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Affliction (1997) - full transcript

Wade Whitehouse is a sheriff of a small New Hampshire town who achieved nothing in life in the opinion of his ex-wife Lillian and daughter Jill and is a heavy drinker. His girlfriend Margie accepts him the way he is. On the first day of the hunting season, Wade's friend Jack takes a wealthy businessman to hunt - and only Jack returns alive. Wade decides to play detective and starts investigating the case despite the fact Jack insists it was an accidental self-inflicted shot.


This is the story of my older brother's

strange criminal behavior
and disappearance.

We who loved him
no longer speak of Wade.

It's as if he never existed.

By telling his story like this,

by breaking the silence about him,
I tell my own story as well.

Everything of importance, that is

everything that gives rise
to the telling of this story

occurred during a single
deer-hunting season

in a small town in upstate New
Hampshire where Wade was raised,

and so was I.

One night something changed

and my relation to Wade's story
was different

from what it had been
since childhood.

I mark this change
by Wade's tone of voice

during a phone call
a night after Halloween.

Something I had not heard before.

Let us imagine that around 8:00
on Halloween Eve

comes a pale blue, eight-year-old
Plymouth with a police bubble on top.

A square-faced man wearing
a police jacket is driving the vehicle.

Beside him sits a child,

a little girl with
a plastic tiger mask covering her face.

Sorry for the screwup.
I couldn't help it.

It's too late
to go trick or treatingnow.

I had to stop at Penney's to get
your costume, then you were hungry.

Whose fault is it then
if it's not yours?

You're the one in charge, Dad.

Yeah.

Look, those kids are still
trick-or-treating. They're still out.

- Those are the Hoyts.
- I don't care. They're out!

Can't you see? Look out there.
It's just too late.

Those Hoyt kids,
they're just out to get in trouble.

See, look. They put shaving cream
all over that mailbox.

- Why did they do that?
- Do what?

- You know.
- Break stuff?

Yeah. It's stupid.

Well, I guess they're stupid.

Did you do that stuff
when you were a kid?

No!

Well, sort of.

Nothing really mean.
Me and my pals. Me and my brothers.

It was kind of funny then.

- But it's not funny now.
- No, no. It's not funny now.

I'm a cop. I gotta listen to
the complaints people make.

I'm not a kid anymore.
You change.

I bet you did a lot of bad stuff
when you were a kid.

What are you talking about?

I don't know. I just think
you used to be bad.

No.

I didn't used to be bad.

No, sir!

Where do you get this stuff from?
Your mother?

No. She doesn't talk
about you anymore.

Hey, Wade.

Ladies and gentlemen,
LaRiviere Company

is proud to sponsor another
annual Lawford costume parade.

We are looking for the funniest costume,
the scariest...

Oh, the scariest!
Is he the scariest? Is that one scary?

What about this? Is he scary?

No, no. Here's the scary one
right there.

The most imaginative
and the best costume of all.

Help me line the kids up.

- Pretty awesome, huh? Hi, Marge.
- Hi, Wade.

Go ahead, jump in line.
Maybe you'll win a prize.

Go on. Some of those kids
you still know!

- I don't want to.
- Oh, why? Why not?

You know these kids
from when you went to school here.

It hasn't been that long.

- It's not that.
- What then?

I don't like it here.

Oh, Jesus, Jill, come on.

Don't mess this up any more
than it's been messed up.

Join the kids. You do that, before
you know you'll be happy as a clam.

Hey, Wade!

Is that Jill?
Come on and join us. Come on!

Go, go, go.
Go on. Go, go, go.

That's it, come on.
Come on.

Here, make a place for her
on the stage.

Look out! Here comes a tiger!
She's coming through.

- What are you boys up to?
- Same old shit.

You seen the damage these little
sons of bitches been raising tonight?

- Gonna have to move your pickup.
- I know.

- Take a bite.
- Could use it. Don't mind of I do.

LaRiviere's having
a hell of a time in there tonight.

Master of fucking ceremonies.

Where's that gun
you were bragging on today?

Let's look at it.

Oh, ho-ho-ho.
Oh, ho-ho.

Mmm! Got you for $650, $700?

- Nice.
- See you got Jill tonight.

How'd you manage that?

Don't forget to move your truck.

Ladies and gentlemen, remember,
there are no losers.

Everybody gets a nice ribbon.

Now, here is our first award.
For the most imaginative...

Alma, have you seen Jill?

She's around somewhere.
Are you coming to see me next week?

Yeah.

Some party, huh?

I'm sorry.
I had to step outside for a smoke.

Find anybody you know? There must
be some kids you know from school.

Say, you want to go tomorrow?
See your old teachers?

- No.
- No what?

No, I didn't see anybody I knew.

No, I don't want to go
to school here tomorrow.

- I want to go home.
- Come on, Jill, you are home!

There's lots of kids
you still know here.

Don't worry, Dad.
I love you. I do!

But I want to go home.

All right, I tell you what.

Tomorrow morning if you still want to go
home, I'll drive you when I get off work.

Okay?

- I called Mom.
- What? You called Mommy?

- Just now?
- Yeah.

Jesus, why?
Why didn't you talk to me first?

- I knew you'd be mad.
- Well, yeah, honey, I am mad.

You know.
What did you tell her, for chrissake?

I told her I wanted to come home.

Dad, don't be mad at me.

Well, I guess I am.

I mean, you know.

I planned this.
I planned all this.

Sort of pathetic. But I planned it.

You shouldn't have
called your mother.

Come on, we're gonna call her
before she leaves.

Hi, this is the Horners.

- Please leave a message at the beep.
- She's gone already.

Gone already!
She couldn't wait.

- Yeah.
- Yeah?

That's all you've got to say,
is "yeah"?

Yeah.

You know, she won't be here
for a half hour.

- Think you can stand it that long?
- Yeah.

Where do you expect
to wait for her?

Obviously downstairs with
the other kids isn't good enough.

Sit there by yourself
if you want.

Wait for her by yourself!
That's fine with me. Just dandy!

- I'm goin' downstairs.
- It's fine with me too.

When Mom comes,
tell her I'm up here.

I thought I told you
to move that goddamn truck!

Relax, Chief.
We're leavin' now.

You want a toke?

No, Jesus Christ, Jack!

Why don't you get
the fuck outta here?

If Gordon or one of those guys see
you smoke that wacky tabacky around me,

they'll expect me to bust you,
and I'll be out of a goddamn job.

Some job!

Here, have a hit.
Don't be such a hardass.

I know you got problems.
We all got problems, so relax.

Not here.

Well, come on, get in.
We'll take a little ride, my man.

Got a job. First thing
in the morning. First day of season.

Twombley something. Erwin...

Evan? He's a union official
from Massachusetts.

You're lucky.

Gotta guarantee a kill, of course.

Which I can do. There are some
monster bucks hidin' out up there.

- How'd you get the job?
- Gordon.

He's always got
some angle workin'.

He wants to keep Twombley happy.
I'm his boy.

- What's wrong with you?
- A toothache.

You should get close to him, Jack.

Make yourself irreplaceable.
The guy is loaded.

Like you and Gordon?

Right. The son of a bitch
couldn't get along without me.

Yeah, he'd go broke tomorrow
if you quit him.

Right.

Bastard's got his high beams on.

- Shit!
- What?

That's my ex-wife Lillian
and her husband in the Audi.

- Audi's a good car.
- What's she here for?

She's here to get Jill.
Me and Jill had an argument.

Jack, I gotta get back to town.
Move this thing, will ya?

See if you can get back to the town
hall before they get there, okay?

- Piece of cake.
- Take this joint.

Lillian?

Lillian.

Where's Jill?

Me and Jill,
we had a little spat.

She kind of felt left out
from not knowing the new kids.

Where is she? Is she
in the truck with your friends?

No. She told me she wanted
to wait for you inside.

While you went for
a few beers with your friends.

That Hettie Rogers in there
with what's-his-name?

Yeah.

Boy, she's grown up
a little, hasn't she?

Jesus, lay off, will ya?

You've won this round,
so just lay off, for chrissake.

You amaze me.
Year after year in the same old ways.

Horner, leave her be.

It's got nothing to do with you,
so just act like a chauffeur. You got it?

Wade, nobody wants any trouble.

Listen to me.
I don't want her to go.

Please don't make a scene.
Nobody is trying to win any round.

Don't make this any worse.

- I'm not making it any worse. You are!
- Me?

Me and Jill,
we could've worked this out.

It's normal.
It's a father-daughter thing.

- She called me.
- I know she called you.

But how do you think
this makes me look?

Coming up here and treating her
like some tragic victim.

- I'm not gonna do this.
- Just wait till we're through!

Don't say a word.

I didn't hit him.

I'm not gonna hit anybody.

New hat?

- Jill's up, I see.
- Yeah, for a while.

- How's she doing?
- She's okay. She's fine.

You two want to do anything, need
a third party, give me a call. I'm off.

Like hell you are. Tomorrow's
the first day of deer-huntin' season.

I'll need you at least in the mornin'.
Take care, Wade.

Well, I guess that's that.

You be careful
of that little bastard.

- He's dyin' to get in your pants.
- Come on. Give me a break.

- I'll see you tomorrow.
- Okay.

- Tomorrow, Gordon.
- Hmm.

Watch the snow.
It's coming down tonight.

This weather any advantage
in tracking the bastards?

Don't worry, Mr. Twombley,
I know where those suckers are.

Right about now, the does
are holding up in the brush piles.

The bucks are
right behind the does.

We're right behind the bucks.

That gun gets fired before 10:00.

Whether it kills a deer or not,
more or less up to you.

I'll put you inside 30, 35 yards of
a buck first four hours of the season.

That's what you're paying me for,
ain't it?

Damn straight.

Done much shootin'
with that rifle yet?

I'll tell you what, kid.

You get me close
to a big buck by 10:00 in the mornin',

there's an extra $100 in it.

- If you get it?
- Yeah.

- You might not kill it.
- You think so?

You might gut-shoot it.

Cripple it for somebody else
to find and tag.

Can't guarantee that won't happen,
especially with a new gun.

I may have to shoot it.

You take care of your end,
I'll take care of mine.

You understand what I'm sayin'?

I want a deer, a dead one.
Not a cripple.

I get it.

No sweat. You'll get yourself
a deer, dead, by coffee time.

- And you'll get your extra $100.
- Wonderful.

- Good morning, Jason.
- Good morning, Miss Brooks.

Morning.

Hi, Melanie.

Wade?

Where's Jill? I thought
she was coming to school today.

Don't worry, Dad. I love you. I do!

But I don't want to go
to school here tomorrow.

For Pete's sake, Whitehouse,
we ain't got all day!

Are you okay, Wade?

What was wrong?

Why were you holding everyone up?

Did you see that son of a bitch in that
B.M.W.? He could've killed somebody.

- Did you get his number?
- Yeah, I know who it is.

- Good.
- Mel Gordon.

He's from Boston.

He's Evan Twombley's son-in-law.
They're headed to Lake Agaway.

The old man's out hunting with Jack.
I'm gonna spoil his weekend.

Now, Wade.

- Safety on?
- Mm-hmm.

I'm all right.

Stay with me.
We'll cross into the next meadow.

I've seen you before.

- I used to play ball.
- Yeah?

- Drafted by the Red Sox.
- You played for the Sox?

- Double-A. New Britain.
- Oh.

Pitcher.

Best ballplayer to come out
of New Hampshire since Carlton Fisk.

- Really?
- They said.

Only difference between me
and that Clemens on TV is shit luck.

- Safety on?
- Yeah.

- Just ahead.
- Sun's gettin' high.

Deers have ears too, you know.

Oh, yeah.

It's simple. Either they clean up
the trailer, or it gets hauled out.

It looks like a piece of shit.

That's right.
It's called mountain view.

Looks like shit view right now.

Tell them if they don't move it,
I'll come out and have it moved.

I gotta go. I'll call you later.

Told you the snow was coming down.

- Take the grader.
- Take the grader.

Where's the plow?

- Jimmy took it.
- Jimmy took it.

Jack's out hunting
with Evan Twombley.

His son-in-law damn near
killed me this morning.

At the school crossing. Could've hurt
some kids. I'm gonna bust his ass!

Don't go playing policeman.

What the hell am I?
A security guard?

I mean, you hired me.
You and your selectmen friends.

You don't want
the extra police pay?

I'm not sayin' that!

Take the grader.
Go out 29 past Toby's.

Don't let Lillian get to you.
She didn't belong here.

- That's why she left.
- Fuck you.

That's what I love
about a small town.

You know everybody.

Stay close.

Fresh tracks.

Deer shit. Big one.

Here's your buck, Mr. Twombley.

I'll go down and circle around.

You only got a little while
if you wanna collect that extra $100.

# Open the door

# To your heart
and let me come in

Hey. How's it goin'?

Cold. How do you think?

Yeah, sorry about that.
Tell me something.

Why is it every year come first snow
you always get stuck with that grader?

School. Traffic crossing.

So what are we doing after?

- Digging wells?
- Yeah.

Don't work too fast, all right?

Business being the way it is,

Gordon's looking for any reason
to lay me off earlier than usual.

That border jumper's got
too much money as it is.

I'll tell you who's a pisser.
Glen Whitehouse.

He was mean normal.

But when he drank,
it was like he burst on fire.

Brown's Canadian.
Always drank B.C.

One Christmas, there was this cord
of wood out back he'd forgotten about.

So he decides he's gonna
have his boys stack it.

Except it's been out back
for two months.

The wood's all iced in,
he grabs the boys,

throws them outside.
And he's drunk.

Oh! Come on, move it.

Daylight in the swamp.

- Pop, the kids are waiting for us.
- Rolfe.

A lesson in work and its rewards.

You'll thank me for this one day, boys.
Now, come on.

Here we are, boys. Dig in.

Come on, let's do it right over here.
See that?

Goddamn it! Let's do it!

Show a little muscle there.
Come on.

There! There we go.

Attaboy. Come on!

Please, Pop, let's go back.

What the hell are you,
a quitter? Huh?

Get in there!

Quitter? Huh? Huh?

- So what happened?
- Oh, beats me.

That's all I heard.
Wade would know more about it. Wade?

We were just talkin' about
your old man.

"What are you, a quitter?"

Jesus, LaCoy, you got nothing
better to do than tell stories?

The pity is, someday some college student
will come in here and believe this shit

'cause you're the only one
dumb enough to talk to him.

That was some job.

We'll work at it, we promise.

- I think I made a point.
- You just need a drink.

What was that, Wade?

You say something?

You got something to say, say it.

Say it!

You no good pup!

Mom!

Well?

Mom!

Mom!

Mom! Mom!

# I've forgotten more

# Than you'll ever know

# About him

Don't look right.

The sign.

Looks like it's spelled wrong
or somethin'.

Ahh. Wade, Wade. It's people like you
who keep this town from prospering.

I'm not finding fault. It's good
for you. It's good for the town.

- It's a good idea.
- Yeah.

What did you do? Hire one of
those hippie craftsman from Concord?

Think you're gettin'
something you can use,

only it turns out to be
a work of art?

Whatever somebody does to improve
things around here, you gotta find fault.

- Is that it?
- Come on.

I'm only sayin' there's something
wrong with "Homemade Cooking."

The sign's fine.
What it says is wrong.

Who needs it? Everybody that comes
here, been coming here for years.

What do we need a sign for?

But I guess it's better
than what was there before.

What was there before?

Nothin'.

There was nothin' here before.

- You okay?
- Yeah, yeah.

I'm sorry about what I said.

What'd you say?

About you and Jill
and needing a third person.

- She went back with Lillian?
- Yeah.

- Yeah. Forget it.
- I'm sorry.

I'm gonna start me
one of those custody suits.

- I don't give a fucking shit anymore!
- You don't mean that.

- Yeah, I do.
- No, you don't. You're just pissed.

You just oughta cool off for a few days,
then have a long talk with Lillian.

Work it out with her.
Tell her how you feel.

- Lillian's not out to get you.
- The hell she isn't!

Lillian's been trying to nail me
to a cross since the day I met her.

I'm gonna get me a lawyer from Concord
and get this divorce thing rearranged.

- Marge?
- That goddamn woman.

She thinks she can cart Jill off
and leave me alone like this.

I'm a whole lot more than pissed.

I've been there plenty in my life
and I know the difference.

And this is different.

Marge, you got orders.

Call me.

- Tonight. Let's get together tonight.
- Okay.

Talked to Jack?

Nah. Not since last night.
He took a guy hunting.

The fucker shot himself. Ker-bang!
That's what it sounded like.

Not on purpose.
I assume accidental.

- Who? Jack?
- The other guy.

- How'd you hear this?
- C.B., a little while ago.

One of the boys comin' in. Jack on
the C.B. Callin' for state troopers.

I figured you'd know
what really happened.

I was on the grader. Twombley,
summer people from Massachusetts.

Friend of Gordon's. It was Gordon's idea
for Jack to take him hunting.

Oh, boy. I gotta go.

I want you to begin to work on
a new logo for that. I don't like that.

- All righty.
- Put an idea of a mountain down there.

Something like that
with a stream down below.

- What's the hurry?
- Hunting accident. Jack and Twombley.

- I figured you would've heard.
- Twombley! Jesus! Get moving.

I gotta get up there.
How would I have heard?

Have somebody move the grader.

Go on. Go on! You drive.
We'll take my truck.

Turn it off.

All you heard was there was
some kind of accident?

Twombley's shot. I heard that.

Jack's okay, I assume.

You don't know how bad or anything?

You mean Twombley?

Yes, Wade.
I mean Twombley.

Put out that cigarette!

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

Probably shot himself
in the foot or somethin'.

That's what usually happens.

- I should've sent you instead of Jack.
- I wish you had.

I'd rather be deer huntin' than freezin'
my ass off on that fuckin' grader.

Well, you ain't the hunter Jack is, and
he can't drive the grader worth shit.

Like hell!

- That must've been Twombley.
- Want me to follow them to Littleton?

No, no, let's go to the top.
Talk to Jack first.

He'll know what happened.
He best fucking better know!

There's Jack.

I clocked 105.

105? That was pretty fast.

Turns out to be one of these kids
up for the weekend.

She says, "Officer, can we make this
disappear?" Shows me $100 bill.

Heard the news?

- I heard Twombley got shot.
- Yeah.

Watch the dog, Wade.

Takes a mind to,
he'll take your head off.

He likes me.

- Is it bad?
- 30-30 at close range.

Jesus!

- Will he make it?
- D.O.A. Blew the bastard wide open.

Had a hole in his back
you could put your fist into.

Nice hole in front too.

- Did you see it?
- No. Heard it.

We weren't far apart.
I'd spotted this buck.

I looked at the bottom
of the cliff where he was standin'

and there the fucker was,
deader than shit!

I called it right in.

This is gonna be one mess
to clean up.

Twombley's son-in-law and daughter
are up for the weekend.

- Didn't you say you'd seen him, Wade?
- Yeah. Damn near ran me over.

You want to tell them?
You knew the old man.

What the fuck!
My day's already ruined.

Gimme the keys.
You can go back with Jack.

You still got a shit plowing to do.

It ain't finished,
if that's what you mean.

- Something bugging you?
- Yeah, a few things.

Right now we're not interested
in a few things.

Why don't you do a few things for me,
and then you get bugged on your own time?

You might as well take the rest
of the day off. You look fucked up.

You've been paid
for the day anyhow, right?

Not exactly.
I mean, he never paid me.

Don't worry.
You'll get your money.

Don't talk to any newspaper
about this.

Twombley's a big deal down
in Massachusetts.

Just tell them that your lawyer
says you shouldn't comment.

Lawyer?
I don't need a lawyer, do I?

No, of course not.
Just say it. That's all.

- Where'd Twombley get shot?
- In the chest.

No. I mean whereabouts.

About a half mile in,
along the old lumber road.

The old lumber road, huh?
That's a steep climb.

You bring him up yourself?

Ambulance guys lugged him up.

- You stayed away?
- Yeah.

Where'd you get that blood?

What blood?

On your sleeve.

Must've... Ahh. How do I know?

What are you doing, playing cop?

I gotta make a report to Fish and Game.
I'm just wondering, that's all.

What'd he do?

Who the fuck knows?

Must've slipped or something.

I just heard the gun go off.

I've never seen a man get shot before.

Not even in the service.

Must be somethin'.

- I didn't actually see it. Like I said.
- Sure you did.

- What?
- Saw him get shot.

What the fuck are you telling me?
I never seen the guy get shot.

You must've seen him get shot!
I know you did!

Let's get the fuck outta here.
You're not making any sense.

There's your old 20-gauge, and that's
that new Browning you were showing me.

Oh, look at this.

That must be Twombley's gun.

It's brand-new.
Very fancy tooling, huh?

Probably only been fired one time.

But what the hell, Jack? I guess you
deserve it. Right's right, huh?

Twombley sure as hell
won't be shooting it again.

I gotta turn it in to Fish and Game.

- Yeah, I was goin' to.
- Sure, you were.

- Rolfe?
- Yeah, Wade?

Brother, look. I was calling 'cause

has there been anything on TV
in Boston about a hunting accident,

involving a guy named Twombley,
Evan Twombley?

There was something.
It happened up your way.

Yeah. Yeah, I know him.

I mean, the kid that was with him.

Maybe you did too. Jack Hewitt.

He works for LaRiviere with me.

He's my best friend.

Wade, it's late.
I know you're probably at Toby's.

But I'm in bed reading.
We have different habits.

No, no. Not tonight.

I'm in bed too.

I was calling 'cause
I need you to listen.

I got this theory.

Jack says he didn't see Twombley shot.

It'll come out that Jack lied
and the kid'll hang for it.

He was scheduled to testify
for a committee

investigating organized crime in
New England, the construction business.

- Who?
- Twombley.

- No shit!
- Why? Do you think Jack shot him?

Well, it was an accident.

They were out deer hunting, right?

Maybe there was a third person.

Lillian was here. In Lawford.

- Night before the shooting.
- How was she?

She came to pick up Jill.

She was supposed to spend
the weekend for Halloween,

but she wanted to go home.

- Who?
- Jill.

I was thinking of getting a lawyer.

Maybe you can help me.

- What happened?
- A divorce lawyer.

No, a custody lawyer.

You know, 'cause of Jill.

Don't think about it.
You're exhausted.

Yeah, I guess so.

Get some sleep.

I get to feeling like
a whipped dog some days.

Some night I'm gonna bite back.
I swear it.

Haven't you already done
a bit of that?

No, no, I haven't.
Not really.

I've growled a little.

But I haven't bit.

It's okay, sweetie.

Who are you?

I'm Wade Whitehouse.
Is your husband here?

He's asleep.

We were up very late last night.

I just wanted to say I'm really sorry
about your father, Mrs. Twombley.

Mrs. Gordon. Thank you.

Yeah. Yeah, sure.

I just had a little business
to do with Mr. Gordon.

I'm the local police officer.

Something about my father?

No, no, no. It's just a traffic thing.
It's no big deal.

Can it wait then?

Whitehouse, next time,
phone ahead.

Jesus Christ, Mr. Gordon.

When I come all the way out here to serve
somebody a summons, I don't call ahead.

What the hell
are you talking about?

I'm issuing you a ticket.
A moving violation.

Moving violation?

I just get out of bed, and you're talking
about a goddamn speeding ticket?

Yesterday you passed
a stopped school bus,

- which had a flashing...
- Hold on.

Don't ever put your hands on me,
Mr. Gordon.

You're talkin' about a goddamned ticket
from the time I passed you

while you were dreaming of
becoming a traffic cop or something.

There's your ticket.

You get the hell outta
my house now, asshole.

You'll be a lucky asshole if I haven't
got you fired by the end of the day.

I could do that.
Just one phone call.

I'm pissed enough to do it.

Jack's kind of sensitive, I guess.

Heard he was drunk at Toby's last
night and got in a fight with Hettie.

He drove off without her.

I'm sure. I'm positive it didn't
happen the way Jack says it did.

Jack's turned into one of those men
who are permanently angry.

He used to be a sweet kid.

When he found out
he couldn't play ball anymore,

he changed.

Now he's like everyone else.

I've been wondering
if maybe Jack shot Twombley,

instead of Twombley
shooting himself.

I wonder if maybe
Jack shot him on purpose.

Wade!

How can you even think such a thing?

Why would Jack Hewitt do that?
Shoot Twombley on purpose?

Money.

- Jack doesn't need money.
- Everybody needs money.

Except Twombley and that son of a bitch
son-in-law of his. People like that.

Jack wouldn't kill for it.

- Besides, who'd pay him?
- Lots of people.

A guy like Twombley probably got
lots of people who want to see him dead.

The government's investigating
his links to the Mafia.

Oh, the Mafia hired Jack Hewitt?

No, no.

I just know Jack's lying
about how it happened.

He seemed tight, you know?

I know that kid.
I know what he's like inside.

He's like me when I was his age.

You wouldn't have done
anything like that.

Shoot somebody for money?

Not for money.

But if somebody'd give me half a damned
excuse, I was pretty fucked up.

But you're not anymore.

When are you gonna get
that tooth fixed?

Oh, yeah.

I can see
what you looked like as a kid.

- You knew me when I was a kid.
- No, not really.

Not what you looked like.
I never studied your face.

Hmm. I never really

could see you as a kid when
you were a kid until now, this way.

In what way?

After making love.

I like it. It's nice to see that
in a grown-up person.

It's kind of scary.

- But it's nice.
- Yeah.

- I'll get us a beer.
- Okay.

Don't you think...

Do you really think
it's a good idea to press this

custody thing right now?

Sure. Why not?

I don't know. It's just...
Seems like...

I'm her father. Supposed to be,
but I'm not able to.

Yeah. Yes, I do.

You know,

maybe the only thing
in my life that I've been

so sure about wanting.

Even if it takes a big fight.

Well, then I guess you have to.

There's another thing
I've been thinking about.

I don't know how you feel about the idea
'cause we've never talked about it.

But I've been thinking.

I've been thinking we should
get married sometime.

You and me.

- Oh, Wade.
- It's just a thought, that's all.

- You've been married twice.
- Yeah, but it was to the same woman.

I was just a kid.

It's not like a marriage proposal
or anything.

It's just a thought, an idea.

Something for you and me
to think about, you know.

- All right. I'll think about it.
- Good.

I've got sons, goddamn it!

My God, have I got sons.

Wade? Rolfe?

Elbourne?

You love me, boys?

You love your Pop?

Of course you do.

Glen, come on, please.

Oh, Christ, Sally!

You are such a good person.

Capital "G."

By God, you are so much better
than I am.

I who am no goddamn good at all.

And you,

you are a truly good person.

Like a fucking saint!

Fucking beyond compare!

- Glen, don't. Come on.
- Get away!

Whoa! My, my,
look at my big boy here,

bursting out of the seams
of his jeans.

- You little prick!
- Glen, don't!

Yeah, well.

Did you tell them that we were coming?

Don't you think it's proper for a fella
to introduce his girl to his parents?

I know your parents.

I just gotta pick up my divorce papers
for the lawyer. It won't take long.

You're really gonna do that?
That custody thing?

- Yeah!
- Oh, God.

I think you'll be sorry. I think you'll
wish you'd never opened this up again.

Maybe. But I'd be a hell
of a lot sorrier if I just let it go.

Kids grow up fast
and then it's over.

You get old, your kids are strangers.

Look at me and my old man.

Your father's not like you.
That's why you and he are strangers.

That's my whole point.

I don't want to get into that.

And Lillian's not like your mother.
She won't roll over.

She'll fight you like a she-bear.

If Lillian had been like my mother,
I wouldn't have to be doing any of this.

Are you sure they're home?

Well, the truck's still here.

Looks like they stayed inside
since the snowfall.

That's strange.

You think they're all right?

Yeah, of course. I would've heard.

- How?
- I don't know, for chrissake!

Pop?

Hey, Pop, you okay?

Huh?

Oh.

Jesus, Pop, how can you stand the cold,
dressed like that?

Huh? Oh.

Where's Ma?

Ah, she's sleeping.

Oh.

You remember Margie Fogg?

Oh. From Wickham's?

Hello, Mr. Whitehouse.

Ah. You, ah, like
some coffee or something?

No, thanks.

How are you and Ma doing?
I haven't seen you in town.

We're all right.
Yeah, we're all right.

Uh, she's sleeping.
You want me to go up and get her?

- Yeah.
- Oh.

Jesus. Nothing's
changed around here.

- It's freezing in here.
- Yeah, yeah. I'll put some wood on.

Close the door would help.

Don't. It's bad for you.

Maybe they're too old
to be staying here.

Maybe so.

Where's Mom?

Ah, she's comin'.

Have you been heating the house?
Not just with the stove.

Well, there's a furnace here.

You're not using it today?

Well, it's broken or something.
I guess.

There's an electric
up in the bedroom.

Maybe Wade oughta take a look at it.
Your pipes will freeze.

- Would you do that, Wade?
- Yeah, yeah.

Ah.

Ma?

Ma?

Hey, Ma.

Ma, come on, wake up.

Oh, Jesus.

Oh, Lord.

Oh, Jesus.

Wade?

Is, uh...

She's dead then?

Yep.

When did she die?

I checked on her.

I brought the electric up.

The cold bothers her
more than it does me.

That's why I brought
the electric up and...

- Don't you have a telephone?
- It's in the living room.

Why didn't you call
and have the furnace fixed?

Oh, Wade.

I thought she was all right.

Till this morning, she was.

It makes me sad!

Is there anything I can do?

Makes me sad it was her
instead of me.

God!

Oh.

I should've froze.

Wade called me, as usual,
late at night.

I knew it was Wade.
No one else calls me at that hour.

And I was ready to listen to another
chapter in one of his ongoing sagas.

There was the detective story concerning
the shooting of Evan Twombley,

and the family melodrama
about Wade's custody fight with Lillian.

But not this time.

Wade was telling
a different story,

or so it seemed then, one in
which I myself was a character.

He had called to tell me
that some time the previous night

he had discovered
our mother had died,

and he'd discovered the body

when he went over to visit her
and our father with Margie Fogg.

It was left to me to tell
our sister Lena and her husband Clyde

who'd gone overweight and
made Jesus Christ their personal Savior.

Pop was okay, but out of it.

Worse than usual, maybe.

Though no drunker than usual.

How 'bout you, Rolfe? Are you saved?

No, I'm not.

But then you'll be in hell.

I guess I will.

Me and Mom and Wade and Pop.

We'll all be there together.

Shouldn't we get this show on the road?

Well, pointless to stand around
in church, I guess, with nothing to do.

What about Jill?
Is Lillian bringing her?

They'll be at the church
and the cemetery.

Anyone else want another beer?
Rolfe?

No, thanks. I don't drink.

Yeah, I forgot. Sorry.

- How are you holding up, Wade?
- Oh, I'm fine.

- Are you Rolfe?
- Yes.

Gordon. Gordon LaRiviere.
I remember you from high school.

You're a teacher now? Hmm?

- Harvard?
- B.U.

Oh. I don't see you around.

I don't suppose there's much reason
for you to come this way.

- Come on, Pop.
- Hmm?

- Join us.
- Huh?

Reverend?

Let's kneel for a moment of prayer
before the service.

Wade? Rolfe?

- This is nuts.
- Wade.

- Jesus in heaven,
- Oh!

We come to Thee on our knees,
begging for Thy forgiveness.

And thanking Thee for
the undeserved gift of Thy salvation.

We thank Thee, whose blood
was shed that we may live.

- Praise the Lord!
- Praise the Lord.

Oh, God, not one of you is worth
a single hair on that woman's head! God!

Please look down upon this woman,
our mother and friend,

and make her example
known to us.

Not one of you is worth a goddamned
hair on that good woman's head!

- Pop!
- Jesus! What is this shit?

- I'll head on to the church.
- This is a difficult time.

Pop, it's no big deal.

Oh, smart guy.
Tell me it's no big deal?

I just...

Tell me there's a single one
of you that's worth

one single hair on that
woman's gray head!

- Pop?
- What?

Jesus is more powerful
than any demon.

- Oh, go fuck yourself!
- Wade, just leave it.

Yeah, just listen
to your little brother here.

"Wade, just leave it."

Candy-asses.

All of you.

That's what I've got for children.

Jesus freaks and candy-asses!

Oh. "Just leave it, Wade."

"Praise the Lord!"

- "Just leave it, Wade."
- Stop, Glen Whitehouse!

Goddamn it! Come on, girl!

If you ever touch her again,
I'll kill you! I swear it!

You're still standing up
for your little brother, huh?

For as much as it hath pleased
Almighty God of His great mercy...

It snowed the day of the funeral.

The snow line had descended
from Canada weeks before

and was now well south of Lawford,

creeping across New Hampshire
towards Massachusetts.

In sure and certain hope
of the Resurrection to eternal life

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes,

dust to dust.

Amen.

Pop, let's go back to the house.

- Hey, Dad.
- Hey.

I'm glad you came.

Can you stay for a while?

No.

You ever go to
your father's grave anymore?

No, not anymore.

It's too far.

You know, we should talk.

- We've done all our talking, Wade.
- It's just that...

No, please don't.

I'm sorry about your mother.

I really liked her.

You never know how much
women like that suffer.

Like they live their whole lives
with the sound turned off.

Then they're gone.

- Mom?
- Huh?

- She's got an ice skating lesson at 4.
- I'm taking ice skating, Dad.

That's great.

- Figure skating, I suppose.
- And ice ballet.

That's great.

Well.

Good-bye, Dad.

- What about Margie?
- What about her?

You still plan on
getting married?

Oh, yeah. She'll probably quit her job
and move out here with Pop.

We can't leave him alone anymore.

He'll probably set
the damn place on fire.

And with Jill here a lot,
it'll be good to have Margie around.

Things are gonna change
in that department, by the way.

I got a custody lawyer down in Concord.
I'm gonna see him tomorrow.

All hell's gonna break loose,
but it'll be worth it.

Here, put the shovels away.

I wanna let it run out of gas.

I don't want the bastard drivin' drunk.

He's drunk all the time now.

After, we'll hide the keys.

Anything new about the shooting?

- Twombley?
- No.

I guess it was an accident
like everybody thinks.

Want to know what
I think happened?

You find them everywhere.

I think your first response
to the shooting was the correct one.

- Which is?
- That it wasn't an accident.

Well, then who shot him?

Your friend, I think. Jack Hewitt.

Jack.

Come on, Rolfe.
You gotta give me a motive.

- Money.
- Money? Who'd pay 'im that kind of money?

Not the mob.
They got their own guys. Specialists.

Who else benefits
if Twombley is suddenly dead?

- I don't know. You tell me.
- Okay.

It's likely there are people in the union
who don't want Twombley to testify.

That probably includes his son-in-law,
who's vice president.

And will probably be
the next president.

I read that in the papers.

- Uh, what's his name?
- Mel Gordon.

- Mel Gordon, right.
- The guy in the BMW, right?

Okay, here's my theory.

Twombley, he doesn't know
about illegal loans or whatever

and he starts to nose around because
of the investigation, and he finds out.

Finds out his son-in-law is involved.

So Mel Gordon wouldn't want
a professional hit.

That makes the Feds dig deeper.
He wants it to look like an accident.

A hunting accident's perfect.

Around here,
you shoot somebody in the woods,

you say it was an accident,
they fine you 50 bucks

and they lift your hunting license.

And Jack,

Jack's probably sayin' the guy shot
himself 'cause he ain't got his deer

and he don't want
his license lifted.

Nah. That's too neat.
Things ain't that neat.

- Some things are.
- Only in books.

It's what happened.

That makes me mad.

That somebody can shoot somebody,
his own father-in-law

and not be punished for it.

- Don't that piss you off?
- No, not particularly.

Right's right, goddamn it. Jesus, Rolfe.
Don't you care about what's right?

I care about what happened.

The truth.

Remember, I'm a student
of history.

Books.

I've been thinkin' about
that story you told me.

About Pop,

and chopping the firewood
out of the ice and after.

I don't want to disappoint you,
but I don't think it happened.

You don't think I'd remember
a thing like that?

It wasn't me.

I wasn't there.

I heard about it, when I heard
about it, it was Elbourne.

Elbourne, Jesus. We'd have
to go digging in Vietnam to ask him.

And Elbourne and Mom
brought you to the doctor

and told him
you fell from the hayloft.

I never heard that one.

No, I remember clearly because,

after I heard, I became
real careful around Pop.

I was a careful child

and I became a careful adult.

But at least I was never afflicted
by that man's violence.

That's what you think.

I better head back.
It's a long drive.

All right.

Okay.

Ready, Jimmy?

Put out that cigarette!

Not there, asshole. Strip it.

- Morning, Gordon.
- Morning, Wade.

Hey, Jack.

- I'm fuckin' out of here.
- What, Lawford?

Out of this fucking job.
This job sucks.

Workin' outside in the winter sucks.

Open the door, will you?

Why don't you quit now,
you want out so bad?

- Open the door. We're late.
- No, I mean it, Jack.

You got enough money now.
Head out to California. Surf's up, Jack.

And you digging wells in the snow.

What do you mean I got money?
I'm as broke as you.

Looney Tunes, Jack.
Fucking Looney Tunes.

You think you're getting away with it?

Mr. Gordon!

- Is the boss in?
- Yes, indeedy.

I screwed up the divorce.

I agreed to everything
that she said.

I just wanted her to like me.

I wanted to be a good father.

I have the documents.

You know,

it would help if you were married,

if there was someone at home
while you're at work.

I plan to soon.

How soon?

Next spring.

It would help if there was some change
in circumstance since this was drawn,

if there was some drug or alcohol abuse
on the part of your ex-wife.

Sexual problems upsetting the child.

I'm sorry, but these are the things
we're gonna have to explore

if we want to contest this document.

- Does it have to get that messy?
- Absolutely.

This is just the tip of the iceberg,
Mr. Whitehouse.

I hope you understand
what I'm saying.

Looks kind of hopeless, don't it?

No, not really. I'll have
another look at the divorce decree,

see if we can get it redrawn.

But at some point, I'm going
to have to interview your daughter.

- It's Jill, right?
- Yes.

You got an ashtray?

I'll need a $500 retainer.

You can just mail it to me.

How much is the whole thing
gonna cost?

It's hard to say.

But if we go for custody, there's
depositions, psychiatric evaluations.

But if we just want to get
the visitation rights redrawn,

assuming they're unduly restrictive,
it wouldn't be more than $3,500.

Oh.

It might be in your best interest legally
as well as financially to just go for...

I know. The custody thing wasn't
just my trying to get back at her.

I'm not as dumb as I look.

I didn't say you looked dumb,
Mr. Whitehouse.

I love my daughter.

I'll send you the $500.

I'm sorry about the long lunch.

My transmission's going out again.

Did you ever think about
getting a new car?

On what you pay me?

Elaine, call Chub Merritt, have him pick
up Wade's shitbox, fix the transmission.

What?

Call Chub Merritt, have him pick up
Wade's car, fix the transmission.

I'll bill the repair to the town.

You can use my four-by-four.

You're the town police officer.

The town police officer
should have a decent car.

Well, you want a new car or not?

- What do I have to do for it?
- Nothing.

You know, Wade,
I've been thinking.

You don't get enough
appreciation around here.

I saw Mel Gordon in here this morning.

So?

He say anything about
that summons I tried to give him?

The son of a bitch wouldn't accept it.

- Wade, "dat" wasn't smart.
- "That?"

Going out right after
the man's father-in-law shot himself.

It's pronounced "that,"
not "dat." That.

- That.
- Yeah.

Let it go.
Call it a favor to me.

You? Why?

Well, Mel's doing
some business with me.

It's nice to do a favor for people
you do business with.

He was in a hurry.
It's no big deal.

That was before Twombley
was shot, before he knew.

What's the difference?

Take my truck, take a rest.
Stop worrying about Mel Gordon.

Have you decided what to do
with your old man's place yet?

You oughta sell it, move into town.

- You wanna buy?
- Don't light that here. I'm allergic.

- I won't. You interested?
- Maybe.

- You and Mel Gordon?
- Could be.

Always count on Wade
for a good screwing, huh?

What are you talking about?

Why should you guys make all the money?
You, Mel and Jack.

Right's right.

I asked you not to light
that fucking thing in here.

Get out of here
with that smoke!

A hunting accident's perfect.

Anything new about the shooting?

I think your first response
to the shooting was the correct one.

Your friend, I think. Jack Hewitt.
He's my favorite.

Money. Hunting accident.
I bet it wasn't an accident.

- It wasn't me. I wasn't there.
- The truth.

Remember, it may have happened,
but not the way you said.

It's what happened
not because it's neat.

Twombley's sudden death.
Killing was the correct one.

The truth, remember.

You crazy son of a bitch!
You almost killed us both!

Get off the fuckin' ice!

Get off!

What're you runnin' from, Jack?

We're gonna talk.

Stay back.

I'll shoot you.

I'll fuckin' shoot you dead
if you don't get back in that truck.

You ain't shootin' shit.
Now put the gun away.

Tell me what happened.

Don't move!
I'll shoot you dead if you move.

Thanks a lot.

Stop that!

Who? Me?
I didn't do nothin'.

Just look what a good job
I done here.

You haven't done anything. I should've
left you at home to stew in your drink.

Damn right you should have.

It's about time.

Your father's here.
Marge got to baby-sit him.

She moved in with you, huh?

- What happened?
- Don't even ask.

My, my, my. The prodigal son.

About fuckin' time too.

I got me a new job.
Second cook and bottle washer.

Pop, for chrissake,
let's go home.

I'm sorry. I got waylaid.

The hell you got waylaid.

You follow your prick around
like it was your nose, for chrissake!

Can it, Whitehouse.
Get him out of here.

It was funny at first, but I'm tired.

Let's go home.
What home is that?

Is that your home or my home?

You're a fuckin' sly, Wade.

Now, your mom's dead. She can't
make any excuses for you anymore.

You've got to deal with me now.

No more sugar tit, sonny!

- For chrissake, Pop. Let's go home.
- Don't give me any of your lip.

- Get out of this fast.
- I can't.

Are you pushing me?

- Come on. My God.
- Don't push me!

- You think you can take me now?
- Come on.

- Just get in the car.
- What's the matter?

Just get in the car.

- Get in.
- Wimp!

Just get in.

Why don't you grow up?

You never could stand up
for yourself!

Goddamn it!

You could never understand
what it's about.

I wish you'd die!

Oh, stop it!
Just stop it! Stop it!

No shit, Rolfe.
I glanced up and there he was,

only it was me.

But it was like
I had never seen myself before.

It was a stranger's face.
It's hard to explain.

You fly on automatic pilot, like I was
doing all night, and you disappear.

Then you accidentally see your body,
or your face, or whatever,

and you don't know
who in the hell it belongs to.

Strange.

It's the business with the old man

and how incredibly pissed
I was at him,

and chasing Jack Hewitt
and the goddamned truck.

Not to mention Margie's being upset.

One thing on top of another.

Wade, are you all right?

You gotta hear this.
You won't believe it.

Mel Gordon had come by
to visit LaRiviere.

So they're in the office.

Mel Gordon realized
that I was onto them.

Mel thinks he can buy me off.

But LaRiviere,
he knew that wouldn't work.

Mel Gordon may be able
to buy off LaRiviere. That's one thing.

But not me.

How could a guy like Jack Hewitt
get into a mess like this?

- Coffee?
- Thank you, Alma.

- You want milk and sugar?
- No, no. Black is fine.

I like it this way.

You got yourself
a new computer, huh?

I've been putting
all my files into it.

You all right, Wade?

Yeah. I got this damn tooth.
It's killing me.

Got a few things bugging me,
just like everybody else.

I'm okay.

I don't mean to pry.

I'm sorry about your mother.

It was a nice funeral.

It's over now.

Alma,

I think there's some dirty business
goin' on in this town.

I know that.
There always has been.

No, no. I think this is a little worse
than you and I are used to.

I'm talkin' about murder,
among other things.

- Who?
- Twombley. Evan Twombley.

The union boss official
who got shot.

- Somebody murdered him.
- Who would...

You know Jack Hewitt,
the kid I work with?

Well, I think Jack shot him.

You know, Twombley was
the father-in-law of Mel Gordon.

That's a friend of LaRiviere's.

I don't know what
the connection is yet,

but LaRiviere had Jack
take him out hunting,

pretending it was an accident.

If Jack told the truth,

he could
be free by the time he's my age.

Sometimes things are simpler
than you think.

- Let me ask you a question.
- You don't believe me?

About Jack? No.

Have you checked out the tax bill
on your father's farm lately?

Um, I know he's been due
for a couple of years.

I was thinkin' of paying it
when the insurance comes in.

Has anybody offered to buy it?

Yeah. Matter of fact, LaRiviere.

These are all the real estate transactions
in this town for the last year.

Most of it is unused land. Most of it is
for little more than back taxes owed.

How's Lillian?

She's fine.

That's three years ago.

It's quite a difference, hmm?

What's the North Country
Development Association?

Went down to Concord.
I checked it out.

Mel Gordon is the president.

And the vice president
and treasurer is Gordon LaRiviere.

They're buying up the whole mountain.
$364,000 last year.

I believe that's a little
outside of LaRiviere's league.

- Is Twombley involved?
- No.

He must've found out.

They had to get rid of him.

And Jack will get blamed for it.

All these figures show is that...

Gordon LaRiviere is gonna be a very rich
man because of his being a selectman.

In a year or two,
you're not gonna recognize this town.

Oh, boy. Oh, boy!

You sneaky son of a bitch!
I got your number now!

All these years I thought
you were a decent man.

Ran around feeling grateful to you.

Can you believe that? Grateful!

- You're fired, Jade!
- He's using us.

- We're his slaves. We're alike.
- What were you doing with my truck?

- Are you a quitter? Quitter!
- You're finished. Gimme the keys.

I give it with pleasure.
I'm free of you.

You're not on my back anymore.

- You see how easy it is?
- Keep your hands off me.

I'll handle this.
Break it up. Break it up, Wade!

Break it up! Wade!

You ain't gettin' away with this!
You ain't gettin' away with it!

Stay out of it, Jimmy. You're fired.
I want the shop keys. Where are they?

Wade, get out of here! Just go!

I gotta call my brother.

Yeah, I know what it means.
I'm just runnin' out of ways to use it.

- Why? For what?
- To help Jack.

To nail those sons of bitches.
You know, the two Gordons.

That's what Alma calls them.
Jesus, Rolfe, whose side are you on?

Wade, listen.
Take care of the little things first,

the things that are distracting you
from taking care of the big things.

Call Chub Merritt,
get your car back.

Call a dentist
and get your tooth pulled.

Forget about the hunting accident.

Let it go.

- Wade?
- Chick.

- The good news is,
we haven't got to your car yet.

- The bad news...
- Just tell me when you have it fixed.

The bad news is there's a problem with
Gordon's truck, which somebody shot up.

Figured you'd know something
about that, Wade.

Yeah, I know about that.

LaRiviere says he ain't gonna pay
for fixing your car.

It's a couple hundred
for the transmission.

I got more some bad news.
Wanna hear it?

- Yeah, tell me.
- Chub says you're fired.

He can't fire me.
LaRiviere already did that this morning.

Your other job for the town.

Chub's a selectman.

Said to turn your badge in
and clean out your office.

What do you mean you can't
take me today? I told you it's...

Shit! Shit! Shit!

- Wade?
- What?

What in the world
is happening to you?

Why are you acting this way?

It's my tooth!
It's my goddamn tooth!

I can't even think anymore
because of it.

You got fired this morning,
didn't ya?

Margie, look.
That's temporary, believe me.

There's so much shit that's gonna
hit the fan in the next few days

and my getting fired by LaRiviere
and Merritt won't matter a bit.

I'll get another job.

People are gonna need me.

After this is over, they're gonna
make me into a goddamn hero!

You wait, you'll see. I'll deliver.
I'll be the best father that ever lived.

You need me. Even Pop!
For chrissake, he needs me!

This town needs me!

I'll get another job.
Maybe right now

they think they can send me howling
into the corner like a kicked dog!

But by God,
it'll be different soon!

Always been a whiner. God!

Now, my old man,
there was a real man.

He let no woman push him around.

Worked till the day he died.

Yeah, men like him
were real men.

And women knew their place.
There was no confusion.

Women respected men then.
It wasn't like it is today...

Be careful what you say,
Glen Whitehouse.

I know you.
My mother knew your wife.

Oh, what she went through.

Don't you sass me, damn it!

You think you're
pretty hot stuff, huh?

Well, you're gettin' old too.

And there's not a goddamn thing
a woman can do about that.

Is there?

Gimme the bottle.

Sure.

You will say that I should've known

terrible things
were about to happen.

You will say
that I was responsible.

But even so, what could
I have done by then?

Wade lived on the edge
of his emotions.

He was always first to receive
the brunt of our father's anger.

He had no perspective
to retreat to.

Even in a crisis.

Wait there.
She'll be right out.

I thought we'd go
out to the farm, see my dad.

- Get your boots.
- Hi, honey.

- Have her home tomorrow night by 6:00.
- That's no problem.

Lillian, I'm sorry.

I had this damn tooth,
and I got it pulled.

- God, you make me sick.
- What?

I can't believe
you would sink this low.

- Low as what? What have I done?
- Your lawyer called.

Yeah. Is that bad to want
to see your own daughter?

Don't play dumb.
You know what I'm talking about.

For what this will do to her,
this kid you say you love so much.

Love, Wade?

Really?

Shame on you!

Shame on you.

Bye, sweetie. Call me tonight
if you feel like it.

Are we going in this?

Yeah, my car's in the shop.
This'll be fine.

- It's pretty old.
- It belongs to Pop.

- Pop?
- Yeah, my father. You know who he is.

Pop. It's his.

Yeah.

Well, how 'bout a Big Mac?

Mom won't let me eat fast food.

You know that. It's bad for you.

Come on. We can always sneak
a Big Mac like we used to.

And a cherry turnover.
What do you say, Jillie?

No.

- What do you want then?
- Nothing.

Come on, you can't have nothing.
We gotta have lunch.

- Mr. Pizzeria?
- Same thing, Dad.

- Mom says all that food is bad for you.
- I don't care what Mom says.

I'm in charge today, okay?

Okay.

We'll get what you want.
What do you want?

What do I want?
Well, I don't know.

I guess I can wait till we get home.
Maybe we'll stop at Wickham's.

- Okay.
- Fine. Fine.

Are you okay?

Ah, Jillie, come on.
Come on, honey.

Don't get sad on me.
I'm sorry.

- I'm sorry.
- What are you sorry for?

What am I sorry for?

Well, I don't know.
I guess it was the food business.

I just thought we'd sneak a Big Mac
on Mommy like we used to.

I wanna go home.

You can't.

That's illegal, you know.

I know.

You're a policeman.

No.

Not anymore.

I'm nothin' anymore.

Here we go.
Go on, grab that pocket.

So, what do we want?

Come on, Jillie, what do we want?
Jillie, Jillie, Jillie!

We want a cheese
grilled sandwich?

It's called
a grilled cheese sandwich, you dub.

Jill! Jill, I'm sorry.

Honey, nothin' happened.
Nothin' happened.

- I wanna go home.
- Oh, yeah. Sure, honey.

We'll go home right now.
I'm sorry. Nothin' happened.

Let's go. Come on.

Wade, I got a message for ya.

Jack Hewitt, he's lookin' for you.

He wants you to clear your stuff
out of his office in town hall.

- His office? You mean my old office.
- That's what he said.

I'd stay away from him
if I were you.

He's real pissed.

Are you all right, Nick?

You goin' somewhere, Margie?

I'm just clearing out some of the stuff
that's piled up for the rummage sale.

And some of it's
for the cleaners and the Laundromat.

Don't lie to me, Marge.

You're leaving me. I can see that.

Don't be silly.

Hi, Jill.

Marge.

Oh, Marge.

Oh. Oh.
Help me, Marge.

Leave me alone!

- Leave me alone!
- Leave her alone! Leave her alone!

Leave her alone!

- I wanna go home.
- Jill.

Will you take me home?

Jill?

Oh, my.

You! By Christ!

You! I know you!

Ah, yes.

You.

Yeah, you goddamn
son of a bitch.

I know you.

You're my blood. You're a goddamn
fuckin' piece of my heart.

You don't know me.

You don't know me.

Fuck you.

Fuck you!

You done finally done it.

Done it right.
Done it like a man done it.

Just the way I taught ya.

Oh, goddamn!

I love you,
you mean son of a bitch.

- I do.
- Love. What do you know about love?

Love? Hell, I'm made of love.

Call it what you want.

Everything you know

- comes from me.
- Yeah.

Bang!

You and me!

Where the hell you goin'?

Where you goin', Wade? Best you leave
my goddamn truck where it is.

Wade, I need to...

Gimme those keys.

Wade! I need to get to town.

Crawl.

There's hardly any booze left in the
house. I gotta get me some Brown's.

Hey!

It's my house, my money,

my goddamn truck!

Stolen!

You and me.

You and me.

I don't know you.

My own goddamn father,
and I don't know you.

You and me.

Don't you sass me, goddamn it.

I love you too.

Ha. Joke.

Pop?

Pop?

Dad.

Dad.

The historical facts
are known by everyone.

All of Lawford, all of New Hampshire,
some of Massachusetts.

Facts do not make history.

Our stories, Wade's and mine,

describe the lives of the boys and men
for thousands of years:

Boys who were beaten
by their fathers,

whose capacity for love and trust
was crippled almost at birth,

men whose best hope for connection
with other human beings

lay in detachment,

as if life were over.

It's how we keep from destroying
in turn our own children

and terrorizing the women
who have the misfortune to love us;

how we absent ourselves from
the tradition of male violence;

how we decline
the seduction of revenge.

Jack's truck turned up three days later
in a shopping mall in Toronto.

Wade killed Jack.

Just as surely as Jack
did not kill Evan Twombley.

Even accidentally.

The link between Jack and Twombley,
LaRiviere and Mel Gordon

existed only
in Wade's wild imaginings.

And briefly, I admit,
in mine as well.

LaRiviere and Mel Gordon
were indeed in business.

The Parker Mountain Ski Resort
is now advertised across the country.

The community of Lawford,
as such, no longer exists.

It is an economic zone
between Littleton and Catamount.

The house is still in Wade's name,
and I keep paying taxes on it.

It remains empty.

Now and then I drive out there
and sit in my car,

and wonder why not let it go.

Why not let LaRiviere buy it and
build the condominiums he wants there?

We want to believe Wade died
that same November,

froze to death on a bench
or a sidewalk.

You cannot understand how a man,

a normal man, a man like you and me,
could do such a terrible thing.

Unless the police happen
to arrest a vagrant

who turns out to be
Wade Whitehouse,

there will be
no more mention of him.

Or his friend Jack Hewitt.

Or our father.

The story will be over.

Except that I continue.