Movie Date: December 18, 1998

[KEYBOARD CLACKlNG] [BEEPlNG] FRANK: Amazing. This is amazing! Listen to this: The entire work force of Virginia... ...had Solitaire removed from their computers... ...because they hadn't done any work in six weeks. -That's so sad. -Do you know what this is? What we're seeing here is the end of Western civilization as we know it. Oh. Hey, aren't you late? Technology. Name me one thing that we've gained from technology. KATHLEEN: Electricity. That's one. You think this machine's your friend, but it's not. -l'm out of here. -See you tonight. -Sushi! -Sushi! Bye! [DOOR CLOSES] [COMPUTER DlALING AND BEEPING] MALE AOL VOlCE: Welcome. You've got mail. "Brinkley is my dog. He loves the streets of New York as much as I do." JOE: Although he likes to eat pizza and bagel off the sidewalk... ...and I prefer to buy them. Brinkley is a great catcher who was offered a tryout on the Mets. But he chose to stay with me so he could spend 1 8 hours a day... ...sleeping on a large green pillow the size of an inner tube. Don't you love New York in the fall? Makes me want to buy school supplies. PATRlClA: I'm almost ready. JOE: I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils... ...if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. PATRlClA: Did you push it? -Yeah. Yes, l pushed it. I'm so late. Random House fired Dick Atkins. Good riddance. Murray Chilton died. That's one less person I'm not speaking to. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Uch! Vince got a great review. He'll be insufferable. Tonight, PEN dinner. -Am I going? -Joe Fox, you promised. It's black-tie. -Ohh.... -Can't l just give money instead? What is it this week? "Free Albanian writers"? I'm in favor of that. PATRlClA: Ohh. Ohh. Okay, l'll go. l'll go. You're late. I know, I know. [DOOR CLOSES] [ELEVATOR BELL DINGS] MAN: Good morning, Miss Eden. [COMPUTER DlALING AND BEEPING] Who's a happy dog? Who's a happy dog? MALE AOL VOlCE: Welcome. -Welcome. -You've got mail. -You've got mail. All right. Okay. Get down, get down. KATHLEEN: Dear friend: I like to start my notes to you... if we're already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're the oldest and dearest friends... opposed to what we actually are: People who don't know each other's names... ...and met in a chat room where we both claimed we'd never been before. "What will NY1 52 say today?" I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online... ...and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: "You've got mail." I hear nothing, not even a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart. I have mail... ...from you. KEVIN: The electrical contractor called, his truck hit a deer last night. So he's not gonna be here till tomorrow. And upstairs, the shelves are late... ...because the pine we ordered has beetles. JOE: Very good, very good. And we got a $50,000 ticket for construction workers peeing off the roof. Great. That is great. Is the electrician here? I just told you he hit a deer. I knew you weren't listening to me. You're right. l wasn't. "I hear nothing. Not a sound on the city streets, just the beat of my own heart." I think that's how it goes. Something like that. You and Patricia got engaged, didn't you? You can tell me. -Engaged? KEVlN: Come on. Are you crazy? I thought you liked Patricia. I do. l do. l love Patricia. I love Patricia. Patricia is-- Patricia's amazing. She makes coffee nervous. We should announce ourselves to the neighborhood. Let them know, here we come. This is the Upper West Side. We might as well tell them we're opening a crack house. They're going to hate us. They're gonna be lining up.... BOTH: To picket the big, bad chain store.... That's out to destroy-- Everything they hold dear. We're going to seduce them with our square footage... ...and our discounts and our deep armchairs.... BOTH: And our cappuccino. They're going to hate us at the beginning.... BOTH: But we'll get them in the end. -And you know why? -Why? Because we're gonna sell them cheap books and legal addictive stimulants. In the meantime, we'll just put up a big sign: "Coming soon, a Fox Books Superstore. The end of civilization... you know it." KATHLEEN: Good morning, Christina. CHRISTINA: Morning, Kathleen. KATHLEEN: It's a beautiful day. Isn't it just the most beautiful day? CHRISTINA: I guess. Yeah, sure. [HORN HONKlNG] [TlRES SCREECHING] DRIVER 1 : Idiot, what are you doing? DRIVER 2: I got the green light! Don't you just love New York in the fall? Perfect. Mm. Can't beat that. Scotch tape? What is going on with you? Nothing. -You're in love. -ln love? No. Oh, yes, that's right! I'm in love with Frank. I'm practically living with Frank. Hmm. Do you think you could get our Christmas mailers out this week? Yeah, by Monday, I promise. I have this paper due Friday. What is going on? Nothing, nothing. Nothing at all. You know, I am just going to stand here until you tell me. All right. Is it infidelity if you're involved with someone on e-mail? Have you had sex? No, I don't even know him. -l mean cybersex. -No. Well, don't do it. The minute you do, they lose all respect for you. Well, it's not like that. We just e-mail. lt's really nothing. On top of which, I'm thinking of stopping because it's getting.... Out of hand? Confusing. But not. Because it's nothing. Where'd you meet him? Listen, l can't even remember. On my birthday, l wandered into the "over 30" room for a joke, sort of. And he was there. And we started chatting. About what? Books and music, how much we both love New York.... Harmless, harmless. Meaningless. Bouquets of sharpened pencils. Oh. Excuse me? Forget it. We don't talk about anything personal, so l don't know his name... ...or what he does or where he lives exactly... it'll be easy for me to stop seeing him, because l'm not. He could be the next person to walk into the store. -l know. CHRISTINA: He could be... [DOOR BELL DlNGS] [WHlSPERS] ...George. Morning. Are you online? GEORGE: As far as l'm concerned... ...the lnternet is just another way of being rejected by a woman. [DOOR BELL DlNGS] Good morning. Good morning, Birdie. What are you girls talking about? Cybersex. I tried to have cybersex once, but I kept getting a busy signal. I know. I was really depressed one Saturday night about 9:00-- BlRDIE: Time to open up! [PHONE RlNGING] Jessica and Maya, how are you today? MOTHER: Want to say hi to Kathleen? MAYA: Hi, Kathleen. GEORGE: Good morning, Shop Around the Corner. George speaking. May I help you? Construction's going well. We should open on time. Although Kevin and l are concerned about the neighborhood response. This fabric on the couch, what is it? Does it have a name? NELSON: Money. JOE: Huh? -lts name is "Money." JOE: Oh. -Gillian selected it. -Good guess. -Your father's getting married again. -Really? -Congratulations! -Thank you. -Why? -Who knows? -Love? -Possible. I think you're a damn fool. NELSON: Pops, Matthew is 4 years old, okay? It'd be nice if his parents were married. Listen, l have a sad announcement to make. City Books, on 23rd Street? It's going under. [IMITATING GUN SHOOTlNG] Aw. Another independent bites the dust. On to the next! Going to buy out their entire inventory of architecture... ...and New York history for the new store. How much, son? How much you paying? JOE: Whatever it costs, it won't be as much... that uncomfortable mohair episode there... ...which is now all over my suit. Here you go. Thanks. We'll also have a section dedicated to writers who've lived on the West Side. SCHUYLER: As a sop to the neighborhood. Perfect. Keep those West Side, liberal nuts, pseudo-intellectual-- Readers, Dad. They're called readers. Don't do that, son. Don't romanticize them. It'll keep them from jumping down your throat. SCHUYLER: What's the competition? One mystery store, Sleuth, at 78th and Amsterdam... ...and a children's bookstore, Shop Around the Corner. -lt's been there forever. -Cecilia's store. Who's that? Cecilia Kelly. Lovely woman. I think we might have had a date once. Or maybe we just exchanged letters. You wrote her letters? Mail. lt was called mail. NELSON: Stamps, envelopes-- -l've heard of it. Cecilia had beautiful penmanship. She was too young for me... ...but she was enchanting. -Enchanting? -Her daughter owns it now. Huh. Too bad for her. [KNOCKS AND DOOR OPENS] Ah. MAN: Excuse me, Mr. Fox. -Yeah. JOE: My father is getting married again. For five years, he's been living with a woman named Gillian... ...who studied decorating at Caesar's Palace. Is it porcelain? Rubber. KATHLEEN: Once l read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today... ...I saw one. It got on at 42nd and off at 59th where... ...I assume it went to Bloomingdale's... buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake. As almost all hats are. JOE: Listen to this: Every night a truck pulls up to my neighborhood bagel place... ...and pumps about a ton of flour into underground tanks. The air is filled with white dust which never seems to land. Why is that? KATHLEEN: Confession: I've read Pride and Prejudice about 200 times. I get lost in the language. Words like: "Thither." "Mischance." "Felicity." I'm always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy... ...are really going to get together. Read it. I know you'll love it. JOE: The purpose of places like Starbucks... for people with no decision-making ability... make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark... ...caf, decaf... ...low-fat, nonfat... cetera. Mocha frappuccino grande. JOE: So people who don't know what the hell they're doing... ...or who on earth they are can, for only 2.95... ...get not just a cup of coffee... ...but an absolutely defining sense of self. EMPLOYEE: Tall, skim, caramel macchiato. JOE: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino! Tall, decaf cappuccino. GEORGE: Bummer! A Fox Books superstore. Quel nightmare. It has nothing to do with us. It's big, impersonal... ...overstocked and full of ignorant salespeople. But they discount. But they don't provide any service. We do. KATHLEEN: So really...'s a good development. You know how in the flower district there are all those shops... you can find whatever you want? This is going to be the book district. If they don't have it, we do. And vice versa. Absolutely. FRANK: When you are finished with Fox Books... ...The Shop Around the Corner is gonna be responsible... ...for reversing the entire course of the lndustrial Revolution. Well, now, that is so sweet. Frank! Thank you. That is so sweet. -Although l-- -What? Wait a minute. What is that doing here? Oh! Oh, my gosh! This is amazing. Listen. The Olympia Report Deluxe electric. Report. As in gunshot. -That sound is familiar. -Listen to this. What, that whirring? The gentle, soothing lullaby... ...of a piece of machinery so perfect-- I know where I've heard that before, Frank. I needed a backup. Don't you have another one at your apartment? -l might. -That you wrote a column about? Yes. Who cares? What were you gonna say? -When? -Before. -Nothing. -Come on. Well, l'm just wondering. I'm wondering about my work. l'm just-- What is it that l do, exactly? All I really do is-- FRANK: All you really do... this incredibly noble thing. -l don't know. Really, l'm just-- -Kathleen! You are a lone reed. You are a lone... ...reed... ...standing... ...tall... ...waving boldly... the corrupt sands... ...of commerce. -l am a lone reed. -Lone reed. I am a lone reed. KATHLEEN: Sometimes l wonder about my life. l lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes l wonder... I do it because l like it... ...or because l haven't been brave? So much of what l see reminds me of something l read in a book... ...when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't want an answer. I just want... send this cosmic question out into the void. So... ...good night, dear void. [WHlSTLlNG] ANNABEL: Hey, Joe! MATTHEW: Hello, Joe. JOE: Hey! I know you! I know you. Hello, Annabel, little girl. ANNABEL: Hi. -How are you? And you! -Matthew, how are you? MATTHEW: Good. Good. Ready to say hello to New Jersey? ALL: Hello, New Jersey! Don't l get a hello? Hello, Gillian. Kiss me. l'm gonna be your wicked stepmother. There you go. Hello. And who is this? Nanny Maureen. l brought her in case you couldn't handle the kids. Maureen's getting a divorce. Oh. l'm sorry to hear that. It's my own fault. Never marry a man who lies. [GlGGLES] That is so wise. Annabel, remember that. She taught Matt to spell his name. Really? -Let's hear it. -F-O-X. Excellent! Excellent. I've got this covered. You can have the day off. And you must be late for something. Volunteering, rolling bandages... ...for Bosnian refugees. I am. l'm having my eggs harvested. And getting those eggs harvested. Don't worry! See you later. -Bye, Maureen! Bye, Gillian! -Bye! MATTHEW: Bye, Mom. All right, you guys, are you ready to go out on the boat? -No! -No! What happened to you? What happened? Come on, one more time. Here, you can do that one. Hey! What do we win? Look, look, look! -Oh! -Yay! ANNABEL: How are the fish doing? -Very well, l think they're very happy. -Are they? -Yes. You guys want to go to a movie? ANNABEL: No, there's nothing good playing. Look! A storybook lady. Are we at the right time? Yeah, let's go. "That it was I and l alone... ...who had the idea for the great and daring mouse plot. We all have our moments of brilliance and glory... ...and this was mine. 'Why don't we,' I said... ...'slip it into one of Mrs. Pratchett's jars of sweets? And then... ...when she puts her dirty hand in to grab a handful... ...she will grab a stinky dead mouse instead.' The other four stared at me in wonder. Then, as the sheer genius of the plot began to sink in... ...they all started grinning. They slapped me on the back, cheered me and danced around the classroom. 'We will do it today!' they cried. 'We'll do it on the way home. You had the idea,' they said to me. 'So you can be the one who puts the mouse in the jar."' GEORGE: Uh, who belongs to this fish? -That's mine. Could you give me a hand with these used books? And this is her best friend Tacy, whose real name is Anastasia. And the next book, Betsy and Tacy become friends with Tib... ...whose real name, l am sorry to tell you, is Thelma. ANNABEL: Ew. The illustrations are hand-tipped. And that's why it costs so much? That's why it's worth so much. ANNABEL: I want all of them. Uh, I'll think about it. KATHLEEN: That's a lot for your dad to buy at one time. My dad gets me all the books I want. That's very nice of him. That's not my dad. That's my nephew. I don't really think that he could be your nephew. No, no, no. It's true. Annabel is my aunt. Isn't that right, Aunt Annabel? -Uh-huh. And Matt is his-- -Wait, let me guess. Are you his uncle? No. His grandfather? His great-grandfather? I'm his brother! Matt is my father's son. Annabel is my grandfather's daughter. We are... American family. [ANNABEL SNEEZES] Here you go, young lady. ANNABEL: What's that? -That's a handkerchief. Do children even know what handkerchiefs are? A handkerchief is a Kleenex that you don't throw away. See? My mother embroidered this for me. My initials and a daisy, because daisies are my favorite flower. May I ask who you are? Kathleen Kelly. l own this store. And you are? Joe. Just call me Joe. We'll take these books. GEORGE: Okay. You're gonna come back, aren't you? -Of course. GEORGE: See? That is why we won't go under. Our customers are loyal. They're opening a Fox Books around the corner. -Fox Books! My daddy-- -Likes to buy discount. But don't tell anybody. It's nothing to be proud of. F-O-X. That's amazing! You can spell "fox." Can you spell "dog"? F-O-X. Look at this dinosaur book. It's a pop-up dinosaur book. Wouldn't you like to have a dinosaur book like that? Wouldn't you like to read that? Sit here and read Matt the book until I take care of things. Whatever you do, just don't listen to anything I say. Thank you. We'll take that pop-up book as well. The world is not driven by discounts. I've been in business forever. I started helping my mother when I was 6, and l used to watch her. She wasn't just selling books. She was helping people become whatever they were going to be. When you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity... a way that no other reading in your life does. And l have gotten carried away. Yeah. Yeah, you have. You've made me feel.... Enchanting. Your mother was enchanting. Yes, she was. -How will you be paying for this? -Cash. How did you know that? From the photograph. That you in the photograph? What are you doing? Twirling. My mother and I used to twirl. She left the store to me, and l'll leave it to my daughter. GEORGE: Seventy-three dollars, please. -How much? Uh, 73 dollars. Oh. Uh.... How old is your daughter now? I don't have a daughter. Oh! I'm not married. But eventually.... So the big, bad Fox Books can just go to hell. -Here you go. -Thank you. Hey, we're ready? -That's nice. ANNABEL: Bye, Kathleen. Goodbye, Annabel. Goodbye, Matt. Oh, Matt, l have to ask you another thing. Can you spell cat? F-O-X. [JOE CHUCKLES] Cat. Thanks. Good thing it wasn't the fish. [KATHLEEN LAUGHS] JOE: Take care! JOE: No protests, no demonstrations. KEVlN: The neighborhood loves us. NELSON: They're wondering where we've been all these years... they did without us. It's a hit! How's the children's department? It's early. School's not out. And there is that children's store nearby. Shop Around the Corner. SCHUYLER: Cecilia's store. Cecilia Kelly. We might have had a date once. JOE: Her daughter owns it now. NELSON: We'll crush it. SCHUYLER: She was enchanting. BlRDIE: They've been open six days. And we did $1200 less than the same week last year. That could be a fluke, right? Or not. Their store is new. lt's a novelty. It'll all shake out. Meanwhile, I'm putting up more twinkle lights. That's a fine idea. What if we have to fold? I'll never find another part-time job. Then l won't be able to pay my rent, and l'll have to move. To Brooklyn! GEORGE: Ah, the joy of rent control. Six rooms... ...450 a month. We know. You've told us a million times. I can't believe you're bringing this up at a time like this. It's like those people who brag because they're tall. We are not going to fold. Hey, I-- This place is a tomb. I'm going to the nut shop where it's fun. George? Miranda! Hi! Hi! Kathleen, are you surviving? We're so excited about your new book. When should we schedule a signing? It's being published in January. Will you be in business in January? I'm so worried. We're doing great. Aren't we? BlRDIE: No difference whatsoever! Great. Thank God! You can count on me for anything. Support, rallies, picket lines. We can get the Times to write something. Or that nut from the Observer. What--? -What nut in the Observer? MlRANDA: Frank something-or-other. The one who's in love with his typewriter. This is just the sort of thing that would outrage him. FRANK: A nut? She called me a nut? KATHLEEN: That's not the point. She thinks my store is in trouble. Why would she say that? There's enough business for us all. FRANK: Yes, there is. No question. -We are fine. You're more than fine. You're absolutely fine. -We are fine. -Yes. How are you? -Fine. -Fine. Vince will be so happy to see you. FRANK: Congratulations. Guess who I saw on the subway today? [SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY] PATRlClA: This is amazing. He said: "You should go to a retreat. You really should go to a retreat." Honey, will you get me another drink? l'm all out. "It's a really great place... calm down." He said that to me. lsn't that hilarious? Champagne, please. Stoli on the rocks. But a fresh glass, please. White wine, please. BARTENDER: Here you go. -Thank you. Oh, hello. -Hi. -Hi. Do you remember me, from the bookstore? Of course I remember you. Yes. How's your aunt? She's great. Thanks. I'd better go deliver this. I have a very thirsty date. She's part camel. Joe, right? Joe, isn't it? And you are Kathleen. Kathleen Kelly. Two white wine, please. I cannot believe that you were speaking to Joe Fox. -Joe Fox? -Joe Fox. -As in-- -As in... ...he's gonna take over everything. Fox? Your last name is Fox. F-O-X. God! I didn't realize-- I didn't know-- Who you were with? [IN DEEP VOlCE] I didn't know who you were with. Excuse me? [IN NORMAL VOICE] It's from The Godfather. Sorry, it's from The Godfather. It's when the movie producer realizes that Tom Hagen... an emissary of Vito Corleone. Just before the horse's head ends up in the bed... ...with all the bloody sheets. Wakes up and it's: Aah! Aah! Aahh! Never mind. You were spying on me, weren't you? You probably rented those children. Why would l spy on you? Because I am your competition, which you know... ...or you wouldn't have put up the sign: "Just around the corner." Our store entrance is around the corner. There's no other way to say it. It's not the name of our store. It's where it is. And you do not own the phrase "around the corner." KATHLEEN: What is that? What are you doing? What is that? What are you doing? You're taking all the caviar? That caviar is a garnish. The reason l came into your store... because l was spending the day with Annabel and Matt. I was buying them presents. I'm the type of guy who likes to buy his way into the hearts of children... ...who are his relatives. There was only one place to find a children's book in the neighborhood. That won't always be the case. And it was yours. And it is... ...a charming little bookstore. You probably sell, what, $350,000 worth of books in a year? How did you know that? I'm in the book business. I am in the book business. JOE: I see. And we are the Price Club. Only instead of a 1 0-gallon vat of olive oil for 3.99... ...that won't even fit under your kitchen cabinet, we sell cheap books. Me, a spy? Absolutely. I have in my possession the secret printout of the sales figures... ...of a bookstore so inconsequential, yet full of its own virtue... ...that l had to rush over for fear it will put me out of business. What? What? Hey. How you doing? Frank Navasky. Joe Fox. -Joe Fox? -F-O-X. The inventor of the superstore. Of course. The enemy of the mid-list novel. The destroyer of City Books. Tell me something, really. How do you sleep at night? I use a wonderful over-the-counter drug: Ultra-dorm. Don't take the whole thing, just half. You'll wake up without even the tiniest hangover. -You're Frank Navasky, aren't you? -Yes. Leaving. PATRlClA: Your last piece in the Observer... ...about Anthony Powell was brilliant. -Really? -Brilliant. Yes. I'm Patricia Eden. Hi. Eden Books. Joe, this man is the greatest living expert... ...on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. FRANK: You really liked my--? This is Kathleen Kelly. My piece? l just-- You know? l'm flattered. You write these things. You think somebody'll mention them. A week goes by, the phone doesn't ring and you think: "I'm a fraud. l'm a failure or something." You know what fascinated me about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? Is how old they looked, when they were really just our age. You know? Oh, wow, l'm so happy to have finally met you. We will talk. Have you ever thought about doing a book? It's crossed my mind, something relevant for today... the Luddite movement in Call me. JOE: Hon, have you ever had a caviar garnish? I had no idea Frank Navasky... ...was going to be so down-to-earth. You read his stuff... think he's going to be so obscure and abstruse. He's always talking about Heidegger... ...and Foucault. And l have no idea what any of it's about, really. [PATRlCIA GROANS] JOE: I'm not tired. l'm not. [PATRlCIA SNORlNG] [KEYBOARD CLACKlNG] JOE: Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's box of all the secret, hateful parts... ...your arrogance, your spite... ...your condescension... ...has sprung open? Someone provokes you, and instead of smiling... ...and moving on, you zing them? "Hello, it's Mr. Nasty." I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about. KATHLEEN: No, I know what you mean, and I'm completely jealous. What happens to me when I'm provoked is that l get tongue-tied. My mind goes-- Blank. Then l spend all night tossing and turning... ...trying to figure out what I should've said. What should I have said, for example, to the.... Bottom-dweller... ...who recently belittled my existence? Nothing. Nothing. Even now. Even now-- Days later.... --l can't figure it out. JOE: Wouldn't it be wonderful if l could pass all my zingers to you? Then I'd never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time. And we'd both be happy. On the other hand, l must warn you: When you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say... the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows. Do you think we should meet? Meet? Oh, my God.... Seventy-two twenty-seven. This is a cash-only line. -What? -Cash only. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I just have a credit card. I'm sorry. Is that okay? MAN: No, it's not okay. There's a sign. I'm sorry. I'm very sorry. I never do this, but I'm asking you to make an exception in this one case. MAN: You have no cash? -She has no cash. -No, she has no cash. Get on another line, lady. I have a dollar. That's all. I have a dollar. One dollar. -ls there anything you can do? -Hello. -Hello. -Hi. You need some money? No, I do not need any money. Thank you very much. CASHlER: Get in another line. -Hi. Rose. That is a great name. Rose. This is Kathleen. I'm Joe-- And l'm Henry. Henry, how are you? Happy holidays. This is a credit card machine. Happy Thanksgiving. It's your turn to say "Happy Thanksgiving" back. Happy Thanksgiving back. Knock, knock. -Who's there? JOE: Orange. Orange who? "Orange" you going to give us a break... zipping this credit card through the credit card machine? Come on, you can do it. Zip, zip. There you go. Rose? That is a great name. So you're fine. Fine. Happy Thanksgiving. Henry, happy Thanksgiving. I'm so sorry. Really. -l apologize from the bottom of my heart. HENRY: So sign already! -l'd like to get home for the parade. ROSE: You have my pen. [PIANO PLAYlNG] [SINGlNG "TOMORROW"] NELSON: Wonderful! ANNABEL: Thank you. [SINGlNG "THE ORCHESTRA SONG"] I got it. KATHLEEN: It's coming on Christmas They're cutting down trees Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? I wish I had a river I could skate away on Such a sad song. And not really about Christmas at all. But l was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree. Unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks... ...and missing my mother so much I almost couldn't breathe. I always miss my mother at Christmas. But somehow it is worse this year since l need some advice from her. I need her to make me some cocoa... ...and tell me that everything that's going badly in my life will sort itself out. JOE: What kind of advice do you need? Can l help? KATHLEEN: Can you help? I wish you could help. I wish.... [GASPS] JOE: I had a gut feeling you'd be online now. Hi. I can give you advice. I'm great at advice. Uh-oh. KATHLEEN: If only you could help. Hmm. JOE: ls it about love? Please say no. No. How cute is that? KATHLEEN: My business is in trouble. Huh. Well.... JOE: I'm a brilliant businessman. It's what l do best. What's your business? No. Mm-mm. KATHLEEN: No specifics. Remember? Okay. JOE: Well, minus specifics, it's hard to help except to say... ...go to the mattresses. "Except to say go to the matt--" What? What does that mean? JOE: It's from The Godfather. It means you have to go to war. What is it with men and The Godfather? Hello? Oh, come on. Hello? Well.... [IMITATING MARLON BRANDO] Well, what can I.... Michael-- JOE: The Godfather is the I Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." What day of the week is it? "Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday." The answer to your question is: "Go to the mattresses." You're at war. "It's not personal, it's business. It's not personal. lt's business." Recite that to yourself every time you feel you're losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave. Don't. This is your chance. Fight! Fight to the death! Fight to the death. It's not personal. It's business. Just fight! Fight, fight, fight! [DOOR CLOSES] FRANK: Hey. -Hey. I've been thinking. -Frank. -What? I've decided to go the mattresses. Do you think it would be a conflict of interest if you wrote about the store? -Yes. -Yes? No. So you'll do it? Yes. Yes. Do you know what it is to go to the mattresses? From The Godfather. [PHONE RlNGING] GEORGE: Good morning, Shop Around the Corner. George speaking, may I help you? CHRISTINA: Kathleen, the Channel 2 truck just pulled up. KATHLEEN: In a second. CHRISTINA: Everyone's read the article. BlRDIE: "So you do not have to look to the usual places... ...where good and evil face off... ...the places Herodotus called 'the happy land of absolutes.' We have the perfect example here on the West Side... ...where the cold cash cow, Fox Books... ...threatens survival of a temple... one of the twentieth century's most profound truths: BOTH: You are what you read." I believe that. BlRDIE: "Save The Shop Around the Corner... ...and you will save your soul." Frank, that's charming. Think it's a little over the top? GEORGE: That was The Village Voice. I told them to come over whenever. Oh, man. Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. [CHANTING] One, two, three, four! We don't want your superstore! Five, six, seven, eight! Go away and close the gate! One, two, three, four! "We don't want this superstore." -ls that what they're saying? -Catchy. -Well, who wrote that? NELSON: Annoying. Pissing me off, actually. KATHLEEN: Do you want the West Side... become one big, gigantic strip mall? CROWD: No! Do you want to get off the subway at 72nd and Broadway... ...and not even know you're in New York City? Can we save The Shop Around the Corner? CROWD: Yes! We're here in front of The Shop Around the Corner... ...the famous West Side children's bookstore... on the verge of having to close its doors... ...because the big bad wolf, Fox Books... ...has opened only a few hundred feet away... ...wooing customers with its sharp discounts and designer coffee. They have to have discounts and lattes... ...because their workers have never read a book. She's not as nice as she seems on TV. -You met her? -Yeah. Boy, she's a pill. Probably ain't as fine as she look on TV either. Oh, no, no. She's beautiful. But she's a pill. KEVlN: You don't feel bad... ...about sending her ass back to the projects with food stamps? Broke, single, white lady. It's not personal. -lt's business. -Yeah. Hey, here's a good-looking guy! I sell cheap books. I do. So sue me. REPORTER: And that, in a nutshell, is the Fox Books philosophy. That's what you said? REPORTER: Discount them and sell them. That's not all l said. I can't believe those bastards. I said we were great! I said you could read for hours and no one will bother you. I said we had 1 50,000 titles. I showed them the New York City section. I said we were a goddamn piazza. A place in this city where people could mingle. Piazza? I was eloquent! -Shit! -A piazza. It's inevitable. People want to turn her into Joan of Arc. And you into Attila the Hun. Not me personally, but the company, yeah. I have met Joe Fox. I've heard him compare his store to a Price Club... ...and the books in it to cans of olive oil. The bookstore, tell us about it. The Shop Around the Corner has a kind of Jeffersonian purity to it... ...that the city needs in order to maintain historical integrity. SlDNEY-ANN: Jeffersonian purity. That was nice. Thank you. Thank you. Sounded good. -Are you taping this? -Yeah, I'm taping this. Technologically speaking, the world's out of hand. Take the VCR. The whole idea behind the VCR is that it makes it possible... ...for you to tape what's on TV when you leave the house. The whole idea behind leaving the house... so you can miss what's on television. -l've heard you say that before. -She hasn't. SlDNEY-ANN: Absolutely. Right. FRANK: She gets it. Radio. There's a medium I can get behind. You gonna start collecting radios now? SlDNEY-ANN: We're on television. -You're good at it. -No, no, no. KATHLEEN: Frank. She's coming on to you. They do this on television. FRANK: The Shop Around the Corner...'s a true New York treasure. As are you. [FRANK LAUGHS] Honestly, I'd love to have you back. KATHLEEN: Is she sweating? She's touching herself. And she's sweating. Anytime. We can turn it off. Oh, my God. I just want to say that yours is the only show I watch. Oh, my God. No. I was being polite. -Thank you, Frank Navasky. -No, thank you're. "Thank you're"? l'm sorry. Thank you're? Thank you're, ladies and gentlemen. I slobbered all over her, didn't l? But l think that there's something there. GEORGE: So first, l gotta go get some eucalyptus candles... ...because it makes my apartment smell mossy. Then l'm going to the market, and l can't decide whether to get... ...sausage for the meat sauce, or chopped meat. Spare us. GEORGE: You know what? Clam sauce. Because this is a big date. [DOOR CLOSES] Don't tell me. Not the slightest difference? How can that be? All this publicity and not one bit of difference? Birdie, what am l going to do? What would Mom have done? Well, let's ask her. Cecilia, what should we do? -Birdie? -Shh. She has no idea. But she thinks the window display is lovely. -Good night, dearie. -Good night. KATHLEEN: I need help. Do you still want to meet me? JOE: I would love to meet you. Where? When? So l suppose she's carrying a copy of a book with a flower in it? Not really? She could be a real dog, man. I'm only staying 1 0 minutes. I'll say hello, have a cup of coffee and then l'll split. Hope she doesn't have a squeaky voice like the mice in Cinderella. Why am l doing this? Why am l compelled to meet her? Why? Relax. You're just taking it to the next level. I always do that. I always take a relationship to the next level. If that works out, I take it to the next level after that. Till l reach that level where it becomes absolutely necessary... ...for me to leave. Huh. I won't stay that long anyway. I already said that, didn't l? -Yes, you did. -Oh! JOE: Well, okay. Caf Lalo. This is it. Eight o'clock. We got here fast, didn't we? Kevin... ...this woman is the most adorable creature I've ever been in contact with. If she turns out even to be as good-looking as a mailbox... ...l'd be crazy not to turn my life upside down and marry her. She could be a real dog. But good luck. Would you go and look for me? Go look through the window and check her out. Please? All right. -You're pathetic, man. -Ha-ha-ha. KEVlN: All right. l'll see what I see. You see her? Oh, wait, yeah. I see a very beautiful girl. She's fine. She's fine. -l knew it. -She's gorgeous. I knew she would be. But no book. [CHUCKLES] All right. Okay, wait. Wait a minute. There's a book with a flower. So this got to be her. What does she look like? Can't see. Waiter's blocking. Damn it! Hold on, he's moving. -Yeah? -Uh.... JOE: Can you see her? Can you see her? Yeah. And? She's very pretty. She is! I knew she would be! She had to be! She had to be! You know what? She look-- I mean, she almost has the same coloring as... -...that Kathleen Kelly person. -Kathleen Kelly of the bookstore? Why not? You thought she was attractive. Absolutely. Why not? Who cares about Kathleen Kelly? Well, if you don't like Kathleen Kelly... ...l can tell you right now... ain't gonna like this girl. Why not? Because it is Kathleen Kelly. What are you going to do? Nothing. You just gonna let her wait there all night? That's exactly what l'm going to do. Good night. l'll see you in the morning. Do you mind if l borrow this chair? Yes, l mind. Sorry. I'm expecting someone. Would you like another tea? Yes. Thank you. [DOOR OPENS] JOE: Kathleen Kelly. Hello. This is a coincidence. Would you mind if l sat down? Yes, l would, actually. I'm expecting someone. Pride and Prejudice. Do you mind? I bet you read that book every year. I bet you just love that... ...Mr. Darcy. Your sentimental heart beats wildly at the thought he and... ...whatever her name is are truly, honestly going to end up together. WAITER: Can I get you something? -No, he's not staying. Mochaccino decaf, nonfat. You are not staying. I'll just stay here until your friend gets here. Gee, is he late? The heroine of Pride and Prejudice is Elizabeth Bennet. She is a great and complex character. Not that you would know. As a matter of fact, I've read it. Oh, well, good for you. You'd discover a lot if you really knew me. I know what I'd find. Instead of a brain, a cash register. Instead of a heart, a bottom line. What? -l just had a breakthrough. -What is it? For the first time, when confronted with a horrible, insensitive person... ...l knew exactly what I wanted to say, and l said it. You have a gift for it. That was a perfect blend of poetry and meanness. Meanness? Let me tell you about meanness. Don't misunderstand me. I'm trying to pay you a compliment. -What are you doing? -What is this? Is this a red rose? No, it's a crimson rose. Something you read about in a book. It's funny to you, isn't it? Everything is a joke to you. [DOOR OPENS] Please leave. Please leave, I beg you. Thank you. [KATHLEEN WINCES] That hanky reminds me of the first day l met you. First day you lied to me. -l didn't lie to you. -You did too. -No, I didn't. -Yes, you did. -l did not. -You did too. I thought that Fox stuff was so charming. F-O-X. I didn't lie about it. -Joe? "Just call me Joe." -Sure. As if you were a stupid "Hi, l'm Kimberly." "Hi, l'm Janice." Don't they know you're supposed to have a last name? It's like an entire generation of cocktail waitresses. Look. -l am not a 22-year-old cocktail waitress. -That's not what I meant. When I said the thing about the Price Club and olive oil... ...that's not what I meant. You poor, sad multimillionaire. I feel so sorry for you. [DOOR OPENS] I'll take a wild guess that's not him, either. So who is he, I wonder? Certainly not the world's greatest expert... ...on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. But somebody else entirely different. Will you be mean to him too? No, I will not. The man who is coming here is completely unlike you. The man who is coming here is kind and funny. He's got a wonderful sense of humor. But... ...he's not here. If he's not, he has a reason... ...because there is not a cruel or careless bone in his body. I wouldn't expect you to understand anybody like that. You with your theme park, multi-level, homogenize-the-world Mochaccinoland. You've deluded yourself that you're a benefactor bringing books to the masses. But no one will ever remember you, Joe Fox. And maybe no one will remember me. But plenty of people remember my mother. They think she was fine. They think her store was something special. You are nothing but a suit. That's my cue. Good night. [COMPUTER DlALING AND BEEPING] PATRlClA: So then the agent asks for $600,000 and l said to her: "If you think l'm even going to talk to you... ...about paying that kind of advance for an author... ...whose last book is being used as a trivet all over the world... are completely crazy." She was insulting and provocative and the only thing pleasant about her... ...was the way her hair fell across her forehead. Underneath that disagreeable exterior, she may be-- JOE: A real bitch. Let's not talk about it. I'm going back to the office and l'm sure you have work to do. Not really. This place is a well-oiled machine, my friend. So? What happened? -He never came. -He stood you up. KATHLEEN: I wouldn't characterize it that way. I think something happened. Something unexpected that made it impossible for him to.... What if he showed up, took one look at me and left? Not possible. Maybe there was a subway accident. Absolutely. A train got trapped underground with him inside. And no phone. KATHLEEN: You know how those express trains create suction. He got sucked onto the tracks. The third rail. CHRISTINA: He's toast. What happened? He was unable to make it. He stood you up? Maybe he had a car accident. Those cab drivers are maniacs. They hit something and you slam into that plastic partition. Or his elbows could be in splints, so he couldn't dial. Or he could be unconscious. In a coma. Stuck in intensive care. With a heart monitor beeping. And like.... -No phone. -No phone. What? What are you saying? It could be. He was arrested two blocks from the caf. Is there a picture? So that explains it. He was in jail. And there was a phone. He only got one call, so he called his lawyer. You are so lucky. You could be dead. He couldn't be the Rooftop Killer. Remember when you thought Frank might be the Unabomber? Well.... That was different. How long did you sit there all alone? -Not long. Joe Fox came in. -Joe Fox? I don't want to talk about it. Let's get to work. There's got to be something to do. There's always something to do. GEORGE: Look at this. CHRISTINA: He looks kind of cute. [DOOR BELL RlNGS] BlRDIE: So? He was unavoidably detained. BlRDIE: He stood you up? KATHLEEN: I've been thinking about you. Last night l went to meet you, and you weren't there. I wish I knew why. l felt so foolish. And as l waited, someone else showed up. A man who has made my professional life a misery. And an amazing thing happened. l was able, for the first time... say the exact thing I wanted to say... the exact moment I wanted to say it. And of course, afterwards l felt terrible... ...just as you said I would. l was cruel, and l'm never cruel. Though I hardly believe what I said mattered to this man. To him, I am just a bug to be crushed. But what if it did? No matter what he's done to me, there is no excuse for my behavior. Anyway... ...I so wanted to talk to you. I hope you have a good reason for not being there last night. You don't seem like the kind of person who'd do something like that. The odd thing about this form of communication... that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say... ...that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many... ...somethings. So thanks. MALE AOL VOlCE: Goodbye. JOE: I am in... ...Vancouver. I was stuck in a meeting which l couldn't get out of... ...and... ...the electricity went out. And... ...we were trapped... ...on the 38th floor. And the telephone system blew too. Amazingly enough. Dear friend: I cannot tell you what happened last night. But I beg you from the bottom of my heart... forgive me for not being there. For what happened. I feel terrible that you found yourself in a situation... ...that caused you additional pain. But I'm absolutely sure... ...that whatever you said last night was provoked. Even deserved. Everyone says things they regret when they're worried or stressed. You were expecting to see someone you trusted... ...and met the enemy instead. The fault is mine. Someday l'll explain everything. Meanwhile... ...I'm still here. Talk to me. Did he say anything about wanting to meet you again? No, not really. Listen, it doesn't matter. We'll just be like George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell. We'll write letters our whole lives. BlRDIE: Thank you for the scones. They look lovely. Birdie, where was this one taken? Seville. KATHLEEN: When you fell madly in love? BlRDIE: Yes. So, dearie, what have you decided to do? Close. We're going to close. Close. Closing the store is the brave thing to do. You are such a liar. But thank you. You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. I know it doesn't feel like that. You feel like a big, fat failure now. But you're not. You are marching into the unknown, armed with... ...nothing. Have a sandwich. Not nothing. I have a little money saved. If you need more, ask me. l'm very rich. I bought lntel at six. I suppose you want me to tell you who it was... ...l fell madly in love with. But l'm not going to tell. Who was it, Birdie? Come on, tell. Uch. That's so mean. But so romantic. BlRDIE: It wasn't meant to be. -Why not? He ran Spain. Spain? The country, he ran it. lt was his job. And then he died. Just as well. Milk or lemon? She fell in love with Generalissimo Franco. Don't say that. We don't know that for sure. Who else could it have been? It was around 1 960. -Do you want some popcorn? -l can't believe this. It's not like he was something normal, like a socialist or an anarchist. It happened in Spain. People do stupid things in foreign countries. They buy leather jackets for much more than they're worth. But they don't fall in love with fascist dictators. [WHlSPERlNG] Birdie is a very special person to me. She is practically my surrogate mother. [WHlSPERlNG] She's out of her mind. She is not. I could never be with anybody who doesn't take politics as seriously as I do. WOMAN: Do you mind? A hot dog is singing. You need quiet while a hot dog is singing? I have something to tell you, Frank. -l didn't vote. -What? In the last mayoral election... ...when Rudy Giuliani was running against Ruth Messinger... ...l went to get a manicure. And forgot to vote. Since when do you get manicures? I suppose you could never be with a woman who got manicures? It's okay. I forgive you. You forgive me? Excuse me, I'm sorry. Excuse me. This has been a big week. You're closing the store. No, it's not that. Really, it's not. I know, I know. That was terrible of me. What was terrible? Jumping all over you when l'm the one.... I don't even know how to say this. What is it? What? You're a wonderful person. So are you. And l'm so honored that you'd want to be with me... ...because you wouldn't be with anyone who wasn't truly worthy. -l feel exactly the same way. -No, God, don't-- Don't say that. That makes it worse. What? You don't love me. Me either. You don't love me? No. But we're so right for each other. I know. I know. Well, is there someone else? Oh. That woman on television, Sidney Ann. Uh.... Nothing has happened, but.... Is she a Republican? I can't help myself. [BOTH LAUGHING] What about you? Is there someone else? No. No, but.... But there is the dream of someone else. WOMAN 1 : Grab a copy of The Trumpet ofthe Swan. This is a tragedy. MAN: These chairs for sale? GEORGE: Anything not nailed down. CHRISTINA: Ten dollars, it's yours. WOMAN 2: What are you going to do now? I don't know. l think l'll take some time. I'm almost looking forward to it. WOMAN 2: Good luck to you. WOMAN 3: I came here every Saturday when l was a little girl. I remember when your mother gave me Anne of Green Gables. [SOBBlNG] "Read it with a box of Kleenex"... ...she told me. Could someone help me? WOMAN 4: She's looking down on you now. I'm sure she is. WOMAN 4: Why don't we bomb Fox Books? WOMAN: Do you have the "shoe" books? EMPLOYEE: The shoe books? Who's the author? WOMAN: I don't know. My friend told me my daughter has to read the shoe books, so here l am. KATHLEEN: Noel Streatfeild. Noel Streatfeild wrote Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes... ...and Theatre Shoes... ...and Dancing Shoes and.... I'd start with Ballet Shoes first. It's my favorite. Although Skating Shoes is completely wonderful. But it's out of print. Streatfeild. How do you spell that? KATHLEEN: S-T-R-E-A-T-F-E-l-L-D. WOMAN: Thank you. PATRICIA: Kathleen Kelly. It was like her name was in the air. JOE: Just like that? PATRlClA: Everyone was talking about her today. Kathleen Kelly and her "situation." And l was thinking that she'd make a great children's book editor. JOE: What makes you think that? Well, she knows everything. She has flawless taste. She's famous for it. Salesmen swear by her. If she likes the book, it sells. Period. JOE: You're going to offer her a job? PATRlClA: What else has she got to do? -Now that she's destitute. -Thanks to you. -l don't see her working for you. -Why not? She lacks the killer instinct. She's never fired anybody. Look at that little shop. Those people have been there forever. Till recently, when they all lost their jobs. Thanks to you. Hold the elevator! CHARLlE: Missy. Mr. Fox. JOE: Hello, Charlie. I love how you've forgotten you had any role in her current situation. It's so obtuse. It's so insensitive. Reminds me of someone. Who does it remind me of? Me. [PATRlCIA LAUGHS] [CLANK] What is going on? Could be stuck. [PATRlCIA GROANS] What are you doing? I hope this thing doesn't plummet to the basement. -Can it do that? -No. It cannot plummet to the basement. Hi, this is Joe Fox. Who's this? Juan? We are stuck in the elevator between the sixth and seventh floor. There's four of us. And if you don't get your ass up here in two shakes... ...and get us the hell out of here--! Juan? Yeah. Listen. Call the super and then 9-1 -1 . The fire department, that's right. Thank you very much. -Everyone should jump in the air. -What? We jump. The elevator thinks no one is here and it opens. JOE: One, two, three. Jump! VERONlCA: If l ever get out of here... ...l'm going to start speaking to my mama. Wonder what she's doing right this very minute? If l ever get out of here... ...l'm marrying Orit. I love her. I should marry her. I don't know what's been stopping me. If l ever get out of here, I'm having my eyes lasered. If l ever get out of here-- Where are my Tic-Tacs? Ugh! What? JOE: I came home tonight and got into the elevator to go to my apartment. An hour later, l got out of the elevator... ...and Brinkley and I moved out. Suddenly everything had become clear. It's a long story... ...full of the personal details we avoid so carefully. Let me just say... ...there was a man sitting in the elevator with me... ...who knew exactly what he wanted. And l found myself wishing I were as lucky as he. KATHLEEN: People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they're saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... ...has happened. My store is closing this week. I own a store. Did I ever tell you that? It's a lovely store. In a week it will be something depressing... a Baby Gap. Soon we'll just be a memory. In fact, some foolish person will probably think it's a tribute to this city. The way it keeps changing on you, or the way you can never count on it. I know because that's the sort of thing l'd say. But the truth is... ...I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died... ...and my mother has died all over again. [DOOR BELL DlNGS] And no one can ever make it right. [YOUNG KATHLEEN LAUGHlNG] [DOOR BELL DlNGING] JOE: What happened? Oh, hell. How are you? JOE: You know, Dad, you did pretty well. At least you didn't marry her. Welcome aboard. -lt lasted a while. -Yeah. NELSON: You know... ...l've stayed on this boat after-- Let's see. Your mother. Laurette, the ballet dancer. My nanny. She was the nanny? Yeah. I forgot that. How ironic. Then there was the ice skater. -Also my nanny. -Really? Yeah. That's amazingly ironic. And then there was Sybil, the, um.... -lt's an "A" word. -Astrologer. Exactly. Whose moon turned out to be in someone else's house. Just like Gillian. -Gillian ran off with someone? -The nanny. -Nanny Maureen? -Yes. [JOE LAUGHS] Gillian ran off with Nanny Maureen. You got it. JOE: It's incredibly ironic. -That's true. -No other word for it. Well, who's better than us? Father and son, together at last. Who did you say you broke up with? Patricia. You met her. Would I like her? Just kidding, son. Now, is this beautiful or what? Of course, I'll be living out of a suitcase for at least three weeks. And then there's the inevitable legal hassle. More of your inheritance down the drain. -Don't worry about it. -l won't. I just have to meet someone new. That's the easy part. Right, yeah. A snap to find the one person in the world who fills your heart with joy. NELSON: Don't be ridiculous. Have l ever been with anybody who fit that description? Have you? KATHLEEN [OVER lNTERCOM]: Who is it? It's Joe Fox. What are you doing here? -Uh, may I please come up? -No, l don't-- No, I don't really think that that is a good idea, because... ...I have a.... I have a terrible... ...cold. [SNEEZES] -Can you hear that? -Yeah. I'm sniffling, and I'm not really awake. I'm taking echinacea and vitamin C and sleeping practically... ...24 hours a day. l have a temperature. And l think I'm contagious. So l would-- I would really appreciate it if you'd just go away. [KNOCKS] [KATHLEEN GASPS] Kathleen? Uh.... [KNOCKS] Uh, just a second! Yes, just a second. -Hello. -Hello. What are you doing here? I heard you were sick. And l was worried. And l wanted to make sure.... What? -ls there somebody here? -No. Oh. lt's the Home Shopping Network. You buy any of those little porcelain dolls? I was thinking about it. -You put me out of business. -Yes, I did. -Did you come to gloat? -No. -To offer me a job? -l would never-- I have plenty of offers. I got offered a job by-- -By my former.... -Your former? We broke up. That's too bad. You were so perfect for each other. Oh. I don't mean to say things like that. No matter what you've done... ...there's no excuse for my saying that. Every time l see you-- Things like that just fly out of your mouth. I brought you flowers. Ohh. Thank you. Why don't l just put these in some water? You're sick. You should sit down. I need a vase. Above the refrigerator. JOE: There it is. Obviously. George says hello, by the way. He told me you were sick. How is George? Great, really great. He's revolutionizing the place. You can't work in his department... ...unless you have a Ph.D. in Children's Literature. I love daisies. -You told me. -They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower? I do. When did you break up? Couple of weeks ago. Everyone is breaking up. You. Me. This other person l know broke up with someone in an elevator. Or after it, or just outside it or.... It got stuck. When I saw you at the coffee place, I was waiting for him. And l was.... Charming. I was not charming. JOE: You looked charming. Tea? Yes. l was.... I was upset and horrible. JOE: Honey? -Yes. I was the horrible one. Well, that's true. But l have no excuse. Oh, l see what you're saying. That's interesting. Whereas I am a horrible person... ...therefore l have no choice but to be horrible. That's what you're saying. But that's all right. I put you out of business so...'re entitled to hate me. I don't hate you. But you'll never forgive me. -Just like Elizabeth. -Who? Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. She was too proud. I thought you hated Pride and Prejudice. Or was she too prejudiced... ...and Mr. Darcy is too proud? I can't remember. It wasn't personal. What is that supposed to mean? I'm so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. What is so wrong with being personal anyway? Nothing. Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal. My head is starting to get fuzzy. Why did you stop by again? l forget. I wanted to be your friend. Oh. I knew it wasn't possible. Sometimes a guy just wants the impossible. Can l ask you a question? What? What happened with that guy at the caf? Nothing. But you're crazy about him? Yes, l am. Why don't you run off with him? What are you waiting for? I don't actually know him. Really? I only know him through.... You won't believe this. JOE: Let me guess. Through the Internet? Yes. JOE: Hmm. "You've got mail." Yes. Those are very powerful words. Yes. I'm happy for him. Although.... Could l just make a suggestion? What? I think... should meet him. No, wait, l take that back. Why would you meet somebody you're crazy about? I hardly think I need to take advice from a person who-- I can see l bring out the worst in you. Let me help you to not say something...'ll torture yourself about for years to come. I hope you feel better soon. It'd be a shame to miss New York in the spring. Thank you for the daisies. Well, you take care. I will. Goodbye. KATHLEEN: I've been thinking about this... ...and I think we should meet. JOE: We should meet. And we will meet. But l'm in the middle of a project that needs... ...tweaking. Some tweaking? A project that needed... ..."tweaking." -Yeah, that's what he said. -T-W-E-A-K-I-N-G? Tweaking. It sounds to me like he's married. Three kids. That's a terrible thing to say. He couldn't be married. How do you know? Have you said, "Are you married?" No, I'm not going to-- No. KATHLEEN: I know this is a little late to be asking but... ...are you married? JOE: Am I married? What kind of question is that? How can you ask me that? Don't you know me at all? Oh, wait, l get it. Your friends are saying the reason we haven't met is l'm married. Am l right? -So he didn't answer the question. -Yes, he did. -He did not. -He did. He did. He nailed me. He knew what l was after which is, by the way, exactly like him. He did not answer the question, did he? No. Maybe he's fat. He's fat. He's a fatty. I don't care. You don't care that he's so fat... ...he has to be removed from his house by a crane. You don't care. KATHLEEN: That is very unlikely. That is completely ridiculous. What's his handle? Uh.... I'm not going to write him. You think I'm going to e-mail him? All right, N-Y-1 -5-2. N-Y-1 -5-2? 1 52. He's 1 52 years old. He's had 1 52 moles removed... now he's got On his face. The number of people who think he looks like Clark Gable. he looks like a Clark Bar. [KATHLEEN LAUGHS] KATHLEEN: Why'd I even tell you? -1 52 stitches from his nose job. The number of his souvenir shot glasses... ...that he's collected in his travels. His address. No, he would never do anything that prosaic. The only thing I really care about is that... ...aside from the married thing and the jail thing... the boat thing. What boat thing? I could never be with someone who had a boat. I have a boat. Oh. Which clinches it. We'll never be together. -How many? -Three. -Allow me. -Thank you. I could never be with someone who likes Joni Mitchell. It's cloud's illusions I recall I really don't know clouds at all What does that mean? Is she a pilot? It must be a metaphor, but I don't know what it is. JOE: How's your book coming? KATHLEEN: There's this children's book editor l know. She's excited to read it when l'm finished. Who would ever have thought that I would write? -lf I hadn't had all this time.... -Uh-huh. -You know what? -What? The truth is he was the one who started me thinking about writing. Mr. 1 52 Felony lndictments. Mr. 1 52 Insights lnto My Soul. Oh. Whoa. Yeah. Oh. No competing with that. I keep on bumping into you. Hope your mango's ripe. I think it is. You want to bump into me... ...on Saturday around lunchtime? -Yeah. -Over there? -Uh-huh. -Good. JOE: How about meeting... ...Saturday? Four o'clock. There's a place in Riverside Park at 91 st Street... ...where the path curves and there's a garden. Brinkley and I will be waiting. Okay, let's do it. Ready? And.... Doot. There it goes. -Today? -Today. Wow. I know. In Riverside Park. That would mean he's a Westsider. Maybe I've seen him and don't even know it. JOE: You could have seen him every day and not know it. KATHLEEN: It's very possible. -He could be anyone. -He could be that guy. And those flowers are for you. JOE: Could be the Zipper Man. -Who's that? The Zipper Man. Who is that? He repairs zippers on Amsterdam Avenue. -Will you cut it out? -You'd never have to buy new luggage. [KATHLEEN CHUCKLES] The timing here is everything. He's waited until you're primed. See? Until you are absolutely convinced that there's no other man... ...that you could possibly love. Yes. You know, sometimes I wonder. What? If l hadn't been Fox Books... ...and you hadn't been The Shop Around the Corner... ...and you and l had just met. -l know. -Yeah. Yeah. I'd have asked for your number. I wouldn't have been able to wait 24 hours before calling you and saying: "How about some coffee... ...or drinks or dinner... ...or a movie... ...for as long as we both shall live?" Joe-- You and I would never have been at war. The only thing we'd fight about would be which video to rent on a Saturday night. Who fights about that? Some people. Not us. We would never. If only. -l gotta go. -Let me ask you something. How can you forgive this guy for standing you up... ...and not forgive me for this tiny little thing... ...of putting you out of business? How I wish you would. I really have to go. You don't want to be late. [SIGHS] JOE: Brinkley! [BRlNKLEY BARKlNG] Brinkley! [CHUCKLES] Don't cry, Shopgirl. Don't cry. I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly. [BARKING]

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