CAPT. KOONS steps inside the room toward the little boy and bends down on one knee to bring him even with the boy’s eyeline. When Koons speaks, he speaks with a slight Texas accent.
CAPT. KOONS: Hello, little man. Boy I sure heard a bunch about you. See, I was a good friend of your Daddy’s. We were in that Hanoi pit of hell over five years together. Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience this yourself, but when two men are in a situation like me and your Daddy were, for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other. If it had been me who had not made it, Major Coolidge would be talkin’ right now to my son Jim. But the way it worked out is I’m talkin’ to you, Butch. I got somethin’ for ya.
The Captain pulls a gold wrist watch out of his pocket.
CAPT. KOONS: This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-granddaddy. It was bought during the First World War in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was bought by private Doughboy Ernie Coolidge the day he set sail for Paris. It was your great-granddaddy’s war watch, made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. You see, up until then, people just carried pocket watches. Your great-granddaddy wore that watch every day he was in the war. Then when he had done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch off his wrist and put it in an ol’ coffee can. And in that can it stayed ’til your grandfather Dane Coolidge was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War Two. Your great-granddaddy gave it to your granddad for good luck. Unfortunately, Dane’s luck wasn’t as good as his old man’s. Your granddad was a Marine and he was killed with all the other Marines at the battle of Wake Island. Your granddad was facing death and 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 22-year old grandfather asked a gunner on an Air Force transport named Winocki, a man he had never met before in his life, to deliver to his infant son, who he had never seen in the flesh, his gold watch. Three days later, your grandfather 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. This watch was on your Daddy’s wrist when he was shot down over Hanoi. He was captured and put in a Vietnamese prison camp. Now he knew if the gooks ever saw the watch it’d be confiscated. The way your Daddy looked at it, that watch was your birthright. And he’d be damned if and slopeheads were gonna put their greasy yella hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide somethin’. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid with uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.
Capt. Koons hands the watch to Butch. A little hand comes into FRAME to accept it.
– Pulp Fiction (1994), screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, story by Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is gift-giving, suggested by plinytheelder. Today’s suggestion by Teddy Pasternak.
Trivia: Chronologically, the first scene in the movie has Vincent and Jules chatting in their car while on their way to do a job. The last chronological scene has Butch and Fabienne riding away from the hotel on Butch’s newly acquired motorcycle (and the “last line” of the movie is therefore “Zed’s dead, baby; Zed’s dead.”) If you count the flashback, the first scene would then be when Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) visits the young Butch and gives him the watch.) Scene titles: Vince and Jules, The Bonnie Situation, The Diner I, The Diner II, Jack Rabbit Slims and The Gold Watch.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Here’s the thing about one character giving a physical object to another character: Depending upon the specific circumstances, that object can take on the power of a talisman, imbued with emotional, psychological and symbolic meaning. Enough, as is the case in Pulp Fiction, where the adult Butch must go back to pick up the watch even if it means endangering himself.