EXT. GATEWAY HOMES HOUSING PROJECT - CONTINUOUS Close in, we see a sign that says WELCOME TO THE GATEWAY HOMES in front of a complex of SECTION 8 TOWNHOUSES. The tag line reads: FAMILY, HOME, COMMUNITY. THE SIGN has a faded, peeling EMBLEM of a rising sun viewed between two flung open iron gates. INT. GATEWAY TOWNHOUSE, KITCHEN - MORNING J-BIRD ALEXANDER, 16, is melting margarine from a tub in a large, no-stick pan. A bowl of raw, scrambled eggs sits alongside. 2-YEAR-OLD JACKSON cries from his jumpy chair at the kitchen threshold. J-Bird steps over and gives him a kiss on the head. J-BIRD Easy, l'il man. You a'ight. HIS MOM, GINA, 32, is frantically sorting scattered schoolbooks into two different backpacks. The sound of two young girls bickering comes from the hall bathroom. GINA (yells to the hall) Get y'all l'il asses movin'. (to J-Bird) You almost done? J-BIRD We got time momma. even quarter till. It ain't in J-Bird lays out four paper plates. He licks his finger and flicks it into the pan. Sizzling hot. He pours in the eggs, begins stirring, then 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n CLOSE ON: The blue flame under the pan flickering out. Two 8-year-old girls lumber into the living room, TWINS. One, KASANDRA, flops on the couch and opens a book, the other, ALEXANDRA, backs up to where her mom sits trying to calm the 2-year-old. ALEXANDRA Momma can you fix my braid? ck J-Bird is stirring the eggs, notices they aren't cooking. fiddles with the controls then peers under the pan. © Lo J-BIRD Damn, momma! The gas out again! He 2. Gina says nothing, but shoots J-Bird a glare loaded with shut yo mouth in front of these kids! J-Bird dutifully transfers the eggs from the pan to a plate, using a spatula to clear them thoroughly, and puts the plate into the microwave. EXT. STREET CORNER, EDGE OF THE GATEWAY HOUSES - MORNING The twins walk in front of J-Bird and Gina, who's carrying the toddler. The twins are each carrying a piece of toast but they seem more concerned with seeing the mist of their breath. J-Bird and Gina load them onto the bus, see them off. J-BIRD Y'all be good. ALEXANDRA Bye. KASANDRA OK. The bus pulls away, Gina and J-Bird watch but don't look at each other when J-Bird speaks. J-BIRD How much we owe? GINA I'll take care of it, Jarnell. J-Bird turns to his mother, his expression says that no, she won't. He rubs the baby's head, gives him a kiss. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n J-BIRD Be good for Grandma l'il man. (to his mom) I see you tonight. GINA I'll take care of that bill, J. © Lo J-Bird starts to walk away. ck J-BIRD (knowing she won't) I know, momma. 3. GINA And don't let me find out you out runnin' around with that Jade. You don't need to be messin' with no group home care shortie. Next thing you know I got five, six, 7 mouths to feed! J-Bird throws his head back in exasperation, J-BIRD Maaaa! and just keeps walking, shaking his head while Gina giggles. INT. KITCHEN - MORNING Sophie rushes downstairs, now dressed in professional attire and as she passes the kitchen, she sees that she still hasn't cleaned up the juice-making mess. SOPHIE Shit! CLOSE ON: a dish-washer as juicer parts and cutting boards are haphazardly crammed in, then the door slams shut. INT. SOPHIE'S CAR - MORNING The doors slams shut and Sophie hurriedly back out of the driveway. A cell phone alarm chimes. The display reads: ANDERSON HOME VISIT: 5 MINUTES. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n SOPHIE Damn it, damn it, damn it. (cues Siri) Call work. INT. DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES - MORNING In the office of DCS Supervisor ANITA "CORRIE" CORAZON-LATINA, 36--and in her office sits LAWRENCE CLAYBURN--47, BLACK--and NIKKI GRAMMER, 34. There's an empty chair next to Nikki. © Lo ck CORRIE My ass is going to be planted in this chair until I get that proposal done for Gionatti. If that isn't on his desk today we'll never get that second social worker position at Bridgefield High. 4. LAWRENCE And without that extra set of hands, it's only a matter of time before Frances will up and walk outta that place. Corries phone rings. Nikki shakes her head cynically, as if she's watching the department on its way to hell in a handbasket. CORRIE Which is why I need you to cover me with Judge Eldridge. (she answers) This is Anita.... Yeah, Sophie. Nikki rolls her eyes. INTERCUT BETWEEN SOPHIE'S CAR AND DCS SOPHIE (speaking quickly, frazzled) I'm so sorry Corrie, it's been one of those mornings, my Dad and all that. I'm running late for the Anderson home visit. I'll be there in...seven minutes. Corrie rears back in her chair, realizing she also forgot the appointment. She rubs her eyes, then looks into the distance overhead. CORRIE Shit, we already rescheduled with them twice. CORRIE No, Mija. I spaced it. at the office. SOPHIE Oh. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n SOPHIE I'm practically around the corner. I'm still © Lo ck Sophie's sailing without a map now. She waits for a cue from Corrie, but then has a lightbulb. 5. SOPHIE Why don't I just go? I know things are nuts today for you and that way we won't have to reschedule again. It's just a check-in. Corrie rears back in her seat to consider whether or not to send a freshman social worker into the field alone. CORRIE Do you feel like you can handle it? (considers it) The Anderson's are one of our model families. Nikki mouths to Lawrence: no fucking way. He gives her a calm down gesture. SOPHIE I mean, I have a really good rapport with Ms Anderson. And I've met her son. Yeah, I'll be fine. CORRIE OK, listen. I'm more concerned about your energy. I can hear it in your voice. Take a few deep breaths, calm down, and if you feel like you've got command over the situation, go ahead and check in. Nikki looks at Lawrence in disbelief. CORRIE But keep it quick, keep it light. Corrie hangs up. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n NIKKI Really? You're letting her go to The Gates all by her self? © OK. Lo NIKKI (relents) ck Corrie flashes an are you questioning my judgment look. 6. LAWRENCE I'll have Bobby put in for the continuance with Judge Eldridge and as far as the child advocate luncheon, don't give it another thought. (to Nikki) That puts you on working the floor. Nikki gets up, sassily resigned to her fate for the day. Corrie and Lawrence exchange a smile. INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE - MORNING The interior shows an effort to keep a run-down townhouse warm and livable. The furniture has SLIP COVERS, cheap art hangs on the walls, KNITTED AFGHANS drape the furniture. Burglar bars show through a gap in the floral drapes. INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE, KITCHEN - MORNING A SHIRTLESS BLACK MAN, 36, ambles up a staircase from the basement. He has a ripped prison physique and his back is filled with an amazing TATTOO OF A ROULETTE WHEEL, topped with the arcing words: FATE CREW in Old English Script. He's groggy, still glazed with sleep. He checks a KETTLE -it's full--he turns on the flame. He sets out a GLASS CANISTER filled with tea bags. This is DEREK ANDERSON. The sound of a HEAVY BASS BEAT comes from upstairs. Derek looks at the ceiling, his face showing consternation. He eyes the clock: 8:57AM. EXT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE - MORNING 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n A blighted urban street in the HEART OF THE GATES, lined on one side by detached ROW HOUSES, on the other by TOWNHOUSES. A matching shot of the burglar bars and drapes establishes the ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE. A STATE VEHICLE pulls to a stop across the street. INT. STATE VEHICLE - MORNING ck Sophie stops and hurriedly stashes her phone in her bag. She takes a deep breath and looks toward the Anderson townhouse. She's apprehensive. In her haste of running late, she overlooked the impact of doing her first solo home visit. Lo INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE, UPSTAIRS LANDING - MOMENTS LATER © Outside the door from whence the beat rumbles. Derek comes bounding up the stairs and throws open the door. 7. He's greeted by a CLOUD OF POT SMOKE. A 15-YEAR-OLD BOY, Derek's son ROO, is standing in the door of his closet. He's wearing baggie jeans and a T-shirt, moving with the beat and doesn't hear his father's entrance. DEREK closes the door, storms across the room and throws open a window. This gets Roo's attention and when he springs around we see he's wearing a DIVINE CHILD FALCONS T-SHIRT. ROO Damn, Daddy. It's cold as hell... Derek turns off the stereo. closet. He backs his son into the DEREK I told you, you can't be smokin' that shit up in yo Grandma's house. ROO She don't even know. She never come up here-Derek spins Roo around and drops him on the bed. He leans in and puts his finger in his son's chest. He speaks just above a whisper. DEREK Dammit Roo, it ain't about that. I can't be around this shit or Imma get sent back up. Don't make me put my hands on you, boy. If I catch you with this shit up in here again, Imma beat the black offa yo ass. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n Derek exits, leaving Roo stunned. INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE, LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS As Derek hits the bottom of the staircase, there's a knock at the front door. He opens it to find Sophie on the porch. SOPHIE Hi, good morning. Sophie Cox, DCS. We met a couple months ago. © Lo SOPHIE May I come in? Mornin'. ck DEREK Yeah, I remember. 8. Derek begrudgingly steps aside. INT. PRITCHETT'S OUTER OFFICE - MORNING Pritchett enters to find his assistant, TRUDY ARNOLD--WHITE, 48--sitting at her desk. She has just placed a hot cup of coffee on the corner of her desk. She points to it and he collects it. PRITCHETT Thank ya, dear. Any surprises today? TRUDY Not yet. But it's hardly nine o'clock. Give it ten minutes. Pritchett raises the mug in "thanks" and disappears into his office, passing a door placard that says THE HONORABLE ROGER L. PRITCHETT. INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE - MORNING Derek and Sophie sit in the living room. Sophie looks around the place. She's ill-at-ease from the trace odors of marijuana. She does her best to hide it. SOPHIE How's the job search going? SOPHIE That's wonderful. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n DEREK Good, got a gig lined up at the Boulder Center, working with their after-school program. It's just 20 hours a week, but it's part of the plan I wrote up when I got out, so I feel like it's, ya know, meant to be. INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE, ROO'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Roo is dressed for the street: baggies, black hoodie. He's listening to music via HEADPHONES and putting stuff into his BACKPACK. ck INT. ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE, LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS © Lo Derek shifts in his seat, glances upstairs knowing that if Roo comes down it's not going to look good. 9. SOPHIE Roo's attendance is good, better than average actually. he isn't cut from the same cloth as the problem kids. he's not a leader. but his conduct is, well... Sophie opens a folder that's resting on her lap and she reads, DEREK Miss, that's nothing I don't know. Sophie looks up, takes a deep breath and then closes the folder. SOPHIE There's concern that now that you're back in the household Roo is trying to live up to your image. He talks about you a lot, and most recently about guns and drugs and things of that nature. Frankly, Mr. Anderson, we're concerned. Derek shakes his head, isn't sure how to process what she said. Then: the SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS bounding on the stairs. ROO'S POV Hip-Hop piping in his HEADPHONES, Roo steps low enough on the stairs to see Sophie and Derek in the living room. He's alarmed and leaps back upstairs. INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n Sophie looks at Derek as his head drops. DEREK Look, I just got up and heard him here. I thought he was already gone. SOPHIE You have to understand how this looks. INT. ROO'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS © Lo ROO (to himself) Shit. ck Roos comes in, quickly shuts the door. 10. He takes off his headphones and cracks the door to eavesdrop. He only catches snippets of Sophie's dialogue and doesn't realize she's painting a big "what if" picture INTERCUT BETWEEN ROO AND SOPHIE/DEREK SOPHIE (O.S.) ...you're what, three months out of prison? Your son's acting up, and there's marijuana in the house. Roo drops his head. SOPHIE ...I write this up...especially with drugs in the house. Mr. Anderson, you're going back to prison if... Roo closes the door and it hits him. He starts to shake and tears well in his eyes. He grabs the edge of his hood and pulls it over his face. Clutching the fabric, he bangs his hands on his head. After a beat he throws back the hood and his self-reproach has turned to a fiery aggression. ROO Fuckin' bitch. INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Sophie's leaning forward further, her face showing empathy for Derek's position. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n SOPHIE I'm not saying that's true, but it could look that way. Derek gets up and crosses to the bottom of the stairs. His gait, his expression, the growl in his voice show how furious he is. DEREK Dre, get down here. © Lo DEREK DRE! ck Sophie is unnerved by the sudden shift from a civil conversation to the brink of an angry confrontation. 11. SOPHIE Mr. Anderson, just take a breath. Sophie collects herself to leave. SOPHIE Tell you what, I'll just come back when we can sit down and talk. We'll write up an action plan. Derek, too upset to respond directly to Sophie, just nods, acknowledging what she's saying. He follows her to the door. SOPHIE We'll work this out. He's just a kid and this is a big adjustment for him. She leaves and he closes the door behind her. INT. MARY ANDERSON'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS The sound of a GUNSHOT and MARY ANDERSON, 69, sits boltupright in bed. Directly behind her head a PORTRAIT JESUS, PALMS OUTSTRETCHED. It's unclear if the sound came from her dream or outside the house. She hurriedly gets out of bed. EXT. CUT THROAT'S HOUSE - MORNING Another blighted urban street a couple blocks east of the Gateway Homes. You get the sense that this house was once somebody's middle class dream. No more. INT. CUT THROAT'S HOUSE - MORNING 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n A couple thuggish characters––MUSH MOUTH and ANGRY G––hang out on the stoop. J-Bird comes down the block and they exchange S'ups. They lean aside and J-Bird bounds up the stoop. Despite its bleak exterior, the house is more than livable inside. A huge flat screen, hulking speakers, leather furniture. J-BIRD ENTERS and crosses to the hallway that leads back to the INT. CUT THROAT'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS © Lo ck A tall, good looking, shirtless BLACK GUY is standing in front of table on which is splayed the morning paper. In one hand he holds a cup of coffee, in the other he ROLLS A COIN between his knuckles mindlessly as he reads the paper. 12. This is CUT THROAT--a diabolical thug with a heart, 26--but his boys call him "CT". A broad smile lights his face when J-Bird comes in. My nigga. CUT THROAT Whatchoo know? They bro-hug. Nothin'. J-BIRD Chillin'. CUT THROAT Yeah, how's your Moms? Good? J-BIRD She good. CUT THROAT Where Roo at? You taking him out again? J-BIRD Yeah, he comin'. Cut Throat raises the COFFEE POT to offer J-Bird a cup. J-BIRD Nah, I'm good. CUT THROAT I talked to my Uncle Slink from over in The Hollows. You get me them same Alpines you been pullin' from the Vee-Dubs, he's good for six of 'em. Getchoo 300 on the day. J-BIRD What happened to 75 a 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n Damn, CT! pop? CUT THROAT Yimes are tough, l'il man. You know I don't set the price. J-BIRD Shhiiittt. © Lo ck CUT THROAT (stern) Don't like it you can move 'em your damn self. 13. J-BIRD Nah. (beat) How 'bout I bring you ten then? Cut Throat puts his coffee on the counter. appreciating J-Bird's gusto. He smiles, CUT THROAT You think you can do ten, do ten. Shit, make it fifteen. Cut Throat steps closer and puts his finger into J-Bird's chest. CUT THROAT But listen, nigga. No smash and grab bullshit. This gotta be clean, ya feel me? I'm finna put you up for bigger shit, (taps his temple) but I need yo head in it. Roo, too. Ya feel? J-BIRD I gotchoo. CUT THROAT Meet me back here when you done. Wanna introduce you to Slink. J-BIRD That's whassup. They do a hand-swipe, fist-bump. 20 ed 13 Sa Ch mp ip le W ar re n CUT THROAT Now go get it done, nigga. EXT. OUTSIDE THE ANDERSON TOWNHOUSE - DAY © Lo ck EMTs are kneeling next to Sophie prone, face down on the sidewalk. Near them the concrete is streaked with blood. Her arm is outstretched in the direction of her cell phone.
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