A-1 THE MAN-MADE MOUNTAIN PEAKS OF MANHATTAN
on a sunny day in October, 1938. THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS the
distant ridge of midtown buildings, then slowly FINDS A
THE REAR OF A SMALL APARTMENT HOUSE on East 55th
It is a 4-story affair of brick, housing some eight
apartments, half of them giving on the garden or rather on
the routine back yard with a sumac tree, a stone bench, and
some mouldy flower boxes in which geraniums are dying.
THE MOVING CAMERA CONCENTRATES on the 4th-floor apartment,
which boasts three windows. Two of them give on the living
room, one on the bedroom of the brothers Birnam. THE CAMERA
NARROWS its interest to THE BEDROOM WINDOW.
It is open, like a million other windows in New York that
warm day. What gives it individuality is that from an awning
cleat there dangles down the outside wall something which
very few people hang from their windows: a bottle of whiskey.
Through the window we can see the brothers Birnam packing.
A-2 INT. BEDROOM
It is a smallish room with twin beds in opposite corners,
both of them unmade. There are books on the night tables,
two chests of drawers with some of the drawers open, and the
closet is open too. One door leads to the living room, another
to the cramped entrance hall.
(Maybe this is the time to describe the apartment. You've
seen that living room a hundred times if you know literate,
artistically inclined people. On one wall are bookshelves
surrounding a marble fireplace, on which stands a tiny plaster
bust of Shakespeare. In the shelves, art books and serious
works of fiction: Thomas Mann, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James
Joyce and the like. There are Picasso, Van Gogh and Utrillo
reproductions on the other walls. A comfortable, elderly
armchair stands near one of the windows. There is a studio
couch, a low, tiled table -- oh, you know.
Off the living room is the familiar kitchenette for the light
housekeeping of two bachelors -- i.e. coffee and coffee.
The bathroom, inconveniently enough, is off the entrance
hall. A floor plan, authenticated by the author of the book,
will be furnished on request).
To get back to the bedroom and the Birnam brothers: a small
suitcase lies open on each bed. DON, the brother nearest the
window, is bent over one, putting in socks, shirts, etc. He
is thirty-three, an extremely attractive guy, but ten pounds
underweight, and in his eye there is something rebellious,
WICK, two years younger, is much sturdier, kindly,
sympathetic, solid gold. He wears glasses and is smoking a
cigarette. He is on his way from the closet to his suitcase
with some stuff. He throws a sweater across to Don.
Better take this along, Don. It's
going to be cold on the farm.
How many shirts are you taking?
I'm taking five.
I told them at the office I might
not be back till Tuesday. We'll get
there this afternoon. That'll give
us all Friday, Saturday, Sunday,
Monday. We'll make it a long weekend.
Sounds long, all right.
It'll do you good, Don, after what
you've been through.
Don has crossed to the chest of drawers and fished out more
shirts and socks.
Trees and grass and sweet cider and
buttermilk and water from that well
that's colder than any other water.
Wick, please, why this emphasis on
liquids? Noble, upstanding, nauseating
DON, his back toward Wick, is bent over the suitcase, packing.
His eyes travel to the window.