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INT. Office - Day

A man in a tie sits behind a desk.  EMILY SOPKO (curly hair trying to escape a bun, wearing makeup that's a little too perfect, slightly overweight) is sitting uncomfortably in a chair facing him.

PRINCIPAL

So why did you leave Vista Maria?

Emily

Well, it's...well.  Okay.  It's not an easy job.  Those girls, some of what they've been through--it's bad.  As a first year counselor...

She sets her shoulders back, posture straight, eye contact maintained.

I got over-sympathetic.  I let some things slide.  I don't think I was adequately prepared for the job.  I'm prepared now.  I want to be able to work with these kids.  Nothing like that will happen again.

Cut

Same office, different day. MAX HEALY (straight blond hair, floppy) sits bolt upright, making himself as tall as possible.

PRINCIPAL

It must be a big adjustment, going from med school to teaching. 

Max

That would be one way of putting it.

PRINCIPAL

What brought you to our program?

MAX

I liked working with kids.  It was the only thing I liked, at the end.  And I like science, of course, and I thought maybe this might be the best of both.

Cut

Back to EMILY

PRINCIPAL

What do you feel you can bring to the program?

EMILY

I'm enthusiastic.  I like working with this age group.  I have experience with troubled students, and I can help kids identify behaviors and attitudes to avoid.

(Desperate)

I'm good at what I do.  I know how to talk to teenagers.  You can see the letters from my supervisors.  I relate well to students.  I would absolutely be an asset.

Cut

Back to Max.

MAX

I have field experience I could share with students.  I know about the careers out there, and I can give them information about the college courses they're preparing for.  I was a tutor in undergrad.  I could be--I WAS--very encouraging.  I can explain concepts well.  I can be patient.  I'd be a new fact, someone with experiences their teachers don't have. 

Cut

Split screen- EMILY on one side, MAX on the other.

PRINCIPAL

Well, Ms. Sopko, it was a pleasure meeting you.  We'll be in touch.

PRINCIPAL

Well, Mr. Healy, it was a pleasure meeting you.  We'll be in touch.

EXT. Park - Noon

Camera comes in over the city, down Northline from Fort to Biddle and into Bishop Park.  There's a banner reading "Welcome to RHS's Summer Kick-Off!"  General people noise.  Teenagers stand in small packs, parents talk to each other uneasily.  Camera comes in on EMILY, who is speaking with SHERYL COLLINS.

EMILY

I'm happy to be back in Wyandotte.  I missed it here!  Central was nice and all, I mean, I loved it there, but this is home, you know?

COLLINS

Well, it's nice to have you back.  You'll be a good influence on the kids.

cut

MAX is holding a can of pop, standing in the shade and looking uncomfortable.  ROBERT BAUMSTARK approaches.

BAUMSTARK

So, I just wanted to thank you for saving me.

MAX

How exactly did I do that?

BAUMSTARK

I wanted to do the extracurricular stuff, which is what I'm doing, but I was going to be forced to do the science because they couldn't find anyone else to do it until you got here.

MAX

Well.  Happy to help.

BAUMSTARK

Are you from around here?

A pause

MAX

Yeah.  I don't think I had you for any of my classes though, and I kinda blended into the woodwork. 

BAUMSTARK

Well, here's hoping you can make more of a presence of yourself now.  High school's a tough time for a lot of kids.

MAX is saved from answering as PHIL REIDEL gets a microphone and calls for the assorted people to gather around him.

RIEDEL

It's my pleasure to welcome all of you to our High School Transition Program Kick-Off.  We want to make sure every single one of our students can succeed, but I congratulate you who are here today, because you have taken that extra step to ensure your own success.  And I promise you that our staff, both in this program and at the high school, will do all we can to help you.

There is applause

RIEDEL

Now, why don't we start with some introductions?  I'm Mr. Riedel, and I'm one of the assistant principals here at Roosevelt.  I'm in charge of our transition program.

He hands the microphone to ALAN MCMILLAN

McMILLAN

I'm Mr. McMillan, and I've been teaching English here at RHS for the past fifteen years.  I'll be working with you guys on your writing and speaking skills, though I'm sure you're all chatty enough already!

There is no laughter, except from a few of the parents.  He passes the mic to COLLINS.

COLLINS

I'm Ms. Collins, and I've been at Roosevelt since 1997.  I'm really looking forward to helping you guys with social studies.

Mic to BAUMSTARK

BAUMSTARK

My name is Mr. Baumstark and I'll be trying to sell you all on the great activities and sports we have at the school

Mic to VICKY MANNINO

MANNINO

I'm Ms. Mannino, and I graduated from MSU...

Half of the audience boos, the other half cheers.  She grins.

MANNINO

I'll be working with you students on math.

Mic to MAX.

MAX

I'm Mr. Healy.  I do science.  We're going to cut up owl puke and play with gross bugs.  It'll be awesome.

He has been deadpan the whole time.  Gives the mic to EMILY.

EMILY

Well, I'm Ms. Sopko, but you can call me Emily.  I'm going to spent a lot of time with you guys talking about what you can expect from high school and how to make sure you have the best experiences possible. 

Mic back to RIEDEL.

RIEDEL

Sounds like you all have a great summer ahead of you!

INt. Max's House- Bedroom - Night

Max is muttering as he types

MAX

The thing is, as much as I didn't want anyone to remember me, it still hurts a little that they didn't.

INT. Emily's House- Dining Room - Night

The family is eating dinner.

Mom

So, how did it go?

EMILY

It was good.  They look like a good group of kids.  I think it's gonna go really, really well.

DAD

But it's still ending this summer, right?  No chance they'll keep you?

EMILY

What would they keep me as?  You need all kinds of experience to be a school counselor.  You kinda have to be a teacher already.

MOM

Still, you need to make sure you make a good impression.  It's important to network.

EMILY

I know, Mom.

MOM

I'm just saying, maybe someone there knows someone who knows of an opening.

EMILY

I know, Mom.

MOM

I just want you to find something that's right for you.

EMILY

Me too, Mom.  Me too.

Int. School - Max's class- Day

The kids are in desks, Max stands in front of a large table in the front of the class.

MAX

One of the most important skills you need for high school and beyond is a sense of responsibility.  Not responsibility managed by someone else, like your teachers or your parents.  Responsibility that comes from yourself.

He sets a plastic and wire cage on the table.  Inside is a wheel, a water bottle, a food dish, and a baffled-looking guinea pig. 

MAX

This is Daisy.  I got her from Petsmart yesterday.  I have no particular emotional attachment to her, as I have my own pets at home.  Daisy is your responsibility.  If you forget to feed her, she'll starve and die.  If you feed her too much, she'll overeat because she's too dumb to know when to stop and she'll die.  If you don't clean her cage, she'll probably get sick and die.  If you clean her cage improperly, by using the wrong stuff or not rinsing, she'll probably get sick and die.  She's up to you guys.  How are you going to keep her alive?  You've got the rest of the morning to work that out.

GIRL ONE raises her hand.

GIRL ONE

But if we work out something wrong, you'll tell us, right?

MAX

Nope.  You're coming up with these ideas.  You decide if they're good or bad.

GIRL TWO

But if we didn't do something right while we were taking care of her, you would, like, take care of it, right?

MAX

Uh-uh.  You mess it up, she dies.  I do, however, promise that if it gets to that point, I'll do an autopsy for the class so she can continue to contribute to your education.  I think she'd like that.

BOY ONE

You wouldn't.

MAX

I would. 

BOY TWO

You won't do anything to help?

MAX

Well.  I suppose, if you had a very specific question, I could be persuaded to give you some advice.  Now go.  Daisy and I will be waiting.

INT. SCHOOL - Emily'S CLASS- DAY

Girls sit in chairs which have been pulled in a circle.  We are coming in on the end of introductions.

GIRL FOUR

...and I want to be a nurse.

EMILY

That's great.  There's a big demand for nurses right now.  So, I'd like to tell you a bit about what this class will deal with.

GIRL FIVE

Look, we know.  Don't drink, don't smoke, don't have sex, avoid the stoners, and be good girls.  Can we go to lunch now?

EMILY

My best friend growing up was a stoner.

GIRL FIVE

And it ruined your friendship?

EMILY

Nah.   We were real close until she stole my boyfriend while we were in college.  Haven't taked to her since.  But see, here's the thing.  Being a stoner didn't make her a bad person, and I didn't hate on her for it, but I also didn't do what she did.  I told her I wasn't interested, didn't really like being around her when she was stoned because it made her really boring.  I'm not going to tell you to run away from all the stoners, because that's the quickest way to make sure you seek them out, because I've made them all cool and forbidden.  I'm just going to try and teach to you be around them in a smart way.  That's what I care about.  Smart choices.  I'm not going to tell you what to do or what to decide, just how to make sure you're making the decision correctly.  We're going to go over a lot of areas in your lives where you'll have to make choices.  I'm going to start today with a lesson I call Why Edward Cullen Is Actually Not What You Want In A Boyfriend.

InT. School- teacher's Lounge- Noon

Teachers are assembled around a round table.  MANNINO enters, carrying a drink carrier full of Slurpees.

EMILY

Oh thank God.  I was dying here.

They pass the Slurpees around.

MANNINO

They took the sign down, you know.  The two kids at a time one.

EMILY

Really?  Do you think they did that for the summer or are they just more trusting now.

MCMILLAN

No, it's because we closed campus.

EMILY

They don't get to go out to lunch anymore?  That's terrible!  My fondest memories were going out to lunch.

MAX

Probably cut way down on the tardies, though.

COLLINS

Sure did.  Also, no more kids taunting you with their McDonalds. 

EMILY

Still!  I just feel like some part of the school's culture has been lost. 

MAX

Really?  Leaving for lunch was that integral to your experience?

EMILY

Well.  Yeah.  I mean, it was a part of my social life.  That's important in my high school memories.  Isn't it in yours?

MAX

Not really, but I was never really all that social.

EMILY

Huh.  You graduated from here, right?  What year?

MAX

2001.

EMILY

Really?  But that's the same year as me!  I don't-

MAX

Don't feel bad about not remembering me.  No one does.  I wasn't memorable.  Honestly, it doesn't hurt my feelings.

EMILY

It's just that I thought I remembered just about everyone.  You would've been in my science classes.

MAX

Maybe we had them different hours.

EMILY

Still.  Huh.  Very strange.  Anyway, I'm wondering how evil it would be to take my Slurpee back to the classroom.

MCMILLAN

Very evil.  I say do it.

COLLINS

A Building is awful in the heat.  You're lucky to be off in science hall, Max.

MAX

I wake up every morning counting my lucky stars. 

MANNINO

And the best part is you're alone down there so you don't have the scent of dissection or autoclave or whatever.

MAX

I'm immune to all that anyway. 

Fade out

INT. SCHOOL - MAX'S CLASS- Late Afternoon

Max sits at his desk, alone, staring into Daisy's cage.

MAX

Do you think Mr. Wehner would recognize me?  I wasn't a shadow in his class.  I ran for him every year.  I was his TA.  But he wouldn't expect me like this.  He probably wouldn't want to see me like this, would rather remember me as...as what I was.  If he remembers me at all.

He pauses, watching Daisy stand up against the bars and drop back down.

Do you think she remembers me?  If I asked her, would she remember me?  I remember her.  I wasn't that invisible, was I?  This sucks.  This really, really sucks.  I should have stayed in Ann Arbor.  I shouldn't have come back here. 

He looks at Daisy's dish, which contains pellets and vegetables.

At least you're happy. 

He turns off the lights and is about to exit when Emily comes in.

MAX

Hi.  Do you need something?

EMILY

No.  I just...I wanted to say I was sorry.  That I don't remember you.  I know you said it didn't matter but I know if it were me, it would hurt.  So, yeah.  I'm sorry. 

MAX

Really, it's okay!  There are plenty of people we graduated with who I've forgotten.  I mean, some of those people I forgot on purpose, but still.  I never expected you to remember me.

EMILY

I wish I were able to just forget people on purpose.  I might have much fonder memories of my time here.

MAX

What?  I thought you were all about the blissful memories of off-campus lunches with all your friends.

EMILY

Well, yes, but the people I met outside of there.  I could stand to forget some of them.

MAX

Really?  I always remember you seeming so happy.

EMILY

I was happy a lot.  I also put a smile on a lot because it was easier than dealing with the latest bit of drama.

MAX

Weren't you in the drama club?  Wasn't there supposed to be drama there?

EMILY

Shut up.  You know what I mean.

MAX

Alas, yes I do.  Seriously, though, you'd want to forget that?  I've always thought it's memories like that which make us who we are.

EMILY

You were the one who just said you'd forgotten people.

MAX

Yeah, but I reinvented myself in college.  I had no need of formative memories.

EMILY

We can never really reinvent ourselves.  It's just something we say to make ourselves feel better.

MAX

That's pretty cynical.  Do you tell that to the kids you counsel?

EMILY

I sure do.  Trying to reinvent yourself is pointless.  What we should strive for is to take who we are and improve it, not throw it out and pick up something totally new.

MAX

What if there's nothing worth improving upon there?  What if it's all just waste to be thrown out?

EMILY

That's never true.

Max raises an eyebrow.  Emily considers him for a moment, then blushes and drops her head.

I'm sorry.  I'm lecturing you.  I just got carried away, I guess.

MAX

It was interesting.  It made me think.

EMILY

Well, then my job is done.

MAX

And done well.  Look, I, uh.  I really need to go home.  But I'll see you tomorrow, okay?  Maybe we can remember some people to forget.

EMILY

Sounds like a plan.