THE BAY STREET GIRLS

Ben Meyers

With

J. J. Jeshurun


THE BAY STREET GIRLS

FADE IN:

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

The camera expands focus from a close-up of thirteen real Rosenthal roses into an ornate, mansion library while the tune, “High Hopes”, as performed by Frank Sinatra and the Neighborhood Children’s Choir, fades into the sound of a 42-inch floor globe spinning in its stand. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. reaches his left hand to slow the globe’s spin.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Contemplatively)

The greatest story ever told. Most of us spend our whole life looking for that one story and never realize that the greatest story ever told...is our own.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.’s left index finger stops the globe precisely on New York, New York. The camera zooms into the globe’s surface.

EXT. NEW YORK/NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

The camera zooms through thick and then dispersing clouds into a dilapidated Jewish neighborhood with a street alive with the sounds and activity of rowdy, boisterous young children playing ball and skate boarding.

The camera continues to zoom to the peeling front door of a rundown, 1940s-style apartment house.

INT. NEW YORK/APARTMENT/HALLWAY - DAY

Ana, a 25-year-old Jewish girl, backs out of her landlady’s open door, stands in a poorly lit hallway, and pleads delay of immediate eviction.

ANA

But...

LANDLADY

I’m not running a charity home, Ana!

ANA

(Wailing)

But, I’ve no place to go! I’ll be out on the street! Ek velt for me!

LANDLADY

(Righteous indignation)

Ek velt? There’s no need for anyone to be ‘out of the street’ in America. America feeds, clothes, and shelters everyone!

Two frayed, tweed bags, faux-leather trim cracked from previous generations’ use, receive a definitive heave and land half-in-half-out of the landlady’s door with a resounding ‘thump’. Ana’s foot moves forward and urgently pushes the bags back inside the landlady’s door.

ANA

(Severe protest)

My furniture.

The landlady makes a sweeping, final motion with both hands.

LANDLADY

Es iz shpet.

ANA

(Pleading, promising)

Gloib mir! Please! I’ll have my checks soon.

LANDLADY

(Unrelenting, accusing)

Enough with the empty promises. The Rabbi says it is G-d’s affair now, not mine.

ANA

(Flabbergasted)

The Rabbi! Gevalt! Of course he would say that! He can’t even carry a good argument with me! Good for him to have me out of sight and mind.

LANDLADY

Not another word will you have from me, Ana. Go away.

The landlady, against Ana’s blustering, uses a foot to firmly push the tweed bags into the hall and shuts the door with finality. Ana turns, despairingly slumps against the door, and looks upward at the peeling, water-stained ceiling.

ANA

(Traditional, Jewish lament)

So this is how You’re launching me into life...with two bags and bus fare? I'm not complaining, but it's not an auspicious start.

Ana looks sorrowfully at the opposite wall's green, peeling, plastic, fleur de lis decoration.

ANA

(Speaks/sings protest “In A Yes-No World”)

"In a yes-no, black and white world, would it hurt to have a small 'maybe', a little gray just once in awhile?/A little gray could keep a girl like me with a roof over her head/A little gray could push back time, just a bit, for that necessary reprieve/Color fear with a more agreeable face/Does everything really have to be so cut and dry?/So absolutely 'by the rules'?/Where is the sense in that?/To me, it's perfectly obvious that no one benefits when a nice girl is...placed on the street!/Isn't it illogically ridiculous to sleep in a gutter, when my comfortable room sits empty, un-rented to another?/In a yes-no, black and white world, would it hurt to have a small 'maybe', a little gray...just once in awhile?"

Ana pauses, thinks, and sets her jaw firmly.

ANA

Of course! A little gray is exactly what’s needed.

Ana turns and knocks firmly on the landlady's door. The door remains closed despite Ana's knock. Ana knocks again. Ana's shoulders slump. Ana glances toward the ceiling and raises empty hands.

ANA

Where do I go when everyone says no?

The hall clock strikes three. Ana quickly verifies the time on her watch, gets an idea, purposefully grabs her bags, and exits the hall’s door.

EXT. NEW YORK/NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

Ana runs down the front apartment steps into a neighborhood street fertilized with children’s laughter and activity. Ana narrowly dodges two balls and an escaped skateboard.

STREET BOY

(Impudently)

Hey! Ana! Be my girlfriend!

Ana tosses her head smartly.

ANA

And, aren’t you the one who stole my gelt last Chanukah? Girlfriends aren’t made from lost money or chocolate.

Street Boy laughs mischievously, pulls a cap from his head, and makes a low bow.

STREET BOY

Then, at least throw me my ball, mi’lady.

Ana gives the rolling ball a nimble kick toward the other end of the street. Half a dozen street boys race after it. The rumbling sound of a neighborhood bus fills the air. Ana grips her bags and sprints toward the bus stop. The bus doors begin closing. Ana heaves one bag toward the bus steps; it lands squarely and blocks the bus door. Ana launches herself up and over the bag.

BUS DRIVER

Try that again and I'll drive off dragging it.

Ana turns and reaches to retrieve her bag. Ana hands bus fare to the bus driver, sets one bag on the floor, reaches up for the ‘standing’ strap, balances the second bag on top of the other, and looks out the window as the sound of the bus shifting gears fills the air.

ANA

(Whispers to self)

May you have no troubles worse than a well-placed bag blocking your bus doors.

The bus driver sees her lips moving in his mirror.

BUS DRIVER

(Sharply)

What did you say?

Ana shrugs her shoulders and looks out the window.

EXT. NEW YORK/SEEDY PART OF TOWN - DAY

Ana’s bags catch on the bus doors as she attempts to exit. She struggles to turn sideways, ignores the impatient complaints of people behind her, finally throws one bag through the door onto the sidewalk (just missing a frowning, waiting passenger), and successfully pulls the second bag down the bus steps after her. She reaches for the bag sitting askew on the sidewalk, dodges unloading and loading passengers, grips both bags firmly in hand, and awkwardly runs to the unemployment office. Two guards lock the glass doors just as she arrives. Ana drops the bags to the sidewalk, urgently knocks, and mutely pleads for entrance. The guards firmly shake their heads 'no'. Ana beats the glass with both hands and demands entrance. The guards place their hands on their bully clubs. Ana’s shoulders slump. She turns, looks up and down the sidewalk, reaches into her pocket, counts slight change, grimaces, picks up bags, ‘jaywalks’ across the street, and starts walking down a broken, unkempt sidewalk toward the bay. Ana gloomily observes boarded up windows, but brightens considerably at seeing a functioning McDipp’s Hamburger fast food restaurant on the far opposite corner of the street. She sidesteps a sleeping dog and watches a flock of blackbirds circle and land in a tree. Their raucous cries fade into the background as Ana continues to walk.

ANA

(Despairingly speaks/sings "Where Do People Go?")

"Where do people go when they've no place to go?/It seems I know and I think I've seen/They just slide away behind some invisible screen/Men lie sprawled across aluminum cans/Defend their spot along some forgotten curb...."

A comatose male drunk lies sprawled across a bed of aluminum cans. A shopping cart lays turned on its side beside him.

ANA

(Fearfully whispering-continues speak/sing "Where Do People Go?")

"But, where do women go when they've no place to go?/Don't they have a special sense?/Keeping them in cushions and warmth?/An emotional sense/That's it!/It makes a woman a tad bit quicker than a man/Doesn't it?/A bit of a superior edge, if you will/You must admit, a woman rarely sits, alone and ill-kempt, inside some forgotten doorsill/That speaks much of woman's special sense, doesn't it?"

A comatose female wino sits inside a door frame with a wine bottle in her lap. Ana quickly averts her eyes.

ANA

(Increasing panic-continues speak/sing "Where Do People Go?")

"Where do people go when they've no place to go?"

A woman approaches Ana.

STREET WOMAN

Can you spare some change for some coffee, dearie?

Ana’s face drops. She sets her bags on the street and reaches into her pocket. She drops the last of her change into the woman’s extended hand. The blackbirds take flight. Several migrant workers sit on the street curb outside of McDipp’s. They eat single hamburgers and notice the exchange. A serape-covered ‘hippie’ leans against a gang-writing covered wall and softly strums a guitar. Ana picks up her bags and continues walking.

ANA

(Muses)

I should regret arguing with the Rabbi. Maybe I shouldn't have defended my opinions quite so well or...at least not so well in front of Mrs. Bloomdale, Mrs. Meir, and Mrs. Goldberg. But, valid points...intellectually well made....

Ana reaches the corner and blindly steps into the street. A bicyclist swerves into the car lane to avoid Ana.

BICYCLIST

(Yelling)

Hey, watch out! You hit the happy hour a little early, didn’t you, baby?

Ana quickly steps back onto the curb to avoid a large group of brightly dressed bicyclists.

ANA

(Apprehensively to self)

Where DO people go when there’s no place to go?

The sounds of ships leaving the bay and shrill seagull cries fill the air. The sun begins setting. Ana sees an abandoned brownstone building. Its brass cornerstone plate reads: 1896 Guilder Brothers. Ana tries to open the front door. The door opens.

INT. NEW YORK/GUILDER BROTHERS BUILDING/REST ROOM/OFFICE ROOM/ATTIC - NIGHT/DAY

Ana stands inside the empty, very quiet Guilder Brothers’ building. She orients to the darkness. Echoing noise reverberates throughout the empty room as she walks across wood floors toward the flight of stairs. She cautiously climbs the stairs and walks to the end of the hallway trying to open closed office doors along the way. The last door opens into a rest room. Ana turns a knob on the sinks. The air fills with the sound of water freely splashing into the sink bowl. Ana shows surprise. She returns to the hallway and tries the door opposite the rest room. The door opens. She deposits her two bags on the floor, moves to the window, struggles to open it, and stills her activity as the sound of a whimpering child fills the air. The sound increases in tone and constancy.

ANA

Oy vey! And why should you cry so much?

The sound stops. The crying sound begins again.

ANA

And why would such a sound come wafting to me? Am I not having enough bad luck already?

The sound of the whimpering child continues. Ana moves to the room’s door. Ana leaves the room, follows the sound, and enters the rest room. The sound comes from behind lockers. Ana rolls the lockers away from the wall and finds a wall that has been broken through to allow access to an old staircase. Ana steps through the wall and finds her way toward a dusty, dark attic filled with crates, barrels, and stacks of magazines. A candle’s light burns at the end of the room. Ana traces her way through jumbled junk toward the candle and finds a feverishly-ill street orphan, Sarah (blond-hair, age three, wearing a dirty, disheveled, unkempt fleece pajama suit with the feet out), lying on a dirty, torn sleeping bag. Ana kneels.

ANA

(Whispering)

And what are you doing here and all alone, too?

SARAH

(Feverish)

Marta?

ANA

(Whispering)

Shhh...shhh. Marta isn’t here now. Just sleep.

Ana examines an open soup can near the makeshift bed, tears a piece of cloth from the sleeping bag, and dips the cloth into a water-filled plastic milk jug sitting on the floor beside the sleeping bag. She loosens Sarah’s clothing, sponges Sarah's face, hears a creak on the stairway, turns, and sees another disheveled street orphan, Pansy (African-American, age five, wearing torn/baggy jeans rolled to knees and a torn shirt), rounding the stairwell. Pansy's eyes grow wide. Pansy backs into an (O.S.) line of disheveled street orphans...Janna (Caucasian, red hair/freckles, age seven, toothless, wearing a torn dress sized for a five-year-old), Jen Lee (Asian, age six, wearing dirty shorts and a tank top), Persimmon (American Indian, age five, wearing torn jeans and a long-sleeve shirt), Susana (Hispanic, age eight, wearing a dirty skirt hitched to the chest to make a dress), Kimmee (Caucasian, age nine, wearing a torn night gown converted to a dress), Abby (Caucasian, age twelve, wearing grunge jeans missing one leg and a dirty, too-small t-shirt), Chutney (Indian, age twelve, wearing dirty, over-sized rolled jeans and a pajama shirt), Jo (Caucasian, age fourteen, wearing dirty jeans cut at knees and a t-shirt), Karrin (Caucasian, age fifteen, wearing tight/torn dirty jeans and a torn/heavy coat), and Marta (Caucasian, age seventeen, wearing dirty, baggy shorts and a torn t-shirt).

MARTA (O.S.)

(Irritated)

Get out of the way, Pansy. We need to check Sarah.

Pansy shakes her head ‘no’ and refuses to advance.

JANNA (O.S.)

(Questioning)

What’s the matter, Pansy?

Janna struggles to get past and succeeds. She stands slightly in front of Pansy. Pansy points. Janna looks and backs into Pansy, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta.

KARRIN (O.S.)

(Querulously)

What’re you doing, Janna?

ANA

(Calling)

It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.

KARRIN (O.S.)

(Hissing)

Social Services! I told you not to burn a light after dark. I TOLD you!

JEN LEE (O.S.)

(Extreme fear)

Is it...Mrs. Plinsky?

A fearful murmur arises O.S. from Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, and Chutney.

JANNA

She didn’t look like Mrs. Plinsky.

ANA

Chas v’cholileh! I’m not Social Services and I’m not Mrs. Plinksy!

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta engage in a quick, whispered conference.

PERSIMMON (O.S.)

(Dreadfully nervous)

I have to pee, Marta.

JEN LEE (O.S.)

(Nervously)

Me, too.

SUSANA (O.S.)

(Nearly crying)

Marta! I don’t want to go back!

MARTA (O.S.)

(Angrily)

None of us are going back!

CHUTNEY (O.S.)

(Undertone)

They all say they’re not Social Services and then they get you when you’re off guard. She’s Social Services, all right.

ANA

(Protesting)

Ech! I’m not....

KARRIN (O.S.)

(Calling/interrupting)

Then, why are you here?

ANA

I heard a baby crying.

Nine disheveled, unkempt street orphans...Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, and Jo...are forced into the room by two older girls, Marta and Karrin, pushing them up the stairs. Marta enters the room and addresses Ana.

MARTA

(Curtly)

Gimme your wallet.

Ana hands her wallet to Marta. Marta expertly turns the wallet inside out and with great relief shares information with Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin.

MARTA

She’s not Social Services.

ABBY

(Nervously)

Are you sure, Marta?

Marta nods affirmatively and turns toward Ana.

MARTA

Where’s your stuff?

ANA

Stuff?

MARTA

Bags. I saw you earlier on the street with bags.

ANA

They’re across from the rest room.

Marta jerks her head toward the stairwell.

MARTA

Karrin. Kimmee....

Karrin and Kimmee detach from the group. Ana turns her attention to sponging Sarah. Marta notices the action and reaches to yank the wet rag from Ana. Ana pulls away.

MARTA

You’re chilling her.

ANA

I’m cooling her fever.

MARTA

Sick people need to be warm, not cold. Gimme the rag.

Before Ana can reply, Karrin and Kimmee return to drop Ana's bags onto the floor.

SUSANA

Two bags everybody! And, they’re big ones!

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, and Chutney eagerly gather around the bags' contents. Jo and Karrin oversee the inspection while Marta keeps half-an-eye on Ana.

SUSANA

(Disappointed)

There’s no food.

ABBY

(Sadly)

And, no money to buy any either.

Persimmon walks to Ana.

PERSIMMON

(Shyly)

Why don’t you have any money?

ANA

I lost my job.

KARRIN

(Belligerently)

So, what are you doing here?

ANA

(Shrugs)

Every door was shut except this one.

Ana pauses and looks at Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta.

ANA

Why are you here?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta’s eyes lower; feet shift; silence maintains.

ANA

I see...maybe for the same reason I am here.

Ana offers an introduction.

ANA

My name is Ana.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta briefly focus on Ana, do not offer return introductions, and seem to ignore her as if she has passed out of their consciousness. Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin turn to Marta and immediately pass to their current most pressing need.

PANSY

(Badgering)

I’m hungry, Marta. Please? I want to eat.

CHUTNEY

(Urging)

We can make another round for food. The donut shop will be closing soon.

MARTA

(Frowning)

They didn’t have anything yesterday.

JANNA

Maybe they didn’t sell so much today, Marta.

Marta nods and looks at Ana and Sarah. Karrin notices and reassures Marta.

KARRIN

Don’t worry. We can lock them in.

Marta issues a strong order to Ana.

MARTA

Don’t chill her again.

Pansy, Janna, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta turn and file down the stairs. Jen Lee follows at a slower pace, stops, and looks backward at Ana. Ana waves a small good-bye. Jen Lee returns a slight wave before filing down the stairs. Alone, Ana checks Sarah’s fever, dejectedly looks around the desolation of the attic, and looks through the attic window at the stars.

ANA

(Traditional Jewish lament)

Why didn’t You send them a rich woman instead of me?

A new moon shows in the window. Ana looks toward it. Ana's eyes well with tears of despair.

ANA

Of all the wonderful stories that could have been mine...why this story?

Ana  wraps her arms around her knees and places her chin on them.

ANA

I don't want this story. I've little more than they. I've no Father or Mother either. How can I help them with nothing?

Ana wipes tears from her eyes, looks around the desolation of the attic, and states the situation as she sees it.

ANA

Twelve starving girls and life's meanest dragons roaring at the door...where would one even begin?

Ana looks down at Sarah and then, looks straight ahead to the opposite wall while talking to self.

ANA

I’ve got a choice to say, ‘It’s hopeless’ and walk away.

Ana turns her face toward the stairwell as if deciding to make an escape; then, she reluctantly turns her face toward Sarah.

ANA

But, if I walk away, where does their happy ending begin?

Tears well in Ana’s eyes. Ana’s eyes wander to the stairway again, wavering.

ANA

The hugest happy endings would begin in the deepest valleys of despair, wouldn’t they? It wouldn’t even be a good story if it didn’t start there, would it?

Ana looks through the window at the new moon.

ANA

What limits a good story?

Ana wrinkles her brow.

ANA

Fear. If everyone cowers in fear...there is no story.

Ana looks around the room again and then raises her face.

ANA

So, are there any heroes here who are willing to step forward? All you have to do is force fear to the wall. How about a heroine? Heroines?

Ana pauses.

ANA

Maybe...I don’t have to force fear away. Maybe...I just need to choose my view.

Ana stands up, cocks her head sideways, and looks around the room.

ANA

One, two, three, four. North, East, South, West.

Ana quietly spins in four directions, closes her eyes, and begins singing.

ANA

(Speak/sings “Close Your Eyes”)

Close your eyes, count to four, then open the door, and you’ll see...anything you want to see/ Color it with joy and joyful it will be/Shade it with love and loving it will be/It’s up to you, don’t be fooled/Step outside, take a look/Dip your toe into your world...dance a bit; prance a bit/ It’s like opening a book...as easy as turning a page/There’s no effort to it; choose your view and hold to it/Bent low? Look high!/Step outside the paradigm/Who made those rules?/Then, you’ll see...anything you want to see/Wise men say it’s never too late, it’s never too bad, it’s never too wrong/All you have to do is:/Close your eyes, count to four, then open the door, and you’ll see...anything you want to see/It’s up to you, don’t be fooled/Step outside, take a look/It’s like opening a book...as easy as turning a page/There’s no effort to it; choose your view and hold to it/Bent low? Look high!/Step outside the paradigm/Who made those rules?/Then, you’ll see...anything you want to see.”

The music continues softly in the background. Ana stops singing and looks around the room through dreamy eyes. Everything seems draped in a soft, golden light and Sarah’s torn, dirty sleeping bag seems like a golden, silk blanket covering a beautiful, precious little princess.

ANA

(Whispers very softly)

Choose your view...then, you’ll see...anything you want to see.

Ana tilts her head sideways.

ANA

(Speaks aloud)

I believe I see one tousled-hair princess sleeping unaware. The possibility is there.

Ana hears the locker bins rolling away from the stairway entrance and hears the returning feet of the girls.

ANA

(Speaks louder with more confidence)

And, eleven more princesses coming up the stair.

Ana looks down at Sarah.

ANA

(Sings softly the chorus line of “Close Your Eyes”)

“Choose your view and hold to it/ Bent low? Look high!/Step outside the paradigm/Who made those rules?/ Then, you’ll see...anything you want to see.”

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta enter the attic with large, plastic, garbage bag sacks of smashed, stale, glazed donuts. Pansy reaches into the garbage bag, retrieves a handful of donuts, walks to Sarah, kneels down, and places them near Sarah’s head.

PANSY

(Smiles joyously)

Lots ‘n lots of donuts, Sarah! Enough for you when you get well tomorrow.

Sarah turns a face toward the donuts, but does not open her eyes or respond. Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, and Marta greedily open the garbage bags and begin sharing smashed, stale donuts. Pansy returns to the dumpster bags to fill both hands with smashed donuts. Chutney bites deeply into a jelly-filled donut. Jelly drips down her chin and her arms. She licks the jelly from her arm. Janna and Jen Lee suck the sugar glaze from their fingers before reaching for more donuts. Ana returns to a seated position beside Sarah and observes the girls. Ana catches Marta's gaze.

ANA

Social Services'll give them food and beds. Wouldn't that be easier than this?

Marta’s face turns down. Janna, Jen Lee, Pansy, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin, intent on eating, fill their hands with more donuts and sit on the floor.

MARTA

The agency? Where do you think kids like us go?

Marta restrains terrific emotion. Janna, Jen Lee, Pansy, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin finish stuffing the last of the donuts into their cheeks while Marta begins to sing.

MARTA

(Speaks/sings “Kids Like Us”)

"We've got a predetermined story/Whether we wanted it or not/Assigned our value...wholesale/Disposable, dispensable, considered reprehensible/Given to lazy madams who never liked to work/Parceled by truckload to the sad, the needy, the greedy/When we're little they may adore us/When we're six they ignore us/...

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin’s heads nod vigorously in agreement. 

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, AND KARRIN

When we’re six they ignore us!

MARTA

(Continues to speak/sing “Kids Like Us”)

...Living memorials to empty promises, promises so easily relieved/Nameless, faceless, we blend into every wall/Hoping, wishing, searching/Forever grasping, groping/Eyes doomed for gazing at others' prospering."

Janna, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, and Karrin nod their heads in agreement and begin to find their sleeping places with Pansy, Jen Lee, and Persimmon. They begin falling asleep in the manner of a litter of puppies...legs and arms entwined, distended bellies. The room begins to fill with the sound of soft slumber. All hands hold bits of donuts. Ana looks at Marta pensively.

ANA

(Wryly)

So...it sounds like someone with a dream for a wonderful life won't be calling social services.

MARTA

(Relaxes tension)

Nothing’s free. Not even the donuts.

Marta holds up bloodied knuckles and looks directly at Ana as if gauging her.

MARTA

We had to work for them.

Ana maintains a poker-face. Then, as if satisfied, Marta completely relaxes, accepts, half-smiles, nods her head, turns, and makes a place to sleep. Ana turns, piles her bags for a makeshift bed, tosses, turns, looks through the attic window at the night stars, and seems to hear her landlady's voice.

LANDLADY (O.S.)

(Righteous indignation)

Out in the street? There’s no need for anyone to be ‘out on the street’ in America. America feeds, clothes, and shelters everyone.

ANA (V.O.)

(Whispers)

But, sometimes 'help' clips the wings and binds free souls. Sometimes...isn't it better to fix our eyes on the stars, ignore limits, see potential as wide open range...never defined?

Ana looks at the room of slumbering girls, tucks her arm under her head, and sleeps. The camera fades from Ana to the window's evening stars. The stars fade to early dawn.

INT. NEW YORK/GUILDER BROTHERS BUILDING/ATTIC - DAY

The early morning sun pours through the attic window over Ana as she sits on her bags, one leg folded under the other, and flips through a pile of magazines. Ana's foot begins an unconscious tapping on the attic floor. One by one, Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah wake.

CHUTNEY

(Sleepily)

What are you doing?

ANA

Thinking.

ABBY

(Wider awake)

About what?

ANA

Possibilities.

Ana looks at Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah who are now awake and sitting up.

ANA

For instance, why is our luxury a sack full of donuts no one wants? But, when I look through these magazines I see nearly everyone else's luxury is fresh, clean food; beautiful houses filled with precious things; and entertainment that we could only dream about. It doesn't make sense at all, does it?

MARTA

When has 'life' ever made sense? A life doesn't have to make sense.

ANA

Really?

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, MARTA, AND SARAH

Really!

ANA

This could take longer than I thought. You see, it's like this....

Ana rises and picks two dusty croquet balls from the corner of the attic.

ANA

We have some control over how things will be on earth. For instance, we can let these balls lie at rest gathering dust in a corner or we can cause movement. We can change their state of being and when we change their state of being, we affect everything else around them. Watch!

Ana gently rolls one ball to Susana. Susana stops the ball with her foot. Ana motions Susana to stand out of the way and vigorously rolls the second ball toward the first ball. It hits with the sound of a resounding ‘crack’ and the two balls wildly careen in opposite directions across the attic floor. The girls dance, jump, and run to avoid the spinning balls which bounce off crates and come spinning back across the attic floor to make the girls dance and jump a second time. Pansy quickly runs after one ball and picks it up. Chutney gathers the second ball. Marta looks at Ana.

MARTA

What’s your point?

Ana looks directly at Marta.

ANA

What would you say if you found that your life is like handling a ball and that if you learn to handle it well, you could hit any target you wish?

Ana looks earnestly at the girls.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “Write a Story”)

"If we are captain of our fate, if choice lies within our hands/Can we tell our own story?/Can we write our own lines?/If stuck with a story we don't want/Can we shelve it...like a book on a shelf?/Never check it out again?/Would it be an outrageous act to write our own ticket?/Ride our own train?/Would it usurp an angel's glory to ask life to support a better story?/What are the rules of the game?/Do we necessarily have to keep the same name?/Doesn't the universe uphold the hero?/Every hero slay his dragon/Every princess ride a fancy wagon?/I've heard every story/My heart has sung every line/What keeps us from glory...from starting a new story?"

Marta shrugs matter-of-factly.

MARTA

Not much you can do about a crummy story.

ABBY

Everyone knows that, don’t they?

ANA

Where are the rules for that? Why can't we agree to write a new story...one we will be proud to own?

MARTA

(Intrigued, but cautious)

If that’s possible, where do we begin?

ANA

How does every great story begin?

JO

Once upon a time....

ANA

Then, that’s where we should begin.

Ana thinks. Persimmon, Pansy, and Jen Lee look at the small stack of donuts sitting by Sarah. Sarah takes one, looks sick, and places it back on the sleeping bag. She offers the stack of donuts to Persimmon, Pansy, and Jen Lee. They shake their heads ‘no’ and then, search the bottom of the garbage bags and find a single smashed donut which they carefully tear into three equal portions.

ANA

Let's see...once upon a time, there were twelve orphans on the run from social services and one Jewish girl down on her luck and without a job.

Ana thinks.

ANA

But, they were not ordinary orphans and she was not an ordinary girl...and...because they were quite extraordinary, they decided to write themselves a most extraordinary story.

Ana thinks.

ANA

Their story begins...when an extraordinary couple decides to adopt them.

KARRIN

(Scoffs)

An extraordinary couple! Not even an ordinary couple wants us!

ANA

(Quickly)

Of course, because ordinary couples could never, ever appreciate such extraordinary children.

Ana quickly picks up magazines and passes them to Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah.

ANA

Write our new story in pictures...all the wonderful things you expect to see in a truly great story. Then, tear the pictures out and pass them to me.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah quietly and thoughtfully remove page after page from the magazines. The girls, one by one, take their pictures to Ana. Ana writes their names on the pictures and tacks the pictures to the attic wall. Persimmon walks to the pictures and points.

PERSIMMON

These ones are mine, Ana...hot dogs every day and a pony of my own.

ANA

I know because I wrote everyone’s names on their pictures. See? This is your name.

Ana points to each picture that matches each girl’s name.

ANA

The rest belong to Marta, Karrin, Jo, Chutney, Kimmee, Abby, Susana, Janna, Pansy, Jen Lee, and Sarah.

Persimmon turns in amazement to Sarah.

PERSIMMON

You want bananas, Sarah?

Sarah nods a quick affirmation. Ana suddenly beams at the pictures on the wall.

ANA

(Gushes)

It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it? It’s absolutely full of everything anyone could ever want.

Karrin disparages the pictures.

KARRIN

(Scornfully)

Wonderful? It’s nothing but paper.

Ana shakes her head ‘no’ quickly.

ANA

Every great story begins with the wish for a wonderful story.

Pansy’s eyes light up.

PANSY

Don’t you see, Karrin? These are our wishes!

Ana nods her head happily.

ANA

Exactly! If you don’t have a wish, how are you going to make a wish come true?

Ana chuckles gleefully.

ANA

(Explains)

It’s our story...a fabulous, new story that we will tell in advance.

Karrin’s mouth twists.

KARRIN

I’m hungry for real, Ana. I can wish all I want but I still can’t eat paper bananas.

Ana hesitates as if confused...sadness mingles with her hesitation. Ana thinks very hard and almost gives up. Then, Ana suddenly clasps her hands together, laughs aloud, and talks more to self than to group.

ANA

For a minute I was afraid. I thought I didn't know...but, now I see, I've always known. It's magic...as magic as can be. I remember from a long time ago...maybe in a dream...I was told the way it's always been.

Ana raises her eyes joyously to Karrin.

ANA

Do you really want to know how it works, Karrin?

KARRIN

(Admits)

Yes. I want to know. I don’t want to be hungry anymore.

ANA

When a pure heart delights itself in good wishes, when that heart makes thoughts, words, and actions one, then magic's begun...every force in heaven lends its hand to bring to earth everything that benefits man. Out of nothing, comes something. SHAZAAM!

Karrin jumps, startled.

KARRIN

What does that mean?

ANA

At the end of our story, you’ll know and you will never be hungry again.

Ana places her hand in the middle of the pictures.

ANA

I left a place here for a picture of our extraordinary parents. I think we'll know them as soon as we see them.

KIMMEE

But, how will they know us, Ana?

Ana looks around the group and down at herself.

ANA

(With a tinge of sadness)

Well, I don't know...we're just a bit raggedy for extraordinary children of extraordinary parents, aren't we?

Ana pauses, receives inspiration, and claps her hands sharply together.

ANA

We’ll become un-raggedy.

JO

How?

Ana spies Janna’s very raggedy Raggedy Ann doll and picks the doll up.

ANA

How can Raggedy Ann girls become new...like...Mistress Ann girls? It’s a simple question asking for a simple answer, isn’t it? How could we start? What would be the plan?

Janna smiles toothlessly and suggests shyly.

JANNA

A bath.

ANA

A very simple and good idea. Let’s start there.

EXT. NEW YORK/GUILDER BROTHERS BUILDING/ROOFTOP - DAY

Water-filled plastic milk jugs heat on the sun-sprayed, black asphalt roof. A line strung between ventilation pipes holds Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah’s washed clothing and the newly washed Raggedy Ann doll. Marta, Karrin, and Jo stand in their underwear scrubbing Pansy, Jen Lee, Persimmon, and Sarah in short, wooden barrels. Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Janna, and Chutney choose clothes from the drying line for redressing. Ana reaches for the Raggedy Ann doll, removes her from the drying line, and takes a critical look.

ANA

It’s a large improvement, but....

Susana notices and speaks as she pulls clothes from the line.

SUSANA

It’s her hair, Ana.

Ana nods, picks scissors from the top of an upside down barrel, and begins reshaping Raggedy Ann’s hair. She finishes and holds Raggedy Ann up for inspection.

ANA

Better?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah stop their activity, look, and nod heads 'yes' with enthusiasm. Pansy escapes from Karrin’s efforts to dry her, runs to Ana, and pulls on her shirt.

PANSY

Make me pretty, Ana!

Ana laughs, picks Pansy up, and sits her on top of a wooden barrel. Ana picks up the scissors and begins snipping Pansy’s hair.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “Snip, Snap”)

“Snip, snap, before Nefertiti’s famous dance and Cleopatra’s wild romance, under Queen Elizabeth’s royal crown and Mata Hari’s locks unbound, somewhere there was a barber around...and what did he do?”

Ana looks at all the girls and snips and snaps her scissors open and shut.

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, MARTA, SARAH

(Chorus)

“Snip! Snap! That’s what he did!

The girls continue dressing while Ana finishes cutting hair.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “Snip, Snap”)

“Snip, snap, before Esther’s rule and Hensel’s cool tunes, under Deborah’s judging and Hypatia’s math, somewhere a hair stylist worked his craft...and what did he do?”

Ana looks at all the girls and snips and snaps her scissors open and shut.

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, MARTA, SARAH

(Chorus)

“Snip! Snap! That’s what he did!

Ana nods her head firmly ‘Yes’ and actively cuts girls’ hair.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “Snip, Snap”)

“Snip, snap, before Diana’s hunt and Mona Lisa’s smile, preceding Venus’s first blush and Joan of Arc’s rapture, somewhere a beautician, beauty captured...and what did he do?”

Ana looks at all the girls and snips and snaps her scissors open and shut.

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, MARTA, SARAH

(Chorus)

“Snip! Snap! That’s what he did!

Ana stops singing and steps back with her scissors positioned in the air. She critically regards the girls’ improved appearance.

ANA

Oh, my! Never underestimate the power of snip, snap!

The girls look at each other and the Raggedy Ann doll.

CHUTNEY

It’s better....

JANNA

It’s not enough.

KIMMEE

(Sadly notes)

She’s still a raggedy, Raggedy Ann.

SUSANA

(Sadly suggests)

She needs new clothes.

Ana wrinkles her forehead thoughtfully, removes Raggedy Ann’s torn apron, cuts the raggedy hem from the dress, and holds the doll up again for inspection.

ANA

Better?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah nod heads 'yes'. Ana opens her two duffle bags and begins sorting her clothing. Chutney bends to cut the ripped legs off Persimmon’s torn jeans.

PERSIMMON

This is a snip, snap, too, Ana! Except not hair.

Ana smiles and helps Marta trade too small clothing to the smaller girls while Karrin trades Ana's clothing to the larger girls. Ana inspects the Raggedy Ann doll and inspects all girls.

ANA

(Muses)

Hmmm...much better. But, Susana’s right. It’s time to buy new clothes.

MARTA

(Reminds)

No money.

ANA

I have money.

KARRIN

You said you didn’t have money.

ANA

I do have money. I just don’t have it now.

MARTA

So, where’s your money?

Ana holds her hands out and claps her palms together.

ANA

Right here. You just can’t see it yet.

Marta recoils suspiciously.

MARTA

What does that mean?

ANA

It means that if I had a mailing address, I could ask again for my unemployment money. If I could get my money, we could buy new clothes.

KIMMEE

We have a mailing address.

ANA

For real?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah nod heads affirmatively.

PANSY, JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, MARTA, AND SARAH

For real.

Several seagulls sweep overhead and head toward the bay.

EXT. NEW YORK/BAY STREET - DAY

SEVERAL DAYS LATER

The sounds of seagulls and tugboat horns fill the air as the camera fades into Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana gathered at the dead-end of a winter-decayed-leaf-strewn, unkempt, deserted Bay Street around a long-unused, brass mail package receptacle built into Mansion 1’s stone wall. A heavily green-stained, brass plate states '1313 Bay Street'. Karrin opens the receptacle, finds five letters, and hands the letters to Ana. Ana accepts the letters and enthusiastically waves them in the air. She motions for Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah to follow her. Ana skips and runs through Bay Street’s colorless, winter-decayed leaves with all girls joyously following her. The camera focuses on incoming and outgoing ship traffic below Bay Street.

EXT./INT. NEW YORK/HAROLDBECKER'S FLEA MARKET - DAY

Calliope music plays in the background against the rushing sound of New York City traffic as Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana stand in a semi-circle outside Haroldbecker’s Flea Market looking at a larger than life picture of Mr. Haroldbecker painted on the exterior of a circus-like marquee. Ana looks at the picture, points to it, and talks animatedly to the girls about it. She gathers all the girls into a line in front of the ticket window to pay their entrance fee. Everyone excitedly parades onto the tent-lined grounds. A clown takes off his hat and bows low. The girls enter a circus-type tent marked 'clothing', see long tables loaded with merchandise, and begin diligent shopping activity. Ana becomes exceptionally animated and begins dancing and singing around the long tables while illustrating the words of her song by randomly picking up exotic items of displayed merchandise. She nods ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the girls as they hold up various items of clothing for her approval.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “Haroldbecker’s”)

"When you're down and out and have no money/Haroldbecker’s opens extraordinary doors/Really new, almost new, barely used, easily used/At prices anyone can afford/Did you wish to be a Queen of Sheba?/With a feathered fan from Siam?/Did you dream to walk sedately?/Like private students from Japan?/Wrap yourself in Beijing’s silken shawls/Hide flirtatiously behind a Spanish fan/ or perhaps...a paper umbrella from Saipan?/Terrific discount prices offered/No hard bargaining/Haroldbecker's suits  nicely/Meets our needs quite precisely/Never lets us down/Gives jeans and khaki their rightful due/Reminds us that thongs are shoes/Haroldbecker’s, we sing his glory/While he helps us build a new story."

While Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah choose t-shirts, gingham shorts, jeans, and rubber-shoe thongs in a variety of colors, Ana ends her song at a table filled with discounted pink-striped nightgowns. She picks up an armful of nightgowns and sees a fancy, navy-blue, ruffled silk doll dress with leggings, gloves, and shoes for Raggedy Ann. Ana shows Raggedy Ann and the new doll clothing to a seamstress. The seamstress nods, smiles, and accepts the doll from Ana. As everyone leaves the tent, the clown stops them and takes all girls and Ana's photograph. Ana hands money to the clown for the picture. All girls stop at the rest rooms and change into their new clothes amidst the sound of calliope music mixed with the girls’ chatter and laughter. All girls leave the flea market considerably changed in appearance.

EXT./INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana happily walk, skip, and play along a sidewalk that fronts a Carnegie Library. Janna twirls herself around and around in front of all girls and Ana.

JANNA

Do you think our extraordinarily wonderful new parents would recognize us now Ana?

Pansy joins Janna to preen and strut.

PANSY

We look better than Raggedy Ann!

Ana laughs mischievously.

ANA

We do look better than Raggedy Ann now, but wait until you see Ann's new dress.

JANNA

Is it pretty?

ANA

It’s definitely ‘uptown’.

Ana turns into the Carnegie Library’s walkway leading to its front steps. All the girls follow.

PERSIMMON

Our new clothes are kind of like a disguise, aren't they? Not even Mrs. Plinsky would know us, would she? Maybe we could walk right by her and she wouldn't even know who we are.

KARRIN

(Dourly)

Don’t bet on it.

ANA

(Curiously)

Who’s Mrs. Plinsky?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah visibly blanch.

JEN LEE

A witch.

PANSY

Our worstest enemy.

SUSANA

She hunts children and when she catches them, she gives them away to the most awful people to keep for as long as they want.

ANA

(Muses)

Sounds like a perfectly outrageous woman.

PANSY

Mrs. Plinsky is more than out-ray-jus.

Sarah nods her head vigorously.

SARAH

Mean.

Ana hides a smile at the earnestness of the youngest girls and changes the subject by pointing to the Carnegie Library’s front doors. Everyone enters the doors and turns into the children’s reading room. Marta settles Sarah, Persimmon, Pansy, Jen Lee, Janna, and Susana near an aquarium surrounded with mounds of picture books. Abby, Kimmee, Karrin, Jo, and Chutney scatter through the rest of the library's rooms. Marta joins Ana, who is sitting in front of a computer screen. Ana points to the screen.

ANA

I found a picture of the people who  own the place on Bay Street.

Marta looks carefully.

MARTA

They look like people you see in magazines.

ANA

Mmmm, they look wonderful, don’t they? I wonder if they have any children.

Ana turns toward Marta and suggests with sudden enthusiasm.

ANA

Have you ever gone onto the grounds?

Marta shakes her head negatively.

MARTA

Didn’t you read the signs? 'No Trespassing'...on every wall.

ANA

But...it looks like no one has been in there for years.

MARTA

We can’t get in trouble, Ana. If we get in trouble, Mrs. Plinsky will not have to hunt for us anymore. We'll be gift-wrapped and given to her.

Ana dreamily looks at the picture of Paul, Jr. and Elsie Rosenthal, owners of the Bay Street property.

ANA

Somehow, I don't think such extraordinary people will mind if extraordinary girls trespass for a little while on their property.

Marta shakes her head ‘no’ firmly. Ana nods her head ‘yes’ as if she’s made an important decision.

ANA

I’ll go and scout it out to make sure it’s safe.

Marta hesitates and cautions.

MARTA

Be careful. I’ve seen gardeners working on the grounds behind Bay Street.

The camera fades on Ana’s radiant smile as she looks at Marta...completely unworried. The camera opens on Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah running through the library's front doors to rapidly progress toward the bottom of the library stairs. Persimmon freezes near the bottom step.

PERSIMMON

(Terrified)

Stop! Everybody!

All the girls freeze on the library steps. At the bottom of the library steps stands Mrs. Plinsky.

MRS. PLINSKY

And, what have we here? Clean little escapees? And, new clothes, too? I've heard that there was a great deal of activity in this neighborhood and now I see why.

Mrs. Plinsky narrows her eyes threateningly.

MRS. PLINSKY

And, where would so many children be holed up? It must be a large place, a dark place, a secret place.

PERSIMMON

(Panicked voice)

We’ll never tell you! Run, everyone! Run!

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah break across the library steps in a dead run and scatter in all directions. Mrs. Plinsky reaches and grabs Persimmon's ear as she tries to run past. Persimmon's eyes grow wide in absolute terror. Persimmon desperately twists and turns. Marta stops, runs back, and tears Persimmon from Mrs. Plinsky's grasp. Marta and Persimmon run desperately across the library grounds toward the street. Mrs. Plinsky gropes for her cell phone and dials 911.

MRS. PLINSKY

Police! Police! Children on the run!

INT. NEW YORK/GUILDER BROTHERS BUILDING/ATTIC - NIGHT

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah stand to hurriedly finish a dumpster sack of donuts in the attic's shadowy darkness. Small plastic bags of tin cans and plastic water jugs are in each girl's hand. All girls are packed for an immediate move. Ana enters the room...oblivious to the packed sacks...goes straight to the picture wall, and triumphantly tacks a new picture in the middle of the story pictures.

ANA

May I introduce...our extraordinary new parents, Paul and Elsie Rosenthal.

PERSIMMON

It doesn’t matter now, Ana. Mrs. Plinsky’s found us. We have to move tonight.

ANA

The children hunter?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah nod their heads solemnly.

KARRIN

She hunts us like animals all the time, Ana.

ANA

Then, you need to become un-hunt-able.

PANSY

The baths and clothes and haircuts didn’t help, Ana. She knew us right away.

ANA

Then, we need to make more changes.

Ana reaches into her bag and pulls out Janna's Raggedy Ann doll. The doll has been transformed into a Mistress Ann doll {blue silk dress, newly painted eyes, new hair, and fresh stuffing}.

JANNA

A new doll! Where did you get her?

ANA

Ah, you see? Changes on the inside and changes on the outside and presto, even Mrs. Plinsky wouldn’t know this doll princess is actually our poor Raggedy Ann.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah gasp in amazement. Ana hands the Mistress Ann doll to Janna with a motherly, but firm promise.

ANA

We will make the same changes and we will never be afraid again.

JANNA

Promise, Ana?

ANA

Promise.

Ana points to the picture of Paul, Jr. and Elsie Rosenthal on the attic wall. Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah look at the wall. All girls gather in a small circle in front of the picture. Ana digs into a large, brown envelope and hands small, personalized laminated cards to each girl.

ANA

As of today, you have a new identity. You are now the Mistresses Rosenthal.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah carefully examine the cards and show the cards to each other. Susana reads her new name from her card.

SUSANA

Susana...Rosenthal?

Ana nods her head 'yes'. Chutney points to the wall picture of Paul, Jr. and Elsie Rosenthal and whispers to Kimmee.

CHUTNEY

Who would ever believe we belong to people like that?

PERSIMMON

Mrs. Plinsky won’t believe it!

Ana confidently answers the question.

ANA

Everyone will believe we belong to them because we’re already like them in so many ways...look at their eyes. What do you see?

ABBY

(Observantly)

Kindness.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “That Wealthy Look”)

"That 'wealthy look' begins with something deep inside/It's what makes a gentleman gentle and a gentlewoman kind/When you try love and understanding/When you smile instead of frown/When you laugh instead of cry and loyally stand your ground/You develop sophistication far beyond haute couture/You lay a deep foundation/ Always quite secure/When you've such wealth in fair abundance/The rest's a matter of routine/A little curl, a little sheen, a little grooming in between/The 'wealthy look's' been fully won/When love's continually done.”

Ana reaches into her bag and pulls out a large stack of pictures.

ANA

Our new story is shaping quite nicely. It’s time to learn our story’s lines precisely.

PASSING TIME

Ana holds up and points to pictures of Paul, Jr. and Elsie Rosenthal that she printed from the library's Internet and tells stories about each picture. Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah listen attentively to each story. Then, Ana begins testing all girls' understanding of their new story's lines.

ANA

So, Jen Lee Rosenthal, tell me your new father and  mother’s name.

JEN LEE

Paul and Elsie Rosenthal. My father is a Jr. an’ they like to vacation in B’deaux in their boat.

ANA

And, where is Bordeaux?

SUSANA

France and my mother speaks French and we’re going to speak French just like her.

Ana nods affirmatively.

ANA

Very good.

Ana points to Pansy.

ANA

And, what is your name little girl?

PANSY

(Giggles shyly, but answers confidently)

Pansy Rosenthal.

ANA

Excellent.

Ana points to Janna.

ANA

So, Janna Rosenthal, where do your father and mother live?

JANNA

In Munich, Germany. They import things like cuckoo clocks and German dolls.

Ana points to Sarah.

ANA

And, what did you say your name is?

SARAH

(Whispers through fingers)

Sarah Rosenthal.

Ana holds up her own laminated card.

ANA

These ID cards are proof that you are who you say you are. Carry them with you always.

Marta looks questioningly at Ana.

MARTA

They’re school ID cards.

ANA

Yes.

JO

But we don’t go to school.

ANA

You do now. You are enrolled in Jerusha’s Private School for Girls. Jerusha means ‘belonging to someone’. We belong to someone now...the Rosenthals.

Ana pauses and looks at Abby.

ANA

Abby Rosenthal, where do you attend school?

Abby looks at her ID card and carefully reads.

ABBY

I attend Jerusha’s Private School for Girls.

ANA

I’ve never heard of that school.

Marta quickly replies.

MARTA

It’s an exclusive private school. That’s probably why you haven’t heard of it.

Ana nods happily.

ANA

Very good! Now, I’ll show you what we will do with Mrs. Plinsky.

Ana reaches for Janna and Persimmon’s hands.

ANA

Janna and Persimmon, you are walking down the library steps with me. Marta, you be Mrs. Plinksy.

Janna reaches for Ana’s hand and they begin walking down ‘steps’. Marta jumps in front of Janna, Ana, and Persimmon.

MARTA

There you are! I see you. You’re coming with me now! And, who do you think you are to wear beautiful clothes and to look like you've had a bath?

Ana holds her hand up with self-assurance.

ANA

I beg your pardon? Are you talking to us?

MARTA

Of course I’m talking to you! You belong to me!

ANA

You are certainly mistaken. We belong to Paul and Elsie Rosenthal.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah giggle nervously. Marta pretends to be taken aback and then menacingly threatens again.

MARTA

That’s impossible! Who would want you?

Ana reaches calmly into her bag and produces the ID card.

ANA

I think Mother’s lawyer can answer any questions you may have. May I have your card? I will advise him you will be calling. Now, please move along and look for children elsewhere. You need not bother us anymore.

Marta opens her mouth as if to protest and then shuts it. Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah look astonished and then as realization dawns, cheer loudly, clap hands, and dance as one foe is vanquished. Ana looks solemn and makes matter-of-fact statement.

ANA

So you see, you have nothing more to fear from Mrs. Plinsky. Now, let's get a bit of sleep and then we'll move to our new home.

EXT. NEW YORK/BAY STREET - DAY

Camera fades into early morning and just as light breaks, Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah stand beside Ana as she pulls a rusted license plate from under bushes alongside Bay Street road, pushes it through the 1313 Bay Street's brass side gate’s latch, and lifts. The gate swings open.

KIMMEE

Are you sure it’s okay to go in, Ana?

Ana nods affirmatively.

ANA

Good Mothers always want the best for their children. This place is much safer than the attic and it will be healthier for all of us. Our story line says that Mother has sent us home to the states for our educations. Where else would Rosenthal children stay...except at the Rosenthal house?

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

The sound of songbirds fill the air as Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana enter Mansion 1 grounds while carrying their possessions in bags; wind their way around a badly grass-overgrown main drive; see a life-size, marble statue of Victory overgrown with vines; find a marble gazebo with life-size statues of the nine muses barely visible through vines and overgrowth; jump at rustling sounds that reveal shy rabbits; point excitedly to dry fountains at the end of weed-choked paths; and observe that everything is overgrown with weeds and exceptionally unkempt. Squirrels race around new fledgling trees that grow quite unattended through rotted, downed trees. A sleepy owl, partially hidden among the needles of a spruce tree, opens yellow eyes and turns his head toward the sound of their feet crunching in the gravel. Ana directs all the girls to set their bags beside a sandy rabbit trail. They continue along the main drive. A three-story Mansion 1 comes into view. All the girls race to the porch; climb the mansion's balustrades; explore the mansion's first floor verandah; pull on locked shutters; try chained doors; and examine the empty, debris-filled swimming pool at Mansion 1's side. Sarah holds her arms up for Ana to carry her. Ana reaches down and puts Sarah on her hip. The rest of the girls explore the pool house full of stored wooden lounges, marble tables, and canvas umbrellas; walk into a disordered greenhouse full of hundreds of dead plants in red clay pots; look down on the lower grounds filled with massive rose beds of fifty or more rose varieties growing wild. A bluebird flies over the rose gardens followed soon after with a second, large bluebird. All the girls observe fruit orchards overgrown and windblown from lack of pruning. Ana and all the girls walk back toward the main gate. Three large crows swoop and caw overhead. Ana indicates to all girls that they are to pick up their bags that they left sitting at the side of the sandy rabbit path. Ana turns down the path and all the girls follow.

EXT./INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS/STONE HOUSE/KITCHEN/DINING AREA/LIVING AREA/BEDROOMS/BATHROOMS - DAY

The path winds between beds of thousands of budding and blooming bulb flowers. The sound of buzzing bees follows the girls’ progress down the path. The trail circles under head-high flowering bushes and tulip trees. The path leads under an un-pruned flowering arch to a large, unkempt private yard containing a stone house that is a miniature replica of Mansion 1. The girls run to the front verandah, look through windows, and try the securely locked doors. The air fills with much chatter and laughter. Susana runs around the side of the house.

SUSANA

(Calling)

Come here! Come here everybody!

All the girls run for the back yard. Ana proceeds at a more sedate pace holding Sarah on her hip.

PANSY

(Squeals)

Hurry! Hurry, Sarah!

Sarah struggles to get down from Ana’s arms and runs ahead. While the girls explore the back yard, Ana quietly climbs a ladder placed against the upper verandah’s balcony, walks across the upper verandah, and enters the upper French doors. Susana swings from an old backyard swing. Pansy examines an ancient play house. Jen Lee climbs a tree to look at a tree house. Ana opens the back kitchen door from the inside.

ANA

Come in. I need to know if the Rosenthal girls like their new home.

All the girls excitedly enter a kitchen containing a wood and electric range and a refrigerator with a circular fan on top. The dining area contains elegant china cabinets, buffet tables, and a large dining table. Canvas dust covers drape furniture. Glass-covered bookcases line the living area's space. The girls find two bedrooms downstairs and six bedrooms upstairs. The bathrooms contain ancient pink marble maid’s tubs for bathing. Jo examines the living area’s bookcases. Abby examines the kitchen and dining area. Kimmee and Susana place their new flea-market clothes in the largest upstairs bedroom's bureau drawers and their new thong shoes in the bottom of the largest bedroom's closet. Marta begins pulling dust covers off furniture. Karrin opens draperies. Janna wipes dust off the top of the largest bedroom’s bureau and sets the Mistress Ann doll on top of the ornate dresser. Chutney, Persimmon, and Sarah pin their new story's pictures in a circle on the dining area wall with Paul and Elsie Rosenthal's picture centered in the middle. Ana hangs additional new story pictures on the door jamb of the dining area...a cook, a maid, a governess, a nanny, and a gardener. All girls meander to the dining area. Ana points to their new story pictures.

ANA

I want you to meet the people Mother sent to help us settle into our home...the cook, maid, governess, nanny, and gardener. Their names are written on their pictures. Every time you walk by their pictures, talk to them as if they are in the room. Say, 'Good Morning Ms. Simmons. The breakfast was delicious.' Call them by name...that way you will get used to them being around before they are actually here.

KARRIN

(Sarcastically)

They're going to magically come off the wall just like the bananas are supposed to, right?

ANA

(Earnestly)

They’re already here, Karrin. They're just waiting for us to become the kind of young ladies who need their services. When we have done our job, they will slip into our lives just as naturally as the bird lifts its song to the morning sunrise.

Pansy pulls on Marta’s shirt.

PANSY

(Pleading)

Marta Rosenthal, I’m hungry.

JANNA, JEN LEE, PERSIMMON, SUSANA, KIMMEE, ABBY, CHUTNEY, JO, KARRIN, SARAH

(Echoing)

Yes, Marta.

MARTA

We can’t get donuts until after dark.

Ana shakes her head firmly ‘no’.

ANA

With a little ingenuity, we won’t have to eat from a dumpster today or ever again. Follow me. I’ll show you how.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Ana leads Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah into the bulb gardens. She begins cutting the stems of the flowers and lays them in Marta, Karrin, and Jo’s arms. Ana motions for the children to wait for them.

EXT. NEW YORK/WHARF/CAFÉ - DAY

Ana, Marta, Karrin, and Jo approach the tables of outdoor café customers and trade flowers for dollars. When their arms are empty, they exchange excited looks, walk around the corner, and quickly count their money.

MARTA

(Breathes)

Ana, it was easy. Look how much we have!

ANA

(Smiles)

I think its time to eat.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/KITCHEN - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah excitedly pull groceries from sacks...fresh bananas and milk. When Sarah sees the bananas, she claps her hands together and reaches for them. Ana quickly pops the top off a banana and hands it to Sarah. Sarah fills both cheeks full of banana. Sarah pulls on Karrin’s pants.

SARAH

My bananas came off the wall, Karrin. Aren’t they good?!

Karrin’s eyes water. Karrin nods her head in agreement. Abby puts charcoal in the wood stove.

ABBY

If you want a hot supper, you better get busy. Jo and Chutney, find us dishes and wash them. Marta, find some candles and matches. I’ll make corn bread. The rest of you, cut the vegetables for a stew.

Camera closes on Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah preparing supper.

SERIES OF SHOTS

ROTATING REPEATING EVENTS

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Jo, Marta, Karrin, and Ana carefully cut bulb flowers and wrap the stems in green florist paper.

EXT. NEW YORK/WHARF/CAFÉ - DAY

Jo, Marta, Karrin, and Ana sell flowers to café diners and count money.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/KITCHEN - DAY

Jo, Marta, Karrin, and Ana deposit sacks of groceries on the kitchen counter tops while the younger girls eagerly pull oranges, apples, and hot dogs from sacks.

INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Ana pulls educational books...Physics, English, Mathematics, and Chemistry...from the Carnegie library’s shelves.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA - DAY

Mounds of educational books sit on the dining area table. Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah leaf through the pages of the books. Karrin looks stressed and worried as she thumbs through the pages of an Algebra book.

KARRIN

Some of us were never very good in school, Ana.

ANA

No one fails Jerusha's Private School for Girls. You’re a wonderful student just waiting to bloom. Besides, our mother expects us to go and we must not fail or disappoint her. We want her to be proud of us, don't we?

SUSANA

Did Mother go to school?

Ana begins arranging the books on the dining area buffet.

ANA

Yes. She went to a private girls’ school and then she went to university.

JO

Will we go to university?

ANA

Absolutely. When you live in a place like the mansion, it’s just understood that you go.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana look at library books on landscaping and pruning. Ana points to Mansion 1's trees, flowers, and pathways. Ana shows all girls an original picture of Mansion 1's grounds.

KIMMEE

This is what Mother would expect it to look like?

Ana nods her head firmly ‘yes’.

ANA

She would settle for no less.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana pull on new gardening gloves and spread out over Mansion 1's grounds. Marta and Karrin pull weeds along the drive leading to Mansion 1; Pansy, Sarah, Persimmon, and Jen Lee work on weeds around the swimming pool; Chutney, Kimmee, Susana, Abby, Ana, Janna, and Jo work on paths leading to the fountains, nine muse gazebo, and statue of Victory.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/SWIMMING POOL - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana take a mid-morning break by the dry swimming pool and examine their blistered hands and sunburns while rubbing sore legs and backs.

CHUTNEY

Show us the picture again of what it used to look like, Ana.

Ana pulls the picture of Mansion 1 from her pocket. All girls look at the picture, gaze despondently at the state of the mansion grounds, and issue unanimous murmur of hopelessness.

PERSIMMON

I want our gardener now, Ana. I’m tired.

Ana reaches into her pocket, pulls out a bag of jawbreakers, and passes it to all girls.

ANA

I know. It's a big job. But, we belong to a family who gets the most extraordinary things done, don't we?

Karrin looks despondently at the jawbreaker in her hand.

KARRIN

I don’t think Mother ever had to work this hard.

Ana speaks encouragingly.

ANA

She will be working long after we are sleeping tonight, Karrin. Think about it...she’s not an idle person. She works hard enough to pay a wage to herself and to pay a wage to many other people.

KARRIN

I bet she doesn’t pull weeds.

ANA

That doesn't mean she has never pulled weeds or that she is above pulling weeds. It just means that she has a responsibility to the persons who work for her to ensure they have payroll every week. She would be careful to spend her time in occupations that earn the most money so that the people who rely on her can be paid. We will do the same when we are like her.

CHUTNEY

How can we be like her, Ana?

ANA

Follow me and I’ll show you.

INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah stand around Ana as she pulls mountains of books from shelf after shelf of the public library. The camera focuses on a seemingly unending list of titles on Vibrant Health, Superlative Grooming, Hair Styling, Massage for Health, Exercise for Strength, Yoga, and a set of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates classics.

INT. NEW YORK/GROCERY STORE - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana make a trip to the grocery store. Ana points to vitamins. She points to mineral water. She places yoghurt, fresh fruits, and dark-colored vegetables into the cart and shakes her head firmly 'no' when the girls point to cookies, cakes, and donuts. She points to large acorn squashes and long strings of garlic, places them in the grocery cart, and points to the signs 'Acorn Squash' and 'Garlic'. They proceed to the personal grooming section. Ana quickly pulls boxes from this side and that side of the aisle and places them into the cart.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA/LIVING AREA - DAY

All girls and Ana sit at the dining area table and carefully look at pictures of Elsie Rosenthal and of models in "City and Country" magazines. All girls and Ana cut their hair and get hair permanents. Older girls and Ana pluck their eyebrows and wax their legs. All girls and Ana read books on exercise and massage. They begin a daily massage and exercise routine. All girls and Ana study Yoga Pranayama breathing with much giggling as girls learn to belly breathe. Sarah attempts a Tai Chi move and falls to the floor sending the rest of the girls into gales of laughter. All girls frame and place computer pictures of Paul, Jr. and Elsie Rosenthal on living area's walls and on bureaus.

INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah work on library computers. Ana uses MB 'Learn How to Type' to teach them typing skills. The girls move to a library conference room, open mathematics, science, social science, history, reading, and writing books. Ana lectures and they bend their heads to paper to begin writing.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/LIVING AREA - NIGHT

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah sit on couches in the living area and take turns standing and reading aloud from Plato's Republic, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, and Booker T. Washington's Autobiography. Ana emphasizes the importance of gesturing, periodic eye contact with audience, modulation, and fluency while they read.

INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

All girls sit in the conference room and watch GZ’s Speech Instruction video to properly form vowels and consonants to eliminate accent flaws in speech with concentration on 'TH', 'OW', and 'V' sounds and laugh as the tongue goes between the teeth for the 'TH' sound and as mouths open extra wide to form the 'OW' sound.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA - DAY

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah watch and practice as Ana shows how to fold napkins and how to set a formal table. Ana sets vitamins in small dishes at each setting. Bottled juices are used to illustrate the proper way to examine wine before accepting it in a restaurant setting. All girls sit down to eat and follow Ana's direction for eating continental style with soup spoons, salad forks, butter knives, meat knives, and fish knives while Ana refers to NM’s Dining Etiquette for advice. All girls laugh as food falls from the 'upside down' fork.

EXT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA - DAY

Jo shows Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah how to make flower arrangements...vases and corsages...while reading directions from a library book.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA - DAY

Ana shows Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah how to use a handkerchief; to cough politely into the elbow; to say 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'you are welcome'. Sarah politely coughs into her elbow, pulls a small handkerchief from her pocket, and daintily blows her nose.

SARAH

Excuse me, please.

ANA

You are excused, Miss Rosenthal. Well! I think we’re ready.

CHUTNEY

Ready for what?

ANA

Ready for the public.

Ana opens a small door in the dining area and drags bags from Haroldbecker's Flea Market into the room.

ANA

And, now, young ladies, get ready to show the world how Jerusha’s Private School for Girls develops budding talent into gracious young women.

Ana pulls thirteen private school uniforms from the sacks...gold colored stockings, black sweaters, black beret caps, white shirts, gold ties, black leather shoes, and black pleated skirts. The girls excitedly don various articles of the new uniforms. Persimmon looks at Ana.

PERSIMMON

It’s Abby and my turn to take the library books back. May we wear our new uniforms?

Ana nods.

EXT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Abby and Persimmmon, dressed in their new school uniforms, place their books into the return slot on the outside of the library and turn to leave. Persimmon looks down the steps and freezes.

PERSIMMON

We have to go inside the library right now, Abby.

Persimmon wheels and begins opening the library door. Abby stops her and demands.

ABBY

What’s the matter with you? We have to be home in time for dinner.

Persimmon’s face contorts.

PERSIMMON

Just listen to me, Abby!

Persimmon looks down the steps.

PERSIMMON

It’s too late. Here she comes!

ABBY

Here who...?

Abby looks down the steps and freezes. Mrs. Plinsky climbs the library stairs.

ABBY

(Whispers)

Don’t panic. Do you have your school ID card?

PERSIMMON

Yes. But I have to use the rest room very badly.

Abby takes Persimmon’s hand.

ABBY

We ran last time. Ana said if we worked hard, we’d never have to run again.

Mrs. Plinsky looks upward at the girls, narrows her eyes, and turns her head slightly sideways.

PERSIMMON

(Whispers)

She knows, Abby! She knows!

ABBY

Look straight ahead and walk down the steps. We have our ID cards.

Mrs. Plinsky slowly walks toward the two girls.

MRS. PLINSKY

Don’t I know you?

Abby looks at Mrs. Plinsky.

ABBY

Our mother doesn’t allow us to talk to strangers. If you had good manners, you would not approach two girls on the library steps. I’m going to report you to the librarian.

Abby abruptly turns with Persimmon and hurries back toward the library doors.

MRS. PLINSKY

(Calls out after them)

No, no, little girl. That’s not necess....

Mrs. Plinsky runs up the last two steps and reaches out to grab Persimmon’s arm just as Persimmon passes through the door. Persimmon shrieks and runs toward the main library desk.

INT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

The librarian looks up, startled, as Persimmon comes shrieking toward her.

LIBRARIAN

(Extreme concern)

Miss Rosenthal! Whatever is the matter?

Persimmon points toward the library door. Mrs. Plinsky walks hurriedly through the doors.

ABBY

(Hurriedly)

We don’t know that woman and she tried to touch Persimmon!

Mrs. Plinsky raises her hands in protest.

MRS. PLINSKY 

No. No. This is a complete misunderstanding.

ABBY

She tried to tell us we know her.

The librarian reaches for the telephone and begins dialing.

LIBRARIAN

(Aghast)

Did she offer you candy?

ABBY

I don’t remember.

LIBRARIAN

(Speaks into the telephone)

Police? We have a child....

Mrs. Plinsky quickly puts her finger on the disconnect button.

MRS. PLINSKY

Please! I have my identification papers. My fingerprint clearance card. I work with children! I thought I recognized these children, but obviously I was mistaken.

Mrs. Plinsky shakily pulls out her identification cards.

LIBRARIAN

(Stiff attitude)

I don’t care what papers you have. I don’t know you, but I do know the Rosenthal girls.

The librarian looks at Abby and Persimmon.

LIBRARIAN

Do you want me to call the police?

Abby looks thoughtful.

ABBY

No. If she has proper identification, we may have misunderstood her intention.

Abby looks severely at Mrs. Plinsky.

ABBY

But, if you ever bother my sister or I again, we will not only call the police, we will call Mother’s lawyer to deal with you. I am surprised someone who works with children would touch a child she doesn’t even know!

Mrs. Plinsky shakily puts her identification back into her wallet.

MRS. PLINSKY

(Voice trembles)

It was just a mistake. I’m so sorry and thank you. I have an irreproachable reputation.

ABBY

Then, see that you maintain it.

Abby takes Persimmon’s hand.

ABBY

Let’s go home.

Abby and Persimmon walk out of the library.

EXT. NEW YORK/CARNEGIE LIBRARY - DAY

Abby looks at Persimmon in awe.

ABBY

Did you see that, Persimmon?

Persimmon takes a deep breath.

PERSIMMON

I think we are finally ready for the public.

Persimmon turns a bright face toward Abby.

PERSIMMON (CONT’D)

Abby?

ABBY

What?

PERSIMMON

How do you feel inside?

ABBY

Like I never have to be afraid again.

PERSIMMON

I’ll race you home!

ABBY

Beat you to it!

The sound of pounding feet on the sidewalk fades into sounds of the tune, “High Hopes”, as performed by Frank Sinatra and the Neighborhood Children’s Choir.

EXT./INT. NEW YORK/THE J SCHOOL OF MUSIC/MANSION 1 GROUNDS/LIVING AREA/THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF SJ/FS TOY EMPORIUM/THE R CENTER/BUS-SUBWAY SYSTEMS/FERRIES/ES BUILDING/SL STATUE/AMN HISTORY MUSEUM/CP ZOO/MM OF ART/ES SYNAGOGUE/ISAS MUSEUM/C UNIVERSITY/W-A HOTEL RESTAURANT-LOUNGE/WHARF CAFE/J INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY

SERIES OF SHOTS

Meeting the Public

The tune, "High Hopes", as performed by Frank Sinatra and the Neighborhood Children’s Choir, plays as scenes move from early summer into early fall with the appropriate flowers of each month illustrating the events Ana chooses to introduce the girls to the public.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms and present their private school IDs to The J School of Music and attend (with great decorum) an afternoon repertory.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana clean and paint the interior of Mansion 1’s swimming pool, fill it, and take swimming lessons from a library book instruction manual.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for the R Center/Bus-subway systems field trip.

Revolving scenes show Mansion 1 grounds becoming perfectly kempt as Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana finish tree pruning, flower bed weeding, pathway raking, and greenhouse pipe installing.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for The Cathedral Church of SJ field trip.

All girls and Ana are shown gathering strength, vivaciously vibrant health, and strong tans as they play golf on the lower Mansion 1 grounds’ newly cleaned and functioning executive golf course.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for the ferries/ES Building/SL Statue field trip.

All girls and Ana are shown becoming exceptionally well mannered, well dressed, and well groomed...a constant improvement.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for FS Toy Emporium/AMN History field trip.

All girls and Ana gain a look of upper wealth and happiness.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana learn to play tennis from a library book on the repaired Mansion 1 tennis courts.

All girls and Ana dress in private school uniforms for the MM of Art/ES Synagogue field trip.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana...dressed in their pink-striped nightgowns...take turns reading bedtime stories from classic selections.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for ISASM field trip.

All girls and Ana learn to play selected games...chess, backgammon, and bridge.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for C University field trip. All girls laugh easily and chatter happily.

All girls and Ana dress in private school uniforms for field trip to CP Zoo and stop afterward by the W-A Hotel Restaurant-Lounge to order Shirley Temples. Waiters are exceptionally courteous to the well-mannered girls and other diners take note of their excellent behavior.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana dress in private school uniforms for observation of the process involved in airline ticket purchasing at J International Airport field trip and take time to observe how passengers embark and disembark an airplane. Jo gathers a variety of hotel brochures from the J International Airport car rental area and quietly peruses the hotel brochures while following all girls and Ana to the waiting taxis.

All girls sell flowers at wharf cafés. There are less people sitting at the outside tables. The numbers of flowers available for harvest on Mansion 1's grounds are dwindling as fall progresses. Ana and all girls look worried as they survey the few flowers left for harvesting.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/DINING AREA - DAY

All the girls and Ana sit eating at the stone house’s dining table which is exquisitely set in formal style.

MARTA

We could get jobs, Ana.

ANA

But, you’ll have to work all day to earn what we now earn in a few hours. What will happen to your schooling? You and Karrin are only two years from entering university.

KARRIN

We can work in the day and study at night.

ANA

Figure it out on paper. You’ll see that you cannot work full-time and earn half what we earn now. It just won’t be enough.

Jo rises from the table and pulls open a bureau drawer. Jo casually removes the W-A Hotel brochure from the drawer and returns to her seat.

JO

(Interrupts)

I saw something very interesting when we were at the airport.

CHUTNEY

We saw everything you saw, Jo.

JO

No. I saw something you missed.

MARTA

What does this have to do with earning enough money to get us through the winter?

JO

Everything.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana turn politely toward Jo. Jo holds up the W-A Hotel brochure for everyone to see.

JO

The W-A Hotel charges guests five hundred to one thousand dollars per hotel room.

CHUTNEY

(Aghast)

Per night?

Jo nods head affirmatively.

ABBY

I guess ‘How to Stay in a Fine Hotel’ is one field trip we won’t be taking.

JO

If we owned our own hotel, we wouldn’t need to take that trip.

MARTA

What are you talking about?

JO

Instead of selling flowers, we could sell hotel rooms.

KARRIN

What do you mean?

JO

The big house. It has at least ten bedrooms.

SUSANA

How to do you know, Jo?

JO

Because I found a broken shutter and I went inside and looked.

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana become intensely interested.

ABBY

What’s it like inside?

JO

Big kitchen...huge copper kettles and all kinds of ladles hanging from the ceiling.

KIMMEE

Furniture?

Jo nods ‘yes’.

JO

Museum-style, very nice, and an attic full of, well, just everything.

ABBY

Show us, Jo!

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana excitedly push away from the table and quickly exit the dining area for Mansion 1.

TWO HOURS LATER

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana sit at the stone house dining area table. Marta looks carefully at the W-A Hotel brochure.

KARRIN

Everything in there is old. It will take tons of work.

MARTA

We’ve already learned how a little paint can take care of ‘old’.

KARRIN

And, what are we going to do about electricity? I don't think five-star hotel guests will be as happy as we are to use candles and charcoal for lighting and heating.

SUSANA

No televisions.

KIMMEE

No Internet.

CHUTNEY

No telephones.

PANSY

There were telephones. In every room.

CHUTNEY

They don’t work.

KARRIN

It’s impossible!

All the girls look sternly at Karrin.

SARAH

Nothing’s im-poss’ble. We just got to think pos’tive.

ANA

Then, let’s count the positives.

KIMMEE

We’ve got a built-in staff.

ABBY

And, a simply fabulous kitchen.

Susana begins writing on a piece of paper.

CHUTNEY

Plus...gardens, walking trails, a salt-water pool, tennis courts, and a putting green.

Marta folds the W-A’s brochure.

MARTA

That’s more than the W-A offers.

JO

We could market it as a peaceful retreat...no telephones or television...make that an asset, rather than a negative.

Susana holds up a piece of paper to show Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana.

SUSANA

I’ve got a name for it...The Rosenthal.

Ana looks at Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah.

ANA

What do you think?

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Sarah firmly nod their heads ‘yes’.

ANA

(Warns)

Hotels run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week...with no breaks.

KARRIN

(Laughs)

Are you saying it’s going to be hard work, Ana?

MARTA

How much harder could it be than fighting for our food from dumpsters every night?

CHUTNEY

Look at us, Ana. Have you really looked at us lately? We’ve changed...a lot.

JANNA

We can find a way, Ana. We can get books and study about hotels.

SUSANA

There’s always a way for girls like us.

Sarah lightly pounds on the table.

SARAH

We’re the Rosenthals, Ana! We get things done!

Camera focuses on candle; orange candle color turns to a multiple rolling of many sunrises, days, and sunsets.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - NIGHT

TWO YEARS LATER

Ana walks from Mansion 1 front entrance under sparkling crystal chandeliers down an extra wide red carpet that leads from the front entrance of The Rosenthal to a limousine unload area. Ana walks across the main drive to a neatly raked, sandy path leading toward the marble fountain. Ana stops to lightly trail tips of her fingers in the fountain pool's water and moves past the fountain's spray to sit on one of the stone benches under the nine-muse gazebo. It's one of those lovely fall evenings that makes a person feel like the warmth of August is still hugging the night air, lulling the easily beguiled into believing winter will never come. Ana can hear the Baroque strains of Vivaldi’s allegro portion of "Spring" from his "Four Seasons Violin Concerto" playing softly across the grounds. Ana contentedly watches two new limousines pull to the front of the hotel to deliver another series of guests. The chandelier sparkles above their heads as porters rush to meet their needs. Ana smiles and looks upward at the full moon sky.

ANA

(Traditional Jewish rejoicing)

Well. You did have a perfectly wonderful story in mind for us, didn't you! Where do we go from here? We've eaten. We've laughed. We've danced. Out of nothing came something. This is America, a nation under G-d and we're the Rosenthals. It was the perfect combination for prospering and doing well, wasn't it?

Ana stands and walks to the center of the gazebo, looks at each of the nine muses, gently smiles, and sings to them as if sharing with each of them something she has learned about life.

ANA

(Speaks/sings “The Day of Small Things”)

Never despise the day of small things, Melpomene/Do with what you have/Never fail to step forward, Clio/Believe in prospering/Give help to others, Erato/It's a formula grand/Never despise the day of small things, Polyhymnia/Powerful forces stand ready/Sustaining, maintaining while strength is gaining/Earth's goodness is as firm as marble, Calliope/Dig a little to find it, Euterpe/Cut it/Fashion it into things lovely and grand, Terpsichore/Never despise the day of small things, Thalia/Urania, it's what all the wise men said.

Ana looks up at each muse’s serene face. Ana's face matches their serenity. Ana notes Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee leaving the front entrance of The Rosenthal.

ANA

(Traditional Jewish rejoicing)

Seven princesses leave their castle. Life has finally produced all that is orderly and pleasantly sweet. It's time to become legal...to locate The Rosenthal on property that is our very own.

Ana turns to walk toward the stone house. Ana steps through a small arbor the gardener has created on the far side of the fountain and is surprised to see several cars, a delivery van, and a truck with a small trailer parked in front of the path leading to the stone house. Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee walk down the main drive to join Ana. The girls hesitate as they notice the line of vehicles in front of their walkway and raise questioning eyebrows at each other. But, with a 'life is good' attitude, they push through the vehicles and proceed toward the front door.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - MANSION 2/GROUNDS - DAY

FOUR DAYS EARLIER

Camera expands from an overhead low bird's eye view of Mansion 1 to include Mansion 2's grounds. Camera zooms to focus on Mansion 2's outside main entrance area. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula Rosenthal arrive home from Europe. J Sontz, their butler, opens Mansion 2's front entrance door to help the chauffeur unload luggage from the Rosenthal's limousine. Paula Rosenthal steps from the limousine and addresses their butler.

PAULA

Sontz, did I ever tell you that you are indispensable? It's the absolute last time we'll send you ahead to open house. I've missed you every day.

SONTZ

Everything is in perfect order, Madam Rosenthal. It was absolutely the best choice to send me forward. The house had been closed far too long to forgo preparation. Do you wish your luggage in the usual rooms?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks up from gathering small bags from the back seat of the limousine.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes, please, Sontz. We’ll take tomorrow’s breakfast by the pool. Paula posted her schedule for the week.

SONTZ

Will we be expecting Paul, Jr. and Elsie this trip?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

No. They’ll be vacationing in Bordeaux.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/POOL - DAY

NEXT DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sits at Mansion 2 pool’s side sipping juice and browsing the Internet on his laptop while half-listening to J. Sontz.

SONTZ

The hospitality industry is a first for Rosenthals, isn’t it, Sir?

J. Sontz lays a copy of "City and Country" magazine at Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s table. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. smiles nonchalantly, picks the magazine up, and casually browses the article. Paula Rosenthal moves from the side cart to join Paul Rosenthal, Sr., sits on a lounge, and sips coffee sprinkled lightly with raw sugar and a dash of fresh cream. Paula Rosenthal takes her time to join the day. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. engages her in conversation.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Casually)

Has Paul, Jr. talked to you about the new resort?

PAULA

(Surprised)

No.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. hands Paula the magazine. Paula skims a few lines from the article and lays the magazine aside to reach for the juice J. Sontz has brought from the side table. Paula sips and lays her head back to soak the warmth of fall's last rays of sun.

PAULA

I thought he and Elsie planned to renovate that property for a private residence.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Well, the location of both these properties is not exactly fashionable these days.

Paula points to the “City and Country” magazine article.

PAULA

It seems to be fashionable enough to have garnered the best of the city’s crowd.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Traveling crowd, not residing crowd. You saw Chosenfelters new home...right on the water.

PAULA

(Airily)

Ours is almost on the water. Chosenfelters cannot sail a cruise ship right to the dock, walk three blocks, and be home.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. laughs, pleased that she is satisfied.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Let’s take a walk and look at Paul’s new enterprise.

Paula looks at her watch.

PAULA

I’ll join you there for lunch.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sets his laptop on the side table, stands, and bends to kiss Paula’s cheek.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR. 

Wonderful. I’ll take a short stroll to check the facilities while you dress.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. walks through Mansion 2’s front gates.

EXT. NEW YORK/BAY STREET - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. walks briskly down the sidewalk and rounds a corner onto an immaculately landscaped Bay Street lined with exotic shrubbery and flowers. He takes critical notice.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR. (V.O.)

Superbly done, Paul, Jr., and quite some improvement.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. notes the discreet brass engraving that proclaims 'The Rosenthal'. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. carefully moves aside for a purring black limousine that rounds the corner and proceeds along the main drive.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR. (V.O.)

That’s the stuff.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. turns a curve in the drive, hears children laughing, and sees beautifully dressed Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Pansy, and Janna playing around the fully activated marble fountain. Beyond them the nine muse gazebo sets in a tasteful mixture of tall, wild grasses and neatly manicured lawn. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. hears the thump of a diving board and the splash of a swimming pool; walks around the curve in the drive; and sees two, classic, highly polished, black limousines sitting in front of Mansion 1. Mansion 1's double entrance doors flank with two large Grecian vases overflowing with red, trailing Begonias; an extra wide, red welcoming carpet runs from the edge of the drive's pavement to the entry door. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. walks around the side of Mansion 1 toward the pool. He observes fresh bouquets of roses sitting on every table, lounge chairs full of sunning guests, and piles of plush white towels conveniently located near the steps of the pool. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. turns and follows a path to the greenhouse. The greenhouse door stands open. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sees a movement inside the greenhouse and diverts his steps toward the greenhouse.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GREENHOUSE - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. walks into a lush nursery in full bloom. A gardener works at a table against the back wall. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. meanders through the flowers noting health and variety and then, stops to speak to the English gardener.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The ground’s roses...lovely, absolutely lovely.

The English gardener smiles generously and pauses over the top of the Rosenthal roses.

ENGLISH GARDENER

(Strong English accent)

My specialty...the roses.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Some of the best I’ve seen.

The English gardener nods thanks. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. continues to admire the roses and carries on a nonchalant conversation.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Is the manager on premises today?

ENGLISH GARDENER

No managers here...just owners. You can catch one of them at the front desk in the mornings. If not there, try the stone house on the east of the property.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Tries to hide surprise)

Owners?

ENGLISH GARDENER

Yes. Owners.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. continues to hide his surprise at the mention of 'owners', nods his thanks to the English gardener, turns to leave, notes a luxurious prize crop of greenhouse peonies, walks slowly along a path to the main hotel entrance, climbs the stairs to the main foyer, and enters.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/RECEPTION DESK/DINING AREA - DAY

Marta manages the reception desk; her smile barely hides her new braces.

MARTA

Welcome to the Rosenthal. I’m Marta Rosenthal. How may I help you?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Startled)

Did you say...Rosenthal?

Marta smiles.

MARTA

Yes. Marta Rosenthal.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Tries to hide confusion)

I...I...wish to make a brunch reservation.

MARTA

Certainly. What time would you like to be served?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Hesitates)

Tennish for...

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nearly says ‘Rosenthal’ and then chooses to hide his identity.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Hesitates)

...for Smith and Smith.

MARTA

We’ll look forward to seeing you at ten, Mr. Smith.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. turns, stops, and turns back to the desk.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

You wouldn’t happen to have a room available for this evening, would you?

MARTA

No, I'm so sorry. We're reserved through New Year’s. We do offer a consolation package, however, if you would consider staying with us later in the year.

Marta offers a richly embossed black and gold envelope to Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

No thank you. I need to stay this week. Perhaps I’ll have a bit of tea before my brunch date. The dining area is this way?

MARTA

Yes.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Tests her knowledge)

Do you serve Bergamot tea?

MARTA

(Promptly)

We serve Jumatra’s Indian Spice Earl Grey. Would that be satisfactory?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes, it will do nicely.

Marta leads Paul Rosenthal, Sr. to the dining area door. Kimmee greets Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

KIMMEE

Welcome to The Rosenthal. My name is Kimmee Rosenthal. Would you prefer a window seat?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Conceals surprise)

Rosenthal? I mean...yes. I would prefer a window seat.

Kimmee efficiently navigates Paul Rosenthal, Sr. to his seat and hands him a linen menu that matches her black tuxedo, white shirt, and red bow-tie uniform; the menu has a discreet golden 'R' on its front cover.

KIMMEE

We serve complimentary samplings of house rolls and imported jams. Would you care for a Perra Mineral water or a Canadian Abery with your tea?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The Abery, thank you.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. critically regards the menu; sets the menu aside; and watches the impeccable placement of Abery, a crystal stem glass, rolls, four rose-shaped butter molds, small bowls of a variety of jams, and Jumatra Spice tea.

KIMMEE

Would you care for anything else?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes, the fresh strawberries with whipped cream, please.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. tears a bit of roll from the roll plate to sample while the tea cools. Kimmee returns with strawberries and whipped cream.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Conversationally)

Your last name...Rosenthal. Do you know Paul and Elsie Rosenthal?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. places another small bit of roll into his mouth. Kimmee smiles; her large smile shows a new set of braces. Kimmee places the strawberries and whipped cream in the center of the table setting and replies confidently.

KIMMEE

Yes, Paul and Elsie are my father and mother.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. chokes on the bit of roll and sits back in the chair, dumbfounded.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I didn’t know they had children.

KIMMEE

We're their adopted children. There are so many of us that we aren't always able to travel with them. If you're a business acquaintance, then you may not have known they had children because we stay stateside most of the time.

Kimmee smiles, eyes completely secure and at ease.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I see. And, how many children have the Rosenthals adopted?

KARRIN

Thirteen.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. chokes again, reaches for the linen napkin, and manages to retain his casual manner.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

So, what are Rosenthal children doing working for their living?

KIMMEE

I guess you could say we are Father's 'experiment'. He’s testing his theory that working children understand ‘basic success principles' better than non-working children.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. takes time to digest this information and retains his casual manner.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Where are Paul and Elsie now?

Kimmee smiles.

KIMMEE

I believe they’re in Munich this week.

Kimmee excuses self to serve additional guests. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. leans back against his seat and endeavors to hide his complete consternation. His eyes survey his table...plump strawberries sitting in generous dollops of whipped cream, hot rolls, and four differently flavored jams; his eyes follow Kimmee noting the long, stylishly crimped curls hanging down the back of a perfectly fit and groomed tuxedo. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. pushes strawberries back, stands, leaves gratuity, walks back through the main foyer past a young couple signing the registry, and steps through the front door.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. stands on the front steps and squints against the sun. Then he leaves the hotel entrance and heads toward the stone house.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/STONE HOUSE - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. observes large beds of bulb flowers, a perfectly pruned flowering arch, and a manicured lawn. He walks up the stone house steps, knocks, and waits. A French governess answers the door.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

(Speaks with heavy French accent)

May I help you, Monsieur?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I’m here to see the owners.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

Which ones, Monsieur?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I suppose whichever ones are at home today.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

Then, that would be Karrin and Jo. If you do not mind to wait, you are welcome to enter.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/LIVING AREA - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. steps into the living area and finds himself face to face with pictures of his son, Paul, Jr., and Paul, Jr.'s wife, Elsie, along the far wall. Many pictures contain all the girls posing with Elsie at places with which Paul Rosenthal, Sr. is very familiar...the beach house in France, the merchant house in Germany, tourist places in England, and stores where Elsie likes to shop. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks down at the cherry-wood coffee table; sees a large, leather-bound photo album resting near a fresh bouquet of Rosenthal roses; seats himself; reaches for it; opens it; finds page after page of photographs of Paul, Jr. and Elsie with a very large group of children posing in an unending tapestry of European scenery. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. replaces the photo album on the table as Karrin and Jo enter the room with defined grace, tutored poise, and an obvious polished look. Karrin extends her hand for a welcoming handshake.

KARRIN

Hello, my name is Karrin Rosenthal. This is Jo Rosenthal. How may we serve you?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The young woman at the desk informs me I am unable to obtain a room for this evening. I wish accommodations for the entire week. Is there anything you may do for me?

KARRIN

(Demurs)

We've been fully reserved through New Year’s for over three months. We do have secondary accommodations at Ravenswood...our clientele regards it highly. I can make arrangements for you in moments.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

No, I had particularly wished to stay here. Are you certain there is nothing you can do?

Jo and Karrin show genuine dismay with obvious desire to serve and to please.

KARRIN

Our rooms are limited to eighteen. The small number means we sometimes must refuse hospitality.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods compliantly and waves at the photographs on the wall.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Your parents?

JO

(Proudly)

Yes. Our father and mother.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Very nice.

JO

(Large smile, genuine sincerity)

Yes, we are fortunate.

Camera fades to wall picture of Elsie with Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. enters his library and sits heavily in a leather wingback chair. Paula passes through the library with a book in hand.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Paula, did you ever think that Paul and Elsie would adopt thirteen children?

Paula replaces the book on its library shelf.

PAULA

Whatever are you talking about, dear?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. reaches to the side of the chair for the “City and Country” magazine and hands it to Paula. Paula glances at the article and raises her eyebrows.

PAULA

So, Paul decided to use the property next door. What does that have to do with adopting thirteen children?

The camera shows Paul Rosenthal, Sr. gesturing and relating the morning's events to Paula. Paula finds her way to the edge of the wing back chair and sits ashen-faced and quiet.

PAULA

I don’t believe it.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. shrugs and waves in the direction of the adjacent property.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

See for yourself.

PAULA

(Distractedly)

I have a meeting to attend and had quite decided to forego brunch.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Pointedly)

I don't think there is a meeting in the world that could keep me from investigating the instant inheritance of a very large family of girls.

Paula rings J Sontz.

PAULA

Sontz, would you be kind enough to extend my apologies to Mrs. Irvingston? I am unable to attend her luncheon.

Paula turns to Paul Rosenthal, Sr. with a firm, almost reprimanding look as if he is responsible for the sudden turn of affairs.

PAULA

I think discretion is the best policy until we fully understand what’s happening.

Paula rises, turns, and leaves their library. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. calls after her.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Smith and Smith have a brunch reservation around ten.

TWO HOURS LATER

The sound of Mansion 2’s front door opening is followed by Paula entering the library.

PAULA

(Shocked, strained)

Oh, Paul! Why did Paul and Elsie hide this from us?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Quietly)

I’m not sure; however, it seems that if they were truly trying to hide their children that they would not have located them at our next door’s doorstep.

PAULA

(Distractedly)

Perhaps it’s the perfect place to hide children. After all, we’re never here.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I suppose it’s possible they couldn’t find a way to tell us and decided to let us find out ourselves.

PAULA

(Hurt)

No. We’ve always observed a policy of absolute honesty and openness with them.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Perhaps not as open as we thought.

PAULA

(Distracted)

I spoke to the baby, Sarah, in French and she answered me quite correctly and very nicely. Paul and Elsie’s hand shows well, Paul.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Gently)

I suppose the next question is: How are we going to proceed?

PAULA

(Hopelessly)

I don’t know.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. reaches to take Paula Rosenthal’s hand.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Suggests)

Would you like to eat dinner at The Rosenthal this evening? It would give us a second chance to examine our ‘newfound wealth’.

Paula is distracted and operating with usual strict observance to protocol.

PAULA

We have reservations at Lanton’s.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. smiles waiting for Paula’s mind to catch up with her disciplined instinctive response.

PAULA

What am I saying? Of course, what a good idea.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/DINING AREA - NIGHT

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula sit at The Rosenthal dining area's bay window, a window framed with Austrian pouf drapery. A chamber ensemble completes Johann Strauss' "Emperor Waltz". Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana are absent; employees manage the restaurant's evening hours. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula display disappointment at the absence of all girls and Ana; but, at the same time, appreciate the hotel's excellence. As the chamber ensemble strikes the "Vienna Waltz", Paul Rosenthal, Sr. graciously invites Paula to dance.

The camera focuses and closes on the fresh bouquet of Rosenthal roses at their table as Paul Rosenthal, Sr. in European fashion waltzes Paula in front of the chamber ensemble.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sits in a leather wing back chair researching several hotel magazines. Paula enters their library and sits opposite Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

PAULA

Paul, the best course of action is to call Paul, Jr. and Elsie...talk and be honest.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods agreeably. Paula pushes the speed dial on a mobile phone and hands the phone to Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Elsie? How are you doing, dear? Wonderful. The weather is clear? Yes, yes...we're glad to be stateside again...yes, Mother is planning on several late autumn parties...say, dear, could I please speak with Paul for just a moment if he's free?...Taking a shower? That's fine...Yes, speaker phone will be fine, dear.

The camera focuses on the face of a Windsor clock face as the minute hand moves forward. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. powers the mobile phone off, leans back in the wing back chair, and endeavors to arrange his face to display calm equanimity. A paroxysm of bewilderment and baffled disconcertion shows through.

PAULA

What did he say?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

He says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

PAULA

What do you mean, he doesn’t know what you’re talking about?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Just what I said. He thinks I’m trying to play a practical joke on him.

PAULA

Call Seth and see when Paul re-assigned that property from a tax write-off to a business gain.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods his head in agreement, reaches down, exchanges house slippers for walking shoes, stands, and tucks a newspaper under his arm.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

First, I think I’ll take a walk and visit with our neighbors for awhile.

EXT./INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GREENHOUSE - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. retraces yesterday’s footsteps to the greenhouse and engages the English gardener.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I couldn’t help but return to admire the roses. You’ve had wonderful training to maintain such peak condition this late in the year.

ENGLISH GARDENER

(Proudly)

They’re extra nice this fall, aren’t they?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. reaches to a particularly lovely yellow rose and moves the pot slightly as if observing its beauty more closely.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Will the hotel consider selling the roses? I would like to upgrade my own gardens.

ENGLISH GARDENER

(Shakes head ‘no’)

Nothing is for sale on the property except the food in the restaurant and the use of the rooms. I've been trying to get the girls to replace the wheelbarrow and tractor for some time now and they are quite firm that nothing is to be thrown away. It has something to do with their lease agreement.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

They’re leasing the property?

ENGLISH GARDENER

I think so, but it’s all in the family somehow.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Have you ever met their parents?

ENGLISH GARDENER

No. I don't think anyone here has. Their parents travel.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Who’s taking care of business?

ENGLISH GARDENER

(Surprised)

Well, they all take care of business. Although, I suppose the final say belongs to the eldest...perhaps Ana or Marta.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I wish I could meet all these outstanding young women together.

ENGLISH GARDENER

(Acknowledges)

It's difficult to find them together. Busy schedule, you know.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I see. Well, I’m sorry I’m not allowed to buy some of your rose slips. I’ll have to console myself with a cup of coffee at the restaurant, I suppose.

ENGLISH GARDENER

They put the yellow roses out today. They’re my personal favorite, highly scented and full-bodied. If you like those, they’re my own slips. I would be happy to offer you a start from my home garden.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Thank you, I’ll take you up on that.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. turns to walk toward Mansion 1.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/SWIMMING POOL - DAY

Hotel guests fill all the lounge chairs around the pool; morning swimmers take disciplined laps across the pool. The beautiful fall morning mimics the warmth and comfortableness of mid-summer. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. takes a change of course, walks toward the balustrade above the fountain path, takes a seat, and places a call to his personal attorney, Seth Cohen.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Good morning, Marona. This is Paul, Sr. I would like to speak with Seth for a moment...Certainly. I'll hold...Good morning, Seth. Fine...Fine...How's June?...Yes, it's good to be back stateside. I'm wondering what our situation is on the Bay Street property...Yes, that's right. Would you get back to me this morning?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. hears Sarah, Jen Lee, and Pansy playing, follows their sounds of laughter to the marble fountain, sits on the marble bench, and pretends to read the newspaper. Sarah giggles and trails her fingers in the fountain's water.

SARAH

Look, Pansy, they think my fingers are food.

PANSY

Does it hurt?

SARAH

No, silly. How can they hurt you? Marta says they don’t have teeth.

PANSY

(Trails fingers over edge)

Jen. Come here. You can get kisses from the goldfish.

Jen Lee comes round to the fountain, watches the two girls, trails her fingers in the water, and squeals with delight.

JEN LEE

It hurts!

SARAH

It doesn’t hurt either.

Janna walks toward Sarah, Jen Lee, and Pansy from the stone house pathway.

JANNA

Yvonne says we must come back for our lessons because we have to begin changing beds soon.

PANSY

(Pouts)

Wee, wee Mademoiselle Janna. Vous etes tres gentile.

SARAH

(Pleading)

I don’t want to go back yet, Janna. Look, the goldfish are kissing my fingers!

JANNA

But, we’re the Rosenthals. Rosenthals work. Our mother and father are working very hard in Germany and we want to be just like them.

SARAH

But, I wanted a Mother who hugged me at night and my mother never comes to hug me...ever. I wish she wouldn’t work so hard and she would come and hug me sometimes.

JANNA

But, Ana hugs you lots and Marta and Karrin and even me.

Janna reaches for Sarah’s hand. Sarah squeals and runs away. Janna catches Sarah and plants three huge kisses on top of her head.

JANNA

There! You get lots of kisses and because we work, you get lots of steak and potatoes and ice cream every day. Let’s not make a fuss. You like ice cream and Ana says we must always be saying thank you and never be showing a fuss. It’s one reason she’s so beautiful.

Sarah grabs Pansy’s hand and swings it.

SARAH

We can come back later and let the goldfish kiss our hands. Come on, Jen Lee. I’ll race you to the house!

Sarah, Jen Lee, and Pansy run ahead of Janna while screaming with delight and laughter.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. begins to rise, then seats himself as Persimmon comes around the path with a rabbit in her arms. Persimmon stops in front of Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and looks at him with large brown eyes.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

What’s your name?

PERSIMMON

Persimmon.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

That is a very beautiful rabbit.

Persimmon nods agreeably.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Are you staying in the stone house?

Persimmon nods affirmatively.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

You must be one of the Rosenthal children.

Persimmon nods ‘yes’, smiles, turns to walk to the fountain, and trails her fingers in the water. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. rises, sits at the edge of the fountain, and watches the fish nibble her fingers.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I saw some other little girls letting the fish kiss their fingers.

PERSIMMON

I taught them how to do that. They were afraid.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

You like animals.

Persimmon nods ‘yes’.

PERSIMMON

I want a pony, but Ana says we have to wait. Everybody’s got all their wishes ‘cept me and Abby.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

What kind of wishes did everyone wish for?

PERSIMMON

Sarah wanted bananas. Susana wanted bread with real jam and a swimming pool. Janna wanted a Mother and cookies. We have a Mother except she works all the time and we don't get to see her except in pictures. I can't remember everything 'cause it's been a long time ago.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Maybe you should ask your mother for a pony.

PERSIMMON

(Frowns slightly)

I don’t think so. She’s very busy. She sends me things sometimes though. See these stockings? She sent these for Chanukah last year.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Who takes care of you when your mother and father are away?

PERSIMMON

(Thoughtfully)

Well, Ana puts people on the door and tells us to talk to them everyday; then, one day, when we’re ready, they just come off the door and start walking around and they take care of us. That’s what happened to all the cooks in the big house and the gardener. Last year the governess came off the door. I guess the governess takes the most care of us now. She doesn’t feed us though...the cooks feed us. We have a lawyer on the door now. He’s new. His name is Seth Cohen.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. starts involuntarily.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Cohen?

Persimmon nods her head ‘yes’ and puts her finger to her mouth to quiet him. Jo approaches on the pathway.

PERSIMMON

Shhh...there’s Jo.

Persimmon lowers her voice in a conspiratorial whisper.

PERSIMMON

She used to wear big, black glasses; but now she wears contacts. She reads under the covers at night after Ana is in bed.

JO

Persimmon! The governess is looking for you. She says you didn't come back for your lessons. Didn't you hear your cellular phone ring?

PERSIMMON

I was playing with the rabbits and it scares them. I turned it off.

JO

Is that how you captured the rabbit?

PERSIMMON

I didn’t capture him. He just hopped into my arms because I loved him.

Jo kneels beside Persimmon.

JO

Well, then, you need to hop into my arms because I love you and you need to let the rabbit go back to his family because they love him.

Jo looks over Persimmon’s head and recognizes Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

JO

Hello, again. You must have decided to come back and dine with us. I'm so glad. I hope Persimmon didn't bother you. She's very sweet and usually doesn't talk very much.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I found her to be quite talkative.

JO

Then you must be as special as she is because she is usually as quiet as a mouse. Please excuse us. She has mathematics in just a few moments. I'm afraid she has already missed her French lessons.

Persimmon walks to Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and hands the rabbit to him.

PERSIMMON

Here. His home is that way. Would you please take him back?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods his head 'yes' and watches the girls walk toward the path leading to the stone house. When the girls are out of sight, Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sets the rabbit on the ground; his mobile phone rings.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes, Marona, I can take a call from Seth...Nothing? You have no income generation?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks at the bustling traffic going in and out of the Rosenthal.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Seth, do you perhaps serve Ms. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Jo, or Persimmon Rosenthal as clients?...No? Okay, Seth, thanks. Tell June hello. We’ll take you both to dinner before we leave for Europe.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. closes the phone and watches a long, black limousine purr up the drive.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

What the devil did the child mean?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks at the nine muses, frowns, and dials Paula.

PAULA (O.S.)

Paul, I’m in the middle of an auction.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Well, I’m in the middle of a quandary.

PAULA (O.S.)

The children?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Affirmative. Seth says the property is not showing income on our ledgers.

PAULA (O.S.)

For heaven's sake, you know how Paul hates to have an asset lying idle...check...Oh, there's mine coming for bid now. I'll call you in a bit.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. starts toward the main drive. Someone yells ‘fore!’ from the lower grounds. A young couple play a vigorous game of tennis just beyond the rose gardens. Paul Rosenthal, Sr.’s mobile rings.

PAULA (O.S.)

(Slightly irritated)

What a bother! I sat all afternoon for that piece and it's gone.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Then, you should be coming home wealthier than you would have been.

Paula ignores Paul Rosenthal, Sr.’s statement.

PAULA (O.S.)

So, did you call the electric company and the water company?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I did. Electricity activated two years ago under a lease between a Rosenthal Trust Fund and a Jerusha's Private School for Girls, no mention of the resort.

PAULA (O.S.)

You need to hire a private detective.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Not yet. Elsie sent these girls Chanukah gifts last year. One of the littlest ones showed me stockings that had been sent from Germany. Perhaps Paul, Jr. doesn't even know about the girls. That would explain our last conversation.

PAULA (O.S.)

Oh, Paul!

Complete silence, Paula speaks contemplatively.

PAULA (O.S.)

The pictures on the wall were mostly of the children with Elsie, weren’t they?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes.

PAULA (O.S.)

Oh! I’ve enough of this. Where are you? I’ll pick you up and we’ll call Paul and Elsie as soon as we get home.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

Paula enters the library and calls into the foyer.

PAULA

No calls and no visitors, please, Sontz.

Paula discreetly closes the door and turns to Paul, Sr.

PAULA

Now, we’re going to get to the bottom of this nonsense. He should be at +011.49.89.246.349.

Paula dials.

PAULA

Hello, Paul?...No. I don’t care if you are going out. You will sit down and we will chat for a bit. You may put this on speaker phone so that Elsie may participate. Are we all set?...Good. I want to know exactly what is going on at the 1313 Bay Street address. I want to know precisely who the thirteen children are who claim to be Paul and Elsie's children. I want to know all about the photographs on their wall and how they've obtained a photo album filled with photos of themselves with Elsie. I want to know how thirteen girls claim you as their Father and Mother when we know nothing about that arrangement. I want to know what the Jerusha's Private School for Girls is. I want to know what the Rosenthal Trust Fund is. I want to know why the girls seem to know Seth Cohen, our attorney; but he doesn't seem to know them.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - NIGHT

NEXT EVENING

Paul, Jr. and Elsie walk through the library door as J Sontz removes two crystal glasses from the side tables.

PAUL, JR.

(Grinning)

Hello, Sontz, haven’t seen you for a few days.

SONTZ

Most certainly didn’t expect to see you this soon, Sir.

Paul, Jr. and Elsie turn to give hugs to both Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula. Paul, Jr. addresses Paula.

PAUL, JR.

We were fortunate...two business class seats remaining. Unfortunately, it was the fifteen-hour flight.

PAULA

(Not in mood for chitchat)

Let’s sit and talk, dear. Your father will pour drinks.

PAUL, JR.

Mother, neither Elsie nor I are going to begin this business until we've had at least a morning by the pool in full sunlight. We're suffering severely from jet lag.

PAULA

(Reproves)

You should have fasted rather than feasted and you wouldn’t be suffering so.

Paul, Jr. smiles at her and turns to J Sontz.

PAUL, JR.

Sontz, are you still making that fabulous Metabolism Booster?

SONTZ

The cayenne pepper juice wake-upper?

PAUL, JR.

(Laughs)

That’s the one. Bring Elsie and I two, extra-large, at six in the morning, poolside, please? And that, my dear...

Paul, Jr. looks at Elsie and then at his watch.

PAUL, JR.

...gives us exactly six hours sweet sleep.

Elsie hugs Paula.

ELSIE

Sorry, dear. I'll visit with you in the morning. He's the duplicate of his father. It's all I can do to keep pace with him.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/POOL - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula walk toward Mansion 2's pool area. Paul, Jr. sits by the pool with a laptop. Elsie sits under an umbrella sipping Sontz's wake-upper. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. appears at poolside dressed in Dockers, polo shirt, and loafers; he catches a cup of café latte from the side table. Paula catches a fruit drink. Paul, Jr. rises and buffs Paul Rosenthal, Sr. on the cheek; Paul, Jr. hugs Paula.

PAUL, JR.

What do you say we go to The Rosenthal for brunch?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The girls will recognize you as soon as they see you, Paul.

PAUL, JR.

Ah, but they do not know Pierre and Paulette.

Paul, Jr. produces two gray wigs, reading glasses, two canes, and a makeup kit. Paula looks questioningly at Paul, Jr.

PAUL, JR.

The costume party chest you keep in the attic, Mother. I also did a bit of research this morning on The Rosenthal. It's been judged one of the best five star resorts on the east coast.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Dryly)

Let's go for brunch before the place becomes an international phenomenon. Their gardener says it's only been operating for a couple of years.

PAUL, JR.

My, my...a highly developed business acumen while lacking a highly developed moral sense...that combination should bring about the thunderous collapse of someone's Roman Empire.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/RECEPTION DESK/DINING AREA - DAY

Paul, Jr. and Elsie, dressed as Pierre and Paulette, approach the reservation desk with Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula. Chutney manages the reception desk; she acknowledges the brunch reservation.

CHUTNEY

I’m Chutney Rosenthal. Yes, brunch for four. Please follow me.

PAUL, JR.

Rosenthal...such an unusual name.

CHUTNEY

(Proudly)

It's beautiful, isn't it? It means 'valley of roses'. We have a European gardener who specializes in growing 'valleys of roses' for the residence. Every room receives a fresh bouquet every day and every table receives a fresh vase twice a day. Your bouquet this morning is from the Prince Albert line and comes from one of the 1996 Grand Prize winners at the New York flower show.

Paul, Jr. nods agreeably.

PAUL, JR. 

How did you come by the Rosenthal name?

CHUTNEY

(Looking surprised)

Through my parents, of course.

PAUL, JR.

(Conversationally)

Ah, of course. I wasn’t thinking.

Chutney leads Paul, Jr.; Elsie; Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; and Paula to the dining area’s entrance where Ana greets them.

ANA

Good morning. Welcome to The Rosenthal. My name is Ana Rosenthal. Would you prefer a window seat?

Paul, Jr. nods his head 'yes'. Ana escorts Paul, Jr.; Elsie; Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; and Paula to a bay window. Austrian poufs outline a beautiful view of the fountain and marble gazebo. Jo immediately serves the table.

JO

Good morning, my name is Jo Rosenthal.

Jo recognizes Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

JO

How nice! I’m so glad to see you again.

Jo redirects attention to the group.

JO

We have a wonderful supply of fresh blackberries and blueberries this morning.

Jo places each menu at guest setting.

JO

I am serving Perra water, orange and apple juice freshly squeezed at table side. The hot rolls are complimentary and will be coming with your beverages.

Elsie raises eyebrows to Paula. Paula returns significant look. Perra water is poured at table side into lead crystal stem glasses. The orange and apple juices are prepared at table and served in open brandy snifters. The rolls are served to the left and are accompanied with generous portions of individual rose-shaped pats of butter. Each place setting is accorded a private selection of small dishes filled with a variety of imported jams. Paula samples the deep purple jam.

PAULA

Hmmmm...nearly as good as the jams we get in Cairo.

ELSIE

I was thinking of Chile or Brazil, but I think you’re closer to being correct.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sits back and watches his family. Paul, Jr. observes the girls.

PAUL, JR.

So, how many more are ‘ours’?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I haven't met them all, so I'm uncertain. The little ones are most likely in lessons with their governess right now.

PAUL, JR.

Governess?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

A governess imported from France, no less.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paula; Paul, Jr.; and Elsie fall silent as Jo serves poached eggs on beds of watercress. Jo exits. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods toward the bay window.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The youngest are turned loose to play.

Elsie follows Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s nod toward the garden and pushes her chair away from the table.

ELSIE

I think I'll take a walk. Would you retrieve me in your automobile after you are done eating, Father?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paula; and Paul, Jr. watch through the dining area window as Elsie, disguised as Paulette, an elderly woman with a cane, seats herself at the fountain's edge. Soon Sarah, Pansy, Persimmon, Jen Lee, and Janna surround Elsie while chattering happily. Abby retrieves Sarah, Pansy, Persimmon, Jen Lee, and Janna for school lessons. Elsie rises and stands alone at the fountain.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 1/GROUNDS - DAY

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. leaves The Rosenthal and hurriedly walks toward the fountain. Elsie is visibly shaken. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. places his arm around Elsie's shoulders.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

There, there, I know. It's quite a shock, isn't it? You know what I think?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. nods toward the path that leads to the stone house.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR. (CONT’D)

They live there. Why don't you and Paul visit them on some pretense or other this morning?

ELSIE

Yes. That might be a good idea. We'll meet you and Mother at home.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/GROUNDS - DAY

LATER

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula walk along their extensive rose beds. Paul, Jr. and Elsie walk across the lawn to join them. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks up as they approach.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Well?

ELSIE

Why would anyone do this? I don’t understand.

PAULA

What about the pictures, Elsie?

ELSIE

(Relieved)

I can explain the pictures. They're directly from our Internet page. Someone has cleverly used a computer program to insert the children into the pictures.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

One of the little ones said something interesting about the people who take care of them. She said, and I quote directly, 'We keep them by the door and when we are ready, they come off the door and start walking around.'

PAULA

Whatever could the child have meant? Was it one of the younger children?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Yes.

PAULA

Then it was an overactive imagination. It probably doesn’t mean anything.

ELSIE

The girls are wonderful, Mother. If I had daughters, I would have been so proud of each of them.

PAULA

Their grooming is as faultless as if I had taken care of them myself.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Protesting)

You make them sound like ponies about to enter a show.

PAULA

Well, everyone notices those things, Paul. They're important and tell a great deal about breeding and keep.

PAUL, JR.

I can't imagine what is going on unless they are dupes in someone's money-making scheme.

ELSIE

Paul, they talk about the pictures on the wall as if they were there with me. I know they weren't there. It's as if they're pretending lies. Why? I'm terribly concerned.

PAUL, JR.

(Grumbling)

We should be. The property is in our name. We're legally liable for everything that happens there.

ELSIE

Oh, Paul!

PAUL, JR.

(Placating)

I covered the property with an insurance binder as soon as Mother called us in Munich.

Elsie shivers unexpectedly.

ELSIE

Can we move this inside? The library would be so comforting right now.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

Paul Rosenthal stokes a small fire as Elsie, Paula, and Paul, Jr. arrange themselves on chairs and couches.

ELSIE

You've visited the property more than any of us, Father. What do you think?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Mother suggested hiring a private detective.

PAUL, JR.

There's no time. They're trespassing. I have every right to send in the police.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Mildly observes)

Somehow I can't see those girls' faces behind bars. Besides, you'll also shut down a profitable business which we should have thought about beginning ourselves.

PAUL, JR.

You don't begin a business like that without capital...a lot of capital. The question is: Whose capital?

ELSIE

(Slowly, thoughtfully)

Although...what did we really see there that was new? The house was well-stocked. It just needed a little refurbishing.

PAUL, JR.

And the two new limousines, the tuxedos all the employees wear like other people wear blue jeans? The gardeners, the maids, the superb cook?

ELSIE

It’s obvious these girls aren’t from ordinary homes. That means they would have a good understanding of money and how to enhance the value of an asset.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. smiles. Paula turns irritably toward Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

PAULA

Why do you sit there smiling like a Cheshire Cat? I've watched you all afternoon. You act like you know something we don't know. I don't like it when you play games.

Paula turns to Elsie.

PAULA

Could it be one of them or some of them are somehow related to you?

ELSIE

Perhaps. I watched Ana in the dining area today. She may have ties to the neighborhood.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The only way you're going to get a complete answer is to sit down with all the girls and have a very long talk.

PAUL, JR.

How are we going to accomplish that?

ELSIE

Perhaps to unexpectedly arrive as Elsie Rosenthal. After all, they've told everyone I'm their mother. I have a right to be there and I have a right to know what my 'children' are doing.

PAUL, JR.

(Objecting)

That could be dangerous, Elsie.

ELSIE

No. It's not going to be dangerous because I’m taking all of you with me as support. I need to know all their names before I make an entrance. Can we accomplish that between ourselves tonight?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I think so.

Paul Rosenthal reaches into his coat pocket and hands Elsie a photograph.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I slipped a picture from their album with all thirteen of them standing on a beach with you, Elsie. Their names are on the back.

Elsie looks at Paula bright-eyed.

ELSIE

Grandmother, what kind of an entrance would a long-absent Mother make? I don't think she would arrive empty handed, do you?

PAULA

Definitely not. I'll take care of the clothing, if you take care of the toys. Paul, you....

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Don’t recruit me; I have my own plans for tomorrow.

PAULA

Why, you selfish man!

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. smiles, stands, and kisses the top of Paula’s head.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

You’ll be sorry tomorrow for saying such a horrid thing.

Paula turns to Paul, Jr.

PAULA

Paul, Jr....

PAUL, JR.

(Grins boyishly)

No, I’m leaving with Father.

Paul, Jr. notices Elsie’s immediate frown.

PAUL, JR.

And don't look so annoyed, Elsie. I have to protect the family fortune and that means a long conference with Seth Cohen about covering ourselves against suit and fines on that property until we can get everything straightened out.

Elsie immediately replaces the annoyed look with a smile. Paul, Jr. leans over and kisses her.

PAUL, JR.

(Concerned advice)

I’ll call David and Jonathan for  bodyguards, just in case things are not as transparent as they seem.

ELSIE

Thank you, darling. It’s why I love you.

PAUL, JR.

Are you going with me to the lawyer's office, Father?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. assumes his best Sherlock Holmes manner.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

No. I have other business to attend.

PAUL, JR.

All right. So when are we going to descend upon the Rosenthal girls?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I understand they retire around 6 p.m. and allow the resort to be run by employees in the evening.

PAUL, JR.

Then, the goal is 6 p.m.

EXT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE - NIGHT

At precisely 6 p.m., a delivery van, a truck with a small trailer, and two cars sit alongside the path leading to the stone house. David and Jonathan open the doors to the delivery van and begin loading the van's dollies with gift wrapped packages. Paula examines the contents of the smaller trailer, raises eyebrows expressively, and addresses Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

PAULA

Well! It looks like you are ready.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Smugly)

I’m quite ready.

Paul, Jr. and Elsie lead the way toward the stone house. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula follow. David and Jonathan wheel package-loaded dollies behind Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula. Elsie knocks on the door. The French governess opens the door and recognizes Elsie.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

(Exclaims, flustered; Speaks in heavy French accent)

Mrs. Rosenthal! Oh my! I didn't know you were coming! Please come in! I don't have anything ready for you. I'll get the girls. Please, let me take your wrap.

French governess catches sight of Paul, Jr. behind Elsie and gasps.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

(Exclaims, increasingly flustered)

Mr. Rosenthal! Oh my! Both of you...I must get the older girls, too. They had to work later than usual because the hotel help was delayed in traffic. I do not have the children properly prepared to greet you. I apologize. Please, please come in.

Elsie lays a comforting hand on the French governess’ arm.

ELSIE

Please, it is rude of us to stop without advising you. But we just had to see the children. They've told me what a marvelous job you're doing with them.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

Children! Come! There is a surprise for you!

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paula; Elsie; and Paul, Jr. enter the stone house.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/LIVING AREA - NIGHT

Sarah is the first to respond to the governess' call. She comes around the corner with a Mistress Ann doll tucked under her arm. Persimmon follows. Sarah and Persimmon's eyes open widely in surprise when they see Elsie.

SARAH

(Breathes)

Mother! Oh, Persimmon! It’s Mother!

Sarah, Persimmon, Pansy, Jen Lee, and Janna stand in a row with mouths literally hanging open from absolute astonishment. Elsie kneels down and opens both arms to the children.

ELSIE

(Reproves gently)

Have you forgotten me, Persimmon, Sarah, Pansy, and Jen Lee? Janna, I can't think that you have forgotten your own mother! Come here, darlings. I want a hug.

Sarah comes running forward and joyously throws herself into Elsie’s arms.

SARAH

(Breathes)

I didn't forget you. I knew you right away. Ana said you would come and visit us someday and she helped me unwrap all my presents you sent.

Sarah peeks over Elsie’s shoulder at Paul, Jr.

SARAH

Are you my Father?

PAUL, JR.

(Hesitates)

Well, I...

ELSIE

(Encourages)

Come here, girls. I want you to meet your grandparents. This is Paul and Paula Rosenthal. You've never had an opportunity to meet them.

Persimmon immediately walks to Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s side and slips her hand into Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s hand.

PERSIMMON

I know you. You helped my rabbit go home.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Come with me. I have a surprise for you.

Persimmon and Paul Rosenthal, Sr. disappear through the front door. David and Jonathan continue wheeling dolly load after dolly load of beautifully wrapped gifts to pile around the fireplace.

PANSY

Is it a party, Mother?

ELSIE

Yes, dear. A party for everyone...even Abby, Jo, Chutney, Karrin, Susana, Kimmee, and Marta.

PANSY

(With concern)

Did you forget Ana?

ELSIE

(Gently)

No, I didn’t forget Ana.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Persimmon return to the living area's corner chair. Persimmon perches quite comfortably on his knee looking as if she has a secret too large to hold. Around seven o'clock the front door opens; Sarah leaps from her semi-permanent place on Elsie's lap and runs screaming to the front door. Ana stands in the door.

SARAH

Mother is here! Come in! Come in! We're having a party with cake and everything. And she smells beautiful, Ana, just like you said.

Ana walks through the door and blanches visibly as she sees Paul, Jr. and Elsie. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. carefully observes Ana as she enters the room; Ana's eyes fill with apprehension. Elsie immediately rises from between Pansy, Janna, and Jen Lee to hug Ana and then to hug Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee who have crowded through the door on Ana's heels.

ELSIE

(Evenly)

Ana, I’m so glad to see you. It’s been so frightfully long and I’m so sorry dears, but we’ve been so busy. We’ve brought presents, cake, ice cream, and we can sit and talk and tell each other all our stories.

Marta moves close to Sarah and takes her by the hand. Sarah squeals and pulls away.

SARAH

No, Marta. I want to be with Mother. I've waited a long time for her to come.

Sarah walks self-importantly to Elsie and slips her hand into Elsie's hand. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee stand as poised as one can under the circumstances. The French governess enters the room.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

(Apologetically to Ana)

Excusez moi. If I had known she was coming...I would have had everything exact and to perfection. But I did not know.

French Governess curtsies diffidently to Elsie.

FRENCH GOVERNESS

Je fais des excuses...I apologize again to you, Madam. Ils sont merveilleux and I enjoy every moment with them. It's time for me to go. Je suis tres enchante. Would you prefer that the girls take 'les vacances' tomorrow, Madam et Monsieur Rosenthal?

ELSIE

Yes, I would prefer that. Why don't you use the rest of the week as you like and return on Monday?

The French governess nods, gathers her light jacket, and leaves. After the door shuts, Ana quietly speaks.

ANA

Look, I can explain.

ELSIE

(Just as quietly)

There now. Let the little ones open their presents.

Persimmon scoots importantly from Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s knee.

PERSIMMON

Abby, Grandfather’s got you something. Come with me.

Abby looks at Paul Rosenthal, Sr. She is startled.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I’ll come, too, Abby.

In moments Abby is back with two, fat, squirming dachshund puppies.

ABBY

Look! I got my wish double! They're just like the pictures I had hanging in my room! Aren't they beautiful? And, you know what else? Persimmon got her pony! Come out everyone! Come out! Grandfather is going to let her ride right now!

EXT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/GROUNDS - NIGHT

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana crowd to the door. Persimmon sits on a black and white paint pony and rides grandly around the front lawn with Paul Rosenthal, Sr. leading. All girls push to the porch to admire Persimmon's pony. Persimmon shyly smiles, slips from the pony's back, confidently leads the pony to the porch, and ties it securely to the porch post.

PERSIMMON

(Importantly)

Grandfather said it's like the ponies my people liked to ride when this country was new. He said when I learn to ride very well, he will take me to the stables and we will look at a bigger horse, but I hope I stay just this size so I can always have this one.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. motions David to move the pony around back and ushers Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana into the house.

INT. NEW YORK/STONE HOUSE/LIVING AREA - NIGHT

Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana stand as Paul Rosenthal, Sr. moves toward the gifts. Paula begins cutting cake and sets the pieces on small plates arranged on coffee and end tables. Elsie pours juice and Paul, Jr. arranges himself on the couch with a piece of cake.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Urging)

Let's open the packages. I think your mother and grandmother worked diligently to select something each of you would like.

Jen Lee runs to the package pile, kneels down, begins reading names from labels, and pushes packages across the floor.

JEN LEE

This one is for Kimmee, this one for Susana, this one for Abby, this one for Marta. This one is for Ana, this one for Karrin, this one for Jo, this one for Chutney. This one is for me!

Jen Lee stops reading further, sits down in the middle of the floor, and rips the paper from the package. Paul, Sr. moves to the packages and begins calling the girls' names. The little ones tear into packages with great gusto. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee stand silent. They lack their usual poise and diplomacy.

ELSIE

(Encourages)

Open your packages, Marta. Paula put a great deal of effort into finding you things she thought you might like.

Marta quietly opens a large box and pulls a red cashmere sweater from light pink tissue paper.

MARTA

(Involuntarily)

Oh! How did you know?

PAULA

Your skin is perfect for it, dear. I have a very good eye for appropriate colors.

MARTA

But, you....

Elsie holds a finger to her lips and points to Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy.

ANA

Mrs. Rosenthal, Elsie, I mean, well, I can explain.

SARAH

(Corrects)

She’s Mother! Don’t call her Elsie. She won’t like it.

Elsie looks over Sarah’s head.

ELSIE

Yes, I'm sure you can explain and we are going to talk. But the little ones need to finish unwrapping their packages and then they need to be tucked into bed after a proper bedtime story. You may as well open your packages, dear, and enjoy the moment.

JANNA

(Suddenly stands)

We need to tell everyone thank you, Ana, and I know how.

ANA

How?

JANNA

We could sing Mother’s favorite songs.

ANA

(Without looking at Elsie)

Well, that’s a fine idea. Which of her favorite songs would you like to sing?

JANNA

(Importantly)

I’ll ask everyone.

Janna goes into a huddle with Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, and Pansy. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee stand miserably silent. Janna comes out of the huddle.

JANNA

Mother, we're going to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". We just learned it last week and it's the one we have been practicing the most.

Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy form a charming half circle. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Kimmee, Jo, Chutney, and Susana form a half circle behind the younger children. Abby blows the beginning note on a pitch pipe. Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy begin singing the song. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Kimmee, Jo, Chutney, and Susana are unable to sing. Pansy stops, turns around, and commands, Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee to sing.

PANSY

Come on! Sing! It’s for Mother.

Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Sarah, and Pansy are joined by Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, and Ana for the second chorus. Marta breaks. Her eyes well with tears and she stops singing. Jo and Chutney begin sobbing. Abby leaves the room with the rest of the girls soon following. Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Pansy, and Janna look around in amazement and try to continue the song in a halting fashion. Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy stop singing.

JANNA

Oh, Mother!

Janna runs to Elsie’s side.

JANNA

We practiced and practiced.

Janna runs to the dining area door where Ana, Marta, Karrin, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee have retreated to hide their lack of composure. Janna stamps her foot to the floor.

JANNA

Why did you ruin the Rosenthal song? Rosenthals always finish what they start and they don't cry! Why are you crying?

Janna turns to Elsie.

JANNA

We’ll make it up to you. We’ll sing your other favorite song.

Janna quietly instructs Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, and Pansy. They face Elsie and strike “When You Wish Upon A Star”. When the small girls are finished singing, Elsie claps her hands delightedly at the song’s finish. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee return to the room composed and collected.

JEN LEE

We could sing “Happy Talk” for her or, “Getting to Know You,” because we’ll finally get a chance to know her better.

Elsie stands.

ELSIE

My, you are wonderful singers. But, it’s getting late and I really would like to see you open all your packages this evening.

Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy do not need a second invitation. Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee present somber faces as they open package after package. Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy wind down to a sleepy enthusiasm. When the last package is opened and everyone has cake, Elsie reads a bedtime story and then walks Sarah, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Janna, and Pansy up the stairs to the upper bedrooms. Elsie returns, chooses a corner leather chair, and motions Paul, Jr. to move near her.

ELSIE

We want all of you to rest in tomorrow. We have a busy day planned for you. Paula is sending her staff to help in the hotel. So...Ana, you are the oldest. Why don’t you begin?

ANA

(Falters)

I don’t know where to begin.

Marta interrupts.

MARTA

I do. I’ll begin. It begins with myself and Sarah and an orphanage....

Camera focuses on a grandfather clock showing time passing. Marta finishes.

MARTA

When you can't find kindness anywhere, you have to make your own. When you've got nothing, you've got to borrow it from someone who has something or take it away from them. We didn't want to take anything away from anyone else, because we know how terrible it is to have things taken away. So, we borrowed until we could get a start of our own.

ELSIE

(Mildly)

So, you borrowed our name and our property. Do you feel you have a start, now?

KARRIN

(Interrupts)

She's not going to understand, Marta...and, she may never be able to understand. Jo, tell her the way it is.

Jo nods.

JO

(Speaks/sings “Seers and Adepts”)

“Seers and adepts wiggle their nose/Searching out people with rings on their toes/If your shoe shines and your clothes are in line/They’ll empty your pockets time after time/Seers and adepts smile sweetly and kind/Consistently predict a future so fine/(speaks) But...(sings) For someone who smells/Has a smudge on their nose/Is somehow unaware of the run in their hose/Future predictions come with no fee/Woes within and without they portend/Despair comes in buckets of unneeded rain/(speaks) How do you move from that agony? It’s easy, as easy as can be. Become your own prophet, speak words to yourself! Speak your own words/Keep your own dream/Shut down your ears to contrary streams/Insist you are heading...heading for ‘grand’/Predict your own future/Hold hope by the hand/Work every day and stay out of their way/Fill your own pockets/Let none come their way/Soon you’ll wear rings on every toe/How their tune changes when you wear silk hose/Their double standards we now ignore/Even though our money they do implore/We know the secret for futures so grand/Does not depend on where you now stand/Speak your own words/Keep your own dream/Shut down your ears to contrary streams/Insist you are heading...heading for grand!/Predict your own future/Hold hope by the hand...(speaks) See, we know the secret for a future grand...never depends on where you now stand.”

Karrin nods affirmatively.

KARRIN

That’s the way it is. But, how could someone like you even begin to understand? You were given a wonderful name and never had to fight to make it a good one.

Karrin flushes, but holds her head high. Ana looks searchingly at Paul, Jr. and Elsie. Ana cannot read their faces. Ana's shoulders slump; she looks beaten; she rises, turns, and opens a small drawer in a bureau behind her. She removes two pictures and turns to Elsie Rosenthal.

ANA

I have two pictures I will show you.

Ana offers one picture to Elsie Rosenthal.

ANA

This picture would never make it into our coffee table’s photo album.

Elsie reaches and takes the picture.

ELSIE

Oh, my.

Elsie looks searchingly into Ana’s face.

Ana nods.

ANA

Now you can see how we tried. That photograph was taken when all of us first found this property. We tried so hard, Mrs. Rosenthal. We worked every day and we never let up.

Ana hands the second picture to Elsie.

ANA

Here is a photo that will make it to our coffee table and to our wall. We hired a photographer last month to come in and take this portrait of all of us.

Elsie reaches, takes the second photograph, and passes the two pictures to Paul, Jr. Paul, Jr. makes no comment and, after looking at the photographs, passes them to Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula. Ana searches Paul, Jr.; Elsie; Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; and Paula’s faces.

ANA

Look. I'm not going to apologize for what we've done because it would be wrong to apologize for trying to have a life. We did with what we had...which was pretty much nothing. And, by G-d's grace, that nothing miraculously became something superlatively wonderful.

Ana stops, seems confused, and begins again.

ANA

You’ll find what you’re looking for...

Ana stops.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Mild encouragement)

Finish the thought, Ana.

ANA

Well, every night we read all the stories. We learned from those stories. There are lots of critics of those stories....

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Looking for clarification)

Which stories, Ana?

ANA

Well, mostly the stories found in the Tanakh...the Mikra...there are people who constantly look for the error in the stories...kind of like people who spend whole lives looking for the error in other people more than they look for the good. I think... 

Ana looks quickly at Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee.

ANA

We think...that if you choose to live your life that way you end living only half a life and not the good half of life. You lose a lot of wisdom and goodness.

Ana increases earnestness.

ANA

You're sitting on these chairs and you're going to judge us and decide what to do with us. You can choose to look at only one side...that's the side of hard, cold law or you can look beyond the 'facts' and see the goodness and warmth and value and rightness in what thirteen people tried to do. I believe what they tried to do should stand and be applauded, not punished.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks at the two photographs and clears his throat.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Law is cold, Ana. It's cut and dry. But, that's why we have judges. Judges are the human factor that is placed within law to soften its effects, to make exceptions, to lessen the burden that law would impose on all of us. Don't assume you'll be judged harshly. You'll find that people are mostly wonderful...anyway this family always tried to be, in spite of some very difficult situations.

Elsie returns the two photographs to Ana.

ELSIE

You chose a good family to adopt. I know because I adopted it. And, Ana...Rosenthals do try to see the human factor in everything they do. But, we do have to talk this out among ourselves. There are serious ramifications that you may not fully comprehend that are tied to your choice of action over the last two years. After we talk, we'll talk with you.

Jo interrupts.

JO

This isn’t just about us. This is about our cooks, our gardener, and our maids. They love what they do and they need their income.

PAUL, JR.

We understand the importance of keeping both professionals and unskilled workers in regular salary, Jo.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paula; Paul, Jr.; and Elsie stand as a group and give formal hugs to Ana, Marta, Karrin, Abby, Jo, Chutney, Susana, and Kimmee.

ELSIE

I know it may be difficult, but please sleep well tonight. We’ll have breakfast together in the morning and lunch together in the afternoon.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paula; Paul, Jr.; and Elsie walk toward the front door to exit the room.

PAUL, JR.

Let's have David and Jonathan bring the cars round. It's a good night for a walk.

The front door closes behind Paul, Sr.; Paula; Paul, Jr.; and Elsie Rosenthal.

MARTA

Get the girls up. We have to leave now.

ANA

No. We need to wait to see what they do.

MARTA

We can’t wait. If the answer is no, we won’t be able to keep the little girls.

ANA

We’ve been kept this far. We need to trust that we’ll be kept a little further.

MARTA

We can trust with our bank account in Europe. Can't you see what's going to happen? They're going to take everything away from us and throw us back to where they think we belong.

ANA

Where do we belong now, Marta? We don't belong where we came from any longer. All of us worked...worked hard. No one can take who we are now away from us...ever.

ABBY

They're already taking over everything, Ana. Paula's sending her staff over tomorrow to run The Rosenthal.

EXT. NEW YORK/BAY STREET - NIGHT

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. walks with his family and begins humming the "High Hopes" tune.

PAULA

I haven’t heard that for years.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Hmmm...I’d nearly forgotten it myself.

PAUL, JR.

(Urges)

Sing it, Father.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Grins)

I will. It seems to fit this evening quite well.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. throws his head back and sings the “High Hopes” song.

ELSIE

(Laughs)

Are you saying we have an industrious bunch of ants on our property?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

It certainly looks like someone has been moving a great many rubber tree plants.

ELSIE

Yes, haven’t they! Oh, Father, what are Paul and I going to do?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I don’t know.

Paul, Jr. reaches for Elsie's hand and drops into a comfortable walk beside Paula and Paul Rosenthal, Sr.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - NIGHT

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. pours brandy. Paula swirls her drink. Paul, Jr. lights the fireplace logs. Paula sits her drink on a side table.

PAULA

Darling, I think I’ll go to the kitchen and make hot chocolate.

ELSIE

I’ll go with you.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sits, leans back in the wing-back leather chair, and places his feet on the ottoman. Paul Rosenthal, Sr.'s eyes wander to the engraving in the marble fireplace's mantle.

"There is a cropping-time in the races of men, as in the fruits of the field; and sometimes, if the stock be good, there springs up for a time a succession of splendid men; and then comes a period of barrenness. 

-Aristotle, Rhetoric II, 15, par. III"

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Ana seems to feel this situation must be settled by heart rather than by law.

PAUL, JR.

(Grunts)

I wouldn’t wonder. They’ve broken so many laws that, if I were required to list the infractions, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Something borrowed for a short time....

Paul, Jr. sits in a nearby chair.

PAUL, JR.

Borrowing implies consent of the owner and return of the borrowed item to the owner.

Paul, Jr. closes his eyes and lays his head against his chair’s headrest.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Paul?

PAUL, JR.

Yes?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Remember the runt pup Lady Gertrude whelped in our kennels?

PAUL, JR.

Yes.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Remember how she would care for her litter and then take that little one off by itself and give it an extra nursing?

PAUL, JR.

Yes, I remember. It didn’t have much chance without her superlative care.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

That's what it's all about...supporting life.

Elsie and Paula return with crystal coasters and four German Beer Steins full of frothing, hot chocolate garnished with large dollops of whipped cream. Elsie distributes crystal coasters to each side table. Paula sets the steins into coasters. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. sips off froth and tips a generous amount of his brandy into the cream, sets the glass aside, and trades it for the German mug.

PAUL, JR.

(Manly grunt)

Well?

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. turns to Elsie.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Suggestions, young lady?

Elsie shakes head ‘no’.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. takes a sip from his hot chocolate and turns the German stein to observe the engraving that encircles the mug...children racing around its exterior with a dog.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

You'll just not be able to keep them from grasping a full life.

PAUL, JR.

(Irritably)

And why would we want to keep anyone from ‘grasping a full life’?

PAULA

(Comfortingly)

We wouldn't. Do you think they'll run before morning?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

They have the assets to do it with. 

ELSIE

Poor things.

PAULA

Ana will encourage them to stay and Marta will encourage them to run.

ELSIE

Oh, Mother! Marta’s the one who most needs to stay.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. reaches into his coat pocket and removes several myrtle leaves.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

I found a myrtle tree on the property the other day.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. crushes the leaves in his hand.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Sometimes the richest fragrance...the true value...of something cannot be brought forth until it’s bruised and crushed. In people, the importance in life’s bruising and crushing is what we make of it. What will we release? What will we become in spite of it? These girls made sweetness out of the bruising and crushing that life gave them.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks down at his watch.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

The New Yorker will be docking in fifteen minutes.

PAULA

Let’s take a moonlight walk.

Paula stands and gathers everyone’s wraps. Everyone exits the library door.

EXT. NEW YORK/WHARF - NIGHT

Paula; Paul Rosenthal, Sr.; Paul, Jr.; and Elsie stand leaning against the railing looking down at the New Yorker docking. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. slips his arm around Paula.

ELSIE

It seems their deck crew is a little short handed tonight, doesn’t it?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

It doesn’t seem to be hampering their efficiency.

Paul, Jr. sighs deeply.

PAUL, JR.

We could make them our own.

ELSIE

How can the real Paul and Elsie Rosenthal ever compare to the Father and Mother they have imagined?

Passengers begin disembarking.

PAUL, JR.

Perhaps we can consider ourselves god parents. It will give us an interest, a type of hobby.

PAULA

(Sternly)

Godchildren...a...a hobby?

PAUL, JR.

Don't sputter, Mother. It's unbecoming. I've been your life long hobby and preoccupation and don't tell me you haven't greatly enjoyed it.

PAULA

(Smiles)

Actually, its given me more pleasure than a Christie's auction that’s not going well for the house.

PAUL, JR.

Is that the best simile you can come up with, Mother? I’m not sure I feel good about being compared to a cheap knickknack you may have picked up at auction.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. laughs outright.

PAUL, JR.

Ah, well, such is life as your son. As for the children, Elsie and I can be available for advice and the occasional strokes of encouragement children need.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Dryly)

I’m not sure how much outside advice and encouragement they’ll require.

PAUL, JR.

(Countering)

Everyone needs advice sometimes. Elsie and I rely on your judgment and recommendations for innumerable situations.

PAULA

(Petulantly)

Do tell.

PAUL, JR.

I will tell, Mother. I had some rather important business meetings this week. One telephone call from you served quite well to change an entire week’s schedule.

PAULA

(With sarcasm)

I’m honored and flattered that I still have influence on my independent son.

Paul, Jr. flashes a quick smile at his mother.

PAUL, JR.

The girls have borrowed our name and one of our properties. Why not legalize everything?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Give them the Rosenthal name?

PAUL, JR.

Why not?

PAULA

There may be others who have legal rights to some of them.

PAUL, JR.

(Wryly)

I think Seth is up to the task.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Dryly)

I suppose you haven’t thought of the tax advantages of leasing part of the property to a private girls’ school?

PAUL, JR.

That hadn’t escaped my notice.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Contentedly)

Sounds like a wrap to me.

PAULA

(Yawning)

And, to me. If we were in Tel Aviv right now I’d take you down to the little breakfast house by the sea.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

(Sighing)

The honeyed apricots and almonds they serve on warm sesame bread....

Paula turns to Elsie.

PAULA

I thought you and Paul were going to re-do The Rosenthal for a permanent residence?

Elsie exchanges look with Paul, Jr.

ELSIE

Well, we were talking with the Chosenhalters....

PAULA

(Sputtering)

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

ELSIE

(Smiling)

Well, I really don't know what else I can do, Mother. It seems we have just 'leased' the home next door to a family of thirteen girls.

PAULA

(Sighs)

I did so wish you to be my neighbor, though.

PAUL, JR.

It just so happens there is an extra lot available next to the Chosenhalters.

PAULA

(Sputtering)

Whatever will we do with our place?

Paul, Jr. catches Paul Rosenthal, Sr.’s eye and smiles.

PAUL, JR.

(Reassures)

Something will most likely turn up.

INT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/LIBRARY - DAY

Paul, Jr. sits at the library desk signing papers with Seth Cohen.

PAUL, JR.

My, that Plinsky woman turned into a nasty situation. Thank heavens the librarian remembered her accosting Persimmon.

SETH COHEN

(Contentedly)

Things worked out quite well.

PAUL, JR.

‘Shazaam’ well, I’d say.

Elsie opens the library door and ushers Pansy, Janna, Jen Lee, Persimmon, Susana, Kimmee, Abby, Chutney, Jo, Karrin, Marta, Sarah, and Ana into the room.

SETH COHEN

We need some signatures and then you are free to prosper as you will, young ladies.

The girls line up around the table and begin signing papers. Before Ana signs the paper, she looks at Seth Cohen.

ANA

We will need good legal representation. Will you be willing to represent us, Mr. Cohen?

SETH COHEN

(Chuckles)

I’m afraid I’m one of the pictures that won’t be coming off your wall, Ana. However...

Seth Cohen reaches into his pocket and gives Ana a business card.

SETH COHEN

Give this young gentleman a call. I highly recommend him.

Ana looks at the card.

ANA

Barry Cohen?

SETH COHEN

My son.

ANA

Well, at least we got the last name right.

The sound of multiple notary stamps over the tune of “High Hopes” fills the air as a notary begins legalizing the girls’ papers.

EXT. NEW YORK/MANSION 2/GROUNDS - DAY

Paul, Jr. and Elsie wait for Jonathan to load luggage into automobile at Mansion 2's entrance.

PAUL, JR.

We’re squared away next door. Do you know what they asked me?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

What?

PAUL, JR.

They want to add new wings to The Rosenthal to accommodate an additional one hundred rooms.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

What did you say?

PAUL, JR.

I told them if they were hell bent on expansion to remember that the initial outlay is the costliest and they need to do the math on the cost of a hundred rooms versus two hundred rooms before they pour the concrete.

Paul, Jr. turns slightly to Paula.

PAUL, JR.

Oh, Mother, I may have mentioned casually that this property will be for sale soon.

Paul Rosenthal, Sr. laughs aloud and follows Paul, Jr.; Elsie; and Paula to the automobile. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula wave Paul, Jr. and Elsie off. In the distance, the sound of a 'ka-whump' as another Rosenthal hotel guest leaves the diving board for the comfort of the heated, salt water pool fills the air. Paul Rosenthal, Sr. looks down to see a small anthill beginning at the edge of the drive.

PAUL ROSENTHAL, SR.

Paula, did I ever tell you the story of the ants?

Paula looks lovingly at Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and moves close to place her arms around his neck.

PAULA

A hundred times if you've told me once. But, you had best tell me again and since you're really not talking about the ants at all, I'll acknowledge that I'll enjoy keeping an eye on the children as much as you will. May G-d bless and prosper them always, Paul.

Camera fades from close up of Paul Rosenthal, Sr. and Paula into a luscious bed of thirteen red Rosenthal roses. The Maria Robinson quote appears written across the thirteen roses: "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

THE END

FADE OUT.

Music from the tune, "High Hopes" as performed by Frank Sinatra and the Neighborhood Children’s Choir, begins to play in the background as the luscious bed of thirteen beautiful red Rosenthal roses turns into thirteen exquisitely dressed cartoon characterizations of the girls that genteelly and elegantly introduce, play, and dance among the end credits. The final scene is a comparison of the picture of the Bay Street Girls as taken by the clown at Haroldbecker's Flea Market and the Bay Street Girls as taken by a professional photographer after The Rosenthal became an established, successful business enterprise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.