JOHN: I’m getting a letter J. Or possibly a G.

DENISE: Could it be a C?

JOHN: Sure.

DENISE: Omigod! It’s Carl!

JOHN: He’s waving…

DENISE: (hysterical) I miss you Carl!

JOHN: He wants you to know that you don’t need to yell and that he’s not feeling any pain.

DENISE: (weeping and nodding her head) Carl hated pain so much.

JOHN: He says that he left you something.

DENISE: (collapsing into the arms of an excited female companion) I found his watch! (sobbing now). I found his watch in the sofa when I was sticky-rolling cat hair before the wake!

JOHN: He wants you to treasure it forever, to keep it in a special place. Was there a spot in the house that had particular meaning for the two of you: a box for valuables with a hidden compartment, or — wait — a place where he used to hide gifts?

DENISE: I already gave it to my one friend from work.


DENISE: His name’s Phil. He always admired it.

JOHN: Carl says that’s okay.

DENISE: I suppose I could ask for it back.

JOHN: Look, it’s not a big deal. Phil can keep the watch. That’s what Carl says.

DENISE: I can ask Phil. He’ll understand.

JOHN: Carl wanted you to have it, but now he wants Phil to have it.

DENISE: I’ll ask him to return it. Phil’s a really good guy. He needed a watch, and he liked Carl’s because it had a second hand, and Phil sometimes needs one to time the PSAs he writes for the radio. But he’ll understand. Carl wants me to have it.

JOHN: For Christ’s sake, Denise, what Carl wants is for you to knock the passive-aggressive shit off.

DENISE: Sorry.

JOHN: He’s showing me water now. Does that mean anything to you?

DENISE: Our honeymoon! St. Croix! (weeping) We always said it was the happiest eight days we’ll ever spend on this earth. We were planning another trip for the fall.

JOHN: He’s showing me beaches. The two of you holding hands. I can see a bicycle — no, no! — mopeds!

DENISE: Also, he drowned.

JOHN: What’s that you say?

DENISE: The water. He might be showing you the water because he drowned in the lake.

JOHN: No. No. I don’t think so. I’m definitely getting a honeymoon vibe here.

DENISE: Don’t you think that’s weird?

JOHN: Why?

DENISE: Well, Carl just drowned like six weeks ago, and the police don’t think it was an accident. If he’s showing you water don’t you think he might be trying to tell me who his killer is, instead of just sending you vacation snapshots from a honeymoon that took place ten years ago?

JOHN: I don’t know. Uh. When I said “water,” your first thought was St. Croix?

DENISE: I was trying to think happy thoughts.

JOHN: There you go. He doesn’t want to upset you.

DENISE: Well can you ask him?

JOHN: Ask him what?

DENISE: Ask him who his killer is.

JOHN: (bringing his finger to his temple) He says he slipped.

DENISE: Slipped?

JOHN: Yep.

DENISE: Are you certain?

JOHN: Let me double-check for you. (eyes shut tight) Slipped, slipped, slipped. Clear as day.

DENISE: Are you sure he might not be telling you “Skip”? His brother Skip is one of the prime suspects in his murder.

JOHN: I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between “Skip” and “slip.”

DENISE: You couldn’t tell the difference between “G” and “J.”

JOHN: Those were in lowercase cursive.

DENISE: What if “slip” means “boat slip.”

JOHN: What are you getting at, Denise?

DENISE: That maybe “Skip” killed Carl in the “boat slip.”

JOHN: Carl thinks not.

DENISE: “Not” or “knot”?

JOHN: N-O-T. Not.

DENISE: How do you know? What if Skip used a “slipknot” to strangle Carl?

JOHN: Well, which was it? Was he drowned or strangled?

DENISE: Drowned.

JOHN: See? Not “k-n-o-t.” Just “n-o-t” as in “Not Skip in the slip with the slipknot.”


JOHN: Can we move on?


JOHN: What else do you want to ask Carl?

DENISE: What is heaven like?

JOHN: (settling down now, eyes shut, both hands to his hairline) I’m getting a movie. He says it’s just like in the movie.

DENISE: Which movie?

JOHN: He says you’ll know.

DENISE: “Crumb”?

JOHN: (opening his eyes) Oh, for crying out loud. Think about that for a minute. How could heaven possibly be like the movie “Crumb”?

DENISE: That was the first thing that popped into my head.

JOHN: “Crumb” was?


JOHN: There’s nothing even remotely magical or heaven-like in that film.

DENISE: You said Carl said I would know what he meant, and I thought of “Crumb,” as clear as if Carl himself put it in my mind.

JOHN: (sighing) Heaven is not like “Crumb,” Denise. “Crumb” is a documentary, for God’s sake.

DENISE: Fine. You ask him what movie he means, then.

JOHN: (agitated now, fingers quickly to his temple once more) “Like Water For Chocolate.”

DENISE: I’ve never seen that. Neither has Carl.

JOHN: You have to stop resisting, Denise. Listen to what Carl is telling you. He’s showing me water. Then, “Like Water For Chocolate”…

DENISE (making a face): “Like Water For Chocolate”? That’s foreign, right? Is it on DVD?

JOHN: I have no idea.

DENISE: Ask him if there’s another movie I can rent on DVD that’s sort of what heaven looks like.

JOHN: (staring at her blankly).

DENISE: I don’t like to rent tapes anymore. They get stuck in our machine. How about “Snatch”? Is heaven anything like “Snatch”? That’s got a ton of extra features.

JOHN: (still staring).

DENISE: Two discs.

JOHN: (staring).