The Percentile is against the screenplays in our library.
|At least one Character Changes in the scene||7.2||92|
|Story Moves Forward||7.2||20|
|Internal Goal Score||8.0||54|
|External Goal Score||6.8||10|
Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here
Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Emotional Impact||8.7||97||A Quiet Place: 8.6||The whale: 8.7|
|Character Changes||7.2||91||The sweet hereafter: 7.1||The whale: 7.2|
|Characters||8.4||73||Mo: 8.3||American hustle: 8.4|
|Internal Goal||8.03||53||Mr Robot: 8.00||The whale: 8.03|
|Engagement||8.59||46||Scott pilgrim vs. the world: 8.58||The whale: 8.59|
|Originality||6.62||45||Breaking bad, episode 306: 6.50||The whale: 6.62|
|Overall||8.2||45||The sweet hereafter: 8.1||Donnie Darko: 8.2|
|Conflict Level||7.2||33||Pinocchio: 7.1||American hustle: 7.2|
|High Stakes||6.5||23||Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: 6.4||Boyz n the hood: 6.5|
|Dialogue||7.3||22||The Wizard of oz: 7.2||face/off: 7.3|
|Plot||7.6||19||What we do in the shadows: 7.5||Erin Brokovich: 7.6|
|Story Forward||7.2||17||Madmen: 7.1||Scott pilgrim vs. the world: 7.2|
|Concept||7.4||16||Mind Hunter: 7.3||legally blonde: 7.4|
|Pacing||8.10||13||Queens Gambit: 8.00||The whale: 8.10|
|External Goal||6.83||9||Queens Gambit: 6.79||The whale: 6.83|
|Structure||8.03||8||Everything Everywhere All at Once: 7.97||The whale: 8.03|
|Formatting||8.79||6||Inglorious Basterds: 8.67||The whale: 8.79|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement||Technical Aspects|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Originality Score||Characters||Character Changes||Internal Goal||External Goal||Conflict||Opposition||High stakes||Story forward||Twist||Emotional Impact||Dialogue||Engagement||Pacing||Formatting||Structure|
|1||The Whale||Critical, Sarcastic, Serious||8||7||6||6||7||2||8||6||2||4||3||5||7||4||6||9||9||10||8|
|2||Charlie's Health Scare||Boredom, Confusion, Panic, Awkwardness, Tentative||9||8||8||7||9||7||8||6||7||7||7||8||6||9||8||8||9||9||9|
|3||A Life in Limbo||8||8||9||7||9||7||8||9||9||7||8||8||7||9||8||9||8||10||8|
|4||The Lonely Night||Somber, Reflective, Regretful, Desperate||9||8||7||7||9||7||8||7||6||7||5||7||6||9||6||8||8||9||9|
|6||A Fractured Reunion||tense, emotional, confrontational, heartbreaking||8||8||7||7||9||7||8||6||7||8||6||8||7||9||7||8||7||9||9|
|7||Delivery Boy Interlude||Anxious, Lonely, Guilty, Desperate||8||7||7||4||8||6||8||6||5||6||4||6||5||9||6||7||8||9||8|
|8||A Desperate Reconnection||Anxious, Tense, Regretful, Angry||9||8||8||8||9||7||9||7||9||7||9||8||8||10||7||9||7||8||7|
|10||Reconnecting Through Literature||Confrontational, Anxious, Regretful, Resentful||8||7||8||9||9||8||8||6||9||7||7||8||6||9||8||9||8||7||7|
|11||Charlie's Bathroom Breakdown||Anxious, Lonely, Regretful||8||7||6||5||9||8||8||7||5||7||7||6||5||9||6||9||9||7||8|
|12||Awkward Encounter||Tense, Awkward, Confrontational||7||6||8||8||7||6||8||6||8||7||6||8||7||7||8||9||8||9||7|
|13||Confrontation and Revelation||tense, emotional, confrontational||8||7||8||7||9||8||8||6||8||7||6||7||7||9||9||8||8||9||9|
|14||Charlie's Struggle||Tense, Confrontational, Emotional||8||7||8||7||8||8||8||7||9||7||7||7||6||9||8||9||9||8||9|
|15||A Clash of Beliefs||Tense, Confrontational, Angry, Sad||9||8||9||7||9||7||9||8||9||9||9||8||8||10||8||10||9||9||9|
|16||Charlie's Reflection||Tense, Confrontational, Emotional, Regretful, Reflective, Hopeful||7||6||6||5||7||7||8||7||6||7||4||6||6||8||5||7||8||9||8|
|17||Father and Daughter||tense, emotional||9||8||7||6||10||9||8||7||9||7||6||7||7||10||9||9||8||9||8|
|18||Ambien Sandwiches||Tense, Emotional, Sarcastic, Intense||8||9||7||6||8||7||8||7||8||8||7||8||7||9||9||9||8||9||8|
|19||Revelations and Confessions||Intense, Emotional, Tense, Awkward||9||8||8||8||9||8||7||8||7||7||6||8||7||8||9||9||8||9||9|
|20||Revelations and Reconciliation||Intense, Emotional, Tense, Awkward||8||7||8||4||9||8||7||6||8||8||7||9||7||9||7||9||9||10||8|
|21||Revelations and Betrayals||Intense, Emotional, Tense, Awkward||9||8||8||7||7||9||9||6||9||8||8||8||9||10||8||9||8||9||8|
|22||Reconciliation and Regret||Tense, Awkward, Sad||8||7||6||4||9||7||8||7||6||6||4||5||5||9||8||9||7||9||8|
|23||Confrontation and Reconciliation||tense, emotional, honest||8||7||8||9||8||8||7||8||8||7||7||8||7||9||7||9||8||8||8|
|24||Reconciliation and Loss||Tense, Emotional||9||8||7||7||9||7||8||7||7||9||8||7||6||9||8||9||8||9||8|
|25||Tension and Reflection||Tense||8||7||8||6||9||8||8||7||7||7||7||7||6||9||7||7||8||9||9|
|26||Revelations and Pain||Tense, Emotional, Intense||10||9||8||8||9||8||9||8||9||8||9||8||6||10||7||9||8||8||7|
|27||Friday||Tense, Emotional, Reflective||8.5||8||9||7||9||8||8||7||7||6||6||7||5||9||8||9||8||9||8|
|28||Confrontation and Farewell||Tense, Emotional, Defeated, Hopeful||9||8||9||8||9||8||7||5||9||6||8||8||6||10||8||9||8||8||7|
|29||The Final Revelation||tense, emotional, confrontational||9||8||8||7||9||8||8||8||9||8||8||8||6||9||9||9||8||9||7|
As credits continue, we begin to hear:
“There were many aspects to the
book The Great Gatsby. But I was
bored by it because it was about
people I don’t care about and they
do things I don’t understand. In
conclusion, The Great Gatsby wasn’t
so great, LOL.”
Pause. The sound of typing on a laptop, a mouse clicking.
We begin to see images of rolling crop fields from the
Palouse region of northwestern Idaho.
CHARLIE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
The problems here are painfully
obvious. No discernible thesis,
almost no analysis whatsoever...
I’m going to post the entire paper,
what I want from you is a three to
four paragraph response providing
concrete ideas for revision.
The sound of a computer chiming. The images of the hills
continue, beginning to vaguely resemble ocean waves.
CHARLIE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Also, those of you who haven’t
given me paper four, I need it by
Friday, no exceptions.
TITLE: THE WHALE
CHARLIE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
And remember: the more revision you
do, the better. The more you
change, chances are the stronger
these papers will be. Alright?
A squalid, desolate one-bedroom apartment. Empty food
containers everywhere, nothing has been properly cleaned for
months if not years.
Present in the apartment are: a television, a couch covered
with a soiled bedsheet, a recliner, a rolling desk with a
laptop on top, towels, various two-liter soda bottles, a mini-
CHARLIE, a man in his 40s weighing around 600 pounds, is on
the couch in front of his laptop, masturbating to gay porn.
He struggles to reach his penis, bending over awkwardly. His
breathing becomes more shallow as he maneuvers his hand
around his stomach.
Suddenly, he has sharp pain in his chest. He doubles over.
He starts to reach for his cellphone but has another surge of
pain. He accidentally knocks the cellphone to the floor, it
bounces underneath the couch.
He leans back, struggling to calm himself down. The gay porn
continues to play in the background.
In his panic, he leans over toward the mini-fridge, grabbing
a folder off the top of it. Inside the folder is a well-worn
essay with a “D-” grade written on the cover page. The title
of the essay is “Moby Dick”. He looks at it.
A knock at the door. CHARLIE looks.
Pause. Another knock at the door.
It’s not locked, just come in! I
need help, I--!
The door opens and THOMAS, 19, appears. He wears a shirt and
tie, holds a few books.
Oh my God.
Oh, gosh, are you--? Should I call
THOMAS notices the gay porn, still playing. CHARLIE reaches
forward and shuts the laptop. THOMAS starts frantically
searching for a telephone. CHARLIE extends the essay to him.
Read this to me.
THOMAS continues to search for the phone.
I don’t have a cell phone, where’s
Please just read it to me.
THOMAS looks at him, unsure of what to do.
PLEASE JUST READ IT TO ME!
THOMAS grabs the essay from CHARLIE.
“In the amazing book Moby Dick by
the author Herman Melville, the
author recounts his story of being
at sea. In the first part of his
book the author, calling himself
Ishmael, is in a small seaside town
and he is sharing a bed with a man
named Queequeg--” What is this,
why am I reading this?! I need to--
Just read it, any of it!
“I was very saddened by this book,
and I felt many emotions for the
characters. And I felt saddest of
all when I read the boring chapters
that were only descriptions of
whales, because I knew the author
was just trying to save us from his
own sad story, just for a little
CHARLIE’s breathing begins to return to normal. The pain
starts to slowly subside.
“This book made me think about my
own life, and then it made me feel
glad for my...”
CHARLIE takes a few deep breaths, lies back on the couch. He
grabs a towel, wipes the sweat off his face.
Yes. Yes, it--.
Where’s your phone? I need to call
I don’t go to hospitals.
Look I can’t help you, I don’t--
I don’t go to hospitals.
Sorry. You can go, I’m sorry.
Thank you for reading that to me.
CHARLIE reaches for the essay, THOMAS gives it to him.
THOMAS eyes the door, then turns back to CHARLIE, unsure of
what to do.
Are you sure you’re okay?
CHARLIE nods, carefully putting the essay back into the
THOMAS looks at CHARLIE for a moment longer, then heads
toward the door. He is almost out of the apartment when he
stops, looks back at CHARLIE. CHARLIE looks at him.
Do you know the gospel of Jesus
I represent New Life Church? I’m
sharing Christ’s message of love
THOMAS trails off. An awkward silence, THOMAS looks down.
Listen, I should call my friend.
She’s a nurse, she--takes care of
THOMAS looks up, takes a few steps toward CHARLIE.
Oh. Yeah, sure, do you have--?
My cellphone fell under there, can
CHARLIE points under the couch. THOMAS goes to the couch,
bends down. He reaches under the couch, hesitates a bit when
he sees the old trash and wrappers stuffed underneath. He
finds the phone, gives it to CHARLIE.
Look I--. I don’t know what’s
gonna happen in the next few
minutes, if you don’t mind, could
Pause. THOMAS considers.
Yeah, of course.
CHARLIE looks up a number on his cellphone. THOMAS closes
What was--? That thing you had me
read to you?
It’s an essay. It’s my job, I
teach online classes on expository
But why did you want me to read it
Pause. CHARLIE pushes send, puts the phone to his ear.
Because I thought I was dying. And
I wanted to hear it one last time.
CHARLIE, shirtless, sits on the couch as before. LIZ takes
his blood pressure with an oversized cuff. THOMAS stands in
a corner, trying not to look at CHARLIE.
You should have called an
With no health insurance?
Being in debt is better than being
CHARLIE takes a deep breath, sweat pouring down his face and
onto his chest. He grabs a towel, wipes his forehead.
LIZ listens for his blood pressure. She reads the high
number. Her eyes widen. CHARLIE looks at her.
LIZ reads the lower number. She looks at CHARLIE, then takes
off the cuff.
Tell me what you felt.
Pain, in my chest. It was hard to
breathe, I couldn’t intake air.
How are you sleeping?
I’m tired all the time. I’ve been
sleeping on the couch, I can
LIZ takes out a stethoscope. CHARLIE bends forward as best
as he can, LIZ listens to his breathing.
I always wheeze, Liz.
CHARLIE takes a deep breath, it causes some pain in his
chest. He winces.
What was my blood pressure?
LIZ takes the stethoscope out of her ears, grabs CHARLIE’s
shirt, putting it over CHARLIE’s head.
238 over 134.
Pause. CHARLIE raises his arms, LIZ helps him put on the
LIZ pulls the shirt the rest of the way down CHARLIE’s torso.
THOMAS watches, uncomfortable.
CHARLIE reaches for his walker, unable to reach it.
Could you--? I haven’t been to the
bathroom all day, I’m ready to
LIZ hands CHARLIE his walker. She holds it to the floor,
putting all her weight on it, allowing CHARLIE to brace
himself on the walker and stand up. CHARLIE starts making
his way toward the bathroom, LIZ watches him.
You need help?
No, I’m fine, just--. Sorry.
What are you sorry about?
Sorry, I don’t know. Sorry.
CHARLIE makes his way down the hallway, wheezing heavily.
LIZ watches him, then turns to THOMAS. Awkward pause.
I should go.
Thank you. For helping him.
THOMAS starts gathering his things, about to head toward the
You out spreading the Word?
You’re from New Life, right?
Pause. THOMAS nods, smiles slightly at her. LIZ goes to the
couch, takes the bedsheet off of it.
You know Doug, from the church
Oh, yeah, I think so? I mean I’m
sort of new so I don’t--
He’s my dad.
LIZ throws the dirty bedsheet into a hamper, then goes to a
closet and gets a clean one.
Oh really? Oh that’s--that’s
really great, I didn’t realize
you--. I’ve never seen you there--
I fucking hate New Life.
LIZ spreads the clean bedsheet over the couch.
My dad forced me to go when I was a
kid. It was awful, growing up with
all that end times bullshit...
You’re young, you really wanna
believe the world is gonna end?
THOMAS considers, wording his answer very carefully.
I think that when Christ comes
again, it’s going to be--a
LIZ finishes with the bedsheet, then goes to a window, opens
it. She pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one,
blowing smoke out of the window.
Look, you can go. I know Charlie
appreciates the help.
I’d love to talk to him about the
Listen, New Life Church has caused
him--caused us--a lot of pain.
So he doesn’t need this.
Especially not now, not this week.
Why not this week?
Because he’s probably not going to
be here next week.
Where is he going?
We begin to hear the sound of CHARLIE wheezing from down the
hall, the clank of his walker on the carpet. LIZ throws her
cigarette out the window, shuts it.
CHARLIE emerges from the hallway on his walker.
I’m sorry you had to come over,
And I’m sorry I always think I’m
LIZ goes to CHARLIE, speaking to him as he heads back to the
Charlie your blood pressure is 238
CHARLIE arrives at the couch. He braces himself on his
walker and the arm of the couch, collapses down into a seated
position with a sharp pain in his chest. He hides it as best
Go to the hospital.
Stop saying you’re sorry, go to the
You have congestive heart failure.
If you don’t go to the hospital,
you’re going to die. Probably
before the weekend. You. Will.
Silence. CHARLIE thinks, then reaches for his computer,
pulling it towards him.
Then I should probably keep
working, I have a lot of essays
I know, I’m an awful person. I
know. I’m sorry.
LIZ collapses onto a recliner, exasperated. CHARLIE looks at
THOMAS takes a step toward CHARLIE.
LIZ glares at THOMAS. THOMAS backs away, gathers his things,
then heads toward the door. He stops, turns to CHARLIE.
I still don’t understand why you
wanted me to read that essay to
It’s a really good essay.
I actually thought it was pretty
It got a bad grade. But it’s a
really, really good essay.
LIZ stands, moving toward THOMAS. THOMAS hurries outside,
LIZ shuts the door behind him. LIZ looks at CHARLIE.
Pause. They stare at one another.
I think--I need to call Ellie.
Maybe just--. Say goodbye?
What, so you’re like--giving up?
What else am I supposed to do?
Go to the hospital!
Okay, I could go to the hospital.
Rack up several hundred thousand
dollars of hospital bills, and then
last--what? A year? Maybe?
Nice positive thinking, Charlie.
This affects me too, you know?
You’re my friend.
I know. I’m sorry.
You say you’re sorry one more time
I’m gonna shove a knife right into
you, I swear to God--
Go ahead, what’s it gonna do? My
internal organs are two feet in at
LIZ smiles despite herself. CHARLIE laughs, the laughter
causing some pain in his chest.
Pause. LIZ relents, goes to the couch. She finds the
television remote, turns on the television. She sits next to
CHARLIE, putting her head on his shoulder. She flips through
the channels absent-mindedly.
I’ve been telling you this would
Haven’t I been telling--?
LIZ continues to flip through channels.
Silence apart from the television. LIZ continues to flip
More silence. LIZ flips a few more channels.
LIZ flips a few more channels, then stops. She gets up, goes
to the kitchen. She opens up a shopping bag, takes out a
large bucket of gas station fried chicken. She brings the
bucket to CHARLIE and gives it to him without looking him in
She sits back down, continues to flip channels.
She flips another channel, lands on an episode of Judge Judy
(or something). CHARLIE starts to eat the chicken.
I’ve seen this one, it’s good.
CHARLIE continues to eat the chicken, LIZ watches television.
CHARLIE, alone, in front of the television which plays a late-
night program. The chicken bucket is full of bones that have
been licked clean, he is eating the last piece.
He finishes the piece, throws the bone in the bucket with the
others and puts the bucket on the ground. The effort of
bending over causes pain in his chest.
(softly, to himself)
In the first part of his book, the
author, calling himself Ishmael, is
in a small sea-side town and he is
sharing a bed with a man named
The pain subsides. CHARLIE takes a couple of deep breaths.
He lifts his shirt up, barely managing to pull it off of his
The author and Queequeg go to
church and later set out on a ship
captained by the pirate named Ahab
who is missing a leg, and very much
wants to kill the whale, which is
named Moby Dick, and which is
CHARLIE bends over, reaching under the coffee table. He
barely reaches a half-full bucket of water with a sponge
floating in it. He puts the bucket in his lap, squeezes the
water out of the sponge, and starts to clean himself, taking
special care to clean in between the flaps of flesh.
In the course of the book, the
pirate Ahab encounters many
hardships. His entire life is set
around trying to kill a certain
whale. I think this is sad because
the whale doesn’t have any
emotions, and doesn’t know how bad
Ahab wants to kill him.
CHARLIE wets the sponge, then sticks his hand into his pants,
cleaning his crotch and in between his legs.
He’s just a poor big animal. And I
feel bad for Ahab as well, because
he thinks that his life will be
better if he can kill this whale,
but in reality it won’t help him at
CHARLIE reaches behind the couch, taking out a broom handle
with a towel tied to the end of it. He wets the towel in the
bucket, leans forward on the couch, and then reaches the
towel around to his back. The effort of lifting his arms
causes pain in his chest. He squints.
INT. - HALLWAY - SHORTLY LATER
CHARLIE moves down the hallway on his walker, breathing
heavily. He goes to the end of the hallway, opens a door and
barely manages to fit through the doorway.
INT. - BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS
A soiled, uncovered king-sized mattress lies in the middle of
the floor, surrounded by empty food containers and empty and
half-full two liter soda bottles. Bracing himself on the
walker, CHARLIE manages to slowly lower himself down onto the
mattress. His knees and chest ache as he descends. He
buries his head in his chest, struggling to breathe.
Finally, he is able to lay flat on the mattress. He stares
up to the ceiling, wheezing, taking a few deep breaths.
He reaches for a bottle of soda. He opens it, takes a long
drink, then continues to stare up at the ceiling.
And I feel bad for Ahab as well,
because he thinks that his life
will be better if he can kill this
whale, but in reality it won’t help
him at all.
CHARLIE puts the soda bottle on the floor, leaving the cap
off. He closes his eyes, listening to the sound of his heart
beating, struggling to pump blood throughout his body.
This book made me think about my
own life. This book made me think
about my own life. This book made
EXT. - PALOUSE LANDSCAPE
Shots of rolling hills of the Palouse, wind rushing over
them. As the images continue, the wind begins to vaguely
sound like the sound of waves lapping against the shore.
INT. - HALLWAY - MORNING
CHARLIE is making his way down the hallway toward the
bathroom. It takes a large amount of effort for him to move,
he puts all of his weight onto his walker as he slowly moves
CHARLIE hears a soft cooing, he looks at an open window. A
bird is perched on the sill. He looks at it for a moment,
CHARLIE looks away from the window, then goes toward the
bathroom. He finally makes his way to the bathroom door,
INT. - BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS
A series of shots of CHARLIE getting ready for the day.
Using mouthwash, struggling to take his shirt off, wiping
down his body with a wet cloth, brushing his teeth, applying
deodorant all over his torso as best as he can, a meager
attempt at smoothing over his hair.
INT. - KITCHEN - MORNING
CHARLIE opens up a kitchen drawer, there are several loaves
of sliced bread inside. He grabs one of them.
As he removes the loaf of bread, he sees an old stash of
candy bars hidden in the back of the drawer. He takes a few
of the candy bars, having forgotten he put them there. He
opens one, examining the label. It’s obviously a few years
He puts the candy bar back into the drawer.
INT. - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
CHARLIE, breathing heavily, stands at the counter tearing off
tiny pieces of bread and putting them on a small plate.
As he puts the pieces of bread onto the plate, his eyes
continually drift to the drawer with the candy bar stash.
INT. - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
CHARLIE opens the drawer with the candy stash, grabbing a
candy bar. He opens the wrapping, eats half of it with two
quick, large bites. He then wraps up the remaining half, and
begins to put it back in the drawer.
He re-opens the drawer, is about to place the half-eaten
candy bar inside, then stops. He looks at the candy bar for
INT. - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
CHARLIE stares at the kitchen counter where at least half a
dozen candy bar wrappers sit in a pile. He stares at them
for a moment.
Scooping up all the wrappers with his hand, he opens the
cabinet under the sink and shoves them to the bottom of the
trash can, hiding them. He shuts the cabinet, then grabs the
plate of bread crumbs.
INT. - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
CHARLIE places the plates of bread crumbs on the window sill.
CHARLIE, covered with sweat from the move to the living room,
collapses on his couch with his walker. He takes his
computer, opens it.
He types “congestive heart failure” into Google.
He scans the Wikipedia article. His heart rate begins to
He goes back, does another search: “congestive heart failure
He scans through a few results. Sweat builds on his
forehead, his pulse quickens.
He goes back, does another search: “congestive heart failure
As his heart rate spikes, he has a sudden pain in his chest.
He grabs his chest, breathing heavily, wheezing. He shuts
the computer, slowly calming himself down.
He thinks for a moment, then looks at his cell phone.
The sound of flapping wings. CHARLIE looks to the window,
the bird is back, tentatively eating the bread off the plate.
CHARLIE looks at it, smiling slightly.
ELLIE, 17, holding a backpack, stands in the open doorway
looking at CHARLIE, who sits on the couch.
A silence between them.
Does this mean I’m gonna get fat?
No, it doesn’t. I was always big,
but I just--let it get out of
ELLIE shuts the door, moving inside a bit. She scans the
room, not looking at CHARLIE.
Was your mom okay with you coming
I didn’t tell her, she would’ve
freaked out. Why don’t you just go
to the hospital?
It’s not worth it.
CHARLIE shifts a little on the couch, the movement causing
some pain in his chest. He takes a breath in. ELLIE watches
It’s really good to see you, you
look--beautiful. How’s school?
You’re a senior, right?
ELLIE looks at him.
Since when did you care?
I pester your mom for information
as often as she’ll give it to me.
So why aren’t...? Don’t you have
Got suspended this morning.
I sent a text to my stupid bitch
lab partner that the vice-principal
said was “vaguely threatening”.
ELLIE moves inside a little more, eyeing the room. She keeps
her distance from CHARLIE.
You don’t like school?
Only retards like high school.
But--you’re gonna pass, right?
Failing most of my classes,
counselor says I might not
graduate. I’m a smart person, I
never forget anything, but high
school is such bullshit. Busywork.
ELLIE glares at him. Pause.
So, listen, if you called me
because you need help going to the
bathroom or something--
No, that’s not why I...
ELLIE wanders into the kitchen. She looks around, opens
drawers. One drawer is packed almost entirely with cereal
bars, another is packed almost entirely full of canned pasta.
I didn’t call you over to do
anything disgusting, I just--
Just being around you is
disgusting. You smell disgusting.
Your apartment is disgusting. You
look disgusting. The last time I
saw you, you were disgusting.
There’s no way you could remember
that, you were four years old.
ELLIE comes out of the kitchen, faces CHARLIE.
I’m a smart person, I never forget
anything. In the living room, with
that old red couch and the TV with
the wood frame. Mom was screaming
at you and you were just
apologizing over and over. I
remember that. Can I have one of
ELLIE goes back to the kitchen, opens a drawer. She takes
out a box of donuts, opens it up and takes one out. She
comes out of the kitchen, nibbling on the donut.
CHARLIE looks at her, thinking. Pause.
I’d like for us to spend some time
together this week.
Maybe we could get to know one
another a little bit--
I already know you, and I don’t
want to get to know you any better.
C’mon, we don’t even--
I know that you left me and my mom
so you could be gay. And now I know
that since then you’ve become--
ELLIE indicates CHARLIE’s body.
Why the fuck would I want to get to
know you any better?
Pause. ELLIE looks at him for a moment, then heads toward
I don’t even know why I’m here.
ELLIE opens the door, about to leave.
I have money, Ellie.
ELLIE stops, looking at him.
You were serious about that?
Yes. And I can help you with your
work. It’s what I do for my job.
CHARLIE grabs his laptop, opens it up. His web browser is
open to an online university message board for one of his
courses. He shows it to ELLIE.
ELLIE glances at the screen.
I can help you pass your classes.
You teach online?
Your students know what you look
CHARLIE closes the laptop.
I don’t use a camera. Just a
That’s probably a good idea.
ELLIE considers for a moment, then opens up her backpack,
takes a few steps toward CHARLIE. She rummages around in her
backpack, looking for something.
If I show a lot of improvement in
one subject, my counselor says I
might be able to pass. You can
rewrite these essays for English,
and they have to be really good.
ELLIE takes couple essays out of her backpack, hands them to
CHARLIE. CHARLIE takes them, looks at them.
I don’t know if I should write them
for you, I can work with you on--
How much can you pay me?
Everything I have, all the money I
have in the bank.
ELLIE stares at him. Pause. CHARLIE relents.
A hundred and twenty thousand.
Pause. ELLIE looks at him, doubtful.
I never go out, all I pay for is
food, internet, rent... And I work
all the time.
And you’d give that all to me? Not
to my mom, to me?
Yes, just--. Don’t tell your mom,
And maybe you could do some
writing. For me.
You’re a smart person. I bet
you’re a strong writer. Plus I’m a
teacher, I want to make sure you’re
getting something out of this.
Fuck this, I don’t believe you.
ELLIE heads toward the door, about to leave. She stops,
turns back to CHARLIE.
Stand up and walk over to me.
Come over here. Walk toward me.
CHARLIE pauses, then reaches for his walker.
Without that thing. Just stand up
and come over here.
Ellie, I can’t really--
Shut up. Come over here.
Pause. CHARLIE looks around, trying to find something to
brace himself on. Finally, he puts one hand on the arm of
the couch. He struggles to roll forward so he can put his
weight onto his legs. ELLIE watches him silently.
The effort of bending forward produces chest pain, but he
doesn’t stop. He is almost able to get on his feet, but a
surge of pain brings him back to the couch.
He looks at ELLIE. She stares back at him, motionless.
He grabs the edge of an end table, bracing himself. He puts
all his effort into it, and manages to rise a few inches off
the couch. He keeps his eyes locked on ELLIE.
Just as it looks like he might be able to stand, the end
table gives way, two of the legs cracking in half. It takes
a lamp with it, along with a stack of papers and a half-empty
CHARLIE falls back onto the couch, the impact causing him a
lot of pain. He rolls back, dizzy with pain and lack of
He breathes for a moment, managing to calm himself down. He
opens his eyes, then looks back at ELLIE.
ELLIE stares back at him, unmoved.
CHARLIE is sitting on the couch on his laptop, looking at
ELLIE’s Facebook page, scrolling through pictures. Most of
the pictures are of ELLIE alone, brooding.
He looks at her friend list, sees that she has a total of 17
A knock at the door.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
CHARLIE shuts the laptop.
Yeah, you can--. I put a twenty in
the mail box?
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
You can just leave it at the door.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
Yeah, I--. I remember.
Pause. CHARLIE looks at the door, not hearing anything.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.) (CONT’D)
Everything okay in there?
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
Yeah, I’m fine.
Pause. CHARLIE listens, finally we hear the sound of the
mailbox opening and shutting, the DELIVERY BOY walking down
the steps and leaving. CHARLIE waits for a moment, then
moves toward the door.
INT. - FRONT DOORWAY - CONTINUOUS
CHARLIE opens up the door, there is a large box sitting on
the floor in front of his door. The sound of a car door
shutting, a car driving off is heard in the parking lot.
CHARLIE looks down to the parking lot, sees the DELIVERY BOY
driving away. He watches the car leave the parking lot and
disappear down the street.
CHARLIE sits on the couch. LIZ sits next to him, holding a
small machine with some electrodes attached to it. As
CHARLIE breathes in and out, we see that the electrodes are
attached to CHARLIE’s palm.
Breathe slowly, relax.
LIZ watches the number on the machine. Silence. She
breathes in and out, CHARLIE does as well.
What’s it supposed to--?
It measures perspiration, it’s an
indicator of stress.
It’s about establishing a
relationship between your brain and
your body. If you know how to make
yourself calm, then your blood
LIZ shows him the number on the machine, which is going down
I don’t need a little machine to
tell me how to take a few deep
breaths and stop sweating.
Yes. You did.
LIZ puts the machine in CHARLIE’s lap and goes to the
kitchen. She starts to unpack groceries: frozen fish sticks,
potato chips, sub sandwiches, frozen wings, ice cream,
instant ramen noodles, two-liter sodas, etc.
I’m not saying it’s a solution, I’m
just saying it could help.
LIZ finds a very large, empty box of ice-cream sandwiches on
the counter. She exhales, holds the box up to CHARLIE.
CHARLIE looks at her, apologetic. LIZ throws the box in the
trash, looks away, continues to unpack groceries.
Look we’re just gonna try some
different methods or whatever, if
you refuse to go to the hospital
LIZ sees an essay on the counter. She sees the name on the
top of the page, recognizes it. She takes the essay and
leaves the kitchen, showing it to CHARLIE.
She wasn’t here, was she?
CHARLIE looks at LIZ, apologetic.
LIZ throws the essay in his lap, goes back to the kitchen,
I’m sorry, I just wanted to see
her, I’m... I’m sorry.
Pause. LIZ continues to stock the kitchen.
Well she’s not coming back, right?
CHARLIE doesn’t say anything. LIZ stops putting away
groceries, goes to him, glaring at him.
It’ll be fine.
Look, Liz, I wasn’t planning on it,
but she just--. She’s--really
angry, you know.
Which is why she shouldn’t be
coming over here, stressing you
She needs some help in school, so
I’m just going to help her with
You haven’t seen this girl since
she was four, and you wanna
reconnect with her by doing her
homework for her?
LIZ notices the number on the machine, which is going back
Charlie, calm down--
Frustrated, CHARLIE takes the electrodes off, puts the
machine on the couch next to him.
LIZ glares at him, then grabs the machine and takes it to a
chest of drawers, opening a drawer. Inside is an entire
universe of medical supplies: lotions, clean towels,
deodorants, over-the-counter medications, ointments, etc.
She tosses the machine inside the drawer and closes it.
I’m worried about her.
CHARLIE opens up his laptop, still open to ELLIE’s Facebook
page. He scrolls through it a bit.
I don’t think she has any friends,
I don’t think she’s...
I’m worried she’s forgotten what an
amazing person she is.
You haven’t seen her since she was
four, how would you know she--?
(seeing the computer)
Dammit Charlie, are you on her
fucking Facebook page again?
LIZ goes to CHARLIE, looking at the computer. CHARLIE
scrolls through her profile.
I’m just trying to--
CHARLIE lands on a specific photo, stops. The photo is of
MARY, a woman in her mid-forties but who looks considerably
older. The photo is unflattering: she’s sitting on a couch
in dowdy clothes, scowling at the camera.
CHARLIE and LIZ look at the photo for a moment. LIZ looks at
CHARLIE, then shuts the laptop.
She’s just a teenager, everyone’s
insane when they’re a teenager.
When I was that age, when my dad
would really piss me off?
LIZ goes back into the kitchen, putting the rest of the
I’m just lucky I didn’t get
arrested, I’ll say that much.
CHARLIE doesn’t respond, opens the laptop a little, just so
much that he can barely look at the screen. The photo of
MARY comes back up. He looks at it. LIZ goes back to
Point is, bringing her over here is
a bad idea.
LIZ grabs a meatball sub, brings it to CHARLIE. CHARLIE
shuts the laptop.
It’ll be fine--
LIZ looks straight into his eyes.
You’ve got enough to deal with
right now, you hear me? Do not
bring her over here again.
CHARLIE looks at the meatball sub in LIZ’s hand. LIZ
continues to stare at him.
LIZ hands CHARLIE the meatball sub, then heads back into the
kitchen. CHARLIE unwraps the sub and begins eating it,
It’s not like she’s alone, you
know. She has her mom.
CHARLIE takes a big bite of the sub, accidentally inhaling a
large chunk of meat. His windpipe is blocked.
LIZ has her back turned to him, washing her hands in the
If she comes over here she’s just
gonna stress you out, which you do
not need right now. And promise me
you will stop looking at her
CHARLIE has begun to panic. He reaches into his mouth,
trying to pull out the piece of meat. It doesn’t work.
LIZ finally turns around, sees CHARLIE. She goes to him.
Are you choking? Oh God, are you
LIZ, not knowing what to do, pushes CHARLIE forward. She
hits his back a couple of times, it doesn’t work.
Okay, okay--lean over the arm!
LIZ helps CHARLIE move so that the base of his stomach is
over the arm of the couch. She circles the couch, climbs on
top of him. Putting all her weight into it, she attempts to
give him the Heimlich Maneuver.
The first few attempts don’t work, but finally on the third
or fourth attempt CHARLIE spits the chunk of meatball out
onto the carpet.
Shit. Oh shit, Charlie.
CHARLIE leans back on the couch, in an immense amount of
pain. He takes a few deep breaths.
I’m okay. I’m okay.
Silence. CHARLIE breathes. LIZ stares at him.
GODDAMMIT CHARLIE, WHAT IS WRONG
Chew your food like a normal human
being! You could have just died
right in front of me, you--!
Silence. LIZ looks away, struggles to calm down.
Finally she goes to the kitchen, grabs a wad of paper towels.
She goes back to the couch, cleaning up the piece of sub that
CHARLIE coughed up.
I’m sorry, Liz.
LIZ throws away the piece of sub, then goes back to CHARLIE.
She sees the partially eaten meatball sub on the floor. She
considers, then picks it up, looking at it.
LIZ brushes it off a bit, then extends it to CHARLIE.
CHARLIE looks at it, then her. He takes the sub. LIZ looks
away, grabbing the remote.
House is on. The one about the guy
whose arm has a mind of its own,
something like that.
LIZ finds the channel, puts the remote down, not looking at
CHARLIE. She goes back to the kitchen, starts washing her
You want a Dr. Pepper?
I asked if you want a Dr. Pepper.
CHARLIE looks at the meatball sub.
Shots of rolling hills in the Palouse, wind rushing over
them. The sound of the wind now starts to fold more
distinctly into the sound of waves, the hills move in way
that begins to resemble an ocean landscape.
INT. - BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING
A cellphone alarm rings. CHARLIE, asleep on the mattress on
the floor of his bedroom, jolts awake. He is covered in
sweat, his heart is pounding.
He stares up at the ceiling, wheezing. His cellphone alarm
continues to ring, he reaches across the mattress to where
his phone is resting, turning off the alarm. He breathes.
INT. - KITCHEN - LATER THAT AFTERNOON
CHARLIE is in the kitchen, looking for food. The television
is on in the background playing daytime TV.
He searches through a few drawers, finds an old box of
Slimfast breakfast bars that are at least two years old. He
opens up the box, takes out a couple bars and starts eating
He turns to the fridge and opens it, discovers there is very
little food. He takes out the pizza box from before, looks
inside--only a few crusts remain. He takes them out, starts
eating them. He looks around the fridge, sees a large jar of
mayonnaise that is about half-empty. He looks at it for a
second, considers, then takes it.
He takes the remaining crusts, dips them in mayonnaise and
INT. - LIVING ROOM - LATER
Leaning on his walker and breathing heavily, CHARLIE is at a
bookcase looking through several old notebooks. Most of them
are old and well-worn.
Finally he finds what he was looking for--a blank notebook
with a purple cover. He grabs it, tries to pull it off the
shelf. The notebook is wedged in well, he keeps tugging at
Finally the notebook gives way. As he pulls it off the
shelf, a few pieces of paper that were stuck beside the
notebook fall to the ground. CHARLIE looks at them.
CHARLIE see that the papers are an old essay, somewhere
around fifteen years old, on Faulkner’s The Sound and the
Fury. CHARLIE stares at it.
INT. - BEDROOM - SHORTLY LATER
CHARLIE leans against his walker, facing some shelves on his
bedroom wall. He is staring at an old, worn box underneath
some papers on the top shelf. He breathes in and out.
Leaning against his walker, he reaches for the box with one
hand. He can barely reach the box, but is unable to get a
decent grip on it.
He reaches up again, his knees buckle and he nearly falls to
the ground. He catches himself on his walker, wheezing.
He looks back up at the box.
INT. - BEDROOM - SHORTLY LATER
CHARLIE has retrieved his reaching claw, he is leaning on his
walker, reaching up toward the box.
With the claw he’s finally able to get a grip on the box. He
pulls it off the shelf, it falls to the ground. He looks at
INT. - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
CHARLIE collapses down onto his mattress from his walker,
wheezing heavily. He reaches over, pulling the box toward
He reaches into his pocket, pulling out the essay from before
on The Sound and the Fury.
He holds the essay in his hand, looking at the box,
Finally, he opens up the box.
Inside are a few framed photos, a Bible, some small trinkets
including a seashell.
CHARLIE looks into the box for a moment, considering taking
the photos out to look at.
He stares at the open box for a moment, becoming upset. He
holds back a wave of tears, gasping slightly. He has a sharp
pain in his chest, he winces.
He quickly throws the essay inside the box, shutting it. He
puts the box on the ground, shoving it a few feet away from
him. He looks away, breathing heavily.
ELLIE sits in a corner, typing on her iPhone. CHARLIE is on
the couch reading an essay. ELLIE continues to type.
CHARLIE steals a few glances at ELLIE. ELLIE doesn’t look up
from her phone.
ELLIE, sensing him look at her, finally puts her phone down
and glares at him. CHARLIE smiles at her, she stares at him
ELLIE goes back to typing on her phone. CHARLIE looks at the
essay for a moment.
“In the poem ‘Song of Myself’ by
Walt Whitman, the author tells us
how amazing he is. He tells us
that he is better than everyone
else, and that people should listen
to what he says, because he is so
He looks to ELLIE, she is unmoved. She continues to type on
You know, this--... This isn’t
what the poem is about.
Yes it is. I read it.
But he’s not really talking about
himself, he’s using the metaphor of
“I” to explode the entire
definition of self to--
Oh my God I don’t care.
Pause. ELLIE continues to type, not looking at CHARLIE.
You know I actually think you might
like it if you actually read it--
ELLIE finally looks up from her iPhone, looks at CHARLIE.
You’re just like my teachers, you
think that just because I don’t
like it, that means I didn’t read
I didn’t say that--
I did read it, which is how I know
it’s bullshit. He thinks his
“metaphor of I” is deep and shit,
but actually it doesn’t mean
anything and he’s just some
worthless 19th century faggot.
Pause. ELLIE stares at him for a moment. CHARLIE looks back
at her, unhurt, a hint of a smile on his face. ELLIE waits
for a response, doesn’t get one, then goes back to her phone.
Just write down what you were
saying, my English teacher will
CHARLIE looks at the essay again, reads a few more sentences.
His eyes drift back to ELLIE.
CHARLIE puts his hand on the edge of the couch, nervously
teasing a loose thread.
How’s your mom doing?
Oh my God.
ELLIE grabs her backpack, stands up.
If you’re not gonna write these
essays for me--
Look, Ellie, I don’t need you here
to write this for you. If you want
to go, you can go. You can still
have the money.
I thought you wanted to get to know
I do, but I don’t want to force you
to be here.
Pause. ELLIE considers. Finally she puts her backpack down.
She goes to the box of donuts on the coffee table in front of
CHARLIE, takes one, and sits down.
She’s fine. Mom. I guess.
ELLIE picks at the donut. CHARLIE smiles at her.
When she drinks.
You guys still live over in that
duplex over on Orchard?
You don’t even know where we live?
How did you get my cell phone
You don’t stay in touch with mom?
Sometimes. She really only tells
me things about you.
Because that’s all I ask about.
Pause. ELLIE gets up, starts wandering around the room,
examining things. She looks through a bookshelf, glances
around the kitchen.
When I was little we moved to the
other side of town, near the Circle
Is your mother--with anyone right
No. Why, you interested?
Oh, no, I just--
I’m kidding. How could you be with
ELLIE looks at a bookshelf, spots a framed photo shoved
toward the back of the shelf, face down. She grabs it,
looking at the photo. The photo is roughly ten years old,
it’s a picture of CHARLIE in his 30s. He is standing on the
beach of the Oregon coast next to a thinner man, a few years
younger than him. They both look bright, happy, young.
Why did you gain all that weight?
ELLIE takes the framed photo in her hands, looking at it.
Oh, that’s not--
If you’re gonna interrogate me I’m
gonna do the same thing. Why did
you gain all that weight?
Someone close to me passed away,
and it--... It had an effect on
ELLIE turns to CHARLIE, holds up the framed photo. CHARLIE
looks at the photo, nodding slightly.
CHARLIE continues to play with the loose thread on the couch,
his heartbeat rising a bit.
ELLIE looks at the photo again.
How did you meet him?
At the U of I, he was a student of
He was only a few years younger
than me. He took a few years off
before going to school--
How did he die?
You know, I--. I’d really rather
not talk about this right now, if
ELLIE rolls her eyes, puts the framed photo on the shelf,
facing out. She goes back to her seat, takes out her iPhone
CHARLIE reaches behind the couch, takes out the purple
I’ll write these essays for you,
but I’d like you to do some
writing, just for me?
You were serious about that?
CHARLIE extends the notebook to ELLIE. She looks up from her
iPhone, doesn’t take the notebook.
I hate writing essays.
Just think about the poem for a
while, and write something. Be
honest, tell me what you really
You want me to write what I really
CHARLIE keeps the notebook extended toward ELLIE. ELLIE
stares at him for a second, then grabs the notebook. She
opens it up, grabs a pen, starts writing.
CHARLIE reaches for his walker.
I’m going to go to the bathroom,
but when I’m done I’ll work on--
I’m not helping you to the
I didn’t ask you to help.
With a lot of effort and pain, CHARLIE manages to brace
himself on the walker and stand up. He slowly heads down the
hall toward the bathroom, ELLIE continues to type on her
phone, watching him from the corner of her eye.
CHARLIE continues down the hall into the bathroom.
CHARLIE barely manages to make his way through the bathroom
door. He flicks on the light switch.
Around the toilet there are some cinder blocks that CHARLIE
uses for bracing and for lifting himself on and off the
CHARLIE looks at himself in the mirror for a moment,
breathing heavily. He fights a wave of tears.
He looks away from himself, then goes to the toilet, wanting
to sit down for a moment to calm himself down.
He braces himself on the cinder blocks, then slowly lowers
himself down onto the toilet seat. He finally manages to
The wave of tears comes back, nearly overtaking him. He
stifles it as best he can.
Unless you’re dying, I’m not coming
No, it’s... I’m fine.
CHARLIE breathes in and out, struggling to calm down.
ELLIE is standing halfway down the hall, holding the
notebook. She looks at the bedroom door silently.
Suddenly we hear the sound of flapping wings near the window,
ELLIE looks and sees the bird from before.
ELLIE approaches the window, sees the plate with bread crumbs
A knock at the front door. ELLIE looks toward the front
door, then at the bedroom, considering calling out for
Finally, she goes to the front door. THOMAS stands in the
ELLIE doesn’t respond, staring at him silently.
I was--looking for Charlie?
He’s in the bathroom.
Oh. I can come back if--
ELLIE opens the door wider, beckons him inside.
THOMAS pauses, then cautiously makes his way inside. ELLIE
shuts the door behind him, takes a seat, stares at him.
THOMAS awkwardly smiles at her.
Are you his--friend?
I’m his daughter.
Oh, I didn’t know that.
Are you surprised?
Well, yeah, I guess.
What’s more surprising? That a gay
guy has a daughter, or that someone
found his penis?
Pause. THOMAS makes a move toward the front door.
I’m kidding, Jesus.
THOMAS stops, looks at her.
An awkward silence.
I, uh. I’m with New Life Church, I
was just here to talk to Charlie
ELLIE smiles, having figured out something about him. THOMAS
awkwardly stays standing, unsure of what to do.
I’ll tell you one thing I like
THOMAS looks at her, unsure of how to respond. He gives her
a slight smile, a slight shrug.
What I like about religion is that
it assumes everyone is an idiot and
that they’re incapable of saving
themselves. I think they got
something right with that.
Well I don’t really--
ELLIE glares at him, THOMAS stops. Short pause.
But what I don’t like about
religion is that when people accept
Jesus or whatever, they suddenly
think they’re better than everyone
else. That by accepting the fact
that they’re stupid sinners they’ve
somehow become better, and they
turn into assholes.
ELLIE stares at THOMAS. Pause.
I--don’t really know what to say--
ELLIE takes out her iPhone, snaps a picture of THOMAS.
Why did you just do that?
Are you coming back tomorrow?
I’m--. I’m not sure?
Come back tomorrow, I’ll be here
around the same time.
ELLIE smiles at him, THOMAS stares back at her, baffled.
CHARLIE appears in the hallway, he sees THOMAS.
Hi, um. I was just--
ELLIE takes a picture of CHARLIE with her iPhone, then grabs
her backpack, starts gathering her things. She leaves the
You’ll have that one done by
Five page minimum.
It’ll be good, I promise.
ELLIE turns to THOMAS.
Pause, ELLIE studies him. THOMAS smiles at her awkwardly.
Finally, ELLIE leaves.
CHARLIE notices the framed photo of himself and his partner
on the shelf, looks at it briefly. He reaches up and turns
it over, putting it face down.
CHARLIE turns to THOMAS.
I’d love to share God’s word with
CHARLIE looks at him.
CHARLIE is on the couch, looking through some pamphlets
absent-mindedly. THOMAS holds a Bible.
I mean the Bible says that no one
will know the precise day or hour,
but the signs are there. God’s
sending us warning that it’s
CHARLIE looks turns a page in the pamphlet. There is an
illustration of hundreds of people floating up to heaven from
out of a hellish city landscape.
CHARLIE flips a page, the phrase “THE DAY IS COMING” appears
in bold letters.
What’s going on in Israel right
now, I mean really what’s happening
all over the Middle East, it’s all
there in Revelation, you just have
You really think the world is gonna
I mean I think there’s really good
reason to believe that we’re living
in end times--
And that doesn’t... Bother you?
CHARLIE flips another page in the pamphlet. There is an
illustration of a thoroughly Caucasian Jesus, his arms open
No, it--. I think it’s a great
gift. I think it’s...
CHARLIE turns to THOMAS. THOMAS thinks, looking at his
The idea that there’s a better
world coming to replace this one,
that we can be released from this
life, from our worldly desires and
faults, and--. It’s just...
CHARLIE looks at him. THOMAS continues to look at his hands.
THOMAS quickly regains himself.
So the restoration of the state of
Israel is probably the biggest sign
of Christ’s coming, so we probably--
CHARLIE puts down the pamphlet.
Look, I--. I’m sorry, I don’t mean
to be rude, but... I know all
What do you mean?
I’ve probably read just about
everything written about New Life
Church, probably every pamphlet
they’ve ever published--
Oh well--. I mean that’s great,
but if you actually read
Revelation, you’ll see that--
I’ve read the Bible.
Pause. THOMAS looks at him, smiling.
Sure. Couple times.
Did you... Like it?
I thought it was... Devastating.
God creates us, expels us from
paradise, then we wander around for
thousands of years killing each
other before he comes back and
sends most of us to hell.
Pause. THOMAS thumbs through his Bible a bit.
Yeah, I never really thought about
it like that, but.
Finally, THOMAS sighs, puts down the Bible. He sits next to
You have to understand--when God
comes again? It’s going to be
amazing. If you accept him, he’s
going to release you from this,
he’s going to take your soul out of
this body and give you a new body,
one made of pure light.
CHARLIE sighs, looking away from him. He glances out the
Thomas, I’m not interested in
converting. I appreciate you
helping me out yesterday, but you
can go, this doesn’t--
Did you used to go to New Life or
Pause. CHARLIE looks at him.
Sorry it’s just--. Your friend,
Liz, she told me that New Life has--
caused you a lot of pain?
No, I--. I never went to New Life.
Pause. CHARLIE looks at THOMAS. His eyes glaze over, he
begins to grow upset. He struggles to hold back tears.
Are you okay?
I’m fine, I just--.
Pause. CHARLIE looks at THOMAS, smiling a little.
You remind me of someone.
THOMAS looks at him. He is about to say something when the
front door opens.
LIZ comes in pulling a folded up wheelchair behind her.
THOMAS jumps up off the couch.
Alright, I got you this. I did
some asking around and--
LIZ sees THOMAS. THOMAS tenses up, unsure of what to do.
What the hell, Charlie?
I was just--
THOMAS grabs his backpack, moves toward the door. He knocks
over a floor lamp in his haste.
THOMAS bends down, grabs the lamp.
I said leave it!
Liz, would you stop?
LIZ glares at CHARLIE. THOMAS awkwardly puts the lamp right
side up, then goes to the door. He opens it, about to exit.
LIZ goes to THOMAS, blocking him. She shuts the front door,
glaring at him.
Actually, stay. We’ll have a chat.
LIZ brings the wheelchair to CHARLIE. THOMAS stands near the
front door, not knowing what to do.
What is it?
LIZ unfolds the wheelchair.
What the fuck does it look like?
It’s a fat guy wheelchair.
Why do I need this?
I was talking with one of the E.R.
doctors, he said that moderate
activity would be a good idea.
Sense of independence might help
How much did you pay for this
Nothing. We ordered it for a
patient a few months ago, it’s just
been sitting around.
What happened to the patient?
LIZ doesn’t respond. She moves the coffee table away from
the couch to clear some space, then moves the wheelchair next
to CHARLIE. She grabs his walker, brings it to him.
Try it out.
CHARLIE reluctantly braces himself on his walker, slowly
manages to stand up. LIZ locks the wheels on the wheelchair,
bracing the back of it by putting all her weight onto it.
CHARLIE stands up, then slowly backs toward the wheelchair.
(a la a truck backing up)
Beep. Beep. Beep.
CHARLIE looks back at her. LIZ smiles.
THOMAS stays in the corner, watching CHARLIE. He sees stains
on the back of CHARLIE’s pants, looks away.
CHARLIE keeps moving backward, reaching the wheelchair. He
collapses down into it, breathing heavily, sweat running down
his face, squinting through the pain.
LIZ unlocks the wheels of the wheelchair, moves some trash
and other items out of his way, clearing a path to the
CHARLIE wheels himself forward a little bit, using both his
arms and his legs to help himself move. CHARLIE smiles a
bit, unexpectedly pleased.
Yeah, it--it’s actually really
CHARLIE wheels himself a few more feet. He smiles wider.
Thank you, Liz, this is really--
Why don’t you see if it fits
through the bedroom door?
LIZ moves to the back of the wheelchair, starts wheeling him
down the hall. CHARLIE looks at THOMAS.
I should go.
Not before we have our little chat.
THOMAS stays near the door. CHARLIE looks up to LIZ.
Just gimme a minute.
She pushes CHARLIE most of the way down the hallway. CHARLIE
finally relents, moves toward the bedroom.
LIZ looks at THOMAS.
Take a seat.
The door swings open and CHARLIE enters. The wheelchair just
barely fits through the door. He wheels inside, wheezing,
turns on the light.
He looks at the mattress on his floor where he sleeps. There
is a distinct sweat outline of his body, taking up most of
His eyes drift to the only window in the room. The window
looks over rolling wheat fields. Wind lightly rustles
through the wheat.
He wheels himself closer to the window, looking outside.
After a moment, he reaches up and manages to slide the window
open. As best he can, he leans forward, trying to stick his
He breathes in deeply, closes his eyes, feeling the wind rush
by his face.
LIZ sits on a chair smoking a cigarette. THOMAS sits
awkwardly on the couch. LIZ stares at him.
Where you from?
You said you’ve only been here for
a little while. Your whole family
move out here?
Pause. THOMAS tenses up a bit.
No, I--. It’s just me.
I’m doing some missionary work
before I go to school.
So you came to Idaho? Why not go
to Africa or something?
Idaho needs the word just as much
as anyone else.
LIZ moves to a window, cracking it. She smokes out of it as
Okay listen. You’re just some kid,
you don’t know anything, so I’m
gonna be very direct. I want you
to stay away from Charlie, you
understand? He doesn’t need this
shit right now.
LIZ looks at him. She puts out her cigarette, moves toward
THOMAS, standing over him.
Sorry, I just--. He’s refusing to
go to the hospital, he’s dying.
What he needs is spiritual
And you’re gonna give him that?
No. God will.
LIZ sits down next to THOMAS on the couch. THOMAS tenses up
but doesn’t move away from her.
My big brother did some missionary
work. Went to Switzerland.
Yeah. I was the black sheep, I
refused to go to church ever since
I was twelve. But not my brother,
he loved New Life.
He wrote me a letter a few months
into his mission, told me he was
cold all the time. That he was
cold, and lonely, but he didn’t
want to come home and get married.
He didn’t want to--?
Dad had set it all up, pushed him
into getting married to this girl
from New Life he barely knew. When
he came back, he refused to go
through with the wedding, fell in
love with somebody else. And dad--
kicked him out of the church.
LIZ leans into THOMAS, growing angry. THOMAS grows more and
Look, I’m not trying to--
But that church and my dad had
fucked him up so bad that he
couldn’t get over it.
He started caving in on himself,
stopped eating, stopped bathing,
just--wasted away. Few months
later, he was gone.
That was Alan. My brother, Alan.
My sweet, sensitive brother who was
crushed under the church that you
think can save Charlie.
LIZ stares at him. Finally, THOMAS stands up, gathering his
things. LIZ stands up, bearing down on him.
So you listen to me. He doesn’t
need “saving”. What he needs is
for you to fucking leave him alone.
I am the only one who can help him,
you understand me? I am the only
one who can save him!
LIZ turns around. CHARLIE is behind her, sitting in the
wheelchair, staring at her.
THOMAS quickly opens the door and leaves.
A silence between CHARLIE and LIZ.
Finally, LIZ moves to the couch, searching for the remote.
Everything go alright in there?
No response. LIZ finds the remote, sits on the couch. She
turns on the television, flips through a few channels.
I’ve got a while before I need to
get back. We can watch some Maury.
LIZ finds the right channel, puts the remote down. She
watches the television for a few moments. CHARLIE remains
Wheel yourself over here, c’mon.
CHARLIE doesn’t move.
CHARLIE is on his wheelchair in the kitchen, making several
sandwiches. The television is on in the background playing a
CHARLIE finishes the last sandwich, puts them on his lap,
then starts to wheel himself back toward the couch and
television, wheezing heavily.
He has a pain in his chest and winces. Most of the
sandwiches fall off his lap and onto the floor.
He stares at the sandwiches for a moment.
In a moment of rage, CHARLIE grabs a nearby book and throws
it across the room. It hits a lamp in the corner of the
room, shattering it.
A dog from a nearby apartment is heard barking.
CHARLIE stares at the broken lamp, immediately ashamed. He
takes a few deep breaths, calming down.
INT. - LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT
CHARLIE is on his wheelchair, not far from where he was hours
ago. He is scanning through channels on the television
A knock at the door.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
CHARLIE turns off the television.
Hi, yeah. You can--
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
Money in the mailbox, leave it at
the front door?
Yeah, uh. Thank you.
CHARLIE pauses, waiting for the DELIVERY BOY to take the
money and leave the pizza. He doesn’t hear anything.
Another moment passes.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
I just--. My name, it’s Danny.
I’ve been coming here for a while
now. Just thought you’d wanna know
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.)
We hear the sound of the mailbox opening and shutting,
CHARLIE sees the shadow of the pizza box underneath the door.
DELIVERY BOY (O.S.) (CONT’D)
Have a good night, okay?
We hear the sound of the DELIVERY BOY going down the stairs.
CHARLIE looks at the door.
INT. - LIVING ROOM - LATER
CHARLIE is on his wheelchair, in front of the television. A
pizza box sits on the couch with one piece uneaten and a few
crusts here and there. CHARLIE is finishing the next-to-last
slice when he notices ELLIE’s notebook sitting near the
couch. Grabbing his reaching claw, he takes Ellie’s
He takes the remote, turns off the television. He opens the
notebook to the first page.
Written in the notebook are three separate lines: “This
apartment smells. This notebook is retarded. I hate
CHARLIE looks at it for a moment, then smiles broadly.
(reading softly, to
“This apartment smells.
This notebook is retarded. I hate
CHARLIE smiles wider. He begins to laugh a little. The
laughter grows and soon it causes a sudden pain in his chest,
the most severe he’s had so far. He grabs his chest,
speaking softly to himself.
I felt saddest of all when I read
the boring chapters that were only
descriptions of whales because I
knew that the author was just
trying to save us from his own sad
story, just for a little while.
This apartment smells.
The pain in his chest starts to slowly subside. He takes a
few deep breaths, starts to smile again.
This apartment smells. This
notebook is retarded. I hate
everyone. The author was just
trying to save us from his own sad
story. I hate everyone. The
author was just trying to--
EXT. - PALOUSE LANDSCAPE
More shots of rolling hills in the Palouse, wind rushing over
them. The images of the hills, as well as the sound of the
wind, now distinctly resemble ocean waves. This time, the
waves are more aggressive, more distinct.
INT. - LIVING ROOM - THE NEXT DAY
CHARLIE in his wheelchair, with his laptop on his lap,
speaking into a microphone.
I read a recent post on the
discussion forum about strategies
for coming up with a good thesis.
CHARLIE pulls up the discussion forum in a window on his
It says that I want you to--
“Pick a sentence from the book and
say it’s good or some shit.”
Pause. CHARLIE sighs, closes the window on the computer.
You don’t have any true reaction to
these books, because I’ve taught
you to edit your reactions, to
reconfigure them so many times that
CHARLIE stops, at a loss. He moves the microphone away from
his mouth, is about to shut the computer.
He has a thought, then stops. He thinks for a moment, then
picks the microphone back up.
How about this? Don’t write about
the book. Forget the assignment,
forget the readings. Hell, forget
everything I’ve taught you about
what makes a good essay and just--
write me something honest. Okay?
ELLIE stands near the doorway, holding her backpack.
You have it?
It’s almost done. You can wait
while I finish it?
ELLIE looks at the door, annoyed. Finally she relents, comes
inside and sits on the recliner. She pulls out her phone.
While you’re here, maybe you could
write a little more in your
CHARLIE pulls out ELLIE’s notebook, extends it to her.
You’ve only written a couple
sentences so far, can you write
ELLIE turns to him, looks him straight in the eye.
I kind of hate you.
Yeah, but you hate everyone.
CHARLIE smiles broadly at her, ELLIE rolls her eyes and looks
Look just keep going, forget the
poem, just write whatever you want,
whatever you’re thinking--
Shut up, just--.
ELLIE fumes, then grabs the notebook out of CHARLIE’s hand.
She finds a pen, plops down into a chair and opens it up.
She stares at the blank page. Finally, she starts to write a
CHARLIE looks at her lovingly. Pause. After a moment he
wheels himself a little closer to her, speaking tentatively.
You know, I... I was in a strange
place in my life when I married
Did I fucking ask?
Sorry, I just--
Look, I understand that you’re
ELLIE slams the notebook onto the floor, buries her face in
Oh my God.
But you don’t need to be angry at
the whole world, just be angry at
You know what?! You can’t throw me
away like a piece of garbage and
then suddenly want to be my dad
thirteen years later just because
I’ve always wanted to be your dad--
But you know what? I’m glad,
because you taught me something
very important: people are
assholes. Most people learn that
way too late, you taught me that
when I was four. Thank you for
ELLIE takes the notebook off the ground, starts writing
You know you could’ve...
You could’ve been sending us money.
If you have all that money and
wanted to be a part of my life so
bad, you could have been sending
money to my mom.
I mean more than just child
Pause. ELLIE continues to write in the notebook. CHARLIE
moves toward her in the wheelchair. He reaches out, puts a
hand on the notebook. ELLIE stops writing.
I’ve wanted to see you for so long,
Ellie. I wanted to be a part of
your life, I wanted to reach out.
Pause. ELLIE stares down, not looking at him.
So why didn’t you?
Look at me, Ellie, I don’t--. Who
would want me to be a part of their
Pause. ELLIE finally looks at him.
When I lost him, I started to think
I ruined everything I touched. I
know that’s a terrible excuse.
CHARLIE turns away, growing upset. ELLIE watches him.
I’m just sorry, Ellie. I’m so, so
CHARLIE looks up at her, ELLIE stares back at him. It’s the
closest they’ve been to one another yet. After a moment,
ELLIE looks back down, CHARLIE takes his hand back.
ELLIE writes a few more words, then closes the notebook.
There’s stuff for sandwiches in the
ELLIE gets up, goes to the kitchen. She is about to open the
fridge when she stops, turns around, and goes back to
I’ll make you one, but it’s gonna
be small. And I’m only using
turkey or chicken, and no
ELLIE turns around, goes back to the kitchen. She opens up
the fridge, takes out cold cuts, mustard, bread.
She opens a jar of mustard, finds a breadknife. CHARLIE
looks at her, smiling.
ELLIE looks at him, stops.
No, it’s just--.
You’re an amazing person, Ellie.
Silence. CHARLIE smiles broadly at her, ELLIE stares back at
I’ll work on the essay now. Have
it done soon.
CHARLIE pulls up his computer, opens a blank document, starts
typing. ELLIE looks down at the breadknife in her hand.
As CHARLIE types, ELLIE silently digs the knife into the
kitchen counter, gouging the surface of the counter.
After a moment, we hear the sound of flapping wings. ELLIE
looks at the window, sees the bird from before eating bread
crumbs off the plate. She stares at it.
CHARLIE is asleep in the wheelchair, with a mostly eaten
sandwich in his lap. ELLIE sits on the couch, a plate with a
half-eaten sandwich sits on the coffee table in front of her.
ELLIE stares at CHARLIE, who is snoring lightly.
ELLIE lifts her hands to her mouth. She’s holding a small
marijuana pipe and a lighter. She takes a hit, blowing it in
A knock at the door. ELLIE freezes, not knowing what to do.
Another knock. Finally, ELLIE stands up.
I, uh... Hello?
ELLIE pauses, recognizing the voice. She moves to the door
and swings it open. THOMAS stands in the doorway.
THOMAS sees the pipe in ELLIE’s hand.
THOMAS cautiously makes his way inside, ELLIE shuts the door
behind him. THOMAS sees CHARLIE.
THOMAS goes to CHARLIE, looking at him.
Is he okay?
I don’t know. I ground up some
Ambien and put it in his sandwich.
I only gave him a couple, he’s
fine. I can take three at a time.
ELLIE moves to the couch, sits down.
You have--? Where did you get
I had sex with a pharmacist.
THOMAS looks at her.
Just kidding, gross. My mom pops
them like tic-tacs.
I don’t know if he should be
ELLIE takes a hit from the pipe. THOMAS watches her.
Does this make you nervous?
THOMAS looks away.
It’s just pot. It’s not like I’m
smoking crack or anything.
I know what--. I know what pot is.
You only think you know what pot is
because your parents told you a
bunch of lies about it.
I’m not an idiot, I’ve smoked pot
THOMAS is about to respond, then stops himself. He moves
toward the door.
Okay, look just tell him I was here
If you leave I’ll feed him the rest
of the pills I have in the bottle.
THOMAS stops, turns to ELLIE.
ELLIE takes her backpack, reaches inside, pulls out a bottle
of prescription pills. She examines the bottle.
There’s like twenty or thirty more,
I’ll crush them up and put them in
some water and pour it down his
THOMAS goes to ELLIE.
Why would you say that?
You wouldn’t actually do that,
THOMAS looks at her for a moment, then sits down on the couch
next to her, maintaining his distance.
ELLIE looks at him, THOMAS looks away.
Why do you keep coming back here?
He needs help, he needs God in his
life right now.
That’s a stupid reason. Do you
think he wants to have sex with
you? That’s so gross, oh my God,
take a hit.
ELLIE extends the pipe to THOMAS.
He doesn’t--! I don’t want to--!
If you don’t take a hit I’m gonna
call the police and tell them you
tried to rape me. Take a hit.
THOMAS stares at her, incredulous.
I don’t understand you at all.
Oh my God.
They stare at each other for a moment. Finally, THOMAS
relents and takes the pipe.
Is there a carb on this?
Oo, I’m so impressed.
I wasn’t trying to--
There isn’t a carb.
THOMAS pauses, then tentatively lights the pipe and takes a
hit. Before he’s done inhaling, ELLIE takes out her iPhone
and takes a picture of him.
THOMAS coughs violently, almost drops the pipe.
What are you gonna do with that
I’m gonna masturbate to it. Is
that what you want me to say?
You’re a pervert, take another hit.
THOMAS stares at her. Pause. ELLIE sighs, buries her face
in her hands.
Look, I’m just fucking with you,
alright? I’m not gonna kill
anyone, I’m not gonna tell anyone
you raped me.
You’re not going to give him more
ELLIE rolls her eyes, shakes her head.
Why do you keep coming back here?
I don’t know.
Seriously, if you hate him so much--
I’m done answering questions now.
Pause. THOMAS looks at the pipe in his hand for a moment.
THOMAS indicates the pipe. ELLIE gives him a smile, nods.
THOMAS considers for a moment, then takes another hit--a
larger one than before. He exhales.
ELLIE takes another photo of him with her iPhone.
I really wish you wouldn’t do that--
Do you find me attractive?
Pause. THOMAS looks at her, caught off-guard.
Because I’m not attracted to you at
all, just to let you know.
Pause. ELLIE looks at THOMAS, who is a little hurt. She
rolls her eyes, gets up, goes into the kitchen, looking for
Oh my God grow up, maybe someone
else finds you attractive, just not
me. Maybe my dad finds you
I really wish you wouldn’t--
It’s so easy to make you
uncomfortable. You can cash that
You don’t mind?
ELLIE shakes her head. THOMAS takes another large hit. He’s
pretty high by this point. ELLIE finds a bag of potato
chips, comes back into the main room. She eats the chips as
If my parents knew that I was
getting high, that I was getting
high while I was out witnessing for
You’re not from that church.
Pause. ELLIE continues to eat potato chips, moves back to
the couch and sits next to THOMAS.
There’s a kid a grade below me who
goes to New Life. He said they
stopped doing door-to-door stuff
last year when a lady was out
preaching or whatever and some guy
invited her into his apartment and
showed her his penis.
I called the church, and they said
they’ve never heard of you.
Pause. THOMAS stares at ELLIE for a second, then starts to
I need to--
What are you doing here, really?
THOMAS gathers his things, shaky on his feet. He goes to the
THOMAS heads to the door, ELLIE jumps up from the couch,
getting between THOMAS and the door.
Just tell me!
THOMAS turns around, dazed and panicked. He looks around the
room, looks at the window, then heads down the hall. ELLIE
THOMAS, panicked and unsure of what to do, goes into
CHARLIE’s bedroom and shuts the door on ELLIE.
ELLIE tries the door, THOMAS has locked it.
C’mon, just tell me!
Why do you care?!
Because I think we have a