Written by: Doris Egan
Directed by: Jace Alexander
Transcribed by: Jenna (hithluin)
Betaed by: Heather (nozenfordaddy)
DISCLAIMER: We don't own "HOUSE." It's owned by FOX and NBC/Universal, and produced by Heel and Toe Films and Bad Hat Harry Productions. This transcript is unofficial, and should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be copied or distributed, especially for commercial use.
(Scene opens on a banner saying "Happy Retirement Greta!" in an office, there's a party on.)
Fletcher: So there I am on my 25th birthday, driving from Wheeling, West Virginia to Bensonhurst in a Dodge Dart with no radio, and a gun-runner named Barrel-Head; who insisted we sing every Jimmy Buffet song he could recall. What could I say? The man was heavily armed. [Audience laughs.] So five hundred renditions of "Margaritaville" later, my first cover; eight thousand words on how Barrel-Head and his friends were transporting handguns for sale to New York City.
The day the magazine hit the stands, the DA hit me with a subpoena. He wanted to know Barrel-Head's real name, and Greta had been Managing Editor for three whole days, so she invited me across the street to the fancy bar where they... use real glasses. [He twirls the paper cup he's holding.] And after about the 6th vodka and tonic, she said "Fletch, I want you to know the magazine is behind you!” Well, I was impressed, I said "Do you think you could get the DA off my back?" and she said "No, but when you get out of jail you'll still have a job." [Audience laughs again.]
I'm 45; I've given up a lot. Given up the road; that life. Thanks Elizabeth, no regrets, my lovely wife. I've given up drinking, I've given up drugs. Greta taught me there's two things you never give up - one's rock and roll, the other's a source. [He makes a toast.] Greta Simms!
[Everyone starts clapping and whooping and joining the toast.]
I only hope you can adjust to the lack of stress in your-- [He suddenly falls sideways and cracks his head on the edge of a desk, then falls on to the floor.]
Elizabeth: Fletch?! Fletch? Fletcher? [She rushes to his side.] Fletch? Fletcher? [She tries to shake him.]
Elizabeth: Honey? Sweetie? Are you ok? [Fletcher starts to open his eyes and comes to with a gasp.] Are you ok? [She looks relieved.]
Fletcher: [Amused.] I flung the investment.
Elizabeth: What did you say? [She and another person help him to stand back up.]
Fletcher: [Hand rubbing his head.] Umm... flung the investment... why can sign. [Chuckles.] Why can sign? [Everyone’s looking at him in shock and confusion.]
Greta: I'll call 911.
Fletcher: It's proficient! [He looks at his wife, trying to comfort her.] Why disqualify the rush? I'm tabled. I'm tabled!
(Scene opens on Foreman lounging in House's chair, checking out a patient's folder and whistling)
Cuddy: [Walks in.] Need your advice, what's the best diagnostics department within 60 miles of here?
Foreman: We are.
Cuddy: ‘We’ aren't here. House is in Baltimore lying to Medicaid about his billings.
Foreman: So? I'm board certified.
Cuddy: You are not House.
Foreman: Why'd you put me in charge of the department if you think I can't handle it?
Cuddy: Because it's temporary, and because I was ordered to.
Foreman: What are the symptoms?
Cuddy: Oh come on! You're going to diagnose him without meeting him? Prove that you're as brilliant as House?
Foreman: I need to know the symptoms to know which hospital to recommend.
Cuddy: EMT's report - patient struck his head and is suffering from aphasia.
Foreman: Hmm! Neurological problem. Now I know a lot of good people in that field, seeing as I happen to BE a neurologist.
Cuddy: You're pouting.
Foreman: Not at all! Taylor's pretty good. House was ready to hire him until he got my resume.
Cuddy: It's Fletcher Stone. Wrote 12 books? Exposed three administrations? Before he exposes us--
Foreman: I get it. Famous patient needs famous doctor. I’ll call Taylor.
Cuddy: Thank you.
Foreman: Or... maybe you should call him? What if I say something stupid?
[Cuddy looks back at Foreman who's raising a challenging eyebrow.]
Cuddy: Oh god. [Rolls her eyes.] House is easier! [She throws the file down on the table.]
(Cut to Chase examining the reaction of Fletcher's pupils.)
Chase: Have you been taking any drugs?
Fletcher: I displaced my function... back laid.
Elizabeth: He used to drink regularly, but he's been clean and sober for nearly a year.
Foreman: Mr. Stone, you think you're speaking normally, but your speech is impaired. [He turns to Elizabeth.] He knows what he wants to say, but when he reaches for a word, he finds something else.
Fletcher: I grapple average. [Everyone turns to look at him.] Cancer glisten.
Elizabeth: He doesn't know that he's saying it wrong?
Foreman: It all sounds right to him. [He takes a pad of paper and a pen out and turns to Fletcher.] I want you to write your name, and draw a face.
[Fletcher gives him an ‘are you kidding me?’ face and tries to write, but he can't even form a letter or draw a straight line.]
Cameron: It's called agraphia, loss of ability to write. Most often it's temporary.
Foreman: How hard did he hit his head?
Elizabeth: It was a pretty good crack. It made a really ugly sound.
Foreman: [He turns back to Fletcher again.] Do you understand what I’m saying?
Fletcher: Of golf!
Foreman: Don’t give me a sentence. Just a yes or a no. You understand me?
Fletcher: [Struggles for a few seconds.] ... Yes.
Greta: [Walks in, in a bit of a rush.] Elizabeth! Fletch! Is he ok?
Elizabeth: We don't know. [She turns to the ducklings.] This is... uhh... Fletcher's editor.
Greta: Greta Simms. I wanted to make sure the EMT's told you the right story.
Chase: How many stories are there?
Greta: He didn't trip. He just fell, out of the blue. His foot jerked a little bit first, that's what made it look like a trip.
(Scene cuts to House and Stacy sitting together in an office, waiting for the Medicaid staff)
Stacy: Don't say anything; don't attempt to defend your billing practices, your billing practices are indefensible.
House: We've been over this.
Stacy: If I thought you were capable of listening, I'd shut up.
House: That makes no sense at all.
[Medicaid Guy comes in.]
Medicaid Guy: Good afternoon.
Stacy: [Stands up to shake his hand.] Good afternoon.
[House just sits there fiddling with his cane as they sit.]
Medicaid Guy: Every case you have rates a 5 on the complexity scale.
Stacy: Doctor House has a rather specialized practice.
Medicaid Guy: Ah. Okay. Then let's go through these. [He starts shuffling through the mountain of folders on the desk.]
House: All of these?
Medicaid Guy: If you have lunch reservations, cancel them. All right... patient...
(Scene cuts to the team discussing the case in the conference room)
Foreman: If he didn't trip, something made him fall. Stroke? Seizure?
Chase: Thirty people saw him trip, one person says he didn't. Who are we going to believe?
Cameron: His symptoms can all be explained by the head trauma; causes a contusion or a seizure that causes the aphasia. We should get an EEG.
Foreman: If it was a stroke, could be a clotting issue.
Chase: Even if he fell, drug use is far more likely. I’m ordering a tox screen [Opens the door ready to leave.]
Foreman: Chase, we're not done with the differential.
Chase: [Furrows his brow.] You're not my boss.
Foreman: I'm House's boss, House is your boss. The math is pretty simple.
Chase: Are you signing my paychecks? Are you hiring or firing?
Foreman: This is not about that.
Chase: The only thing you've been asked to do is supervise House in case he does something insane.
Cameron: Which might, you know, save a life.
Foreman: Somebody's gotta be in charge.
Foreman: What? You think we should all do whatever we want to do? Maybe have a race to the diagnosis.
Cameron: I think it should be a discussion among peers! I think we’re grown up enough to reach a consensus.
[Foreman and Chase reluctantly agree.]
(Cut to office of Medicaid guy.)
Medicaid guy: Patient, 62-yrs-old. You prescribed Viagra. I look in vain for the words 'erectile dysfunction' in the notes for Delores Smith?
House: She had a heart condition.
Medicaid guy: And you ran out of nitroglycerin?
House: She also had low blood pressure, so nitro would be dangerous. Little blue pills improve blood flow, they’re vasodilators. That's why you sometimes get the headaches.
Stacy: I think Doctor House understands--
House: Well of course I do. The woman has a heart condition and she’s on her own. A man can't nail his office assistant, its national crisis time.
Medicaid guy: Are you seriously expecting us to foot the bill for off-label use of medication?
House: Fine, I'll pay for it. [He reaches for his wallet.] How much are the pills? She took how many?
Stacy: [Hits House.] Put the money away!
Medicaid guy: Are you trying to bribe me?
House: No! I could. There's an ATM in the lobby.
Stacy: My client's an idiot. [House turns to look at her in surprise.] But is he wrong about the pills?
Medicaid guy: Off-label use is not sanctioned--
Stacy: You're retiring in three weeks. You've been doing this job nearly twenty years, aren't you tired of administering policy you disagree with?
Medicaid guy: I never said I disagreed with--
Stacy: What can they do to you? And Doctor House is sorry [Pointed look to House.] about his earlier outburst.
House: Absolutely! [He is pathetically insincere.]
(Cut to House and Stacy walking out to the lobby.)
House: You do background checks on Medicaid personnel?
Stacy: I do what's necessary for my client. [She checks her watch.] Wow! New personal record!
House: Yeah, time's good for me too; got a reservation at a little place in the inner harbor.
Stacy: You booked us dinner reservations?
House: Best Maryland crab in... Maryland.
Stacy: Don't you have a plane to catch?
House: Not for hours.
Stacy: Your flight leaves at 7.
House: You did a background check on me?
Stacy: And mine doesn't leave until 9pm. It looks like you’ll be dining alone.
House: You checked on my flight, so you could be sure to be on a different one. Thought we were past the avoidance stage.
Stacy: I didn't think we'd be finished this soon.
House: Where's your crucifix?
Stacy: I left it at the jeweler’s to be cleaned.
[She walks away.]
(Cut to Ducklings performing tests.)
Foreman: [He is using an ultrasound machine on Fletcher's throat.] This will show us if there's a problem with your carotid artery that might cause a blood clot. If it went to his brain, it could explain the aphasia and the falling down.
Elizabeth: [Looks at Cameron.] And you're giving him an EEG, is that for the same thing?
Cameron: Uh, it's just a precaution. We think the trauma caused some swelling and we need to keep him stable until the body can repair the damage.
Greta: [Looks at Chase.] And you think they're both wrong.
Foreman: We're just covering all the bases, being safe.
[Fletcher starts to choke, alarms start beeping.]
Chase: His 02 stats going down!
Foreman: [Listens to Fletcher's lungs with his stethoscope.] Fluid in his lungs
Cameron: Push 40 IV.
[Chase fits an oxygen mask over Fletcher's face to help him breathe.]
Foreman: We need to intubate, he's losing his respiratory drive.
[All the ducklings rush to open the drawer to get the instruments for intubating at the same time. Foreman glares Cameron and Chase off after an awkward moment and they continue the intubation successfully.]
(Cut to scene of Elizabeth kissing Fletcher's forehead and stroking his forehead as he lies on the bed intubated.)
(Cut to Ducklings looking at a chest X-ray)
Foreman: And then there were two. Aphasia and fluid in the lungs. Seizure can't cause both.
Cameron: Neither can a stroke.
Foreman: Unless he had an abnormal heart rhythm.
Chase: And then there was one. [He shows them the newly delivered test results.] Urine test was positive for amphetamines.
Foreman: Amphetamines don't cause pulmonary edema.
Chase: They do if you smoke them.
Foreman: In one of his books, he talked about giving up drugs and alcohol, how it changed his life.
Chase: [Seats himself in House's chair.] Everybody lies. [He starts playing with House's ball.]
(Cut to the hospital cafeteria and Wilson, listening sympathetically to a nurse who is sobbing her eyes out.)
Nurse: When he started wanting to hear every minute of my day, it should have been a clue he was the jealous type. But you know, in that first stage of a relationship [Wilson makes the gesture that he TOTALLY understands.] where it's like your body's full of these chemicals that make you think everything they do is... charming. [Wilson's mobile starts to ring.]
Wilson: Uhhh... [Looks at the caller ID.] Excuse me. [Picks up the phone.] Hello.
(Scene cuts to House sitting in the airport, it's snowing heavily outside.)
House: Hey honey, how are the kids? They miss me?
Wilson: [He hands the nurse a tissue and gets out of the booth he’s seated in.] This may take a minute.
House: What's new with Mr. Aphasia?
Wilson: Cuddy called you?
House: Everybody covers their ass.
Wilson: Pulmonary edema. Chase did a tox screen, came back positive for amphetamines, he did the dance of victory.
House: I'm betting there's another shoe.
Wilson: I thought the kids didn't call you.
(A kid sitting behind House in the airport bounces a ball on the back of House's chair. House turns around to glare at the kid.)
House: I know the way you tell stories.
Wilson: Foreman went to talk to Stone about his drug test, found him running a temperature.
House: So it's not the drugs. He's just got such a bad rep. [Ball bounces on the back of the chair again; House turns around and glares at the kid AGAIN.]
Kid's Mother: Honey, you shouldn't do that.
House: Ok, I gotta hang up. They're probably trying to reach me.
Wilson: You don't have call waiting?
House: I'm hanging up on you now.
Wilson: It's five dollars a month.
[House hangs up; ball bounces on the back of his seat again.]
(Cut to the 'Kids' in the Conference room.)
Cameron: Drugs don't cause fever.
Foreman: Encephalitis or meningitis are the obvious suspects. Start him on antibiotics.
Cameron: It could be an auto-immune disease. Lupus, Behçet's... we could start him on a high dose of steroids. [Phone in the office starts to ring.]
Chase: Except if he does have encephalitis, steroids could weaken his immune system.
Foreman: [He goes to pick up the phone.] Foreman.
House: How high a fever? [Foreman raises his eyebrows in surprise.] Put me on speakerphone. And why haven't you called me?
Foreman: [He puts House on speakerphone. Scene shifts between House in the airport and Ducklings in the office.] 101. How'd you know?
House: What, you think you guys could have a party as soon as the parents are gone and I won't hear about it? [Chase and Cameron get up from their seats to surround the speakerphone.] Start with broad spectrum antibiotics for possible bacterial meningitis, and an anti-viral in case we luck out and its herpes encephalitis.
Cameron: What if it's auto-immune?
House: Well then we're screwed. Which is why we need more information. [The kid from before is scrambling under House’s chair trying to look for his ball.] Any genetic issue with the family?
Foreman: The man can't talk, his medical records are sketchy, and wife's only known him a couple of years.
House: MRI show anything?
Foreman: CT scan was negative.
House: CT... that's like, short for MRI, right? Excellent, well I guess that saves us a lot of time.
Chase: We've got an MRI scheduled in 20 minutes. Earliest Foreman could get the machine.
House: I teach you to lie, and cheat, and steal, and as soon as my back is turned you wait in line? [the kid has gone back to his seat and House takes out the kid's ball from his jacket pocket] Get an MRI, and get a better medical history.
Foreman: The man can't talk!
House: Who cares? He's probably going to lie anyway. My flight’s a little late; we'll be back in a few hours.
[They put down the phones.]
Cameron: So... you're in charge of us because you're in charge of him?
[Chase gives a disgruntled Foreman a pat on the back.]
(Cut to scene of Chase asking Fletcher questions as Fletcher is being wheeled out of his room in a wheelchair.)
Chase: Any family history of neurological problems?
Chase: Have you been out of the country in the last 5 years?
Fletcher: [He darts a look backwards and cautiously.] Yes.
Chase: 3 years?
Chase: 2 years?
(Cut to scene of Cameron asking Elizabeth questions alone.)
Elizabeth: He stopped traveling for work 2 years ago, after we got serious.
Cameron: Any vacations?
Elizabeth: His last one was 6 months ago; it was a golf resort at Key Biscayne...
(Cut to Foreman asking Greta questions alone.)
Greta: No way it was a golf resort. Knowing Fletch, I assume he was working his way through every bar in the Keys. Last hoorah before settling down.
(Cut back to Chase and Fletcher.)
Chase: You tested positive. [Fletcher gives him a look.]
(Cut to Cameron and Elizabeth.)
Elizabeth: He doesn't use drugs, I told you. When we got engaged, we decided we wanted a different kind of life. And he dropped the macho-journalism, no more taking crazy chances. That includes his health.
(Cut to Foreman and Greta.)
Greta: He asked me not to tell Elizabeth.
Foreman: He's been lying to her about his drug habit?
Greta: Well... yes and no. B.E., before Elizabeth, he used drugs recreationally. I wasn't crazy about it, but that thrill-seeking behavior is what made him the kind of journalist that he was.
Foreman: And... now? A.E.?
Greta: Man's twisted himself into knots for her. Completely cleaned up his act.
Foreman: But the drugs...?
Greta: They're medicinal. Sort of. He was having trouble sleeping. This new suburban lifestyle, lack of excitement was throwing him off.
Foreman: So he started with sleeping pills.
Greta: When they knocked him out, he needed something to perk him back up during the day.
(Cut to Chase and Fletcher.)
Chase: Every day? [Fletcher nods.] No slippery slope there. [Chase turns the MRI on, but Fletcher suddenly grabs Chase’s arm. Chase quickly stops the machine.]
Fletcher: Keep the stain, knife can't force. [Urgent tone to his voice.]
Chase: We're not going to tell your wife. We're not cops. [MRI continues.]
(Cut to Foreman showing Fletcher and Elizabeth the MRI scan of Fletcher’s brain.)
Foreman: There's a little edema, brain swelling and an area of scarring.
Elizabeth: Is that what's causing the aphasia?
Foreman: Actually, that's what's odd. The scarring is not in the area of the brain normally associated with conduction aphasia. And it's old. Happened before he hit his head. Maybe a small stroke or some other underlying condition that could be causing this or it might have nothing to do with it at all. [He looks at Fletcher.] Have you ever had head trauma before? An accident? [Fletcher shakes his head.] Ever had any numbness on one side before? Dizziness?
Fletcher: What is the durable? [Elizabeth quiets him down, he huffs.] No.
(Cut to House buying coffee in the airport. It's snowing very heavily outside and all the planes are grounded and being delayed so sayeth the lady on the loudspeaker.)
[He sees Stacy walking in and they sit together on the airport chairs. He opens up the brown paper bag he's carrying and takes out a cup of coffee for Stacy.]
House: Got you some coffee. [He takes out another cup for himself and throws the bag away. He proceeds to fidget and tap his fingers on the coffee cup.] So... what do you want to talk about?
(Cut to the 'Kids' discussing the case in front of the Nurse's station.)
Cameron: A scarring on the MRI could mean anything; MS, toxins, any one of a hundred demyelinating diseases.
Chase: If it's meningitis, we have to ID the bug fast. We need to do a lumbar puncture.
Foreman: Not doing an LP with this edema. We could paralyze him.
Cameron: What does House say?
Foreman: Person you're trying to reach is out of the area, or has turned off their phone.
Chase: So what are your orders?
Foreman: We need more information.
Chase: There is no more information!
Foreman: [Slyly.] We'll break into his place.
[The kids spot Cuddy walking towards them.]
Cameron: [Softly.] Have fun. [Quickly walks off.]
Cuddy: How's the patient?
Foreman: Fine. [Chase and Foreman quickly walk off.]
Cuddy: Where are you going?
Cuddy: Oh well I'll join you and you can bring me up to speed.
Foreman: Oh, sorry. Reservation for two.
(Cut to House and Stacy at the airport.)
House: When people give themselves away, it's by little things. That woman over there, she's not sneering at her coffee, she’s recovering from Bell's palsy. And the cashier at the coffee place, she doesn't want anybody to know she's dying of ALS. There's a particular sort of twitchy stiff arm that’s characteristic. [Pause.] And then there's you. Why aren't you wearing your cross?
Stacy: [Exasperated.] Oh, I told you I left it--
House: You keep jewelery cleaner under the sink so you won’t have to go a day without it. True, you forgot it that morning that our pipes burst, but then you went back and waded through the flood to retrieve it. Soo... why no wading today?
Stacy: You didn’t bring a book to read or something?
[House looks innocently away and drinks his coffee.]
(Cut to Chase and Foreman searching Fletcher's office.)
[Chase takes out two bottles of pills from a drawer.]
Foreman: Caffeine pills, and amphetamines. Same stuff he told us he was taking.
Chase: [Finds a third bottle.] Topamax.
Foreman: Anticonvulsive? He said there was no history of prior seizures.
Chase: It's not even prescribed to him.
Foreman: Still doesn't explain his fever. Probably just using it for weight loss.
Chase: Which gives us another lie. Must really be devoted. Should we check the home?
Foreman: He wanted to hide something from his wife, why wouldn’t he hide it in the office?
Chase: Then maybe she's hiding something.
(They search the home.)
Chase: Nothing but aspirin and flu meds in the bathroom.
Foreman: [Pulls back a plastic cover sheet and finds an unfinished building project for new kitchen cabinets.] Looks like this stuff's been sitting here for weeks.
Chase: Hmm, home improvement. He probably thought he could take the project on then realized it was a little more than he could handle.
Foreman: You got a point to make? Or did you just feel like giving a long unnecessary explanation for something medically irrelevant?
Chase: What happened to the Foreman who always has an answer? The guy who practically wears a sign saying "I'm as good as House, but I'm nicer".
Foreman: I never said that.
Chase: I guess it's safe to be confident when House is there to overrule you. Now that it's all on you...
Foreman: It's different. Yeah.
(Cut back to House and Stacy in the airport.)
House: [Reading a book entitled "LESBIAN PRISON STORIES". ;)] Either you left it behind on purpose, or by mistake. The only reason you'd leave it behind intentionally, is if it no longer meant anything to you. [Stacy gives him a long-suffering look] But since it was a gift from your mom, that would mean you had a fight with her. But since you don't talk to ghosts, that’s unlikely.
Stacy: Leave it alone, Greg.
House: Yeah, I'm good at that. So that leaves forgetting it unintentionally, but then we'd have to explain why you didn’t go back for it when you realized.
Stacy: I didn't realize until I got to the airport.
House: Nope, you were in make-up when you got to the airport. Can't put on make-up without looking at yourself and you can’t look at yourself without touching that thing.
Stacy: Why does this matter to you?
House: It's an anomaly. Anomalies bug me.
Stacy: Then you're going to suffer. [She goes back to reading her newspaper.]
(Cut back to the hospital, Fletcher is grunting in pain, the wife is panicking, Cameron rushes in.)
Elizabeth: I think it's his stomach!
Fletcher: A till in the jug.
Cameron: Was it something you ate?
Fletcher: [Takes a fork, sticks out his tongue, and then runs the fork down his tongue.]
Elizabeth: He keeps doing that.
Fletcher: I... teelingent!
Elizabeth: Are you hungry?
Cameron: No, he's in pain. Is it a sharp pain?
Fletcher: No! [He taps his tongue with the fork.] Teo... indigen!
Cameron: A... a metallic taste?
Cameron: I'll be right back.
(Back to the airport.)
House: I suppose it's also possible that the clasp broke, but then you'd be carrying the thing around in your purse.
Stacy: We had a fight. [She turns around and snaps at him.] We had a fight and I was angry and not thinking straight, and I walked out without my make-up and without my cross! I stopped at the drug store to buy make-up, but I couldn't buy a cross because they don't have an aisle for personal talismans!!!
House: [Immediately contrite.] So you had a fight, I'm sure it’ll blow over.
Stacy: It was about nothing.
House: Of course it was. Mark's tired, he's worried, he's got mobility problems. It's normal that he'd blow up over little things.
Stacy: I don't mind fighting over little things! I don't even mind fighting over big things! That I could understand. But we fight over nothing! You know a mailbox with a sign that says "last pick-up 5pm", does that mean last pick-up to go to the post office, or last pick-up to leave the post office and be sent out of town?
House: You fought over mail delivery? [He winces.]
Stacy: I tried to get him to drop the subject, but he wouldn't. I told him he was right, he thought I was being condescending.
House: You were.
Stacy: He's pushing me out of his life.
House: Maybe you're misinterpreting.
Stacy: Did I misinterpret with you? At least this time I recognize it. That's the benefit of convincing the only two men you’ve ever loved they're better off without you.
House: [He rolls his eyes.] Yeah, it's all your fault. You know Stacy in the original Greek means relationship killer.
Stacy: [She laughs softly then sighs.] I'm going to go wash my face so I look like a grown-up again.
[House nods and she turns to walk away when her mobile rings.]
Stacy: Hello? [She hands the phone to House.] It's for you.
(Cut to Wilson calling from a phone at the nurse's station.)
Wilson: Do you know your phone's dead? Do you ever recharge your batteries?
House: They recharge? I just keep buying new phones.
Wilson: I thought you should know your aphasia guy is tasting metal.
House: What's his creatinine?
Wilson: 6.8 He's got kidney failure. Cameron's got him on dialysis and he's stable for the moment - unlike Cuddy, who’s suicidal.
(Cut to Cuddy and the ducklings in the Conference room. Cuddy’s pacing.)
Foreman: It's either meningitis or encephalitis. [Cameron glares.] Or maybe auto-immune.
Cuddy: That's perfect. Seems like you really narrowed it down over dinner! Here's the plan, we talk to House--
Chase: We've been trying; he's not answering his cell.
Foreman: It's obvious we have to do the lumbar puncture, there’s no choice anymore.
[The phone starts ringing, Foreman picks it up and it goes to speakerphone.]
House: You have to do it just right.
Foreman: What are you talking about?
House: Either you've decided to do a lumbar puncture, or you have to fire me so that I can't fire all of you as soon as I get back in charge. Is Cuddy there ranting?
Cuddy: If I'd known you'd be out of contact--
House: They can handle it.
Cuddy: Right. So far only 3 organ systems have failed.
House: Ok, they can't. Doesn't matter, guy's not stable enough to move. So go rant in your own office.
Cuddy: Fine. Call me when you're done. [She walks to the door but then leans against the wall. She crosses her arms and waits for the Ducklings to continue as if she weren't there.]
Chase: What do you mean by doing the LP just right? We're not going to screw up.
House: The odds are this guy knows something we don't.
Foreman: He could know the answer to the meaning of life, the man can't communicate!
House: Have you had any indication that he's tried to communicate something important?
House: That's cause you guys haven't scared him enough. I'm sure you’ve been all "oh we'll take read good care of you", why should he say anything? When you prep him, tell him he's going to die. Crush all hope. Don't let Cameron do it. Cuddy, you got a problem with any of that?
[The Ducklings look at Cuddy who seems a little speechless.]
(Cut to Foreman and Chase talking to Fletcher and wife.)
Foreman: You're scheduled for a lumbar puncture, but you shouldn’t count on that having the answers. If your husband continues to decline...
Chase: You'll die. If there's anything you haven't told us...?
[Fletcher shakes his head.]
(Cameron's performing the lumbar puncture on Fletcher.)
Cameron: How are you holding up? I know what you just heard is as scary as hell, but...
[Fletcher suddenly turns over and grabs Cameron's arm.]
Fletcher: I couldn't tackle the bear. Couldn't tackle the bear. They took my stain!
(Cut to the airport.)
Announcement: Attention please, due to weather conditions, our flights are grounded until further notice. Cots are being provided on the lower level. We apologize for the inconvenience.
House: Want me to run down and reserve you a cot with view?
Stacy: Where's your knapsack?
House: Checked it through.
Stacy: Oh, that's right. I forgot it was hard for you to carry and walk. I booked a room at the airport hotel when I saw how bad the weather was; it was the last one available. Your leg can’t handle a night on a cot.
House: Thanks. [He looks shocked and stunned into quietness.]
Stacy: I'm ready.
Stacy: The hotel's upstairs.
House: Does Mark know about this?
Stacy: Mark knows when things are bad I always like to have an escape route planned.
(Cut to them entering the hotel room. It's very spacious and it has a double bed.)
House: [He closes the door.] I have to know what's going on here, cause when you have a fight with Mark, and you try to avoid me, I have to think that--
Stacy: That I'm feeling vulnerable and I don't want to be around you because it might lead to something.
House: Right. But then a hotel room...
Stacy: Might also lead to something.
House: Hmm. So... which is it?
Stacy: Our relationship is like an addiction. It's... like...
House: Really good drugs?
Stacy: No, it's like... vindaloo curry.
House: Ok, sure...
Stacy: Really, really hot Indian curry they make with red chili peppers.
House: I know what it is! Didn't think it was addictive.
Stacy: You're abrasive and annoying and come on way too strong, like... vindaloo curry. And when you're crazy about curry, that's fine but no matter how much you love curry, you have too much of it, it takes the roof of your mouth off. And then you never want to see curry for a really, really long time but you wake up one day and you think... god I really miss curry.
[By this point she's walked up to House and they're standing less than a half a meter apart.]
House: [He puts his hand under her chin and raises her face up so he can see her face.]
Stacy: You're a jerk.
House: I know [He smiles and dumps his cane on the bed as he moves in closer to put his hands on her waist and then leans in kiss her on the lips. After several kisses, he moves back.] If you hadn’t just had a fight with Mark...
Stacy: [Grabs his face in her hands.] For once in your life will you shut up? [She pulls him down and they lock lips again. He holds her close to him and she strokes his jaw as they go for it.]
[The mobile phone rings.]
[Stacy makes an exclamation of exasperation, and she pulls House’s head down for one final kiss before she lets him go and he picks up the phone.]
(Cut to the kids in House's office.)
Foreman: You're on speakerphone.
House: How did the LP go? Give me the reader's digest condensed version.
[While House is on the phone, Stacy reaches under House's coat and caresses him.]
Chase: Preliminary results are some kind of infection, which... narrows it down...
[House and Stacy exchange another kiss.]
House: From infinity, yeah.
Chase: At the rate his organs are deteriorating, he's got maybe a day or two.
House: Ok! Well, call me back when you have something. [He takes the phone away from his ear, probably about to put it down even as Stacy leans in for another kiss, when Cameron’s voice cuts through.]
Cameron: He was trying to tell us something!
House: [He hesitates, then reluctantly puts the phone back against his ear.] What did he say?
Cameron: [Looking very disheveled.] You were wrong, it wasn’t the fear. He opened up to me when I...
House: Sympathetic presence after a traumatic moment. [He steps away from Stacy reluctantly.] Classic interrogation technique. What did he say?
Cameron: You knew that I'd--
House: Act the way you always do? Yeah, I did. What did he say?
[Stacy sits back on to the bed as she waits for House to finish the call.]
Cameron: He couldn't tackle the bear.
Foreman: Now all we need is the English-aphasic dictionary.
House: A fluent aphasic retrieves words that are stored somewhere close to the one he wants. They can be filed by sounds or by meaning. So if he wants to say table, he could say... label, or he could say chair. Or he could just say Jabberwocky, there's no way to tell.
[Stacy starts twirling House's cane in the approved twirling method ;) as she lies on the bed.]
Cameron: He also said "they took my stain"?
House: Hold on. [He puts the phone against his chest; Stacy sits up on the bed.] Uhh... I'm going to take this phone downstairs, so I don't disturb you. Is that ok? [He takes his cane from her.]
House: [Into the phone.] Keep him talking. Write down everything he says. [As he opens the door of the room, he looks back at her.] Stacy, that new make-up you bought, do you mind if I borrow it?
(Cut to the ducklings trying to talk to Fletcher, Elizabeth is sitting on a couch at the back of the room.)
Cameron: What did you mean by stain? Dirty? Soiled?
Fletcher: No... no.
Foreman: What about rhymes? Pain? Brain?
Chase: Thain? [Thain: An Anglo-Saxon term for a minor noble; best known from Shakespeare (Macbeth) or Tolkien (Military leader of the hobbits of the Shire).]
Elizabeth: He is dying from some kind of infection and you all are playing word games?
Cameron: Is there anything else you haven't told us?
Fletcher: [He doesn't respond for a few seconds, but he finally shakes his head.]
Foreman: Let's start this again. Bear - is it bare as in naked?
[Fletcher looks disappointed and lays his head back on the pillow.]
(Cut to House sitting on the floor of the airport under announcement screens. The opposite wall made of plasterboard has been written over in make-up with the two sentences Fletcher mentioned. He's also written out what else Fletcher could have meant when he said those words. House is staring at the words he wrote while bouncing the pink ball he stole from the kid earlier on. His coat is off, he's still dressed in black shirt, jeans and sneakers. It's almost 3.30 AM according to the clock.)
[Stacy walks up to him, she's got her coat off too. She’s brought the phone charger down with her.]
House: Crimson desire shows up well on sheet rock.
Stacy: That's why I chose it.
[They smile at each other, she hands him the charger and they continue to stare at the words he wrote on the wall.]
(Cut to the kids in the conference room. The whiteboard there has the same sentences said by Fletcher, and their attempts to decipher what Fletcher was trying to say.)
House: Well you must have gotten one new phrase out of him, something?
Foreman: We've been talking to him for hours. Maybe he's just given up.
[Stacy is curled up asleep on the airport chairs, using House’s coat as a pillow. House is pacing as he talks on the phone. Scene shifts between Ducklings and House in the airport.]
House: Are you sure you told me everything you found in his home and office?
Chase: No, we're hiding something.
Foreman: Maybe it's not a rhyme or a synonym.
Chase: What else is there? You think we should start guessing randomly?
Cameron: Maybe House is wrong.
House: [Surprised.] Hope that's not the end of the thought. [He unplugs the charger so he can pace further afield.]
Cameron: He mentioned stain once before when Chase was giving him the MRI. Before we scared him.
Chase: He did?
Cameron: It's in your notes.
Chase: So he only talks during MRI's and lumbar punctures? Your theory is he can only talk with a needle in his back or--
Cameron: When his wife's not in the room. [Foreman and Chase suddenly realize what Cameron says is true.] The more devoted, the more reason to lie.
House: That's cynical!
Cameron: You disagree?
House: No, I'm just kvelling. [He exaggerates in a voice filled with tears.] Our little girl is growing up! Ok, what's the best way to rip a woman from the side of her dying husband?
(Cut to Cuddy walking into the hospital very early in the morning.)
Cuddy: You woke me up to lie to a patient's wife?
Foreman: Tell her there's been a miscommunication over their insurance coverage. Not a big deal.
Cuddy: Tell me, if it is your aim to sell me the same crazy ideas that House does, how are you an improvement on House?
Foreman: I... brought you a coffee? [He offers her the cup of coffee he's been holding.]
(Cut back to the airport, the flights are no longer delayed. House pops a vicodin as he continues staring at the wall.)
Stacy: Your flight's been boarding for 20 minutes!
House: I'll take a later one.
Stacy: Greg they can't leave without you, you checked your knapsack.
[the mobile rings, House picks it up]
House: Are we in?
(Cut to Fletcher's room, the speakerphone has been removed here.)
House: Hi, I'm Gregory House; I'm your attending physician, your wife's not there, start talking.
Fletcher: They took my stain! I couldn't tackle the bear, they took my stain.
House: Ok, shut up now. Nice work, Cameron. Give him the list again.
[The whiteboard has also been wheeled into the room.]
Foreman: Let us know when something sounds right. [reads from the whiteboard] Dirty, soiled, pain, brain--
Foreman: Where does that get us? We're already paying plenty of attention to his brain. We’ve got an MRI, we’ve got a CT...
Chase: Are we sure he wasn't reacting to pain? He's been on painkillers.
House: Come on Chase, drugs didn't do this to him. Even if he is an addict.
Fletcher: I dissuade the tonal category.
House: Oh please. Mr. sleeping pills, amphetamines, bring me up, bring me down.
Announcer in the airport: Will passenger Gregory House, please report to Gate 7. Gregory House to Gate 7.
[House stares at the wall, suddenly realizing something and doesn’t seem to have heard the announcement.]
House: Ever hear this one? Build a house, each wall has a southern exposure, big bear comes wandering by, what colour’s the bear?
Cameron: White. It's a polar bear; you built your house in the North Pole.
[Fletcher quickly grabs Cameron's hand.]
House: Polar. Whatever your name is, patient! Are you bipolar?
[Fletcher is nodding and vehemently jerking Cameron's hand.]
House: What's that? I can't see, is he nodding?
House: Topamax isn't just off-labeled for weight loss. It's off-labeled for mood disorders. Plenty of bipolars are manic in the daytime, depressive at night. He's been medicating for years with alcohol and sleeping through the bad hours. It explains the danger journalism, explains everything including the kitchen sink. Ok, technically it's kitchen cabinets. He starts a project, then he stops.
Cameron: Except bipolar disorder does not cause seizures.
House: And it doesn't shut down your kidneys, but what it does do--
Security Guy: Excuse me sir, can I see your ID?
House: I'm on the phone— I’m on the phone—
Security Guy: Now please.
Security Guy: Gregory House--
House: Look, I'm a Doctor, and this is an emergency call.
Security Guy: You'll have to come with me sir.
[The Security Guy is looking at House's ID and has the mobile phone in his other hand.]
House: I'm not going anywhere.
Security Guy: You think you're gonna take me on?
House: I kick, and I bite.
Security Guy: You're either on that plane, or you're going into custody. [He hands the phone back and walks away.]
[House puts his ID back in his wallet; Stacy strolls back to where House is standing.]
Foreman: House, you still there?
House: Being bipolar makes you take risks, you seek excitement. You make up stories.
Fletcher: I dine valutate a lever! [Indignant tone.]
[Stacy is now standing under the announcement screens near House.]
House: Fine, maybe your stories are legit. People would start to wonder. Annoyed politicians, entire governments would be on your ass. You couldn't tell anybody you were bipolar, which was fine. Until you fell in love. [He turns to look at Stacy.] And you wanted that life. And you hear that there's a surgical cure, give the woman you love the life she wants. All you have to do is change. Bilateral cingulotomy, an experimental surgery that some people claim helps mood disorders.
Foreman: And if it's done by gamma knife, there's no trace of cutting. That's the neural scarring we saw on the MRI.
Cameron: Which explained nothing because it wasn't even in the right area.
House: It's not the surgery, it's the secrecy! What causes recurring fever? [Stacy is now seated on one of the airport chairs listening in on what House is saying.] Neurological problems, lethargies that you fight with caffeine pills and amphetamines. [The door to Fletcher's room opens, Elizabeth and Cuddy walk in. The Ducklings and Fletcher panic, House on the other end of the phone line is oblivious.] It wasn't your secret psych disorder; it was your secret daily drug use. It was the secret trip, and your secret surgery in Caracas or Buenos Aires, which by the way didn't work given the state of your kitchen cabinets.
Cameron: House! Shut up.
House: What's going on?
[Elizabeth walks up to Fletcher slowly.]
Elizabeth: Is he right? [Fletcher guiltily nods.] Your doctors... know you better than I do. That man on the speakerphone, he never even met you and HE knows you better than I do.
[Fletcher hugs his chest and looks at her.]
Elizabeth: You love me? [He nods and sounds like he's ready to cry.]
Fletcher: Ye... Yes!
Elizabeth: You just don't trust me. [He looks down guiltily again, she starts to cry silently.]
House: Get some blood on a slide. Do not put it through a computer this time.
Foreman: Yep [He quickly puts down the phone.]
(CGI of blue stuff and little parasites moving around in it; Foreman is sitting in the lab looking down through a microscope.)
Foreman: Cerebral malaria.
Cameron: I'll get him started on intravenous quinidine.
Foreman: If a human being had actually looked at his blood, anywhere along the way, instead of just running tests through the computer... parasites would have jumped right out at them.
Cameron: Price of the electronic age.
(Cut to Fletcher in his room, silently crying. Greta is sitting by his side.)
Greta: Fletch, she'll be back. Give her time to miss you.
(Back at the airport, Stacy is boarding her flight; House tags along beside her in the queue.)
House: I'm counting on you to get me off the no-fly list.
Stacy: Is your patient going to be alright?
House: Physically, his chances are good.
House: Two people who weren't meant to be together. Maybe they’ll get a happy ending just because they both want it so much.
Stacy: Yeah, that's usually the way it works.
House: He loved her enough to convince himself he could change.
Stacy: But he couldn't, could he? [She gets the stub of her ticket back from the person at the desk and is about to walk through when she turns around to see House again.] You know what Woody Allen said about relationships? "Irrational and crazy, but we go through it all because--
House: --we need the curry".
[He nods and they exchange a last look before she leaves for her flight.]