The Story (continued)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
PRELUDE TO 'THE GOLD WATCH'
A young Butch (Chandler Lindauer) - in a childhood flashback - was watching a TV show, an animated episode of the cartoon Clutch Cargo (1959). It was about the adventures of the title character who journeyed around the world with his pet dachshund named Paddlefoot.
His mother interrupted him with the arrival of a "special visitor" named Captain Koons (Christopher Walken, in a cameo, referencing his role as a soldier in the Vietnam War in The Deer Hunter (1978)), who was there to bring him an important heirloom - a gold watch. It had been in the Coolidge family for three generations since World War I. It had first been owned with the boy's great grand-father, a WWI veteran, and then passed down to Butch's grandfather who fought in World War II, and then to Butch's father who fought in Vietnam.
For five years, Koons claimed he had been with Butch's father when he died of dysentery as a captive in a Hanoi POW camp. Due to the father's dying request, Koons was intensely dedicated to bringing the watch home to little Butch. In the incredulously scatological speech, Koons emotionally described how he had hidden the gold watch in his rectum for two years, in order to ensure its delivery.
Hello, little man. Boy, I sure heard a bunch about you. See, I was a good friend of your dad's. We were in that Hanoi pit of hell together over five years. Hopefully, you'll never have to experience this yourself, but when two men are in a situation like me and your dad were for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other. If it'd been me who'd - not made it, Major Coolidge'd be talking right now to my son Jim. But the way it turned out, I'm talking to you. Butch. I got somethin' for ya. This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-grandfather during the first World War. It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee,. Made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. Up 'til then, people just carried pocket watches. It was bought by Private Doughboy Erine Coolidge on the day he set sail for Paris. This was your great-grandfather's war watch and he wore it everyday he was in that war, and when he'd done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch off, put it in an old coffee can, and in that can it stayed until your granddad, Dane Coolidge, was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War II.
Your great-grandfather gave this watch to your granddad for good luck. Unfortunately, Dane's luck wasn't as good as his old man's. Dane was a Marine and he was killed -- along with all the other Marines at the battle of Wake Island. Your granddad was facing death. He knew it. None of those boys had any illusions about ever leavin' that island alive, so three days before the Japanese took the island, your granddad asked a gunner on an Air Force transport, name of Winocki - a man he had never met before in his life - to deliver to his infant son who he'd never seen in the flesh, his gold watch. Three days later, your granddad was dead, but Winocki kept his word. After the war was over, he paid a visit to your grandmother, delivering to your infant father his dad's gold watch. This watch. (He held the watch up - and paused) This watch was on your daddy's wrist when he was shot down over Hanoi. He was captured, put in a Vietnamese prison camp. He knew that if the gooks ever saw the watch, it'd be confiscated and taken away. The way your Dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He'd be damned if any slope's gonna put their greasy, yellow hands on his boy's birthright, so he hid it in one place he knew he could hide something - his ass. Five long years he wore this watch up his ass. Then, he died of dysentery. He give me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. Now, little man, I give the watch to you.
THE GOLD WATCH [Story 2]
A bell rang, startling the adult, has-been boxer Butch Coolidge out of his flashbacked reverie. He awoke in his boxing shorts/trunks, yellow robe, and gloves, resting on the training room table before his big fight ("Battle of the Titans") against Floyd Ray Wilson - the one he had been paid to throw as another of Marsellus' dependent 'niggers.' Although he had taken a bribe for agreeing to dive in the 5th round of this fight, he had impulsively decided to win the match, double-cross Marsellus, take the prize money, and run away. [Note: there were many antecedents in other films of a boxer not taking a dive, i.e., Body and Soul (1947), The Set-Up (1949), On the Waterfront (1954), etc.] In the aftermath of the brutal and bloody fight that he won (unseen in the film), Butch hurriedly fled from the arena for his getaway. Marsellus was understandably upset: "I'm prepared to scour the earth for that motherf--ker. If Butch goes to Indochina, I want a nigger hiding in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass."
Butch took a taxi from an alleyway, driven by Spanish-named, Colombian cabbie Esmarelda Villa Lobos (Angela Jones), who had listened to the bout on her taxi's radio. She knew that he had killed his opponent ("You killed the other boxing man") (Body Count #3) - to his surprise. She continued, with an interest in death: "You are the first person I have ever met who has killed somebody. So? What does it feel like to kill a man?" After just learning about the dead man, Butch reacted: "I don't feel the least bit bad about it." He had bet on himself in the 'fixed' fight - and the odds "went through the roof." He would collect a "rich and prosperous" bounty from eight bookies around town by the evening of the next day. He was planning to leave the next morning with his girlfriend, and traveling by train to Knoxville, Tennessee. When dropped off, he tipped the cabbie an extra $100 to buy her loyalty and silence.
He was out of sight with his baby-talking French girlfriend Fabienne (Maria de Madeiros), nicknamed "Sugar Pot," in the River Glen Motel. When he entered the dark bedroom, she wanted him to spoon with her, and told him she wished to have a sexy, "big, perfectly round" potbelly rather than a small tummy: "Potbellies are sexy." She did admit she had a bit of a tummy "like Madonna when she did 'Lucky Star'." (Was she possibly pregnant?) He told Fabienne that he - and his (deceased) opponent - had both retired from boxing, but "we're not at the finish yet, baby." She sensed: "We're in a lot of danger, aren't we?" He stated his profound and tender love for her. She requested that he give her "oral pleasure" and then she would reciprocate with him. She moaned: "Mon amour. L'aventure commence." (My love, the adventure begins.) After having sex, they both cleaned up in the bathroom, where Butch reassured Fabienne that they would have a lot of money, but they needed to get away. For a happy ending to their adventure, they could go somewhere in the South Pacific, but maybe they didn't have enough to "live like hogs in the fat house forever."
The next morning when Butch awakened at about 9 am, Fabienne was watching a noisy "motorcycle movie" on television - Nam's Angels (1970), with "explosions and war." As she spoke about her preferred desires for breakfast food, he was rummaging through their suitcases. He discovered, in a violent rage, that she had forgotten to pack his gold watch. He asked threateningly and then explained the irreplaceable heirloom's importance: "Where's my father's f--king watch? Do you have any idea what he had to go through to get me that watch?" He threw around motel furniture as he freaked out: "Do you know how f--king stupid you f--king are?" After calming down, he apologized, realized it wasn't her fault because she wasn't a "mind reader" and didn't realize how personal it was for him. He said he would return to the apartment to retrieve the watch, while she had breakfast, and then would join up with her later.
At his apartment, he fully expected one of Marsellus' gangster hit men to be looking for him during a stakeout. He parked Fabienne's white Honda a few blocks from his apartment, stealthily and carefully cut across fields and alleys, crossed the street, entered the apartment's courtyard and climbed the stairs. Inside, everything seemed quiet and in place. He retrieved the watch from its resting place on a kangaroo statue by the bed, and then reassured, he paused for a snack of toaster pastries from the kitchen cabinet. As he glanced to the left, to his surprise, he saw a small, compact submachine gun (with silencer) carelessly resting on the kitchen counter. [The machine gun was Marsellus', who had momentarily left to go purchase coffee and donuts. Sitting in the nearby bathroom, Vincent undoubtedly heard Butch's entry, but thought it was Marsellus returning.] Butch picked it up and then heard the nearby toilet flush. The bathroom door opened on the intruder, and they both froze when they saw each other. A startled Vincent - literally caught with his pants down - was blown away (at the same time the tarts popped out of the toaster). He was bloodied and propelled backwards, and smashed into the bathroom's shower stall. (Body Count #4) [Note: Vincent was reading a copy of Modesty Blaise, a 60's detective pulp about a femme fatale James Bond, a female spy. Because of the quirky nature of the screenplay that was non-linear and presented out of sequence, Vincent was killed at the end of Story 2, although returned in the next sequence, Story 3.] Butch wiped fingerprints from the machine-gun, left it in the living room, quickly exited the apartment, returned to the car and drove off.
As he was stopped at an intersection, Butch was thinking to himself how lucky he was, and how everyone had underestimated him. He was singing to the radio playing the Statler Brothers' "Flowers on the Wall," when he made brief eye contact through the windshield with Marsellus [seen in full view for the first time in the film] who was crossing the road in front of him after exiting Teriyaki Donut with a pink box of donuts and two white styrofoam cups of coffee. (Marsellus was at the stakeout with Vincent, replacing his partner Jules!) [Note: It was similar to the recognition scene at the beginning of Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) when Marion Crane was seen leaving Phoenix by her surprised boss.] Marsellus recognized Butch after a double-take and called out "Motherf--ker!" In a sudden panic, Butch stepped on the gas pedal and rammed into Marsellus, hitting him squarely and knocking him down. This caused another gold-colored car to broadside the Honda, smash the windows, and send Butch spinning onto the sidewalk. He was left groggy, bloody, and injured. Lying on the pavement, Marsellus miraculously revived from temporary unconsciousness [his unlikely resurrection resembled the way that deceased individuals would miraculously come to life in slasher films, such as Halloween (1978)], took out his .45 automatic pistol, and fired shots at Butch (although he missed and injured a gawking female onlooker instead).
A foot chase ensued between the two men, who both wobbled down a backstreet close-by. Butch was limping, while Marsellus was dazed and shaky. Butch ran into a business for refuge, the MASON-DIXON PAWNSHOP, where Marsellus caught up with him, in full view of the bearded, redneck hillbilly clerk/shopowner Maynard (Duane Whitaker) behind the counter. Butch took a few punches at Marsellus, knocked him unconscious to the floor, and snatched his gun and was about to blow his head off, when Maynard brandished a pump-action shotgun on both of them. Butch was knocked out with the butt of the shotgun. Then, Maynard telephoned his brother Zed (Peter Greene): "The spider just caught a couple flies." The two were tied up in the hellish, backroom-basement, dungeon-like area of the pawn shop, where they were seated in separate chairs. They were gagged with two S&M styled ball gags (a little red ball was held in their mouths by a strap wrapped around their heads). Maynard told them: "Nobody kills anybody in my place of business except me or Zed." A crazed and psychopathic Zed, a uniformed security officer, arrived and the two captors inspected their captives. Then Zed ordered: "Bring out The Gimp" who was held in a large locked chest. The Gimp was a silent, black-masked (with two eye-holes and a zipper for a mouth) man, wearing black-leather bondage gear (from head-to-toe) - he was led in on a leash, and was ordered to kneel. Zed chose Marsellus, after counting back and forth between the two (with the sing-song rhyme: "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo..."), to be raped in another room, while the leashed Gimp was ordered to stand guard over Butch. To the radio tune of the Revels' "Comanche," with the door closed, a resistant and struggling Marsellus was heard being forced into submission. [The sexual sadism was reminiscent of Deliverance (1972).]
Meanwhile, Butch easily freed the ropes holding him, rose from his chair, knocked the Gimp out with a few punches (who was then hanged by his own leash - Body Count #5), and removed the red-ball gag. As he was about to flee out the store's front door, he turned and paused - and impulsively decided to turn back and heroically save Marsellus. He searched in the pawnshop for a weapon that would be destructive and powerful enough - all alluding to other films and characters, and chose the most honorable item:
- a claw hammer - recalling the brutal killer in the slasher film The Toolbox Murders (1978)
- a baseball bat - recalling Joe Don Baker as Sheriff Buford Pusser in Walking Tall (1973)
- a chainsaw - recalling two horror films: Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) in Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)
- a katana (samurai sword) - recalling Ken Takakura (Takakura Ken) in The Yakuza (1974)
He returned downstairs where behind the door he quietly opened, he saw the two rapists and their violated victim. Zed was sodomizing Marsellus, who was bent over a pommel horse. Butch greeted Maynard with one slashing swing and then disemboweled him with the katana. (Body Count #6) Zed clambered off Marsellus to reach for his victim's .45 gun, and was challenged by Butch to pick it up. With Zed distracted by the approaching Butch, a freed Marsellus grabbed Maynard's pump-action shotgun and shot Zed in the groin. As Zed moaned on the floor, Marsellus threatened even more pain and punishment: "I'm gonna call a couple of hard, pipe-hittin' niggers to go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get Medieval on your ass." Butch was curious as to the nature of their own relationship, with respect to the fixed fight and his betrayal. Marsellus assured Butch that there was no situation ("We're cool") between them as long as Butch remained permanently out of Los Angeles and never told anyone about the humiliating rape.
As he fled from the pawn shop, Butch saw Zed's big chrome chopper parked out front (the gas tank had the name GRACE on it). With Zed's key-ring, he started up the rumbling bike, returned to pick up Fabienne from the motel room, and the two were on a race to the train station for an 11 am train. When she asked about her Honda, he told her that he had to crash it. He also promised that he would later fill her in on "the single weirdest, f--kin' day of my life." She also asked about the owner of the motorcycle, and was told about his demise: "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead."