Anniversary Party, The


      "THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY" -- by Alan Cumming & Jennifer Jason Leigh



 FADE IN:

 TIGHT CLOSE - JOE THERRIAN - MORNING

    He's in his mid-thirties, his face relaxed in sleep,
    childlike.  Nestled soundly a tangle in the arms of his wife.

 THE CAMERA STAYS CLOSE.  SLIGHTLY BLURRED, SOFT, SLOWLY
 SWINGS ROUND

 TIGHT CLOSE - SALLY THERRIAN

    She's in her mid-thirties, with large deep eyes.  She watches
    her husband unguarded in sleep.  Her pretty face, alert,
    she's barely breathing.  Traces the just visible lines around
    his eyes, and mouth.  Brushes fingertips against his
    eyelashes.

 TIGHT CLOSE - SALLY'S HAND PULLS THE BEDROOM SHADE.

    It retracts with a loud WHACK, sun, sky, trees.

         STEVEN (O.S.)
        And breath...and chataronga...

 EXT. POOL AREA - DAY

    We're in the middle of a yoga lesson.  Joe and Sally stand on
    their mats.  Steven, their instructor, wanders around the
    couple issuing soft-spoken instructions.

    A large room with hard wood floors, dominated by a huge
    fireplace.  The dining room on one side, living room on the
    other.  Floor to ceiling windows overlook the back porch
    garden pool... The house is classic Neutra.  All GLASS and
 SMOOTH LINES.

    The calm is broken by the telephone.  Joe and Sally ignore it
    until the answering machine picks up.  They break their yoga
    poses and listen.

    The CAMERA hovers over the answering machine.

         LUCY (O.S.)
            (over answering machine; sweet,
             British, slightly desperate)
        Joe, it's Lucy.  Remember me?  It's the
        black sheep here.  Bah...not funny.
        Haven't heard from you, need you, call
        me.  Love you madly.  Hi, Sally.  Joe,
        I'd love to talk to you before I go...

         JOE
        Go where?

         LUCY (O.S.)
            (over answering machine)
        It's a damn nuisance you aren't here, big
        brother.  Sorry I drone on.  I miss you.
        I lo--

    The machine cuts her off.

 NEW ANGLE

    Joe and Sally have resumed their positions.  This wasn't the
    call they were waiting for.

 WIDE SHOT

    AMERICA, forty-one, and ROSA, fifty, struggle up the steps of
    the back porch carrying grocery bags and packages, come
    through the sliding glass door...

 THE CAMERA FOLLOWS THEM

    Through the dining room and into the kitchen, watches the two
    unpack groceries, flowers, etc., and start to dress the
    dining room table.  They speak quietly to each other in
    Spanish.

         JOE
        America, could you just...

    America closes the sliding doors between the kitchen and the
    dining room, giving the couple their privacy.

         JOE (CONT'D)
            (calls out)
        Thank you, America!

         STEVEN
        Okay, let's just take a deep breath, let
        your ribs expand and relax.  And reach up
        and into downward dog.

    Otis, the Bisenji/Sheperd mix, sleeping on his leopard
    pillow, stirs, stretches and groans.

         JOE AND SALLY
        Good boy, Otis.

    The phone RINGS again.

         VOICE (O.S.)
            (over answering machine)
        Hello, I have Dr. Harmon calling for
        Sally Therrian.

    Sally jumps out of the down dog position and runs to the
    phone, all angles.

         SALLY
        Hello, hi, hi...and?  Thank God.

    Sally stands with the phone to her ear, her back to Joe.

 EXT. POOL AREA - CONTINUOUS

    Joe watches her from his position, not concentrating on the
    teacher waiting a sign.  Sally returns to the lesson.  They
    do their handstands against the wall, on either side of the
    front door.

         SALLY
        No luck.

         JOE
        Oh, well, we'll just have to try again.
        Sound like a plan?

    Sally nods, she and Joe, at Steven's instructions, come out
    of their handstands and lie on the floor in a stretched
    relax, facing one another.

         SALLY
        Happy anniversary, baby.

         JOE
        Happy anniversary.

    They smile.

         STEVEN
        And change sides...

    America slides open the dining room doors.  The dining table
    is covered with bundles of freshly cut flowers.  Rosa is
    singing in Spanish.

         AMERICA
            (with the authority of long
             years of service)
        Mr. Joe, we have to have the house.  If
        you please now...

         JOE
        It's yours.

    The CAMERA glances off photos of the couple: portraits and
    candids, their wedding day, with friends, on vacation,
    tumbling on the lawn, and the like.
    Some framed and hung, some taped to the fridge or simply
    leaning on a shelf.  It's clear that at least a handful are
    by the same photographer, black and whites, grainy and
    beautiful.

    There are lots of photos of Joe and his sister Lucy,
    documenting their relationship from childhood.  There's an
    ANNIE LEIBOWITZ photo-shoot of Sally carelessly displayed
    somewhere.

 INT. BEDROOM - LATER

    Joe stands behind Sally in front of the full length mirror,
    his arms around her, stroking her belly.

         JOE
        I love you.  Most beautiful woman in the
        world.

         SALLY
        Hardly...

         JOE
        Accept a compliment.

         SALLY
        I think you're the most beautiful woman
        in the world.

    They move toward the bed.

         JOE
        What did you get me?

         SALLY
        In the morning, after everyone's gone and
        there's just us.

    She pushes him on the bed.

         JOE
        Kiss my eyes.

    She does.

         SALLY
        My wrists.

    He does.

         JOE
        Kiss the back of my knees.

         SALLY
        Through the sweats or not?

         JOE
        Not.

    She pulls down his sweats.  She kisses the back of his knees.
    He turns, stares up at her.

         SALLY
        What?

         JOE
        You didn't kiss anyone else's knees, did
        you?

    Sally shakes her head.

         SALLY
        No.  Did you?

         JOE
            (after a beat)
        No.  I missed that.

         SALLY
        I missed all of you.  We're okay, aren't
        we?

         JOE
        We're great.

         SALLY
        I mean, you're really back.

         JOE
        For good.

    They begin to make love...the phone RINGS.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Don't get it.

         SALLY
        Well, it might be Clair.  They're
        threatening not to come...

         JOE
        What?

         SALLY
        They can't find a sitter...
            (into the receiver)
        Hello?  Excuse me?  Yes, uh, hold on.
            (she looks at Joe)
        Just a moment.
            (puts the call on hold)
        It's Skye Davidson.  She needs directions
        to the house.  You invited Skye fucking
        Davidson to our anniversary party?

         JOE
        Okay.  I'm sorry, look, I meant to tell
        you.  It was the only chance I had to
        meet her.

         SALLY
        You invited her to our anniversary party?
        I didn't even invite my mother.

         JOE
        She goes on location tomorrow.  Sally,
        I'm sorry.  Look, I can't keep her on
        hold.

         SALLY
            (pissed)
        No, no of course not.  It's Skye fucking
        Davidson, for fuck's sake.

         JOE
            (regards her)
        You want me to uninvite her?

         SALLY
        No, no of course not.  How old is she?
        Twenty-fucking-two?

    She gets out of bed, starts into the bathroom.  The CAMERA is
    with her.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
            (into the bathroom mirror)
        And she's a stinking fucking actress, for
        fuck's sake.

         JOE
            (into the receiver)
        Skye!
            (his face lights)
        I'm so glad you're able to make it...it's
        our sixth, actually.
            (flattered)
        You read the book again?  Well, no, the
        ending to chapter six...it's just that
        it's not filmic.
        We tried it in an earlier draft, but, it
        just wasn't filmic... Well, sure, we can
        absolutely look at that again.  If you're
        coming from Laurel, you want to take
        Sunset west, we're just past Will Rogers
        State Park.  Three blocks west of that,
        you want to hang right.  It's about three
        quarters of a mile up a big white thing
        on the left.

    Sally's started the bath, and is watching him from the
    doorway.  He meets her eyes mid-sentence.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Oh?  I don't think tonight.  I'm sure
        they're well behaved.  All our friends
        have dogs, and they always want to bring
        them.  We'd be outnumbered, you see?  So
        we sort of put a ban on it.  Sorry.

    He rolls his eyes.  Sally walks back into the bathroom, she
    isn't buying it.

         JOE (O.S.) (CONT'D)
        I'm looking forward to meeting you, too.
        And Skye, I'm thrilled that you're
        willing to take this leap with me.
        Eternally grateful, really.

         SALLY
            (into the bathroom mirror)
        I'm going to throw up.

         JOE (O.S.)
        I can't imagine anyone else playing
        Genna.

         SALLY
            (sanguine)
        Really?

 INT. BEDROOM - LATER

    The doorbell rings.  There are two closed doors on either
    side of the room.  The bed shows no sign of consummated sex.
    Joe comes through the left hand door, nearly dressed.

         JOE
        Who the fuck can be here at this time?
        It's not even seven!

    Sally comes through the other door, one shoe off, one on.

         SALLY
        Oh Jesus, who else is always early for
        Christ's sake?

 NEW ANGLE

    Sally kisses his cheek on her way to the door.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        Promise you'll be nice to the neighbors.

         JOE
        I'll say as little as possible.

    Sally exits the bedroom.

 HOLD ON JOE

    For a moment, then Sally re-enters, kisses him deeply.

         SALLY
        I love you.

 INT. FOYER - EARLY EVENING

    The house is filled with exquisite flower arrangements,
    candles everywhere.

    JERRY and JUDY ADAMS are on the porch, just beyond the glass
    of the front door.  Their argument is inaudible.  They're in
    their mid-thirties, conservatively dressed.  She's stunning,
    genetically nervous.  Jerry carries a briefcase.  She's got
    the gift.

    Sally opens the door.  Hugs and buses them, hello.

         JUDY
        I know we're early, we're so early.
        Sorry.

         JERRY
        You have to sign your taxes anyway.

         SALLY
            (a grin)
        Of course we do.
            (to Judy)
        We have to sign our taxes.

         JOE
            (kisses Judy; all charm)
        You can never be too early or too thin.

         JERRY
        Happy anniversary, buddy!  Six months
        ago, who would have thunk it?

    Jerry hugs Joe.

         JOE
            (sotto)
        Well, not me, to be honest.

         JERRY
            (sotto)
        Don't fuck up again.  It's got a ripple
        effect.  Sally suffers, we all suffer.

         JUDY
            (offers)
        We have a gift?

         JOE
        Thanks, I'll take that.  Champagne?

         JUDY
        Lovely.

    Joe moves toward the kitchen.

         JERRY
            (a moment, to Sally)
        We closed.

         SALLY
        Fantastic.
            (takes his hand)
        Out here.

    They step out onto the porch.  Judy's left alone, unsure
    whether to follow or not.

         JUDY
            (finally, to no one, and to no
             response)
        The house looks beautiful, are those
        hydrangeas?

    She stands awkwardly in the middle of the foyer.

 EXT. PORCH - CONTINUOUS

         JERRY
        Joe officially owns No. 4, Cheyenne Walk,
        Chelsea, London, England.  No small
        doing.

         SALLY
        I love you, you're a genius.

    Behind them, in the foyer, Judy wanders aimlessly.

         JERRY
        I suppose.  Sally, that's quite a gift.
        I'm not sure it's in your best interest.

         SALLY
        I adore him.

         JERRY
        The realtor'll be here tomorrow in the
        morning.  The house had to go on the
        market to insure the loan on the London
        flat.

         SALLY
        I know.  I know that.  Don't spoil it.

         JERRY
        What you earn has to double in order to
        cover expenses in London, it's an
        outrageously expensive city.

         SALLY
        We've only been over this how many times?

         JERRY
        You only made half your quote this year.

         SALLY
        Well, you're a tower of support.

         JERRY
        I worry because you don't.  It's my job.
        I'm feeling guilty.  I would've liked it
        if you waited until the two of you were
        on more solid ground.

         SALLY
            (direct, simple)
        We couldn't be on more solid ground.

         JERRY
        Whatever you say.  Listen, I love you.

    Otis is barking.

         JOE (O.S.)
        Otis!  No barking!

         SALLY
            (touched)
        And Joe's huge in Europe.  He's like a
        rock star in London.  His novels sell
        millions.

         JERRY
        Not millions.

         SALLY
        He's directing now.

         JERRY
        They're paying him scale.

    The CAMERA catches sight of Joe behind them.  He moves
    through the foyer and into the living room with a tray of
    glasses and Judy in tow.

         SALLY
        He gets huge advances on his novels.
        He's going back to that.  You know how he
        hates it here.

         JERRY
        There's still time to undo this.

         SALLY
            (kisses his cheek)
        We'll be fine.

         JERRY
            (re: barking dog)
        Did you invite them?

         SALLY
        The Roses?  And of course they said yes.

         JERRY
        That was the plan.  And you're thrilled
        to have them.

         SALLY
        Whatever you say.

         JERRY
        Did you tell Joe to behave?

         SALLY
        Yes.

         JERRY
        Did he promise?

         SALLY
        Scout's honor.

         JERRY
        Before I forget.
            (pulls a novel from his
             briefcase)
        Put it on the bookshelf.

    She flips the book -- on the back is a full page picture of
 RYAN ROSE.

         SALLY
        You're out of your mind.

         JERRY
        Just do what I say, alright?

         SALLY
        How much bowing and scraping do you want
        us to do?

         JERRY
        Beats a lawsuit.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Joe and Judy sit on opposite sides of the sofa -- slightly
    uncomfortable with each other.

         JOE
            (to fill the silence,
             conspiratorial grin)
        I love gifts.  What did you guys get us?

         JUDY
            (chokes on the champagne)
        Nothing that can't be exchanged.

         JOE
        Oh.  Well.  Good.

         JUDY
        Congratulations on the deal.  How
        exciting.  Is Sally doing Sally?  I mean
        it's Sally.  The character that's based
        on Sally.  The character that's based on
        Sally in the book.

         JOE
        The novel.  No, Skye Davidson is playing
        the lead.

         JUDY
        Oh my God, I'm a huge Skye Davidson fan.
        She's very beautiful.

         JOE
        Yes, she is.

         JUDY
            (trying harder)
        But I am right, yes?  She's based on
        Sally.

         JOE
        It's a novel.

         JUDY
        Still.  Well.  Let's drop it.

         JOE
        Yes.

         JUDY
        I'm not much of a reader, but I do love
        autobiographies, even biographies
        sometimes.  Mostly non-fiction.  Did you
        read the new Styron?

         JOE
        No.

         JUDY
        It's very good.
            (a moment)
        I understand you won the Booker Prize.

         JOE
        Yes I did.

         JUDY
            (another moment)
        Is your script much like the novel?
        Jerry says it's very good.  But you know,
        you read the novel, and then you see the
        movie - and most of the time you say,
        "what's this?" You know?  I sometimes
        think we're better off not reading the
        novel at all.  Because, we come with
        expectations... and of course, we know
        where we're going.  Don't you find?

         JOE
        Don't I find what?

         JUDY
        I don't know why Joe, we've known each
        other how long...

         JOE
        Not long.

         JUDY
            (benign)
        Don't be silly.

         JOE
        Joking.

         JUDY
        Yes I know.  I started to say... I
        started to say Joe that --

         JOE
        Do I put you off?

         JUDY
        You manage to throw me off balance.  I
        adore you.

         JOE
        And I you.

         JUDY
        But I'm always afraid I'll say something
        stupid.

         JOE
        Ah.

         JUDY
        And so I always manage to, do you see?
        Like the book/script thing, do you see?

         JOE
        Mmm hmmm.

 INT. FOYER

    CAL and SOPHIA GOLD are there with their children - JACK and
    EVIE - eight and six respectively.  Carrying gifts and totes
    with toys and changes.  Jerry and Sally have gathered them up
    and ushered them in.

         SALLY
        You know Jerry.

         CAL
        Yes, of course.

         SOPHIA
        I'm the wife.  We've met.

         JERRY
            (hugs her)
        You, I know.

         SALLY
            (to Evie)
        Hey, beautiful girl.

    She picks up the four-year-old, swings her around.  Jack
    hides behind his father's legs.

         SOPHIA
            (a grin)
        Jack?  Jack, you promised.

    The little boy comes out from behind his father's legs,
    covers his eyes with his hands.

         JACK
            (sings)
        Happy anniversary to you.  We're glad Joe
        came home.  Don't split up again.  Cause
        we like the food.

    Much laughter and clapping.

         JOE
            (in the archway)
        Jack.  Did you compose that yourself?

         CAL
        Absolutely.

         JOE
        Had a little help?

         CAL
        Absolutely not.

         JOE
        It has your ring.

         CAL
        I'm not that good.

         JERRY
        Cal, my wife Judy.

         JUDY
        Nice to meet you.

         CAL
        I think we've met, actually.  No?  At
        another one of these things?

         JUDY
        No, I don't think so.

         JERRY
            (to Cal)
        Congratulations on the Academy Award.
        Great performance.  Really warranted.

         SOPHIA
        He thought so.

         JERRY
        Sally always manages to get robbed.

         SALLY
            (a mortified grin)
        Enough about me.

         SOPHIA
        Evie has a little something for you.

    Evie shakes her head.

         SOPHIA (CONT'D)
        You do.

         EVIE
            (even)
        I don't think so.

         SALLY
        Since when are you so shy?

         EVIE
            (her mother's daughter)
        Never.

         SOPHIA
            (bright smile)
        Honey, we have gifts for you and all
        sorts of surprises.  Where is America?  I
        know she's here somewhere.

    Joe reaches for the gifts.

         JOE
        I'll take them.

         SOPHIA
        No, I have a little talking to do with
        America.  Privately.  I'll find her.

         SALLY
            (to Sophia)
        In the kitchen.

         JOE
        Who'd like to go and find Otis?

         EVIE
        Me!

         JACK
        I guess.

         JUDY
        The infamous dog?

         JOE
        He's the best dog in the world.
            (to Judy)
        They're both coming tonight.  Not my
        idea.

         JUDY
        Ours.

         JOE
        It's Jerry's worst idea.

         CAL
        What's that?

         JOE
        The neighbors from hell.  The kind that
        lay in wait.  I'd rather move actually.
        Wouldn't I?
            (to Sally)
        Wouldn't I?

         SALLY
            (small smile)
        Yes.

         JOE
            (to the kids)
        Okay.  Last one to find Otis is a smelly
        old bum.

    Joe goes off with the children to find Otis.  Cal sits at the
    piano, plays.

                 INT. FOYER - FRONT DOOR - CONTINUOUS

    Joe holds Evie in one arm.  Jack stands beside him, holds his
    hand.  MONICA and RYAN ROSE face him across the threshold --
    the NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS.  She's in her late twenties - and
    beautiful, eyes everywhere - star struck and house struck.
    Ryan is somewhat older, a little awkward in company,
    swallowing resentment and a little self righteous.

         JOE
        Well, hello you two.
            (putting Evie down; to Jack)
        These are the people who live next door.
        Say hello.

    Jack does.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        And close the door, Jack.  Because if we
        leave it open, Otis will run out and you
        know what will happen then?

         JACK
        Uh, uh.

         JOE
        He'll run next door into their backyard
        and he'll bark and bark and bark and eat
        their pitbull for his dinner.  Is it a
        pitbull?

         RYAN
            (not amused)
        No, actually.

         JOE
            (to Jack)
        Oh whatever.  We don't want that to
        happen, do we?

         JACK
        No?

         RYAN
        It's a rottweiler, actually.
            (to Jack)
        I don't think our rottweiler is in any
        danger, Jack.

         JOE
        Well, Jack and I are very relieved.

         RYAN
        I thought this was a party.  Are we going
        to talk about the dog thing?

         MONICA
        Please, Ryan.

         JOE
            (kisses her cheek and shakes
             his hand)
        No, he's absolutely right.  You're
        absolutely right, Ryan.  Dog talk must be
        banned.  Canine conversations are
        completely discouraged... it's really
        good of you to join us.  Can I get you a
        drink?

         RYAN
        Not for me, thanks.

    An awkward moment.

         MONICA
            (checks with Ryan)
        Something soft.

         JOE
        Right away.  Are you sure you wouldn't
        like something soft, Ryan?

         RYAN
        I'm sure, yes.

    Sally has watched some of this from the archway, joins them
    super-friendly.

         SALLY
        Hi.  Monica and Ryan?

         MONICA
        Sally?

         SALLY
        Yes.  And you've met Joe.

         RYAN
        Yes.

         SALLY
            (a deep breath)
        Well, so glad you decided to come.

         MONICA
        We could hardly say no.

         SALLY
        Oh?

    Joe slips the coke into Monica's hand.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
            (takes the gift)
        Thank you.  This was so unnecessary.  I
        hope you've noticed that Otis isn't
        barking as much.  We keep him in at
        night.

         RYAN
        At 4:30 today he barked for a solid
        fifteen minutes.  I have it on tape.

         SALLY
        You're keeping a record, are you?

         RYAN
        It's just very distracting when you're
        trying to work.

         MONICA
        Ryan.

         RYAN
            (to Joe)
        I'm sure you understand.

         SALLY
        Well the neighborhood is full of dogs,
        and it's not always Otis.

         RYAN
        Well today it was Otis.  And you should
        keep him away from our yard.  Because
        Sheila will defend herself.

         MONICA
        Ryan!

         SALLY
            (cuts off response from Joe; to
             Ryan)
        Are you working on a new book?

         RYAN
            (caught short; flattered)
        Well, yes, actually.

         MONICA
        He always has two or three going...

         SALLY
        Really?  Joe can't manage more than one
        at a time.  With huge gaps in between.

 NEW ANGLE

    MAC and CLAIR FORSYTHE wave from the door.  Clair's arms are
    full of presents.  Mac carries three video cameras under his
    arm.  He's got Otis by the collar.

         MAC
        You lose this?

         JOE
            (re: Otis)
        Ah there's our snookums now.

         RYAN
        Yes, well, but I haven't won a Booker
        either.  Or the Whitebread.

         MAC
        The gate was open.

         SALLY
        Well, not yet.
            (she reacts to Mac)
        The gate was open?

         JOE
        It's taken care of.

         MONICA
        I think Ryan needs a new publisher.  I
        think he's outgrown him.  They're just
        not doing their job.

    A silence.  Awkward smiles go all around.

         SALLY
        Hors d'oeuvres or something?

         MONICA
        Yes, great!  It's a beautiful house.

         SALLY
        Thank you.  I understand you're an
        interior decorator.

         MONICA
        Yes.

         SALLY
        I so wish I'd known.

         MONICA
        Well, whoever did this is amazing.

         SALLY
        I did it.

         JOE
            (comes on them with the
             Forsythes in tow)
        She rarely cops to it.
            (kisses Sally's cheek)
        Otis is home.

         CLAIR
            (re: the gifts)
        Where can I put these?

    Sally takes the gifts from her.

         CLAIR (CONT'D)
        What a fucking day!  We only just got a
        sitter.  I don't know her from fucking
        Adam.  She could be a serial killer.  I'm
        going to have to call every ten minutes.
        You have to let me give out the number.

         SALLY
        Of course.

         MAC
        She already has.

         CLAIR
        It's alright, isn't it?

         SALLY
        Of course it's alright.

         MAC
        Clair is a hovering mother.

         CLAIR
        I'm not.

         SALLY
        This is Monica and Ryan.  Mac and Clair.

    Clair takes a glass of champagne off the tray as they make
    their way down the hall.

         CLAIR
            (a wide professionally
             ingratiating smile)
        So nice...

         MONICA
        And for us... Truly.

         CLAIR
        Well...

         MONICA
        You will never know.

         CLAIR
            (pleased)
        Oh.
            (to Sally)
        I have a four-thirty call.  AM.  So we
        may have to leave early.

         SALLY
        Why didn't you bring him?

         CLAIR
        What?

         SALLY
        Why didn't you bring him?

         CLAIR
            (searches)
        He's allergic.

         SALLY
        Oh.

         CLAIR
        To dander.  Otis.

         SALLY
        Oh.

         CLAIR
        Didn't I say?

         SALLY
        Well, probably.

         CLAIR
        They can tell from the eyelashes, you
        know?  He's got eyelashes yay long.  They
        must be a foot long.  The older you are
        when you have a baby, the more likely
        this stuff is to crop up.

         SALLY
            (muted)
        Oh.

    The Roses are happy to stand there on the fringe.  Next to
    someone they've only seen on screen and magazine covers.

    Clair's not in the least put off by them.  She manages to
    smile at them inclusively from time to time.

         CLAIR
        So they tell me.  Not soon enough, of
        course.
            (kisses her cheek)
        How are you, Sal?  You look fantastic.
        It changes your life, you know.  A baby.
        It puts everything in perspective,
        doesn't it.  Doesn't it, Mac?  You can't
        be the center of your own world, anymore.

         MAC
            (as grounded as Clair isn't)
        It's an object lesson in grace.
            (on seeing Cal Gold on the back
             porch)
        Wow!  Look who's here before me!  My
        leading man is on time for once.

         CAL
            (at the piano)
        Those who can't direct.

         MAC
        Fuck you.

 EXT. POOL AREA

    Mac and Cal sit on the porch sharing a joint.  Cal is maybe
    the only living complete works of Shakespeare and pulls out
    his most arcane quotes on occasion.

         CAL
        Are those our dailies?  You're totally
        outrageous.  It's their anniversary.  Is
        nothing sacred!  Well...so...how am I?

         MAC
            (laughing)
        Oh man, you are so fucking funny in the
        kitchen scene.

         CAL
        I liked the third take, the accidental
        disaster with the silverware.

         MAC
        Nothing you do is accidental...

 MEDIUM FULL SHOT

    The CAMERA spots GINA TAYLOR through moving bodies.  Tall,
    beautiful, centered grace.  She's got a Leica around her
    neck... drops her two large camera bags on the floor.

    Several of the other guests greet her, Mac among them.

 TIGHT CLOSE

    Joe sweeps her up to his arms.  It's an intimate,
    appreciative embrace.  Theirs was a mid-30s relationship,
    certainly pre-Sally.  Maybe his first important love.

         GINA
            (re: the cameras)
        I'm the hired help.

         JOE
            (affectionate)
        Fuck you.

         GINA
        I never put myself in harm's way.

         JOE
        Anymore.

         GINA
        No, not anymore.  Happy anniversary,
        scout.

 NEW ANGLE

    Sophia bursts from the kitchen.

         SOPHIA
        Oh my God!  America told me your
        neighbors are coming?

         SALLY
        And here they are!

         SOPHIA
        And she was saying how happy you were to
        finally have them over.  Because you're
        both, so, what - introspective?  And you
        should have done it ages ago.  I'm Sophia
        Gold.
            (rescuing Sally)
        Come meet my husband, Cal.

         MONICA
        Cal Gold?

         SOPHIA
        The very one.  And you are...

         SALLY
        Monica and Ryan.

         RYAN
        Rose.

         SOPHIA
        Sorry?

         RYAN
        Ryan Rose.

         SOPHIA
        Yes.

    She shakes his hand.  He's amazed at the solid grip.

         SALLY
        He's a novelist.

         SOPHIA
        Ah.

         SALLY
        Like Joe.

         SOPHIA
        Hmm.
            (to Sally)
        Where are my kids?

         SALLY
        In the guest room.  I've laid out a paint
        table for them.

         SOPHIA
        I hope they're watercolors!

         SALLY
        Nevermind.

         SOPHIA
            (to Monica)
        Would you like to meet my husband?

    It's all Monica can do to keep from putting her hand to her
    chest.

         MONICA
        I'd be thrilled.

         SOPHIA
        Then he'll be thrilled.

    She ushers them toward the living room.

         JOE
            (re: Sophia, appreciative)
        She's such pure evil.

    Sally approaches, gives Gina a warm kiss on the chest.

         SALLY
        Thanks for coming.

         GINA
        Happy anniversary.  You're a good match,
        you two.
            (to Joe)
        Can you help me with this stuff?

         JOE
            (re: one of her bags)
        That for us?

         GINA
        What a nose.  You missed your calling.

         JOE
        Can I open it?

         GINA
            (defers)
        Sally?

         JOE
        Please?

         SALLY
        He's impossible.  Go on then.

    Joe rips open the gift.  It's a framed black and white of
    Joe, Sally and Otis lying on the couch.  It's clear which
    photos in the house are Gina's.  It's a breathtaking print,
    an amazing caught moment.  All light and shadow.  A touching
    study.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
            (respectful of the talent)
        It's beautiful, thank you so much.

    Joe, moved somehow, hugs Gina to him.  Kisses her.

         JOE
        I love you,  Gina Taylor.

    Sally's uncomfortable, a little jealous... feels intrusive.
    Aware that Gina got there first.  Knew him when.  And always
    captures something naked and vulnerable in his face.

                        CUT TO:

 INT. GUEST ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    In the center of the room a low table with paints and crayons
    and glue and baubles.  Two child size chairs either side.
    Empty, the table hasn't been touched.

    Evie stands against the far wall.  She wears a helmet and is
    surrounded by toy suction arrows.  The arrows make a perfect
    outline of her head and body.  Jack stands three feet away,
    bow in hand -- the archer prepares his next shot.

 INT. LIVING ROOM

    Cal is at the piano, charming the neighbors.  Judy chats with
    Mac.  Jerry is on his cellphone, holding his Palm Pilot, his
    hand pressed against his ear to block out the chatter.  Sally
    joins Cal on the piano stool.  Sophia moves to Clair on the
    couch, kisses her cheek.

         SOPHIA
        You look so well, Clair.  A wraith.

         CLAIR
            (pleased)
        You think so!?  I've been working out a
        lot since the baby.
        And I've been working.  And that takes
        it's toll, you know.

         SOPHIA
        I'm glad that's all over for me.

         CLAIR
        Don't you miss it?

         SOPHIA
        Never.

         CLAIR
        Really.

         SOPHIA
        Not for a second.  Cal can have all that.

         CLAIR
        Really?

         SOPHIA
        So where is young Jonah?

         CLAIR
        With a sitter.  We have a sensational
        sitter.  Jonah's really comfortable with
        her.  You know, a second mom sort of.
        Like part of the family.  Amazing with
        kids.

    She inadvertently touches the beeper on her belt, and it
    beeps.  She jumps.

         SOPHIA
        What is that thing?

         CLAIR
        So this sitter can always reach me.  I'm
        still not used to leaving him.

         SOPHIA
        You should have brought him.

         CLAIR
            (shrugs)
        Dander.  He's allergic.  Otis.

         SOPHIA
        Oh.  Do you have any pictures?

         CLAIR
        Pictures.  They're always in my tote.  I
        left my tote in the damn trailer.  But!
        He's Mac all over again.  Imagine Mac
        shrunk to two-and-a-half feet.  The fact
        is they probably didn't even need me for
        this birth.

         SOPHIA
        Are you the funniest person I know, or
        what?

         CLAIR
        I can't think how you gave it all up,
        Soph.

    Sophia sends her a soft, content smile.  Otis comes over and
    nuzzles Clair's knee.

         CLAIR (CONT'D)
            (freeks)
        Oh my God, the dog!

 INT. KITCHEN/HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

    Clair leads Sally towards the bedroom.

         CLAIR
        It sounds hysterical, but Otis just
        rubbed up against me and I'd kind of like
        to change into something of yours.  You
        know it could be disaster.  He's so
        allergic.  It's terrifying.

         SALLY
        Borrow whatever you like.

         CLAIR
        I'll change back before we leave.

         SALLY
            (pointed)
        Whatever you like.  I'm afraid it'll all
        be too big for you.
            (a moment)
        Are you alright, Clair?

         CLAIR
        I'm fine.  I'm fine.  Well, I'm a little
        stressed.  And I've been taking pills to
        get my weight down since the baby.

         SALLY
        I'd say it was down.

         CLAIR
        And the doctor said they might make me a
        little jumpy.  I've got a ghastly
        headache, actually.

         SALLY
        You want a Tylenol, or something?

         CLAIR
        I'd love a Xanex.
            (a moment)
        Sally, please don't tell Sophia that I'm
        not breast feeding.

         SALLY
        Why would she care?

         CLAIR
        You know Sophia.  She's so damned
        judgemental.  And she's so damned...
        perfect.  And so fucking... serene.  Just
        fucking don't tell her.  Because you know
        Mac thinks she's God.  And I can feel him
        comparing.

         SALLY
        You need to knock off the pills, Clair.

         CLAIR
        Just don't fucking tell her.

         SALLY
        It's not going to come up.

 INT. FOYER - LEVI PANES THROUGH THE GLASS DOOR - DAY

    A Peter Sellers look-a-like holding a violin case.

         JOE
            (opens the door)
        Panes!  How are you?

         PANES
        Oh, you know, I am.

         JOE
        Has she called?

         PANES
        She'll never call again.  She called last
        week to tell me she'll never call again.
        Where's Sally?

         SALLY (O.S.)
        Here I am.  Panes, my love!

    Sally starts down the hallway.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
            (for Panes; a long supportive
             hug; a kiss)
        Good, you brought your violin.  I want
        you to play.

         PANES
        It's a machine gun.  I thought I'd kill
        myself.

         SALLY
        Are you lovesick?

         PANES
        Suicidal.  It's much less codependent.

         SALLY
        Will champagne help?

         PANES
        Not enough.

    Sally takes Panes into the living room where everyone chats,
    drinks, smokes.  They all like each other out of habit, if
    nothing else.  Ryan and Monica are on the fringe, stand at
    the edges of conversation.  There's always someone at the
    piano, and they can all pretty much play.

         SALLY
        Panes is here!

         PANES
            (gives everyone a shy, pained
             little wave)
        Oh great.

    Everyone stops, turns, toasts.

         EVERYONE
        Panes!

         MONICA/RYAN
            (a little late; into silence)
        Panes.

    Panes gives them another little wave.  Doorbell rings.

 TIGHT CLOSE - SKYE DAVIDSON

         SKYE
        Hi.

    She's the young, beautiful actress who'll play the lead in
    Joe's film.

         JOE
            (his face lights up)
        Skye!

    She's in jeans, but somehow looks dressed to the 9s.

         SKYE
        You're Joe, aren't you?
            (nods knowingly)
        I recognized you from the book jacket.

    Joe grins from ear to ear.  Uncharacteristically star struck
    in front of this beauty.

         JOE
        How do you do, Skye?

         SKYE
        Oh, I love that.
            (throws arms around him)
        I'm just great.  I'm so happy to be here.
        And I apologize for invading you.  And
        I'm so happy you asked me to.  I'm so
        touched.  I know how private you and
        Sally are.

         JOE
            (uncomfortable)
        Yeah, well, it's just us and a few
        hundred of our closest friends.

         SKYE
            (genuine)
        When I read your work I felt that you
        knew me.  Women must tell you that.  And
        this one in particular speaks to me, do
        you know?  I am Genna.  How many women
        must tell you that.  And the script is
        wonderful.  Wonderful and lean and
        visual...

         JOE
        I'm so happy you like it.  I'm so
        relieved you said yes, and I'm really,
        um, what, thrilled, yes actually, to
        finally meet you.

         SKYE
        You're going to be a remarkable director,
        a brilliant director.

    There's a long moment.

         JOE
            (finally)
        I think you're my first Goddess.

    Sally and Panes have been watching from the living room.

         PANES
        She's even better looking in the flesh.

         SALLY
        Really?  I need a drink.  Come hide with
        me.

 INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

    America and Rosa are working at the counter, Panes and Sally
    come through.

         SALLY
        Oh, Jesus, Panes.  I can't, I can't
        believe that bitch is in my house.

         PANES
        You don't know she's a bitch.

         SALLY
        She's all over him, are you blind?

         PANES
        It could be worse.

         SALLY
        How?

         PANES
        She could be playing the role in Joe's
        movie that should be yours.

         SALLY
        Fuck you, Panes.

         PANES
        You see, that's worse.

         SALLY
        I just wanted tonight to be with the
        people we love.

         PANES
        Like your business managers?

         SALLY
        They're not just our business managers,
        Panes.

         PANES
        Oh, okay, forgive me.  Your neighbors are
        here, for fuck's sake.

         SALLY
        Exactly what I mean.  It's all ruined.

         PANES
        It's not ruined, for fuck's sake.  It's
        one of your parties.

         SALLY
        I don't want it to be just one of our
        parties.

         PANES
        "How are you really doing, Panes?"
        "Lousy, thank you, I'm falling apart."

         SALLY
        Like the last time.

         PANES
        No.  No, not like the last time.  She was
        the rest of my life.

         SALLY
        Like the last time.

         PANES
        I wasn't finished.

         SALLY
        Okay.

         PANES
        "We can't stand seeing you like this,
        Panes.  I hate you being alone.  Why
        don't you stay with us for a while?"
        "I'd love to, thanks."

         SALLY
        It's our anniversary, Panes.

         PANES
        I didn't hear me say tonight.

         SALLY
        We're just feeling our way back.

         PANES
        "Otherwise, we'd insist on your being
        here."

         SALLY
        You know it's true.

    Skye bursts into the kitchen, Sally and Panes freeze.

         SKYE
            (stuck)
        Oh my God, sorry.  I'm interrupting.

         SALLY
        I'll be right out.

         PANES
            (over Sally)
        Come on in.

         SKYE
        I'm in the same room with Sally Nash.  Oh
        my God.  You're my icon.  I've been
        watching your films since I was a little
        girl.  Like, four years ago I followed
        you all around the Beverly Center - at
        least half a day, working up the courage
        to introduce myself.

    Joe enters the kitchen, watches.

         SALLY
        I don't think I ever spent half a day in
        the Beverly Center.

         SKYE
        Whatever, do you remember?  I've seen all
        your movies.  When I was in rehab, the
        second time, they wouldn't even let us
        see your drug addict movie.  They said
        you were too real.  I worship you.  And I
        couldn't be more flattered, because I
        know the part I'm playing in Joe's movie
        is based on you as a young woman.

    Joe winces, uncomfortable, picks up the bottle of wine and
    leaves.

         SKYE (CONT'D)
        And I'm overwhelmed.  And I want to do it
        justice.  And I hope we can spend time
        together.  And I'm gushing.  It's my
        worst quality.

         PANES
        Not at all.

         SKYE
        Oh my god.  I've been so rude.  I'm Skye
        Davidson.  Has anyone ever told you, you
        look like Peter Sellers?

         PANES
        No, never.

         SALLY
            (overlapping Panes)
        Everyday.

         PANES
        I'm Levi Panes.  Will you excuse us,
        Skye?  It's time for Sally's meds.

    Panes steers Sally out of the kitchen.

         SALLY
        It's nice to meet you... again.

    They go.  Skye is left in the kitchen alone.

         SKYE
            (to America)
        Oh my God, she remembers me!

 INT. FOYER - MEDIUM CLOSE

    Sally and Panes start down the hall in search of privacy.

         SALLY
            (under her breath)
        Thank you, thank you, thank you.

         CLAIR
            (on the way down; a dream in
             white)
        My God, your wardrobe is incredible.  It
        took me forever to decide.  Oh, and I
        found Dr. X, thank you.  You saved my
        life.

    She moves past them.

         SALLY
            (a moment; sotto)
        Shit!

         PANES
            (re: the dress)
        I'd cut off her red wine if I were you.

         SALLY
        Shit.  It's my Galiano.

         PANES
        What does that mean?

         SALLY
        About five thousand dollars.  With my
        discount.

    The CAMERA follows them into the bedroom.  They flop down
    onto the bed and into FRAME.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    More guests have arrived.  Sophia and her children play with
    Otis.  America and Rosa pass round hot hors d'oeuvres.

    Joe places Gina's photo on the mantelpiece.

         GINA
            (regards him)
        Directing suits you.

         JOE
        I'm not so sure.  Look again in three
        months.

         GINA
        It must be nice having so many strangers
        kiss your ass all of a sudden.

         JOE
        Ow!  Gina, you obviously need to get
        fucked.

         GINA
        Just did.  Jealous?

         JOE
        When does he graduate high school?

         GINA
            (laughing)
        Oh, very jealous.

    Joe laughs.

         GINA (CONT'D)
        I saw Lucy when I was in London, she
        seems okay.  It's hard to tell with her.

         JOE
        Shit, I forgot to call her back.  She's
        off on a trip somewhere.  Oh God, my
        grandad's flat in London's been sold.

         GINA
        In Cheyene Walk?  Lucy's going to have a
        meltdown.  Oh, I'm so sorry.

         JOE
        I should have damn well bought it.  Well,
        we can't afford it.  The movie's going to
        eat up a year of my life and I'm getting
        paid next to nothing.  Do you know how
        much Skye Davidson's getting?  Four
        million.

         GINA
        Yeah, but I hear she gives a mean blow
        job.

         JOE
        You really need to be fucked.

 INT. BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

         SALLY
        So how are you really doing, Panes?

         PANES
        Why don't you go fuck yourself?

         SALLY
            (laughs)
        No.  Really.  For real.  Really.

         PANES
        I'm worried about your Galiano.

         SALLY
            (slaps him)
        You're a shit.

         PANES
        No, really, five thousand with your
        discount.

    He rolls out from under her swat, she misses him.

         PANES (CONT'D)
        You hurt, you know.  You're stronger than
        you think.

    They lie prone across the bed, about a foot apart.
    Contemplating the floor.

         PANES (CONT'D)
            (finally)
        How's the movie going?  Your movie.  You
        are making a movie, aren't you?

         SALLY
        Yes.  Fine.

         PANES
        That's it?  Yes.  Fine?

         SALLY
        I don't want to talk about it.

         PANES
        Why not?

         SALLY
        I never like to talk about my work.

         PANES
        Alright.  Well, that's something new.

         SALLY
        No.  Not something new.

         PANES
        Well, something's wrong.

         SALLY
        Nothing's wrong.  It's great, okay?
        Having the time of my life.  Mac's a
        fantastic director.  And what can anyone
        say about Cal that hasn't been said.  And
        it's great working with friends, blah
        blah blah.

         PANES
            (a moment; little smile)
        Um.  Happy for you.

         SALLY
        Thanks.

         PANES
        So tell me, how's it going?

         SALLY
        Oh you know.  No doubts.  No second
        thoughts.  Am I a monster?

         PANES
        You're my best friend.

         SALLY
        That's not an answer, is it?

         PANES
        Yes, you're a monster.

    She takes his hand.  Sounds of the party come from below.

         SALLY
            (a moment)
        Thank you, Panes.

         PANES
        You don't need to thank me.

         SALLY
            (another moment)
        We're going to have to go back out there.

         PANES
        I guess.

    But neither of them moves.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    SANFORD JEWISON is at the piano playing his own stuff,
    oblivious to the din.  The CAMERA gets a glimpse of Ryan
    through the French doors at the pool, alone, a glass of
    Perrier in his hand.

 MEDIUM CLOSE

    Monica alone, uneasy, starts to pour herself a glass of
    champagne.  Jeffrey gets to the bottle first.

         JEFFREY
        Let me.
            (pours for her)
        I'm Jeffrey.

         MONICA
        Monica.

         JEFFREY
        And you know our friends, how?

         MONICA
        We live next door.

         JEFFREY
        Oh.  You're them.

         MONICA
        Excuse me?

         JEFFREY
        We've heard lots about you.

         MONICA
            (lost)
        You have?

 EXT. POOL - CONTINUOUS

    Judy Adams lost herself a little, steps outside, sits
    alone...

         JUDY
            (smiles over at Ryan)
        Hi.

         RYAN
        Hi.  A little close in there.

         JUDY
        Yup.

 INT. MUSIC LIBRARY - CONTINUOUS

    A small, narrow room.  Not much more than an alcove.  With
    space for a desk, stereo equipment, and shelves packed with
    CDs.  The topmost shelf is a line of record albums.

    Joe's picking through the CDs.  Monica wanders in from the
    living room, toting a glass of champagne... watches him for a
    moment.

         MONICA
        Your Eames table is incredible.  And the
        B&B.  I just put that in a client's home,
        actually, but in red.

         JOE
        You're an interior decorator, right?

         MONICA
            (nods)
        Sally did all this herself?

         JOE
        In fits and starts -- and then, later, of
        course, she had to accommodate me.  So
        things shifted a little bit then, became
        more eclectic.  And it keeps changing.

         MONICA
            (somehow at a loss)
        Mmm.  It says something about the two of
        you maybe.

         JOE
        Yeah, we're in a constant state of flux.
            (re: champagne)
        I see you've moved up from the soft
        stuff.

         MONICA
        Oh, yes.  You know Ryan's been sober
        eight years.  And it's difficult if I...
        you know.  It's better if I don't.

         JOE
        Uh-huh.

         MONICA
        I'm a little nervous, so...

         JOE
        Oh.

         MONICA
        A little out of my element.

         JOE
        No you're not.

         MONICA
        Well, yes.  Yes, in fact.  A little on
        the outside, yes.  And there's been all
        this friction.

         JOE
        Hm.

         MONICA
        I don't know why, but these
        misunderstandings have a way of
        escalating.

         JOE
        Very well put.

         MONICA
        I think a lot of this could have been
        avoided if Sally made more of an effort.

         JOE
        What?

         MONICA
        But you're very private people.  You
        know, there's a kind of elitism...

         JOE
            (pissed)
        Elitism?

         MONICA
        The wrong word, maybe.  Delete that.
        And, you know, the dog barks incessantly.

         JOE
        And you know, he really does not.

         MONICA
        And Ryan works at home.

         JOE
        And your phone calls are nasty and
        abusive.  And I've come this close to
        suing you for harassment.  And you're
        only here because we're supposed to be
        sucking up to you.

    Her eyes well with tears.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Oh shit.  I'm sorry.

         MONICA
        Well, that's what Ryan thought.  I was
        more generous, actually.

         JOE
        Oh shit.  I'm sorry.  I'm a total fucking
        maniac.  Delete all that, okay?  I spoke
        for myself, this needn't rub off on my
        wife.  Oh shit.  I get pissy sometimes.
        Much worse than Otis.  Otis doesn't bite.
        It's just, I really love my dog and he
        doesn't really bark a lot.
        We live in a canyon.  We hear dogs
        barking at night, too.  And it's not
        Otis.

    Monica starts to laugh.

         MONICA
        Alright.

    It appears she's consumed more than one glass of champagne.

         JOE
        Easy tiger.

         MONICA
        Alright.  Please don't tell Ryan I'm
        drinking.

         JOE
        Scout's honor.

         MONICA
            (grins)
        I'll be your best friend.

    She feels they've bonded.  She pulls a well-thumbed copy of
    Joe's novel from her purse.

         MONICA (CONT'D)
        Would you sign it for me.
            (digs for a pen)
        I'm sure this is inappropriate.

         JOE
        We're way past inappropriate.

    Monica giggles, presses back the bubble rising in her chest
    and moving toward her throat.  Manages not to burp.

         MONICA
            (as he signs it)
        I'll treasure this.

    He moves towards the doorway, Monica at his heals.

         JOE
        I need to leave you now.

         MONICA
        I will treasure this.

         JOE
            (shouting down the hall)
        Sally!!!!

 INT. DAILIES ROOM - LATER - DAY

    Sally's team prepares clues for charades.  Sally writes them
    down, throws them in a bowler hat.  Her teammates are Panes,
    Sophia, Mac, Ryan, Sanford and Jeffrey.

         SALLY
        Panes?

         PANES
        From Jewish Folk Poetry, a song cycle...

         MAC
        What?

         SALLY
        Trust him.

         PANES
        It's Shostakovich.

    Ryan spots his book on the shelf and pulls it out, delighted.

         SALLY
        Sandy...

         SANFORD
        The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.

         SALLY
            (turns to him)
        Ryan?

         RYAN
            (pleased)
        I didn't know you had this.

         SALLY
        Oh.  Well, yes.  It's extraordinary.  You
        think you could sign it for us?

         RYAN
        Absolutely.  You always wonder where your
        books end up.  Why don't we use it?

         JUDY
        Good idea.

         RYAN
        There's not a chance in hell anyone will
        get it...

         MAC
        Down by Law.

         SOPHIA
        Who's not going to get that in fifteen
        seconds.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Joe's team works on it's clues.  Teammates: Gina, Cal, Clair,
    Skye, Monica, Jerry and Mary-Lynn.  Everyone is talking over
    each other and fighting for attention.  There are a lot of
    strong personalities here.

         JOE
        Can we... one at a time?  Hold it down,
        and one at a time.  You're last, Cal.

         CAL
        Why last?

         MONICA
        The Katzenjammer Kids.

    There's a hush.

         MONICA (CONT'D)
        You know.  It's the Funnies.  The
        Katzenjammer Kids.  It's my mother's
        favorite charade's clue.  No one ever
        gets it.

    Pause.

         JOE
        Alright.  Good.  Fine, I vote for that.

    He writes it down.

         MONICA
        With a "Z."  K. A. T. Z.

         GINA
        When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He
        Thinks Like a King What He Knows...

    People hoot, throw their cocktail napkins.

         GINA (CONT'D)
        What?

         SKYE
        Utopia Parkway...

    They all start talking on top of each other again.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - LATER

    The teams have come together.

         JOE
        Who's keeping time?

    Mac raises his hand on Sally's side, Jerry on Joe's.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Two minutes.

         SALLY
            (deferring first turn to Joe)
        It's alright.  Be our guests.

    She offers the hat.

         JOE
            (offers the hat)
        You darling.

    Panes reaches into the hat.

         PANES
            (reads clue; to Joe)
        What is it?

    Joe whispers to him.

         PANES (CONT'D)
        What's a sign for that?

         JOE
        Come on, Panes...

         JERRY
        Go!

    Panes mimes a belly laugh.

         JEFFREY
        What the hell is that?

         SALLY
        What is it Panes?

    Panes sighs.

         SOPHIA
        Two words.

    He belly laughs.

         JUDY
        Funny.

    A finger to his nose - elongate the word.

         SANFORD
        Funnies?

    Panes does an "ON THE NOSE."  Gets on all fours.  Licks his
    paws.

         RYAN
        The Katzenjammer Kids.

    The team applauds delight.  Panes preens.  Joe's team looks
    over at Monica.

         JERRY
            (already pissed)
        It's only just started.  Great.  The
        husband's on the other fucking team.

    Jerry reaches into the hat.  Looks at the clue.

         MAC
        Go.

         JERRY
        Hey!  Would you?

         MAC
        It was fifteen seconds.

         JERRY
        I don't think so.

         MAC
        Are you always this much fun?

         SALLY
            (a grin)
        Take your time, Jer.

         JERRY
        I'm ready.

    He gives the clue "a song."

         CAL
        Song.

    He gives "cycle."

         GINA
        Cycle.

         CAL
        Two words.  Second word.

    Jerry goes to work on "sounds like" for the word Jewish.
    Strokes beard, thinks, tries "sounds like" again.

         TEAM
        Think.  Pain.

         CAL
            (among others)
        Ponder.

         JERRY
        Come on, folks.

         CAL
        First word.

    Jerry does the sign for the "short word."

         TEAM
        To, the, but, or...

    Jerry shakes his head.  Goes to the third word.

         TEAM (CONT'D)
        Third word.  One syllable.

    Jerry pulls his ear, "sounds like".  Slides his finger
    through the O created by his thumb and forefinger.

         TEAM (CONT'D)
        Fuck...sounds like... Fork.  Flock...

    he does the finger sign again.

         TEAM (CONT'D)
        Fuck.  Folk.

    Jerry gives them "on the nose."

         TEAM (CONT'D)
        Second word.

         MAC
        Thirty seconds.

    Jerry turns, gives them a dirty look.

         JOE
        Jer.  Over here.  Over here.

         TEAM
        Second word.

    He strokes his beard again.

         SKYE
            (blurts out)
        From Jewish Folk Poetry.

    Jerry looks at her, amazed.  She stands, throws hands up in
    triumph, does a little victory circle.

    The CAMERA CUTS through the rest of the game, aggressive,
    competitive, verging on hostile.  Sally is often aching from
    laughter, tears streaming down her face.

         JERRY
        Time.  Hey!  Time.  Judy!  Time you guys.
        Hey!!

         JUDY
            (she's up; turns to him, zeig
             heil's him)
        Ya Vhol.  What are you, a fucking Nazi?

         JERRY
        Well it's fucking time.

                 TIME CUT TO:

 CLOSE SHOT

         JERRY (CONT'D)
            (shouting guesses)
        Walk.  Cripple.  Limp.  Ankle.  Second
        syllable.  Second syllable.  Move on to
        the fucking second syllable.

    Gina giving clues starts to laugh.

         JERRY (CONT'D)
            (sings out)
        The clock is ticking!

    Gina loses it, cracks up.

         MAC
        Time.

                 TIME CUT TO:

    Jeffrey's on his feet, giving the clue.

         SALLY'S TEAM
            (unison)
        Quote.  Play.

         SOPHIA
        Oh shit.  It's one of Cal's.  Obscure
        Shakespeare, folks.

    Cal gives her a little wave from the other side.

         SOPHIA (CONT'D)
            (calls over to him)
        Maybe something original for a change.

    Cal blows her a kiss.

         SALLY'S TEAM
            (in unison)
        Ten...twenty...thirty...seven, eight.
        Thirty-eighth word...thirty-seventh word.

    Gina's been taking shots through the course of the game, and
    the FRAME will freeze black and white on one of another
    delicious moment.  There's a spectacular shot of Sally,
    unaware, laughing, sad soft eyes on Joe.

 MEDIUM CLOSE - AMERICA

    She watches the game from the archway, waits for a break.
    Sky's up.  Joe's team yells frantic guesses.  Jerry's
    suicidal.

    Sally's team watches, self-satisfied, throw barbed asides.

         SALLY
            (to Joe's look; innocence)
        I didn't say a word.

         MAC
        Time!

         JERRY
        What was it?  What the fuck was it?

         SALLY
            (small grin)
        Ryan's novel.

         JERRY
        Ryan's novel?

         JUDY
        Ryan's novel, Jerry.

         AMERICA
            (sings out)
        Dinner!

         SALLY
        Still champions.

         JOE
        Panes is not on your team anymore.

         PANES
        What did I do?

         SALLY
        Panes is not on my team anymore.  I'll
        have Panes if I like.

         AMERICA
        Dinner.

         SALLY
        Dinner.

         JOE
        It's an unfair advantage.

         SALLY
        You've got Cal.  You've got Gina.  You've
        got Skye?  We're the leftovers.

         JOE
        Okay, knock it off.

         SALLY
        Truce?

         JOE
        Truce.

         SALLY
        Dinner.
            (on the move)
        Don't be angry.

         JOE
            (pissed)
        I'm not fucking angry, for God's sake.

     EXT. POOL AREA - MAGIC HOUR

    Evie and Jake run along the side of the house.  Behind the
    glass walls the CAMERA catches adults moving through the
    living room and into the dining room.

 INT. DINING ROOM - MAGIC HOUR

    Most everyone's moved through to the dining room.  The table
    is filled with platters of beautifully prepared food.
    Candles, flowers.

    ASTRID, newly arrived, carrying a miniature furball, of
    questionable breed, is first in line and halfway around the
    table.  She feeds "Anouk" bits from the table enroute.

         ASTRID
            (barely looks up as Sally comes
             into the room)
        So who won?

         SALLY
            (raises her hand)
        A triumph.  When did you get here?

         ASTRID
        Ten, fifteen minutes ago.

         SALLY
        Why didn't you come in?

         ASTRID
        I hate the sight of blood.  You guys
        don't take prisoners.

         SKYE
            (charmed by the bundle in
             Astrid's arm)
        Oh how sweet.

    The furball bares teeth and growls.

         ASTRID
        She's insanely jealous.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - MEDIUM CLOSE ASTRID - NIGHT

    She slips another morsel into Anouk's mouth, murmurs baby
    talk, allows the dog to take a bit of chicken from between
    her teeth.

         CLAIR
        That's revolting, Astrid.

    People sit in small groups, eating dinner, catching up.
    Latecomers, bunch around Joe.  Sam Feckman, an actor also in
    Mac's film, holds forth.

    Panes finds room next to Skye.

         PANES
        Is there space here?

         SKYE
        Yes.

         PANES
        Do you need anything else?

         SKYE
        No, no thanks.

    He sits on the floor along side her.  They eat in silence for
    a moment.

         PANES
            (finally)
        I was impressed.

         SKYE
        Oh?

         PANES
        The charades.

         SKYE
        Thank you.

         PANES
        That was my clue.

         SKYE
        Oh?

         PANES
        The Shostakovich.

         SKYE
        Really??

         PANES
            (does Seller's Indian)
        Oh yes, indeed.  That was my clue, you
        see.

    Skye giggles appreciative response.

         PANES (CONT'D)
            (still Indian)
        So you are well acquainted with this
        Shostackovich, as am I.

    Other arrivals pick their way through bodies and plates.
    Walk over to Sally and kiss her cheek.  Joe and Gina and
    Jeffrey sit off to the side.

         JOE
        I hate the idea of some one else living
        in it.

    Joe pulls Sally to him and wraps his arms around her.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Sally's never even seen it.  I thought
        we'd raise our kids there.

    Sally held in Joe's arms, smiles.  The cat who ate the
    canary.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        Have I ever told you how Lucy and I
        nearly squashed each other getting into
        the dumb waiter.

         GINA/JEFFREY/SALLY
        Yes./Often./I stopped counting.

         JOE
        The dumb waiter was our...

         GINA
        Escape hatch.

         JOE
            (eyes her)
        Escape hatch.  And Dad was having a go
        about the garden.  Something was
        misplanted...

         SALLY
        Not properly watered.

         JOE
        Whatever!
            (to Gina)
        You know how he gets.  Well, he went
        absolutely bonkers.  Lucy and I were
        frantically trying to scramble into the
        dumb waiter and I didn't fit any more.
        It was almost fatal.  And that, my dear
        friends, is the day...

         SALLY/JEFFREY
        I realized I had become a man.  Ta da!

         GINA
        You're not a man, Joe.  You're a boy.

         JOE
            (childishly)
        So?

         GINA
            (laughs)
        I love you, Joe Therrian.

         SALLY
            (at a loss, small)
        Me too.

    Sophia watches from across the living room.

 NEW ANGLE

 INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

    Astrid squeezes in next to Sally, on her second portion of
    everything.  She allows Anouk to nibble from her plate.

         ASTRID
        You're not upset that I brought the dog?

         SALLY
        Would it make a difference?

         ASTRID
        Anouk isn't like a dog, really.  More
        like a small person.  So is there anyone
        here for me?  No one looks new.
            (fixes on Ryan)
        Who's that?

         SALLY
        You don't want that.  It's married and
        it's the neighbor.

         ASTRID
        Oh I think he's cute.  How's the marriage
        part working out?

         SALLY
        You're fucking desperate.

         ASTRID
        Like you didn't know.
            (re: Skye)
        Who invited the bimbo?

         SALLY
        One guess.

 INT. LIVING ROOM

    The CAMERA stays close on the cake as America wheels the cart
    into the living room.  The top of it sports Sally and Joe's
    faces on either side of Otis, a detailed edible photograph.
    There are three sixes across the top.

    There's a freed up pathway.  Cal taps the side of his
    champagne glass with a fork.

         SOPHIA
            (re: the cake as it comes in)
        Part of our gift.  Honey!!

         CAL
            (clinks his glass)
        Here, here.

    Clair picks up discarded dinner plates.  Otis takes care of
    those behind couches, under tables.

    The gifts are stacked high, near the fireplace.  Sally is on
    the floor, nestled between Joe's knees, leaning back against
    him.  His arms are wrapped around her, face pressed against
    hers.

    There's a SERIES OF CUTS through speeches, gifts,
    entertainment.  Sophia and Cal do a well rehearsed, very
    funny, impromptu something with their kids.

    Panes and Mac do an interpretive dance symbolizing the
    marriage.

    Cal and Sophia carry sleeping children down the hall.

    There are speeches about Sally and Joe, outrageously dirty,
    funny, sometimes touching - that cover their recent
    separation, the custody of Otis, their trying to have a
    baby...

    Panes plays a piece on the violin.  Someone else sings.  And
    finally...

 MEDIUM CLOSE - SKYE

    She looks out at the guests...

 NEW ANGLE

    They look back at her.

         SKYE
        I wasn't prepared to say anything.  I'm
        honored to be a part of tonight.  To be
        in the same room, with my favorite living
        actress...

    The CAMERA barely catches the grimace on Mac's face; Clair
    elbows him.

         SAM
            (sings out)
        Still living.

         SKYE
        And my favorite novelist.  And all their
        amazing --

         SAM
            (sings out)
        And talented.

         SKYE
        Friends.  And talented friends.  This
        room is so filled with love..

         ASTRID
            (sings out)
        And the winner is...

         PANES
        Let the woman speak.

         SKYE
        And I brought a gift of love.  A gift
        that is love.

    She pulls an envelope from behind her back, which she's
    decorated in flower-child fashion; it harkens back to the
    sixties, puts it into Sally's hand, kisses her cheek.

         SKYE (CONT'D)
            (tears up)
        Happy anniversary.  Thank you for making
        me a part of it.

         SALLY
            (pours the pills into her hand)
        What are they?

         JOE
            (pleased, surprised)
        Dolphins.  Great.

         SALLY
        It's ecstasy, Sal.

         SKYE
        I think there are sixteen there.

         JOE
            (kisses Skye)
        This is an amazing present.  What a
        sweetheart you are.

    Skye's pleased she's made him happy.

         SALLY
            (regards Joe; to Skye)
        What a sweetheart you are.

    A pall descends on the party.  There's a FULL SHOT of the
    group.  Nobody quite knows what to do.  There's torn wrapping
    paper all over the room.

         ASTRID
            (Anouk still in her lap)
        It's late.
            (kisses Anouk)
        You sleepy baby?

    There are awkward excuses.  Some of the guests leave.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

    The core group remains.

         JOE
        I think we should all take it tonight.
        Everyone's staying, stays.  No driving.
        That's the rule.  I love you Sally-Mae.
        You're going to have a fabulous time.

         SALLY
        I'm worried about my spine.  I'm very
        worried about my brain and my spine.

         SOPHIA
            (laughs)
        Oh honey, you're gonna love it.

         JOE
            (to her Look)
        Sophia's going to do it, Panes is going
        to do it, trust me.

 INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

    Cal carries the envelope into the room.

         CAL
            (on seeing America, bursts
             into)
        America, America God shed his light on
        me.

    He dances her around the kitchen, he picks up the sterling
    dish, arranges the pills, carries them back to the living
    room.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Ecstasy is passed from guest to guest.  Ryan expects Monica
    to abstain.

         MONICA
            (his glare; simply)
        I want to try it, Ryan.

 EXT. POOL - LATER

    The drug has begun to take effect.  The party is now in full
    swing.  Music is playing, and Sophia and Clair are dancing.

    People are swimming, some naked, some in swimsuits.  Judy
    floats around the pool on an inflatable dog.

    Sally and Skye cuddle together on one of the benches round
    the pool, chatting; a friendly, feely touchy conversation.
    Joe passes around bottles of water and chewing gum to
    everyone, emceeing the event.

    Everyone is relaxed and open, except Ryan, who sits beside
    Monica at the edge of the garden, separated from the others.

         MONICA
        I love it here.  Don't you love it here,
        Ryan?  I love it here.  And I love
        tonight.  And I love these people.  And
        this feels utterly fantastic, Ryan.
            (touches her own cheek, ever so
             lightly; shivers against the
             sensation)
        Utterly fantastic.

         RYAN
        You know what Sally Therrian was saying
        about your spine and your brain?  She
        didn't pull that out of thin air.  It
        causes brain damage.  You'd better drink
        a lot of water.

         MONICA
        Do you want to go home, Ryan?

         RYAN
        Yes.

         MONICA
        I think you should then.  You should look
        in on Sheila.

         RYAN
        I'm not going to leave you alone.

         MONICA
        They're really nice people, Ryan.
        They're like us...

         RYAN
        They're nothing like us.

         MONICA
        I think you need to speak for yourself,
        Ryan.  But I think you're really nice
        people...

    She puts arms around him, kisses his cheek.  He stiffens.

         RYAN
        Are you making an ass of yourself?

         MONICA
        There's only you, Ryan.  You know what,
        Ryan?  You're beautiful.  I love you so
        much... You need...

         RYAN
        I don't need a drug.

         MONICA
        You need a good review and you'll be
        fine.  The whole color of the world will
        change, mark my words.

    She gets up.

         RYAN
        Ready to go?

         MONICA
        I'm going to go get my swimsuit.  I do
        know, Ryan, this is non addictive so you
        mustn't worry.
            (turns back)
        Ryan, you're a great man.

    The CAMERA follows Monica along the side of the pool.  She
    passes Sophia and a very exuberant Clair.

    The CAMERA stays at the pool.  Clair tears off Sally's
    Galiano, flings it to the ground and dives topless into the
    pool.

         CLAIR
        This water is great!

         JERRY
            (swimming past her)
        Wanna dive for a baton?

 MEDIUM CLOSE UP - JUDY

    She stands at the side of the pool.

         JUDY
        Okay, I'm about to throw five colored
        batons in the water.  Then I'm going to
        count to three, and then you may start
        diving.  I'm playing too.  The red one is
        ten extra points.  Ready?
            (she throws batons in)
        One, two, three, go!!

    There is a melee of diving and screaming.

                        CUT TO:

 EXT. BACKYARD LANDING

    It's at the end of a bridge, overlooking the pool.  Voices
    drift up from below.  Mac and Joe walk in circles pacing
    around one another.

         MAC
        You got your DP?

         JOE
        What?  Oh yeah, the camera man?  They
        gave me a list.

         MAC
        And you got Skye Davidson.  Pretty big
        leagues for a first timer.  Do you even
        like movies?

         JOE
        Not particularly.  Weird, isn't it?  God
        I'm rally up.  Do you feel anything yet,
        Mac?

         MAC
        Kind of.  Hey, look - John Seale, Oliver
        Stapelton, Darius Khonji - they're
        friends.  And great DP's I could give
        them a call for you.

         JOE
        Thanks, Mac.
            (regards him)
        And thanks for being so supportive about
        all this.
            (throws arm around him, hugs
             him close)
        I really love you, you know.

         MAC
        Hey, I'm happy for you, buddy.  Anything
        I can do.

         JOE
            (lets go of Mac)
        God, I really need to jump about a bit.
            (begins jumping)
        How's your film going?

         CAL
        It's going.  It's going.

         JOE
        And how's the diva doing?

         MAC
        Well, you know...good days, bad days.

         JOE
        I meant Sally.

         MAC
        I meant Sally.

         JOE
            (stops jumping, studies him)
        Oh.  You're serious.

         MAC
            (throws and arm around him)
        No.  No.
            (a beat)
        Let me tell you something.  Directing's
        the best preparation possible for
        fatherhood.  The sleep depravation alone.

         JOE
        Oh don't.  Everyone says that.

 INT. MUSIC LIBRARY

    Sally's taken Gina's photograph of them from the mantelpiece
    in the living room, and looks for a spot for it on the CD
    shelves.  Sophia is studying the CDs very intently.  They are
    both bopping to the music.

         SALLY
            (re: the photograph)
        Isn't this a fabulous picture?

         SOPHIA
        Yes.

         SALLY
        She's such a great photographer.

         SOPHIA
        Hm.

         SALLY
        So where should I put it?

         SOPHIA
        I thought it was okay where it was.

         SALLY
        It's much more personal in here.

         SOPHIA
        A notch above the storage room.

         SALLY
        We're always in here.
            (regards the photo)
        She really gets him, doesn't she?

         SOPHIA
        The both of you.

         SALLY
        But she really gets to the heart of Joe,
        doesn't she?  She's a genius.

         SOPHIA
        So how much do you hate her?

         SALLY
        Big time.

    They both laugh, then...

         SOPHIA
        Well, I don't trust her.  I never have.

         SALLY
        She took our wedding photos, for
        chrissakes.  You don't trust anyone.

         SOPHIA
            (a moment simply)
        I trust you.

         SALLY
        Oh Soph...

         SOPHIA
        You'll hate it in London.  It's wet and
        miserable.  A medical hellhole Sally.
        It's socialized.  Beds in the corridors.
        Terrible plumbing.

         SALLY
        And the food sucks, I know.

         SOPHIA
        You are not having your baby in London.
        You're going to have your baby at Cedars
        in Beverly Hills, America, delivered by
        Dr. Milton Cohen.  Period.
        And you're getting that epidural right
        away, don't let anyone talk you into any
        of that Lamase bullshit.  There's no
        excuse for pain like that.

         SALLY
        Sophia!  I'm not even pregnant!

         SOPHIA
        Well good.  Thank God.

         SALLY
        Let's go in the kitchen and spy on
        everyone.

         SOPHIA
        Oh honey, let's.

    They've started to walk through the house.

         SALLY
            (stops short; turns to her)
        What do you mean, thank God?

         SOPHIA
        Well, are you sure about this baby thing?
        It's not the ticking clock shit, is it?

         SALLY
        No, no, not at all... I mean I've still
        got plenty of time.  Don't I?  I mean I
        still have a good six years, whatever.
        We could have three kids yet, if we
        wanted.  And I know I've always said I
        never wanted kids, and I didn't... but
        this year, I really, truly, feel ready...

         SOPHIA
        Honey, I'm not worried about you.  You
        are going to be a fantastic mom.  Not an
        issue.  I pressed you, remember?  Joe, on
        the other hand, is a different story.

         SALLY
            (laughs)
        Oh Soph, Joe loves kids.  Joe wants kids.
        Joe thinks he needs kids.

         SOPHIA
        He wants playmates.  Oh he's a
        sweetheart, Sal, you know I love him.
        But he's not going to be a good father.
        He's just not parenting material.

         SALLY
        Hey, let's sit down.  I bet the rug feels
        really nice against your skin.

    Sally drops out of frame.

         SOPHIA
        Don't try and change the subject.
            (sitting, joining Sally)
        Oh God, it feels great!  He's just a
        little narcissistic, irresponsible and
        unreliable.

         SALLY
        And Cal's this massive adult?

         SOPHIA
        Cal knows who he is.  Did you notice how
        happy Joe was when the drugs came out
        tonight?

         SALLY
        You weren't exactly horrified.

         SOPHIA
            (laughing)
        I don't have a drug problem.

         SALLY
        Neither does Joe.

         SOPHIA
        His sister does.  Big time.  And the New
        York Times says addiction is genetic --
        I'll e-mail you the article.

    Sally stares at her friend suddenly mute, eyes wide.

         SOPHIA (CONT'D)
        You don't have kids to keep a marriage
        together, Sally.  It's only five months
        since Joe came back.

         SALLY
            (getting up)
        We're fine.  We're great.  We're having a
        baby and we're moving to London.

         SOPHIA
            (following her)
        Well, you weren't fine last summer when
        you went Sylvia Plath on me in
        Connecticut.

         SALLY
        Not nice.  Not kind.

         SOPHIA
        Ha!  Not half so not kind as your husband
        was in his portrayal of you in his novel.

         SALLY
        Why are you doing this?

         SOPHIA
        His image of you is a possessive, fragile
        neurotic.

         SALLY
            (tearing up)
        But I am a possessive, fragile neurotic.

         SOPHIA
            (also tearing up)
        No you are not.  You're Sally Nash.
        Listen to me, you're Sally Nash.  You're
        my best friend and I love you more than
        anyone, and you're not going to move to
        London to have the offspring of a
        sexually ambivalent man-child.  "Oh now
        I'm a novelist, oh now I'm a director..."
        English prick bastard Joe Therrian who's
        probably going to leave you for Skye
        Davidson anyway.

    They hug a bit weepy.

         SOPHIA (CONT'D)
        He's always one step removed, always
        looking over his shoulder always looking
        for something else, something more
        intoxicating, and I don't mean drugs.  I
        love him, Sal, but he's a child.  He's
        not ready.
            (a choked sob, tears well and
             fall)
        Oh God, you're so lucky you don't have
        kids.  You can't stick your head in the
        oven.  You can't take a handful of
        Percoden if you want to, or slit your
        wrists.  You can't do yourself in.  Kids
        rob you of that option.  Trust me.
            (a beat)
        Oh my God, this ecstacy must be really
        good.

 EXT. POOL SIDE - CONTINUOUS

    Joe and Cal sit by the edge of the pool watching Skye dance
    by herself at the far end.  Joe has his hand on Cal's chest.
    Cal is stroking Joe's hair.

         JOE
        Isn't Skye amazing?

         CAL
        She's got great tits.

         JOE
        She's a constant surprise.

         CAL
        And you've only just met.

         JOE
        Yeah, I know... But she's only twenty
        seven and...
            (taps his head)
        The wisdom.  She's an old soul.  She knew
        that Shostakovich thing.  Did you notice?

         CAL
        Absolutely.  And she's got great tits.

         JOE
        Yeah, God she really does have great
        tits, great tits.  i can't wait to work
        with her.

         CAL
        The camera loves her.  A great actress.

         JOE
        With great tits.  I'm going to ask her if
        I can touch them.

    He gets up to go towards Skye, is stopped by...

 EXT. MEDIUM SHOT - CLAIR

    Clair is climbing up the pool steps.

         CLAIR
        Has anyone seen Mac?

         JOE
            (pointing further up the
             property)
        I saw him wandering over there, I think.
        How're you feeling, Clair?

         CLAIR
        I'm so good.

    She kisses Joe and Cal, and goes off to find her husband.

         CAL
        Poor Mac.  It's been a bit of a struggle.
        I'm sure Sally's told you.

         JOE
        No, what?

         CAL
        The movie.

         JOE
        Oh, she's really enjoying it.  I think.
        Is Mac okay?

         CAL
        I don't know what's going on.  I don't
        care to guess.  Mac's really unhappy.
        She isn't there, that's all.  She's no
        idea what she's playing, not a clue.

         JOE
        Who, Sally?

         CAL
        And, you know it isn't rocket science,
        this script.  She can barely get the
        lines out.  There was a scene last week -
        she sobbed, through every take.  I know
        crying's easy for her but it's a fucking
        comedy, Joe.  Something's gone.  You
        know, that thing that was Sally - that
        always surprised you.  It's gone.  I
        think she's scared.  And that's death.

         JOE
        I still think she sails above the rest.
        I mean not like her early films.  But
        those were all such great directors.

         CAL
        Mac's a pretty great director, Joe.  He's
        a woman's director.  And nothing's
        happening.  Course he won't fire her,
        because of the friendship... But it was
        discussed.  He had to battle his studio
        to get her in the first place.

         JOE
        What?

         CAL
        Hey, listen, I love her.  She's Sophia's
        best friend.
            (to Joe's stare)
        I never said any of this, alright.  I'll
        deny it on the stand...
            (into the silence)
        You guys are gonna have kids.  That is so
        great.  Maybe that's what this is all
        about.  Maybe she doesn't want to do this
        anymore.  You know adults don't do this
        for a living.  You guys are gonna have
        your kids, you'll be directing -- one
        asshole in the family is enough.  Sophia
        knew that intuitively.  Look at Clair.
        Clair's a mess.
            (throws an arm around him)
        Make sure she gets the epidural.  Forget
        that natural childbirth shit.
        Everything's going to be what it's
        supposed to be.  "Life is but a walking
        shadow.  A poor player who struts and
        frets his hour upon the stage and then is
        heard no more..." And speaking of me, the
        role of Leo in your film?

         JOE
            (stares at him)
        Leo?

         CAL
        Any thoughts on casting yet?

         JOE
            (regards him)
        Leo?  It was out to Jude Law.  Jude
        passed.

         CAL
        Well, I can't make any promises, and of
        course I haven't read the script but I
        loved the novel...when are you shooting?

         JOE
        October-ish.

         CAL
        I have a small window of time.

         JOE
        Leo.  Leo's twenty-eight, Cal.

         CAL
        Scratch the two, write in a four.

         JOE
        Scratch the two, write in a four.

         CAL
        You've got a lot of fucking gall.  Thirty
        nine.

         JOE
        Five years ago, I was at the party,
        remember?

    Joe looks up and sees Sally standing in the sun room.  He
    blows her a kiss.  She kisses her finger tips and puts her
    hand flat against the window pane.

 INT. BEDROOM CLOSET - TIGHT CLOSE - SALLY

    She's in her wardrobe pacing back and forth a bit frantic.
    Trying on clothing, tossing garments to the ground.  The
    floor is a heap of discarded ideas.  She pulls on jeans and a
    t-shirt.  Very similar to what Skye is wearing.  She sits a
    moment on the floor.  The sounds of the party below are
    muted.

         SALLY (O.S.)
        Oh Warren, that was awful, I can't sing.

    The CAMERA stays with Sally as she gets to her feet, walks
    along the corridor, toward the sound of her voice.

 INT. DAILIES ROOM - NIGHT

    Mac is on the edge of the couch, elbows on knees, staring at
    the television screen - watching his dailies.  At some point
    he drops his head.  Stops watching...

 INT. MOVIE SET

         CAL'S VOICE FROM THE T.V. (O.S.)
        You sing like a bird.

         SALLY'S VOICE FROM THE T.V. (O.S.)
        A bird with dropsy.  A caged bird.  That
        hasn't long to live.

         CAL'S VOICE FROM THE T.V. (O.S)
        You seem so alive up there.

    Sally stands at the open door.  Stunned.  Watches Mac watch
    her.  Watches herself, with a professional, acute eye.  More
    critical than Mac's could ever be.

         SALLY (ON TV)
        I was faking it.  I've been feeling caged
        for sometime.  Funny, huh?

         MAC
            (moans)
        No, it's not... Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

 INT. CORRIDOR - CLOSE SHOT - SALLY

    She backs up into the corridor mortified.  Leans against the
    wall.

         CAL'S VOICE FROM THE T.V. (O.S.)
        It's preposterous.  You're free to do
        whatever you like.

         SALLY'S VOICE FROM THE T.V.
        Yes, well, we'll see won't we?

         MAC (O.S.)
        Jesus Christ.

         SALLY
            (a deep breath)
        Well...wow...

 INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

    Clair's started down the hallway, reaches the landing.  Sally
    rushes into the guest bedroom to avoid her.  Clair, just
    missing Sally, wanders into the dailies room.

 INT. DAILIES ROOM - CONTINUOUS

         CLAIR
        Mac?  Oh there you are.  What are you
        doing, honey?  No more work.  Don't you
        feel breezy.

         MAC
        I'm in mourning.

         CLAIR
        You can cut around it, whatever it is.
        You always do.

         MAC
        Not this time.

         CLAIR
        It's always not this time.  If you can do
        it around me, you can do it around
        anyone.

    She walks in front of the television set, blocks it with her
    body, switches it off.

         MAC
            (an observation)
        You don't have any clothes on.

         CLAIR
        How nice for everybody.  Come swimming.
        The water's glorious.
            (re: the film)
        You'll fix it.  You'll come up with one
        of your brilliant ideas.

         MAC
        Or I won't.  I can't help her.  I'm out
        of my depth.

         CLAIR
        Things always look much worse in the
        morning.

         MAC
        I don't know how to make her funny.

         CLAIR
        You're coming swimming in the pool, and
        in a few minutes you won't even remember
        what it's about.  You won't care who's in
        your damn movie.

         MAC
            (really stoned)
        What what's about?

         CLAIR
        I...wait, what are you talking about?

 INT. GUEST ROOM

 MEDIUM CLOSE

    Jack and Evie are asleep across the bed.

 NEW ANGLE

    Sally sits at the edge of the bed, regards the sleeping
    children.  Reaches over and smoothens the tangled, tousled
    hair.  Studies their faces.

 EXT. POOLSIDE - JOE'S POV

    Monica sits on the steps of the pool.  She looks frightened,
    uncomfortable.

         JOE
        Are you okay?

         MONICA
        I don't think so.  I feel.  I feel a bit
        funny.

         JOE
        Let's go for a walk.

    He puts his arm around her and leads her away from the pool.

 EXT. BACKYARD LANDING - NIGHT

         MONICA
        I've never done this before.

         JOE
        Oh?  It's easy.  You just put one foot in
        front of the other... That's a good girl.

         MONICA
        I'm a little in the puke zone.

         JOE
            (giving her some water)
        Here, drink this.  Drink lots of water.
            (puts the bottle in her hand)
        Hold on to this.  Take deep breaths.
        Nice and slow.
            (sits her down; produces a
             lollipop)
        Would you like a lolly?

         MONICA
        What am I, five?

         JOE
        You're never too old for a lolly.  I'm
        having one.

         MONICA
            (a grin)
        Okay.

    He pulls out another one.

         JOE
        Lemon or raspberry?

         MONICA
        Lemon.

         JOE
        Lemon it is.

    The two suck on their lollipops for a moment.

         MONICA
            (finally)
        Ryan's really angry with me.

         JOE
        I think he's really angry with me too.

         MONICA
            (laughs)
        It's really not the same thing.
            (a moment)
        He was really nicer when he drank.

         JOE
        I'm sorry.

         MONICA
        Eight years, though.  That's quite an
        accomplishment.

         JOE
        That's a lot of those.

         MONICA
        Medallions.

         JOE
        A lot of cakes.

         MONICA
        Yes.

         JOE
        And he doesn't smoke?

         MONICA
        He has to find non-smoker's meetings that
        used to be almost impossible, you know?
        It's gotten much better.

         JOE
        How long have you been married?

         MONICA
        Nine...nine, yes?  Nine years, just
        about.

         JOE
        You must have been a baby.

         MONICA
        Oh yes.  Nineteen...just.
            (a moment)
        I'm cold.

         JOE
        Come here.

    Joe holds Monica.

         MONICA
            (a moment)
        That's very nice.

         JOE
        I like you.

         MONICA
        I'm so glad.  You know, I recognize that
        passage in your book.  The bit about us
        running into each other in the movie
        theatre.

         JOE
        Sorry?

         MONICA
        I know you changed it to a bookstore.
        And the color of my hair.  But the moment
        was exactly the same.  The same, you
        know, dynamic.  And almost verbatim,
        wasn't it?

         JOE
            (humors her)
        Yeah, it was.  For a writer nothing's
        sacred.
            (thinks a moment)
        No, nothing at all.

         MONICA
        I think it's great that I made an
        impression at all, you know.

    Joe regards the open trusting face, is touched by it.  Leans
    in, kisses her lips very lightly... and again.  Her arms
    can't make up her mind, whether to come up around him or not.
    Finally do.

         SALLY (O.S.)
        Otis!!  Otis, come!  Oh fuck!

    She appears beside them.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        Someone left the goddamn gate open.  Otis
        got out.  Skye and I, well the... I came
        out of the house and the fucking gate was
        wide open.

         JOE
        Oh for fuck's sake.  Nobody uses that
        gate.

         MONICA
            (horrified)
        I'm sorry.

         SALLY
            (raging)
        There's a goddamn sign on the gate.

         MONICA
        I'm so sorry.

         SALLY
        You fucking cow, can't you read?!

         MONICA
            (at a loss)
     I...

         SALLY
        How long ago was it?

         JOE
        Stop being such a bitch, Sal.

         MONICA
        I'm so sorry.

         JOE
        It was a mistake.  This isn't a plot to
        do in Otis.

         SALLY
        Don't be so sure.

         JOE
        Listen to yourself...
            (to Monica)
        Don't worry, it's alright.  We'll find
        him.
            (to Sally)
        What's wrong with you?

         SALLY
            (re: Monica)
        She left the fucking gate open.

         JOE
        Well he can't have gone far.

         SALLY
        Can't have gone far?  He's like a
        greyhound.  He could be miles away.

         JOE
        He'll find his way back.

         SALLY
        There are fucking coyotes out there.

         JOE
            (calming)
        Sally, calm down.  We're not going to
        find him any quicker by you being
        hysterical.

    Monica retreats, backs off a step or two.

         SALLY
        Fuck you.

         JOE
        Or shitty!!  Otis!!

                        CUT TO:

 INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

    America and Rosa are cleaning up.  Ryan hangs around
    chatting.

         RYAN
        How long have you worked for the
        Therrians?

         AMERICA
            (shrugs, polite but annoyed)
        A long time.

         RYAN
        So you were here when they were doing the
        work on the boundary fence?

         AMERICA
        Oh yes.

         RYAN
        Did you know the contractor?

         AMERICA
        Very well.

         RYAN
        Was it a contractor?

         AMERICA
        It's the way they do things.

         RYAN
        To code?

    Her back is to him.  She exchanges a glance with Rosa, and
    the Spanish equivalent of "who is this wanker?"

         RYAN (CONT'D)
        Did you see permits?  Did he have a
        license?

         AMERICA
        You should talk to Mr. Joe.

    Monica bursts into the room.

         MONICA
        Ryan, you've got to come!  You've got to
        help me find the dog!  I let their dog
        out.  We need to find the dog.

         RYAN
        You're not serious.

         MONICA
        I left the gate open and Otis got out!
        He could get hit by a car!

         RYAN
        God willing.

         MONICA
        We have to find the dog, Ryan.

         RYAN
        Why?

         MONICA
            (regards him)
        Because we're nice people, and because
        what goes around comes around.
            (desperate)
        Because, God help you if something
        happens to that dog?

         RYAN
        Excuse me?

         MONICA
        All the ugly phone calls?  We're not the
        only people with a tape recorder, Ryan.
            (a beat)
        They've gone to the canyon, we should go
        towards the PCH.

 EXT. CANYON - MOMENTS LATER

    Panes and Skye search the canyon for Otis.  They both carry
    lanterns.

         PANES
        Otis!!  Shostakovich identified with the
        Jew.  He felt persecuted, hunted, crushed
        under the thumb of Stalinist imperialism.

         SKYE
        Not to mention Andrew Zhdanov... Otis,
        come!!

         PANES
        Andre Zhdanov?  How the hell do you know
        about Andre Zhdanov?

         SKYE
        Who doesn't know about the infamous
        composer's conference of 1948 where
        Zhdanov persecuted the leaders of Soviet
        Music - Shostakovich, Prokofieve, and
        Myaskovsky.

         PANES
        I'll tell you who doesn't know, cute
        girls don't know.

         SKYE
        Do Peter Sellers again.

         PANES
            (a la Sellers)
        Otis you crazy dog!  Otis are you in this
        God forsaken Canyon?  My people are very
        hungry.

         SKYE
        I just did a movie about Bob Yar, I
        played Gittle, the Jewish milkmaid who
        gets shot in the head, and they used
        Shostakovich's 13th Symphony.

         PANES
        Set to the poem of Yetveshenko!

         SKYE
        Exactly!  So I dug it, and I did a lot of
        research.

         PANES
        Do you really, you really, like
        Shostakovich?

         SKYE
        Yeah.

         PANES
        Would you, like, marry him?

         SKYE
        If he were still alive, maybe.

         PANES
        How about someone who really really liked
        Shostakovich?

         SKYE
            (smiling)
        Are you asking me to marry you?

         PANES
        No, I'm just testing to see how deeply
        perverted and impulsive you are.

         SKYE
            (laughing)
        Very.

         PANES
        Oh good, I'm worse... Are you really
        twenty-two?

         SKYE
        Who told you that?  No.  I'm twenty...
            (lops off two years)
        Five.

 EXT. CANYON - CONTINUOUS

    Sally and Joe have lanterns.  Panes and Skye are up ahead.
    We hear them calling for Otis.

         SALLY
        Otis!!!!

         JOE
            (on her heels)
        Otis!!!!

         SALLY
        Otis, good boy, come here.  Oh my god, oh
        my god, oh my god.

         JOE
        This is a nightmare.  We should have kept
        him upstairs.

         SALLY
        It was done.  When Sophia put the kids to
        bed, America brought Otis in the room and
        closed the door.  It was done.

         JOE
        Well someone clearly let him out before
        Monica opened the gate.

         SALLY
        Oh fuck you, and fuck Monica while you're
        at it.  But I guess that's what I
        interrupted.

         JOE
        Jesus, Sally.  You are a medical miracle.
        The only person who's ever taken ecstacy
        and become angrier.

         SALLY
        Yeah, let's talk about that.  You seem to
        be rather an expert.  I don't remember in
        the last five months of counselling your
        ever mentioning ecstacy or going to rage
        parties.

         JOE
        Rave parties?!  That's so typical - you
        would think it was called rage.  Perfect!

         SALLY
        What else don't I know about, Joe?  Let's
        get really clear here.

         JOE
        Sally, so I took a few pills.  I went out
        dancing.  I tried to forget how upset I
        was about splitting up with you.  I
        haven't lied to you.  I told you about
        the people I've slept with.  I just
        didn't mention the few occasions I took
        drugs because you're so fucking
        judgmental I knew I'd never hear the end
        of it, and you have so little faith and
        so little trust in me.  Sally, we're
        back, I love you.  Trust that.  Please
        let's not do this.

         SALLY
        Otis!  Come!  Good boy!  Come!

         JOE
        Otis!

         SALLY
        I'm not sure we understand that word in
        the same way.

         JOE
        Love?

         SALLY
        You walked out on a five year marriage.

         JOE
        That hasn't the first fucking thing to do
        with love.  It's whether we can live
        together... like this!  All the time.

         SALLY
        It's not like this all the time.

         JOE
        DO I want anyone else?  No.  Do I want to
        be with you for the rest of my natural
        life?  I'm trying.

         SALLY
        And how hard it hit?

         JOE
        Just stop right there, Sally.  We've been
        through this.

         SALLY
        You've been through it.  That's how you
        love people.  When it's easy for you,
        when it's convenient for you.

         JOE
        Sally, first of all, you're talking
        bullshit.  And second...

         SALLY
        You want to talk about bullshit?  Lucy
        called you three times this week.  She's
        a fucking mess, Joe.  Your sister is a
        fucking mess.  She needs you.  I talk to
        her more than you do.

         JOE
        That is not true.

         SALLY
        It is true.  You know how you love, Joe?
        You dedicate a book to someone.

         JOE
        Every novel I've had published in every
        language I've dedicated to Lucy.

         SALLY
        Right.  And when was the last time you
        spoke to her?

    Joe is silent.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        And how fucking dare you cast Skye
        Davidson in that part?  Have you any idea
        how humiliating that is for me?  I'm an
        actress!  It's about our marriage for
        fuck's sake.  Everybody knows that...

         JOE
        It's a novel.

         SALLY
        About me!

         JOE
        Who the fuck do you think you are?  The
        part of Genna is not just about you.
        It's about every woman I've ever loved in
        my entire life.  Including my mother.
        The character is also clearly in her
        early twenties, Sally.

         SALLY
        What are you saying?

         JOE
        Hello?  Last birthday was?

         SALLY
        I don't look my age, Joe.

         JOE
        Sally, I have never considered you for
        this part because you are too old to play
        it.  And you are out of touch with
        reality if you think differently.

         SALLY
        It's a shit novel anyway.

         JOE
        Well there you go.  I let you off the
        hook.  You're one goddamn lucky actress.

         SALLY
        Not really.  I mean your books have
        always been pop, but this is the
        shallowest of the bunch.  That's what all
        our friends think, anyway.

         JOE
        Okay.  If we could've, by some miracle,
        stripped ten years off your face, still
        couldn't have got the thing made.
        Because I don't mean anything as a
        director, and your name doesn't mean fuck
        all anymore.  And the people that can
        hire you are afraid to, because they
        think you're phoning it in.  That you
        don't have... Oh Christ, Sally.

         SALLY
        Who?  Who?  Who thinks that?

         JOE
        Your director and your co-star of your
        current movie.  Don't dish if you can't
        take it, Sally.

         SALLY
        Mac?  Mac says it?  Cal?

    Joe doesn't respond.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        Cal, too?

         JOE
        Sally, for Christ's sake.

         SALLY
        Anyone else?

         JOE
        This is insanity.
            (moves toward her)
        Sally...

         SALLY
        Don't.

         JOE
        Don't push me away.

         SALLY
        I had an abortion two weeks ago.

         JOE
        Don't do this.

         SALLY
        I found out I was pregnant and it scared
        the shit out of me.

         JOE
            (threatens)
        Don't do this!

         SALLY
        I told you when we met I never wanted
        children.  I don't want kids in my life.
        We talked about it.  You weren't
        listening.

         JOE
        You changed your mind.

         SALLY
        I wanted you back.

    Joe slaps her hard across the face.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        You think this was to hurt you?!  My God,
        Joe.  It isn't about you.

         JOE
        What?!  You aborted our child?!

         SALLY
        I'm a monster.  Exactly.

         JOE
        You're not ready.

         SALLY
        Don't make allowances.  I'll never be
        ready.  Some people just shouldn't have
        children.  I'd be a terrible fucking
        mother, Joe.  I did want it for us.  But
        I couldn't do it.  I don't really think I
        can do it.

         JOE
        I wasn't part of that picture at all, was
        I?  I wasn't part of that decision.  Did
        I occur to you at all?  It's a fucking
        farce.  It's a fucking farce.  How long
        did you think you could keep it going.
        You're amazing.  Do you have any idea
        what you've done to us?

         SALLY
        Yes.

         JOE
        I'll never forgive you.

         SALLY
        I know.

         JOE
        I have no idea who you are.

    They stand their in silence.  Joe is devastated.  We hear
    Skye and Panes up ahead calling for Otis.

 INT. POOL - CONTINUOUS

 SILENT UNDERWATER SHOTS

    Of Mac, Judy and Clair.  Mac directs an underwater ballet, a
    la Esther Williams.

    There's a sequence of TIGHT OVERLAPPING SHOTS of Mac,
    smiling, swimming underwater.  His image of himself... SLO-MO
    compounded by water-weight.

    The drug has clearly taken effect.  Mac opens his mouth to
    direct his actors, forgets where he is, begins to choke, and
    cough, is clearly in trouble.

    Oblivious, Judy and Clair turn somersaults.

    Mac begins to panic.  He is drowning.

    He begins to sink.  Panic gives way to acceptance.

    Jerry's body flies past FRAME, splashes hard into the pool.
    The LENS is water-splattered.

 MEDIUM-CLOSE SHOT UNDERWATER

    Jerry's body sweeps past the lens, smooth and sleek as a
    Dolphin.  He grabs Mac...

 EXT. POOL - CONTINUOUS

    Jerry pulls Mac to the surface.  Clair and Judy are out of
    the pool.  Jerry drags the limp body from the pool, pumps
    Mac's chest - it's clear he knows what he's doing.  Mac
    coughs up a load of water.

         CLAIR
        Oh my God.  Honey???

    There's a moment.  Mac begins to sob.

         JERRY
        He's okay, Clair.  You wanna give him a
        little room?

         MAC
            (his face against concrete)
        Man, I must really be stoned.
            (wipes tears from his face with
             his hand)
        Thanks, buddy.

         CLAIR
        Honey?

    Mac raises his hand, arrests her from coming nearer.

         MAC
        I'm fine, babe.

         JERRY
        Give him a minute, Clair.

         MAC
            (humiliated)
        Hey.
            (looks over at Jerry)
        Thanks, buddy.

         JERRY
        Anytime, sport.

         MAC
            (wants to say "don't call me
             sport")
        Yeah, thanks pal.

         CLAIR
            (helpless)
        Honey?

    They all stand around watching him.  Mac gets up.

         MAC
        I'm fine, babe.  I'm gonna take a little
        walk.  I need a minute.  Let's forget it.
        My life didn't pass in front of my eyes.
        So, it probably wasn't that close.

         JERRY
        Probably not.

         MAC
            (to Jerry)
        So, you've got lifeguard papers, or what?

         JUDY
        There's a test, you know.

         JERRY
            (embarrassed)
        Forget it, Judy.

         CLAIR
            (still scared)
        Honey?

         MAC
        I'll be fine.  Really babe.  Give me a
        minute.

    The CAMERA stays on Mac as he walks around the side of the
    house, down the steps through the basement.

 INT. BASEMENT - MEDIUM FULL SHOT

    Mac begins to tremble, sob convulsively.  He bites down on
    his lip, clinches his first, tries to pull himself together.

         MAC
            (paces; at himself)
        You're okay.  Buck up.  Come on, be a
        man.  It could happen to anybody.
            (tears start again)
        If you don't stop, I'm going to punch
        your face in.
            (another moment)

    He pulls a towel off a stack and they all fall on the floor.

         MAC (CONT'D)
        Oh shit.  I can't fucking do anything
        right.  Come on, come on.  Oh thank you
        God for giving me this chance.  Thank you
        for having Jerry here to save me.  I
        promise I will never cheat on my wife
        again.  I will never take drugs again,
        and I will be a great fucking husband and
        a loving father.  I am a great father!  I
        have terrific friends.  I am a brilliant
        director.  Well-respected.  I won a
        Golden Globe, how 'bout that?  Yeah, man,
        it's alright, it's alright, it's alright.
        And God, I will be humble.

 INT. MUSIC LIBRARY - MEDIUM FULL SHOT

    Gina regards the photographs she brought for Joe and Sally.
    She lifts it from the shelf, the phone rings, the machine
    picks up.

         MAN'S VOICE
        Joe, Joe!  It's your Dad!  Pick up,
        Joe...

    Gina sets the photo on the desk, leans it up against the
    wall.  Joe and Sally's faces stare out of it.

         GINA
            (picks up receiver)
        Harry, hi, it's Gina!  Gina.  Is
        everything alright?
            (a deep intake of breath)
        Oh my God.  When?  He's not here.
        They're out looking for Otis.  The dog,
        Harry.
            (tears start down her face)
        I love you so much.  Lucy's a fighter,
        she'll make it.  Whether she wants to or
        not.  Harry.  I'm so sorry.  I will.
            (writes down the number)
        Yes I will.  Take care, Harry.  Bye.

    She puts down the phone.  Stares into Joe's face, looks up at
    a photo on the wall that she took of Joe and Lucy.

 EXT. BACKYARD LANDING

    Jerry and Judy are making out.

         JUDY
        Are you my big brave boy?  Are you my
        brave hero?

         JERRY
        You're crazy baby.  I love you.

         JUDY
        Are you my big hard hero?

         JERRY
        Do you want me to save you?  Do you want
        me to save you?

         JUDY
        Oh yeah...

         JERRY
        Oh yeah... I'm gonna save you.

         JUDY
        Oh yeah?

         JERRY
        Let me heal you, baby.

         JUDY
            (mantra)
        Oh Jesus oh Jesus oh Jesus.

    Grunts, groans, a scream, a peel of giggles.

         JERRY
        Oh yeah.

 INT. MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Gina pulls Joe's clothes out of the closet, out of the
    drawers.  There's an overnight bag on the bed.

 EXT. POOL AREA

    Cal and Sophia lie cuddled on a lounge chair, blissed out,
    counting the windows of the house.

         SOPHIA
        ...no, no, start again.

         CAL AND SOPHIA
        One, two, three, four...

    Clair wanders up.  She's changed into her own clothes.

         CLAIR
        I've lost my husband and my beeper.  Have
        either of you seen either of them?

 INT. LIVING ROOM - LATER

    Clair, Mac, Sophia, Cal and Gina are waiting.  The overnight
    bag rests near the coffee table.  No one speaks.

    There are sounds of the search party approaching.

 NEW ANGLE

    Panes, Skye, Sally and Joe come into the room dogless.

         JOE
        What is it?

         GINA
        Let's go upstairs, okay?

    Joe looks from Gina to the others.

         GINA (CONT'D)
        Let's go upstairs.

    They move out of the room.

         SALLY
            (on the way upstairs)
        Is it Otis?

    Skye and Panes look at the other guests.

         SKYE
        What happened?

 INT. MASTER BEDROOM

    Gina closes the door.

         JOE
        The suspense is killing me.

         GINA
        Harry called.

         JOE
            (growing dread)
        And?

         GINA
            (there's now way to say it)
        Lucy overdosed.

         JOE
            (a long moment)
        But she's alright.

         GINA
        She's in ICU.

    Joe's legs give way.  He sort of sits on the floor.

         JOE
            (laughs; shakes his head)
        Stupid tart.

         GINA
        She left a note.

         JOE
            (realizes the import; to Gina)
        Fuck you.

    Tears start down Sally's face.

         GINA
        You need to call your dad.

         JOE
        Leave us alone right now.

         GINA
        I've booked you a flight and packed you a
        bag.  You just need to get into a car and
        go.

         SALLY
        Would you leave us alone right now?

         GINA
        I love her too, Joe.

         JOE
        Alright, good.  Thanks for your trouble.
        So will you leave Sally and me alone
        right now?

         SALLY
            (a shrug; simply)
        Everybody hates the messenger.

    Gina exits.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
            (to Joe)
        I'm coming with you.

    Joe starts to cry.  Sally holds him, kisses him, strokes him,
    rocks him.

         JOE
            (inconsolable)
        I don't want you to go.

    He wipes tears away that start afresh; his nose is running,
    he wipes that too.

         JOE (CONT'D)
        I can't got tonight.  I don't want to be
        on a plane on my own tonight.

         SALLY
        I'll be with you.

         JOE
        I don't want to go tonight.

         SALLY
        You don't have to.

    They sit on the floor.  Sally soothing, rocking Joe like a
    baby.

         JOE
            (bereft)
        Stupid tart.

 INT. KITCHEN - LATER

    Gina's put up some coffee.  Sophia, Cal, Mac and Clair stand
    around awkwardly.  Sally comes into the room.

         MAC
        How's he doing?

         SALLY
        Not good.

         GINA
        He's gonna miss his flight.

         SALLY
        Yeah.

    Al the guests are a little stunned.

         GINA
        Is he not going?  I booked a flight.

         SALLY
        He's not going tonight.

         GINA
        I told his father he'd be on that flight.

         SALLY
        Well you could tell him otherwise.  It
        was good of you to be all this help.  But
        he doesn't want to go tonight.

         GINA
        Jesus, Sally.  I'm not the enemy.

         SALLY
        And you're not the wife.

         GINA
        It's not a contest.

         SALLY
        Damn straight.

         CAL
        Should I go up?

         SALLY
        I don't think so.

         CAL
        You want us to stay?

         SALLY
        Maybe not.

         MAC
        So much for ecstacy, right?

    They all laugh a little.

         SOPHIA
        Let's get the kids.

         CLAIR
        Oh my God, the sitter.

         SALLY
            (laughs)
        Oh Clair, you're so... You know.  You
        just put things in perspective.

 INT. MUSIC LIBRARY - CONTINUOUS

    Joe listens to the answering machine message Lucy left that
    morning.  He plays it again and again.

    HE fast forwards to his father's voice.  Presses the STOP
    button.  Sits there, stunned.

         JOE
            (dials phone, a moment)
        Hey, Dad...

 INT. GUEST BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Cal and Sophia bundle up their sleeping kids.  The CAMERA
    follows them to the landing as they head downstairs, pass
    Sally who is coming up.

         SOPHIA
        I'm going to be home all weekend, call if
        you need anything.

    Sally kisses Cal's cheek.

         CAL
        Hang in.

 INT. MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

    Panes and Skye are fucking on Joe and Sally's bed.  Sally
    walks in on them searching for Panes' ear, her best buddy.

         SALLY
            (resigned)
        Oh perfect!

 EXT. BACKYARD LANDING - MEDIUM FULL SHOT

    Jerry and Judy lie alongside each other, hands propping
    heads.  They aren't privy to anything that's happened.

         JERRY
        I call that a perfect day.

         JUDY
        A perfect night.

         JERRY
        Damn near.
            (long moment)
        And a damn near perfect drug.

         JUDY
        Hm.  We should do it again.

         JERRY
        Just every once in a blue moon, you know.

         JUDY
        Hm.
            (a long moment)
        You think we should ask them for their
        landscaper?

         JERRY
        Hm.  Do you like fucking out of doors?

         JUDY
        Not as a rule.

         JERRY
            (a long moment)
        They didn't sign their goddamn tax
        returns!

 EXT. HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

    Sally stands at the threshold, watches Cal and Sophia load
    their kids into the car.

 INT. FOYER - CONTINUOUS

    Clair and Mac and Gina hug and say their goodbyes to Sally.

         GINA
            (kisses Sally; whispers)
        Take good care of it.

         SALLY
        Count on it.

 EXT. HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

    Monica and Ryan return from their unsuccessful search.  They
    come through the gate with it's sight: KEEP GATE CLOSED.
    Monica and Ryan start for the kitchen entrance.

 INT. KITCHEN - FROM MONICA AND RYAN'S POV

    Sally and Joe are alone in the room.  They hold each other,
    weep...

         RYAN
            (appalled)
        Jesus Christ, it's a fucking dog!

         MONICA
            (regards them)
        Don't go in, Ryan.

         RYAN
        What?

         MONICA
        Let's just go home, okay?

 INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

    A much embarrassed Panes and Skye enter.

         PANES
        Coffee?

         JOE
        Sure.

         PANES
        I'll do it.

    Panes starts to make some; Skye starts to clean up glasses
    and ashtrays.

         SALLY
        You don't need to do that.

         SKYE
        I don't mind...

         SALLY
        Relax.  You've done enough.

 EXT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

    We see Judy and Jerry bounding around the side of the house.
    Jerry has his briefcase in his hand.  They are laughing.
    They enter the kitchen.  The camera stays outside.  We see
    them brought up short by the gloom, but hear nothing.

 INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

    Sally and Joe are at the table, signing their tax returns.
    Jerry supervising.  All is quiet.  Judy's sunk into a chair.

 INT. FOYER - CONTINUOUS

    Morning's finally come.  Light fills the room, empty except
    for party debris.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

    It's empty but for glasses, wrapping paper, abandoned dishes
    of leftover cake.

 INT. EMPTY KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

 INT. GUEST BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

    The bed is rumpled and indented from the sleeping children.
    Their drawings and paints strewn all over the floor...and
    Walls.

 INT. EMPTY DEN - CONTINUOUS

 INT. MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

    The bed still shows the remains of Panes and Skye's love
    making.

    The CAMERA moves through the suite into the bathroom.
    Sally's in the tub.  Joe comes into the room in the buff.

         JOE
        Can I come in?

    Sally looks up at the nakedness.

         SALLY
        Sure.

    HE slips into the tub with her.  They lie there facing each
    other.

         OE
        My plane leaves in a few hours.

         SALLY
        Okay.  Do you want me to come with you?

         JOE
            (simply)
        No.

         SALLY
        Okay.

         JOE
            (a moment)
        Pretty much a disaster, tonight, wasn't
        it?

         SALLY
        I guess.

         JOE
        Life gets messy.  Ugly messy.  But I
        don't understand you.  And I don't think
        I ever understood Lucy.  I don't
        understand throwing it away.  How do you
        throw all that away?  Any of it.  I want
        it all.  You guys want guarantees?  I
        want the possibilities.  And all kinds of
        crap comes with that.  A lot of bad shit.
        And I think that's okay with me because,
        because of the rest of the stuff.  All
        the good shit.  All the surprises.  It's
        a fucking miracle when you come down to
        it.
            (a moment)
        We'd have had amazing children, you and
        me.  We'd have had a ride.  You'd have
        surprised yourself.
            (regards her)
        I'll never love anybody else, you know.

         SALLY
            (a little choked laugh)
        Me too.

         JOE
        That's under lock and key.

         SALLY
        Me too.

    Joe reaches out of the tub for gift-wrapped box.  He hands it
    to sally.  It's their ritual gift-giving site.

    Sally opens the gift.  Takes out a Calder mobile.

         JOE
        Happy anniversary.

         SALLY
        It's a Calder.

         JOE
        I know.

         SALLY
        He's my favorite.

         JOE
        I know.  It's for the baby's crib.

         SALLY
        Ah...

    She hands him a small wooden box.  He opens it, takes out a
    set of keys.

         SALLY (CONT'D)
        They're the keys to your grandad's flat.
        Happy anniversary, baby.

         JOE
        Oh, Sally Mae...

    He can't say anymore.

         SALLY
        I know.

         JOE
        Will you make love with me?

         SALLY
        Sure.

    She reaches out with both arms.

 INT. BATHROOM - TIGHT CLOSE

    Joe and Sally tenderly make love.  It's the dissolution of
    their marriage.

 INT. FOYER - NINE A.M.

    America and Rosa begins to clean up the debris from the
    party.

 EXT. HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

    A taxi pulls up.  Joe gets in with his bags.  The cab backs
    out...

 INT. MASTER BEDROOM - MEDIUM CLOSE

    The two wedding rings rest on the nightstand, hers nestled in
    his.  Sally's hand opens the drawer, sweeps the rings into
    it.

 EXT. HOUSE - LATE MORNING

    The "FOR SALE" sign is hammered into the ground.

                 DISSOLVE TO:

 EXT. HIGH SHOT - CONTINUOUS

    Otis wanders along the street, up the driveway and disappears
    through the flap in the kitchen door.

                      FADE OUT.


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