REGGIE By David Polk

an Original Screenplay

176 Dusty Rose Court Simi Valley, CA 93065 805-428-5775 dpolk@mac.com

FADE IN: EXT. MISS TURNER’S YARD (VARIOUS) - DAY SERIES OF SHOTS of a boy as he does yard work: - pulling weeds, - clipping hedges, - mowing the yard with an old-fashioned mower (the kind without a motor). We don’t see his face but from his arms and hands we know he’s black. We can also tell from the way he goes about it that he takes his work seriously. INT. MISS TURNER’S HOME - DAY The living room is very tidy. CAMERA PANS to a bureau where we see framed PHOTOS of a white family taken over the years - a father, mother, their three children and grandchildren. A sofa and two chairs with custom-fitted plastic covers look like they haven’t been sat on in years. MAN’S VOICE (V.O.) What do you mean, he just showed up out of the blue?! TEENAGE GIRL’S VOICE (V.O.) He just stopped by to talk, Dad! Nothing happened, I swear! MAN’S VOICE (V.O.) Kay, you honestly expect your mother and me to believe that David just "showed up" without any encouragement from you? WOMAN’S VOICE (V.O.) Now, Van, let’s not jump to conclusions... ON A VINTAGE COLOR TELEVISION SET We see the drama unfolding. REVERSE to reveal Miss Turner, late sixties, pleasant features, striking white hair, in a rocking chair, raptly watching her "soap". She takes a glass of lemonade from a cotton doily on the side table. Just as she takes a sip, a KNOCK on the door.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

2.

Miss Turner reacts, torn. She glances in the direction of the knocking, then her eyes go back to the television. She is relieved when distinctive theme music cues and -ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Tune in tomorrow for another episode of "As the World Turns." Miss Turner puts the glass on its doily and walks through her home to the kitchen. She opens the screen door to -REGGIE All done Miss Turner! REGGIE, twelve years old with bright, intelligent eyes to match his friendly smile, stands on the porch. EXT. MISS TURNER’S BACK PORCH - CONTINUOUS Miss Turner steps out of the house. Looks down at the boy with the skeptical eyes of a woman who knows a thing or two about 12-year-old boys. MISS TURNER You were fast today, Reggie. Are you sure you got it all done? REGGIE Yes, ma’am! Everything! MISS TURNER Mmm-hmm. I guess we’ll see about that. He smiles up at her with confidence. EXT. MISS TURNER’S FRONT YARD - DAY Miss Turner inspects the hedges of her yard like General Eisenhower inspected the troops before D-Day. Reggie is right behind her. Though the yard of her bungalow is small, it is pristine. Inspection completed, she turns and looks down at Reggie. He smiles. Her expression remains neutral. MISS TURNER And all the tools have been put away? Properly?

(CONTINUED)

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REGGIE Yes, ma’am. EXT. MISS TURNER’S FRONT PORCH - DAY ON MISS TURNER’S BILL FOLD As she takes out a crisp, new FIVE DOLLAR BILL and gives it to Reggie. REGGIE Thank you, Miss Turner. He admires the note for a beat, then folds it in half and sticks it in the front pocket of his jeans. MISS TURNER Now you remember, Reggie, you don’t need to come by next week because I’m spending the Fourth with my granddaughter and her family in St. Louis. REGGIE Yes, ma’am, I remember, Miss Turner. MISS TURNER Run along now then, Reggie... And you be careful on your way home. Reggie is already running down the porch stairs. REGGIE Yes ma’am, I will... Miss Turner watches after him as he runs down the sidewalk. Then she turns and goes inside. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS (VARIOUS) - DAY Reggie walks and runs through the neighborhood of neat bungalows. White people are doing yard work, talking across hedges, hanging American flags, etc. Some wave, some smile, but most don’t notice as Reggie passes by. TITLE: South Side of Chicago, Summer 1975. Reggie passes through a nice park with well-groomed baseball diamonds and basketball courts. Finally he comes to Halsted Street, a boulevard with two lanes of traffic in each (CONTINUED)

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direction. The light is only a half-block up, but he waits for his chance and darts across the street. A car jams its brakes to avoid hitting him. The MOTORIST curses. Reggie is oblivious. INT. HALSTED SPORTING GOODS - DAY Stocked with every kind of sports gear imaginable, it’s a boy’s paradise. Customers, almost all of them white, browse the aisles and try out the wares. Reggie enters and makes a beeline for the back. Watching him like a plump hawk is WILSON, an assistant manager, about thirty years old. BICYCLES On display like Caddies, Corvettes and Mustangs in a new car showroom. But we’re drawn to one BIKE in particular. It’s yellow and black with "monkey" handlebars and a "banana" seat with leopard spots and a sissy bar. Reggie comes up to the bike and admires it. the b.g. MARVIN (O.S.) Keep dreamin’ Reg! Reggie turns to see his best friends approaching: MARVIN, fat and sloppy, DONNY, shy with crooked glasses, and GARY, the cool one. REGGIE Hey, fellas. GARY (re: bike) It’s sweet, alright. DONNY Totally. MARVIN (takes bite of a sandwich) But dig that price tag, Jones. Donny flips the price tag dangling from the handlebars. DONNY Yep...still sixty dollars. MARVIN Which means you’ll be hoofin’ it all summer, Reg. Unless Rhonda goes back to walking that corner. (CONTINUED) Wilson looms in

CONTINUED: (2) REGGIE I heard your momma’s making so much money there that all the girls stopped workin’ it.

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All four boys laugh. Playing "the dozens" is what they do. Wilson has seen and heard enough. He steps up and glowers at Marvin as he takes another bite of his sandwich. WILSON No food or drink allowed in the store. (Marvin swallows, then lowers his sandwich) Are you boys planning on buying something today or are you just "looking" again? The boys quickly put on their survival faces. REGGIE Um, just looking. GARY Yeah, again. WILSON Well look more quietly or leave. The boys say their "mea culpas" then, just as Wilson is about to leave -REGGIE Excuse me, sir. Do you expect to have any sales on the bikes this summer? WILSON (scowls) Maybe you should walk down to Kappy’s on Seventy Ninth Street. They have sales every day. REGGIE Thanks. Wilson turns to leave and... MARVIN (sotto voce) Maybe you should kiss my fat, black ass. ...stops, turns around. (CONTINUED)

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WILSON What? BOYS Nothing, nothing, we’re leaving... EXT. HALSTED STREET - DAY The boys come out of the store laughing. Gary, Marvin and Donny climb on their bikes. Reggie props on Gary’s handlebars and they ride off. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY The boys turn off Halsted and onto a side street that takes them into their neighborhood. It’s a lot different than Miss Turner’s, with more walk-up and two-story apartment buildings than bungalows. And the yards aren’t as well kept. As the boys ride -GARY Maybe that dude at Halsted is right, Reg. You could just go over to Kappy’s and buy a bike. DONNY Yeah, man. Sixty bucks is a lot for a bike. MARVIN Especially when it’s just gonna get stolen anyway. REGGIE Nobody’s going to steal my bike GARY What bike? REGGIE You know what I’m saying. And how much it costs ain’t the point. MARVIN Jive! How much something costs is the only point when you don’t got the green to pay for it. REGGIE Naw. The point is, if you you want something and you’re willing to do (MORE) (CONTINUED)

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REGGIE (CONT’D.) what you have to do to earn it, then you should get what you want. DONNY It doesn’t matter anyway, Reg. don’t have sixty dollars. You

REGGIE Not yet. But I’ve saved up thirty five, plus I just got five more today from Miss Turner. GARY Forty dollars. How long did it take you to get that? Six months? Six months shoveling snow, mowing lawns, delivering papers, cleaning out people’s garages. That’s a lot of work for forty lousy bucks. MARVIN (laughing) Remember those oranges for the church?! Reg went door to door and sold what - six hundred oranges and made something like six dollars! Man, what a rip! REGGIE At least I’m trying to make money on my own and not still sucking on my momma’s tits for food. MARVIN Only because Rhonda always got somebody else sucking on them by the time you get home. Reggie takes a swing at Marvin, who pedals ahead, laughing his head off. Reggie jumps off Gary’s handlebars and chases him as the boys crack up... EXT. LOOMIS HOME - ESTABLISHING - DAY A shabby, two-story frame house with a dilapidated porch and a rusted screen door. Weeds are the only green in what passes for a yard. Reggie comes running down the street, bounds onto the porch and goes inside...

8. INT. LOOMIS HOME - DAY ...where the house doesn’t look much better. It’s cramped and messy, with dingy wallpaper and secondhand furniture. Reggie enters to a familiar site: his sixteen-year-old sister AUDREY, pretty but tired-looking, on the couch feeding her BABY a bottle. His twin sister REGINA is lying on the floor watching "The Flintstones" on a 19-inch black and white t.v. AUDREY Boy, where have you been? REGGIE I had to mow Miss Turner’s grass and stuff. AUDREY Well, if that chicken ain’t thawed by the time Momma gets home, your ass is gonna be grass and Momma’s gonna be the lawn mower. REGGIE (heads to kitchen) I’ll take it out now. IN THE KITCHEN Reggie goes to the refrigerator, opens the freezer on top. AUDREY (O.S.) (calls out) I already took it out! Reggie looks in the sink where a frozen plastic bag is submerged in water. REGGIE (calls out) Thanks! He takes a package of cookies from a cabinet. AUDREY (O.S.) (calls out) You need to get your butt upstairs and clean your room! Reggie pours a glass of milk and grabs a handful of cookies. BACK IN THE LIVING ROOM Reggie comes through, cookies and milk in hand. (CONTINUED)

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REGGIE Okay, I’ll go do it now. REGINA Don’t eat all the cookies again, Reggie! Momma told you about that! He grunts a response and runs upstairs. REGINA (calling out) I’m gonna tell on you, Reggie! INT. REGGIE’S ROOM - CONTINUOUS Typical boys’ room: two unmade twin beds, a desk and chair, junk all over the place. Posters taped to the wall, the most prominent of them the classic Bruce Lee poster from the movie "Enter the Dragon." Reggie stuffs a couple of cookies in his mouth and barely chews before washing them down with a gulp of milk. Then he opens the closet, gets on his knees and sticks his head inside. After rummaging he comes out with a tattered Chuck Taylor hi top SNEAKER. He pulls out the insole, revealing his life’s savings. Reggie counts the 15 $1s and two $10s for what must be umpteenth time. Then he pauses, as if appreciating an accomplishment, before adding the new $5 to the stack, putting the bills neatly back in the shoe and carefully replacing the insole. REGGIE’S ROOM - LATER Reggie’s made good progress cleaning the room - his bed is made and he can walk without tripping over something. He pauses when, from downstairs -YOUNG MAN’S VOICE (O.S.) (angry shouting) Shut up girl, don’t tell me what to do! AUDREY (O.S.) (angry shouting) I wouldn’t say anything to you at all if you just did what you’re supposed to do!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) YOUNG MAN’S VOICE (O.S.) (angry shouting) Well stop talking to me then! AUDREY (O.S.) (angry shouting) Fine! Stop talking to me, you trifling ass Negro!

10.

We hear the baby start to cry and Audrey and the young man shout loudly in exasperation. Then we hear someone coming up the stairs. The door flies open and ART, Reggie’s eighteen-year-old brother, barges in. REGGIE Hey. ART What?! Nothing. REGGIE Just ’hey.’

Art plops on his still messy bed and simmers over the argument with his sister. Reggie goes about his business on his side of the room. After a couple of beats. ART Reg... REGGIE Huh? ART You got any money I can borrow? REGGIE Naw, I don’t have any. Art sits up, looks at him. ART Aw, c’mon, little brother. All that hustling you been doing and you ain’t got no money? Uhn-uhn. REGGIE Sorry, I spent it all.

ART That’s bull, Reg! What about the money you was saving for that bike down at Halsted Sports? You telling me you spent that already? (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3) REGGIE ...Yeah. ART You lying little shit... Come on, Reg, help me out little man. If I don’t pay the phone bill Momma’s gonna kick my ass outta here.

11.

Reggie takes a beat to consider his side of the room (neat) and Art’s side of the room (a mess). Art pleads -ART I just need ten bucks, Reg. I can get the rest from my boy Odell. C’mon, man! Reggie thinks hard before -REGGIE ...All I have is five dollars. Art is off the bed, eager to get the cash. him and Art understands. ART Okay, I’ll wait downstairs. (before he exits the room) I’ll pay you back, Reg. Promise. REGGIE (knows better) Okay. INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER Reggie hands over the new $5 bill he got from Miss Turner. Art pockets it, smiles at his little brother, then he’s out the door. Audrey comes out of the kitchen, baby in her arms. The look on her face tells us she knows the money will get spent but the phone bill won’t get paid. INT. KITCHEN - SUNSET Just home from work, RHONDA LOOMIS is still in her Chicago Transit Authority ticket agent uniform, frying chicken at the stove. She has a weariness that makes her seem much older than her thirty five years. She takes the chicken pieces out of the skillet, places them on a plate covered with paper towels and turns to Reggie, who is mashing potatoes. (CONTINUED) Reggie looks at

CONTINUED: (2)

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RHONDA You need more milk in those. He takes a carton of milk from the fridge, shakes it. Uh-oh. RHONDA What is it? REGGIE Um...it’s all gone. RHONDA I just bought milk two days ago. How can it be gone already? REGINA ’Cause Reggie drank it all, that’s why. With all the cookies. Reggie reacts. Rhonda shoots him a disapproving look that hurts almost as much as a belt to the backside would. REGGIE Sorry, Momma. RHONDA Put a little water in them... ’Gina, go wake Audrey and tell her dinner’s ready. Don’t wake the baby. Regina exits but not before sticking her tongue out at Reggie. KITCHEN - LATER Rhonda and her children are having dinner. RHONDA Did he say where he was going? AUDREY He didn’t talk to me before he left. Ask Reggie. Rhonda looks at Reggie, who is mixing his peas with his potatoes and trying to stay out of this. But -RHONDA Well, Reggie, did your brother say where he was going?

(CONTINUED)

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REGGIE Uh...um, well...he didn’t exactly say where he was going, no. AUDREY But you gave him money to pay the phone bill, didn’t you? RHONDA He didn’t pay the phone bill yet?! Rhonda sighs, exasperated. REGINA Are they gonna turn the phone off again, Momma? AUDREY Mmm-hmmm. RHONDA Dog goneit! I don’t know what I’m gonna do with that boy. AUDREY He needs to try to keep a job instead of hanging with those bums down on Seventy Fifth Street. REGINA Uh-huh! Reggie knows they’re just getting warmed up. He shovels in the last of his potatoes and peas, takes his plate to the sink and rinses it. REGGIE (mouth full) I’m done. Be at the vacant lot. RHONDA I don’t want you out too late, Reggie. You hear? REGGIE Okay. RHONDA And I want you back on the block by the time the street lights come on.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (4) REGGIE (on his way out) Okay. RHONDA Nobody wants to be going out looking for you. You hear? REGGIE (O.S.) Okay... EXT. VACANT LOT - SUNSET

14.

Kids are playing 7-on-7 softball in a lot that has more dirt and rocks than grass. This "field" is bordered by an alley and a side street (base lines), a stand of trees (outfield), and behind home plate, the Miller House - a boarded up, abandoned three-story home that was almost certainly owned by the neighborhood’s richest residents in its heyday. The vacant lot was once the expansive front yard of the house. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - CONTINUOUS A group of teenage boys and girls hang out on the porch of the house and use the game as an excuse to flirt with one another. We’ll meet them directly, but for now all eyes turn to the vacant lot and the BOY coming to bat. The PRETTIEST GIRL steps down off the porch. PRETTIEST GIRL (shouting) Okay, Ricky! Win it with one swing! EXT. VACANT LOT - CONTINUOUS RICKY, a big, good-looking twelve year old, takes a couple of practice swings and it’s clear that he’s a born athlete. He steps to the plate (a flat rectangular rock) and narrows his eyes at the pitcher. Ricky takes the first pitch high and tight. The UMP, a teenage boy, barks the call. UMP Strike one! Ricky’s teammates and the teenage spectators know a bullshit call when they see one. Ricky shakes his head, amused. The next pitch comes and Ricky SMACKS it. The ball sails high into the darkening sky. The center fielder, Reggie, takes two steps back and stops. He watches as the ball sails over the trees.

15. Ricky rounds the bases like a kid accustomed to making the round trip. Game over. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - NIGHT After the game Reggie, Gary, Donny, Marvin, Ricky and the other ball players hang out with the teenagers: the prettiest girl on the porch (in the whole neighborhood for that matter) is Ricky’s sister, DIANE, fourteen; Gary’s handsome brother CEDRIC, sixteen; smart-mouthed PERCY, fifteen; dark-skinned, sexy GWEN, fourteen; her sassy half-sister CARLA, fourteen; the Donnas, DONNA "DEE" and DONNA "TEE", both fresh and fourteen; HAL, Mr. Perfect Afro, fifteen and LORENZO, sixteen, too cool with a slick hairdo. Earth Wind and Fire’s "Reasons" comes on the boom box. DIANE Oooo, turn that up! That’s my jam!

The music gets louder and Diane and the girls groove along with Philip Bailey on the radio. The guys enjoy the performance; Donny’s eyes are glued to Diane until Reggie nudges him with an elbow. CARLA I heard they give the best concerts. Uh-huh. girl. TEE That’s what I heard too,

CEDRIC Rob Parrish took his girl to see them at the Amphitheater last month. DEE Maybe that’s ’cause Rob Parrish knows how to act with a woman. Unlike most of the broke ass Negroes around here. PERCY Maybe his girlfriend is a woman. The girls react with righteous indignation. GWEN Boy, what you tryin’ to say? This is as close to a "woman" as you ever gonna get. (CONTINUED)

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Percy looks around for a little support from the guys but they playfully avert their eyes; he’s alone on this one. CARLA Percy, even if you could trick some half-blind heifer into looking at you twice, one whiff of your breath and she’d run away screaming. They all have a good laugh at Percy’s expense. Then someone pulls out a bottle of rum and cans of cola and a bag of pot. SAME SCENE - LATER While the younger kids run around the vacant lot playing "it", the teens stay on the porch, listening to jams, drinking rum and Cokes and smoking weed. Hal sits with his arm around Diane’s shoulder, Lorenzo is laying a serious rap on Dee and Tee, and Carla is arguing with Percy - a normal state of affairs between them. MARVIN is huffing and puffing as he chases kids, trying to tag them and make them "it." He goes after Reggie, but gives up when Reggie darts around back of the house. EXT. BACK OF MILLER HOUSE - CONTINUOUS Reggie, still laughing, stops running and leans against the wrought iron railing of the cellar stairway to catch his breath. Then something startles him. Gwen comes out of the recessed cellar doorway, straightening her clothes as she walks up the stairs. GWEN Hi, Reggie. REGGIE ...Hey, Gwen. She smiles at him and just as she does -CEDRIC Hey, Reg. Reggie can’t cover his surprise. REGGIE ...Ced. Or his disappointment.

(CONTINUED)

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Reggie watches as Gwen walks around the house toward the front. Cedric puts a hand on Reggie’s shoulder. Gives him a look and a smile just like his brother Art did earlier. CEDRIC Reg...look, man, you won’t say anything to Audrey, will you? REGGIE (disappointment mounting) But, Ced, I thought... CEDRIC You’ll understand one day, Reg. What am I saying, you probably already understand, right? I mean, look at Gwen. You know a brother can’t pass up a fine piece of ass like that. Reggie is still trying to find words when -WOMAN’S VOICE (O.S.) (from a distance) Don-ald! Don-ald! EXT. VACANT LOT - MOMENTS LATER Donny is already taking all kinds of shit from the kids by the time Reggie and Cedric come from behind the house. MARVIN (mocking) "Oh, Don-ald! Time to come home, Don-ald!" GARY Yeah, Donald, Betty Ann’s calling. It must be past your bedtime, son. DIANE You all stop it! Marvin, you wish your momma cared enough about your fat behind to come looking for you. (sweetly to Donny) Donny, you better go on now. You know your mother doesn’t need to be walking all the way down here. Just hearing Diane say his name makes the ribbing worthwhile for Donny. Reggie comes up to him.

(CONTINUED)

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REGGIE Come on Donny, I’ll go with you. WOMAN’S VOICE (O.S.) (getting closer) Donald! They’re heading off across the street when -LORENZO Hey, Reggie! Wait a minute! Reggie turns to look at Lorenzo. DONNY I gotta go, Reg. tomorrow. Catch you Reggie

Donny runs off across the street and down the block. walks back to Lorenzo, somewhat wary. REGGIE What is it? Lorenzo, a smooth talker, ushers him out of earshot. LORENZO Say, Reg, I hear you’re trying to make some money to buy a bike. REGGIE Yeah. LORENZO How much green do you need? REGGIE ...It’s sixty dollars, but I’ve already got more than half of it. LORENZO (reacts) Damn! Sixty dollars for a bike? Does it have wings too? REGGIE Naw, it’s just a bike that you pedal. LORENZO Listen, my man, I believe I can help you out with your situation.

(CONTINUED)

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REGGIE Yeah, well, thanks Lorenzo but -LORENZO Naw, naw. It ain’t like that, Reg. I’m not talking about you selling anything. REGGIE What then? LORENZO Just running errands. You know, picking up and dropping off. Other side of Halsted. Nothing wrong with that, little man. Just then a police car passes by the house very slowly. Every kid gets the message and some start breaking up to leave. Lorenzo glances at the passing cop car and doesn’t seem the least bit nervous. REGGIE I don’t know, Lorenzo. get caught? What if I

LORENZO Caught by who? You’re over there all the time cutting those white people’s grass and cleaning out their garages and shit. You’re the only brother they can see running down the street and not start calling the cops... I’ll pay you ten dollars for each errand... (off Reggie’s hesitation) Reg, you could be riding that new bike by the Fourth of July. And you could have extra cash for the movies. I know there’s some little girl you want to take to the movies and stuff this summer, right? PERCY (O.S.) Yo, ’Renzo, let’s kick it man. A beat as Lorenzo waits for an answer. REGGIE Can I think about it? Finally --

(CONTINUED)

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LORENZO (another brotherly smile) Yeah, little man. That’s cool. See, you’re smart. A good businessman never makes a decision on the spot. He always asks to think it over... I’ll catch you tomorrow. You can let me know then, alright? Lorenzo joins the other teens who head off down the street. Reggie watches them and notices Cedric cupping Gwen’s firm butt with his hand as they walk away. INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - MORNING ON REGGIE’S FACE Smashed against his pillow, fast asleep. RHONDA (O.S.) (angry shouting) Artemis, I gave you that money to pay the phone bill and you couldn’t even do that! ART (O.S.) I’m sorry, Momma! RHONDA (O.S.) (angry shouting) You damn right you’re sorry! Now they gonna turn off the phone again! What is your sister supposed to do if there’s a problem with the baby?! Huh?! Did you think about that when you were out there smoking that pot! Of course you didn’t; all you ever think about is yourself! ART (O.S.) I said I’m sorry, Momma! I’ll get the money and pay the bill before they turn off the phone. RHONDA (O.S.) (angry shouting) With what?! You don’t have a job and you’re too damn lazy to go out and find one! Just like your good for nothing daddy! (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

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Reggie wakes to the shouting downstairs. He turns over and stares at the ceiling, thinking hard. We hear more shouting and the CRASH of something breaking against a wall then a door opening and SLAMMING. RHONDA (O.S.) (angry shouting) ...and don’t come back here until you can do something for this family besides lay around and eat and make a mess of my house! EXT. DONNY’S BUILDING - MORNING A large, three-story walk up with about 12 apartments. Reggie sits on the stoop. Donny comes out and Reggie stands. DONNY Hey. REGGIE Hey. They start walking down the sidewalk. WOMAN’S VOICE (O.S.) Donald! The boys turn to see Donald’s mother, BETTY ANN, thirty two and attractive, leaning out a first floor window. DONNY Yeah, Ma? BETTY ANN I want you back here for lunch. DONNY Okay, Ma. BETTY ANN Hello, Reginald. REGGIE Hi, Miss Cook. BETTY ANN How are your sister and her baby doing?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) REGGIE They’re doing okay. BETTY ANN That’s good. You boys be careful now. BOYS Okay. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - MOMENTS LATER Reggie and Donny walk along. REGGIE Man, Betty Ann is totally obsessed with Audrey and Nicole. Every time she sees me she asks me about them. DONNY She’s got babies on the brain. Her and Lamont keep talking about how we’re going to move after the baby is born. Seriously? move? REGGIE You’re really going to

22.

DONNY (shrugs) I guess. Our lease is up in September. They keep saying that it’s getting so bad around here with the drugs and everything. Reggie takes this in. Beat.

REGGIE It’s not that bad around here. It’s not like down on Seventy Fifth Street. They got people getting shot down there. DONNY I know. You remember Frederick Southern from fifth grade? I heard he got put in the hospital by some thugs down on Seventy Fifth and Vincennes. He was just riding his bike and they held him up. He got stupid and tried to fight back.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

23.

REGGIE Yeah, I remember Fred. flunk fifth grade? The boys both laugh. EXT. MARVIN’S HOUSE - DAY

Didn’t he

Reggie, Donny, Gary and Marvin hang out on the porch steps. Like Reggie’s house, Marvin’s is decrepit. MARVIN I don’t know, Reg, I wouldn’t trust Lorenzo as far as I could throw him. He’s too slick. GARY Yeah, like "Tricky Dick" slick. (does Nixon impersonation) "I am not a crook." The friends laugh. REGGIE I don’t trust him. But if I just run a few errands for him I’ll have enough to get my bike and help Art pay the phone bill. DONNY But it’s drugs, Reg. You don’t want to get mixed up in that stuff, man. REGGIE Lorenzo sells weed. That’s not drugs. It’s not like I’d be running around with bags of smack. GARY Lorenzo is slick, but you know he and Ced go way back; they were in kindergarten together. I don’t think Ced would still be hangin’ with him if he was all bad. A beat as the friends consider this important endorsement. Then the screen door screeches opens and they look up at Marvin’s sister, CANDY, fourteen and 200 pounds, easy.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

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CANDY Why don’t y’all go somewhere else? MARVIN Why don’t you go somewhere else, like a gym? The boys snicker. CANDY Boy please! I know you not talking about somebody. You need to go look in a mirror. MARVIN At least I can look in a mirror...without it cracking. With lightening quickness, Candy slaps Marvin up side his head. CANDY Get on out of here, jerk! And take your hoodlum friends with you! The boys scurry off, laughing as they go. EXT. MISS DUKES’ HOUSE - DAY Miss Dukes, late fifties, with a broad-brimmed straw hat, is working in her yard. It’s one of the few well-maintained yards we’ve seen in Reggie’s neighborhood. She looks up when she hears BOYS’ VOICES approaching. MISS DUKES Where are you boys off too this morning? BOYS Hi, Miss Dukes. The boys stop and Miss Dukes comes over to them. GARY Just going through. MISS DUKES Are you boys going to make yourselves useful and help set up the block party? I can use you.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) DONNY Yes, ma’am, we’ll help out. MISS DUKES Good. I’m gonna hold you all to that... Donny, how’s your mother? DONNY She’s fine, Miss Dukes. MISS DUKES Good. And you remember to tell her, you’re welcome to stay at my house as long as she needs you to after the baby comes home. DONNY Yes, ma’am. I’ll remember to tell her.

25.

A screen door slams and the boys look over as RENEE DUKES, twelve and very cute, comes out. RENEE Telephone, Grandma. MISS DUKES Alright, baby. Who is it? RENEE Uncle Joe. MISS DUKES I’ll see you boys later. of trouble, you hear? She goes into the house. RENEE (smiles) Hi, Reg. REGGIE Hey. RENEE You getting ready for the block party? REGGIE Yeah...well, see you. Reggie and his friends cut out. and smiles. Renee watches after them Stay out

Renee comes over.

26. EXT. PLAYGROUND/FIELD HOUSE - DAY Kids are all over the school playground, riding bikes, playing ball, climbing on the jungle gym, etc. We find our teenagers from the Miller House hanging out in front of the field house, a squat building at the center of the playground. Seventies FUNK MUSIC blares on the boom box. Our girls take note and turn cold as three FAST GIRLS in tight shorts and tube tops saunter up to the field house. CARLA Will you look at those heifers? You’d think their mommas would tell them not to come out of the house looking like ’hos. PERCY Did your momma tell you anything today? CARLA Kiss my ass, Percy! PERCY Sorry, can’t afford too. MONIQUE, a fine, light-skinned sista with green eyes, fixes a comely gaze on Cedric. MONIQUE Hi, Ced. Hey, Moni. Nothing. CEDRIC What’s up?

MONIQUE What’s up with you?

Gwen reacts to their familiarity. CEDRIC Just hangin’, you know. CARLA So, Monique, I thought you Simeon girls had better places to go this summer than the field house. MONIQUE That’s funny, Carla, I thought they didn’t care who came to the field house. After all, they still let you Calumet girls come up in here.

27.

A beat filled with hostility as the girls look each other down. The guys barely contain their excitement at the possibility of a cat fight. Finally, eyes roll and lips smack and Monique leads her girlfriends inside. INT. FIELD HOUSE - DAY The place is crowded with kids and teenagers playing all sorts of table games - ping pong, pool, table soccer, air hockey, cards, etc. Monique and the fast girls have drawn a group of eager boys who are laying down their best rap. We find Reggie and Gary playing bumper pool. GARY She totally digs you, Reg. REGGIE No she doesn’t. GARY Yes she does. Come on, man, you see how she acts around you. Like today: "Hi, Reg." It’s like none of the rest of us was even there. REGGIE She’s just nice, that’s all. GARY Yeah, nice to you. Gary see Lorenzo come inside and scan the room. GARY (head motion) Reg. Reggie looks up and his eyes meet Lorenzo’s. GARY So what are you going to do? EXT. BEHIND FIELD HOUSE - DAY Reggie and Lorenzo are talking turkey. LORENZO You take a bag like this, you drop it off to a white guy... (holds out a brown paper bag) (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

28.

LORENZO (CONT’D.) Next time you go, you pick up a bag from him and bring it back to me. Simple as that. REGGIE What’s in the bag? Lorenzo opens the bag and smiles. It’s empty. not amused. Lorenzo turns serious. LORENZO Look, Reg, you don’t need to worry about what’s in the bag. Don’t even look inside the bag, alright? All you need to know is that regardless of what’s inside, you’re too young to get into trouble if you get caught with it. REGGIE (skeptical) Really? LORENZO Really. That’s the beauty of this set up, Reg. You’re still a minor so the worst that could happen is you get a slap on the wrist. That, and Rhonda gives you a whipping. But that’s no biggie either, right? They both turn abruptly when a BOY runs behind the field house as part of a game. He feels Lorenzo’s harsh glare and makes himself scarce. Okay. REGGIE I’ll do it. Reggie is

LORENZO My man! Alright. And just to show you I’m good for it, here’s your first payment before you even make your first delivery. Lorenzo holds out a $10. Lorenzo. Reggie looks at it then at

REGGIE I want fifteen dollars for each errand.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

29.

LORENZO (indignant) What?! Are you out of your mind?! REGGIE (shrugs) Then get somebody else to do it. Reggie holds Lorenzo’s glare until Lorenzo’s eyes soften to a smile. LORENZO Businessman. Alright, I can dig it. Fifteen. (pulls out another $5) You’ll be riding that sixty dollar bike before you know it, Reg. Reggie pockets the money. INT. LOOMIS HOME - LATE AFTERNOON Reggie enters and reacts to seeing Audrey on the couch with her baby and Cedric, her baby’s father. Hey, Reg. CEDRIC What’s up?

REGGIE (coolly) Nothing. AUDREY Momma’s working a double shift so she left money for some Church’s Chicken. I want you to go over and get it in about a half hour. REGGIE Okay -(then) Um, I can’t today. She looks at him like he just sprouted two heads. AUDREY So we’re supposed to wait til tomorrow to eat dinner?! What the hell do you mean you "can’t" anyway?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

30.

REGGIE I mean I can’t ’cause I’ve got something else to do later. AUDREY Well Momma said she wanted you to go over and get it for us. REGGIE (sharply) Why don’t you have Cedric go over and get it? He’s just sitting around anyway. Cedric catches the ’tude but plays it off. AUDREY Momma didn’t say nothing about Cedric going over anywhere and getting nothing. She wants you to go over and get it. CEDRIC It’s cool, I’ll go over and get it. AUDREY (sweetly) No, Ced, baby you came to spend time with your daughter. (then harshly to Reggie) I’m sure whatever Reggie has to do ain’t nearly as important as that. Reggie and Audrey glare at each other. Then Reggie shoots a look of disgust at Cedric and turns to go into the kitchen. IN THE KITCHEN Regina is at the table eating cookies and milk. She grins at Reggie when he enters and holds up the cookie bag. Sorry. REGINA All gone.

Reggie rolls his eyes, sighs loudly and continues out of the kitchen onto the back porch.

31.

EXT. LOOMIS BACK PORCH - LATER Reggie is sitting on the steps poking a stick in the dirt. Cedric comes out of the house and sits next to him. They sit in silence for a couple of beats. Finally -CEDRIC I told Audrey I’d go over to Church’s and get the chicken. said okay. Reggie continues the silent treatment. CEDRIC You’re pissed off at me, huh? REGGIE What do you think? CEDRIC (beat) Thanks for not saying anything, Reg. Reggie turns his head further away. He’s even more upset with himself than he is with Cedric. CEDRIC Reg, you know I care about Audrey, and I love Nicole. Nothing changes that. REGGIE (looks at him) Is that what Audrey would think if she knew about Gwen? A beat as Cedric feels the guilt well up inside. CEDRIC Reg, I’m sixteen. What do you expect me to do, never get with another girl for the rest of my life? You think it was my decision to have a baby? Audrey and your mother decided she would have it. They didn’t ask me. REGGIE But you decided to screw my sister. Just like you decided to screw her best friend last night. Then --

She

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) CEDRIC Reg...

32.

Reggie’s had enough. He gets up and goes inside. Cedric just exhales and stares out at the weedy back yard. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS (VARIOUS) - SUNSET CLOSE ON A BROWN PAPER BAG in Reggie’s hand. WIDEN and we see him as he makes his way through the neat, white neighborhoods from our earlier scenes. Curiosity gets the best of him. He ducks into an alley between two garages and opens the bag. WHAT HE SEES - A BUNCH OF PILLS SEALED IN PLASTIC REGGIE (O.S.) (stunned) Whoa... RETURN TO SCENE He folds the bag back and presses the crease tightly. he hurries out of the alley and on his way to... EXT. BUNGALOW 8137 - SUNSET A neat home with a tidy yard and a large American flag hanging out front. Reggie stares at the home then at the writing on the bag. The number matches the address. YOUNG MAN’S VOICE (O.S.) (stage whisper) Hey, kid! Get over here! Reggie peers at the house and sees a WHITE TEENAGER with longish blond hair waving him over. We’ll call him KURT. He’s in the shadows between the bungalow and the house next door. Reggie walks into the yard and goes to him. KURT Hey, kid. You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago. REGGIE I got lost. KURT You got lost?! Lorenzo said you know your way around here! Then

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) REGGIE I do. I just wasn’t expecting it to be...here. KURT Is that it? Reggie hands him the bag. REGGIE Yeah. KURT Did you look inside? REGGIE Lorenzo said don’t look inside. KURT Good. That’s right. You never look inside the bag. That way you can always say you didn’t know what it was and you’re covered. Right?

33.

Reggie looks at him, fighting the urge to shout, "Do you really think I’m that stupid?" Instead -REGGIE Right. KURT Alright. Good. So come back tomorrow. That’s the deal, right? REGGIE Uh-huh. Alright. KURT And don’t get lost again.

Kurt turns and goes toward the rear of the house. Reggie watches long enough to catch a glimpse of Kurt hopping the back yard fence and running off through the alley. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - NIGHT The kids and the teens are hanging out as usual, jamming to the radio and playing the dozens. In the distance we hear the POP-POP-POP of firecrackers. Reggie arrives and exchanges a knowing look with Lorenzo, who nods approval. Then Reggie scans the porch more closely: Cedric’s not there and neither is Gwen. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

34.

DONNY Come on, Reg, Ricky got some M-80s. Let’s go light some! MARVIN Yeah, c’mon, let’s go! REGGIE Okay. The boys run off across the street. EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT Reggie, Donny, Gary, Donny and Marvin watch as Ricky, the big home run hitter, lights an M-80 FIRECRACKER and tosses it over a fence. They wait...then, BOOM! Then we hear panicked SCREAMS from girls on the other side of the fence and the boys tear off through the alley. NIECY, thirteen and well-developed, runs out of the yard. NIECY (shouting) You turds! You coulda killed somebody! EXT. BUILDING STOOP - LATER Ricky, Reggie, Gary, Donny and Marvin are shooting the shit. RICKY Some of us are riding our bikes down to the lakefront tomorrow. You fellas game? GARY Yeah, that sounds cool. MARVIN Nothing else going on. DONNY Okay. They look at Reggie. Beat. I’m in.

GARY You can borrow Ced’s old bike, Reg.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

35.

REGGIE Nah, it’s okay. I got something to do anyway. RICKY You sure, Reg? It’s gonna be hot as hell tomorrow. Down on the lakefront it’s always nice and cool. REGGIE Next time. Niecy and three other GIRLS stroll toward the stoop. is with them. NIECY Ricky Canada! MARVIN Uh-oh, Ricky. Here comes your future wife. RICKY Screw you, Marvin. The snickering stops when the girls get there. RICKY Hey, Niecy. What’s up? NIECY You know what’s up, Ricky. You almost hit Felicia with that firecracker. FELICIA glowers at him. RICKY What firecracker? FELICIA You know what firecracker, boy! RICKY I don’t know what you’re talking about. NIECY I saw you, Ricky. you. I saw all of Renee

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

36.

The boys shrug, playing innocent. Niecy folds her arms - a move that enhances her already ample bosom - and the boys take note. NIECY Either you apologize, Ricky, or I’m going right to your house to tell your mother. Huh! RICKY Go ahead.

A beat as they stare each other down. Then Niecy spins around and starts walking away. She takes only a few steps before -Okay! RICKY Okay... We know who’s boss.

Niecy turns and looks at him. RICKY Sorry, Felicia. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - LATER

Ricky and the boys hang out with Niecy and the girls. goes up to Reggie. RENEE Have you seen "Jaws" yet? Ungh-ungn. REGGIE Did you?

Renee

RENEE No. I heard it’s really scary, but really good too. Uh-huh. REGGIE That’s what I heard too. With

RENEE So are you going to see it? your friends, I mean. REGGIE (shrugs) Maybe.

She looks at him and we know that Gary was right; she likes Reggie a lot.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

37.

RENEE We’re going to see it the day after the block party. If you all go then, maybe we’ll see each other. REGGIE Yeah, maybe... Lorenzo and Percy are walking on the other side of tbe street. LORENZO (calls out) Yo, Reg! Reggie looks over and Lorenzo waves him over. Renee’s tone how she feels about Lorenzo. RENEE What does he want?! REGGIE (lying) I don’t know. See you later, Renee. Renee reacts as Reggie leaves her to go to Lorenzo. PERCY (re: Renee) Looks like you trying to get up on a little leg there, huh, Reg? Reggie ignores him. LORENZO Hey, Reg. REGGIE Hey. LORENZO What did I tell you? Easy as pie, right? (off Reggie’s reaction) So you’re all set to go back tomorrow? REGGIE Yeah. We know from

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

38.

LORENZO Alright. I’ll pay you when you get back with the bag. REGGIE Alright. Lorenzo looks over at Renee, who is trying not to be noticed looking at them. LORENZO That’s your girlfriend? Reg. Not bad at all. EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY Reggie walks through the white neighborhood. He comes to Miss Turner’s house. She’s on the porch, in a wicker chair, drinking a glass of lemonade. MISS TURNER (calls out) Reggie! He stops. He can’t ignore her. MISS TURNER Reggie, come here. He goes into the yard and stops at the steps. REGGIE Yes, ma’am? MISS TURNER What are you doing over here today, Reggie? REGGIE Nothing, Miss Turner. walking. Just Not bad,

MISS TURNER You’re not up to mischief are you? Boys around here have been mixed up in all sorts of trouble lately and I’m not going to stand for you falling into any of it. You’re a good boy, Reggie.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

39.

REGGIE (lying badly) I’m just walking is all, Miss Turner. Really. She sits back and regards him with scrutinous eyes. knows a lie when she hears one. MISS TURNER It’s really hot today, isn’t it? REGGIE Yes, ma’am. On the radio they said it’s gonna reach ninety five. MISS TURNER Mmmm-hmmm. And this humidity is awful... Why don’t you sit with me for a while, here in the shade? REGGIE Um...well, I was just passing through, Miss -MISS TURNER Nonsense. You have a seat right here, next to me. I’ll get you a nice, cold glass of lemonade. She goes inside. Reggie sits in the chair next to Miss Turner’s and looks fretfully out into the street. EXT. MISS TURNER’S FRONT PORCH - LATER Reggie drinks the last of his lemonade. MISS TURNER If you think this heat is bad, it’s worse in St. Louis. I talked to my Liliane last night and she said it’s going to reach a hundred on the Fourth... I fly down tomorrow. Reggie, can you believe it’ll be my first time on an airplane? She looks over at Reggie, who is distracted. MISS TURNER Reggie, dear are you alright? She

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

40.

REGGIE Yes, ma’am, I’m fine. Miss Turner, I think I’m cool enough now. Can I go? MISS TURNER (beat, considering) Okay, Reggie, you can go now. Reggie bolts up and is on his way down the steps. REGGIE Thanks for the lemonade, Miss Turner. MISS TURNER You’re welcome, dear... You be careful! And stay out of mischief! But he’s already off running down the street. EXT. BUNGALOW 8137 - DAY Reggie stops running when he gets to the bungalow. He’s winded and sweating. He stands out front, looking between the houses, waiting for Kurt to call him. His anxiety growing, he goes into the front yard and to the side of the bungalow. No Kurt. He goes to the back of the house - the tiny backyard is as neat as the front. Reggie checks the other side of the house. Kurt’s nowhere to be seen. He goes to the backyard again. A screen door SLAMS and Reggie spins around. WHITE MAN is on the steps looking at him. ELDERLY WHITE MAN Who are you? And what are you doing in my yard? Hey! Wait, you! Reggie bolts, hopping over the back fence and taking off down the alley. EXT. SIDE STREET - CONTINUOUS Reggie stops to catch his breath. Dread sets in. An ELDERLY

41.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY We hear water running in a sink and a dog yapping wildly in the distance. Reggie lifts his head after splashing water on his face and looks at himself in the mirror. We can see in his eyes that his wheels are turning but no matter how you cut it, this is bad. This is really bad! A BANGING on the door startles him. REGINA (O.S.) Come on, Reggie, you been in there forever! REGGIE (to door) Alright! Wait a second! REGINA (O.S.) You said that ten minutes ago. get outta there, I gotta go! Reggie flings the bathroom door open. let him out. Now

Regina steps aside to

REGINA You bet not have used all the toilet paper. EXT. VACANT LOT - SUNSET A softball game is going on. Bicycles are on the ground along the "base lines" of the lot. Ricky steps to the plate and whacks one into the trees. Reggie is noticeably absent. VACANT LOT - LATER

The game is over and the kids are running around as usual. Lorenzo stops rapping to Donna Dee, leaves the Miller House porch and comes over to Donny, Marvin and Gary. LORENZO Where’s Reg? GARY I don’t know. LORENZO What do you mean, you don’t know? He’s your boy ain’t he?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

42.

GARY Yeah, he’s my boy but he ain’t my girl. I don’t know where he is all the time. Lorenzo smirks at the wisecrack. LORENZO Well when you see him, you tell I’m looking for him. GARY What I look like, Western Union? Tell him yourself. Lorenzo is about to go at him when -CEDRIC (O.S.) Yo, Lorenzo. What’s up? Cedric has left the porch and walks over with Gwen. LORENZO I’ll tell you what’s up. Your little brother needs to watch his mouth before I put my foot up his ass. CEDRIC Chill, Lorenzo. Why you sweatin’ my brother, man? LORENZO Because he’s got a smart mouth and I don’t got to put up with his shit. GARY Man, screw you Lorenzo, you don’t run me. CEDRIC (sharply to Gary) Hey, shut up. (to Lorenzo) It’s cool, Lorenzo, okay? cool man.

It’s

LORENZO (to Gary) You tell Reg he better come see me before I have to find him.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

43.

Lorenzo turns and stalks away. Only after his back is turned does Gary give him the finger. CEDRIC What the hell is wrong with you? You don’t mess with him. GARY I wasn’t messing with him, he was messing with me! Shut up! CEDRIC Where is Reg?

GARY What the hell?! Do I look like Columbo to you people?! Cedric raises his hand as if to hit Gary ("Why you little"), then lowers it and walks away instead. INT. LOOMIS HOME - NIGHT Rhonda, Audrey and Regina are watching "The Jeffersons" on t.v. The DOORBELL RINGS. RHONDA ’Gina, see who that is. She goes to the door and opens it a crack. and Cedric comes inside. RHONDA Hi, Cedric. AUDREY (smiling) Hi, Ced. CEDRIC Hey, Audrey. Hi Miss Loomis. RHONDA What do you want, Cedric? baby’s asleep. CEDRIC Yes, ma’am... I came to see Reg. Is he home? The She steps back

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

44.

REGINA (shouting upstairs) Reggie! Cedric’s here for you! AUDREY Are you still gonna take me and Nicole downtown on the Fourth? CEDRIC Yeah. RHONDA Audrey, why am I just now hearing about this? AUDREY I figured you wouldn’t mind, Momma. Nicole’s never been downtown. And besides, the block party is so old. Reggie trudges downstairs. CEDRIC Hey, Reg. REGGIE Hey. CEDRIC I wanted to talk to you about something... We can go out back, okay? REGGIE Okay. EXT. LOOMIS BACK PORCH - NIGHT Reggie and Cedric step outside. CEDRIC Why is Lorenzo looking for you? Reggie shrugs. CEDRIC Come on, Reg. Gary already told me you’re running for him. So you better tell me what’s going on if you know what’s good for you.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) REGGIE I’m not "running" for him. one errand. That’s all.

45.

I did

CEDRIC That can’t be all, Reg. Lorenzo’s looking for you and he’s pissed. You didn’t lose his stuff did you? REGGIE No! I didn’t lose anything! dude didn’t show up! CEDRIC What dude didn’t show up? REGGIE The white dude who was supposed to give me the bag! CEDRIC Okay...so just tell Lorenzo and then it’s between him and the white dude and you’re out of the middle. Reggie’s body language tells Cedric there’s more to it. CEDRIC What is it Reggie? Tell me?! The

REGGIE Miss Turner made me sit on her porch with her for more than a half hour. She said it was too hot to be walking around -CEDRIC Miss Turner? REGGIE The white woman who’s lawn I mow. CEDRIC What’s she got to do with any of this? Reg?! REGGIE I was late. I was late getting to the house where I was supposed to meet the white dude. When I got there he was already gone. A beat as the magnitude of the situation lands on Cedric.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

46.

CEDRIC You said you ran one errand for Lorenzo already. Was that today or was there another one before? REGGIE I did a drop off yesterday. I was picking up. Today

CEDRIC So the white dude was paying up? REGGIE ...Yeah, I guess. CEDRIC You guess?! Did you drop off weed or money yesterday? REGGIE Lorenzo told me not to look in the bag. CEDRIC Come on, Reggie! I know you’re not stupid. What was in the bag? ...pills. REGGIE A lot of pills.

CEDRIC (stunned) Whoa... INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT Reggie is sitting on his bed, holding the old sneaker. He looks like the weight of the world is on his shoulders. EXT. PLAYGROUND/FIELD HOUSE - DAY REGGIE eyes fixed straight ahead, jaw set, walks through the sea of kids playing on the playground. Our teenagers hang out as usual. Cedric sees Reggie first, coming straight toward them. Lorenzo spots him and his eyes harden. When Reggie arrives --

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) LORENZO Where you been, little man? REGGIE At home. Hmmm. me? Yeah. LORENZO Alright. (officiously to his friends) Excuse, us. Me and Reg have some business to discuss. LORENZO So, you got something for REGGIE

47.

He puts a gentle hand on Reggie’s shoulder and ushers him away. Reggie and Cedric exchange a look as Reggie goes... SMASH CUT TO: EXT. BEHIND FIELD HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER REGGIE is slammed against the field house wall, Lorenzo’s hand clenched around his neck. LORENZO You know how much money was in that bag?! Huh?! Do you?! REGGIE (gasping) Ss-Sorry... LORENZO Three hundred dollars! THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! You owe me

Lorenzo gets close in Reggie’s face. LORENZO What are you going to do about getting my money? Reggie digs into his pocket and pulls out his life’s savings: the $35 he earned from doing chores for people and the $15 Lorenzo gave him. He offers it to Lorenzo.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

48.

LORENZO (snarls) What the hell is that?! REGGIE It’s all the money I have. I can pay you back the rest as I get it. Lorenzo boils over and slaps the money out of Reggie’s hand. LORENZO Are you fucking stupid?! The people I buy from expect to get paid, Reg. So I expect to get paid! You dig?! I need my money by next Friday! Reggie didn’t think it was possible for him to feel more ill but he does now. REGGIE Three hundred dollars?! But it took me over six months to save this. Lorenzo grabs him by the shirt and slaps him hard on the face and head several times. LORENZO You listen, I don’t give a shit how you get it - steal if from your Momma or from those white people you’re always shuckin’ and jivin’ for - but you better get my fuckin’ money, boy! Hear me?! Cedric and Percy come around back. CEDRIC Hey, Lorenzo! Take it easy, man! LORENZO Stay out of this, Ced! Unless you got my money, this ain’t none of your business. CEDRIC Alright, man, but he’s just a kid. Lorenzo smashes a fist into Reggie’s gut, doubling him over. Cedric and Percy watch with pained expressions as Reggie falls to his knees, groaning in pain.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

49.

LORENZO A kid who owes me three hundred dollars. (with venom) I want my money by Friday, Reggie, or I’m gonna take it out of your ass every day afterward until I get it. Lorenzo stalks off, passing Diane, Gwen, Carla and the Donnas, who rush to comfort Reggie. DIANE Oh, Reg, are you alright?! Ced? GWEN What was that all about?

Before Cedric can speak, Reggie, overcome with embarrassment, gets up and runs away. The girls call after him but he doesn’t stop. doesn’t even look back. Diane looks at the money scattered on the ground. INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT Reggie lay on his bed, his face bruised and swollen. He ignores a KNOCK on the door. Someone tries the doorknob but it’s locked. RHONDA (O.S.) Reggie, boy open this door. He gets up, crosses the room and opens the door. Rhonda, still in her uniform, comes in and regards his face. RHONDA What happened? Who’d you get into a fight with? REGGIE Nobody. I slid head first into second base at the vacant lot. RHONDA (knows better) Did second base at least get a fat lip? Beat.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

50.

RHONDA If somebody’s picking on you, Reggie -REGGIE Nobody’s picking on me. RHONDA ...Well if they are, you tell me. REGGIE And what? What are you gonna do, Momma? What can anybody around here do about anything? He turns away from her and walks back to his bed. REGGIE Nobody around here cares. I mean look at it: old messed up buildings and houses, crappy yards. We don’t even have a park to play at. Why do we have to live here anyway? I hate it here. We ain’t got nothing. Rhonda looks at her son and we know she feels his hurt and frustration the way only a single mother can. RHONDA Reggie, baby, all we can ever do is make the best of what we have. REGGIE But why do some people get to have so much and we don’t? RHONDA (beat) You mean those people on the other side of Halsted? She sits Reggie down on his bed and sits next to him. RHONDA Did you get into a fight with some white boys over there? REGGIE No. RHONDA Is that the truth?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

51.

REGGIE Yeah, that’s the truth. RHONDA Then what did happen? REGGIE Momma, I don’t want to talk about it, okay? Beat. She runs her hand gently on his hair and kisses the side of his head. Then she goes to the door, turns and looks at him. RHONDA You do the best you can, baby, and don’t let anybody ever tell you you don’t deserve to have better in this world if you’re willing to work for it. Ever. You hear me? (he barely nods) Now go to sleep. Rhonda closes the door behind her. Reggie stares at it for a moment then looks at his brother’s still messy bed. INT. LOOMIS HOME - MOMENTS LATER Rhonda comes downstairs. She stops at a side table and looks down at the telephone. She picks up the handset and puts it to her ear. No dial tone; the phone’s been cut off. She replaces the handset and stares at the phone. EXT. DONNY’S BUILDING - MORNING Donny comes out to find Reggie waiting on the stoop, like always. He reacts to his friend’s bruised face. DONNY Ow! Damn, Reg, I heard Lorenzo gave you a beat down but I didn’t think it was that bad. REGGIE Yeah, well, it was that bad...Hey, you want to go downtown with me today? Downtown? DONNY What for?

52. EXT. OVERPASS - MORNING Reggie looks down at cars creeping along on the Dan Ryan Expressway. A silver train pulls into the station between the northbound and southbound lanes of traffic. After waiting a couple of beats, Reggie runs into the station. Donny, Gary and Marvin are right behind him. INT. 79TH STREET TRAIN STATION - CONTINUOUS The boys run into the crowded station and hop the turnstile. The TICKET AGENT shouts for them to stop, but the boys are seasoned pros; they scurry down the stairs and dart onto a train car as the doors close and the train leaves the station. INT. TRAIN CAR - MOVING - DAY We find our boys packed tight amongst COMMUTERS. Marvin is making lewd groping gestures at Reggie, who is wedged between a fat woman’s breasts and a pole. The train stops and starts and more passengers squeeze on board. Nobody gets off. Finally, the boys peek out from behind the mass of bodies to behold the Chicago skyline coming into view ahead. To the right of the northbound train, Lake Michigan stretches on and on, to the horizon. EXT. RANDOLPH STATION - DAY The boys exit the train and make their way down stairs to the street below the "El" station... EXT. THE LOOP (VARIOUS) - DAY QUICK CUTS of the hustle and bustle of the rush hour give us a sense of why Chicago is called "the city that works." The boys go with the flow... EXT. ART INSTITUTE - DAY The boys hang out on the steps near one of the iconic LIONS. GARY I’ll probably go to CVS, like Ced. They got a good auto shop there and the football team is good too.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

53.

MARVIN I’m gonna play football at Linblom. DONNY Don’t you have to pass an entrance test to go there? MARVIN Yeah. So? GARY So you ain’t passed a test since the second grade, and that was fitting shapes into holes. MARVIN Screw you, Gary! I can get into Linblom. Candy did. GARY Candy can read. Marvin flips him the finger. Gary plays him off.

DONNY I wanted to go to Linblom, but now I don’t know where I’m going after we move. My mom keeps talking about sending me to private school. MARVIN Private school?! Man, who can afford private school? Don’t Betty Ann know we’re in a recession? GARY What you know about a recession? Boy you can’t even spell recession. MARVIN That’s not what Pamela said to me when I was hitting that last night. She said your daddy never did it so good. GARY Negro please! The only thing you was hitting last night was your girlfriend "Palm-u-la." After the boys stop laughing --

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3) DONNY What about you, Reg, what high school are you going to?

54.

All eyes turn to Reggie, who has been silent throughout the ribbing. He’s watching the PEOPLE walk by in suits and nice dresses. DONNY Reg...you alright? REGGIE I probably won’t even go to high school. DONNY What? That’s crazy, Reg. You’ve got to graduate high school to get any kind of job. MARVIN Yeah, Jones, even I know that. REGGIE Naw, you gotta go to college to get any kind of real job. Like those people there... The boys follow his gaze to the people. REGGIE ...Otherwise you just end up at some plant or down at Sears on Sixty Ninth selling washing machines or something... That’s if you get a job at all... Art graduated and he can’t even get a job. The only folks making any real money back in the ’hood are the ones dealing drugs or ripping people off. You don’t need to go to high school for that... EXT. UPPER WACKER DRIVE - DAY Now the boys walk down the street, the Chicago River on their left, keeping their eyes alert for possible dupes. DONNY (nervous) I don’t know, Reg. want to do this?

You sure you

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

55.

REGGIE I’m sure I don’t got three hundred dollars, and I’m sure I don’t want to keep getting my ass kicked until I come up with it. MARVIN We got your back, Reg. Donny, stop being such a little bitch! DONNY Who you calling a little bitch? You baloney-sandwich-eatin’, strawberry pop drinkin’, stanky breath slob. Marvin, Gary and Reggie react: Donny is not normally so fast with the comebacks. But today they’re all in new territory. MARVIN Damn! Marvin high fives Donny. follow his eyes to A WHITE WOMAN attractive, in her mid-20s, pushing a baby carriage and looking more than a little bit harried. Her purse is open and something has fallen out. Reggie runs and picks it up it’s a MAKEUP COMPACT - then catches up to her. REGGIE Miss, you dropped this. WHITE WOMAN Oh thank you! Thank you so much! HER BABY is crying like crazy. The boys reach Reggie and go into an exaggerated routine to stop the baby from crying, making faces and silly sounds, etc. The baby bawls even louder and the woman is more frazzled. In the confusion, Reggie reaches into her purse, takes her WALLET and sticks it in the back of his pants. She doesn’t notice a thing. REGGIE Well, good luck with your baby, Miss. GARY Yeah, sorry we couldn’t help. Then Reggie stops them. The boys

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

56.

WHITE WOMAN (embarrassed, harried) It’s okay...Thank you. Reggie and the boys run off. EXT. LOWER WACKER DRIVE - MOMENTS LATER The boys stop running. Reggie opens the wallet, ignores the driver’s license and credit cards, and pulls out the CASH. GARY Well? REGGIE Fifty three dollars. MARVIN Damn, a couple more like this and you’ll have that three hundred in no time. The boys look at Marvin. REGGIE Try six more, Marv. MARVIN Whatever... (then, smiling) Damn, smell that? The boys lift their noses... INT. BILLY GOAT TAVERN - DAY The hole in the wall restaurant on lower Michigan Avenue, known for the "Chicago Cubs curse" and John Belushi’s Saturday Night Live skit, is crowded as always. The boys order cheeseburgers, chips and Pepsis, get a table and scarf their burgers, laughing and joking and having a good time. For a little while at least, Reggie forgets his troubles. EXT. LAKEFRONT/GRANT PARK - DAY The boys casually walk along the lake side of Lake Shore Drive, keeping an eye out for people to rip off. They cross at Buckingham Fountain and don’t get far before Reggie spies the white woman sitting on a park bench with the baby (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

57.

carriage. He stops and looks at her, sees that her eyes are red from crying. GARY C’mon, Reg, we better scoot before she sees us. Reggie isn’t listening. Instead, he walks towards the woman. The boys react, "Reg! What the hell, man?!" They reluctantly follow. EXT. PARK BENCH - CONTINUOUS The woman looks up as Reggie approaches. He reaches back and pulls the wallet from his pocket. In the b.g. the boys can’t believe their eyes. WHITE WOMAN ...You found it? REGGIE (beat) No ma’am...I stole it. (off her reaction) It’s all there. Fifty three dollars. We had lunch but I used my own money to pay for mine. The woman stares at him; we can’t tell if she’s upset or relieved or just bewildered. In the b.g. the boys are growing very agitated. They call to Reggie in urgent stage whispers: "Come on!" Suddenly, they bolt and we see why. A POLICE OFFICER strolls up to Reggie and the woman. POLICE OFFICER Is everything okay here, Miss? This boy bothering you? An uncomfortable beat as the woman and Reggie lock eyes. WHITE WOMAN Yes...I mean, no, he’s not bothering me. It’s fine. Thank you, officer. The police officer looks down at Reggie with skepticism. Then he tips his hat at the woman. POLICE OFFICER Have a nice day, Miss.

58. He walks away. other... OFF Reggie and the woman staring at each

INT. TRAIN CAR - MOVING - LATE AFTERNOON Reggie and the boys have seats in the half-empty train car. While the boys shoot the shit Reggie stares out the window at the Dan Ryan and the neighborhoods above gliding by. The endless gray concrete and drab buildings make for a bleak landscape as the train rumbles southward. Is this the only world he’ll ever know, all there is to look forward to? INT. BUS - MOVING - LATE AFTERNOON Now the boys are at the back of the bus shooting the shit. Reggie looks out the window at 79th Street rolling by. It’s a busy main artery that cuts through many South Side neighborhoods. Reggie’s blank expression suddenly changes as he sees something and gets an idea. He pulls the cord for a stop and goes to the rear exit door. DONNY What are you doing, Reg? our stop yet. It’s not

REGGIE I’ll catch you all back in the ’hood. The bus stops and Reggie hops off. EXT. FIRST APOSTLE CHURCH OF GOD - LATE AFTERNOON A rundown, two-story white brick building on the corner of the street. The yard is overgrown with weeds four feet high. Reggie enters the church through cracked glass doors. INT. FIRST APOSTLE CHURCH OF GOD - CONTINUOUS It’s quiet. Reggie passes the main hall, where foldout metal chairs sit empty. He goes downstairs. CHURCH BASEMENT Where the Sunday School, the cafeteria and other church activity rooms are. A group of CHURCH LADIES are meeting. One of them, SISTER SAMPSON, in her fifties with dark skin and glasses on a chain, notices Reggie. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

59.

Artemis? No ma’am.

SISTER SAMPSON Artemis Loomis. REGGIE I’m Reggie, his brother.

The church ladies turn to look at him. SISTER SAMPSON Look at you. Boy you’ve grown! Sisters, you all remember Rhonda Loomis’ boy, don’t you? SISTER BEA Chile, you sure you’re not Artemis? You sure look like him. REGGIE Yes ma’am, I’m sure. SISTER BEA is a large, older woman whose stiff silver hair is almost certainly a wig. Her face is so fat that her cheeks almost cover her eyes. SISTER BEA ...’cause you sure remind me of Artemis. SISTER SAMPSON That’s Rhonda’s eldest boy. Reginald here is the baby. How is your Momma doing? And your twin sister and your big sister’s child? REGGIE They’re all doing fine. SISTER BEA Come on over here, baby, and let me look at you. (he does) Look at you, boy! My, you’ve grown. REGGIE Yes, ma’am...I was looking for Reverend Case. SISTER SAMPSON You mean Bishop Case?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

60.

REGGIE Yes ma’am... SISTER BEA (squeezing his cheeks, arms) Is your Momma feeding you, son? You as thin as a reed. REGGIE Yes ma’am... SISTER SAMPSON Why do you need to see Bishop Case? SISTER BEA Why don’t your Momma come round to church no more? It’d do her a world of good. All of you. REGGIE I just need to see him... SISTER SAMPSON I believe he’s in his office. Reggie gently pries himself from Sister Bea’s vice-like grip and walks off to find... INT. BISHOP CASE’S OFFICE - LATE AFTERNOON BISHOP CASE, mid-fifties with a salt and pepper fade, is reading Robert Ludlum’s "Odessa File" in paper back and eating Church’s FRIED CHICKEN. A gentle KNOCK on the door and he wipes his mouth with a paper napkin. He speaks with a rich, resonate voice. Like God himself might have. BISHOP CASE Come in. Reggie enters. Bishop Case looks at him with caring but curious eyes. BISHOP CASE Yes, young man, what brings you to God’s house on a Friday afternoon? REGGIE (gathering his nerve) H-hello Rever -- I mean, Bishop...Well...I notice your yard is looking a little weedy.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

61.

Bishop Case reads the earnestness in Reggie’s eyes. He smiles and lets out a gentle, sonorous laugh as he puts his book and chicken aside. He motions for Reggie to take a seat. BISHOP CASE Yes, well, the Lord judges us not by our outward appearance but by the righteousness within? REGGIE Yes, sir. I know. I was just thinking that your yard could stand to look a little nicer. It being God’s house and all. BISHOP CASE I see. Well most of our volunteers come to help with the children or the elderly. They haven’t been inclined to take on our "jungle." REGGIE I mow lawns and cut hedges for folks on the other side of Halsted. I even know how to put down fertilizer and plant flowers and stuff. I could have your yard looking real good by service on Sunday. BISHOP CASE (smiles knowingly) ...And you’d like to volunteer to do all this work for the church? REGGIE Um...well, Bishop, I kinda need to make some money. BISHOP CASE Mmm-hmmm. That’s something you’ve got in common with a lot of folk. (then) How much money do you "need" to make? REGGIE I was hoping you could pay me...fifty dollars?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (3)

62.

BISHOP CASE (suppresses a smile) Is that what the white folks on the other side of Halsted pay for mowing their lawns and such? REGGIE ...No sir. BISHOP CASE But you want to charge that much to the church? REGGIE ...It’s a pretty big job, sir... Bishop Case fixes him with an inquisitive look, sizing up the boy’s character. After a long beat -BISHOP CASE Twenty five... EXT. FIRST APOSTLE CHURCH OF GOD - LATE AFTERNOON Reggie bursts out of the glass doors and runs onto 79th Street. MONTAGE - REGGIE HUSTLING Reggie makes the rounds up and down 79th Street: an auto repair garage, a florist shop, a Mom and Pop chicken shack, a day care center with screaming ankle biters running amok, barber shops and beauty shops...He offers his services lawn mowing, cleanup, sweeping, painting, you name it, whatever they need to perk the place up. He gets a lot of "no’s" but he gets a few "yeses" too. END MONTAGE INT./EXT. MISS TURNER’S GARAGE - SUNSET Reggie fills a large denim bag with an assortment of yard tools. He zips it up and drags it out the side door. He locks the door then puts the key back in its hiding place, under a large planter. Then, with effort, Reggie throws the bag over his shoulder and clanks away through the alley.

63.

EXT. LOOMIS HOME - NIGHT Reggie comes up to the house lugging the bag of tools. Cedric is sitting on the porch with Audrey and their baby. CEDRIC Hey, Reg, what you got there, man? REGGIE None of your business. He’s still got a chip on his shoulder from when Cedric stood by and let Lorenzo beat the crap out of him. AUDREY Well it’s gonna be Momma’s business if you try to take whatever that junk is into the house. He ignores them both and goes around the rear of the house, where he stashes the bag under the back porch. He goes back to the front to go inside. AUDREY Did you ever say ’Thank you’ to Ced for bringing your money back? REGGIE Diane’s the one who picked it up and gave it to him to give to me. AUDREY But Ced’s the one who brought it over. REGGIE Whatever. He goes inside. INT. LOOMIS HOME - CONTINUOUS When Reggie enters, Rhonda is on the couch watching t.v. news coverage of Vietnam in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal. Regina is on the floor coloring with Crayons. REGGIE (walking past) Hey.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) RHONDA Hey...Reggie, where have you been? REGGIE (playing dumb) Huh? Just down the block playing. RHONDA Well you weren’t with Donny and your other friends ’cause they came by here ’bout a half hour ago looking for you. REGGIE Um...yeah, I was over near Miss Dukes’ house. REGINA Oooo! I knew you liked Renee Dukes! REGGIE Shut up. REGINA You shut up. REGGIE You shut up. RHONDA Both of you, shut up...Reggie, are you sure you’re not getting into any trouble? REGGIE No, Momma, I’m not getting into any trouble. RHONDA ’Cause I don’t need any more trouble out of you. Artemis is bad enough as it is. REGGIE I’m not getting into any trouble, Momma. Reggie continues on his way upstairs. As he does --

64.

REGINA (singing) Renee and Reggie sittin’ in a tree, K-I-SS-I-N-G, first comes...

65. INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT Reggie pulls off his clothes and slides into bed in his Fruit of the Looms. He clicks off the light and stares at Art’s messy bed for a beat before closing his eyes. He’s got a big day ahead of him tomorrow. A lot of big days ahead of him. MONTAGE - REGGIE WORKING HARD FOR THE MONEY - Starting bright and early, Reggie hacks away at the Johnson grass around the First Apostle Church of God; - Sweeps hair clippings from JEROME’S BARBER SHOP; - Empties heaps of trash at BIG G AUTO REPAIR; - Cleans the grease trap at JO’S CHICKEN SHACK - Paints a picket fence at KID’S KORNER NURSERY SKOOL - Washes cars and showroom windows at VINNCENES USED CARS - And when Reggie isn’t working, he’s doing his best to avoid Lorenzo and Percy, Lorenzo’s stool pigeon. With help from his "boys", Reggie virtually disappears from the neighborhood from sun up to sun down. They all play dumb as rocks (not hard at all for Marvin) whenever Lorenzo asks where he is - which is repeatedly. - In the meantime, life in the neighborhood goes on - kids play at the field house and at the vacant lot; teenagers hang out at the Miller House jamming to the radio, getting high and making out. All of the teenagers, except for Lorenzo: he’s growing more impatient waiting for his money. END MONTAGE EXT. CLYDE’S SALON - DAY From outside the hair salon we see Lorenzo inside checking his do in a hand mirror. Satisfied, he gives the mirror back to the HAIRDRESSER and goes to the front of the shop to pay. When he comes outside he doesn’t get five feet before three twentysomething, hard-looking THUGS slide up next to him on the sidewalk. As they walk -THUG #1 Been looking for you ’Renzo. What’s up man?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) LORENZO (nervous) Hey...it’s all good. THUG #1 Is it? ’Cause I’m wondering where that three hundred you owe me is. LORENZO Aw, man, you know I’m good for it by Friday. THUG #2 What we know is we heard you was havin’ a problem gettin’ paid. THUG #3 Which means we might have a problem getting paid. THUG #1 (to Thugs #2 and #3) And we don’t like problems, do we fellas? Ungh-ungh. Yeah. THUG #2 We get rid of problems.

66.

THUG #3 Seriously.

LORENZO Ain’t gone be no problems, fellas. Ain’t gone be no problems. INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - DAY Reggie is counting his money on his bed: $175 mostly in $5s and $10s. He’s added $140 to his life’s savings. We become aware of a BABY CRYING. Then -AUDREY (O.S.) (calling out) Reggie! Reggie! Come here! REGGIE (calling out) Okay! Just a sec! Reggie collects his money in two neat stacks and hides it in two sneakers - the one we saw before and it’s equally worn out mate.

67.

INT. LOOMIS HOME, LIVING ROOM - DAY Audrey’s baby is bawling like the Dickens and Audrey is at the end of her rope. AUDREY You need to go down to Walgreens and get a prescription for infant Tylenol. You’re gonna have to wait there while they fill it. REGGIE Wait?! Why can’t you just call and I can pick it up. AUDREY Because, Dummy, the phone is still off! Now go on! (off his hesitation) Now boy! REGINA I’ll go with you. There’s no time for Reggie to protest. of the house. EXT. HALSTED STREET - DAY Reggie and Regina walk down the sidewalk on "their side" of Halsted. Regina is going on about the Fourth of July block party but Reggie’s eyes are scanning for trouble in the form of Lorenzo. They reach the busy intersection of 79th and Halsted and wait for the light to cross to the "other side." LORENZO (O.S.) (calling out) Hey! Reggie! Reggie turns and reacts. He takes the money for the baby’s medicine out of his pocket and jams it in Regina’s hand. Here! REGGIE You get the medicine! Regina leads him out

Before she can respond, he’s off and running down the street. Lorenzo and Percy run past Regina in hot pursuit of Reggie.

68.

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD (VARIOUS) - DAY It’s a wild chase through the streets, alleys and back yards of the neighborhood. Lorenzo and Percy get close a couple of times but the smaller, more agile Reggie darts over fences, past hanging laundry and through narrow gangways like a street rat. Finally, the winded teenagers give up and watch as Reggie scurries away on a familiar street. LORENZO (shouts) I know where you live, Reg! I’m gonna get my money or you’re gonna get yours! Little fucker! EXT. MISS DUKES’ HOUSE - DAY Reggie is walking by, lost in his mental misery. Renee, on the porch listening to "O-o-o Child" by the Five Stairsteps on her tape player and eating a Popsickle, sees him. RENEE (calls out) Reggie! He tries to ignore her. of the porch. She stands up and goes to the front

RENEE (louder) Reggie! REGGIE (it’s no use) Hey, Renee. She comes off the porch and meets him in front of the house. RENEE So you’re coming over in the morning to help my Grandma get things ready for the block party? REGGIE Um...well, I think I have something to do tomorrow. RENEE But you told Grandma you would help her.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2) REGGIE I did? RENEE (nods) Uhn-hungh. You and Donny and Gary and Marvin did. Grandma’s gonna be mad if you don’t come and help. REGGIE Oh...But I have to do something really important. RENEE The block party is really important. REGGIE (suddenly irritated) You don’t understand, Renee. have business to tend too.

69.

I

She calms him with her sweet, doe-like gaze. RENEE What’s the matter, Reggie? Where have you been? I haven’t seen you around all week. REGGIE Like I said, I’ve been tending to business. She looks at him and suddenly he feels self-conscious about the bruises still evident on his face. RENEE It’s alright, Reggie. Everybody knows that Lorenzo is a big jerk for beating you up... Hearing her say it is even more humiliating than when Diane, Gwen, Carla and the Donnas actually saw it happening. Reggie starts to walk away. REGGIE I gotta go now, Renee. RENEE I’m sorry, Reggie. Don’t be mad at me. You’ll come by tomorrow to help Grandma, won’t you? (he starts running) Reggie?!

70.

EXT. PARK - LATER Reggie finally stops running when he reaches a tree in the nice park on the "other side" of Halsted that we saw earlier. A little league baseball game is going on at one of the pristine diamonds. The PLAYERS are in nice uniforms with their names stiched on the back. Reggie watches as a kid whacks a pitch deep into the outfield. As the play unfolds, Reggie sinks to his knees and then sits back against the tree and he starts to cry. EXT. THE BLOCK - MORNING VOLUNTEERS from the neighborhood get ready for the big Fourth of July block party - barricades are put in place, barbecue pits are stoked, tables and chairs are set up, decorations and loudspeakers are hung, etc. Miss Dukes runs the show like someone who’s done it for years. Our boys, minus Reggie, pitch in with other familiar kids from the neighborhood. INT. LOOMIS KITCHEN - MORNING Rhonda and Regina put icing on a cake while Audrey feeds Nicole a bottle at the kitchen table. RHONDA (calling out) Reggie! We’re almost ready to go! Get a move on, boy! INT. REGGIE’S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Reggie sits on his bed, not ready to go at all. REGGIE (calling out) I’ll come later, Momma! RHONDA (O.S.) (calling out) You’ll come on now! I need you to help carry this food! Reggie looks at a calendar stuck over the desk. July Fourth is circled in red. Friday. Reggie rolls his eyes and succumbs to the inevitable.

71.

INT. LOOMIS KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS The Loomis women are packing up cakes, cookies and side dishes galore. RHONDA What is wrong with that boy lately anyway? Audrey and Regina exchange a look. They’ll bust Reggie out on trivial shit all day long but they won’t rat him out on something serious. Not even to their mother. He’s still their brother. Reggie enters, still grumbling. REGGIE Momma do I have to go?! RHONDA In a word? Yes. Weren’t you supposed to help Miss Dukes with the setup anyway? REGGIE She got enough people helping already. And I had something I needed to do today. RHONDA Boy, what you got to do on Fourth of July besides play in the street and eat ice cream ’til you bust? REGGIE But Audrey don’t have to go, why do I? Audrey shoots him a dangerous look. RHONDA Is your name "Audrey?" I didn’t think so. Here, take this. She hands him a Tupperware container and Audrey gives him a satisfied smirk. Alright. RHONDA Let’s go.

As Regina and Reggie file out of the kitchen --

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

72.

RHONDA Audrey, you remember what I said. Be a bunch of crazies out on the Fourth, so you tell Cedric if he don’t want to see me get crazy on him, he better have you and my baby back in this house by ten o’clock. AUDREY Okay, Momma. We’ll be back by ten. RHONDA (kisses Audrey and Nicole) You have a good time, now. AUDREY We will. EXT. THE BLOCK - DAY A DISC JOCKEY cranks jams through loudspeakers. Reggie and Regina put their food containers on a table right next to one. Donny, Marvin and Gary rush over. BOYS Reg! REGGIE Hey. MARVIN Hey, ’Gina. Marvin’s goofy grin tells us he’s smitten by Regina. The roll of her eyes tells us the feeling is nowhere close to mutual. REGINA Marvin. The boys are ready to have some Fourth of July fun. GARY C’mon, Reg, let’s go man! They tear off down the block but before he leaves, Marvin smiles at Regina. MARVIN See you later, ’Gina.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

73.

REGINA (under her breath) Not if I see you first. MONTAGE - BLOCK PARTY Over the next hours the street fills with people cooking and eating and drinking and laughing like there’s no tomorrow. The gray neighborhood with it’s rundown houses and overgrown yards has come alive with people - soulful people - who know how to have a good time under the hot summer sun: - Donny’s mother, Betty Ann - who we now see is hugely pregnant - and her tall, gregarious husband, LAMONT, talk excitedly about the upcoming birth of their baby. - Miss Dukes, normally the essence of propriety, "gets down" to Labelle’s "Lady Marmalade", singing the words "Voulez vous coucher avec mois" with emphasis to MR. DUKES. - Kids play in the street up and down the block; girls jump double dutch and dance to the funk, boys pop wheelies on their bikes, light firecrackers and throw water balloons at the girls. Even Reggie forgets his troubles and gets caught up devouring the barbecue ribs, cob corn and potato salad. - Reggie and the boys line up for ice cream. Donnas dole it out of big tubs. DIANE Here you go, Donny. I gave you an extra big scoop ’cause you’re extra sweet. She smiles at him and licks ice cream off her finger. Donny stands there holding his ice cream cone, mesmerized, until Reggie nudges him. - The boys sit on a curb enjoying their cones. Marvin, whose shirt tells us everything he’s eaten during the day, takes a big lick that knocks the cream off onto the ground. He picks it up, plops it back onto the cone and continues licking, dirt and all. The boys react, disgusted. DONNY Damn, Marv! You’re one nasty, messy bastard, you know that? MARVIN (mouth full) That’s just what Betty Ann said when I was all up in that ’bout nine months ago. (CONTINUED) Diane and the

CONTINUED: (3)

74.

Donny reaches over and hits Marvin in the shoulder. boys laugh and keep eating their ice cream.

The

- The sun is setting as Rhonda begins collecting her empty Tupperware containers. Earth Wind and Fire’s "That’s the way of the world" comes over the loudspeaker and she pauses to listen while taking in the scene of the block party. Seeing everyone so happy and carefree warms her. Then sadness clouds her face. Something is missing. END MONTAGE EXT. VACANT LOT - NIGHT Firecrackers pop like mad. Ricky and the boys wave Roman candles and chase Niecy, Renee and the girls. EXT. STAND OF TREES - NIGHT Reggie catches up to Renee in the stand of trees behind "center field." She stops and turns on him. All of a sudden he’s not sure who’s chasing whom. The sparks from his Roman candle illuminate their faces. RENEE Well? REGGIE Um...well, what? RENEE Do you like me or not, Reggie? He’s at a loss. She didn’t really need to ask. She smiles and just like that leans close and kisses him on the lips. Reggie doesn’t know what to do. She smiles again. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - NIGHT A group of teenagers - but not Lorenzo - hang on the porch and stairs as usual. Monique and her girlfriends - who we remember from the field house - stroll up, all hips and tits and ’tude. They get a cool reception from Diane, Gwen, Carla and the Donnas. But the fellas like what they see. Monique. here? DIANE What’re you doin’ round

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

75.

MONIQUE I still live around the corner, Diane. CARLA What she means is why don’t you and your hussie friends go back around the corner so decent people can enjoy themselves. MONIQUE Well seeings how I ain’t run into any "decent" people around here, you hoochies shouldn’t mind that we came by. Carla and the girls react; the teenage boys stifle snickers. MONIQUE Anyway, I was just looking for Ced. GWEN What you looking for Ced for? He ain’t got nothing to say to you. MONIQUE He had plenty to say to me when he was layin’ up in my bed last night. GWEN You lyin’ bitch! What would Ced want with a high yellow heifer like you? MONIQUE (cool, casual) Apparently whatever it is he ain’t getting from your rusty black ass. Gwen is on her feet. GWEN The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice, ho. MONIQUE You keep on tellin’ yourself that, bitch.

76.

EXT. STAND OF TREES - SAME Reggie and Renee are talking. RENEE You made that much money in a week? That’s really something, Reggie. REGGIE Yeah, but I got to give all of it to Lorenzo. RENEE Reggie, it’s not right. You know he’s just going to use it to get more drugs and sell more drugs. REGGIE I know that, but what -The sound of ARGUING VOICES stops Reggie. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - SAME Gwen and Monique are all up in each other’s faces. Both sets of girlfriends egg them on and the guys eagerly await the inevitable. GWEN You stanky slut! MONIQUE Filthy ass skeezer! Gwen slaps the shit out of Monique, who retaliates by grabbing Gwen’s hair. It’s on! The girls slug, kick and claw at each other. Their friends circle round and cheer them on. Reggie, Renee, Niecy, Ricky, Regina and all the kids come running out of the trees and marvel at the cat fight. INT. LOOMIS HOME - SAME Rhonda comes out of the kitchen just as Audrey and Cedric come in the front door with the baby. They’re loaded down with typical street hawker junk - stuffed animals, popcorn, etc.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

77.

AUDREY Hi, Momma. Hi. RHONDA Did you have a good time?

AUDREY (smiles) Uhgn-hungh, we did. for me and Nicole.

Ced won this

She holds up a teddy bear dressed in red, white and blue. EXT. MILLER HOUSE - SAME Gwen and Monique are still going at it. Reggie and Renee watch the melee. Suddenly, A HAND clutches the back of Reggie’s neck. LORENZO Where’s my goddamn money, Reg?! Reggie turns and gets WHACKED hard across his face by Lorenzo and falls to the ground. All of a sudden, the girls’ cat fight isn’t the main attraction anymore. The crowd watches in mute embarrassment as Lorenzo manhandles Reggie. Reggie scrambles to his feet and tries to run but Lorenzo trips him up and he’s on the ground again. LORENZO I want that money, Reggie! I know you’ve been working for it so where is it?! REGGIE I got almost half of it. it -I’ll give

Lorenzo kicks him hard in the stomach. LORENZO Wrong answer, little man. I want all of it. And if I can’t get the cash, I’m gonna take it out of your ass. Tonight! Lorenzo picks Reggie up by the neck and smacks him in the face again and again.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

78.

Stop it! him!

RENEE Stop it!

You’re hurting

Donny and Gary rush Lorenzo to help Reggie but Percy blocks them and knocks them both down. DIANE Hal, do something! Diane’s boyfriend just watches; like all of the other boys, he’s too afraid to interfere with the angry drug dealer. INT. LOOMIS HOME - SAME Audrey finishes changing the baby’s diaper on the couch as Cedric continues telling Rhonda about their trip downtown. The telephone RINGS. Rhonda and Audrey look at each other before they both look at the phone in disbelief. It RINGS again. CEDRIC Want me to get it? Rhonda ignores him and goes to answer the phone. RHONDA Hello? MISS DUKES (V.O.) Rhonda, it’s Dorothy. You better get over to the Miller House. RHONDA Oh my God, what’s wrong? MISS DUKES (V.O.) It’s your boy. Just get over there as soon as you can. Rhonda hangs up and heads to the door. AUDREY Momma, what is it? RHONDA It’s Reggie. What’s wrong?

79.

EXT. VACANT LOT - CONTINUOUS Lorenzo flings Reggie into the dirt. He rolls over and we see his nose and mouth are bloodied. He’s crying. Renee, Regina, Diane and the teenage girls, including Gwen and Monique, are yelling at Lorenzo to stop, but he’s too busy beating Reggie to pay them any heed. Then -HEY! ART (O.S.) Get off of him! The crowd parts to

Lorenzo stops swinging and turns around. let Art come through.

LORENZO (winded) The best thing you can do for your little brother is get me my damn money. Art strides over to Lorenzo, who is about to say something else but is stopped by a WICKED RIGHT HOOK from Art. Lorenzo stumbles back then regains his balance and rushes Art. But Art sidesteps and trips him into the dirt. Lorenzo gets to his hands and knees. The snickering from the kids makes him even more enraged. He gets up and rushes Art again. A huge mistake. Art proceeds to beat the ever loving shit out of Lorenzo. The crowd goes along as Art kicks his ass all round the Miller House and to the front again. Finally, Art rips a rotted two-by-four from the porch and smashes it across the back of Lorenzo’s head. Lorenzo hits the dirt for the last time, beaten, bloodied and barely conscious. Art leans over him, winded but steely in his resolve. ART The best thing you can do is never touch my brother again...I see you around here again, selling drugs or anything, this is gonna seem like a sparring match... Reggie! RHONDA (O.S.) Reggie!

Now the crowd parts for Rhonda as she runs from across the street into the vacant lot. She grabs Reggie and hugs him. Then she looks up and sees Art, standing over Lorenzo. She reaches out her hand for Art and he walks to her. She embraces him and Reggie both.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

80.

Audrey and Cedric hurry across the street. the baby.

He’s carrying

AUDREY Reggie, oh, baby are you alright?! She hugs him. Regina comes over too and takes his hand.

Gwen and Monique both take note of Cedric holding the baby and the two girls exchange a look of shame. Reggie wipes the tears from his eyes. He looks up at Renee. Her warm smile seems to wash away all of his hurt and humiliation. RHONDA Come on, let’s go home. EXT. 79TH STREET - DAY The boys ride their bikes down the sidewalk, weaving past the occasional pedestrian. Reggie, as usual, is perched on Gary’s handlebars. GARY I still can’t believe Betty Ann named her "Diane." DONNY That’s just her middle name. first name is Serena. MARVIN That’s a white girl name. DONNY It’s not a white girl name. MARVIN How many black girls you know named "Serena?" That’s right, none! Sounds like Buffy or Muffy or some other skinny, blond tennis-playing girl if you ask me. DONNY Well nobody asked your messy ass. REGGIE So Donny, what’s it like staying over at Miss Dukes’ house? Her

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

81.

GARY (big smile) What, you mean you don’t know already? MARVIN Yeah, Reg! Much time as you been spending up on Miss Dukes’ porch with Renee, we figure you already been all up in that. Reggie rolls his eyes just as the boys stop in front of a shabby storefront. A faded awning sign reads, "Kappy’s Sports World" and "Summer Sale" signs are in the windows. INT. LOOMIS HOME - DAY Rhonda sits on the couch next to Art, holding his hands. RHONDA You’re absolutely sure you want to do this? ’Cause it’s not too late to change your mind. ART I’m sure, Momma. I’d been kicking it around for a while. I just knew how you felt about the service. But now that the war is over... RHONDA They always having wars, Artemis, you know that. ART (beat) I know, Momma. Look, Momma, I’m all signed up. I’m all ready to go. (she’s about to protest) I know what you’re going to say, Momma, that I can find a job here sooner or later and that I can stay at home until I do. I know all of that. But this is what I want to do to help my family. This is the job I want. I want to be Marine. Audrey comes in the front door with Regina, who is holding the baby in her arms.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

82.

AUDREY The car’s here. Rhonda finally cracks and tears fill her eyes. cover by feigning irritation -RHONDA Where’s Reggie?! That boy knew he was supposed to be in this house before you left. We hear the sound of feet bounding onto the porch outside then the door flies open. Hey! REGGIE Sorry I’m late! ART Hey, Reg. REGGIE The car’s outside. REGINA Duh! Art slings his duffel bag over his shoulder. ART Well, I guess this is it. Regina and Audrey both come in for a hug and kiss. Art kisses baby Nicole. He gets a big hug from Rhonda who can’t stop the tears from flowing now. Then Art looks down at Reggie. ART Well, I guess you the man now, Reg, huh? REGGIE I guess. ART You look after these Loomis ladies while I’m gone. They need looking after. AUDREY (a laugh) Boy please! But she smiles. So does Reggie, his big bright smile. She tries to

83.

EXT. LOOMIS FRONT PORCH - CONTINUOUS Reggie and the Loomis ladies follow Art out of the house. A MARINE SERGEANT waits at the curb next to a black sedan. A few people from the block stand outside their houses to see Art off too. Art hugs Rhonda again then starts down the stairs. He stops and turns to Reggie. Sticks his hand in his pocket. ART I almost forgot, Reg. this. I owe you

He gives Reggie the $5 he borrowed - the same crisp FIVE DOLLAR BILL that Reggie got from Miss Turner. Reggie takes the $5. Art looks down at him with that brotherly smile, then he’s down the steps and in the sedan with the Marine. OFF Reggie looking after the car as it pulls away... INT. MISS TURNER’S HOME - DAY Miss Turner pours lemonade into two ice-filled glasses. Over this we hear: MAN’S VOICE (V.O.) I mean it, if I get my hands on that boy, I’m going to -TEENAGE GIRL’S VOICE (V.O.) Dad, you’re being completely unreasonable. David and I are both eighteen! We’re old enough to make our own decisions. WOMAN’S VOICE (V.O.) Van, Kay, please, let’s all take a minute to talk this through, rationally... Miss Turner takes the glasses of lemonade through her home, past the plastic-wrapped furniture and the color television set where "As the World Turns" is on, and continues to -EXT. MISS TURNER’S FRONT PORCH - CONTINUOUS Miss Turner hands a glass of lemonade to Renee, who is sitting in one of the two wicker chairs.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: (2)

84.

RENEE Thank you, Miss Turner. MISS TURNER You’re welcome, dear. (sits in other chair) Oh, my, it’s going to be quite a hot one today. They sip their lemonade and look out onto the yard, where we notice two bicycles - one of them a girls’ model with a pink seat and the other a red boys’ bike with a sissy bar parked out front. We become aware of the sound of a lawn mower - the old-fashioned kind without a motor - as it whooshes over grass. REGGIE sweating in the hot mid-day sun, pushes the lawn mower. He pauses to look up on the porch at Renee and Miss Turner. They both smile at him. He smiles back and continues pushing the mower... MUSIC - STEVIE WONDER’S "HIGHER GROUND" as CAMERA CRANES up we look down on Reggie mowing away. MISS TURNER (O.S.) He’s such a sweet boy. Yes ma’am. RENEE (O.S.) He is.

The music gets louder as the CAMERA CONTINUES TO CRANE UP higher and higer, showing Reggie mowing the lawn, Miss Turner’s house, then her neighborhood, the busy avenues of 79th Street and Halsted, Reggie’s neighborhood, more of Chicago’s South Side, etc., until we... FADE TO BLACK. THE END

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