East 25th Street, New York
A man is standing at a stove cooking fried eggs and bacon. He leaves the eggs sunny side up as he sets them on a plate next to the crisp bacon. The plate is part of an elaborately decorated breakfast tray complete with orange juice. He walks up the stairs carrying the tray while a Garth Brooks singing softly on the radio downstairs. He cautiously opens a door, only to have a pink bunny slipper tossed at him.
He cheerfully states, “Somebody is awake”. A female voice sleepily asks if Garth Brooks is still legal on this side of the Mason-Dixon line? Mrs. Palmer is trying to sit up in bed and wake up. The man is Sam, her husband, who has brought her breakfast in bed. He reminds her that she has no choice but to wake up because it is a “school day”.
45 Essex Street
Kiden is eating a bowel of cereal as her older brother, Tyler, enters the kitchen. He asks her if their mother is still asleep. She tells him that it is way too early in the morning for him to start with her. He then asks if she is feeling “warm and fuzzy” towards their mother for not grounding her. Tyler has cut his hair very short exposing the hoop earrings he is wearing to public view. He tells Kiden she is lucky to have him for a brother so the position of “black sheep of the family” is already filled. In other words, his actions make hers look angelic by comparison. Tyler continues to press his luck by asking Kiden if it is true that she broke Hector’s arm. Kiden tells him to drop this subject as she covers her face. Tyler then proceeds to tell his sister that he heard Kara peed herself as he grabs a milk carton from the refrigerator and drinks directly form it.
Tyler hears their mom yell his name from down the hall. He mumbles “morning” to her as she strides into the kitchen already dressed. In response she holds up a small plastic bag with white powder and demands he tell her what it is inside. Tyler says he can explain, but then denies that the contents belong to him. Ty’s and Kiden’s younger brothers enter the room and immediately make fun of him for getting busted by their mother.
Their mother takes the bag and its contents to the bathroom while Ty struggles to free himself from his younger siblings. Ty frees himself giving each of them a hard shove into the wall. Kiden watches the scene with a look of shock and horror on her face.
Ty enters the bathroom as his mom flushes all the contents of the plastic bag down the toilet. Kiden sits at the breakfast table and hears the heated exchange of words between her mom and older brother. She also hears her younger brothers complain about their rough treatment to their mom. She hears the toilet flush, and all she can say is the phrase “stop it”. She repeats this phrase over again slowly to herself. Kiden begins to develop a far away look in her eyes.
East 25th Street, New York
Mrs. Palmer is struggling to get out of bed while her husband Sam tries to find out why she has been so moody lately. She promises to call him before she does anything drastic like shoot up the school. Sam does his best to let her know that he is really serious but she reminds him that she has a responsibility to the kids she teaches. He tells her that is exactly why she is known as “The Mother Teresa of Giuliani High”. She tells him that her nickname is funny but she does kind of like it. He tells her he thinks its very sexy. She teases back by stating that he would never throw her out of bed. He answers by grabbing her and pulling her down onto the floor. He tells her he would just to be able to “do” her on the floor. On the breakfast tray the vase with the flower has been knocked over but the food is untouched.
45 Essex Street
Kiden’s twin brothers are in the hall screaming how Ty has injured them. Ty and his mom are in the bathroom arguing. He is telling her that her actions will get him killed. Mom tells him that he should have realized that before bringing the poison home. Kiden is sitting at the kitchen table, tears in her eyes, repeating “stop it” softly to herself. Ty grabs his mom by the front of her T-shirt while his younger brothers beat on his back and tell him to leave their mother alone. Kiden leaves the table and goes down the hall to her family. She screams “What is wrong, can’t this family ever be normal for a few seconds? I hate this!!”. Kiden’s family stares at her in disbelief. Kiden then turns and leaves the house slamming the door behind her. She never hears her mothers words of “Kiden … wait”.
Rudolph Giuliani High School
From the high school entrance to the metal detectors the students walk through, one gets a clear feeling of an inner city high school. Hector is met by his friends just as he enters the hall. His buddies start the day by teasing him about his newly broken arm, which is now in a cast. Hector tells them to “shut up” and cusses Kiden out for placing him in this embarrassing situation. A High School Security Officer approaches the three of them. Hector tells the officer that he has it and hands the officer a rolled up brown bag with a twenty dollar bill rubber banded to it. The officer pockets the twenty while examining the bag, and hands the bag back to Hector.
Principals Office of the High School
Kidens is seated in the chair opposite the principals desk. From the way her refers to her as Ms. Nixon and his tone of voice, she knows she is in serious trouble. Seated to her left is Ms. Palmer who had the idea for this conversation in the first place, according to the principal. The Principal tells Kiden that he thinks she’s on drugs because of her violent behavior and mood shifts. He thinks they should take her downtown and test her. Kiden fakes having something in her eye, but otherwise offers no response to the principal. Ms. Palmer reminds Kiden that the Principal is only interested in the name of the person that started the fight as well as the name of the person who broke Hector Morales arm.
Kiden sits still in the chair, hands entwined and says nothing for a long time. She knows she can’t talk without implicating herself and the weird thing that is happening to her. She knows she must keep silent about what she doesn’t understand. Deep inside she knows the reaction the will have, so this is a move or self-preservation more than anything else. Finally, Kiden breaks the silence by asking if she is going to be suspended or if she can just go? Angrily, the principal tells to her to leave and she replies ‘thanks’ as she heads towards the door.
Ms. Palmer tells the Principal that she believes Kiden is a good kid. All Kiden needs is for Ms. Palmer to sit and talk to her. The Principal replies that if he were in Ms. Palmer’s position he wouldn’t be able to leave the room fast enough. Ms. Palmer says she understands and heads toward the door. Principal Weisman says he doesn’t believe her because she is still in the room. Ms. Palmer replies “yes Sir” as she leaves the room and calls the principal an “idiot” under her breath.
Hallway of the High School
Kiden leaves the principal’s office in a really bad mood. Kara sees her best friend through the crowd and calls for her to wait so she can catch up. Kara asks Kiden if she is ok. Kara tells Kiden that she saw her coming out of the principal’s office. Kiden claims she is ok. Kara tells her she doesn’t look like she is ok. Ms. Palmer passes them while elbowing her way politely through the crowd of teenagers to her classroom. Kiden tells Kara that how she feels has nothing to do with Principal Weisman and everything to do with what happened to her yesterday. Kara still insists Kiden is talking about breaking Hector’s arm. Kiden grabs her best friend by her shoulders and looks seriously into her eyes as she starts to tell Kara what really happened to her. Kiden stops mid sentence as she sees someone past Kara; someone elbows Ms. Palmer in the stomach on the way to his class and nearly knocks her down. Kiden finally breaks down emotionally, puts her hands on either side of her face and tells Kara that she is unsure if its all in her head or she is really freaking out. Kara tells Kiden that her actions are scaring her. Kiden tells her, “That makes two of us.” Kiden turns to walk down the hall, away from Kara, but Kara goes after her. Kiden tells Kara that she needs a smoke and is leaving.
A familiar voice close by catcalls “Mor-Tee-Cia”. Kiden turns to see Hector and his friends. Hector is standing in the hall waving his unbroken arm at her. He claims he has something to share with her and hopes she does not mind that he did not gift-wrap it. Hector reaches into the brown bag he showed the security officer before and reveals a small semiautomatic gun. As Hector unveils the weapon, Ms. Palmer approaches from the crowd behind Kiden. Ms. Palmer requests Kiden to wait, so she can talk to her.
Ms. Palmer sees the gun and leaps in front of Kiden telling Hector to stop. Meanwhile, Hector utters an expletive and fires. Kiden screams “stop” at the top of her lungs and suddenly things are quiet. Cautiously she opens her eyes only to see the bullet frozen in mid air in front of her. She is astonished as it is aimed directly at her forehead. She looks past the bullet to the group to teenagers around Hector. She attempts to communicate with them but they ignore her and remain frozen in position. Kiden tells them that the joke is funny but it’s over now, she even admits that she was scared.
Kiden looks behind her and finally gets the idea that they are all frozen in place but her. She is suddenly overjoyed at the turn of events and skips joyously over to Hector. She lightly touches his gun and asks him how tough he is now? She is surprised that the gun is hot and sucks her finger to cool the burn. Then she starts to tell Hector what she is going to do to him when things suddenly come to life. The gun goes off in Kiden’s ears making her cover them. Hector looks at Kiden completely startled as the recoil of the weapon throws him backwards to the ground.
Frantic screams of help draw the crowd’s attention to Kara, on the floor of the hallway holding Ms. Palmers body. Blood can be seen on the lower left of her green blouse. Blood that is running in a stream to the floor of the hallway. Ms. Palmer’s eraser, papers, and notebook lie in front of her where she dropped them as she fell.
East 25th Street, New York
Someone is knocking loudly on the door. Ms. Palmer is staring off into space while her body is sprawled in a padded chair. The apartment, once tidy, is now a mess. Clothes and newspapers litter the coffee table and floor. Ms. Palmer is in her bathrobe and wearing slippers. The door opens and the front room light is flicked on. She looks up from the chair to see Principal Weisman. He greets her and asks her why the front door is unlocked. She calls him a “glutton for punishment” to which he replies that he is just “bullheaded” She stares up at him. He says its has been at least 6 months since the accident. He also tells her he knows about Sam, but she interrupts his flow by asking about Kiden. He tells her that Kiden is still missing. It seems no one has seen her since the shooting. She interrupts him again by telling him that she can never go back. She attempts to stand and tells Sherman it really wasn’t his fault. She also tells him that “its ok”. As he states he is leaving he picks up a picture: It’s a wedding picture of just the bride in the bridal gown. It has clearly been ripped in half. Startled by this realization, he drops the picture. Cameron Palmer screams as if she has been re-injured as she goes to the floor to pick up the broken glass. He apologizes but she tells him to just go.
He turns and leaves her crying, on the floor, looking at the picture.
A while later, a different knock. The door opens cautiously when no one answers. Someone calls a greeting and enters the room cautiously. This person sees the picture of the bride on the wall is crooked and attempts to straighten it. This person also sees the messy front room and follows the mess into the kitchen, where opened, uneaten, days old, Chinese takeout containers are observed jumbled together on the table. Suddenly, the visitor notices the newspaper clippings on the table. All the clippings are of the same incident: teacher shooting at Rudolf Giulani High School. Among them is a Christmas card, signed by Sam.
The mysterious visitor notices an empty medication bottle lying sideways on the table. The label states the medicine is Vicodin, a well-known narcotic painkiller. With a half whispered statement of “oh, my god, the visitor runs for the bathroom. Bloody water is clearly seen dripping against the pristine white of the bathtub. The visitor says “oh, no,” and runs to the aid of the person in the bathtub. Kiden gently lifts Ms. Palmer’s head above the water to keep her from drowning.