Fable's Kitchen

by Randall Krongard

Name Randall Krongard Phone 917.847.6964

All rights reserved, November 10, 2012




ROGER DELAFOUNTAINE and JONATHAN "STRAWBERRY" JAMISON square off. A dozen kids surround them giddy with high octane excitement of watching someone get the crap kicked out of them. By the look of it, that someone is probably ROGER. He's scrawny with unruly black hair, a face screaming for extra strength Clearesell. STRAWBERRY is the complete opposite. Handsome, muscular, short reddish-blonde hair. Captain of the wrestling and baseball teams, gets laid whenever and whereever. THE TWO PROBE EACH OTHER Strawberry suddenly shoots in, grabs Roger's leg and wrenches it upward like he's cracking a wishbone in half, sending Roger crashing onto his back. The crowd cringes. STRAWBERRY Ready to quit, jerkoff? Roger rises again, grabs Strawberry's leg and the two struggle a beat - make that a half beat - before Strawberry body-slams Roger again. A cute, mousey girl, KAREN, covers her eyes. DONNIE, next to her, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, leans in. DONNIE You don't have to kill him, man. A gangly kid with a mall rat haircut, NED, turns on him. NED Shut up or your next, Donald! Roger struggles to his feet is in no mood for mercy. He again on the pain express - BANG! - he drops squarely clearly rattled. But Strawberry headlocks Roger and here we go Roger sails through the air, then on his back.

Roger rolls on the ground, coughing. Karen and Donnie help him up. Ned and Strawberry high five and chant - "Without Mercy!" NED (CONT’D) That's three take-downs. You lose, loser. How much? ROGER


2. CONTINUED: NED No money this time. Ned removes a BOTTLE OF MOONSHINE from his bookbag and slaps it against Roger's chest - We see "SQUEAKY" printed in thick magic marker on the label. STRAWBERRY ...Party Time. Strawberry and Ned high five with shit-eating grins that Roger swears he'll knock off their faces one day. HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN Radio in the background. RADIO AD ...now is not the time to change horses mid river. Re-elect Bizbee. A COOK plops meatballs into a gurgling vat of MYSTERY MEAT, cigarette dangling from his mouth. He wipes off his hands on a stained white T shirt as a meatball drops to the floor. He scoops it up and tosses it back into the vat. In this kitchen dirt is considered an exotic spice. In background: RADIO NEWSWOMAN ...Police have found the body of another boy this time one mile outside the Atlanta city limits. SCHOOL COOK Ain't caught that son a' bitch, yet. Yo, change that channel. Too damn depressing. A KITCHEN WORKER near the sink switches the channel to JAZZ. SCHOOL COOK (CONT’D) All right. There ya' go, now. He sways to the music. Thank God he's a better dancer than chef. EXT. HIGH SCHOOL Roger's POV. Behind him Strawberry, Ned and two other kids look on. - KITCHEN


3. CONTINUED: The cook and worker carry food out to the cafeteria, Roger bolts in - empties the BOTTLE into a large juice container. He then corks it, HAULS ASS out the back as the cook reenters then CHASES after him, knocking over pots that crash to the floor. The other kids scatter like ants on hot steel. HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN ALLEY Roger ditches the bottle in a DUMPSTER and tears around a corner - SLAM - he runs into the side of a pick up truck driving past the corner. He stares a beat at the driver - an AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN wearing a cap. Roger regains himself and runs off. BEHIND HIM, the cook stubs his foot on a metal pipe sticking up from the ground - He lets fly curse words that would push this movie to NC-17 if we heard them all. HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY The MOONSHINE IS TAKING EFFECT. A school security guard tries to herd the kids back to class but he's fighting a losing battle. Some are cackling like maniacs while others dance to an invisible beat. Two others french kiss in a corner. EXT HIGH SCHOOL BATHROOM DOOR

Puking and groaning. A KID rushes in through the door and barely makes it to the stall. BLAH! HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

A framed picture of Jimmie Carter smiles down at PRINCIPAL MONTELL. He's balding, arm in a sling. He inspects the bottle of MOONSHINE turning it gently as if it's a fine wine. A KNOCK on the door, he places it down, stands, opens the door. Roger's father, MARCUS, smallish, 40, THICK glasses enters. He holds the door for his wife of six months, JANETTE, late 30s. Janette marches in - not a hair out of place, nor wrinkle to be found - a strong sexuality about her but kept tight under wraps. Her high heels allow her to tower over most men, especially Marcus - and that's most certainly the point. PRINCIPAL MONTELL (motions to his arm and smiles) ...Fishing accident. But you'll be happy to know I caught the sucker...Twenty pound trout.


4. CONTINUED: Marcus dutifully pulls out a chair for Janette. She sits then removes a small vile of hand cream and rubs it in as Marcus and Principal Montell sit. PRINCIPAL MONTELL (CONT’D) I wish we could have met on a more pleasant note. MARCUS Principal Montell, is my son being expelled? PRINCIPAL MONTELL I'm afraid so. But that's not the worst of it. Several parents want Roger to go to jail. Jail? MARCUS

Janette finishes rubbing her hands, slow, almost sexual something which Principal Montell takes notice of...Janet eyes him as she drops the moisturizer into her purse. PRINCIPAL MONTELL ...Diane Stillwater is leading the charge to punish Roger. Her son Harold came home and urinated on the dining room floor right in front of her gin rummy club - She's uh, in quite a tangle over it. MARCUS Janice Stillwater? JANETTE Her maiden name is Hadley...As in Judge "Hang em High" Hadley, her daddy. You met him at the barbecue cook-off in Albany last month. He took second place. PRINCIPAL MONTELL With Roger's expulsion from previous schools and recent troubles with the police, some form of incarceration is a distinct possibility....Now, I know these have been hard years since the boy's mother passed...


5. CONTINUED: (2) JANETTE Janette lost her daddy at twelve years old, six years before Roger, I might add. But we all must get back on the horse and get on with it as Cousin George would say. George S. Patton that is. PRINCIPAL MONTELL Glad it wasn't Custer... The joke falls dead. MARCUS Can Roger graduate, get his degree?...I understand you are raising funds for a new wing to the library. PRINCIPAL MONTELL Perhaps. I would have to look over the situation - his grades, the numbers...It's all about the numbers in situations like this... Janette looks at her watch. JANETTE Well, thank you so much for your time, Principal Montell. Uneasy silence. Janette looks over at Marcus who stands and pulls her chair out as she stands. JANETTE (CONT’D) It would be considered a personal favor if you were to keep this quiet for as long as you can. Possibly say that the boy was ill as the reason he's not at school. Especially if the press were to inquire. PRINCIPAL MONTELL Lips sealed. Janette nods and goes to the door as Marcus holds it open and they exit. Principal Montell smiles a beat. Then picks up the phone and dials. He clamps the phone between his shoulder, blows the dust out of a cup and pops the cork out of the moonshine.


6. CONTINUED: (3) PRINCIPAL MONTELL (CONT’D) Thomas, how are you? It's Jack Montell here. Principal Jack Montell...Jack from the Chattanooga Fishing Club...Right...My arm is fine, a little sore. Listen, I have some news I believe your campaign might find quite interesting. Well, not so fast. It will require something in return of equal value... He pours and toasts Jimmy Carter. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - BASEMENT

Marcus wears a magnifying eyeglass - looks like a nutty professor as he touches up a wooden duck decoy. A row of other decoys behind him. Roger stands in front of him. MARCUS ...Expelled from three schools. Trouble with the police. All these problems. You have to let it go. Move on. ROGER Is that what Janette says. Move on? Marcus accidently flicks the paintbrush across the duck's face. MARCUS For damn's sake... He stands up. ROGER What's happened to you? You used to be my friend but she's turned you against me, your son. We used to be a team. MARCUS You're no longer a team player, that's the problem...Now, Janette only wants what's best for you. She just what the doctor ordered for this family right now. We must all pull our weight and move forward...Now get a coat and tie on. The guests will be here soon.


7. CONTINUED: ROGER I'm supposed to be sick - boy in the plastic bubble, remember? They stare at each other a beat. Marcus storms out. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - PORCH

Janette speaks to a group of wealthy supporters. The usual political bullshit. She unveils a large sign next to her. JANETTE WITH TWO T's - YOUR NEXT GOVERNOR. She's stares at the sign, stutters a beat then regains her composure to complete her talk. An OLD WOMAN and her HUSBAND approach her with dinner plates piled high. WOMAN Janette, you have to try the chicken. Wonderful! I haven't had chicken like this since I was a tot! Her husband nods in agreement. Janette smiles as the two wobble off. A heavyset, bearded man, BASS, approaches Janette's Campaign Manager. BASS Is that Xavier Rudd over there? Indeed. JANETTE

BASS From Senator Banks' campaign last year? You're firing me...You're firing me? Indeed. JANETTE

BASS That sign was not my fault. And I have a new strategy to get our poll numbers up, I was going to speak to you about it tonight. Janette stares him down.


8. CONTINUED: BASS (CONT’D) You can't do this...You cold blooded, b-b-bi...Person. Bass stalks off. Indeed. JANETTE

BASS slaps a small paper plate of food out of the hands of a MAN walking toward Janette. XAVIER RUDD, 30's, coat and tie definitely not from around these parts. He stares after Bass then picks up the plate and throws it away. Then he sneezes into a hankerchief and adds eye-drops before approaching Janette. XAVIER We have exhaust fumes not pollen in Brooklyn. Xavier speaks in a rapid tone contrasting Janette slow and deloberate speech. XAVIER (CONT’D) If I was smart, I'd follow him. Sneeze. JANETTE I told you I would meet you at the hotel tomorrow. XAVIER I needed to speak to you pronto. Just got off the phone with a source at the Gazette. They're running a front page story about your "imploding" campaign. Their words not mine. He SNEEZES then removes a newspaper clipping from his pocket. XAVIER (CONT’D) (reading) Her stepson just got expelled from school for spiking the juice in the cafeteria. And he's had run ins with police which would have put you or me behind bars. Janette DeLaFountaine, the law and order candidate?...Really? Xavier hands the clipping to Jannette.


9. CONTINUED: (2) Close Up: We see the news story and right next to it a PHOTO of a smiling Principal Montell with the headline - Governor Names New School Superintendent. TWO MIDDLE AGED WOMEN approach with plates of loaded with food. WOMAN 1/WOMAN 2. WOMAN 1 This food is to die for. WOMAN #2 What's the secret behind these biscuits. They are heaven! It's scary how fast Janette switches from frown to a smile. JANETTE We aim to please, ladies. WOMAN 1 ...Tell me you will catch that awful man who is harming those young black boys. JANETTE Who says it's a man? Oh? WOMAN #2

JANETTE ...Under Janette's stewardship of the state, it will be a priority, yes. The ladies nod and walk off as a large MAN approaches. MAN Janette, who made this fried chicken. JANETTE Glad you like it. Have as much as you like... MAN Don't mind if I do! The MAN wobbles off.


10. CONTINUED: (3) XAVIER Maybe we should get the cook's endorsement. Janette hands Xavier the clipping back. JANETTE ...This problem is handled. XAVIER OK....How may I ask? JANETTE Roger will be taking a little vacation - behind bars. I've already spoken to Judge Hadley we'll see what those smart asses at the Gazette have to say after that. XAVIER ...The boy lost his mother. And? JANETTE

XAVIER And every woman in the state will turn on us. No, it's political suicide. JANETTE The brat has shot himself in his own foot. Not me. XAVIER Even if you're not pulling the trigger, it will seem like you are. Janette clenches her jaw and steps to Xavier - a flash of anger flares up through her usual cool exterior. JANETTE He was picked up by the police last week for hitting golf balls at the Mayor's boat for God's sake. He cracked three windows and with it any chance I have at the man's endorsement. And he's been this close to being arrested three times in as many months. What other choice do I have?


11. CONTINUED: (4) XAVIER Another one. If you want to be governor get used to hard decisions. JANETTE I was state prosecutor for five years. I know how to make tough decisions. XAVIER This is politics, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line or a jail cell. This situation requires nuance. JANETTE The judge is filing paperwork first thing in the morning. XAVIER Then we need a solution now. JANETTE I need a break. She motions to the TWO T's CAMPAIGN SIGN. JANETTE (CONT’D) ...Burn that. Janette walks off. SMASH CUT TO:




Janette LIGHTS a cigarette, tilts her head to the sky. JANETTE What am I to do with this demon child? A beat and she hears heated voices from the back of the kitchen. A small line of bushes conceals the people from her. VOICE #1 ...Well, do you know the word respons-ibil-ity?


12. CONTINUED: VOICE #2 Yeah...Yes...Yes. I do... No. VOICE #1

VOICE #2 No. Yes. Yes, I do. VOICE #1 I won't tolerate foolishness... I take my business as serious as Moses parting the sea. You comprehending me, boy? VOICE #2 I do...I do... VOICE #1 I do...I do? We at the altar getting married? I do? VOICE #2 I understand. I understand. Yes, ma'am. VOICE #1 No, you don't. You don't understand discipline. Respect. Hard work. The kitchen door opens and a YOUNG WOMAN'S VOICE is heard. WOMAN Miss Ruth. Tyrone burned the corn bread pudding. It looks like a cow pie. We need help. VOICE #1 Get on back inside... The person obeys and returns to the kitchen. VOICE #1 (CONT’D) ...Boy needs discipline...He's moving to North Carolina. His momma told me last week. YOUNG WOMAN You're gonna have to find another poor soul to pick on. The kitchen door slams as the two return to the kitchen.


Janette drops her cigarette on the ground and crushes it out as she spots the event coordinator, MILLIE. Millie wears a large bright, flower print dress with same print style bow in her hair. MILLIE Hello, Miss Janette. Is everything satisfactory? JANETTE Fine yes. Who's the woman in charge of the cooking? MILLIE Miss Ruth Fable. JANETTE A rather strong personality. MILLIE (whispers) Most prefer to be slaves on a plantation then work for her. But she's the best cook in the S-O-U-TH. JANETTE ...bring her to see me after the party. MILLIE Yes, ma'am. JANETTE And pick up that cigarette. One of the coloreds must have dropped it. Janette walks off and Millie unfolds a hankerchief of the same pattern as her dress from her pocket and picks up the cigarette butt. She notices the fresh red lipstick mark on it and narrows her eyes toward Janette. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION STUDY

Xavier finishes off a piece of sweet potato pie as Janette speaks on the phone. JANETTE Thank you, judge.


14. CONTINUED: Janette hangs up and turns to Xavier who's deep into his pie. JANETTE (CONT’D) He went for it...Mr. Rudd. XAVIER Oh, sorry. This pie is amazing. JANETTE Judge Hadley accepted the deal. XAVIER ...Excellent. Who would have guessed you southerners could think so well out of the box. Does dad know? JANETTE Soon enough. Xavier moves a step closer and brushes the back of his hand against Janette. XAVIER I was wondering when we could pick up where we left off...it's been so long, I've missed you. JANETTE Don't bullshit a bullshitter...Your feelings are all located in one place and it ain't your heart, sweetheart...I'm married now... And... XAVIER

Xavier spots Marcus entering. XAVIER (CONT’D) ...I have to return a call. JANETTE Use that phone. Xavier goes to the phone and dials as Marcus walks up to Janette. MARCUS What is this about?


15. CONTINUED: (2) JANETTE ...Judge Hadley said he could use this idea to convince his daughter not to pursue charges. Xavier walks over. JANETTE (CONT’D) He knows this woman personally and trusts she will be a good influence on the boy. Xavier steps up. XAVIER ...I'm sorry to interrupt. I'm on with Bob Leeson from the Daily News. The police just found another boy's body. He wants a statement. JANETTE ...We all share this nightmare together. As governor I will make it my priority to stop these horrific acts and not let politics or incompetence slow my efforts etc...etc... Xavier returns to the phone. MARCUS Roger. His name is Roger. The Judge may know her but we do not. JANETTE ...I know you are upset sweetheart but Janette is doing the best she can with a terrible situation dropped into her lap. I'm afraid it's either this or jail. MARCUS I just don't know about this. JANETTE Whether you want your son in jail or not? Minnie appears at the door with RUTH FABLE. A woman in her late 50s, African American, light skinned, strength and power radiating from her - You wouldn't try to mug this woman in any kind of alley.


16. CONTINUED: (3) JANETTE (CONT’D) (to Minnie) That'll be all. Close the door on your way out. Minnie stands still. JANETTE (CONT’D) We no longer need your services. Close the door on your way out. Minnie slips out the door and shuts it. EXT. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION STUDY

Minnie closes the door behind her. She spots a half eaten discarded PIECE OF CAKE on a small plate. A framed picture of Janette next to it. She looks around to make sure the coast is clear - then dabs her finger in the icing and paints an X across Janette's face - She smirks and licks the icing off her finger as she walks off. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - STUDY

JANETTE I'm Mrs. DeLaFountaine. This is my husband. RUTH ...Problem with the food? JANETTE No at all. Guests were delighted. MARCUS (smiling) ...Although Pastor Becker complained he couldn't find any salt and pepper. RUTH I never put out salt and pepper. MARCUS And why's that? RUTH My food don't need it. Man must had his taste buds burned off. Or be a drunk.


17. CONTINUED: MARCUS He's our pastor. RUTH Explains it. JANETTE ...Anyway, I wanted to discuss a business proposition with you. I would like my stepson to work for you. He's in need of a structured, disciplined environment. RUTH Babysitting. JANETTE Work not babysitting. I would pay you $200 a month. RUTH I live three hours north. Marcus and Janette stare at each other a beat - this is a much bigger step - shipping Roger off. Marcus is about to say something but thinks better of it and goes to the bar, pours an extra large whiskey. Janette turns back to Ruth. JANETTE I would give you another hundred for room and board. RUTH ...He's not the one harmin' all them black boys and you trying to get him out of town? JANETTE I'm afraid you've watched too many Rockford Files. Who? RUTH

JANETTE Rockford Files. The TV show. RUTH Don't have a TV.


18. CONTINUED: (2) JANETTE (lowering her tone off in her own world) Oh yes....had a few dates with the star, James Garner, on a visit to California years ago...He adored Janette. Ruth shakes her head then looks at Marcus who is face first into his glass. RUTH ...Ain't this daddy's job? JANETTE He's simply not up to the task. And Janette can't get through to the boy right now...The wicked stepmother and all. RUTH I can see that. JANETTE ...The child needs a firm hand. RUTH My firm hand'll cost you $400 a month. JANETTE That's a lot of money. Ruth turns and heads out. JANETTE (CONT’D) Wait...O.K. But if there's any funny business, if you're thinking of pulling any tricks, the IRS and Food Safety Agency will be all over you like cane sugar on a flapjack. RUTH I only use brown sugar on my flapjacks. As Ruth exits, Xavier steps to her, drink in hand. Sneezes. Marcus slumps in a chair in the corner. Well done. XAVIER

Janette shakes her head.


Ruth STOPS IN FRONT OF A FRAMED MIRROR and straightens it. Then she adjusts her collar and touches up her hair. IN THE REFLECTION, SHE NOTICES ROGER STARING DOWN AT HER FROM TOP OF THE STAIRS. Their eyes meet a beat, HOLD, then she walks off. BUS STATION Marcus, Janette and Roger exit the car. People loading onto a bus in the background. Marcus hands a large bag to Roger. Marcus hurriedly shakes Roger's hand then gets back into the car. Janette nods to several people who recognize her - then turns to Roger and hands him a folded paper. JANETTE That's the address. Janette steps to him and lowers her voice putting on a BIG BULLSHIT SMILE for those watching. JANETTE (CONT’D) ...Screw this up, you'll be in county jail so fast your head'll spin. And you can be sure, boy They don't serve peach cobbler with silver spoons in there. As she gets in the car, she continues the act. JANETTE (CONT’D) Have a good trip, sweetheart. Roger watches Marcus and Janette drive off. EXT. RUTH'S HOME A small white house, bordered by cornfields. Prehistoric, massive iron skillets hang below a the semistructure of an outdoor kitchen. Fifty gallon drums sliced in half turned into barbecue sets nearby. SWADDLE, a large African American man in his 30s, large afro, chopping and slicing. He tastes some sauce with a spoon from a pot. Ruth walks by and SLAPS his hand.


20. CONTINUED: SWADDLE How am I supposed to know if the flavor's right if I don't taste it? RUTH A real cook just knows. She walks off. RUTH (CONT’D) Swaddle dee...Swaddle dumb. Swaddle glares after her. He reaches behind a crate, and pulls up a bottle - takes a drag. INT. RUTH'S HOUSE

SADIE, 20s, light skinned African American with large coke bottle glasses that hide a beautiful face. She HUMS a melody as she shuffles papers. A beautiful voice. A stack folder falls to the floor scattering papers down. Scheiße! SADIE

She bends down and picks up the papers than goes back to singing. A beat later, Ruth appears at the doorway with two glasses of iced tea. She listens to Sadie sing. RUTH I could listen to you all day, child. Sadie smiles. Ruth places her iced tea down. SADIE Thank you...You look peturbed, what's wrong? RUTH Swaddle's behind on orders again...Serves me right for hiring a gorilla -- black as cow sheet. SADIE You sound like you're in the Klan, Miss Ruth. RUTH My hood's in my bedroom... They laugh and Sadie stands.


21. CONTINUED: SADIE I'll be back by tomorrow. My momma has to be in court this afternoon for running over Mr. Baker's chickens. THROUGH THE WINDOW Ruth and Sadie see Roger getting out of a taxi. SADIE (CONT’D) This is crazy, Ms. Ruth. RUTH How much more we owe the bank? Sadie takes a beat then nods. RUTH'S HOME - FRONT YARD Ruth and Sadie walk to Roger. RUTH This is Sadie...If your hungry, Swaddle over there can give you some food. If you survive that, I'll see you in the morning. First light. She motions behind her. RUTH (CONT’D) You'll be staying in the shed. You can put a shelf up. But don't hammer nothing else in the walls. Don't want mice getting in. ROGER I won't be here that long, so don't worry about it. Roger walks off. INT. SEED SHED Roger drops his bag and surveys his new home. Right out of an John Wayne movie where the wounded fugitive holes up from the posse. Bare except for a small cot and sink - a metal bar runs across the room a little higher than his head.


A rooster blasts away. Roger hurls his shoe at the wall, buries his head into the pillow. KNOCKING on the door. Go away! ROGER

MORE KNOCKING. Roger stumbles over, opens the door a crack to see Sadie. SADIE Miss Ruth says it's time to get up. Roger closes the door, gets back into the cot. A few more beats, the door opens and he looks up to see Ruth towering over him. ROGER Don't you knock?...Look, let's make a deal. I'll go stay at a friends house for a few weeks. You tell them I'm still here so you still get your money...Now let me sleep. Roger buries his head in the pillow again. Several beats later then suddenly Roger is doused in water. He jumps up from the bed banging his head on the bar above him and crashes to the floor. Ruth puts down the now empty bucket. RUTH There's a river just over the hill. Refill this, the other bucket too. Bring 'em to the outside kitchen Biscuits need fresh water or they don't rise right. I want the stove hot and the water boiling when I come outside in the morning...That means you the first one up, Goldilocks. Roger glares back, soaked. EXT. RUTH'S HOUSE - OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Swaddle uses a hatchet cutting up meat as Ruth mixes dough. YARD


23. CONTINUED: Roger struggles to roll stumps into a pile. He finally gets one to roll but trips over the log and lands on his back. As he stands, he notices Sadie shaking her head smiling through the HOUSE WINDOW. He turns away embarrassed. RUTH'S HOME OUTSIDE KITCHEN

Roger stacks bowls and plates. Ruth motions to him to come inside. RUTH'S HOME - KITCHEN

RUTH Wash up and sit down. BATHROOM Roger cringes as the water washes over his blistered, dirty hands. He dries his hands and looks at framed pictures. One of them catches his eye - of a large smiling African American man. He knows this man but can't place him. KITCHEN Roger studies Ruth. For as much as he hates her - he's in awe of her skills. She's a human cuisenart, her movements are ballet with a blade. She drops a plate of fried chicken and potatoes with greens in front of him. Roger gingerly picks up the chicken wincing in pain but devours the food. RUTH Plate goes in the sink when you're done. I ain't your maid. And soon you be cooking for yourself so don't get used to me doing it for you. She places a small bowl of in front of him. RUTH'S HOME - DIRT ROAD

Sadie walks as a POLICE CRUISER pulls along side her. A heavy set African American cop, BRISKO, peers out the window. BRISKO Hello, beautiful. Sadie smiles.


24. CONTINUED: BRISKO (CONT’D) I haven't seen you out much. Been busy. SADIE

BRISKO How's the singing career?. You know, I used to sing a little too... He hums a broken tune. The police radio crackles with a call saving Sadie's ears. BRISKO (CONT’D) Gotta go protect and serve... Be careful. They just found another body in Atlanta this morning. My God. SADIE

BRISKO You're momma get a phone yet? Nope. SADIE

BRISKO Well, just come by the station and tell them to call me, day or night if you get frightened, Or anything you need...Anything... Brisko pulls away. RUTH'S HOME FRONT YARD

Roger struggles to pile the firewood as Sadie appears behind him. SADIE You have to pile it between two trees. I'll show you. She drops a few pieces of wood between the trees and he does the same but not before gettig a splinter. He curses, dropping a piece of wood. He bites at the splinter, removes it and spits it out. SADIE (CONT’D) Miss Ruth says that if you try to leave here, you'll go to jail.


25. CONTINUED: ROGER I thought this was jail. SADIE Food's much better here. Sadie walks to the house. SEED SHED NIGHT

Roger nurses his wounds over a bowl of bloody water. He looks up at a cracked piece of mirror into bloddshot eyes. SEED SHED MORNING

The rooster crowing and Roger rolling over trying to block out the sound. Hears the door open and HOLDS UP his hands defensively. ROGER I'm getting up. Getting up. RUTH'S HOME FRONT YARD KITCHEN EARLY MORNING

Roger loads the fire and almost burns himself. He brings two buckets of water to Swaddle loading potatoes into a pot. SWADDLE How you doing son, I'm Swaddle. We didn't get to meet yet in a formal manner. Roger. ROGER

Swaddle puts his hand out. Roger holds his hand up awkwardly showing his battered hands. Swaddle nods then takes a big bite of a chicken leg as Ruth comes out. RUTH Swaddle, does any food ever make it from the pan to the plate or do it always make a detour right into your belly? SWADDLE Snack to keep my energy up, Miss Ruth. RUTH We just got a big order. Town Firehouse party. (MORE)


26. CONTINUED: RUTH (CONT'D) Goldilocks, you need to clean the grills and shuck the corn. Those stumps over there ain't gonna split themselves. Think you can do that without cracking your head open?

She hands a paper to Swaddle. RUTH (CONT’D) You can read, right? SWADDLE Yes, ma'am. I can read. Ruth returns to the house. ROGER How do you work for her? Swaddle pulls out a bottle of moonshine and smiles. He takes a long swig then offers it to Roger. Roger notices SQUEAKY printed on the side. No thanks. ROGER (CONT’D)

Swaddle laughs, puts the bottle back then takes another bite of chicken. MISERY MONTAGE: RUTH'S HOME SEEDSHED

Roger wakes up, bangs his head on the bar. RUTH'S HOME OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Roger cracks an egg but it crunches in his hands making a mess. Chops onions and vegetables but the pieces fly all over. He eats a scrambled egg. Spitting out the pieces of shell Nasty. RUTH'S HOME Sadie watches through window as Roger pokes at a tree branch with a rake. She leans in squinting her eyes to get a better look. Roger pokes again then suddenly TEARS across the yard fleeing a swarm of yellow jackets, tossing the rake to the side. She shakes her head.

27. RUTH'S HOME - SEED SHED Roger washes up in sink and as he RAISES HIS HEAD sees his body dotted with bee stings. EXT. BARN

Roger hoists a bale of hay and almost gets it onto a cart when he crumbles under the weight and goes face first into a mud puddle. FINAL STRAW! He storms/limps into the SEED SHED and exits a few beats later with his hastily packed suitcase, his face still caked in mud. RUTH'S HOME - FRONT YARD Ruth, carrying mail, and Sadie returning from the mailbox when they see Roger headed their way. OUTDOOR KITCHEN Swaddle sees the coming clash - munching on corn bread he pulls up a stool to watch like he's in the front row of Ali/Frazier. RUTH'S HOME DIRT DRIVEWAY

Ruth stops in front of Roger. RUT You look like Al Jolson, boy. Sadie giggles. ROGER Laugh all you want. I'm out of here. Ruth hands the mail to Sadie. RUTH Sadie. Go inside. Sadie doesn't respond. ...Sadie. RUTH (CONT’D)

Sadie walks off. Roger watches as she leaves a few beats then turns back to Ruth.


28. CONTINUED: ROGER ...Don't try to stop me... RUTH ...I ain't tryin' to stop you. Praise the Lord is what I say. ROGER I know my stepmother is behind all this. Go ahead and call her if you want. I don't care. I don't care what she does to me or you, anyone. Roger takes a step. RUTH Oh, I don't need to be calling her. Roger stops, looks back. ROGER What's that mean? RUTH ...She just waiting for you come crawlin' back with your tail between your legs. Like you always done. Wanting other people to clean up your mess. Ruth motions over to the axe and scattered wood. She steps to him, then looks out at the field. RUTH'S HOUSE Sadie watches from the window above the desk. RUTH'S YARD RUTH My granddaddy worked as slave in that field right over there. Belonged to the meanest plantation owner in Georgia called Mr. Peptrey. One day Mr. Peptrey accused Grandaddy of stealin' whiskey. (MORE)


29. CONTINUED: RUTH (CONT'D) Eveybody knew it was the son of the field manager that done it but someone had to account, you see...Anyhow, Peptrey soaked a rawhide whip for two days in turpentine and crushed red peppers that's so it would sting like the devil when it broke the skin. The day came and they tied Grandaddy down to the wheel of a hay wagon and Mr. Peptrey personally delivered those thirty lashes. Grandaddy's back look like a pack of mountain lions had got to it. Peptrey screamed at Granddaddy "You stole, nigger! Now you beg forgiveness or else I'm giving you another twenty MORE lashes!"...But Grandaddy refused. It almost killed him but he stood and took that bloody beating to the last stroke.

Ruth looks back at Roger. RUTH (CONT’D) We asked him - Why, Why didn't you spare yourself them extra lashes Just say you did it and be done with it. Grandaddy squinted his eyes hard like always did when he angry - Kneeling's for church, he said. I had to show Mr. Peptrey I could take more than he could give. Ain't nobody gonna steal that from me. Ruth looks over at Roger. RUTH (CONT’D) So long, Goldilocks. Roger watches Ruth walk off and enter the house. RUTH'S HOME Sadie looks out the window. SADIE Miss Ruth. Look at this. Ruth enters and walks over to the window. They watch as Roger drops his bags and limps back to the axe. He starts cleaning up and chopping wood again with renewed strength.


30. CONTINUED: Sadie and Ruth look at each other and Sadie goes to the phone, dials. SADIE (CONT’D) Hi, I need to cancel that cab I just ordered. She hangs up. SADIE (CONT’D) Whatever you said to him worked...He's growing on you, I can tell. RUTH The only thing growing around here is Swaddle's belly and my bills. That white boy's the only thing keeping the bank from taking this place from me. SADIE You care about him, trying to straighten him out and all. RUTH Honey, I wear a white hood on my head ain't no halo, remember? Ruth exits. EXT. HOTEL SUITE Xavier knocks. Enter. JANETTE'S VOICE

Xavier ENTERS to see Janette in a track suit - a silver BATON in hand - a wide, plastic grin plastered on her face, tossing the baton into the air, twirling and skipping - As if it's halftime at the Cotton Bowl. XAVIER A woman of many talents. JANETTE State baton champion two years in a row. It gets Janette ready to be at her best with our dear little voters.


31. CONTINUED: XAVIER Well, you'll be happy to know the little voters have put us up another six points in the polling. JANETTE The more the people know Janette, the more they love her. Even the press is onboard, especially that certain distractions are out of the way. XAVIER Heard from the distraction? JANETTE Poor boy's miserable. They're working his tail off. She clearly enjoys the fact. XAVIER What if he quits. Returns home? JANETTE He won't be any trouble anymore, I can assure you. He knows when you take the bull by the horns, what you're going to get. She twirls then comes to a stop, frozen with a wide, toothy smile. JANETTE (CONT’D) Go Bulldogs! She tosses the baton to Xavier and goes into the bathroom. JANETTE (CONT’D) Roger's soft like his mommy and daddy. He just had to be stirred up a bit. He won't last another week I bet. XAVIER Yes, but you won't bet because the official position of our campaign is that betting, gambling of any kind is morally wrong and has no place in the wonderful state of Georgia.


32. CONTINUED: (2) Janette enters from the bathroom in leather bikini with a paddle. JANETTE Correct. For now. Xavier takes off his jacket and Janette tears his shirt off and slaps the paddle to him. Then she bends across the bed. JANETTE (CONT’D) I've been a very bad girl...I need to be punished. XAVIER Very bad. Bad girl. Janette smiles back and sticks a leather piece in her mouth biting down. Xavier raises the paddle then brings it down as-SMASH CUT: RUTH'S HOME KITCHEN out he sees bra putting glasses turns and

Roger enters. He grabs some eggs and as he walks Sadie through a crack in the door. She is in her her hair back. Roger STARES at her - without her she's a new person. He quickly scoots out as she avoids her seeing him. RUTH'S HOUSE - OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Ruth approaches Roger. She surveys the scene - Fire in the stoves and water boiling. The boy's actually coming into line although she would never tell him or show him her satisfaction. Roger obliterates an egg as he tries to crack it into a bowl then fishes out the shell pieces making a mess of it. He then begins to cut up an onion making and even bigger mess of it and tearing his eyes up. Ruth shakes her head. RUTH You're as raw as that onion, Goldilocks. Ruth steps down and grabs two eggs - hands one to Rodger. RUTH (CONT’D) Hold the egg in one hand. Put your thumb on top, finger on the middle of the egg. Tap.


33. CONTINUED: Ruth's cracks perfectly. Roger tries and he cringes at the bee sting on his hand. RUTH (CONT’D) Bee stings good for arthritis. ROGER I'll remember that. Thanks. Roger cracks the egg but again it turns to mess in his hand. Ruth hands him another and nods to try again. Roger taps the egg and does it right. ROGER (CONT’D) Hey, I did it. Ruth grabs an onion and knife RUTH Now, cut the onion in half then place it face down. This way you won't be crying like a baby. Make three cuts in the side then cut down. Roger goes slow but manages to cut most of it up. ROGER Is there a book I can learn some of this stuff? A cookbook? RUTH It's called the Bible...Southern cooking is from the heart, it's in your blood - like the birds fly south in winter, the raccoon climbs a tree when they scared, the preacher drinks his moonshine after Sunday service. Instinct. Now after you eat, go back to the barn. It needs to be cleared to make room for a tractor. INT. BARN Rogers has a rope tied around the middle of a large oil drum and then fed around a wooden pillar which he stands behind and pulls. The barrel doesn't budge. He tries again when Sadie enters with a glass of lemonade. SADIE What are you doing?


34. CONTINUED: ROGER I'm simulating a pulley system that will give me mechanical advantage over the object. SADIE Well, I don't think the object knows want mechanical advantage is because it ain't moving. ROGER Oh yeah. Watch this... Roger strains to move the drum, then again, every muscle in his body straining. He finally takes a seat exhausted. ROGER (CONT’D) I'll get it. You'll see. Sadie hands him a glass of lemonade. Thanks. ROGER (CONT’D)

SADIE You're welcome. I'll say one thing about you, you don't quit easy, except for that day you wanted to leave. Roger takes a long drink, wipes his brow. ROGER ...What are those glasses about a minus five prescription? SADIE Minus 4. Why? ROGER Habit. My dad's an optometrist. So, you live nearby? SADIE At the end of Millbrook Road. Two miles or so away, I never really measured it. I live with my mom and grandad. ROGER So, what do people do for fun around here? Tip cows?


35. CONTINUED: (2) SADIE Yeah, tip cows onto stupid people who ask stupid questions. ROGER Just a joke. SADIE We hang out around town - go to the swimming hole. And I sing...That's my dream, anyhow. ROGER I heard you singing the other day. Really good. SADIE I actually just met a music producer from Atlanta...named Wayne Williams. He's setting up some performances around the state for me. ROGER Very cool. Diana Ross. SADIE More like Lina Horn. My daddy was white. He's from Germany, actually. Came over to work in a car factory but they closed it down. ROGER Sprechen Sie Deutsch? SADIE Ja...Sehr gut...Youre seltsam, ein wenig verrückt, aber sehr interessant. ROGER I studied in school a few semesters but I think you just called me a weirdo. SADIE I said you are strange but very interesting too. ROGER Well, I guess that's better than just being strange.


36. CONTINUED: (3) SADIE What about you? You on some kind of probation down here? Rebel boy. ROGER ...Something like that. After my mom died, my dad married one of his longtime patients, Janette. My life's been hell ever since. SADIE Ruth said she's running for governor. ROGER Yup...So, here I am. I've jumped from the frying pan at home into the fire down here. SADIE More like the fire into the frying pan... Right. ROGER

SADIE You just have to get to know Ruth. Her husband Raymond left her in terrible debt. She never had a baby, so this place is all she has. She has to protect it. RUTH CALLS SADIE'S NAME. SADIE (CONT’D) Gotta go...If you want to come to the swimming hole Sunday, a few of friends and me will be there. It's over the ridge just down the road. ROGER I saw it driving in... SADIE We go around nine while everyone else is at church. ROGER ...And I thought I was the rebel.


37. CONTINUED: (4) Ruth shouts again. SADIE We're going to get something to eat after. ROGER OK, I'll bring a change of clothes. No need. SADIE

Sadie smiles and saunters off. RUTH'S HOME SEED SHED

Roger wakes up and approaches the sink. He picks up the small picture of his mom. ROGER Happy birthday, mom. He places the picture back onto the mirror. SWIMMING HOLE DIRT PATH

Roger approaches the scene. Sadie and two friends, TANYA and ADRIAN, stand on a small overhang about 40 feet up stripping off their clothes. They spot Roger and tell him to come up. SWIMMING HOLE OVERHANG

Roger approaches the naked three warily. SADIE Come on up, don't be shy...This is Tanya and Randy. Tanya and Adrian wave Hi. Then Tanya and Adrian jump on after another into the water. ROGER You're not going? SADIE I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. I just watch. Adrian and Tanya return.


38. CONTINUED: ADRIAN (Jamaican accent) OK, my man. Your turn... Roger steps up, looks around a few beats. TANYA You just gotta go, don't think about it... Roger takes a deep breath, tucks in all his loose bits and leaps. The others laugh and watch him. SWIMMING HOLE - UNDERWATER

As Roger glides through the water, scenes with his mother flow through his mind. ROGER'S CHILDHOOD HOME KITCHEN TABLE

A young Roger coloring an art project with Roger. Blowing out birthday candles with dad watching on, smiling. ROGER'S CHILDHOOD HOME LAWN

Walking outside with her. ROGER'S CHILDHOOD HOME BEDROOM

Reading a book of poetry with mom putting Roger to sleep. MOM ...I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers... Roger joins in for the last part, he's heard it a hundred times before. MOM & ROGER My soul has grown deep like the rivers. She smiles and hugs him. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION HALLWAY NEAR STAIRS

Roger gets a jacket on and walks to his Mom as she straightens a painting of RIVER LANDSCAPE. She smiles and takes a step toward him, puts her hand to her head and tumbles to the floor. Roger rushes to her.


Roger looks at his Mom in bed hooked up to machines. THROUGH A SLIGHTLY OPENED DOOR, Roger's POV as Marcus speaks to a doctor in the hallway. Marcus shakes his head as the doctor puts his hand on his shoulder. Marcus' teary eyes meet Roger's a beat then he turns away. BEDROOM - DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION NIGHT

Roger holds mom's hand as she sleeps. A beat then she opens her eyes and smiles at Roger and whispers: MOM Everyone dies. Don't be afraid --My soul has grown deep like the rivers. Her smile fades and she goes limp. Roger stands, shouts for help. A nurse runs in followed by Marcus. Roger fades to the corner as they try to revive her. SWIMMING HOLE OVERHANG

Adrian, Tanya and Sadie look at each other. The laughing has turned to panic. Adrian jumps in as Sadie and Tanya hurry down to the beach. SWIMMING HOLE Adrian swims downward, grabs Roger and hauls him to the surface then to the shore. Roger is limp at first but then chokes and coughs up water as Sadie covers him with a towel and holds him in her arms. Roger gains consciousness then begins sobbing. The friends look at each other concerned. RUTH'S HOME DRIVEWAY

Adrian pulls up in his pick up with Tanya in the front seat and Roger slumped in the back with Sadie. Adrian gets out and goes to the back of the truck. SEED SHED Adrian and Sadie enter carrying Roger and lay him on the bed. SADIE Are you sure you're OK? I can tell Miss Ruth to call a doctor.


40. CONTINUED: Roger just shakes his head 'no' and lays back. Sadie and Adrian exit. RUTH'S HOME - YARD Adrian and Sadie get back in the truck. RUTH'S HOME Ruth watches through the window as the truck pulls away. RUTH'S HOME - SEED SHED MORNING

As Roger washes up, a knock at the door. Sadie enters. SADIE I just wanted to make sure you're all right...I'm so sorry, I took you there, I just... ROGER I know you just wanted to see me naked. Sadie laughs. ROGER (CONT’D) Thanks for pulling me out of there. And your friend.... Adrian... SADE

ROGER Yea..Adrian. I own him a beer. SADIE ...Well I have some good news...Wayne, the music promoter from Atlanta, booked me for a two week tour. Great. ROGER

SADIE We're going out to celebrate tomorrow night if you want to come...No water, I promise. ROGER But clothes, right.


41. CONTINUED: Sadie gives a shrug and exits. RUTH'S KITCHEN Radio announces another boy found dead as Roger enters. RUTH Devil is working overtime. ROGER I overslept...I'll get to work... RUTH Yes, I see...You make those biscuits outside? Roger nods. RUTH (CONT’D) Honey and jalapeno peppers... ROGER ...a little brown sugar too...did I do something wrong...I just wanted to spice them up. RUTH (motions to an empty plate) Well that's the plate. Swaddle cleaned it pretty good. But then again, he would eat the legs off a chair when he's hungry... Roger notices Ruth's plate with a half eaten one on it. Next to it is a FLYER. Roger reads it. COOKING CONTEST. ROGER (reading) Five thousand dollars. A gauranteed low interest loan to open up a restaurant. RUTH Swaddle left that. Governor is trying to get everyone's mind off the killings. Roger puts the form down. ROGER You're not going to do this? We could win.


42. CONTINUED: RUTH We...You a cook now? ROGER I just was thinking that, well...I'll get the wood cut for tomorrow. Roger exits. RUTH'S FRONT YARD KITCHEN Roger finishes prepping food with Swaddle. He shows Roger some recipes and cooking techniques. Cutting, dicing, slicing. Swaddle takes a long drag and hands bottle over to Roger who looks at it. SQUEAKY is printed on the side. ROGER Where did you get this? SWADDLE Home brand. We used to make it here until some white kids got caught with it. Have to lie low now. Swaddle takes the bottle, puts on button down shirt. He shakes Roger's hand. SWADDLE (CONT’D) That box came for you. Miss Ruth told me to give it to you... Roger blushes. Swaddle laughs. SWADDLE (CONT’D) See you kid. You done a good job here. ROGER Are you going somewhere? Swaddle just smiles and walks humming. RUTH'S HOME SEED SHED

Roger puts on a shirt, gets cleaned up.


Roger meets Sadie outside a small shop, he carries the small box. She's in jeans with tank top, her coke bottle glasses on. They spot a kid spray-painting a mural on a brick wall across the street. SADIE Dwayne! You better watch it. If Mr. Walker catches you... JUST THEN the door bursts open and an old African American man hobbles out with a baseball bat chasing after Dwayne yelling. Sadie and Roger laugh and walk to the club. SADIE (CONT’D) ...What's in the box? ROGER It's for you. As the descend steps to enter the club Brisko drives by and sees them. Soul




A tight space. TANYA and Adrian sit at a table. Adrian wears a a summer hat with a toothpick in his mouth. Funky music plays in the background. Roger hands Sadie the box. SADIE Thank you. Where did you get these? ROGER I told you, my dad's an optometrist. I figured since you're going on tour you might want them. Tanya stands. TANYA Come on...My aunt wears them, I know how to put them in. The two head off to the bathroom. Roger leans back and takes a beer.


44. CONTINUED: ROGER Hey, thanks for pulling me out of the water. ADRIAN It's no problem, man. Just be careful next time. ROGER ...Where are you from. Your accent... ADRIAN Jamaica. My mother came over to work in a hotel in Atlanta. But we moved here to be with her new boyfriend. Nice... ROGER

ADRIAN Not really. He's a boombie. Boombie? ROGER

ADRIAN ...Ass wipe. They both laugh AS THE GIRLS return. Tanya is walking in front and as Sadie COMES INTO VIEW, Roger and Adrian are blown away. Sadie is stunning, hot. Adrian whistles and Tanya punches him in the arm. SADIE They fit perfectly. Thank you! Sadie hugs Roger. Adrian grins. CLUB DANCE FLOOR

The group dances to fun music on a packed floor. A slow funky song comes on and Roger and Sadie slow dance and soon are very close, kissing. Adrian flashes a big grin at Roger. CLUB STREET OUTSIDE

The two couples say goodbye. A man comes out of the club and calls to Sadie.


45. CONTINUED: MAN Sadie, you got a call...Says he's interested in booking you for a show. ROGER I'll wait here. Sadie returns inside. STREET CORNER PHONE BOOTH Brisko hangs up the phone and crosses the street. He steps up to Roger - clearly piss drunk. BRISKO So the songbird's been caught by the cat. DANCE CLUB Sadie takes the phone. SADIE Hello...Hello... No answer. STREET CORNER OUTSIDE CLUB ROGER You've had too much to drink, man. Brisko smiles then sucker punches Roger in the gut. Then hits him in the face knocking him to his knees. DANCE CLUB Sadie hangs up and shrugs. STREET CORNER OUTSIDE CLUB ROGER Stay away from her or next time...I swear... Just then Brisko notices some people looking at him. Brisko stalks off kicking over a garbage can. A beat passes and Sadie returns to find Roger leaning up against a railing, TWO WOMAN helping him.


46. CONTINUED: WOMAN Somebody just whipped this white boy's ass. You know him? SADIE He's my friend, yeah. Thanks. WOMAN #2 You need to learn to fight. Bruce Lee chop suey. The two woman walk off chattering. Sadie and Roger walk home. ROGER You have some dedicated fans. SADIE What do you mean? ROGER The guy told me to stay away from you. Who? SADIE

ROGER Black guy. Had a scar on his cheek...Let's just go. I don't want to call the cops or anything. SADIE He is the cops. Name's Brisko, he's a police officer...He kind of has a crush on me, I guess. You think? SEED SHED Roger sits on the bed, eye swollen. Sadie brings over a wet cool towel and dabs his eye. She sits close to him. SADIE How's that feel? He just looks back at her. SADIE (CONT’D) I'll make this a little cooler, then I should go. ROGER


47. CONTINUED: She stands but Roger holds the end of the towel. He slowly reels her back toward him. They kiss, tentatively at first but then more deeply. Sadie slips off the straps of her tank top, she slips the towel over the top of the bar above the bed. She straddles Roger and twists the towel as water dances down her breasts and her body. Sadie then pulls herself upward. As Roger removes her jeans. ROGER Du bist so schön. Ich will in dir sein. (You're so beautiful. I want to be inside you.) She lowers onto him and his clothes come off and hit the floor. They roll onto the bed and make love. SEED SHED MORNING

Sadie and Roger wake up intertwined in each other's arms. Roger looks up at the bar above the bed. ROGER I knew that goddamn thing had a use. They laugh and kiss. ROGER (CONT’D) I better get the water before she comes barging in here. SADIE I'll help you. They rise, get dressed and walk to the river. RIVER BANK Ruth is standing looking out. SADIE Miss Ruth. What happened, are you all right? RUTH Swaddle quit. Now I got a dozen orders that have to get filled. Nobody to help. She glances at Roger's swollen eye.


48. CONTINUED: RUTH (CONT’D) What in God's name happened to you now, boy? ROGER ...I dropped a piece of firewood. RUTH On your head? ROGER I can help you. I can do it. I can cook. RUTH I don't have time to train somebody now - especially somebody who don't know hard work from a hole in the dirt. Maybe I get my sister to help. Go visit her, but even dogs don't like her food... SADIE How can you say that...Roger has worked harder than anyone here...And you've fired everyone else and or been so nasty nobody wants to work for you! ...Sie haben ihr Bett jetzt schlafen Sie meinen alten Ziege! ROGER I caught the word sleep and goat I think? Sadie stares down Ruth. SADIE I said - You made your own bed. Now you gotta sleep in it. You old goat! RUTH And what bed you been sleeping in? Sadie fumes. Roger turns to her. ROGER I'll be OK. Good luck on your tour. Sadie hugs Roger and glares at Ruth, then exits.


49. CONTINUED: (2) RUTH Looks like I'm between the rock and the hard place. She surveys Roger. Roger leans down to fill the buckets from the river. RUTH (CONT’D) ...Just fill those from the tap in the house. Water is just as good. ROGER ...You made me walk down...Every morning at the crack of dawn, walk down and carry water back. You said biscuits only want the freshest water. RUTH You were learning discipline and hard work. That's what you were really carrying back in those buckets. You go down to the river a boy, come back as a man...Think of it as a baptism. Baptism in the river... ROGER ...I didn't know I was in church. What gives you the right to tell me to... RUTH My soul has grown deep... ROGER All this work. Killing myself! Why do I even... RUTH Deep like the rivers. ROGER What did you just say? RUTH ...My soul has grown deep like the rivers. It's a poem by... ROGER ...Langston Hughes.


50. CONTINUED: (3) ROGER (CONT’D) I've known rivers. Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. RUTH That's right. ROGER It was the last thing my mother said to me. The very last thing. Roger steps toward the river, tosses into the water. ROGER (CONT’D) ...I've been half a step, less even, from jumping into this river. Just letting the water carry me away. RUTH That what happened at the swimming hole? Roger nods. ROGER Last week I was so close to doing it too. RUTH Why didn't you? ROGER You'll think I'm crazy. RUTH That train done left the station, Goldilocks. ROGER I was baking oversized biscuits scooping the middle out to make a bowl for beef stew. I didn't want them to burn in the oven. I told you it was crazy. RUTH After my husband died I cooked enough food to feed Sodom and Gomorrah.


51. CONTINUED: (4) Ruth steps to Roger. RUTH (CONT’D) Your momma like poetry? ROGER Loved it. She taught for a few years. I used to try to write her some but I was never much good at it. RUTH Make food your poetry. You have a natural skill for it, where from I got no idea - Must have some Negro blood in you someplace. If you're willing to learn, I'll teach you everything I know. Roger nods. RUTH (CONT’D) And the sweet smell of fried chicken, hamhocks, biscuits, beef stew'll rise to your momma up in heaven... And when we hear thunder, that'll be the angels' stomachs growling. Amen. ROGER

RUTH So for now, we'll just let this river be. Roger nods. RUTH'S HOME KITCHEN

Roger on his hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen. Ruth enters. ROGER ...Shouldn't we clean after we cook? RUTH Clean before and clean after. ROGER It just doesn't seem to make sense to clean both...


52. CONTINUED: RUTH Shush or I'll make you eat off the floor like I had to. Roger stops scrubbing, looks up. ROGER You had to eat off the floor? RUTH If the kitchen wasn't clean, yup. My grandmother would make me and my sister do it. She was a little bit off...A mule kicked her in the head when she was young - never quite recovered. ROGER I'd say so...And Sister? My God, there's more than one of you? RUTH Eunice. She lives in Atlanta. I'm visiting her for her birthday next week so we ain't got much time Now, stop the chattering and get to work. Our first delivery is the Mayor's House. Need a big, lemon cake and plenty of fired chicken and sweet potato pie. OUTDOOR KITCHEN It's a MAD SCIENTIST'S LAB. Huge cauldrons of bubbling stews, soups and fired skillets Bowls of batters and dough surround Ruth and Roger. SCHOOL'S IN SESSION - ROCKY WITH A SPATULA

Ruth teaches Roger to roll/cut biscuit using a glass jar. She coaches him and shares cooking tips and SECRETS. RESEARCH. SLICING vegetables by steadying the tip of the knife against the cutting board, and with guillotine skill cutting and dicing. Roger struggles to keep up but GRADUALLY HE'S GETTING IT. NIGHT - Roger on his own practicing - Lighting a slice of crumble pie on fire with Brandy BUT flames roar up and BURN half his right eyebrow off.


53. CONTINUED: (2) NEXT DAY - Roger wears a band aid on his eyebrow as Ruth reviews quartering chickens with a hatchet. Then cleaning guts from catfish and battering them. NIGHT - Roger again VERY CAREFULLY ignites his pie concoction - HE DOES IT! EXT. RUTH'S HOUSE KITCHEN

Gray sky. Slight drizzle. KITCHEN Ruth sits and watches Roger pan sear pork loin then he stirs gravy, adds pinch of salt. ROGER Cake is packed and in the refrigerator along with the chicken for tomorrow. He plates the meat with garlic spiced potatoes and sauteed string beans. Then he pours gravy over the meat. RUTH Not gonna taste that before you go pouring it all over my food? ROGER Don't need to... He places the plate in front of her. ROGER (CONT’D) I know it's right. She takes a bit of the pork. Cinnamon? RUTH

ROGER I thought it was a good way to bring out the flavor. RUTH Lord, I created a monster. She tastes the garlic potatoes and string beans.


54. CONTINUED: ROGER Is it good? You can tell me the truth...I mean, why am I saying that. You don't sugar coat things ever do you? Ruth looks at him and shakes her head. JUST THEN A LOUD CLAP OF THUNDER. RUTH There's your answer. Roger smiles and Ruth takes another bite of the pork. RUTH'S DRIVEWAY - LATE AFTERNOON

Roger loads the van with food, dodging the rain. ROAD DARK

Flashing sirens behind them and they pull to the side. Brisko comes around to the driver side in a rain coat. BRISKO Look who it is. ROGER What do you want? BRISKO Your tail light is out. ROGER We'll get it fixed. BRISKO ...Another body's been found outside Atlanta. All the townships are on alert for suspicious looking people. And you fit the mold. Boy. Ruth looks over. RUTH What's the problem, officer? BRISKO Another boy's been killed outside Atlanta, ma'am. Just checking for undesirables in the area who might fit the description of a psycho killer. (MORE) (CONTINUED)

55. CONTINUED: BRISKO (CONT'D) I need to talk to this one here about some things. (to Roger) Step out of the car.

Ruth grabs Roger's arm as he begins to move. RUTH ...We're making a delivery to Mayor Dudley's for his anniversary. If that cake in back melts I'll be sure to tell him why. Brisko steps back. BRISKO (so only Roger hears) You gotta come back this same road. I'll be waiting for you and Auntja Mima won't be able to save you, then. INT. CAR

Roger drives on. ROGER He thinks me and Sadie... RUTH Yup...We'll take another road back that he don't know about. ROAD NIGHT

Roger drives along a dirt road. INT. CAR

Roger toots an obnoxious party favor like a kid in the backseat making his parents crazy. RUTH Put that away before I strangle you with it. ROGER You're no fun. RUTH ...And go slow around this turn.


56. CONTINUED: ROGER Man, the mayor's wife is big as a house, a blimp. We have to make two cakes next year. One for her and one for the guests. Roger cracks up at his genius. He looks over at Ruth. Tears in her eyes. ROGER (CONT’D) Ruth?...I didn't mean anything by it. I was just joking about how fat she was...She seems like a nice lady. She waves him off. RUTH ...Just drive. RUTH'S KITCHEN Roger finishes bringing in containers. RUTH Been a long day. You can clean in the morning. ROGER OK. Good night. Roger is about to exit WHEN: Wait... Roger turns back. RUTH (CONT’D) I want to show you something. RUTH'S HOUSE - BEDROOM RUTH

Ruth leads him into the room. It's a baseball shrine. A shelf loaded with trophies, glove, bat in the corner. Box of equipment and awards. Roger eyes a trophy.


57. CONTINUED: RUTH You can move the cot from the shed into here if you like. ROGER He was quite a player it looks like. RUTH Flying Freddie. That's what they called him. Roger picks up a piece of wood - FABLE'S KITCHEN painted on it. RUTH (CONT’D) ...I was gonna open my own restaurant. Fable's Kitchen. He made that for me. ROGER Why didn't you? RUTH One night the team was coming back from a game. They couldn't find any hotels that would accept Negroes so they decided to drive all night, thirteen hours. Johnny Washington, the driver and best man at our wedding, was driving. But he fell asleep and ran off the road a few miles from here...Everyone was killed but Freddie. He didn't have a scratch on him. Not on his body anyhow. ROGER ...The road we were on today. That was where the accident was, wasn't it? Ruth nods. RUTH After that, his dream of playing professional ball one day died too along with mine of opening up a restaurant, having a baby. Freddie just wanted a bottle on his lap from then on. Not a child. (MORE) (CONTINUED)

58. CONTINUED: (2) RUTH (CONT'D) The guilt of him surviving and his best friends dying was just too much for him.

Roger picks up the wood sign. ROGER This dream can still happen. RUTH I'm too old and too broke. ROGER I'll do everything. You'll help oversee it. RUTH And the money? ROGER The cooking contest. We'll win it. RUTH You got gumption boy. ROGER I have an idea for a dessert that'll blow away the judges. In honor of my stepmother. RUTH Devil's food cake? Roger laughs. ROGER Something like that. I'll move the cot in tomorrow. Roger heads for the door. RUTH Your momma's smiling right now. Roger stops. Looks back at her. RUTH (CONT’D) She's proud of you. Your momma's proud of you. ROGER You speak like she's here.


59. CONTINUED: (3) Ruth stares at him for a BEAT her eyes. She turns and exits. RUTH'S HOME DRIVEWAY A kind of knowing-ness in


Roger loads up the truck as Sadie approaches. She LOOKS BEAUTIFUL. She's ditched the glasses and wears a necklace with a silver star dangling from it. ROGER Wow, look what the sun brought in. They hug. ROGER (CONT’D) You look great. How did it go? SADIE We met a man who works for Clive Davis the huge producer. He said he would personally play my demo tapes for Mr. Davis. ROGER That's great. Nice necklace too. SADIE I got it for myself. Gotta think like a star to be a star, right?...Did you miss me? Roger smiles as Ruth comes out. RUTH ...We better get going. Three more deliveries today and we done. Sadie approaches Ruth. Hi. SADIE

RUTH Hello, honey. SADIE Miss Ruth I didn't mean what I said when I left, I just... RUTH All's forgotten, child.


60. CONTINUED: They hug. SADIE Can I tag along on the delivery. ROGER This isn't work for a big singing star. Hauling catfish and cornbread around. SADIE I'm no star yet, wiseguy. She play-slaps Roger and jumps into the truck. INT. VAN LATE AFTERNOON

Roger driving, Sadie in middle and Ruth on the side. ROGER This is the last delivery, Ruth. Just stay here and rest. Ruth nods. They pull into a large driveway. A FOR SALE SIGN ON THE LAWN. EXT. MANSION Roger and Sadie unload the last of the boxes. Sadie gazes over the large, manicured home. SADIE One day, I'm living in a house like this. One day. ROGER It's not all it's cracked up to be. SADIE Easy to say when you don't have to worry about leaks in your roof or what size rats you'll be sleeping with at night. ROGER ...I'm just saying it's a lot more important what goes on inside a house with the people who live there than what it looks like on the outside. (MORE)


61. CONTINUED: ROGER (CONT'D) I've been happier in Ruth's small house living with you guys than my own big house...That's all. SADIE That's beautiful...But I still want the house! Roger laughs. INT. MANSION KITCHEN

They place the food on the counter and approach an African American woman, ROSIE. Rosie is making a cheese platter - the smell is AWFUL. SADIE Who do I see about the bill, ma'am? ROSIE Miss Donelly's in the living room there. ROGER (covering his nose) That stinks? ROSIE Limburger cheese...The missses loves it. Only thing worse is smelling her breath after she eat it. Roger and Sadie laugh then walk to the living room. MANSION HALLWAY

Roger and Sadie enter to see a woman, 40s, MRS. DONNELY, in a cocktail dress with garden gloves cutting a flower arrangement. SADIE Hello. I have the bill here, ma'am. MRS. DONNELY Didn't Rosie give you a check? Sadie shakes her head. MRS. DONNELY (CONT’D) ...One jump from the jungle, I swear. Stay here, I'll get one.


62. CONTINUED: Mrs. Donnely slaps her gloves down and walks upstairs. SADIE Gleichen Sie die Hündin. Roger gives her a curious look. Sadie looks back at him. SADIE (CONT’D) I was saying how beautiful she looks. Right. ROGER

JUST THEN DOOR AT THE OTHER END OF THE LIVING ROOM OPENS and a group of young people enter laughing. WE SEE STRAWBERRY and NED among them. Roger TURNS AWAY like he's seen the Antichrist. ROGER (CONT’D) ...Let's wait in the kitchen. SADIE She said she'll be right down. Roger sneaks a peek at the group. ROGER I'll be in the kitchen. Roger slips off. DONELLY HOME KITCHEN

ROSIE These containers are empty, you want 'em back? Roger nods, gathers them and takes them to the truck. DONELLY HOME LIVING ROOM

Strawberry downs a beer and turns to Ned. STRAWBERRY You have any weed left? Ned nods. Both are clearly blasted. STRAWBERRY (CONT’D) We'll go outside the kitchen.


63. CONTINUED: They walk toward the kitchen and right to Sadie. STRAWBERRY (CONT’D) Hello. Who might you be? SADIE I dropped the food off. I'm waiting for a check from your mom. STRAWBERRY My aunt, actually. INT. DONELLY HOME TOP OF STAIRS

Mrs. Donelly steps forward. MRS. DONNELY Jonathan, we'll you give the colored girl her check. Uncle Hal said he left it on his desk. STRAWBERRY Gladly...Come on, his office is down this hall. Sadie looks around and follows. DONELLY HOME OFFICE

Strawberry walks to a large desk and picks up the check. Sadies follows him and he pretends to hand it to her. But when she reaches for it, he pulls it away. STRAWBERRY Not so fast. Job's not done. SADIE Give me the check...Please. Sadie notices Ned shuts the door and stands by it. STRAWBERRY You're in the service industry. And it's time to serve. Strawberry looks down at his fly. Sadie steps to leave but he grabs her. She tries to slap him but he catches her hand. STRAWBERRY (CONT’D) Feisty... (singing riff of the Stones) ...Just like a black girl shoulda...aha...



Roger loads the back of the truck. DONELLY HOME OFFICE

Strawberry and Sadie struggle and he tears her blouse. DONELLY HOME KITCHEN

Roger enters and sees Mrs Donnely eating cheese off a small plate. ROGER Where's Sadie? The young woman who was here? MRS. DONNELY I sent her with my nephew Jonathan to get her check from the office down the hall. Roger hurries off. DONELLY HOME OFFICE

Strawberry is holding Sadie down and covering her mouth as Ned watches nearby. STRAWBERRY Calm Bitch...Shhhh...Calm...just think of me as the big white whale... DONELLY HOME OFFICE

Roger knocks on the door. Sadie. ROGER

Ned OPENS it as Strawberry looks up. INT. OFFICE Roger steps inside. NED Hey, Strawberry, look who it is...


65. CONTINUED: ROGER What are you doing? STRAWBERRY (still holding Sadie) ...Just having fun, I'll be out in a second. We'll hang out man, just close the door on your way out. Roger stares. STRAWBERRY (CONT’D) Dude, beat it, I'm busy. Sadie looks at Roger, her eyes in horror. Ned puts his arm around Roger. SKINNY KID Come on, I got some Mexican weed from my brother. Roger stares in stunned silence for a beat. MRS. DONNELY (O.C.) Boys. The photographer is here. Where are you? Strawberry stands up and Sadie struggles free and in the process her necklace gets tangled up and breaks. It falls to the floor as she flees. Strawberry picks it up. Roger stares at Strawberry a beat then exits. NED ...What about the check? STRAWBERRY Fuck that. She didn't earn it. DONELLY HOME DRIVEWAY

Sadie struggles to hold it together. Roger hurries after her. ROGER Sadie...Sadie... She turns, wiping away tears straightening clothes. SADIE ...For Miss Ruth's sake I'm going to act like nothing happened. (MORE)


66. CONTINUED: SADIE (CONT'D) But after we get home, I never want to see or talk to you again. ROGER What else was I supposed to do? It happened so fast it... SADIE You can take the boy off the plantation but you can't take the plantation out of the boy. ROGER ...We'll go back in...Tell them what happened. SADIE And who will they believe? A rich white boy. One of their own. Or a half breed nigga' from da back country. She gets back into the truck. RUTH'S PICKUP TRUCK NIGHT

Ice cold silence on the drive home. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION BEDROOM NIGHT

Janette removing earrings getting ready for bed, picks up the ringing phone. Marcus removes his tie in the background. CUTS BACK AND FORTH JAMISON HOME LIVING ROOM NIGHT

Strawberry's mother, ANNABELLE, thick curlers in her hair, scotch tape on her face stretching the skin, speaks on the phone. ANNABELLE Janette, I just wanted to invite you and Marcus to the ladies social fund-raiser next week. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION Janette cups the phone. BEDROOM NIGHT


67. CONTINUED: JANETTE (whispers to Marcus) Annabelle Jamison about the ladies social fundraiser. I'd rather get a root canal than go. Marcus smiles. JANETTE (CONT’D) ...Of course, Marcus and I would love to attend. Marcus shake shakes head 'no' but Janet waves him off. JAMISON HOME - LIVING ROOM ANNABELLE By the way, I just got off the phone with Jonathan. He's staying a few days with my sister down in Mayfield County. Don't you know he said the most ludicrous thing - He says he ran into Roger. And get this, that Roger was with some colored girl making food deliveries and getting himself into all sorts of trouble. I told him don't be ludicrous. But he insisted. These kids these days are just well, ludicrous with their sense of humors, I tell you. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - BEDROOM NIGHT

Janette stares at Marcus. JANETTE Yes of course - Ludicrous. O.K. Then, I will see you next week. Janette hangs up. She looks like she just swallowed a cup full of dirt. MARCUS What's the matter? RUTH'S KITCHEN Ruth, Sadie and Roger finished unloading. Sadie steps up to Ruth.


68. CONTINUED: SADIE Miss Ruth, I need a few days off to look after grandaddy. He's not feeling well. RUTH It's all right, I'll be visiting my sister in Atlanta. I'll be seeing you when I get back, then. They hug. Sadie fights the tears but isn't winning. She exits and Roger follows her. RUTH'S YARD Roger approaches her. ROGER Sadie...please let me... But Sadie snatches a frying pan from he outdoor kitchen rack and wheels around on him holding it up. SADIE Don't talk to me... Roger stares at her then backs up. SADIE (CONT’D) Just stay away from me. She puts the pan down on the table, gives him a look of disgust then shakes her head: Verräter. SADIE (CONT’D)

She storms off. Roger stares after her as the phone rings in the background. Ruth can be heard answering it then hanging up. A beat later she appears at the kitchen door. RUTH That was your daddy. He wants you on the bus back home. Tonight. BUS STOP Marcus picks Roger up. They drive home in silence.


Roger enters with his bag. Janette greets him with a cold kiss. Roger looks down and goes to his room. Janette and Marcus exchange looks. MONTAGE: DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION ROGER'S BEDROOM

Marcus holds his hand to knock on Roger's door, pauses, then walks off. EXT. HARDWARE STORE Roger exits with bag and runs into KAREN and DONNIE. KAREN I heard you were back in town. ROGER Yeah...I was just getting my dad some stuff. KAREN We're hanging out tonight at my house. Please come. O.K. Sure. PARTY They pass around a bottle and joint. Roger takes a drink but waves off the joint. BEDROOM LATER up to him, kisses him, takes off her shirt as but clearly Roger is not into it. A few beats and the phone rings. The answering up and Karen's mom's voice. ROGER

Karen saddles they make out uncomfortable machine picks

VOICE #1 Karen honey, it's mom. I'm heading home, it was a very slow night can you warm up some hushpuppies and Dinty stew for me. I'm starving. Thank you sweetheart, oh, and a slice of the chocolate cake but don't tell your father when he gets back into town tomorrow. Love you...



ROGER It's O.K. I have to go. They get dressed. KAREN ...Strawberry's having a pool party tomorrow afternoon. His parents are out of town. Will you come? Please. ...Maybe. ROGER

KAREN I hope you do. She kisses him and he exits. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION KITCHEN MORNING

Marcus pours pasty glop onto a griddle - next to him is a pile of burned pancakes. Roger enters, watches a beat. ROGER You sit dad, I'll make breakfast. MARCUS No argument from me. Roger steps in and soon is at work like a pro - elbow deep in biscuits, hot cakes and eggs. Marcus watches deeply impressed. ROGER ...You want to add a little soda water to the flapjacks to give them some puff. Eggs I whip up to get air inside them for the same effect...You sit. I'll bring everything out to you. Marcus smiles and exits. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION BREAKFAST TABLE

Janette enters, perfectly groomed but in a robe. JANETTE Good morning.


71. CONTINUED: MARCUS Sweetheart. Light kiss with Marcus. She sits as he pours her a cup of coffee. MARCUS (CONT’D) ...I see another colored boy's body was found last night. Janette nods and sips her coffee. JANETTE Yes I got a call just now from Xavier. We have another meeting with the teachers union representatives today... MARCUS Xavier again. You two spend a lot of time together. JANETTE He's my campaign manager. What did you expect? His job is to give me what I need...with the voters and... An uncomfortable beat. JANETTE (CONT’D) Who's in the kitchen? MARCUS Roger's making breakfast. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION KITCHEN

Roger puts finishing touches a southern food bonanza. He plates up the food and brings it into the: DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION -- BREAKFAST TABLE

He sets up the plates of food. It's a beautiful, delicious spread. Marcus and Janette exchange glances as Roger sits. RESEARCH NEEDED ON SOME DISHES FOR DISCUSSION Marcus, tucks a napkin in his collar, plates up and digs in.


72. CONTINUED: MARCUS My lord. Delicious, son. Janette takes another sip of coffee. ROGER I know you like cornbread and hashbrowns. I made some. Roger gets up and goes to the kitchen. MARCUS I guess he did really learn something down there. I'm proud of him. Janette gives a politician smile. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - KITCHEN

As Roger enters with the cornbread - his POV he hears the tail end of the conversation. MARCUS ...Have a flapjack, I'm liable to finish the whole plate. JANETTE ...Maybe he can dance a jig for us when he's done too. Do some laundry too. Roger stares at Janette a beat, then places the cornbread down and beelines upstairs. Marcus glares at Janette, removes his napkin and follows Roger. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION - ROGER'S BEDROOM

Marcus knocks and enters. Roger stares outside the window. ROGER ...I'm thinking of going to State. They have a pre law program that is supposed to be good. MARCUS If that's what you want. Is it what you want?...It's just that when you were cooking, I've never seen you happier.


73. CONTINUED: Marcus lifts a picture of Roger's Mom, looks at it. MARCUS (CONT’D) ...When we were first married, your mother was into French cooking. She spent a semester at University over there, you know. ROGER ...She used to make crepes for my snack at school. She'd bring them in right before snack time then bribe the custodian to slip them to me. All because she wanted them to be warm for me. Marcus sets the picture back down and as he does, the cooking contest FLYER falls to the floor. He picks it up. MARCUS ...You never answered my question. Do you want to go into law? ROGER No. I know I should be a businessman, doctor, lawyer. I just don't want to disappoint you Again. If you really want to know... I do... MARCUS

ROGER I love cooking...For the first time, I feel like I'm really good at something. Marcus places the flyer back down on the desk, stands for a beat THEN EXITS. Roger takes a long breath - HE'S DISAPPOINTED HIS DAD AGAIN. A BEAT LATER - Marcus re-enters and hands Roger a check. MARCUS There's enough there to cover the entrance fee to the contest and for a few more weeks with Ms. Ruth to continue your learning...If something calls to you, son. Follow it.


74. CONTINUED: (2) Roger stares at his dad. MARCUS (CONT’D) Get packed. We can get you on the afternoon bus. I'll bring the car around. Meet you downstairs. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION FRONT HALL

Roger with his bag runs comes down the stairs and - OH SHIT There's JANETTE right at the base of the stairs. JANETTE Where are you going? Roger FREEZES for LONG BEAT. We hear Marcus' voice - then he steps up. MARCUS Roger's going back down to learn with Ms. Ruth. My boy's going to be the best southern cook in the state. Janette turns on Marcus. JANETTE Have you lost your mind? How will it look for my campaign to have him scuttling about with Negroes eating watermelon slices, frying up chicken wings, fornicating and God knows what else they do down there... Absolutely not. She turns back to Roger. Marcus takes a step back. JANETTE (CONT’D) Back upstairs. Clothes away. I will be up in a minute to set you straight on how things will be around here from now on. Roger looks over at Marcus - they're eyes meet a beat then Marcus looks down.

Xavier ENTERS.


75. CONTINUED: XAVIER Sorry to interrupt, kitchen door was open...(looks to Janette) Did I interrupt something. Roger turns and starts up the stairs. MARCUS Roger. Stay where you are. Roger stops, looks back at his dad. Marcus looks over at Janette. MARCUS (CONT’D) ...My son and I have a bus to catch. Please move. JANETTE Absolutely not. MARCUS Move the hell out of his way or I'll move you. Janette stalls then finally complies. Roger walks down and heads to the car. Marcus turns to Xavier. MARCUS (CONT’D) If I ever see you within spitting distance of my house again, I'll consider you a trespasser. And the governor here can tell you what we do to trespassers down here in the south. He steps close to Janette. MARCUS (CONT’D) And don't think I don't know what you two have been up to. Janette looks back shocked. JANETTE What on earth are you... MARCUS Don't even...I may wear thick glasses but I can see certain things - Clear as day, I can see them. Marcus turns and exits.

76. CAR Marcus' glasses are on the dashboard.Something has changed in Marcus - a lead block lifted from his shoulders - Roger feels like he has his dad back. ROGER Remind me never to make you angry again, dad. Wow. MARCUS A man's job is to protect the ones he loves. I haven't done a very good job of that for you - or me. I'm sorry, son. Roger looks out the window a beat then turns back to his dad. ROGER Dad, we need to make a stop. LARGE HOME - DRIVEWAY

Roger and his dad pull up among several cars. Music and kids shouting heard. ROGER I'll be right back. Roger exits. POOL Music and shouts in the background. A group of kids swim and lounge. Karen sees Roger and approaches him. KAREN Hi. I'm so glad you came...Did you bring a suit? ROGER No...Where's Strawberry? KAREN In the pool house. Do you want a cold drink? I saved it for you. Roger shakes his head and walks past her.

77. POOL HOUSE Strawberry lays on the couch drinking with a girl and several friends around including Ned. They laugh loudly as a kid finishes sucking down a beer from a funnel. Roger walks to Strawberry and motions toward Sadie's necklace around his neck. STRAWBERRY Look who's back from the Planet of the Apes. ROGER I want my friend's necklace back. Strawberry stands slowly and takes a long drag on a cigarette. He hands off the cig and blows it in Roger's face. This? STRAWBERRY

He runs his fingers along the necklace looks up and pushes Roger. ROGER I don't want to fight you. I just want the necklace back. Strawberry smiles a beat, turns away then sucker punches Roger and grabs his collar. Everyone in the room freezes. Ned smiles. STRAWBERRY ...You want the nigger's necklace back then you're gonna have to take it...And this time there's no tapping out, I'm gonna beat you to a pulp. He slugs Roger again. Roger goes to his knees and just as Strawberry is about to follow up with another shot, Roger grabs him and they tumble to the ground, exchanging blows. Strawberry gets two good shots in that knock Roger back. He jumps onto Roger pinning him down ready to finish him off. He throws a punch but Roger catches it and locks his fingers around Strawberry's throat, he knocks Strawberry back. Roger then follows up with two massive punches. He's in control now.


78. CONTINUED: On the SIDE, NED makes a fist and takes a step to help his friend but a hand restrains him. He turns to see MARCUS, staring him down. Strawberry is staggered and wobbly on his knees. Roger unclips the necklace from his neck and places it in his pocket. Then he tightens his grip on Strawberry and positions him for another big punch. ROGER I should kill you for what you did to her. Marcus steps up. MARCUS That's enough, son. Let him go. Roger stares a beat at Strawberry, then releases him. Strawberry drops like a bag of rocks. Marcus helps Roger walk to the door. Roger's face is banged up. They stop in front of Karen who hands Roger the cold can of soda. Roger smiles, takes the can, puts it to his eye and they exit. BUS STATION Roger and Marcus stand facing each other. MARCUS Remind me never to make you angry. They hug. MARCUS (CONT’D) ...Just so you know, the shit's gonna hit the fan with me and Janette. I guess that won't bother you too much though, huh? ROGER I just want you to be happy, dad. I'm there for you whenever you need me. We're a team. MARCUS A team. Always. They hug and Roger gets on the bus.

79. BUS STOP Roger gets a hotdog - A TV on in the corner. TV REPORTER This just in. A suspect has been arrested in the child murder case...The suspect's name is Wayne Bertram Williams, a part time music producer from Atlanta. Police fear Williams may have killed one last time again before they arrested him. ...Wayne. ROGER

Roger drops the hotdog. Phones Ruth's home - NO ANSWER. He runs out of the station and jumps in a taxi. RUTH'S HOME Roger jumps from the taxi and rushes inside. NOBODY HOME. He bolts out the door running to: SADIE'S HOME A spare, rundown living room. An old man, SADIE'S GRANDAD, sits next to a small table with a JAR OF BEES on it. The old man is taking bees one at a time from the jar with tweezers and stinging himself on the knees. Roger enters. He's in such a crazed state, he doesn't register the BIZARRE SCENE he has walked in on. He shouts. ROGER Has Sadie been home! Do you know where she is! GRANDFATHER I got arthritis...I ain't deaf. The old man has tweezers and is stining his knees with bees -then tosses them into a separate jar. ROGER ...I'm sorry. Sadie have you seen her?


80. CONTINUED: GRANDFATHER No, don't know where she at. He stings himself with another bee. ROGER Does that really work? GRANDFATHER Yep. Want to try? He holds out a bee. ROGER No...Thank you. I have to go. Roger exits. TOWN -STREET

Roger hops from a taxi and approaches a COP. ROGER I need to speak to Officer Brisko. The cop motions across the road. Roger runs over to find Brisko munching on pizza. TOWN -- ACROSS STREET BRISKO What in hell happened to you? ROGER Have you seen Sadie? BRISKO She's on tour, last I heard. She dumped you. Ha, thank God she came to her senses. ROGER Listen the music producer she kept talking. His name is Bertram Williams. As in Wayne Bertram Williams. BRISKO Your sure about this. This isn't a joke because if it's a joke, I'll...


81. CONTINUED: ROGER No joke. Sadie's not at home, her grandfather doesn't know where she is and Miss Ruth isn't home either. BRISKO All right. Come on. I know where to find her mother. Brisko throws his pizza in the trash. STREET Brisko and Roger exit the car and walk past a girl on the corner sucking on a lollipop while doing hoola hoop. DIVE BAR They enter and approach a woman in her 30s BUT LOOKS IN HER 60'S wrecked by alcohol, NELLY - Sadie's mom. She fingers a pile of Tarot cards, flipping them over one at a time. BRISKO We're looking for Sadie. ROGER Have you seen her? Nelly ignores them. BRISKO ...Where's Sadie? NELLY Ain't got a damn idea. ROGER She could be in serious danger. Nelly flips another tarot card. Looks at Roger with a slow teethy smile. NELLY This card say you and she lovers. An uneasy beat. Two large men, drunk amble over. MAN #1 Why you harassing the lady? Go away. BRISKO


82. CONTINUED: Fuck you. MAN #1

MAN #2 swings at Brisko. Big mistake. Brisko ducks and uppercuts - MAN #2 crumbles to the ground. MAN #1 grabs Brisko who elbows him in the gut then follows with a heavy cross. The man ricochets off the bar and crumbles. ROGER ...Come on. They begin to exit. NELLY Hey...You ain't gonna buy me a drink for answering your questions. Brisko pauses, then steps over MAN #1 and slaps a five on the bar. BRISKO Stay drunk. You don't ever wanna see what you become lady. Roger and Brisko exit. Nelly flips one more card - DEVIL CARD - She grimaces. STREET Roger and Brisko walk back to the car. What now? ROGER

BRISKO One more place. HOSPITAL Brisko and Roger approach the counter. A young African American nurse, CHARLENE, beams when she sees Brisko and quickly straightens her outfit, primps her hair. CHARLENE Hi Herman, sweetie...When are we gonna get that drink you promised? ROGER Herman? That's your first... Brisko glares at Roger who smirks.


83. CONTINUED: (2) BRISKO (low voice) Charlene, I'm working. Can I see the log? Please. CHARLENE

BRISKO Please, can I see the log? She slides it to him. Brisko thumbs through the log then turns to Roger. BRISKO (CONT’D) Your Miss Ruth's here. HOSPITAL ROOM They enter to find Sadie standing over Ruth in a hospital bed. Roger goes right to her, tears in his eyes. SADIE We should let her rest. They all walk to the hallway. HOSPITAL HALLWAY

SADIE (CONT’D) She had a stroke. Lost movement in her left side but doctors say she should slowly get it back if she rests...I came over yesterday to say goodbye before leaving on my tour with Wayne. I found her passed out on the floor yesterday. Brisko and Roger exchange looks. SADIE (CONT’D) Now why are you two here? (to Roger)...Don't me my mother hit someone else with her car? Killed someone? Got killed? What's going on? BRISKO Let's get some air. EXT. HOSPITAL - TABLE


84. CONTINUED: (3) Sadie sits with Roger as Brisko walks up with two coffees. He hands a cup to Sadie then offers to Roger. Roger declines. Sadie is shaking, fighting back tears. SADIE I can't believe this. Are they sure he did it? It just...He was so nice and behaved around me. BRISKO My friend's on the case with Atlanta PD - He says they're pretty certain Wayne is the guy. Sadie shakes her head, looks at Roger's busted up face. SADIE What happened to you? Then she stares accusingly at Brisko. ROGER It wasn't Officer Brisko. Roger fishes out Sadie's necklace from his pocket and hands it to her. ROGER (CONT’D) He took some convincing to give it back. Sadies takes the necklace, looks at it a beat then puts it on. ROGER (CONT’D) You were right. I was a coward and I let you down. I'm sorry. Sadie reaches clasps Roger's hand. Brisko takes a sip of his coffee. SADIE You did what you could. It was a bad situation all around. They look at each other a few beats. BRISKO (to Sadie) ...So when does your next tour start?


85. CONTINUED: (4) SADIE Tour?...I can't go on tour after all this with Wayne. ROGER You should go. SADIE People will look at me but see him. BRISKO Your the only one that can actually make something good come from this man's bad life, you should go. ROGER He's right. If something calls to you, you have to follow it. BRISKO Yea, I like that. What he said. Follow it. SADIE (to Roger) And what are you following? I didn't even ask you, why are you here? I thought you went home. ROGER I came back down to learn from Ruth and win the state cooking contest. Open up a restaurant. Sadie smiles. Ambitious. SADIE

ROGER They're other things down here too, people I missed. Brisko checks his watch. BRISKO Well, I gotta pick up the mayor. Only man I know that needs a police escort to see his daughter's volleyball game. Roger stands with Sadie.


86. CONTINUED: (5) Thanks. ROGER

They shake hands. Sadie kisses Brisko on the cheek. He smiles. CUT TO: HALLWAY Charlene looks down from a WINDOW watching the scene furious. An elderly patient on a walker approaches her- bad timing. PATIENT Nurse, can you show me where the soda machine is? CHARLENE Find it yourself. She stalks on - leaving the miffed patient behind. EXT. HOSPITAL - TABLE

Sadie steps back and Roger shakes hands with Brisko. Thanks. ROGER

Brisko nods and walks off. RUTH'S HOME KITCHEN

Sadie closes the door to Ruth's bedroom and enters. SADIE She's sleeping. Good. ROGER

SADIE Well, I should be going...Good luck, Roger. You're a great cook. I know you'll win. ROGER Thanks. Good luck to you too. She walks to the door then turns and steps back to him. They share a long kiss.


87. CONTINUED: Both know they are on different paths as they move further into adulthood and the days of youthful indiscretion are ending. ...Bye. Roger nods. KITCHEN MORNING SADIE

Roger making breakfast. Ruth limps in. ROGER You should be in bed. She sits and he hands her a coffee. RUTH I ain't dead yet. ROGER I know that. I'm just saying you shouldn't strain yourself. RUTH Thank you, Momma... ROGER You're impossible. RUTH Your gonna have to know a lot of things. We start with meat, chicken, fish. Then sauces, spice, gravy. Frying, sautee, baking. And everything in between. You ready, Goldilocks? ROGER I was born ready, Miss Ruth. RUTH Well that's better being born stupid. Let's start. MONTAGE/SCENES RESEARCH - Ruth teaches poignant sayings, foods, recipes, secrets Proper knife technique. Where to place everything for efficiency while cooking - SECRETS OF SOUTHERN COOKING.


88. CONTINUED: (2) PARKING LOT COOKING CONTEST Several tents spread out with stoves and tables. About twentyfive contestants. The HOST steps forward, he holds an umbrella to shield himself from the sun. HOST Welcome everyone! When I say so, go ahead over to your area and stand near your assigned box. On my mark you start cooking. When I say stop, your food should be plated up and ready to be served. Do not go over time or you will be disqualified. Any questions. A BURLY BEARDED MAN shouts. BURLY MAN Let's get it on! Everyone applauds. HOST O.K. Folks. Begin.

ROUND ONE RESEARCH INGREDIENTS/DISHES which contestants must make...

Roger passes this round.

ROUND TWO Again Roger cooks among a smaller field of contestants. Clearly an AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN and the BURLY MAN are his main competition. He manages to make it into Round Three. ROUND THREE HOST (CONT’D) O.K. Ladies and gentlemen. The following three people will move on to compete for first place. Ms. Tillie Poundwell. Mr. Monty Gray. (MORE) (CONTINUED)

89. CONTINUED: (3) HOST (CONT’D) Mr. Roger DeLaFountaine. You will have ninety minutes this time to complete your meals. As before we will give you the ingredients. However, you can choose one special ingredient to add to any of your dishes. Write that ingredient down and it will be included in your box at the start of the competition. Any questions.

COOK STATION Roger opens his box to discover: Chicken, ETC....RESEARCH Time. HOST (CONT’D)

The cooks place their dishes on the tables to their sides. HOST (CONT’D) Let me introduce our judges. Food columnist for the Journal News, Buzzy Krongrad. Cook book author Agnes Smith. And the honorable Judge Roger Hadley. They all waive to the crowd and smile. ROGER (to himself) I'm dead. JUDGE'S TABLE The BURLY MAN places his meal down and each judge tastes it and marks on paper. Next Tillie and they do the same. Finally Roger. He places the plates down, the last to Judge Hadley who looks back with stone cold eyes. HOST Now time for dessert. The others place their food down. Roger presents a peach cobbler then SLIPS A SMALL FLASK FROM HIS POCKET and sprinkles brandy on top -- lights it on fire. The crowd goes wild. The judges love it. After the crowd settles down:


90. CONTINUED: (4) HOST (CONT’D) OK folks. Let's find out who the winner is! Third place goes to...Monty Gray! Clapping. HOST (CONT’D) Second place goes to Roger Delefountaine. That means our winner is Millie! Cheering. The contestants shakes hands. PARKING LOT Roger hears a voice and turns to see JUDGE HADLEY. Roger. JUDGE HADLEY

ROGER Judge...Am I in some kind of trouble again? JUDGE HADLEY Relax...If I'd known you could cook like that, I would have sentenced you to my kitchen for a ten year term. Really? ROGER

The judge pats Roger's shoulder and they walk. JUDGE HADLEY I have a business proposition for you. Gotta minute? Roger nods. RUTH'S KITCHEN Ruth is seated finishing her food. Roger reads from a birthday card from Sadie. ROGER ...Things are great. I'm constantly on tour and just signed a three record deal. Happy birthday. Love, Sadie.


91. CONTINUED: (5) Ruth smiles. ROGER (CONT’D) I'll get dessert. Roger steps into the kitchen. RUTH It ain't on fire is it? ROGER (from the kitchen) No. Roger returns with a small cake with a candle and Ruth blows it out. Roger cuts a slice and places it in front of her. Ruth takes a bite and nods. RUTH You know, Millie's a great cook. You did good in that contest. ROGER Thank you...There's something I need to tell you...One of the judges was a man named Judge Hadley, an actual judge. Well, he's retiring and happens to love food. He wants to open up a restaurant outside Atlanta. And he wants me to run it for him... And... RUTH

ROGER I told him I wanted you to work there and for it to be called, Fable's Kitchen. RUTH You telling the man what to name his restaurant? ROGER After we talked, he said he would think about it. Ruth puts down her fork. RUTH ...Don't hitch your wagon to a setting sun, boy.


92. CONTINUED: (6) ROGER What does that mean? RUTH I at the end of my time you just starting. Don't be a fool...give up an opportunity like that. ROGER No. You just need to rest. RUTH I'm old and I dying... ROGER I don't want to hear it. You're getting better. That's all. Roger storms out. RUTH'S HOME -- OUTDOOR KITCHEN MORNING

Ruth cooks eggs in the pan outside. She lights the stove, moving gingerly. As she picks up an egg to crack, HER BODY SHUDDERS - THE EGG FALLS TO THE GROUND AND BREAKS. She falls. The STOVE burner IGNITES a towel and soon the structure is ablaze. HOUSE Roger enters the KITCHEN still half asleep. He smells smoke and walks to the door to see a blast of flames and Ruth passed out. OUTDOOR KITCHEN Roger picks Ruth up and moves HER TO THE SIDE. He holds her hand, and Ruth coughs and opens her eyes. ROGER I'm going to get you inside and call an ambulance... Ruth nods her head NO - SHE GRIPS HIS HAND. HE IS PULLED DEEP INTO HER GAZE. FADE IN:


93. CONTINUED: A FLOW OF IMAGES OF SCENES/FLASHBACKS BEGIN. SCENES WE HAVE SEEN THESE ALREADY BUT THERE'S A TWIST - NOW WE SEE RUTH PRESENT where we did not see her before - like a chess master moving pieces, she is involved in making events happen in Roger's life BEGIN: HIGH SCHOOL ALLEY OUTSIDE KITCHEN Roger runs into the pick up - A BEAT and we see Ruth looks over from the passenger seat after he runs off. Roger thinks back to the BATHROOM PICTURE from his first days at Ruth's Now he recognized the man in the PHOTO as the driver that day he ran into the pick up. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION Ruth disciplining the young kitchen worker then afterward looking out knowingly as Janette speaks with Minnie about her. DELAFOUNTAINE MANSION FRONT HALL

Ruth walking by steps in the house after her meeting with Janette looking up at him. RUTH'S HOME KITCHEN

Ruth handing a glass of lemonade to Sadie and telling her: RUTH You should invite the boy to the swimming hole. SEED SHED Ruth LOOKING DOWN at Roger recovering from the swimming hole incident as he sleeps and covering him with the blanket. RUTH'S HOUSE Ruth placing the flyer into Roger's bag before he returned home. RIVERBANK FINAL IMAGE -- Ruth on the other side of the river - looking back and behind her ROGER'S MOTHER EMERGES FROM THE TREELINE AND TAKES HER HAND. MOTHER SMILES AT ROGER A LOVING SMILE STARES A BEAT THEN THEY WALK OFF. PRESENT TIME


94. CONTINUED: Ruth's smile fades and she slumps in Roger's arms. He shakes his head, tears. RUTH'S HOME - FRONT YARD People dressed in black congregate. We see Brisko, Swaddle others. Roger places food on a large outside table then returns to the kitchen. A large black car pulls up and Sadie gets out with a man in a white hat. They are mobbed as they are approached. Roger looks over after several beats and is eyes meet Sadie's and she smiles back. BRISKO Sing something for us darling. Miss Ruth would love that. Will you sing. Sadie smiles and steps up on a small wagon. She belts out "I looked over Jordan and what did I see..." Not a dry eye in the house. Roger smiles and she smiles back at him. RIVERBANK Roger and Sadie walk along the water. SADIE ...Miss Ruth left the house to me. I'm going to move my grandaddy and mother in. My half sister Rose is moving down from New York to watch after them. But of course, you can stay as long as you like. ROGER Thanks. I was planning on heading back to Atlanta in a few days. My dad's getting a divorce and needs my support. SADIE I read about that in the paper. What is it with politicians - never can keep their business or their skirts, I guess. ROGER They weren't a good match...I can help your mom and grandad move their things in, if you like.


95. CONTINUED: SADIE Thank you, that's sweet. There's something else, I'm getting married. His name is Taylor, I met him while I was in Chicago. ROGER The guy in the white hat. SADIE Yes. I was kind of afraid to tell you, I mean we, you know... ROGER I'm happy for you. I mean it. I'm proud of all you've done. SADIE Well then I can have the reception at your restaurant. ROGER ...There's no restaurant. SADIE But in your last letter you said you had someone to fund it and they would even use Ruth's name...Did he pull out? ROGER No, he actually he agreed to the name. Turns out he's a big fan of her's when he found out who she was...It's just that, without Ruth I can't do it. SADIE ...If something calls to you, you have to do it, remember? ROGER My dad said that to me. I thought it sounded good at the time to repeat. SADIE Well, it's true. No matter who said it, Roger. ROGER My mother, Ruth. Everyone around me dies. You should steer clear of me.


96. CONTINUED: (2) SADIE That's the dumbest thing I ever heard you say. And you said some really dumb things since I've known you. ROGER ...It's true. SADIE Your mother was a beautiful woman who died before she should have. But who are we to know why these things happen? When your mom left, she put you into Ruth's hands. Now Ruth's left and put you in the hands of the most important person in your life. You...You. I know you can and want to do this. So do it. Sadie stares at him a beat. SADIE (CONT’D) I have a meeting in Raleigh with my lawyers. She kisses him, steps away and turns back. SADIE (CONT’D) And I'm telling my wedding planner I already booked a reception space at your restaurant. She walks off. RUTH'S HOME KITCHEN

Roger finishes packing two bags, picks them up and walks to the door. He stops just before exiting and stands for a beat, as if someone, something is calling his name. He sets the bags down and slowly turns, walks back to the kitchen table. He picks up the wooden FABLE'S KITCHEN sign and stares at it. EXT. BUILDING FALL

Leaves on the street. Dwayne spray paints on the wall. Roger exits the building in coat and tie. He walks over to Dwayne. DWAYNE (turns) What do ya think?


97. CONTINUED: (3) ROGER Real nice, Dwayne. Thanks. Dwayne smiles and we pull back to see a LARGE MURAL of Ruth. Roger steps up and hangs the wooden Fable's Kitchen sign. STREET CORNER A line of car pulls up. Sadie and her wedding party exit, smiling. She walks to Roger, hugs him. Roger smiles and shakes her husband's hand. He opens the door and the group files inside. CAMERA PULLS BACK TO FADE OUT


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