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1 Hey, ma, look. A airplane. What? Airplane. Oh, yeah. Huh. Who was TV's Kojak? Darren Mcgavin. Kojak, not Kolchak. Oh, um... - How many letters? - Seven. Do you have any letters already? Yeah. The third letter is a v, I think. I'm not sure. Blank-blank-blank-v- blank-blank-blank. Right? Yes, I think. It's a bald guy, right? Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in full upright position, make sure your seat belt is fastened securely and all carry-on luggage is stowed beneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Thank you. November 12th, 1995. Dear Michael. Fuck you. Just fuck you. You just walk away? After all you said to me? After all we did? After all those fucking promises? After all that fucking fucking? Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to be the first to welcome you to Cincinnati, where the local time is 7:43 P.M., and the temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We will be taxiing for a while, so please stay seated until the pilot turns off the "fasten seat belt" light. Sorry I grabbed your hand. It's okay. It's a reflex. I'm usually sitting next to my wife. I don't like to fly. I said it's okay. You can let go now, though. Robert Hernandez, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Please, Robert Hernandez to the white courtesy phone, please. Welcome to cincinnati/north Kentucky international airport. While on the moving sidewalk, please stand to the... Hello. Hi. I need to go to the Fregoli. Downtown. Yup. Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please. No parking or waiting allowed. Unattended vehicles in this area will be towed. Thanks. Yup. Can I smoke in here? You see that sign? Oh. You're from England, right? Yeah, I'm from England. I can tell by your accent. And the whistling, that's British airways. It's Lakme, actually. Nah, that's British airways. Anyway, I have an ear for accents. How's the weather there now? Good? Well, I'm from there originally. I live here now. In sin-sin city, you know, as I call it? Not here. The states. "The states." I like that. "Across the pond. The states. "The trolley. Cheerio. Put another shrimp on the Barbie." I like all that English stuff. Whereabout in "the states"? Los Angeles. Oh, la, la. Yes, sir. Oh, yeah. Tinseltown. Well, Cincinnati's a great city, too. Don't knock it. I wasn't. I'm sure it is. Damn straight. First time? Once before. Oh, it's changed since then. You ought to check it out, you know, while you're here. Yeah, I will. Thanks. Yeah. You're welcome. Fuck you, asshole! Yeah, you oughta check it out. Check it out. The zoo is great. World-class, they say. Many, many important, you know, uh, whatchamacallit, endangered species, breeding programs, you know. It's famous for it. Pandas. Other things. Owls. Uh-huh. That sounds fascinating. Damn straight. Yeah, you should check it out. Oh! And you gotta try the Cincinnati chili. It's chili like you never had. Trust me. La chili? England chili? Forget about it. They make it here with cinnamon and chocolate and they serve it over pasta. Imagine that if you can. I'll try to, yeah. Thanks. Is there a toy store near the hotel? A toy store? You mean, a "toy" store? Yeah, toy store. Yeah, there's a "toy" store about two blocks up. It's open all night. Real class place. I have a pickup call at 16th and Lincoln. Anybody in the area? Anyway, there's a lot to see in the city. Revitalized downtown... I'm only here for a day. What? I'm just here for a day. You know, I'm sorry. I'm not getting that. The accent. I'm just here for a day. Well, the zoo then. You don't need more than a day for the zoo. It's just zoo-sized. And the chili. You only need, like, an hour for the chili. Hey, that's Michael stone. Michael stone. Harris, can you get these bags, please? That's Michael stone. Hello. Welcome to the Fregoli. Hi, I'm checking in. Stone. Welcome, Mr. stone. Oh, there we go. Michael stone. Smoking, king-sized bed. And you'll be with us for just one night, sir? One night. Yes. I'll just need to make an imprint of your credit card, for incidentals, and we'll be all set. I'd like a quiet room, if you have one. Yes, sir. Of course. I have a charming deluxe smoking junior suite on the tenth floor with a king-sized bed. Far above the street noise. That sounds good. Great. So it's all set then. Dennis here will show you to your room. Oh, thank you. Right this way, sir. My name is Dennis. Hi. After you, sir. So how was your trip in? It was fine, thanks. Good. Bumpy? At all? Uh, no. I'm sorry? No. Oh, well, you're safe now. I think the room will be to your liking, sir. Just up here to the left, sir. There you go, after you. Nice weather we're having. Yeah. What? Yes. Yes, the weather is very good. Very, very, very, very good. Sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. And here we are. After you, sir. It's the bathroom. Air conditioning and heat controls here. TV, remote control. Mini-bar. All self-explanatory, I think. Um... Ice machine down the hall. And would you like me to get you some ice before I leave? No, I'm okay, thanks. Here you go. Oh. Thank you very much, sir. If you need anything at all, please just give us a ring. My name's Dennis. Thanks. Good night. Good night. Touch the door to the room. If it feels hot, do not open it. Fill the tub with water, soak a towel, and place it in the space at the bottom of the door. If the door is not hot, you may leave the room, but bring your room key with you in case exits are blocked and you need to get back in. Hmm? Room service. How may I help you, Mr. stone? Um, I'd like to order some room service. Yes. I'll have the bibb lettuce salad and the salmon. Yes, sir. Would you like anything to drink tonight? No. I'll find something in the mini-bar. Very good. Dessert? We have a... No, no, no, thanks. Very good, sir. So that's a bibb lettuce, Gorgonzola, prosciutto, and walnut salad. Yes. With honey raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Yes. And the wild-caught copper river Alaska salmon amandine. Yes. With baby asparagus... Yes. ...And the black truffle broth. Yes. Very good. And that's for room 1007? Yes. Very good. It's 9:13 now. It should be there within 35 minutes, which will make it 9:48. Thank you. Thank... Hello? Hey. Oh, hi. You just get in? I'm at the hotel. How are you? Pre-menstrual. How was the flight? Ah, it was okay. A little bumpy. Oh, I hate that. Just a minute, Henry! No, I'm on the phone! Just a minute! What? No, it's daddy! Donna. Daddy! Donna. Daddy! Donna! He wants to say hi. Okay. Donna, I don't want to... Hold on. He's coming downstairs. He's in his pirate suit. Come on, Henry. Daddy's waiting. Yes. It's long-distance! Jesus. Here he is. Okay. Hi, slugger. Say something. It's long-distance. Hi, daddy. I'm a pirate. Are you? That's great. I'm glad to hear your voice. Did you buy me something? Not yet. But I will. I just got here. Okay, I love you. Take care. Bye. Well, he gets right to the point. Yeah. So, um... What else? I mean, how's your room? It's, you know, it's a room. It's nice, I guess. Big bed. Oh, that's good. You can thrash about all you like. Okay, Donna, it's not that I like it. It's restlessness. Okay, okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. You doing anything tonight? No. I ordered room service. I'll watch a movie or something. I don't know. I should get some sleep. Okay. Well, I better go. I've got to get dinner together for hen. Okay. Have a good night. Okay. Good luck tomorrow. Yeah, thanks. Okay, bye. Bye. "Thank you. "It is my privilege today to talk to you about customer service, "what it is and why it's an essential component "of any successful business enterprise. "The front line of every customer department "is the group of folks who interact directly with the public. "The telephone representative at corporate headquarters, "the retail associate on the floor of the regional store, "the guys or gal..." Fuck. - You bitch. - Asshole. Then why are you still here? I'm leaving. I just need to find my wallet. Why don't you find your balls while you're at it? You knew I didn't want to get married. Yeah. Well, you agreed to it. You're a grownup. Yeah, I'm a grownup. You remind me of that every day. Well, someone has to. Bitch. Asshole. I'm going. Oh, yeah? Where are you gonna go? I'm just going. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Why don't you fuck off, bitch? You fuck off. You know, my mother was right when she said you're a bitch. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Housekeeping. Would you like turndown service tonight? Thank you. It is my privilege today to talk to you about customer service. What it is and why... Shit. I mean, what the fuck did I do, Michael? It's a goddamn mystery. It's like the goddamn mystery of the ages. Oh, shit. One minute, we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, and the next... Amarossi. Okay. Hi, Bella. It's Michael. Shit. Hi, Bella, it's Michael. Hi, Bella... Hi, Bella, it's Michael. Fuck. Six... Hello? Hello? Hello. Um... May I speak to Bella Amarossi, please? This is Bella. Bella? Hi, I wasn't sure... Hi... I... uh... It's, uh... Who is this? It's Michael. I didn't recognize your voice. Michael? Michael stone. Michael stone. From... Oh, my god! Michael? Oh, my god! Wow. Where are you? I'm in Cincinnati on business and I thought of you and I looked you up in the phone book and there you were, so, uh... It's good to hear your voice. Yours, too. I'm shaking. Jesus, how long has it been? Ten years. Eleven. Oh, right. Uh... I'm married. Oh. I have a kid. Oh. That's great. Congratulations. Thanks. You? No. I've missed you. Yeah. That's a weird thing to say. I know. I'm sorry. Well, it doesn't matter. It's all water under the fucking bridge. The fucking bridge. Yeah. Well, I am sorry. I do think about you a lot. Yeah. I guess the postcards must've gotten lost in the mail. Do you want to maybe get a drink, Bella? Oh. I don't know, Michael. This is all very intense. It's like out of the blue. I just came out of this stupid relationship with a psycho. And I just... I don't know, I'm not sure you want to be the victim to my current emotional imbalance tonight. Yeah. Well, I understand. I mean, I could, I guess. I don't know. Jesus, Michael, it's been so fucking long. And you just call? Out of nowhere? I'm sorry. It was stupid. Everything's just screwed-up. I'm not thinking straight. There's something wrong with me. Well, where are you staying? The Fregoli. La-di-da, you're doing well. Oh. You know. It's boring. Everything's boring. Okay, I could meet you there. At the bar. I have to go to work early, so, I can't stay very long. Yeah, that sounds great. It'll be lovely to see you. This is really weird. I've gained some weight. Not terrible or anything, but just so you don't look at me like freaked-out or something, because I just couldn't handle that right now. I wouldn't do that. Okay. And I have a fake tooth in the front because I fell and hit a cement bench with my mouth. But I don't think you can tell. They matched it pretty well. Okay. I look forward to seeing you. Bye, Michael. Bye, Bella. Soak a towel, and place it in the space... What is the meaning of this, may I ask? Oh, mother, Godfrey loves me. He put me in the shower. What ever are you talking about? Godfrey loves me. Godfrey loves me. Godfrey, I demand an explanation. I think, perhaps, madam, that I had better resign. Yes, I think you'd better. That's a very good idea. What do you think your father would say to all this? I don't care what anybody says. Godfrey loves me. Now see here, young lady, you take a bath and put on some dry clothes. And come downstairs immediately. Do you hear? Godfrey loves me. Oh, I've never heard of anything like this in my life. - Good to see you. - Good to see you. Mmm. There you are. Hey. Oh. Michael? Bella! Mmm. You look great. Thank you. You, too. Have a seat. Please. It's really lovely to see you. Thanks. Let me get the waitress' attention. Excuse me. Excuse me. It's busier here than I would've thought. Hi. Do you know what you want? Um... I... what are you having, Michael? A Belvedere Martini with a twist. Same old Michael. I'll have one of those. Make it two. Back in a minute. So. You look good. Tell me what's going on. Not too much. I'm embarrassed to say. I'm working for the state, doing graphics for the health department. Graphics? Yeah, I design pamphlets. You know, teen pregnancy, STD's, diabetes. I see. Well, that sounds interesting. It's okay. My boss is a dick. I guess that fits right in with the teen pregnancy and the STD's. Do I look bad? I look bad, don't I? No, you look good. Why did you go, Michael? I don't know. I can't explain. Here we are. Two Belvedere Martinis straight-up with twists. Thank you. Thank you. You're welcome. Enjoy. Old times. Old times. That's nice. Yeah. I've missed you. Me, too. Try to. Try to what? Try to explain. Huh. I think I might have psychological problems. Oh, good. That clears things up. Thanks. It's hard to explain. I've been running for a long time now. Running? We were special together. That's what I thought. Yeah. I agree. But things kind of shifted. But just like completely suddenly? I was so pissed at you. I was so fucking hurt. I didn't get out of bed for a year. Do you realize that? Jesus. I'm sorry. God, you drank that fast. I get a lot of practice. Listen, do you feel that you changed? I mean, do you feel that you changed? What are you talking about? I don't know. I don't know. Like, in any way? Like, in any way did you change? Like, while we were together. Like, did I change you? Did you change? Did anything change? Did a change occur? Did a... Michael, you're freaking me out. I can't take being more freaked out right now. I'm sorry. I'm a mess. I'm just... Do you want to maybe go up to my room for another drink? We could talk more privately. What? We're not going to fuck, Michael. I wasn't... I just... I'm just really bloody lonely, and we had something. And I thought maybe we could figure out what it was. You've got to be kidding. Oh, this isn't going well. I'll just get the check then. Miss? Jesus. Wow. What? Miss? I can't... I can't believe you. Fuck you, Michael. Fuck off. Bella! I'm just trying to understand! Isn't that Michael stone? It's Michael stone, yes. And the next minute you're out the door with barely a goodbye. Have a good fucking life, Michael. Love, Bella. Hello. May I help you? Hello there. I am looking for a toy for my son, Henry. Perhaps you've heard of him, he's a pirate. Oh. Oh, dear, this is not quite the store I expected. No, I suppose not those kind of toys. It's not my night. What's that behind you? Oh, that? That's an antique. It's Japanese. It's quite unusual. It's pretty. Hot. Hot. Hot! Ahh! Ahh! Fuck! Fuck! Cold! Fuck you! Fuck! Fuck you! Fuck! Okay. There we go. Mmm. Anyway, I can't wait to see you when I get back. How's Thursday? No, it's super-fancy. Oh, my god. Is he cute? Jesus. Someone else. Where are my fucking pants? Fuck! Hello, miss? Shit. Shit! Yes? I'm sorry to bother you. I was just looking for my friend's room. Not here. I'm sorry. It's okay. Hi! Oh. Hello. Can I help you? I thought you were someone else. No, sorry. I thought you were someone else. That's okay. Yes? Yes? Um... I'm sorry to bother you. I'm looking for... Who is it? My name's Michael stone. Oh! Oh! Hold on! Hi! Oh, my god! It's you. Hi, I'm sorry to bother you... No. Not at all! Do you want to come in? I was just looking for someone. I think I've got the wrong... Who's there, em? It's Mr. stone! Michael stone! Really? Oh, my god. Oh, my god. Hello! Oh! Do I look awful? I was just taking my makeup off. Oh, my god. Ugh. Don't look at me. Hello. No, you look lovely. I can't believe you're in our room. We came here from Akron just to hear you speak. Oh, my god. Please don't look at me. Well, I'm certainly very flattered. You can look at me. Emily. Is there something we can do for you? I mean... I don't mean that in a weird way. - Although... - No, I'm kidding! I'm just... Oh, my god. Oh! I was... I was trying to find my friend. I thought this was his room. And... Oh, nope. Nope. Unless he's hiding under the bed! We think you're super-brilliant. We both read your book. Oh! Yay for your book! Thank you. Are you ladies in customer services? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Mmm-hmm. Uh-huh. We're both team leaders in a phone room. We read your book and productivity went up 90% in our department. You're so smart. I'm not sure I should even say words in front of you, because you'll see how dumb I am. Shut up, Lisa. No, don't. Don't shut up, Lisa. You have a miraculous voice. Oh, god, no! Yick. Me? Yick. No way. No way. Lisa, you're being nuts. Say, would you ladies like to get a drink at the bar, maybe? We could chat. Talk about phone system innovations. Oh, um... Um, yeah! I think we could manage that. Right, Lisa? Do you need to find your friend, though? No. Two beautiful ladies trumps my friend. Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much! I'm blushing. Yes, thank you so much! I'm blushing, too. I can't believe we bumped into you. You know, we sprung for this hotel because this is like a mini-vacation for us. We can't even afford it. But look what happened! It's so worth it. Oh. I love this song. How I long to be near... Shut up, Lisa. I even got a massage tonight in the room! Mmm. It's good to splurge every now and again. Emily and I work for Tessman in Akron. We're only customer service reps, so you can imagine our salaries. Tessman? Tessman foods. We make packaged bakery items shipped all over the Midwest. Nibble-o's, choco-bricks, apple-flats, strawberry trifles, knick-knacks, scroochies? Oh, yes. Yes. Splendid. I'm familiar. Brownie balls, don't forget. Brownie balls. Yeah, they're new. Hello again. What can I get you? Oh, hi. Uh, do you ladies know what you want? Um, I'll have an apple mojito, please. Can you make those with apple schnapps? Yum. Yum. Yum. I think probably. That sounds really, really good. I'll have the same. And for you, sir? Belvedere Martini, dry, straight-up, twist. I'll be back in a minute. So, what do you ladies do for fun? Besides drinking? Emily, stop! God! Hey! Well, I like to drink. I do, too! But we do lots of other things. We hike and bike ride. Yeah. I love to read. Go to the movies. I'm pretty good at scrabble. Strip poker. Um... Emily! Have you two been friends long? Since junior high. Oh, I play the Jew's harp a little. I don't like to say "Jew's harp" because it's offensive to Jews. Anyway, I bought one of those, um, self-teaching... Self-teaching? Is that right? Or is it self-learning? The Jew's harp is an underrated instrument. I know! People think of it as just this thing, you know? Mmm-hmm. Here we are, folks. Two apple mojitos. Thank you. Mmm. Thanks. You're welcome. And one more Belvedere Martini for the gentleman. Thanks. To us. Hurry, hurry. We're gonna miss the elevator. Go. Go, go, go! Emily, stop it. What floor are we, anyway? Ten. Are you sure? I think... No, I want to press it! Darn it. Sorry. My hand just jumped. I love pressing the buttons. I'm sorry. You always get to press it, Lisa. Don't be greedy. I know. 'Cause I love it. It's so... I don't know... Buttony. No, that's not it. Mmm, Buttonish? Is it stupid to like to press buttons? Shut up, Lisa. Pressing buttons is good clean fun. Exactly! That's exactly right. See, em? It was nice getting to meet you ladies. Oh, it was an honor spending time with you. Thank you for all those mojitos! My pleasure. Yes, thank you kindly. Mojitos. Mojitos. What a funny word. You're welcome. Mojitos. Well, I go this way, so I'll say good night. Oh, pooh. Yeah, pooh on you. Pooh, pooh, pooh. Good night, Michael. Say good night, Lisa. Good night, Michael. Pooh. Good night. Uh... Oh, Lisa? Yes? Uh... I was wondering if maybe you'd want to come to my room for a little nightcap. Oh. I feel odd asking in front of you, Emily. But I didn't know how else... No, no. That's okay. I understand. You sure you don't mean Emily? Everyone always likes Emily better. Uh... Ugh. This is awkward. I'm going to the room, Lisa. I'll see you later maybe. Have fun. Em, I came here with you. I'm not going to just abandon you. Oh, don't be an idiot, Lisa. He's gorgeous. Yeah, it's okay? Have fun. Good night. So, I'm over this way. Okay. Have fun. Good night. Oh! Oh, Jesus! Are you okay? I'm okay, I'm okay. It happens all the time. Mmm? Oh. Look how neat you left your room, with the little slippers laid out next to the bed and the blanket turned down all ready for sleepy time. No, the maid did that. They come and fix it up at night. It's called turn-down service. Oh, god. I'm so embarrassed. Lisa the moron. I don't... I don't stay in hotels like this. Emily and I splurged, because it's like a vacation. I'm an idiot. No, you're not. Would you like a drink? Yes, please. I would really like a drink. I don't think I can make an apple mojito. I can order one. No, that's okay. I'll just have a glass of wine, please. I'm glad to get you alone for a while. Yeah? Yeah. You don't like Emily? Everybody likes Emily. Emily's a prince. Ess. Emily's a Princess. She's very nice. I just felt a sort of special thing with you. Really? Hmm. Most people like Emily. Thank you. Here you go. Thank you. Most people don't really like to look at me too much because, you know... I think you're lovely. No, you don't. I've always done phone work because I'd never get hired to work in a store or a restaurant or... How did it happen? If it's okay for me to ask? I don't, um... I don't like to talk about it. May I kiss you there? Oh, my god. Oh, my god. No. Oh, god. Sorry. You're not like a pervert or something? Like some weird version of a chubby chaser? No. I just don't understand why you would want to kiss me there. Because... Because I like you. Oh. Why? I mean, I'm not smart like Emily. And I'm ugly. You're a really smart guy. You should like Emily. I don't even understand a lot of the words in your book. I sat there with a dictionary. I try to learn. But I'm never going to be smart. And I'm ugly. I find it enormously charming that you read any book with a dictionary next to you. My last boyfriend was eight years ago. And he wasn't even my boyfriend. He was almost 60 and fat and he worked in human resources and he had a wife and his daughter was older than me. And the only reason he pursued me was because he thought he'd have a good shot. Which he did. I think you're extraordinary. Why? I don't know yet. It's just obvious to me that you are. I never went to college. I've never even made it past team leader in my department. Your voice is like magic. Oh, really? Wow. Well, you know, I have been doing phone work for a really long time now, so I pride myself on sounding pleasant and professional, and having a pleasing phone voice and manner. It works. Do you sing? What? No. No! God! You're weird! I mean, I sing. Everybody sings. I just don't sing well. I sometimes sing along with the radio. I love Cyndi Lauper. Because she's got such a great voice and she doesn't care what people think about her. She's just herself, and that takes a lot of courage. I admire that. You know what I mean? Yeah. I think so. Would you sing one of her songs for me? No! Come on. Come on. It'd make me so happy to hear you sing. You're being weird. Please. It'll make me happy. I don't know. Okay, crazy man. Just a little. Okay, here goes. Don't laugh at me! I come home in the morning light my mother says when you gonna live your life right oh, mother, dear we're not the fortunate ones and girls, they wanna have fun oh, girls just wanna have fun some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world I want to be the one to walk in the sun and girls, they wanna have fun oh, girls just wanna have that's all they really want some fun when the working day is done oh, girls, they wanna have fun oh, girls just wanna have fun That's beautiful... Girls, they want wanna have fun, girls they wanna have just wanna they just wanna just wanna they just wanna oh, girls just wanna just wanna have fun Okay. That's it. Happy? That was so beautiful. No, it was... Oh, my god, are those tears? It was beautiful. It's such a great song. "I want to be the one who walks in the sun." That describes so perfectly who I want to be. You're so sensitive, Michael. It's incredibly sweet. It's your voice, Lisa. Keep talking. Tell me everything. You're, like, amazing. Why are you doing this? Are you making fun of me? No. No. Oh, god. Oh, my god. Thank you. Thank you. Will you... Will you kiss me again? I hope to. I hope you do, too. Sometime. Oh. I haven't been with anybody in eight years. Let's just lie together and you can tell me about your day. Yes. Okay. Um... Well, em picked me up at, like, 7:00 this morning so we could drive down here. We stopped at Starbucks and I got a grande mocha frappuccino. Emily got a grande Chai. I looked at the road atlas and figured it's a little over 200 miles, so at 60 miles an hour, we could do it in under four hours with bathroom breaks and whatever. The 71 goes pretty much straight here, so it was easy. We listened to a lot of no doubt, which em likes. And I brought my Sarah Brightman cds. She sings this beautiful version of girls just want to have fun in Italian. It's called Le ragazze vogliono meglio. Do you want to hear it? Please. Very pretty. Oh, my god, it is. I want to learn Italian someday. It's so wonderful. It's just so romantic. Keep talking. Um... I like different languages. I love French and Italian the most. I don't like German. It sounds mean to me. All those "ach's." And I love Japanese, obviously. Oh, I love Portuguese. I love to listen to Brazilian singers. They sing in Portuguese in Brazil, a little-known fact. It's kind of weird because it's the only country in south America where they sing in Portuguese. It's an anomaly, right? Uh-huh. I learned that word in your book. I like that word. Anomaly. I like the way it sounds and I like what it means. I feel like an anomaly. Before I used to know there was a word for it, it made me feel bad to be different. Now I kind of like it. Sometimes. I mean, not a lot, but sometimes. It makes me special, sort of. You know what I mean? Anomalisa. Oh, I love that! It's like "anomaly" plus my name. Will you call me that all the time? I guess it's long to say "all the time." I mean, I guess I'm assuming there is going to be an "all the time." There's not going to be an "all the time," is there? It's just now. Some weird thing for just now. It's okay, though. It's really nice for just now. It's an anomaly. Sorry. What? Did I tickle you? Just a little. Sorry. It's okay. Just right there I'm a little ticklish. Okay. I won't touch you there. No, you can. It's okay. No. It's okay. No, it's okay. Do you talk during sex? God! I don't know! It's been a long time. Do you want me to? Or not? I could do either. If you could. Or just, you know, make some noises. Noises? Like moaning or something. Oh. Okay. I could do that. That's nice. Does this feel okay? Yes. Sorry. I'm just... I'm a little shy. Oh, it's fine. Ouch! My hair. Sorry. I'm sorry. It's okay. I'm sorry. It's okay. Maybe if we can just turn a little bit like this? Sure. Is that better? Much. Good. You feel so good. You do, too. Oh. Oh. What? You don't want that? No, I'm just, um... I'm kind of shy about that, too. Don't be shy. It'll be good. I really want to. Okay. Okay, go ahead. You're being quiet. Is it not good? No, it's fine. It's good. It's, um... Just a little bit more gentle maybe. At first, maybe. Sorry. It's okay. Better? Yes. Could you come up here, please? Ahh! That was really nice. Uh-huh. I don't want to lose you. I lose everyone. What do you mean? I don't know. It doesn't matter. Oh. Hello? Hello, Mr. stone? Yes. It's early. Who is it? Good morning, sir. My name is Lawrence Gill and I'm the general manager of the hotel. Yes? I have a matter of some delicacy I need to talk to you about. - Mmm-hmm. What's going on? - Who is it? Would it be possible for you to come down to my office to chat for a few moments? I suppose. I'd greatly appreciate it. If you take the elevator to the basement level and turn left when you get off, you'll see the administrative offices. You can just ask for me. My name is Lawrence Gill. Yeah, okay. Who was that? Lawrence Gill. Hello. Lawrence Gill's office. May I help you? At 2:30 today. No, I'm sorry... Hello, I'm here to see Mr. Gill. Yes, of course, one moment. Mr. Gill, a Mr... Stone. A Mr. stone is here to see you. Yes, sir. You can go right in. Thank you for coming, Mr. stone. It's over here. It's big, I know. They offered me 300 square on the fifth floor or this down here. Not a hard decision, right? Take the golf cart. That's what it's for. Watch out for the sunken meeting area. No, no, you can just go around those. No, don't try to drive through. There. There you are. Ah. Have a seat. Do you like the fish? I just had them put in. Salt water tanks. They're hard to maintain. Those are leprechaun fish. The ones with the sort of Irish faces. Is there some problem? No, sir. It's nothing like that. What then? Nothing. Excuse me? It's just... What? Well... Please, I have a conference to attend. Oh, yes, of course. "Customer service." And I've read your book myself. Hotel productivity up 90%. You and I are in the same business, really, when you come down to it. Service. Wouldn't you agree? Yes. Yes. Anyway, I don't know how to put this, so I'll just put it. I understand that you had a guest in your room last night. Is that a crime? No, not at all. Certainly, hoteliers are in the business of being discreet about our guests' philandering. Philandering? No, it isn't that. My choice of words... It's not about that at all. How do you even know that, anyway? Well, I... Mr. stone, may I be candid with you? I guess. I don't know what the hell you're getting at. Well, I, um... Um... I love you. Right, I'm leaving. No, no. Look. I've never talked to you like this before. It has not been appropriate. Perhaps it's not still, but I've been unable to contain myself this morning. I love you. And I want what's best for you. And if you need to have an affair, I understand, but have it with me. Goodbye. Have it with anyone at all, anybody, just not Lisa. No. Wait! We're all here for you. We're all one for you. Come back! Do you like any of these here? They're very pretty. That one's Stephanie. Stephanie, say hello to Mr. stone. Hello. You can fuck me if you want, Mr. stone. Or me. Any of us. Just not Lisa. Not Lisa! Lisa. Whoa! Lisa! Here's your breakfast, Mr. stone. Whoa! Lisa! Lisa! Lisa! Yes? Oh, hello, Michael. Where... Where is she, Emily? She's not here. Michael? Lisa, let's go! What? Lisa, don't go with him. He's insane. What's going on? I don't have the time to tell you. Just come! Where are you taking me? Em, what's going on? Oh, for god's sake. Lisa, pull free from him and come back here. Where are you going to go, Michael? Be reasonable. There's nowhere to go. Oh! You're hurting me. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I had to get you away. You weren't safe. Safe from what? What are you talking about? They don't want us to be together. I think they'll kill you if they need to. Michael? They explained it to me. The hotel manager, he explained it to me. They're all one person and they love me. Everyone is one person, but you and me. You're the only other person in the world! Really? That's so beautiful. I'm going to cry. No, we need to stay together. Forever. To protect each other, to nurture each other. Oh, my god. Oh, my god, that's... Are you sure? Yes. Yes. Finally. Finally, I've found you. I've waited so long for someone to... And you're so smart. We have to get out of here. My clothes. My stuff. We'll get new. Your wife and son. - They don't exist. - They're just them. - Michael? Michael? - Michael? Michael? - Michael? Michael? - Michael? Michael? - Michael! - Oh. You're having a nightmare or something. Oh, man. You were thrashing. You hit me in the face with your elbow. Oh, I'm sorry. Oh, it's okay. I kind of liked it. It's kind of intimate. Oh, okay, then. Stick around. I'm sure you'll get more of those. I'm a sloppy sleeper. You're all sweaty. What was the dream? I don't know. Something about the hotel manager. Are you hungry? We could order breakfast. I have to get ready for this speech. Can I have scrambled eggs? Sure. I love eggs. Scrambled is my favorite egg style. What about yours? Mmm! These eggs are delicious. They're scrambled perfectly. Do you want to try some? No. Now here's what I'm thinking. Yes? I want to be with you. What do you mean? I need to be with you. I want to leave my wife. Really? Michael, that's a big decision. I don't... No, no, no, it's something I have to do. I mean, if you're interested. I mean, yeah. I mean, it's awfully sudden. I mean, I don't want to be responsible for breaking up a marriage. Do we need to decide now? It's been years since I've felt anything like this. It's like a floodgate has opened. I can't close it. I don't want to. I love you. Okay. Um... I don't know. It seems so big and... Oh, gosh, okay. Yeah, let's do it. Great! This is so great! Anomalisa. So, I'll call Donna and tell her. No, maybe I should go and see her, right? Yeah, that sounds right. I think that's such an important... Could you not... You're clicking your fork against your teeth. Could you not do that? Oh, sorry. People have told me that before. I know, it's a stupid unconscious habit. It's okay. Anyway, you were saying? Mmm. Just that I think it's more respectful. And you need to speak to Henry and explain that this isn't about him. But it is. It's about him, too. Oh. Well, don't tell him that. He's just a little boy. Yeah. You're right. You're being a little controlling, don't you think? I don't mean to. I'm sorry. No, that's okay. Good. I'm glad... Please don't talk with food hanging out of your mouth. Oh, sorry. I'm a pig. Sorry. No. No, no, no. It's okay. So, will you live in Los Angeles, or do you need to stay in Ohio? Um... I'm sorry. Hold on. I can move to Los Angeles. I could do that. Good. We should go to the zoo today after your speech. I hear it's really good. They have breeding programs for all these endangered species. I'm sorry, what did you say? Oh. They have breeding programs for all these endangered species. So you get to see things like pandas, which I think are awfully cute. They're not really bears, I read. Yeah. Sure. That sounds fine. What is it? Nothing. The zoo sounds good. My stomach hurts. It feels empty. It's clenched. Oh. Well, eat some more waffle maybe? Did I do something wrong? I'm sorry. Darling. It's okay. I'm anxious about my speech, I suppose. Of course. Well, we'll have fun after. We don't have to go to the zoo. We can just hang out here. I have the whole weekend till I have to get back to work. That's great. I'm so happy, Michael. I've waited for someone like you my whole life. I've waited, too. We'll work it all out, right? Yes. Who would've thunk it? It's just so beautiful. Life can be. Things can work out. That's the lesson. Sometimes there's no lesson. That's a lesson in itself. I guess so. I feel anxious, Michael. I feel something. Like you're different-acting. Me? No, no, no. Everything's fine. I'm just... I know. I'm not great to look at in bright sunlight. No, you're very pretty. Okay. So, we could maybe go out for a walk and talk or something. Yes. So I'll see you after? Of course. And... Uh... Always remember, the customer is an individual. Just like you. Each person you speak to has had a day. Some of their days have been good, some bad, but they've all had one. Each person you speak to has had a childhood. Each has a body. Each body has aches. What is it to be human? What is it to ache? What is it to be alive? I don't know. What is it to ache? I don't know. What is it to be alive? I don't know. Uh, yes. "How do I talk to a customer?" How do I talk to a customer? These are the important questions for a customer service representative. What do I say? Do I smile while I'm on the phone? Well, they can tell if you're smiling even if they can't see you. Did you know that? Try it as an experiment on the phone with a friend. Try it, go ahead. Watch. I'm lost. You see, I was smiling when I said that. I've lost my love. She's an unmoored ship drifting off to sea. And I have no one to talk to. I have no one to talk to. I have no one to talk to. I'm sorry. I don't mean to burden you with that. I just don't know what else to do because I have no one to talk to. Be friendly to the customer. Think of the customer as a friend. I want to cry, but I can't. Is it the Zoloft, Dr. Horowitz? Is it the Zoloft? My face squeezes into that crying contortion you all know so well but nothing comes out. I need tears. It's like not being able to come. I need tears to tear me in two and let this nightmare escape, but... Oh. Um... Anyway, yes, don't forget to smile. It makes a person's day. And what does it cost you? A smile is free. This is not working. This is not working. This is not working. The world is falling apart. The president is a war criminal. Boo! America is going down the tubes and you're talking about goddamn intelligent design. They've intentionally destroyed the public education system because it's easier to manipulate dumb workers and soldiers. There's no need for that! Support our troops! Eh? Oh, um... I thought this was about customer service. Uh, be personable. Remember to believe in yourself. Believe in your company. And your products or services. I sweat onto my pillow every night. I think there's something very, very wrong with me. Be friendly. Yes, what does it cost you? Look for what is special about each individual. Focus on that during your conversation. Our time is limited. We forget that. Death comes, that's it. Soon it's as if we never existed. So, remember to smile. Remember there is someone out there for everyone. Someone to love. Remember every person you speak to needs love. Remember to... Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Slugger! What'd you bring me? In the bag. Let me look! Let me look! He gets right to the point. Yeah. Hi, honey. Is this it? Yup. What is it? A toy. It's a doll. It's for girls. It's a girls' doll. No, no. It's a toy, an antique. It moves. No, no, it's... It's stupid, it's stupid, and the face is broken. It's an antique, slugger. That's part of its charm. Nah, I don't get it. I don't get it. What are these words here? I don't know. It's in Japanese. Press some buttons. It moves. What else did you get me? Well, I didn't get you anything else... Surprise! Jesus! That scared me! Welcome home, honey. It's a surprise party. I don't... Who are all these people? Michael, it's great to see you. Yeah. Oh, thanks. Who are they? It's everybody, honey. What's it doing now, daddy? I don't recognize any of them. Michael, how are you? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, how are you? Daddy, what's coming out of the toy? I don't know. God, Michael, it looks like semen. I don't know. I just got it at a store. I don't know. What's semen, mommy? It's just a liquid, Henry. It's just a liquid. Michael, do you realize that we love you? Henry. Me. All of us here. Who are you, Donna? Who are you, really? Oh, for fuck's sake! I'm sorry, Henry. Mommy said a bad word. But for fuck's sake, Michael. I don't know who I am. I mean, who are you? Who is anyone? Who could answer that question? I don't want you to leave. - Donna, I'm not leaving. - Is daddy leaving? Of course not, slugger. Where would I go? Donna? I'm sorry. Ah. Well, good to see you. Thanks very much. Daddy, what's it doing now? Singing, slugger. Oh. Um... um... Can I go out and play? Yeah, sure. I'll stay here and listen to it till it's over. September 16th, 2005. Dear Michael, I'm sorry to see you go, but I understand. Well, I don't understand, but I accept it. I'm so glad we had this time together. I don't think I ever felt love like this was. Maybe someday we'll meet again under better circumstances. Love, Lisa "Anomalisa" Hesselman. P.S. I looked up "anomarisa" in my Japanese-English dictionary. It turns out it means "goddess of heaven." Not that I think of myself that way, of course. It's just interesting. When I see a face or hear a name or I'm introduced to someone new it doesn't matter, they're all the same and none of them is you when I go to work or take a walk and watch what other people do I'll listen to their idle talk and none of them is you where are you my dear? Why can't I hear you? How I wish that you were here how I long to be near you sometimes at night I'll pass the time those endless, sleepless hours in bed I'll try to reconstruct your voice but only hear their voice instead they talk, they yell in that other voice they flirt and whisper, too I'd love them if I had the choice but none of them is you where are you my dear? Why can't I hear you? How I wish that you were here how I long to be near you in a dream you came and held my hand our love was perfect in that sphere the breeze was your whisper in that land while the air stands still right here no, I've never met you, my sweet dear and my friends, they say you don't exist but friends are cowards full of fear afraid to look at what they've missed one day I'll be walking on the street that crowded, bustling, faceless spread I'll turn the corner and we'll meet and I will be no longer dead and I will be no longer dead where are you my dear? Why can't I hear you? How I wish that you were here how I long to be near you