SCENE 12

 

Some days have passed since scene 11. Scene opens with Richard pulling up to a nice, suburban house. As he stops the car he glances at the directions he's holding, and, satisfied, gets out of the car and rings the doorbell. The door is opened by an indian lady wearing a sari, looking very traditional. She greets Richard with a very thick accent.

 

Shoopa's mom

Hello, you must be Richard.

 

Despite her knowing who he is, Richard is confused, and looks down at his directions, wondering if he has the right place.

 

Richard

Hi, I'm looking for Shoopa?

 

Shoopa's mom

smiles warmly

Yes. I am Shoopa's mother.

 

Richard is dumbfounded. He just stands there.

 

Shoopa's mom

Would you like to come in?

 

Richard hesitatingly nods and steps in, looking around, mystified, as if he just landed on a different planet. He slowly moves into the house.

 

Shoopa's mom

smiles warmly

Please take off your shoes.

 

Richard stops in his tracks, looks at Shoopa's mom surprised, then peers at the ground in front of him.

 

Richard

Oh, is your floor really dirty? Don't worry about it, these are really old shoes.

 

Shoopa's mom is confused, and stares blankly at Richard. Cut to Shoopa's room: Carolyn and Shoopa are sitting on the floor, busy making Richard's election posters. Note the following dialogue is said with completely flat affect, as you should assume for all dialogue unless I call for laughter.

 

Shoopa

So I come home after anatomy, and you know how that smell doesn't come off you.

 

Carolyn

I'm getting used to it. Except when I eat. These days I only eat things that can be consumed through a straw, because I refuse to let my hands near my mouth.

 

Shoopa

Yeah, so I come home, and everyone smells me and is just disgusted, right? But they think medical school is this heroic thing to do, and coming home smelling like formaldehyde is somehow a symbol of that, so not only do they not tell me to take a shower, they seem to revel in the stench, like the worse I smell the prouder of me they are.

 

Pause; they're working on the posters.

 

Carolyn

Like you walk in carrying a baby you've rescued from a burning building, and the baby smells.

 

Shoopa

Exactly.

 

At that moment Richard appears in the doorway, without shoes, his big toe protruding through a huge whole in one of his socks. Carolyn and Shoopa greet him simultaneously.

 

Carolyn

big smile, lingering gaze

Hey Richie!

 

Shoopa

looks up, looks back down at the poster she's working on

Hey Richard, what's going on.

 

Richard smiles and gazes at Shoopa.

 

Richard

Hey guys!

 

Carolyn

still looking at him, smiling

What's going on?

 

Richard

Have you guys looked at biochem yet? That shit sucks!

 

Carolyn

It does.

 

Shoopa

still working on a poster

I can't believe our first test is in a week. I hear how you do on the first test is basically how you're going to do all through medical school. 

 

Richard assumes a horrified expression.

 

Carolyn

Oh, come on Shoopa.

 

Richard shakes off that comment, and sits down between Carolyn and Shoopa, not ignoring but not really noticing Carolyn. Carolyn is not at all oblivious to Richard's infatuation with Shoopa, and she's not hurt by it - she's above it.  She knows Richard's attraction to Shoopa is childlike, and she loves the child (and knows Shoopa wouldn't date him anyway).

 

Richard

So, your parents...seem...um...kinda...

 

Carolyn and Shoopa stop working and look at Richard, waiting for him to complete his sentence.

 

Richard

...ethnic.

 

Shoopa

looks back down, continues to work

I'm adopted.

 

This obvious fact had not occurred to Richard. He's taken aback.

 

Richard

Adopted.

Richard nods

That's cool.

 

Pause.

 

Shoopa

concentrating on her poster

Fucking awesome.

 

Shoopa holds up the poster she'd been working on. "ELECT RICHARD CARTRIGHT - A NORMAL GUY FOR CLASS PRESIDENT" The poster is very feminine, with flowers and adorned letters.

 

Shoopa

Whaddya think?

 

Carolyn

It looks great!

 

Richard

It's perfect. There's no way I can lose.

 

Shoopa

Campaign speeches are coming up in a few days. Though I admit these posters are impressive, you're going to have deliver a strong message to the class. Have you ironed out your platform?

 

Richard

I have no platform.

 

Shoopa considers this.

 

Shoopa

Well, whatever. I can't imagine that anyone really has a platform for med school class president. Just whatever you say, say it with confidence.

 

Richard

I have no confidence.

 

Shoopa smiles faintly, while pulling out another posterboard to work on. Carolyn absolutely beams at Richard, she is simply taken by him. Shoopa's younger sister walks in and sits down.

 

Shoopa

Richard and Carolyn, this is my sister.

 

Boopha (Purvi)

Hi, I'm Boopha.

 

Boopha waves at Carolyn and Richard and grabs a posterboard, starts working on it along with Carolyn and Shoopa.

 

Carolyn

Hi Boopha. What are you up to this evening?

 

Boopha

Trying to avoid doing my homework.

 

Richard

Homework sucks. What grade are you in?

 

Boopha

I just started high school.

 

Carolyn

No more middle school for you.

 

Richard

You're done with that.

 

 

Both parents appear in the doorway.

 

Shoopa and boopha

Hey dad.

 

Mr. patel (Dr. Raja)

in the thickest of all indian accents

Hello girls.

 

Shoopa

Dad, these are my classmates Richard and Carolyn.

 

mr. patel

Hello Richard and Carolyn.

 

Richard and Carolyn wave.

 

mr. patel

What are you doing?

 

Shoopa

Richard is running for class president, and we're helping him make election posters.

 

Richard

It's hard to find good help nowadays.

 

Mr. Patel is not amused.

 

Mr. Patel

Class president?  Boopha when you go to medical school maybe you will be class president.

 

Boopha and Shoopa look at each other, wondering if they should bring this up now. Boopha looks down at the poster she's making.

 

Boopha

I don't want to go to medical school, dad.

 

Mr. and Ms. Patel, very composed and understated, look blankly at Boopha for a moment, and then, suddenly, simultaneously, burst into convulsions and waves of laughter. They are doubling over with laughter, having trouble keeping their balance. After some time they settle down.

 

mr. patel

still amused

Of course you're going to medical school, Boopha.

 

boopha

still working on her poster

No dad, I'm not. I don't like science. I don't even like ER.

 

Mr. Patel isn't playing around anymore.

 

mr. Patel

Boopha, your mother and I fully support you in whatever you want to do, as long as that is medicine. We did not leave our family in India so that you could become an actress or a lawyer. Shoopa has been a good role model for you Boopha and you will make us proud as she has. I'm sorry Shoopa but -

 

Ms. Patel

softly

Boopha.

 

Mr. patel

 

Boopha we have already decided what we are going to do with your life, and it is not open for discussion.

 

Boopha gets up, upset, and runs out.

 

Boopha

No! Medicine is stupid! You can't make me!

 

mr. patel

calling after her

Boopha! You listen to me Boopha!

to Shoopa

Shoopa go talk to Boopha! Boopha listens to Shoopa!

 

Shoopa

She won't listen to me, dad.

 

Mr. patel

exasperated, yells after her

OK, you can be an engineer!

 

Cut to black.