GK: Mom?


GK: Yes. It's me mom.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): I'm confused. Did I call you or did you call me?

GK: I called you, mom.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Well whatd'ya know. These must be the end times after all. Wait, you're not sick, are you?

GK: No, I'm not sick.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Is your little house on fire? Do you need money?

GK: That's funny, mom. Listen, I called about your birthday.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Oh, Duane. You remembered it's in January. Finally. (CHOKES) That's so sweet.

GK: I hadn't heard from you, so I was just wondering what's going on.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): (RECOVERING) What's going on? We're in Milwaukee.

GK: Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Oh sure. We got a hotel room. Just your dad and I. Free parking, free color TV, and the breakfast buffet is from 6 to 9:30 and it's free. They have a pancake machine, Duane. Can you believe it?

GK: Do we have family in Milwaukee?

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Nope. And that's why we're here. Because there's no family. No family means No Disappointments.

GK: Right.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Your dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, a week in a hotel and no visitors. So what's going on with you?

GK: I don't know. I was planning to come over and bring a gift.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Well, now you don't have to. So how you coming along with your girlfriend? She didn't dump you, did she?

GK: She's on vacation.

SS: Vacation? Where?

GK: Miami.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): And she didn't invite you along?


GK: No, she didn't. Anyway, happy birthday and enjoy that breakfast buffet.

SS: Are you okay, honey? You don't sound okay.

GK: I'm fine.

SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): How could she go off to Miami and leave you alone?

GK: It's not an issue. I'm fine. I'm working on a novel.

SS: Oh, honey. Not another one.

GK: It's called "A Distant Line of Trees"----

SS: A Distant Line of Trees.

GK: Right.

SS: It sounds sad.

GK: I don't know. Not done with it yet. How about I come to Milwaukee and bring you your gift?

SS: Oh, I don't want you to interrupt your writing. It's fine.

GK: I can just shoot over there, wouldn't even need to stay overnight ---- just come up ---- bring a cupcake with a candle-----

SS: Don't worry about it. I'm fine, Duane. I'm absolutely fine. I'm in bed with a good book and room service is bringing me a bowl of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of that ----- (OFF) just put it on the dresser. Thank you. Thanks. Here you go. ----- It's lovely, Duane. (WEEPY) Someone just brought me food on a tray. You don't know what that means. A bowl of chili and a grilled cheese. And coffee. It's so nice to be waited on. Seventy-five years I've been waiting on other people hand and foot like a scullery maid, and now someone has finally brought me food. On a tray. A beautiful young Hispanic man. His name tag said Juan. He looked at me in a certain way, Duane. I swear. I could see it in his eyes.

GK: Mom.

SS: I'm seventy-five but I'm not dead, Duane.

GK: Mom, try to control yourself.

SS: I gave him a $40 tip for a $17 lunch ---- that sends a signal, don't you think?

GK: Is Dad having a good time?

SS: He went ice fishing.

GK: You're there alone?

SS: I like it alone. I've had two glasses of wine, Duane, and I'm considering a third.

GK: Mom, I'm getting in the car and coming to Milwaukee. I'll be there in five hours. What hotel are you staying at?

SS: Goodbye, honey. (SINGS) Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Cheerio, off I go on my way.

GK: What hotel are you at, Mom? Mom? (CLICK, DIAL TONE)