CRACKED UP TO BE
Mr. Lerner’s class. The students enter and sit down at their desks.
Becky Halperen: Hey Parker, did you get that essay for Lerner done yet?
Parker Fadley: What essay?
Becky: You had the whole weekend.
Becky: I bet you fifty bucks you’re screwed.
Parker: Deal. I could use an extra fifty bucks.
(Mr. Lerner enters.)
Mr. Lerner: I hope you’ve all finished your essays on Patriarchy In Beyowolf. (He comes around to Parker’s desk. She pulls out her paper, which just has a bunch of scratches on it) You’ve actually done your essay, Parker Fadley?
Parker: Yes, and I wrote it in the original English.
Mr. Lerner: Fabulous.
Becky: When the heck did you do that essay?
Parker: History, lunch. Can I have my fifty bucks now?
Becky: It was a joke, Parker. The bet was a joke.
Parker: But I won’t let it be a joke. Pay up.
(Becky pulls a few crisp bills out of her wallet.)
Becky: Here you go.
Parker: Mr. Lerner?
Mr. Lerner: What is it, Fadley?
Parker: May I be excused? I have to go to my weekly counselling session at the guidance office.
Mr. Lerner: You’re excused, Miss Fadly.
Parker: It sure sucks to be me.
The hallway. Parker is leaving the guidance office. Becky approaches her, holding a piece of paper.
Becky: Here’s your homework for Lerner’s class.
Parker: (Takes piece of paper) Thanks.
Becky: Lerner had a headache so he told us to read the yellow wallpaper and write a thousand word essay about how it affected us.
Parker: We read that in Grade 9.
Becky: Yeah, but Lerner had a headache so he just told us to read the yellow wallpaper.
Parker: Isn’t that that one where the chick goes insane?
Becky: No, he didn’t mean the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” He meant we should stare at our wallpaper tonight and write a thousand word essay about our impressions. Then he lit up a tiny cigarette and left the classroom.
The guidance office. Parker enters. She is hung over.
Miss Gray: And how are we feeling today, Parker?
Parker: I have a killer hangover.
Miss Gray: Hmmm.
Parker: I knew I shouldn’t have finished off that bottle of vodka last night.
Miss Gray: Well, as you know there is only one possible way we can deal with this problem.
Parker: Oh gosh, I don’t even want to ask.
Miss Gray: Hair of the dog. (She pulls a bottle of vodka out of her desk drawer and pours some into a coffee cup) Drink up.
Parker: Um, thanks, I think.
Miss Gray: I suppose the only correct thing to do is to participate in the therapy with you.
(She pours herself a shot, drinks it down and hits the floor.)
Parker: I guess our session’s over with early for today?
The guidance office. Parker enters.
Miss Gray: So, I hear you started crying uncontrollably in Mr. Lerner’s class. What was that about?
Parker: Well, you see, I’d taken some drugs earlier, and while I was sitting in Mr. Lerner’s English class, I thought I was driving down the road. When he came up to me, I thought Mr. Lerner was a police officer. I’d managed to cry my way out of speeding tickets before, so I thought it would work again.
Miss Gray: (A big smile comes over her face) I think that shows marked improvement.
The woods. Parker and Jake are walking through the woods together.
Jake Gardner: So, we have to take a picture of a landscape, then we each have to imagine one side of it differently and yet have the two sides harmonize together or something. I don’t get it.
Parker: Gosh, didn’t you take art at your previous school?
Jake: I did, but the teacher was spacy so whatever we did I just drew dogs playing poker and he always gave me a hundred.
Parker: Well, give me your camera. I’ve got a really awesome shot in mind.
(She grabs Jake’s camera and runs toward the ravine.)
Jake: Hey, Parker, wait, jeez. Be careful with my camera.
Parker: Oh, I will.
(She climbs a tree, grabs onto a branch and crawls to the edge, thirty feet directly above the ravine. She hangs upside down, sites into the lens and takes the picture.)
Jake: Oh my gosh.
(She throws the camera in Jake’s direction. He catches it. She swings around to the other side of the tree and crawls out to the edge of the branch opposite the one she took the picture on. The branch breaks. Parker falls to the ground, landing on her back.)
Jake: Oh man, that’s like something that would happen on some British sitcom or something. I gotta think about this.
(He runs away laughing.)
The house. Parker’s parents enter, carrying a box. Parker is standing at the kitchen counter.
Mom: Honey, you know how you’ve been bugging us for a dog for what seems like years and years?
Parker: Uh huh.
Mom: Well, we finally decided to get you a dog.
Dad: Yes. It would be a great way for you to start being responsible again.
Mom: Yes, but with your little problem, we decided not to get you a real dog.
Dad: (Opens box) Meet your pet robot dog. Her name is Bailey. (Parker gets a dismayed look on her face) Oh, don’t worry, honey. I already put batteries in her.
(He presses a button on a remote control and the dog begins to move woodenly and mechanically.)
The gym. Principal Henley is standing on the stage. The students enter and sit in chairs.
Principal Henley: We are holding this assembly today in memory of Jessica Wellington. We are all going to pray to Jesus for her safe return. Be confident, students, that He will answer our prayers. I know the longer it is, the more hopeless it seems, but I am confident Jesus will hear and answer. I know you students swear like sailors, get drunk every weekend and buy and sell drugs in the washrooms, but you pay lip service to the Catholic church so God’s bound to hear and answer.
Parker: I can’t breathe.
Jake: What’s wrong.
Parker: I’m having trouble breathing. I have to leave the room. Excuse me.
(She begins making her way out of the gym.)
Jake: Whenever I have trouble breathing, I inhale and exhale. I find that helps.
The house. Parker runs in. Her father is sitting on the floor, playing with Bailey.
Dad: Look what I taught Bailey to do. Go fetch my slippers, girl.
(Bailey moves slowly down the hall. A while later, she returns with Parker’s father’s slippers. Parker’s father pushes a button on the remote control about eight times and Bailey finally let’s go. Parker’s father smiles broadly.)
The nurse’s office. Parker is lying on a cot. A male nurse is standing beside her.
Nurse: So Parker, you fainted in class, did you?
Parker: Well. Mr. Norton was having us use this weird-smelling paint. We kept asking him to open the window, but he kept saying, “No way, man, I’m on my way.” Next thing I know, I’ve fainted, taking a jar of yellow paint with me.
Nurse: Oh, well you’re probably all right now. Just stay here a few more minutes in accordance with the school’s policies and then you’re free to go.
The chapel. Parker enters and lies down on one of the pews. Becky enters.
Becky: Parker? Parker, I know you’re there. I can see your feet.
Parker: (Sighs) This is unexpected, Becky. What do you want?
Becky: I really wanted to start over with you after everything that happened. I thought it was possible. For about five minutes it almost felt like there was this mutual respect thing going on. You’ve made a choice and it’s so obvious. You want to rot and I want to let you. Consider this my contribution.
(She hands Parker a brown paper bag with a bottle of whisky inside.)
Parker: Becky, no. If I’m drunk in school again, I’m expelled for sure. I still want to graduate. (Becky exits) Hmmm, maybe I’ll just leave this here.
(Parker puts the bottle of whisky on the floor. A horde of mice come and carry it away.)
The house. Parker enters. Her mom and dad are sitting in chairs in the living room, watching the news on TV.
Mom: Parker, we have some sad news.
Dad: Bailey’s dead. His microchips stopped functioning.
(Parker starts to cry.)
Mom: Well, he was completely incompatible with today’s technology.
Anncr: And this just in, missing high school student Jessica Wellington has been found. We’re out of time now, but we’ll have further details on this story tomorrow night. Then again, we’ll probably forget about it, so don’t anyone hold their breath.
Chris’s house. There is a party taking place. Kids are drinking, smoking and dancing. Jessica Wellington is heading off to the woods with an older guy. Parker is following her.
Older Guy: I’m a musician.
Jessica Wellington: Really! That’s so cool.
Older Guy: Yup. I play the saw.
Older Guy: I got a two-handed crosscut in my truck. Wanna make music together?
Jessica and the older guy can be seen playing the saw over the closing credits.
Based on “Cracked Up To Be” by Courtney Summers.