D.O.A. (1988) Movie Script

Jeez. Buddy, you look dead.
I wanna see Brockton.
Or Ulmer.
- Yeah? What about?
- A murder.
Yeah? Who was murdered?
I was.
He looks bad, Dan.
Nice of you to fiit in
an appearance, Cornell.
- We'd about given you up for--
- You'd be right.
Dead on arrival.
Just one more on the pile,
eh, Cornell?
How many corpses now?
- Five?
- Six.
You know, if, uh, Cecil B. over there
is ready, I'll tell you all about it.
I'll try to piece together as best I can
what's happened over the last 36 hours.
Metcalf, a colour.
How about green?
Uh, young. Raw.
- Immature.
- Specifiic reference.
-Jolly Green Giant.
- Mr Green Jeans.
You people are junk-culture
geniuses, aren't ya?
Now, I mean a literary reference, and
Bill Cosby's latest book doesn't count.
Hmm? Anybody?
Nick? The color green.
Fire off any synapses for you?
What about Shakespeare's line
in Antony and Cleopatra?
That's Taylor and Burton
to the rest of us, right?
- All right. What's the line, Nick?
- ''My salad days when
I was green in judgement.''
Good. Another one.
- ''The text is old,
the orator too green.''
- Nick?
- What?
- Didn't mean another
Shakespeare quote, Nick.
I meant another student.
Aren't we literal-minded lately, huh?
- A bit like a computer.
- Computer programmers
have a saying, Professor.
- ''Garbage in, garbage out.''
- Yeah? Well, English professors
have a saying too, Nick.
''Don't one-up me in public. I haven't
graded your independent project yet.''
Okay, can we hear from somebody else?
I'm glad somebody
can sleep in this heat.
Mr Sloane, good morning.
- Dreaming of a white Christmas?
- Sorry, Professor.
- Pulled an all-nighter.
- Uh-huh.
- What's the topic?
The color green as a metaphor.
Got any thoughts at all?
- Anybody got any thoughts?
''Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy.
It is the green-eyed monster
which doth mock the meat it feeds on.''
Good acting too, Nick.
Will somebody please
unplug this man?
All right, everybody.
Get the hell out of here.
- Professor?
- Oh. Thank you, Miss--
Fuller. Sydney Fuller.
Back row.
I was wondering,
do you think you could--
Talk about your salad days.
What, you want me to sign this?
I can't believe myself, but, yeah.
To Sydney Fuller.
Taken me all semester
to work up my nerve to ask you.
That's with a Y.
- S-Y--
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
S-Y-D-N-E-Y. Yeah.
That's the reason, you know, I took
your course-- because my parents...
they just think that liberal arts
is a waste of tuition, and I--
I mean, I've read all of your books,
and I just-- Shut up, Sydney.
- Have, though. I read 'em all.
- Glutton for punishment, huh?
No, they're great.
I wish you hadn't have stopped.
I didn't stop.
I just stalled.
Professor Cornell? Uh, my novel.
You-You really haven't, uh--
- Graded it? Finished it?
- Either.
- Neither.
- But you said you'd
have it graded this week.
Yes, well, Nick, this heat's
put me a little bit behind schedule.
- I haven't shown it
to anyone else yet, Professor.
- Well, what should I do?
Should I feel privileged
or singled out for persecution?
- Can I be honest?
- I don't know, Nick. Can you?
Your opinion means a great deal to me.
And it's not because
you're my professor.
- It's because of your body of work.
- Yeah. Synonyms for body--
corpse, carcass, cadaver.
If you don't like my novel, I'll die.
No, I will. I'll stop writing.
Oh. Even worse.
I've spent the whole semester
sweating out on that thing.
Well, Nick, it took Hugo 1 6 years
to write Les Miserables.
- Yeah, but it only takes
a couple of days to read it.
- Yeah.
Come on. Anything. Any comment.
Anything to tide me through.
Nice typing.
- Something go down the drain?
- You know something I don't?
Yeah. You look like shit, Hal.
And I should know.
I'm an expert on the subject.
What's the matter? Heat getting to you?
Or just up all night toiling against
the publisher's deadline?
No, I was up all night
consulting my physician.
Ah. Playing doctor with Elaine.
Speaking of too hot.
Well, you know, the air conditioning
at the med centre was working.
- She was on call all night.
- Tell me.
How do you do it in a hospital?
Feet in the stirrups?
Where else?
Heigh-ho, Silver.
Yeah, well, you're gonna have
to forget about that wild life...
once you become a full professor.
You son of a bitch. I wondered how long
you were gonna keep me in suspense.
He said yes, right?
So the promotion's mine?
Yeah, another rung up the ladder,
though it's not offiicial yet.
But it wouldn't hurt if you showed up
at the art gallery dedication tonight.
- I'll be there with bells on.
- Yeah.
It'll be your last chance to kiss ass
before the Christmas break.
You know, if you hadn't helped me
with the outline and structure...
I probably wouldn't even have
the book contract.
Yeah, I know. But I'm not gonna
take the rap for that one, Hal.
- I'm serious. I wanna thank you
for putting in the good word.
- Right.
Hey, meet me in the offiice.
I got a bottle in the desk.
We'll have a drink, all right?
- All right.
I won't tell if you won't tell.
- All right, I'll see you later.
- Okay.
Hey, Chuck, you spelled
''carnival'' with an E!
Hey, Dex. Dex, you oughta
slow down in this heat.
I thought you were a PhD,
Dr Corey, not an MD.
You know what I am.
I'm an assistant professor...
mortgaged to the eyeballs
with two kids and a third on the way.
Oh, congratulations, Graham.
Boy or girl?
Word around the faculty lounge
is that you recommended
your friend Hal to the dean, Dex.
I've been here longer.
I was next in line.
Well, I didn't put Hal's novel
on Putnam's spring list, Graham.
You know academic politics as well
as I do-- ''publish or perish.''
- Always has been, always will be.
- I have published.
Rehashing old classroom lectures
in obscure literary journals
just doesn't count.
Oh, yeah? When was the last time
you published, Dex?
Now, there's an interesting article
for one of those ''obscure journals.''
Young literary lion produces
bril-- brilliant novel...
gets snapped up by snazzy college.
Strong follow-up
brings full professorship,
and then the third novel...
that is a little careless
and a fourth that kind of stinks.
But by then, the lion
is tame and tenured,
and number fiive never comes at all.
Well, you know,
that's still four more than you, pal.
Look, some of us
just wanna be teachers, Dex.
We don't have any literary pretensions.
We're just fucking good teachers!
- Fuckin' asshole!
- How'd you get this in here?
I don't know.
Uh, this is Gail.
Um, the papers came today.
Everything seems to be in order.
I-I just need you to sign 'em.
Listen, I'm sorry that you had
to move out so quickly. I know you-you
didn't get a chance to get everything.
Um-- Uh, there's
some mail here for you, and--
Christ, is it hot enough for you?
They say rain's on the way,
but I don't believe it.
I'll talk to you later, okay?
Uh, yeah, hi, Professor.
It's, uh, Nick Lang calling. Uh--
Oh, shit.
If you don't like my novel,
I'll die.
No, I will.
I'll stop writing.
Shut that, will you?
- Shit.
- Why?
Time of year, isn't it?
Holiday depression and all that.
And this heat. Makes a guy
do all sorts of insane things.
Pretty grim.
- So's this.
- Yeah. Well, next semester...
I'm on the best-seller list and
we are up to our asses in Dewar's.
What the hell kind of problem could
a college kid have that he thinks
only a swan dive could solve?
That was no ordinary college kid.
You wanna talk about problems?
His father was a thief.
One night about four years ago,
he breaks into the Fitzwaring mansion...
killed the husband.
So what does the widow do? She puts
the thief's son through college.
- The Fitzwaring murder? That's the kid?
- Was.
Guess all the money in the world
can't buy Nick a happy ending, huh?
He was a poetic little fucker, though.
- That's Nick's independent project.
- Good read, huh?
- I don't know. I didn't read it.
- You didn't read it?
Well, then what's the A for?
- Ambitious?
- I don't believe you didn't read it.
What, were you uptight that
one of your students might actually
produce something of quality?
No. I was uptight about having
to wade through 400 pages...
of flatulent student fiiction.
Now I don't have to.
Oh, God.
Now I do have to.
Not necessarily sober, though.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Less egg, Gail, more nog.
Who's this card from?
Uncle Charlie.
- Mine or yours?
- It's yours.
- I thought he was dead.
- No. The dead one's mine.
- Student suicide on campus today.
- I left that box of records
of yours by the door.
We, uh, mailing out
joint Christmas cards this year?
- I already sent mine out.
- Guess not.
Oh, I forgot.
I've got a gift for you.
Oh, God, Dex. Why?
Well, don't worry.
It's nothing much.
Hot date? Didn't think you'd dress
like that to trim a tree.
Anybody I know?
- Stop sounding like a husband.
- Well, I'm sorry.
I thought I still was one.
Thank you.
Well, it's a little nicer than
what I got you, I'm afraid.
Couldn't you have thought
of something more pleasant?
A lump of coal, perhaps?
Come on.
'Tis the season to be jolly.
Uh, you know, this thing would be
a lot easier to take
if only you'd act a little hurt.
I hurt, Dex. And I think
you know how long I've hurt.
Why? What have I done?
Hmm? Have I cheated on you?
I mean, I'm probably
the only professor on campus
who's not screwing a sophomore.
Maybe you oughta be. At least it'd be
a sign of life, a longing for something.
Okay, Gail, I tell you what.
You wait here.
I'm gonna go out and fiind myself a coed
for a quickie. I'll be right back.
- Can we resume our marriage?
- This hasn't been a marriage
in four years, Dex.
It's funny how that kind of coincides
with the publication of my last novel.
So that's my great sin, huh?
I'm not prolifiic enough.
Perhaps you should've married
Harold Robbins.
- One for the road, Dex?
- Subtle hint to exit?
No. I'm exiting.
Make yourself at home.
You are, after all.
- Because I stopped writing?
- Because you stopped caring.
Goddam it, Gail, don't run out on me!
What did I do to you?
You did it to yourself.
Oh, God, Dex.
You were so good,
and you just gave up on everything
that mattered to you, including me.
You know, marriage can't always be
as hot as the honeymoon.
There's ups and downs.
- Two people,
when they live together, they--
- You know, you are so smart...
and you don't have the faintest idea
what I'm talking about, do you?
The fact that making love became
a matter of just going through
the motions was hard enough.
But I could take it,
if you'd have only talked to me.
Talk? I talk all day, every day.
It's what I do.
No, it's ironic banter.
It's not intimacy.
And after a while, it's abuse.
I'm sorry. I lied when I said,
''For better or worse.''
I'm not gonna stick around and watch
someone I love just wither away.
- Don't.
- I've got to. Mistletoe.
Sign those papers before you go.
Ah, a mistake.
It's unclear where the light
is coming from. There is no scope!
- Oh, thank you, Graham.
- Excuse me.
We've gotta stop meeting like this.
Hey, Dex.
Quit staring, will you?
I got a bashful bladder.
What's the matter, Hal?
You look like you've seen a ghost.
No, no, no.Just your wife.
She know you're here?
- She's here?
- Yeah.
- I know. It's been
a long time, hasn't it?
- I didn't know you were still
attending faculty functions.
Yeah, it gives me a chance
to see folks I don't see much any more.
- Anyone special?
- You found him.
- Hey.
- Look what I picked up in the john.
- Yeah, isn't it awful what
you can get from a toilet seat?
- Did you enjoy your egg nog, Dex?
- Not enough nog.
- Elaine, could you flag me down
one of those?
- Oh, God. Don't encourage him.
- Graham, could you--
- Thought you had a hot date.
- Did you sign those papers?
- Gail, you know I gave up writing.
Writer's block can get awfully
expensive with my lawyers, Dex.
If I could have
everyone's attention, please.
Despite the tragic event
that happened on campus today...
our benefactress,
Mrs Michael Fitzwaring...
insisted that we proceed
with the dedication as scheduled.
This gallery was long the dream
of my late husband.
Four years ago,
when I arranged for the son...
of my husband's murderer
to come to this college...
it shocked many people.
But Nicholas Lang was not responsible
for the sins of his father.
And I believed
that he deserved a chance.
Over these last four years,
Nick proved worthy of my faith.
He triumphed over the past,
or so it seemed.
But sometimes,
the past is inexorable.
- I saw his body at the med centre.
- Who?
- Nick Lang, the student who jumped.
- Erstwhile student.
- What?
- Plummeted right past my window.
I had a front row seat.
-Jeez, Dex.
- There will be a memorial service
for Nicholas.
- I'm coming.
- Hey, hey, we'll--
We'll take care of her.
- We'll take care of her.
- Now, look, I'm coming--
-Just leave it to Elaine. No, Dex.
Please, don't complicate it.
And don't hurt yourself.
It's okay.
We'll take you home.
Gail, you and Nick Lang?
- Talk to me.
- Please, just leave me alone.
Scene of a crime
A body in the bag
0ne gets to die
0ne gets the flag
- A slave to desire
- Bartender.
The pain of rejection
Too much sex
and not enough affection
Read it in the paper
0r watch it on TV
Cry for a stranger
but turn your back on me
- Try another line
- Bartender?
And still no connection
Too much sex
and not enough affection
- Thank you.
- My pleasure.
More where that came from.
You drinking to forget?
To oblivion.
What sorrow are you drowning?
Maybe I just drink because I like it.
Always a sorrow. Lost hope.
Lost love.
Hey, hey, are you all right?
Yeah. I'm just a few drinks
short of oblivion.
Well, I-- Well, I'll tell you what.
I'll meet you there.
Hey, pal, the lady and I are trying
to set a new record.
Set it yourself.
The lady's going home.
Mother missed you tonight.
She's a tad freaked out.
''Freaked out''?
That makes two of us.
Oh!Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Come on, dear.
We're going home.
Professor Cornell?
- Uh, Miss--
- Fuller.
Sydney Fuller. Yeah.
God, isn't it awful
about Nick Lang? What a shock.
- Yeah, just one of many.
- Yeah, I know. It's just terrible.
Something I can do for you?
Will you have a drink with me?
- Oh, a martini.
- Mm-hmm.
- First one?
- Too much
And not enough
What? Okay, I give up.
Where did the female reindeer go?
Oh, God, Eddie.
You have hit rock bottom
on that one...
but I still love you.
Okay, I gotta go.
I'll see you next week. Bye.
- Where did the female reindeer go?
- Oh, you don't want to know.
- Oh, my God. Am I where I think I am?
- Freshman girls' dorm?
- Does this get worse? What happened?
- Don't you remember?
- You were amazing!
- Oh, no!
- Can't handle praise?
- Oh! I can't handle prison.
- I'm over 1 8.
- Oh! The mere fact
that you have to mention that...
means that I'd better get dressed
and haul my ass out of--
I was amazing fully dressed?
Guess I had you going there, huh?
Yeah. Uh, now, wait a minute.
I seem to remember a lot of drinks,
a lot of bars. Uh, a pass being made?
Yeah, I made the pass.
Yeah. Incomplete.
You were very gracious
about turning me down.
You said I was pretty, you said I was
smart, and then you said something...
about rules and ethics,
professors and coeds.
And then something about
alcohol impeding performance...
all the while trying
to make a graceful exit.
- Yeah, but I-I didn't exit.
- No. You passed out.
- Yeah.
- Diet Sprite?
Thank you.
This boyfriend of yours, um--
jealous type?
- Huh?
- The phone.
Oh, no, that's my brother, Eddie.
- He called with his annual
Christmas joke.
- Hey, Syd.
- Syd, want to hit the gym?
- Barb, don't you knock?
- Guess you've already exercised.
- Sorry.
Listen, this room is strategically
located right next to the fiire stairs.
So you can let yourself out whenever.
I have Intro to Trig
across the quad in fiive.
- Anyway, so it was fun, Professor.
- Dex.
Okay, I guess
I'll see you in class then, Dex.
- Barb! I don't believe you!
- Well, how was I supposed to know?
I'm trapped in a girls' dormitory
with creatures called Barb.
Hi, Dex.
- How are you?
- I'm okay.
- Elaine gave me some pills.
- Uh-huh.
Look, Gail, I-I--
I'm a little off-balance right now...
but I am sorry.
Dex, I'm so sorry
for the way you found out.
There was nothing vindictive in it.
I never told anybody.
I guess I was just
a little embarrassed.
- He was so young.
- Yeah.
I didn't find out till later
that he was one of your students.
Boy, some shrink would have
a fiield day with this one, huh?
He reminded me so much
of you at that age.
What, you-you mean the little place
we used to have off campus?
- Yeah.
- I tried to write, and you tried to
make Spam taste even more delicious.
You did write.
- You were full of passion and purpose.
- What, you mean like Nick Lang?
- That wasn't love, Dex.
- Yeah.
He just made me feel like
I haven't felt in such a long time.
- Dex, there was no reason--
- Look, Gail. Gail.
- I'm coming over there, Gail.
- That's not a good idea, Dex.
Uh, come by tonight.
I'll go out for a bit.
It'll be easier.
You've got to sign those papers.
And you left your briefcase here.
I'll leave it by the tree, okay?
I don't think you should be
alone right now, Gail.
Please. Please don't come over.
I love you.
I know, Dex.
I know.
This is no hangover.
- Dex!
- Sir, may I help you?
Are you all right?
- What's taking so long?
- We just got this back.
- Oh, great. Let me see.
- Take a look at this.
It's very strange.
It's radium chloride.
- Are you absolutely sure about this?
- Yes. Positive.
Toxicology ran through these twice
and confiirmed the results.
Sorry you had to wait so long.
I'm feeling a lot better.
What's up, Doc?
Sit down, Dex, please.
- What's that?
- It's a sample.
You're not gonna make me
drink that, are you?
No, Dex. You already did.
- We, uh, ran the test twice.
- Well, what is that?
It's a toxic luminous solution,
and it's in your system.
- What, from eating too much tuna fiish?
- It's poison, Dex.
Oh, bullshit, Elaine. I had too much
to drink, and I feel like shit.
- I come over here
to see my doctor, and--
- Dex.
It's been in your body
for at least 1 2 hours.
We found toxic traces. Our
chief resident reviewed the results.
- Well, how did it get in there?
- The alcohol content in your body...
suggests you got it in some liquor.
Well, what are you gonna do?
Are you gonna give me
a stomach pump or something or what?
- What?
- Well, you got an antidote for it?
This will help you.
Thank God I came to see you, Elaine.
I thought I had the flu.
There's not gonna be any, uh,
permanent damage from this, is there?
- I've given you some sodium Amytal...
- Yeah?
to help relax you.
This poison has been absorbed
into your system.
Even if there were an antidote,
it's too late for it.
''Too late'' meaning what?
There's nothing we can do.
- How long?
- It depends.
- How much was ingested, the systemic
conditions of the individual--
- How long?
Twenty-four hours.
No more than forty-eight.
It's a mistake.
It's a fucking stupid mistake.
I wish it were.
I need a drink.
Of course.
I've arranged a room for you here.
You'll be comfortable.
I guess the police should be notifiied.
Shit. Come on.
Come on!
Gail! Gail!
Gail! G--
Look, I gave him a sedative.
That's why he passed out.
- I see. We'll call you if we need you.
- Thanks a lot.
Found this in your wife's hand.
We're guessing the rest of it's
this pile of ash here.
A little too hot
to be roasting chestnuts.
Come on, Cornell. You and the wife had
a tiff about the boyfriend yesterday.
- You found some love letters,
tried to burn 'em.
- Wrong.
- She tried to stop you,
only saved this much.
- Wrong.
- Things escalated,
got a little out of hand.
- Nothing got out of hand.
- Oh, you're just
deckin' the halls, huh?
- I told you why I came here--
- to talk to my wife.
- Yeah? Tell her what?
- That I'd been a bastard.
- Tell her or show her?
To apologize to her.
- And to say good-bye.
- You gave her a hell of a send-off.
Is that the best your prosaic,
petty little mind can come up with?
It's a prosaic,
petty little world, Cornell.
Yeah, well, if I'd wanted to lop off
one corner of a jealous triangle...
- it would have been
Nick Lang, not Gail.
- Good.
- That was the next question.
- That's why we're here--
to question your wife
about Lang's death.
- Heard it came as a shock to her.
- What are you saying?
Nick Lang didn't jump off any roof.
He was pushed.
Lot of scuff marks on the roof. Nicky
was dragging his heels about going over.
Plus his apartment got broken into
sometime yesterday afternoon.
- What does that have
to do with anything?
- Not sure.
Nothing seemed stolen.
Maybe someone was lookin' for him.
-Maybe someone found him.
-Dex was in the offiice when it happened.
Did you, uh, see him there?
Look, this is bullshit.
Come on!
At the time of Nick's death...
Dex didn't even know
they were having an affair.
- So he tells you.
- It's true.
Stopped by for a little
Christmas cheer yesterday, didn't you?
What if I did?
Jealous husband
pushes Nicky off the roof...
so angry wife serves him
a Christmas Mickey.
Next morning he wakes up
with a tummy ache,
so he gets a little checkup...
and fiinds out he was murdered.
So he drops by for
one last bang-up marital spat.
- Murdered?
- Thematically, a little dated...
but the prose style holds up.
- What do you mean, murdered?
- That stuff you swallowed.
That's not too easy to come by.
Somebody took a lot of trouble
to get a hold of that.
It's true, Dex. You ran out before
we had a chance to discuss this.
Of course,
there's a variation on the theme.
Maybe Lang poisoned you,
you pushed him, then killed your wife.
Or it could go the other way.
They wanted to kill you.
You wanted to kill them.
Everybody wins.
- Or everybody loses.
- I already told you who killed my wife.
Oh, right,
the invisible man.
Well, just because I didn't see him
doesn't mean he wasn't here, idiot.
- Careful, Cornell. You're upset.
- You're damn right I'm upset.
I fiind out I'm a murder victim
and a suspect all in one goddamed day.
- Look, he's sick.
He should be in a hospital.
- First, we read him his rights.
- Cornell's under arrest.
- This will ease the pain, Dex.
- Mr. Cornell, you have the right
to remain silent--
- Careful!
- Get back! Get back!
- What are you doing?
- Easy, Dex!Jesus! Look.
You're getting off to a fiine start.
- Cover the back!
First you're resisting arrest.
Now you're taking a hostage.
- Sorry. Don't have time to stand trial.
- You're gettin' in deeper.
-Just hold it.
- Stay out!
- Think it over, Cornell.
- Don't come in here! Please!
- He'll do it! He will!
- Now, just come on out here.
You're digging yourself a grave.
- Back off!
- Thanks.
- For Christ's sake, back off!
With a rebel yell
she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour, babe
More, more, more
With a rebel yell
More, more, more
He lives in his own heaven
Collects it to go from the 7-1 1
Well, he's out all night
to collect a fare
Just so long, just so long
it don't mess up his hair
Don't scream!
God, you scared me!
What are you doing here?
- I needed to see you.
- Yeah?
Okay, okay.
One minute. One sec here.
Oh, yeah. It's kind of stupid,
isn't it? Freudian slip.
Get it?
It's for the carnival tonight.
I thought it was either this
or Pavlov's dog.
- But then I thought,
''How can I go as a dog?''
- Why did you murder me? Huh?
- What are you talking about?
- You tell me, Sydney with a Y, huh?
You sit in my class anonymously
for months. Not a peep.
Then suddenly, you just announce
yourself as my biggest fan.
You ask me for an autograph.
You follow me to a bar.
- I went with a friend.
- Oh, yeah? You had a plan!
- I wouldn't call it a plan.
- Then what would you call it?
- Um, a cr--
- What?
- A crush.
Uh-huh. Yesterday,
you pop up all over my life.
- Today, I have no life!
- What are you talking about?
Stop it.
Just please stop it. Please--
Okay, okay,
I wasn't thinking too clearly.
And a few hours ago, my wife...
she was, uh, murdered
right in front of my eyes.
So, uh, you're just gonna
have to forgive me...
because I've never
been poisoned before.
Don't worry.
I don't think you did it.
But you are my link
to last night.
So we're gonna retrace our steps--
where we sat, who we talked--
- ''We''? No. Wait a minute.
- No, no. I can't wait a minute.
I need your help.
No, I can't help you.
I can't help my mother fold clothes.
You need the police.
No, I've already had the police.
They think I killed my student.
- They think I murdered my wife.
- Well--
Now, that's just silly,
isn't it? That--
I'm just gonna call the police,
and I'm gonna vouch for you.
Uh, hi. Uh, is this the police?
Could I-- I have information about--
No cops.
- Let go of my arm.
- I can't.
- Let go!
- Ow.
- I can't.
Bonds in seconds.
This is kidnapping, you know.
Yeah, if I'm lucky, they'll
give me life. Remember this place?
No, I don't. Let go of my arm,
or I'm gonna scream!
Look, if I let go of your arm,
you're really gonna scream.
One, two!
I'm supposed to be
at the carnival tonight.
Yeah, well, excuse me, but dying's kind
of fucked up my social calendar too.
Ain't it a bitch?
I'm really sorry.
I know it's terrible.
But I just can't handle this.
I'm scared. I'm confused.
All right. Okay.
All right. I'm sorry.
That makes two of us.
And I have to go to the bathroom.
All right. Look.
We'll go to a men's room.
I'll put you in a stall,
and I'll stand guard outside the door.
No. There is no way I am walking
past ten drunks with their flies open.
- I'm just not gonna do it.
- Hey, Freud, baby.
You can get me on your couch any day.
And there's no way
I'm sitting on those seats,
'cause I see the men who use 'em.
I'm not doing it.
I'm gonna go to the ladies' room.
It's not enough I'm wanted for murder.
I'm gonna get hauled in as a pervert.
I can't go.
Could you talk or something?
Make some noise.Just talk.
Just keep talking.
You wanna hear some snappy patter
about death...
nature's way of telling you
to slow down?
I mean, I don't know
if there is life after death...
but I'm defiinitely taking
a change of underwear just in case.
I mean, Syd, I'm no good at this.
I mean, I've never really thought...
about my own extinction.
You know, it's funny.
I mean, I always thought
death was something that happened
to other people--
older people, unlucky people.
Not me. Not Gail.
I mean, I always knew my number
was gonna come up, but, uh, not now.
Damn it! Why?
- You have any enemies?
- No, I don't have any enemies.
- What are you doing here?
- I wanna see Graham!
- What-- He doesn't wanna see you.
- I'll bet!
- Surprised to see me up and about?
- What in God's name do you want?
Thought I'd be safely slid away
in some morgue locker, tag on my toe.
-Just calm down, Dex--
- Daddy!
- I didn't do that!
- Ow!
You were much more impressive this
afternoon against a defenseless woman.
- This afternoon?
- I know where you were!
Of course you do.
The Milton tutorial.
-Just like every other Friday
for the last ten years!
- Dex!
Is today Friday?
So, who we gonna punch
a confession out of now, Dex?
- Got any better ideas?
- Yeah! Logic.
-There's gotta be a reason for all this.
My Mark Twain lecture drove
some student into a homicidal rage.
Syd, guys like me,
we get killed by muggers...
run over by cars maybe, but nobody
plots to kill an English professor.
We just don't inspire
that kind of passion.
The killing didn't start with you.
- Nick Lang.
- Right. So who would want him dead?
Hey, you know, sometimes cops go
to the funerals of murder victims.
What? Wait, wait.
You mean we're going to the funeral...
and you think the killer's
gonna be there?
Yeah. Get in.
There's a hell of a strange story
behind that kid.
So this thief breaks into
the Fitzwaring house, you see.
The old man wakes up. He's upstairs,
comes down, he surprises the guy.
Thief shoots the old man, right?
The chauffeur, he hears all this,
he comes running in.
Uh, he grabs the gun,
and there's a struggle.
- Wait a minute.
I can't go in there like this.
- What?
Like this. Here.
- So-So, wait, there's a struggle?
- Yeah.
For the gun. The gun goes off.
It kills the burglar.
- And the burglar is Nick's father?
- Yeah.
Now, the widow, Mrs Fitzwaring...
she makes a special
pet charity case out of Nick.
- She put him through college.
- I never heard this.
Well, it's not exactly something
you want under your yearbook picture.
So you think all this
has to do with Nick, don't you?
- Hal.
- What are you doing here?
Are you crazy?
- Meet Syd.
- Hi. We're inseparable.
- Hi. Those two cops are looking
all over the place for you.
- Who?
- Tweedledum and Tweedle-dumber?
- Yeah. They even notifiied
campus security.
- You gotta get outta here, man.
- I gotta pay my respects.
- You fiind something out?
- Yeah. I'm not gettin' any younger.
- Nothing I can do?
- Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.
What's the deal here?
You got a fiiver on you?
Will you pay him for me, please?
A father whose only legacy
was the stigma of his terrible crime.
One would like to think that Nick not
only found himself here at the school...
but also that he'd found a home here.
And judging by the turnout tonight...
I'd say he had.
It was a pleasure to have Nick
in my Shakespeare class.
Perhaps only the bard can explain
Nick's unexplainable choice.
''To sue to live,
I fiind I seek to die.
And seeking death, fiind life.
Let it come on.''
Miss Fitzwaring, I know you'd like
to say a few words.
- Nick would've loved--
- That's the girl in the bar.
That's Cookie Fitzwaring.
She's in my art class.
- My dear, may I--
- No-- No, you picked
the wrong play, Professor.
You should've quoted
from Romeo and Juliet.
Nick and I, we were--
I know that guy.
He was in the bar last night.
- Your mother's waiting.
- So let her wait.
You fucked things up royally tonight.
Don't I always?
You're still a few drinks short
of oblivion.
How's that little nasty burn
you got on your hand, pal?
-Jesus, Bernard!
- Your mother wasn't too thrilled
about you and Nick, was she?
- I don't think--
- I wouldn't brag about that.
- I loved Nick, and he loved me.
- Yeah, you and a few others.
- What do you know about him?
- I know he was murdered.
- We don't like what you're inferring.
- Bernard, I think you mean implying.
You see, when I say something,
that's implying.
- How you take it, that's inferring.
- Okay.
Then infer this.
Cookie! Hey, come here!
Where you going?
- Oh, God. We're back at the stage.
- Everybody's gone.
- Wait!
- Come on!
- Wait! Hold on!
- Come on!
- Wait!
- It's caught!
Help me! Please! Help!
Syd! Sydney! Where you going?
Where do you think?
To the police!
Shit. Wait, Sydney!
Give me a chance!
You know, I don't get off
on this Rambo shit.
I wanted to spend the night with you,
not eternity.
- Hey!
- Syd!
- Police!
- No police!
- Hey! Wait!
- Syd! Syd!
Wait. Wait.
Oh, my God, look at your arm.
I'm sorry.
Drop dead.
I didn't mean to say that.
I'm sorry.
So, what do you do now?
Find Mrs Fitzwaring
and that lunatic daughter of hers.
And what if the chauffeur
with the nail gun is waiting for you?
What have I got to lose, huh?
I've already screwed up my life
by giving up.
What do you mean?
I had just quit.
I was a success,
and I was afraid of failing and I--
So I just quit.
I wanna help you, Dex.
You already have.
- I feel really bad.
I-I-I dragged you too deep into this.
- No, no, it's no big deal, you know.
I mean, you just-- you just
glued yourself to me, you dragged me
out into the street half-naked...
you almost got me shot--
I mean, most girls wait a lifetime
for a date like this.
I gotta go.
It's getting late.
I'm not gonna see you again, am I?
- Take her to the med centre.
- Wait a minute. Your jacket.
You need your jacket.
Now, don't worry.
I'll take care of everything.
''Don't worry''? That man
told you that Nick was murdered.
I didn't let the cat
out of the bag, did I?
What are you doing here?
- Professor Cornell, isn't it?
- Mm-hmm.
It was your wife who fell apart
at the art gallery yesterday evening.
Yes, and it was your Cookie
who crumbled at the memorial service.
Seems they both had a bad case
of young Mr Lang.
- What do you know about Nick?
- What do you think I know?
- I hope it's just you that's loaded.
- Cookie, what are you doing?
- What did you do, Mother?
- What exactly have you told her?
And it all makes sense, too.
She forced Nick to stop seeing me.
What, so Nick was worthy
of your charity, but he wasn't worthy
of your daughter. Is that it?
The fact is that she considered Nick
too good for me.
- You're so wrong.
- No. I saw the way that
you used to look at him.
Your-- Your little diamond
in the rough.
You couldn't stand anyone else
taking an interest in him.
- And you were always jealous of us.
- Cookie, no.
She nearly flew into a rage when
she found out that we'd slept together.
Cookie! Stop this.
- See what I mean?
- Please.
I wouldn't do anything
just to hurt you.
But you did hurt me.
Why couldn't he see me?
Whatever I did, Cookie,
I did for you and Nick.
Believe me, he could never love you,
not the way that you wanted him to.
Not the way you wanted.
S-So you-- you had him killed.
Cookie, come back!
Don't fuck with me, Bernard.
I've had a rough day.
All right.
Then have a little lie-down.
- God, it's all such a mess.
- Not at all. I won't leave a trace.
We don't even know if he can prove
anything, or even if he knows anything.
- Couldn't we just call in the police,
say there was a burglary, that--
- We've already used that story.
Whether he can prove anything or not,
we don't want the police
snooping into your past or Nick's.
- Look, it's simple.
We'll just take him out--
- Don't tell me.Just do it.
And bring Cookie back. In her state,
she's liable to say anything to anybody.
-How do you know that Nick was murdered?
-I'm psychic.
Then you know
what's going to happen to you.
It's so sick.
Dragon lady wipes out her rivals.
But why me?
I mean, I can almost understand Gail.
- Why me?
- What are you talking about?
Oh, come on, Bernard. Can't you
grant a dying man his last wish?
Where do I fiit into
Mrs Fitzwaring's little psychodrama?
Is the heat getting to you, old chum?
You're babbling.
- We're on campus.
- ''A'' in geography, Prof.
- Now, how's your archaeology?
- What?
I thought the tar pit might interest
an old fossil like yourself.
Nothing personal.
What the fuck?
Happy hour.
Care for a cocktail?
Drinking and driving
don't mix, Cookie.
I was trying to kill you,
pencil neck.
Stay away from me.
Stay away from me!
- You can't make me go back there.
- Don't piss about, love.
Just get in the car.
Let me go!
All right.
- What are you doing here?
- I'm taking him to the police
just as soon as I get you home.
- You're not taking me home.
- He's not taking me
to the police either.
- Cork it, Cornell, or else I--
- Or else what? You're gonna kill me?
Cornell, I'm tired of your crap.
Do you hear me?
- Is something burning?
- Hey, what are you doing back there?
Oh, God!
- Payback time, Bernard!
- Look out, damn it!
Look out!
- Slow down, Cookie!
- What are you doing?
God! Cookie!
Oh! Look at this jerk!Jeez!
The guy's drunk.
Fuckin' asshole.
Want some popcorn? Well, have some!
And a beer!
Yeah, buddy!
Leave him alone!
- What? The guy's a drunk.
- Yeah!
- Maybe he's hurt.
- I don't know.
I'll call an ambulance.
You didn't have to do that, Syd.
So I was just supposed to let them
make a popcorn ball out of you?
Not bad.
You know, my mother, she used to
trim the tree with this stuff.
I guess nobody does that any more.
Mine does.
Are you going home for Christmas?
Where's home?
What do you do for Christmas
in Kansas?
Well, um, the whole clan
gathers together.
We haven't seen each other
in about a year, so we plop down
in front of the television set...
and watch Miracle on 34th Street
for the 34th time.
What else?
we all give each other presents
that we don't need.
And if we need them,
then they're all the wrong size.
Pretty awful, huh?
Pretty nice.
- It'll be good to see Eddie.
- This your brother Eddie?
Oh, yeah. Where do
the female reindeer go?
- Oh. No.
- Come on.
Where do all the female reindeer go
when Santa and the male reindeer
are out on Christmas Eve?
They go into town
and they blow a few bucks.
Oh, no, no, no, no.
I'm so scared for you.
it'll be a breeze.
The fiirst million years
go like that.
The second million--
- It's just so unfair.
- No, it's fair.
I've been dead for four years now.
Gail was right.
It just took a little poisoning
for me to notice.
- You're more alive
than anybody I ever met.
- No, Syd.
I forgot how to appreciate life.
It's too late for me.
This is life.
Right here.
Right now.
Take it.
2-Bravo-6, 1 0-4. En route.
Check the car out.
I don't know what the cops told you,
but I didn't kill Cookie.
Bernard did.
Didn't mean to.
It's just that people have this habit
of dying around Bernard.
Didn't they?
So it's all come full circle, right back
to your front door, hasn't it, missus?
No, you brought it to my door.
And you never really knew anything,
did you?
I know you had quite a long hit list.
We've been at cross purposes,
suspecting each other unjustly.
I don't believe you.
Your daughter told me every--
Cookie was wrong.
- I didn't kill Nick.
- I don't believe you.
Now, I want to know!
Why were you so obsessed
about Cookie and Nick?
Who was he to you?
My son.
- Cookie never knew.
- But Nick's father--
- The man who killed your husband.
- Also my husband.
Abandoned along with Nick
I don't know how he found me
after all those years...
but he was here that night
four years ago together with Fitzwaring.
I asked him what he wanted. He said
not much, considering what my husband--
my other husband-- had to give.
Lang had told Fitzwaring
all about me.
There was a scene. Ugly words
like ''bigamy'' and ''blackmail.''
Fitzwaring told Lang to leave.
He said that Lang
wouldn't get a nickel.
He told me to leave too,
without our daughter.
He said I would never
see Cookie again.
You must understand that what I did,
I did for my daughter...
and my son.
Bernard understood.
He told the police
that a prowler had broken in...
had shot Fitzwaring, attacked me.
Then Bernard and the prowler
struggled for the gun.
It went off.
That was our story.
Nick was my son.
Although he could never know that
I was his mother, I wanted him near me.
Now he's gone.
They're all gone.
There's nothing.
All this time
on the wrong trail.
Goddam it! Why?
Shit! Shit!
It's Dex.
I'm in my offiice.
I need you.
Hey, Dex.
Dex? Hey.
Hey, buddy.
- Uh, you don't look so good.
- Well, I feel good.
I'm alive.
Hell, you know,
you're, uh, never more alive
than when you're on the edge of death.
Can't you feel it, Hal?
I don't feel anything.
One for the road.
Merry Christmas.
- Why?
- Why what?
- Why did you kill me?
- What are you talking about?
Where did you get the poison?
I stole it from the med centre
the night I was there with Elaine...
playin' a little ''heigh-ho, Silver.''
- She had an emergency call.
She left the keys.
- Why, goddam it?
- 0ut of Whack.
- What?
One minute after I give you the damn
scotch, you tell me you didn't read it.
- Read what?
- 0ut of Whack.
Nick Lang's novel?
Well, I'm gonna pass it off
as my own.
I have to, man.
It's fucking brilliant.
And my book-- my book.
Well, everything about it that was good
you helped me with.
I was in here last week
trying to work on it.
I see Nick Lang's book
sitting on your desk.
So I pick it up,
fiigure I'd get a few laughs about
how full of shit this kid is.
Guess I knew what I was gonna do
before I even got to the last page.
What's so funny?
- What's so funny?
- That's what all this is about?
Some kid's lousy homework?
No. I just fiinished telling you,
it's not lousy.
It's one of the best damn books
I ever read.
That's why I had to do it.
Not that I was sure I could.
I mean, Lang was easy.
Smug little shit.
Light as a feather.
Just up and over and bon voyage.
But you, in the john the other day--
I wasn't worried about
any damned promotion.
Why Gail?
She had nothing to do with this.
- Why did you have to kill her?
- No. That-- That was your fault.
That was your fault.
I got all the copies
out of Lang's apartment.
I put your copy in the damned garbage.
You picked it up,
you put it in your damned briefcase.
- And left it at Gail's.
- I guess so.
I saw it there when Elaine and I
took her home the other night.
So you burn it.
She tried to stop you.
You bludgeoned her, freshened up...
then went out for a night on the theatre
with a nail gun.
I thought she found something out.
Don't you see?
I had to make sure that nobody knew
so that it could be mine...
so that everybody knows
that that book is mine!
- That was worth somebody's life?
- Yeah. My life.
Why should that kid
have all the breaks and not me?
Jesus, Dex, he was fucking your wife,
for Christ's sake!
You should be glad that I killed him.
So, who you gonna kill
for your second novel?
All I need is just
that one bullshit break.
After this book comes out,
I can publish any damn thing I want.
And you can bet that I'm not gonna
rest on my laurels like you did.
Well, at least they were my laurels.
Why does it come so easy
to guys like you?
Big Dex. You just cruise in here,
help out poor little Hal on his outline
and then you waltz out of here.
You don't have a fucking clue how hard
it is for me, how much I struggle.
I'm gonna have my shot!
I'm gonna know what it feels like!
No, you'll never know.
That feeling doesn't come from money.
It doesn't come from fame.
It comes from doing the work, Hal...
from realizing a vision.
You think you could
steal somebody else's passion?
All you got was paper and ink.
Man, where do you get off
lecturing me about passion?
- You lost it.
- No. I got it back.
These last two days, I had it.
You had it, all right.
You had it and you pissed it away.
Man, Dex, you had a talent.
You had a talent others would--
Kill for?
Yeah, that's right. Kill for.
Isn't that what it's all about?
Publish or perish?
Just somebody's homework.
That was all.