Spoiler Warning

Always assume Spoilers and possible profanity in context. These are often adult themed movies.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Crossing Guard

What About It?
(for a full summary of the film, scroll down to "What Happens?)

"The Crossing Guard" is a film about great loss, and the way our personal problems color our ideas, about who we are, and about redemption. The centerpiece of the film is a terrible tragedy, a little girl killed, affecting everyone in this story.We see its effects most visibly via Freddy Gale. We only meet Freddy on the day that John Booth, the drunk driver who killed his daughter Emily, is released. It's clear that this is a day he's waited a long time for.

While it's common for people to say "If anyone ever did something to my family, I'd kill them myself" it's not so common for people to actually do so, but Freddy isn't most people, and this is something he takes very seriously, although he isn't quite sure why. As Booth tells us "he's a serious man." Certainly there's the straightforward appeal of retribution, but Freddy isn't planning to commit the act for it's own sake. We can understand a grieving father not making distinctions between murder and an accident. His daughter isn't here anymore and someone caused this. He hasn't made it past that part of the reasoning, although he's years to do so. It's interesting that in this film the character is a drunk driver, the offense right on the line of responsibility. He didn't mean to murder anyone, but he should certainly have known that drunk driving is reckless and makes many such possibilities possible. If he hadn't been drunk, would it have happened the same way? We don't know, but his drunken state makes it impossible to see him as blameless. You could call it murder and if you loved the victim you most certainly would. He chose to drink too much, and afterwards, he ran. Freddy isn't without good reason for his anger.

Freddy feels he has to tell his ex-wife, Mary. He assures her that when she sees it's happened, she'll feel "Pride and relief." She assures him that despite what he thinks, he isn't doing anything for her sake. Freddy's never even been to Emily's grave, although he won't admit it. Mary equates this with a lack of courage and she may be right. Visiting Emily's grave would make it difficult for Freddy to maintain the fog he lives in.

We come to understand that in the time since Emily's death, Freddy has come completely apart. As he tells John Booth on his first visit, "being a jeweler" is all he's got. We see that the other things "he has" are a lot of drinking, and his associates at his favorite strip club. He sleeps with the girls there, trying to avoid any attachment, but can't even leave it at that. He has to get up in the middle of the night and look for prostitutes. He tells his strip club friends, he hears a sound building in his head, "like a vacuum cleaner." and we get that Freddy just has no idea what to do with himself. He imagines killing John Booth as the solution to everything, but we see that his problems are a lot bigger than that. He has no friends, just the guys that laugh and look at women with him. He has no romantic relationships, ruining even the most casual arrangements. After years, he still calls his ex wife when he sees a happy family meeting in the street. Freddy wants to be the guy he was once, but that guy is gone. As Mary tells him "It's made you so small and weak. I needed you to be big and strong." Clearly she strikes a chord with him, and when she reveals that she pities him, he tells her "I hope you die." The person that he wants is big and strong, and a guy to be proud of. He knows as well as she does that he hasn't been that guy for a long time. Killing Booth is the grand gesture in his mind that will make him that again.

Freddy has the will to do it. He pulls the trigger without hesitation when he first sees John. Of course it can't be as easy as the thought. His gun won't work. John gives him no trouble, practically volunteering himself, asking only for a couple days. Booth is as much of a mess as Freddy is. Neither is sure if they want to lie or die. We see Freddy, when Booth has a gun on him, practically telling Booth to shoot him, announcing he's going to pull his gun. As complications come up, the simplicity of Freddy's idea, kill Booth and be big again" gets complicated, as if he's being urged to question it. The second time he meets John, he's also a drunk driver and someone who endangered another family's little girl by hiding in her room to evade police. These things happen to Freddy, but he doesn't see them. His quest was never based on any logic anyway. Freddy is trying to put a fairy tale back together after everything in the story is gone. He hasn't accepted the fact that he's not with his family anymore, although they have moved on.

It's common for the death of a child to destroy a marriage, and in this marriage we have two very different methods of dealing with the loss. We see Mary attending support groups and visiting Emily's grave with her other kids. She remarries and tries to keep herself together. Freddy on the other hand, does everything he can to ensure that his life doesn't improve, and drinks enough to ensure it. He tells Booth that all he has is "being a jeweler" but he doesn't even apply himself to that, letting his employee run the business while he stays up in his office and drinks. The only thing he sees clearly is that he must kill Booth, everything else is just passing time. His quest is bigger to him than any consequences, as we see when he grabs his gun and runs from the police, knowing that once he's arrested, he won't have a chance anymore. He may assume for a moment that he's succeeded, when he shoots Booth and he doesn't move for a moment, but it doesn't give him any comfort. When he sees John get up, he raises his hands to assure him he won't shoot. Still, he has to follow him and the revelation that booth knows the way to his daughter's grave when he, her father, has never been there, is too much for him to take. He already knows the similarities between him and Booth, as he reveals telling Mary his dream, where Booth is the crossing guard and he is the driver. They're not very different at all, the Booth that killed his daughter, and the Freddy that exists now. It isn't entirely Booth's fault that Freddy let his life fall apart, although he certainly caused some great pain. Freddy's response to loss was to destroy himself, which is his prerogative I suppose, but killing someone else would change nothing for the better. Like Mary, Freddy must arrive at the place where he realizes that people die, very often the wrong people, very easily and all he really has, is how he deals with that and lives his life.

This role is Nicholson at his best, without many of the trademarks he's known for. He's not the sarcastic guy raising famous eyebrows. Freddy Gale is way past that. We meet him just before he hits the bottom he's been circling around. Nicholson gives us a compelling picture of a man always just a step away from breakdown, suspending himself there, with booze and anger. As uncomfortable as it is to watch, we can imagine how uncomfortable it is to be this person. Angelica Huston is just as believable, seeing her and Nicholson together, we can believe they have a shared history. Mary gives us another side of the story. She still keeps her grief, but chooses to live on, as she knows that nothing will fix the situation. She tells us how angry she was and how much she hated Freddy, and glimpses of that come through, but the difference is she works hard not to live there perpetually.

David Morse is fantastic here in a very difficult role. John Booth can never be a sympathetic character, as we know what he did. But, he's not a character who denies what he did either. Prison seems to be a minor thing for him, his most difficult punishment is that he must live with himself. Certainly no amount of time served can make him right. He doesn't argue with Freddy's verdict, even when it's clear that Freddy's gun won't work and he could gain the upper hand in a confrontation. He tells him to come back in a couple days. Jojo tells him she can't compete with John's guilt, and of course she's right, and that's as it should be. It's nice to think of someone living with this weight, rather than trying to deny it. She tells him to come see her when he's ready for life, and that's the biggest connection between him and Freddy, neither of them are ready for life anymore. Also like Freddy, Booth isn't the same guy he was those years ago, both of them have lived every day with Booth's crime and the impossible task of finding peace with the irreconcilable. "It was an accident" Jojo points out, but it isn't so simple. Booth saw the girl he killed, apologizing for not looking both ways before crossing. He wants to die, and it's hard to argue with him or Freddie. But, he's still alive and as a result, he can't help the urge to stay that way. The solid support of his parents likely hurts him as much as helps, as he knows he doesn't deserve people that love him so much after what he's done. On their second visit, his urge to live surfaces, he turns the tables on Freddy, but ultimately, his guilt wins out. He can't stay Freddy's hand, he knows that between the two of them, Freddy has the right.

In the end, it's fitting that John leads Freddy to Emily's grave. "It's pink" he says, as if a revelation. Freddy takes his hand while sobbing, and it doesn't absolve Booth, as much as admit, that while this death can't be fixed, they're alive and they have to go on, at least if they want to live. "Here comes your Daddy. He needs your help." Booth tells Emily's grave, and he's right. The problem of killing Booth is not the only one. Freddy has never been to the grave, he hasn't mourned his daughter, but transferred his grief into the way he lives his life. They share a moment, and nobody says "It's ok." because it's not and never can be, but Freddy has seen how close he's come to what Booth was, a reckless drunk driver, and once he puts aside the task of killing Booth, the piece of Emily he was hanging onto, he realizes he needs to mourn and he wants to live.While there are certainly some difficulties ahead for the both of them, it's a fitting place to leave them, with a little more understanding than they started with. Freddy will never be the guy he used to be, and neither will Booth, and Emily is still gone. That's where they have to start over from.

Written and directed by Sean Penn, the Crossing Guard isn't a perfect film, but it is a powerful one. Penn seems unconcerned with logic at times, as he's more concerned with getting to the emotion he wants to explore. Watching the film in that light, you can enjoy some deep and talented performances. While it may be tough to accept that Freddy's gun wouldn't fire, or that the police wouldn't shoot Freddy the second he grabbed his gun during a traffic stop, then everything works fine. He's clearly looking for emotional logic more than anything else, and he delivers it, not giving us an easy answer to these questions, or even a solution, as much as a long way travelled to achieve a little progress. In light of what happened, that's a reasonable request, and even that little progress is something to see. Emily's gone, and they're still here. It'll always hurt and will never be fair, but that's the only place to pick up from.

What Happens?

The film opens with Mary (Anjelica Huston) sitting in a support group while her ex husband Freddy Gale (Jack Nicholson) is at a strip club. Mary listens to other women tell stories about how they lost loved ones. We see that Freddy is a regular and knows a number of men at the club. Scenes cut back and forth until we cut back to Freddy and the screen tells us "The Father." and then back to Mary, "The Mother" We see her crying at a man's story about missing the self he used to be before his brother died.

We see Freddy lying in bed. He looks at the calendar on the wall, which has the 17th outlined in red. We then move to another scene where we see a man in prison. We're told this is "John Booth, 5 years-Manslaughter, California Institute for Men, State Prison" John (David Morse) looks at himself in the mirror and recalls a severe beating he received as he examines a scar it left him.

Still in bed, Freddy tells a stripper he brought home that she should go. As she takes a shower, he gets up. We see he has a bottle of whiskey on his nightstand. He lights a cigarette and looks at the date on the calendar again. We watch him walk through a city crowd as Bruce Springsteen's "Missing" plays. He arrives at the Gale's Fine Jewelers, the store he owns. He scolds his manager about not having a display up. The manager explains that Freddy has the vault keys, and suggests a display. Freddy tells him he trusts his preferences, and that he needs to think ahead, and ask for the vault keys if he doesn't have them at closing, as he is "always very busy." Freddy leaves him to manage the store and goes upstairs to his office. We see that he has a lot of booze at hand as he sits at his desk.

We see a bus leaving the prison, carrying John Booth and other prisoners out of the prison. John carries a file box of his belongings. We see his mother and father there to meet him. They all appear happy to see each other. His father, Stuart (Richard Bradford) starts laughing and his John's Mother, Helen (Piper Laurie) asks him why. He says "It's been six fucking years. I've got my son back. Can't I be happy?" Helen scolds him for swearing. John tells her not to worry about it, as he has been in prison. Helen asks John if he has the TV she sent, and tells him she's cleaned up a trailer, where he can stay and have some privacy. Stuart can't stop laughing. Helen adds "That's a good fucking TV."

We see Freddy driving and stopping at a school crosswalk. He opens his glove box to put away some keys and we see he has a gun in there. He looks at the elderly crossing guard and drives off. We see him ringing a doorbell. A man named Roger (Robbie Robertson) opens the door and invites him in. He looks at a cartoonish knick knack and tells Roger "Emily used to love this thing." He describes how she used to reach for it. Roger takes it in but doesn't say anything. He asks Freddy to sit down. He sits on the couch with Roger and grabs a family portrait showing Roger, Mary, and two kids. He remarks, "YOu really look like a natural family. You could be their father." Roger asks "What can I do for you?" Freddy tells her he came to see Mary. Roger asks "Well, I don't mean to be nosy, Freddy, but, what about? " Freddy insists that he needs to tell Mary. Roger says "well...." which Freddy repeats and we hear people arriving. We see that it's Mary and the kids, who say hello, calling Roger, Dad and Freddy, Freddy. Mary doesn't look pleased to see Freddy, as Roger goes off with the kids.

Freddy: My own kids call me Freddy...You look wonderful.
Mary: Wonderful, I think, would be pushing it.
Freddy: no. You do. Wonderful.
Mary: Thank you. So. How's business?
Freddy: So so. You know, it's a little jewelry store. What can I say? It's business. What about you? Still doing real estate?
Mary: Well, it's a tough market right now. I'm still representing some properties. Roger's been doing so well I've been able to back off some, spend more time with the kids.
Freddy: Huh, well, wonderful. That's really wonderful. Umm, umm, Mary, there's something that you should know. It's the reason I came here.
Mary: Freddy....
Freddy: I got something I want to tell you.
Mary: You made me a promise. I hope you're gonna keep it.
Freddy: Two things. I made you a promise, that's one. And, I have great news, that's two. Now, you gonna let me speak, or not?
Mary: I'm sorry. What's your great news?
Freddy: It's really great news, spectacular news. I'm telling you. You want to hear it or not?
Mary: Mhm.
Freddy: Are you sure?
Mary: Yes.
Freddy: Are you ready?
Mary: Yes.
Freddy: He's out. John Booth is out. I'm gonna kill him.
Mary: Get out of here, Freddy.
Freddy: I'm not going anywhere until I see you courageous enough to tell the truth!
Mary: The truth? What truth, Freddy? You promised you wouldn't.
Freddy: Wouldn't what, Mary? Mention our daughter? Why? Because you'd blackmail me?
Mary: Blackmail you?
Freddy: If I ever want to speak to the mother of my children, I must never mention my daughter.
Mary: Get out of our house!
Freddy: My house! [Roger enters the room] By any natural law, this is my house! If my children live here...My children! Then who's to say that I can't come here to see them any fucking time I want?
Roger: You had to do it, huh?
Freddy: Nobody's talking to you!
Mary: YOu want me to call the police?
Freddy: Call whoever the fuck you want!
Mary: Where do you get off calling them your children? You haven't been a father to those kids. You stopped with our daughter.
Freddy: Emily is her name.
Mary: Yes, Emily. Emily and she is dead! But, i owe those two little boys up there all the love I've got and it kills you that I can give it to them and that you can't.
Freddy simmers and Roger approaches to tell him to leave. He grabs Roger and puts him in a headlock.
Freddy: Tell the truth, Mary. You want me to kill John Booth! That's my job in life. And, your job is to go on as if nothing happened!
Mary: Let go of him!
Roger: Freddy, why don't you let me go? I'll make us some coffee.
Freddy: [lets him go] Coffee...good.
Roger: Why don't we all just sit down, have some coffee, and talk about this civilly.

Freddy then decides against the coffee and tells them he'll go. He says "I feel good." Before leaving, he says "I just want to say this, I've done a lot of things for you, you know, a lot of things and I think it's cheap of you that you won't hear me out on things, I really do.

Roger: Mary's just upset
Mary: [elbows Roger] Excuse me, but I'm not upset and if you think I'm going to keep score with you on who's done what to who, you're very fucking wrong. And, if you think that's cheap, then fuck you! Now, I don't know if you're serious about killing this man or not, but I do know this, it has nothing to do with our daughter. Our little girl is gone, Freddy and she's not coming back, no matter what you do. You've never even been to the cemetary, Freddy. You've never even been to Emily's grave.
Freddy: Why? Because I didn't go to your little party, your funeral? On my own time, Mary, in private.
Mary: Really?
Freddy: Yes.
Mary: Well, then you're a braver man than I thought.What's the inscription on the stone, Freddy? What color is it? Is it on a hill? Is it under a tree? Does it lay flat, or does it stick up out of the ground? [no answer] That's what I thought.
Freddy: Roger, man to man, you two read the newspaper that John Booth has been shot dead, take a look into her face, and tell me if you don't see pride and relief. Pride and relief, Mary.

Freddy heads back to the strip club. He's oblivious to his friend's attempts to joke with him.One of them remarks, "I think we hypnotized him."He tells them about a sound "like a vaccuum cleaner" that's been building up in his head. He excuses himself, and tells them he has"committments." Freddy heads to the Booth house and finds the trailer where John stays. He takes out his gun and enters stumbling on the way in. John wakes up in bed. We see Freddy pull the trigger but the gun doesn't fire. He tries again but it still doesn't work. John watches from bed. He asks Freddy, if he minds if he grabs a cigarette. Freddy tells him to go ahead. John turns on the light and asks Freddy calmly, "You know, do you mind closing the door? I don't want to wake my parents." Freddy obliges. John tells him "When the thing happened, I wanted to be dead. I didn't want your forgiveness, I didn't think I deserved it and I don't think I do. But, I guess you'e been waiting for this day for a long time. [approaches Freddy who backs up holding up the gun] It's alright sit down. I kow it's been a long wait, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm not calling any cops. I'll just be here trying to get on with things. Could you take a couple days, and maybe think about not taking my life?

Freddy: Look, I'm a jeweler. I got a jewelry store, it's all I got. That's it. It's what I am. Understand what I'm talking about [John starts to answer] Shut up! because you don't.
John: Alright.
Freddy: I'm gonna give you three days. Three days.
Freddy leaves.

We see Freddy at home, marking the 20th on the calendar. He inspects the clip from his gun and the bullets. We see Freddy at the jewelry store intervening when a woman is arguing with his manager, who she calls a "jap faggot." She complains that she ordered a size 7 and the ring can't be a size 7 as it doesn't fit. Freddy asks to see the ring. He puts the ring on a size measuring instrument and hold it up to her. He asks "Does that look like a 6 fucking and a half?" He licks her finger and slides on the ring. He says "You were right, a perfect 7."

We then find John on a bus. A woman sits next to him and asks him about the bus route. He tells her politely he doesn't know much about where the bus goes. She tells him that she rides the buss all day, using her disability card, so she doesn't have to pay. He gets to his stop and looks at a piece of paper with an address on it. He finds his friend Peter (David Baerwald) in a car waiting for him. He tells John "You're late, but you've got the job." He tells him it's a good job on a boat. He also tells him he's arranged a party later on for John, with girls and then adds "But, before we go anywhere, in the joint, did you get buttfucked?" John tells him "It only hurts the first time."

Freddy goes to get his car at a parking garage and witnesses a little girl running to her father, the mother joining them moments later. He calls Mary from a payphone, but when he doesn't talk, she hangs up.

We see the party that Peter is having for John. Peter and friends play guitars and a woman, Jojo (Robin Wright) is there and she and John seem attracted to each other immediately. One woman starts telling everyone what type of spirituality they have, telling Peter that he picks and chooses who deserves compassion based on identifying characteristics. Peter describes one of Jojo's paintings and her process. Peter turns the conversation to John saying he "knows something about confinement." John says "I think freedom's overrated. You know, if there isn't something bigger than freedom, than freedom is just entertainment.

At the strip club, we see Freddy backstage in the dressing room. One of the girls, Verna, says "I thought it was just gonna be you and me." He tells all the girls, "Whoever wants to go let's go." Freddy and three of the girls arrive at a nice restaurant. At their table, one of the girls tells Freddy that Verna wants to be his woman. A patron nearby notices one of the girls performing a trick, swallowing a glass. He stops at the table and tells him he wants to have a little fun. Freddy tells him to get lost. When the man doesn't listen, Freddy grabs him and starts beating him before he's restrained and ushered out.

We see Freddy at the police station getting his mugshot and fingerprints taken.

John has ended up alone in a bedroom with Jojo. He looks at one of her paintings. He introduces himself properly and she tells him that Peter filled her in o his situation. He tells her about Freddy showing up to kill him. She asks "It was an accident, right? Was he serious?" He answers. "I think he was serious. i think he's a serious man." He tells her she's the only one he's told because he "thought it would be romantic." She asks about the scar on his head. He tells her he beat his head against the wall.

Jojo: You just couldn't stand jail?
John: No, I just couldn't stand me.

We see John later on at his parents house, telling them he would've called but didn't think they'd be up. He tells them about the party and they tell him they want to spend time with him. He tells them his job starts in a few hours. He says "You know something hit me tonight. I've done a horrible thing and I'm always gonna feel guilt and remorse. But, when you hear about a thing like that, about someone who has to carry a thing like that, when you're in it, it's just, it's very different from what you might think. I'm not an unhappy person, I'm just...I'm someone who has caused a lot of unhappiness and a person who's caused death. I love you both so much, not just as my parents, but as two people who stood by and kept giving your love to that person who also caused you both so much pain."
They tell him "You're our son. We love you no matter what."

We find Verna, the other strippers, and the jewelry store manager, getting Freddy at the police station. John puts in a day of work on the boat and Peter meets him when he gets out. He tells John "You know there's women and there's ladies. Jojo's a lady." John agrees. Peter asks "So, did you fuck her?" John asks "What do you do with information like this?" John goes to visit Emily's grave, but hides when he sees Mary there with her boys.

Freddy goes to the strip club that night. We see Jojo picking John up. We see Freddy take Verna home with him. He sits up and drinks after she's asleep, then leaves her there to go for a walk. John and Jojo have sex. Freddy visits another strip club. A man outside tells him, "You go in there, you're gonna fall in love." Freddy tells the man "My wife, beautiful woman. I met her in the sun, sun sun, sunny day. I never fall in love at night." The man laughs. He pays to dance with the girls.

John and Jojo talk the next morning. Jojo asks if he went to the police.
John: No.
Jojo: Do you want to die?
John: I don't know.
Jojo: Did you see her die?
John: No. I was drunk. I didn't now what happened. I just felt a bump. And, when I stopped I knew something had happened. I just didn't know. She was lying in the street, all torn up and I could see her moving a little bit. Her mouth was kind of moving. I thought she was talking to someone, someone who wasn't there, you know, someone like her mother, her father. When I got up to her, I kind of knelt down and she wasn't talking to someone else, she was talking to me. She was apologizing to me. She was apologizing for not having looked both ways. There were some people who were gathering around there, somebody called for an ambulance, so I...They found me on the Interstate. I'd gone up North. i just got in my car and drove until I ran out of gas.
Jojo: [crying] You have such a beautiful face.The way your eyes slope, like a little puppy.
John: I'm sorry.
Jojo: Don't say that.
Jojo [leaves the bed and lights a cigarette] I think your guilt is a little too much competition for me.You should let me know when you want life.

At Freddy's place we see Verna getting up and presentable in the morning when Freddy walks in the door. He grabs a drink and sits down. She calls him an asshole and asks where he went, telling him it's rude to treat her like she has no feelings. John doesn't respond, he falls asleep in a chair.

John works on the boat and takes the bus home. Freddy turns up the radio in his apartment and practices firing his gun. He shoots through some pillows without a problem.

Jojo finds John knocking at her door. She lets him in and he sits on her kitchen floor. WHen she asks what's going on John asks "What is guilt?"
Jojo: What?
John: You said guilt. My guilt. What is guilt? Define it.
Jojo: [thinks a moment] Want to dance? Let's dance.
She puts on some music and starts dancing. She pulls him to his feet and he holds her hand. He turns off the music, turns it on again, and then grabs her to himself. He tells her "Keep dancing." and leaves.

Freddy goes to work and then to the strip club later. One of Freddy's friends starts complaining about one of the girls doing a "good ship lollipop" routine as it takes a long time for her to get undressed. Freddy tells him "I like it. It's traditional. Without tradition, new things die." THey call him "the first goddamn jeweler poet I ever saw." As they make fun of him, he tells them "I'm gonna kill a guy." The girl on stage, Mia, asks Freddy to come up and dance with her. Everyone cheers him on, although Verna looks unhappy about the idea. He dances with her and walks out with her afterwards. On the street he does a gu firing imitation with his finger and we see John sit up in bed, waking up. Freddy and Mia go to a room, but she tells Freddy she wants to play him a song she wrote just for him before they have sex. He agrees as long as long as she gives him his whiskey bottle. He tells her, "I've got business tonight." After Mia passes out, Freddy gets up and starts drinking to make a phone call. He calls Mary and begs her not to hang up. He tells her, "I'm falling apart, honey. I had this fucking dream. It's sunny outside and I'm driving my car and it feels real big, like it's driving me. I'm driving past Em's school and there's a crosswalk. And all these little kids are being helped across by a crossing guard. The crossing guard is John Booth. Em's one of the little kids. I'm getting closer and closer. I'm hitting the brakes. The car won't slow down but I'm turning the wheel. Car won't turn. [sobbing] Then I just plow right through. Then I see Em's face, just before I hit her. [sobbing]

In John's trailer we see him sitting in the dark with sunglasses, saying "Come on. Come on." We see Freddy outside. He meets Mary at a restaurant. He starts talking but she stops him.

Mary: No, Freddy. Let me talk. I've been so angry at you for so goddamn long. Too angry to see or hear you or care about you. But, when I heard you on the phone tonight, I did see you for the first time since Emily was killed. I can see you're a good man and you loved her so, so much. But I loved her too, Freddy

I needed you so badly. But you...Do you remember when we were coming back from Vegas. the plane was bouncing all around. I was shaking. Do you remember what you said?
Freddy: No. Tell me.
Mary: I couldn't believe how calm you were. Then you took my hand and said...Do you remember?
Freddy: No. Tell me.
Mary: You said, "Pray we crash, then we can call ourselves survivors." You were so...Where'd that guy go? Then Emmy died. It's made you so small and weak. I needed you to be big and strong. I hated you for your weakness. I hated you. Now, I'm pitying you. I don't know how to help you, Freddy.
Freddy: You look around at the marriages people have. We had a good one, didn't we?
Mary: YEs.
Freddy: Good times. No hidden agendas. None of the nasty bullshit you see with other people. We were turned on. We were hot for one another. We were pals, right?
Mary: That was a wonderful time.
Freddy: Best buddies. Correct me if I'm distorting my thinking on this.
Mary: No.
Freddy: no, but...You pity me. You pity me. Oh boy, this is a funny thing. This thing is...
Mary: Freddy, whatever you're doing, stop it.
Freddy: [mimicking] Freddy, whatever you're doing, stop it. [grabs her hand] I hope you die. I hope you fucking die.

Mary rushes out of the restaurant. In his trailer, John is still saying "Come on." with his sunglasses on." Freddy speeds away from the restaurant in his car. He's pulled over for swerving. He steps out of the car with his hands up ans warns the officers that there's a gun on the seat. He tells him he has a permit for the gun and keeps it to protect his jewelry store. They check his gun permit and then give him sobriety tests. Bases on the tests they arrest him for drunk driving. He grabs his gun and runs before they can cuff him and they give chase on foot. He loses them by kicking in someone's door and opening an outside door while hiding in a kid's bedroom. The cops get out the helicopter and widen the search, but Freddy makes his way to Booth's trailer although he rests for a minute before going in. He's surprised to find Booth outside pointing a rifle at him. Freddy chuckles. He says "Gonna give you a laugh, kid. I got pulled over tonight. Police, right? Thw whole bit. You want to guess what for? Drunk driving. And I had my gun. Not particularly acquainted with the law, but, I'm on the run, I'm on your property and I've got my gun. I figure you could shoot me and get away clean. So, I'm gonna get my gun out of my pants here. I guess I'm gonna try and shoot you." Rather than shoot Freddy, John drops his gun and runs away. Freddy chases him, following him onto a bus where he has to act casual. John pays for Freddy's fare. Between the two of them, a couple on the bus bickers about money. John dashes off the bus at a stop and Freddy again follows. Freddy falls in the street and almost gets hit by a car. He shoots John as he's scaling a fence and watches him fall. After a minute, we see he's still alive and breathing. We see his neck was grazed. he looks at Freddy, standing on the other side of the fence with his gun, and gets up. Freddy puts his hands up, but John walks away. Freddy follows, tired and also walking. We see that John has led him to Emily's grave site. John kneels at Emily's marker, sobbing, while Freddy catches up. He puts his face to her stone and whispers "Your daddy's coming and he needs your help." John moves away from the stone for Freddy. Freddy says "It's pink. Emily's stone is pink." Freddy hands the gun to John and kneels down with him. Freddy starts crying. He says "I'm sorry." and offers John his hand. They sit together awhile and we see the dedication "For my Friend, Henry Charles Bukowkski, Jr. I miss you. -S.P.

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