Neal Oliver: [voice over] As I said, it all started on my 22nd birthday, specifically here at my traditional birthday lunch. As always my father had picked the restaurant. Attending were the usual suspects: Sally, who my parents actually liked, maybe even more than I did; my dad, Daniel, attorney-at-law; my mom, Marlene, the attorney's wife; and my sister and best friend, Nancy, put on earth by the grace of God to keep me from going insane.
Bob Cody: Ever hear of Frederick Turner, Mr. Oliver?
Neal Oliver: No, sir.
Bob Cody: Well, he was an historian. About a hundred years ago he came up with a theory about the frontier. He said the frontier was a safety valve for civilization, a place for people to go to keep from goin' mad. So, whenever there were folks who couldn't fit in with the way things were, nuts, and malcontents, and extremists, they'd pack up and head for the frontier. That's how America got started - all the crackpots and troublemakers in Europe packed up and went to a frontier which became the thirteen colonies. When some people couldn't fit in with that, they moved farther west, which is why all the nuts eventually ended up in California. Turner died in 1932, so he wasn't around long enough to see what would happen to the world when we ran out of frontier. Some people say we have the frontier of the mind, and they go off and explore the wonderful world of alcohol and drugs, but that's no frontier. It's just another way for us to fool ourselves. And we've created this phony frontier with computers, which allows people to, you know, think they've escaped. A frontier with access fees?
Neal Oliver: What about space? You know, the final frontier!
Bob Cody: Ah, Star Trek isn't space. That's television - fine fuckin' frontier that is. Besides, how many folks can just pack up and go to space?
Lynn Linden: What? Something wrong with the way I fucking talk?
Neal Oliver: No, no, no no no... I mean yes. Yes, you make Mike Tyson sound like an Oxford graduate.
Neal Oliver: [voice over] Mr. Cody had rather unique tastes in audio stimulation.
Woman on radio: The choice is clear. The Arion 620, the American-made car for American-made drivers.
Bob Cody: That's a lie. Arion engines are made in Japan.
Man on radio: Kill Signal, the movie everyone's talking about, from Weber Films.
Bob Cody: [laughs] That's another lie. We're not talking about it.
Another man on radio: We're the U.S. post office, and we care.
Bob Cody: Oh! That's the biggest whopper of all.
Neal Oliver: [voiceover] Given an infinite universe and infinite time, all things will happen. That means that every event is inevitable, including those that are impossible. And it's as good an explanation for all of this as anything else. Now, a lot of stories start in bars, so that's where we're going to start this one. Not because I was there - I wasn't. But because it's a damn good introduction to a very unique... fellow.
O.W. Grant: Every event is inevitable - if it wasn't, it wouldn't happen.
Neal Oliver: [voice over] I worked graveyard shift at a grocery warehouse, filling orders for the trucks to take to the various stores in the morning. I liked it for three reasons: I'd gotten the job on my own, it paid enough that I did not have to ask the old man for cash, and it annoyed Daniel that his son was even working at such a low class job.
Bob Cody: Hey, Bob Cody. I don't drive, and I don't like to hitchhike. When I hitchhike I'm at the mercy of the driver. But when I pay for the ride, I'm the employer and I call the shots. That's how I like it. So you want to work for me?
Neal Oliver: Well, I'm going to Danver. I wouldn't mind making some money.
Bob Cody: Good. I'm going to Renburg. It's on your way. Here's my proposition. You pay for gas, pay for your meals. No alcohol while you're on payroll. I pick the radio stations. I initiate all conversations. I'll pay you $10 cash every hour, and the mileage money when we get to Renburg. In all other matters, you play straight with me, I'll play straight with you. So, do we have a contract?
Neal Oliver: We have a contract.
Bob Cody: So who's my new employee?
Neal Oliver: Neal Oliver.
Bob Cody: Mr. Oliver, you may call me "Mr. Cody" or "sir".
Neal Oliver: You've got it, sir.
Valerie McCabe: Valerie McCabe, Yale '91. I've got a special rate for visitors, and I know I can win your case.
Neal Oliver: You don't even know my case.
Valerie McCabe: The Madison case? Nuisance suit. Happens to visitors all the time. Fact is J.J. Madison doesn't even have a cat. He's allergic. I could have it thrown out in no time.
Neal Oliver: Wait, he never had a cat? So, why's he going to sue somebody for it?
Valerie McCabe: Because he can.
Neal Oliver: What?
Valerie McCabe: Every adult citizen of Morlaw is a lawyer, so everybody sues everybody else. It doesn't matter if there's a cause. It's how we ensure that everyone makes a living off their profession.
Neal Oliver: Yeah, but that's insane.
Valerie McCabe: I could sue you for that. You just made a defamatory remark about this town. Hey, are you looking at my legs? I could sue you for that too, sexual harassment.
Neal Oliver: Is there anything you can't sue me for?
Valerie McCabe: Hire me. That way, everything between us is subject to attorney-client privilege. I'm $75 an hour. First hour is free.
Neal Oliver: Well, at least you know my case. All right, you're hired.
Neal Oliver: Okay, so if everyone who lives here is a lawyer, how do you live? I mean, who runs the grocery store? Who does your dry-cleaning? Who fixes the shitter when it breaks?
Valerie McCabe: Well, we all moonlight on the law-related jobs. You know, police, bailiffs, court reporters. But those other, trivial things you mentioned? They're done by people like you awaiting trial. It's the only way they can afford their legal fees.
Valerie McCabe: Fred, Mr. Oliver is a potential fugitive. Lock him up.
Neal Oliver: Lock me up?
Valerie McCabe: Of course. We lawyers have to protect our livelihood.
Neal Oliver: Wait; you can't do this to me. I have rights.
Valerie McCabe: I know you do, Sweetie. I'm here to protect them.
Neal Oliver: [In the scene Ray is showing Neal cards in quick succession and he has to say what suit they are] Did I pass?
[shows Neal the cards]
Ray: But few people do.
Neal Oliver: Black hearts? Red spades? Come on, that's like cheating.
Ray: Ah, experience has conditioned you into thinking that all hearts are red and all spades are black because their shapes are similar. It's easier for your mind to interpret them based on that past experience instead of being open to the idea they could be different. We see what we expect to see, not necessarily what's really there. Children who have never played cards always pass this test. Makes you wonder how many other things are right in front of you - sights, sounds, smells that you can't experience because you've been conditioned not to. The good news is, if we do the test again, you'll pass. Once you're aware that there can be black hearts and red spades you'll be able to perceive them. Your brain's wiring is like the interstate highway system. It's easier to go from one well-traveled place to another. But the places in between, off the highway, even though they're there, most people zip right past them.
Neal Oliver: Well, that's a cool trick, but there aren't any card games with red spades and black hearts.
Ray: Well, how would you know?
Neal Oliver: [pointing at a painting on a wall] Oh, and Dad, that thing? It's crap. You got ripped off.
Neal Oliver: And it's upside down.
Bob Cody: Say what you mean, mean what you say. You know that if everybody followed that rule, there'd be a lot less trouble. You know, we still have a contract, Mr. Oliver. Sure hope you're not thinking about breaking that contract.
Neal Oliver: Thinking about it? Yes. Doing it? No, sir.
Bob Cody: [laughs] That's a very honest response. That's a breath of fresh air.
[explaining the nature of his wish granting to Neal]
O.W. Grant: Now one young couple wished to be married and live happily ever after. So I blew up their car at the church on the way to the honeymoon. Another guy he wanted great, perfect sex every day with his choice of gorgeous women - no pregnancies. So everyday he gets a FedEx delivery of a skin magazine and a box of tissues.
O.W. Grant: [after a truck runs over Baker's cell phone and Grant's bike] Oh they say everything happens for a reason... Me? I guess I just needed a new bike.
O.W. Grant: As I say, messing with people's heads can be a lot of fun. You should try it.
Neal Oliver: So what are you? An angel or a god?
O.W. Grant: No, no, I'm just a guy that likes to mess with people's heads.
O.W. Grant: Say - you have a birthday coming up, don't you?
Nancy: How'd you know that?
O.W. Grant: Don't forget to make a wish.
Neal Oliver: If I tell, it won't come true
O.W. Grant: Actually, that's an old wives tale, truth is you should always tell your wish, kind of Karma thing, put it out there, project it. Then it just might come true.
Neal Oliver: Never heard that before
O.W. Grant: Oh, it's true, believe me. I know. I'll cut this
O.W. Grant: for you.
Sally: Okay, so now, you have to tell us