The upstairs of an expensive house. Through the bathroom door we see a teenage girl standing in front of a mirror.
Brittany: Darn it. That’s the third line I’ve tried to draw under my eyes and I’ve messed it up every time. Stevie, could you come in here, please.
(A little boy opens the bathroom door and enters. He is carrying a Magic marker.)
Stevie: I got what you need, sis.
(He draws a perfectly straight line under her eyes.)
Brittany: Thanks, Stevie. You’re a great little brother.
Stevie: No problem, yo.
(Brittany’s mom pokes her head into the bathroom.)
Mom: Britanny, hurry up. You’re going to be late for your first day of school. … What did you do to your hair? It looks fried.
Brittany: I tried to curl it but the iron wouldn’t work properly.
Mom: Looks like you’ll have to get a new curling iron then.
Brittany: Curling iron? I just used the regular iron.
Mom: Oh. Well, no matter. I bought you your favorite muffin for your first day back at school.
(Brittany’s mom pulls a bag out of her pocket and hands it to her. Brittany looks inside.)
Brittany: Mother, these muffins are stale.
Mom: I so wanted to give you this special surprise on the first day of school that I bought the muffins on the final day of the last schoolyear so I wouldn’t forget. I hope you like them.
Brittany: That’s OK. Is our new caretaker here yet?
(There is a knock at the door.)
Mom: That’s probably him now.
(Mom, Brittany and Stevie go to the door and open it. Baghdad Saudi Arabia enters.)
Baghdad Saudi Arabia: Greetings. My name is Baghdad Saudi Arabia. Hello, children. I am your new caretaker and maintenance man.
Mom: You came highly recommended. In fact, the woman who recommended you said you were an expert in many areas.
Baghdad: Oh yes. I can sow up any part of a tent that is ripped. I can draw water with the best of them, and not to boast, but I can even take care of goats better than the best herders I know.
Mom: Well, I don’t know how useful those skills are going to be around here. This is a house with indoor running water, and we don’t have any goats. That’s funny. Marilyn said you had a lot of experience.
Baghdad: Indeed. I have been working among the goatherders of the Middle East since long before these two lovely children here were even thought of.
Mom: Oh, I’m sure you’ll work out just fine anyway.
Baghdad: Thank you for your confidence. Now just show me to the rustic cabins I have been given to understand you Americans house your servants in so I can unpack my suitcase nukes.
Mom: Well, you’ll be staying in a room in the house, not some rustic cabin out in the woods. It’s the room at the top of the stairs. You can unpack your suitcases there. Stevie, honey, show Mr. Saudi Arabia to his room, please.
Stevie: Sho’ nuff, Mama.
Alex’s bedroom. There are two beds. Jerry, Alex’s brother, gets out of his bed and comes over to Alex’s bed.
Jerry: Get up, Alex.
Alex: Why do I still have to share a room with you?
Jerry: Because your my bro.
Alex: But you’re forty-seven.
Jerry: Yeah, well, aside from that really. It’s a big day for you, my man: your first day of senior year. Enjoy this time. These are the best years of your life.
Alex: Good advice. What are you going to do today?
Jerry: It’s a big day for me, too, as a matter of fact. The “Lucy” Vitameatavegamin episode is on this afternoon.
Alex: Enjoy the time. I’m off.
(Alex exits the house. Carmen Sanchez is waiting on the front steps.)
Carmen Sanchez: Mightn’t I trouble you for a ride to school, my good man?
Alex: I don’t even want to see you after what you did to me this summer.
Carmen: No matter, old chap. Besides, the gang code dictates I’m still your homegirl, even if our courtship is a thing of the past.
Alex: It is definitely a thing of the past. But, I guess the rules are the rules.
Carmen: The rules surely are the rules. Remember the lecture we were given when first we joined about keeping a copy of the gang constitution in our back pocket at all times?
Alex: Just hop on.
(Alex drives away with Carmen on the back of the bike.)
Outside the school. Brittany and her friend Sierra pull up to the school in Brittany’s BMW convertible. Brittany tries to park but almost hits Alex and Carmen on the motorcycle.
Alex: Hey, watch where you’re going, white girl. You gringos are all the same.
Brittany: Why do you hate us white people so much?
Alex: Because you people are prejudice and we hate prejudice.
(Brittany and Sierra get out of the car and enter the school.)
Sierra: Wow, here we are at last, senior year! This year’s gonna be so awesome.
(The sound of a donkey braying is heard.)
Brittany: Sometimes I wonder if the student’s counsel made such a wise decision replacing all the bells with sound effects.
The principal’s office. Alex enters.
Alex: You wanted to see me, sir?
Dr. Aguiree: Yes, sit down.
(Alex sits down.)
Alex: What’s this about?
Dr. Aguiree: I’ll let you guess.
Alex: Look, sir, I didn’t do anything. I know I got a file that’s probably ten inches thick and I hang out with some not so good people, but …
Dr. Aguiree: I didn’t say you did anything. I just thought since you were a member of an ethnic minority that I’d call you out of gym class into my office for my own personal amusement. You may go now.
Mrs. Peterson’s class. The students enter and sit down. Mrs. Peterson is at the front of the room.
Mrs. Peterson: Welcome to senior chemistry. Chemistry is an amazing subject. It is used in the making of pharmaceutical medications, you know, the ones you see on TV that have all the side effects. Chemistry is used in making advances in weaponry so that countries at war can employ better ways to kill the enemy and destroy their country. Chemistry is used in the manufacture of such things as food additives and household cleaners which negatively affect human health and do harm to our planet. Now, normally I would hand out course outlines, but nobody ever reads them so I’m not going to bother reading them. So, let’s partner up. The Affirmative Action Department wants students from priveliged homes to partner up with members of ethnic minorities from poorer families. This will probably result in a lower class average and make us more unproductive, but nobody ever listens to me anyway. Brittany Ellis, your partner is Alex Fuentes. (Reluctantly, the two move toward stools beside each other)
The hallway. Colin comes up to Alex.
Colin: Hey, Fuentes, you may be her chem partner, but stay away from my girlfriend, OK.
Alex: I have no intention of putting the moves on Brittany.
Colin: You have no intention, eh. Them’s fighting words. (Colin tries to rush at Alex but has difficulty because he is so fat. He gives up.) This isn’t over.
The field. Brittany and the other cheerleaders are gathered there for practice. Ms. Small stands in front of them.
Brittany: Ms. Small, instead of getting into a T formation like we planned, could we get into a broken T formation? I think that would look a lot better.
Ms. Small: That’s a good idea.
(The cheerleaders form themselves into a broken T. Ms. Small turns on her cd player. Obnoxious gangsta rap starts playing. The girls start doing their routine. Brittany’s cell phone rings. She answers it.)
Dad: Hi, honey, it’s your dad. I just called to say I’m taking off to China for two weeks.
Brittany: Another business trip? Dad, it seems like you’re always away on business and you’re never at home to be there for any of us.
Dad: No, this isn’t a business trip. I just need to go to China for two weeks to get away from your mother and you kids.
Brittany: But you’re hardly at home now as it is. How could we be getting on your nerves?
Dad: Why do you think I spend so little time at home in the first place?
(He hangs up. Brittany starts crying.)
Ms. Small: Brilliant, Brittany. That’s going to be a wonderful addition to the routine. Girls, follow me.
(All the girls act as if they are pulling cell phones out of their pockets.)
An alleyway. Alex and Paco walk up to Blake, who is standing by his pogo stick. Alex pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket and reads reluctantly.
Alex: Hand over the money or I will take something from you, and I’m not talking about one of your material possessions: I’m talkin about something that’s permanently attached to your body.
Blake: Look, I ain’t got no money on me.
Alex: Come up with it real fast or else.
Blake: Look, man, I’ll get the money by tomorrow, OK, man.
Paco: That’s not good enough. We’re gonna need collateral.
Alex: I bet that pogostick is worth a lot.
Blake: No, guys, not my pogo stick. That’s my only means of transportation.
Paco: Your pogo stick or one of your fingers, hombre. You choose.
Blake: OK, take the pogo stick, whatever.
Alex: Meet us at seven tomorrow by the old tracks: _with _the _money.
Blake: Sure, you got it.
(Blake runs away in terror.)
Chemistry class. Mrs. Peterson is walking around the classroom.
Mrs. Peterson: I have slips of paper in this hat with the names of different products on them. Each pair of students is to pick one. You and your partner will be studying how that product works and presenting a report to the class.
(The hat comes to Alex. He pulls out a piece of paper and looks at it.)
Alex: Mrs. Peterson, what the heck are hand-warmers.
Mrs. Peterson: Things to keep your hands warm.
Alex: Oh, those lame things nobody in their right mind would want to be caught dead wearing.
Mrs. Peterson: That’s correct.
Alex: But if you wanted us to study thermal chemistry couldn’t you have put something in there like a thermos or a travel mug or polar fleece?
Mrs. Peterson: No.
Colin: Ha ha, the beaner got stuck doing a report about hand-warmers.
Alex: Who you callin a beaner, two-ton.
Colin: Mrs. Peterson, Alex called me a two-ton. You know how I hate that, Mrs. P.
Mrs. Peterson: Alex, Colin, Brittany, down to the principal’s office at once.
(The three of them make their way to the principal’s office, followed by Mrs. Peterson.)
The principal’s office. Dr. Aguire is at his desk.
Dr. Aguire: Now, I don’t know what happened in Mrs. Peterson’s class just now and I don’t want to know. Now, who can tell me our school motto.
Brittany: Get as much government funding as possible.
Dr. Aguire: What!?
Brittany: It’s written right in the school entranceway.
Dr. Aguire: Oh, so it is. But our other motto is STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY. Fairfield High believes there truly is strength in diversity, even though that’s pretty much a lie. I mean, every nation that’s integrated it’s armies has begun loosing wars thereafter, there are examples of integrated neighbourhoods that didn’t work out, even in this school all the white kids sit on one side of the cafeteria and the Hispanic kids sit on the other side. Well, what I’m trying to say is, don’t ever let me catch you guys in Los Angeles. You may go now.
(Brittany, Colin, Alex, and Mrs. Peterson exit.)
The girls’ change room. Brittany has just finished getting into her gym clothes. Carmen Sanchez enters and walks toward her.
Carmen: Aha, ‘twould appear that Fortune dost see to it that we meet.
Brittany: What’s this about, Carmen?
Carmen: Thou art trying to encroach upon mine boyfriend.
Brittany: I have no interest in Alex.
Carmen: That doth not rule out that thou wouldst be his boyfriend if circumstances did properly present themselves.
Brittany: Carmen, I already have a boyfriend.
Carmen: Still, thou wouldst attempt such in order that thou should prove thou can have whatever thou desireth. For such so-said reason, I will slay thee dead.
(Carmen throws a punch at Brittany but she manages to avoid it. Isabel enters.)
Isabel: Carmen, leave Brittany alone.
Carmen: Thou wouldst do well, Isabel, to stay out of those matters, which, not pertaining to thine particular situation, concern thee not.
Isabel: Brittany has no intentions to steal Alex and she never will.
Carmen: I told thee to arroint thee from this matter.
(Ms. Small enters.)
Ms. Small: What seems to be going on in here? Are you three having a party and didn’t invite me?
Carmen: But a small matter, the likes of which can easily be dealt with with a one such as I.
Ms. Small: Just get where you need to be, girls.
(The three girls scatter and exit.)
Hector’s garage. Alex is under a car. Hector enters.
Hector: Hey Alex, you done with that Honda yet?
(A car comes racing through the door and into the shop. Carmen, Raul, Sam, and Havier are in it.)
Raul: Hector, close the door of the shop, quick. The police are after us.
Hector: What did you guys do this time?
Carmen: Havier didst try to slay a Satin Hood. However, mayhap he was unsuccessful in his marksmanship.
(Hector closes the garage door and turns the lights off just as a police car rounds the street corner. Carmen emerges from the car, looking drugged-out.)
Carmen: Alex, I was exceeding desireous of thy company this night.
Alex: I can see how much you missed me.
Carmen: Oh, Sam. Mine affections for him are but miniscule when compared with mine affections for thee. I can assure thee that perpetually doth my innermost being yearn for thee.
Alex: Look, I’m never gonna come back to you.
Carmen: ‘Tis because of thine chemistry partner. Doth thou deny this?
Alex: No, it has nothing to do with Brittany. I heard you were talkin trash about her earlier today. You can stop that, please.
Carmen: Didst that fowl fiend Isabel alert thee?
Alex: Just stay out of my business, Carmen.
Carmen: Thou knowest my absence doth tear at thine heart.
Alex: Sure, it bothered me when we broke up, but I’m totally over it now.
(Carmen huffs back to the car and gets back in beside Sam. A knock is heard at the door. Everyone remains silent. A flashlight shines through the crack in the door. Footsteps are heard going away.)
Havier: OK, let’s get out of here. Oh, and Alex, Paco is about to get himself into a fight with a Satin Hood at Gilson Park.
Alex: Those Satin Hoods don’t fight fair.
Havier: Then you better come with us.
Alex: (Shrugs shoulders) All right.
(He enters the front passenger’s side of the car. Hector opens the door and the car exits.)
Gilson Park. Paco and the Satin Hood are standing by the swings, ready to fight. The car containing Alex and the others pulls up. Alex and the others get out and head toward Paco and the Satin Hood.
Alex: Listen, little guy, leave my friend alone. Go back to your own hood and cause trouble there.
Satin Hood: This jerk stole my steering-wheel.
Alex: Paco, did you really steal this guy’s steering wheel?
Paco: Yeah, man, for my collection. I admit I have a problem—
Alex: Look, let’s just break this up.
Satin Hood: No way, hombre. I’m not leaving till I stomp this guy into the ground, and until I stomp you into the ground as well now.
(Alex lunges at the Satin Hood. They punch each other for a few minutes. Then the Satin Hood pulls out a can of whipped cream.)
(The Satin Hood sprays Alex with the can of whipped cream. Alex crumples to the ground.)
Wriggley Field. Colin and Brittany pull up in Colin’s car.
Brittany: This is the weirdest-looking movie theatre I’ve ever seen.
Colin: Change of plans, babe. My dad got two tickets to the Cubs game. We can sit in the stands and guess how much they’ll win game seven of the World Series by. Plus, we’re in my Dad’s company’s box, which is shared by the law firm of Nordstrum, Walton and Harris. I’m hoping to intern there this summer.
(They enter the park and go up to the box. Messrs. Nordstrum, Walton and Harris are there.)
Mr. Nordstrum: Colin! Your father’s told me so much about you. Heard you’re interested in coming to work for us this summer.
Colin: I sure am. I’ve been interested in law for a long time. I think the current mess with regards to the case of---
Mr. Walton: For cripes sake, boy, this is a baseball game. Relax.
Colin: (Face falling) Oh.
(Colin signals a vendor and buys some food. In rapid succession, he signals a few more vendors and begins stuffing his face.)
Brittany’s house. Brittany enters. Her mom is sitting in a chair.
Mom: Where have you been, young lady?! You were supposed to be home by 10:30.
Brittany: Well, instead of going to a movie, we went to a baseball game. It went into extra innings. I kept telling Colin I had to be home, but he just ignored me and sat in the corner of the box and sulked because he’d been shot down by these lawyers he’s hoping to intern for in the summer. Then, to top it all off we got stuck in traffic and the traffic got so bad Colin decided to get out of the car, run to a nearby steak house and get a full sirloin dinner.
Mom: There’s a reason I assign you a curfew, Brittany.
Brittany: Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m your daughter and you care about me and this city is dangerous and you know the kinds of things teenage boys want to get up to, etc. etc.
Mom: It isn’t only for those reasons.
Brittany: What, if I’m not home by a certain time I’ll turn into a pumpkin or something?
Mom: Exactly. Look in the mirror.
(Brittany goes into the bathroom.)
Brittany: Oh no, my skin’s turning orange.
Brittany’s house. Alex pulls up on his motorcycle. He heads to the front door and knocks. Brittany’s mom answers.
Mom: There’s a no soliciting policy in this neighbourhood.
Alex: I’m not here to sell anything. Is Brittany here, please.
Mom: No, she’s out right now. So you’re not here to sell anything,. Well then, you must be here to rob us. I’ve got something that’ll fix you.
(She pulls a can of whipped cream from behind her back. Alex runs away.)
Brittany’s house. Brittany enters.
Mom: What are you doing hanging around trash for?
Brittany: What are you talking about?
Mom: That boy who was here earlier. I think he was Hispanic or something.
Brittany: Hispanic boy. Oh, … Mom, he’s my chemistry partner.
Mom: Your chemistry partner. A likely story. I thought your father and I raised you better.
Brittany: Actually, you two didn’t in fact raise me. All you’ve ever done is tell me I have to be perfect and Dad is so busy at the office we’ve barely spoken to each other in the past five years.
Mom: That may be, but somewhere along the way you should have somehow learned better.
The warehouse. Alex and the other gang members are hanging out drinking beer.
Paco: Come on, Alex, stop moping around and have a beer.
(Paco tosses a beer to Alex.)
Alex: No thanks, amigo.
(Alex tosses the beer back.)
Paco: No, I insist.
(Paco tosses the beer back to Alex.)
Alex: No, no, it’s OK.
(Alex tosses the beer back to Paco.)
Paco: Come on, hombre, drink up.
(Paco tosses the beer back to Alex.)
Alex: Well, OK.
(Alex opens the beer and it explodes. Carmen enters.)
Carmen: Prithee, Alex, wilt thou come with me to Danwood Beach so that we might make merry and frolick in the water?
Alex: Sure, I guess.
(Alex and Carmen exit.)
Danwood Beach. Brittany, Colin, Sierra and their friends are hanging out on the beach, drinking beer and wine. An empty wine bottle and empty beer can are beside Brittany.
Colin: Have sex with me right now.
Brittany: Right here? In front of our friends? You’re crazy.
Colin: Then get out.
Brittany: Oh, whatever.
(Brittany starts to walk down the beach.)
Sierra: Don’t go past Pier Four.
Brittany: What’s past Pier Four?
Sierra: I don’t know. It’s so scary I’ve never been down there.
(Brittany walks down the beach. Mariachi music is heard in the background, getting louder as Brittany continues down the beach.)
Brittany: I hear music. I LOVE MUSIC! (Brittany starts dancing down the beach. She comes upon Alex and his friends. Carmen is in Alex’s lap.) Bonjour, mes amis.
(Brittany continues dancing and falls down beside Alex.)
Carmen: Thou hath treaded upon our territory. I challenge thee to a duel.
(Carmen pulls out two swords and hands one to Brittany.)
Brittany: Sure, why not. (Brittany and Carmen start walking away from each other. Then, they turn and run at each other.) (In her head) If I swing over there, I’ll miss.
(They begin to fight. Brittany tries to miss Carmen, but she is so drunk she stabs Carmen in the stomach. Carmen falls to the ground.)
Carmen: I am slain, or forsooth, slightly wounded.
(Brittany passes out.)
Paco: Oh shoot, what are we gonna do with her now.
Alex: We’ve gotta get her home. Isa, we need you.
(Isabel comes over.)
Isabel: What seems to be the trouble?
Alex: We gotta get Brittany Ellis back to her house. She’s passed out drunk.
Isabel: So I noticed.
Paco: We need to borrow your car to get her home.
Havier: You guys can’t take her to her mama. A white neighbourhood like that the neighbours’ll call the police before you can blink an eye.
Alex: Good point. Isa, would you be willing to take her back to your place?
Isabel: Sure, no problem.
(Paco and Alex lift Brittany into the back seat. Isabel gets in the front driver’s side and they drive off. Brittany’s phone vibrates.)
Alex: Her phone’s ringing. What should we do?
Isabel: Answer it.
Alex: Are you sure?
Isabel: Yes. What else can you do?
(Alex reaches into Brittany’s back pocket and pulls out the cell phone inch by inch. He looks at the caller ID.)
Alex: It’s her mama. (He flips open the cell) Hola.
Mom: Brittany, where have you been? It took four rings before you answered.
Alex: (Playing up his accent) Hey, mamacita.
Mom: What?! Who is this?
Alex: This is a friend of Brittany. She dropped her cell phone.
Mom: Where is my daughter?
Alex: I dunno exactly. She said something about goin to the rough part of town, maybe goin dancing, makin a night of it. I’m sure she’ll be back at la cassa by cock-a-doodle doo time.
(He hangs up.)
Isabel’s bedroom. Brittany is lying on a caught. Isabel is lying on her bed. Brittany sits up.
Isabel: You have a hangover.
Brittany: Oooohh, what happened?
Isabel: You’d be better to ask Alex that question. He’s the one who suggested I bring you here.
Brittany: I better get out of here.
(Brittany exits the bedroom and starts walking down the hall. Isabel’s grandfather appears.)
Nigel: Now then, how are thee.
(Brittany looks confused.)
Isabel: Brittany, this is my grandfather Nigel. Grandpa Nigel, this is Brittany, from school.
Nigel: ‘Ello, Brittany,. I can see you’ve got a right proper ‘angover. I’ve got something that’ll put ya right as rain.
(Nigel goes into the kitchen, followed by Brittany and Isabel. He pours the contents of a few bottles into a glass, stirs it up and gives it to Brittany.)
Nigel: ‘ere lass, drink this. You’d better wash of tha face. Your mascara is runnin. Ah, that used to ‘appen to me more times than you can count.
Alex’s bedroom. Jerry is sitting on his bed. Alex enters.
Alex: OK, Jerry, what were you doing hanging around Wil and his mom last Sunday?
Jerry: Oh, can’t you guess?
Alex: Don’t be stupid, Jerry. Don’t join the gang, man.
Jerry: I want to be a gangster, have more of a life. Besides, I got offered a pretty sweet deal if I join up.
Alex: Oh man, what did they offer you.
Jerry: Well, Wil’s mom says that if I join the gang, she’ll bake me a dozen chocolate chip cookies.
The cafeteria. Alex is in line. Brittany is in line behind Alex. Colin is in line beside Brittany. They get their food. Colin has a huge plate of food. They move toward the cashier.
Alex: I’ll pay for mine and hers.
Cashier: Oh, you’re one special lady. Bowl of soup and a slice of pizza, that’ll be three dollars.
Colin: Stay away from my girlfriend, Fuentes. I’ll pay for mine and hers.
Cashier: Tell ya what. I won’t bother totalling it up, just take out a second mortgage, bring me the deed and we’ll call it even.
Alex: Yeah Colin, what are you gonna do if I do go after Brit.
Colin: Well, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not the most athletic person around. I’d probably just go home and cry.
Alex: Thought so.
The school courtyard after school. Colin and Brittany are standing by the wall.
Brittany: I think we need a break.
Colin: Do you mean a break or a breakup?
Brittany: A breakup.
Colin: This is so unfair. Why are you doing this?
Brittany: Oh come on, Colin. We’re only fooling ourselves. We fit the typical high school stereotype. I’m the head cheerleader, you’re the captain of the shuffleboard team. Everyone expected us to get together.
Colin: I always thought we made the Golden Couple.
Brittany: Yes, because that’s what everybody else thought.
Colin: I don’t know why you’re doing this, but if this is the way you want it, fine. I am a mature, normal sane guy. Now get out of my sight before I bash your face in with my head.
The woods. Alex and Gary are in a car. Alex is driving. He parks. Some Latino Bloods pull up. One of the Bloods comes over to the driver’s side window.
Gary Frankel: So, it’s Haloween. Get lots of trick-or-treaters tonight?
(Alex shoots Gary a warning look.)
Latino Blood: The stuff is in the trunk of my car. Help me carry it out.
(The police show up.)
Police Officer 1: OK, the jig is up.
Police Officer 2: Looks like we broke up a drug deal.
Police Officer 1: OK, what’s the story here?
Police Officer 2: Oh who cares. All these guys are members of an ethnic minority, aren’t they? Let’s save time and take them all in.
Police Officer 1: Good idea. (To Gary) You got a driver’s license?
Police Officer 1: Then we’ll let you drive home. Come with me, fellas.
(Alex and the other Latino Bloods are all hearded into the back of the police car.)
Based on “Perfect Chemistry” by Simone Elkeles.