ONE THING THAT’S TRUE
The attic. Rocsanne is lying on a futon and staring out the window at the stars.
Rocsanne: Hmm, there’s an asteroid headed straight for the earth. Neat.
Mrs. Dravekio’s classroom. Mrs. Dravekio is standing at the front of the classroom. The students are sitting in their desks.
Mrs. Dravekio: Rocsanne, please stand up and read your assignment.
Rocsanne: (Stands up) Rocsanne means dawn. Camile means handmaiden. Jacob means one who supplants.
(She sits down.)
Mrs. Dravekio: Yes?
Rocsanne: That’s all.
Mrs. Dravekio: (Scratches her nose) Did you understand the assignment? (Rocsanne nods) You can do better than that. Hand it in tomorrow. There’s a late penalty of ten percent per day. You’ve already lost ninety percent.
Rocsanne: (Shrugs) I’ll take the zero.
(Mrs. Dravekio keels over dead.)
The schoolyard. Rocsanne, Joel and Kyle Kruger are standing by the bike racks.
Kyle Kruger: So, Joel, you still playing house with your sister?
Joel: Shut up, Kyle.
Kyle: Oh, you black people with your strong arms that can punch me and your speed so you can run after me.
(Joel punches Kyle. Blood starts to flow from his nose.)
The principal’s office. Mr. Wagner is sitting at his desk. Rocsanne, Joel, Kyle, and Kyle’s father are sitting in the office. Rocsanne and Joel’s parents enter.
Willis: Hey, hey, hey, my lips are big. Sorry we’re late, y’all, coloured people’s time.
Helen: We urgently wish to discuss the incident that occurred on the playground today.
Mr. Wagner: Well, that’s good. So do I. See, this school has a zero tolerance policy. We do not tolerate anything or anyone, including homosexuals, but don’t tell them that. One thing we especially do not tolerate is violence. Joel should not have intervened in the situation today. He should have gotten a teacher. At this school we like to teach the students that they should have someone else deal with their problems. Now, Kyle, I’m suspending you for three days.
Mr. Kruger: What! That’s not fair! My kid gets hurt and he’s the only one being punished?
Mr. Wagner: Sir, you’re fortunate I don’t expel him. I don’t like the look of his face, and if it angers me further, this year or next, you’re boy’s out of here.
The parking lot. Rocsanne, Joel and their parents are standing around the car.
Helen: (To Joel) Haven’t I told you? Haven’t I told you about fighting? That’s for a different kind of people. We don’t do that. If you keep getting into fights, slave catchers are going to come up here and take us back down south to work in the cotton fields.
Willis: What was he supposed to do? Stand there and let that jackass keep going on like he was?
Helen: You watch your language, Willis.
Willis: It’s a donkey.
The house. Rocsanne and Joel are sitting in the living room.
Joel: Hey, Rocsanne, wanna come with me to the bird sanctuary?
Rocsanne: You’re grounded, jerk.
Joel: Come on. It’s Sunday. I don’t want to be stuck in the house.
Rocsanne: We’ll be able to get back before they get home, right?
Rocsanne: OK, then.
The bird sanctuary. Joel and Rocsanne are standing by a poplar tree, watching birds.
Joel: Oooh, look, a junko.
(Kyle Kruger comes up to them.)
Kyle: So, you two are at the bird sanctuary, are you?
Kyle: These birds of prey think they can harm me, with their talons and their sharp beaks.
(A flock of owls, hawks and eagles flies up and beats up Kyle.)
The street near Rocsanne and Joel’s house. Rocsanne and Joel are walking home when they notice Willis’s car in the driveway.
Joel: Shoot, he’s home. Come on this way.
(They sneak through a neighbour’s backyard, through the concrete trench behind the houses and into their own backyard. Joel grabs a ladder and places it against the house. They climb up to Rocsanne’s bedroom window.)
Rocsanne: It’s closed. I’ll use this hammer.
(She smashes open the window. The ladder breaks and Joel and Rocsanne fall to the ground.)
Willis: (From the garage) What was that?
Joel: We’re out here in the backyard, Dad. I’m pushing Rocsanne on the swing.
Willis: OK, then. Don’t push her too high.
The dining room. Willis, Helen, Rocsanne, Joel, Uncle Lee, and Sarah are sitting around the table eating dinner.
Sarah: So, Joel, are you excited about going back to school on Monday?
Joel: Yeah. It was pretty boring just sitting around the house last week doing nothing.
Willis: You’ll be going to school in the afternoon, but in the morning you have an appointment with a doctor.
Joel: An appointment with a doctor? Why?
Willis: We think you need help.
Joel: You mean a psychiatrist?
Helen: Are you crazy, Willis? Why would you choose this moment?
Willis: Oh, family’s reveal important news during casual moments all the time.
Lee: Are you trying to destroy this boy, Willis? Whose idea was this?
Helen: We both agreed on it, Lee. We need help. We don’t know what to do anymore.
Willis: (To Lee) It’s none of your business.
Lee: It is my business. I’m watching out for him. Let’s go, Sarah.
(Lee and Sarah exit.)
The kitchen. Rocsanne is sitting in a chair. Joel enters.
Joel: I’ve been walking down by the Twin Bridges. It isn’t even dark down there yet. Want some coffee?
Rocsanne: Sure. I’ve never had coffee before. (Joel pours Rocsanne a cup. She takes a drink) Ugh, it’s bitter.
Joel: It’s not too bad if you put a lot of milk and sugar in it.
(He pours milk and sugar into her coffee. Rocsanne takes another sip.)
Rocsanne: It’s still bitter.
Joel: It’s less bitter if you put whisky in it.
(He grabs a bottle of whisky from the cupboard and pours some into Rocsanne’s coffee. She drinks it down.)
The pool. Rocsanne is swimming. Kyle Kruger and Matt Calen come up to her.
Kyle: Ah, black people don’t swim.
Matt Calen: You’d better not testify against Kyle.
Kyle: Come on, Matt. Let’s get away from these coons, I mean goons.
Laura Pinkerton’s backyard. Rocsanne and Laura are roasting wieners over a fire. Joel, Michael Barren and Minny Cassmyer enter.
Laura Pinkerton: Hey, guys. Want a hot dog?
(Laura hands hot dogs to Joel, Michael and Minny.)
Rocsanne: How was the dance?
Minny Cassmyer: We left early. The deejay was a bit too polka for us.
Joel: Also, someone called me Schizo Boy, or maybe it was just in my head.
Michael Barren: When we left, Bruce Fisher was drunker than any human being should ever be.
Minny: Bruce is on his way to alcoholic world.
Michael: Best amusement park I’ve ever been to.
The house. Rocsanne enters. Willis, Helen, a policeman, and a policewoman are sitting in the living room.
Helen: Rocsanne, these two police officers want to talk to you.
Officer Bena Laden: Kyle Kruger has been charged with assaulting an eleven year old girl down at the community centre. Have you had any dealings with him in the past?
Rocsanne: Well, a couple weeks ago he and my brother got in a fight.
Officer Leslie Metero: So he’s not a nice person, then?
Officer Laden: That’s right, Leslie. (To Rocsanne) Have there been any other incidents with him?
Oficer Laden: All right, then. Thank you for your help.
The Twin Bridges. Joel and Rocsanne are walking side by side.
Joel: Hey, I think there must be some great horned owls around here.
(They come upon a party. Michael Barren, Bruce Fisher, Adam Pacherski, V.J. Mahani, Matt and Dawn Calen, and Wendy Schafer are sitting around the fire. They are making owl noises.)
Bruce Fisher: Hey, Rocsanne, Joel, good to see you, man.
Joel: We brought refreshments.
(Joel tosses a bag on the ground. Dawn opens it. It contains crackers, cheddar cheese, and grape juice. Dawn opens the grape juice and takes a sip.)
Dawn Calen: Darn, it’s not fermented.
(Adam Pacherski dips a cracker into the cheddar cheese twice.)
Bruce: Hey, you’re double-dipping.
Michael Barren: Hey, Rocs, wanna go down to the river and help me retrieve some coke I’ve got cooling?
Joel: Don’t be long.
(Rocsanne and Michael start walking down to the river.)
Rocsanne: You know, I really like birds. There are so many wonderful birds that can be found around here. My favourite is the wheelbarrow sparrow. It’s a sparrow that hangs around wheelbarrows.
(Michael smiles. They reach the riverbank and Michael pulls out some packets of )cocaine.
Michael: Yep, you can’t beat nice, cool cocaine.
(They walk back to the fire. Wendy Schafer is drunk.)
Wendy: Hey, guys, woohooo. Remember that time we went to Fun Land. That fire looks pretty. Remember that time we went to
? Fun Land
The house. Rocsanne is sitting in the living room. Joel enters.
Rocsanne: Hey, you’re back. You sure left in a hurry earlier.
Joel: Wendy wanted to talk to me about something.
Rocsanne: What about?
Joel: They’ve landed.
Joel: They’ve landed. Wendy has talked to them. They’re hostile. It’s gonna be up to me to get in a jet aircraft and shoot them down.
Rocsanne: Hope it goes well.
The community centre. Rocsanne, Joel and their friends are playing four on four basketball. Someone dunks the ball and the net falls off the wall.
Dawn: Well, there goes that. What’ll we do now?
Larry Spencer: Let’s tell knock knock jokes. (Everybody groans) Knock knock.
Bruce: Who’s there?
Larry: Doorbell repair man.
Michael: Knock knock knock knock knock knock.
Larry: Who’s there?
Michael: A spider.
(Kyle Kruger enters, carrying a knife and heads straight for Joel.)
Kyle: I’m going to get you for talking to the cops about me assaulting that eleven year old girl.
(Michael Barren punches Kyle. The knife flies out of his hand. A large crow flies in through the window, grabs the knife and flies away. Kyle Kruger exits.
Michael: We should get him.
Rocsanne: I wouldn’t do that. After all, he came after you with a knife.
Bruce: Anybody can get a knife.
Larry: Besides, maybe knives are for the birds.
The house. Willis, Helen, Joel, Rocsanne, and Uncle Lee are sitting around the dining room table.
Willis: Son, we want you to know we love you very much and we’ve never wanted to do anything that would hurt you.
Joel: Which pretty much means you’re about to say something that will hurt very much.
Helen: You’re adopted.
Uncle Lee: See, when your mom and dad were growing up, they had a neighbour named Mary Willis. Mary Willis married a man named Lester Sherwood. None of us liked them. Mary and Lester had a baby and your mom and dad became its godparents. A few weeks after the baby was born, Lester went to jail, and your mom and dad adopted him. That baby was you, Joel. Now Lester’s out of jail and he wants to meet with his son.
Willis: We’re going to have to keep you children locked down the cellar for the rest of the summer until the hearings are all over.
Joel: You can’t do that!
Uncle Lee: Get in there, boy.
(Joel and Rocsanne are herded into the cellar.)
The cellar. Joel and Rocsanne are standing against the wall, pacing the floor.
Joel: We’re breaking out of here.
Joel: By digging our way out with those shovels over there.
Rocsanne: Oh yeah.
Rocsanne: It’s so cold
Man: Well, obviously it’s cold. You’re in
Joel: Oh man.
Man: Cheer up. I’ve found the best thing to do in cold weather is to put on shorts and a T-shirt and dance around.
They all dawn shorts and t-shirts and dance over the closing credits.
Based on “One Thing That’s True” by Cheryl Foggo.