The scene is the same. Holderman is sitting on the couch reading a book when the doorbell rings. He gets up slowly and opens the door and William comes inside. Holderman motions for William to take his usual seat and he does so. Holderman slowly takes his own on the couch, having to lower himself slowly to avoid straining himself.
Holderman: I'm glad to see you decided to come back. I was worried you wouldn't.
William: Yeah, well I thought about it.
Holderman: I figured you would. But what changed your mind.
William: I just had to see you one more time. I guess I couldn't stay away.
Holderman: I suppose that's all well and good. Did you make your lists that you promised me?
William: (Stands up and runs his fingers through his hair) Well, you see, I couldn't do it.
Holderman: (Angry) Why not?
William: (Nervous chuckle) Well, you see, you asked me to do a list of ten things I loved and ten things I hate right?
William: Well, I came up with ten things I love. You know, family, friends, so on. Real easy. But, when I tried to think of ten things I hate, I kept repeating the same thing over and over again.
Holderman: (Leans back in his seat, angrily sarcastic) Do tell.
William: (Soft Chuckle) You.
William: (Points) You.
Holderman: I see.
William: (Starts pacing nervously) So, I decided to just scrap that assignment and bring something else to show you.
William: First, I have a new poem I wrote, especially for you (takes poem out of his pocket and sets it down on the table) and then I brought this (pulls out a small pistol from his pocket and points it at Holderman).
Holderman: (Looks up unimpressed) And why did you bring that?
William: (Shouting) Because ever since I started coming here you've been doing whatever you can to get a reaction out of me. You've done nothing but mess with my head, give me orders and do whatever you can to play with me all for your entertainment. Now it's my turn. You're going to do what I say.
Holderman: You need to take the safety off.
William: (Confused) What? (Clicks safety off, shaking badly)
Holderman: Your hand is trembling. If you shoot like that, you'll miss. Here, let me help you. (Grabs Williams arm and places the end of the gun against his forehead) There, much better.
William: (Looks around) What are you doing? Are you crazy? I'm not screwing around this gun's loaded!
Holderman: (Calmly) I've had much bigger guns pointed at me by much more dangerous people. Besides, I've lived a good life, if I die, I die content. But if that happens, then you'll die a lonely old man in prison.
William: (Squares up) I don't have a life to look forward to. Poetry WAS my life and now you have ruined it. I should kill you.
Holderman: Why don't you?
William: I don't know.
Holderman: Maybe because you need me? Maybe because I've pushed you over the edge and you need me to find your way back? Or maybe because you're too scared to?
William: (Softly) I don't know.
Holderman: Admit it William, you don't want to kill me. You want to scare me. You want to see me tremble. But look at you right now; even though you have the gun to my head, you're the one shaking like a leaf. You're not prepared to take my life, even to save your own.
William: (Shouts) Shut up.
Holderman: You know I'm right William, you know it. (pauses) William?
Holderman: If you had wanted to kill me, you would have put a clip in the gun.
William: (Lowers gun, slowly) You son of a bitch. (Sits down hard and puts his head in his hand) You knew all along didn't you?
Holderman: It wouldn't have mattered. You fear spending the rest of you life in jail more than you hate me.
William: (Shakes his head) You must be pretty good with guns to have been able to pull that one.
Holderman: I know a few things. For one I know that's a pretty rare pistol you're holding, a .22 I believe. Where did it come from?
William: (Looks at the gun) It's my dad's, I think he said it came from a pawnshop. I think he got it and a couple of clips for a few hundred.
Holderman: It's a great pistol. Might I see it?
William: Sure, what the hell. (Goes to hand Holderman the pistol, both men lean in for the exchange and as soon as both their hands touch the pistol it goes off and both men jump back hard and the pistol goes flying.) (Shouting) Holy… What the? Oh My God, Holderman! Are you ok?
Holderman: (Groans loudly and stretches out on the couch, clutching his abdomen)
William: (Frantic) Oh my God, you've been shot! I've got to get a doctor? Where's the phone? Where's the phone? Oh God, Oh God.
Holderman: (Holds his hand up to signal William) Don't bother.
William: (Dashes over and kneels by Holderman) Are you going to be ok? How bad is it?
Holderman: Bad enough. Bad enough.
William: How did this happen? It wasn't loaded. I swear!
Holderman: I know, I know. There must have been a bullet in the chamber William. It happens all the time.
William: (More frantic) I got to get a doctor you should be saving your breath (Stands up) I'm going to go call 911. I just hope the police will understand. Oh my God I'm going to jail aren't I?
Holderman: (Grabs William by the shirt and pull him back down beside him). Don't bother. Nothing can save me now William. They can just prolong the inevitable. Will you please hand me the poem you wrote?
Holderman: The poem you brought with you, it's on the table.
William: Oh, that, you don't want to see that now do you?
Holderman: Now more than ever. Hand it to me, now!
William: (Spins around, scoops up the poem and thrusts it into Holderman's hand, Holderman unfolds it and begins to read it, some time passes.)
Holderman: It's very good William, extremely good. There's not much more I could teach you anyway, the rest of your lessons will have to be on your own. I'm just glad to know you're ready.
William: (Sits down on the floor) Yeah, I guess I'll have a lot of time to write in prison won't I?
Holderman: No one is going to jail William. Hand me the gun would you?
William: (Searches for a second and finds the gun, picks it up and hands it to Holderman) What do you want this for?
Holderman: (Pulls out a handkerchief and begins wiping the gun down) Because I can't let one of the great future poets of our time rot away in some jail cell for an accident. (Clutches the gun tight to leave his fingerprints)
William: (Shouting) What are you doing!?
Holderman: Saving you. The police will ask you about this. Tell them that I asked to see your father's gun. I was a fan of antique pistols and you left it over here by accident. After you leave I'll pen a suicide note that will say pretty much the same thing. I have a very well known and distinct style of handwriting. It'll match and the police won't question it.
William: They won't buy it. They'll just accuse me of covering up your murder.
Holderman: Men like me die every day William. No one cares. The police won't waste their time on this. But you had better get moving. I need to think about what I'm going to say in my suicide note. These aren't easy things to write you know.
William: (Sighs) I can't leave you.
Holderman: You have to. Otherwise, my life and my death were all in vain. Go now, save yourself and carry the torch for me. You have a lot of work to do William; you had best get on it. I'll tie up the loose ends around here.
William: (stands up and walks over to the door) You sure?
Holderman: I'm sure, GO!
William: (Pauses) I know I haven't always been nice to you, but I am going to miss you.
Holderman: Wait a minute; I have two favors to ask of you. First, will you be at my funeral.
William: Of course.
Holderman: Good, sign your name real big in the guest book, make it look like someone actually showed up.
William: (Soft smile) Got it.
Holderman: Two, dedicate a book to me will you?
William: I'll dedicate them all to you, every last one.