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from Out of the Box

by

INT. MEETING ROOM - DAY
HIV awareness posters are taped to the walls. There is also a tribute wall with photos of former support group members who've passed away. LIVONIA's photo is the newest addition.
MONIE, LAILA, FINA, and MARIAH file into the drab room one by one.
Monie and Laila grab a couple of chairs and set them in a circle.
The women take their seats. Mariah looks at the other women apprehensively, and Monie chuckles.
FINA
What's so funny?
MONIE
The fact that these meetings never start on time.
LAILA
Darceles is always late.
MARIAH
Can we start?
The women give Mariah a dead-pan stare. Mariah takes her chair and positions herself a bit farther from the circle.
FINA
Newbie, we don't start without Kristine?
MARIAH
Whatever.
KRISTINE enters.
KRISTINE
Hello ladies. I see Darceles is late. Have y'all heard about Livonia?
MONIE
I saw her obituary. Another one bites the dust.
LAILA
Have some respect.
MONIE
Who do you think you're talkin' to?
KRISTINE
Ladies calm down. Remember this is a support group.
DARCELES strolls in.
DARCELES
Sorry I'm late.
MONIE
(to Darceles)
You're always late.
Darceles eyes drift toward the tribute wall. She notices Livonia's picture, and the group observes her mournful expression.
Darceles takes off her coat and takes a seat.
KRISTINE
As always I want to welcome all of you, especially our newest member, Mariah. Please go around the circle and introduce yourselves, and tell us why you come to these meetings.
MARIAH
Can't we just skip this part?
MONIE
I can see you're going to make a great addition to our group.
MARIAH
(attitude)
Whatever. I'm just saying what y'all are thinking.
LAILA
We already have one tough girl. We don't need another.
MONIE
(sarcastically)
That'd be me. Welcome. I'm Monie, obviously HIV positive, and I'm still trying to figure out why I come to these meetings.
LAILA
I'm Laila, and unlike Monie I know why I'm here. I want to find the inner strength to tell my mother I'm HIV positive.
FINA
My name is Fina, and I'm here to find the strength to physically get through each day. These meds are kicking my ass, and I feel like this disease is getting the best of me. I don't want that.
MARIAH
(tough)
Since you know my name, I'll just tell why I'm here. Court order.
MONIE
No surprise there.
LAILA
Monie, that's enough of your sarcasm.
MARIAH
I don't need you stickin' up for me.
KRISTINE
Enough ladies. Let's just get through the introductions. Darceles, you're up.
The group waits for Darceles to speak. There's an uncomfortable moment of silence.
MONIE
This is a first. You don't have anything to say.
DARCELES
(angry)
No.
FINA
It's obvious something is bothering you. We're here to listen.
DARCELES
You all sit here as if nothing has changed?
LAILA
We Can't bring Livonia back! Do you suggest we feel sorry for ourselves?
DARCELES
Anything would be better than this.
MONIE
We finally agree on something.
FINA
Livonia wouldn't want that, and neither should you.
Mariah leans forward.
MARIAH
This is like the third time you mentioned this lady. Who's is she?
KRISTINE
A member of this group.
Kristine points to her picture on the wall.
DARCELES
Until she died last week.
Mariah falls back in her chair.
MARIAH
Damn.
DARCELES
And we're acting like she never existed?
FINA
Says you.
LAILA
No one here is going to forget her.
DARCELES
It's not enough.
Monie leans forward to address Darceles.
MONIE
Darcy, we all got to go someday. While you're still here, you might want to take that stick out of your ass.
KRISTINE
Monie, you know the rules.
MONIE
Darcy needs to stop trippin'. She's bringing me down.
LAILA
You're always down. Don't put this on Darcy.
MONIE
No one asked for your two cents.
LAILA
Well I'm giving it.
KRISTINE
Enough you two. Darceles must have a lot on her mind. We need to listen, not criticize.
Darceles gets up and looks at the women.
DARCELES
The truth is we sit here week after week acting like we have a choice.
KRISTINE
Darceles, you do.
Darceles walks in a circle around the group.
DARCELES
(cutting in)
It's bullshit. The truth is we're not losing the battle. We've lost it. We're all screwed!
MONIE
Ain't that a bold statement.
MARIAH
What kind of support group is this?
FINA
A dysfunctional one, but that's why we're here.
KRISTINE
We aren't the enemy.
Darceles stops and looks directly at Laila and Mariah before continuing her circle.
DARCELES
I didn't do this. This was done to me.
KRISTINE
Take it easy, Darceles!
DARCELES
My life is a fraud. These meetings don't help, and you want me to take it easy?
KRISTINE
Darceles!
MONIE
(chuckles)
Some support group.
LAILA
Monie, try and say something productive for once?
MONIE
Please, like you don't sit there judgin' me.
MARIAH
Y'all need to chill.
DARCELES
Save your opinion for someone who gives a damn.
Mariah gets up.
MARIAH
You want to start somethin'? 'Cause I can do this.
KRISTINE
(sternly)
Mariah, sit down.
Mariah reluctantly sits back down.
FINA
This is about Darceles' fear.
Darceles abruptly stops circling the group.
DARCELES
I was a good wife and mother! I never slept around! I wasn't a drug addict. I don't deserve this!
MONIE
So who deserves it Darcy? Society's misfits, lesbians, or whore drug addicts like myself. Who exactly deserves to die of AIDS?
DARCELES
(angry)
Not me! I was faithful while my husband was busy living a lie. Now, I have to spend the rest of my life with this dreaded disease.
Enraged, Darceles walks over to the wall and rips down the posters.
DARCELES (CONT'D)
(cries)
Why me?
MONIE
HIV doesn't discriminate.
LAILA
Fina was right.
KRISTINE
That's enough! Ladies take five.

Citation: , . 8 December 2012. "from Out of the Box." SCRIPTjr.nl. http://scriptjr.nl/scripted-narrative/original/out-of-the-box-aaliyah-miller (accessed [PDT / -7:00]).

Updated: December 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm (PDT / -7:00)

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