THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
INT SOLITARY DAY
Rita walks Natty down the cold, dank corridor of the isolation cells, the Meditation Rooms, their FOOTSTEPS echoing through the gloomy darkness. Each of these cells has a thick, metal door with a narrow slit for an observation window.
They stop outside one of the cells and Rita swings the door open. Natty stares inside, fighting back her fears. The room is barely big enough for a cot. It seems more like a chip in the cement wall than a cell.
Rita pushes Natty inside and SLAMS the door with a thundering CLANG.
Natty’s eyes dart back and forth in the observation window as Rita’s ECHOING FOOTSTEPS recede into the distance.
INT COLORADO CAFE DAY
Sol drinks a cup of coffee in the local cafe. He looks absently out the window toward the Railroad Office across the street.
Suddenly he leans forward, pulls back the curtains and stares intently.
There’s a group of KIDS down the street. One of them is a little girl in a leather jacket with a cap pulled low over her eyes.
Sol bursts out of his chair and rushes through the cafe door.
EXT COLORADO TOWN DAY
Sol dodges through the traffic and races down the wooden sidewalk toward the group of kids moving away from him.
He grabs the little girl in the leather jacket and spins her around, dropping to his knees.
Sol’s heart sinks and his hopes fade as he stares at this little girl’s face. From the front, she doesn’t look anything like Natty.
The other kids rally to her defense. The spokesman is Leon.
Leave her alone, Mister. She
didn’t do nothing to you.
Sol lets go of the little girl and tries to smile to reassure her, to say he’s sorry, but it’s a thin, sad attempt.
She races away from him, disappearing down the street with the others, and Sol gets slowly to his feet.
INT DORMITORY DUSK
The Jail Matron watches from the doorway as Natty walks through the room to her bed, finally returning from the Meditation cell.
Twinkie waits until the Matron exits, then hurries to Natty.
Natty turns to Twinkie with resolve in her eyes.
I’m getting out of here Twinkie.
Me too. 3 years, I months and
I’m not waiting.
Twinkie rolls her eyes in exasperation.
Forget it, would ya?
INT SHOWER ROOM DAY
Natty peers through the barred window to the parking lot below.
Her voice is hard and sure.
Twinkie reluctantly follows Natty’s gaze to the cars below.
She can’t believe Natty’s choice. Her voice reflects her disapproval.
Oh Christ. . .It’s the Rhino’s.
A moment’s hesitation passes through Natty as she stares down at the car, but then she shrugs it away.
The Jail Matron glares at them from the doorway and they move on.
INT DORM NIGHT
The girls climb into their beds as the Jail Matron stares from the doorway. She makes her headcount then flips off the light.
Her voice BOOMS out as she walks away.
Natty waits until she hears the far door slam closed and the deadbolt slide into place, then she throws back the covers and crawls out of bed.
She pulls the nightshirt over her head. She has her clothes on underneath. She stuffs the nightshirt under her blanket and fluffs it to make it look as much like a sleeping body as possible, then moves quietly down the dorm toward the bathroom.
Twinkie watches her go.
END PART 18
Part 19 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)
A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.