest.
It was nothing.
I wish I'd played better for you
'cause I know it would've made you real happy.
You know what you are?
You're an enthusiast.
Yeah, maybe.
You know, I really do appreciate
the interest you've taken.
I just wanted to make you happy.
No, it's really okay.
I wanna do it.
- Birdy!
- No, it's okay, really.
Mr. Crane, I wanna do it.
Mr. Crane!
- Birdy, please don't do that!
- Mr. Crane, please!
- Heavens to betsy, Birdy!
- Please, Mr. Crane.
Time slow down
right before in accident,
And I have time
to think about things.
I thought about what an undertaker
had told me once.
That your hair keeps growing
for a while, anyway,
After you die.
And then it stops.
I thought,
"What keeps it growing?"
Is it like a plant in soil?
What goes out of the soil?
The soul?
And when does the hair
realize that it's gone?
I noticed you still have
pea stone in your driveway.
Of course you have to rejuvenate that every couple
of years, don't you? When the pea stone thins out?
Where does it go, huh?
Like the odd sock.
'Course, you know where it goes. You probably
pick pieces of it off your lawn all the time,
Churn it up with your lawn mover,
sweep it off your porch there.
- Pain in the neck.
- Never bothered me.
Well, have you ever
considered tar macadam?
People think it's just for public works
or commercial purposes,
But we have the technology now
to bring it to the homeowner,
Individual consumer,
at very competitive prices.
Mind if I show you the specifications?
Afternoon, Ma'am.
What are you selling?
Ma'am, I was just telling your husband here
about tar macadam.
For your home driveway here.
Here's the brochure.
It's the modern way to...
Get lost.
Don't say anything.
I'm fine.
Mr. Crane?
Are you there?
Are you awake?
He's comin' around.
Can you talk, sir?
These men have to talk to you.
Are you awake? Sir?
He's... he's awake.
Go ahead.
Are you awake?
Is he awake?
Crane, as soon as you're conscious,
we have to tell you that...
- Uh, is he conscious?
- His eyes are open.
Uh, you're under arrest.
Soon as the doctor lets us,
we gotta move you.
Does he understand that? We're
supposed to tell him. Are you conscious?
- They'll take you to the prison hospital.
- Under arrest for murder.
What'd he say?
Birdy. Uh, the girl.
No, the girl's okay.
Broken clavicle.
That's a collarbone, Crane.
It's broken.
She's okay, though.
So he understands, then,
he's under arrest for murder?
- Big Dave.
- Huh?
What'd he say?
He said okay.
Is that what he said?
You're under arrest for the murder
of Creighton Tolliver.
You understand that?
Does he understand?
The pansy.
A kid diving in a water hole outside of town
had found his car.
They winched it out...
And found he'd been beaten,
just like Big Dave said.
Beaten to death.
Inside his briefcase
were the partnership papers I'd signed,
Showing that I'd
given him ten grand.
For the district attorney,
that made it fall into place.
I'd gotten Doris
to steal the money.
The pansy had gotten wise somehow,
so I had to kill him to cover my tracks.
On the arraignment calendar,
People v. Edward Crane.
I was in a spot.
You are charged
in a one-count complaint...
I called in Freddy Riedenschneider
and signed the house over to him.
He said he didn't ordinarily
work that cheap,
But he figured he owed me something
since the last one hadn't played out.
- How do you now plead?
- We plead not guilty, your honor.
I tried to tell him the whole story,
but Riedenschneider stopped me.
He said the story
made his head hurt.
He didn't see any way of using it
without putting me on the hot seat...
- For the murder of Big Dave.
- Trial date is set for Monday a week.
He told me not to worry, though.
Said he'd think of something.
They put me
on 24-hour death watch,
So that I couldn't cheat justice
like they said my wife had done.
But in front of the jury,
they had it that Doris was a saint.
The whole plan had been mine.
I was a svengali
who had forced Doris to join
My criminal enterprise.
On and on it went,
How I'd used Doris,
then let her take the fall.
That stuff smarted because some of it
was close to being true.
And then it was
Riedenschneider's turn.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the jury,
citizens of Santa Rosa,
We've just heard from the district attorney
a rather lurid description...
Of a truly despicable man.
I gotta hand it to him.
He tossed a lot of sand in their eyes,
He talked about how
I'd lost my place in the universe,
How I was too ordinary to be
the criminal mastermind...
The D.A. made me out to be,
How there was some greater scheme at work
that the state had yet to unravel.
And he threw in some of the old truth stuff
he hadn't had the chance to trot out for Doris.
May at first look at these lines and see
only the chaos of a work of modern art.
He told them to look at me,
look at me close.
That the closer they looked,
the less sense it would all make.
This human, this barber.
That I wasn't the kind of guy
to kill a guy,
That I was the barber,
for Christ's sake.
I was just like them,
an ordinary man.
Guilty of living in a world
that had no place for me, yeah.
Guilty of wanting to be
a dry cleaner, sure.
But not of murder.
But most specifically,
this is a barber's dilemma.
For he is modern man.
He said I was modern man.
He is your reflection.
And if they voted to convict me,
They'd be practically cinching the noose
around their own necks.
He told them to look not at the facts,
but at the meaning of the facts.
And then he said
the facts had no meaning.
It was a pretty good speech
and even had me going,
Until Frankie interrupted it.
What kind of man are you?
What kind of man are you?
Move for a mistrial!
Your honor!
What kind of man are you?
Move for a mistrial.
Well, he got his mistrial,
but the well had run dry.
There was nothing left to mortgage.
Riedenschneider went home,
and the court appointed Lloyd Garroway,
Who threw me
on the mercy of the court.
Your honor,
we plead guilty...
With extenuating circumstances.
It was my only chance,
he said.
I guess that meant
I never had a chance.
He wasn't buying any of that
modern man stuff, or the uncertainty stuff,
Or any of the mercy stuff either.
This man is a menace
to society.
Nope, he was going
by the book,
And the book said
I got the chair.
He has forfeited the right
to his own life.
So here I am,
At first I didn't know
how I got here.
I knew step by step,
of course,
Which is what I've told you,
step by step.
But I couldn't see any pattern.
Now that I'm near the end,
I'm glad that this men's magazine
paid me to tell my story.
Writing it has helped me
sort it all out.
They're paying me
five cents a word,
So you'll pardon me if sometimes I've told you
more than you wanted to know.
But now all the disconnected
things seem to hook up.
That's the funny thing
about going away,
Knowing the date
you're going to die.
And the men's magazine
wanted me to tell how that felt.
Well, it's like pulling away
from the maze.
While you're in the maze,
you go through willy-nilly,
Turning where you think
you have to turn,
Banging into the dead ends,
One thing after another.
But you get
some distance on it,
And all those twists
and turns...
Why, they're the shape
of your life.
It's hard to explain.
But seeing it whole
gives you some peace.
The men's magazine
also asked about remorse.
Yeah, I guess I'm sorry
about the pain I caused other people.
But I don't regret anything.
Not a thing.
I used to.
I used to regret
being the barber.
I don't know
where I'm being taken.
I don't know what I'll find
beyond the earth and sky,
But I'm not afraid to go.
Maybe the things I don't understand
will be clearer there,
Like when a fog blows away.
Maybe Doris will be there.
And maybe there
I can tell her...
All those things...
They don't have words for here.