Friday, March 24, 2017



Scene 1
The apartment. Nadeen enters. Her mom and dad are sitting on the couch with the real estate agent looking at photos.
Dad: Come over here Nadeen and look at this.
(Nadeen goes over to the couch.)
Nadeen: What’s that?
Mom: Those are photos of our new house. We’re moving to Rivercrest.
Nadeen: Rivercrest! But that’s like a million miles away. What about my life here?
Mom: Now honey, you know I’m going to have a baby shortly. Parkdale is no place to raise a child.
Nadeen: Why not? I was raised here and I turned out fine.
Dad: This apartment’s falling apart at the seams. This is a chance to get into a nice neighbourhood into a house with a big backyard so the baby will have lots of room to play when he gets older.
Nadeen: But I don’t want to live in a good neighbourhood. I want to be a b-girl.
(Nadeen faints.)
Bill: I don’t think she took that news well.
Dad: Yeah. Speaking of bad news, I think someone just stole your car.
Bill: (Looks out window) Oh my---
Mom: Let us call you a cab.
Bill: No thanks, I’ll walk. You should probably see to your daughter.
Dad: You’re right. Can we have your wallet to stuff into her mouth so she doesn’t swallow her tongue?
Bill: Sure.
(Bill exits.)

Scene 2
The new house. Nadeen and her mom and dad pull up in their car, the moving van following behind them.
Dad: Well here we are. Rivercrest at last.
Nadeen: Yeah, White People City.
(A crowd of people descends upon the family.)
Jodie: Welcoming committee! I’m Jodie. I live next door to you.
Lucy: Hi, I’m Lucy. I live next door to you on the other side of Jodie.
Liberty: Hi, I’m Liberty. I live across the street with my husband.
Gloria: Hi, I’m Gloria. I’m Liberty’s grandmother. I live with her.
Jim: And I’m Jim, Gloria’s grandfather.

Scene 3
The kitchen. Nadeen is standing at the counter. Her mom and dad enter.
Dad: Hey, look what we’ve got!
Nadeen: (Uninterested) What?
Mom: The ultrasound photos! (Pulls out a picture and hands it to Nadeen) That’s your new brother.
Nadeen: I hate this stupid baby. It’s because of him we had to move up to this boring neighbourhood.
Dad: Hush right now, girl.
(Nadeen: No I won’t. This baby is ruining my life.
She tears up the ultrasound photo. Nadeen’s mother slaps her across the face. A knock is heard at the door. Nadeen’s dad answers it. Charles Henderson is standing there.)
Charles Henderson: Hello. My name’s Charles Henderson. I live behind you. I take it you three were engaging in a bit of TNB?

Scene 4
The house. Nadeen is sitting at the table, looking bored. A knock is heard at the door. Nadeen answers it. Charles Henderson is standing there.
Charles: Oh, hi Nadeen. Is your dad home?
Nadeen: No, he’s at work.
Charles: Oh, he works after all. Well, I brought you a present, something I thought you could use. (He pulls a bicycle out from behind him) My ex-wife left it in the garage when she moved out. I thought it might be useful for someone without a car.
Nadeen: Thank you.
Charles: Don’t mention it. Oh, and don’t worry, I told all the neighbours I was going to give it to you so you won’t get anybody thinking it’s stolen.

Scene 5
The school cafeteria. Nadeen is sitting on a bench by herself with her headphones on. Maddie slides down the bench and taps her on the shoulder.
Maddie: Excuse me.
Nadeen: (Taking off her headphones) Yes.
Maddie: Hi, I’m Maddie. Can I touch your hair. (Maddie starts touching Nadeen’s hair anyway) Oh, it’s so nice and thick, not like the thin hair I felt on the Chinese girl. Where were you born?
Nadeen: Toronto.
Maddie: No, where were you born?
Nadeen: Women’s College Hospital.
Maddie: Then---
Nadeen: My mom’s parents were Mexican, my dad’s father was born in Jamaica and my dad’s mother was French.
Maddie: Oooh, can you speak Jamaican?

Scene 6
The girls’ washroom. Nadeen is washing her hands. Ashley enters and starts fixing her makeup.
Ashley: So, you’re from Toronto, right?
Nadeen: Yeah, Parkdale.
Ashley: So, you must have seen some things.
Nadeen: Things?
Ashley: Like murders and parties and cool stuff.
Nadeen: No---
Ashley: Do you have any stuff on you?
Nadeen: Stuff?
Ashley: (Pulling a cigarette out of her purse) You know, stuff.
Nadeen: No, what makes you think I use---
Ashley: Well then, I guess I’m just going to steal your IPod.
(Ashley reaches into Nadeen’s backpack, grabs her IPod and runs out of the bathroom. Nadeen chases after her.)

Scene 7
The principal’s office. Nadeen and Ashley are sitting in chairs in front of Mr. Winkley’s desk.
Mr. Winkley: So Nadeen, Ashley claims you stole her IPod.
Nadeen: No sir, it’s the other way around. That’s my IPod.
Mr. Winkley: Really? Why should I believe that?
Nadeen: Look at what’s on there.
Mr. Winkley: Oh, I hate this technological stuff. Miss Douglas, could you come in here and help me with this I-thingamabob?
(Miss Douglas enters. The principal hands her the IPod and she gets it to the list of files.)
Nadeen: See. Chubrock, Outkast, Notorious B.I.G. Does that sound like stuff Ashley here would listen to?
Mr. Winkley: I don’t know. Maybe Ashley likes rap or hip hop or whatever it’s called.
Ashley: Oh yeah, I love Snoopydoopy and MNM Koojay.
Mr. Winkley: Well that clinches it, then. Miss Douglas, call the police.

Scene 8
Outside the school. It is the night of the Haloween dance. Teenagers are dressed up in costumes going into the school. Nadeen catches the eye of Devon. Devon starts break dancing. Nadeen begins break dancing as well, trying to outdo him. The principal comes up to Nadeen.
Mr. Winkley: What is this, exactly?
Nadeen: It’s called break dancing.
Mr. Winkley: Well, whatever it is it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing we do here at Rivercrest High School. Leave the premises immediately.
Nadeen: Fine. Whatever.

Scene 9
The school hallway. Nadeen is walking down the hall. Mr. Winkley comes up to her with a stack of file folders in his arms.
Mr. Winkley: Nadeen Durant.
Nadeen: Yes, sir.
Mr. Winkley: I looked up break dancing on the webnet on the weekend. It carries serious risks. I think you should look at this information.
Nadeen: But Mr. Winkley, it really isn’t that---
Mr. Winkley: You should also look into the information I’ve gathered on spoons and recliners.

Scene 10
Baby Warehouse. Nadeen and her parents pull up to the cash register with a huge cart full of stuff. The cashier adds it up.
Cashier: That’ll be 175 dollars.
Mom: I’ll use my Mastercard.
Dad: (Whispering) It’s maxed out.
Mom: Well, I was planning to use the Visa to buy groceries.
(Nadeen’s father pulls out an American Express card.)
Mom: Where did you get that.
(Nadeen’s father pays for the stuff. Nadeen and her fanmily exit.)
Cashier: Well, that’s what you can expect from those kind of people

Scene 11
The cafeteria. Nadeen is sitting at a table alone, eating her lunch. Devon comes up and sits beside her. He is wearing a cowboy hat, Budweiser t-shirt, overalls, and old sneakers.
Devon: Hi, I’m Devon. I’ve seen you around school. You like hip-hop. Well, so do I. I mean, I like all kinds of music generally. I particularly like old school hip-hop. Seems so much more innocent. ‘course some of the new stuff’s good, too, the more underground stuff that’s harder to find. I’ve seen you b-girlin behind the school sometimes. You should enter the Hogtown Showdown.
Nadeen: There’s no way I’d ever get into something like that, especially not by myself.
Devon: Well then, put together a crew and enter the battle.
Nadeen: Are you kidding? Put together a break dancing crew around here?!
Devon: No, I’m serious. Besides, this movie needs something exciting to happen soon or most of the audience is going to walk out of the theatre.
Nadeen: In that case I’ll do it.

Scene 12
The Hogtown Showdown. Nadeen, Maddie, Alia, and Devon are standing at the entrance.
Maddie: I’m so excited.
Alia: Yeah, this is going to be our big moment.
(They enter the club.)
Lexie: Ladies and gentleman, please welcome last years champions.
(A huge cheer goes up. Four dancers come onstage and start doing a ballet routine. Shouts are heard from the crowd.)
B-boy: Hey man, I thought this was a break dancing competition, yo.
Lexie: Yeah, the flyer was misprinted. This is a ballet competition. Sorry.
Crowd: Oh man.
Maddie: We can still win this thing. I was forced to take ballet for ten years.
Alia: Me, too.
Devon: So was I.
Nadeen: But I don’t know a thing about ballet.
Maddie: Just follow my lead. Besides, it’s not like we really have a choice. We either do this or go home with egg on our faces.
(Nadeen, Maddie, Alia, and Devon step onstage. Maddie starts ballet dancing and the others follow her lead. At the end, Lexie claps.)
Lexie: All right, that was wonderful. Anyone feel like coming up and challenging these girls?
Devon: And guy.
Lexie: I said, anyone feel like coming up and challenging these girls?
(The crowd groans.)
Lexie: Then by default, first prize, second prizes, all the other top places, and all the honourable mentions go to (looks at registration sheet) Hydroforce.
(The crowd cheers. Mr. McTavish comes out.)
Mr. McTavish: As the owner of this club and sponsor of this competition I’m so glad to present Team Hydroforce with this honour. You turned in an electric performance. (The crowd starts throwing bottles.) Tnb, I guess. Anyway, Maddie, Alia, Devon, and Nadeen, take a look at all the fabulous prizes you’ve won. Wheel ‘em out, boys.
(The prizes are wheeled out by two burly men. Team Hydroforce eagerly runs over to examine them.)
Nadeen: What?
Maddie: There’s a sack of flour, a sack of sugar, a cooler full of (opens cooler) meat, a bag of apples… Sir, what is all this?
Mr. McTavish: Well, we’re in Parkdale, you see, and since I figured most of the competitors would be black, rather than money I decided to award the winners things they would actually need. Give these people money and they’ll just spend it on booze. (To Nadeen) Don’t worry. No need to steal a car, we can cart all this stuff home in mine.

Closing credits.

Based on “Break on Through” by Jill Murray.

Thursday, March 16, 2017



Scene 1
The classroom. Raspberry is sitting at her desk. An announcement comes over the PA system.
Anncr: Would Strawberry Fields come to the office. That’s Strawberry Fields, come to the office.
(Raspberry gets up, walks out of class and makes her way down to the principal’s office.)
Secretary: Raspberry, you’re mother has been attacked. You better go to the hospital right away.
(A bunch of kids come storming into the office.)
Kid 1: You said you were gonna play “Strawberry Fields” over the PA system.
Secretary: No I didn’t. I was calling a student to the office.
(The kids tear the office apart.)

Scene 2
The hospital room. Raspberry is sitting beside her mother’s bed. The TV is on.
Anncr: A woman was viciously attacked with a lead pipe today as she stood outside her apartment building. The perpetrator has been identified as Shaketa Nixon, a close friend of the victim who lives only two doors up the street from her. When reached for comment, Shaketa Nixon told our newsteam, “I am not a crook.”
(Raspberry’s father walks into the room.)
James Hill: I’m so sorry about what happened. I was at McDonald’s, you know, trying to collect all the Finding Nemo Happy Meal toys, and I saw it on the news. Well, I must be going now. Give Daddy some sugar, baby girl. (Raspberry kisses him) No, some actual sugar, for my coffee. The lady forgot to put any in.

Scene 3
Dr. Mitchell’s car. Raspberry is lying on the back seat.
Dr. Mitchell: Raspberry, do you want to stop for pizza before we take you back to our house for the night?
Raspberry: Pizza be fine.
Dr. Mitchell: All right, then.
(They pull up to the pizza place. Dr. Mitchell, Zora and Raspberry get out of the car and enter the restaurant.)
Spiros: Hey ugly man, hey beautiful ladies. What you want.
Dr. Mitchell: The girls will have the Greek pizza, and I will have the frog legs. Oh, and could I get that with a bottle of 1941 Chateau Le Vie de Rothchild?
Spiros: You got it. Before I can serve you the frog legs, though, I have to chase it down the alley.
Dr. Mitchell: Oh, I’ll help you do that.
Spiros: Right this way.
Zora: I’ll help you too, Daddy. Raspberry, watch my purse for me.
(Spiros, Dr. Mitchell and Zora exit. Raspberry takes a wad of bills out of Zora’s purse, then puts most of it back.)

Scene 4
Dr. Mitchell’s car. Dr. Mitchell pulls up to Raspberry’s apartment.
Dr. Mitchell: Now remember, just go in there, collect a few things and make sure the place is all right. Don’t take too long. (On the steps of the apartment building, Dr. Mitchell, Zora and Raspberry notice people smoking marijuana and drinking whisky) We’ll come back for your things some other time.
Raspberry: You was raised in the projects, Dr. Mitchell. Don’t you know how to fight?
(Dr. Mitchell gets out of the car.)
Dr. Mitchell: You wait here.
Girl 1: You better get back in your ride if you know what’s good for you.
Miracle Nixon: Hey Raspberry.
(She makes her way over to the car.)
Dr. Mitchell: Raspberry can’t talk to anyone right now.
Miracle: I just wanna see her, Pops. Hey Raspberry, tell your mother to chill and lay off Shaketa. (Bangs her fist on the roof of the car) You hear me, girl?
Raspberry: Everybody saw what Shaketa did.
Miracle: Your mother was always pickin on her, so she got what she got.
(People start throwing bottles at the car.)
Zora: (Opens door) Daddy! (A bottle comes flying through the door and smashes the window on the other side) I didn’t see that coming.
Dr. Mitchell: Lock the doors and windows, now. (To the people on the steps) You hit her mother with a pipe, and now you want to go after me and my kids?
(Zora dials 911 on her cell phone.)
Operator: Yo, 911.
Zora: My dad’s a cop, I mean a doctor, and he needs help.
Operator: Don’t worry, he a cop, he can take care of hisself.
Zora: No, he’s a doctor.
Operator: He a cop.
Zora: No, he’s a doctor.
Operator: Look, foo’, he a cop. He take care o’ hisself.
Shaketa: Look, it’s your mother’s fault for tryin to live like a decent human bein. She should be ‘shamed o’ herself.
(Dr. Mitchell gets back into the car and they speed away.)

Scene 5
May’s driveway. May, Raspberry and Janai are playing basketball.
Janai: Your family’s cursed.
Raspberry: A lot of black families are cursed.
(May’s mother and father enter.)
Mrs. Kim: We’re back from picking up the chicken feet and collard greens.
(They go into the house.)
Janai: Look at all the bad stuff that’s happened to you over the past few years.
Zora: Yeah, first your father went on dope, then you and your mother moved in with friends until y’all got kicked out. You were homeless for a while, then you moved into the projects and was robbed.
Raspberry: Zora, you’re not helping. Besides, your family got problems too, like … all those problems you have.
Mrs. Kim: (Sticking her head out the door) Why are you two being so mean.
Zora: We didn’t mean—
Mrs. Kim: Go make yourselves useful. Come help me unpack the groceries. The collard greens don’t look so good, but if you scrape off the hard and wilted parts they aren’t so bad.
May: They’re completely hard and wilted.
Mrs. Kim: Oh, never mind, then.
(Janai follows Mrs. Kim into the house. )
Raspberry: It’ll be time to go soon. Mama should be done her catscan by now.
(May sinks a basket. Her sleeve rolls up, revealing a brand new tattoo which says ONE HUNDRED PERCENT BLACK.)
Zora: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, when did you do it.
May: Got it done yesterday. Don’t touch it. It still hurts.
(Janai comes out of the house and notices the tattoo.)
Janai: What you wrote on your arm ain’t even true.
May: It’s like, a joke or something.
Mr. Kim: (From the kitchen) May, you have branded yourself like a slave.
Janai: Like you would know about that.
Mr. Kim: Actually, Japan invaded Korea many centuries ago and made the people their slaves.
Janai: (Running away) Aaahhhhhh, knowledge.

Scene 6
The hospital room. Raspberry enters. Her father is there. There is a man sleeping on the bed.
James: Hey, baby girl. This Shabooboo. Shabooboo, wake yo’ butt up. This my daughter, Raspberry.
Shabooboo: Hey, there. Your father and I went to high school. Who’da thought we’d end up on the streets together? Regular pals. Friends for life. Partners in our success.
James: Well, we better get out of here soon. Virginia never could stand no riffraff. Do you wanna use her shower and her toothbrush before we go?
Shabooboo: Sure, I do dat shortly.
James: Not before me, you ain’t
(He goes into the bathroom.)
Shabooboo: Well, while your father’s in the shower, we might as well get this party started. We gonna crank up the godfather of soul, Mr. James Brown.
(He pulls a small cassette recorder out of his pocket. An old James Brown cassette starts to play. Shabooboo pulls out a bottle of whisky, drinks and starts dancing around wildly. Raspberry passes out.)
Shabooboo: Pussy.

Scene 7
Outside Raspberry’s apartment building. Raspberry and Sallow are hanging out. Raspberry is drinking a pop.
Raspberry: I’m so thankful the local TV station held a telethon for Mama and me. It raised five thousand dollars.
Sallow: Yeah, yo’ mama probably down at the car dealership right now buyin a new ride.
Raspberry: Ha, yo’ mama don’t even have a car. She walkin. In fact, isn’t that her walkin down the street right now?
Sallow: Jeez, it is. How about a sip of your pop.
Raspberry: No. I don’t want your germs.
Sallow: Give me your ****ing pop. (He playfully takes it from her and runs down the street. Raspberry chases after him. They run two blocks in about five seconds) Shoot, I’m all out of breath. Let’s sit down over here on this rusty old car.
(Sallow sits on the car and it collapses.)
Shabooboo: Oooohhhh.
Sallow: Shoot, I think somebody lives in there.
Raspberry: You owe me fifty cents for that pop.
Sallow: Screw you. You got money.

Scene 8
The courtroom. The judge, the district attorney and Shaketa’s lawyer enter.
Shaketa’s Lawyer: So, what sentence do you think would be most appropriate for this girl given all the publicity it’s gotten?
Judge: Well, since the court system is so overburdened to begin with, I think it’s best if we find some way to avoid this matter going to trial altogether.
D.A.: What do you suggest. I mean, this girl’s records as thick as a phone book
(Holds up a phone book.)
Judge: No, Mr. District Attorney, that is an actual phone book.
D.A.: Well, regardless.
Shaketa’s Lawyer: How about we flip a coin.
Judge: That sounds like a good idea. Heads it goes to trial, tails it doesn’t.
D.A.: But what’ll we tell Shaketa, the victim and her daughter and of course the media?
Judge: Just say something like too many technicalities or some bull like that.
D.A.: OK, here we go.
(He pulls a quarter out of his pocket, throws it in the air, catches it, and turns it over to the back.)
Shaketa’s Lawyer: Well, that’s settled. Let’s play battleships.

Scene 9
Outside of Raspberry’s apartment building. Raspberry comes up the street. Her mom is sitting on the front steps, planting flowers in pots.
Raspberry: Hi Mama.
Virginia Hill: Hi, sweetheart.
Raspberry: What are you doing?
Virginia: Oh, I’m just planting some flowers. I told the old lady across the street her snapdragons looked really nice so she wanted me to take her down to the store to get some more. Oh, by the way, I have some good news.
Raspberry: What?
Virginia: I got a new job. I’m goin to be workin down at the mental institution buzzing people in and out. Well, I have to go get dinner started.
(Raspberry’s mom goes into the house. Miracle comes over.)
Miracle: Apparently yo’ mama didn’t learn not to stick her nose in other people’s business.
(She pulls the flowers out of the pots and scatters them over the sidewalk.)
Raspberry: What’d you do that for?
Miracle: I’m black. Since when do I like anything beautiful. Think about it. We prefer to live in cities with crime and absentee fathers and drugs all over the place. We hate beautiful things like classical music and flowers.

Scene 10
The bus. Raspberry and Janai are sitting together.
Raspberry: So did you hear what happened to May?
Janai: No, what?
Raspberry: Someone snuck into her house and cut off her hair. Then they hung a sign up in the girls bathroom saying HARD TIMES AT HOME, THREE BAGS FOR $2.50.
Janai: That’s awful. It’s like I always say: when you hear a suspicious noise at night, yell FREEZE AND SMILE.
Raspberry: Well, you don’t know it was a black person. It could have been someone else disguised as a black person.
Janai: Someone in blackface? Those racists!
Raspberry: I mean it could have been a white person. There always makin trouble for us. I mean they kept us as their slaves as recently as a hundred and forty years ago.
Janai: Or it could have been the Asians themselves, making it look like a black person did it. They always tryin to get us just because are people like to order Chinese food and beat up the drivers.

Scene 11
The apartment. Raspberry and her mom are sitting on the couch. Ming’s father enters.
Ming’s Father: Hello, Mrs. Hill. I was so sorry to hear about what happened. I hope you are feeling better.
Virginia: I’m feeling much better, thank you.
Ming’s Father: Sorry I didn’t come visit you in the hospital. Hospitals aren’t my thing. I figure people don’t want you to come and sit with them for hours and try to make conversation when all they want to do is recover. I didn’t even go into the hospital when my mother was dying. I mean, what would I have said? So, Mom, you’re dying. How is that working out for you? Well, I must be going now. Goodbye.
Virginia: Goodbye.
(Shaketa’s lawyer enters.)
Shaketa’s Lawyer: Mrs. Hill, I am the lawyer representing Shaketa Nixon. I just came over to let you know that the judge has decided not to prosecute her.
Virginia: Why on earth not?
Shaketa’s Lawyer: No reason.
(Shaketa, Miracle and her friends can be seen down on the street starting to have a party. They are smoking weed and drinking wine.)
Shaketa: Let’s celebrate the way blacks always do. Let’s burn down the neighbourhood.
Miracle: I wouldn’t have wanted you to go to jail. You’re my sister.
Miracle starts crying. Virginia comes outside with a carioke machine.
Virginia: OK, there’s only one song that’s appropriate for a black girl on a wine crying jag because her sister has escaped going to jail.
(Virginia puts a CD in the carioke machine. “Sometimes When We Touch” comes on. Miracle starts singing. Everyone else joins in.)
White Man: Hows she goin? What’s goin on?
Shaketa: We’re celebrating because I’m not going to be charged for beating this woman with a lead pipe.
Miracle: You lookin for a fight, white boy?
White Man: Yeah, I’m always lookin for a good time. (He pulls the cork out of a bottle of wine with his teeth and drinks) Hey, did I ever tell yous about the time I went to Vancouver?

Scene 12
Daddy Joe’s Restaurant. Raspberry, Janai, May, Ming, Sallow, and Q are sitting around a table.
Raspberry: It sure was a good idea you had, May, skippin class to come here.
May: Well, I wanted to get the chance to see all you guys before I went to California for the summer.
Janai: Why you goin to California?
May: Oh, my parents are sending me there to live with my father’s side of the family because I’m pregnant.
Raspberry: Oh.
May: Yeah, it’s gonna suck being around Koreans all the time. They get The Korean Black Channel. It shows all this black-oriented programming in Korean, and they walk around saying snatches of black slang to each other all the time.
(A waitress comes over.)
Waitress: So what do you wanta eat?
Sallow: Why don’t we just get a big plate of barbecue chips with vanilla pudding for the table.
Waitress: Right, then. It’ll be here when it gets here.

Scene 13
The apartment. Raspberry is sitting on the couch. James and a friend enter.
James: Hi, baby girl. Do your mother got any money, or do you think she’d mind me takin a few of her precious things?
Raspberry: Who’s your friend?
Friend: My name is Abduala Mohamed Husain Omar Said Ben al Akbar Khan. I am a black Moslem.
James: So how ‘bout it? I need money bad.
(He goes into the bedroom. Raspberry and the friend follow. He lifts up the carpet and starts pulling money out.)
Raspberry: Hey, daddy, that’s ours. Mama and I worked real hard for that money.
Friend: Sorry, little girl.
James: Yeah, we need some crack bad.
Raspberry: Wait, isn’t smoking crack against the tenants of Islam?
Friend: Shut up.
James: Smoking crack is my career. How dare you try and hinder me in my career.
James and the friend exit.

Closing credits.

Based on “Begging for Change: Nothing Good Comes of Bad Money” by Sharon Flake.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


The outro to a program called "Backstage at the Parlour", which featured bluegrass music.

Q107 Toronto from June of an unknown year with anncr taking a request from Coreen in Scarborough.

99.9 CKFM-FM with Karlsburg commercial and ID.

102.1 CFNY-FM Toronto from late 1986 with anncr backselling songs and taking requests.

Friday, March 10, 2017



Scene 1
Outside the courtroom. Alexandria, her mother and Alexandria’s lawyer enter. The lawyer, Mr. Collins, is wearing a Motley Crew T-shirt and a pair of grimy, old, worn jeans. Alexandria’s mother tries to straighten out the collar of Alexandria’s blouse but she brushes her hand away.
Mrs. Hyatt: I’m just trying to make sure you look all right.
Alexandria: I look as good as I can in this outfit, but not as good as I could have looked if you hadn’t picked out my clothes for me.
Mr. Collins: She was just doing what I instructed her to do. Appearance means a lot.
(Alexandria’s father enters.)
Mr. Hyatt: (Putting his arms around her) Hi there, pumpkin.
Alexandria: Daddy! I haven’t seen you in so long. You haven’t come home in years.
Mr. Hyatt: Well, the traffic was terrible.
Mr. Collins: Before the trial begins I just want to go over some particulars. First, the kind of sentence you can expect if Alexandria is found guilty. Now, the judge might let you off with a slap on the wrist like last time and all the other times, but I doubt it. You could even be looking at serving some time.
Alexandria: Serving time! You mean I’d go to prison?
Mr. Collins: No, no, you wouldn’t go to prison. You’d go to a juvenile detention facility.
Alexandria: Juvinile detention facility? What’s that.
Mr. Collins: It’s a place where they send offenders who aren’t yet adults. You sleep three to a room, they make you go to school everyday and they make you eat your vegetables.
Alexandria: Oh no!
Mr. Collins: Yes, ALL your vegetables. And, the staff at the juvenile detention facility sets the TV to one channel, and you only get to watch that one channel, no matter what’s on it.
Alexandria: I only get to watch one TV channel?
Mr. Hyatt: What are the chances that she’ll be sent to a juvenile detention facility?
Mr. Collins: Only about ten percent.
Mr. Hyatt: That’s a relief. I always make a business deal if the odds are ninety percent that it’ll succeed.
Alexandria: Daddy, how can you look at this as just a business deal!
Mr. Hyatt: I’m a guy. That’s how we think.
Mr. Collins: See, we have to consider the charges we’re looking at. There’s the shoplifting, breech of probation and the reinstatement of the vandalism charge.
Alexandria: Why would the judge reinstate the vandalism charge?
Mr. Collins: Because you violated the terms of the sentence stemming from it. The judge might see that as committing the crime all over again.
Alexandria: That’s ridiculous. Daddy payed for the repairs to that girl’s car.
Mr. Collins: Yes, but you caused thousands of dollars worth of damage and scared the poor girl inside it half to death.
Mr. Hyatt: Yes, princess. I mean you did deliberately take a golf club to that girl’s car multiple times.
Alexandria: That’s because it didn’t roll very well and I thought if I hit it enough times I could get it into the hole.
Mr. Collins: The judge is also going to take into heavy consideration the report from the social worker.
Mr. Hyatt: Have you seen it?
Mr. Collins: No, only the judge has seen it. How do you think you did in the interview, Alexandria?
Alexandria: I did … fine.
Mr. Collins:What do you mean?
Alexandria: Well, I went to the social worker’s office but she was late and I had an appointment to get my hair done. Mommy, you know how upset Monsieur Henri gets when you’re even one minute late for one of his appointments.
Mrs. Hyatt: Well, it depends on the time of day and how much he’s had from the bottle of whisky from behind the counter.
Mr. Collins: So you skipped the interview to get a haircut?
Alexandria: No, I left a note telling the social worker where I’d be. She came to Henri’s and we had the interview while he styled my hair. It was hard to hear, though, what with the electric clippers and hair dryers and Henri singing Quebec folk songs loudly to himself.
(The judge enters and everyone goes into the court room.)
Bailiff: All rise for the honourable Judge Roberts.
(Judge Roberts and the other courtroom staff enter.)
Court Secretary: You may be seated.
Judge Roberts: Our first matter is The People versus Alexandria Hyatt. Gee, that name sounds familiar. Where have I heard that name before? … Oh yeah, Miss Hyatt was in my courtroom only two months ago. Something about smashing up a girl’s car with a golf club. Anyway, let’s focus on the matter at hand. Miss Hyatt, you appear to have a different lawyer from the last time we got the band back together.
Mr. Collins: Your honour, last time my client was represented by Mr. Kruger, the senior partner in the firm which represents her father in his business dealings. However, this time Mr. Kruger is in Hong Kong taking care of matters relating to one of those aforementioned business deals, so thus I am representing Alexandria Hyatt today.
Judge Roberts: What, was the guy who makes the coffee too busy?
Mr. Collins: Yes, your honour.
Judge Roberts: Are you familiar with the term “sacrificial goat” and the admonition “don’t shoot the messenger?”
Mr. Collins: Yes, your honour. The latter refers to a person who fears he might be killed if he delivers bad news and the former refers to someone who gets the blame, thus a sacrificial goat.
Judge Roberts: Actually, the latter also refers to the fact that they really did used to shoot messengers who brought bad news back in medieval times. Not only did they shoot them, they boiled them in oil and did all kinds of other horrible things to them. The former also refers to the fact that in ancient Israel they used to sacrifice goats and bulls and sheep, the blood making atonement for the people’s sins and the animals themselves representing the repentant human beings.
Mr. Collins: Duely noted, your honour.
Judge Roberts: That’s just the kind of thing I’d expect a cissy like you to say. Now, I’m sorry to have kept everybody waiting. Being kept waiting is personally something which I view as most unprofessional. However, I had an appointment with my doctor. Look at this.
(He pulls down the back of his robe to reveal a neck brace.)
Alexandria: Oh, how awful.
Judge Roberts: Thank you, Miss Hyatt. I have a case of whiplash. If it were not for these (holds up a bottle of pain killers) and the marijuana my cop buddy gives me after he’s comphescated it, I would be in constant pain. I got this case of whiplash from a car accident I was involved in recently. I had stopped at a red light, which was stupid because along with everyone else in society, the girl behind me realized the red light just meant the streets were still decorated from Christmas. She plowed right into the back of me. A fifteen-year old girl just about your age, Miss Hyatt, and do you know what she was most concerned about? Her versachi sunglasses which had gotten broken during the crash.
Alexandria: Hey, I payed a lot of money for those sunglasses.
Judge Roberts: Now, looking at your social worker’s report I see you skipped out on your appointment to go to a hair appointment. Do you think you could book an appointment for your lawyer, there?
Alexandria: No, Henri doesn’t take referrals.
Judge Roberts: Too bad. Take me back to the moment when you first decided to shoplift.
Alexandria: OK.
Flashback …
(Alexandria and her friend Nena are sitting on Alexandria’s bed.)
Alexandria: You know, I wish we were rich, richer than we are now.
Nina: Yeah, then we could afford nice things like expensive clothes and gold jewelery and things like that.
Alexandria: No, I’m thinking of things that have real value.
Nina: Like what?
Alexandria: Cows.
Nina: Oh wow, yeah cows!
Alexandria: You know, if we stole a couple fancy things, we could sell them and get money to buy cows.
Nina: Great idea!
Judge Roberts: When you were apprehended by store security, you were found to have over four hundred dollars in your purse. If you wanted the stolen goods, why did you not simply purchase them?
Alexandria: I don’t know. I guess because I wanted them.
Judge Roberts: How’d you get the four hundred dollars, anyway? Do you have a job?
Alexandria: No, I don’t have a job. That’s my allowance.
Judge Roberts: You get a four hundred dollar a week allowance?
Alexandria: No. I get a thousand dollars a week, but I had already spent six hundred dollars that Monday.
Judge Roberts: It is quite apparent that you have never gotten any responsible guideance from your parents in your entire life. That is why I choose to sentence you to six months in a juvenile detention centre. Bailiff, place Miss Hyatt in a holding cell, but first, court secretary, throw a pie in her face.
(The court secretary throws a pie in Alexandria’s face.)

Scene 2
The meeting room. Alexandria enters, guarded by the bailiff. Mr. Collins, Mr. Livingston and Alexandria’s mother and father are sitting around the table. Alexandria and the bailiff take their seats.
Mr. Livingston: Judge Roberts went home. He wasn’t feeling well. He also said he had a severe case of the munchees. I’ve called you here to discuss an alternative to sending Alexandria to detention.
Mr. Hyatt: For the record, Mr. Livingston, I intend to appeal Judge Roberts decision.
Mr. Livingston: I understand, Mr. Hyatt. One could make a case that the marijuana and pain medication impaired Judge Robert’s decision.
Mr. Hyatt: No, it isn’t because of that. I’ve just decided to appeal because I didn’t like the ruling.
Mr. Collins: I take it you want me to begin the process of filing an appeal immediately?
Mr. Hyatt: That’s correct.
Mr. Collins: Well, the earliest I could start on it would be the day after tomorrow. Mr. Kruger wants me to clean the firm’s gutters.
Mr. Livingston: Keep in mind, if you appeal, Alexandria will end up spending more time in detention.
Mr. Hyatt: Why on earth would that be?
Mr. Livingston: Duhhh, because until the appeal trial begins she’s still assumed to be guilty of the crimes she was convicted for under the most recent ruling.
Mr. Hyatt: Oh.
Mr. Livingston: Anyway, what I propose instead of detention is a diversion program.
Alexandria: What is a diversion program?
Mr. Livingston: It’s a stratigy designed by an organization to steer youth that are involved in criminal activity away from a life of crime.
Alexandria: What’s an organization?
Mr. Livingston: The diversion program is provided through Money Save. They collect money for, according to their mission statement and the records they show the government, “children in various countries around the world and such.” If you agreed to have Alexandria participate in this program, you’d have to pay the cost of the airfare, agree to hand her over to Money Save at a specified time and realize there’s a good chance shewon’tcomeback.
Mrs. Hyatt: What was that last thing?
Mr. Livingston: You have one minute to decide.
Mr. Hyatt: This is outrageous! This is blackmail. I am going to have Kruger’s firm draw up an appeal for Judge Robert’s ruling immediately. Then, I’m going to have them file a civil suit against you people for all the damage you’ve caused. Let’s see, there’s the mental and emotional anguish suffered by her mother and me, Alexandria’s pain and suffering, her broken Flexinail, the expense involved in washing her pie-smeared face.
Mr. Livingston: Time’s up. Your daughter is going in the program.

Scene 3
Alexandria’s bedroom. Alexandria is packing a suitcase. Her Irish wolfhound, Potato Famine is sitting on her shoulder. The phone rings. Alexandria walks across the room and answers it.
Alexandria: Hello.
Olivia: So is it really true? Your going to Africa?
Alexandria: Yes, I am.
Olivia: You are so fortunate. Commit a crime and get to go on a vacation.
Alexandria: Yes, I am. I’ll get to Kenya, ditch the group, do some safariing on the game preserves and meet up with the group in time to go home. I can’t loose for winning.
Olivia: So when do you leave?
Alexandria: I leave for Africa tomorrow. Well, actually, I have a stop over in Paris, Ontario. I don’t suppose you’ve ever been there?
Olivia: No, I haven’t.
Alexandria: Well, I don’t get there much myself. I’ve only been there about three times. (Potato Famine starts barking) Stop that, Potato Famine. So, I’d like you to clear a place on your calendar for the twenty-fourth. That’s the day we’re going to celebrate my homecoming, and my sixteenth birthday.
Olivia: Oooh, is your dad getting you a car?
Alexandria: I expect so.
Olivia: My dad got me a car for my sixteenth birthday two months ago. He bought me a brand new Ford Tempo.
Alexandria: Well, my dad will probably be getting me a fancier car, probably a Tata Nano.
Olivia: Oh, that’s the same kind of car our maid drives. She won it in a draw.
Alexandria: Oh, well, I have to finish packing now but remember to come see me get my brand new car on the twenty-fourth. Goodbye.
Olivia: I’ll have to check my schedule. Goodbye.

Scene 4
The plane. Alexandria is sitting in her seat.
Captain: Attention, please. We will soon begin our descent into the Leslie Cook International Airport.
(The seatbelt light comes on. Alexandria gets up from her seat.)
Stewardess: You’re going to have to sit down. We’re going to land very shortly.
Alexandria: No one tells me what I can and can’t do. I am going to the washroom to straighten out my makeup.
(Alexandria continues to make her way to the washroom. The pilot is seen, talking to his co-pilot.)
Pilot: Hey Phil, have you ever had one of those experiences where you can’t remember something you usually know really well?
Phil: Sure. My wife would tell you I get them all the time.
Pilot: That’s comforting because I’ve forgotten how to land the plane.
Phil: Just bring her down the best way you can. We’re not too high up, and all the passengers are firmly fastened snug in their seatbelts.
Pilot: OK, here goes nothing.
(He sends the plane nose-diving into the runway. Alexandria flies down the aisle and into the cockpit.)
Phil: Hey. Did you have a nice flight?
(Alexandria stands up and goes back to her seat.)
Stewardess: We have received a radio transmission. Upon disembarking from the plane, an attendant will meet you and take you to your connecting flight to Nairobi.
Alexandria: But I was hoping to do some shopping in Paris.
Stewardess: Yeah, I know it’s a shame. Whenever I get the chance to spend a few days here, I always like to go to all the Tim Horton’s. What are you going to Nairobi for, anyway?
Alexandria: Work.
Stewardess: Work? You mean some kind of charity work?
Alexandria: Yeah, I’m going down there for a month to do charity work because I shoplifted  some stuff and it was either that or go to the juvenile detention centre.
Stewardess: Wow. When my girls get older I hope they’re as good as you.

Scene 5
The airport in Nairobi. Alexandria is getting her luggage off the luggage carousel. A woman comes up to her.
Renee: Hello, my name’s Renee. Can I help you take one of your bags?
Alexandria: Hold on. How do I know you’re really who you say you are?
Renee: What do you mean?
Alexandria: Well, you could have gotten ahold of my information from some database somehow and you could be impersonating the woman from Money Save in order to kidnap me and hold me for ransom.
Renee: Well, if I am going to kidnap and hold you for ransom, it’s either a choice between that and sitting in this airport for who knows how long.
Alexandria: I guess you’re right.
Renee: Follow me to the truck.
Alexandria: When we get there I want a hot bath and a nap.
Renee: Well, you can sleep on the journey, but we don’t have a bathtub at the centre. You’ll have to have a shower. (They arrive at the truck. Nabala is standing beside it.) Throw your bags in the back and hop in. Oh, by the way, this is Nabala, our driver.
Nabala: If anyone want to ride with Nabala, they gonna have to win a fight.
(Nabala puts up his fists. He and Alexandria fight. Nabala ends up crumpling to the ground in a heap.)
Renee: OK, let’s get going.
Alexandria: I am not riding in that thing.
Renee: Well, you have three options. Stay here, get in the truck or walk to the centre.
Alexandria: I choose to walk.
Renee: (Pulling a map out of her pocket) OK, then, here are the directions
(Alexandria takes the map, puts one suitcase on each arm and pushes the other one along in front of her.)

Scene 6
The centre. Alexandria wanders through the gate with her suitcases. Renee is at the gate to greet her.
Renee: Alexandria, you’re just in time for lunch. (She leads Alexandria into the dining area) Everybody, this is Alexandria.
Everyone: Hi Alexandria.
(Everyone gets up and rubs themselves against Alexandria’s legs like cats.)
Renee: We’re going to have everyone introduce themselves and say a few words about why they are here. Let’s start with Alexandria.
Alexandria: My name is Alexandria, Alexandria Hyatt. I live in Brentwood, California and my favourite colour is blue.
Renee: Now that we’ve had Alexandria introduce herself, who else would like to introduce themselves.
Sarah: My name is Sarah. I’m from Boise, Idaho and I’m here as part of a group with my church. We had a speaker from Money Save come. We learned about children who had no fresh water or school to go to. We just had to help, so we went on our first mission.
Alexandria: To Africa?
Sarah: No, to Detroit. After that, we decided to come to Kenya.
Alexandria: Why?
Sarah: Because Kenya’s less dangerous.
Renee: Well, now that you’ve been introduced to everybody, I’ll show you to your tent.
(They leave the dining area and go down the path to a tent. Alexandria enters and lies down on the bed. Andi enters.)
Andi: Hi, I’m your roommate.
Alexandria: Hi.
Andi: My names Andrea but I prefer to be called Andi.
Alexandria: So why are you here?
Andi: I had to come here after my relationship with my second husband ended. I needed to get away for a while, y’know.
Alexandria: Oh, well I’m going to take a shower before supper.
(She exits.)

Scene 7
The dining area. Alexandria enters and looks around for a seat.
Sarah: Alexandria, Alexandria, come sit over here. (Alexandria goes over to the table with the church group.) Alexandria, do you want tea or coffee with your supper?
Alexandria: I’ll just have a bottle of sparkling water, please.
(A waiter comes over.)
Waiter: Tea or coffee?
Alexandria: I’ll have a sparkling water, please. Perrier or Evion will be fine.
Waiter: Tea or coffee?
Alexandria: Sparkling water.
Waiter: (Slower) Tea or coffee?
Sarah: We don’t have any sparkling water.
Waiter: Man, you don’t want no Perrier or Evion. They’re owned by Coke and Pepsi anyway.
Tim: So, Alexandria, how did you raise funds for the trip?
Alexandria: I didn’t raise any funds. My father just payed for it.
Tim: Wow, is he rich or something?
Alexandria: Yes, very rich.
Tim: Wow. Do you know Donald Trump?
Alexandria: I wouldn’t say that I know him well. I’ve been over to his house a few times, the spacious penthouse he owns on the upper east side of Manhattan. Very nice. Ither he has great taste or a great designer.
Tim: But how, why do you know him?
Alexandria: My father’s done some business deals with him.
Tim: Cool! Hey, did he ever say to your father, “You’re fired?”
Alexandria: No. It was my father who said, “You’re fired” to him.
(The other kids get down and lick Alexandria’s boots.)
Renee: While everybody is finishing up their desserts, we’re going to start our seminar.
(Renee puts a video in the VCR.)
Anncr: Hi, I’m Tom Bergeron. Today we’re going to learn about the Massai. The Massai people live in Kenya. Basically, they have a bunch of horrible customs, like washing their hair with cow urine and settling disputes by seeing which party can throw a club furthest. Any good customs they had have been wiped out by colonialists. Come on, you don’t want to hear about this. You’d much rather see videos of people falling down.
(There follows a montage of various people falling down in various situations.)

Scene 8
The compound. Alexandria and the other teenagers are walking in line toward a truck.
Alexandria: I’m going to ride up front.
Sarah: But you’ll miss all the fun.
Alexandria: What sort of fun?
Sarah: We sing songs and play games.
Alexandria: Thanks, but I’m afraid this is where we part company.
(Alexandria goes to the front of the truck. Renee comes up to her.)
Renee: Come on, Alexandria, go to the back of the truck.
Alexandria: But I was going to ride up front, to keep the driver company.
Renee: Thanks, but I ride shotgun.
Alexandria: But they’re going to sing songs.
(Renee gives her a look. Alexandria walks to the back of the truck and climbs in.)
Sarah: What song shall we sing?
Andi: I know. How about “The More We Get Together.”
(Everyone except Alexandria starts singing.)
Alexandria: Please, no.
Andi: I suppose you have a better suggestion.
Alexandria: How about we sing some CCR. (Starts singing) On the highwayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,
Thirty people lost their lives,
(The others join in.)

Scene 9
The construction site. Alexandria is wandering around, not doing any work. Renee comes up to her.
Renee: I notice you’ve been taking it pretty easy.
Alexandria: Takin it easy,
Takin it easy
Oh sorry, I’m still all pumped up from the truck.
Renee: That’s understandable. I thought you might like to see the old school building that the children hope to abandon soon so they can move into the one we’re building.
Alexandria: What do you mean by hhope to abandon exactly?
Renee: Never mind. Come.
(They enter a classroom.)
Teacher: Jambo. Welcome to Standard 4, or as you call it, Grade 4. Our school is the highest ranked in this area, which incidentally is known as Little Southside Chicago. Now, the children would like to sing you a special song.
(The children sing Ice T’s “Cop Killer” and start shooting at each other. Alexandria and Renee exit and walk to another classroom.)
Renee: This will be our last stop, Standard 8. Some of these kids will be your age or older.
Alexandria: But if this is Grade 8, how can they be older? I’m going into Grade 11
Renee: Some of these students couldn’t come when they were younger because of family responsibilities or lack of funds. Some of these students might even be a few years older than you.
Teacher: It’s not surprising really. Read “The Bell Curve.”
 Renee: Right now the students are righting the tests that will determine if they can go on to high school.
Alexandria: So if they pass they can go on?
Renee: If they pass, they are qualified to go on. They still have to pay for classes. High school is not paid for by the government. The families are responsible.
Alexandria: And if they don’t have the money?
Renee: Then it’s the end of their schooling. That’s why this class is so small. These are the only students who might have the money and the ability to go on further. Even these tests they’re taking have to be paid for by their families.
Alexandria: That isn’t fair. If you’re smart enough then you should be able to go to school.
Renee: It isn’t fair, but it isn’t that much different from back home.
Alexandria: It’s way different.
Renee: Is it? What university are you planning on going to?
Alexandria: I don’t know. I figure my parents will pay for me to go to a good school, then I’ll screw around and get drunk the first year, fail all my classes, take the courses again the following year, and let the pattern continue until I marry a rich boyfriend.
Renee: Thought so. It doesn’t seem fair that poor people can’t go to university.
Alexandria: But that’s different. Everybody can go to high school, free.
Renee: But lots of people drop out because they know that they won’t be able to go on any further after. They know they won’t be able to become doctors or lawyers and teachers and such.
Alexandria: Well, that’s because you have to go to college or university to do much of anything these days. It used to be with only a Grade 8 education you could do lots of different jobs, and those people were better educated than most university students today. It’s not my fault the government is making it harder for people to live.
(Ruth comes up to them.)
Ruth: My name is Ruth. What is your name?
Alexandria: My name is Alexandria. Jambo.
Ruth: You speak very good Swahili.
Alexandria: I only know a few words and phrases: when’s breakfast, when’s lunch, that sort of thing.
Ruth: All important phrases.
Alexandria: How do you know such good English.
Ruth: I am in standard 8. I started learning in Standard 4
Alexandria: Really.
Ruth: We must walk you home.
Alexandria: Would it be OK, Renee?
Renee: Ruth’s village is about halfway to the compound. We should be done in about half an hour. I’ll send Naballa to pick you up in about half an hour.
(Alexandria and Ruth begin walking home.)
Alexandria: So, what do you do to chill?
Ruth: Oh, we drink chilled elephant’s blood to stay cool.
Alexandria: No, I don’t mean staying cool, I mean things that are cool. What do you do for fun.
Ruth: For fun?
Alexandria: Yes, what do you do for after school.
Ruth: We gather wood and collect water.
Alexandria: I mean what do you do for fun?
Ruth: Well, when we ggo for water sometimes we sing, CCR, Ice Tea, that sort of thing.
Alexandria: Does your father help out with any of the housework?
Ruth: (Laughs and says something in Swahili) No, that is for women. “Let the bitches do that kind of work,” he says. Here is my village. Let me show you my house. (She says something in Swahili to a woman sitting on a bench outside a hut) That was me greeting my mother who is pregnant with my thirty-fifth sibling.
(They enter Ruth’s hut.)
Alexandria: This hut is filled with smoke. I mean not to be mean, but we white people, have figured a way to have a fire without the hut filling with smoke.
Ruth: What is that supposed to mean?
Alexandria: I’m saying that if white people inhabited this country we would have done something. Let’s go outside. (They exit) Can I do your eyes? I mean can I put makeup on them?
Ruth: Sure.
(Alexandria applies makeup to Ruth’s face.)
Alexandria: Gosh, you are so perfect. I have brought high fashion to the African continent. My work here is done.
Ruth: My father the chief invites you to stay for supper.
Alexandria: Your father’s the chief?
Ruth: Yes, at least for this week.
Alexandria: Well, I’d love to stay for supper.
(Judge Roberts appears.)
Judge Roberts: Alexandria, you have brought high fashion to the African continent. Your sentence is over.
Alexandria: Oh, thank you.
Judge: Now I’ve got to tell the kids back at the compound that the school won’t be completed because the organization has imbezzled all the money. Bye, everybody.

Closing credits.

Based on “Alexandria of Africa” by Eric Walters.

Friday, March 3, 2017



Open with a James Bond-like theme.

Prologue …
A deer is driving in a car while talking on a cell phone.
Deer: Yeah, Jerry, I’m telling you. … Yeah, we’re totally gonna land the project, don’t worry. … Well haven’t we researched that company for years now? … See, I’m telling you, it’s in the bag.
(Genna Abbott is in the passenger side of the front seat of her car. Her mom is driving. Genna tries to insert a CD into the car stereo. She sees the deer’s car about to swerve into them.)
Genna: (Yelling out the window) Watch out!
(The two cars crash.)

Opening credits.

Dream sequence …
Genna imagines she is a snow goose, flying in formation. A hunter is standing on the ground pointing a gun at her. He fires the gun and the bullet flies in the opposite direction.
Hunter: (Taking a swig from a bottle of whisky) Darn, nearly hit one that time.

Scene 1
The operating room. Genna lies on the table, badly injured from the accident. Doctors are operating on her.
Dr. Curan: She’s hurt pretty badly. Should we go deeper into the brain to try to save her? It could be quite risky.
Assistant Physician: Why not. We can bill Medicare for it.

Scene 2
Intensive care. Genna is lying on a bed hooked up to all kinds of machines. Maria enters.
Maria: Time for breakfast.
(She pours a bottle of IV solution into the bag and leaves. Elizabeth Abbott and her sister Caroline enter.)
Caroline: Gee, she shure looks ugly, doesn’t she?
Elizabeth: Caroline!
Caroline: I’m just saying.
(They exit. Steve Abbott enters.)
Steve: Hi, honey. I came a few days after I heard the news. Oh thank goodness you’re alive. Listen, I’ve been thinking, next fall you can move out to Lahoya and live with me. You can go to the Academy. Sounds great, huh? … Say something. … Say something. … OK, if you agree with my plan please do absolutely nothing. … Good.

Scene 3
Genna’s hospital room. Genna is lying on her bed hooked up to tubes. A boy about Genna’s age enters.
Guy: Hi Genna, I’m that guy from your English class.
Genna: Hi.
Guy: So … you’re seriously injured. How’s that working out for you?
Genna: Not good.
Guy: I wouldn’t think so. So … what’ve you been up to lately?
Genna: Lying here.
Guy: Yeah, … pretty boring, huh?
Genna: Yeah.
Guy: Yeah, I haven’t been up to much. It’s been pretty boring for me, too. … So … sing me a song.

Scene 4
The hospital room. Marvin Megaweasel enters.
Marvin Megaweasel: Hi, Genna. My name is Marvin Megaweasel. I represent the law firm of Megaweasel, Finklestine and Goldberg. I’m just here to get the information for the lawsuit against the driver of the other car.
Genna: Law suit? Mom’s not planning to file any lawsuit.
Marvin: Your mom’s dead. She died of internal injuries the doctors never detected. Anyway, can I get the information for the lawsuit you’re planning to file?
Genna: I’m not planning to file any lawsuit.
Marvin: Well, can we get information from you in case the other party wants to file a lawsuit?
Genna: I guess so.
Marvin: OK, tell me what happened.
Genna: Well, we were driving on the Tapenzey Bridge, minding our own business---
Marvin: So you were driving on the Tapenzy Bridge thinking, “What poor, innocent driver are we going to ram into today, causing them serious injuries and wrecking their life?”
Genna: No, we---
Marvin: Go on.
Genna: Well, suddenly we saw this other car headed right toward us. I---
Marvin: You saw the other car coming toward you and, like a submarine captain, you thought, “Focus in on target. Man the torpedos.”
Genna: No---
Marvin: So, after you saw the other car, what did you do?
Genna: Well, I told my mom, “Watch out,” but she couldn’t turn the wheel fast enough and we crashed.
Marvin: So you saw the other car and rammed it intentionally, yelling out the window, “Die, die die, sucker.”
Genna: No---
Marvin: Thank you for your help, Genna. That will be all.
(He exits.)

Scene 5
The hospital room. Genna and Devon, the physical therapist are just returning from physical therapy.
Devon: That was excellent, Genna. You’re progressing so rapidly that soon I think we’ll be able to move you to the rehab wing.
Genna: Devon, have you seen any coverage of the accident, anything in the newspaper or on TV?
Devon: Well, I don’t read the newspaper because I’m under fifty, but I did see coverage of it on TV. I’ve got a tape of it if you’d be up for watching it.
Genna: Sure.
(Devon inserts the tape into the room’s VCR. A newscaster comes on.)
Angus Macmillan: This is Angus Macmillan reporting live from the Tapenzy Bridge where we’re told a collision has taken place. Apparently one of the cars has gone over the railing and into the water. We’re just waiting for more details from police and paramedics. In the meantime, I’d really like to show you the act that I’ve been working on for the station’s annual talent show. (He takes off his shirt and pants to reveal a flamenco outfit. He starts flamenco dancing and begins to sing) Come on along and listen to,
The lullaby of Broadway.
Hip hip horray and balihoo,
The lullaby of Broadway.

The rumble of the subway trains,
The rattle of the taxis.
The car accidents that gather at
Angelo’s and Maxi’s.

Good night, baby,
Milk man’s on his way.
Good night, baby,
Don’t go out and play.

I got blisters on my fingers.
(He jumps in the air. The cameraman throws the camera into the water.)

Scene 6
The hospital room. Genna is lying in bed. Steve enters.
Steve: The Academy hasn’t gotten your application yet. You better send it in soon.
Genna: The Academy didn’t get my application because I didn’t send it in.
Steve: Oh. Well, they haven’t gotten your high school transcript eether, probably for a totally unrelated reason.
Genna: No, they didn’t get my high school transcript because I didn’t send that in eether.
Steve: Genna, you’ve really got to start thinking about your future.
Genna: I know. I want to think about my future, but it’s just so vast.
Steve: Vast? Look, Genna, you can’t be frightened by the future. Take these subprime mortgage investments I just purchased. They’re shares in loans for houses that people won’t be able to pay off. When the mortgage holders foreclose, I’ll loose all the money. But am I worried? No because that will happen at some date in the future and I’m not worried about some date in the future. I’m only concerned with the near future and all the money I’m making now.
Genna: Look, Dad, I don’t want to go to The Academy. I want to stay right here in New Yourk.
Steve: But your mom’s dead. You don’t have a choice.
Genna: I’ll live in the house by myself or find an apartment or something.
Steve: Oh come on, Genna, be reasonable. When you were in a coma I asked you if you wanted to come live with me and go to The Academy. You did absolutely nothing which meant yes. That constitutes a legal contract.
(Aunt Caroline enters.)
Caroline: Wait just a minute, Steve. I have here documentation that after Genna agreed to go to The Academy, she then responded by doing nothing when I asked her if she wanted to come live with me in Yero Lake, New Hampshire. That contract overrides your previous contract.
Steve: Darn you Marvin Megaweasel.

Scene 7
Aunt Caroline’s house. Genna and Dwite, Caroline’s husband are sitting on the couch watching TV.
Anncr: Welcome back to CNN. I’m Angus Macmillan. Breaking news now from Baghdad, another suicide bombing, many people killed and wounded, footage of people running for their lives, blah blah blah blah blah. Instead, I’d like to show you something I’ve been working on for the upcoming CNN staff talent show.
(He takes off his suit and tie to reveal a flamenco outfit. Genna starts to cry. Dwite goes into the kitchen where Caroline is preparing dinner.)
Dwite: I have a feeling I’m going to regret this very quickly.
Caroline: Be patient with her, Dwite, she’s just been in a car accident, lost her mother and moved to a whole new town.
Dwite: Jeez, who thought taking in a girl who’d just been through a really traumatic experience would be this difficult?

Dream sequence …
Genna is running. She crosses the finish line and wins the race. She steps up to the podium to receive her gold medal. Everyone cheers.
Genna: Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without the steroids.

Scene 8
The high school parking lot. Genna and Aunt Caroline are standing by Caroline’s car.
Caroline: Well, now that we’ve finished registering you for school, why don’t we have a fun day. We could go to the carpet store.
Genna: No thanks.
Caroline: Come on. We can go look at new sinks afterwords.
Genna: No thanks, Aunt Caroline, I think I’d rather just go for a run in the woods by myself.
Caroline: Fine, be that way.

Scene 9
The woods. Genna is seen running. She trips over a tree root and falls. Joe Cow comes by.
Joe Cow: Hey, do you need any help?
Genna: No thanks, I’m OK.
(She gets up and tries to walk. She ends up hopping on one leg.)
Joe: Looks like you sprained your ankle. Do you want me to call for help?
Genna: No thanks, I can manage.
Joe: Yeah, I’ve had my fair share of scrapes, like when I was out with my brother on the skido last winter. Listen, if someone ever tells you that if you head toward a wall it’ll move for you, don’t you believe them. (Genna tries to walk but sinks down to her knees in pain) Look, I’ll send out a smoke signal to 911. (He builds a fire and sends out a smoke signal. He gets a strong smoke signal in return, then a faint one that lasts a fairly long time.) I’m on hold. (They wait some more) Maybe I’ll just use my cell phone. That’d probably be easier.

Scene 10
The school cafeteria. Genna is sitting at a table by herself. A group of girls come up to her.
Susan: Hi, I’m Susan. This is Brook, Rosalee, Julie, etc. It’s nice to meet you.
Brook: So, we hear you’re from New York. Are you in a street gang or something?
Genna: No.
Julie: Yeah, we have bad people around here, too, like people who steal the pens from the bank and who don’t return library books for months.
Genna: Oh.
Susan: Well, I think we’ve been obligatorily nice to her for as long as is socially correct. Let’s go, girls.

Scene 11
Behind the school. Genna is sitting on a wall, doing her math homework. Joe Cow comes up to her.
Joe: Hi. Did you get home all right the other day?
Genna: Yeah.
Joe: Is your ankle OK?
Genna: Yeah, it’s fine, thanks.
Joe: Would it be rude if I asked you your name?
Genna: It’s Genna. What’s yours.
Joe: Joe Cow.
Genna: That’s kind of an unusual name.
Joe: Well, I’m Native. It’s a family name my family adopted when the white man came in order to get in good with them, cattle being so important to white people and everything.
Genna: Oh. So, have you lived in Yero Lake all your life?
Joe: No, I’m from Quebec originally. A few years ago my family and I snowshoed down here. We had to because my dad had recently had his license suspended.
Genna: So, are you a senior here or something?
Joe: Sort of. I’m registered here as a senior, but I only go to class occasionally. Most days I just hang out here or sit at home and watch cooking shows or something.
Genna: Well, I should be getting to class now.
Joe: OK. Drive, run and snowshoe careful, eh.

Scene 12
The school. Genna and some other students are going up the stairs.
Boy 1: Hey babe, you bald?
(He snatches the sailor’s hat off Genna’s head.)
Genna: Hey, give that back.
Boy 1: Hey, look everyone. She’s wearing a sailor’s cap.
Boy 2: How dorky. You a sailor, huh?
Genna: Look, give that back, please.
Boy 1: Hey, maybe we should do what we did to that other kid that used to come here that wore a sailor’s hat.
Boy 2: You mean put a sail on her head and stand her out in the lake?
Boy 1: Yeah.
Boy 2: That’d be so cool. (To Genna) Also, you have scars on your head!

Scene 13
The school cafeteria. Genna and Ryan Muller are sitting at a table together.
Ryan: Know what those kids over there are? Trailer trash methheads. Do you know what crystal meth is?
Genna: No, I haven’t the foggiest.
Ryan: Well, it’s this drug. These methheads, see, they go to their hangout in the woods, see, and they look into a crystal ball. That’s why it’s called crystal meth, see? The meth that’s in the crystal ball goes right into their eyes.
Genna: Oh.
Ryan: It causes brain damage. Brain cells die in a chain reaction. I don’t know. I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t seem to have effected me any. (He pours milk directly onto the table and doesn’t notice.) Yeah, Trena Holland’s a huge methhead. First she hooks up with Gil Raferty, a known drug dealer. The guy sells chocolate ovulteen and everything. Then it’s Ross Haver’s who follows her around like a lovesick puppy, though he’s normally like a pit bull. I’m serious. He chases rabbits and everything. Today it looks like she’s with T-man. Well, you can’t really blame her seeing as how he has super powers. How do you think it starts?
Genna: What?
Ryan: Being like Trena. And Kiki Weaver, she’s a sophomore. She’s with this senior guy, Dooby. He isn’t called Dooby because he’s a pothead. He’s called that because he looks like the bee from Romper Room.

Scene 14
Aunt Caroline’s house. Genna is in the upstairs bathroom.
Genna: Oh man, I need some pain killers. (She opens the medicine cabinet) Hmmm, Sun And Bun, the whole wheat sun screen … Prozolium, for really, really, really depressed people … Bender’s Cough Syrup, the cough syrup you can really get high off of … Freshly Ground Oxiconton, because we know you’ll just use it to get high anyway. (She removes the bag of oxiconton from the medicine cabinet) I think I’ll take some of this cough syrup, too.

Scene 15
The school. Genna enters the rest room and stands against the sink. Trena Holland enters and puts her purse on the counter.
Trena: Oh, man, I need something to bring me down. (She starts pulling items out of her purse, including Kleenexes, makeup, a hair brush, a set of dishes and cutlery, a toaster, a solar generator, a case of pop, and some Spanish doubloons) Oh man, where are they?
Genna: Hey, would you like some of this? It might help.
(She pulls out the bag of oxiconton and gives Trena some.)
Trena: Wow, thanks. That’s just the kind of thing Mother Theresa would do, the exact same thing. Wanna hang out after school?
Genna: Sure.

Scene 16
The parking lot. Genna, Trena and the other bikers are hanging out behind the school.
Trena: Now Genna, T-man has this new kind of beer that he’s stolen from his dad that he wants us to try. What’s it called again, T-man?
T-man: Bud Light.
Trena: Wooooo, I can’t wait to try it. (T-man passes out cans. They open them and drink from them) That’s excellent.

Scene 17
Aunt Caroline’s house. Genna enters. Aunt Caroline and Uncle Dwite are sitting in the living room.
Uncle Dwite: Genna, we want to talk to you about your behaviour recently.
Aunt Caroline: Why did you miss dinner three times this week?
Genna: Because I was hanging out with my friends and lost track of time.
Uncle Dwite: Well, why didn’t you call and explain that to us?
Genna: Man, I was so high I couldn’t have operated a cell phone if my whole life depended on it.
Aunt Caroline: Why did somebody call from school?
Genna: Probably because I’ve been skipping most of my classes.
Aunt Caroline: Well, they said it was because you were seen drinking beer on school property.
Genna: Of course I was drinking beer on school property. We do that every afternoon.
Aunt Caroline: They also said you were smoking on school property.
Genna: Well, beer and cigarettes kind of go together like bread and jam, don’t they?
Uncle Dwite: People also say they’ve seen you at the mall with much older guys.
Genna: Yeah, I’ve been at the mall with older guys. I’ve got tons of older guy friends.
Uncle Dwite: What sort of things do you and these older guys do at the mall?
Genna: Well, we go to the movies, mostly.
Uncle Dwite: Tell me some of the movies you’ve seen recently.
Genna: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m so high most of the time I can’t remember. Sure makes the movie more interesting, though.
Aunt Caroline: Also, your English teacher called and told me you never handed in your paper on “Of Mice And Men.”
Genna: That’s because it sucks. I mean, it’s hardly comparable to “The Grapes Of Wrath” or even “In Dubious Battle.” I mean, Stinebeck totally drives the point too deep. You know how it’s gonna end from the very beginning. George and Lenny are gonna get kicked out like they have been from every other place. Booooooooooring.
Uncle Dwite: You’re lying.
Genna: Well, if you think I’m lying, if you think I’m lying, maybe I shouldn’t be living in this house with you.
(She exits.)

Dream sequence …
Genna is lying in bed.
Mom: Come downstairs, Genna. It’s Christmas Eve.
Genna: I’ll be right there.
(She gets out of bed, pulling the bed clothes with her. She runs across the room and through the corroded side of Trena Holland’s trailer, leaving a big hole in the side.)
Mr. Holland: Well, gonna have to fix that tomorrow.
(Trena’s mom looks at the hole for a second, then turns back to the TV screen.)
Mrs. Holland: I’m supposed to cater this party tomorrow, but my assistant cancelled. What am I gonna do now? Then there’s Uncle Zeek who’s been dying for months.
(She sighs and throws her half-full can of beer at the TV.)

Scene 18
Aunt Caroline’s house. Dwite, Caroline, Becky, Mikey, and Genna are sitting around the Christmas tree.
Aunt Caroline: Oh, Becky and Mikey, here’s a present that says, “To Becky and Mikey from Genna.” I wonder what it could be.
(She hands Becky and Mikey the box. They fumble with the ribbons and tape. While they are doing this, Genna sneaks out the door. The present turns out to be an empty box.)

Scene 19
Dr. Freer’s office. Genna is sitting in a chair.
Dr. Freer: So, it says here you tried to commit suicide on Christmas Eve.
Genna: No I didn’t. It was an accident.
Dr. Freer: Suicide is such a terrible thing. In this country one person between the ages of fourteen and 26 attempts suicide every thirteen minutes. Tragic. How does he have time to do anything else?
Genna: Look, I’m not telling you any personal information and I’m not answering any probing questions about my inner psyche.
Dr. Freer: All right, but do one thing for me. Read this novel.
(She takes a book off the shelf and hands it to Genna.)
Genna: The Member Of The Wedding. I’ve read that book. It’s a very good novel, sad, though. Thanks, doctor, but I’ve already read it. I’m quite familiar with the message the book was trying to convey.
Dr. Freer: No, I’m not asking you to read the book to glean some kind of message relating to your situation. I write a book review column for the local paper and I’m not going to be able to submit this week’s column by the deadline. So, if you could just write fifteen hundred words on this and drop it off at my office by tomorrow, then the readers of the Yero Lake Review will have their book column.
Genna: Well, I won’t write a column on “The Member Of The Wedding” for you, but I’ll drop off an essay on “Of Mice And Men” that I stole off the internet.
Dr. Freer: That’d be perfect.

Scene 20
The main street of Yero Lake. Genna is standing outside of Cow’s Carpentry Shop. Joe Cow and his father come up the street.
Genna: Joe, how are you! I haven’t seen you in so long.
Joe: Hi Genna. This is my dad. You’ll have to excuse some of his behaviour. He’s traumatized from Vietnam.
Genna: Oh, how long were you in Vietnam for?
Dad: The whole thing. See, I was living in France when the Second Indo-Chinese War broke out in 1957. I joined the army. When the French pulled out in 1960, I stayed on. I’m no quitter. Yup. Stayed on right until the fall of Saigon. Eighteen years. Made me madder’n a hatter.
Joe: Come inside. (They go inside the shop. Joe Cow leads Genna to the back of the shop) This is a table a customer brought in that he wants us to refinish. It’s gonna be impossible because it’s a plastic card table but we’re still gonna keep it for a while for appearances sake.
Genna: Your dad seems like a very brave guy.
Joe.: Oh, he is. What’s your dad like?
Genna: He and I don’t really get along. He left us three and a half years ago. I don’t talk to him anymore and I don’t answer his letters or come to the phone when he calls.
Joe: It’s important to pay attention to our elders, Genna. They are the ones who feed us, clothe us, take care of us, and raise us. Even if they fail to do that, they’re still the ones who helped bring us into the world. Without them, we literally wouldn’t be here. Try to patch things up with your father. You’ll get the chance to share a lot of love and good times ahead. You’ve got more to gain from patching things up than you have to gain from not patching things up, and besides, the longer you’re angry at your dad, the greater the chances are that he’ll cut you out of the will, eh.

Scene 21
The principal’s office. Genna is standing before Principal Baldwin’s desk.
Genna: Mr. Baldwin, I want to audit French.
Mr. Baldwin: You didn’t put it on your course schedule last September.
Genna: Yes, I know. That’s because I wasn’t interested in taking it then, but now my interest has been kindled and I want to sit in on the classes.
Mr. Baldwin: Genna, the public school system is not about auditing courses. It is about getting kids to pass tests. Honestly, what do you think this is, a place of learning or something?

Scene 22
A cottage. Genna and other kids are having a party.
Trena: Hey, T-man, breaking into this cottage was such a good idea.
T-man: I know, eh!
Trena: Yeah, how much beer is there left?
T-man: I know, eh!
(A knock is heard at the door.)
Gil Raferty: Oh, goody, someone else has arrived to partake in the fun and merriment.
(Gil Raferty answers the door. A deer is standing there.)
Deer: I’m looking for a Genna Abbot.
Gil: She’s right over here on the couch.
Deer: Hi, Genna?
Genna: Yes.
Deer: I’m the deer that was driving the car the day of the accident. Listen, I’m really sorry about your mom and your injuries and everything. I hope you can forgive me.
Genna: I forgive you.
Deer: You don’t know how much that means to me.
Genna: Listen, this party is starting to get a little wild. Would you mind giving me a ride back to my aunt and uncle’s house?
Deer: Not at all. You can ride back home in my truck.
(They exit the cottage and get into the deer’s truck. The deer starts the truck and pulls out. His cell phone rings. He answers it.)
Deer: Hello … Yeah, Phil, we should have the paperwork done on that deal by tomorrow. There are just a few issues we have to iron out …

“Cross Over The Bridge” by Patti Page plays over the closing credits.

Based on “After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread my Wings, and Flew Away” by Joyce Carol Oates.