The Village People

[Extract]–Screenplay

EXT. HILTON MANCHESTER DEANSGATE HOTEL. EVENING

The hotel towers in the setting sun.

INT. CLOUD 23 BAR. MANCHESTER.

A bar situated at the top of the Hilton. It is full of people wining and dining. YANMEI ’MEI’ LAU, 33–sexy and she knows it-is sat at a window seat that looks out upon Manchester. She turns her attention to the bar, where a BRUNETTE WOMAN is sat talking to a MAN. She looks bored. The MAN appears to excuse himself. In his absence she notices MEI, who raises her glass to the woman. She responds with a demure smile and turns away. MEI takes a sip of her drink and then checks her watch.

AT THE BAR

The BRUNETTE WOMAN is doing her best not to look back at MEI, when a hand reaches from behind her and places a napkin on the bar. It has a number on it with ’Call Me x’ written underneath. The BRUNETTE WOMAN turns to see that MEI is no longer in her seat.

ON MEI

MEI enters the elevator with a self-satisfied grin on her face as the MAN rejoins the BRUNETTE WOMAN in the background.

INT. VIA. TOILETS. MANCHESTER. NIGHT.

MEI is queuing for the toilet. She is next in line. FLORA, small but with a big personality, is minding the toilets. She speaks with a thick, Nigerian accent.

FLORA

No humpy humpy, boys!

She takes a mop from the corner of the room and begins to mop one of the cubicles. A couple try to enter the same cubicle.

FLORA

Hey! One per cubicle!

The couple split. MEI watches in amusement, until:

FLORA

You there! This one is free.

MEI

Oh, sorry.

She makes her way to the cubicle and FLORA holds the door open for her.

MEI

Thanks.

 INT. VIA. TOILETS. TWO MINUTES LATER

MEI comes out of the toilet cubicle and moves over to the basins to wash her hands and reapply some makeup. FLORA is stood beside the basins. She turns on the tap for MEI and provides her with soap. She catches MEI staring at her.

FLORA

What you giving me the eye for,

lady? I don’t swing that way!

MEI

I wasn’t…never mind.

MEI starts reapplying some lipstick

FLORA

Very fancy.

MEI simply forces a faux-polite smile.

FLORA

I always say girls who wear that

much makeup are using it to cover

up a great deal of sadness.

MEI

I’d say the same about old women

who don’t know how to mind their

own business.

FLORA is amused by MEI’s quick response.

FLORA

Oooooh, well, someone call the fire

brigade we got a fiery one here.

FLORA rips off a bit of paper towel and holds it out to MEI.

FLORA

For your lips.

MEI hesitates for a beat and then accepts. She puts the paper towel between her lips and removes it, leaving excess lipstick on it.

MEI

Well, it was nice meeting you.

FLORA

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on there

just a minute, young lady! What

about my tip? You should always tip

for good service, didn’t your

parents teach you anything?

MEI

Actually yes. They taught me how to

never be good enough.

FLORA claps her hands together.

FLORA

Covering up a sadness! Come on.

Share with Mama Flora.

MEI

I don’t share…

FLORA

Some of the most enlightening

conversations are those held with a

stranger…

INT. VIA. TOILETS. TEN MINUTES LATER

FLORA

So they want you to get married and

have a baby?

MEI

Yes.

FLORA

And you don’t want that?

MEI

Not in the form they want it.

FLORA shakes her head.

FLORA

Stupid girl.

MEI

Excuse me?

FLORA

You don’t know how they will feel.

You haven’t given them the chance

to prove you wrong.

MEI is lost for words. She looks at her feet.

FLORA

My son did the same thing to me. He

was so afraid that I would cast him

out…Now look at me! I’m in this

damn gay village more than he is!

MEI

I just…know how they are.

FLORA takes MEI’s hand.

FLORA

No one can tell you what to do. You

have to make the decision to tell

your parents about who you are. You

have to be ready. If you’re not

ready, don’t do it. But…

FLORA eyes MEI up and down.

FLORA (CONT’D)

I think you’ve battled this for far

too long. It’s tiring. Once you

tackle it, the weight of it will

ease up greatly!

MEI smiles at FLORA, tears forming in her eyes. She pulls out some change from her purse and places it in FLORA’s hand, holding it there for a beat.

MEI

Thank you.

FLORA

Any time.

MEI exits the toilets and FLORA looks at the two pounds in her hand. She grimaces.

FLORA

(to herself)

Stingy cow!

Harley Cunningham

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