ELECTION by Alexander Payne & JIM Taylor Third Draft July 22,1997 Based on the novels by Tom Perotta EXT. MILLARD HIGH -- DAWN The school stretches out before us, slumbering in the overcast morning air. Along the front sidewalk, a lone JANITOR trundles a garbage bin filled with overstuffed hefty bags. A weathered FORD ESCORT pulls into the empty PARKING LOT and comes to a stop near the athletic field. A TEENAGE GIRL'S VOICE - TRACY (VO) None of this would have happened if Mr. McAllister hadn't meddled the way he did. He should have just accepted things as they are instead of trying to interfere with destiny. You see, you can't interfere with destiny. That's why it's destiny. And if you try to interfere, the same thing's going to happen anyway, and you'll just suffer. JIM MCALLISTER, a teacher in his mid to late-thirties, emerges from the car in running clothes and carrying a briefcase, gym bag, and coffee mug. On his way to the field, he crosses paths with the janitor. JIM Morning, Lowell Lowell nods, hoists a bag and tosses it into a dumpster. EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD -- DAWN JIM CIRCLES THE TRACK, sweating and panting. ON THE GROUND JIM does sit ups JIM Twenty-one... twenty-two. He collapses onto his back. His head rolls to one side, and he glances past the fence at -- THE PARKING LOT Where a second CAR is just arriving. JIM watches as TRACY FLICK, a junior, and her MOTHER get out. The mother helps remove a CARD TABLE and a big plastic sack from the trunk before Tracy heads toward the school. MOTHER (distant) Good luck! JIM turns his gaze toward the sky, closes his eyes, sighs. INT. BOYS' LOCKER ROOM -- DAY Naked in the showers, JIM pumps liquid soap from the wall- mounted metal dispenser. INT. HILLARD HALL DAY THE LEGS OF A CARD TABLE - as Tracy spreads them open and locks them into place. STICKS OF GUM from a Plen-T-Pack are emptied into a FISHBOWL- SCOTCH TAPE is wrapped around the end of a pen to attach a piece of string INT. BOYS' LOCKER ROOM DAY AT THE MIRROR JIM adjusts the knot of his tie, notices a little shaving cream in his ear. INT. MILLARD HALL DAY FOUR CLIPBOARDS with pens and lined sheets of paper are being placed in a row like little soldiers. The top of every sheet reads "Tracy Flick for President: Official Nomination Signatures." INT. FACULTY LOUNGE -- MORNING AT THE REFRIGERATOR JIM tries to place his lunch inside, but the shelves are too crammed with old take-out containers. He opens one and smells it. Disgusted, he drags a garbage can over and begins throwing things away. Lowell appears in the doorway wheeling his squeaky maintenance cart and watches JIM conduct his purge as A CHINESE FOOD BOX misses the can and rolls on the floor. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY -- DAY Tracy is seated behind her card table strategically placed near the school's main entrance. A sign taped to the wall behind her reads, TRACY FOR PREZ. SIGN UP FOR TOMORROW, TODAY! She checks her watch, readies herself. JIM walks around the corner whistling vaguely. TRACY Good morning, Mr. McAllister. JIM Not wasting any time, are you, Tracy? TRACY (chirping) You know what they say about the early bird. JIM Yes, I do. An awkward moment passes between them. JIM Well, good luck there, Tracy TRACY Thanks, Mr. M. AS JIM turns and walks away, Tracy watches him. He stops and picks up some litter, tosses it in a nearby garbage can. TRACY (VO) No matter what he says, Mr. McAllister had it out for me from the start. Oh sure, he was all smiles and good wishes and everything, but underneath he was just as unfair and petty as anybody else. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM DAY Alone in his room, JIM studies the Omaha World-Herald TRACY (VO CONT'D) He'll probably tell you how committed he was to teaching and democracy and integrity and all. Don't be fooled. After laying the paper down to circle an article, JIM leans back in his chair and momentarily loses himself in thought. JIM (VO) It's hard to remember how the whole thing started, the whole election mess. What I do remember is that I loved my job. I was a teacher, an educator, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Suddenly a VOICE -- VOICE (OS) Hey, Mr. M. Mr. M.! JIM glances OUT THE WINDOW and sees a kid -- PAUL METZLER -- pointing at him. Paul walks with a LIMP. Behind him, other STUDENTS approach the school. PAUL Stop daydreaming! Get back to work! JIM enjoys the affectionate joshing and gives the kid a wave. He returns to his newspaper, a contented man. JIM (VO) The students knew it wasn't just a job for me. EXT. MILARD HIGH FOOTBALL STADIUM -- NIGHT JIM sits in the bleachers, clapping his hands over his head. JIM C'mon, wolverines! Defense! Let's hold 'em back! JIM (VO) I got involved. And I cared. INT. MILLARD GYM DAY AT A PEP RALLY - JIM is dressed as a WESTERN VILLAIN, and his black hat reads "Lincoln South." With a menacing grimace he approaches a group of FOOTBALL PLAYERS at a poker table. JIM (VO CONT'D) And I think I made a difference. A CORNER OF THE SCHOOL DAY JIM has a comforting hand of the shoulder of a CRYING GIRL JIM (VO CONT'D) I knew I touched the students' lives during their difficult young adult years, and I took that responsibility seriously. INT. AUDITORIUM -- NIGHT JIM trots up the stairs to receive a plaque. He beams. JIM (VO CONT'D) In the twelve years I taught U.S. History, Civics and current Events at Millard, I was voted Teacher of the Year three times - a school record. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM -- DAY Mr. McAllister reads aloud from the newspaper as he paces in front of his class of high school juniors, Tracy Flick among them. The seats are arranged in a SEMI-CIRCLE. JIM (VO CONT'D) Standing in front of a room full of young people, trying to make them think that's how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, JIM slaps the newspaper for emphasis and addresses the class JIM So would this be an ethical situation or a moral situation? What's the difference between ethics and morals, anyway? Tracy shoots her hand into the air. JIM notices but keeps looking around. JIM (CONT'D) Anybody Other hands rise tentatively JIM (CONT'D) Derek DEREK Uh, ethics is like when you, uh, do what society tells you is right and morals are like, uh... JIM You're on the right track, who can help him out? DEREK ..morals are when... Tracy's hand goes higher. JIM Michelle? MICHELLE Morals are like lessons, you know, like the moral of a story; it's what you learn from a story or a fable or something. . . JIM Or a life experience. Good. And ethics? MICHELLE That's more like, urn... Ethics is how you use the morals... that you learn from a story? JIM weighs the answer, tries to be encouraging. JIM Okay. But we're still missing something key here. What are we missing? TRACY (hand still raised) I know. JIM (finally) Tracy. TRACY Ethics are... FREEZE FRAME on Tracy, her hand lowering, her mouth agape. JIM (VO) Tracy Flick. Tracy Flick. I've never met anyone quite like Tracy Flick. INT. STUDENT COUNCIL ROOM -- DAY -- ONE YEAR PREVIOUS JIM sits to one side, monitoring the student council MEETING about to convene. A younger Tracy enters briskly and, unlike her casual teen comrades, has made an attempt to dress for success. She takes a seat right up front and opens her backpack. After preparing her notepad and pen, Tracy puts a MICROCASSETTE RECORDER on the table in front of her and pushes RECORD. JIM (VO CONT'D) She first showed up in my life as a freshman delegate in student council. I'd seen a lot of ambitious students come and go over the years, but I could tell right away Tracy Flick was different. JIM observes Tracy, trying to size her up. ON TRACY -- putting all her little things in order, finally folding her hands to wait. JIM (VO CONT'D) It wasn't long before everyone knew who Tracy Flick was. She made sure of that. Her drive was astonishing. Even scary. A FAST-PACED MONTAGE BEGINS UNDER TRACY'S VOICE-OVER: INSERT HILLARD HIGH YEARBOOK It fans open to the INDEX. PAN DOWN to Tracy's name followed by countless page references TRACY (VO CONT'D) Some people say I'm an overachiever, but I think they're just jealous. A page number turns BOLD, and the other numbers drop away Suddenly we are on that page, and we PAN to a headline: "Spanish Club says Oh La!" PAN to the group shot and ZOOM in on Tracy smiling in a big SOMBRERO. TRACY (VO CONT'D) My Mom always tells me I'm different -- you know, special. And if you look at all the things I've accomplished so far, I think you'd have to agree. We see Tracy on other pages too: "Yearbook Staff goes for it!" "Junior Achievers put on the dog!" "Student Council meets the challenge;" Oklahoma's a hit! TRACY (VO CONT'D) Here I am in Oklahoma. The STILL of Tracy in Oklahoma suddenly COMES TO LIFE. INT. MILLARD HIGH AUDITORIUM NIGHT On stage, Tracy wears a cowgirl outfit and hams it up with exaggerated gestures. TRACY (off-key) I'm just a girl who can't say no... TV INSERT/INT. CAFETERIA DAY It's the closed-circuit school NEWS BROADCAST. Tracy is delivering a stand-up report from the crowded cafeteria. Her dress and makeup are an obvious if lame emulation of a professional newswoman. TRACY (VO) And here I am on KMHS, our student-run TV station. TRACY (ON TV) ..that's why Principal Hendricks made the controversial announcement that the littering must stop. Tracy Flick reporting. INT. STUDENT COUNCIL MEETING ROOM -- AFTERNOON A Student Council meeting is underway led by the president, LARRY FOUCH. A girl, ASHLEY, is speaking. JIM observes from the side. TRACY (VO) But it was in SGA, the Student Government Association, where I made my biggest mark. I never missed a meeting, and I volunteered for every committee as long as I could lead it. Before Ashley can finish, Tracy STANDS UP TRACY I agree with Ashley. We should rent the barrels at least a day beforehand. What happened last time was a travesty, I mean, we were -- LARRY FOUCH (trying to quiet her) Yeah, no, I know, Tracy. That's why we're -- Look, can we just take a vote on this? INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM DAY BACK TO TRACY still frozen mid-sentence, waiting to finish her answer. JIM (VO) Now at the end of her junior year, Tracy was poised to win the presidency of the student body. And so far she was running unopposed. TRACY COMES BACK TO LIFE TRACY ...the rules of conduct determined by a culture at a... SHE FREEZES AGAIN JIM (VO) Oh. There's one more thing about Tracy I think you should know. INT. MILLARD STAFF-ROOM -- DAY CLOSE ON DAVE NOVOTNY, another teacher in his mid-thirties DAVE Her pussy gets so wet you can't believe it. WIDE - Dave is leaning across his desk to speak with JIM at an adjacent work area. They eat sack lunches. JIM (VO) A few months before the election, she'd had an affair with my best friend Dave Novotny. JIM Don't tell me that. I don't want to know that. DAVE She's incredible. Everything just gets soaked. INT. JIM'S BASEMENT DAY Dun-dun-DUN... Dun-dun-DUN JIM and Dave are playing the opening notes of "Foxy Lady" through cheap, distorting amps. JIM plays bass. Dave plays guitar and sings into a microphone. They're bad. As in not good. The basement is typical of a Midwest middle-class young couple -- half storage and laundry, half makeshift roc-room. JIM (VO) Dave came to Millard the year after I did, and we hit it off right away. We backed each other up in teachers' meetings and shared an interest in 60's music and micro-breweries. CLOSE ON DAVE really getting into it, playing to an unseen stadium. Behind him JIM is very careful with his chords. JIM (VO CONT'D) You could tell Dave was one of those guys who taught because they never wanted to leave high school in the first place, and that could get a little irritating sometimes, but basically he was a real good guy. DAVE (singing) Foxy. . . Foxy. . . You know you're a cute little heartbreaker... Foxy... You know you're a sweet little love maker... CAMERA DRIFTS toward the stairs leading up. INT. JIM'S KITCHEN CAMERA DRIFTS from the open basement stairway door and toward DIANE MCALLISTER and SHERRY NOVOTNY seated at the kitchen table. They are fussing over little six-month-old DARRYL NOVOTNY in his highchair. JIM (VO) Our wives became best friends too. And when Dave and Sherry's son Darryl was born, they asked us to be godparents. At a particularly grating note from downstairs, Diane gets up and closes the basement door. INT. GEOMETRY CLASS AN ISOSCELES TRIANGLE is being drawn on the blackboard and bisected. PULL OUT to reveal Dave explaining. The class is taking notes, and we zero in on a younger Tracy. TRACY (VO CONT'D) YOU probably think the worst - that Mr. Novotny was just taking advantage of one of his students, but it wasn't like that at all. Our relationship was based on mutual respect and admiration. I mean, during my sophomore year in geometry it was strictly professional between us -- I mean, nothing. EXT. GODFATHER'S PIZZA -- NIGHT The parking lot, the neon lights, the promise of good times. TRACY (VO CONT'D) It wasn't until junior year when we worked together on the yearbook that things got serious. INT. GODFATHER'S PIZZA -- NIGHT Dave and Tracy are at a booth along with six other students. TWO KIDS DISSOLVE OUT OF FRAME, and the others shift positions. Others continue to disappear in the same way, until only Dave and Tracy remain. TRACY (VO CONT'D) One night he took us editors out to celebrate after a deadline. Eventually Dave and I were left alone and we got to talking - not like teacher and student, but like two adults. DAVE You know, Tracy... I don't know how to say this, but... Dave's finger traces the rim of his frosty root beer mug. TRACY what? DAVE Well, I notice you don't seem to have any close friends at Millard. You seem to be kind of a loner. TRACY No, I'm not. I'm just really busy. DAVE I know. I know its not by choice. I just mean, well, being the kind of person you are, it must be really difficult to find someone you can talk to. TRACY What do you mean? What kind of person am I? DAVE What kind of person? Dave looks directly into her eyes. DAVE (CONT'D) Tracy, I've been watching you for going on two years now, and I think you are one of the most talented, hard-working, sensitive, attractive, brilliant students -- no, human beings -- I have ever met. I mean, you're the real thing. Special. TRACY (embarrassed, low) Thank you. DAVE And I know sometimes people like you have to pay a price for their greatness, and that price is loneliness. Tracy nods in quiet recognition. DAVE (CONT'D) I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. But it seems like you might need a friend. INT. MILLARD YEARBOOK OFFICE -- DAY A DOOR with cloudy glass and a stenciled sign: YEARBOOK OFFICE. DISSOLVE through the door and TRAVEL through an empty room to discover another door with a sign that reads DARKROOM. TRACY (VO) Since I grew up without a dad, you might assume psychologically I was looking for a father figure. DISSOLVE through the darkroom door to DAVE AND TRACY bathed in red light. Tracy is sitting on Dave's lap as they make out hungrily. TRACY (VO CONT'D) But that had nothing to do with it at all. It was just that Dave was so strong and made me feel so safe and protected. INT. DAVE'S CAR -- DAY Dave drives. Tracy sits in the passenger seat. TRACY (VO CONT'D) It was the first time somebody ever saw the real me, the me that nobody else knows. DAVE (looking around) Here, get down. EXT. NOVOTKY HOUSE - DAY Dave wheels his car into the open garage. The automatic door closes behind him. INT. NOVOTHY LIVIMG ROOM Dave stands up from his squat at the STEREO, and the sexy sounds of Sade set the mood. Tracy is seated awkwardly at one end of the sofa, a Diet Dr. Pepper in one hand. Dave walks slowly toward her, a sexy, knowing look in his eye. The music is sexy. Tracy is sexy. He's sexy. Keeping his eyes locked on Tracy's, he takes the pop can from her hand and takes a sip himself. Sexy. INT. NOVOTHY STAIRCASE DAY Dave and Tracy walk up the stairs and down the hall. Dave enters the bedroom first, while Tracy pauses in the hall. His arm reaches out and pulls her inside. INT. NOVOTNY BEDROOM DAY IN QUICK TIGHT CUTS we see Dave and Tracy DISROBING Tracy's head and naked shoulders lay themselves on Dave's pillow. She looks toward the foot of the bed at -- DAVE, unable to believe his eyes. He looks at naked Tracy up and down, up and down, his breath quickening. Sade wafts up the stairs. DAVE Look at you. He descends out of frame. TRACY (VO) When I think back on my relationship with Mr. Novotny, what I miss most. is our talks. INT. DAVE'S BASEMENT DAY JIM is riveted by Dave's story; he is both horrified and titillated JIM You did it at your house? Your own house? DAVE Look, Jim... Okay. I know it all seems crazy, and maybe it did start out, you know, for the... for the sex and the danger. But now it's different. Jim, what I'm trying to tell you is that Tracy and I are totally, totally in love. JIM In love? DAVE Yeah, it's serious. I mean she inspires me in ways Sherry never has. She even wants to read my novel. JIM But you haven't written your novel. DAVE That's the whole point. It's all in my head; it's right here. I just got to get it out there. Tracy wants me to write it so she can read it. It's beautiful. JIM Dave, I'm just saying this as your friend. What you're doing is really, really wrong, and you've got to stop. Dave draws a heavy sigh and buries his head in his hands perhaps JIM has reached him. Perhaps not. DAVE You're not just jealous, are you? I mean, we both used to talk about her JIM (exploding) That was just talk! Fantasy talk! What are you, nuts? We talk about girls all the time, but it doesn't mean anything. I would never. . . I mean, I take very seriously our strict moral code. The line you've crossed is... it's illegal and it's immoral. DAVE I don't need a lecture on ethics, Jim, okay? I know what -- JIM I'm not talking about ethics. I'm talking about morals. CLICK. SQUEAK. STEP STEP STEP. SHERRY (OS) Peek-a-boo! Sherry comes down the basement stairs with Darryl in her arms. DAVE (to Jim, whispering) Look, I appreciate your concern. I really do. But like I said, I got it under control. As Sherry approaches them, Dave rises to take Darryl, the perfect father: hug, tickle, kiss. JIM (VO) I guess I don't have to tell you how all this turned out. INT. PRINCIPAL HENDRICK'S OFFICE DAY CLOSE ON DAVE slumped in a chair. He is lost in agony: all he can do is look down and draw short, gasping breaths. Principal Walt Hendricks is at his desk, examining a little BOOKLET. JIM sits on the vinyl sofa. CLOSE ON -- the small makeshift booklet whose cover reads, "There's a place for us" in overdone fancy cursive. THE SECOND PAGE shows a cutout from a travel magazine of a swanky BEACHFRONT HOTEL. One room has been circled with the words "you and me" written next to it. Below: "A time and place for us." We HEAR Walt clearing his throat, swallowing. THE THIRD PAGE has glued to it a POSTCARD showing a couple hand-in- hand on the beach at sunset and reading, "Maui is for lovers." Below: Take my hand and we'll soon be there. THE LAST PAGE has a cutout of a bouquet of flowers. It reads, "Tracy, See you in paradise? Love, your 'teacher' David. P.S. I really, really need you now." The booklet is lowered. DAVE Tracy's Mom -- she doesn't understand. WALT No, I'd say she doesn't. I don't think I've ever seen a mother quite so upset. We're all very, very lucky she doesn't want this public. Dave looks at JIM for help. JIM looks away. Dave's breaths grow more convulsive. Finally - DAVE But we're in love WALT Dave. Dave, look at me Dave looks slowly up. WALT I want you to get some help. DAVE & SHERRY'S LIVING ROOM NIGHT Sherry cradles Darryl while Dave grovels at her feet. JIM (VO) After Dave got fired, Sherry kicked him out of the house and filed for divorce. SHERRY Your novel? Are you fucking kidding me? Dave follows Sherry as she takes the baby into their bedroom and slams the door in Dave's face. Dave pounds on the door, eventually sinking to his knees and crying. DAVE Sherry Sherry Sheerrry. ... JIM (VO) He ended up moving back to Milwaukee to live with his parents. I haven't heard from him in a long time. Poor guy. I warned him. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM -- DAY Tracy, still frozen, THAWS OUT. Maybe now she can finish TRACY ...certain time in history and RINGGGGG Maybe not. At the bell, students instantly shut their textbooks and collect their things. JIM Okay. We'll pick up here next time Tracy is miffed as she puts her things away: slam, stuff, zip. She slings her backpack over her shoulder and heads toward the door. She looks back at -- MR. MCALLISTER who himself now FREEZES as he talks to a couple of students TRACY (VO) Now that I have more life experience, I feel sorry for Mr. McAllister. CLOSE-UP FROZEN DETAILS - of Jim's appearance - his slightly frayed collar and bad tie; the heels of his old docksiders worn down at irritating angles; the faded impression his too-big wallet has made in his khakis; his growing bald spot; his ear hairs. TRACY (VO) I mean, anyone who's stuck in the same little room saying the exact same things year after year for his whole life, wearing the same stupid clothes, while his students go on to good colleges and move to big cities and do great things and make loads of money has got to be at least a little jealous. It's like my room says - the weak always try to sabotage the strong. Tracy turns and walks out the door. INT. TRACY'S HOUSE -- DAY CLOSE ON A SMILING LITTLE TRACY - in a Sears-style portrait. PAN across a wall full of other framed photos of Tracy accepting awards, dancing in a recital, poised to dive at a swim meet. TRACY (VO CONT'D) One thing that's important to know about me is that I'm an only child. So my Mom is really devoted to me, and I love her so much. She wants me to do all the things she wanted to do in life but couldn't. AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE Tracy's mother, BARBARA FLICK, finishes a letter and puts it in an envelope. TRACY (VO CONT'D) See, Mom used to be a stewardess for Northwest and now works as a para-legal. She likes to write letters to successful women like Janet Reno and Elizabeth Dole and ask them how they got to be where they are and what advice do they have for me, Tracy, her daughter. CLOSE ON BARBARA'S TONGUE as the envelope flap slides across it. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY A politician's SMILE plastered to her face, Tracy is at her card table vigorously gathering signatures. TRACY (VO CONT'D) Nine times out of ten they say you have to hold on to your dreams no matter what. The pressures women face mean you have to work twice as hard, and you can't let anything or anyone stand in your way. A shabbily dressed BURNOUT -- DOUG SCHENKEN -- walks past and grabs a huge handful of gum. TRACY One per person! Put those back I John just keeps on walking away, and his two BUDDIES take great delight in his nimble-witted, quick retort. DOUG SCHENKEN Eat me INT. HILLARD LIBRARY -- DAY While other students sit in groups around her, Tracy sits apart at her own table, concentrated and alone. She is writing little numbers by her signatures. TRACY Ninety-seven.. .ninety-eight. TRACY (VO) But you know, winning isn't everything. If you play fair and follow all the rules thoroughly, you'll always come out ahead. Win or lose, ethical conduct is the most important thing. Just ask Mr. McAllister. EXT. PARKING LOT -- DAY CLOSE ON TRACY'S EXCITED FACE TRACY Mr. McAllister? Mr. McAllister! Wait up I Jim, his tie loose and his sleeves rolled up, looks up from unlocking his car. Tracy runs toward him holding out a TERM PAPER FOLDER. TRACY I got all my signatures. One hundred and fifty-eight -- way more than I need! JIM Hey, that's super TRACY Here they are. JIM You can put those in my box. I'll look at them tomorrow. TRACY Could you approve them now? I'd like to kick off my campaign right away, you know, in the morning. JIM (resigned) Right He cursorily flips through the bound pages and offers them back to Tracy. JIM (CONT'D) Looks good to me. TRACY Aren't you supposed to keep them? JIM NO, that's fine TRACY I thought you were supposed to keep them. JIM Okay, fine. Sure JIM throws his briefcase and Tracy's folder into the backseat. TRACY Thanks for everything. JIM You bet. Tracy stays put as JIM climbs in, shuts the door and fastens his seat belt. TRACY (cheery, awkward) I can't wait to start campaigning. JIM Should be easy. So far no competition. TRACY Hell, you know, Coca-Cola's the world's number one soft drink, but they spend more money than anybody on advertising. I guess that's how come they stay number one. JIM Yeah. Okay. well, good luck Tracy They exchange a long, curious stare. There's a tone at once confrontational and vaguely sexual about this moment. TRACY You know, Mr. M., when I win the presidency, that means you and I are going to be spending a lot of time together next year. And I for one would like that time to be harmonious and productive. Wouldn't you? JIM Sure TRACY Okay. That's good. I just wanted to make sure. JIM Good luck, Tracy. JIM pulls away and heads for the parking lot exit. INT.EXT. JIM'S CAR ON STREET -- DAY JIM drives stone-faced, unblinking. Something about the music on the radio mocks him. JIM (VO) I don't blame Tracy for what happened with Dave. How could I? Dave was an adult more than twice her age. EXT. GROCERY STORE PARKIKG LOT DAY JIM pulls to a stop next to a giant DUMPSTER Out of his window come yellowed newspapers, balled-up fast food bags, and other detritus. He speeds away. JIM (VO CONT'D) Sure, she got on my nerves once in a while, but I admired Tracy. I really did. INSIDE THE DUMPSTER we see Tracy's little bound book of signatures. INT. MCALLISTER DIKING ROOM - MIGHT JIM and his wife Diane sit at their dining room table, eating chicken pot pies, baked potatoes with sour cream, salad with Lite Ranch dressing. Not a word passes between them. JIM (VO CONT'D) Thank God for Diane. She was my best friend, my source of love and strength. Oh sure, we'd had our share of bumpy times, but we'd always seen them through. After nine years of marriage, we were closer than ever. And the secret? Good communication. DIANE Anything wrong? JIM Everything's fine. Just, you know, school. INT. MCALLISTER BEDROOM - NIGHT JIM lies awake in bed while Diane snores beside him. Something seems to be echoing in his head. TRACY'S VOICE ...You know, Coca-Cola's by far the number one soft drink... When I win the presidency we're going to be spending a lot of time together... a lot of time... lots and lots and lots of time... president and advisor. . . CLOSE ON JIM'S EAR as Tracy's LIPS magically whisper into it. TRACY ...harmonious and productive... close and special... you and I... so close... so intimate... together... INT. MCALLISTER BASEMENT NIGHT In the darkness a light pops on, and JIM quietly pads down the stairs. He opens an old CEDAR TRUNK, lifts out a few blankets and a piece of cardboard to reveal a row of PORNO TAPES cleverly concealed in the bottom of the trunk. ON THE TV SCREEN - A FOOTBALL PLAYER in uniform and helmet filets a CHEERLEADER in a locker room. JIM watches with detachment, as though watching the news. He sips a can of PEPSI. The football stud continues to bump and grind. Looking at his Pepsi can, JIM is suddenly inspired. JIM (quietly) Paul. EXT. SKI SLOPE (REAR PROJECTION) DAY PAUL METZLER is SKIING in goggles and scarf. Behind him is a cheesy dated rear projection of other skiers. Suddenly Paul loses his balance and FALLS. CLOSE ON PAUL writhing in the snow. PAUL Why. . . ? Why. . . ? PAUL (VO) I was so mad at God when I broke my leg at Shadow Ridge over Christmas break. INSERT X-RAY LIGHT BOX CLOSE ON AN X-RAY of a multiple FRACTURE. PAUL (VO CONT'D) The doctors told me I'd have to quit sports for at least a couple years if not forever. INSERT YEARBOOK PICTURE Paul kneels in his FOOTBALL UNIFORM. The photograph erupts in flames. Bonanza-style. PAUL (VO CONT'D) ...which meant no first-string quarterback in the fall. It was like the end of my life! EXT. MILLARD HIGH FRONT STEPS DAY Paul stands talking to FRIENDS in a very typical high school tableau. All wear backpacks or carry books. A GIRL kneels to sign his cast. PAUL (VO CONT'D) When I got back to school everybody was so supportive, and they all wanted to sign my cast and everything... EXT. MISSOURI RIVER LOCKOUT -- DAY Alone, Paul leans on his crutches and watches the river PAUL (VO CONT'D) ... but I still couldn't shake the feeling that now my life had no purpose. What did God want from me? THE VAST MISSOURI - always flowing, never stopping, no beginning, no end PAUL (VO CONT'D) Why did I exist? INT. LIBRARY DAY Paul is sleeping slumped over a table, his head cradled on crossed arms. The Celestine Prophecy is open face down next to him. PAUL (VO CONT'D) Sometimes you can search everywhere for answers. Then one day destiny just taps you on the shoulder. I know, because it happened to me. A FINGER reaches down and taps Paul's shoulder. Paul comes to and looks -- it's Mr. McAllister. JIM Paul, could I talk to you for a minute? MILLARD HALLWAY - DAY His arm on Paul's shoulder, JIM walks Paul down a deserted hall and into Jim's classroom. JIM picks up some scrap paper off the floor and puts it in the proper place. PAUL (VO) Mr. McAllister changed my life. And no matter what they say he did or did not do, I believe he is a good man. JIM'S CLASSROOM - DAY Paul sits in a chair, while JIM stands JIM Paul, I know you've been pretty down since your accident. PAUL I wanted to play next year so bad I could taste it. And maybe go on to... JIM I know. I understand disappointment. I really do. PAUL Yeah. JIM But you've got a big choice right now. You can choose to be depressed about it for the rest of your life. Or you can choose to see it for what it really is: an opportunity. I personally think you have a big future ahead of you, and I don't mean the fleeting glory of sports. PAUL What do you mean? JIM Let me give you a clue. You're a born leader. You're one of the most popular students at Millard. You're honest and straightforward. You don't choke under pressure, as we all saw in that amazing fourth quarter against Westside. The other kids look up to you. What does that spell? Paul furrows his brow and looks around, searching for an answer. His lower lip is wet. JIM Student... council... president. It takes a moment for this to sink in. Finally PAUL Who, me? Nooo. I never... I don't know anything about that stuff, Mr. M. Besides, that's Tracy Flick's thing. She's always working so hard and -- JIM Yeah, no, she's a go-getter, all right. PAUL And she's super-nice JIM Yeah. But one person assured of victory kind of undermines the whole idea of a democracy, doesn't it? That's more like a... well, like a dictatorship, like we studied. JIM Paul, what's your favorite fruit? PAUL Huh? Oh. Uh... pears JIM takes a piece of chalk from the lip of the blackboard. JIM Okay, let's say PAUL No, wait -- apples. Apples. JIM draws illustrative circles on the board as he speaks. JIM Fine. Let's say all you ever knew was apples. Apples, apples and more apples. You might think apples were pretty good, even if you occasionally got a rotten one. Then one day there's an orange. And now you can make a decision. Do you want an apple, or do you want an orange? That's democracy. PAUL I also like bananas. JIM Exactly. So what do you say? Maybe it's time to give a little something back. INT. STUDENT COMHON AREA DAY Tracy directs her friend ERIC OVERHOLDT on a ladder as he hangs a large POSTER high on a wall. TRACY The right side is too high. The right side. Just a smidge. Suddenly she notices a small COMMOTION in the adjacent cafeteria and goes to investigate. INT. CAFETERIA DAY A small crowd of students compete to sign Paul's nomination petition taped to the wall. GUY (signing) Hey Paul, you going over to Anthony's on Friday, or what did you decide? PAUL I gotta talk to him first. Tracy watches the hubbub, none too pleased, and pushes her way to the front of the group. TRACY Who put you up to this? PAUL Huh? Oh, hi, Tracy Tracy stares at him. TRACY Who put you up to this? PAUL What do you mean? TRACY You just woke up this morning and suddenly decided to run for president? PAUL No. Uh... I just... you know, I just thought -- TRACY Thought what? PAUL Well, see, I was talking to Mr. McAllister about my leg and everything... and how I still want to, you know, do something for the school and -- TRACY So Mr. McAllister asked you to run. PAUL Well, I mean, you know, I talked to him and everything, but he just said he thought it was a good idea... and how there's all different kinds of fruit and... It's nothing against you, Tracy. You're the best. I just thought -- TRACY Okay, Mr. Popular. You're on. With that Tracy turns and SIGNS Paul's sheet THE "I" IN "FLICK" is dotted with a STAR CLOSE ON TRACY'S FACE - as she walks away, Paul and his fans receding behind her TRACY (VO) You might think it upset me that Paul Metzier had decided to run against me, but nothing could be further from the truth. He was no competition for me: it was like apples and oranges. It just meant I had to work a little harder, that's all. INT. TRACY'S BASEMENT NIGHT CLOSE ON TRACY'S FACE -- in a xeroxed photograph. "Vote Tracy!" is written at the bottom. Tracy is making campaign buttons with her BUTTON MACHINE. She manufactures her buttons with almost alarming intensity. PATRIOTIC MUSIC begins to rise. TRACY (VO CONT'D) You see, I believe in the voters. They understand that elections aren't just popularity contests. They know this country was built by people just like me who work very hard and don't have everything handed to them on a silver spoon. THE TRACY BUTTONS drop one by one into a box. All the little round Tracys smile up at us. EXT. MILLARD PARKING LOT DAY Paul is in the driver's seat of his hitching big-wheeled PICKUP TRUCK. His door is open, and his radio blasts a SONG carefully selected to boost soundtrack album sales. Various FRIENDS OF PAUL'S hang around. Tracy watches the scene from her seat on the SCHOOL BUS TRACY (VO CONT'D) Not like some rich kids who everybody likes because their fathers own Metzier Cement and give them trucks on their sixteenth birthday and throw them big parties all the time. They don't ever have to work for anything. The .bus pulls away. INT. TRACY'S LIVING ROOM AFTERNOON CLOSE ON TRACY'S FACE - staring into camera as she exercises on a NORDIC TRAC, Drenched in sweat, she moves in a hypnotic frenzy. TRACY (VO CONT'D) They think they can all of a sudden one day out of the blue waltz right in with no qualifications whatsoever and try to take away what other people have worked for very, very hard their entire lives. No, it didn't bother me at all I INT. PAUL'S PICKUP -- DAY Paul drives home, his stereo thumping. Silent, he appears lost in thought, as though a little gopher idea were burrowing its way to the surface. Oh, look -- there's its snout now. PAUL Paul... Paul... power... Paul... Paul for President... progress... promise... peanut... Paul-i-tics... yeah... President Paul... Punt for Paul! No. EXT. METZLER HOME DAY Paul pulls into the driveway and hops out of his car. INT. TAMMY METZLER'S BEDROOM DAY Two GIRLS are kissing on the bed. They are TAMMY METZLER and LISA FLANAGAN, fifteen and seventeen respectively. Lisa breaks away. Tammy tries to kiss her again, but Lisa resists. TAMMY (softly) What? LISA I told you ... I can't. I just -- It doesn't feel right anymore, you know? INT. METZLER KITCHEN DAY Whistling a cheerful tune, Paul tosses his backpack on a chair, grabs a banana, and opens the refrigerator. INT. TAMMY METZLER'S BEDROOM DAY Tammy is still trying to comfort Lisa. TAMMY If you could just get out of your head. Tammy leans forward, puts her palm on Lisa's cheek. Lisa looks at Tammy as though at a stranger. Tammy leans forward and .kisses Lisa's eyes. Lisa jerks her head out of Tammy's hands. LISA I said no! Suddenly, there's a quick KNOCK at the door, and Paul enters. The girls rise quickly. PAUL Hey, Tammy, guess what happened today. TAMMY Don't you fucking knock? PAUL Yeah. So guess what happened. So Mr. McAllister, he -- (noticing Lisa) Oh hi. Lisa. TAMMY Paul, get out! PAUL So Mr. M. calls me in and tells me -- LISA I gotta go. Lisa pushes her way past Paul and runs down the hall TAMMY (to Paul) You dumbshit! PAUL What'd I do? THE SCENE FREEZES. TAMMY (VO) You know how they say one day a big meteor might come and crash into the Earth and kill everybody? Well, I think that would be a good thing. BACK TO LIFE - Tammy turns away from Paul in disgust and runs after Lisa INT. METZLER LIVING ROOM AND FOYER CONTINUOUS Tammy finds the front door flung open and through it sees Lisa slamming the door of her beat-up Honda Civic and starting the engine. TAMMY Lisa EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET CONTINUOUS Tammy runs up to the car as it pulls away. She pounds on the window. TAMMY Stop! Wait! Lisa stops the car, rolls down the window TAMMY (CONT'D) Where 're you going? LISA I'm not like you. TAMMY What...? LISA I'm not a dyke, okay, and we're not in love. We were just... I was just experimenting. Lisa speeds away, and we watch her car grow smaller and smaller. CLOSE ON TAMMY'S FACE - as we see the greatest disappointment of her short life break across her face. TAMMY (VO) How can something that seems so true turn out to be such a lie? EXT. ELMWOOD PARK -- DAY Lisa and Tammy are swinging synchronized on a swingset, smiling and laughing. The image is slightly OVEREXPOSED as though to suggest an ideal memory. CLOSE ON TAMMY looking over at Lisa TAMMY (VO CONT'D) I mean Lisa and I were destined to be together. It was so obvious. Of all the people on the planet who had ever lived, somehow we'd found each other. CLOSE ON LISA in SLOW MOTION, swinging next to us. She looks back, her face so happy. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) Lisa... INT. TAMMY'S ROOM -- DAY CHOMP-CHOMP-CHOMP Tammy eats an asparagus spear. GNAW-GNAW-GNAW Lisa eats an asparagus spear TAMMY drinks a big glass of water. She giggles a little. LISA drinks a big glass of water. She giggles too. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) I remember one time Lisa and I did an experiment with asparagus to see how long it takes your pee to smell. We peed a little every five minutes. AN EGG TIMER: Ding I Tammy and Lisa, very serious now, smell little Dixie cups TAMMY (VO CONT'D) For her it took about fifteen minutes, and for me it was twenty. INT. LIBRARY DAY Lisa studies at a table, surrounded by other busy students. TAMMY (VO) Everyday I found some new way to tell Lisa I loved her. Suddenly Tammy walks by, drops a folded NOTE in front of Lisa, and walks on. Lisa opens it. NOTE (Tammy's voice) If you died right now, I would throw myself into one of my Dad's cement trucks and get poured into your tomb. Lisa looks over her shoulder at Tammy, who is now at the door of the library. Tammy nods at her with quiet loving reassurance. TAMMY (VO) But it just seemed like the closer we got, the more she pulled away. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY Lisa watches Tammy open her locker and notices a four-frame PHOTO- BOOTH PHOTOGRAPH taped to the inside of the door. In the photos Lisa and Tammy are clowning and smooching. Lisa reaches over and YANKS the photos off the door. LISA Are you crazy? TAMMY What? LISA People can see this. TAMMY So? LISA These are private -- these are for us. TAMMY I know. LISA But other people can see them too. TAMMY I don't care. LISA Well, I do. Lisa walks away with the photos EXT. ELMWOOD PARK DAY CLOSE ON LISA SWINGING -- next to us, a final reprise of Tammy's favorite memory TAMMY (VO) What did I do to make her change? What's wrong with me? Lisa swings out of frame, and the swing returns EMPTY. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) (a whisper) Lisa. EXT. HILL ABOVE A POWER PLANT TWILIGHT Tammy sits on a promontory overlooking an Omaha Public Power District station -- towers, wires, insulators, a loud HUM. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) Sometimes when I'm sad, I sit and watch the power station. Tammy lifts a pair of BINOCULARS to her eyes, sees THE POWER PLANT. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) They say if you lie between two of the main wires, your body just evaporates. You become a gas. I wonder what that would feel like. TAMMY'S STREET -- EVENING Lisa's car speeds away, growing smaller and smaller. We're back at the BREAK-UP. CLOSE ON TAMMY'S FACE as she stares down the street, unable to move. It starts to rain. Tears roll down her cheeks, mixing with the rain. very French, very sad. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) I don ' t know what I did to make Lisa hate me so much, but somehow she decided to hurt roe. And she knew exactly what to do. LISA'S BEDROOM DAY CLOSE ON PAUL'S FACE -- matched in size to Tammy's. He is moaning, gasping. FROM OVERHEAD -- Paul is sprawled on Lisa's bed, surrounded by stuffed animals. His legs dangle over the edge of the bed, and Lisa kneels between them, her head bobbing up and down. PAUL (VO) I sure was surprised the day Lisa Flanagan asked me for a ride home and ended up blowing me. Lisa pauses and looks up at Paul. LISA I've wanted this for so long. She resumes with renewed vigor PAUL Uhhh... teeth. Teeth. LISA Sorry. INT. MILLARD HIGH CAFETERIA DAY Paul and Lisa sit with some other friends at a lunch table. Paul has one arm around Lisa as he eats with his other hand. PAUL (VO) Life is so weird. First Lisa has a big fight with my sister, and the next thing you know she's my girlfriend. Lisa turns around to look at TAMMY seated at another table directly behind them. She and Lisa lock eyes before they both turn around again. EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD DAY Paul poses for a campaign photo in his football uniform. He freezes in position as though about to throw a pass. Lisa adjusts his position -- CLICK. PAUL (VO CONT'D) Since Lisa knew all about public relations and stuff, she offered to help me with my campaign. We made a great team! Tammy spies from underneath the bleachers INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY Paul is on all fours as Lisa stands on his back to hang a poster with Paul's football picture reading: "Paul Metzier You Bet-zier!" PAUL (VO CONT'D) It seemed so natural, the two of us together. It was like destiny. Tammy watches from a nearby classroom door, her nose and cheek pressed against the window. EXT. LISA'S HOUSE DAY Paul's truck pulls up, and Paul and Lisa get out PAUL (VO CONT'D) That spring was perfect. My leg wasn't bugging me too much, and the weather was so nice. And every afternoon after school. Lisa and I would go to her house to fuck and have a swim. It was like we were in a world all our own. Tammy emerges from behind a tree. She's on her bike. Angry and fragile, she watches the couple enter Lisa's house. EXT. LISA'S BACKYARD DAY Tammy peeks OVER THE FENCE and sees -- LISA AND PAUL swimming. Paul dives off the board and resurfaces right into Lisa's arms. MOVE CLOSER TO TAMMY as she dies a thousand deaths. TAMMY (VO) I had to do something. I didn't know what, but I had to do something. FADE OUT INT. SHERRY NOVOTNY'S BACKYARD -- DAY A laughing BABY BOY is lowered into frame and pulled back up again. Then he swings across frame. It's little DARRYL NOVOTNY. WIDE - JIM has Darryl by the ankles and is swinging him between his legs. Diane and Sherry are setting the picnic table. Stacked charcoal briquettes burn off in a nearby barbecue. JIM (VO) Around that time Diane and I were hanging out a lot at Sherry Novotny's house, giving her our love and support and helping her make it through a difficult time. DIANE Jim, don't. You're scaring him. JIM He likes it. Darryl's laughter suddenly turns into CRYING DIANE Here. Give him to me. (as she takes Darryl) is little Darryl dizzy? That's it. . come here. . . SHERRY You got him? DIANE Yeah. Sherry heads into the house. JIM watches her walk, then turns toward Diane and Darryl. It's as though Diane, not Sherry, were the infant's real mother, so loving and attentive is she, so swelled with maternal piety. JIM (VO) Diane really wanted to have kids -- and so did I -- but it seemed like there was always a reason to wait: she had to finish nursing school, I had to get my masters, we needed a new house, we needed more money. Finally we just decided to go for it... INT. JIM'S BEDROOM NIGHT A DIGITAL THERMOMETER reads 99.3. Behind it Diane lies in bed reading a copy of Self. JIM (VO) ...but for over a year we hadn't had any luck. And Diane was getting desperate. INT. JIM'S HOME OFFICE NIGHT At his desk, JIM studies a High Society magazine. He is naked. JIM closes his eyes and bites his lip as though feeling something he wished not to leave him. He quickly replaces a stack of magazines in his desk and goes across the hall to -- INT. BEDROOM CONTINUOUS where 'Lisa''s car speeds away, growing smaller and smaller. We''re back at the BREAK-UP. CLOSE ON TAMMY''S FACE as she stares down the street, unable to move. It starts to rain. Tears roll down her cheeks, mixing with the rain. very French, very sad.' waits in bed. She puts aside her magazine and welcomes Papa Bear. Lisa pauses and looks up at Paul. closes the door behind him. INT. MCALLISTER BEDROOM LATER JIM and Diane copulate. Although ostensibly near climax, JIM seems to be struggling. Diane's exhortations, once forbidden and exciting, now seem routine. DIANE You gonna do it? You gonna do it? JIM Yeah, uh, just a minute DIANE Come on, doit. Doit. Fill me up. Come on, fill me up JIM Yeah, just -- DIANE Do it! JIM finally climaxes DIANE (CONT'D) Okay! With that JIM rolls off of her. Diane immediately hoists her knees to her chest. CLOSE ON JIM - on his side of the bed facing away from Diane. DIANE Could you hand me the remote? EXT. NOVOTNY BACKYARD AS BEFORE JIM is snapped out of his reverie by Sherry's voice SHERRY Say, Jim. Jim. JIM looks. Sherry is walking out the patio door holding a big bottle of wine with a corkscrew sticking out of it. SHERRY (CONT'D) Could you get this? I can't JIM Sure. JIM takes the bottle. CLOSE ON the neck as the cork emerges: POP! INT. NOVOTNY KITCHEN -- DAY Sherry stands at the base of a stepladder as JIM climbs up and points to a spot on the ceiling. JIM (VO) Without Dave around. Sherry needed a lot of help around the house. JIM Here? SHERRY (indicating) More this way. JIM Okay. Give me the drill. JIM looks down at Sherry as she hands it up. Her blouse reveals a bit more than it should, and JIM pauses to get an extra glimpse. THE POWER DRILL BIT penetrates the ceiling. EXT. HOVOTHY FRONT YARD -- DAY A shirtless JIM is MOWING the lawn on a hot day. He shuts it off as Sherry emerges from the house with lemonade. She wears culottes, a halter top, and flip-flops. JIM I'd always liked Sherry, but we'd never had a chance to spend any time alone together. How with Dave out of the picture, I began to see what an incredibly sensitive and giving person she was. JIM downs his glass in big thirsty gulps and hands her back the glass. He watches her walk back to the house. JIM (VO CONT'D) Plus she had finally dropped all that weight from her pregnancy, and really she looked great. THE RIPCORD of the lawnmower is pulled a couple of times until it starts. INT. YOUHKERS DEPARTMENT STORE -- DAY IN WOMEN'S ACCESSORIES - Sherry looks at herself in the mirror modeling a colorful floppy hat. She spins around for Jim's approval. JIM (VO) We got to be pretty good buddies. I even took her to the mall one time while her car was in the shop. JIM smiles and nods. She puts on another. Sherry is like a young girl on a date. She grabs Jim's hand and pulls him in another direction. AT THE MAKEUP COUNTER - Sherry spreads on lipstick. SHERRY What do you think? It's clear what JIM thinks. JIM You look great INT. JIM'S CAR -- DAY They're driving home. There are packages on Sherry's lap and in the backseat. SHERRY I can't afford this stuff right now. JIM Oh, come on. You've had a hard year, you're cooped up with the kid all the time. Let go; live a little. SHERRY You sure? They come to a stop at a red light. Out one window JIM spots a MOTEL. JIM So what do you think? Should we get a room? SHERRY Should we get a what? JIM points at the motel. SHERRY (CONT'D) Oh. Her smile fades, and she stares straight ahead. There's an icy, uncomfortable silence. SHERRY (CONT'D) (stiffly) That's not funny. The light changes. JIM swallows, accelerates INT. JIM'S KITCHEN DAY JIM walks in through the backdoor. Diane is loading the dishwasher. They peck-kiss. DIANE How'd it go? JIM Fine. You know. We just went to Crossroads. DIANE You guys have fun? JIM picks an apple out of a bowl. JIM (between bites) Yeah. No. I mean, you know. DIANE What? JIM Well, Sherry's great. But she can be a little much sometimes. INT. MCALLISTER BEDROOM NIGHT Diane lies face-down, and JIM is on top of her. JIM makes spirited love with her. DIANE Oh, Jim! Oh, God! SHERRY'S HEAD, like a cut-out from a tabloid cover, floats in from off-screen and lands on the back of Diane's head. At the right moment, her face COMES TO LIFE and vaguely mouths the words that Diane is saying, like a badly-dubbed movie. DIANE/SHERRY Oh, God. Just like that. Oh yes. Fill me up... Jim's wicked desire increases with each movement Now TRACY FLICK'S FACE floats over and replaces Sherry's. Tracy mouths Diane's words. DIANE/TRACY Do it, Jim. Fuck me. JIM is at once in deep-space ecstasy and surprised at himself. Diane's voice now changes: it's Tracy's VOICE. TRACY (OS) Fuck me, Mr. McAllister FADE OUT UNDER BLACK JIM (VO) So like I was saying, things were going pretty well in my life. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY -- DAY It's passing period, and hundreds of students clog the halls JIM (VO) ... that is, until things started going all haywire with that damn election. A distant DING-DING grows louder and louder. Everyone turns toward the source, far down the hall, and eventually TAMMY emerges wearing a makeshift SANDWICH BOARD that reads "Tammy Metzier For President." Smiling a perverse smile, she rings a hand bell. Salvation Army style. Paul is at his locker and watches Tammy go by. PAUL Tammy? Tammy, what are you doing? Tammy ignores her brother and keeps walking directly toward us, finally INTO CAMERA. INT. MILLARD TEACHERS' OFFICES -- DAY Tracy sits opposite Mr. McAllister. TRACY You're the advisor. You should stop her. She's not qualified. She's just a sophomore. JIM Calm down, Tracy. Just calm down. TRACY Are you sure all her signatures are real? It's not easy to get all those signatures. JIM As far as I know, they-- Suddenly LISA AND PAUL are sitting where Tracy was. PAUL We can't both run, can we? We're brother and sister. Can we? LISA It's a conflict of interest. And Paul was first. JIM Anyone who gets signatures in on time can run. And she got in just under the wire. Nothing I can do. Now TRACY replaces Lisa and Paul TRACY Let me see them. Let me see them Sighing, JIM fishes in his drawer and hands Tracy some sheets TRACY These are a bunch of burn-outs. And look at this one, I can't even read this one. JIM (taking the sheet) Looks like Tim Kobza. LISA AND PAUL again LISA She's doing this to get back at me PAUL For what? LISA I mean at you. PAUL For what? LISA I don't know. You're her brother you should know. TRACY returns. TRACY Tim Kobza? Tim Kobza! Who's he? I've never heard of him! JIM Look, why don't we just forget about Tammy? We'll have the assembly tomorrow, everybody'll make their speeches, and I'm sure everything will be fine. INT. MILLARD GYMNASIUM DAY The entire student body is assembled on the bleachers. There is a palpable mood of boredom and apathy. JERRY SLAVIN, a handicapped kid in a wheelchair, is at the microphone. His head lists to one side, and he takes long breaths as he speaks. JERRY I love Millard High, and I will be a dedicated vice President. A vote for Jerry Slavin is a vote for good government. And even if I can't really stand up for you, I will. (cracks himself up) Thank you. Jerry motors away amid scattered applause and coughs. JIM steps forward, clapping, and raises the mike. JIM Thank you, Jerry, and good luck. Again, Jerry is running unopposed for Vice President. So we'll move on now to the presidential race with three candidates running. The first in alphabetical order is Tracy Flick. Tracy steps forward with a small stack of index cards. During her speech she flips the cards over one by one but rarely looks at them. TRACY Poet Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "I cannot make my days longer, so I strive to make them better." With this election, we here at Millard also have an opportunity to make our high school days better. During this campaign I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you about your concerns. I spoke with freshman Eliza Ramirez, who told me how alienated she feels from her own homeroom. I spoke with sophomore Reggie Banks, who said his mother works in a cafeteria and can't afford to buy him enough spiral notebooks for his classes. I won't bore you with long- winded promises about all the new and innovative things I will definitely achieve during the year in which it will be my honor and privilege to represent each and every one of you, but I can say that my years of experience on the student council have taught me the three most important attributes the president needs to possess; commitment - DOUG SCHENKEN Eat me DOUG'S BUDDY Eat me raw! There is scattered laughter. Tracy pauses, wait Hendricks bounds up and grabs the mike. WALT If you can't be adults and give these candidates the courtesy they deserve, then you don't deserve to be called adults but children* Because that's what children are. And you'll be treated like children. So let's all listen up. Walt backs away to his seat. Tracy resumes TRACY The three most important attributes the president needs to possess are: commitment, qualifications, and experience. I'll add one more; caring. I care about Millard, and I care about each and every one of you, and together we can all make a difference. One of the things I would like to establish is a regular open forum where any student can come and voice their concern about issues we face here at Millard. I and the rest of the student council would then interface with the faculty and staff, so a continuous dialogue would exist. Walt whispers to Jim. WALT I'd say she knows a thing or two about student-faculty dialogue. JIM nods solemnly TRACY When you cast your vote for Tracy Flick next week, you won't just be voting for me. You'll be voting for yourself and for every other student Our days won't be any longer, but they can sure be better. Thank you. Tracy smiles and walks back to her folding chair. There is polite applause and a few whistles. JJJB comes back to the microphone. Tracy takes her seat next to Paul and glances at him. Paul scares straight ahead, a fat bead of sweat on his forehead. One of his legs is jiggling. JIM The next candidate for student body president is Paul Metzier. Paul? Paul awkwardly makes his way to the mike. Though by no means thunderous, his applause clearly exceeds Tracy's. A small cluster of jocks "woof" for him, shaking their fists in the air. Paul manages a weak grin for his buddies. Tracy shifts in her chair, her smile stiff and forced Lisa smiles and nods at Paul from the bleachers, giving him encouragement and a silent reminder to remember what they talked about. Tammy's eyes dart between Lisa and Paul. She shows no emotion, reveals nothing. The applause quickly dies, and after a moment Paul remembers to look at the white paper in his hand. He speaks in a barely audible monotone, never once glancing up. PAUL As many of you know I broke my leg pretty bad thi3 year and the experience has made me reevaluate what I want to do with my life and that is help people when you think about it a school is more than a school it's our second home where we spend all cur time and grow as individuals and a community but is our school everything it could be I want our school to reach its true potential that is why I am running for president. JIM pinches the bridge of his nose, clearly pained A few loud SOUND EFFECT SNORES saw through the air, and Walt points a stern finger at - you guessed it -- Doug Schenken. PAUL I know what it is to fight hard and win like when we almost went to state last fall and I threw that fourth-quarter pass against Westside for the touchdown that won the game by three points I won't let you down like I didn't then I promise we can all score a winning (big breath) touchdown together. Vote Paul Metzier for president thank you. Paul now gets considerably less applause, but his jock friends remain loyal. JIM Okay, Paul. Now our final candidate for President - another one of the Metzier clan -- sophomore Tammy Metzier. Tammy approaches the mike. There are scattered mocking whistles and catcalls. Tammy calmly looks over the crowd, waiting for the jeers to subside. She makes eye contact with Lisa, who stares back. WALT People. People I The room quiets down. Tammy puts her lips close to the mike, TAMMY Who cares about this stupid election? NOW there's something worth listening to. TAMMY (CONT'D) We all know it doesn't matter who gets elected president of Millard. You think it's going to change anything around here, make one single person happier or smarter or nicer? The only person it matters to is the one who gets elected. The same pathetic charade happens every year, and everyone makes the same pathetic promises just so they can put it on their transcripts to get into college. So vote for me, because I don't even want to go to college, and I don't care, and as president I won't do anything. The only promise I make is that if elected I will immediately dismantle the student government, so that none of us will ever have to sit through one of these stupid assemblies again! There is a sudden huge cathartic eruption of cheers and applause. Tammy has set them free. Even cynical old Doug Schenken and his buddies join in. STUDENTS Tammy! Tammy! Tammy! In total control, she steps back from the mike and CURTSIES. Walt shoots an angry, confused look at Jim, who shrugs. Tracy is clearly upset, but her smile remains eerily fixed Paul just looks confused and ashamed. Jerry Slavin is convulsed in laughter and chants along with the multitude. Tammy quickly grabs the mike for one final exhortation. TAMMY 0h don't vote for me I Who cares? Don't vote at all! The students go nuts. INT. WALT HENDRICK'S OFFICE DAY Dr. Hendricks is in a serious post-assembly discussion with JIM and VICE-PRINCIPAL RON BELL. WALT That little bitch made a fool of us I want her out of the election. Getting everybody all riled up like that. She's finished, you hear me? Washed up. JIM Walt, we can't throw her out of the election just because we don't like her speech. That's not what student government's about. WALT (grumbling) Yeah... whatever. All I know is she's a troublemaker. She's on my list. RON All we need to do is send a message, so maybe we should just suspend her. WALT Right. That's it. She's suspended for a week! To emphasize his point, Walt throws his STYROFOAM CUP at the wastepaper basket and misses. Lowell the janitor, passing by outside the door, notices the cup bouncing on the floor. JIM I think that's a little strong Walt. Ron? RON We don't want to make a martyr out of her. Three days sounds right to me. WALT Okay. Three days. Take care of it. EXT. STREETS DAY Tammy rides her bike on this crisp sunny spring day. The music is buoyant. Tammy is all smiles. TAMMY (VO) Being suspended is like getting a paid vacation. Too bad it was only three days EXT. 7-11 DAY Tammy is hanging out by the entrance. A DUDE emerges from the store carrying a 12-pack of beer. En route to his car, he throws Tammy a pack of CIGARETTES. DUDE Here you go. Tammy looks at the pack TAMMY Hey -- I said lights I EXT. SACRED HEART ACADEMY -- DAY A cigarette hanging out of her mouth, Tammy rides by the front of this Catholic girls' school. NOW AT THE ATHLETIC FIELD - Tammy gets off her bike, goes to look through the surrounding fence at GIRLS PLAYING LACROSSE in their cleats, short skirts, jerseys. LITURGICAL MUSIC accompanies SLOW-MOTION close-ups of the girls in action. Tammy seems to breathe them in INT. TAMMY'S ROOM -- DAY Wearing headphones. Tammy DANCES to music only she can hear. She happens to glance toward her door and notices a MANILA ENVELOPE sliding under it. She opens the door and finds a startled Paul. TAMMY What do you want? PAUL Oh. Hi, Tammy. I was just, you know, I went to all your teachers and got your assignments. Tammy looks at him, picks up the packet. PAUL (CONT'D) I just thought, well, last time you got suspended you fell so behind and - TAMMY Okay, Paul. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Paul smiles at the acknowledgment of his good deed. TAMMY (CONT'D) Now could you leave me alone? PAUL Yeah. Oh, one more thing. Tammy. You know, all this election stuff. 'Cause, you know, everyone is saying it's so weird that you're running against me, and, well, it is kind of weird, and you haven't really told me why you're doing it and didn't tell me in advance or anything. But that's okay, you know. l respect your privacy. I just want you to know that no matter who wins, if it's you or me, there's no hard feelings. We're still brother and sister. Okay? Cause... and I hope you feel the same. TAMMY Sure, Paul. No hard feelings. PAUL Okay. Great. I feel good. Paul is about to leave again but PAUL Oh. Oh. Yeah. Right. One other thing. Since you know Lisa so well, could you give me some advice? I want to get her something for helping me with the election. You know, something really special -- like flowers or candy or flowers and candy. Or is that too typical? I mean, can you think of something? Something really special? You know, something she'd really like? Tammy looks as though she'd like to push the button on all the world's atomic bombs. EXT. TRACY'S DRIVEWAY DAY CLOSE ON A GIANT OUTLINED "0" -- drawn on white paper. A hand enters frame with a brush and begins to fill in the outline with blue tempera-paint. Camera RISES to reveal the "0" as part of a giant banner. Tracy is working on some letters, while ERIC OVERHOLDT is working on others. TRACY (VO) What happened at the speeches was an unconscienceable travesty. That little bitch Tammy Metzier wanted to make a fool out of me. Well, it wasn't going to work. People do care who wins. Things do matter. Finally, we're high enough to read: WHO CARES? I DO: VOTE TRACY! TRACY Eric, the "r" is supposed to be green, not blue. ERIC Oh. Okay. Eric carefully paints over his mistake, then works up some courage. ERIC (CONT'D) So, Tracy, I was wondering if after we finish with these you'd like to go to a movie or something. TRACY That's okay. I'm too busy. Ouch. INT. MILLARD YEARBOOK OFFICE -- NIGHT A haggard Tracy sits alone at a computer monitor TRACY (VO CONT'D) People are so ungrateful. If all those students who cheered for Tammy Metzier only knew how hard I worked for Millard. Like all the late nights I spent at the yearbook office just to give them their memories. THE MONITOR displays a DIGITIZED PHOTO of the Millard yearbook staff. DAVE NOVOTNY peers proudly from behind two of the taller students. A CURSOR in the shape of tiny SCISSORS makes a small circle around Dave's face. Suddenly, the cursor turns into a tiny HAND and drags Dave's dislodged head into the TRASH. Tracy concentrates as she deftly controls the mouse. TRACY (VO CONT'D) One of my duties was to clean up the group photos. It was a cinch with our new software. THE COMPUTER MONITOR AGAIN -- as Tracy outlines a piece of the WALL and places it in the void where Dave used to be, blurring the edges for a perfect effect, voila! Satisfied, Tracy taps on the keyboard. TRACY (under her breath) Let's see... "save" is Command "S." Okay. INT. MILLARD HIGH HALLWAY -- NIGHT Tracy is heading down the hall toward the exit when she rounds a corner and, suddenly deeply troubled, sees that HER NEW "WHO CARES?" BANNER has come loose on an upper corner and is drooping. Tracy puts down her things and JUMPS up to slap the corner back into place. Satisfied, she turns away. But then - SHOOP! The banner fights back, peeling even further from the wall. Tracy prepares for battle. INT. YEARBOOK OFFICE NIGHT Tracy enters and grabs a long aluminum STRAIGHT-EDGE. INT. HALLWAY NIGHT Standing on an overturned GARBAGE CAN and wielding the straight-edge, Tracy tries to smooth the banner. But she's not holding the ruler flat against the wall and -- RIP! -- she slices the banner lengthwise. Now the plastic garbage can begins to buckle. Struggling to retain her balance, Tracy accidentally hooks the banner and as she TUMBLES yanks the whole thing down. Overcome with anger and frustration, she thrashes around on the ground and TEARS UP what remains of her banner. PAUL METZLER smiles down at Tracy from his poster across the hall. Tracy looks up at it. Instantly she is on her feet, lunging for the poster. She jumps up, TEARS it down, and RIPS Paul's head into pieces. Blood issues from a thin paper cut on one hand. Tracy regards it at first without comprehending, then raises it to her mouth. While sucking her wound, her gaze falls on -- ANOTHER SMILING PAUL mocking her pain. ANGLE FROM WAY DOWN THE HALL Hurricane Tracy begins a savage assault on the fragile coast of Millard High. Paul's campaign posters fill the air, shredded to pieces by the powerful winds of jealousy and rage. TIME DISSOLVE -- to Tracy even farther down the hall, still jumping, still ripping. TRACK FROM OVERHEAD - THE HALLWAY FLOOR - where a thousand bits of Paul lie scattered -- a grinning mouth here, an eye there. TILT UP finally to Tracy, sweating, panting. She finishes ripping a poster and looks to find another. But there are no more Paul posters: she has destroyed them all. Tracy raises her hands and sees they are streaked with Blood. INT. GIRLS ' BATHROOM NIGHT Tracy is at the sink, washing away the blood. She pats her hands dry with paper towels. The gravity of what she's done now sinks in, and she panics. TRACY I didn't do this. I didn't do it. She lifts the top off a garbage can, removes the PLASTIC LINER. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY NIGHT With frantic haste, Tracy stuffs the evidence of her awful deed into the garbage bag. EXT. BACK OF HILLARD HIGH -- MIGHT Tracy's face is half-obscured by the bulging bag she carries down the sidewalk. EXT. HILLARD PARKIMC LOT - MIGHT Tracy opens her TRUNK and heaves the garbage bag inside slamming the trunk, she looks around - no one. INT. TRACY'S CAR NIGHT Tracy drives, sucking on a wounded hand. She glances frequently in the rear-view mirror. EXT. STREET MIGHT Tracy's car drives down a REMOTE ROAD. There are no sidewalks here, and the surroundings consist of scrubby vegetation and industrial structures. In the background looms a POWER PLANT. INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS We now sense that Tracy has a plan. She throws the car into reverse, backs up and turns onto - EXT. A SMALL ACCESS ROAD -- CONTINUOUS Tracy stop the car near an EMBANKMENT. She gets out and pulls the garbage bag from the trunk. With a big shove Tracy sends the bag cartwheeling down the hill Breathing hard but clearly relieved, Tracy watches the evidence of her deed tumble into obscurity. NOW THROUGH BINOCULARS Tracy's shadowy figure runs back to the car. EXT. HILL ABOVE POWER PLANT NIGHT Tammy momentarily drops her BINOCULARS before raising them again. THROUGH THE BINOCULARS - Tracy's car speeds away. Tammy drops her binoculars and mounts her bike EXT. EMBANKMENT -- NIGHT Tammy skids to a stop, drops her bike, and heads down the embankment. CLOSE ON THE HEFTY BAG as Tammy draws near. She pauses at first, but intrepid curiosity conquers her fear. She unties the knot. FROM INSIDE THE BAG we see Tammy's sudden look of HORROR PAUL'S MANGLED FACE smiles up at her. Tammy raises it toward camera INT. NOVOTWY BATHROOM -- MORNING CLOSE ON A DRAIN as a hand extracts a huge WAD OF HAIR -- stringy, mucousy. fetid. JIM holds it up for Sherry, who stands behind him in her bathrobe. JIM There's your culprit He examines it from different angles. Both scrunch their faces JIM (CONT'D) Shall we give it a name? SHERRY (not missing a beat) Dave. CLOSE ON AN OPEN TOILET - Plop! The hairwad joins several smaller stringy friends. NOW AT THE SINK JIM washes his hands. Sherry glances between JIM and the water running in the shower. It's getting steamy. SHERRY Did you know Dave's a bed wetter? JIM No, I... uh, didn't know that SHERRY All his life. He's tried everything. JIM (about the shower) Still clear? SHERRY Yep. JIM We'll let it run awhile JIM turns off the faucet and reaches for a towel. Sherry offers him another. SHERRY This one's clean. JIM takes it and dries his hands. Sherry now stands very close to him. JIM sets the towel on the sink. It's a little awkward as they look into each other's eyes, standing so near. SHERRY (CONT'D) I guess you'd better get to work huh? You're going to be late. She slowly wraps her arms around Jim's neck and pulls him to her, a hug of gratitude and warmth -- nothing sexual here, just the embrace of two people in need of shelter from the storm of life. No, nothing sexual at all. SHERRY (CONT'D) Thank you, Jim. Now sherry begins to cry a little, and things begin to change -- hands wander, cheek brushes cheek. Finally lips meet, tenderly at first. And then it is a deluge. INT. NOVOTNY LIVING ROOM DAY JIM and Sherry stumble in from the hallway locked in an embrace. They rove around the room, barely able to keep their balance. Finally, they fall to the ground. CLOSE ON LITTLE DARRYL -- playing with his foot in the CRIB. Through the bars behind him we can discern the murky shape of Sherry and JIM rutting and grunting like wild boars. EXT. NOVOTNY DRIVEWAY DAY JIM starts his car. Sherry leans into his window. She looks around the neighborhood before kissing him firmly on the mouth. SHERRY Hey Yeah? SHERRY Take me to that motel. Like you wanted. JIM Right now? SHERRY Easy, tiger. Come by after school. I'll leave Darryl with the sitter. JIM Three twenty-five. SHERRY Three twenty-five. EXT. HILLSIDE ROAD -- DAY VROOM! JIM roars past us in his new RED FERRARI CONVERTIBLE EXT. ITALIAM RIVIERA (REAR PROJECTIOH) CONTINUOUS JIM wears a BLACK SUIT and hip HRAPAROUND SUNGLASSES as he drives. He lights a cigarette. Behind him is a cheesy dated REAR PROJECTION Of a curvy MOUNTAIN ROAD. Next Stop: portofino! JIM (VO) What had blossomed between Sherry and me was too real, too powerful to deny. For the first time in years, I felt free and alive! EXT. MILLARD HIGH PARKING LOT DAY JIM'S Ferrari heads up the driveway and into his assigned space He opens the Ferrari door. JIM'S FOOT touches the pavement - not a shiny Salvatore Ferragamo loafer but a worn out Dexter. WIDE - JIM is back in his own clothes, and his car has reverted to a Ford Escort in need of a wash. He heads toward the school. INT. HILLARD LIBRARY -- DAY JIM enters the library, walks among the stacks. JIM (VO CONT'D) So as you can imagine, my thoughts weren't on the election that Monday morning. JIM takes a BOOK from the shelf JIM (VO CONT'D) My thoughts were only on Sherry, on how perfect she felt inside. There was a special poem I wanted to read to her later, at the motel, as she lay next to me. Jim flips through the book and finds the poem he seeks. His lips move silently. JIM'S VOICE (VO CONT'D) Close, close the lovers keep. They stay together in their sleep. Close as two pages in a book That read each other in the dark.. Suddenly -- a grating VOICE from the loudspeakers. VOICE (OS) Mr. McAllister to the Principal's Office. Mr. McAllister to the Principal's office. JIM smacks the book closed INT. WALT ' S OFFICE - DAY LISA FLAMAGAN - her face streaked with tears from outrage and confusion. LISA It's not fair. It's not fair Paul sits next to Lisa on the vinyl sofa. He wants to console her, but he doesn't know how. PAUL I just don't think anybody would do something like that on purpose. It must have been some kind of mistake. Like a maintenance thing. JIM enters. WALT Jim, where the hell have you been? JIM Nowhere. I don't have class until second period. WALT Even tried you at home. We've got a situation here. LISA If Paul loses tomorrow, it's not fair. There has to be another election, with posters. JIM What's the problem? LISA Didn't you see? WALT Somebody tore down their posters. LISA Those posters cost a lot of money we don't have I There's no time to make any more posters, there's no -- WALT We'll get to the bottom of it. PAUL (to Lisa) We still have some extra ones, don't we? Maybe we can just -- LISA It was Tammy I That's who it was. PAUL Oh, no, hey. Like I said. Tammy wouldn't... she... WALT Well, that speech she gave -- it was pretty, you know, pretty out there. But we'll get to the bottom of it. Don't you worry. Mr. McAllister is going to see to that. Right, Jim? JIM (his thoughts elsewhere) Oh yeah, you bet. LISA She should be expelled. Or worse! WALT You two just go back and focus on your studies. Mr. McAllister's going to handle this. INT. CHEMISTRY CLASSROOM DAY A BUNSEN BURNER -- as a VIAL containing blue liquid is held to the flame. The solution magically changes from blue to yellow. Wearing goggles, Tracy holds the beaker with chemist's tongs Her two LAB PARTNERS observe. The classroom door and a STUDENT approaches the teacher, MR. BECKMAN, to deliver a note. MR. BECKMAN Tracy? Tracy looks up through her goggles. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY LONG TRACKING SHOT . - of Tracy as she leaves the classroom. AS she walks through the .desolate halls and descends a flight of stairs, she holds her head high, suggesting a serene, almost regal confidence. TRACY (VO) When I arrived at school that morning, I was shocked to find that one of my key banners had been removed by vandals. I noticed that a few of my rival's posters had also been tampered with. Of course, I was outraged, but one day before the election is not the time to lose your head over a couple of posters. When you're in the public eye, attacks like that just come with the territory. Finally she reaches the INT. SCHOOL OFFICE DAY Upon seeing Tracy, MISS LINDA BEEDER, the "They 're-all-my-kids office administrator, points wordlessly to an open door of a conference room. JIM is inside. JIM Tracy. Come on in. And shut the door behind you. She goes in and closes the door in our face. INT. LITTLE CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY Tracy is seated in a chair. JIM hovers above her, alternately leaning on a desk and pacing. JIM I guess you know why you're here TRACY If it's about the posters, I think it's so awful. It's a travesty. JIM A travesty. Huh. That's interesting, because I think you did it. TRACY Wait - are you accusing me? You're not serious. (indignant) I can't... Mr. McAllister, we have worked together on SGA for three solid years and... I mean, I can't believe it. I'm... I'm shocked! JIM stares at her. TRACY (CONT'D) Mr. M., I am running on my qualifications. I would never need to resort to, you know, to vandalism like a, you know... Plus, my own best banner was torn down. Did I do that too? JIM Were you or were you not working in the Watchdog office over the weekend? TRACY I was. So? Mr. Pecharda let me in. As you know, with all my responsibilities I often come in on the weekend and have permission to do so. But I left very early, around 6:30. JIM 6:30. How do you know what time the posters were torn down? TRACY I don't. I just know they were there when I left. I'm giving you helpful information is all. You know, instead of wasting time interrogating me, we should be out there trying to find out who did this. JIM Okay, Tracy, so who do you think did it? Whom should we "interrogate?" TRACY well, I don't know. It could have been anybody. There are a lot of, you know, subversive elements around Millard. You know, like Rick Thieson and Kevin Speck and those burn-outs. Or Doug Schenken - what about him? Or what about Tammy Metzier? Her whole thing is being anti- this and anti-that. JIM shifts gears JIM You're a very intelligent girl, Tracy. You have many admirable qualities. But someday maybe you'll learn that being smart and always being on top and doing whatever you need to do to get ahead, and yes, stepping on people to get there, well, there's a lot more to life than that. And in the end, you're only cheating yourself. TRACY Why are you lecturing me? JIM This isn't the time or the place to get into it, but there is, for just one example, a certain former colleague of mine, who made a very big mistake, a life mistake. I think the lesson there is that, old and young, we ail make mistakes, and we have to learn that our actions, all of them, can carry serious consequences. You're very young, Tracy underage, in fact -- but maybe one day you'll understand. TRACY I don't know what you're referring to, but I do know that if certain older and wiser people hadn't acted like such little babies and gotten all mushy, everything would be okay. JIM I agree. But I also think certain young and naive people need to thank their lucky stars and be very, very grateful the whole school didn't find out about certain indiscretions which could have ruined their reputations, and chances to win certain elections. TRACY And I think certain older persons like you and your "colleague" shouldn't be leaching after their students, especially when some of them can't even get their own wives pregnant. And they certainly shouldn't be running around making slanderous accusations. Especially when certain young, naive people's mothers are para-legal secretaries at the city's biggest law firm and have won many successful lawsuits. And if you want to keep questioning me like this, I won't continue without my attorney present. JIM draws a long breath as he tries to control himself JIM Okay, Tracy. Have it your way. There's a KNOCK. JIM and Tracy turn to see TAMMY METZLER timidly poking her head in. TAMMY You wanted to see me, Mr. M.? JIM Just wait outside. Tammy. TAMMY Okay. But is this about the posters? JIM Possibly. Please just wait outside. TAMMY Okay. (looking at Tracy) Because I know who did it. So.. I'll just be outside. Tammy manages to squeeze in a naughty little smile before closing the door. INT. OUTER OFFICE DAY Tammy sits patiently in a chair, bobbing to an unheard song. The door opens, and Tracy emerges. JIM Tracy, don't go away. Come in, Tammy. As Tammy and Tracy cross, Tracy speaks in a low voice but loud enough for JIM to hear. TRACY This ought to be good INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY Tammy sits facing Jim, cradling her backpack. JIM So... what do you have to tell me? TAMMY Well, this is hard for me, but I think it's important to be honest. Don't you? JIM (impatient) What is it. Tammy? TAMMY I'm the one. I did it. I tore down Paul's posters. JIM Looks at her skeptically doesn't say a word. TAMMY (CONT'D) I did it. JIM And when did you do it? TAMMY This weekend. JIM Exactly when? TAMMY I don't know. Yesterday. Sunday. JIM And how did you get in the school? TAMMY Door was open. JIM Which door? TAMMY I don't know. All I know is I did it I JIM I don't believe you. TAMMY I have proof. She burrows in her backpack. INT. OUTER OFFICE -- CONTINUOUS Tracy stands up from her seat and manages to PEEK THROUGH THE WINDOW of the conference room. She sees -- pulling out a handful of POSTER SHREDS from her backpack and handing them to Jim. Tracy turns away and covers her mouth with one hand. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM CONTINUOUS THE POSTER FRAGMENTS in Jim's hands. TILT UP to Tammy really hamming it up. TAMMY You don't know what it's like to grow up in the shadow of an older brother like Paul. it's always Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul. Never Tammy. I'm only Paul's little sister. You must be Paul's little sister. He's so perfect, and I'm so troubled. I hate him! I hate him! And I tore down his posters, It was a horrible, cowardly act, but I did it,.. I did it... l did it... And I'm not sorry... JIM watches her performance until he can't take it anymore he's got other fish to fry. JIM Final I don't know what your problem is, but if that's the way you want it, that's the way it'll be. I don't have time. You're out of the election, and I'm turning you over to Dr. Hendricks. He throws the door open. JIM (CONT'D) Tracy? INT. OUTER OFFICE CONTINUOUS Tracy is frightened but still plays the indignant victim. TRACY Yes? JIM Looks like today's your lucky day What does he mean? TRACY What do you mean? JIM You're off the hook. Tammy here has confessed. It takes Tracy a second to figure out how to react. But once she's got it, she runs with it. TRACY I told you! I told you! (pointing at Tammy) You're going to pay for my banner! JIM That's enough, Tracy. Quit while you're ahead, okay? I'll handle this. (to Hiss Seeder) Could you ask Walt to come in? STAFFROOM DAY JIM is feverishly TYPING. JIM (VO) The rest of the day was unbearable. I kept smelling Sherry on my clothes and on my fingers and I just couldn't wait to get out of there. He yanks the paper out of the carriage and hurries away. INT. XEROX ROOM -- DAY A PHOTOCOPY COLLATOR in operation. JIM pulls sheets out and stacks them. JIM (VO CONT'D) I wanted everything to be perfect that afternoon, so I decided to give myself a little time to prepare during eighth period. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM DAY Students are settling into their seats. JIM breezes in, a sheaf of papers fucked under his arm. JIM Pop quiz, everybody The class groans. JIM (CONT'D) No whining. If you've done your reading, this is an easy one. JIM peels off a stack of papers for each row JIM (VO) I'd have exactly forty-eight minutes to make all the arrangements. JIM glances at the clock: 2:08 JIM If you finish early, just sit quietly and check your work. I'll be right back. POOF -- he's gone I EXT. MILLARD HIGH DAY TRACK WITH JIM as he SPRINTS toward the parking lot, fumbling for his keys. EXT. WALGREEN'S -- DAY JIM exits with a bouquet of flowers and a plastic bag. EXT. SAFARI MOTEL -- DAY Jim's car speeds into the driveway and parks INT. SAFARI MOTEL ROOM -- DAY JIM opens the door, sets his things down, and gets to work. THE SINK -- JIM dumps a bucketful of ICE and wedges in a bottle of cheap CHAMPAGNE. THE BEDSIDE TABLE - JIM props up his flowers in the ice bucket and puts a small box of Russell Stover's CANDY next to it. He unwraps the motel's plastic cups and places them just so. Perfect. JIM'S BOOK OF POETRY -- open to that special poem. He marks it with a carnation. UNDER THE BED -- Jim's face appears as he kneels down and slides the book into place, ready for that perfect moment. THE BATHROOM - Where JIM is NAKED now, squatting in the bathtub, frantically washing his undercarriage. He checks his watch. EXT: SAFARI MOTEL ROOM DAY JIM shuts the door and with jaunty confidence slips the key into his pocket. EXT. SAFARI MOTEL DAY Jim's car speeds toward the street. EXT. MILLARD HIGH PARKING LOT -- DAY JIM gets out of his car and races back toward the school. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY JIM skids around a corner. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM DAY With feigned coolness, he saunters into class just as the BELL RINGS. JIM Okay, everybody, pass them forward. Stephanie, put down your pen. The class begins to rise. JIM (CONT'D) I'll see you all on Wednesday. And don't forget to vote tomorrow. FROM BEHIND - Jim's back has a large vulva-shaped patch of SWEAT EXT. MILLARD HIGH PARKING LOT -- DAY JIM hurries back to his car, weaving his way through students EXT. SHERRY'S HOUSE -- DAY JIM pulls to a stop in Sherry's driveway. INT. JIM'S CAR JIM checks his watch: 3:24 turns into 3:25 Bingo EXT. SHERRY ' S HOUSE DAY JIM'S FINGER on the doorbell. DING-DONG. JIM waits, rings again. Ho answer. He knocks. No one. He tries the door. Locked. Maybe she's out back. He walks around the house to -- EXT. SHERRY'S BACKYARD CONTINUOUS It's a lovely little backyard. Springtime flowers bloom. Bees buzz among the peonies. JIM opens the gate, approaches the back door, and knocks. JIM Sherry I He rears back and aims his yell toward the second floor. JIM (CONT'D) Sherry I It's Jim! No response. He tries the door. It's locked. JIM cranes his neck for a last look at the house. As he starts to leave, he calls out one final time, not really expecting a response. JIM Sherry Suddenly A WASP STINGS him above his right EYE JIM (CONT'D) Oww! Fuck! Jesus fuck! Cursing and holding his head, JIM stumbles out the gate INT. SAFARI MOTEL LOBBY - DAY Through the glass windows, we see Jim's car pull into the lot and park. JIM enters the lobby. His eye is puffy and red. A MOTEL EMPLOYEE watches TV behind the counter JIM By any chance, has a woman shown up in the last half-hour or so? Maybe she was looking for me. EMPLOYEE Nobody's come in here looking for anybody. Just you. JIM Are you sure? EMPLOYEE (indicating Jim's eye) You okay? INT. SAFARI MOTEL ROOM DAY THE TELEPHONE - as JIM punches in Sherry's number. JIM holds the phone against his ear and the champagne bottle against his eye. JIM Sherry, it's me. Are you there? Pick up. Okay, it's 4:32. I came by at 3:25 like we said and waited, but you weren't there. Anyway, I hope you're okay -- I'm worried about you. So now I'm just at the... at the place we talked about. Suite 219. So I'm here. Everything's all set. You can just come over. Can't wait. Okay. Bye. EXT. SAFARI MOTEL DAY TIME LAPSE - as the sky darkens, the motel's NEON SIGN turns on. JIM now descends the motel stairway carrying his Walgreen's sack. He puts the key into the drop box and gets in his car. INT. METZLER KITCHEN -- NIGHT Dick Metzier and his wife JO are at the breakfast table Tammy sits across from them, her eyes lowered. DICK METZIER I don't get it. What you have against your mother and me, against your brother Paul, is completely beyond me. And your mother is extremely upset, she's at the end of her rope. Your behavior gets crazier and crazier and wilder and wilder, and who knows what the hell else you're doing out there that we don't even know about? TAMMY Dad, I DICK (jabbing his finger) Don't you smartass me! Don't you dare smartass me! You just shut your mouth I (taking a breath) Now your mother and I have had a long talk with Halt Hendricks --- we just got off the phone with him at home. You know, he doesn't want you back at Millard. He's fed up with you. Fed up! And I don't blame him! JO Dick... Dick,.. DICK What? JO (calmly) Tammy, now we've come to a decision. He just think it would be best -- DICK You're going to Catholic school next year. You're going to Sacred Heart. Maybe they'll straighten you out! ANGLE FROM UNDER THE TABLE - Her head low. Tammy SMILES to herself EXT. JIM'S HOUSE NIGHT JIM'S car pulls into the driveway. INT. JIM AND DIANE'S KITCHEN NIGHT JIM enters the back door and sets his satchel down in the usual place. He opens the refrigerator, grabs a beer. As he closes the door, something catches his eye. He reaches inside and throws a plastic container away. Rooting around noisily, he finds other things to dispose of. Suddenly -- A BABY CRY stops him cold. JIM stiffens, his good eye widening as the horrible truth sinks in. He carefully closes the refrigerator and tiptoes toward the living room. INT. LIVING ROOM -- CONTINUOUS Jim's face slowly appears around the corner, bad eye first. Finally, he's able to see -- SHERRY AND DIANE together on the living room sofa, staring at him. Their eyes are red from crying. Little Darryl squirms in Sherry's lap. Caught, JIM emerges from his hiding place. No one speaks. Finally, he looks down, sucks in air, blows it out again, nods a little. JIM (very softly) Okay He turns to leave, and nobody stops him. EXT. JIM'S HOME -- NIGHT JIM wanders out the front door and stands in his driveway, bewildered and alone. The camera slowly CRANES UP, eventually looking down on him from a great height. JIM (VO) As I walked out of my home that evening, unsure if I'd ever return, my entire life in question, I somehow discovered within myself a place of perfect peace. Oddly, in my solitude I felt more than ever a sense of communion with every human being - past, present and future. Because no matter what we tell ourselves, no matter what illusions of friendship and family we create, each of us is always and forever profoundly alone. INT. TRACY'S BEDROOM NIGHT FROM OVERHEAD - Tracy slides out of her bed and kneels beside it TRACY Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with You and ask for things, but now I really must insist that You help me win the election tomorrow, because I deserve it and Paul Metzier doesn't, as You well know. l realize that it was Your divine hand that disqualified Tammy, and now I'm asking that You go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong, so that I may carry out Your will on Earth as it is in Heaven. If elected I promise that I will pray more often. Okay? Amen. EXT. TAMMY'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT FROM OVERHEAD -- Tammy wears a white t-shirt and underwear and kneels at her bedside. TAMMY (VO) Dear God, I know I don't believe in you, but since I'll be starting Catholic school soon, I thought I should practice. Let's see... what do I want? I want people to be nicer to each other. I want Lisa to realize what a bitch she has been and feel really bad and apologize for how she hurt me and know how much I still love her. In spite of everything, I still want Paul to win the election tomorrow, not that cunt Tracy. I also want a really expensive pair of leather pants... and someday I want to be really good friends with Madonna. Love, Tammy INT. PAUL'S BEDROOM FROM OVERHEAD -- Paul lies in bed looking at the heavens beyond his ceiling, PAUL (VO) Dear God, thank You for all Your blessings. You have given me so many things, like good health, nice parents, a nice truck, and what I've been told is a large penis, and I'm very grateful. But I sure am worried about Tammy. In my heart I still can't believe she tore down my posters, but sometimes she does get so weird and angry. Please help her be a happier person, because she's so smart and sensitive, and I love her. Also, I'm nervous about the election tomorrow, and I guess I want to win and all, but I know that's totally up to You. You'll decide who the best person is, and I'll accept it. And forgive my sins, whatever they may be. Amen. FADE OUT INT. JIM'S CAR -- NIGHT JIM sits parked outside of Sherry's house, a SLURPEE held against his now grotesquely swollen eye. He is so tired and pain-ridden that he practically gasps for breath. JIM (VO) Sherry never came home that night. I know, because I spent the entire night in her driveway. INT. TRACY'S KITCHEN -- DAWN Tracy and her mom are hard at work frosting cupcakes. TRACY (VO) Mom and I got up at five AM, and together we custom-iced three hundred and fifty cupcakes. CLOSE ON A CUPCAKE - as "PICK FLICK" is written on it with a yellow icing tube. MRS. Flick cheerfully performs her task. She hums. TRACY (VO CONT'D) I remember she was so happy, like there was nothing in the world she'd rather be doing. Besides me and her job, I guess my mom doesn't have much of a life. She hasn't dated anyone since Frank, and she hardly ever buys new clothes for herself or travels. TRACY Mom? MRS. FLICK Hmmm? TRACY I think I'm going to lose today MRS. FLICK What are you talking about? This time tomorrow, you'll be president TRACY You really think so? Mrs. Flick puts an arm around her daughter MRS. FLICK Tracy Flick's a winner. EXT. SHERRY'S HOUSE DAWN Jim's car has not moved from its spot on the driveway. Its windows are now fogged. A LOUD GARBAGE TRUCK rumbles by. INT. JIM'S CAR -- CONTINUOUS Reclined in his car seat, mouth open as he sleeps, JIM is awakened by the truck. His breath steams. His eye has turned bluish. He tries to wipe the condensation from the windshield, but it's on the outside. EXT. SHERRY'S DRIVEWAY -- CONTINUOUS JIM opens the door and looks around -- no sign of Sherry's car. He stiffly walks to the side of the garage and unzips his pants to pee. Now cradling his head on the roof of his car, JIM gathers what little strength he has, gets in, and tries to start the cold engine. JIM (VO) I had no choice but to go home. I needed to shower, get fresh clothes, explain what I could to Diane. But what was I going to say? That our marriage had become a charade? That making love with Sherry had given me a vision of a better life? THE TAILPIPE finally coughs out a cloud of exhaust INT./EXT. JIM'S CAR DAWN JIM drives, bleary-eyed. He creeps along his tree-lined middle-class block. JIM (VO CONT'D) Then again, maybe I could slip in and out without waking her up. JIM slows to a stop, looks with dread at his home EXT. JIM'S HOUSE CONTINUOUS On the front porch sits A GYM BAG. JIM approaches, stares numbly at the bag. Drawing a long breath, he bends over and picks it up. Attached is a NOTE reading: "Don't come in." EXT. MILLARD HIGH DAWN At the foot of the main walk to the school, Tracy and her mother are setting up a CARD TABLE covered with little pink cakes. Jim's Ford Escort chugs its way through the fog and comes to a stop. Looking like a war refugee, JIM emerges from his car carrying the gym bag and heads toward school. TRACY (chirping) Good morning, Mr. M. JIM stops, turns slowly, regards mother and daughter with a crazed, one-eyed, uncomprehending stare. TRACY (CONT'D) (holding one out) Looks like you could use a cupcake! JIM takes it wordlessly. AS he heads up the walkway, he eats it in two huge bites, like a feral animal. TRACY (CONT'D) (calling out) What's wrong with your eye? Are you OK? INT. BOYS' LOCKER ROOM -- DAY IN THE SHOWERS JIM scrubs himself as if to wash his whole life away. JIM (VO) Cupcakes. Jesus Christ. Cupcakes? My life was crumbling, and I was expected to care about these ungrateful kids and their pathetic little dreams. As if my only purpose in life were to serve them. JIM (mocking) Mr. McAllister. Mr. McAllister. Somebody tore down my posters. It's not fair. It's not fair. Can I have an A? Can I have a recommendation? Can I? Can I? AT THE MIRROR JIM adjusts his tie, tries to smooth his wrinkled shirt. JIM (VO CONT'D) Well, fuck them. Didn't I have my own life? Didn't I have my own dreams? He coughs up phlegm and spits it into the sink JIM (VO CONT'D) Cupcakes INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY JIM exits the BOYS' LOCKER ROOM door and bumps into Mr. Beckman. MR. BECKMAN Hey, Jim. Big day today JIM (putting on a smile) Oh, yeah. Big day. INT. SCHOOL OFFICE DAY MISS BEEDER of the school office is at the P.A. MICROPHONE. Walt is behind her. She looks over her shoulder, and Walt gives her the go- ahead. MISS BEEDER Attention, everyone. We have an important announcement from our principal. Dr. Hendricks. Walt gives Miss Beeder a courtesy smile and takes the mike WALT Good morning, students. It, uh, behooves me to inform you of an important change in today's elections. Effective this morning... INT. TEACHERS' OFFICES DAY BALLOT AFTER BALLOT -- as a black magic marker crosses out Tammy's name. JIM sits at his desk and carries out his absurd task. He stops and stares. His thoughts wander far, far away. WALT (OS CONT'D) . .. sophomore Tammy Metzier has been... Metzier has been determined ineligible - I repeat: ineligible -- for SGA president. You may not vote for Tammy Metzier. All other candidates are eligible. Now please pay attention to a very important, uh, audio-visual presentation. (irritated, thinking he's off) Linda, who typed this thing? I said I need all caps.... INT. TV AND MILLARD CLASSROOMS DAY CLOSE ON A TV-- mounted in the corner. An educational video is just beginning. Host CLARK NAYLOR sits on the edge of a desk in a generic office set. During the video, we cut to CLASSROOMS, where from the TV's point of view, we see the students watching: English class shop class, gym class, biology class. CLARK (ON TV) Hello, students, I'm Clark Naylor of Joslyn's Educational Resources. It's election day, and how you vote will make a big difference in the activities, events, and perhaps even the policies of your school. Over the past few days or weeks, you've heard candidates for the various offices make their speeches and tell you where they stand. You've probably seen their posters. Maybe you've even had a chance to speak with them personally. CLOSE-UPS OF STUDENTS Now replace the wider shots of classrooms. Photographed as though from a Soviet propaganda film, some students look up nobly and attentively, while others watch with dead eyes and open mouth, and still others goof off. CLARK (ON TV CONT'D) Well, today marks the end of campaigning, and now the spotlight turns to you. Voting is your privilege and your responsibility. Remember, no one needs to know for whom you've voted. That's between you. . . and you. An AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEENAGER walks up to Clark. CLARK (ON TV CONT'D) Now I'd like to introduce you to Tony. Tony's going to show you how to cast your vote. Are you ready, Tony? TONY (ON TV) I think s0 CLARK (ON TV) Good. Let's get started INT. MILLARD HALLWAY NEAR OF-PICE -- DAY JIM slinks down the hall and ducks into a PHONE BOOTH. He fishes change out of his pocket and dials. We hear the echo of the video emanating from all the classrooms. SHERRY'S VOICE (VO) Hi. You've reached the Novotnys. We're not around, but we'll call you back real soon. Have a nice day. JIM Are you there? Sherry, are you there? It's Jim. (suddenly angry) Why did you do that? I trusted you. Completely. You've ruined my life. Do you know that? Do you realize that? Huh? Do you? You've ruined Diane's life. You ruined my life. is that what you wanted? (recovering) I'm sorry. It's just... I'm going nuts here. Okay, all right, so... Really, I'm sorry. I just think we should talk, okay? I love you. INT. TEACHERS' OFFICES -- DAY JIM crosses out more ballots, this time with perverse intensity. JIM (VO) If only my own life could be corrected so easily, with nice fat black lines drawn neatly through my sins. CLOSE ON TAMMY'S NAME - as it is blackened. We WIPE with the motion of the magic marker to: INT. LITTLE SALLY ANN SHOP DAY SWISH! The curtain of the dressing room is drawn back, and there's Tammy. She beams and walks toward -- A THREE-PANEL MIRROR, where she takes herself in, dressed in her new Catholic schoolgirl UNIFORM. The SALESLADY converses nearby with Jo Metzier. SALESLADY And Sacred Heart is such a good school. Excellent school. The public schools are going downhill, as far as I'm concerned. JO Well, we've had good luck at Millard, but for this one it's time for a change. Tammy spins and admires the flip of the skirt. SALESLADY So what do you think? Sacred Heart has the prettiest. They have that nice hint of purple. TAMMY (lying) I hate it. JO You're just going to have to get used to it. TAMMY Please, morn. Please don't make me go to Sacred Heart. I beg you. JO (to saleslady) We'll take two. INT. MILLARD HIGH CAFETERIA DAY Makeshift POLLING BOOTHS are set up just outside the cafeteria. Behind two tables sit TWO TEACHERS who cross out voters' names on big master computer lists. Tracy stands in line, not-so-patiently waiting her turn. TRACY (VO) When the time came to cast our votes, I stood in line just like everyone else. She finally reaches the front of the line. TEACHER Hi, Tracy TRACY Tracy Enid Flick. TEACHER I know. Tracy goes into a VOTING BOOTH and quickly hands her ballot. sophomore PHIL CHOY stands nearby with his CAMERA. TRACY Phil you ready? PHIL Ready. Tracy exits the booth and heads toward the BALLOT BOX. She inserts her ballot halfway and freezes, smiling. Phil snaps a picture, but - PHIL Just a second. My flash. Tracy remains perfectly still while Phil fiddles with his camera. A STUDENT stands behind her, waiting to put his ballot in the box. STUDENT Come on, Tracy. TRACY (through her smile) Just wait. FLASH! Phil gets his shot and Tracy drops her ballot in. TRACY Thanks, Phil. On her way out Tracy passes Paul at the end of the line. He gives her an enthusiastic THUMBS UP. PAUL Way to go, Tracy! Isn't this exciting? TRACY (awkward) Yeah. PAUL Hell, good luck! TRACY (reluctant) Good luck to you too, Paul. PAUL Thanks! INT. VOTING BOOTH Paul scans his ballot, struggles with his decision. PAUL (VO) It's so weird. DO people always just vote for themselves? 'Cause looking at my own name on the ballot, I just... I don't know, I just felt like it's not right to vote for yourself. THE BALLOT - as Paul's pen puts an "X" next to the name "Tracy Flick INT. MILLARD HALLWAYS DAY THE BALLOT BOX is being carried through the halls and up some stairs by Larry Fouch and three other STUDENT COUNCIL MEMBERS. The music suggests the weighty importance of its contents and the sacred mission of its bearers. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM - DAY JIM is hunkered over his desk. He's a wreck: dark, dark circles under his eyes; his hair didn't dry right -- frizzy here, matted there. And he's near tears. Larry Fouch and his retinue enter cheerfully LARRY Okay, Mr. M. Larry drops the ballot box on Jim's desk JIM What? Right. So let's start counting. LARRY Well, I thought that... well, the way it always works is that SGA president does a count, then the SGA advisor, you know, for the two independent counts. JIM Fine. So do your count. Start with president, and I'll be right back. LARRY You have the key, Mr. McAllister. JIM doesn't understand at first, then JIM Right. I know. JIM proceeds to sort through his cluttered desk drawers but can't seem to find the key. The council members exchange concerned looks as Jim's search becomes frenzied. LARRY Are you okay, Mr. M.? ANOTHER STUDENT What happened to your eye? JIM I'm fine. It's just a bee sting, a simple little everyday bee sting. Some people, they get stung, it's no big deal. Me, I swell up. Okay? JIM emerges from the drawer wielding a VISE GRIP. He goes to the box and TEARS the entire hardware assembly off. Holding the mangled lock, he turns to the students, who look back STUNNED. JIM (CONT'D) I just want to get this over with, so we can have the assembly and go home. We don't have much time until eighth period. I have other things going on, too, you know. LARRY Okay. Yeah. We know JIM All right. I'll be back INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE SCHOOL OFFICE DAY JIM slinks up to a PAY PHONE, inserts a coin, dials SHERRY'S VOICE (cheery) Hi. You've reached the Novotnys. We're not around, but we'll call you back real soon. Have a nice day. JIM it's me again. I'm sorry for all the calls. But Sherry, if I could just hear your voice, if you'd only acknowledge that I... SHERRY (OS) (picking up phone) What do you want, Jim? JIM You're there. SHERRY (OS) Yeah. I'm here. JIM Sherry... I love you. SHERRY (OS) (loud exhale) Don't say that. You know it's not true. JIM It's the only true thing I know anymore. SHERRY (OS) We made a mistake. Let's not make it worse. JIM A mistake? That was no mistake. SHERRY (OS) I was lonely. You took advantage JIM Me? I took advantage of you? You hugged me! You kissed me! You're the one who -- CLICK. INT. MILLARD HALLWAY -- DAY It's PASSING PERIOD, and the halls are jammed with students at their lockers and walking to class. JIM is walking quickly back to his classroom. He passes Paul. PAUL Hey, Mr. M. Big day, huh? Jim doesn't even hear. INT. CLASSROOM DAY Larry is just finishing his count. The ballots are on a desk in front of him, neatly organized into three piles. JIM enters. JIM (impatient) What d'you got? LARRY I'm not supposed to tell. Not until you've counted too. We're each supposed to make an independent count. JIM You're kidding, right? LARRY I thought those were the rules, Mr. McAllister. If they've changed in any way -- JIM Larry, we're not electing the fucking Pope here. Just tell me who won. Jim's use of profanity scares Larry, and he responds reluctantly LARRY It's a squeaker, Mr. M. I've got Tracy by a vote. Just one vote. Jim, who hasn't cared about any of this today, suddenly takes note. He stares blankly at Larry as the news sinks in. LARRY (CONT'D) Mr. M.? JIM Huh. Okay. Well, I guess I'd better do my count. Jim-scoops up the three piles of ballots and takes them to his desk. INT. HISTORY CLASS DAY CLOSE ON DALE - a junior honors student. He is thinking. The wheels are turning, grinding. Finally -- DALE Sputnik. MR. FLAGG is lecturing, really trying to make history come alive. Tracy takes notes, but she is noticeably distracted. MR. FLAGG Right. And what year was that? DALE 1958? MR. FLAGG Almost. 1957. So the point here is when we found out about Sputnik, we got really scared. It seemed like no matter what we had and kept secret, they could develop it too. A-bombs, h-bombs, rocket ships. And this time we were behind them. So -- February 1961, Kennedy tells Congress and the American people he wants to go to the moon. May 1961, the Apollo program is announced... Tracy just can't take it anymore. She abruptly stands up, takes the GIANT HALL PASS off the lip of the blackboard, and starts to leave. Mr. Flagg gives her a small nod. INT. RAILWAY DAY Tracy nears a room, a special room. She slows down and peeks in the window of the door. She sees -- LARRY FOUCH sitting at the back of the classroom, staring front. Tracy presses her face to see what Larry is staring at -- JIM at his desk counting ballots LARRY catches sight of Tracy in the window. TRACY crosses her fingers by her ears and gives a questioning look LARRY sneaks a guilty look at Jim, absorbed in his counting. Then, against his better judgment flashes Tracy a quick, furtive double THUMBS-UP. TRACY suddenly disappears from the window. IN THE EMPTY HALLWAY - Tracy pogos with unbridled joy TRACY (VO) You know that moment when they announce the winner of a beauty pageant? When Miss Texas or whoever suddenly realizes she's Miss America, and all she can do is scream and weep and hug the losers? I had my moment in the hallway that Tuesday afternoon with no one to hug but myself. She pulls herself together enough to peek through the window of the OTHER DOOR to Jim's classroom, the window behind which JIM is still busily doing his count. INT. JIM'S CLASSROOM -- DAY JIM counts out the last of the ballots, mouthing the numbers to himself. JIM (VO) I was at the end of my count when it happened. I'd come up with exactly the same numbers as Larry: Tracy had won the election by a single vote, 256 to 257. I was about to announce my tally when... JIM looks up and sees TRACY in the window, her face exploding with joy. She FREEZES. We move closer to Jim in SLOW-MOTION. What actually occurs in a split-second is suspended in time JIM (VO CONT'D) The sight of Tracy at that moment affected me in a way I can't fully explain. Part of it was that she was spying, but mostly it was her face. Looking at her, you might think she was a sweet, innocent teenage girl. But she wasn't sweet. And she wasn't innocent. She was selfish and cynical and ambitious and thought nothing of destroying the lives of others to get to the top. who knew how high she would climb in life, how many people would suffer because of her? I had to stop her now. Tracy UNFREEZES and darts out of sight. JIM glances at Larry. Larry is writing in a notebook. JIM'S HAND creeps up from his lap and onto the pile of TRACY VOTES. His fingers nimbly count two ballots and pull them off the desk. JIM coughs as beneath his desk he CRUMPLES THE BALLOTS into a ball and drops them into the wastepaper basket. JIM Larry? LARRY (looking up) Yeah? JIM I think we've got a problem. INT. WALT HENDRICKS'S OFFICE DAY Walt is just finishing counting the ballots on his desk. Larry and JIM stand over him. WALT 253... 254... 255. I get the same as you Jim. Looks like Paul's our president. LARRY No way I It doesn't make sense. WALT Sorry. My figures work out exactly the same as Jim's. 256 for Paul, 255 for Tracy. LARRY And 290 "disregards," right? WALT If you say so. JIM Mostly Tammy fans LARRY See, it doesn't add up. There are only 801 ballots but 803 people voted. Two votes are missing. Check the register. JIM He's right. Two people must have pocketed their ballots. Usually it's more. LARRY But, they were there I counted 803 votes. JIM It happens, Larry. People make mistakes. LARRY I didn't make a mistake. Every vote was there when you sac down WALT Whoa! Easy, Fouch. I don't like where you're going. LARRY I'm telling you. Dr. Hendricks, every vote was accounted for. JIM (stern) Larry? We've got twenty-five minutes until the assembly, and we still have to do counts for VP, Treasurer and Secretary. Mr. Hendricks and I have both verified the numbers, and unless you can come up with the ballots you claim are missing - LARRY But, Mr. M. - WALT Fouch, that's enough! End of story. INT. MILLARD HIGH GYMNASIUM -- DAY AN ASSEMBLY - The students are taking their seats on the bleachers. ON THE FLOOR are all the candidates: three for secretary, two for treasurer, one for vice-president, two for president. PAUL AND TRACY sit side-by-side. Paul seems a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. Tracy leans over and offers her hand. TRACY Paul, I just want you to know that no matter how this turns out, you've run a wonderful campaign. It's been fun competing with you. PAUL Yeah, you too, Tracy. I'm just glad it's over. TRACY Yeah. CLOSE ON PAUL PAUL (VO) You know, I don't understand why everybody bad-mouthed Tracy all the time. She was always super- nice to me. JIM approaches the microphone JIM If we could get started. People! Once the winners are announced, we can all go home, okay? The students quiet down JIM (CONT'D) Some contests are so well fought that is seems unfair for someone to win and someone to lose. I think that's the case with all the candidates you see before you today. All of them are highly qualified and embody the, uh, the integrity we expect from our school leadership. OS TRACY - Jim's voice momentarily recedes. TRACY (VO) Act surprised. Walk slowly to the podium. Be modest. Thank them for this incredible honor. JIM That said, the whole point of an election is to choose winners, and that you have done. We'll begin with president. JIM pulls a folded paper from his back pocket JIM (CONT'D) Let me add that this was an extraordinarily close race. It's my pleasure to announce the next president of Millard High School. Tracy just can't wait. Smiling, she STANDS UP. JIM Paul Metzier! The crowd breaks into applause -- and laughter ON TRACY - AS she sits, her smile belies her horror and humiliation Paul begins his acceptance speech. We cut alternately to a thrilled Lisa; a stunned Tracy, tears forming at the corners of her eyes; and to JIM, who watches the events with shifty eyes, his mouth dry and tasting of metal. PAUL Geez, you guys, thanks a lot. I mean, wow, thanks. I promise to do my best and really do a good job and be a good president. And I want to thank Lisa Flanagan for being a super campaign manager. And I just want to say that I think Tracy would have made a great president too and that she really deserves a big hand. The auditorium erupts into applause and whistles, and JIM takes the microphone again. JIM And now, for vice-president. EXT. COCO'S BAKERY/RESTAURANT DUSK In the growing darkness, the restaurant radiates its distinctive orange glow. The parking lot is nearly empty. INT. COCO'S BAKERY/RESTAURANT DUSK JIM sits alone at a booth by the window, finishing a slice of berry pie. He gets the attention of a WAITRESS and holds up his coffee cup. JIM Could I get a...? As JIM gets his warm-up, in walk the Metziers: Paul, Dick and Jo. JIM notices them as they wait to be seated. He wishes he were invisible. As a PERKY HOSTESS leads the family to a table, Paul spots Jim. Here it comes. PAUL Wow! Mr. McAllister! This is so wild. We came to celebrate my victory, and I can't believe it. Here, these are my parents. JIM stands up awkwardly. DICK METZLER (extending his hand) Hi. Dick Metzier. My wife -- PAUL This is great. JIM (extending his hand) JIM McAllister. JO METZLER (extending her hand) JO Metzier. You know, Paul just thinks the world of you. Oh, if you could just hear him... DICK Yeah, say, apparently you've really come behind him, really helped him out there with the student council thing and all. PAUL I never would have ran if it wasn't for Mr. M. JIM Paul doesn't need any of my help. He's going places. You should be very proud. JO We are DICK Having a problem with your eye there? JO Dick. JIM Just a bee sting. DICK You ought to get that looked at. Shot of cortisone or something. JIM Thanks, I'll be fine. DICK Anyway, we're awful sorry about what went on with our other one, you know, our Tammy. JO We were mortified... JIM Oh, she's not a bad girl. She'll come around. JO ... but we've had some good talks, and I think we're sorting things out. We're starting her at Sacred Heart in the fall. JIM Good school. DICK Say, you're all alone, why don't you join us? PAUL Yeah! JIM Oh, no. No. I'm just finishing up here, and I've got to get home. PAUL (to his parents) Why don't you guys go sit down, okay? I'll catch up in a minute? I want to talk to Mr. M. about some important stuff. DICK All right. Well, sure nice to meet you. JO So nice JIM You bet. The Metziers go, and- Paul slides in across from Jim. PAUL So, Mr. M, I was starting to think about ideas for next year. I was thinking it would be cool to have, like a carnival. With rides. And, you know, it could be for, like. Muscular Dystrophy. JIM tries to smile and seem attentive, but we sense his profound fatigue and his profound sadness. PAUL (CONT'D) And on Halloween we could have a haunted house. But a really good haunted house, not like those cheesy bad ones. You know, more like the radio station ones. This one would be really scary. And for Homecoming -- well, you know how last year's theme was - JIM Paul... Paul.... We'll have plenty of time to get into all this later. A whole year, in fact. Right now I just need to finish my pie and get home. PAUL Oh, okay. Yeah, sorry. The wind out of his sails, Paul gets up and is about to go when PAUL (CONT'D) Just one more thing. So, Mr. M., uh, do you think Tracy's going to be okay? I saw her face after the assembly, and I think she's taking it pretty hard. JIM Don't worry about Tracy. She'll be fine. INT. TRACY'S BEDROOM NIGHT CLOSE ON TRACY - her face drained and pallid, her eyes red and bleary: she is exhausted from crying. TRACY One vote... one vote She falls again headlong again into the throes of despair. Her mouth contorts into a rictus of agony, and there issues an almost feral cry of pain. Her anguish grows convulsive. Barbara Flick comes in and sits on the bed. She's carrying a PRESCRIPTION BOTTLE and a glass of milk. BARBARA Why don't you take a couple of my pills, darling? You'll feel better. Tracy takes the pills and sips the milk weakly. Her mother kisses her. BARBARA (CONT'D) Don ' t worry. .. don ' t worry. . . sshhhhh... that's it, baby... that's it, darling. Everything's going to be fine. She lays Tracy on the bed, and Tracy begins to quiet. Barbara kisses her again and rises to leave. At the door she pauses to add a few final words of comfort. BARBARA (CONT'D) Maybe you needed more posters, honey. Or if you'd taken my suggestions about your speech. I don't know. We'll figure it out. EXT. MCAILISTER HOME NIGHT JIM stands at his own back door, beaten and ashamed. He lifts a hand and knocks. After a moment the door opens, and there is Diane. JIM Diane, I... Diane looks at JIM in silence. Her face reveals nothing, but there is a deadness in her eyes. After a moment, she turns back inside, leaving the door open. JIM follows his wife inside, closes the door. The camera moves to peek in the kitchen window, from where we watch JIM and Diane but cannot make out anything they say. JIM (VO) I don't know how Diane and I made it through that night, but we did. Our marriage had gone right to the brink, but in the end I guess it was saved by one simple fact: we truly loved each other. So we made a commitment to begin the painful process of piecing our lives back together. The worst was over; the mistakes of the past were behind us. INT. MILLARD HIGH JIM'S CLASSROOM -- NIGHT A WASTE BASKET peeks out from under Jim's desk. We hear a distinctive rhythmic squeak, and a shadowy head appears in the window. Keys jingle. The door opens, and Lowell turns on the lights. He approaches the waste basket and slides it out. EXT. MILLARD HIGH TRACK DAY FROM OVERHEAD - JIM circles the track. ON THE GROUND -- JIM does pushups. Then sit-ups. JIM (VO) The next day held the promise of a new beginning. After all, what harm had really been done? No one was dead. INT. MILLARD OFFICE DAY Now all clean and refreshed and whistling a merry tune, JIM pops in to check his box, giving a wave to Miss Seeder. JIM Hi, Linda. JIM continues to whistle as he looks through his mail. JIM (VO CONT'D) Life would go on, and I would certainly be a stronger and wiser person from the experience. MISS BEEDER Uh, Jim? JIM Hmm? MISS BEEDER Walt needs to see you. JIM Oh. Okay. Still absorbed in his papers, JIM heads over to Walt's door. INT. WALT'S OFFICE CONTINUOUS JIM You rang? JIM stops cold. Walt is not alone. Barbara Flick and a bleary-eyed Tracy are there. So are Larry Fouch, Ron Bell, and Lowell the janitor. Prominently displayed on Walt's desk are TWO CRINKLED BALLOTS. JIM takes an eternal few seconds to absorb what is happening. WALT Mr. McAllister, I hope you can help us clear something up. BARBARA Look at his face! He knows he's been caught. Look at his face! (to Jim) Your ass is grass, Mister! LARRY You said I was a liar You're the liar, you're the -- WALT Larry, you just take it easy All turn and stare at Jim. Come to think of it, he does look awfully guilty. INT. SPANISH CLASS-- DAY MS. HOY leads the class in recitation. Paul responds along with his companeros. MS. HOY Yo -- CLASS pierdo. MS. HOY Tu CLASS pierdes. MS. HOY El/ella - CLASS pierde. A STUDENT AIDE enters the classroom and hands a note to the teacher, who upon reading the note looks up at Paul MS. HOY Senor presidente? The class laughs fondly. Paul looks around, beaming with embarrassment and pride. MS. HOY (CONT'D) Quieren verte en la oficina. PAUL Huh? INT. MILLARD HALLWAY DAY Paul walks down the hall, a bounce in his step on this fine spring morning. PAUL Senor presidente. Yo soy senor presidente... El grande presidente... PAUL (VO) I don't know why, but finding out there was a mistake and I hadn't won the election after all didn't bother me that much. Winning had seemed kind of unreal anyway. I guess I should have voted for myself. Oh, well. Paul reaches the -- INT. SCHOOL OFFICE CONTINUOUS and enters Walt's office. Everyone is there WALT (standing up) Take a seat, son. We've got something hard to tell you. PAUL Is Tammy okay? WALT She's okay. It's about the election. Walt closes the door in our faces. We hold on the door. JIM (VO) After Paul got the bad news, Walt asked for a few minutes alone with me. It was very simple, really. I offered my resignation, and he accepted. Very quietly, it was all over for JIM McAllister at Millard High - twelve years of hard work down the drain. The door opens revealing that only wait and JIM remain. The office staff is hushed as JIM the Zombie Cyclops emerges into the office and walks somberly toward Miss Boeder. His voice quavers at half-volume. JIM Walt will be speaking with you about this, but I need you to find someone to take over my classes. The lesson plans for the rest of the year are in my top right drawer. MISS BEEDER Okay, Jim. I understand. JIM Thanks. Well. I'm going home now. EXT. HILLARD HIGH (REAR PROJECTIOH) -- DAY As JIM moves toward the parking lot, the school recedes in an odd REAR PROJECTION that suggests he is floating. The MUSIC here reinforces the gravity of the moment, the inevitability of his fate. JIM stops walking, and a disembodied STEEPING WHEEL floats into his hands. The scene behind changes to: INT./EXT. JIM'S CAR REAR PROJECTION - DAY The city passing by outside is another strange REAR PROJECTION. JIM grips the floating steering wheel and makes turns wildly out-of-sync with the background. JIM (VO) I don't remember driving home, or much of anything that happened in the next few days. JIM lets go of the steering wheel, and it drifts away. JIM turns his back to camera to face - INT. MCALLISTER HOUSE (REAR PROJECTIOH) -- DAY JIM drifts toward his house, and it absorbs him through the front door. INT. MCALLISTER LIVING ROOM - DAY We're no longer in rear-projection land: reality has caught up with Jim. As he walks across the room, he strips off his shirt, shoes, socks, and finally pants. Left only in his underwear, he walks through the house and out into the - EXT. MCALLISTER BACKYARD DAY and flops down in the grass, facing the sky. JIM (VO CONT'D) There were news stories in the paper and on television, former students calling with their support, endless hours of doing nothing, thinking nothing. A shadow falls over Jim's face, and a hand offers him a glass of iced tea. Grateful, JIM takes it, and looks up at - DIANE, her head blocking the sun. JIM (VO CONT'D) Diane stood by me through the entire humiliating ordeal, in a way, it sort of evened things out between us. Diane leaves. JIM looks up at the sky. JIM (VO CONT'D) Soon school was over, and summer stretched out in front of me as it always had. Funny how the rhythm of the school year remains ingrained in you for life. in mid-June we found out Diane was pregnant. FADE OUT UNDER BLACK we hear the opening bars of a bouncy TIJUANA BRASS SONG. EXT. METZLER CEMENT PLANT NIGHT PAUL IS DANCING, twisting to the music at a PARTY, a giant grin on his face, a big sombrero with tassels on his head. Behind him we can see an enormous illuminated GRAVEL CONVEYOR. SUPER-IMPOSED: "ONE YEAR LATER." PAUL (VO) Senior year was great I Sure, I didn't get to play ball or be president, but I got elected homecoming king and prom king anyway. I got into Nebraska like I wanted and early-rushed Phi Delts. At the end of the year me and my buddies threw a hitching Mexican party down at the cement plant. Shit, that was a good party. That was a good party! LATER -- Paul is at a KEG, pumping it up and serving himself a beer. He takes a sip, seems to grow pensive. PAUL (VO CONT'D) The only really bad thing about senior year was Lisa. Right before Christmas she dumped me. One minute she's totally in love with me and then boom she's going out with my football buddy Randy. Paul looks over at LISA dancing suggestively with RANDY Paul looks sad, takes another gulp, waves at unseen friends. PAUL (VO CONT'D) Sometimes I wonder what would've happened if I'd actually won the election. Maybe my whole life would be different. Like I might never have gone to Yosemite with Greg and Travis. Paul takes a BIG GULP and looks into camera. PAUL (VO CONT'D) Or maybe I'd be dead. FADE OUT UNDER BLACK we hear a distinctive AIRY HISS. INT. SACRED HEART BATHROOM DAY Tammy takes a big toke off a JOINT. TAMMY (VO) Catholic school was great! Tammy and JENNIFER, a Sacred Heart schoolmate, are jammed into a bathroom stall. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) I mean, the teachers kind of sucked, and they were supposedly way more strict, but you could get away with murder. Tammy hands off the doob to Jennifer, who takes a huge hit. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) The best thing about Sacred Heart was meeting Jennifer. Jennifer looks at Tammy. Tammy looks at Jennifer JENNIFER MONTAGE - accompanied by the early '70's song, "Jennifer." SUPER-8 style glimpses of Tammy and Jennifer in the Sacred Heart hallways, Jennifer in the park, Jennifer dancing in Tammy's room, and finally, Jennifer SWINGING. TAMMY (VO CONT'D) All those feelings I had for Lisa were just preparing me for the real thing. Jennifer and I are soul mates, and we're never, ever, ever going to be apart. FADE OUT UNDER BLACK we hear the MURMUR of a small crowd, interrupted by the BANG, BANG, BANG of a GAVEL. TRACY (VO) Senior year was very productive for me and full of personal achievement. INT. STUDENT COUNCIL OFFICE DAY Tracy officiates a MEETING. Next to her at the head table is Jerry Raynor and other council members. TRACY Order. Order. Order I Can we vote on this? Those in favor. TRACY (VO) On top of a very successful student council year, I got into Cornell like I wanted, with scholarships, and I was in the top 7th percentile of my graduating class. TRACY Approved EXT. PARK DAY Tracy walks along the edge of a pond on this overcast day, Her arms are crossed, and she wears an oversized woolen sweater. Wind blows softly through her hair. TRACY (VO CONT'D) But sometimes I got lonely, and I'd think about Dave. I missed our talks. Maybe it could have worked out between us. I don't know. INT. REAL VALU HARDWARE DAY Wearing the red vest and "Ask me" button of a Real Valu foot soldier, Dave stands above a case of SPRAY PAINT. He is stamping prices on every cap. TRACY (VO CONT'D) I wonder what he's doing now. Maybe he finally finished his novel INT. MILLARD CAFETERIA - DAY It's ANNUAL distribution time, and crowd of excited students are lined up to get their precious book of memories. Many have already received theirs and are crowded around dining tables, gleefully exchanging bans mots. Tracy takes her annual and quickly opens it to the INDEX. CLOSE ON TRACT'S NAME - followed by a whopping list of page references TRACY (VO) When the yearbooks came out, I was on almost every page. EXT. MILLARD PARKING LOT - DAY Tracy walks outside hugging her yearbook and sees PAUL AT HIS TRUCK, surrounded by supplicants. Tracy stops for a moment and watches. She gathers her courage and heads toward him. Paul doesn't even notice her, so occupied is he with his friends and admirers. TRACY Paul, will you sign my yearbook? PAUL Sure, Tracy. Paul takes the book, efficiently finds the page with his picture, and goes to work. TRACY Can I sign yours too? PAUL Oh, yeah, sure. (to a friend) Hey Nolan, give my book to Tracy when you're done* Nolan finishes and hands the book over. Tracy turns to the front pages and finds them completely filled, as are the end pages. Now she looks for her picture. When she finds it, it's almost completely obscured by part of some ASSWIPE 'S long, illegible, exclamation point-filled message. Finally, she locates an available space and begins to write. TRACY (VO) I thought very carefully about what to write. Because despite everything that had happened with the election, I really wished him well. I even signed it... CLOSE ON - Tracy writing: "Love, Tracy" beneath her inscription Tracy takes Paul's book back to him. He's already working on another annual and barely looks up when he swaps with her. PAUL Thanks, Tracy. Tracy starts to walk away and Paul stops her PAUL (CONT'D) Hey, Tracy I.. She turns around expectantly TRACY Yes, Paul? PAUL Have a great summer. And good luck at college. TRACY (genuinely moved) Thanks. You too. It was great working with you. Tracy opens the book as she walks and stops when she finds AN ALMOST BLANK PAGE with Paul's puny inscription at the bottom: Have a great Summer! Good luck at college Paul Metzier' INT. TRACY'S ROOM DAY Tracy looks at herself in a mirror, as though dispassionately assessing her own face. Then she begins to put on lipstick. TRACY (VO) After graduation, I don't know. ; somehow felt empty inside. I guess high school just seemed so meaningless now and I couldn't wait to get out of Omaha. Next year I was going to make all new friends. Smarter, more ambitious friends. It was time to move on. There was nothing left for roe here. I just had one more thing to take care of. FADE OUT UNDER BLACK comes the sound of a BUSY COMMERCIAL STREET. JIM (VO) After two months of sitting on my ass and two months helping out at my brother-in-law's travel agency... EXT. GRIFFITH SATURN DAY A standard-issue car dealership: banner-draped lot, glass enclosed showroom. JIM (VO CONT'D) ...I landed a position at a Saturn dealership. INT. GRIFFITH SATURN DAY All those cars and that new-car SMELL IN HIS CUBICLE JIM is typing at his desk across from a 55-ish MALE CUSTOMER. JIM (VO CONT'D) I never thought I'd end up selling cars, but it's not so bad. I like the Saturn philosophy -- it really is a different kind of company. A FRAMED SNAPSHOT on Jim's desk shows Diane and him with the LITTLE ONE. JIM (VO CONT'D) I'm just relieved to have a steady income now that there are three of us. INT./EXT. GRIFFITH SATURN DAY QUICK MONTAGE OUTSIDE ON THE LOT JIM saunters toward a client reading stickers. INSIDE THE DEALERSHIP JIM explains features of a CROSS-SECTIONED SATURN THE CLIENT IS IN A DRIVER'S SEAT while JIM leans in from the opposite window, pointing out dashboard features. JIM (VO) Actually, it wasn't so difficult making the transition from teaching to selling. It's like I tell my customers: my role is just to educate people so they can make informed decisions. THE GLASS DOORS TO THE SHOWROOM OPEN, and JIM watches a satisfied customer drive slowly away in a new Saturn Twin Cam. JIM (VO CONT'D) When I send someone home with a new unit, I feel a genuine sense of pride. INT. GRIFFITH SATURN EMPLOYEE BREAK ROOM DAY The room consists of mismatched sofas and chairs around a coffee table. There's a TV that no one watches. Sleeves rolled up and tie loosened, JIM eats a sandwich next to TWO OTHER SALESMEN and a FEMALE ACCOUNTANT who like him are eating lunch and watching TV. NO one speaks. JIM (VO CONT'D) So that's about it. Maybe I'll get back to teaching someday, but for the time being, I guess I'm pretty happy where I'm at. A SALESMAN pokes his head in the door. SALESMAN (to Jim) Hey, Professor. There's a young gal out here asking for you. JIM Oh JIM chews quicker and wipes his mouth as he stands up, straightens his tie. SALESMAN (low, as JIM passes) She's a real hot tamale. INT. SHOWROOM DAY JIM walks among the shiny new cars and sees the back of an attractive young woman in a red dress and heels. She turns around: it's Tracy. JIM is truly surprised. TRACY Hello, Mr. M. JIM Hello, Tracy. JIM waits for Tracy to lead the way, but she doesn't JIM (CONT'D) So what brings you here? TRACY I'm looking at new cars. JIM Oh. New cars. I see. Well, you came to the right place TRACY My mother's buying me a new car for college. JIM Huh. Right. College. Wow. Where are you going? Where 'd you get into? TRACY Well, I got in everywhere I applied, but Cornell is my first choice. JIM Good for you. Good for you An uncomfortable pause. JIM shifts gears. JIM (CONT'D) So, are you looking for something sporty or more practical? TRACY Sporty. INT./EXT. THE SPORTY SATURN -- DAY A test drive. JIM is in the passenger seat. Tracy nears the end of the dealership's driveway. TRACY Where to? JIM Anywhere you want. (checks his watch) Just so long as we're not gone more than a half-hour. Tracy turns right. They drive a moment in silence. JIM Handles pretty good, don't you think? TRACY Yeah. JIM Plenty of pep, too. TRACY Uh-huh. JIM And this model comes with ABS and dual air bags standard. TRACY That sounds good. A silence JIM So Tracy? TRACY Yes? JIM Why are you doing this? TRACY Doing what? JIM Coming to see me. Are you trying to. . humiliate me? TRACY Nooo. I just thought... l mean, I am looking for a new car. But I just thought, well, I'm going away soon, and you'll be stuck here and, I don't know, I just think maybe if things had been different we might have been, well, friends. Real friends. And then things would be different. Don't you think? JIM just looks at Tracy - it's so very odd JIM Well, I... I... that's very nice of you. TRACY (excited) I've got an idea. Tracy suddenly signals and takes a right. EXT. OMAHA STREET -- DAY Tracy and JIM and the Saturn zoom by. INT./EXT. SATURN -- DAY Tracy takes a corner and pulls to a stop in front of a modest middle class house. JIM What's this? TRACY My house. Tracy sets the parking brake. Jim's eyes register a suppressed panic. JIM I don't understand. What's the deal? Tracy looks deeply into Jim's eyes. TRACY I want you to do something for me. JIM Swallows, unsure what heaven or hell awaits him. TRACY (getting out) I just have to get something. I'll be right back. Tracy heads toward the house. JIM sits and waits. He scans Tracy's house, notices the chipped and peeling paint, the rusting lawn furniture, the bowed porch steps. NOW TRACY opens the door and gets in. She carries her YEARBOOK and gives it to Jim. JIM Oh, is this...? (thumbing through it) God. First one of these I haven't been in for a long time. TRACY Would you sign it for me? Tracy reaches over the parking brake and flips the yearbook to the blank pages at the beginning. JIM What a surprise. TRACY Take as much room as you want JIM removes a pen from his breast pocket and uncaps it. He considers what to write. TRACY (CONT'D) I'm scared, Mr. M. I kind of don't feel ready for college. JIM You'll be fine. TRACY I hope so JIM You will. CLOSE ON JIM He looks at the yearbook. He looks at Tracy. He looks out the windshield. It's all so odd. CLOSE ON THE BLANK PAGE JIM begins to write: "Dear Tracy,"