Death Of The Hired Man Fulltext

harry: Mexico?

carrington: That's what she said.

harry: Damn.

carrington: Oh, she's been there before.

harry: It sounds so far away ...

carrington: She lived there for years.

harry: Why'd she come back?

carrington: Ask her! Sometimes it's hard to get a straight answer.

harry: So I recall. Well, that old girl's trouble anyhow.

carrington: I'll tell her you said so.

harry: Eh, she'd wear it with pride.

carrington: She would, wouldn't she?


carrington: How's business?

harry: Shitty.

carrington: Ha ha.

harry: Sure, you laugh.

carrington: Sorry, Harry.

harry: You laugh, but where'll you go to sit and talk all day when they shut this place down?

carrington: Oh, I appreciate the stakes.

harry: It'd be a different story if someone bought a drink with cash now and then!

carrington: Sure, Harry, we've all got our troubles. Which reminds me ...

harry: I'll pour 'em.

carrington: No, it's not that — as I was leaving the Bureau, I ran into someone else.

harry: Uh huh.

carrington: Your erstwhile janitor ...

harry: I bet. What'd he have to say?

carrington: In fact, he suggested he might come by and clean your facilities!

harry: He what? I told him never to —

carrington: Now, now, Harry, be kind.

harry: I told him —

[bar door opens and closes]

carrington: Here he is.

harry: Now?

carrington: `(Quietly.)` Be kind ...

harry: I'm always kind.

carrington: How does it look out there, Brandon?

brandon: It's pretty OK.

carrington: Sure.

brandon: The sun is out.

harry: Imagine that.

brandon: I mean it's clear skies.

carrington: Clear skies today.


brandon: Well, I'll get started.

harry: Listen, kid —

carrington: Just go on back, my young friend, we'll check in on you shortly.

brandon: Oh, it's just a couple of bathrooms.

harry: See, that attitude —

carrington: Go on back, Brandon.

brandon: OK. I'll start with the ladies'.

harry: ... fine.

brandon: There's nobody ... ?

harry: Naw, it's just us and the kids.

brandon: Oh, hey y'all. What are you watching?

harry: Some soap opera ...[if show=soap-opera]

carrington: "To Love a Red Moon"[if show=soap-opera]

brandon: Oh yeah, my mom used to watch this one.[if show=soap-opera]

carrington: The woman in this scene, Magda, she's a Martian banker. Her lover is the moon Deimos, but she's unfaithful.[if show=soap-opera]

carrington: It's very compelling![if show=soap-opera]

harry: Looks like a nature thing.[if show=turkey-hunting]

carrington: Hunting, I think.[if show=turkey-hunting]

harry: I guess you're paying closer attention.[if show=turkey-hunting]

harry: Knives. All day it's just knives on this channel.[if show=knife-show]

brandon: Scary.[if show=knife-show]

harry: Naw, it's a shopping thing. Need any knives? Ha ha.[if show=knife-show]

brandon: Uh, I'm good.[if show=knife-show]

harry: I can't tell what it's about.[if show=landscapes]

brandon: Travel?[if show=landscapes]

brandon: Looks like a nice place, wherever it is.[if show=landscapes]

harry: Game show.[if show=game-show]

brandon: Aw, man, I'm no good at this one.[if show=game-show]

harry: What, you've been on this show?[if show=game-show]

brandon: No, like, following along at home.[if show=game-show]

harry: History of the left turn.[if show=nascar]

brandon: Not a fan, huh?[if show=nascar]

harry: Oh, it's the, uh ...[if show=moon]

...[if show=moon]

harry: ... the moon.[if show=moon]

...[if show=misc]

harry: I don't know what this is.[if show=misc]

brandon: Oh yeah I do that, too.[if show=misc]

brandon: Whenever I turn on the TV, I always try to find something I've never seen before.[if show=misc]

carrington: Ah, television static. I'm a connoiseur of the stuff.[if show=static]

harry: Of course you are.[if show=static]


brandon: Well ...


[footsteps and bathroom door opening]


carrington: See Harry? A little bit of kindness, and you got your janitor back.

harry: When was I ever anything but kind to him?

harry: I let him sleep in the office whenever he misses his bus.

harry: But he's not dependable.

harry: Off he goes — always when I need him most!

carrington: He thinks he ought to earn a little pay.

harry: I can't afford to pay any fixed wages, though I wish I could!

carrington: So, when someone else `can` pay ...

harry: Then someone else will have to!

carrington: Not so loud. He'll hear you.

harry: I want him to! He'll have to, eventually.


carrington: Harry, I believe you were about to pour us a couple drinks?

harry: This damn bar is like a muddy, black little pond, where everyone who stops to drink falls in and drowns.

carrington: Now, Harry, who would drink from a muddy black pond?

harry: There's always someone thirsty enough.

carrington: Hm. And what are you, in this colorful metaphor?

harry: Just another set of bones at the bottom.

carrington: I'll drink to that ...

harry: Hell, so will I. Ha ha.

[drinks pouring]

harry: They're falling in love.[if show=soap-opera]

carrington: Eh?[if show=soap-opera]

harry: On TV.[if show=soap-opera]

harry: They're never gonna catch that turkey.[if show=turkey-hunting]

carrington: Eh?[if show=turkey-hunting]

harry: On TV.[if show=turkey-hunting]

carrington: Ah. I hope they never do.[if show=turkey-hunting]

harry: Have you ever seen so many knives on one TV show?[if show=knife-show]

carrington: I can't recall.[if show=knife-show]

harry: Seems like the kinda thing you'd remember ...[if show=knife-show]

harry: It looks familiar, right? This place on TV right now.[if show=landscapes]

carrington: I don't believe I've ever been there.[if show=landscapes]

carrington: But yes, it does.[if show=landscapes]

harry: These shows are rigged. They work it all out in advance. All a big con.[if show=game-show]

carrington: It's entertainment.[if show=game-show]

harry: That's no reason to lie about it.[if show=game-show]

carrington: I rather think it's the `only` good reason.[if show=game-show]

harry: `(Gesturing at the TV.)` You follow this at all?[if show=nascar]

carrington: I prefer the horses.[if show=nascar]

harry: Not much happens on this moon show, huh?[if show=moon]

carrington: I find it riveting.[if show=moon]

harry: Not much on in the daytime, huh?[if show=misc]

carrington: Oh, I don't know. I'm enjoying this program, whatever it is.[if show=misc]

harry: Yeah, you would.[if show=misc]

harry: I gotta upgrade this old TV.[if show=static]

carrington: Upgrade?[if show=static]

harry: Yeah, big screen. Digital. No more of this fuzz between channels.[if show=static]

carrington: That "fuzz" is leftover photons from the "big bang," my friend.[if show=static]

carrington: It's like being in the delivery room for the birth of the universe![if show=static]

harry: Well, some of us have the decency not to stare.[if show=static]

harry: So how'd it go? Your play thing.

carrington: My "plaything?"

harry: You said you put on a play, right?

carrington: I `staged an experimental theater production`, yes.

harry: Pardon me.


carrington: If you must know ... it was a disaster.

harry: Sorry to hear that.


carrington: On the topic of my production, the less said, the better.

harry: Fine, change the subject!


carrington: It was doomed from the start, really.

carrington: As I watched the sun rise that morning in front of Equus Oils —[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

harry: What's that?[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: The gas station! Joseph's place.[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

harry: Oh! How is old Joe?[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: Reflective, these days. Aren't we all?[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

harry: Wait — you did your play at a gas station?[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: I `staged` ...[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: Yes.[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

harry: And nobody came out, huh? I'll be damned ...[if two:carrington-play-location=gasstation]

carrington: I had prepared a small seating area on the first floor of a subterranean self-storage facility.[if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

harry: I won't ask.[if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

carrington: The acoustics, Harry![if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

harry: Pretty nice, huh?[if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

carrington: Tremendous ... lonely ... melancholy.[if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

harry: Sounds like kind of a depressing place for a play.[if two:carrington-play-location=storage]

carrington: I spent hours tuning the Elkhorn Mine's old PA system to carry Frost's words with the perfect tonality.[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

harry: The old mine?[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

carrington: Yes. In a flash of inspiration, I decided to stage the production there.[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

harry: They haven't used that mine in years — isn't it dangerous? Full of bats or something?[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

carrington: A few bats. Mostly ghosts.[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

harry: Weird choice. But what do I know ...[if two:carrington-play-location=mine]

carrington: An uncommon venue. By design!

harry: It's unique, I'll give you that.

carrington: Even if an audience had materialized, there were other gaps in the production.

harry: OK.

carrington: The cast and crew ... also absent.

harry: Damn.

carrington: So, I alone stood there at sunrise, with no play, and no audience to miss it.


carrington: And you? What's been occupying your days and nights, my friend?

harry: Not much. Sometimes I go down to the store and restock, but then it's straight back home.

carrington: "Home." You mean this place?

harry: I guess. Sounds pathetic, doesn't it?

carrington: Not at all.

harry: No, you had it right at first. This bar is no home.

carrington: It all depends on what you mean by "home."


carrington: Talking to Brandon the other day, I got the sense he sees this bar as a kind of home, too ...

harry: Ha! He's like a dog that walked in off the street.

carrington: And what do you do, Harry, when a dog walks in off the street?

harry: You give him some water; a dog never did anything wrong.

carrington: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

harry: What's that from?

carrington: A poem.

harry: I bet. It sounds like a greeting card.

carrington: It's meant to sound a little cynical, I believe.

harry: What's the poem called?

carrington: "The Death of the Hired Man," by Robert Frost.

harry: Oh, uh ... of course ...

carrington: Only the poem which served as the basis for my doomed experimental stage production.

harry: I'm sure it's a great poem.

carrington: The next line is, "I should have called it something you somehow haven't to deserve."

harry: Huh.

carrington: Mean anything to you?

harry: Well, uh ... is he a christian man?

carrington: Frost?


carrington: Yes, I think he was — with a healthy measure of doubt.

harry: Then it sounds to me like the grace of God.

carrington: Hm.

harry: You get it when you're baptized — it's automatic. You don't have to do anything to earn it.

harry: You just try to be worthy of it.


harry: What do `you` think?

carrington: Harry, you know I only attend church for the acoustics.

harry: Then what's the line mean? To you.

carrington: Oh, I take it very literally. It's a `moral` claim.

carrington: There is, for each of us, a place called "home."

carrington: The relationship is inalienable. It's our birthright. No one may keep us from this place.

harry: Says who, though? I mean — who enforces it?

carrington: If God won't, then it's up to us.

harry: And I guess you think the same goes for that kid back there.

carrington: Am I so transparent?

harry: So why's it up to `us`, though? Doesn't his grandma work in a bank or something?

carrington: Does she?

harry: I'm pretty sure I heard that.

carrington: But Harry, don't you think that if he `could` get help from family ...

harry: Sure, maybe they had a fight.

carrington: He looked exhausted.

harry: Yeah, he did.

carrington: Why don't you go check on him.

harry: It's kinda quiet back there, huh?

carrington: Not to scold him, Harry — just see how he's doing.

harry: Yeah, alright.

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll catch up on the melodrama of the day.[if show=soap-opera]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll sit and see how the turkey fares.[if show=turkey-hunting]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll catch up with the latest showroom cutlery.[if show=knife-show]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll try to work out what place this is meant to be.[if show=landscapes]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll let you know who wins.[if show=game-show]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll catch up with the races.[if show=nascar]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll sit and see if that small sailing cloud will hit or miss the moon.[if show=moon]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll sit and see if this picture ever resolves into something intelligible.[if show=misc]

carrington: `(Turning to the TV.)` I'll sit and watch the snow.[if show=static]


carrington: `(To EMILY.)` Can't settle on a program?[if behavior=restless]

emily: Too many good choices.[if behavior=restless]

emily: Or, I don't know ... I guess I always watch TV like this.[if behavior=restless]

emily: My friend Ted calls it my "hummingbird mind."[if behavior=restless]

carrington: Well, you've been glued to this program all day. What do you make of it?[if behavior=fixated]

emily: Everybody's secretly in love with everybody else.[if behavior=fixated][if show=soap-opera]

emily: It's so boring![if behavior=fixated][if show=soap-opera]

carrington: Too consistent — I see![if behavior=fixated][if show=soap-opera]

emily: I just watch it for the music. And the turkey sounds.[if behavior=fixated][if show=turkey-hunting]

emily: I'm trying to figure out if I went to school with this hand model.[if behavior=fixated][if show=knife-show]

emily: Yeah, I might as well move to ... wherever this is.[if behavior=fixated][if show=landscapes]

emily: Oh, no, it was a different game show before.[if behavior=fixated][if show=game-show]

emily: I mean, they're all kind of the same.[if behavior=fixated][if show=game-show]

emily: Yeah I've never really watched it before, but it's pretty good.[if behavior=fixated][if show=nascar]

emily: I like how the cars all look like these normal sedans, but under the hood they're monsters.[if behavior=fixated][if show=nascar]

emily: It's admirable, to be stronger than you look.[if behavior=fixated][if show=nascar]

carrington: As I understand, the sport began among rum runners.[if behavior=fixated][if show=nascar]

emily: It's the moon! Everybody loves the moon![if behavior=fixated][if show=moon]

emily: Have I? I didn't even notice. Ha ha.[if behavior=fixated][if show=misc]

emily: I guess I have a lot on my mind.[if behavior=fixated][if show=misc]

carrington: You seem to have settled on a program eventually.[if behavior=settled]

emily: I watch this every day.[if behavior=settled]

carrington: An old favorite.[if behavior=settled]

emily: Not really. I just always settle on this. It's magnetic, somehow.[if behavior=settled]

emily: Gotta see what happens next, I guess![if behavior=settled][if show=soap-opera]

emily: I always root for the turkey.[if behavior=settled][if show=turkey-hunting]

emily: I don't even like knives. I just like the way they talk about them.[if behavior=settled][if show=knife-show]

emily: I'm planning a trip to ... wherever this is.[if behavior=settled][if show=landscapes]

emily: I don't even really understand the rules of this game.[if behavior=settled][if show=game-show]

emily: I like how the cars all look like these normal sedans, but under the hood they're monsters.[if behavior=settled][if show=nascar]

emily: It's admirable, to be stronger than you look.[if behavior=settled][if show=nascar]

carrington: As I understand, the sport began among rum runners.[if behavior=settled][if show=nascar]

emily: I mean, who can resist the moon?[if behavior=settled][if show=moon]

carrington: Not I![if behavior=settled][if show=moon]

emily: I don't even know what it is![if behavior=settled][if show=misc]

carrington: Like a moth to a lamp.[if behavior=settled][if show=misc]

carrington: What do you see in it? The TV static.[if behavior=static]

emily: Well, it's not the birth of the universe.[if behavior=static][if heard-about-bou]

carrington: Oh, I just say things like that for Harry's benefit.[if behavior=static][if heard-about-bou]

emily: You like to grind his gears.[if behavior=static][if heard-about-bou]

carrington: Honestly, I don't know why he tolerates me.[if behavior=static][if heard-about-bou]

emily: You're friends.[if behavior=static][if heard-about-bou]

...[if behavior=static]

emily: I just like the way it looks. And sometimes I see shapes, like when you look at clouds.[if behavior=static]

emily: Sorry your play was a bust.

carrington: Ah, live theater is always a risk. That's what makes it interesting!

emily: I agree.

carrington: Sure, you're a performer, you understand.

emily: I was in a movie recently.

carrington: I hadn't heard!

emily: Yeah! A western. Kind of. A glitch western.

carrington: You have my complete attention.

emily: I was just thinking about your poem.

carrington: Oh?

emily: Yeah, but I was thinking about it as a riddle.

emily: Like, "What's the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in?"

carrington: And the answer is "Home?"

emily: No. It's "a grave."

[Harry returns]

carrington: Our host returns! But so quickly ...


carrington: ... well? Did you and the young man have a heart-to-heart conversation? How is he?

harry: He's asleep. On the floor, with a roll of paper towels as a pillow.

carrington: Ah ... try to remember, Harry —

harry: No, it's alright.

harry: Let him rest.