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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 2)

2006-07-08 22:10

  EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

  Carolyn steps out of the doorway and heads for the car, out of which exit her brother Michael and his country girl wife BETTY, a stout buxom chatterbox. Both boast Florida tans and fashion styles.

  MICHAEL(to Carolyn)

  Explain to me again why we didn't do this in Des Moines in an air conditioned office?

  CAROLYN Mom's orders.

  MICHAEL Lawyer here?

  CAROLYN(nods)

  I have some sandwich fixings if you're hungry.

  BETTY(proudly)

  No, we just had lunch at the hotel with my brother and his new wife. She told me all the dirt. I forgot how interesting things can get around here. It was so good to see them. The last time we visited they were in Europe. He is doing so well. He ordered champagne. For lunch! I nearly died.

  MICHAEL I nearly died when we split the bill.

  BETTY Michael doesn't understand. People who make the kind of money my brother makes don't carry money on them. They keep it all in various accounts.

  MICHAEL Then we should have had lunch at the bank.

  Carolyn tries not to laugh. Betty shoots him a dirty look,then stops to take in the house and its surroundings.

  BETTY Boy. It sure has been a long time.

  MICHAEL(correcting her)

  We were here two Christmases ago.

  BETTY Well, that's a long time.

  MICHAEL It's not that long.

  BETTY(suddenly upset)

  Well, why don't I just say black so you can say white!

  (to Carolyn)

  Don't be surprised to find your brother hasn't changed an iota. He hardly ever talks and when he does it's in that tone! You should have heard him at lunch —— not two words until the bill came and then he says,“Worth every penny.”

  MICHAEL(defensive)

  SO!

  BETTY(angry)

  You said it in that tone! Like you were angry at me, my brother, at the world for forcing you to eat a nice lunch!

  MICHAEL Oh Jesus.

  BETTY(staring to cry)

  I simply can not stand that tone!

  CAROLYN(sympathetically)

  Come inside. You're just tired from the trip.

  She comforts Betty who indulges in the attention.

  BETTY I am so sick and tired of apologizing and not knowing what I've done!

  CAROLYN I'm sure you haven't done anything. Have some iced tea. How are the kids?

  MICHAEL He dropped them off at Betty's mom. Where's Steve?

  CAROLYN(uncomfortably)

  He's not coming.

  Betty suddenly stops crying and abrasively focuses on Carolyn's problems.

  BETTY Aw, is he still cheating on you,hon?

  Carolyn suddenly hoses sympathy for her.

  INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

  The lawyer hands Michael a document.

  LAWYER Just sign here as having received the contents from the safe deposit box.(Michael does)

  And this one, which clears the bank of all further responsibility fo0r the contents.

  Betty whispers to Carolyn.

  BETTY This is kind of exciting. You think we'll find out your mother had secret millions lying around?

  Carolyn smiles weakly. Michael hands back the papers.

  LAWYER All right. Why don't we begin.

  He takes out Francesca's Last Will and Testament.

  LAWYER (cont'd)

  Your mother has been interred at Lakeside Funeral Home until arrangements can be made.

  MICHAEL(to Carolyn)

  I thought everything WAS arranged.

  CAROLYN Well, there's a problem.

  MICHAEL What problem?

  LAWYER Your mother left explicit instructions that she wished to be cremated.

  MICHAEL Cremated?!

  BETTY Eeeww!

  CAROLYN I know. I don't understand it either.

  MICHAEL When did she decide this?

  LAWYER(reading will)

  Apparently just before her death.

  MICHAEL Well, that's crazy. I don't know anybody who gets cremated.

  BETTY My Jewish friend's grandmother did.

  MICHAEL Well, no one in my family did! Dad bought cemetery plots at Oak Ridge. One for him, one for mom.

  LAWYER It clearly states in the will ——

  MICHAEL I don't care what it says! Maybe Mama was delirious, you know. She didn't know what she was saying. If she wanted to be cremated, why the hell did she let dad buy two plots, huh?

  LAWYER Well, she was very specific. She wanted her ashes to be thrown over Roseman Bridge.

  MICHAEL WHAT!

  BETTY How bizarre!

  CAROLYN Mr. Peterson, are you sure mama wrote all this?

  LAWYER Well, it was notarized, and witnessed by a Mrs. Lucy Delaney. Maybe you can ask her.

  MICHAEL Who the hell is Lucy Delaney?

  CAROLYN I remember a Mrs. Delaney but Mama told me years ago she died.

  MICHAEL Well, I don't care if it's legal or not, we're not cremating her and throwing her all over some bridge where we can't even go visit her because she's going to be blown all over the place like an ashtray.

  BETTY Not to mention people driving over her and doggies doing their business ——

  MICHAEL(interrupting)

  We're not doing it! I'm not even sure it's Christian.

  BETTY Maybe it's an Italian thing. Their mother was Italian.

  MICHAEL Doesn't matter. Move on.

  The women dare not object. The lawyer raises his eyebrows and continues:

  LAWYER Well, we'll come back to that. Shall we open the box?

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