WALTER is confronted by his son FRANKLIN about their father/son issues which hits the nail on the head and defines the nature of their relationship.
- Download the free .pdf screenplay version: Walter’s Study
The action takes place in Walter’s Study.
(Linda is the wife and mother)
Linda: Walter, your son would like a word with you…do you have a moment?
Walter: Send him in.
(Linda exits) (Franklin enters)
Walter: Sit down, Franklin. I’ll be with you in a moment.
(Walter is writing on his desk)
(after a long uncomfortable pause.)
There we go. So…what can I do for you, Franklin?
Walter: Hold on. What did I tell you about starting sentences with the word, well. When someone asks you a question, always get straight to the point and have it thought out beforehand. Well, is weak. Well means you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. Well shows lack of education and I am sending you to the best Goddamn university in all the country. Besides, I happen to be your father and well isn’t swell in my book. I hope this is the very last time we discuss the concept of your well.
Franklin: I understand.
Walter: Out with it.
Franklin: …I wanted to…maybe now isn’t the best time.
Walter: You’ve already interrupted my business. I don’t care for numerous interruptions for one subject. What is your subject?
Franklin: …It’s about you, and me.
Walter: I don’t have time for games.
Franklin: Do you have time for me ever?
Walter: What did you say to me?
Franklin: When do you make time for me?
Walter: We only played golf this past Sunday.
Franklin: How many words did we say to one another?
Walter: I said I don’t have time for games.
Franklin: None. No words. Nothing but chin gestures, shrugs and frowns.
Walter: Communication doesn’t always take place through words.
Franklin: I realize that.
Walter: Then why waste my time questioning me! Is this a psychology class?!
Franklin: I would like to understand why you don’t treat me like I am your son.
Walter: Oh, I see. You’ve turned eighteen last month. You feel like you are ready to confront me as a man now. Is that it?
Franklin: You are a difficult man to talk too.
Walter: Boy, I asked you a question. Do you feel that you are man enough to confront your father?
Franklin: I’m not trying to confront you. I’m trying to speak with you about something that matters to me and that I could only hope matters to you. I’m your son.
Walter: You are. You are in point of fact, my son. I don’t need you to point that out to me. That’s for certain.
Walter: Will that be all?
Walter: Will that be all? Leave and be sure to close my door!
Franklin: Why can’t we be friends?
Walter: Excuse me?
Franklin: Friends. Why can’t we be friends?
(Walter laughs out loud)
Walter: Friends. Is that what’s plaguing you, son? You have no friends?
Franklin: I’m talking about you and me.
Walter: Are you gay?
Walter: Out with it!
Franklin: No, I’m not.
Walter: Then why do you act so, boy?
Franklin: Gay is a word for happy, Dad.
Walter: Don’t you dare patronize me. You little shit. This is my home!
Franklin: Yes, it is.
Walter: What the hell do you want from me?
Franklin: A father…
Walter: Is that right? A father…is it not fatherly to bring you into this world, raise you up, give you the clothes on your back, food in your stomach, a proper education, pay for your car, your sports, money for going out, holidays, bank accounts in your name, property and homes built in your name…is that not fatherly?
Franklin: I would trade all those things if you would just once tell me you loved me.
Walter: So now you want me to tell you that I love you and this will all go away.
Franklin: You’re taking everything I’m saying so literally. I’m talking about something deeper.
Franklin: I’m talking about connection between a father and a son and going out to watch a baseball game, going for beers, taking a ride out to the country to go fishing, sharing stories about your life to me from your past or how it was growing up with Grandfather and memories you can pass on to me, asking me about my life and how I’m getting on, caring enough to actually make me feel like I matter to you.
Walter: My father never said more than two words to me…hello and goodbye. He was hard as nails that penetrated through the core of you. You have it easy with me, boy. There was no fishing or hiking. There was only one thing that mattered…WORK. Work until your fingers bleed and your face fell off. Work until your mind goes numb and there are tears in your eyes because you know if you didn’t do as you were told, there was a whipping just waiting to be had. And boy those whippings, when they got to whipping, they would make grown men plead. When your Grandfather died, I was happy. So happy that it was the first time I actually felt myself smile. I was on my own! There were no pats on the shoulder, there was no showing up at the big game…I couldn’t even tell you the damn color of his eyes.
Franklin: But doesn’t that make you want to be different with me? Why would you want to be like him?
Walter: You will be just like me too one day.
Franklin: Can’t you be stronger than he was? Be different? Just to prove him wrong?
Walter: Prove him wrong? No. You must have heard a different story altogether. It’s about proving him right.
Walter: Oh, yes. Right. You will come to see this…when I too fade away into nothingness…you will come to see this.
Franklin: I will never be like you.