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The Eight-Foot Bride: an original screenplay

The Eight-Foot Bride: an original screenplay

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Published by S. A. Scoggin
Alice Little lives by signs and portents and protective charms. Her Harvard Law peers don’t understand that, nor do they understand why she has forsaken classes to work instead as a street performer – as the Eight-Foot Bride who gracefully vends blossoms to her adoring crowds in Harvard Square. But then, they don’t know the details of her viciously unsuccessful love life.

The day the turn of a Tarot card promises her that romance is due at last, a paper airplane bearing a proposal of marriage sails from a crowd. She is able to trace the craft back to Rupert Holzworth, but unfortunately for Alice, though the paper was his, he was not the author of the note. Heart broken again, Alice goes into seclusion, and the Bride disappears from the Square.

Rupert realizes has to find Alice and convince her that the cards were not so wrong. Although he had never before met Alice Little, he has long been in love with the Eight-Foot Bride.
Alice Little lives by signs and portents and protective charms. Her Harvard Law peers don’t understand that, nor do they understand why she has forsaken classes to work instead as a street performer – as the Eight-Foot Bride who gracefully vends blossoms to her adoring crowds in Harvard Square. But then, they don’t know the details of her viciously unsuccessful love life.

The day the turn of a Tarot card promises her that romance is due at last, a paper airplane bearing a proposal of marriage sails from a crowd. She is able to trace the craft back to Rupert Holzworth, but unfortunately for Alice, though the paper was his, he was not the author of the note. Heart broken again, Alice goes into seclusion, and the Bride disappears from the Square.

Rupert realizes has to find Alice and convince her that the cards were not so wrong. Although he had never before met Alice Little, he has long been in love with the Eight-Foot Bride.

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Published by: S. A. Scoggin on Mar 26, 2009
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THE EIGHT-FOOT BRIDE a screenplay by S. A.

Scoggin

Registered WGA and ©2009

sascoggin@gmail.com

1 INTERIOR. DAY. A pair of feminine hands spreads a red cloth over the top of a small wooden table. The hands lay down a deck of Tarot cards and turn the top card over: The Hermit.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: A DORM ROOM. By the light of dawn, the interior of a Harvard dorm room, crammed beyond the original design with stacks of books, a bicycle, a desk with computer sticking from mounds of papers. The walls are thick with band posters and found art; bumper stickers and postcards cover the door. On the floor are stacked sturdy cardboard boxes bursting with more papers. Some boxes are labeled “Freshman Courses”, “Sophomore Courses”, and “Junior Courses”. There is one empty box: “Senior Courses”. The boxes bear the printed logo of the Boston Capital Bank. An ancient clock radio beeps loudly: 5:30 am. From under a mound of covers struggles RUPERT HOLZWORTH. He is wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas. He rises and staggers out the door, towel and toilet kit in hand. In the common room he sees his equally bleary-eyed but fully-clothed suitemate MIKE, who is just coming in. MIKE Freak. Go back to bed. RUPERT Promises to keep. Money to count. MIKE Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend. RUPERT Changing your major? MIKE This is like the fifth Saturday row. It ain’t healthy. It ain’t There’s not another sane person whole greater Boston area going at this hour. in a normal. in the to work

2

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: A BEDROOM. Another bedroom at dawn, this one minimal and organized. Along one wall are shelves holding several dozen law texts. The bed is empty, freshly made. Someone is in the shower. Hanging ready on the closet door is a full bridal gown.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. The Square is coming to life as the sun rises. Rupert is strolling along the sidewalk in a conservative uniform: grey suit, white shirt, red tie, black wingtips. He enters a small shop through a door below a simple sign: SALTER NEWS.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: SALTER NEWS. The store is a cramped old-style news stand, tidy and clean but showing its age. Near the shelves bearing magazines and newpapers, newer displays hold incongrous items: crystals, candles, Tarot decks, Wiccan texts. Rupert picks out a bumper sticker that reads: “My Other Car Is A Broom”. He grabs a Globe and a Herald and places everything on the counter in front of CASS SALTER. CASS Who’s the sticker for? RUPERT You tell me who it’s for. Cass sighs and unrolls a small green felt, spilling a glistening handful of colored stones. She picks them up, shakes them, drops them onto the felt and looks at them thoughtfully. CASS It’s for your mom.

3 RUPERT Damn. CASS Genuine river stones from a sacred Amazon tributary do not lie.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE Rupert has a coffee in one hand and his paper under an arm as he crosses the street. He stops and peers up into the morning sun that backlights ALICE LITTLE in her white bridal gown and whiteface makeup. She is standing on a small pedestal hidden under her gown and seems eight feet tall. She is frozen in a pose, a small vase of flowers in her hand. Rupert smiles up at her with tenderness, but she does not look at him. He puts a bill into the box at her feet, and she comes to life, handing him one flower with deliberate and careful motions. He accepts the flower and puts it into his lapel. She returns to stillness in a different pose, never meeting his eyes. He turns and goes down into the subway.

EXTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: A SIDE STREET Alice, still in bridal gown and white face, is walking slowly along the sidewalk, taking great pains to avoid stepping on any crack. A Jaguar approaches. She looks up, sees the driver, and frowns. FREDDY is behind the wheel. He stops the car even with her but she keeps walking. FREDDY shifts into reverse and slowly backs up, keeping pace with her. FREDDY Where were you? ALICE Take a guess. FREDDY Look, Alice, I had to beg my group to let you join. Nobody wanted to take a chance on an unregistered not pulling their weight.

4

ALICE Freddy - I never asked to be in your study group. FREDDY There’s still time to petition the Dean to let you back in this term. He’ll be a hell of a lot more sympathetic if you are already in a group, instead of wasting your time playing dress up – ALICE Did it ever occur to you that if I wanted to be in law school, I’d be in law school? FREDDY And what will you do instead? That? ALICE Yes! This! FREDDY So how much did you make today doing your little act? Alice digs into her bag and proudly holds up a fistful of bills. ALICE Fifty three dollars. FREDDY Jesus H – Call me when you wake the hell up! He slams the car into drive and squeals off, leaving an impressive pair of black tire marks. Alice watches for a moment, then violently flips birds with both hands, dropping her money and her bag. INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER HOUSE Cass opens the front door carrying a bag of groceries. Inside is a foyer with a door to the left, stairs going

5 down on the right and straight ahead stairs going up. Her mother is coming up the cellar steps with a laundry basket. CASS Hi mom. How’s pops? CASS’S MOTHER Taking a nap. How was business today? CASS Oh – red hot, as usual. prescription. Here’s his

Cass takes a small white bag from her pocket and gives it to her mother, who kisses her on the cheek and goes into the door. Cass carries her groceries up the stairs.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER HOUSE Cass puts the bag on a kitchen counter. Alice comes in from another room. She is in jeans and T shirt, half of her face still white. She wipes at her face with a towel. ALICE What’s for dinner? CASS Bruschetta and salad. Want to eat early? ALICE No need. I’m not going out. CASS Great. I need to shower off this frigging lottery ticket stink. No plans with Freddy? ALICE We had a disagreement about my career choice. CASS Well, you could see that coming, couldn’t you? I mean, his daddy’s a lawyer, his daddy’s daddy’s a lawyer.

6 His daddy’s daddy’s daddy’s daddy invented law.... ALICE He won’t be happy unless I’m a briefcase-toting suit on my way to partnerhood. CASS Which is why you got yourself into Harvard Law, isn’t it? ALICE Sure. But me wanting it and him wanting me to want it are two different propositions. Do you realize that Freddy is – was – the third little lawyer wannabe I’ve gotten myself involved with since my junior year in college? And they were all Ivy League. What’s Latin for loser, I wonder? CASS I don’t know. I went to a public schools. Alice brightens. ALICE But you do know. Do my love life. C’mon, please please please. I need some good news. CASS Oh.... Cass opens hands them Cass deals The Hanged drawers until she finds a deck of cards. She to Alice who shuffles them and passes them back. three cards into a triangle: Death. The Devil. Man. ALICE What a good goddamned surprise. CASS Wait a minute. The Hanged Man. It’s not a man getting strung up. He’s really okay. Here, look at it upside down. He

7 reminds us that the world has to be seen from the proper perspective. ALICE Okay, so what high-quality bullshit could possibly turn Satan and Mr. Death into positive comments on Alice’s love life? CASS This deck is an old Rider-Waite. It is grim, but I have a new deck – much better for romantic readings. She goes into the next room and quickly returns with another deck. Alice shuffles them as before. The first card Cass turns is “Pigs and Fishes Surround You.” ALICE See? See? CASS Pigs are cute. Alice flings the towel over Cass’ head.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: THE BOSTON CAPITAL BANK The lobby of the Boston Capital Bank is more like an old private club than a bank. The walls are dark polished wood hung with oil paintings; the floors are covered with fine oriental rugs. A fire crackles in a marble fireplace. A few customers are relaxing in overstuffed leather chairs arranged in small groups around several oak desks manned by bank employees. Rupert sits behind one desk. In front of him are a handsome young Indian couple, MR. and MRS. ULLAS. They are still looking at the ornate appointments rather nervously. MRS. ULLAS This is nothing like our bank. MR. ULLAS I think that is the point.

8 (To Rupert.) We don’t have a great deal of money now. Quite the opposite, I’m afraid. But when our public offering is held next month, I am told we will have several million dollars. MRS. ULLAS Not all at once. MR. ULLAS No. Most of it will be on paper. We will only be able to sell a portion of shares. Perhaps a hundred thousands. MRS. ULLAS Is it enough? RUPERT That is certainly enough, Mr. and Mrs. Ullas. Tell me – how much do you know about us? MRS. ULLAS So far, only that you have excellent rugs. This is a Bakhtiyari under us. Very rare these days to see one. But never mind – go on. RUPERT The Boston Capital Bank is a private bank. We serve a select number of clients with the highest possible attention to their financial needs. You will be to call us any time of the day or night, any day of the week. Someone will always be here to help you. MRS. ULLAS Do you have an ATM? I did not seen one coming in. RUPERT You will have a card you can use with out fees at any ATM in the world, but we don’t have one here, because you can come right in night or day and obtain

9 any cash you need from one of the staff. MR. ULLAS That sounds quite extravagant. RUPERT Not at all. While you are busy growing your company, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is your personal bank account. We offer a complete financial environment so you can concentrate on what you do best. We have financial planners who will help you invest in the best vehicles and funds available anywhere. We have accountants to handle your personal tax returns, and a full legal department which is available to represent you in any way necessary, financial or otherwise. He hands them a thick leather portfolio with their names embossed in gold on the cover. RUPERT This file contains brochures explaining all of our services. You should meet the President of the bank. I’ll see if he’s available. He presses a button on his desk. MR. HOLZWORTH, a man who looks and dresses like the President of a bank with such a lobby, comes out of a nearby door. The three stand, and he shakes hands with the couple. RUPERT Mr. and Mrs. Ullas, this is Mr. Holzworth. MR. HOLZWORTH Welcome to the Boston Capital Bank. How do you like us so far? MRS. ULLAS I feel like I am in someone’s home.

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MR. HOLZWORTH Good. We hope you will come to consider this your home as well. We have customers who drop in for coffee and to say hello. Our goal is to make you feel that you are part of our family.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: THE BOSTON CAPITAL BANK Rupert knocks on the open door of Mr. Holzworth’s office. MR. HOLZWORTH Come on in. All done with the Ullas account? RUPERT Yep. Everything signed and witnessed. I set up appointments with finance and legal. MR. HOLZWORTH Good work. They’re the kind of young blood we need more of around here. RUPERT And it doesn’t hurt that his immunology startup will have a market cap of somewhere around four hundred million when they go public. Of which he owns thirty three point three per cent. MR. HOLZWORTH Well, we are a bank. Speaking of which, have a look at this. He hands Rupert a folder from his desk. RUPERT The Warwick Trust. Rhode Island? MR. HOLZWORTH They’re for sale. They overreached a bit in their investment distribution, so the price is quite reasonable.

11 RUPERT A branch office? You’re the one always telling me “The Boston Capital Bank has always adhered to a clear-headed policy of fiscal conservatism, and we are four-square for tradition”. You said that when I suggested that we get a new coffee maker. Now you want to franchise our name? Granddad will haunt us. MR. HOLZWORTH I wish he would. I miss the old fart. Plus, can you imagine a haunted bank? That would be awesome. The Providence area is booming. I’m sure there is a customer base there that’s not being served. RUPERT Can I take this and look it over? MR. HOLZWORTH But it’s Saturday night. Don’t you have a date? Shouldn’t you be writing an theme or something? RUPERT C’mon, Dad. I’m a senior. My thesis is in second draft already. I’d like to look at their customer profiles. MR. HOLZWORTH Well...okay. Coming to dinner tomorrow? RUPERT Of course. MR. HOLZWORTH Then for God’s sake don’t tell your mother that you spent your Saturday night reviewing the diligence of the Warwick Trust. Tell her you were at a drunken orgy at least.

12 EXTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: THE WATERFRONT. Alice is performing the Bride on the plaza in front of the New England Aquarium. Her money box is spotted with silver and very little green. Passers-by look up nervously and hurry on. Occasionally a small group gathers to see her reward a contributor but are not inspired themselves to give.

EXTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: KENMORE SQUARE. Alice is the Bride in Kenmore Square. Red Sox fans are beginning to stream past on their way to the ballpark. In her money box are beer cans, liquor bottles, some dollars, a baseball. A sausage vendor is pushing his cart along. He stops and looks up at her.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: THE SUBWAY The riders in a packed car are watching Alice – still in her full Bride outfit – take out a sausage and pepper sub and unwrap it on her lap. She bites into it, getting some white on the sub and some pepper on her cheek.

EXTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: JAMAICA POND. Alice and Cass are walking on a narrow asphalt path that winds around the Pond. They step aside periodically for skaters, skateboarders, and baby carriages. A young man calls out from behind and skates between them. ALICE How about him? CASS Gay. Another man skates past them. ALICE His boyfriend?

13 CASS Nope. He’s straight. ALICE How do you do it? CASS It’s like a fifth sense or something. ALICE If he laps us, I’ll fall down in front of him. CASS Okay. If he can’t make it back around, I don’t want him. I need a guy with endurance. Alice spots a coin on the grass and picks it up. She pulls a small change purse from her pocket, opens it, and drops the coin inside. CASS Another dime out of circulation. ALICE You never spend found money. CASS Never? ALICE I don’t think so. Maybe it’s not a rule. My grandmother never spent hers. And she would only pick up a coin if it was lying heads up. Heads down was unlucky, she told me. Of course, she was very superstitious. CASS Of course. ALICE Hey – what happened to the cute guy who worked in the bookstore?

14 CASS Adam? He moved. You didn’t hear? They lost their lease. A bank owns the building. They want to put in a clothes store. Another one packed with skeleton girls in overpriced Capri pants. ALICE Oh no. I get all my birthday cards there. CASS There’re still shitloads of other bookstores. It is Harvard Square, after all. ALICE Yeah? For how long? The Square is the cool place to hang now. You see all the little suburban acne cultures boiling up out of the T. They don’t come to buy books. They want it to be a clean, safe brick suburban mall. CASS Money always gets its way. ALICE So money wants to erase all the funky little bookshops? And the pub with the worn out wooden benches and that weird store where they sell clocks made out of old lunchboxes so there can be fifty more J. Crew clones? It’s not the money that does that. It’s the arrogant shortsighted bastards like the bankers who drove Adam out of town. Well at least they can’t touch Salter News. You guys own that free and clear. CASS Sure. ALICE Let’s swear an oath that no matter what the bastards do to the Square, no matter they try to sterilize it, Salter News and the Bride will stick it out.

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CASS Do we have a secret handshake and shit? ALICE We’ll just pledge to wear only clothes from the Goodwill store, and we will never ever get pierced. CASS I could stop showering. How is the albino bridal business anyway? ALICE Okay. Nothing like they do in Spain, though. If I was working in Barcelona, I’d be making a good living. But I’ll make the rent. CASS I’m not worried. Besides, it’s not like you have to make a career out of it. Anytime you want you can pick up your last year and go for some big bucks. ALICE Don’t say such things. That is my frigging nightmare. Big law bucks, then a big law husband who will want me to bang out a hellspawn of little law children.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: A DORM ROOM. Rupert’s alarm turns on: 5:30 am, but there is no music, just an electrical buzzing and crackling. Rupert’s hand slithers from beneath the tumbled covers and grabs for the radio’s power cord. His hand traces the cord down the wall and rips it from the outlet.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER HOUSE Alice is lying on her back in bed, the first light of dawn just visible. Her window curtains are open – she is looking

16 out into the violet sky. Her alarm goes off: a classical station, but she does not move.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: A DORM ROOM. Rupert is up, stumbling about in the bathroom, searching with both hands for something on a shelf. He can’t seem to get his eyes open. He is wearing Scooby-Doo boxers.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER HOUSE Alice’s bathroom is spotless, pink and cream. Flowery wallpaper, toiletries neatly arranged, towels perfectly folded. The shower is running as Alice stands in a thick white robe brushing her hair.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: A DORM ROOM. Rupert is in the shower, his head totally under the spray. A couple in their underwear enter the bathroom, giggling and hushing each other, and step into the stall next to him. Over the partition are flung briefs, panties, bra next to Rupert’s washcloth. Rupert, eyes closed, searches for his cloth and grabs the panties. He feels them with both hands, trying to figure this one out. He opens one eye to confirm what his fingers suspect.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER HOUSE Alice walks into the kitchen, towel on her head. Cass is dressed and sitting at the table with a plate of muffins, a plate of fruit, and a pot of coffee. Alice sits and pours herself a cup.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: A DORM ROOM. Rupert is standing before the mirror in his room, his hair still unbrushed and wild, trying to subdue an uncooperative

17 tie into a knot. He sees a half-finished candy bar on the dressertop and pauses to pick it up and take a large bite.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE. Alice and Cass exit a subway car and climb the steps into the Square. Alice is fully in costume and has to carry her long train gathered under one arm. Rupert is walking down the front steps of his dorm. He notices that his shoes are untied and stops to tie them. Cass unlocks the front door of Salter News. Vase in hand, Alice knocks on the door of a flower shop. A man peeks out past the “Closed” sign and flips it to “Open”. The door opens. Cass drags bundles of newspapers in off the sidewalk. Alice leaves the flower shop with her vase full of small yellow flowers. Cass is counting change into a till drawer. Alice enters and takes a small stool out of a storage closet behind the counter. Rupert is waiting in line at a coffee shop. Alice is lugging her gear across the street. She sets down the stool and positions her money box. Then she steps up onto the stool and fluffs out her gown to hide it. Rupert enters Salter News with his coffee and picks up two papers. He pays Cass and holds his palm out for her to see, asking some question. Cass takes his hand and studies the lines briefly. She says something that makes him laugh. Alice stands still amidst the swirling movements of the awakening Square. Rupert appears before her and looks up at her for a moment. He places a dollar into her box, and Alice delivers his flower without really seeing him. Rupert backs away, then turns and goes down into the subway.

18 Cass holds a fist-sized crystal into the sunlight streaming through the front windows. Tiny fragments of rainbow quiver and run on the walls. Alice gives a flower to an elderly, well-dressed woman who presses the flower to her lips and closes her eyes.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: THE BOSTON CAPITAL BANK Rupert sits at his desk making notes as the bank warms for opening. He looks alert, trustworthy, and respectable.

EXTERIOR. DAY. HARVARD SQUARE. Alice is in the middle of giving flowers to a small group of tourists all wearing paper nametags. When they have finished snapping pictures of her and have moved off, a man who had been watching from the side walks up and plants himself in front of Alice. MAN Excuse me – miss? Alice does not react. MAN I need to talk to you. Alice does not twitch. MAN I would call you, but.... Alice ignores him.

INTERIOR. DAY. HARVARD SQUARE. Cass looks up from a sale and sees the man trying to talk to Alice. She bolts for the door.

19 EXTERIOR. DAY. HARVARD SQUARE. Cass comes up fast behind the bewildered man, who has been reduced to gaping up at Alice – who still has not acknowledged him. CASS Hey pal! Are you dense? It’s easy to figure out. Money, flower. Money, flower. MAN I was trying to ask her – CASS There’s no asking here. You put money there and you get a flower. MAN I’m not trying to bother her - I want to hire her. Are you her friend? CASS Hire? Keep talking. MAN I work at the Annals of Improbable Research. It’s a science humor magazine. CASS Never heard of it. MAN Have you ever heard of the IgNobel Prize? CASS Nope. MAN We award the IgNobel Prizes every year – it’s our big event – the one that until now I had thought makes us famous. Anyway, the IgNobels honor work that can not or should not be duplicated.

20 CASS So? MAN It’s more like a stage show, and the theme this year is weddings. We have a couple who are going to be married for real in the middle of the show. I want her to be part of the evening. She’s perfect. CASS Who would she be? MAN Be? Why – she’d just be herself. Alice quickly supresses a smile. CASS How much? MAN One rehearsal and the performance. Three hundred. CASS Five. MAN Okay, four. That’s my whole budget. CASS (to Alice) Well, what do you think, tall one? Alice is indifferent. CASS Okay. One flower for yes; two for no. Give her a dollar. MAN Huh? CASS Put a dollar in her box, or we talk to ourselves all day.

21

The man takes out a dollar and drops it into the box. Alice delicately gives him one flower.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S ROOM. Rupert is sitting at his desk working on his computer. The door slams open and Mike’s girlfriend TOLLE bursts in, hops once, and somersaults onto the bed. Tolle has long wild hair and wears wire-rimmed glasses. Done up right, she might be beautiful, but she is not the type to want to be made up. Rupert keeps working as they talk. RUPERT Oh – you got the memo. TOLLE What memo? RUPERT The one that says Rupert has discovered his heretofore untapped psychic power, so you don’t have to knock anymore. TOLLE Nope. Missed it. RUPERT What if I was having hot sex with a gorgeous babe? TOLLE Hmm. That’s a hard one. MIKE (O. S.) What’s he say? TOLLE He’s coming. We’ll be right there. MIKE (O. S.) Bullshit! RUPERT And to where do you think I am coming?

22 TOLLE To hear a band, grammar boy. RUPERT Have a good time. TOLLE And you are coming to the pub with us. RUPERT Bye. TOLLE Whatcha doin? RUPERT Building a spreadsheet. TOLLE Why? RUPERT To see if this bank’s cash flow projections are kosher. TOLLE Why? RUPERT Because my father wants to buy it. TOLLE Why? RUPERT Because he’s a wild man. TOLLE Why? RUPERT Oh, for Christ’s sake. If I come and have one beer, will you leave me alone? Tolle leaps off the bed and grabs Rupert. TOLLE He’s coming!

23

MIKE (O. S.) Shit! RUPERT He doesn’t want me to go? Tolle pulls him up from his chair. TOLLE He lost the bet. He said I would never get you off your ass. MIKE (O. S.) Shit!

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: A PUB. The pub is dark and packed with patrons moving to a band playing so loudly that conversation is difficult. Mike is holding two beers. Tolle appears and pushes through the crowd to him. TOLLE Where did he go? Mike points to the bar, where Rupert is ordering a beer. TOLLE I just wrote some very nice things about him in the women’s lav. MIKE Did you leave a number? TOLLE Dorm, cell, email and website.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: A PUB. Rupert begins to weave his way back to them when he sees Mrs. Ullas sitting alone at a small table.

24 RUPERT Mrs. Ullas – hello. MRS. ULLAS On, Mr. Holzworth. Right? Please – sit with us. Rupert sits.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: A PUB. TOLLE Hey, look at that. He’s chatting up a real woman. MIKE I think I see a ring on her.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: A PUB. Mr. Ullas comes to the table. MR. ULLAS Hello, Mr. Holzworth! RUPERT Hello Mr. Ullas. I didn’t picture you two as emo fans. MR. ULLAS That’s my wife. As long as you are here, may I ask you a question about your bank’s money market funds? RUPERT Sure.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: A PUB. TOLLE Oh my god – he’s picking them both up.

25 MIKE Who would have thunk? She hands Mike her beer. MIKE Where are you going? TOLLE To erase what I wrote. Apparently, he gets all he can handle on his own.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Alice is in bridal garb; the Square is quiet. A group of older students passes by, ignoring her. At the back of the group is Freddy, who pauses in front of her. He digs into a pocket and fishes out a bill. FREDDY Here you go. Hire yourself a pretend groom. He tosses the bill toward her box. It falls wide, and he turns away. Alice is about to respond when three small children run laughing up to her and begin to touch her gown. She composes herself and gives them each a flower.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands turn a card over: The Wheel of Fortune.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: THE CHARLES RIVER Rupert is walking on a paved path along the riverbank. He is carrying two large bags of groceries. He hears the clatter of skates behind him and steps aside, but the skater grabs him and almost pulls him over. Rupert looks around and sees Tolle hanging from his arm.

26 TOLLE Hey! I’ve been looking everywhere for you. RUPERT Lucky me. TOLLE Doing anything tomorrow night? RUPERT The sad truth is – yes. I will be terribly busy with an obligation that absolutely must be kept. TOLLE Good. Take this. She pulls from her backpack a white T-shirt silkscreened in red: HRSFA and tucks it into one of his bags. TOLLE You are now a member of the HarvardRadcliffe Science Fiction Association. RUPERT Good. I thought it meant how ridiculous some folks are. TOLLE See? You fit right in. RUPERT Fit in with? TOLLE The HRSFA. We’re a sponsor of the IgNobel Prize ceremony. Don’t pretend you never heard of that. RUPERT Pink flamingos? TOLLE You are paying attention! The awards are tomorrow night, and we had one extra ticket. So I said to myself:

27 Rupert – he’s the one. He’d love the IgNobels. RUPERT When do you have time to talk to yourself? TOLLE Okay – we’ll grab a pizza in your suite and leave for the theater around seven. RUPERT It seems inevitable when you say it.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: SALTER NEWS. Cass is stocking a display case when Alice comes in carrying her gown over one shoulder and a large bag over the other. CASS Hey. Suiting up at the venue? ALICE Yep. I want to look fresh. They not only film this thing, they stream it live on the Web. She takes a closer look at what Cass is putting out – Tarot cards. She pick a deck up. ALICE These are absolutely beautiful. The Renaissance Tarot. How much? CASS Eight bucks. With tax, eight forty. ALICE Oh shit! She fumbles in her pockets and pulls out her change purse. Her hands are shaking. CASS What’s the matter?

28

ALICE I counted my found money last night. I had eight dollars and thirty cents. And I just found a dime outside – right outside the door. Just now. Heads up. Eight dollars and forty cents! CASS And you thinkALICE Don’t tell me it isn’t a sign. It is. It’s that one. She points to the pack of cards in Cass’ hand and passes her the whole coin purse. Cass begins to give Alice the cards, but Alice shakes her head. ALICE No. Do it for me. Cass shrugs and breaks open the deck. She cuts them and lays down a triangle: The Sun, The Moon, and The Lovers. Alice gasps. CASS Wait. You didn’t shuffle them. Alice shuffles the deck and plops it onto the counter. Cass deals another triangle: The Lovers, The Moon, and The Sun. Alice claps her hands. ALICE Cass! It is going to happen! Cass is examining the package and fanning out the deck like she thinks they might be defective.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE. Mike and Tolle are trying to walk briskly along a sidewalk. They have to stop every couple of seconds to let Rupert, who is merely strolling, catch up. They are all wearing HRSFA shirts.

29

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MEMORIAL HALL. From the cool still evening, Rupert follows his friends through massive oak doors and into the midst of a noisy, hot crowd. Shrieking children run under their feet. A troop of Morris dancers leaps and jingles. Everywhere are people in robes, people wearing metal rings on their heads, people in tuxedoes with bright green faces: an improbable spectrum of getups and characters crammed expectantly into the lobby waiting to enter the theatre. Tolle spots their group and pushes through the crowd. The doors are thrown open, and the throng heads for the nearest entrance. Ushers pass out programs. Rupert, Mike, and Tolle grab one each and are carried by the crush into Sanders Theater.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: SANDERS THEATER. Sanders Theater is a tiny old-fashioned horseshoe of a performance hall. The HRSFA’s seats are in the front row of the balcony. Rupert finds himself leading the group with Tolle and Mike behind him. RUPERT Hey – it’s my flower provider. He points down to the stage, where Alice is sitting on a high stool, moving mechanically to ragtime music played by a duo of keyboard and clarinet. RUPERT What is she doing here? TOLLE It’s the theme. Weddings, marriage. Read the program. Rupert looks for his program. He sees that Mike has stolen it and is just finishing turning a page of it into a paper airplane. Mike sails it over the rail as Rupert makes a grab for it and misses.

30 RUPERT Yeah, I’d like to. All around, the balcony occupants are folding airplanes and launching them toward the stage. The small theatre is alive with craft of manifold designs. Some circle lazily, some yaw and roll violently, some plummet dangerously into the audience below. Many have landed on the stage, where cast and crew are making final preparations. One man is pushing the airplanes into a pile with a pushbroom and batting at ones that come too near him. TOLLE Here. You can look at mine. They’ve got a couple who are actually going to get married in sixty seconds flat. Rupert takes Tolle’s program and glances at it. He reaches into an inner pocket and takes out a pen and a sheet of paper folded lengthwise. Mike grabs it from him. RUPERT Hey – you can’tBut Mike has already begun to fold wings into it. MIKE Important? RUPERT Not anymore. Mike unfolds it just enough to see that it is a BCB letterhead on a blank sheet. MIKE I told you, Poindexter. No work tonight. RUPERT I just wanted to make a note to myself. And don’t call me a nerd, you nerd. TOLLE Speaking of! She rustles in her handbag and pulls out three small black shapes.

31

MIKE Oh yeah. He grabs one and squeezes the sides. A red laser light shines out. He points it toward a screen hung high over the stage. Tolle clicks hers on, and the two dots play tag on the black screen. Rupert can’t figure out how to turn his on. He finally finds the right spot, but he is holding it too close to his face. The beam shoots directly into his eye. MIKE You are the prefect woman. Let’s get married right now. TOLLE You lie like... something that lies a lot. Mike takes the airplane and unfolds it. He finds a pen in a pocket and writes: I love you. Please marry me. He presents the paper to Tolle. TOLLE On bank stationary? That’s romantic. Mike takes the paper back and draws hearts and flourishes around the message and down the edges of the unfolded wings. He submits the result to Tolle, who refolds it into an airplane and sails it into space. She wraps her arms around Mike and gives him a big wet kiss. TOLLE Someday. When you have a good education. Rupert, still half-blinded by his own laser, does not see the plane’s flight, nor do Mike and Tolle, who are kissing again. The craft makes a wide circle almost to the edges of the theater, then swerves toward the stage and strikes Alice in the breast. She looks down as it falls to the floor and is swept immediately into the growing pile. The man who had hired Alice mounts the stage. He has pinned on an oversize badge that reads: Master of Ceremony. He is wearing black tails and sports a battered tophat which has an obvious rent in the side. He smiles at Alice, then picks

32 up Tolle’s airplane off of the pile and stabs it into the hole in his hat so that it appears to have crashlanded there. He goes to the podium and calls for the proceedings to begin.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: SANDERS THEATER. The stage is crowded with performers acting out a comic opera. Everyone is singing and moving, but Rupert’s eyes keep going back to Alice, who is posed on the side.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MEMORIAL HALL In a bright prep room somewhere in the basement, the crew is packing props and talking in small groups. Alice is sitting, putting on her sneakers. She is still in makeup but has changed into jeans and sweatshirt. Her dress hangs from a wardrobe rack. The master of ceremonies comes into the room and spots her. MASTER Hey, wasn’t that fun? Alice looks up and stands. The master of ceremonies is in his show garb: tophat, crashed plane and all. She reaches out slowly and picks the plane from its niche. She unfolds it and reads the message.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. JAMAICA PLAIN: CASS’ ROOM. The room is dark. The door opens. Footsteps come quickly to the bed where Cass lies asleep. She is shaken and opens her eyes to an ethereal pale visage floating over her. CASS Holy fuck! She frantically turns on the bedside lamp to reveal Alice standing beside the bed. ALICE Cass! Look at this. It happened!

33

CASS What the hell is wrong with you? I almost wet the bed. ALICE Look! She shows Cass the unfolded paper. Cass reads the note. CASS Well – congratulations. Who’s the lucky man? ALICE I don’t know. CASS You don’t know? Who gave this to you? ALICE (Touching her chest.) It hit me in the heart. I was on the stage. Somebody in the audience.... CASS Hit you? She follows the folds in the paper, reshaping the aircraft. CASS Oh. You were up on the stage, and your secret admirer proposed to you by winging this note at your tits – er, heart? ALICE Yes. Just like the cards predicted. CASS Alice, the cards said your chances for romance were increased. They didn’t intend you would go right out and find a husband. There are coincidences in this world.

34 ALICE A coincidence that I had the exact price of the cards in found money? I don’t think so. CASS Have you ever flown a paper airplane? Here. Fly this one. I’ll bet you can’t hit that wall with it. They don’t fly straight. Nobody could intentionally throw this so that it hit your... heart when you’re up on a stage. ALICE I know that. It’s magic. It was meant to be – it couldn’t have missed. CASS I guess you’ll just have to find the guy who wrote this and ask him.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S ROOM The alarm radio clicks to show 6:00. The radio bursts on at maximum volume, and Rupert leaps straight up into the air. Thick curls of smoke billow from the case, then it begins to hum and crackle. Rupert grabs for the power cord, but a spray of sparks makes him snatch back his hand. He runs to the desk, picks up a can of soda, and shakes the dregs over the radio. Mike runs in holding a small fire extinguisher. MIKE That’s it! It’s over for that sonofabitch! Get out of my way! RUPERT It’s just a short. I can fixMike smashes the radio into several pieces with the butt end of the extinguisher. MIKE I’d rather live with a fucking rooster!

35 EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Rupert usual, She is barest crosses the street towards Alice on her perch. As he has coffee and his papers. He looks up at Alice. looking over his head, but this morning she has the hint of a smile.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: ALICE’S APARTMENT. Alice is sitting at the table with a phone. The note is spread out before her. She dials, looking at the letterhead. WOMAN (Over the phone.) Hello. Boston Capital Bank. How can I help you? ALICE Hi. I was at a show the other night at Harvard, and I found some stuff someone had left behind. I couldn’t find a name on anything, but there was a sheet of paper from your bank. I was wondering if you had a list of customers who are students or faculty. WOMAN (Over the phone.) I’m sorry. I can’t give out customer names. ALICE This is valuable...stuff. It’s going to be hard to replace. WOMAN (Over the phone.) Books? ALICE Yes. Very thick and expensive books.

36 WOMAN (Over the phone.) Well.... That’s probably Rupert. Why don’t you drop them by? ALICE He’ll want these back ASAP. Look, I’m going over there now – give me his address and I’ll drop them off. Before he has to buy new ones. WOMAN (Over the phone.) Oh, okay. That is very kind of you. He’s at Sexton House. Rupert Holzworth.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S DORM. Rupert comes in the front door, back pack over one shoulder. He opens his mailbox and takes out some letters, a magazine, a couple of flyers. Then he reaches in and pulls out an oversized pink envelope.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S SUITE. Rupert enters his suite reading from a pink paper and holding the pink envelope, looking perplexed. Mike and Tolle are on the floor playing Rock‘em Sock‘em Robots on the coffee table. Rupert goes over and hands the note to Tolle. RUPERT Advise. Tolle scans the note. TOLLE “Dear Rupert. I received your message. Meet me at Mr. Chin’s on Mass Ave tomorrow at seven. Sincerely, Alice.” MIKE Who the hell is Alice?

37 RUPERT Beats me. TOLLE Maybe you winked at her in a class or something. Geez Louise. A chick is asking you out. MIKE Even if she’s homely, you get Chinese! TOLLE Take her some flowers. Not roses – too far too soon. A small mixed bouquet. With baby’s breath. MIKE Oh no. What if she’s so ugly you lose your appetite? Tolle glares at him. TOLLE You are a crude and shallow little man. Mike works his robot’s fists and whacks Tolle’s robot so that its head flies up. MIKE Knocked your block off! Rupert takes the note back, walks into his room, and closes the door. TOLLE I’ve got to stop talking that boy up with the girls. Mike reaches out to reset the robot head. They begin to box again. MIKE Looks like you don’t know your own strength.

38 EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: CASS’ CAR. Cass and Alice are in Cass’ car. Cass is driving; Alice is checking her lipstick in the vanity mirror. CASS You’re really not going to tell me his name, are you? ALICE Nope. CASS It wouldn’t jinx it if I knew. I’m like the anti-jinx. ALICE Can’t take the risk. CASS Oh brother. Got your rabbit’s foot? ALICE That’s sick. As a matter of fact, since this was preordained, I won’t be needing luck. CASS Uh huh. So you don’t have any crystals, powders, incantations, found objects, talismans, charms, amulets, or greegrees on your person? Alice looks away. CASS Which is it? ALICE I only brought one thing, and it really is more of a family heirloom. She takes out a large coin from her purse and gives it to Cass, who holds it up in front of her so she can inspect it as she drives.

39 CASS Alice – this is a brothel token. How is it a family heirloom? You don’t mean – ALICE No. Somebody gave it to my grandmother as a joke when she was in college. CASS Sure. University of I-da-ho? ALICE Smith College. Grandma had this in her purse when she met gramps. Then she gave it to mom when mom was in college – not Idaho – and mom met dad the same week. CASS So it’s either chock full o’ magic or it’s all used up. Alice grabs the token. ALICE Shut up. You’re jinxing me. Cass pulls over in front of Mr. Chin’s. CASS Well, good luck. Or... good inevitability. Whichever. Alice hops from the car and goes into the restaurant.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MR. CHIN’S Mr. Chin’s is a narrow restaurant of about a dozen tables. Rupert enters and glances around. It is still early. Only a few tables are occupied, and there is only one single female in the room – Alice. She smiles as Rupert approaches. RUPERT Alice?

40 Alice offers her hand. ALICE And that makes you Rupert. Please sit. Rupert sits. The waiter brings them tea and menus. WAITER May I bring you a drink before dinner? RUPERT Tea’s good for me. Alice nods. The waiter leaves them and they sit in silence for a moment. ALICE I was afraid you’d be too shy to come. RUPERT Well – I’ve never thought of myself as shy. But not quite the opposite, either. Plus, I was... curious. ALICE I should think so. You didn’t know the first thing about me. Or did you? RUPERT Not as much as I’d like to. ALICE That’s very sweet. The waiter returns, pen poised over pad. ALICE Let’s have the Golden Feast for Two? RUPERT Good idea. The waiter scribbles and departs. ALICE Now tell me about yourself.

41 RUPERT Like what? ALICE What do you do? What do you want to be? Summarize. RUPERT Okay. Uh – I’m a senior. Finance. Minor in economics. I work in the bank on Saturdays. ALICE Which one? RUPERT The Boston Capital Bank. Downtown. ALICE I don’t think I’d - I’ve ever heard of it. RUPERT It’s not the kind of place you can just walk into. And we don’t advertise. I’ve tried to get my father to run a few discrete ads, but he doesn’t think there are such things. ALICE Your father works there too? RUPERT Actually, our family owns it. It’s been the family business for over a hundred years. ALICE But I can’t walk into it? RUPERT Boston Capital Bank is a private bank. We do everything a regular bank does, but we have fewer customers. We cater to the money management needs of a very select set.

42 ALICE What? Millionaires? RUPERT Pretty much. ALICE You’re kidding. That’s what you want to do with your life? RUPERT Oh yeah. The bank’s a great place. I’ll be full time next year. ALICE And it never bothers you to be a money changer for the obscenely rich? RUPERT I don’t think of it like that. Alice doesn’t answer, but looks away. Her demeanor has gotten more and more glum with Rupert’s story. RUPERT Were you expecting something else? ALICE I thought.... RUPERT What? And by the way – not that I don’t appreciate your offer and the company. I do. But what was the message? Alice stares at him. ALICE You sent me the note. RUPERT What note? ALICE On the airplane.

43 RUPERT I didn’t send you a note on any airplane. The last time I flew was last Christmas, to Tampa. ALICE Oh my God – She rises, shaking, and quickly walks out the door.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MR. CHIN’S Alice, crying now, steps outside the door and fumbles in her purse for a tissue. She doesn’t see the brothel token fall noiselessly onto her shoe and roll in spirals around her on the sidewalk. She blows her nose and rushes toward a taxi stand.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MR. CHIN’S Rupert comes out of the door and looks around. Alice is gone. He turns to go back inside and steps on the token. It makes a grating metallic sound. He looks down and stoops to pick it up.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S SUITE. Mike and Tolle are cuddling on the couch watching a movie when Rupert comes in. He is carrying a big Mr. Chin’s bag. TOLLE Hey. How goes the mystery date? Over already? MIKE She was ugly, wasn’t she? RUPERT I don’t know what the hell it was, but it wasn’t a date. She ran out before the appetizers arrived. I think it must have been some kind of practical joke.

44

TOLLE Mike? Mike is staring at the bag of food. MIKE What – you think I hired some broad to ask Rupert out, then jilt him just so I could get Chinese? Although that is a good plan. TOLLE But you just had five slices of pizza MIKE Six. Must not have been me after all. RUPERT Nah. She was just some fruitcake. TOLLE Who was she? RUPERT Don’t know. Maybe a student. She looked vaguely familiar. Anyway – here’s some Golden Feast for Two. Help yourselves. I’m going to bed. He puts the bag down and goes into his room.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S ROOM Somewhere amid the ususal chaos, a persistent and annoying beeping begins. Rupert sits up, throws aside the covers, and picks up a small black plastic cube. He examines it with bleary eyes and pokes at it with a finger, but the beeping continues. He rolls out of bed and finds in a pile on the sidetable a box and takes out of it a tiny booklet. He peers for a moment at the miniscule type then crams the still-beeping cube under a pillow and stumbles toward the bath.

45 EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Rupert in his Saturday morning working suit crosses the street holding his coffee and his newspaper. He looks around – no Bride. He sighs and heads for the subway entrance.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Rupert is browsing titles in a video store. He picks up a cover on which a woman is wearing a wedding dress. He turns around and looks out the front window to where the Bride usually might be found, but she is not there.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Rupert is crossing the Square in twilight. Something yellow in a crevise catches his eye. He bends down and picks out a tiny dessicated flower.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: SALTER NEWS. Rupert enters on roller skates. He opens a cooler and takes out a drink. Cass is trimming candles and fitting them into holders. RUPERT Can I roller skate in here? CASS Of course you can. What you mean to ask is ‘May I roller skate in here?’ Don’t they teach English at Harvard anymore? RUPERT I AP’d English. CASS Of course.

46 RUPERT My mother’s birthday is coming up. Got any suggestions? CASS Candles? RUPERT She’s not a candle person. She’s never even been waxed. CASS You’re a good son. How about some Tarot cards? RUPERT Can you play bridge with them? Hey – these are absolutely beautiful. ‘Renaissance Tarot’. How much? Cass looks at him like she is trying to recall a memory not quite accessible. CASS Uh – eight dollars. With tax, eight forty. Rupert takes out his wallet. RUPERT Great. I have exactly eight on me. He empties his pockets on the counter and counts out all the coins. RUPERT And forty cents on the nose. What’s the matter? Cass is staring hard at him. She shakes her head. CASS Nothing. Rupert turns to go. He looks out the window at Alice’s empty spot and glides back to the counter.

47 RUPERT You know that woman who dresses up like a bride in the Square sometimes? CASS Yes. RUPERT Is she still in town? I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks. CASS She’s still around. She just got down on life when some asshole broke her heart. RUPERT That’s too bad. I miss her. CASS I’ll make her aware of your loss. RUPERT You mean you really know her. CASS Yeah. She’s my roomie. She got it in her head that this loser was chosen by the stars to be her soul mate. She’s like that. But he turned out to be a real stiff, I guess. She won’t talk about it. RUPERT That sucks. CASS It was queer from the get go. She thought the jerk wrote her a marriage proposal inside a paper airplane and flew it across a theater into her heart. Is that likely? RUPERT A paper airplane...?

48 CASS She was at some geek soiree and comes home with a message on an airplane. Rupert is paling. Hey – I’ve She didn’t out on the destroying CASS still got it in the recycle. want it in the house, even curb in the bin. Karmabadness.

She digs into a brown paper bag stuffed with odd and ends of paper and pulls out the sheet of Boston Capital Bank stationery with Mike’s writing on it. CASS Look at this. Rupert takes the paper. He looks like he is about to be nauseous. RUPERT And then she.... CASS She tracked the coward down. He works at that bank. She asked him out, but... turns out his family’s always been bankers. Sheesh. How deadly dull is that? RUPERT But – what did he do to her? CASS She won’t talk about it. Boy, if I ever get my hands on that bastard.... Rupert hands the paper back. All his color is gone.

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S SUITE Tolle enters to find Rupert talking on the telephone with the yellow pages open in front of him. Mike is pacing about

49 with a cell phone to his ear. He sees Tolle and motions her away from Rupert. TOLLE What’s up? MIKE We found out who the mystery date was. TOLLE Really? Who is she? Why are you all on the phone? MIKE Remember how she ditched him? She was pissed because she thought Rupert had proposed to her. TOLLE Get out. MIKE Yeah. She told him at dinner that she had gotten his message – the message in her card – on an airplane. Rupert said he hadn’t seen her on the airplane last time he flew, then she up and bolted. TOLLE I am without a grip here. MIKE Remember the bride on the stage at the IgNobels? TOLLE Yeah. MIKE Remember the love letter I wrote you? TOLLE Yeah. MIKE Remember how like the bitch you are you folded it up and flew it out of my life.

50

TOLLE Vaguely. MIKE Remember how it hit that woman right in the bazooms? TOLLE No. We were making out. MIKE Oh yeah. Remember how she read the note in the airplane. TOLLE Oh no. MIKE Remember how the paper was from Rupert’s bank? TOLLE You’re joking. MIKE Remember how she got his name from the bank and sent him a note saying she got his message? TOLLE Oh, the poor thing. She probably thought Mr. Right had found her, and who comes to dinner but Rupert, the clue virgin. MIKE You got it. Now we’re calling every bridal shop inside Route 495 asking if they have or had a customer named Alice, so he can find her and set it straight. He’s chock full of guilt. TOLLE That’s the longest of shots. MIKE You think?

51

TOLLE But still, it’s the most romantic thing this girl’s ever heard. And you are so sweet for helping him. She pulls him down and kisses him. MIKE Well, I did write the damn thing in the first place. TOLLE But you’re taken. How did he find all this out? MIKE Turns out Alice lives with the woman who runs Salter News. TOLLE Then we know who she is. MIKE No – Rupert can’t tell the apparently best friend that he’s the one who caused Alice this trauma without danger of losing his manhood to the shears. TOLLE Him and his precious appendages. Maybe I should go ask her. MIKE I say we tail her when she leaves work and stake out her house. Rupert hangs up his phone. RUPERT Well, that’s it. Nothing. TOLLE Not that it wasn’t a brilliant investigation, Sherlock, but I could have told you that she didn’t get that dress from a bridal shop. She got it

52 from Filene’s Basement or the Goodwill shop down in the South End. MIKE Is that where we’re getting yours? TOLLE We’re having our wedding in the nude. And you’d better start working out now, fat boy. MIKE Any other bright ideas? Rupert shakes his head and walks to the door. MIKE More detective work? RUPERT No. Bank party. MIKE Isn’t bank party an oxymoron?

INTERIOR. NIGHT. RUPERT’S PARENT’S HOUSE. Rupert comes in from the outside into a large kitchen. His MOTHER is working calmly at an island as four white-clad caterers bustle about. Rupert gives her a kiss on the top of her head. RUPERT Hi Mom. What’s them? MOTHER Truffle and crab canapés. RUPERT You amaze me. MOTHER Believe it or not, there are things in this world you are not privy to.

53 RUPERT Tell me about it. MOTHER Would you mind getting out the blue napkins? You know where they are. Rupert goes into the dining room and begins to remove napkins from a sideboard. A huge shaggy dog ambles in and lifts its heat to stare at him. Rupert bends down to take a closer look at something in the dog’s mouth. He reaches toward it, but a deep growl makes him snatch his hand back. RUPERT Mom! Caitlin has a light bulb in her mouth! MOTHER (O.S.) Fluorescent? RUPERT Incandescent. MOTHER (O.S.) Oh, then it’s okay. RUPERT What do you mean it’s okay? It’s in her mouth. MOTHER (O.S.) Fluorescent bulbs have mercury in them. RUPERT What, she’s eating light bulbs now? MOTHER (O.S.) She doesn’t eat them. She thinks they are her eggs. RUPERT Dogs don’t lay eggs. (To himself.) He said, playing the straight man.... MOTHER (O.S.) Try telling her that.

54 Rupert of the coming to let smacks his forehead. Caitlin turns and lumbers out room just as Father, reading a folded newspaper, is in. He has to flatten himself against the door frame her by. RUPERT Did you see Caitlin’s mouth? FATHER Hmm. Light bulb? RUPERT Where does she get them? Father sits. FATHER Oh, she climbs up and unscrews them from the lamps. Dogs have amazing lips. Prehensile. Who would have guessed? RUPERT How long has this been going on? Father shakes his head. FATHER I don’t recall. But I do know she’s up to three or four a day. She carries them around for a while, then buries them out back by the shed. RUPERT Geez, isn’t that expensive? FATHER Not if it keeps her happy. Plus, it’s cheaper than therapy. RUPERT Are you talking about the dog or Mom? FATHER Don’t be a wiseass, son.

55 INTERIOR. NIGHT. RUPERT’S PARENT’S HOUSE. In a front room, about twenty people mingle, talking in small groups, grazing at a table of drinks and finger food. Mother and Father are dancing; they stop in front of a standing Rupert. MOTHER Okay, what’s wrong? RUPERT What? MOTHER I go out and buy raspberry sachertorte, and you haven’t gobbled down your three slices yet. You’ve barely touched your first. I want to know what her name is and what she has done to you. FATHER Don’t tell her, boy. Not if you value the girl’s life. RUPERT Cool down, Mom. It’s the other way around. I hurt a girl, and now I can’t find her to apologize. MOTHER Can we help? FATHER What’s her name? RUPERT That’s another mystery. I only know her first name. MOTHER What did you do to her? RUPERT It was a misunderstanding. Basically, I was supposed to be Gallant but she thought I was Goofus. And apparently she was really upset that we own a bank.

56

FATHER I’ve been there. People just don’t understand the drama of banking, the danger and intrigue of prime rate adjustments.... MOTHER She has my full empathy. BEVERLY, a woman in her mid-forties, approaches them. BEVERLY Hi, Rupert. I’ve been meaning to ask you if you got your books back. Rupert is slackjawed. He shakes his head. BEVERLY The books the girl had. Don’t tell me she couldn’t find you. I gave her your address because she said they were expensive and – what is it?

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. It is late; the Square is dark. Alice is walking, looking around as though searching for something. There is a figure in the shadows, abnormally tall. As she approaches, she sees it is Rupert standing on an overturned trash can. RUPERT You’re late. ALICE Count your blessings. I wasn’t going to come at all. RUPERT So...what changed your mind? ALICE How did you find me?

57 RUPERT Ah. Caller ID log. When you called the bank. Should have used a pay phone. ALICE Anyway, I got your note and here I am. Now you can stop harassing me. RUPERT Huh? I didn’t invite you here to harass you. I told you to come because you owe me. ALICE What? RUPERT That’s right. You still owe me dinner. You invited me to dinner and stiffed me with the bill. Chew and screw, but you didn’t stay long enough to chew. ALICE Get bent. RUPERT Not on an empty stomach. Mr. Chin’s is still open.... ALICE Forget it. RUPERT Fine. I’ll see you in small claims court. ALICE The hell you will. There was no contract. I never said I would pay for dinner. RUPERT What are you – a lawyer? (Beat.) You are! You’re a fucking lawyer! Aren’t you? Hoo boy! And you were pissed at me for being a bore? You have a lot of nerve, shylockette.

58

ALICE Stop. RUPERT Hey, hey. A guy walks into a bar and sees a beautiful woman. He goes up to her, and she says to him ‘I’ll fuck anyone, anytime, anywhere’. And he says, ‘Oh, you’re a lawyer!’ ALICE That’s crude. She tries to walk away, but Rupert leaps down and steps in front of her. RUPERT Wait. I won’t tell any more lawyer jokes. If you don’t tell any banker jokes. Oh wait. There aren’t any banker jokes. ALICE Get out of my way. RUPERT Not until you buy me dinner. I was serious about small claims. ALICE Then you’ll leave me alone? RUPERT Forever.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MR. CHIN’S Alice and Rupert have just been seated at the same table as their first meeting. The same waiter brings them menus. RUPERT So far so good. ALICE Who wrote the note?

59

RUPERT Oh. My friend Mike. It was to his girlfriend, Tolle. He proposed, and she said put it in writing, so he did. ALICE It was an actual proposal? RUPERT Sort of. Not really. Otherwise she wouldn’t have made it into an airplane. Oh, and Mike drew all the hearts and stuff. ALICE Doesn’t she love him? RUPERT Love isn’t the word for it. Those two are like emotionally conjoined twins. Like two jagged pieces that fit together without a crack. Well, you know.... ALICE I wish I did. The waiter approaches. RUPERT What else? Golden Feast for Two. The waiter nods and departs. RUPERT Please don’t take this as an insult, but – what made you think the message was meant for you? ALICE It hit me. RUPERT Yeah? Like you can aim those things? ALICE You wouldn’t understand.

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RUPERT Just add it to a fairly long list. And when you freaked – uh, I mean when you got upset - the last time we were here. Because I work at the family bank? I bet I wouldn’t understand that either. ALICE Story for another time.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE Rupert and Alice are leaving Mr. Chin’s. The door is shut behind them, and a CLOSED sign is hung in the window. The lights go out just as Alice turns to go back toward the door. She swears under her breath. RUPERT What’s wrong? ALICE I have to...you know. Tinkle. RUPERT Come to my dorm. There’s a tinkle room. Alice is torn. RUPERT Come on. It’s relatively clean. Or so I hear. Not that I’ve ever been in the girls – ALICE Okay.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S DORM. Rupert is in his room, talking quietly on the phone. Alice comes in the door to the suite. She hears his voice and peeks her head into his room. His back is to the door, so she steps inside and surveys the room. She picks up a

61 SpongeBob SquarePants doll, then a model airplane, then a small framed picture of a younger Rupert hugging a large dog. She goes to a corkboard layered with papers held on with stickpins and sees on the side two pictures of her as the Bride. One is of her alone, at night, white against a black sky. The other was shot at a lower angle and shows Rupert accepting a flower from her. Rupert hangs up the phone, and she quickly turns away from the pictures. He stands, uncomfortable with her inspection of his sanctum. ALICE Thanks. I’ve got to get going. RUPERT Sure. Did you meet Bob? He picks up SpongeBob SquarePants. RUPERT Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he. (Beat.) SpongeBob SquarePants? ALICE What is that? RUPERT If nautical nonsense be something you wish. Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish! Everybody – SpongeBob SquarePants! ALICE So that’s a sponge? RUPERT You don’t know any kids, do you? ALICE Just one.

62 She walks out. Rupert tosses SpongeBob SquarePants on his bed and goes after her.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: MBTA SUBWAY STATION. Aice is sitting on a bench, looking hopefully up the empty tunnel as Rupert paces on the platform nearby. ALICE Thanks for walking me down. You can leave now. RUPERT I’ll wait. ALICE Whatever. RUPERT So – you free Friday? ALICE You said you would leave me alone. RUPERT I changed my mind. You paid the meal debt, but there’s still a lot of emotional distress lingering. I got scars. ALICE You’re unbelievable. A train pulls in. Alice gets up and waits by the doors. ALICE You aren’t some kind of pervert, are you. A bride fetishist? Some sick woman in white thing? I’m totally not into that. Don’t think I haven’t gotten offers. The doors open. She steps into the car, leaving Rupert on the platform.

63 RUPERT I don’t know. Let’s find out. The doors begin to close. ALICE You know my address. The doors shut, and the train pulls away.

EXTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN. Rupert approaches the Salter home on foot, carrying a bunch of flowers. He is tricked out: charcoal suit, soft leather shoes, pink shirt, and white tie. He springs up the steps of the Salter’s house and pushes the doorbell. ALICE (O. S.) It’s open. Come up. Rupert goes through the door.

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: THE SALTER’S HOUSE. Rupert is coming up the stairs as Alice opens the door. They eye each other’s dress. She is wearing faded jeans, an old torn Smiths T-shirt and green sneakers. ALICE Who died? RUPERT A white tie is celebratory. ALICE So’s this. RUPERT Okay. Let’s see what else you’ve got. ALICE You want to inventory my closet?

64 RUPERT Yes. Do you own a dress, mid-calf or knee? No higher. Dark, red is good. And you’ll need flats. ALICE Where are we going? RUPERT It’s a surprise. C’mon – show me the possibilities. ALICE You’re being a controlling male. It isn’t attractive. RUPERT That’s a risk I’m willing to take.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. A BALLROOM. Rupert and Alice enter through double doors into a large darkened ballroom. An orchestra of about a dozen pieces is playing slow swing on a modest stage. On the dance floor are several couples – all elderly. Alice looks at the tables which surround the dance floor – everyone in the room is at least old enough to be her parent. Three women rush up to them and line up to hug Rupert. FIRST WOMAN Rupert! We’ve missed you! SECOND WOMAN And who is this gorgeous creature? RUPERT This is my friend Alice. Alice, this is Esther and Margaret and Eva. EVA I hope you wore your soft shoes, because we are going to wear you out. RUPERT I’m ready, girls. But my date gets the first one, doesn’t she?

65

MARGARET I suppose that’s only fair. Rupert holds his hand out to Alice. RUPERT Shall we? They walk onto the dance floor. RUPERT Should I lead or is that too male? ALICE You’d better. I can’t dance. They begin to dance, carefully. ALICE Who are they? RUPERT My grandmother’s bridge and dance posse. When my grandfather got too sick to dance, she started to bring me. I wasn’t even as tall as she was. ALICE Oops. Sorry. RUPERT I’m good. ALICE I hope your toes last the night. RUPERT Well – the good news is that it looks like you only get one dance out of four.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. JAMAICA PLAIN: CENTER STREET. Alice and Rupert are walking and eating ice cream cones.

66 ALICE In Barcelona there is a boulevard called La Rambla. It’s like a long, noisy carnival with pickpockets. There is a monk who holds a broom – like this – and when you bend over to drop a coin in his bowl, he smacks you on the ass. There’s another guy, cowboy, all in silver, face and hands too. He’ll fire his pistol off for a hundred pasetas. About a buck. On the next corner are Nefertiti and Amenhotep, golden from top to bottom. RUPERT What do they do? ALICE Nothing. You give them money because they are so beautiful. RUPERT Sounds iffy. ALICE It isn’t. These people make good money. Enough to live on. RUPERT Was there a bride? ALICE No! I didn’t steal it. The bride is my idea, my intellectual property. RUPERT Sorry. ALICE You should be. RUPERT It’d be great if we had a place like that over here. Alice shakes her head.

67 ALICE In the States, street performers are seen as one notch up from prostitutes and beggars. RUPERT No way. ALICE You need to get out of Cambridge. Things are tolerated in Harvard Square that would get you burned in the rest of the country. You’re in a select group that thinks my performance isn’t somehow seditious or immoral. (Beat.) You do think that, don’t you? RUPERT Oh, hell yes. I admire your courage. Although it is just an act, a character, it’s your act. You put it up on that little stool for anyone passing by to judge you by it. It’s gutsy. ALICE Thank you. RUPERT What I do have a problem with, however, is you being a lawyer. That disturbs me deeply. ALICE Hmm. Did you smell this great apricot sorbet? She holds out her cone. Rupert bends down to take a whiff, and she jabs it into his nose and runs off laughing.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. JAMAICA PLAIN: ALICE’S APARTMENT. Alice comes in the door still eating the last of her cone. Cass is sitting at the kitchen table in her nightgown, reading a paperback and drinking tea. Rupert’s flowers are in a vase on the table.

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ALICE You didn’t wait up for me? CASS Of course not. Now come on, tell me all. Alice sits down across from her. ALICE We went dancing. The kind where you touch. CASS Is he a creep? A jerk? ALICE If he dated Alice Little, he must be. But it doesn’t show yet. CASS On the other hand – ALICE The cards? Maybe it is the happy ending. Cass looks like she is waiting for something more. She makes a fist. ALICE What? CASS Knock wood? You always knock wood. ALICE Try not to be so medieval. Really, you need to shed all that superstitious nonsense.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands turn a card over: The Tower.

69

INTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S SUITE. Dawn is barely lightening the sky in the windows. Mike tiptoes in from the hall. He doesn’t see or hear that Rupert, towel slung over his shoulders, is a step behind him. The door closes with a soft noise, and Mike looks behind him. He sees Rupert and jumps. MIKE Aaah! RUPERT Hey! Jesus – you scared the hell out of me. MIKE Me? You snuck up on my ass! What are you doing up anyway? You sick? RUPERT I woke up. Must be a mental alarm. Bam – wide awake. Feeling great. Want to go get some waffles? MIKE You are sick. Let me see your tongue. RUPERT Oh, now you’re premed?

INTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: ALICE’S ROOM. Alice is in bed, soundly asleep, curled up happily. The clock radio plays on unheeded. Cass pokes her head in the door. CASS Do you still want to go in – She comes to the bed and shakes Alice. CASS You said you wanted to get an early start.

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Alice mumbles an unintelligible protest and pulls the pillow over her head.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: SALTER NEWS. Later in the morning, Rupert comes into the stand. Cass is stacking and counting newspapers. Rupert points a thumb out the window. RUPERT Where’s Alice? CASS Oh, she’s running late this – you’re Rupert? RUPERT I am. CASS Well isn’t it a strange and tiny world. Listen – I know you two got off to an odd start, but I think she’s fond of you now. RUPERT Really? CASS The truth. And I am hoping that you are as nice as you seem and not a very well-disguised asshole. RUPERT I don’t think I am. But if I were, I would probably say that, wouldn’t I? Cass hands him a paper. CASS Even if you are, at least have the decency to figure out a way not to break her heart. Cass goes and brings out Alice’s stool.

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CASS Here. Put this in her spot on your way.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. As Rupert is leaving Salter News, Alice is climbing up out of the subway tunnel, in costume, with her bags and her flowers. Rupert meets her near her usual spot and sets down the stool. Alice takes out her bowl and places it on the sidewalk, rolls her bags up under the stool, then mounts it, kicking her gown out to cover it. Rupert takes a dollar and puts it into the bowl. Alice gives him a flower. RUPERT Seven o’clock? Alice smiles and bends low. She kisses him on the cheek. Rupert goes happily down the subway steps as behind him another man, having witnessed the transaction, has also gotten a flower and is now waiting in vain with his head cocked for his kiss.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands turn a card over: The Chariot.

EXTERIOR. DAY. JAMAICA PLAIN: SALTER’S HOUSE. In the early evening, Rupert pulls up in a battered yellow pickup. It backfires and wheezes to a shuddering stop. Alice throws open a second-story window and leans out as Rupert is climbing out of the cab. ALICE You sure know how to impress a gal. RUPERT It’s Mike’s. His dad’s in construction. Hey, look. We get shovels.

72 ALICE Good. I’ll dig out some older clothes.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. BOSTON: MASS AVE. Rupert is driving as Alice examines the flotsam on the dashboard. ALICE What is this? RUPERT I think that’s a carburetor. Where do you want to eat? ALICE There’s a great Mexican place in Quincy. Can we make it that far? RUPERT Unless we run out of oil. Quincy it is. There’s just one thing I want to show you first.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. BOSTON: BLUE HILL AVE. They have parked on the street across from a brighly-lit check cashing store. RUPERT That over there is what passes for a bank in this part of town. You don’t get an account. You bring in your paycheck, and they give you cash. Minus five to ten percent. Over the course of a year, that could cost you a grand or more. At a legitimate bank, the annual fee might be fifty bucks tops. If you could find a legitimate bank around here. Plus, go in there and you have to walk around with a pocket full of cash. That might be your money for the whole week. Food, rent, whatever. And since

73 you don’t have personal checks, you have to carry cash all week long. ALICE Some people don’t trust banks. No offense. RUPERT Banks don’t want these people. They don’t even get a choice, trust or no. The nearest real bank is a tiny grotto a mile and a half from here. Commercial banks don’t want these people. They want zillionaire customers like ours. But our customers don’t need them. This neighborhood needs them. People around here have a right to a place that will keep their money safe and pay the customer a few percent for the privilege. ALICE Am I hearing a business plan? RUPERT Yeah. Like it so far? ALICE You’ve identified a need. So how do you fill it? RUPERT I have to sell this to the board – that means my mother and father. The Boston Capital Bank should return to the community where it will do the most good. ALICE A BCB storefront? RUPERT A full-service branch. Actual human tellers, no-fee ATMs, a manager on site, the whole schmeer.

74 ALICE Your business plan is soft on the profit projection page. How will you make any money here if other banks can’t? RUPERT That’s the most beautiful part. We run this branch pro bono. We can afford it. The BCB makes two tons of money. Plus, portions of the expenses would be taxdeductible. Think of the good will and good press. ALICE Geez, Rupert. Forget everything I ever said about you. You are the least stuffy banker in the world. Rupert takes her hand. RUPERT And you are the lawyer who most deserves to have skid marks in front of her when she is lying on the highway. Alice takes her hand back. ALICE I’m not a lawyer. I’m sorry I let you think so. I dropped out. RUPERT Oh. ALICE Are you disappointed? RUPERT Why? ALICE You don’t care that I quit Harvard Law to stand around in the street wearing an old third-hand wedding gown begging money from strangers?

75 RUPERT Hell no. I think it’s cool. ALICE Oh. Rupert turns the key. The engine turns over slowly but does not catch. ALICE I’m not pushing.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. QUINCY: A MEXICAN RESTAURANT. Alice and Rupert are seated at a small tiled table drinking from huge green glass goblets. ALICE Second year contracts, I had an obnoxious professor. German guy, maybe Austrian. Anyway, I talk when I’m nervous. RUPERT No! ALICE Jump up my ass, Holzworth. So I’d be arguing a mile a minute, and he’d say ‘Little, be the statue, not the pigeon.’ All semester I’m wondering a) Is this guy admitted to the bar on this side of the Atlantic? And b) What the hell kind of saying is that? The statue, okay, that’s maybe clear. But a pigeon? RUPERT Don’t tell me you entered into this living statue business to spite a teacher. ALICE Give me some credit. It’s just a coincidence. See, in Barcelona, those people just love the street performers.

76 I was jealous – I felt like I deserved a little love. Thinking all this when I passed a bridal shop. Epiphany! Who does the world love more than a bride? RUPERT Elvis. ALICE Oh yeah – there were two Elvises on La Rambla. But to be a bride, everyday is that special day of your life when all your plans and dreams come true. Cass says it’s because the men I date are self-centered meatsticks that I cry out for attention on my tiny stage. RUPERT I see. ALICE Don’t worry – you weren’t included. RUPERT Yet. ALICE No, I don’t think you’ll ever make it to meatstick status. RUPERT How far will I make it? ALICE Depends on how many tacos you eat. RUPERT Mmm. Tacos.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. JAMAICA PLAIN: SALTER HOUSE. Rupert is opening the truck door for Alice. He hands her a paper bag.

77 RUPERT Here. You and me and leftovers. Didn’t work the first time. ALICE Okay. But hasn’t the situation improved somewhat? Rupert walks Alice up to the front door. She takes out her keys, then turns to him. RUPERT Thanks for – Alice puts her arms around him and kisses him lightly. The pull apart and look at each other for a beat, then kiss again, more passionately. The kiss lasts a long moment as the streetlight reflection on their faces seems to turn from bluish to amber, then to red. Then it is an angry pulsing red, and they open their eyes to see an ambulance pull in behind the pickup.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. BOSTON: A HOSPITAL WAITING AREA. Rupert is carrying three cups of coffee down the hallway to where Mrs. Salter is sitting close by Cass. Alice is standing and comes over to him, speaking quietly as she accepts a cup. ALICE He’s going to be okay. They’re going to have to replace one of his valves. Rupert takes Cass and her mother their coffees and comes back. ALICE You don’t need to stay. I’m going to wait with them. RUPERT Well.... Alice puts her hand to his cheek.

78 ALICE Go. I’ll call you tomorrow.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands turn a card over: The Two of Cups.

INTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: RUPERT’S SUITE. There is a knock at the door. Rupert opens it to find Alice with a large paper bag cradled in her arms. ALICE Hi. Wanna party? Rupert sniffs the air. RUPERT You’ve got a head start. Alice laughs. ALICE Get your jacket.

EXTERIOR. NIGHT. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Alice leads Rupert along the sidewalk. She stops and sits on the curb across the street from Salter News. Rupert sits next to her as she digs around in her bag. She takes out two plastic cups, a carton of juice, and a nip bottle of vodka. She mixes two drinks and hands one to Rupert. RUPERT What are we celebrating? ALICE It’s a bon voyage party for Salter News. RUPERT What’s going on?

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ALICE The Salters don’t have health insurance. They just have this store. Now that Cass’ dad...well, they need cash. And that bank right over there has been making them offers for the past twenty years. RUPERT How much? ALICE An obscene amount. How can they refuse any longer? Rupert shrugs. ALICE Exactly. So here’s goodbye to Salter News. Goodbye to funky sandwich shops. Goodbye to shoe repair, used books, candles, clothes on consignment, skateboarders, homeless men and women. Goodbye to the Bride, all eight mighty feet of her. RUPERT What? ALICE I’m not going to wait until the steamcleaning moral Nazis tell me to move on. It’s over. I can take a hint. RUPERT You can’t give up the Bride. ALICE Can and will. I’m not going to be the fucking Bride of fucking Porter Square. Or Kenmore Square or the Bride of Faneuil Hall. It’s here or nowhere. Do you realize how much they love me here? They write poems about me. Love sonnets. I find them in my bowl. I get watercolors of me, rolled up and tied with ribbon. There’s a guy who sits

80 over there and plays electric guitar with a tiny little amp, all fuzzed out. He’s written three songs about me. Why would I want to go anywhere else? RUPERT What will you do? ALICE I honestly don’t know. RUPERT Alice, I don’t want the Bride to leave. ALICE Neither do I. But the bank always wins. You should know that. She jumps up and throws the dregs from her cup into the street. ALICE Men and money – it’s always the same. Control and power over everybody else and screw the world. I’m so goddamn sick of it. RUPERT And you’re just going to lie down and take it? ALICE It’s not always all about me, Holzworth. RUPERT Maybe it should be. ALICE What do you care anyway? RUPERT I care. I love the Bride. ALICE Aggh. I knew it. Down deep you’re just a crinoline fetishist. I don’t even

81 know you. All this time you’ve probably been fixated on getting your hands up the Bride’s dress. Rupert leaps up so that they stand nose to nose. RUPERT Of course I have. What kind of a normal man would I be if I didn’t want a beautiful woman? ALICE You sick fuck. (Beat.) You think I’m beautiful? RUPERT In any clothes. But I fell in love with the Bride first, so you’ll have to wait your turn. And I’m going to fight for her even if you won’t. ALICE Fight? With what? RUPERT With – I don’t know yet. But look at the two of us. What have we got? Almost a lawyer and some of the time a banker. We should be able to kick anyone’s ass. ALICE Great frigging plan. We rule. RUPERT Yeah. Us and some army I can’t think of. Alice sets her cup on the ground upside down and stomps on it so that it makes an explosive pop. ALICE How come you’ve never asked me the question? RUPERT Which one?

82 ALICE The one everyone asks me, all the stupid time. Why did you leave Harvard, Alice. When are you going back, Alice. Are you out of your bloody mind, Alice. RUPERT It’s not my business. ALICE Not even the littlest bit curious? RUPERT I guess you had your reasons. ALICE Ha! That’s just it! I didn’t have a reason. Not one. Not one good one, anyway. Not one good enough to make me give up on the Supreme Court, Wall Street, whatever I’m supposed to want – whatever I’m entitled to with that great Harvard stamp they stick on your butt graduation day. RUPERT Okay. Why’d you do it? ALICE I told Harvard Law School, the most prestigious institution on the face of the earth, to pound sand just to see what my boyfriend would say. How do you like that? Rupert regards her with great solemnity, then he begins to laugh. RUPERT So...what did he say? Alice smiles, then starts to giggle. In an instant, she and Rupert are both in the grip of hysterical cackles. ALICE He told me to piss off. Man, what a jerk.

83 RUPERT You couldn’t figure out a cheaper way to find that out? ALICE You work with what you have. They are laughing so hard they have to hold each other up.

EXTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: BOSTON CAPITAL BANK. Rupert, Alice, and Cass are entering the front door of the bank. Cass is carrying a file stuffed with documents and papers.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: BOSTON CAPITAL BANK. Mr. Holzworth comes out of his office as the three enter the lobby. RUPERT Hi, Dad. This is Alice Little and Cass Salter. Mr. Holzworth takes their hands. MR. HOLZWORTH Welcome to the Boston Capital Bank. Ms. O’Donnell, one of our attorneys in real estate, is waiting for us. This way, please.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: BOSTON CAPITAL BANK. Mr. Holzworth ushers Rupert, Alice, and Cass into a meeting room. Ms. O’Donnell, a fit woman in her 30s, rises to shake their hands. MR. HOLZWORTH Mary – Alice Little and Cass Salter.

84 MS. O’DONNELL Pleased to meet you. They seat themselves around the table. MS. O’DONNELL Rupert has gone over the case with me, and I’ve done some preliminary calculations. Ms. Salter, you have some specifics for us to work with? Cass nods and opens the thick folder. Mr. Holzworth rubs his hands together joyfully. MR. HOLZWORTH Oh boy. Let’s crunch some numbers.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: BOSTON CAPITAL BANK. Papers cover the table. The remnants of lunch lie about. Rupert is working on a calculator. Alice and Ms. O’Donnel are talking over a legal pad. Cass is sorting the contents of her folder into piles. Mr. Holzworth is standing, writing figures on a large paper pad on an easel. He steps back and considers his work, nodding slightly.

INTERIOR. DAY. BOSTON: A HOSPITAL ROOM. Mr. Salter opens his eyes on a full room. Mrs. Salter is seated beside the bed, holding his hand. Cass is standing at the foot of the bed; Alice and Rupert sit by the door. They stand up when they see he is awake. Mr. Holzworth, glasses at the end of his nose, is reading from a sheaf of papers clipped into a binder. He looks up as Mr. Salter speaks. MR. SALTER Looking a lot like a wake. I thought I had more friends. CASS Dad, this is Mr. Holzworth. From the bank.

85 MR. SALTER Another goddamn bank? What are we, having an auction? MRS. SALTER Don’t be rude, dear. CASS Could I please be sedated? MR. SALTER Okay, I’m sorry. Mr.... Mr. Holzworth shakes his hand. MR. HOLZWORTH George Holzworth. Boston Capital Bank. MR. SALTER Never heard of it. CASS They don’t advertise. MR. SALTER You want to buy the store too, I suppose. MR. HOLZWORTH Not exactly. I came to make you an alternate offer. MR. SALTER Well, they didn’t operate on my ears. Go ahead. MR. HOLZWORTH We want to offer you a reverse mortgage on your Harvard Square property. The bank will make monthly payments to you for a period of time - thirty years is a common term – at the end of which you will transfer title to the bank. MR. SALTER You pay me and I keep the title?

86 MR. HOLZWORTH That’s right. MR. SALTER Hold on. Let me ask my accountant. (To Mrs. Salter.) This legit? MRS. SALTER Yes. Mr. Holzworth told me all about it while you were napping. MR. SALTER Hold on. Let me run it by my lawyer. Alice? This legit? ALICE Yes. But remember that you lose the property after the thirty years. MR. SALTER Yeah? That won’t be my problem. It’ll be my heirs’ problem. Cass, am I going to have any more heirs? CASS Not at this rate. MR. SALTER You okay with letting it go in thirty years? CASS If I’m still running that dump in thirty years, I’m walking into Boston Harbor with steaks duct-taped to my body. MR. SALTER That’s a no, I guess. This give us enough to live on? MRS. SALTER More than enough. MR. HOLZWORTH And as members of the Boston Capital family of customers, you all would be

87 enrolled in our health plan. It’s quite a good one. MR. SALTER Stop there. I’m starting to get excited, and they don’t guarantee their work here if I get excited. MRS. SALTER We’ll need to sign some paperwork. MR. SALTER Then let’s hop to it. There’s one nurse who comes with a Mickey about this time, and another one keeps showing up with a bedpan, nagging me to move my bowels. Holy Mother of Jesus – they slice open my chest and take a cleaver to my ribs and they wouldn’t let me eat nothing, so I get backed up like the Sumner Tunnel and now they want me to produce.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands turn a card over, but instead of a face, this card has another back. The hands grab the card back up and flip it over and over, confirming that it has two backs.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE Rupert and Alice stand together on the sidewalk. Across the street, Cass is outside of her store giving unheeded supervision to two workmen who are bolting a new sign above the door: SALTER NEWS AND MAGIC. The store has a new coat of paint. RUPERT I know she pretends to hate that place, but look how happy she is. Alice sighs.

88 RUPERT What? ALICE Oh, I don’t know. I keep thinking about a thirty year mortgage. It’s like – forever. And you. Owning a bank. That’s like three forevers. That’s rock steady, bright shining future shit. It’s signs telling you where you’re going and how long it’s going to take you to get there. So what about me? You said it should be all about me, right? Balanced on a stool in worn-out satin on the street. When I go home, there’s no mark left there. Nothing. I don’t even know how I know which way to face anymore. RUPERT Want to see how bankers tell the future? He takes something from his pocket. RUPERT We use old-school magic. He opens his hand. It is the brothel token. ALICE Where did you get that? RUPERT This? I thought it was a quarter. He starts to return it to his pocket. ALICE Where did you find that? Rupert stops. He opens his hand again. RUPERT I found it in the Square. You find all kinds of wonderful things in the Square.

89 ALICE Do it. Do whatever you were going to do with the quarter. RUPERT I was going to flip a coin. I guess this qualifies. Okay. This is heads. Heads, Alice goes back to law school and has a brilliant career. Tails, the Bride stays forever a fixture in Harvard Square, supplying flowers to her admiring subjects. ALICE Go ahead. Rupert flicks the token up with his thumb, but when he puts his hand out to catch it, the token slips through his fingers. It bounces twice on the curb, rolls in a tight circle, and heads unerringly for a grate. It plunges out of sight. Alice gives a cry and falls to her hands and knees and peers down into the darkness beneath the grate. ALICE I can’t see it. RUPERT Wonder what that means. Alice stands, brushing off her clothes. She points to the grate. ALICE That was Fate telling us to make our own damn decisions. I think she’s sick of me.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD YARD. Harvard Law School is graduating its yearly crop. The climactic moment has been reached: diplomas are being awarded. It is an ebony sea, what with the sombre attire of the proud audience and the traditional robes of the graduates. The blackness parts for a figure in white. Alice, in her bridal gown and whiteface, slowly crosses the stage and accepts her diploma. The presenter extends his

90 hand for the congratulatory shake. Alice puts a flower into it. Her fellow graduates cheer.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. On a bright summer afternoon, throngs of tourists stream through Harvard Square. The flow eddies and stops to form a small crowd watching the Bride. A donation is offered. The Bride gives the worshiper a flower, then looks down to her side. Rupert, dressed in an old grey morning coat and wearing a tophat looking suspiciously like the one last seen on the Master of Ceremonies, rises from his red velvet wing chair and tosses a small handful of rice into the air.

INTERIOR. DAY. The hands pick up the deck and put it into a container. They pick up the red cloth and begin to fold it. We see now that the hands belong to Cass. She is sitting in her store. Behind her, a new clerk is waiting on a line of customers. Cass stands and looks out the window to Alice’s vacant spot for a moment, then she goes and finds Alice’s stool. She grabs the cards, the cloth, and the table and leaves the store.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Cass has spread the red cloth over the table and is sitting on the stool. She sets a paper coffee cup at the edge of the table and shuffles the deck. She is dealing out cards when a shadow looms over her. A hand drops a bill into the cup. Cass looks up. CASS Adam! ADAM Hello, Cass. CASS I thought you were in New York.

91 ADAM I came back. I missed the Square. Hey, where’s the Bride? CASS Ironically, she’s on her honeymoon. ADAM. No shit. And you’re the understudy? CASS That’s right. Want to see your future? ADAM Out here? In public? Do you think I could get a private reading? CASS Sure. But it’ll cost you. She grabs up all her things, and the two cross the street towards Salter News and Magic. In her haste, Cass lost her grip on the deck. One card slipped out and floated to the sidewalk and now lies face down.

EXTERIOR. DAY. CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD SQUARE. Tolle and Mike are holding hands, walking through the Square. Tolle stops and bends down. She picks up a card. MIKE What is it? TOLLE Guess. MIKE It’s the Queen of Sheba. TOLLE Nope. MIKE The five of broomsticks.

92 TOLLE Wrong. MIKE The ace of base. TOLLE You suck at life. MIKE Okay, I lose. What is it? Tolle shows him the card. TOLLE The two of hearts. Now you must pay a penalty. MIKE What? TOLLE The usual. She grabs him and kisses him. THE END

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