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To Sleep With Anger (1990) movie script

by Charles Burnett.
Second Draft, January, 1989.

More info about this movie on IMDb.com
INT. ROOM - DAY  (EFX)

GIDEON, a strongly built elderly black man, is sitting at a
table. On the table is a large bowl of fruit. A crocheted
tablecloth hangs over the side of the table. Gideon is
dressed in a white suit and wearing a pair of well-polished
wing-tip shoes. His hat almost covers his eyes, which are two
points of greenish coals. The fruit in the bowl is engulfed
in flames.

The flames look as if they are DRIPPING from the tablecloth
to the floor. Gideon's shoes start to SMOULDER. His shoes
BURST INTO FLAMES which spread up his pants leg. His head
falls forward as if he had suddenly fallen to sleep. He
twiddles his thumbs very slowly in a circle. He crosses his
legs as if to get comfortable.

The camera moves to a CLOSE UP of his burning shoes. The
image of his feet begins to appear through his shoes; the
flames fade; the background changes as we

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. GIDEON'S BACKYARD - DAY

Gideon's bare feet are resting on reddish dry earth. Gideon
is sitting in his backyard under a fruit tree with a Bible
resting in his hands.

His house is a small, neatly painted bungalow in South
Central Los Angeles. Corn, tomatoes, other vegetables grow in
the yard. Chickens scratch around.

He slowly awakens; his hands are trembling. He looks around
and sees the chickens. He looks up at the sky and sighs, with
some relief.

SUNNY, Gideon's grandson, five years old, has been watching
him from the back window of the house. He leaves the window.

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

DOLLY SHOT OF SUNNY

Sunny peeps in the workroom. Through the crack in the door, a
Woman waves to Sunny. 

INT. WORKROOM - DAY

The room is nearly filled with pregnant women and their
husbands. SUZIE, Gideon's wife, late 60's or early 70's, a
picture of health, is giving a last bit of instruction before
the class ends. Some of the people are already preparing to
leave.

                    SUZIE 
          Remember, especially you men, that
          working together now will already
          have formed a bond before the child
          arrives. The woman is very
          sensitive.

Somewhere in the room a Male Voice booms out.

                    VOICE (O.S.) 
          Tell me about it.

There is a bit of LAUGHTER as all start putting away their
things.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Gideon looks over at the chickens, scratching around in the
garden. He calls to them, but they don't respond. He puts his
shoes on and walks towards the back door of the house.
Entering the house, he stops and waits inside the door
peeping out. In a sort of devilish manner he talks to
himself.

                    GIDEON 
          Spoiling the little foxes that
          spoil my vines.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY 

Shot of the backyard. Nothing. Suddenly, with the grace and
suspicion of alley cats, kids jump over Gideon's back fence,
look around timidly, and start climbing up his fruit tree.

Gideon walks down the steps slowly while humming in a deep
voice. He turns the water on and walks over to the tree,
trapping the kids. Dangling legs, hanging from the tree, try
to scurry up the tree to safety. Gideon sprays the tree with
water. Wet kids fall out of the tree and in one motion leap
the fence. Gideon cuts the water off and slaps the dirt off
his hands. He is quite pleased with himself.

EXT. ALLEYWAY - DAY

One of the wet kids is watching Gideon as he goes back inside
the house. The boy signals the others who slowly follow in
single file. They jump the fence and climb back up the tree.
They let their half-eaten fruit fall to the ground.

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

Suzie opens a letter and a picture of a baby falls out. Suzie
looks at the picture before reading the letter.
She tries to find a place for it among the other baby
pictures that cover the entire mirror on the dresser. Gideon
comes in and starts to undress.

                    GIDEON 
          My mind plays tricks on me. Is it
          okay if I take a bath now?

                    SUZIE 
          Everyone is gone. Rhonda is in the
          bathroom.

RHONDA, Gideon's granddaughter, 13 years old, comes out of
the bathroom.

                    GIDEON 
          I was looking through my trunk and
          I can't find my toby.

                    RHONDA 
          What's that?

                    GIDEON 
          It is a charm that my great
          grandmother made me.

Everyone notices the worried look on Gideon's face.

                    SUZIE 
          It will show up.

                    RHONDA 
          If my daddy calls, tell him I
          walked home.

                    SUZIE 
          You be careful and thank you for
          looking after Sunny.

Sunny is asleep on the sofa with a half-eaten apple ready to
fall out of his hand.

                    GIDEON 
          Babe Brother and his wife are
          taking advantage of a situation. I
          hate to be mean to people but
          picking Sunny up when they feel
          like it has to come to an end. Now
          I'm going to ask him how come he
          couldn't be at your birthday.

                    SUZIE 
          Don't bother the poor boy. It just
          takes some people a little longer
          to figure out who they are.

                    GIDEON 
          I don't know how two brothers can
          be so different.

EXT. MRS. BAKER'S BACKYARD - DAY

SKIP BAKER, who is thirteen, crawls out of his pigeon cage,
holding two birds that he throws up in the air. He climbs
upon the garage roof and throws rocks at the birds to keep
them flying. He WHISTLES and YELLS at them.

CLOSE UP OF BIRDS FLYING

As the birds circle Skip's house, they do backward rolls and
death grips. Skip throws more rocks to keep them flying. The
rocks land on Gideon's roof.

The SOUND of a person trying to learn how to play a TRUMPET
breaks the pleasant SOUNDS of the pigeons popping their wings
and flying in circles over the house.

INT. MRS. BAKER'S HOUSE, RODNEY'S BEDROOM - DAY

RODNEY BAKER is about nine. He stands next to a shaded
window, trying to finger the right valves on his trumpet. He
tries to hit a high note, but only succeeds in making an
awful screeching sound.

EXT. MRS. BAKER'S HOUSE - DAY

A group of kids walking by Rodney's window shout insulting
things about his horn playing.

                    KIDS 
          Shut up! Go help your mama wash
          dishes!

INT. GIDEON'S KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie is standing over an egg that just fell on the floor.
The SCREECHING SOUND of the trumpet from next door is
interrupted by the doorbell. Suzie cannot decide on what to
do, to clean the egg up or answer the door. The doorbell
keeps RINGING.

EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY

Two uniformed Police Officers stand impatiently at the door.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Suzie invites OFFICER SCOTT and OFFICER DAVIS in. Both men
are white and are in their mid-twenties. Officer Davis does
most of the questioning.

                    DAVIS 
          We have a complaint from one of
          your neighbors about a rooster
          crowing in the mornings.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY

Gideon is shaving with a straight razor and humming to
himself, obviously in a good mood. Suzie sticks her head in.

                    SUZIE 
          The police are here to talk to you
          about the chickens.

The good mood that Gideon was in dissolves quickly. Gideon
wipes the soap off his face and throws the towel down. Suzie
leaves. Gideon brushes his hair and adjusts his bathrobe.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Gideon comes in, still adjusting his bathrobe.

                    GIDEON 
          What can I do for you, Officer?

Suzie returns to the kitchen to clean the egg on the floor.
Officer Scott keeps her in view.

                    DAVIS 
          You know it is against the city
          ordinance to keep chickens or live
          stock.

                    GIDEON 
          I always had chickens, ducks and
          whatnots.

                    DAVIS 
          Not anymore, not in the city.

                    GIDEON 
          We grow most of our own food. The
          money I get from social security,
          my pension and my wife's work,
          keeps us living on the edge. What
          choice do people like us have.

                    DAVIS 
          Well, you just have to move further
          out.

                    GIDEON 
          Now how far would further out be?

                    DAVIS 
          I'm not here to argue, sir.

                    SCOTT 
          You guys don't make anything
          illegal, do you?

                    GIDEON 
          Like what may I ask?

                    SCOTT 
          You might have a distillery pumping
          out barrels of moonshine.

Suzie looks at Scott for a moment and goes into the kitchen.
Gideon is about to lose control. Davis heads off the
confrontation.

                    DAVIS 
          Look, just get rid of the chickens
          and you all have a nice day.

Gideon stands in the doorway watching the Police go down the
steps.

                    GIDEON 
          I'll be damned if I get rid of my
          chickens. I ought to get some hogs
          and put them out there.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

There is soft knocking on the door. Suzie enter frame wearing
a robe.

                    SUZIE 
          Who is it?

                    BABE BROTHER (V.O.) 
          Babe Brother.

Suzie opens the door. BABE BROTHER, Gideon's youngest son,
about 31, handsome, wearing an expensive suit, comes in,
beating the cold off of him and blowing in his hands.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I was hoping you came to the door
          instead of him. It gets cold at
          night.

                    SUZIE 
          This doesn't make any sense; you
          are going to drag that poor boy out
          in the cold air.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          He will be alright.

The camera follows Babe Brother. He passes Gideon's room
where Gideon is asleep, snoring loudly.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Suzie and Babe Brother enter the bedroom where Sunny is
sleeping. Suzie gives Babe Brother a blanket to wrap Sunny up
in.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Thanks for taking care of him. I
          will try not to be so long next
          time.

Babe Brother gives his mother a good-night kiss. Gideon comes
to the door.

                    GIDEON 
          What time is it? Do you think you
          can just treat us like your slave?
          It's after one.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I tried to call to let you know I
          was going to be late.

                    GIDEON 
          That's a lie.

                    SUZIE 
          Let us settle this tomorrow.

                    GIDEON 
          Look! Don't try to get ahead by
          riding our backs.

                    BABE BROTHER 
              (shouts)
          I pay my own way.

                    GIDEON 
          Since when?

He reaches for Babe Brother but Suzie comes between them.

                    SUZIE 
          Take Sunny home, please.

She pushes Babe Brother away. Babe Brother walks away,
staring back at his father.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - SAME NIGHT

Gideon is lying in bed. Suzie gets in beside him.

                    GIDEON 
          Your feet are cold.

                    SUZIE 
          Go back to sleep.

                    GIDEON 
          I asked you to wake me when Babe
          Brother comes.

                    SUZIE 
          You all act like two roosters.

                    GIDEON 
          I'm not going to let him get away
          with murder.

                    SUZIE 
          You and Babe Brother are so much
          alike...

                    GIDEON 
          He ain't nothing like me. How come
          a man has to have sons that are day
          and night apart? You ought to stop
          protecting him.

                    SUZIE 
          Hush.

                    GIDEON 
          You're always taking his side.

                    SUZIE 
          Hush.

                    GIDEON 
          I'm trying to make him a man but
          you keep babying him.

                    SUZIE 
          You're going to find yourself on
          the floor.

INT. BABE BROTHER'S BEDROOM - MORNING

The bedroom is tastefully furnished with modern art and
paintings by Barns.

Babe Brother wakes up with Sunny standing in the doorway
looking at him. It takes Babe Brother some time to fully wake
up.

Finally he sits reluctantly on the side of the bed and Sunny
comes over and sits next to him, trying to get his weary
father interested in his remote-control racing car.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I want you to be the richest man in
          the world so I can be the richest
          father in the world.

                    SUNNY 
          I don't want to be rich. I want to
          work on the railroad like
          grandfather.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Son, if you are going to have a
          family, you can't always choose a
          job just because you like it. 
              (beat)
          I don't want you to shine anybody's
          shoes or be a porter. You let
          somebody else carry your bags.

Sunny quietly gets up and follows his car out of the room.

INT. BABE BROTHER'S HOUSE - DAY

Babe Brother, having showered but still wearing his pajamas,
drags himself to the kitchen table where his wife LINDA has a
huge coffee mug with the inscription, "I'm the boss", waiting
for him.

Linda is about thirty years old and materially oriented like
her husband. She is wearing a conservatively cut business
dress.

Sunny stops playing with his car and gets himself an empty
cup. Babe Brother is about to pour him some of his coffee
when Linda objects.

                    LINDA 
          NO.

Sunny pleads with her in silence but Linda refuses to yield.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          He wouldn't want any if you didn't
          try to keep it away from him.

Linda leaves the table but stops for a moment and looks down
at her husband.

                    LINDA 
          Because you were spoiled, don't try
          to spoil Sunny.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          My daddy never gave me anything
          without my having to sweat for it.
          Every summer, the way they kept me
          and Junior out of trouble was to
          send us to Big Daddy's farm. We
          would get up with the chickens.
          Every summer the fence had to be
          repaired. The barn needed a coat of
          paint. We had to pip all of Big
          Mama's hundred laying hens and go
          to church all day on Sunday. For
          Big Daddy, calluses and sweat were
          the mark of a man. Sunny will never
          have to bust his knuckles like we
          did.

                    LINDA 
          I want Sunny to have an advantage
          that you and I never had, but he
          needs discipline, and you are not
          helping when I tell him to do
          something and you allow him to get
          out of it.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          What is a sip of coffee going to
          do?

                    LINDA 
          Coffee is bad for anybody,
          especially for a child.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I don't see you crying about my
          drinking it.

                    LINDA 
          How old are you?

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

A SLOW CLOSE UP DOLLY SHOT OF SUZIE'S HANDS DROPPING SEEDS IN
THE GROUND.

Gideon is raking out the chicken coop. He puts the rake down
and walks over to the garden and watches Suzie plant seeds
for a while.

                    GIDEON 
          Instead of standing here doing
          nothing, I better give those
          chickens some scratch before they
          start cackling.

EXT. ALLEYWAY - DAY

OLD JOHN is pushing his cart up the alley. Old John's face is
washed so clean that it shines. His pants are dirty and his
cart is full of odds and ends of no value. He looks to be
about seventy and fit. Old John throws a sack on Gideon's
fence.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Suzie,is bent over a plant that she is tying to a stick. She
looks up and sees the sack on the fence. A smile appears on
her face. She goes over to the fence.

EXT. ALLEYWAY - DAY

Old John is about to take up his journey when Suzie sticks
her head over the fence.

                    SUZIE 
          How are you?

                    OLD JOHN 
          Tolerably well. I brought you some
          more rabbit manure for your roses.

                    SUZIE 
          It is so considerate of you.

Gideon sticks his head over the fence.

                    GIDEON 
          Well, well, look who is taking up
          all the sunshine. Brother John, how
          are you doing?

                    OLD JOHN 
          I'm still here.

Suzie leaves the two men talking.

                    GIDEON 
          Tell me something. How do you get
          energy to stay on the move all day?

                    OLD JOHN 
          You couldn't sit on your rump under
          my daddy's roof. No sir. If you
          couldn't outwork his mule, you
          wasn't worth the salt you put in
          greens. You had to wake up looking
          for something to do. I was raised
          as a mule and now I'm a rolling
          stone.

Suzie sticks her head over the fence and hands a bag of red
tomatoes to Old John.

                    OLD JOHN (CONT'D)
          I didn't mean for you to pay me for
          that.

                    SUZIE 
          I know you didn't but you have been
          so thoughtful.

                    OLD JOHN 
          But when your sunflowers come up,
          I'll pay you for them.

                    SUZIE 
          I planted a row just for you and
          you don't owe me anything.

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

HIGH ANGLE SHOTS

off in the distance, a man is cutting his lawn. Gideon and
Suzie are working in their garden. Other couples working
their gardens. Two young men are working on their car, which
is creating a lot of smoke. A group of girls are sitting on a
porch trying to sing while one of the smaller ones is trying
to learn a step.

Skip is on the roof with his radio listening to rap music
while his birds circle over head. From time to time he throws
a rock at them.

INT. DELIVERY ROOM - DAY

THE CAMERA IS OUTSIDE OF THE ROOM. THE SCENE IS SHOT THROUGH
THE PARTLY OPEN DOOR.

It is hard to see the woman giving birth. There are people
blocking the view of the camera. Suzie is facing the camera
and the woman has her back to the camera.

                    MOTHER
          It hurts.

                    SUZIE
          Don't push too fast! Breathe! The
          hard part is over. You can see the
          top of the head.

                    MOTHER
          It hurts. The pain. 
              (scream)
          It's tearing me.

                    SUZIE
          Father, give her a hand.

                    FATHER
          Hey, this is too much.

                    SUZIE
          You do your part.

                    MOTHER
          Can you tell what it is?

                    SUZIE
          Almost there.

                    FATHER
          It's a junior.

                    MOTHER 
          Ah, I wanted a girl.

Suddenly the baby begins to SCREAM.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

A sack appears on Gideon's fence. The sound of Old John's
cart is heard rattling off.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

Suzie, Gideon, JUNIOR (Gideon's elder son, 35 years old and
dark skinned), PAT (Junior's wife, who is expecting, about
32) and Rhonda are all seated next to one another in the same
row. The PREACHER is knee-deep in water. He is baptizing a
group of young people. The members of the church are singing
"Take Me To The Water". An Elderly Man who can hardly walk
without help is being led down to the pool.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie, Gideon, Junior, Pat and Rhonda are all seated at the
table eating. Babe Brother is standing up. He looks in the
pot but doesn't find it to his liking. Junior is irritated at
his brother.

                    JUNIOR 
          When are you going to find time to
          help me fix the roof?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          You all don't believe me when I
          tell you I'm afraid of heights.

                    JUNIOR 
          You used that excuse to get out of
          the army.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          You always got something to say.

                    GIDEON 
          Your mother asked me not to mention
          it but your mother's birthday was
          last week.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I hadn't forgotten. I ordered some
          cloth but it didn't come in and I
          felt so bad if I would have come to
          her birthday without that, I just
          stayed at home.

                    GIDEON 
          What did your wife get her?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          We got the same thing.

Junior laughs at Babe Brother's story.

                    GIDEON 
          Boy, go tell your wife to come in.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Babe Brother's car, a new Audi, is parked out front.

Linda is in the front seat reading a magazine while Sunny is
asleep in the back seat. Babe Brother sticks his head in the
window.

                    BABE BROTHER
          Why don't you come in for a while?

                    LINDA 
          I would like to finish reading
          this. What would I talk about? I
          haven't read this month's almanac.
          I don't care to hear about how the
          corn was this fall or how to get
          rid of gophers by putting garlic in
          their holes. They pride themselves
          in making life hard and that's not
          my cup of tea.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie, Gideon, Junior, Pat and Rhonda are still at the table
eating.

                    SUZIE 
          You know, Babe Brother's wife just
          dumps greens in the pot without
          washing them.

                    GIDEON 
          Babe Brother is a poor boy.

                    JUNIOR 
          You all should have been hard on
          him like you were me and he
          wouldn't be the way he is.

                    SUZIE 
          Everybody got the same. I breast
          fed him like I breast fed you.

                    PAT 
          Junior, you are wrong.

INT. CAR - DAY

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Just for a minute.

A dirt rock HITS the front windshield. Linda lets out a
little scream. Babe Brother looks around. Skip is on top of
the roof next door.

                    SKIP 
          I didn't mean to hit your car. I
          was throwing at my birds.

INT. FEED STORE - DAY

Gideon is looking at the price of laying mash. He digs his
hand into a barrel of scratch. Sunny also digs his hand in
the barrel.

Suzie is looking at new young plants. She gives the
vegetables a thorough going-over.

Gideon is standing in line waiting to place his order.

                    GIDEON 
          I need about five pounds of laying
          mash and you better give me about
          the same of scratch.

While at the counter, Gideon turns and looks around at the
prices of different items. Suzie brings her plants and puts
them on the counter.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          When are you going to have a sale
          on weed killer?

                    CASHIER 
          You missed it. We had a two-day
          sale last week.

                    GIDEON 
          What kind of a sale is a two-day
          sale? I thought sales last a week
          or two.

                    CASHIER 
          Every day we have something
          different. Today's sale is hay. 25%
          off. If you have a horse or cow,
          you're in business.

INT. CAR - DAY

Sunny looks at the Little Girl in the next car; she has her
mouth pressed against the window. She is missing a tooth.
Gideon is behind the wheel while Suzie holds her new plants
up to the sun, carefully looking at them.

Sunny, seated in the back, pokes a hole in the sack of feed.
The mash trickles to the floor as if from an hour glass.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie is sitting in front of a table full of jars. Each jar
has a shoot and is half-filled with water. Gideon is on his
knees trying to fix the hinge to a cabinet. Sunny is sitting
almost under him listening to him tell stories. Sunny has a
coffee can full of marbles.

                    GIDEON 
          All of the preachers were down in
          the basement of the church
          confessing their sins to one
          another. They were way down in the
          basement 'cause they figured no one
          would hear them. One of the
          preachers said, it makes me feel
          too shame to tell how bad I have
          been. You know them young gals that
          sit up in the first row. I can look
          at them and forget my text. I'm
          just lost when it comes to women,
          even them middle age sisters. Then
          another preacher said, I don't
          think I can tell you what my sin is
          'cause it's bad. Another preacher
          said, Brother, we all amongst
          friends. Tell us what's troubling
          your soul. Clear your conscience.

Gideon takes a sip of water.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          So the preacher said, we all got a
          bond 'cause we confessed to one
          another. So let me tell you, my sin
          is corn liquor. I just acts a fool
          behind that spirit water. I loves
          it more than preaching. Now ain't
          that a sin, lord. So all the
          preachers went on confessing, each
          one worst than the last. Finally
          they came to the last preacher who
          had been very quiet and listening
          to every word that fell. One of the
          preachers said to him, it's your
          turn. Confessing will lift you
          burden, Brother. Bare us your soul.
          We did. The last preacher said, no,
          my sin is the worst among all of
          you. One of the preachers said, ah
          go on man and stop all this
          suspense. So the last preacher
          said, like I told you my sin is the
          lowest. 
              (beat)
          My sin is gossiping and I can't
          wait to get out and tell what I
          heard.

Sunny does not get the humor of the story. He is more
interested in picking up his marbles that Gideon's foot
kicked over.

                    SUZIE 
          You oughtn't tell him stories like
          that.

                    SUNNY 
          Tell me another story.

                    GIDEON 
          I'll you a story about the terrapin
          and the rabbit. No, you tell me a
          story. Come on.

                    SUNNY 
          Once upon a time, my mommy and
          daddy lived in this big house that
          I bought for them. I got them this
          big car.

A strong wind causes the broom handle to knock against the
china teapot, KNOCKING IT TO THE FLOOR. Suzie stops Sunny
from trying to help pick up the pieces.

                    SUZIE 
          You stay back. You might cut your
          fingers.

Suzie looks down sadly at her broken tea pot.

                    GIDEON 
          I looked everywhere for my toby.

EXT. APPLE ORCHARD - DAY

The trees are barren, which gives them an unfriendly look. As
we LOOK at the ground, a man's distorted shadow stops in the
frame.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY

A shadow of a man appears on Gideon's porch. The camera tilts
up to HARRY MENTION, a very dark-looking, ageless old man
carrying several boxes held together by a cord. He looks
exhausted from his journey. He looks in his address book and,
satisfied that he reached the right house, he rings the
doorbell.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Suzie comes to the front door; she recognizes Harry right
away. She invites him in. Harry stumps his feet on the porch
several times and then enters.

                    SUZIE 
          Harry, I can't believe it is you.
          Gideon, look who is here.

Gideon comes in, wiping his hands. Sunny, carrying the broom,
follows behind.

                    GIDEON 
          Harry, good God Almighty, man! It's
          been, what, thirty years or more.
          Suzie, we haven't seen Harry since
          we left home.

Harry is more interested in the boy, but Sunny doesn't want
to come near Harry. It is Gideon's arm that is keeping him
within close range of Harry.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          This is my grandson, Sunny. He is
          my youngest son's child.

                    HARRY 
          He kind of favors one of my boys
          when he was about his age.

Sunny, playing with the broom, accidentally touches Harry's
shoe with it. Harry hides his anger about being touched with
the broom. Harry takes the broom from Sunny and spits on the
bottom of it.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Boy, that is bad luck to touch a
          fellow with a broom.

                    GIDEON 
          He knows better. Sunny, apologize
          to Harry.

                    SUNNY 
          I'm sorry.

                    GIDEON 
          What are you doing in these parts?

                    HARRY
          I came all the way from Detroit by
          bus going to Oakland. The bus
          stopped in Los Angeles. I had to
          get off and take a rest. I'll catch
          the last bus leaving at midnight.
          I'm just too tired to go on.

                    GIDEON 
          Why didn't you catch a plane?

                    HARRY 
          My feet have never been on anything
          that wasn't directly attached to
          the ground.

                    GIDEON 
          Stay until you feel better? I would
          like to hear all the news.

                    HARRY 
          I'm worn out but won't you feel
          like you are taking in a stranger?

                    SUZIE 
          Stranger my foot, it was my
          grandmother who helped you into
          this world.

                    HARRY 
          Well, I don't want to put you out.

                    GIDEON 
          Man, put your boxes down and stay
          as long as you like. We have empty
          rooms since the boys got their own
          families and moved out.

                    HARRY 
          Well if you're sure, I won't be a
          bother. Oh, I don't sleep on no
          spring mattress. I always make
          myself a pallet on the floor.

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

The bedroom door to Harry's room is cracked open. Peering
through the cracked door, we SEE Harry asleep on his pallet.
His back is turned to the camera. It is dead silent. There
does not seem to be any sign of life. On the floor is a plate
that has water in it. It looks like it is for a dog.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie is peeling potatoes and Gideon is ironing.

                    SUZIE 
          Poor old Harry, he really must have
          been worn out. He has been asleep
          all day.

Without anyone being aware, Harry has been standing in the
doorway for some time.

                    HARRY
          Good evening. It must be all the
          different time zones I crossed that
          makes me feel this weary.

                    SUZIE 
          You should go back and rest.

                    HARRY 
          No, if I rest any longer, I won't
          sleep tonight. May I use your
          bathroom to wash up a bit?

                    GIDEON 
          Man, act like this is your home.

                    HARRY 
          That's awful generous of you. I
          always ask to keep from wearing out
          welcome.

                    SUZIE 
          One can tell you are from back
          home. These people nowadays don't
          know what manners are.

                    HARRY 
          Where we come from, you had to know
          how to act right. You had to know
          how to say yes sir and no sir. You
          had to know your place.

                    GIDEON 
          You had to tread softly.

The doorbell rings and Gideon goes to answer it.

                    SUZIE 
          Those days you could always find
          something redeeming about even the
          worst person.

                    HARRY 
          You remember that boy who lost his
          mind, Joe? You could hear him
          pitching horseshoes at night in the
          dark. He wouldn't miss a one. Make
          him mad and call yourself running
          in the house to be safe. He would
          pick up a brick and say "go on in
          there brick and hit somebody" and
          it would find its mark.

                    SUZIE 
          I was afraid to go to Marcus Bottom
          because of him.

                    HARRY 
          All those places that us coloreds
          lived, that we used to call
          Bottoms, have all been changed to
          Drives and Heights. Everything is
          in what you call it, not in what it
          is.

Gideon comes back with Junior, Pal and Rhonda.

                    GIDEON 
          Harry, I would like for you to meet
          my oldest son, his wife and
          daughter.

                    JUNIOR 
          Pleased to meet you. So you're from
          back home, too.

Harry and Junior shake hands, but Rhonda gives Harry only a
nod of her head and a smile.

Pat, who is pregnant, attempts to shake hands with Harry, but
is forced to withdraw her hand because of a sudden pain in
her stomach.

                    PAT 
          This boy must be turning over. Oh,
          he just kicked me again.

Junior feels her stomach. Pat again tries to shake Harry's
hand and again gets a jolt from her stomach. She finds a
chair to sit down in.

The SOUND of rocks hitting the roof causes everyone to look
up.

                    GIDEON 
          It's the boy next door throwing at
          his birds. I'm just waiting on him
          to hit a pane in the window

                    HARRY 
          I'm going to wash up now. You all
          please excuse me.

INT. GIDEON'S HOUSE - BATHROOM - DAY

Harry is wiping off his face with a washcloth. He stares at
himself in the mirror for a long time. The sudden sound of
the boy next door starting to play his trumpet startles him.
He smiles at the trumpeter's efforts.

He wrings the wash cloth out. A reddish oil-like liquid DRIPS
into the face bowl.

EXT. GIDEON'S HOUSE - EARLY MORNING

A few of the houses have lights on. Suddenly, Gideon's
rooster starts to CROW. A dog starts to bark and a garbage
can is knocked over. Bedroom lights in almost all the houses
in the neighborhood pop on. The voices of neighbors
complaining are heard.

INT. BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

Harry is just waking up. He listens to the voices of Suzie
and Gideon as they get ready for church.

INT. FRONT ROOM - MORNING

Gideon is paging through the Bible as he stands by the door,
waiting for Suzie who is watering her plants. Harry comes in.

                    HARRY 
          Good morning.

                    GIDEON 
          You ought to come hear our
          preacher. Remember old Cat Iron?
          Well, our preacher is just as
          strong.

                    HARRY 
          Next time when I feel a little
          better perhaps.

                    GIDEON 
          I was going to get up and get a hen
          out there for dinner, but time got
          away.

                    HARRY 
          Oh, I would feel much at home if
          you let me get one for you. I
          haven't wrung a chicken's neck in a
          month of Sundays. You know, folks
          would call my daddy to kill their
          hogs. That used to be my trade from
          time to time.

                    GIDEON 
          Well, I would appreciate that.

EXT. HOUSE - DAY

Gideon and Suzie are stepping off the porch. Harry is
standing behind the screen door.

Gideon and Suzie get in Junior's car. Junior, Pat and Rhonda
wave to Harry as the car pulls away.

INT. LIVING HOUSE - DAY

IT IS A TRACKING SHOT, FOLLOWING HARRY THROUGH THE HOUSE.

Harry looks through Gideon's and Suzie's private things. He
looks at the baby pictures that fill the mirror. He reads
Suzie's letters that are dated years ago. In one of the
letters, he finds a picture of a man standing behind a
plough. "Uncle Joe after Ella's death" is written on the
back. A picture of a mule holds his interest. He looks at it
for a long time and carries it with him as he continues his
search.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Harry slowly walks along the rows in Suzie's garden. He
stands by the chicken cage. Suddenly, the chickens start to
run about and CACKLE as if a dog had gotten in.

Harry turns from the chicken coop. He stands still. Sunny is
hiding behind a bush.

Sunny steps around the bush. Harry looks at Sunny with such
concentration that Sunny takes a step backward as if getting
ready to defend himself.

MRS. BAKER, a black woman in her early thirties, comes out on
the back porch. She shakes out a rug. She stops shaking the
rug and stares at Harry.

Harry becomes aware of Mrs. Baker's stare. He comes to
himself and smiles at her.

INT. GIDEON'S KITCHEN - DAY

Harry and Babe Brother are playing cards while Linda watches
and Sunny plays by himself on the floor. In the sink is a
newspaper full of bloody feathers. A small flame is under a
pot on the stove. Harry looks at the chicken in the pot and
sits back down.

                    LINDA 
          You don't act like the rest of
          Gideon's friends. They believe if
          you are not hard at work, you are
          hard at sin.

                    HARRY 
          Oh, I'm more modern in my ways. I
          don't believe in sin, though there
          is good and evil. 
              (beat)
          And evil is a thing you work at.

Harry takes his knife, a crab apple switch, out. It has a
rabbit foot attached to it. Harry cleans his fingernail with
the knife. Sunny is interested in the rabbit foot. He reaches
for the knife.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Not you mustn't touch. Your mama
          might not like you handling knives.

                    LINDA 
          I think he wants to see your rabbit
          foot.

                    HARRY 
          I let this rabbit foot do in place
          of my toby that I lost years ago.

                    LINDA 
          What's a toby?

                    HARRY 
          You don't want to be at crossroads
          without one. It's a charm that old
          people teach you how to make. I had
          one for a long time that belonged
          to my grandmother who had it ever
          since she was a child. 
              (beat)
          In my travels I misplaced it. I
          have been looking over my shoulder
          ever since.

                    LINDA 
          I thought you weren't old
          fashioned.

                    HARRY 
          In some things. When we were
          children, there used to be an old
          man that came around and would
          snatch your soul if you didn't have
          something on you that didn't make a
          X.

Harry is aware that Babe Brother is interested in the knife.
After cleaning his last fingernail, he hands the knife to
Babe Brother.

Harry looks at the cards in his hand. He smiles to himself.

                    HARRY 
          Did you have your child at home?

                    LINDA 
          No. No. No. No. I had my Child at
          Cedars and Sinai. And that ain't no
          county hospital. You have to have
          cash or check before you come in
          the door.

                    HARRY 
          Some folks take that natural stuff
          too far.

                    LINDA 
          Junior's wife kept her afterbirth'
          in the refrigerator. That's why I
          do not eat over there now.

                    HARRY 
          Country people got so many strange
          ways,

Harry looks again at the chicken that he is boiling.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Did you ever have to use this
          thing?

                    HARRY 
          That is called a crab apple switch.
          It's for those bad acting monkeys
          and just the thing for a mean dog.
          Now I don't know if I actually did
          what I did or got my life and story
          mixed in with other folk's stories
          but I seem to recall that I had to
          use my crab apple on a boy from
          back home. I was up in Memphis
          working on the railroad, like your
          daddy who had an easy job. He would
          sing a song that had a cadence and
          we would lay track. Anyway I was
          coming down Beale Street and I
          heard this music coming from a
          saloon. Sure enough it was Emory.
          My daddy taught both of us to play
          but Emory was natural at it. Got in
          a blues band and what not. He and
          another boy had killed a boy named
          Hocker sometime back and they
          balled the Jack leaving town. Emory
          had lost one eye and had a scar
          running down his face. Bad luck I
          would say. He got to drinking that
          corn liquor. We went to his girl's
          room and he wouldn't stop drinking.
          He started talking about the old
          days and he went mad. He pulled his
          knife and I got to mine first. The
          lights went out.

Linda picks up a card and looks at it. There is a naked woman
on the back.

                    BABE BROTHER
          Don't pick up the cards if you are
          not in the game. Did he die?

                    HARRY 
          I don't know what happened to him.
          He just ran out into the streets. 
              (beat)
          I got some old records I want you
          to hear. I like the blues sung
          simply, man and a guitar. Or sung
          by a woman who had bad luck all her
          life. Don't ever let anyone tell
          you his life's story if it is of a
          weary life full of sadness. When I
          was a boy, a man told me a story of
          how he lost all of his sons and
          I'll be damned if the same thing
          didn't happen to me.

Sunny is busy playing in the curtains.

The SOUND of Gideon and Suzie arriving makes them scurry to
get the cards put away. Harry puts his knife away just as
Suzie and Gideon enter. Linda feels a little embarrassed.

                    LINDA 
          How was church?

Gideon and Suzie are surprised to see Linda. They don't know
what to say.

EXT. MRS. BAKER'S BACKYARD - DAY

Rodney walks around in the yard BLOWING his trumpet as loud
as he can. The SOUND of the trumpet frightens Skip's birds.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY

Gideon is repairing the pipes under the face bowl. Harry is
leaning against the door.

                    HARRY 
          How often is your wife called to
          help delivery?

                    GIDEON 
          It was slow. Now it seems like
          everyone is having births at home.

Gideon takes the pipe off. It has rotted. Gideon cannot
believe it.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          What could have caused this? I just
          changed this damn thing.

                    HARRY 
          Everything these days is made
          overseas.

                    GIDEON 
          You and Babe Brother hit it off so
          well.

                    HARRY 
          Course, it is your business, but I
          feel obliged to tell you that maybe
          you have not been fair with the
          boy.

                    GIDEON 
          I tried to teach him right from
          wrong just like I did his Junior.

                    HARRY 
          Everyone has to follow his own
          plough. A man doesn't have to know
          how to cut a wick and clean a
          chimney nowadays. City people don't
          give a hoot and a holler about the
          shape of the moon nowadays. You
          don't plant old ways...
              (beat)
          ... but, at the end, you find
          yourself doing what your father did
          but you have to have the land in
          you.
              (beat)
          It's when you want to give the
          house or farm to the kids and they
          don't want it. You sell it to a
          stranger. You worked your whole
          life, for what?
              (beat)
          I doubt if people nowadays have
          knowledge of a victory garden or
          seen an inch worm. All what we've
          experienced has no meaning.

                    GIDEON 
          You're suppose to teach your
          children what you know. Junior, I
          don't have to worry about. Babe
          Brother is a different story.

                    HARRY 
          You still call him boy. You call
          Babe Brother boy in front of his
          wife and son.

                    GIDEON 
          My daddy called me boy up to the
          time he died. I was always boy to
          him.

                    HARRY 
          'Course, you could be right. Your
          sons are alive. All my sons are
          dead.

Off-screen, Rodney starts to practice on his HORN.

INT. BABE BROTHER'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING

Babe Brother is sitting with Sunny by the screen door blowing
giant bubbles. The bubbles drift past Linda, who is sitting
at the table with real estate papers all over the table. She
is talking on the phone with a client and signals them to
stop disturbing her.

Babe Brother sends more bubbles floating by, causing her to
shake the water off her papers while she talks to a first
time buyer.

                    LINDA 
          It has three bedrooms, one and a
          half baths. Well, yes, that means
          two toilets and one bath. Well...
          Yes, by appointment... Call me back
          if you decide.

She hangs up the phone.

                    LINDA 
          You would think people never lived
          in a house if they have to ask what
          does 1 1/2 baths mean.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Will you still get the money from
          your father?

                    LINDA 
          I told him we might not need it, if
          you can talk your parents into
          giving you your share of the
          property.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Pops put Big Daddy's farm in
          Rhonda's and Sunny's name and fixed
          it so no one can borrow on it.

                    LINDA 
          We could borrow on that land and
          put the money to work.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I preached to Mom and Dad about it
          but they are stuck in their ways,
          it's like talking to a brick. But
          if there is a way...

Babe Brother is lost in his thoughts. He stares down at his
hands resting on his knees. He picks up the telephone.

INT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Junior is on the phone with Babe Brother. Pat crosses in
front of the camera shaking her head in a negative manner.
Babe Brother's voice is just audible.

                    JUNIOR 
          You want me to mortgage my house to
          invest in a scheme of yours? You
          know the last time we went into
          something together Daddy had to go
          in his savings to keep us from
          ending on the street.

                    BABE BROTHER (O.S.) 
          Why are you always afraid to get
          somewhere?

                    JUNIOR 
          This is not a good time to take
          chances. Your best friend, Robert,
          an accountant, lost his home and is
          out on the street. We see him from
          time to time. He comes down to
          church for a free meal.

                    BABE BROTHER (O.S.) 
          This is what it is all about,
          trying to keep from being out on
          the street.

                    JUNIOR 
          Robert asks about you. When are you
          going to do something to help him?

                    BABE BROTHER (O.S.) 
          Maybe I can get down there next
          week.

Junior turns to his wife, who is off-camera.

                    JUNIOR 
          Babe Brother always acts like a
          gambler who is in the biggest game
          of his life and don't know about
          playing cards.

EXT. RAILROAD TRACKS - HOT AFTERNOON

Harry and Gideon are walking along a railroad track. The sun
is blinding. The heat makes the asphalt Appear to turn into a
lake off in the distance. Gideon appears exhausted; beads of
sweat continually form on his forehead. He fans himself with
his hat. Harry is unaffected by the hot temperature.

                    HARRY 
          I can sit here and look at train
          tracks all day. We laid enough of
          them, didn't we? So many memories
          are stretched along tracks like
          these.

Gideon looks down the tracks. A bowl of dust stirs off in the
distance. The hot temperature makes the tracks appear liquid.

EXT. RAILROAD TRACKS - HOT AFTERNOON (EFFECT)

The tracks begin to twist and bend. Off in the distance,
faint images of men laying track to a song.

EXT. RAILROAD TRACKS - HOT AFTERNOON

Gideon is standing with his hat in his hand. His posture is
that of an extremely old man.

                    GIDEON 
          In weather like this, you cannot
          walk around bare-headed.

He wipes the sweat from his hat band.

                    HARRY 
          We'll go a little farther. The walk
          will do us some good.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Suzie is peeling apples while Sunny, standing next to her,
catches peelings in his mouth. Pat is sitting next to the
window. She is uncomfortable. She loosens her pants, giving
her stomach more room. Rhonda is leaning over the back of the
chair with her arms around Pat's neck. They are in
silhouette.

                    PAT 
          Did you do your homework?

                    RHONDA 
          Yes.
              (beat)
          Mama?

                    PAT 
          What?

                    RHONDA 
          Can I name the baby?

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - DAY

Suzie knocks on the door. Harry comes to the door still
buttoning his shirt.

                    SUZIE 
          I have someone I want you to meet.

                    HARRY 
          I'll be right there.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Gideon in the background in the kitchen washing off the
vegetables. Suzie and HATTIE are sitting at the table. Harry
comes in and is surprised to see Hat tie. Hattie is in her
late sixties but looks well. She makes a conscious effort to
dress plainly.

                    HATTIE 
          I couldn't believe it when Suzie
          called and said you were staying
          here. How have you been?

                    HARRY 
          Girl, do you still sing and dance?

                    HATTIE 
          No, I'm a different person now,
          Harry.

Hattie has a nervous condition that causes her to squint from
time to time. Gideon comes in from the kitchen.

                    GIDEON 
          Haven't the years been good to
          Hattie?

                    HARRY 
          It hasn't been the years; it's been
          the men in her life.

                    HATTIE 
          Harry, that's not nice. I'm in
          church now.

                    HARRY 
          Why run out and close the barn door
          when the horse is gone? I remember
          when you weren't saved. That was
          way back yonder when the Natchez
          Trace was just a dirt road.

                    HATTIE 
          Some people grow up and change
          their ways.

                    HARRY 
          I know your mother ain't still
          operating that house of hers.

                    HATTIE 
          My mother passed on years ago.

EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF HOUSE - DAY

M.C. slams the door to his car and hurries up the steps,
leaving HERMAN, in spite of his bad condition, to get out of
the car the best he can. The car door almost knocks poor
Herman over. M.C. seems rather youthful because of his energy
and awkwardness. He is a large muscular man.

Herman is a dried-up man with nothing, not even a shadow. He
has a racking COUGH.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

M.C. gives Gideon a bear hug, lifting him off his feet. On
seeing Suzie, he drops Gideon and rushes over to lift her up
off her feet.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Herman is still trying to get out of the car.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

M.C. lifts Suzie off the ground twice. He runs over to Hattie
who does not want to be handled, tries to withdraw but M.C.
forces her to her feet and gives a big bear hug. Hattie has a
series of squinting attacks. M.C. squints in return.

                    HATTIE 
          M.C., you still ain't house broken.

                    GIDEON 
          Good God Almighty, if it ain't like
          a parade of people from out of the
          past. M.C., where did you come
          from?

                    M.C.
          I live here.

There is a TAPPING on the door.

                    M.C. (CONT'D)
          That's old Herman.

                    HATTIE
          Harry, what did you do, rob the
          graveyard?

Herman hobbles in and, after a minute of COUGHING, a smile
forms on his face.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Suzie, Gideon and Hattie are seated at the table while M.C.
bounces from one end of the table to the other. One moment he
is on his knees and next moment he is leaning over someone to
flick his ashes in the ashtray on the table. Hattie hates it
when he comes near her.

Harry and Herman sit together in the corner chewing on
starch.

                    M.C. 
          Hattie, do you still dance?

                    HATTIE
          I'm in church.

                    M.C.
          What does that got to do with it?

                    HATTIE
          Suzie, you still have Joe's number?

                    SUZIE
          I will have to look for it.

                    M.C.
          Who's Joe?

                    HATTIE
          None of your business.

                    HARRY
          That is a boy from home, Lulla's
          brother.

Suzie is surprised.

                    SUZIE 
          Harry, you know everything.

                    HARRY 
          You got to know everything, do
          everything, and be everything.

Gideon brings a fresh pot of coffee. Gideon tries to signal
M.C. to stop harassing Hattie. M.C. leans over Hattie again
to use the ashtray.

Harry is helping Herman to his feet. Herman starts to cough.
They come over and join the rest of the crowd at the table.
Harry seats Herman next to Gideon and pours Herman a cup of
coffee. He puts the sugar and cream in the coffee for Herman.
Suzie comes back with Joe's number and hands it to Hattie.

                    HERMAN 
          M.C., I'm worn out. You ready to
          go?

                    M.C. 
          If you are tired, go sit in the
          car.

                    HERMAN 
          Suzie, do you have any Swamp Root?

                    SUZIE 
          No, but I might have some Indian
          Chief Tonic.

                    HATTIE 
          I haven't heard anyone mention
          Swamp Root since button-up shoes
          went out.

                    HARRY 
          You can certainly tell how old you
          are, my dear.

Hattie is angered.

                    HATTIE 
          You know the saying, "your heart is
          in your left hand."

                    HARRY 
          Now I was trying to be nice, to
          make conversation, since we go back
          some.

                    HATTIE
          I was quoting from the Bible. If
          the shoe fits, wear it.

                    HARRY 
          "Out of weariness, I spoke to my
          own heart; to leave it all and to
          die. And I gave my heart to know
          madness and folly."

                    M.C. 
          You ain't going to win playing the
          dozens with Harry.

                    HERMAN 
          You all ought to get along.

                    HATTIE 
          Harry, you know you remind me of so
          much that went wrong in my life.
          When I heard you were here, I made
          a special effort to come and see
          you. I see you are still a pile of
          wet chicken feathers.

                    HERMAN 
          Oh Lord.

                    HARRY 
          My sister, women can get away with
          so much. I don't have any enemies
          'cause I don't live in the past. As
          Pushkin, you don't know him, said,
          "In the hope of glory and good, I
          look without fear ahead."

                    M.C. 
          Harry has got your number.

                    HATTIE 
          An empty wagon makes a lot of noise
          and you, tappy head, you ain't
          worth the salt you put in greens.

                    HARRY 
          Speaking of tappy heads, we ought
          to have an old fashion fish fry.

                    HERMAN 
          I don't have too many fish fries
          left.

                    HARRY 
          We can have it here next week.

                    HATTIE 
          Is this your house?

                    HARRY 
          Oh. I'm sorry. Gideon, what do you
          say?

                    GIDEON 
          Well, it's up to Suzie.

                    SUZIE 
          It would be nice.

                    HATTIE 
          In the meantime Harry can slaughter
          us a hog.

                    HARRY 
          I already have, my dear.

                    HERMAN 
          Please, M.C., take me home.

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

The children of the women in Suzie's natural birth group are
huddled together SINGING "Ashiine Ca Chew". The voices of the
women in the next room are audible. The kids go outside to
sit on the porch.

INT. HOUSE, WORK ROOM - DAY

Most of the women have their newborns with them and are
engaging in talk about how their other children had to adjust
and etc.

A young white mother, REBECCA WILSON, with both her children,
a four year old and one just a few months old, talks with a
deep southern accent.

                    WILSON 
          No one in my family ever been to a
          hospital to give birth. My sister
          has four children and all were born
          at home. My mother and her mother,
          it just goes on and on.

EXT. FRONT YARD - DAY

A mother leaves with her baby wrapped in a blanket. The kids
surround her, wanting to see the baby.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - DAY

Pat is looking at a book of baby names. Harry passes the door
and stops.

                    HARRY 
          A woman in family way just reminds
          of spring and my younger days.

                    PAT 
          That's nice.

                    HARRY 
          Well, you and your husband are
          special. Ya, Gideon tells me you do
          volunteer work to help feed the
          poor.

Pat beams with joy because Harry recognizes the important
work she is doing.

                    HARRY
          How many people do you all feed?

                    PAT 
          Last Saturday we handed out over
          two hundred meals.

                    HARRY 
          Good God Almighty, bless your
          bones.
              (pause)
          But the problem grows.

                    PAT 
          Week by week the crowds at the door
          keeps getting larger. We can't feed
          all the hungry.

                    HARRY 
          Of course not. Have you ever heard
          of a man jumping in the river to
          save five hundred drowning people?
          No you ain't.
              (pause)
          You have to take just one and
          fatten him up. When you spread help
          too thin, you , you just nickel and
          dime the situation. If you try to
          save all, all die but if you save
          one life, life goes on. You just
          have to remember, medicine that
          works leaves a bitter taste.

Harry looks at the baby picture pasted over the mirror. He
takes the picture of his children from his old black dusty
wallet and compares the faces of his kids with those on the
mirror. He talks to himself more than to Pat.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          You just take one; you thaw out the
          cold and hunger in his bones from
          sleeping on the bare ground.

Pat watches him and loses herself in what he is doing. She
responds automatically

                    PAT
          I don't know if we could take one
          in with Rhonda and me at home alone
          at times.

                    HARRY
          Oh, I wasn't pointing my finger at
          you. Hey, you have to think of
          yourself. A lot of them have all
          kinds of diseases and will cut your
          throat while you sleep. There are
          too many bad people out there.

EXT. GIDEON'S BACK PORCH - DAY

Junior is taking the back door off to paint. Harry helps him
carry the door and lay it on a saw horse.

                    JUNIOR
          I appreciate you lending me a hand.
          That lazy ass brother of mine was
          suppose to help me.

                    HARRY
          Well some folks are still waiting
          for their comeuppance. Don't take
          me wrong but you can't judge people
          by how you act. You're a caring
          person.

                    JUNIOR 
          He should be caring. That is not
          too much to ask.

                    HARRY 
          Ya, but you can't do the shuffle
          with one leg. You and your wife, in
          your spare time, work with the less
          fortunate. Now I'm not talking
          about you and what you do but some
          folks that always run to help the
          victim, deep down are attracted to
          pain and suffering and love to be
          near the dying.

                    JUNIOR 
          All the people working with us are
          really doing it 'cause they hate to
          see suffering.

                    HARRY 
          You never know what's in the heart
          and just because you can cry
          doesn't make you human.

INT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Rhonda is in the background washing dishes. Pat and Junior
are sitting at the dining room table, arguing.

                    JUNIOR 
          We can't really bring another
          family in here with us.

                    PAT
          Why not? Harry says that's the only
          way to do good.

                    JUNIOR 
          When did you talk to Harry?

                    PAT 
          Don't shout!

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Gideon and Sunny are in the garden digging for worms. The
chickens

                    GIDEON 
          I think we have enough. So now tell
          me a story.

EXT. BALDWIN HILLS LAKE - LATE AFTERNOON

Gideon is sitting on a rock by the lake. His image is
reflected in the lake. He is asleep. Sunny is putting new
bait on one of the reels and with a whip of the pole, he
casts to the center of the lake. He leans against a tree.
Sunny looks at his sleeping grandfather. Gideon has his pant
legs rolled up. His socks have lost their elastic. His head
is resting on his chest.

Sunny goes near the water.

                    GIDEON 
          Be careful of the water.

Sunny looks back at his grandfather, who appears to be
asleep.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

There is one fish in the bucket.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. LAKE - SUNSET

WIDE ANGLE SHOT FROM HIGH ANGLE

Gideon and Sunny are sitting next to each other. The lake
reflects the sky: a deep red. The eerie sound of a long train
whistle breaks the silence.

INT. LIVING ROOM - MORNING

Harry, Babe Brother and Linda come in after staying out all
night. Linda looks as though she is about to fall asleep
standing up. She awakes and looks at Harry. There is dislike
in her stare. Suzie and Gideon notice Linda fading away.

                    SUZIE 
          Are you feeling well?

                    LINDA 
          I've never been so tired in my
          life. Where is Sunny?

                    SUZIE 
          He is getting his things together.
          Babe Brother, you ought to take
          your wife home so she can get some
          rest.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          In a minute.

Sunny comes in carrying his night-clothes folded neatly. He
stands next to Linda. Harry, in a mild but demanding way,
ushers Babe Brother out of the door.

                    HARRY 
          Take your wife and child home, boy.

Babe Brother seems all too happy to obey Harry. After Harry
closes the door behind Babe Brother, he turns with a wide
smile.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          I got a surprise for you tonight.

Harry flops down on the couch and kicks his shoes off.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          This old buffalo has been in the
          sun too long.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Suzie and Gideon are getting the food ready while Harry,
wearing a shirt that looks like it is made of shiny
snakeskin, sits in a darkened corner of the room, cutting his
fingernails with his knife.

The door bell rings and Harry slowly walks over to answer the
door. Suzie puts the punch bowl down and hurries over to meet
the first guests, FRED JENKINS, an elderly black man whom she
hasn't seen in years, and Esme Jenkins, his wife.

                    SUZIE 
          Fred Jenkins.

                    JENKINS 
          Suzie, you haven't changed and you,
          Gideon, if you don't look like John
          Henry. Oh, this is my wife, Esme.
          My first wife Lulie died.

More people arrive, bottle-necking the doorway. Gideon helps
the Jenkinses to a chair. Hattie comes with her brother
MARSH, who is not too pleased to see Harry. OKRA TATE, an
elderly black man with dark circles under his eyes, comes in
limping badly with an old Polaroid camera hanging from his
neck.

Babe Brother, Linda, Junior, Pat and Rhonda, who is holding
Sunny's hand, all come in together. M.C. drags Herman through
the door coughing. FLIM ANDERSON and his son DOUG are
followed by the twins, WILLIAM and LOVIRAY NORWOOD, who are
in their late 70's.

Babe Brother leaves Linda standing by herself to be next to
Harry.

Zenia Dent, an elderly white woman with a strong Southern
accent, arrives with her husband, Howard Dent, a black man,
who is in a wheelchair. The Twins and Howard are the center
of attention.

Okra comes over and whispers into Harry's ear. Okra leaves
through the front door. Okra comes back in with a bag. Harry,
Babe Brother, M.C. and Herman follow Okra to the kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Okra sets the bag on the table and steps back to allow Harry
to unveil the bottle of corn liquor.

                    BABE BROTHER
          What is that?

                    HARRY
          Boy, that is the real South. That
          is real corn liquor.

A crowd starts to gather around.

                    FLIM
          What is in the bottle?

                    M.C.
          It ain't Geritol.

M.C. starts to hand out tea cups while Harry pours everyone a
drink.

                    HERMAN
          There is a fight in every bottle.

                    GIDEON
          You tappy heads better not tear
          down my house.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

An attractive Woman, in her younger days a knockout, puts on
a record and starts to pop her fingers to the music as she
moves towards the center of the floor dancing by herself,
inviting anyone bold enough to join her.

A group of Men who haven't seen each other in years are
asking questions about news of old friends.

Okra is trying to get his camera working.

Herman is following M.C. through the crowd with his hand
resting on M.C.'s shoulder as if he were a blind person. His
racking COUGH is frightening.

An older couple dancing attract the attention of the crowd.
The man is wearing Stacy Adams shoes polished to see one's
face in them. He gives expression to his moves as if he and
the woman are talking with their bodies.

Junior and Pat try to bring in something more modern to outdo
the older couple.

Herman corners Hattie, trying to get her to sing.

                    HATTIE 
          Look, you better get out of my face
          before I slap the living daylights
          out of you.

Harry stops the music.

                    HARRY 
          You folks excuse me but you know we
          have a celebrity from out of the
          past, our own nightingale. If you
          had any good times in your life,
          you remember Hattie. She use to
          keep those juke joints steaming. If
          Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith were the
          stars, she was the sun. Let's get
          Hattie to sing something from the
          old days.

Hattie has started her nervous twitch again. She is so mad
that she bites her lip to keep from exploding.

                    HATTIE 
          Harry always tries to be the king
          fish. I told him I'm a new person.
          I'm saved.

Harry signals an old man, PERCY, to start playing his guitar.
Percy starts to play but Hattie doesn't join him. He looks to
Harry for a sign of what to do. Hattie walks away.

Percy starts to SING by himself but someone puts a record on,
interrupting his singing. People are back to dancing.

A YOUNGER WOMAN is dancing with an OLDER MAN with such vigor,
forcing the old man to try to keep up, that people grow
concerned. People near him try to make him slow down but his
pride forces him to be ridiculous.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Linda sits with Sunny and Rhonda watching TV.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

The noise has gotten louder, everyone talking at the top of
his voice.

Gideon is busy going around to everyone seeing if everything
is okay. Gideon and Suzie have worked up a sweat trying to
attend to everyone's needs.

Linda rejoins the party. She moves through the crowd and sees
Babe Brother standing next to Harry. She is disappointed and
stays at a distance.

Harry is with a group of people. Marsh tries to get Harry's
attention.

                    MARSH 
          Harry, you will not remember me but
          we go back quite a ways. I'm glad
          Hattie told me that you will be
          here 'cause there is a matter that
          has been troubling me all these
          years that maybe you can help me
          clear it up.

Harry stares into Marsh's eyes, then looks him over from head
to toe.

                    HARRY 
          Man, I can't talk to you now. I'm
          filling in the gaps with these
          folks.

Harry turns his back on Marsh. Marsh stands there looking at
Harry's profile. He turns and walks away.

The record ends. The Younger Woman and the Older Man wait for
the next record.

                    YOUNGER WOMAN 
          How do you manage to keep in step
          and move around so like one of them
          young boys?

                    OLDER MAN 
          Get yourself a pace-maker like me.

Linda is standing by herself. She watches Babe Brother and
Harry walk towards the kitchen. Pat comes to talk to her.

                    PAT 
          These old folks can dance better
          than I can. Get rid of that long
          face. Get one of these old farts to
          show you how to do the Black
          Bottom.

Okra, holding his camera, all of the attachments in one hand
and a glass in his other hand, tries to offer Hattie a drink.

                    OKRA 
          Don't be so stand-offish.

Hattie pushes him away. The drink spills on him. She turns
and walks away. He follows her.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Marsh sits in a chair opposite Harry. Babe Brother stands
behind Harry. Harry, knowing that Marsh is going to bring up
unpleasant things of the past, feels the need to get rid of
Babe Brother.

                    HARRY 
          Son, you haven't danced with your
          wife all night.

Babe Brother is reluctant to leave, but Harry gives him a
nudge. He goes looking for Linda.

                    MARSH 
          There is something that I always
          wanted to know. Tell me, how did
          those boys die?

                    HARRY 
          Now who are we talking about?

                    MARSH 
          Miss Clara's boy, Emory, to start
          with. The Johnson's Hocker was
          another one...

                    HARRY 
          Wasn't Hocker lynched?

                    MARSH 
          You know as well as I do that it
          was made to look like he was
          lynched. Now who would hang someone
          from a persimmon tree?

                    HARRY 
          What difference does it make if
          it's persimmon, oak tree or
          huckleberry bush?

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

Gideon, Babe Brother, and Linda go outside.

EXT. FRONT YARD - NIGHT

The sounds of the party drift out from the house as Gideon,
Linda and Babe Brother talk.

                    GIDEON 
          Tell me, how come me and Suzie have
          to be mother and father to your
          child? You never take the boy to
          the park, circus or anything. If we
          did not take him to church, he
          wouldn't have any sense of
          religion.

                    LINDA 
          I think forcing him to go to church
          when he really doesn't understand
          is not saving his soul. When he
          gets old enough to make up his own
          mind about religion, that will be
          better. It will be his intellectual
          decision.

                    GIDEON 
          Is that the way your parents raised
          you?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Why, you don't want us to bring him
          over?

                    GIDEON 
          No, it's that when do you have time
          to be parents to him? You guys
          don't pick him up until nine, ten
          at night. You are into yourselves,
          as the saying goes. Spend some time
          trying to be parents. Take him to
          the mountains, fishing. You ought
          to let him get to know nature.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Well, you are his grandfather. He
          is supposed to spend some time with
          you. You're supposed to show him
          those woodsy things and this and
          that.

                    GIDEON 
          Junior spends time with his child.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Oh here we go with that.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

Okra is trying to get enough light for his old Polaroid
camera. M.C. takes a shade off a lamp and holds it next to
the Twins, nearly blinding them.

                    WILLIAM 
          Hurry up and take this picture.

                    FRED 
          If it wasn't for the NRA, colored
          people would have been the lost
          tribe.

                    FLIM 
          Remember what they use to call the
          NRA? Negro Raggedy-ass Army.

M.C. is still holding the naked lamp while Okra tries to take
pictures.

INT KITCHEN - NIGHT

                    MARSH 
          Hocker's death almost caused a race
          riot. A lot of innocent people
          could have been hurt behind that.

                    HARRY 
          Strange as it may seem, it might
          have cleared the waters. Sometimes
          the right action comes from the
          wrong reason.

EXT. FRONT YARD - NIGHT

Gideon, Babe Brother and Linda are just standing, facing one
another. Suzie comes out on the porch.

                    SUZIE 
          Do you want your coat? It's cold
          out here.

                    GIDEON 
          No, I'm too hot now.

                    SUZIE 
          You better be careful. You'll get a
          stroke arguing.

                    GIDEON 
          I wouldn't care if I drop dead if
          he learn something from it. 
              (beat)
          Son, you make me wish I was dead.

                    SUZIE 
          Gideon, don't say things like that.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Why does he always pick on me?

                    LINDA 
          He is just being like all parents,
          concerned about the ones they love.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I don't need that kind of love. And
          I don't want to be reminded all the
          time that Big Mama's grandmother
          was born in slavery. If you really
          care about me, just tell me how I
          can make money.

                    SUZIE 
          Babe Brother, I'm going to take my
          hand and hit you across your mouth.

                    LINDA 
          He doesn't mean what he says.

                    GIDEON 
          Let us go back in before the night
          of celebration becomes a night of
          me killing my son.

                    SUZIE 
          No. Before anyone moves, you two
          shake hands and don't carry it any
          further.

Linda gives Babe Brother a jab with her elbow. His hand
reaches out to Gideon.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

M.C. and Herman put the unshaded lamps next to Hattie so okra
can get a better picture. Percy starts to play his guitar.
Herman stands behind Percy.

                    HATTIE 
          Don't make me say something nasty
          now.

Percy starts to play an old religious number and Hattie
STARTS TO SING. Everything stops for a moment as her VOICE
fills the room.

Then most of the guests pick up and join in. M.C. moves the
lamp next to Percy so Okra can take his picture.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Marsh and Harry are getting quite loud in their argument. It
has become a kind of controlled anger.

                    HARRY 
          I think if anybody had a hand in
          killing Hocker, you ought to ask or
          you should have asked Emory and
          Chick.

                    MARSH 
          Chick was outright killed by a mob.
          He killed a white man that owed him
          some money and when they caught up
          with him, they tied him behind a
          car and dragged him from out of the
          hills back to town.

                    HARRY 
          Those boys never did have good
          luck.

                    MARSH 
          You damn right they didn't,
          especially Emory, my cousin.

                    HARRY 
          Emory had made a lot of enemies. He
          had a big mouth.

M.C. and Okra come in wanting to take pictures. Marsh is
pretty mad about them intruding. M.C. sets the naked lamp in
front of Marsh, on the floor, almost between his legs.

Before Okra can get his camera set to shoot, Marsh leaves.
Harry smiles as if he had won a major victory. Herman flops
down in the empty chair and starts to COUGH.

Suddenly Suzie and Gideon burst into the kitchen holding up
one of the twins, Loviray. They carry the twin towards
Herman's seat. Herman is slow to react. Herman gets up very
slow. Finally, they are able to seat the twin.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          What's the problem here?

                    SUZIE 
          She has a fish bone caught in her
          throat. Could all of you go in the
          other room? Gideon, get some bread
          and toast it quickly and find me
          the cod liver oil.

The twin is holding her throat and PANTING like a fish out of
water. She is in a lot of pain. William, the twin brother, is
standing at the door with a tragic face.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Gideon is trying to get out of bed. He sits on the side of
the bed and starts to COUGH.

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Harry has his back to the camera, sitting in a chair facing a
wall. He is naked from the waist up. An empty plate is placed
not too far from where he is sitting. He is cutting an apple.
He licks the blade of his knife.

INT. BABE BROTHER'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Babe Brother is asleep. Linda is dressed to go to work. She
throws his suit on the foot of the bed.

                    LINDA 
          Are you going to work or sleep all
          day?

He snores louder. She opens the window and pulls back the
cover. The cold air makes him draw up. On walking out, Linda
says in a rather hurt voice:

                    LINDA 
          Remember, you promised to take
          Sunny to Magic Mountain today.

Babe Brother slowly gets up holding his chest as if his heart
is bothering him.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Gideon tries to put his pants on. He is too weak and sits
back on the bed with his pants only up as far as his knees.

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Suzie gets up to turn off the coffee kettle. When the kettle
WHISTLE dies away, the sound of Gideon's VOICE is heard
calling Suzie for help. The sound of his voice frightens her.

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

Suzie bursts into the room and then moves very slowly to
Gideon, who is sitting on the bed out of breath.

                    GIDEON 
          I'm worn out.

                    SUZIE 
          Just stay in bed and rest.

                    GIDEON 
          I have to feed the chickens before
          they wake everybody up.

                    SUZIE 
          You stay inside. I will see to
          them.

                    GIDEON 
          I will appreciate that.

INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING

Suzie and Junior are sitting at the dining room table. Harry,
looking like he has just gotten out of bed, drags himself in.

                    HARRY 
          How is everybody?

                    SUZIE 
          Tolerable well.

                    JUNIOR 
          How did you sleep last night?

There is obvious hostility in Junior's tone. Harry senses
Junior's hostility and chooses to ignore it.

                    HARRY 
          Ah, you young folks don't know how
          it is. How is Gideon today?

                    SUZIE 
          He wasn't able to get out of bed
          today.

                    HARRY 
          I hope that it's nothing serious.

                    SUZIE 
          He has never gotten rid of the
          malaria. He is usually up and at it
          the next day. I'm going to make him
          fresh chicken broth.

                    HARRY 
          Let me earn my keep. I'll go out
          and get a hen and have it picked
          and ready for the pot. Try to make
          him some cow tea next time.

Junior stares at Harry. Harry returns Junior's stare and
Junior finds himself embarrassed. Junior looks down at his
pants leg and attempts to fix the crease in his pants by
making a wedge with his fingers and running his fingers along
the old crease.

As Harry walks towards the back door, he looks back at
Junior.

EXT. BACKYARD - EVENING

The pigeons take to the air like an explosion. The chickens
start to CACKLE and run about as Harry reaches for one with
his cane. The SOUND of the boy next door practicing with his
trumpet adds to the bedlam.

Suzie is standing on the steps, shouting to Harry. The noise
of the panicked chickens and the boy playing the trumpet next
door drown out Suzie's voice. Not getting Harry's attention,
she hurries down the steps.

Harry has caught a hen that is SCREAMING her head off. He
looks around and finds Suzie hurrying towards him.

                    SUZIE 
          Can you watch Gideon for a while?
          One of the girls is going into
          labor. Junior is going to drive me
          over.

                    HARRY 
          You just run along. I'll fix him
          his soup. He will be all right.

INT. ROOM - NIGHT

Suzie and another woman who will be helping her are asleep.
Suzie is in the chair and the woman is asleep on the floor.
The woman who is in labor is reading a magazine and seems
somewhat bored.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Harry opens the door and slowly walks in. Gideon is asleep.
Harry picks up Gideon's pants from the back of the chair.
Gideon's false teeth fall to the floor.

INT. ROOM - NIGHT

There is a flurry of activity; the woman is contracting.

INT. BEDROOM - MORNING

The untouched chicken broth sits on the night stand. Gideon
is TALKING in his sleep. Morning light filters through the
window shade. The room takes on a brownish tint. Gideon has
dark rings under his eyes and looks like he has aged
considerably.

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Harry is reading the Bible. He runs his finger over the print
of the Bible. After reading the passage, he stares at the
empty plate on the floor for what seems like a long time. He
claps the Bible shut, causing a loud NOISE to ECHO through
the house.

EXT. FRONT OF HOUSE - MORNING

Suzie is walking slowly up the steps.

INT. BEDROOM - MORNING

Suzie raises the window shade and is shocked to see the state
that Gideon is in.

                    SUZIE 
          Oh my Lord!

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

The room is crowded with people. Suzie is putting Gideon's
shirt on. Harry is leaning against the door. After having put
his shirt on, Suzie puts his house shoes on and directs Babe
Brother and Junior to hold him up while she tucks his shirt
in and puts on his suspenders.

It takes almost everyone to hoist Gideon. Linda and Pat push
the bed and night-stand out of the way as Babe Brother and
Junior struggle to lift Gideon. They almost stumble at the
door. Harry is left standing in the room alone.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Harry, Okra and Herman are trying to catch another chicken.
Herman is COUGHING badly and Okra is out of breath.

                    OKRA 
          You think old Gideon is going to
          live to see this month out?

                    HARRY 
          When I came upon the valley of
          bones, the serpent said, "Make this
          your home. Dry as my soul be,
          heaven is lost to thee." We all got
          to make way.

Harry puts the rooster face to the ground and draws a
straight line. Harry lets the rooster go, but the rooster
stays motionless, unable to move.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          A chicken hates to see the preacher
          coming to dinner.

Herman hands Harry the ax. Harry is poised over the chicken
with the ax, appreciating the moment. Harry raises the ax.
The SOUND of Rodney starting to practice his trumpet brings
the rooster out of the trance.

Before Harry can react, the rooster jumps away.

                    OKRA 
          Herman, you will have to catch the
          next one 'cause I'm out of breath.

                    HERMAN 
          If I have to chase after one, we
          won't eat.

A sack drops over the fence. Okra limps over to see what is
in the bag. He uses a stick to open the bag. He doesn't like
what he sees and throws the bag back over the fence.

INT. VETERAN'S HOSPITAL, WARD - DAY

Suzie, Junior and Pat are standing around Gideon's bed. He is
in a room full of old veterans who are apparently nearing the
end.

Two old veterans, one white and the other black, sitting
opposite each other wearing medals, sit in silence staring
into each other's eyes.
A nurse empties an old man's urine bag. The old man doesn't
show any embarrassment about his predicament. Gideon looks at
how the patients are treated.

                    GIDEON 
          I don't want to stay here. 
              (beat)
          Where is Babe Brother?

INT. HERMAN'S ONE ROOM HOUSE - DAY

M.C. is sitting on the bed, reading the job section of the
paper. Herman is putting Vicks Vapo-Rub in a bowl of boiling
water. He covers his head over the bowl with a towel. Okra is
sitting at the table examining his gun. He points it at the
floor, seeing if the sight is straight.

Harry is sitting at the table with Babe Brother. Harry is
showing him how to cheat at cards.

                    HARRY 
          Never play with someone's else's
          cards. You always get a new deck.
          Look at this card. See anything?

                    BABE BROTHER
          It is just a regular card.

                    HARRY 
          Son, I can take everything you got
          with that deck. It is marked. Now
          I'm going to show you how to make
          some money in case you get stuck
          somewhere.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

A moth flies around the light casting a shadow that floats
over everything. Suzie turns out the kitchen light and then
turns out the dining-room light. She goes to her room and
closes the door, leaving the room dark. A car headlight
passing outside casts a moving pattern that moves along the
wall.

The light reveals Harry's presence standing in the hall
doorway.

EXT. HOUSE - DAY

Gideon is being helped up the steps by his sons.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Suzie is holding the door open while Gideon is carried in by
Junior and Babe Brother. Gideon is led to a chair. He still
looks awful.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Doesn't he look a whole of lot
          better?

                    SUZIE 
          Well, you look better than you did
          yesterday.

                    GIDEON 
          Next time, I don't care how sick
          I'll be, don't take me back to the
          Veteran's Hospital.

Harry comes out of the bathroom, having just taken a bath.
Harry seems delighted to see Gideon again.

                    HARRY 
          Boy, I thought you were about to
          cross the river.

                    GIDEON 
          I tell you, I feel like a ghost.

Harry signals Babe Brother to come over to him.

                    HARRY 
          Son, would you do me a favor and
          see if you could turn off that tap
          in the bathroom. My hand is too
          weak. And would you do me another
          favor? I don't like asking this but
          would you clean the tub for me? I
          have trouble bending over.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Anytime you need someone to do
          something for you, just let me
          know.

Harry flops down on the couch. Suzie sets a cup of coffee on
the table for Gideon. Harry looks up from sharpening his
knife on a hand sharpening stone. He spits on it.

                    HARRY 
          That smells like fresh coffee.

                    SUZIE 
          Let me get you a cup?

                    HARRY 
          Only if you can spare it.

Junior stands over Harry's shoulder looking at him sharpening
his knife. Harry feels uncomfortable with Junior standing
behind him. Harry looks up at him.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Son, would you get me an old piece
          of newspaper?

Suzie sets a cup of coffee in front of Harry.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Lord if you ain't an angel.

Junior hands Harry the newspaper. Harry puts the paper under
his foot and trims his toenails with it. Harry is aware of
Junior standing over him.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          I will leave you something in my
          will.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY

Junior looks in but Babe Brother is too busy trying to clean
the bathtub to notice anyone. Babe Brother complains to
himself.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          What in the hell...

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Gideon and Suzie are in silhouette against the window.

The SOUND of the boy trying to play his horn next door
startles Gideon. Gideon turns to look out of the window
towards Mrs. Baker's house.

                    GIDEON 
          It's good to be able to hear that.

                    SUZIE 
          You must have been really sick.

                    GIDEON 
          How is the garden doing?

                    SUZIE 
          I need to get out there and get
          those weeds out.

                    GIDEON 
          How is that hen doing? I was
          meaning to pip her before I fell
          sick.

He takes a deep breath and blows it out.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          I'm going to lie down. Take my,
          hand and help me up, lest I fall.

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

Suzie helps Gideon to undress. Gideon loses hit balance but
catches himself on the side of the bed.

                    GIDEON 
          Oh, I couldn't have last another
          day in that hospital. You get weary
          being in the old soldiers home, old
          soldiers and war stories. They wait
          to tell you their last story; the
          next morning the nurse pulls a
          sheet over their face.

INT. DINING ROOM, JUNIOR'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Junior is putting up a new light fixture. Pat hands him a
tool. Rhonda is washing dishes in the kitchen.

                    PAT
          He just leeches off your parents.
          He is a master at wearing out
          welcome. 

                    JUNIOR
          Harry is the kind of guy you would
          love to take out in the woods and
          leave under a rock. 

                    PAT
          Where does her get the power to
          summon all his old raffish friends?
          They all smell of moth balls. 

Junior slips on the ladder and the wires touch. There is a
big spark. All the lights in the house go out. 

INT. BABE BROTHER'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

Linda is standing over the stove, sweating as she stirs a hot
pot of boiling soup.
Babe Brother and Harry are seated at the table playing cards.
Sunny is on the floor near his mother. Every time she move,
he follows her. Harry notices Sunny has his shoes on the
wrong foot and adds in a sarcastic way:

                    HARRY
          How old is that boy?

Babe Brother looks at Sunny's shoe.

                    BABE BROTHER
          Linda, how come you don't see that
          Sunny puts his shoes on right?

                    LINDA 
          Why in the h...

Close to tears, she turns and with exaggerated care, puts the
spoon down and gently puts Sunny in a chair. She starts to
untie his shoes. Sunny stares at her while she keeps wiping
her eyes.

                    HARRY 
          Let's give Dry Bones a call to see
          if he is coming or not. Okra likes
          to exaggerate, keep you waiting all
          night.

Harry slowly gets to his feet and goes in the other room to
use the phone. Linda watches him go. She is deep in thought.

Babe Brother, attempting to cut the roast before it is ready,
is pushed aside by Linda, who is almost out of control with
rage.

                    LINDA
          Why don't you wait?

Babe Brother, attempting to forcibly cut a piece of roast,
slings Linda's arm away. His hand accidentally hits her in
the eye.

Linda grabs the fork, poised to strike, but gains control of
herself She looks like a person who is on the verge of having
a breakdown. She goes back to putting the shoes on Sunny.

Babe Brother, feeling sorry, doesn't know what to do. He
automatically picks up the fork and washes it off. Linda
picks up Sunny.

INT. DINING ROOM - BABE BROTHER'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Linda is standing at the door, with a red eye, welcoming
Harry's friends, which seem to be a long line of sickly
people.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Linda is busy serving everyone, running in and out of the
kitchen bringing more things, and removing used plates, etc.
Linda's eye is swollen and discolored. The guests look at
Linda's eye and then cast a naughty-boy glance at Babe
Brother.

Linda stops serving to pay attention to an elderly man, who
deliberately bends one of her spoons. She catches another man
putting a fork in his pocket and an elderly lady putting a
cigarette out in one of her plates.

As she is about to confront the man about pocketing her
spoon, a peal of LAUGHTER forces her to turn around only to
witness a lady knocking over a glass filled with a green
drink with her elbow. The stain spreads across the table
cloth in an even manner like a single wave. She watches it
move from one end of the table to the other.

Harry is seated in the middle. The composition hints at The
Last Supper.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Linda is reading a book to Sunny, who has his coffee can of
marbles emptied on the bed. The NOISE from the party in the
next room is clearly heard. Every time she hears something
CRASHING to the floor, she wrenches. Babe Brother comes in
and stands in the doorway. Linda's eye is still swollen.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          You okay?

                    LINDA 
          I'm okay. Go back to your friends.

Babe Brother closes the door and leaves Linda reading stories
of Brer Rabbit to Sunny. She stops reading to look at him
playing marbles on the bed. She smiles.

EXT. GIDEON'S HOUSE - DAY

Five weighty Women, dressed in church robes, and the Preacher
walk up Gideon's steps.

Suzie invites the church members in.

                    PREACHER 
          Sister, we've come to see how you
          were doing. We came to ask if we
          could pray over Gideon.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - DAY

Gideon is asleep. The church members gather around his bed.
The Preacher puts his hand on the foot of the bed and
discovers that there is something strange under the covers.
Suzie looks at him and lifts the covers at the foot of the
bed. Gideon's feet are resting on dead leaves.

                    SUZIE 
          I put some Plummer Christian Leaves
          under his feet to draw the fever
          out.

                    PREACHER 
          What else have you been giving him?

                    SUZIE 
          I crossed his stomach with cold oil
          and gave him some cow tea.

                    PREACHER 
          Suzie, I would think you would
          depend on prayer rather than these
          old fashion remedies. Let us read
          from the Bible.

The Preacher opens his Bible and reads silently. The choir
HUMS and begin to sway. Gideon's SNORING is very competitive.
The choir becomes louder. Gideon starts to TALK in his sleep.
Suzie is alarmed.

CLOSE UP GIDEON'S EAR.

THE SOUND OF A TRAIN WHISTLE IS HEARD.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

INT. PHOTO STUDIO, 1930 - DAY (DREAM EFX)

A lady steps upon the stage which has different backdrops.
She is the same lady in a photo that Gideon has hanging in
one of the kid's rooms. The photographer, who is off-screen,
asks about the background.

                    PHOTOGRAPHER (O.S.) 
          What scene would you like in the
          background?

                    LADY 
          Something pleasant.

                    PHOTOGRAPHER (O.S.)
          We have plantations.

The woman shakes her head.

                    PHOTOGRAPHER (O.S.) (CONT'D)
          Natchez, cotton fields, Harlem,
          sunflowers, the Mississippi River.

                    LADY 
          Put the river behind me.

A large picture of the Mississippi appears behind the lady.
It changes from a painted backdrop to a moving picture. There
is a storm developing off in the distance. The SOUND of
thunder is heard. The picture in the background then changes
to a boy on a mule.

EXT. WET DIRT ROAD - DAY (RAINING) (DREAM EFX)

The boy on the gray mule doesn't have a shirt on. A light
mist like rain covers him. Gideon walks along the picket
fence towards the boy on the mule.

Ahead of Gideon seems to be a puddle but as he approaches, he
discovers that it is an abyss. The boy and the mule on the
other side fade away. Everything FADES TO BLACK.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - DAY

The Preacher turns a page in the Bible. Gideon has his mouth
open like a fish trying to get air. The Choir continues to
SING. The Preacher gets down on his knees and holds Gideon's
hand; he bows his head. The Choir stops singing. The Bessie
Smith recording of "Muddy Water" is coming from somewhere in
the house. The Preacher looks around. Suzie is more puzzled.
She goes to find where the music is coming from.

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - DAY

Suzie knocks on the door. No one answers. She peeps in. No
one is in the room.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM

The Preacher and the choir all have their hands on Gideon.
Suzie enters the room.

                    SUZIE 
          I don't know where that music is
          coming from.

INT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Junior and Pat are helping Linda carry her baggage inside as
Sunny reluctantly follows. It is obvious that Linda has left
Babe Brother.

                    SUNNY 
          I want my daddy.

                    JUNIOR 
          Boy, hush that noise and get in
          this house. Make haste.

                    SUNNY 
          I want my daddy; I told you.

                    JUNIOR 
          Rhonda, drag him in here. If you be
          nice, I will take you to
          Disneyland.

Pat, Linda and Junior put the suitcases down.

                    PAT 
          Now you don't have to say anything
          if you don't want to.

                    JUNIOR 
          I want to hear what happened. My
          brother is a jackass and a damn
          fool. The both of you have been as
          scarce as hen's teeth.

Linda looks down, embarrassed.

                    PAT 
          Rhonda, take Sunny in the backyard.
          Take a bowl so you can pick some
          strawberries. Sunny will enjoy it.

Rhonda and Sunny leave. Pat turns on Junior about talking bad
about Babe Brother and Linda in front of Sunny.

                    PAT 
          You shouldn't talk about the boy's
          father in front of him. This is
          family business and we have to pull
          together.

                    JUNIOR 
          Whether the boy hears it or not,
          the man is still a jackass.
          Everyone should have some mother
          wit.

                    LINDA 
          Something just took control of him.
          He stays out all night and comes
          home with a pocket full of money.

                    PAT 
          It's probably Harry, but I hate to
          mention his name, because every
          time we say something about him
          something bad happens.

EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

Rhonda and Sunny are looking under a strawberry plant. Sunny
has strawberry stains around his mouth and on his shirt.
Rhonda is putting her strawberries in the bowl. After getting
a bowl full, they lay on the grass, eating strawberries while
looking up at the clouds slowly drifting by.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY

Babe Brother is driving along a country road while Harry,
sitting in the front seat next to him, yawns. Harry is tired.

                    HARRY 
          Let us walk awhile. I grow weary
          when I sit still too long.

Babe Brother's car stops in an orchard-like area.

EXT. ORCHARD - DAY

Babe Brother and Harry get out of the car. They walk on a
path that takes them under low hanging tree limbs. It gets
darker as they go deeper into the orchard. Babe Brother finds
the going rough and loses his footing.

                    HARRY 
          Give me your arm lest you fall.

Harry has to help him stay on his feet. Babe Brother finds it
necessary to take Harry's arm. Babe Brother stops and Harry
walks a few more steps ahead and waits for Babe Brother. Just
ahead sitting on a branch is a huge white owl camouflaged by
tree branches.

                    BABE BROTHER
          I could swear I heard my son call
          me.

                    HARRY 
          You probably heard the wind
          stirring up those dead leaves over
          there.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I heard his voice as clear as day.
          I better get back. Maybe something
          is wrong.

Babe Brother turns and starts hurrying back before Harry can
object. He walks slowly after Babe Brother who is doubling
the distance between himself and Harry as he runs through the
orchard to his car. Harry stops and looks around.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Pat, Linda and Junior are seated at the table. The suitcases
are in the middle of the floor.

                    LINDA 
          I told Babe Brother that if Harry
          sets foot in our house again, I'm
          taking Sunny and leaving. Just as I
          said that, here come Harry and his
          old resurrected friends, hobbling
          up the steps.

                    JUNIOR 
          Is that how you got that black eye?

                    PAT 
          Don't ask that.

                    LINDA 
          No, this was an accident.

                    JUNIOR 
          Sure.

                    LINDA 
          It was unintentional.

                    JUNIOR 
          Babe Brother reminds me of the
          story of the man who wanted to be
          sizable. He wanted to be tall but
          what he was really short on was
          brains. There was a time when
          people had moon fever were treated
          with leeches.

The phone rings and Junior goes to pick it up. Linda's and
Pat's attention is focused on the phone. Junior hands the
phone to Linda.

                    JUNIOR (CONT'D)
          It's that nut of yours.

Linda hesitates but Pat takes the phone from Junior and puts
it in her hand.

                    LINDA 
          What do you want? 
              (beat)
          No. Nothing happened to him.

Sunny and Rhonda enter. Linda turns to look. Sunny's hands
and face look bloody from eating strawberries. She puts the
phone down and examines his dirty face. Pat brings Linda a
wet towel.

INT. THE BAKERS' GARAGE - NIGHT

MR. BAKER, a well built black man in his late 40's, is making
a new fishing pole. He is very involved. Mrs. Baker is
standing beside him with her arms folded. She stares at him.
Mr. Baker glances at her. 

                    MR. BAKER
          What are you doing?

                    MRS. BAKER 
          Counting the gray hairs in your
          head.

                    MR. BAKER 
          Counting the what? What does that
          have to do with the price of
          butter?

                    MRS. BAKER 
          I was just trying to make
          conversation.

                    MR. BAKER 
          Where is Skip?

                    MRS. BAKER 
          He is in his pigeon cage.

                    MR. BAKER 
          I'm sorry he got those birds.

                    MRS. BAKER 
          You know the man next door is near
          death.

Mr. Baker doesn't answer. He pauses for a moment of thought.
Mrs. Baker sees that she is not going to get a response from
her husband. She picks up an eyelet and Mr. Baker looks at
her as if to say, keep your hands off. She gets the message
and lays the eyelet back on the work bench.

                    MRS. BAKER (CONT'D)
          He must have gotten rid of those
          chickens. You don't hear them
          crowing anymore... I kind of miss
          it now.

Mr. Baker admires his pole. He looks very closely at the
details of his work.

Rodney comes in, polishing his horn. Mr. Baker's expression
changes as he watches Rodney out of the corner of his eye.
Mrs. Baker gives Rodney a motherly pat on the head. Rodney
puts the trumpet to his mouth.

                    MR. BAKER 
          Don't blow that thing in here. You
          blow that thing when I'm at work.

EXT. STREET - DAY

There is a man lying on a bus bench with his belongings. A
spotted dog is standing guard next to the bench. The dog's
reflection is caught in a puddle of water. The dog has
circles and sixes painted over his body.

Old John taps on the bench with his pipe. The man lying on
the bench stirs and gives Old John a wave to indicate that he
is alright. Old John slowly gets his cart moving again.

EXT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Babe Brother drives around the block past Junior's house.

INT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Junior is at the window, looking out.

                    JUNIOR 
          Why doesn't he just park his car
          and come in and apologize?

EXT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Babe Brother sits in his car with the windows up. Junior
tries to talk to him but Babe Brother will not roll down the
windows. He just stares at Junior, who is getting angry.

                    JUNIOR 
          Roll down the window and let me
          talk to you.

Babe Brother only stares at him. Junior gets more violent and
starts to shake the car.

Pat calls from the doorway.

                    PAT 
          Stop it Junior!

INT. PREGNANT WOMAN'S ROOM - DAY

A woman is in a squatting position. Suzie and her aide are
holding the woman by the arms.

EXT. JUNIOR'S HOUSE - DAY

Rhonda is painting her fingernails. Sunny watches her. She
looks around to see if any adult is watching. She tries to
talk Sunny into letting her paint his nails. He refuses but
she tries to pull his hand towards her. He fights his way
free and stands up and kicks the bottle of nail polish over.

                    RHONDA 
          Mama, come see what Sunny did.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Suzie is sitting in a chair; her head is bent forward. Gideon
is TALKING in his sleep. She awakes and nods off again. Harry
sticks his head in.

                    HARRY 
          How is he doing?

                    SUZIE 
          As long as he keeps his throat
          clear, he is able to get some rest.

                    HARRY 
          I made a fresh pot of coffee. Okra
          and I thought you need a rest. I'll
          stand guard. Okra wants to talk to
          you anyway.

Harry helps Suzie to her feet.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Okra is painfully standing on his bad feet. He is in his
security-guard uniform, holding a bouquet of greens. As Suzie
comes in, Okra tries to stand upright at attention.

                    OKRA 
          I brought you these greens and some
          salt meat.

                    SUZIE 
          That is very thoughtful of you. I
          haven't had time to tend to my
          garden like I should.

Suzie takes the greens and puts them on the counter. She
squeezes Okra's hand as a thank you. She pours him a cup of
coffee. Okra eases down into the chair. He crosses his legs
and starts massaging his feet.

Suzie get herself a cup of coffee and sits opposite him. She
stretches and tries to hold back a yawn. Okra looks at her in
a slightly desirous way.

                    OKRA 
          You know Gideon and I are lodge
          brothers and it has always been a
          policy to take care of the wives if
          something happens to our brother.

                    SUZIE 
          You are very sweet, but Gideon has
          already taken care of everything in
          case something happens to him. He
          has a policy.

                    OKRA 
          If you become a widow, you will
          need someone around to fix the
          whatnots. We like for the widow to
          marry someone in the lodge. I know
          Gideon ain't gone yet, but there
          will be a lot of his old friends
          coming around to get in line. I
          just want you to consider this as a
          kind of a conditional proposal, to
          be first in line so to speak.

Suzie keeps herself under control; she tries to find words to
say. She stands up.

                    SUZIE 
          Excuse me. I have to go feed my
          dog.

She turns the fire out from under the coffee pot and exits
the back door.

Okra unties his shoes and begins to massage his feet.

INT. BEDROOM / EXT. YARD - NIGHT

Harry is sitting by the bed, just visible through the window.
He seems restless.

EXT. GIDEON'S BACKYARD - DAY

There is only one hen left in the coop. The garden is full of
weeds. The sunflowers are bent by the force of the wind. A
bag is thrown over the fence.

The shadows of pigeons flying overhead race along the ground.

                                        DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Two shadows on the wall are facing each other. The shadows
are the heads of two women, Suzie and Hattie.

                    HATTIE 
          You know Harry lied about how that
          boy Hocker got kilt. And it was
          Harry who saw Emory last before
          they found him hanging over a levee
          like someone would hang a hog.

                    SUZIE 
          I remember Harry always trying to
          help someone. He got Lulla's
          daughter out of trouble. He was
          always running to the store for
          someone who couldn't leave the
          house.

                    HATTIE 
          Harry always shows his good side
          and, like the moon, the other side
          is black. Back home he always did
          try to act like the colored
          gentleman. I'm telling you Harry is
          nothing but evil. I'm warning you --
          you can't keep a wild animal as a
          pet around children.

INT. HARRY'S ROOM - DAY

Harry has a plate of food in his hand. He stands facing
himself in the mirror, staring at himself while he eats. He
opens the door to leave but Sunny is in the hallway with his
back turned sweeping. Harry stares at him and decides to go
back in his room.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

                    SUZIE 
          You know Okra asked me to marry him
          the other evening.

                    HATTIE 
          Rush your mouth, girl. No, he
          didn't. He cannot be that big of a
          damn fool.

                    SUZIE 
          I asked Harry about it. He didn't
          own up to it. He said he didn't
          know what got into Okra.

                    HATTIE 
          He's just raffish. Harry put him up
          to it. Before evening sun sets, I
          would have his belongings back on
          Route 55, that old fox.

                    SUZIE 
          I can't accuse him just dry long
          80.

                    HATTIE
          Everybody who have been associated
          with Harry end up with pennies over
          their eyes.

                    SUZIE 
          What must I do?

                    HATTIE 
          If it was left up to me, I would
          poison him.

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

Harry sees that it is safe to leave. He sees Sunny sweeping
in Gideon's room. Gideon is sound asleep. Sunny is sweeping
around the bed.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Harry comes in and Hattie and Suzie stop talking. Harry is
aware that he was the subject. The SOUND of the boy next door
playing his horn is heard.

                    HARRY 
          Good afternoon, ladies.

                    SUZIE
          Good afternoon to you.

Harry waits for Hattie to respond but it is obvious that
Hattie isn't about to speak to him.

                    HATTIE 
          I'm going to check on Gideon.

Harry moves out of her way to let her go by. Hattie doesn't
even give him a glance. Harry continues to look at her as she
disappears into Gideon's room.

                    HARRY 
          As God is my witness, I have never
          done anything to that woman.

                    SUZIE 
          You must have done something to
          her.

                    HARRY 
          Since she has repented, all she
          does is throw stones.

                    SUZIE 
          Hattie is a different person now.

                    HARRY 
          I don't make no bones about where
          I'm going to spend eternity. I have
          always been wild and you know that.
          If you are made to feel half a man,
          what do you think the other half
          is?

                    SUZIE 
          I'm glad you brought that up as to
          who you are. I have to know who is
          in my house.

                    HARRY 
          You invited me.

                    SUZIE 
          Only if you are a good man, a
          friend. Are you a friend?

Harry takes his time in looking for an answer.

                    HARRY 
          Like that boy next door playing
          that his horn. If he was a friend,
          he would stop irritating people,
          but if he stops practicing, he
          wouldn't be perfect in what he does
          someday.

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - DAY

Hattie enters Harry's room. She goes through his things. She
reads one of his letters. As she walks over to the window
reading his letter, she steps on the plate, cracking it.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

                    SUZIE 
          I want you to leave.

Harry looks sad and suddenly a lot older as if what she said
has taken away some of his life.

                    HARRY 
          Okra, M.C. and Herman want to go
          back home with me. 
              (beat)
          Suzie, I'm not a bad fellow; I just
          like to have a good time. 
              (beat)
          M.C. is coming by to pick me up
          tonight. I'll come back to get my
          things. Well, I hope Gideon
          recovers. You know I have an extra
          picture of one of my sons that I
          would like for you to put with
          those baby pictures over your
          dresser. It's better than being in
          my dusty wallet with addresses and
          names of people who are no longer
          on this earth.

Suzie takes the picture. She seems as if she has doubts about
having asked Harry to leave.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          I'll say my so-longs to Gideon
          before I leave and I truly wish
          that he will get well.

Suzie continues to look at the picture.

INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - DAY

Hattie is reading Harry's letters when he appears behind her.
Hattie turns but is not surprised or concerned about Harry.
She hands him back his letters, looks at him for a moment and
goes. Harry looks down at the cracked dish.

INT. HERMAN'S HOUSE - EVENING (RAIN)

M.C. and Herman are packing. Okra is all dressed up with a
pair of Stacy Adams shoes that make his feet look
exaggeratedly long. Babe Brother and Harry are sitting at a
table playing blackjack. Okra picks up one thing at a time,
making the packing much harder. There is a stack of old dusty
78 record; Okra, trying to step over the records, kicks over
a box of mothballs that roll across the floor. Okra has to
step over boxes of toilet paper.

                    OKRA 
          Why did you buy so much toilet
          paper?

                    M.C.
          I got that on the job when I was a
          janitor. They didn't pay me.

Harry picks up an old cigar box that falls opens. Dice,
shotgun shells, some spent .38 slugs and an old rusty knife,
a crab apple switch, land on the floor. Harry picks up the
knife.

                    HARRY 
          Whose old piece of knife is this?

                    HERMAN 
          That was my brother's knife.

Harry gives the knife to Babe Brother and signals him to put
it in his pocket.

The SOUND of the thunder has an unreal violence to it.

                    HARRY 
          I don't want to wear out welcome,
          but you can stay in someone's heart
          longer than you can stay in their
          house. Come with us, boy. We are
          going to have a good time.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          This would be a bad time for me to
          leave.

                    HARRY 
          We are going where the action is.
          Ain't that right, Okra?
              (then back to Babe
               Brother)
          Let's play for a couple of bucks
          unless you want to start off with
          two bits and work our way up.
              (beat)
          What would you give to be rich?

Babe Brother humps his shoulder. Babe Brother looks at his
hand.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Had Moms and Pops given me my share
          of what was mine, I could have been
          rich by now. Linda and I had it all
          worked out.

Harry wins the first hand.

                    HARRY 
          I know your mind is on your wife
          but you should never treat a woman
          as an equal. You want to get your
          wife back, get another woman, one
          of those big hip women that will
          ride you till you sweat.

Harry wins another hand. M.C. and Okra are still packing
while Herman is eating Argo Starch.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Double the stakes?

Babe Brother agrees but his thoughts are obviously somewhere
else. Harry studies his hand and looks at Babe Brother; he
puts down his hand. Babe Brother wins and is quite pleased.
The next series of hands are won by Babe Brother.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          M.C., you ever heard of a real man
          having one woman?

                    M.C. 
          No, lord!

                    HARRY 
          When one woman puts you out, you
          have another to take you in. You
          don't drive around without a spare
          tire, do you? The more mules you
          have hitched, the easier it is to
          plough.

Harry loses another hand and Babe Brother suddenly has a pile
of money.

                    HARRY 
          Herman, let me borrow a few bucks.

Herman stand over him with a roll of bills and peels off
several.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Bless you. Bless you.

Herman is standing behind Babe Brother, SINGING to himself.

                    HERMAN 
          In the ground there is a hole and
          green grass growing around the
          hole. Now in the hole there is tree
          and green grass growing all around
          the tree. Now there is a hole in
          the ground, a tree in the hole and
          green grass growing around the
          hole.

                    HARRY 
          Let me share something with you.

Harry stops and thinks for a while.

                    HARRY (CONT'D)
          Hattie is a snake. That woman broke
          up so many homes and caused a lot
          of misery and because she calls
          herself getting religion everything
          is put right.

Okra is taking several shotguns out of the closet.

                    OKRA 
          These damn things are unloaded,
          ain't they?

                    HARRY 
          It's important to know the
          difference between the incoming
          fire and the outgoing fire. As Amos
          and Andy might say, "We is the
          outgoing fire." Come with us, son.
          We'll show you some steaming hot
          juke joints, steaming hot women.

                    M.C. 
          A pot full of chitlins and a good
          time.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Let me go by the house first.

                    HARRY 
          We will wait for you as long as we
          can. I got to get my things from
          your mother's house.

Babe Brother hurries out. M.C., Herman and Okra flop down in
chairs and on the bed and look at their watches.

Harry sits at the table tapping out a rhythm on the table and
WHISTLING very softly to himself. Suddenly Harry sees that
Babe Brother left the pile of money on the table. A look of
concern comes over his face.

EXT. GIDEON'S HOUSE - NIGHT (RAIN)

It is raining hard. Babe Brother gets out of the car. Running
to get out of the rain, he slips and falls; he tries to get
up but slips and falls again. He gets up and walks slowly up
the steps as if he doesn't care whether he gets wet or not.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Suzie helps him to take his wet coat off. She goes into the
kitchen, puts his coat in front of the stove. The knife falls
out. She picks it up and looks at it like she would throw it
away but Babe Brother takes it.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I need to get my suitcase out of
          the garage.

                    SUZIE 
          What for?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I'm going back home with Harry.

                    SUZIE 
          I've heard some foolish things in
          my life.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Harry is coming to pick me up.

                    SUZIE 
          Have you lost your mind? Have you
          thought about your wife and child,
          not to mention your sick father?
          And I need your help to move his
          bed from under the leak in the
          ceiling.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I'm busy.

                    SUZIE 
          Don't make me raise my hand to you.
          You have to see for yourself that
          you are going in the wrong
          direction.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Can't I be myself without you
          jumping in with your right and
          wrong? The world is not black and
          white. Show me one perfect person.
          If you can't, don't ask me to be.

                    SUZIE 
          I do have a right to ask you to be
          a little bit better than me and
          your father because we gave you a
          better head start. You have no
          right to complain to us about your
          not having enough. 
              (forcefully)
          You sit right there with your no
          manners self.

EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT (RAIN)

Junior is carrying a roll of roofing paper. Pat, Rhonda,
Linda and Sunny run to the porch to get out of the rain.
Junior stacks the roofing paper in the corner of the porch
and stamps the mud off his shoes.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Junior, Pat, Linda and Rhonda come in to help Suzie move the
bed from under the rain dripping through the hole in the
ceiling.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (RAIN)

Sunny stands in the doorway watching his father sharpen his
knife that he got from Harry. Babe Brother is unaware that
his son is watching him.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

                    JUNIOR 
          Where is Babe Brother?

                    SUZIE 
          Brother is in the kitchen.

                    JUNIOR 
          How come you didn't ask Babe
          Brother to help you?

                    SUZIE 
          He said he was busy. He is mad
          'cause he wanted to get in the
          garage to get his things so he
          could go with Harry.

Linda has a surprised look on her face.

                    JUNIOR 
          So he is busy?

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (RAIN)

Babe Brother is preoccupied sharpening his knife with a
sharpening stone. He is almost in a trance. Junior comes in
rather angrily. Sunny goes and sits in the shadows in the
dining room.

                    JUNIOR 
          Why in the hell didn't you help
          mama?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I told her I would if she would
          give me time.

                    JUNIOR 
          I bet you if your master would have
          told you to fix the hole in the
          roof, you would have rebuilt the
          whole damn house.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          You always got the best of it
          around here and when Dad always
          talks about my son, it is always
          you, so you fix the roof.

                    JUNIOR 
          That is a damn lie and you know it.
          Every time father asks you to do
          something, you either half-ass do
          it or run off and hide. Mama asked
          you to turn the dirt in her garden
          and you told her, with your smart
          ass self, that you weren't a
          farmer; get Junior to do it. Every
          time someone asks you to do
          something, you always say, tell
          Junior to do it. Boy, you ought to
          grow up.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I told you about calling me boy. I
          ain't no boy. See, you and Dad got
          a bad habit of calling me boy. You
          call me boy in front of my wife.
          You think I'm going to fix the
          roof? I hope the wind blows the
          whole damn thing off and it pours
          down rain.

                    JUNIOR
          I ought to break your damn neck.

INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Sunny is sitting in a chair listening to his father and uncle
argue in the kitchen. A car outside passes and the lights
from the car form a crochet-like moving pattern on the wall
behind him. Sunny is only lit for a moment.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (RAIN)

Babe Brother starts gathering up his things to leave.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I'm leaving and don't even call me
          when the shoe falls 'cause all he
          did for me was to try and run my
          life. I'm tired of people saying
          Babe Brother this, Babe Brother
          that. What's my name?

                    JUNIOR 
          You dumb ass, it's Babe Brother.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          My name is Sam. Samuel.

Babe Brother attempts to get up but Junior pushes him down.

                    JUNIOR 
          Sit down!

Babe Brother hits Junior on the jaw, driving him backwards,
causing the overhead lamp to sway violently.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Suzie, Pat and Linda hear the noise coming from the kitchen
and rush to see what is going on.

INT. KITCHEN - RAINY NIGHT

Babe Brother and Junior are both reaching for the knife.
Junior is on top of Babe Brother, who is stretched out on the
table trying to reach the knife. Junior grabs the knife first
and Babe Brother flips over to defend himself. Babe Brother
grabs Junior's wrist as Junior tries to push the knife
against his throat.

Suzie comes in and grabs part of the knife with her hand and
Junior's wrist with her other hand. Pat and Linda try to pull
the two men apart while pleading with Junior.

Blood drips from Suzie's hand to the table, forming a pool
under Babe Brother's head.

                    PAT 
          Stop it! Stop it! Look what you are
          doing!

Babe Brother's eyes are rolled to the back. Junior's eyes are
huge; he has an animal look on his face. The SOUND of
struggling people breathing heavily is amplified. The pool of
blood on the table grows larger.

Junior slowly becomes aware of the blood and his body
relaxes. He calmly releases the knife.

Junior takes his mother's hand.

                    JUNIOR 
          Someone get some lard out of the
          ice box.

Pat attempts to get the lard but pain in her stomach forces
her to sit down. Linda gets the lard out and hands it to
Junior. Babe Brother raises himself. The blood from Suzie's
dripping from his head. Rhonda is trying to hold Sunny back.

Junior holds his mother's hand under the faucet. It is a deep
cut. The bleeding won't stop.

Pat is sitting at the blood-stained table unable to move. She
is PANTING, sweating, and holding her stomach. Linda is
caught between trying to help Suzie and attending to Pat.

Babe Brother helps to make a wad of cloth to press in her
hand to Stop the bleeding.

                    LINDA 
          You are going to need some
          stitches. We better take her to the
          emergency hospital.

Babe Brother is shamefully calm now and very humble.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I'll drive her to the hospital.

                    JUNIOR 
          We will take her. You all stay here
          and watch Dad.

                    LINDA 
          What about Pat?

                    PAT 
          I'm okay now.

Suzie attempts to go see Gideon but Babe Brother and Junior
turn her to the door. Going through the kitchen door, Junior
intentionally turns his back to Babe Brother. Babe Brother
stares at Junior's back as he walks ahead.

INT. HOSPITAL, EMERGENCY RECEPTION ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

The automatic doors open and Junior, Babe Brother and Suzie
enter. There is a long line of people waiting at the
registration window as well as groups of people filling out
forms. Other patients are seated and waiting patiently to see
the doctor.

Suzie finally gets to the registration window. A NURSE,
white, 25, with extremely long fingernails that curve back
around, is surprisingly sympathetic.

                    NURSE 
          What sort of emergency are you here
          for?

                    SUZIE 
          I cut my hand.

                    NURSE 
          Let me take a look at it.

Suzie puts her hand through the window. The Nurse stands up
to get a better look. The Nurse takes the wad out of her
hand. The bleeding has stopped.
The Nurse takes a deep breath. The Nurse glances up to notice
the blood stains on the back of Babe Brother head.

                    NURSE (CONT'D)
          Are you all together?

                    JUNIOR 
          Yes.

                    NURSE 
          The bleeding has stopped but it
          will need stitches. You will have
          to fill out this form. How will
          this be covered, insurance, cash or
          check?

                    JUNIOR 
          Don't worry about it. It will be
          paid. Just let her see a doctor.

                    SUZIE 
          I have Medicare.

The Nurse hands Suzie a form, but Babe Brother takes the
form. The Nurse looks again at Babe Brother's head.

                    NURSE 
          Do you need to see the doctor too?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          No, just my mother.

Babe Brother fills out the form with Suzie's help and hands
the form back to the Nurse.

They find a seat all together.

                                        DISSOLVE:

INT. HOSPITAL, EMERGENCY RECEPTION ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

The room slowly fills with people and Babe Brother and Junior
offer their seats to those there for medical care.

                                        DISSOLVE:

INT. HOSPITAL, EMERGENCY RECEPTION ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Two Police Officers bring in a man handcuffed to a bed. The
woman officer carries a shotgun. The male police officer
carries a clip board. The Prisoner is obviously in no
condition to escape or cause trouble. They are allowed to go
directly to the emergency room without waiting.

                                        DISSOLVE:

INT. HOSPITAL, EMERGENCY RECEPTION ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

More injured people come but in spite of their condition they
are told that they have to wait. There is only standing room.

Junior and Babe Brother are standing next to the wall.

On the other side of the room, Suzie is looking quietly at
them as if she is in deep thought.

Junior walks over to the reception desk.

                    JUNIOR 
          Why is it so crowded?

                    NURSE 
          Well, it is Friday night and a full
          moon.

Junior whispers to Babe Brother. They both start to laugh.

Suzie looks up and finds them in a fit of laughter. A faint
smile appears on her face.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

Gideon is slowly getting up. He looks around. He calls for
Suzie. He slowly gets to his feet.

                    GIDEON 
          Suzie, I'm hungry.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT (RAIN)

He walks by Linda, Pat, Rhonda, and Sunny, who are sleeping
in chairs, on the floor and on the sofa.

                    GIDEON 
          Suzie.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (RAIN)

Gideon opens the refrigerator and starts taking out bowls of
food and placing them on the table. He puts on a pot of
coffee.

                    GIDEON 
          Suzie.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (RAIN) (LATER)

Gideon is busy eating almost everything in sight. A group of
mystified and sleepy faces appear at the door. Pat, Linda,
Rhonda and Sunny are all looking rather dumbfounded.

EXT. BACKYARD - MORNING

Everything is wet from the night's rain. The garden looks
more like a graveyard. Moisture drips from the sunflowers.

Gideon's nervous looking rooster jumps the fence and starts
to CROW.

Skip is out early throwing rocks at his birds. The rocks land
on Gideon's roof.

EXT. HOUSE - MORNING

Babe Brother and Junior help Suzie out of the car. She has
her left hand bandaged. They are extremely exhausted. They
walk up the porch to find Harry holding the door open.

                    HARRY 
          I can't believe what I heard took
          place.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

On seeing Suzie, Sunny jumps up, knocking the can of marbles
over the kitchen floor. He runs to give Suzie a hug. Sunny
wants to touch her bandaged hand, but Linda stops him.

                    SUZIE 
          How is Gideon doing?

                    RHONDA 
          He is asleep now, but he was up all
          night eating.

As Suzie goes to Gideon's room, she comes face to face with
Harry. She doesn't say anything.

                    HARRY
          I came to pick up my things.

INT. GIDEON'S BEDROOM - DAY

Gideon is SNORING loudly. On the night-stand is a plate with
food left on it. Suzie feels his forehead.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Harry sadly gets up. He looks at Babe Brother. Linda steps in
front of Babe Brother.

                    LINDA 
          You ought to go see how your father
          is doing and then wash that blood
          off you and change shirts.

Babe Brother is surrounded by Linda and Sunny who has his
eyes fixed on Harry. They move as one heading for the
bedroom.

Harry seems a lot older. He sadly walks towards the kitchen
with his coffee cup.

LOW ANGLE SHOT: Harry is slowly walking towards the MARBLES
that are scattered over the kitchen floor.

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

Pat, Linda, Junior, Rhonda, Babe Brother, Sunny and Suzie are
all standing around waiting for Gideon to wake up.

                    SUZIE 
          Gideon.

Gideon's only response is to SNORE louder.

                    PAT 
          How long is Harry going to hang
          around?

Babe Brother is in a corner all by himself. He looks down
when Pat asks the question about Harry.

A loud CRASHING SOUND comes from the kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Harry is trying to raise himself from the floor. He pauses
for a moment and then collapses. Harry is in a lot of pain.
Harry's body contorts and then remains still.

Babe Brother, Junior, Pat, and Linda, Suzie run in. Suzie
tries to see if he is alive. Babe Brother tries to give him
mouth to mouth resuscitation but Linda pulls him away. Junior
tries to push down on Harry's chest.

Babe Brother stares down at Harry and then goes slowly back
into the living room. Pat is on the phone dialing the
paramedics. Everyone stands around Harry.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Two PARAMEDICS work on Harry. One of the paramedics is a
young Asian. The other is white with red hair. They listen
for a heart beat and shake their heads in a negative manner.
They pack up their medical case. The Asian's accent is very
difficult to understand.

                    WHITE PARAMEDIC 
          There is nothing we can do for him.

The Paramedics start to leave without the body.

                    JUNIOR 
          Well, aren't you going to take him
          with you?

                    ASIAN PARAMEDIC 
          If he had died in our care, we
          would be required to take him.
          Since we found him dead, you will
          have to wait for the county to pick
          him up.

                    JUNIOR 
          How long will that take?

                    WHITE PARAMEDIC 
          That would depend on how busy it
          is. I'm sorry.

                                        DISSOLVE:

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Harry is stretched out on the floor. A blanket covers
everything except his shoes.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

Hattie, Marsh, Okra, Herman, and M.C. all come in. Marsh
looks cheerful.

                    MARSH 
          What happened?

                    JUNIOR 
          He slipped on some marbles that
          were on the floor. Then his heart
          gave out.

                    LINDA 
              (to Sunny)
          I told you to always put those
          marbles up and not to leave them
          just anywhere.

                    PAT 
          The poor thing is not to blame.
          Rhonda, take Sunny for a walk.

Marsh hands Rhonda several dollars.

                    MARSH 
          Here, go around to the store and
          buy what you want.

                    HATTIE 
          Would anybody object if I take a
          look at him?

                    HERMAN 
          I don't think Harry would like it.

Hattie goes over and pulls the blanket back. Okra, M.C. and
Herman hurry over to take a quick glance. They huddle behind
Hattie, peeping over her shoulder.

                    HATTIE 
          I never noticed how big his eyes
          were.

                                        DISSOLVE:

INT. BATHROOM - EVENING

Linda is helping Babe Brother wash Suzie's blood out of his
hair. She dries his hair with a towel. Sonny hands Babe
Brother a clean shirt, Gideon's shirt. He puts it on.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Gideon is sitting on the edge of his bed looking through the
scraps of leftovers on his plate. He puts his pants on. As he
moves about, his joints SNAP and POP. He picks up the empty
plate.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

Babe Brother is on the phone with the county morgue. He gets
into an argument with the people on the other end of the
phone.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Mister... Mister... Excuse me for
          cutting you off but we pay taxes
          too. We should not have to pay you
          to take a 24-hour lunch break.

Babe Brother hands the phone to Linda.

                    BABE BROTHER (CONT'D)
          The coroner said that he was out
          here, and knocked on the door and
          no one was here.

Junior steps over the body, holding a pot of coffee in his
hand.

The Preacher is sitting with Suzie talking in a low voice.

Pat, Rhonda and Sunny come in with boxes of chicken snack.

Linda hangs up the phone.

                    LINDA 
          He doesn't know when he will be out
          this way again. Somebody downtown
          is going to hear about this.

                    M.C. 
          They just do that in the colored
          neighborhood. If he had been white,
          they would had him on his feet and
          out of here.

                    PAT 
          I got white meat and I got dark
          meat. I know it sounds cruel but we
          have to eat.

Gideon comes in walking very slowly, holding his plate out.
Everyone is shocked. Gideon is completely unaware of the
period that he has been sick.

                    GIDEON 
          What, are you having another party?

                    SUZIE 
          You better come sit down. You are
          still sick.

                    GIDEON 
          Gal, you're talking to John Henry.
          When was I sick?

                    JUNIOR 
          You have been out for almost three
          weeks.

The Preacher gives him a pat on the back and shakes Gideon's
hand.

                    PREACHER 
          We had long conversations with the
          Lord about you. Didn't we, Sister
          Suzie? I said we need him down
          here, Lord.

Gideon smiles in appreciation. He pushes his plate out to
Pat, indicating that he wants it filled with chicken. Gideon
is about to bite into the chicken when he notices Harry's
feet sticking out. He points with the chicken in his hand. He
has a mystified look on his face.

                    OKRA 
          That's our friend Harry.

                    GIDEON 
          Not our Harry?

                    OKRA 
          I wish it wasn't.

Gideon seems to weaken for a moment.

                    GIDEON 
          What happened to him?

                    HATTIE
          He dropped dead.

                    HERMAN
          Hattie, you can be so mean.

                    GIDEON
          How long has he been dead?

                    SUZIE
          Since this morning.

                    GIDEON
          What happened to your hand?

                    SUZIE
          I cut it on an old rusty knife.

Gideon is deeply concerned.

                    GIDEON
          What did you put on it?

                    SUZIE
          It's healing now.

Gideon looks over at his two sons as if to ask them about it.

                    GIDEON
          I hope you will take care of your
          mother better than that when I'm
          gone.

Junior and Babe Brother both have their heads down. Linda and
Sunny move closer to Babe Brother.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          Babe Brother, is that my shirt that
          you're wearing?

                    BABE BROTHER
          Yes.

                    GIDEON
          How come you're not wearing my
          shoes?

                    BABE BROTHER
          They're too big.

Gideon stares at Babe Brother and then looks around towards
Harry.

                    GIDEON 
          When is the undertaker coming?

                    LINDA 
          They can't say. I'll try calling
          them again.

Hattie moves closer to Herman and speaks so only he can hear.

                    HATTIE 
          Why don't M.C. and you drag him to
          your house?

Herman moves away with a look of disdain.

                    MARSH 
          Harry didn't have any relatives
          living, did he?

                    M.C. 
          Harry was in the world by himself.

                    MARSH 
          Somebody has to take responsibility
          for him.

                    PAT 
          Why don't you look through his
          things to see if you can find a
          number?

Okra, Marsh, Hattie, Herman, and M.C. go to Harry's room,
leaving Suzie and Gideon sitting opposite each other with the
door to the kitchen separating them. Junior, the Preacher and
Pat are eating chicken. Linda is on the phone trying to get
through to the morgue.

                    LINDA 
          How do you like that? They hung up
          in my face. I'll fix them. I'll
          show them just how mean I can get.

She rapidly dials the number. There is a BUSY SIGNAL.

                    LINDA (CONT'D)
          This has been a nightmare.

INT. BEDROOM - RIGHT

M.C. and Marsh are going through Harry's boxes. They take out
old blues records, books, a big Bible, and books on Dunbar.

                    MARSH 
          These are letters to his son.

Hattie reads the letters in a corner by herself. She stops
reading for a moment.

                    HATTIE 
          I still don't know if I was right
          about Harry.

She seems frustrated with herself not being able to come to
terms about who was Harry.

EXT. FRONT YARD - NIGHT

A crowd of people are standing around looking at Gideon's
house.

INT. FRONT ROOM - NIGHT

The Preacher is sleep in his chair, SNORING loudly. Babe
Brother and Linda are sitting together, talking in almost a
whisper. Sunny is asleep in his lap. Babe Brother is finding
it difficult to apologize for his recent behavior.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I have more sense than to give up
          everything, my family, you and
          Sunny. It wasn't me, I mean the
          real me inside my body. I'm glad
          it's over. It's like a veil has
          been lifted.

                    LINDA 
          Like a veil has been lifted?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          It's like I've been swimming in
          muddy waters.

                    LINDA 
          Like muddy waters?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          It was like all those things old
          country people try to tell you what
          hell is like.

                    LINDA 
          You were in hell?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I couldn't believe the things I was
          doing. It was like an internal
          struggle going on inside my body.

                    LINDA 
          Do you think you won?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          It was nip and tuck.

                    LINDA 
          And what lesson have we learned
          from all of this, Babe Br... Sam...
          I mean Samuel?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I guess it proves you really care
          about me. You hung in there.

Linda looks at Babe Brother for a length of time.

                    GIDEON 
          When are you boys going to fix that
          roof?

                    BABE BROTHER 
          Soon as I rest a bit. 
              (beat)
          I meant as soon as we are back to
          normal again, anytime.

                    GIDEON 
          Here I am thinking about myself
          when poor Harry is resting on the
          floor of the kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Harry's body lies there motionless.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

The Preacher is SNORING violently.

Babe Brother is asleep on the floor. Sunny is asleep sitting
on Linda's lap. Linda's feet rest on Babe Brother's chest.

Junior and Pat are looking at the baby pictures. Pat is
holding her hand across her stomach feeling the baby kick.
Rhonda is asleep in a chair.

Suzie and Gideon are sitting at the dining room table. Suzie
is cutting the dead leaves off of a small potted plant.

                    SUZIE 
          It feels like a storm has passed...
          Hattie read some of Harry's letters
          to a woman he had a child by. The
          child had died and he was writing
          to give her some comfort. Hattie
          didn't know that deep down at the
          bottom of Harry's hate, there was
          some love.

The SOUND of Rodney's trumpet is heard but is no longer
irritating.

                    GIDEON 
          Did I ever tell you the story about
          the man who wanted to make his own
          mind up about heaven and hell? He
          didn't want nobody's opinion but
          his own.

Suzie doesn't pay any attention; she is involved with her
potted plant. Gideon looks over at the Preacher, who is still
asleep.

                    GIDEON (CONT'D)
          He's going to check out heaven
          first. He gets a round trip ticket
          to heaven. He gets in heaven and
          finds it just like back home.
          People dripping with sweat, working
          in the fields, hardly surviving. He
          asked a man who was getting a drink
          of water, "I thought the streets
          were paved with gold." "They are
          but you won't see them," he said.
          "Boy, you got to work day and night
          cause idleness is sinfulness." So
          he takes the other half of his
          ticket and takes the express to
          hell. He sees people stretched out
          on their backs kicking back,
          picking their teeth. "Man, this is
          a dream." He asked, "What's you'll
          doing?" They all hollered back,
          "Sinning." The devil was shaking
          hands with everyone and came up to
          him and said, "Please to meet you."
          He asked, "I thought you'll was
          supposed to be burning in fire."
          Someone said, "Man, ain't no fire
          down here except under that pot of
          chitlins." The man was going go ask
          the preacher back on earth...

                    SUZIE 
          I don't want to hear any joke about
          colored people being in hell.
          You're being irreverent.

                    GIDEON 
          I'm almost finished. I'm about to
          come to the punch line.

                    SUZIE 
          I don't want to hear any tales
          about colored people...

                    GIDEON 
          But these are white people,
          anybody. The punch...

                    SUZIE 
          I don't care to hear any jokes
          about people being in hell. This
          cut on my hand reminds me that it
          is nothing to laugh at.

                    GIDEON 
          It's only a tale.

The RATTLING of pots and dishes starts suddenly. Harry's body
starts to sway gently as if he were about to get up.
Everyone is frozen. Babe Brother and Linda remain asleep. The
rocking caused by the earthquake doesn't wake them.

M.C., Herman, Okra and Hattie and Marsh enters the dining
room. Harry's feet are seen in the kitchen still swaying.

                    M.C 
          Is that an earthquake?

                    HERMAN 
          It's something.

Babe Brother wakes in a sweat and sits next to Linda like a
child needing protection.

                    BABE BROTHER 
          I'm cold. I need to get out into
          the sunlight.

                    JUNIOR 
          What is it, noontime?

                    PREACHER
          I wonder how they going to bury
          this man.

                    HATTIE 
          Plant him in Potter's Field. He
          doesn't need a marked grave.

                    HERMAN
          Hattie, your true colors are
          unbearable. You got some mean ways.
          Don't worry about the boy getting a
          burial. He still has some friends
          left on this earth.

                    HATTIE 
          His winter has come and gone and I
          know right now he is answering for
          a lot of things.

M.C., Okra and Herman move away from Hattie.

                    PREACHER 
          It is my job to pray for his soul
          and I would like to do that.

EXT. GIDEON'S HOUSE - DAY

Rhonda is sitting next to Sunny on the front porch. She has
an angry expression. Sunny is trying to please her by
offering her his airplane.
He pushes the airplane near her and she pushes it back with a
violent shove. He persists in offering her his airplane.

A crowd of people is still standing around in front of
Gideon's house.

                    MAN 
          Hey boy, you still got that dead
          man in your house.

Sunny and Rhonda don't respond. A middle-aged woman,
VIRGINIA, one of Gideon's neighbors, passes Sunny and Rhonda,
knocks on the screen door and goes in.

INT. FRONT ROOM - DAY

                    VIRGINIA 
          I know you all haven't had a chance
          to cook or do anything with that
          dead man in your kitchen. You must
          be starved to death. Some of your
          neighbors have got together and we
          set up a picnic table in my
          backyard with food and everything
          to feed all you all.

                    SUZIE 
          Virginia, that is so wonderful of
          you all!

                    MARSH 
          If the dead wagon comes, we ought
          to leave a note telling them we'll
          be down the street at a picnic.

Gideon comes back in with Suzie, who is helping tie his tie.
They all line up and file out the front door with Suzie and
Gideon leading the way. Pat is holding her stomach with a
thoughtful look on her face.

                    PAT 
          I think we better be ready.

Junior looks concerned as he follows Pat out the door. Sunny
follows Rhonda, who is still mad at him. Babe Brother and
Linda are the last ones out. Babe Brother takes a long look
in the direction of Harry as Linda pulls him out. She slams
the door.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Harry's body lies on the floor. On the kitchen sink are
Suzie's jars of cuttings, which have developed a maze of
roots.

                          THE END


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