"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"I AM SAM"

Screenplay by

Kristine Johnson

Jessie Nelson

2001

SHOOTING DRAFT



INT. STARBUCKS - 7:30 A.M.

We're watching a pair of hands arrange white sugar packets,
blue Equal packets, and pink Sweet and Low into small
containers. With precision and lightning speed, the mixed up
colors and crumpled packets are transformed into neat little
color-coded rows. Wait, this container has three Equals and
four Sweet 'n' lows. The hand quickly plucks the mutant
Sweet 'n' Low. There. Symmetry.

We move up those hands and meet SAM DAWSON as he surveys his
domain. Something about him. He's extremely compelling,
uniquely handsome. But it's more than that. Those eyes,
they sparkle with the wonder of a child. Life's cynical edge
has not etched it's path across this face. They light on a
COFFEE CUP held by one of the Regulars.

SAM
Double double decaf low-fat Cap.

BRUCE
You got it, buddy.

SAM
Good choice very good choice.

Sam moves along, commenting to CUSTOMERS as he places Sweet
'n Lows on tables, the self-appointed host of Starbucks.

SAM (CONT'D)
Mocha rumba Frappuccino no whipped, half
low, half non. Excellent choice. Very
good choice.

He stops in front of sale mugs and turns them so that the
logos all face the same way. His boss GEORGE approaches.

GEORGE
Sam, they called. It's time for you to
go.

Sam FREEZES, but doesn't turn around.

GEORGE (CONT'D)
Sam, did you hear me?

SAM
"It's time for you to go."

GEORGE
Yes.

SAM
It's time.

GEORGE
Good luck.

Without another word, Sam walks straight out the door.

EXT. LOS ANGELES STREET - DAY

Sam, still in his white apron, walks down the busy street.
He has a fast, loping gait that doesn't slow or hesitate for
anyone. A COUPLE argue on the sidewalk. Sam WALKS RIGHT
BETWEEN THEM.

SAM
It's time. It's time.

Sam keeps moving, he crosses the street without stopping.
Traffic SCREECHES to a HALT! Cars HONK, a taxi driver YELLS.

SAM (CONT'D)
It's time, it's time for you to go.

INT. HALLWAY - LATER

Sam plows down the hall and comes to room 324.

SAM
Rebecca!

Sam pushes the DOOR OPEN. And we REALIZE we are entering: A
HOSPITAL LABOR DELIVERY ROOM AT LA COUNTY HOSPITAL.

REBECCA is in the middle of a major contraction. Her face is
the opposite of Sam's. Hardened. She lets out a scream that
stops Sam dead in his tracks. GERTIE, a no-nonsense Black
Nurse, looks up from the monitor.

GERTIE
You the one responsible for this?

Sam nods, taking Gertie quite literally.

SAM
I'm sorry.

GERTIE
Too late for sorries, daddy, get over
here and hold her hand.

Sam reaches for Rebecca's hand. She pulls it away. ANOTHER
CONTRACTION - Rebecca screams. Sam SCREAMS.

NURSE
You got a live one, Gert.

INT. LABOR ROOM - LATER

DR. JAMISON
Okay, this is it!

SAM
(spins in circles)
This is it! This is it!

DR. JAMISON
And it's a girl...

The BABY lets out her first cry. Sam watches, awestruck.
Gertie wraps the baby in a blanket and holds her out to
Rebecca. Rebecca shakes her head - NOT NOW. Gertie walks
over to Sam.

GERTIE
There's someone who's been waitin' an
awful long time to see you, Sam.

She places the BABY into SAM'S ARMS. Suddenly Sam's whole
body RELAXES and becomes very still. He looks to Rebecca,
but she has turned away. He meets Gertie's eyes. Then in
quiet amazement:

SAM
This is it.

GERTIE
What's her name?

SAM
(looks at clock)
Let me see let me see let me see.
12:17, March 2nd. Lucy in the Sky with
Diamonds. Recorded March 2nd. 1967.
Lyrics by John Lennon, music by Paul
McCartney. Lucy Diamond Dawson.

We hear LIKE A LULLABY, "Picture yourself on a boat in a
river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies..."

EXT. HOSPITAL - NEXT MORNING

Sam, holding the baby, and Becca, having just checked out,
walk down the steps of the hospital holding their
complimentary plastic baby bag. Sam is nervous haling the
precious cargo and Becca is agitated. They see the bus
pulling up and down the street and Sam moves quickly so they
can hurry and catch it. As he approaches the bus, he looks
to Becca by his side, but she is not there. He looks around
and no sign of her.
Frantically turning in a full circle, he sees the fabric of
her dress disappearing into the crowd down the street. He
screams.

SAM
Becca! Becca!

The more he screams the faster she moves away. Till there's
no trace of her. Sam stands in the middle of the busy block
holding Lucy to his chest, devastated.

We hear, "Look for the girl with the clouds in her eyes, but
she's gone."

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BUS - NIGHT

Sam holds the now sleeping baby to his chest. Next to him is
the plastic bag from the hospital containing diapers, two
cans of formula and a half empty bottle of milk. Sam is
surrounded by PASSENGERS, the eerie world of the underground
at night. Instinctively, Sam holds her even tighter, two
against the world.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - DAWN

A marvel of organization. A closet reveals clothes on
hangers exactly equidistant from each other; precisely folded
T-shirts, underwear and socks organized by color. A
carefully systemized record collection fills makeshift
bookshelves.

Beatles posters from every era decorate the walls. Becca's
things sit in one corner. An island of chaos in an "Hold
Everything" showroom. The kitchen counter has been
transformed into a changing table. Bottles and pacifiers
lined up next to a stack of cloth diapers. Underneath, a
clothes line of baby clothes.

The sound of a CRYING BABY breaks the silence. The camera
follows and finds the CRADLE: a DRAWER tucked snugly into a
blanket hanging like a hammock between two chairs. An
exhausted SAM POPS up from his bed, behind the hammock. He
swings the hammock, hoping against hope the baby will go back
to sleep.

SAM
Didn't you just fall asleep, little
girl?
(Lucy cries harder)
Okay, if you say it's time to get up,
then it's time to get up, time to get
up.
(Sam sniffs the air)
Oh my, oh my, oh my. Quite a bit of
business.

He rushes over to the kitchen counter and unsnaps the baby's
pajamas, revealing a cloth diaper held together with
promotional buttons: one says "Hertz, #1 for Car Rentals",
the other a picture of Magic Johnson and reads "Go, Lakers,
Go!" Sam undoes it.

SAM (CONT'D)
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Let me
see let me see let me see.

Sam attempts to clean and diaper her. He finally manages to
pin the buttons so that it at least stays on.

SAM (CONT'D)
You look very beautiful this morning,
very beautiful.

He holds her up, and the diaper falls down around her ankles.

CUT TO:

We pan across a row of diapers on a supermarket shelf:

HUGGIES, PAMPERS, EXTRA ABSORBENT PAMPERS, LUVS...

INT. WALMART - DAY

Sam stares at the "Great Wall of Diapers", awed. He reaches
for the Pampers, balancing Lucy, then the Luvs, no, the
Huggies. Sam stops moving, Lucy starts CRYING, so he jogs in
place. Sam decides on one of each. He heads to the FORMULA
AISLE. Gerber, Carnation, Carnation Iron Fortified. He
stops. Lucy WAILS. WE HEAR THE SONG "HELP, I NEED SOMEBODY"

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - 9 P.M.

Sam paces, carrying Lucy who screams at the top of her lungs.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - 11:25 P.M.

Sam rocks the CRYING BABY in the hammock. He's exhausted,
but she's just getting started. He puts another blanket on
her.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - 1:30 A.M.

Peace. A punch-drunk Sam lays the sleeping baby into the
cradle as if she were a bomb that might detonate.
He tiptoes, his FIST raised victoriously - "YES!" He doesn't
get two steps before Lucy wakes screaming. Defeated, he
picks her up. HELP. The PHONE RINGS. HE PRESSES speaker.

RASPY WOMAN (O.S.)
What the hell are you doing to that
baby?!

He looks out his window and sees ANNIE CASSELL, his neighbor
on the phone, watching him through her window. She is a
strange creature with very thick glasses. We sense a
uniquely profound intelligence behind all that armor.

SAM
Everything's so tiny, tiny. Tiny.
Everything. Won't you please come over?
Help. I need somebody. Won't you
please please help me.

ANNIE
You know I can't do that. What does her
mother say?

SAM
Her mother? Her mother said "This isn't
my life. I'm outta here when she comes.
It didn't mean anything, Sam. It was
just one night. The two of you. That's
all I need..." Annie, what if she's
sick?

EXT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

ANNIE has her door open a crack. Annie feels the baby's
forehead. Lucy stares up at her, quiet now, fascinated.

ANNIE
She's overheated and not eating enough.
How often are you feeding her?

SAM
A lot, Gerber, Carnation, Gerber.

ANNIE
What's a lot?

SAM
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Three
squares hot.

ANNIE
Babies need food every two hours, Sam.

SAM
Oh. I'm sorry Lucy Diamond.

ANNIE
What time does the little diamond wake
up?

SAM
She never really goes to sleep.

ANNIE
Okaaaay. Well, let's assume she's up at
six. Keep your TV on Nickelodeon. I
want you to feed her first while
"Bewitched" is on. Then again, when
"Hogan's Heroes" starts. After that,
well until "Father Knows Best..."

CUT:

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - EVENING

We are watching "Hogan's Heroes". We hear SHULTZ'S INFAMOUS
RESPONSE: "I know nothing, absolutely nothing!" Sam feeds a
content Lucy.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - LATER

"Father Knows Best" on TV. Lucy blissfully falls asleep in
Sam's arms. Euphoric, he tiptoes to the cradle and places
her ever so gently, when suddenly, the FRONT DOOR FLIES OPEN.

Sam's BEST FRIENDS DESCEND inside: IFTY, a Pakistani
gentlemen with a gentle face and a wide smile, carrying a
large stuffed giraffe with a bow on it. BRAD, who sees
himself as a real ladies man, in tight jeans and a Farrah
Fawcett T-shirt; and ROBERT, highly paranoid, thinks the
world's out to get him. Lucy WAILS. Sam RUNS to the CRIB.

SAM
What are you doing here now?! Her first
sound sleep, not a sound, not a sound.

BRAD
Eight years every Thursday Video Night
and you forgot?!

SAM
Oh my god, Video Night. First Thursday
of the month. Video night at Sam's
house. I'm sorry, I forgot.

IFTY
Becca's gone. "Gone with the Wind" is a
very sad movie.

ROBERT
Oh here we go...Everything changes now.
Soon you'll forget about Wednesday night
Denny's and Friday night Karaoke. And I
got hit by a car today.

SAM
You did?

ROBERT
It's probably that guy from the V.A.

BRAD
What guy?

ROBERT
(closing window)
I can't discuss it. And now this.

Ifty makes ORIGAMI BIRDS out of newspapers. Lucy's rapt.

SAM
She looks smart, doesn't she?

IFTY
Of course, look. She's already reading
the newspaper. I have five smart
sisters in Pakistan. I am only brother.
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was a
wonderful movie I forgot to bring last
week for Video Night...

BRAD
Did you get "Blade Runner" for tonight?

ROBERT
Now it's all my fault?!

BRUCE
Don't tell me you forgot again. I broke
a date with a daydream to come here.

There's a knock at the door. Ifty goes to get it. Brad
moans when he sees his 65 YEAR OLD MOTHER, ESTELLE, standing
in the doorway.

BRAD
Mom! I told you Video Night's over at
nine! It's only six-thirty!

ESTELLE
(unaware of the baby)
Sorry. I'll wait in the lobby.

She exits. Lucy begins to CRY. Brad takes her - like a hot
potato, Robert takes her - now Ifty runs around in circles.

IFTY
She needs motion. My father drove my
sisters in his taxi to get them to go to
sleep. Two-fifty surcharge on all
taxi's from the airport...

ROBERT
I got hit by a taxi on Tuesday.

And it all starts again and we --

CUT TO:

EXT. BUS - NIGHT

An empty bus makes its way through the city at night.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

BUS DRIVER
Main and Temple...again. She out yet?

The camera moves along and stops on the long seat at the
back. Sam lies with Lucy spooned into the crook of his arm,
almost asleep.

SAM
Almost there, almost there. One more
round and she'll be down for the night.

We hear the song "Golden Slumbers". In a SERIES OF
DISSOLVES, we see Lucy and Sam in DIFFERENT SLEEPING
POSITIONS on the bus seat. Gradually, she GROWS in HIS
PROTECTIVE EMBRACE --

ONE MONTH, THEN TWO. NOW FIVE. She's BIG AND ROUND at SIX
MONTHS. And on and on into the night...

INT. WALMART'S PHOTO BOOTH - DAY

We see Sam and Lucy CRAMMED into the booth, wearing birthday
hats, taking HER FIRST BIRTHDAY picture. We see the PHOTO
STRIP as it comes out of the slot. Sam's shoulder with
Lucy's ear - Lucy's nose with Sam's elbow, their faces never
made it into the picture.

INT. STARBUCKS - 8:30 A.M.

The place is packed. Sam moves from table to table,
cleaning.

SAM
Double macciatto, low foam, low-fat.
Good choice, very good choice.

Sam turns and WE SEE LUCY attached to him in a handmade
snugly, crocheted by Annie. She faces outward, all hands,
all 16 MONTHS of her; too big for the snugly. She grabs a
croissant from a customer. George looks confused. Then
makes a SWIPE for a customer's coffee, knocking it to the
ground. It SPLATTERS all over an anorexic, on-her-fourth
double-latte WOMAN in a designer exercise outfit. She begins
shrieking. George looks at Sam, this can't go on.

INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY - MORNING

Sam, Lucy by his side, has his foot in Annie's door.

SAM
Please, Annie! She's too big to take to
work.

ANNIE
I'm not a baby-sitter. I'm too busy.

LUCY
Annie, Annie, Annie...

ANNIE
(suspicious)
Did you teach her that?

SAM
It was her first word. Very first word.

Annie opens the door, takes Lucy's hand, and pulls her in.

ANNIE
And people worry you're not smart.

INT. ANNIE'S APARTMENT - ONE WEEK LATER

The apartment looks like a fallout shelter. The kitchen
contains enough canned goods to last a year. Brightly
colored crocheted doilies - Annie's hobby - adorn every
available surface. The BRIGHTLY COLORED WEB of an
AGORAPHOBE.

Lucy sits in Annie's lap, getting her first piano lesson. WE
SEE LUCY'S TINY FINGERS on the keys. In a SERIES OF
DISSOLVES, it is joined by Annie's hand tapping out one note,
now two notes, and as the weeks pass, a chord. Until finally
the notes merge to become the most unlikely duet of "Twinkle,
Twinkle, Little Star".

ANNIE
This is Mozart. He did twenty-two
variations of "Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star". You smell good. You can tell a
lot about a person by their smell. If
they've got too much perfume on they're
covering something up. You gotta watch
someone who smells like soap. Gotta
wonder what their priorities are.
Nervous people. People who try too
hard. They smell like fish. But you.
You smell like milk. Milk and hope.

Lucy leaves the piano and toddles over to Annie's loom and
plays with a ball yarn.

VOICE (O.S.)
Groceries, Annie.

ANNIE
Thanks.

Annie opens the door to pull in the groceries. The ball of
yarn ROLLS OUT the door and Lucy chases after it. Annie,
terrified, bellows:

ANNIE (CONT'D)
Lucy! Come back here! Come back!

It becomes obvious Annie can't walk outside. Trembling:

ANNIE (CONT'D)
"Lucy in the sky with diamonds..."

Hearing the familiar tune, Lucy stops and toddles back.
Annie sweeps her up, relieved and we --

INT. KARAOKE BAR - NIGHT

Sam on stage, with Ifty and Brad as his back-up singers,
continuing the song in the oddest, most heartfelt version to
Lucy who sits on Robert's lap and in heaven.

EXT. PARK - DAY

A beautiful blue sky. And "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
continues as Lucy's THREE YEAR OLD laughing face SWINGS INTO
FRAME on a swing then DISAPPEARS out THE OTHER END OF FRAME.
Now Lucy SWINGS BACK DOWN and out of the other end again...

Sam's FACE, glowing with delight, APPEARS AGAINST THE SKY and
then disappears. Sam and Lucy are on swings surrounded by
MOTHERS and KIDS at the park.

LUCY (V.O.)
Daddy, where does the sky end?

SAM (V.O.)
Let me see, let me see. I've never been
there but they say it's somewhere near
China.

EXT. PARK - ONE YEAR LATER

Lucy FLIES INTO FRAME, now FOUR, sitting on Sam's lap,
swinging.

LUCY (V.O.)
Are lady bugs only girls or are there
boys, too. And if there are, what are
they called?

SAM (V.O.)
The Beatles.

EXT. PARK - ONE YEAR LATER

Then Lucy FLIES INTO FRAME, now FIVE, followed by Sam.

LUCY (V.O.)
Do I look more like you or Mommy?

ON SAM'S FACE

He knew this moment would come.

INT. DENNY'S - THURSDAY NIGHT DINNER - EVENING

Lucy and Sam are having a serious talk over breaded Sole.

LUCY
If you and Mommy liked each other enough
to have me, how come you're not together
anymore?

SAM
I think she fell out of love with me.
Not you, never you. Me, just me.

LUCY
When you fall out of love where do you
land?

SAM
Somewhere in Florida, I think.

LUCY
Do you think she'll ever come back?

SAM
(long pause)
Paul McCartney lost his mother when he
was fourteen. John lost his mother
twice. First when Julie gave John to
her sister Mimi to raise. And then
again when Julia was hit by a car. They
say God picks certain people, special
people. That's what they say.

Lucy takes this in. Sam begins to shift his tomatoes just
so... his potatoes just slightly to the left. Lucy watches.

LUCY
Daddy, did God mean for you to be like
this or was it an accident?

SAM
Do you mean - what do you mean?

LUCY
I mean you're different.

SAM
What do you mean? I mean, what do you
mean?

LUCY
You're not like the other daddies.

SAM
I'm not am I. I'm sorry.

LUCY
Don't be sorry. I'm lucky. Nobody
else's daddy ever comes to the park.

ON SAM'S FACE

Filled with relief. Bursting with love.

SAM
We are very lucky, aren't we?

Grace approaches with two plates of pie, ice cream on the
side.

GRACE
Ice cream on the side.

LUCY
Not on top. Not on top.

SAM
Good choice. Very good choice.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - THURSDAY NIGHT VIDEO NIGHT

SAM
Brad, I know it was your turn. I'm sure
of it.

BRAD
I swear to God it was Robert's turn.

ROBERT
Why is it always my fault?

IFTY
I keep track, last time, I say to
myself, I say, write it down... Bank of
America give away beautiful calendar,
every month a picture of wild animal,
look June, an Elk. Elke Sommer...she
starred in the remake of "Prisoner of
Zenda"... Three stars Leonard Maltin
video movie guide.

As they go on, Lucy matter-of-factly PULLS A VIDEO OUT OF HER
BACKPACK, and puts it in the VCR. She turns it on. It's
"Kramer vs. Kramer". Everyone stops their arguing and stares
at Lucy.

LUCY
Annie let me borrow it.

INT. CHILDREN'S SHOE STORE - DAY

A row of brand new children's shoes on display. Lucy tries
on dozens of school shoes, surrounded by Sam and her
"Godfathers": Ifty, Brad and Robert.

SAM
You need a good sturdy school shoe.
Arches are very important.

IFTY
Sturdy is boring. Red shoes bring good
luck.

BRAD
But red doesn't got with green.

IFTY
Except on Christmas.

BRAD
No brown clodhoppers. Everyone will
make fun of her.

SAM
NO ONE will make fun of Lucy.

ROBERT
She might be stupid.

IFTY
No she's not --

ROBERT
Did they test her?

BRAD
You don't know for sure.

SAM
Yes I do.

BRUCE
But if she is, don't make her go to
school.

ROBERT
Don't let her in the lunch room. Johnny
Marzettie's there.

BRAD
And gym. Get her a pass. The rules for
volleyball are so hard to remember.
"Rotate Rackman Rotate."

IFTY
Throw the ball at his forehead and the
water on his brain will come out his
nose.

Meanwhile, Lucy has been trying on a simple brown shoe.

LUCY
I like these.

SAM
She know what she likes. She likes
these. How much are they?

SALESMAN
Forty-nine ninety-nine.

SAM
One penny less than fifty. These shoes
are one penny less than fifty?

LUCY
It's okay, Dad. I don't really like
them.

SAM
No, no no no no.

IFTY
We'll all give ten dollars.

BRAD
I've only got three plus five. But I
need one for stamps.

ROBERT
Don't pull your wad out in front of
people.

They all dig in their pockets and begin counting very slowly.

SAM
Thank you, thank you. We are rich in
friends. That's what our fortune cookie
said. 1, 2, 3, 4, quarters that makes
one.

SALESMAN
I'll count it.

SAM
Is it enough?

SALESMAN
(exasperated)
If there's a God.

BRAD
Do we get a balloon with these?

SALESMAN
Yes.

ROBERT
All of us, or just her?

SMASH CUT TO:
EXT. STREET NEAR SHOE STORE - DAY

Those new little brown shoes walking in between four pairs of
man's shoes. We move up from those shoes to see FIVE PAIR OF
HANDS tightly clasping their balloons as they march
victoriously down the street. We MOVE IN on Lucy's little
brown shoes skipping with joy and --

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. SCHOOL FIELD - DAY

Those same little shoes in the midst of a mass of black
soccer cleats. We move up and see Lucy in the middle of a
fierce kids soccer game.

Score's tied. The ball comes to Lucy. She kicks and misses.
From the sidelines we hear:

SAM
Beautiful kick! Very close!

Lucy looks up at her dad proudly. The ball comes again.
Nobody could miss this one. But Lucy does.

SAM (CONT'D)
Thatta girl! Thatta girl! They're
getting scared now!

The game continues. The GOALIE'S FATHER, DUNCAN RHODES,
handsome, commanding and dressed in a suit, calls to his son:

MR. RHODES
C'mon, Conner! On your toes! They're
all counting on you!

Conner tenses up, alert under the pressure. Meanwhile, down
at the other end, the ball heads toward Lucy. She kicks it!
Hard. Right into her team's own goal. The crowd GROANS.

SAM
Hurray, Lucy! You're getting the hang
of it now! You've got them scared now!

Lucy's bursting with confidence, plows toward the ball and
NAILS IT! The ball goes flying. The parents in the stand
are completely baffled! Sam is completely ecstatic!

SAM (CONT'D)
L-u-c-y! That's our battlecry!

The ball heads into the goal, just passing the goalie,
Conner. Sam runs to embrace Lucy when he hears Duncan
reaming his son --

MR. RHODES
The whole game was right in front of
your nose! I leave work early to watch
you blow the whole game!?

Conner slouches against the fence as his father walks away.
Seeing this, Sam whispers to Lucy.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - AFTERNOON

A child's hand double jumps across a checker board.

CONNER (O.S.)
Ha!

Lucy and Conner are playing checkers while Sam cooks dinner.
Two carrots cut into ten pieces. Bow Tie Pasta - 35 pieces
each.

CONNER (CONT'D)
What's wrong with your father? Why's he
acting like a retard?

LUCY
He is.

Their hands graze against each other on the check board - he
pulls his hand away.

CONNER
Are you?

LUCY
No.

CONNER
Are you sure?

LUCY
Yeah.

CONNER
How do you know?

LUCY
He told me.

CONNER
But he's a retard.

LUCY
Yeah well it takes one to know one!

He crowns her - her eyes shift to Sam in the kitchen, for the
first time a bit uneasily.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Sam's reading Lucy her homework book.

SAM
"They perched in sisisi..."

LUCY
"Silence."

SAM
"...silence for a long time." Boy.
Your teacher chose a hard book this
time. "How can we be so difdifdif..."

LUCY
"Different."

Sam glances up at Lucy self-consciously. Lucy grabs the book
from Sam, tosses it on the pile and picks up another.

LUCY (CONT'D)
I don't like that book - let's read
"Green Eggs and Ham".

Relieved, Sam plunges into the book, which is more memorized
than read.

SAM
"I am Sam, Sam I am. Do you like green
eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam I
am!"

They both laugh, delighted. Lucy looks sleepy.

MATCH DISSOLVE:

Lucy is getting drowsy. Sam is just getting started.

SAM (CONT'D)
"And I will eat them here and there.
Say I will eat them ANYWHERE. I do so
like green eggs and ham, thank you thank
you, Sam I am!" One more time!

LUCY
Daddy, I have school tomorrow...I don't
wanna be too sleepy.

SAM
Just the part about the boat and the
goat in the rain in the train?

LUCY
Daddy, Hamburger Hamlet has twelve
different kinds of hamburgers. Can we
go there Wednesday instead of Denny's?

SAM
But Wednesday night's Denny's,
Thursday's Video Night, Friday Night
Karaoke.

Lucy nods, a little deflated.

SAM (CONT'D)
How about one more time, just the
beginning? "I am Sam, Sam I am..."

Lucy sighs and closes her eyes against her father's chest.

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

Lucy draws a picture while everyone reads aloud from
"STELLALUNA".

MISS WRIGHT
Lucy, your turn. Start where Sara left
off...Lucy?

LUCY
I can't.

MISS WRIGHT
Sure you can.

LUCY
"They perched in sisisisi..."

MISS WRIGHT
Silence.

LUCY
(throws down book)
There. I told you. It's too hard.

MISS WRIGHT
Lucy! I know you can read this!

LUCY
No, I can't! And you can't make me!

Lucy runs out of the class.

EXT. BUS STOP - DUSK

Sam, in sunglasses, waits for the BUS. A YOUNG WOMAN, LILY,
sits down next to him. The WIND CATCHES her floral dress
that's just left of innocent; just right of alluring. She
reads a TABLOID.

LILY
Look here. "Premature baby claims he's
cupid - has the arrow to prove it." Do
you believe that?

SAM
Well, if he has the arrow.

LILY
Yeah. You got a good point.

She crosses her legs. A tuft of pink dress falls on Sam's
knee.

SAM
You're a good reader.

LILY
Yeah, I've always been smart.

SAM
You're lucky. I'm looking for a smart,
good mother.

LILY
I can be a mother. A real good mother.

SAM
Oh, good. Good.

LILY
I could even spank you.

SAM
Oh no no no. I don't believe in that.

LILY
Okay okay. I can be very gentle.

SAM
Gentle. Gentle. Yes. Do you tell
stories?

LILY
I got stories up the wazoo. Why don't
you come with me. I'll tell you a nice
story.

SAM
I have to pick up Lucy at Annie's first.

LILY
A menage a toi?

SAM
French, French the language of France.
You could teach my daughter, Lucy.

LILY
Your daughter?! Can't you pick her up
after?!

SAM
After?! No no, Lucy comes too.

LILY
Whatever.

She takes Sam's hand, they move to get on the bus JUST AS
ANOTHER HAND brusquely lands on theirs.

COP
Not so fast. You're under arrest.
Solicitation.

LILY
He wanted to bring his kid, I said no.

A lightbulb flashes and we --

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - THAT NIGHT

Sam blinks as his MUGSHOT is being taken. Now the profile.
He turns so they can get the back of his head. Now the
FINGERPRINT.

Now Sam, in the corner of the room, on the phone making
thumbprints on the wall. While the COP discusses his case
with a social worker, MARGARET BROWN. Over the years she's
seen it all, and to get through it has had to pretend it's
just a job.

COP
It's the first time in nineteen years I
actually believe the guy when he says he
didn't know she was a hooker --

MARGARET BROWN
You say that like it's a good thing.

SAM
...Your teeth don't sound like they were
brushed. Do it with me now.

COP
Let him go. He says he's never spent a
night away from his kid... Come with me -
I got a guy who beat the shit out of his
two year old. Again.

Her cell phone beeps.

MARGARET BROWN
Yes. I am seeing you tomorrow, Mr.
Rabins. She's still screaming? No,
McDonald's won't help...she's four
months old.

SAM
Thirteen up...not on the gum line not on
the gum line, 1, 2, 3.

Margaret watches Sam as he talks to Lucy on the phone.

INT. PRINCIPALS OFFICE - DAY

The WALLS are lined with CHILDREN'S ART. Various
interpretations of the family. We stop at one of a very
small man and a very big little girl with her arm around him.

MISS WRIGHT
It gives us a great deal of insight into
what she must be feeling. And in the
classroom, it's becoming clear she's
holding herself back. It's as if she's
literally afraid to learn.

We PULL BACK and see Sam staring at the picture. Mrs. Wright
and the principal watch him.

MISS WRIGHT (CONT'D)
No one doubts that you love your
daughter, Mr. Dawson. But the
Department of Social Services contacted
us. They shared with us that your
records show that your intellectual
capacity is around that of a seven year
old. Our concern is what happens when
Lucy turns eight?

PRINCIPAL
Mr. Dawson, do you understand what Miss
Wright is trying to tell you about Lucy?

SAM
No one wanted The Beatles to break up.
But you can hear it on the White Album.
They were going in different directions.

INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

It's bedtime. Sam and Lucy are reading from "STELLALUNA".

LUCY
How can we be so dif..dif...I don't know
that word.

SAM
Yes you do. It starts with a "d" --

LUCY
I'm tired.

SAM
I don't believe you.

LUCY
Are you calling me a liar?

SAM
Yes. Now read the word.

LUCY
(crying)
No...I'm stupid.

SAM
No you're not.

LUCY
I don't want to read it if you can't.

SAM
It makes me happy. I'm happy hearing
you read it.

He holds the book open for Lucy. Now Lucy, pushing through a
mountain of resistance, reads. And reads beautifully.

LUCY
"Why are we different and so much
alike?"

INT. SCHOOL HALLOWEEN PARADE - AUDITORIUM - DAY

Two children, dressed as Batman, march followed by
CINDERELLA. We see Lucy dressed in NEWSPAPER - an ORIGAMI
BIRD. And behind her, marching more proudly than any child,
is Sam, dressed as PAUL McCARTNEY, in the black suit era -
with Beatle boots and guitar strapped to his chest. Sam is
the only adult participating in the parade.

Music BLASTS over the loudspeaker. Sam begins to dance with
joyous abandon. Lucy joins him. They dance together
happily.

Suddenly Lucy becomes aware that her classmates are beginning
to laugh. She slows and watches through their eyes Sam pony
around the room. Conner pulls up his pants high on his waist
and begins to imitate Sam. Another kid joins him.

KID
I'm a Super Freak!

CONNER
And I thought my dad was a dork.

Lucy's face hardens for the first time. In a corrupt world
the pure can only stay pure for so long.

INT. HAMBURGER HAMLET - EVENING

Sam and Lucy sit in a booth. Lucy's ecstatic. Sam's trying.

LUCY
They have eleven different kinds of
hamburgers. This is so great.

SAM
A new place. Your choice. I said we'd
go to a new place. And here we are.

Sam anxiously rearranges the condiments on the table. Lucy
tries to fold a napkin into an Origami bird.

LUCY
You know what else I want for my
birthday, Daddy? I want a hundred
birds.

SAM
The napkins are much stiffer at Denny's.
They make better birds. There's not so
much stuff on the tables there either.
Why do they have two kinds of mustard on
every table?

WAITRESS
Coffee?

SAM
No, no coffee. Sam's system can't
handle coffee.

WAITRESS
Okaaay! What can I get you folks?

LUCY
I'd like the Benito Bandito burger and a
chocolate chip milkshake, please.

SAM
I'll have the fish special, side of
potatoes, salad with Thousand Island
Dressing, cherry pie, and...

WAITRESS
I'm sorry, sir. We don't have a fish
special. There's fish and chips. It
comes with a dinner salad.

SAM
Chips, chips? You mean potato chips? I
don't want potato chips. I want a side
of potatoes.

WAITRESS
You want french fries?

SAM
No, a side of potatoes, like at Denny's.
A side of potatoes.

LUCY
They're little red potatoes.

WAITRESS
We don't have new potatoes...

SAM
Denny's has new potatoes. Six new
potatoes parsley garnish parsley
garnish...

ON LUCY

Her smile fades.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. DENNY'S - HALF-HOUR LATER

Sam happily eats his fish special with six new potatoes.
Lucy's untouched dinner sits in the middle of the table. She
doodles on the placement - drawing a man sitting with a pile
of new potatoes in front of him; larger than he is.

SAM
Fish and chips fish and chips. I will
not eat fish and chips.

LUCY
(exploding)
I will not eat them here or there! I
will not eat them anywhere! I will not
eat green eggs and ham! I will not eat
them, Sam I am!

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - DAY

Balloons and a banner reading "Happy Birthday, Lucy!" For
Lucy's birthday, Sam has rented a moon bounce - which sits in
the center of the apartment and filling the entire place -
leaving no room for the few kids and their parents. Brad
stands too close to a young attractive mother. Robert shakes
all the presents suspiciously.

SAM
Now when they come through the door,
everybody yell "Surprise!" Do you want
to rehearse again?

CONNER
No. I bet she already knows.

ROBERT
I didn't tell her. Did Brad say I did?

There's a KNOCK at the door.

SAM
Is that Lucy? Annie's supposed to call
and warn us. Shhhh, everyone.

Brad hits the lights. Sam OPENS THE DOOR and everyone yells
"SURPRISE!" But instead of Lucy, it's the Social Worker.

MARGARET BROWN
I don't know if you remember me. I'm
Margaret Brown from Children's Social
Services. We met at the police station.

SAM
Put your present over there - Hurry up!
Lucy might be on her way.
(the phone rings)
Hello? Annie says she's coming up the
stairs. Everyone be quiet. Assume
surprise positions!
(Conner keeps talking)
Be quiet! Assume surprise positions!

CONNER
Oh brother!

SAM
Why are you such a party pooper?!
Assume surprise positions!

CONNER
Make me!

Sam puts a hand over Conner's mouth; Conner struggles against
him.

MR. RHODES
Hey!

SAM
He's gonna ruin the surprise! He's
gonna ruin the surprise!

CONNER
He touched me! I've got cooties! I've
got cooties!

MR. RHODES
Get your hands off my boy!

Conner's father hurls Sam across the room - Sam gets tangled
in the MOON BOUNCE! To get attention, Conner bursts into
tears. We hear FOOTSTEPS outside the door - Brad hits the
lights. We hear a CRASH! And in the light, the DOOR SHEDS
as it opens, Lucy and Ifty see - that MOONBOUNCE, swaying.
Then from within the Moonbounce:

SAM
Surprise! Happy Birthday!

Lucy stands frozen, holding a red balloon.

LUCY
Daddy?!

CONNER
You don't have to call him "Daddy".
(in Sam's face)
She says you're not her real father,
anyway. She's adopted!

Humiliated, Lucy RUNS AWAY! The Social Worker watches,
profoundly concerned, and reaches for her cellular phone.

EXT. WALMART - DAY

A police car pulls into the parking lot. Sam and Margaret in
the back. Sam and Margaret see Lucy's little feet dangling
from beneath the curtain of the photo booth.

SAM
I'll go get her.

MARGARET BROWN
It would be better if you stay here.
I'm sorry to say this, Mr. Dawson, it's
clear how much you love your daughter,
but we're going to have to remove Lucy
from your home.

Sam's baffled. One cop places his hand on Sam's shoulder,
restraining him. The OTHER heads toward the photo booth.

SAM
No, no no no. It's her birthday! It's
her birthday!

MARGARET BROWN
I know how hard this must be...
(cell phone rings)
...Hello, Betsy. I'm scheduled to come
to your apartment at four. No, not five
every two hours. It's two every five
hours. She only weighs thirty pounds
for chrissakes...
(back to Sam)
The city has given me the difficult task
of deciding when to intervene on behalf
of the child. Unfortunately, I've
learned the hard way that it's better
too soon than too late. For now the
court will decide what's in Lucy's best
interest.

Sam watches the cop's legs meet Lucy's under the curtain.
Suddenly, Sam screams from the deepest core of his being.

SAM
Run, Lucy, run!

We see LUCY'S FEET KICK the COP'S LEGS and wrestle out of his
grasp. She flies out the booth, holding that balloon. She
runs down the street, the balloon soaring into the sky - a
cop follows. Sam struggles.

ON SAM

Reeling, devastated, we HEAR A JUDGE speaking:

JUDGE (O.S.)
Given the fact that the father was
arrested for solicitation, did not
cooperate with the police...

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

Sam sits ALONE. At another table, Margaret Brown and a
lawyer, along with several people from the CPS.

JUDGE
...could not control his emotions,
endangering other children. Miss Brown
also cites Mr. Dawson's mental
deficiencies which raise serious
questions about his ability to properly
parent. I agree to grant petition.
The child shall be removed from the home
until a forma jurisdictional hearing.
Mr. Dawson, is there anything you'd like
to add?

SAM
Yes. I just wanted it to be a nice
surprise party. I had gotten the plates
at Pic-N-Save. Pink and yellow, pink
and yellow. Like a princess. And the
balloons at --

JUDGE
(gently)
Mr. Dawson, it sounds like a lovely
party, but right now I want to talk to
you about your legal rights. I would
strongly suggest you get yourself legal
counsel and allow your attorney to
present your case at the jurisdictional
hearing on February 13th. Counsel, are
you available?

COUNSEL
Ted, I have a trial that day.

JUDGE
February 20th. 8:00 a.m.

SAM
(panicking)
Twenty-two days? Lucy will come home
and you want me to bring Lucy back in
twenty-two days?

JUDGE
No, Mr. Dawson. You'll have supervised
visits twice a week for two hours. Now
I'm sorry, we have thirty more cases to
see today. Next! Hopkins vs. Clifford.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - DAY

Sam's on the phone, a teddy bear in his hand. Robert, Ifty,
and Brad all sit with Yellow Pages open in front of them.

SAM
Thursday? Today is Monday, Mrs. Brown.
That's three days away. That's too
long. She can't sleep without Mr.
Jeeters. Well if you're not available
until Thursday, maybe I could see her
without you there...
maybe the Judge made a mistake - maybe
he doesn't know that for seven years I
played with her without you there...No
Mrs. Brown, I'm not trying to violate
the court...
(the other line hangs up)
Mrs. Brown?

ROBERT
I bet they were recording the whole
conversation. Check your phone. You
can't make a move. You need a lawyer.

BRAD
Call Jerry Spence. He has his own show.
He must know what he's doing.

ROBERT
No. Johnny Cochran. He has his own
show, too.

BRAD
Yeah! He can even get a guilty person
off.

SAM
So you think I'm guilty?

IFTY
No. You didn't kill anybody.

SAM
But she said I'm not her father.

IFTY
She didn't say that. That runty kid
with the blue shirt and the mean father
whose voice sounds like the man on the
Channel Four News who has a toupee.
Toupees are expensive.

SAM
But Ifty. She said it.

IFTY
But she didn't mean it. I said I hated
my mother once. "Once upon a time..."
is how stories begin.

ROBERT
You should get a personal injury lawyer.
You've been personally injured.

BRAD
Here - look at this - "Sebastion
Gibson." He can do anything.
Pedestrians. Back and neck. Uninsured
Motorist. Dog attacks.

SAM
The Social Worker said it's a custody
case.

ROBERT
Then get a divorce lawyer.

IFTY
When Dustin Hoffman was trying to keep
Billy from going back to Meryl Streep,
his lawyer said it was going to cost him
fifteen thousand dollars - and that's if
we win!

SAM
Fifteen thousand dollars!

BRAD
Don't worry about money now. Get the
best. Century City - Here: "Rubel Bly
Harrison and Williams".

INT. RITA HARRISON'S CENTURY CITY OFFICE - DAY

A Century City lawyer spins in front of our eyes. It's SAM'S
POV as he sits in a chair that spins - in the center of RITA
HARRISON'S lavish, penthouse office. Now we see the
panoramic of Los Angeles. Now the dots in the Lichtenstein
on the wall WHIRL PAST US. Now the DOOR SWINGS OPEN AND --

RITA HARRISON and her assistant burst in. Rita moves in
opposite circles around the room. Looking for something. In
fact, as we watch Rita, we realize that she never stops
moving. Period. Ten steps ahead of anyone, too much energy,
too much caffeine, not enough food. If she slowed down a
beat she might get vulnerable. Can't have that. Can't be
wrong. Can't really look you in the eye. Can't help it if
she's smarter than anyone else in the room. Any room. Any
time.

RITA
Did Fred Kimble call? I'm already
twenty minutes late.

PATRICIA
He --

RITA
What'd Michelle Kresge say?

PATRICIA
She --

RITA
She wasn't defensive, was she?

PATRICIA
Well --

RITA
That's ridiculous. What happened with
my car?

PATRICIA
They --

RITA
Because it wasn't my fault.

PATRICIA
I --

RITA
Thank you, Patricia.

PATRICIA
This is Mr. Dawson. There was some
confusion with the temp last week and --

RITA
Mr. Dawson, it's a pleasure. Since
somebody made a mistake, unfortunately
we only have a little time. Hold all my
calls unless it's my kid - I'll have a
double cap.

SAM
Good choice, very good choice.

RITA
Can we get you anything to drink?

SAM
Is it free?

ON RITA

Hmmmm?

TEN MINUTES LATER --

Sam is in the middle of the beginning of his story. Rita on
her second cappuccino, eyes her computer screen for calls.

SAM (CONT'D)
...Lucy had an ice-cream cake with pink
flowers - pink, not white not
white...Lucy's favorite is cherry
vanilla which is pink, too. Cherries
and vanilla.

RITA
Uh huh uh huh -- uh huh uh
(into Amtel)
If that's Jake Hiller, put him through.
(picking up phone)
Jake. No no no no no no.

PATRICIA
(from speaker)
Your son's on line two.

RITA
Jake, did you get that?!
(to Patricia)
Tell him to hold for just one second.
Jake I have to go...he what?

PATRICIA
(through speaker)
Deborah Chapman on line three --

RITA
Hold on Jake.
(she punches another line)
No no no no no no no. Have a nice
weekend.
(punches another button)
Jake?!

We HEAR MUSIC coming from the other end of the phone --

SAM
Burt Bacharach shared billing with The
Beatles and Jose Jiminez on the Ed
Sullivan Show June 5th, 1968.

RITA
Really?
(then)
Jake, what'd you say you tell him yes I
am.
(yelling; re: coffee)
This tastes like low, are you sure it's
non? Okay okay okay. I think there's
been a little mistake here --

SAM
Yes. A little one. Your son's on line
two.

RITA
Oh my God.
(pushes another line)
Danny?
(Danny's hung up)
Patricia? Get Danny back. Well keep
trying.

She unconsciously digs through the bowl of jelly beans on her
desk sorting out all the yellow ones.

RITA (CONT'D)
Mr. Dawson, what I'm trying to say is
I'm a divorce lawyer and as much as I'd
like to, I don't handle cases like yours
--

SAM
Since you would like to, why don't you
talk to your boss. Maybe he would let
you.

She pours the bowl of jelly beans onto her desk, now
frantically sorting through them.

RITA
(into phone)
Then keep dialing --
(to Sam)
What I mean is that at this point in my
career, I can't afford to.

SAM
I earn eight dollars an hour at
Starbucks. I can pay your hourly rate,
rate by the hour, hourly --

Rita stands up, ushering him to the door.

RITA
Mr. Dawson, I'm sorry, I have to be in
court in eight minutes with the Kresges.
You understand, good luck to you and
don't give up.

She turns, ahhhh! He's gone! She begins searching the room.

RITA (CONT'D)
Patricia?! Where are my keys? Where
the hell are my keys?! Alright alright.
(replaying)
I walked into the room - I went over
here - I looked at my desk - I put my
coat down - Patricia?! Where's my coat?

SAM (O.S.)
Is there a child involved in Mr.
Kresges' case?

Stunned, Rita looks up and sees Sam holding up a strip of
photos taken at the birthday booth.

RITA
No.

SAM
This is Lucy. One year old. First
word, "apple". December third. 3:16
p.m. December third.

Out of his pocket he pulls another photo strip.

SAM (CONT'D)
Here's Lucy two years old. First merry
go-round ride. June 6th. 4:13 p.m.
June 6th. Here's Lucy. Seven years
old. The day the police took her away.

Rita looks at the photo strip of Lucy's birthday. In the
first three we see Lucy's sad face. The fourth has a cop's
face smashed into the frame with her.

SAM (CONT'D)
Thank you for telling me not to give up.
I won't give up.

PATRICIA
(through the phone)
Danny on Line 2.

Rita LUNGES FOR THE PHONE.

RITA
Danny? Hi. Could we possibly talk
about this when I get home. Danny?
Danny? C'mon. You're not gonna talk to
me? I bought you a bag of your favorite
lemonade jelly beans. Danny?
(Rita starts singing)
"One little bird in one little tree,
we're all alone and we don't want to
be... So they flew far away over the
trees..." I said "Over the sea..." I
know the words, I said "Over the sea..."
Since when don't you like that song?
Danny?

She checks her watch, puts him on the SPEAKER PHONE, and
frantically searches the room for her keys.

RITA (CONT'D)
Danny?

Silence. We hear SIX LOUD THUDS - the sound of a basketball
bouncing against the floor.

RITA (CONT'D)
Danny?

CLICK! The LINE GOES DEAD. Rita trips over the coffee
table, completely losing it.

RITA (CONT'D)
I hate this stupid coffee table - how
many times have I asked you to get rid
of this crappy coffee table?

She kicks it, sending the lemonade jelly beans FLYING. Then,
after a beat.

SAM
(from the doorway)
You did say "over the trees" instead of
"over the sea." It's hard to remember
all the words to all the songs. There's
so many.
(Rita almost stops)
you have a child Rita rubel Bly Harrison
Williams. If they took him away
wouldn't you hire the fastest talking
four-named lawyer you could?

RITA
Yes, I would. I went to college with a
friend who does these kinds of cases.
Leave your number. I'll see if she can
help you.

PATRICIA
(through your phone)
Your therapist on Line 1.

RITA
Tell him you can't find me.

INT. STARBUCKS - DAY

Sam is face to face with George.

SAM
I'm ready.

GEORGE
Let's not add more stress to your life.

SAM
I'm ready. I'm ready to make coffee.
Lo-fat decaf latte. Coffee up to here.
Add steamed milk up to here. No foam,
no foam. Cinnamon or chocolate
sprinkles.

GEORGE
That's pretty good Sam. I'll think
about it.

SAM
I know what that means. I stock shelves
at Lucky Supermarkets. I want to bag
groceries, Miss Losey says "I'll think
about it." Randy Brenner gets the job.
I was the janitor at the La Reina
Theater, I wanted to take tickets. Mr.
Jenkins said he'd think about it. Larry
Peters gets the job. Lets his friends
in for free...

GEORGE
I promise you, Sam. I'll honestly think
about it. You have my word.

SAM
Words, words, words. I need more than
that. I need to pay my lawyer. I need
to make coffee.

INT. RUBEL BLY HARRISON AND WILLIAMS - 8:15 P.M.

A group of Rita's colleagues are celebrating a big win. Rita
is backing out of the room with her glass of champagne.

RITA
I am celebrating congratulations to us
these are the moments good night.

She stops, stunned, as she sees Sam, sitting in the lobby
holding out a Starbucks Cappuccino.

SAM
Non-fat vente cap. I'm sorry to bother
you, but did you call your friend?
(Rita's confused)
Your friend from college, your friend
who does this kind of work?

RITA
(there never was a friend)
I don't have her number anymore, Sam.
We lost touch.

SAM
(devastated)
Oh, that happens. That happens. People
lose touch. Will you call me if you
find it? If you get back in touch?

RITA
Yes, I'm just in the middle..it's a
special..I'll call you.

To avoid any further interaction, she heads back to the
employee party she previously escaped from. Sam walks down
the hall.

COLLEAGUE
Is that the new janitor?

RITA
No, it's a case. Sort of a pro-bono
thing.

Her assistant Patricia clears her throat.

RITA (CONT'D)
What's that supposed to mean?

PATRICIA
Nothing. A cracker went down the wrong
pipe.

Muffled laughter from her colleagues.

RITA
You think I don't pro-bono?..I can do
pro-bono.. I can do Goddamn pro-bono..
where the hell are my keys..hold the
door!

Rita runs to the open elevator and comes face to face with
Sam who's been holding the door open for her.

INT. ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS

The door closes. Rita is trapped with Sam. She stares
forward trying to will him not there. Rita gulps her
champagne.

SAM
32nd floor. 32 floors more. 31st
floor. 31 floors more...

And on and on and on. Rita is about to spontaneously
combust. Finally, "G" - Rita bolts out the elevator doors,
then just as suddenly turns around.

RITA
Alright, alright I'll take you.
Alright, Goddammitt, I'll take you.

SAM
Oh my God oh my God! Rubel Bly Harrison
and Williams!

Sam, shaking with relief, pulls out his wallet just as the
elevator door starts closing.

RITA
No, no no. Pro-bono. Alright? Pro
bono.

The doors close. We hear from within, as Sam goes up again:

SAM (O.S.)
Yes! Alright! I liked Sonny Bono too!

INT. BUS - MORNING

Sam stares out the window at an unfamiliar neighborhood. On
his lap, the pink box, now ripped, allowing us to see Lucy's
birthday cake. It's lopsided from having been thawed and
refrozen.

EXT. BUS STOP - NOON

Sam waits for his transfer. He sets the cake down on the
bench and takes out a piece of paper with directions written
on it. The number 43 bus pull sup and Sam consults his paper
once more before jumping on, forgetting the cake.

The bus goes half a block before it SCREECHES to a halt. Sam
jumps off and runs back for the cake, but the bus continues
on its way. Moments later, the NUMBER 34 bus pulls up.
Flustered and worried about being late, Sam jumps on. He
feels something cold on his hand, looks down, the box is
starting to leak ice cream.

INT. SOCIAL WORKERS OFFICE - DAY

Lucy, Margaret, a therapist and a child psychologist wait for
Sam.

MARGARET BROWN
Lucy, I'm sorry. But it doesn't look
like he's going to make it.

LUCY
(staring forward)
He'll be here. You smell like soap.

MARGARET BROWN
Lucy, he's an hour and 45 minutes late.
You'll only have a few minutes left.

Suddenly through the door comes Sam CARRYING THE MELTED,
DRIPPING birthday cake. Lucy runs to him.

LUCY
Daddy! I told you I told you!

CUT TO:

INT. THE SOCIAL WORKER'S SMALL GREY OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Margaret, the therapist (Ms. Geller), and the Child
Pscyhologist all write voraciously into note pads as they
observe Sam and Lucy who sit in the center of the room,
nervous under their scrutiny.

SAM
...and she's a Century City lawyer - a
very famous lawyer. Guess what her name
is? Rita Harrison.

LUCY
(jaw drops)
Lovely Rita Meter Maid.

SAM
Harrison. Just like George.

They move to hug each other. EVERYONE REACHES for their
pens. Sam pulls back self-consciously. Everyone writes even
harder.

SAM (CONT'D)
You've grown.

LUCY
Have I?

SAM
Your ears are larger. And your eyes are
older.

He's right. Her eyes are older. He hugs her - ALL THE PENS
GO UP.

SAM (CONT'D)
I'm gonna get a phone machine. Next
paycheck. If I'm not home, you can
leave a message. "Hi, This is Lucy."

LUCY
You can't afford a phone machine.

The writing starts again.

SAM
Yes we can. I'm in line for a
promotion. Big promotion. A promotion
that's big.

LUCY
They're gonna let you make coffee?!

SAM
Set your dreams high, Lucy.

Lucy looks at her father lovingly.

LUCY
I'm sorry, Daddy. It was all my fault.

SAM
No, Lucy. Don't say that.

LUCY
I wouldn't want any Daddy but you.

She looks around to see if anybody's writing. NOBODY IS.
She suddenly screams at them:

LUCY (CONT'D)
I said I was sorry! I said I didn't
want any Daddy but him! Why don't you
write that down?!

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - DAY

We hear sobbing and see Rita sitting across from a very rich,
very angry COUPLE. Rita's foot is twitching furiously.

RITA
...are you telling me that neither of
you want custody of your child?

WOMAN
He's created a monster. He's exactly
like him. He...he...

The woman is distracted by a loud thumping on Rita's glass
wall - it's SAM. Holding an envelope. Very distressed, as
the Secretary attempts to corral him back into the lobby.

RITA
I am right here with you, excuse me.
(she unlocks door)
Sam? Didn't I tell you that you have to
call?

SAM
I -

RITA
You know how to make an appointment.

SAM
It's -

RITA
That's ridiculous you can always get
Patricia.

SAM
They -

RITA
Good. I'll see you next week.

SAM
But it's an emergency - lots of three
syllable words urgent open at once.

He hands the letter to Rita. Rita looks through the glass
wall at her clients who are getting impatient.

RITA
They want to have you and Lucy evaluated
by a shrink. The appointment is today
at three. Today. Now. Today!

SAM
I know and I want you to object.

RITA
Sam I can't object. It's court ordered.

Sam notices that the woman in Rita's office is crying. He
walks in and hands her a handkerchief from his pocket.

SAM
Here. Don't be sad.

She looks at him as if he's from Mars. Rita, now outside her
office, watches Sam now inside the office.

RITA
Patricia, I'm in the middle - get him
out of there -

She quickly gets up but Rita's too impatient and pushes past
her into the office.

RITA (CONT'D)
Sam. Sam come with me.
(to the Couple)
We're gonna get through this excuse
us...
(to Sam)
Sam this is their turn now. Not yours.
Theirs. If you leave now you'll never
make it and you have to make it.

SAM
Okay okay I know I take the #34 bus and
transfer to the #13...than the Downtown
Express to Wilshire then -

Rita looks at the Couple leaving her office.

INT. RITA'S PORSCHE - DAY

Redefining road rage, Rita's slamming the horn. Sam next to
her.

RITA
Go! Go! GO! for chrissakes! Green means
GO!

SAM
Red means stop yellow in the middle
means no no no...I don't like shrinks.
I've seen too many shrinks.

RITA
Yeah. You and me both. Right or left
which will it be you IDIOT!?

SAM
Your mother sent you to shrinks, too?

RITA
No. Well, sort of. I talk about her
the whole time I'm there.

SAM
That's nice. Did you notice that
everyone else is driving slower. I
noticed that did you?

RITA
(on the horn)
Go for Chrissakes! How about your
mother? Maybe she can help you -

SAM
She's gone. She's at the Park Lane
Mortuary. Two from the left. Under the
big tree.

RITA
Oh. I'm sorry. The light is green!
WOULD YOU MOVE MOVE MOVE!?

She cuts around the car in front of her; flips him off, and
in a split second that her head is turned, almost SMASHES
into the car in front of her! She slams on the brakes.

SAM
Too many shrinks...I'm sorry Mrs.
Dawson, if I were you I wouldn't waste
any more time. I'm sorry Mrs. Dawson it
must be a tremendous disappointment.
I'm sorry Mrs. Dawson I think you'd both
be happier if Sam was in a home.

Rita looks over at Sam, forced to stop.

INT. PSYCHOLOGIST OFFICE - DAY

Sam sits across from a shrink, MS. GELLER, nervously
straightening her desk.

PSYCHOLOGIST
Mr. Dawson, you do understand, that
since I am a court appointed
psychologist, the traditional client
therapist confidentiality will be
waived.
(Sam looks confused)
Mr. Dawson, do you understand that the
confidentiality will be waived?

Sam nods nervously and waves. With that she begins.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Sam, Ifty, Brad and Robert hover over a used answering
machine. Ifty pours over the instructions.

IFTY
Before you read your message press the
red button for record, when you finish,
press the yellow button. If you press
the green button, it will play it back
you. Let's start with the "ogm".

SAM
Okay, okay. I'm ready. Hello, I am
Sam.

IFTY
No, no. I didn't press the red button.

SAM
Oh, yes. False start, false start.

IFTY
It's not working. That's what you get
for buying a used machine. Used means
broken. You're asking for other
people's problems, you have enough of
your own, not that everyone doesn't have
problems.

BRAD
It's not used. It's pre-owned. Guy
bought it for his auto shop and then he
got a secretary.

IFTY
Testing, one two three.

SAM
That's a good code. I'll remember that.
One, two, three.

IFTY
(pressing button)
Quick, you're recording.

SAM
I'm hi. I am Sam. I'm not home.

ROBERT
No, you don't want to say that. you
don't want them to know you're not home.

SAM
But then I'm lying.

ROBERT
Everybody's lying.

SAM
I'm not a liar. It will send a mixed
message to Lucy.

IFTY
(pressing the button)
You're on the air!

SAM
Let me see, let me see, let me see. Hi,
how are you?

BEEP! the tape runs out.

IFTY
That was pretty good. That was natural.

SAM
Did I sound like a good father?

IFTY
It's the outgoing message. You need to
sound more outgoing. Let's start again.

INT. GROUP HOME - NIGHT

Mrs. Kerry unlocks the phone and dials. She hands the phone
to Lucy who waits eagerly in her pj's. Sam's answering
machine clicks on; as if on slow speed.

ANSWERING MACHINE
Hi, it's Len's Auto Body Shop. We'd
love to show you our body work, but it's
invisible. Leave it at the beep.

LUCY
Try again. You must have dialed the
wrong number.

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - DAY

Rita and Sam walk through the lobby at Rita's Olympic pace.
She passes the elevator and heads for the stairs.

RITA
Look, we've got a lot to go over and
I've got five minutes.

SAM
(pointing to elevator)
Rubel Bly Harrison and Williams thirty
second floor, thirty-two floors up.

Rita heads up the stairs. We hear a BEEP. Then another.
Rita checks her heart rate watch. Starts walking up the
stairs.

RITA
One-twenty. Gotta get to one-twenty
five to make it count. Okay okay okay.
I'm gonna need that list of people who
can testify that you're a good father
despite your handicap. I didn't mean
your handicap I meant your disability -
I mean the fact that you're retarded.
That's not the right word. I mean...
What do I call you?

SAM
Sam. I am Sam.

Rita looks at Sam as she bounds up the fourth floor.

RITA
Yes you are.
(he hands her a list - her CELL
PHONE RINGS)
Hello Ted how you doing/ Whattaya mean
what's that supposed to mean?
(her heart beep rate goes up)
Put Danny on... You're supposed to be
taking him to karate. No it is not my
day it's your day. I took your day last
Wednesday - are you eating no I will not
hold. Go pick him up! What? I can't
hear you I'm in the car - they put you
through to me here...I'm losing you --
(clicks off phone)
I get paid for this memory - I know I
took him last.

A look of horror falls across her face. She does a 180 and
starts RUNNING down the stairs reading the list.

RITA (CONT'D)
We're making progress. Three character
witnesses. That's a good start. What
does Ifty Bhutto do?

SAM
He works in a bank.

RITA
(tripping down the stairs)
Excellent.

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - THE VERY NEXT DAY

Ifty sits across from Rita who attempts to take notes.

IFTY
Sam is a very concerned father. He
always saves his money at Bank of
America. Last year there was a lion on
the calendar. This year a gazelle. The
gazelle is national bird of Tunisia. We
have clients, not customers. At Bank of
America. Bank on us.

He looks up at her, lost. So is she.

IFTY (CONT'D)
What was the question again, please?

CUT TO:

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - DAY

ON BRAD

Who sits across from Rita. She tape records him.

BRAD
He always made a point of feeding her
breakfast when "Bewitched" was on and
lunch when "Jeopardy" was on so she'd be
smart. Is that Wonderbra you're
wearing? Because you look wonderful.

CUT TO:

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - DAY

Robert sits across from Rita, who records him.

RITA
How long have you and Sam -

ROBERT
Why are you recording this? Who's
listening?

RITA
It's often necessary -

ROBERT
Who are you really?

RITA
I'm -

ROBERT
What's that supposed to mean?

RITA
Let's -

ROBERT
I need to talk to my lawyer.

CUT TO:

INT. RITA'S OFFICE - LATER

Rita maniacally picks the frosting off a donut.

RITA
Patricia, get Mr. Dawson on the line.

Over her INTERCOM, we hear SAM'S ANSWERING MACHINE.

ANSWERING MACHINE (O.S.)
Hi, it's Len's Auto Body Shop -

RITA
I need this like a - call him at
Starbucks - no I don't know which
Starbucks. There's forty two between
here and the end of the block.

EXT. STREETS - DAY

Rita stands next to her Porsche. There are Starbucks in
every direction she looks.

INT. STARBUCKS - DAY

Sam is straightening Sweet and Lows. Rita barrels in.

RITA
Look I don't think you understand what
you're up against we have to be in court
in three days and we don't have a decent
witness. Now you've gotta know someone
who can testify who's been to college -
or has a degree of some kind - or some
sort of way of expressing themselves
that's gonna make the court believe that
you deserve to get your daughter back I
need a coffee. Big. Tall.

SAM
Tall's the smallest.

RITA
Of course. Of course, whatever. Okay
okay okay. Damn! I forgot to call back
no I did and once you think of this
person and there has to be one person -
I want you to call me at work - because
I'm going back there now to my seven
other cases --
(her cellphone RINGS)
What? Mrs. Robeck? I'm on my way, the
traffic's horrible on the 405. Dorothy,
we put in five months lets not let a
three car pile up..I know it's been
enormously stressful.. Your Esczema?
Oh, honey, nobody notices..AH! They
opened a lane!

SAM
(too loudly)
Do you want it here or to go?

RITA
(dial tone)
Dorothy? Dorothy? No no no I didn't
stare at the eczema for five months for -

She takes out her car beeper, clicks it towards the window
and realizes that they're towing her car!

RITA (CONT'D)
Sonuvabitch!

INT. ANNIE'S APARTMENT - EVENING

Annie is at the piano, lost in a Beethoven concerto.

SAM
Annie, it's one day. One hour. Maybe
only 53 minutes. Lucy needs you.
(Annie keeps playing)
You went to college. You can give the
right answers.

Annie plays even harder. Frustrated, he POUNDS the piano.

SAM (CONT'D)
We can't lose her.

ANNIE
I can't. I'd make it worse for you. I
can't do it. Don't you think I would if
I could?

CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

We HEAR A VOICE:

VOICE (O.S.)
All rise for the Honorable Judge Phillip
McNeily.

Sam stands along with others in the courtroom. The Judge
enters and sits. Everyone else sits now, too. Except Sam.
Who continues to stand until Rita pulls him down. Now we
see:

Ifty, Robert, Brad - and Brad's MOTHER, who sits several
seats behind Brad knitting. Robert holds up a handmade sign
from the back of the courtroom "Free Lucy Dawson".

INT. COURTROOM - ONE HOUR LATER

Turner, the prosecuting attorney, examines his first witness.
He's disheveled, but don't let the rumpled suit fool you.
This man is razor-sharp. The THERAPIST who evaluated Sam is
on the stand. Sam anxiously rearranges all the pens on the
desk he sits at with Rita. Projected on a SCREEN is a SLIDE
of the drawing Lucy made in school.

THERAPIST
...there is an unhealthy reversal of
roles here.
As you can see from her drawings, she
has an exaggerated sense of
responsibility. Lucy feels she has to
take care of her father. Although at
her birthday party her true feelings
about her father were revealed.

RITA
Objection. "True feelings revealed"?!

TURNER
The state is paying Miss Geller for her
opinions -

RITA
Then every child who rages because they
didn't get to stay up for that extra
hour of TV -

TURNER
Objection your honor -

Sam TUGS at Rita's sleeve. She ignores it.

RITA
...in fact any child who said they hated
their parents because they didn't want
to take a bath would be a prime
candidate for Foster Care.

TURNER
Objection.

SAM
I think they want you to stop.

RITA
Really?! Thank you, Sam.

JUDGE MCNEILY
We all appreciate your assistance Mr.
Dawson - continue with your witness, Mr.
Turner.

TURNER
Now Ms. Geller, I assume in your therapy
session, Mr. Dawson extolled his
parenting abilities.

THERAPIST
On the contrary, Mr. Dawson admitted he
felt profoundly inadequate - that he was
terrified he'd made and would continue
to make - and I quote: "Huge mistakes,
huge mistakes, mistakes that are huge."

TURNER
No further questions.

Rita starts to scribble notes furiously. So does Sam.
Turner smugly sits down. Rita confidently strides toward the
witness.

RITA
You're a mother, aren't you Ms. Geller?

THERAPIST
Yes.

RITA
Would it be fair to say that as a
parent, you've felt confused from time
to time, possibly overwhelmed on
occasion, even though you're a wonderful
mother?

TURNER
Objection. It's Mr. Dawson's parenting.
Not Ms. Geller's that's at question
here.

RITA
But if Ms. Geller has never had a moment
where she felt confused as a mother it
would bias her opinion. And it is her
expert opinion we're all after, isn't
it, Mr. Turner?

JUDGE MCNEILY
Overruled. I'll allow it.

RITA
Thank you, your Honor. Ms. Geller, I
know there have been many moments as a
parent where I've felt I've made huge
mistakes - mistakes that are huge. And
I've had to admit them to myself. My
husband. But most importantly, to my
therapist. Which is the guise Mr.
Dawson thought he was seeing you under,
isn't that right, Ms. Geller?

TURNER
Objection.

JUDGE MCNEILY
Get to the point, Ms. Harrison.

RITA
The point is you've never had those
moments, have you Ms. Geller? Moments
that every parent I've ever spoken to
has - moments when you've felt the task
is so unbelievably challenging that you
feel retarded, disabled in some way.
Moments when you feel everyone has the
key but you. But you've never had those
moments, have you Ms. Geller?

THERAPIST
I -

RITA
Yes or no?

THERAPIST
I -

RITA
Let me rephrase the question. When your
son od'ed -

TURNER
Objection!

RITA
But if Ms. Geller didn't feel she had
made mistakes - mistakes that were huge
it might bias her opinion toward Mr.
Dawson.

JUDGE MCNEILY
I will -

RITA
Thank you. So Ms. Geller - yes or no -
when your son od'ed, did you feel you
might have made mistakes, mistakes that
were huge?

THERAPIST
(tearfully)
Yes.

INT. COURTROOM CAFETERIA - DAY

Sam and Rita go down the cafeteria line.

SAM
You made her cry.

RITA
You got lucky.

SAM
That's not nice. Not very nice.

RITA
Only in there.

SAM
Your secretary too. Yellow and green in
one bowl.
(Sam stares at a bowl of Lima
beans and corn)
You separate the Lima beans from the
corn please?

The CAFETERIA WORKER stares at him. Yeah. Sure he will.

RITA
Sam, don't be impossible.
(then to Worker)
Can I have the spinach omelet - only egg
whites no fat no oil no butter and extra
mushrooms.

CAFETERIA WORKER
Absolutely.

Sam is anxiously separating his Lima beans and corn into
separate piles. They arrive at the cashier. Rita pulls out
her billfold. Sam reaches for his wallet.

SAM
My treat. My treat.

RITA
Don't be ridiculous. I'll get it.

SAM
I said it's my treat. That means I'll
get it.

RITA
Sam, do you really want to get it or are
you just trying to --

SAM
Trying to what?

RITA
You know, trying to act like a -

SAM
Like a what?

RITA
Like a...a...

SAM
A real man?

RITA
I didn't say that.

SAM
You're my lawyer and you think what they
think. I don't have a chance. No
chance at all. Even with an expert
witness.

Rita looks at him. He's right. She chooses her words
carefully.

RITA
I think...you deserve...a fair trial.

SAM
Answer the question.

RITA
Okay okay okay. What was the question
again?

SAM
Do you think what they think? Sam can't
order food. Sam can't pay a check. Sam
can't take care of Lucy?

RITA
It doesn't matter what I think - it
matters that we win.

SAM
You're my lawyer it matters what you
think.

RITA
Hey, it doesn't matter to them what I
think.

SAM
Me. It matters to me.

He reaches for the receipt, and faces the CASHIER defiantly.

SAM (CONT'D)
Fourteen thirty three. That's 5 ones, 2
quarters and 16 cents less than twenty.

He slowly counts his money, takes his tray and walks away.
Rita watches him, with a trace of remorse and a hint of
admiration.

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

DR. DONOVAN, an attractive soft-spoken woman is on the stand.
Rita is working the room. Sam, having a hard time
concentrating, is following a crack up the wall and onto the
ceiling.

RITA
Dr. Donovan, the American Medical
Journal named you one of the country's
leading oncologists. Isn't that
correct?

DR. DONOVAN
Yes.

RITA
What kept you going the twelve years you
were in medical school?

DR. DONOVAN
Caffeine. Sugar. And my mother's
confidence in me.

RITA
I wish I had a mother like that. She
must have been smart.

DR. DONOVAN
She had great instincts.

RITA
Do you have any idea what her IQ was?

DR. DONOVAN
In the lower ranges. About eighty.

RITA
So your mother, this woman with the IQ
of a nine-year old had the wisdom to
recognize that you would be a great
doctor. I guess her disability didn't
seem to hold you back in life.

DR. DONOVAN
No. My mother's condition taught me
what they can't teach you; compassion
and patience.

RITA
Traits most doctors have in spades.
Thank you, no further questions.

Sam runs to hug Dr. Donovan, bumping into Rita who sits him
down.

TURNER
How'd you get through medical school?
Where'd you live?

DR. DONOVAN
We lived with my mother's parents.

TURNER
Oh, Grandma and Grandpa. Would it be
fair to say your grandparents were of
normal intelligence?

DR. DONOVAN
Yes.

TURNER
And didn't these people - your
grandparents - with normal intelligence -
have the real responsibilities?

RITA
(relishing this)
Objection! I hear Mr. Turner's mother
in-law lives with him! She must help
out. Does that mean he doesn't have the
real -

TURNER
Motion to strike that from the record.
Irrelevant, immaterial and immature -

RITA
Irrelevant?! Any parent has a right to
a support system.

TURNER
I'm not talking about the rights of the
parent, I'm talking about the rights of
a child.
(the gavel bangs)
I'm talking about entrusting an eight
year old's welfare in the hands of
someone whose records show he was
diagnosed with infantile autism, mental
retardation...

RITA
Objection! Motion to strike that from
the record. It's clear that one's
intellectual capacity has no bearing on
their ability to love. You Honor, would
you please instruct council to proceed
with a modicum of sensitivity?

TURNER
Oh, I'm sensitive. I'm real sensitive
when I see people like you --
(the gavel BANGS!)
come here and try to give meaning to
your life by screwing up somebody
else's!

JUDGE MCNEILY
That's enough. Both lawyers approach
the bench!

RITA
(both approach)
And I suppose tearing apart a family is
truly noble work, Mr. Turner.

JUDGE MCNEILY
That's it. I fine you both for
contempt. Two-hundred fifty dollars.

TURNER
What's that to her? She gets that for
picking up the phone.

RITA
Oh, that's what this is about.

TURNER
I'll tell you what this is about. See
this is an award for you at some
luncheon. But I'm here everyday.
(gavel POUNDS AGAIN)
You win, you're out the door.
But guess who I see come back? The kid.
Most of the time, in less than a year.
Only now it's too late. So you're
right. I'm real sensitive. You can't
even touch that area.

ON SAM

Devastated.

CUT TO:

INT. INSTITUTIONAL GRAY SOCIAL WORKERS OFFICE - DAY

Margaret Brown observes Sam and Lucy.

LUCY
But how did he prove it?

SAM
Columbus had to sail around the world to
prove it was round.

LUCY
You're so smart, Daddy.

Sam shoots a look at Margaret. He hasn't heard anything nice
about himself in so long. Lucy looks into her father's eyes.

LUCY (CONT'D)
Are we winning, Daddy?

Sam shoots ANOTHER look. He doesn't want to lie. Lucy
catches the look between Sam and Margaret.

MARGARET BROWN
Excuse me, time's up.

LUCY
Please. Just a little more.

MARGARET BROWN
I have another client at two-thirty.
You need to put your shoes on and get
ready to go.

LUCY
Oh no! There's a knot. A really big
knot.

Sam attempts to undo it. Lucy and he work very slowly,
cherishing each moment together.

MARGARET BROWN
I'll help you.

She undoes it quickly. Hands it back.

LUCY
I need to go to the bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Lucy's feet dangle from under the stall. Margaret's sturdy
shoes from under another. Suddenly, Lucy's head pops out and
now she quietly wriggles out from under the stall, tip toes
across the room and out the door. Locking it with a key.

INT. SOCIAL WORKERS ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Lucy runs up to her father.

LUCY
Daddy, she said we could go to the park.

SAM
What's going on? What made her change
her mind?

LUCY
I started crying in the bathroom. She
thought we needed more time.

SAM
That was so nice of her. Very nice.

INT. BUS - DAY

Sam and Lucy hold hands and look out the window. Sam sees
Echo Park approaching and gets up. Lucy pulls him back to
the seat. She looks Daddy in the eye and in a furtive
whisper:

LUCY
Let's not get off. Let's keep going.

SAM
No, Lucy.

LUCY
Please.

SAM
That would be wrong.

LUCY
Tamara's Mommy lost her case and Tamara
hasn't seen her in six years. She's had
five different mommies and one of them
hit her.

SAM
I won't let that happen.

LUCY
That's what her real mommy said. And
now they won't even let her talk to her.

Sam reels with confusion. Lucy buries herself in his chest.

LUCY (CONT'D)
Daddy, it's the only way to be together.
We'll start a new life, get new names.
We'll live in a new apartment. They'll
never find us.

The bus has stopped. Passengers for the park have exited.
Sam doesn't move. As the BUSDRIVER closes the door and heads
on, he holds Lucy protectively to his chest.

SAM
I love you Lucy. I love you.

LUCY
My name isn't Lucy anymore, it's
Michelle.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

Lucy sleeps cuddled close to Sam, who is wide awake, as he
gazes out at the passing highway, far from home. We hear the
song "Michelle".

EXT. PARK - 4 A.M.

Sam, totally disoriented, walks in circles around the plastic
tunnels and jungle gym. A flashlight shines in Sam's face.

COP
Hey, buddy. No loitering. Move it.

SAM
Not yet not yet not yet.

COP
You want me to get a black and white
down here?

He moves toward Sam. SUDDENLY THE SPRINKLER SYSTEM goes on.
The cop backs off, but Sam doesn't move, standing in the
middle of the park and getting totally wet.

SAM
Not yet not yet not yet.

He shines the flashlight in Sam's face and we see INSIDE THE
PLASTIC TUNNEL where LUCY SLEEPS PEACEFULLY on a bed of
coats, holding a discarded stuffed animal.

COP
Jesus Christ.

SAM
She hasn't been sleeping well. She
needs a good night's rest. Let her
sleep, let her sleep.
(the cop moves toward Sam)
NO!

COP
What are you, crazy?

All the cop sees is a lunatic walking in protective circles
in the downpour of the sprinklers with a kid in a plastic
tunnel.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. POLICE STATION - DAWN

Police doors swing open as Rita, coat over pj's, a sleepy
DANNY by her side, storm inside. Lucy lies on a bench with
her head in Sam's lap.

RITA
What were you thinking what were you
possibly thinking?!

SAM
I -

RITA
That's ridiculous! Danny stay with me -
(he moves away)
What could you possibly gain by
kidnapping your kid in the middle of a
custody hearing?!

SAM
She -

RITA
I don't wanna hear it! Can you possibly
explain this to me?!

SAM
But Lucy said -

RITA
Who's the parent here? Who's the
goddamned parent here? Danny! Stay in
the hallway -

Danny turns the corner just as Margaret Brown rushes in.
Rita turns to her - her expression changes on a dime.

RITA (CONT'D)
Miss Brown, I can imagine what you're
thinking.

MARGARET BROWN
I'm -

RITA
But I ask you what parent in their right
mind seeing their child in pain --

MARGARET BROWN
I have seen -

RITA
Their yearning for contact - wouldn't
take them in an attempt to comfort them?
Where the hell is Danny?

MARGARET BROWN
You -

RITA
He -

MARGARET BROWN
There's -

RITA
Oh yes there is! And if I were you I'd
look at my conscience you do have one
don't you long and hard before I tried
to use this in court.

MARGARET BROWN
Is that a threat?

RITA
No. It's a plea. Give'm a break.
Give'm one goddman break.

Margaret's cell phone RINGS.

MARGARET BROWN
What?! No, Mrs. Sloan. His temperature
couldn't be 117, no not even 107. Okay,
okay, I'll come...Come on Lucy, I'll
take you back.

RITA
C'mon, Danny. We're going home.
Danny!? Danny!?!?

The FIRE ALARM GOES OFF and --

RITA (CONT'D)
Goddamn it, Danny!

Rita avoids Margaret's look. Margaret's cell phone goes off
again. She doesn't answer. Now Rita looks at Margaret, but
this time Margaret avoids looking at her. Lucy runs to Rita
and throws her arms around her waist.

LUCY
Please don't fire us. It was all my
idea. Please don't. Please. Please.

Rita is disarmed. She's moved and not used to being moved.

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

BAILIFF
...the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth, so help you God?

Lucy's in her best dress, being sworn in. One hand in the
air.

LUCY
So help me God...

And now CAMERA MOVES AROUND HER AND WE SEE THAT SHE'S HIDING
HER OTHER HAND BEHIND HER BACK - FINGERS CROSSED.

INT. COURTROOM - LATER

Lucy is on the stand, Turner is cross-examining her.

TURNER
I heard you turned seven this year.
That's pretty exciting.

LUCY
Everybody gets older. It's not that big
a deal.

TURNER
What'd you get for your birthday?

LUCY
I haven't opened my presents yet.

TURNER
Really? That's odd. Why not?

Lucy looks to her father and Rita.

LUCY
I opened my presents. I got the HELP
album - limited edition.

ON RITA AND SAM

What is she doing?

TURNER
Oh, I'm sorry. I was confused. I
thought you didn't open your birthday
presents because you ran away from your
own party when your best friend told
everyone that you were adopted.

LUCY
I never said that; why would I say that?

TURNER
Why would your friends say it if you
hadn't said it?

LUCY
Kids lie all the time.

Next to her skirt, we see her fingers are crossed so hard
they're practically turning purple.

TURNER
May I remind you Lucy that you're under
oath?

LUCY
You may.

TURNER
And do you know that means if you lie
you could be in serious trouble?

LUCY
I do.

TURNER
So now that you and I have agreed to
tell the truth, where did you sleep last
night?

Rita glares at Margaret. Thanks a lot.

LUCY
In my bed at the Foster home.

TURNER
All right, Lucy. If you're not going to
tell the truth, I am. Your dad
kidnapped you last night and the police
found you sleeping in a seedy park a
hundred miles from here. You're lying
right now because you're afraid. Afraid
that everyone will see how scared and
frustrated you really are. You're
afraid of hurting him, but now we need
to tell the truth. The truth is deep
inside you know you're not getting what
you need from your father. Isn't that
right, Lucy?

A LONG SILENCE. She stares at Turner defiantly.

LUCY
"All you need is love."

INT. COURTROOM CORRIDOR - DAY

WE HEAR THAT SONG as Sam and Rita walk out of the courtroom.
Rita is breaking pieces off a candy bar she has stuffed in
her purse. They see Lucy running down the corridor toward
Sam, Margaret Brown behind her.

LUCY
Daddy! I did great, didn't I?

SAM
No, Lucy, you lied.

LUCY
Shhh! Don't tell anyone.

Rita watches Sam. Moved by his concern as a parent.

MARGARET BROWN
Lucy, Mrs. Kerry's here to take you
back.

LUCY
I thought you'd be proud of me. Jo Jo's
mom told him to lie on the stand and say
he never saw a needle in the house; and
he did, and now they're back together.

SAM
Jo Jo isn't us. The truth, the truth,
when the judge hears the truth, he'll
know, he'll know we should be together.

LUCY
(bursting)
Nobody's interested in the truth, Daddy.
Nobody cares!

They lead her down the hallway toward Mrs. Kerry - Sam's
voice gets louder and louder - determined to make her hear.

SAM
I CARE! DO YOU HEAR ME? THE TRUTH.
THE WHOLE TRUTH! SO HELP ME GOD!!

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

The darkness of Sam's apartment. We see him on his knees.
Saying his prayers by his bedside.

SAM
Help me, God. Help me, God. Help me,
God...

We see ANNIE'S SILHOUETTE from the window of her apartment as
it moves across the frame.

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

Turner cross examines George, the manager of Starbucks.

GEORGE
Sam's my most reliable employee. He's
never missed a day of work in eight
years. Always warm, always friendly.

TURNER
Admirable qualities for a single father.
Mr. Walker, in these eight years, have
Mr. Dawson's responsibilities,
which...let me see...would include
bussing tables, replenishing Sweet 'n
Lows, and sweeping up the place...
increased?

GEORGE
No. Not really.

TURNER
And isn't that because he's mentally
incapable of learning management skills
or working the cash register or even
making a cup of coffee?

RITA
Objection. Leading the witness.

JUDGE MCNEILY
You may answer the question.

George searches for a way to tell the truth.

GEORGE
Well as a matter of fact, Sam and I have
been discussing a promotion that I was
planning on putting into effect at the
end of the week.

Sam leaps to his feet.

SAM
Oh boy! Thank you, George!

Rita pulls him down. Turner seizes the moment.

TURNER
Yes. Thank you, George. Now, after
eight years, Sam can finally measure out
a teaspoon of coffee and cup of water.
Now, he must certainly be able to help
Lucy with her geometry.

RITA
Objection -

TURNER
No further questions.

INT. COURTROOM CORRIDOR - LATER

Rita prepares Ifty.

RITA
...and when I ask another question?

IFTY
I answer in one sentence.

RITA
Yes. Short and sweet.

IFTY
Yes. One sentence. Short and sweet.
My aunt was short and sweet. But her
cooking was too spicy she...

Rita's twitching foot knocks over her purse. Out spill
several Snickers Bars with the chocolate picked off them.
Embarrassed, she kneels to pick them up when she and Sam see
something that stops them both, awestruck. In the corner of
the corridor, huddled on a bench in dark sunglasses, sits
ANNIE IN A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS SUIT. Sam runs to her.

SAM
Annie! I can't believe it!

ANNIE
(visibly trembling)
Tell them to take me quickly.

RITA
Give me one minute with the judge.

INT. COURTROOM - FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER

Annie, wearing her dark glasses, is being questioned by Rita.

RITA
Besides being Lucy's godmother, aren't
you also Lucy's piano teacher?

ANNIE
Yes.

RITA
Lucy's very lucky. Didn't you graduate
Magna Cum Laud from the Julliard School
of Music?

ANNIE
Summa Cum Laud.

RITA
(delighted)
Excuse me. Now Ms. Cassell, in all the
time you've known them, have you ever
questioned Sam's ability as a father?

ANNIE
Never.

RITA
Never?

ANNIE
Never. Look at Lucy. She's strong,
she's able to display true empathy for
people, all kinds of people. I know you
all think she's as bright as she is
despite him. But it's because of him.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. COURTROOM - LATER

Turner stands where Rita did.

TURNER
Can Sam add?

ANNIE
Yes.

TURNER
How about multiplication?

ANNIE
He's learning.

TURNER
So what you're saying is that Sam can
not even multiply two times two?

ANNIE
I don't know about you, Mr. Turner, but
my fondest memories of my parents have
nothing to do with times tables or state
capitals.

TURNER
I bet he's knocking on your door all the
time with questions.

ANNIE
Yes. All the time. The last question
was whether to use Biz or Clorox to get
the grass stains out of Lucy's soccer
uniform.

ON RITA AND SAM

This is too good to be true.

TURNER
So let's see..he doesn't know math...he
can't even wash her clothes. How about
puberty? I can only imagine how much
insight he'll bring to approaching the
sensitive issues of a young girl's
development.

ANNIE
Mr. Turner, show me a father, any
father, who knows how to do that and
I'll give them the Parent of the Year
award.

TURNER
And you've had plenty of opportunity to
observe fathers, haven't you?

RITA
Objection!

TURNER
But the fact that Ms. Cassell hasn't
come out of her room in years might have
some effect on her perception.

JUDGE MCNEILY
I'll allow it.

ANNIE
I had twenty eight years in the world to
observe all kinds of fathers.

TURNER
What about your father, Ms. Cassell?
Since you appear to be an expert on
father-daughter relationships.

A long pause. Sam watches as Annie visibly tightens.

TURNER (CONT'D)
Excuse me, Ms. Cassell, I didn't hear
your response. What about your father?

Annie reaches for her water glass. We see her hand SHAKE.
It knocks over the glass, shattering it on the floor.

SAM
Objection! No further questions!

TURNER
Excuse me, Mr. Dawson?

SAM
I said that's enough! I will not allow
it! Overruled! Overruled!!

Rita doesn't stop him. The Judge hesitates, incredulous,
then pounds the gavel as the courtroom erupts.

EXT. SAM'S APARTMENT - DUSK

Rita sits in her Porsche with Annie and Sam. Annie is curled
into a tight ball in the passenger seat. Sam is tucked into
the shelf in the back. His legs kick Rita in the face with
every gear shift.

RITA
Thank you again, Annie. You were truly
extraordinary.

SAM
Extraordinary. Truly extraordinary.

Annie doesn't move.

RITA
Okay okay okay okay. Well, Sam has his
big day on the stand tomorrow and we
need to work a little bit so that he's
as effective as you were.

SAM
Effective. Very effective.

RITA
On a Porsche, the, uh, the door handle
is a little hidden by that thingamajig,
so if you're having a hard time finding
it I'll just --

Rita reaches across to open Annie's door when she SCREAMS!

ANNIE
Noooooooo!

SAM
Annie's not quite ready to go outside
yet.

RITA
Okay, we'll just take our time.

INT. PORSCHE - TWO HOURS LATER

It's dark now. Annie is still catatonic. Rita's on the car
phone, the kind that voice activates and she's yelling.

RITA
Home! Home! HOME GODDAMNIT! Juanita,
help Danny with his English assignment.
Ayude Danny un story...story...STORIO!

ANNIE
(rising from the dead)
I'm ready now.

RITA
(gently)
Good, fine, Sam? Annie's ready.

Sam's fallen asleep.

EXT. RITA'S LAVISH BEL AIR HOME - NIGHT

Rita and Sam enter.

INT. RITA'S BEL AIR HOME - NIGHT

Sam is awestruck at the magnificent home.

RITA
Okay okay okay okay. We'll work in the
library. It's down the hall and to the
left.

They pass another room and see Danny zoned out in front of
the wide-screen TV watching MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

RITA (CONT'D)
Hey, Danny.
(no answer)
Where's your father?

DANNY
(staring at TV)
Guess.

RITA
I don't want to guess. Where is he?
(Sam watches Rita)
I told you I don't want to guess.

DANNY
Well where was he last night?

RITA
Working late.

DANNY
There you guessed it.

RITA
He said he was working late?

DANNY
That's what he said.

RITA
Well who did he say was taking care of
you?

DANNY
You. But you said you were working
late.

RITA
I am working late.

DANNY
Then go work.

RITA
How was your day?

DANNY
You have to work. Go work.

RITA
No. How was your -

Her CELL PHONE goes off. Rita moves into the hallway to
answer her phone. Sam moves into the den, sits on the couch,
the sound of Rita arguing with her husband drifts into the
room. Sam looks sideways at Danny who remains stonefaced.

SAM
This is my favorite part. Hey Dommy,
this one looks like he's suffering from
shell shock.

DANNY
Boy I guess we can shell it out... It
was a shell of a good hit.

Rita stands in the doorway watching Sam have a longer
conversation with her son than she's had in months. She
retreats.

INT. RITA'S DEN - LATER

Danny and Sam eat popcorn watching the movie.

SAM
(bellowing)
"Turtles in the half-shell, turtle
power!" Rita! Come this is the best
part.

He heads towards Rita.

INT. PANTRY - CONTINUOUS

In the half-light Sam catches a glimpse of Rita standing in
the pantry unconsciously stuffing marshmallows into her
mouth. Their eyes lock for a moment.

SAM
You eat too fast. Come watch the movie.

RITA
It's getting late. We have to get to
work.
(handing him a suit)
This is my husband's. He won't notice.
He's got ten more just like it. Try it
on.

INT. RITA'S LIBRARY - MOMENTS LATER

Sam comes out of the bathroom in the new suit. Rita stares
at him astonished. He looks incredibly handsome. Rita,
attempting to stifle her reaction, turns away from Sam.

SAM
Bad?

RITA
No. Very, very good. But your tie's
crooked.

Rita stands behind Sam with her around him showing him how to
do his tie properly. Their images are reflected in the
mirror.

RITA (CONT'D)
Cross over once. Loop it around on the
inside of your neck.
(her hand grazes his neck)
Slide the other side through the loop,
then tighten.

Rita comes around to the front and straightens and tightens
the tie. They are both nervous. The room is charged.

RITA (CONT'D)
Okay okay okay okay. Our strategy is
that we're aggressively pursuing a
support system. I'm going to ask you h
ow are you prepared to help Lucy in
school?

SAM
Let me see let me see let me see.

RITA
Sam! I told you you have to stop that!
It makes you look stupid! Okay okay
okay. Try again.
(endless pause)
You say you will find her a tutor. Then
I say, "How will you pay for it?"

SAM
Could you slow down? Why do you eat so
fast?

RITA
(ignoring him)
We've gone over this a million times.
You've found a free tutoring service for
her at the YMCA.

SAM
But I didn't. You did.

RITA
Can't you grasp the concept of
manipulating the truth? Not lying.
Just a little tweak here and there.

SAM
No...You're so lucky. You get to play
with Danny all the time.

RITA
He doesn't want to play with me.

SAM
Yes he does. He does he does. He
thinks you don't want to.

RITA
Oh that's ridiculous of course I want
to.

SAM
Tweak, tweak.

RITA
(exploding)
I drove around after work yesterday 'til
9:30 looking for a goddman razor
scooter!

SAM
(in his own world)
Tweak, squeak, peek peek...

Rita shifts uneasily, embarrassed by her overreaction.

INT. RITA'S LIBRARY - LATER

RITA
Okay, why did you harass that young boy
at your home?

SAM
You know I didn't harass him, Rita. You
know that, you know that!

RITA
Sam, I'm pretending to be Mr. Turner,
remember? Okay?

SAM
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah. I didn't harass
him, Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner -
(Sam can't keep a straight
face)
You don't look like him.

RITA
That's a blessing.

SAM
You're so much prettier.

RITA
(suddenly shy)
Thank you. Now.
What makes you think you can take care
of a woman - I mean a young child - when
you have a hard time taking care of
yourself?

INT. RITA'S LIBRARY - TWO HOURS LATER

Rita is relentless. Sam is exhausted but determined.

RITA
But who are you kidding? Isn't Lucy
already smarter than you?

SAM
In some ways. But in other ways, she's
not, I think.

RITA
You think?

SAM
I think.

RITA
Sam. You've got to be firm on this.

SAM
I think in other ways I'm smarter than
her. Smarter than you are, Mr. Turner.
In fact, in some ways I'm smarter than
you, Judge McNeilly.

RITA
Whoa! Bring it down.

SAM
What parent doesn't want more for their
child? To be more than the sum of the
parts of the whole of them.

RITA
Yeah yeah yeah, but it's one thing for a
little girl to love her daddy when she's
a baby, but once she loses respect for
you, what will you do?

SAM
(fierce)
I won't let that happen. I won't.

RITA
How can you say that?

SAM
Respect is not just about how smart
someone is. Smart is not just about how
smart someone is.

RITA
But what about Lucy? Aren't you being
selfish? Doesn't she deserve a better
life? Don't you think she's just
pretending she's happy to not hurt your
feelings?

Sam jumps up from the table, trembling with anger.

SAM
Lucy is happy! We have fun! We go to
Denny's, we go to video night. I know
how to love her. I know I'm not going
to able to go to law school and learn
how to be a mean person, but I know how
to love. I know how to be her father,
Mr. Turner!

By this time he is face to face with Rita, breathing hard,
overcome with emotion. Rita is unexpectedly near tears.
Suddenly before she knows it, she is HOLDING SAM. The room
charged. She speaks tenderly, moved by this awkward boy/man.

RITA
I know you do, Sam. I know you do.

INT. STARBUCKS - MORNING

Sam rushes into the coffee shop in his new suit.

GEORGE
You look great, Sam. What time do you
have to be in court?

SAM
Half day, half day. I take the stand at
two.

George leads him behind the counter. THE STAFF BEAMS.
Euphorically, Sam approaches the huge espresso machines.

GEORGE
Okay, we need two grande cappucinos, non
fat.

SAM
Sprinkles or Cinnamon?

INT. STARBUCKS - 11:00 A.M.

Sam is doing great. He's humming as he prepares a triple
latte with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker.

INT. STARBUCKS - 12:00 P.M.

The place is packed, including a GROUP OF JAPANESE TOURISTS.
Sam zips around, trying to juggle between the blender, the
espresso machine, steamed milk, icemaker, all the while
glancing up at the clock. Sam hands three cups to customers,
the foam overflowing, coffee spilling out.

A CUSTOMER takes a sip and SPITS IT OUT.

GUY
What is this? I ordered an Americano,
not a latte.

SAM
Americano, Americano, not a latte.

Working as fast as he can but still NOT FAST ENOUGH, Sam
unconsciously drinks the latte.

INT. STARBUCKS - 12:45 P.M.

Hyped on coffee, Sam is zooming around and he's a mess.
Shirt hangs out, coffee stains on it, his hair wild.
Frazzled, he forgets to put the lid on the blender and turns
it ON. A mint mocha frappuccino SPLATTERS HIM in the face.
At that moment, George comes out of his office.

SAM
I'm going to be late! I'm going to be
late!

GEORGE
I'll call a taxi.

SAM
No, no, I can't wait. I can't wait.
I've got to go right now.

Sam heads out, the coffee drink still dripping from his face.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Walking a hundred miles an hour, Sam barrels down the street
out of his mind. Cars are jammed up. He walks over them, a
man possessed.

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

Everyone is in their places, waiting.

TURNER
Your Honor, if the defendant doesn't
have enough interest in his daughter to
even show up -

RITA
Your Honor, I'm sure he'll be here any
moment. This is an extremely important
day to Mr. Dawson.

At THAT MOMENT, Sam bursts through the doors. Suit stained,
hair sticky with frappuccino. Rita's jaw drops.

RITA (CONT'D)
Your Honor, may I have a moment with my
client?

JUDGE MCNEILY
Make it brief, Ms. Harrison.

Rita heads towards Sam. Up close, he looks even worse.

RITA
What the hell happened?
(sniffing the air)
What is that smell? Mint?

Sam, determined, heads for the stand. Rita grabs Sam's
shoulders and tries to focus him. Looks deep into his eyes.

RITA (CONT'D)
Sam, look at me. Look at me!
(he does)
I will guide you like last night.
(Sam hugs her)
Not that part of last night, the other
part. Now you can do it. I know you
can. Lucy needs you.

SAM
(a mile a minute)
Lucy needs me.

RITA
Yes, slow down because Lucy needs you.

SAM
Lucy needs you.

JUDGE MCNEILY
Ms. Harrison. We need you!

INT. COURTROOM - LATER

Sam, on the stand, talks a mile a minute from the coffee.

RITA
How will you be able to pay for private
tutoring?

SAM
There's a free program at the YMCA.
Lucy can go there.

RITA
But don't you ever think it would be
better for Lucy if she lived with a
permanent foster family and you could
visit whenever you wanted?

SAM
The Fosters don't know her. Why can't
she live with me and they can come visit
if they want to. I'm firm on this. And
I'm getting firmer. Lucy belongs with
me.

RITA
Why?

Sam puts his finger to his chin and starts his "Let me
see..." Rita gives him a look; he lowers his finger and
starts talking very fast from the coffee. The STENOGRAPHER
desperately tries to keep pace.

SAM
Paul wrote the first part of the song
"Michelle". He said to John, "Where do
I go from here?" John had been
listening to Nina Simone. There was a
line in it that went something like, "I
love you, I love you, I love you..."
They put that into the song. It
wouldn't be the same song without that.
It made the song complete. That's why
the whole world cried when they broke up
on April 10, 1970.

ON RITA

Well, he has some kind of point.

MARY, the Stenographer, is still typing.

JUDGE MCNEILY
Did you get that, Mary?

INT. COURTROOM - LATER

Turner fires questions at Sam - a mile a minute.

TURNER
When you were Lucy's age, were you
living at home?

SAM
No.

TURNER
Were you living with your mother and
father?

SAM
No.

TURNER
Well then where were you living?

SAM
(very quietly)
In an institution.

TURNER
So your parents put you in an
institution?

SAM
Only after my mom got sick.

TURNER
What about your father? Where was he?

SAM
Gone with the wind when Sam was born.

TURNER
So, you weren't raised by your mother?

SAM
I saw her I saw her.

TURNER
When?

SAM
Christmas, Easter and my birthday.

TURNER
Oh, once a year on your birthday. So in
a way, the people at the institution
were your parents. Were they nice to
you?

SAM
Some yes. Some on. Some yes.

TURNER
Did they hit you?

SAM
Sometimes. Sometimes they did
sometimes.

TURNER
Like when you hit Lucy's friend at her
birthday party?

RITA
Objection! Nobody hit anybody!

TURNER
Let me rephrase that, strong-armed. So
what role model do you call upon as a
father when you're parenting Lucy? The
head of the institution? The Principal
the warden?

SAM
No. Not Mr. Whitehead. Not him.

TURNER
Then who?

SAM
Myself.

TURNER
you have the mental capacity of a seven
year old. So you ask yourself, a seven
year old -

SAM
I am not a seven-year old.

TURNER
How to parent a fellow seven-year old?

SAM
Yes. No. What was the question?

TURNER
The question is: what makes you think
you can be a parent? Your background?
Your IQ? Your friends who can't even
testify for you?

RITA
Objection -

SAM
My friends -

RITA
Objection -

SAM
My friends love Lucy even if Rita
thought they weren't smart enough to
testify. Even if she said you'd wipe
the floor with them.

ON RITA

Trying to telepathically reach Sam.

TURNER
Excuse me, Mr. Dawson, your lawyer just
objected; that means you didn't have to
answer the question. You can't even
follow the simple rules you've watched
here day after day. You really think
you can raise a seven-year old? A ten
year old? A thirteen-year old?
(in his face)
That means she'll be six years more
advanced than you.

Sweat pours down Sam's coffee stained collar. He searches
for words. Then from the clearest place inside himself:

SAM
I've had a lot of time to think about
whatever it is that makes somebody a
good parent. It has to do with
constancy. It has to do with patience.
It has to do with listening. To
pretending to listen when you can't even
listen anymore.

The court is riveted by Sam's eloquence. Rita's amazed.

SAM (CONT'D)
It has to do with love, like she says...

Rita's antenna goes up: who's "she?"

SAM (CONT'D)
And I don't know where it's written that
a woman has a corner on that market,
that a man has any less of those
emotions than a woman. Billy has a home
with me! It's not perfect! I'm not a
perfect parent! Sometimes I forget he's
just a little kid...
(whispers from the courtroom)
We built a life together and we love
each other and if you destroy that, it
may be irrep, irrep, irrep...

IFTY
Irreparable.

All eyes TURN to the back of the room. Ifty is there trying
with all his might to help his friend.

IFTY (CONT'D)
Joanne, don't do that, please. Don't do
it twice, not to him. Then Meryl Streep
can't even look at Dustin Hoffman after
that.

TURNER
Right, "Kramer vs. Kramer." Thank you
for the commentary, Mr. Bhutto. It's
hard to find words isn't it, Mr. Dawson.
It's confusing. It's confusing to know
what to say to Lucy half the time, isn't
it?

Mortified, so uncomfortable in this strange world, so at a
loss how to swim through it, beginning to believe everything
Turner's saying, Sam looks out at the faces in the courtroom.
Rita, stunned and incredulous; Turner and his associate
smirking at him; Ifty, shaking his head; Robert, his face in
his hands; Miss Wright, Margaret Brown, the State's Expert,
almost willing him to fail. Are they right? Are they?

SAM
No, yes, no.

TURNER
No what?

SAM
Let me see let me see let me see.

TURNER
You don't know what?

SAM
Yes.

TURNER
Yes. You're right, you don't know. You
don't know enough to really raise your
daughter?

RITA
Objection. These aren't questions,
these are attacks.

SAM
(frantic)
I am Lucy's father.

TURNER
Are you? Are you really? I'm not
talking about the fact that you got some
homeless woman pregnant.

RITA
Objection your Honor. I motion a
recess.

JUDGE MCNEILY
Denied. Get to the question, Mr.
Turner.

TURNER
The question is if you love your
daughter as much as they say you do
don't you think she deserves more?!
Don't you? In your heart of hearts,
secretly question yourself every day?
Don't you?!

SAM
Yes.

TURNER
Was that a "yes?"

RITA
Objection.

SAM
Yes. She does. She deserves
everything. In my heart of hearts.

TURNER
Yes she does. And you agree with
everyone, you can't give her that?

SAM
(in unbearable pain)
Maybe. Maybe everybody's right.

ON TURNER

There. He got it.

ON RITA

Anguished. Watching Sam unravel as he stands up and starts
walking around in a circle in the witness box.

SAM (CONT'D)
No more no more! Let it stop! No more!
No more! No more!

The Judge watches Sam, sad and stunned. The verdict is
obvious. Sam has passed judgement on himself.

EXT. CHILD AND FAMILY PROTECTIVE SERVICES - HALLWAY

Sam, broken, walks down the long hallway with Rita toward
Margaret Brown's office. Suddenly, Rita stops as she and Sam
both see -

LUCY

Sitting, hopeful on the bench. She searches Sam's face for
the verdict. The minute she sees sorrow in his eyes, she
knows. She runs to him, gluing herself to his chest.

LUCY
No Daddy! No Daddy! No Daddy!

In a SERIES OF WORDLESS DISSOLVES, they hold each other in
the hallway through the entire forty five minute visit. The
only thing moving is the hands of a large wall clock in the
background. Pained, Margaret reaches for Lucy.

MARGARET BROWN
C'mon, Lucy. It's time to say goodbye.

LUCY
NOOOO! Don't let go don't let go don't
let go -

Sam's tears mix with Lucy's as they sob, clinging to each
other. With such fierce love; a parent and a child.

LUCY (CONT'D)
Don't let them Daddy don't let them!
Don't ever let me go!

He can't let her go. That he can't do. Margaret, steel
herself, turns to Rita, no matter how many times she's done
this.

MARGARET BROWN
Please help me.

Rita, aching from a place she thought she buried long ago,
shakes her head, NO. Now, Margaret literally has to wrench
Lucy away from her father's arms. Lucy bellowing as she
pulls her down the hallway. Sam is frozen in incalculable
pain.

EXT. SAM'S APARTMENT HALLWAY - NIGHT

We hear "Fool on the Hill". We follow a trail of PINK LIQUID
melting down the hall and come to Annie's door where a pile
of grocery bags and newspapers sit in a PUDDLE OF STRAWBERRY
ICE CREAM. Suddenly, the needle SCRAPES LOUDLY across the
record, followed by a mysterious POUNDING against the wall.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

The CAMERA MOVES to the WINDOW. Inside, the lights are dim.
Lucy's HAMMOCK SWINGS EMPTY, ghostlike. Sam, curled into a
ball in Lucy's bare corner, bangs his head over and over
again against the wall, overcome with grief.

INT. DANNY'S ROOM - RITA'S HOUSE - NIGHT

The POUNDING CONTINUES as we see Rita standing in the
doorway, watching her sleeping child. This stranger that
she's raised. She moves to cover him, this tough little boy,
when she sees POOH BEAR tucked under his arm. She tucks them
both in, tenderly.

EXT. CARPENTER HOUSE - DAY

Saturday in idyllic suburbia. Sam, directions and a map in
his hands, tentatively rounds the corner. A small bouquet of
flowers in his hands when he stops - STARING AHEAD AT --

REVERSE ANGLE

Lucy looking absolutely radiant in a new spring dress. She
stands on the front porch with RANDY, who wears a red smock
and is setting up TWO EASELS AND PAINTS. There's a tiny
chair for Lucy and a tiny chair for her.

CLOSE ON LUCY AND RANDY

The tension in Lucy's face, Randy straining to connect with
her.

RANDY
Your teacher told me you were an artist.

LUCY
You wear too much perfume. You're
trying too hard.

RANDY
I am, aren't I. Maybe you could teach
me how to paint.

LUCY
My daddy's coming today. We're going to
open my birthday presents. Why don't
you just go do something.

BACK TO SAM

From where he stands, all he sees is Lucy getting everything
she deserves. He looks down at the tiny bouquet in his hand -
feeling profoundly inadequate, he reaches for some flowers
from a garden he's passing. Puts them in his bouquet. Then
stops. Feels guilty. Tries to put the flowers BACK. He
stares up at Lucy on the porch a few houses away.

Lucy sits on the steps. Randy sits right next to her.

BACK ON SAM

Where he WAS standing, but is now GONE. The flowers lay in
the dirt. From the porch, Lucy looks out and waits. And
waits. And waits.

INT. STARBUCKS - DAY

It's Saturday. The place is buzzing. Sam listlessly cleans
the tables, without the usual energy and verve. A TODDLER
marches around a table, playing under the adoring gaze of his
parents.

MAN
Excuse me, my kid knocked over a coffee,
could you clean this up?

Sam sees a FAMILY at a table covered with spilled coffee.

MAN (CONT'D)
I said I need a refill and a towel over
here.

SAM
(snapping)
You need a towel? A refill? A glass of
water? You need more than you already
have? You have everything -
(all his fury and frustration)
Everything. But it's not enough. Take
my daughter, too!

Sam's out of control, the whole shop stares at him as he
backs into a shelf of MUGS he so carefully arranged. They
CRASH onto the floor.

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. CARPENTER PORCH - DAY

Paints and brushes go FLYING across the porch as Lucy KNOCKS
THEM OVER. Totally out of control.

LUCY
You gave him the wrong address! You're
hiding me from him!

As Randy reaches for her, Lucy pours black paint on her.

EXT. CARPENTER HOUSE - DUSK

Lucy sits in a ball on the corner of the porch. Her eyes
swollen from crying. Finally, she gets up and moves to the
tiny chair that Randy put out for her. Straightens the easel
and begins to paint.

The front door opens and Randy comes out having washed her
face and hair. Without speaking, Randy straightens her easel
and sits down next to Lucy and begins to paint. Randy and
Lucy paint in silence for a long time. Then -

LUCY
You're going to send me away now, aren't
you?

RANDY
(tenderly)
No.

We hear what sounds like a child's hand playing the song
"Here, There and Everywhere..."

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - EVENING

We see SAM sitting at Lucy's miniature toy piano as he plays
with one finger. IN A SERIES OF DISSOLVES, as DAYS and WEEKS
PASS, we see SAM'S HANDS at the PIANO -

INTERCUT:

EXT. CARPENTER HOUSE - DAY

With Lucy and Randy's hands as they PAINT side by side to
Sam's sad melody. Lucy's pictures start ANGRY, angular with
blacks and blues, then GRADUALLY soften and the dark figures
recede. By the END, there is a BRUSHSTROKE of the red of
Randy's smock peeking into the corner of Lucy's picture.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - DAY

We come back to Sam, having withdrawn completely into himself
serenading no one.

INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM - DAY

We see Lucy and Randy sitting on her bed unwrapping the
birthday presents. TIME HAS PASSED. They look close, almost
like a mother and daughter. Lucy finishes unwrapping Sam's
present and we see a stack of ONE HUNDRED DENNY'S NAPKINS.

RANDY
Oh, he must've forgotten to put the gift
in.

Randy picks up one of Lucy's pictures and moves to the wall.

RANDY (CONT'D)
You know, this wall really needs
something special on it.

Lucy half-smiles and unconsciously begins to fold one of the
Denny's napkins into an origami bird. Then crushes it. Then
cautiously:

LUCY
What's the longest any one of those kids
stayed with you?

RANDY
Megan stayed a little over a year.

LUCY
(averting her eyes)
Did you ever want any of them to stay
longer?

ON RANDY

Moved herself. Understanding how huge a question this is
coming from this bruised little heart.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - WEEKS LATER - DAY

Sam sits in a dark corner; maniacally folding newspaper into
an odd origami pattern. There's a knock at the door - Sam
doesn't move, he just continues folding his paper.

RITA (O.S.)
Sam it's me! Open up!

He doesn't answer it, just methodically folds.

EXT. SAM'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

Rita stands there impatiently.

RITA
I don't have time for this! You were
supposed to show up for your first
evaluation. And I leave work early to
get there and where the hell are you?!
Open the door! Sam! Open the goddamn
door!
(nothing)
Alright. If you don't care enough to
open the goddamn door I'm outta here!
I've ruined my practice, I've alienated
my colleagues - I sent my kid off on a
fishing trip with his father so I could
work with you and you won't open your
goddman door for me?! Fine! THAT'S IT!
I've had enough!

She starts down the hall when suddenly she turns and - with
the mastery of a karate black belt - RUNS AND KICKS the door
down.

INT. SAM'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

Rita bursts through the door and then stops. Sam has created
an origami wall of newspapers, intricately woven together.
A fortress against the world. He keeps folding - doesn't
even look at Rita. He's more far gone than she could
imagine, she walks gingerly to the wall and knocks gently on
it.

RITA
Sam, it's Rita. Can I come in?

SAM
No room. No room.

RITA
Hey. I lived in the East Village. I
don't need a lot of room.

SAM
Sam makes life too hard. Sam makes life
too hard on everyone.

RITA
Sam, I can go at least nine more rounds.
But you gotta let me in. Please Sam.
Please.

He pulls out one small brick of origami, opening a window.

RITA (CONT'D)
Thank you. Now I can see your kind
eyes...George told me you needed a break
from work.

SAM
I don't want to work there anymore. Too
many people.

RITA
Maybe we could find you a quieter job.
Because remember one of the judges
conditions is you have to earn more
money; you've got to keep earning more
money for when we get you Lucy back.

SAM
Lucy doesn't need me anymore. She has a
new family. She doesn't need me
anymore.

RITA
Is that what she said?

SAM
She didn't have to say it. I may be
stupid, but I know. I know.

RITA
Well that's the first stupid thing I've
ever heard you say.

Sam looks at her through the window. A CHINK in the wall.

RITA (CONT'D)
Sam, Sam you can get her back. The
court favors reunification. The only
thing that can block you is if the
foster family petitions to adopt. And
from what I've heard, Lucy's making
their life miserable - that's our girl.
Sam, fight for her.

SAM
I tried. I tried.

RITA
Try harder.

SAM
You don't know. You don't know.

RITA
I don't know?

SAM
You don't know what it is to try and try
and never get there. You were born
perfect, perfect.

RITA
Is that right? Everyone else is perfect
but only Sam feels loss and pain?

SAM
That's right. People like you don't
know.

RITA
People like me?

SAM
People like you don't know, don't know
what hurt feels like, people like you
don't feel, don't feel anything.

She slaps him. STUNNED, he slaps her back. STUNNED, she
slaps him again. HE SLAPS HER. She rips the newspaper wall
down.

RITA
You think you got the market cornered on
human suffering? Well let me tell you
something about "People like me."
People like me feel little and lost and
ugly and dispensable. People like me
have perfect husbands screwing someone
far more perfect than me and my son, my
son hates me, I try too hard and I push
and he knows it and I talk in that
voice, that voice I promised I'd never
use, and I've screamed, I've screamed
horrible things to him, a five year-old
because he doesn't want to get in the
car at the end of a day and he stares at
me with such anger and I hate him then.
I know I'm failing you, I know I'm
disappointing you, I know you deserve
better but get in the fucking car! It's
like every morning I wake up and fail,
and I look around and anybody, anybody
can pull it off, but somehow I can't.
And I know, I know I have everything,
and I'm still miserable and it's
pathetic. I know it's pathetic. No
matter how hard I try, something about
me will never be enough.

She's crying too hard to continue. He pulls her to him.
Before she realizes what's happening, she's holding him
tightly. He whispers in her ear.

SAM
You're enough. You're so much more than
enough.

He looks her straight in the eye - she's undone by the
intimacy of the moment, by the strength of his purity. And
staring into his eyes, she begins to sob, walls crumbling.
He kisses her elbow, her shoulder, her forehead, her eyes,
her tears. And something ignites between them - something
confused and scary and deep and filled with a passionate
ache.

SAM (CONT'D)
Lovely Rita...

On a bed of newspaper that was once a wall they come
together, whole again.

EXT. RANDY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

Sam rounds the corner walking - or rather being walked by SIX
DOGS, all shapes, all sizes. He heads up the walkway to
Randy's house. She comes out of the house and shuts the door
behind her, stopping him.

RANDY
You're early.

SAM
All the lights were green.

RANDY
There's a reason for the court schedule.
You stopped showing up. Lucy has had to
rebuild her life.

SAM
I want her back. I can do it. I know I
can.

RANDY
That's not up to me, but I'm telling
you, I will do everything in my power to
prevent Lucy from getting hurt again.

Sam hangs his head. A dog barks at Randy.

RANDY (CONT'D)
Whose dogs are these?

SAM
Supplemental income supplemental income -
bathe, walk and feed. Sam Dawson meets
your canine needs.
(to dogs)
Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!

All the dogs sit but a BIG BLACK LAB. Randy heads into the
house. The front door opens and Lucy comes out. She runs
down the stares to Sam. Thrilled, Sam opens his arms to her.
She leaps into them and begins slugging his chest with pent
up fury.

LUCY
You never came! You never even called!
You forgot about me! How could you
forget me!

SAM
I never forgot you. I forgot me.

SAM (CONT'D)
I hate you I hate you I hate you!

Lucy pulls away. A long charged silence. Lucy refusing to
even look at her father.

SAM (CONT'D)
Lucy, I tried to write you a letter last
night...

A BASSET HOUND SNEEZES.

SAM (CONT'D)
Gesundheit, Buster. Buster has a cold.
But the letter had too many big words.
Pokey, sit.

The black lab has begun eating Randy's flowers. Lucy stares
forward. Sam speaks tentatively, carefully:

SAM (CONT'D)
Dear Lucy. Pokey sit. Dear Lucy, I'm
sorry that I hurt you. Every moment of
the day I thought about you. Lucy in
the hammock, Lucy at school. Lucy in
the sky...XXOO. Daddy. P.S. I love
you, recorded September 11th, the day
you took your first step.

Lucy raises her head and looks at Sam for the first time.

INT. DENNY'S - DAY

ON SALAD BAR

Rows of carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and - uh-oh, a tomato's
in the peas. A hand comes into frame and carefully places
the tomato just so, in the tomato bin. Now it moves to the
olives. Shouldn't all the pimentos be facing up?

PULL BACK

To reveal Sam, in white apron and hat, deftly filling the
containers of the elaborate salad bar as people fill their
plates.

SAM
Napa cabbage, excellent choice. Purple
and green, purple and green. Very rich
in Vitamin C. Good choice. Very good
choice.

INT. COURTHOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY

Sam walks toward the courtroom when we see Rita approaching
from the other end of the hall. They both slow down when
they see each other. Rita unconsciously fixes her hair. Sam
adjusts his tie.

RITA
Hello, Sam. Mr. Dawson. Sam. Dawson.

SAM
Hello, lawyer.

They almost shake hands - realize that means touching each
other and don't. Rita motions toward the door.

RITA
Shall we?

SAM
No. We already did. Don't tell
anybody.

They nervously walk through the door, bumping into each
other.

INT. SMALL COURT ROOM - LATER

She's very aware of Sam. He looks away, over compensating
obviously. Throughout the scene, Rita's hair falls in her
eyes. She attempts to put it in place.

RITA
Furthermore, my client has found a new
job, and is making every effort to find
a bigger apartment so that -

Rita's hair falls in her eyes again. Sam stands up, pulls
HER BARRETTE from his pocket, the one she left at his house.

SAM
Here.

Rita stares at the barrette as if it were the murder weapon.

RITA
Oh, thank you. What a...a lovely
barrette, Mr. Dawson. It will look
great on Lucy. Who I'm sure you bought
it for. Furthermore, so that...there
will be more room for Lucy as she grows
up.

MARGARET BROWN
All of that is well and good but the
fact that Mr. Dawson quite his job,
missed his hearing, and did not even
show up for his visits with his
daughter...

RITA
The fact that my client went through
profound depression is the most natural
reaction any parent could have.

MARGARET BROWN
But once again he had no idea how his
behavior during that depression impacted
on his daughter.

RITA
In these next months, Mr. Dawson will be
expanding his support system to include
Social Service programs, tutors --

MARGARET BROWN
It's too late! The foster family is
petitioning the court for sole custody
of Lucy and I fully support their
request.

Sam turns to Rita. This can't be happening.

INT. DENNY'S - NIGHT

Sam, Rita, Ifty, Robert and Brad sit in a booth. With one
extra person, it's a little tight. Rita picks at her
Salisbury Steak special, trying to deal with the business at
hand.

IFTY
Isn't it illegal? It's illegal to go
through stop signs. It's illegal to
cross on the red.

RITA
It's not illegal. It's very
complicated. When a strong foster
parent lobbies for a child it changes
the equation.

ROBERT
They're reaching right through Sam as if
he doesn't exist. As if he's a ghost.

RITA
There's one option we've never talked
about, Sam.
(very carefully)
I know what you went through the last
time you took the stand. We could
settle out of court, ask for the most
incredible visitation rights - it would
almost seem like joint custody.

SAM
You're saying I don't have a chance.
That's what you're saying.

RITA
I'm not saying you don't have a chance.

ROBERT
That's what you said last time and look
where he is now.

SAM
Stop. Rita's not saying I don't have a
chance. Are you? Tell me I have a
chance.

Too long a pause. Ifty looks at the clock.

IFTY
Oh my God! 6:35 is Video Night at my
house and I'm not even there!

ROBERT
If we get there before you do we'll wait
for you - check!

BRAD
Sam get your dessert to go.

SAM
This is very hard to say. I'm having my
dessert here. With Rita. I'm not
coming to video night.

Devastated, Ifty, Robert and Brad solemnly gather their
things.

RITA
Sam - if you want to go...

SAM
I said no, Rita.

RITA
I know, but if you -

SAM
What? Do you want me to go?

RITA
I didn't say that. But do you want to
go?

SAM
Where?

RITA
Nevermind.

SAM
Fine.

RITA
Fine.

IFTY, ROBERT & BRAD
Fine.

They leave in a huff. The WAITRESS delivers the check with
dessert and coffee.

RITA
I've got it.

SAM
I've got it.

Long pause. Rita slowly eats her pie.

SAM (CONT'D)
It's good to chew. You're eating more
slowly.

Rita laughs and nods.

SAM (CONT'D)
Coconut Rhubarb. Sidebar, we need to
talk. Sidebar.

RITA
(carefully)
Yes we do.

SAM
I need to get Lucy back. We need, we
need - to be professional.

RITA
Do you know what that means?

SAM
When dealing with Starbucks' customers,
be friendly but not familiar. I can be
your friend.

RITA
(oddly touched)
Thank you, Sam.

SAM
You need to leave your husband.

RITA
(her armor up again)
Oh, my marriage isn't so bad.

SAM
'Life is very short and there's no time
for fussing and fighting, my friend.'

RITA
(undone)
It's just...it's just that...I've never
lost anything.

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

Randy kisses Lucy goodbye as she heads toward school. We
follow Lucy - suddenly a BIRD SAILS THROUGH THE SKY and LANDS
IN FRONT OF LUCY. It's an ORIGAMI BIRD. She looks around -
but doesn't see Sam anywhere. But she feels him. She walks
toward school, clutching the bird, past a tree and we move up
that tree and see Sam nestled in the branches. There. They
made contact.

EXT. RANDY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

It's later that week. Lucy walks proudly down the street in
a GIRL SCOUT UNIFORM, selling cookies. Randy is by her side,
beaming.

LUCY
We've made $22.36. That's seven
dollars, 64 cents less than thirty.

RANDY
Well that's one way of looking at it.

EXT. RANDY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - LATER

DISSOLVE as they move through the neighborhood. Finally we
see her bound up the steps to an apartment building. She
knocks on the door. It opens - and Lucy and Randy's JAW
DROPS.

REVERSE ANGLE

Sam stands there. Holding three kittens. WE see various
dogs in arm chairs, the couch...

LUCY
Daddy?!

RANDY
What are you doing here?

SAM
I live here. This is where I live.

LUCY
This is where you live? So close to me?

SAM
I wanted to be close to you. I wanted
to be closer. Look at my apartment
number.
(it's number 9)
John was born on October 9th. His son
was born on October 9th.

LUCY
John met Yoko on November 9th.

SAM
His mother lived at 9 Newcastle,
Liverpool.

LUCY
Newcastle. 9 letters. Liverpool - 9
letters...

RANDY
Lucy, give me one minute with your
father. Sam, I consider myself an
understanding person but I don't
understand this. You can't close the
distance between you and Lucy with a new
address. We go to court in a week -

SAM
I don't want to spend half my visit with
Lucy on the bus getting to Lucy. I
don't want to waste one more minute.

Buster sneezes.

LUCY
(from the doorway)
Does Buster still have his cold?

SAM
He's better, much better. Now I'll have
one box of mint chocolate cookies.

LUCY
That'll be three-eighty six.

LUCY & SAM
(in unison)
Let me see let me see let me see...
That's one dollar and 14 cents less than
five.

Randy watches with a mixture of jealousy and fear as Lucy
effortlessly enters her and Sam's universe.

EXT. CARPENTER HOUSE - DAY

From the window, Randy watches as Sam hands Lucy four leashes
and the two of them get pulled down the street by the dogs.

INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM - 2 A.M.

Lucy lies in her hammock, unable to sleep. Staring at the
little origami bird on her window sill. She moves it, opens
the window wide, quickly takes Mr. Jeeters - and within a
moment she's out the window and onto the limb of the tree.

EXT. MAIN THOROUGHFARE - NIGHT

"The night grows teeth..." stray dogs fight over garbage - a
wino talks to himself and in the midst of it all walks Lucy
in her pj's. Mr. Jeeters tucked under her arm. Lucy crosses
the street. HONK! the screeching of tires...

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - MOMENTS LATER

We're looking at an old fashioned fire escape when suddenly
we make out a figure climbing higher and higher. It's Lucy.
We catch glimpses of her and then lose her as the neon sign
across the street blinks on and off.

INT. SAM'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Sam's asleep. Suddenly his eyes open wide. And like an
animal sensing danger, he gets up. We HEAR THE SOUND of
something THUMPING AGAINST RUNG AFTER RUNG OF THE FIRE
ESCAPE. He rushes to his window and looks to see --

EXT. SAM'S APARTMENT

Lucy climbing the fire escape! Sam opens the window and
reaches for her.

SAM
Lucy Lucy. What are you doing?! You
could have really hurt yourself. What
are you doing?

LUCY
I couldn't sleep. Daddy, did you know
that Warren G. Harding was the twenty
ninth President of the United States?

SAM
No.

LUCY
Remember - the twenty-ninth President.
In case the Judge asks.

EXT. RANDY'S STREET - NIGHT

Sam, in his pajamas, holds a sleeping Lucy in his arms. He
turns a corner and heads up the walkway to Randy's house. He
knocks on the door. Finally the door opens and we see Randy
and Bill in their pajamas SHOCKED at seeing Sam and Lucy.

SAM
She couldn't sleep.

RANDY
Give me my daugh -
(she stops herself)
Give me - I'll take Lucy.

SAM
Maybe if you rub her tummy twenty-three
times, tell her two stories and give her
half a Denny's blueberry muffin and a
third of a glass of milk she'll sleep.
Good night.

Randy and BILL, her husband, watch as Sam turns and walks
purposely down the walkway - his houseslippers scuffling on
the quiet street.

SERIES OF SHOTS AT 3:00 A.M. --

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Lucy in her pj's walks down the middle of the street.

EXT. SAM'S WINDOW - NIGHT

Lucy knocks on Sam's window.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Lucy and Sam walk back down the street to Randy's house.

EXT. SAM'S WINDOW - NIGHT

Lucy lugs encyclopedias to Sam's windowsill.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Lucy in a blanket being carried by Sam toward Randy's house.

INT. LUCY'S ROOM - NIGHT

Until FINALLY, we see Lucy in her hammock at Randy's house
looking out the windows, which have now been completely
covered with BARS. Her room is filled with origami birds
from the 100 Denny's napkins, her birthday gift. Lucy gets
out of her hammock and tiptoes across her room - quietly
opening the door.

INT. CARPENTER HOUSE - STAIRS TO LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

We follow her through the dark house as she creeps down the
stairs. She gets to the front door. It's been DEAD BOLTED
where she cannot reach it. From the darkness we hear --

RANDY
(tenderly)
Lucy. Come here.

Randy sits in the darkness, next to a THIRD OF A GLASS OF
MILK and a HALF A DENNY'S BLUEBERRY MUFFIN.

RANDY (CONT'D)
I made us a midnight snack.

Lucy stares at the muffin and milk. Torn.

RANDY (CONT'D)
I understand that you want to see your
daddy. And I don't want to keep you
from him. I honestly don't. So you
tell me when you want to see him. You
can see him anytime you want. But we
have to arrange it first. Do you
understand?
(Lucy nods)
Now would you like a snack?

Lucy nods. Elated, Randy makes room for her on the couch.
But Lucy just reaches for the milk and muffin and heads up
the stairs then turns back and speaks gently to Randy.

LUCY
Thank you. Goodnight.

RANDY
(words caught in her throat)
Goodnight, Lucy.

INT. SAM'S BEDROOM - DAY

We PAN ACROSS THE ROOM and see Sam's shoes, his tie, and a
YELLOW PAD WITH ALL THE PRESIDENTS LISTED IN ORDER. A KNOCK
at the door - Sam opens it to see Rita standing there,
looking intensely vulnerable, holding her husband's suit.

RITA
My husband left this when he moved out.

SAM
Oh, lovely Rita, meter maid.

RITA
(entering)
Nice place. I worry. I worry
sometimes...

SAM
You worry you did the wrong thing?

RITA
I worry that I've gotten more out of
this relationship than you.

SAM
No no no. I'm the lucky one. I have
the lawyer that never loses.

RITA
(covering)
That's me...okay, let me see, let me
see, let me see.
(pulls out notes)
They're going to put Bill and Randy on
the stand first and then you.

SAM
Them first, then me. They're a nice
couple. They have a nice house. She's
pretty. She's smart, too. I can tell.
The manager of the salad bar is gonna
testify, isn't he? That will help us.

For a moment, Rita's mask drops and her fear for Sam
overwhelms her.

RITA
Absolutely.

SAM
Nobody believed that George Harrison
could really be a song writer. But he
wrote "Here Comes the Sun". John and
Paul said it was one of the best songs
on ABBEY ROAD.

RITA
(tenderly)
George was always my favorite Beatle.

SAM
Lucy's was Paul.

INT. RANDY AND BILL'S BEDROOM - 2 A.M.

Randy and Bill are asleep when Randy senses something. She
opens her eyes and sees Lucy staring at her.

LUCY
Now.

RANDY
What honey?

LUCY
Now. I want to see him now.

INT. SAM'S BEDROOM - 3:30 A.M.

We see Sam sleeping in bed. There's a KNOCK at the door.
Sam wakes with a start, throws down the covers.
We see that he's wearing the Armani suit. Sam opens the door
to see Randy standing there, holding a sleeping Lucy in her
arms.

RANDY
She fell asleep on the car ride over. I
was gonna turn back and tuck her in to
her bed...with the pink canopy...and the
quilt I made...But I was afraid she'd
wake up at our house...
(fighting the ache in her soul)
...and want to come home.

Sam looks at Randy with profound compassion.

RANDY (CONT'D)
I was gonna tell the judge that I could
give Lucy the kind of love she never
had. But I would be lying.

SAM
I hope I hope I hope that you're saying
what I think you're saying even though
you're not saying it.

Randy nods and hands the sleeping Lucy into Sam's strong
arms. For a moment they BOTH HOLD LUCY between them in the
most unique embrace. Randy finally lets go and struggles to
say goodbye.

RANDY
Goodnight. I'll see you in court. Save
me a seat...on your side.

Randy walks away. Stunned, Sam watches her, holding Lucy in
his arms. Then, from a very brave place:

SAM
Randy! If I tell you I can't do it
alone, will you tell the judge?

RANDY
(turns gently)
No.

SAM
Promise?

RANDY
Promise...

SAM
I've looked and looked for a mother for
Lucy.
Help, I need someone, help, not just
anyone. You're the red in Lucy's
painting.

ON RANDY

So unexpectedly bonded to them both.

EXT. SOCCER FIELD - DAY

A glorious sunny day. Lucy and her team are in the middle of
a fierce game. A foul is called when we hear -

SAM
Penalty! Rules broken. Penalty,
please!

Sam, wearing a UNIFORM and whistle around his neck, walking
his inimitable walk, races up the field, COACHING THE TEAM.

Ifty, Robert and Brad sit in the bleachers. Robert, in
sunglasses, paranoid, looking behind him. Brad follows
around an attractive YOUNG WOMAN as close as he can get to
her. Sam runs by the water stand, manned by Randy and Bill.

They share a look - a moment of intense parental pride. Lucy
and a kid named PHILLIP go after the ball.

OBNOXIOUS MOM
Get her! Phillip, you get her!

ROBERT
I saw that! You gave him a secret
signal! Didn't you?

IFTY
Keep both eyes on the ball, Lucy - balls
are round - on sale at Kmart. The earth
is a ball, too...

Phillip steps in front of Lucy and shoves her as hard as he
can. Sam blows his whistle repeatedly and races over.

SAM
Penalty! Repeat! Rules broken!
Penalty!

RITA (O.S.)
Penalty?! Sue him! Kick his ass outta
the game!

It's RITA! With Danny - hollering from the stands.

ON LUCY

Looks over at her father. Sam does every coaching gesture,
and referee hand signal from every sport known to man. It
looks like a bizarre TWYLA THARP DANCE.

ON LUCY

She does it right back at him. Their secret code. The code
that will bind them for the rest of their lives.

ON THE CROWD AND PLAYERS

All watching. What the hell was that? Sam blows his
whistle.

SAM
Play ball! Play ball!

The game heats up. Lucy's team gets the ball and is headed
toward the goal. Sam is running right alongside them, so
excited, until he can't hold himself back anymore and
intercepts the ball! Sam runs valiantly down the field with
it! We hear "Here Comes the Sun"...

Little darlin', it's been a long, cold lonely winter. Little
darlin', it feels like years since you've been here. Here
comes the Sun...Here comes the sun...And I say, "It's
alright..."

And the CREDITS ROLL.


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