Back to Part 2


The morning sun is shining. The olive truck sweeps past a highway sign that reads "Midland City -- Exit Eleven -- 5 Miles." A crudely handlettered sign wired beneath it declares: "TURN BACK!! You just missed the Sacred Miracle Cave!"

Five miles to the asshole of the Universe!

Trout begins gathering his possessions, stacking the porno magazines. Denzel looks at him.

So you're in all those magazines and you've never written a dirty story.

You are a Grand Inquisitor, Denzel. Yes, my second wife, Carlene, said that I could make a fortune with a dirty story. So I wrote "The Son of Jimmy Valentine"!

Yeah? Yeah?

And she was wrong. It remains my only unpublished work.

Yeah, but what's it about??

Trout flips open his sketch-pad, and begins to doodle: a man's hand, fingertips pointing downward.

Jimmy Valentine wasa safe-cracker. He sandpapered his finger-tips so they were extra sensitive. His sense of feel was so delicate that he could open any safe in the world by feeling the tumblers fall.

Trout draws cross-hatching on the tips of the fingers.

I like this one, Kilgore.

I invented a son for Jimmy Valentine, named Ralston Valentine.


I was eating breakfast cereal at the time.

Denzel nods his understanding.

Ralston Valentine also sand-papered his finger-tips. But he wasn't a safe-cracker. He used his sensitized fingers for touching women.

Trout has added a long, sinuous line that swells upward just beneath the fingertips. He finishes his sketch by adding a nipple that suddenly reveals the line to be a woman's breast.

There ya go!

Ralston was so good at touching women the way they wanted to be touched, that tens of thousands of them became his willing slaves. They abandoned their husbands or lovers for him, and Ralston Valentine became President of the United States, thanks to the votes of women.

Denzel laughs. "Exit Eleven -- Midland City" is right ahead. Trout closes the sketch-pad. Denzel signals for the turn-off.

No. Just let me out here.

You sure? The town's still a good two miles from the exit here.

I'm sure. I wish to arrive on foot as the symbol of the American failure -- a man without wheels.


The air brakes hiss as Denzel pulls the big rig to a stop by the side of the highway. He and Trout look at each other.

Kilgore, the thing I like best about you -- is that I never know what you're gonna say next.

Denzel, not even the Creator of the Universe knows what I'm going to say next.
(thinking about it)
Perhaps I'm a better Universe in its infancy...
(thinking further)
Perhaps we all are.

Bill, keep an eye on this guy. I think he's trouble waiting to happen. Catch you on the go-around, Kilgore!

Trout climbs down from the cab. The olive truck pulls away.


With the porno magazines under one arm and Bill's cage in the other, Trout surveys his surroundings. The shortest way to the frontage road leading to town is across a shallow stream that borders the road: Sugar Creek. Trout takes off his shoes and starts to wade across. He notices the ping-pong-ball bubbles but doesn't really pay them any attention.

When Trout steps onto the far bank of the creek, however, he discovers that something extraordinary has happened: his feet have become encased in clear plastic. He notices it at once because his feet are so slippery now that he immediately falls down.

He tries to put his shoes back on, but they won't fit over the thick layer of plastic. Slipping, flailing like a tight-rope walker to keep his balance, Trout makes it to the frontage road.

There are two little HISSING sounds as Trout steps onto the asphalt shoulder of the roadway. He steadies himself, takes a deep breath, then tries to walk toward town. But try as he might now, his feet won't budge an inch. The plastic has cemented itself to the asphalt road surface.

A large van is approaching. Helpless to do anything else, Trout extends his arm (holding the birdcage) to try to thumb a ride. The van roars right by. Trout is blown forty-five degrees sideways by its draft, but he can't fall over because his feet are cemented to the asphalt. He leans back upright. Bill squawks his displeasure, preens at his ruffled feathers.

Another car is coming -- a black Lincoln town car. Trout tries to signal to it also. The Xopolis brothers blow the horn and both give him the finger as they roar by. Kilgore sways with the wind of their passage -- a helpless roadside weed.


Dwayne and Francine come out the front entrance to the hospital.

I just can't believe Fred Barry could be involved in something like this.

You'd better believe it! And I'm going to make him get down on his knees in front of this whole town and -- Arrrgghh!

They have rounded a corner and are both suddenly blinded by an utterly amazing vision: Wayne Hoobler (working all night while Dwayne was in the hospital) has waxed Dwayne's Bonneville convertible into a veritable diamond of dazzling brightness. It's so bright that Hoobler himself has to wear sunglasses as he finishes burnishing the last few details.

Hoobler looks up, sees Dwayne and Francine -- both of whom are holding their arms in front of their faces to shield them from the dazzling car. Hoobler grins in pride.

I've outdone myself, haven't I? Yes, sir, Mr. Hoover, I believe I've taken waxing to a new plateau!

Dwayne and Francine can't approach the car, it's light is so strong. Hoobler produces two pairs of wraparound sunglasses similar to his own, hands them to Dwayne and Francine.

Here ya go. You're gonna need these if ya want to ride in this baby!

He opens the rear door for them.

You just make yourselves comfortable back there and leave the driving to me.

They get in. Hoobler slides into the driver's seat, turns back to Dwayne.

How you feeling, Boss?

Dwayne doesn't immediately answer.

He's much better.

I'm going to kill that son of a bitch!

(starting the car)
He sounds fine to me.


Hoobler is driving the car. He glances back in the mirror at Dwayne and Francine, and shakes his head.

Look, Boss, I just got out of the insane asylum, and Whoa! This is a lot crazier! I mean, in twenty-four hours, you been in and out of a straightjacket, nearly fried your brains chugaluggin' the same plastic pop that done in your wife, and now you're on your way to take on the richest man in Midland City. You know what I say? I say, Whoa! That's what I say. It don't get any stranger!
(a beat; then suddenly)
I'm wrong.

There, up ahead on the shoulder of the road, just recovering from a forty-five degree lean caused by a truck passing in the opposite direction, is a man in a moldy tuxedo carrying a birdcage, trying to thumb a ride.

Think I should stop?
(without waiting for an answer)
Of course, I should stop! Whoa!!

He slams on the brakes, and Dwayne's car screeches to a stop.


The CAMERA IS IN CLOSE on Hoobler's hands as he cuts away at the plastic encasing Trout's feet with a penknife. Dwayne and Francine are standing nearby, watching.

(to Trout)
You're lucky you didn't try to swim across Sugar Creek, or we'd be using you as a paperweight.

Dwayne and Hoobler lift Trout up out of the plastic "boots" which remain permanently attached to the asphalt. His feet make sucking SOUNDS as they slip out of the plastic. Hoobler and Dwayne set Trout down gently so he can get his shoes back on.

Trout squints at the dazzling light coming from Dwayne's car. Hoobler hands him a pair of sunglasses. Francine is frowning in concern at the rash on Trout's feet.

Your feet were beginning to develop an awful rash inside those.. boots. Here, it's just hand lotion, but I think it'll help.

She has pulled a tube of hand lotion out of her purse, and begins rubbing it on Trout's feet and ankles. Trout protests, but really, he enjoys Francine's attention.

Is this the usual condition of your streams and rivers? If so, I would hate to be a local fish.

No, Sugar Creek used to be as sweet as its name. Until Fred T. Barry turned it into his private dump.

Ah! My patron!

So you know Fred Barry?

Only as the sponsor and chief smiler of the Midland City Festival of self-congratulation and bad taste.
(pointing to Dwayne's and Francine's
"Support the Arts!" badges)
And you, to judge by the badges on your lapels must be happy soldiers amongst his mindless legions.
(reacting with pleasure to
the soothing hand lotion)

You have very sensitive feet for such an ornery and back-asswards old billy-goat.

Trout looks at her. No one has treated him like this in years. It softens the curmudgeon's heart. He can't suppress a little smile.

(looking at his badge)
And I used to be one of Barry's mindless soldiers. That's true.

He takes off his badge, tosses it into one of the plastic "boots."

But I've deserted.
(shaking hands with Trout)
Dwayne Hoover. And this is Francine Pefko. And Wayne Hoobler.

Trout finishes putting on his shoes, stands, and shakes hands with Dwayne.

Kilgore Trout. Official ambassador of the planet, Margo.

Trout does a quick tap-step and farts.

Whoa! He fits right in, don't he?

Dwayne, I think you've found your Man from Mars.

Kilgore, hop in.

Where are we going?

We're going to have some drinks with little flags in them.


In the background, Bunny is playing another of his inimitable Las Vegas-cocktail-Muzak arrangements. Seated around the "Breakfast of Champions" table are Max and Minos Xopolis, Cyprian Ukwende, Cassandra Boxe, and two newcomers: BERNICE KEEDSLER -- the Gothic novelist, 50 or so, overdressed in every possible way -- and BOZO GERANIUM, the abstract expressionist painter, 50, wearing a sweatshirt which proclaims, "Jackson Pollack Died For Our Sins."

There are a great many glasses with little "Breakfast of Champions" flags in front of Geranium. All but one is empty -- and that one is going fast. Bernice Keedsler, herself a little tipsy, leans over to Geranium, providing him with an excellent view of her ample bosom.

This is a dreadful confession, Mr. Geranium. I know this evening they're unveiling your painting, "The Temptation of Saint Anthony," but I don't even know who Saint Anthony was. Who was he, and why should anybody have wanted to tempt him?

I don't know, and I would hate to find out.

You have no use for truth?

You know what truth is, Bernice? You know what truth is? It's some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, "Yeah, yeah -- ain't it the truth?"

That's just the alcohol talking.

What a language! "Alcohol talking"! I imagine a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. Yeast, as you know, is a tiny creature that eats sugar and excretes alcohol. So these two pieces of yeast are discussing the meaning of truth as they eat sugar and suffocate in their own excrement. But because of their limited intelligence, they never come close to guessing that the truth is that they are making champagne.

Geranium thinks this is hilarious. Keedsler isn't sure if the Nigerian doctor is having fun at her expense. She peers uncertainly into her cocktail glass. Cassandra Boxe moves in to smooth over a difficult moment. She hands Geranium a copy of the program for the Festival of Arts.

Have you seen the Festival program yet, Mr. Geranium?

Geranium glances at it cursorily then points to its cover which shows a teen-age girl in a white bathing suit, with an Olympic Gold Medal hanging around her neck.

Who is this nymphet?

That is Mary Alice Miller, the only internationally famous human being in Midland City. She won the Women's Two Hundred Meter Breast Stroke at the 1984 Olympics.

White bread.

I beg your pardon?

'84. The white bread Olympics -- no commies! They got swimmin' women that could have eaten this little pussy for lunch!

Ukwende giggles. The mention of "pussy" has captured Max and Minos' attention also. Cassandra, obviously shocked, tries to maintain her dignity.

Nevertheless, we're very proud of Mary Alice. Her father taught her to swim when she was eight months old, and he made her swim at least four hours a day, every day, since she was three!

Geranium thinks this over, then speaks loudly enough for everyone to hear.

What kind of a man would turn his daughter into an outboard motor?

The cocktail waitress, Bonnie MacMahon, also hears his comment. Normally all smiles, she is so outraged she almost drops the tray of drinks she's bringing to their table.

Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah??

She slams his drink down in front of him hard enough to spill some on him, then turns and storms off toward the kitchen.

We can hear a car SCREECHING to a stop right outside. The door to the Tallyho Room bursts open and a shaft of blinding light pours in, silhouetting Dwayne, Francine, and Trout as they enter.

(looking around)
Barry! Where's Fred Barry?

Max Xopolis, the only one at the table who always wears tinted glasses, is the first to recognize them:

Hey -- it's Dwayne!

How you feelin', old buddy?

(striding over to them)
I'm a new man, partner. I've had my asshole drilled and my eyes opened!

He gives Ukwende a big wink.

We heard about your uh.. breakdown. I said it was just another one of Dwayne's great gags to sell cars. You know "Come on down while I'm still crazy!"

Dwayne steps behind the Xopolis brothers, puts his arms around their necks -- more of a headlock than a friendly gesture.

Yeah, that's right. I'm always selling cars. Maybe I can interest you boys in a few more trucks, huh?

Max doesn't trust Dwayne's mood. He gives a false laugh.

Oh, we got all the trucks we can use.

Come on, boys, you sure you got enough to handle all that tri-poly-moly...?

He can't remember the name, looks to Ukwende for help. The doctor chimes right in:

Tri-polar-poly-planar-methyl-amyl toxic residue.

Yeah! That's the stuff!

What in the world are you talking about, Dwayne?

He's talking about Fred Barry poisoning this town.

With the help of Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dumber here. Why you can't even wade across Sugar Creek without getting your feet laminated! Ask this fellow.

He gestures to Trout who has been listening with utter fascination, sketching the confrontation as rapidly as he can.

Max and Minos both stand, and pull Dwayne's arms from around their necks. Max gives Dwayne's wrist a subtle but vice-like twist as he speaks:

(a "friendly" threat)
Maybe you're still a little crazy, huh, Dwayne?

(twisting his other arm)
Yeah! Maybe you ought to go home and sleep it off!

This is all too absurd. Fred Barry wouldn't harm Midland City. Why, Fred Barry is Midland City.

Max twists Dwayne's arm a little further.

That's right. He's three out of every four jobs in this town.

I suppose that makes him think he can do anything he wants to with the crap pouring out the back of that money machine of his.

Max and Minos glare at her.

Dwayne, be reasonable. There hasn't been anything on the news about this. And even if there has been some kind of accident today, I'm sure Mr. Barry is on top of it.

(breaking free of the Xopolis brothers' grip)
Yeah, he's on top of it, all right. But it's no accident. That goop has been bubbling up in the Miracle Cave for weeks. Ask Lyle and Kyle --

Dwayne looks around, notices for the first time that Lyle and Kyle are not in their accustomed seats.

(looking around)
Where the hell are they, anyway?
(suddenly realizing)
Ohmigod. .!

He races back toward the door. Francine and Trout follow him. Dwayne remembers just in time to don his sunglasses before he opens the door. A blinding shaft of light illuminates them as they exit.


Hoobler slams on the brakes and the blinding Bonneville screams to a stop outside the entrance to the Sacred Miracle Cave. Dwayne leaps from the car.

Lyle!! Kyle!!

He dashes across the wooden bridge that spans the tiny stream that issues from the mouth of the Miracle Cave. A sign labels it the "Miraculous Source of Sugar Creek!" An ominous scum of ping-pong-ball sized bubbles is drifting down the creek. Dwayne races into the cave. Hoobler is the first to sprint in after him.


The Pipe Organ of the Gods is pumping out sacharine sentiment as Dwayne races down the passage toward the Grotto. Ping-pong-ball bubbles cover the floor ahead. Dwayne tries to run on them, but they're as slippery as ball-bearings.

He flails and slides and finally falls and goes plunging down the passage on his stomach, coming to a sudden stop on the very lip of the Sacred Grotto -- face to face with -- and utterly horrified by:

Lyle, wearing only his boxer shorts, permanently laminated in the middle of an Australian crawl-stroke, and Kyle, a horrified plastic cowboy waving for help, are bobbing up and down in the water of the grotto. They float somewhat higher than it seems they should, giving them the look of bizarre bathtub toys.

Hoobler comes pinwheeling down the passage, grabs a stalactite and hugs it to keep from falling. His eyes are like saucers as he takes in the scene.



The CAMERA IS IN CLOSE on the face of Harry LeSabre. Offscreen, a CAR MOTOR approaches. Harry turns toward the sound, looks out the window. His face glows steadily brighter as the car draws closer -- and steadily more frightened. He turns away, and runs off.


Dwayne's Bonneville flashes by and comes to a stop. In the foreground, protruding from the back of the roped-up trunk, is a burlap-wrapped arm, tipped by a plastic-coated hand.

Dwayne gets out of the car, surveys the lot, which is still done up for "Crazy Days."

Harry! Harry, where are you!?

He strides toward the showroom. As he reaches it, the door is opened cautiously by Harry LeSabre. He is wearing a full-length overcoat, holding it closed. The coat almost completely conceals his other clothes -- all but the straw sandals and the ankles of his lettuce-green leotard.

Dwayne reaches out and gently pries Harry's hands apart, opening the coat, revealing the rest of Harry's "Cray Days" outfit. Trout, in the back of Dwayne's car, is just putting the finishing touches on a sketch of Lyle and Kyle bobbing in the Sacred Tears of Christ Sacred grotto like two rubber duckies. He sees Harry's costume, and his eyes widen in increased amazement. He flips the sketch-book page and begins feverishly sketching the new scene.

Dwayne..? Are you..? Uh.. still crazy?

Dwayne looks at Harry's T-shirt that says, "Dwayne's Gone Crazy!"

I guess so.
(stepping back, looking at Harry)
Harry, you don't have to hide it any more.

(terrified, quickly closing
his coat over his genitals)
Hide..? Hide what?

Your legs, Harry. You've got beautiful legs! Did anyone ever tell you that?

Harry opens the coat, looks down at his legs.

(a timid grin)
My wife...

Call the tv crew, Harry. We're gonna tell it like it is. We're gonna show 'em all!

My legs..?

No! The truth!

He holds up a plastic, ping-pong-ball bubble.

We're gonna pop the bubble!

He squeezes hard on the resilient little bubble and it finally pops -- and the tiny cloud of yellow gas that is released makes them both cough.


The tv crew is almost set up. The mobile tv control booth is parked in the street outside the lot, with cables snaking toward the two cameras that are being wheeled into position. Also parked nearby, on the other side of the street, is the Xopolis brothers' black Lincoln town car. Max is leaning against it, watching the activity in Dwayne's lot through a huge pair of binoculars. He puts them down, gestures to Minos, and they both stroll over to the mobile unit, and start talking to its beefy, cigar-chomping DRIVER.

On the car lot, the tv director signals "ready," and climbs into the mobile unit. Dwayne winks at Trout, who's standing nearby, sketching him. Dwayne watches the cameras' red lights come on, and smiles. He is dressed in a "Dwayne 's Gone Crazy" tee-shirt. He has Lyle's shotgun cradled in his arm and Kyle's shotgun slung over his shoulder. He gestures to his tee-shirt:

I guess you've heard about it. I guess the news is out. Well, it's true! Dwayne's gone crazy!
And I feel great! For fifteen years, my head's been spinnin' around on that pole up there...

He hoists the shotgun. BLAM!! His spinning plaster head blows into a million pieces that rain down on the startled tv crew.

Not any more! I'm going out of business! And you're too late for my going out of business sale!

One of the tv CAMERAMEN glances questioningly at Harry LeSabre, who is standing next to him. Harry just shrugs. Trout is sketching as fast as he can -- flipping page after page as Dwayne starts to stride down the row of gleaming cars, pausing near one of them.

Too late for this beauty! A 1986 Chrysler LeBaron -- looks gorgeous, doesn't it? It's a lemon. Drove it's previous owner to the poor house. This baby has a service record longer than Little Aboer's dick! Not a scratch on it, though...

BLAM!! BLAM!! Both barrels pepper the car, shattering all the glass and making the hood look like a sieve.

Not any more!
(striding over to another car)
Here's 1987 Jeep Cherokee. Former owner was an over-sexed interior designer with no morals whatsoever. I don't want to tell you what's still swimmin' around in the back seat of this car.

BLAM!! BLAM!! He riddles the back seat.

I got a couple of them...
(moving on)
Here's an '81 Ford Pinto. It's a deathtrap.

BLAM!!! The Pinto EXPLODES in a towering fireball! The tv crew cringe back a little from the heat of the explosion. Dwayne strides on -- to the creek that borders his lot.

And here's Sugar Creek. It's two-tone blue-on-blue. A major tributary of the Big Sugar River. It gets forty-two-million gallons to the mile. And was designed by God in the Ice Age. Isn't it a beauty? Not any more!

We can see the scum of bubbles, clearly back-lit by the late afternoon sun. BLAM!! BLAM!! The surface of the creek ripples with the shots. The exploding bubbles release a haze of phosphorescent yellow gas. The cameramen are amazed at the sight. One moves in for a closer shot before having to retreat, coughing.

It's been poisoned by Midland City's Number One son-of-a-bitch. Who am I talking about?

The tv director shouts in sudden dismay from inside the mobile unit:

Hey! Stop it! What the hell are you doing?? STOP THE TRUCK!!

The beefy driver has put the mobile unit into gear and is resolutely driving it away. Its long cables pull taut, knocking over the cameras. One cable pulls loose and the other drags its camera halfway across the lot before it finally snaps.

Dwayne, startled, looks off just in time to see the Xopolis brothers' car driving away also. Trout can barely sketch the scene fast enough to keep up.


Against the darkening sky, brightly lit from within, its huge circular entrance and twin circular windows make the Fred T. Barry American Arts Center look like nothing so much as an enormous bowling ball. A giant banner above the entrance announces the opening night's festivities: "The Ball In The Ball." The parking lot is filled with cars now -- including the Xopolis brothers black Lincoln. The last of the TOWNSPEOPLE are scurrying inside.


Fred Barry is sitting at the Administrator's desk in a plush office inside the Arts Center. Max and Minos Xopolis are standing nearby. All three are watching a video monitor which is replaying the tape of Dwayne's aborted commercial.

It's been poisoned by Midland City's Number One son-of-a-bitch. Who am I talking about?

The image suddenly rotates as the tv camera that photographed it falls on its side and is dragged across Dwayne's lot until the cable finally snaps and the picture goes to static. Barry turns off the monitor, and smiles grimly.

So much for Dwayne Hoover's television crusade.

(with childlike enthusiasm)
Can we watch it again?

Shut up. Can't you see Mr. Barry is doing some serious thinking.

(pointing to the tv)
He's not finished. Not yet.

There's a timid tapping on the door. Barry's secretary, Kenneth Barby, peers in apologetically. The sounds of the large crowd are audible from outside.

Uh.. Mr. Barry, they're ready for you now -- for the unveiling..?

All right, Kenneth. Just a minute.

Kenneth closes the door. Barry stands, straightens his tie.

Boys, when we finally do get this mess covered over, I don't want it happening again. You've got to find a God-damned deeper hole.
And dump Dwayne Hoover at the bottom of it.


Dwayne and Francine are in the back seat; Hoobler is driving; Trout is sitting beside him. He has a huge stack of sketches on his lap. (Because the sun is down, none of the four of them have to wear their shades to ride in the gleaming Bonneville.)

Trout flips through the stack of sketches: the bobbing plastic bodies, Harry LeSabre in his hula skirt, Dwayne blowing up his agency, the tv cameras bouncing across the lot...

I've got to get out of Cohoes more often. There's more science-fiction out here in the heartland than I could ever dream up on my own!

That's a fact, Jack!

(filled with enthusiasm)
This... All of this...
(holding up the sketches)
It's more than a story -- it's a novel -- ten novels -- a saga!

Dwayne and Francine have both been listening to Trout.

How does it end?

I don't know yet. But great endings always reveal themselves -- at the end. If you're ready, you just look up, and there it is staring you in the face.

Up ahead, looming on the horizon, is the brightly-lit sphere of the Fred T. Barry American Arts Center.


Fred Barry is standing at one end of a stage in the Art Center's largest exhibit hall. Beside Barry, a single object fills the stage: a giant painting veiled with curtains. Barry is holding a golden cord that will open the curtains.

The crowd of townspeople -- the entire town, it seems -- are dressed in their finest, listening with rapt attention as Barry speaks. Bozo Geranium, thoroughly fortified with liquor, is in the front of the crowd, leaning heavily against Bernice Keedsler. He has made a little wreath of "Breakfast of Champions" flags and is wearing it like a crown.

And this isn't just art. This is expensive art. Twenty feet wide by sixteen feet high at eighteen-hundred-and-seventy-five dollars a square foot! This painting that I am donating to you, my fellow citizens, cost SIX HUNDRED BIG ONES!

The crowd murmurs with appropriate awe. Patty Keene (the waitress from Dan's Country Kitchen #306) is standing next to Bonnie MacMahon (the cocktail waitress from the Tallyho Room).

I bet it's a beauty!

(glowering at Geranium)
It better be.

Barry gestures for MARY ALICE MILLER (who is wearing her Olympic medal and shivering in her white swimming suit) to come up on the stage and take the golden cord.

And now, to celebrate the opening of the Fred T. Barry American Arts Center, I give you Bozo Geranium's "The Temptation of Saint Anthony"!

Mary Alice Miller pulls the cord. The curtains fall away, revealing the painting: "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" is indeed twenty feet wide and sixteen feet high. The entire surface is a solid, perfectly even coat of "Hawaiian Avocado," a green wall paint. Its sole adornment is a single vertical stripe made of day-glo orange reflecting tape.

The crowd is thoroughly dumb-struck. People exchange nervous glances -- none daring to say aloud what most of them feel: that the Emperor has no new clothes. Geranium, alone, is beaming with pleasure. Keedsler studies the painting for a long moment, then whispers to him excitedly.

I think I see it! That band of tape is Saint Anthony!

You got it, baby. You got it!

He kisses her. Bonnie MacMahon watches them is disgust.

(to Patty)
I think artists with their meaningless pictures are in a conspiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid.

Geranium overhears the remark (as he was meant to), looks up at her for a second, and winks.


A uniformed VALET drives one car away as the next car pulls to a stop in front of "The Ball." It is Dwayne's car. The SECOND VALET opens the passenger-side door, then does a double-take, staring at its occupants. None are even vaguely dressed in formal attire (except Trout in his moldy tuxedo): Dwayne is wearing his "Dwayne's Gone Crazy!" T-shirt; Francine, a blouse and slacks; and Hoobler is still in his "Shepardstown Insane Asylum" coveralls.

Dwayne pats Trout on the back.

You and Francine go on ahead. We'll get the bodies out of the trunk.

The valet overhears them and moves cautiously away.

Lyle and Kyle are going to a party!

As Dwayne and Hoobler start to un-rope the trunk, Francine takes Bill's cage so that Trout can carry his sketch pad. The CAMERA FOLLOWS them to the entrance.


Standing just inside the entrance checking names off a list, Kenneth Barby sees Trout and Francine and his first reaction is distaste and dismay. Then he suddenly brightens.

(in rapture)
Mr. Trout, I'd know you anywhere. Welcome to Midland City. We need you so!

How do you know who I am?

(pointing to Trout's stack
of porno magazines)
I've read every one of those! What imagination! What genius! Oh, Mr. Trout, teach us to sing and dance and laugh and cry! We've tried to survive so long on money and sex and envy and real estate and football and basketball and automobiles and television and alcohol -- on sawdust and broken glass!

(flipping open his sketch-pad)
Could you hold it there for just a second...

He starts to sketch Barby. Hoobler's voice chimes out:

Move aside! Make way for Lyle and Kyle!

Dwayne and Hoobler enter, carrying the plasticized remains of Lyle and Kyle Hoover. The Xopolis brothers step from their place of concealment near the entranceway and immediately move in -- to try to stop them.

Dwayne bats Max with Kyle's rigid body, clobbering him, and Hoobler uses the "Australian-crawling" figure of Lyle to deliver a solid right hook that sends Minos flying.

Dwayne and Hoobler push through the startled crowd, looking for Fred Barry.

On the other side of the room, Barry is standing by a pair of lifelike, white plaster-cast statues -- a "Grandma" on an overstuffed rocker and a "Grandpa" on a recliner, watching a plaster tv. Barry is holding forth to the small group around him:

These are fine examples of the ultra-realist school of sculpture. Well...
(chucking the plaster
"Grandma" under the chin)
...speaking ultra-realistically: considering what I paid for these dummies, it would have been cheaper to just retire a couple of my employees and dip them in plastic!

Dwayne and Hoobler appear.

Here's a couple more for your collection, Fred!

Dwayne pushes "Grandpa" out of his recliner. He falls to the floor and his head cracks off. Dwayne sets Kyle in his place.

Have a seat, Kyle.

Hoobler sets Lyle on top of "Grandma" so that his outstretched swimming arm embraces her.

Do your stuff, Lyle!

You're sick, Dwayne. You need medical attention.

Yeah, I'm sick all right, Fred. Sick from drinking the poison water that's pouring out of your plant -- the poison that killed my wife!
(to the growing crowd)
And soon everybody in this room is going to be just as sick as I am!

The crowd murmurs.

Go ahead! Deny it! Iwant to watch your nose grow!

I'm not denying anything, Dwayne.
(turning to the crowd)
Yes, I have, just today, received word from my disposal engineers that there appears to have been a toxic event.
(the crowd is startled)
And that it may, in some way, be a product of our state-of-the-art waste refining and removal system. All the facts are not in, but I can assure you that Barrytron Industries will do everything within its power to remedy this situation.

Max and Minos, just revived from their overwhelming introduction to modern art, move in on Dwayne.

"State-of-the-art waste refining and removal system"?? Horseshit!
(pointing at Max and Minos)
-- You've been using these sawed-off gangsters to dump that stuff down holes all over the county!

There is a solution, Dwayne.
(pats the breast-pocket
of his thousand dollar suit)
I have in my pocket an offer from the Sultan of Brunei, to move Barrytron, lock, stock, and barrel, to the Sultan's simple, authoritarian kingdom. And despite the enormous profits that I could realize by accepting this offer, it is the horrifying prospect of what my relocation would mean to this town -- my town, our town -- that has stayed my hand and kept me from accepting.

The crowd, listening intently, is impressed. Bonnie and Patty applaud. First one or two -- then more and more VOICES call out.

We're with you, Fred!
Don't go, Mr. Barry!
You're our man!
This is a Barrytron town!
We're with you a hundred percent, Mr. Barry!

Francine steps in beside Dwayne, while Trout sketches the encounter -- fascinated to know what great ending will "reveal itself."

He's lying! No country in their right mind would invite this man in to pump his poison into their lives.

Are you folks all crazy??
(pointing to Lyle and Kyle)
I mean look at them corpse-sicles over here! Don't any of you fools trust Mr. Hoover ta tell you the truth?!

I trust him!

But everyone else is silent: Ukwende (with his Third World attitude about "looking for trouble") looks away; Cassandra Boxe, Bonnie MacMahon, Bunny, Mary Alice Miller -- even little Patty Keene -- are all silent; Geranium breaks the silence with a drunken belch.

Ain't there anybody else who's comin' out for my man??

A familiar male voice shouts from just inside the entrance-way:

I am!! I'm coming out for Dwayne!!

The crowd turns to see Harry LeSabre and Grace. Harry has "come out," indeed! He is wearing a sequin-speckled pink and red full-length satin creation that Cher or Ann-Margaret would be proud of. Grace, utterly feminine except for her long, thin Jamaican cigar, is completely proud of him.

Well, that's quite an impressive team of doom-sayers and freaks you've put together, Dwayne.
(to the crowd)
Citizens of Midland City, you have a simple choice: Stay with Barrytron, work with me, solve this slight industrial problem -- or join Dwayne's little crusade here, and lose your jobs, your homes, and starve to death.

The crowd considers it for a moment. Then a chant begins:

Goodbye Blue Monday!
Goodbye Blue Monday!
Goodbye Blue Monday!


The chanting -- louder and louder -- echoes inside of "The Ball" as Dwayne, shoulders slumped in defeat, walks out. Trout, standing just inside the doorway, watches Dwayne go. Hoobler follows. Then Harry and Grace. And finally Francine. Trout starts to go with them, but he's grabbed by Kenneth Barby.

And now, Mr. Trout, the moment you've been waiting for! It's time! Time to meet your patron -- the man who will change your life just as you have changed his...
(calling out)
Mr. Barry! This way, Mr. Barry!

The crowd parts like the Red Sea as Fred Barry strides up to Trout, beaming with pleasure.

Kilgore Trout...! Ahhh, "Now," indeed, "It Can Be Told"!

He takes from his pocket a slim book, beautifully bound in leather, embossed with gold letters: "Now It Can Be Told, by Kilgore Trout."

Where did you get that?

I had it personally published -- along with all of your writings...

He gestures expansively at a glass case nearby which contains hundreds of different books, all exquisitely leather-bound -- all the writings of Kilgore Trout. Barry points to the porno magazines that Trout is carrying.

Never again will you have to suffer that indignity. Soon, Kilgore, there will be pyramids of your works in the windows of every legitimate book store in this country!

Why are you doing all this?

Because I knew you were speaking directly to me when you wrote:
(opening the slim book)
"Dear Sir, poor sir, brave sir... You are the only creature in the entire Universe who has free will. Everybody else is a robot... "

(truly stunned)
I never realized... that my work could have such... an effect...

Oh, certainly! You just saw for yourself how I put your philosophy into action -- that little problem with the water? -- why should I have to listen to all the whining-machines, the complaining-machines, the do-gooder-machines -- when I'm the only being in the Universe who truly exists?
(holding up the book)
Before I read this, I would have felt guilty about putting my own comfort above the health and welfare of others. I would have done it, mind you -- but I would have felt guilty about it. But now, thanks to you, I'm at peace. Come with me, Kilgore, let's go up on the stage so I can present you to all the gawking-machines, and applauding-machines in Midland City!

Barry turns and strides off toward the stage, assuming that Trout will follow. Trout turns, instead, and heads for the door. Kenneth Barby tries to stop him.

Mr. Trout, where are you going? Come back. What am I going to tell Mr. Barry?

Tell old Heliogabalus that it was a hell of a party -- but the bull was just getting a little too hot for me.

And out he goes.


Dwayne, despondent, is sitting on a low concrete wall that edges the gently sloping hilltop parking lot, looking down at the lights of Barrytron and Midland City in the valley below him. Francine is sitting beside him, holding his hands. Nearby, Hoobler is touching up his wax job on the Bonneville -- showing Harry and Grace that they can indeed see their resplendent reflections in every part of the car's body.

Trout walks over to Dwayne and Prancine, sits on the wall next to Dwayne.

I learned something amazing tonight.

Oh, yeah? What was that?

I learned that my words can effect people

Well, that's great, Kilgore. I just learned the opposite.

Dwayne, you can't give up. There's got to be something you can do.

(shaking his head)
There's nothing... He's too big. He's got this whole town wrapped up. It's all over.

Kilgore watches Dwayne for a moment. In the extreme distance, THUNDER rumbles. Trout turns to study the gathering storm clouds for a second, thinking, then he smiles.

(Dwayne looks at him)
Where I come from, in upstate New York, there was a great story-teller named Washington Irving. And he told this tale about a man -- a solid member of his community, not at all unlike yourself -- who awoke one day to discover he'd been asleep most of his life...

That's me.

And this man was confronted with the evil mischief of the Gods. These Gods seemed all-powerful -- at least in the local sense. Yes sir, they had the whole place set up -- just as neat as ten-pins in a bowling alley...

Trout draws Dwayne's attention to the Barrytron plant below them, which, because of its distinctive design and the layout of its sleek, towering chemical tanks, does indeed resemble ten-pins set up in perfect formation. The distant thunder rumbles again.

So what could he do? Just lie down and let the Gods bowl him over? Or?

He turns and looks up at the huge white "bowling ball" that is the Fred T. Barry American Arts Center. After a second, Dwayne turns and follows his look. The thunder rumbles again -- louder...

But how does it end?

(looking up at "The Ball")
You just look up, and there it is, staring you in the face...


Max Xopolis is pulling the plasticized Lyle off of his coital position with the plaster "Grandma." Minos has put "Grandpa" back into his recliner, and is trying (unsuccessfully) to put his plaster head back on.

Fred Barry is standing by the huge Plexiglas wheelbarrow full of horse manure, which has now been tastefully covered by a thin glass dome. (Inside it, swarms of dead flies dot the "sculpture.") Barry has one arm around Patty Keene's shoulders. An embarrassed and apologetic Kenneth Barby is pouring champagne into Barry's glass.

I'm terribly sorry. I tried to stop Mr. Trout, but, honestly, he seemed a little... crazy.

Don't worry about it, Kenneth. No harm done. Actually, it's cleared up something that's been puzzling me. It occurred to me that there might be another being on the planet with free will. But now I realize that Kilgore Trout is nothing but a scribbling-machine -- and a failing-machine--

Suddenly -- BA-BOOM!! -- the whole building shakes, spilling champagne all over them.


The front end of Dwayne's gleaming Bonneville is now crumpled against one of the four, slender concrete columns that are the sole supports of the spherical Art Center. The column has a big crack in it. The entire building is still vibrating slightly.

Dwayne, tightly belted into his seat, slams the car into reverse, screeches back twenty yards, shifts into drive, and floors it. The car rockets forward and smashes into the column again like a battering ram, knocking loose huge chunks of concrete -- and widening the crack.

Thunder rumbles as the storm draws closer. Trout's eyes, watching, gleam with satisfaction. Francine is terrified, but exultant in her support of what Dwayne's doing. Harry and Grace are laughing, embracing, and cheering Dwayne on. Only Hoobler is appalled as he watches the brilliantly-waxed surfaces of the car twist and rupture and groan.

Oh, Boss! You're breaking my heart!


Pandemonium! The building is quaking from the last impact. The crowd is beginning to race toward the doors.

Bozo Geranium and Bernice Keedsler are passionately embracing -- oblivious of the chaos around them. Right behind them, "The Temptanon of Saint Anthony" pops off its hangers, thunks to the floor on its edge, and starts to heel over toward them -- like an enormous hinge folding shut.

Geranium puts up his hands to try to stop the painting's fall. His hands plunge right through the canvas surface, and he and Keedsler end up standing in a hole ripped through the middle of the vast painting.

Oh, how tragic!

Geranium looks down at the torn canvas for a second, amazed, then he beams ecstatically at Keedsler, raises his arms in triumph:

No, I like it! Now it has... dimension!

Fred Barry, near the entrance, watches in apoplectic rage as Dwayne's battered car races once more toward the shattered column. BA-BOOM!!! The building tilts slightly. Knocked loose by the blow, the giant lucite wheelbarrow breaks through the thin glass dome and starts to lumber across the floor straight toward Fred Barry. Barry, unaware of it, roars to Max and Minos:

Get out there and stop that madman! Shoot him if you have to!

Kenneth Barby, looking over Barry's shoulder, sees the wheelbarrow coming. He grabs Barry.

No! No, Mr. Barry!!

Misunderstanding him, Barry tosses Kenneth aside.

I'll do what I want, you little shit!

The wheelbarrow crashes into Barry, flipping him up into the air. He splats down ass-first into forty thousand dollars worth of horseshit.


Most of the crowd have fled "The Ball," and are watching in amazement as Dwayne -- twenty yards from the building -- revs up for another shot at the all-but-demolished column. Max and Minos race out the door, drawing their guns. Francine screams:

Dwayne! Watch out!!

Dwayne jams the car into gear, accelerates toward the column. Max and Minos -- right in his path -- squat down and open fire. People in the crowd scream and dive for cover. Bullets slam into the car, whiz by all around Dwayne -- but he keeps right on accelerating.

At the last minute, Max and Minos leap away to either side and the car roars by, and slams into the column. The column shatters and falls away.

The crowd gasps. The last people inside "The Ball" race to safety. Only Fred Barry remains inside, still jammed into the wheelbarrow. The huge building teeters on its three remaining supports. Barry blanches in fear. Lightning flashes on the horizon.

Then the building comes to a sudden, wrenching stop -- still upright and intact. Barry sighs in relief. The crowd cheers. Trout, standing next to Hoobler, frowns in disappointment. Dwayne jams the car into reverse, but Minos's revolver presses suddenly against his skull.

The ride's over, buddy!

Max and Minos haul Dwayne out of the car. Thunder rolls across the valley. And in the background, in the crowd, we can see Trout lean toward Hoobler, and quickly begin to whisper.

Minos, his gun still pressed against Dwayne's temple, looks up eagerly to Barry, enthroned in the entranceway in the wheelbarrow of horseshit like a judge on a high bench.

What do you want I should do with this guy, Mr. Barry? Hunh? Hunh??

I don't care, you sniveling idiot. But get me the hell out of here! This place could give way at any second!

Aw, no, Mr. Barry. You don't have to worry about that. This is an Xopolis building. It's solid as a rock. My own concrete company poured the pylons. Don't you remember?

That's why I'm worried, Max -- Hey, stop him!!

Wayne Hoobler has slipped into the driver's seat of the battered Bonneville, jammed the car into reverse, and is starting back to give himself a run at the other column that flanks the entranceway.

(yelling to Dwayne)
Watch out, Boss! Hoover's out -- but Hoobler's up! Time to get the ball rolling -- right, Mr. Trout??

Lightning forks across the sky. Thunder crashes down. In the crowd, Trout nods, and grins with unabashed pleasure.

Minos lets go of Dwayne, and he and Max open fire on the Bonneville, which has begun to accelerate toward "The Ball."

The tires! Get the fuckin' tires!

They empty their guns into the front tires of the car. It wobbles crazily and starts to slow. Closer to the column... Slower...

Come on, baby! Come on!

Closer still... Slower... It barely taps the column as it sputters to a final stop. Exultant, Max and Minos cheer.

And from the tiny impact point at the base of the column, a huge crack suddenly forms -- and spreads in an instant up the entire length of the support. Sand comes pouring out of the fissure...

The column collapses, and "The Ball" begins to roll.


Barry, thrown free immediately, begins to scoot across the sloping parking lot in his wheelbarrow, just ahead of "The Ball." Max and Minos race off after him. The rolling "Ball" grinds toward the three of them. At the last second, at the edge of the parking lot, Max and Minos snatch the wheelbarrow aside. "The Ball," still picking up momentum, crunches past them into the low wall that edges the parking lot -- wobbles for an instant on the brink -- then plunges down the slope.

The edge of the parking lot crumbles and gives way beneath the weight of its passage -- and Fred Barry, Max, and Minos Xopolis all go sliding off down the hillside after "The Ball."

At the base of the hill, the "ten-pins" of Barrytron stand gleaming and tall -- almost exactly in "The Ball's" projected path. Almost... But not exactly...

A gutter-like flood control culvert slopes down the hillside nearby -- deep enough and wide enough to swallow up the rapidly accelerating "Ball" -- deflect it forever from its target.

On the crumbled edge of the parking lot, Dwayne, Francine, Trout, Hoobler, and all the others from the town are watching "The Ball's" progress with silent awe. All but Hoobler, who is on his knees like a bowler praying for help from the Gods themselves.

Hook, baby! HOOK!!

Lightning sizzles overhead, simultaneous with the crash of its thunder. Bill squawks; Trout, looking up at the heavens, smiles. The rain begins to pour down.

And "The Ball," about to roll into the gutter, begins to slip instead on the wet earth -- and to change course!

As Hoobler and Dwayne and Francine cheer, "The Ball" hooks away from the gutter. With majestic inevitability, it slides straight in toward Barrytron -- smashes into its "ten-pin" array -- and scores a perfect STRIKE!

The chemical tanks rupture, unleashing torrents of pearlescent plastic, a tidal wave of goop that tumbles down the valley -- straight toward "Midland City."

On the edge of the parking lot high above, the townspeople gasp.



IN CLOSE UP: The pair of plastic "boots" that once encased Trout's feet are still fused to the asphalt. In the background, like a band of post-Apocalyptic survivors, Dwayne, Francine, Hoobler, and Trout (with Bill, of course) trudge along the shoulder of the road near the Midland City highway exit.

Dwayne and Francine see the boots, and chuckle at the memory. Trout bends down, reaches into one of them, and retrieves the "Support The Arts!" badge that Dwayne tossed there. He pins it onto his moldy tuxedo, and grins.

As they reach the main highway, a car HORN sounds, and they all turn. Harry and Grace LeSabre cruise to a stop in their cherry red Bonneville. Both are still dressed as they were the night before. Harry is puffing on a thin cigar, now, too.

Hey, Dwayne, want a ride?

Where you going?

Maui. We dumped our Barrytron stock just before you dumped Barrytron.

We're going to buy a condominium and really live for a change!

Dwayne looks at Francine.

What do you think?

She does a little hula.

Sounds good to me!

He and Francine climb into the back of the car. They turn to Hoobler.

Coming, Mr. Hoobler? Surf's up.

You know, Boss, I'd like to, but -- Whoa! -- I just don't think I could stand the pace.

Hoobler steps away from the car. Francine looks at Trout.

How about you, Kilgore?

No, the call of Cohoes is too great. You know, an old tree needs a strong winter to get the sap going.

Francine leans out of the car, kisses him on the forehead.

Farewell, old tree.

Dwayne looks at Kilgore for a moment.

Kilgore? If you run into Washington Irving back there in Cohoes...?
(a beat)
Thank him for me.

Trout, genuinely touched, smiles. Harry and the others turn onto the highway and drive away.

Trout turns in the opposite direction and he and Hoobler start to walk along the side of the road.

I think I can see it now -- it begins quite simply... Listen:
(Bill squawks)
It's the tale of the meeting of two lonely men on a planet which was dying fast. One of them was a nobody at the time, a writer who supposed his life was over...

He looks at Hoobler, smiles.

He was mistaken... The man he met was an automobile dealer who was on the brink of going insane...

An air horn sounds from nearby. A big diesel semi hisses to a stop.

Huge lettering across the whole side of the trailer reads: "GLASNOST VODKA -- It Opens YOU Up!" The driver, Denzel Whitelaw, leans out of the cab and yells:



Denzel is at the wheel, Trout and Hoobler are sitting in the passenger seat. There's a big jar of "Leaning Tower Olives" on the seat between them. Trout is pouring some "Glasnost Vodka" into a plastic cup.

So whattaya think, Kilgore, olives going down, vodka coming back! This trip has all the makings of a perfect martini!

Trout pops an olive in his mouth, follows it with a swig of vodka.

(toasting Denzel)
"Breakfast of Champions!"

(looking past Kilgore)
Cohoes for you, too, Wayne?

No thank you. Just let me off up there at the Shepardstown exit.

Anything you say.
(turning to Trout)
So, Kilgore, you've been to Midland City. Was I right? Is it the asshole of the Universe?

Well, Denzel, I think you can spend a lot of time searching for the asshole of the Universe -- only to find you've been sitting on it all your life!


The entire town has been encased in a thick shell of translucent plastic, shimmering with colors.

Dazed townspeople, almost reverent with awe, walk slowly through its silent, permanently-plasticized streets. One of them, wearing a rumpled tuxedo, is suddenly recognizable. It's Fred Barry's secretary, Kenneth. He calls out occasionally:

Mr. Barry...? Mr. Barry...?

Up ahead of Kenneth, a crowd of people are gathered outside the Holiday Inn's "Tallyho Room." Some are whispering in amazement, others are laughing. Kenneth approaches, slips through the crowd, and finally sees what they're gawking at:

A trio of plastic figures, cast up against the building as randomly as driftwood on a beach, gleam and sparkle in the morning sunlight: Max and Minos Xopolis, two runners frozen in mid-stride, looking back over their shoulders in perpetual surprise... And Fred T. Barry, laminated now and forever atop his wheelbarrow of horseshit.

Kenneth stares at the figures for a long moment, then he begins to laugh and laugh.

From a VERY HIGH ANGLE, the entire city FILLS THE FRAME. Then it suddenly MATCH DISSOLVES TO:

A plastic paperweight -- the kind sold in tourist shops across the world: A miniature city encased in a dome of clear plastic atop the words:


The End