post trauma

The perfect cosmo...* remember…

DISSOLVE TO:

Andrew:
“You better take a drink.”

He hands Nick one of the cocktails.

As they start to drink, a commotion is heard off-scene…little girls screaming…men’s voices raised in protestation…and a woman’s voice above it all. It is Nora, Nick’s wife.

Nora’s Voice: (off screen)
“Asta! Asta Jr! Stop right this instant, both of you! Where are you going? Astas!”

Nick and Andrew look off toward the commotion.

CUT TO:

ENTRANCE OF THE BAR FROM THE CLOAK ROOM OR CORRIDOR. Nora is coming through. She is a woman of about thirty-three, a tremendously vital person, interested in everybody and everything, in contrast to Nick’s apparent indifference to anything except when he is going to get his next drink. There is a warm, understanding relationship between them. They are crazy about each other, but undemonstrative and humorous in their companionship. Except when Nora occasionally punches Nick. They are tolerant, easy-going, taking drink for drink, and making their way together with a dry humor.

Just now Nora has been shopping. Her arms are full of small packages. Her hat is askew. She is pulled along bodily by two small girls attached to leashes. Not around their throats, for neither Nick nor Nora are cruel, but around and through the belt loops on their outer coats. A doorman and a hat-check clerk are following her, protesting at her bringing the toddlers into the upstairs bar of the Intercontinental. The girls are excitedly yelling.

Doorman:
“Madame, you can’t bring those little girls in here!”

Nora:
“I’m not bringing them. They’re bringing me!” (then to the children) “Asta! Asta Jr!”

But the girls pay her no attention. They pull her like a streak out of the scene toward the bar. Nora’s packages are left in a trail behind her as she stumbles after them. The attendants follow after her, picking up the parcels and protesting vehemently.

Attendant: “But Madame,children aren’t allowed; it isn’t only your girls, but if we started….Madame, you dropped your package!”

BAR – CLOSE SHOT:
As Asta & Asta Jr rush in, still with Nora on the other end of the leashes. The girls make a bee-line for Nick and leap clear up into his arms, squealing with delight. Asta Jr is particularly demonstrative, so much so that Nick is not aware that Asta is pinching his wallet from under his suit coat. Nora, more disheveled than ever and breathless, enters, panting.

Nora: “So it’s you they were after!”

Nick: “Hello, baby.”

Nora: (indicating the girls) “They’ve dragged me into every gin mill on the block!’

Nick: (in explanation) “Well, we do have our route.”

Nora: “I thought so. The even tried to drag me into…”

Nick: (stopping her to introduce Andrew) “Oh, this is Andy…”

Nora and Andy smile at each other.

Nora: “How’re you, Andy?” (hastening to add) “I don’t usually look this way, but I’ve been Chaka Khan shopping…”

One of the attendants who followed Nora comes up. He hands Nora several of her packages.

Nick: (at Andy’s puzzled look) “She means Hanukkah.”

Attendant: “Madame, I’m afraid you’ll have to…”

Andrew: “Ah…”

Nick: (interrupting) “It’s all right, Joe. They’re my girls… (and as an afterthought, waving his hand at Nora)….and my wife.”

Nora: “You might have mentioned me first.”

Nick: (to Joe) “They’re well-trained. They’ll behave themselves.” (with a stern look at the girls)

Joe: “They might lift a wallet from someone who minds.” (hands Nick back his wallet he retrieved from Asta. Asta sticks her tongue out at Joe)

Nick: “They’re all right.” (He lets the girls slide down and stand on the floor, bends over to speak to Asta Jr while secretly cuffing Asta on the back of her head) “Now sit in that chair.” (Asta Jr looks up at him, smiling, but making no move to obey him. Nick speaks with more authority) “Sit down!” (still Asta Jr looks fondly up at him, without obeying) “Well then, stand up!” (then triumphantly to Joe) “See?”

Joe laughs and moves off.

Dorothy comes toward them from the telephone booth. Andrew watches her anxiously.

Andrew: “Any luck?”

Dorothy: “He’s just around the corner.”

Nick: “Your father?”

Dorothy: “No. My dealer…I’m going to see him.”

Nick realizes that Dorothy and his wife have not met. He makes the introduction very casually, waving his hand to indicate Nora.

Nick: “Oh, my wife…Dorothy.”

The two women smile in acknowledgment. Nora looks at Dorothy with warm interest.

Dorothy: “How do you do? I’m sorry we have to rush.”

Nick: “We’re at the Intercontinental for a couple of weeks. Why don’t you drop around?”

Dorothy: “Thanks. We will. Goodbye.”

Andrew: “Goodbye.”

The two go quickly off. Nora looks after them.

Nora: “Pretty girl.”

Nick: “If you like the type – strung out on horse like that…”

Nora: (grinning at him) “You got types?”

Nick: “Only you, darling: lanky brunettes with wicked jaws.”

Nora: “Who is she?”

Nick: “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to tell you. Dorothy is really my…’niece’. I’m looking after her for an old friend. We were all like that on my father’s side…

Nora: “By the way, how is your father’s side?”

Nick: “Sober, dammit.”

Nora: “How many drinks have you had?”

Nick: “Six Cosmopolitans.”

Cosmopolitan Martini Recipe

4 parts Citron Vodka
2 parts Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 parts Cranberry Juice
1 part Lime Fresh Juice

Nora: (to the waiter) “Six Cosmopolitans.” (to Nick) “You’re not going to have anything on me.” (As she hugs the bar, her foot on the rail, in imitation of Nick) “Girls, sit there and behave. Joe? Please bring the Astas something to eat. (turning back to Nick) Now, what happened?”

Nick: “Didn’t you get my phone message?”

Nora: “What message?”

Nick: “The one I left telling you Karl Rove had kidnapped me. Worse, he had me water-boarded. Or I’m still being water-boarded. I’m not sure; it’s all very confusing…”

Nora: “Nicky, I listen to that message every night, though why you insist on leaving the same message over and over again on our phone…”

Nick: (frustration showing) “Dammit it, Nora. This time is different! Karl spiked my drink with something and when I woke we were headed up to Darwin. Then he and Shrub dumped me in the middle of a desert. Well, technically not in the middle, more like a few miles from the entrance gate to one of the national parks outside of Darwin, but still…it’s the idea of it.”

Nora: (emits an unladylike-like snort and almost slips off her stool. She is on her third Cosmopolitan) “Nicky, we’re sailing to Borneo even as we speak.”

Nick: “But we can’t. I have to find Karl again and get back my Treo.”

Nora: “Oh, pooh – you and that toy. And it’s not even a new toy. And you can’t go running off on another one of your adventures and leave me alone with the Astas – it’s just not fair!”

Nick: “I keep telling you, I didn’t run off.”

Nora: “Well, you’re not going to not run off again.” (Indicating her 5th cosmopolitan) “Keep up, bud.”

Nick: “Oh no you don’t. I drank mine and they were enough. Be a peach and let’s retire to our rooms. Asta! Asta Jr! Let us away, girls.”

Nora: “NOT gonna run off again…” (slides off the stool into Nick’s waiting arms. Nick wraps one of Nora’s arm around his shoulder and half-walks half-carries Nora out of the bar, trailed by the Astas who are whipping patrons with the end of their leashes as they pass by)

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Agent 1: So what’s the word?

Agent 2: We sit a couple more days. The head shrink thinks the guy’s on his way back from wherever…

Agent 2: Any more word on OIG?

Agent 1: Yeah.

Agent 2: You gonna tell me?

Agent 1: They’ll be here tomorrow, the next day.

Agent 2: Shit.

Agent 1: Yep.

Agent 1: What are we gonna tell them?

Agent 2: Nothing.

Agent 1: Shit.

Agent 2: Yep.

* Remember… 1

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Show 1 footnote

  1. With respect and all due apologies to Hammett, Hackett and Goodrich.

7 Replies to “post trauma”

  1. Not my favorite Dashiell Hammett story, though. I’m a giant fan of The Continental Op stories, and if you ever read The Glass Key, it’s amazing how closely the Coen brothers hew to it in Miller’s Crossing.

    Also: Anon? It’s like a joke or something? Nick likes to call his daughters dogs, just like I like to call my girlfriend Sheriff Buford Pusser. HAHAHA! Sheriff Buford Pusser was totally not a girl, he was Joe Don Baker, which is where the funny comes from. That was your first free lesson in How To Use Humor by the Video Professor. It works on your PC just like a VCR! Try my product.

  2. you know what even the commentors on this blog are stupid. why dont you right about your life or a pet or something intresting. instead of this stupid shit? tony totaaly owns you.

  3. anonymous is right, you suck. tony DOES write better than you and his blog dropped out of elementry school. just kidding Tony!

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