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.

CAL
Yes.

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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