Submission (2018) Movie Script

[man's voice] Euston College was
first founded in the early 1800s
by Elijah Euston,
primarily to educate his six
sons and seven daughters.
Why he felt the need to educate them
at a college this isolated and inbred
isn't readily available.
As a novelist with one moderately
successful book under my belt,
I arrived at this well-paying
but lower-tier institution
with wife and child in tow,
the promise of health insurance
A short term gig, I thought,
fully expecting my second novel
to offer me a reprieve
and save me from obscurity.
That was a decade ago.
I had been touted
as an author to watch.
Little did I realize that that
christening would turn into my eulogy.
[man] Okay, so what did
everybody think?
What did anybody think?
[man's voice] Look at them.
They're shell-shocked.
They look like cartoon characters
hearing birdies tweet.
What engaged you?
Maybe it's a conspiracy.
Three stories about sex with animals,
and the term has just begun.
- Meg, why don't you jump in?
- I thought it was disgusting.
Positives first, please.
You can always find
something nice to say.
[man's voice] Unless you're a critic.
Or my first editor.
His spelling
wasn't offensive.
- Up yours.
- He wanted something positive.
That was the only positive
thing I had to say.
[students chattering]
Then again, maybe I should be
grateful for any student work
with a shred of vitality
and life,
- even if it is about bestiality.
- [groans]
- That's more than I seem to have at the moment.
- [groans]
- Is something wrong, Professor Swenson?
- [chattering stops]
Why do you ask?
You groaned.
Did I?
Can you blame him?
That part where Danny did
what he did to that chicken
was just really, really gross.
I agree with Meg.
I thought the scene in the
kitchen came out of nowhere.
Seemed totally bogus.
Okay, so then
what would we do
to make it not seem
"totally bogus,"
as Carlos says?
Always quote the students,
if possible.
Makes them feel like
they're being taken seriously.
I'd change the boy's character
so that we know he's the kind of
person who'd do something like that.
He should be really pissed at the
waitress, so when he goes home...
- And here we go.
- [chattering continues]
The quote-unquote "suggestions"
that make a bad story worse.
When I first started teaching
I'd settle for nothing less
than the whole class
falling in love with me.
Now I just want to get through the
hour without major psychic damage.
Okay, all right. Okay, so then, does
everyone agree with these suggestions?
I think
they kinda suck.
All right, Angela.
Will you tell us why
you think they "kinda suck"?
I guess I just kind of liked
the way that it ended,
that it was so weird
and unexpected.
I mean, that's, like,
the whole point, isn't it,
that anyone can do
something like that?
This guy is getting home
from a really shitty date.
He goes home, opens the fridge,
sees the chicken and does it.
Guys are always surprising themselves
doing crazy shit like that,
even if they think they're not the kind
of guy who would do crazy shit like that.
Most guys would not
bone a chicken.
Yeah. I know
what most guys would do.
Okay, well, Angela does
bring up a good point.
She has a point.
Uh, Ryan doesn't do
what he does
because he's
a naturally violent person
or because his girlfriend bought
chicken and he hates chicken.
[students laughing]
It's the rejection that has caused him to
do "crazy shit," as Angela says. Right?
we've all been there.
Which is why we can see
that he is like us.
[bell tolls outside]
Okay. To be continued
next week.
Very good. Who's on the
hot seat next week?
Wh-Who is it?
Angela. Okay, great.
- So, this will be your first time, right?
- Actually...
So we promise
to go easy on you.
- Don't we?
- [students laughing]
- No?
- Actually, I'm not finished yet.
I, um, was hoping I could come talk to
you during your office hours tomorrow.
Yeah. Just remind me
when I have office hours.
Tomorrow morning.
I have morning office hours?
I'm more devoted
than I thought I was.
- [students laughing]
- That's great.
Then I will see you tomorrow morning
in my office during my office hours.
- [Carlos] Thank you.
- [Meg] Thank you, Professor.
All right, good luck.
Class dismissed. Get out.
Um, thanks.
I'll see you tomorrow.
Looking forward.
- Nurse, I need some help.
- [whispers] Shit!
- Sorry. I'm sorry.
- You scared me.
- I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
- Oh, my God.
- Come here.
- What are you doing?
- Have a little quickie?
- You can't do that.
- Why not?
- Because I'm at work.
- So what? We'll say it's therapeutic.
- Stop. No.
There's a patient
right next door
who's been vomiting nonstop
since this morning.
Oh, great. My erection is gone.
Our jobs are safe.
He's the fifth kid
I've seen today.
Must be something
going around.
Well, let's go back home and get under
the covers where there are no germs.
We can't. We've got that meeting.
Shit. Which we're already late for.
Let me tell Arlene I'm leaving.
Later though. A thorough checkup.
I promise.
[clears throat]
I have here a copy of the Euston
College policy on sexual harassment.
Every September one receives
this in one's mailbox,
along with changes to the health
plan and cafeteria hours.
And every September
one immediately tosses
it all into the trash.
[staff chuckling
I know I do, and it's my
unfortunate duty to write them.
Such an asshole.
- But I thought we might all...
- Shh.
spend a moment or two
going over it together.
I had a dream
about Ruby last night.
- Oh?
- Yeah.
We were driving, and I told her that
I'm her father and that I loved her
and that... that I only wanted
what was best for her.
What did she say?
She told me
that she forgave me,
that she was actually relieved
that I broke them up.
What a wonderful dream.
I know.
And then this huge semi truck
came hurtling towards us.
She screamed
and I slammed on the brakes.
- And then I woke up.
- Oh, God. Maybe not such a wonderful dream.
Call her again.
No. I think she just deletes my messages
without even listening to them.
Surprise her. Drive down and
take her out for dinner.
I'm sure she could use
a good meal.
But someplace
within walking distance.
You don't want
to take any chances.
Love you.
Me you too.
[phone rings]
[ringing continues]
[exhales] I'm still up.
What are you wearing?
Excuse me?
It's Angela Argo.
I'm sorry.
I know you only gave out your
phone number for emergencies,
but I think we were
supposed to meet at 9:00.
Oh, shit...
I-I mean, yes, of course.
- I'll, uh... I'll be there in 15.
- Are you sure?
'Cause if you're busy
writing or something...
No, no.
The writing can wait.
Uh, I will see you in 15.
Okay, bye.
- Hi.
- Hi. I'm so sorry I'm late.
- Oh, it's okay. Don't worry about it.
- [chuckles]
I was kinda liking it,
You know,
sitting here, hiding out.
When I was a kid, I'd sit
and read under the porch
when I was supposed
to be at school.
Oh. Good.
- You're a reader, huh?
- Yeah.
- Come on in. I won't bite.
- [chuckles]
You're reading Jane Eyre?
You liking it?
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
I love it. It's cool.
I love that she's in this
mad rage the whole time.
Then she finally gets to marry the blind guy
who's just toasted his wife in the attic.
- It's wild.
- Yeah.
The trouble is, I'm reading it for Professor
Healy's class, Text Studies in Gender Warfare.
And it just kinda feels like everything
that we read is the same thing. You know?
Like the male patriarchy
sticking it to women.
And I understand that you can say that, but I
also think that not everything is the same.
Please, have a seat.
Um, anyway, it is...
It's, like,
my favorite book.
- Good.
- Except for yours.
Phoenix Time is, like, my
favorite book in the universe.
Well, I'm very flattered.
- Thanks. [chuckles]
- Yeah.
It saved my life,
How do you mean?
Well, my therapist gave it to me
after my father killed himself.
And I won't bore you with the details of
the whole story or anything, but, um,
it just really showed me
that people can get through
stuff like that.
I read it, like,
a million times.
And also, it's just
a really great book.
It's up there
with Bront and Stendhal.
- Stendhal?
- The Red and the Black?
It's another favorite
of mine.
- Really?
- Mm-hmm.
I'm actually working on a
postmodern retelling of that story.
It's my new novel.
- Oh, my God.
- [chuckles] Yeah.
That's amazing.
- Can I ask you something?
- Sure.
Um, what happened
in your novel...
Did that really happen?
Well, I thought
we had, um, discussed in class
that we wouldn't ask writers
questions like that.
This isn't class.
Um... yes.
That is
how my father died.
And my mother and I
watched it on television.
He was protesting
the Vietnam War.
It was a celebrity death
for about 15 minutes.
- I'm writing a novel too.
- Oh. Great.
Oh, God, not that I'm comparing
it to yours or anything.
I shouldn't even
call it that.
It's not a novel.
It's just pages.
It's, um... It's like chapters
in search of a novel.
That's good. Well put.
And what's it called,
your novel?
It's very evocative.
[laughs] Thanks.
And what is Eggs about?
Um, well,
actually, I'd...
I'd like to just show it
to you, if that's okay.
I brought, um,
the first chapter here.
I thought I could give
you the first chapter,
you could read it, let
me know what you think,
and we could go chapter
by chapter, or not.
It's about halfway done.
I started last summer.
Why don't I read
the first chapter,
and then maybe we can put it up and take
a look at it in next week's workshop.
- Whatever. You decide.
- Okay.
I just can't believe Theodore Swenson's
gonna read something I've written.
- [laughs]
- I should just take it back and start over
and throw it away,
I think...
my writing sucks.
No. That's what every
first-time writer thinks.
And, actually, quite a few
second-time writers.
- [nervous chuckle]
- So just take a deep breath.
Just breathe.
It's all right.
Right. Breathe.
Okay, um, I will.
And also I know there are, like,
four or five typos in there,
and I was gonna fix them,
but I didn't have time.
- But I know that...
- Don't worry about it.
- Just breathe.
- Yes. Yes. There you go.
And I'm really sorry before, when I
called you, if I interrupted something,
if you were writing
or something.
- Oh, no. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all.
- I'm sorry.
- Sorry I was late.
- Oh, don't worry about it. Thank you so much.
I really appreciate you reading my b...
Okay, bye.
[Ted's voice]
The Black and the Black,
inspired, of course, by
Stendhal's The Red and the Black.
[phone buzzing]
Only now the character
of Julien Sorel
was a young sculptor with a Black
Panther dad and a social climbing mom,
a guy who uses everyone he meets in his
ferocious scramble up the art world ladder.
Race. Art. Ambition.
[phone buzzes]
Hey, buddy, it's Len, your editor.
Remember me?
So when am I gonna
see something?
You were supposed to send me a
draft three months ago. Call me!
Give my love to...
[Angela's voice]
Every night after dinner,
I went out
and sat with the eggs.
This was after my mother and I washed
the dishes and loaded the washer,
after my father dozed off
over his medical journals.
It was then that I slipped out the kitchen
door and crossed the chilly backyard,
dark and loamy with the yeasty smell
of leaves just beginning to change,
noisy with the rustle of them
turning colors in the dark.
For a moment I looked back
at the black frame of our house,
the whole place jumping and
vibrating with the dishwasher hum.
Then I entered the toolshed,
lit only
by the incubator bulbs,
silent but for the whirring hearts
inside the fertilized eggs.
This was my 11th-grade
biology project.
Officially, that is.
But underneath those charts,
those notebooks,
the racks of fertilized eggs,
my real project
was black magic...
casting spells for things
I shouldn't have wanted,
and longed for,
and finally got.
Like Mr. Reynaud,
my science teacher.
Angela. Hi.
- Hi.
- I read your chapter.
Oh, shit.
You hated it.
I could tell by the way you
were looking at me in class.
Not that you were looking at me, but I
could feel it. You thought it sucked.
Actually, the opposite.
I think
it's quite accomplished.
- Really?
- Yeah, I do. Yeah.
You're not just saying that because you're
afraid if you tell me what you really think,
I'm gonna go kill myself
in my dorm room?
[laughs] No. No, that's
not why I'm saying it.
I'm telling you the truth. I
really, really, really enjoyed it.
- Ted. Hi!
- Hey! How are you?
- I'm good.
- Good. Good.
We're on a break. I left some
papers in the office as usual.
- You know Angela.
- I do know Angela.
- It's nice to see you again.
- You too, Professor.
Um, we're just talking
about Angela's novel.
- Her novel?
- Yeah.
- Wow. That's impressive.
- Yeah.
- He's just being nice.
- [laughs] No.
- Okay. Well, please call me. Let's have lunch.
- Okay. I will, I will.
I found the typos.
I made corrections.
Just... keep writing.
- Do you want to discuss it in class?
- Oh, God, no. No.
You have to be very careful
to whom you show this now.
Don't listen to what anyone says.
I mean it.
Not even me.
Especially me.
Wow. Um...
Oh, my God,
that makes me so...
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Good job.
- [chuckles]
- Can I give you another couple of pages?
I'm sorry?
I understand if you, like, need
a break or something, but...
And it's not like reading a real
writer's work, anyway. I know that.
But if I... I-If you... I
understand if you don't want to.
No, it would be
my pleasure.
It just...
It means the world.
- Okay, bye.
- Bye.
[Angela's voice] "A little-known
fact about eggs," Mr. Reynaud said.
"During the equinox and solstice you
can actually balance one on its end."
I never tried to balance an egg
during the equinox or the solstice.
I don't believe in astrology.
But I knew that my life
was like that egg,
and the point it balanced on were the
few minutes I got to stay after class
and talk to Mr. Reynaud.
I'm sorry I'm late.
Oh, hi.
No, no, no. No problem.
- Hi. Hi.
- I had to go to Montpelier.
- They were holding this book for me.
- Oh.
- Dog Poems.
- Yes.
Oh, this is
one of my favorites.
One of my freshmen wrote a
poem about his dog dying.
I thought if I could show them something literary
about animals we'd have some place to start.
See what a good teacher
you are.
I mean, what you do
for your students.
They write reviews of us.
Look what we all do.
Can I get a white wine,
please? Thank you.
See, if it were my students, they would
be having sex with the dead dogs.
- Or at least writing about it.
- That's disgusting.
Yeah, but I can't say anything because I would
be repressing their creative self expression.
- So what do you say?
- [laughing]
I take the technical route.
- If you have a chicken in a suburban refrigerator...
- [laughing]
what's the texture like?
What's the temperature?
What does it feel like?
- Specificity? Specificity. Sure.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
- You make it seem so lascivious.
That is a sexual harassment
lawsuit waiting to be filed.
Yeah, tell me about it.
Yeah, yeah.
[sighs] So how's
Angela Argo doing?
- Do we know what we'd like?
- Yes.
I'll have the usual.
Char-grilled steak sandwich, mashed
potatoes and a salad on the side.
- Yes.
- And I will have the very same thing.
- You got it.
- Thank you.
Thank you.
Why do you ask?
- Ask what?
- About Angela Argo.
I'm just curious
how her novel's going.
Oh. Well, I have to say
it's surprisingly good.
The stuff she wrote for me
was awful.
[laughs] Well...
And she wrote a... a...
a collection of poetry
for me that...
I may be a bit prudish, but I
found it terribly obscene.
Like how?
Dramatic monologues
and dialogues
about a phone sex worker,
Angela 911.
So Euston is now admitting
former phone sex workers?
I don't know.
But do you think
that she was actually...
I don't know.
I don't want to know.
- Hi. Thank you.
- Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
It's very confusing, 'cause there
was also multiple references
to the phone sex worker's
sexually abusive father.
One time we had a conference and
she intimated they were true.
I wonder if that's the reason
he killed himself.
- He killed himself?
- Yeah.
She never mentioned that.
The end of
spring semester,
I get a call from Betty
Hester at the library.
Mother Hubbard.
- That's mean.
- I'm s... I... I didn't say "old."
- In any event...
- All right.
she called to say
that Angela
wanted to donate
a volume of her poems
to the Euston library
as a gift.
- Mm-hmm.
- So Betty reads some of these.
And she is
totally freaked out.
So what did you say?
I told her, just catalog
the goddamn things.
Nobody's ever gonna check
it out except Angela.
[Ted's voice] "I'm the
father of four daughters.
Three of them are sleeping. One
is awake and waiting for me.
I keep thinking of her tiny breasts,
my fingers between her legs."
- [woman] Ted?
- [gasps]
Can I help you
with something?
Oh, no, I'm good.
Thank you. Thanks.
- Hello.
- Oh.
- So good to see you, Ted.
- [chuckles] Likewise.
- Yeah, it's been ages.
- Yeah.
- [chuckles]
- [beeps]
- Too busy writing to read?
- [laughs] I wish.
Oh. My Dog Tulip.
- Mmm.
- Oh. I don't think I know this one.
Uh, Professor Moynahan
recommended it.
- Oh, well, it must be good then.
- I think so, yes.
- Okay, thanks.
- Ah-ah.
- What about that one?
- Oh! I forgot.
Oh, dear.
- I believe I know this author.
- Really?
- Yeah. Is she one of your students?
- Yeah, she is.
Well, how fortunate for her.
- Send my love to Sherrie.
- I will.
- And to Ruby.
- Mm-hmm.
- [Sherrie] We're late.
- [Ted] Ah, who cares?
Oh, I have missed
these dinners,
these gatherings.
Lost souls pretending that they're
not dying of boredom and angst
in some provincial outpost.
Behave, or I'll take you
home before dessert.
- Promise?
- Mmm.
Ugh. I hope she doesn't
serve jam trifle again.
Be nice.
And no English accents.
[English accent]
Yes, Mum.
It slipped out.
- Can I interest you in some Marmite?
- Marmite? I love Marmite.
Haven't had Marmite since
my wunderjahr at Oxford.
- [woman] Ah!
- Wunderjahr.
I am so glad you like it.
Most Americans don't.
- Oh! Sherrie!
- Hello.
How are you?
Hello. How are you?
- Hello.
- Hello.
- Hi!
- Lovely to see you.
Lovely to see you too.
Sir. How are you?
- Everyone.
- [clears throat]
Can I interest you in some
Marmite hors d'oeuvres?
I never say no
to Marmite.
Unless, of course,
you're serving it...
[English accent]
with steak and kidney pie.
[all laughing]
There he is.
Hello, Ted.
Splendid of you
to come.
- Something to wash that down with, old man?
- Yes, um...
Vodka, please, on the rocks.
A double.
Pellegrino, no ice, please.
Thank you.
We were just talking about the
rigors of the creative pursuit.
And now we can hear what our author in
residence has to say on the subject.
How is your work going
these days?
Well, sometimes fast,
sometimes slow.
You know... Ah.
The creative process
is very challenging.
But rewarding,
when it's good.
What are you working on? Or is talking
about one's writing verboten?
Only to those who have yet
to read my previous work.
It's on my nightstand. Scout's honor.
Third from the top.
- Sure.
- You're working on another novel?
Yes, um,
but, actually, I'd rather
extol the virtues of Marmite.
Don't let the sarcasm fool you.
He's very excited about it.
What's it about? Oh, have you told us?
Sorry if I've forgotten.
No, actually... No, I don't
think I did tell you.
I don't think I told anyone,
not even my nearest and dearest.
are a secretive bunch.
- As if we're all just dying to steal their ideas.
- We are.
What's the title? Throw us
a bread crumb. Come on.
Tease us.
We do love to be teased.
It's called Eggs.
What an interesting
- Well, yeah.
- Hmm.
I thought it was
The Black and the Black.
- The wife's always the last to know, isn't she?
- [all chuckling]
- Well, I think they're both great titles.
- [Ted] Thank you.
Well, whatever it's called, I've got no doubt
it's gonna be another smashing success.
- [woman] Absolutely.
- Good for us.
- Yes! - Yes.
- Cheers!
[host] So how do Euston's best and
brightest strike you this year?
[man] Well, I don't suppose
it'll come as a shock to say
that each year's entering class seem to have
read less than last year's worst students.
The high schools are definitely
slacking off on their Dryden and Pope.
[man 2] You know, I sort of had an
interesting thing happen the other day.
It was in my
Intro to American Lit.
We're doing Poe.
So I thought I'd give them a little
bio, a little gossip really,
to make things more immediate,
give it a personal touch.
Well, that's what we've been reduced to...
fodder for the talk shows.
Poe and his
13-year-old child bride cousin
discussing their marital
arrangements with Ellen.
- [man groans]
- [laughing]
I'm sure
everyone would tune in.
[woman] They would.
They would though.
S-So anyway, as I'm talking
about Poe's marriage,
the entire class
gets quiet.
And when I asked them
what the matter was,
none of them
would answer.
Until one young woman
"We've been studying
the work of a child molester?"
Oh, you've gotta
be kidding.
Poor Edgar Allan.
That's fascinating.
Have the rest of you
found this, um,
heightened consciousness
about those issues?
I never talk to a female student alone
in my office without the door wide open.
And I keep a tape recorder in my
desk in case things get dicey.
Last week we were
doing Great Expectations,
and one of my students,
a big beefy jock,
asked me if Dickens meant there
to be a homosexual thing
between Pip
and Magwitch.
He was definitely
trying to bait me.
Maybe he was just looking for a
classically sanctioned way to come out.
I told him I didn't think Dickens meant
us to read a gay subtext into the book
and we should consider
what the writer had intended.
The next day,
a female student told me
that the discussion had
made her feel very "unsafe."
The way she said
that word, "unsafe,"
gave me the chills.
It's a perfectly ordinary word
with a perfectly valid meaning.
So, Lauren, do these things
come up with you?
Of course they come up.
I bring them up.
I want the students to feel safe...
this word that Dave finds so chilling.
I want the students to be able to come to
me if they are experiencing harassment
or anything, really.
I really take them
very seriously.
- I have an idea.
- What's that, Ted?
I think that we have been
giving in without a fight,
that we have been knuckling under
to the most neurotic forces
of repression and censorship.
I think we need to help these
people get over their problems.
We should desensitize them
the way the Scientologists do.
Lock them in a room and shout dirty
words at them until they grow up.
Shit, shit, shit!
Fuck, fuck, fuck!
Motherfucker! Asshole!
- Fuck, fuck, fuck.
- Okay...
- Throw in a couple of "cunts" while you're at it.
- Oh!
Just good, old,
time-tested Anglo-Saxonisms.
And we will be doing
these people a favor.
Emotionally, spiritually,
We'll be helping them grow up a lot
faster than if we just coddle them
and indulge
every whim and neurosis.
It just... Aaah!
- Ted's got Tourette's.
- [guests chuckling]
Late onset adult Tourette's.
It's a very rare
Oh, good, dessert.
I hope everyone has room
for a little jam trifle.
- [laughing]
- "Late onset Tourette's"?
- That's what...? What was that?
- I had to say something.
My God, Ted,
what the hell got into you?
"Throw in
a couple of cunts'"?
I kept expecting your head to swivel
around and for you to projectile vomit.
I don't know. I think it was the whole Poe
on Ellen thing that pushed me over the edge.
- Oh, you're driving.
- Yes, I'm driving.
[exhales] God, what a bunch
of spineless idiots.
[Sherrie laughing]
Imagine my father
seeing me wind up here.
He would've staged a hunger
strike to shut this place down.
- [sighs]
- Ugh.
- Magda's got a huge crush on you, you know.
- [laughs]
Nobody gets a crush on me
I'm too old.
[Angela's voice]
"He says, Is this 859-6732?
Is this Angela 911?'
I say, What would you
like to do tonight?'
He says, I'm coming
up to you from behind.
My hand is over your mouth.
I'm bending you over a trash
can, making you open your legs.
You push your ass
against me...'"
- Ted?
- Yeah.
- I'm going to bed.
- Okay. I'll be up in a bit.
[Carlos] "Just then, Eddie
really started to hate mirrors.
Eddie was glad there were no mirrors
on the bottom of the toilet bowls.
He would've had to see his
fat, pale, jellyfish face..."
[Angela's voice]
"He says, Is this Angela 911?'
I say, What would you
like to do tonight?'
He says,
Listen to what I'm doing.
I'm pulling up your skirt,
slapping your thighs just lightly.
You feel my hardness
straining to find release.
You unbutton my...'"
- Coach.
- Yeah?
That's it.
It's great.
- Very brave work, Carlos.
- Thank you.
What did everyone
[bell tolling]
[Angela clears throat]
- [Carlos] Hey.
- [Angela] Hey.
for what you said.
Oh, yeah, sure.
No sweat.
At least somebody
understands me.
That part where the guy goes on and
on about the dog, that was amazing.
- Doofy.
- Yes. Right.
You walkin'
across the quad?
I got, like, a half an hour before
Western Lit. We could grab a coffee.
I, uh... I can't.
I've, um...
I gotta see what he thought about my
chapter. I'm really nervous about it.
I think
he probably hated it.
- Well, good luck.
- Thanks.
- I'll see you around.
- All right.
Looks like
you made his day.
Well, I was
just telling the truth.
- His story wasn't bad.
- Yeah.
And thank you for not letting another
class devolve into civil war.
Well, don't thank me too fast.
Nothing's for free, you know.
Oh? What's it gonna cost me?
Time. Hard time.
This one...
really sucks.
- Great. I can't wait to read it.
- [both laugh]
Uh, it's from
the mother's perspective,
and it's about
when the parents first meet.
I know I've been giving you so much stuff,
so if it's too much, just let me know.
No, no, it's my pleasure.
Really. I, um...
Uh, just don't be upset with me if it takes
me, you know, a few days to read it.
- Yeah, yeah. No rush.
- Okay.
I'll just be
waiting by the phone.
- All right.
- All right, thanks. I'll see ya.
All right.
See ya.
[Angela's voice] "It was a
morning like any other.
The alarm went off.
But when I tried to stand, the room
spun until it threw me onto the floor.
I was terrified. I called a
cab and went to the hospital.
The doctor looked in my eyes, my throat,
and said I had an ear infection.
Nothing to worry about.
But as soon as I stood up to leave, I
collapsed again on the examining room floor.
Nurses ran in.
I woke up as the young doctor
was taking my pulse."
Are you all right?
"Later. We're married now."
How the hell
could she have known that?
Hey, I read your chapter.
- Already? Wow.
- Yeah.
- I'm flattered.
- I'm just not so sure that you need it.
You know, the parents meeting,
how they meet and...
It just seems a little bit...
extraneous to me.
The reader needs to hear it
for what's coming later.
But how did you come up with the whole
thing, anyway? Um, I'm curious.
I mean,
the earache and the...
[sighs] the falling down
and the meeting in the hospital.
It happened to someone
I knew in high school.
- Why?
- Um...
You sound upset.
Is something wrong?
Oh, no. Oh, no.
Um, no.
But we'll talk about it
tomorrow. Okay.
Okay. Bye-bye.
Who was that?
You're leading her on,
you know.
She won't appreciate it
in the end.
- Will you help me with the groceries?
- Of course.
I would love to. Yes.
- [marching band playing march]
- [chattering]
Danny is, uh...
He's doing just wonderfully.
His narrative skills are
growing better by the day,
and I must say he has a
very vivid imagination.
Well, he's always loved creative writing.
[chuckles] Especially about animals.
- Yeah, yeah...
- [knocking]
[woman] Excuse me. Is...
Is this Professor Swenson?
- Yes.
- Our Angela is in your class.
Oh, yes, of course.
Well, I'll let you go. I just wanted
to see, in general, how he was doing.
- And thank you for your inspiration.
- Okay. Thank you.
- Hi.
- Hi.
I'm sorry we're late.
We left Jersey
at 5:30 this morning
so we didn't have to pay
for another night's motel.
Sure. Okay.
That's a little more information
than the professor needs.
- Mark.
- Hi, Mark. How are you?
- Good. Good.
- Please have a seat.
Thank you.
So, how is Angela doing?
Uh, she told us
that we must come see you,
that you were the only teacher that would
have anything nice to say about her.
Well, I'm sure you'll find
that that is not true.
[laughs] No, she talks about your class
all the time. You're, like, her hero.
She thinks you're the greatest
writer that ever lived.
[laughs] Well, that's very flattering.
It's always good to have a fan.
such a talented one.
Oh, w-well, sh-she's
always wanted to be a writer.
You know, I remember when she started.
I bought her this computer.
And she used to print up
this little family newspaper.
Uh, stuff like how long she'd have to wait in
the morning to get into the bathroom, you know.
Is, um,
something the matter?
Oh, no, no. I-I-I...
She told... It's just...
I had no idea that her literary
aspirations went back to early childhood.
Oh, yeah, she's always had a way
with words, that one, you know.
[Ted] That was your
stepfather, right?
Of course. Why?
Oh, no,
I was just, um...
I was curious because
the way he was talking,
he... he spoke as though he had
known you your whole life.
Since you were,
like, a baby.
Oh, well, he did.
Um, he lived next door to us
my whole life, him and his wife.
And then...
after my dad killed himself,
about a year after,
him and his wife split up
and he married my mom.
It was
a big neighborhood scandal.
You know, I... I did lie
about something though.
Um, my dad...
wasn't crazy.
He was...
He was sick.
He had emphysema.
I'm sorry.
I remember this, um, time
he took me grocery shopping,
and... he got so winded
he was wheezing and stuff.
He had to sit down.
And then I saw the checkout guy,
who I thought was really cute...
I saw him roll his eyes at the
girl that was bagging groceries.
I was embarrassed.
And ever since
he killed himself,
I think about that...
every day,
and I feel so guilty.
Why was I so mad at him?
But you weren't.
You weren't mad at him.
You were angry
at the situation.
You were angry because
life is... cruel and unfair.
Perfectly normal.
- It was crooked.
- [chuckles] Thanks.
- Sorry. [chuckles]
- Yeah.
[no audible dialogue]
[Angela's voice]
"Mr. Reynaud looked closely.
His voice was calm, full of
compassion and tenderness
as he held the damaged egg
up to the light.
I started to cry.
They're all dead and it's
my fault,' I said to him.
They were supposed to hatch
ten days ago.
I knew something was wrong, but I didn't
know what to do, so I did nothing.
Don't blame yourself,'
he said,
soothing me
with his gentle touch.
Don't cry.'
He wiped my tears,
his fingers caressing my face,
our bodies melting together,
our lips, our tongues.
As his hand slipped under my jeans,
I made a sound so low in my throat
that even the unborn chicks
must have heard me."
[dial tone]
[line ringing]
- [rock music playing]
- [young man] Angela Argo here.
[Angela] Hey, give me that,
you jerk-off. Stop.
[bell tolling]
You hated it,
didn't you?
That's why
you didn't call.
[scoffs] No.
I quite admired it.
- Really?
- Yeah.
it was like...
- What?
- I don't know.
It was weird, I guess, knowing
you were reading those pages.
They were really intimate, and I was
so nervous I didn't sleep all night.
Angela, I'm a professor
of literature.
[chuckles] I mean, a little
eroticism doesn't frighten me.
'Cause... now I can breathe.
I was just, you know...
I was imagining you getting home and
getting ready for bed or eating dinner
and knowing you were reading those pages and
wondering if you were like, you know...
You know.
Anyway, I'm just really glad you liked it.
That's great.
Um, sorry to bother you
without an appointment.
When do I get more?
Um, well, at this point,
probably never.
Yeah, well,
writers block
gets the best of us
sometimes, doesn't it?
No, it's not that.
My hard drive just crashed, so
I've gotta get a new computer.
Oh. Sorry to hear that.
Hey, listen.
Maybe this is
a stupid idea, um...
And you can absolutely say no.
In fact, I expect you to say no.
But I just really
need a ride to Burlington.
My stepdad said I could buy a new
computer on his credit card.
I want to buy it in person, because last time
I bought it online and it was defective,
and then returning it
was a total nightmare.
Yeah, um, look,
it's not impossible.
But, um, I...
When I'm not here,
I'm writing, so...
I don't know that it will...
Right. I'm sorry.
I figured that was why
you'd say no.
Well, can't your boyfriend
drive you, or...
I don't have
a boyfriend.
Well, I thought you...
It's no big deal. I'll just put it
on the shelf for a little while.
- Probably not such a bad idea anyway.
- [chuckles]
- Thanks again.
- All right.
What about tomorrow
at 10:00?
Yeah. Yeah.
Oh, my God. Thank you so much.
Thank you.
That would be great.
Um, yeah.
I live in Hughes. Do you wanna
pick me up outside of my dorm?
- Yeah, perfect. We'll just go...
- Great.
We'll go, we'll do it quickly,
and then, uh, it'll be done.
- Okay?
- Perfect.
- All right, great.
- Thank you so much.
- See ya.
- We'll see you tomorrow.
So have you decided what your
major's going to be yet, or...
Well, I have till
the end of the year to declare,
but I was thinking
creative writing.
Unless you think I should
major in something else.
No, no. I think... No, I
think it's a great idea.
No, I-I, um...
I just didn't want to assume that
that was what you wanted to do.
[snickers] Good.
Because writing is really the
only thing that interests me.
It's all I care about,
If I wake up that day and I'm
writing, then I'm in a good mood.
I'm happy.
I know what you mean.
- It's better than anything.
- Yeah.
It's better than sex.
Well... [laughs]
- Maybe not that.
- Maybe not that, yeah, but...
But nevermore
[backup singers]
No, no, no, no, no, no
[man] Nevermore
[backup singers]
No, no, no, no, no, no
No, no. I don't want
external speakers.
I just need to make sure it has the
new Intel core i5 and i7 processors.
- Absolutely.
- Okay.
And I don't want
an in-store service plan
because it never breaks
before that expires anyway.
[laughs] Your daughter
is very charming.
That was easy. Everything
should be that easy.
- [chuckles]
- Thank you.
It's just one writer
helping another writer.
- What...
- No. Sorry. Go ahead.
No, you...
Go ahead. Choose.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
- [lush mid-tempo pop playing]
- [clears throat]
[woman singing]
The whole thing is over
[singing continues]
- All righty.
- [song stops playing]
All right.
Um, you wouldn't be willing,
by any chance,
to help me carry this stuff
up to my room, would you?
Or help set it up?
I understand if you have to get going.
I've taken up enough of your day already.
Actually, I don't think I'd be
much help setting up a computer.
My wife
had to set mine up.
- [laughs]
- I'm, like, totally useless.
- So...
- Well, that's cool.
- I can probably do it.
- Okay.
You can just be
moral support.
[door closes]
Did you do
these drawings?
Um, yeah.
- Very good.
- Thanks. I've been doing it forever.
I just kind of pass the time
that way. You know?
- I think we got it!
- Oh!
Putting together my last
computer was, like, total hell.
You must be
my good luck charm.
Well, I'm glad to hear it.
Hey, um, let me print out
the new pages for you.
[printer whirring]
Son of a bitch.
Shit. Shit!
- Uh, the paper's jammed.
- Yeah, no shit.
Sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry.
I just... I really wanted to give you
these pages before you went a-and...
Don't worry about it.
You know what?
Just e-mail them to me,
'cause I really should go.
Sometimes it jams. Let me just
try this one other thing. Okay?
[printer whirring]
Shit! Shit.
- Okay, all right...
- No, it's...
Relax, relax.
It's okay. It's not...
- [sighs] It's so...
- It's okay. It's okay.
It's all right.
[both moan]
- [loud pop]
- Ow!
- Oh, my God! What was that?
- I don't know.
- Just heard that through my skull.
- [laughing]
I think I broke a tooth.
- Are you okay?
- I don't know. Yeah.
- I think I lost a filling or something.
- [laughs]
That's not all you lost.
- Oh, yes. I'm sorry.
- Don't worry about it.
Hey, um, let's...
let's try this again.
- Okay, well, I'm not so sure I'm...
- No, no, no, no.
- What?
- No, not that.
- I was gonna say my...
- Oh!
- pages, you know.
- Oh, ok... okay.
Um, hey, we never
locked your door.
- [printer whirring]
- I locked it when we came in.
- Oh.
- Whoa, I think we got it.
- [clicking, whirring]
- Um...
Um, do you have a, um...
- Yeah, there's a, uh...
- Uh, what do you call it? Yeah.
- [exhales]
- Bingo!
- We shook it loose.
- All right.
We did
some kind of voodoo.
I'm very sorry about...
The new chapter.
Ah, fantastic.
Okay, I'll read it
as soon as I can.
Look, we shouldn't really
tell anybody about this. Right?
I mean, it'll cause
a terrible scandal and...
Right, like I'm
gonna tell anyone.
Like I want to get us both
kicked out of Euston.
- Don't worry. This didn't happen.
- Yeah, all right. Okay.
- At least not yet.
- Okay. All right.
- Okay.
- [clears throat]
All right.
Um, okay.
Okay, um...
- Ah, Claris. Hi.
- Hi, Professor Swenson.
- How are you?
- Good. How are you?
- Good, good, good. I'll see you in class.
- Yeah.
- See you there.
- All right. Okay.
- [door closes]
- Oh, goody! You're home.
I can't decide.
What would you like?
[Ted] Uh, I don't know.
That's a tough one.
- Maybe roll back the clock. How 'bout that?
- [chuckles]
- For dinner, silly.
- [chuckles]
Uh, how about
some oatmeal?
I broke that tooth today.
- Oh, no.
- Yeah.
How'd you do that?
- On an olive.
- An olive?
At Euston Commons?
Sounds exotic.
No, I... I...
I had this craving, so I went
over to the Minit Mart quickly,
and I, um...
I bought a whole jar and I-I ate
practically the whole thing.
You know how you take... you put,
like, the pits inside of your mouth,
and then I...
which I do...
and then I bit on it,
and... [crunching sound]
- Stupid.
- Maybe you're pregnant.
What? What?
Weird food cravings.
For a second you looked scared
you might actually be pregnant.
No, it's not funny.
I really, um...
When you're 20-something, you
think everything is replaceable.
But when you're 49,
you know it isn't.
- Aw. I'm sorry.
- It's okay.
You should've come to the clinic.
We could've fixed you up.
Does it hurt?
Only when I do this.
Don't do that.
[quietly] Stupid.
I'm going to make you
some very soft,
very delicious
scrambled eggs with cheese.
Oh, good. Okay.
Oh. Ow.
- That did not hurt.
- No, no. Not really.
Don't you want
something else, or...?
No. I'm all right.
[eggs cracking]
[bowl clanging]
[Angela's voice] "He pressed
until the egg cracked,
its slimy yoke slipping over
our intertwined fingers.
My fingers slid
against his fingers
until our hands were joined
and I no longer knew
which fingers were whose.
He took my hand,
still slippery from the egg,
and wrapped it
around his penis.
His spit tasted
like an old person's food.
Liver and onions, fried fish.
His stomach pillowed into me.
Maybe he knew
what I was thinking,
because he got rougher as he
pushed himself hard inside me.
[gasps, panting]
I began to cry because it hurt,
but at the same time,
I felt happy that he wanted me,
that I alone had the power to
make a grown man risk everything
to do what we were doing
in the warm light of the shed,
with the trays of eggs
humming around us."
[girl] I know dudes
who'd do that, okay?
I'm just not convinced
this dude would do that.
It doesn't matter whether or not
someone would do something like that.
What matters is whether Meg's made us
believe that the guy in her story did it.
- So...
- Hey, Meg.
The guy in your story... What
does he do for a living?
I don't know. I mean, wait.
He's a contractor.
Is that in the story?
It was,
and then I took it out.
It's not in the story because
the guy's not in the story.
We don't believe it
for a fucking second.
We don't believe one thing he
says or anything that he does,
certainly not that he takes a
cat up to the roof to kill it.
A guy like that is more likely to be nicer
to the cat than he is to the woman.
It's like you didn't
even investigate it.
You were too busy thinking up some
vicious thing for this asshole to do
than actually
write a story.
it appears that Angela did not
care for Meg's writing this week.
I'm sorry. It's unfair Angela gets to shoot
her mouth off about everybody else's stuff,
and we never talk
about her work.
She should have to play
by the same rules we do.
However, I did make it clear at the beginning
of the course that no one is obligated...
Fine. Whatever.
I'll bring my stuff into class.
I'm not scared.
I just don't see
the point.
But if it'll make you happy,
I'll do it next week.
Okay. Great. Thank you,
Angela, for volunteering
and for, um, extricating us
from this little snafu.
- Beautiful.
- Mmm. It's one of my favorites.
- [bell tolling]
- All right, there we are. So we'll see you next week.
Angela, would you stay
so that we could talk about
what you would indeed
like to read next week?
I'm sorry for going off
like that.
You know, one minute
I'm minding my business,
and the next
I'm ripping Meg's heart out.
Yeah, no, it's okay. I mean,
you were right. [chuckling]
[chuckles] It's just
the mood I'm in.
I was pissed
before I came in here.
Why is that?
you didn't call.
About the pages.
Oh, yeah. No. I know. I'm sorry.
I didn't get the chance...
It's just those were really
extreme scenes, you know.
And I needed to know what you thought.
It was driving me crazy.
And here I am defending male
behavior against Meg's bullshit,
but here you are exhibiting the
worst type of male behavior.
And honestly I'd rather you throw
my cat off the roof and kill it
than have you read these really tough and
hard-to-write pages and not even call.
I'm sorry.
It was thoughtless.
Apology accepted.
So then next week,
I think you should just...
Let's just start
with the first chapter.
All right?
Um, yeah. Sure.
You know, I don't know
if I'll get much out of it.
- No offense, but...
- [chuckles]
You know, I just really need to get my
stuff out in the world to someone that...
someone that
doesn't know me,
and they can tell me if I suck
or if I should keep going
or if I should just burn it all and
rip it up and never write again.
[laughing] I don't think
that you have to do that.
Was that Blue Angel?
Did you watch Blue Angel?
- Yeah.
- I don't think I've ever seen it.
Marlene Dietrich's great
though, right?
Pretty boring actually.
It was hard to get through.
But I've gotta return it
or else I might as well buy it.
- Okay.
- Hey, uh...
What if the next time you talk
to your editor in New York,
you sort of mention
my novel to him?
You know?
Have him just read a chapter,
a couple of pages even,
and then he'll tell you
and you can tell me.
let me think about it.
- Thanks. I really appreciate it.
- No problem.
- See you.
- Okay. See you later.
[engine idling]
[engine off]
So, let's talk
about what we liked
before we tear it down,
as usual.
I thought some
of the egg stuff was okay.
Oh, come on, Carlos. It was
all so obvious and symbolic.
Thank you. I mean, this egg shit.
Really? It's clich.
I didn't believe
the voice.
I mean, teenage girls
don't think like that.
There were no teenage
expressions in it.
It was like...
It was totally unrealistic.
[Danny] And the narrator's so...
I don't know.
I just kept waiting to learn
something about her as a character.
[Claris] I feel you.
Okay, but it is the first part
of the first chapter of a novel.
A novel's got to have something
to keep you reading.
We're not staying with this story
about some chick hatching eggs
and having fantasies
about her teacher.
Yeah. This is, like, the worst thing
we've read in class all year.
You know,
sometimes... sometimes,
there comes along something
that is new
and fresh and original.
It's unlike anything
that's ever been written before.
I'm not saying what Angela
has written is Ulysses,
but what I am saying is what she
has written is very original.
And the rest of you
need to see that.
Because if there's one thing that I
want you to take away from this class,
it's the ability...
it's the generosity
to see the real deal.
And that's the real deal.
It should be painfully obvious
to all of you
that what Angela has written
is more sophisticated,
more profound,
more nuanced,
and more compelling
than anything
any one of you has written
for this entire semester.
And I'm shocked
that you don't see it.
Hello. Hi. It's Ted Swenson
calling for Len Currie.
- [woman] One minute, Mr. Swenson.
- Mm-hmm.
Ted. Finally.
- How are you, man?
- Hey, how are you?
Jesus, you're hard
to get ahold of.
- You coming to New York?
- Yes.
In fact,
that's why I'm calling.
I want to talk to you about a couple
of things. Maybe the week after next?
The week
of Thanksgiving?
Uh... No.
Actually, I meant...
That Friday is perfect.
It's actually the only slot I've got
free on my schedule for the next year.
Not really, but just about.
And by lunchtime I'll be climbing the
walls to get away from the wife and kids.
- Don't tell anyone I said that.
- [chuckles]
Norma's. Twenty-second and Park
Avenue South. See you at 1:00.
Can't wait to finally
read what you've got.
[line clicks]
[bells ringing]
Oh, my God. Ted.
She's here!
- Hello?
- Oh!
I did not expect you
so early.
Oh, I thought you'd hit
all that traffic.
- It wasn't too bad actually.
- Oh. Good.
- Smells good, Mom.
- Hey!
- Hey. How are you?
- Hi.
She's back
and better than ever.
You look great.
- You look great.
- Thanks, Dad.
- You don't need to say it a third time.
- Okay. All right.
I'm taking this course
on the abnormal personality.
- It's for my psych major.
- Mmm. That sounds interesting.
Yeah, a lot of these studies say that
first-degree relatives of affected individuals
have a higher risk of
developing symptoms themselves.
- Makes you think about Grandpa.
- It makes perfect sense.
This is absolutely
delicious, honey.
Although a child of a bipolar has
less than a 15-percent chance
of developing it himself.
Well, there you go.
Fifteen percent. Spared.
Unless there are other
members of the family
who suffer from some kind
of mood disorder too.
I remember your mother
was depressed a lot as well.
Honey, would it be all right if we didn't
talk about my inherited mental illness
during Thanksgiving dinner?
It's pretty fascinating
Bipolar is rampant.
My father wasn't bipolar.
He was angry about
the state of our country.
I just think his underlying emotional
state must have had a big effect on you,
and I'm surprised you
never went into therapy.
Why? I'm a writer.
To me, it's all grist for the
emotional mill. Why shrink it away?
He set himself on fire.
Yes, I know that.
I know.
But I don't think political
outrage is inherited, so...
- I wouldn't worry.
- [Sherrie] Okay.
Let's change the subject.
How's your book coming?
[horn honking]
So how's the novel
Well, it's coming.
You know, it's coming.
It's... It's slow.
It's coming slowly, but actually I didn't
want to talk to you about my novel.
I wanted to talk to you
about, uh, a novel
that one of my students
is writing.
- God help us.
- No, no, no.
Len, listen.
It's about a high school girl who
has an affair with her teacher.
Here, let me...
I want to give it to you.
- You're fucking her.
- What?
- No, I'm not...
- But you want to.
No, I don't want to...
It's not about sex.
It's about that this kid
is really, really talented.
I believe you. I re...
I'm sure she's very good.
But I don't have time
to look at some chick novel
about a girl with the hots
for her high school teacher.
- Why don't you just look at the first few pages?
- Ted.
- First few pages.
- Ted.
- First few pages.
- Ted.
Do yourself a favor.
Take the manuscript back.
Tell her you'll show it to me
if she lets you fuck her.
Now, what about
your book?
Let's get serious here.
I've had a thought.
Have you ever considered
a memoir?
You don't need me to tell you
that what's selling these days
has the juicy gleam,
the bloody smell of truth.
Yes, I know.
How many people you think
read a novel?
- I...
- About 5,000.
Out of the 5,000 people that read
your novel, 2,000 of them are dead,
and the other three...
they've forgotten.
Better to be a hot, new memoirist than
a mid-list, middle-aged novelist.
I'm not doing this
as your publisher.
I'm doing this
as your friend.
Well, I appreciate that.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Now, look.
I don't know you that well,
but the best thing...
the really good thing
would be
if there was something that had been
going on since your father's death.
- Some ongoing problem.
- A problem? Like what?
What are you...
Drinking, drugs,
spousal abuse.
- Oh!
- Sex addiction.
Compulsively fucking
your students.
That would be great.
- Something that's directly traceable...
- Shh!
to your dysfunctional
And something that you've, you
know, "recovered from," of course.
I'll think about it.
What are you doing,
sitting in the dark?
I don't know.
Just thinking.
Everything okay?
Is Ruby all right?
Is she pissed that I went?
No. No, not at all.
I told you, she's fine.
What did Len
have to say?
Oh, well, you know,
his kid's got ADD,
and they're medicating him
into a stupor, and, you know.
I mean about the chapters
that you gave him.
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, no. He's, um...
You know, he's excited.
You know, but it's probably gonna take him
a little while to read it, he said, so...
Everyone would love
to see you finish Eggs.
Oh, by the way,
one of your students called.
She sounded upset.
- Did she leave her name?
- No.
She said she wanted
to talk about her novel.
She thought
it was your cell.
Oh, her novel.
Oh, great.
Her novel. [scoffs]
She's back in New Jersey.
She left her number.
She said to call her
These students, you know...
You say don't call me unless it's
a life-threatening emergency,
and, of course, everything to them
is a life-threatening emergency.
You know, you're at their beck and call.
It's just...
- I'm sure it's nothing that can't wait until Monday.
- Okay.
I'm going up.
All right.
I'll see you up in a minute.
Happy Thanksgiving.
I hate it when you
look at me like that.
Like what?
Like dinner.
I'm sorry. I didn't think I was
looking at you like dinner.
I don't usually think about
dinner until I've had lunch.
So, I'm guessing
it didn't go very well.
you would've called.
No, I... I, uh... I talked to
him about it, and he said...
You know, he's a very busy man.
He said he'll read it.
Of course, he could be so busy that he just
pretends to read it and then sends it back.
But, unfortunately,
we have no control over that.
So when can I
call him?
You're welcome.
- How was your Thanksgiving?
- Grisly.
So when can I call
and see if he's read it?
I don't think
he would like that.
Um, that might make him
want to not read it.
You didn't give it to him,
did you?
Okay, look.
I didn't leave it
with Len.
It's not that I didn't try.
I did.
It's just that he's not
reading any new novels now.
And you shouldn't
take it personally.
It's not... You know, it's not like
he read it and he didn't like it.
It's just... That's all.
I mean, come on.
You're young. You haven't
even finished the novel yet.
You and I both know
that this is all... bullshit.
None of it matters.
When am I going to be published?
My reputation and my fame.
It's bullshit!
The only thing that matters
is the work.
That's all. The work.
Fuck you.
No. Fuck you.
I went out
of my fucking way for you.
I went down to Manhattan
to see my editor,
so he could take me out for lunch
so he could treat me like shit,
so he could tell me that I had to write
a memoir about my early years...
everything that I covered
already in Phoenix Time.
But now I'm supposed to
write it in a different way,
and it's supposed to be
the actual truth.
Fuck me. Fuck you.
- What did you tell him?
- I told him no.
I'm a novelist,
plain and simple.
I still have
some standards.
It's easy for you
to have standards,
with your nice, fat teaching job
and your tenure forever and ever.
You'll always have time to
write, even if you don't.
Whereas if I end up
working at a drugstore,
which with my parents' connections
is a best-case scenario,
I'll never have the time, while you sit
here making your little moral distinctions
about not selling out
your fabulous talent.
I can't believe
you let this happen.
- I can't believe you didn't fight harder for me.
- Angela, what...
The only reason why
I let you fuck me
was so you could get my novel to someone
who could actually do something.
I did not think that
that's what that was about.
I did not think this was
about you letting me fuck you.
I thought that was something
that we both wanted.
Well, now you know.
[door opens]
[door slams]
[alarm beeping]
[alarm stops]
[ringtone chiming]
- Hello?
- Professor Swenson?
It's Hillary from
Dr. Bentham's office.
Dr. Bentham would like to see you as soon
as you arrive this morning, if possible.
Um, yeah, I should be there
in about ten, 15 minutes.
Will it take long? Because I
have office hours this morning.
I'll tell him
you'll be here shortly.
Thank you so much.
[clock ticking]
[footsteps approaching]
- Hi.
- [clears throat] Please, sit.
Thank you for coming in
on such short notice.
Oh, yeah. Well, office hours this
early aren't very popular, so...
Ted, maybe we could dispense
with the small talk,
if that's all right,
and get directly
to the point.
[footsteps on tape]
[Angela] So I'm guessing
it didn't go very well.
you would have called.
[Ted] No, I-I, uh... I talked
to him about it, and he said...
You know, he's a very busy man.
He said he'll read it.
Of course he could be so busy that he just
pretends to read it and then sends it back,
but, unfortunately,
we have no control over that.
[Angela] I can't believe
you let this happen.
I can't believe you didn't
fight harder for me.
[Ted] Angela, what...
[Angela] The only reason why
I let you fuck me
was so you could get my novel to someone
who could actually do something.
[Ted] I did not think this was
about you letting me fuck you.
I thought that was something
that we both wanted.
Francis, look.
I did not make this girl
sleep with me
in exchange
for pimping out her novel.
Ted, maybe it's premature
to warn you
that everything you say
can be used against you, but...
Are you arresting me?
Is that what's happening?
Are you reading me my Miranda rights?
Are the cops here?
Of course not.
But the evidence against you,
it does look pretty damning.
Meaning what?
The student is charging you
with sexual harassment.
She's threatening
to sue the school.
And given what she's
presented us with,
I really think
you might consider,
for everybody's sake,
I wouldn't ask you to do it
just for the college, old chap.
I'd say go ahead, fight,
if that's what you want.
But you do have
a family to consider
and a professional
And my so-called
Well, I suppose we'd have to form
a committee to look into this.
Gather testimony.
Hold a hearing, if necessary.
And I assume it would be.
It's all spelled out in the faculty
handbook under sexual harassment.
This is not
sexual harassment.
Actually, Ted, this sounds like the
textbook case of sexual harassment.
Yeah, but that's
not what it is.
Incidentally, Ms. Argo
has asked me to ask you
to not contact her until after
this matter is settled.
So, what do you say, Ted?
[door slams]
Want to go out
to dinner?
Are we celebrating
Uh, a day
without disaster.
Oh. That's worth
You might want to wait for a month
without disasters for that.
Well, there won't be any of those
anytime soon, so... let's go tonight.
- All right.
- All right.
- Let me just go take a shower.
- Okay.
Ted. What are you...
[Ted's voice]
In my dread and confusion,
I reverted
to the conventional wisdom
that if you're going to deliver
shattering information to a loved one,
it's best to do it in a crowded
place that will preempt tears,
murder attempts, and so forth.
I guess I should have known
that at 7:00 on a weekday night,
the place would be empty.
I'll have the venison.
- And I'll have the, um, salmon.
- Oh.
Uh, even though
it's probably exhausted
after swimming
all the way to Vermont.
We made it
through Thanksgiving.
- Not too bad.
- Not too bad.
- Not too bad.
- I barely remember it.
What do you think?
Think she'll come home
for Christmas?
Yeah, I hope so. Yeah.
- I'm so glad we're in this together.
- Me too.
So if I...
- If I tell you something...
- Mm-hmm.
will you promise not to be
mad at me, no matter what?
I recognize a lose-lose deal
when I hear one.
No, I mean it.
Have you been sleeping
with a student?
Oh, my God.
I was kidding.
I didn't really...
I didn't sleep with her.
My tooth broke.
Oh, okay. So you were going to sleep
with her, except your tooth broke?
Well... Something like that.
Not really.
- I mean...
- What did she do? Punch you in the face?
- [chuckles]
- [chuckles]
Is she the one who called when
you were supposedly in New York?
Um, I think so.
And do you think that's
who you went to see
when you told us you were
going to see your editor?
No, I...
- Look at me, goddamn it!
- Okay. All right.
What are you looking
at them for?
Look... No, I was in New York.
I saw Len.
I wouldn't lie
about something like that.
I'm very superstitious.
You know that.
- What if the plane went down?
- Too bad it didn't.
- Is she pretty?
- No.
No. Not really. No.
Then what? Youth?
Great body? What?
No, no. None of that. Nothing.
It's just... [clicks tongue]
She can write,
you know.
She can write?
This is about writing?
And it never once crossed your mind that
your wanting to sleep with this kid
might have clouded
your literary judgment?
It's just that this novel
she's writing, it's just...
It's stupid.
I know it's stupid.
That's what attracted me.
- Oh. Oh, I get it.
- And okay. Wait...
So you didn't fuck a student.
You fucked a book.
You're like some groupie, like one of
those chicks who used to come up to you
after one of your readings because they
thought you were some famous writer.
You know what?
You're worse than a groupie.
- You're like a vampire sucking this kid's blood.
- Okay.
A guy whose own daughter barely talks
to him because he forgot she existed.
You were so self-involved, so in
love with your own little problems,
that the only way that
she can get your attention
is to start dating a guy whose reputation
is so bad even you will have heard of it,
even with your head
so far up your ass.
Okay, that's...
All right. Sherrie.
Those pathetic little crushes
you used to get on students,
always simpering about how Little Miss
Such-and-Such is really very talented,
and always asking me if anyone would
still think you were attractive.
I should have known better.
Serves me right for thinking
that we were different.
We weren't like everybody else.
We weren't the clich.
The aging, insecure writer and
his pathetic, supportive wife.
- Okay.
- God, what could possibly be more clich
than thinking
you're not one?
Whatever the fuck you are looking
for, it is not out there.
It is not in me.
And it's not in the pussy
of one of your students
who just happens
to be able to write.
I know that. Don't you
think that I know that?
She's filing a sexual
harassment suit against me.
I hope they crucify you.
I hope they fucking
make you pay.
[sighs heavily]
[engine starts]
[phone buzzing,
ringtone chiming]
Ruby. Hi, honey.
I was going to call you...
I think it sucks
what you did to Mom.
You should feel
like shit.
- That's how you made her feel.
- No, I know that. I know.
- And I can offer up no worthy defense.
- [line clicks, beeping]
Nice talking to you too.
[vintage jazz playing]
Falling in love again
Never wanted to
What's a girl to do?
Can't help it
Love's always been my game
Play it how I may
[man] I'm sorry, my friend,
but you have left me no choice.
I must request
your resignation.
[man] All sold out. Standing
room only, Herr Professor.
- [Professor] I will not go on.
- What happened to you?
Are you mad?
You have got to go on.
Put on his wig.
Don't get excited,
Herr Professor.
- Be calm, please.
- [people shouting]
Ladies and gentlemen,
an egg.
Crow! Kikeriki.
[strained crowing]
[crowing continues]
[alarm beeps]
[Francis] We all know
why we're here...
to investigate the charges
brought by Miss Angela Argo
Professor Theodore Swenson.
This committee has already taken a
number of depositions under advisement.
Do you have
any questions, Ted?
No. No.
I suppose we should
just begin.
Can you tell us
in your own words
what happened at Dean Bentham's
on the evening of November 6?
Did you ever notice
anything unusual
in Professor Swenson's
behavior toward Ms. Argo?
Did he do anything in class
that led you to suspect
that he was involved
inappropriately with Ms. Argo?
Did you ever see him with Ms. Argo
in a venue that surprised you?
- Well...
- Thank you for coming in.
We appreciate your honesty.
Thank you for your courage,
Miss Williams.
The committee appreciates
your help.
Could you tell us the reason for Ms.
Argo's visits to the health clinic?
This one time she came in... Sherrie
Swenson and I were on duty...
and she said that she had
been having suicidal thoughts.
She was worried that she'd never
meet a man she could love.
How did you respond?
She wanted to know
how we met our husbands.
So we told her, and it
seemed to give her comfort.
Well, thank you so much
for coming.
Okay, Angela.
Do you feel ready?
[clears throat]
[bell tolling]
Let us start by saying
that everybody understands
how difficult it has been
for you to do this,
how brave you are
for helping to make sure
that this kind of thing
is stopped.
I want to start
by asking,
when did you first realize
that Professor Swenson
was interested
in something beyond
the ordinary
student-teacher relationship?
Well, I caught him looking
at me in class a lot.
And then I found out
he checked out my book of
poems from the library.
And, um, I figured
something was going on.
How did that make you feel?
It creeped me out,
big time.
How did things
between you progress?
I guess it was when I told him
that my computer crashed,
and he offered to take me down to
Burlington to the computer store.
Objection, Your Honors.
I did not offer. She asked.
Ted, you'll get
your chance.
And this isn't
a court of law.
Addressing us as "Your
Honors" isn't necessary.
All right. Okay.
Then what happened?
Nothing, at first.
He seemed
really nervous,
like he was scared
someone would see us.
And then?
When we were
on our way back,
he started talking about
his editor in New York
and asked if I would like
the guy to look at my novel.
And that's when he
put his hand on mine
and moved it to my leg...
Oh, my God.
That is bullshit, Angela!
That is complete
and total bullshit!
- Ted.
- It's bullshit.
- You'll get your say.
- It's bullshit.
- Please.
- Excuse the interruption.
Please continue.
Anyway, when we got back
to the dorm,
he offered to help me carry
the computer up to my room.
And you told him yes?
I was just feeling
totally passive,
like I was totally out of
control of everything.
And what happened next,
I know this is hard for you,
but we do have to know.
Well... um...
Then we sort of
had sex.
Or we began to,
and then his tooth cracked.
- [woman] And?
- That ended it.
How did you feel?
I shouldn't have done it,
but I guess what he was offering
in exchange was too tempting.
Did he keep up his end
of the bargain?
He lied.
He said his editor
wasn't interested
and didn't want to take
a look at my book.
Go ahead, honey.
Tell 'em.
- Tell them the good news.
- Good news?
About a week ago, I got a call
from a guy named Len Currie.
Professor Swenson's
He said he'd found my manuscript on
the chair where they had had lunch,
and he picked it up and read
it on his way home in a cab,
and that he...
he's offered me a contract
to publish it.
That is wonderful!
- Am I done?
- [Francis] Yes, of course. Thank you.
And, uh, congratulations
on your... on your book.
Thanks, I guess.
Now I have to finish it.
Ted, I imagine there are now some
things that you would want to say.
First of all, I'd like
to say that I'm sorry.
Sorrier than you can
even ever imagine.
I'm sorry that...
I ruined my marriage.
Sorry that I ruined my career.
I'm sorry that I sacrificed
my extraordinary wife
for an adolescent idea
of romance.
Sorry that I can't seem
to write a novel
that's nearly as good
as my first.
Sorry that my daughter
won't speak to me.
Sorry that... my father
set himself on fire.
And I'm sorry that I've spent
the better part of a decade,
which I will never get back,
among all of you.
I admit that my behavior
towards Angela was...
and unprofessional.
I regret it.
And I regret it so much.
But I do not agree with the way
it's been presented here today.
The truth has been twisted.
What happened
between Angela and me...
was personal,
and it was complicated.
But it was never, ever
a business transaction.
That's a lie.
That's it.
Excellent. Thank you.
And thank you all.
The committee will be letting
you know its decision
within, let's say,
the next two weeks.
[Ted's voice] In The Blue Angel,
Professor Rath, mad with grief,
wanders through the snowy
streets, broken and humiliated,
the cause of his own undoing.
He died in his classroom,
alone, forsaken,
clinging in vain
to a life no longer his.
But I'm not Professor Rath.
Yes, we both destroyed
the lives we had,
were manipulated
by forces unexplored,
feelings repressed,
ghosts from our past.
But I destroyed the lives
of others too...
those I loved the most,
those who trusted me.
And that is something
I have to live with.
"Why did I let it happen?"
I still ask myself.
Did I set myself on fire
to protest my own complacency?
Was it the only way I could shake off
my inertia and leap into the unknown?
I don't know.
All I do know
is that I'm writing again.
And for the moment,
that is enough.
Excuse me.
How is that?
[man] Sit beside
The breakfast table
Think about your troubles
Pour yourself a cup of tea
Then think about the bubbles
You can take your teardrops
And drop 'em in a teacup
Take 'em down
To the riverside
And throw 'em over the side
To be swept up by a current
Then taken to the ocean
To be eaten by some fishes
Who were eaten
By some fishes
And swallowed by a whale
Who grew so old
He decomposed
He died and left his body
To the bottom of the ocean
Now everybody knows
That when a body decomposes
The basic elements
Are given back to the ocean
And the sea
Does what it oughta
And soon there's salty water
Not too good for drinking
'Cause it tastes
Just like a teardrop
So they run it
Through a filter
And it comes out
From a faucet
And it pours into a teapot
Which is just
About to bubble
Think about your troubles
Ah-ah, ah-ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah