Melody: a short film screenplay

May 24, 2016

 

 

MELODY

 

by

 

Christi Brekke

 

 

 

 

FADE IN:

 

               INT. SEA-TAC AIRPORT TERMINAL - DAY

 

               Business as usual. Scores of weary travelers, toting their
               suitcases and duffle bags, are scurrying about the terminal
               in all directions. 

 

               MELODY, 24, shuffles her way wearily through the crowd with a
               large duffle bag strapped over her hearty shoulder. She is 5'
               10", dressed sloppily, wearing men's jeans, a white t-shirt,
               and airline-approved flip-flops. Her messy, greasy hair
               struggles to reach shoulder length, and her face has the five
               o'clock shadow of an unshaven man.

 

               CYNDI, 25, Melody's childhood friend, eagerly waits near the
               main entrance. She is 5' 9", slender, well made-up and nicely
               dressed.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Mel, over here!

 

                                   MELODY
                         Cyndi!

 

               Melody navigates the crowd, gaining momentum as she sees
               Cyndi waving her arm in the air. Both are excited.

 

               They briefly embrace, hesitantly, almost as though meeting for the
               first time.

 

                                   MELODY (CONT'D)
                         You look even better than your
                         Facebook picture.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Aww, thank you. It's so good to see
                         you. Are you ready?

 

               Melody nods. They hug again and then exit the terminal. 

 

 

               EXT. AIRPORT PARKING LOT - DAY

 

               Cyndi and Melody, sharing an umbrella in the rain, are
               walking from the terminal to Cyndi's car.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         So how's everyone back in the wheat
                         fields? What's Wayne been up to?

 

                                   MELODY
                         It's Wichita. Same ole narrow
                         minded ass-holes, and Wayne's the
                         ass-holiest of 'em all.

 

               Cyndi laughs.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         How'd your parents take it when ya
                         told 'em?

 

                                   MELODY
                         How do ya think? Dad thinks I'm
                         dead now. And Mom, she thinks I'm
                         havin' a phase.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         It took a while for my parents to
                         come around, but they eventually
                         did. Yours will too.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Huh, you didn't see the look in his
                         eyes. It was like I yanked his
                         heart right out of his chest.
                         Sometimes I wish I could take it
                         all back, you know?

 

               Cyndi gives a nod of understanding and opens the trunk of her
               car, into which Melody tosses her duffle bag.

 

 

               INT. CYNDI'S CAR IN TRAFFIC - DAY

 

               Melody is quiet, watching nervously as Cyndi negotiates the
               heavy city traffic with little apparent effort. Cyndi glances
               over as Melody remains quiet, nervous, wide eyes glued to the
               traffic as the radio plays softly in the background.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Hey, did ya hear about Bruce
                         Jenner? Crazy, right? I wonder what
                         his, oops, her name will be?

 

               Silence.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         I know you're scared. I was scared
                         too. But it gets easier, I promise.
                         You can't believe how trans
                         friendly they are up here. It's
                         like we're not freaks at all. 

 

                                   MELODY
                         It sounds amazing. I don't really
                         have any friends anymore, you know,
                         since...

 

               Cyndi glances at Melody, smiles and gently pats her leg.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         We've been friends since 1st grade.
                         Ain't nothin' gonna change that.

 

               Melody takes hold of Cyndi's hand with a tight, manly grip.
               Melody tries to speak but is suddenly choked-up with tears.
               The car stops at a red light. Rain is falling.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         It's okay. I know how you feel. I
                         didn't think I'd ever have friends
                         again either. But you're in Seattle
                         now, girl. You'll make friends fast
                         and easy. Here...

 

               Cyndi reclaims her hand, reaches into her purse, takes out a
               tissue and hands it to Melody. Traffic resumes.

 

                                   MELODY
                             (sniffling and stuttering)
                         And I'm not even on hormones yet.

 

               They both laugh.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         This ain't Kansas, girlfriend.
                         Welcome to the Emerald City.

 

               The clouds break. The rain stops and Seattle's skyline comes
               into view, shiny and illuminated, with Puget Sound glistening
               and the Olympic Mountains resting in the background.
               A pale half-rainbow can be seen over the water.

 

 

               INT. CYNDI'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

 

               Cyndi is piled on the living room sofa in pajamas, diligently
               working on a bowl of ice cream. Melody enters; bathed, clean
               shaven and wearing a baby blue nightdress. She is refreshed.

 

                                   CYNDI
                             (mouth half-full)
                         Feelin' better? 

 

               Melody nods, then skips playfully to the sofa and plops down,
               reaching to the table for her dish of Rocky Road. Cyndi
               swallows.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         You are adorable.

 

                                   MELODY
                         I ain't no lesbian, you know.

 

               Cyndi grabs a PILLOW from the sofa and playfully flings it
               into Melody's face.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Don't flatter yourself. I'm not
                         hitting on you, Melvin.

 

               Melody sets her ice cream on the table and lunges playfully
               at Cyndi, who quickly puts her bowl on the table. They play
               wrestle as if teenage boys. 

 

                                   MELODY
                         Really, Earl Bob, you're gonna
                         fuckin' deadname me, Earl Bob?!

 

               Melody gets Cyndi pinned beneath her on the floor near the
               coffee table. Both are laughing heartily.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Okay, I give up! No more
                         deadnaming, I promise!

 

               Melody releases Cyndi, who quickly rises and attacks Melody,
               pinning her to the floor in the same manner.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         And if you ever call me Earl Bob
                         again, MELVIN!

 

               They stare into each other's eyes, and then break into
               hysterical laughter. They get up and return to the sofa, and
               their ice cream.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Ain't it weird that we're, like,
                         still the same as when we were
                         kids? But now we're girls.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         We spent most of our childhood
                         sneaking into Rebecca's room and
                         stealing her clothes. We were
                         always girls, just pretending to be
                         boys 'cause we had to.

 

                                   MELODY
                         We had to like monster trucks and
                         football.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         And guns and dirt bikes.

 

                                   MELODY
                         And boxing and cockfighting 

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Yeah, as if there's a difference.

 

               They laugh, and continue eating their ice cream. 

 

               The evening of laughter and catching-up passes quickly. Cyndi
               readies the sofa for sleeping. Melody re-enters. 

 

                                   MELODY
                         I'll never be able to repay you for
                         this. 

 

               Cyndi finishes tucking the sheet. Yawning, she walks over and
               hugs Melody.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Repay me for what? I'm just glad
                         you're here. Make yourself at-home,
                         okay? 'Night.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Goodnight.

 

 

               INT. CYNDI'S APARTMENT, BATHROOM - DAY

 

               Melody and Cyndi are in front of the mirror putting on
               makeup. Cyndi notices that Melody is struggling with
               inexperience.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         You gotta be careful when you're
                         puttin' on eyeliner. Here, gimme.

 

               Cyndi takes the eyeliner from Melody and looks at it closely
               with a chuckle.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         What the fuck is this? I've seen
                         Sharpies with better tips.

 

               They laugh. Cyndi tosses the cheap eyeliner in the trash and
               grabs a high-quality eye marker from her kit.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         Now, let me show ya how to do this.

 

               Cyndi works artfully on Melody's eyes.

 

                                   MELODY
                         How many did you say were coming
                         over tonight?

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Five or six. Will you stop
                         blinking? 

 

                                   MELODY
                         Sorry! Are they all trans?

 

                                   CYNDI
                         No, of course not. But Joe is.

 

               Cyndi smiles mischievously.

 

                                   MELODY
                         So, trans and cis folks, they...?

 

                                   CYNDI
                         We're trannies, not vampires.

 

               Melody laughs.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         You don't need to be nervous.
                         They're all cool, I promise. We're
                         just gonna have some dinner and
                         drinks, maybe dance a little. 

 

               Cyndi turns Melody towards the mirror.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         And with those eyes...

 

                                   MELODY
                         Wow! You're good.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         What can I say? I am an artiste!
                         Now, let's go max out a credit card
                         or two.

 

 

               INT. LARGE SHOPPING MALL - DAY

 

               Cyndi and Melody are shown in a montage, shopping at various
               stores, visiting salons and boutiques, eating at the food
               court, etc. 

 

               At the end of the montage, while approaching the mall
               restrooms, Melody stops and looks nervously back-and-forth
               between the mens and ladies room entrances.
               Cyndi rolls her eyes, shakes her head with a smile, and takes
               Melody by the hand, leading her into the ladies room.

 

 

               INT. CYNDI'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

 

               The evening's festivities are underway. Cyndi and Melody are
               looking great, entertaining five of Cyndi's friends. 

 

               JOE, 27, short and skinny, enters. He has taken an immediate
               interest in Melody and is standing beside her near the
               kitchen door.

 

                                   JOE
                             (loudly, over the music)
                         Hi, I'm Joe. Melody, right?

 

               Melody nods her head and leans down towards Joe's ear.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Hi Joe.

 

               A moment of awkward silence amidst the lively, festive
               backdrop.

 

                                   JOE
                         So, Wichita, huh? Never been much
                         outta the Northwest myself.

 

                                   MELODY
                         If I were from the Northwest, I'd
                         never leave either. Kansas sucks.

 

               Joe laughs.

 

                                   JOE
                         Wanna dance?

 

                                   MELODY
                         Sure.

 

               Melody and Joe dance and, during the evening's festivities,
               continue to converse and become increasingly attracted to one
               another. 

 

               Hours pass. The evening ends and guests are leaving. Cyndi
               and Melody are standing at the door with goodbyes, nice-to
               meet-ya's and handshakes as guests exit. 

 

                                   CYNDI
                             (out the door to departing
                              guests
)
                         Drive safe, you guys. Thanks for
                         coming.

 

               Joe is the last to leave. He approaches Melody.

 

                                   JOE
                         I had a great time tonight. Ya
                         think maybe we could have coffee or
                         lunch or something sometime?

 

                                   MELODY
                         Definitely. 

 

               Joe reaches his hand up to Melody's shoulder. She is nearly a
               foot taller than he.

 

                                   JOE
                         Can I kiss you?

               Melody agrees and bends down to kiss him. Cyndi smiles the
               grin of a satisfied matchmaker. Joe turns to the door and
               grabs his coat.

 

                                   JOE (CONT'D)
                         Goodnight, ladies.

               He leaves.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Ooh, girl, you gotta tell me
                         everything!

 

 

               EXT. SEATTLE - DAY

 

               A young couple in love. Melody and Joe are shown in a montage
               at various locations in Seattle on dates, shopping, dining,
               riding the ferries, etc.

 

               Sitting on a bench at a park that overlooks the water,
               sharing an umbrella in the sunlit drizzle, Joe presents
               Melody with a gift.

 

                                   JOE
                         So, I was remembering last night,
                         when you said how afraid you get
                         sometimes, you know, after comin'
                         out and all.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Uh-huh?

 

               Joe takes a small, plush COWARDLY LION DOLL from a sack and
               hands it to Melody.

 

                                   MELODY (CONT'D)
                         Aww.

 

                                   JOE
                         For whenever you're feeling afraid,
                         and you need a little courage.

 

                                   MELODY
                         You're gonna make me cry.

 

                                   JOE
                         My mom thought I loved The
                         Wizard of Oz. You know...girl.
                         Anyway, a little gift from your
                         little wizard.

 

                                   MELODY
                         I love it. Thank you.

 

 

               INT. CYNDI'S APARTMENT, KITCHEN - NIGHT

 

               Melody enters, carrying a shopping bag. Cyndi is stirring a
               pot on the stove.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Hey.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Hey. Hungry? I got some mac and
                         cheese cookin'. Someone looks
                         happy. 

 

                                   MELODY
                         Oh my god, I never thought I could
                         be happy like this. I mean, look
                         what Joe gave me today.

 

               Melody takes the COWARDLY LION DOLL from the bag and hugs it
               lovingly.

 

                                   MELODY (CONT'D)
                         For when I'm scared and need
                         courage.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Aww. I'm so happy for you. 

 

               Cyndi walks over and gives Melody a hug, then goes to the
               refrigerator. A somber expression suddenly replaces her
               smile. 

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         Oh, before I forget, there's a
                         letter for you, over on the table.
                         Looks like it's from your mom.

 

               Melody picks up, opens and reads the letter. The joy in her
               eyes quickly dissolves as she reads.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         What is it?

 

                                   MELODY
                         It's my dad. He had a heart attack.

 

               Melody tries to be stoic, but tears drip down her face as she
               lets the letter fall to the floor.

 

                                   MELODY (CONT'D)
                         Oh, god, I knew something like this
                         would happen.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Is he...

 

                                   MELODY
                         No, but he's still in the hospital.
                         And it's my fault!

 

               Cyndi gets as much into Melody's face as she'll allow.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Now you listen to me. This ain't
                         your fault, Mel. You understand me?
                         This is NOT your fault!

 

               Cyndi tries to comfort Melody, unsuccessfully. Suddenly,
               Melody walks to the closet and grabs her duffle bag. She
               storms frantically around the apartment, gathering her
               things, sobbing.

 

                                   CYNDI (CONT'D)
                         Don't go like this! Wait 'til
                         morning. You're too upset!

 

                                   MELODY
                         Will you take me to the airport?

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Of course, but...

 

                                   MELODY
                         Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

 

               INT. HALF-EMPTY COMMUTER JET, EN ROUTE - NIGHT

 

               Melody is crying at her window seat. She stares out at the
               darkness as FLASHBACKS of fun times she had with Cyndi and
               Joe play through her mind.

 

 

               INT. MELODY'S PARENTS' HOUSE IN WICHITA - DAY

 

               The doorbell rings. MARY, 54, opens the door to reveal
               Melody, bedraggled with teary, makeup-smeared eyes and lack
               of sleep.

 

                                   MARY
                         Good God, boy, you look like ten
                         miles of bad road! Get in here,
                         Melvin Lee, before the neighbors
                         get an eyeful.

 

               Melody steps in and hugs her mother. Mary quickly recoils,
               disgusted, gently pushing her child away.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Momma, will you please call me
                         Melody?

 

                                   MARY
                         I most certainly will not!

 

               Mary closes the door, turns and faces Melody.

 

                                   MARY (CONT'D)
                         Now you listen to me, young man.
                         I've tried real hard to look the
                         other way while you indulge your
                         ridiculous fantasies, but I've had
                         it with this nonsense. 

 

                                   MELODY
                         Nonsense? Fantasies? Did you even
                         open the book I gave ya?

 

                                   MARY
                         Oh, for Pete's sake, Melvin, will
                         you grow up? Boys are boys and
                         girls are girls. Now I'm sorry that
                         doesn't suit your fancy, but this
                         family needs you now. So man up!

 

               Melody's expression shifts from frustration to despair. Her
               cried-out eyes manage to well-up again.

 

                                   MELODY
                         I'm awful tired, Momma. I think
                         I'll go lay down for a while. Okay?

 

               Melody turns and walks down the hall, crying, dragging her
               duffle bag on the floor behind her. Mary watches with her
               arms crossed, shaking her head.

 

 

               INT. MELODY'S PARENTS' HOUSE, KITCHEN - DAY

 

               Melody enters the kitchen. She is wearing gray men's sweats.
               Melody's siblings, WAYNE, 28, REBECCA, 26, FREDDIE, 19, and
               SARAH, 15, are seated around the dining table eating lunch.
               Mary is up refilling iced tea glasses.

 

                                   SARAH
                         Good afternoon, sleepyhead.

 

                                   WAYNE
                         Hey, fag! 

 

                                   MARY
                         Wayne!

 

                                   MELODY
                         Fuck you!

 

                                   MARY
                         Now, boys!

 

                                   WAYNE
                         Why ya gettin' mad at me, Momma?
                         He's the one put Daddy in the
                         hospital, bein' a fag.

 

                                   REBECCA
                         Don't make him feel worse about it.
                         He knows it's his fault. I'm sure
                         he feels awful.

 

               Melody remains silent and stoic as Mary serves her a sandwich
               and glass of tea.

 

                                   MARY
                         Well, that's all behind us, ain't
                         it Melvin Lee? Things can get back
                         to normal now.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Can I see Daddy today?

 

                                   MARY
                         Oh, I don't think so, son. He's
                         still so weak and the sight of you
                         might, well...

 

                                   WAYNE
                             (interrupting)
                         Give him another heart attack?
                         It'll never be normal again, Momma.
                         You heard what people say about
                         him. Oh look, there's poor, retarded
                         Melvin, the idiot that thinks he's
                         a woman
.

 

                                   FREDDIE
                         Ooh, that's hard-core, dude.

 

                                   WAYNE
                         Well, that's the kinda shit people
                         are sayin', now ain't they.
                             (to Melody)
                         Are ya happy with yourself, and
                         what you're doin' to the family?
                         What the fuck is wrong with you?

 

               Melody remains quiet, but anger is boiling.

 

                                   SARAH
                         There's a girl at school who used
                         to be a boy. She uses the girls
                         bathroom and everything.

 

                                   MARY
                         The very idea! Boys and girls using
                         the same lavatory. Why, it's
                         disgusting and unnatural.

 

                                   WAYNE
                         It's an abomination in the sight of
                         God is what it is.
                             (to Melody)
                         Just like you.

 

                                   REBECCA
                         Ya know, Melvin, the preacher says
                         people with your, well, affliction,
                         can be healed with somethin'
                         called, what was it Momma,
                         conversation therapy?

 

                                   MARY
                         Conversion therapy, dear. 
                             (to Melody)
                         That's right, son. Now, I've talked
                         to Pastor Hawkins and he says
                         that... 

 

               Melody suddenly erupts from her chair, sending it toppling
               behind her. An inadvertent table bump causes Wayne's iced tea
               to spill onto his plate and into his lap. Sarah and Freddie
               both chuckle to themselves.

 

                                   MELODY
                         Why can't you all just accept me
                         for who I am!?

 

               Melody storms out of the kitchen, kicking the fallen chair
               out of her path. The others look at one another, puzzled,
               while Mary tends to Wayne and the spilled tea.

 

                                   FREDDIE
                         Trannies get periods?

 

 

               INT. MELODY'S BEDROOM - DAY

 

               Melody crawls into a fetal position atop her squeaky
               childhood bed and sobs.

 

                                   MELODY
                             (crying and sniffling)
                         I can't do it anymore! I just can't
                         do it anymore!

 

               Melody rolls off the bed and starts digging through her
               duffle bag. Shaking with fear, she takes out a PILL BOTTLE,
               stares at it for a moment and then empties its contents into
               her cupped hand. She digs into the duffle bag again. While
               doing so, she happens upon the COWARDLY LION DOLL that Joe
               gave her and becomes suddenly still. 

 

                                   JOE (V.O.)
                         For whenever you're feeling afraid,
                         and you need a little courage...

 

               Melody stares at the doll for a moment, then hugs it tightly.
               Her sobs turn to tearful chuckles. She slowly tilts her
               cupped hand and the PILLS trickle onto the carpet below.

 

               She repacks her duffle bag and quietly slips out the
               bedroom window.

 

 

               INT. SEA-TAC AIRPORT TERMINAL - DAY

 

               Cyndi and Joe wait anxiously in the hustle and bustle,
               watching the overhead signs for Melody's flight info.  

 

               Melody emerges from the gate, happy and confident, fully made
               up, looking fabulous in an ensemble she and Cyndi picked out
               a few days prior. She sees Cyndi, but not Joe. Melody and
               Cyndi embrace.

 

                                   CYNDI
                         Welcome home, girl. You look
                         amazing!

 

                                   MELODY
                         Thank you. Where's...?

 

               Joe, obscured by his small stature, suddenly emerges from
               behind Cyndi and looks up lovingly at Melody.

 

                                   JOE
                         Couldn't forget about your little
                         wizard, could ya?

 

               Cyndi, with her matchmaker's grin, steps aside.

 

               Melody gives Joe a hearty bear hug, his feet flying in the air as she
               twirls him around like a rag doll. She sets him back on the
               floor, then bends down and they kiss passionately.

 

                                   MELODY
                             (on the verge of tears)
                         I was so scared and so alone and I
                         saw my Cowardly Lion and...

 

                                   JOE
                         Shh.

 

               Joe smiles warmly and reaches up to wipe a tear as it falls
               from Melody's eye.

 

                                   JOE (CONT'D)
                         No more fears. No more tears.

 

               Joe and Melody embrace and kiss again. Then the three of them
               exit the airport terminal, each with misty eyes and wide
               smiles.

                                                              FADE OUT.

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