6, Issue 1
SOMETHING OLD/SOMETHING NEW
By Greg Palmer
Fade In: INT. APARTMENT - DAY
On one wall of this particular space there is a series
of sketches tacked up, creating a border around a window. Each one features
a young girl extremely posed and dressed in some sort of carefully chosen
clothing. Through the dirty window glass we can see out onto a balcony.
Leaning against the metal guard a young man stands with his back to us.
Little can be discerned from his profile. He wears brown cloth pants and
a blue button down shirt tucked in. This is HENRY. Smoke floats from a
cigarette held in Henry’s hand.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Outside it is a gloomy early spring day. There are puddles of dirty water
left from the last rainfall.
A teenage girl walks down the sidewalk. She is dressed in jeans and blouse,
casual but not entirely innocent. She wears a backpack, filled and sagging
on her back, her thumbs wrapped around the straps. This is LAURA.
Hey! Excuse me… Miss!
Laura pauses for a few steps and looks around to see who
could be calling her. She sees no one.
Laura looks up the side of an apartment building till she
sees Henry’s figure.
Who is that?
Henry, you don’t know me.
Is there something wrong?
No, I just wanted to say hello.
Laura starts to walk away, her eyes furrowed in thought.
Laura continues on and throws a snooty glance over her shoulder back towards
Why? You’re creepy.
I’m not; I swear! Besides, I have to tell you something.
Laura turns around and bites her lip.
I’ve been up here for hours now... watching people go by; I have
got to tell you, you are hands down the most beautiful girl that I have
seen walk by. You are gorgeous.
Laura blushes a bit and bites her lower lip a bit. She
cocks her head in very matter of fact way.
You’re trying to pick me up.
Is it working do you think?
LAURA-I think… that I shouldn’t trust the advances
of a man watching me from a second floor window box.
You’re right, you shouldn’t. Except for today... Have you
ever sat for a picture before?
I don’t know what that means.
I’m an artist; and I need a model. I want to sketch you. If you’re
interested, it would only take a few minutes.
Laura looks at her naked wrist, checking for a watch that
Well... Maybe some other time...
If you don’t have anywhere you have to be... you’d be doing
me a great favor. After a few seconds of thinking Laura looks back up
at Henry and exhales.
How do I get up there?
Go around to the side stairwell. It’s number 824. I’ll let
you in. Oh, by the way; what is your name?
Laura walks up the sidewalk back the direction she came. As she does she
looks up at the apartment building, now looming before her. She opens
the door and enters.
INT. APARTMENT STAIRWELL - DAY
The stairs stretch out before her. They are grey and uninviting. She slowly
ascends them, curiously taking in all of her surroundings. At the top
of the stairs she walks down a long empty hallway. As she does this she
glances up at each of the doorways to check their numbers. At the end
of the hall she finds the right one, 824. With an unsure look in her face
and nearly shaking hand, she reaches out to grab the door handle. She
looks up and sees a bright red exit sign hanging from the ceiling. Before
she can grasp the handle, the door swings open and revealing Henry standing
before her. Henry is in hid mid twenties and has bookish look to him.
He is handsome, but in an unsettling way. He smiles at her with piercing
I’d thought you’d forgotten about me. He grabs her by the
hands and pulls her through the door frame, shutting it behind her.
INT. APARTMENT - DAY
The apartment is filled, but without any character or personal touches.
There are only the usual furnishings that come with an apartment. Henry
pulls Laura further into the apartment by her hands. She is very aware
of this contact and stares at his hands on hers.
Can I get you a glass of water or something?
No, I’m fine.
The two pause down a short hallway next to two doors, one leading to another
room and one to a bathroom.
If you’re ready to get started; you can change in Here. Henry opens
the door to the bathroom slightly.
What’s wrong with what I have on?
Nothing; It’s a nice dress.
You ask an awful lot of a complete stranger. With his hand on her back,
Henry guides Laura into the bathroom.
I know. I’ll be waiting. He shuts the door behind her.
INT. BATHROOM - DAY
Laura looks around the bathroom. It is clean, filled with the bare necessities.
Hanging on hanger from the shower rod is a black dress. It is simple and
old fashioned. She walks up to the dress and presses the cloth together
between her fingers. Next she smells the cloth. Taking it down, she holds
the dress up to her body and looks at herself in the large mirror which
covers one wall of the bathroom.
INT. APARTMENT - DAY
Laura walks through the bathroom door in the dress. She pulls fabric in
certain places, adjusting the way it fits her. Ahead, inside one of the
rooms, Henry sits with his back to her. He sits, his legs crossed with
a sketch pad. The room is almost empty. there is a mirrored closet and
a small window in one corner. Next to this window there is a small chair
angled towards Henry. Laura moves into this room and stands behind Henry.
At first he does not react. Then, sensing her presence he turns around
and looks at her. A smile grows on his face.
Laura grins and fluffs the dress out a bit.
Where do you want me?
On the chair
Laura walks over and sits down. First with her legs crossed, the quickly
she uncrosses them keeping her knees together.
How should I sit?
Just be natural.
Laura crosses her hands across her chest, and then quickly re-adjusts
them to her knees.
Is this all right?
Henry looks at her for a second and shakes his head.
You’re thinking about it too much. Loosen up a bit. Be natural.
I would never “naturally” sit in an empty room in a dress.
I don’t know what that means. Henry drops his pencils and stands
up like a conductor before an orchestra.
Laura stands up and faces him.
Now copy me exactly. Do everything I do. Henry puts his hand in the air
and does a small dance accompanied with a series of nonsense noises.
This is stupid.
Just do it. Please.
Laura mimics his actions while rolling her eyes. Henry
comes back with another series of motions and noises. Laura counters that
again. Her grin disappears. A series of several of these oddball actions
transpires. Henry first, then Laura mimicking after, almost making music.
Both are having a lot of fun.
Finally they stop.
Now sit back down.
Laura sits, now much more naturally. She is still laughing.
Henry begins to sketch. The smile on Laura’s face slowly fades away.
Neither speaks for a bit and Laura starts too look around the room, moving
not her head but only her eyes. She carefully looks at Henry, from his
shoes up to his hair; dissecting each part of his body from the others.
How old are you Laura? The sudden question brings Laura back from her
thoughts. He asks without looking away from his easel and paper.
(Breaking into song)
Sixteen... going on seventeen.
I would have guessed a little older; eighteen at least.
Another break in the talk occurs, shorter this time. Laura
grins, staring intently at Henry.
How old are you?
Much older, I’m from a different generation.
Pepsi... or Coke?
Henry chuckles, he gets the reference and plays along.
Wow, you are old.
Henry pulls back his hand from the paper. He sets down
the pencil and rubs his hands together, as if his knuckles or joints are
hurting him. Laura watches this intently.
Henry, you look a lot like a guy I used to date. My first kiss actually.
When was this?
Did you break up? Why?
Because; I’m young.
Henry now continues sketching.
Got a boyfriend now?
What about you?
Without looking away from the sketch, Henry answers quietly.
It’s been a while. It’s hard to meet people.
What about your models?
No... I just draw their pictures.
Laura asks her next question with the skill of a great surgeon, grinning
as she does so.
What about sex?
Henry smirks but plays along. He’s more than a little uncomfortable.
What about it?
There is a beat in their conversation.
Laura bites her lip a bit before her next question.
Well... the girls in your pictures?
I don’t... what about them?
Ever with one of your models?
Henry’s facial expression changes. He is obviously agitated.
I don’t believe that. Some young girl, doing whatever you say, being
posed. You never seduced one of them? They never came on to you?
What if one of them really wanted you?
Without looking up from his sketch Henry answers back with surprising
sternness and force.
No. I would never...
I don’t think you could resist...
Laura is taken aback a bit from his response.
A small stream of blood appears on Laura’s upper lip.
Your nose is bleeding.
Laura raises her hand to her nose and brings back bloody
fingers. She tilts her head back with her hands on her nostrils. Henry
stands up and moves towards her.
This happens, do you have any tissues?
Yeah, let’s go to the bathroom. Henry grabs her spare hand and guides
her through the room, across the hall into the bathroom.
INT. BATHROOM - DAY
Henry guides Laura to edge of the bathtub where she sits down on, her
head still tilted back. He grabs some tissues from a box and hands them
to her. He kneels down to meet her at eye level as she places the tissues
under her nostrils.
It’s all right. Don’t worry about it. Do you want an ice pack
No, it’ll stop on its own.There are a few seconds of silence before
Henry begins to talk. He moves his hands to his face.
Laura, why were you asking me those questions?
Laura plays innocent.
I don’t know.
Laura instinctually tries to lower her head, avoiding eye contact, but
then moves it back in position because of her nose.
I don’t know... I was just trying to keep things interesting.
Do you think that’s why I asked you up here?
I don’t know... maybe. The thought crossed my mind.
Henry removes his hands on his face; he is obviously concerned
by this. He raises his head a bit to look Laura directly in her eyes.
Did you come up here to have sex with me?
This stops her cold; she attempts to answer but cannot.
Is that why you’re here?
Then why did you do that?
I don’t know.
All I want is your picture.
Laura glances back through the bathroom door, into the
other room and at the chair. Her facial expression changes to one of understanding.
How’s your nose?
Looking back at Henry, he is smiling a little, not menacing at all.
Better, I think it’s stopped.
She removes the tissue from her nose. It is no longer bleeding and is
actually clean of any dried.
Do you want to finish the sketch?
Of course; I do.
Good. Henry stands up, offers his hand to Laura to help her up. Once again
they move back into the room across the hall to work.
INT. BEDROOM - AFTERNOON
Henry sits down at his station while Laura walks over to her seat. Before
sitting down she shakes her arms and makes noises like before. Henry laughs
It’s a good technique.
She sits down on the chair in the same pose as before. While Henry continues
to draw, Laura sits in her pose silent. Her eyes do not wander about but
look straight ahead, not at anything in particular however. This lasts
a few minutes.
Laura. I think I am all done.
Laura breaks her pose and relaxes.
Can I see?
Sure. Tell me what you think, honestly.
Laura stands up and walks over behind Henry. She gazes
at the picture of herself, her head directly to the left of Henry’s.
I like it.
INT. HALLWAY - AFTERNOON
Laura exits the bathroom in the clothes from earlier. She picks up her
backpack from the floor and slings it over her shoulders.
Well I guess I’ll let you go now.
If you ever want me to model again, it’d be okay.
(Nodding his head)
I’ll keep that in mind.
Laura starts walking towards the door, her thumbs wrap up in the straps
of her book bag.
Henry opens the door and holds it for her.
I walk by here everyday on the way home from school. Will you look for
She exits back out into the hallway, Henry holding the door open still.
She turns around to face him through the door frame.
Do you really think I’m beautiful?
I couldn’t tell that lie.
Henry lets go of the door and it closes between them.
EXT. HALLWAY – LATE AFTERNOON
Laura walks down the hallway lost in thought.
INT. BEDROOM – LATE AFTERNOON
Henry steps out onto the balcony again to have a smoke.
EXT. SIDEWALK – LATE AFTERNOON
Laura walks across the sidewalk on her way back home. She glances up towards
INT. BEDROOM – LATE AFTERNOON
Henry stands in the same pose as earlier, silhouetted, leaning against
the guard rail, looking outward.
The pictures tacked around the window keep him company.