Northern Exposure s03e08 Episode Script

A-Hunting We Will Go

It's a clear 48 degrees in Cicely, Alaska, North American continent, planet Earth.
This is Chris in the Morning on K-Bear.
It's crisp, clean mornings such as these that take me back to the Wheeling, West Virginia of my childhood, mornings when my dad would turn to my Uncle Roy Bower and say, "Put the boy in the truck, Roy.
We're goin' huntin'.
" I'd be in the back with the sky whipping by overhead, and up in the cab, Dad and Uncle Roy Bower would be passing the white lightning.
Anyway, friends and neighbors, it's time once again for my annual hunt with Holling Vincoeur on these, the last few days of hunting season.
Holling, with the single-lens reflex, me with my Winchester, heading off into the forest primeval to hunt us up some wild beasts.
Speaking of which, there goes Maggie O'Connell down Main Street right now, with what appears to be a nice-looking Hey, Fleischman, what's up? Boy, look at the size of this guy.
What, was he jaywalking and you ran into him? - I shot him.
- You shot him? - Uh-huh.
He's a beauty, isn't he? - Yesterday he was a beauty.
Today he's a dead animal strapped to the back of a truck.
Yeah.
Look at him, O'Connell.
Look at all those noble antlers.
I mean, how long you think it took him to achieve antlers like this? - Rack.
- What? We say rack, Fleischman, not antlers.
This is awful, O'Connell.
How could you do something like this? Oh, you eat meat, don't you, Fleischman? Well, say hello to meat.
This isn't meat.
This is a majestic animal living by its wits in the wild.
Was a majestic animal living by its wits in the wild.
You know, what do you know about majestic or wild or even animals for that matter? Oh, unless of course we're talking about thoroughly demoralized animals living huddled behind bars in an urban zoo.
There's a moral imperative involved here, O'Connell.
- Oh, really? What is it? - Yeah.
For a person to derive pleasure out of causing the death of a vibrant, living thing- that's ethically wrong.
Not to mention, morally repugnant and personally reprehensible.
What do you know about it, Fleischman? You know nothing.
You think life is an intellectual construct, a set of deeply held personal beliefs that has absolutely nothing to do with reality as we know it out here in morally reprehensible Alaska.
Okay, explain this to me.
Really, I wanna know.
No, you don't.
No, you don't.
You just wanna lecture.
What gives you the right to be a murderer of animals for your own pleasure? My hunting license.
Is this it? No, here.
Oh, I see.
I think.
Can't even have a rational, intelligent discussion devoid of personal innuendo in this godforsaken hole in the wall.
Morning, Dr.
Fleischman.
Feeling homesick for New York, Joel? How dare she declare my values, my dearly held personal beliefs, null and void, just because I haven't personally squeezed the trigger and mounted a head on the wall.
- Who's she? - Maggie.
Oh.
All righty.
How's the foot? Oh, much better.
How soon can I get on my feet? Sunday after next is Sadie Hawkins night at the church social.
Well, broken bones take time to heal, Ruth-Anne, even if it is just a hairline fracture of the fifth metatarsal.
Well, can I lose the cane then? It slows me down.
Yeah, that's the general idea.
I told you to stay off that foot.
I told you to sit, and I told you to keep it elevated.
I am.
I even have Ed working full-time in the store.
Well, good.
Look, the swelling's gone down.
Ruth-Anne, let me ask you something.
You ever hunt? - Oh, yes.
I used to hunt a lot.
- What do you like about it? Um, skinning the animal.
Pulling the hide off.
Uh, you have to eviscerate them right away or the blood can saturate the meat.
And you don't have a problem with any of that? Occasionally.
Pangs of guilt? General remorse? Getting the big guys up on the truck.
- Marilyn, do you ever hunt? - Fish.
We get an early enough start, we can be over at High Weeds by, like, late afternoon.
We don't get anything up, still got time to get over to Sure Man's Slough.
High Weeds? That's a pretty fair distance.
We could just try right over there at, uh, Broken Wing.
Broken Wing? Never any birds over there, Holling.
Well, the thing is, Chris, I'd kinda like to make this a one-dayer.
Anything longer than that, it's hard on Shelly.
How do you mean? Well, she can get lonely over here all by herself.
I don't know.
I think she might be looking forward to getting you out of her hair.
Hey.
Would you explain something to me about this hunting thing? There's an animal.
It's nibbling on a bush, relaxing, whatever.
You sneak up.
You put a bullet in its brain.
Wh-Where is the sport in this? Well, that's one way of looking at it, Joel.
On the other hand, they expect it of us, right, Holling? The animals expect us to prematurely end their natural lives? Well, they know it's our natural place on the food chain.
Well, why do you think we have these incisors, you know? It's for tearing into the meat.
Blood dripping off the fangs.
Plus, it's best to kill the meat before you eat it, otherwise you tend to hear it scream, right, Holling? Well, fine, but - but God also gave us Sizzler and Safeway and T-bones wrapped in little cellophane packages from animals that don't know a better way of life.
Well, I'd rather get my brains blown out in the wild than wait in terror at the slaughterhouse.
- Yeah, but you don't hunt anymore, Holling.
- Well, that's personal choice, Joel.
I mean, it in no way reflects a larger social agenda.
Hey, take the Nazca Indians.
They believe to this day that the destruction of their people came from eating domestic instead of wild animals.
We're predators, Joel, with eyes in the front of our head, like other predators- wolves and bears and owls.
Right, right.
I mean, we may be 400 generations removed from the African Pliocene, when we woke up in the morning with spears in our hands, but, you know, there's no better antidote for our current domestication than stalking some wild beast through the tall timbers.
- Plus, bottom line, it's a gas, right, Holling? - Well, that's the truth.
Nothing like putting the brakes on something that's moving.
I'm telling you right now.
Huh.
Take me along.
- Huntin'? - Yeah, I wanna go.
Take me with you.
Well, it's not exactly deluxe accommodations out there, Joel.
It's okay.
See, O'Connell is right.
I mean, what do I actually know about hunting? I'm a scientist, and it's my job, my responsibility, to gather empirical evidence before I reach a conclusion.
I- I have to do this.
I need to hunt.
What do you say? Hey, Ed, what do you think about this hunting thing? - Me? What do I think? - Yeah.
Do you like it? Well, it's all right.
It's a lot easier to just go over and eat at Holling's though.
Right.
On the sunscreen, Joel, number 10 or 15? Ooh, I don't know.
The ozone layer being what it is, you don't have anything PABA-free? I have something in the back room, number 45.
- Nothing gets through that.
- I'll get it.
- I didn't think Ed could move that fast.
- He's showing a real aptitude, Joel.
There could be a future for him working in a store.
Wow! I used to have one of these when I was a kid, but it was rubber.
- Wh-What's this for? - Gutting.
Lovely.
Hey, Fleischman, I dropped off your overnight letter that took up valuable space in my airplane and further taxed our world's dwindling oil supply.
Yeah? My coffee from Zabar's? Yes.
And, Fleischman, I have a quick turnaround in Anchorage tomorrow, so if you could drop by the airfield to pick up your own New York Times.
- I can't.
- Why not? - I am going hunting.
- You're going hunting? - Crack of dawn.
- Wait a minute.
Dr.
Joel Fleischman, spokesman for majestic animals of the wilderness, - is going to commit "Bambicide"? - Birds.
We're gonna kill birds.
- We? - Me, Chris and Holling.
You? You, who thought it was cruel and barbaric, disgusting and immoral, - you're gonna kill an innocent fowl? - Yeah, you're right, O'Connell.
If I'm gonna judge something, I should know what it is.
Well, so you decided to step out of your narrow little mind-set, your narrow little world and deviate from your ritualized little existence.
- I'm impressed.
- Hey, I deviated plenty in New York, so don't talk to me about varied and unusual experiences.
I'm going hunting.
I'm going to kill something.
I'll take that stand and I'll live with it.
And I'm doing it to prove to myself and to you what I already know to be true.
Which is what? That hunting's immoral, cowardly and selfish, with no redeeming personal or social value.
Have fun, Fleischman.
Don't shoot yourself in the foot.
Kosher chicken soup.
It's good for colds, so it might be good for bones too.
Uh, did anything leap out at you from the video shelf? Reversal of Fortune.
And, in case we're not into it, The Fortune Cookie.
I like the cut of your jib, Ed.
Thanks.
- Almost forgot, you got mail too.
- Oh, good.
Thank you.
Chicago.
It's from Matt.
- Your son that's a poet? - No, that's Rudy.
Matt is mergers and acquisitions.
Strange kid, that Matthew.
"I've got something to say to you, sidekick.
" "Quit kicking me in the side.
"Keep on trucking, Mama.
! Happy seven five.
" It's your birthday.
It was yesterday.
You're 75 years old? Yes, I am.
- Wow.
- How old did you think I was? I don't know, but I didn't think you were 75.
- Well, I am.
- Did you have a party? Oh, no, I didn't want the fuss.
Rudy was gonna drive up, and that would have been nice, but his wife's mother died.
She died? Well, it's no big deal, Ed.
She had a pacemaker.
She went into a coma.
And it isn't as if she died young.
Oh, how old was she? Seventy-two.
Seventy-two.
Hurry up with the soup.
I'm hungry.
Oh, yeah.
- You got enough film? - Plenty.
You sure you're gonna be okay? I'm cool, babe.
Now, if you need to get a hold of me, you can use the C.
B.
I'll be within range, and I've got it tuned to the right frequencies.
Remember, tomorrow is grease day.
That means draining the fryers and carrying in the lard barrels.
Dave loves grease day.
He works up a sweat, and then he pigs out on the first batch of tater tots.
- I don't know, Shel.
- What? I just don't feel right about leaving you all alone.
Holling, how long have you been doing the wild thing? Fifty-six years.
And why have you been going hunting for 56 years? Because you still get off on it.
Just like me and heavy metal.
I mean, I'm not a head banger anymore, but let an Anthrax or Ratt tune come on the radio and I'm zoned, right? - I suppose.
- Anyway, they need you to find the ducks.
- Grouse.
- Whatever.
Hey, you guys, we all loaded up? Got the bailing wire and gorp? It's all in there.
Plus a six-pack of Hershey bars.
All right.
Where's Joel? Here he comes now.
Hey.
- What? - You look like a Creamsicle.
Hey, I'm interested in being highly visible.
I prefer not to come back stuffed and mounted.
- So where's my rifle? - Shotgun.
- It's in the truck.
- Can I look at it? - Now? - Okay, it doesn't have to be now.
I mean, later's fine.
Who's got the bullets? - Shells.
- Oh, we got plenty ammunition, Joel.
All right.
What do we do now? To the hunt! Bye, babe.
Hey, Pete.
Thanks.
Oh, there go the hunters after their prey.
Something wild just became fair game.
A grouse pecking its seeds today will be under glass tomorrow.
The hunt.
Just the word sends me a blast of adrenaline.
Like, "Zero minus 10 till blastoff.
" Just you and mortality nose-to-nose.
We all search for our- Do you mind if I lose Maurice? He's giving me heartburn.
- What? - Do you feel all right, Ruth-Anne? - I'm fine, Ed.
- Is your leg high enough? - Can I get you something? Maybe a napkin? - Is there something on my chin? Oh, no.
Would you like some more soup? No, I'm fine.
Are-Are you losing your appetite? I'm going to switch to ice cream.
You know, ice cream goes right to your arteries.
And at your age, they're probably pretty clogged already.
For Cherry Garcia, I'll take that chance.
That's how you broke your foot.
Because of ice cream? No, on account of you're old.
I broke my foot because I came down on it a little bit funny, Ed.
And it snapped like a dry twig.
It's called osteo- Osteo something.
It means old bones.
You lose calcium, your bones fill up with air, and then they snap just like that.
Have you been watching St.
Elsewhere reruns? No, I went to Dr.
Fleischman's office, and Marilyn gave me a bunch of back copies of The New England Journal of Medicine.
You know, you fit the profile for an aneurysm.
Ovarian cancer.
Well, you're due for just about everything.
Course, cancer grows slower in old people.
That's one thing in your favor.
Whoops! - I'll get it.
- I'm right here, Ed.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
Maybe you're ready for a nap.
Maybe you're ready to take it easy.
Me? You're making me feel like an old woman, Ed.
And, even if I am, I don't need to feel like one.
It's heavy, you know.
It's a lot heavier than I thought.
- What is it, seven, eight pounds? - Nine.
Nine, huh? Well, you definitely know you're holding something.
Wait till you've carried it all day.
- Let's lock and load, huh? - Okay.
What's that? You put the shells in the gun and take a few practice shots.
- Okay.
How? - Take your shells.
Uh-huh.
Load 'em right here, up into your magazine.
One at a time, it won't hold any more.
Jerry Sweeny had this air rifle when we were kids.
He used to shoot everything - cans, pigeons.
I used to beg him to let me try.
- Hey, Holling, get a shot of this? - Sure thing.
I mean, I offered him my Day-Glo yo-yo, my Joe Pepitone baseball card, everything.
- Say "Canada.
" - Canada.
Not once did he let me fire it.
But this is an actual 20-gauge shotgun? - Right.
- What does that mean, 20 gauge? That's the diameter of the bore.
Go ahead and pump one in the chamber.
Oh, hear that? Definitely not a sound you wanna hear in the dark.
Yeah.
Safety on? Come on.
This is great.
I'm serious.
I mean, I feel empowered.
I feel like Bernie Goetz.
All right, Bernie.
Well, here's the rules.
- Don't swing the gun.
- All right.
When you walk, keep the barrel pointed to the ground.
And never aim at anything unless you're gonna kill it.
- Okay.
Anything else? - Safety off.
Aim and squeeze the trigger.
- Just- - Aim and squeeze.
Wow! Whoo! Hey, that was that kick, wasn't it? I've heard about that kick.
- That's the one.
You'll get used to it.
- Did I get 'em? - You certainly did.
- Well, all right.
Let's set 'em up again.
Yeah, Joel, we could do that, stay here and scatter cans all day.
But wouldn't you rather blow away something that moves? Here's your rainbow Jell-O.
Sure you want it straight? No sprinkles or whipped cream? Yeah, maybe later.
Ed, are you okay? Ruth-Anne is 75 years old.
- Wow.
- Yeah.
I didn't know she was that old.
I mean, I thought she was, I don't know- - Like Holling? - Yeah.
Me too.
How old is Holling? Sixty-three.
But it doesn't count because his father didn't die till he was 110.
And his grandfather was even older than that.
Maybe younger, but he was way up there anyway.
His mother was 40, but he says that's different.
Ruth-Anne had a birthday yesterday.
- Did she have a party? - She didn't want one.
Well, everybody wants a party.
You can't celebrate when you're being stalked by the Grim Reaper.
True.
She didn't even want a cake? She's probably just sitting there like I left her, with her foot propped up, reading a book, waiting.
She can probably hear that clock, ticktocking away.
I think that cover over yonder looks pretty likely.
I don't see anything.
Holling says they're here, buddy, they're here.
Actually, you know, I don't know if I've ever seen a grouse.
I mean, in person.
A few still lifes at the Met.
I'm pretty sure they were grouse.
Although, they were usually on a table with a piece of fruit.
You'd think they'd find a better place to hide, like- like- I mean, those trees over there.
Okay, Joel, you and Chris take the edges, and I'll walk it through.
Huh? - Holling's gonna go in and flush them out.
- And then what? - If you see one, shoot it.
- Note the rise, the arc.
Lock on to it.
Take the bird inside you.
Link, linger, whew! Lash out.
Don't hurry your shot.
Wild bird, creature of air and feather, today is a good day to die.
In dying, you're trying.
And in trying, we are both forgiven.
A prayer kinda thing.
Man becomes the food of the divinity he worships, Joel.
Amen to that.
They're up! They're up! They're up! That's incred- That's amazing.
Did you see that? He got 'em.
You got 'em both.
- Nice double, Chris.
- Thanks, Holling.
Two birds, excellent.
One for you and one for Joel.
- All right.
- Well, I guess that does it.
You both have your birds, so we can pack up and head home.
Go home? What, you mean leave now? If we hurry, we can get back before last call, and I can- I can help Shelly wipe down the tables.
No, no, no, no.
Wait, wait, wait.
Hold it a second.
We can't leave.
- Why not? - 'Cause I just missed that bird.
I would have got him, but I choked.
Man, I was this close.
I mean, you know, I came to experience this whole thing.
The totality of this total thing.
It just wouldn't be right for me to back away from it now.
What do you say, Holling? Well, if we're gonna do any more killing, we best set up camp.
All right.
This hunting thing is very interesting.
I mean, there's something about it that definitely strikes a chord.
I mean, I've never done it before, but it's - it's so familiar.
You know what I mean? Yeah.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Joel.
It's amazing when you think about it.
Here we are at the very end of the 20th century, with our GORE-TEX jackets, our laptop computers.
But we crouch on the ground and we meet the ancient past- the beginning of man, the Paleolithic Age- following the exact ritual as the caveman when he hunted the woolly mammoth.
Go out to the woods, you see your prey, and you subdue him with your club.
And the man who brings home the biggest buck, gets the biggest nachas.
It's so, so incredibly basic.
- Okay.
- Are you done with those beans? I'll swap you some of my smoked oysters.
Smoked oysters? Why, I don't mind if I do.
Uh, help yourself to the beans, Joel.
They may be a little cold now.
Perfect.
Hey, I have this air pillow.
Maybe somebody wants to try it.
Dibs.
Boy, this is great.
This is so raw, so primal, so honest.
I mean, I find myself asking the big questions, you know? Is it man against nature, or is man one with nature? What was your best kill, Holling? Is there one particular strike that stands out in your mind? No, not really.
Why don't you tell him about that time you got that triple with a single shot? That was a long time ago.
- Yeah, he claims it was in a snowstorm.
- Well, it was.
- Sure.
- Come on.
I wanna know.
Well, the wind had been picking up all day.
The, uh, birds were bunched and moving fast.
I saw the tracks, three sets of them.
I knew they were close.
Real close.
- What's today? - It's, uh, Thursday.
Toe polishing night.
She's probably curled up right now on her bed.
Little balls of cotton right between those cute little toes of hers.
Hey, what about the birds and the snowstorm? Oh, the birds.
Well, I knew this ravine, and it was out of the wind.
The birds flew up, and I shot 'em.
What time have you got? It's, uh, 11:30.
I better, uh, make sure that Shelly's got that back window latched down fast.
If you boys will excuse me, I'm gonna go see if I can get Shelly on the radio.
You know, Chris, men and their guns, I see it in a whole new light.
- Really? - Yeah.
It's about entitlement, empowerment.
The right to keep and bear arms, to take up your weapon.
To leave civilization, to forge off into the wilderness and to bring back food.
It's the constitutional right of every American to hunt.
And the need to hunt.
Yeah, the need to hunt.
I mean, we began as hunters, and hunters we remain.
Hey, guys, guys.
Hey, come on, up and at 'em.
Time to hit the field.
Bag us some birds.
Chris, Holling, breakfast, 10 minutes.
Bacon and eggs sizzling on the open fire.
We'll eat, we'll break camp, we'll hit the field.
We'll be dining on fresh grouse before the end of the day.
Hey, come on, you two, rise and shine.
Come on.
Hey, I got a feeling about today.
A very definite feeling.
I had grouse in my dreams, hundreds of them.
Gaggles, gaggles of grouse.
I had all these guns and muskets and six-shooters and Uzis.
I- I couldn't miss.
I was like Hemingway.
Guys, what is this? Are you just gonna sleep the day away? There's grouse to be groused.
Let's go! Come on! Joel, do you have any idea what time it is? - Yeah, it's predawn.
- It's 2:00 in the a.
m.
Grouse aren't nocturnal, Joel.
Get some sleep, buddy.
Well, look, since we're all up anyway, isn't there some kind of night animal we can blow away? An owl? Anything? You know, you've got an awful lot of Cornish game hens here, Ruth-Anne.
Well, since the red meat scare, everybody's eating habits have changed.
There was a time when I butchered a heifer and two pigs a month.
Now it's all turkey steak and tofu sausage.
What is that tofu stuff anyway? Well, it's never been on the hoof, I can tell you that.
Now me, I'm a real meat and real potatoes eater.
I want to eat what I want to eat.
At my age, I can live with a dormant sex life, but no pot roast is a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.
Hello, Maurice.
- Why is the radio off? - It broke.
What do you got for a tender throat? Spray or lozenges? Whatever.
All this talking's giving me a rasp.
A saltwater gargle and a lemon toddy chaser always works for me.
- I'll get you a lemon.
- Oh, no, you don't.
Remember, I'm supposed to be your legs.
Heel, Ed.
You don't have the varicose to do me justice.
But Dr.
Fleischman said you should stay off that foot.
Back.
Back.
Oh, that gal's a hard one to put out of commission.
Yeah, but she should take it easy.
She's really old.
Oh, no.
Age is relative, Ed.
A life span for a woman these days is, uh, over 70.
She's 75.
Well, that's still relative.
Genetic imprinting.
That's the whole secret of predicting life span.
Ruth-Anne, how do your cans stack up as far as longevity's concerned? Grandma Gert hit 99 and a half.
Well, that's pretty impressive genes.
- Grandma Ila never saw 50.
- No? Why not? Dancing accident.
She was clogging.
Slipped, went down and took two clogs to the head.
Oh, that's too bad.
For a while, nobody even knew what happened.
The Da Yoopers went on playing, and everybody went on dancing.
And Granny just slipped further and further away.
And to this day when I hear a polka, I start to tear up.
Fate- fickle and ferocious.
It touches us with its icy finger, and then - we're gone just like that.
Grandpa Erv buried her in her clogs.
The family objected.
They said it was unchristian.
But Grandpa wanted to be thinking about her dancing in the hereafter, and I understood.
At the graveside, he and I were seeing her clog in the clouds.
Hey, Joel, have you ever had a pure moment? A moment of direct insight into the divine nature? All I want right now is a moment of direct gun sights into a grouse.
Happened to me once in prison.
Guess I'd been in about a month.
One night I chugalugged six hits of potato home brew while watching a strobe candle.
I separated, man.
I drifted up, circled the pen twice.
Where is Holling? - It's a long hike around.
- He could be lost.
He could be photographing a flower.
He could be taking a nap.
- Can't we just walk in from this end? - We're blocking; he's flushing.
Blocking, flushing.
I'm from Flushing.
I wanna be hunting, not waiting.
Look, Joel, listen.
You don't wanna hunt agitated, all right? The birds are gonna pick up those vibes, and they're gonna squat tight.
- Believe me.
- Yeah, they can do that? Yeah, they can.
Holling's gonna force them out.
We'll nail them out here in the open.
This place is pretty birdy.
They're up! They're up! There they go! Note the rise.
Note the arc.
Lock on to it.
- Got him! - I got him! Yeah, I got him! - All right, I got him! - You got him.
Nice shooting.
Where is he? Where's my bird? Where's my dead bird? Nice shot, Joel.
Now put him away.
- What? - He's not finished.
- Why isn't he dead? - You only winged him.
- Go ahead and finish him off, Joel.
- Kill him? How? - Wring his neck.
- Wring his neck? With what? Your hands, man.
My hands? You want me to put my hands around that bird's neck and- Look at him.
His eyes are open.
He's looking at me.
- Here, look out.
- No, no, what are you gonna do? - I'll get him.
- No.
- No? - No.
Look, this is my bird, right? - Right.
- All right, then.
Marilyn, prepare to operate.
Scalpels, sutures, sodium Pentathol.
- Blood? - Blood? - Yeah, maybe.
I don't know.
I don't think so.
- Where to, Joel? - In there, quick.
Put him on the table.
- Coming through.
Wait, Marilyn, lay down some sterile sheets first.
Poor Dr.
Fleischman.
Yeah, it appears that the shotgun blast delivered a psychic wound as well.
Yeah.
Holling Vincoeur, how can you whistle at a time like this? I guess I'm just happy to be home, Shelly.
Well, you shouldn't be so happy when a friend is so bummed.
Sorry, Shelly.
- I didn't mean- - I know how Dr.
Fleischman feels.
I had blood on my hands once.
My pet angelfish, Angel, we were pretty tight.
And one day I decided to show her the world, so I took her for a walk in a pickle jar.
I guess I didn't clean out the jar good enough.
Angel got sick.
And then Sunday, I was getting dressed for church, and I saw her, belly-up.
Her belly was the whitest white I'd ever seen.
So don't you whistle, Holling.
- Hey, Ed.
How you doing? - Oh, all right, I guess.
We got a moody bunch here tonight.
Maybe we all oughta reach out for some sunshine.
Have some sugar in our coffee, a slice of homemade pie.
Holling, show some respect.
Please! What-What's wrong with Shelly? Nasty pet death she never got over.
- Chris, got a question for you.
- What? What would you give a woman who doesn't seem to want anything? Oh, yeah, the great question: What do women want? I don't know.
Do you? Same things we do, only in prettier colors.
I need to think of a birthday present, something this side of $200.
Well, for that kind of money, I'd give something personal.
Personal? Yeah, you know, a gift that keeps on giving.
- Thanks, Chris.
- You betcha, Ed.
Cold-shoulder time.
Well, when they get chilly like that, it's best just let 'em ride it out.
- Hey, you guys are back early.
- Yeah.
What, Fleischman get a blister? Forget his corkscrew? Or was the hunt called off on account of his whining? I tell you what, Maggie.
He really got into it.
- I mean, it really revved his motors, huh? - Yeah, right.
Never have I seen a man clean a gun with more care and vigor.
Or smile as big after he pulled the trigger.
Whoa, wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
Are we talking about the same Fleischman here? Medium height, fear of spiders? He actually fired a gun? - Unleashed an instrument of destruction? - Yeah, he got one too.
Got one what? A tree? A mountain? A grouse.
It was a good shot, too, considering the distance.
- Wouldn't you say so, Chris? - Oh, absolutely.
- Too bad he's taking it this way.
- Taking what what way? Well, the bird, he winged it.
Now he's in the office trying to save it.
Wait a minute.
Fleischman shot a bird, and now he's trying to unshoot it? Yeah, shame of Cain syndrome, you know.
First one's always like a brother.
Yeah.
Hello? Fleischman, what are you doing? Have you totally flipped? Maybe.
Fleischman, you are a man.
This is a bird.
Get the equation? A wild chicken whose entire life's purpose is to serve as an entrée.
I know, I know, but he was lying there, wings flapping.
I just- I couldn't kill him.
You were supposed to kill him, Fleischman.
That was the point of the whole thing.
I know, and if he had followed protocol and died the way he was supposed to- But he didn't, okay? He was lying there.
He was in pain.
I mean, I had to try and save him.
Poor little sweet guy.
How's he doing? I got most of the shot out.
He's in shock.
Look, Fleischman.
See here? I call tell by the size of his foot spur that he's about two or three years old.
That's about the best a grouse can expect if a fox or coyote or a weasel doesn't get him first.
Yeah, or some bloodthirsty doctor from 139th and Main in Queens.
Come on, Fleischman.
I'll buy you a cup of coffee.
Hmm? No, thanks.
His breathing is labored.
I just- I better stay close.
Hello, Dr.
Fleischman.
How's your bird? He's dead.
Dead? You think, as a physician, you get inured to-to death.
Not me.
Every inert body gives me a chill.
It becomes like a little lead weight inside of me.
When things get gnarly, Dr.
Fleischman, it's best to do the sad thing.
Don't be afraid to salt your oatmeal with your tears.
Hey, Joel, rooster still got some crow in him? - Holling! - What? - He's dead.
Oh.
- Well, sorry.
You want something to eat? How about some eggs over easy? Eggs! Holling Vincoeur, speak before you think.
Hi, Dr.
Fleischman.
I saw your bird.
Nice.
- Yeah, he was.
- Big.
Do you mind if we just don't talk about him right now, Ed? Okay.
What are you gonna do with him? I don't know.
What, you mean, some kind of service? How 'bout stuffin' him? Yeah, I can just see him stuffed and mounted, staring down at me with those bright, shining eyes.
I don't think so.
No, I meant wild rice kind of stuffing.
Wild rice? Yeah, you know, baked, some sage bread.
Roasted chestnuts.
Make a real feed.
How can you think of eating him? He isn't even cold.
Rigor mortis is yet to set in.
You're talking about- What's this? Cornflakes.
Shelly's idea.
I'll have some, please.
Um, excuse me, Ruth-Anne, but I can't stay today.
No problem, Ed.
What? Well, Ruth-Anne, you're smoking.
Yes, I am, Ed.
Well, Dr.
Fleischman says that's the worst thing you can do to your body.
Worse than caffeine, alcohol, even pork rinds.
I won't trouble you with my secondary smoke, Ed, but I was rolling my own before I could ride a bicycle.
And by Eisenhower, I had peaked at three packs a day.
Now it's one every other hour.
I've cut down.
I've stayed down.
But I'm not going to go cold turkey.
Got it? Yes, ma'am.
Good.
Now, did you have something you wanted to tell me? Oh, uh, I can't stay today.
Well, then I'll see you tomorrow.
- I have a lot of things to do.
- I understand, Ed.
I can't do them tomorrow.
I have to do them today.
But I could do them later if you'd like.
It's no problem, Ed.
Just go along.
Are you sure? Very sure.
I'll stock the caramel corn tomorrow.
And I could do it now if you'd like though.
- Good-bye, Ed.
- Okay, good-bye.
Fleischman? Yes? I heard you were still upset.
Are you still upset? No, I'm fine now.
I'm coming in.
All right.
Have you been crying? You have been crying.
Yeah, I was, O'Connell, but it was a cathartic crying.
A cleansing crying.
I feel in touch with myself again.
Old Yeller? The Black Stallion.
White Fang? I never- I never really had a strong feeling about animals.
I mean, a few people on the block had dogs, but animals, you know, especially in nature, was a foreign thing.
You see these movies though, but it's- it's very moving.
There's a lot of tragedy in the animal kingdom.
There's life and death.
Loss.
This one, oy.
The Bear? You see it? The mother is buried in an avalanche, and the little bear cub is left alone.
It is very sad.
I mean, he loves his mother, just like we all do.
She's dead.
He stands there, and he just cries and cries and cries.
Fleischman.
Don't you think you're taking this a little too much to heart? You were right.
As a physician, you're trained to think you know everything about everything.
I don't know everything about this whole killing business.
You said I didn't know what I was talking about.
You were right.
Well, you know, Fleischman, I say a lot of things.
I didn't know you were gonna go off the deep end.
I definitely feel like I've been through something.
The experience of hunting, it was great.
It really was.
Being out in the bush or whatever, the-the expectancy.
The excitement.
The total blood rush.
And the killing.
I mean, especially the killing.
The killing was the best part.
It was the dying I couldn't take.
- What's the problem, Ruth-Anne? - Oh, the damn thing won't kick over.
It must be the battery.
It's only 14 years old.
They call that a Die Hard? Now who am I gonna get to give me a jump? Well, why don't we go see if we can borrow Holling's car? Okay? Come on.
- How's the foot? - Fine.
This cane is just to keep everybody else happy.
It's a hell of a note when somebody my age has to act on the hobble when I'm already on the mend.
- Hi, Shelly.
- Hi.
Bye.
- Is Holling around? - Maybe.
You know, sometimes her energy scares me a little.
Shelly? No, she just runs on an open circuit.
That's all.
But is her ground wire connected? That's my concern.
Right.
Right.
Surprise! Well, I'll be.
We got you, didn't we? I should say so.
And you fiddled with my car too.
The boys bagged these birds for your birthday, Ruth-Anne.
Strap on the feed bag.
Sit down.
Look at all that food.
Wow! - Dr.
Fleischman? - Oh, yeah.
This looks great.
Watch out for bird shot.
Ow! - Too late.
- Wait.
This isn't- It could be.
It tastes good.
Kinda like an exotic chicken.
Never eaten a patient before.
I'm sorry I've been so cheerful, honey.
I- I didn't mean to be.
Mood matching is a problem for every couple, Holling.
I was just so glad to be home.
The truth is I'd rather be here doing things with you, even boring things, than be out there having a high old time with the boys.
Really? These days, I prefer home fires to campfires.
Don't be getting all weird on me now, babe.
Time for presents.
Looks like I made out like a bandit.
You're all so thoughtful.
Really.
Well, the person you should blame is right there.
He dreamed and schemed this whole thing.
Then you come over here right now.
Come on.
I told you I didn't want a party.
Ruth-Anne, everybody wants a party.
Well, this is the best belated birthday party I ever had.
I got you a present too.
- What's this? - It's dirt.
Dirt? I couldn't fit the rest of it in there.
Rest of what? Well, here we are.
It's a lovely spot, Ed.
- Yeah, well, this is it.
- This is what? The rest of your present.
Well, not the whole thing, you know.
Just from here to the edge.
This? This is my present? Yeah.
Well, you know, I asked Chris what I should get you, and, well, he said something personal.
You know, a gift that keeps on giving.
Well, thank you, Ed.
It's- It's a nice piece of land.
Yeah, um, it's for your grave.
My grave? You bought me a grave for my birthday? Do- Do- Do you like it? Yes.
I do.
It's a beautiful spot, Ed.
A great place to spend eternity.
If they dig your hole right here, you'll have a great view of the mountain.
What shall we do now? Now? What do you mean? You know what I'd like to do? Dance.
Dance? Uh-huh.
Well, where? Here, on my grave.
It's the opportunity of a lifetime.
Wouldn't you say?