SIX FEET UNDER
   
"Pilot"
   
(2001)
   
Written and Directed by Alan Ball
   
   
Peter Krause...............................Nate Fisher
Michael C. Hall...........................David Fisher
Frances Conroy.............................Ruth Fisher
Lauren Ambrose...........................Claire Fisher
Freddy Rodríguez..................Federico 'Rico' Diaz
Mathew St. Patrick.......................Keith Charles
Rachel Griffiths......................Brenda Chenowith
Richard Jenkins.......................Nathaniel Fisher
                 
   
           1   INT. COMMERCIAL SET/WHITE VOID - DAY                           1   

               We HEAR an OPERATIC ARIA.

               CLOSE ON A WOMAN'S WHITE-GLOVED HAND, gracefully trailing 
               along a reflective black surface. PULLING BACK to reveal a 
               beautiful MODEL in a sleek black gown, as she moves slowly 
               past a shiny black luxury car, trailing her fingers along its 
               contours. It seems as if we're in a television commercial for 
               some expensive, luxury automobile. Then we WIDEN TO REVEAL 
               the car is actually a contemporary-model HEARSE.

                                     ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
                              (soft-spoken, soothing)
                         The new Millennium Edition Crown Superior 
                         Funeral Coach. Sized to accommodate even 
                         the largest caskets, the XL-500 offers 
                         your loved one the very latest in style 
                         and comfort--

               The commercial ends abruptly, as if someone switched the TV 
               off. MUSIC ENDS and the SCREEN GOES BLACK.

               We HEAR Bing Crosby singing "I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS."

           2   EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON (DAY ONE)                              2   

               SLOWLY TILTING DOWN past plastic CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS hanging 
               from streetlamps... to an URBAN STREET lined with small 
               businesses. A SALVATION ARMY SANTA stands on the sidewalk, 
               RINGING his BELL. This being Los Angeles, it's sunny and there 
               are palm trees.

               A shiny black HEARSE, just like the one in the commercial, 
               glides beneath us.

           3   INT. HEARSE - CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                             3   

               NATHANIEL FISHER (56) drives, smoking a CIGARETTE. A somewhat 
               severe face, but too weary to be menacing. Bing Crosby sings 
               "I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" on the RADIO.

                                     NATHANIEL
                              (sings along)
                         I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRIST--MAS... YOU CAN 
                         PLAN ON ME...

               A CELL PHONE RINGS. Nathaniel answers it.

                                     NATHANIEL (CONT'D)
                         Nathaniel Fisher.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2.


           4   EXT. FUNERAL HOME - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)            4   

               We're MOVING slowly past a three-story HOME that's been around 
               for a while. REVEAL a SIGN that reads:

               FISHER AND SONS    
               FUNERAL HOME  
               Dignified service since 1944

                                     RUTH (O.S.)
                         Nathaniel, it's Ruth. Did you take your 
                         blood pressure medication today?

                                     NATHANIEL (0.C.)
                              (over phone line)
                         Yes.

                                     RUTH (O.S.)
                         Don't lie to me.

                                     NATHANIEL (O.S.)
                         I took it. What do you want me to do, 
                         O.D. on it?

                                                            INTERCUT WITH: 

           5   INT. KITCHEN - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                 5   

               CLOSE on a WOMAN'S HANDS: slicing vegetables, grating 
               cheese,pounding meat, with alarming ferocity and speed.

                                     RUTH
                         Oh, and I just realized we don't have 
                         any of that soy stuff Nate drinks. You 
                         know, since he gave up milk? I don't 
                         know what it's called.

                                     NATHANIEL (O.S.)
                              (over phone line)
                         Why not just cut some milk with tap water? 
                         He'll never know the difference.

               We PAN up to RUTH FISHER (55), hunched over the kitchen 
               counter, holding the phone up to her ear with her shoulder. 
               Dressed conservatively, but there's a certain earthiness buried 
               underneath.

                                     RUTH
                              (not funny)
                         Look, if you don't want to go, I'll go.  
                         It's not as if I don't have enough to do 
                         already.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         3.


                                      

               RUTH

           6   INT. HEARSE - AFTERNOON CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                   6   

                                     NATHANIEL
                              (sighs)
                         I'm kidding. I'll get some. But it'll 
                         have to be after I pick Nate up at the 
                         airport, I'm running late already...

               He takes a drag off his cigarette.

           7   INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                                      7   

               Ruth stops slicing and stands up straight.

                                     RUTH
                         Nathaniel, are you smoking?

                                     NATHANIEL (O.S.)
                              (Over phone line)
                         No.

                                     RUTH
                         Yes, you are, I heard you.

                                     NATHANIEL (O.S.)
                         I'm not.

                                     RUTH
                         Look, forget you'll give yourself cancer 
                         and die a slow and horrible death. You 
                         should not be stinking up that new hearse.

               DAVID FISHER (31) sits at the kitchen table. Equal parts stuffy 
               and intense, he wears a tie. He looks up from the magazine 
               he's reading: Mortuary Management.

                                     DAVID
                         I told you not to let him take it.

                                     RUTH
                         Like I could've stopped him. He's every 
                         bit as proud of that thing as your fool 
                         brother was of that damn motorcycle he 
                         had in high school.  And who still has a 
                         pin in his foot?
                              (into phone)
                         Nathaniel, people want things to be nice 
                         when there's a funeral. They don't want 
                         their loved ones riding around in 
                         something that smells like an ashtray.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         4.


           8   INT. HEARSE - CONTINUOUS                                       8   

                                     NATHANIEL
                         All right, I'm quitting right now.  I 
                         promise. 
                              (he doesn't)
                         See you tonight.

               Nathaniel hangs up. He sings along to the RADIO, his cigarette 
               dangling between his lips. He reaches over to turn up the 
               volume. THROUGH THE DRIVER'S WINDOW we see a BUS approaching 
               at HIGH SPEED, as Nathaniel pulls into an intersection. He 
               never even sees it coming.

           9   EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                  9   

               The BUS SLAMS into the driver's side of the hearse. TIRES 
               SQUEAL, GLASS SHATTERS, there's a sickening CRUNCH of METAL 
               BENDING, and then...

               Nothing but Bing Crosby SINGING.

                                     BING CROSBY
                              (on radio)
                         ...I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRIST-MAS... IF 
                         ONLY IN MY DREAMS.

          10   INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                                     10   

               Ruth, still chopping food, nicks her finger.  She examines 
               the cut, frowning.  David suddenly throws down his magazine.

                                     DAVID
                         That new hearse was a total waste of 
                         money. There was nothing wrong with the 
                         old one.

                                     RUTH
                         I think your father's having some sort 
                         of mid-life crisis. 

                                     DAVID
                          

                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         It would've made so much more sense to 
                         invest in re-paneling the chapel, or 
                         adding coffee bars to the slumber rooms--

                                     RUTH
                         Well, I'd much rather he buy himself a 
                         fancy new hearse than leave me for a 
                         younger woman. Or a woman my age, for
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         5.


                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                         that matter. Or, heaven forbid, a man, 
                         like my cousin Hannah's husband did.
                              (shakes her head)
                         God sure has dealt that poor woman some 
                         blows in this life.

               David smiles faintly, gets up and crosses to her.

                                     DAVID
                         Mom, can I do anything to help?

                                     RUTH
                         No, no, honey, I'm fine. Besides, don't 
                         you have a viewing tonight? You should 
                         probably be getting ready.

                                     DAVID
                         Right.

               He kisses her on the cheek and exits.  She sucks the blood 
               off her nicked finger, then continues slicing.

          11   EXT. LAX (STOCK) - AFTERNOON (DAY ONE)                        11   

               It's about an hour before sunset.

          12   INT. AIRPORT GATE - A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY ONE)              12   

               MOVING through disembarking passengers, we DISCOVER NATE FISHER 
               (35), walking next to BRENDA CHENOWITH (32), an attractive 
               woman dressed in clothing with a vaguely hippieish feel. Nate 
               is athletic, charming, and a total scamp. Brenda can see this 
               but doesn't seem to care.

                                     NATE
                         So, I enjoyed talking to you about that 
                         whole Shiatsu thing, I really hope that 
                         pans out for you.

                                     BRENDA
                              (smiles)
                         You should let me work on you sometime.

                                     NATE
                              (already has his card out)
                         Here's my cell number.  I'll be here 
                         until the 29th.

               She takes the card and studies it.  Then studies him.  He's 
               suddenly a litte uncomfortable. 

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                              (looks around)
                         Huh. My Dad was supposed to meet me here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         6.


                                     BRENDA
                         I could give you a ride.

                                     NATE 
                         Oh... thanks, but I'm sure he'll be here 
                         soon enough.

                                     BRENDA
                         I wasn't talking about that kind of ride.

               Nate's a little taken aback, then he grins.

          13   EXT. FUNERAL HOME - AFTERNOON (DAY ONE)                       13   

               MOURNERS file in the front door.

          14   INT. FUNERAL HOME/SLUMBER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)         14   

               FROM OVERHEAD: We're LOOKING DOWN ON a sweet-looking dead 
               woman, lying in an expensive white CASKET. DROPPING DOWN to 
               see DAVID, wearing a suit, a carnation in his lapel, and an 
               ELDERLY MAN standing beside the casket, gazing reverently at 
               its occupant. Behind them, mourners chat quietly in groups, 
               comfort each other, etc.

                                     ELDERLY MAN
                         You've done a nice job. She looks so 
                         peaceful.

                                     DAVID
                              (comforting)
                         Well, she is at peace now.

                                     ELDERLY MAN
                         If there's any justice in the universe, 
                         she's shoveling shit in hell.

               Unsure of how to respond, David smiles slightly.

                                     ELDERLY MAN (CONT'D)
                         Yep. You took chicken shit and turned it 
                         into chicken salad.

               He shuffles away, CHUCKLING. David's CELL PHONE RINGS. He 
               pulls the phone from inside his jacket and moves away from 
               the mourners to answer it.

                                     DAVID
                         David Fisher.

          15   INT. CAR - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                    15   

               CLAIRE FISHER (17) drives. Cutting-edge ROCK MUSIC BLASTS 
               from the STEREO. Claire SHOUTS into a CELL PHONE.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         7.


                                     CLAIRE
                         David, it's Claire. Is Nate there?

                                                             INTERCUT WITH:

               DAVID IN THE SLUMBER ROOM:

                                     DAVID
                         Nope.

                                     CLAIRE
                         I thought he was coming in tonight, so 
                         we could do that whole forced Christmas 
                         Eve family thing.

                                     DAVID
                         Well--

                                     CLAIRE
                         Because there are some really excellent 
                         parties I could be going to.

                                     DAVID
                         No, it's tonight. Dad's gone to the 
                         airport to pick Nate up. And Mom's in 
                         the kitchen making something really 
                         complicated and resenting it.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Damn. Okay, I might be a little late--

                                     DAVID
                         Claire. This is one of the few times a 
                         year we're all together.

               BACK INSIDE CLAIRE'S CAR:

                                     CLAIRE 
                         All right, don't get all Pat Robertson 
                         on me. I'll be there. I just have to 
                         drop some stuff off at a friend's house 
                         before I head over. Bye.

               She hangs up.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Fucking boy scout.

          16   EXT. STREETS - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                16   

               Claire's car, an older model CADILLAC HEARSE painted bright 
               green, ROARS down the street.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         8.


          17   INT. AIRPORT - AFTERNOON, A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY ONE)        17   

               Holiday travelers cross back in forth in front of us as we 
               slowly PUSH IN ON A DOOR marked "UTILITY."  We begin to HEAR 
               muffled GROANS from within.

          18   INT. UTILITY CLOSET - AFTERNOON CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)          18   

               His pants down around his ankles, Nate is fucking Brenda as 
               she braces herself against.a janitor's sink.

                                     BRENDA
                              (breathy)
                         This is--really--kinda disgusting--

                                     NATE
                              (ditto)
                         Disgusting---good or--disgusting--bad?

                                     BRENDA
                         Oh, disgusting--very good--

                                     NATE
                         I know--you're so fucking hot--

                                     BRENDA
                         That's so--sweet--

                                     NATE
                         I'm a--sweet guy--

                                     BRENDA
                         Fuck me--

          19   INT. KITCHEN - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                19   

               CLOSE ON a steaming hot POT ROAST in a pan, as Ruth's hands 
               (in oven mitts) remove it from the oven.

               A WIDER ANGLE: Ruth places the pan on the counter and wipes 
               her brow. The PHONE RINGS.

                                     RUTH
                              (answers)
                         Hello?... This is Ruth Fisher. Yes, I'm 
                         his wife. What is this about?

               PUSHING IN ON HER as she gets the news:

                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                              (Confused)
                         What?

               She hurls the phone away from her. She stands completely still 
               for a moment, then pushes the pot roast off the counter onto

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         9.


               the floor. She kicks it savagely, then starts throwing pots 
               and pans across the room.

          20   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)           20   

               Mourners stand at the casket, gazing solemnly at the woman 
               inside, then suddenly look up, alarmed, as we HEAR Ruth's 
               RACKET from the living quarters upstairs.

               David smiles nervously, quickly leaves the room.

          21   INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                                     21   

               David enters. 

                                     DAVID
                         Mom, what the hell are you...?

               He stops abruptly when he sees:

               HIS POV: Ruth is slumped in the corner amidst various cooking 
               implements and the pot roast, staring at the floor.

                                     RUTH
                         There's been an accident. The new hearse 
                         is totaled. Your father is dead.

               David leans against the counter, stunned.

                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                         Your father is dead and my pot roast is 
                         ruined.

                                     DAVID
                         Oh my God.
                              (then)
                         What about... was Nate...?

               Ruth stares at him in horror, then scrambles for the phone.

                                     RUTH
                         They didn't say anything about him. Oh 
                         God, no, not my baby--

          22   INT. UTILITY CLOSET - AFTERNOON, MOMENTS LATER (DAY ONE)      22   

               Nate and Brenda are locked in a sweaty, breathless, post- 
               coital embrace. His pants are still down around his ankles.

                                     BRENDA
                              (grabs his ass)
                         You carry a lot of tension in your lower 
                         back.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        10.


                                     NATE
                              (grins)
                         Not as much as twenty minutes ago.

                                     BRENDA
                         Just so you know, I never do this.

                                     NATE
                         Oh, yeah, me neither.

               They kiss.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         So... are you ever going to tell me your 
                         name?

                                     BRENDA 
                              (studying him))
                         Probably not.

                                     NATE
                         Why not?

                                     BRENDA
                              (not unfriendly)
                         Because I'm a realist.

               He stares at her, unsure of how to respond. A CELL PHONE RINGS; 
               Nate pulls it from inside his coat.

                                     NATE
                         That's my father, looking for- me.
                              (into phone))
                         Hey, Dad... Oh, Dave. Merry Christmas! 
                         Of course I'm okay.
                              (smiles at Brenda))
                         Couldn't be better, in fact.
                              (suddenly stricken)
                         What?

          23   INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                           23   

               Ruth sits at the table, staring into space. David is cleaning 
               up the mess she caused, holding a phone to his ear.

                                     DAVID 
                         I'm so sorry, Nate. I hate to have to be 
                         the one to tell you.

          24   INT. DRUG DEALER'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON, 
               CONTINUOUS (DAY ONE)                                          24   

               CLOSE ON a GLASS PIPE as it's loaded with a ROCK of CRYSTAL 
               METHAMPHETAMINE and raised to someone's lips. A LIGHTER fires 
               up. Druggy TRIP-HOP MUSIC plays on a STEREO.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        11.


               Claire sits with some other high school students in a rundown 
               house somewhere in the San Fernando Valley. A seductively 
               dangerous young man named JORDAN takes the PIPE. Claire watches 
               him warily as he re-lights it.

                                     CLAIRE 
                         This is just speed, right? Promise me it 
                         isn't crack. Because I've got to spend 
                         tonight having Christmas dinner with my 
                         demented family and it's going to be 
                         weird enough without me being high on 
                         crack.

               Another student LAUGHS. Jordan shakes his head as he inhales.

                                     JORDAN
                              (holding it in)
                         It's crystal meth. Makes everything burn 
                         just a little bit brighter, that's all.
                              (exhaling)
                         And it makes sex like, totally primal.

               He smiles at Claire and passes her the pipe. A beat, then she 
               takes the pipe and inhales.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Oh, well. Too late now.

               A CELL PHONE RINGS. Almost all of the students reach for their 
               bags.

                                     CLAIRE  (CONT'D)
                         It's mine.
                              (into phone)
                         Hello?...
                              (overly bright)
                         David, hi!

               Jordan starts to kiss her neck. She squirms away from him, 
               gets off the couch and moves into a hallway.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                         So is Nate there yet?

          25   INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                                     25   

               Ruth sits at the table, catatonic. David speaks into a phone 
               as he cleans up the mess she caused.

                                     DAVID
                         No. He's still at the airport. Claire, 
                         I've got bad news...

               He closes his eyes. This sudden, unexpected responsibility is 
               taking its toll on him.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        12.


          26   INT. DRUG DEALER'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - AFTERNOON, CONTINUOUS    26   

               A filthy kitchen, sink piled with dishes, etc. A partially 
               dismantled MOTORCYCLE sits in the middle of the room. Claire 
               enters, her cell phone to her ear.

                                     CLAIRE
                         What?

               PUSH IN ON 'CLAIRE'S FACE as she hears the news. The MUSIC 
               from the other room suddenly sounds vaguely distorted.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                         Yeah, sure. Okay. I'm on my way.

               She hangs up, numb.

          26A  INT. DRUG DEALER'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON, 
               CONTINUOUS                                                    26A  

               The other students continue LAUGHING and talking among 
               themselves. Claire enters, stands staring at them.

                                     CLAIRE 
                         I have to go.

                                     JORDAN
                         No fucking way!
                              (sexy)
                         You're coming back, aren't you?

                                     CLAIRE
                              (kind of giddy)
                         I don't think so. My father just got hit 
                         by a bus. It broke his neck.  He's dead. 
                         I have to go pick up my mom and take her 
                         to the morgue to identify his body.

               A beat. A couple of other students LAUGH, as if this were a 
               joke. Claire stares at them, then she LAUGHS too.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                         I'm not kidding.  This is really 
                         happening.

               The other kids STOP LAUGHING.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                              (a little hysterical)
                         And now I'm high on crack!

                                     JORDAN
                         Crystal.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        13.


                                     CLAIRE
                         Whatever!  So I guess this whole hellish 
                         experience I'm about to go through is 
                         going to burn just a little bit brighter 
                         now, right? Oh, good! Thank you!

               She grabs her coat and exits angrily. A beat.

                                     JORDAN
                              (re: pipe)
                         Hey, if she freaks out, nobody knows 
                         where she got this, right?

          27   EXT. FREEWAY - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)                 27   

               A JEEP CHEROKEE drives across an overpass. Underneath it, 
               traffic moves on a busy Los Angeles freeway.

          28   INT. JEEP CHEROKEE - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                   28   

               Brenda is driving. Nate's in the passenger seat, staring 
               blankly in front of him.

                                     NATE
                         You really didn't have to do this... I 
                         could have just rented a car.

                                     BRENDA
                         It's okay. You're in no shape to drive. 
                         And frankly, I'm in no hurry to get home 
                         to my family's annual Christmas Eve 
                         massacre.

               Nate LAUGHS.

                                     BRENDA (CONT'D)
                              (off his look, rattles off)
                         Yeah. Parents who stayed together for 
                         "the children," but really because they 
                         get off on tormenting each other so much. 
                         Manic-depressive brother who always 
                         chooses the holidays to go off his 
                         medication. Oh, and an ancient springer 
                         spaniel who's completely blind and deaf 
                         and incontinent. So much fun.
                              (cheerful)
                         What about you?

                                     NATE
                         Actually, we're pretty normal. My mom's 
                         a control freak. My brother, well, he's 
                         a control freak, too. My sister... well, 
                         I left home right after she was born, I 
                         never really knew her that well. She's 
                         kind of wild. Like I was.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        14.


                                     BRENDA
                              (teasing)
                         Was?  

               Nate smiles faintly.

                                     NATE
                         My dad really rode my ass when I was a 
                         kid. I couldn't go rafting because he'd 
                         just buried some girl that drowned. He 
                         buries this dipshit loser who OD'd at a 
                         Flock of Seagulls concert, suddenly I'm 
                         not allowed to go to concerts for a year.

                                     BRENDA
                         Your dad worked in a cemetery?

                                     NATE
                              (suddenly angry)
                         How could a man who was so fucking scared 
                         of everything--who never had an accident 
                         or even a speeding ticket in his entire 
                         fucking life--how could he have a car 
                         wreck? Stupid son of a bitch!

                                     BRENDA
                         Are you mad at him, or the fact that 
                         we're all going to die?

                                     NATE
                              (stares at her, with 
                              distaste)
                         Are you a shrink? 

                                     BRENDA
                              (laughs)
                         No God, no.
                              (then, weary)
                         Both my parents are.

               They drive along in silence for a while.

                                     BRENDA (CONT'D)
                         Well, what else do you want to talk about? 
                         The weather? The fact we both just fucked 
                         a total stranger?  And that we both lied 
                         when we said we never did that?

               A beat. Nate turns THE RADIO ON. 

               ** SC. 29 AND 30 OMITTED **

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        15.


          31   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                    31   

               Mourners pack the room.  We HEAR snippets of conversations: 
               "...such a shame she didn't have one last Christmas with her 
               grandchildren""...certainly has ruined the holidays for her 
               family..." We MOVE through the mourners to DISCOVER DAVID.  
               PUSH IN ON HIM slowly, as he chats sympathetically, fighting 
               to keep his feelings inside.  Suddenly he SCREAMS as loud as 
               he can.  People stare at him, shocked, but he just keeps 
               SCREAMING...

                                                              SMASH CUT TO:

          32   EXT. STREETS - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                         32   

               Claire's bright green CADILLAC HEARSE speeds down the street.

          33   INT. GREEN HEARSE - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                    33   

               Claire drives, chewing gum furiously. Ruth sits in the 
               passenger seat, staring listlessly out the window.

                                     RUTH
                         Did you-know that before you were born, 
                         funeral homes ran the ambulance business?

                                     CLAIRE
                         Uh... no.

                                     RUTH
                         Hearses were the only vehicles that could 
                         transport people lying down.  There was 
                         no medical assistance inside, either, 
                         they were just like taxis.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (at a loss)
                         Wow. 

                                     RUTH
                         Your father used to joke about that. 
                         "Just drive him around the block a few 
                         more times and we won't need to stop at 
                         the hospital."

                                     CLAIRE
                         Uh... you're kind of freaking me out.

                                     RUTH
                         Claire, are you having sex?

                                     CLAIRE
                         What?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        16.


                                     RUTH
                         Or doing drugs?.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (freaking)
                         Why are you asking me this now?

                                     RUTH
                         Your father is dead. I can't even remember 
                         the last time you and I talked about 
                         anything important. I need to know you're 
                         okay.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (chewing gum really hard)
                         Oh yeah. Yeah. Believe me, I'm okay. You 
                         know, considering.

          34   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                    34   

               We HEAR LIGHT CLASSICAL MUSIC. Mourners converse, comfort 
               each other. David stands to the side, trying to contain 
               himself. A perky JUNIOR-LEAGUER approaches him.

                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER
                         Do you work here?

                                     DAVID
                         Yes.

                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER
                         I wanted to complement you on the music.

               David smiles at her benevolently. She smiles back.

                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER (CONT'D)
                              (flirting)
                         I've been to three other funerals this 
                         year--cancer, stroke, pediatric leukemia--
                         and the music is always that same sad 
                         organ music, it reminds me of the soap 
                         operas my mom used to watch before I 
                         started kindergarten, God, you're probably 
                         too young to remember that--

               DAVID'S POV, AS SHE SPEAKS TO US DIRECTLY:

                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER (CONT'D)
                         --anyway, I so prefer this light 
                         classical, you know, chamber orchestra 
                         stuff, it's still spiritual, but doesn't 
                         seem so dated, or depressing...

               What we HEAR her say is suddenly OUT OF SYNCH with her mouth 
               moving; it's as if she's been badly dubbed:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        17.


                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER (CONT'D)
                         Your father is dead. Checked out. Toast. 
                         Six feet under. You know what that means, 
                         don't you?

               ON DAVID, confused.

               BACK ON HIS POV of the Junior-Leaguer.

                                     JUNIOR-LEAGUER (CONT'D)
                              (still OUT OF SYNCH)
                         You're in charge. This is no longer just 
                         a job. This is your life.

               This time, David actually does SCREAM. The Junior-Leaguer 
               steps back from him, unnerved.

          35   INT. MORGUE CORRIDOR - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)         35   

               Nate rounds a corner, carrying his luggage; Brenda is right 
               behind him. Nate spots:

               Ruth and Claire seated against a wall. Ruth looks dazed; Claire 
               is chewing gum furiously and fidgeting.

                                     NATE
                         Mom!

               Ruth and Claire stare up at him blankly. Nate drops his bags 
               and kneels beside his mother, hugging her.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         Mom, I'm so sorry.

                                     RUTH 
                              (staring at Brenda))
                         Who's she?

                                     NATE
                              (stands)
                         Oh! This is... uh...

               He stares at her, realizing he still doesn't know her name.

                                     BRENDA (QUICKLY)
                         Brenda Chenoweth.

                                     NATE
                         Brenda. Chenoweth.
                              (then))
                         Brenda, this is my mom, Ruth Fisher, and 
                         my sister Claire.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Nate, can I talk to you?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        18.


                                     NATE
                         Yeah, yeah, just a second--
                              (to Ruth, delicate)
                         Mom, have you already done the...

                                     RUTH
                         I can't. I've seen too many dead people 
                         in my life. They're work. I won't see 
                         your father that way. I need you to do 
                         it.

                                     NATE
                         Oh.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Nate, I have to talk to you, please. 
                         Now. It's urgent.

               She pulls him around the corner. Ruth stares up at Brenda.

                                     RUTH
                         So how did you and my son meet?

                                     BRENDA
                              (without missing a beat)
                         In cooking class.

               AROUND THE CORNER, Claire backs Nate up against a wall.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (whispers urgently)
                         I have to tell somebody. I'm tweeking.

                                     NATE
                         Yeah, we're all upset--

                                     CLAIRE
                         No, I'm high on crystal. I smoked some 
                         with some friends before David called 
                         me.

                                     NATE
                              (aghast)
                          
                         You did what!?

                                     CLAIRE
                         Don't worry, it's the first time.  But 
                         I'm having kind of a meltdown, and I 
                         can't tell if it's the crystal or Dad 
                         being dead, but... I'm really scared.

               Nate stares at her, then grabs her by the shoulders.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        19.


                                     NATE
                         You cannot do this to me right now.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Don't be such a narc, we smoked pot 
                         together at Thanksgiving--

                                     NATE
                         Look! I have to go identify our dead 
                         father's body! I'm sorry you're having a 
                         bad drug experience! But deal with it!

               Nate walks away, leaving her shaken.  She starts tapping her 
               front teeth with her fingernails. 

          36   INT. MORGUE - MOMENTS LATER (NIGHT ONE)                       36   

               Fluorescent lights, a bank of refrigerated BODY LOCKERS, etc.  
               An ATTENDANT in a white lab coat enters, followed by a nervous-
               looking Nate.  The Attendant opens a locker and pulls out a 
               TRAY on which lies a dead body in a BODY BAG.  The Attendant 
               unzips the bag to show Nate the corpse's face (which remains 
               unseen to us).  Nate tries to be strong, but there's a sharp 
               intake of breath.

               HIS POV: NATHANIEL FISHER lies in the bag, his neck broken, 
               multiple lacerations on his face. 

                                     NATHANIEL (O.S.)
                         Well, well. The prodigal returns.

               TILT UP to reveal the Attendant has been replaced by another 
               (living) Nathaniel, dressed in the Attendant's clothes. He 
               smiles, amused.

               ON NATE, stunned.

               BACK ON NATHANIEL, seeming to really enjoy this.

                                     NATHANIEL (CONT'D)
                         This is what you've been running away 
                         from your whole life, buddy boy. Scared 
                         the crap out of you when you were growing 
                         up, didn't it?  And you tried to escape, 
                         but guess what? Nobody escapes.

               CLOSE ON NATE, terrified.

               The Attendant stands over the dead Nathaniel.

                                     ATTENDANT
                         Well?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        20.


                                     NATE
                              (a whisper)
                         Yeah. That's him.

          37   INT. MORGUE CORRIDOR - MOMENTS LATER (NIGHT ONE)              37   

               Ruth is still slumped in her chair. Claire paces manically. 
               Brenda leans against the wall, wondering what the hell she's 
               doing here. A shaken Nate rounds the corner.

                                     NATE
                         Okay, let's get out of here.

                                     RUTH
                         How'd he look?

                                     NATE
                         Dead.

                                     RUTH
                         Will there need to be a lot of 
                         reconstruction? David's not that skilled 
                         at the really hard stuff. Federico usually 
                         does that, he's quite gifted--
                              (alarmed)
                         You don't think we'll have to have 4 
                         closed casket, do you? Oh dear. I would 
                         hate to send that message...

                                     NATE
                         What message?

                                     RUTH
                         That we're not equipped to handle a major 
                         restoration, or that we're not proud of 
                         our work...

                                     CLAIRE
                              (nervously)
                         Mom! Can we talk about this later? We 
                         should get Nate home, he's gotta be 
                         exhausted. Let's go.

               She grabs Ruth's hand and pulls her away down the corridor. 
               Nate turns to Brenda. He suddenly is exhausted.

                                     NATE
                         Uh... thanks. For driving me here.

                                     BRENDA 
                         Please. I'm just avoiding my own hell. 
                         I'm a big coward.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        21.


                                     NATE 
                         Me too. I don't know if I can handle 
                         this.

                                     BRENDA
                         Well, you're about to find out.

               She studies him for a moment. Finally:

                                     BRENDA (CONT'D)
                         I wish you the best, Nate.
                              (kisses his cheek)
                         Goodbye.

               He watches her as she disappears down the corridor.

          38   EXT. STREETS - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)                 38   

               Claire's green hearse speeds down the streets.

          39   INT. GREEN HEARSE - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                    39   

               Claire drives, Nate is by the window. Ruth sits between them, 
               shell-shocked.

                                     NATE
                         Claire, you're driving too fast.

                                     CLAIRE
                         This isn't fast. You wanna see fast?

               She speeds up significantly.

                                     NATE
                              (with surprising force)
                         Pull over!

          40   EXT. STREETS - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                         40   

               The green hearse SKIDS to a stop on the side of the road. As 
               Claire and Nate get out and cross around behind the vehicle 
               to change sides, he grabs her.

                                     NATE
                         Listen, do you do a lot of drugs?

                                     CLAIRE
                         What? No. And it's none of your business.

                                     NATE
                         Yes, it is my business. You were driving 
                         like a maniac, you could have gotten us 
                         all killed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        22.


                                     CLAIRE 
                         What the hell is this? You are not my 
                         father.
                              (angry)
                         You split as soon as you could. You don't 
                         even know me. So don't think you can 
                         start telling me what to do.

               She throws the keys at him and crosses around to the passenger 
               side.

          41   INT. FUNERAL HOME - FOYER - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)    41   

               The viewing is over. David sits on the stairs, still in his 
               suit, ruminating. We HEAR FOOTSTEPS outside the front door.  
               David immediately stands, buttoning his jacket, oddly formal. 
               Ruth and Claire enter, followed by Nate with his luggage.

                                     DAVID 
                         Nate.

                                     NATE
                         Hey.

               A beat.

                                     DAVID
                         So where's Dad? Downstairs already?

                                     NATE
                         Uhm... he's still in the morgue.

                                     DAVID
                              (disbelief)
                         You didn't bring him back with you?

                                     RUTH
                         Oh, dear. That didn't even cross my mind. 
                         We should have taken the van so we could 
                         bring him home. I'm sorry, that was very 
                         stupid of me.

               She heads up the stairs, exhausted.

                                     NATE
                         Nice going, Dave. Like she doesn't have 
                         enough to feel bad about right now.

               As David pulls a cell phone out of his jacket and dials:

                                     DAVID
                              (as if to a child)
                         Things have to be done. Federico is 
                         downstairs, ready to start. Every second
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        23.


                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         we wait will only make Dad's restoration 
                         more difficult. But you wouldn't know 
                         about that, would you? Bag boy?

                                     NATE
                              (stung)
                         Bag boy?  I am assistant manager of 
                         organic produce at the highest volume 
                         food co-op in Seattle!

                                     CLAIRE
                              (rolls her eyes)
                         Jesus. Just pull your dicks out and 
                         measure them and let's get this over 
                         with.

               She stomps up the stairs.

                                     NATE
                              (to David)
                         What were we supposed to do, just throw 
                         Dad in the back of Claire's car?

                                     DAVID
                         It is a hearse! 
                              (into phone)
                          

               ** OMITTED SC. 42 **

          43   INT. CLAIRE'S BEDROOM - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)        43   

               CLOSE ON A TV SCREEN: Some cheesy CHRISTMAS VARIETY SPECIAL.

               Claire sits on her bed, her knees up under her chin, hugging 
               herself as if cold. She watches the TV, her face blank, numb. 
               Ruth enters, carrying a sandwich on a plate.

                                     RUTH
                         I made you some dinner.

                                     CLAIRE
                         I am so not hungry.

                                     RUTH
                         We have to eat, Claire. We didn't die.

          44   INT. MORGUE - LATER (NIGHT ONE)                               44   

               The AUDIO from the Christmas Special CONTINUES as the morgue 
               Attendant enters, followed by David, rolling a collapsible 
               STRETCHER with a COT COVER on it. The Attendant opens the 
               locker, pulls out the tray with Nathaniel on it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        24.


                                     ATTENDANT
                         Really sorry, man.

               He exits. David pulls a couple of LATEX GLOVES from his pocket 
               and puts them on. He positions the stretcher next to the tray 
               and, using handles on the body bag, transfers Nathaniel onto 
               the stretcher. He slides the tray back into the locker and 
               shuts the compartment door. He starts to wheel the stretcher 
               out, then stops. He hesitates for a moment, then unzips the 
               bag so he can see his father's face. He gazes at it sadly, 
               then shakes it off, zips up the bag and heads out, all 
               business.

               FADE TO WHITE

               FADE IN:

          45   INT. COMMERCIAL SET/WHITE VOID - DAY                          45   

               We HEAR PROVOCATIVE MUSIC as we MOVE slowly, seductively over 
               a man's reclining BODY on an elegant, modern CHAISE LOUNGE. 
               Clad only in a pair of faded jeans, he's muscular and sexy. 
               We MOVE over his chest, stomach, neck, never seeing his face. 
               It seems as if we're in a television commercial for upscale 
               jeans, or expensive men's cologne. Finally we MOVE down his 
               arm (that's draped over the side of the chaise) to the floor, 
               where a PLASTIC CONTAINER OF EMBALMING FLUID sits in a pool 
               of light.

                                     ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
                         Introducing new Living Splendour, the 
                         choice of top embalmers. Guaranteed to 
                         leave skin texture bouncy and flexible, 
                         resulting in the velvety look and feel 
                         of actual living tissue--

               The commercial ends abruptly, as if someone switched the TV 
               off.  SCREEN GOES BLACK.

          46   INT. FUNERAL HOME - STAIRWELL OUTSIDE PREP ROOM - (NIGHT 
               ONE)                                                          46   

               We HEAR ETHEREAL, slightly OMINOUS MUSIC, as we MOVE SLOWLY 
               down a dimly-lit STAIRCASE.  As we reach the bottom, we see a 
               DOOR on which is stenciled:

               PRIVATE 

               As we MOVE CLOSER to the door, we INTERCUT with FLASHES of:

          47   INT. PREP ROOM - FLASHBACK (1973), NIGHT                      47   

               CLOSE on a MAN'S HANDS, pulling on LATEX GLOVES.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        25.


               CLOSE on the GLOVED HANDS as they arrange gleaming, surgical 
               instruments on a tray.

               CLOSE on a GLOVED HAND holding a SCALPEL as it MOVES along 
               the raised, rounded edge of a fiberglass PREPARATION TABLE, 
               upon which lies a male CORPSE. We can't see his face, but his 
               hair and coloring is the same as Nathaniel Fisher's.

               CLOSE on a DRAIN between the corpse's FEET: within a steady 
               FLOW OF WATER we see the diluted yet unmistakable crimson of 
               human BLOOD reach the drain.

               CLOSE on the GLOVED HANDS handling a TROCAR, a frighteningly 
               LONG NEEDLE attached to a CLEAR PLASTIC TUBE.

               CLOSE on the GLOVED HANDS, grasping the TROCAR and holding it 
               aloft, preparing to drive it into the corpse.

               CLOSE on the GLOVED HANDS as they flick a SWITH on some sort 
               of INDUSTRIAL PUMP. We HEAR MACHINERY REVVING UP.

               CLOSE on the CLEAR PLASTIC TUBE, MOVING with the YELLOWISH 
               EMBALMING FLUID that's pumping through it.

          48   INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE PREP ROOM - (NIGHT ONE)                 48   

               STILL MOVING toward the DOOR, which SLOWLY OPENS...

          48A  INT. PREP ROOM - FLASHBACK (1973), NIGHT                      48A  

               EIGHT-YEAR-OLD NATE stands at the open door, solemnly watching:

               NATHANIEL FISHER (at 29) stands at the preparation table, 
               wearing LATEX GLOVES, casual early-seventies clothing and a 
               porkpie hat. A cigarette dangles from his mouth as he massages 
               the limbs of the body on the table. A RECORD PLAYER is on a 
               cart next to the table. The ETHEREAL, OMINOUS MUSIC has been 
               abruptly replaced by Sarah Vaughn SINGING "NICE WORK IF YOU 
               CAN GET IT."

               Nathaniel spots Nate and smiles.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         Hey there, buddy boy. Come on in. Say 
                         hello to Mr. Bloomberg.

               Nate approaches the preparation table tentatively.

                                     NATHANIEL (CONT'D)
                         Nothing to be afraid of, Nate. Mr. 
                         Bloomberg's dead. I'm getting him ready 
                         so his family can see him one last time, 
                         and say goodbye to him. It'll make them 
                         feel better.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        26.


               Nate isn't listening, he's staring at Mr. Bloomberg's OPEN 
               MOUTH. An exuberant FOUR-YEAR-OLD DAVID suddenly rushes in, 
               holding a naked G.I. JOE, pointing it like a gun.

                                     DAVID
                         Bang!

                                     NATHANIEL 
                              (clutches chest))
                         Oh! You got me!

               David LAUGHS gleefully, points the G.I. Joe at Nate.

                                     DAVID
                         Bang! Nate! Bang!

               But Nate just keeps staring at Mr. Bloomberg. Impatient, David 
               runs over to him.

               Too short to see over the edge of the table, he stares at 
               Nate, wondering what his brother finds so fascinating. He 
               starts JUMPING up and down to get a better look. Nathaniel 
               offers a LATEX GLOVE to Nate.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         You can touch him if you wear one of 
                         these.  Believe me, he won't care.

               Nate stares up at his father, then turns and runs out of the 
               room.  David watches him go, mystified.  Nathaniel just 
               CHUCKLES quietly and takes a drag off his cigarette. 

                                                              SMASH CUT TO:

          49   INT. PREP ROOM - PRESENT DAY (NIGHT ONE)                      49   

               CLOSE ON ADULT NATE, expressionless, looking down at:

               NATHANIEL'S FACE, dead. He's lying on A NEWER PREPARATION 
               TABLE, tubes inserted, embalming fluid pumping in. HIP HOP 
               MUSIC plays on a BOOMBOX nearby.

               A WIDER ANGLE. Nate stands in the doorway, staring at his 
               dead father's face, uncomfortable. A diminutive MAN enters 
               from an adjoining room, wearing a white lab coat over hip 
               clothes, latex gloves, a surgical mask, and a Plexiglas face 
               shield. He's carrying a POLAROID CAMERA, which he focuses on 
               Nathaniel's face and snaps a shot. As he pulls the undeveloped 
               picture out, he notices Nate standing there.

                                     MAN
                         Nate!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        27.


               The Man removes the face shield and pulls down his surgical 
               mask. This is FEDERICO DIAZ (mid 20s), Hispanic and constantly 
               cheerful. He grabs Nate's hand and shakes it vigorously.

                                     NATE 
                         Hey, Rico.

                                     FEDERICO
                         Really sorry about your dad. But when 
                         your time's up, it's up. Right?

               David enters, with a clipboard, in work mode. Federico 
               immediately switches off the boom-box.

                                     DAVID
                              (re: Nathaniel)
                         How's he doing?

                                     FEDERICO
                         Just started him. So far so good.

                                     DAVID
                         I really appreciate your coming in on 
                         Christmas Eve, Federico.

               Federico starts massaging Nathaniel's limbs.

                                     FEDERICO
                         Hey. It's the least I could do for Mister 
                         F., after everything he did for me. And 
                         I'm going to be up all night anyway, 
                         putting together all the useless crap 
                         Santa Claus is bringing my kid.

                                     DAVID
                         We don't use that kind of language in 
                         here. Show some respect.

               David pulls on some latex gloves and massages Nathaniel's 
               limbs along with Federico. Nate watches, uncomfortable.

                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         You need something?

                                     NATE
                         Uh, no. I just--

               David's CELL PHONE RINGS.

                                     DAVID
                              (answers)
                         David Fisher... Hold just a second, 
                         please.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        28.


               He quickly moves past Nate into the corridor and shuts the 
               door behind him.

               INTERCUT WITH:

          50   INT. KEITH'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)               50   

               CLOSE ON A GUN in a holster, draped over the back of a chair. 
               TILT UP to reveal a cluttered but tasteful apartment. KEITH 
               CHARLES (30s), African American, is on the phone. He wears 
               sweaty gym clothes. He's wrapping a Christmas present.

                                     KEITH
                         Just want to remind you, don't eat too 
                         much with your family tonight, 'cause I 
                         am making you something totally decadent 
                         and fatty for dessert...

                                                            INTERCUT WITH: 

               DAVID IN THE CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE PREP ROOM:

                                     DAVID
                         Keith, I can't make it. I'm sorry.

                                     KEITH
                              (not happy about this)
                         Why not?

                                     DAVID
                         Because my father was just killed in a 
                         car accident.

                                     KEITH
                         Oh, shit. David. I'm so sorry. What can 
                         I do?

                                     DAVID
                         Nothing, thanks... but I have to stay 
                         here--

                                     KEITH
                         Of course. Listen, if you need anything, 
                         do not hesitate to call me--

                                     DAVID
                         Sure.

                                     KEITH
                         I mean it. You do not have to go through 
                         this alone. You need people. You have 
                         people.

                                     DAVID 
                         I gotta go.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        29.


               He hangs up, but just stands there.

          51   INT. PREP ROOM - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                       51   

               CLOSE ON a TILED WALL, MOVING over POLAROIDS, taped to the 
               wall in PAIRS. Shots of CORPSES' FACES, BEFORE and AFTER 
               restoration. A GLOVED HAND indicates two pairs of Polaroids, 
               both with particularly gruesome BEFORE SHOTS.

                                     FEDERICO (0.C.) 
                         This is the one I'm most proud of. The 
                         husband got fired, flipped out, shot the 
                         wife point blank in the head, then shot 
                         himself in the mouth. This is some 
                         seriously closed casket shit, right?
                              (indicates "after" shots)
                         Now look at this. Huh? Like the bride 
                         and groom on top of a cake.

               Nate stares, skeeved. Federico chatters on, oblivious.

                                     FEDERICO (CONT'D)
                         Then we cremated 'em. What a waste. 
                              (spots something)
                         Actually this is my best work...

               ON THE WALL: Above the Polaroids of corpses is a FRAMED 
               DEPARTMENT STORE PORTRAIT of a grinning TODDLER. Federico's 
               GLOVED HAND reaches in...

               Nate stands with Federico as he takes the portrait off the 
               wall, relieved to be focusing on less gruesome fare.

                                     NATE
                         Wait a minute. This kid was just born 
                         like last month.

                                     FEDERICO
                         He'll be four fucking years old in April, 
                         can you believe it? Oh, and Vanessa's 
                         pregnant again.

                                     NATE
                         You stud.

               David watches from the doorway.

                                     FEDERICO
                              (laughs)
                         It wasn't planned, but you know what? 
                              (re: portrait)
                         Neither was this one, and he's the best 
                         thing that ever happened to me.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        30.


               DAVID'S POV: Federico brings the portrait up to his lips and 
               kisses it, then hangs it back on the wall.

                                     DAVID
                              (sternly)
                         Federico, keep an eye on those chemicals, 
                         we don't want him to burn.

               Federico hastens over to the table to check on Nathaniel. 
               David joins him. Nate watches them for a moment then leaves.

          52   INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER (NIGHT ONE)                      52   

               Claire paces, scratching her scalp. Nate enters.

                                     NATE
                         Where's Mom?

                                     CLAIRE
                         She went to bed.

                                     NATE
                         Was she feeling any better?

                                     CLAIRE
                         Yeah, Nate, she was on top of the goddamn 
                         world.

               She suddenly starts to cry.  Nate awkwardly puts his arm  
               around her. She quickly shakes it off.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                         Don't.
                              (then)
                         Where's David?

                                     NATE 
                         He's downstairs. Working.

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                              (skeeved)
                         On Dad?

                                     NATE
                         Well, him and Rico. He said not to wait 
                         up for him, we should just try to get 
                         some sleep.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Oh, yeah. As if that were a viable option.

               Nate notices a POST-IT on the fridge, leans in to read it. 
               CLOSE on the POST-IT. In tiny, meticulous writing:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        31.


               OJ  
               Cantaloupe  
               Half & half  
               Soy stuff for Nate

                                     NATE
                         Want to go to the grocery store?

                                     CLAIRE
                              (already grabbing her keys)
                         Anything to get out of here.

          53   EXT. STREETS - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)                 53   

               We HEAR THROBBING TECHNO MUSIC as the GREEN HEARSE moves slowly 
               down the near-empty street.

          54   INT. GREEN HEARSE - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT ONE)                    54   

                                     NATE 
                         Is this the best music to listen to when 
                         you're having a bad drug experience?

                                     CLAIRE
                         I'm not having a bad drug experience. 
                         I'm having a psychotic break. Why are 
                         you driving like a grandmother?

                                     NATE
                         Uh, maybe because I'm feeling a little 
                         extra cautious, seeing how our dad just 
                         got mangled in a car accident?

               Nate turns the MUSIC OFF. A beat.

                                     CLAIRE
                         How long is it going to be like this?

                                     NATE
                         I have no idea, I've never done crystal.

                                     CLAIRE
                         I'm not talking about the crystal. How 
                         long is it going to be like this?  It's 
                         like everything has been replaced by 
                         like, some weird, empty version of itself. 
                         I feel like I'm in the holographic museum 
                         of my life.

                                     NATE
                         It's called shock. It protects us from 
                         what we're really feeling. 
                              (off her terrified look)
                         Sorry.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        32.


                                     CLAIRE
                         Oh my God, what if this is what's real, 
                         this hollow, nothing version of reality?  
                         And what if what we think is reality, 
                         where everything does seem real, is really 
                         just an illusion?
                              (then)
                         Or what if we're like, in hell? And part 
                         of the whole deal is that you don't know 
                         you're in hell? 
                              (then, spiraling)
                         But if they find out you know, they just 
                         crank up the intensity?

                                     NATE
                              (stares at her)
                         Remind me to never do drugs ever again.

          55   INT. GROCERY STORE - A SHORT TIME LATER (NIGHT ONE)           55   

               We HEAR CHRISTMAS MUZAK. PANNING PAST AISLES, we see a teenage 
               CLERK wearing a Santa hat as he restocks shelves; in the next 
               aisle, Claire feverishly opens a bottle of GATORADE and drinks 
               from it. In the produce section, Nate is thumping cantaloupes 
               when his CELL PHONE RINGS.

                                     NATE
                              (answers)
                         Hello?

          56   EXT. BRENDA'S PARENTS' HOME - SAME TIME (NIGHT ONE)           56   

               The terrace and pool of a contemporary Beverly Hills home, 
               obviously quite expensive. Brenda paces by the pool, sipping 
               from a glass of wine, speaking into her CELL PHONE. From inside 
               the house, we can just barely HEAR people ARGUING.

                                     BRENDA (O.S.)
                         Well, it's about to start raining frogs 
                         here. How are things on your end?

                                     NATE (O.S.)
                              (over phone line, pleased)
                         Hey! God, I'm glad you called.

                                     BRENDA 
                         Really. Why?

                                                             INTERCUT WITH:

               NATE AT GROCERY STORE:

                                     NATE
                         Because... I don't know. You, uh... you 
                         have a... calming effect on me.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        33.


                                     BRENDA
                         Uh-huh. Are you familiar with the 
                         psychological term "projection?"

                                     NATE
                         Are you familiar with the psychological 
                         term "blow me?"

               Brenda LAUGHS.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                              (seductive)
                         Come on. You grew up with all that 
                         psychobabble, you rebelled against it 
                         every chance you got. Still do. And that 
                         includes having sex with strangers in 
                         closets at airports.

                                     BRENDA
                              (flares)
                         Oh, you think you're not easy to read?  
                         Coasting by on your looks and charm isn't 
                         working like it used to, but you have no 
                         idea what else to do, because you've 
                         never had to learn. Any woman with half 
                         a brain looks at a guy like you and 
                         thinks, good for a hot fuck, but believe 
                         me. That's it.

               She switches off the phone, angry, then immediately regrets 
               it.

               AT THE SUPERMARKET, Nate stands there, deflated. A shaky Claire 
               approaches.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Can we leave? I really need to take a 
                         shower.

                                     NATE
                              (snaps)
                         Jesus Christ. Am I not allowed to have 
                         even a single moment to myself?

               Rage flashes across Claire's face. She grabs a canteloupe and 
               hurls it onto the floor, then just stands there, shaking. 
               She's in trouble, and Nate sees it.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         Okay.  What can I do?

                                     CLAIRE
                              (losing it)
                         Nothing. Nobody can do anything.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        34.


               She starts to cry, which only makes her angrier. Nate stands 
               there, waiting. Finally, she hugs him, and allows him to 
               comfort her. The Clerk approaches.

                                     CLERK
                         You'll have to pay for that canteloupe.

                                     CLAIRE 
                              (through tears))
                         Fuck off.

               FADE TO WHITE.

               FADE IN:

          57   INT. COMMERCIAL SET/WHITE VOID - DAY                          57   

               We HEAR BIG BAND MUSIC as we see a Makeup Artist working on a 
               young Woman who's seated in a chair, her back to us. She's 
               wearing a white bathrobe and her hair is wrapped in a white 
               turban. The furniture, props and costumes all convey a sort 
               of Hollywood Golden Age glitz; it's as if we're in a commercial 
               for make-up or hair-care products. The Makeup Artist suddenly 
               holds up a HAND MIRROR so the Woman can see herself. In the 
               MIRROR we see her face REFLECTED BACK AT US: she's beautiful, 
               but DEAD. The Makeup Artist seem pleased, holds up a ROUND 
               METAL TIN and smiles directly at us.

                                     ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
                         -Introducing new Wound Filler multi-
                         purpose cosmetic molding putty, now faster-
                         setting and self-sealing, to help make 
                         masking unsightly wounds a breeze--

               The commercial ends abruptly, as if someone switched the TV 
               off. MUSIC ENDS and the SCREEN GOES BLACK.

          58   INT. CAR - EARLY MORNING (DAY TWO)                            58   

               WE HEAR SOUL COUGHING's "SCREENWRITER'S BLUES."

                                     SOUL COUGHING
                              (on radio)
                         IT'S FIVE A.M.... AND YOU ARE LISTENING 
                         TO LOS ANGELES..

               DRIVER'S POV: We're on a deserted STREET at dawn, MOVING 
               UNNATURALLY SLOW. A CAR in an adjacent lane SPEEDS past us, 
               then another. Suddenly a BUS appears in front of us, DRIVING 
               the wrong way STRAIGHT TOWARD US with its HEADLIGHTS ON

               SMASH CUT TO:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        35.


          59   INT. NATE'S OLD ROOM - EARLY MORNING (DAY TWO)                59   

               FROM OVERHEAD: Nate lies sleeping, then his eyes pop open. 
               "SCREENWRITER'S BLUES" plays on an ALARM CLOCK RADIO on the 
               nightstand. He hits a button on it and the MUSIC ENDS. He 
               just lies there. From another room, we HEAR:

                                     RUTH (O.S.)
                         You want some more coffee?

                                     CLAIRE 
                              (quickly)
                         No! 

               Nate SIGHS and gets out of bed.

          60   INT. KITCHEN - MORNING, CONTINUOUS (DAY TWO)                  60   

               Claire sits at the table, picking at her breakfast. Ruth is 
               washing dishes at the sink.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Mom, remember that stuffed dog I used to 
                         have, and I dragged it around until its 
                         ears wore off, and you made new ears out 
                         of a dish towel, and I hated that dog 
                         after that, and I threw it up on the 
                         roof?

                                     RUTH
                         No.

               Nate enters, groggy.

                                     CLAIRE
                         And then I wanted it back and begged Dad 
                         to go get it, and he said no, if I really 
                         wanted it I never should have thrown it 
                         up there in the first place.

                                     RUTH 
                         Your father did so many wonderful things 
                         for you, and that's all you can think of 
                         right now?

                                     CLAIRE 
                         What? I just remembered it.

                                     RUTH
                              (yells)
                         He was a good man!

               Embarrassed, she wipes her hands and leaves.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        36.


                                     NATE
                         I'm going running.

          61   INT. PREP ROOM - MORNING, CONTINUOUS (DAY TWO)                61   

               CLOSE on a ROUND METAL TIN marked "WOUND FILLER." A MAN'S 
               HANDS in surgical gloves open the tin, and, using a plastic 
               applicator, scoop out a bit of flesh-colored, waxy goo.

               We FOLLOW A HAND to the now-embalmed Nathaniel Fisher's nearly 
               colorless face, as the hand works the cosmetic wax into the 
               lacerations on his cheek.

                                     NATHANIEL (O.C.)
                         Oh, no.  You're doing me?

               David sits next to the prep table, wearing a white lab coat 
               over a crisply ironed shirt and latex gloves. He's working on 
               the face of his father's corpse. Oddly, a fully dressed 
               Nathaniel also stands behind David, looking over his son's 
               shoulder at his own corpse.

                                     NATHANIEL (CONT'D)
                         You're the worst one we've got.

                                     DAVID
                              (drily)
                         Thanks, Dad.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         Where's Federico?

                                     DAVID
                         It's Christmas morning. He's with his 
                         wife and kids. He'll be in later.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         Couldn't this wait? I don't want you 
                         ruining my face.

                                     DAVID 
                         Little late for that.

                                     NATHANIEL 
                         Not funny.

                                     DAVID
                         I need to stay busy right now.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         So reorganize some files. Come up with a 
                         new bookkeeping program. That's what 
                         you're good at. You never really had any 
                         aptitude for this stuff.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        37.


                                     DAVID
                         I know. And what did I do with my life?  
                         I went to school to learn exactly how to 
                         do this stuff. Other kids my age were 
                         going to frat parties, I was draining 
                         corpses and refashioning severed ears 
                         out of wax.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         Thank God I didn't lose an ear. I can 
                         only imagine what you'd come up with.

                                     DAVID
                         And I did it all for you.

               Federico enters, unnoticed by David.

               FEDERICO'S POV: David sits, working on a very dead Nathaniel. 
               There is no other Nathaniel anywhere in sight.

                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         I did it to make you happy, you ungrateful 
                         son of a bitch.

               A beat.

                                     FEDERICO 
                         Uhm, Dave?

               David looks up.

                                     FEDERICO (CONT'D) 
                         Just wanted to let you know I was here.

          62   EXT. CEMETERY - MORNING, A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY TWO)         62   

               MOVING past row after row of HEADSTONES. Nate comes into view, 
               running fast and hard.

               CLOSE ON NATE, his face red and sweaty. He's focused, pushing 
               himself to the limit.

          63   EXT. STREET - LATER (DAY TWO)                                 63   

               We're on the same urban street we saw at the very beginning.  
               Today it's completely empty. Exhausted, Nate walks along the 
               deserted sidewalk. He glances down the street at:

               NATE'S POV: A BUS heads toward us, at high speed.

               Nate starts running in place, watching the bus as it 
               approaches... then he suddenly steps out into the street. The 
               bus's TIRES SQUEAL, but it's going too fast and it SLAMS INTO 
               NATE, then SKIDS to a stop. Nate crumples to the ground. 
               Horrified, the Driver disembarks and approaches Nate.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        38.


               HIS POV: Nate lies beneath us on the pavement, BLOOD slowly 
               spreading around his head.

               NATE'S POV: The Driver stands above us, but we FLOAT past him 
               toward the sky..

               We HEAR WIND RUSHING as we're sucked into a DARK TUNNEL. A 
               PATCH OF LIGHT appears in the distance. We MOVE toward it 
               steadily, suddenly much FASTER, and before we know it, we're 
               in...

          64   INT. MORGUE, DREAM SEQUENCE, DAY - CONTINUOUS                 64   

               WHITE LIGHT fills the screen. We're CLOSE ON a FLUORESCENT 
               LIGHT PANEL in the ceiling. We slowly PULL BACK and TILT DOWN 
               to reveal we're in the morgue in which Nate identified his 
               father's body. All the body lockers are open. A naked

               Nathaniel sits with a few other naked DEAD PEOPLE. They're 
               playing cards. He looks over at us and smiles.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         We'll deal you in next hand.

               SMASH CUT TO:

          65   EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS (DAY TWO)                            65   

               Nate stands on the sidewalk, looking down the street. There's 
               no bus in sight. Nate pulls his CELL PHONE from inside his 
               windbreaker.

               CLOSE on the cell phone, as he PUSHES the BUTTONS *, 6, 9.

               Nate holds the phone to his ear. We HEAR:

                                     RECORDED VOICE 
                              (over phone line)
                         Your custom calling service is working.
                         However, this feature cannot be used 
                         with the number you are trying to reach--

               Nate sighs and switches the phone off He looks up at the sky. 
               We HEAR LIGHT CLASSICAL MUSIC.

               We're looking up at a CEILING painted to resemble a blue SKY, 
               dotted with fluffy white CLOUDS. PAN DOWN to Nathaniel lying 
               in his casket, looking pink and well-rested. People file by 
               to pay their respects. DAVID stands to the side, overseeing.

          66   INT., SLUMBER ROOM - THE FOLLOWING DAY (DAY THREE)            66   

               He greets people kindly, professionally.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        39.


                                     DAVID
                         Thank you for coming.  Thank you so much 
                         for the beautiful flowers... 

                                     LARGE WOMAN
                         He looks just like he's sleeping.

                                     DAVID
                         Yes, he does, doesn't he?

                                     LARGE WOMAN 
                         Your father performed miracles on my 
                         aunt Shirley. Took ten years off her.
                              (re: Nathaniel)
                         It's good for a man to look his age, 
                         though.

               ON NATE AND CLAIRE, seated on a couch.

                                     CLAIRE
                         I'm about to jump out of my skin.

                                     NATE
                         Don't, because I'm just barely holding 
                         together. Are you still high?

                                     CLAIRE
                         I can't tell. Am I sweating?

                                     NATE 
                         I know I am.

                                     CLAIRE
                         This is too fucking weird. It's been 
                         three days, and I'm still trapped in 
                         zombie world.

                                     NATE
                         Yeah, this is all happening to you.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (stung)
                         Fuck off.

                                     NATE
                         Sorry, but you're not the only one who 
                         wasn't prepared for this. I came home, 
                         expecting to sleep late and chow down on 
                         mom's cooking for six days. And now I 
                         find myself feeling like I'm not even a 
                         part of this family.

                                     CLAIRE
                         I'd trade places with you in a heartbeat. 
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        40.


                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                              (off his look)
                         What? At least you got out of here. 

                                     NATE 
                         I live in a shitty apartment, which was 
                         supposed to be temporary.  I work at a 
                         job which was also supposed to be 
                         temporary, until I figured out.. what I 
                         really wanted to do with my life, which 
                         apparently is nothing. I have lots of 
                         sex but I've never had a relationship 
                         last more than a couple of months. I 
                         don't even have the self-discipline to 
                         floss daily. I've had four root canals. 
                         Four! I'm going to be one of those losers 
                         who ends up on his deathbed saying, 
                         "Where'd my life go?"

                                     CLAIRE
                         No you won't.  You'll be saying, "where 
                         the hell is the morphine?" 
                              (off his look)
                         Just trying to cheer you up.

                                     NATE
                         I've spent my whole fucking life being 
                         cheerful. 

               The LARGE WOMAN who spoke to David earlier approaches them.

                                     LARGE WOMAN
                         I'm sorry about your father... but he's 
                         in a much better place now.

                                     NATE
                         You are so right about that.

          67   INT. RUTH AND NATHANIEL'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)    67   

               CLOSE ON a pair of CUFFLINKS, on the surface of a dresser.  A 
               WOMAN'S HAND comes into view and picks one of the cufflinks 
               up.

               Ruth stands at her dresser, wearing a black dress. She stares 
               at the cufflink in her hand, her face blank. IN THE MIRROR we 
               see Nathaniel sitting on the edge of the bed, watching her.

               Ruth glances at his reflection, uneasy.  She puts the cufflink 
               down and shuts her eyes.  Opens them again.  Nathaniel still 
               watches her, smiling.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         I know everything.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        41.


                                     RUTH
                              (On the verge of tears)
                         God damn it. 

               She turns and leaves the room.

          68   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)                    68   

               David oversees the viewing, his face a mask of benevolence 
               and understanding. We MOVE through the crowd toward him. He 
               spots us as we get closer. He's not happy to see us.

                                     DAVID
                              (hushed)
                         What are you doing here?

               DAVID'S POV: Keith Charles walks toward us, wearing a 
               POLICEMAN'S UNIFORM.

                                     KEITH
                         I just got off duty, I came to pay my 
                         respects to your father.

                                     DAVID
                              (an edge)
                         You've never even met my father.

               Keith stares at him.

                                     KEITH
                              (an edge of his own)
                         Exactly. And you've met my parents how 
                         many times now? Christ, we spent the w 
                         weekend at their house--

               David pulls Keith aside.

                                     DAVID
                         Don't do this to me, Keith. This is not 
                         your high school reunion --

                                     KEITH
                         You're right, I'm sorry

                                     DAVID
                              (overlapping)
                         -- this is not the time for you to be 
                         political --

                                     KEITH
                              (flares)
                         You think that's why I'm here? To be 
                         political?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        42.


                                     DAVID (CONT'D) 
                         Keep your voice down!

                                     KEITH
                         What is this? We can fuck each other, 
                         but I can't be a shoulder for you to cry 
                         on?

                                     DAVID
                         I'm not crying.

                                     KEITH
                         So, what, I'm just sex to you?

                                     DAVID
                         Jesus, do we really have to have this 
                         conversation now?
                              (then)
                         Shit, here comes my mother.

               Ruth approaches them.

                                     RUTH
                         I'm so tired.

                                     DAVID
                         I know, mom. It's exhausting.

               An awkward pause. Ruth eyes Keith in his policeman's uniform.

                                     RUTH
                         Is something wrong?

                                     DAVID 
                         No. Nothing's wrong. This is Keith 
                         Charles. He's a friend of mine. He came 
                         to pay his respects to Dad.

                                     KEITH 
                         How do you do, Mrs. Fisher? I'm so sorry 
                         about your husband.

                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                              (to David)
                         You're friends with a police officer?

                                     DAVID
                         We play racquetball together.

                                     RUTH
                         Oh.
                              (to Keith))
                         Nice to meet you.
                              (to David)
                         Take me over to your father now.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        43.


               David offers Ruth his alm and leads her over to the casket, 
               shooting a look back at Keith.

               ON NATE AND CLAIRE across the room.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Who's that cop?

               ON DAVID AND RUTH, standing at the casket. She holds on to 
               David tightly as she looks down at Nathaniel. Her face crumples 
               and she starts to cry. David gently guides her off through a 
               drape, into a another room.

               ON NATE AND CLAIRE, watching.

                                     NATE
                         What, she's sad, so he has to get her 
                         out of sight?

                                     CLAIRE
                         They always do that. The minute somebody 
                         starts to lose it, they take them off 
                         into that room. It makes all the other 
                         people uncomfortable, I guess.

                                     NATE
                              (angry)
                         This is not about the other people!

                                     CLAIRE
                         Volume.

               Nate fidgets, anxious.

                                     NATE
                         When I went backpacking through Europe, 
                         after I quit school, I went to this island 
                         off the coast of Sicily...

          69   EXT. BEACH - DAY, FLASHBACK (1987)                            69   

               A STRETCH OF SAND. A handful of OLD SICILIAN MEN AND WOMEN, 
               all dressed in black, stand looking out to sea.

                                     NATE (V.O.)
                         ...this volcanic island, I forget what 
                         it's called. I had met this girl on the 
                         plane, she said I had to go there...

               A moderate-sized cabin cruiser is moored a couple of hundred 
               feet off the beach. A couple of men are rowing a rowboat with 
               the COFFIN in it toward the beach.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        44.


                                     NATE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                         And on the boat over, there was this 
                         pine box, somebody from the island who 
                         was being returned to be buried there.

               CLOSE ON THE SICILIANS, their ancient faces like crinkled 
               paper, lined with age and experience.

                                     NATE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                         And these old Sicilians were waiting 
                         there, dressed all in black, lined up on 
                         the beach, and...

               The rowboat reaches the beach and the rowers drag the coffin 
               onto the sand. The old Sicilian women hurl themselves onto it 
               and start CRYING and SCREAMING. The old Sicilian men look on, 
               stone-faced.

                                     NATE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                         ...when they got the coffin to the beach, 
                         those women just went apeshit. Screaming, 
                         throwing themselves on it, beating their 
                         chests, tearing at their hair, making 
                         animal noises. It was so...

               22-YEAR-OLD NATE watches from the deck of the cabin cruiser.

                                     NATE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                         ...so real. I mean, I'd been around 
                         funerals my whole life, but I had never 
                         seen such... grief.

               NATE'S POV: Across the water, on the beach, the women continue 
               carrying on.

                                     NATE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                         And at the time, it gave me the creeps. 
                         But now I think it was probably so much 
                         more healthy than...

          70   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - PRESENT DAY (DAY THREE)                   70   

               Nate and Claire, on the couch, in the midst of the viewing

                                     NATE
                              (gestures)
                         ...this.

               A beat.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (oblivious)
                         That cop is cute.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        45.


          71   INT. SIDE ROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)                       71   

               Ruth sits on a couch, crying. David sits next to her, holding 
               a box of Kleenex.

                                     RUTH
                         Oh, David. David.

                                     DAVID
                         I know, Mom. It's going to be okay, it 
                         just takes time.

                                     RUTH
                         I've done a terrible, terrible thing.

                                     DAVID
                         What?

                                     RUTH
                         I've done a terrible thing.

               Nate enters.

                                     NATE
                         How's she doing?

                                     DAVID 
                         She's fine.

                                     RUTH
                              (breaking down)
                         I'm not fine! I'm a whore! I was 
                         unfaithful to your father! For years!

               A beat. Nate and David are speechless.

                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                         And now he knows! He knows!

                                     NATE
                         Uh...

                                     RUTH
                              (the floodgates open)
                         I met a man at church, once when your 
                         father didn't come with me.

                                     NATE
                         Mom, it's okay.

                                     RUTH
                         And he invited me for coffee, and he 
                         said he liked my hair--he's a hairdresser, 
                         a widower, well, they divorced before
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        46.


                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                         she died, so technically I guess he's 
                         divorced--

                                     DAVID
                         This is really not the time--

                                     NATE
                         Maybe she needs to just get this out.

                                     RUTH
                         --and he invited me to accompany him on 
                         a hike, I didn't even have the right 
                         shoes,I wore sandals--

                                     DAVID
                              (to Nate, overlapping)
                         Yeah, well, I don't want to hear it.

                                     RUTH
                         --I used to love hiking when I was 
                         younger, and being outdoors--I always 
                         wanted to take you kids camping but your 
                         father would never leave the business...

                                     NATE
                              (to David)
                         Go back out. I'll stay here with her.

                                     DAVID
                              (an edge)
                         What are you now, a priest?

                                     RUTH
                         Well, I can tell you, I went camping 
                         with this man from church. Several times. 
                         Told your father I was visiting my sister, 
                         which, if he'd ever thought to call--

                                     DAVID
                              (to Ruth)
                         Can you even begin to fathom the 
                         impropriety of this? Your husband is 
                         lying in a casket out there!

                                     NATE (ANGRY)
                         David, she's grief-stricken, okay? Fuck 
                         propriety!

               David glares at him, incensed, then storms out. Ruth breaks 
               down again. Nate comforts her.

                                     RUTH
                              (through tears)
                         We don't say that word.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        47.


          72   INT. SLUMBER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)                    72   

               Claire stands, watching:

               HER POV: Keith stands at the casket, studying Nathaniel's 
               face.

               Claire takes a breath, approaches him.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Did you know him?

                                     KEITH 
                         No... you?

                                     CLAIRE (CONT'D)
                         He's my father.

                                     KEITH
                         You're Claire?

                                     CLAIRE
                              (thrown)
                         Uh... yeah?

                                     KEITH
                         Keith Charles. I'm a friend of your 
                         brother's.

                                     CLAIRE
                         Of Nate's?

                                     KEITH
                         No, David.

                                     CLAIRE
                              (baffled)
                         David is friends with a cop?

               A beat.

                                     KEITH
                         We play racquetball together.

                                     CLAIRE
                         David plays racquetball?

               David suddenly approaches, agitated.

                                     DAVID 
                              (to Claire))
                         Excuse us.

               He pulls Keith aside.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        48.


                                     DAVID (CONC'D) (CONT'D)
                         You want me to cry on your shoulder?  
                         Fine. My mother just told me she's been 
                         having an affair.

                                     KEITH
                         Wow.

                                     DAVID
                         Yeah, with some hairdresser!  Who likes 
                         to hike! And now fucking Nate is in there, 
                         playing Mister Sensitive with her, while 
                         her dead husband lies in the next room. 
                         It's disgusting.

                                     KEITH 
                         Okay, breathe. You're going to get through 
                         this.

                                     DAVID 
                         Oh I know. I'll be the strong one, the 
                         stable one, the dependable one, because 
                         that's what I do. And everybody around 
                         me will fall apart, because that's what 
                         they do.

                                     KEITH 
                              (after a beat)
                         Don't you get exhausted, always being so 
                         hard on everybody? And yourself?

                                     DAVID
                         Oh, shut up. She met him at church!

                                     KEITH
                              (smiles)
                         You met me at church.

               David stares at Keith, unable to think of a response. ON 
               CLAIRE, watching them.

               HER POV: David finally smiles, even starts to laugh. Keith 
               smiles too; puts his hand on David's shoulder and leans into 
               him. It's a comfortable, intimate moment.

               ON CLAIRE, getting it.

          73   INT. SIDE ROOM - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)                       73   

               Nate sits next to Ruth, his am around her as she cries.

                                     RUTH
                         These last few years, your father, you 
                         know how he retreats inside-himself
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        49.


                                     RUTH (CONT'D)
                         sometimes? Well, it's like he was living 
                         there twenty-four hours a day.

                                     NATE
                         Yeah...

                                     RUTH
                         I didn't even realize how lonely I was... 
                         Or how long it had been since a man 
                         touched me like that...

                                     NATE
                              (uncomfortable)
                         Well, loneliness is a terrible thing.

                                     RUTH
                         I'm still a woman, you know.

                                     NATE 
                         Yes, I know.

                                     RUTH
                         And now your father sees me, like God 
                         sees me, and he knows everything. I'm so 
                         ashamed.

                                     NATE
                         You didn't do it to hurt anybody. You 
                         were lonely. I'm sure Dad forgives you.

               She looks up at him, stricken.

                                     RUTH
                         And God doesn't?

                                     NATE
                         Oh, yeah, I'm sure he forgives you too.

               She starts crying again.  He wraps his arms around her and 
               rocks her. 

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         It's okay.  Everybody forgives everybody.  
                         For everything. 

                

               His CELL PHONE RINGS. He attempts to loosen his embrace, but 
               Ruth clings to him.  He hugs her even tighter, as his CELL 
               PHONE continues to ring.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        50.


          74   INT. BRENDA'S PARENTS' HOME - CONTINUOUS (DAY THREE)          74   

               A state-of-the-art designer kitchen.  In another room, we 
               HEAR people ARGUING.  Brenda leans against the center island, 
               eating gourmet olives out of a plastic tub, her cell phone to 
               her ear.  

                                     BRENDA
                         Fuck.

               She hangs up, looks pensive. Her brother BILLY CHENOWITH 
               enters, weeping, and goes to the fridge. He rummages around 
               inside, starts to get upset when he can't seem to find what 
               he's looking for.

                                     BRENDA (CONT'D)
                         If you're looking for the olives, they're 
                         right here.

               She hands him the tub. He exits, still weeping.

               FADE TO WHITE.

               FADE IN:

          75   INT. COMMERCIAL SET/WHITE VOID - DAY                          75   

               In a WHITE VOID, we see a group of attractive young DANCERS, 
               clad in pastel shirts and khakis. Each holds what seems to be 
               a COMMERCIAL CHEF'S SALT-SHAKER. We HEAR K.C. AND THE SUNSHINE 
               BAND'S "SHAKE YOUR BOOTY" as the Dancers perfoim a tightly 
               choreographed DANCE ROUTINE, shaking their salt-shakers (and 
               their booties).  It's as if we're in one of those Gap 
               commercials.

                                     K.C. AND THE SUNSHINE BAND 
                         SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE... SHAKE, SHAKE, 
                         SHAKE... SHAKE YOUR BOOTY... SHAKE YOUR 
                         BOOTY...

                                     ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
                         Ashes to ashes and dust to dust? Easy as 
                         pie with the new Franklin Leak-Resistant 
                         Earth Dispenser!  Say goodbye to soiled 
                         fingers!  Effortless, refined, attractive, 
                         and respectful--

               The commercial ends abruptly, as if someone switched the TV 
               off. MUSIC ENDS and the SCREEN GOES BLACK.

                                     PRIEST (O.S.)
                         In the midst of life, we are in death.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        51.


          76   EXT. CEMETERY - THE NEXT DAY (DAY FOUR)                       76   

               CLOSE ON NATE, listening. He's tired, troubled.

                                     PRIEST (O.S.)
                         Of whom may we seek for succor, but of 
                         thee, O Lord? Who for our sins art justly 
                         displeased?

               PAN from Nate to the other members of his family: RUTH, guilt- 
               stricken...

                                     PRIEST (CONT'D)
                         Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our 
                         hearts.

               ...CLAIRE, looking like she hasn't slept in days...

                                     PRIEST (CONT'D)
                         Shut not thy merciful ear to our prayer; 
                         but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most 
                         mighty.

               ...and DAVID, stoic.

                                     PRIEST (0.C.) (CONT'D)  (CONT'D)
                         O holy and merciful Savior, thou most 
                         worthy Judge eternal.

               An episcopal Priest reads from the book of common prayer.  

                                     PRIEST (CONT'D)
                         Suffer us not, at our last hour, through 
                         any pains of death, to fall from thee.

               LONG SHOT of the typical American funeral, as Nathaniel's 
               casket is lowered into the ground. Tent, flowers, funeral 
               grass, the whole nine yards. In the foreground, a MAN watches, 
               his back to us. He wears a Hawaiian shirt and a porkpie hat.

               REVERSE ANGLE: It's Nathaniel, seated atop the hearse he was 
               driving at the beginning. He lights a cigarette, then sips 
               through a straw from a frothy tropical drink in a coconut, 
               smiling as if he were at a ballgame.

               The Priest retrieves the Franklin Earth Dispenser we saw in 
               the commercial and holds it over the grave, shaking dust out.

                                     PRIEST (CONT'D)
                         In sure and certain hope of the 
                         resurrection to eternal life through our 
                         Lord Jesus Christ...

               ON NATE, watching, frowning.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        52.


                                     PRIEST (CONT'D)
                         ...we commend to Almighty God our brother 
                         Nathaniel Samuel Fisher; and we commit 
                         his body to the ground.

                                     NATE
                              (under his breath)
                         He looks like he's salting popcorn.

               David glares at him, but Nate pays no attention.

               The Priest gives the Earth Dispenser to Ruth. As she shakes 
               it over the grave, followed by Claire and then David:

                                     PRIEST 
                         Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to 
                         dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, 
                         the Lord make his face to shine upon him 
                         and be gracious unto him...

               Claire hands the dispenser to Nate.

                                     PRIEST  (CONT'D)
                         The Lord lift up his countenance upon 
                         him and give him peace...

               The Priest trails off, waiting for Nate to follow his turn, 
               but he doesn't. David starts to look concerned.

               ON NATHANIEL, watching, as Brenda's JEEP CHEROKEE PULLS INTO 
               FRAME behind the hearse. She gets out and crosses toward us 
               to watch as well. Unseen by her, Nathaniel checks her out.

               Nate crosses to the mound of earth beside the grave, kneels 
               down and plunges his hand in. He stands, holding a fistful of 
               dirt, the sleeve of his suit jacket soiled.

               Everyone stares, concerned, baffled, and in David's case, 
               angry. He crosses to Nate and attempts to pull him back. Nate 
               shakes him off, roughly.

                                     NATE
                         No. I refuse to sanitize this any more.

                                     DAVID
                         This is how it's done--

                                     NATE
                         Yeah, well, it's whacked. What is this 
                         stupid saltshaker, this, this hermetically 
                         sealed box, this phony astroturf around 
                         the grave. Jesus, it's like surgery. 
                         Clean. Antiseptic.  Business. 
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        53.


                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                              (angry)
                          
                         He was our father.

                                     DAVID
                              (quietly)
                         Please don't do this.

                                     NATE
                              (overlapping)
                         You can pump him full of chemicals, and 
                         put makeup on him, and prop him up for a 
                              (air quotes)
                         "Nap" in the "slumber room," but the 
                         fact remains: The only father we will 
                         ever have is gone. Forever. And that 
                         sucks, but it's a goddamn part of life 
                         and you can't really accept it without 
                         getting your hands dirty. Well, I do 
                         accept it, and I intend to honor the old 
                         bastard by letting the world see just 
                         how fucked up and shitty I feel that 
                         he's dead.

               And he angrily throws his fistful of dirt into the grave.

                                     NATE  (CONT'D)
                         God damn it!

               An awkward beat.

                                     PRIEST 
                         Uh... Amen.

                                     RUTH
                         Wait.

               Nate and David watch apprehensively as Ruth crosses to the 
               mound of earth, grabs a fistful and throws it into the grave. 
               She grabs another... then another... throwing them all into 
               the grave, losing control, GROWLING like an animal. Unnerved, 
               David starts toward her, but Nate holds him back.

                                     NATE
                         Let her.

               Mourners look on, a little stunned, as Ruth continues flinging 
               dirt wildly into the grave. Suddenly she stops and SCREAMS, a 
               primal, animalistic scream.

                                     RUTH
                         Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        54.


               Ruth screams until she's spent, then just stands there, gasping 
               for breath. Nate crosses to his mother and wraps his arms 
               around her. She clings to him, too exhausted to cry.

               David is seething. An awkward beat.

                                     PRIEST
                              (quickly)
                         The Lord be with you.

                                     MOURNERS
                         And with thy spirit.

                                     PRIEST
                         Let us pray...

                                     PRIEST/MOURNERS
                         Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed 
                         be thy name...

               Brenda watches, smiling.  Behind her, Nathaniel is also 
               smiling. 

                                     NATHANIEL
                              (clapping)
                         Woo-Oho!

               ON CLAIRE, watching him, her face blank.

          77   EXT. CEMETARY - A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY FOUR)                 77   

               The funeral is over.  Nate walks an exhausted Ruth to a car.  
               David approaches with Federico. 

                                     DAVID
                         Mom, Federico's going to drive you back, 
                         okay?  I just want to go over some details 
                         with Nate. We'll be right behind you.

                                     FEDERICO
                              (offers his arm)
                         Put her there, Mrs. F.

                                     RUTH
                              (loopy from exhaustion)
                         You have such delicate hands, Rico. Like 
                         a statue. Or an illustration in an antique 
                         book. Or one of those little ceramic 
                         hands they use to display gloves...

               Ruth and Federico cross off. David turns to Nate, glaring.

                                     DAVID
                         You want to be the alpha dog, Nate?
                                     (MORE)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        55.


                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         Is that it?  Coasting toward mid-life 
                         with nothing to show for it and now you 
                         want to come back and be the rock for 
                         this family to lean on? Fuck you.

                                     NATE
                              (stung)
                         That's not what I'm--

                                     DAVID
                         You want to get your hands dirty?  You 
                         sanctimonious prick. Talk to me when 
                         you've had to stuff formaldehyde-soaked 
                         cotton up your father's ass so he won't  
                         leak.

                                     NATE 
                              (totally skeeved)
                         Jesus.

                                     DAVID
                         Yeah, well, I guess you'd just toss him 
                         out with the garbage. It may seem weird 
                         to you, but there is a reason for 
                         everything we do. We provide people with 
                         a very important and sacred service at 
                         the darkest time in their lives. When 
                         maybe they don't want to make a spectacle 
                         of themselves. Because maybe they'd prefer 
                         to grieve in private.

                                     NATE
                         Why? Why does it have Co be such a secret? 
                         It's nothing Co be ashamed of.

               David has no answer to this. Furious, he turns to go.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         Dave, please...

               He places his hand on David's shoulder. David spins around 
               and shoves him, hard.

                                     DAVID
                         You know nothing. Nothing!

               A tense beat.

                                     DAVID (CONT'D)
                         You had a responsibility to this family 
                         and you ran away from it and left it all 
                         to me--

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        56.


                                     NATE
                         Whoa. Don't blame me if you're not living 
                         the life you want, that's nobody's fault 
                         but your own.

               A beat. David studies him coolly.

                                     DAVID
                         Fine. Just do me a favor, okay?  You got 
                         out. Stay out.

               We FOLLOW DAVID as he storms off. JOHN GILARDI, an officious 
               young businessman, CROSSES INTO FRAME and hurries after David.

                                     GILARDI
                         Excuse me, Mr. Fisher? Sir?  If I could 
                         have just a moment of your time...

                                     DAVID
                              (still walking)
                         What.

                                     GILARDI
                         I'm from the Global Service Corporation.  
                         I'd like to talk to you about the 
                         advantages of joining our family of death 
                         care facilities--

                                     DAVID
                         I don't believe this.

                                     GILARDI
                         Sir, if you'd just hear me out--

                                     DAVID
                         We're not selling. Now get the fuck out 
                         of here.

                                     GILARDI 
                         We wouldn't change the name of the 
                         business. And of course, we would retain 
                         you as a salaried manager--

               David stops and turns to him.

                                     DAVID
                         Look. I really want to hit somebody right 
                         now, and it might as well be you.

               Gilardi steps back from him. David resumes walking.

                                     GILARDI
                              (calls after)
                         I'll call you when you've had some time 
                         to recover from your loss.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        57.


          78   EXT. CEMETERY - LATER (DAY FOUR)                              78   

               Nate stands with his back to us. Over his shoulder, in the 
               distance, we see a Cemetery Worker in overalls shoveling dirt 
               into Nathaniel's grave. We CIRCLE AROUND NATE until we're on 
               his troubled face. Brenda walks up behind him.

                                     BRENDA
                         Hi.

               He turns to her, surprised.

                                     NATE
                         Wow. I never expected to see you again.

                                     BRENDA
                         Life's full of surprises.

                                     NATE
                         You're telling me. How'd you--

                                     BRENDA 
                         Funeral notices, in the paper. It's not 
                         that hard.

               They start to walk.

                                     NATE
                              (awkward)
                         How's it going?

                                     BRENDA
                         Oh, well, after four days with my family, 
                         I'm ready for shock therapy. I'm just 
                         waiting to see if my HMO covers it.  
                         How's it going with you?

                                     NATE
                         Great. Great. My father's dead, my mom's 
                         a whore, my brother wants to kill me, 
                         and my sister's smoking crack.  I think 
                         I win.

               Brenda smiles. They walk along in silence for a moment.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         You know, four days ago, I was a 
                         relatively happy guy, and now.., it's 
                         like I don't even know who that guy was.

               His grin fades; he's suddenly too tired to turn on the charm. 
               He stops walking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        58.


                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         I'm a fucking mess, if you want to know 
                         the truth. But I think you're already 
                         aware of that.

               A long beat as Brenda studies him, then reaches inside her 
               purse, grabs a scrap of paper and scribbles her number on it. 

                                     BRENDA 
                         Well, here's my number. If you ever want 
                         to... I don't know, have a real date? 
                         know, where you buy me dinner before I 
                         put out.

               Nate takes the number, looks at her quizzically.

                                     BRENDA
                              (shrugs)
                         Maybe I'm one of those women who meets a 
                         man who seems emotionally conflicted and 
                         has no relationship skills and I figure, 
                         hey, that's for me.

                                     NATE
                         Uh... You know I don't even live here, 
                         right? I live in Seattle.

                                     BRENDA
                         See, that just makes YOU more attractive.

                                     NATE
                         Really?

               They continue to walk.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         I'm also a serial rapist and I have ten 
                         nurses buried under my house.

                                     BRENDA
                         Okay, now you're making me wet.

                                     NATE
                         Oh, and I'm a Scientologist.

                                     BRENDA
                         Buh-bye.

          79   EXT. CEMETERY - CONTINUOUS (DAY FOUR)                         79   

               CLOSE ON AN ORNATE TOMBSTONE. TILT DOWN to Nathaniel, in a 
               swimsuit and sunglasses, lying on a beach recliner under the 
               tombstone, holding his coconut drink.

               Claire leans against an adjacent tombstone, smoking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        59.


                                     CLAIRE
                         You're really lucky, you know?

                                     NATHANIEL
                         Oh, I know. It was all over, in a second. 
                         I didn't have to be afraid of it, I didn't 
                         even have to think about it.

                                     CLAIRE
                         No more bullshit.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         No more responsibility.

                                     CLAIRE
                         No more having to care.

                                     NATHANIEL
                         No more boredom.

               A beat.

                                     CLAIRE
                         No more waiting to die.

               Nathaniel smiles and raises his drink as if in a toast.

          80   INT. KEITH'S APARTMENT - THAT EVENING (NIGHT FOUR)            80   

               Keith is sprawled on the couch, reading. His DOORBELL RINGS. 
               He gets up and opens the door to reveal David, who storms in, 
               angry. Keith shuts the door, watches David as he paces. When 
               David looks like he might cry, Keith puts a hand on his 
               shoulder. David buries his face in Keith's neck.

                                     KEITH
                              (softly)
                         Hey... it's okay...

               David looks up at him, his eyes filled with a vulnerability 
               we haven't seen from him, then they kiss. It's a romantic 
               kiss that quickly grows in intensity on David's part. He starts 
               to unbutton Keith's shirt.

                                     KEITH (CONT'D)
                         Whoa, whoa...

                                     DAVID
                              (urgent)
                         I need to feel alive. Please.

               Keith gives in, and the two men kiss again. The passion builds, 
               and they start to rip off each other's clothes.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        60.


          81   EXT. FUNERAL HOME - FLASHBACK (1973), DAY                     81   

               We see FLASHES of:

               8-YEAR-OLD NATE plays with a toy car on the sidewalk in front 
               of the Funeral Home.

               Behind him, a younger RUTH and 4-YEAR-OLD DAVID are seated on 
               the porch steps; she's reading to him from a CHILDREN'S BOOK. 

               A younger NATHANIEL is watering the hedge with a garden hose.

               They're all still, preoccupied with whatever they're doing, 
               in their own worlds. Then David squirms out of his mother's 
               lap and runs down the sidewalk toward Nate.

          82   INT. NATE'S OLD ROOM - EARLY MORNING (DAY FIVE)               82   

               FROM OVERHEAD: Nate lies sprawled in bed, sleeping. The ALARM 
               CLOCK RADIO on the nightstand goes off. He hits a button on 
               it without opening his eyes and stays in bed.

               FADE TO WHITE.

               FADE IN:

          83   INT. KITCHEN - MORNING, CONTINUOUS (DAY FIVE)                 83   

               Ruth is washing dishes. Nate enters, dressed to go running.

                                     NATE
                         Morning.

               Ruth turns, sees him. She smiles, then suddenly hugs him, 
               looking like she might cry.

                                     RUTH
                         Thank God you're here.

                                     NATE
                              (awkward)
                         Yeah, well, of course I'm here.

               Ruth lets him go, a little embarrassed. Busies herself at the 
               sink, her back to him.

                                     RUTH
                         What do you want for breakfast?

                                     NATE
                         Oh, I'm going running. I'll eat when I 
                         get back.

               He starts out.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        61.


                                     RUTH
                         Nate?

                                     NATE
                         Yeah?

                                     RUTH
                              (nonchalant)
                         You don't have to go back to Seattle 
                         right away, do you?

               ON NATE, caught, hovering in the doorway.

                                     NATE
                         Uh...

               An awkward beat.  Ruth stands at the sink, still not facing 
               him.  Nate sighs.

                                     NATE (CONT'D)
                         I guess not. I could make a few calls.

                                     RUTH
                              (grateful)
                         Thank you.

                                     NATE
                         Yeah, sure. 

                                     RUTH
                         Just for a few days.

                                     NATE
                         Okay.

          84   EXT. CEMETERY - MORNING A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY FIVE)         84   

               CLOSE ON NATE, running toward us, hard and fast.  His face is 
               red with exertion.  And anxiety. 

          85   EXT. STREET - A SHORT TIME LATER (DAY FIVE)                   85   

               PEDESTRIANS and BUSINESSPEOPLE crowd the sidewalks of the 
               same street from the beginning.  Nate walks among them, cooling 
               down, checking out women.  He glances across the street at... 

               HIS POV: A scattering of people stand at a BUS STOP. Among 
               them is NATHANIEL, in his suit and porkpie hat, chatting.

               ON NATE, watching.

               HIS POV: A BUS pulls up to the stop. Nathaniel boards along 
               with the others, and takes a seat next to the window.  Just 
               before the bus takes off, he smiles and waves to us.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        62.


               ON NATE, suddenly stricken.  We start to HEAR The Devlins' 
               "WAITING." Nate looks around at:

               HIS POV: On the sidewalk and across the street, PEOPLE of all 
               ages carry on the business of living their lives.

               IN SLOW MOTION, a succession of their FACES, each of them 
               glancing at us...

               MUSIC CONTINUES as Nate stands there, watching.  He starts to 
               cry.. for his father, for himself, for all of us. 

               FADE TO BLACK.