FADE IN:

EXT. SKY – SUNRISE OVER A RIVER

ESTABLISHING New York City.

INT. FAMILY CONVENIENCE STORY – MORNING

THEO, 25, clean cut, wearing boots, jeans, and a collared shirt, is teaching EMMA, his sister (13), how to use the cash register.

Theo looks at his watch and rolls his eyes. He walks upstairs to their apartment.

INT. PETER’S ROOM – MORNING

Theo walks to Peter’s room. As Theo gets closer, Peter’s alarm gets louder and louder. Theo opens the door.

PETER, Theo’s brother, 17, slim, messy hair, is found asleep as his alarm is blaring. Theo sighs and shakes Peter to wake him up. Peter comes into consciousness.

PETER

I’m up, I’m up.

THEO

(Assertive)

You better be downstairs for your

shift in ten minutes.

PETER

Its 8:00 already?

Peter quickly gets up and starts getting dressed. He puts on a black t-shirt and jeans.

THEO

I’m taking Mom to the Doctor’s so you have to watch Suzy.

PETER

Yeah I know, I know.

THEO

Okay I’ll be back by noon.

Theo exits as Peter is still getting ready.

INT. FAMILY CONVENIENCE STORE – MORNING

Peter enters and sees Emma and SUZY, youngest sister (11), behind the cash register trying to figure out how to use it.

EMMA

You aren’t late, that’s a surprise.

How do you clear a purchase again?

PETER

Nice to see you too.

Peter walks behind the counter over to the cash register and reluctantly shows them how to clear a purchase.

PETER

I don’t want you guys causing trouble for me okay? Its bad enough Theo put me on the morning shift.

EMMA

(Cheerfully)

No promises.

Emma leaves the cash register and runs off to the other side of the store.

EMMA

C’mon Suzy.

Suzy follows. Peter is left by himself behind the counter.

INT. FAMILY CONVENIENCE STORE – DAY

A clock on the wall shows that its 11:00 AM. Peter is still behind the counter, looking very bored, with his arm propping up his head. Emma is sitting next to him playing checkers with Suzy. Emma is winning.

A man walks by the door and props his face against the window. All that is visible is his silhouette. He cups his hands over his face to see inside.

Peter notices this and raises his head. Peter slowly walks out from behind the counter. He passes Emma and Suzy. He walks towards the man, trying to get a better look at him.

The man notices this and exits. Peter chases after him.

Peter loses sight of him and stands in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to find him. Peter gives up and walks backĀ into the store.

EMMA

Who was that?

PETER

Not sure, but he looked really

familiar.

Peter resumes his position behind the counter.

EXT. GRANDMA’S HOUSE – LATE AFTERNOON

Peter walks up to GRANDMA’s, 70, frail, long hair, casual clothes, door and knocks. After a few moments the door opens and Grandma answers.

GRANDMA

(Surprised)

Peter? What’re you doing here?

Grandma gives Peter a hug.

PETER

Just wanted to stop by.

GRANDMA

Do you want to come inside?

PETER

No no its okay.

GRANDMA

Oh come on in.

Grandma starts heading back into her house. Peter reluctantly follows. Grandma walks into her kitchen and Peter takes a seat at a coffee table in the next room.

GRANDMA

Do you want anything to eat?

PETER

No, I’m okay.

GRANDMA

You sure? I made pie the other day and it came out very well.

PETER

Yeah I’m fine.

GRANDMA

Oh okay.

Grandma pours herself some juice.

GRANDMA (CONT’D)

So what brings you around here?

PETER

Well, I just wanted to ask about… If you know anything about my Dad? Like, where I could find him.

Grandma’s expression goes sour.

GRANDMA

Well… I haven’t talked to him in a long time.

Grandma sits next to Peter.

GRANDMA

Last he told me was that he moved downtown. Haven’t seen him for a few years now…

PETER

Do you have an address I could go to?

Grandma hesitates.

GRANDMA

Hold on.

Grandma walks off and comes back with a pad and pen.

GRANDMA

Don’t lose this okay?

Grandma writes the address, rips the piece of paper off of the pad and gives it to Peter.

PETER

Thank you so much. This means a lot.

GRANDMA

I hope you find what you are looking for, sweetie.

Peter stands up and starts walking towards the door.

GRANDMA

It was nice seeing you, Peter.

PETER

You too.

Peter exits. Grandma has a worried look on her face.

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE FRONT/PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

ESTABLISHING Peter’s apartment.

INT. PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Peter walks into the dining room to find Theo doing paperwork under a dim light. Theo notices Peter enter, but goes back to his paperwork.

THEO

Where’ve you been?

PETER

(Excited)

I went to see Grandma, she gave me Dad’s address.

Theo freezes mid-writing.

PETER

I’m going to see him tomorrow.

Theo takes a moment to think about what to say.

THEO

Don’t. Its a bad idea.

Theo continues writing.

PETER

What?

Peter takes a seat at the table across from Theo.

PETER

What’d you mean?

THEO

You don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Its just not something you should get involved with.

PETER

Why?

THEO

Don’t question it, it’s just a bad idea.

PETER

But this is the first time I’ve known anything about Dad for so long. Nobody ever tells me anything about him.

Peter’s last words trail off into silence as he slouches in his chair.

THEO

Why do you think that is? Mom kicked him out for a reason.

Peter doesn’t answer. He is disappointed with how Theo is reacting.

THEO

Don’t try to see him… You

understand?

Peter thinks about what to say for a moment.

PETER

(Quietly)

Yes.

Peter gets up, pushing his chair back causing a loud noise, and leaves.

THEO

Don’t forget your shift tomorrow.

Peter pretends he didn’t hear what Theo said and angrily walks to his room.

EXT. LARGE APARTMENT BUILDING – LATE AFTERNOON

ESTABLISHING Apartment Building where Peter believes his Dad is.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING LOBBY – LATE AFTERNOON

Peter walks into the lobby and heads over to the elevator.

He presses the button to go up. The elevator door opens.

Peter hesitates a moment to step in. He takes a deep breath, walks in, and presses the button for the thirtieth floor.

He surveys the lobby and sees a man running towards him. Peter presses the button to open the doors for the man running, but he soon realizes it’s Theo. Peter quickly starts mashing the button to close the door. Theo just barely gets in the elevator before the doors close.

INT. APARTMENT ELEVATOR

They start going up as Theo sits on the floor to catch his breath.

PETER

I was really hoping you wouldn’t find me.

Theo holds his head in his hands while still on the floor catching his breath.

THEO

(Breathing Heavily)

You didn’t show up for your shift…

PETER

No shit.

Peter takes his hands out of his jacket pocket and throws them in the air from frustration. A crumpled piece of paper drops from his pocket to the floor. They both stare at it. Peter quickly grabs it and puts it back in his pocket.

THEO

What’s that?

PETER

Nothing.

Theo stands up.

THEO

(Assertive)

Peter, what is it?

Peter looks up in frustration. He reaches into his pocket and takes the paper out. Peter reads it for a moment before showing it to Theo. Theo takes the paper from his hands. As he takes the paper, it tears.

PETER

What the hell?!

Peter aggressively tries to grab the paper back from Theo, which leads to Theo pushing him away.

THEO

Quit it, I didn’t mean to.

Theo reads the paper. He rolls his eyes.

THEO

C’mon, Peter, lets just get out of here.

Peter quickly grabs the paper.

PETER

Why’re you even here?

Theo looks like he is about to say something then stops himself.

THEO

He isn’t here.

PETER

Gio said he was.

THEO

He isn’t here okay?

PETER

What makes you think that?

THEO

I just… I told you not to try and see him, why are you here?

PETER

I just wanna talk, is that so bad?

A moment of silence.

PETER

Why don’t you want to see him anyways?

The word “anyways” hangs in the air for a moment. Theo is unprepared to answer the question. He takes a moment to respond.

THEO

You are acting just like Dad would.

The elevator stops and the doors opens.

They look at each other. Peter quickly exits and takes the paper out of his pocket. He starts running down the hallway checking the door numbers.

Theo runs after him, but Peter is noticeably faster. Peter quickly stops in front of door 3012. He is about to knock but hesitates. He looks to see Theo barreling down the hall towards him.

Peter knocks. Theo gets to the door.

They both look at each other, both wondering who will step out. They listen to hear the sound of dishes being put in a sink. Then footsteps. The handle turns and the door opens.

A young woman answers the door.

YOUNG WOMAN

Can I help you?

Peter and Theo share a quick glance.

THEO

Sorry, wrong apartment.

Peter and Theo exit.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING LOBBY – LATE AFTERNOON

Theo and Peter exit the elevator. Peter looks very disheartened.

THEO

I have to get back to the store, Mom is watching Em and Suzy. Can’t keep her waiting.

PETER

I’ll catch up with you later.

Peter drops onto a couch in the lobby.

THEO

I didn’t mean what I said earlier.

Peter ignores him.

THEO

I’ll see you at home.

Theo exits out the lobby door. Peter sulks for a moment.

PETER’S POV – SECURITY GUARD #1 at the front desk is talking to one of the residents who then storms off back to the elevator.

BACK TO PETER

Peter gets up from the couch and walks over to the front desk.

PETER

Hi, I was wondering if I could get an address for someone who used to live here?

Security Guard #1 glances at Peter.

SECURITY GUARD #1

(Disinterested)

I’m not allowed to give away that sort of information.

Peter hesitates to respond.

PETER

(Desperate)

I’m looking for my Dad. I haven’t seen him in a long time and he used to live here.

SECURITY GUARD #1

Like I said, I’m not allowed to give away that sort of information.

Peter sulks.

PETER

Thanks.

Peter walks away from the desk towards the doors when SECURITY GUARD #2 stops him.

SECURITY GUARD #2

Hey kid. I heard what you said, I can help you out.

Peter’s face lights up.

PETER

Really?

SECURITY GUARD #2

Yeah, follow me.

Security Guard #2 leads Peter into a cluttered back office.

He plops down onto an office chair in front of a computer.

SECURITY GUARD #2

What was his name?

PETER

Theodore Brown Sr..

Security Guard #2 searches for a few seconds until he finds the file.

SECURITY GUARD #2

Here it is. I’ll write it down for you.

PETER

(Excited)

Thanks so much.

Security Guard #2 writes the address on a small piece of paper. Peter notices a framed picture of Security Guard #2 with his arm around a young man dressed in an army uniform.

PETER

That your son?

SECURITY GUARD #2

Oh, yeah… Jason.

Security Guard #2 stares at the picture.

SECURITY GUARD #2

He was a great kid. He had heart. God… I’d give anything to see him again.

PETER

I’m sorry for your loss.

SECURITY GUARD #2

Thanks. Here is the address. Good luck.

PETER

Thank you again.

Peter exits. Security Guard #2 is still looking at the picture.

EXT. SMALL APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

Peter hurries to the apartment building, trying to escape the light rain. CAMERA FOLLOWS Peter as he crosses the street to enter.

INT. SMALL APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

Peter pushes open the doors. He walks past the security desk and to the elevator.

SECURITY GUARD #3

What do you think you’re doing?

Peter quickly turns around.

PETER

Oh, I’m just here to visit someone.

SECURITY GUARD #3

I can’t let you in unless you are with a resident.

PETER

Really?

SECURITY GUARD #3

Sorry that’s the rules.

PETER

Is there like, a buzzer or something that I can call him down with?

The security guard points over towards the mailboxes where there are hundreds of buzzers.

Peter walks over, pulls out the piece of paper to check the number and pushes 201.

Peter walks over to the waiting area, takes a seat, and waits for his father to come get him. He is restless in his seat.

Peter’s Father, tall, skinny, wearing sweatpants and a wife beater, opens the door from the stairwell and limps into the lobby. Peter instantly gets up from his chair.

PETER

(Nervous)

Hey, Dad.

Peter’s father stops in his tracks. They look at each other dead in the eyes for a few moments in complete silence.

PETER

I just came to-

PETER’S FATHER

Denise, can you get this person outta here? I don’t know them.

DENISE (SECURITY GUARD #3)

Alright, c’mon kid.

Denise gets up from behind her desk and starts walking over to Peter.

PETER

What’d you mean you don’t know me?!

Peter’s father turns his back and starts limping up the stairs to his apartment. Peter goes after him but the door closes in his face. Denise picks him off the door and escorts him out.

DENISE

Sorry for your loss.

She shows him the door.

EXT. SMALL APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

Peter exits. He turns back and stares into the lobby for a while, hoping his father will come out to get him.

The rain is much stronger now.

After his father doesn’t come out, he bangs his fist on the door.

CUT TO:

FLASHBACK BEGINS

INT. PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Young Peter (6) at a park with his father and Theo (14). They are laughing, chasing each other, using the swings, etc. They are a having fun.

Peter’s father notices some suspicious looking guys and starts to get Peter and Theo to leave.

Peter’s father gets shot in the leg by the suspicious people.

Peter’s father is writhing in pain on the ground surrounded by people trying to help.

Peter is crying.

FLASHBACK ENDS

CUT TO:

EXT. SMALL APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

Peter kicks over a trash can and rushes away into the night.

CUT TO:

FLASHBACK BEGINS

INT. PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Peter’s family sitting at the dinner table eating.

Peter’s father limps in. Peter’s mother, pregnant, starts arguing with him. Peter’s grandma is trying to diffuse the situation but she gets dismissed by Peter’s mother. Peter’s father pulls out a yellow envelope from his jacket pocket and puts it on the table, revealing lots of cash.

Young Peter (6) looks over at his father and notices a gun tucked in his pants.

FLASHBACK ENDS

INT. PETER’S FATHER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Peter’s father limps into his apartment. Its dark, the only light is coming from the TV. He sits on his couch and stares at the TV.

His eyes are a bit watery.

A woman sits next to hiM on the couch, dressed in just an over sized t-shirt. He quickly wipes his eyes.

WOMAN

Who was it?

PETER’S FATHER

No one. Just some kid who was lost.

WOMAN

(Jokingly)

They have some nerve gettin’ in the way of our date night.

Peter’s father chuckles and lights a cigarette.

PETER’S FATHER

Yeah, some nerve.

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE FRONT/PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

ESTABLISHING Peter’s home.

INT. PETER’S ROOM – NIGHT

Peter enters his room, plops himself onto his bed, and is frustrated, confused, and upset.

He stares at the ceiling for a while, then gets up and approaches his door. He hesitates before opening it.

He goes to Theo’s room.

INT. THEO’S ROOM – NIGHT

Peter knocks on Theo’s door. Theo opens it and notices how upset Peter is.

PETER

Can I come in?

THEO

(Surprised/Concerned)

Yeah, sure.

Theo leads Peter into his room and they both sit on his bed.

THEO

What’s wrong?

PETER

Fucking Dad…

Peter can’t continue to speak. He holds his head in his hands. Theo hugs Peter. Once they are done hugging, Theo gets up.

THEO

C’mon.

Peter lifts his head.

PETER

What?

THEO

Don’t want to wake up Em and Suzy.

They both exit.

INT. FAMILY CONVENIENCE STORE – NIGHT

Theo and Peter walk down the stairs that lead to the convenience store.

The city lights spill into the large room, illuminating both of them.

Theo takes a seat on top of the counter and Peter joins him.

THEO

What’s on your mind?

PETER

You were right about Dad.

Theo nods his head.

THEO

Don’t worry about it… If I’m honest,

I tried to find him once too.

PETER

Really?

THEO

Yeah, I remember going to that same apartment building that I found you in. I got to his room and… Well I let him have it.

They both chuckle.

PETER

At least you guys talked. I thought he would at least say something to me, you know? He just left. Without even acknowledging me.

THEO

What’s new?

PETER

Nothing I guess.

Peter stares down at his feet.

PETER

Did he seem happy when you saw him?

Theo is surprised by the question.

THEO

Well… No, actually. His place was a mess. There were beer cans and paper plates everywhere, smelled like cigarettes. He couldn’t look me in the eyes when he spoke to me.

PETER

Why doesn’t that make me feel better?

THEO

‘Cause he is your Dad. Nothing really else to it.

PETER

Yeah I guess…

Peter thinks about it for a moment. Theo gets off the counter.

THEO

You want anything?

Peter nods his head.

PETER

Grab me a ginger ale please.

Theo turns around and grabs two ginger ales from their refrigerated drinks section.

Theo hands Peter one of them. Peter opens his while Theo jumps back up on the counter. Theo opens his.

Theo raises his soda in the air, gesturing a toast. Peter does the same.

They clink their sodas together then each takes sips.

FADE TO BLACK:

THE END

Noah Gonci’s script “Ginger Ale” won third prize in the Seventh Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. Noah is a nineteen-year-old freshman Film major at SVA who hails from Cambridge, MA.