OPEN:This is the United States in 1932. Where haggard and beaten men wait beside a factory gate for work that isn’t there. Anxious-eyed women wait on breadlines, desperately trying to feed their families. Grinding poverty creates fear and anger, and hopeless rage, where there should be love. It destroyed many homes.INT. THE HOME - BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING JOSH (15) a young man whose eyes keeps his presence older than he is, lays awake facing his alarm clock in the darkened room. The alarm jingles at the turn of quarter to five. JOEY (7) wakes a bit startled on the opposite side of the small room.JOEYYou want me to go with you, Josh?Josh reaches out and stops the alarm clock, then switches on a shady lamp. Josh then falls back onto his pillow face up.Joey waits in a sleepily anticipation then sighs and turns away from the light. Josh looks to Joey’s back with saddened eyes, then gets up and puts his blanket over Joey who snuggles up in it.Josh changes clothes then sits down in the mohair chair next to the window. Josh’s eyes fixate upon the clock. The clock reads four fifty-five.INT. THE HOME - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATERJosh enters the dark kitchen where the dark outline of his mother, MARY (36), could barely be seen standing at the stove. Mary is a small black haired Irish woman.JOSHWhy did you get up, mom?MARY(softly)Hush Josh, let’s not wake dad. He couldn’t sleep until about an hour ago.She said as she poured out a cup of hot milk and handed it to Josh.MARY(cont.)Here drink this I'll have some breakfast for you at seven.Josh lowers his face so his mother can give him a kiss on the cheek.MARYI’m so proud that Miss Crowne wants you to play in the school assembly, Josh.JOSHI wish you could come hear Howie and I.MARYI know, Josh, I know.Josh places his empty cup down and looks to his mother.JOSHGet another hours rest, mom. You don’t have to be up before six.She nods to Josh’s caring eyes as he kisses her forehead and heads for the door. He throws his coat on and pulls his newspaper bag strap over his shoulder then exits. His mother watches with near teary eyes.EXT. THE STREETS - EARLY MORNING.Josh makes his way door to door along the quiet darkened streets as the sun slowly rises. His cheeks reddened by the brisk wind. He blows on his hands trying to warm them. INT. THE HOME - KITCHEN - MORNING.Stephan (51), Josh’s father sits at the table with Mary. Stephan’s face looks beaten and disheveled. Josh removes his outside clothes in the entrance way. His mother rises to his presence.MARYWe have a few eggs this morning Joshua.Josh nears the warm stove with a sudden shiver.MARYOh Josh, you didn’t wear your sweater. Didn’t you see that I had it laid out on the chair for you this morning?STEPHANMust your mother dress you like you are three years old again?(beat)Must she worry because you take no responsibilities?(beat)It’ll be fine, won’t it? When you catch a cold and we have doctor bills to top everything else.Josh’s anger begins to infuriate words he tried to speak, but was halted by the sight of his mother’s face. Stephan sits looking from boy to wife, then rises from the table and nears his wife wrapping his arms around her.STEPHANForgive me Mary, please. Why do I say things to the boy that hurt you?MARYYou are tired Stephan and hungry. Wont you eat one of the eggs, please?STEPHANNo, I don’t want anything more. I am meeting with the other men. We are trying a place on western avenue today.Stephan released Mary and grabbed his coat with a look to Josh, on his way out the door. Mary turned away from the door to her lost child’s face.Mary then quietly tended back to cooking the eggs.JOSHDon’t fix any breakfast for me, mom. It would choke me.Mary stopped suddenly. Josh exits the kitchen quickly. Mary walked over to the window to stares out it, she begins to tear silently.INT. THE HOME - BEDROOM - MORNINGJosh finishes up some homework then packs his bag for school. He hesitates before exiting the room.INT. THE HOME - KITCHENJosh enters the kitchen to his awaiting mother. She hands him a lunch bag.MARYBuy yourself a cup of hot cocoa and have this for lunch.(beat)You wont play well for Miss Crowne if you are starved.She turns away quickly after speaking and exits the kitchen. Josh hesitates suddenly then turns to catch the end of her sudden departure. The sound of her bedroom door is heard being shut sharply. Josh placed his lunch into his bag and grabbed his coat.INT. SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - DAYThe teacher stands affront of the attentive class preaching on as Josh sits in the far back with his attention flying out the window to a passing bird.INT. SCHOOL - HALLWAY - AFTERNOONThe children all make their way towards the exit as Josh turns and enters the theatre.INT. SCHOOL - THEATRE - AFTERNOONJosh finds himself alone and removes his coat and bag. He then comforts himself with the piano in the corner in front of the stage.Josh sits at the piano and plays a few broken up faint notes as his eyes and mind wanders out the window. He is snapped back to the reality with Howie’s (14) sudden voice.HOWIE(laughing)What’s itchin’ at you, Joshway?Josh in a surprise notices Howie sitting on the stage next to the piano, staring at him blankly.HOWIE(cont.)Come on, let’s get goin’.(beat)This banjo’s got a deep low yearning for something with a dixieland beat.He said as he excitingly plucked at the strings. Josh smiles at Howie which grants an even larger smile in return. Josh begins to bang a somber yet exciting tune from the piano that is followed by the joining of Howie’s banjo melody.The two began to get into the harmonious music for a few moments when Miss Crowne entered the theatre wiping away her tears and stopping to smile at the musical boys.Miss Crowne neared the piano as Josh and Howie slowly began to kill their song.HOWIELord, wasn’t that sweet?(beat)I’m almost as good as you now, Josh.Miss Crowne rested on the stage and laughed.MISS CROWNEYou two all but make me forget about the breadlines for a moment.(beat)It’s good Josh. Real good. And you Howie, are giving it a beat that will have everyone sitting up next week.The boys lit up with excitement.HOWIEWant to hear our number?MISS CROWNEYes please.She said with a giant smile. The boys begin to play with only shared smiles between the three of them.INT. SCHOOL - HALLWAY - AFTERNOONThe three exit to the hallway. Miss Crowne turns to lock the theatre door behind them.MISS CROWNEGo home now boys you have homework and I have an hours ride ahead.BOYSYes ma’am.Miss Crowne watches the boys walk away.EXT. SCHOOLYARD - AFTERNOONThe boys begin to part ways at the end of the walkway.JOSHI’ll meet you at the corner if I can get out tonight.HOWIEBring Joey along. I have a jigsaw puzzle for him.JOSH(shrugging)He has to go to bed early.EXT. THE HOME - LATE AFTERNOONJosh walks up to the house noticing Joey sitting in the alley behind the house. He was patting the back of a boned alley cat while it lapped up milk from a rusty pan. A five cent milk bottle laid in Joey’s hand.Joey noticed Josh nearing him.JOEY(quickly)She was just about starved, Josh.(beat)She’s got babies. You’re not mad at me are you?JOSHWhere did you get the nickel for the milk, Joey?JOEYKitty gave it to me. She gave it to me because she couldn’t buy me a birthday present.(beat)It was my nickel, honest Josh.JOSHKitty’s in big business giving you a nickel when she’s been laid off of her job.(beat)And you listen to me, Joey. When you get a nickel you give it to mom.(beat)I don’t know what dad would do to you if he knew you’d bought milk for a mangy alley cat.JOEYAre you going to tell on me, Josh?Josh shakes his head.JOSHJust don’t do it again.(beat)Come on Joey, let’s go inside. I wont say nothing about it.Joey got up to join Josh.INT. THE HOME - KITCHEN - LATE AFTERNOONMary was taking potatoes from the pan and placing them to a serving plate. Stephan was standing across from Kitty who was sitting at the table crying.KITTYI tried, Daddy, I tried so hard. I wanted that job more than I've ever wanted anything in my life.(beat)You’ve got to believe me Daddy, I tried.STEPHANWell, you didn’t try hard enough, my girl, get that into your head right now.(beat)You’ll go down to the loop tomorrow and you’ll try about a hundred times harder than you tried today or you needn't...Stephan stopped suddenly and sat down as Kitty cried on. Stephan’s attention swung to Josh.STEPHANAnd where have you been? Why is it you don’t come home after school and help your mother?JOSHI was practicing.MARYI gave him permission to stay after school, Stephan.Stephan stares from Josh to his empty plate.MARYHave a seat for diner boys.The boys sit and everyone eat slowly and silently. Long beat.Josh finishes with his plate he looked to his mother.JOSHAre there anymore potatoes, mom?Stephan quickly turned on the boy.STEPHANNo, there aren’t any more potatoes, and if you haven’t had enough, that is just too damned bad. Do you think that your paltry little job gives you special privileges to eat when everyone else at the table is hungry, too?(beat)Do you realize that your mother ironed all day to buy this food. And she never helps herself to a second dish.MARYStephan, Stephan, has it come to this? Are we now watching what one another swallows?Stephan gets up and marches outside. Kitty runs from the table up to her room. Joey silently exits out the front door. Mary and Josh sit alone at the table. Mary sat in a daze as Josh looked to her for words.JOSHA great guy, mom, a real great guy. Someone I should look up to.(beat)Is that what you’re going to tell me?MARYDo you know what he’s been through today, Josh? He stood in line from seven-thirty this morning until five tonight to get into a factory over on Western Avenue. He didn’t even have a bite to eat at noon.JOSHThat’s all you’ve had too, isn’t it?MARY(ignoring)He was fourth in line when they closed the window at the employment office.(beat)Don’t you understand what that does to a man, Josh?JOSHAll of which gives him the right to hate Kitty and me?MARYJosh, he doesn’t hate either of you. He’s always been tender with Kitty, and he’s proud of you.(beat)If only you could understand how proud he’s been...JOSHDo you know anymore nice little stories, mom? Anymore pretty speeches to make me love, dear old dad?(beat)You know that I can’t make a move without having him bellow at me.MARY(softly)When a woman sides with her children against her husband, a marriage and a family are in ruins, Josh.(beat)Your father is crazed with fear and terror.(beat)I’ll stand by him no matter what his son says about him.BeatJOSHThen I don’t think there is any place here for me. I’d better get out on my own.(beat)Isn’t that right, mom?(beat)It’s time I got out, isn’t it, mom?Mary half nods in agreement.MARYYou’re making me say things that kill me, Josh.(tears)But I guess you’re right. There is nothing here for you.(beat)You are strong and bright, Josh. Maybe you can find something better than what we have here.Josh rises slowly from the table with his eyes still on his mother. He stands there a moment. Mary slowly raises her eyes to his as her tears slowly fall.Josh hesitates then quickly rushes out the front door. Marys head falls upon her hands in a hard cry.EXT. THE STREET - EVENINGJoey sits on the front steps playing with some flowers when Josh quickly rushes past him.JOEYWhere you goin’ Josh?Josh doesn’t answer. He hit the road and began running as fast as he can. As he ran tears began to fall from his eyes. With the house out of sight he runs behind a church and collapses to the ground in tears.Beat.Moments later Josh picked himself up and collects himself. He emerged from the side of the church back to the road wiping away remaining tears. He then continues to walk down the street.EXT. THE STREET - DRUGSTORE CORNER - EVENINGJosh made his way past the drugstore up to the corner where he saw Howie. Howie was sitting down eating half of an orange. He ripped off a couple of slices and handed them to Josh as he approached.HOWIE(smiling)Beat a rat for this.Josh took the pieces with a grateful smile and ate them.HOWIEYou don’t look so good.JOSHI can’t take it any longer.(beat)I’m hittin’ the roads, and hope I never see Chicago again.(beat)Or my dad. Or...(beat)Or my mother either.Beat.HOWIEWell, guess I’ll be goin’ with you, Josh.JOSHBut, what about your mother?HOWIEYou say that like you don’t know her, Josh.A serious expression comes between the both of them.HOWIEHer problems wont even allow her to realize I’m gone.BeatJOSHWe can make it can’t we, Howie?HOWIEOf course we can. No matter how hard the times are, people still want music. And we’ve got it.(beat)We’ll find some place. Some place where people will pay to hear us make the kind of sounds we make.JOSH(excited)We’ll head for the smaller towns. The ones that aren't hit so hard.HOWIE(excited)Right. West. Maybe southwest. I’ve been waitin’ to see the west.(beat)We’ll pick ourselves out an empty box car...JOSHYeah, and we can take it to wherever we want. Whatever looks good to us, that's where we’ll...Josh stops to the sight of his little brother standing besides them.JOSHWhat are you doing here Joey?JOEYI’m going with you Josh.JOSHHow do you know I’m going anywhere?JOEYYou told mom you were leaving home.(beat)And I’m going with you.JOSHNo, Joey. You’re not going to do nothing of the sort. You’re too young.JOEYHowie, make him let me go with you.HOWIE(beat)Why can’t he go with us, Josh?JOSHHe just can’t. He wouldn’t be able to keep up.HOWIEHe can sing. He’s got a good clear voice. People would pay to hear a little kid sing. He might do alright for himself.JOSHI told you Howie he can’t go. I wont let him.HOWIE(to Joey)Maybe you and me could go it alone, Joey. Let old Josh stay here and boss people around.Joey and Howie smile to each other as Josh looked on in an angry consideration.JOSHAlright. He can go.Howie and Joey smiles grow wider.JOSH(to Howie)Meet us in our alley around midnight. Okay?HOWIEYou got it.JOSHAlright. Let’s go Joey.Joey began to follow Josh.HOWIE(to Joey)Hey squirt.Joey turns.HOWIE(cont.)Don’t forget to pack an extra pair of underwear.JOEY(smiling)Okay.They wave goodbye.JOSH(over his shoulder)Midnight.HOWIE(smiling)Okay.Josh and Joey continue walking away as Howie watches them with eyes of excitement.INT. THE HOME - BEDROOM - MIDNIGHTJosh stuffs the last pair of underwear into the old cardboard suitcase.JOSH(whispering)Okay. Let’s go.(beat)Wait. Did you get matches?Joey pats the pocket of his coat.JOEY(whispering)I got ‘em right here.JOSHOkay.They continue quietly out of the room.EXT. THE HOME - ALLEY - MIDNIGHTHowie sits waiting as Josh and Joey exit the house. All Howie has with him is his banjo and a bundle of clothes under his arm.HOWIEIt’s midnight.JOSHI know.(beat)Come on.He said as Howie and Joey giggles then follow Josh out to the street.EXT. THE PARK - EARLY MORNING The three boys near the park.JOEYWhat are we doing here?JOSHGoing to get some rest until the kitchen opens.JOEYOh.The three boys laid together on the bandstand in the middle of the park. Howie and Joey fall fast asleep while Josh laid wide eyed on his back staring at the bottom of the bandstand roof.EXT. THE PARK - EARLY MORNING Josh unmoved laid asleep when quietly awoken by Joey’s voice.JOEYJosh? Josh?(beat)Josh?JOSH(awaken)What?JOEYIs it time?JOSH(looking around)Looks like it.JOEYOkay.The boys got up and exited the bandstand. They walked down the street to the Salvation Army kitchen. They were the first ones there.A big tired looking man stood behind the counter ready to serve the food. He shook his head to the sight of the boys. Then gave each of them a bowl of oatmeal.COOKNow don’t you boys be coming back. This food isn’t for runaway children.JOSHYes sir.(beat)Thank you.HOWIEThanks.JOEYThank you.The three boys sat nearby and ate their bowls of oatmeal as the people started to come.HOWIEShould we try some songs?JOSHNot here, maybe a few blocks down.HOWIEOkay.They continued to eat. When they had finished they got up returned their bowls and continued down the road.EXT. DOWNTOWN - LATERThe boys walked to the corner of Randolph and Wabash.JOSH(stopping)Here. We should play here.HOWIEOkay.JOEY(mimicking)Okay.Howie stick his tongue out at Joey. Joey returns it just the same. They smile. Joey removed his cap from his head and placed it on the ground in front of them. Howie began to strum his banjo while Joey began to sing along. As people began to crowd around Josh melted amongst them and watched along. People began to drop nickels and pennies into the cap exciting the boys.The boys finished a few numbers and the crowed applauded them before departing the area. The boys took up the change filled cap into the nearby alley.Excitingly they counted the change.JOSHSeventy-eight cents!JOEYSeventy-eight cents?JOSHYeah.HOWIEWow. Seventy-eight cents.JOEYWe’re rich.JOSHAnd gonna be richer.HOWIEWhat should we do?JOEYFood.JOSHYes. Food.The three boys smile to themselves in ecstacy.EXT. THE STREETS - NIGHTJosh sat between the two boys passed out and half on him. Howie and Joey had remains of food splattered over their faces and coats. Josh sat still between the boys just staring ahead.Josh noticed a policeman coming around the corner and quickly shut his eyes.The policeman stopped and looked at the boys. He nearly woke them up when he hesitated then turned away. Josh opened his eyes to notice the policeman furthering away then slowly he also fell asleep.EXT. THE STREETS - MORNINGThe train in the background whistled loud enough waking the three boys in a panic. The boys begin to stand.JOSHThat’s where we gotta go.JOEYWhere we gonna taking the train to?HOWIESomewhere west.JOEYOkay.The boys walked upon the train station grounds. They noticed a man looking very homeless sitting beneath a tree eating an apple. The boys followed Josh who began to near the homeless man.JOSHExcuse me, sir.HOMELESS MANYou can’t have my apple.JOSHNo. We don’t want your apple. We...HOMELESS MANGood. ‘Cause it’s mine.JOSHYes. We were wondering if you knew where that train was heading?HOMELESS MANYup. I do.Beat.JOSHCan you tell us?He continues eating his apple.HOMELESS MAN(pointing)That one there is leaving for Iowa and will be in Nebraska by the next morning.JOSHThank you.He said as the three boys turned for the train.HOMELESS MANI’d be mighty careful if I were you.The boys turn back to the man with confused and wondrous expressions.The homeless man begins to speak with great enthusiasm.HOMELESS MAN (cont.)I’ve seen kids be killed on those things. Grown men even, if they’re too careless. Big loads can shift with a sudden lurch of the train and crush an unwary rider.(beat)Some people misjudged the speed of the train and made their grabs for the ladder of the open car too late. Legs are often crushed in accidents of that sort.(beat)If not more.JOEYReally?Takes a big bite of the core.HOMELESS MANOh yes. I’ve seen it myself.(beat)Have a good trip now.He says with a smile. The boys wearily turn back toward the train.HOWIEI think we should get on before it starts moving.JOSHDefinitely.HOWIEYeah.The boys head toward the train.EXT. TRAIN STATION - AFTERNOONThe boys quickly look around before jumping into the empty car.The boys choose their hiding spots behind the sacks of lime. After they were settled the train began to pull away. Three freeloaders quickly jumped aboard paying no attention to each other or the boys.The boys sat in silence. Josh kept an open eye out the side of the car watching the scenery pass by. The other two boys fell slowly asleep.Josh soon too drifted off.INT. TRAIN - EVENINGJosh was rudely awaken to a bull kicking him in the shin.BULLYou’re getting off at the next stop. In about five minutes. The whole lot of you.Josh nodded agreeingly. The bull departed and Josh nudged Howie and Joey awake.JOSHHey.(beat)Hey.HOWIEWhat?JOSHWe have to get off.HOWIEWhen?The train comes to a halt.JOSHNow.(beat)Come on Joey.The boys stand and follow behind the three freeloaders off the train.EXT. TRAIN STATION - EVENINGA wall of townsmen come to greet the train with clubs and pitchforks.ANGRY TOWNSMENDon’t you take another step this way! You can take all your empty bellies elsewhere we have enough of your kind to feed already.(beat)Take another step and we’ll club you like dogs.FREERIDERWhat do you want us to do? Throw ourselves under the wheels?CROWD MEMBERS 1Yes! Do that!CROWD MEMBERS 2That’s right!As the two crowds began to argue back and forth the homeless man from Chicago stepped next to the boys.HOMELESS MANYou boys stay with me. We’ll jump the train as soon as it starts moving. It’s all we can do.(beat)I’ll help the kid on. You two stay close.The train began to move.HOMELESS MANHere we go. Stay with me.The homeless man began running alongside the train, with Josh and Howie right behind him.HOMELESS MAN(cont.)Watch out we got one comin’ too.He said as the lights of an oncoming train flashes into the boys eyes. The homeless man grabbed a hold of Joey and tossed then pushed him up into the car.Josh then grabbed a hold of the bottom of the car and flipped himself into the car. He braced himself and extended his arms for Howie.JOSH(shouting)Come on Howie.HOWIE(shouting)Here. Catch my banjo, Josh.Howie flung the banjo into Josh’s hands. As soon as Josh caught the banjo Howie was taken up by the oncoming train and flung down the tracks like an empty crate. Josh’s eyes fixed to a glaze on the action. Joey began screaming with a face full of tears.HOMELESS MANGrab that kid before he goes.A half dozen pair of arms grabbed Josh and wrestled him to the ground. Josh’s blank stare began to slowly tear.EXT. TRAIN STATION - LATE AFTERNOONEveryone around was silent. Both Joey and Josh got off with dazed faces. Joey’s cheeks were completely red from the tears.The two boys hopelessly and silently walked alongside the tracks. Then stopping to sit in silence.After a few minutes the homeless man nears the boys with an armful of canned goods.HOMELESS MANA bunch of us are going to cook a little down the tracks.(beat)If you kids want to come with me, I guess we can spare you a meal.Josh looked to Joey who’s eyes showed no expression.JOSH(somber)Thank you, but no. We have to be on our way.HOMELESS MANWhere’s your way? Where are you boys headin’?Josh looks up at the man in a daze and shakes his head.HOMELESS MANI thought so.The man takes a can of beans and tosses it to Joey’s feet.HOMELESS MANWell, good luck kids. You’d better hitchhike from now on. You’ll never be any good on trains after this.(beat)And if you want my advice, you better hitchhike home to your folks if you’ve got any.The boys watched the man walk away then the boys got up and started walking in the opposite direction away from the railroad tracks. They continue silently through the large brown field hand in hand.They walked on into the night. They finally stop in a ravine beneath a bridge. The sound of a distant train sneaked through the air as the boys sat. Joey instantly began to cry. Josh held Joey closer.JOSHIt’s okay.Josh struggles to withhold his tears. After a few moments Josh wipes his eyes then grabbed the can of beans and began to open it with his knife.JOSHWe’ll eat, Joey and then we’ll think things through.They ate in silence.JOSHDo you want to go home, Joey? Because if you do I’ll hitchhike back with you and then strike out on my own.JOEYYou wouldn’t go home even if we got back to Chicago, would you?JOSHI think I’d rather starve. They wont scold you, Joey. They’d be glad to have you back.(beat)I think I’ll take the chance on my own.JOEYI think I’ll take that chance with you.Beat.JOSHIt’s going to be harder for us to find jobs without Howie.(beat)But we’ll worry about that in the morning.JOEYOkay.Joey snuggled up against Josh and closed his eyes. After a few moments Josh settled himself and closed his eyes.EXT. THE RAVINE - EARLY MORNING Josh was awaken suddenly by a chill midst blowing into his face. Joey wakes up as Josh places an extra coat over him.JOEYAre we going now.JOSHYeah. We are.The boys gathered their belongings and began marching through the wet meadow.EXT. FARMHOUSE - NOON.The two boys come upon a ramshackle farmhouse. The surrounding yard was cluttered with piles of rotting boards, cracked dishes, cast-off toys, broken down chairs and other pieces of furniture.JOSHI guess someone called this home.(beat)Want to check out the inside?The first sign of excitement showed on Joey’s face in some time.JOEYYeah.JOSHLet’s go.INT. FARMHOUSE - AFTERNOONThe two boys entered the house. They find nothing inside. Josh looked at the fireplace and got and idea.JOSHHey. Lets make a fire. Start gathering paper and wood.JOEYOkay.They both exit the house.INT. FARMHOUSE - SAMEJoey enters back into the house with armfuls of wood and paper as Josh began to lite the fire with they’re matches. The two boys huddled around the fire with excitement.JOEYSmells great, doesn’t it, Josh?JOSHYeah, it sure does.(beat)I am goin’ to see if there is any food outside.Josh exited the house.EXT. FARMHOUSE - SAMEJosh exited the house and looked around not finding anything. Hopelessly Josh stopped suddenly when hearing a surprising noise behind him.Josh turned around slowly to find a rooster walking around the clutter.Josh tried to sneak up on the rooster. The rooster began to run hysterically away when noticing Josh. Josh gives chase and eventually backs the rooster into a corner and grew a giant smile. As he leaped he fell upon the ground empty handed. He lays there momentarily in frustration before getting up. JOSH(yelling)Joey!Joey exits the house looking for Josh.JOSH(pointing)I need your help.Joey smiled in excitement.The two boys continued to chase the rooster. Taking frequent brakes for rest and planning.EXT. FARMHOUSE - YARD - LATE AFTERNOONThe boys stand together tired watching the rooster trot around.JOEYI don’t think we can catch him.JOSHWe have to.They begin again for the bird.INT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHTJosh and Joey sit by the fire stuffing their faces extremely fast with great ecstacy. There is feathers spread everywhere.JOEYThat was so good, Josh!JOSH(mouthful)It was pretty good ain’t it?JOEY(mouthful)Mmmhmm.JOSHI don’t think I could eat another bite.JOEY(mouthful)Mmmhmmm.They hold back they’re full stomachs.JOSH(yawning)I think I am just going to close my eyes for a while.Joey yawns after Josh.JOEYGood night, Josh.JOSH‘Night, Joey.INT. FARMHOUSE - MORNINGJosh slowly opens his eyes and finds Joey looking right at him.JOEYCan we have breakfast?JOSHWhat?(beat)How long have you been up?JOEYThe sun woke me up. Can we eat?JOSHYou spoiled yourself last night.(beat)Yes we can eat. But, we have to save some for our trip.JOEY(excited)You make it sound like you know where we’re going.Joey begins to eat with a smile to Josh. Josh halfheartedly smiles in return.EXT. FARMHOUSE - MORNINGJosh and Joey exit the farmhouse and begin walking away. They continue to walk through pastures and woods. Until the sun begins to fall.EXT. WOOD’S - NIGHTIt begins to grow dark as Joey turn to Josh.JOEYCan we sleep here?JOSHYou just want to eat again.JOEYAnd sleep here.JOSHYeah.They take out the coals and matches and begin building a fire. Before Joey can begin to take out the remaining food they are jumped by four hoodlums.They snatched the extra coats and blankets and food from near Joey. Then one of the boys pushed Joey down. Josh rushed to Joey and was bombarded by fists.EXT. THE WOODS - MORNINGJosh awakes with two extremely black eyes Joey notices him.JOEYHave a nice nap?JOSHYou’re funny.(beat)Are you alright?JOEYYeah, they only touched you.JOSHYeah, they sure did.JOEYCan we leave here now?JOSHOnly if you help me up.Joey helped Josh up and they continued walking.EXT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - NIGHTJoey stood outside the front door after knocking on it. An old woman answers.JOEYMa’am I am hungry and wondered if you had something to offer.OLD WOMANMy dear boy is there just you?JOEYMy brother, also.Joey and the woman look to Josh half hiding around the corner.OLD WOMANCome in the both of you.The boys entered the home. INT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - NIGHTThe old woman sat down at the dining room table. The boys were already seated eating like they’ve never eaten before. There was vegetables and chicken in various plates before the boys large eyes. The old woman just watched the boys eat with discomfort in her eyes.OLD WOMANDo you boys smoke?JOSHMa’am if I could afford cigarettes I would be buying food, and if I was buying food. We wouldn’t be here.OLD WOMANOkay. Okay. I have to ask. I have a fear of fire.(beat)You two may stay. But you must take a bath. I will wash your clothes when you are in bed.Josh and Joey look to each other with giant smiles.INT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - LATERJosh enters the bedroom all cleaned up. He sees Joey standing all cleaned up also with giant long johns on.JOEYLook! Beds Josh!They look to each other and smile. Then rush to jump into the beds.JOEYJosh?JOSHYeah?JOEYIs this heaven?JOSHYeah. I think it is.With that Joey and Josh fall asleep satisfied.EXT. OUTSIDE - MORNINGThe sun rises bringing light to dark. The sun makes it all the way to mid sky.INT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - NOONThe old woman enters the bedroom with the boys clothes all cleaned an ironed. She placed them at the foot of the beds.OLD WOMANPoor little fellows, you were dead tired weren't you?JOEYYes ma’am.OLD WOMANHow about a little breakfast before you go?The boys smile.OLD WOMAN(cont.)I’ll meet you boys downstairs.The boys nod as the old woman departs the room.INT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NOONThe boys make their way into the dining room. At the table the old woman had hot cereal, toast and hot cocoa ready on the table. The boys sit down and dive into the food.JOSHThank you.OLD WOMANOh don’t you worry about that.(beat)Do you boys have any parents?JOSHI suppose so.(beat)Yes. Yes we have.OLD WOMANDo they know where you are?JOSHI don’t think so ma’am.OLD WOMANYou ran away, didn’t you?JOEYNo ma’am. They knew we were leaving.OLD WOMANWere you in trouble?JOSHYes ma’am.JOEYToo big an appetite.OLD WOMANThey must be suffering these days.The old woman got up and walked to a little desk in the corner. She pulled out paper and pencils and returned to the table.OLD WOMANNow write something to Mama.JOSHI’m sorry ma’am I can’t.OLD WOMANYou can write, can’t you?JOSHYes.(beat)But I can’t. At least I wont.OLD WOMANYou have a hard nature, little man.JOSHI suppose you’re right. I don’t want to be mean.(beat)If Joey wants to write, he can.The old woman turned the paper and pencil to Joey.JOEYYes. I’ll write a note to them. But, I can’t say I’m coming home. Because me and Josh are going to stick together.OLD WOMANWell then, that’s the way it is. Anyway your mama is going to sleep better knowing that you’re still alive.Joey began to write with what the old woman provided him.EXT. OLD WOMAN’S HOUSE - AFTERNOONThe two boys exit the house and turn around to the old woman.OLD WOMANHere write whenever you can.She says as she hands Joey a bunch of stamped envelopes.JOEYYes ma’am.JOSHThank you so much.OLD WOMANOh don’t you bother with it. Good luck to the both of you.She waves as the boys walk away.JOEYThank you.Josh smiles appreciatively. The old woman watches the boys walk away. Then she closes her door.EXT. THE ROAD - EVENINGThe boys walk alongside the road. A large truck passes by with it’s brakes on. It slowly pulls off the road to a halt. The boys look to each other and smile. They then run to the parked truck. The truck driver helps to open up the passenger side door when the boys reach it. The boys stop to look at the driver. LONNIE (41) a tall skinny tired looking man.LONNIEWhere you boys from?JOSHChicago.LONNIEWhere are you heading?JOSHWhere just moving along sir.LONNIEPlenty of your kind nowadays.(beat)No folks?Josh looks to Joey.JOSHNo, we’re on our own, sir.LONNIEWell, I was taking this load down to New Orleans. You want to head south?JOSHWould you take us?(beat)I’ll do anything I can to help.LONNIEDo you have any money?JOSHNot a cent, sir.Beat.LONNIEWell, I’ve been broke quite a few times myself. I know how it feels.(beat)Give the youngster a hand and climb in.The boys climb in and Lonnie starts driving away. Joey’s eyes become drowsy as they begin to dose off on Josh’s shoulder. Lonnie looks over Joey and then looks to Josh.LONNIEPretty young for a jaunt like this isn’t he?JOSHYes, he’s only seven, but he was set on coming with me.Beat.LONNIEHave a rest a little. Long strait slabs get you hypnotized after a while.They continue driving. Josh mesmerized by the road. Lonnie’s face creates a half smile as he turns up a song he likes.INT. THE TRUCK - NIGHTThe truck comes to a halt and Josh wakes up from his sleep. Joey exits the cab with Lonnie. Josh rushes to the other side of the truck after them.LONNIEWhat was the trouble about?(beat)You know what I mean. Why did you run away?JOSHI hate to talk about it.LONNIEYou don’t have to, I suppose, but before we get too far I’d like to know more about two boys I’m hauling south.Beat.JOSHI couldn’t take it anymore. Our father...Josh continues the spiel. EXT. ROADSIDE - MOMENTS LATERA truck passes.JOSH... And so we just had to get out on our own.LONNIEHow old are you, Josh?JOSHFifteen.LONNIEI thought so. What month were you born?JOSHJune. June twelfth.LONNIEThat’s pretty close. (beat)My kid was born in April of that year. His name was David.JOEYHe died?LONNIEYes, he did. Six years ago. He was about as tall as Joey, heavier though, and brown as a little Indian. Looking at you makes me realize how big he would of been. (beat)Well-Lonnie opens the cab door.LONNIE (CONT’D)We’d better get on down the road. We got allot of miles ahead of us.EXT. THE TRUCK - LATE NIGHTThe truck continues down the road.INT. THE TRUCK - MORNINGLonnie then pulled the truck over into a cafe parking lot.LONNIEWe’d better have something to eat.JOSHA lady gave Joey and me a good breakfast this morning. We can get along on one meal a day.LONNIENo come on in.JOEYWe don’t have a cent.LONNIEYou told me that. We’re not going to have steak. Just soup and hamburgers. Come on.INT. ROADSIDE REASTURAUANT - LATERThe chef frying the hamburgers stuck his head around to see Lonnie enter with the boys.CHEFSee you got friends with you.LONNIEYes. Couple of guys from the windy city. Going down to Louisiana with me.JOEYMister?LONNIELonnie. That’s what my niece calls me.(beat)How about that banjo, Joey? Can you play?JOEY(somber)It’s Howie’s.Beat.JOSHHowie was my best friend. He played the banjo while I played the piano.(beat)He died on the tracks.(beat)Joey is trying to play better. So we can play together.The waitress wipes off their table.LONNIEBessie, is that old piano still in the next room?BESSIESure. You buying up junk on this trip?LONNIEThe kid says he can play. I want to hear him. Alright if we go in while the hamburgers are cooking?BESSIECome on.(beat)This ain’t no Stienway, but, you’re welcome to try it.They went into the room and Josh took his seat at the piano. He began to play. A little weak at first then he got back into rhythm. After a few songs Josh stopped. The few people within the restaurant clapped for Josh. Joey’s smile was beaming. They returned to their seats. Bessie brought the burgers and slid a card over to Lonnie. On the card is a name of Pete Harris and an address written on it.BESSIELonnie, this man Pete Harris, is a cousin of mine. He grew up here in Nebraska, we went to school together. He’s been down south for fifteen, maybe twenty years now, but he always keeps in touch.(beat)Reason I’m telling you this is that Pete has a carnival down south near Baton Rouge. He’s operating on a shoestring, he told us, but he hires piano players sometimes.(beat)He might, he just might, have a place for this boy. Will you be near Baton Rouge?Lonnie looks to the boys. They’re faces are ectatic.LONNIEI’ll make it a point to be there.BESSIEPete’s a pretty good fellow. He’ll go out of his way to help someone down on his luck.LONNIENot many of that bread left.BESSIEYou’re plenty right there ain’t.(beat)Tell him Bessie Jenkins recommended you, he’ll like doing me a favor.LONNIEWe’ll do just that.Lonnie said with a look to the boys. Lonnie began eating the boys excitingly followed.INT. THE TRUCK - NIGHTJosh awakes and notices Lonnie still glued to the road.LONNIEYou don’t forgive easily, do you, Josh?Beat.JOSHNo. I guess I don’t.LONNIEHaven’t you ever made any mistakes yourself?JOSHOf coarse.LONNIEBut you somehow got the idea that men have no right to make mistakes? That it’s just the privilege of children?Beat. Silence.LONNIEEveryone makes mistakes. I made one once, and it’s nearly driven me out of my mind at times.(beat)My boy, I told you he died six years ago. Well, he complained of a bad belly ache one night. His mother wanted to call a doctor, but I thought it was just a case of kid eating too much.(beat)I gave him a dose of Castor Oil. My mother had done the same for me as a boy. But, it wasn’t right for Davy.(beat)He had appendicitis. It killed him.JOSH(softly)I’m sorry.LONNIE(to himself)If I met your dad tonight. I’d shake his hand and say I know just how you feel.Lonnie looks desperately out the side window while tracks of tears roll down his face.INT. DINER - MORNINGThe three sit at a table as the waitress approaches.WAITRESSKnow what you want?LONNIEYes. Toast and three eggs over easy. Milk for the boys and a coffee for me.WAITRESSOkay.LONNIEThank you.(beat)If this Pete Harris doesn’t come through with work for you, we’ll see if we can’t hit someone else. I know some people down in New Orleans who may be able to give us a lead. Folks are great for music down there, I think we have a pretty good chance of finding something for you.The boys smiled with excitement. The waitress came over with the breakfast and handed it to Lonnie and the boys. Josh pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and wrote down dollar amounts of their breakfast.LONNIEI am not worried over the cost of an egg or two and a few hamburgers, Josh.JOSHI know your not. But, i’ll feel better if I can get a job and pay you back for what your spending on us.LONNIEI think maybe you’re right. Don’t feel like you’re being pressed, though.(beat)Take care of the kid before you start sending money to me.(beat)We’ll let’s eat and then find that carnival, shall we?The boys smile. The three begin eating. EXT. THE ROAD - DAYThe truck continues down the interstate. It passes a sign welcoming them into New Orleans.INT. THE TRUCK - EVENINGLonnie parks the truck on the side of the road next to a bank.LONNIEAlright wait here and I’ll go see if I can’t find anyone who knows where that Mr. Harris is.JOEYOkay.Lonnie exits the truck and runs across the street then enters the bank.JOEYJosh?JOSHYeah?JOEYI don’t want to leave Lonnie.JOSHWe have to.JOEYI know. I just don’t want to.JOSHLet’s just hope that Pete Harris is as nice as Lonnie.Lonnie rushes back to the truck looking sad.JOEYThat would be nice.Lonnie enters the cab.LONNIEI got some bad news.The boys look mortified.LONNIEThe carnival isn’t here.(long beat)It’s a couple miles south.Lonnie laughs followed by the boys in relief. Lonnie starts the truck and begins back on the road.EXT. CARNIVAL - NIGHTThe truck nears the large carnival. Just off the road with hundreds of colored light bulbs, merry go round, blaring music and hundreds of voices.INT. THE TRUCK - CARNIVAL - SAMEThe boys look on the carnival with glowing excitement. Lonnie watches the boys distant stare with a smile.EXT. CARNIVAL - MOMENTS LATERThe three make their way through the carnival grounds. They stumble upon a tent with Pete Harris printed on a giant card above the entrance.LONNIELemme go work my magic.The boys giggle as Lonnie enters the tent.JOEYHe’s really dedicated to us isn’t he, Josh?JOSHYeah. Lonnie’s definitely a great guy.JOEYThere is so much here. Do you really think that Mr. Pete have a place for us?JOSHWe can hope so.PETE (O.S.)Come on in here boys.The boys enter the tent.INT. PETE’S TENT - SAMEThe boys walk nervously toward Lonnie standing next to Pete’s desk. PETE HARRIS (49) is standing behind his desk. He is a short, rather fat man, neither friendly nor unfriendly. The boys stop.Beat.PETETo tell you the truth I don’t know how long this show is going to hang together. Times ain’t good for having fun. People ain’t letting go of their money anymore.(beat)I don’t know wether I can afford to take on anybody more or not.LONNIEEveryone in your cousin’s cafe that night last week were kind of amazed at how he got music out of an old piano that was ready for the junk heap.(beat)Will you at least hear the boy play?Pete kept mopping his neck with the handkerchief. Pete then looks at Joey and relaxes a little.PETE(to Joey)Hi ya, sport.(beat)Alright, come on. Wont hurt me anything to hear you play a little.(beat)Far as a job goes I just don’t know.Pete leads the three out of his tent.INT. TENT - MOMENTS LATERPete leads the three into another tent with a piano and all extra miscellaneous items stacked in piles. Pete motions for Josh to play.Josh sits and begins to play with extreme nervousness, but still well. Long beat.When he finishes he turned around to see Pete’s reaction. Pete turns to Lonnie and continues to wipe his neck.PETEThe kids not bad.(to himself)Not bad at all.LONNIEYeah, I think that people would enjoy seeing and having a boy play.PETEI would take the boy on in a heart beat if times weren’t so bad.Pete over looks Joey.PETEThey’ve been rotten for you too. Haven’t they, sport?JOEYYes, pretty rotten up until we met Lonnie.(beat)But, we can’t expect Lonnie to take care of us anymore we’re not his kids.Beat.PETEI’m going to take you on, kid. You’re pretty good. If you can learn how to ballyhoo as well as you play, you just might be a good attraction.He turned to Joey.PETE (CONT’D)I’ll give your brother five dollars a week with grub, and sleepin’ space for the two of you. That okay with you boys?The boys faces are overcome with joy. Pete looks to Lonnie wearily.PETECome on. I’ll show you where you can bunk. I’ll get you ready for work in the morning.The boys followed Pete out of the tent.INT. HOME TENT - MOMENTS LATERPete enters followed by the two boys and Lonnie. The tent is filled with more than a dozen cots. They follow Pete to the back.PETEMen and boys sleep here. A few have families in boxcars out on the sidings. Most don’t have their families at all. At least not here.(beat)I’ll put you boys together down here at the end. The two dwarf men will be your neighbors.(beat)Edward C. is a fine little guy. Blegan is rattlebrained and gossipy as an old woman, but you don’t need to pay attention to him. They’ll show you where the grub tent is in the morning. Then come find me where you did this today and I’ll get you ready for work.Pete extends his hand to Lonnie.PETE (CONT’D)Glad to have made your acquaintance I’ll do right by the kids. Long as I can.(beat)Like I told you. I just don’t know.Pete then exits the tent.EXT. OUTSIDE CARNIVAL - MOMENTS LATERThe boys and Lonnie walk away from the glowing lights back to the truck.JOSHI’m sorry for time you’ll have to make up because of this.LONNIEI wanted to see you with a job before I left you.(beat)This is not exactly great, but it’s a job. Maybe it will lead to something better. A guy can never tell.Lonnie pulls out a piece of paper out of the glove department, writes on it then hands it to Josh. On the paper is his name Lon Bromer and his address in Omaha, Nebraska.LONNIEThis is where I live when I am home. I’ll be back down here in a couple of months if I’m not laid off. If I make it back, I’ll look you up.(beat)If not let me know how your getting along.JOSHI’ll do that Lonnie. JOEYHe sure will.They laugh.LONNIEI’ll have you two fellows on my mind. If you ever get into a real jam, just let me know. I’ll help as best I can.Josh and Lonnie shake hands. Lonnie slowly turns to Joey. Joey rushes to him and hugs the man. Lonnie holds back his tears as he hugs Joey. Joey releases and Lonnie awkwardly waves as he heads for the driver’s side. He starts the truck up and drives away. The two boys watch. They begin speaking with they’re eyes still glued to the departing truck.JOSHYou want to walk around?JOEYCan we go to bed?JOSHYeah. We can go to sleep.The boys turn back toward the carnival. Josh places his arm around Joey’s shoulders.INT. HOME TENT - MORNINGBlegan stands over Josh with Edward C. Sitting on his cot.BLEGANGet up if you want your breakfast, you new guys.(beat)What is your name anyway?JOSHJosh, and my brother is Joey.BLEGANHow’d you get here?JOSHI play the piano and...BLEGANOh great. Pete Harris needs a piano player like we need another cut in wages. Pete Harris is a fool. A crazy old fool. And you are a young fool. You’d better find another job you wont be playing a piano here very long.EDWARDWhy can’t you behave yourself, Blegan? Pete asked us to bring the boys to breakfast. Nothing about a lucture.Edward extends his hand to Josh.EDWARDMy name is Edward C. Kensington. Don’t pay any attention to Blegan.(beat)Come on lets go eat some grub, huh.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - MOMENTS LATERThe four walk toward the food tent. Blegan waddling ahead of the rest. He paces back to ask a question.BLEGAN(to Joey)Why aren’t you home with your mama, little sweet child?JOEYI’m an orphan.Blegan waddles back ahead. They enter the breakfast tent.INT. FOOD TENT - SAMEThe four enter. There are fifty or more people seated amoung long wooden narrow tables. Blegan met with a dwarf woman.JOEY(to Edward)Who’s that.EDWARDThat is Blegan’s wife.The three get in line and begin filling their plates with food. Edward waited for Josh and Joey to finish getting their food and then guides them to a table.EDWARDWe will sit in the quieter section.They sit in a corner.EDWARDYou’ll find lots of pleasant people here in spite of the bad impressions you’re getting.(beat)We carnie’s are not a bad sort really. Of coarse, the circus down their noses at us, but we can’t be bothered by that. Some of the finest people I know are carnies. People like Emily.(beat)You’ll meet Emily soon. She’s very dear to us.JOEYWhat does the c stand for?EDWARDThe c stands for courage. Many times the pain in my hump has been too much to bear that I must remember my middle name is courage.(beat)Well, now enough of that. There are plenty of other people in this world with their woes. Take that fellow at the table opposite of us. That is Ellsworth, the man with flippers for arms. The man feeding him is Grady, the sword swallower.(beat)Never say anything more than good day to us. Very reserved gentlemen.(beat)Then there is Madam Olympia, the obese lady. She has a remarkable appetite.JOSHThere is a lot of good food here.EDWARDPete Harris wants us to be well fed. He makes Emily come here for breakfast.JOEYIs Emily a performer?EDWARDShe is the most popular performer in the carnival. If it wasn’t for Emily, there most likely wouldn’t be a show. You’ll see. You’ll meet her before too long.(beat)We’re a motley crew, we carnies.Edward stops and stands excited and waving.EDWARDThere she is. There’s Emily. Here we are, over here, Emily.EMILY (30) is a tall woman wearing a clown’s costume of bright colors with a wide white ruff around her neck. Her shoes were great, flapping triangles of red leather. The toes extended a foot or more beyond the edge of her balloon like trousers. Emily nears the boys with a plate of food and shakes Joey’s hand first. Josh is taken back by her beauty.EMILYPete asked me to find you and say hello. I know that your in good hands if your with Edward C. EDWARDWhy are you so surprised Josh? Haven’t you seen a beautiful clown before?JOEYI didn’t know ladies were ever clowns. I wouldn’t think they’d like to make themselves ugly.EMILYThey don’t Joey. But, they like to eat occasionally.(beat)You must get acquainted with my boys. The oldest is about your age. The other two are six and five. Sometimes they forget that I’m their mother. When they see me on the grounds, they call me Bongo. Just as the other kids do.JOEYShould I call you Bongo?EMILYIt would be better. You see no one outside the gates knows that I’m a woman. They might not like a clown named Emily.Emily turns to Josh.EMILYYou’ll be playing and ballyhooing outside the girlie show, Josh. Those ladies at the table over there are the dancers.Emily points Josh and Joey look to their left.EMILY (CONT’D)It’s a gyp-show you’d just as well know it. People pay a dime and expect to see either some pretty girls or some beautiful dancing that is only third rate.(beat)A lot of people will complain to you about it. But, the dancers have to eat too.JOEYWe know all about being hungry.Emily recognizes the statement sadly.EMILYPete wants me to trim your hair after breakfast.She continues eating.INT. TENT - MORNINGEmily stands next to Josh seated in a chair trimming his hair. Joey sits to the side with an obviously already trimmed head. She looks over the hair one last time.EMILY(satisfied)You can go to Pete now. He’ll tell you what you’re to do today.JOSHOkay. Thank you.JOEYGoodbye.The three left the tent and headed for Pete Harris’s tent.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - MOMENTS LATEREDWARDEmily is overworked. It’s too much. A clown act is exhausting in itself. Besides that she has the boys to care for and the anxiety about all the tomorrows ahead of her. I worry about Emily. I am fond of her.The carnies prepare for opening in the background.INT. PETE’S TENT - MOMENTS LATERPete Harris was busy with book work at his desk.PETEMorning Edward C glad you’re taking care of the boys.(beat)I see Emily has worked on your hair a little. Looks better. Looks a lot better. Trust Emily. She can do anything. Wish I could pay her more.Pete hands Josh some clothes.PETEHere try these on. The loud colors should grab some attention.Josh walks to a changing area in the back. Pete turns to Joey.PETESo how you doing sport?JOEYGood.PETEGlad to hear it. Old Edward C didn’t keep you up all night with his snoring did he?JOEYNope. Slept like a happy log.They all chuckle.PETEThat’s good.Josh exits the changing room dressed in a pair of tight orange pants, and a bright red and yellow shirt with a checkered vest with fringes.PETE(happy)That’ll do it!EXT. DANCER’S TENT - LATERPete guides the three to a piano in front of the tent. PETEOkay Josh. You have to look like your having the most fun in the world playing this piano. It’s your job to get peoples attention to these dancers. Okay?JOSHOkay.PETEOkay. I’ll be around to see your progress.Pete walks away. Josh hesitates before beginning to play.JOSHCan you take Joey somewhere else Edward?EDWARDYeah. Sure I can. You’ll be fine, Josh. Come on Joey.Edward and Joey leave. Josh slowly begins to play. He stops suddenly.JOSH(to himself)More excitement.(beat)Right.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - NIGHTEmily gathers her kids half asleep from Pete Harris’s tent and heads for her boxcar. She stopped at the piano that Josh stands silently at. Josh notices Emily as he pretends to be cleaning the piano.EMILYHow was your first day?JOSHThe excitement was rough.EMILYYeah that tends to be the hardest to adapt to.(beat)Here I want you to have this.She hands him an empty journal from her bag.EMILYI can tell you have much to be said that isn’t. Plus its a gift I will never use.JOSHThank you.EMILYGood night Josh.JOEYGood night Emily.Josh watches Emily walk away.INT. TENT - MORNINGJoey and Josh sit on they’re beds trying to withhold their excitement.JOEYI got you a Christmas present, Josh.JOSHI got one for you too.Beat.JOEYWanna open them?JOSHYeah.They hurry to grab the presents.EDWARDIt’s not Christmas yet.EDWARD(shaking head)Kids.Josh and Joey hand each other their gifts with giant smiles. Beat. They open them as fast as possible. Joey opens a blue shirt with a chocolate bar. Josh opens a brand new wallet.JOEYMmm. Chocolate.JOSHWow.Josh played with his wallet as Joey ate his chocolate bar and changed his shirt.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - NIGHTJosh stands at his piano waiting. He notices Emily struggling to hold her crying baby and rush the other two kids home. Josh hurries to help.JOSHWant me to give him a piggy-back?Emily smiled and helped the kid onto Josh’s back. They begin walking.EXT. EMILY’S BOXCAR - MOMENTS LATERJosh lowers the kid off of his back and Emily quickly brings the kids inside. Josh kicks the dirt while waiting. Emily exits and sits at the bottom step.EMILYSit down for a minute Josh. (beat)Is something bothering you lately?JOSHNo. Just the blues.EMILYIt’s time for the blues, isn’t it?JOSHI ought to be thankful that I have a job. Well, I am. It’s just...EMILY... You’re lonely, Josh. I’ve realized that. It’s too bad there aren’t any young people of your age at the carnival.Beat.JOSHI wish you were a girl, Emily. I’d give anything in the world if you were a girl. My age.Josh looks away ashamed.EMILYIf I were a girl your age I’d be very proud to know you cared for me, Josh.JOSHBut, you don’t like it that I care for you now, do you?EMILYYou know Josh, there are women who become very vein when a younger man tells them what you’ve told me. I’m not vein. (beat)I think I’m grateful.JOSHI was afraid you’d think I was a fool.EMILYThen you don’t know me very well. I think of you as a sensitive, talented boy. A bit on the stubborn side, but never a fool.Josh rises to his feet. The smiled to each other.EMILYGood night, dear Josh.JOSHGood night and thank you.Josh walks away while Emily watches him.INT. FOOD TENT - MORNINGJosh, Joey, Edward and Emily sit eating breakfast. Josh looks up at Emily and quickly back to his food when she looks up from her own. Emily looks gently to Edward.EMILYI think we must drag ourselves out of the blues for Christmas, Edward C. The carnival will be closed Christmas eve so why don’t you and the boys come over to my place for cocoa and molasses cookies.(beat)Would you like that?The boys smile, Joey more so than Josh.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - LATERJosh, Joey and Edward walk together.EDWARDIt’s an honor, Josh.(beat)Emily keeps so much to herself. I can’t remember a time when she has invited any of us to her home. It’s obvious that you and Joey and I. Are special to her.JOEY(excited)I want to get Emily a box of candy.JOSH(excited)There’s a nice perfume stand near the entrance. I might just...EDWARDShe needs money so much, Josh. With that family of growing boys. I think we should find a bright box and fill it with dimes, ten from each of us.(beat)Joey can polish them till they’re shiny, and we’ll get one of the ladies to tie a ribbon around it for us. Emily will appreciate it, boys. Believe me. I know she’ll appreciate it at this time more than she would either candy or perfume.Edward is satisfied as Josh is not when they near the piano.EXT. EMILY’S BOXCAR - DAYThe boys and Edward walk toward the boxcar all brushed and scrubbed. Emily stands in the doorway dressed like a woman in a faded cotton dress. With bright red-gold hooped earrings.EDWARDYou look beautiful Emily.EMILYThank you.JOEYYes, you most definitely do not look like a clown today.EMILY(smiling)Thank you, Joey.Josh stares at Emily momentarily speechless. Beat.JOSHYou look very nice, Emily.EMILYAnd so do you Josh. And both of you as well.(beat)Come on.They follow her into the boxcar.INT. EMILY’S BOXCAR - SAMEThey enter to find Pete siting at the table surrounded by Emily’s children, the youngest on his lap.PETEHello. Hello gentlemen. How are you, Edward C.? Brought your boys with you, eh? Just look at the young sport here. You’re gettin’ fat, boy. You’re getting some meat on you.He says as he gently pokes Joey’s stomach. He then holds out his hand to Josh.PETEHow’er you doin’, pandereski?Emily moves next to a chair smiling. Josh reluctantly takes Pete’s hand.JOSHGood. Thank you.PETEGreat!EMILYPete surprised us with roast chickens and pralines. (beat)Now we can have a REAL Christmas party, Joey. The boys could hardly wait until you got here.Joey is all smiles as he hands the shiny box to Emily.JOEYThis is for you Emily, from Edward C., and Josh, and me.Emily opens the box smiling. Her eyes begin to fill with tears. She shows Pete what is inside as he nods approvingly.PETEThat’s a real fine present, boys.(looks to Emily)You couldn’t ask for a nicer one, could you, hon?Joey’s face becomes concerned with Pete’s words.EMILYThese dimes and these earrings from all of you are making this the happiest Christmas known in a long time. Thank you.Edward notices Josh’s disappointed face.EDWARDYou know, my dear. Josh wanted to buy you perfume. And you’re so lovely tonight I am sorry I dissuaded him. You should have had gifts more personal, gifts that would have allowed us to tell you how pretty you are.Emily puts her arms around Edward’s shoulders while looking at Josh.EMILYNo, Edward C., you three couldn’t have given me a finer gift than the box of dimes. And every time I use one of them for food or medicine, I’ll say. (beat)This is my gift of white gloves from, Joey. This is a laced handkerchief from Edward C.(beat)And this is another drop of French perfume from our musician, from Josh.Josh begins to settle with Emily’s words then Pete begins to speak.PETEYou were on the right track, Edward C., Emily needs those dimes. This ain’t the year for laced handkerchiefs and perfume. Right, hon?Josh can’t stand hearing HON. Emily sees that.EMILYWell, I think we should eat.INT. EMILY’S BOXCAR - LATER - PASSING MOMENTSThey all sit around the diner table eating, laughing and talking. Josh is more withheld than the rest. Pete sneaks away and comes back dressed as Santa Clause. He begins handing out toys to the boys. Even Joey gets a knife with the letters P. H. on it.Emily notices Josh’s fixation on her. She quickly turns to the children with excitement.EMILYHey. How about some christmas carols?CHILDREN(excited)Yay!Emily turns to Josh.EMILYHow about it musician? Will you play as we sing?Josh looks at everyone’s excited eyes.JOSHOf course.The children rise in cheer. Everyone prepares to leave.EXT. DANCER’S TENT - NIGHTThe group continues singing as Josh plays the piano on with his mind elsewhere. The other carnies slowly begin to crowd and join in on the caroling. Before long there is nearly all of them singing their hearts out.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - DAYJosh mopes around while the background is filled with excitement and joy.INT. HOME TENT - NIGHTJosh sluggishly walks to his bed. Joey sits on his bed playing the banjo and singing softly. Joey spots Josh and grows excited.JOEYHey Josh. Guess what? Pete is letting me go around singing and playing. Just like you, Josh.Josh falls face down on his bed with his face turned away from Joey.Beat.JOEYWhat’s wrong with you lately, Josh?They both sit in silence. Joey eventually returns to playing the banjo. Josh keeps a stare away from Joey.EXT. DANCER’S TENT - NIGHTJosh prepares to leave his piano for the day. One of the dancers, FLORINDA (32) stops to talk with him.FLORINDADon’t you ever smile about nothin’, big fellow?Beat.FLORINDA (CONT’D)Was there some law up north that kept big fellows like you from gettin’ a smile on their mouths?JOSHThere’s nothing much to smile about Florinda.FLORINDAYou come out with me some night after workin’ hours and I’ll take you places where there’s plenty of smiles. You got money in your pocket now. You can afford to treat yourself and me to some nice smile places.JOSHI have to save my money. I’ve been hungry because I didn’t have money. I don’t believe in spending it in smile places.Florinda moves closer to Josh.FLORINDAI know what’s eatin’ you, big fellow. It’s the clown. I’ve seen you lookin’ calf-eyed at her. Well, listen kid, she’s Pete Harris’ woman. Don’t get no big ideas. That clown belongs to Pete. So you just better be a good boy and keep your eyes off her.Florinda smiles then kisses the side of Josh’s stone cold face.EXT. CARNIVAL GROUNDS - NIGHTEmily with her kids stops to see an empty piano. Then continues on her way.INT. FOOD TENT - MORNINGEmily brings her breakfast to the table where Edward and Joey are seated.JOEYJosh is sitting with the Blegan’s again.EMILYSo I see.EDWARDI think I said something wrong to the poor lad.Emily looks sadly to Josh.EMILYNo, Edward. It’s not your fault.Josh pretends to be preoccupied by his food and the Blegan’s.BLEGAN(to his wife)... and had I heard that Pete Harris was soon to marry his clown? Oh, what a fool Pete Harris is to take on three redheaded brats for the privilege of marrying a redheaded clown!This grabs Josh’s attention as he then looks to Emily. Emily is engrossed in conversation with Edward and Joey.EXT. DANCER’S TENT - NIGHTJosh sits staring at the piano. Emily approaches alone. She stops slowly.EMILY(quietly)Good night, Josh.Beat. She then begins to walk away. Josh stands quickly.JOSH(suddenly)May I walk home with you?EMILYYes, of course. I haven’t talked with you for a long time.They walk awkwardly and silent with each other.JOSHWhere is your boys?EMILYEdward put them to bed for me earlier.Long beat. Silence.EXT. EMILY’S BOXCAR - MOMENTS LATERThey silently approach the boxcar. Emily sits on the doorstep and motions for Josh to sit with her. He sits then she looks to him curiously.EMILYWell, Josh?JOSHHow can you do it Emily?EMILYDo what?JOSHYou know very well. How can you marry Pete Harris? How can you do a thing like that?Long Beat. Emily takes Josh’s hand in her own.EMILYJosh, once many years ago I loved someone who didn’t even know that I existed. I loved him so much, and I hated the girl he loved, a girl older and more sophisticated than I was. I suffered in those awful weeks before they were married, but the days and months soothed things out for me.Beat.EMILYTo tell you the truth I almost have forgotten what he was like or why I loved him. But, I know my love was sharp and hurtful while it lasted. JOSHYes. What are you trying to tell me?Beat.EMILYI don’t know. I’m not sure what I want to tell you. I’m just saying what is on my mind at the moment.JOSHThis is in my mind, Emily. People are saying that you’re Pete Harris’s woman. Is that right?Emily takes her hand away from Josh’s.EMILYThere is a hate quality in that statement that sounds like Florinda or Blegan talking.Beat.EMILYNo. I am not Pete Harris’s ‘woman’ in the sense they say it. But I am going to marry Pete.She looks away in the distance.EMILY (CONT’D)Pete is a good man. He’s not handsome or well edu
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Book / Fantasy
Book / Children Stories
Short Story / Fantasy
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