"WHEREVER THE BIRD WITH NO FEET FLEW, SHE FOUND TREES WITH NO
LIMBS." --- AUDRE LORDE
1 EXT/INT. NIGHTCLUB- EVENING 1
A disembodied gaggle of jersey clad shoulders, jeans, and
hats crosses a narrow street. Lights flare, hands are
stamped, torsos are patted down. Money exchanges hands. We
descend into a black, throbbing tunnel.
Explicit music booms from bassy club speakers. Hips, legs
A GO-GO DANCER struts and wiggles around a brass pole. Hoots
The dancer marches in place, rolling her thonged bottom.
More cheers, greedy hands stuff dollars into her waistband.
FEMALE DJ (O.S.)
Let's go! Where all my sexy
Sagittarian ladies at?
Arms go up. A collection of whoops ripple the crowd.
The dancer wraps her legs around the pole and oozes upward
headfirst. The CAMERA ROTATES as she stretches her booted
heels into the crowd. We realize that she has been dancing
on the ceiling.
FEMALE DJ (O.S.)
Oh my God!
ALIKE (pronounced AH-LEE-KAY), 17, covers her mouth, laughing
and wide-eyed. She tries to back away from the stage, but is
pushed forward by a torrent of eager arms waving dollar
bills. Among them is LAURA, 18, worldly and smooth.
Where your singles at?!! Where your
singles at?!! Yeah, baby!
Laura strains over Alike's shoulder to tuck a bill into the
dancer's boot. Alike drops her beer in all the jostling.
Goddamn I love my job!
Laura stuffs a bill into Alike's now empty hand and forcibly
waves Alike's wrist in the air.
Alike pulls free just as the dancer takes notice and begins
to direct her attention at her.
Whatchu' come here for?!
Alike shoves the dollar bill into Laura's chest and shoulders
her way past the wall of onlookers surrounding the stage.
Laura shrugs, puts the bill in her teeth and lays her head at
the edge of the stage. Alike looks away and breaks through a
snarl of clubgoers just as the dancer begins to descend.
Excuse me. Sorry. Excuse me. Oof,
Finally free of the throng, Alike takes a breath and looks at
the clock on her cell phone.
She rolls her eyes back to the stage where Laura is no longer
visible. Not daring to risk another plunge into the throbbing
crowd, she retreats for the bar.
2 INT. NIGHTCLUB BAR- NIGHT 2
Alike beaches at an empty spot at the bar. Her gaze settles
on a CUTE GIRL a little ways down, staring out at the dance
floor. Alike jerks her eyes away and smooths the front of her
shirt and adjusts her hat as she edges toward the girl.
The girl ignores her. Alike clears her throat and speaks a
little too loudly.
Umm... Hey! How are you?!
The girl jerks around and frowns at Alike, looking her up and
Umm...sorry. I was just sayin'
The girl dismisses Alike and turns back toward the floor.
Oh. You wanna drink or something?
Hey! Hey! Over here!
Alike strains, snapping at the bartender. A CONFIDENT WOMAN
swaggers up close to the girl and extends her hand. The cute
girl takes it and allows herself to be lead to the dance
floor. Alike looks around just in time to see her leaving.
The bartender finally materializes, and Alike slinks away.
3 INT. NIGHTCLUB BATHROOM - NIGHT 3
Alike slumps into a long line of women waiting to squeeze the
cramped, 2 stall bathroom. A COUPLE in front of her makes out
vigorously, and she folds her arms and looks away.
A buff 30-SOMETHING WOMAN with locs smiles and winks at
Alike. Alike smiles and fidgets with her eyebrows and looks
away. The line inches forward. Alike glances around
searching for the woman. The 30-something has already lost
interest, her attention now fully directed at a much more
FEMININE WOMAN strutting out of the restroom. Embarrassed,
Alike faces front again. Two androgynous gangsters (AGs) who
have witnessed the whole thing nudge each other and sneer.
Alike squares her shoulders and widens her stance. One of
the AG's breaks out in laughter and they turn around as the
line inches forward again. Alike pretends not to notice and
slumps out of line and retreats for a lonely oasis of couch
along the wall.
4 INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - LATER 4
Alike dozes on the couch.
Give it up for Sin-A-Min ladies!!
Alike wakes with a start. She checks the time on her cell
phone. Cursing, she scrambles up from the couch.
5 INT. NIGHTCLUB BAR - EVENING 5
Laura dances with a cute SHORT HAIRED GIRL.
Alike spots the pair from afar and heads in their direction.
C'mon, we're late.
I gotta go!
Hold on a minute.
C'mon, why you trippin'?
Why are you trippin', you know I
You know I gotta go. I'ma get in
Lemme dance with shortie first,
then I'll be ready.
Laura spins the short haired on the dance floor and the pair
continue their wobbling, uneven groove. Alike endures several
moments of invisibility as a sea of women, both "feminine"
and "butch" push past her without a second glance. Alike tugs
at Laura's jersey. Laura, happily tangled in her dance
partner's embrace rolls her eyes.
Stop pulling on my clothes!
6 EXT. BUS STOP- NIGHT 6
Laura sulks, frowning out at the night. Alike extends the
How many numbers you get? One?
I could've gotten more, but your
moms was holding me up.
Oooh. That's jacked up.
How many you get?
Tonya, Denise, Shelley. No wait
that's old, I can delete that one.
Laura snatches the phone from Alike. Alike swipes at it but
misses. Laura fends her off with one hand and scrolls through
the numbers with the other.
Ain't Shelley that chick from your
math class?! Denise... What?
These are your damn study group
numbers! Why you frontin'?!
Alike snatches the phone and wipes the screen with her
I don't see you with no list of
I'm not the one looking for a
girlfriend, man. You the one still
Trying to help your ass. I'm
sayin', whatchu waitin' for?!
Alike shrugs it off, her smile fading a little. Laura elbows
her and sneers.
Kickin' that same `ol quiet shit
since 6th grade. I don't need to
press, I gets plenty. Shit.
I get more pussy than your daddy,
Oh shit!! Yeah, you got me with
7 INT. BUS - NIGHT 7
Alike becomes more quiet and less playful as the ride wears
on. A middle-class Bronx landscape, well-lit with a newly
constructed Starbucks and renovated condos flits by the
window. Alike reaches over and presses the tape. Laura elbows
Your stop-- you're getting off
Nah, I'll roll with you a few more
Why you gon' walk all the way back
down for? That's stupid.
Make sure you get home okay.
The bus pulls to the curb. The light flicks on over the back
You ain't big, nigga. Trying to
protect somebody. Hurry up, man,
(to bus driver)
That's alright man--next stop. Next
Alike elbows Laura sharply. The bus driver frowns in the rear
You ain't gotta push me, why're you
I'm not beastin'.
Laura climbs over Alike and swings toward the door.
You got a problem. Call me.
I'ma call you.
Alike turns and watches Laura stroll away. Laura drums a
little beat on Alike's window as the bus pulls off. Alike
waves and faces forward again. An OLD LADY sitting nearby
shoots her a disapproving look. Alike rolls her eyes and
moves to a seat farther away.
8 INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS 8
Alike studies her reflection in the window, and takes a
breath. She unbuttons her bulky men's shirt to reveal a
fitting baby doll shirt that reads "Princess." She stuffs
her baseball cap and durag into her backpack and jabs a pair
of small gold hoop earrings into her ears. She slumps back
against the seat and stares into the night.
The bus stops at a lonely island of curb. Alike is a dark
silhouette sprinting around the corner and into the night.
9 INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 9
Alike cracks open the front door just wide enough to slip
through. The house is dark except for the flashing microwave
Alike takes off her sneakers and pads down the hallway. Her
younger sister, SHARONDA's door cracks open as she passes.
Where you been this late?
Movie ended at midnight.
Shhh. Shut up.
Alike shoves her sister and tries to close the door. Sharonda
yanks the door open wider.
Don't push me.
Go to bed.
I know what stays open past
Sharonda puts a hand to her head and does a little dance.
Alike eases Sharonda's door shut. Sharonda swings the door
Good night Lee!
Sharonda slams her door. The light clicks on underneath
Alike's parent's door.
Alike rolls her eyes at her sister's closed door and shrugs
into her room.
10 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 10
Alike rushes to shove her stuffed backpack under the bed.
She tosses her shoes in the closet just as her mother, AUDREY
appears in the doorway.
Nice to know you still live here.
Alike peels off her socks and slumps on the bed.
What're you doing home so late,
Lost track of time.
You know what time your curfew is.
Where were you?
The show ended at midnight. And
your curfew is twelve thirty.
I lost track of time.
Audrey gets cozy in the doorjamb. Alike turns her back on
her and slumps into pajamas.
At least you were cute. Where'd you
get that shirt? `Princess'. I like
Alike winds the princess shirt around her fist and launches
to the top of the closet.
Compliments your figure. I saw
something just like it on sale,
maybe we could go shopping--
Audrey stiffens and pulls her robe tighter. Vinegar replaces
honey in her demeanor as the warmth drains out of her voice.
I really don't care for that young
lady you run around with anyway.
And tie your head up.
Alike snags a satin headscarf from the nightstand and slaps
it around her head.
It's your head. And you really
should wash your face, too.
I don't have on make-up.
Wash your face anyway.
Mom. I'm seventeen years old,
please don't talk to me like--
Watch your tone.
Well, it's your skin.
Audrey leaves. Alike is still. She listens for the door to
her parent's room to shut before snatching off the scarf and
storming to the bathroom.
11 INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT 11
Alike turns on the faucet, wets the soap and puts it back in
the dish, wets her wash cloth and puts it back on the rack.
She plops down on the toilet and looks up. A crucifix frowns
down at her from the wall.
She averts her eyes and stands to leave.
Did you brush your teeth?
Alike wets her toothbrush and throws it back into the holder.
Alike squeezes out a dollop of toothpaste and smears a little
around the sink. She stares at her reflection.
Alike flicks water droplets at the mirror for good measure.
12 EXT. SCHOOL - MORNING 12
Alike, bundled in an oversized hoodie edges up to the
perimeter of campus and waits against a bus shelter. STUDENTS
horseplay and mill about the entrance in groups, chugging
their morning Fantas and munching on snack cakes. The school
bell rings and the lawn slowly empties into the building.
Alike shifts her weight and checks her watch as the last
STRAGGLERS finally trickle in. She yanks her hoodie tighter
and launches across the lawn and into the building.
13 INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - MORNING 13
A second school bell sounds and the din of slamming lockers
and jubilant chatter dies to a hush as students shuffle into
classrooms. Alike cracks the back stairwell door and peeks
out into the mostly empty hallway before tearing for the
bathroom. One last straggler BINA, a 17 year-old girl with
mature, but down-to-earth good looks rushes past Alike. The
two exchange a brief, confused look then mutually dismiss
each other as they hurry in opposite directions.
14 INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - MORNING 14
Alike hurtles into the handicapped stall and snaps it shut
behind her. She rips off her hoodie and the "girly" shirt
beneath and flings them to the floor. She pulls out a pair of
wife-beaters from her bag and pulls them over her head. She
unwads a polo shirt and yanks it over her head.
She stares at her reflection in the window and tries
unsuccessfully to smooth her shirt. Her eyes scour her
reflection again and again for any imperfections. She spots
the earrings and yanks them out of her ears. The late bell
beckons and Alike stuffs her "feminine" clothes into her
backpack and bolts.
15 INT. MATH CLASSROOM - DAY 15
The MATH TEACHER glides up and down the aisles passing out
graded tests. A chorus of groans follows in her wake.
As promised, I will be grading
these on a curve.
Alike is folded into the backmost corner of the classroom.
The desks in front her and beside her are empty. She is
ignored as the rest of the class chatters and passes notes.
MATH TEACHER (CONT'D)
But the highest grade on the test
was a 98.
The math teacher puts Alike's test on her desk and gives her
a little smile. Alike doesn't smile back.
The lunch bell rings and the class is a tornado, clearing the
room in a rush of limbs, shouts, and backpacks. Alike jabs
her headphones into her ears and packs her bag very
deliberately, letting the eye of the storm pass over her
before heading toward the door.
16 INT. SCHOOL CAFETERIA - DAY 16
The cafeteria is a whirl of activity and social jockeying.
Clusters of girls and boys loud-talk, flirt, fight and
horseplay at tables and in tight little groups against the
walls. Alike walks alone, staying at the fringes of the crowd
and shrugs through the cafeteria line.
17 INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY 17
Alike flees the cafeteria, tray laden with rubbery cuisine of
dubious nutritional value. She raps on the door of a
classroom and slips in.
MRS. ALVARADO (O.S.)
18 INT. AP ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY 18
MRS. ALVARADO, a middle aged Californian ex-hippie type
reclines with her feet on her desk, munching on celery sticks
and sunflower seed paste. Her small desk radio plays
alternative rock. Sun beams into the empty classroom and
Alike squints as she yanks the headphones out of her ears and
pulls up a chair next to her desk.
Whaddja bring me?
Nothin' you can eat.
You shouldn't be eatin' that crap,
(over a mouthful of pizza)
Sooo, where's the new stuff?
Alike hands over her purple and white composition book. Mrs.
Alvarado thumbs the pages, reading silently.
Did you see the one in the back?
Mrs. Alvarado flips to the back of the book and her mouth
moves silently as she reads.
I'll probably do it in class.
Mrs. Alvarado hands the book back to Alike and digs in to
another celery stick.
What do you think?
They're lovely. Of course your
descriptiveness and use of
alliteration is beautiful and all,
you know that. But...I don't know.
Is it your best? No.
Alike frowns through the pages of the composition book.
I thought it was good.
It's good. Not great.
Alike slumps back into her seat and considers the book's
I believe you can go deeper.
19 INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON 19
Audrey is a heat-seeking missile, whipping through the sparse
hallways of the trauma wing, her clipboard and pen in
constant motion. NURSES and AIDES scatter in her wake,
suddenly busying themselves with little bits of chore work to
avoid her caustic gaze. She barks at a cluster of CLERKS chit-
chatting in the elevator bank and all but one manage to
escape. Audrey drills her.
Oh, so your log is all up to date?
And you've checked the round for
Well I --
Do you even know which doctors are
on the floor?
No ma'am I--
Then I suggest you get busy.
The clerk skitters off red-faced, and Audrey looks daggers
into her back before storming the break room.
20 INT. HOSPITAL BREAK ROOM - CONTINUOUS 20
Audrey whisks her lunch bag out of the fridge and heads
toward a table. A few lounging AIDES wad up their garbage and
flee the break room. Audrey settles down at the table and
pulls a fashion magazine from her work tote, pretending not
to be hurt. She peels open a cup of vanilla yogurt and begins
reading. A big red department store bag sits next to her work
tote. The television suspended over the table mumbles
corporate healthcare infomercials. MRS. SINGLETARY, one of
Audrey's co-workers swoops in and plops a plastic grocery bag
on the table across from her.
Hey girl! Mind if I sit here?
No, not at all. Help yourself.
Whatchu got there? You been
Oh, no. Just some yogurt. Some
No I meant in the bag. What do you
have in the shopping bag--the big
Oh I'm...I don't know where my mind
is...Yeah, this is just uh--well
let me get your opinion.
Audrey's steely exterior melts away and suddenly she is all
butterflies and giggles. She rifles through the bag and
hoists out a pink ribbed v-neck sweater.
Oh that's nice.
Yeah see isn't this cute?
Umm-hmm. That's for your daughter?
Yeah, this is for Alike.
The youngest one.
No she's the oldest one.
Oh, the other one. Okay.
What, you think it's too young?
No, no. For whatever reason the
youngest one popped in my mind
first. But I think it should be
fine. It's really cute.
It'll compliment her figure.
Now see that's what I thought...
But Lee doesn't like anything I
pick out for her anymore.
Mrs. Singletary takes a bite of her lunch and takes the
sweater from Audrey.
Girl, please. My oldest, 17 going
on 27 mind you, banned me from
buying her any more clothes. We
have two completely different
tastes. I just give her gift cards
now and trust me, we're both
happier for it. Is it her birthday?
Mrs. Singletary hands the sweater back to Audrey who smooths
it carefully back into the tissue paper.
No, no. I just wanted to get her
something nice. You know.
Three ROWDY CO-WORKERS burst into the room chattering and
ROWDY CO-WORKER #1
ROWDY CO-WORKER #2 ROWDY CO-WORKER #3
Oooooh Audrey, you got me a What'chall in here talking
Well, no we--
None of yo' damn business!!
The co-workers hoot in unison and descend upon the various
parts of the breakroom. Audrey shoves the sweater back in the
bag and nestles it between her feet. Somebody cranks on a
small radio and a frisky R&B beat invades the air. Mrs.
Singletary pats Audrey on the arm.
Let me know how it goes.
Oh I will. I'll call you when--
ROWDY CO-WORKER #3
Hey Bren' this is what I was
telling you about!!
Co-worker #3 shoves a tabloid in Mrs. Singletary's face,
tapping an angry orange fingernail in the middle of the page.
Is that her?!
ROWDY CO-WORKER #3 ROWDY CO-WORKER #2
Told you! Look how big she done got!
The center of the room shifts and Audrey is once again alone
at the fringes. She collects her shopping bag and looks
around to say goodbye, but no one notices her leave.
21 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - EVENING 21
Audrey, Sharonda, Alike, and their father, ARTHUR, 40-
something with a used-to-be athletic build, are all gathered
around the dinner table for a rare family dinner. Everyone
takes half-hearted nibbles at their food avoiding eye contact
with each other. Sharonda picks at her food.
I don't see why we can't just watch
TV like usual.
Alike elbows Sharonda.
You don't tell me what to do!
The phone rings and Arthur beats a path to bedroom to get it.
I'm expecting a call.
Audrey stares after him then glares back at Alike and
This is your father's night off.
Alike casts a glance in the direction of the bedroom, where
Arthur can be heard talking in hushed tones. She rolls her
eyes and slinks down into her seat.
So straighten up.
Arthur settles back into his chair, his mood a little
brighter. Seeing an opportunity for brownie points, Sharonda
Homecoming got moved this year.
It's gonna be in September instead
Yeah. Which means I'll be able to
go to Autumn Ball and the
Who are you going with?
I don't know. Maybe Derek. If he
asks me. Maybe Parrish. I haven't
decided yet. But for homecoming, I
definitely want to go with Craig.
Oooh, I see. Lee, who are you
Umm. I'm not going.
Arthur gives Alike an approving Daddy's girl wink. Alike
Not going? This is your junior
year. How can you not go?
Leave her alone Audrey, if doesn't
want to go, she doesn't have to go.
But it's her junior year, she's not
gonna have any memories.
I don't like all those boys buzzing
around my daughters anyway.
Nobody buzzes around Alike.
That's right and it better stay
that way. Matter of fact, I don't
know if I'ma let you go.
Alike smirks and takes her plate to the sink. Arthur jabs her
on the arm as she walks by. Audrey tears into a dinner roll
shooting daggers at anyone who dares to make eye contact.
22 INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - NIGHT 22
Laura brings a steaming cup of Ramen noodles to a worn
kitchen table splayed with bills. Her older sister CANDACE,
a stout 30 something with pleasant but hard-working looks
scribbles notes on the back of an envelope while soaking her
feet. Laura takes a sip of her soup and starts sifting
through a pile of envelopes.
How much we paid him last time?
So that makes--we owe another two
seventy-five for the rest of the
Candace pecks on a calculator and scribbles on the envelope.
Laura flips through more bills.
Let it ride.
Half. No let it ride.
Laura locks her hands on top of her head and leans back in
her chair, surveying the financial carnage.
Candace reaches inside a CERAMIC HEN on the table and pulls
out a wad of money. She counts out several hundred dollars
into an envelope.
I can get some more hours--
No. You know what you need to do.
Nah Candy, I can't just dip out on
you like that--
I was doing just fine before you
moved in, remember? I can handle
Laura sucks her teeth.
You working was only supposed to be
temporary. Mom would've wanted--
Who?! Man, don't even--
Laura pushes up from the table and glares at Candace, a
showdown. Candace stares back, unfazed. Laura caves first.
I'll get the money orders in the
Laura tugs at the envelope but Candace doesn't let go right
I'll look into it alright?
Candace relinquishes the envelope and Laura stalks off down
the hallway to her room.
The next test is coming up soon!
I said I'll look into it!
Candace smiles wanly and sips her soup. She takes a foot out
of the water and kneads it.
23 INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - MORNING 23
Alike slams into her usual stall and launches into her
`Superman' changing routine. She unrolls pulls a jersey from
her backpack and yanks it over her head.
24 EXT. SCHOOL LAWN - AFTERNOON 24
Alike sits off to one side of the stairs, headphoned into
oblivion and scribbling into her composition book. A group of
FAST GIRLS strut by and encamp on the opposite wall, giggling
and yakking on cell phones. One of the girls, MIKA cuts a
flirty smile at Alike. Alike turns away and buries herself in
her book, but cranks down the volume on her iPod.
It was like seven of us--Me,
Khalil, Misha, Tamara....
FAST GIRL #2
Heeeell no--Fat Tamara.
Oh I was about to say, Tamara Marks
is a ughh--I can't stand her.
Anyway, it was all of us and oh
Laura, you know that girl from the
restaurant? She was there with one
of her friends.
Alike's ears prick up.
That gay chick? Ya'll be hanging
Yeah, well it's a couple of them.
She's mad cool though, so sometime
she come out with us every now and
Man, y'all be doin' it on it
weekends, let me find out!
FAST GIRL #2
I told your butt to come.
Some of them AG's are kinda cute--
I'm not saying I would, but I would
FAST GIRL #2
I don't know about all that.
Isn't that one of them over there?
What's her name? Amika?--Alisha?
The pack directs their attention at Alike. Alike profiles and
attempts to look casual.
Yeah, Alike--she's cute too.
FAST GIRL #2
Uugh. I don't be looking at them
all like that.
Mika smiles as her eyes travel down Alike's physique. Alike,
aware of the admiring gaze tugs and smooths at her shirt
unnecessarily. She licks her lips and readjusts the book in
her lap, fighting hard to keep the grin off her face.
Look, I'm not gay--but if I was gay
I might talk to her.
She's in the middle anyway.
Yeah, but if she was just a little
Alike looks over and starts to nod when a CUTE BOY with locs
swaggers up to the girls, drawing their rapt attention.
MIKA FAST GIRL #2
Heeeey. What's up?
The girls erupt into titters, and they melt into
conversation. Alike deflates, watching them over the top of
her book. She observes every little moment between the girls
and the boy, every wink. Another BOY joins the group and they
stroll off down the sidewalk.
Alike plucks the headphones out of her ears, watching them
leave. Mika casts a parting glance over her shoulder at
Alike. Remnant's of Alike's grin return reflexively. Mika's
friend jerks her elbow around.
Oooh--let me find out, Mika. You
act like you bi- or something.
I like girls but I love boys.
FAST GIRL #2 FAST GIRL #1
Umm hmm ! I can't tell!
Alike waits for them to disappear from view before snatching
up her bag and bolting in the opposite direction.
25 EXT./INT. - RESTAURANT STOCKROOM - DAY 25
Laura hoists a box of french fries onto her shoulder and
moves inside the restaurant.
Watch out, it's slippery.
So what do you think?
I already told you what I think.
But you know her, right?
I said I know of her, I don't know
her know her.
Alike hefts up a box and follows Laura back into the
I'm saying, you know her friend,
right? You gonna introduce us?
Just put those on that stack right
there. Yeah, thank you.
I'm listening--all I'm saying is--
pass me that milkshake mix right
Alike tosses Laura a bladder of milkshake mix. Laura catches
All I'm saying is that I don't
think you should put yourself out
there like that. Especially if you
don't even know if she likes you
How do you know she does?
I just know she does.
Hmmph. We'll see.
Laura holds out her hand as if checking for rain and scans
What're you doing?
I thought I felt a drop of pig
All I know is I been trying to get
you to holla at girls in the club
for the longest.
I don't want to holla at girls in
Obviously. Why you pressed about
I wanted to ask you about something
Oh God, what now?
I need you to get something for me.
Alike cocks her head at Laura. Laura frowns back.
Just for my image.
Alike raises her eyebrow. Laura shakes her head. The light
bulb goes off. She roars in disbelief.
WHAAAAAT???!! You trying to
strap!!?? Whaaatt?!! Oh my God,
what are you going through...
What difference you think having a
bulge in your pants gon' make?
Pleeeeease. By next Friday.
Next Friday?! Okay-- Whatever. Oh
my God I can't believe you !
Alright. Yeah. She better be cute
for all of this...
26 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON 26
Alike stares at herself in a floor length bedroom mirror in
I think it looks natural.
A peach-colored dildo dangles stiffly from Alike's waist.
The harness bunches her boxers in clumsy tufts. Alike
appraises the racially inappropriate apparatus and shoots
Laura a look.
I'm serious, I mean it doesn't look
I can't believe you.
Alike frowns at the dildo in profile.
Laura, this doesn't look right.
I'ma look stupid.
Well, first of all-- I don't think
its supposed to be on top of your
underwear like that.
I'm not putting this thing next to
my skin, it pinches already.
Alike yanks at the harness and her boxers trying to pull it
out of her bottom.
It's supposed to fit like that.
They didn't have any brown?
I didn't have time for all of that.
The brown ones were too big,
Alike struggling with the apparatus. Laura smiles.
Ugh! You gotta take it back.
I can't take it back.
Here's the receipt!
Unh-unh. I'm not going back in
there. One time was embarrassing
Still what if somebody would see me
in there? I'm not going back,
Then where's my change?
Sharonda bursts into the room.
Lee, where'd you put my make-up
case...AHHH I'M GON' TELL. OOH LEE,
I'MA TELL DADDY!
Laura leaps from the bed and blocks Sharonda's path to the
doorway. Alike tackles Sharonda and wrestles her down to the
floor. Laura slams the door, shuts and locks it.
Eeew get that thing, off a me! Get
it off me it's nasty! I'm tellin'!
Shut up!!! Thought you locked the
Eeew. Get it offa me!
OK, look I'm offa you. Just be
quiet and calm down.
I'm tellin' that you got that
You can't tell.
It looks nasty.
See, I told you so.
Where's my make up case? I know
you got it.
I just borrowed it.
Alike pulls off the dildo and harness.
Give it back.
Alike fishes the make-up case out of her backpack. She holds
it out to Sharonda. Sharonda reaches for it. Alike jerks it
Promise you won't tell.
Give it back.
Alike flips open the make up case and jabs the dildo at it,
stopping short of the surface of the make up.
LEE, STOP IT EEEW!!! I just got
Don't touch it with that... eeww
that's so nasty. C'mon Lee give it
Then promise you won't tell.
Ughh, I hate you.
Alike jabs the dildo closer to the make-up.
OK, OK I won't tell. Daag!
Alike tosses the case at Sharonda who scrambles to catch it.
Alike wraps the dildo back up in the bag and hides it behind
her headboard. Sharonda saunters out into the hallway.
I'm still tellin'
Audrey peers into the bedroom from the hallway, still dressed
for work, shoulder stooped from the weight of her tote bag.
Noth-- She took my makeup again.
Oh. Hello Laura, I didn't see you
Hi Mrs. Freeman.
How's your mother?
I haven't spoken to her in awhile.
Well I hope so. And I'm so glad to
hear your sisters finally getting
back on her feet. Wasn't she--
Audrey fixes Laura with another hard glance and shoos
Sharonda down the hallway. Laura starts to shut the door, but
Audrey stops it with her arm.
I think we'll just leave this open.
Let some air circulate in here.
I was just about to leave, anyway.
Audrey lingers, looking back and forth between Laura and
Alike. Alike frowns at her mother.
Satisfied that the conversation is over, Audrey moves off
toward her room. Laura checks to make sure she's gone and
whispers to Alike.
Just try it.
27 INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - EVENING 27
Alike squirms in her seat.
Will you chill? You just gotta get
used to it.
Alike tugs at her crotch and attempts to cross her legs.
Alike uncrosses her legs and yanks at her jeans. Laura bats
her hand away.
Sit still, people gon' think you
This joint hurts, man. I'ma go take
You not gon' take it off.
I'm gonna take it off.
Where you gonna take it off at?
In the bathroom.
Then where you gon' put it? You
gonna walk around the club with a
dick in your hand? Chill. I knew we
shouldn't have done this. You
blowin' me right now.
Then I'm out.
Nah, you're `bout to stay and go
through this. You're the one who
wanted to meet her, not me.
Then you come on, too. Hurry up--
A group of girls approaches, one of them we recognize as
Mika, the girl that likes Alike, from the bathroom. Laura
stands to greet them. Nervous introductions all around. Laura
shoots Alike a warning glance.
28 INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - LATER 28
Laura is hugged up with two girls at the end of the couch.
Alike fidgets in her seat and keeps pulling at the knees of
her jeans. Mika hand in chin, stares into space. Alike does
another pull-fidget combo. Mika rolls her eyes at her.
Yeah, no, yeah it's just--there's a
spring in the cushion or something.
You wanna switch seats?
No, I'm good.
And you don't wanna dance?
Hey ya'll we're about to go dance!
No, no not really. I'm not really
feeling the music.
Mika sighs and looks around at the other dancing couples.
Alike gives her jeans another tortured tug. Agonized minutes
of awkward booming silence.
Well you don't mind right? I mean
you don't mind if I go dance with
No, do your thing.
If you change your mind--
No, no it's cool.
Mika escapes the couch and disappears into the crowd.
29 INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 29
Alike slips off her shoes and eases through the kitchen.
Audrey flicks on the light, blocking the hallway entrance.
I hope it was worth it.
Mom I lost--
It won't happen--
Oh I know it won't.
30 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 30
Alike peels off her jeans and lobs them into the top of her
closet. She unharnesses the dildo and wads the tangled mess
up in an old t-shirt. She stuffs the wad in back of the
closet and slams the closet door shut, staring at her
reflection in the mirror.
Alike reconsiders and yanks the wad back from the closet.
31 EXT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 31
Alike stuffs the wad into a trash bag and plunges it deep
into a neighbor's garbage can. She scurries back into her
building and doesn't look back.
32 INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING 32
Alike skulks on the couch in wrinkled khaki pants and a
cotton button down shirt. An obnoxious R&B video plays on the
TV. Sounds of bustling and the drone of a hair dryer fill the
Turn that mess off!!
Alike turns the television volume to low and continues
Sharonda?! Sharonda are you ready?!
Lee are you ready?! Lee?!
Audrey hobbles out with one high heel on. She snatches the
remote from Alike and snaps the TV off.
I said off. Thought you were ready?
I am ready.
You're not going to church looking
like that. Where's the blouse I
What's wrong with this?
The front door bursts open, and Arthur tromps in, his police
uniform hanging open over a white undershirt. He slings a
heavy F.O.P tote bag on the floor and strips off his shirt as
he crosses to the kitchen. Audrey rushes over and buzzes
33 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS 33
Hey there, you're home early--well
actually late. I thought you would
Do what your mom says.
Audrey scuttles over to where Arthur is now digging through
the open fridge. He pulls out a foil covered plate, tears
open one corner, sniffs it.
Are you hungry? Let me heat it up
Arthur heads toward the microwave with the plate. Audrey
intercepts the plate from him and dumps the contents into a
I'll heat it up on the stove for
you. Tastes better.
Leave me out of it.
Go get changed.
Dad, what's wrong with this outfit?
I'm not gonna argue with you.
Do what she says.
(speaking bad Tarzan
And put on a skirt!
Alike stalks off to her bedroom. Sharonda bounces into the
Too much lipstick.
Audrey wheels on Sharonda with a death glare.
Sharonda pecks dad on the cheek. Dad wipes his cheek and rubs
his fingers together.
Sharonda giggles and bounds back into her bedroom. Audrey
slides a steaming plate in front of Arthur.
Did you talk to her?
Get me a beer, please. Sharonda's
I'm talking about Lee.
Alike. And I don't see that there's
I'm tired of this tomboy thing
she's got going on. And Laura. You
said you were going to handle it.
She needs a male point of view.
I said okay, dammit! Now can I
please have a beer please?
It's Sunday morning.
It goes with the spaghetti.
Audrey lifts a beer out of the fridge and slides it in front
of Arthur. She pulls up a chair as he plows through the meal,
her expression softening as she caresses his forearm.
Do you have to work tonight?
To put food on the table and
clothes on our backs, no. To go out
to restaurants and keep designer
sneakers in the closet, yes.
Are you forever gonna be mad?
Are you forever going to be happy?
You made that decision a long time
We both made sacrifices.
Alike stomps back into the kitchen wearing the pink v-neck
that Audrey bought her and an unflattering pleat-front skirt.
Arthur stifles a giggle behind his beer can.
You look beautiful, baby.
Tuck your blouse in.
This isn't me.
Tuck your blouse in.
Leave it out.
Audrey frowns at Arthur. Arthur stands his ground.
I think it's fine out. What's the
deal with you and Laura?
Comin' in late...
Dad, I hardly ever--
Why don't you give that a break for
a little while?
Dad, come on...
You heard him!
Sharonda! You done?!
Alike spins into the living room defeated.
You coming with us?
We could go to a later service. The
I said NO!!
Arthur slams his fork on the plate. Audrey flinches. Alike
looks up. Sharonda appears in the doorway, looking from
Audrey to Arthur.
Arthur pushes up from the table.
Alike, you look beautiful.
Everybody looks beautiful, okay?
Arthur disappears into the bedroom. Alike snatches up her
bible and launches out the door, Sharonda follows. Audrey
pulls on her sunglasses and hat and slams the door behind
34 EXT. CHURCH - DAY 34
Alike sits in the passenger seat of the car as Audrey chit
chats with other churchgoers. Sharonda sits in the back
seat, flipping through a CD case and occasionally passing
CD's to Alike to play. Alike faces stonily forward except to
cast impatient glances in Audrey's direction. Audrey raps on
Lee! Lee! Here's someone I want you
Alike cracks the window an inch.
Audrey motions to Bina standing by with her mother, Ms.
Singletary. Alike cracks the window a little wider and
acknowledges them with a half-hearted wave.
Get down out the car and come
Laboriously, Alike rolls the window back up, turns off the
car radio, and climbs down out of the car.
What's wrong with you?
You'll have to excuse her, she's
been feeling rude lately.
Oh don't worry, Audrey, I
understand how it is. Hormones.
It's just a phase.
Alike, this is Mrs. Singletary, one
of my co-workers and her daughter,
Bina. Sylvia, Bina, this is my
daughter Alike, we call her "Lee"
Alike shakes both of their hands in turn.
Nice to meet you.
And this is my youngest daughter,
Hi there, nice to meet you.
Lee, Bina goes to the same school
Yeah, I think I've seen you around.
Mrs. Alvarado's class right? AP
Audrey looks pleased with herself. Alike squirms.
So. Now that we're all acquainted,
don't be a stranger.
Oh no, we won't.
Bina I think you and Lee may even
go to school the same way. Don't
you live off of St. James Place?
There is something to be said for
safety in numbers.
Bina nods. Alike squirms.
MRS. SINGLETARY (CONT'D)
Well, we need to be pushing off --
I'll call you about those VBS
Alike retreats into the car, Sharonda hops in behind her.
Alike reaches over and turns the key in the ignition.
Alrighty, I'll be around. Take
Alike toots the horn. Audrey circles and gets in the driver's
35 INT. FAMILY CAR - CONTINUOUS 35
I don't know what your problem is.
Can somebody put in this CD please?
Audrey cranks the ignition and starts to back out.
I don't know what you think is
going to change.
I know God doesn't make mistakes. I
know that much.
An invisible scab is ripped open in Alike and the fire dies
in her eyes. Satisfied, Audrey slips the car into gear.
You may not like Bina, but you're
certainly gonna be spending much
less time with that Laura person, I
guarantee you that much.
Moooom, can you--
Be quiet. Nobody's putting in
anything. I'm gonna listen to what
I want to listen to for a change.
Alike wilts against the window and tacky zydeco music leaks
from the car as it jerks away from the curb and into traffic.
36 EXT. STREET - DAY 36
Alike strides down the sidewalk. Bina speedwalks to keep up.
Look, I don't like lying to my
mother, that's all.
Then don't, she doesn't have to
She does. She asks me everyday.
So tell her yeah.
No, I'm sick of lying to cover for
Bina stops short. Alike keeps walking.
Look Alike, Lee. Whatever it is you
wanna be called. I'm not trying to
hang out with you, either, but I'm
not about to take an L for it. So
stop dodging me, let's just go to
school together and be done with
it. We don't have to see each
other any other time than that.
Alike doesn't miss a step. Bina yells after her.
Whatever, my mother asks me again,
I'm telling her. Then she can tell
your mother, then it's whatever for
Alike stops short. Bina crosses the street and continues in
the direction away from school. Alike spins around scanning
the street, then catches sight of her on the opposite
Bina keeps on pushing, the school now in sight.
Alike checks for traffic then dashes across the street to
catch up with her.
Hey look, I'm sorry.
Yeah, you sorry your mom is gonna
No for real, I'm sorry. I didn't
mean to be that way. It's just...
OK, I am concerned that my, my mom
will find out, but...
It's not like that. It's just--
she's just. If you knew her, you'd
understand. She's like, I don't
The girls walk in silence for a moment.
So what's your favorite class?
You don't have to make small talk.
Let's just walk.
I said I'm sorry. It's not you,
it's just that my mom is like,
Alike relaxes her shoulders, both relieved and surprised.
I can tell. I've seen--I mean, a
lot of people's parents are like
Yeah. But probably not like mine.
Anyway, like I said, we don't have
to talk. Just walk.
Alike's cell phone chirps--it's Laura. Alike sighs and
stuffs the phone back into her pocket.
37 INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - DAY 37
Hi! This is Lee, I'm not able to
answer my phone right now--
Laura snaps her cell phone shut. A GED study book still
glossy and uncreased is propped open on the bed in front of
her. She opens her cell phone again and pulls up Alike's
number. Her thumb hovers over the `talk' button. She snaps
the phone shut and tosses it aside before turning the radio
down and dragging the book closer. The cell phone rings and
she snatches it up. A picture of a girl making a kissy face
with the name "Tasha" underneath blinks onto the screen and
Laura snaps the phone shut and tosses it aside. She hoists
the GED book into her lap and lets her head hit the wall.
There is a knock at her bedroom door and Candace peeks in.
How's it comin'?
Candace smiles at Laura and hesitates before closing the
door. Candace turns the radio off before ducking back out.
Laura sighs and flips back to the beginning of the book.
38 INT. SPORTS CLUB BASKETBALL COURT - DAY 38
Alike and Arthur cavort in a sloppy half-court game in the
fluorescent glare of the gym. Well-heeled clientele cross to
and fro munching power bars and sipping Gatorade. Arthur has
an awful shot, but Alike's is worse. Alike heaves a huge
airball past the basket.
Oh my God!!
Alike cracks up as Arthur chases down the ball.
That's just embarrassing!
You ain't got no range, either.
Yeah but at least I hit the
Alike rushes to guard Arthur who dribbles clumsily around the
key. He tries a crossover move and lobs an ugly shot toward
Laughing, they tussle over the rebound. Arthur recovers.
What's the score?
One? Nah, I definitely have like
three. At least three.
Giggling, the pair rollick in another squeaky-shoed play.
39 INT. LIQUOR STORE - NIGHT 39
MACK, the store proprietor leans against the counter flipping
through a newspaper. Arthur, in uniform mulls through the
sports section. A ratty looking man, SOCK sips from a red
Mack cranks the volume on the tiny television above the
It's on again... Check it out Free.
Channel 5 and Channel 2.
Arthur appears on the TV screen, dressed in suit, tie,
sunglasses and looking impressive. He is talking to a news
reporter and a bad news graphic reading "East Side Drug Bust--
Detective Arthur Freeman" blots out the bottom of the screen.
Look who's big time.
Brother was looking clean though.
Looked just like, look like...uh--
Arthur and Mack laugh and slap hands. Sock sneers at their
The bell over the door tinkles and a heavyset BUTCH WOMAN
strolls in. Her head is shaved and a thick wallet chain
clinks against her ample carpenter pants. All three men turn
Been more of that since they opened
up that new club `cross the way.
Arthur grunts and returns to his paper.
(to Butch Woman)
Excuse me Miss??!! Miiiiissss??!!
Certain Friday nights they got, you
know special parties going on.
Or should I say Sir??!! Siiiir??!!
Chill out, Sock.
Hey, my man! You hear me talkin' to
Mack snatches Sock's cup. Sock pivots around to protest.
Mind your business.
Sock yanks his cup back and turns to resume his taunts. He's
caught off guard and stumbles backward as the woman pushes up
to the counter with a case of liquor. Arthur steps out of the
way and observes.
And a pack of Kools.
Mack nods and fishes under the counter.
Say, I been trying to get your
attention. Do you go by Sir or
That'll be all ma'am?
Look I just had a simple question I
wanted to ask. See, I just want to
know how does pussy taste?
The woman directs her full attention at Sock for the first
time. Mack watches as he quickly punches in the sale. Arthur
You know, I just wanna know if you
go with women for the taste, or is
it just you're too big, black, and
ugly so don't no man want you?
Sock laughs at his own nasty joke and takes a sip from his
The woman counts out the money and smiles at Sock.
I can't lie, pussy do taste good.
The woman takes her time putting away her change.
BUTCH WOMAN (CONT'D)
Maybe you should try it yourself
sometime. Or better yet--
The woman picks up her case.
BUTCH WOMAN (CONT'D)
--ask yo' wife how she likes me!
The woman winks at Sock. Arthur chokes back a guffaw. As soon
as the woman clears the door, Arthur and Mack explode in
laughter. Sock is livid and screams after her.
Fuckin' Bulldagger! He-She! Dyke!
Ask your wife!
She told you.
She ain't tell me shit! I don't
know what the fuck y'all niggas are
Awww shut up. Your big mouth got
you in trouble as usual.
Thought you was my friend, Mack.
But I guess I ain't expect you to
defend me Free, the way your
Arthur slams Sock against the counter before he can finish
He don't mean nothin'! He don't
know what he's talking about!
Arthur grinds Sock's collar tighter around his trembling
fist. Sock glares back, clearly punked.
He ain't moved outside a two-mile
radius of where he crawled out his
mammy's pussy. He don't know shit.
I been to Poughkeepsie!
Arthur snorts and flings Sock loose.
Carry your Poughkeepsie ass on out
of my store!
Mack sweeps Sock's plastic cup off the counter and into a
garbage can. Sock tromps to the door.
I should arrest your ass.
Man, fuck y'all!!
Free, don't pay him no mind. Just
Mack playfully jabs him in the shoulder and bustles
underneath the counter. Arthur's eyes linger on the door and
his jaw tightens.
40 INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - DAY 40
Laura swings through the front door of her apartment, Alike
close behind. She slides two twenty dollar bills underneath
the ceramic hen on the table and breezes into her bedroom.
41 INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - LATER 41
Alike is a paper doll in Laura's floor length mirror, dressed
only in boxers and a wife beater. Laura holds a bright orange
polo shirt up in front of Alike's torso. Alike cocks her head
to the side and considers.
Damn, this is your color. So what's
the deal incog-negro?
Mom has me hemmed up.
Your phone ain't broke. You coulda
called a nigga. Put this on.
Laura pulls away the orange polo shirt and hands Alike a
turquoise one instead. Alike hoists the oversized shirt over
My bad. She's making me hang out
with this chick from church. It's
Makin' you?! You a grown-ass woman,
Laura shakes her head as she plucks a brand new baseball cap
from the wall rack and drops it onto Alike's head. Alike
considers and takes it off. Laura puts another cap in its
place. Before Alike can object, Laura tosses her a pair of
Try these with it. So I guess the
piers is out for Saturday, huh?
I don't even know if that's me
Alike struggles into the jean shorts, widening her stance so
they don't fall down. Laura tosses her a belt and admires
Yeah, that's hot, yo. You should
I was gonna see if you wanna do
Alike strips off the baseball cap and hangs it back on the
Different like what?
Alike peels out of the polo shirt.
I don't know--maybe like a open mic
Open mic? Nah, man. It's plenty
chicks at the piers, you just gotta
be more confident.
Laura crosses to her closet and scans its inventory. The
jeans are arranged crisply on hangers from light to dark and
some still have store tags. Most of the shirts are still
enclosed in protective plastic covers from the dry cleaners.
Laura passes Alike a perfectly folded button down shirt.
You can rock this. I haven't even
worn it yet. But I understand if
you got better things to do.
Alike holds the shirt against her torso and stares at her
reflection. She catches Laura's eager look in the mirror and
Nah, I'm down.
You sure? I don't want you getting
Nah seriously, I'm down for
That's what's up! I'ma take the
whole day off. It's gonna be tight
watch... we gon' do it up!
Laura holds a new pair of jeans against her body and does a
little dance. Alike laughs wanly.
42 INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - EVENING 42
Audrey sits between Alike's knees as Alike oils her scalp.
Alike takes her time, massaging each braid between her hands
before moving to the next. Audrey reads an Essence magazine,
the cover of which reads "101 Ways to Please Your Man."
You should wear your hair down
Your father likes it up.
It looks nice down.
Alike catches her mother's eye in the mirror's reflection,
they share a sad moment. Audrey closes the magazine and
tosses it back onto the bed.
Maybe. Anyway give this back to
Bina's mom when you go over
We talked about this.
No we didn't.
I had plans for this weekend.
Well, you don't have to go to
Bina's on Saturday night, you can
always stay home with me.
Oh my God!
43 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - EVENING 43
Bina sits on the floor, flipping through CD's. Alike sits in
a chair, head in hand, completely disinterested.
You like Destiny's Child?
No, I don't really like any of that
Bina looks up, off balanced.
Oh. Who do you like?
Alike checks the time on her phone.
Alike starts packing her backpack.
Just more underground stuff. None
of that crap they play on the
People you probably haven't heard
of. Conscious stuff.
Roots. Black Star. Asheru and Blue
Pharcyde? I heard of Pharcyde.
Yep. Tribe? J-Rawls? Bahamadia?
Alike perks up, looking genuinely interested for the first
Uh-oh, whatchu know about
Bahamadia? Let me find out....
I'm not as generic as you think.
The phone rings. Mrs. Singletary answers from another room.
Alike and Bina freeze, listening.
MRS. SINGLETARY (O.S.)
Hello? Hi Audrey. Yes. Yeah she's
here. I understand--
Alike sulks. Bina flips to the back of the CD book.
Alright, how about Rock?
Whatchu know about Santogold? Since
you all underground and stuff.
I haven't heard of her, I heard of
Alike hoists the backpack onto her shoulder and stands to
Oh no this is way better, you gotta
check her out.
Bina jams her iPod onto the stereo adapter. The thick, fierce
guitar rhythms of Tamar-kali's "Boot" consume the room. Bina
chants the lyrics along with the music.
"Her hair is short. Her legs are
brown. Her lips are full. Her head
Alike plops back down in her chair.
44 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - SAME TIME INTERCUT 44
Audrey smooths a pink sticky note onto a foil covered plate
and shoves it into the fridge. The doorbell rings and she
rushes across the room and opens the door in her most sing-
Hello Mrs. Freeman. Is Lee home
She's out with her friend right
now, Laura. You take care.
Audrey starts to close the door. Laura stops it with her
Oh. Umm do you know when she'll be
No, I believe she's out for the
Oh, because we had umm... alright
then... Thank you.
Audrey shuts the door harder than necessary. Laura checks her
phone and shakes her head.
45 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME INTERCUT 45
"Twist a virgin `round your dirty
Blood is gone but the memory
lingers...twist a virgin `round
your bloody little finger, love is
gone, but the memory lingers!"
Alike is bobbing her head, backpack forgotten on her
shoulder. Bina cranks the volume down.
Yo, this shit is hot!
Told you. Don't you have to go?
I'll cover. It's cool.
Nah, I wanna stay.
Alike slings her backpack to the floor and pulls the CD book
into her lap. Her cell phone rings and she ignores it.
46 EXT. THE PIERS - LATER 46
The pier is a parade of mohawks, curly weaves, tight jeans,
and rainbow belts as groups of baby dykes, young queens, and
gender queer youth of all shades of brown stroll cavort, and
strut seeing and wanting to be seen. Equally bedecked
observers hoot and yell from bench and rail perches on both
sides. Laura jabs numbers into her cell phone. Competing
threads of house music throb across the boardwalk in muffled
bursts as groups of ballers vogue and prance behind her.
Leave a message and I'll call you
Laura yanks her phone away from her ear and looks at the
screen. She starts to hang up but pulls it back to her ear.
Where you at? Hit me up when you
47 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - LATER 47
Alike and Bina are sprawled in the floor. Bina DJ's from her
Mrs. Alvarado was trying to get me
to check out this one place.
Alike hands her the flyer. Bina laughs and tosses it back.
Oh hell, no. That's for old people--
I'll write down some places you
should check out. Maybe you could
read some of my stuff, too.
48 EXT. THE PIERS - SAME TIME INTERCUT 48
Laura scowls at her cell phone screen. She shoves the phone
in her pocket and pulls her hoodie up against the chill of
the evening. Brake lights bathe Laura and her circle of AG's
in red as late-night predators cruise the strip for fresh
meat. Laura catches sight of shady sexual encounters in an
alley across the street and looks away. One of the entourage
passes Laura a joint and she inhales deeply. A few of the
girls have backpacks and the group is pensive as they break
off and scatter into the night one by one.
PIER GIRL #1
`Member when we used to stay out
here all night?
PIER GIRL #2
Shit, used to?
PIER GIRL #1
You stay with your sister now, huh?
Laura nods and spits.
PIER GIRL #2
Lucky as hell.
49 INT. AP ENGLISH CLASSROOM - AFTERNOON 49
AP English class is a safe haven. The desks are pulled
together in a rough circle and are filled with heavily
pierced, dyed hair, and vintage clothes types. Mrs. Alvarado
sits cross-legged atop her desk taking notes. Alike stands at
the center of the circle reciting an original poem.
A butterfly, briefly
On the mucous of its own change
By the membranous chaff of its own
In the darkness of the too-tight
cocoon of its own creation
Thinking death inevitable
Prepares to die in the absolute
Of Swollen Husk.
A c r a c k appears
A thin jagged light connecting
The inner to the outer world
A butterfly, briefly
Paralyzed by the imminence of death
Discovers life is possible.
The class claps.
Comments? Critiques? Julie, tell me
what you think.
A forest of hands go up as Alike winds her way back to her
seat. A few classmates whisper brief encouragements. Bina
nods and smiles at Alike. Unguarded, Alike smiles back.
50 EXT. STREET - DAY 50
Bina and Alike troop home at a more leisurely pace. Alike
breaks the silence for once.
I liked your story, though. It was
Yeah? Which one? The one about the--
The one about karma, how things
come back to you. That one, I
thought it was tight.
For real? Thanks. I wasn't gonna
say anything, but I liked yours
Why did I like it or why wasn't I
gonna say anything?
Why did you like it?
I don't know. I guess because it
Didn't you have on a different
No, what'd you say?
Yeah, I had on a different shirt.
Oh... Well, that's cool.
So why weren't you gonna say
anything about it?
About your shirt?
About the poem.
Cause you're moody.
Man, I'm not moody.
This is me.
Alike looks up at the stoop, surprised.
It's not so bad when there's some
Alike looks away.
You wanna come up?
51 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON 51
Alike sits on Bina's twin bed, looking around and really
taking in the room for the first time. She reaches over and
picks up a little molded soldier figure off of the shelf.
Bina fishes around in a rack of CDs.
Who gave you this?
What the bear? My dad.
Alike holds the figurine out, Bina looks at it over her
Oh that. Girl, my stupid ex-
boyfriend gave me that.
Bina opens a CD case and pulls the booklet out.
Not really. I mean I guess it was
at the time.
Bina lobs the little army man into a trash can across the
room and hands Alike the booklet.
Anyway, this is the other artist I
was telling you about. Her stuff is
A buoyant Afropunk beat wafts through the bedroom. Bina plops
down on the bed next to Alike.
This is straight. You'll burn me a
Yeah, I have a bunch of other
So who do you hang out with? I
don't really see you with anybody.
Alike shrugs and rifles through her backpack. She pulls out
her composition book. Awkward silence.
I didn't mean it like that. I was
just asking because I was curious.
I don't really like anybody that
goes there either.
My friend Laura used to go there.
Not now, but she's going back.
Oh because, I was just gonna say--
I'm going to this house party and
you can come if you want to.
Bina waves her hand at the radio.
They play this kind of music.
Sure. How'm I supposed to dress?
You don't dress. You just come
however. Come as you are.
Can I see?
Bina snatches the book from Alike's hands and starts flipping
through pages before Alike can answer.
Yeah...But that's mainly old stuff,
This is the one you did today?
Bina offers the journal back to Alike. Alike reaches for it.
Bina pulls it away at the last second--an impromptu game of
Alike misses again. The girls crack up.
Bina yanks it away again. Alike gives up, still smiling.
You play too much.
Seriously, it's right here. Just
Alike summons the courage for one last swipe. She manages to
grab it but Bina doesn't let go right away. The girls lock
eyes during the extemporaneous tug-of-war.
Beaming with her victory, Alike busies herself with the
journal. Bina recruits a small stuffed moose for her next
foray. She dances the moose up Alike's arm and plants an
exaggerated peck on her cheek with it.
The girls erupt into renewed giggles. Bina tosses the stuffed
animal aside and scoots closer to read over Alike's shoulder.
What's so private?
Nothin', just my writings...
Bina studies Alike's profile. She leans in and pecks Alike on
the cheek. Alike lets the kiss soak in, glancing at Bina
sidelong. Bina leans in again, this time planting a long kiss
on Alike's lips. Alike pulls away. Bina tenses for the
Why'd you do that for?
No, I'm sorry. I just umm...I gotta
Alike blindly grabs up her things and rushes the door, Bina
flounders in her wake.
52 INT. LAURA'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING 52
Laura and a group of friends play a rowdy game of spades. A
cute Puerto Rican girl is draped around Laura's neck like a
PERSONAL CHEERLEADER. Music blasts from the TV but doesn't
drown out the hoots and banter of the rollicking entourage.
There is a knock at the door.
You'll get that for me?
One of the friends breaks away from the pack, opens the door
without greeting and walks away. Alike is left alone to
escort herself in. Laura hardly looks up as Alike stops at
the fringes of the pack.
A collective grumble of greeting goes up around the table
although no one addresses Alike directly. Laura slams the
table and raises her hands in triumph.
Board, goddammit!! I told you!
PIER GIRL #1
Awww, we shoulda been done set you!
Laura slaps hands with her partner. The unlucky pair of
partners argue. The personal cheerleader kisses Laura on the
neck. Alike looks away.
Good game, baby!
What's good, Lee?
Just came to say wassup.
Whatchu got, Ty?
PIER GIRL #2
Three, maybe four.
We goin' eight!!
Roars of disbelief from around the table. Alike is quickly
forgotten in the ruckus. Alike circles to Laura's side. The
personal cheerleader looks her up and down.
Can I talk to you for a second?
Now I got to cut you!! Grab `em
partner. We gonna run a Boston on
Yo, I'm busy right now.
More raucous laughter from the table. Alike endures another
few moments of card slapping, table pounding dejection before
leaning into Laura's ear.
I really need to talk to you--
I said later!
Wide-eyed silence and scattered snickers around the table.
Laura resumes her hand and the game banter cranks back up.
Alike picks up her face and slips away.
PIER GIRL #3
Thought that was your girl?
Mind your business. Bam! That's
what I thought!
Laura slaps another card on the table and takes a deep swig
53 INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 53
Audrey lies awake in bed. The clock on the nightstand
indicates a little past two in the morning. She looks at the
sliver of light underneath the bedroom door, the sound of
Arthur's key in the door breaks the silence. Arthur's voice
in hushed tones. Audrey rolls over and faces the wall.
54 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 54
Alike watches her father's footsteps break up the light
beneath her door. She tosses off her blankets and springs
into the hallway.
She is talking to empty air. She eases down the hallway
toward the kitchen and the sound of his muffled voice.
Come on now, you know that's not
what I want. That's not what I'm
saying. That's not--listen to me.
Are you gonna listen to me?
Alike stops short outside the kitchen door, confused.
Lee? Hold on.
55 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS 55
Alike swings around the corner.
No, not you.
Hey, I'll talk to you later,
alright? My daughter's up.
Arthur flips his cell phone shut and tucks it into his
pocket. He fishes a beer out of the fridge.
Who was that?
Arthur sips his beer and walks over to the kitchen table. A
foil covered plate with a little pink sticky note waits.
What you doing up?
Just wanted to talk.
Arthur crumples the sticky note and tosses it into the trash
without reading it. He peels up one side of the foil, peeks
at the food underneath, and launches it into the trash, too.
Dad, the plate--don't trash the
Arthur strips off his dress shirt and tie and flings them
into the living room.
Alike rescues the plate from the garbage and carefully lays
it in the sink so it doesn't clatter.
Aren't you hungry?
You ate at work?
No, just grabbed some take out.
Why you asking me all these goddamn
questions, girl? What's wrong with
you? You don't question me.
Alike starts to head back to her room.
Hold up. I'm sorry, Alike come on
back. Look-- I got patties...
Arthur tosses a greasy bag onto the table and pulls out a
chair for her.
And chicken. C'mon.
Alike sits happily and the two munch in silence for awhile.
Listen uh...Your momma's worried
that uh...How's school? Straight
That's right. Want a sip?
Arthur offers her the beer. Alike takes it to the head.
I said a sip. A sip!
Arthur snatches the beer from her. They laugh. Alike picks at
her patty, eating little pieces of crust.
What's on you your mind?
What if--what if...say somebody
liked you right?
They like you? Or they like you,
Say they like you, like you.
I mean, they haven't said anything
yet. But what if... so what if the
person is kinda like a friend, but
you know they like you more than
Well, I think that's the best way
to start--as friends.
But then what if...What if the
person is --
Arthur scents the heavy news packed in Alike's expressive
pause and scrambles to intercept her at the pass.
What's his name? What grade is he
I'ma look his ass up in the system.
Ha-ha! Wait `till your mama finds
out. She'll be so goddamn happy.
Alike plays along, swallowing her disappointment.
Arthur pushes back from the table and pulls a fresh police
uniform out the hall closet. He lays it across the back of
the couch and unzips his pants. Alike turns her back to give
Say uh--there's this new--uh
women's club up there by the liquor
store--have you--do you--you
haven't heard anything about it,
Alike shakes her head no. Arthur tucks his undershirt into
Called the Kitty Litter, the
Catbox, something like that?
Nah, I never even heard of it.
Good. `Cause you know that's a
uh...it's a rough neighborhood. You
know that right? I had a case over
there. You wanna be careful--stay
away from that element. Just in
case it ever comes up?
I'll be careful.
Good. I know you will.
Alike glances back at Arthur and sees that he's decent. She
scoots back around to face him. Arthur smooths his uniform
shirt into his pants.
Dad, when you were on the phone
earlier? It sounded like...I
mean...I guess you're headed back
to work, huh?
Yep. Your mama still up?
Tell her I had to work.
Arthur picks up his work tote and kisses Alike on the
56 INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - MORNING 56
Laura jams a pillow into a t-shirt as a makeshift pillowcase
as she escorts one of the pier girls to the couch. The pier
girl looks slightly unkempt and is relieved to plop her
knapsack on the floor. Laura tosses the pillow onto the
My sister gets home at six so, you
gotta be gone by then.
PIER GIRL #2
There's some lunchmeat in there
too, help yourself.
PIER GIRL #2
Laura pulls up close to the kitchen table. The GED test prep
book, now dog-eared and worn is on the table in front of her.
She finds her place and copies notes and multiple choice
answers into a spiral notebook. A stack of old Math and
English textbooks are in a chair next to her and the room is
peaceful and still save for the scratching of her pencil.
57 INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - AFTERNOON 57
Alike spies on Bina stuffing books into her locker. She draws
her breath and approaches.
A long awkward silence. Alike leans against the bank of
lockers, not daring to make eye contact.
I'm sorry about the other day.
Bina pretends to rearrange books in her locker.
Things have been crazy. But look,
I'm sorry I bugged out. It's
just...I didn't know that you...I
wasn't expecting that.
You still coming to the party?
I don't know--I need to try and
catch up with Laura.
But I do wanna hang out...I
mean...maybe we could do both.
Bina smiles and shuts the locker door.
You could spend the night if want
to. Avoid the whole curfew thing.
58 INT. FAMILY CAR - DAY 58
Arthur coaches Alike as she navigates the car to a jerky stop
in front of Mack's liquor store.
Easy, easy now. Watch your right
Don't ride the brakes though. Good.
See? I'm getting better!! Can I
Arthur rubs his chest in mock heart-attack.
I don't about that. You're shaky
girl, you're shaky. Get us some
chips and I'll think about it.
Arthur hands Alike a five dollar bill and she bounces down
out of the car.
59 EXT. LIQUOR STORE - CONTINUOUS 59
Arthur shouts a greeting to Mack who lounges on a plastic
chair outside his door. Sock and TWO OTHER MEN chit chat
nearby. Their chatter lowers as Arthur approaches. Alike bops
into the store.
Hey Mr. Ferguson!
I see Alike's been running circles
around you again!
Little bit, little bit. I still got
Arthur claps Mack on the shoulder and glimpses Sock
whispering to one of the men.
Arthur follows the men's gazes over to Alike at the potato
chip rack. She twirls the string of her basketball shorts
round and round her finger and idly hikes the collar of her t-
shirt up over her nose. The smile evaporates from Arthur's
Sock peers back at him, smirking. Arthur starts toward him,
when Alike saunters out between them.
We better get going.
I'll holler at you later.
Arthur crosses the lot in a bound, snatches the car keys from
Alike's hand, and hustles her into the car.
Get in the car.
But you said I could drive--
I said get in the car!
Alike frowns, then catches sight of the men in front of the
store. She slumps into the car and slams the door. Arthur
piles into the driver's seat. They sit in silence for a
moment, Alike traces the lines in her hands.
60 INT. ARTHUR'S CAR - CONTINUOUS 60
Look...umm...you know you're
daddy's girl, right?
Alike avoids eye contact, staring out her window. Arthur
searches her face a moment longer, then starts the car and
pulls away in silence.
61 INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 61
Audrey reclines on the couch reading a book. The doorknob
jiggles and Audrey folds the book against her chest,
pretending to be asleep.
Arthur slips in and lays his holster on an armchair, not even
bothering to approach Audrey's sleeping form.
Arthur peeks inside the fridge and inspects one of Audrey's
foil covered plates. He tosses it aside and gathers sandwich
ingredients instead. Audrey yawns and props herself up on one
Oh you're home?
I must've dozed off. How long have
you been in?
Dad takes a bite of his sandwich and shoves the ingredients
back into the fridge.
Did you see the plate in there?
This is fine.
Arthur plops down on an armchair and flips the TV channel to
sports highlights. Mom scoots over on the couch.
There's room over here. You can see
the TV better.
This is fine.
Arthur props his feet up on the coffee table and catches
Audrey's hurt expression. He winks at her.
You and your daughter. Have you
talked to Lee yet? I told you she--
I talked to Alike.
Everything's fine. Like I told you.
Matter fact, she's got a boyfriend.
Just give her some space.
Space? She's hardly ever home in
the first place and you're just
like her, creeping in all hours of
the night. Both of you. Running
around like you got something to
hide, like I'm the big, bad witch
and what about me? I'm home by
myself all the time and Sharonda's
getting older and starting to go
out and pretty soon--
I don't have anything to hide. Look
I told you I talked to Alike and
everything is fine.
Did you ask her?
Dad slams down his half-eaten sandwich and stands up.
No, because I didn't have to.
Besides,I would know okay? If
anybody would know, it would be me.
I know my daughter--
--better than anyone else and--
So now all of a sudden she's just
--I'm telling you she's just Well I guess I better not
fine!! have nothing else to say
That's your damn problem, you're
too much of a damn worry wart.
Let's hope you're right, Detective.
Will you shut the fuck up?!
Audrey jerks to her feet and flings the book aside.
An hour? Really? I'm not your dumb
damn floozy in the street. And you
will not talk to me that way.
Audrey slaps the sandwich off Arthur's plate and storms to
the bedroom. Arthur sees Sharonda peeking from her bedroom
door but can't summon any words. Sharonda skitters into
62 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 62
Alike is awake, hands folded behind her head. Sharonda curls
up on top of the covers next to her.
I know you're not scared.
The girls lay silently as they listen to Arthur bang around
in the kitchen.
I hope you know it doesn't matter
Alike rubs Sharonda's head and gives her a little squeeze.
63 INT. HOUSE PARTY/POETRY SLAM - NIGHT 63
A MOHAWKED WOMAN yowls into a microphone atop a coffee table
turned stage. Kids roam from room to room nursing plastic
cups. Some in elaborate ensembles, some in thrift store duds,
others in plain old jeans, but no two people the same. Alike
clad in simple shirt and jeans looks especially comfortable
as she and Bina ease their way through the crowd. In between
performers, guitar riffs rock the large loft apartment and
render their voices practically inaudible.
--Bina introduces Alike to different people, Alike is
--Alike & Bina point out different performers, they laugh and
talk in each other's ears
--Alike and Bina dance wildly in the middle of the crowd,
surrounded by dozens of other clamorous bodies
--One performer beckons Alike up onto the table, Alike demurs
at first, then leaps on top of the table. Bina cheers.
--Alike drags a giggling Bina out of the party and they crash
into the open night
64 EXT. THE PIERS - NIGHT 64
Lights glisten across the Hudson River--distant orbs
reflected in a thousand shimmering faux stars in weak
defiance against the night sky. A sodium vapor glow veils
everything in generous haloes, making the night more
beautiful than it really is.
Dancing silhouettes, laughing, playing, yelling, flying,
always dancing silhouettes punctuate the summer breeze with
clapping set to the rhythm of soulful house. Like Puck on a
midsummer's night, like Peter Pan and his lost boys. Among
the silhouettes is Laura, enthroned atop a railing. Laura,
smoking a joint grandly, surrounded by an adoring circle, a
sycophantic harem of four.
Laura, completely miserable as she watches two other
silhouettes drawing closer, spinning, collapsing, now
righting, always connected. Alike and Bina. Bina smiles and
snakes her arms around Alike's neck. Alike too shy to react,
giggles and folds. Laura watches the pair spin and passes to
the left before stalking off toward the connected shadows.
65 EXT. THE PIERS- CONTINUOUS 65
Laura cuffs Alike on the neck, pulling Alike's hoodie up over
her face. Alike's laugh is tentative at first, not sure
whether this is play or for real. Laura chuckles, breaking
the ice. The pair slapbox and rough house, both missing with
wild arcing blows. Laura aims a mini charge at Alike that
lifts her off the ground and deposits her a short distance
away. Alike swipes Laura's hat. Laura claps Alike on the
shoulder and Alike waves to Bina. Bina waves and smiles.
So whatchu you think? She's cool
Laura looks around and shrugs. Laura plucks a fresh joint out
of her coat and lights it.
She's hot right? I told you. It was
so tight. I'm tellin' you, you
shoulda been there tonight!
Laura takes a puff and offers it to Alike.
This one's just for me and you.
Alike waves it off, oblivious and intoxicated with the night.
And she's smart, too. She does
poetry, you should hear it. It's
like, it's good, you know?
Laura stops walking and Alike skips ahead, still chattering.
I was thinking next weekend the
three of us could--
Look, I'm right here.
Alike snaps out of it.
Oh my bad, I thought you were
beside me. Anyway, I was thinking--
Look, I'm sorry for all the drama.
No, it's cool. I shoulda--
What I'm saying is, I probably
And then...I don't know. Seeing you
two together or whatever. I'm glad
to see you're finally happy.
C'mon man, you know you're my best
friend. Nobody's gonna --
You don't need to say anything. I
just wanted to get it off my chest.
I'm happy for you, that's all.
Alike shakes her head. Her mouth moves but nothing comes out.
Because I love you, alright? And
I'm sayin'...I'm right here.
Alike is stopped cold, as the light bulb finally goes off.
Laura takes a long drag on the joint. Bina and Mika stumble
over giggling. Bina hooks Alike's arm. Mika kisses Laura on
the neck. Laura snaps out of her gaze, her familiar smirk
We goin' to get something to eat?
That's what's up.
Laura pinches out the joint and hands it to Mika who tucks it
That's for later. Bina, nice to
You too. We had fun.
Laura gives Bina a polite hug, pounds Alike on the shoulder
and starts to lead Mika away.
Byyeee!! Hey hold up!
Laura pumps a lazy fist in the air in acknowledgement. Bina
takes Alike's hand and slowly drags her away. Alike keeps
looking back, then finally gives up. Laura looks back just as
Alike turns around and disappears around the corner.
I like your friends. They're cool.
66 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - LATER 66
Music videos play on the TV. Alike and Bina lay stretched out
on pillows, a plate of brownie crumbs between them. Alike
dozes. Bina smacks her with a pillow.
I'm not sleep.
Yes you are.
Alike rubs sleep out of her eyes and props herself up on one
Any brownies left?
Bina flicks off the TV and stares at Alike.
Alike looks away.
Alike folds her arms behind her head. Bina strokes Alike's
stomach. Her finger's dance at the top of Alike's pajama
bottoms. Their eyes meet. Alike sits bolt upright.
What're you doing? What's wrong?
This is uh... I never... I'm sorry,
I'm trippin' out.
It's okay. We don't have to.
Alike leans in and kisses Bina on the lips. Bina considers
and takes Alike's chin in her hand and kisses her back. Bina
places Alike's hand on her chest. Alike lets her hand linger,
then traces Bina's shoulders.
67 INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - MORNING 67
Laura stands over the kitchen table shuffling through the
mail. She pauses at a stiff envelope with her name on it. The
return address reads "NYS Educational & Testing Services".
She flips the envelope over and looks around, she rips the
top off and eases the top of a slip out of the envelope. The
top of the slip reads "'Campbell, Laura' GED TESTING
68 EXT. BRONX HOME - MORNING 68
Laura shifts her weight on a painted concrete porch outside a
small wooden frame home. The paint is peeling and the flowers
in the window-box are dead. A rusted metal mailbox next to
the door overflows with circulars. Laura lifts the circulars
out of the box and trashes them. She picks up a discarded
fast food bag and tosses it too. A dog barks from a
neighboring yard. Laura pulls open the screen door and tries
to peer in through the diamond shaped window in the main
door, but it's covered over in aluminum foil. More barking.
Laura surveys the street and bangs hard on the door. She
snaps the screen door back and takes a big step backward.
Laura shifts her weight and smooths her shirt. LAURA'S
MOTHER, 54, and no-nonsense opens the door and frowns down at
Laura through the screen.
Laura's mother crosses her arms and looks at Laura up and
Thought you might've stepped out or
something? How've you been?
Laura's mother frowns up and down the block before refocusing
on Laura. Laura takes a step closer to the door.
Me and Candy, you know we're doing
Laura's mother puts her hand on the doorknob.
We might even be moving to a bigger
place soon. You know she's workin'
at the hospital now, yeah you'd be
real proud of her. She might even
go back and get her RN--
Laura takes another step forward.
How--? How's Pops? You look good.
You look healthy, yeah you look
real good. You know uh, we miss you
Laura's mother starts to close the door. Laura backs away.
I don't wanna take too much of your
time. I just stopped by--you know I
uh--I'm getting my stuff together
Laura fishes the stiff envelope out of her pocket and
advances on the screen door again, holding it out.
So, I did it. I took the test and--
Laura's mother slams the door. Laura stands on her tiptoes
and yells at the diamond shaped window.
I got my GED!
The lock on the door snaps into place. Renewed barking from
across the street. Silence from the door. Laura brushes a
fist across her eyes and stuffs the envelope into the
But listen I--I gotta go. I gotta
get to work but I'ma leave it for
you to see. It was nice talking to
Laura backs off the porch and starts down the walkway. She
stops halfway and bounds back onto the porch. She yanks the
envelope out of the mailbox and jams it into her pocket.
Laura storms off the porch and out of yard, never looking
69 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - MORNING 69
Alike is asleep on the bed. Bina cleans up feverishly,
"accidentally" bumping Alike awake. Alike yawns and rolls
over, a huge grin spreading across her face as she remembers
Bina bolts to the dresser and crams clothes in.
You up already?
It's after one o'clock, actually.
Bina deposits an armful of clothes into the dirty clothes
hamper, and then begins making the bed with Alike still in
it. Alike pulls Bina down beside her.
Nothin's wrong, I'm just cleaning
up. Don't worry about it.
Okay then, I'll help you.
No, I got it.
Bina snatches a pillow from behind Alike and fluffs it.
Alike, still oblivious, grins and traces Bina's shoulder.
Look um--I just wanted to say that
last night...last night was
amazing...thank you for--
Last night we were just playin'
around, that's all.
Bina flinches away from Alike's touch. Alike shoots a glance
at the door and drops her voice to a choked whisper.
Look... We can slow things down...
Nobody has to know that we're
"Together"? Whoa, no...
Huh?! I thought... Look if you
don't want to call it that, that's
fine, but don't act like nothing
Bina moves away and levels her gaze at Alike for the first
time. Alike touches Bina's elbow, Bina flinches away.
Look, I'm not gay okay? This isn't
me--I wasn't--I'm not ready for all
Alike recruits the discarded stuffed moose and dances it
around on the bed. Bina recoils and snatches it away.
Recognition seeps across Alike's pained face. Bina moves away
from the bed and turns her back on Alike.
Alike finds her pajama pants on the floor and yanks them on.
She pulls on jeans over her pajama bottoms and hauls a
sweatshirt down over her nightie. She flings her backpack
open on the bed and hunts around the room wildly gathering
her things. Alike goes in the bathroom and reappears with an
armful of toiletries, dumping them in the bag. Bina watches
her, arms folded. Alike takes one last look around the room
and heads for the door, running a sleeve across her face.
Alike ignores her and launches into the hallway. Bina runs
to her bedroom doorway.
Alike beelines for the front door. Bina chases Alike across
Lee, stop please?
Alike wipes a sleeve across her swelling eyes and running
nose and turns to face her. Bina takes several steps toward
her. Alike lets go of the doorhandle, her voice cracks.
You promise you won't tell anybody?
70 EXT. BINA'S HOUSE/STREET - DAY 70
Alike rages outside, weaving blind fury down the sidewalk.
She kicks over a cluster of garbage cans and cyclones out
into the street, narrowly missing getting hit by a car. She
continues her zag to the other sidewalk, her pace quickening.
She rips open her backpack and launches a baseball cap into
the air. She tears a handful of wifebeaters from the bag and
flings them into the street. Spinning and thrashing she
wrenches out a football jersey and jams it into another
garbage can. She circles back and kicks the can over. She
hurtles her backpack into the trees like a discus and sheds
her hoodie like a skin before disappearing into the scream of
a subway station.
71 INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING 71
Lee bursts into the living room and charges to her bedroom.
Audrey, who has been waiting in the living room storms in
Where in the hell have you been?!
Alike kicks off her shoes and paces the room.
You hear me talking to you ?! Where
you been? You left Bina's hours
I'M NOT YOUR HUSBAND!!!!
Audrey gasps in stunned silence.
I'm not your husband so stop comin'
at me like I am. I'm not your
companion, I'm not your friend --
you made that abundantly clear--I'm
your daughter and I have my own
shit to deal with!!
LEE--don't you dare--Alike--I am
Audrey melts back against the doorjamb. Alike slings off her
shirt and slams the door in Audrey's face. A livid Audrey
bangs on the door and jiggles the handle.
You must have lost your damn mind!
Wait until your father gets home!
72 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS 72
Alike attacks her closet, ripping all the "girly" shirts from
the hangers and hurling them toward a small vanity trashcan.
She plunges back in and slams an armful of blouses to the
floor. She launches a pair of pumps into the wall, followed
by a chunky pair of Timberlands. Silent sobs rack her body as
she tears off her own shirt and slings it at the mirror. She
strips off her jeans and kicks them brutally into a corner.
Alike considers her unclothed form in the mirror before
collapsing onto the bed. She writhes against the pillows and
covers her eyes with her elbow as darts of grief twist
through her body. Blackout.
73 INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - LATER 73
Alike jerks awake in her bed, a pillow pulled down around her
ears. The sound of a muffled argument leaks from her
parents's bedroom. The shouting gets louder, and Alike sits
upright in her bed as her father's footsteps boom past her
doorway and into the living room. Audrey's voice trails him
down the hallway, and Alike scrambles into a t-shirt and
74 INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING 74
Arthur's hand is on the doorknob, a small tote flung over his
shoulder. Audrey blocks the door, her hands on her hips. They
both look up as Alike edges into the living room.
You see, that's exactly what I'm
talking about?! Get over here!
Go back to bed!
No, you come tell your father what
you told me!
Don't drag her into this, Audrey!
Go to your room, Alike. Your mom
and I are having a discussion.
We are not discussing!! I wanna
know right now--
Go to your room!
Your father's leaving us!!
I am not leaving you!!
Sharonda, wake up!! Come see your
father leaving us!!
I'm not fucking leaving!! Will you
stop saying that?!
Come say goodbyeeee!!
Audrey shoves Arthur toward the door. Reflexively, Arthur
raises his hand at Audrey. Audrey puffs up.
Oh, what?! I wish you would!! Go
ahead!! Look girls, your daddy's
going to beat me!!
Sharonda bursts into tears behind Alike. Alike hurries
Sharonda back down the hallway.
Shhh. It's okay. Go in my room and
lock the door. Don't come out,
Sharonda bawls harder. Alike gently closes the door on her.
It's gonna be okay.
75 INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS 75
Arthur and Audrey argue viciously.
No! Dammit, that's not true! Look,
will you stop sayin' that?!
It's the truth!!
Alike edges back into the living room, Audrey wheels on her.
Arthur is beaten and cornered.
Your daddy's got a new girlfriend!
Or did you already know that?! You
know, I bet you did!!
Audrey, stop it!! Alike go back to
Meanwhile, your daughter's turning
into a damn man right before your
very eyes, and you can't even see
Arthur drops his tote and advances toward Audrey, leveling a
stiff finger at her face.
No you take that back.! You shut
the fuck up about that, Audrey!
Arthur gets in Audrey's face. Audrey leers back at him. Alike
jumps between them.
Go back to bed, Alike!!
Tell him, Lee!
Don't call her Lee!
Mom, stoppit please!?
Tell your Dad where you hang out!
Tell him about your butch-ass
Laura's NOT my girlfriend!!
What the hell are you talking
about?! You don't know what the
hell are you talking about. Alike,
please just go to your room, baby!
Alike drops her gaze and backs away.
Arthur's expression cracks and he tears his focus from Audrey
Tell me what?!
I'm not tellin' you nothin'.
Tell him you're a dyke! You tell
him you're a nasty ass dyke!!
No she's not gay. Alike we didn't
raise you that way, baby.
Eyes still downcast, Alike just shakes her head and backs
There!! You see!!
You shut the hell up Audrey!!
Arthur extends his arms toward Alike, his voice trembling.
I know that's not true. You tell
your mother right now, Alike. You
tell her it isn't true!!
Alike meets her father's eyes.
Don't you lie now, you tell the
You already know.
No, I don't know. You tell your
mother it's just a phase.
It's not a phase!
Arthur is stopped cold, his shoulders slump.
See, if you would've DONE
What's wrong with you?
There's nothing wrong with me!
This is your fault!! If you had--
Arthur tears into Audrey, spittle flying.
AUDREY WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
DON'T YOU SCREAM AT ME!! You This is NOT my fault!! Just
should've been at home more shut up and lemme talk! I'm
often!! Why don't you DO trying to fuckin' talk--
YEAH I'M GAY!!
Arthur spasms as though he's been stabbed. Out of nowhere,
Audrey's backhand pistons Alike to the ground. She raises her
hand high and slaps it down hard on Alike's shoulders and
arms. Alike yells. Arthur turns to stone.
Say it again! Say it again!
Alike fends off Audrey's blows with her hands. She kicks
angrily as Audrey towers over her.
I'm a lesbian! Yeah, I'm a dyke.
No you're not!!!!!
Audrey's blows become more manic and vicious. Arthur wakes
from his trance and tries to wrestle Audrey off of Alike.
That's enough! Stop it!
Don't you say that! Let go! Don't
you say that!
Get offa me!!
What? You a man now? YOU GON' FIGHT
ME LIKE A MAN??!!
Audrey swings and hits Alike with a nasty hook to the jaw,
Alike's head snaps back and hits the floor.
Arthur yanks Audrey off of Alike. Audrey directs her rage at
him, pummeling his face and chest.
AND YOU TOO! YOU TOO! YOU TOO! OH
Tears stream down Arthur's face as Audrey shakes free and
aims one last blow at his face.
YOU SAY IT'S NOT TRUE!!!
76 INT. LAURA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 76
Click-clack. Click-clack. The rattle of circuit breakers echo
through the bare darkness of Laura's small apartment.
How about now?
Shit. Fucking building.
Laura bangs into something in the darkness.
A small light flicks to life and grows larger. In its dim
glow, Laura spots Alike leaning against a worn couch. The
lights become two as Laura hands Alike a candle.
Here. Good thing I keep some these
Alike snorts thickly. Her words are slurred and nasal.
Yeah, for your many women.
Hey, you thanking `em now.
Laura holds her candle up to Alike's grim face.
Alike wipes at already dried tear streaks on her puffy face
and looks down. Laura slides an arm around her waist and
guides her into the small bedroom.
You bring clothes?
Huh-uh. I stopped by the house--I
That's alright, man. You can wear
some of mine. It's okay, c'mon.
Lets get some sleep. My sister'll
be home in a little bit, too.
77 INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - LATER 77
Overturned Ramen noodle cups litter the floor. Laura sips a
beer and strokes Alike's head who sleeps fitfully in her lap.
78 INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING 78
Arthur is frozen in the middle of the living room with a
contractor trash bag. He stoops and piles the shards of a
broken lamp into the bag one by one. Sharonda peeks out at
him from her bedroom door. Arthur looks up at her and
Sharonda pushes the door shut.
79 INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - DAY 79
Audrey sits at the edge of her bed in a housecoat. Her hair
is ruffled and flyaway. Her ankles are crossed and her hands
are dead birds in her lap. Her work clothes are laid out in a
neat line beside her: shirt, pants, socks, and shoes on the
floor right underneath. The telephone begins to ring, but
Audrey does not hear it.
80 INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON 80
Bina and a HIGH SCHOOL BOY sit on the floor, their backs
propped against the bed, books spread on the floor. The boy
puts his arm around Bina, launching numerous passionate
advances, but Bina pushes him away.
The clueless boy continues his clumsy attempts. Bina stares
out the window, completely detached.
81 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - AFTERNOON 81
Audrey, still in her housecoat, stares into the refrigerator,
transfixed by the mountain of foil-covered plates. Her eyes
are cried-out buttons. Suddenly she remembers to breathe, and
her breaths come raggedly tearing out fresh tears. She yanks
a foil-covered plate, dumps its contents into the trash can
and tosses the plate into the sink. She dumps another and
another, her composure returning with each plate tossed. By
the time she gets to the last one, her breathing slows and
returns to normal. She disappears into the bedroom and
reappears with the red shopping bag. She calmly lifts out the
pink blouse and stuffs it into the garbage. She wads up the
shopping bag and stuffs it in too. She takes a deep breath
and wipes her sleeve across her nose.
82 INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - LATE AFTERNOON 82
Arthur, Audrey and Sharonda are pegged around the dinner
table. Audrey's make-up fails to cover the dark circles
beneath her eyes and Arthur has a week's worth of stubble.
There is a jagged hole where Alike usually sits. Noticing
the asymmetry, Audrey bundles up Alike's place setting and
sweeps it onto the floor. Sharonda looks from Audrey to
Arthur then into her plate.
You want to say grace?
Arthur clears his throat.
Audrey thrusts her hands out to Arthur and Sharonda. They
each take her hand and Arthur begins again.
Dear Heavenly Father we pray... we
pray thank you for this food and we
pray... we pray for your continued
Arthur stops talking but his head remains bowed. An awkward
silence ensues. Audrey and Sharonda look up at him still
Audrey switches to an overly cheery auto-pilot mode, babbling
to no one in particular.
I got this recipe from a magazine.
Supposed to be very good. And you
see I made those green beans you
like. Sharonda pass the rice
Sharonda, staring at her father doesn't reach for the bowl.
Dad. You know where she is.
83 EXT. LAURA'S ROOFTOP - WEEKS LATER 83
Alike and Laura sit at the edge of the roof sharing a quart
of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Sunset paints the cityscape
pink and orange. The faint cadence of children playing drifts
in and out on a fickle breeze. Alike's wounds are healing and
she seems happy. The friends exchange wordless smiles and
soak in the peacefulness around them.
Laura hears a noise at the door and gets up to investigate.
Arthur is standing in the doorway. Laura calls out to Alike.
Alike looks up and the smile fades from her face. Arthur
tries to move around Laura, but Laura stares him down. Laura
looks back at Alike. Alike considers, then carefully nods.
Laura steps out of the way and watches Arthur pass.
Alike rises to face her father. She stands tall, her weight
is centered. Arthur struggles to find her eyes, and she turns
away from him. Distant playground voices fill the pause.
EXT. LAURA'S ROOFTOP - WEEKS LATER
Alike sits at the edge of the roof writing in her notebook.
Laura swings open the door and Alike looks back in greeting,
her smile fading as Arthur appears behind her. Laura motions
to Alike. Alike considers, then carefully nods. Laura steps
aside and watches Arthur pass.
Alike wanders to the edge of the roof, Arthur follows.
Distant playground voices fill the pause.
She...your mother couldn't make it.
Alike shakes her head and peers into the rusty skyline.
Arthur slumps his hands in his pockets and edges closer.
Remember our old place? Waaay out
in Queens? It was our first
apartment, we were so proud. Had
all those trees around it? In
October, the whooole block would be
covered with leaves. You remember.
Alike makes no sign.
You couldnt've been more than 2
years old. And when the wind would
blow, all those leaves would come
rushing down the street at us and
you thought they were alive. You'd
get so scared. You'd cry and you'd
scream and beg for us to pick you
up. I would try and tell you
"they're only leaves, baby" and
make you stay on the ground. But
you were so afraid and you cried so
hard, your mother would always pick
you up. She always picked you up.
Arthur is silent beneath the weight of his memory. He dares a
glance over at Alike.
`Member how we used to--
I've been accepted into a early
college program. Starts in the
California's a long way away--
Ten weeks writing boot camp,
workshops. Then I can start summer
We can talk about that. Okay?
I need you to meet with my guidance
counselor. Sign the paperwork so I
can graduate early.
I'm sorry, alright? I'm sorry I let
her hurt you--
I need to know now if you'll sign
the papers. Yes or no?
Can you forgive me?
Yes or no?
You can always come back home.
Things are gonna be different, I
Alike holds Arthur's hand, stopping him.
Dad, I'm not running. I'm choosing.
Arthur's heart breaks, he gasps back a sob.
I'm not going back home.
Alike nods, squeezes Arthur's hand. Arthur breathes deeply,
composing himself. He starts to pull away.
Tell Mom that she was right.
Right about what?
God doesn't make mistakes.
You should tell her yourself.
Arthur squeezes Alike's hand and drifts away. Alike inhales
84 INT. HOSPITAL BREAK ROOM - AFTERNOON 84
Audrey is cleaned up, well-dressed and freshly put together.
She sits alone at the lunch table, crunching an apple. A
bible and a daily devotional guide are spread open in front
of her. Alike knocks on the glass, and Audrey looks up
stunned. Alike comes in and sits across from her. Audrey
glances around, concerned about passing coworkers.
Lee--Alike. How've you been?
Fine. Did Dad tell you?
He told me, yes.
How are you?
Audrey gathers her lunch garbage and pushes back from the
I just hope you're keeping yourself
I love you, Mom.
Audrey stacks her devotional guide on top of her bible and
stands. She starts to speak, then crosses to the door
I said I love you.
I'll be praying for you.
Audrey disappears into the hallway.
84A EXT. ROOFTOP - DAY 84A
Alike writes in her notebook, mouthing the words to a poem.
She looks up and studies the horizon from time to time.
84B INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 84B
Alike relaxes at a desk, reading from her notebook. Mrs.
Alvarado sits cross-legged on her desk listening.
Heartbreak opens onto the sunrise
For even breaking is opening
And I am broken
I am open
Broken to the new light without
Open to the possibilities within
See the love shine in through my
See the light shine out through me?
I am broken
I am open
I am Broken Open
See the love-light shining through
Shining through my cracks
Through the gaps
My Spirit takes journey
My Spirit takes flight
Could not have risen otherwise
And I am not Running
I am Choosing
Running is not a Choice
From the Breaking
Breaking is freeing
Broken is freedom
I am not broken
I am free.
Alike closes her book. The pair reflect in easy silence. Mrs.
85 INT. ARTHUR'S CAR - DAY 85
The downtown Brooklyn landscape hums against the windshield
as Arthur and Alike ride in complete silence. Sharonda chews
a thumbnail, peering over the backseat. Laura slumps against
the window, a smirk hiding at the corner of her lips.
86 EXT. REGIONAL BUS STOP - DAY 86
Laura and Sharonda fumble a suitcase out of the trunk of the
car. Alike shrugs into her backpack. Arthur nudges them aside
and hefts out the rest of the luggage.
I got it.
Arthur slams the trunk shut.
You want me to come in with you?
Alike shakes her head. Arthur starts to back away.
Alike pounces on Arthur in a surprise hug. Arthur squeezes
You can always come back home.
I love you.
I love you too.
87 EXT. REGIONAL BUS STOP - CONTINUOUS 87
General chaos as passengers, and well-wishes scramble for
Let me get a hug or somethin',
Laura squeezes Alike first with one arm then pulls her hand
out of her pocket to wrap both arms around her friend.
Call us when you get there.
You know I will.
Laura backs away and wipes a sleeve at her eye.
You just better fuckin' call.
Alike disappears through the bus doors. Laura slouches on a
hydrant and Sharonda paces, scanning the windows for Alike.
88 INT. BUS - DAY 88
Sharonda waves maniacally. Alike musters a smile and puts a
hand on the window. Laura raises a fist. The bus sails away
from the curb.
Alike leans forward to keep Laura and Sharonda in sight as
long as possible. As she faces front again, she glimpses
Arthur, standing in the doorway of the terminal. A passing
van blots him from view and she leans back in her seat. An
OLD KOREAN WOMAN next to her offers her a piece of ginger
candy. Alike pops the candy into her mouth and takes a deep
Reflections of the retreating city landscape replay across
Alike's face and she is able to hold back neither the smile
nor the tears that come.
FADE TO BLACK.
Writers : Dee Rees
Genres : Drama