>>/ Misery

/ Misery. .

: / Misery.

/ Misery

FADE IN ON:

A SINGLE CIGARETTE. A MATCH. A HOTEL ICE BUCKET that holds a bottle of champagne. The cigarette is unlit. The match is of the kitchen variety. The champagne, unopened, is Dom Perignon. There is only one sound at first: a strong WIND--

--now another sound, sharper--a sudden burst of TYPING as we

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

PAUL SHELDON typing at a table in his hotel suite. It's really a cabin that's part of a lodge. Not an ornate place. Western themed.

He is framed by a window looking out at some gorgeous mountains. It's afternoon. The sky is grey. Snow is scattered along the ground. We're out west somewhere. The WIND grows stronger--there could be a storm.

PAUL pays no attention to what's going on outside as he continues to type.

He's the hero of what follows. Forty-two, he's got a good face, one with a certain mileage to it. We are not, in other words, looking at a virgin. He's been a novelist for eighteen years and for half that time, the most recent half, a remarkably successful one.

He pauses for a moment, intently, as if trying to stare a hole in the paper. Now his fingers fly, and there's another burst of TYPING. He studies what he's written, then--

CUT TO:

THE PAPER, as he rolls it out of the machine, puts it on the table, prints, in almost childlike letters, these words:

THE END

CUT TO:

A PILE OF MANUSCRIPT at the rear of the table. He puts this last page on, gets it straight and in order, hoists it up, folds it to his chest, the entire manuscript--hundreds of pages.

CUT TO:

PAUL, as he holds his book to him. He is, just for a brief moment, moved.

CUT TO:

A SUITCASE across the room. PAUL goes to it, opens it and pulls something out from inside: a battered red leather briefcase. Now he takes his manuscript, carefully opens the briefcase, gently puts the manuscript inside. He closes it, and the way he handles it, he might almost be handling a child. Now he crosses over, opens the champagne, pours himself a single glass, lights the one cigarette with the lone match-- there is a distinct feeling of ritual about this. He inhales deeply, makes a toasting gesture, then drinks, smokes, smiles.

HOLD BRIEFLY, then--

CUT TO:

LODGE - DAY

PAUL--exiting his cabin. He stops, makes a snowball, throws it, hitting a sign.

PAUL Still got it.

He throws a suitcase into the trunk of his '65 MUSTANG and, holding his leather case, he hops into the car and drives away.

CUT TO:

A SIGN that reads "Silver Creek Lodge." Behind the sign is the hotel itself--old, desolate. Now the '65 Mustang comes out of the garage, guns ahead toward the sign. As "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker and the Allstars starts, he heads off into the mountains.

CUT TO:

THE SKY. Gun-metal grey. The clouds seem pregnant with snow.

CUT TO:

PAUL, driving the Mustang, the battered briefcase on the seat beside him.

CUT TO:

THE ROAD AHEAD. Little dainty flakes of snow are suddenly visible.

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THE CAR, going into a curve and

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PAUL, driving, and as he comes out of the curve, a stunned look hits his face as we

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THE ROAD AHEAD--and here it comes--a mountain storm; it's as if the top has been pulled off the sky and with no warning whatsoever, we're into a blizzard and

CUT TO:

THE MUSTANG, slowing, driving deeper into the mountains.

CUT TO:

PAUL, squinting ahead, windshield wipers on now.

CUT TO:

THE MUSTANG, rounding another curve, losing traction--

CUT TO:

PAUL, a skilled driver, bringing the car easily under control.

CUT TO:

THE ROAD

Snow is piling up.

CUT TO:

PAUL driving confidently, carefully. Now he reaches out, ejects the tape, expertly turns it over, pushes it in and, as the MUSIC continues, he hums along with it.

CUT TO:

THE SKY. Only you can't see it.

There's nothing to see but the unending snow, nothing to hear but the wind which keeps getting wilder.

CUT TO:

THE ROAD. Inches of snow on the ground now. This is desolate and dangerous.

CUT TO:

PAUL, driving.

CUT TO:

THE SNOW. Worse.

CUT TO:

THE ROAD, curving sharply, drop ping. A sign reads: "Curved Road, Next 13 Miles."

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THE MUSTANG, coming into view, hitting the curve--no problem-- no problem at all--and then suddenly, there is a very serious problem and as the car skids out of control--

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PAUL, doing his best, fighting the conditions and just as it looks like he's got things going his way--

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THE ROAD, swerving down and

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THE MUSTANG, all traction gone and

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PAUL, helpless and

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THE MUSTANG, skidding, skidding and

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THE ROAD as it drops more steeply away and the wind whips the snow across and

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THE MUSTANG starting to spin and

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THE MOUNTAINSIDE as the car skids off the road, careens down, slams into a tree, bounces off, flips, lands upside down, skids, stops finally, dead.

HOLD ON THE CAR A MOMENT

There is still the sound of the WIND, and there is still the music coming from the tape, perhaps the only part of the car left undamaged. Nothing moves inside. There is only the WIND and the TAPE. The wind gets louder.

CUT TO:

THE WRECK looked at from a distance. The MUSIC sounds are only faintly heard.

CUT TO:

THE AREA WHERE THE WRECK IS--AS SEEN FROM THE ROAD. The car is barely visible as the snow begins to cover it.

CUT TO:

THE WRECK from outside, and we're close to it now, with the snow coming down ever harder--already bits of the car are covered in white.

CAMERA MOVES IN TO

PAUL. He's inside and doing his best to fight is, but his consciousness is going. He tries to keep his eyes open but they're slits.

Slowly, he manages to reach out with his left arm for his briefcase--

--and he clutches it to his battered body. The MUSIC continues on.

But PAUL is far from listening. His eyes flutter, flutter again. Now they're starting to close.

The man is dying.

Motionless, he still clutches the battered briefcase.

HOLD ON THE CASE. Then--

DISSOLVE TO:

The BRIEFCASE in Paul's hands as he sits at a desk.

SINDELL (O.S.) What's that?

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

We are in New York City in the office of Paul's literary agent, MARCIA SINDELL. The walls of the large room are absolutely crammed with book and movie posters, in English and all other kinds of other languages, all of them featuring the character of MISERY CHASTAIN, a perfectly beautiful woman. Misery's Challenge, Misery's Triumph--eight of them. All written by Paul Sheldon.

CUT TO:

PAUL, lifting up the battered briefcase--maybe when new it cost two bucks, but he treats it like gold.

PAUL An old friend. I was rummaging through a closet and it was just sitting there. Like it was waiting for me.

CUT TO:

SINDELL (searching for a compliment) It's... it's nice, Paul. It's got... character.

CUT TO:

THE TWO OF THEM

PAUL When I wrote my first book, I used to carry it around in this while I was looking for a publisher. That was a good book, Marcia. I was a writer then.

SINDELL You're still a writer.

PAUL I haven't been a writer since I got into the Misery business--

SINDELL (holding up the cover art of MISERY'S CHILD) Not a bad business. This thing would still be growing, too. The first printing order on Misery's Child was the most ever--over a million.

PAUL Marcia, please.

SINDELL No, no. Misery Chastain put braces on your daughter's teeth and is putting her through college, bought you two houses and floor seats to the Knick games and what thanks does she get? You go and kill her.

PAUL Marcia, you know I started "Misery" on a lark. Do I look like a guy who writes romance novels? Do I sound like Danielle Steel? It was a one- time shot and we got lucky. I never meant it to become my life. And if I hadn't gotten rid of her now, I'd have ended up writing her forever. (touches his briefcase) For the first time in fifteen years, I think I'm really onto something here.

SINDELL I'm glad to hear that, Paul, I really am. But you have to know--when your fans find out that you killed off their favorite heroine, they're not going to say, "Ooh, good, Paul Sheldon can finally write what we've always wanted: An esoteric, semi- autobiographical character study.

PAUL (passionately) Marcia, why are you doing this to me? Don't you know I'm scared enough? Don't you think I remember how nobody gave a shit about my first books? You think I'm dying to go back to shouting in the wilderness? (beat) I'm doing this because I have to. (Marcia is stopped) Now, I'm leaving for Colorado to try to finish this and I want your good thoughts--because if I can make it work ... (beat) I might just have something that I want on my tombstone.

On the word "tombstone"

CUT TO:

PAUL'S TOMBSTONE--the upside down car with the blizzard coming gale-force and his motionless body trapped inside the car.

The WIND screams. PAUL'S EYES flutter, then close.

Hold

Keep holding as--

Suddenly there's a new sound as a crowbar SCRATCHES at the door--

-- nd now the door is ripped open as we

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

A BUNDLED-UP FIGURE gently beginning to pull PAUL and the case from the car. For a moment, it's hard to tell if it's a man or woman--

--not to let the cat out of the bag or anything, but it is, very much, a woman. Her name is ANNIE WILKES and she is close to Paul's age. She is in many ways a remarkable creature. Strong, self-sufficient, passionate in her likes and dislikes, loves and hates.

CUT TO:

PAUL AND ANNIE as she cradles him in her arms. Once he's clear of the car, she lays him carefully in the snow

CUT TO:

PAUL AND ANNIE: CLOSE UP. She slowly brings her mouth down close to his. Then their lips touch as she forces air inside him.

ANNIE (Their lips touch again. Then--) You hear me--Breathe! I said breathe!!!

CUT TO:

PAUL, as he starts to breathe--

--in a moment his eyes suddenly open wide, but he's in shock, the eyes see nothing--

CUT TO:

ANNIE--the moment she sees him come to life, she goes into action, lifting PAUL in a fireman's carry, starting the difficult climb back up the steep hill.

As she moves away, she and Paul are obliterated by the white falling snow.

DISSOLVE TO:

THE WHITE OF WHAT SEEMS LIKE A HOSPITAL. Everything is bled of color. It's all vague--

--we are looking at this from Paul's blurred vision.

And throughout this next sequence, there are these SOUNDS, words really, but they make no sense.

"...no... worry...

...be... fine...

...good care... you...

...I'm your number one fan..."

The first thing we see during this is something all white. It takes a moment before we realize it's a ceiling.

Now, a white wall.

An I.V. bottle is next, the medicine dripping down a tube into PAUL'S LEFT ARM. The other arm is bandaged and in a sling.

ANNIE is standing beside the bed. She wears off-white and seems very much like a nurse. A good nurse. She has pills in her hands.

CUT TO:

PAUL. Motionless, dead pale. He has a little beard now. Eyes barely open, he's shaking with fever.

PAUL (hardly able to whisper) ...where... am I...?

ANNIE is quickly by his side.

ANNIE (so gently) Shhh... we're just outside Silver Creek.

PAUL How long...?

ANNIE You've been here two days. You're gonna be okay. (relieved) My name is Annie Wilkes and I'm--

PAUL --my number one fan.

And now the gibberish words make sense.

ANNIE That's right. I'm also a nurse. Here. (Now, as she brings the pills close) Take these.

She helps him to swallow, as Paul's eyes close.

DISSOLVE TO:

AN EXTERIOR OF THE PLACE. It's a farmhouse--we 're in a desolate area with mountains in the background.

THE HOUSE is set on a knoll so that Paul's room, although on the first floor, is ten feet off the ground.

CUT TO:

PAUL, in the room. He's not on the I.V. anymore. His fever has broken. Annie enters, pills in her hand.

ANNIE Here.

PAUL What are they...?

ANNIE They're called Novril--they're for your pain. (helps him take them)

ANNIE applies a cool rag to his forehead.

PAUL Shouldn't I be in a hospital?

ANNIE The blizzard was too strong. I couldn't risk trying to get you there. I tried calling, but the phone lines are down.

PAUL tries to test his left arm.

ANNIE (Gently, her fingers go to his eyelids, close them) Now you mustn't tire yourself. You've got to rest, you almost died.

CUT TO:

ANNIE: CLOSE UP. Sometimes her face shows the most remarkable compassion. It does now.

HOLD ON IT briefly.

DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE UP ON PILLS IN ANNIE'S HAND

ANNIE (O.S.) Open wide.

CUT TO:

PAUL'S ROOM

He lies in bed. His fever is gone, but he's terribly weak.

CUT TO:

ANNIE. As she lays the pills on PAUL'S TONGUE, she gives him a glass of water from the nearby bed table.

CUT TO:

PAUL, swallowing eagerly.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, watching him, sympathetically.

ANNIE Your legs just sing grand opera when you move, don't they? (Paul says nothing, but his pain is clear) It's not going to hurt forever, Paul, I promise you.

PAUL Will I be able to walk?

ANNIE Of course you will. And your arm will be fine, too. Your shoulder was dislocated pretty badly, but I finally popped it back in there. (proudly) But what I'm most proud of is the work I did on those legs. Considering what I had around the house, I don't think there's a doctor who could have done any better.

And now suddenly she flicks off the blankets, uncovering his body.

CUT TO:

PAUL, staring, stunned at the bottom half of his body as we

CUT TO:

PAUL'S LEGS. From the knees down he resembles an Egyptian mummy--she's splinted them with slim steel rods that look like the hacksawed remains of aluminum crutches and there's taping circling around.

From the kness up they're all swollen and throbbing and horribly bruised and discolored.

CUT TO:

PAUL, lying back, stunned with disbelief.

ANNIE It's not nearly as bad as it looks. You have a compound fracture of the tibia in both legs, and the fibula in the left leg is fractured too. I could hear the bones moving, so it's best for your legs to remain immobile. And as soon as the roads open, I'll take you to a hospital.

CUT TO:

ANNIE: CLOSE UP

ANNIE In the meantime, you've got a lot of recovering to do, and I consider it an honor that you'll do it in my home.

HOLD on her ecstatic face.

Then--

CUT TO:

MISERY'S PERFECT FACE. We're back in SINDELL's office in New York. The office looks just the same, posters and manuscripts all over. But she doesn't.

She holds the phone and she is fidgety, insecure.

SINDELL This is Marcia Sindell calling from New York City. I'd like to speak to the Silver Creek Chief of Police or the Sheriff.

MALE VOICE (O.S.) Which one do you want?

SINDELL Whichever one's not busy.

CUT TO:

SMALL OFFICE IN SILVER CREEK

...with a view of the mountains.

A MARVELOUS LOOKING MAN sits at a desk, by himself, holding the phone. In his sixties, he's still as bright, fast and sassy as he was half-a-lifetime ago. Never mind what his name is, everyone calls him BUSTER.

BUSTER I'm pretty sure they 're both not busy, Ms. Sindell, since they're both me. I also happen to be President of the Policeman's Benefit Association, Chairman of the Patrolman's Retirement Fund, and if you need a good fishing guide, you could do a lot worse; call me Buster, everybody does, what can I do for you?

CUT TO:

SINDELL in her office. She pushes the speakerphone, gets up, paces; she's very hesitant when she speaks about Paul. Almost embarrassed--

SINDELL I'm a literary agent, and I feel like a fool calling you, but I think one of my clients, Paul Sheldon, might be in some kind of trouble.

BUSTER Paul Sheldon? You mean Paul Sheldon the writer?

SINDELL Yes.

BUSTER He's your client, huh?

SINDELL Yes, he is.

CUT TO:

BUSTER'S OFFICE

He rolls a penny across the back of one hand--he's very good at it, doesn't even look while he does it.

BUSTER People sure like those Misery books.

SINDELL I'm sure you know Paul's been going to the Silver Creek Lodge for years to finish his books.

BUSTER Yeah, I understand he's been up here the last six weeks.

SINDELL Not quite. I just called, and they said he checked out five days ago. Isn't that a little strange?

BUSTER I don't know. Does he always phone you when he checks out of hotels?

CUT TO:

SINDELL, really embarrassed now.

SINDELL No, no, of course not. It's just that his daughter hasn't heard from him, and when he's got a book coming out, he usually keeps in touch. So when there was no word from him...

BUSTER You think he might be missing?

SINDELL (shakes her head) I hate that I made this call--tell me I'm being silly.

CUT TO:

BUSTER. He nods as a WOMAN enters, carrying lunch. It's his wife, VIRGINIA. She begins putting the food down on a table for the both of them.

BUSTER Just a little over-protective, maybe. (beat) Tell you what--nothing's been reported out here-- (he puts Paul Sheldon's name with a ? on a 3 x 5 CARD) --but I'll put his name through our system. (he tacks the card to a bulletin board) And if anything turns up, I'll call you right away.

CUT TO:

SINDELL. She smiles, a genuine sense of relief.

SINDELL I appreciate that. Thanks a lot.

CUT TO:

BUSTER

BUSTER G'bye, Ms. Sindell.

As he hangs up--

VIRGINIA We actually got a phone call. Busy morning.

BUSTER (smiles) Work, work, work. (gives her a hug) Virginia? When was that blizzard?

VIRGINIA Four or five days ago. Why?

CUT TO:

BUSTER. The penny flies across the back of his hand. He doesn't look at it, stares instead out the window at the mountains.

BUSTER (a beat) ...no reason...

HOLD ON BUSTER for a moment.

CUT TO:

PAUL'S ROOM

PAUL'S VOICE (soft) I guess it was kind of a miracle... you finding me...

ANNIE's soft, sweet laughter is heard. She stands over him, finishing shaving him with a very sharp straight razor. She wears what we will come to know as her regular costume--plain wool skirts, grey cardigan sweaters.

ANNIE No, it wasn't a miracle at all... in a way, I was following you.

PAUL Following me?

ANNIE concentrates on shaving him with great care; she has wonderful, strong hands.

ANNIE (explaining, normally) Well, it wasn't any secret to me that you were staying at the Silver Creek, seeing as how I'm your number- one fan and all. Some nights I'd just tool on down there, sit outside and look up at the light in your cabin-- (gently moves his head back, exposing his neck; this next is said with total sincerity, almost awe) and I'd try to imagine what was going on in the room of the world's greatest writer.

PAUL Say that last part again, I didn't quite hear--

ANNIE (smiles) Don't move now--wouldn't want to hurt this neck-- (shaving away) Well, the other afternoon I was on my way home, and there you were, leaving the Lodge, and I wondered why a literary genius would go for a drive when there was a big storm coming.

PAUL I didn't know it was going to be a big storm.

ANNIE Lucky for you, I did. (pauses) Lucky for me too. Because now you're alive and you can write more books. Oh, Paul, I've read everything of Yours, but the Misery novels...

CUT TO:

ANNIE: CLOSE UP

ANNIE I know them all by heart, Paul, all eight of them. I love them so.

CUT TO:

PAUL, looking at her. There's something terribly touching about her now.

PAUL You're very kind...

ANNIE And you're very brilliant, and you must be a good man, or you could never have created such a wondrous, loving creature as Misery Chastain. (runs her fingers over his cheek) Like a baby. (smiles) All done. (starts to dab away the last bits of soap)

ANNIE starts cleaning up.

PAUL When do you think the phone lines'll be back up? I have to call my daughter, and I should call New York and let my agent know I'm breathing.

ANNIE It shouldn't be too much longer. (gently) Once the roads are open, the lines'll be up in no time. If you give me their numbers, I'll keep trying them for you. (suddenly almost embarrassed) Could I ask you a favor? (Paul nods) I noticed in your case there was a new Paul Sheldon book and... (hesitant) and I wondered if maybe... (her voice trails off)

PAUL You want to read it?

ANNIE (quietly) If you wouldn't mind.

PAUL I have a hard and fast rule about who can read my stuff at this early stage--only my editor, my agent, and anyone who saves me from freezing to death in a car wreck.

ANNIE (genuinely thrilled) You'll never realize what a rare treat you've given me.

CUT TO:

PAUL. His eyes close briefly, he grimaces.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, watching him, concerned. She glances at her watch.

ANNIE Boy, it's like clockwork, the way your pain comes--I'll get you your Novril, Paul. Forgive me for prattling away and making you feel all oogy.

She turns and goes out of the room.

CUT TO:

PAUL, watching her.

ANNIE What's your new book called?

PAUL I don't have a title yet.

ANNIE What's it about?

PAUL (fast) It's crazy, but I don't really know, I mean I haven't written anything but "Misery" for so long that--you read it you can tell me what you think it's about. Maybe you can come up with a title.

ANNIE (in the doorway) Oh, like I could do that?

CUT TO:

THE MANAGER'S OFFICE AT THE SILVER CREEK LODGE

Small, neat, one window--outside, snow covers all.

BUSTER AND LIBBY, THE MANAGER, are going over books and records. Libby is an old guy, walks with a cane.

LIBBY Nothing unusual about Mr. Sheldon's leaving, Buster--you can tell by the champagne.

BUSTER Maybe you can, Libby.

LIBBY No, see, he always ordered a bottle of Dom Perignon when he was ready to go. Then he'd pay up and be out the door.

BUSTER No long-distance phone calls, Federal Express packages--anything at all out of the ordinary?

LIBBY (head shake) I don't think Mr. Sheldon likes for things to be out of the ordinary. Considering who he is and all, famous and all, he doesn't have airs. Drives the same car out from New York each time--'65 Mustang--said it helps him think. He was always a good guest, never made a noise, never bothered a soul. Sure hope nothing happened to him.

BUSTER So do I...

LIBBY I'll bet that old Mustang's pulling into New York right now.

BUSTER I'm sure you're right.

But you can tell he's not sure at all as we

CUT TO:

A SPOON FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH BEEF BARLEY SOUP

CUT TO:

PAUL'S ROOM.

He lies in bed. Sun comes in the lone window. ANNIE sits on the bed, a large bowl of soup in her hands, feeding him.

ANNIE (almost shy about this) I know I'm only forty pages into your book, but...

She stops, fills the spoon up again.

PAUL But what?

ANNIE Nothing.

PAUL No, what is it?

ANNIE Oh, it's ridiculous, who am I to make a criticism to someone like you?

PAUL I can take it, go ahead.

ANNIE Well, it's brilliantly written, but then everything you write is brilliant.

PAUL Pretty rough so far.

ANNIE (a burst) The swearing, Paul. (beat) There, I said it.

PAUL The profanity bothers you?

ANNIE It has no nobility.

PAUL Well, these are slum kids, I was a slum kid, everybody talks like that.

CUT TO:

ANNIE. She holds the soup bowl in one hand, the muddy-colored beef barley soup close to spilling.

ANNIE They do not. What do you think I say when I go to the feed store in town? "Now, Wally, give me a bag of that effing pigfeed and ten pounds of that bitchly cow-corn"--

PAUL is amused by this.

CUT TO:

THE SOUP, almost spilling as she gets more agitated.

ANNIE --and in the bank do I tell Mrs. Bollinger, "Here's one big bastard of a check, give me some of your Christing money."

CUT TO:

PAUL, almost laughing as some soup hits the coverlet.

ANNIE (seeing the spill, suddenly upset) There! Look there! See what you made me do!

CUT TO:

PAUL--his smile disappears.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, and she is just totally embarrassed.

ANNIE Oh, Paul, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Sometimes I get so worked up. Can you ever forgive me? Here...

She hands him his pills and starts to clean the soup off the coverlet. Then she makes the sweetest smile.

ANNIE I love you, Paul. (more embarrassed than ever) Your mind. Your creativity--that's all I meant.

Flustered, she turns away as we--

CUT TO:

A ROAD IN THE MOUNTAINS. Piles of snow all around but it's been ploughed enough so it's driveable.

CUT TO:

A CAR coming into view. Up ahead is the sign we've already seen: "Curved Road, Next 13 Miles."

CUT TO:

INSIDE THE CAR

BUSTER AND HIS WIFE VIRGINIA: Virginia is driving while Buster intently studies the terrain. He reaches for a large thermos, pours some coffee, offers it to her. She shakes her head. He begins to sip it.

VIRGINIA This sure is fun.

She puts her hand on his leg.

BUSTER (removing it) Virginia, when you're in this car, you're not my wife, you're my deputy.

VIRGINIA Well, this deputy would rather be home under the covers with the Sheriff.

CUT TO:

THE CAR. Suddenly, it goes into a little icy spin--she fights it back under control.

CUT TO:

INSIDE THE CAR

BUSTER (suddenly) Stop--stop right here.

VIRGINIA What? What is it?

CUT TO:

THE CAR, skidding, slowing, stopping. BOTH OF THEM get out, go to the edge of the road. Mountains of snow. Nothing much else visible. Then Buster points.

BUSTER Look at that broken branch there...

CUT TO:

VIRGINIA, seeing it, unconvinced.

VIRGINIA Could be the weight of the snow.

BUSTER Could be--or a rotten branch or a mountain lion could have landed on it. Could be a lot of things.

He steps off the road, starts down.

CUT TO:

VIRGINIA, watching him, worried--it's very slippery.

CUT TO:

BUSTER, graceful, in great shape, navigating down easily.

CUT TO:

THE TREE that the car ran into. BUSTER reaches it, studies it.

CUT TO:

VIRGINIA, staring out after him--she can't see him because the drop is both too steep and covered with trees and mounds of snow.

VIRGINIA Anything down there?

BUSTER'S VOICE (O.S.) Yeah. An enormous amount of snow.

CUT TO:

BUSTER. He's moved away from the tree now, going toward where the Mustang is buried.

CUT TO:

THE MOUND OF SNOW with the Mustang inside.

CUT TO:

BUSTER, making his way closer to it, closer, staring around.

CUT TO:

THE AREA. Nothing to be seen--everything is covered with mountains of snow. You could have a house down there and not be able to see it. Just glaring white.

CUT TO:

BUSTER, angry, frustrated, turning around and around and

CUT TO:

BUSTER from another angle, from behind the mound with the Mustang inside--and out of his sight, glistening in the sun, a bit of the door protrudes. But, of course, Buster can't see it.

HOLD ON BUSTER, in a sour mood, staring around as the edge of the door continues to glisten.

CUT TO:

VIRGINIA, on the road as Buster makes his way back up, still ticked.

VIRGINIA (they move to the car) You really think Sheldon's out there?

BUSTER Hope not--if he is, he's dead. Let's go to the newspaper office.

As they get in the car--

ANOTHER CAR DRIVING BY--it's Annie in her Jeep--neither she nor Buster notice each other.

CUT TO:

PAUL'S ROOM

The door opens and ANNIE enters.

ANNIE Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you.

PAUL It's fine.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

Paul's eyes fluttering awake to see the hardback copy of his novel, Misery's Child, in Annie's hands. She's never been more excited--

ANNIE They had it at the store, Paul, there was a whole batch of them there. As soon as I saw it, I slammed my money down. I got the first copy.

PAUL Then the roads are open...

ANNIE The one to town is, but that's about it. I called the hospital and talked to the head orthopedic surgeon. I told him who you were and what had happened. He said as long as there's no infection, you're not in any danger, and as soon as the road to the hospital is open, they'll send an ambulance for you.

PAUL The phones are working?

ANNIE Well, mine's still out. But the ones in town were working just fine. I called that agent of yours. (soft now) Oh, Paul, I peeked at the very beginning. (looks at him) What a wonderful first page--just to read the name Misery Chastain...

PAUL My daughter must be going nuts.

ANNIE ...it's like a visit from my oldest, dearest friend.

PAUL I was supposed to be home for her birthday three days ago.

ANNIE Your agent said she would tell her you were okay. But I'm afraid you'll have to wait until tomorrow if you want to speak to her yourself.

She starts to leave, stops at the door.

ANNIE (She looks at him now with almost a look of amazement) Oh, Paul, what a poet you are...

As she leaves--

DISSOLVE TO:

PAUL, watching as she enters, moves to him, carrying a tray.

ANNIE I made you my speciality--scrambled eggs a la Wilkes. And I'm on page 75.

PAUL I guess that means it's okay.

ANNIE No. No, it isn't, it's-- (halts) --oh pooh, I can't think of any words. Would "great" be insulting?

PAUL I can live with "great."

He starts, with effort, to eat.

ANNIE (as she turns, goes) No, it's not just great, it's perfect, a perfect, perfect thing.

CUT TO:

PAUL'S ROOM. MID-AFTERNOON

ANNIE is clearing Paul's tray. She hands him his Novril; he quickly swallows them.

ANNIE I'm up to page 185. I always get sad when I pass the halfway point. Will you do me a favor? I'd love it if you would autograph my copy. I already have your autograph on a picture, but it would mean so much to me to get it in person. I know you're right- handed, so don't worry if it's not so legible. I'll cherish it anyway.

As PAUL signs the book:

ANNIE I don't mean to pry, but I've read in two magazines now where you were seeing this model who does those disgusting jeans commercials. And I said it can't be true. Paul Sheldon would never waste his time with a trampy woman like that.

PAUL Well, you can't believe everything you read in magazines.

ANNIE I knew it. I knew it wasn't true. Boy, how do they get away with printing stuff like that?

PAUL You'd be amazed at what some people will believe.

He finishes the autograph, hands the book back to her.

ANNIE Thank you so much.

PAUL My pleasure.

DISSOLVE TO:

THE WINDOW - LATE - AFTERNOON SUNLIGHT

CUT TO:

THE DOOR. IT opens and guess what--a sow lumbers in.

CUT TO:

PAUL, kind of stunned as this female pig skitters its way around the room, excited, confused, slipping and sliding.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, all smiles and happiness, laughing in the doorway.

ANNIE I thought it was time you two should meet. Paul, say hello to my favorite beast in all the world, my sow, Misery.

PAUL Misery?

CUT TO:

THE PIG, snorting around the room.

CUT TO:

PAUL AND ANNIE, watching it.

ANNIE Yes. I told you I was your number- one fan.

PAUL I'm getting to believe you.

ANNIE This farm was getting kind of dreary, what with just the few cows and chickens and me-- (happy) But when I got Misery here, everything Changed--she just makes me smile so.

PAUL She's a fine... uh... pig is what she is...

ANNIE (scooping up the pig, holding it tight as she stands by Paul) I'm on page three-hundred now, Paul, and it's better than perfect--it's divine. What's the ceiling that dago painted?

PAUL The Sistine Chapel?

ANNIE Yeah, that and Misery's Child--those are the only two divine things ever in this world...

PAUL watches as the pig skitters out of the room with ANNIE in pursuit, happily imitating the pig.

ANNIE Woink! Whoink! Whuh-Whuh-WHOINK!

CUT TO:

PAUL staring after them--what the hell was that?

CUT TO:

THE WINDOW. DUSK.

ANNIE'S VOICE is heard softly.

ANNIE When my husband left me... I wasn't prepared, it wasn't an easy time...

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

ANNIE, standing at the window, her back to the room.

In bed, PAUL is dealing with a bedpan, peeing.

ANNIE For a while I thought I might go crazy.

PAUL I know how that can be.

ANNIE I don't know about you, but what I did to get through it was I dove into work--days, nights--night shifts can be lonely at a hospital. I did a lot of reading. That was hen I first discovered Misery. She made me so happy. She made me forget all my problems. (She smiles now) 'Course, I suppose you had a little something to do with that too.

There is a peeing sound.

PAUL Yeah, well...

He is embarrassed.

ANNIE (She isn't) I just kept reading them over and over. I know when I finish this one-- and I've only got two chapters to go-- I'll just turn right to the front page and start reading it again.

PAUL I'm...

ANNIE (She turns around, moves to the bed) Done?

PAUL Yeah, thanks.

ANNIE No problem.

As she takes the bedpan...

ANNIE Don't get me wrong. I'm not against marriage per se. But it would take a pretty special guy to make me want to go down the aisle again.

PAUL Well, it's not something you should enter into lightly.

ANNIE It boils down to respect. People just don't respect the institution of marriage any more. They have no sense of real commitment.

CUT TO:

PAUL, attempting to smile. There is not much he can say to this.

ANNIE I'd love to stay here and chat, but I'm right at the end and I gotta find out what happens.

PAUL Well, I hope you like it.

ANNIE Of course I'll like it. Misery's about to have her child. What's it gonna be, a boy or a girl? Ooh, don't tell me.

With that, she exits.

CUT TO:

THE WINDOW. MOONLIGHT.

CUT TO:

PAUL. He's been dozing but now his eyes flutter awake as we

CUT TO:

THE DOOR. It opens and ANNIE enters, comes to his bedside.

CUT TO:

PAUL. Hard to see. He squints up as we

CUT TO:

ANNIE. CLOSE UP: her face is ashen pale.

ANNIE You...you dirty bird. She can't be dead. Misery Chastain cannot be dead! How could you?

PAUL Annie, in 1871, women often died in childbirth, but her spirit is the important thing, and Misery's spirit is still alive--

ANNIE (screaming) I DON'T WANT HER SPIRIT! I want HER! And you MURDERED her!

PAUL I DIDN'T...

ANNIE Then who did?

PAUL No one--she just died--she slipped away, that's all.

ANNIE (screaming) She slipped away? She slipped away? She didn't just slip away. You did it. You did it. You did it. You did it. You murdered my Misery.

And now she has lifted a chair--it's heavy but she's very strong--and she raises it and turns on Paul, and it's high above her head, and PAUL realizes that this might be it, she might shatter him with it, crunch his skull--and that's just what she seems she's about to do--and then she swings it, not against him but against the wall, and it shatters and she's panting from the effort as she turns on him again, her voice surprisingly soft.

ANNIE I thought you were good, Paul, but you're not good, you're just another lying old dirty birdie and I don't think I better be around you for awhile. (she crosses to the door, then stops) And don't even think about anybody coming for you, not the doctors, not your agent, not your family--because I never called them. Nobody knows you're here. And you better hope nothing happens to me because if I die, you die.

CUT TO:

PAUL, watching as she closes the door behind her. Then there is a RATTLE OF A KEY and the sound of the door to his room LOCKING.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, getting in her Cherokee and gunning away.

CUT TO:

THE ROOM

PAUL lies still. He looks around the room and listens for sounds. All he hears are the SOUNDS OF A WINTER NIGHT in the mountains. After a few beats, he takes a deep breath and then begins his greatest effort of all: to force his body out of bed, to make it move.

He's still weak from what he's endured, but that's not the main thing: it's the pain. Any attempt at movement and his legs scream. He sags back, lies there still a moment. Slowly he tries to maneuver his body off the bed. He rolls over onto his stomach, then tries to lower himself onto the floor by moving down head first. His good arm hits the floor, and he is able to hold himself up but, realizing there is no way to get out of bed without causing tremendous pain, he girds himself and flings himself out of bed and comes crashing to the floor.

The pain is excruciating. After he regains his composure, he slowly crawls toward the door.

He reaches up and tries the handle. It is, in fact, locked. He awkwardly tries to slam up against the door, but it is much too painful and to no avail. He crawls back over to the bed, realizes there's no way to climb back in, then grabs

the blanket from the bed, wraps it around himself, and closes his eyes.

DISSOLVE TO:

BUSTER'S OFFICE. DAY.

He sits alone at his desk on the telephone, staring at the Rocky Mountain Gazette spread in front of him.

CUT TO:

THE NEWSPAPER'S FRONT PAGE

In a prominent spot on the top is what is most likely a book- jacket photo of Paul. Above the picture is the following: "HAVE YOU SEEN PAUL SHELDON?"

BUSTER is on the phone with Marcia Sindell.

BUSTER No, Ms. Sindell, there's no point in coming up here now. Everything that can be done is... Yes, we're working closely with the state police, and the FBI has been informed. Right... Right... As soon as we know anything we'll let you know. No, it's no bother. Call anytime. Bye, Ms. Sindell.

VIRGINIA enters, carrying some files.

VIRGINIA Here's the list of all Sheldon's credit charges. Nothing after the Silver Creek. (With a glance at his dour face, she indicates the photo) Any calls?

BUSTER Just from his agent.

CUT TO:

BUSTER. His eyes flick up to her. An almost imperceptible shake of the head.

HOLD FOR A MOMENT, then--

FACES. They are distorted, and they come into view but briefly, then change into the next distorted face. All kinds-- there is no order to them

--young, Oriental, female, male, pretty, sad, black, not so pretty, happy, white, old--what we HEAR is this:

"...You've changed my life..."

"...I'm your number one fan..."

"...I'm a really big fan of yours..."

"...I'm your biggest fan..."

"...Don't ever stop writing those Misery books..."

"...I've read all your books, but the Misery's... well..."

"...I'm your number one fan..."

"...You've given me such pleasure..."

"...I feel like you're writing just for me..."

And now, it gets kicked up in speed and all goes faster, many times overlapping.

"...I love you... I'm your number one fan... I'm your biggest fan... We love you... number one... love you... biggest... love you... number one... number one... you poor dear thing..."

This last was said by Annie, out of focus, and for a moment, she stays that way--

CUT TO:

THE ROOM, AS IT SNAPS BACK INTO FOCUS--ANNIE is standing by the bed. It is dusk.

She wears a dark blue dress and a hat with a sprig of flowers. Her eyes are bright and vivacious--the fact is, this is the prettiest ANNIE WILKES has ever looked.

ANNIE What are you doing on the floor? (crossing to the bed) It's my fault. If I'd had a proper hospital bed, this never would have happened. Here, let me help you back in. (She lifts him back into the bed, which causes considerable pain) I know this hurts, but it'll only take a few seconds. There you go. Comfy?

PAUL (in pain) Perfect.

ANNIE You're such a kidder. I have a big surprise for you. But first there's something you must do.

PAUL I don't suppose I could have a little snack while I wait for the surprise?

ANNIE I'll get you everything you want, but you must listen first. Sometimes my thinking is a little muddy, I accept that. It's why I couldn't remember all those things they were asking me on the witness stand in Denver.

Now she turns, goes to the doorway, keeping on talking. She is never out of sight.

ANNIE But this time I thought clearly. I asked God about you and God said "I delivered him unto you so that you may show him the way."

PAUL Show me the way?

ANNIE Yes.

She exits and re-enters wheeling something toward his bed. It's a charcoal barbecue, the kind you use in summer for cooking hamburgers. She holds several items in her arms: a box of Diamond Blue Tip wooden matches, a can of lighter fluid. And most noticeably, Paul's manuscript.

CUT TO:

ANNIE AND PAUL. He watches, mute, as she takes off the grill, puts the manuscript into the barbecue itself where the charcoal goes, spritzes it with lighter fluid. The grill is close enough to the bed for him to reach out and drop a match.

PAUL When I mentioned a snack, I was thinking more along the lines of a cheese and crackers kind of thing.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, looking at him.

ANNIE Paul, this is no time for jokes. You must rid the world of this filth.

She hands him the box of kitchen matches.

PAUL You want me to burn my book?

ANNIE (she nods) Yes.

PAUL You want me to burn my book?

ANNIE I know this may be difficult for you, but it's for the best.

PAUL This isn't difficult, my agent's made dozens of copies. There's gonna be an auction on this, and every publishing house in New York is reading it now. So if you want me to burn it, fine. You're not ridding the world of anything.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, watching him.

ANNIE (quietly) Then light the match, Paul.

PAUL No big deal.

ANNIE So you've indicated. Do it.

CUT TO:

THE MATCHES. PAUL'S HANDS are starting to tremble now. He can't do it.

ANNIE I know this is the only copy, Paul. When you were twenty-four you wrote your first book and you didn't make a copy, because you didn't think anybody would take it seriously. But they did. And ever since you've never made any copies because you're superstitious--it's why you always come back to the Silver Creek Lodge. You told that story to Merv Griffin eleven years ago.

PAUL You know, Annie, this book never would have survived without you. When it gets to new York, there will be a big auction, and whatever it brings we can split. (pause) God knows you're entitled to it.

ANNIE Oh, Paul. This isn't about money. It's about decency and purity. It's about God's values.

PAUL You're right. You're right. I don't know what I was thinking. I'll tell you what. It doesn't have to be published. Nobody ever has to see it. I'll just keep it for myself. No one will ever have to know it exists.

ANNIE As long as it does exist, your mind won't ever be free. I think you should light the match, Paul.

There is a long silence. PAUL doesn't move.

ANNIE Can't you see it's what God wants?

She's holding the can of lighter fluid in her hand as she speaks and absentmindedly flicks a few drops of the fluid on the bed.

ANNIE You're so brilliant. I would think you'd certainly be able to see that. (More drops fall on the bed) We're put on this earth to help people, Paul. Like I'm trying to help you.

PAUL watches as the fluid continues to drop on the bed.

ANNIE Please let me help you.

CUT TO:

PAUL. His hands shaking. Almost robot-like, he strikes one. It flames.

ANNIE You're doing the right thing, Paul.

CUT TO:

THE BARBECUE, as Paul's hand appears, drops the match on the fluid-soaked manuscript. For a moment--nothing--

--and then, KABOOM, the goddamn thing practically explodes and

CUT TO:

PAUL, staring, dazed, and as the flames leap higher,

CUT TO:

ANNIE, suddenly scared and startled at the heat and the size of the flames and the full baking heat and

ANNIE (crying out) Goodness!

CUT TO:

THE BARBECUE. The sound is LOUDER as the flames leap up and now charred bits of paper begin floating upward and

CUT TO:

ANNIE, watching, as more bits of paper rise.

ANNIE Goodness--Goodness--Oh, my gracious--

And she starts trying to catch them.

CUT TO:

A PIECE OF BURNING PAPER in midair, floating against the gauzy curtain, and for a moment it looks like the curtain will catch fire and

CUT TO:

ANNIE, panicked, racing out of the room, going "Goodness, heavens to Betsy"--

CUT TO:

THE BARBECUE, and what's left of the book.

CUT TO:

PAUL, and he cannot take his eyes off the disaster.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, hurrying back in, carrying a big bucket, slopping water as she lifts the bucket.

CUT TO:

THE LAST of the manuscript as the bucket of water is tossed onto it--there's hissing and steam and as the steam clears it all looks now like a log in a brackish pond.

ANNIE Well, isn't that an oogy mess?

As she starts to wheel the barbecue out, suddenly there is a new and different sound as we

CUT TO:

PAUL, head turning toward the window.

CUT TO:

ANNIE taking a step toward the window, stopping for a moment. The sound we're hearing is a motor. A HELICOPTER MOTOR. And it's getting louder. Annie goes to the window now, looks toward the sky as we

CUT TO:

A HELICOPTER flying along.

CUT TO:

INSIDE THE HELICOPTER

BUSTER and a PILOT are in the machine. Buster has a pair of binoculars looped around his neck, a map rumpled in his lap.

BUSTER (pointing out) That's the Steadman place up there. (The pilot nods. Buster points again) The only other place up here is the Wilkes farm.

Another nod. The PILOT points down. BUSTER stares through the binoculars.

WHAT HE SEES: ANNIE'S JEEP parked in front of her house.

CUT TO:

INSIDE THE HELICOPTER

BUSTER That's no '65 Mustang. There's nothing else out this way--circle on back.

As the pilot starts to change direction

CUT TO:

ANNIE at the window, watching, as the helicopter turns, starts off.

CUT TO:

PAUL, listening as the MOTOR sound recedes.

CUT TO:

ANNIE, staring out the window.

ANNIE I do believe the winters are getting shorter and shorter every year. People say it has something to do with the ozone layer. What do you think?

PAUL I don't know.

ANNIE Yeah, well, it's a theory. Here's your Novril. (she wheels the barbecue to the door; stops) How does tuna casserole sound for dinner?

PAUL Great.

She exits. PAUL takes the two Novril, stares at them, then deliberately tucks them under his mattress.

DISSOLVE TO:

PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.

As PAUL is finishing the last of his tuna casserole. There are two Novrils on his tray. We hear strains of TV GAME SHOW THEME MUSIC. These sounds are not surprising. Paul has heard them before.

CUT TO:

ANNIE'S ROOM. NIGHT.

It is much smaller than Paul's and filled with religious bric-a-brac, pictures of Paul Sheldon, and a TV on a portable stand. Annie lies in bed, with an open bag of Cheetos resting on her stomach and a big quart-sized plastic bottle of Coke on the nightstand. As she munches away, she is heavily engrossed in her favorite TV show, "The Love Connection." As Chuck Woolery extracts the embarrassing details of a couple's romantic interlude, we

CUT TO:

Paul faintly hearing the sounds of the TV. He has now finished eating. He takes the two Novril from under the mattress. He then undoes the sheet, takes his fork and delicately pokes a hole in the mattress, then stuffs all four pills back into the hole.

DISSOLVE TO:

FARMHOUSE

Coming up to dawn.

CUT TO:

PAUL'S DOOR slowly opening.

CUT TO:

PAUL, staring at the door.

CUT TO:

WHEELS, seen from underneath the bed, being rolled around the foot of the bed. We realize PAUL is in a wheelchair with ANNIE pushing him.

ANNIE See, isn't this nice?

PAUL Great. I've always wanted to visit the other side of the room.

ANNIE And look what I've got for you. An electric razor so you can shave yourself now.

PAUL If I knew this was gonna be the surprise, you could've gotten me to burn all my books.

ANNIE (She hands him some Novril) Now don't josh. This is a very big day for you, Paul. Here. You just sit tight, and I'll set everything up.

ANNIE exits.

CUT TO:

PAUL, quickly shoving the Novril into the mattress.

PAUL Set what up?

ANNIE That's the big surprise. Your new studio--after all, writers do need a place to work.

PAUL Work? You mean write? What in the world do you think I'd write?

ANNIE Oh, but Paul! (flushed) I don't think, I know! Now that you've gotten rid of that nasty manuscript, you can go back to doing what you're great at-- (beat) --you're going to write a new novel-- your greatest achievement ever-- Misery's Return.

CUT TO:

PAUL. Stunned.

PAUL (after a beat) Misery's Return?

ANNIE I know you didn't mean it when you killed her, and now you'll make it right.

CUT TO:

ANNIE: CLOSE UP. In an almost religious fervor.

ANNIE Yes. It will be a book in my honor. For saving your life and nursing you back to health. I'll be the first one to read it. (beat) Oh, Paul, you're going to make me the envy of the whole world...

CUT TO:

PAUL

PAUL You just expect me to whip something off, that it?

ANNIE (nods) I expect nothing less than your masterpiece.

PAUL You do understand that this isn't the ordinary way books get written-- I mean, some people might actually consider this an oddball situation.

She rolls him over to a table she has set up by the window.

ANNIE I have total confidence in your brilliance--besides, the view will inspire you.

CUT TO:

THE WINDOW, as the wheelchair approaches it.

The sky is innocent of clouds. There's a green forest climbing the flank of the nearest mountain. A plot of open ground between the house and the mountain. A neat red barn where the livestock stay. A Jeep Cherokee, maybe five years old. A Fisher plow. And no neighbors in sight. This is a desolate place.

ANNIE You just inhale that. I'll be right back.

CUT TO:

PAUL, staring out the window.

PAUL (calling out) I guess you don't get bothered by neighbors much.

ANNIE Don't worry about that. You'll have total solitude so you can concentrate on your work.

PAUL Great.

CUT TO:

ANNIE in the doorway, carrying reams of typing paper, pencils, pens and sharpener.

CUT TO:

PAUL, watching her--it's all kind of amazing. She hands him a box of typing paper.

ANNIE I got you this expensive paper to type on.

CUT TO:

PAUL, looking at the paper. It's Corrasable Bond. An idea hits him; he masks it as best he can.

ANNIE (putting the rest of the paper on the table) And I got a great deal on this fifty- pound clunker--on account of it's missing an "n." I told the saleslady "n" was one of the letters in my favorite writer's name.

PAUL It's two of the letters in my favorite nurse's name, Annie.

ANNIE (embarrassed, blushing) You--fooler...! (turns, grabs up pens, pencils, paper) Did I do good?

PAUL (gesturing to the box of paper) You did great, except there's just one little thing--I can't work with this paper. It's Corrasable Bond, it smudges. Maybe you could go back into town and bring me some white, long-grained mimeo.

ANNIE But mine cost the most so I don't see how it could smudge.

PAUL (quickly taking a sheet of paper, making a pencil mark on it) C'mere, I'll show you.

As she approaches, he rubs his thumb over the pencil mark.

ANNIE (looking at it) Well, it does smudge after all--isn't that fascinating?

PAUL I thought you'd be interested. I'd like you to be in on everything, Annie. Not just the finished book, but how it's written.

ANNIE Thank you for thinking of me. (She can be so charming when she wants) Anything else I can get while I'm in town? Any other crucial requirements that need satisfying? Would you like a tiny tape recorder? Or maybe a handmade set of writing slippers?

PAUL No, just the paper will be fine.

ANNIE (suddenly very agitated) Are you sure? 'Cause if you want, I'll bring back the whole store for you.

PAUL Annie, what's the matter?

ANNIE What's the matter? I'll tell you what's the matter. I go out of my way for you. I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you. And what thanks do I get? "You bought the wrong paper, Annie. I can't write on this paper, Annie." Well, I'll get your stupid paper, but you just better start showing me a little more appreciation around here, Mister Man.

With that, she throws the ream of paper in PAUL'S LAP, causing considerable pain.

CUT TO:

THE DOOR as she slams it shut, locks it, stomps off and

CUT TO:

THE WINDOW. Annie, in a parka, can be seen storming out in the direction where her Cherokee was parked. She gets in and drives off.

CUT TO:

PAUL. He heaves a sigh, reaches out toward his tortured knees, then drops his head. He sees something.

CUT TO:

BOBBY PIN on the floor.

CUT TO:

PAUL, as he moves toward the bobby pin. Or tries to. It's brutally hard for him. The chair moves half a foot. Stops. Paul strains again. Another half foot. Another.

CUT TO:

The BOBBY PIN. The wheelchair is beside it now. PAUL reaches down for it. Can't make it. Tries again. Can't. He takes a deep breath, forces himself to bend, ignoring the pain. The bobby pin is in his hands.

CUT TO:

PAUL, inserting the bobby pin into the keyhole, beginning to jimmy the lock.

CUT TO:

THE LOCK--it makes a SOUND--something has caught.

CUT TO:

PAUL, excited, trying to force the bobby pin and he's doing great--until it slips from his hands, falls to the floor again.

PAUL (furious) Shit...

CUT TO:

THE BOBBY PIN. Paul reaches for it. The pain has him. He reaches again, involuntarily cries out. But he grabs it, clutches it tight.

CUT TO:

THE KEYHOLE. Paul is trying to jimmy the lock a second time.

No luck.

CUT TO:

PAUL. In wild frustration.

PAUL You've written how to do this--now do it!

CUT TO:

THE KEYHOLE. There is a loud CLICKING sound.

CUT TO:

THE DOOR as Paul turns the knob. The door opens a crack.

PAUL (amazed) What do you know, it actually works.

CUT TO:

PAUL, trying to get out of the room--but it's a bitch because in order to get to the lock he had to move the wheelchair up to the door and in order to get out, he's got to maneuver it out of the way of the door and every turn of the chair's wheels is an effort for him. He works at it and works at it, but his energy is failing him. He's pale, perspiring. Finally he succeeds, barely forces his way into the hall.

CUT TO:

PAUL, in the hallway outside. He looks around for a phone. Doesn't see one. He wheels himself over to the front door, tries it. It's locked from the outside.

PAUL What a surprise.

He looks off into the living room, and...

CUT TO:

THE TELEPHONE

CUT TO:

PAUL, wheeling into the living room. Dark red predominates. It's a musty room. Over the mantel, a photograph of a six- year-old ANNIE, with her mother and father in front of the family car--a new 1952 Buick. These were happier times.

The windows have bars on them.

As PAUL begins to wheel as fast as he can toward the phone--

CUT TO:

THE PHONE as PAUL at last grabs for it, gets it, punches the "operator" button--

PAUL Operator... (nothing) ...OPERATOR... (wildly frustrated) ...Shit!

He shakes the phone. It's terribly light. He picks it up, turns it over--it's hollow, just a shell of a telephone. He stares at it for a long moment, shaking his head, the disappointment plain.

PAUL You crazy bitch...

He puts the phone back on the table.

CUT TO:

THE GENERAL STORE. DAY.

Annie exits the store, carrying new paper, hops into her Cherokee and drives off.

CUT TO:

THE STUDY, as PAUL enters. He looks around.

It's stuffed with heavy, graceless furniture as well as lots of coffee tables covered with knickknacks. As he, with effort, wheels across it--

CUT TO:

A shelf of BOOKS. PAUL SHELDON books. EVERY Paul Sheldon book.

CUT TO:

PAUL, pausing, looking at her collection. The only book on the shelf that isn't his is a large scrapbook. The title on the back reads "My Life."

He glances back at the shelf as he forces his wheelchair across the study, and we

CUT TO:

A SMALL TABLE with little ceramic doodads on top. The wheelchair his it, one of the doodads topples--it's a penguin, fragile looking, and as it's about to fall to the floor and shatter--

CUT TO:

PAUL, grabbing for it, catching it, putting it back where it was. He continues his slow way across the room and

CUT TO:

THE HALLWAY.

Out in the hallway, on his way toward the kitchen, PAUL notices a door to his right. He wheels over and surprisingly it opens. However, this is not a door to the outside of the house, only a storage pantry. He looks around--nothing but canned goods, potato chips, cereals and large plastic Coke containers, etc. Just as he is about to close the door, he notices an open cardboard box. He opens the flap and sees all kinds of prescription drugs. Among them are a couple of strips of Novril encapsulated in blisters. He grabs them and stuffs them into his sweatpants. Now he closes the pantry door and heads to the kitchen.

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/ Misery.
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