Excerpt From Dear Diary; by S. Lane Porter

Carlie Gets Closer To Her Dad?

INT. COLLEGE - THEATRE CLASSROOM - NIGHT

The class watches as Carl sprays a deck of cards
randomly about the floor. Carlie and BEN (12), stand at
opposite ends of the room. Carl motions Carlie aside. He
puts on a happy face for her, his thoughts on other more
pressing issues.

CARL
Here's the deal, Carlie. I'll give you
five bucks if you can pick up those
cards with out speaking a word. When I
say go.

CARLIE
Got it.

Carl nods his head. Carlie notices his change in
demeanor. Across the room he takes Ben aside.

CARL
Here's the deal, Ben. I'll give you
twenty bucks if you can pick up those
cards with out speaking a word. Can
you do that?

BEN
Twenty smackers? For reals?

CARL
For 'reals'. When I say go.

Ben starts off, Carl grabs him by the arm, almost too
hard.

CARL
When I say 'go'.

BEN
You said go!

CARL
Wait until I announce it.

Carl settles in with his students on the floor. He waves
a limp hand.

CARL
And...go.

Ben takes off, diving to the floor to capture cards as
Carlie takes her time. Carlie looks over at Carl who
shrugs. Ben and Carlie push each other about, trying to
gather cards.

Carlie pokes Ben on the shoulder. She points to the
clock. When he looks away, she steals all of his cards.
The class laughs. Ben pushes Carlie down with a loud
thud. Carl jumps up, back to the present and out of his
funk.

CARL
Whoah! Ben!

BEN
You said get the cards.

Carl rushes to Carlie, helping her up.

CARL
I didn't say clock your partner!

BEN
What? She stole my cards.

CARL
That was funny. Pushing someone to the
ground. Not funny.

CARLIE
Not funny.

Carlie wobbles, using Carl to stand. He brushes off her
back.

CARL
Are you okay?

CARLIE
I think so.

CARL
Over and out Ben. You're done.

LATER As kids file out of the classroom, Carl pulls out
a band-aid from a first aid kit and applies it to her
scraped elbow.

CARLIE
You offered him more money, didn't
you?

CARL
Yes, I did.

CARLIE
You should have offered me the larger
amount.

CARL
You're probably right. Did your Mom
say yes to the extra time with me? I
have the perfect piece for you.

CARLIE
Yes! My Grandmother knows today might
go longer.

CARL
Then get your stuff.

CARLIE
Can't we do it here?

CARL
We need to be on stage so you can hear
your voice in a larger space.

CARLIE
But my Grandmother.

CARL
Get her. She can sit in the audience.

CARLIE
What am I going to read?

CARL
Patience Grasshopper.

INT. COLLEGE - THEATRE STAGE - DAY

Carl hands out sides to a children's play. In the wings,
Grace sits with a needlepoint canvas and clip-on light.
She takes a moment here and there to look up from her
work.

CARL
I know some of you will think I've
cast you in the wrong parts, speak
your beef now because I don't want any
arguments later.

HEATHER, blond and ambitious, raises her hand before she
receives her part.

CARL
Heather, you've had the biggest part
in the last two sessions. We're giving
it to someone else this time.

HEATHER
You'll regret it.

Carl exchanged glances with Carlie. She smiles back at
him.

CARL
No, I don't think I will.

Heather takes the handout from Carl.

HEATHER
Servant?  I get the Servant?

Portly GUS leans in.

GUS
There are no witch parts in this play,
Heather.

Grace laughs quietly to herself, continuing to
needlepoint. Heather crosses her arms in disgust.

CARL
Protest noted. If Roger can't handle
his lines, you can have them.

HEATHER
Me? As Aladdin?

CARL
We can always rename it to "All About
Heather".

Grace stifles a louder laugh with her hand.

CARL
Everybody happy now? Good. Let's do a
quick read through. Carlie, would you
please read the stage directions?

Carlie takes the master script. Heather glares.

HEATHER
I see how it is.

CARL
Care to enlighten all of us?

HEATHER
Daddy's little girl.

Carl and Carlie make the same questioning face, making
them appear all the more alike. Grace looks up when
there is no response. She notices the look between Carl
and Carlie.

CARL
I'm not sure-

CARLIE
I told you, sir, crazy as a soup
sandwich.

CARL
Whatever, let's get started. Madam?

Carlie wipes a bead of sweat from her brow, clears her
throat and begins the play. Grace's eyebrows furrow in
thought.  She looks down to see a stitch missing.

GRACE
Damn.

She attempts to right her mistake.

EXT. COLLEGE - PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Lucy's car pulls into a parking space.

INT. COLLEGE - BUILDING - HALLWAY - NIGHT

On the classroom door, Lucy reads a message handwritten
by Carl: "We're on stage, next door. Back entrance
unlocked."

INT. COLLEGE - THEATRE STAGE - NIGHT

Backstage left, Lucy sneaks up on Grace.

LUCY
Where's my little diva?

GRACE
Oh my. I nearly died. Why--

LUCY
I wanted to surprise Carlie.  Maybe we
could all go out to dinner afterwards.

Lucy sneaks a peek of the rehearsal through a gap in the
curtain. She sees Carlie, but only Carl's arm.

GRACE
She still has her private lesson after
this class.

LUCY
Right. Right. Is there a soda machine
around here somewhere?

GRACE
Through that door, to the left.

LUCY
Don't tell her I'm here. I want it to
be a surprise.

Lucy leaves, passing a waiting parent. Seconds later the
class disbands.

CARL
Next time bring your diaphragm, Gus.
People are paying big money in the
back row for your performance. Sara,
no more gum, no more candy, and
certainly no more liquor in class
please.

SARA, a pig-tailed girl, rolls her
eyes. SARA AND GUS
Yes, sir.

CARLIE
Be right back.

CARL
You have the bladder of a mosquito.

Carlie steps off stage, heading to the lobby.

GRACE (O.S.)
Bathroom?

CARLIE

(yelling)
Yes, Ma'am.

Grace sets her canvas down. She approaches Carl, rubbing
her tired hands.

GRACE
She's changed so much since taking
your class, Mr. Ferguson. She even
does her homework on the bus so she
can be prepared for you.

CARL
Carlie's a ball of fire. Not unlike
myself when I was her age.

GRACE
You were a drama queen too?

Carl laughs.

CARL
I appreciate the effort you've put in
to getting Carlie here. She's one in a
million.

A door opens backstage. Lucy walks on stage, tapping her
soda can. She looks up and sees Carl. Her soda can falls
to the floor.

CARL
Hello, You.

GRACE
Lucy, this is Carlie's-

Carl envelopes Lucy into a fierce hug.

LUCY
Hello, You.

Grace's jaw drops in confusion. Lucy pulls back in
disbelief, putting her hands on his face.

CARL
I can't believe it.

LUCY
This whole time...

They hug once more. Eyes shut, they have light speed
flashbacks of each other.

IN THE AUDIENCE/HOUSE

Carlie freezes in the aisle. She sees them embrace.

CARLIE
Oh no. Not now. Please not now.