Outside the courtroom.
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
Mrs. Hyatt: I’m just trying to make sure you look all right.
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.
Mr. Collins: No, no, you wouldn’t go to prison. You’d go to a juvenile detention facility.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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?
(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
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.
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?
Judge Roberts: Too bad. Take me back to the moment when you first decided to shoplift.
(Alexandria and her friend Nena are sitting on Alexandria’s bed.)
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?
Nina: Oh wow, yeah 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?
Judge Roberts: How’d you get the four hundred dollars, anyway? Do you have a job?
Judge Roberts: You get a four hundred dollar a week allowance?
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.)
The meeting room.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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,
pain and suffering, her broken Flexinail, the expense involved in washing her
Mr. Livingston: Time’s up. Your daughter is going in the program.
Olivia: So is it really true? Your going to
Olivia: You are so fortunate. Commit a crime and get to go on a vacation.
Olivia: So when do you leave?
Olivia: No, I haven’t.
Olivia: Oooh, is your dad getting you a car?
Olivia: My dad got me a car for my sixteenth birthday two months ago. He bought me a brand new Ford Tempo.
Olivia: Oh, that’s the same kind of car our maid drives. She won it in a draw.
Olivia: I’ll have to check my schedule. Goodbye.
is sitting in her seat.
Captain: Attention, please. We will soon begin our descent into the
. Leslie Cook International
(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 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.
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?
Stewardess: Work? You mean some kind of charity work?
Stewardess: Wow. When my girls get older I hope they’re as good as you.
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?
Renee: What do you mean?
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.
Renee: Follow me to the truck.
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.
Renee: Well, you have three options. Stay here, get in the truck or walk to the centre.
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.)
wanders through the gate with her suitcases. Renee is at the gate to greet her.
you’re just in time for lunch. (She leads Alexandria
into the dining area) Everybody, this is 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
Renee: Now that we’ve had
Alexandria introduce herself, who else would
like to introduce themselves.
Sarah: My name is Sarah. I’m from
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. Boise, Idaho
Sarah: No, to Detroit. After that, we decided to come to
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.
Andi: My names Andrea but I prefer to be called Andi.
Andi: I had to come here after my relationship with my second husband ended. I needed to get away for a while, y’know.
The dining area.
enters and looks around for a seat.
Alexandria, Alexandria, come sit over
here. ( Alexandria
goes over to the table with the church group.) Alexandria, do you want tea or coffee with
(A waiter comes over.)
Waiter: Tea or coffee?
Waiter: Tea or coffee?
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?
Tim: Wow, is he rich or something?
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
Very nice. Ither he has great taste or a great designer.
Tim: But how, why do you know him?
Tim: Cool! Hey, did he ever say to your father, “You’re fired?”
(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.)
and the other teenagers are walking in line toward a truck.
Sarah: But you’ll miss all the fun.
Sarah: We sing songs and play games.
(Alexandria goes to the front of the truck. Renee comes up to her.)
Renee: Come on, Alexandria, go to the back of the truck.
Renee: Thanks, but I ride shotgun.
(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.
Thirty people lost their lives,
(The others join in.)
The construction site.
is wandering around, not doing any work. Renee comes up to her.
Renee: I notice you’ve been taking it pretty 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.
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.
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.
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.
Renee: It isn’t fair, but it isn’t that much different from back home.
Renee: Is it? What university are you planning on going to?
Renee: Thought so. It doesn’t seem fair that poor people can’t go to university.
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.
(Ruth comes up to them.)
Ruth: My name is Ruth. What is your name?
Ruth: You speak very good Swahili.
Ruth: All important phrases.
Ruth: I am in standard 8. I started learning in Standard 4
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.
Ruth: For fun?
Alexandria: Yes, what do you do for after school.
Ruth: We gather wood and collect water.
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 applies makeup to Ruth’s face.)
Ruth: My father the chief invites you to stay for supper.
Ruth: Yes, at least for this week.
(Judge Roberts appears.)
Judge Roberts: Alexandria, you have brought high fashion to the African continent. Your sentence is over.
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.
Based on “Alexandria of Africa” by Eric Walters.