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Writing Catalog


Kaden Jones

Grade: 11

University High School

Instructor: Lee Fallon

The Damage Done

Dramatic Script

The Damage Done

FADE IN:

INT. MAULI AND JAMES' APARTMENT-NIGHT

James, a chillax first year college student and Mayah, his girlfriend, cuddling on the couch, watching a movie. Their movie watching slowly turns into a heart to heart as James observes Mayah's distraught demeanor.

JAMES

(Sincerely looking down at her laying on his chest)Are you good? Your vibe seems off tonight.

MAYAH

Yeah.(solemnly, yet self-convincing)

JAMES

"Yeah." you're good or "Yeah." your vibes are off?

MAYAH

Are you watching the movie or are you analyzing my mood? (she says jokingly)

MAULI

(Picks up remote to pause the movie)I'm analyzing your mood, because your vibes seem off.

MAYAH

I'm good.(Unpauses movie)

JAMES

(Pauses movie) But you're not, talk to me, what's going on?

MAYAH

(A long pause and James shoves her a little nudging her to tell him) I don't know.(She pauses) I'm thinking about my dad and our relationship, and like how we function, and...hm I don't know.

JAMES

You want to talk about it?

MAYAH

Yeah…it's just our relationship...it's so awkward. I love my dad ...I think I love my dad, but I feel I love him out of obligation, you know? Like you're supposed to love your parents, and be grateful for them or whatever. I just—I just wish it wasn't what it is. What am I loving him for? My first memory of him wasn't the most favorable. I don't have the best idea of him in my mind. Some kids can say their Dads are heroes, but I don't see him that way. Like he's done nothing for me. I hate him and I love him.

JAMES

(A short pause, James looks at Mayah sincerely) I feel you.(nodding his head) What makes you feel this way though? Like what's happening… (points to her head) up there.(Mayah shrugs and stares into James' eyes.)

Mauli, a hardworking second year college student walks through the front door of the small apartment. Mauli places down his car keys and book bag on the small kitchen table. He acknowledges the couple with a nod and wave.

MAYAH

Hey, you're James' roommate right? I've never gotten the chance to meet you.(Mayah going in for a hug, and Mauli appearing

stunned)

JAMES

Mayah—babe you don't have to- (he says with a slight smirk)

MAYAH

What do you mean? First impressions are the most important.(James rolls his eyes playfully.)

MAULI

(Inner-voice) She's smart. First impressions are important. First impressions are the perceptions most intuitively felt. I wonder if she takes psych.

MAYAH

My name's Mayah, I'm James' girlfriend.

MAULI

(Awkward and uncomfortable) My name is Mauli. I'm—well, you know who I am. (gesturing to James)

MAYAH

Nice to meet you Mauli.(James pulls Mayah into his arms, snuggling her and laughing.)

Mayah and James unpause their movie, and continue watching. Mauli looks through the fridge to still find nothing worth eating. He closes the refrigerator door. He opens up a new package of "Ramen Noodles", fills it with water, and puts the noodles in the microwave. Heading to his room he grabs his keys and book bag.

CUT TO:

MAULI'S BEDROOM

He places down his things, takes off his shoes, turns on his trendy L.E.D lights, and ignites his lighter to light his incense; which has made a permanent spot on his desk. Mauli pulls out his laptop and searches for some hype tunes in an effort to wind down.He opens an additional tab to start his essay the topic reads "The Effects of a Fatherless Household" He prepares to begin his homework. Mauli hears the beep of the microwave indicating his "Ramen Noodles" are done, he goes to the kitchen and grabs his ramen and a fork. Back in his room, he pulls out his phone and sees the prayer his mom sent via text message. He responds and the messages cap off with a red heart being sent. Phone rings and "Marcus" slides across the screen.

MAULI

(Happily answering)What's good Marcus?

MARCUS

(Laughing with glee)Ayee, Mauli! I just got off of work about an hour ago, I'm about to start dinner.

MAULI

Oh you cheffin it up! Ah aight aight. What you cooking?

MARCUS

Some sheep tongue souse...what are you up to though?

MAULI

Oh you cooking,cooking!

MARCUS

Yeah you know these cookin' hands run in the family. What you up to though.

MAULI

I was 'bout to vibe out and hit these books. I got like three papers due by the end of this week. (laughs comfortingly)

MARCUS

Boy you better get to work.(laughs)

MAULI

Yeah, I finished two of them already-

MARCUS

Let me see!? Talking bout you finish.(he ask jokingly)

MAULI

Right here!(picks up the two papers he's already finished and puts them in the camera) Oh okay!

MARCUS

Yeah yeah. When was the last time you talked to Mommy or Daddy?

MAULI

I just finished texting mommy a few minutes before you called. Love sending them long prayers (They both laugh). Ah yeah I haven't talked to Daddy in a hot minute to be honest. (looking away from his phone reflecting)

MARCUS

Call him some time. I talked to him last week for a little bit. I'm not trying to force any kind of relationship if it's not wanted, but you know we got to show we care.

MAULI

Yeah-h-h-h. I might text him.

MARCUS

Call him Mauli.

MAULI

Calls with him get so awkward, he always says the wrong thing.

MARCUS

Call him. Don't you take psychology. There ain't nothing in there about talking to someone verbally, and actually having a conversation.

MAULI

(Sucks his teeth)Shut up bro.(laughs)

MARCUS

I'm serious. Call him, it'll be more sincere.

MAULI

Yeah.(softly)

MARCUS

(A long pause of silence) Alright Mauli! Hit you up tomorrow though. Finish that essay! (Marcus and Mauli laugh)

MAULI

Yeah.

MARCUS

Love you brodie.

MAULI

Always.

Marcus hangs up the phone; Mauli begins to write his essay. He appears slightly despondent in his facial expression. Mauli looks at his contact list, questioning whether or not he should text his father. He processes this decision thoroughly. All this thought takes him back to a childhood memory, one of disfavor.

CUT TO:

EXT. MAULI AND MARCUS' SCHOOL-DAY

Darrel Marcus and Mauli's Bahamian father aggressively orders his kids into the car after being suspended from school.

DARRELL

(A thick Bahamian Accent)Get in the car! (Slams car door on kids side, stomps to the other side of the car almost mumbling) doing stupidness, loan stupidness, Michelle got these children(diction becoming clearer) slack and out of order! (gets into the driver seat and slams the car door closed) What were y'all thinking?! I ga beat y'all 'til y'all little asses turn blue!Suspension ain't enough for y'all!What the hell y'all doing breaking into the principal office to thief phone?

MARCUS

Principal Russle had taken-

DARRELL

I ask you to speak?!

MARCUS

(talking over Darrell)No sir, no sir,no sir.

DARRELL

I ain't asking for no friging answer boy! (Darrel hits Marcus with a backhanded slap, Marcus tries to shield himself. Marcus cries and Mauli's facial expression shows both fear and hurt.) Ya'll frigging mommy got yall like this, damn slow man! This how yall wan' behave?! That women ain't raise yall wit' no broughtupsy! Boy I tell ya, I could never pull off no foolishness like this with my mommy and daddy! Darrel and Denise Nottage would beat me 'till I bleeding out on the living room floor! But I ga show y'all just how man is handle things! What was going through y'all head?! Answer me!

MARCUS

(With a slight stutter) Principle Russle had taken my phone that mommy-

DARRELL

She ain't just take it for no reason Marcus! What I tell you 'bout lyin!(Hits Marcus again, Macus tries to shield himself. Mauli looks with anger and hurt) Who got you lyin' like this! (Sucks teeth talking to himself) This how that woman raising y'all children to be. Liars, thieves, next ting ya know murderers...yall 'il be killing people at 19.

MARCUS

(Crying a little) Daddy I wasn't lying-

DARRELL

(says loudly in one breath) Did I ask you to speak? Then you drag Mauli into your mess, and yall ain't got enough sense to know y'all being stupid! What were you doing to make Principal Russle take your phone?

MARCUS

I was playing on it in class. Only because-

DARREL

Why you playing games on your phone and you in school! This is why your grades low, you ain't focused! You gotta focus (saying almost as if he cares)!

MARCUS

Daddy, my grades were good last-

DARRELL

I ask you to speak little boy?! Where is the fucking respect!? This is unbelievable (calming down but completely overdramatic). Never in my life I thought my children,(getting loud again) my children would pull some shit like this.(Marcus looking down, twiddling his fingers in disappointment, Mauli sitting analyzing his fathers anger) Once I finish with yall, yall aint gone be able to walk for a week.On the phone in class, bad grades, ain't focus, back talking, breaking into the principal 's office. Michelle got ya'll completely out of hand! (He calms down, focusing on where he's going. He's shaking his head processing his children's actions. Marcus stares into space. Mauli stares at his father with no deviance. His facial expressions show exactly what he's thinking/feeling.)

CUT TO:

INT. MAULI'S BEDROOM-NIGHT

Mauli's phone rings, "Mommy" rolls across the screen. His body jolted slightly bringing him back to this present moment. He contemplates answering the phone and eventually he does.

MICHELLE

Mauli! My schnookums, I miss you so much.

MAULI

Hey mommy.(laughs)

MICHELLE

I was just thinking about you and thought I'd call. How's everything? How's James? How's school? Is psychology working out for you? Are you happy?

MAULI

(Mauli's inner voice) I don't know the answer to any of those questions. My mind is in total disarray. Emotionally, physically, mentally...drained. (To Michelle) It's all intact mums. I was thinking about you too...in a way.

MICHELLE

That's good to hear Mauli, maybe that's why I was thinking of you.

MAULI

Yeah maybe.

MICHELLE

You sound thoughtful. What were you thinking about?

MAULI

Experiences.

MICHELLE

"Experiences." A young man of many words.(A long pause of complete silence. Mauli's breathing is slow and purposeful. His face, one of distraught but trying his best to mask it. His leg is shaking up and down.)Are you thinking about your dad.(Mauli's breathing shutters and his face tenses up.)

CUT TO:

INT./EXT. MICHELLE'S HOUSE

Darrel aggressively pulled into Michelle's yard. He parks and swings the car door open with force and intention. The kids continue to sit in the car dumbfoundedly. Darrel bangs on the front door, turns around and notices the boys aren't coming out of the car.

DARRELL

Get y'all backside out the car. What ya'll think this is, hurry up! (Marcus and Mauli get out of the car in a hurry and walk to the door) Hurry up! (A short pause) Michelle open up this damn door! (Continues to bang on the door) Michelle!

MICHELLE

(Comes to the door praying, with gospel music in the background) Yes Darrell? (Michelle answers the door appearing completely drained as she knows what lies ahead)

DARRELL

Move!(shoves Michelle out of the way and pushes the boys towards their room.) Get every last toy and game out that room, now! Y'all aint getting them back. Yall wan break into the Principal office to tief!

MICHELLE

Hey hey!? Darrel ease up, you're in my house all of that is not necessary. There is a better way-

DARRELL

Ya house? These our children and they get suspended cause your dumb ass got them on slack! You don't know how to raise no children! You see what you putting your time into instead of disciplining your children! (Pointing to the gospel music, and bible in the background)

MICHELLE

Oh no sir, no disrespecting God in this house (Darrell rolling his eyes). These children are disciplined and I do a damn good job at it too. The school called-

DARRELL

(cutting Michelle off) Obviously not if they breaking into the principal's office. Why the school call me and not you?! Cause you don't know how to keep these children under control!

MICHELLE

The school called me, Darrel. You want to know who told them to call you? I did, because I was in a meeting at work! God didn't give me children to raise on my own; it was your turn to put in some work and be a father. They need a man present and that's why they're acting out.

DARREL

Don't try and flip this on me. This exactly what you is put in these people head! They call me because these children don't have any discipline.(remembering the instructions he gave the boys) Marcus bring them toys out that room now! (Marches to Marcus' and Mauli's room and grabs bins of toys and throws them outside going back and forth, the boys follow, Michelle watches in disbelief and silently whispers "Father God, help me")

MICHELLE

Darrel, this what you call discipline? Who's this helping?

DARREL

Don't have nothing to say to me, you is a crazy woman! (To the boys) Pick them toys up! (The boys put the toys back in the bin that he threw outside)

MICHELLE

I'm crazy? (Darrel pops the trunk of his car) You drive up to my house, at three in the afternoon, screamin' and carrying on...but I'm

crazy?

DARRELL

(Darrel puts all toys into the back trunk)Y'all women was never meant to discipline no children! Here worshiping Jesus He ain't getting you nowhere!

Michelle, a face of disdain and disbelief sets upon her face. Michelle stares at him long and hard.

CUT TO:

INT. MAULI'S BEDROOM-NIGHT

MAULI

(Coming to)Um…(Mauli's inner voice) Godammit this man is going to send me into a mental crisis. (To Michelle) I have this essay that I'm struggling with so-

MICHELLE

Yeah.(Short pause) Alright Mauli. Love you.

MAULI

(Nods his head) Hm.

Michelle hangs up the phone. Mauli's breathing quickens. His heart beating out of his chest. He tries to calm himself but is unsuccessful. The memory of this traumatic day floods his brain.

CUT TO:

INT./EXT. MICHELLE'S HOUSE

MICHELLE

Darrel, you're a mess. You are a sad sad mess of a man.

DARRELL

I aint no mess, woman! (throws a toy at Michelle and it hits her. Mauli alarmed, Marcus pulls Mauli back, securing him) You see how I am living! You know where I work and my success! My finances are secure and I found myself a wife. What man you got? What job you got…and keep? Don't shy away from your incapabilities. Cause who pays their school fees, Michelle? I've been paying them for the past 5 and 10 years! Who buys their uniform and books?!I do. You are a sad excuse for a mother, let alone a woman! That's why you and these children living the way you living now. You ain't even trying to give them a better life! Ya little two bedroom (Pointing to the house in front of him).

MICHELLE

I bet you're proud of that too? Your ex wife and your two children were living in an "efficiency'' a month ago, while you drove your sixty-thousand dollar car living it up in your big house. You're honestly proud of that? I don't care what you do and what you don't do. I don't care what you did and what you didn't do. These children will never suffer, these children will never be without, these children will never be broken, these children will never lack. And it'll be despite you. These children—my children, who I raised, who I carried in my womb for nine months, who I breastfed will never, never not have. You want to talk about the school fees you paid? That's the least you could do. I'm not going to rant and rave about what I've sacrificed. God knows my truth, these boys know my truth. So, congratulations, Darrell you did the bare minimum. I worked my backside off to get to where I'm at now. We're still struggling but, buddy, there is only one man I have my faith in and that's the God upstairs, cause it damn well ain't you.

Summary: Darrell goes silent and orders Mauli and Marcus to pack their clothes to stay by his house. Marcus and Mauli listen and carry their bodies to their rooms to pack their clothing. Michelle and Darrell bicker about both their inconsistencies in dual parentship. Mauli comes back to his present self. He turns his focus back to writing his essay. As he reads, he comes across a line that reads " The more you do something, the easier it gets. Talking to the adults in your life about everyday stuff builds a bond." So he decided to contact his father after deep consideration. He first texts his dad, but his dad calls him in response. They talk, and the conversation doesn't start well. His dad refers to the part of Mauli's childhood. Mauli flashbacks to his six-year-old self. He remembers his father whipping him repeatedly and his mother trying her best to stop. Darrell leaves the house mentally unstable. Michelle comforts her children, and Mauli is back to the present day. He hangs up the phone on his father, throws his laptop against the wall, and lets out an earthquake scream.


Everything is Rooted in Racism

Personal Essay/Memoir

Everything is Rooted in Racism

Do Americans make everything about racism, or is everything just truly rooted in racism? I ponder on this question time and time again expecting a different answer; it's insanity. With that said, today I think I have that answer. That answer is...both. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I am elated to be here. To tell you a little bit about myself: I'm 16 years old, I'm in eleventh grade, I'm an immigrant from the Bahamas and I'm BLACK! I know crazy I wouldn't have guessed it either. Therefore I feel I have the right to commentate on this topic. In all seriousness Americans do make everything about racism, however, everything is indeed rooted in racism. I came to this conclusion through four key factors: education, the black family, and religion.

Firstly, education. Coming to the United States from The Bahamas, which is a predominantly black country, I wasn't anticipating hearing so much about racism and one of the most racist eras; slavery. Now I expected to learn about racism and slavery, I mean America's history is practically built upon these factors. Still, I wasn't expecting to discuss these topics in classes other than American History. I had the outsider's view, with the assumption that racism was happening but schools could care less than to talk about it. Yet, that was not the case. My perspective quickly changed within the four months of living here, leaving me to believe that Americans make everything about racism, though, this is not a bad thing, in fact, I am happy to hear it.

To illustrate, I take a total of seven classes, 3 of those seven classes mention racism in America. On my very first day of English class, we discussed the novel "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave". And throughout the course, we read short stories and poems which left us to analyze the oppression of black people. Then the very first film I watched in my film class "100 Years of Cinema '' was "Birth of A Nation" a silent film by D.W Griffith which happens to be an insurmountably racist film. Depicting black people as immature, incompetent, vacuous, facile, the list goes on and on. Then in United States History, the whole curriculum consists of racism. Whether it's towards the Irish, Africans, or Germans racism is taught and taught thoroughly.

With that Americans do make everything about racism. Don't get me wrong I am in no way complaining. In fact, I think this idea that's proposed as an annoyance: "American's make everything about racism." is disrespectful and ignorant. Americans need to make everything about racism because this country needs to be more aware. I think it's imperative schools teach their students the true history of this country, and the story of oppressed black people. Slavery was a crucial era in American history, it was one of the building blocks of this country, the whole damn building if you want to be honest. The voices of those mistreated must be heard and every day in the classroom is a protest. A protest meant to vocalize oppressed black voices.

In that same way, It is also a protest every day for black boys, girls, women, and men. And this is because our lives are still affected by the actions of slavery, a cause of racism. We are protesting by simply existing and fighting through these battles. Society seems to think racism is this ancient ideology when in fact it isn't. Black men women boys and girls may not be experiencing slavery firsthand but are still affected by its actions. Leading me to my next point, the black family. When reading that same novel from English class "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" I came upon a line in which Douglass mentions how black slaves were kept ignorant of who their fathers were. From this, we can infer that the majority of slaves didn't know a father's love. Fathers were absent in the black family. And what's the common joke among black folks? I don't have a dad either! And we laugh yet that joke rings all too true for 67% of Black and African American people in the United States according to datacenter.kidscount.org. Black families suffer from the lack of a father in the household. Whether that be financial, emotional, or spiritual absence. I can say personally I have felt the effects of slavery, and the effects of a fatherless household.

Growing up, at about one year old, my mother and father had divorced. It had already happened. Some may say, "Well at least you didn't have to deal with it at 10, or 12, or 13.", However, I had to deal with the absence of the man who represented me most, for 17 years of my life. Sure he called in to make sure I was alive, but, just like slaves hundreds of years ago, I don't know a father's love. Not once have I heard him utter the three words "I love you." and this is a testament to how slavery has impacted us not only as a race but as a culture. My mother was left to do all the heavy lifting in the family. And as my philosophy goes "Everything is rooted in racism". In the black family and in slave culture mothers did most of the manual labor. Guess where I learned this. American History along with today's history. In the publication "The Roots of Resistance: Slave Cultures and Communities" in an excerpt by Deborah Gray White, she discusses gender roles and identities in slave communities. She talks about how women were given more labor-intensive jobs than men, and how women did the majority of hard labor. White also mentions a study done by sociologist E. Franklin Frazier. In which he observes the black family in America. Through his studies, he found that women in slave communities were most dominant. He also agreed that black slave women were groomed by slavery to be self-reliant. This relates all too perfect to the black families of today. According to finances online 4.14 million African American households in the United States function with single mothers. Mothers in black households have to rely on themselves to raise their kids, they have to provide for their children, and they have to do this all on their own. I've witnessed this for myself and so have many other young black men and women. My mother worked tooth and nail supporting our family when my father fell short. She worked three jobs when I was 7, and the resume has been growing ever since. The actions of slavery still affect us today whether you want to see it or not.

These roots are strong. This interconnectivity runs deep. And it's not for any random reason, it's because, as I've stated before, everything is rooted in racism. These illustrations cannot only be drawn from the black family but from religion as well. We can see this interconnectivity within the Black church. Allow me to paint this picture. It's 8 o'clock on a sunny Sunday Morning in Nassau, Bahamas. I'm dressed in my best Sunday clothes, down to my navy blue Windsor knot tie, and light blue blazer. I walk into the well-lit church, filled to the brim with my fellow Bahamians. Hearing harmonious songs exclaim from the choir as they sing " My God is an awesome God." and the congregation calls back "Yes he is." and the women of the church jumping and praising until their heart's content. And the Pastors come to his podium to share God's word, the women in the front row say "Go 'head Pastor!" the man in the back "I receive, Pastor!". So much enthusiasm, so much heart, so much faith...in God.

I know you're thinking "How's this kid going to connect God to racism?"...trust I'll find a way. In fact, I already have. David Walker. David Walker was a free Black abolitionist. This great man wrote an appeal in the year 1829 supplying slaves with the hope that their treacherous conditions would one day end. In Walker's speech, he spoke out against colonization, slavery, and racism. Many southerners were appalled and saw this as a sign of slave revolt. However, this is not all I took away from his speech. There was a great reference for God. More specifically in his final words and I quote "It is a notorious fact, that the major part of the white Americans, have, ever since we have been among them, tried to keep us ignorant, and make us believe that God made us and our children be slaves to them and theirs.".

With this statement, David makes the innuendo that God is on the slave's side. David has given Black slaves hope for a better future through God! It helped encourage and strengthen those engaged in the struggle for freedom. I believe it had a stronghold on the black community, and I believe that's why today 79% of black and African Americans are Christians according to pewresearch.org. We can also make reference to Abraham Lincoln's second Innagural address, in which he shows disdain for the actions of slavery. Lincoln deems it unethical. "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds…" Lincoln says in his final words. These wounds were slavery and war, in which the war was caused because of slavery. Lincoln shows great reference for God, acknowledging his authority and power, in saying God gives us to see right, and with that, we see that slavery is not right. God has helped break the shackles off of slaves, the year this address was written was the year slavery was abolished in the United States.

In my wrap-up, I want to end with this. This is not a conspiracy, this is proven through research and deep analysis of history. I've lived what I stand here and talk about today, a matter of fact, I am living what I'm standing here and talking about today. Americans do make everything about racism, and rightfully so, but, everything is truly rooted in racism. We ought to recognize the importance of speaking up. We ought to recognize the effects of this country's wounds on Black and African Americans. We ought to be mindful of what every black boy, girl, woman, and man are going through. I hope I have impacted your thinking and perception of these issues and I thank you today for allowing me to vocalize them. Thank you and good morning.