Henry and Louis
(The scene: The afterlife, in some form. Henry Ford, founder and chief engineer of the Ford Motor Company encounters Louis Chevrolet, racer, French expatriate, and one-time chief engineer of the Chevrolet Motor Company. M. Chevrolet is deep in thought.)
LOUISIt's cold up here.
HENRY(pauses, blinks) What? Did I hear you right?
LOUISAh, oui. (lights cigarette) I mean, yes, Henri. Cold of heart. I do not mean cold as in a desert night. I mean, I cannot get warm. I cannot build. In the afterlife, my heart is not so much a pumping engine. It's a whistle. Wet, like Florida.
HENRYSure. I heard about that. Died from pneumonia, like Mozart? I'm indeed sorry. (lightly) As they say, not the heat but the humidity!
LOUISAh! My infamy fails, even here, like my life. I did not die in Florida in that damn heat. It was Detroit - my leg. See? (Lifts his stump.)
HENRYDevil! I don't need to see that.
LOUIS(under his breath) Priss. (drags) I would've beaten you better. Had Durant not been a fool.
HENRYI won the war, Louis.
LOUISDurant's Chevrolet gave you a knockaround.
HENRYA brief correction. I was always destined for greatness.
LOUIS(drags) Oui. You are great. You are the captain courageous? I say, though, you cared nothing for humanity.
HENRYAre you cracked, Frenchy? The five dollar day. Mine. River Rouge. Mine. I was the people's champion.
LOUISOh, that. I suppose. You broke your workers' backs. And didn't they just love you for it? They loved engineer feats. Your innovation. The T, my friend, was glorious. Light parts and body. And ample horsepower. You made the impossible possible. No, I am saying, but, you did not care for humanity when you built.
HENRYThis is preposterous. You just said it yourself, my friend. The suspension, the revolution in size and weight, the single-cast cylinder block, Galamb's new planetary transmission, the inter-dependent lubrication system, hell, just switching steering to the left side-
LOUISOui, so. It is just. You made them fall in love, ah, the engineering and the engineer.
HENRYYes, I did!
LOUISAnd GM, and myself. Well...we made them fall in love instead with their cars. (drags) That's when they began the love affair, Henri, not with you but with their -- it took a Frenchman, eh? Or his name at least. Color, subtlety. A quieter ride. A softer ride, we had four-wheel brakes and absorbers for shock. Automatic wipers! Henri, what would they do in the rain, without? Balloon tires. The wheels, of course, detachable. We allowed them to change their tires. We gave them preferences. We made them beautiful.
HENRY(glowering) You know what I told them? When I finally built the T? "I will build a motor car for the great multitude." And I did, damn it! Fifteen million, we made. Will Rogers, Steinbeck, Hemingway wrote glowingly about my cars. And...and...
LOUISIt wasn't enough. Not for them. Not for the multitude. They deserved more.
HENRY...they still wanted something more. Ingrates. (pauses) I suppose, Louis, that it sure would've been something. Had I hired you, instead of Durant. It might've been something to see, that car. (pauses) I did make the greatest car that was possible at the time, though, don't forget.
LOUISOui. It's not us now, Henri. We have finished our circuit. There are other races, other racers. (drops cigarette, jumps on it with his good leg)
LOUISLook down, my friend, maybe we can watch them before the race starts.
(They look down.)