I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I liked the idea and... shuffle, shuffle... mumble-dee, mumble-dee...
FADE IN:
EXT. CITY STREET NIGHT
A sheen of ice reflects the street lights. Nothing moves. All is quiet.
In the distance a street light pops out. Then the next. Then the next... until the light directly above goes out. And then, in the opposite direction, they pop out one at a time into the distance.
EXT. SIDEWALK MOMENTS LATER
LEOLA SHANKS, her hair matted, her face scarred and red, is propped up against the building, beside a grocery cart full of cans. She moves restlessly in her sleep, as she draws her thin coat against her throat, shivering.
The street light above her pops out. A DARK FIGURE is silhouetted against the moon light.
He laughs coldly.
Leola stirs and blinks.
QUINTON, tall, in an expensive suit, his features sharp and his mustache well trimmed, is staring down at her. He's holding a steaming cup of coffee.
QUINTON
Cold?
She reaches for the cup.
He sneers, then slowly pours the coffee on the sidewalk.

QUINTON
How clumsy of me.
Leola starts coughing, then wheezing as she tries to get her breath. She hacks, spits and wipes her mouth with the sleeve of her coat.
Her voice is raspy when she speaks.
LEOLA
Gotta' cigarette, Mister?
She blinks as she realizes someone else is standing beside Quinton.
FARLEY, hair uncombed, chubby, wearing a rumpled gray sweat suit, leans down and touches Leola's forehead. Her eyes close slowly as she falls asleep, a slight smile on her face.

Quinton turns sharply, agitated.
QUINTON
Still can't mind your own business?
FARLEY
She just needs a little rest. Give
her some peace.
QUINTON
She'll be peaceful enough... after
tonight.
Quinton laughs.
QUINTON
I've waited years for this one.
It's just so delicious.
Farley sighs.
FARLEY
Tell me.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM DAY
The sun streams in. Leola, many years younger, is lying on a bed. A NURSE walks in with a newborn baby in her arms.

Leola reaches out for it.
She coos.
YOUNG LEOLA
Lil, my little angel.
CLINT, a handsome young man in an Army uniform, enters, smiles wide and beelines for the bed.
CLINT
That her? Really?
He gently kisses the baby on the head.
INT. BEDROOM NIGHT
The light snaps on. Clint jumps up. ANOTHER WOMAN is in the bed with him. She grabs a blanket and pulls it over her.
Leola gasps, unmoving, her mouth wide in shock.
CLINT
I can explain... It's...
Lil, four years old, enters the room.
LIL
Daddy?
Leola grabs her and ushers her out of the room.
INT. CAR DAY
Leola and Lil are sitting in the front seat of their car. Leola's mascara is running.
They pull over to the curb in front of a sign that reads "Jake's Bar and Grill."
YOUNG LEOLA
I just have to make a phone call.
I'll be right back.
LIL
Daddy?
She chokes on her answer
YOUNG LEOLA
No, dear.
EXT. CAR LATER
The sun is setting as Leola stumbles out of the bar.

She opens the car door.
YOUNG LEOLA
Lil?
No answer.
YOUNG LEOLA
Quit playing, Lil.
Her eyes widen.
YOUNG LEOLA
LIL!
INT. APARTMENT KITCHEN DAY
Dirty drapes cover the window. The appliances are avocado green. The linoleum is warped and cracked.
An OLDER LEONA, her face worn, is sitting at the table. In front of her, beside the half empty whiskey bottle, are piles of "Child Missing" posters. On them are pictures of the four year old Lil with an artist's mock-up of what the twelve year old Lil might look like.
Leona takes a swig from the bottle and stuffs a poster in an envelope.
INT. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY DAY
Graduation ceremonies.
The DEAN reads a name as a line of students, in gowns, wait.

DEAN
Congratulations... Diane Tills.
Diane's family cheers from the crowd.
Lil's turn.
DEAN
With honors... Lil... Hershey.
Silence, then polite claps.
INT. LIBRARY DAY
Lil, 20s, searches through newspaper microfilm.
She comes to a stop.
LIL
Shanks?... Lil Shanks?
She prints a picture of the old "Child Missing" poster.
INT. APARTMENT OFFICE DAY
The MANAGER, old and gray, nearly as big around as tall, apologizes.
MANAGER
I'm sorry, Miss Shanks, but she left
no forwarding address.
EXT. SIDEWALK NIGHT
Leola still sleeps peacefully.
QUINTON
And she's been looking for her mother
ever since.
FARLEY
How sad.
QUINTON
It gets better. Much better.
FARLEY
How so?
QUINTON
Lil lives five blocks away, in the
Flatiron Apartment Building. She's
walked past her mother fifteen, twenty
times in the last month.
FARLEY
No.
Quinton laughs.
QUINTON
Oh yes. She'll be passing again in
a few minutes. She's always at work
by five. The irony!
Quinton eyes sparkle as he rubs his hands.
QUINTON
It's so delectable! So close, but
she'll never see her mother alive.
Footsteps on the sidewalk quickly approaching.
QUINTON
(whispering)
There she is now.
(pause)
I'm glad you're here to share this.
LIL, 30s, carrying a brief case, slows when she nears Quinton and Farley.
She stops when she nears her mother, staring toward the street where they stand.
Farley whispers.
FARLEY
Can she see us?
QUINTON
(whispering excitedly)
No, but she can "feel" us. She's
afraid of me.
(pause)
Isn't it exquisite?
FARLEY
It's sick.
Quinton laughs.
QUINTON
Yes.
Lil starts walking again, her nostrils are flared and her eyes wide as she scans the street.
Farley pushes Quinton hard. He falls into Lil, who trips and falls on to Leola.
Lil screams.
Leola wakes.
LEOLA
What? Who?
Lil jumps up, then reaches down to leola.
LIL
I'm so sorry, ma'am.
She leans down to Leola and grabs her hand.
LIL
You're freezing.
Leola coughs.
LIL
Let me help you up. We've got to
get you to the hospital.
Lil pulls Leola up and they shuffle down the street.

Moments pass.
Quinton is livid. He stamps his feet. He yells.
QUINTON
You were not to interfere. You broke
the rules.
Farley laughs.
FARLEY
I did? Oh, how clumsy of me.
He fades out as the street light above pops on. Then the next light turns on... and the next one...
FADE OUT:

RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
Nice bit of irony for the ending, RonB. Cool.
Doug
Just a virtual guy... in a virtual world
Nice bit of irony for the ending, RonB. Cool.

Thanks. And you actually made it to the end!
(You must have been in a charitable mood.)

RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"