Monday, August 11, 2003

[8/11/2011] Woody Allen Tonight: Part 2 of "Death Knocks" (from "Getting Even") (continued)


DEATH: Don't give me a sales talk. Get the cards and give me a Fresca and put out something. For God's sake, a stranger drops in, you don't have potato chips or pretzels.
NAT: There's M&Ms downstairs in a dish.
DEATH: M&Ms. What if the President came? He'd get M&Ms, too?
NAT: You're not the President.
DEATH: Deal.

"Death Knocks" appeared originally in The New Yorker of July 27, 1968.

(from Getting Even)
Part 2

DEATH: Deal.
[NAT deals, turns up a five.]
NAT: You want to play a tenth of a cent a point to make it interesting?
DEATH: It's not interesting enough for you?
NAT: I play better when money's at stake.
DEATH: Whatever you say, Newt.
NAT: Nat. Nat Ackerman. You don't know my name?
DEATH: Newt, Nat -- I got such a headache.
NAT: You want that five?
NAT: So pick.
DEATH [surveying his hand as he picks]: Jesus, I got nothing here.
NAT: What's it like?
DEATH: What's what like?
[Throughout the following, they pick and discard.]
NAT: Death.
DEATH: What should it be like? You lay there.
NAT: Is there anything after?
DEATH: Aha, you're saving twos.
NAT: I'm asking. Is there anything after?
DEATH [absently]: You'll see.
NAT: Oh, then I will actually see something?
DEATH: Well, maybe I shouldn't have put it that way. Throw.
NAT: To get an answer from you is a big deal.
DEATH: I'm playing cards.
NAT: All right, play, play.
DEATH: Meanwhile, I'm giving you one card after another.
NAT: Don't look through the discards.
DEATH: I'm not looking. I'm straightening them up. What was the knock card?
NAT: Four. You ready to knock already?
DEATH: Who said I'm ready to knock? All I asked was what was the knock card.
NAT: And all I asked was is there anything for me to look forward to.
DEATH: Play.
NAT: Can't you tell me anything? Where do we go?
DEATH: We? To tell you the truth, you fall in a crumpled heap on the floor.
NAT: Oh, I can't wait for that! Is it going to hurt?
DEATH: Be over in a second.
NAT: Terrific. [Sighs] I needed this. A man merges with Modiste Originals . . .
DEATH: How's four points?
NAT: You're knocking?
DEATH: Four points is good?
NAT: No, I got two.
DEATH: You're kidding.
NAT: No, you lose.
DEATH: Holy Christ, and I thought you were saving sixes.
NAT: No. Your deal. Twenty points and two boxes. Shoot. [DEATH deals.] I must fall on the floor, eh? I can't be standing over the sofa when it happens?
DEATH: No. Play.
NAT: Why not?
DEATH: Because you fall on the floor! Leave me alone. I'm trying to concentrate.
NAT: Why must it be on the floor? That's all I'm saying! Why can't the whole thing happen and I'll stand next to the sofa?
DEATH: I'll try my best. Now can we play?
NAT: That's all I'm saying. You remind me of Moe Lefkowitz. He's also stubborn.
DEATH: I remind him of Moe Lefkowitz. I'm one of the most terrifying figures you could possibly imagine, and him I remind of Moe Lefkowitz. What is he, a furrier?
NAT: You should be such a furrier. He's good for eighty thousand a year. Passementeries. He's got his own factory. Two points.
DEATH: What?
NAT: Two points. I'm knocking. What have you got?
DEATH: My hand is like a basketball score.
NAT: And it's spades.
DEATH: If you didn't talk so much.
[They redeal and play on.]
NAT: What'd you mean before when you said this was your first job?
DEATH: What does it sound like?
NAT: What are you telling me -- that nobody ever went before?
DEATH: Sure they went. But I didn't take them.
NAT: So who did?
DEATH: Others.
NAT: There's others?
DEATH: Sure. Each one has his own personal way of going.
NAT: I never knew that.
DEATH: Why should you know? Who are you?
NAT: What do you mean who am I? Why -- I'm nothing?
DEATH: Not nothing. You're a dress manufacturer. Where do you come to knowledge of the eternal mysteries?
NAT: What are you talking about? I make a beautiful dollar. I sent two kids through college. One is in advertising, the other's married. I got my own home. I drive a Chrysler. My wife has whatever she wants. Maids, mink coat, vacations. Right now she's at the Eden Roc. Fifty dollars a day because she wants to be near her sister. I'm supposed to join her next week, so what do you think I am -- some guy off the street?
DEATH: All right. Don't be so touchy.
NAT: Who's touchy?
DEATH: How would you like it if I got insulted quickly?
NAT: Did I insult you?
DEATH: You didn't say you were disappointed in me?
NAT: What do you expect? You want me to throw you a block party?
DEATH: I'm not talking about that. I mean me personally. I'm too short, I'm this, I'm that.
NAT: I said you looked like me. It's like a reflection.
DEATH: All right, deal, deal.
[They continue to play as music steals in and the lights dim until all is in total darkness. The lights slowly come up again, and now it is later and their game is over. Nat tallies.]
NAT: Sixty-eight . . . one-fifty . . . Well, you lose.
Death [dejectedly looking through the deck]: I knew I shouldn't have thrown that nine. Damn it.
NAT: So I'll see you tomorrow.
DEATH: What do you mean you'll see me tomorrow?
NAT: I won the extra day. Leave me alone.
DEATH: You were serious?
NAT: We made a deal.
DEATH: Yeah, but --
NAT: Don't "but" me. I won twenty-four hours. Come back tomorrow.
DEATH: I didn't know we were actually playing for time.
NAT: That's too bad about you. You should pay attention.
DEATH: Where am I going to go for twenty-four hours?
NAT: What's the difference? The main thing is I won an extra day.
DEATH: What do you want me to do -- walk the streets?
NAT: Check into a hotel and go to a movie. Take a schvitz. Don't make a federal case.
DEATH: Add the score again.
NAT: Plus you owe me twenty-eight dollars.
DEATH: What?
NAT: That's right, Buster. Here it is -- read it.
DEATH [going through pockets]: I have a few singles -- not twenty-eight dollars.
NAT: I'll take a check.
DEATH: From what account?
NAT: Look who I'm dealing with.
DEATH: Sue me. Where do I keep my checking account?
NAT: All right, gimme what you got and we'll call it square.
DEATH: Listen, I need that money.
NAT: Why should you need money?
DEATH: What are you talking about? You're going to the Beyond.
NAT: So?
DEATH: So -- you know how far that is?
NAT: So?
DEATH: So where's gas? Where's tolls?
NAT: We're going by car!
DEATH: You'll find out. [Agitatedly] Look -- I'll be back tomorrow, and you'll give me a chance to win the money back. Otherwise I'm in definite trouble.
NAT: Anything you want. Double or nothing we'll play. I'm liable to win an extra week or a month. The way you play, maybe years.
DEATH: Meantime I'm stranded.
NAT: See you tomorrow.
DEATH [being edged to the doorway]: Where's a good hotel? What am I talking about hotel, I got no money. I'll go sit in Bickford's. [He picks up the News.]
NAT: Out. Out. That's my paper. [He takes it back.]
DEATH [exiting]: I couldn't just take him and go. I had to get involved in rummy.
NAT [calling after him]: And be careful going downstairs. On one of the steps the rug is loose.
[And on cue we hear a terrific crash. NAT sighs, then crosses to the bedside table and makes a phone call.]
NAT: Hello, Moe? Me. Listen, I don't know if somebody's playing a joke, or what, but Death was just here. We played a little gin . . . No, Death. In person. Or somebody who claims to be Death. But, Moe, he's such a schlep!




Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home