A Drink After Work At The Selby Hotel (Chapter 16, Lou Grant)

20 08 2009


A Drink After Work At The Selby Hotel

MURRAY: Michael. What’s he all about?

LOU: Who’s Michael?

MURRAY: You just told me about him, Lou.

LOU: You’re not messing with me, are you Murray?

MURRAY: Well, a bit. But you did bring up this fellow Michael.

LOU: I did?

MURRAY: You said that Harry was a bit of a sleaze, but this Michael was something else. A predator, I think you said.

LOU: A manipulator.

MURRAY: That’s the ticket.

LOU: Yes.

I began to engage in a conversation with Murray regarding someone I had never heard of before. Michael. As soon as I began to talk about him, he began to take shape in my mind. Words came out of my mouth like chunks of reality. Before that… nothing.

LOU: I know how to deal with sleaze. Been dealing with lawyers all my life, but someone like Michael, you don’t know where they’re coming from.

MURRAY: And you keep bringing Mary into the story. I don’t like that. If Mary knew that she was one of the central characters in your fantasies she’d be miffed.

LOU: You think I got something to say about all of this, Murray? Don’t look at me like that?

MURRAY: What! How am I looking at you?

LOU: Like I was some kind of… pervert.

MURRAY: Lou, they are your dreams.

LOU: Hey Murray, did I tell you this story that Gordo told me?

MURRAY: I’m not interested in Gordo’s cricket stories. I hate that game. They can play for days and score hundreds of points and still end up with a tied game. Tell me about Michael. And what he has to do with Mary.

LOU: At one time in the Netherlands tulip bulbs, not gold, was the standard for wealth. People invested huge fortunes in them. One guy invested every cent he had into one particularly rare tulip bulb. He invited his best friend over to see the bulb. When his friend arrived, our guy was busy with a family matter in another room. The bulb had been left on the kitchen table. The friend was hungry and mistaking the bulb for an onion, ate it.


MURRAY: Onions give me gas.
LOU: Don’t you get it, Murray?

MURRAY: Apparently not, Lou. Why don’t you let me in on the moral of this Aesop fable.

LOU: Everything in society is mad if you don’t understand its significance. Sanity is based on consensus.

MURRAY: Consensus? Did we all vote on insane behavior? I guess I forgot to register.

LOU: Are you trying to rile me, Murray?

MURRAY: Never, Lou.


MURRAY: Lou, why have you got your hands over your ears?

LOU: You wouldn’t believe me.

MURRAY: Okay, Lou. We’re getting off course again. Now tell me, why is Mary so important in your dream? This fellow Harry pays her a lot of attention and it sounds as if she has aroused the curiosity of this Michael chap.

LOU: Be careful what you say, Murray.

MURRAY: Well, Lou, face up to the facts. You’ve got a thing for Mary.

LOU: Have not!


LOU: Don’t!


LOU: The social mores that run every society are tailored to the needs of the elite.


MURRAY: What’s that got to do with Mary?

LOU: I don’t know. It just came flying out of my mouth. This isn’t right, Murray. I’m starting to sound like an anthropologist. That’s not me. I can’t even spell the word.


MURRAY: I think you mean sociologist, Lou.

LOU: I can’t spell that either.