Sling Blade (1996) Movie Script

Hey, Sheriff.
A Mercury... is a real good car.
That was the car I was driving that day.
I have a lot of cars.
Yeah. Different kinds.
A lot of different kinds of cars.
She was standing, this girl,
where there was this chicken stand.
It wasn't the Colonel,
but a chicken stand nevertheless.
I pulled the Mercury
right up alongside,
and I rolled down the window,
see, by electric power.
And she had this leather skirt on.
And she had a lot of hair on her arms.
I like that, I like that a lot.
It means a big bush. I like a big bush.
So she says, "Are you dating?" You know?
I said, "Sure." So she gets in.
And we pull off
into this remote location, you know,
that was comfortable for both she and I.
And she says to me,
"How much do you wanna spend?"
I said, "Whatever it takes to see
that bush, 'cause I know it's big."
And she says to me, "$25."
That's not chicken feed,
you know, to a working man.
So I produce the $25
and she sticks it down into her shoe
and pulls up her skirt.
And there before me lay this thin,
crooked, uncircumcised penis.
You can imagine how bad
I wanted my $25 back.
I don't know why you're weirded out.
This is not San Quentin.
It's a nuthouse.
These people don't know where they are.
They're not gonna hurt you.
We're gonna be in a room with a killer.
That doesn't bother you?
You're the one
that wanted to major in journalism.
These are the people
from that newspaper.
- Yeah. From the college?
- Yes, sir.
- Jerry Woolridge.
- Nice to meet you. I'm Marsha Dwiggins.
This is Theresa Evans.
She's here to take the pictures.
Y'all sit down.
There was a young man
named John Legit Hunter
who was in a good
filling station business.
But he was one of these young men
we run across, I'm sure you have,
who didn't deserve what he had.
And one of the things he had was this...
beautiful young bride,
She was a Georgia peach.
In fact, she was more like
the picture I had in my mind
than any woman I had ever seen.
So I took it upon myself
to take her away from John Legit Hunter,
who did not deserve her, you know?
I don't know if I told you,
but he was a Frenchman
who claimed to be an Englishman.
Took a lot of strong nylon cord
to get her away from him,
'cause she was a fighter
as well as being a Georgia peach.
I think there must
have been a little mix-up.
I talked to your sponsor or teacher,
or whoever he is,
and I told him that
there couldn't be any pictures.
It's supposed to be an article or story,
something like that, isn't that right?
Well, it's for the school newspaper,
but it has pictures.
I mean, it's a regular paper.
Karl's real sensitive
about having his picture made.
He wouldn't even be on the
bulletin board for the Easter collage.
a shovel just makes
too goddamn much racket.
All I can do is talk to him,
see what he says.
You gotta make something explode
to truly understand it,
examine all those little tiny particles
while they're still on fire.
Karl, I've gotta take you
down to the old classroom.
Mr. Woolridge has some people
for you to see down there.
Come on, let's go.
You remember me telling you about
those people from that newspaper?
They wanna ask you some questions
about your release.
They think it'll make a good story.
Will you talk to 'em?
Get interviewed?
Now, they're women.
Think it'd be good for you, too.
You're gonna be seeing all kinds
of people when you get on the outside.
This'll help, I believe.
Now, here's the thing.
He'll only talk to you,
Now, here's the thing.
He'll only talk to you,
but he doesn't want you to ask anything.
And you really shouldn't stare at him.
How am I going to interview
if I can't ask questions?
It's the best it's gonna get. I'm sorry.
Can I ask you a question? If he's so
troubled, why are you letting him out?
What if he does it again?
It happens all the time.
He's free, his time's up.
That's the rules.
He's been treated, re-evaluated
and doesn't show any signs anymore.
- Signs?
- Homicidal signs.
Miss. I'm sorry,
but you're gonna have to step outside.
I gotta change the light
in here for Karl.
I hope you can still see to write.
I reckon what you is wanting to know
is what I'm a-doin' in here.
I reckon the reason I'm in here
is 'cause I've killed somebody.
I reckon what you is a-wantin' to know
is how come me to kill somebody,
so I reckon I'll start
at the front and tell you.
I lived out back of my mother
and father's place most of my life,
in a little old shed
that my daddy had built for me.
They didn't want me up there
in the house with the rest of 'em.
So mostly, I just sat around out there
in the shed, a-lookin' at the ground.
I didn't have no floor out there.
But I had me a hole dug out
to lay down in.
A quilt or two to put down there.
My father was a hardworking man
most of his life.
Not that I can say the same for myself.
I mostly sat around
out there in the shed,
tinkered around
with a lawn mower or two.
Went to school off and on
from time to time.
But the children out there,
they were very cruel to me.
Made quite a bit of sport of me.
Made fun of me quite a bit.
So mostly, I just sat around
out there in the shed.
My daddy worked down there
at the saw mill,
down at the planer mill
for an old man named Dixon.
Old man Dixon was a very cruel fella.
Didn't treat his employees well.
Didn't pay 'em much of a wage.
Didn't pay my daddy too much of a wage.
Just barely enough to get by on,
I reckon.
But I reckon he got by all right.
They used to come out,
one or the other of 'em,
usually my mother,
feed me pretty regular.
I know he made enough where I could have
mustard and biscuits
three or four times a week.
But old man Dixon, he had a boy.
His name was Jesse Dixon.
Jesse was really more cruel
than his daddy was.
He used to make
quite a bit of sport of me
when I was down there
at the schoolhouse.
He used to take advantage of little
girls there in the neighborhood an' all.
He used to say that my mother
was a very pretty woman.
He said that quite a bit
from time to time
when I'd be down there
at the schoolhouse.
Well... I reckon
you want me to get on with it
and tell you what happened,
so I reckon I'll tell you.
I was sittin' out in the shed
one evening, not doing too much,
just kindly staring at the wall,
waiting on my mother to come out
and give me my Bible lesson.
Well, I heard a commotion
up there in the house.
So I run up on the screened-in porch
to see what was a-goin' on.
I looked in the window
and seen my mother on the floor,
without any clothes on.
I seen Jesse Dixon
a-layin' on top of her.
He was having his way with her.
Well, I just seen red.
I picked up a Kaiser blade that was
sitting there by the screen door.
Some folks call it a sling blade,
I call it a Kaiser blade.
It's kindly a long wood handle,
kind of like an axe handle.
With a long blade on it
shaped kind of like a banana.
Sharp on one edge and dull on the other.
It's what the highway boys use
to cut down weeds and whatnot.
Well, I went in there in the house,
and I hit Jesse Dixon
upside the head with it,
knocked him off my mother.
I reckon that didn't quite satisfy me.
So I hit him again with it in the neck
with the sharp edge
and just plumb near cut his head off,
killed him.
My mother she jumped up
and started hollerin',
"What did you kill Jesse for?
What did you kill Jesse for?" Well...
come to find out
I don't reckon my mother minded
what Jesse was a-doin' to her.
I reckon that made me madder
than what Jesse had made me.
So I taken the Kaiser blade,
some folks call it a sling blade,
I call it a Kaiser blade,
and I hit my mother
upside the head with it.
Killed her.
Some folks has asked me,
"If you had it to do over again,
would you do it the same way?"
Well, I reckon I would.
Anyhow, they seen fit
to put me in here,
and here I've been
for a great long while.
I've learned to read some.
Took me four years to read the Bible.
I reckon I understand
a great deal of it.
Wasn't what I expected in some places.
I've slept in a good bed
for a great long while.
Now they've seen fit
to put me out of here.
They say they're setting me free today.
Anyhow, I reckon
that's all you'd need to know.
You wanna hear about more details,
I reckon I can tell 'em to you.
I don't know whether or not that's
enough for your newspaper or not.
Will you ever kill anybody again, Karl?
I don't reckon
I've got no reason to kill nobody.
- Where will he go?
- Anywhere he wants to.
Back to Millsberg, where he's from.
- It's just about 20 miles from here.
- Will he be supervised?
As much as anybody else is, I guess.
Y'all have a real nice
rest of the day, now.
I'll get Melvin to walk y'all out.
Melvin, could you
walk these girls out, please?
Thank you.
Thank you.
I reckon I'm gonna have to get used
to looking at purdy people.
I guess you will.
I reckon I'm gonna have to get used
to them looking at me, too.
Better go get your things.
I ain't got nothing but them books.
Better go get 'em.
All right, then.
All right, then.
Can I help you, sir?
Can I help you, sir?
I was kindly wanting
something or other to eat.
Well, what would you like?
You got any biscuits for sale in there?
No, this here's a Frostee Cream.
We don't serve biscuits.
- We got a lot of other stuff, though.
- What you got that's good to eat?
Well, we got Big Chief burgers,
Bongo burgers, Footlongs, Corny Dogs,
Frostee Shakes, Creamy Bars.
Did you want me
to go through the whole list?
Reckon what do you like to eat in there?
The French fries are pretty good.
- French-fried potatoes?
- Yep, French fries.
How much you want for 'em?
Well, they're 60 for the medium
and 75 for the large.
I reckon I'll have me
some of the big 'uns.
All right, then. One large French fries.
These darn things are heavy.
Hard to carry, too.
- What you got in there, wash?
- Yeah.
Ain't you got no mom and daddy
to tend to it?
I got a momma. She's at work
over at Hoochie's Dollar Store.
Daddy's dead.
He got hit by a train.
How far are you going
with them sacks full of wash?
Half a mile, I think it is.
I can help you tote it
if I don't give out first.
OK, but you don't have to.
All right, then.
My name's Frank Wheatley.
What's your name?
Karl's my name.
- What's your last name?
- Childers.
What are all them books?
All different ones. One of 'em's the
Bible, one of 'em's a book on Christmas,
one of 'em's on how to be a carpenter.
- Why you carryin' 'em around with you?
- I ain't got no place to set 'em down.
Don't you live somewhere?
Did live up there in the state hospital.
Why did you live there?
I killed some folks
quite a while back.
They said I wasn't right in the head,
so they put me in the hospital
instead of putting me in jail.
- They let you out?
- Yeah.
- How come?
- They told me I was well.
Had to turn me loose.
- Well, are you well?
- I reckon I feel all right.
This here's my house.
You don't seem like you'd kill nobody.
We can just set these bags on the porch.
All right, then.
You like to play football?
I never was no count at it.
I never did get picked out for it.
Me and the Barnett twins
and some boys play
at the junior high school field
all the time.
If you wanna play, you can come on over,
'cause we ain't no good either.
- Well, I'll see you later.
- All right, then.
Hon, you can't just go in there.
Karl, what in the world
are you doing here?
I wanna come back and stay in here.
You can't do that.
You're a free man.
They let you out
so you can do as you please.
I reckon I don't care nothing
about being a free man.
I don't know how to go about it.
Well, you're gonna have to learn.
It'll take some time.
Don't you have anybody down there
to help you out?
No, sir.
Well, your daddy was living down there
the last time I heard.
I guess he wouldn't want
to help you out any, would he?
Sorry, I wasn't thinking.
Don't you have anybody?
No, sir.
Never did know too much
of nobody down there.
Not to be helping me out no way.
Look, Karl, the truth is, I don't know
where they expect you to go,
and I don't know
what they expect you to do.
If it was up to me, you could come
back here and stay if you wanted to.
I'm just trying to do my job.
You follow me?
Listen, Karl.
I know an old boy who's
got a fix-it shop deal in Millsberg.
He used to go to church with me.
You're good working
on small engines and things.
If I was to put my neck
out for you with him,
do you think you could work it
if he'll hire you?
I'm pretty handy, I reckon,
on lawn mowers and whatnot.
I know you are, I've seen it myself.
- Could you give it a try?
- I reckon.
Now, I can't promise you
that he'll hire you.
I'll have to tell him
about your history.
I never was no good with history.
No. I mean your past.
Why you were in here.
I'll take you down
first thing in the morning.
You don't have anywhere
you could stay tonight at all?
- No, sir.
- You can't stay here.
It's against the rules.
If something was to happen,
I'd be liable.
I reckon I can walk around
till morning time.
And sit and read a book somewheres.
Karl, would you like a muffin?
No, thank you.
I understand Jerry's gonna take you
someplace else tomorrow.
I don't reckon
I know nobody named Jerry.
She's talking about me, Karl.
That's my first name.
He's carrying me to look for work
down in Millsberg, where I was born.
Would you like some coffee?
Coffee makes me a mite nervous
when I drink it.
Daddy, can I be excused to go to bed?
Sure, honey.
Sleep with your momma tonight.
I'm gonna sleep with your brother,
Karl can have your room.
'Cause he's company.
- Karl, are you up?
- Yes, sir.
Didn't you go to sleep at all, Karl? You
been sitting there like that all night?
Yes, sir.
Well, come on.
We better hit the road.
All right, then.
- Hey, Jerry. How's it going?
- Hey, Bill.
Good to see you, been a long time.
Good to see you, too.
How's everybody doing?
Good. Kids are driving me crazy,
Phyllis gonna put me in the poorhouse,
but I can't complain other than that.
Wouldn't do any good if I did.
- You know Scooter?
- I don't believe I do.
- Good to meet you, Scooter.
- How about you?
This is the one I was
telling you about on the phone.
If you get nervous about it,
I'll understand.
I'm not gonna lie. He did get
into that trouble, but he was young.
I remember that. He cut those folks
to pieces, his momma was one of 'em.
Yeah, and that old Dixon boy.
Hell, I always wanted to kill him
myself. Asshole's what he was.
I remember that old boy, too. Kind of
retarded or something back in school.
Well, seems like he's
pretty well-adjusted these days.
He... I don't think
he'd ever hurt anybody.
He don't look much like he would.
He can fix a small engine
like nobody's business?
Regular whiz.
It's all he's done since he was a kid.
- You scared of him, Scooter?
- No, I don't guess so.
- Can he talk?
- Yeah.
Now, you say he can stay out the back?
Fine with me. If he steals anything, I'm
gonna take it out of your pocket anyway.
He won't steal. He's a pretty good
old boy. Keeps to himself.
Well, I got a roomful of work for him to
do. I can't get Scooter to do any of it.
Karl, come over here.
I want you to meet your new boss.
This is Bill Cox.
He runs the place. Says that you
can work here and stay out back.
- It's good to know you, Karl.
- Thank you.
Karl, it's minimum wage, ain't nothing
back there but an army cot and toilet.
Yeah, that'll be fine. Karl, I'm gonna
go to the car, get your books.
All right, then.
Karl, they say you're a whiz
on fixing lawn mowers and things.
I've tinkered around
on 'em a little bit.
We order up from the Frostee Cream
at lunch, usually.
We can buy you lunch
till you get on your feet a little.
I like them French-fried potatoes.
Yeah? Me, too.
They make a good double meat burger.
All right, then.
I'll see y'all later.
Karl, you done a good day's work today.
They was right about you.
Scooter, he gonna knock you out of a job
if you're not careful.
All right, I'll see y'all tomorrow.
Wait up.
I'll leave with you and lock up.
Karl, there's a blanket under that cot,
soap in the bathroom for cleaning up.
One more thing. The way we lock these
doors, you can't get out at night.
- You didn't wanna go anywhere, did you?
- I don't reckon.
If it works out, we'll get you a key so
you can get out at night if you need to.
- I'll see you later.
- All right, then.
Scooter, did I tell you the one about
two boys pissing off the bridge?
- I don't remember.
- Well...
These two old boys hung their peckers
off the bridge to piss.
One old boy from California
and one from Arkansas.
Old boy from California says,
"Boy, this water's cold."
Old boy from Arkansas said,
"Yeah, and it's deep, too."
Get it?
- That's a good 'un.
- That is a good one.
I do believe
you've told me that one before.
I've heard that one a bunch.
- A long time ago.
- Yeah, that's a classic.
Karl, I got to
thinking about it last night,
and it's just not Christian of me
not to let you have a key.
Been in lockup so long,
don't need me keeping you locked up.
You need to come and go as you please.
Take this key. It'll get you
in and out of here at night.
All right, then.
- Them French fries good?
- Yeah, they're good all right.
You got any money?
Well, they give me some
when they turned me loose.
I spent up some of it a-ridin' on the
bus and eating French-fried potatoes.
Well, I'm gonna pay you today
for this coming week
so you have some walking-around money.
When you get off this evening,
buy toothpaste
and some cleaning up supplies
to have back there.
Get you some magazines
and some hard candy.
Something to keep you busy at night.
All right, then.
I'll let you off
while it's still daylight.
Hey, there.
I thought I heard somebody on the porch.
Wasn't your name Karl?
Yes, sir, it is.
Your name's Frank.
Yeah. What are you doing by here?
You said for me to come by.
You wanna play ball with us?
I ain't no good at it.
I just come by to see you.
I was going to see my momma
over at Hoochie's Dollar Store.
She works two till eight.
All right, then.
You wanna go with me?
You can meet my momma.
I ought not worry your momma
with company.
Come on. You'll like her.
She's real nice.
And she'll give us anything
we want her to. Candy or something.
Well, I was kindly needing
to do some trading.
Reckon they sell toothpaste?
Yeah, they sell
a little bit of everything.
I won't tell her about you
being in the state hospital for killing.
Come on, let's go.
You're gonna have to learn to live
without all that grease.
Shoot, not here in the South.
I like grease on everything.
I like fried chicken, fried okra.
- Biscuits...
- It'll kill you.
- Hey, Momma, Vaughan.
- Sweetheart. What you up to?
I bet I know. You want
a whole bunch of candy and a pop?
- Yeah.
- That stuff's gonna rot your teeth.
I got something even better.
I put potted meat on special,
four for a dollar. They're not moving.
But I tell you what, I'll give a couple
of cans for free to the right kid.
I don't like potted meat.
Daddy used to say they was
made out of lips, peckers...
Frank, don't talk that way.
Who's that strange-looking man
behind you? Did he follow you in here?
- Can I help you, sir?
- That's Karl.
I met him at the Laundromat.
Karl, this is Momma and Vaughan.
Vaughan's the manager.
He lets momma off any time she feels
like it, 'cause they're best friends.
Nice to meet you, Karl.
Pleased to meet you.
Frank, why don't you
come back here with me for a minute?
I don't think I've seen you here before.
I don't reckon you have.
I don't believe
I've been in here before.
I don't believe
this store used to be here.
It's been here 17 years.
You live here before, or something?
I was born and raised here
up till I was 12 year old.
What brings you back?
What's that you say?
Why are you here now?
They turned me loose
from the state hospital.
Is that right?
How long are you gonna be staying here?
Mr. Woolridge, he got me hired on
to work for Bill Cox's outfit.
- You have family here?
- Not to speak of.
Karl, guess what? Momma said you
can stay over with us out in the garage.
Our car won't fit in there anyway.
It's real neat.
Frank told me about your situation.
Frank loves company.
Especially after his daddy
passed an' all.
There ain't no sense in you staying
in that old greasy shop.
- He's mentally retarded.
- He got out of the state hospital.
- I know.
- Can we get some candy and pop?
- Sure thing. Go ahead.
- Come on.
Think it's safe
to let him around that guy?
Frank's just crazy about him.
He likes the way he talks.
He helped him carry home
the clean laundry.
He's been in the hospital a long time.
Must be something wrong with him.
He's retarded's all.
He's always after a father figure.
Doyle ain't a good one
with his mean ass.
What about me?
I don't think he sees you
as a "guy" guy.
Karl's a "guy" guy?
This is what I call my secret place,
'cause I come out here
when I feel like being by myself.
I used to come here with Karen Cross.
She's kind of like my girlfriend.
Or used to be.
We used to come out here
and hold hands and talk,
and read books to each other
with a flashlight.
She didn't want nothing to do with me
in front of people,
'cause I don't have any money.
Well, momma and me, I mean.
See, her daddy's a dentist,
so they're rich.
Was your folks well off?
No, we didn't have too much. Just barely
enough to scrape by on, I reckon.
They still around, your folks?
My mother's dead. My daddy,
he's supposed to be around still.
He don't wanna have
nothing to do with me.
How do you know?
Well, he never did want to. I figure
he probably ain't changed his mind much.
How did your momma die?
You don't need to hear things like that.
You're just a boy.
Need to think about good thoughts
while you're still a boy.
There's plenty of time
for all the other.
I've had a lot of bad thoughts
since daddy died.
Sometimes I wish I was still real little
and he was still here.
Momma's real good,
but I wish I had both of 'em.
We went to Memphis in the car one time.
It was raining so hard,
we couldn't see the road.
But I wasn't scared,
as long as daddy was driving,
I thought nothing can happen to us.
That's the way I feel about Momma now.
Momma has a boyfriend now.
His name is Doyle Hargraves.
He works construction,
makes a pretty good living.
But he don't help Momma out
with any money, though.
He ain't no good.
He's mean to her.
He don't like me at all.
Momma says it's 'cause he's jealous,
'cause I belong
to my daddy instead of him.
He spends the night over at our house
sometimes, and he's got his own house.
Somebody told me
it's where he can have more girlfriends.
I like the nights he ain't at our house.
I ain't so nervous then.
How come her to still be girlfriends
an' all with him if he mean to her?
She says it's for the times
when he's good to her.
She's lonely since daddy died.
Sometimes she says she don't know why.
He threatened to kill her
if she ever left him.
My daddy would kill him if he was still
here and somebody was mean to Momma.
Vaughan, he's real good to Momma.
Vaughan that you met.
He's not able to do anything to Doyle.
He's funny, you know.
Not funny ha-ha, funny queer.
He likes to go with men
instead of women.
That makes him
not be able to fight too good.
He sure is nice, though.
He's from St. Louis. People who are
queer get along better in a big town.
I wish he liked to go with women.
I'd rather him be Momma's boyfriend
than Doyle.
Karl, you know when I told you
daddy got hit by a train?
Yes, I recollect that.
It ain't the truth. He shot himself
with a shotgun on purpose.
How come he would do that, reckon?
'Cause he didn't have enough money
to take care of us the way he wanted to.
That's what the letter said. He got
laid off and started working odd jobs.
I thought he took care of us just fine.
Karl, did you really kill somebody?
- Yes, sir, I did.
- Who did you kill?
- Two people.
- Were they bad people?
I thought they was.
Well, maybe they needed it.
Well, I growed up and learned
that you ain't supposed to kill nobody.
It's all right
if you're looking out for yourself.
If it's self-defense.
Was it self-defense?
My daddy was good.
I think too many good people die.
That's what I think.
You sure you wanna
go stay with these folks?
You're welcome to keep on staying here.
It's working out real good.
That boy wants me to.
All right, see you bright and early. How
are you coming with that garden tiller?
I fixed it.
It's working pretty good now.
You done fixed it? Well, I'll be damned.
Scooter told me it couldn't be fixed.
Of course, Scooter's about as shiftless
as one poor son of a bitch can be.
You done fixed it.
Well, I'll just be damned.
- Well, I'll see you tomorrow.
- All right, then.
Don't guess I give a shit,
I mean, I ain't here that much anyway.
If you want a retard living
out in the garage, that's your business.
I do got tools out there
and a set of sockets
I'd rather not have stole.
I could take those home with me.
He's real honest. He wouldn't steal.
Now, Frankie,
I wasn't talking to you, was I?
No, sir.
"No, sir" is right.
I was talking to your momma.
This is her decision, not yours.
If I let it go on,
it's 'cause she asked me, not you.
Is this the kind of retard that drools
and rubs shit in his hair and all that?
I'm gonna have a hard time
eating around that kind of thing.
Just like I am
about antique furniture and midgets.
I can't drink a glass of water around a
midget or a piece of antique furniture.
You're awful. You shouldn't be that way.
I ain't saying it's right.
It's the damn truth.
Now, he'll make me sick. I know it.
- What was he in the nuthouse for?
- He's just mentally retarded, I guess.
No, no. He had to go nuts
and did something, now.
Come on. A lot of retards
ain't locked up in the nuthouse.
Think about it, Linda.
- You know what he done, Frank?
- I ain't sure.
You might want to find out.
He might have hacked his family
with a hatchet.
Yeah, Frank, you better ask him.
Don't hurt his feelings or
anything, but it'd be good to know.
I'm sure it's nothing.
He seems real sweet.
You're all hung up on people
being sweet, aren't you?
He's sweet, everybody's sweet.
Speaking of sweet, where's your
girlfriend? I thought he's coming over.
He'll be here in a little while.
He's taking me to get an ice cream.
Ain't that sweet.
What am I gonna do about supper,
while you're out with that fag?
You're not crippled.
Get in and make something.
Talking back and everything, aren't you?
That kind of makes me horny, Linda.
Why don't you go off and play in
your room if Doyle's gonna talk nasty?
- I don't wanna go play in my room.
- He don't wanna play, baby.
Just let him sit here.
Let's all just be a family.
Till your mentally retarded friend
and your homosexual friend get here.
Yes, sir.
So you're really going to stay here?
That boy, he wants me to.
Have you knocked on the door yet?
- No, sir, I ain't.
- How long have you been standing here?
Quite a spell, I reckon.
Listen, Karl. Before you
get very used to staying here,
I think you and I need to talk about
a few things. Can I take you to lunch?
I done ate just a little bit ago.
No, I mean tomorrow, or the next day.
I reckon I could use a little
something or other to eat at noon time.
Bill Cox, he generally
gets me a box lunch.
But I reckon he can
lay off of doing it tomorrow.
OK. Well, then, I'll come by Mr. Cox's
and pick you up around noon, all right?
All right, then.
There's your girlfriend.
Y'all come on in.
Come on. Have a seat in here.
- Hey, Vaughan. How are you, Karl?
- Tolerable, I reckon.
Karl, this is Doyle.
Frank, you and Karl go in the garage
and fix him up a place.
- Play a game or something. Ready to go?
- Sure, I guess.
- Honey, don't rush everybody off.
- Maybe you and Karl want to go with us?
I don't want to.
Me and Karl's got things we need to do.
Vaughan, you know what I heard?
Heard you been putting it on
Albert Sellers at the funeral home.
- I know Albert. We're friends.
- No, I heard you's more than friends.
Yeah, I heard Dick Rivers come in
and caught the two of you all bowed up
going at it in the room
with Miss Olgetree,
and her dead as a doornail on a gurney.
That's ridiculous.
That is a total lie.
Let's go. Frank, we'll be back.
I'll bring you back something.
- Your food's in the oven, warming over.
- You fixed him something, didn't you?
Vaughan. I was just going on with you.
- Just joking around, buddy.
- I know that.
You're a real card, all right.
So, Karl, come over here and sit down.
Talk to me.
Come on, Karl, let's go to the garage.
God damn it, I wanna talk to him.
You sit down, Karl.
So what's in your bag?
This and that.
Toothpaste and whatnot.
What's all them books?
Different ones.
One of 'em's the Bible.
You believe in the Bible, do you, Karl?
Yes, sir, a good deal of it.
I can't understand all of it.
Yeah, well, I can't
understand none of it.
This one begat that one, and that one
begat this one, and begat, and begat.
Lo and behold, someone says
some shit to someone or another.
- Just how retarded are you?
- Stop it, Doyle.
Frankie, you be quiet.
We're talking. The adults are talking.
So was you in lockup for cutting
someone up with a hatchet or something?
I ain't never used no hatchet
that I remember.
So you're just crazy
in a retard kind of way, then?
It wouldn't matter to me
if you did do violence on somebody.
I ain't scared of shit.
You think I'm scared
for you to stay here?
You just a humped-over retard,
it seems to me.
I'm just kidding you.
Welcome to our humble home, buddy.
See, Frank here needs
all the friends he can get.
Frank's a weak little kid.
His daddy taught him how to be a pussy.
Stop, Doyle.
Don't talk about my daddy.
"Don't talk about my daddy."
Go on, get outta here.
Go on out to the garage, leave me be.
Go on.
Come on, Karl.
Don't say nothing about
our little spat to your momma, now.
I don't want her
worrying about your ass.
I'd like to kill that son of a bitch.
I hate him.
You ought not talk thataway.
You're just a boy.
Well, I hate him.
He ought not talk thataway
to you neither.
He ain't no count,
if he's mean to you and your momma.
Your momma and that fella that's
carrying me to get something to eat
going to be back directly.
Will you be here with us
for a long time?
I reckon, if you want me to.
I got some of that potted meat and soda
crackers left over, if you want some.
I don't see how you can eat that stuff,
with them insides it's made out of.
Well, I reckon it tastes
pretty good to me.
I like the way you talk.
Well, I like the way you talk.
You think it's really
got peckers in there, cut up?
You know better than that.
You ought not say that word.
- Well, it smells kinda funny.
- It's a little loud.
Looky there. I believe you're right.
I believe I see one right in there.
Thank you, sir.
Mister, reckon you can hand me
some of that mustard over there?
Thank you.
OK, Karl, the reason
that I brought you here
is to talk to you
about something that's on my mind.
I'm just gonna
put it right out on the table.
Where do I start?
Linda and Frank
are very important to me.
They're like family.
My own family was never like a family.
They're horrible people.
As a matter of fact,
for years I prayed every night
that my father would die,
and finally I realized
through a lot of therapy
that I was wasting
my energy on hating him.
So, now I just don't care.
But, you see, you and I are a lot alike,
as strange as that may seem.
I don't mean physically,
or even mentally, really,
but, well, emotionally.
Actually, the hand
that we've been dealt in life.
We're different.
People see us
as being different, anyway.
You're... well, you've got
your affliction or whatever,
and I...
well, mine's not as easy to see.
I'm just going to say it.
I'm gay.
Does that surprise you?
That I'm gay?
You know what gay is, don't you?
I don't reckon.
I like men.
Not funny ha-ha, funny queer.
Well, that's a very
offensive way to put it.
You shouldn't say that, Karl.
You were taught that, weren't you?
I've heard it said thataway, yes, sir.
Anyway, it's hard to live gay,
that's the right way to say it,
in a small town like this.
I've wanted to leave many times, but...
because I love Linda, Frank,
and a certain other person,
They've kept me from leaving.
Look, anyway, I'm rambling. The...
If you're going to live
in the Wheatley garage,
you need to know
it's not going to be easy.
Doyle is a monster.
Not just a closed-minded redneck,
but a monster.
A dangerous person.
I've told Linda that one day that man
is going to hurt her and that boy.
Maybe even kill them.
I see it in his eyes. I'm very in tune,
I'm maybe even psychic.
But Doyle is going
to make your life hell.
There's one more thing.
It's none of my business
why you were in the state hospital.
Everybody has something in their past.
you tried suicide,
maybe you did something terrible.
But what I see before me
is a gentle, simple man.
All I want you to promise me...
is that you are capable of being
around Frank and Linda. You know.
You would never hurt either one of them
under any circumstances, would you?
I wouldn't never hurt them.
That's what I thought. OK. Look, I'm
sorry if I've offended you in any way.
You seem like a thinker, you know.
You seem to always be deep in thought.
Tell me something.
What are you thinking right now?
I was thinking
I might wanna take me
some of these potatoes home with me.
How about before that?
Let me think.
Before that I was thinking
I could use me another six or eight cans
of that potted meat,
if you got any extra.
Frankie, get some more salad.
Hold your plate up for me, Frankie.
I'm just gonna reach. So, how come
Karl won't eat in here with us?
I don't know.
He said he'd eat out there.
Here, put some of this dressing on it.
- No, no.
- Yes.
I just feel sorry for the poor thing.
Who could eat with him making
that racket in his throat?
- It's raunchy.
- He does make some funny noises.
Well, I like the way he talks.
It sounds like a racecar motor idling.
Makes me not be nervous.
Well, I'm glad of it, honey.
What have you got to be nervous about?
You're a damn kid.
You ain't got no bills to pay,
no business to run,
don't have to have a job.
You got no old lady
eating on your ass all the time.
Well, I don't know.
I just stay nervous.
- Could I have some of that ham?
- Yeah. I'm sorry.
You know what, by God?
I know what I ought to do tonight.
- Please, Doyle, don't.
- Yeah.
I'm gonna call up Morris, get the band
together. We'll have a party.
Party our asses off.
I'd love to show them Karl.
They'd get a kick out of him.
Please, not tonight.
I'm just not up for it. They always stay
till morning. I'm just give out, Doyle.
You don't gotta do nothing.
Put some chips in a bowl
and run ice out to us
when we look low.
Last time you got mad
and run Morris and them off,
- told them to stay away.
- That ain't your business.
Besides, that's the way
friends do one another.
Fuck it, I'm calling 'em up.
Linda, go out there in the garage
and get my guitar.
- It's out there with that loony tune.
- Now?
Yeah, now. I'm calling 'em up.
Hey, Morris.
What you doing, boy?
Where's Randy and them?
Yeah, now, please.
Frankie, go help your mom.
- When are we gonna eat?
- Hang on.
When you come back.
Go get my guitar.
Come on, sugar.
No, I wanna get together.
Well, call him.
One, two,
one, two, three, four.
You gotta play through it.
When we're on a gig,
you gotta play through it.
- You play through it.
- You like that, Vaughan?
Sure. Sounds like
a number one hit tune, all right.
How about you, Karl?
Karl, did you like that?
- I reckon.
- I wish you'd all lay off for tonight.
I can't hear myself think
with that racket.
Well, it's nighttime. You let...
- I'm calling the police.
- I told you three times already.
The law's on my side.
I play cards with JD Shelnut,
chief of police,
so kiss my ass, you old bastard.
You and Frank clean this up,
put the tarp over these instruments.
Me and the boys are gonna down the
county line. We're out of liquor.
Karl, come along with us.
Vaughan, come on.
No, I don't think so.
It's late. I have to work tomorrow.
Don't be a pussy, Vaughan.
We all gotta work tomorrow.
- Come on.
- He don't want to.
Don't go, Vaughan, if you don't want to.
You'll wreck, Doyle. You're drunk.
I ain't gonna wreck, honey.
Come on. I'll be good, I promise.
I love you, sweetie.
Come on, Karl, go with us.
I'm just trying to make these two
feel like they're part of it, baby.
Come on, Vaughan. This'll be fun.
Karl, let's go. Come on.
- You better lay off that tambourine.
- Hey, man, I ain't did nothing wrong.
Ain't anybody gonna come get me?
What exactly are you talking about?
I don't understand.
Exactly the point,
my young levelheaded friend.
- I don't get it.
- Well, I rest my case.
Morris is real smart
with philosophies and things.
That's why him and me
is the songwriting team of our group.
See, I come up with the good tunes,
or melodies as we call 'em,
and Morris is the lyrics.
Not unlike Gary Brooker
of the Procol Harum.
We don't ever play any songs that
y'all wrote. I ain't heard one of 'em.
Y'all just talk.
We don't even play any songs
with words at all that I remember.
We ain't got no fucking microphone.
We ain't got no speaker setup.
We wrote one last night
outside the minimart,
and Morris called it
Stuart Drives a Comfortable Car.
And then, like in country songs,
you know, in parentheses it says:
There's usually someone in the Trunk.
And I came up with a tune,
just a-hummin'.
See, you don't wanna
question a genius, Vaughan.
Morris here,
he's a modern-day poet,
kinda like in the olden times.
Yeah. I got a new tune.
This composition's entitled The Thrill.
Goes something like this:
I stand on the hill
Not for a thrill
But for a breath of a fresh kill
And never mind
the man who contemplates
Doing away with license plates
He stands alone anyhow
Baking the cookies of discontent
By the heat of the Laundromat vent
Leaving his soul...
Then, like in poetry, I go dot-dot-dot,
you know, kinda off-center,
then I drop down, and then I go:
Leaving his soul parting the waters
Of the medulla oblongata of...
A damn good song, weren't it, Doyle?
You like that song? All right.
I don't think that's right.
I believe the dot-dot-dot
come between "medulla" and "oblongata."
- Well, it did.
- The dots are where I say they are.
Melody and tune,
that's your trade, Terence.
You're a tunesmith.
I don't understand
the meaning of the words.
If y'all don't shut up,
I'm gonna go outta my mind.
Besides, Karl here's liable to bust a
spring. He's already off balance.
That wasn't the way you made it up
before. That's all I know.
We don't need no fancy words.
I mean, we need to practice.
We need to rehearse.
I'll tell you what we need.
We need some paying gigs.
We don't need this messing around,
one patio then another.
- That's ridiculous.
- Amen, Johnson.
We don't got no goddamn band.
We don't need
to fucking practice, Randy.
We don't need
a shit-ass manager, neither.
You motherfuckers.
Y'all just a bunch of losers.
I'm the only sane son of a bitch here.
Just get the fuck outta my house now.
It's not your house, Doyle,
it's Linda's.
I'll whip the dog shit outta you,
I will fucking kill you
if you talk to me again.
Now, all of you, get the fuck out now,
before I get too mad to turn back.
What about our instruments?
Come here, you little prick.
Come here, you fucking prick.
Get out. All of y'all.
Now, get the fuck out.
Come on, you motherfuckers.
Get the fuck out.
Randy, you tooting son of a bitch.
Go fucking practice, Randy.
Come on, Morris, you fucking genius,
get the fuck up
and get the fuck outta here,
God damn it.
This ain't right, Doyle.
There is something wrong with you.
- Get the fuck out.
- Nobody wants to take this shit, man.
Dots look good on paper.
You don't sing 'em anyway.
You're showing your
true Aries color now.
Stay outta my goddamn face,
you fucking buzzard.
I said, get outta my house.
That goes for cocksuckers and retards.
Now, get up off your asses and go.
- Come on.
- This is not your house, Doyle.
This is my house,
and I'll say who stays and who goes.
You got a house. Why don't you get one
of your girlfriends and go home to it?
You know better than to talk to me
like that when I'm hurting.
Don't make me
knock the piss outta you.
Don't you touch her.
That's funny, Vaughan.
Linda, go to bed,
and take little snot nose here with you.
You're not staying here tonight.
Go get sober before you come back.
I'm tired of my child seeing this.
Now, you get your ass straight, or I'll
lock your ass outta my life for good.
If you even think about leaving me,
Linda, I told you,
I'm gonna kill you
deader than a doornail.
- That might be better than this.
- I'm a witness. I heard you.
- You get the fuck out now!
- Leave.
- Don't tell me what to do, Linda.
- Leave.
- Don't tell me what to do.
- Leave.
- Don't tell me what to do.
- Leave.
Don't you tell me what to do, Lin...
- Don't do that.
- I'm calling the police.
- Goddamn, you little prick.
- Get away from me.
Don't touch my momma.
Go home.
- Get away from my mom.
- Jesus.
Goddamn you, Frankie.
- Get away from us.
- Goddamnit.
Get away from us.
All right.
I'm gonna leave now. Fuck me.
Fuck me.
I'm gonna go home and sober up.
Go on, then.
Everything's bothering me.
I'm hurting, Linda.
- I love you.
- Well, I hate you.
I hate you, you little prick.
No, I don't. No, I don't.
I love your momma.
I just...
I can't explain what goes on.
You bunch of freaks,
I hope you have fun.
I'll call you tomorrow.
I'm sorry, honey.
I said I'm sorry, Linda.
All right, you can kiss my ass.
If you ever hit me again,
you little bastard,
I swear to God I'll make you sorry
your daddy ever squirted your ass out.
You hear me?
- You all right, Momma?
- Yeah, I'm fine.
Let's just try and forget about tonight.
We don't need to think
about bad thoughts, do we?
No, honey, we don't.
I'll make some coffee,
start cleaning this mess.
Karl, you want some coffee, hon?
Coffee kindly makes me nervous
when I drink it.
You scared me.
- I didn't aim to.
- You wanna sit down?
Do you need something?
No, ma'am.
There's these two fellas.
They're standing on a bridge
and going to the bathroom.
One fella says that the water's cold.
Other fella said the water's deep.
I believe one fella
come from Arkansas.
Get it?
I'll be dog.
Reckon you could
make me some biscuits?
Right now?
Whenever you take a notion to.
I don't aim to put you out none.
Well, it is nearly
breakfast time anyway.
I can't go to sleep.
I have to be at work in three hours.
You know how when you
only sleep an hour or two,
you feel worse
than if you hadn't slept at all?
Yes, ma'am, I do.
Well, sit down.
I'll make you some biscuits and gravy.
Mustard's good on 'em to me.
- Thank you.
- It's all right.
You know, I was thinking.
There's this girl that works with me.
She's real heavy,
but she's cute in the face.
Well, you know, she's slow.
She's a little bit... I think...
She's not retarded, just...
It don't matter. Listen,
I thought you might like to meet her.
Vaughan wants to have supper
at his house, we could invite her.
Would you like that?
I reckon I wouldn't mind
having a little supper.
Vaughan's friend'll be there, too.
He works at the funeral home.
And Frank.
You know, Frank really likes you a lot.
He says you make him feel calm.
I like Frank. He's a good boy.
Me and him's made friends.
It ain't right for me
to keep from telling
you how come me to be
at a state hospital.
That's OK.
It's not really my business.
I have wondered, though.
Why was it? Was it, like,
a nervous breakdown? Or...?
I killed my mother
and an old boy named Jesse Dixon.
I thought they were doing wrong.
I was about your boy's age.
- They told me I'm well from it now.
- Was that you?
I remember that.
I was only three or four, but I always
heard about it growing up.
They say you're well?
Yes, ma'am.
I like your garage.
I never would hurt you or that boy.
I'd lay my hand on the Bible
and say the same thing.
I know you wouldn't, hon.
Well, I'll make you some biscuits.
- How about you, Jerry?
- How are you, Bill?
I'm doing pretty good.
Got a sick tiller here.
What's got you down this way?
I thought I'd check up on Karl.
See how things are.
He's quiet, except for them rackets
and breathing things he does.
He ain't threatened me
with a killing or nothing.
You couldn't have been more right about
him fixing things, regular Eli Whitney.
And loves French fries.
Son of a bitch can eat four larges
and won't even belch.
- I'm proud to have him.
- Him staying here working out?
He's staying with that Wheatley boy
and his momma over at their garage.
That little boy's adopted him
damn near like a mascot.
He's got a key here
to come and go as he pleases.
He's working out real good.
- Can I see him?
- Sure. Scooter.
- Take Jerry in there to talk to Karl.
- All right.
Sure you're gonna be OK
staying with that woman and her boy?
Yes, sir.
Do they know about you?
My history?
I told 'em about it.
They know I'm well.
That Ms. Wheatley
made me some biscuits.
I'll be.
That boy, he's my friend.
He likes the way I talk,
and I like the way he talks.
Well, I knew you were gonna be all
right. I just wanted to check on you.
I'd better tell Bill goodbye
and head on back.
All right, then.
Karl, figure out what's wrong with this.
It won't crank up, and everything
seems to be put together right.
- Bill, I'll see you.
- OK. Stop back by.
Don't worry about your boy now.
He's doing good.
It ain't got no gas in it.
You see there, Scooter?
Thinks of the simplest things first.
Does everybody like the food?
- Yeah.
- It's good.
Good. I haven't decided yet
if I'm a good cook.
Karl, you know what?
Melinda was voted employee of the month
at the Dollar Store last February.
Isn't that something?
Yes, ma'am, I reckon.
Well, when you like
pricing items as much as I do,
it's just bound to happen
sooner or later, I guess.
maybe you and Melinda
might like to take a walk tonight.
It's such a nice evening.
- Vaughan, don't get pushy.
- I'm sorry.
I kindly like walking
from time to time.
I stay on my feet
all the time at work.
I just can't find
shoes that's comfortable.
Hospital shoes might be the answer.
Nurse's shoes.
Or the kind old ladies wear
who work in cafeterias.
Same difference.
I get real mean when my feet hurt.
It's the only time
I don't like checking out customers,
when my feet hurt.
You and Karl aren't talking much.
You boys must really like that food.
Well, I ain't got nothing to say,
anything about shoes.
Listen, everybody. I...
This might sound corny, but...
I've had a few glasses of wine,
that makes me emotional,
but I'm gonna say it anyway.
It came over me in a rush.
I just want all of you to know
that I care about
each and every person at this table.
Thank you, Vaughan. That's really sweet.
We care about you, too.
- Don't we, y'all?
- Yeah.
Also, Melinda,
please don't tell anyone at the store
that Albert was here tonight.
Well, you know how this town is.
People talk and they spread
these cruel rumors.
Unfortunately, there are certain
parts of my life I have to keep private.
You mean about you and Albert
being together in that way?
Yeah. Yes.
I think everybody
at the store already knows.
They're always talking about it.
Maureen Ledbetter
told the most awful story
about why you ain't allowed
at the First Baptist Church no more.
Karl, why don't you and Melinda
go take a walk? It's nice out.
All right, then.
Food sure is good.
- You walk fast, don't you?
- I reckon.
These are the worst shoes
I own for walking.
How far did you say you wanted to go?
I don't reckon
I thought about it too much.
I don't know, Karl.
She just ain't catching fire.
I don't know, Karl.
She just ain't catching fire.
Did you check them points?
No. No, I didn't.
That's probably it.
- Yes, ma'am.
- Is Karl here?
Yeah. Just a minute.
Karl, there's somebody
out here to see you.
Some gal holding a nice bouquet.
Come on, now, she wants to talk to you.
Don't just sit there.
Hi, Karl, I'm on my lunch break.
These were on sale
'cause they're not fresh.
$2.99 a bunch
plus my ten percent employee discount.
Since I didn't bring nothing for you
on our date last night,
I thought you might like to have 'em.
Thank you.
Scooter, let's go over
to the Frostee Cream
- and pick up lunch.
- Well, I can go.
You don't have to.
You don't never go.
Goddamnit Scooter, come on. Let's go.
Pardon my language, ma'am.
Well, I just thought I'd bring you 'em.
I liked walking with you.
I got a blister
the size of a quarter on one heel.
I'll see you sometime, I guess.
Blister sure can hurt.
Flowers is purdy.
I've always thought that.
Me, too.
Hey, Karl, how did you know
I was in the garage?
I seen that door
cracked open a little bit
and I figured
you was in there fooling around.
- You off of work?
- Yes, sir.
Where'd you get them flowers?
That gal that made employee of the month
at the Dollar Store,
she gave 'em to me
for walking with her.
I was going over to the secret place.
I borrowed one of your books.
You ain't mad, are you?
No, sir. You can look
at any one of my books you want to.
Thank you.
It's name's A Christmas Carol.
That's that 'un on Christmas
I was telling you about.
Well, you wanna go with me?
All right, then.
Yeah. Come on.
All right.
You know why I want you
to play ball with me?
'Cause it's fun.
It don't matter if you ain't no good.
It takes your mind
off everything else.
When you're running fast
trying to score a touchdown,
that's all you're thinking about.
I ain't no count, but daddy
always said he was proud of me
when I threw the ball or ran with it.
Did you have any brothers and sisters,
growing up, to play with?
I had one there for a little bit,
it didn't get old enough
for me to play with it.
Why not? They die?
Yes, sir.
It got born a little too early.
My mother and father, they made it
come out too early some way or another.
So it died when it come out?
My daddy, he come out there
to the shed and got me
and said,
"Here, take this and throw it away,"
and he handed me a towel
with something or other in it.
I started for that barrel, and I opened
up the towel to see what was in there,
'cause there was a noise
and something moving around in it.
That towel was all bloody-like,
all around it there.
It was a little old baby,
not no bigger than a squirrel.
It was alive?
Yes, sir. Right then it was.
A boy or a girl?
It was a little old boy.
You threw it in the trash barrel?
Well, that didn't seem right to me,
I went in there in the shed
and got a shoe box
and emptied out the screwdrivers and
washers and nuts and things out of it.
I taken the little fella
and put him in the box,
buried him out there
in the corner of the yard.
That seemed more proper to me, I reckon.
It was still alive when you buried it?
I heard it a-cryin' a little
through that box.
That don't seem right. It seems like
you would have took care of him
if he was your brother.
I wasn't but six or eight.
I reckon I didn't know what to do.
I didn't know how to care for no baby.
My mother and father didn't want him.
They learned me to do
what they told me to do.
These days I figure
it was probably best
we just give him right back to
the Good Lord right off the bat anyhow.
That makes me feel real sad.
Couldn't you have
done something, Karl?
I would have.
I wish I'd had him.
He'd still be right here now.
It makes me sad, too.
I wish there was something
I could have did about it.
I don't think nothing bad
oughta happen to children.
I think all those bad things
ought to be saved up for folks
that done growed up.
That's the way I see it.
I shouldn't have told you about that.
A boy your age
ought not to hear such things.
It just kindly come out.
I didn't mean to say
nothing bad about you.
You're good.
You don't mean no harm.
Did you ever think about killing
yourself on purpose, like daddy did?
I've studied about it some.
The Bible says you ought not to.
Says if you do that,
you go off to Hades.
Some folks call it hell,
I call it Hades.
Bible says the same thing
about killing others, too.
Yes, sir, I reckon it does.
Well, hell, there's the boys.
How you doing, boys?
Glad y'all came back.
I was wanting to talk to y'all, too.
Come over here and sit down.
Come on, sit down.
I was just telling Linda...
We were thinking that
things would be a lot better
if I spent a lot more time over here,
and that we could...
Hell, I'll just start over.
See, I took off work early today,
and your momma was good enough
to do the same so that we could talk.
Really, what I come over here
to do was apologize,
which ain't easy for me,
about how I acted the other night.
Now, I admit it, I was drunk.
I got all worked up,
and one thing led to another.
I care about y'all, though.
I do, really.
And I don't mean to be so damned...
well, asshole-ish,
I guess would be the word.
Karl, I don't believe I hit you, did I?
So no apology necessary, I guess.
But Frankie, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry I hit your momma.
It's just that I'm jealous of her.
I don't like her life
or how she lives it.
I don't like homosexuals, and she
goes out and buddies up with one,
so now I gotta deal with that.
I don't like little wimpy-ass kids
or mental retards,
and she got
one of each living with her.
I'm just kidding really about that.
I mean, we all gotta get along, I guess,
no matter what our differences are.
See, I work construction.
I build things.
Do you understand how important
that is to the world, Frankie?
I don't know if y'all realize
the pressure a man like me's got on him.
Well, the upshot is, I'm gonna
be spending a lot more time here.
We're gonna all get along
like a family should.
I might even surprise you, honey,
and pop the question.
I'm gonna get on back
over to the job site,
lock up some stuff over there.
I just wanted to stop by and give y'all
some little piece of happiness today.
Bye-bye, sweetie.
you be a good boy, now, you hear me?
Well, at least he's trying.
But who knows for how long?
He's lying, Momma.
He'll never do better.
I know, honey.
Just remember what I said.
We'll bide our time.
You just steer clear of him
as much as you can.
Doyle's had a real hard life.
It's just about run him crazy, I think.
We've had hard lives, too, Momma.
You're a hell of a boy, Frank.
Someday you're gonna get
all the good things you deserve.
Karl here's gonna get some more biscuits
tonight. What do you think about that?
I could sure use some.
Hey, there, Karl.
Come unload a generator for me.
Karl, lift this thing down and carry it
to the back for me. It's on the blink.
Say, you want us
to help you lift that thing?
No, that Karl's strong enough to lift
a bulldozer. He can fix anything, too.
I tell you, he's mentally retarded,
but he's a whiz with small engines.
I tell you,
the Lord works in mysterious ways.
So, anyway, what I was telling you was,
he didn't just make the team,
coach says he's going
to start him at end on defense.
There's a chip off the old block,
ain't you, Steve?
Yeah, I guess so.
How's the rest of the team looking?
Pretty good. We expect to do well.
- Got a quarterback this year?
- Pretty good.
Jeff Bailey's boy, you know.
Good arm, little slow.
I watched him in junior high.
He can throw the ball.
Taller than he was then.
You gonna start at the defensive end?
Come on, man.
Good job, Karl.
We got a touchdown.
That was a good lateral, man.
That was just like the wishbone.
Yes, sir. Well, I darn near
made me a touchdown.
Then I seen them boys bearing down,
figured I'd better give it to you there.
I seen you following me.
We're liable to win if we keep this up.
For somebody like you,
you sure can run fast.
- Come on, let's kick off to 'em.
- All right, then.
I know you could've
scored that touchdown by yourself
instead of just throwing it over to me.
Them boys was trying
to pull me down pretty hard.
You're strong, though.
You just threw it over to me
where I could score
that touchdown so I'd feel good.
My daddy used to do that kind of thing.
It don't matter to me about us losing.
Does it you?
No, sir.
It was fun anyhow.
I wasn't thinking about nothing else,
just like you told me I'd do.
Can we play every Saturday?
If I ain't too stove up.
I ain't like you.
I'm old and give out.
I'm proud of you.
Kick your head in 25 years ago.
You're dead, I guess.
Where'd you go to?
But oh mother that's kinda sad.
I was drunk when I did it.
I'm your boy.
I ain't got no boy.
I'm your oldest boy, name of Karl.
I ain't got no boy.
They turned me loose from
the nervous hospital, said I was well.
I got hired on to work for a Mr. Bill
Cox, fixing lawn mowers and whatnot.
That grass out there in the yard,
it's growed up quite a bit.
I figured I might cut it for you.
I told you, I ain't got no boy. Now,
you get on outta here and let me be?
You ain't no kin to me.
I learned to read some.
I read the Bible quite a bit.
I can't understand all of it, but I
reckon I understand a good deal of it.
Them stories you and Momma told me,
they ain't in there.
You ought not done that to your boy.
I've studied on killing you.
I studied about it quite a bit.
But I don't reckon
there's no need for it
if all you're gonna do
is sit there in that chair.
You'll be dead soon enough,
and the world'll be shut of you.
You ought not killed my little brother.
He ought to had a chance to growed up.
He would have had fun sometimes.
Little fella.
What the goddamn hell you doing Karl?
What the fuck you doing up
in the middle of the night?
- What do you want, hon?
- I wanna be baptized.
Well, get baptized, then.
I don't give a shit.
Call up a fucking preacher, goddamnit.
We can't baptize you.
We'll call Brother Epersom. We'll see
him tomorrow and get you baptized.
It's Sunday.
You go on back to bed, now.
What are you doing
with that damn hammer?
I don't rightly know.
I just kindly woke up a-holdin' it.
- The fuck he's doing with that?
- I don't know.
Upon his profession of faith
in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
and in obedience under his command,
and by the authority of the Church,
I indeed baptize this my brother
in the name of the Father,
and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Marie, would you sing 137, please?
- Hi.
- Hi.
- So how'd the baptizing go?
- Went real good.
Yeah? Good.
I'm kinda hungry.
Ain't it about time to eat?
You know what I got a craving for?
Some of that Chicken Champ.
Why don't you
run down there and get some? I'll buy.
- Would y'all like that?
- Yeah, sure, sounds fine to me.
I'd have me a chicken leg or two.
- Get some of their coleslaw, too.
- OK. All right, y'all wanna go with me?
They don't need to go.
There's a game coming on.
- We'll just sit here and do man things.
- I'll be back in a little bit, then.
- All right. Get some extra gravy.
- OK.
Why don't y'all
sit your asses down here?
Sit down.
I wanted to get your momma out the house
for a few minutes so we could talk.
See, here's the deal, Frank.
If I'm gonna throw my life away doing
what I want to come live with y'all...
we're gonna get some shit straight.
See, your mommy and I
don't have no problems except for you.
Fact is, we'd never have
a bad word between us.
But since you do exist,
and I'm gonna be
the head of the household,
then you're gonna learn
to live by my rules.
And the first rule is,
you don't speak unless you're spoken to.
You got me?
Now, you stay the hell outta my way.
And do what a regular kid does.
You're a weird little shit,
Frank, and I don't get you.
So wake up,
and face what they call reality.
See, we're gonna be a family, Frank.
My family.
I'll be paying all the bills,
so that means you're stuck with my ass.
But I ain't your daddy.
You just act like I am.
And the other thing I say is,
your buddy Karl here's going.
We can't be no normal family
with him in the garage,
and coming in at four in the morning
carrying hammers.
Karl can stay if he wants to.
Momma said...
What did I tell you about your momma?
Mister, don't you never lay another hand
on that boy. You understand me?
Let go of my goddamn hand, you retard.
Get out there,
get your shit and get out.
That's a wake-up call, Frankie.
You remember what I said
about reality, Frank.
Get out, retard.
Where are you going, Karl?
Didn't you want some chicken and things?
No, ma'am.
I'm going off somewheres.
Well, OK. I got you some.
That Frank,
he went off somewheres too,
so when you go in there,
he won't be indoors.
Where'd he go? What's going on?
He just wanted to go off and play,
I reckon.
You just go in and eat your dinner with
that Doyle. Don't worry yourself none.
All right, then.
Well, I'll see you later. If you see
Frank, tell him to come on back home.
I don't get to see him all day
except Sundays. He can go play tomorrow.
- Ma'am?
- Yeah.
You a good momma to that boy.
You care for him.
You work hard to care for him.
You light him up in his eyes,
I've seen it.
That boy wouldn't know
what to do without you.
Thank you, hon.
That's real good of you to say.
I wouldn't know
what to do without him either.
You been real good to me, too.
It ain't everybody that'd make biscuits
in the middle of the night.
You and that boy
has given me a good feeling.
We sure like having you.
Thank you.
I'm just now getting around
to telling you,
but I fixed that washing machine
so that boy ain't gotta tote
that laundry no more.
Thank you.
You been real good to me.
Hey, Karl.
How'd you know to come out here?
I knowed you'd be out here.
What you doing digging with that stub?
Just digging.
I ain't never gonna be happy now.
Not with that son of a bitch
moving in for good.
I wish me and you and Momma
would just run away,
but she said wherever we went,
he'd find us.
He's crazy.
Sometimes I think it'd been
better off if I wasn't even born.
Well, I'm glad of it you was borned.
I don't reckon I'm gonna be
out there in the garage no more.
You have to, Karl.
You have to look out for me.
You can't let
that son of a bitch run you off.
You're just a boy.
You ought not use language like that.
I don't mean to say
nothing bad about you,
but why don't you stop Doyle
when he's being thataway?
You're older than him.
You're strong, too.
My daddy wouldn't let him
do that to me and Momma.
That fella's a whole sight
meaner than me.
He'd just whup the tar outta me.
I guess so.
I'm real tired, you know that?
A boy my age
shouldn't be tired of things.
I'm tired, too.
Just 'cause I ain't gonna
be around no more maybe,
it don't mean I don't care for you.
I care for you a good deal.
I care for you
more than anything else there is.
You and me made friends
right off the bat.
I care for you, too.
But you'll be around. Don't say that.
It don't make no difference
where I was to be.
We'll always be friends.
Can't nobody stop that.
I aim for you to have these books.
You don't wanna
give away all your books.
I aim for you to have 'em.
Maybe you can make a little more sense
out of 'em than I can.
I made you a book marker and put it in
there in that book on Christmas.
You know when you got a feeling
and you don't know why?
Yes, sir.
I got a feeling today.
Reckon what kind of a feeling?
Like something different.
I don't know.
You're leaving, ain't you, Karl?
Would you do something for me
if I was to ask you to?
You know I would.
Whatever you want.
When you leave outta here tonight,
I don't want you going over
and staying with that Doyle.
He's got it out for you tonight.
I got me a feeling, too.
You ought not be over there when
he's all liquored up and mean thataway.
Your momma neither.
When you get up from here to leave,
I want you to go over
to that fella's house.
Your momma's friend.
I want you to give me your word on it.
OK. I give you my word on it.
Is everything gonna be OK?
Are you all right?
Yeah, everything's
gonna be all right, boy.
I kindly wanna put my arm
around you for a minute,
then I'm gonna get up
and leave outta here.
I love you, boy.
I love you, too.
All right, then.
What are you doing here?
You want to come in?
I ain't a-stayin'.
I need to ask you for a favor.
This evening,
I want you to go get that Miss Wheatley,
let her and that Frank
stay over here with you tonight.
What's wrong?
Is everything all right?
That Doyle.
He's in a bad way again with that
drinking and a-bein' mean to folks.
Want you
to give me your word you'll do it.
Well, sure, OK.
He hasn't hurt them, has he?
No, sir, not yet.
I want you to give that
to that Miss Wheatley.
It ain't much.
But they might be
a little something there to help out.
It's what I made a-fixin' lawn mowers
and whatnot for Bill Cox.
Well, how about you, Karl?
You want to stay here?
I don't reckon that you have to go with
women to be a good daddy to a boy.
You been real square-dealing with me.
Bible says two men
ought not to lay together.
But I'll bet you the Good Lord
wouldn't send nobody like you to Hades.
That boy, Frank,
he lives inside of his own heart.
That's a awful big place to live in.
You take care of that boy.
I will.
Where's everybody else?
You seen 'em?
Didn't I tell you
to get moved outta here?
How does a fella go about
getting hold of the police?
You use the fucking phone, I guess.
Which numbers do you put in?
Can't you see I'm trying to relax?
I thought I told you
to get outta here, leave me alone.
What in the hell you doing
with that lawn mower blade?
I aim to kill you with it.
Well, to call the police, you push:
You best tell 'em to bring an ambulance.
Or a hearse, if you're going to kill me.
Yes, ma'am.
I need the police sent over here
at the Wheatley house.
I killed Doyle Hargraves
with a lawn mower blade.
Yes, ma'am. I'm right sure of it.
I hit him two good whacks with it.
That second 'un
just plumb near cut his head in two.
It's a little old white house
on the corner of Vine Street
and some other street.
There's a truck out front says
"Doyle Hargraves Construction" on it.
I'll be sitting here waiting on you.
Doyle said, besides sending the police,
you might want to send
a ambulance or a hearse.
Thank you.
Now, on the third day,
I washed her,
'cause she wasn't too clean, you know?
Well, I got all the right spots.
She was the first one I kept for any
length of time, I get bored easy,
I got a real short attention span,
you know.
I mean, I can't say
that she enjoyed her stay.
That washcloth I put in her mouth, held
in place with a fat piece of duct tape,
kept her complaining to a minimum. I
don't like people who talk all the time.
I like to do all the talking.
That's why I think I'm so fond of you.
'Cause you're just so easy-going,
you know?
Although I do sense
a little tension in you, time to time.
So you were out in the world?
Did you have fun?
Did you make any acquaintances?
There was a boy.
We made friends.
Yeah, I'll bet you did.
I mean, I was never bent that way.
I was bent the other way, you know.
What was it like out there in the world?
It was too big.
Well, it's not too big in here, is it?
You know something?
I feel real generous today.
I feel like listening.
And I'll bet you got plenty to tell.
Who'd you kill?
Was it the boy?
Don't you say nothing about that boy.
Fact of business,
don't you say another word to me.
I ain't listening to you no more.