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The Lizard, the Fox and the Crow

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OVER A BLACK SCREEN:
A computer voice relays an automated voice message and MAGGIE NEWBAKER’S voice announces her name. As the tone goes off: A light blue sky with fluffy clouds is shown.
MARY JEAN (V.O.)
Hi momma.
MARY JEAN, (#8 years old), is lying on the rooftop of her house, sprawled out like a starfish, with a phone on her stomach.
MARY JEAN
I got you on speaker. Mostly cause I'm too tired to pick up the phone. Sandra's been working me real hard lately,  my arms are sore just thinking about it. She says it's cause we gotta be the "women of the household" now, but one day I got to thinking, - against my gooder judgement - and I was hit with the TV kind of idea that it's because of you, momma. Lord and Jesus knows why she's gotta replace someone so far from where we are but, trust me, she does.
A dodgeball flies across the roof, knocks the phone off Mary Jean's stomach, and into her backyard. She peers over and sees RICKY, (#12 years old), who is looking back up at her from her front yard. She climbs into her window, through her house, and throws open her back doors. Mary Jean picks up the broken phone from her backyard and, as she makes her way back through the kitchen, she runs into SANDRA, her stepmother. Mary Jean throws open the front  door, with Sandra following behind. Mary Jean shoves the broken phone in Ricky's face.
MARY JEAN
You! Look what you did!
SANDRA pulls MARY JEAN back.
SANDRA
Get away from that boy right this instant, young lady!
Mary Jean struggles to get away from her.
MARY JEAN          
He broke my phone!  
2.
SANDRA
Your phone? You don't have a phone. Just wait until your father hears about this.
MARY JEAN
But I-
SANDRA
Don't you talk back to me!
(Pause)
Now apologize to this young man. And don't come inside 'till you do.
MARY JEAN
You just don’t want me talking to my momma!
Sandra slams the front door. Mary Jean sits on the ground and tries to fix her phone. Ricky timidly walks up to her.
RICKY          
I'm sorry. 
MARY JEAN
How am I supposed to talk to my momma now?
RICKY         
You could use my phone.
MARY JEAN
No, don't you have any common sense, you Lizard? She won't pick up if she don't recognize the number.
RICKY
Well, how are you planning on fixing it?
Mary Jean gets up, thoroughly excited, and hands him the phone. She starts to nods vigorously.
RICKY
Wait!? What makes you think I can fix your phone?
Mary Jean looks at him with a “puppy dog face” and starts to whimper. Ricky pauses, then looks back at the moving trucks in his driveway.
3.
RICKY
Well, I guess I don’t have anything better to do.
Mary Jean squeals and runs toward Ricky's house.
MARY JEAN
That’s your house. I saw your momma there yesterday from my roof. Got any tools in that shed of yours, Lizard?
RICKY
That's my pap’s shed. You shouldn't go near it.
RICKY'S MOM opens the screen door of her house and peeks out. She shouts:
RICKY'S MOM
Ricky! When did you disappear? I told you not to leave the house.
Ricky and Mary Jean climb the steps of the house.
MARY JEAN
Hi Mrs. Lizard! I'm Mary Jean Newbaker. You can call me Mary Jean. We was wondering if we could use some tools to fix this phone here.
Ricky and his mom exchange glances. Mary Jean holds up the phone, barely held together.
INT. DINING ROOM OF RICKY'S HOUSE – AFTERNOON
Mary Jean and Ricky sit at a dining room table, tampering with the phone using abundant amounts of glue and tape.
MARY JEAN
You know, Lizard, your momma is real nice. If I didn't have one of my own then I would settle for her just fine.
RICKY
Mary Jean, why do you call me Lizard?
MARY JEAN
Cause you blend in. Like one of those Cha-mel-eo-con Lizards.

When you put one of them up to an orange, they turn orange. But when you take ‘em off, they ain't orange no more. Except, a Lizard like you don't blend with colors.
4.
RICKY
What do I blend in with?
MARY JEAN
Emotions. You know, feelings and stuff. You knowed I was sad and then you got sad too. That's blending.
RICKY
Oh.
MARY JEAN
My daddy’s a lion. And my momma's a Crow. I learned on TV that they is the most intelligent animals in the all the States. Just like me.
RICKY          
Are you a crow too? 
MARY JEAN
Oh, Lord and Jesus no. I still gotta grow into that.
RICKY         
What animal are you, then? 
MARY JEAN         
Well, what animal do you think I am, Lizard?
RICKY
I don't know. Maybe a fox. Because you're fast and smart.
Mary Jean laughs.
MARY JEAN
Gosh darnit, Lizard. I keep having to get used to your sense of humor. My daddy was right when he said Northerner's gotta different way'a movin' their mouths.
Ricky is silent. 
5.
MARY JEAN
It’s ok. I don't know what I am neither. Of course, I want to be falcon. They’re the fastest birds according to TV. I would fly and travel to see the whole town. Maybe even the whole state if I'm lucky.
(pause)
You could come too. If you want.
RICKY          
Are you kidding?         
MARY JEAN
No, Lizard. Don't you know me at all? I never kid. I only lie.         
RICKY
Aren't kidding and lying the same thing?
MARY JEAN
No. Kidding is funny. Lying is serious.
(pause)
And I ain't old or lonely enough to have to apologize to anyone yet neither.

Ricky is silent once again.
MARY JEAN
It sure is quiet in here. Do you got any siblings, Lizard?
Ricky shakes his head. 
                             MARY JEAN
Then who do you play with?         
RICKY
My friends. I used to have them before I moved here.         
MARY JEAN
I can be your friend. Cause I ain't got siblings neither. I used to have one, but he died of a real disease. I think it was called "childs-girth" or something medical like that.
6.
RICKY
Oh, I'm sorry, Mary Jean. I'm sure he was a good person. 
MARY JEAN          
And just how do you know that, Lizard?
RICKY
Because "Only the good die young." My pap used to tell me that.       
MARY JEAN
Ain't that just because they haven't had a chance to turn evil?
A knock at the door draws them out of their conversation. STEVEN NEWBAKER, Mary Jean's dad is at the door. She sees him and gets up.
MARY JEAN
You know, Lizard, I'm actually starting to like you. I'll see you tomorrow.
Mary Jean picks up the phone, joins her dad and exits.      
INT. DINING ROOM OF RICKY'S HOUSE – NIGHT
Ricky looks out of the window of his house and sees Steven Newbaker lecturing Mary Jean in her kitchen. He throws the old, broken phone in the trash and then holds up a new one. He points toward the stairs and Mary Jean sulks up them.  Ricky looks back into his house and walks up the stairs to his own bedroom. We hear Ricky's mom quietly sobbing though a crack in her door. Ricky goes in his room and shuts the door.
EXT. THE FRONT OF RICKY'S HOUSE – MORNING
Mary Jean eagerly knocks on Ricky's front door. Ricky's mom answers and Mary Jean runs past her.
MARY JEAN          
Hey Mrs. Lizard!
INT. THE DINING ROOM OF RICKY”S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS
Mary Jean enters the dining room. Ricky is eating breakfast.
RICKY          
Where's the cell phone?         
7.
MARY JEAN
My daddy got a new one yesterday. It's blue and nice and shiny.
Mary Jean opens the back door of Ricky's house and goes into his backyard. He abandons his breakfast to follow her.
RICKY         
So that's good, right?         
Mary Jean reaches the shed in Ricky's backyard and pries open the doors. She goes in and sees an extremely scarce amount of tools, a rope, and a shovel.
RICKY
Hey! I told you this is my pap’s-
MARY JEAN
Geez, ain't Northerners supposed to be rich? Your daddy's really gotta get to filling this place up, Lizard.
Mary Jean hands Ricky a flashlight, along with many other miscellaneous items she picks up off the wall.
RICKY
What are you doing, Mary Jean? You have a new phone now! Aren't you happy?
Mary Jean stops removing tools and looks at Ricky.
MARY JEAN
Lord and Jesus, Lizard, do I gotta spell it for you? A new phone means  a new phone number. Now when I call my momma, she won't know to listen cause she won't know it's me on the other end! Is that what you want?
RICKY shakes his head.
MARY JEAN
Then we gotta go to where my momma is staying and give her my new number. It's the only way. Here, take this shovel.
RICKY
Why would we need this?
8.
MARY JEAN
You never know what you will need on an adventure, Lizard. Now come on.
EXT. A SIDEWALK PATH – MORNING
Mary Jean runs along a path to find Maggie Newbaker; Ricky is trailing behind. He is carrying a bag of tools.
MARY JEAN
We're almost there! I can see it if I squint my eyes.       
RICKY
What are you talking about? There aren't any houses around here, Mary Jean.
MARY JEAN          
There it is! Come on Lizard!  
She starts to run.     
EXT. A GRAVEYARD - MOMENTS LATER
Mary Jean runs until she reaches a tombstone and Ricky approaches, out of breath, still carrying the bag of tools.
MARY JEAN
  Quick! Get out the shovel!       
RICKY
Where are we? Where is your mom?
Mary Jean takes the bag from him and gets out he shovel. She starts digging.
MARY JEAN
She’s here! I know it ‘cause I saw her go in!
He takes the shovel from her.
RICKY          
No! You can't just dig up this        grave!
MARY JEAN
How else are we supposed to get the message to her?       
9.
RICKY
Wait, Mary Jean, is your mom down there?

Mary Jean takes the shovel back and continues to dig.
RICKY
She can't hear you, Mary Jean! She doesn't know you're here!
She keeps digging.
MARY JEAN          
You don't know that.       
RICKY
This is crazy. You are crazy. I'm going!
He starts to walk away.       
MARY JEAN
Wait! Where are you going Ricky?
RICKY
I'm leaving, Mary Jean!
MARY JEAN
(desperate and crazed)
But, you.. you said you would help me!
RICKY          
I don't want any part of this!                            
MARY JEAN          
Fine, then go!       
Mary Jean drops the shovel, runs, and pushes Ricky onto the ground, next to the bag. They are silent for a minute. Ricky picks up the bag and walks away. Mary Jean watches him as he fades into the distance.
EXT. A GRAVEYARD - NIGHT
Mary Jean sits on the stump of a tree by her mother’s grave. Steven Newbaker walks to  her, picks her up in his arms, and takes her to his car.
EXT. THE FRONT OF RICKY'S HOUSE - DAY
Ricky is playing alone in his front yard. He walks up to his front door and sees a note taped to it. It reads:
10.
MARY JEAN (V.O.)
Lizard - I apologize. I ain't lying neither. See you tomorrow. – Fox
Ricky looks up at MARY JEAN on her roof and smiles.
EXT. THE ROOFTOP OF A HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Mary Jean is lying out like a starfish on top of her house with her dad's phone open in her lap. She sees a crow fly by above her and then land in front of Ricky. She gets up and sees him smiling at her. She smiles back. Mary Jean lies back down and closes her dad's phone. We now only see a blue sky with fluffy clouds.
MARY JEAN
I'll talk to you later. Bye momma.
She closes her eyes and the screen goes black. We hear the sound of the tone, like at the end of a phone call message.




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