An excerpt: “Pauline returns to Dublin”

 

INT. AIRPORT – DAY
Dressed in the outfit she admired in the boutique, Pauline is the mannequin come to life as she walks up the jetway. She pauses just before she enters the terminal. Steels herself. It’s not every day you return from exile. Making her way through the terminal, Pauline is awestruck at how the voices and faces of complete strangers sound familiar. She’s fallen down the Irish rabbit hole. She watches two friends greet each other.

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PERSON IN CROWD #1
How are ya?

PERSON IN CROWD #2
Grand.

As she turns the corner to the baggage claim, she spots her UNCLE SEAMUS (50s), devilish but lovable, holding a giant sign with her name on it.

Standing next to him is FINN MURPHY (24), Pauline’s gentle and unassuming younger brother, who waits with open arms. Finn wraps his arms around his sister. He seems shocked to see her in the flesh.

UNCLE SEAMUS
Pauline on Irish soil again.

FINN
I almost don’t believe my eyes.

She’s overwhelmed at the sight of them.

UNCLE SEAMUS
Those better not be tears I see. Crying is illegal here, ya know.

PAULINE (joking)
I wouldn’t waste any tears on the likes of you.

Finn hugs her again. His obvious delight in seeing her sets her at ease.

UNCLE SEAMUS
Quit hogging her, boy. Let me have a look.

Pauline does a silly twirl.

UNCLE SEAMUS (CONT’D)
Oh, you look good, Pauline.

PAULINE
Do I really? After traveling all this way?

UNCLE SEAMUS
No! But I can’t be telling ya that now, can I?
I half expected Finn here to turn to stone once he got a look at you head on.

Pauline laughs heartily and hugs Seamus tight.

PAULINE
It’s good to know you’re still a fuckin’ bastard, Seamus.

Seamus puts his arm around Pauline as they walk through the terminal. Finn is ecstatic to see his big sister.

FINN
Connor is so excited to see ya, Pauline. He won’t shut up about it.

PAULINE
And Da’? Is he…

FINN
No! It’s a miracle.

Pauline isn’t prepared for this.

FINN (CONT’D)

He survived the surgery. They don’t know how but he did. Shannon’s been there round the clock. Running the show as usual. It’s possible she performed the operation.

PAULINE
He was probably too afraid she’d try to kill him if he died.

UNCLE SEAMUS
All right, all right. Finn, go grab the car and bring it ‘round front.

Finn calls out to Seamus as he walks away.

FINN
Have your wallet ready!

Pauline is not sure what Finn is getting at.

UNCLE SEAMUS
I had 50 pounds on you not showing up.

PAULINE
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

UNCLE SEAMUS
Go on. Don’t be shy. Tell your favorite uncle how much you missed his handsome face.

PAULINE
I cry myself to sleep over it every night.

UNCLE SEAMUS
I bet you do.

UNCLE SEAMUS (CONT’D)
We better get you home. Half of Dublin is waiting on you.

INT./EXT. FINN’S TAXI – LATER
Pauline takes in the sights and sounds of Dublin as she rides back from the airport in the backseat of Finn’s taxi cab. Quick flashes of familiar images whirl past her, just beyond her reach. The lush scenery at Phoenix Park. Two men smoke outside a corner pub. Young girls in plaid uniforms run around the schoolyard.

EXT. FINN’S TAXI/ EXT. MURPHY HOUSE – LATER
Finn retrieves Pauline’s bag from the trunk. He looks over his shoulder at a nervous Pauline.

FINN
Just stay close to me. I’ll keep you safe.

Pauline gets out slowly.

EXT. MURPHY HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Pauline takes a moment to look at her childhood home.

FINN
Don’t let a coat of paint and a new roof fool ya. It’s still the same old shack.

But her mind floods with memories. Uncle Seamus carries her suitcase down the front walk. As he opens the door, the house transforms to her vision of the past. A little redhead pops her face outside and looks around. It’s Pauline at age 7. Pauline watches her younger self skip out the door and over to YOUNG SHANNON (5)

EXT. PAULINE’S CHILDHOOD HOME – 20 YEARS EARLIER
Young Pauline and Young Shannon twirl around on the lawn.

YOUNG SHANNON
Are you scared?

YOUNG PAULINE
There’s nuthin’ to it! You just say Amen and eat the thing.

YOUNG SHANNON
Ah, you’re braver than me, Pauline.

YOUNG PAULINE
How much do you think I’ll make?

YOUNG SHANNON
You’ll get loads of communion money.

YOUNG PAULINE
I could buy us matching necklaces.

A car door SLAMS nearby, commanding the girls’ attention. PAULINE’S FATHER (30s) stumbles out of his car. Young Pauline looks up at him adoringly, the way only a little girl can look at her dad. They hurry over to him. He kneels down. Young Pauline climbs onto his back. Shannon throws her arms around his neck. He stands up, carrying both his girls toward the house.

YOUNG SHANNON
Will it be scary dad?

PAULINE’S FATHER
No. There’s nuthin’ to it, Shan!

PAULINE’S MOTHER (O.S.)
Girls! Get in here now.

Pauline’s Father stops. He sets them both down. Motions for them to get inside.

PAULINE’S FATHER
Go on. I’ll be right there.

We follow Young Pauline and Young Shannon as they skip back
into the house.

INT. PAULINE’S CHILDHOOD HOME – CONTINUOUS
Just inside the door, her mother grabs Young Pauline’s arm and drags her toward the kitchen.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
You come when I call you.

They pass YOUNG FINN (4) playing quietly in the tiny living room of their shabby home. A framed photo of President Kennedy hangs crookedly above the dilapidated couch.

INT. PAULINE’S CHILDHOOD HOME – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS
The children take their places at a little table. PAULINE’S MOTHER (30), beautiful despite her permanent scowl, serves them porridge. She looks sternly at Pauline.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Go get dressed.

Pauline follows orders. Pauline’s father, still tipsy, enters. In one arm he carries a little white dress. In the other a LARGE GOOSE.

PAULINE’S MOTHER (CONT’D)
Have you gone mad?

He puts the goose down. It walks around the kitchen.

PAULINE’S FATHER
Kids, say hello to Henry.

YOUNG SHANNON
What is he?

PAULINE’S FATHER
A goose. I won him at the pub!

YOUNG FINN
I wanted a dog.

PAULINE’S FATHER
This is better than a dog, Finny.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Get that thing out of my house.

On cue, Henry SQUAWKS, then shits all over the floor. He leans in to kiss his wife. She pushes him away.

PAULINE’S FATHER
Mother, I have a new plan.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Does it involve you getting a job?

PAULINE’S FATHER
Not directly.

Mom rolls her eyes.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Is this another one of your get poor quick schemes?

She notices the dress in his hands. Yanks it from him.

PAULINE’S MOTHER (CONT’D)
What the hell is this?

PAULINE’S FATHER
It’s for Pauline.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Did we win the lottery?

PAULINE’S FATHER
It’s her first communion for chrissakes.

Pauline’s mother lights a cigarette.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
And her brother and sister need food to eat. They’ve nearly turned off our power again.
PAULINE’S FATHER
We’ll light candles.

Pauline returns in a second-hand dress. Her eyes light up at the fancy white dress in her mom’s hands. She excitedly grabs for it, knocking into her mother’s tea cup. It spills onto the dress.

PAULINE’S MOTHER
Goddammit, Pauline.

Two furious steps and she’s at the sink running the dress under water.

PAULINE’S MOTHER (CONT’D)
You just wait ‘til I’m finished with this.

PAULINE’S FATHER
I’ll take care of this, mother.
Come with me, young lady.

He leads Young Pauline to the back bedroom.

INT PAULINE’S CHILDHOOD HOME – BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Pauline’s father closes the door. Smiles at Pauline. He pretends to yell at her, directing his voice out the door for her mother’s benefit.

PAULINE’S FATHER (yelling)
You’re the oldest, Pauline. For godssake, you have responsibilities.

Pauline’s father takes a shiny coin from his pocket. Hands it to her. He whispers.

PAULINE’S FATHER (CONT’D)
I wanted to be the first.

YOUNG PAULINE
Thanks, Da! Shan and I are gonna get matching necklaces.

He leans toward the door. Pretends to yell again.

PAULINE’S FATHER (yelling)
I don’t want to hear it. Your mother is right. She is in charge. We have to listen to her.

He rolls his eyes. Then leans in to Pauline. Puts his hand out for her to return the coin to him.

PAULINE’S FATHER
We’re opening a bank account now, you know that.

The wind goes out of her sails.

PAULINE’S FATHER
You want to go to America, don’t ya?

She’s reluctant to part with her money.

PAULINE’S FATHER (CONT’D)
You’re special, love. I don’t want to see you spend your whole life struggling to get by in Dublin. Someone as smart and talented as you.
You’ll be a big success in America. You’ll see.

He reaches his hand out for the money. She hesitates.

PAULINE’S FATHER (CONT’D)
Don’t you trust me?

She nods. Hands him the coin. Heads for the door. He grabs her.

PAULINE’S FATHER
Wait. You can’t go back looking like that. She’ll be onto us.

He starts tickling her. Shouts to cover her laughter.

PAULINE’S FATHER (CONT’D)(yelling)
Have I made myself clear, young lady?!

INT. PAULINE’S CHILDHOOD HOME – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER
Pauline takes a seat at the table. She’s almost purple. Tears in her eyes from laughing.

PAULINE’S MOTHER (skeptical)
Gave you a good spanking, did he?

PAULINE’S FATHER
Look at her. All red in the face.

He winks at the other two kids. They know this ruse too.

PAULINE’S FATHER
Pauline, run next door and nab Old Mrs. Grafton’s paper. Hurry! Before she gets back from church.

We follow Young Pauline’s POV as she runs down the hallway. The door swings open, taking us back to the present.

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