“Catcher In The Rye” Act II, Part 1

A tree branch breaking off and falling into our yard, taking our cable/Internet line with it during Saturday’s *STORM*, has majorly been cramping my style this week and also putting me horribly behind on my Catcher In The Rye project. God, I hope my agent doesn’t get pissed at me. Har har har. All I’ve really had time for is making fun of other people’s tweets, which is a sick hobby.

Another thing that’s been happening as I work on this is that I find myself caring about it quite a bit and actually… laboring over it. I guess that’s just me and my pesky work ethic. But seriously, folks… I kind of want to see this movie someday. Not MY script just… if someone who knew what they were doing adapted Catcher, I would see it. I mean, if it was taken on as a labor of love and someone really spent the time and then the studio didn’t cast Justin Beiber or Bieber or whatever that moppet’s name is.

So here is the first part of Act II, which will be broken into several parts  because Act II, obviously, is long and there is only so much time one can spend at the neighborhood cafe, nursing a tea, wishing to hell Comcast would get out and fix the cable.

As you may remember, Act I ended with Holden exiting Pencey Prep in the middle of the night. We pick up with him on board the train, destined for NYC.


Holden sits in the front seat of an empty train car and stares out the window at the darkness. His face is no longer bloody and he’s removed his hunting hat. His suitcases are stowed on the overhead rack.

The train stops and MRS. MORROW, 40, red hair, pretty, wearing a black fur and party dress, white orchids pinned to her chest, gets on and sits down right next to Holden.

She puts a very large bag out in the middle of the aisle.

Holden glances at her and then goes back to looking out the window.

MRS. MORROW: Excuse me, but isn’t that a Pencey Prep sticker?

She points to Holden’s suitcase up on the rack.

HOLDEN: Yes, it is.

MRS. MORROW: Do you go to Pencey? Maybe you know my son, Ernest Morrow?

HOLDEN: He’s in my class.

MRS. MORROW: Oh, how nice. I must tell him we met. May I ask your name, dear?

HOLDEN: Rudolf Schmidt.

MRS. MORROW: Ernest adores Pencey.

Holden turns towards her, warming to the subject matter, putting his arm over the back of the seat.

HOLDEN: Oh, I know he does. You know, he adapts very well to things. He really does.

Mrs. Morrow breaks into a big smile. She starts working off her evening gloves, revealing fingers full of jeweled rings.

MRS. MORROW: Do you think so? Oh, look, I just broke a nail getting out of a cab–You know, Ernest’s father and I sometimes worry about him. We feel he’s not a terribly good mixer.

HOLDEN: How do you mean?

MRS. MORROW: Well. He’s a very sensitive boy. He’s really never been a terribly good mixer with other boys. Perhaps he takes things more seriously than he should at his age.

Holden watches her fold up her gloves and dig through her handbag for a compact.

HOLDEN: Would you care for a cigarette?

MRS. MORROW: I don’t believe this is a smoker, Rudolf.

HOLDEN: That’s OK. We can smoke until they start screaming at us.

He offers her a cigarette and she takes it. He reaches over with his lighter and lights it. She inhales and gently exhales, enjoying the cigarette.


Finished smoking, Holden and Mrs. Morrow sit side-by-side but face front. Mrs. Morrow has her head tilted back, eyes closed.

HOLDEN: Old Ernie. He’s one of the most popular boys in school. Did you know that?

Mrs. Morrow opens her eyes.

MRS. MORROW: No, I didn’t.

HOLDEN: It really took everybody quite a long time to get to know him. He’s a funny guy. A strange guy, in lots of ways. Like when I first met him, I thought he was kind of a snob–


HOLDEN: But he isn’t. See, that’s the thing. He’s just go this very original personality that takes you a little while to get used to.

Mrs. Morrow turns and leans towards Holden, riveted by this glimpse into her son’s private life.

HOLDEN: Did he tell you about the elections?

Mrs. Morrow shakes her head no.

HOLDEN: Well, a bunch of us wanted old Ernie to be president of the class. I mean he was the unanimous choice. He was the only boy that could really handle the job. But this other boy – Harry Fencer – was elected. And the reason was because Ernie wouldn’t let us nominate him. Because he’s so darn shy and modest and all.

A TRAIN CONDUCTOR comes for Mrs. Morrow’s ticket and punches it before moving on.

HOLDEN: Would you like a cocktail? We could go in the club car.

MRS. MORROW: Dear, are you allowed to order drinks? I really don’t think I’d better. Thank you so much, though, dear. You know, Ernest said he’ll be home for Christmas vacation on Wednesday. I hope you weren’t called home suddenly because of illness in the family.

HOLDEN: No, everybody’s fine at home. It’s me. I have to have an operation.

MRS. MORROW: Oh! I’m so sorry!

HOLDEN: It’s just a tiny little tumor on the brain. I’ll be all right and everything. They can take it out in two minutes.

He takes a train timetable out of his coat pocket and studies it.

MRS. MORROW: Well, that’s awful, dear. I’m so, so sorry.

Holden shrugs.

CONDUCTOR (O.S.): Next stop Newark!

MRS. MORROW: Oh, dear, that’s me. You should come and visit Ernest in Gloucester this summer. We have a grand house, right on the beach. Do you play tennis?

HOLDEN: Oh, I have summer plans already. I’m going to South America with my grandmother.

The train stops and she gathers up her purse, gloves and the bag from the aisle. She leans in and gives Holden a peck on top of his head.


Holden rides in the back of a cab being driven by EDDIE, 52, fat, balding and street-wise. The lights and streets of New York City race by through the car windows.

HOLDEN: Hey, listen, you know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South. That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?

Eddie turns around in his seat and gawks at Holden.

EDDIE: What’re ya tryna do, bud? Kid me?

HOLDEN: No, I was just interested, that’s all. Do you happen to know whose band’s at the Taft or the New Yorker, by  any chance?

EDDIE: No idear, Mac.

HOLDEN: Would you care to stop somewhere and join me for a cocktail?

EDDIE: Can’t do it, Mac, sorry.

He pulls the cab over and the brakes WHINE.



Holden stands at the window of his hotel room – a plain room with a single bed, dresser, chair and lamp -  looking out at the other side of the hotel.

HOLDEN’S P.O.V. — A gray-haired man wearing nylons and a stuffed bra pulls a black evening gown down over his head and adjusts it. He steps into some high heeled shoes and struts back and forth, watching himself in a mirror. Two floors up, a man and a woman squirt water out of their mouths at each other, taking turns and laughing hysterically.


sits down in a chair and lights a cigarette. He takes out his wallet and thumbs through it, coming up with a slip of paper. He reaches for the phone and dials the number from the slip.

HOLDEN (on the phone): Hello?


HOLDEN: Is this Faith Cavendish?

FAITH (O.S.): Who’s this? Who’s calling me up at this crazy goddamn hour?

HOLDEN: Well, I know it’s quite late. I hope you’ll forive me, but I was anxious to get in touch with you.

FAITH (O.S.): Who is this?

HOLDEN: You don’t know me but I’m a friend of Eddie Birdsell’s. He suggested you and I ought to get together for cocktails if I were in town sometime.

FAITH (O.S.) Who? You’re a friend of who?

HOLDEN: Edmund Birdsell? From Princeton?

FAITH (O.S.): Birdsell– Birdsell–  So, are you from Princeton?

HOLDEN: Well, approximately.

FAITH (O.S.): Oh– How is Eddie? What’s he doing now? This is certainly a peculiar time to call a person up though.

Holden relaxes back into the chair and smokes his cigarette.

HOLDEN: Oh, you know, he’s doing the same old stuff. Look, would you like to meet me for a cocktail?

FAITH (O.S.): By any chance do you know what time it is? What’s your name, anyway?

He gets up out of his chair and, cradling the phone under his chin, puts one of his suitcases up on the bed. He opens it and takes out a clean shirt.

HOLDEN: Holden Caulfield. I thought we might have one cocktail together. It isn’t that late.

FAITH (O.S.): Well, you’re very sweet. I’d like awfully to get together with you sometime, Mr. Cawffle. You sound very attractive. You sound like a very attractive person. But it is late. Where ya stopping at? Maybe we could meet tomorrow?

HOLDEN: I can’t make it tomorrow. Tonight’s the only night I can make it. I’ll say hello to Eddie for you.

FAITH (O.S.): Willya do that? I hope you enjoy your stay in New York. It’s a grand place.

HOLDEN: Thanks. Good night.

He hangs up the phone and puts his hands on top of his head in a “surrender” gesture.



Holden follows a host to a table towards the back of the Lavender Room, the bar in his hotel. On a stage framed by lavender curtains, The Buddy Singer jazz band plays brassy, corny jazz to a room full of middle-aged men huddled at tables with their younger dates.

As he sits down Holden sits nods to a table of three WOMEN  – BERNICE, 20, MARTY, 21, and LAVERNE, 23 – to his right. They are unattractive, dressed in frumpy clothes and hats.

A WAITER approaches.

WAITER: Something to drink, sir? A Coke, perhaps?

HOLDEN: Scotch and soda, please.

WAITER: Sir? Do you happen to have some verification of your age?

HOLDEN: Do I look like I’m under 21?

WAITER: Sir, we have our policies–

HOLDEN: OK, OK, Bring me a Coke.

The waiter starts to walk away and Holden grabs his arm.

HOLDEN: Can’tcha stick a little rum in it? I can’t sit in a corny place like this cold sober.

The waiter shakes his head and leaves. Holden smiles at the women at the next table and they GIGGLE. He leans towards them.

HOLDEN: Would any of you girls care to dance?

The women explode into laughter.

HOLDEN: C’mon. I’ll dance with you one at a time. All right?

BERNICE, a petite blond, shrugs and gets up to dance. Holden leads her out towards the dance floor.


Holden and Berncie dance to the Buddy Singer band playing “Just One Of Those Things.” She’s a great dancer and he twirls her around the floor with ease.

HOLDEN (shouting): You can really dance. You oughta be a pro. You know when a girl’s really a terrific dancer?

BERNICE: Wudja say?

HOLDEN:  You know how a girl’s a really terrific dancer? Where I have my hand on your back, if I think there isn’t anything underneath my hand, no anything, then the girl’s a really terrific dancer.

Bernice cranes her neck to see around the dance floor, ignoring Holden. They move around the floor.

Suddenly, Bernice leans in close to Holden’s face.

BERNICE: I and my girlfriends saw Peter Lorre last night. The movie actor. In person. He was buyin’ a newspaper.

HOLDEN: You’re lucky. You’re really lucky.

He gives her a kiss on top of the head.

BERNICE: Hey! What’s the idea?

HOLDEN: I have a kid sister that’s only in the goddamn fourth grade. You’re about as good as she is, and she can dance better than anybody living or dead.

BERNICE: Watch your language.

HOLDEN: Where you girls from?

BERNICE: Seattle, Washington.

HOLDEN: You’re a good conversationalist. You know that?

The song changes to a fast one and they start to jitterbug.


Holden dances with Laverne. He tries to spin her and she rolls her eyes, bored.


Holden dances with Marty. She’s a terrible dancer and he has to drag her across the floor like dead weight. He points towards the door.

HOLDEN: Hey, I just saw Gary Cooper.

MARTY: Where? Where?

HOLDEN: Aw, you just missed him. He just went out. Why didn’t you look when I told you?

Marty stops dancing and tries to see over everyone’s head on the dance floor, hopping up and down for a better view.


Marty and Holden come back to the table where Bernice and Laverne are waiting. Marty is flushed and out of breath. The table is covered in glasses in various states of fullness.

MARTY: Gary Cooper just left!


Laverne: Did you see him? What was he wearing? Who was he with?

MARTY: I only caught a glimpse of him.

The waiter approaches.

WAITER: Last call, folks.

HOLDEN: Two drinks for each of these lovely ladies, sir. Two more Cokes for me.

MARTY: I should run to the little girls’ room.

LAVERNE: Me too. Hey, kid, maybe you could fix one of us up with your father. Does he have a date tonight?

HOLDEN: Very funny. You have a wonderful sense of humor.

From the stage, the clarinet player steps forth and performs a solo. Marty claps.

MARTY: That guy sure can play that licorice stick.

Holden SNORTS with laughter.

BERNICE: Whadja say?

Laverne elbows Marty and the two of them whisper together. Suddenly the two of them stand up and Bernice follows suit.

LAVERNE: We gotta get up early tomorrow morning.

MARTY: Yeah, we’re seeing the first show at Radio City Music Hall.

HOLDEN: Don’t go. It’s still early.

LAVERNE: We gotta get up early.

HOLDEN: Right. Well, I’ll look you up if I’m ever in Seattle.

BERNICE: Whadja say?

They wave good-bye and move off across the room. The band stops playing and other bar patrons settle their checks and start to drift away. Holden finishes off his Coke and then every glass on the table.