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TIGHT SHOT -- A WHITE HAND ON BLACK SKIN
The hand, old and wise, touches the skin, like a violinist
playing a Stradivarius. CAMERA PULLS BACK to show
AUSCHLANDER, his fingers carefully searching the midsection
of MISS TAYLOR, a sixty-nine-year-old black woman.
FULL SHOT -- MISS TAYLOR'S ROOM - DAY
AUSCHLANDER, MORRISON, ARMSTRONG, WHITE around MISS TAYLOR's
Did you have a nice visit with your
She brought you some new perfume.
It's called "Naughty Nights" --
Feel how lobulated she is.
WHITE steps up, like a pitcher on the mound. He percusses
MISS TAYLOR's abdomen, right upper quadrant.
I ain't deaf and I ain't senile.
Gently... Like this...
He guides WHITE's hand.
ARMSTRONG moves swiftly into WHITE's place. She percusses
MISS TAYLOR's liver.
There's a vertical span of about
MORRISON stifles a yawn. AUSCHLANDER touches fern on bedside
I see your ivy is thriving.
Someone keeps sneaking in here and
watering it... All you young people
are gonna be doctors?
We are doctors.
Don't look old enough...
Don't let their freshly-scrubbed
faces fool you.
I've been throwing up green stuff.
We'll give you some medicine to
calm your stomach.
MISS TAYLOR closes her eyes for a moment.
Anything else we can get for you?
Just leave one of these good
AUSCHLANDER and RESIDENTS exit.
INT. HALLWAY/OUTSIDE MISS TAYLOR'S ROOM - DAY
They stand in the Hallway. MORRISON leans against the wall.
WHITE is biting his nails.
The liver felt hard, real hard.
What treatment would you suggest?
It may relieve some tension but has
to be limited to doses below two
How about chemotherapy?
Again, it might be used in
appropriate but futile doses... Any
What about a partial resection of
Some of the best answers don't come
from text books, Doctor Morrison.
The RESIDENTS look blankly at each other and the floor.
I think she knows she's going to
AUSCHLANDER waits for her to continue.
We should try to make her as
comfortable as possible... What
else can we do?
As AUSCHLANDER nods to ARMSTRONG,
INT. BEALE'S OFFICE - DAY
A small, basically shabby office whose walls are hidden by
books and Oriental prints. There's a cot in the corner. MR.
and MRS. REINHARDT sit across from BEALE.
Sending Andy away to school was the
worst mistake we ever made.
He did very well the first year,
Dean's list and everything... Then
suddenly his grades plummeted and
he dropped out. We tried to be
What did he do when he left school?
A lot of things, at first.
He worked in federally funded
community projects, in the inner
How'd that turn out?
He got fired. He had trouble
dealing with authority.
What about yours? Authority, I
He hasn't come up against a lot of
He lived at home for a while. Had
some odd jobs, odd friends --
hippie-types. Not political.
That's when I took him into my
business, but he wasn't happy there
either. So he took off to the west
coast, lived in a commune, then
came back. He was different
though... I mean, years ago we
could talk about things. But then
he just wouldn't talk to me
Why do you think that was?
Well, he'd disappear for a long
while and then show up all of a
sudden with his radical friends.
They'd answer whatever I said -- if
they listened at all -- with a
sarcastic, "Oh, wow, man!" We'd
talk about politics and we'd agree
on a lot of things, but Andy'd say,
"If you feel that way, why don't
you act on it?" Then he'd
disappear again, come back, asking
for money, credit cards.
And each time, you welcomed him
We did what we could to help him.
(looking at his wife)
Maybe we were wrong...
INT. VISITORS' WAITING ROOM - DAY
Tight shot of STEVEN MCALLISTER, the bomb victim's husband,
sleeping on the couch, dreaming a sweet dream.
Mr. McAllister... Mr. McAllister.
MCALLISTER stirs, and his eyes open.
On MCALLISTER starting to smile and get up,
INT. MCALLISTER ROOM - DAY
MCALLISTER sits at his WIFE's side. Her eyes are open, but
glazed and soft.
Hey, good lookin'.
MRS. MCALLISTER smiles, more with her eyes than mouth, which
opens slightly but utters nothing. MCALLISTER pushes her
hair back from her face.
How's my sweetheart? Because
that's what you are, you know, my
He squeezes his wife's hand.
It snowed last night in
Minneapolis. It did... So we're
going to get ourselves those skis,
the Broslams, and we're going to
cross-country all the way to Bear
Smiling, closing her eyes then slowly opening them.
Only this time we'll bring the
brandy with us.
MCALLISTER smiles. His WIFE smiles back. As HE leans down
and kisses her cheek, lingering,
INT. OPERATING ROOM - DAY
CU on PATIENT, lying on the operating table, zonked out.
CAMERA PULLS BACK to show SAMUELS operating on him, with the
same intensity on his face as he'd have at a poker game. "De
Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by the Police is blasting through the
speakers of the stereo. Over SAMUELS' shoulder, the CAMERA
FOCUSES on MRS. ORDOVER and FAHEY. FAHEY and MRS. ORDOVER
have been standing there twenty minutes. FAHEY shifts his
legs back and forth, MRS. ORDOVER bends her aching knees.
Both wear white masks over their mouths, but their eyes tell
the secrets of their inner souls FAHEY's are sickly and MRS.
ORDOVER's are rather aroused.
I was the only twelve-year-old in
the Council Bluffs, Iowa Little
League who could bat a thousand and
CAMERA PULLS BACK further to reveal SAMUELS at the center of
the operating table, flanked by a SCRUB NURSE. A RESIDENT
stands opposite him, applying retractor.
SCRUB NURSE reaches over and hands him more sponges.
My brother enjoyed living on the
diary farm. He loved cows.
Married a woman named Bossie. From
a very orthodox family...
He hands his instrument to a NURSE.
Now he owns a bullbank in
(stretches his neck)
I'd be happy to give either of you
a shot at this... It's real simple,
kind of like slicing cheese.
Don't you find the music
Only Mac Davis.
Excuse me, Doctor, but what's a
He sells bull sperm to unsuspecting
heifers... It's similar to computer
Turn the cautery up a hair. Think
while we're down here I should give
him a vasectomy?
SAMUELS holds up a tweezer with a thumbnail size piece of
white flesh. SCRUB NURSE holds preservative jar. SAMUELS
accidentally misses jar, the flesh falls to the floor.
FAHEY turns more colors than the NBC peacock.
No problem, there's more where that
WESTPHALL enters. MRS. ORDOVER and FAHEY rush to him and he
heads them out the door. SAMUELS sees them go.
My next guest is a double hernia,
but first this word from our
On SAMUELS, putting another piece of flesh in the jar,
INT. WHITEHILL HOME/DENISE & BRIAN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
BRIAN's finishing his push-ups, in pajama bottoms. DENISE,
in nightgown, standing in bathroom doorway, a brush in her
Are you serious?
Would you rather he spent the rest
of his life in an institution?
We could take care of him here.
Oh yeah, we know so much about
taking care of a damaged child.
We could learn.
And teach all the babysitters --
Other people have done it.
DENISE gets into bed.
It's wrong to bring a child into
this world with that many
disadvantages... Life is hard
But who says we get to choose for
(gets into bed)
My responsibility's to this family.
I don't think it's fair to
Stephanie and Michelle.
INT. STEPHANIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
STEPHANIE asleep undercovers, clutching a doll. The bedroom
door is shut.
The girls'll help him.
Are you kidding? At best, they'll
be scared of him. At worst,
they'll hate him for being slow.
INT. MICHELLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
MICHELLE's bed is empty. The bedroom door is open, spilling
in light from the hallway.
I don't think so...
I want to hear you explaining to
them why their little brother is a
INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT
CAMERA PANS from Michelle's bed to reveal her outside her
parents' bedroom door, listening.
INT. DENISE & BRIAN'S ROOM - NIGHT
DENISE turns over on her side, facing away from BRIAN.
Don't use that word.
Get used to it.
It's so easy for you... to throw it
Do you really think it's easy for
me to do this?
But an abortion...
It's the only reasonable thing to
DENISE's face fills with a look of quiet anguish.
INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT
MICHELLE is still listening. Then she walks down hall to her
room, shuts door behind her.
INT. E.R. CUBICLE - NIGHT
TIGHT SHOT OF WHITE's FACE, looking down at his work.
MRS. LAWSON (V.O.)
Constant humiliation. That's what
I live with all day, every day.
For twenty-five years.
He nods, looking down at MRS. LAWSON's arms, which are
scarred badly from previous suicide attempts. WHITE's hands
are stitching up two new cuts on her wrists. CAMERA PULLS
BACK slowly, revealing WHITE sitting on a stool facing MRS.
LAWSON, a fiftish woman of seemingly normal appearance.
WHITE is trying to control himself as she rambles on and
jerks her arms about.
MRS. LAWSON (CONT.)
He didn't want to take Josie to
Atlantic City. It wasn't her fault
she got car sick -- he drives too
fast. She wouldn't ruin the seat
I never liked that car anyway.
1958 was a bad year for Buicks.
(moving her arms)
I don't care what he says. Poor
little Josie, she can't even drink
out of the toilet. Not even one
Keep your arms still.
That dump we live in's got rotten
plumbing. Makes noise all night
long. Thump, clank, thump. I get
no rest, no peace. Do you see?
(yells to MR. LAWSON)
Who minds a little gristle in his
In E.R. Hallway, a shy meek MAN with hands behind his back,
staring at his wife through the window.
MRS. LAWSON (CONT.)
A little fat never killed somebody.
It's good for your teeth. The
(continues to move)
I don't like dust. But I don't
whine about it. Constant
Don't move your arms around.
MR. LAWSON, exhales as he watches his wife through window.
I can't do anything right since
then, if you listen to him.
Constant humiliation. I know he's
going to say something about the
shampoo. He hates it, I know it.
No clean towels, no clean sheets.
She starts to get up to go to her husband.
MRS. LAWSON (CONT.)
You don't like the way I smell.
The hell with you.
She causes WHITE to prick his finger.
Blood comes out of his finger.
All right. That's enough. That's
it. You shut up now, you hear me.
You just sit there and shut up --
MR. LAWSON watches meekly.
I don't care if you don't get along
with him. Do you understand? I
don't care about your problems. I
don't want to hear it.
MRS. LAWSON is stunned.
You're killing yourself over coffee
grinds? Over empty toothpaste?
You walk in here looking for help.
Not just once -- every week.
Everytime you have a fight, you try
to kill yourself. He comes down,
you make up until the next fight.
Then you try to kill yourself
again. People don't live like
that, do you understand?
I don't got --
Shut up! I don't want to hear
about your clean towels and your
fishbowl and your other stupid
fights. I don't care. You got me
- I don't care.
MRS. LAWSON cries softly, but WHITE does not give an inch.
Breathing heavily, he takes her arm. He starts working.
CHANDLER passes WHITE as he goes into cubicle.
Myra's on the phone.
(all he needs)
Tell her I'm not here.
Tell her you can't find me, okay?
(before CHANDLER can
Just do me that favor, please.
CHANDLER waits a beat, turns, moves out of sight. WHITE
stitches. MRS. LAWSON is crying. WHITE calms down.
He finishes stitches in stoney silence.
She retrieves arm, cradling it.
I don't want you back here unless
you're really dying, understood?
The problem's not your husband,
Mrs. Lawson, it's you head. You
should see a shrink or somebody.
MRS. LAWSON looks down, still sobbing. On WHITE, walking out
of cubicle, tired,
VAGUE BLURRED IMAGES
CU -- MICHELLE WHITEHILL
Sitting up in bed, screaming, crying.
INT. MICHELLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
The door bursts open. DENISE rushes to her.
What's the matter? What is it?
MICHELLE, shaking visibly, clutches her mother.
I had a bad dream.
Everything's okay now... Take a
MICHELLE takes a deep breath.
Do you want to tell me?
MICHELLE gets scared.
Sometimes that makes it go away.
(strokes her hair)
I don't remember all of it... We
were walking on the beach and I
stopped to talk to the giraffe and
you and Daddy got mad at me and
picked me up and were going to
throw me in the ocean...
We love you, we'd never do that.
Where'd you get such a silly idea?
Well, you're going to throw away
the new baby --
A beat. DENISE surprised, hugs MICHELLE tightly.
No... I love you...
I love you, too.
Daddy and I would never do anything
to hurt you... It's late now...
(tucking MICHELLE in)
No more nightmares, okay?
As DENISE goes to door, turns off light, we
END OF ACT TWO