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Runaway Geisha by Lois June Wickstrom
© 2003, Lois June Wickstrom.  For permission to use in any way, write cormo@juno.com
Runaway Geisha

FADE IN:

EXT. STREET CORNER - AFTERNOON

MARGE,40's strong, plump, SAM, 40's, plump, wearing Sergeant's uniform, MOLLY, 17, average looking, and LAUREL, 70's, no make-up, wiry build, are walking down a street in downtown Kyoto. They spot YURIKO, 17, pretty, dressed in her geisha kimono, at a corner mailbox. Molly runs up to Yuriko.

MOLLY

Are you a geisha?

Yuriko is slow to respond, taking in the entire family as if studying them. She waits until the adults have joined Molly before answering.

 

YURIKO

I am a geisha-in-training.

(A beat)

I will take you to a very

Japanese place for dinner. Not

for tourists. Where real Japanese

businessmen go. With real Japanese

entertainment.

Marge and Sam look at each other, then at Molly and Laurel.

 

SAM

Why not? It's our last night here.

MOLLY

They'd better have something besides

raw fish.

Laurel smiles indulgently at Molly.

MARGE

This will be a cultural experience.

You can write about it in school.

SAM

This is one of the perks of military

family life. As my dad always said:

You can't enjoy if you are complaining.

Yuriko begins to lead them through neighborhood streets.

MOLLY

Do I have to?

 

Yuriko leads them to a modest looking home. She uses a coded knock. The door is answered by an OLD GEISHA.

INT-EXT. FRONT OF GEISHA PARLOR - EARLY EVENING

A hushed conversation between Yuriko and her boss. The American family is ushered indoors, past cashierís desk into dining area where customers are already seated, and being served. A YOUNG GEISHA is dancing on a small stage to the right of the dining area.

 

INT. GEISHA PARLOR - EARLY EVENING

Molly whispers to Laurel.

MOLLY

Is this a Japanese version of

a nightclub?

LAUREL

Let's watch and find out.

Yuriko shows the American family to a low table. Other guests and geishas are already seated at this table. Molly giggles. Laurel winks. Sam whispers to Yuriko.

SAM

Do you have a table with room

for my legs?

YURIKO

This table has plenty of room.

MARGE

Look, these other people are doing

it. Surely you can sit cross-legged

for a few hours.

SAM

Diplomacy can require some discomfort.

LAUREL

You've always been good at the martyr

act.

Laurel easily slips into her seat and smiles. Molly slips in next to her and starts giggling uncontrollably. Marge sits and smiles. All the while Sam is looking more and more martyred. Yuriko gives Sam a slight nod of the head.

YURIKO

Would you like a pillow?

SAM

Yes, a pillow would be nice.

MOLLY

These seats are soft enough.

SAM

Humor an old man.

LAUREL

You under-estimate yourself.

I'll bet you the tab on this

dinner, that you can sit

comfortably at this table.

SAM

You're on.

Sam stiffly lowers himself and slides his legs under the table. Shot follows, showing ample recessed legroom under the table. Sam laughs.

LAUREL

I keep telling you - you get

worried about nothing.

We see some gambling between a GEISHA and a CLIENT at the table. When the client loses, he removes an article of clothing. When the geisha loses, she removes a hairpin.

MARGE

These folks are tame. We have

more serious gambling at the

Military Moms club.

MOLLY

Like for those pies you bring

home?

Soon the client is without tie and cufflinks, and shirtless. The geisha is still neatly done-up.

 

 

SAM

Might be fun if you came home

like that.

 

MARGE

I win my bets.

Another GEISHA ties cherry stems together in her mouth, while a CLIENT watches closely, mystified, entranced, talking about his business.

CLIENT

So then we got a copy of

their database, and saw the

price they paid last time...

MOLLY

If you learn that trick,

you'll win even more.

CLIENT

And even factoring inflation

we can underbid that. I'd have

asked higher...

Yuriko brings teacups to the American family. Then she pours tea for Sam, leaning over, letting him look down her kimono and see the base of her throat.

 

YURIKO

You are being sent home. Do

you think your replacement

will be able to control the

men?

Sam gives broad flattered smile.

 

SAM

I'm sure he will. I've worked

with Bill before. He doesn't

put up with anything that would

strain US-Japanese relations.

The tea pours very slowly.

 

YURIKO

American boys are such good

dancers. I can give you names

of clubs.

SAM

Now? When I'm leaving?

YURIKO

Better late than never. You

can tell Bill.

The conversation continues. Marge reaches out and grabs the teapot from Yuriko, pours her husbandís tea and begins pouring for the rest of her family as she gives Yuriko an earful (in hushed tones fitting for this establishment.)

MARGE

Young woman, you have an

obligation to serve this

entire family. The size

of your tip will be a

family decision.

YURIKO

American women have equal

rights.

MOLLY

That's my dad. You leave

him alone.

Sam pats Molly on the shoulder. Yuriko gives Molly a disdainful look.

SAM

That's my gal.

 

Molly and Laurel are both wearing necklaces with wooden disk pendants, hand-painted with herbal designs. Laurelís is of a laurel leaf branch. Mollyís is a head of garlic. Molly and Laurel exchange glances and touch their necklaces. Yuriko leaves to get food. Two GEISHAS begin a dance on the stage.

MOLLY

I wish they'd teach us that

in gym class.

MARGE

That does look like more fun

than shooting baskets.

Yuriko returns with little kebabs of chicken on little plates. She places one in front of each member of the family. She gives each of them chop sticks. She also gives Sam a fork. Then she slowly removes the meat chunks from Sam's kebab sticks while speaking with him.

YURIKO

You have spent years in Japan,

and this is your first geisha

house? I will make sure you

have a good time.

Sam uses the fork to eat one of the chunks of chicken. Molly picks up a kebab and begins eating the meat off the stick.

MARGE

Molly dear, try to eat like

the others here.

MOLLY

How? I don't have a fork like

Dad!

LAUREL

Neither do I.

Marge taps her plate with her chopstick. It doesn't make much noise.

MARGE

Miss, could we have forks, please?

Yuriko bows her head slightly to Marge, stands, and leaves to get forks. Molly sneaks another bite directly from her kebab. The two geishas continue their dance on the stage.

LAUREL

It's like these women are from

another century. They dance and

sing, and serve food, and cater

to men. They're smart and clever.

But they don't know they are

people.

Yuriko returns with forks for the women, and another plate of chicken kebab for Sam. While Yuriko removes the meat from the sticks, Molly, Marge and Laurel quickly eat their kebabs, using the forks.

YURIKO

Would you like to learn the

trick of using chop sticks?

Sam is busily eating the chicken with his fork. He speaks when he is done chewing. The two geishas continue to dance.

SAM

Is it difficult?

Yuriko takes Sam's hand and places the bottom stick over his middle finger and under his thumb.

YURIKO

Every child can do it.

LAUREL

Could we have more chicken?

Yuriko is still holding Sam's hand, positioning chop sticks.

YURIKO

Chicken is just the appetizer.

Save room for main course.

Sam practices moving the top chop stick against the bottom one. He awkwardly skewers a piece of chicken from his plate.

SAM

Like this?

YURIKO

Very good.

MOLLY

My dad got extra chicken. I'm

hungry, too. And could you

show me how to use chop sticks?

MARGE

I'd like to learn, too.

 

CUT TO:

Dissolve. Table is now covered with dirty plates, some of which have bones and sauces on them. Molly is expertly dipping tempura in sauce with her chop sticks. Laurel and Marge are managing to eat with theirs.

MOLLY

Do you go to school dressed like

that?

YURIKO

My school is in this house.

OLD GEISHA taps Yuriko on the shoulder. Yuriko leaves the family and steps up on stage, where she sits on a stool and sings a love song, looking right at Sam. She accompanies herself on a stringed instrument that looks like a ukelele. The family continues to eat while Yuriko sings.

YURIKO

Making love with you
Is like drinking sea water.
The more I drink
The thirstier I become,
Until nothing can slake my thirst
But to drink the entire sea.

Come to me, as you come
Softly to the rose bed of coals
Of my fireplace
Glowing through the night-bound forest.

(note this is a traditional Japanese love poem by Marichiko, translated by Kenneth Rexroth.)

As soon as the song is over, Yuriko brings the Americans a bottle of rice wine.

SAM

You have a lovely singing

voice.

 

YURIKO

The song is called Young

Girl in Love.

MOLLY

Are you in love?

Yuriko begins to pour wine. She is taking a very long time pouring for Sam.

YURIKO

Love is for wives. Not for

geishas.

 

MARGE

That's horrible!

 

 

LAUREL

Do you want to be a geisha?

Yuriko comes to pour wine for Laurel.

YURIKO

My parents sold me to be a

geisha when I was six.

MOLLY

Isn't slavery illegal in

Japan?

 

SAM

Now Molly, let's not start

an international incident.

We must respect their customs.

Yuriko goes to pour wine for Marge, who holds her hand over her glass.

MARGE

Wine makes me sleepy. I

need to finish packing.

CUT TO:

Dissolve. As they climb out of their seats, we see Yuriko hand the bill to Sam --$500. Sam looks at Laurel.

LAUREL

Well? Were your legs

comfortable?

Sam smiles.

SAM

It would have been worth

a few cramps to avoid

this.

MARGE

That total had better

include the tip.

Sam goes to the cashier's desk and gives his credit card to Old Geisha. When given the form to sign, he adds a $100 tip.

 

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET - NIGHT

Yuriko chases after the Americans as they walk down the sidewalk back to their hotel.

MARGE

That poor girl!

SAM

We can't judge these

things by our culture.

MOLLY

Yes we can! It's wrong!

When Yuriko catches up to them, she bows her head, and then speaks.

YURIKO

You are a nice family.

Would you take me to

America?

SAM

I can't arrange that

sort of thing on short

notice.

LAUREL

Could she be an exchange

student?

MARGE

She'd need a passport, a visa,

a home to stay in...

MOLLY

She can stay in my room and

go to my school.

SAM

You are such a lovely

geisha. Don't you want

to be a geisha?

Yuriko daubs tears from her eyes. Laurel puts an arm around her.

LAUREL

Nobody wants to be a geisha.

 

SAM

We're leaving tomorrow. It's

too late to arrange all this.

MOLLY

You can't let her stay here!

It's slavery!

MARGE

If she can have everything by

tomorrow when we leave, can

we take her?

SAM

Is this another bet?

LAUREL

I'd rather bet my hairpins to

your shirt.

SAM

You don't wear hairpins.

 

INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NEXT MORNING

Molly, Marge and Sam are standing near their luggage. A DRIVER in military uniform, holding car keys approaches.

 

DRIVER

I'll load your suitcases

into the car.

MOLLY

Wait, Yoshi, Laurel's not

here yet.

MARGE

Your grandma can take care

of her self.

DRIVER

I'll start loading your

suitcases into the back.

INT-EXT. HOTEL LOBBY and FRONT DRIVEWAY

Driver loads suitcases into back, while Molly follows him out to look for Laurel.

 

 

DRIVER

I wouldn't worry about your

grandma. She knows her way

around Kyoto.

(a beat)

And around the brass, too.

MOLLY

I'm worried about me. Who

am I going to talk to on the

plane?

Driver pulls a copy of Geisha out of a corner of the luggage. Offers it to Molly.

 

DRIVER

Read this. It's thick enough

to last you across the Pacific.

 

Driver opens middle door of his van. Pats the seat.

DRIVER

Now get in. I've got a

schedule to keep.

Molly gets in the middle row, looks sulky as she fastens her seatbelt. Pulls knees up, feet on seat, turned sideways so nobody else will get in her row of seats, opens book on lap. Marge and Sam get into the van, in the back seat row. Sam looks at his watch, speaks to driver.

SAM

To the airport, Yoshi.

MOLLY

You'd abandon your own

mother in a strange land?

MARGE

Do you really think we're

abandoning her?

Molly pulls her knees closer to her face. The driver starts the engine.

CUT TO:

Van pulls into airport drop off lane, stops. Driver gets out, opens doors, opens back and pulls out luggage. Meanwhile, Marge, Sam and Molly get out, Molly still reading.

SAM

I can't wait to play my

old Breakfast in America

albums.

(several beats)

The driver checks their baggage at the curbside check-in. Marge, Sam and Molly (still reading) enter the airport and head towards their gate.

MARGE

You didn't even get a

peep out of her. Teasing

usually gets her talking.

But we have ways...

(a beat)

SAM

And I want to chow down

on a Philly cheese steak!

Two years without a cheese

steak is cruel and unusual

punishment.

MARGE

Do you think we should buy

souvenirs?

Sam looks at his watch. They are walking past souvenir shops in the airport.

SAM

We've had two years to do

that.

MARGE

You mean you've already

bought a bunch and shipped

them back?

They continue the conversation as they place their carry-ons and pocket contents on the inspection belts.

SAM

Of course. That's my motto:

Never leave anything to the

last minute.

MOLLY

Except finding your mother.

SECURITY GUARD takes the tickets that Sam offers.

SECURITY GUARD

These are tickets for four.

I only see three of you.

Sam ruffles through the tickets, pulls out Laurel's and offers it to the guard.

SAM

Hold onto it. It's for my

mother. She may come today.

Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not

for several weeks.

Guard takes all 4 tickets.

 

GUARD

Your mother's ticket is only

good for this flight.

SAM

She'll know what to do.

GUARD

I don't know what to do.

SAM

If she doesn't come in time

for this flight, just turn it

in to the airline.

(a beat)

We're running late. I'll take

the other three tickets now.

GUARD

This is suspicious behavior.

I'll have to ask you to talk to

my superior.

Guard opens Marge's carry-on and starts pulling out hair brush, lace underwear. Marge stiffens shoulders and looks stern and dignified.

MARGE

My husband is an Army officer.

I knew we should have flown Army.

Molly continues to read book, oblivious to all this. Guard continues to pull contents out of Marge's luggage.

MOLLY

Did you know that being a

geisha is a lot like being

an flight attendant?

MARGE

Do you have any idea where

your grandmother has gone?

MOLLY

She never came to bed last night.

 

SAM

Where's this supervisor? I'm

sure we can straighten everything

out in time for the flight.

GUARD

There is another flight tomorrow.

MARGE

Our luggage is on this one.

GUARD

No luggage flies without

passengers.

Guard uses cell phone. Calls security.

GUARD

We need to pull some luggage

off flight 247 to Philadelphia.

Ticket numbers...

SAM

Where's the supervisor?

MOLLY

Did you know that geishas

have to pay for their

education after they grow up?

MARGE

So do you. It's called taxes.

SUPERVISOR arrives.

SUPERVISOR

What's the trouble here?

MOLLY

My grandmother's not here.

SUPERVISOR

I'm sorry to hear that.

Guard is now stuffing Marge's belongings back into her bag.

Again, he handles the lacy underwear.

MARGE

Those were my emergency

pair. Now I'll have to

wash them before I can

wear them.

 

GUARD

They asked me to take care

of her ticket.

SUPERVISOR

Is that why you called me?

GUARD

I thought they were acting

suspicious.

Laurel appears next to the Guard.

LAUREL

They always act suspicious.

Don't tell them anything,

and they'll let you mind

your own business.

SUPERVISOR

Is this your missing person?

MOLLY

She's not missing any more.

Supervisor bows his head slightly.

SUPERVISOR

Mystery solved. Have a

pleasant flight.

Supervisor walks away. Yuriko joins them carrying her satchel.

GUARD

Is she with you?

MARGE

I don't think so.

LAUREL

She's with me.

Laurel hands Yuriko's passport, visa, airline ticket to Guard. Yuriko places her satchel in the x-ray machine.

Molly hugs Laurel.

CUT TO:

INT. MOLLY'S BEDROOM -- EARLY MORNING

Yuriko and Molly share a bedroom in Mollyís family home. They have separate twin beds, separate desks. The room is crowded with furniture. Wall posters of latest boy band and female bad girl. The girls are dressed for school, and are packing gym suits, notebooks, pens, calculators into backpacks.

MOLLY

Tell the counselor, you

absolutely have to have

Mr. Settle for Literature.

And no way do you want Ms.

Dersonne for Trig. Her

accent is so thick you won't

understand a word.

YURIKO

Do I have to take literature

and trig? I enjoy sewing

and cooking, and singing, and

calligraphy, and painting...

MOLLY

You could take singing for

your elective, or sewing. But

not both. Is that what you

learned in your old school?

INT. STAIRS - MORNING

The girls head downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast,

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Laurel is serving. Eggs with salsa and home fries.

YURIKO

I am skilled in all the

traditional Japanese arts.

They sit at the table and Laurel puts plates in front of them. Yuriko picks up the fork and looks at it. Molly begins cutting up her egg.

MOLLY

You're only here for a year.

Your grades won't mean

anything when you get home.

The main thing you need to

worry about is the kids you

hang with. Stay away from

Kay and Joey. They'll be

your friend one day and

set you up the next.

Laurel stands by Yuriko, looking for an opportunity to talk.

LAUREL

I've got chop sticks, but I

don't think they'd be much

help here.

YURIKO

Let me try them.

Laurel gives her the chop sticks. Yuriko neatly rolls the eggs, and daintily lifts one to her mouth. Laurel claps in delight. Water is boiling on the stove.

LAUREL

Well done!

Laurel grates ginger into a teapot and pours the boiling hot water over it. The tea steeps during the conversation.

MOLLY

I could arrange a double

date for us. We could go

to a movie and dinner

this weekend.

YURIKO

What is a double date?

MOLLY

We go places with boys.

Don't you date in Japan?

YURIKO

I am not interested in boys.

Yuriko means that she prefers men to boys. But Molly doesn't hear it that way.

 

MOLLY

Boys are the main attraction

in high school.

YURIKO

I will watch and learn.

 

MOLLY

And stay away from any boy

in a letterman jacket. Or

a leather jacket.

LAUREL

I didn't know you judged

people so superficially.

Laurel pours herb tea, and puts cups in front of both girls.

Yuriko brings it to her lips, sips

YURIKO

Myoga. Divine protection.

Improves the digestion. Prevents

illness.

Laurel smiles.

LAUREL

I see you know this herb.

We call it ginger.

YURIKO

Ginger.

Marge walks into the kitchen.

MOLLY

Mom, Yuriko needs lunch

money.

 

Marge rustles her hands in her purse. Pulls out a $5 bill. Hands it to Yuriko, who takes it and looks at it.

MARGE

Here, Yuriko. I know it's

not much.

Yuriko holds bill, studying it.

 

YURIKO

Thank you. What can I buy

with this?

MARGE

Not much. Lunch, and maybe

a notepad or a pen.

Sam walks into kitchen, carrying newspaper, which he is reading.

YURIKO

How can I get more money?

SAM

Get a job.

MOLLY

Dad! Not on her first day!

Yuriko takes the teapot and cup to Sam, and begins slowly pouring a cup for Sam.

SAM

You don't have to do that

any more. It was fun for an

evening, and to get my wife

jealous. But now, you are

in America. Act like an

American teenager. Rude,

crude, and unsubdued.

Molly suppresses a giggle at her dad's behavior. Yuriko opens eyes wide, startled. Then goes back to her polite formality.

YURIKO

Will you help me get a job?

MOLLY

Put the money in your

pocket. We have to go. .

 

Yuriko puts the bill in her pocket, then carries her dishes to the sink and squirts them with dish soap. Molly looks at her watch.

MOLLY

No time for that. The dishes

will be there when we get back.

Yuriko looks at Laurel for permission.

LAUREL

You don't want to be late

on your first day.

The girls put on their backpacks. Molly tucks her necklace into her sweater. Laurel blinks, disappointedly.

LAUREL

Try to have fun!

(a beat)

And learn something useful.

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FRONT OF MASTERMAN HIGH - DAY

The girls are walking. They turn up the walkway to the main building. Many other students are arriving.

INT-EXT. MASTERMAN FRONT DOORS / HALLWAY - DAY

The girls go through the front doors of the school, step into the hallway, approach Main Office. They pass students of both genders who shout greetings. They are accosted by GANG OF BOYS, including CRUDE BOY.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH HALLWAY - MORNING

CRUDE BOY

Yo! Peaches! You ready

to git down! I wanna

see some of them Asian

tricks...

He grabs Yuriko's hand and starts to pull her to him.

YURIKO

Like Aikido?

 

Yuriko flips him onto his back, and keeps walking. Students of both genders in the hall gasp approval. Some applaud. A TEACHER who has been standing hall duty in front of the main office puts a hand on Yuriko's shoulder. HALL MONITOR goes to crude boy and stands guard as she dials her cell phone.

TEACHER

No fighting in the halls.

You'll be doing detention.

INT. MAIN OFFICE - DAY

Teacher guides Yuriko to Main Office. Molly follows. At the desk a STUDENT CLERK hands Yuriko a Detention Sign Up Sheet on a clipboard. Hers is the 8th name to go on the sheet.

CLERK

Write your phone number, too.

We'll call your family to

tell them you'll be late

coming home.

Yuriko looks at Molly, who nods her head.

MOLLY

This is Yuriko. She's an

exchange student staying

with my family. She needs

to sign up for classes.

CLERK

She needs to schedule her

detention first.

Molly scowls at clerk. Yuriko stands tall, looking calm.

MOLLY

It's her first day. Can't

She just have a warning?

CLERK

We have a zero tolerance

policy for fighting.

 

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

HALL MONITOR

Possible concussion here.

Crude boy groans, gets to his feet. His friends join him as he swaggers off down the hall.

 

 

HALL MONITOR

Oh never mind. He's gone

now.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH CAFETERIA - NOON

Yuriko and Molly enter the cafeteria. Noisy students are seated at tables. The food line is moving quickly. Prices of the lunch items are posted on the wall behind the servers. The cheapest item on the menu is Jello 75 cents. A Pizza slice is $2.50. Molly leads Yuriko to the line. Yuriko takes a green jello. Molly takes an orange jello and a pizza and a soda. The girls are rushed along the food line. Yuriko looks confused.

MOLLY

Is that all you want for

lunch?

YURIKO

It is the lowest price.

MOLLY

You have $5. You can

afford more. The pizza

here is good.

YURIKO

I want to save my money.

MOLLY

What for?

YURIKO

My education.

Molly shrugs her shoulders. They are at the cashiers. They pay for their meals. Molly's meal is exactly $5. Yuriko gets change. She smiles. Molly leads them to look for a table.

YURIKO

What is detention like?

MOLLY

I've never had detention.

But I've heard it's not bad.

You just sit in a desk for

an hour. Then you go home.

 

 

 

YURIKO

I want to look for a job

RED HAIRED GIRL waves them over to her table. Molly and Yuriko take seats.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Molly, is that you? Are

you back from Japan for

good?

MOLLY

My dad has asked for

Turkey next. He wants

to see the world.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Yeah. Yeah. Join the Army.

See the world. Meet

interesting people.

(a beat)

And kill them.

Red haired girl laughs.

MOLLY

Hey, I didn't pick my dad's

job. Japan was cool. And

this is Yuriko. She's an

exchange student who came

back with us. We rescued

her from a geisha house.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Are you the girl who decked

JoJo?

YURIKO

He did not introduce himself.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Do you fight like a Ninja?

With nunchucks?

Yuriko looks puzzled.

MOLLY

JoJo deserved what he got.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Too bad he lived.

Bell rings.

CUT TO:

 

INT. GYM DRESSING ROOM - AFTERNOON

Crowds of girls changing clothes, stuffing things into lockers, applying make-up, snapping each other's bra straps.

Yuriko and Molly enter this melee. We see the group shower stalls, but nobody is in them.

YURIKO

What do we do here?

 

DREADLOCKS GIRL notices Yuriko.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

Girlfriend, you gotta

show us how you downed

JoJo.

Other girls gather around Yuriko.

MOLLY

Let her change clothes

first.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

You her guard?

MOLLY

She doesn't need a

guard.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

You got that right.

BLONDE ATHLETIC GIRL

You just shook his hand

and down he went. You

gotta teach me.

NERD GIRL

Me, too!

Bell rings. Yuriko and Molly quickly change while other girls dash off to gym.

CUT TO:

INT. GIRLS' GYM - AFTERNOON

GYM TEACHER holding clipboard approaches Molly and Yuriko as they enter the gym. The other girls are in lines, standing at ease, not talking

GYM TEACHER

You're late.

MOLLY

It won't happen again.

GYM TEACHER

I'm sure it won't.

(a beat)

The other young ladies

here tell me one of you

felled a much larger

male student this morning,

like dropping a feather.

Yuriko starts to speak. Molly interrupts her.

MOLLY

She's already got detention

for that this afternoon.

GYM TEACHER

I was hoping you'd teach

the other students how you

did that. Self Defense is

very important these days.

 

YURIKO

 

Aikido is good for self

defense. It uses the enemy's

strength against him.

GYM TEACHER

Will you show us?

CUT TO:

INT. GYM WITH MATS - AFTERNOON

Students are partnered and standing on protective matting.

LARGE BODY BUILDER GIRL girls puts a hand on Yuriko's shoulder and tries to push her down. Yuriko steps aside, takes the girl's hand and leads her to the floor. Yuriko smiles.

LARGE BODY BUILDER GIRL

Wow! That was cool!

YURIKO

Her energy was pushing

down and east. I simply

let her push herself

down and east. I redirected

her energy away from

my body to let her fall.

Large body builder girl gets up.

LARGE BODY BUILDER GIRL

I want to try it again.

In slow motion.

Large body builder girl again places a hand on Yuriko's shoulder. Slowly, Yuriko takes her hand, while stepping aside. She leads the hand past her and down. This time, large body builder girl goes to one knee, not all the way to the floor.

YURIKO

See. You put less force into

your push, so you fell less

hard. Now you try.

This time Yuriko puts a hand on Large Body Builder Girl's shoulder. As Large Body Builder Girl tries to drag Yuriko to floor, Yuriko again redirects the energy and LBBG falls again.

LARGE BODY BUILDER GIRL

I thought you were going to

fall that time.

YURIKO

You must learn to redirect

my energy. Not use more of

your own.

CUT TO:

 

The partnered girls are pushing and toppling each other. Yuriko is supervising. Gym Teacher is watching how Yuriko teaches.

GYM TEACHER

I think I've got the hang

of it. Try me.

Yuriko topples the gym teacher.

 

INT. DETENTION - LATE AFTERNOON

Clock shows 4 PM. Yuriko sitting at desk doing homework. Other students are having low-pitched conversations. DETENTION TEACHER is reading at desk at front of class. Detention Teacher looks up.

 

DETENTION TEACHER

Detention is over. You

may leave now.

Other students dash out of room. Yuriko neatly puts her books and papers into her backpack. Molly is waiting for her at the classroom door.

YURIKO

I made you have detention

too?

MOLLY

I couldn't leave you here

alone on your first day.

Now let's go home.

YURIKO

Now, I want to look for a job.

MOLLY

It's late. Grandma will

worry.

YURIKO

Your father told me to get

a job.

MOLLY

He didn't mean it. He always

says that when I ask him for

money.

YURIKO

He's right. I should get

a job.

Molly sighs deeply.

MOLLY

Maybe you can teach aikido

at the Martial Arts School.

 

 

YURIKO

Okay.

INT-EXT. MASTERMAN HIGH - LATE AFTERNOON

Molly and Yuriko leave the school building.

CUT TO:

 

EXT. MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko is coming out, looking disappointed.

YURIKO

They are not hiring.

MOLLY

What else can you do?

YURIKO

I can serve food.

CUT TO:

EXT. EXPENSIVE RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

A HELP WANTED sign is in the window. Through the window, we see cushioned chairs, cloth-covered tables with place settings that have many forks and spoons. A WAITRESS wearing an evening dress is arranging flowers in a vase on a table.

MOLLY

This is our last stop.

My grandmother will be

worried.

(a beat)

You don't want

to see what she's like

when she's worried.

 

Yuriko smiles, goes in.

INT. EXPENSIVE RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko enters restaurant and wanders about briefly. The waitress in evening dress comes up to her, makes a slight bow with her head.

WAITRESS

May I help you?

YURIKO

I'm looking for a job.

CUT TO:

INT. MAIN OFFICE OF RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko fills out a job application - marking no for citizen and no for green card. When she is finished, she looks up.

OWNER walks toward her, and takes the form on its clipboard.

OWNER

Your experience looks

very good. I see you

are a poised and assertive

young woman.

(a beat)

Alas, you are not a

citizen and do not have

a green card. I'd hire

you in a minute if you had

either one. But with the

law the way it is, my hands

are tied.

Yuriko stands, nods her head.

YURIKO

Thank you for your time.

OWNER

If you get that green card,

please come back. I'll have

a job for you.

 

CUT TO:

INT. HOME KITCHEN - EARLY EVENING

 

Laurel is preparing dinner of stir-fried vegetables with tofu. She is chopping the vegetables. The tofu is in a dish on the counter. A chicken is roasting in the oven which has a clear glass door. Salad fixings are also on the counter. Yuriko and Molly enter the kitchen and put their backpacks down in the corner by the door.

LAUREL

You're late. Grab some

lettuce and start ripping.

 

Molly grabs the romaine lettuce leaves from the counter, then gives half to Yuriko. The two of them then rip the leaves into bits.

MOLLY

We had a busy day.

YURIKO

I got in a fight and

stayed late for detention.

MOLLY

You didn't have to tell...

LAUREL

Did you start the fight?

YURIKO

No,

LAUREL

Then I'm proud of you for

fighting back.

(a beat)

What did you learn today?

YURIKO

I learned that Jello costs

75 cents. And that I can't

get a job without a green

card.

MOLLY

She tried to get a waitress

job at that fancy restaurant.

LAUREL

Here, Molly. You slice the

tomatoes. And Yuriko, you

stab the potatoes.

As the girls slice and stab, Laurel puts her elbow on the counter and her chin in her hand, thinking.

LAUREL

Hmmm.

YURIKO

Hmmm?

 

 

MOLLY

That's her thinking noise.

EDWARD, early 20's, jeans and nerdly t-shirt, enters room, stands quietly, watching.

LAUREL

Waitresses get tips.

(a beat)

The tip is about 15% of the

food bill.

(a beat)

A fancy restaurant has high

priced food.

(a beat)

So the tips would be good.

MOLLY

And tips aren't wages. Tips

are gifts.

EDWARD

Mom, you are subversive!

Laurel touches her wooden disk necklace with the picture of laurel leaves on it.

LAUREL

You just noticed?

Edward picks up a carrot and starts grating it.

EDWARD

I just wanted to point out

to these impressionable

young women, that you

don't always give the best

advice.

LAUREL

So, you can think for yourself.

And who do you have to thank

for that?

 

YURIKO

You keep touching your

necklace. What does it mean?

LAUREL

I'm not sure you're ready...

EDWARD

Go for it mom. It looks like

you've just gained another

daughter.

LAUREL

My name is Laurel, and my

herb is laurel. My neighbor

gave me this after I earned

it.

YURIKO

Earned it?

LAUREL (V.O flashback)

My neighbor asked me to

babysit.

Flashback, of TEENAGED LAUREL has arrived at a neighbor's home to babysit their crying child. MOTHER hands child to Laurel.

MOTHER

He's been crying for

days. I've got to get

away before I throw him

out the window.

Teenaged Laurel accepts the baby, whispers in his ear.

LAUREL (V.O.flashback)

I whispered in the baby's

ear because that usually

distracts them, and they

stop crying.

Baby continues to cry. Mother puts on coat, gives a guilty look.

TEENAGED LAUREL

We'll be fine. You go

have a good time.

Mother leaves. Teenaged Laurel holds baby on one hip and picks laurel leaves from a small tree on the window ledge.

She puts them in a teacup, and pours boiling water from the teakettle on the stove over the leaves. The baby continues to cry. Dissolve. Tea is brewed. Teenaged Laurel dips a finger into the tea, nods. It's comfortably warm. She takes a kitchen baster, sucks up some of the tea, and squirts it

into the baby's ear. Baby stops crying.

LAUREL

I recognized the laurel

tree growing on the window

ledge. Laurel leaves are

good for treating ear aches.

Some instinct told me this

baby was in pain, so I made

the tea. When it was brewed

and cooled down, I used the

baster to pour some in his

ear. It worked.

Dissolve. Time lapse. Mother returns. Baby is happily cooing in Teenaged Laurel's lap. End flashback.

LAUREL

The next day she made me this

necklace and I've worn it

ever since.

YURIKO

Your name is Laurel and

your herb is laurel. That's

easy. What's my herb?

EDWARD

Told you so!

LAUREL

Your herb is one that sounds

like your name. Yarrow

is your herb.

Yuriko looks puzzled. Laurel is now stirfrying all the ingredients and shaking on spices.

MOLLY

You can pick some on the

way to school tomorrow.

There's plenty in the

vacant lot.

LAUREL

You can use yarrow to

treat a toothache,

rheumatism, or a bad

cold. It also clears

the sinuses. You must

use your herb selflessly

to earn your necklace.

 

EDWARD

Before treating the baby's

earache, she used laurel

to wrap her sprained

ankle so she could win a

race. That didn't count.

Yuriko smells the dinner.

YURIKO

That smells good. If

there are leftovers,

could I take them to

school for lunch? I don't

want to buy Jello again.

EDWARD

She is definitely one

of yours!

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. HOME DINING ROOM - EVENING

The family is seated at the table. Edward is across from Yuriko and next to Molly. Sam is at the head of the table. Laurel is at the opposite end. Marge is next to Yuriko.

Food is on the table, but the chicken is still in the oven.

SAM

Tofu? Again? We just got

back from two years in

Japan.

Laurel winks at Molly. Molly smiles.

MOLLY

You didn't complain in

Japan.

EDWARD

I didn't get to go to

Japan. I want the tofu.

YURIKO

This is not a Japanese

recipe.

SAM

I don't care. I want

something without soy

sauce that doesn't come

to the table already cut

into small pieces.

Edward snaps his fingers and gestures toward the kitchen.

 

EDWARD

Abra cadabra!

SAM

Huh?

EDWARD

Your wish is my command.

Enter the kitchen and

find your heart's desire.

SAM

Is this another one of your

inventions?

MOLLY

Go see what's in the kitchen.

SAM

Are you in on this prank?

Yuriko gets up, goes to the kitchen. Laurel gets up to help her.

EDWARD

Now look what you've done.

SAM

I just said...

Laurel has put candles on the chicken. She and Yuriko enter

the dining room singing, "Happy Birthday to you!"

SAM

Okay, you got me.

Laurel puts the chicken on the table beside Sam. Yuriko ceremoniously places the carving knife beside the plate.

MADGE

Make a wish.

Sam blows out candles. Yuriko looks puzzled.

 

MOLLY

Most families have cake

for birthdays, but we're

not normal.

YURIKO

Are you having a joke?

LAUREL

Yes, it's a joke.

SAM

But I really am thankful

for the chicken. Thank

you everyone!

Sam begins carving chicken.

SAM

So, Edward, if this chicken

isn't your invention, what

is?

EDWARD

The reverse microwave.

You put things in and they

get cold.

YURIKO

Wonderful! No more

unhappy customers. We

pick fresh lemons,

make lemonade, and

serve cold.

MADGE

I'd buy one. We're always

running out of ice.

MOLLY

And hospitals will want

them to chill compresses.

EDWARD

The thing is..

SAM

Get a job.

 

 

 

EDWARD

But I need to spend my

time on my invention, so

I get there first. It's

wasted if somebody else

gets the patent.

CUT TO:

 

INT. KITCHEN - NEXT DAY MORNING

Laurel is helping Molly and Yuriko pack brown bag lunches.

LAUREL

The chicken slices make

a better sandwich than

the stir-fried tofu.

The girls put the bags into their backpacks. Yuriko makes slight bow with her head.

YURIKO

Thank you. You are most

kind and understanding.

CUT TO:

EXT. VACANT LOT - MORNING

Vacant lot with falling down fence. Broken cement, trash, weeds. Yuriko winces at the ugliness. Molly nonchalantly leads her to a patch of yarrow.

MOLLY

See these tiny leaves?

Kind of like little ferns?

This is yarrow.

She picks a leaf, crushes it between two fingers.

MOLLY

Smell it!

Yuriko smells it. At first she is startled. Then takes another whiff more appreciatively.

YURIKO

I can feel it clear the

sinuses.

(a beat)

Powerful.

 

 

Yuriko picks several leaves and puts them in her jeans pocket.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH HALLWAY - MORNING

At school the next day, the crude boys give Yuriko and Molly a wide berth as they walk down the hallway. In fact, they seem to be avoiding all girls who walk in groups of two or more.

NERD GIRL

Want some tricks?

 

DREADLOCKS GIRL

Trick or treat?

CRUDE BOY

What's the treat?

YURIKO

Those who are skilled

in combat do not become

angered. Those who are

skilled at winning do

not become afraid. Thus

the wise win before the

fight, while the ignorant

fight to win.

BLONDE ATHLETIC GIRL

That's cool.

YURIKO

That's a famous poem.

BLONDE ATHLETIC GIRL

Is that what they teach

in Japanese schools? Poems

and Aikido?

YURIKO

I did not go to school.

I trained to be a geisha.

BLONDE ATHLETIC GIRL

You mean a prostitute?

Yuriko looks puzzled.

MOLLY

My grandmother rescued

her.

CUT TO:

INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

Classroom marker board reads SEX EDUCATION. INSTRUCTOR, a 30ish woman wearing a business suit, is writing the word ABSTINENCE on the board.

INSTRUCTOR

Sex is not just something

you do with anybody. It

is not payment for a date.

Sex is something special

between two people who

care about each other and

who will care for any

children who may come from

their union.

RED HAIRED GIRL

If you value your social

life, you have sex.

INSTRUCTOR

Can't you think beyond

Friday night? If you

value yourself, your

potential, your life,

you'll wait for marriage.

Crude boy wiggles hips, nods head, looks in-your-face suggestive, as he rises to speak.

CRUDE BOY

If you value your life,

you'll have as much fun

as you can right now.

INSTRUCTOR

Sit down. You're being

silly. Perhaps our

visitor from Japan can

give us a more thoughtful

perspective. Yuriko,

how do women in Japan

value themselves?

YURIKO

I will be paid $10,000

for my first time.

INSTRUCTOR

Are you sure you understood

the question?

CRUDE BOY

I'll give you ten cents.

ANOTHER BOY

I'll give you ten dollars.

The class laughs. Yuriko runs out of the room. Molly follows.

CUT TO:

 

INT. MILITARY MOMS CLUB - EARLY AFTERNOON

About a dozen women, including Marge are sipping tea, eating cookies and fruit as they sit in a living room with plenty of sofas and chairs. PRETTY MOM is talking.

PRETTY MOM

My daughter and I got along

so well until she turned

into a teenager.

DREADLOCKS MOM

You just have to be strict

with them.

MARGE

Molly was starting to get

out of control, particularly

where boys are concerned.

Then we got an exchange

student from Japan. She's

got Molly making her own

lunches, doing her homework.

This Japanese girl is a

wonderful influence.

PRETTY MOM

We had an exchange student

from Spain. He was the

sweetest boy, until he

discovered how much freedom

American teens have. Then

you couldn't watch him change

fast enough.

MARGE

Now Darcy, I'm sure Yuriko

won't be like that. She was

raised in a geisha house

and she begged us to get her

out of there.

DREADLOCKS MOM

Whatever happens, I'm sure it

will be a growing experience

for both of you. It's always

like that when we bring new

people into our lives.

 

EXT. FRONT OF FANCY RESTAURANT - AFTERNOON

Molly and Yuriko both check that the Help Wanted sign is still in the window. Molly hugs Yuriko for luck.

YURIKO

I hope your grandmother

is right.

MOLLY

She usually is.

YURIKO

The owner won't think

I'm subversive?

MOLLY

That's just uncle Edward

teasing. Go on in. You'll

be fine.

 

INT-EXT. RESTAURANT - AFTERNOON

Yuriko enters restaurant. Waitress greets her, smiling.

WAITRESS

May I help you?

YURIKO

I'd like to speak to the

owner.

Owner enters dining room.

 

OWNER

You have a green card

already?

YURIKO

I have a better idea. I

could work here for tips.

You would not hire me, so

no laws are broken.

OWNER

Do you have an evening dress?

 

He indicates Waitress, who is listening to this conversation as she arranges flowers.

 

Like Susan's?

YURIKO

I have a lovely kimono.

Owner ponders.

WAITRESS

You're not getting any ideas

about asking me to work for

free are you?

OWNER

So long as your kimono is

clean and pressed. You

may start today. I'll give

you a one-month trial.

 

EXT. FRONT OF RESTAURANT - AFTERNOON

Yuriko emerges from restaurant, smiling.

MOLLY

You got the job!

YURIKO

Your grandmother is a genius!

 

 

 

INT. CHANGING ROOM AT RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko changes into her kimono. She talks to a WAITRESS who is wearing evening gown.

 

WAITRESS

I don't approve of working

without wages.

YURIKO

In the geisha house where

I grew up, I did all the

cleaning and serving and

the older geishas took all

my tips.

WAITRESS

Okay, I guess this is a

step up for you. If they

ask your advice, recommend

the fish. That's the Chef's

specialty. The better

the dish, the better your

tips. And push the chocolate

desserts. Folks who are full

of chocolate are generous.

 

INT. RESTAURANT TABLE AREA - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko is chatting flirtatiously with an OLDER GENTLEMAN, while she serves his meal. She slowly pours his tea.

YURIKO

Your grandson must be very

clever to climb so high in

that tree.

OLDER GENTLEMAN

Takes after his old grandpap.

YURIKO

Did he pick the apple?

 

EXT. ON SIDEWALK OUTSIDE RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

Marge walks by the restaurant, casually peering in through the window. She sees Yuriko pouring tea slowly for the old man. She scowls deeply and goes to the restaurant door.

INT-EXT. RESTAURANT DOORWAY - LATE AFTERNOON

Marge barges into the restaurant, brushes past the waitress in evening gown.

INT. RESTAURANT DINING AREA - LATE AFTERNOON

Marge pulls Yuriko aside.

MARGE

I didn't rescue you from

that geisha house to have

you going back to your old

ways here in America.

Yuriko puts down the teapot, stands straight and faces Marge. Owner hears this commotion and heads towards them.

MARGE (cont.)

Young lady, go home and do

your homework. You'll

never amount to anything

if you don't learn.

Owner puts a hand gently on Marge's shoulder. Marge turns to face him. He uses soothing tones.

OWNER

This is a fine establishment.

And I'm sure you are a fine

woman. You must be distraught.

Marge attempts to lower her voice to match the owner's.

Yuriko retreats to kitchen.

MARGE

She's a teenager. A guest in

my home. I took her in to

rescue her from the subservient

life.

OWNER

Service is an admirable and

worthy profession. Don't

worry. I'll see that she

is treated decently.

(a beat)

Go home now. We can talk

again when you are calmer.

 

 

MARGE

Send that young lady home.

I need to talk with her.

Marge exits.

 

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT KITCHEN - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko is tasting a fish dish. COOK is soothing her. Owner enters

COOK

Marge sounds like a control

freak. If anybody can soothe

her you can.

(a beat)

Here, taste this fish. I added

a dash of brown sugar.

Yuriko tastes the fish. Smiles.

COOK

Irresistible.

OWNER

I think you'd better go home

now. My customers love you.

You do good work. I want you

back here - with your host

mom's permission.

YURIKO

Yes, sir.

OWNER

See you tomorrow.

CUT TO:

INT. HOME KITCHEN - EARLY EVENING

Laurel is shaking herbs onto fish filets in a pan. Marge is putting groceries in the refrigerator. Yuriko and Molly are making salad. Edward comes into kitchen to get silverware.

MARGE

Yuriko, honey, I didn't

mean to embarrass you at

the restaurant.

LAUREL

Marge, you know I try to

stay out of family affairs.

But I'm the one who brought

Yuriko to this country. And

I'm the one who told her to

try for that job.

EDWARD

You mean somebody actually

listened to Sam and got a job?

 

YURIKO

Try a pinch of brown sugar on

those fish. The cook at the

restaurant says it makes the

fish irresistible.

MARGE

I'm head of this household.

She's my responsibility.

EDWARD

That will be news to Sam.

YURIKO

I do not want to take your

money for my expenses.

She takes $5 out of her pocket and offers it to Marge.

YURIKO

Here is the lunch money you

gave me.

MARGE

That's not necessary.

LAUREL

Take the money. Let her

have her dignity.

Marge accepts the money.

LAUREL

Now, was that so bad?

MARGE

I just don't like to see

her fawning over old men.

EDWARD

You do it! I've seen you

with my brother.

MARGE

I'm losing this one, aren't

I?

LAUREL

It's okay, Yuriko.

(a beat)

You can add the sugar now.

The fish is ready to go in

the oven.

MOLLY

If she's allowed to have a

job, I can, too.

INT. DINNER TABLE - EVENING

Whole family, including Edward are at dinner table. Laurel is carrying in a tray of fish filets. Edward is setting out silverware. Yuriko is arranging flowers on the table. The others are arriving, and taking chairs. Edward is watching Yuriko. He speaks to her.

EDWARD

Is school here like it was

in Japan?

YURIKO

I was trained to be a

cultured woman - to sing,

dance, paint, do calligraphy.

EDWARD

Didn't you learn anything

useful like math or history?

YURIKO

I learned history through

the poets, and math through

accounting.

(a beat)

The men are taught differently.

The others are all seated now. Edward and Yuriko are oblivious to the meal, with eyes only for each other.

 

 

 

EDWARD

Molly told me about your

aikido demonstration. I

think you are being modest.

 

YURIKO

Were you taught to be an

inventor?

EDWARD

I ignored what they taught

in school. Instead, I

taught myself to be an

inventor.

YURIKO

Was your family disappointed

that you were a poor scholar?

EDWARD

Dad was. But mom always liked

my inventions. Did your mom

like your arts?

Marge taps her plate with a fork.

MARGE

Dinner is served, if you'll

finish putting out the silver.

EDWARD

Yes, M'am.

Yuriko sits, quickly. Edward winks at her as he places the last table setting.

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH CAFETERIA - NOON NEXT DAY

Yuriko and Molly are eating out of brown bags and other girls are gathered around them.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

I've been a waitress at the

coffee shop. The tips were

terrible. Kids left dimes

under glasses of water. And

the cute boys are on their

worst behavior.

 

YURIKO

It's different at a fancy

restaurant. Tips are twenty

percent of the bill, and a

meal without wine is at least

thirty dollars. So each

customer will give you six

dollars or more. Usually much

more. And the customers are

always well behaved.

ATHLETE GIRL

I don't know how to act around

rich people. What do you say

to them? How's the money?

YURIKO

You start with a compliment. If

they are wearing a nice piece of

jewelry or an interesting tie,

talk about that.

NERD GIRL

Sounds boring.

YURIKO

Think of it as Zen. Each

customer is a koan. You

can solve it by listening

and asking questions. If

you correctly understand,

your tip goes up.

RED HAIRED GIRL

But if you act all that

interested, won't the old

men think you are hot for

them?

YURIKO

If they ask, you tell them

your price for your first

time is $10,000.

ATHLETE GIRL

But what if it isn't your

first time?

YURIKO

I don't understand. Do you

mean he wants to see you

again? Or a different

customer?

MOLLY

She means, what if she's

not a virgin.

YURIKO

Was she raped? He must pay!

ATHLETE GIRL

What do you do if they offer

you the $10,000?

YURIKO

You take it.

The girls laugh, but some of them are shocked.

CUT TO:

INT. MILITARY MOMS CLUB - EARLY AFTERNOON

About a dozen women, including Marge are sipping tea, eating cookies and fruit as they sit in a living room with plenty of sofas and chairs. PRETTY MOM is talking.

PRETTY MOM

Good influence, you said?

Glad to have her, you said?

Since when is teaching our

girls to be prostitutes...

MARGE

Now Darcy, I'm sure there's a

perfectly good reason. She

was brought up in a geisha house.

Maybe that's what they taught her.

Traveling the world is supposed

to teach us that different

cultures have different values.

And people with different values

can be perfectly nice.

DREADLOCKS MOM

I don't want my son going to a

prostitute and getting AIDS

because it's just a different

cultural value held by perfectly

nice people. If you can't turn

that girl around, I say you send

her home!

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT CHANGING ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

Molly and Yuriko are changing clothes. Yuriko into her kimono, and Molly into a modest evening dress. Yuriko helps Molly with her zipper. Molly is at a total loss for ways to help Yuriko with her kimono.

YURIKO

Now remember, fish is the

Chef's specialty. If the

customer asks, recommend

the fish. And try to get them

to order chocolate dessert.

Folks who are full of

chocolate are generous.

MOLLY

 

And talk to them. Solve

their zen koan. I think

I've got it.

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT DINING AREA - LATE AFTERNOON

Shot of Yuriko taking an order. Molly is bringing a tray of food and setting it down, smiling at the customer.

INT. HOME DINING ROOM - EVENING

Whole family, including Edward seated at the heaping dining table.

 

EDWARD

I didn't get a chance to

tell you. That fish with

the pinch of sugar was

delicious.

LAUREL

I agree. Have you learned

any more tricks of the trade?

Marge scowls and speaks angrily. Laurel passes a basket of rolls.

 

 

MARGE

There will be no talk of

tricks at this table.

You have no idea what

I've been through this

afternoon at the Military

Moms club.

SAM

I have no idea why you

attend those meetings. More

than half the time, somebody

says something that upsets

you.

LAUREL

Molly, dear, how was your

first day at work?

MOLLY

I made more in tips than you

give me in allowance all week.

LAUREL

That's not what I meant. Did

you have a good time? Did you

learn anything interesting?

MOLLY

I learned that Yuriko gets

bigger tips because she is

better at solving zen koans.

Focus is now on Edward and Yuriko. This is a flirtatious conversation - on Edward's part. Yuriko is simply polite.

EDWARD

Why would you solve zen koans

at a French restaurant?

YURIKO

What do you know about zen

koans?

EDWARD

The only koan I know is the

sound of one hand clapping.

YURIKO

The whole truth includes

every perspective. Each

person has one perspective.

The more perspectives you

can see, the closer you

are to enlightenment.

EDWARD

So when you talk to me,

and act interested in me,

are you just using me as

a rung on your ladder to

enlightenment? I thought

you really liked me.

SAM

Edward, you could take

both these girls as an

example, and get a job.

You might get enlightenment

at the same time.

EDWARD

You've been working since

I was born. You don't look

enlightened.

LAUREL

Please pass the salad.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH CAFETERIA - NOON NEXT DAY

Yuriko has drawn up a calendar showing which nights each girl will work. No girl works more than 2 nights a week, and each one must be supervised by Yuriko on her first night. All the girls are eating brown bag lunches.

YURIKO

Bring your evening dress.

You can change at the

restaurant. And there's

a locker where you can

leave it.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

How do you get them to

leave big tips?

YURIKO

If they ask, recommend the

fish. That's the chef's

specialty. And try to get

them to order chocolate

dessert. Folks who are

full of chocolate are

generous.

RED HAIRED GIRL

What if I can't think

of something to talk to

them about?

YURIKO

I'll be there to help you.

INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

The board at the front of the classroom says Sex Education.

Beneath that: Prostitution is Illegal.

TEACHER

I'm sure Yuriko was joking.

But to be on the safe side,

I feel obliged to remind you

that prostitution is illegal

in Pennsylvania.

CRUDE BOY

Then her price will have to

be ten thousand dollars, plus

bail bond.

NERD BOY

She'd never be caught.

Prostitution is a victimless

crime.

CRUDE BOY

You have the ten thousand

dollars to try it and find out?

TEACHER

Sex laws are an interesting

topic. For homework tonight,

each of you is to go to the

state laws website on the

Internet and find one law

about sex in Pennsylvania.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. RESTAURANT - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko and Dreadlocks girl are taking orders.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

Just a minute. I'll go ask.

She goes to Yuriko.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

What do I say? The old man

just told me his mother is

sick and might die.

YURIKO

Ask him about his mother.

Let him do all the talking.

 

DREADLOCKS GIRL

Do we have tapioca pudding?

The man has been telling me

how his mother made tapioca

pudding for him when he was

feeling sad.

 

YURIKO

Go back and talk with him.

I'll talk with Cook.

 

INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING

At dinner, as everyone is taking chairs, Edward takes the chair next to Yuriko, sitting as Marge approaches.

MARGE

That's my chair.

EDWARD

I'd like to sit next to

Yuriko tonight.

SAM

Are you sure she's not

just using her for her

enlightenment?

EDWARD

That's why I want her

advice. I want enlightenment

and the money that goes with

it.

MOLLY

How does money go with

enlightenment?

EDWARD

You said it - she gets bigger

tips because she is better at

solving koans.

(a beat)

I have a meeting with a

potential backer. I want

to be sure to get his money

for my reverse microwave.

Laurel passes the fresh baked bread, which she has sliced.

YURIKO

You can't go to a man and

ask for money.

EDWARD

How else do I get him to

give it to me?

YURIKO

You go to him and you ask

him about his goals, his

desires. You keep asking

questions until you understand

what he wants. Then, if your

invention fits with his goals,

you offer your invention

as a possible solution.

Make him ask if you'll let

him be part of your support.

EDWARD

And if it doesn't fit?

 

YURIKO

Then he won't give you the

money.

(a beat)

But, if you have impressed him

with how thoughtful and

helpful you are, he may

mention you to someone whose

goals fit yours.

SAM

That's brilliant! Get

the man to sell himself.

I think your talents are

wasted at the restaurant.

We need you in the diplomatic

corps.

LAUREL

Don't tease her. I've seen

the tips she brings home.

Yuriko is really good at

getting money from men. And

I'm sure you've never heard

a waitress ask a client for

a bigger tip.

EDWARD

I think Yuriko would make

a lovely diplomat.

MOLLY

And I think Yuriko and you

make a cute couple.

YURIKO

I don't like teasing.

She gets up from the table and leaves the room. Molly goes after her.

 

CUT TO:

INT. MOLLY'S BEDROOM - LATE EVENING

Molly and Yuriko are doing homework at their desks, and chatting.

YURIKO

Did you find those laws

on internet?

MOLLY

All done. I've even got an

extra one for you if you

need it.

YURIKO

I've got some too. I wonder

if Japan has as many laws

as Pennsylvania.

MOLLY

Have you noticed - Uncle Edward

is really sweet on you.

 

YURIKO

Impossible. He only asks me

business questions. He

never writes me love poems.

MOLLY

Do Japanese boys write love

poems to their girlfriends?

YURIKO

The men who come to the geisha

house do.

MOLLY

I've never had a love poem.

Molly absently fondles her necklace.

YURIKO

Laurel said you earned your

necklace. What did you do?

MOLLY

I earned it at Blue Bird Camp.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

EXT. MOUNTAIN TRAIL - LATE AFTERNOON

Flashback to Blue Bird Camp. A dozen or so girls ranging in age from 8 to 12 are riding horses along a scenic mountain path. Twelve-year-old Molly is in the rear watching over the younger girls.

 

MOLLY (V.O.)

A dozen of us were riding

our horses on an overnight

trip. One of the horses

tripped and the girl fell

off, hitting a rock. She

got a deep scrape on her

arm. I'd brought garlic

to put in the chili when

it was my turn to cook.

(a beat)

One of the counselors

dumped out her canteen,

trying to wash the wound.

They talked about going back

but it was too late. I knew

that garlic is an antiseptic.

I squeezed the juice out of

several cloves into a cup

of water. Then I slowly

poured the garlic water

into her wound. The girl

never got an infection.

And when I got home, Laurel

made me my necklace. But

the chili wasn't as good

without the garlic.

YURIKO

Lets get more yarrow on

the way to school tomorrow.

 

EXT. VACANT LOT - NEXT MORNING

On the way to school, Molly and Yuriko go by the vacant lot with trash, broken bottles, lots of weeds, including chicory and yarrow.

YURIKO

This time, let me find it.

She wanders around the lot, Molly close by. She walks by some yarrow. Molly squeaks.

YURIKO

I have to find it myself, or

it's not truly my herb.

They continue walking.

MOLLY

Do you have trash on vacant

lots like this in Kyoto?

YURIKO

I've never seen a vacant lot

in Kyoto.

(a beat)

Here it is!

She has found a large stand of yarrow, in bloom. She smells the flowers, picks some leaves, crushes one under her nose.

YURIKO

If I use this on somebody

they might hit me.

 

MOLLY

Most herbs don't taste

good. But people will put

up with a bad taste if it

makes them feel better .

 

She puts a handful of the leaves into her pocket.

YURIKO

Do you know if yarrow can be

dried? These flowers are lovely.

 

She picks several flowers and puts them in her backpack.

 

MOLLY

You'll have to ask my

grandma.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH CAFETERIA - NOON

The brown baggers are lunching together, talking shop.

YURIKO

All the old men want is

a chance to tell their

story to somebody who

will really listen.

Red haired girl sniffles.

RED HAIRED GIRL

I'm catching a cold.

YURIKO

Whenever you are ill, switch

work nights with someone else.

You won't get big tips if you

sneeze or sniffle.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

I got a $20 tip last night

from a man who only bought

tapioca pudding.

 

RED HAIRED GIRL

Tapioca pudding isn't on

the menu.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

It pays to ask Cook.

Yuriko gets the yarrow leaves out of her pocket, and crushes several under Red Haired Girl' nose. She pulls back in shock.

RED HAIRED GIRL

What did you do that for?

That stinks! Are you a

witch?

MOLLY

That's yarrow. It's her

namesake herb. She's just

learning to use it.

RED HAIRED GIRL

She wouldn't get any tips

if she did that to customers.

MOLLY

Take a deep breath through

your nose.

Red haired girl takes deep breath through nose. She does so without sniffling.

RED HAIRED GIRL

So?

MOLLY

So, you're not sniffling now.

RED HAIRED GIRL

She should have asked first.

You don't just go up to

people and put nasty smelling

stuff under their noses.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

Your voice sounds much

better now.

RED HAIRED GIRL

There's no excuse for what

she did. I'll make her pay.

She can't just play me like

she does the old men.

She thinks she knows everything.

She should show me respect.

MOLLY

She was only trying to help.

 

INT. RESTAURANT DINING AREA - EVENING

This is getting to be a routine humor segment as we watch Yuriko work her magic on another lonely old man. Red haired girl is waiting on a CUSTOMER, sniffling. YURIKO'S CUSTOMER is eyeing her lecherously.

RED HAIRED GIRL

I recommend the fish. It's

Chef's specialty.

CUSTOMER

Do you feel alright, dear?

CUT TO:

YURIKO'S CUSTOMER

Darlin', you are so sweet,

you look like a little

cupcake. I could just eat

you up.

(a beat)

Would you spend the night

with me?

YURIKO

I think you'll find Chef's

chocolate torte sweet enough.

YURIKO'S CUSTOMER

Sweet darlin', chocolate is

dandy, but I want you for my

candy.

YURIKO

My price for that is ten

thousand dollars.

Red Haired Girl overhears this conversation.

 

 

 

YURIKO'S CUSTOMER

I expect to have that kind

of money in a few weeks.

YURIKO

If you have that kind of

money, you might be interested

in an exciting research project

My host family's uncle is

inventing a reverse microwave.

YURIKO'S CUSTOMER

Nope, darlin'. You're what I

want.

 

INT. HOME DINING ROOM - EVENING

The family, minus Yuriko, are seated at the table. Edward is next to Molly. Laurel is serving lasagne.

EDWARD

Where's Yuriko?

MOLLY

She's working.

EDWARD

Tell her I miss her. I

really like her. I think

she's the one I want to

marry.

MOLLY

That's not going to be

easy.

EDWARD

Is it a Zen thing? Do I

have to convert to her

religion?

MOLLY

She wants love poems.

EDWARD

I'll steal some from the

library if I have to.

 

 

 

MOLLY

And, she wants ten thousand

dollars.

EDWARD

Are you joking?

MOLLY

She told our whole sex

education class that she

wants ten thousand dollars

for her first time.

EDWARD

Then, in that case, I'll

have to get a job.

(a beat)

This is between us. I want

it to be a surprise when

I propose to her.

LAUREL

What are you two whispering

about?

EDWARD

Money.

SAM

Get a job.

 

CUT TO:

Phone rings. Marge answers.

MARGE

Now Darcy, are you sure

your daughter heard right?

(a beat)

Perhaps Yuriko was just

trying to put the man off

gently.

(a beat)

I agree, she can't go

promising to have sex

with customers, no matter

what they pay her. I'll

have a talk with her.

(a beat)

I don't think we need

to look into deportation

protocols just yet.

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH HALLWAY - MORNING

Boys and girls avoid Yuriko and Molly in the hallway.

RED HAIRED GIRL

My mom is going to get her

deported for being a slut.

ATHLETIC GIRL

Can you imagine the greed!

Ten thousand dollars!

BOY

Good money if you can get it.

NERD GIRL

She's just a manipulator.

She got us all waiting tables.

For what? So she could be

a high-priced whore?

Dreadlocks girl tosses her brown bag lunch in the trashcan.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

And what does she do with

all her money? She brings

brown bag lunches. How can

someone so expensive be

so cheap?

 

INT. GYM CLASS - AFTERNOON

The girls are playing basketball. Red haired girl purposely fouls Yuriko, bruising her face.

RED HAIRED GIRL

Slut! Whore! You think

you're so fine!

Molly helps Yuriko up and walks her off court. She squeezes a garlic clove from her pocket into a glass of water that Gym Teacher brings.

MOLLY

I've got some garlic, so

you won't get an infection.

She swabs Yuriko's face with a dampened kleenex.

Yuriko moans and tears squeeze from her eyes.

YURIKO

That stuff stings.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

INT. ELECTRONICS LAB- AFTERNOON

Edward is sitting in the waiting room, filling out a job application form. He is dressed in a low-budget suit and tie. He glances at his checkbook balance: $2000. RECEPTIONIST calls him to a job interview.

 

RECEPTIONIST

Edward. Step this way.

 

Edward follows. He enters a small room with INTERVIEWER behind a large desk.

INTERVIEWER

I see you are an inventor.

Inventors haven't proven

to be reliable employees.

They get going on something

and they up and quit right

in the middle - right when

we need them.

EDWARD

I want to get married. I

want to be able to support

a wife and children.

INTERVIEWER

Inventors aren't usually so

traditional.

EDWARD

Do you need an engineer to

design your new circuit, or

not?

INTERVIWER

I see you have the social

skills of a brilliant

engineer.

 

 

EDWARD

I saw your ad. I can do

your job.

He pats briefcase.

EDWARD (CONT)

Do you want to look at

my samples?

Interviewer shuffles some papers on his desk. Grabs a bunch and pushes them towards Edward.

INTERVIEWER

Here is our confidentiality

agreement. After you sign,

here are the project specs.

Work out a schedule with

project completion points,

and the amount that will be

due you at each point. If

it is acceptable, you're

hired.

 

INT. MILITARY MOMS MEETING - AFTERNOON

The livingroom with chairs and sofas, tea and cookies.

PRETTY MOM

You simply can't let her do

this!

MARGE

I don't know how to stop her.

DREADLOCKS MOM

If she won't obey you, you

must send her back. I've

obtained the necessary

deportation papers for you.

She hands a stack of papers to Marge who reluctantly takes them.

PRETTY MOM

We can't let her sell herself

for sex. It sets a bad example

for our daughters and our sons.

 

 

DREADLOCKS MOM

The least she could do is

sneak around like a normal

teenager.

PRETTY MOM

You're baaad.

 

MARGE

She comes from a different

culture. I know we have to

enforce the laws. But we

don't have to pretend we

are so naive that we think

our laws and our culture

are the only ones in the

world.

PRETTY MOM

We are held to higher standards.

We represent the United States

of America.

 

INT. ELECTRONIC LABS - AFTERNOON

Edward working at a computer screen designing circuitry. A COLLEAGUE comes by.

 

COLLEAGUE

This is brilliant.

(a beat)

You don't belong here. You

should be out inventing

things. For a man of your

talents, working here is

prostitution.

EDWARD

You're right, of course.

But it takes money to

develop inventions. And

besides, I want to get

married. There will be

plenty of time for my

inventions after I have

my nest egg.

COLLEAGUE

Not if somebody else

invents them first while

you are slaving away here.

EDWARD

Then leave me alone. The

sooner I finish this project,

the sooner they pay me, and

the sooner I can get married

and work on my own ideas.

 

INT. HOME DINING ROOM - EVENING

At dinner, Edward is absent. Laurel is serving a casserole with flecks of green and red herbs on top.

LAUREL

Yuriko, it's great to have

you home to eat dinner with

us.

Yuriko bows her head slightly.

MARGE

This is difficult, but I

heard a strange story about

you today at the Military

Moms Club. Some of the moms

say you promised to have

sex with a man at the

restaurant for ten thousand

dollars.

YURIKO

That's true. I did.

MOLLY

You're kidding!

SAM

Molly, please stay out of

this.

MARGE

I simply can't let you do

that. It's illegal and

immoral. We brought you to

America to get you away

from the geisha life.

 

 

SAM

Look, it was cute when you

flirted with me at the geisha

house. But there's a huge

difference between flirting

and prostitution. Flirting

gets you tips. Sex for money

gets you arrested.

MOLLY

It's a victimless crime.

Nobody gets arrested for it.

SAM

You are my daughter. I have

more control over you than I

do over our guest. One more

peep out of you, and I'll

forbid you to work at that

restaurant.

MARGE

Your customer probably didn't

mean it. He'll be happy for an

excuse not to do it. You can

just tell him you changed your

mind.

YURIKO

I haven't changed my mind.

SAM

You'll be doing everybody a

favor, if you back out.

MARGE

The women at the Military Moms

Club want you deported if you

won't change your mind.

YURIKO

I'll need the money even more

if I'm deported.

 

INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

Yuriko is helping Laurel wash the dishes.

 

 

 

YURIKO

I tried to use yarrow today.

A girl at my lunch table

had the sniffles. I crushed

some leaves under her nose.

She got mad and called me

a witch.

LAUREL

I know you meant well. But

you never use herbs without

asking permission. Herbs

are medicine. They are just

as powerful as pills or shots.

YURIKO

I stopped her sniffles.

LAUREL

The yarrow stopped her sniffles.

Laurel takes a good look at Yuriko.

LAUREL (CONT)

That's some bruise you've got.

Would you like me to put

comfrey on it?

YURIKO

Molly already put garlic on it.

LAUREL

That was to prevent infection.

The comfrey will heal your

cells, and I promise - it won't

sting.

 

INT. MOLLY'S BEDROOM - LATE EVENING

Molly and Yuriko are doing homework at their desks.

MOLLY

Jenna has been phoning all

the girls who work at the

restaurant - telling them

that you are running a

prostitution ring. That

you've promised all of them

will have sex for ten

thousand dollars.

YURIKO

What's wrong with that?

Ten thousand is a typical

price for a first time at

the geisha house.

MOLLY

Sex is something you do

with a man you love. Not

anybody who has the money.

YURIKO

Why not both?

 

EXT. GYM CLASS - AFTERNOON

On the basketball court, Yuriko finds herself surrounded by angry girls.

DREADLOCKS GIRL

How could you do this to us?

(a beat)

What if other customers want

sex for money?

ATHLETIC GIRL

You could get the restaurant

closed down!

(a beat)

Have you tricked us into

joining a prostitution ring?

RED HAIRED GIRL

Would you really have sex with

that old geezer?

(a beat)

How could you do this to us?

CUT TO:

INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICES - AFTERNOON

Marge and OFFICER are in a cubicle. Officer has a computer terminal and filing cabinet.

OFFICER

I can't deport every teenager

who wants to have sex.

 

MARGE

It's not just promiscuity. It's

prostitution.

OFFICER

Can you document that she has

paying customers?

MARGE

She hasn't done it yet. She's

just announced that she will

be paid ten thousand dollars

for her first time.

Officer laughs.

MARGE

It's not a joke. She admits

that a customer at the restaurant

where she works says he'll have

the money in a few weeks. I

want her out of the country

before that happens.

OFFICER

We can't even deport terrorists

in a couple of weeks.

 

He hands her some forms

OFFICER (CONT)

Here are the forms to request

deportation.

(a beat)

And good luck to you.

 

INT. ELECTRONIC LABS - AFTERNOON

Edward is building a model of his circuitry. A BOSS enters his cubicle and looks at his computer screen.

BOSS

This is it? This is all

you've done?

 

EDWARD

Do you have any idea what

you are looking at?

BOSS

A simplistic sketch. The

rudiments of a circuit

design. Months away from

a finished schematic.

EDWARD

This is the finished

schematic. I was just

tweaking it to get some

extra performance. You

can have a print out now

and begin production this

afternoon.

BOSS

If you're wrong. If you

waste one minute of one

assembler's time. If this

doesn't meet the specs

you signed off on, we

won't pay you a cent.

Edward smiles, happily.

CUT TO:

 

INT. RESTAURANT DINING AREA - EVENING

Waitress in evening dress stops Yuriko on the way to the kitchen.

WAITRESS

Is it true? Did you really

offer to have sex with that

guy for money?

YURIKO

Why is everybody so upset

about that?

WAITRESS

Honey, I'm sure you have a

good use for that money.

But there has to be a better

way...

Owner comes up to them.

 

OWNER

Where are your friends?

I'm running a business here,

and I need to count on my

staff.

YURIKO

I don't understand why

they are not here.

The customer who offered her the ten thousand dollars comes in. Yuriko greets him.

YURIKO

Good evening. Let me show

you to your table.

She leads him to his usual table.

YURIKO (CONT)

How have you been?

CUSTOMER

Business is looking good.

I've sold my facial steamers

to an entire hotel chain.

Every guest room will have

one.

YURIKO

What are the benefits of

facial steamers?

CUSTOMER

Right now, the benefit is

I will soon have the money.

Yuriko smiles.

CUSTOMER

They are also good to

relieve a stuffy nose.

CUT TO:

INT. EXT. RESTAURANT DOORWAY - EVENING

Edward walks by the restaurant and sees Yuriko flirting with the older gentleman. He pulls open the restaurant door, but does not go inside.

 

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN - LATE EVENING

Edward is waiting for Yuriko in the kitchen when she comes home. Edward is washing dishes from dinner.

 

EDWARD

I saw you flirting with

that old man in the

restaurant.

YURIKO

That's how I get the big

tips. I don't get a salary.

EDWARD

Well, I don't like it.

YURIKO

You don't want me to get

big tips?

EDWARD

It's demeaning. Disgusting.

You are a bright, attractive

and capable person. You have

so much more to offer than

a silly sex tease.

YURIKO

Flirting is how I get tips.

EDWARD

You mean you manipulate old

geezers with false promises?

YURIKO

What I do has value. These

men are lonely. Nobody listens

to them except me. I make them

feel worthwhile and alive. And

they make it worth my while.

EDWARD

Sex isn't a game.

(a beat)

You don't play it for money.

Sex is for expressing love.

 

YURIKO

You're living in a fantasy

world.

EDWARD

We make our own world.

That's zen.

CUT TO:

 

INT. MOLLY'S BEDROOM - LATE EVENING

Yuriko goes up to her room. Molly is there with a boyfriend, necking on her bed, fully clothed. Yuriko grabs the boy and pulls him off Molly.

YURIKO

Get out! Get out now!

Yuriko drags the boy to the door and shoves him out.

YURIKO (CONT)

Who is the prostitute now?

MOLLY

How dare you? That's my

boyfriend.

YURIKO

Why would you give sexual

favors for free?

And to such a poor boy?

MOLLY

I like him. Boys and girls

who like each other, kiss.

YURIKO

If you like him, you read

poetry together. You go

for walks together. You

can invite him to dinner

with your family like a

cultured person.

Any prostitute can do what

you were doing!

 

MOLLY

I have never been so

mortified in my life.

(a beat)

Get out of MY room!

Yuriko leaves the room.

CUT TO:

INT. LAUREL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

LAUREL

Have you made more progress

earning your pendant?

YURIKO

I don't care.

LAUREL

I heard Molly shouting.

You can sleep with me tonight.

Yuriko gives a slight bow with her head.

YURIKO

Thank you.

CUT TO:

INT. LAUREL'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

LAUREL

Why do you need ten thousand

dollars?

YURIKO

I have to pay the geisha house

back for the costs of raising

and educating me.

INT. INDUSTRIAL LABS OFFICE - MORNING

Edward is in waiting room. He glances at his checkbook balance: $4000. He is summoned into a small office.

INTERVIEWER

Are you sure you won't sign

our contract and become a

regular employee?

EDWARD

That contract states that

Industrial Labs owns all

my inventions.

INTERVIEWER

You don't have money to

develop them, let alone

patent them, market them,

and defend them from

copycats.

EDWARD

Your ad in the paper said

you need someone who can

find the errors in your

existing products and

improve their performance.

Flash of Yuriko flirting. Edward adopts the same mannerisms.

EDWARD

Tell me about your company.

What are the company goals?

Where you see Industrial Labs

in five years?

Interviewer smiles.

 

INT. MEETING ROOM - MORNING

MARGE attends another Military Moms meeting.

MARGE

I've filed the paperwork

to get Yuriko investigated

for illegal activities.

(a beat)

I feel like a traitor. I

brought her here to teach

her about how women and men

are equals. I've failed in

such a short time...

 

PRETTY MOM

You won't regret it. Some

of those foreign kids are

just too set in their ways.

Just too foreign.

MARGE

She seems so nice, so

responsible, so stable.

She has such potential

DREADLOCKS MOM

She has the potential to

wreck your home, corrupt your

daughter, and seduce your

brother-in-law.

 

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH - MORNING

In the entryway, everybody, including Molly, is avoiding Yuriko. She walks, head held high to the Sex Education classroom.

CRUDE BOY

I'll give you ten dollars.

INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

The board at the front of the classroom reads: Sex Education

TEACHER

I'm sure you are all aware

that sex isn't just something

that two people can do together.

 

Classroom snickers

TEACHER (CONT)

It is also the way babies are

conceived.

(a beat)

You know that, but it's just

words. Today we have a special

visitor - a new mom with her

baby.

RED HAIRED GIRL

We saw the After School Special

with the teenaged mom and her

very hard life. It's all

propaganda. You teachers are

all part of the anti-sex league.

TEACHER

I'd like to introduce SUKI.

Teacher opens door and ushers in a neatly dressed woman of Japanese ancestry in her mid thirties who is carrying a small BABY, neatly dressed in yellow.

 

 

 

SUKI

Kisho and I waited a long

time before we decided to

have a baby. We waited

until bout our careers

were established, and our

marriage was solid.

Baby starts howling. Suki cuddles the baby and coos. She whispers in the baby's ear. Students put hands over ears, make rude sounds.

RED HAIRED GIRL

What kind of a mom are you

if you can't stop your baby

from crying?

TEACHER

Suki is a normal mom. Her

baby is a normal baby.

INT. MASTERMAN HIGH CAFETERIA - NOON

Yuriko is sitting by herself, eating her brown bag lunch.

Red haired girl comes up to her, still sniffling.

RED HAIRED GIRL

I caught this cold working

at that stupid restaurant.

Now I've got an interview

for a good job, and I'm too

sick to go. You owe me the

salary I could be earning.

YURIKO

If you are responsible enough

for a job, you can pick up

the phone and reschedule your

interview, like an adult,

instead of whining like a

snotty child.

RED HAIRED GIRL

It's your fault I'm sick. You

should pay.

YURIKO

Would you like some yarrow to

clear your sinuses? It will

let you get through the

interview without sniffling.

RED HAIRED GIRL

That nasty stuff?

(a beat)

Okay, I'll try it.

Yuriko hands Red aired Girl one of the dried flowers. The girl breaks off a piece and crushes it under her nose. She inhales several times.

RED HAIRED GIRL (CONT)

The flower works even better

than the leaves. Same bad

smell.

(a beat)

Okay, only half bad.

 

EXT. GYM CLASS BASKETBALL COURTS - AFTERNOON

In gym class, nobody picks Yuriko to be on a team.

TEACHER

Here's an empty court.

Yuriko, you can practice

shooting baskets.

Teacher throws her a ball from the ball bin. Yuriko catches it and walks quickly to the court where she stands on the free throw line and shoots.

Her suitor from the restaurant walks by the courts, stares right at Yuriko and clearly does not recognize her without her kimono. Girls playing basketball notice him, too.

RED HAIRED GIRL

That's the geezer I told

you about. The one that's

going to pay...

 

INT. RESTAURANT DINING AREA - EVENING

Yuriko is taking her suitor's dinner order.

SUITOR

You are so lovely. So

much more beautiful than

other girls.

(a beat)

Today I was walking by

the high school, and I

saw dozens of girls

your age - there was

even an Asian girl about

your height. But she was

scrawny and plain-looking.

Yuriko smiles.

YURIKO

I am glad you find me

attractive.

(a beat)

Chef tells me that he's

made your favorite this

evening, Salmon Terriyaki.

Yuriko leans forward as she pours his tea, allowing him to

see the base of her throat.

SUITOR

My sale of facial steamers

went through. I'll have the

money tomorrow. Can you

meet me at 4 PM?

 

INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

When Yuriko arrives home, she sees Laurel handing a check to Edward. Sam is home, reading the paper at the breakfast table, beside Molly who is drinking a glass of fruit juice.

 

LAUREL

I've decided to invest in

your reverse microwave.

SAM

You never did have a head

for business.

LAUREL

I love both my sons. If

you ever need my money, I'll

invest in you, too.

YURIKO

Molly, did you get the

homework assignment in

literature?

Molly continues drinking orange juice.

EDWARD

I did really well in lit.

If you need help, just

ask.

I love poetry. So few

words, saying so much.

YURIKO

Would you recite one of

your favorites?

EDWARD

Here's one I read last

night:

The moment two bubbles

are united, they both vanish.

A lotus blooms.

Yuriko gasps in appreciation.

YURIKO

That's my favorite Kijo

Murakami.

(a beat)

Have you also been working

on your invention?

EDWARD

Not much. I've been

earning money designing

circuit boards for

bureaucrats who wouldn't

know an elegant design

if it painted them a

picture.

 

YURIKO

But now you can work on

your reverse microwave.

 

INT. LAUREL'S BEDROOM - LATE EVENING

Yuriko goes to bed in Laurelís room.

LAUREL

Have you used your herb

unselfishly yet?

YURIKO

I gave some to the red

haired girl who has been

setting the others against

me.

LAUREL

That was a fine thing to do.

But I'm sure you can do

better.

Lights dim.

CUT TO:

 

 

INT. KITCHEN - EARLY MORNING

Molly and Yuriko make their lunches in silence.

 

CUT TO:

INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

The board read Sex Education. Someone has scrawled the word NO in front of Sex.

CRUDE BOY

Do you have your ten

thousand dollars yet?

Yuriko's face shows no response.

CUT TO:

 

 

INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Marge turns in some paperwork.

CLERK

It appears you may have

a case. But since you

have never heard Yuriko

state that she will have

sex for money, you will

need signatures of

witnesses.

 

 

MARGE

By the time I get all

your paperwork done, she

may have already done it.

CLERK

And then you'll have a much

better case for deportation.

INT. ELECTRONIC LABS - MORNING

Edward ripping apart a circuit board. Boss comes in.

BOSS

You were supposed to fix

all this on the computer

simulation before the

assemblers built them.

(a beat)

I'd never have paid you

that first installment

if I hadn't trusted you.

EDWARD

I picked up this new

resistor that might

improve the board's

efficiency by 5%. I

couldn't wait for the

assemblers to come in,

so I'm replacing the

resistors myself.

Boss calms slightly.

BOSS

We have a deadline. You

can put the new resistors

in the next generation of

this product.

(a beat)

You inventors are incorrigible.

You need me to keep you on

track.

 

EDWARD

Are your initial sales for

this product high enough that

you're sure there will

be a second generation?

EXT. GYM CLASS BASKETBALL COURT - AFTERNOON

In gym class, Yuriko is still shooting baskets by herself. Again, her suitor walks by and does not recognize her. MARGE comes to gym class with her forms.

MARGE

Excuse me. I need signatures

from any of you who have

heard Yuriko state that she

will have sex for money.

Several students step over to sign Marge's forms. Yuriko obliviously shoots baskets.

EXT. STREET OUTSIDE HOTEL - LATE AFTERNOON

On the sidewalk, in front of the hotel Yuriko meets Edward. He is very glad to see her.

EDWARD

I'm looking forward to

seeing you at dinner tomorrow.

I have wonderful news.

YURIKO

Did you make progress on your

invention?

EDWARD

I did find a resistor that I

think will solve some of the

problems. But my news is

better than that.

Yuriko looks at her watch.

EDWARD

I won't keep you from your

appointment.

(a beat)

See you at dinner tomorrow.

INT. HOTEL - LATE AFTERNOON

Yuriko enters lobby, takes elevator, goes to the assigned room. There is her suitor steaming his face in the bathroom.

 

 

YURIKO

Is this the facial steamer

that you sell?

Suitor looks up.

SUITOR

You're not wearing your

kimono.

YURIKO

I came straight from school.

My kimono is at the restaurant

Would you like me to get it?

SUITOR

No. You are lovely as you are.

He sniffles.

YURIKO

I have some herbs that might

clear your sinuses.

SUITOR

I'll try anything. Put

them in the water in the

bottom of the steamer.

Yuriko crumbles a flower into the water. Suitor breathes.

SUITOR

This is fantastic! I bet

I could sell this to all

the hotels that bought

the steamers. What do

you call this?

YURIKO

My herb is yarrow.

Would you like a massage

before sex?

SUITOR

That would be nice. But

there's not a moment to

lose. I must phone my

company about our new

product.

 

YURIKO

We can reschedule the sex

for another time.

SUITOR

Darlin', you are too smart

to be having sex for money.

I thought you were just a

pretty doll.

(a beat)

I'm going to give you

an advance on sales of

your sinus treatment herbs.

 

INT. INDUSTRIAL LABS - LATE AFTERNOON

Edward is showing a working model to his boss.

BOSS

There will be a bonus in

your paycheck.

EDWARD

Soon I'll have the nest egg

I need to get married.

BOSS

I hope the woman is worthy

of you.

 

INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICES - LATE AFTERNOON

MARGE brings the signed forms to the deportation office.

CLERK

This looks sufficient. We

can schedule a deportation

hearing next week.

MARGE

Next week may be too late.

 

INT. LAUREL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

That night, Yuriko again goes to bed in Laurel's room.

 

Dreamlike fade into the middle of a conversation.

YURIKO

So then he paid me for my

idea.

LAUREL

You just earned your pendant.

Laurel opens a drawer, takes out the pendant and places the necklace over Yuriko's head.

 

LAUREL (CONT)

I knew you would earn it.

 

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

The next morning, Edward bursts into the kitchen when the girls are making their lunches.

EDWARD

I can't wait any longer.

He drops to one knee in front of Yuriko.

EDWARD (CONT)

Will you marry me?

Yuriko stares at him - he has said the unexpected.

EDWARD (CONT)

I have the ten thousand dollars.

I've loved you and wanted to

propose to you for months...

Yuriko stares at him angrily.

 

EDWARD

Say something.

YURIKO

How could you? Your mother

gave you that money for your

invention. Not for sex.

EDWARD

But I thought you'd say no if

I didn't have the money. I've

been working at two jobs -

I never went to work to earn

money for my invention. But

I worked harder than I ever

have in my life - to marry

you.

 

YURIKO

I don't need the money now.

I already earned it.

 

MOLLY

You didn't! Not with that

horrid old geezer!

YURIKO

Of course, from that geezer.

Laurel knows all about it.

MARGE

You didn't! Tell me you

didn't have sex with him!

LAUREL

He gave her the money for

showing him her herb. He's

going to sell yarrow infusions

to all the hotels that bought

his facial steamers.

YURIKO

I want to invest my money in

your invention, too.

LAUREL

Don't you have to pay the

geisha house for your education?

YURIKO

I have more than enough money

for that.

Edward is still on his knee, now uncomfortable and squirming.

EDWARD

Will you marry me without the

money?

YURIKO

Yes, if you'll recite another

poem for me.

EDWARD

Old Japanese poem:

Though there are many paths

At the foot of the mountain

All those who reach the top

See the same moon.

Molly is overcome by the emotion of this scene and hugs them both.

MOLLY

Congratulations. Both of you.

Edward puts ring on Yuriko's finger and stands up. Yuriko signs to Edward.

YURIKO

Making love with you
Is like drinking sea water.
The more I drink
The thirstier I become,
Until nothing can slake my thirst
But to drink the entire sea.

Come to me, as you come
Softly to the rose bed of coals
Of my fireplace
Glowing through the night-bound forest.

MARGE pours tea.

INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICE - MORNING

MARGE

I'd like to withdraw my

application to deport my

exchange student

CLERK

It's too late. The hearing

has been scheduled.

MARGE

But she's marrying my

brother-in-law.

CLERK

She cannot be deported if

she is married to an

American citizen. Provided

it's not a fake marriage.

INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

Board at front of classroom says Sex Education. Someone has scrawled LOVE in front of Sex.

 

 

 

YURIKO

I have decided that love

is more important than

money.

 

Credits roll as the other girls gather round to see her engagement ring and she shows them her pendant.