EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

Joe gets out of the mail truck in front of a wooded cemetery. The mail truck drives off, leaving Joe all by himself. There are no cars and no sign of a funeral. Joe finally spots a woman and a child alone at a freshly dug grave.

As Joe approaches we see that it is Molly and Delbert, Kevin's wife and son. Molly sees Joe and gasps.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Oh, dear, what happened to you?

                                                                 JOE
                                I had some trouble getting here. I missed the funeral,
                                huh?

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (nods)
                                Did you know Kevin?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah. We were really good friends when we were
                                kids. Best friends, actually.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (perks up)
                                Did you know President Burton? I know Kevin used
                                to go to school with him. That was before I moved
                                to Akron.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (sighs)
                                Yeah, I knew him, too.

Molly holds out her hand.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Hi. I'm Molly, and this is Delbert.

Joe shakes both of their hands. Delbert frowns.



                                                                 DELBERT
                                                           (quietly)
                                Just Bert is fine.

                                                                 JOE
                                Nice to meet you, Molly, Bert . . .
                                                           (Delbert smiles)
                                I'm Joe, Joe . . . Burgundy.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Nice to meet you, Joe. You look like you could
                                use a shower, and I'll bet your hungry. Did you
                                come a long way?

                                                                 JOE
                                From Washington, D.C.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                That is a long way. And you came just for Kevin's
                                funeral?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (nods)
                                And I missed it.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                No you didn't. This is it.
                                                           (starts to cry)
                                Nobody showed up.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (aghast)
                                Not even a priest?

                                                                 MOLLY
                                We weren't really members of a church. Most of
                                Kevin's old friends had moved away. And then, he
                                was in the hospital for so long, well . . . Healthy
                                people just lose interest in sick people. That's how
                                it is, I guess. But you came. That's what's important.
                                Come on, I'll make you lunch. And you can change
                                into some of Kevin's old clothes. Some of them he
                                hardly wore at all. You take a minute, Mr. Burgundy.
                                We'll meet you back at the truck.

Molly and Delbert start down the hill, away from the grave. Joe looks at the headstone. "Kevin Wylie Groves, Born 1960 -- Died 2003."

                                                                 JOE
                                Well, Kev . . . Remember when we skipped school
                                and spent the whole day walking up a stream? As I
                                think back on it now, that was the best day of my life.
                                I'll see ya soon, pal. Save a good seat for me.

Joe turns and walks away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. PICK-UP TRUCK - DAY

Molly drives a junk, 1965, International Harvester pick-up truck. In the middle is Delbert, then Joe. They ride along in the jalopy in silence.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                So, Mr. Burgundy --

                                                                 JOE
                                -- Just Joe is fine.

He glances at Delbert and they exchange a grin.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                All right, Joe. What did Kevin call you?

Joe looks out the window, rolling his eyes.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (embarrassed)
                                Jo-Jo the Bloat-Goat.



                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (stupefied)
                                Oh, really? Well, we'll just call you Joe. But that
                                sure does sound like Kevin, all right. He called me
                                Good Golly Miss Molly Polly. He just liked the
                                sound of words.

Joe turns to Delbert.

                                                                 JOE
                                What did he call you?

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Bert. I just like to be called Bert.

                                                                 JOE
                                You got it, Bert.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                So, Joe, how did you get all covered with blood?

                                                                 JOE
                                I got beat up. And my money got stolen. By a gang,
                                I guess you'd call them. In Pittsburgh.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                                           (cautiously)
                                Maybe they were the Pittsburgh Stealers?

Joe and Molly both burst out laughing. Delbert grins.

                                                                 JOE
                                They sure were. That's a good joke, Bert.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (wipes her eyes)
                                That's the first time I've really laughed in a long
                                time.

                                                                 JOE
                                Kevin used to love to laugh. He'd do anything
                                for a laugh.


                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (nods; sighs)
                                Yeah. He just didn't have much to laugh about in
                                the past couple of years.

Everybody goes quiet again, but now, at least, it's a more comfortable silence.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. THE GROVES' FARM - DAY

The Groves' farm is nothing to get excited about: a small house, a broken windmill, a few animals, overgrown fields. The pick-up truck pulls up the long dirt driveway and everyone gets out. Joe looks around, squinting.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Nice place.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                It needs work. As soon as Kevin got sick it started
                                to fall apart, and there just hasn't been anyone around
                                to do it.

They all step up to the front door. Molly opens the screen door, which is just about to fall off its hinges and is hanging by a single loose screw.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                As I say, it needs some work.

They all go inside.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Molly is at the counter making tuna sandwiches. Delbert is at the table reading. Joe enters, his hair wet and slicked back, still unshaven, wearing overalls and a red flannel shirt underneath. Molly sees him and smiles.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Well, that's a lot better.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah. I don't think I've been that dirty in my
                                entire adult life.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                There's razors and shaving cream up there if you
                                wanna shave.

Joe rubs his scraggily beard.

                                                                 JOE
                                No thanks, I think I'll let my beard grow a little
                                longer, see what it looks like.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                It looks good. Sit down, Joe. Lunch'll be ready
                                in a minute.

                                                                 JOE
                                Have you got a screwdriver? I'd like to take a crack
                                at fixing the screen door.

Molly goes to a closet and removes a toolbox.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Sure. I'll bet you're really handy around the house,
                                huh?

Joe takes the toolbox.

                                                                 JOE
                                Well . . . I don't know about that. Actually, I'm not
                                all that coordinated, if you want to know the truth.
                                But, what the heck . . .
                                                           (turns to Delbert)
                                Come on, Bert, gimme a hand, OK?

Delbert jumps to his feet, closing his book.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Sure.


Joe and Delbert exit the kitchen. Molly smiles as she watches them leave.

EXT. FRONT PORCH OF THE FARM - DAY

Joe sits on the porch studying the screen door's hinge. He turns to Delbert.

                                                                 JOE
                                What'dya think?

                                                                 DELBERT
                                                           (shrugs)
                                I'd say it's busted.

                                                                 JOE
                                Clever. What'cha reading?

Delbert holds up the book.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                A book about Teddy Roosevelt. He was President,
                                ya know.

                                                                 JOE
                                Right after McKinnley.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                                           (grins)
                                Right.

                                                                 JOE
                                Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Meanwhile, Joe is trying to tighten a Phillips head screw with a flathead screwdriver.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Yeah. Uh, Joe?

                                                                 JOE
                                Yes, Bert?



                                                                 DELBERT
                                That's the wrong kind of screwdriver.
                                                           (hands Joe a Phillips
                                                           head screwdriver)
                                Here.

                                                                 JOE
                                Thanks. I knew that; I was checking to see if
                                you did.

Joe puts the tip of the screwdriver into the worn head of the screw, attempts to turn it, slips out and goes right through the screen. Joe's eyes widen with an expression saying, "Ooops!" Joe glances back at Delbert, but he's not paying attention, he's looking at his book. Joe tries again and goes through the screen again.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Ya know, Teddy Roosevelt loved birds, but he
                                also liked to shoot them with a gun. How could
                                that be?

                                                                 JOE
                                Well, there were a lot more birds back then. There
                                were a lot more animals of all kinds. We've managed
                                since Teddy was a kid to kill off most of the animals.
                                But you can't hold that against somebody back in the
                                1800's. Now it's a different story; now there's no
                                good reason to kill animals. Live and let live, I say.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (O.S.; calling out)
                                Lunch is ready!

Joe stands up.

                                                                 JOE
                                OK, let's see how this worked?

Joe swings open the screen door and lets go -- the door swings open slowly, then falls off its hinges and lands on the porch. Joe and Delbert look down at it.



                                                                 JOE
                                                           (claps his hands)
                                There. Now that there's nothing hindering it,
                                and after lunch I'll put it back up.

Joe and Delbert head inside.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

TIME MONTAGE: (Three Days Elapse)

Joe helps around the house; eats meals with them in the kitchen; Joe and Molly exchange looks; Joe sleeps in the spare bedroom, Molly is on the other side of the wall, neither are asleep; Joe's beard gets thicker; Joe and Delbert fix the screen door again, and once again it falls off its hinges; and they eat another meal together and it all feels pretty good . . .

DISSOLVE:

EXT. OLD, DILAPIDATED HOUSE - DAY

Two black, rental Ford Tauruses pull to a halt in front of an old, abandoned, dilapidated house sitting in a field of overgrown weeds. The four Secret Service Agents, as well as Chief Dondero, get out of the cars and inspect the house.

                                                                 AGENT #1
                                This is where President Burton was born?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Yep. Lived here 'til he was eleven. That's when his
                                Dad made a lot of money and moved the family east.
                                Doesn't look like anyone's lived here since then.

                                                                 AGENT #2
                                You figure they'd have a plaque or something. Ya
                                know, the President was born here.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (chuckles)
                                What do the Ohioans care? They've had sixteen, seven-
                                teen Presidents come from Ohio. It's the President State.

All the Agents nod and mumble, "Huh!" in appreciation.


                                                                 AGENT #3
                                Well, hell, it don't seem right. You become President,
                                the house where you're born should be a monument.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                That's fine. The question is, when's he gonna get here?

Chief Dondero opens a newspaper, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and the headline reads: "PRESIDENT STILL IN COMA." The sub-headline states: "Burton's popularity skyrockets!"

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                He's doing better in a coma than when he was campaign-
                                ing.

                                                                 AGENT #3
                                If he wants to win the election, he oughta stay in a
                                coma.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                What are you, a political strategist? Go get coffee!

                                                                 AGENT #3
                                Yes, sir!

Chief Dondero looks around.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Don't worry, he'll be here.

Meanwhile, down at the end of the block, unbeknownst the Secret Service Agents, Joe, Molly, and Delbert drive by in the pick-up truck.

INT. PICK-UP TRUCK - DAY

Joe is driving, Delbert in the middle, then Molly, her hair blowing in the breeze.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (points)
                                I was born just over there.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Let's stop and see.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                Later. Now, I wanna see the treehouse.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                When did you and Kevin build it?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (thinks)
                                Well . . . I think we were nine or ten. I'm forty-two,
                                so, thirty-two, thirty-three years ago. Back in the
                                Stone Age.
                                                           (to Delbert)
                                Before video games, and home computers . . .

                                                                 MOLLY
                                . . . And microwave ovens, and cellular phones . . .

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Did you have Prince Albert in a can?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah, I guess so.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Maybe you should let him out.

Joe and Molly laugh again.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (impressed)
                                This kid's a comedian.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                He wasn't before.

Delbert shrugs.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (points)
                                It's in the vacant lot on the corner of First and
                                Elm.

EXT. THE CORNER OF FIRST AND ELM - DAY

The truck drives up to the corner of First and Elm Streets and they are in front of a mini-mall, with a donut shop, a dry cleaners, a 7-11, and a video store.

INT. TRUCK - DAY

Joe looks very disappointed.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                You sure this was the corner?

Joe nods sadly.

                                                                 JOE
                                Well, I guess the old times are gone.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Not the good times. Those are still alive.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (nods; smiles)
                                Yeah. Uh, I don't have any money, but . . . I'd
                                sure like a donut.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Me, too.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Me, three. I've got money -- over two dollars. I
                                could buy us donuts.

                                                                 JOE
                                Thank you, Bert.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Thank you, too, Bert.

She's never called him this before. Delbert gets out of the truck and dashes over to the donut shop. Joe and Molly look at each other, grin, then look away.


EXT. DONUT SHOP - DAY

As Delbert opens the door, Agent #3 is coming out holding four cups of coffee and a bag of donuts. Delbert holds the door open for the Agent.

                                                                 AGENT #3
                                Thanks a lot, kid.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Sure.

The Agent goes out and Delbert goes in.

INT. TRUCK - DAY

Joe and Molly sit in the parked truck. This is the first time they've been alone.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                So, it must be disappointing for you not finding
                                your's and Kevin's old treehouse.

                                                                 JOE
                                Oh, I don't know. It was probably irrational of
                                me to've thought I could really go live there. What
                                would I have used for plumbing?

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (coughs)
                                So, are you married?

                                                                 JOE
                                No. I mean, I was, but now I'm not. We're divorced.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Oh, really? What was the problem?

                                                                 JOE
                                Well . . . We don't like each other. I'm not sure we
                                ever did.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Why did you get married?


                                                                 JOE
                                Everybody else was doing it at the time.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Kids?

                                                                 JOE
                                Yeah, we were.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                No, do you have any?

                                                                 JOE
                                Uh-uh. But it's better that way. No point in two
                                people that don't like each other having kids. They'd
                                be a total screwed-up mess by now.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                But you like kids, I can see that.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (shrugs)
                                I like Bert.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (fondly)
                                Bert. Delbert was his grandfather's name.

                                                                 JOE
                                But it's a silly name. Bert's better. He likes Bert
                                better.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Then Bert it is. I like you, Mr. Burgundy, and I
                                don't mind admitting it. Clearly, you loved Kevin.
                                I loved Kevin. Del . . . Bert loved Kevin. Why
                                shouldn't we all get along?

                                                                 JOE
                                Right. Absolutely.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Do you think I'm attractive, Joe?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (swallows)
                                Yes, I do, Molly.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                                           (intense)
                                I've been a good and faithful wife to Kevin. I loved
                                him to the very end. But he was bed-ridden for nearly
                                two years. I'm still a young woman -- thirty-five. Well,
                                thirty-seven, but, still . . .
                                                           (covers her eyes)
                                Were you, uh, thinking of moving along soon, or possibly
                                staying around these parts a while?

                                                                 JOE
                                Well, lately -- like, since I met you -- I've been thinking
                                about staying.

Delbert comes running up holding a box of donuts.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Well, then, Mr. Burgundy, we know where we stand.

Joe starts the truck and winces. Delbert gets in the truck, opens the box and offers the donuts.

                                                                 DELBERT
                                I got six, that's two each.

Joe reaches in for one.

                                                                 JOE
                                It sure is. Thanks, Bert, your a real sport.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Thank you, dear. I can still call you dear, can't
                                I?

                                                                 DELBERT
                                Oh, mom. Have a donut.

Molly takes one, and so does Delbert. They drive away chomping on donuts.

DISSOLVE:

EXT. HOSPITAL (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - EVENING

REPORTERS and CAMERAMEN gather around the steps leading into a hospital. Secretary of State Harrison and General Seaholm come down the steps, stop and give a statement.

                                                                 HARRISON
                                The President is doing just fine.

                                                                 REPORTER #1
                                What's his blood pressure?

                                                                 HARRISON
                                                           (caught)
                                Excuse me? Oh, well . . . It's fine, too. If he weren't
                                in a coma, he'd be in great shape.

                                                                 REPORTER #2
                                So, then, there's no telling when he'll come out of
                                this, is there?

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Your guess is as good as ours.

                                                                 REPORTER #2
                                How's the President's EKG?

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                                           (no idea)
                                Uh, it's sufficient at this time. Next question.

                                                                 REPORTER #1
                                What will the Republicans do for a candidate if the
                                President doesn't come out of this coma?

                                                                 HARRISON
                                All contingencies will be handled as necessary. Right
                                now, we simply wish President Burton a speedy recovery.
                                That's all, thank you very much.

Harrison and General Seaholm exchange a look, then walk quickly away.

DISSOLVE:


EXT. GROVES' FARM - NIGHT

The little farm is bathed in bright moonlight. Joe and Molly sit on the porch swing, rocking slowly. The crickets chirp, a cow moos, a fly buzzes past, a slight wind blows by.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (inhales)
                                Smells good.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Would you like to take a walk?

                                                                 JOE
                                Sure.

Joe stands, putting out his hand for Molly. Taking Joe's hand, Molly rises, and leads the way.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                This used to be a pretty farm. When we moved in
                                twelve years ago it was like out of a storybook. We
                                made a good living, too. Had a lot of fresh food.
                                Me and Kevin had a lot of good years together. I
                                don't want to grow old alone, Joe.

                                                                 JOE
                                Me, neither. And we won't, neither one of us, or
                                Bert.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                Who? Oh, him.

They've arrived at the barn. It's full of straw.

                                                                 JOE
                                I ran away from my life. I couldn't take it anymore,
                                all the clutter and clatter. I got hit in the head and
                                suddenly I could see.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                What could you see, Joe?


                                                                 JOE
                                Well . . . I could see that my head really hurt.
                                And, as I assessed my life, I could now clearly
                                see that every part of my life hurt. There wasn't
                                anything I liked or enjoyed about any of it. So I
                                ran away. And I came here. What I'm saying is,
                                I didn't just come here for Kevin's funeral; I came
                                here to try and find out who I really am?

                                                                 MOLLY
                                So, who are you, Joe?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                A guy that wants to make love to his best friend's
                                widow. Sounds romantic, huh?

                                                                 MOLLY
                                It does to me. It's all how you look at things.

Molly and Joe awkwardly put their arms around each other, then even more awkwardly kiss. When their lips part, Molly rubs Joe's beard.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                I like your beard.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (smiles)
                                Really? I've never had one before.

                                                                 MOLLY
                                I say, go for it.

They kiss again, and this time they go for it.

We see the house, the moon, the barn, and the two embracing silhouettes.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

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