In a special episode guest written by playwright Jon Robin Baitz, C.J. (Allison Janney) reluctantly returns to Dayton, Ohio, to speak at her 20th high school class reunion but her return home includes an impromptu encounter with a rich and handsome classmate (Matthew Modine) — and a sobering understanding that her intellectual father is suddenly deteriorating from Alzheimer’s Disease. While C.J. is confronted with a kaleidoscope of emotions, she can’t help but check in on Toby (Richard Schiff) who struggles to fill in for her during news briefings.
THE WEST WING "THE LONG GOODBYE" WRITTEN BY: JON ROBIN BAITZ DIRECTED BY: ALEX GRAVES TEASER FADE IN: INT. PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - NIGHT C.J. And after the meeting with the council on Foriegn Relations, the President and the First Lady will be on their way to Camp David for the weekend, where the Governor of Nebraska will join them. REPORTER Wasn't Josh Lyman scheduled to do the press briefings today and over the weekend? C.J. You have me, just me. REPORTER KATIE Does this mean you're not going to your High School Reunion in Dayton? C.J. Yep. If that's all... REPORTER KATIE We understood you were to deliver a speech at this reunion entitled, "The Promise of a Generation." C.J. How did you know that? REPORTER CHRIS It's in the Dayton papers. C.J. Right. REPORTER Could you at least tell us what you think the promise of generation is, since you're chickening out? C.J. I'm not really sure, but like pornography, I know it when I see it. They came up with the title and because it's high school, I felt it was an assignment and I couldn't say no. Unfortunately, my job prevents me from certain pleasures and I'm not chickening out. REPORTER We don't get Josh is what you're saying. C.J. No fresh meat for the lions. Laughter. C.J. That's a full lid. REPORTERS Thank you, C.J. C.J. leaves the podium and walks back to the PRESS AREA. JOSH Thank you. I couldn't go out there. Like they had this sadistic, anticipatory glee. C.J. I agree. I have to stay. TOBY What are you still doing here? They all go to the HALLWAY. C.J. Josh can't do the briefings. Anyway, I missed the last flight to Dayton, so it's moot. CAROL No, there's one at 7:50. You're booked on it. C.J. gives Carol a look of you're-suppose-to-be-on-my-side. CAROL Well, there is. I dont make the schedules. TOBY Go. I'll do the briefings. JOSH Good luck. They reach C.J.'S OFFICE. C.J. You can't. It's not your schtick. You don't know who to call on, where to look, when to smile and interrupt... TOBY Are you scared of that promise thing? C.J. Yes. TOBY No, that can't be it. It's your dad. I, sorry. I... uh... How's he doing? C.J. You're not allowed to use the words "Alzheimer's" or "doctors". TOBY Nevertheless, those are the relevant words. C.J. His wife scares me. The woman who takes care of him scares me. Molly, she was my English teacher. Believe me, she was a very tough grader. TOBY You're scared of your high school English teacher. C.J. Well, she's also now my stepmother, so it's just a little bit fraught. TOBY Did you ever not get an "A" in her class? Nevertheless, Dayton awaits. Toby begins to walk out, but turns around. TOBY Psst. Finish your speech. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. AIRPORT - NIGHT THE SAME NIGHT C.J. is on her cellphone in line going through airport security. She takes off her heels and puts them in a box. She's about to walk through a metal dectector. C.J. Toby, a couple of things, very important. There's a draft of some notes for a speech on the National Endowment for the Arts and the President is going to ask for something maybe over the weekend, and also, Toby, the secion on embassy security... She walks through the metal dectector and it goes off. She backs up. C.J. [cont] ...is still being ironed out by Josh and I haven't... She takes off her beepers and walks through, but the alarm sounds again. C.J. [cont] I haven't... had a-a chance to work on the ... Hold on. She puts down the cellphone and walks through. The alarm doesn't go off. C.J. [to security guard] Thank you. [to Toby] No, not you. CUT TO: INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL - CONTINUOUS C.J. is still on the phone with Toby. She is getting on the escalator to go to her gate, but the escalator is shut off, so she has to walk up it with her bag. C.J. No, I didn't mean that you had no social skills Toby. I'm sorry if you think I was being insensitive to your... I-I think your very... you're a very pretty girl, Toby. Oh, um, by the way, I have... I have notes about the SEC appointment speech. She's struggling to carry her bag up the steps. C.J. I can't do this. I'll call you later. I'm going to have a heart attack. CUT TO: EXT. TERMINAL A - NIGHT DAYTON, OHIO It's raining outside and C.J. is standing, waiting with her luggage. She's talking on her phone. C.J. Toby, if you get this, there's also a errant draft of a briefing paper on the agricultural training exchange with the South African students and it has to pass through the... Um, I think I have been maybe cut off. I'll e-mail you. She's put's away her phone and a guy approaches her carrying luggage. MARCO ARLENS Wow. Hmm. You look basically exactly the same. C.J. Pardon me? MARCO Yeah, you do. I didn't think you'd be coming. I feel slightly so much better now. C.J. I'm hearing Violent Femmes and thinking Quaaludes and detentions and... tacos? MARCO Well, there was a little bit more to it than that. C.J. Marco. Marco Arlens. They shake hands. C.J. Where's your band? MARCO Ah, alas. The Mollusk of Lust. I'm afraid we didn't make it. C.J. Nor did your purple-and-magenta mohawk. MARCO Yeah, but unlike the Mollusks mohawks are making a comeback, but as fauxhawks. C.J. Are you dreading this? MARCO Yeah, but I'm not the one who's making a speech about... C.J. "Promise of a Generation." So what are you up to now? MARCO Uh... sorta... living in Paris. C.J. Paris? You were a baseball-playing punk rocker. MARCO And you were the smartest, funniest, saddest girl in Dayton. C.J. Thank you. I think that might've been a compliment. MARCO How's your dad – Mr. Cregg – he's not still teaching math, is he? C.J. Oh, no. He has a new job now. He gets married. After my mom died – twice, now to a lovely lady in the English Department. Her job is baking and hating me. Did you ever have Ms. Lapham? MARCO Yeah, she hated me, too. So, she's your stepmom. Wow. So, it's just all fun, huh? C.J. Welcome home. An airport shuttle pulls up. MARCO Oh, that's... that's my ride. C.J. hails a cab, and Marco walks to the shuttle. He turns around... MARCO Hey... listen... at the risk of being... anything... you wouldn't want to go to this thing together, would you? I mean, we could get a vodka first, which helps with the fear, and a cracker, which helps with the bad food. C.J. Safety in numbers. That'd be great. Marco opens the door for C.J. and she gets in. MARCO I'll see you. CUT TO: EXT. C.J.'S DAD'S HOUSE - NIGHT The cab pulls away and C.J. is standing at the curb looking at the house. She begins to walk up the steps, when her father comes outside and meets her at the front steps. TALMIDGE "TAL" CREGG Claudia Jean. When you go out on a date you're supposed to call if you come in after midnight. Aren't you? Hmm? C.J. I'm sorry. I, uh... Tal begins to laugh and grabs C.J. by the hand, pulling her up the step and into the house. TAL Come on in. Come on. Come and have a Manhattan. Molly made cupcakes for us before retiring. C.J. enters the house where a jazz record is playing. C.J. Great. TAL Tell me everything. I want to know everything. Let's sit up all night and catch up. I don't seem to do much of that anymore. Ticking clocks, you know, and so much to do. C.J. How are you, daddy? TAL Well, I've been a little blue lately because I haven't been able to go fishing. C.J. It's February. TAL Oh, I know that. I'm aware of that but I've got these new Italian flies I want to try out. They're really quite flirtatious. Would you go to the river with me in the morning for an hour? C.J. You want to go fishing tomorrow? TAL I know. I know, it's going to be cold but I thought it might be bracing. I don't want to be at the mercy of the seasons, do I, at my age? Why let meteorology dictate? We used to go fishing, didn't we? He pours himself and C.J. a drink. C.J. Yes. TAL There you go, then. C.J. Once or twice. TAL Just like the old days. C.J. I actually don't recall lovi... He hands her the drink. C.J. Yes, just like. TAL You know, when you get to a certain age the little things you use to do matter more and more. Old Mr., um... Moyers, from two doors down, after his Beth died, all he wanted to do was to be taken to the Astro dinette for tuna melts, which is what they'd done together every Thursday. And now... [turns music up louder] it's me taking him. C.J. Are we going to wake up Molly? TAL You could blast Elgar in here with 25 speakers. You wouldn't wake up Molly. C.J. How is Molly? TAL Marvelous. Funny. Fun. Lots of rules. Ex vice-principals can't give up there principles, can they? You hungry? He walks off to kitchen. C.J. I'll be right there. I'm just going to put my bags down and wash my face. C.J. enters the BATHROOM. She paces back and forth in front of the mirror. She looks in the mirror then runs her fingers through her hair, sighs then picks up her drink and walks back out. C.J. About Mr. Moyers. You think he... dad? C.J. enters the KITCHEN. C.J. Mr. Moyers lived in Shaker Heights. The Astro's in Cleveland. TAL Well, I know that. I meant Marianthall, not Moyers. Did I say Moyers? Yeah, I started smoking again. I'm not supposed to, but there it is. C.J. Um, why is this kitchen such a mess? TAL Well, we have a nice lady that comes in, but... who knows when? [puts down his cigarette] In fact, I don't know where anything is in here. C.J. Daddy, um, what do you...? He fills a pot with water and places it on the stove. TAL Lately, I've been perfecting a zabaglione. You know what that is? C.J. Um... an Italian... custard sauce. TAL Correct, Miss Cregg. A custard... [strikes a match] ...fabled for its restorative properties. Somewhere in this kitchen is a copper pot with a curvy ass. I need it. He lights the gas stove with the match, while C.J. finds the copper pot. C.J. Here? TAL Yeah. Good. Good. Can't do it without that. It facilitates the whipping at a far greater rate. How's your job? C.J. We're happy. This is the time we... TAL Somewhere in this hellhole of a kitchen is a really good bottle of Marsala wine. C.J. We get to.... we have a-a window. We get to.. we get to do... actual work for awhile. Tal pulls out another cigarette and lights it, while C.J. puts out the first one he didn't finish. C.J. No more campaigning. Got it. She finds the wine next to a picture of her and President Bartlet. TAL Oh, good. You know, I-I like your man. His economic theories – so generous, so good, but he-he hides his light under a bushel. Why is that? C.J. sees the new cigarette in his hands. C.J. You already... Dad... He wanted to, uh... win. He did so with honor. We played clean. TAL Well, that he did, that you did. I'm proud of you. C.J. Thank you. You're writing? TAL Yeah. A handbook for the teaching of mathematics to a generation of mathematically illiterate teachers. C.J. That's wonderful, Daddy. TAL I was thinking of asking you to write a forward, but I suppose that's unethical, no? C.J. Not at all. I'd be happy to. TAL Well, it seems to me that everything is intrinsically unethical these days. C.J. Numerical Idiocy. Cathy title. He is now at the stove whipping the eggs over the fire. TAL Yeah, well, go to the supermarket. They can't make change. They can't tell you that if you drive at 40 miles an hour for three hours you've gone 260 miles. C.J. Daddy, 120. TAL I have found that this pot is the very most efficient way of making a custard and I can only surmise that it's because it doesn't allow the eggs to stay in one place long enough for them to get overcooked. [stops whipping the eggs] C.J. I think you have to keep whipping. TAL What? Hundred and twenty! Oh, God. Wow. Senior moment. C.J. Yeah, you have to... Tal looks down at the eggs then throws the egg beater down. C.J. Dad... maybe you need more help. TAL Everybody needs more help. C.J. Yes, but I don't think you're doing as well as... TAL I have to finish my book. Kids aren't being taught any of the important things: Inductive reasoning. Estimation. It's gone, it's all disappearing! Oh, stop staring at me, darling. You know you were brought up better than that. Tal walks off. C.J. turns off the stove. She walks back into the LIVING ROOM where the jazz is still playing. C.J. Daddy? She then walks up a flight of steps and knocks on his BEDROOM door. Inside, Tal is sitting on the bed holding a cat. TAL Archimedes is getting old. C.J. Where's Molly? TAL Well, I mean... of course... she left. C.J. She left? What does that mean? TAL This obviously isn't much fun. Not what she signed on for. C.J. But this is what's happening. You don't just walk away. This is what's happening to you. TAL 40 miles an hour for 3 hours has always been... 120. I don't know what I was thinking. C.J. goes and sits beside him on the bed. FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. NORTHWEST LOBBY - DAY SATURDAY MORNING Toby, while walking the HALLWAY, is on the cellphone with C.J. TOBY Yeah, so everything's going well here. C.J. Is it? Good. TOBY I, uh, where's the, uh...? I lost the, uh, uh, that NEA thing you wanted. C.J. Lost it? It's notes. There's a file? TOBY Yeah, you needed me to polish a draft? C.J. Well, there's no draft to polish. That's what I'm saying. There's notes. I don't have them here. TOBY I'm sure I can find it. C.J. I want to be clear about the briefing, Toby. What I meant when I said that you need to know who to look at and when to ask certain questions is avoid the calm ones. Get the anxious ones out of the way first, sweetie, to give the pros room to figure out what it is they really want. And avoid the ones who don't blink. They're power devils. Josh and Leo are waiting in the OUTER OVAL OFFICE when Toby enters. TOBY I don't know what that is. C.J. Yes you do. Is anything happening? TOBY The usual chaos, but minus ten percent. How are things? C.J. Usual. Uneventful. Daytonesque. TOBY How's you father? C.J. Fine. TOBY And the wicked stepmother? C.J. Even finer. TOBY The weather? C.J. Perfection. TOBY I'll call you later. A group of people begin to exit the Oval Office. Toby, Leo and Josh enter. CUT TO: EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD, DAYTON, OHIO - DAY C.J. pulls up in front of house and gets out. A woman walks out of the house to meet her. C.J. Hi, Lib. LIBBY You come for the reunion but are staying for the comfort and ease of home? C.J. Yep, 'fraid so. They kiss each other on the cheek. LIBBY You have to stop being beautiful sometime, sweetheart. C.J. That would be today. LIBBY The speech. C.J. "The Promise of a Generation"? Really? C.J. You going? LIBBY No. I think I know exactly why you're here at 7:05 AM. Your stepmom. She's moved right back in. C.J. I prefer to think of your mother as my dad's third wife, Libby. LIBBY Yeah, well, let me tell you, it's been fun. Come on in, see if you can broker a deal. God knows I've tried. They enter the HOUSE where MOLLY is taking off a little boys coat. HARRY I want "lemolaide"! LIBBY You'll get "lemolaide" after you wash your hands which have snail on them, Harry. Molly walks to the KITCHEN where C.J. follows her. C.J. Molly... MOLLY LAPHAM CREGG I failed. I know. Please, no lectures. C.J. What happened? MOLLY Have you been there? Have you seen...? LIBBY Mom, nobody is... MOLLY I made a mistake. It was years of him being charming. You both know how... how charming the man can be. C.J. Yes, but... MOLLY I'm in the English department, he's in the math. There were lunches. There were quiet lunches for years. And we wait, both of us, waiting for years. After your mom dies and I had married what's-his name, we were still two missed connections. Two withered, married, ancient people waiting... C.J. Why didn't you call me, Molly? MOLLY I didn't get to spend time with your father. We never had an affair. I'm sorry, but I don't want to diaper... C.J. Shut up! Shut up. You were a wonderful teacher, Molly. You should be ashamed of yourself. MOLLY Well, I am. And did you know what the nickname for the disease is? "The long goodbye." C.J. Well, not in your case, though, is it? In your case, more accurately it's the short "see you later goodbye" isn't it? LIBBY C.J.... C.J. What happened to reciprocity? Do you ever imagine in a million years if the roles were reversed he would ever do this to you? This is – what you're doing right now-- invalidates everything that came before all the good, the years of teaching. This cancels a good and valuable life. He needs you. MOLLY I need him! [turns and faces the sink] You came for the reunion? You're giving a speech aren't you? It was in the paper. C.J. walks away. MOLLY "The Promise of a Generation". We were going to go and stand in the back. CUT TO: EXT. STREAM - DAY Tal is standing in the middle of the stream, and C.J. approaches with her fishing pole. TAL You remember how to do this. It's not the wrist. It's the fulcrum and lever effect, sort of, and then let it drift, and then let it sink and, of course, then nothing happens, which is the fun part. How is she? You went to see her. C.J. No, no. TAL Oh, sweetie, I know when young people lie. Did she say how long she's been gone? It seems like weeks. Has it been weeks or just a few days? C.J. Dad, you know we need to get some help if Molly won't come back. We do. TAL Oh, someone to come in and referee me. C.J. We would figure something out. TAL You mean, more than a nice lady from Catholic family Services? C.J. Well, we have to find some way because you being alone won't work out now. TAL Why not? I can work around the clock, there's so much to do. There's a whole chapter on "Women and Math Anxiety" because for years – now, why is that women underperformed in math? C.J. The teachers were sexiest men? TAL Exactly. So there's blocked women to be helped. C.J.'s having trouble casting her line. TAL Here. Let me help you. That's good. Now just... nice and easy. Nice and easy just like that. And... He casts the line, then gives her back her pole. C.J. Thank you. You could hurt yourself. TAL You could hurt yourself. Look at that hook. Practically a nipple piercing. C.J. You will hurt yourself. We can afford it. I can afford it. TAL Molly never liked to go fishing. She considered it devilish. I explained to her, "Well, we throw them back usually." Mostly I just like to stand and work the odds. C.J. Have you... done... have you done anything, seen doctors? TAL Doctors? Ach. My age smells of liniment and waiting rooms. No, I've researched. There's a new drug, Reminyl. Buys you a few months, they say. C.J. We could arrange to see someone. Lee Voight, he's your friend. He's a terrific neurologist. TAL It's such a beautiful day, Molly. I'd prefer not to screw it up with all that. C.J. Dad, I'm not... TAL Molly, please, please! This nagging – can't we just enjoy it here? C.J. Dad, I'm not Molly. TAL You're not Molly. You're not Molly. He turns to look at C.J. TAL [screaming] Who... Who the hell are you? Who the hell are you? Who the hell are you? Who are you? All these damn women hounding me! My mother, my mother calls this morning to remind me to fold the socks when I get back in. And my daughter just abandoned me! Mothers, wives, daughters, and none of them stay! All these damn women! He looks at C.J. again and finally recognizes her. C.J. begins to walk towards him. Bracing herself against the current, she grabs his arm. C.J. Dad... you... cannot expect me to silently do nothing. You're going to require care. TAL I wasn't built for it. You came for the prom, not for this. C.J. Reunion. I'm not going. TAL Coward. That world, the expertise, the solicitude, no. No, thanks. I want to go down with some silence, with my music, with some grace. C.J. I'll quit and take care of you. TAL "We sail," said Pascal, "in a vast sphere," Claudia Jean, "ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end." [caresses her cheek] I'd much rather see you on TV, darling, than sitting opposite me, watching a demolition derby going on in my brain. She lets him go, and they go back to fishing. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE - DAY SATURDAY LATE AFTERNOON C.J. and her father are sitting on a couch talking to DR. LEE VOIGHT. TAL I'm here under duress, Lee. DR. LEE VOIGHT Yeah, Tal? Big deal, so am I. C.J. Stop it, both of you. I'm very upset and I don't want to laugh. DR. VOIGHT Look, it's subtle disease and it creeps up on you, Tal. 175,000 people will be diagnosed this year. TAL Why on earth would a statistic like that comfort me? DR. VOIGHT I thought you liked numbers. I'm not trying to comfort you. I'm talking to you like an old pal. You used to play golf with me, and you just stopped. TAL I what? I used to play golf... and I stopped? DR. VOIGHT I wondered why; now I know. We like to say it's not a disease where you forget where you put the key, it's where you forget what the key is for. TAL I know what the key is for and I know what the door is for and I think I'll use it. He gets up but C.J. grabs him by his hand and pulls him back down. DR. VOIGHT You're not alone. You're not the first or the last, pal. Ten percent of the people over 65 have it. TAL That lumps me in with several million other poor souls. Yay! C.J. There are new drugs. DR. VOIGHT Yeah, they're not bad. They're not knock-them-out-of-the-ballpark either. We can slow it down. TAL Oh... good. He can slow it down. What a concept. DR. VOIGHT You shouldn't be alone, Tal. Having someone there helps keep it at bay. Alone is not good. TAL I'm not alone. I have my book and a cat, right? So, we have a little while, unfortunately, before I begin not to recognize you, Lee. DR. VOIGHT But you didn't recognize me. You covered and I saw it and that's going to last longer and happen more and more and, by the way, what the hell happened to Molly? TAL It's, "quote" hard on the spouse, isn't it? I read that. C.J. We need to make plans, Lee. DR. VOIGHT Let's not sugarcoat this. Known you for a long time and I just want to say this because I've known you've always been a straight shooter. Because you hate being a burden, you're probably aware that it's harder on the people around you than it will be on you. For you, it will be... not unpleasant particularly if we put you on the right drugs – including antidepressants – it won't hurt. TAL [chuckling] If only that were true, kids. [gets up and leaves] C.J. He's too smart, it's no good. He won't be handled. DR. VOIGHT Yes, he's getting paranoid, mad, and trying to fight. C.J. Yes. DR. VOIGHT Well, that's good. Mad is good. He should be mad, it sucks. Look, C.J., there is a good home. It's actually not depressing in any way. We can get him in if we make a call now. He has a while, I think but you're going to have to start making plans right now, today. CUT TO: EXT. ROAD - DAY CUT TO: INT. INSIDE A CAR - CONTINUOUS Tal and C.J. are in the car driving down the street. Tal is driving and C.J. is in the passenger seat. Opera music is playing. TAL Should we buy you a corsage for the prom? C.J. Reunion. I'm not going. TAL You damn well are. Your speech: "The Promise of a Generation". Awfully grand title, no? C.J. They came up with it. I agreed because I wanted to be here to see you. TAL No, you didn't. C.J. You could come and live in Washington with me. I have room. TAL Do you? Can you imagine? Talk about ruining a good thing. The light turns red and Tal stops. TAL Okay, let's see. Is this uh... Lakeside or Grandview? [lights a cigarette] C.J. I know why you started smoking again. It's because you use the time it gives you to work stuff out. You use the cigarettes to stall for time. TAL No, sweetie, I started smoking again because I forgot that 20 years ago I quit. C.J. Great, that's great. TAL See, I know exactly what I'm doing. The light turns green. C.J.'s cellphone rings. Tal has the right blinker on, but he turns left into oncoming traffic. He stops in the middle of the road. The opera music is blaring. C.J. Dad! Dad! [into cellphone] Hello? TOBY So how's it going? C.J. Please tell me everything's okay. TOBY All quiet in the West Wing. The cars are honking at C.J. and her father, who are still stopped in the road. TOBY What's all that honking? You in a parade? They having a parade for you? C.J. Let's talk later. She hangs up. C.J. [to Tal] Pull over, I'm driving. Pull over. They pull over to a curb. C.J. gets out and gets in the driver seat and Tal moves to the passenger seat. TAL Well, let's go, if we're going. C.J. I mean... tell me... things like your checkbook, your money, things like that – what do you propose to do? Tell me. You're smart, tell me. TAL You know I'm pretty good with numbers. C.J. Oh? If we drove for 3 hours at 40 miles an hour? I mean, tell me! You are holding on to something that... TAL What am I holding on to? My consciousness? My identity? C.J. ...can't be willed away by sheer force of personality, dad. TAL Tell me, brilliant woman that you are, would you hand over those things without a fight? I need a little more time, C.J. If I let it in at it's own pace, it'll just get dark faster. They sit there in silence, then C.J. starts the car and pulls off. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT SATURDAY NIGHT Tal is playing a Gershwin prelude on the piano while listening to Toby do a press conference on the TV. TOBY [on TV] The same is the same, and the same is true for the bailout of the iron industry. Nothing was said that has not been... that has consistently not been said and is still being not said. And what's, what's, what's not being said is often uh, more important than-than, uh, what's stated particularly by Congress. TAL [to C.J.] That man lacks grace and charm. C.J. is in her ROOM getting dressed. C.J. Do you think? TAL They really need you. C.J. Yeah, they kind of do. The doorbell rings. C.J. Dad! Dad, can you get the door? TAL Oh, yeah. Tal goes to the door. It's Marco. TAL Mr. Arlen. I heard you were back in town. MARCO Mr. Cregg, how's the algebra business? TAL Abysmal mess, I hear. But, fortunately, as the waitresses like to say, "Not my table." Come on in. MARCO Thank you. TAL You're no longer a rabid punk rocker, I see. MARCO How could you possibly remember that? I was your student for one semester. TAL Oh, I remember the detentions and the ditching and the low test scores and your imperviousness to algorithms. Let's get you a drink. MARCO Scotch. TAL You were better-looking with the mohawk, son. MARCO Yeah, my mom thinks so, too. TAL So, what're you up to now? MARCO I'm a horologist. TAL You fix watches. You were in trouble. MARCO Yeah, Yeah, I, uh, I spent a lot of time in detention. TAL No, no, After. You were in prison. C.J. No, Dad, no. [to Marco] He gets confused. Dad, no, wasn't... Marco... wasn't in prison. MARCO Yes, I was. I did a year. It wasn't hard; I was younger. Stock tips. Anyway... I-I lost most of what I had and moved on. TAL C'est la guerre, eh, son? MARCO C'est la guerre. TAL So, what's the skinny? You good with the watches? MARCO Uh... yes, sir. Tal pulls out a gold pocket watch and shows it to Marco. MARCO Wow! 1931 Hamilton. One of the few thoroughly American watches. Each piece, each part, handmade in the U.S. of A. Not many American watch-makers. TAL My dad's. MARCO Huh. You're losing time, Mr. Cregg. TAL That, son, I am. MARCO Let's have a look inside. TAL Really? MARCO Uh, yeah. Tal begins to walk to the table. Marco looks at C.J. who agrees. CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN TABLE - CONTINUOUS Marco is sitting at the table with the clock open looking at the watch pieces through a magnifying glass. MARCO Yeah, isochronism is out of beat. C.J. Is it? MARCO Yeah. This is your balance cock and your hairspring. The fourth wheel and the third wheel here. C.J. That's me. TAL Hmm. Oh, what am I thinking? You kids should get going. C.J. Maybe we should. TAL I've always cherished this thing. My father kept perfect time – marked it, measured it with this – the hellos and good-byes. It keeps faltering; nobody can do anything. MARCO Well, I could retool it. It wants a timing machine. Send it to you in a few weeks from Paris. TAL France? You're a convicted felon. How do I know you won't steal it? MARCO I'm not a recidivist. It would be a pleasure, Mr. Cregg. After all, you taught me how to calculate the number of stones in the Great Pyramid. TAL I did? MARCO Mm-hmm. TAL How do you do that? I can't remember anything. For days sometimes. He gets up to light a cigarette, but notices a picture and picks it up. TAL I... I can't remember who this is. He shows them the picture of a little girl in a white dress smiling at the camera. We assume this is C.J. around the age of four. C.J. walks out of the room. MARCO We should be going, Mr. Cregg. TAL Forgive me. C.J. is in the FOYER putting on her coat with a tear rolling down her face. CUT TO: EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT C.J. and Marco are in the parking lot sitting in a car looking at their fellow students walk into the building. C.J. Are we that old? MARCO Do you recognize anyone? C.J. Oh... Bill Morton form debate. Julia Keller from Cheerleading. Liz Varney from tennis. MARCO Ben Ehrenreich... he was sweet. C.J.'s cellphone rings. MARCO Tried to kiss me once. She looks at the screen it it says, "Toby WWing," but she doesn't answer. C.J. I don't think I can... face it right now. MARCO When do you give your speech? C.J. After dinner, before the scary dancing. MARCO After dinner? They both exchange flirtacious glances back and forth then Marco starts the car and pulls out of the parking lot. CUT TO: INT. TAL'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Tal is on the piano playing the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations. CUT TO: INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT Molly is standing in the mirror looking at herself. CUT TO: INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT We are focused on a cellphone sitting on a table, and in the background we can see two people "playing" in the bed. C.J. is kissing Marco when she glances over at the clock and jumps up. C.J. Mmm! I'm like, I'm like on in a few minutes. MARCO No, that, no, that... that clock's 20 minutes fast. C.J. Oh. She falls back on to him. MARCO Anyway, you're about to find out. C.J. What am I about to find out? MARCO The bittersweet thrill of high school popularity. There were days, some days, when... we'd played at a party. The Mollusks or we'd won a baseball game and... there was just that... thing, that... C.J. Hmm. MARCO ...everybody loving you in that moment. C.J. Are you saying you're one of those people who think like, in F. Scott Fitzgerald, their best years were 20 years prior? MARCO Oh, God no. No, I think the best day's gotta be the next day. Life is all... "what's next?" It's like those billboards where, before the actual ad goes up, they put in, in big block letters... "Watch this space." CUT TO: INT. TAL'S KITCHEN - NIGHT Tal is at the table typing what we presume to be his math book, when he looks up and sees Molly standing in the doorway. CUT TO: INT. BANQUET HALL - NIGHT C.J. is standing at podium in front of a banner that says "West Dayton High". C.J. My name is C.J. Cregg. As you know, I work for the President of the United States. This is why I was asked to make a short speech for our reunion. It's a terrible subject, a terrible idea, "The Promise of a Generation." So bad, I was going to start out with a joke and fill the whole thing in with more jokes. But I find the topic has gotten under my skin while I wasn't paying attention, because every generation has promise, and every generation fails that promise in some respects. How can we not? What is promise if not something that's impossible to live up to? My boss had to recently make his case to the American people that he was worth re-electing, and it was... not an easy process, nor should it be. And in its wake, I've been thinking a lot about civility, civic duty, and kindness, and how pervasive and powerful they are, how enduringly persuasive those qualities are in American life, and how I see them all around me, day after day. America is a terribly difficult idea filled with promise and impossible to live up to. Promise is inchoate and promise is what binds us. Molly, Tal and Liz enter the hall and stand in the back where Marco is. C.J. [cont] Some of us died, some got sick, some got rich, some... had bad luck, some of us were fortunate... more than others. C.J sees Molly and her father standing in the back listening. C.J. [cont] But failed promise only truly fails when it leads to lowered expectations. Her cellphone rings. C.J. [cont] Um... Sorry. Excuse me one sec. [into phone] Toby, not now, not now, not in the-- CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - NIGHT TOBY Something happened. Turn on CNN. C.J. [on phone] I hope it's monumental and not some joke timed for the exact moment I'm giving my speech, Toby. Toby walks to the HALLWAY. TOBY It is. Two car bombs outside our embassies in Asia. One went off, one didn't. A message to expect more of the same within the next 24 hours: Four. C.J. Oh, jeez. How many...? TOBY No casualties, thank God. If you can try and-and get back, uh... There are no direct flights, but if you connect out of Chicago, you can be in, we think, at 6:30 in the morning. C.J. Um... let me get moving. I'll call you in a few minutes on my way to the airport. TOBY Okay. They hang up. Toby enters the Press Room. CUT TO: INT. BANQUET HALL - NIGHT C.J. I'm sorry, I have to go. There's been... We have... I'm sorry. I... MARCO What happened? C.J. Some bombing threats to embassies. I'm sorry, I have to go. I have to ge to the airport and get back to D.C. They walk out to the FOYER. MARCO I'll get the car. TAL Are you all right? C.J. I have to go. Tal, I-I don't know what to do about this situation. TAL Well, nobody does; we'll just try and figure it out. I mean, between the lot of us, there's surely one superior mind still working; I don't know whose. C.J. Right. MOLLY We'll drive with you to the airport if you like. TAL C.J. Before I forget. Tell Marco, send it back to me soon. Please. He places the watch in her hands. TAL And working. Time matters. Tal turns around to walk off, but C.J. grabs his hand. C.J. I'll see you next week. TAL You can't keep flying back and forth. She leans in and kisses him on the cheek. The car pulls up, and C.J. and her father get in. They pull off with Marco following them. DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES. FADE TO BLACK. THE END * * * The West Wing and all its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Production, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. No copyright infringement is intended. Episode 4.13 – "The Long Goodbye" Original Air Date: January 15, 2003, 9:00 PM EST Transcibed by: ck1czar February 6, 2003