Angels In America - Chapter 1
Hello, and good morning.
I am Rabbi lsidor Chemelwitz...
of the Bronx Home for Aged Hebrews.
We are here this morning to pay respect...
for the passing of Sarah lronson...
devoted wife of...
Loving and caring mother of their sons...
Morris, Abraham, and Samuel...
and their daughters Esther and Rachel.
Beloved grandmother of Max...
Mark, Louis, Angela...
Doris, Luke, and Eric.
Eric is a Jewish name?
A large and loving family.
We assemble that we may collectively mourn...
this good and righteous woman.
I did not know this woman.
I cannot accurately describe her attributes...
nor do justice to her...
She was not a person...
but a whole kind of a person.
The ones that crossed the ocean...
that brought with us to America...
the villages of Russia and Lithuania.
And how we struggled...
and how we fought...
for the family...
for the Jewish home.
Descendents of this immigrant woman...
you do not grow up in America...
you, your children, and their children with the goyish names.
You do not live in America.
No such place exists.
Your clay is the clay...
of some Litvak shtetl.
Your air is the air of the steppes...
because she carried that old world on her back...
across the ocean in a boat...
and she put it down...
on Grand Concourse Avenue.
Or on Flatbush.
You can never make that crossing that she made...
for such great voyages in this world do not anymore exist.
But every day of your lives...
the miles, that voyage from that place to this one...
You understand me?
I wish I was an octopus, a fucking octopus.
Eight loving arms and all those suckers. Know what I mean?
-No. -You want lunch?
No, that's okay.
Ailene, Roy Cohn.
What kind of greeting is that?
I thought we were friends.
This will take a minute. Here, eat a little something.
What is this? Tasty sandwich here?
I already told you, it wasn't a vacation, it was business.
I have clients in Haiti.
Listen, Ailene, you think I'm the only lawyer in history...
who ever missed a court date? Don't make such a big fuck....
-lf this is a bad time-- -No, it's a good time.
Baby doll. Fuck, wait.
Sorry to keep you holding, Judge Hollins, I just....
-Mrs. Hollins? - Yeah, it's Mrs. Hollins.
Sorry, dear. What a deep voice you got.
You enjoying your visit?
She sounds like a truck driver, he sounds like Kate Smith.
It's very confusing.
Nixon appointed him. All the geeks are Nixon appointees.
How many tickets, dear? Seven?
For what, Cats, 42nd Street, what?
You wouldn't like La Cage, trust me. Trust me, I know.
For God's sake, hold.
Baby doll, seven for Cats or something.
Anything hard to get. I don't give a fuck what. Neither will they.
-You've seen La Cage Aux Folles? -No.
It's the best thing on Broadway, maybe ever.
Couldn't find her there.
Couldn't see her.
-At least I didn't see her in there. -She was....
It's all right. I'm gonna take the bus.
What do you mean you're gonna take the bus?
I'll see you there.
How's life in Appeals? How's the judge?
-He sends his best. -He's a good man. Loyal.
Not the brightest man on the bench, although he has manners...
-and a nice head of silver hair. -He gives me a lot of responsibility.
Like writing his decisions and signing his name.
-He's a nice man. You cover admirably. -Thanks, Roy.
Who's this? Well, who the fuck are you?
-So, baby doll, what? -It's gonna be Cats.
Cats; it's about cats. Singing cats. You'll love it.
8:.00. Theater's always at 8:00.
Eat already, Joe. For Christ's sake, live a little.
-Roy, could you.... -Yeah, what?
-Oh, God fucking damn it. -Roy, I really....
Baby doll, ring up The Post. Get me Suzy.
Could you please not take the Lord's name in vain?
I'm sorry, but please.
At least while I'm....
Sorry, fuck. Only in America.
Baby doll, tell them all to fuck off, tell them I died.
-I'm sorry, Roy, it's just that-- -No, no.
Principles count. I respect principles.
I'm not religious, but I like God, God likes me.
-Baptist, Catholic, what? -Mormon.
Only in America.
So, Joe, what do you think?
-It's a.... -It's a crazy life.
-Chaotic. -God bless chaos, though, right?
I knew Mormons in Nevada.
-Utah, mostly. -No, these Mormons were in Vegas.
How would you like to go to Washington and work for the Justice Department?
-Sorry? -How would you like to go to Washington...
work for the Justice Department.
All I got to do is pick up the phone, talk to Ed, and you're in.
In what, exactly?
Associate, Assistant, something big.
Internal Affairs, heart of the woods, something nice, with clout.
-Ed-- -Meese, Attorney General.
-All I gotta do is pick up the phone. -But I have to think.
-Okay, great time to be in Washington, Joe. -Roy.
It means something to me, too, you understand.
I can't say how much I appreciate this, Roy. I'm sort of stunned.
Thanks, but I have to give it some thought. I have to ask my wife.
-Your wife, of course. -But I really appreciate it.
Of course. Talk to your wife.
To deep-throat a man, to give him intense pleasure...
a woman can simply lick the penis...
without actually putting the whole organ in her mouth...
and still provide the man with a lot of pleasure.
When women tell me that they have a problem with fellatio...
I often tell them to think of the penis as an ice cream cone.
Scientists say the hole in the ozone layer high above the Antarctic...
is now a record at 7 million square miles.
That's three times the size of the whole of the United States.
The hole appears as a giant blue blob totally covering Antarctica...
stretching out to the southern tip of South America.
Scientists say that with the hole so big this early in the year...
it could be set to grow even bigger.
I wish I could go traveling.
Things aren't right with me.
Cash, check, or credit card?
-You startled me. -Cash, check....
I remember you. You're from Salt Lake.
You sold us the plane tickets when we flew here.
-What are you doing in Brooklyn? -You said you wanted to travel.
of the lnternational Order of Travel Agents.
We mobilize the globe. We set people adrift.
We are adepts of motion...
acolytes of the flocks.
Cash, check, or credit card, name your destination.
Antarctica maybe? I want to see the hole in the ozone.
-I heard on the radio-- -We'll arrange a guided tour.
-Now? -Soon, maybe soon.
I'm not safe here, you see.
Weird stuff happens.
-Like? -Like you, for instance.
Just appearing. Or last week.
People are like planets, you need a thick skin.
Joe stays away, and now look, my dreams are talking back to me.
The price of rootlessness, motion sickness.
-Only cure, keep moving. -I'm undecided.
I feel that something's going to give. It's 1985...
fifteen years to the third millennium.
Maybe Christ will come again...
or maybe the troubles will come and the end will come.
The sky will collapse and there'll be terrible rain...
and showers of poison light....
Or maybe my life is really fine...
maybe Joe loves me and I'm only crazy thinking otherwise.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it's even worse than I know.
Maybe I want to know, maybe I don't.
The suspense, Mr. Lies, it's killing me.
I suggest a vacation.
That was the elevator. Oh, God, I should fix myself a....
You have to go. You shouldn't be here. You aren't even real.
-Call me when you decide. -Go.
I was just walking...
and I guess I came home.
-Are you.... -Yeah, I'm a little anxious.
Nothing to get anxious about.
How would you like to move to Washington?
She was pretty crazy.
She was up there in that home for ten years, talking to herself.
I never visited.
She looked too much like my mother.
Poor Louis, I'm sorry your grandma's dead.
Tiny little coffin.
I'm sorry I didn't introduce you.
I always get so closety at these family things.
You're getting butch.
Hey, Cousin Doris, you don't remember me, I'm Lou.
Rachel's boy, Lou.
Not Louis, cause if you say Louis, they'll hear the sibilant "s."
-I don't have a sibilant "s." -I don't blame you hiding.
Bloodlines. Jewish curses are the worst.
I personally would dissolve...
if anyone ever looks me in the eye and said, "Feh."
Fortunately, Wasps don't say, "Feh"...
and by the way, darling...
Cousin Doris is a dyke.
You don't notice anything.
If I hadn't spent the last four years fellating you...
I'd swear you were straight.
You're in a pissy mood. Cat still missing?
-Not a fur ball in sight. It's your fault. -lt is?
I warned you, Louis, names are important.
Call an animal Little Sheba, you can't expect it to stick around.
-Besides, that's a dog's name. -I wanted a dog in the first place, not a cat.
-He sprayed my books. -He was a female cat.
Cats are stupid high-strung predators. Babylonians sealed them up in bricks.
-Dogs have brains. -Cats have intuition.
A sharp dog is as smart as a really dull 2-year-old child.
-Cats know when something's wrong. -Only if you stop feeding them.
They know. That's why Sheba left. She knew.
I did my best Shirley Booth this morning.
Floppy slippers, housecoat, curlers, can of Little Friskies.
"Come back, Little Sheba...
To no avail.
That's just a burst blood vessel.
Not according to the best medical authorities.
What? Tell me.
Chaos, baby. Lesion number one.
The wine-dark kiss of the angel of death.
I'm a lesionnaire. Foreign lesion.
The American lesion.
-Lesionnaire's disease. -Stop.
-My troubles are lesions. -Will you stop?
Don't you think I'm handling this well?
-I'm gonna die. -Bullshit.
-Let go of my arm. Let go. -No.
I can't find a way to spare you, baby.
No wall like the wall of hard scientific fact.
-Bang your head on that. -Fuck you.
Now that's what I like to hear, a mature reaction.
Let's go see if the cat's come home.
When did you find this?
-I couldn't tell you. -Why?
-I was scared, Lou. -Of what?
That you'll leave me.
Bad timing, funeral and all, but...
I figured since we're on the subject of death....
Here's the bus. I have to go bury my grandma.
-then you'll come home? -Then I'll come home.
-It's an incredible honor-- -I have to think.
-Of course. -Say no.
-You said you were gonna think about it. -I don't wanna move to Washington.
Well, I do.
It's a giant cemetery. Huge white graves. Mausoleums everywhere.
We could live in Maryland or Georgetown.
-We're happy here. -That's not really true, buddy.
Happy enough, pretend happy, it's better than nothing.
-It's time we make some changes, Harper. -No changes. Why?
I've been chief clerk for four years.
I make $29,000 a year. That's ridiculous.
I graduated fourth in my class, I make less than anyone I know.
I'm tired of being a clerk.
I wanna go where something good is happening.
Nothing good happens in Washington.
We'll forget Church teachings...
and buy furniture at Conran's...
and become yuppies.
-I have too much to do here. -Like what?
-I do have things. -What things?
I have to finish painting the bedroom.
You've been painting in there for over a year.
I know, it just isn't done, because I never get time to finish it.
That doesn't make sense.
You have all the time in the world.
-You could finish it when I'm at work. -I'm afraid to go in there alone.
-Afraid of what? -I heard something in there.
Metal scraping on the wall, a man with a knife, maybe.
There's no one in the bedroom.
-Not now. -Not this morning, either.
How do you know? You were at work this morning.
There's something creepy about this place. Remember Rosemary's Baby?
-Rosemary's Baby? -Our apartment looks like that one.
-Wasn't that apartment in Brooklyn? -No.
Well, it looked like this.
-lt did. -Then let's move.
Georgetown is worse. The Exorcist was in Georgetown.
-The devil everywhere you turn, buddy? -Yeah, everywhere.
How many pills today, buddy?
Three, only three.
Thank you, that was a lovely....
My grandma, just buried.
Why are there just two little wooden pegs holding the lid down?
So that she can get out easier if she wants to.
I hope she stays put.
I pretended for years that she was already dead.
When they called to say she had died, it was a surprise. I had abandoned her.
I don't speak Yiddish.
Sharper than the serpent's tooth is an ungrateful child.
Rabbi, what does the Holy Writ say...
about someone who abandons someone he loves...
at a time of great need?
Why would a person do such a thing?
Because he has to.
Maybe this person can't...
incorporate sickness into his sense of how things are supposed to go.
Maybe vomit and sores and disease really frighten him.
Maybe he isn't so good with death.
The Holy Scripture has nothing to say about such a person.
Rabbi, I'm afraid of the crimes I may commit.
Please, mister, I'm a sick old rabbi...
facing a long drive home to the Bronx.
You want to confess, better you should find a priest.
I'm not a Catholic, I'm a Jew.
Worse luck for you, bubeleh.
Catholics believe in forgiveness. Jews believe in guilt.
You just make sure those pegs are in good and tight.
Don't worry, mister, the life she had, she'll stay put.
She's better off.
I know this is scary for you, but try to understand what it means to me.
-Will you try? -Yes.
Good. Really try.
Things are starting to change in the world.
-I don't wanna-- -Wait. For the good.
Change for the good.
America has rediscovered itself.
Its sacred position among nations.
People aren't ashamed of it like they used to be.
This is a great thing. The truth restored, law restored.
That's what President Reagan's done, Harper.
He says truth exists and can be spoken proudly...
and the country responds to him.
We become better, more good.
I need to be a part of that. I need something big to lift me up.
Six years ago, the world seemed in decline...
horrible, hopeless, full of unsolvable problems...
and crime, confusion, hunger....
But it still seems that way, more now than before.
You see the ozone layer....
Today out the window on Atlantic Avenue...
there was this schizophrenic traffic cop who was making--
Will you stop it? I'm trying to make a point.
-So am l. -You aren't even making sense.
My point is the world seems just--
It only seems that way to you because you never go out...
and you have emotional problems.
-I do so get out in the world. -No, you don't.
You stay in all day fretting about imaginary--
I get out.
I do. You don't know what I do.
-You don't stay in all day? -No.
-Yes, you do. -That's what you think.
-Where do you go? -Where do you go when you walk?
-And I do not have emotional problems. -I'm sorry.
If I do have emotional problems, it's from living with you or--
I'm sorry, I didn't mean--
Then you should have never married me. You have all these...
secrets and lies.
-I want to be married to you, Harper. -You shouldn't. You never should....
I heard on the radio how to give a blow job.
-What? -Do you want to try?
-You shouldn't listen to such-- -Mormons can give blow jobs.
It was a little Jewish lady with a German accent.
Now is a good time for me to make a baby.
Then they went on to a program about holes in the ozone layer...
birds go blind...
The world's coming to an end.
-Morning. -Good morning, Counselor.
Sorry, I don't know your name.
Don't bother. A word processor, the lowest of the low.
-Joe Pitt, I'm with Justice Wilson. -I know that.
Counselor Pitt, Chief Clerk.
-Are you okay? -Yes, thanks.
What a nice man.
-Not so nice. -What?
Not so nice. Nothing.
-Life just sucks shit. -I'm sorry?
Thanks for asking.
I mean, it really is nice of you.
-Sorry. Sick friend. -I'm sorry.
Three of your colleagues have preceded you to this baleful sight...
and you're the first one to ask.
The others just opened the door, saw me, and fled.
I hope they had to pee real bad.
They just didn't want to intrude.
Reaganite, heartless, macho, asshole lawyers.
What is? Heartless, macho, Reaganite...
-I voted for Reagan. -You did?
-Well, oh, boy, a gay Republican. -Excuse me?
I'm not.... No, forget it.
Republican, not Republican?
-What? -Not gay. I'm not gay.
It's just that....
Sometimes you can tell from the way a person sounds.
-You sound-- -No, I don't.
-Like what? -Like a Republican.
Do I sound like a....
What, like a Republican?
Or do l?
-Do you what? -Sound like a--
Yeah, like a....
-I'm confused. -Yes.
My name is Louis, but all my friends call me Louise.
I work in word processing. Thanks for the toilet paper.
"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. De Mille."
One wants to move through life with elegance and grace.
Blossoming infrequently, but with exquisite taste...
and perfect timing.
Like a rare bloom...
a zebra orchid.
but one so seldom gets what one wants.
One does not.
One gets fucked over.
One dies at 30.
Robbed of decades of majesty--
Fuck this shit.
I look like a corpse.
You know you've hit rock bottom when even drag is a drag.
Who are you?
Who are you?
What are you doing in my hallucination?
I'm not in your hallucination. You're in my dream.
You're wearing makeup.
-So are you. -But you're a man.
My hands and feet give it away.
There must be some mistake here. I don't recognize you.
Are you my...
-some sort of imaginary friend? -No.
Aren't you too old to have imaginary friends?
I have emotional problems, I took too many pills.
Why are you wearing makeup?
I was in the process of applying the face, trying to make myself feel better.
I swiped the new fall colors at the Clinique counter at Macy's.
You stole these?
I was out of cash, it was an emotional emergency.
Joe will be so angry. I promised him no more pills.
These pills you keep alluding to....
Valium, I take Valium. Lots of Valium.
And you're dancing as fast as you can.
I'm not addicted. I don't believe in addiction and l....
-I never drink and I never take drugs. -Smell you, Nancy Drew.
-Except for Valium. -Except Valium in wee fistfuls.
It's terrible. Mormons are not supposed to be addicted to anything.
-I'm a Mormon. -I'm a homosexual.
In my church, we don't believe in homosexuals.
In my church, we don't believe in Mormons.
What church do....
I get it.
I don't understand this.
If I didn't ever see you before...
and I don't think I did, then I don't think you should be here...
in this hallucination...
because in my experience, the mind, which is where hallucinations come from...
shouldn't be able to make up anything that wasn't there to start with...
that didn't enter it from experience from the real world.
Imagination can't create anything new, can it?
It only recycles bits and pieces from the world...
and reassembles them into visions. Am I making sense right now?
Given the circumstances, yes.
When we think we've escaped the unbearable ordinariness...
and untruthfulness of our lives...
it's really only the same old ordinariness and falseness rearranged...
into the appearance of novelty and truth.
Nothing unknown is knowable.
Don't you think it's depressing?
-The limitations of the imagination? -Yes.
It's something you learn after your second theme party.
It's all been done before.
The world, finite...
This is the most depressing hallucination I ever had.
Apologies. I do try to be amusing.
Don't apologize, you....
I can't expect someone who's really sick to entertain me.
-How on earth did you know? -That happens.
This is the very threshold of revelations sometimes. You can see things.
How sick you are.
Do you see anything about me?
-You are amazingly unhappy. -Big deal.
You meet a Valium addict, you figure out she's unhappy...
that doesn't count. Of course.... Something else?
-Something surprising? -Yes.
Your husband's a homo.
-Really? -Threshold of revelation.
I don't like your revelations. I don't think you intuit well at all.
Joe's a very normal man.
Do homos take, like, lots of long walks?
Yes, we do. In stretch pants with lavender coifs.
-I just looked at you and there was-- -A sort of blue streak of recognition.
-Yes. -Like you knew me incredibly well.
I have to go now, get back, something just...
I feel so sad.
I usually say fuck the truth.
But mostly the truth fucks you.
I see something else about you.
Deep inside you, there's a part of you...
the most inner part...
entirely free of disease.
I can see that.
That isn't true.
Threshold of revelation.
People come and go so strangely here.
I don't think there is any uninfected part of me.
My heart is pumping polluted blood.
I feel dirty.
Who is that?
Look up. Prepare the way.
I don't see any--
Prepare for the parting of the air...
the breath, the ascent.
What the fuck.
Is that it?
Poor, poor me. Why me?
Why poor, poor me?
I don't feel good right now. I really don't.
Where were you?
-Where were you? -Out.
-Where? -Just out, thinking.
-I had a lot to think about. -I burned dinner.
Not my dinner. My dinner was fine. Your dinner.
I put it back in the oven and turned everything up high...
and I watched till it burned black.
It's still hot, very hot, want it?
You didn't have to do that.
I know. It just seemed like the kind of thing...
a mentally deranged, sex-starved, pill-popping housewife would do.
So I did it. Who knows anymore what I have to do?
-How many pills? -A bunch. Don't change the subject.
-I won't talk to you. -No, don't do that. I'm fine.
Pills are not the problem, not our problem.
I wanna know where you've been, and I wanna know what's going on.
-Going on with what? The job? -Not the job.
I said I needed more time.
I talked to Mr. Cohn on the phone, he said that I had to hurry.
-But I can't get you to talk sensibly about-- -Shut up!
-Stick to the subject! -I don't know what that is!
You have something you wanna ask me, ask me.
Ask me. Go.
I can't. I'm scared of you.
I'm tired. I'm going to bed.
Tell me without making me ask, please.
This is crazy. I'm not....
When you come through the door...
your face is never exactly the way I remembered it.
I get surprised by something mean and hard about the way you look...
even the weight of you in the bed at night...
the way you breathe in your sleep...
seems unfamiliar. You terrify me.
I know who you are.
Yes, I'm the enemy. That's easy. That doesn't change.
You think you're the only who hates sex? I do. I hate it with you.
I dream that you batter away at me till my joints come apart like wax...
and I fall into pieces. It's like a punishment.
It was wrong of me to marry you. I knew....
It's a sin and it's killing us both.
I can always tell you've taken pills because it makes you red-faced and sweaty.
And frankly, that's very often why I don't want to....
-Because.... -Because you aren't pretty.
Not like this.
-I have something I wanna ask-- -Then ask! What the hell are you--
Are you a homo?
You try to walk out right now...
I'll put your dinner back in the oven and turn it up so high...
the building will fill with smoke, and everyone in it will asphyxiate.
So help me God, I will. Now answer the question.
-What if l.... -Then tell me, please, and we'll see.
I don't see what difference it makes.
Jews don't have any clear textual guide to the afterlife.
I mean even that it exists.
I don't think much about it.
I see it as a perpetual rainy Thursday afternoon in March...
For us, it's not the verdict that counts, it's the act of judgment.
That's why I can never be a lawyer. In court, all that matters is the verdict.
You can never be a lawyer because you're oversexed.
And too distracted.
Not distracted, abstracted.
-I'm trying to make a point. -Namely?
The shaping of the law, not its execution.
The point, dear, the point.
That it should be the questions and shape of a life...
its total complexity, gathered, arranged, and considered...
which matters in the end.
Not some stamp of salvation or damnation...
which disperses all the complexity in some unsatisfying little decision.
-The balancing of the scales-- -I like this.
It's reassuringly incomprehensible and useless.
We, who are about to die, thank you.
You are not about to die.
It's not going well, really.
Two new lesions...
my leg hurts, there's protein in my urine, the doctor says...
but who know what the fuck that portends.
Anyway it shouldn't be there. The protein.
My butt is chapped from diarrhea.
And yesterday I shat blood.
I really hate this.
-You don't tell me-- -You get too upset.
I wind up comforting you.
-It's easier. -Oh, thanks.
If it's bad, I'll tell you.
Shitting blood sounds bad to me.
-I'm telling you-- -And I'm handling it.
Tell me some more about justice.
I am handling it.
Well, Louis, you win trooper of the month.
I take it back. You aren't trooper of the month.
This isn't working.
Tell me some more about justice.
You are not about to die.
-Justice.... -ls an immensity, it's confusing.
Vastness, justice is God.
You love me?
What if I walked out on this?
Would you hate me forever?
I think we ought to pray.
Ask God for help.
Ask him together.
God won't talk to me.
-I have to make up people to talk to me. -You have to keep asking.
I forgot the question.
-Oh, yeah. God, is my husband a homo? -Stop it!
I'm warning you!
Does it make any difference that I might be one thing deep within?
No matter how wrong or ugly that thing is...
so long as I have fought with everything I have to kill it?
What do you want from me?
What do you want from me, Harper, more than that?
For God's sake, there's nothing left.
I'm a shell. There's nothing left to kill.
As long as my behavior is what I know it has to be, decent, correct...
that alone in the eyes of God....
No, not that. That's Utah talk, Mormon talk. I hate it, Joe.
Tell me, say it.
All I will say is that I'm a very good man...
who has worked very hard to become good...
and you wanna destroy that.
You wanna destroy me but I am not gonna let you do that.
I'm gonna have a baby.
-Liar. -You liar.
A baby born addicted to pills.
A baby who does not dream, but who hallucinates...
who stares up at us with big mirror eyes...
and who does not know who we are.
-Are you really? -No.
Get away from me.
Now we both have a secret.
Nobody knows what causes it.
And nobody knows how to cure it.
The best theory is that we blame a retrovirus.
The human immunodeficiency virus.
Its presence is made known to us by the useless antibodies...
which appear in reaction to its entrance into the bloodstream through a cut.
Or an orifice.
The antibodies are powerless to protect the body against it.
Why? We don't know.
The body's immune system ceases to function.
Sometimes the body even attacks itself.
At any rate, it's left open to a whole horror house of infections...
from microbes it usually defends against.
Like Kaposi's sarcomas...
those lesions on your arms, or your throat problem.
Or the glands.
We think it may also be able to slip past the blood-brain barrier into the brain.
Which is, of course, very bad news.
It's fatal in we don't know what percent of people with suppressed immune responses.
Why the fuck are you telling me this?
Well, I have just removed one of three lesions...
which biopsy results will probably tell us is a Kaposi's sarcoma lesion.
And you have a pronounced swelling of glands...
in your neck, groin, and armpits.
Lymphadenopathy is another sign.
And you have oral candidiasis.
And maybe a little more fungus under the fingernails...
of two digits on your right hand.
That's why I'm....
-This disease.... -Syndrome.
It afflicts mostly homosexuals and drug addicts.
Hemophiliacs are also at risk.
Homosexuals and drug addicts.
So why are you implying that l....
What are you implying, Henry?
-I don't think I was implying anything. -I'm not a drug addict.
-Come on, Roy. -What? "Come on, Roy" what?
You think I'm a junkie, Henry?
Do you see tracks?
This is absurd.
So say it.
Say, "Roy Cohn, you are a...."
-Roy. -"You are a...." Go on.
Not, "Roy Cohn, you are a drug fiend."
"Roy Marcus Cohn, you are a...."
Go on, Henry, it starts with an "H."
-I'm not gonna get into-- -With an "H," Henry...
and it isn't "hemophiliac."
-Why are you doing this, Roy? -No, I mean it. Say it.
Say, "Roy Cohn, you are a homosexual."
And I will proceed systematically...
to destroy your reputation.
And your practice.
And your career in the state of New York, Henry.
Which you know I can do.
You have been seeing me since U958.
Apart from the face lifts, I have treated you for everything from syphilis--
From a whore in Dallas.
...from syphilis to venereal warts in your rectum...
which you may have gotten from a whore in Dallas.
But it wasn't a female whore.
So say it.
Roy Cohn, you are....
You have had sex with men. Many, many times, Roy.
And one of those men or any number of them has made you very sick.
You have AlDS.
You know, your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words...
that you believe they mean what they seem to mean.
AlDS, homosexual, gay, lesbian.
You think these are names that tell you who someone sleeps with?
-They don't tell you that. -No?
Like all labels, they tell you one thing and one thing only.
Where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain...
in the pecking order?
Not an ideology or a sexual taste, but something much simpler:.
Not who I fuck or who fucks me...
but who will pick up the phone when I call.
Who owes me favors.
This is what a label refers to.
Now, to someone who does not understand this...
homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men.
But really, this is wrong.
Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men.
Homosexuals are men...
who, in U5 years of trying...
cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill through city council.
Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows.
Who have zero clout.
Does this sound like me, Henry?
I have clout. Lots.
I pick up this phone, I punch U5 numbers, you know who's on the other end?
-ln under five minutes, Henry. -The President.
Better, Henry. His wife.
I don't want you to be impressed. I want you to understand.
This is not sophistry and this is not hypocrisy.
This is reality.
I have sex with men...
but unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true...
I bring the guy I'm screwing to the White House.
And President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand...
what I am is defined entirely by who I am.
Roy Cohn is not a homosexual.
Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry...
who fucks around with guys.
And what is my diagnosis, Henry?
-You have AlDS, Roy. -No. Henry, no.
AlDS is what homosexuals have.
I have liver cancer.
Whatever the fuck you have...
it's very serious.
And I haven't got a damn thing for you.
The NlH in Bethesda has a new drug called...
with a two-year waiting list that not even I can get you onto.
So pick up the phone, Roy...
and dial the 15 numbers...
and tell the First Lady that you need it on an experimental treatment for liver cancer...
because you can call it any damn thing you want, Roy.
But what it boils down to...
is very bad news.
A I - Artificial Intelligence
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