Seinfeld And The Overdue 'Tropic Of Cancer'
In this episode, the 42nd Street Branch Library charges Jerry with signing out Tropic Of Cancer in 1971 but never returning it.
LIBRARIAN: Oh, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller, Uh, this case has been turned over to our library investigation officer Mr. Bookman.
Intimidated by the overzealous Mr. Bookman [left], Jerry attempts to track down the book, starting with a reunion with Sherry, a girl he'd been seeing in high school.
SHERRY: I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Friday afternoon. I wore a purple dress.
JERRY: Purple? Ya' sure it wasn't orange?
SHERRY: Positive. And I was chewin' Dentyne. I always chewed dentyne. Remember Jerry? Dentyne?
JERRY: No Black Jack?
SHERRY: Licorice gum? Never! We were reading pasages to each other from that Henry Miller book.
JERRY: Tropic of Cancer.
SHERRY: No, Tropic of Capricorn.
JERRY: Tropic of Capricorn?
SHERRY: Rememba? What holds the world togetha' ... "As I have learned from bitter experience
is sexual intercourse ."
JERRY: Wait a second. Wait a second. You're right. I had both of them. We read from Tropic Of Capricorn. I was all set to return Tropic Of Cancer. And then ...
The scene then flashes back to Jerry and George in high school [left]. Jerry entrusts the book to George.
JERRY: Here's the book. Don't let anybody see it. Don't let anything happen to it.
GEORGE: Jerry, it's me, George, don't worry, I'll return it.
Snapping out of the flashback, Jerry realizes that George is to blame.
JERRY: So Georgie Boy, guess what happened to Tropic Of Cancer.
GEORGE: How should I know?
JERRY: Because I gave it to you.
JERRY: Yeah, think. Don't you remember you kept begging me to see it then finally I agreed. You were supposed to return it. I met you in the gym locker room.
GEORGE: The locker room!
Turns out that George had been violated with a wedgie by the gym teacher, at which point he dropped the book and forgot about it. Left holding the bag, Jerry returns to the library and writes out a cheque for his 20-year overdue fine.
At the very end of the episode, we see the gym teacher--who had been fired over the incident--lying outdoors, a homeless man, with the copy of Tropic Of Cancer by his side.
Read the full script (by Larry Charles) at Seinfeldscripts.com or stanthecaddy.com.
Incidentally, the line from Capricorn that is referenced in the script is bookended by two very non-Prime Time TV sentences (from p. 192):
"... What is unmentionable is pure fuck and pure cunt: it must be mentioned only in de luxe editions, otherwise the world will fall apart. What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse. But fuck, the real thing, cunt, the real thing, seems to contain some unidentified element which is far more dangerous than nitroglycerin..."