AFTER THE WRECK
Open with a James Bond-like theme.
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.)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Guy: Yeah, I haven’t been up to much. It’s been pretty boring for me, too. … So … sing me a song.
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
minding our own business--- Tapenzey Bridge
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.”
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.”
Marvin: Thank you for your help, Genna. That will be all.
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.
(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.)
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
. That contract overrides your previous
contract. Yero Lake, New
Steve: Darn you Marvin Megaweasel.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Susan: Well, I think we’ve been obligatorily nice to her for as long as is socially correct. Let’s go, girls.
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?
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
all your life? Yero Lake
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.
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
Genna: Oh, how long were you in
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.
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?
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?
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.