The Screenplay-novel Manifestos

Less is more vivid

Monday, May 08, 2006


If you want to see the past installments of "Truth Marathon", click here.

RECAP: Paul has had a hard week: he is struggling to undo the damage from the terrible first impression he made on his boss at a new job, and his talkative, obsessive father is becoming manic again.

Emotionally exhausted, he goes home and collapses. And a week later, all he is concentrating on is succeeding at work.


Paul is gathering up his books and teaching materials. One student, an Asian female, lingers behind.

STUDENT: Teacher.

PAUL: Hm? What is it, Sun-hee?

STUDENT: I …. [she becomes paralyzed with shyness]

PAUL: [tenderly] What’s the matter?

STUDENT: [blushing] I understand –

PAUL: [encouragingly] You understand. Good. That’s good.

STUDENT: No. I understand, no. You speaking. Too fast.



Marty appears at the door and gives it a light knock.

PAUL: Whassup?

Sun-hee looks first at Paul, then at Marty. It’s all a bit much.

STUDENT: Sorry. [She gathers her handbag and books and flees from the room.]

MARTY: What was that all about?

PAUL: [looking at his attendance sheet] Nothing. Just a student needing some help.

MARTY: She looked – I dunno – like, upset.

PAUL: She was shy. She told me I’m speaking too fast.

MARTY: Oh. Oh. I thought maybe she was – uh --.

PAUL: [looking up] “Uh….”

MARTY: You know, coming on to you.


MARTY: [forcefully] Come on, don’t you have that sometimes?

PAUL: [looking down again] No.

MARTY: Well, you’ve just been here a week-and-a-half. Nobody knows you. I mean, the students don’t. You don’t have a reputation.

PAUL: Oh, swell, that’s what I need.

MARTY: Not in a bad way, dude! Just, you know, a reputation.

PAUL: Thanks for clarifying that, Marty.

MARTY: [making a “phssshh” sound under his breath] Okay, okay. [Beat] You mind if I ask you a personal question?

PAUL: [putting away his papers and closing his books] Shoot.

MARTY: You got a girlfriend?

PAUL: [quietly] No.

MARTY: How old are you?

PAUL: [blushing despite himself] 38.

MARTY: [starting] Thirty --?! [Catching himself] You don’t look it.

PAUL: Yeah, well, that’s something I suppose.

MARTY: No, you’re taking me the wrong way. All I’m saying is, you, teacher. Hot chicks, student. You need to be a little more friendly, you know what I mean? Not in a bad way. Just be yourself. You’re a nice guy. So just keep doing that nice guy thing. You’ll have hotties staying after class to ask you questions all the time, believe me.

PAUL: [clearly uncomfortable] Look, I’m not exactly in Lucille’s good books right now. I don’t think that “getting a reputation” as being a little sort of very popular with female students is going to help.

MARTY: Oh, fuck Lucille! She’s a tight-ass! You know Peter, the guy who actually owns this school?The one who hired a rottweiler like Lucille so he could, ah, do other things?

PAUL: Yeah, I met him.

MARTY: He screws students. He’s very specific. He likes Venezualans.

PAUL: [preparing to leave] Good to know. But I think the operative word in that last phrase was “actually owns”.

MARTY: Okay, okay! So he’s a fucking hypocrite! So what! But listen, this is just a lousy institute. It’s not even a real school. It’s just a place where rich kids come so they can drink and cut loose in another country for a few months and tell mommy and daddy they’re “studying”. So what if you have a good time, too?

PAUL: Well, what about you?

MARTY: What about me?

PAUL: How many students are you, ah, giving A+’s to?

MARTY: I was just saying. I didn’t mean every teacher here does that.

PAUL: [bemused] So you’re telling me that you condone sex with students but don’t do it yourself?

MARTY: [flustered] You said it yourself. You gotta be careful. In any case, Canada sucks. The attitude here sucks. It’s just a square place. It gets into everyone for some reason. Now if you’re living in another country, that’s a different story. That’s where the action starts.

PAUL: So what’re you thinking? A job in Montreal?

MARTY: No, dude! I wanna go back to Seoul! I lived there for two years. You wouldn’t believe that place! It’s unreal, man! It’s – I dunno. It’s intense. Anyway, I’m already sending out resumes. Got a couple of good leads. If everything comes together, I’ll be gone in a month. A month, dude!

Paul doesn’t know what to say. Marty glances at him and realizes that he’s blushing once more. Marty, feeling a moment of pity for his new, odd, shy friend, lowers his voice an octave.

MARTY: Why don’t you go? Try something different?

PAUL: I just started here. How can I leave?

MARTY: Lucille doesn’t care.

PAUL: No, Marty. Thanks. But I just can’t. It’s crazy.

MARTY: Well, live large. It’s the only way if you wanna be happy. [beat] If you need any help, I can show you a couple of job search websites.

PAUL: No, fine. Really. I’m okay here. I just gotta – I gotta turn it around with Lucille.

MARTY: Okay, dude. But remember, you heard it here first: Canada sucks. You don’t have to live – oh, what’s the word I’m looking for --? You don’t have to live like a refugee.

Paul looks up at Marty, on the verge of correcting his word choice, but then he just smiles sadly.


The lights are out. The room is very dim. Paul is dialing a phone number.

PAUL: [into handset] Dad? Dad? You there?


Post a Comment

<< Home