INT – CROWN MOODY’S DRUGSTORE – NIGHT
Glass windows REVEAL a late winter night and a brutish wind of snow. Walking up the glass entrance door is a young black girl (fourteen years of age). She opens the door and the sound of ringing bells above chime.

CROWN MOODY’S
An establishment of the fifties that’s lived past the thirties and forties, too. A soda fountain and pastry counter set in the far back, next to the tobacco and register counter. Behind the counter is a mini hall, with a medical prescriptions room and a bathroom. The right side of the drugstore stands a counter bar of liquor (Long John Scotch, Imperial Whiskey, Moonshine XXX, Paul Jones Straight). Center stands a loaded stack of Brown Derby and Blatz beer. The left side stands a variety of shelves that hold holiday cards, electrical, housing, and baby supplies. Most notably, are frames hung over the tobacco and on sale Amitone section.

PHOTOGRAPHS
Of African American troops at a Belgium base. Tuskegee Airmen with Lena Horne. The graduates for Nurses Abroad, led by Mabel Staupers. And lastly, Doris “Dorie” Miller.  For every time this five foot four black girl visits the Crown, the feeling is always reverence.

She wears a grubby mechanic’s uniform—even her face is grubby. A nametag on her chest reads:

BETSY SHARPE, who walks with an air of confidence and is smarter than most people her age. She notices the store is uninhabited. Her exhausted being moves towards the main counter, ringing the bell next to the register.

A voice from either the prescriptions room or the bathroom responds to the ringing bell.

VOICE FROM HALL (O/S)
Just a moment!

BETSY SHARPE
Suh Moody. It me, Betsy.

MOODY, from the hall, now sounds more relaxed.

MOODY (O/S)
Sharpe? Ah Sharpe, Sharpe — help ya’self, I know’s you good for it.

She eyes the pastry counter: eclairs, galettes, beignets, and cannolis (just to name a few).

BETSY SHARPE
I just come for a cannoli and a cola.

MOODY (O/S)
Help ya’self, like I says. Leave your pay on dah’ counter.

Just as Betsy makes her way behind the pastry counter, Moody exits the bathroom. Their eyes meet.

MOODY (CONT’D)
How’s your pops doin’?

BETSY SHARPE
He doin’ good.

MOODY
I don’t see him come ‘round here no more, what he up to these days?

BETSY SHARPE
He spending more time in dah’ flower house.

Rather than go to the counter, Moody opens the door to the prescriptions’ room.

MOODY (O/S)
I got’s to handle some prescriptions, so you help ya’self, like I says. Leave your pay on dah’ counter.

Betsy slides open the mini glass door of the pastry counter. She pulls out a cannoli with a napkin. She then moves to the soda fountain, and serves herself a cup of cola.

Betsy moves to the tobacco/register counter and pulls out of her chest pocket three quarters and slams them onto the counter. Now she takes a dramatic and long awaited bite of the cannoli.

She has a sip of her cola from a straw. Her eyes look up at the photographs of the African American world war legacy.

The BELLS ABOVE THE FRONT DOOR
RING . . .  Betsy turns, fixing her gaze upon TWO WHITE MEN in trench coats (one gray, the other brown). Both wearing Stetson hats, their boots taking heavy strides toward Betsy.
Both men look down at her. A quiet exchange of stares.

MAN IN GREY
You work here, girl?

She shakes her head ‘no’. Then Moody, from the prescription room, exits. He sees the men.

MOODY
Good evening, gentlemen. I’m sorry, I’m getting some prescriptions ready —
(to Betsy)
— Betsy, gurl. Can ya take care of these two gentlemen? I know’s you good ‘round the store.
(to both men)
She’ll help ya’s with whatever’s ya need.
(to Betsy)
Prices taped front of dah’ register.

BETSY
(still staring at both men)
Yes suh, Moody.

MAN IN GREY
(to Moody)
Appreciate it, Mister Boykin.

Moody Boykin rushes back into the prescription room. Betsy walks behind the counter now, observing both men.

The MEN IN TRENCH COATS
One in grey. One in brown. The Man in Grey motions toward the tobacco counter, while the Man in Brown motions to the liquor counter. He grabs a hold of an Imperial Whiskey bottle.

The Man in Grey looks at Betsy, now. He has a strong jawline, and a Wyatt Earpe mustache.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
Let me get a . . . carton of Viceroy’s.

She grabs a carton of Viceroys and slides it towards him.

BETSY
That’ll be…
(looks at the paper price listing taped on counter)
Uhm . . . fifty cents.

The Man in Grey jerks a Viceroy out of the carton, puts it between his lips, and grabs a match, lighting his smoke. Betsy doesn’t make anything of it. He takes in the smoke.

Then, coolly letting the round of smoke out of his mouth, the Man in Grey picks up two of the quarters Betsy placed of her own, and slams it facing her. Her eyes go from the two quarters to the face of the Man in Grey.

MAN IN GREY
This should do it.

He turns and acknowledges his friend, the Man in Brown, who looks back at him. It’s quiet, and the two of them make a decision just from an exchange of grins.

The Man in Grey turns to Betsy. In a low voice, he says:

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
You know how to work that register?

Betsy looks at the register and back to the Man in Grey.

BETSY

MAN IN GREY
(still low voice)
Do me a favor, girl. Go on ‘n open that register for me.

Betsy hesitates for a moment, then notices a holster beneath his trench coat. There is a Colt Woodsman 22LR.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
Allow me to assist you.

He leans over the counter, using his index finger to direct Betsy on what buttons to press on the register.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
Go on ‘n press that big red button, ‘n then pull that lever on the left end.

She presses the big red button, and then pulls the lever.
CHA-CHING!

The register opens, and the Man in Grey leans back.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
How much in there?

Betsy begins counting how much money is in the register. Moody Boykin, still in the prescription room, unaware, calls:

MOODY BOYKIN (O/S)
Betsy, ya takin’ care of ‘em customers, now?

MAN IN GREY
(takes a hit of his Viceroy, and smiles)
Betsy doin’ just fine, a real good little helper.
(to his partner from behind)
Ain’t that right, Jesup? Fine girl Moody Boykin got workin’ for him.

JESUP, says from behind, still eyeing the liquor.

JESUP
Much obliging.

Jesup can’t help but grin like an adolescent boy causing trouble.

Betsy finishes counting, and looks back up at the Man in Grey.

BETSY
About a hundred ‘n fifty.

MAN IN GREY
About a hundred ‘n fifty or is it a hundred ‘n fifty?

BETSY
It’s a hundred ‘n fifty.

MAN IN GREY
Well, go on girl. Pull that money out and lay ‘em all on the counter.

She does as she’s told. But she can’t help but think of hopping over this counter and giving this man the beating of his life. As she’s pulling out the money, he looks at the cannoli and the cup of cola.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
You mind if I have a bite of that cannoli?

She doesn’t say anything. He grabs the cannoli and takes a bite. A bit of the cream gets on his mustache and lip. He uses his finger to wipe it off, and lick it.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
That sure is sweet. You mind if I have a sip of that cola, too?

She doesn’t say anything. He grabs the cup of cola and takes a long sip. She tries to conceal any sort of hatred towards him.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
I’ve heard fella’s say nigger Moody sells some of the best tastin’ pastries out here. But, boy . . .  I sure couldn’t believe it. I must say, though; nigger Moody sure sells a pretty damn good cannoli. Can’t judge the rest. I’m curious as to know if he makes ‘em himself or if he’s got a nigger baker.

BETSY
I call him over, you’s be sure to ask him.

MAN IN GREY
(dashes his Viceroy to the ground, steps on it, looks at her)
You gettin’ smart with me, girl?

She puts the money on the counter.

MAN IN GREY (CONT’D)
(beat)
You know who I am?

BETSY
No. Am I suppose to?

He sees the charm and rancor this little girl has; it only forces a gradual smile and chuckle.

MAN IN GREY
I suppose for your age, no. But maybe your folks heard of me and my —
(jerks his thumb at Jesup)
— associate. I’m Ned Valen. So you oughta’ keep that name in memory. That over there’s Jesup Marly . . . Betsy. You a Georgia girl?

BETSY
No. I’ve always lived in Cleveland.

NED VALEN
I’ve met me some nigger Georgia gals. You’re younger, but I see a whole lotta’ difference in you compared to them. You do as you’re told. Most of ‘em gals forget their place. See, it’s literal that gals of nigger gene keep themselves on the menial status. What I’m sayin’ smarty pants is you personify a bona fide nigger. A born fella of Durango to a Cleveland chappie, we see eye to eye.

She takes those words in. Its become personal, and the Cleveland girl’s enraged intuition holds. Her tepid facade slowly erodes. Jesup Marly holds up the bottle of Imperial, with that same damn grin on his face.

JESUP MARLY
I’ll be takin’ this for my soft heart.

Ned, eyes still on hers, chuckles. And just as the criminal is about to grab that money with his bulky hand, Betsy places her hand over it.

The nerve on her, he thinks.

She freezes, almost hesitantly moving her hand away. But before Ned Valen or Jesup Marly could do anything or say anything about it, Betsy says with buoyancy:

BETSY
My father served in Europe with the 761st Tank Battalion, alongside Patton’s third army.

She’s not sure why she said it, but her body language attributes a boldness Ned Valen is taken aback by.

NED VALEN
Is that right?

BETSY
(beat)
Yes. He was in combat for a hundred ‘n eighty three days. He carried a Carcano M91, I know it ‘cause he showed me it ‘n let me aim with it once. He helped capture twenty-four occupied towns in France and Belgium just before he lost his left leg. He come back with a metal parallel bar for a replacement.

NED VALEN
Like ‘em bionic men, huh?

BETSY
He told me ‘I brave a war, I can brave a life.’ And that’s what he doin’.

JESUP MARLY
(to Ned)
You wanna keep chattin’ it up with this booger, or you wanna get movin’?

But Betsy keeps on going and Ned keeps on listening.

BETSY
I was born in ‘39 and I didn’t get to know my father till he come back. My mama died two years ago. She told me everythang’ ‘bout him while he was gone.

She stops herself before she could even think of something else to say. Ned Valen squints at her; he’s confused. The bells over the doors ring again, and a young Mexican man dressed in deputy uniform enters. His face covered in a black scarf, but his squinting eyes show character.

Ned doesn’t completely turn his back, but he turns his head and sees. Jesup maneuvers behind the walking Deputy, landing in the far left end corner, keeping a sharp eye on him.

The Deputy lowers his scarf to reveal a bearded face, a Deputy badge over his Deputy winter uniform that reads: BOONER ALO.

Booner looks at Jesup, who pretends to be choosing between two boxes of light bulbs. Both men exchange nods. Alo doesn’t even notice who’s up the counter. All he sees is the back of Ned Valen.

BOONER ALO
(announcing himself, thick accent)
Mister Boykin, I had to take care of a few things. I’m sorry I’m running late.

Moody, still in the prescription room, hears this and his head pops out of the room, slightly.

MOODY BOYKIN
Senor Alo, I’ve got two prescriptions of Placebo, ‘dat correct?

BOONER ALO
I believe so, that’s what mi mujer told me earlier.

That’s when . . .

NED VALEN
(Looking at Betsy, a grin, and a wink.)

BETSY SHARPE
(Wanting to cry out to the Deputy, her body quivers.)

BOONER ALO
(Walking towards the counter. )

JESUP MARLY
(Walking up slowly behind, reaching for his holster.)

MOODY BOYKIN
(Taking a step out of the prescription room, oblivious.)

Valen pulls out his Colt Woodsman 22LR. His body does a bracing turn; it doesn’t even alarm Booner Alo just yet.

The moment Valen’s front becomes visible for Booner Alo, the Deputy notices little Betsy Sharpe behind the counter.

He also notices the confused facial gesture of Moody Boykin.

And he also notices inches below . . . Valen’s HAND, holding the Colt Woodsman, pointed DIRECTLY at his lower abdomen. Without another damn second to waste, the Mexican Deputy’s hand lowers fast to his Smith & Wesson K-22 Revolver. Behind him, Jesup Marly grabs his Hubley Colt Army 45, and RAISES it directly at Booner Alo’s back.

NED VALEN
PULLS the trigger.

BOONER ALO
SHOT right in the belly, his body sways left.

JESUP MARLY
Cocks the hammer and SHOOTS Booner on his left shoulder.

BOONER ALO
Blood showers off his shoulder and he SHOOTS Jesup right in the chest. Jesup tumbles back, SHOOTING Booner again in the chest.

JESUP MARLY & BOONER ALO
After taking another cannon, Booner reacts and SHOOTS Jesup in the neck. Both men collapse.

Moody Boykin drops the prescriptions…

… Ned Valen, without hesitating, raises his Colt and SHOOTS Moody blank in the head. The owner of the Crown falls down.

And standing in between the dead black man and the standing white man is Betsy Sharpe; who’s still and quiet. She doesn’t even meet the eyes of the murderer.

Ned Valen’s arm extends, hand pointing the Colt still. He checks from behind to see if Jesup and Booner are moving. Jesup Marly got it bad—he’s very much dead. That maddens Ned.

A groaning turned whimper is heard from the floor. Booner Alo, reaching for his revolver, using his other hand to hold his wound.

Ned walks to him. Shoots him twice. Once, to make sure he’s gone. Twice ,‘cause it felt good.

The criminal now walks to the counter, and begins to put the money in his coat pocket.

Betsy Sharpe just watches.

Once he’s collected all of the money, the bad boy criminal points his Colt back at Betsy.

She takes a step back. He tries to ease, cocking the hammer slowly.

Rather than shoot, the Man in Grey takes a moment to think . . . He uncocks the hammer and lowers the Colt. He slowly walks backwards to the front door, opening it with the heel of his boot. Ned Valen disappears into the night and blazing snowy wind.

And so it goes. Betsy Sharpe stands alone.

The End.

Daniel Luis Ennab’s script “Girl, No Shy” won first prize in the Fifth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. Daniel is a Senior majoring in Film/Video at SVA.