An excerpt from DAMAGED GOODS
Registered with the WGA, Copyright David Sparrow 1999/2007
INT. SUNSHINE DINER -- MOMENTS LATER
A downtown diner, it serves the suits their breakfasts and lunches. Business men sit, their ties loosened, on red vinyl stools at the counter and at formica tables, speculating on what today's market will give or take. FOG stands out more than a little, but CAL makes no apologies. They sit in a booth by the window, the busy street playing out behind them.
A waitress sets down their food. CAL - a muffin and coffee, FOG - a Lumberjack Breakfast Platter with extra toast. She digs right in, eating like it's her first meal in months.
They eat in silence.
CAL wears the face of a teenage boy on his first date. He summons his courage.
CAL Good? FOG (mouthful) Hmph. CAL That guy called you Fog? FOG Hmph. Nickname. My real name is Mary Grace. Virgin Mary full of grace. Full of Grace. F. O. G. Fog or Foggy. Rash made it up.
FOG is a fast talker. She has learned that, if you tell a good story to these do-gooders, you'll be able to finish your meal and might even get some cash when it's done. As FOG speaks, her innocence and her vital nature are winning CAL over.
CAL Rash? FOG His real name is Julian, which he hates. He thinks Rash is cool. CAL Usually a rash is something you don't want to get. FOG What's yours? CAL Mine? Cal. FOG Good to meet you Cal.
They shake hands across the table in an almost formal manner.
CAL This Rash looks pretty rough. FOG Not really. He's crazy though. Mood swings. My aunt was a skitzo on medication locked up sometimes. Problem with Rash is he's strong. Can't fight, have to stay one step ahead of guys like that.
The waitress comes by to check on them. She throws a disdainful look at FOG.
WAITRESS More coffee? CAL Sure.
As FOG eats, CAL looks her over taking in small details. Her dirty neck, dark purple nails, the crease at her elbow, her shoulders, earrings, nose stud, eyebrow ring, tongue stud and her brilliant eyes. FOG catches him looking. She smiles.
FOG So you rich? CAL Well, that would depend on your definition of rich. You make good money out there? FOG Some days. But I don't intend to do this forever. I want to be a legal secretary. CAL Legal secretary? That's good. FOG What do you do? CAL I'm a loan officer for a brokerage house. (off her look) Mortgages. FOG So you are rich. CAL You don't get rich off the kind of properties I deal with. But I do okay. FOG Cool. I figure I get my G.E.D. first. Then 3 years at Fuller and I'm set. There are a lot of jobs for legal secretaries. Lawyers are a dime a dozen and every lawyer needs a secretary. Supply and demand. CAL Supply and demand? FOG They make 30,000 a year.
CAL says nothing but sports a concerned look on his face. FOG can't stand the silence.
FOG (cont'd) You want to hear my story; why a nice girl like me is out on the cruel streets?
CAL, choosing not to hear the sarcasm, answers in the affirmative.
FOG laughs. CAL is puzzled.
FOG You answer like a robot. YES... It's just that everyone wants to know why you're a street kid. What went wrong? How do you get by? What do you eat? Here's what I think. Some people are victims, and some people are survivors. Running is a way to survive. I survive.
CAL's face begs more. FOG, appearing to give in but without losing the quality that draws CAL to her, continues, but faster.
FOG (cont'd) I'm 18. I've been on the street for three years. Couldn't live at home anymore. My mother and her guys were, well - small town, everybody's nose in everybody's business, didn't like school, couldn't stand my so called friends. Tired of too much advice, anyway that's my old life and tomorrow is my new life. So that's my life. Enough?
FOG has cleaned her plate. CAL's tone is apologetic.
CAL You finished? FOG (unabashedly) Could I have some pie?
CAL watches as FOG eats her pie. A wave of paternal confidence washes over him.
CAL Fog. Can I call you Mary? FOG (mouthful) Hmph. Grace. CAL Grace. I have a proposal that might interest you.
GRACE eats a little faster as if she knows what's coming. She's in a race to finish her pie.
FOG Look, I don't think so. CAL But you haven't... FOG I've heard. See, I don't go there. You're too old for me. Besides which, you're married.
Grace looks toward Cal's ring.
CAL No, that's not what I'm talking about. I don't want to... I'm talking strictly platonic. You want to go to school, legal secretary. I'll send you. FOG You'll send me to school and I don't have to do anything? CAL I didn't say that. You'd have to get good marks and study hard and stay off the streets and... (occurring to him) And have breakfast with me every morning to stay in contact. FOG You're crazy. CAL Maybe, but you're crazy if you don't take advantage of the opportunity... change your life. Could at least try it out. FOG I've been kinda hanging with Rash. We have a space. My stuff is there. CAL Well, the deal is only for you. Rash is part of that old life. You'd have to, I don't know, I'd rent you a room. A new place. We'd get you all set up and you'd be on your way to being a Legal Secretary. FOG This is too weird. I don't even know you. Why would you do it? CAL Because, I'm a good judge of people and you seem like someone worth taking a risk on. And because... I could use a little excitement in my life. FOG Yeah, well I'll have to think about it. CAL Fine. Look, here's my number at work. Call me when you decide. Say the offer's good for one week, then I'll have to find some other bright young squeegee kid who wants to go to school.
CAL passes Grace a business card. Grace looks at it and laughs to herself.
FOG You're crazy.
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