JUST THREE THINGS by Dorian Palumbo
EXT. MARINA – PORTREE, SCOTLAND – SUMMER MORNING
GAVIN FINDLAY, late 40’s, rolls out of his berth on his sailboat, rubs his eyes and stretches. He’s a big man – it would be a poor idea to annoy him too badly – attractive in that rough-around-the edges kind of way. He grabs a pair of trousers and starts to put them on.
Gavin steps partway up onto the deck, checking the weather, turning his head this way and that. After a moment, he starts up onto the deck, but before he can completely emerge a woman’s hand grabs him around the ankle and tugs him slightly backward.
Annoyed, he turns back and speaks down into the hold.
Josie, a man needs a breath of air every once in a while.
He tries to lift his foot gently. She won’t let go. He leans down into the hold.
Don’t you have a boyfriend to go home to or something?
Ah, fer God’s sake.
He goes back down into the hold.
INT. LAUNDRY FACILITY
Inside the laundrette, Gavin is folding his clean clothes as MICK POLK, 60’s, perches nearby on a table, chatting.
Wasn’t that Josie Kidd I saw slinking off your boat this morning there, Gavin?
Come on, Mick. Real men don’t gossip, now, do they?
Sure they do. Come on. Take pity on a dirty old married man. Give us the story.
Gavin thinks for a moment and smiles.
She kept asking me to slap her.
They’ve all read this fifty grey whatsit book now, and they want you to paddle ’em hard with your hands and that.
He playacts slapping a woman hard on the arse, followed by a falsetto squeaking/moaning noise.
I’m serious. It’s like an epidemic. “Pinch me hard, spank me” – it’s fucking ridiculous.
Oh, Christ. You spank a woman with those mitts and you’ll send her over the side.
That’s what I told her, but she insisted.
Gavin grins. Mick smacks Gavin with the back of his hand for emphasis.
Fuck, I wish I was you.
Nah, you don’t. Your Lucy’s a good girl.
Thirty years soon. Eighteen on the boat. Not much slapping involved, but we do all right. Will we see you later then.
Maybe not. Might take her out for a run up. Feeling a bit stuck down, you know?
See you in a few days maybe? Weeks?
Gavin finishes putting his clean laundry into the duffel bag he has waiting and zips it.
INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY
Gavin approaches the counter where SUE, 50’s, is waiting for him.
What can I get for you, Gavin?
Bagel. Cream cheese. And, ah, do the capuccino with the chocolate bits on top of it, will you Sue?
Gavin spies a young girl, JADE, 15, sitting in the corner using a pay-per-use computer terminal. She’s got the top of her hoodie pulled over her head, as if that could lend her a bit of privacy.
Gavin turns back to Sue.
I like your hair like that.
Aye, do you? Davide likes it long. Longer the better. He was gutted when I hacked it all off.
Well, it’s very-
Jade sniffles, and her back spasms slightly. She’s trying not to cry too loudly, as she wipes her nose with her fingers. Then wipes her fingers on her jeans.
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman & Douglas A. Blackmon
EXT. ALABAMA COTTON FIELD (1865)
SLAVES pluck cotton as SLAVE OWNER hovers with a SHOT GUN.
WHITE BOY (9) grabs BLACK GIRL’s hand (6) and dashes between plants, LAUGHING, until a BOOM sounds off in the distance.
Everyone stops working and fixates on SMOKE billowing from a neighbor’s.
BLACK UNION SOLDIERS swarm the plantation.
BLACK UNION SOLDIER #1
War be over!
BLACK UNION SOLDIER #2
Y’all be free!
Slaves’ confusion morphs into CHEERS. They drop their bags and race after the celebrating soldiers. Tufts of loose cotton swirl in the air.
Slave Owner steps from the field with White Boy and Black Girl behind.
Get back here!
Several slaves LAUGH as they run for freedom -- more tufts dancing on thermals.
White Boy and Black Girl GIGGLE and dart in circles around Slave Owner, chasing floating cotton. Slave Owner snatches his son’s arm, slaps him, and knocks him to the ground, lip bleeding.
White Boy’s eyes well with tears as Black Girl steps back.
Who ya think’s gonna pick cotton now, Boy?
FADE TO BLACK
SUPER: “FORTY YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, RURAL ALABAMA 1903”
EXT. ALABAMA DIRT ROAD – DAY
Sprawling fields bulging with bolls of cotton adorn both sides of the road. A WHITE FARMER with his two young SONS inspect their crop.
A ROAR of an engine in the distance.
Sons dash out, anticipating what’s heading toward them.
Dust billows as the ROAR grows louder -- the cloud expands until a MOTORCYCLE with sidecar EMERGES.
A dust-covered MOTORCYCLE RIDER, wearing a suit and goggles, respectfully gives them a nod as he races by, STARTLING them.
EXT. JON DAVIS SHACK
JON DAVIS (40s), a fit black man, wearing tattered overalls, steps out drying his hands on a rag. What he lacks in education, he more than makes up for with common sense.
Get on in for breakfast.
ALICE (8), arms mimicking an airplane, GIGGLES as she “flies.”
Davis smiles and pats her head as she zooms past.
CHICKEN COOP LEAN-TO
ALBERT (11) cranks a primitive, homemade, table-top COTTON GIN. He tosses in COTTON BOLLS. Clean cotton spits out.
Look Papa, it works!
He throws in more cotton. The wheel jams. He picks up a small METAL FILE with his greasy hands and tinkers with it.
Work on ones people pay us to fix. You can fiddle with your contraption later.
Got Mista Goodman’s fixed already.
Albert sighs and stacks the cotton gin near other broken equipment and jogs to the shack.
INT. JON DAVIS SHACK – BEDROOM
A hanger with an UNFINISHED MAN’S SHIRT dangles on a dresser. Long-abandoned YARN, FABRIC, and KNITTING NEEDLES litter the room.
Time stands still.
Davis’ sick and frail wife, NORA, lies in bed next to an incomplete NEEDLEPOINT of a green pasture and small shack.
Sitting next to her mother, Alice gobbles her breakfast.
...an they say those Wright brothers gonna fly like birds!
We’ll see, Baby Girl.
Albert enters, sloshes a RUSTY PAN of WATER on the NIGHTSTAND.
Davis dips the cloth and places it on Nora’s forehead.
Ain’t this hot up North, Mama.
When you better, we get on a big ol’ train and visit your sister.
Or a flying machine!
It’s an aeroplane, Dummy.
My lil’ dreamer.
Davis draws close to Nora lifting his daughter onto his lap, holding her as if his life depends on it.
Nora can barely lift her arm as she reaches for his hand.
Alice grabs the needlepoint, pulls the needle.
Mama, I be stitchin’ like you.
She pricks her finger.
Best let Mama finish it.
Davis kisses her finger, slides her off his lap. He grazes his lips over Nora’s forehead, her nose, then her mouth. She opens her eyes to see his warm smile as he rises.
Gonna deliver the eggs and git Mama’s medicine. You be da man till I gets back.
THIRD SHIFT by Amanda Idoko
EXT. NYC – LOWER MANHATTAN. NIGHT.
TIME STAMP: 11:30 PM. A YOUNG WOMAN in a tight dress races through the city as it shuts down for the night. She runs past: businesses pulling down grates, restaurants locking up, the last of the suits hailing cabs home. Under this we hear –
Working the third shift is hard. You’re starting your day as the rest of the world is getting ready for bed.
We push in on a towering skyscraper.
INT. HELBROOK & ASSOCIATES. CONFERENCE ROOM. CONTINUOUS.
The voice belongs to DANA HARVEY – 40s, by the books HR rep in a sharp suit. She’s great at her job during the day. But right now she is fighting to stay awake as she talks to a group of uninterested employees.
So believe me when I say that everyone at this firm appreciates the efforts that the overnight support staff puts into...
Dana falls asleep. Nobody is fazed by this, except CRAIG HOOK– 40s, third shift supervisor, takes his position of power very seriously. Craig reaches out to touch Dana, but stops, unsure whether or not he should wake his superior. Awkward...
TOMMY – late 20s, gay, chill, Adam Pally type – takes a picture of sleeping Dana. LINDSAY – late 20s, competitive with a desperate edge – notices Tommy taking a picture and fluffs her hair.
Do you think Dana’s prettier than me?
It’s because she gets more sunlight.
Day people look the same as night people. You’re just not that hot.
Lindsay shoots Tommy a dirty look. Dana snaps awake, crazed and disoriented. She remembers where she is and powers on.
Some attorneys have expressed concerns that things are not as professional and efficient on this shift as they are during the first and second shifts.
Ms. Harvey, I assure you that my staff is nothing but professional.
The door flies open and JADE – mid 20s, our woman from the opening, charming and she knows it – bursts into the room.
There everyone is! Didn’t realize there was a meeting. Just been at my desk, working away since 11 o’clock, when my shift started... I brought candy!
Several people rush toward Jade for candy. Dana gives Craig a look – you were saying. He forces a smile and addresses his employees with cheer.
Hey gang, Ms. Harvey’s been so nice as to visit us from HR. Let’s show her how professional we are on the third shift!
As soon as Craig steps in front of Dana, he drops the smile and angrily mouths threats to his staff as they settle down.
I think you’ve upset the Craigtator.
Nah, that’s just his face.
How was opening night?
17 people in the audience.
Alright, double digits!
Well 12 of them were German tourists who kept asking “Is this Broadway?” and then left when they realized it wasn’t. Wow, he’s still going.
Tommy turns and sees Craig, still silently mouthing threats.
Is there a problem?
Round of applause for Dana Harvey.
Not necessary. As I was saying, what was I saying, how do you do this, I shouldn’t be awake right now... We hired a wellness counselor to help mitigate the stresses of working overnight and increase work efficiency. Albert Goldstein.
ALBERT GOLDSTEIN – 20s, never grew out of his awkward stage – fumbles through his notes. Lindsay turns to Jade and Tommy.
I knew it! That’s Jerry Goldstein’s son.
How do you know that?
Why do you know that?
I don’t know, maybe because Jerry Goldstein’s the most powerful director slash producer in the city and I’ve seen like all of his family pictures.
Aaaw, Lindsay’s a stalker. Shocker.
Funny. We’ll see who’s laughing when my new bestie Albert introduces me to his dad who casts me in all of his shows.
Thanks Ms. Harvey. Um, there are many negative side effects to working the graveyard shift, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity –
Skip the negative effects and get to how you’ll help them! Please.