Intentions

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY FADE IN: Screeches, laughter, the loud passage of cars. We open on a narrow high school wedged onto a narrower corner. Chaos reigns as cars weave around each other and pedestrians clog the paths, giving the impression that this faded brick building is the hub of a bustling hive. Cars deposit teens rubbing the sleep from their faces. Masses of kids swarm towards the main double doors. Crossing guards halt perpetually late commuters as the future generations traverse the streets as fast as their spry legs will carry them. Across the street sits a solitary vehicle, extraordinary in the sense that it is simply sitting still in this urgent slice of world. We track forward, inching closer towards it. The cries, the hustle and bustle of the school fade. In the driver’s side sits a MAN (30s). Disheveled and unkempt, his eyes are nevertheless on fire. His gaze is fixed on the teens walking to school, flitting from one to the next. MAN’S POV: We pan from face to face, teenage girls overwhelmingly the object of attention. We stop on a GIRL (15) in a blue-gray jacket, red hair washing down it like waves of fire. The man’s breath begins to coat the driver’s side window. The window starts to steam over. He rolls it down for a better view. A CROSSING GUARD notices the man peeking out the window. She walks towards the car, picking up speed. The car roars to life suddenly and barrels off down the street before she can get near. INT. RUN-DOWN APARTMENT LIVING ROOM - EVENING A living space. Barely. A cramped living room houses a deflated foldout couch, a tiny TV set sits on a cardboard box. The Man sits in the middle of this cage, eating Chinese. The cold light of the television illuminates him though no sound comes out. Scenes from Half Nelson flash on-screen. The floor is a veritable ocean of trash- soda cans, beer bottles, crumpled up bits of foil, Chinese carry-out cartons. He pulls out his phone and opens up Facebook. He begins to type: S. A. The search field flashes some suggestions. Clearly he has typed this name many times before. He chooses the first one: Sarah Holder. The Girl with red hair appears on his screen, laughing. The picture is close-up, showing an impressive row of white teeth. She looks very happy. He scrolls through her photos, lingering on her face, through all its expressions. Serious, playful, joyous, laughing with friends. He closes the app suddenly and dials a number. The ring can be heard throughout the apartment. A click. He takes a breath to speak, caught off guard, but a woman’s voice comes over the machine. It’s muffled and unintelligible, but not live. A loud beep. MAN Hi. I uh- this is... The seconds tick away as he stands in silence. He ends the call and stares down at the floor as if he has just now noticed the filthy ecosystem he created. He goes to the kitchen and returns with a garbage bag. He tosses the phone aside and begins to clean. EXT. PARK - DAY The Man sits on a park bench, he stares at a shop down the street. The Girl steps out with a friend. He knew she was there. They walk together for a bit and part ways on the corner bus stop. The Girl stays as her friend walks off. He slowly begins to move towards her. MAN Excuse me... No response. Her back is to him. He reaches out and touches her shoulder. She turns suddenly and pulls her earphones out. GIRL What are you doing!? MAN Sorry I- I’m sorry. GIRL What? MAN I was wondering- GIRL I don’t have any money or anything. MAN No, I don’t need money. I was just wondering... if you know when the next bus is supposed to arrive? GIRL Oh uh, let me check. She taps on her phone. GIRL (CONT.) Umm, looks like it’s about ten minutes away. MAN Got it, thanks. I’d check, but my phone isn’t compatible with the app. That’s a cool phone, what is it? GIRL This? Oh. It’s a Samsung Galaxy S6. MAN Never heard of it. How much did it cost? GIRL I think it’s like 800 dollars, but I’m on my mom and dad’s plan, so I get a free upgrade every two years. MAN Oh. Cool so, your mom and dad let you pick what you want when you upgrade? Must be nice not to have to pay full price. Must be an expensive plan. GIRL Well, dad works at the phone company, and my mom is a lawyer. MAN Lawyer huh, I knew a lawyer once. I bet she works a lot. Long hours? GIRL Yeah kind of. Just me and dad some days until like nine. MAN Yeah. That’s good though, getting that time together. Spending time. She eyes him strangely. He coughs. MAN (CONT.) Mine’s this old piece of junk. I’m looking for a new one. He fishes his phone out of his pocket and shows her. MAN (CONT.) Pretty crappy huh? She examines it from a distance. GIRL Uh huh. That’s one of those old LG’s. MAN Yeah you’re right. He continues holding it out to her, so she takes it. He moves closer. MAN (CONT.) You even have to slide it open and hold the home key like this. The phone unlocks and the screen flashes the Facebook logo. GIRL Huh. Not old enough to not work with Facebook. MAN What? GIRL Your app has... She stops. Facebook finally opens back to the last page it was on. Sarah Holder. Hers. MAN (Quickly) Oh yeah, but it never works right most of the time. Here. He snatches the phone back, but she has already seen. He pockets the phone hastily and looks at her. She backs away a few paces. MAN So um, listen, I’m Jack and- GIRL Yeah. Nice to meet you. Umm, I have to go. MAN Aren’t you waiting for the bus? GIRL Yeah. No. I forgot something back at work. Nice talking to you. MAN Oh, where do you- umm one sec. He tries to continue, but she is already briskly moving away from him, down the street. He follows her. She picks up her pace and rounds the corner. He breaks into a jog. MAN Hey wait! He rounds the corner, but she is gone. MAN (To himself) You god damn idiot. He stands alone on the sidewalk. INT. RUN-DOWN APARTMENT LIVING ROOM - EVENING The Man sits on the foldout couch, head in his hands. His phone beeps. It reads ’NEW VOICEMAIL - CINDY’. He presses play and listens on speaker. A woman’s voice. MESSAGE I told you not to call. Ever. Calls in the middle of the night, and now you’re leaving messages? Did you even hear yourself? You couldn’t even put a sentence together. I can’t do this, I’m under so much pressure as it is. I can’t deal with you, especially not when you’re high out of your mind. I can’t be around that, and neither can she. Don’t call again or I’ll call the police. He sits motionless. In a sudden rage, he flings the phone across the room. He fishes into his shirt and rips a makeshift necklace from his neck and slaps it on couch. It’s an NA chip. One month sober. He charges over to the door and slams it shut behind him. A few previously unseen pictures rattle from the force. We zoom in on them slowly. In them: A younger, cleaner, happier version of the man. A woman smiling with him. In her arms, a one-year-old child with fiery red hair. FADE OUT THE END.

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