Wildcat (2023) Movie Script

(Newsreel-style music playing)
Tell the truth.
Chain the devil.
In the battle between good
and evil,
the devil's territory
is growing.
Home again, home again,
(Door closing)
This is Star.
Star's gonna be staying
with us for a few days.
Oh, no, don't worry.
I don't mind you.
Come in.
She says
she's an atheist.
Only God's an atheist.
And when sin and seduction
are set free...
-Get off!
Get... away! Evil woman!
I know this game.
She's a nymphomaniac.
That's just another way
she's unfortunate.
(Dramatic music swelling)
It was the filthy, dirty,
criminal slut who stole my gun.
-Oh, Thomas don't you--
-You believe me, don't you, Mom?
-(All arguing)
-THOMAS: You believe me Shut up!
Fleas come with the dog.
-(Woman screaming)
Mystery, thrills.
with today's
most electric stars.
(Music crescendos)
(Pages flapping)
FLANNERY (Narrating):
The sky was underpinned
with long silver streaks
that looked like scaffolding.
(Typing on typewriter)
And behind it
were thousands of stars
still moving slowly,
as if they were about
some vast construction work
that involved the whole order
of the universe
and would take all of time
to complete.
(Typewriter dinging,
carriage returning)
But no one was paying
any attention to the sky.
(Woman inhaling and exhaling)
(Woman whimpering inside car)
The world was made
for the dead.
(Woman whimpering
and gasping)
(Typewriter keys clacking)
(Typewriter dinging)
(Typewriter keys clacking)
Think of all
the dead that are there,
so many more dead
than there are living.
And the dead are dead
much longer than the living
are alive.
(Typewriter keys clacking)
And they don't seem to mind.
(Door thudding)
(Traffic sounds outside)
(Horn honking)
(Church bell tolling)
Dear God,
I am so discouraged
about my work.
I want to write a novel.
A good novel.
I want to do this
for a good feeling
and for a bad one.
The bad one is uppermost.
Please, help me get down
under things, where you are.
WOMAN (Whispering):
Obadiah Elihue.
MAN: Obadiah, Obadiah,
Obadiah Elihue.
Obadiah Elihue.
What, Obadiah Elihue?
Obadiah Elihue.
O-- Obadiah Elihue.
What does that name mean?
Servant of God.
Miss O'Connor, I...
I respect you,
so I'm gonna be honest.
Sometimes, I feel like
you're trying to stick pins
in your readers.
I don't think you need to
make them suffer
in order to introduce them to
the unusual way your mind works.
It feels a little like
you're trying to pick a fight
with your reader,
when all they ever did was open
the front cover of your book.
I'm also not sure
if all the rewriting
that you're doing is helping.
I mean, I only say that
because the book, as it was
on the whole, is very strong.
I'm wondering if you want to
get into some specifics.
I'm amenable to criticism.
Well, these are just
some of our initial thoughts
and reservations
about your book so far.
You can take it home
with you.
I do think... an outline
would be useful at this point,
just to give us a sense of
what the final chapters
will look like.
(Lighter clicking)
I'm amenable to criticism,
but only within the sphere
of what I'm trying to do.
All right,
the real question is,
do you want me to be specific
and work with you
the way that I work with
all the writers on the payroll,
or do you prefer
to go it alone?
Think about it.
Take some time, and
I'll follow up with Miss McKee.
it was really, really nice
to meet you in person,
Miss O'Connor.
-Safe travels.
-Thank you.
-Take care.
(Inhaling and exhaling)
Oh, you're back.
Before I go,
I think my position
on the novel
and on your criticism
should be made plain.
I don't outline.
I-- I have to write
to discover what I'm doing,
and I don't know so well
what I think
until I see what I say.
Then I have to say it
over again.
I feel that whatever virtues
the novel may have
are very much connected with
the limitations you mentioned.
To develop at all
as a writer,
I-- I think I have to develop
in my own way.
I will not be persuaded
to do otherwise.
The objections you raised
suggest that
you would like to rescue
the book at this point,
and train it into
a conventional novel.
But I'm not writing
a conventional novel.
Wise Blood,
when finished,
will be hopefully less angular,
but just as odd, if not odder,
than the nine chapters
you have now.
So, the question is...
Is Rinehart interested
in publishing
a new kind of novel?
He says to me,
"Miss O'Connor, you seem like
a straight shooter,
"but I'm disturbed by
the hardening of the arteries
"of your cooperative sense.
"It is most unbecoming
in a woman writer so young."
-A straight shooter?
You know, I think I'd rather
throw myself
in front of the Dixie Limited
than write an outline.
I know.
If they don't think I'm worth
giving more money to
and just leaving alone,
then they should let me go.
He is an idiot.
I don't know.
He and I came up with
the expression
that I was
"prematurely arrogant."
I had to supply him with
the phrase.
Of course.
That's good.
It's edit-proof.
If he has any sense,
he'll publish it.
Thanks, Cal.
I try to turn the other cheek,
but my tongue is always in it.
I do need
that advance, though.
I need cigarettes.
Oh, all right.
Will you get me
a New York Times, please?
Two of 'em.
-CAL: Two?
-(Crow cawing)
FLANNERY (Narrating):
The tramp swung both his whole
and his short arm up slowly
so that they indicated
an expanse of sky,
and his figure formed
a crooked cross.
(Door hinge squeaking)
(Crow cawing)
(Door closing)
Although the old woman
lived in this desolate spot
with only her daughter,
and had never seen
the one-armed man before,
she could tell,
even from a distance,
he was a tramp
and no one to be afraid of.
I'd pay a fortune
to live in a spot
as pretty as this one.
I'll bet that sunset...
is something to see.
Happens every evening.
You ladies drive?
Oh, that car ain't run
in years.
Well, nothing's like
it used to be.
World is almost rotten.
Where are you from, mister?
Well, I could tell
you anything.
I could tell you that
I'm Tom T. Shiftlet
from Tarwater, Tennessee,
but how would you know
I ain't lying, hmm?
I could be Aaron Sparks
from... Singleton, Georgia.
You don't know.
I don't know
nothing about you.
(Birds chirping, crow cawing)
Maybe... the best
I can tell you
is that I'm a man.
Well, not a whole man, but...
...but what is a man,
you know?
Well, you could hang
around here,
I'll pay you in food,
you don't mind sleeping
in the car yonder.
(Train horn in distance)
The monks of old
slept in their coffins.
They wasn't as advanced
as we are.
CAL: Oh, hey,
I-- I have something for you.
Here it is.
What is this?
This is courtesy of Bob Giroux
at Harcourt.
I showed him your story
in the Partisan Review.
His exact quote was,
"That young Catholic writer
is an astonishing talent."
He wants to meet you.
-Thanks, Cal.
Hey, we can go together.
You-- you're back next week?
I'll be back,
if it wasn't for my mother,
I'd never see Georgia
ever again.
Now boarding on Track 7,
Crescent Line to New Orleans,
now boarding.
I should come down
and visit it sometime.
You would return
with the curled hair.
(Train signal bell dinging)
You are an angel.
I don't want to be an angel...
...though my relations with them
have improved over time.
You speak with them?
When I was in Catholic school,
I had what the Freudians would
call anti-angel aggression.
I would seclude myself
in a locked room every so often,
and ball up my fist,
and whirl around in circles
knocking out
my guardian angel.
At least trying to dirty up
his feathers a little.
Well, haven't they suffered
I don't know
what angels are,
but I know
what they are not.
And what they are not
is a great comfort to me.
I love you, Flannery.
Well, that's
not a proposal.
You know me, I have--
I have a lot of eggs to fry.
You let me know when you're done
with breakfast, then.
(Train horn blowing)
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Speaking with Lucynell
was like speaking with a dog
who has been trained
to say a few words,
but once addressed,
becomes overcome with
inadequacy and forgets them.
That's a bird.
(Stumbling over pail)
(Chickens squawking)
Now arriving, station stop.
Wilmington, Delaware.
Wilmington, Delaware.
(Paper crinkling)
(Train horn blowing)
Teach her
to say something else.
LUCYNELL (In distance):
What you want her
to say next?
Teach her to say...
..."sugar pie."
Sugar pie.
LUCYNELL (Voice echoing):
(Crow cawing)
(Train horn blowing)
(Train rumbling)
Bird. Bird.
That'll be $3.50.
Sugar pie.
LUCYNELL (Voice echoing):
Yeah okay.
We got three dollars...
Well, that didn't satisfy me
That was just something
a woman in an office did,
paperwork and blood tests.
Well, it satisfied the law.
Well, you can cut
my heart out.
You can look at my heart,
and you wouldn't know
a thing about me.
Well, just look how pretty
Lucynell looks.
She looks
like a baby doll.
Hey, listen.
You got a prize.
What do they know
about my blood, huh?
I mean, what--
Now, I ain't never been
parted with her
for more than two days before.
So, I wouldn't let
no man have her but you,
'cause I've seen you.
You do right.
All right. I'll see you
in a couple of days, okay?
-(Engine starting)
Bye-bye, sugar baby.
-All right, bye.
Take care of her.
Take care of my car!
You hear?
(Horn honking)
("Come Softly To Me" by
The Fleetwoods playing)
The life you save may be
your own.
Come softly, darling
Come softly
Your mama thinks $17.50
is enough for two days.
It takes money.
You got me, girl?
I said--
you know, some people--
some people, they'll do anything
anyhow these days.
The way I think,
I wouldn't marry me a woman
if I couldn't take her on
a trip
like she was somebody.
You know?
I mean, you know,
take her to a hotel,
treat her.
I love, I love you so
Hey, stop it. Hey!
I wouldn't marry
the Duchess of Windsor
if I couldn't take her
on a trip,
and get her to, like, a hotel,
and get her something nice
to eat.
(Tires squealing)
God damn it. Stop!
See, I almost crashed.
I'm sorry. You hungry?
You want to get something
to eat, huh?
How about that?
(Train horn blowing)
(Breathing unsteadily)
Can I help you?
Can I get, uh, two plates
of ham and grits,
please, sir?
Coming right up.
(Train horn blowing
in the distance)
(Jingling change)
Hey. Yeah. Can I...
Just one.
I'll pay for it now.
Just give it to her
when she wakes up, okay?
She looks like
an angel of God.
No. She's a hitcher.
No time,
gotta make Tuscaloosa.
Thought leads to action, right?
What if I could write a poem
about a skunk?
A skunk named Frederick
who smells like
a strawberry malted milkshake.
(Shiflet sighing)
(Car starting)
But I wrote this poem
so honestly,
and I imagine this possibility
of Frank,
the sweet-scented skunk,
so thoroughly
that people saw each and every
black and white creature
slinking around their farmyards
in some new, caring way.
They weren't afraid.
They wondered...
"Is that Frank?"
And could their
newfound interest and curiosity
positively impact all those
slinking, stinky skunks?
I think so.
(Train signal bell dinging)
(Train horn blowing)
Station stop, next stop
is Milledgeville, Georgia.
CAL: And if imagination
impacts reality,
then isn't faith where those
rivers meet?
(Train horn sounds)
Mary Flannery!
Hey, sweetheart.
Well, let me help you
with that.
No. I'll take my typewriter,
thank you.
-You can take my trunk.
-Well, let me take something.
-Thank you.
-All right. Are you all right?
Think Milledgeville
has improved?
It's still here.
Well, two of the stores
have new fronts.
Aunt Katie's sleeping
in the car,
so let's keep our voices down
when we get up there, all right?
What's Dutchess doing
sleeping in the car?
Well, you know,
I don't like to come all the way
out here by myself.
No, there are...
more of them now
than there are of us.
I'm taking you to Dr. Block
on the way home.
I'm not going to Dr. Block.
He will take a personal
interest in you.
None of those doctors
up there'll
take a personal interest
in you.
I don't want anyone taking
a personal interest in me.
-I want to go home.
-What in the world?
Mary Flannery, what are you a
hobo? What is this?
We need to get you
a proper Yankee coat.
I know what
the temperature is,
and I'm old enough
to pick out my own coat--
I know you don't feel well,
but let's try and have
a nicer disposition.
There's no need
to wake up Sissy.
(Train horn blows)
Many governors on both sides
of the Mason and Dixon line
have talked
of the need for unity on
the issue of civil rights.
It's suggested that
the Stevens-Russell team
might provide
the proper balance...
Oh, Mary Flannery.
Hey, sweetheart.
Look at you.
...governors here
are making large
and enthusiastic noises
for General Eisenhower.
Oh, you don't look very well.
Regina, she looks sick.
I know.
I'm taking her to Dr. Block.
I'm not going
to Dr. Block.
She has chills and that rash.
REPORTER: ...would switch to the
general on the second ballot.
She says her arms are too heavy
to lift up to reach
the typewriter.
REPORTER: ...the governors we
already talked to
or where the switches
might come.
You, uh--
You've been writing
any cute stories lately?
Oh, you must be writing
I read that last one
you sent your mama.
I-- I must admit, you know,
it wasn't for me.
Left kind of a-- a bad taste
in my mouth.
Well, you weren't supposed to
eat it.
-Oh, don't be coy.
-REGINA: Oh, come on.
Tell us what you're
working on.
I'm writing a novel.
It's called Wise Blood.
It's about an atheist who sleeps
with a prostitute,
and then starts his own
religion called
The Church of Christ
Without Christ.
I'm thinking at the end, he
might scratch out his own eyes.
A church without Christ?
Like most of the ones
I know.
Well, you can write about
nice people this time.
Maybe you'll be another
Margaret Mitchell.
We need another good book
like Gone with the Wind.
Put the war in it.
That always makes a long book.
I love... that... movie.
That colored gal
that played Mammy,
oh, she just tickles me.
(Both laughing)
It's so nice to see
a respectable Negress.
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
AUNT KATIE: "Ashley, Ashley.
What ever will I do?"
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Sometimes, Ruby Turpin
occupied herself
by naming the classes
of people.
On the bottom of the heap
were most colored people.
Not all, but most of them.
Then, next to them, not above,
just away from,
were the white trash.
Then, above them were
the homeowners,
and above them,
the home and landowners,
to which she and her husband,
Claud, belonged.
Above she and Claud were people
with a lot of money,
and much bigger houses
and much more land.
But here,
the complexity of it
would begin to bear in
on Ruby.
For some of the people
with a lot of money
were common, and ought to be
below she and Claud.
And some of the people
who had good blood
had lost their money
and had to rent.
And then, there were
some colored people
who owned their homes
and land as well.
Sit down.
You know you can't stand on
that leg.
He has an ulcer
on his leg.
(Gasping) My! How did you do
A cow kicked him.
Oh, goodness.
NURSE: The doctor will see you
now, Mr. Mulligan.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Usually, by the time
she had fallen asleep,
all the classes of people
were moiling and roiling
around in her head.
And she would dream they were
all crammed in together
in a boxcar, being ridden off
to be put in a gas oven.
Ooh, Lord.
I wish I could reduce.
Oh, you aren't fat.
Oooh, I am, too.
Oh, Claud, he-- he can eat
all he wants to.
He never weighs more than
175 pounds.
But me? I just--
I look at something good to eat,
and I gain weight.
You-- You can eat all you want
to, can't you, Claud, hmm?
Well, as long as you have
such a good disposition,
I don't think it makes
a bit of difference
what size you are.
You just...
You just can't beat
a good disposition.
You must be in college,
reading a book there.
Lady asked you a question,
Mary Grace.
I have ears.
As we start to pray...
It's wonderful weather,
isn't it?
Oh, well, it's good weather
for cotton,
if you can get the Negroes
to pick it.
But they don't want to
pick cotton anymore.
But you can't get the white
folks to pick it,
and now you can't get
the Negroes,
'cause they got to be
right up there
with the white folk.
They ought to send them
all back to Africa.
That's where they come from
in the first place.
Heap of things worse than
a Negro.
It's all kinds of them.
Like all kinds of us.
Hmm! Yes, indeed.
A heap of things worse.
(Inhaling and exhaling)
(Sheep bleating)
You will be reborn.
But there are only
two spaces available
for you on Earth.
You can either be a nigger
or white trash.
Please, Jesus--
please, just let me
be myself.
Or let me wait until there's
another place available.
-(Sheep bleating)
You have to go
right now,
and I have only
those two spaces,
so make up your mind.
Well, make me
a Negro then,
but-- but not
a trashy one.
Make me a--
a neat, clean,
respectable Negro woman.
but Black.
(Ethereal ringing)
Did you hear that
the Mexicans
want to translate the Bible
into Spanish?
(Wheels on toy clicking)
I think the worst thing in the
world is an ungrateful person.
To have everything
and not appreciate it.
I know a girl whose parents
would give her anything,
who's getting
a good education,
who wears the best clothes,
but who never has a kind word
to say to anyone.
It never hurt anyone
to smile.
It just-- It just makes you
feel better.
Just all over.
Of course.
But there are some people
you can't tell anything to.
Well, if it's one thing I am,
it's grateful.
When I think of...
who all I could have
been beside myself,
and what all I got,
a little bit of everything
and a good disposition besides,
I just...
I just want to shout,
"Oh, thank you, Jesus."
Thank you.
Thank you, Jesus,
for making everything
the way it is."
("Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Oh, thank you, Jesus,
thank you.
What you got
to say to me?
Go back to hell where
you came from, you old warthog!
Nurse! Call the ambulance!
FLANNERY (Narrating):
A visionary light settled
in her eyes.
She could see souls rumbling
into heaven.
There were whole companies
of white trash
and Black folks
in white robes,
battalions of freaks
and lunatics
shouting and leaping
like frogs,
all clean
for the first time.
She could see by their shocked
and altered faces
that even their virtues
were being burned away.
(Pigs snorting)
Sooey. Pig, pig.
(Rooster crowing)
Dear Cal,
I left New York,
24 years old,
and arrived back
in Georgia 107.
My bones feel made
of charcoal,
and the fever continues to
cook 'em.
I aim to get back
to New York soon,
but my mama
is none too favorable
towards any kind of travel
for me at the moment.
But don't worry,
I won't be here long.
Everybody around here thinks
the height of Bohemianism
is wearing slacks
out of the house.
(Ducks quacking)
When I get up there, maybe
you'll be ready for lunch.
y'all should see our new
preacher singing his sermons.
He puts a chair out on
the platform
and he'll call out
for some biblical character
to come out and testify.
He'll say, "Paul, will you
come out and testify?"
And he'll wait for Paul
to sit down,
and then he starts to sing:
Rock of Ages
You know, I think I may have
something in the kitchen
that'll settle
Carramae's stomach,
and you know, I need to speak
with Mary Flannery
alone for a minute,
so why don't you run on home?
-I'll call you when I need you.
-Oh, okay.
Thank you so very much.
Thank you.
You suppose they imagined
that the Apostle Paul
is really coming down
to sit in that chair?
I have no idea
what they imagined.
(Laughing) Look at this.
Dr. Wells gave
an educational meeting
at the college the other day,
and two Negroes-- teachers or
superintendents or something,
they attended.
How'd that go?
Well, everybody's losing
their minds.
They burned a cross
on Dr. Wells's side lawn.
-You think that's funny?
Well, it was too damp out
for a fiery cross,
so they set up
a portable one.
It was lit up with red electric
bulbs. (Laughing)
All these people couldn't have
gone past the fourth grade.
Nice to know
they're so interested
in education all of a sudden.
Mary Flannery, sit-- sit.
Please stay for a minute,
No, I--
I need to be working.
You need to rest.
And to get your strength.
I think I'm strong enough
to type, Regina.
Well, that is not...
...what the doctor says.
And... Dr. Block is coming out
here this morning
to speak with us.
What's this?
What's this for?
Is this for me?
(Door opening)
Chancey says the cow
that's got the bad quarter's
gonna have to see the vet.
Oh, all right, okay. Well, then,
come on, now. Let's go.
Oh, if there's one thing
I don't like, it's needles.
-REGINA: We'll be right back.
-WOMAN: I've always said it.
-This is enormous.
-(Door closing)
It looks like it's for
a farm animal.
I think I'd rather have
Mary Flannery.
You don't have arthritis.
You have lupus.
Now, you're
an adult now.
And you need to know...
your mama, she didn't want
you to worry.
You were already weak,
and she just thought
it would...
She doesn't want you
to think
that there isn't any hope.
Because it's not like
when your daddy had it.
See, nowadays,
nowadays, doctors
don't let young people die.
They give 'em some of these
new medicines.
People don't die...
...like they used to.
Well, that's not
good news...
...but I can't thank you enough
for telling me.
I thought I had lupus,
and I thought I was going crazy.
I'd a lot rather be
sick than crazy.
But don't tell Regina
that you told me,
because if you do,
she'll never tell you anything
ever again.
And I might like to know
something else
about myself sometime.
Thank you.
(Knocking on door)
I'm working.
I told you not to enter my room
when I'm working.
I know that,
but you need to come on down
now, when you're ready.
Rinehart rejected my novel.
I'm sure
that's very disappointing,
but the doctor's
downstairs now.
How long have you known?
Known what?
I look just like Daddy.
No, you don't.
You go talk to the doctor.
I don't need one.
I need a priest.
(Door closing)
(Clock ticking)
(Rooster crowing
in distance)
(Clock chiming)
The reality of death
has come upon me.
And a consciousness
of the power of God
has broken my complacency
like a bullet in the side.
A sense of the dramatic,
of the tragic,
of the infinite,
has descended,
filling me with grief.
(Church bell tolling)
But even more
than grief...
-(Typewriter keys clacking)
-(Train passing)
"Dear Regina,
I have good news.
They tell me I've won
the Rinehart-Iowa
Fiction Award.
It means $750 from a respected
New York publisher
and gives them an option
to publish the novel,
if I can ever finish it.
I hope you and Duchess
are well.
Don't let the new yard man
demoralize the ducks.
Love, MF."
"P.S. Please restrain
from sending me
any more aprons.
I know it will be hard,
but please."
MAN: All right, Flannery,
the room is yours.
This story's called
Parker's Back.
Sarah Ruth
was plain plain.
The skin on her
face was thin
and drawn tight
as the skin on an onion.
And her eyes were gray
and sharp
like the points
of two ice picks.
Come on. God...
Damn it!
God damn it to hell.
-MAN: Jesus Christ.
-We don't talk no filth here.
-MAN: Huh?
We don't talk
no filth here.
MAN: Oh, okay.
Okay, okay, okay.
Hey, hey.
I just-- It's my hand.
I hurt my hand.
I think it's broken.
Let me see.
Your hand's fine.
Well, I'm cured.
All right. Be careful
with me now, all right?
I'm a Navy man.
I've been all around the world.
I could teach you
a thing or two, all right?
This right here,
got this in Cape Horn.
Got this one in Burma.
I got this one here
when I was 15 years old.
Don't tell me. I don't like it.
I ain't got any use for it.
-It's idolatry.
-Hold on a second.
You ought to see the ones
you can't see.
All that there
is nothing better than
what a fool Indian
would do.
Vanity of vanities.
Hold on a second.
You must like one of these
a bit more than the rest.
I mean, take a good look
at this here.
Chicken ain't so bad.
A chicken?
Girly, this is an eagle.
What kind of fool a would put
a chicken on himself?
Well, what kind of a fool
would have any of it?
You saved?
I don't really know
what I would need saving from.
Would a kiss from you
take care of that, though?
What's your name?
O.E. Parker.
What's the "O.E." stand for?
Never mind that.
What's your name?
I'll tell you if you tell me
what them letters
are the short of.
Nah, nah, I can't do that.
You'll just go blabbing it
all around town.
I won't.
I swear.
Swear to God.
All right.
All right. I will then.
That's a secret now. You can't
tell anybody, all right?
Come here close.
My name...
is Obadiah Elihue Parker.
Means "servant of God."
You kids want some apples?
-KIDS: Yeah!
-PARKER: Come on.
Now, I think I'll come by
I'll bring you
some blackberries.
How about that?
-Dive in, everybody. Come on.
-(Kids cheering)
Say "thank you."
Thank you!
FLANNERY (Narrating):
It was as if a blind boy
had been turned so gently
in a different direction
that he did not know
his destination
had been changed.
Parker, no.
Not till I'm married.
-Oh, come on.
-Parker, no!
What, are you,
one of them Suffragettes?
A lesbian?
I don't divide people up
into boys and girls.
I divide them up by irritating
and less irritating.
Well... which am I?
Mm-hmm. There's my answer.
Less irritating.
Parker, wait, no. No, really.
Not till I'm married, Parker.
-Parker, Parker, Parker!
-Ow, ow!
-Not till we're married! No!
-Come on!
Not till
we're married, okay?
this is the man
that made not God
his strength,
but trusted in the abundance
of his richness...
-(Both laughing)
-and the strength in himself.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Sometimes, Parker supposed
she married him to save him.
At other times,
he had the impression
she actually liked
all the things
she said she despised.
He could account for her
one way or another.
It was himself
he didn't understand.
But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the mercy of God
forever and ever.
At the judgment of God,
Jesus is gonna ask you
what you've been doing
all your life
'sides drawing pictures
all over yourself.
you ain't fooling nobody.
You're just worried
that big hefty blonde woman
I've been working for is going
to come around one day
and say, "Hey, Mr. Parker,
why don't you and me
just go take off together?"
Now, you are tempting sin.
You should have seen her
the first time she seen me
with my shirt off.
She looked
at me and said,
"Why, Mr. Parker, you are
a regular old panorama."
Now, at the judgment of God,
you'll have to answer
for that too.
See, I'm thinking I'm going to
put a Bible verse
right here on my back
so you have something better
to read.
Now, ain't I...
already got myself
a real fire.
Yeah, but I want you
looking at me.
All right.
(Both grunting)
Lift up.
(Parker laughing)
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Parker understood
why he married her.
He couldn't have her
any other way.
But he couldn't understand
why he stayed with her now.
She would be pregnant soon,
and pregnant women
were not his favorite kind.
He thought of his own head
as a switchbox
where he controlled from.
But with her, he could only
imagine the outside in.
The whole black world
in her head,
big enough to include the sky
and the planets.
Shut your mouth.
Whatever had been or would be.
I wanna show
you something
and then I don't want to hear
another word.
When he closed his eyes,
he could see
some type of star.
The kind of star
on a Christmas card.
But he couldn't hold the star
steady in his mind.
He felt as if he were blocked
at the entrance of something,
or as if he was at
the beginning of something
that didn't have a beginning.
He saw the star moving
farther and farther away
into darkness, until he
Sarah Ruth
was the pinpoint of light.
A ferocious thud
propelled him into the air.
He landed on his back
while the tractor
crashed sideways
and the tree burst
into flames.
He could feel the hot breath of
the burning tree on his face.
If he had known
how to cross himself,
he would have done it.
(Tree cracking)
Hey, open up!
FLANNERY: Parker longed
miserably for Sarah Ruth.
Her sharp tongue
and ice pick eyes
were the only comfort
he could bring to mind.
She can't say she don't like
the looks of God.
(Needle buzzing)
(Billiard balls clack)
Then, a calm descended on him,
as nerve-shattering as
if the long, barn-like room
were a ship from which Jonah
had been cast into the sea.
It was as if he were himself,
but a stranger to himself,
driving into a new country,
though everything he saw
was familiar.
That blonde woman was here and
she ain't as hefty as you said.
You're gonna have
to pay every penny
on that tractor you busted. She
don't keep the insurance on it.
What you doing wasting
electricity in the daylight?
-I ain't got to look at you.
-Shut your mouth!
You ain't gonna have none of me
this morning.
Look at me, all right?
Look at me. I want to show you
something, okay?
I wanna show you something
and then I don't want to hear
another word.
-Not another word.
-Don't touch me.
I should've known you was off
putting more trash--
Well, just look at it,
all right?
-Just look at it.
-I done looked.
PARKER: Don't you know
who that is?
Look! Don't you know
who that is?
Who is it?
Ain't nobody I know.
It's Him, all right?
It's-- It's Him!
-Him who?
-Him! It's-- It's God.
Just look at it
for a second.
Just look. Huh?
FLANNERY (Narrating):
He felt as though
under her gaze,
he was as transparent
as the wing of a fly.
God don't look like that.
What you mean?
How do you know? You don't know
what God look.
You ain't never
seen him before.
He don't look.
He's a spirit.
No man shall see his face.
Come on.
This is just a picture of him.
No! Parker, no!
This is just a picture of him.
No! No! That's idolatry,
Parker. Parker!
Stop! Stop! Ah!
Idolatry! Parker!
Sarah Ruth screamed.
Still gripping the broom,
she looked toward
the pecan tree
and her eyes hardened
still more.
There he was, who called
himself Obadiah Elihue...
...crying like a baby.
(Rustling pages)
-The thing I struggle with is--
-Hey, Walter...
There won't be any critical
dissecting this afternoon.
Workshop's over for the day.
Creativity is nature
manifest in us.
It is you inside us
Writing is dead
without you.
Oh, Lord,
please rise in me.
Make this dead
desire living.
You are the slim crescent moon
that I see,
and myself
is the earth's shadow
that keeps me from seeing
all the moon.
Help me feel
that I will give up
every earthly thing for this.
...every earthly thing
for this.
-I do not mean becoming a nun--
-Hey. Who are you talking to?
-(Glass shattering)
-Oh, God.
-It's Cal. It's you.
-I didn't-- I'm sorry.
No. I'm--
I'm scared to death.
-I should be working.
-(Music and voices inside)
You know,
I don't even like parties.
I think whoever invented
the cocktail party
ought to be drawn
and quartered.
And I think my ankles
are soaked in Beefeater.
Well, uh, I can get you
some vermouth,
and they'll be--
they'll be perfect.
No, really, I-- I came to pay
my respects to you,
and in some way
I've done that.
And I think
I should go home.
No. No, no, no, no,
no, no, no.
Please stay. Please. Please
stay. Yeah.
-I won't be any good in there.
-CAL: I need--
I need your help.
Uh, I'm finding this party
to be so-- so trying.
If you are here,
I could be assured of
at least one conversation
that isn't sordid
or gossipy,
or about some abstract
aesthetic theory.
Well, that's
high praise, Cal.
It's true.
You got any food
in there?
Chicken a la king.
Well, then maybe
for a minute then.
It's just that I hadn't eaten
all day.
Thank you.
Your story...
Parker's Back.
...it's good.
(Dog barking)
Thank you.
...canonize... you...
...Saint Flannery.
-Take a swig.
Ah, there you are.
Of course, your party
filled with adoring students,
and you vanish.
I don't even know
half of those people, Cal.
Elizabeth, Flannery.
Flannery, Elizabeth.
Hi. I-- I've read your book.
I liked it right much.
I was very impressed.
Oh, thank you.
Welcome to Cal's party.
He's very important.
He's won a Pulitzer.
-Come on.
-(Ping-pong balls clack)
What a rare
mood I'm in
Why, it's almost like being
in love
When I was seven years old,
my daddy and I had a chicken
that walked backwards.
There's a smile
on my face...
Path News came all the way
to Georgia
to make a newsreel of it.
I was in it, too.
I was only there
to assist the chicken,
but it was the high point
of my life.
Everything since
has been anticlimax.
Is she good?
She's the most promising writer
in the class.
Ouch, Walter, he said that
right in front of you.
(Clearing throat)
Congrats on winning
the Rinehart.
-Oh, you won that?
-Oh, sorry.
-Definitely beating you now.
Can I give you some advice
You should use
the word "Negro."
-Instead of that other word.
The people I'm writing about
would never dream of
using any other word.
Just a friendly warning.
And I prefer not
to tidy up reality.
I'm not tidying up reality.
What you're talking about
is propaganda,
and propaganda even on the side
of the angels
only makes it worse.
The truth doesn't change
according to your ability
to stomach it.
Hey. I was just trying
to be nice to you.
Well, I guess you're up.
So, my question is,
do Christians,
do Catholics,
do whoever,
pick-- pick one,
believe that they're actually
eating Jesus?
-Like cannibals.
I'm just saying.
And if so, then how can you
stand on a moral high ground?
Well, Walter, the question seems
to be, to me,
whether a person believes that
we are created in God's image,
or whether he believes that
we create God in our own.
Now, I don't know
the answer,
but I do remember,
as a child,
when I would stand in line
to receive the Host,
I always thought of it
as the Holy Ghost.
That's beautiful.
He seemed like the most portable
person of the Trinity.
Now, I think of the Eucharist
as a lovely,
expressive symbol...
The synecdoche of God.
If it's a symbol,
then to hell with it.
Uh, it's a lot harder to believe
than not to believe.
What people don't understand
is how much religion costs.
They think that faith is a...
big electric blanket,
when really, it's the cross.
("I Got Loaded"
by Peppermint Harris playing)
Dropped into a tavern
Saw some friends of mine
The party
was gettin' underway
And the truth
was really flyin'
And I got loaded
I got loaded
(Cat meowing)
There are many who say
that a dog has its day,
and a cat has
a number of lives.
There are others who think
that a lobster is pink
and that bees
never work in their hives.
I got loaded
-(Women exclaiming)
-(Glasses clink)
(Cat meowing)
Your eyes had no bottom.
They can see more.
-MAN: I did not lie.
-WOMAN: You lied.
-I didn't lie.
-You lied.
MAN: You have your truth,
I have mine.
There is only one truth.
In that there is no truth.
(Door slamming)
FLANNERY: All my thoughts are
so far away from God,
He may as well
not have made me.
(Chickens clucking)
(Rooster crowing)

Here's Mary O'Connor,
of Savannah, Georgia,
holding the only chicken
in the world
that actually
walks backwards.
When she advances,
she retreats,
to go forward,
she goes back.
When she looks ahead,
she's going astern,
and when she arrives,
she's really leaving.
-(Breathing heavily)
-(Church bell tolling)
(Choir singing in Latin)
(Singing in Latin continues)
Dear God, please, help me
to eliminate my picky,
fishbone way of doing things.
I can never seem to
escape myself
unless I'm writing,
and, strangely,
I'm never more myself
than when I'm writing.
Is there no way for me to
into something bigger?
REGINA: Don't slouch.
Thank you.
I don't want to die.
Please, give me
one good story.
Let me be
your typewriter.
(Typewriter keys clacking)
(Typewriter dinging)
We only live once.
And by-- by paying
just a little bit more for it,
I, at least, I won't meet myself
coming and going.
I mean, this hat
looked much better on me
than any of the others.
And when I bought it, I said,
"Take this thing back.
I won't have it on my head."
And the lady person said,
"Now, wait till you try it on."
So I did,
and she said, "Now,
you do something for that hat,
and that hat,
it does something for you."
She said,
"With that hat,
you won't miss yourself
coming and going."
(Passersby chatting)
I like it, Mother.
With the way the world is,
it's a wonder
we can enjoy anything.
I tell you,
the bottom rail is on top.
Let's skip it.
You know, I remember this
old darky who was my nurse,
Caroline, there was no better
person in the world.
For God's sakes, Mother,
please come off the subject.
(Choir singing in Latin)
Why must you always dress
like this when we go into town?
You look like a gangster.
Nobody cares
what I look like.
I care.
I can be gracious to anybody.
I know who I am.
Nobody gives a damn about
your graciousness,
and you haven't the foggiest
idea of who you are.
I most certainly do know
who I am,
and if you don't,
I'm ashamed of you.
Oh, hell.
(Choir singing in Latin)
Your grandfather
was the former governor
of this state.
Your grandmother
was a Godhigh.
And your great-grandfather,
he owned a plantation
and 200 slaves.
Luckily, people are not allowed
to be bought and sold anymore.
Except when they dress it up
like a wedding.
Hmm. What would you know
about a wedding?
Colby, come on, baby.
Be still, be still.
Come on.
(Choir singing in Latin)

Ooh, isn't he cute?
Oh, I think he likes me.
Stop all this mess.
Quit this foolishness,
sit up straight.
Sit up straight. Sit up.
(Coins jingling)
MOTHER: I want to give
that boy a nickel.
Mother, Mother,
he won't like it.
MOTHER: Oh, I can't find nothing
but a penny.
Don't do that.
MOTHER: Oh, but it looks like
shiny new.
-JULIAN: Put your purse away--
-MOTHER: Little boy?
MOTHER: Hey-hey, woo-hoo!
Little boy, look,
I got a bright new penny.
I got a nice shiny penny
just for you.
Uh-huh. Ooh, got it?
There you go.
He don't take...
nobody's pennies!
(Penny clatters on sidewalk)
(Crow cawing)
That's why I told you
not to do that.
In the future,
please spare me
any more moral lectures
on the race problem.
I-- I will no longer allow you
to confine my friendships
based on matters of race.
I want to go home.
Oh, what? You think that was
just one uppity Negro woman?
It wasn't.
That was all colored people
telling you that
they won't take your
condescending pennies anymore.
Don't act like it's the end
of the world, 'cause it ain't.
We are going to
your reducing class
'cause you are fat.
-Fat, Mama!
I need to go.
-Mama, come on!
-I wanna go home.
(Crows cawing)
JULIAN: Mother,
where are you going?
I'm not walking any further.
-(Crows cawing)
-Going home.
Tell Grandpa
to come get me!
Tell Caroline.
Tell Caroline
to come get me.
Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama.
Mama. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I'll take you home.
Mama, I'll take you.
Mama. Mama, I'm sorry.
Help me!
Uh, well...
I don't understand...
...why you don't wanna write
that people
would like to read.
I mean, it's not exactly
Harper's BAZAAR now, is it?
Harper's BAZAAR?
But do--
Do you really think you're using
the talent God gave you,
if you don't write something
that a lot--
a lot of people like?
That is a literary magazine.
Do they pay?
Yes, they pay.
They don't pay a lot.
But those are
the kinds of magazines
that help establish
a writer's reputation.
Well, reputations
don't buy groceries.
I'm thinking of ordering me
a peacock.
-A peacock?
Don't those things
eat flowers?
No, they eat Startena,
like the rest of 'em.
I-- I don't know.
I'll need a new hobby
if I'm gonna be
a decoration around here.
You know,
you might want to consider being
a little more friendly.
I'm not gonna
let you die.
(Rooster crowing)
(Chickens clucking)
Dear Cal, I'm making out fine,
in spite of
any conflicting stories.
Me and the novel are stuck in
the Georgia wilderness
at my bird sanctuary
for a few months,
waiting to see
how much of an invalid
I'm going to get to be.
In a sense, sickness is
a place more instructive
than a long trip to Europe.
I'm writing and revising
the novel,
but it's so bad
at present
that I'm writing
a lot of short stories
as to not have
to look at it.
I'm getting up a collection
that I plan on calling
A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
If you make any trips,
I hope you will include
(Crutches thudding
against stairs)
Learning to walk
on these crutches,
I feel like a large,
stiff, anthropoid ape
who has no cause to be thinking
about St. Thomas or Aristotle
and instead should be thinking
about bananas.
Oh, baby.
You'll be walking on 'em
just as good as new in no time.
You'll get used to 'em.
Hey, did I ever tell you
about that time
that my little pony, Patina,
reared up and hit me
in the head?
-Did I ever tell you that?
-Maybe once or twice.
Well, I was out lunging her--
oh, okay.
I was out lunging
her one day...
Lord, I do not want
to be lonely all my life.
...Well, she'd had enough of it.
Just had...
People only make me lonelier
by reminding me of you.
...reared up on me,
smacked me in the forehead,
left a hoof print on my forehead
for 37 days.
You should have seen
your grandmother.
She came flying out of
the kitchen door.
"That pony's gonna kill you.
That pony's gonna kill you."
I'm reading Mr. Kafka,
and I'm understanding more
about his problem of grace.
God's love
is always available.
(Exhaling sharply)
And the more we suffer,
the closer you come.
(Crickets chirping)
But it is still so difficult
to want to suffer.
Lord, please grant
me grace...
(Thunder rumbling)
...and please,
if possible...
...don't make it as painful
as it was for Mr. Kafka.
(Thunder rumbling outside)
(Thudding, clattering)
Oh, my God. Mary Flannery!
Oh, my God. No. Do not move.
Do not--
I'm calling the doctor.
I'm not climbing
those stairs anymore.
MAN: Mary Flannery?
Mary Flannery?
Ah, there she is.
(Glasses clinking)
Forgive me
for waking you up.
Father Flynn?
Are you... are you here
to give me Extreme Unction?
No, no, no.
Regina requested a visitation.
Thank you.
Regina, I'd like to speak
to the father alone, please.
(Breathing raggedly)
Thank you for coming.
Happy to do it.
Happy to do it.
How do you feel?
I feel awful.
The cortisone shots make me
think night and day, and then,
the blood transfusions
knock me out again.
-I feel awful.
I feel like I got no blood.
Ah, you've got enough
for a Southern girl.
Confession and communion
will sort you out.
(Rain falling outside)
Father, I'm afraid.
Afraid of what?
You'll be the pallbearer
at my funeral
like you were for my father,
or worse, I'll be stuck here
for the rest of my life.
I wasn't a pallbearer.
I conducted the mass.
I'm sorry, Father.
I thought...
Now, I want you to read these.
That'll sort you out.
"Preserve the Lily
of Innocence."
Have you read Joyce?
-James Joyce.
Haven't met him.
No, he's a great writer.
It-- him.
Yes, he's banned in Ireland,
of course.
Are you a--
a writer, yourself?
I want to be.
Well, you'll never learn to be
good at anything without prayer.
You can't love Jesus
if you don't talk to him.
I do talk to him.
(Thunder sounding in distance)
I try every day.
I say, "Oh, God, please,"
and "I must," and
"please, please."
But I don't know him,
because I'm in the way.
I long for grace.
I see it.
I know it's there,
but I can't touch it.
My faith rises
and falls in me
like the tide of
an invisible sea.
It's torment.
But then I think
that might be the process
by which faith
can be deepened.
Maybe God finds us
in the darkness
and not in the light.
Maybe faith is a little more
like marriage,
that when you get into it,
you find it is the beginning
and not the end
of how to make love work.
But I don't know anything
about marriage.
(Breathing deeply)
FLANNERY: I spend my days
injecting myself
with the pituitary glands
of poor, slaughtered pigs.
And I do know
that mystery isn't
gradually evaporating.
It grows with more knowledge.
Today's Christians,
like my mother, for example,
operate by the slide rule.
And the church for them is
a poor man's insurance company,
the Elks Club.
FLANNERY: But I don't want it
to be fear
which keeps me
in the church.
I don't want to be a coward,
staying with Him
because I fear hell.
Though hell seems
a great deal more feasible
than my weak mind in heaven.
No doubt because hell is a more
earthly-seeming thing.
If we could
accurately map heaven,
some of our
up-and-coming scientists
would begin drawing blueprints
for its improvement,
and the bourgeois would sell
guides ten cents a copy
to all over 65.
I don't mean to be clever.
Although I do mean
to be clever.
And I want you to think so.
What I pray for
is ridiculous.
My demands are absurd.
I want to be a mystic,
but I am cheese.
I am the moth
who would be king.
Shh, shh, shh.
(Whispering in Latin)
You don't need to see grace.
It's always here.
(Flannery sniffling)
FATHER: You resist it
because grace changes us,
and change is bloody painful.
This notion
that grace is healing
omits that, before it heals,
it cuts with a sword
that Christ said
He came to bring.
The way to gladness
begins with a hard blow.
Joy is sorrow overcome.
How can I be a good Catholic?
Give alms, Mary Flannery.
Serve others.
A full heart,
enriched by honest service,
love, sacrifice,
and courage.
You mean like charity.
I fear the only thing I'll ever
be able to do is write.
-Then write.
-But my writing is scandalous.
Can it still serve God?
People are always
imagining themselves
to be scandalized
by one thing or another.
Banning choice
is your disease.
Is your writing honest?
Is your conscience clear?
Then the rest
is God's business.
In the end,
it's all straw.

I suppose I can
take being sick
if I have the strength
to write a little each day.
With God's help, you can even
see it all as a blessing.
Now, should we try
at a proper confession?
(Speaking Latin)
(Typewriter clicking)
Oh, y'all should see
our new preacher
singing his sermon.
He puts a chair out
on the platform,
and he'll call out
for some biblical character
to come up and testify.
MRS. FREEMAN: I'm gonna go
start on those bulbs
and check on Carramae.
She's thrown up
four times after supper.
The Idiot?
You would get something
called Idiot.
What's it about?
An idiot.
Mrs. Cedars?
(Chickens clucking)
-Mrs. Cedars?
(Footsteps approaching)
Good morning,
Mrs. Cedars.
I'm Mrs. Hopewell.
I-- I--
Well, I saw it said
The Cedars on the mailbox,
so I thought you
was Mrs. Cedars.
-Mrs. Hopewell.
I hope you are well.
FLANNERY: I've come to speak to
you of serious things.
Lady, I've come
to speak of serious things.
(Typewriter dinging)
(Ducks quacking)
How may I help you?
Mrs. Hopewell, you believe
in the Christian service?
Oh, yes.
And you're a good woman.
-Friends have told me.
What are you selling?
What are you selling?
And you have
a beautiful home.
But I see you have no family
bible in your parlor.
"Well, you might as well
put those bibles up.
"I don't want any."
I don't want to buy a bible,
and-- and I smell
my dinner burning.
MAN: Well, lady,
I'll tell you the truth.
I'm just a country boy.
Oh, well,
I think good country people
are the salt of the earth.
Well, I think there
aren't enough
good country people
in the world.
It-- that's what I think's
wrong with it.
I didn't introduce myself.
I'm Manley Pointer, from out in
the country around Willohobie.
Not even from a place,
just from near a place.
I need to see to my dinner.
Of course.
Get rid of the salt of the earth
and let's eat.
I can't be rude to anybody.
(Chickens clucking)
I heard some farms are breeding
chickens without wings.
That way we get
more white meat.
It's a whole society
of wingless chickens.
That's why Nietzsche says
God is dead.
-Joy, here, is a writer.
Yeah. She spends all day long
up in her room writing.
-Lord knows what.
She looks like a writer.
It must come easy for you.
It's like giving birth
to a piano sideways.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Bible salesman
with a bad heart.
Strange, I could seduce him
quite easily,
but then I'd have to reckon
with his remorse.
(Water pump squeaking)
(Chickens clucking)
You ever ate a chicken
that was two days old?
It must have been mighty small!
-How old are you?
I see you got a wooden leg.
What's your name?
I ain't never heard of
anybody named Hulga before.
My mama named me Joy.
I changed it to Hulga
when I went away to school.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Her mind, clear and detached
and ironic anyway,
was regarding him
from a great distance
with amusement, with pity.
I like girls
that wear glasses.
I think a lot.
I'm not like one of these people
that serious thoughts
don't ever enter their heads.
Because I may die, Hulga.
HULGA: You and I have
the same condition.
I may die too.
Listen, don't you think some
people are just meant to meet
on account of what they got
in common and all?
(Hulga scoffing)
Like they both think
serious thoughts and all?
I don't work Saturday.
Couldn't we go on a picnic?
Say yes, Hulga.
Say yes.
She decided
for the first time
in her life,
she was face to face
with real innocence.
I guess God
takes care of you.
No, I don't believe in God.
(Birds singing)
That's very unusual
for a girl.
(Crow cawing)
FLANNERY: She had never
been kissed before
and she was pleased
to discover
that it was
an unexceptional experience,
and all a matter
of the mind's control.
Some people
might enjoy drain water
if they were told
it was vodka.
-(Horses neighing)
-(Cows mooing)
(Manley chuckles)
Well, come on if you're coming!
Okay, I'm coming.
I love you.
I love you.
I said it,
now, you gotta say it.
I don't have illusions.
I'm one of those people
who see through to nothing.
Okay, okay, okay.
Okay, but do you love me
or don't you?
You poor baby.
I mean...
...makes sense
you don't understand.
We are all damned.
But some of us
have taken off our blindfolds
and see that
there is nothing to see.
It's a kind of salvation.
Okay, okay, okay, but do you
love me or don't you?
I'm a great deal
older than you,
and I have
a number of degrees.
I don't care.
I don't care a thing
about all you've done.
I just want to know
if you love me or don't you.
(Wind blowing)
Okay, okay, okay,
then prove it.
Show me where
your wooden leg joins on.
Show me where
your wooden leg joins on.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
She was as sensitive
about her leg as a peacock
about his tail.
No one ever
touched it but her.
She took care of it as someone
else would his soul.
(Laughing nervously)
All right.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
She was thinking
that she would run away
with him.
And that every night,
he would take the leg off,
and every morning
put it back on again.
(Horse neigh echoing)
(Breathing deeply)
Now, will you let me show you
how to put it back on?
Oh, come on, now.
You got me instead.
-Just give me my leg.
Wait, wait, wait, wait.
(Latches clicking)
Take a swig.
Um, uh...
I thought you were
just good country people.
Yeah, but it
ain't held me back none.
Come on, now,
I'm as good as you
any day in the week.
I know.
So give me my leg.
Oh, come on, now.
FLANNERY (Narrating):
Without her leg,
she felt entirely dependent
on him.
Her brain seemed to have
stopped thinking altogether
and to be about
some other function
that it was not
entirely good at--
Not very good at.
Without her leg, she seemed
entirely dependent on him.
MANLEY: What's the matter
with you all of a sudden?
And I thought
you were a Christian.
A fine Christian.
I hope you don't think
I believe in that crap.
Listen, I may sell bibles,
but I know which end is up,
and I wasn't born yesterday.
And I know
where I'm going.
Hey. Give me my leg!
(Horses neighing)
I've gotten a lot of
interesting things.
One time I got
a woman's glass eye this way.
(Horses neighing)
And you needn't to think
you'll catch me
'cause Pointer
ain't really my name.
I use a different name
at every house I call at
and don't stay nowhere long.
And I'll tell you
another thing, Hulga,
you ain't so smart!
Come on.
I been believing in nothing
ever since I was born.
(Typewriter keys clicking)
FLANNERY (Narrating):
What's more comic and terrible
than an angular,
intellectual woman
approaching God
inch by inch...
(Typewriter clicking)
...with grinding teeth?
(Crows cawing)
(Sighing deeply)
(Train whistle in distance)
(Train signal bell dinging)
CAL: Dear Flannery,
you must feel better soon.
I miss you, and I hope
your health is safe.
I've been reading that Thomas
Merton book I gave you.
I hope you are too.
Listen to this.
"At the center of our being
is a point or a spark
which belongs
entirely to God."
"It is like a pure diamond...
blazing with
the invisible light
of heaven."
(Conductor blows whistle)
"It is in everybody.
And if we could see it,
we would see these
billion points of light
coming together in the face
and blaze of a sun
that would make
all the darkness
and cruelty of life vanish.
(Peacocks cooing)
CAL: "I have no program
for this seeing.
It is only given,
but the gate of heaven...
is everywhere."
(Peacocks cooing)
CAL: I wish I could come
and visit, but I won't be
making it down there
to see you anytime soon,
as Elizabeth
and I are getting married.

(Geese squawking overhead)

FLANNERY: In the very depths
of our imagination,
springs forward our reality.
I sense you have
implanted in me,
in all of us, a desire
irresistible, hallowing,
which makes us cry out,
believer and unbeliever alike,
'Make us want.'
(Footsteps approaching)
You didn't come down
for breakfast.
'Cause it tastes like
a horse blanket.
Hopefully soon you'll
be able to have salt again.
Or milk, or eggs, or cheese,
or anything I like.
The treatment is worse
than the disease.
You gotta eat.
Have you tried it?
Have I tried--
Lord, no. I wouldn't eat that.
Nothing but plain oats.
Tastes like a horse blanket.
Oh, and I saw your peacock
having his breakfast
this morning.
You were right
about him eating Startena.
He also eats everything else.
No, he got every single one
of my Herbert Hoover roses.
And when he's not eating 'em,
he's sitting on top of 'em.
Well, what good is he?
He hasn't even put up
his tail feathers.
-Now, what ails him?
-Nothing ails him.
He'll put it up.
You just have to wait.
I just have to get a wire fence
around my flowers.
(Breathing deeply)
It's nice you got this view
while you're writing.
I bet it helps.
Thank you, Mama.
(Footsteps receding)
-(Table scraping)
(Chair scraping)
I used to have the notion
that the life
of my writing depended
on my staying away.
I would certainly have
persisted in that delusion
had I not gotten very ill
and had to come home.
I thought it'd be
the ending of any creation...
...any writing,
any work for me.
Now, I see it as
only the beginning.
Everything that rises
must converge.

To Canaan's land,
I'm on my way
Where the soul of man
never dies
My darkest night
will turn to day
Where the soul of man
never dies
Dear friends there'll be
no sad farewells
There'll be
no tear-dimmed eyes
Where all is love,
and peace, and joy
And the soul of man
never dies
The rose is blooming
there for me
Where the soul of man
never dies
And I will
spend eternity
Where the soul of man
never dies
Dear friends there'll be
no sad farewells
There'll be
no tear-dimmed eyes
Where all is love,
and peace, and joy
And the soul of man
never dies

Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
(Rhythmic clapping)
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
Lord, Lord
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
Lord, Lord
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
Lord, Lord
(Birds singing)