The Swimmer

"The war has begun. Our country is being invaded. 
They have taken the first swimming pool." 
					IONESCO
 
   

[1]
It is a radiantly beautiful Sunday afternoon. A man is walking 
through a woods barefoot and in bathing trunks. His step is 
jaunty, and he is whistling. Dapples of yellow sunlight slant 
through the leafy boughs overhead onto his tanned, lean-muscled 
body. The man's name is Ned Merrill. He is in his mid-forties. 
Although his handsome, even-featured face shows the marks of his 
age more than his body does, it is at the moment a youthful face, 
boyishly exultant with a feeling of well-being. Now and then Ned 
leaps gracefully from rock to rock in his path -- with the 
coordination of a lifelong athlete. Everything about him -- his 
health, his physical beauty, his happiness -- seems to be a 
celebration of life on this lovely day.


 
[2]
The Westerhazys
 
Suddenly he bursts out of the woods onto a perfect suburban scene: 
the garden, swimming pool, and glistening white ridge-top house 
of Helen and Don Westerhazy. They are sitting on their colorful 
terrace. Helen's eyes are closed. Her body is inert. Don is 
sipping a drink. Both wear bathing suits. 

When Ned sees them he lets out a whoop of greeting and breaks 
into a dog trot across the lawn. 

At the sound of the shout Don and Helen lift their heads to squint 
at the approaching figure. As Ned comes closer, Don stands up and 
shades his eyes. 

Ned has reached the edge of the garden. He runs past a female nude 
in marble, pauses for an instant to slap it sharply and sassily on 
the buttocks, laughs with pleasure at his action and continues 
toward the pool. By this time Don and Helen have recognized him 
and are waving.

Ned reaches the edge of the pool and without breaking his stride 
he leaps and arches into the high, flat trajectory of a racing 
dive.

He swims with a perfect crawl and a powerful kick. The blue water 
breaks up into the diamond-shine of splashes and bubbles as he 
cuts through it to the end of the pool. He kicks away with a well-
executed racing turn and swims another length. He does this again 
and again with untiring vigor and stops only when he sees Don 
sitting on the diving board offering him a martini. Ned bursts 
from the water, grinning, and reaches for the glass. 

				NED
		Hey! Thanks! 

He treads water, holds the glass up in a silent toast, and drinks 
the icy-cold delicious gin. 

				DON
		So it's not because our service is 
		bad?

				NED
			(laughs)
		What do you mean? 

				DON
		We haven't seen you for so damn 
		long-- 

				NED
			(grins)
		Oh, well -- you know how it is!

				DON
		Where've you been keeping yourself?

				NED
		Oh -- here and there, here and there
		-- what a day! Ever see such a 
		glorious day?

He finishes the drink, hands the glass to Don, and heaves himself 
easily and gracefully over the side of the pool. They cross to the 
terrace.

				DON
		God, it's wonderful to see you! You 
		look great! 

				NED
			(enthusiastic)
		So do you--
			(Don gives him 
			a sour look)
		Well, a little pale around the 
		edges--

				DON
		I drank too much last night.
  
They have reached Helen, stretched out on the chaise.
 
				HELEN
			(happily)
		Neddy!

				NED
			(rests his hand 
			on her feet)
		How beautiful are thy feet in 
		sandals, O Prince's daughter!

They burst into laughter. She holds out her arms. He bends down to 
kiss her; suddenly she drops her head back on the chaise and 
groans.
  
				NED
			(smiling at her)
		Bet you drank too much last night!

Don has eased himself gingerly into a chair. He looks at Ned's
dripping, glowing face. 

				DON
		Isn't he a sight for sore eyes?

				HELEN
		Oh, Neddy, we've missed you!
 
				DON
		Come on now, sit down and tell us 
		everything.

				HELEN
		Where're you coming from?

				NED
		Oh, I was around -- thought I'd come 
		over and have a swim with you.
			(he gestures)
		Look at that water! Look at that sun!

				DON
			(squints and grimaces, 
			then gives up and closes 
			his eyes)
		Know what I think? I think everybody
		drank too much last night.
  
				HELEN
		It was that rum. I drank too much of 
		that rum.
 
				NED
		Whose party?

				HELEN
		Our own. Don't worry. You didn't 
		miss a thing. 

				DON
		Usual Saturday night blowout.

				HELEN
		Same old jokes, same old faces. 
		We've all known each other so long 
		there's not even anyone to flirt 
		with.

				NED
			(teasing)
		I'd have flirted with you.
 
				HELEN
			(affectionately)
		You're practically a new face!
 
				DON
		How're things, Ned? Have a good 
		summer? 

				NED
			(exuberant)
		Oh sure! Just great! 
			(he bends over 
			Helen again)
		Come on, love, how about a swim?

				HELEN
			(weakly)
		Uh-uh. 

				NED
			(takes her by 
			the hands)
		Come on, puts oxygen in your blood. 
		Good for a hangover.

				HELEN
			(groans)
		What in the world makes you think 
		I'm hung over?

				NED
			(tugs at her hands)
		I'll race you! 

				HELEN
			(pleads)
		Neddy! Please! No! 

He releases her. She settles back and closes her eyes.

				NED
		How about it, Don?
 
				DON
		Are you kidding?

				HELEN
			(with a vague wave 
			towards the bar tray)
		Relax, Neddy -- have a drink.  
			(she opens her eyes)
		Go on -- sit down and tell us what 
		you've been up to.

At this moment the screen door slams, and a man comes out of the 
house. It is Stu Forsburgh. He is Ned's age but, unlike Ned, shows 
it. He is overweight, with a paunch and thinning hair. He is 
dressed in trousers, shirt and tie, and a sports jacket. 

				NED
			(astonished and delighted)
		Stu Forsburgh!

Stu is equally delighted. They clasp each other warmly.

				STU
		How are you, Sport?

				NED
		Okay! Never better!

				STU
		I'm so glad to see you, you old 
		monster!

				NED
		What the hell are you doing here?

				STU
		Just stopped over -- been up on the 
		Cape for three weeks -- how's 
		Lucinda?

				NED
		She's great!

				STU
		And the girls?

				NED
		All grown up -- and beautiful, Stu, 
		just beautiful!

				STU
			(giving him a 
			good look)
		Don't know how you do it -- you 
		haven't changed a bit! 

				NED
		Hey, where'd you get this?
			(he pats Stu's paunch)
		Why've you got all those clothes on? 

				STU
		We got to get into town and catch a 
		plane. Peggy's packing.

				NED
			(appalled)
		On a day like this -- you're going 
		to take a plane? Don't give me that, 
		man! 

				STU
		Got to get back to the shop--

				NED
			(grabs his lapel)
		Do you know how long it's been 
		since we had a swim together?

				STU
		Don't remind me--

				DON
			(at the drink bay)
		What'll you have, Stu?
 
				NED
			(to Don and Helen)
		We're old bunk mates. We went to the 
		same camp when we were kids!

				STU
			(to Don)
		Gee, I don't know. I drank too much 
		last night.

				DON
			(lifts the pitcher)
		A diluted martini?

				STU
		Okay.
			(to Ned)
		Boy, I'm out of practice for the 
		kind of party you throw around here. 
		We don't go in for that in Columbus 
		unless it's New Year's Eve--

				NED
		I told you not to accept that 
		transfer.

				STU
		What else could I do?

				NED
			(indignantly)
		I'd have quit before I'd let anyone 
		send me to the provinces.

				STU
		Well -- it's healthy.

Stu's wife, Peggy, leans out of an upstairs window and calls:  

				PEGGY
		Stu! Did you pack the pill case?

				NED
			(hoots at Stu)
		Healthy!

				STU
			(calls to Peggy)
		The vitamin case is on the night 
		table, honey! 

				PEGGY
			(with a big smile)
		Don't tell me that's Ned Merrill 
		down there?

				NED
 			(waves)
		How are you, honeybunch? Come on 
		down!

				PEGGY
		Half a minute!

She disappears from the window.

				NED
		God, Stu, I didn't realize how much 
		I missed that ugly old mug of yours!  
		Listen, get out of those clothes --
		we'll have one quick swim!

				STU
		Not up to it. Beginning to feel my 
		age--

				NED
		You crazy? You're a year younger 
		than I am!

				STU
		Yeah! You were always pulling 
		seniority on me at camp--

				NED
		Remember how we used to take off our 
		suits and swim for miles up that 
		river? We just never got tired--
 
				STU
		Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen -- we 
		had nice new pink lungs in those days.

				NED
		The water up there, remember? That 
		transparent, light green water! It
		-- it felt different! 
			(the memory of it 
			shows in his eyes)
		What a beautiful feeling! We could 
		have swum around the world in those 
		days! 

				STU
		That was before we ever touched a 
		drink or a cigarette.

				DON
		Or a girl.

				HELEN 
			(rouses herself)
		That doesn't sap a man's strength! 

				NED
		Or I'd be in a wheel chair today!

Peggy has come out of the house. She is lithe and attractive and 
only slightly tense under her badinage. 

				PEGGY
		Ned Merrill -- still bragging! 

Ned crosses to her and hugs her.

				PEGGY
		Oh I've heard those old schoolboy 
		stories! You all made them up!

				NED
		Figured that out, have you?
			(he hugs her again)
		Now let's settle this nonsense about 
		your taking a plane.

				PEGGY
			(indicates Stu)
		Settle it with him. I like it here. 
		More and more.

				NED
		Lucinda will be disappointed as 
		hell--

				PEGGY
		Well I don't think that's exactly 
		true.

				NED
			(to Stu)
		I can run you over to the house in
		ten minutes-- 

There is a small uncomfortable pause. Don gives Helen a slightly 
worried look.

				NED
			(urges)
		Come for a minute -- just to say 
		hello-- 
			(to Don)
		Okay if I borrow your car?

				DON
			(confused)
		Well, sure, but-- 

He looks at Helen.

				HELEN
			(quickly, to Ned)
		Honestly they haven't time. We 
		promised to stop at the Grahams for 
		a quick goodbye drink. You come 
		with us. 

				PEGGY
			(her eyes still on Ned)
		Of course he'll come with us.

				HELEN
			(to Ned)
		You haven't seen their new pool, 
		have you?

				NED
		Whose pool?

				HELEN
		The Grahams'.

				NED
			(puzzled)
		Did the Grahams put in a pool?

He crosses to the balustrade along the outer edge of the pool 
terrace and looks down. From this hilltop can be seen the lush 
green valley below, crisscrossed by roads, dotted here and there 
with houses, a church spire.

				DON
			(laughs)
		Uh huh! They nurse it like a baby!

				NED
 			(peers over the valley 
			as if trying to find the 
			Grahams' house and pool)
		When did the Grahams put in a pool?

				DON
		Last June.

				NED
			(still puzzled)
		Last June?

				HELEN
			(to Peggy)
		Did you get the suits off the line?

				PEGGY
		My God, I forgot all about them.

Ned stares over the valley. A faraway look has come into his eyes.

				HELEN
		If they're still damp, I have some 
		plastic bags you can use.

				STU
			(to Peggy)
		Better get them, honey, and finish 
		packing.

				PEGGY
			(her eyes on Ned)
		Oh there's time--

She crosses to get a drink.

				NED
			(suddenly)
		Listen, the Biswangers have a pool, 
		haven't they?

				DON
		Biswangers?

				HELEN
		You know, those awful people on Red 
		Coat Road. They're always talking 
		about their Caribbean cruises or 
		their electric toothbrushes--
			(to Ned)
		Sure, they have a big pool.

				NED
			(almost to himself)
		I could do it.

He frowns with concentration. He is thinking hard and hears none 
of the following small talk. 

				STU
			(to Peggy)
		Go on, honey, finish packing.

				PEGGY
			(her eyes on Ned)
		I will in a minute!

				STU
		If we miss that plane--

				PEGGY
			(irritated)
		Columbus isn't going to fly away, 
		you know!

				STU
		I want to put the suitcases in the 
		car.

				DON
		Don't worry, I'll get you to the 
		airport-- 

Suddenly Ned lets out a whoop of triumph.

				NED
		I could do it. I could really do it!

				HELEN
		Do what, Neddy?

				NED
		Now with the Grahams there's a 
		string of pools that curves clear 
		across the county to our house! 
		Listen--
			(he counts carefully 
			on his fingers)
		The Grahams, the Lears, the Bunkers. 
		Then a portage through the Pastern's 
		riding ring to the Lindleys and the 
		Hallorans and over the ridge to the 
		Gilmartins and Eric Hammar's. Then 
		up Alewives Lane to the Biswangers, 
		then, uh, wait a minute -- who's 
		next -- I can't think--
			(he looks at them, 
			panicky)
		I had it a minute ago, I-- who is 
		it?
			(his panic increases)
		Who is it? Who's next to the 
		Biswangers?

				HELEN
			(gently)
		Shirley Abbott.

				NED
			(with great relief)
		Shirley Abbott. Then cross Route 424 
		to the Recreation Center Pool, then 
		the Clydes and that's it.

				DON
		Who are the Clydes?

				NED
		That little ranch house at the 
		bottom of our hill. 
			(stricken)
		What if they don't have a pool?
			(he looks at the 
			others with alarm)
		Everyone has a pool these days, 
		don't they?  God, if they don't have  
		a pool, that'll just ruin it!
 
				HELEN
		Ruin what?

				NED
			(excited)
		Don't you see? I've just figured it 
		out. Look--
			(he gestures over 
			the balustrade)
		If I take a sort of dog-leg to the 
		southwest I can swim home!

				STU 
			(laughs)
		Ah, come on, Ned! 

Helen and Don exchange the briefest of glances. 

				HELEN
		Well but -- why would you want to 
		swim home?

				DON
		I don't get it.

				NED
		Pool by pool! They make a river all 
		the way to our house!

				HELEN
		Well I suppose you could put it 
		that way--
			(firmly)
		Now Neddy, why don't you sit down 
		and have a drink, and then we'll all 
		go to the Grahams--

				NED
			(hasn't heard a word)
		I'll name it the Lucinda River after 
		my wife! 

				PEGGY
			(an edge to her voice)
		That's quite a tribute.

				NED
			(up, excited, 
			carried away)
		This is the day Ned Merrill swims 
		across the county!

He dashes to the pool and dives in in one long unbroken movement. 
The others watch him. 

				STU
			(laughs)
		Always threw himself into the water 
		like that. God, what energy!

				PEGGY
		He keeps himself in shape.

				STU
		Oh come on, he always ate like a 
		horse. Never put on an ounce.

Silently, they watch Ned for a moment. Stu and Peggy are smiling 
-- each a different sort of smile. Helen and Don look anxious. Ned 
has reached the far end of the pool and hoists himself happily 
over the curb.

				STU
		Look at him. Wouldn't use the 
		ladder, not Ned!

Ned, without a backward glance, is striding hurriedly away in the 
direction opposite to that from which he appeared.

				DON
			(calls)
		Hey Ned!
			(louder)
		Hey Ned! Where you going?

				NED
			(calls back, not 
			breaking his stride) 
		I'm swimming home!

				STU
		Hey Ned!

Ned keeps on going.

				HELEN
			(on her feet now 
			and worried)
		Neddy! Come back!
			(he doesn't answer, 
			to Don)
		Where'd he get that nutty idea?

				DON
		He's just joking.

				HELEN
		You sure?

				DON
		Sure. We'll find him waiting for us 
		down at the Grahams.

				HELEN
		Swim to his house! Why would he want 
		to do that?

				STU
		Listen, I know Ned-- always loved to 
		kid around. Hasn't changed a bit.

They watch as Ned leaps over the shrubbery way at the other end of 
the grounds. 

				STU
		Hasn't changed a bit!
 

[3] 
The Grahams
 
A blinding silver image. A high-pitched feminine shriek. Ned is 
pressing his lips lightly to Betty Graham's cheek. She sees his 
face reflected in an aluminum foil sun-tan folder she is holding 
under her chin.
   
She tosses the device down and leaps up to throw her arms around 
him. She is about forty, plump and tanned.
   
				BETTY
		Neddy! Neddy! It's been such a long 
		time! You look wonderful!

				NED
		So do you, fatso!

				BETTY
		I'm going on a diet a week from 
		Thursday. Where'd you come from?

				NED
		Don and Helen's.

				BETTY
		Where are they all? Why didn't they 
		come with you?

				NED
		They're driving down.

The Grahams' house is white clapboard and expensive but not as 
expensive as the Westerhazys'. It is obvious that the Grahams have 
gone all-out with the landscaping and the outdoor accouterments. 
The velvet lawn is pierced by a flagpole flying the American flag. 
There is a good sized terrace and an elaborate brick barbecue. The 
pool is new, and prominent beside it is a wooden bulletin board on 
which the Grahams have posted rules for its use.

Betty takes Ned's hand and leads him to the edge of the pool. She 
watches his expression carefully as he looks at it.

				NED
		Terrific! Absolutely terrific!

				BETTY
		Cost a bundle but Howard's had a 
		marvelous year!
			(she points)
		Look at how clear the water is!

				NED
		Wow!

				BETTY
			(proudly)
		We've got the best filter money can 
		buy. A Dia-something-or-other filter. 
		It filters 99 point 99 point 99 per 
		cent of all solid matter out of
		the water.

				NED
		Gee! 

				BETTY
			(crosses to the 
			little outdoor bar)
		We put in a six-inch lint filter, 
		too. The way we take care of that 
		pool the water is purer than 
		drinking water. What'll you have, 
		Neddy?

				NED
			(indicates the pool)
		Scoop me up a glass of that.

				BETTY
		Don't be silly. Gin and tonic?

				NED
		Nothing, thanks. I'll have a swim 
		and be on my way.

				BETTY
		Oh, Neddy, you will not! You just 
		got here!
 
				NED
		Okay -- a light one.

				BETTY
		 	(mixes the drinks)
		Next summer we're going to build a 
		pool-house over there -- you know, 
		with dressing rooms and a little 
		playroom with a bar.

				NED
		Boy! That'll be some great lay-out! 

				BETTY
		 	(hands him his drink)
		Neddy, sit down for goodness sake.

They sip their drinks. 

				BETTY 
			(gazes around 
			triumphantly)
		You never thought he'd make it, did
		you?
 
				NED
		Who?

				BETTY
		When we were kids and I first 
		started going out with Howard, you 
		weren't very nice to him.
 
				NED
		I wasn't? Why?

				BETTY
		Remember, he kept track of every 
		penny he spent in a little note 
		book? You thought that was very 
		amusing.        

				NED
		I was just jealous.

				BETTY
		Of Howard?

				NED
		I was crazy about you.

				BETTY
		 	(terribly pleased)
		You never said -- I didn't know 
		that! Oh go on! You were having a 
		big affair with Lucinda!

				NED
		Why do you think I got smashed at 
		your wedding?

				BETTY
		Because Lucinda was dancing with 
		Buzzy Bunker, that's why!

				NED
		 	(laughs)
		What a long memory you've got, 
		Grandma.

He senses that Betty is hurt because he's put her on and looks for 
a way to make amends. 

				NED
		No kidding, though, you've got a 
		gorgeous pool.

				BETTY
		 	(snaps at him)
		I've got everything I've ever 
		wanted.
			(pause, she looks 
			at him, her face 
			wretched)
		Funny, the way things turn out, 
		isn't it?

The sound of a motor has been getting louder, and now from around 
the house comes Howard, sitting on a midget tractor-mower. He is 
an ordinary-looking man, with little humor, literal-minded. At the 
moment he is having the time of his life. He drives the tractor 
toward the terrace. Ned and Betty cross to him.
 
				HOWARD
			(friendly but 
			not ecstatic)
		Well of all people! How are you, 
		Ned?

They shake hands. Howard pats the tractor. 

				HOWARD
		How d'you like my new, toy?

				BETTY
			(proudly)
		Next year we're going to get the 
		luxury optionals. Padded seat and a
 		canopy.
 
				NED
			(frowns at 
			the tractor)
		Sounds as if the timing is a bit off.

				HOWARD
			(somewhat deflated)
		Timing?

				NED
		Let me take a look.

Howard gets off the tractor. Ned lifts the small hood and turns 
and twists something which guns up the motor loud and fast.

				HOWARD
			(irritated)
		It's not supposed to be a racing 
		car. What's he doing?

				BETTY
			(giving her husband a 
			contemptuous glare)
		He's fixing it. 

				NED
		It'll be okay now.

He puts down the hood. The three of them cross to the pool. 

				BETTY
		Ned's just crazy about our pool.

				HOWARD
			(smugly)
		I didn't skimp on anything. I've got 
		a Dia-Tomaceous Earth Filter in there.

				NED
		That's what Betty said--

				HOWARD
		It filters 99 point 99 per cent of 
		all solid matter out of the water.

				NED
		Betty told me--

				HOWARD
			(mixing himself a drink)
		How come you never put in a pool at 
		your place?

				NED
			(shrugs) 
		Never got around to it.

				HOWARD
		Too bad. Helps the resale value.

				NED
		I don't have to worry about resale 
		value.

				HOWARD
		Well, with the tennis court and all 
		that planting you put in you'll get 
		a hell of a lot more than you paid 
		for it.

				NED
		If I ever sell it.

				HOWARD
		Right person has to come along.

				NED
		I want the girls to be married in 
		that house--

				HOWARD
		But-- I thought--

He stops abruptly, frowns at Betty.

				NED
		Won't be long now. Boys all over the 
		place. Our drive looked like a 
		parking lot today.

Howard's eyes meet Betty's. She raises her eyebrows. There is an 
awkward pause although Ned is unaware of it.

				BETTY
			(to change the subject)
		Gosh, it sure is a heavenly day!

				HOWARD
			(gestures)
		Don't like the look of that cloud.
 
The three of them stare up at the blue sky where a strand of 
cumulus cloud has appeared in the west.
 
				NED
			(exclaims)
		It's beautiful! It's like a dream 
		city! As if we're looking at it 
		from the bow of a ship -- Lisbon, 
		Naples, Istanbul --

				HOWARD
		Hackensack!

He laughs at his joke. Betty gives him an irritated glance.

				NED
			(dreamily)
		I'd like to see all those glistening 
		white domes and minarets against the 
		sky. First chance I get away from 
		the office that's what I'd do. Go 
		sailing around the Golden Horn.

				BETTY
			(pouting at Howard)
		Why don't we travel more?

				HOWARD
		What for? We've got everything we 
		need right here at home--

He is interrupted by the sound of a car horn from the direction of 
the driveway. Betty leaps up, relieved. So does Howard.

				BETTY
		That must be Don and Helen with the
		Forsburghs! 

She runs toward the driveway. Howard jogs after her. Immediately 
Ned dives into the pool, leaving a glistening trail of bubbles as 
the wake of his passage. 
 


[4]
The Lears
 
Ned is walking rapidly across a spacious lawn toward a large and 
elaborate pool and pool-house set at its far end.

As he approaches the pool he sees a young girl leaping on the 
diving board. Her name is Muffie. She waves enthusiastically at 
Ned. Another girl is swimming in the pool. She doesn't notice Ned 
until she hears his voice.

				MUFFIE
		Hi, Mr. Merrill, how are you?

				NED
		Hi there, Muffie!

				MUFFIE
		Mother and Daddy are at the Club

				NED
		Mind if I have a swim? 

				MUFFIE
		Of course not! Help yourself!

As Ned walks to the end of the pool the other girl swims to meet 
him. Her hands grasp the curb. Ned bends down and pulls her out 
and onto the terrace. Her name is Julie and she is arrestingly 
beautiful. Her long blonde hair is plastered to her head. Her 
eyelashes are stuck together in little points. Her perfect 
willowy figure is shown off by a brief bikini. Water is running 
in rivulets down her face and body.

				NED
		It isn't -- Julianne Hooper! 

				JULIE
			(delighted)
		Yes it is! 

				NED
			(stares at her)
		I can't believe it. You're all 
		grown up.
 
There is another flashing smile from Julie.

				NED
		How come we never see you any more?

				JULIE
		I guess you don't need me any more--

				NED
		Of course we need you, Julie -- 
		we're always looking for a baby-
		sitter--

				JULIE
			(laughs reproachfully)
		Oh, Mr. Merrill!

She picks up a towel and starts to dry her hair. Ned watches every 
move she makes with intense pleasure.

				NED
		Hey! How about next Sunday night? 
		You busy?

				JULIE
		No but--

				NED
		Okay, you're hired. Still live in 
		the same place?

				JULIE
		Yes but--

				NED
		I'll pick you up at seven.

				JULIE
		You're putting me on! A baby-sitter! 
		Ellen and Aggie would have a fit if 
		they heard you! 

She laughs with embarrassment.
 
At this point there is a shout from Muffie. 

				MUFFIE
		At last! I'm parched! 

A tall boy, about seventeen, in bathing trunks, is coming from the 
direction of the drive carrying a carton of Cokes. He comes up to 
them. Ned looks at him blankly.

				JULIE
		Mr. Merrill, this is my brother 
		Vernon.

Muffie has come out of the pool. She takes the carton from him and 
puts it on the table. 

				NED 
		Your brother! 

They shake hands.
   
				NED 
			(gesturing the height 
			of a small boy)
		But your brother was--

				VERNON
			(with a grin)
		Boy, I sure liked that little red 
		Jaguar you used to have! 

He crosses to Muffie, who is taking cold bottles of Coke out of 
the carton.
 
				NED 
		Julie, I can't get over you. How old 
		are you now?

				JULIE
		Twenty last month.

				NED 
		Going to school?

				JULIE
			(shakes her head)
		I've got a job.

				MUFFIE
			(calls)
		Want a Coke, Mr. Merrill? 

				NED 
		Sure-- 

He and Julie join the other two. Vernon hands them each an opened 
bottle.

				MUFFIE
			(to Ned)
		Gee, I miss Ellen and Aggie. Where 
		are they?

				NED 
		They're -- they're home playing 
		tennis.

				MUFFIE
			(amazed)
		They are? But when did they-- why 
		didn't they call me?

				JULIE
		I'd just love to see them. Let's 
		drive over! 

				NED 
 			(rises suddenly and 
			puts the Coke down)
		Well, I've got to be on my way. I'm 
		swimming home.

				MUFFIE
			(laughs)
		You're swimming home?

				NED 
		Figured out there's a river of pools 
		all the way to my house! 

				VERNON
		That's more hiking than swimming.

				NED 
		Not hiking exactly. Portaging.

				MUFFIE
		It's okay, if you like exercise.

				VERNON
			(to Ned, with a laugh)
		What a crazy idea! 

				JULIE
			(with a withering 
			glance at Vernon)
		I think it's a brilliant idea.

				NED 
			(his excitement 
			returning)
		From here I go to the Bunkers, 
		then a portage through the Pastern's 
		riding ring, then the Hallorans and 
		so on -- I've got it all mapped out 
		in my mind.

				MUFFIE
		What are you doing it for?

Ned looks puzzled. 

				MUFFIE
		Why do you want to do it?

				JULIE
			(quickly)
		I think it's very original. As if 
		he's an explorer or something.

				NED 
			(approvingly)
		Now you sound like a girl with 
		imagination!

				JULIE
		I mean I think it's an adventure!

				NED 
		Come with me!

				JULIE
 			(taken aback)
		Well, gee, I-- I--

				NED 
		Come on, live a little!

				JULIE
		 	(hesitates)
		Well, I don't know if--

				NED 
		Come on! We'll explore the torrential 
		headwaters of the Lucinda River!

Muffie and Vernon giggle at this.

				JULIE
 			(with a cold 
			glance at them)
		All right -- I will! 

She puts down her Coke and jumps up, smiling at Ned. He is 
overjoyed. 

				NED
		Race you! 

They take running dives into the pool and race to the other end. 
Ned wins. They hoist themselves over the curb, laughing and 
dripping. Julie's sandals are there. She slips her feet into them 
and they start off, running over the rest of the lawn and down a 
slope.
 

 
[5]
The Country Lane
 
Ned and Julie are walking along a narrow country lane, half 
overgrown with weeds and bushes, shaded by tall trees. A few 
black-eyed Susans are blooming along the side of the road. Ned 
stops. 

				NED
		Funny--

				JULIE
		What?

				NED
		Black-eyed Susans now.

				JULIE
		They're all over the place.

				NED
		Usually bloom later--

He picks a half dozen and hands them to Julie, like a country boy 
to his girl. She smiles with pleasure. They walk a little farther 
in silence. Ned's eyes are on Julie, constantly admiring her. She 
catches him looking at her. He smiles. 

				JULIE
		Mr. Merrill--

				NED
		Hmm?

				JULIE
		What did you mean before -- all that 
		about my coming over to baby-sit?

				NED
			(puzzled)
		Coming over to baby-sit?
			(remembers)
		Oh, I was just joking.
			(smiles)
		I was teasing you.

				JULIE
		Gee, I wondered.

				NED
		You used to be such a shy little kid. 
		Always brought along a pile of school 
		books, always dropping pencils and 
		things. Never had a word to say. 

				JULIE
		I thought plenty though.
 
				NED
		Thought what?
 
				JULIE
		Oh -- daydreamed --

				NED
		What about? 

				JULIE
 			(gives him a 
			sidelong glance)
		Oh -- lots of things.

				NED
		What sort of things?

				JULIE
		It's so silly. I mean it was such 
		kid stuff.

				NED
		Come on -- tell me.

				JULIE
			(shyly)
		I bet you never knew I had a big 
		crush on you.

				NED
		You did?

				JULIE
		Oh, I was mad about you. Out of my 
		head.

				NED
			(terribly pleased)
		You were?

				JULIE
		If Mrs. Merrill called me to baby-
		sit -- even at the last minute -- 
		I'd cancel out whoever I'd promised 
		and come to your house instead.

				NED
			(laughs)
		You must have lost a lot of 
		customers.
 
				JULIE
		And then I'd spend about an hour 
		getting myself fixed up. My mother 
		thought I was nuts. I mean, I was 
		just a kid to you but you were a --
		god to me!

				NED
			(enormously pleased)
		Now you're putting me on!

				JULIE
		Know what I'd do after the girls 
		were asleep? I'd go up to your room 
		and open your closet and touch your 
		suits. Then I'd go into your 
		bathroom and smell your shaving 
		lotion. Then one time -- oh this is 
		a terrible thing to admit--

				NED
		Tell me--

				JULIE
		I stole one of your shirts
 
She looks at him. He laughs happily. 

				JULIE
		When I was doing my homework up in 
		my room I'd put it on. It made me 
		feel as if you were around me.
 
				NED
			(his spirits soaring)
		Julie -- I -- I didn't know --
 
				JULIE
		When you'd drive me home late at 
		night I'd pretend like mad--

				NED
		Pretend what? 
			(Julie doesn't answer)
		What is it you used to pretend? 

				JULIE 
			(embarrassed)
		I-- after all, I was just a child in 
		those days--

				NED
		I want to know--

He takes her hand. Julie starts out reluctantly but gets caught up 
in her own recital. 

				JULIE 
		Oh -- that you were desperately in 
		love with me -- but you were too 
		honorable to say so because, well, I 
		mean -- you were married.

She looks at him. He is listening seriously. Reassured, she goes 
on. 

				JULIE 
		So I had to go to Paris to, you know, 
		put an ocean between us. And no 
		matter how many divine Frenchmen 
		begged me, I'd never marry. I'd just 
		live there all pale and mysterious 
		with huge tragic eyes. Then one night 
		I'd be in some club in a fabulous 
		Paris gown and I'd see you at the 
		door -- tall, distinguished, a 
		little gray at the temples--

Ned touches his temples where his hair is indeed turning gray. 

				JULIE 
 			(nods solemnly)
		--I pretended your eyes would burn 
		into me across this whole roomful of 
		people and suddenly there'd be a 
		hush and everyone would look at me. 
		And then I'd just stand up and float 
		towards you--

She stops abruptly.

				NED
		And then what?

				JULIE 
			(disengages her hand)
		That's all.

				NED
			(with a wild surge 
			of happiness)
		I -- I don't know what to say!

				JULIE 
			(laughs)
		I told you. I was a real spooky kid!

During the last few exchanges they have been hearing the sound of 
voices and laughter from the pool nearby. The voices have gradually 
grown louder.

				NED
		The Bunkers must be having a party!
 

 
[6]
The Bunkers
 
The Bunkers' terrace is crowded with people, all of them 
prosperous looking, chic, and deeply tanned. White-coated waiters 
are passing trays of drinks. There is a crowd around Ned and 
Julie, the women are kissing Ned, the men are shaking his hand. 
Ned is on the crest of the wave. His life seems to him as sunny 
and full of promise as this summer afternoon.
 
Buzz Bunker, a middle-aged man in trunks, is sprawled limply 
across a wild-looking inflated rubber animal which is floating in 
the Bunker's pool. His eyes are closed. His slack face indicates 
that he is loaded. When he hears the commotion and cries of 
"Neddy! Neddy!" he opens one eye and gazes toward the terrace.

A woman screams joyfully and breaks through the circle around Ned. 
She is Enid Bunker, a little under forty, sleek and handsome.

				ENID
		Look who's here! What a marvelous 
		surprise!
 
She flings her arms around Ned and kisses him. When she releases 
him, she looks appraisingly at Julie in her still damp bikini.

				NED
		This is Julianne Hooper, our baby-
		sitter. I lost her for a while but I 
		found her again!
 
				ENID
			(with a slight 
			curl of the lip)
		How fortunate for you, darling!

				NED
			(oblivious)
		My God, that sun tan. You look 
		ravishing! 

Enid, all smiles again, gives him a playful push. 

				ENID
		You know where the bar is -- go get 
		a drink.

She rushes off to another approaching guest. For an instant Ned 
surveys the scene. Then he says, with glowing tenderness:  

				NED
		How bonny are the banks of the 
		Lucinda River.

				JULIE
		What?

				NED
		I knew we'd find friends all along 
		the way-- 
			(leads her toward 
			the bar)
		Let's have a quick one to appease 
		the natives-- 

As they push through the crowd Ned continues to be greeted 
enthusiastically. Everyone is friendly and warm and terribly 
pleased to see him. They eye Julie with various expressions, most 
of the men admiring her, the women amused or jealous. All of these 
encounters are en passant.

				ONE MAN
			(claps Ned on 
			the shoulder)
		Hey Ned! Good to see you! How've you 
		been? 

				NED
		Great! Just great!

				A WOMAN 
			(exclaims)
		Neddy! 
			(and kisses him)

				NED
		You look marvelous, honeybunch!

				ANOTHER WOMAN
		Darling! 
			(kisses him)
		Is it undiplomatic to ask if 
		Lucinda's with you?

				NED
		She'll be along--

				A MAN
			(pumps Ned's hand)
		My God! It's been a dog's age!

				NED
		Rusty! Say, we've got to get 
		together! Call me! 

Yet another woman, an athletic-looking freckled blonde, kisses 
Ned.

				FRECKLED BLONDE
		Aren't you a sight for sore eyes! 

				4TH WOMAN
			(kisses him, exclaims)
		Neddy dear!
 
				FRECKLED BLONDE
		How's Lucinda?

The fourth woman pokes her -- but too late.

				NED
		She's fine. We want to see you. 
		We'll call you--

When he has gone, the freckled blonde whispers to her friend.
 
One of the men shakes Ned's hand.

				MAN
		Good Lord! Where'd you pop up from?

				NED
		How you doing, chum? 

				MAN
			(staring at Julie)
		Not as well as you! 

Ned laughs and pulls Julie on. At the bar, the Bunkers' Negro 
butler extends the same hearty welcome.

				THE BUTLER
		Mr. Merrill!

				NED
		Hiya Stanley. How's Inez?

				THE BUTLER
		Will she be glad to see you, sir! 

				NED
		Inez is my girl!

				THE BUTLER
			(beams)
		Yes sir! 

				NED
			(indicates a wine bottle 
			in a silver cooler)
		Champagne?

				THE BUTLER
		Yes sir! 

He takes the bottle out of the cooler. Ned examines the label. 

				NED
		Dom Perignon! That's for us!

The butler gets out two champagne glasses and fills them.

				NED
			(to Julie)
		Like champagne?

				JULIE
		I've only had it once -- at a 
		birthday party --

The butler hands them their glasses.

				JULIE
			(boasting)
		A boy drank it out of my slipper! 

				NED
			(as he touches 
			his glass to hers)
		Here's to sugar on our strawberries! 

Julie giggles. Ned drains his glass and, hardly allowing Julie to 
finish, pulls her along toward the pool. A man stops them and 
shakes Ned's hand with vigor. 

				MAN
		Ned! My God!
 
				NED
			(turns)
		Brian! How are you, Brian? 

				BRIAN
		Listen, I feel rotten for not 
		calling you. Been so damn busy --
		don't know where the time goes --

				NED
		Let's have lunch this week -- for 
		sure!

				BRIAN
		Okay, but I want to tell you right 
		now I think it was a stinking thing 
		to do -- what they pulled on you 
		over at your place--
 
Ned's eyes are a little anxious, a little puzzled.
 
 				NED
		What's that, Brian?

				BRIAN
		I don't care how big a firecracker 
		that new guy was! Brother, that story 
		really jolted me--     

Ned's eyes flicker past Brian. He is not listening. 

				BRIAN
		I kept thinking what if some young 
		smart-ass comes in to our shop and 
		does that to me!
 
Ned's attention is elsewhere.

 				NED
		I'll hear from you, huh? 

He is already pushing past Brian. 

 				NED
		Call me up at the office--

Ned's eyes are on an extremely good-looking woman of about thirty 
who is wearing a backless bathing suit; she is talking to a man. 
Ned sneaks up behind the woman and enfolds her in a bear hug. 

 				NED
		Beautiful Cynthia! 

Cynthia spins around, delighted. 

				CYNTHIA
		Neddy, darling! 

 				NED
		Where's Carter?

				CYNTHIA
			(happily)
		Haven't you heard? We're separated! 

Julie has joined them.

 				NED
		This is Julianne Hooper, our baby-
		sitter.

				CYNTHIA
			(her eyes on Ned)
		Run along to your babies, dear. 

 				NED
		She's with me. We're swimming across 
		the county.
 
				CYNTHIA
			(gives Julie 
			an icy stare)
		How healthy and young of you!
 
 				NED
			(admiring Cynthia)
		Who the hell else out here could 
		wear a suit like that?

				CYNTHIA
		Why don't you come over tonight --
		for dinner? 

And she means more than dinner. 

 				NED
		Love to -- if Lucinda hasn't made a 
		date.

				CYNTHIA
			(furious)
		Lucinda! Well -- congratulations!

She turns her back abruptly.

Ned hasn't heard. He has already pushed past her, intent on 
getting to the pool. A man rushes determinedly over to him and 
blocks his way. 

				DAN
		Why don't you leave some phone 
		numbers around? Been trying to reach 
		you.

 				NED
		Danny-boy! How are you, chum? 

				DAN
		Look, I've heard of an opening --
		sounded perfect for you, your 
		experience. Smaller place than 
		you're used to, but these two guys 
		are creative as hell and--

 				NED
			(puts his arm 
			around Julie)
		Say hello to Julianne--

				DAN
		 	(briefly)
		Hello Julianne--
			(his attention 
			turns immediately 
			back to Ned)
		This firm has a reputation for 
		quality. I think if you approach 
		them right, take a cut just at
		first--

 				NED
			(puzzled)
		A cut?

				DAN
		Now look here Ned -- you don't have 
		to pretend with me.

But Ned has Julie by the hand and is running to the pool. She 
slips out of her sandals, and Ned tosses them clear across the 
length of the pool to the grass at the other end. They dive in.

Buzz is still floating on the rubber raft. He doesn't move nor 
glance her way as Julie passes him. Ned stops alongside of the 
raft, treading water. 

 				NED
			(loudly)
		Buzz! Hey, Buzz! 

Buzz turns his head slowly and stares at him with glazed eyes. 

 				NED
		Know what day this is, Buzz?

Buzz looks infinitely bored.

 				NED
		This is the day Ned Merrill swims 
		across the county! 

Expressionless, Buzz turns his head away and closes his eyes.

 				NED
			(shouts joyfully to 
			Buzz and the world)
		This is the day!
 

 
[7]
The Pastern's Riding Ring
 
A standard size grassy riding ring, neatly enclosed by a low white 
fence. In the background is a well-cared-for stable. Inside the 
ring the jumps are set up for practice. Ned is hurdling one of the 
highest with graceful ease. After he lands he turns to Julie, who 
is watching him.

 				NED
			(triumphant)
		How about that?

				JULIE
		Fabulous!

 				NED
		I'm in good shape, huh? 

				JULIE
			(enthusiastic)
		Oh yes! You're in much better shape 
		than my father, for example.

Ned reacts to this comparison. He gives her a look.

 				NED
		Come on, try it. 

Julie runs to him. He motions her down on one knee, fingertips to 
the ground, and takes the same position himself.

 				NED
		All set? Go! 

They dash together toward the next jump and hurdle it in unison. 
Julie sails over, her hair flowing out behind her. They land 
together, laughing delightedly. Ned reaches for her hand and 
together they continue to circle the ring, leaping over the jumps 
like two healthy and beautiful animals. For Ned it is a period of 
his youth returned, and his face is boyish with sheer 
uncomplicated joy in the perfect obedience of his body, in the 
girl beside him, in the sunny day.

Suddenly, as he lands, Ned makes a stunned grimace of pain. He 
gasps and holds his ankle.

				JULIE
		What's the matter?

 				NED
		Twisted it--

				JULIE
		Oh! Does it hurt much? 

 				NED
		No, it's nothing -- let's sit down 
		for a minute--

Ned limps in real pain toward a place near the fence where the 
tree branches make a dappled patch of shade. Julie sits. Ned lies 
on his stomach, his chin propped on his hands, his eyes enjoying 
her. 

 				NED
		What kind of a job do you have, 
		Julie?

				JULIE
		Secretary. We're the biggest office 
		supply company in New York.

 				NED
		Funny -- I've never run into you on 
		the train.

				JULIE
		I take the 7:22. I'm always the 
		first one in -- so I make the coffee.

 				NED
		Friendly office? 

				JULIE
			(nods)
		Two of the girls want me to get an 
		apartment with them. Soon as we get 
		our raises.

 				NED
		Watch out! It's a big wicked city!

				JULIE
		I know. I've had some experiences.

 				NED
		Like what?

				JULIE
		Well, one morning I was making the 
		coffee and I happened to look out of 
		the window. There's an apartment 
		house across a court. A man was
		standing at his window looking at 
		me.
			(pauses, then 
			dramatically)
		He was stark naked!

 				NED
			(gravely)
		That's terrible.

				JULIE
		I just stood there looking at him!

 				NED
		You should report that to somebody--

				JULIE
		He's never been there again. I 
		check every morning.

				NED
		Lots of nuts around.
 
				JULIE
			(nods eagerly)
		Once my boss sent me to deliver some 
		record books. I got into an empty 
		elevator and pressed twenty-six. 
		Then a man got in and pressed 
		twenty-seven. Then the door closed, 
		and the elevator started up. This 
		man came right over and kissed me. 
		On the mouth! 

				NED
			(alarmed)
		What'd you do?

				JULIE
		I dropped the record books.

				NED
		What'd he do?

				JULIE
		He picked them up.

				NED
		Then what?

				JULIE
		He gave them to me, and the door 
		opened on the twenty-sixth floor 
		and I got out.
			(expels a breath)
		Can you imagine! In a building on 
		Park Avenue! 

Julie sighs at the quixotic behavior of the human male. She 
stretches out in the grass. Ned puts his hand lightly on her 
ankle.

				NED
			(softly)
		How beautiful are thy feet in 
		sandals, O Prince's daughter--

He touches her leg. 

				JULIE
			(moves her leg away)
		That's from the Bible, isn't it?

				NED
		Song of Solomon.

				JULIE
		When I was a little girl in Sunday 
		School they never mentioned that 
		part of the Bible.

				NED
			(soberly)
		You still are a little girl in 
		Sunday School. I've been thinking. I 
		could meet you on the train in the 
		morning and take you to your office
		when you have to go out on an errand 
		you could call me and I'll go with 
		you and I'll pick you up at noon 
		every day and we'll have lunch
		together--
			(his enthusiasm grows)
		That's what we'll do! I'll take 
		care of you, Julie! 

				JULIE
			(inches away a little)
		Gee I don't think that would work 
		out very well, Mr. Merrill. I mean 
		I--I need my lunch hour to get my 
		hair done -- and shop -- things like 
		that.

Ned hasn't really listened to her. He very tentatively and lightly 
strokes her hair. 

				NED
		That shirt of mine, Julie. Do you 
		still have it?

				JULIE
			(shakes her head)
		After a while I decided it was -- 
		well, it was just a shirt -- and I 
		threw it away--

Ned looks hurt. 

				JULIE
		You had so many shirts I didn't 
		think you'd miss it or anything. Do 
		you mind?

				NED
		No, but I wish you'd told me how you 
		felt.

				JULIE
		Oh I couldn't! I would've died!

				NED
			(soberly)
		There's so little love in the world. 
		If it's kept a secret then it's 
		wasted, don't you see? 

He lets a long strand of her hair slip through his fingers. She 
moves away the least bit. 

				NED
		I won't let you ever be scared or 
		hurt.

He runs his finger along her arm. 

				NED
		And if you want anything -- whatever 
		it is -- you just come to me.

He puts his arm across her breast and around her, protectively. 

				NED
		I'll -- I'll be your guardian angel--

The hug is meant to be the most delicate and tender embrace, but 
Julie misinterprets it and tries to release herself. She makes 
only a slight move but Ned's grip tightens.

				NED
			(softly)
		Julie -- Julie -- Julie--

Julie panics and breaks away from him. She jumps to her feet and 
dashes off through the high grass.

				NED
			(leaps up)
		Julie!

She doesn't look back. She is running away. Devastated, Ned 
watches her until she is out of sight.


 
[8]
The Lindleys
 
Two suburban matrons in their late thirties, good-looking, well-
dressed in the ubiquitous suburban uniform of madras shorts and 
round collared blouses, are seated under a tree in a small woods. 
The woods border a large clearing of mowed lawn, at the end of 
which is a swimming pool and an elaborate Tudor house.

The two women, whose names are Harriet and Jane, have bird-watcher 
manuals and notebooks in their laps. They scan the branches of 
nearby trees through binoculars.

				HARRIET
		It's a Chestnut Sided Warbler! See 
		there! It has a yellow cap!

				JANE
		No, no, it's a Myrtle Warbler. Just 
		the crown is yellow and it has a 
		yellow rump-- 

She lowers her binoculars to rifle through the pages of the manual.
   
Harriet continues to look through her binoculars. Suddenly she 
gasps, swings them in another direction and peers intently. 

				JANE
		What is it?

				HARRIET
		I don't know--

				JANE
		What's it look like?

				HARRIET
		Bronze-crested, tawny-chested, flat-
		bellied, with a blue rump--

After a glance at Harriet, Jane lifts her own binoculars. They 
suddenly frame the figure of Ned, limping through the woods.

				JANE
		Oh-oh, I haven't spotted that one in 
		a long time.

				HARRIET
		Who is he?

				JANE
		Common species. Found everywhere 
		except home in the nest.

				HARRIET
		Oh? What's the female like?

				JANE
		Small, brown, gray crest.

Ned has come out of the woods and is crossing the lawn toward the 
house. The two women follow him with their binoculars.

				HARRIET
		Like birds! The gorgeous ones always 
		mate with the drab ones!

				JANE
		She is not drab. And she's very nice.

Ned has now arrived at the terrace at the back of the house. The 
windows are open. The place is silent.

				NED
			(shouts)
		Eliot! Nancy! Hey, Eliot!

There is no answer. 

				NED
		Hello! Hello! Anybody home?

The house is deserted. Ned's look of bright anticipation fades. 
His shoulders slump. His disappointment is obvious. He sits down 
in a chair, all the lines of his body slack.

				JANE
			(sarcastically)
		Too bad. No reception committee. No 
		drums and banners.

				HARRIET
		I'd have stayed home if he was coming.

After a moment Ned pulls himself together and, his steps dragging, 
crosses to the pool. The family has only recently left it. There 
are remains of drinks, half-filled dishes of peanuts. Children's 
toys are scattered around. On a chair is a beach bag and a man's 
jacket. On the grass near the pool a croquet game is set up, 
mallets and balls lying about. Ned surveys the scene with a lack 
of enthusiasm. He wanders restlessly over to the ice-bucket, digs 
out some ice and pours himself a short drink. He eats a peanut. 
There is a portable radio on the table. He switches it on, listens 
for a moment to the broadcast of a Sunday baseball game.

				JANE
			(sourly)
		What's the name of that bird? A 
		crow? Takes whatever he wants from 
		the other fellow's nest--
 
Ned switches off the radio, puts down the barely tasted drink, 
rummages in the beach bag and finds a pack of cigarettes. He puts 
a cigarette in his mouth and looks around for a match. There are 
none in the bag. He looks on the tables near the pool but finds 
only an empty packet which he tosses away in frustration.

				HARRIET
		God, I know just how he feels!

Ned's search for a match has become more frantic. He picks up the 
man's jacket and goes through the pockets without success. He 
dumps the beach bag upside down and sorts through the pile of 
contents.

				HARRIET
		Would I love to give him a light!

				JANE
		I wouldn't give him the time of day.

				HARRIET
		What's the matter? Why've you got it 
		in for him?

				JANE
		I happen to have heard the story and 
		I'm on her side.

				HARRIET
			(promptly)
		I haven't heard the story and I'm on 
		his side.

Ned takes the cigarette out of his mouth and tosses it away. He 
starts for the end of the pool, passing the croquet game. He 
pauses and picks up a mallet, then places a ball. His first stroke 
is perfect -- the ball rolls directly through the wicket. His 
second stroke is successful but comes to rest in a position from 
which it is impossible to make a good third stroke. He scowls at 
the ball. He bends down and moves the wicket to a favorable 
position. He strokes the ball through it. Then, obviously feeling 
much better, he jauntily continues towards the pool. 

				JANE
			(triumphantly)
		See that? He's got the ethics of a 
		magpie! 

				HARRIET
		Oh come on! We all cheat if we think 
		we can get away with it! 
			(glances at Jane)
		Don't you?

Jane's lips tighten. She lowers her binoculars and starts looking 
through her bird manual. By this time Ned is swimming across the 
pool. He reaches the far end and leaps over the curb.

				HARRIET
		Bravo! Beautiful! 

She watches Ned, favoring his bad ankle, stride happily away. 
Jane is still consulting the bird manual.

				JANE
		By the way, you were wrong. That 
		bird we saw before was a Myrtle 
		Warbler.

Harriet glances at the manual with bored indifference. 

				HARRIET
		I don't give a damn if it was a 
		solid gold warbler.

She stretches out lazily on the ground, still thinking about Ned. 
After a moment she turns her head towards Jane and demands: 

				HARRIET
		What are we doing here in the prime 
		of our lives -- watching birds?
 


 
[9]
The Hallorans
 
Ned limps up to the impressive entrance gate to the Halloran 
estate. The huge house is set well back from the road. As he is 
about to start up the drive a limousine turns in after him. It is 
driven by a dignified Negro. Ned signals him to stop.  He 
approaches the car, smiling. 

				NED
		Hi there, Steve!

He crosses to the car door. 

				NED
		How are you, Steve?
			(frowns)
		Oh, you're not Steve.

				THE CHAUFFEUR
			(politely)
		No. How are you, Mr. Merrill?

				NED
		I'm a friend of the Hallorans.

				THE CHAUFFEUR
		Yes, I know.

				NED
		Mind if I ride up to the house with 
		you?

				THE CHAUFFEUR
		Not at all.

He is about to get out of the car to open the back door.

				NED
		Don't bother.

He opens the front door and gets in beside the chauffeur. The 
Sunday New York Times is lying on the seat. Ned moves it over. The 
car starts off. 

				NED
			(with an anxious glance 
			at the chauffeur)
		How long have you been working for 
		the Hallorans?

				THE CHAUFFEUR
		Going on two years now.

				NED
		What happened to Steve?
 
				THE CHAUFFEUR
			(pleasantly)
		I'm afraid I don't know.
 
				NED
			(chummy)
		What a character! Did he mangle the 
		English language!
 
The chauffeur doesn't answer.

				NED
		We told him he ought to be on 
		television.

Again no answer.

				NED
		Big bass voice. You should have 
		heard that guy sing!

				THE CHAUFFEUR
			(evenly)
		A natural sense of rhythm?

				THE CHAUFFEUR
 			(enthusiastically)
		You bet!

Suddenly something about the Negro's question bothers him. Ned 
glances at him. The chauffeur is gazing straight ahead, his 
profile pleasant and impassive.

The car pulls up in front of the entrance to the house. Ned opens 
the door and gets out. 

				NED
		I'll take them the paper.

				THE CHAUFFEUR
			(hands it to him)
		Thank you. 

				NED
		Thank you for the lift. My apologies 
		-- I don't know why I thought you 
		were Steve.

				THE CHAUFFEUR
			(casually, very 
			courteous)
		That's okay. Sometimes you all look 
		alike to us too.

Ned gives him a look and turns away. He limps slightly as he walks 
off around the house. The Hallorans' pool, which is several 
hundred yards away in back of the house, is set at the end of a 
wide rolling lawn. Everything about the estate says "lots of old 
money." Mr. and Mrs. Halloran are sitting at a table beside the 
pool. They are both gray-haired, handsome, distinguished-looking, 
elegant in manner and totally naked. It becomes apparent at once 
that Mrs. Halloran is the Commanding General of this couple and 
Mr. Halloran her lieutenant. She has set up what looks like an 
outdoor office at the pool. On the table is a typewriter, piles 
of papers, pencils, envelopes, etc., and a telephone. 

At the moment Mrs. Halloran is busily stapling tickets to form 
letters and stuffing them into envelopes. From time to time she 
consults a long list of names and addresses in front of her. Mr. 
Halloran is in the midst of a conversation on the phone.

				MR. HALLORAN
			(obviously speaking 
			to a young child)
		You want me to say hello to the 
		teddy bear? Hello teddy bear--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(impatiently)
		Tell him to call his mother! 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(into phone)
		Will you call your mummy, please? 
		Oh, you want me to say hello to your 
		little brother? Hello little--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(snatches the phone 
			from Mr. Halloran)
		Young man, I want to speak to your 
		mother at once! 

She hands the phone back to Mr. Halloran and immediately continues 
her stapling.

				MR. HALLORAN
			(into phone)
		Mrs. McCauley, this is Chester 
		Halloran ... oh yes, they're 
		adorable -- 

He sees the sour look on his wife's face and continues quickly. 

				MR. HALLORAN
		I'm calling about the Safari Ball, a 
		benefit for the Preserve Our Wild 
		Life Foundation ... Oh? ... of 
		course, out of the question -- bon 
		voyage -- 

There is a feeling that Mrs. McCauley has hung up before the bon 
voyage. Mr. Halloran hangs up. 

				MR. HALLORAN
		She's leaving tomorrow for a cruise 
		around the world--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(grimly)
		The hell she is! 

Ned has come around the corner of the house and, favoring his 
ankle, is limping towards the Hallorans. They have not yet noticed 
him.

Mr. Halloran sighs, consults a list of names, and is about to dial 
again when the phone rings. 
 
				MR. HALLORAN
			(into phone)
		Hello. Oh, hello honey--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(impatiently)
		Tell her to hurry -- they'll miss 
		the sun.

				MR. HALLORAN
			(who has been listening 
			on the phone)
		She absolutely refuses to bring the 
		children unless we put on our suits.

				MRS. HALLORAN
		After the way we brought her up? 
		What's the matter with her? 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(into phone)
		After the way we brought you up? 
		What's the matter with you, honey?
			(listens, then to 
			Mrs. Halloran)
		She says they're her children and 
		she's going to bring them up her 
		way.
 
				MRS. HALLORAN
		They'll end up repressed! 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(into phone)
		Mummy says they'll end up repressed.

He listens a second and hangs up. 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(sadly)
		She's not going to bring the children.

Ned is coming toward them when suddenly he remembers something. He 
retraces his steps a few feet toward a convenient bush, puts the 
newspaper, down on the ground, and removes his trunks. 

Mrs. Halloran is peering toward the now nude figure coming toward 
them, holding the trunks and the newspaper as a modest cover.

				MRS. HALLORAN
		Good heavens! It's Ned Merrill!

				MR. HALLORAN
			(squinting at Ned)
		I wonder if he's come to ask us again.

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(firmly)
		He'll get the same answer.

				MR. HALLORAN
		Oh dear, it seems a little mean--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(shaking her head)
		He's not going to get a penny.

				MR. HALLORAN
			(wheedling)
		Couldn't we help him out a little? 
		For old times sake? After all, he's 
		a friend--

				MRS. HALLORAN
		Friends are not deductible.

Ned is closer and waving.

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(calls sweetly)
		Hello Neddy dear! 

				MR. HALLORAN
		How are you, my boy? 

Ned reaches them and places the New York Times on the table. Mrs. 
Halloran flips through it hurriedly and selects a section.

				NED
		I'm swimming across the county! 

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(abstracted, her 
			head in the paper)
		Why I didn't know one could--

				NED
		Met your chauffeur on the way in.

				MR. HALLORAN
		Nice boy. Real sense of personal 
		worth.

				NED
		Always got a lot of laughs out of 
		old Steve--

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(still scanning the paper)
		Steve had no sense of personal 
		worth--

Suddenly she folds back a page of the paper, excited. 

				MRS. HALLORAN
		It's in here! 

				MR. HALLORAN
		What does it say, dear?

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(reads)
		At a meeting of the Zoning Board, 
		local property owners objected to 
		the Halloran proposal on the basis 
		that it would overcrowd the public 
		schools--

				MR. HALLORAN
			(to Ned)
		We've petitioned to have the Driscoll 
		Estate cut up into two-acre lots 
		instead of five-acre lots.

Ned is staring at a nearby tree, its branches bare. 

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(triumphantly, her 
			eyes on the paper)
		They're practically calling us 
		Communists! 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(airily)
		Sticks and stones! Sticks and stones! 
		Sticks and stones!

Mrs. Halloran puts the paper down. Her jaw is set. 

				MRS. HALLORAN
		It's going to be a tough fight, 
		Chester! 

She takes up her stapling with renewed vigor. Ned has not been 
listening to the last exchanges. His attention bas been totally 
focused on the tree. 

				NED
			(suddenly)
		Why is that tree bare? 

				MR. HALLORAN
		That's an ash.

				NED
		That tree must be blighted.

				MR. HALLORAN
		No, ashes are the last to get leaves 
		and the first to lose them. 

Ned continues to eye the tree in puzzlement for a moment.

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(to Mr. Halloran)
		Overcrowding the public schools! As 
		if people with two acres give birth 
		to more children than people with 
		five acres! 

				MR. HALLORAN
			(indignantly)
		That's not even a biological fact!

During the foregoing Ned has crossed to the table. He picks up 
one of the tickets.
 
				NED
		Safari Ball -- put me down for a 
		table.

				MRS. HALLORAN
		Oh Neddy!

				NED
		What's wrong? Don't I always support 
		your benefits?

				MRS. HALLORAN
			(firmly)
		A table costs one thousand dollars!

				NED
		Okay, put me down.

She hesitates. He picks up the pen and holds it out to her. She is 
about to protest, but something in his eyes changes her mind. She 
writes his name on the list. This makes him feel much better. His 
spirits lift visibly. Mr. Halloran beams and nods smugly at his 
wife.

				MR. HALLORAN
		By the way, my boy, I was awfully 
		sorry we couldn't be of help.

				NED
		I don't recall asking you for help.

				MR. HALLORAN
		Oh, dear, I thought-- how're Lucinda 
		and the girls?

				NED
		Lucinda's fine and the girls are 
		home playing tennis. Now if you 
		don't mind I think I'll get wet.

He crosses to the pool.

				MR. HALLORAN
			(sotto voce)
		Well! He didn't ask for any money 
		after all!

				MRS. HALLORAN
		Just wait.

Ned is swimming across the pool, mostly using one arm, his trunks 
held above the water in the other hand. He reaches the end of the 
pool, hoists himself easily over the curb and puts on his trunks. 
He turns, salutes the Hallorans, and hurries off. 

				MR. HALLORAN
		There, you see! He must be back on 
		his feet. He bought a whole table, 
		didn't he?

With a knowingly skeptical smile, Mrs. Halloran picks up a pencil 
and definitely crosses Ned's signature off the list.
 

 
[10]
The Gilmartins
 
A boy of about eleven, dressed in shorts, is sitting on a stool 
behind the wooden crate counter of a home-made lemonade stand on a 
country road. He is playing a recorder. Nearby is the entrance to 
a drive up to a large house. It is obvious that few cars come up 
this road and probably no pedestrians. 

The sky has darkened by this time. The frail, half-naked boy and 
the plaintive sound of the recorder convey a sense of aching 
loneliness. The boy sees Ned approaching. He continues to play the 
recorder until Ned is at the stand. 

				NED
		Hi.

				THE BOY
			(puts the recorder down)
		Hi.

				NED
		Your name's Gilmartin, isn't it?

				THE BOY
		Kevin Gilmartin, Jr., after my 
		father. My mother says I've got a 
		lot to live down.

				NED
			(indicating the 
			lemonade)
		How about pouring me a cup?

				KEVIN
			(eyeing Ned in 
			his wet trunks)
		It's ten cents. 

				NED
		I'll owe it to you. 

				KEVIN
			(cynically)
		How do I know I'll ever collect?

				NED
		I'll drop around tomorrow and pay 
		you.

The boy looks dubious.
 
				NED
		Scout's honor!

The boy hesitates.

				NED
			(urgently -- it matters)
		I look honest don't I?

The boy doesn't answer. He fills the cup and hands it to Ned. Ned's 
hand is shaking as he takes it.
 
				KEVIN
		You're shivering.

				NED
			(ignoring this)
		Is your mother at home?

				KEVIN
		She's in Europe. It's a honeymoon so 
		she couldn't take me.

				NED
		How's your father?

				KEVIN
		He's in love with a manicurist. 
		That's what my mother says. I have 
		to depend on her for information.

				NED
		You all alone here?

				KEVIN
		There's a maid.

				NED
		Know what? I'm going to invite you 
		over to our house. I've got two 
		girls you can play with.

				KEVIN
		How big?

				NED
		A little bigger than you. 

				KEVIN
		Do you play with them?

				NED
		Sure, we play catch and tennis. We 
		go bike riding together--

				KEVIN
			(matter-of-factly)
		I have an English racing bike.

				NED
		You bring it over. We'll race you.

He puts down his empty cup.

				KEVIN
		Want another? You'll owe me twenty 
		cents.

				NED
		Haven`t time. I'm swimming home.

The boy eyes him suspiciously. 

				NED
		Mind if I use your pool?

				KEVIN
		Well, I don't mind, but--

Without waiting to hear what he has to say, Ned has already 
started up the drive. The boy picks up his recorder and follows 
him.
 
				NED
		You know those girls of mine are 
		like a couple of wild cats. When I
		get home from the office they pounce
		on me. They nearly hug the breath 
		out of me.

				KEVIN
		What games do they play?

				NED
		Cops and robbers, touch football--

				KEVIN
		They play chess?

				NED
		We haven't tried that.

				KEVIN
		Chess is a brainy game.

As they come close to the pool Ned is stunned to see that it is 
drained.

				NED
			(dismayed)
		It's empty! 

He crosses to the edge and stares disconsolately down at the empty 
concrete rectangle. 

				NED
		God this does it! This really does 
		it.

He sits wearily, the boy beside him. 

				NED
		My whole project's ruined.

The boy looks at his forlorn face. He senses Ned's vulnerability 
and for the first time is drawn to him. 

				KEVIN
			(unhappily)
		They took the water out because I'm 
		not a good swimmer. I'm bad at 
		sports. At school nobody wants me on 
		their team.

				NED
		It's a lot better that way -- take 
		it from me. At first you think it's 
		the end of the world because you're 
		not on the team and then--

				KEVIN
			(eagerly)
		Then what?

				NED
		You realize you're free. You're your 
		own man. You don't have to worry 
		about getting to be the captain and 
		all that status-stuff.

				KEVIN
		They'd never elect me captain in a 
		million years.

				NED
		You're the captain of your soul. 
		That's what counts. Know what I 
		mean?

The boy nods gravely. They sit in silence for a moment.
 
				NED
		There's one thing I could do. I 
		could get down there and make 
		believe I'm swimming across the 
		pool. 

				KEVIN
		That's kind of cheating, isn't it? 

				NED
		Not if I did all the strokes exactly 
		as if I were in the water.

				KEVIN
			(happily)
		That's a good idea.

				NED
			(rises)
		Okay, let's do it. 

Delighted, the boy follows him to the shallow end of the pool. 
They jump down to the concrete bottom.
 
				NED
		All set? Let's start off with a 
		crawl.

Walking side by side and stroking as if they are really in the 
water, they begin.
   
				NED
		That's right. Relax. Reach out. Say, 
		you've got very good form.

				KEVIN
		I've had lots of lessons. It's just 
		that I'm afraid of the water. 

They continue about a third of the way. 

				NED
		Okay now, change to the side stroke.

They do so.
   
				NED
		Know what we do in the winter? We 
		flood our tennis court, and we ice 
		skate on it. Those kids of mine look 
		so damn cute. Like a couple of elves 
		in those little red caps -- stocking 
		caps.

				KEVIN
		I don't know how to skate.

				NED
		You come over next winter, and I'll 
		teach you. Then we'll have a hockey 
		game.

				KEVIN
			(joyfully)
		Okay! 

They have gone another third of the way. 

				NED
		Breast stroke!

They pantomime the breast stroke.
  
				NED
		Yes sir. My kids think I've got all 
		the answers! My kids think I'm just 
		about it!

They arrive at the end of the pool.
   
				KEVIN
			(jubilantly)
		I've done it! It's the first time 
		I've ever swum the whole length.
 
				NED
		Congratulations. 

				KEVIN
			(suddenly crestfallen)
		I suppose it doesn't count because 
		there's no water.

				NED
		For us, there was.

				KEVIN
			(looks at him curiously)
		Well -- that's a lie, isn't it?

				NED
		No. You see if you make believe hard 
		enough that something's true -- then 
		it is true -- for you. 

They climb up the ladder. 

				KEVIN
		Let's do it again!

				NED
		I've got to be going.

				KEVIN
		Oh come on! Please! 

				NED
			(shakes his head)
		It's getting late--

				KEVIN
			(coldly)
		Okay, goodbye.

				NED
		I'm sorry. I'd like to but--

Kevin is unforgiving; he's been failed again. 

				KEVIN
		Okay. If you're going to leave, then 
		leave.

He turns away.
   
				NED
		I'll give you a ring tomorrow -- 
		about coming over --

The boy doesn't answer.
   
Ned starts off down the driveway. He has gone only a few yards 
when he hears the unmistakable sound of someone jumping up and 
down on the diving board. At first it doesn't register. Then he 
stops in his tracks, a look of intense alarm on his face. Ned 
turns and dashes back. The boy is leaping hard up and down on the 
board. Ned sprints up on to the board and throws his arms around 
the boy from behind. The force of this action almost tumbles both 
of them into the empty pool. They regain their balance. The boy 
looks at Ned, stunned and bewildered.
 
				NED
		It's okay -- it's okay!

				KEVIN
		What's the matter?

				NED
		I thought you were going to dive--
 
				KEVIN
			(amazed)
		You thought I was going to dive?

Ned releases the boy who turns and stares at him. 

				KEVIN
			(as if explaining 
			to a child)
		There's no water in the pool!

Ned gives him a long, thoughtful look. 

				NED
		Well -- so long, again. 

He walks away, turning once to look back at the boy, who is 
sitting alone on the curb of the empty pool. When Ned is part way 
down the drive he hears the sound of the recorder playing the same 
tune as before.


 
[11]
Mrs. Hammar's
 
This is a contemporary house surrounded by a lovely garden. The 
pool is a free-form shape. Mrs. Hammar, an old lady, is bending 
over to cut some flowers. She has a basket on one arm in which she 
lays them. She is over seventy, with snow white hair, a majestic 
figure. She wears pearls and a soft print dress -- very much the 
grande dame. 

She hears a splash in the pool and straightens up, surprised. She 
cannot tell who it is from this distance so she walks slowly 
toward the pool. By the time she is close, Ned is three quarters 
of the way toward the opposite end, but she recognizes him. She 
stops, rigid with anger. As Ned leaps out of the pool she hurries 
to confront him.

				NED
			(very warm 
			and friendly)
		Good afternoon Mrs. Hammar. How are 
		you?

				MRS. HAMMAR
			(coldly)
		May I ask what you're doing here?

				NED
		On my way home -- thought I'd cool 
		off in the pool--

				MRS. HAMMAR
			(icily)
		Who gave you permission to use the 
		pool?

Ned is completely baffled at her tone and attitude. 

				NED
		I'm Ned Merrill!
			(indicates the 
			basket on her arm)
		Flowers are beautiful -- I see 
		Eric's put in a rock garden--
 
				MRS. HAMMAR
		You're not welcome here, Mr. Merrill.

				NED
			(amazed)
		You know me, don't you? I'm a friend 
		of Eric's!

				MRS. HAMMAR
		Friend? How dare you use that word?
			(her voice breaks)
		You never came to see him -- you 
		never even called him--

There is a flicker in Ned's eyes as if he has suddenly remembered 
something unpleasant and long buried. 

				NED
		How is Eric? Is he better?

The woman gives him a horrified stare. Ned's eyes widen with a 
sudden realization. He backs away slowly, then faster.

				MRS. HAMMAR
		Just one minute, Mr. Merrill.

Ned stops.

				MRS. HAMMAR
		This is my house now. Don't you ever 
		set foot on my property again.

Ned draws in a breath, turns and runs. 

				MRS. HAMMAR
			(a frail shout 
			after him)
		Don't you ever come here again!

She stands where he has left her, her face crumpled with grief.
 


[12]
The Biswangers
 
An extremely noisy and frantic party is going on around the pool 
and on a huge terrace covered by a plastic dome. (The plastic dome 
is used to cover the pool in winter.) A loudspeaker is blaring 
raucous music.

This is the Biswangers' party, and everything about it is louder 
and faster than at the Bunkers -- the clothes are brighter and 
further out, the women wear more jewels. No one at all is in a 
bathing suit. It is apparent, too, that the party is being given 
to celebrate Henry Biswanger's hole-in-one. A huge banner is 
strung from one side of the dome to the other. It reads:

	CONGRATULATIONS  HENRY  HOLE-IN-ONE 
	    TWELFTH HOLE MEADOWLARK CLUB 

Attached to a float bobbing in the pool is a number 12 flag from 
a golf green. All the other decorations are in the shape of "12s." 
The centerpiece of the buffet table is a huge 12 molded out of 
ice. Embedded in its ice base is an enormous bowl of caviar. No 
one notices Ned's arrival. He stands forlornly at the edge of the 
party.

Henry Biswsanger and two other men are examining the plastic dome. 
Henry is a bull, muscular and in tip-top physical shape, a 
blustering rough diamond who has made it the hard way and is 
perfectly honest about enjoying it. He slaps the dome proudly as 
he talks.

				HENRY
 		--ain't it a bitch! Did you ever see 
		anything like it? Fifteen tons --
		thirty thousand pounds of structured 
		aluminum and clear plastic! 
			(strokes the dome 
			affectionately)
		And she rolls! She rolls on these 
		tracks here -- slides right back 
		like a goddam toy! 

				ONE OF THE MEN
		Batteries? 

				HENRY
		Hell no! Machinery to drive this 
		thing takes up half the space down 
		there--

He gestures. 

				THE OTHER MAN
		What kinda temperature can you keep 
		it in the winter?

				HENRY
		Like a goddam hothouse. Up to 90 if 
		I want. It can be 20 below and a 
		blizzard outside and I can be in 
		there bakin'!

Two other men, drinks in hand, are standing out of Henry's earshot, 
looking at the flag bobbing in the pool.
   
				MAN
		--Club gave it to him. You make a 
		hole in one at Meadowlark -- they 
		give you the flag.

				HIS FRIEND
		Guess they don't lose many flags 
		that way!

				MAN
		Maybe they shouldn't of lost this 
		one.

The friend raises his eyebrows. 

				MAN
		He was playing alone. Just him and 
		the caddy.

They both glance at Henry, who is still chatting away about his 
pool dome.

				HENRY
		How much use you get outta your 
		pools? Three months? Three and a 
		half if you're lucky? With this rig 
		I'm guaranteed the use of my pool 
		all year around.

				THE MAN NEXT TO HIM
		Sure, and swimming's good for the 
		ticker at our age--

				HENRY
		So what do you guys do in the 
		winter? I tried them health clubs in 
		the City. Bunch of pansies runnin' 
		around droppin' soap! Right? Right! 

They all laugh heartily.
   
A blonde and a red-head, both with elaborately lacquered hair-dos 
appropriate for a formal ball, are sitting at a small table 
playing gin rummy and drinking martinis.

				BLONDE
			(indicating the pool)
		A pool's to get wet in. Who needs an 
		olympic-size pool to get wet in?

				RED-HEAD
		Wet! 
			(pats her hair)
		After what I pay Pablo every week?

				BLONDE
		Romeo does me. All the girls are 
		going to Romeo now.

				RED-HEAD
			(worried)
		Do you think Romeo's better than 
		Pablo?

				BLONDE
			(touching her hair)
		Sweetie! Look at the difference! 

A waiter comes with a tray. They help themselves to two more 
martinis.
 
Henry has a larger audience now. 

				HENRY
		Last New Year's Eve for instance. 
		Big bash all night. Grace and I got 
		home at dawn loaded -- not too 
		loaded to get our clothes off--
			(laughs)
		--so there we are bare-ass and we 
		jump in the pool, and it's all 
		steamy and warm and the snow flakes 
		are floatin' down and the hi-fi 
		system is playin' and I says to 
		Grace--

He whispers to one of his friends. The man throws his head back 
with a loud, obscene laugh. 

At the edge of the terrace, Ned is tapping a woman on the 
shoulder. 

				NED
		Hello Grace--

She turns. Grace Biswanger is about forty. She is dressed in wild-
colored hostess pajamas, wears false eyelashes and a huge diamond 
ring. Her automatically wide smile fades the instant she sees Ned. 

				GRACE
			(loudly)
		Why this party has everything! 
		Including a gate-crasher!
 
Several nearby guests turn around to stare. Ned tries his usual 
charm.

				NED
		I thought you'd be glad to see me.

				GRACE
			(bellicosely)
		You never came when I invited you. 
		Why should I be glad to see you now?

				NED
		I thought better late than--

				GRACE
		You thought wrong, buster.

				NED
			(politely)
		As a gatecrasher, do I rate a drink?

				GRACE
		Suit yourself.

She turns her back on him and walks away. Ned crosses to the bar. 
He is terribly conspicuous and naked among all these overdressed 
people. Some eye him curiously. A few who know him nod coldly or 
glance at him with dislike. The bartender is mixing some drinks 
for a waiter who stands ready with a small tray.

				NED
			(leans on the 
			bar, friendly)
		You're new here, aren't you?

				BARTENDER
			(rudely)
		What d'ya mean, new?

				NED
		Oh just -- that I haven't seen you 
		around at parties. 

				BARTENDER
			(with a nasty look 
			at his nakedness)
		I ain't seen you either.

Ned, who has always been instant pals with bartenders, is 
mystified by this reception.

				NED
		I'll have a gin on the rocks please--

The bartender gives him a sullen look.

				NED
		--when you have a chance.

The bartender continues to mix the other drinks. Ned is joined at 
the bar by a young, sexy-looking blonde in a tight sailor suit. 
Her name is Joan. She puts an empty glass down on the bar.

				JOAN
			(to the bartender)
		Here I am again, Leroy! Fill 'er up! 

She gives Ned a dazzling smile and leaps on the bar next to him. 

				JOAN
		Some big deal, huh?
			(indicates the 
			pool, the dome, etc.)
		Boy you sure got to like swimming to 
		go in for this kind of expenditure. 
			(eyes his body 
			with approval)
		You're the type who goes in for 
		swimming, huh?

				NED
			(gravely)
		Why not -- when the world is so 
		generously supplied with water?

				JOAN
			(hasn't quite got it)
		I'm not a maniac about pools. To 
		tell you the truth it's murder on my 
		hair.

				NED
		Lovely hair.

The bartender has put their drinks in front of them. They clink 
glasses and drink.

				JOAN
			(flirtatiously)
		You a neighbor from around here?

Ned shakes his head. 

				JOAN
		Oh, you're a friend of the 
		Biswangers--

				NED
			(shakes his head)
		They're not even on our Christmas 
		card list.

				JOAN
		Then what are you? 

				NED
		I'm an explorer.

				JOAN
			(giggles)
		I mean, what are you doing here? 

				NED
		I'm swimming home.

				JOAN
			(giggles again)
		You married?

				NED
		What's that got to do with it?

Joan gives him a long sizing-up look. 

				JOAN
		You divorced or what?

				NED
		Want to come with me?

				JOAN
		Where?

				NED
		Along a river of sapphire pools!

				JOAN
		I've never heard anyone talk like 
		you.

				NED
		Come with me and be my love--

				JOAN
		Oh-oh, I've heard that before!

				NED
		Not from me.

				JOAN
		You're no different from any other 
		guy--

				NED
		Oh but I am! I am a very special 
		human being, noble and splendid--

At this moment a stocky young man thrusts himself between them, 
takes a firm grip on Joan's upper arm and propels her quickly 
away. Ned sees the man talking furiously to the girl. He watches 
her bottom in tight slacks without emotion, empties his glass, 
puts it on the bar, and suddenly takes a running dive into the 
pool. The splash distresses various people along its edge who leap 
backwards and scowl at the swimmer.

A waiter is carefully pushing a hot dog wagon across the terrace 
in front of the pool house. The wagon is gaily painted and shaded 
with a little striped umbrella. The waiter parks it and is about 
to begin serving hot dogs and buns just as Ned emerges from the 
pool.

Ned's eyes are immediately fastened on the hot dog wagon. Suddenly 
his expression changes to one of astonishment and alarm. He runs 
over to it. 

				NED
		My God, this looks like my wagon! 
			(examines the 
			painted sides)
		I'm sure this is my wagon! 

He opens it and peers inside, hastily pushing the hot dogs into an 
untidy pile. The waiter looks pained, a few onlookers gather 
around. Ned bends closer to examine the bottom of the wagon. 

				NED
			(excited)
		Hey, this is mine! 

He straightens up and addresses the waiter. 

				NED
		How'd this thing get here? 

The waiter shrugs.

				NED
		I wheel my kids around in it. See 
		that?
			(points to something 
			at the bottom)
		That's where Ellen put her foot 
		through and I mended it with plywood.
		This is my wagon, man!

By this time Grace and Henry Biswanger have noticed what's going 
on and approach along with several of the guests. The guests are 
clearly supporters of the Biswangers.

				GRACE
		What's the trouble here?

				NED
		This is my hot dog wagon!
 
				GRACE
		Well -- we bought it.

				NED
		Bought it!

				GRACE
		At a white elephant sale.

				NED
		How the hell did it get to a white 
		elephant sale?

				GRACE
		Your wife must have donated it--

				NED
			(trying to be patient)
		She hadn't any right to do that! 
		She knows I'm crazy about this 
		thing--

				HENRY
		Take it up with her.

				NED
		Listen, I'll buy it back from you.

				HENRY
		Not interested.

				NED
			(in desperation)
		I'll give you twice what you paid 
		for it. I'll give you a hundred 
		dollars!

				HENRY
			(laughs) 
		A hundred dollars! For that piece of 
		junk? 

				NED
			(slowly and distinctly)
		I want to buy this wagon back. Name 
		a price. I'll send you a check.

				HENRY
		Oh yeah?
			(winking at the others)
		He'll send me a check. 

				NED
		I'm taking this thing home with me.

He gets a firm hold on the handles.

				HENRY
		Hands off, you!

He steps very close to Ned. His face is menacing. 

				HENRY
		You crashed in -- now crash the hell 
		out! 

Ned glances at the ring of unfriendly faces around him.

				HENRY
		Go on -- beat it!

He gives Ned a push which knocks him off balance; he stumbles, 
his ankle turns, and he falls to the ground.

Ned's first impulse is to get up and punch Henry. In an instant he 
realizes that this would be beneath his dignity. He rises slowly 
to his feet.

				NED
			(quietly)
		I'll have my lawyers get in touch 
		with you tomorrow.

				HENRY
			(laughing loudly)
		Yeah, you do that!
 
Ned turns and, hobbling a bit on his weak ankle, he walks off 
slowly, his back straight, his head high. 

The other guests stand silent and hostile, watching him.
 


[13]
Shirley Abbott
 
This is the most modest pool along Ned's way -- small, beautifully 
planted, and with an informal atmosphere -- as if all the decor 
and the gardening had been done by the owner, which indeed it has. 
The house looks more like a weekend hideaway than a conventional 
suburban establishment.

There are colorful chairs and tables and a large chaise longue on 
the small terrace. Scattered about are Shirley's possessions -- 
playscripts, magazines, sun tan oil, dark glasses, beach bag, 
terry cloth robe, etc. Also on a table is a well-stocked drink 
tray. 

Shirley Abbott is an actress in her early thirties. She has a 
striking face, handsome, with interesting mobile features. She is 
unlike all the suburban women Ned has met along the way -- 
distinctly "other." She is wearing a dramatically cut bathing suit.
At the moment she is sitting on the chaise, a magnifying glass in 
one hand, a tweezers in the other, and is apparently trying to get 
a splinter out of her foot. 

Nearby is a flat of bulbs and some tools. She has been working in 
a garden bed close to the pool. 

Ned appears out of the trees at the opposite end of the pool. 
Shirley is not aware of his presence. He watches her with an 
expression of infinite yearning. In a moment this changes to 
uncertainty and anxiety. He is totally unsure of what kind of 
welcome he will get.

As he comes forward Shirley looks up. She is obviously astonished, 
anguished, and angry in that order. Then quickly she puts on a 
look of total indifference, relaxes back onto the chaise, and 
waits for him.

				SHIRLEY
			(calmly)
		What the hell are you doing here?

				NED
		Wow! New suit?

				SHIRLEY
			(shrugs)
		It's not new. 

				NED
		I don't remember that suit.

				SHIRLEY
		Will you tell me what you're doing
		here?

				NED
		I'm swimming home. Pool by pool 
		across the county.

				SHIRLEY
			(disgusted)
		Good Christ will you ever grow up?

She turns her attention back to the splinter. She is unsuccessful. 
Ned kneels in front of her. 

				NED
		Let me try.

				SHIRLEY
		Go away--

				NED
		Oh come on, let me--

Gently he takes the tweezers from her and probes for the splinter. 

				NED
		I passed a first aid test when I was 
		a Scout -- got it! 
			(looks at the tweezers)
		Nope!
			(continues to probe)
		Wasn't much in it about splinters. 
		If you broke something I could make 
		you a beautiful splint!

She winces.

				NED
		Sorry--
			(probes once more)
		There we are!
			(examines the splinter)
		A regular redwood. You could cut a 
		hole in it and drive a car through.

Shirley smiles in spite of herself. Ned smiles back at her. 
Suddenly he presses his lips to her foot. She jerks it away with 
such vehemence that he loses his balance and is sent sprawling.
 
				NED
			(puzzled)
		What'd you do that for?

				SHIRLEY
		Keep away from me.

He sits up, puzzled. 

				NED
		You must be crazy. Everybody's gone 
		crazy today. I've just come from the 
		Biswangers. They snubbed me. 
		Everyone at their party snubbed me-- 
			(indignant)
		--they've even got my hot dog wagon 
		and they won't give it back! 

				SHIRLEY
		Your what?

				NED
		I painted it myself and put the 
		little umbrella up. Always kept it 
		down in the playroom where the 
		ping-pong table is, remember?

				SHIRLEY
		I've never been in your house, 
		remember?

				NED
			(oblivious)
		Lucinda gave it to a white elephant 
		sale.

				SHIRLEY
			(sarcastically)
		I'm sure it was for a good cause.

				NED
		She hadn't any right. I ought to go 
		straight home and give her hell.

				SHIRLEY
		What's keeping you?

She turns over on the chaise, her back to him. 

Ned is hurt. His shoulders droop. 

				NED
		I'm tired. Must have come six miles. 
		Mind if I have a drink?

				SHIRLEY
			(impatiently)
		All right -- but hurry up about it.

				NED
			(crosses to 
			the drink tray)
		How about you? Want a Bullshot?

				SHIRLEY
		No thanks.

				NED
		Oh come on -- you love the way I 
		make them.
			(holds up a 
			small bottle)
		Hey, we're running out of Tabasco!

				SHIRLEY
		We? Aren't you a little confused 
		this afternoon?

Ned is behind her, fixing the drinks. Partly because he is 
concentrating on what he is doing and partly deliberately, he 
doesn't really listen to what she is saying.

				SHIRLEY
			(stretching out on 
			the chaise, not 
			looking at him)
		Well, how goes it in Never-Never Land?

				NED
		What?

				SHIRLEY
		Has the ideal all-American family 
		found happiness in the big stone 
		house with the tennis court?

				NED
		What?

				SHIRLEY
		I heard a rumor that you had changed 
		your place of residence. Moved out 
		of town.

				NED
		Of course not. That's ridiculous. 
		Where's the pepper grinder? It's not 
		here.

				SHIRLEY
		Use the shaker. I didn't think it 
		was true.

				NED
		Should have freshly ground pepper. 
		That's what makes the difference.

				SHIRLEY
		Well how is the President of the 
		League of Women Voters? 

				NED
		Who?

				SHIRLEY
		How is your wife? 

				NED
		Oh, she's fine.

				SHIRLEY
		I've been away so long I haven't 
		kept up with the news. Are all the 
		waitresses in town certified non-
		venereal now?

				NED
		What?

				SHIRLEY
		Last I heard that was your wife's 
		project. Physical checkups for food 
		handlers.

				NED
		Yes. Oh yes.

				SHIRLEY
		Mrs. Edward Merrill, guardian of our 
		hamburgers! Patron Saint of our 
		pizza pie!

Ned, oblivious of her sarcasm, crosses to her with the two drinks. 

				NED
		Lucinda's always done a lot of good 
		in this town.
 
Shirley's eyes meet his. 

				SHIRLEY
		She just didn't do so good at home, 
		huh?

She takes her drink.
 
				NED
		Well, here's to sugar on our 
		strawberries!

She holds her glass without drinking and glares at him.

				NED
			(chastened)
		Well -- cheers.

They drink. Shirley's face is blank. Ned gives her a worried 
glance. The vodka revives his energy a bit. He makes a visible 
effort to get through to her. 

				NED
		Remember last winter in Toronto? We 
		called Room Service and asked for 
		Bullshots, and they said--

				SHIRLEY
		I wasn't in Toronto last winter.

				NED
		Sure! I came up for the opening of 
		your show. Don't you remember how it 
		snowed? And I hired a horse and 
		sleigh to take us from the hotel to 
		the theater?

				SHIRLEY
		That was the winter before last.
 
				NED
			(with a slight 
			frown of anxiety)
		Was it in Boston? What was the name 
		of that play in Boston?
			(all charm)
		I came up on a Saturday, remember? 
		You faked a slipped disc, and your 
		stand-by went on for the matinee. I 
		cured your aching back, didn't I?

Shirley stares at him, her eyes narrowed. She presses her lips 
together.
 
				NED
		Acapulco was the best. We tasted of 
		salt all over, and the phone never 
		rang. And all the nights were 
		silver--

				SHIRLEY
			(firmly)
		Listen, Ned, I want you to go now. 
		I mean it.

				NED
		Why?

				SHIRLEY
		I'm expecting someone.

				NED
		Who?

				SHIRLEY
		None of your business who. I don't 
		want you to be here when he comes.

				NED
		A man?
 
				SHIRLEY
		Naturally a man. Do you think I've 
		been in a deep freeze while you're 
		been playing house up on the hill?

There is a pause. They look at each other. Ned begins to shiver 
slightly. He rubs his upper arms with his hands. He coughs. 

				NED
		I'm cold. What's happened to that 
		sun? No heat in it.
			(coughs again)
		Throat's sore. Don't know when I've 
		been so cold.
			(almost to himself)
		Not since those winters in Hanover, 
		that's when. Except I had my martini 
		coat.

Shirley is ignoring him. 

				NED
		Hey Shirley, did I ever tell you 
		about that coat?

He crosses to sit beside her. 

				NED
		Did I, Shirley?

There is no answer. 

				NED
		I've got to tell you about that 
		raccoon coat I had when I was at 
		Dartmouth--

				SHIRLEY
		Please!
			(with exasperation)
		Spare me the tales of your glorious 
		youth!

				NED
			(his enthusiasm 
			growing)
		But this is a great story.

				SHIRLEY
		I don't want to hear it!

				NED
			(plunging on)
		When my father was in college, it 
		was Prohibition see? So he bought 
		this raccoon coat, and he took it 
		to a shoemaker. He had the guy sew 
		leather pockets in the lining -- 
		one for gin, one for vermouth, a 
		big one for a thermos of ice, and a 
		little one for olives. He designed 
		himself a martini coat!

There is a disgusted reaction from Shirley. 

				NED
		Oh yes, he had straps put in to hold 
		a shaker!
			(laughs)
		Some guy, my old man. He didn't 
		forget a thing!

Shirley leaps up and crosses to the flat of bulbs. She picks up a 
tool and starts digging in the flower bed.

				NED
			(turns to face her)
		Twenty-five years later when I was 
		a freshman he gave it to me. Brother! 
		Was I a sensation! I didn't carry 
		any stuff around except to football 
		games, but I wore it all the time. 
		I'll have to bring that coat over 
		here and show it to you.
			(his eyes lighting)
		You know something, Shirley, that 
		coat was the damnedest, most 
		wonderful thing I ever owned. If 
		Lucinda gave that coat to a white 
		elephant sale I'll kill her -- I 
		swear I'll kill her--

He looks off into the distance. A long pause. His voice softens. 

				NED
		Shirley, what happened?

				SHIRLEY
		What happened to what?

				NED
		Nothing's turned out the way I 
		thought it would--
			(haltingly)
		--when I was a kid I believed in 
		things -- people used to be happier 
		when I was a kid -- it -- it seemed 
		as if everybody loved each other-- 

				SHIRLEY
		Excuse me while I swallow the lump 
		in my throat.

				NED
			(with genuine 
			puzzlement)
		What happened?

				SHIRLEY
		You got pushed out of your golden 
		play pen, that's what.

				NED
		I used to mow the lawn around our 
		house -- my mother paid me twenty-
		five cents -- I can smell that 
		grass--
			(suddenly)
		--it's so fast! People grow up, and 
		then they die--

				SHIRLEY
		Ned, for the last time, will you 
		please go away? 

				NED
		Tell me who's coming over.
 
				SHIRLEY
		I told you -- it's none of your 
		business! 

				NED
		On a scale of one to ten how would 
		you rate him in bed?

Shirley picks up her drink and tosses the contents into Ned's 
face. Their eyes meet and hold in a long stare.

				NED
			(his voice breaking)
		Shirley -- I'm sorry -- for whatever 
		I did--

				SHIRLEY
			(pulling herself 
			together, all 
			brittle again)
		You only did the usual red-blooded 
		married-man thing. Took me out to 
		lunch, and gave me that lecture on
		the duties and obligations of a 
		husband and father.
			(smiles)
		It's become a classic hasn't it? 
		Republished every year in the 
		Reader's Digest?

Ned frowns with effort, trying to follow her. 

				SHIRLEY
		It was the first time we'd been to a 
		really chic restaurant in New York 
		-- right out in the open in front of 
		the people who count.

				NED
			(suddenly recalling 
			it all)
		You cried!

				SHIRLEY
		I also raised my voice.

				NED
		It tore me apart to see you crying--

				SHIRLEY
		Especially when everyone stared.
			(bitterly)
		I figured it out later. You chose 
		that place because you thought I 
		wouldn't dare make a fuss in front 
		of all those mink hats and stylish 
		fags and snotty waiters.

				NED
		No--

				SHIRLEY
		Did you really think you could smash 
		my world with no more noise than the 
		tinkle of finger bowls?

				NED
		I loved you -- I didn't know what to 
		do--

				SHIRLEY
		So you went back to your wife. Well, 
		that figures. The real estate is in 
		her name. She owns the pots and pans. 
		She knows where the lost shirt 
		button is. Why give up all those 
		comforts?
			(a thin smile)
		I had my comforts too. While you 
		were still on the train back to 
		Connecticut -- that groovy young 
		bellhop in my hotel -- a real 
		primitive. No hang-ups.

				NED
			(quietly)
		You're lying.

				SHIRLEY
		When you got in and called me from 
		the station I put the phone down on 
		the pillow so he could listen too. 
		All that sniveling about not hurting 
		your innocent wife and your innocent
		children. We had hysterics. We had 
		to stuff the sheet in our mouths--

				NED
		You're lying.
 
				SHIRLEY
		You'll never know, will you?

Ned begins to shiver uncontrollably. He coughs louder. His face is 
ashen. He winds his arms about himself. Shirley rises. She is 
truly concerned. Her tone changes to one of compassion: 

				SHIRLEY
		Ned, what's the matter with you?

				NED
			(hardly able 
			to speak)
		I'm so cold. I'm just so cold. 

				SHIRLEY
		I'd better go in and get you a 
		sweater.

				NED
		No.

				SHIRLEY
		Don't be a fool -- you must be 
		catching something--

She makes a move as if to go into the house.

				NED
		No! How can I swim in a sweater?

				SHIRLEY
		You'll get pneumonia--
			(puts her hand 
			on his arm)
		Listen, I'll drive you home.

				NED
		No!

				SHIRLEY
			(her anxiety 
			increasing)
		Ned, what is it? You're being 
		ridiculous.

				NED
		I've got to swim home.

				SHIRLEY
		For the love of God, why?

				NED
		I've just got to. I've got to.

				SHIRLEY
		I'm going to get the car.

				NED
		I can't go in the car. It's 
		impossible. How can I?

				SHIRLEY
		My God what's happened to you? 
		Something's wrong with you.

				NED
		Lucinda's waiting -- the girls are 
		home playing tennis-- I'm swimming 
		home--

Ned's whole body is shaking spasmodically.
   
Alarmed, Shirley keeps watching him. She picks up her terry cloth 
robe and puts it over his shoulders. This act is the first really 
tender gesture he has experienced all afternoon. He turns to her 
with gratitude as if her gesture has been a proof that she still 
loves him. Shirley understands the extent of her revelation. In an 
attempt to negate the moment she turns away and picks up a bottle 
of sun tan oil. She crosses to the chaise longue and sits down. 

Ned's shivering gradually subsides. He has control of himself 
again. 

				NED
		There -- that's better--

Shirley is rubbing the oil on her arms. Ned crosses to her and 
sits beside her. 

				NED
		Let me do your back.

				SHIRLEY
		No--

				NED
			(reaches for the bottle)
		Please let me.

Reluctantly Shirley turns over on her stomach. Gently Ned begins 
to stroke the oil into her back. His touch, the feel of his hand 
on her flesh, brings memories flooding. Her eyes begin to fill 
with tears. 

				NED
		Shirley, listen, let's go off 
		together for a couple of weeks -- I 
		could manage it right after the 
		fourth-- 

				SHIRLEY
		The fourth? Do you mean the fourth 
		of July? 

				NED
			(rubbing her back 
			and shoulders)
		I read about a great old castle in 
		Ireland. A real one with a moat and 
		a drawbridge. Some king built it 
		hundreds of years ago. It's an inn 
		now, with crazy old four-posters--

				SHIRLEY
		Ned please -- please go away--

				NED
		Big soft beds with canopies--
			(bends over her)
		Come with me, Shirley?

				SHIRLEY
		Do you think you can just reappear 
		and move in again? Do you think it's 
		that easy?

She whirls around to give him a long, appraising look. 

				SHIRLEY
		Everything's always been easy for 
		you, hasn't it?
			(her voice breaks)
		God knows I was easy enough to get!

				NED
		You wore a blue slip with a safety 
		pin holding up the shoulder strap.
			(presses his mouth 
			to her shoulder
		I kissed your safety pin.
 
				SHIRLEY
			(moves away, 
			close to tears)
		Don't do that--

				NED
			(puts his arms 
			around her)
		I only want you to love me-- 

				SHIRLEY
			(thrusts herself 
			away and leaps up)
		That's your hang-up, Neddy-boy. 
		You're afraid the sky will fall down 
		if everybody doesn't love you. You'll 
		lose the popularity contest, you 
		won't be elected Head Boy -- as if 
		the whole world's a prep school!

This truth reaches Ned. He grasps at her blindly, desperate for 
the only pain-killer he knows. He locks his arms around her and 
pushes her back on the chaise, his body almost on top of her, his 
mouth searching for hers.

				SHIRLEY
		Don't! Don't do that! Leave me 
		alone!

She struggles to push him away.

				NED
			(holding her tighter)
		You don't want me to. You know you 
		don't.

She struggles furiously to get away from him. Finally she wrests 
herself free and leaps to her feet. 

				SHIRLEY
		Don't touch me!

He leaps up after her, and they struggle. She gets away from him, 
runs to the pool, and plunges in. He jumps in after her. She swims 
only a few strokes before he has caught her.
 
				SHIRLEY
		Stop it! Stop! Let go! 

He is holding her close, his hand tangled in her hair to pull her 
face back, to make her look at him. 

				NED
		We made love in this pool, remember? 
		You loved it!
 
				SHIRLEY
		I lied! 

He is trying to pull down the straps of her bathing suit. She is 
kicking and hitting at him. 

				NED
		You loved it in the pool!

He has the straps of her bathing suit down. She is half naked. She 
continues to fight him desperately. 
 
They wrestle in the water. The bathing suit rips. Finally she 
pulls away from him and swims a few feet. She rushes, sobbing and 
outraged, up the steps of the pool. Ned is standing waist-high in 
the water. Holding her tattered suit up to cover herself, Shirley 
screams at him. 

				SHIRLEY
		I lied! I lied all the time. Telling 
		you I loved it anywhere with you! 
		You bored me to death! Boasting 
		about your deals and your golf 
		scores and your old girls and your 
		old war and your old bloody duty to 
		your wife and kids!

				NED
			(quietly)
		You loved it. 

				SHIRLEY
		I played a scene with you!

				NED
			(urgently)
		You loved it!

				SHIRLEY
		It was a fake! I was fooling you! 
		You met your match in me, you 
		suburban stud! I'm an actress!

Her words are like a fist smashed into Ned's face. His eyes are 
wild, his mouth slack. He throws back his head and bellows to the 
sky. 

				NED
		YOU LOVED IT!

Crying hysterically, Shirley turns and runs toward the house. She 
disappears inside. Ned's expression is stony and vacant. After a 
moment he swims automatically to the end of the pool. He grasps 
the curb to hoist himself out, but he has difficulty. The strength 
is drained out of him. He struggles. His face is contorted with 
the effort.

Finally, wearily, hand over hand, grasping the curb, he moves to 
the ladder and, totally defeated, he climbs up it. When he steps 
off onto the ground his whole body seems limp and fragile. His 
eyes are sunken. His face is a ruin.
 


[14]
The Thruway
 
The sun is clouded over. Rain is imminent. Ned is on the side of 
the road, limp, shivering, his arms wrapped around himself. The 
Sunday traffic is heavy. Cars of all descriptions whiz by. Ned 
looks pitiful as he waits on the shoulder of the road. Every time 
he thinks he might have a chance to dash for the grass divider in 
the middle of the road a car comes hurtling toward him and he 
jumps back. 

He is the object of all kinds of scorn and ridicule from the 
occupants of the cars. Some peer at him as if he is crazy, some 
point and laugh, a beer can is thrown at him. He dodges it. 
Several people shout at him but he can't decipher the words. From 
the backs of station wagons little children make faces, thumbs in 
their ears, waggling their fingers. No one makes the least attempt 
to slow up to let him cross. In fact, some drivers, seeing his 
intention, speed up gleefully as they approach him.

Ned feels the indignity of his position and appearance. He looks 
tense and miserable. He coughs. He hops up and down to warm 
himself.

Finally an old man tooling down the highway at fifteen miles an 
hour gives him a chance to cross. He dashes for the grass divider 
and makes it safely. Now he has to buck the long lines of traffic 
speeding in the other direction.

The same ridicule from this traffic is heaped upon him. He watches 
alertly for a chance to cross. Finally there is a gap in the 
traffic and he sprints to the other side of the highway.


 
[15]
Recreation Center Pool
 
A sign above the ticket booth window says "Adults 50 cents, 
children 25 cents." The ticket seller is a young man, stocky and 
muscular. He wears a T-shirt. Ned is arguing with him. 

				NED
		--but I'll pay you back. I swear to 
		God I will!

				THE YOUNG MAN
			(shakes his head)
		Against the rules

				NED
		I'll do whatever you want -- I'll 
		sign an IOU.

				THE YOUNG MAN
			(shakes his head)
		Can't do it.

				NED
		I'll get my wallet -- I promise -- 
		the minute I get home, I'll get my 
		wallet and drive right back here--

				THE YOUNG MAN
		Look, I didn't make the rules, 
		mister.

				NED
		Just one length! I want to swim one 
		length. You don't understand--

				THE YOUNG MAN
		I understand you ain't got half a 
		buck. That's all I'm supposed to 
		understand.

				NED
		Can't you make an exception this 
		once? My house is right up the hill 
		over there--
			(gestures)
		I'll come straight back with the 
		money! Believe me, I will! 

He grasps the ticket cage and shakes it, his urgency growing. 

				NED
		I swear! I promise! 

				THE YOUNG MAN
		Get your hands off there!
 
Ned's eyes begin to tear. His tone changes. 

				NED
		Listen, will you please, please lend 
		me fifty cents?

				THE YOUNG MAN
		What for? Why the hell should I?

				NED
		I'll pay you back--

His body sags against the booth.

				NED
		Don't you realize I'll pay you 
		back?

				THE YOUNG MAN
		Beat it!

At this point a middle-aged man and woman walk up to the booth 
carrying bathing suit bags. The man is bald and wears a loud sport 
shirt. The woman is plump and wears slacks. Their names are Howie 
and Lillian Hunsacker. Ned smiles with relief and recognition.

				NED
		Howie! 

				HOWIE
		Hello, Mr. Merrill.

				NED
		Howie, for Christ sake, will you 
		lend me fifty cents?

				LILLIAN
			(angrily)
		Don't you do it, Howie!
 
				HOWIE
		What's fifty cents more or less, 
		considering?

He digs in his pocket and gives Ned the money.

				NED
			(with enormous relief)
		Thanks, Howie! You're a lifesaver! 
			(thrusts the money at 
			the young man, then 
			again to Howie)
		Thanks a lot, chum. Thanks an awful 
		lot.

He rushes through the turnstile and disappears into the locker 
room. There are a couple of people ahead of him at the counter 
where baskets for clothes and dog tags are given out. He gets into 
line until he realizes that he has no need for a basket. He starts 
to cross to the open door to the pool area. 

				ATTENDANT
			(shouting)
		Hey! Hey you! Hey you in the trunks!

Ned turns.

				ATTENDANT
		You take a shower?

Ned shakes his bead. 
 
				ATTENDANT
		Can'tcha read, buddy?

He points to a large sign. Ned looks at it. 

	ALL SWIMMERS MUST TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE USING THE POOL.

	ALL SWIMMERS MUST USE THE FOOT BATH. 

	ALL SWIMMERS MUST WEAR THEIR IDENTIFICATION DISCS.

Ned crosses to a shower booth, enters, closes the door, turns the 
water on full force, stands under it a split-second, turns off the 
water, and leaves the booth. He crosses to the open door again. 
An attendant beside the foot bath glares at his feet, battered, 
scratched, and still filthy.

				ATTENDANT
		You take a shower? 

Ned nods.

				ATTENDANT
		Go back and wash those feet.

Wearily Ned crosses back to the shower. The booths are all 
occupied now. He feels dizzy. The room reels before his eyes. He 
closes his eyes and leans against a shower door for support. The 
door opens suddenly, and Ned falls in upon the man coming out.

The man grabs him by the shoulders and pushes him back. He gives 
him a dirty look and walks out. Ned enters the shower. This time 
he soaps his feet and rinses them under the water, wincing as he 
does so. They are bruised and sore. The soap hurts the cuts. 
Gently his hands rub them again and again to get the dirt off. His 
dizziness returns for a moment. He supports himself against the 
side of the booth. He comes out of the shower and crosses again to 
the attendant beside the door. The attendant gives him a surly 
look and then gazes at his feet with distaste.

				ATTENDANT
			(rudely)
		Spread your toes.

Ned balances on one foot while he spreads his toes with his hands. 
The attendant peers into the crevices between them. Ned repeats 
this business with the other foot.

				ATTENDANT
		Bottoms.

Ned holds up the sole of each foot in turn. The attendant waves 
him on. He steps into the foot bath and through the door. The rain 
clouds hang even lower now. There is thunder in the distance. 

The pool area is surrounded by a high wire mesh fence. It is 
jammed with people of all ages and all sizes, shouting, splashing. 
The lifeguards sit on high wooden platforms, at intervals blowing 
their whistles or bellowing through a public address system 
various warnings and instructions to the swimmers. The pool has 
been constructed at the bottom of a high slanting hill -- almost a 
wall of irregular rocks.

The shrill sound of voices, the activity, confuse Ned at first. He 
looks about, uncertain at which end of the pool to begin his swim. 
He finally figures out which is the deep end and crosses toward it. 
A couple of children run into him and almost knock him down.

				LIFEGUARD
			(through the public 
			address system)
 		Cut out the running, you two kids! 
		No running in the pool area!

Ned finds an empty place in the pool and plunges in. It is an 
awkward, tired dive, his body is bent, his legs fly apart. He 
comes up sputtering with disgust at the taste of the chlorine in 
the water. With difficulty he continues his way toward the other 
end of the pool, keeping his head above water to avoid collisions 
but even so he is bumped into, splashed and jostled.

At one point a young boy dives from the side of the pool, lands on 
top of Ned, and submerges him. Ned comes up spitting out water, 
breathing hard, half-drowned. A girl practicing an awkward crawl 
slaps her hand across his face.

As Ned makes his way across the pool he is watched grimly by Howie 
and Lillian, now in their bathing suits, and another couple whom 
they have joined. The other couple are a few years younger than 
the Hunsackers but the expressions on their faces are equally 
sour. They are Jack and Sylvia Finney.
   
As Ned reaches the shallow end all four of them rise and approach 
the place where he will be getting out. Ned has to stand and walk 
through the last few feet of the pool since the water is barely 
higher than his knees. He is bumped into at every step, splashed, 
pushed. A whistle blows shrilly and a guard's megaphone is pointed 
at him.
   
				LIFEGUARD
			(bellowing)
		Hey you! You without the 
		identification disk. Get outta the 
		water! 

Ned is not aware that he is being shouted at. He stumbles on, 
dizzy, half-blinded, and weak. Finally he grasps the ladder and 
painfully, gasping, pulls himself up.
   
The two couples have placed themselves so that they block his way. 
They make no attempt to move. 

				JACK
		Whatsa matter, Mr. Merrill, your 
		friends' pools run outta water?

				NED
		What?

				JACK
		So how do you like our water, Mr. 
		Merrill?

				NED
		Oh, hi Jack! Sure is a lot of 
		chlorine in it.

				LILLIAN
		Stings your eyes a little, huh? 
		That's too bad.

				HOWIE
			(the one friendly voice)
		Ain't seen you in a dog's age, Mr. 
		Merrill. Too bad you don't get into 
		town any more.

				NED
			(warmly, with relief)
		We had a lot of laughs together, 
		didn't we, Howie?

				HOWIE
		Used to count on seeing ya maybe 
		four, five times a week in my place
		-- few drinks, hamburger maybe --

				NED
			(suddenly)
		Say, how was the Series?

				LILLIAN
			(loudly to Howie)
		What you waitin' for? Go on and ask 
		him!

				HOWIE
			(ignoring her)
		Series?

				NED
		The World Series. Didn't you use 
		those tickets I gave you? 

				HOWIE
		Oh! Last year! Sure -- those were 
		great seats! Right over third 
		base--

				LILLIAN
			(louder than before)
		Are you gonna ask him or not?

				HOWIE
			(softly)
		Hold it down, Lil-- 

				JACK
		I got somethin' to ask you, 
		Mr. Merrill. When you gonna pay your 
		bill? 

				SYLVIA
		We're decent people tryin' to make a 
		living. We gotta eat too, you know. 

				LILLIAN
		Tell 'im Howie. Tell 'im he's the 
		first deadbeat we ever got in our 
		place.

				HOWIE
			(firmly)
		Cut it out, will you, Lil--

				NED
		I--I'm going to send you a check 
		tomorrow both of you--

				LILLIAN
		That's a laugh all right!
 
				HOWIE
			(warning her)
		Now Lil--

				LILLIAN
			(loudly)
		Whatsa matter? He's no friend of 
		yours! What kinda friend sends a 
		check ain't worth the paper it's 
		written on?

The altercation has attracted attention. Several onlookers have 
moved nearer.

				HOWIE
			(to Lil, Jack, 
			and Sylvia)
		Let's break it up. Come on, let's 
		not have a fuss in public--

Nobody moves. Jack is aware of the audience and plays up to them.

				JACK
		You shoulda seen the orders I sent 
		up to his house! French strawberry 
		jam, his wife made me stock for her. 
		American strawberries ain't good 
		enough for her!

				SYLVIA
		Plain mustard ain't good enough for 
		Mrs. Merrill. She had to have Dee 
		John mustard!

The onlookers snicker.

				JACK
			(to Ned)
		Heartsa palm. Heartsa artichoke, 
		heartsa this, heartsa that! Some 
		rich diet you had up there!

The onlookers laugh. Ned looks around, confused.

				SYLVIA
		Heartsa Jack Finney, that's what 
		you got!

The onlookers laugh again. Ned has hardly understood the words, 
only the attack. He backs away a a bit.

				JACK
		You used our market to feed your 
		kids. We all got kids to feed too--

				SYLVIA
		What's more we bring up our kids to 
		behave themselves. Our kids don't go 
		around drunk, our kids don't wreck
		cars-- 

				JACK
			(more or less to 
			the onlookers)
		He kept his daughters' names outta 
		the paper that time!

				LILLIAN
		Bet that check didn't bounce!

Ned stares dizzily around at the curious, amused, or grim faces. 
He feels cornered, humiliated. He begins to shiver again. 

				NED
		You leave my daughters out of this!

				SYLVIA
		Why didn't ya teach 'em some 
		manners? 

				LILLIAN
			(to Sylvia)
		Those girls never paid no attention 
		to him. Why should they? 
			(to Ned)
		Always runnin' around, chummin' with
		their friends -- always tryin' to be 
		one of the gang, weren't ya?

				NED
			(his voice shaking)
		My daughters worship me -- they love 
		me and -- and they obey me and -- 
		and what I say is the law to those 
		girls because I'm their father and 
		they respect me--
			(close to tears)
		--they respect me--
 
				LILLIAN
		Yeah?

				NED
		My daughters love me--
 
				LILLIAN
			(to the others)
		Plenty of times we used to hear 
		those girls talkin' in our place. 
		We heard his kids givin' him the 
		razzberry!

				NED
		You're a goddamn liar!

				HOWIE
			(angry)
		Now look here, Mr. Merrill -- you 
		don't get away with that! You don't 
		call my wife names!

				NED
		She's a liar!

				HOWIE
			(giving him a good, 
			long, hard look)
		Wanna know what your girls really 
		thoughta you? Your girls laughed at 
		you--

Ned stares at him -- he won't believe it. 

				HOWIE
		I heard them! Your girls thought you 
		were a great big joke!

This last wound triggers Ned's panic. He feels suffocated by the 
ring of strange faces and bodies. All he can think of is that he 
must get out, get away. He thrusts blindly at Howie with enough 
force to throw him to the ground. Women scream. The guards blow 
their ear-splitting whistles. The crowd increases in an instant.

Ned dashes through them -- pushing at anyone in his way -- 
straight for the wire fence. He climbs it nimbly, given a new 
spurt of strength by his consuming desire to escape. As he goes 
over the top he tears his flesh in several places on the sharp 
wires. 

He leaps to the rocks and scrambles frantically up the hill like a 
wild animal -- clinging to clumps of grass, slipping and sliding 
on the slippery surface, intent only on fleeing his tormentors. A 
few drops of rain are falling.
 
 

[16]
The Clydes
 
The back yard of a modest ranch house on a small lot. A half dozen 
adults -- men in loud sport shirts and shorts, women bulgy in 
pedal pushers, and several small children are hurriedly 
dismantling what was to have been a picnic supper.

Apparently they have waited, hoping it was not going to rain, but 
now the sky is slate-colored and the rumble of thunder frequent. A 
charcoal grill is already blazing but unused, and they are taking 
plates of frankfurters, hamburgers, potato salad and trays of beer 
into the kitchen. In the center of the back yard is a very large, 
round, plastic wading pool, the kind used by children.

Ned comes around the side of the house, cold, exhausted, walking 
with the greatest effort. The people in the yard stop what they 
are doing and stare at him.

Ned is transfixed at the sight of the pool. He stumbles toward it. 
With visible effort he swings one leg over the rim of the pool and 
then the other. The water barely reaches to the middle of his 
thigh. He crouches down in the water and begins to paddle across 
like a little child. The adults exchange glances. The children 
watch with mouths agape. 

				MAN 
			(low voice)
		What the hell's going on?
  
				MR. CLYDE
		Soused.

				MAN 
		You know him?

				MR. CLYDE
			(gesturing up the hill)
		That's his house up there.

Ned is half way across. A large inflated rubber duck is floating 
in his path. He rests his cheek on it. 

				WOMAN
	 		(laughing)
		Look at that! 

				ANOTHER WOMAN
			(laughing)
		Makes himself right at home!

				MAN 
			(laughing)
		Soused out of his skull.

The children take their cue from the adults and laugh too. A 
little boy tosses a soft rubber beach ball at Ned. It bounces 
crazily off his head. They scream with glee.

Ned climbs out of the pool. Mrs. Clyde is standing in his path. He 
stops, takes her hand, bows and kisses it briefly. He drops her 
hand and staggers toward the road. The sound of laughter follows 
him.


 
[17]
The Merrills
  
Ned is coming up a narrow winding road. He is weaving a bit from 
side to side. His chest is heaving as if every breath takes all 
his strength. From time to time he coughs. Raindrops are 
splattering down on him. 

His foot slips and he falls to his knees. The raindrops increase. 
He wipes them away, leaving the dirt of the road on his face. He 
struggles to his feet. 

Ned comes to the gatepost of his own driveway, stops and clings to 
it for support. There is a streak of lightning overhead and 
thunder very loud and close. By now the rain is falling steadily. 
It seems to rouse him a bit. He leaves the gatepost and plods up 
the curving driveway.

Ahead of him is his house -- large, grand, rather formal. It is 
set on a spacious lawn. A tennis court is visible at one side and 
to the back. Once in a while lightning illuminates the entire 
scene.

The raindrops are more frequent now. With a last spurt of energy, 
Ned quickens his step. The crescent-shaped drive curves up to the 
front door. He manages a limping run the last few yards to the 
house. 

He turns the knob and pushes at the door in his hurry to get 
inside. The door is locked. He is astounded and tries the knob 
again. The door will not budge. He frowns with confusion and turns 
the knob frantically back and forth.

Now the rain is coming in a downpour. He pounds on the door. He 
tries to force it open with his shoulder. The rain is flooding 
down upon him. In desperation he beats his fists against the door. 
Lightning flashes over the house. Thunder crashes above. Ned 
shouts -- not words but deep bellows of anguish. 

The door is solid. By contrast, Ned's flailing fists seem puny and 
fragile. He beats continuously at the impervious oak. The veins
stand out in his neck as he shouts convulsively. There is terror 
in his eyes. His fists pound and pound.

The windows of the house are dark. Behind them is the unlit and 
dimly visible living room. It is totally empty -- rectangles of 
pale paint on the wall where pictures once hung, a fireplace with 
tarnished andirons in it. Some cardboard cartons filled with 
cast-offs -- wire hangers, broken tennis racket, a worn broom -- 
are against the wall.
   
In the library the shelves are empty except for a tattered 
telephone book. In the small mirrored bar there is nothing but a 
corkscrew on the counter. 

The kitchen is large and well-equipped but dusty. An old calendar 
and a bulletin board hang on one wall. A scrap of paper 
thumbtacked to the board reads, "Slip covers -- CA 7-4333." 

In the spacious, paneled dining room one of the wall sconces has 
come loose and is hanging by its cord.

At the end of the entrance hall is the heavy front door. The knob 
is moving back and forth, back and forth.
   
Outdoors it is darker. The downpour has lessened to a light rain. 
Ned's exhausted hand is turning the knob. He no longer pounds. His 
body is slumped against the door. He is uttering small gasping 
sounds. His eyes are streaming with tears.
 

 
 
Screenplay by Eleanor Perry



Home 1