written by Joseph Stefano, from the novel by Robert Bloch
Norman: It's all for you. I'm not hungry. Go ahead.
(He stares at her intensely, as if studying, as she takes a bite of a sandwich)
Norman: You, you eat like a bird.
(Marion (rhymes with "carrion") looks around at the stuffed birds on the wall)
Marion: You'd know of course.
Norman (stuttering): No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression, 'eats like a bird' it, it's really a f-f-false-falsity because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But I don't really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know, taxidermy. And I guess I'd just rather stuff birds because I hate the look of beasts when they're stuffed. You know, foxes and chimps. Some people even stuff dogs and cats but, boy, I can't do that. I think only birds look well stuffed because, well because they're kinda passive to begin with.
Marion: Strange hobby. Curious.
Norman: Uncommon, too.
Marion: Oh, I imagine so.
Norman: And it's not as expensive as you'd think. It's cheap really, you know, needles, and thread, sawdust. The chemicals are the only thing that, that cost anything.
Marion: A man should have a hobby.
Norman: Well, it's, it's more than a hobby. A hobby's supposed to pass the time, not fill it.
Marion: Is your time so empty?
Norman: Well, I run the office and uh, tend the cabins and grounds and, and do a little, uh, errands for my mother. The ones she allows I might be capable of doing.
(He smiles to himself)
Marion: Do you go out with friends?
Norman: Well, a boy's best friend is his mother. You've never had an empty moment in your entire life, have you?
Marion: Only my share.
Norman: Where are you going?
(She stares at him coldly for a moment)
Norman: I didn't mean to pry.
Marion: I'm looking for a private island.
Norman: What are you running away from?
Marion (frowning): Wh-why do you ask that?
Norman: People never run away from anything.....The rain didn't last long, did it? You know what I think. I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and, and claw, but only at the air, only at each other. And for all of it, we never budge an inch.
Marion: Sometimes, we deliberately step into those traps.
Norman: I was born in mine. I don't mind it any more.
Marion: Oh, but you should. You should mind it.
Norman: Oh, I do. (laughs and shrugs) But I say I don't.
Marion: You know, if anyone ever talked to me the way I heard the way she spoke to you...
Norman: Sometimes, when she talks to me like that, I feel I'd like to go up there and curse her and, and leave her forever. Or at least defy her. But I know I can't. She's ill.
Marion: She sounded strong.
Norman: No, I mean ill. She had to raise me all by herself after my father died. I was only five and it must have been quite a strain for her. She didn't have to go to work or anything like that. He left her a little money. Anyway, a few years ago, Mother met this man, and he talked her into building this motel. He could have talked her into anything. And when he died too, it was just too great a shock for her. And, and the way he died. I guess it's nothing to talk about while you're eating. Anyway, it was just too great a loss for her. She had nothing left.
Marion: Except you.
Norman: A son is a poor substitute for a lover.
Marion: Why don't you go away?
Norman: To a private island, like you?
Marion: No, not like me.
Norman: I couldn't do that. Who'd look after her? She'd be alone up there. The fire would go out. It'd be cold and damp like a grave. If you love someone, you don't do that to them - even if you hate them. You understand that I don't hate her. I hate what she's become. I hate the illness.
Marion: Wouldn't it be better if you put her - someplace...
Norman: (leans forward, suddenly angry and defensive) You mean an institution? A madhouse? People always call a madhouse 'someplace,' don't they? Put her in 'some place.'
Marion: I'm sorry. I didn't mean it to sound uncaring.
Norman: (he grins) What do you know about caring? Have you ever seen the inside of one of those places? The laughing and the tears! And the cruel eyes studying you. My mother there? But she's harmless! She's as harmless as one of those stuffed birds!
Marion: I am sorry. I only felt - it seems she's hurting you. I meant well.
Norman: (bitterly) People always mean well. They cluck their thick tongues and shake their heads and suggest oh-so-very-delicately. (He leans back and turns back into his affable self.) Of course, I've suggested it myself, but I hate to even think about it. She needs me. (He leans forward again.) It's not as if she were a maniac, a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. (he leans back again, smiles, and relaxes) Haven't you?
Marion: Yes. Sometimes just one time can be enough. Thank you.
Norman: Thank you, Norman.
(She stands to leave)