Ernie Cusack

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Hi, Cookie. Hi, Ernie.

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1

Hi, Cookie. Hi, Ernie.

Hello Chris. Hello Lenny.

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2

Mr. Gorbachev? . . . He said,"I don't know. I never ate cat food before.

Sorry we're late. Did we miss much?

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3

You have got to get Lenny to tell you the story about Mrs. Thatcher and the cat food.

It sounds funny already. Heh heh heh.

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4

No, it's for my back. It went out again while I was dressing.

You all right, Honey?

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5

It's nothing. I can do everything but sit down and get up.

Hey, Lenny, is that your BMW? Looks like you put a lot of miles on in 2 days.

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6

Oh don't tell me! Lenny! Claire! . . . I'm so sorry.

It was an accident, honey. We'll replace it, of course.

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7

What about a drink, everyone?

I'll have something.

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8

I'm right near the bar.

You're all going to get me a drink? Such friendly people. I'd love a bourbon, please.

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9

A spasm. It's gone. It's all right. It just shoots up my back and goes.

You all right, poops?

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10

Listen, maybe we should all sit outside. It's such a beautiful evening.

Okay. Okay, you kids, what's going on here?

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11

what do you mean?

You think I don't notice everyone's acting funny? Three people want to get me a drink. Chris wants me to hear this funny story. Lenny wants to get us all outside. Everyone creating a diversion. Why? I don't know. Am I right?

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12

Here it is.

You all right, chicken?

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13

It's all laid out. Roast ham, smoked turkey, duck and pasta.

Roast ham? Duck? . . . That's too much cholesterol for me.

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14

A sixty year old Russian dress.

The dress is hardly an issue worth arguing about.

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15

I didn't say we wouldn't cook it.

She didn't say we wouldn't cook it. Why is everyone getting so worked up about this?

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16

All right, Ernie, let's not turn this into group therapy, please.

This is nothing like group therapy, Claire. You, of all people should know that.

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17

Please lower your voices. We're going to spoil the surprise for Charley and Myra.

What surprise? It was their idea.

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18

I'll do all the cooking myself and Ernie'll do the serving.

Honey, no one's asking you to do that.

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19

Oh give me a break.

What the heck was that?

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20

Would you all excuse me for a minute? I hate when this happens.

Am I crazy or was that a gunshot?

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21

A gunshot? Nooo. I think it was a car backfiring.

In Charley's bedroom?

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22

Oh I know. I know. I know exactly what it was . . . It was a balloon. They've been blowing up party balloons up there all day.

What kind of balloon was that, the Goodyear blimp? . . . I'm going up.

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23

I'll get it.

I still think it sounded like a gunshot.

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24

Hello? Who? Dr. Cusack? Yes he is. Who is it, please?

Is that for me?

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25

Uh huh. Uh huh. It's a conference call. Mr. and Mrs. Klein, Mr. and Mrs. Platt, Mr. and Mrs. Fishman.

Oh, it's my Friday night group. I have a telephone session with them.

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26

See where Ernie is with my drink, will you?

I thought I heard Lenny in here. I have his spritzer.

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27

I'll hold it for him. How's Cookie?

Not well. I gave her some aspirin for her back, but she dropped them in the sauce.

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28

Good. Then we'll all get rid of our headaches.

Did Lenny say what that sound was?

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29

The gunshot?

It was a gunshot?!

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30

No. I was referring to the sound you thought was a gunshot.

It wasn't a balloon, I know that.

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31

No. It was a can of shaving cream. It exploded.

Shaving cream exploded?

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32

It's all right it washes off.

Incredible.

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33

Ernie? I need you to put out some garbage.

I'm not through talking to my group yet.

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34

Of course l. We would all miss him terribly.

I purposely went around so you wouldn't have to go to the door.

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35

I'll get it. Ernie, get another bag of ice. I'm melting.

I'm beginning to feel like one of my patients.

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36

I'll go up and see how Ken and Charley are doing . . . I feel like I'm at the Alamo.

Darn, I burned my fingers! Hot hot hot, oh God it's hot!

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37

Oh, dear.

Sonofagun, that hurts. Oh craperini!

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38

What happened?

Cookie dropped her ice bag and slipped against the stove. The hot platter was about to fall on her, so I lifted it up. Then I dropped it on the table and it broke the water pitcher and the glass shattered on her arm and she's bleeding like hell. I got a dish towel on her wrist and I propped her up against a cabinet. But I need some bandages for her arm and some ointment for my fingers. I never saw anything happen so fast.

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39

I was hoping there was more to the story.

I'm sorry, Claire. Did you ask for a drink?

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40

Listen, you have other things to think about.

Right.

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41

Claire? . . . Chris? . . . Where are you? . . . Ah, screw it. I'm beginning to feel like my car.

Lenny? You got those bandages?

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42

(Doorbell rings)

Nobody getting that door? . . . These kids are up to something, I know it.

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43

(Open door)

Hello

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44

Good evening.

Good evening. I don't know where everyone is.

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45

You mean we're the first?

No. Everyone's here. They're just . . . spread out a little.

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46

Perrier with lime, no ice.

Sure, fine. I don't believe we've met. I'm Ernie Cusack.

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47

Hello, Ernie.

Excuse my hands. Little accident in the kitchen.

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48

Sorry to hear it.

I would stay and chat but my wife is bleeding in the kitchen.

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49

Your wife?

Cookie. A water pitcher broke, cut her arm. I burned my fingers.

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50

That's a shame.

Nothing to worry about. We'll have dinner ready soon. Nice meeting you both.

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51

Hitler as a boy. A whole new slant on him.

Dinner's coming along. Double scotch, straight up.

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52

Oh thanks.

Lenny, have you got the bandages?

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53

Listen, I'm sorry. I mistook you for the butler.

I kind of thought you did. No, I'm an analyst.

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54

Oh for Pete's sake. I'm Glenn . . . How's your wife doing?

The spaghetti's boiling, but the duck is still frozen.

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55

No, I meant her arm.

Oh, not too bad. She's a trooper. Her fingers are cramping up a little.

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56

Oh. We called him. He's busy.

You called about Cookie's arm?

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57

And when the doctor called back, we told him about Ken's ears.

Isn't that incredible? From a can of shaving cream exploding!

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58

It was. But the pressure from the manhole cover made the shaving cream can explode.

I didn't hear that.

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59

You're kidding. I wish I did his taxes.

Wait a minute! Glenn Cooper? From Poughkeepsie. You're running for state senate.

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60

That's right.

I have a good friend who knows you very well.

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61

Really? Who's that?

Harold Green.

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62

Ernie, Cookie's waiting in the emergency room.

Right. There's your wife's Perrier. Nice to meet you, Glenn. . . . Thought I was the butler.

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63

Hello? . . . Hello?

I'll go get Myra and Charley

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64

Right! (4th time)

Why didn't I see it? People running up and down stairs, no one answering the door, cans of shaving cream exploding. I'm on the staff of Bellevue Hospital, how could I believe such a story? You never let on.

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65

Maybe he's still hungry. YOU WANT SECONDS, KENNY?

No, no. He wants to say something. Be quiet a minute, everyone . . . What is it, Ken?

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66

. . . I'm just glad it's over with.

It's all right, Ken. We know, Lenny told us.

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67

You know?

Yes.

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68

Who told you?

Lenny told us.

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69

Glenn told you?

No. Lenny. LENNY! LENNY TOLD US!

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70

Oh finish your ******* dinner and leave us alone, will you?

All right, take it easy, Lenny. He's been under a big strain.

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71

It sounded so real, I believed it.

What about you, Mrs. Cooper? What's her name?

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72

Cassie.

What about you, Cassie? Did you think something strange was going on?

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73

Yes, for about six months now.

What do you mean? What does she mean?

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74

Have you got them enrolled in a good school yet?

Oh come on, Claire. If crystals work for her, if they give her a sense of comfort and pleasure, what's wrong with it?

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75

If the planet is gone, don't the crystals go with it?

Lenny, don't.

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76

I can unscrew the toilet myself. I've done it before.

I don't think it's the time or the place to fix toilets, sugar.

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77

Hear hear

Bravissima!

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78

Doesn't anybody . . . Doesn't anybody-?

Quiet everyone. Quiet . . . What is it, Ken? Doesn't anybody what?

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79

What?

You're right. My God, he's right. We've all been so busy eating and explaining to each other, we forgot all about Charley.

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80

Right here. Right around here

We'll find them, honey.

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81

They're in my hand. I forgot I had them. I'm so stupid. Forgive me, everybody, I'm sorry. . . So, what were we saying.

Glenn, I'm a little worried about your wife. Do you think she's all right?

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82

Excuse me. I'm going up to get Charley's gun.

Cassie, everyone here is your friend. Why don't you and I go out on the terrace and have a nice, quiet talk?

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83

Charley begins with a C.

What is this, anagrams, for Pete's sake? Let him talk on the phone.

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84

My ears popped! They just opened up. My God, it sounds like a subway in here.

This is remarkable, but I'm having the first headache I've ever had in my life.

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85

Oh, sit on it, will you, honey.

If I had you all in my group, I would never need another group again.

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86

The man is a German shepherd.

I don't think it's your business to listen, Ken.

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87

Of course, Charley's not dumb. He puts two and two together, confronts Myra with it, she confesses, Charley kicks her out of the house, tells the servants to go home and tries to blow his brains out.

You don't know that. That's an assumption on your part. That is a very, very dangerous statement to make. Don't you agree with me, Len?

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88

No.

Why not?

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89

I don't feel like it.

Listen, I think we have to bring this thing to a head. I'm going to go up and speak to Charley and find out what's what.

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90

What I'm trying to say is, as long as Charley doesn't think the rest of you know-

-why tell him now? I see your point. We've got to keep up the subterfuge. If we confront him with everyone knowing about the gunshot, he could go to pieces. So until he tells us his own story, we have to pretend we don't know anything.

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91

I should be the one who goes up. I tell Charley that everyone is here. And he asks me does anyone know what's happened.

You say, "No."

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92

Allrightallrightallrightallright!!

I've got it. I've got it. Here's what we do. Charley's going to want to know what Ken told us. Ken tells Charley that he told us that Charley had a large benign wart removed from his ear this morning, but he's okay. Then suddenly Myra's mother broke her hip this afternoon and that Myra took her to the hospital and is going to stay there for the night. The help, thinking the party was off, left the food and went home. It all happened so fast, they forgot to call us. We all got here, we understood and decided to cook the dinner ourselves... That's the story.

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93

I wouldn't believe the mother breaking her hip.

Why not?

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94

She died six years ago.

Then her father broke his hip.

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95

Her father lives in California.

Does she have a relative in the city?

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96

She has a cousin Florence.

Then Florence broke her hip.

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97

Florence is married. Why didn't her husband take her?

Then Myra broke her hip. The neighbors took her.

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98

Can't you think of something else?

I did! I thought of the mother, the father, the cousin, the wart and the hip. Nothing satisfies you people.

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99

There's no logic to that. Nothing in that story is plausible.

We don't need plausible. The man is in shock, mental anguish, and emotional despair. Logic doesn't mean anything to him right now.

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100

(phone rings)

The telephone!

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