The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Mason: Nicole, did the Pied Piper take the children away because he was mad that the town didn't pay him?
Nicole: That's right.
Mason: Well, if he knew magic, if he could get the kids into the mountain, why couldn't he use his magic pipe to make the people pay him for getting rid of the rats?
Nicole: Because... he wanted them to be punished.
Mason: So he was mean?
Nicole: No, not mean, just... very angry.
Mitchell Stephens: Well, enough rage and helplessness and your love turns to something else.
Alison: What... does it turn to?
Mitchell Stephens: It turns to steaming piss.
Mitchell Stephens: You'd make a good poker player, kid.
Mary: (Speaking of a new computer, a gift) From Mr. Stephens... That was him on the phone just now. He was calling to see how you were.
Nicole: Who's Mr. Stephens?
Sam: Uh, he's a lawyer. He's our lawyer.
Nicole: You and Mom have a lawyer?
Sam: Well, yes. He's your lawyer, too.
Nicole: My lawyer. Why do I need a lawyer?
Mary: Well maybe we shouldn't be talking about this just now, with you barely home. Aren't you hungry, honey? You want me to fix you something?
Nicole: No. What's this lawyer business?
Mitchell Stephens: That's my daughter. Or it may be the police to tell me they've found her dead. She's a drug addict.
Billy Ansell: Why are you telling me this?
Mitchell Stephens: Why am I telling you this, Mr. Ansel? Because we've all lost our children. They're dead to us.
Mitchell Stephens: I did not have to go as far as I was prepared to go, but I was prepared to go all the way.
Nicole: No matter what I'm asked I'lltell the truth.
Mitchell Stephens: It's not going to be easy Nicole.
Nicole: I won't lie.
Billy Ansell: Mitchell Stephens, Esquire. Tell me, would you be likely to sue me if I was to beat you right now? I mean, beat you so bad you piss blood and couldn't walk for a month. Because that's what I'm about to do.
Mitchell Stephens: No, Mr. Ansel. I wouldn't sue you.
Billy Ansell: You leave us alone, Stephens. You leave the people of this town alone.
Mitchell Stephens: Tell me your news, Zoe.
Zoe: Okay. Yesterday I went to sell my blood. I'm in this fucking city, and I'm selling my blood.
Mitchell Stephens: That's not news, Zoe.
Zoe: No, but this is. They wouldn't take my blood. Do you know what that means, Daddy? Does it register? I tested positive.
Zoe: Welcome to hard times, Daddy.
Mitchell Stephens: What do you want me to do, Zoe? I'll do whatever you want.
Zoe: I need money.
Mitchell Stephens: What for?
Zoe: No, you CANNOT ask me that. YNot anymore. You asked me what I wanted, not what I wanted it for. I want money.
Mitchell Stephens: Do you have a blood test?
Zoe: You don't believe me? You don't FUCKING believe me?... I like it when you don't believe me. It's better that you don't believe me, but have to act like you do.
Sam: Nicole, tomorrow Mr. Stephens wants you to make your deposition at the community center. Thought I'd take you over.
Sam: You seem, uh, I don't know. Distant, I guess. Hard to talk to.
Nicole: We didn't used to have to talk a lot, did we Daddy?
Sam: What do you mean?
Nicole: I mean, I'm a wheelchair girl now. And it's hard to pretend that I'm a beautiful rock star. Remember, Daddy? That beautiful stage that you were gonna build for me. You were gonna light it with nothing but candles.
Nicole: As you see her, two years later, I wonder if you realize something. I wonder if you understand that all of us - Dolores, me, the children who survived, the children who didn't - that we're all citizens of a different town now. A place with its own special rules and its own special laws. A town of people living in the sweet hereafter.
Dolores: I remember wrenching the steering wheel to the right and slapping my foot against the brake petal. I wasn't the driver anymore. The bus was like this huge wave about to break over us. Bear Otto, the Lambston kids, the Hamiltons, the Prescotts, the teenaged boys and girls from Bartlett Hill Road, Pete, Suzy, Laura, Rick, Sean Walker, Nicole Burnell, Billy Ansel's twins, Jessica and Mason... all the children of my town.
Mitchell Stephens: Then what happened?
Mitchell Stephens: [speaking of his estranged daughter's feeling for him and her mother when she was a child] She loved us both equally then... Just as she hates us both equally now.
Mitchell Stephens: Something's happening that's taking our children away.
Mitchell Stephens: I woke to the sound of Zoe's breathing. It was laboured. I looked over and noticed she was sweating and all swollen. I grabbed her, rushed to the kitchen, and splashed water on her face.
Alison: What happened?
Mitchell Stephens: I didn't know. I was in a panic. I guessed she'd been bitten by an insect, but there was no doctor. The nearest hospital was forty miles away, and Zoe was continuing to swell. Klara took her in her arms and tried to breast-feed her, while I dialed the hospital. I finally got a doctor on the line. He sounded young, but cool. He was confident, but there was a nervousness. He had been an intern. This was the first time he ever had to deal with anything like this. He wanted to seem like he knew what he was doing, but he was just as scared as I was.He surmised that there was a nest of baby black widow spiders in the mattress. He told me they had to be babies, or else with Zoe's weight she'd be dead. He told me I had to rush her to the hospital. He was alone. There was no ambulance available. 'Now you listen', he said, 'There's a good chance you can get her to me before her throat closes, but the important thing is to keep her calm.' He asked if there was one of us she was more relaxed with than the other. I said, 'Yes, with me.' Which was true enough, especially at that moment. Klara was wild-eyed with fear, and her fear was contagious. I was a better actor than she was, that's all. Zoe loved us equally then. Just like she hates us both equally now. The doctor told me that I should hold her in my lap, and let Klara drive to the hospital. He asked me to bring a small, sharp knife. It had to be clean. There was no time to sterilize properly. He explained how to perform an emergency tracheotomy. How to cut into my daughter's throat and windpipe without causing her to bleed to death. He told me there'd be a lot of blood. I said I didn't think I could do it. 'If her throat closes up and stops her breathing, you'll have to, Mr. Stephens. You'll have a minute and a half, two minutes maybe, and she'll probably be you can keep her calm and relaxed, if you don't let her little heart beat too fast and spread the poison around, then you might just make it over here first. You get going now', and he hung up. It was an unforgettable drive. I was divided into two people. One part of me was Daddy, singing a lullaby to his little girl. The other part was a surgeon, ready to cut into her throat. I waited for the second that Zoe's breath stopped to make that incision.
Alison: What happened?
Mitchell Stephens: Oh, nothing. We made it to the hospital. I didn't have to go as far as I was prepared to. But I was prepared to go all the way.
Mitchell Stephens: I've done everything the loving father of a drug addict is supposed to do... I've sent her to the best hospitals, she's seen all the best doctors. It doesn't matter. Two weeks later she's on the street. New York, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Toronto, L.A. The next time I hear from her, it's a phone call scamming for money. Money for school, or money for a new kind of therapist, or money for a plane ticket home. 'Oh Daddy, just let me come home... Please, Daddy, I have to see you... ' But she never comes home. I'm always at the airport, but she's never there. Ten years of this, ten years of these lies, of imagining what happens if I don't send the money, of kicking down doors and dragging her out of rat-infested apartments, of explaining why that couldn't be my daughter in a porn flick someone saw... well, enough rage and helplessness, and your love turns to something else.
Alison: What does it turn to?
Mitchell Stephens: It turns to steaming piss.