Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The End Of A Paddy Chayefsky Romance


MAX the failed network executive is in a suit. DIANA the successful network executive is in a bath robe. It is her apartment. They are lovers. They are fighting.

MAX: (He is raging.) And I'm tired of finding you on the goddamned phone every time I turn around! I'm tired of being an accessory in your life. (He pushes his typewriter to the floor.) And I'm tired of pretending to write this dumb book about my maverick days in those great early years of television. Every executive fired from a network in the last twenty years has written this dumb book about the great early days. (He stops, catches his breath.) But don't worry about me. I'll manage. I always have, always will. I'm more concerned about you. Once I go, you'll be back in the eye of your own desolate terrors. Fifty dollar studs and the nightly sleepless contemplation of suicide. You're not the boozer type, so I figure a year, maybe two before you crack up or jump out your fourteenth floor office window.

DIANA: (She stands.) Stop selling, Max. I don't need you.(She exits to the kitchen to make tea. Her hands are overtaken by a curious little spasm. Shaking, she has to put down the tea cup and saucer. She returns to the living room. She is shouting now.) I don't want your pain. I don't want your menopausal decay and death. I don't need you, Max!

MAX: (He is packing a briefcase.) You need me badly. I'm your last contact with human reality. I love you. And that painful, decaying menopausal love is the only thing between you and the shrieking nothingness you live the rest of the day. (He closes his briefcase.)

DIANA: (Her voice is shaking.) Then don't leave me.

MAX: It's too late, Diana. There's nothing left in you that I can live with. You're one of Howard's humanoids, and, if I stay with you, I'll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You are television incarnate, Diana, indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. The daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split-seconds and instant replays. You are madness, Diana, virulent madness, and everything you touch dies with you. Well, not me. Not while I can still feel pleasure and pain and love. (He picks up his coat and moves to the door.) It's a happy ending, Diana. Wayward husband comes to his senses, returns to his wife with whom he has built a long and sustaining love. Heartless young woman left alone in her arctic desolation. Music up with a swell. Final commercial. And here are a few scenes from next week's show. (He exits. We hear the door open and close.)

DIANA: (Pulls at her robe. She sits down staring at the empty apartment around her.)

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The End Of A Barry Malzberg Romance

Pris: The End Of A Philip K. Dick Romance

The End Of A Walter Becker Romance


We’ve also seen the start
of a Chayefsky romance here:

A Paddy Chayefsky Valentine (Part 1 of 3)

A Paddy Chayefsky Valentine (Part 2 of 3)

A Paddy Chayefsky Valentine (Part 3 of 3)

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