A Thousand Words

A script I came up with awhile ago. Don't know where it would go. A strange girl with an even stranger mind fights between her own imagination and a fantastic reality.

Enter on a girl pacing in her room. Posters of famous landmarks and people and scenery adorn her walls, sorted into their categories: Venice, New York, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. The girl turns, and tears a picture of three boys playing in the sands of Tel Aviv off the wall. She sets it down on a desk, next to an antique typewriter. In the background, the sound of strings and woodwind and brass instruments are tuning up, softly but growing in volume as the girl loads a paper into the machine. Drums warm up as she cranks it into place. She cracks her knuckles, as the sound of a conductor’s baton hits the stand. The girl closes her eyes as the applause fills the air. The instruments have stopped their noise. All that remains is the sound of silence. She lifts her fingers (we see a red ring on her first finger), and starts typing, but no one hears the typing. A soft, sustaining sound of a French horn begins to play instead of the sound of the silence, and THE GIRL breathes out, her eyes opened. The sentence on the typewriter is: ‘THE DUST SWIRLED AROUND THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN, MAKING IT SEEM LIKE MAGIC.’ The scene pans to the picture on the desk next to the girl. It’s moving. Cut to a flash of the girl’s eyes, flickering to the picture next to her, but still typing. Other instruments come in, playful and full of mystery.


Zoom in on the picture. The boys are slowly regaining movement, and the sand around them is moving in a tiny tornado. They’re laughing and smiling, their weather-beaten faces in huge grins. They wave their hands around in the air, shouting through the music. There is a village in the background, and beyond that, a slowly resting sunset. The sand is a myriad of colors, reds and pinks and oranges and blues. They spin around in the sun, shadows of plants dancing in the small twister. One boy points up in the air, motioning for the others to look. There is a tiny star in the sky, small but bright. The rest of the sky is deep cobalt, a striking contrast to the brilliance of the star. The boys look up at the star, forgetting the dust-devil. The star winks at them before it bursts into a trillion different places, and the music follows with high notes all around, the instruments seeming to burst with music and life itself. The boys shield their faces as it implodes upon itself, leaving the night sky blue once again. The desert is quiet, and the boys look amongst themselves, trying to comprehend what had just happened. The shot pulls back as they run back to the village, leaving their dusky playground. The music fades away as the frames of the picture come back into the shot. THE GIRL looks up at the paper, and takes it out, completed. The last sentence is ‘THEY RAN BACK TO THE VILLAGE EXCITEDLY, UNABLE TO FIND THE WORDS FOR WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED.’


The credits roll and the girl tapes the picture back up on the wall, staring at it for a moment longer before going back to the desk. The girl opens up an aluminum filing cabinet, where she stores the paper under a tab: TEL AVIV, 7. She closes it with a bang and puts a cover over her typewriter. The shot spins around the room, taking in the calendar (January), the textbooks, the dark blue blanket on the bed, the guitar, the full-length mirror on the back of the door. It goes to the girl, who is shrugging on a jacket and slinging a messenger bag over her shoulder. She opens and closes the door with a bang.


MOTHER: Valencia.


THE GIRL turns. Her name is Valencia.


V: Yes?


She is not rude, but she is in a hurry. She’s eating a piece of toast.


MOTHER: You have a letter…from the school.


There’s a letter next to the plate of toast. It’s opened.


Valencia keeps eating.


V: Since you already read it, why don’t you tell me what it says? –stares at mother-


MOTHER: -sighs- You have a new English class. Mister Tarren in room 818.


Valencia makes no move to look at the letter. She knows where the class is. She doesn’t know the teacher. She looks outside the frost-covered window.


V: Finally.


A bus outside honks its horn, and Valencia scoops up her things and the letter and goes out.




V: -sighs- What?


MOTHER: I love you.


Valencia stares at her for a second, before leaving the house. Why does she not return the farewell? Does she not love her mother? She jogs out to the bus and gets on, about three rows down. It is snowing. Valencia looks over the letter before she feels eyes on her. She turns around. A boy, TERENCE FLETCHER, is staring at her with big brown eyes. His arms are crossed over the seat, and he is resting his chin on his forearms. His nose is slightly red from the cold. Valencia looks back at the letter.


T: You got that new teacher, too?


Valencia puts the letter away in her backpack.


V: Yeah, I did.


T: I hear he’s from New York or San Francisco.


V: Those places are over four thousand miles away from each other.


T: Same distance here, right?


Valencia only nods and tries to ignore Terence.


T: What do you think he’ll be like?


V: (sarcastically) The fact that I know his name tells me a lot.


T: (laughing) Just trying to make conversation.


Valencia looks over at Terence.


V: Well what do YOU think he’ll be like?


T: I think he’s gonna be gay. And he’ll have spiky blonde hair and he’ll wear tight button-up shirts to class every day, he has glasses, and…he’s left handed.


V: You sound like you know him.


T: Nope, just my imagination. Though…you never know, right?


V: If you’re right, then…


T: -cuts off Valencia- I can come over to your house after school.


V: -startled- My mom would have a FIELD day.


T: I just want to see your house. I’m not gonna try anything. And she won’t even know I’m there.


V: You’re probably gonna be wrong anyway.


Cut to Valencia and Terence sitting next to each other in class, waiting for their new teacher to walk in. Terence is looking around the room.


T: He must’ve moved in over break. Oh! Look, I’m already one percent right!


Terence points out an equal rights sticker to Valencia.


V: It might not mean that.


T: Then what do you call that?


He points at another piece of paraphernalia—a rainbow flag in a coffee mug full of pencils. Valencia rolls her eyes.


OUTSIDE VOICE: Okay, okay, class has begun, take your seats, please.


A man walks in, with light blonde hair, spiked up in the front. Behind his frameless glasses, he has bright blue eyes, eager and attentive. He wears a dark brown button-up shirt, and a thin black tie. He looks more like a bartender than an English teacher. He picks up a piece of chalk and writes on the board: ‘MR. TARREN’ in big capital letters. He is left-handed.


Valencia’s mouth drops open and looks at Terence. He grins.


MR. T: Welcome to Junior-level English for Grimwald High School. My name is Mr. Tarren, and I will be your instructor until May this year.


He turns around from the chalkboard to face the class of about fifteen blank-faced students with an excited expression. He falters in his expression for a second.


MR. T: Let’s take roll, please. (Goes through roll, respectable ‘here’’s are responded)


MR. T: Valencia Flores. –looks up-


CLASS murmurs.


V: Here.


MR. T: I’ve heard a lot about you, Miss Flores.


V: -looks up at Mr. Tarren, says nothing-


MR. T: -moves on to other names, keeps an eye on Valencia-


Class bell rings, and Mr. Tarren distributes a stack of books. The covers say, ‘CREATIVE WRITING 101’. They’re new.


MR. T: These…will be your Bibles. Your Koran. Your Cosmo. (CLASS laughs) These…are what got me through high school and college. And this is what will get you through my class. Believe me, without this book, you will crash, burn, and worse in this class. Please write your names in the front covers.


CLASS opens books, and writes their names in on the lines provided. Flashes to several different names, including Valencia’s.


MR. T: Okay, what can anyone tell me about Creative Writing?


BOY: It’s how they make books.


GIRL: It teaches story structure.


MR. T: Thank you, thank you. Both answers are correct, but I need you to think deeper than just the dictionary definition. It expresses something. It’s an EMOTIONAL type of communication. The authors and poets are trying to TELL you something. I’m aware you all took Sophomore English? (CLASS murmurs approval) Then can you tell me the three most important rules of Literary Analysis? (CLASS is silent) Oh, come on… -looks around- No one? Miss Flores?


CLASS turns to look at Valencia.


V: (nervously) ...words, tone, and structure?


MR. T: -tilts head, winking- Thank you, Miss Flores.


The class continues, and the voice of Mr. Tarren is drowned out by joyful, enthusiastic music: a guitar, with a bouncy beat of a tarantella. Valencia watches her teacher with indifferent eyes, almost sleepy. She finally closes her eyes.


Three boys run around Valencia, dust and sand twirling about the classroom. Mr. Tarren and Terence are oblivious to Valencia’s imagination, as well as the rest of the class. The same music in the beginning scene plays again, and Valencia looks up at the ceiling—a bright star in the navy sky.


MR. T: Miss Flores?


The boys and tornado and the star are gone, and everyone is looking at Valencia. She snaps to attention.


V: What?


MR. T: Is something interesting on the ceiling?


Valencia looks up again. All that’s left from the memory is a hole poked in the ceiling tiles; a mocking star. She looks back at her teacher.


V: No, sir.


Mr. Tarren looks at her with a questioning stare. The bell rings in the background, and the scene changes to Terence and Valencia walking down a hall, Valencia flicking through her new textbooks.


T: It was made in like, the seventies. How is it in such good condition?


V: Beats me.


T: So what was up in class today? You were totally spacing out. Was there like, a spider or something on the ceiling?


V: There was nothing there.


T: Oh. Okay. My class is this way, so I’ll see you on the bus.


Terence leaves.


Valencia finds her locker, and puts her book in it. She feels eyes on her again, and looks with her eyes to the left. There’s a GROUP OF GIRLS standing about ten feet away, all gossiping and pointing.


GIRL 1: Is that ValenciaFlores?


GIRL 2: Shut up, she’ll hear you!


GIRL 3: Shetotallyflipped out last year, I heard.


GIRL 2: I said shutup!


GIRL 1: What happened? I wasn’t there.


Valencia slams her locker shut and storms off with her messenger bag to her next class, gym.


Scene changes to GYMNASIUM. COACH DOUGLAS is standing in the bleachers, yelling at uniform-clad CLASS. The CLASS is playing volleyball. Valencia has her hair up, and isn’t paying much attention to the class. She’s looking over at one corner of the GYM, and for a split second, there’s a flash of a man standing there, with his hands in his pockets. He’s smoking. He has his collar turned up, and is wearing a long black trench coat. Then he’s gone.


CD: Flores!


V: -looks over-


CD: Get your head in the game! You’re letting down your team! (starts yelling at another boy)


Bell rings and Valencia is trying to find a seat at lunch. Most everyone is staring at her, save for the freshmen and resilient. She takes a seat next to a quiet GIRL IN BLACK.


GIRL IN BLACK: You’re Valencia Flores, right?


V: -sighs- Last time I checked.


GIB: Cool. That’s cool. I’m Herring. –holds out hand-


V: Nice to meet you.


H: So…you’re not seriously going to eat that, are you? –points at green beans-


V: Never do. –slides tray to Herring, who takes the green beans from the tray and slides them into a brown paper bag- What’s that for?


H: This? I’m starting a compost bin, and I’d be better off starting with the trash.


V: -smiles, looking down-


Bell rings again for the next period, and Valencia is in the library, reading about Tel Aviv and Israel. As she looks through the shelves, she is aware of people talking about her and looking at her.


BOY 1: Did you see her last year? Crazy, dude.


BOY 2: That’s not cool, man. She can hear you.


BOY 1: No she can’t. She’s probably all messed up in that head of hers. I heard the parents of that one kid are suing.


Valencia walks out of the library, her fists clenched. She just wants to go home. She heads through the empty halls to the nurse’s office.


V: I feel sick.


NURSE: Was it the lunch?


V: (pleading) No…can I just go home, please?


NURSE: I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, hon. School policy.


V: -stares hard at the old woman behind desk- Then can you tell me where the transfer office is?


NURSE: Next to attendance.


Valencia is in her counselor’s office, MR. GEORGE. He has horn-rimmed glasses, and a large bald patch stuck between graying hair and shaggy sideburns. He’s quite obese.


MR. G: Explain to mewhyyou want a completely new schedule?


V: It’s not the schedule. I want to go to Crestmont.


MR. G: -takes off his glasses- Well…-sigh- you’d have to talk to your mother about this, Valencia. Are you sure it’s not a problem with the classes?


V: The classes are great. Better than great. It’s the school I’m not liking. If it were up to me, I’d be somewhere like New York, going to school online and doing nothing.


MR. G: Valencia, I know times are tough for you, but you shouldn’t run away from them. They’ll just follow you around like a stray dog unless you face them and solve them.


V: -stands up- Thanks, Mr. George. I’ve heard that a million times, but even if I want to face this, I don’t know where to begin: shooting up the school or shooting up myself. –leaves-


The bell rings and kids are walking out of school, chatting and laughing. Follow Valencia to the bus, where she takes her usual seat in the third row. Someone else is occupying it with her: Terence.


T: Excited? –smiles-


V: (sarcastically) As ever.


They get off the bus, and walk into the giant house. Valencia sees that her mother’s car is in the driveway.


V: Just go upstairs, my room is the second on the left. The green one. Just stay quiet until I come up.


Terence goes upstairs, and Valencia walks into the kitchen, where her mother is leaning over the sink, crying. A bottle of wine is opened, and on the counter.


MOTHER: We’ve been through this before, Val. We can’t move.


V: So he called you, then? -crosses arms-


M: Yes, Mr. George called me.


V: Why can’t we move, Mother?


M: Don’t you call me that. And you know why.


V: This house would be sold in no time flat. We could have a small little condominium in Denver, and money to spare!


M: -loudly- Valencia.


V: I have homework. –leaves-


M: I’m going back to work, now. Don’t bother me until I’m home. (voice echoes through the house)


V: -flips off direction of kitchen-


Valencia enters her room, to find Terence looking at the pictures.


T: -without turning- Your mom seems to care about you.


V: -scoffs- Unless you’re planning on doing homework, I’m not going to be very good company.


T: Comeooon, you have to show me your house! –opens door-


V: -bites lip- Okay.


The two go out to the hall, and Terence starts pointing things out.


V: I don’t know anything about this place. I know where the bathroom is. I know how to turn on the stove. I don’t know anything about like, history or whatever.


T: The [insert dialogue about architecture blah blah blah].


V: Well then. Now, would you mind leaving? I have some things I need to get done. –looks back at room-


T: (interested) Oh yeah? Like what?


V: Things. –bites lip- I really need you to leave. I’m sorry for not being hospitable, but I’m not comfortable that you’re here and my mother’s not, and—


T: I told you already I won’t try anything. –smiles-


V: I…you’re like a cockroach, you know?


T: -falters at statement- That…I haven’t heard before.


V: You know what else you haven’t heard?


T: Hmm. –looking back at the wood detail, or something interesting-


V: Get out of my house or I’ll call the police. –takes out cell phone-


T: No, actually, I have heard that one before. And there’s no need to call the police. I’d be halfway to Crestmont quicker than you can say ‘please stay on the line’. –smiles-


V: Just leave! I don’t want you here! Go!


Long silence, then


T: If it’s what you want. –goes to Valencia’s room-


She watches him put on his backpack and leave. She shuts the door in his face and turns on the radio. She watches out her window as he trudges through the snow towards his house. Once he’s out of sight, she turns the radio off and takes the cover off of the typewriter, and closes her curtains. 

The End

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