Factotum (2005)

Mr. Chinaski!
Get over here!
- You've got a drivers license?
- Yes.
One driver's sick. We've got some rush
orders. You need to make the deliveries.
Hi, Chi...!
Feeling bad?
I've felt better.
I've probably slept longer
than you've lived.
Chinaski, you're fired.
Do you have a room?
- It's $150 a week.
- All right.
- Are you employed?
- Self employed.
- May I ask what you do?
- I'm a writer.
Have you written books?
I'm not ready for a novel... yet.
Most guys think they know how to drive.
But in fact very few know how.
They just steer.
Every day I see 2-3 people run through
red lights like they didn't exist.
The lives people live drive them crazy,
and it comes out in the way they drive.
I'm not here to tell you how to live.
I'm here to teach you how to drive.
When can a man
lose control over his cab?
When I get a hard on?
If you can't drive with a hard on
we can't use you.
Some of our best men
drive with a hard on all day long.
When can one lose control
and not be able to help it?
A man might lose control
over his cab when he sneezed.
When you sneeze what do you do?
- Are you Henry Chinaski?
- Yes, sir.
Follow me.
Sit down.
We ran a check on you.
You have 18 drunk and disorderly
arrests. And one for drunk driving.
- There were two for drunk driving.
- You lied to us. You're disqualified.
Could you call me a cab?
As we live we all get caught
and by various traps.
Writing can trap you.
Some tend to write what has pleased
their readers in the past.
They hear accolades and believe them.
There is only one final judge
of writing and that is the writer.
When he is swayed by the critics, the
editors, the readers, he is finished.
And when he's
swayed with his fame -
- you can float him
down the river with the turds.
- A writer?
- Yes.
- Are you sure?
- No.
Why do you want to work
in a pickle factory?
- It reminds me of my grandmother.
- It does?
She used to serve me pickles
whenever I visited her.
- What do you write?
- Mostly short stories.
- I'm half way through a novel.
- What's it about?
- Everything.
- It's for instance about cancer?
How about my wife?
She's in there too.
I wrote 3-4 short stories a week.
I imagined how the editors in
The New Yorker must be reacting.
Hey, here's another one from that nut!
I sent most of them to John Martin.
I admired his magazine, Black Sparrow.
You want to step in here for a minute?
Mr. Gentry is a writer too.
I told him that you were a writer and
he wanted to meet you. Do you mind?
I don't mind.
Mr. Gentry is a friend of mine.
Do you mind if I leave?
The scene in the office stayed with
me. Those cigars the fine clothes...
I thought of good stakes.
Long rides up winding driveways
that led to beautiful homes.
Ease. Trips to Europe.
Fine women.
Chinaski, what are you doing?
Get back to work, your shift's not over.
- I need a drink.
- No, no. Get back to work.
Over here.
Get off me!
- You OK?
- I'm fine.
I don't need this!
Then I met Jan.
I bought her a drink and
she gave me her phone number.
Three days later
I moved into her apartment.
Jan had a 500-dollar car.
The big trick was
how to turn on the headlights.
Of course we had
the advantage of broken springs.
Jan was an excellent fuck.
She had a tight pussy. And she took
it like it was a knife killing her.
I want to know what time it is!
You said you'd fix the clock.
All right, let's see...
We set the clock
by the TV at midnight last night.
We know that it gains
It says 7:30 p.m. But that's not
right because it's not dark yet.
That's 71/2 hours.
Seven times 35 minutes...
That's 245 minutes.
One half of 35 is...
It gives us...
That's four hours and
So we set the clock back to 5:47.
That's it.
It's 5:47.
It's dinner time
and we don't have anything to eat.
Let's open another jug of wine.
Should I make some pancakes?
I don't know if I can get
another one of them down.
Okay, put the pancakes on.
We're still out of butter.
- Well, fry them dry again.
- They'll be crisp. Real crisp.
It's okay, baby.
What was that?
What is that?
Is anyone in there?
Everybody out!
It's just the fire department.
I finally got hired at
a Bicycle Supply Warehouse.
I had to demean myself
to get that one.
I told them that I liked
to think of my job as a second home.
You play the horses?
Mind if I look at your paper?
- My Boy Bobby ought to take the eight.
- And they don't even have him on top.
- All the better.
- What do you think he'll pay?
About 9 to 2.
- What time does the last race go off?
- 5: 30.
- We get off at 5:00.
- We'd never make it.
We can try.
The racetrack's not too far.
- Want to come along?
- Sure.
We'll cut out at five to five.
See, I told you we'd make it!
$200 on My Boy Bobby to win.
My Boy Bobby's in the front.
He's in the lead!
We've hooked ourselves a winner!
Unless some big-ass closer
comes out of the back of the pack.
Come on, Bobby!
- Yes!
- We should have bet another $200.
Come on, let's go get a drink.
The next day some of the others
asked if we would place bets for them.
Hank, we have to take their bets.
Manny, those guys
haven't got any money.
Only the coffee and chewing gum money
that their wives give them.
We can't waste time
at the 2-dollar windows.
We're not going to bet their money,
we're going to keep their money.
- Suppose they win?
- They won't.
They have a way of
always picking the wrong horse.
Suppose they bet our horse?
Then we know
we've got the wrong horse.
I think she's going to do it.
Go, Spitfire!
Yes! Way to go!
- You married, Manny?
- No way.
- Women?
- Sometimes.
- But it never lasts.
- What's the problem?
A woman is like a full-time job.
- I suppose there is an emotional drain.
- Physical too.
They want to fuck night and day.
Well. Get one you like to fuck.
Yes, but if you drink or gamble they
think it's a put down of their love.
Get one who
likes to drink, gamble and fuck.
Who wants a woman like that?
I bought some expensive clothes
and shoes.
The owner of the Warehouse
didn't look so powerful anymore.
Manny and I took
a little longer with our lunches -
- and came back smoking cigars.
The new life didn't sit well with Jan.
She was used to her four fucks a day
and seeing me poor and humble.
Mr. Horseplayer!
Mr. Big Horseplayer!
I used to like the way
you walked across the room.
Like you were walking through walls.
Like nothing mattered.
Now you've got a few bucks in your
pocket, you're not the same anymore.
You act like you're
a dental student or a plumber.
Don't give me any shit about plumbers.
- We haven't made love in two weeks.
- Love takes many forms.
You haven't fucked me in two weeks.
Have some patience. In six months
we'll be vacationing in Rome, in Paris.
Look at you! Pouring yourself that good
whiskey and letting me drink this crap.
- Mr. Big-Time Horseplayer!
- I give you soul.
I give you wisdom and light
and music and some laughter!
By the way,
I am the world's greatest horseplayer.
No, horseplayer!
I understood too well that great
lovers were always men of leisure.
I fucked better as a bum
than as a puncher of time clocks.
- I've always wanted to go there.
- It's quite nice, actually.
I tried to make a woman out of you,
but you're nothing but a whore!
If anybody here doesn't like
what I just did, then say something!
Sit down, Chinaski.
You knew we were going to let you go.
- Bosses are never hard to fathom.
- You've been slacking for over a month.
- I've been busting my ass!
- No you haven't!
I've given you my time.
For pitiful $6 an hour.
Remember, you begged for this job.
I give you my time, so you can live
in your big house. I've been the loser.
- You understand?
- All right, Chinaski. Just go.
Listen, Mantz. I don't want any trouble
about my unemployment payments.
You guys are always trying to cheat
the working man out of his rights.
You'll get your unemployment.
Now get the hell out of here!
I didn't see Manny again, and I missed
the trips to the track with him.
But I had my winnings
and the bookie money.
I just sat around and Jan liked that.
After two weeks
I was on unemployment.
We relaxed and fucked
and toured the bars.
Every week I'd go down,
stand in line and get my check.
I love you.
Here's a ten-dollar try
on the four with one and two.
The racetrack crowd
is the world brought down to size.
Life grinding against
death and losing.
Nobody wins finally,
we're only seeking a reprieve.
A moment out of the glare.
- Sir, you're in our seats.
- There are no reserved seats here.
I know. But it's a common courtesy.
Some people get her early.
Poor people, like you and me,
who can't afford reserved seats.
They lay down newspapers
to indicate that these seats are saved.
If the poor aren't decent with one
another nobody else is going to be.
I am not poor.
If you can't be a gentleman,
at least don't be a hog.
Jan, sit down.
I'll stand.
Come on four.
Let's get a drink.
That man in our seats, he's got nerve.
- I don't like the guy.
- He sure got your goat.
He was just a little guy.
If he'd been big
you wouldn't have done anything either.
What do you do for a living?
Real estate.
I make 500000 a year.
Then why don't you
get yourself a reserved seat?
That's my prerogative.
You know, you have
the nicest blue eyes.
You got a cigarette?
- Pardon me, but you are in my seat.
- And what are you going to do about it?
Pardon me.
Come on, baby.
How do you feel?
I feel bad.
I want to be alone.
You don't have enough love.
It's warped you.
People don't need love. They need
success of some form or another.
It can be love
but it doesn't have to be.
The Bible says: 'Love thy neighbor.'
That could also mean:
Leave him alone.
One half is yours.
- It's another woman, isn't it?
- No.
- You don't love me anymore.
- Stop that shit, would you?
You're tired of fucking me.
Hank, stay with me.
Here, take it.
You'll manage.
Even at my lowest times I can feel
the words bubbling inside of me.
I had to get them down -
- or be overcome
by something worse than death.
Words, not as precious things
but as necessary things.
Yet, when I begin to doubt
my ability to work the word -
- I simply read another writer and
I know I have nothing to worry about.
My contest is only with myself,
to do it right.
With power and force.
And delight and gamble.
I'll have a scotch, please.
Bartender, I'll have another one.
And get the little lady
whatever she's having.
That drink was my last. I'm broke.
Are you serious?
- Do you have a place to stay?
- No.
And you haven't got any money,
or anything to drink?
Two Evan Williams, a six-pack of beer,
two packs of cigarettes, -
- some chips,
some mixed nuts, some alka-seltzer, -
- and a good cigar.
- Cash or credit card?
- Charge it to Pierre.
I'll have to phone.
- Where are we going?
- My place.
- It's okay.
- Thank you.
- Do you like this kind of music?
- Yes.
You think your great.
Yes. I can tell by the way you act.
I like you tough.
I liked you right away.
Hike up your skirt.
- You like legs?
- Yes.
You're not some maniac? There's
a guy who's been picking up girls.
Cuts crossword puzzles
into their bodies with a pen knife.
I write, but I'm not him.
Then there are guys who fuck you
and chop you into little pieces.
They find your ass in a drainpipe.
And your tit in a trash can downtown.
I stopped doing that, years ago.
Stay back from the door.
He's got a camera.
Let him just see me. When
the buzzer sounds you follow me in.
- Sweetie, so good to see you!
- Pierre, hi!
How are you?
- Who's that guy?
- I want you to meet a friend of mine.
Pierre, this is Henry Chinaski.
- Good to know you, Pierre.
- Come on in.
Thank you. You're so good, Pierre.
Hi girls.
This is Henry Chinaski.
Henry, this is Grace and Jerry.
Help yourself.
- So, what do you do?
- He's a writer.
I need somebody to do a libretto
for an opera I wrote.
It's called
The Emperor of San Francisco.
Did you know there was one who claimed
he was the Emperor of San Francisco?
- No, I didn't.
- It's a real story.
You look like you've been around.
You look like you've got class.
Would you like to hear
some music from my opera?
Yes, I'd like that very much,
if it's OK with you?
He's a tight son of a bitch.
He likes to take care of the girls in
the bars who have no place to sleep.
All he gives them is food and a bed.
Never any money.
And they only have drinks
when he's drinking.
Jerry got to him one night, though.
He was horny.
He was chasing her around the table.
She said 'no'.
'Not unless you give me
a thousand bucks a month for life! '
He signed a piece of paper.
That he has to pay her $1000 a month.
Even after he dies
his family will have to pay her.
Jerry is his main girl, though.
What about you?
Not for a long time.
I like you.
You do?
Watch tomorrow. If he comes out
with that sailor's cap on, -
- that means that
we're going out on his yacht.
Doctors made him get a yacht.
Is it a long one?
We're going out on the yacht.
- We're going back.
- What for?
Grace is having one of those moments.
She's just staring at the water.
I'm afraid she'll jump off the boat.
She can't swim.
- Just give her 50 bucks!
- No. We're going back.
This happens every time we go out.
Grace goes into one of her moods
and stands there staring at the ocean.
She's never going to jump overboard.
She hates water!
Laura and I split up
and I never saw any of them again.
- Hey, mom.
- Is that you?
I just need a place to sleep
for a couple of days.
Your bedroom is always waiting.
Your father is home.
Thanks, mom.
Hey, dad.
You got a job?
Any man who wants work can find work.
Suppose you're right.
I can hardly believe you're my son.
You don't have any ambition.
How the hell are you
going to make it in this world?
Still think you're a writer?
I am still writing.
If you stay here I'll charge you
room and board plus laundry.
When you get a job, what's yours we take
out of your wages till you're paid up.
You're drunk!
- Yes.
- Where do you get the money to drink?
- I'll get a job.
- How?
- You act as if I had murdered somebody.
- It's just as bad!
Are you finished?
Thanks for the food, mom.
- You're not hungry?
- No. I'm good, thank you.
Robert, how about you and I
go out and have a few cocktails?
Drinking in the middle of the week
without a job?
That's when you need a drink the most.
I am warning you!
- I also need a piece of ass.
- What's he saying?
I said,
I also need a piece of ass.
We have
three different types of cartons.
This is for our Super Durable Brake
Shoe. This for our Super Brake Shoe.
And this is for our Standard Brake Shoe.
And here are the brake shoes.
- How do I tell them apart?
- You don't.
Just divide them into thirds.
When you've finished
we'll find something else.
- When do I start?
- Now.
And absolutely no smoking up here.
If you have to smoke, come downstairs.
A poem is a city
filled with streets and sewers.
Filled with saints, heroes,
beggars, madmen.
Filled with banality and booze.
Filled with rain and thunder
and periods of drought.
A poem is a city at war.
It's a barbershop
filled with cynical drunks.
A poem is a city.
A poem is a nation.
A poem is the world.
I decided to look for Jan.
I toured the bars in our old
neighborhood looking for her.
The bartender at the Pink Mule -
- told me that she was working as
a chambermaid in a downtown hotel.
I thought I'd never see you again!
Well, here I am.
Let me look at you.
You're thin. You've lost weight.
You're looking good.
- Are you alone?
- Yes.
- There's no one else?
- Nobody.
You know I can't stand people.
Well, good to see you working.
Come on.
- I'm embarrassed.
- I love you, you idiot.
We've fucked 800 times, so relax.
- Still like my legs?
- Hell yes.
Have you finished with your work?
All but Mr. Clark's room.
He doesn't care. He leaves me tips.
I'm not doing anything.
He just leaves me tips.
I love you, baby.
When I came home one night,
she had moved in with me.
I decided to clean up the apartment.
I thought
I must be turning into a fag.
Where is she?
Where is the bitch
who cleaned the place?
If I find her,
I'm going to kill her. I swear.
You're going to pay for this, Chinaski.
She was continually using our
arguments to justify herself.
It was just a cover for her own guilt.
She'd go off
with anyone she met in a bar.
And the lower and the dirtier he was
the better she liked it.
She left and I got drunk
for three days and three nights.
When I sobered up
I knew my job was gone.
Hello? I was told
you might be looking for reporters.
Please fill this out.
Apply this ointment to the invaded parts
an wash off after 20-30 minutes.
Under no circumstances leave it on
longer than 30 minutes.
Thank you.
Hell! 30 minutes?
I'll leave it on all night
and kill every one of these fuckers.
- You fucking whore!
- What?
- Look what you've done to me!
- What is it?
Don't you know?
I haven't fucked anybody else! I got it
from you. You're a diseased ridden slut!
Crabs, baby! You gave me crabs.
No. Geraldine must have them.
I was sitting on her toilet.
You got it off a toilet seat?
Give me a goddamn drink.
What do you want?
As a reporter?
Not as a reporter?
Okay. Thanks.
Who was that?
- I got a job.
- I'll fix you up.
I can't wear pants.
- I'll rap you up in gauze.
- Will that work?
Easy does it.
- Put it right around...
- Easy.
- Anybody tell you how funny you are?
- No.
That's understandable.
Now, for a little tape.
- Put the other leg up, lover.
- Never mind the romance.
Around your big fat thighs.
- Not as big as your big fat ass.
- No, no, be nice now.
Now the balls. Your little red balls.
Just in time for Christmas.
- What will you do with my balls?
- Rap them.
It might affect my tap-dancing.
- Wrap that around like that and tie.
- They'll slip out.
In a cocoon. Real nice.
That's better. A little bit of tape.
- Don't tape my balls to my asshole.
- That's the best place for them, baby.
You're as good as new.
Get up and walk around.
This is all right!
I feel like a eunuch, -
- but this is all right.
- Want some soft boiled eggs?
- Sure, baby.
Call for help if you
need to move the lift.
We're very proud of this guy.
It's called 'Vision of Peace'.
Why was I chosen to do this?
Why couldn't I
be inside writing editorials -
- about municipal corruption?
Give the readers
my vision of peace.
Questions like these
demanded deeper consideration.
Superintendent Barnes.
Can I buy you a beer?
You are fired, Mr. Chinaski. Return
your uniform and clean out your locker.
Yes, sir.
- Is that you, Hank?
- Yeah, baby.
I got canned.
Caught me drinking on the job.
What about your check?
Funny, they didn't mention it.
You worked almost a full day.
They owe you wages.
Yes, they do.
We go get it,
as soon as the office opens.
Let's hit the marked for some stewed
meat and vegetables and French wine.
- They old me the check wasn't ready.
- What? It's the law.
They said it would be ready tomorrow.
Christ, I've walked
all this way in high heels!
You look great, baby.
It pays to be a tough son of a bitch.
The world belongs to people with balls.
Just get the check, daddy.
I'm Henry Chinaski.
- Yes?
- I was here yesterday.
You told me
my check would be ready today.
- Oh.
- That's right.
I'm sorry.
Your check isn't here yet.
But you said it would be.
I'm sorry.
Sometimes it takes a little longer.
I want my check!
I'm sorry, sir.
You're not sorry.
You don't know what sorrow is. I do.
I want to talk to
your boss's boss. Now!
Mr. Handler?
A Mr. Chinaski would like to see you
about a termination payroll check.
Room 309.
Thank you.
Me and my old lady walked
down here now, two days running -
- just to be told
that you don't have my check.
Now, you and I know that's pure crap.
All I want to do
is get my check and get drunk.
That may not sound noble.
But it's my choice.
You got a smoke?
Thank you.
Miss Simms?
There's a check due
to Mr. Henry Chinaski.
Yes. Henry Chinaski.
I want it down in five minutes.
Thank you.
Listen, John, I've got two years
of journalism at L. A. City College.
- You couldn't use a reporter?
- Sorry, we're overstaffed now.
I see.
Your check will be downstairs.
Thank you.
You might as well not have any ears.
You never listen to me anymore.
That's because
you keep repeating yourself.
Let's have a drink and talk about it.
You've had your ass up in the air
ever since we got back together.
Let's face the obvious:
I don't need you
and you don't need me.
Yeah. I know.
A week later Jan moved out
and shacked up with some rich guy.
After that I couldn't pay the rent.
- The landlord threw you out?
- Yeah.
Did you get the job?
- No. They didn't want me.
- Why not?
I don't have an address.
Hank, I hate it when he fucks me.
Sure, baby. Take care.
This is for you.
It got too small for him.
See you around, Hank.
You'll manage.
Amazing, how grimly
we hold onto our misery.
The energy we burn fueling our anger.
Amazing, how one moment
we can be snarling like a beast, -
- then a few moments later
forgetting what or why.
Not hours
or days or months or years, -
- but decades,
lifetimes completely used up -
- given over to
the pettiest rancor and hatred.
Finally there is nothing here
for death to take away.
Sit down
and we'll see if anything comes in.
You look a little down in the mouth.
You all right?
I lost a woman.
You'll have others.
And you'll lose them too.
Where do they go?
Try this.
Ain't no women on skid row.
Don't let him see us drinking.
That's the one thing he don't like.
Keep it low.
- Wine gnats.
- Sons of bitches are hooked.
They know what's good.
They drink to forget their women.
They just drink.
- Oh, shit.
- Here he comes!
All right! Get out, you winos!
Get out before I call the cops!
Let's go! Get out of here!
Out! I call the cops, you god damn
degenerates! And don't come back!
What? This isn't a bar!
Sun's up.
Yeah, the sun's up good.
Well, I got to get going.
See you.
So, what do I do with Chinaski's mail?
He's gone. Just give it to me.
Have a nice day.
Dear Mr. Chinaski.
We are returning four stories,
but keeping My Beerdrunk Soul -
"- is Sadder Than All the Dead
Christmas Trees of the World.
We have been watching your work
and are happy to accept this story.
John Martin, Black Sparrow Press.
If you are going to try,
go all the way.
Otherwise don't even start.
This could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs.
And maybe your mind.
It could mean
not eating for three or four days.
It could mean
freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail.
It could mean mockery, isolation.
Isolation is the gift. All the others
are a test of your endurance.
Of how much you really want to do it.
And you'll do it, despite rejection.
And it will be better than
anything else you can imagine.
If you're going to try,
go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the gods.
And the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life
straight to perfect laughter.
It's the only good fight there is.
subs by kitrinipapia