Well, here we are.
I turn down here at the next block. Thanks, mister. I’ll get off there. Want anything else?
– No. Hey, you. Me?
– Yeah, you. Where ya heading? East.
– Too bad. I thought if you was headin’ north,
I might be able to help you out. Pushing to Salt Lake,
and I don’t like to ride alone at night. I’m one of those guys that gotta talk
or I fall asleep. So I gotta get my– My partner,
he’s got Lou to keep him company. But I ain’t got nobody at all. Where ya comin’ from?
– West. Yeah, sure, I know,
but where? LA? Maybe.
– Got a cousin out in LA. You don’t say?
– Yeah, he’s been out — You’re not much of a talker, are ya? My mother taught me
never to speak to strangers. A wise guy?
– So what? Okay, okay. Don’t get sore.
Just trying to be sociable, that’s all. Hey, Glamorous. Give me change for a dime, will ya? Let’s have something quieter this time, Joe. My head’s splitting.
– Is that what’s wrong with it? Done with your coffee?
– No. And don’t rush me, will ya? Hey, turn that off.
Will ya turn that thing off? What’s eating you now?
– Yeah, what’s eating you? That music. It stinks.
– You don’t like it? No, turn it off.
– Now wait a minute, pal. That was my nickel, see? This is a free country,
and I play whatever I want to. Okay. Sure. And if you don’t like,
you don’t have to listen to it. And you can leave here
anytime you wanna. Okay, okay. I’m sorry I asked. First good piece played tonight,
and you don’t like it. Some people just ain’t got any good taste. That tune. That tune. Why was there always that rotten tune? Following me around, beating in my head,
never letting up. Did you ever wanna forget anything? Did you ever wanna cut away
a piece of your memory or blot it out? You can’t, you know?
No matter how hard you try. You can change the scenery, but sooner or later
you’ll get a whiff of perfume, or somebody will say a certain phrase
or maybe hum something. Then you’re licked again. ‘I Can’t Believe That
You’re in Love with Me.’ I used to love that song once. So did the customers back in the old
Break O’ Dawn Club in New York. I can’t remember a night when I didn’t get
at least three requests for it. Sue, she was always selling it too. Those were the days. ♪ Your eyes of blue Your kisses too ♪… ♪ I never knew what they could do ♪… ♪ I can’t believe that
you’re in love with me ♪… ♪ You’re telling everyone you know ♪… ♪ That I’m on your mind
each place you go ♪… ♪ They can’t believe
That you’re in love with me ♪… ♪ I have always placed
you far above me ♪… ♪ I just can’t imagine that you love me ♪… ♪ And after all is said and done ♪… ♪ To think that I’m the lucky one ♪… ♪ I can’t believe that
you’re in love with me ♪ It wasn’t much of a club, really. You know the kind. A joint where you could have a sandwich
and a few drinks, and run interference for your girl
on the dance floor. I fronted the piano in there every night… from 8:00 until the place closed up, which usually meant 4:00 in the morning. A good job as jobs went in those days. Then, too, there was Sue, who made working there
a little like working in heaven. But how we felt about each other, well,
there was nothing very unusual in that. I was an ordinary healthy guy,
and she was an ordinary healthy girl, and when you add those two together,
you get an ordinary healthy romance, which is the old story. Sure. But somehow
the most wonderful thing in the world. All in all, I was a pretty lucky guy. Mr. Patterewsky, I presume?
It’s beautiful. You’re going to make Carnegie Hall yet, Al. Yeah. As a janitor. I’ll make my debut in the basement. I don’t blame you for being bitter,
darling, but you mustn’t give up hope. Why, some day—
– Yeah, some day, if I don’t get arthritis first. In the meantime, let’s blow this trap. Like to get something to eat, hon?
– I don’t think so, Al. I lose my appetite working in this fleabag. Let’s go home.
– Okay. I can’t stand much more of that dump. Did you see that drunk tonight
trying to paw me? No, what drunk?
– Does it matter what drunk? Say, what’s the matter
with you tonight, darling? That’s the third time you started
to tell me something and then stopped. We shouldn’t have any secrets
from each other, Sue. Next week, we’re gonna make with a ring
and a license. We’ll be a team. Yes, that’s right. In the bush league. I don’t get ya.
– We’ve been struck out. That’s a funny way to talk, darling. Don’t you wanna marry me?
– Al, look, I love you. You know I do.
And I want to marry you. But…?
– But not now. Only after we’ve made good. Sunday I’m going away. I know you’ll think it’s silly. That’s why I hesitated to tell you. But I’m going to California. I wanna try my luck in Hollywood. That’s the most stupid thing I ever heard of. Don’t you know millions
of people go out there… every year and wind up
polishing cuspidors? I thought you had better sense. You sound as if you think
I don’t have any talent. That has nothing to do with it.
– I’ll make out all right. Maybe. But what about me? Doesn’t it mean anything to you
that you’re busting up all our plans? We may not see each other for years?
– It won’t be that long. I thought you loved me.
– I do. You know I do. Well, here we are. Al… Al, why can’t you see my side of it? I’m young. We both are. And… And we’ve got all the time in the world
to settle down. Really, darling. What I’m doing is the only sane thing to do. I… I hate the thought
of being so far away from you. But… But we’ll be together again some day. Maybe you’ll decide
to come out too, later on. So long.
– Al. Aren’t you gonna kiss me good night? Sure, why not? Good night. Say, Roberts. You hit the jackpot this time. Ten bucks. Thanks. So when this drunk handed me
a ten-spot after a request, I couldn’t get very excited. What was it, I asked myself?
A piece of paper crawling with germs. Couldn’t buy anything I wanted. It couldn’t… Then I thought of something. Long distance. I’d like to put a call through to Los Angeles. Miss Harvey. Sue Harvey. H-A-R-V-E-Y. The number is CRestview 65723. 4.50. 4.75. 5.00. Hello, Sue? This is Al. Baby, it’s great to hear from you too. What’s that? You do?
Me too, darling. I thought I’d go batty without you.
I just had to — You’re workin’ as a hash slinger? Gee, honey, that’s tough. Those guys out in Hollywood don’t know… the real thing when it’s
right in front of them. You just stick it out, Sue, baby. Keep goin’ around to those casting offices.
I’m sure you’ll click. Look, I’ll tell you what.
You stay put out there. I’ll come to you. No, don’t try to stop me. Just expect me. Train? Who knows?
Train, plane, bus, magic carpet. I’ll be there if I have to crawl.
If I have to travel by pogo stick. And then… let’s get married right away. That’s the stuff. That’s what
I’ve been wanting to hear you say. Well, good-bye for now. I’ll be seeing you soon. Yeah. Bye. The only way I could
cross country was to thumb rides, for even after hocking everything,
I only had enough money to eat. Money. You know what that is. It’s the stuff you never have enough of. Little green things
with George Washington’s picture… that men slave for,
commit crimes for, die for. It’s the stuff that has caused
more trouble in the world… than anything else we ever invented, simply because there’s too little of it. At least I had too little of it. So it was me for the thumb. Ever done any hitchhiking? It’s not much fun, believe me. Yeah,
I know all about how it’s an education, and how you get to meet a lot of people,
and all that. But me, from now on
I’ll take my education in college, or in P. S. 62, or I’ll send $1.98
in stamps for ten easy lessons. Thumbing rides may save you bus fare,
but it’s dangerous. You never know what’s in store for you
when you hear the squeal of brakes. If only I had known what I was getting into
that day in Arizona. Here, throw that in the back seat. Okay, let’s go.
Make sure that door’s closed. You know, Emily Post ought to write
a book of rules for guys thumbing rides. Because as it is now you never know
what’s right and what’s wrong. We rode along for a little while,
neither one of us saying anything. I was glad of that. I never know what to say
to strange people driving cars. And too, you can never tell
if a guy wants to talk. A lot of rides have been cut short
because of a big mouth. So I kept my mouth shut
until he started opening up. Hand me that little box
in the compartment, will ya, pal? Hold the wheel, will ya? How far are ya going?
– LA. Well, you’re really traveling aren’t ya? Yeah, but I don’t expect to make it
for a couple years… at the rate I’ve been promoting rides. Not much luck? Sure. All bad. Not many people stop for a guy these days. Afraid of a stickup maybe. You can’t blame ’em. Where ya comin’ from?
– New York. Well, New York. You’re in luck this time. I’m goin’ all the way. Right through to Los Angeles. You drive a car?
– Sure. Whenever you’re tired, let me know.
– I’ll holler. I guess at least an hour passed
before I noticed… those deep scratches in his right hand. They were wicked. Three puffy red lines
about a quarter of an inch apart. He must have seen me looking at them
because he said… Beauties, aren’t they? They’re gonna be scars someday. What an animal. Whatever it was, it must have been
pretty big and vicious to have done that. Right on both counts, New York. I was tussling with the most
dangerous animal in the world —… a woman. She must have been Tarzan’s mate. Looks like you lost the bout. Certainly wasn’t a draw. You know, there ought to be a law
against dames with claws. Yeah. I tossed her out of the car on her ear. Was I wrong? Give a lift to a tomato,
you expect her to be nice, don’t ya? Yeah. After all, what kind of dames thumb rides? Sunday school teachers?
– Yeah. The little witch. She must’ve thought she was riding
with some fall guy. And me who’s been booking horses
around racetracks since I was 20. I’ve known a million dames like her. Two million.
– Yeah. Stopped the car, opened the door… ‘Take it on the Arthur Duffy, sister,’
I told her. That’s the stuff.
– As I was down on her. But if you wanna see a real scar, brother,
get a load of this. Wow. I got that one dueling.
– Dueling? Yeah. We were just kidding, of course. My dad owned a couple of
Franco-Prussian sabers. Kept ’em on the wall for decorations. One day, another kid and I took ’em down… when the old man wasn’t
around. Had a duel. He hit me in the arm, here. Pretty mean cut. Infection set in later. Yeah, I can see that. Gimme that box again, will ya?
– Yeah. Pain made me lose my head, I guess. I began slashing. Before I knew it,
I put the other kid’s eye out. That was tough.
– Well, it was just an accident, of course. But you know how kids are. I got scared —
decided I was gonna run away from home. Old man almost clocked me
when I was packin’ my duds. If the bloody rag I had
wrapped around my wrist… hadn’t caught his attention, he’d have seen the bundle for sure. But I beat it when he
was phoning for a doctor. That was 15, 16 years ago.
I haven’t been home since. Pull in there for a bite of something? A bite of something. Brother, was I hungry. I hadn’t had anything in
my stomach for hours. Yet even with that gnawing
in the pit of my belly, I didn’t want to be in too big a rush
to put on the feed bag. First, I had to make sure
this guy knew the score. If I got him down on me,
it was good-bye ticket to Hollywood. I’ll wait out here for you, mister. If it’s the money, don’t worry about
paying for it. This time it’s on me. Well, that’s white of you, Mr. —
– Haskell. Think nothing of it. You make your first million, maybe you can
do the same for me. Come on, New York. I gotta make the West Coast by Wednesday. There’s a horse running at
Santa Anita named Paradisiacal. Means dough to me if I’m running.
– We’ll make it all right. He did most of the talking
during the half hour we were in the place. I ate. He rambled on about his
old man, who he hadn’t… heard from since he ran away as a kid, and how he happened to become a bookie, and then all about how
he got rooked in Miami. One race, 38 grand.
They cleaned out my book. How do you like that?
– That was tough luck. Yeah, and I’m supposed
to be the smart guy. You just wait. I’m going back to Florida
next season with all kinds of jack. And you watch those stinkers run for cover. Want anything else?
– No, thanks, I’ve had plenty. The check there, sister? Just a minute. Your change, sir. Keep it, sister.
– Thank you, sir. Call again. I’ll be waitin’ outside for you
when you finish work. Sharp chick? I drove all that night
while Haskell slept like a log. After a while, I began to get sleepy myself. I was happy though.
Soon I’d be with Sue again. The long trip was practically over, and there’d be no more hoofing it
down the concrete. I began to think of the future, which couldn’t have been brighter
if I’d embroidered it with neon lights. It was nice to think of
Sue shooting to the top. It’s amazing what a full belly
can do to your imagination. ♪ Your eyes are blue Your kisses too ♪… ♪ I never knew what they could do ♪… ♪ I can’t believe that
you’re in love with me ♪… ♪ You’re telling everyone you know ♪… ♪ I’m on your mind each place you go ♪… ♪ I can’t believe that you’re in love ♪… ♪ With me ♪ Mr. Haskell. Mr. Haskell? Mr. Haskell, wake up. It’s raining. Don’t you think we ought to stop
and put up the top? Mr. Haskell, I’m gonna put up the top. Until then,
I’d done things my way. But from then on, something else
stepped in and shunted me off… to a different destination
than the one I had picked for myself. For when I pulled open that door… Mr. Haskell, what’s the matter?
Are you hurt? Are you hurt, Mr. Haskell? Start your sermon. I’ll listen to it. But I know what you’re gonna hand me
even before you open your mouths. You’re gonna tell me you don’t believe
my story of how Haskell died… and give me that ‘don’t make me laugh’
expression on your smug faces. I saw at once he was dead. And I was in for it. Who would believe he fell out of the car? If Haskell came to, which,
of course, he couldn’t, even he would swear
I conked him over the head for his dough. Yes, I was in for it. Instinct told me to run,
but then I realized it was hopeless. There were lots of people
back down the road… who could identify me. That gas station guy and the waitress. I would be in a worse spot then
trying to explain why I beat it. The next possibility was to sit tight
and tell the truth when the cops came. But that would be crazy.
They’d laugh at the truth. And I’d have my head in a noose. So what else was there to do
but hide the body and get away in the car? I couldn’t leave the car there
with him in the gully. That would be like erecting a tombstone. My idea was to cover him with brush,
not to rob him. But then I remembered that even if
I only drove the car for 100 miles or so, I would need money for gas. Besides, it was stupid of me
to leave all that money on a dead man. Not only that,
I’d have to take his driver’s license… in case I was stopped for something. I didn’t like to think about it, but by that time I’d done
just what the police would say I did. Even if I didn’t… My clothes. The owner of such an expensive car
would never be wearing them. Some cop might pull me in on suspicion. Hey, you. This your car? Don’t you know better than to leave a car… with the wheels halfway in
the middle of the road? That’s the way accidents happen. I… I’m sorry, Officer.
I was just putting up my top. I didn’t think.
– Well, the next time, think. I’ll let you go now,
but watch your step in the future. I know that it’s a lonely stretch,
but cars come by here once in a while. We have plenty of crack-ups.
– Thanks, Officer. I left nothing in the car
that’d give me away as Roberts. If they found a dead man in the gully now,
it could be me. As I drove off, it was still raining. The drops streaked
down the windshield like tears. I kept imagining I was being followed, that I could hear sirens
back in the distance. Just how long it took to cover the 60-odd
miles to the California state line, I don’t know. I lost all track of time. But the rain had stopped
and the sun was up… when I pulled up to the inspection station. Hello. Carrying any fruits or vegetables?
– No. Any livestock or poultry?
– No. I’d like to see your registration
and driver’s license, please. Anything in the baggage compartment?
– Just baggage. Charles Haskell Jr.
Age 30, brown eyes, dark hair. Identifying marks, none. Are you Charles Haskell Jr.?
– Yes. Well, remember, if you’re employed,
and you stay over 30 days, you take out California plates. All right, Officer, but I’ll only be
in the state a short while. Right. You can go now. I couldn’t drive any farther
without some sleep. Cops or no cops, I knew
I had to hit the hay and hit it hard. I was dead tired. No. No, you can’t, Mr. Haskell. No. Mr. Haskell, you can’t die. They’ll think… They’ll think I did it. No, Mr. Haskell. No, no… Who’s there? It’s the maid. Can I come in and clean? Later… in a half-hour. All right, sir. There was no time to lose. Every minute I had to be Charles Haskell
was dangerous. I’d have to be Charles Haskell
until I got to some city… where I could leave the car
and be swallowed up. That meant driving the car
as far as San Bernardino, maybe even to Los Angeles. In a little town, I might be noticed. But in a city, I should be safe enough. Then, after I ditched the car,
I could go on to Sue. But those five minutes at the state line
made me realize… it might be a good idea to find out
a little bit about Mr. Haskell. Then if anybody asked me questions,
I could give the right answers. The first thing I found out
was that I had $768. This was a lot of jack, but believe me, it was the kind of money I’d rather not have. And then I found out from a letter
Haskell was carting around in his bag… that he wasn’t the openhanded,
easygoing big shot… who went around buying dinners
for strange hitchhikers. Before I got done reading it,
I saw him more as a chiseler. It was written to his old man in California, the one he hadn’t seen in so many years. In it, Haskell posed as a salesman…
of hymnals, of all things. It was easy to see where Haskell expected… to raise a new stake for
his book in Miami—… by rooking his old man. That was about all I found out
from his effects. And it was enough. I told myself maybe old man Haskell
was lucky his son kicked off. He would never know it, but it saved him from taking a flier
in sacred literature preferred. Near the airport at Desert Center,
I pulled up for water. There was a woman. Hey, you. Come on if you want a ride. How far you goin’? How far are you going? That took me by surprise.
I turned my head to look her over. She was facing straight ahead,
so I couldn’t see her eyes. But she was young, not more than 24. Man, she looked as if
she’d just been thrown off… the crummiest freight train in the world. Yet, in spite of this,
I got the impression of beauty. Not the beauty of a movie actress,
mind you, or the beauty you dream about
when you’re with your wife, but a natural beauty, a beauty that’s almost homely
because it’s so real. Then, suddenly, she turned to face me. How far did you say you were going?
– Los Angeles. LA? LA’s good enough for me, mister.
– That’s what I was afraid of. What’d you say?
– Nothing. Just thinking out loud. People get in trouble for doing that. What’s your name?
– You can call me Vera, if you like. You live in Los Angeles?
– No. Where you coming from?
– Back there. Needles?
– No. Sure. Phoenix.
You look just like a Phoenix girl. Are the girls in Phoenix that bad? The girl must have been pretty tired… because she fell asleep not 20 minutes
after she stepped into the car. She lay sprawled out with her head resting
against the far door, like Haskell. I didn’t like that part of it much,
but I didn’t wake her up. It wasn’t that this girl still worried me. I’d gotten over that funny feeling
I had when she looked at me, which I put down
as just my jangled nerves. With her eyes closed
and the tenseness gone out of her, she seemed harmless enough. Instead of disliking her,
I began to feel sorry for her. The poor kid probably
had had a rough time of it. Who was she, anyway? And why was she going to Los Angeles? And where’d she come from
in the first place? The only thing I knew about her
was her name. Not that it made any difference. A few hours more and
we’d be in Hollywood. I’d forget where I parked the car
and look up Sue. This nightmare of being a dead man
would be over. Who this dame was, well,
it was no business of mine. Where did you leave his body?
Where did you leave the owner of this car? You’re not fooling anyone. This buggy belongs to
a guy named Haskell. That’s not you, mister. You’re out of your mind. That’s my name.
Charles Haskell. I can prove it. Here’s my driver’s license.
– Save yourself the trouble, mister. Having Haskell’s wallet
only makes it worse. It just so happens
I rode with Charlie Haskell… all the way from Louisiana. He picked me up outside of Shreveport. You rode —
– You heard me. Then it all came back to me. All the talk about dueling
and scars and scratches. There was no doubt about it. Vera must be the woman
Haskell had mentioned. She must have passed me while I slept. Well? Well, I’m waiting. My goose was cooked. She had me. That Haskell guy wasn’t dead yet. He wasn’t stretched out stiff and cold
in any Arizona gully. He was sitting right there in the car,
laughing like mad while he haunted me. Well? There was nothing I could say.
It was her move. Vera, whatever her name was. It was just my luck
picking her up on the road. It couldn’t have been Helen
or Mary or Evelyn or Ruth. It had to be the very last person
I should ever have met. That’s life. Whichever way you turn,
fate sticks out a foot to trip you. I told her everything,
but she didn’t believe my story. I should’ve saved my breath. That’s the greatest cock-and-bull story
I ever heard. So he fell out of his car. Say, who do you think
you’re talking to, a hick? Listen, mister. I’ve been around. And I know a wrong guy when I see one.
What’d you do, kiss him with a wrench? Now wait a minute.
What I told you was true. You see, that’s why I had to do it. You think I killed him.
Well, the cops would’ve thought so too. Yeah, well maybe they still think so. What makes you so sure
I’ll shut up about this? Vera, I’m innocent.
Give me a break, will you? It won’t do me any good
having you pinched. The cops are no friends of mine. Now, if there was a reward…
But there isn’t. Thanks.
– Don’t thank me yet. I’m not through with you by a long shot.
Let’s see that roll. Is that all Haskell had? Isn’t it enough?
– No, I thought he had more. Not that I know of. You can search me
if you think I’m holding out on you. Well, maybe I will at that. He told me he was gonna bet $3,000… on a horse named Paradisiacal
on Wednesday at Santa Anita. He was stringing you along. He meant 300.
– Maybe. Sure. Three bucks, 300.
He was a piece of cheese, a big blowhard. Listen, mister. Don’t try and tell me
anything about Charlie Haskell. Remember, I knew him better than you did. Okay, then you knew he was a four-flusher.
That explains the three-grand bet. I’m not so sure
he didn’t have that three grand. Why should I believe you?
You got all the earmarks of a cheap crook. Now, wait a minute.
– Shut up. You’re a cheap crook and you killed him. For two cents,
I’d change my mind and turn you in. I don’t like you. All right, all right. Don’t get sore.
– I’m not getting sore. But just remember
who’s boss around here. If you shut up
and don’t give me any arguments, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But if you act wise, well, mister, you’ll pop into jail so fast
it’ll give you the bends. I’m not arguing.
– Well, see that you don’t. You know, as crooked as you look, I’d hate to see a fella as young as you
wind up sniffing that perfume… that Arizona hands out free to murderers. I’m not a murderer.
– Of course you’re not. Haskell knocked his own head off. He fell. That’s how it happened,
just like I told you. Sure, and then he made you a present
of his belongings. I explained why—
– Skip it. Doesn’t make a difference one way
or another. I’m not a mourner. I liked Haskell even less than I like you. Yeah, I saw what you did to him. What do you mean?
– Those scratches on his wrists. Sure, I scratched him. I’ll say you did. So your idea was
to drive the car a little way, maybe into San Bernardino,
and then leave it. You weren’t gonna sell it? Sell it? You think I’m crazy?
Somebody else’s car? All I wanna do is leave it somewhere
and forget I ever saw it. Not only don’t you have any scruples,
you don’t have any brains. I don’t get you.
– Maybe it’s a good thing you met me. You would of got yourself caught, sure.
Why, you dope. Don’t you know a deserted automobile
always rates an investigation? Look. The cops find a car.
Then they get curious. They wonder where the owner is. So, all right, they don’t trace Haskell.
They trace you. I never thought of that. The only safe way to get rid of the car
is to sell it to a dealer, get it registered under a new name. Say, stop at the next store. I wanna get a bottle and do some shopping
before we hit LA. Okay. Soon as we find a place,
I’ll drop you off and pick you up later. Nothin’ doin’. You’re coming in too. From now on,
you and I are like the Siamese twins. Have it your way,
but I don’t get the point. The point is I don’t want you to get lost. I’m not gonna beat it,
if that’s what you’re afraid of. I’ll say you’re not. Well, I’m gonna see that you sell this car
so you don’t get caught. Thanks. Of course, your interest
wouldn’t be financial, would it? You wouldn’t want
a small percentage of the profits? Well, now that you insist,
how can I refuse? A hundred percent’ll do. Fine. I’m relieved. I thought for a moment
you were gonna take it all. I don’t want to be a hog. A few hours later,
we were in Hollywood. I was recognizing places
Sue had written about. It struck me that,
far from being at the end of the trip, there was a greater distance between Sue
and me than when I started out. Vera wasn’t kidding
with that Siamese twins crack. She rented a little apartment
as Mrs. Charles Haskell. When I objected to this, she explained
that it was on account of the car. A dealer might think
something was funny… if he called and found
we were using different names. Home, sweet home.
– Yeah. Not bad, either. In case there’s any doubt in your mind,
I’ll take the bedroom. Yeah. Sure is stuffy in here. Keep the window shut.
– Okay. The old crow downstairs said
there’s a folding bed behind this door. You know how to work it? I invented it. Some joint.
– One can’t have everything. I’m first in the bathtub. I don’t know why,
but I figured you would be. Boy, boy.
It sure feels good to be clean again. I must be ten pounds lighter. You must be. Well, hitchin’ rides isn’t exactly the way
you keep your schoolgirl complexion. I wish that guy with the sax would give up. It gets on my nerves. Forget it. Have a drink. Aren’t you afraid
I’m gonna take you up on it? If I didn’t wanna give you a drink,
I wouldn’t have offered it. Why be a sorehead, Roberts?
You got yourself into this thing. You should be grateful
I’m not turning you in. Why, if I wasn’t regular,
you’d be in the pen this minute… being photographed, fingerprinted,
and being pushed around by the cops. So cheer up. Get rid of that long puss. Or is your conscience bothering you? No. It isn’t. Swell. That’s the spirit. He’s dead, and no moaning around
will bring him back. Anyway, I never could
understand this worrying… about something that’s over and done with. Now look, Vera.
For the last time, I didn’t kill him. Haskell was a sick man. Maybe he was dead before he fell
out of the car. I don’t know. Sure, sure. He died of old age. All right. So if it’ll make you sociable… you didn’t kill him. Thanks. We’re outta liquor, Roberts.
– Yeah. Too bad.
I felt like getting tight tonight. Well, I think you succeeded. Am I tight?
– As a prima donna’s corset. That’s good. I wanted to get tight. Why? What have you got
to get tight about? I don’t know. A few things. You should have my worries. If I had your troubles, I’d stay sober. And I’ve got the key to that door. Yeah. Maybe you’re right. I’m always right. You know, I don’t like your attitude,
Roberts. Well, there’s a lot of things I don’t like. Say… But life’s like a ball game. You got to take a swing
at whatever comes along… before you wake up
and find it’s the ninth inning. Bet you read that somewhere. That’s the trouble with you, Roberts.
All you do is bellyache. You could have taken it easy and,
well, try and make the best of things. But maybe that’s what’s wrong
with the whole world. Get the professor. People knock themselves out
trying to buck fate. Now take you, for instance.
You’re lucky to be alive. Why, suppose Haskell had pulled open
your door? You’d be playing a harp now.
Think of that. You think of it. I’m tired of thinking. There’s plenty of people dying this minute… that would give anything
to trade places with you. I know what I’m talking about. I’m not so sure.
At least they know they’re done for. They don’t just sweat blood
wondering if they are. Your philosophy stinks, pal. We all know we’re gonna kick off someday.
It’s only a question of when. But what got us on this subject anyway? We’ll be discussing politics next. Yeah. Where’d you hide the butts? On the table, sucker. We bored each other with
conversation for a couple of hours longer. Every five minutes, one of us was wishing
we had another bottle or a radio… or something to read. Then finally we ran out of chat. I know it’s only eleven o’clock, but I want to get up early
and make the rounds to the used car lots. No hurry about that.
We got all the time in the world. Maybe you have, but if you think
I want to stay cooped up in this place… any longer than I have to, you’re batty. It’s not a bad place. Pay plenty
for diggings like this in New York. I wouldn’t like it if it was the Ritz. Rotten liquor. You got a mean cough.
Ought to do something about it. I’ll be all right. That’s what Camille said. Who? Nobody you know. Wasn’t that the dame that
died of consumption? Yeah. Wouldn’t it be a break for you
if I did kick off. You’d be free
with all Haskell’s dough and car. I don’t want to see anybody die. Not even me? Especially not you. One person died on me. If you did, well, that’s all I need. You don’t like me, do you, Roberts? Like you? I love you. My favorite sport is being kept prisoner. After we sell the car, you can go to blazes
for all I care, but not until then. I’m going to bed. Good night, Roberts. Don’t try and sneak away during the night.
All the doors are locked. Anyway, if I find you gone in the morning,
I’ll notify the police. They’ll pick you up.
– Don’t worry. I know when I’m in a spot. Well, good night. I hope that portable
rack isn’t too uncomfortable for you. Don’t lose any sleep over it,
will you, Vera? CRestview… 6… 5… 7, 2… 3. Hello? Hello. Hello? Hello? No. Not yet, darling. Tomorrow. Maybe. If this were fiction, I would fall in love with her, marry her,
and make a respectable woman of her, or else she’d make some supreme,
class-A sacrifice for me and die. Sue and I would ball a little over her grave… and make some crack about
‘there’s good in all of us.’ But Vera, unfortunately,
was just as rotten in the morning… as she’d been the night before. All right, all right, I’m coming. Look, Vera, it’s almost noon. So what?
The dealers will be there all day. They’ll be there all year too, but it
doesn’t mean I’m gonna wait that long. Shut up.
You’re making noises like a husband. Well, do I rate a whistle?
– You sure do, but let’s go. Let’s go, let’s go. I spend 85 bucks
and two hours preparing bait, and all you can say is ‘Let’s go.’ Come on. We passed a few used car lots
last night down this way. What do you think
we can get for this heap? I don’t know. Plenty.
You just let me handle everything. You think we can get $2,000? I don’t know. But don’t worry. I’ll squeeze as much
out of this guy as I can. If I let it go cheap without a fight,
he might think we’ve stolen the car. And listen, don’t make any slips
and call me Roberts. That’ll cook us. I don’t need you to tell me that. You better just sit by
and keep your mouth closed. Remember, we’re both in the soup
if anything happens. Forget it and drive. You’re my wife — Vera Haskell. Look, after the deal’s closed, let’s go… back to that place on
Hollywood Boulevard… where I saw the fur jacket. I want to buy it. After the deal’s closed,
I’m saying good-bye to you. That’s right. I forgot.
I guess I’m getting kind of used to you. Well, that’s a habit you can start breaking. Let’s try this place
in the middle of the block. Good afternoon. What can I do for you? We’re interested in selling a car.
– If the price is right. Well, if it’s in good mechanical condition,
it should blue book for about 1,600. Tony, take a look at this motor. 1,600. Are you kidding? Well, maybe 1,850. Before I let it go for 1,850, I’ll wreck it
and collect the insurance first. Lady, this motor’s seen a lot of driving. While the mechanic
inspected the car, we haggled. At last, when we were all worn out,
we hit a compromise —… his price. Okay, it’s a deal. Come in, we’ll sign the papers.
– I have the ownership papers here with me. Look, Vera, in the meantime,
will you clean out the dash compartment? There may be some stuff in it.
– All right, darling. 1,850 bucks. That dirty cr —… New York?
– Yeah. But you bought the car in Miami?
– Yeah. Well, now, let’s see about the insurance. We can either have it transferred
or canceled. What kind of insurance do you have,
Mr. Haskell? Well, aren’t all the papers there? I don’t see any. Surely you know what type
of insurance you carry on the car. The name of the company? Yeah, but — Well, if you’ll just tell me
the name of the company, I’d be very glad to take care
of all the details. Well —… Did you sign the papers yet?
– Not yet. Well, don’t. We’re not selling the car. Well, wait a minute, Mrs. Haskell —
– Come on, darling. What’s the matter? Change your mind?
– Yes. I’m sorry. I guess I have. But, Vera —
– Let’s go. You got me out of a tight spot, Vera,
but I still don’t understand all this. You will in a minute.
I almost threw away a gold mine. 1,850 isn’t to be sneezed at. The car
doesn’t book for as much as I thought. We’re not selling the car. You want to keep it?
Now wait a minute, Vera. You said yourself I wouldn’t be safe
until the car was in someone else’s name. I’d like to be free of this mess when I go. That’s just it, Roberts. You’re not going. There’s a drive-in at the next corner. Pull in there and we’ll get a bite to eat
and I’ll explain. What is this,
another one of your brilliant ideas? Hello. May I take your order?
– Make mine a ham sandwich and coffee. And for you, sir?
– I don’t care. The same. Thank you. Get this, Vera,
I’ve been pretty patient so far. I’ve done everything you asked me to do,
but no more. Shut up.
– You’ve taken Haskell’s money. And you can have the dough we get
from selling the car, but you’re not gonna keep me a prisoner. It’s a good thing I bought the paper.
Look at that. Vera, I’m in no mood —
– Read that. No.
– Yes. No, I won’t do it.
– Yes, you will. You think I’m crazy.
It’s impossible, I tell ya. Excuse me. Blow the horn when you’re through. No one could possibly get away with an act
like that. Be wise to me in a minute. Don’t be yellow. You look enough like him.
The same coloring and the same build. See how his clothes fit ya? No kidding. You almost
had me fooled for a while. Grow up, Vera. Don’t you think a father knows his own
son? There must be other relatives. The father won’t have to know ya.
We’ll wait till he gives up the ghost. He’s an old geezer
and he won’t pull through. And as far as the relatives are concerned,
they haven’t seen you in 15 or 20 years. Eat.
– I’m not hungry. And I won’t do it.
– It’s not as tough as it sounds. Remember, you’ve got
all kinds of identification —… his car, letters, license — I could never get away with it.
It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. The old boy has scads of dough. Look in the paper there. Personal fortune
assessed at over 15 million. He’ll leave plenty, I tell ya. Maybe he cut off his son.
How do we know? It’s out, Vera.
I won’t have anything to do with it. I think you will. Look, Vera, I’ll do anything
within reason, but not that. So forget it or find yourself another stooge. You sap. You’ll be fixed for the rest of your life
as Charlie Haskell. You can take your inheritance and go away.
No more worrying about the rent. No sweating, scheming, wondering
where your next meal’s coming from. Think about that, Roberts. Vera, please. You’re talking too loud. On this I’m splitting 50-50 with you.
Sure, why not? We’re both alike.
Both born in the same gutter. Now take it easy, Vera. There’s people around here.
You don’t know what you’re talking — We’ll wait till we read that old man
Haskell’s dead. Then you show up. Like you read in New York that he was sick. No. Suppose he doesn’t die? He will. I know he will.
Something tells me. But as much as I insisted
I would have no part of her scheme, Vera was taking it for granted I would. Neither of us had our mind on the cards
as we played that night. I knew we were just trying to kill time
between newspaper editions. This was a deathwatch for Vera. Maybe it was for me too. Don’t you realize if I’m caught they’ll want
to know where I got the car and stuff? Then they’ll have me on a murder charge.
– If you’re smart, you won’t get caught. I knock with seven. And if I’m caught,
don’t you realize you’ll be out too? Eighteen points. That gives me 30. How will I be out? You’ll be out $1,850 we would have gotten
on the car. Really, Vera, you’d be an awful chump… if you threw away all that dough
on a dizzy long shot. Let me sell the bus tomorrow. With the money it’ll bring
and what you’ve already got, a clever kid like you
can run it up in no time. Then we’d both be in the clear.
– I’ll be in the clear anyway. Maybe. Maybe. But if I got caught —… I’d get good and sore at you, you know.
– You mean you’d squeal? Well, no, not squeal exactly—
– Never mind what you meant. Even if you did tell the cops
I was in on it with you, what could they do to me? They might give me the same medicine
they gave you. Yeah.
– A rope. But I’m on my way anyhow. All they’ll be doing will be rushing it. All right. But think of the 1,850 you’d lose. You’d kick yourself along the block
if you let that get away from you. I’ll take the chance. Want another drink? You’re being a goon. That’s the way
people wind up behind the eight ball. Once they get a few dollars,
they become greedy and want more. My, my. Caesar.
– Who? You know, that Roman general?
He got his for being greedy. He wasn’t satisfied.
So the final windup was he took the count. A couple of days ago
you didn’t have a dime. Why, you were so broke
you couldn’t pay cash for a postage stamp. Now you’ve got almost $700,
with 1,850 in the offing. Take my advice. Don’t try for more. I’m tired of this game.
Let’s have some blackjack. Play solitaire. I will, if that’s the way you feel about it.
– That’s the way I feel about it. Getting sore and throwing things
won’t help much, Roberts. I’m merely doing you a
favor. I help you out of… a jam by keepin’ my mouth shut. I show you how to make some soft money,
and what thanks do I get? Thanks?
– Sure. Or would you rather I
called the cops and told… them you killed a man
and stole his money? I didn’t kill anybody.
– Yes, you did. No, I didn’t. You know I didn’t.
– All right, then. Suppose I call the cops? If you’re innocent,
what do you got to be scared of? Okay, call ’em, you mutt.
Go ahead and call ’em. See if I care. At least they’ll give me a square deal.
– You want me to call ’em? You heard me. But I’m warning ya.
If I’m pinched, I’ll swear you were in on it. I’ll say that you helped me.
If I’m frying, I’ll get even with you. You wouldn’t dare. You’re chicken. Yeah? Then try it and see.
Call ’em. Yeah. Okay, I will. Information. I want the number
of the Hollywood police station. Okay, I got it. Thanks. Wait a minute, Vera. You wouldn’t do that. Wouldn’t I? Give me that
and I’ll show you if I would. Take it easy now. Let’s talk this over. This was early in the evening. And the conversation, while hectic,
was at least pitched low. But as the minutes passed
and more obstacles… to her plan popped into my head, the air got blue. Each word coming from our lips
cracked like a whip. I reminded her that as Charles Haskell
I didn’t even know my mother’s name, where I’d gone to school, the name of my best friend, whether I had an Aunt Emma or not, my religion, and if I’d ever owned a dog. I didn’t even know
what my middle initial stood for. I also pointed out that the real Haskell
had a scar on his forearm. His people never saw that scar. He told me he ran away
right after putting out the kid’s eye. Yeah, but his father knew he was cut.
There’d have to be some kind of mark. So what? The old man’s dead or will be.
I hope by tomorrow morning’s papers. Anyway, you could cut yourself
a little, couldn’t ya? Boy, for that kind of dough,
I’d let you cut my leg off. You’re drunk and you’re crazy mad, Vera. Turn me in if you want to,
but I won’t get mixed up in this. Besides, how do we know?
Haskell was such a phony. Maybe he wasn’t the man’s son at all.
Maybe he just dreamed it up. Well, dreaming or not,
you won’t be dreaming… when the law taps you on the shoulder. There’s a cute little gas chamber
waiting for you, Roberts. And I hear extradition to Arizona’s a cinch. Where’s that phone? Vera.
– Leave me alone. Vera.
– I wanna phone, call the police. I hate you, you stinker.
You leave me alone. I’ll let you alone when you promise to leave
the phone where it is. You’re drunk. You don’t
know what you’re doing. You’re hurting me. Will you promise? All right. You hurt me.
– I’m sorry, but —… And it’s hot in here. Open up a window.
– It’s not hot. Don’t tell me.
Now do you do it or do I do it? You’re no gentleman, see? Yeah. All right, I’ll open up the window. Vera. Vera, open the door.
Please open the door. Vera, open the door.
Don’t use the phone. Listen to me. I don’t like you, Roberts.
You’re no gentleman, see? You hurt my hand,
and I’m gonna get even with you. If you don’t open the door,
I’m gonna kick it down, Vera. Vera, don’t call the cops.
Listen to me, I’ll do anything you say. Vera, let me in. I’ll break the phone. Vera. The world is full of skeptics. I know. I’m one myself. In the Haskell business, how many of you
would believe he fell out of the car? And now, after killing Vera
without really meaning to do it, how many of you would believe
it wasn’t premeditated? In a jury room, every last man of you
would go down shouting… that she had me over a barrel
and my only out was force. The room was still. So quiet that for a while I’d wondered
if I’d suddenly gone deaf. It was pure fear, of course. And I was hysterical, but without making a sound. Vera was dead, and I was her murderer. Murderer. What an awful word that is.
But I’d become one. I’d better not get caught. What evidence there was around the place
had to be destroyed. And from the looks of
things, there was plenty. Looking around the room
at things we’d bought… was like looking into the faces of
a hundred people who’d seen us together… and who remembered me. This was the kind of testimony
I couldn’t rub out. No. I could burn clothes and hide bottles
for the next five years. There’d always be witnesses. The landlady for one.
She could identify me. The car dealer, the waitress in the drive-in, the girl in the dress shop,
and that guy in the liquor store. They could all identify me. I was cooked. Done for.
I had to get out of there. While once I remained
beside a dead body… planning carefully how to avoid
being accused of killing him, this time I couldn’t. This time I was guilty. I knew it. Felt it. I was like a guy suffering from shock. Things were whirling around in my head. I couldn’t make myself think right. All I could think of was the guy with
the saxophone and what he was playing. It wasn’t a love song anymore. It was a dirge. But my problems weren’t solved. I had to stay away from New York
for all time. Because Al Roberts was listed as dead
and had to stay dead. And I could never go back to Hollywood. Someone might recognize me as Haskell. Then, too, there was Sue. I could never go to her with a thing
like this hanging over my head. All I could do was pray she’d be happy. I was in Bakersfield before I read
that Vera’s body was discovered. And that the police were looking for Haskell
in connection with his wife’s murder. Isn’t that a laugh? Haskell got me into this mess
and Haskell was getting me out of it. The police were searching for a dead man. I keep trying to forget what happened… and wonder what my life might have been
if that car of Haskell’s hadn’t stopped. But one thing I don’t have to wonder about. I know. Someday a car will stop to pick me up
that I never thumbed. Yes. Fate… or some mysterious force… can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all.