The below is a brief excerpt from the screenplay “A Girl’s Life,” a film about a girl’s coming of age as told by the girl through a rather shameful string of lovers and various bizarre events of her childhood that seem to lead no where but despair.
The film takes the audience through her whole life, from age five when she is approached walking home from school one afternoon by a loan shark who pins a note to her jacket that says, “We know where you live,” all the way to her late forties, through an ugly divorce, the death of her father and a slew of random events that change her life.
The overall theme of the film is the girl’s tragic and irreverent inability to make peace with her father (an alcoholic bank robber) and to recognize the fact that she is a love addict– As she lives through it, suffers with it and learns what it is– she ultimately outgrows her old, deleterious beliefs about love, sex and men to become, for lack of a better term, real.
Int. Church Basement
June and her father sit beside each other in a group meeting for Alcoholics. About 40 others sit in a circle in tiny chairs. Smoke from cigarettes is thick in the room.
My grades were always bad. I barely made it out of eighth grade into high school. And I spent a ton of time, by this point, attending AA meetings with my dad who was now a “recovering alcoholic” on the 12-step plan. He and I and a bunch of other seedy looking rehab guys would congregate in the cafeteria basement of the Pinelands church to hear “confessions” of all the miserable things the alcoholics did to everyone else and how they wrecked everyone’s lives. The room always smelled like coffee and stale smoke and men, and everyone was always laughing and telling jokes. My dad, being the narcissist that he was, would stand up and tell everyone how he too, wrecked our lives, and because his stories were so dramatically sensational as compared to everyone else’s bumbling crimes of neglect and the occasional car crash, the group idolized him. He was like, the famous bad guy who told tales of stealing million dollar oil paintings from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, kiting checks, and scamming investors into believing he was going to jump the grand canyon. I sat there beside him, the wreckage, so proud of how many people applauded. I felt like the daughter of a movie-star.
My mother, who went to the Al-Anon meetings down the hall (for the families of alcoholics) used to think it was a bit odd that the ones who caused all the trouble were having more fun than the victims. The victims called themselves co-dependents, and sat in a circle holding hands, reading from books entitled, I’m OK, You’re OK , Co-Dependant No More and Women Who Love Too Much. Women mostly. Telling sad, pathetic stories that included words like, “pain” and “disappointment” and “longing” and “loss.” Trying to pick up the broken pieces of their lives. It made no sense. It was all too intangible. So I stayed in my dad’s meetings. More boys, more laughs, more donuts. Stories were told there too, but they were concrete. First person. Visual. Action words. I smacked her. I stole the money. I ran out of the house and left her. I crashed the car. I couldn’t stop. No use for metaphor. My mother even agreed that I’d have far more fun over in his meetings.
Int- Church hallway
“No, honey. You go on over there. Our meeting tonight is only focusing on how to break free from a co-dependent relationship without divorcing.
I didn’t even know what co-dependent meant. And besides, I loved being with the bad ones. There was just something about a 16-year-old boy sipping coffee out of styrophome cup and telling a room of drunks that he’d do just about anything for a bottle of JD and a George Thorogood song. And besides, Curt Jones had a drinking problem.
Close up shot of a seedy looking 16-year-old kid with a cigarette between his lips and a styrophome cup, looking into camera.
(V.O.) Narrator (con’t)
Curt Jones. My first. The man of my dreams.
Skinny little, half-Italian Curt Jones with the Members Only black jacket and the parachute pants. [Sigh]. I don’t know if he made me fall in love with Prince first or if Prince made me fall in love with Curt. Either way, they both went together like purple and rain. I was awakened and ready for both. Although, looking back, Prince loved me far more than Curt.
Int- girl’s bedroom
Steamy, low-lit scene of girl making out with framed picture of Prince to “Do Me Baby” playing loudly on her record player.