writing: screenplay, #2

[the girl’s name is Mildred; she is tall, modern, and almost nervous. she is orange flowers against a blue sky, or some other equally silly and half-finished aesthetic. she is wearing overalls (stylish ones), over a thick sweater.]

[her half-sister is unremarkable; she is called Alice. her greatest tragedy in life has been the death of her grandmother. she reposts the things that Mildred lives.]

[the boy is tall and obviously masculine. his hair is cut short. he has a loud, confident presence in a room, even when he is saying nothing. he is not, however, charismatic.]

Alice: Mil, what do you think? Before my boyfriend gets here, you absolutely must try this. [she is holding a slice of chocolate pie out to Mildred.]

Mildred: I couldn’t say. I’m working.

Alice: It’s no wonder you’re still a virgin–that bloody computer is the total extent of your sex life, isn’t it?

Mildred: Just because you’re twenty-two doesn’t mean you should throw around phrases like “sex life.” It doesn’t make you sound sophisticated. Just cheap.

Alice: Cheap? Thanks. I know you don’t mean it. Just try some, please?

Mildred: Fine. [she looks up, swipes her finger through the pie]

Alice: It’s good, isn’t it? Maybe like what our mother used to make? I was up all last night trying to find a recipe. I don’t have that much to do, ever since–Well, you know.

Mildred: Not really. You can tell me later, can’t you? I have a deadline.

Alice: Oh, of course. Of course. I’m sorry.

[she lingers uncertainly for a moment. the television is on softly in the background. it is a summer action flick; vintage cars are currently being blown to bits.]

Alice: You know who that man looks like? That man in the movie, I mean?

Mildred: No.

Alice: I’m sure I’ve seen him before–somewhere.

Mildred: Just leave the pie here and go back to the kitchen, why don’t you?

Alice: Oh–I know who! He looks like your father.

[Mildred looks up quickly, then immediately back at her screen. she is more irritated than anything else].

Mildred: Alice–not this, again.

Alice: I’m sorry, I can’t help it. It’s just so–terrible. What you had to go through. And look at you now–

Mildred: Yes, as a successful working woman. With a salary twice the amount of yours.

Alice: Mil, don’t say that. We’re sisters. We have to share tragedy. Humanity must share tragedy–one man would collapse under the weight of universal pathos, and so in fairness, he shares the burden.

Mildred: “Shares the burden”? Forces it, I think.

Alice: Last night, I was going through some of the old photo books in the attic. You were just a lovely child. I wish I had known you then. I always wanted to be like Anne, with a bosom friend. Every girl needs a Diana.

Mildred: Seems as if you did a lot last night.

[Alice breaks out of her reverie. she is not following Mildred’s line of thought, as is expected.]

Alice: What?

Mildred: Last night. Finding a recipe, finding the photo albums. How do you manage to have a sex life, I wonder?

Alice: Mil, darling, it’s all for you and our mother. I feel like–like I owe you all something. I was the lucky one. I have the Cambridge education, the steady boyfriend.

Mil: Yes, and it’s all going to waste.

Alice: What?

[Mildred smiles thinly; there is a growing hardness in her eyes]

Mildred: The pie is wonderful, Alice. Make another one, why don’t you? I’d love to bring something back home with me tonight.

Alice: Only if you don’t insult me so much. But of course you don’t mean it. You’re tired, always, I’m sure. And oh–! Look at the movie. I remember what movie this is now. We went and saw it together, last year when it came out. Didn’t we?

Mildred: I’ve never seen this movie before.

Alice: But it’s this torture scene. The girl with the chocolate brown hair kissing the main actor, before she stabs him. He does look like your father, doesn’t he?

Mildred: It’s been seven years. I don’t really remember how he looks.

[Alice is delighted at this breakthrough. But before she can push it, the doorbell rings]

Alice: Oh–that’s him! I asked him to come over. So we could all have some pie together.

Mildred: Alice, I have a deadline.

Alice: I’m your sister.

Mildred: Bloody hell, it’s four p.m. on a random Tuesday. Who cares if you’re my sister or not?

Alice: Mil–

[the boy enters, just in time to break up the creeping tension. there is something attractive in his look that makes Mildred instantly revulsed, and she stares intently at her screen, refusing eye contact. Alice makes an ostentatious display of welcoming the boy]

Alice: Darling! I’m sure the traffic and the office and the weather were hell.

the boy: Well, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way–

Alice: Pie? Mildred?

[she ignores them. the boy’s eyes stray to the television]

the boy: Alice, remember we went and saw that movie? Last summer?

Alice: Did we? [she is in the kitchen now, talking to Mildred and the boy from across the open counter.]

the boy: Yes, it was the day after I passed my bar exam. And then we had cocktails with the Greisons and the Arnolds.

Alice: I remember now. Were you with us, Mildred? I don’t remember.

Mildred: I don’t go out for cocktails with the people I work for.

the boy: I just remember how we all thought that movie was so odd. Because I look so much like the main actor.

Alice: Yes. [giggling nervously] That’s part of the reason I fell for you, you know. Other than all the colored lights. You had the air of such a tragic, dark figure. Like someone I’d seen in a photo album or in an old history documentary. It was very beautiful.

[Mildred gets up and slams down her computer. She leaves the room, her stilettos sharp and toneless against the floor]

the boy: Did I say something?

Alice: Don’t worry about it, darling. She’s been testy all afternoon. You know, I think it’s the pie. She has sort of an elemental aversion to it.

the boy: She probably has a deadline.

Alice: Mildred’s life is a deadline. She should stop and breath a bit. Turn the sound up on the television, won’t you? I’d like to finish the movie.

[end scene]

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