by Nora Ephron
When they got home that night, she went to get the book. She’d ordered it earlier in the week and meant to read it before they went to the movie, but it was a hard week and things got away from her. This was happening more and more.
Maybe if we look in the book we’ll be able to figure it out, she said.
Maybe we’ll find out what happened at the motel, he said. Why did it skip forward like that?
He said it’s the same in the book.
I told you who. The guy I was standing with while I was waiting for you to come out of the men’s room. He read the book and he said it’s the same deal exactly. The sheriff pulls up and everybody’s dead. You never see the scene where they all get shot. Maybe it’s because Javier didnt kill them.
Javier Bardem. The serial killer.
I thought it was Benicio Del Toro.
Well it wasnt. The guy outside the men’s room said there’s a scene in the book that’s not in the movie. He said Javier goes to see a total stranger in some office, who’s never been mentioned earlier. He gives him the satchel of money and he says, Here’s your money back, now maybe you’ll hire me to do things like this in the future.
Why did they leave that out?
How do I know? Write a letter to the Coen brothers.
She opened the book and started reading from the end.
He does this weird thing with contractions, she said. He uses apostrophes for words like that’s and it’s but he doesnt use them for dont and wasnt and wont. He doesnt use quotation marks, either.
How am I supposed to know what you’re talking about with all these pronouns? he said.
He went to get ready for bed.
I cant believe you didnt know Josh Brolin died, she said.
Well I didnt.
He was lying there in the parking lot.
I didnt see him lying in the parking lot.
Well I didnt see him either, but then his wife turned up and Tommy Lee Jones looked sad, so you knew he was dead.
I thought he looked sad because the mother was dead.
The mother? The mother doesnt die till later.
I thought it was the mother in the swimming pool.
How could you think it was the mother? It was the girl with the beer in the swimming pool. She was wearing a bikini. The mother was about a hundred years old. What would the mother be doing wearing a bikini? The mother dies of cancer. Jesus.
What happened to the satchel of money?
He gives it to a total stranger. I told you.
But in the movie what happens to the money?
She wondered if they’d ever know. Maybe the answers were buried in the caliche, along with some character who had figured in a story toward the end of the movie. She hadnt been able to follow the story about the character who was buried in the caliche because she was busy trying to puzzle out what happened to the satchel of money, but the word caliche stuck in her head. It was pronounced ka-lee-chee. Since they lived in New York City and were not about to go dig a hole in Central Park, it didnt seem like a particularly useful word, but you never know.
He got into bed.
I cant believe you didnt know Josh Brolin died, she said. Who did you think was lying on that slab in the morgue?
The mother, he said.
The mother? she said. The mother?
He was asleep.