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Growing up in or near Coney Island during World War II and in the two decades after: A play

Growing Up in Coney Island during and the two decades after World War Two

 

You also may wish to check out the paperback book that contains this play: Ethno-Playography: How to Create Salable Ethnographic Plays, Monologues, & Skits from Life Stories, Social Issues... by Anne Hart (Jul 27, 2007). At this date the book is listed at the publisher's site and at: Amazon.com.

 

Growing Up in Coney Island during and the two decades after World War Two: A Stage, Radio, or Internet Play

© Anne Hart 1987 

 

               List of Characters in this Play:

 

               Meir Cohen Levi, Father of Hadara and Husband of Tsipke

 

               Hadara Cohen Levi, Baby in first chapter, then 9-year old

               girl, first person as narrator.

 

               Benjamin, son of Meir

 

               Tsipke, the mother of Hadara

 

               The Arab Sheik as Hadara's first husband,

 

               *Ahmed (not his real name)

 

               Eric* (not his real name), Hadara's second husband

 

               Mrs. Hesk, an older neighbor with a Yiddish accent

 

               Hadara's two children as five-year olds:

 

               Fawzi,

 

               Samira

 

               Hadara's two children as young adults: (17-20 age group)

 

               Fawzi,

 

               Samira

 

               Shoe Sales clerk

 

               In-laws:

 

               Samintov

 

               Mazeltov

 

               Darlene, college friend of Hadara

 

               Black Man, in Subway

 

               Goldie, Darlene's mother

 

               Classmates, 8th and 9th grade, ages 13 and 14

 

               Neighbors

 

               Paramedic

 

               Friends

 

               ___________________________________________________

                                 

                         Act I

 

               Ext. Brooklyn, N.Y., Rainy Day, November 1941

 

               AS CURTAIN RISES, WE SEE THE FRONT OF THE CONEY ISLAND

               APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE MEIR in front of his brick, four

               family apartment house tries to adjust the lens on his box

               camera. He reacts to the invisible wind that slashes his

               face, covering his white hair and beard with his hands as his

               breath quickens in anger.

 

               Whippet-wiry MEIR (age 47), a janitor, is dressed in patched

               janitor's coveralls. From inside the house echoes of Bach

               peal through the apartment and can be heard outside. OFFSTAGE

               WHERE HEAR THE SOUND EFFECTS OF A SUBWAY elevator line

               grinding by, drowning out the phonograph music.

 

               TSIPKE (38), his wife, carries in one arm her blanketed two

               week old daughter, HADARA. In her other arm, she tries to

               balance a bouquet of American Beauty roses.

 

               The blanket keeps blowing over the baby's face as TSIPKE

               fidgets to straighten the blanket. The baby's nerve

               shattering cry pierces the wind.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Hurry and take the picture.

 

               The baby's turning blue from the cold weather.

 

               TSIPKE shouts at MEIR. And the shouts seem to be coming from

               a horde of women, SCREAMING together in fury.

 

               We see the open mouth of TSIPKE. Her voice becomes an

               indistinguishable roar of needy demand as loud as the wind.

 

               MEIR tries to focus the camera once more. TSIPKE smiles and

               tries to pose as he fidgets with the lens.

 

               TSIPKE yells again and again, like a compelling tattoo.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         The baby's freezing, you jerk.

 

                                   MEIR

                         Shut up! Damn it.

 

               I'm trying to keep the lens from getting dusty.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Hurry up, neurotic. She can't

                         breathe. What are you standing

                         there for, got your thumb up your

                         butt?

 

               MEIR'S temper cracks, and he lets fly with a right hook to

               her left chest. The baby slides from the blanket into a

               puddle of rain on the sidewalk. MEIR can't stop punching his

               wife. The deep, red American Beauty roses scatter in the rain

               near the baby's head.

 

               Darkened Stage

 

               New Scene

 

               Lights Come on. Spotlight on the Darkened Bedroom.

 

               Int. Nov. 1950, Same Brooklyn Apartment

 

               Night

 

               HADARA lies awake next to her mother in the rutted double bed

               in which they both sleep. MEIR, in the next bedroom, sleeps

               in twin beds with his 22-year old son, BENJAMIN. It's three

               in the morning. Outside the window WE HEAR THE SOUND EFFECTS

               OF the grinding subway train as it passes on its way from

               Coney Island. There's the sound of squealing metal cars as

               the train turns on the elevator line track.

 

                                   TSIPKE (CONT'D)

                         Remember when we played suffering?

 

               I'd rub your belly, and your doll would be delivered like a

               baby?

 

               TSIPKE laughs and hacks her cigarette cough.

 

               HADARA rolls over, pulling her mass of hair from her eyes.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Mom, are you a worrywart?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         No. Do I look that nervous?

 

               TSIPKE pops the muscle up in her biceps to show how strong

               her muscles are.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'm tired of hearing about your

                         lack of romance.

                         I'm sick of your hands all over me

                         playing "having a baby." It's

                         always either how your mom gave you

                         away when you were two, or, where

                         daddy is off to by himself.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Your father gave me gonorrhea.

                         Where do you think he got it, in

                         France during World War One?

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'm not interested any more in

                         listening to your complaints about

                         daddy or your life story and how

                         you ate out of garbage cans as a

                         kid, or how dad's job is mopping

                         toilets in the Navy yard. You just

                         talk, but you don't change

                         anything.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You're nine today. You have to

                         know.

 

                                   HADARA

                         No, I don't. The radiator dried out

                         the air again. Now my nose and

                         throat's raw.

 

               MEIR tiptoes out of his bedroom and crawls into bed with his

               wife.

 

                                   MEIR

                         Move over.

 

               What's the kid doing up so late?

 

                                   HADARA

                         What are you doing here?

 

               MEIR ignores her and takes off his pajamas, climbing into bed

               to make love to his wife.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Get out of here.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Leave the kid, alone, MEIR.

 

                                   MEIR

                         You kicking me out of bed?

 

               MEIR hesitates for a moment. TSIPKE is silent.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I want to go back to sleep.

 

                                   MEIR

                         Shut up, you tramp.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Don't call me a tramp on my

                         birthday.

 

                                   MEIR

                             (Outraged)

                         Better you should be crippled.

 

               You should have been born a boy.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         She says she got a high IQ

 

                                   MEIR

                         I'll smash you one, you piece of

                         garbage.

 

               MEIR hurries his pajamas back on and storms out of the

               bedroom looking for something to smash. He finds a hammer in

               the living room and begins to smash all the keys on HADARA's

               piano. TSIPKE gets up and follows him into the living room.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Stop. I saved for months to buy

                         that old piano. My daughter's a

                         talented artist.

 

               When MEIR finishes smashing the piano keys, he goes for

               HADARA's violin. MEIR puts his foot through the violin.

               HADARA cries.

 

               TSIPKE jumps out of bed.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         All the kid's birthday presents!

 

                                   MEIR

                         I'll teach you.

 

               MEIR, having smashed the violin, finally storms into the

               bathroom where HADARA's new puppy is sleeping in its basket

               and holds the puppy's belly against the hot radiator pipe in

               the bathroom until it stops whimpering.

 

               The more HADARA CRIES, the more TSIPKE backs away from her.

               MEIR comes out of the bathroom with his hammer in hand and

               begins to chase HADARA around the living room and into the

               kitchen, waving the hammer over his head.

 

                                   MEIR

                         If I catch you, I'll cripple you.

 

               Heads will roll before you'll become a tramp and shame me.

 

                                   HADARA (SOBBING)

                         I'm sorry. I'm sorry, daddy.

 

                                   MEIR

                         Better you should be a cripple then

                         to be born a girl and make trouble.

 

               TSIPKE follows MEIR into the kitchen and lights a cigarette,

               making the motions of heating up water for coffee.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Leave the kid alone.

 

                                   MEIR (RAGING)

                         I should have flushed her out into

                         the bay with the condom before she

                         was conceived. Better such a dog

                         wasn't born.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         If  I have to get up for a second

                         cigarette…

 

               Damn, those cigarettes are choking me.

 

               But you two fighting all the time are driving me to smoke.

 

               MEIR takes a swing at HADARA, but misses. HADARA darts out

               the kitchen and dashes through the living room and out the

               front door, running down the apartment steps to the basement.

               She hurries down the cellar steps with MEIR, chasing behind,

               hammer swinging over his head.

 

               In the darkness of the cellar, MEIR chases HADARA. She

               squeezes her body into a partially-filled co&1 bin, hiding

               behind an old barrel. HADARA covers herself with coal.

 

               MEIR peers around for a moment, wild-eyed. He wipes the sweat

               from his upper lip on his pajama sleeve.

 

                                   MEIR

                         If I catch you, you die.

 

               HADARA watches him from between the wide slats of the coal

               bin as he swings his hammer overhead. MEIR passes a basement

               worktable and puts down his hammer only to pick up an ax. He

               slaps the ax broadside across his thigh several times. Then

               he sighs and puts the ax back on the table. Finally,

               exhausted, MEIR plods up the wooden stairs. The apartment

               door closes with a bang.

 

               Int. Kitchen Brooklyn Apartment. Same Night

 

                                   TSIPKE

                             (staccato voice)

                         No sooner did I put the baby on

                         your lap then you told me to take

                         her off because she gave you an

                         erection. Your temper is only a bad

                         habit. Why is it necessary to

                         transfer your stress to me? Why

                         isn't it important that you add to

                         my life span?

 

                                   MEIR

                         You keep hounding me just because

                         your step father came into your

                         room to have sex with you when you

                         went upstate to visit your mother.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         He's your richest brother. Besides,

                         I told him to get out. You didn't

                         see him grabbing an ax or hammer.

 

                                   MEIR

                         Girls only make trouble. You know

                         how many times I asked the doctor

                         to check to make sure-maybe he made

                         a mistake-maybe she was a boy.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Is that why you never held a

                         conversation with your own

                         daughter? You never smiled.

 

               Not once in your whole life did she ever hear you laugh,

               except at her.

 

                                   MEIR

                         What about you going into your

                         son's room to massage his feet

                         every morning and comb his hair?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I'm a nineteen-fourteen fifth-grade dropout mom.

 

                                   MEIR

                         He's twenty-two. You're

                         overbearing.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         And you're a cold fish. The only

                         passion I ever see is anger.

 

               If that's the only way you can get power, I'm going back to

               bed.

 

               She turns around.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Where's the kid?

 

                                   MEIR

                         In the coal bins again.

 

               Let her rot in hell down there.

 

               MEIR staggers back to bed. TSIPKE sits on her bed with the

               light on, smoking cigarettes and reading old newspapers.

 

               Darken Stage or Curtain.

 

               New Scene:

 

               Int. Basement Morning

 

               HADARA peaks out of the basement window and scratches off

               some of the frost. She watches MEIR go off to work, walking

               toward the subway station. Then she climbs the stairs back to

               the apartment and knocks on the door.

 

               TSIPKE opens the door wearing a stained and disheveled robe.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Benjamin just had a fight with me

                         over you making too much noise. And

                         he broke a lamp over my arm. I

                         dared him to do it.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Does daddy know?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I had to tell him.

 

               So now he smashed your brother's typewriter right before his

               term paper is due.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'm too tired to go to school

                         today.

 

               HADARA slowly walks through the foyer, passing and looking at

               her dead canary in its small bird cage.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         It caught a cough.

 

               You'll have to take it down to the garbage cans.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Aw, no!

 

               HADARA runs into the bedroom. TSIPKE follows her.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Listen, you little mouse, want to

                         go shopping?

 

                                   HADARA

                         Don't you have anything better to

                         do?

 

               TSIPKE goes back into the kitchen and begins to fry eggs.

               HADARA comes into the kitchen. TSIPKE puts down a heel of rye

               bread for HADARA and some hot cocoa and corn flakes.

 

               Darkened Stage, Curtain

 

               New Scene:

 

               In a department store near a counter with women's costume

               jewelry, lingerie, and cheap cologne…

 

               Int. Department Store, Brooklyn Day

 

               TSIPKE and HADARA walk through the department store. TSIPKE

               shoplifts baubles and silken wisps of lingerie, cheap

               cologne, and boxes of face powder, rhinestone costume jewelry

               and lipsticks. When no one is in the ladies room, she taker

               in clothing and stuffs the items into her panties.

 

               HADARA sneers.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         So that's why I wear incontinence

                         panties. Bet you can't pronounce

                         it.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I don't want any of the beads or

                         perfume. You've cursed them.

 

               You've given them the evil eye. We'll get bad luck.

 

               Why do you take things in tiny sizes, when you're shaped like

               an apple?

 

               TSIPKE enters the toilet cubicle.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                             (banging on the wall)

                         Your father gives me three dollars

                         a day.

 

               How else can I live like a lady instead of a woman?

 

                                   HADARA

                         I won't wear that crap.

 

                                   TSIPKE (HANDING HER CLOTHES UNDER THE

                                   STALL)

                         Here, stuff this into your panties.

 

                                   HADARA

                         No! How come women of grandma's

                         generation never went to school in

                         the old country?

 

               And how come you dropped out in the fifth grade?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I was born at the turn of the

                         century.

 

                                   HADARA

                         So were a lot of famous women

                         scientists.

 

               TSIPKE drags whining HADARA into the fitting room with some

               of the dresses and items tucked inside of three dresses

               because the sign says only three garments are allowed in the

               dressing room at one time.

 

               In front of the mirror, TSIPKE tries on bras, slips, and

               clothing under her own clothes. But all she brings out are

               the three dresses she took in with her and hands them to the

               clerk. The rest are stashed on her person.

 

                                   TSIPKE (TO SALES CLERK)

                         These dresses aren't the right

                         size.

 

               TSIPKE leads HADARA by the hand into the shoe department to

               pick out a pair of school shoes for her. They sit down to

               rest in the shoe department. A salesman approaches. HADARA

               points to a pair of saddle shoes and the salesman retrieves

               the shoes. The SALESMAN tries to lace the saddle shoe on

               HADARA'S toot.

 

                                   SHOE SALESMAN

                         Well, little girl. Give me that

                         skinny foot, here.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Leave me alone, you!

 

               HADARA whispers in his ear and runs out of the shoe

               department.

 

                                   SHOE SALESMAN

                         That filthy-mouthed kid.

 

               I wonder where she learned that?

 

               Embarrassed, TSIPKE gets up and leaves to chase after HADARA.

               She catches up with her and slaps her so hard she gets a

               bloody nose. TSIPKE buys a towel and makes HADARA keep it on

               her nose.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Don't make me hit you.

 

               Because if I do,  I'll kill you.

 

                                   HADARA

                         He didn't have to call me skinny.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Horseface! Why did you say that

                         word to him in this place?

 

                                   HADARA

                         He meant I was ugly.

 

                                   TSIPKE (STARING AT HADARA'S FEET)

                         You wore those old, dirty socks?

 

                                   HADARA

                         It's from the coal bin.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You're beginning to stink just like

                         your old man who's never taken a

                         bath since World War One.

 

               Darkened Stage or Curtain End of Scene.

 

               New Scene:

 

               Back At Home.

 

               Afternoon.

 

               HADARA is reading two comic books, "The Vault of Horror" and

               "The Crypt of Terror. Mother and daughter are riding home,

               seated on the subway.

 

                                   HADARA

                         See my scar? I don't know where you

 

               Stop and I begin anymore.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         So?

 

                                   HADARA

                         Your curse and evil eye made me

                         fall over that fence last summer.

 

               The year before, I got a fish hook in my leg.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         So it was my curse, was it? Does

                         that explain the eight stitches

                         they had to take in your chin? Now

                         that you're a scar face, only the

                         worse kind of man will want to

                         marry you.

 

                                   HADARA

                         That stuff you took. It brings me

                         bad luck.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Then don't touch it.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I want to enroll myself in Hebrew

                         School on Monday. Nobody talks to

                         me in class in public school. I

                         don't have any friends. And when I

                         told the teacher, she gave me an

                         "F" in personal relationships.

 

               Fadeout to a Darkened Stage

 

               Curtain Descends: End Of Scene.

 

               New Scene

 

               Tsipke's Apartment - 1955 - Day

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'm damn tired of your analyzing

                         me.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Maybe I should go back to

 

               buying corporate high-yield bonds?

 

                                   HADARA

                             (turns TSIPKE to mirror)

                         Go ahead, look at yourself stuffing

                         negligees into old ladies

                         incontinence panties.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You think I wanted you?

 

                                   HADARA

                         You hate kids, don't you?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         No. Damn you. I'm desperately

                         lonely.

 

               Are you worth the three dollars a day your old man flings at

               me?

 

                                   HADARA

                         Are you?

 

               You've never gone back to school after the fifth

               grade....never had a job, you lazy blimp.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Why did you have to be born just as

                         I was about to divorce your father?

 

                                   HADARA

                         I hate weak mothers.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         A lady has a husband rich enough to

                         support her. A woman has to work

                         because she can't get a good enough

                         man.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Only failures marry.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Think I wanted you?

 

               I'm only taking care of you because your father made it my

               responsibility.

 

                                   HADARA

                         What do you get from

                         stealing...some kind of sexual

                         excitement?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         What do you mean, sex?

 

               I haven't had any since you were born.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Do I have to know that?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Horse face! Your father hasn't

 

               had a bath since the end of World War One.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Is that why you're always saying

                         he's a disabled veteran?

 

               TSIPKE pauses a beat, looking disgusted. Then she

 

               slaps HADARA across the face. She retracts in

 

               horror.

 

                                   HADARA

                         How the hell was I ever conceived?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         My father paid us a visit.

 

                                   HADARA

                         What has that got to do with it?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I was so happy to see him,

 

               I gave him my room and went to sleep in your father's room.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Did Benjamin watch the bang?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                             (looking down)

                         He was sleeping, I guess.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I wished daddy was proud of me.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         A caring man prefers olive oil

                         instead of butter.

 

                                   HADARA

                         See this scar on my face?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         What about the lightning you carved

                         on my face?

 

                                   HADARA

                         You called me horse face.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         But you are as ugly as your father.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I don't look ugly.

 

               I look Semitic.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Better get yourself an exciting

                         career because no man worth money

                         will want you.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I got that scar because you cursed

                         me.

                             (shaking her mother)

                         Take it off. Take off the evil eye,

                         damn it!

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You had no right to throw a

                         protractor in my face.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Your evil eye made me fall over

                         that fence in the schoolyard and

                         split my face open.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You lost your balance because you

                         were playing with A Syrian girl.

                         She's a jynx to you because of some

                         previous life.

 

                                   HADARA

                         We were nine years old.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I told you time and time again that

                         people who are not the same as us

                         are bad luck when we try to be

                         them. When we can't see the

                         boundaries, we don't know where we

                         end and where they begin.

 

                                   HADARA

                         No, it was your evil-eyed curse.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         She was with you when it happened.

                         I wasn't anywhere near there.

 

                                   HADARA

                         You linked minds with me when I

                         threw the protractor at you. Or was

                         it a compass?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I didn't throw my mother's evil

                         eye. It was karma.

 

                                   HADARA

                         You're all crazy makers. All those

                         churches you go to, those clubs,

                         the gypsies you visit in

                         storefronts to gab.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I'm lonely. You did something bad

                         to Syrians in a past life. That's

                         why they're bad luck to you now.

 

                                   HADARA

                         The girl simply asked me to pretend

                         the janitor was chasing us.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         The little bitch didn't take your

                         side, did she?

 

               She forced you to climb the fence.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'd do anything for her friendship.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         It was her fantasy, not yours.

 

               Can't you see? It was her karma cursing you.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Stop, already.

 

               We shouldn't even bring back her name.

 

               She's a jinx.

 

               Your father's mother's eye, those people from Bialystock, the

               musicians who played with the Klezmorim, they will put the

               curse of the evil on anyone who commits evil.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         How should I know?

 

               Of course she's a jinx.

 

               Maybe she put a curse on all of us.

 

               Isn't it odd that her brother-in-law turned out

 

               to be the lawyer for the

 

               city and we lost the case?

 

                                   HADARA

                         We make our own choices.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I had to pay all the

 

               lawyer's costs.

 

                                   HADARA

                         I've got to change my name.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Why do you let strangers torture

                         you?

 

               Isn't it enough you have this family?

 

                                   HADARA

                         Why did you tell me the Japanese

 

               were bombing New York

 

               when I was three?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Such trouble, such complications

 

               from you, horse face.

 

                                   HADARA

                         That's my first memory.

 

               You enjoyed making me sweat

 

               and tremble.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I could feel your father

 

               moving inside my body.

 

                                   HADARA

                         But it was me in your arms.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Now your mind has the strength of

 

               ten men.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Dad keeps saying he wished he'd

 

               flushed me into the bay.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I'd be free,

 

               if only I sent your brother

 

               to the drug store for rubbers.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Free to do what--make lopsided

 

               ash trays in your ceramics class?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You think your soul can be

 

               flushed through your dad's

 

               kidneys?

 

                                   HADARA

                         If you knew how much

 

               I hate being female.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         The day I married, I

 

               wrote in my diary

 

               "Today I died."

 

                                   HADARA

                         Then stop saying I'm killing you.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Your old man read it

 

               back to me with

 

               tears in his eyes.

 

               We were on the honeymoon

 

               train to Miami.

 

                                   HADARA

                         He opened your secret diary?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Girls make trouble.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Emotions make trouble.

 

               My only need is to

 

               get rid of them.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Through the storms of hell,

 

               I curse you to be logical.

 

               You'll get your wish...

 

               in your husband.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Why are you afraid to be Jewish?

                         Polish Jewish, I mean?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Shut up.

 

               They'll getcha.

 

                                   HADARA

                         You're a holocaust survivor,

 

               aren't you, mom. Aren't you?

 

               Why don't you ever talk about it?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         The second generation mustn't know.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Would it really have made a

                         difference?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         They said I had the map of

 

               Jerusalem printed on my face.

 

                                   HADARA

                         You were beaten by strangers

 

               who didn't even know your name.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         They were biting my tits off.

 

               And I was screaming that my hair is black because I'm from

               Babylon.

 

                                   HADARA

                         What did you do with the fear, pass

                         it onto me?

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         I bleached my hair, and changed my

                         name.

 

                                   HADARA

                         People change with time.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You think it's a joke?

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'll tell you where

 

               the holocaust is, mom.

 

               It's inside this dump.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Don't belittle the holocaust.

 

               I take your father's and brother's slaps like a soldier.

 

                                   HADARA

                         And all you do is nag and laugh at

                         him...

 

               and complain. But nothing changes.

 

               I'm growing up to fear all men.

 

               He says you're overbearing.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Your brother is my life.

 

               You're father is always at his flower shows.

 

               And I'm all alone, except for you.

 

               So would you lighten up?

 

                                   HADARA

                         I'll laugh at my own pain

 

               if I want to, walrus-face,

 

               manatee-hips...guilt complex.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         You have a moustache.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Thanks for reminding me.

 

                                   TSIPKE

                         Hey, what the hell

 

               did you ever do for me?

 

               Curtain or Fade Out

 

               Act II

 

               New Scene:

 

               Jr. High School Classroom Fall 1955 Day

 

               It is the fall of 1955 at a public junior high school in

               Brooklyn. HADARA (age 13) sits in a classroom that is made up

               of mostly Syrian Jewish students whose parents are recent

               immigrants from either Syria or Syria by way of Latin

               America.

 

               It is break time in home room, when students are free to

               chat. JUSTA, (13) and Seeley (13) are Syrian Pampered

               princesses who sit in the surrounding seats near HADARA.

 

               These girls are so wealthy they make uptown Jewish princesses

               look like paupers. They all live around Ocean Parkway, the

               wealthiest street in Flatbush, in private homes as big as

               mansions.

 

               HADARA at 13 is a short, skinny girl with waist-length black

               hair in corkscrew curls and pale green eyes hidden behind

               coke-bottle thick eyeglasses.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Why can't I join your sorority?

 

               The Megaz looks like a lot of fun.

 

                                   JUSTA

                         You have to be Syrian to join.

 

                                   HADARA

                         Well what if I said I was a Syrian

                         Jewish Princess who spent all day

                         shopping and had a big house like

                         you instead of a two-room

                         apartment?

 

                                   JUSTA

                         You ain't got any Syrian name or

                         Syrian money.

 

                                   HADARA

                         That means nothing.

 

               What if I had a Syrian bio father and a Polish Jewish step

               father or somethin'?

 

                                   JUSTA

                         I haven't seen you around any

                         Syrian neighborhoods. You don't

                         even live near our blocks. I've

                         never seen you go to the Syrian

                         synagogue.

 

                                   HADARA

                         How do you know what synagogue I go

                         to?

 

               Besides, my mom is so scared of being Jewish, she drags me to

               churches.

 

               She got beat up plenty just for looking like the stereotype.

 

                                   JUSTA

Your family doesn't hang around
                         with our crowd at the Nobeh parties
                         we have on Saturday nights. You're
                         not even religious. You wear
                         lipstick. I've never seen you
                         around before.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Well, what if I hang around the
                         Syrian center?
 
               Suppose I insist I am Syrian and I want to join.
 
               I have a special reason for wanting to join the Megaz.
 
               I want to find a rich husband to cherish me.
 
               What would I have to do to get in?
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Pass initiation. You have to take
                         off all your clothes in Seeley's
                         closet and let her six-year old
                         brother feel you up.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I couldn't do such a thing.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Did you ever let a boy feel you up?
 
               Justa giggles and starts to chew on her snack.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Is that your stupid initiation
                         rites?
 
                                   JUSTA
                         You have to take off your sweater
                         and bra in Seeley's closet and walk
                         into her living room and stand
                         there while Tynie feels you up.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What about Seeley's mother?
 
                                   JUSTA
                         She's in Florida for a week.
 
               The maid finishes the ironing at two and leaves to go
               shopping.
 
               We're nearly fourteen.
 
               We don't need the maid to watch us every minute.
 
                                   HADARA
                         If I take off my clothes
 
               are you sure I can join the Megaz?
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Do you want to join?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're pretty weird.
 
               Int. Seeley's House
 
               Seeley, Robrana, Wiley, and dusts, the leaders of the Megaz
               sorority of Syrian Jewish junior high girls meets at Seeley's
               house on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. All the girls are 13 and
               go to the same junior high school.
 
               No parent is present in the large, mansion-like private home.
               The heavy, black maid is busy ironing clothes and walks out a
               few minutes after all the girls arrive and settle down, lady
               like and quiet in the spacious, plush living room.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I heard all of your parents come
                         from one city in Syria--Aleppo.
 
               Is it true the Aleppan Jews don't hang around with the Jews
               from Damascus?
 
               Is it like the Litvaks and the Galicianas used to be fifty
               years ago in Europe?
 
               HADARA looks around the house, pacing the floor nervously.
 
                                   SEELEY
                         All I know is that we have two
                         social centers.
 
               One in Bensonhurst for the Damascenes.
 
               And there's one here for the Haleebees from Aleppo.
 
               Our grandparents were born in Aleppo
 
               My mom is from South America.
 
               Seeley looks at JUSTA wide-eyed. The two girls exchange
               glances and nudge one another's elbows, smiling and giggling.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         We're all Syrians.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Give me something proud to be a
                         Litvak.
 
               Of what can I be proud?
 
               Of what I do instead of who I am?
 
               Give me something proud to say about being a Litvak?
 
                                   JUSTA
                         You can be proud you're in the same
                         classroom at school with us and
                         everyone else.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Oh, so you do talk to me.
 
               How come you don't marry
 
               Ashkenazi Jews from Europe?
 
               You think Sephardics or Mizrahi are better or older?
 
               Equal, but different, like men and women?
 
               You think we're self-styled Jews from Northern Europe?
 
               Maybe you think we're part Vikings and Asians.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         We never saw you around our social
                         center.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I stood outside the Syrian
                         synagogue on the holidays.
 
               So, I hear Davie Joseph is practicing for his Bar Mitzvah.
 
               He's probably right next door.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Hadara, you know what you have to
                         do.
 
               It's initiation time.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Sure. Whereas your closet?
 
               It's dark in the hallway as HADARA enters Seeley's huge
               closet and takes off her sweater end undershirt.
 
               She stays in there a long while, as the girls pass around
               plates of Syrian pizza--cheese and spices melted on top of
               Pita bread.
 
                                   SEELEY
                         What are you doing in there so
                         long?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm ready.
 
               After a long moment of torment, HADARA walks out in nude
               colored body suit from the waist up, clutching her undershirt
               and sweeter to her undeveloped chest. Justa pulls her sweater
               and undershirt out of her grip as HADARA crosses her arms
               over her chest to hide her flat breasts.
 
               Justa tosses her clothing high in the air to Seeley, then to
               Robrana and to Wiley. The clothes continuously are tossed in
               the air from girl to girl as if they were & volley ball.
 
                                   ELLEY
                         Monkey in the middle.
 
               The Polish girl plays a fiddle.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Give me beck my clothes. Please,
                         girls.
 
               HADARA paces around chasing after the girls, trying to form
               same eye contest to get their attention and get her clothing
               back. She keeps her hands crossed over her chest.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Where's your six-year old brother?
                         You lied to me. He's not here.
 
               He'd probably tell your parents.
 
                                   ELLEY
                         Hey, Seeley. Give her back her
                         clothes.
 
               Go on give it to her.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Oh, gee. All right. Here's your
                         sweater.
 
               JUSTA tosses the sweater and HADARA reaches up to catch her
               clothing in mid-air. The girls giggle loudly.
 
                                   SEELEY
                         Look how small her breasts are.
                         She's as flat as a pancake.
 
               HADARA's back is toward the camera. The girls stop in their
               tracks and all of them stare at HADARA's naked chest as she
               struggles to put her torn undershirt on and then her red
               sweater.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         We have no initiation rights to
                         join the Megaz We just wanted to
                         see how crazy you'd act to get into
                         our sorority.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You really went and did it.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         Why did you lie and keep insisting
                         you were Syrian? I know where you
                         live, in a roachy apartment next to
                         the subway and not in the Syrian
                         neighborhood.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'll have to face you in school
                         tomorrow and for the next three
                         years.
 
                                   SEELEY
                         Crazy HADARA is really nuts enough
                         to get naked to join our club.
 
                                   JUSTA
                         A Crazy HADARA.
 
               You have to be born one of us to join.
 
               JUSTA opens the door and shoves HADARA into the street. She
               backs up and the four girls pace toward until HADARA is
               standing at the curb. Then the girls toss her into the street
               into the path of an oncoming car. The car brakes and comes to
               a halt a few inches before hitting HADARA.
 
               HADARA looks up only to see Avy Joseph, the Syrian Jewish
               boy' she has a crush on coming out of the Synagogue after
               practicing for his Bar Mitzvah.
               Their eyes meet, but each turns and quickly walks in two
               opposite directions, to offstage. Avy is dressed in a prayer
               shawl and skull cap. He had been practicing for his Bar
               Mitzvah.
 
               The girls go back into the house, giggling and slam door
               shut. HADARA is left standing on the curb in silence as Avy
               Joseph approaches as he is on his way home nearby.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hello Avy. How's school?
 
                                   AVY
                         Pretty good.
 
               AVY walks away quickly, not paying any attention to HADARA.
 
               Soon a swarm of teenage girls leave the synagogue end catch
               up to AVY as HADARA watches from a short distance away,
               unnoticed. The girls crowd around AVY as he stands with
               crossed legs, leaning on the fence of one of the areas
               upscale homes chatting with them. He's popular with the girls
               as they smile and admire the dimples in his cheeks.
 
               Darken Stage: Curtain.
 
               End of Scene
 
               New Scene:
 
               Eight Years Later In Time:
 
               Fade In:
 
               August, 1963
 
               Int. - Dance Hall - YMCA - New York City - Night
 
               An uncrowded dance-hall floor is livened by classical
 
               Flamenco guitar music. "El Judio" is playing--a Middle
 
               Eastern-sounding wild, Flamenco dance.
 
               HADARA swirls onto the dance floor, alone. She's wearing
 
               white, with long, fringy ear rings.
 
               Her hands clap in the soft, seductive rhythms of southern
               Spain, the
 
               beat builds in a crescendo with the music. Then she
 
               begins to dance by herself.
 
               The music grows louder, the dancing wilder as a crowd
 
               forms around her. HADARA is now twenty-one years of age.
 
               She's a petite, slender woman with long black hair and dark,
               compelling eyes.
 
               Hadara finishes her dance. Someone puts on American dance
               records of the sixties.
 
               One man, MALEK, 28, a Lebanese exchange student walks toward
               HADARA.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Thanks for editing my technical
                         manual.
 
                                   HADARA
                         No sweat.
 
               I doubt if I could write a book in Arabic.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Hey, introduce me to that blonde
                         who walked in with you.
 
               MALEK points to HADARA's girlfriend, ANDREA.
 
               She's a tall, buxom blonde.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Sure. Oh, Andrea!
 
               Meet an old friend--
 
               Malek Edeen. He's a good,
 
               Druish boy from Beirut.
 
                                   MALEK
                         That's a Druze.
 
               My religion is Druze, from Lebanon.
 
                                   ANDREA
                         Hi! Has HADARA been writing your
                         master's thesis?
 
                                   MALEK
                         Technical manuals.
 
               Would you like to dance?
 
                                   ANDREA
                         No. I'm supposed to meet this
                         violin-playing Afghan urologist.
 
                                   MALEK
                         You look German.
 
               Is that where you're from?
 
                                   ANDREA
                         I'm a Polish Jew from West First
                         Street, near Coney Island
 
               just as Cleopatra was from Alexandria, near Egypt.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Malek, Andrea only dates foreign
                         Jewish doctors from Asia.
 
                                   ANDREA
                         The ones born here want wives whose
                         fathers are rich enough to set them
                         up in business.
 
                                   HADARA
                         She's joking.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Say, I have a friend who came from
                         Syria only five days ago.
 
                                   HADARA
                         And you want me to teach him
                         English.
 
                                   MALEK
                         He doesn't speak a word.
 
                                   HADARA
                         All I know in Arabic is "ya
                         habeeby."
 
                                   MALEK
                         I'll interpret.
 
               HADARA and MALEK walk out of the dance hall to a quiet area
               of the YMCA with lounge chairs and desks.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What does he do for a living?
 
                                   MALEK
                         He's a year away from his doctorate
                         in engineering.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hmm...a good provider.
 
                                   MALEK
                         The guy speaks German.
 
               He lived in Frankfort for the past six years.
 
                                   HADARA
                         A doctor of engineering!
 
               What kind?
 
                                   MALEK
                         Mechanical.
 
               Is that a good enough provider?
 
                                   HADARA
                         That's not as good as matching me
                         to a military colonel.
 
               But it's easier than trying to marry a doctor in New York.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Who said anything about marrying
                         the guy?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Oh, flesh out.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What kind of a visa does he have?
 
                                   MALEK
                         A thirty-day one.
 
                                   HADARA
                         He's desperate.
 
                                   MALEK
                         How come you stopped dating me?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're a mechanic.
 
               I told you I'm looking to marry a professional.
 
                                   MALEK
                         What would he see in you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hey, we all go into marriage
                         looking for a package deal.
 
                                   MALEK
                         It's a trade-off.
 
                                   HADARA
                         The most successful guys still have
                         to settle.
 
                                   MALEK
                         And what are you peddling?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm a college graduate...worked my
                         way through.
 
               What's the least stressful job? That's what I want.
 
                                   MALEK
                         That won't make you rich.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Don't I deserve a prince?
 
               MALEK and HADARA meet up with AHMED HADDAD.
 
               They shake hands.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Well, here's your sheik.
 
               MALEK speaks in Arabic to AHMED, who nods, smiling.
 
               The conversation is conducted entirely through MALEK, the
               interpreter.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Are you sure you're an engineer?
 
                                   MALEK
                             (in Arabic the translated
                              in English by Malek)
                         Tell her what you do.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (in Arabic, then
                              translated in English by
                              Malek)
                         I'm a mechanical engineer
                         babysitting for an Arab family on
                         Long Island in exchange for a room.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Tell her about you getting a
                         doctorate in engineering.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (in Arabic then translated
                              by Malek in English)
                         I've got a year to go.
 
                                   MALEK
                         What do you say we all go to chat
                         in an all-night automat?
 
                                   AHMED
                         Let's shove off.
 
               They head for the subway.
 
               End of Scene: Curtain.
 
               EXT. SUBWAY ENTRANCE
 
               INT. SUBWAY
 
               INT. AUTOMAT - NEW YORK - NIGHT
 
                                   MALEK
                         Ahmed says he's on a thirty-day
                         visa and has to find a wife, fast.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Good luck.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (in Arabic)
                         I want lots of children.
 
                                   MALEK
                         He's ready to start a family.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Children only make a woman poor.
 
                                   MALEK
                         He has no money.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I don't want to be dragged to the
                         level of my husband's job.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Careful, Ahmed's an aimed bullet.
 
                                   HADARA
                         How ironic New York Jews aren't
                         invited to work in Lebanon.
 
                                   MALEK
                         What brought that out?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Imagine being arrested for looking
                         convexed-nosed in a Phoenician
                         world where everybody else looks
                         convexed rather than perplexed.
 
                                   MALEK
                             (looking at his watch)
                         Yallah! Look at the time.
 
               The last bus leaves for Hoboken at three A.M.
 
               I'll walk you to the Times Square subway entrance.
 
               They all rise and leave the eatery, walking to the Forty
               Second Street subway entrance. AHMED drapes his arm around
               HADARA and she looks into his smiling eyes.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (in German)
                         Do you speak any German?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I only speak English.
 
               Say... "I speak some English."
 
                                   AHMED
                         I speak some English.
 
                                   HADARA
                         There. I'll have you talking with a
                         Brooklyn accent in three months.
 
               A clock in a store window reads 2:30 A.M.  They look up at
               the clock.
 
               They reach the subway entrance. MALEK pays HADARA's subway
               fare, putting a token in the turnstile.
 
                                   MALEK
                         Thanks for the English lesson.
 
               MALEK pauses, looking down, then at his watch. He turns and
               walks away. AHMED follows behind.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What? Aren't you two gentleman
                         going to take this lady home?
 
                                   MALEK
                             (shouting back)
                         I'm talking Ahmed home.
 
               There's no way I'm missing the last bus.
 
               MALEK storms off, shoving AHMED to hurry.
 
               HADARA kicks the wall in the subway station.
 
                                   HADARA
                             (shouting to Malek)
                         It's an hour's ride back to Coney
                         Island.
 
               End of Scene.
 
               New Scene: Inside of Subway Car.
 
               HADARA is wearing a fancy white dress and spike heels.
 
               She takes the D-train to her Brooklyn station, KINGS HIGHWAY.
 
               Opposite her sits a middle-aged black man with a frightening,
               badly-scarred face. He's dressed in filthy, torn clothes and
               wears a cap.
 
               He smiles sardonically and stares at her during the entire
               subway trip. HADARA closes her eyes and pretends to sleep for
               most of the trip.
 
               When the train stops at KINGS HIGHWAY, the black man follows
               her, ducking behind the KINGS HIGHWAY station sign when she
               turns around to see whether
 
               anyone's following her.
 
               He hides. She isn't aware he's following her until she starts
               to walk the short distance to her four-family apartment
               house.
 
               The black man catches up to her by an open lot, just a few
               feet from her house. He puts his hand on her shoulder and she
               spins around to look into his frightening face.
 
                                   BLACK MAN
                         Hi! baby.
 
               HADARA gives him a look of terror. She bolts and makes a run
               for it. We see her spike heels trying to run. Her tight skirt
               hobbles her, and he catches up, grabbing her and throwing her
               to the ground.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My purse. Take it.
 
               There's only a dollar.
 
                                   BLACK MAN
                         Shut up.
 
               HADARA thrusts her cloth shoulder bag in his face. He grabs
               it and tosses it in the lot. He drags her in the high weeds
               and begins to strangle her.
 
               HADARA closes her eyelids a splinter and pretends she's
               unconscious. He releases his thumbs from around her throat as
               she makes herself limp.
 
               BLACK MAN drags HADARA over the curb, hidden behind a parked
               car. He lifts her skirt and shoves his hand into her panties.
               He bends over and looks closely at her face to catch a
               reaction. HADARA opens her eyes and gives him a fierce look
               of disgust.
 
                                   BLACK MAN
                         Bitch. Don't say a word.
 
               Think you can fool me?
 
               Tryin' to pass for white?
 
               Bitch. Shut up.
 
               Tryin' to pass for white. Yes.
 
               BLACK MAN spits on the ground next to her. HADARA screams. He
               puts his hand over her mouth. She quiets. He tears off her
               glasses and stomps them until
 
               they shatter. He loses his cap. He drags HADARA further under
               the curb, against the tires of the parked car.
 
               BLACK MAN begins to strangle HADARA more violently. She
               closes her eyes. Instantly a window in the apartment house
               across the street opens quickly
 
               with a very loud creak. BLACK man is startled as he looks up.
               In the window is a very old lady.
 
                                   MRS. HESK
                             (in a thick, Yiddish
                              accent)
                         You pishikas, get
 
               the hell off my stoop.
 
               Why you Hassids foolin'
 
               around so late?
 
               It's Shabbos. It's Tish B'Av.
 
               BLACK man is startled and runs away.
 
               HADARA rubs her neck and staggers to her feet.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Mrs. Hesk, Please, Mrs. Hesk, Call
                         the police.
 
               I've just been strangled and almost raped.
 
                                   MRS. HESK
                         Are you all right?
 
               I wish you pishikas wouldn't make so much noise.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I said strangled! Would you call
                         the police, already?
 
                                   MRS. HESK
                         I'm calling. I'm calling for you.
 
               HADARA sits down on her stoop and waits for the police car to
               arrive. She rests her head in her hands and sobs. The police
               car arrives with two officers.
 
                                   FIRST OFFICER
                         So you're the girl whose boyfriend
                         got fresh and to get revenge,
                         you're sending us on a wild goose
                         chase?
 
                                   HADARA
                         No. Why don't you believe me?
 
               I was strangled and almost raped by this black guy who
               followed me from the subway to my house.
 
                                   SECOND OFFICER
                         Were you raped?
 
                                   HADARA
                         No. I was almost murdered!
 
               The jerk shoved two fingers into my vagina.
 
               Am I still a virgin?
 
               Could I catch V.D.?
 
                                   FIRST OFFICER
                         Look, if your boyfriend got
                         fresh...
 
                                   HADARA
                         If I had a boyfriend to protect me,
                         this wouldn't have happened.
 
                                   FIRST OFFICER
                         Okay. I just want to make sure.
 
                                   SECOND OFFICER
                         These are whore's hours. Why were
                         you on the subway so late alone?
 
                                   HADARA
                             (looks annoyed)
                         I went to a club meeting, met some
                         people, and talked.
 
               They walked me to the subway.
 
               I can't see without my glasses.
 
               He smashed them.
 
               SECOND OFFICER searches the empty lot.
 
                                   SECOND OFFICER
                         There's a cap. It looks like the
                         kind they usually wear.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Can't you see all the broken glass?
 
                                   FIRST OFFICER
                         What do you do?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm a creative writing major at
                         NYU.
 
               My minor is film and archaeology.
 
               I want to be a visual anthropologist someday.
 
                                   FIRST OFFICER
                         Age?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Twenty-one.
 
                                   SECOND OFFICER
                         Would you like a police ambulance?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Of course.
 
               Can't you see my neck?
 
               And I have a sociology exam on Monday.
 
               The police car leaves. HADARA sits on the stoop and waits
 
               for the ambulance, rubbing her bruised neck.
 
                                                       CUT TO:
 
               Ambulance paramedic walks over.
 
                                   PARAMEDIC
                         Are you the one?
 
                                   HADARA
                         My horoscope saved me.
 
               Hey, can I catch V.D?
 
               That creep poked his cruddy nails into my vagina.
 
                                   PARAMEDIC
                         Not unless he scratched you there.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Now how am I supposed to know
                         whether I'm scratched?
 
               I was too busy worrying about getting strangled.
 
                                   PARAMEDIC
                         Hop in. You'll be okay.
 
                                   HADARA
                         No I won't.
 
               You're going to send me a bill for fifty bucks for this ride.
 
                                   PARAMEDIC
                         You should only live so long.
 
                                   HADARA
                             (talking to paramedic)
                         The hospital smacks me for another
                         hundred.
 
               How come I'm attacked and I get to pay for my exam?
 
               End of Scene. Curtain.
 
               New Scene
 
                                                       CUT TO:
INT. DARLENE LEVINE'S HOUSE - SEPT. 1963 - DAY
 
               DARLENE LEVINE (25) is a judge's single daughter who lives in
               a plush private home in Jamaica Estates, a wealthy suburb of
               New York (Queens).
 
               She is HADARA's best friend and confident at NYU. But DARLENE
               has dropped out of school to travel and husband-hunting, both
               without success.
 
               HADARA arrives in the afternoon.
 
               ANGLE ON GOLD DOOR KNOCKER and mahogany door. DARLENE opens
               the door, greeting HADARA with a smile.
 
               HADARA walks into the house, lavishly covered and plush with
               paintings DARLENE and her mother have created.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         What's the big emergency?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Don't I have to confide in
                         somebody?
 
               The two young women take seats opposite each other on the
               plush white sofa.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         I met the sexiest guy at
                         Grossingers.
 
                                   HADARA
                         But he's bald.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         And paunchy at twenty-nine.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You let a good provider go?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         There's no way he could support me
                         the way my father does.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Is he available?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         I'll never leave my parent's home.
 
                                   HADARA
                         If I had a good job,
 
               I'd leave today.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Would you trade all this for a
                         roach-wracked studio in Greenwich
                         Village?
 
               I guess you're either born lucky or born rich.
 
               Which are you?
 
               HADARA grabs DARLENE by the shoulders and grins at her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You don't work.
 
               I'm wearing myself out to finish college at night, slaving in
               a typing pool all day.
 
               Yes, it's better than my granny's sweat shop job from the
               triangle building fire days.
 
               What do you do? Live off your daddy's trust fund?
 
               Or are you still living at home at age twenty-five?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Shop. Travel. Brunch.
 
               Design and sew my own clothes and live at home waiting to
               inherit.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're an animal.
 
                                   DARLENE
                             (sipping tea, eating)
                         You're weird, but then all creative
                         writing majors are different than
                         us secretarial science students.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Guess what's news? My mom's just
                         been arrested for shoplifting.
 
               And my brother's the lawyer who's defending her.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         I've got an appointment with my own
                         therapist today.
 
               Now I have something to tell her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm so ashamed of being ashamed.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         How'd they nab her?
 
                                   HADARA
                         With a sexy nightie draped over her
                         arm.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Is she crazy?
 
                                   HADARA
                         No, but she's not a fair-weather
                         friend like I just realized you
                         are.
 
               Mom weighs two hundred-fifty pounds.
 
               But the nightie was a size six. I wear a size fourteen.
 
               DARLENE retrieves some muffins from a plate and
 
               serves them with tea.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         My mom just won a prize for her
                         latest screenplay.
 
                                   HADARA
                         And my mom walked out of the store
                         in a daze from her high blood
                         pressure pills.
 
               The security guard tackled her to the ground, smashing her
               head against the pavement.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Poor old dumpling.
 
               Is she okay?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Who knows?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         We've been having awful security
                         problems with our sliding glass
                         door.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm getting married on Friday to
                         that Arab.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Sex can be beautiful, if it's with
                         someone who knows what he's doing.
 
                                   HADARA
                         He asked for a certificate of my
                         virginity.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         I fell in love with an Arab once
                         when I was seventeen.
 
               His Lebanese parents forbid him to see me.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Because you're Jewish?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         It wasn't because I'm Greek.
 
               Hey, I look Greek, don't I?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Didn't they know Arabs and Jews
                         shared a common ancestor eight
                         thousand years ago?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Maybe they realized the genes were
                         either too close, or my blondeness
                         comes from Jewish men marrying
                         German or Slavic women a thousand
                         years ago when they couldn't find
                         enough women coming out of the
                         Middle East to marry in those
                         Rhineland villages.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Am I your best friend?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         We're both Litvaks.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Maybe it's better to marry outside
                         our diaspora.
 
               Besides, I'm too American and too intellectual to think of
               myself as some word that sounds foreign.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         There's cake in the fridge.
 
               I'm going to work on my college term papers.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Wait, we have to talk about the how
                         the present changes our own futures
                         based on decisions we make right
                         now.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         My advice is not to marry him. Find
                         a nice Jewish boy.
 
               Such a choice will change your grandchildren's lives for all
               the generations.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Like your dad?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Go to a Beverly Hills synagogue.
                         Move there.
 
               Give your babies a chance.
 
                                   HADARA
                         With what? My college loan?
 
               Do you want to give me a day job?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         All you're going to meet in New
                         York are Puerto Rican shipping
                         clerks.
 
               Nice Jewish boys won't marry you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Even with my master's degree in
                         English?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         No, because it's not a terminal
                         degree.
 
               What are you going to do, read them Shakespeare?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Sounds like I'm auditioning for a
                         soul mate.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         They'll ask what your father does
                         for a living.
 
               They want your dad to set them up in business.
 
               Or pay their medical school tuition.
 
               You don't have big breasts and a small nose.
 
               In fact, your face is scarred horribly.
 
               So you'd better have daddy's big trust fund.
 
               You have to be practical with men.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'd rather run my own business.
 
               I'm marrying to get away from poverty.
 
               Why do men ask what does your father do for a living instead
               of what you plan to do with your life?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Women are judged by what their
                         husbands do.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My dad mops toilets in the Navy
                         Yard.
 
               I'm too phobic to learn to drive.
 
               And I don't feel safe alone with men.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Maybe you'll like being a bag lady.
 
               You'll get to ride the stinky bus all your life.
 
               What if I don't find a husband with a house as big as my
               dad's?
 
                                   HADARA
                         There's a shortage of princes.
 
               I'm desperate, Darlene, desperate.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         My sister's already a producer in
                         Beverly Hills.
 
                                   HADARA
                         She graduated from an Ivy League
                         drama school. You just started
                         secretarial college.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Think a man cares what you do for a
                         living? No one ever asked me what I
                         do.
 
                                   HADARA
                         All they ask me is what does your
                         father do?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Your knight in armor wouldn't want
                         you to neglect his babies.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Or clean up after his horse.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         What's your trade-off?
 
               Without a doctorate, you'll never find a tenured job in
               academia.
 
               I know because I work as a secretary for a college.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I've already published a novel.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         In a woman, that's like being a
                         cripple.
 
               Like I said, sooner or later, I'll get this big house.
 
               My sister's already got the big script editing job in
               Hollywood.
 
               Creative but poor gals like you need to stick with a real job
               like mine.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Never. I need the Pulitzer Prize.
 
               The road ahead lies in observing this planet.
 
               We're news because we're the media.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         And still waiting to be rescued,
                         like the censored media.
 
               So how do I launch you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm gifted, damn it. The media is
                         an eternal teenager.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Don't think you're somebody special
                         because you work hard. I work
                         smart.
 
                                   HADARA
                         When's the last time you ever
                         shoveled snow?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Your brother's a lawyer why didn't
                         he ever introduce you to his rich
                         friends?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Law is no profession for a poor
                         boy.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         My family would never turn their
                         back on me.
 
               But your brother hates you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Ignores. Fears. Withdraws.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         You mom's retarded.
 
                                   HADARA
                         She's a storefront musician, a
                         psychic and a telepathic
                         clairvoyant, like me.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         She's a kvetch.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Quality men freak out when they
                         meet me.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Because you're bizarre. And I've
                         heard that line enough from you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Your bust is as flat as mine.
 
               So how come you're rich?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         I had a nose job.
 
               End of Scene.
 
               Curtain.
 
               Act III
 
               New Scene: Spot Light/Sound Effects or CUT TO:
 
               Tsipke's Apartment - Sept. 1963 - Night
 
               HADARA is sitting at her desk in her room reading a book on
               archaeology. The phone rings. She walks into the living room
               to answer it. She's alone at home.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hello? Oh, hi, Darlene.
 
                                   DARLENE
                             (on phone)
                         My two-hundred dollar purse is
                         missing.
 
               I'm giving you a chance to return it before I phone the
               insurance company.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're crazy. I wouldn't touch your
                         purse and ruin my reputation.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         My mom's on the extension.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Didn't you just come from your
                         therapist?
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Are you going to return my hundred
                         and twenty-five dollar purse?
 
               I'm calling the insurance company--now.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I didn't see any purse.
 
               But I can see from where you grabbed the idea.
 
               On a separate phone line:
 
                                   GOLDIE , (DARLENE'S MOTHER)
                         dials up HADARA's brother, BENJAMIN
                         who's working
 
               late at his law office.
 
                                   GOLDIE
                         Listen to this, you thief.
 
                                   BENJAMIN
                             (on phone line)
                         Law Offices.
 
               Hello? Is anyone on the line?
 
                                   GOLDIE
                         Your mother was arrested for
                         shoplifting.
 
               What kind of a forblundget family are you, anyway?
 
                                   BENJAMIN
                         What kind of trash?
 
               Human garbage!
 
               Are you trying to get me fired?
 
               BENJAMIN makes angry gestures and hangs up on her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What I told you about my mom was in
                         confidence.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Did you hear what my mom said?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Who can I trust with my life?
 
               Surely not my best friend.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         There wasn't anyone else here.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My own family scares me to hell.
 
                                   GOLDIE
                         Darlene never lies to me.
 
                                   HADARA
                         She's jealous of my Arab fiancé,
                         because her own Arab boyfriend
                         rejected your Jewish background.
 
                                   GOLDIE
                         If you don't return her purse, I'll
                         have your brother disbarred.
 
               I'm making a citizen's arrest.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Nothing can scare me any more.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Well, the next step is to tell the
                         insurance company.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You've never confided in me the way
                         I've opened up to you.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         You must have actually thought you
                         were my best friend.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I pity your real sister.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Like mother, like daughter.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm the most honest person you'll
                         ever meet.
 
                                   DARLENE
                         Give him up, for your own sake.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm marrying that Syrian.
 
                                   GOLDIE
                         Don't waste your time.
 
               Your children will be afraid to tell anyone from their
               father's country that you're Jewish.
 
               HADARA bangs the receiver with a vengeance.
 
               End of Scene. Curtain.
 
               New Scene.
 
               Curtain Rises:
 
               October 25, 1963
 
               Ext. Tsipke's Apartment House Brooklyn Day
 
               HADARA and AHMED walk up the stairs.
 
               They hold hands.
 
               We see wedding ring on HADARA'S finger.
 
               Couple is smiling. HADARA giggles.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You tell your parents first.
 
                                   HADARA
                         No, you tell my mom.
 
               HADARA knocks on the door of her parent's apartment.
 
               TSIPKE opens the door and smiles.
 
               End of Scene. Curtain.
 
               New Scene.
 
               INT. TSIPKE'S APARTMENT BROOKLYN 8 DAY
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Come on in.
 
               I was just soaking my bridges.
 
               HADARA and AHMED walk in and sit down on the sofa.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Mom, we were married two hours ago
                         in the County Clerk's office.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         You're kidding?
 
                                   AHMED
                         No. We did it.
 
               We had a hard time finding two witnesses to sign the
               certificate.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         It's a good thing you didn't ask me
                         to come down to city hall.
 
               My angina has gotten so painful, that I can't walk out of the
               house at all these days.
 
                                   HADARA
                         We found this couple who were
                         waiting to be married.
 
               They acted as our witnesses.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         MEIR, hey, cockroach back, flat
                         butt, get in here.
 
               MEIR staggers from his bedroom to the living room.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Well, hello strangers.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Those two just got married.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (with an Arabic accent)
                         We're going to spend the night at
                         the Americana Hotel.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yeah. And I'm paying the sixty
                         dollars a day from my college loan
                         money.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm going to look for work if I can
                         borrow three dollars from you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Now, he tells me, after we were
                         married that he's not an engineer.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         How much can you hope to make?
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm a machinist. I'm looking for a
                         job. I don't have a secondary
                         school diploma.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Where's Benjamin.
 
               We need a lawyer.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Benjamin doesn't care.
 
                                   MEIR
                         What kind of schooling do you have?
 
                                   AHMED
                         I left Syria at seventeen to learn
                         to be a machinist in German
                         factories.
 
                                   HADARA
                         That's all he does, mom.
 
               He's just a factory Joe.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Do you want to stay married?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yes. He told me he wants to have
                         his own business.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Can't Benjamin help you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         He kind of slithered away.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Benjamin is starving.
 
               He won't work for anybody, and he can't find clients.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Benjamin is dying with diabetes.
 
               Don't bother him, I warn you.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Well, before you go to the hotel, I
                         want to give you a present.
 
               TSIPKE scurries into the kitchen and grabs a gift-wrapped
               package from the cupboard.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Is that a gift for me?
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         I knew you two were going to be
                         married soon.
 
               TSIPKE hands the gift-wrapped package to AHMED.
 
               He takes it and smiles, unwrapping it.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Thank you, momma.
 
               A dozen packages of condoms fall out of the package.
 
               AHMED is startled.
 
               HADARA breaks out in laughter.
 
               She can't stop laughing.
 
               AHMED examines one condom carefully, reading the package
               label.
 
                                   AHMED
                             (laughing)
                         I thought you were giving me a
                         wedding present, you know, like a
                         watch.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You knew we were going on our
                         honeymoon tonight.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         My psychic abilities never fail me.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Thank you, mommy.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Don't let him put the rubber on dry
                         and then ram into you.
 
               That's how your old man tore me apart.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Oh, shut your face.
 
               I didn't know about women.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         He ripped me open trying to jam a
                         dry condom into a young virgin.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Is that why you made such an ugly,
                         cringing face the first time?
 
               I thought it was because I didn't take a bath.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         It was all over before you entered
                         me.
 
               Ahmed, he's a premature ejaculator. Hope you're not.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Ma, don't embarrass him.
 
                                   AHMED
                         We really must go.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Where you eating dinner?
 
                                   AHMED
                         Chinese restaurant.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Go, already. It's six o'clock.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                             (winking)
                         Gee, you made me feel young again.
 
               I feel like it was me going on my honeymoon with a new man.
 
                                   MEIR
                         Tsipke is watching our marriage
                         die.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         Well, you're not pumping anything
                         into it.
 
               Our marriage is still just like I wrote on my honeymoon on
               that train to Florida.
 
                                   MEIR
                         I remember finding your diary and
                         crying. You wrote "Today I died."
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         The real 'me' did. You only see
                         what my job, my responsibility is.
                         To take care of all of you, but
                         it's like an observer from above
                         looking down on a body going
                         through the motions of taking care
                         of you while my 'real' days of fun
                         and adventure slip away as if I
                         were invisible. We're all invisible
                         and so totally alone.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'll be at the Americana for two
                         days.
 
                                   TSIPKE
                         So, long, honey. Hope you can still
                         walk.
 
               End of Scene.
 
               Curtain.
 
               NEW YEAR'S EVE, 1969
 
                                                       FADE IN:
 
               INT. BALLROOM OF PLUSH HOTEL AT NIGHT
 
               A live band is playing. A Hawaiian buffet is set out.
 
               Couples are dancing. There is a Christmas tree.
 
               Music plays "Auld Lang Syne."
 
               HADARA (28) and AHMED (32) are seated at a table with
 
               untouched plates of food in front of them.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You're too crazy to have a lawyer.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Why are you sending my babies to
                         Syria?
 
                                   AHMED
                         My mother will raise them just like
                         I was raised.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Answer my question.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Just tell my lawyer that your
                         health is too bad.
 
                                   HADARA
                         But you told me if I signed the
                         house over to you, that the divorce
                         would be canceled.
 
               Is this supposed to be the perfect marriage? I was always
               told that old proverb: that it's better to be lucky than
               rich.
 
                                   AHMED
                         It costs too much to bring up kids
                         here. Besides, they'd grow up to be
                         drug addicts or whores...like
                         American kids.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You can't take them.
 
               Please let me have just one.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm not separating my kids.
 
               They're my life. You can finally have that career.
 
               Isn't that what you really want?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I want a career for the time when
                         my children will be busy with their
                         own lives.
 
               Besides, I paid thirty dollars for this romantic dinner.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I want to be rid of you.
 
               You're a stone around my neck. I want to be free.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You want to be free?
 
               There's no man freer than you.
 
                                   AHMED
                         It's midnight.
 
               I've got to get back to my restaurant.
 
               At midnight, the music grows louder, all the couples sitting
               and on the dance floor hung and kiss.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I can't stand to be alone in that
                         mice-infested house.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You want money?
 
               Then go out and earn it.
 
               Get a job like I had to do.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I gave up that option when you
                         forced me to have children.
 
               AHMED gives HADARA the "barber's itch."
 
               He pinches the hair at the nape of her neck and pulls her
               hair upwards to give her a sharp pain.
 
               HADARA screams.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Lower your voice, your whore.
 
               Didn't you hear me? I said lower your voice.
 
               I'll beat the sassiness out of you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         That belly dancer told me you're
                         the worst lover she ever had.
 
               AHMED grabs HADARA and shakes her.
 
               He throws her to the floor and kicks her as the dancing
               couples watch in horror.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Are you coming home?
 
                                   HADARA
                         How come your whore is old enough
                         to be my mother?
 
                                   AHMED
                         You're going to get it later
                         tonight, you bitch.
 
               End of Scene. Lights Out
 
               New Scene at Hadara's Modest Cottage In San Diego:
 
               Ext. Hadara's Modest Cottage.
 
               Ahmed Shoves Hadara Up The Driveway And Into The House.
 
               Int. Living Room Hadara's Home Night
 
               She flops down on the sofa. AHMED paces the living room floor
               circling around her like a beast.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm a total romantic.
 
               AHMED hurries to the desk drawer and retrieves his handgun.
               He puts the gun in HADARA'S head.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I want custody of the kids or
                         you'll be dead in twenty-four
                         hours.
 
               AHMED shoves her back on the sofa as she tries to rise. He
               turns around, waving the gun, and thrusts his buttocks in
               HADARA'S face.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Why do you think I go with a woman
                         ten years older than you?
 
               See any tail up there, man-hater?
 
                                   HADARA
                             (shoves him away)
                         Get your butt out of my face.
 
               She probably makes you feel important, and I make you feel
               responsible.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm a man, not a beast.
 
               No? No horns? No tail?
 
               AHMED spins around and puts the gun in her head again.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Your favorite pick-me-up is putting
                         me down.
 
               AHMED puts the gun in his belt and lights a cigarette. He
               rips off his shirt and lifts his arm, rubbing out the lighted
               cigarette in his armpit.
 
                                   AHMED
                         See these scars?
 
               What must I do to get rid of the pain?
 
               AHMED rolls up his sleeveless undershirt to reveal shrapnel
               scars on his torso.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I've seen them before.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm willing to die...to kill to
                         preserve the honor of my babies.
 
                                   HADARA
                         And you're sending my kids back to
                         Syria where twice you were tortured
                         in jail there?
 
                                   AHMED
                         The morals of too many Americans
                         are like pigs.
 
               AHMED spits in HADARA's face.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Why'd you bring your two brothers
                         here to live with us? I'm like a
                         white slave.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm running a restaurant, not a
                         whorehouse.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I gave up a Jewish doctor for you,
                         just to make peace.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Peace? You think you're too good
                         for me?
 
               You think you're some pampered princess.
 
               Don't you know anything about the care of husbands?
 
               Bitch. Why'd you marry me?
 
                                   HADARA
                         So I'd have a good subject for a
                         book or a movie.
 
               I wanted to be a visual anthropologist.
 
               I couldn't afford the tuition.
 
               So I decided to live as the other half lives in the third
               world.
 
               I wanted to understand what it feels like to be an Arab.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I'm not good enough for you, am I?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You destroyed me.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Look at you…a lawyer for a brother.
 
               Your father's a janitor…mops toilets at night.
 
               Eight-grade education…
 
               I own my own business.
 
               And I never graduated from secondary school.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You need street smarts to compete.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I dropped out of school to work as
                         a machinist.
 
               AHMED shakes her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Didn't I lease that restaurant and
                         get you started in business?
 
               Did I leave you when I found out you lied?
 
               Doctor of mechanical engineering, bullshine.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You're no good as a mother or as a
                         woman.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What kind of a father would dump
                         his kids on his mother?
 
               In another country, yet?
 
               And then go back to his restaurant?
 
                                   AHMED
                         Hamed, get your tail in here.
 
                                   HADARA
                         How come you always run out of
                         words?
 
               Then your fists fly.
 
               I'm a rich girl without money.
 
               Not a poor girl.
 
                                   AHMED
                         I want a divorce.
 
               You're a rope around my neck.
 
               I want to be free.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Then give others freedom.
 
               I'm housebound with panic disorder.
You're penniless.
 
               What a great time to ask for a divorce.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Hamed. Hurry up.
 
               I need you in here.
 
               AHMED calls in his brother, HAMED. He wakes up and treks into
               the living room, sleepy. He smiles a broad, weird grin, and
               looks at HADARA sadistically.
 
               AHMED presses the sharp edge of the oriental coffee pot on
               the living room table against the side of HADARA'S head.
 
               AHMED motions for his brother's help. HAMED walks over the
               HADARA. HAMED laughs wildly. The two men exchange words in
               Arabic.
 
               HAMED pulls HADARA to her feet by her wrists. AHMED and HAMED
               drag HADARA into the bathroom and AHMED dips HADARA'S head
               into the toilet bowl and flushes.
 
                                   AHMED
                         How many times have I told you to
                         scrub the bowl?
 
                                   HAMED
                             (laughing weirdly)
                         She never cleans it after somebody
                         sprays the bowl with diarrhea.
 
               AHMED drags HADARA'S head out of the flushing water by her
               hair.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Hand me my razor blade.
 
               HAMED fetches the straight razor from the cabinet and holds
               it. AHMED holds HADARA by the hair with one hand while she
               cries and screams and takes the razor in his other hand from
               HAMED.
 
                                   HAMED
                         Shut your trap.
 
               The neighbors will hear.
 
               AHMED holds HADARA's wrists together in one hand with his
               steely strength while he presses the straight razor against
               both her wrists. HADARA trembles and sobs.
 
                                   AHMED
                         If you try to fight me for custody
                         in this divorce,
 
               I'll slash your wrists and then tell the police you committed
               suicide.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Don't leave me while I'm still
                         agoraphobic.
 
               I'll give you my parent's apartment house.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Go unlock the door, Hamed.
 
               HAMED drags HADARA across the living room floor by the
               wrists.
 
               AHMED helps him. HAMED laughs. AHMED spits in HADARA'S face
               again.
 
               He pulls her women's liberation emblem from the wall and
               kicks it along the carpet.
 
               AHMED holds the razor against her throat and looks her in the
               eye for one long, silent moment. Then he throws HADARA out of
               the door into the night. It is raining.  Spotlight or angle
               on AHMED on the telephone.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Police? I want to report my wife
                         has tried to commit suicide again.
 
               Hurry over here. My two kids are sleeping, and I don't want
               her back in here to upset them.
 
               Curtain. Lights Out:
 
               End of Scene
 
               New Scene
 
               Curtain Rises:
 
               Ext. Hadara's Home Rainy Night
 
               HADARA bangs on the door. She cries, sobs, screams. But no
               one answers. She slithers down the door and sits in a heap on
               the doorstep as the rain washes over her.
 
               Ext. Next Door Neighbor's House  Night
 
               HADARA sidles over to the next-door neighbor. She rings the
               bell. AVA JOHNSON, a young housewife answers.
 
                                   AVA
                         Hey, it's three o'clock in the
                         morning.
 
                                   HADARA
                         He threw me out.
 
               Can I come in?
 
                                   AVA
                         Look, I don't want to get involved.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Please...
 
               Int. Ava Johnson's Living Room Night
 
                                   AVA
                         So he tossed you on your ear again.
 
               A woman is nothing without a real man.
 
                                   HADARA
                         A woman without a man can go to bed
                         knowing she'll still be alive in
                         the morning.
 
                                   AVA
                         You killed your own marriage.
 
               Don't think I didn't hear it die.
 
                                   HADARA
                         He didn't pump anything into it.
 
                                   AVA
                         Woman, you're addicted to romance.
 
               I bet  you read all those romance novels.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Read them? I write them.
 
                                   AVA
                         So what are you here for?
 
                                   HADARA
                         My psychiatrist betrayed me.
 
               He played the recorded tapes of our session to my husband.
 
               He's Ahmed's friend.
 
               Ahmed is keeping his rugs for him in his restaurant.
 
               My doctor betrayed me after he promised me what I said would
               be confidential.
 
                                   AVA
                         What do you expect?
 
               You just said that the doctor is his best friend.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I don't have any friends, and no
                         living relatives.
 
               I feel I'm in the way between your husband and you.
 
                                   AVA
                         I'm not your friend.
 
               I'm your neighbor.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Ava, help me.
 
                                   AVA
                         I can't help you.
 
               You can probably attract men, but you'll never keep them.
 
                                   HADARA
                         He expects me to go out and find a
                         job.
 
               I don't want to work. I want a man to support me so
 
               I can fulfill my career dreams.
 
                                   AVA
                         Tough luck, cookie.
 
               Fulfill your dreams after sixty-five like I'll have to do.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm agoraphobic.
 
               There's no way I can walk out of that house.
 
                                   AVA
                         Love junkie! He's already kicked
                         you to mediocrity.
 
               Girl, do you have a sense of entitlement to cure?
 
               End of Scene
 
               Curtain
 
               New Scene
 
               Curtain Rises:
 
               December 22, 1971
 
               Int. Hadara's Furnished Room Nearly Dawn
 
               There's a knock on the door.
 
               HADARA crawls out of her studio sofa bed to answer it.
 
               AHMED stands before her holding her two children, FAWZI, a
               boy of four, and SAMIRA, a girl of five. The children are
               dressed lavishly.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Is it time for them to go already?
 
               HADARA runs to her desk and brings two gifts for the
               children.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Why'd you have to go and buy them
                         such bulky toys to take on the
                         plane.
 
               FAWZI and SAMIRA squeal and jump for joy, unwrapping their
               toys.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're still not going with them?
 
                                   AHMED
                         The airline's hostess will get them
                         to Syria alone.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My kids are only four and five
                         years old.
 
                                   AHMED
                         My kids.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Really?
 
               Want to see my two episiotomies scars?
 
                                   AHMED
                         Fawzi, Samira, kiss your mother
                         goodbye.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I want to get a last look at a
                         percentage of my genes.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Hurry it up.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My daughter, promise me that you'll
                         marry a rich doctor if you can't be
                         one yourself.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Don't make her American.
 
                                   HADARA
                         American citizenship was my
                         greatest gift to you.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You're a crazy woman.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Is that your excuse for never
                         offering me a dime of community
                         property?
 
               You're disappearing with all the money from the sale of your
               restaurant.
 
               HADARA looks up at AHMED's face. He spits on her wall
               hanging, a women's liberation sign of the new feminist
               movment--a female sign--(Venus hieroglyph) with a fist. The
               children observe his actions.
 
                                   AHMED
                         You still get panic attacks, don't
                         you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Mr. Hostility, you just created the
                         new poor.
 
               I'll remember you as the take-away-man.
 
                                   AHMED
                         Go ahead. Make yourself rich.
 
               I came to this country with fifty dollars in my wallet.
 
                                   HADARA
                         And you're leaving me in a man's
                         world with two shiny quarters.
 
               AHMED shuffles the two children out the door and slams it
               behind him. Dawn comes up through the curtains.
 
               HADARA hops back into bed and turns up her small radio to
               "CANON in D" classical music.
 
               The phone rings.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yes?
 
                                   HODA
                             (on telephone line)
                         This is your ex-husband's whore.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What the hell do you want from me,
                         Hoda?
 
                                   HODA
                         I think you're the most selfish
                         bitch that ever walked.
 
               How could you give up your children?
 
               Because you're too lazy to support them?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You're being illogical.
 
               There's no way you or anyone else can ever make me feel pain
               again.
 
                                   HODA
                         I'd kill before I'd turn my kids
                         over to my ex.
 
                                   HADARA
                         No you wouldn't.
 
               Do me a favor. Tell me why I keep marrying toxic people?
 
               HADARA bangs the receiver on the holder and sobs
               hysterically. HADARA turns up the music louder as the soft
               waves of "CANON in D" bring a calmness to the dawn and the
               silent, lonely room.
 
               Curtain.
 
               End of Scene. New Scene.
 
               Christmas Eve, 1971
 
               Ext. Synagogue Night
 
               HADARA walks up the stairs for the Friday night Sabbath
 
               service.
 
               Int. Synagogue Social Hall Night
 
               The service is over and the buffet dessert table is
 
               laden with tea and cakes. HADARA takes a plate with cheese
               cake and a cup of tea.
 
               She looks up to see BRONNA GREEN, 36, smile at her.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Balmy night for Christmas Eve and
                         Hannukah.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hi. I'm Hadara.
 
               Are you alone?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Bronna Green.
 
               Just divorced. You too?
 
               HADARA nods affirmatively.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         You look it.
 
               If we're not feeling good about ourselves, we'll marry the
               man who'll reflect our low self esteem of the moment.
 
                                   HADARA
                         How true.
 
               What did yours do for a living?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         I put him through medical school.
 
                                   HADARA
                         At least you got to be a doctor's
                         wife.
 
               I always dreamed of being a doctor's wife.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Yeah, well a lot of 'em don't want
                         you to have your own career.
 
               And they all want children. You have to kiss their butt. Then
               they
 
               Dump you for a younger, healthier woman when you get old and
               sick before your time.
 
                                   HADARA
                         How your mother felt about herself,
                         that determines whom you'll marry.
 
               Tell me about yourself.
 
               How on earth did a short, small-breasted woman like you get a
               doctor to marry you?
 
               Did you have a rich father?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Yes. He's a well-known builder in
                         San Francisco. And I'm just
                         finishing my master's in marriage
                         counseling.
 
                                   HADARA
                         It figures. Were you valuable as a
                         kid?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         My dad dealt with seductiveness by
                         acting distant.
 
                                   HADARA
                         And you found out men are not
                         available.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Hey, you're a regular therapist.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yeah...kind of...I write fiction.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Are you attracted to cold men?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Silver-plated robots! I'm a science
                         fiction nut, robots, aliens, and
                         the works.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Ghostly lovers, eh?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You make money playing out old
                         conflicts?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         No man will ever live up to my
                         father. I keep my distance from
                         men.
 
                                   HADARA
                         At least you're out of a toxic
                         relationship.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         And what are you doing to select a
                         certain type of man?
 
               BRONNA and HADARA move along the buffet line, chatting, while
               people bend over to listen to their conversation. They pile
               their plates high with sweets.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Women who hate me for tooting my
                         own horn spread the word in public
                         that I'm a man hater. They love
                         writing that in the media. I'm not,
                         though. I'm looking for a daddy to
                         love me. What do you say we dump
                         the sweets? Want to come to my
                         place for a vegetable spread and
                         talk practical?
 
               BRONNA pauses to consider, then smiles and nods.
 
               The two women head for HADARA'S furnished room.
 
               EXT. BRONNA gets in her car. HADARA enters car.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I never learned to drive.
 
               Give me a lift two miles?
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Why can't you drive?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I inherited the fear gene from my
                         dad.
 
               BRONNA motions for her to hop in.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Never mind. Hop in. There's only
                         one way to choose a husband.
 
               Find out how quickly a man gets angry, before you marry.
 
               HADARA offers BRONNA a firm handshake. She accepts it,
               smiling.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I put a husband-wanted ad in the
                         daily newspaper.
 
                                   BRONNA
                         Any response?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Fourteen letters, since yesterday.
 
               Curtain
 
               End of Scene
 
               Act Three
 
               Next Scene
 
               Curtain Rises
 
               July 1985
 
               Ext. Hadara's Low Rent Cottage Dusk
 
               HADARA'S modest stucco cottage stands in a poor, multi-racial
               neighborhood where swarms of shouting children play in the
               gutter.
 
               INT. HADARA'S HOME DUSK
 
               The entire living room and HADARA's bedroom and den are
               covered with photographs and posters of Mr. Spock (of Star
               Trek).
 
               Star Trek fan material covers the walls of the den of the
               tiny three-bedroom cottage.
 
               In the den, HADARA's desk is strewn with science fiction
               paperbacks and magazines. The bookcase is filled with
               paperback Star Trek Novels.
 
               A giant poster of Mr. Spock is plastered in the wall of
               HADARA's den where she sits keyboarding at her personal
               computer.
 
               Manuscripts are piled on her desk. We see her finishing the
               typing of the last page of a screenplay. Her tape
               recorder/stereo is playing the baroque classical music.
 
               Spotlight or angle on HADARA's face as she looks up at Mr.
               Spock's poster/picture above her computer.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Don't you know you're the right man
                         for me because you'll always be
                         unattainable? So will all my ghost
                         lovers from previous lives in
                         different countries. So will the
                         richest man in ancient Rome and
                         Greece.
 
               The phone rings. HADARA picks it up. There's loud static at
               the other end. Silence. She's about to bang down the receiver
               when a voice breaks through from a distance.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hello?
 
               Well, speak up.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         Mommy?
 
                                   HADARA
                         My son, David Joseph?
 
               Oh that's right.
 
               He changed your name.
 
               What's your name now?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         This is Fawzi Mohammed.
 
               My father used to be married to you.
 
               This is your son.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Where are you?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         Syria.
 
                                   HADARA
                         This is the first time I've heard
                         from you in sixteen years.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         I've kept your picture since I was
                         four years old.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Holy Toledo! Oh, for heaven's sake.
 
               My kid. Where's your sister?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         At her girl friend's house.
 
                                   HADARA
                         When can I see you?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         Mommy, help me.
 
               I need five hundred dollars to come to America.
 
               That's the only way I can finish my studies in physics.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yes. I'll help. But I don't have a
                         cent.
 
               My second husband gives me fifty dollars a week for food.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         Can I come to live with you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         My house is too small. I don't know
                         what to do.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         I'm coming to see you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Okay. I'll ask my husband to kick
                         out the tenant from his rental.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         What do you look like?
 
                                   HADARA
                         White hair, bags under my eyes, and
                         lots of wrinkles.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         I'll call you when I arrive.
 
               The phone clicks off.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hello? Hello?
 
               Is anybody on the line?
 
               HADARA leaps for joy and plants a kiss on the poster
 
               of Mr. Spock. Then HADARA runs to her second husband's
               bedroom.
 
               (They have always shared separate rooms.)
 
               HADARA pauses, and then knocks on his door.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Better make it quick, I'm real
                         busy.
 
               In his room, ERIC AUER is busy soldering circuit boards on
               the computer he's building. It's his hobby. ERIC'S tape
               recorder is playing old time radio comedy. Soft music is
               wafting.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hey, most distant man in the
                         galaxy, it's important.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Tune me out, kid.
 
               Don't bug me.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I have to talk to you.
 
               Come on and give me a hug.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Not this week. I'm beat.
 
                                   HADARA
                         My son called from Syria.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Oh, give me a break.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Not until you give me a connection.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Would you stop arguing?
 
                                   HADARA
                         This is my normal conversational
                         voice.
 
                                   ERIC
                         I bet you'll be excited to see
                         them.
 
               When are they coming?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Soon.
 
               They need a place to live.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You must be excited after sixteen
                         years of no correspondence.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You have to kick the tenant out.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Why can't you sleep on the sofa?
 
               You'd better give them your bedroom.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Oh, no. You're not going to kick me
                         out of my room for them.
 
               That's what my brother did when he got married.
 
               He could have rented an apartment.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You're not going to let your kids
                         see this roach-filled dump, are
                         you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Who cares?
 
                                   ERIC
                         I'm too ashamed to let them see
                         what a lousy housekeeper you are.
 
               What a loser.
 
               Do they know you're a phobic who failed her driver's test
               nine times?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Why do you always take my choices
                         away?
 
                                   ERIC
                         All you ever wanted was to be taken
                         care of like Cinderella.
 
                                   HADARA
                         There's a shortage of princes, so I
                         married an angry man.
 
               I married a man who has been impotent only with me for
               decades.
 
               Why have I given up love for money that never materializes?
 
                                   ERIC
                         You're the new age Cinderella.
 
                                   HADARA
                         The only thing I'll inherit is my
                         own wisdom.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Your kids will never tell you their
                         business.
 
               All you'll hear is their bad news.
 
                                   HADARA
                         They're more worried that I won't
                         keep my mouth shut.
 
                                   ERIC
                         I'll have to carry two big
                         mortgages alone.
 
               Who's going to pay the mortgage on our other house, you?
 
                                   HADARA
                         What'll they think when I tell them
                         I'm Jewish?
 
                                   ERIC
                         They're devout Moslems from Syria.
 
               What do you think?
 
               End of Scene.  Curtain
 
               Curtain Rises, New Scene:
 
               Summer. The Present
 
               Int. Hadara's Living Room Night
 
               SAMIRA, HADARA'S daughter, 21, walks into HADARA'S living
               room.
 
               The two women embrace.
 
               FAWZI, 20, follows behind and gives his mother a big hug.
 
               He resembles her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Sit down. I've laid out a buffet of
                         fruit and veggies.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         What does your husband do?
 
                                   HADARA
                         He's a pool of anger.
 
               Eric repairs equipment, like computers and gadgets.
 
               He's a blue-collar Joe, and I've learned not to cringe when I
               say it.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         My father's a very rich man in
                         Syria.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Oh? Then why can't he pay me rent?
 
                                   HADARA
                         You look exactly like my mother.
 
               I guess she reincarnated.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         I'm marrying a doctor next month.
 
               He's coming here from Syria.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Gee, I always wanted to marry a
                         doctor since I was ten.
 
               No such luck in New York finding a doctor to marry, though.
 
               How come you married a doctor? You look just like me.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         My father told us you are a doctor.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Oh, no. I write science fiction
                         scripts and novels.
 
               But I haven't ever earned a dime.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Does your father have a job?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         No. He was arrested as a spy, put
                         in prison in Syria, and was beaten
                         until he became a mental vegetable.
                         I need to live with him. I can't
                         live alone here. You see when he
                         went back to Syria, the people in
                         the government said he married an
                         American Jewess. They took away all
                         his money.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Do you cook?
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         No, the servants chased me out of
                         the kitchen.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         She was raised like a princess.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Did your father ever visit you?
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         Twice. Once for two years.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Where's your father now?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         He was thrown in jail and tortured.
 
               The doctor said he had schizophrenia.
 
                                   ERIC
                         How awful for you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         If only you had answered my letters
                         or acknowledged my gifts, Eric
                         would have adopted you fifteen
                         years ago.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         Do you work for money?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm a housewife. Want to make
                         something of it?
 
                                   ERIC
                         She's as much of a failure as I am.
 
               Only she has a master's degree.
 
               I dropped out of college and have a very short temper.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Why don't you two eat something?
 
               FAWZI and SAMIRA stare at the food but don't touch it. They
               shake their heads "no."
 
                                   HADARA
                         We're vegan vegetarians.
 
               You won't find pork or alcohol here.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You're mother is Jewish.
 
               Does that scare you?
 
                                   FAWZI
                         Don't tell my Arab friends.
 
               And don't tell my wife and children.
 
                                   ERIC
                         And I'm English and German
                         American.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         Are you Christian?
 
                                   ERIC
                         I'm a spiritualist and medium.
 
               Ever play the Ouija board?
 
               You'd be surprised at the entities that come through.
 
                                   HADARA
                         His mom brought him up Lutheran.
 
               But we go to psychic séances.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         If you ever tell my husband or
                         children that you're Jewish, I'll
                         run away.
 
               You'll never see me again.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Take it easy.
 
               May the life force expand to all the trillion universes.
 
               Live long, rich, and healthy.
 
                                   ERIC
                         I hate fanatics.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You don't have to be human to eat
                         Levi's rye bread.
 
               Just dip it in Arabic hummos and tabbouli salad.
 
               Why is it so difficult to enjoy my ambiguity or your
               diversity?
 
                                   ERIC
                         Let's all join the Federation.
 
               Your mom's a Trekkie who likes the Federation of Planets.
 
               HADARA holds up a gold chain from which dangles a gold Star
               of David.
 
                                   HADARA
                         It's a shame there's no one to pass
                         my grandmother's Jewish star onto
                         for the next generation.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You made that choice when you
                         married your children's father.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         I'll take it.
 
               FAWZI retrieves the necklace and puts it over his own head.
 
                                   ERIC
                         See? He wears it under his shirt.
 
               I bet it'll go into a box, and his Arab wife and kids will
               never see it.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         Don't let my children see it.
 
               My husband knows all about you.
 
                                   HADARA
                         So how come you got married and
                         didn't invite me to the wedding?
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         It was an Islamic ceremony.
 
               All my Arabic real family and friends are going.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You're a robot to them.
 
               You're a stranger to everyone.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Hey, kids, you're all the family I
                         have.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You're forgetting me.
 
               Today's our anniversary.
 
                                   FAWZI
                         How'd you meet him?
 
                                   HADARA
                         He was the last letter to reply to
                         my husband-wanted ad in the papers
                         in 1974.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         And how'd he turn out?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Look at Eric.
 
               Listen to how he talks to me.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Hey, show some respect, or I'll
                         wash your mouth out with soap.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I'm sorry. It's just that he keeps
                         bellyaching.
 
                                   ERIC
                         When are you going to make me rich?
 
                                   HADARA
                         When you win the lottery.
 
               The beeping of an automobile horn is heard.
 
               SAMIRA leaps up and looks out the window.
 
                                   SAMIRA
                         It's Abdo, my husband.
CURTAIN OR FADE OUT/LIGHTS OUT.
 
               End of Scene.
 
               NEW SCENE.
 
               Int. Hadara's Bedroom, Same Night
 
                                   ERIC
                         Well, your kids are grown, married,
                         and have their own children,
                         grandma.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Are you sorry you had a vasectomy
                         ten years before we met?
 
                                   ERIC
                         No. I wouldn't want to pass on my
                         genes for depression.
 
                                   HADARA
                         A lot of good my high IQ did for
                         me.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You still have a superior mind
                         drenched in inferior brain
                         chemicals.
 
                                   HADARA
                         If only I had those brains in a
                         man's body, I could find a good
                         income.
 
                                   ERIC
                         If you're so smart, how come you
                         don't have the secret of a happy
                         marriage?
 
               And how come you don't have any real job?
 
               I see you're reading the care and feeding of Labrador
               Retrievers.
 
               How about husbands?
 
                                   HADARA
                         How about wives?
 
               I'm smart enough to play at the work I love.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Isn't it funny?
 
               Nowadays, men want to be heroes and women want money.
 
               Ten years ago men wanted sex, and women wanted love.
 
                                   HADARA
                         We're alone and in deep decline at
                         last in this house.
 
               At last I have a nice backyard to do my Tai Chi Chuan.
 
                                   ERIC
                         We're not alone in the universe.
 
               Everybody's watching us.
 
               ERIC looks up at the poster/picture of Mr. Spock on the wall
               of HADARA'S bedroom.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I feel safe in his presence because
                         he never gets angry.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Safe?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I have a right to verbalize my
                         deepest feelings.
 
               He won't chase me, shove me, or beat me.
 
               Men never call me a man-hater.
 
               Just women do, and only in print.
 
                                   ERIC
                         All I can offer you is my
                         impatience.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You'll never admit you hit me.
 
               Don't you remember doing it because I didn't like that old
               bookcase?
 
               If you're my husband and friend, then who's my enemy?
 
                                   ERIC
                             (grinning)
                         Only you, my love.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You've put me down and hit me all
                         these years.
 
               It happens only when I state my needs.
 
               If  I'm silent all the time and smile, it never happens.
 
                                   ERIC
                         If I can't be a hero to you, why
                         stay for my money?
 
               You will never get any of it.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Then why do you want me to live
                         here?
 
               I don't have any other place to go.
 
                                   ERIC
                         I'm not here to hit you.
 
               The always door stays open if you want to leave.
 
               You know we're not compatible and have nothing in common.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Yes. I agree we have nothing in
                         common.
 
               We're not compatible.
 
               But that doesn't mean I can't continue sleeping in my room.
 
                                   ERIC
                         You can continue sleeping here in
                         your room.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You've never kissed me on the lips.
                         Give me a hug.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Not now. Ask me in a couple of
                         weeks.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I never felt safe with you.
 
               Someday you will murder me, probably strangle me with a wire.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Did you have to tell the kids our
                         marriage never was consummated?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Why not? I want them to know I gave
                         up everything.
 
                                   ERIC
                         I'm so embarrassed. That's like
                         cutting off my manhood.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You know when you'll kill me, Eric?
 
               It will be when I demand respect.
 
               I won't have to wait until I say I'm leaving.
 
                                   ERIC
                         The subject is closed.
 
               Eric walks away. She trails after him.
 
                                   HADARA
                         You won't remember why you'd
                         snapped.
 
               Part of it will be to use anger to get power.
 
               You're too much of a miser to hire someone like in the movie,
               "Midnight Lace."
 
                                   ERIC
                         There's too much clutter on the
                         kitchen counter.
 
               When are you going to wash the floor?
 
                                   HADARA
                         She asked why we have separate
                         bedrooms and separate bank
                         accounts.
 
               From where'd you learn your knee-jerk hostility?
 
                                   ERIC
                         We made a contract, a deal.
 
                                   HADARA
                         It's a fair trade. You pay me food
                         money to stay.
 
               You won't even let me take care of my houseplants.
 
               My main complaint is that you don't allow talking very often.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Why the hell did an orthodox Jewish
                         woman from Brooklyn marry a Middle
                         Eastern revolutionary?
 
                                   HADARA
                         I thought a drastic change from my
                         dad's anger was necessary for
                         happiness.
 
                                   ERIC
                             (gruff concern)
                         Every woman gets the face and the
                         man she deserves. Was it worth it?
 
                                   HADARA
                         Jewish women marry Arab Sheiks when
                         they want to talk with daddy.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Maybe you need some religion. Seems
                         you not only want a daddy, you want
                         the Lord.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Women usually marry men like their
                         daddies or what's familiar.
 
               End of Scene.
 
               Curtains.
 
               New Scene Curtain Rises On The Present Day In A Park Or Beach
               Setting.
 
               Ext. Beach The Present Day
 
               HADARA and ERIC are walking along the beach, side by side.
 
               HADARA takes ERIC'S hand for a moment, but then he pulls away
               and walks faster so that for awhile he's walking ahead of
               her.
 
                                   HADARA
                         Would you slow down?
 
               I can't keep up with you.
 
               You're always running ahead.
 
               ERIC slows down and they walk side by side.
 
               This time, ERIC takes HADARA's hand.
 
                                   ERIC
                         My football coach made a pass at me
                         when I was fifteen.
 
               You're the only person I can tell this to.
 
                                   HADARA
                         I've already accepted you as you
                         are.
 
               I'd be scared of anyone different.
 
                                   ERIC
                         So we're both abused children who
                         shelved the option for rearing
                         kids.
 
                                   HADARA
                         The biological clock has run out,
                         and we're alone.
 
               Why didn't I think of adoption years ago?
 
               I couldn't replace my biological children.
 
               Someday I always hoped they'd come back to me, like my
               runaway cat.
 
                                   ERIC
                         Your kids never call you, not even
                         on mother's day.
 
                                   HADARA
                         What do you expect? They moved
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