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Writing Contest: The Therapist by Chad Emery





  •                    "THE THERAPIST"


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE lays on DR. PINKOS' couch, facing away from him. As she gets comfortable, DR. PINKOS retrieves his pen and notebook from his desk.  ROXANNE finally sits still as DR. PINKOS sits back down in his chair.


    ROXANNE

    Do you want me to begin where we left off last week?


    Roxanne looks over her shoulder at Dr. Pinkos as Dr. Pinkos nods, not looking up from his notebook.


    ROXANNE

    Ok, well this week I think I made some real progress. I went to the mall and bought a new shirt. I made sure that it was a polyester blend because  polyester doesn't bleed when I wash it.


    CUT TO:


    INT. ROXANNE'S BEDROOM- NIGHT


    Young Roxanne wears a pink night gown. Mother tucks Roxanne into bed while she reaches to turn off the bedside lamp.


    MOTHER

    When the house catches on fire, I hope you're not wearing one of these night gowns your Aunt gave you for Christmas . They are made out of polyester.


    Young Roxanne looks at Mother, puzzled. Mother looks at the window across the bedroom as she continues her story.


    MOTHER

    Well, this girl Grandma knew was wearing a polyester night gown when her house burned down, and polyester is made out of plastic, so even though she jumped out the window and SHE didn't catch on fire, her nightgown melted on to her skin, and then SHE DIED.


    Mother looks down at her daughter's face to see that young Roxanne is frozen from shock. Mother smiles and acts as if what she just told her adolescent daughter was completely normal.


    MOTHER

    Ok, Good night Honey! Sleep tight!


    Mom turns off the lamp and exits the room, slamming the door.


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    Then I left because there were too many people at the mall. After I started my car and everything, I left the parking lot and made my way towards the interstate. As I merged over, this guy cut me off. I was just about to honk my horn, and then suddenly my anxiety came back.


    CUT TO:


    INT. MOTHER'S CAR- DAY


    Mother is taking young Roxanne to school.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Mom! There's my friend Natalie from Dance Class. Honk your horn!


    MOM

    You should never beep your horn. Someone could be having the worst day of their life, and if you beep that horn, it's all your fault when the gun goes off. 


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    I don't know what it is. I mean even the littlest thing can make me feel nervous. Something as little as walking out of a room.


    CUT TO:


    INT. LIVING ROOM- EVENING


    Mother watches television as young Roxanne washes her hands in the bathroom. Mother hears the sink stop, and without even turning her head back to Roxanne, starts speaking.


    MOTHER

    Don't turn the bathroom light off with wet hands. I think that's how one of the presidents died.


    Young Roxanne, reaching for the light switch, quickly jerks back in horror. She holds he hand in front of her face as she examines it.


    MOTHER

    When you get electrocuted, I will have to hit you with a piece of wood to make it stop,


    Young Roxanne scans the room and stops when she sees a wooden bat sitting in the corner of the living room.


    MOTHER

    (continues)

    but if I can't find the broom in time, all your skin will fall off.


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    My boss thinks maybe I should take a vacation. She has this house in St. John, but I'm just not sure.





    CUT TO:


    INT. LIVING ROOM- EVENING


    Young Roxanne and Mom watch television as rain pours down outside. A commercial for a vacation package to the beach comes on. Young Roxanne's eyes light up.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Mommy! We should take a vacation!


    MOM

    Vacation? Beach!? A family that Grandma knew when she lived in Florida went out on a boat once. Well they weren't careful and their boat sank.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Did they DIE?


    MOM

    Don't be silly, Roxanne.


    Young Roxanne perks her head up in hopes that her mother's story won't involve tragic deaths.


    MOTHER

    They tried to swim for a while, but the sharks came and ate the Mommy and one of the little boys.


    Young Roxanne sighs and looks down at her lap.


    MOTHER

    The other little boy, Timmy, kept trying to run away, but he couldn't because you can't run from sharks. Timmy and Daddy tried to climb on some of the sharks' backs so they could ride them back to shore, but their legs were too close to the sharks mouths, so the sharks ate their legs. Timmy lived.


    Young Roxanne jumps out of her chair.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    YAY!!!


    MOTHER

    Only he stayed in a coma. He's still in a coma. So we can't go on vacation. 


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    Doctor, I know you think my anxiety is caused by my childhood, but I'm still convinced I have an underlying medical condition.


    CUT TO:


    INT. KITCHEN- EVENING


    Roxanne sits at the kitchen table while Mom washes dishes.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Mom, I'm thirsty.


    MOM

    Oh my God, it's probably Diabetes.


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    I mean, sometimes symptoms don't have to be noticeable.


    CUT TO:


    EXT. FRONT YARD- DAY


    Roxanne sits on the cement steps leading to her front door. She has just fallen off of her bicycle.


    Mom comes out of the front door and sees Roxanne.


    MOM

    Is that a bruise on your knee!? I'm calling the Doctor. That's a sign of Leukemia.




    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    Oh, I forgot to tell you. My Grandmother lived right down the street from us. She always gave me advice about everything. She had a lot of good advice.


    CUT TO:


    INT. OLIVE GARDEN- EVENING


    Enter GRANDMA. Young Roxanne is sitting at a table drinking her milk with a spoon. Grandma sits down at the table and stares at Roxanne with a look of disapproval.


    GRANDMA

    Roxie, if you continue to drink your chocolate milk with a spoon, no man will ever marry you.


    Young Roxanne nods her head and sets her spoon down.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Okay, Grandma.


    Grandma is looking around with a smug look on her face. Young Roxanne grabs a fork and sticks it into her chicken alfredo.


    GRANDMA

    Where is that waiter!? We need a different fork.


    Grandma looks at young Roxanne with hawk eyes as young Roxanne raises the fork to her mouth.


    GRANDMA

    Don't use plastic forks, Roxie. If you bite a piece off and swallow it, it will clog your lungs.


    Young Roxanne puts down her fork and stops eating.


    YOUNG ROXANNE

    Okay, Grandma.




    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    I was always hungry when grandma was around. I never quite figured that out. Anyways, I was working on a paper for my US History class one time when she came over. My Grandmother loves history. Over the years I think I learned more from her than from the books.


    CUT TO:


    INT. LIVING ROOM- EVENING


    Grandma sits under a lamp in the corner and reads a book. Roxanne sits on the couch, watching television.


    GRANDMA

    Roxie, turn that Color TV off. You know when I was a girl, we didn't have Color TVs. In fact we didn't have any color at all. Everything was black and white. The walls ,our clothes. That's why the race riots happened in the 60's. Suddenly everyone could see things so clearly.  We were all confused before. The world didn't get some color until Jesus came back, right in the middle of the Wizard of Oz movie.


    CUT TO:


    INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE- DAY


    ROXANNE

    After she left, I finished my paper. I got a D. I think my teacher had it in for me though. 


    DR. PINKOS

    (looking at his Rolex)

    We'll have to finish this next week Roxanne, we're out of time.


    ROXANNE

    (as she walks out the door)

    I think I'm starting to make some real progress, doctor. Thanks!


    As Dr. Pinkos closes the door to his office, he hears Roxanne scream. He shakes his head, and sits back down in his chair, taking notes.


    FADE OUT