A Drink After Work At The Silver Dollar (Chapter Four, Lou Grant)

31 07 2009

4.

A Drink After Work At The Silver Dollar

MURRAY:  “Let me get this straight, Lou. You’re having nightmares.”

LOU GRANT:  “Yes.”

MURRAY: “About what? What are these nightmares about?”

LOU GRANT: “What difference does that make?”

MURRAY: “They’re about sex, eh Lou?”

LAUGH TRACK

LOU GRANT: “Did you hear that?”

MURRAY: “Hear what?”

Murray has this startled look about him. Like a kid in a tent on a camping trip who hears something outside. At night. Afraid at first. Then after a few moments he becomes suspicious.

LOU GRANT: “Nothing.”

MURRAY: “You’re starting to scare me, Lou.”

LOU GRANT: “I am not having nightmares about sex, Murray. They’re dreams about the low life of the city. Scumbags. Drug dealers, winos, hookers…”

MURRAY: “Ah!”

Murray feigns belief. That’s how relationship works. We treat each other like equals. But Murray remembers who’s boss.

LAUGH TRACK

LOU GRANT: “I don’t want to have them anymore but I can’t seem to stop them. They have a life of their own. Have you ever had recurring nightmares, Murray?”

MURRAY: “Only when my mother-in-law shows up for the weekend.”

LAUGH TRACK

I can’t help looking around. For the source of the laugh track. It’s like a constant buzz in my ear. But more malicious.

MURRAY: “What? Something wrong, Lou? Look, Lou, if its really bothering you, maybe you should seek out some professional help.”

LOU GRANT: “I’m not nuts, Murray!”

MURRAY: “You don’t have to be crazy to seek out counseling from a psychiatrist. You don’t think Mary is crazy, do you?”

LOU GRANT: “Mary is seeing a shrink?”

I couldn’t bare it if Mary was ill. Mentally ill. God, she’s so… healthy looking.

MURRAY: “Ya, Lou. She’s dating him.”

LAUGH TRACK

MURRAY: “Sorry, Lou. I couldn’t resist it. No, Mary is seeing a psychiatrist. Remember, she had that problem with an eating disorder. Well, she went to a counselor and I think it’s really helped her.”

LOU GRANT: “I think I’ll stick to scotch.”

I didn’t know that Mary had an eating disorder. She hangs around that Jewish princess, Rhoda. Who knows what she might pick up.

MURRAY: “Does it help?”

LOU GRANT: “No, but I like the buzz I get off it.”

I’ve always enjoyed the playful dialogue between characters. Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man series. Nick the loveable drunk. Nora, his rich beautiful and sarcastic wife. The banter in all the guy films of the last 30 years. There was an innocence about all of this dialogue. But now with Lou’s nightmares. Where was this heading? Nobody discussed alcoholism with Nick Charles. So why was mental health becoming an issue with me. Lou Grant. I didn’t want this. I just wanted a little harmless escapism.


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