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Sugar and Shopping and Other Novel Addictions

Script By: Elaine Riveri
Romance


Sex, psychism and cigarettes. Oh my. A small town, southern girl migrates to the big city where she meets two professional women and begins a ritual of food, friendship and betrayal; but when the memories of her past resurfaces, she struggles to ward off its ghosts and find the best path to redemption.


Submitted:Jun 20, 2013    Reads: 62    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


ext. downtown nyc- day

As the OPENING CREDIT Sequence plays. The location is NYC. The camera wanders through the city, until it finally focuses on a tall skyscraper. We follow the camera into the elevator, until the 22nd floor. The sign out front says THE WORLD PUBLISHERS, INC. It is here that we we find our star, MITZICO, an extremely beautiful African-American woman in her mid thirties. Mitzico grew up in the South. She speaks with a controlled southern accent.

int. the world publishers-day

It's obvious that Mitzico is an ASSISTANT, she sits at the Receptionist desk working on a computer.
She answers the phone when it rings and responds to passerby inquiries. She sits at a desk in the office, working on a computer.

WHEN...

...a Caucasian WOMAN with wispy, dirty blond,thinning hair approaches her. She speaks with a mangled or mashed British/American accent.

WOMAN

Mitzico, I need to see you please.

Mitzico rolls her eyes in an irreverent way. She wonders to herself, what it could be this time.

MITZICO

Okay, Cecelia one moment. I just have to push send on this email to...

The woman interrupts MITZICO

CECELIA

...make it quick. And meet me in Charles' office.

MITZICO

(reacts)

Holy shit! Not good. She's never been called to CHARLES' office with CECELIA before. This felt troublesome.

Mitzico ENTERS Charles' office to find Cecelia standing beside him at his desk with her hand on his shoulder. Now Mitzico knew for certain, something was wrong.

You wanted to see me?

charles

Yeah, I did. I'm sorry to inform you Ms. Farrell, that your time with us has come to an end.

MITZICO

(reacts in disbelief)

Huh? I..I don't understand.

Charles' eyes betray his sympathy and connection to Mitzico. He seems disturbed and troubled by what he's communicated to Mitzico, but as CEO he can't show weakness.

Charles

It's just business, Mitzi.

cecelia

(grinning with her hand still on CHARLIE'S shoulders)

What Mr. Cutler is trying to say to you is... (vocalizing)

you're fired.

Cecelia was like a evil witch in the eyes of Mitzico, and for one moment, it seemed her face TRANSFORMED into the cackling sort.

MITZICO

(reacts)

MITZICO FLASHBACK

Mitzico's childhood memories of life in the south is shown. Memories flood her mind. All jumbled, none make sense except one of Mitzico as a young girl with her head lowered and eyes gazing at the floor while her MOTHER scolds and yells...

MITZICO's mother

Are you listening to me? Mitzico?!

BACK TO PRESENT

CECELIA

Are you listening to me? Mitzico?! You're fired! Clear out your desk.

END OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE

Then...

...we see Mitzico, SITTING on a subway train's window seat peering out of the window. At her stop she walks to find her car in the lot. She finds her car, gets in and DRIVES. We see the scenery change from the concrete jungle to, a more suburban area.

MITZICO (VO)

That evil wench back there, that was Cecelia Wiggan. She takes...er...took pleasure in making my life a living hell...And that's really all I can say about her.

(she sighs)

Charlie.

ext. mitzico's home-new york city suburb (mt. vernon)-evening

Mitzico parks her car on the street in front of a tri-level duplex style home, with a brick walkway. The home looks huge from the outside, and will be equally as spacious on the inside. It doesn't look like any home, an assistant could easily afford alone. She opens the door, walks in and shuts it behind her.

MITZICO (VO)

Let's do a rewind. Shall we?

FILM REWINDS. THEN RESTARTS AT...

int. mitziko's kitchen- evening

It's sundown and we see MITZICO still in a work garb, a dark grey wrap dress and black patent leather pumps. She is preparing dessert for company she is expecting. A kitchen towel, a bag of flour and sugar sit next to each other on the kitchen counter where she works.

THEN...

...the doorbell RINGS.

MITZICO

I'm coming!

In her hurry to answer the front doorbell, Mitzico tips the bag of flour and spills it on her dress. She tries to wipe it off with hands already covered in pastry goop making it worse.

(flustered)

Oh.

The doorbell RINGS, again.

Mitzico cleans her hands on a kitchen towel lying on the counter.

(yells)

I'M COMING!

Mitzico hurries from the kitchen to the living room to answer the front door.

int. mitzico's living room- evening

The room is typically decorated with one exception, no pictures of family sit or hang anywhere in this room, or any other in her home. The only exception is a large hanging picture on canvas hanging above the fire place of a little girl about age 6 or 8.

The heel of her left pump gets caught on the fringes of the rug and she TRIPS, falling hard to one knee.

The doorbell RINGS TWICE.

Shit!!!

Mitzico RISES from the floor, takes off and FLINGS her black pumps. They land in a random corner of the room.

MEANWHILE...

We see a portly, African-American woman in her late 40's, peeking through one of the living room's large windows in an attempt to check who's home. Mitzico doesn't see the woman as she walks to her front door to check the peep-hole.

PEEPHOLE POV:

We see the same portly, African-American woman, with big hair, dressed in a olive jaquard print suit SMILING, Cheshire cat style-- a smile distorted by the peephole glass.

BACK TO PRESENT

Mitzico OPENS the front door and greets her guests.

MITZICO (VO)

These are my girls, Elaine and Isabelle or Isa for short. We met every Thursday to just hang out and relax. It's just a little bit of ritual for us. Each one of us takes turns preparing different savory pastries or desserts. Gave us a chance to hone our cooking skills.

BACK TO PRESENT

mitzico

(To the portly woman)

Hey. Elaine, Where's Isabelle?

From behind the body of the fat woman, steps a smaller, more petite frame wearing a long, beige camel haired winter coat. A black woman, early 30's, with jet black, wavy almost straight texture, mid back length natural hair, pulled back and french braided, her skin is medium to dark, freckles on her cheeks only. Her eyes are Asiatic. Her ethnicity is Jamaican, black mixed with Chinese Hakka.

CHINESE HAKKA JAMAICAN: Chinese laborers that came to the Island of Jamaica, WI in the mid 19th to early 20th century and integrated into Jamaican Culture.

MITZICO cont'd

(to Isabelle)

There you are!

(to both women)

Y'all come on in.

(shivers)Hurry up. It's cold.

I'm finishing up the dessert in the kitchen, I'll be back in a minute.

The two ladies ENTER Mitzico's home.

ELAINE

(with a southern accent)

Want some help?

(referring to the spilled flour on her clothing)

You look like you could use some help. You got flour all ova' your dress.

ISABELLE smiles and shakes her head.

MITZICO

No. I'm fine. It's my turn to prepare. Right? I got it. Make yourself at home. Like usual.

eLAINE

What's unusual is how good it smells in here. Hmmm, mmm. Like our favorite.

MITZICO

Funny. But it does and it is. Let me get the coffee.

ELAINE

You know I love me some chocolate chip cookies.

(to Mitzico)

From Scratch?

MITZICO

From Scratch.

ISABELLE

Hey now. Bring it on.

elaine

You may wanna change your clothes though. You're covered in flour.

MITZICO (VO)

As you can see Elaine, a southern girl like myself, is quite spirited and conversational. She should be. She's a middle school teacher. You have to have just the right presentation skills to deal with middle graders. Elaine's house and her family are in Scarsdale. She snagged her a rich one. Older than her, but rich, none-the-less and he ain't bad looking either. She doesn't need to work or teach; but she says, she does it: one, because she didn't want to waste her skills; and two, because she doesn't want to 'sit home and drink wine all day.'

FLASH BACK

INT. ELAINE'S colonial style HOME-brown manor- MUNSEY PARK LONG ISLAND-Day

Elaines's home is tremendous, with every amenity. Tastefully and professionally decorated. Elaine, Isabelle and Mitzico are in what seems to be a common area of the home. There is a thick and opaque sliding glass door separating this area/room from another. Elaine addresses the two women:

ELAINE

So, apparently. We can't meet here no more.

isabelle

Why?

ELAINE

Cause? I 'ont really have a reason. My all knowing husband, just said, we can't.

MITZICO

Power trippin' is what it is.

Elaine's TWO CHILDREN WALK on screen,and interrupt the conversation. The boy carries the girl on his shoulders. One MALE, one FEMALE. The boy is about 16, the girl is around 8 to 10.

boy

Ok. Here she is. I picked her up just like you asked.

BOY leaves GIRL with Elaine. The girl plays with a computerized tablet the entire time.

ELAINE

Ok. Thank you shug.

The BOY begins to exit off screen. Elaine CALLS him back.

Wait shuga. Can you just help your sister to get settled in her room. I'll be right there.

GIRL

Hey, I'm not a baby. I can take care of myself.

BOY

Come on.

The BOY DRAGGS the GIRL off screen.

ELAINE CONT'D

Where was I? Yeah..you know, a price comes with livin' the good life and marrying rich, honey. He says no, then...I try to keep the peace, mostly. It's getting so I don't know how much longer I can be peacable.

MITZICO

Exclusively at my house then?

The women continue to discuss,

WHEN...

...ELAINE'S HUSBAND, RUTHERFORD BROWN, A good-looking white man in his late fifties, but still in good shape, walks by gazing at Elaine as if to ask her, 'WHY ARE THEY HERE?'. Mitzico LOOK'S ON and GAZES back. She alone greets him.

MITZICO

Mr. Brown.

rutherford BROWN

(addressing all three)

Ladies.

All three women NOD in agreement regarding the change of venue.

MITZICO (VO) CONT'd

In case, you're wondering how a woman with Elaine's aesthetics snagged a man like that...

CLOSE UP- PICTURE FRAME

In the frame we see a picture of a younger version of Elaine. Damn! We see she used to look like Alicia Keys.

MITZICO (VO) CONT'd

She used to be smokin' hot. Alas, that was many moons ago.

Isa on the other hand is beautiful. Men usually notice her exotic looks, a blessing given to her from her Jamaican Chinese roots. The only physical flaw I see in her is her gymnast chest. Yep, flat as a pancake up top. Although that doesn't take away from her beauty. For the most part she can be introverted, conservative and bourgeois, however, that's not what typically wrecked her chances of being with a man...

BACK TO PRESENT

FLASH ON

Isabelle sitting on the couch quietly next to Elaine smiling.

FLASHBACK

int. club-lounge-night

A smoky, dim club/lounge. Typical music plays, loudly. Anything popular and trendy dance music. We see Elaine and Mitzico sitting in dark corner, while Isabelle sits at the bar sipping a drink. Isabelle is wearing a classic black-mini dress with red, strappy sandals and she carries a matching red clutch purse, not typical attire for her more conservative taste. A MAN, African-American approaches her. The two women observe her interaction. She is sipping a drink.

MAN

Hope I'm not being too forward, but you're a very beautiful lady. Thought I'd come over and introduce myself. I'm Carden.

isabelle

She SMILES, to be cordial but isn't very interested.

(with Jamaican accent)

Thank you. Carden.

She continues to SIP her drink.

Carden

(signals the BARTENDER)

I didn't catch your name. By the way, may I buy you a drink?

ISABELLE

I didn't give it to you, yet...and, No. I'm already drinking. Thank you.

She holds up her drink to display it, puts it down.

The bartender interrupts.

bartender

What'll it be?

carden

Let me have a sex on the beach.

bartender

You sure?

carden

Yeah.

Isabelle and the bartender both think, 'how wimpy of this guy to order that drink'. So far he's failed to impress her and the bartender.

Isabelle

(extends her hand for handshake)

My friends call me Isa, but you...

carden

...Hmm, Isa. sexy accent and uh... Lovely outfit you're wearing... really caught my eye.

isabelle

I'm sure... you can call me Isa-belle.

CARDEN

What? Yeah I know. That's what I said.

ISABELLE

No. You said, Isa. Only my friends call me Isa. You should let people finish their sentences.

carden

(puzzled)

I assumed that you....

Isabelle stares at him waiting for him to explain what he thought she meant.

carden

Anyway, I apologize Isabelle. Maybe we can start again.

Isabelle nods in agreement.

carden cont'd

So what do you do for a living?

ISABELLE

I'm a CFO with a publishing company.

CARDEN

Oh a business woman. I'm an actor slash model.

He pulls out his wallet and shows her a picture of himself.

It's a cheesy calendar pose where he's only wearing underwear.

Look. This is one of my photos from a shoot.

Isabelle looks on and still isn't impressed. She's thinking, 'How can I make him go away?'

CARDEN

Tough city to get ahead in though.

ISABELLE

(she yawns)

That means, what? You're not a working actor slash model right?

CARDEN

Well, you know how it is sista?

Now Isabelle definitely has lost interest. She doesn't feel like being tactful anymore.

ISABELLE

No, but I'm sure it goes something like. 'The man is always keeping you down,' right? Or 'It's hard for brotha' to get ahead.' Maybe it's the baby mamas and child support.

Look let me help you wrap this all up.

If you're looking for an easy fuck. I'm a thirty five year old virgin, who has...

(batting her eyelashes in an animated way)

...never known a man and I'm not planning on knowing you tonight.

CARDEN'S mouth hangs open at the Isabelle's response to him.

The bartender appears with the drink. Carden grabs it and walks off.

carden

(mumbles)

Bitch.

Isabelle ignores him and goes back to sipping her drink.

BACK TO PRESENT

MITZICO (VO) CONT'D

...it's her moodiness and her oh so delicate way of shattering a man's ego when she wasn't interested or was trying to play hard to get. It was fun to watch from time to time. She's also a big fan of psychic lines and, according to her, was given a highly detailed description of... 'THE ONE', predicted to show up in her life shortly. Those things, coupled with the fact that she is a highly paid CPA with my ex employer made her not want to settle for any man that was less than she was... physically and economically.

INT. MITZICO'S LIVING ROOM-evening

Mitzico goes off-screen back to the kitchen while the Elaine and Isabelle step inside and head to the large couch in the middle of the room. Both women carry purses.

They SIT make themselves comfortable. They know the drill.

Elaine OPENS her purse and takes out a pack of CIGARETTES and a LIGHTER. She LIGHTS A CIGARETTE. It's the kind of cigarette with no filter and a strong smell. Smoke begins to fill the living room,PERMEATING into the kitchen where Mitzico is. The smoke alarm goes off.

MITZICO (OS)

Mitziko YELLS over the smoke alarm.

DO I SMELL CIGARETTE SMOKE?!

ELAINE

(to Mitzico)

I have to go outside?

MITZICO (OS)

You know that gives me a headache.

ELAINE

(to Mitzico)

I didn't bring my coat. It's freezing out.

MITZICO (OS)

Borrow mine. It's in the closet by the door.

ELAINE

Front door?

MITZICO (OS)

Yes! Will it fit?

Elaine rolls her eyes at Mitzico's possible comment about her weight, opens the closet by the front door and pulls out a heavy grey wool coat. She throws it over her shoulders and exits through the front door, closing it behind her.

INT. MITZICO'S LIVING ROOM-Night

Elaine is back inside. We see Elaine and Isabelle enjoying the homemade cookies and coffee. Mitzico is in the kitchen.

ISABELLe

You will see. A dark haired man, a foreigner with a goatee. Handsome too.

ELAINE

That's what she said huh?

( she laughs heartily)

Miss thing?

isabelle

Yes?

elaine

Did you ever stop to consider that any man you meet, now get this... will be a foreigner...since, wait for it now... you're Jamaican?

ISABELLE

I trust Mama Lucie. I been using her a long time and she seh, soon…within three to four weeks. And...I'll meet a really nice man, at work.

Mitzico enters from the kitchen.

ELAINE

You meet nice men all the time. You scare 'em off Ms. Prissy.

ISABELLE

So, just because I won't settle, I'm prissy.

ELAINE

Well, if the shoe fits.

ISABELLE

Look here. Every woman in my family had a marriage that lasted 'till death.

MITZICO

On purpose?

ISABELLE

Yes, on purpose. And they were happy marriages. I'm not about to settle for some' as my grandmother would say, ' peeya peeya ragga-muffin man' just to say I have one.

ELAINE

You can have mine if you want him.

MITZICO

Oh, you stop teasing her.

Mitzico POURS coffee into the ladies cups.

This is the last of it.

ISABELLE

(To Elaine)

You'll see. She's the real deal. So far 95 percent accurate.

ELAINE

More like one hundred percent foolish.

Mitzico joins the ladies, sits on a nearby sofa.

MITZICO

(To Elaine)

So what's the haps with you at home?

ELAINE

Same ol', Same ol'. He's still bossy, but rich. Has some really kind ways, but...And I reckon I'm bored. We're fighting all the time. Our sex life is dryer than ashes.

ISABELLE

(to Elaine)

Or your Vajayjay from the way you tell it.

Mitsiko and Elaine LAUGH at her comment.

ELAINE

(to Isabelle)

You need to stop. I never said that.

ISABELLE

(to Elaine)

Might as well.

MITZICO

(to Elaine)

That my dear is part of the... blechk, the joy of commitment. Shit's for the birds.

ELAINE

...and I think he's steppin out' on me. Seventeen years is a long time. The other day, I overheard him on the phone with one of 'em; saying something to her about being,

(mimicking her husband's voice)"the only woman I love."

Isabelle and Mitzico look on. They are silent. They can see and feel that the conversation is taking a more serious tone. They both try to comfort Elaine.

elaine cont'd

Can you believe that? Can you believe him?

MITZICO

You sure you heard him right? Still that doesn't sound like him. You know he loves you...

And...and look on the bright side, you have a lifestyle that other women would kill for.

Isabelle chimes in to affirm.

ISABELLE

Yes, he loves you AND you have babies together. That's a bond worth somethin'

ELAINE

I know deep down he does love me. He's really a good man. Could be a better husband and father though. He's never there. And lately...things are a lot more strained between us. He hasn't willingly touched me in months.

It's like our life is changing so much.

MITZICO

It'll be alright. Just a little dry spell is all. Maybe try...dressing up or role playing...

(awkward silence)

...You know, you've been there for us, always. Wer're here for you.

ISABELLE

Counseling.

MITZICO

Exactly.

The three woman HUG.

A MONTAGE follows covering about four months of the women having their regular meeting at Mitzico's. From Late Winter till Summer. With each woman taking a turn carrying and preparing dessert, chatting, laughing. And of the womens' daily lives when not with each other.

Elaine's home with her children and waiting up for her husband. The relationship shows congeniality and comfort, but no sexual intimacy. Elaine and her husband in bed with their backs turned to each other.

Isabelle at work, her desk heavy with paperwork in a conservative suit, pinned up hair and glasses, Late evenings sitting at a bar or lounge, men approaching her but walking away disappointed.

As for Mitzico, She's a bookworm with alternating hobbies. We see her often curling up with books, her favorite being GREEK MYTHOLOGY-or running, or HAVING SEX WITH MANY RANDOM MEN.

int. the world publishers-day

MITZICO (VO)

Then there's Charlie.

It's early morning in the office. Typical office setting. Everyone is moving slowly. Some workers sit at their desk drinking coffee. Others are making copies, or searching through file drawers.

Mitzico walks until she comes to a desk. This is another assistant just like herself, younger, early 20's. The nameplate reads LESLIE RANDOLPH. The assistant is much younger than Mitzico, early twenties. Her bushy hair is pushed back by a headband. She is standing by a fax machine. Her garb screams hippie. Mitzico approaches her and speaks.

mitzico

Hi there. I'm Mitzi, from upstairs. Love the statement you're making with your uh...

((gestures to LESLIE's clothing with her hands)

clothes, by the way.

LESLIE

(innocently smiling)

Thanks a lot.

MITZICO

...casual Friday...great isn't it? Uhm, listen-- I need to speak with Mr. Cutler. I told him I was coming.

LESLIE

Of course; you are, again please?

MITZICO

Mitzi...er... Mitzico. Farrell.

LESLIE

Ok. let me buzz him.

LESLIE rings Charlie's desk using speaker phone.

This area of the office has always been warm, Mitzico fans herself while she waits. but it seems today to be extra warm. She takes off her jacket and unbuttons her shirt, revealing a little cleavage, but nothing outrageous. The phone rings loudly on speaker phone. After about twelve seconds or on the fourth ring Charlie answers.

LESLIE picks up the receiver and turns off speaker phone.

LESLIE cont'd

Mr. Cutler. Ms. Farrell is here to see you. Uh, huh. Ok. Ok. uh, huh. Yes. Ok. Certainly.

LESLIE hangs up the phone. A minute passes and she doesn't respond to Mitzico.

LESLIE CONT'D

He'll be right with you.

Mitzico nods to acknowledge.

After about five minutes Charles Cutler, suave, handsome, with salt and pepper hair OPENS HIS OFFICE DOOR which reads CEO, and flashes Mitzico a million dollar smile which almost blinds her, to say the least. She's crushing on him, a little, more than just seeing dollar signs.

MITZICO (VO)

Killer smile, handsome,sexy and very, very wealthy. Every little girl's dream.

int. the world publishers-charlie's office-day

The office is modern, design is streamlined. It's the office of a creative mind. Abstract art, large picture windows showing the famous NYC skyline view. She walks in and shakes his hand and sits on a large contemporary couch facing his desk. Charlie sits beside her, but not too close.

CHARLIE

Mitzico, listen. I wanted to talk to you about the other day. I think we got off on the wrong foot. It was highly inappropriate and it shoudn't have happened.

MITZICO

Hmm, hmmm.

Charlie

(stares at Mitzico)

You're a very beautiful woman, you know that? Tempting.

Charlie eyes her unbuttoned shirt and glimpses her cleavage.

He stands up and moves away from her.

MITZICO

I don't know how to take that. Is apologizing making you uncomfortable, somehow? You look warm.

CHARLIE

It is hot in here today... But, I am still trying to apologize to you. I should have known better, considering I was there when policies were written.

MITZICO

Please sit down.

(she gestures)

I'm not going to bite. You called me here Charles. I didn't just wander into your office.

charlie

True. But I'm afraid I might wanna bite you.

He sits back down beside her.

Look, let me be real with you. I like you. You're fucking gorgeous. But I don't wanna complicate my life or yours.

MITZICO

You kissed me.

charlie

Yeah. Yes, I did.

He leans in close to her face. Mitzico freezes hoping he will kiss her, but not knowing quite what to expect. Charlie pauses for a moment in that pose. Then asks,

...will you go to dinner with me?

MITZICO

(calm and confused)

What?

charlie

Because I'm about to do it again.

Mitzico smiles. Both kiss each other.

MITZICO (VO)

And that is how my thing with Charlie started. I had 5 rules. Rule 1. Never get caught. Rule 2. Never at the office. 3. No electronic trail. We could only call by landlines, no cell, no text. 4. No feelings involved. 5. No strings attached. We agreed. Both of us just wanted good company and great sex.

ext. charlie's house-night

The home is waterfront. The moonlight glimmers off the water and we can hear laughter and jovial screaming coming from the house.

INT. CHARLIE'S HOUSE- BEDROOM- NIGHT

Charlie is chasing Mitzico around his bedroom. She is wearing a red teddy and holding a sheperd's staff. He wears boxers and furry fox-like ears. You can tell the relationship has progressed, at least a few weeks. They continue to play. Mitzico playfully screams jumps onto the bed and grabs a pillow shaped like a sheep.

MITZICO

I'm safe. You can't touch me! You can't get us here you mean old fox.

Charlie on his hands and knees circling the bed.

charlie

This is how I like to stalk my prey. First, I'm gonna play with you a little.

Charlie jumps onto the bed, Mitzico feigns distress. He kisses her all over.

charlie cont'd.

Now, I'm gonna eat you all up.

He gets under the covers. She begins to smile as Charlie works his magic under the sheets.

INT. CHARLIE'S HOUSE- BEDROOM- NIGHT

Moments later, Mitzico looks extremely satisfied, as Charlie emerges from under the sheets. The both recline on pillows looking very relaxed. The fox ears Charlie wore are lying on top of the sheets.

MITZICO

That was amazing.

CHARLIE

You can call me Big, Bad.

MITZICO

Big Bad? Interesting. Oh, you mean like, The Big, Bad the Wolf?

CHARLIE

...Eat you all up.

MITZICO

Yeah. I don't like that.

CHARLIE

Ok. I thought you liked role play.

MITZICO

I do, just not that one. I thought you were a fox, not a wolf.

CHARLIE

Ok. Can I ask you why it matters?

MITZICO

It's a long story. Not sure if it's something you'd wanna hear. Considering...

CHARLIE

Sure. Why not? I'm here with you. I'd like to get to know you better. I'm listening.

FLASHBACK

ext. small town virginia-Day

MITZICO (VO)

It was summer time, 1985 or so. I was around 9. I recall my mom and dad having a turbulent relationship. My grandmother was the only one....

Voice over trails off.

A WOMAN WALKS along a gravel road with TWO YOUNG CHILDREN following. One a GIRL around 9 years old, holds the hand of the other a TODDLER GIRL around 4 years old. The children are YOUNG MITZICO and her sister ANNA. She CARRIES A COVERED PIE IN HAND. She walks briskly. This is a working class neighborhood. As she walks, we can see modular homes or trailers and other small homes, some block, some brick. She waves to an elder woman that sits on the front porch of one of the homes she passes.

woman on porch

Hey Sharon! Mornin' How you doin'?

sharon

Hey Ms. Lana. I'm doin' good. How you been?

Sharon stops and steps up to porch to make small talk, the girls follow. The woman on the porch acknowledges the children by pinching their cheeks.

Lana

...sweet babies.

young mitzico

(reacts)

Young Mitzico child wipes her cheek

WOMAN ON PORCH

Been a minute since I seent you 'round here.

sharon

Yeah, I reckon I been working. ...sure Selma been through here though.

WOMAN ON PORCH

You know it. You hear her coming 'fore you see her.

Lana eyes the pie Sharon has in her hands.

sharon

You mean her thighs scraping together?

They both LAUGH.

LANA

No, you stop that. I means her mouft.

sharon

That's for sure. She is loud. Gets that from our daddy. Alright, I'll be seeing you Lucie, hear?

Sharon walks down the porch steps to leave. She is stopped by Lana calling back to her.

lana

Hey, uh...What you got there? Pie? One o' yo' famous pies. Who that fo'?

sharon

Sharon turns around.

This here pie, Ms. Lana is for my momma.

lana

Mmmm. Been a long time since I had me one of yo' pies. You think you could...By the way. How is Ms. Emma?

sharon

Pretty much the same.

(waves goodbye)

I'll send one by with Selma later in the week. Bye Ms. Lana

(to children)

C'mon y'all.

LANA

Alright. Thank you honey. Say hi to your momma fo' me.

sharon

(without turning around)

Will do.

eXT.- MS. EMMA'S HOUSE-DAY

We see Sharon, the children-young Mitzico and Anna climbing the front steps to the front door. Sharon with the covered pie still in hand.

Sharon knocks and waits.

YOUNG MITZICO

Momma. My feet hurt.

sharon

Oh hush up. We here already. Be alot easier if your daddy hadn't taken the truck to go...

voice

(from behind the locked door)

Who?!

sharon

It's me.

Front door of the house opens. Sharon's sister SELMA opens the door. Selma is a heavy set black woman with shoulder length relaxed hair. She wears a pair of denim jeans and a white t-shirt. She looks at Sharon briefly with no great interest and walks away leaving door open.

selma

(to Sharon)

Momma's in her room. She's ain't feeling so hot today.

SHARON

(to the children)

Y'all go 'round back and play.

The children run around the house noisily and separate from their mother.

int. ms. emma's house-Day

Sharon enters and walks down a long hallway till she gets to a room, which is her mother's, MS. EMMA. When Sharon enters, she sees Emma is propped up in bed with pillows, reading the bible. She sits down on a chair next to her mother's bed.

sharon

(kisses Ms. Emma)

How you doin' momma?

Ms. emma

Not too good today. But I'm still making time to read the bible. Keeps me going. Where the babies?

sharon

You need anything?

ms. emma

No. Where the babies?

sharon

Oh, they're out back. I sent them to play.

ms. emma

Not 'fore you bring 'em in here to see me. Go get 'em. I got some candy.

Sharon

Now momma, you know I don't like them eating a whole buncha candy. Makes them hyper.

Ms. Emma ROLLS her eyes thinking, 'I know she's not talking to me like that.'

MS. EMMA

Go get them children. Ain't nothing wrong with a little candy. You liked it when you were a youngin' didn't ya?

SHARON

Yes, maam.

MS. EMMA

And youse still alive. Ain't ya? ...got all ya teeth?

Ms. Emma

Yes, maam.

MS. EMMA

A'ight then. E'rything in moderation. Go get them babies.

She exits to get the children. While Emma waits. She calls for the children as she walks through the house.

sharon cont'd

Kids?! Kids! Mitzi! Anna!

At the back door of the house, Sharon opens the screen door and calls for the children. They come running.

SHARON CONT'D

Your nana has something for you. Come on.

She takes them both by the hand and walks them to Ms. Emma's room.

SHARON CONT'D

Here they are momma.

MS. EMMA

Hey there sweet babies. Come over here and give your nana some sugar. ...Got something for you.

The CHILDREN, Young Mitzico and her sister, Anna do as they're told. Ms.Emma gets up from the bed and goes over to a chest of drawers in the corner of the room. She pulls out a plastic bag and takes out two candy bars and hands them to the children.

ms. emma cont'd

(to children)

Here you go.

Sharon looks on a little displeased, but hey, what could she do. This was her mother.

MS. EMMA CONT'D

(to Sharon)

You staying for dinner right?

int. ms emma's dining room -night

The kitchen and dining area are juxtaposed. Copper and steel pots hang over and around the stove and sink. A big picture window located on the right wall, above and between the sink and stove, gives the designated cleaner/cooker a great view of the back yard and lets lots of sunshine in. The family gathers around a dining table. A wooden table with six chairs. The walls are plastered with an interesting mix of memorabilia, including African masks, family photos, prints, handwritten rules and bible quotes.

Selma, Sharon, Ms. Emma, young Mitzico, and her COUSIN (ASSAM) who sits next to another YOUNG WOMAN, his GIRLFRIEND, ZORA are all in the dining room, sitting around the table. The table is empty except for place settings. At the table, young Mitzico is seen yet not heard.

SHARON

Ok. Anna's down for the count.

MS. EMMA

Good. Well, we are all gathered here again, this Sunday-- Thank God that he's spared my life to see another one--to celebrate living, family and love. Let's say grace.

(pause)

Thank you God, for what we are about to receive. We ask that you continually bless us and sanctify this meal. Amen.

Everyone MUTTERS, 'Amen.'

MS. EMMA CONT'D

It's always buffet style, so y'all can get up now and get what you want.

Assam is a little embarrassed at his grandmother's religious display and feels the need to explain himself to his apparently new girlfriend.

assam

(Whispers to Zora)

She gets like that. She used to be a preacher.

zora

(nods, yes)

MS. EMMA

(to Zora)

So welcome. I heard so much about you.

Zora

(smiles)

I hope it's been good.

Ms. Emma

Mmmm. Mmmm. he ain't had nothing but nice things to say.

(to everyone else)
Ain't that right y'all.

Everyone nods, yes.

Ms. emma

So, you're name's Zora. That's an interesting name. Like Zora Neale Hurston, huh?

zora

I guess so. My mother named me. I don't know where she got it from.

Assam is further embarrassed and wants his grandmother to stop asking questions.

assam

Excuse me nana, I don't mean to interrupt you.

(to Zora)

Can I fix you a plate?

zora

I can come with you and get it.

Both Zora and Assam get up from the table to go fix a plate of food. Upon Zora standing. Selma and Sharon notice that they can see right through Zora's dress,

AND....

...MS EMMA notices too. They look at Ms. Emma's face then each other with an unsaid, 'Oh god, No!'

MS. EMMA

It's alright, Assam. Just makin' pleasant dinner conversation.

(to Zora)

You don't mind do you?

Zora

(while standing)

No. not at all.

MS. EMMA CONT'D

(You know Assam has a pretty unique name too. I suggested it to his momma. Names are mighty powerful thing. When you want your children to be powerful and strong, you give 'em a strong powerful name...Assam!

(to Assam)

Ain't that right, baby.

Assam

Yes, maam.

The two return to the table with their plates and Sharon continues the line of questioning.

SHARON

(to Zora)

So Assam also told us you're going to college up north in the fall?

zora

Yeah, I been to visit the campus. It's real nice.

Selma

(to Zora)

Where's this college?

Zora

It's in New York. Columbia.

MS. EMMA

(to Zora)

Y'know when in my day schools were segregated. And when it came time to go to college most of us had to go away-Up North. Them white folks thought they were so smart; they thought they was getting' rid o' us. They didn't know that we actually liked to go. You must have done well in school huh, Ms. Zora to get into Columbia?

selma

(to Zora)

Mama has a degree in Theology from Columbia.

zora

(getting fatigued with the line of questioning)

Oh. That's nice.

MS. EMMA

(to Zora)

Y'know, also in my day, young ladies wore slips under their dresses. It was part of our underwear. Your skin ain't supposed to be showin' through yo' clothes.

Embarrassed that she's been singled out, Zora tries to defend herself.

zora

I thought you only wore slips if your dress was see through or too thin?

Assam interrupts believing it'll help his girlfriend.

ASSAM

That's what I thought.

MS. EMMA

Oh hush up! boy. What you know 'bout slips, anyway.

Sharon and Selma look at each other hoping one of them will quell the fire that is about to erupt. Sharon speaks up.

SHARON

You know, Momma has a point. So we can all agree that women should always wear slips under their clothes. The end.

Zora

(to Ms. Emma & Sharon)

But...

selma

Oh, Lord.

zora

But what if the slip shows, ain't that tacky?

MS. EMMA

(getting irate)


No! Y'all listen to me. You don' know nothing. Young ladies wear slips as part of their regular undergarment! It don' matter if it shows or not. Do you know what slips are for… Huh? It's for to keep you warm, and to keep sweat offa yo clothes. Don't tell me. Y'all may not like what I'm saying to you, but it's for your own good and it's true.

then suddenly....

MS. EMMA CONT'D

ANGRY, Ms. Emma PULLS her dress above her abdomen area to EXPOSE her full cream colored slip with lace trim. Everyone finds themselves with a full view of Ms. Emma's body.

Look! I'm wearing one.

ZORA

(reacts)

ASSAM

Dang Nanna!

Sharon

Momma!?

selma

Throw's her hands up.

There it is!

Young Mitzico giggles.

Zora and Assam turn their heads to avoid looking at her.

MS. EMMA

Naw, don't be shy now. Y'all need to see what a lady should be wearing under her clothes.

selma

Assam, go get yo' grandma. Go get yo grandma. Now!

Zora is flabbergasted at the old woman's behavior and in total disbelief. Everyone else seems to have expected it. Assam hurriedly stands and moves to restrain her by forcing her hands down to her sides.

ASSAM


Okay, Nana. Okay. We get it.

(He continues to hold Ms. Emma's hands in place)

You calm?

MS. EMMA


I'm calm. You gotta show 'em sometimes, You know. Y'all don' listen.

assam

I'm gonna let your hands go now, ok?

INT. MS EMMA'S HOUSE-NIGHT


MITZICO (VO)

My grandmother, she always told the truth, bluntly no matter what. And she told the truth even around me. A trait my Aunt Selma picked up. No age was too young to see or hear the truth. So, It was that same day that I learned the truth about my father and my mother's marriage.

In another part of Ms. Emma's house. Her and Sharon and Selma sit quietly and talk. Anna is still asleep and Mitzico is seated next to her mother.

MS. EMMA

Sharon, you know that man is stepping out on you?

SHARON

No momma. He ain't that stupid. Cheatin' for all eyes to see?

SELMA

Yes he is! That negro just ain't been caught yet. That nigga like 'Where's Waldo.' One day though I'mma find Waldo for you.

int. sharon's home-evening

Enter a small home. Almost bare, with just the necessities. Evidence of children, pictures are inside, but no one appears to be home. There is mostly silence, until we come to a wooden door with a round gold handle. Behind it someone is crying. from around a corner, young Mitzico watches, and listens.

MITZICO (VO)

My mother was privy to rumors for a while regarding my father, but trying to hold onto her family and the diminishing love she had for him. Hearing rumors of his behavior shamed her. In public, she held her rage, her pain and her self-pity. In private, in her weakest moment she couldn't hold back the tears. I would see her run to the bathroom, open the door and with three clicks, lock herself away...

FLASH ON

Sharon on the other side of the bathroom door, crying.

MITZICO (VO) CONT'D

...to holler over him. Daddy was never there to hear momma moaning through the bathroom door. But that Summer, brought change to my life. My Grandmother died and...

ext. motel-day

Selma and Sharon pull up in the driveway of a fleabag motel. They get out, along with Mitzico. They're in a hurry. Sharon drags Mitzico by the hand.

The grown ups eye a rusty orange truck parked outside.

SELMA

He here alright.

SHARON

(nods, yes)

The two women walk up to the tiny MALE HOTEL CLERK who sees them coming and tries to make a break for it. Both corner him behind the desk. A few guests and Mitzico look on.

selma

Well, Jessie. You back stabber. You knew?

SHARON

What you expect, they friends. Where is he Jessie?

Sharon and Selma both MOVE IN CLOSER to Jessie.

jessie

C'mon ladies, not in my place.

Selma

I'd tell her, she's way bigger than you and if she can't get it right. I'll just sit on ya.'





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