The story takes place in New Jersey and Milwaukee; modern day.
New Jersey characters
• David (M 30-50), Julia (F 30-45), Lily (F 8-15) and Katherine Hunter (F 20-40); David an abusive husband, wife Julia a hard drinker now on the run, Lily a tough ten-year-old
• Adam Turner (M 30-50), detective, hired to hunt Julia down
• Amanda King (F 30-70), judge in family court
• Andrew Morgan (M 35-70) and Olivia Reid (F 30-60), lawyers
• Molly Kincaid (F 30-50), policewoman, tries to get Turner to give up life as a detective and rejoin the police force
• Andrea Jackson (F 30-65), nurse, gives Turner a wake-up call in the facts of life
• A librarian (F 25-60) who helps Julia and Lily
• Wayne (M 30-40), Emily (F 30-40) and Zoe Duncan (F 8-15); a troubled family with an abusive husband
• Sarah McIntosh (F 15-40) and Misty Baker (F 15-40), exotic dancers protecting Julia
• Tara Watson (F 20-30), Emily’s friend
• Bailey (F 25-45) and Green (M 25-50), police officers
• Three thugs (M 20-40) who push Anna around until Julia descends upon them
• Anna (F 25-50), nurse and temporary roommate of Julia’s
• Jane (F 12-19), runaway
• Mrs. Wheeler (F30-50)
• Ray (M 25-65), bartender, who is also protecting Julia, but tired of seeing her get drunk and wreck his bar
The settings are very straightforward: bars and restaurants, apartments, hospital ERs, two outdoor scenes in the street, a courtroom, a library, a law office, a women’s shelter office
A MILWAUKEE STREET – NIGHT.
Three thugs and Julia are lined up, covered in blood; Anna is off to the side. Green, a policeman and Bailey, a police woman, are interviewing with flashlights, without which the scene would be almost dark.
GREEN. [looks at first thug] Bloody nose.
[looks at the second] Bloody nose and torn ear. Somebody bite you?
[the third] Bloody nose, black eye, fat lip, is that a claw mark? Ma’am, do you have a dog?
[and looks down at Julia] What about you, buddy, do you need a doctor too? Any cuts or scrapes? [Julia, wearing a Packers cap, holds her bloody fists in front of her face and raises her eyebrows ironically at Green.]
BAILEY. Okay, somebody tell me what happened here.
ANNA. Me and these three guys, we had a drink in the bar. I come out, and they come out after me, and they want to go out and hangout some more, it was stupid. Then Tommy mouths off at me, and smacks me, and I smacked him. And then all three of them start shoving me around. Goddamn cavemen.
THUG 1. Bitch scratched my face right open.
ANNA. Hey, Neanderthal Man, it’s the twenty first century, it’s time to get your clock fixed!....And then [points at Julia] This guy, he’s like a bolt of lightning, just came out of nowhere….
JULIA. I’m a girl.
THUG 1. This guy just went totally nuts. Hitting, kicking, scratching, spitting, pulling hair, all at two hundred miles an hour. He’s like a goddamn mountain lion on crack. Who the hell is this guy?
JULIA. [boiling mad] Girl. Girl! I’m a girl! [The three thugs back away from her.]
THUG 2. [talking over her] Ought to be in a cage.
GREEN. Okay, lady, these three guys slapped you around, and then they were attacked by [skeptical] this young man here? [Julia loses it and tries to go after him; Bailey pushes her against the wall.]
BAILEY. Three guys for the ER, one guy straight to booking.
THUG 1. See? He’s nuts.
JULIA. Doesn’t listen. I’m. A. Girl. [Julia starts to pull apart her shirt, cops reflexively draw their weapons.]
GREEN. Oh, for Christ sake. Um….Bailey?
BAILEY. [to Julia] Stop. What the hell is the matter with you?...[takes off Julia’s hat; to Green] Holy crap. Green, he’s a girl. [to Julia] Sorry, we couldn’t tell, you’re all covered in blood.
JULIA. It’s not my blood. [looks at the thugs and smiles]
BAILEY. [impatient] Put your clothes back on…. You need a shower, you smell like a brewery…. You’re not going to try to hit me, are you? [Julia glares at her.]
GREEN. [to Julia] So, no ID. What’s your name? [skeptically] Ma’am?
JULIA. Jane Doe.
GREEN. Listen, if we can’t identify you, you’re in the can for the night.
BAILEY. Here, let me try….Where’d you learn to fight like that?
BAILEY. You a cop, or army?
BAILEY. Okay, bonus question, what the hell were you thinking?
JULIA. I just heard what this guy was saying to his girlfriend, he hit her, right on the street, and I just…. It was just the last straw, and I just lost it….
BAILEY. Last straw? Let me guess. Boyfriend? Husband?...Okay, this thing you did, you know how stupid that was? Flying in like Batman to save the day, taking on three guys? You don’t need me to give you that speech, do you? ….[to the bunch of them] Luckily, stupidity isn’t a crime, or you’d all be going in, and then I got a whole night worth of paperwork.
GREEN. Man, our shift is almost over….
BAILEY. [to Julia] You don’t sound like you’re from around here. Where are you from? [Julia says nothing.] Well, wherever that is, go there.
JULIA. I can’t go home.
BAILEY. Well, don’t come back here. Alright? ...You’re not going to try to drive a car, are you?...
JULIA. A car?? [cackles a laugh] You crack me up.
BAILEY. [to the thugs] Are you rocket scientists going to press charges against this girl?...I didn’t think so….[irritated] Okay, everybody just get the hell out of here. [Thugs exit.]
ANNA. [to Julia] My name’s Anna.
JULIA. [whispers] Lia. Short for Julia.
JULIA. Shh!...Dammit!...[pulls her aside, more angry at herself than at Anna] Never say my name out loud, in front of a cop!
ANNA. I’m a nurse. [takes Julia by the chin] Hold still….
JULIA. I’m okay. Are you okay?
ANNA. I can handle it. Come see me at the Medical Complex sometime. We’ve got AA, the whole program….
JULIA. Not in a million years. And just forget my name, okay? [Anna leaves; to Bailey] Thanks. Sorry. [Bailey pulls out her notepad and glares at her. ] Um, yeah. [She weaves slightly as she grabs her duffel bag, which stays with her in every scene of the play, and leaves.]
BAILEY. [rolls eyes at Green and writes] “Alcohol was involved.”
A LAW OFFICE – DAY.
New Jersey law office; Morgan, a lawyer, with his client David Hunter, meeting Adam Turner, a private investigator.
TURNER. Mr Morgan? Adam Turner. [handshakes]
MORGAN. Good afternoon, Mr Turner. This is my client, David Hunter. We’ve asked you in to talk about Mr Hunter’s wife Julia. [They sit. ] We expect that Mr Hunter is going to be in divorce court ultimately, and we need an investigator….I assume of course that we’re speaking in confidence?
TURNER. [pleasantly] Obviously.
MORGAN. We’re prepared to spend all we need to win in court, and we control the family money so Mrs Hunter won’t be getting the best and the brightest at her table. We know the judges pretty well. Mr Hunter comes across as calm and cool, and Mrs Hunter frankly comes across as hysterical. We will have witnesses who will testify that she tried to blackmail him for money, she sent harassing emails, and she tried to turn her daughter against him. If she tries to get sole custody, we will argue that a child should of course have two parents in her life.
TURNER. And Mrs Hunter disappeared?
MORGAN. Months ago. I doubt she has a fixed address, so she will have a hard time getting custody at all. We’re pretty confident that no doctor or policeman in this town will back her story; policemen hate domestic cases anyway.
TURNER. Don’t I know it.
MORGAN. We can prove she abused painkillers. We filed for a restraining order against her because of her violent behavior.
TURNER. Sounds as though you’ve got everything covered. Where do I come in?
MORGAN. First we need you to find her. She took a huge amount of money from her husband’s accounts and she’s been gone almost a year. That money belongs, by rights, to their daughter Lily. We are prepared to give you a liberal per diem and a long leash, within reason, and a hefty finder’s fee. [passes documents for Turner to look at]
TURNER. How are you paying?
MORGAN. In cash. Very often we work in cash.
TURNER. Fine with me. [looking at the documents] So you’ve had other guys looking for her.
MORGAN. Six. They all failed. Then they started working as a team, and they still failed.
TURNER. If she’s jacked up on pills all the time, how come she’s outsmarting these guys?
MORGAN. Let’s just say our team was unlucky. And she is very clever. It’s like chasing the wind. And we heard you were very good, so…
TURNER. She could be dead.
MORGAN. We’ve seen her alive. We think. We think we saw her for a few seconds in Atlanta. And we’re almost sure we had her in sight at the Chicago bus depot.
TURNER. You’re almost sure…?
HUNTER. [emotional] I don’t want this to go on indefinitely. My wife and I are going through a rough patch right now, but I am genuinely worried about her. She’s sick. She has a track record of erratic behavior. I really hope she’s alright.
TURNER. Alright, then. Well, I do this sort of thing every day. Almost every week someone comes in, asking for help in tracking down a wife who’s cheating on him.
MORGAN. You check credit card records?
TURNER. Yep, we run surveillance, GPS, talk to their bosses and their friends….. So, you’re a lawyer. This story you told me, that’s the pitch you’re going to make in court. How much of all that is true? [Long silence. ]
MORGAN. [doesn’t look up; hands Turner a fat envelope] Your retainer will be wired later but here are your first three months’ expenses. We will wait for your report. [finally he looks up] Thank you for coming.
TURNER. Well, my question still stands. If I know the truth, there’s a better chance --
HUNTER. [loud] You’ve got everything you need! You’ll get your money, you need to get moving as soon --
MORGAN. David, we discussed this, didn’t we? [glares at David; smiles at Turner] As I said, the rest of your money is on its way. Thank you. [Morgan and Hunter leave]
TURNER. [looking at the door where they exited, then at a mass of hundred dollar bills in the envelope] What the…?...Hello Mister Franklin. And his whole family…
A BAR -- NIGHT.
In Milwaukee. A jukebox blasts away. Sarah McIntosh and Misty Baker, exotic dancers, are on break, in a corner, in robes. Julia, dead drunk and slack-jawed, leaning on a chair against a wall or table, with two chair legs off the floor. Ray, a bartender, watches Julia warily. Customers drink.
SARAH. We need to get back onstage dancing, just so they’ll turn off that crap on the jukebox. [the music stops as she’s speaking] Oh thank God.
RAY. Last warning, fellas, don’t touch the girls. [points at Julia] Lia, careful with the chair.
SARAH. Ray, I know it’s cold outside, but seriously, we’re up onstage in our fine washables and it’s fifty-sixty degrees up there.
RAY. Fine, but help me sell more beer, Sarah, so I can pay the power company. How’d your Calculus final go?
THUG 1. Hey Misty….You girls are smoking hot tonight.
THUG 1. [crowding her space a little] You want to dance later?
MISTY. [nicely] Just shove off, okay? [Thug looks for a moment at Julia who is motionless.]
THUG 1. [to Julia] You want to dance? [They all look; Julia doesn’t budge.]
SARAH. Leave her alone. That’s Lia. She doesn’t work here. She just hangs here.
THUG 1. What’s the matter with her?
MISTY. Just shove off, okay?
THUG 1. [to Julia] You want to dance?
JULIA. [looks at him for the first time] Looking for a good time, sailor? Once you have a Jersey girl, you never go back, baby. [Julia stumbles off of her chair and onto the floor; he pulls her up by the hand, which she turns into a handshake.] Lia. It’s short for Ju-lia. [points to a door] I’m the troll who sleeps in the cellar here. [squints; wrinkles her nose] I smell like Sam Adams. [holds up a finger] The beer, not the dead President. [she starts bumbling around in circles a bit, looking for her beer]
THUG 1. Um….
MISTY. For the last time. She’s not one of us. She’s just….well, she’s just here. Leave her alone. [Jukebox begins Abba song, or whatever; girls scream in outrage; Julia throws a glass, a chair, a beer can, a plate of food, director’s choice; or she can pick a fight with the thug.]
JULIA. Turn. That. Shit. Off. [a pause]
RAY. Sorry girls, this is the last time.
SARAH. But Ray, it’s just Lia.
RAY. I’m running out of glasses. And chairs. [or whatever it was] What are you, keeping her as a pet? [Ray half-carries Julia out the door, she yowls “Dancing Queen”, or whatever, off-key.]
SARAH. Dammit, Ray! Let me put her in a cab. More tip money down the toilet. [She runs out with Julia’s duffel.]
A BAR, NIGHT.
In a New Jersey bar. Turner and Molly Kincaid, a police officer, drink.
MOLLY. Turner, you know you could come back to the force any time. You’re that good. The town’s ruling family likes you. You’d get the pension, everything.
TURNER. Yes, Molly, I’m an idiot. I like being my own boss. Never have to wear a tie. The crap work you do as a cop…
MOLLY. And look at what you’re doing. Playing Peeping Tom. Hunting down cheating wives. Man, you hunt women for a living.
TURNER. Molly, there’s a hundred guys like me out there. I tell you, most of the time the wives, they’re not even cheating. Well I do what I get paid to do….I think I have a live one this time, though. And the husband’s paying me well too.
MOLLY. David Hunter.
TURNER. David -- Come on, Molly, you know I’m not getting into the details.
MOLLY. Alright, then, we’ll play let’s pretend. Hypothetically, if you had any business with the Hunters. The father, built the brewery. One son is the crown prince. Another on the city council. Another on the police force. So I’d be awfully careful with the Hunters. I think the whole town is afraid of the Hunters, won’t even be caught criticizing them. Good way to lose your job in a one-factory town.
TURNER. What about David’s wife, Julia?
MOLLY. Everything I’ve heard about Julia is bad, don’t know how much is true. Drugs, violence, abandoned her own daughter and her husband and ran off….Sorry, babe, I forgot.
TURNER. Maybe my wife and Hunter’s wife ran off to the same….Ah, who knows. Nobody’s paying me to find my wife. See ya, Molly. [Puts a twenty on the bar, exits. ]
MOLLY. Tsk tsk, now that was careless of you. Julia Hunter. Poor Adam, what have you gotten yourself into?
EMERGENCY ROOM – DAY.
A New Jersey ER, Andrea Jackson, a nurse, doing paperwork. Turner enters with Molly, she pulls Turner into an exam room, irate.
JACKSON. You came into my ER to ask two of my nurses about one of my patients....sit down. I’ll tell you about Julia Hunter. Keep this under your hat or I’ll lose my job. [He sits.] Julia Hunter is one of my worst nightmares. A repeat customer. [flips through a massive folder] Broken nose, black eye – look at the size of this file!...ribs, nose again, ribs again, broken arm – that last time she finally started defending herself.
TURNER. Jesus, this X-ray looks like something out of the morgue. She survived with all these busted ribs? How does she breathe?
JACKSON. She’s gonna feel those ribs for the rest of her life. Every time she hugs her daughter.
TURNER. She’s never going to see her daughter again….So what do you do, the next time she comes in?
JACKSON. Did you see that X-ray? If she ever gets beat up again, she’ll never make it to the ER. She’ll have a tag on her toe. It’s a miracle she’s still alive.
MOLLY. And she never went to the police?
JACKSON. You mean tell her brother-in-law, the police captain? Tell him that his brother was beating on her? In this town?
TURNER. So this is why you called me back to the hospital.
JACKSON. No. I called you over to see my next patient. This is Julia’s sister-in-law. The wife of the cop. [Katherine Hunter, 30, comes in for treatment on her arm.]
JACKSON. Mrs Hunter, this is Mr Turner, I think he works for your family.
KATHERINE. Him and everybody else in town.
TURNER. Sorry, I’ll go…
KATHERINE. [she looks at Jackson] It’s okay. [looks at her arm] I’m an old hand. [Picks up the splint]
JACKSON. [gets ready to splint her up] This girl is lucky, if you want to look at it that way. You ask Molly, your police friend -- for every battered wife in my ER, there are four more out there who are too afraid to come in and get stitched up.
MOLLY. Yep. A lot of these girls get beat up while they’re pregnant.
JACKSON. All the women who die in my ER, one third of them were killed by their husbands or their boyfriends. Here in the land of the free, we’re talking about 10,000 women getting beaten up…
TURNER Whoa, whoa. Ten thousand a year?
JACKSON. It’s ten thousand a day, Turner. [She points to Katherine who is smiling fatalistically.] Just picture this in your head: every night there’s a row of a thousand broken arms like this one, and then a thousand broken noses, and then a thousand smashed teeth, a thousand broken ribs because some girl got thrown down the stairs – ten thousand of these every night. And every year a thousand more get killed….You used to be a cop, what were you, a meter maid? Where have you been? You think this is some silly little thing that only happens over in the trailer park? This is happening on your street, tonight... [to Katherine] So I suppose you’re not going to go to the shelter or file a –
JACKSON. [deep breath] And another Saturday begins….
Milwaukee, an emergency room, Anna and Julia looking over charts. Wayne and Emily Duncan enter the ER. Emily wears a long-sleeve shirt and sunglasses.
WAYNE. My wife needs an X-ray now.
ANNA. [picks up a clipboard, points] Grab a seat outside and start filling….
WAYNE. Isn’t this the emergency room? This is an emergency! She needs an X-ray!
ANNA. [glares at him, hands him the clipboard] Okay, sweetie, why don’t you tell me what happened. [Emily looks at him uncomfortably.]
WAYNE. It was an accident. Emily’s clumsy.
EMILY. He’s right, it was my fault. It’s nothing really, I almost didn’t come in….Wayne really watches over me.
ANNA. [to Emily] Take off your clothes. [Wayne is entering deeper into the room]
JULIA. [to Wayne, grabbing his arm] We need the room, please.
WAYNE. [pushes her away] Who the hell are you?
JULIA. [speaks softly, but still in his face] Watch your mouth….You don’t really like girls, do you? ...[he looks around] Yeah, you got witnesses, this time… [he looks angrily at Emily] I know where you live, and I’m watching you. And her….Here’s a pencil for you. [Wayne tries a staredown, then leaves; Emily starting to unbutton, very clumsily.]
ANNA. No no no, leave your clothes on. I just wanted him out of here….
EMILY. You really pissed him off. Usually I just try to keep him calm.
JULIA. How’s that working for you? You’re in the emergency room….No, he just hit you, next he’s going to give you the “Honeymoon Phase”.
EMILY. [weaves, disoriented] I’m sorry, I’m, um…My head’s spinning a little, I have a headache and everything’s a little blurry.
JULIA. I’m Lia. You sit. You feel nauseous? [She removes Emily’s sunglasses to see the scrape and the black eye]....I’m not a doctor, but you have a concussion, kiddo.
EMILY. A concussion??
JULIA. Trust me, I’m the Muhammad Ali of concussions. [jokingly pretends to punch herself in the head, Emily flinches]
JULIA. I’ve seen you at the courthouse. I’m going to help you, I work at the shelter….[looks back at the door] Did he drive you here drunk?...I don’t believe it.
EMILY. Par for the course. He drinks, I get hit. Then he says “Sorry, I was drunk so I was out of control”. But somehow he’s never so drunk that he doesn’t know what he’s doing: he won’t hit the people in the bar, he’ll drive home all in one piece, and then he “loses control”. But still he almost never hits me where it’ll show. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
ANNA. And this only happens at home?
EMILY. Oh, yeah, always. When we’re out with friends, he’s Saint Wayne, and I’m his arm candy. He puts on an act, always helping, always listening, so no one would ever believe what an animal he is at home. Even in court, I’m standing there with a broken arm, and this judge is yelling at me! “Ma’am, you really gotta calm down” while my husband was standing there cool as a cucumber.
JULIA. Duncan….The judge sent him to rehab, right?
EMILY. It was just a game to him. [wags her finger, “doing” Wayne] “I can’t stay sober if you nag me about all the other stuff. All that stuff happened before rehab, it doesn’t count.” Then the rehab stopped and the hitting kept on. We tried therapy: he said the therapy proved it was really all my fault, and when I told the therapist about the nasty stuff, he would blow up when we got home. He just scammed the judge.
WAYNE. [off-stage] What the hell is taking so long?
JULIA. You left before, didn’t you?
EMILY. Eight times. The last time -- I knew he’d go nuts the day I left, so I had the cops come over, and sure enough, blammo….
ANNA. Clever girl.
EMILY. He followed me around, he called the house, I had to change my phone number, email. I had to switch apartments because the landlady got sick of him coming around causing trouble…
ANNA. And then you went back to him…
EMILY. And he knew he had me. And it just got worse. He got fired, and he hit me. I offered to get a job, and he hit me. He said he’d kill me if I tried to leave again… Like an idiot I put all sorts of links in my Favorites on the computer -- the shelter, the lawyer, Greyhound. He gave me a black eye. He reads my email. I started using the computer at the library, but he noticed I never brought any books back….
JULIA. Stay off the internet for a while….You have a daughter, right? Where is she?
EMILY. [agitated] He’s got her in the car….He always used Zoe to get to me, he used Zoe to try to win me back, he hurt Zoe just because he knew it hurt me. He threatened Zoe – “If you tell anybody, no one will believe you, I’ll hurt you and your mom, I’ll leave and take all the money”…
JULIA. Oh boy.
EMILY. He tried to drive a wedge between me and Zoe, he undermined my decisions, he bribed her. He’s using my child as a weapon to hurt me with. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I was thinking, having a kid…
ANNA. Oh come on now.
EMILY. Just a few days ago, Zoe was watching some movie, and out of nowhere she yells at the TV, “hey, you can’t hit a girl, it’s against the law!”…Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, I don’t know what to say to her…. I had to tell the school never to let Wayne pick her up, but he could just disappear with her. I need to do this quick…
ANNA. We’ll move as fast as we can.
EMILY. [looks at Julia suspiciously] So how did you just happen to be here so fast?
JULIA. Anna’s my partner in crime. And Friday night is practically a Holy Day for husbands beating their wives, so sometimes I swing by the ER….So if you want help…
EMILY. I don’t think I can do this by myself anymore.
JULIA. Okay, you just took the one big step, asking for help. First we need a plan for you, make sure you and your girl are safe. You’re going to pack a bag, with clothes, documents, money, we got a whole list– stash it at a friend’s house.
EMILY. My friend Tara.
JULIA. Get out of the house now and then, so that he gets used to it. Walk the dog, go shopping. Have a relative across the country fake an illness so you can go visit. We’ll get you a post office box and a lawyer --
ANNA. Lia, I need to do my thing here, this could still be a TBI….I keep telling you, you’re not a real nurse, you shouldn’t be here.
JULIA. Sorry, Anna, you’re right….
ANNA. Traumatic brain injury.
JULIA. I will come find you soon, when it’s safe.
EMILY. Oh God, don’t leave a phone message.
JULIA. Course not. I’ve done this before. [she’s wobbly getting up; to Anna] Chinese tonight?
ANNA. Gotta have my General Tso….[whispers] Still hung over?
JULIA. Don’t ask. [Julia leaving.]
ANNA. Okay. [to Emily] Trouble with your vision?
JULIA. You have no idea….Oh, you meant…[Anna and Emily both laugh, and the tension simmers down, until…]
WAYNE. [off-stage] Where’s my wife? I want my wife now! [and a chill descends over the room]
A RESTAURANT – NIGHT.
Turner, eating lunch, overhears Tara Watson, his waitress, on the phone in a restaurant.
TARA. It’s my fault, but I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I just have to try harder to make this work. ….I wish I knew what was setting him off…He went out drinking….Got no sleep at all last night … I just don’t know how I got into this -- how did I not see this? What’s wrong with me?...God no, I could never leave, don’t even joke…..No, I can’t, gotta get back to the house and check in. [angry, impatient] Trust me, it’s just easier that way.
TARA. Oh! You’re back! I’ll be back with your change.
TURNER. Nah, keep it.
TARA. Wow. You’re kidding.
TURNER. Hey Tara. [he points to her phone; she is upset that he overheard her] Tara, you take care of yourself.
TARA. [she looks at him hard, then sighs and nods] Thanks. [moves off]
TURNER. Hey, kid. Down two blocks and hang a right, there’s a bus station. Take you anywhere you want.
TARA. Yeah, I know….[holds up the money] So that’s who’s on the hundred….Please, come back anytime! [he smiles]
AN APARTMENT – DAY.
Milwaukee; Julia is in her apartment. She answers the phone.
TURNER. Mrs Hunter? My name is Adam Turner. I work for a lawyer named Andrew Morgan.
JULIA. You work for my husband. [panics] How did you get this number?
TURNER. Mrs Hunter, I want you to listen for just a minute. Can you do that for me?
JULIA. You have a minute and then I’m out of here. [She grabs duffel with her free hand and sets it on a table, open. ]
TURNER. I know, this is the third or fourth time you’ve moved. If you listen to me, maybe you won’t need to run off again. I can find you anywhere, but I’m tired of chasing you, and you must be tired of running.
JULIA. Tick tock. [She’s gathering her keys, her purse etc.]
TURNER. Your husband, his mother, his lawyer, all told me you were dangerously insane. They hired me to track you down. So I got to work. I figured out that you couldn’t get a good lawyer because they tied up the money; they got you fired so you couldn’t support your daughter. They schmoozed the judge and committed some truly unbelievable witness-tampering – they actually got the judge to issue a restraining order against you because of the scratch marks on his arms while you were defending yourself. They lied about you blackmailing him and harassing him.
JULIA. [still terrified, opening her door to leave] Old New Jersey proverb. Everybody lies.
TURNER. And I’m not surprised that you were always using painkillers – you had broken bones and bruises almost every year you were married. And you left your girl so you could save your own life. I realized that you weren’t cheating on your husband: there was no cheating, there was no boyfriend. Or girlfriend….I figured out that you didn’t take that much money.
JULIA. I’m living on mac and cheese!
TURNER. And an awful lot of rum. Strange, they didn’t go to the police about your disappearance, or about the money…. Then I heard that your sister-in-law was in the hospital with a fractured skull.
JULIA. Is she alright?
TURNER. I don’t know – I don’t want to check in, because they’ll ask me where you are….. So now I know what happens to you, once I do tell them where you are…. I got to be fascinated by watching you outsmart me. For months it’s been like watching an Indiana Jones movie. I saw you working the underground railroad for the other women.
JULIA. [shocked] No, you can’t --
TURNER. Don’t worry, I have no interest in the railroad….And then…You actually went back to Jersey, and I saw you outside your daughter’s school. I watched you watching her play soccer. And you stood there, like a statue, and you lost it completely. Man, I almost lost it.
JULIA. So the Hunters’ family lawyer lied to you? Imagine my surprise….He said I took how much money? Like those guys would ever put that much in one account -- these guys have been hiding money from the IRS since you were in diapers.
TURNER. So the money…
JULIA. I took enough walking-around money to hit the road with. It’s all gone now.
TURNER. And the pills….
JULIA. I can’t afford the pills anymore, but I’m afraid I drink quite a bit. It’s the only way I can sleep. I bought plane tickets to half a dozen places online, then I saved a few nickels by taking the bus to Wisconsin.
TURNER. [laughs] I know, they sent four of their goons to LA, they were out there for weeks.
JULIA. You think this is funny?... Actually I used his credit cards to buy the tickets, all first class. You know, that is funny.
TURNER. Listen. I don’t want you to be frightened….Actually I do want you to be frightened. It looks like the Hunters are sending more guys like me. They’ll take you back home, or just do something right here in Milwaukee.
JULIA. Why are you calling me? How did you find me this time?
TURNER. You want all the trade secrets? Not so fast. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t have a plan. I don’t believe your husband, but I don’t completely believe you either. Right now, I just don’t think I’m ready to pick up the phone and give you away to those people.
JULIA. You don’t think? That’s a little bit vague.
TURNER. I’m having, what do you call it, an epiphany.
JULIA. Saint Paul on the road to…somewhere.
TURNER. Damascus….Catholic school. Alright, you wanted to know how we keep finding you. You went to the same store every week, the same doctor. Stop talking to your sister – her daughter tells all about it on Facebook. Get locks on the windows and doors, and an alarm. Set up a warning signal with your neighbor, maybe with the curtains, so she can call for help if you need it – the next guy who finds you may not be me. Keep the car gassed up and pointed toward the road. ….Couple of freebies for you.
JULIA. Why are you telling me this?
TURNER. I haven’t worked out all the details here, but so far, I think I’d rather see you alive than dead. I don’t think you have that many ER visits left in you. [She hangs up, pulls her duffel shut.]
TURNER, Hello?...[realizes she hung up] Dammit! [exit]
JULIA. [dials the phone] Anna, are you home?....Dammit!
AN UNDERPASS – NIGHT.
New Jersey, where a small tent city has sprouted up.
MOLLY. So you’re only back in town for a few days?
TURNER. Yeah, I’m flying back out west soon….So this is why you’re late every Sunday night?
MOLLY. I try to check over here at least once a week. You look at the homeless woman in the corner with the little girl. She is not homeless – she actually has a home. But she can’t go back there because her husband beats her up.
TURNER. So, home is even more dangerous than living on a steam grate in a blanket?
MOLLY. You look across this country and count up all the women and kids who are living on the street because they get beat up at home…? Two hundred thousand. And there are thousands of kids on the street with no parents at all. Thousands of young girls, you know…?
TURNER. Yeah, I can figure out the rest of that story myself.
MOLLY. Most women can’t find space at the battered women’s shelters – our town has more animal shelters than women’s shelters. You should see this place in winter. They’re sleeping in tents, shantytowns, abandoned buildings, parks, doorways, all-night diners….
TURNER. Sleeping in their cars…
MOLLY. Yep. Over in New York, train stations, tunnels, subway platforms…. So this is why I come by when I can, before I get you….
TURNER. Molly, if you’re late you’re late.
MOLLY. My brother-in-law is a guard in juvie. A bunch of those kids are in for murder….You think it’s all bangers and drug dealers, right? The stereotype. But really, more than half of them are in there, because they killed the guy who was beating on their mothers. This is kids doing the killing. Because their mothers are getting beat up.
TURNER. So why did you bring me this time? Why am I looking at these women?
MOLLY. [hard] Because I hear you really are working for David Hunter. Husband Of The Year. That could be his wife in one of those sleeping bags….No doughnuts for you.
A RESTAURANT – NIGHT.
Milwaukee, a crappy restaurant. Julia is being served. Her bag is under the table. Turner enters.
TURNER. Give me your purse.
JULIA. Jesus!...I told you, I don’t have any money –
TURNER. Give me your purse. [She does; he pulls out a tiny GPS.]
TURNER. This is what I’ve been using to track you. [opens her wallet, pulls out a credit card] And this is what the other investigator is using to track you.
JULIA. The other…
TURNER. Is there anything in the purse you can’t live without? [She pulls out a driver’s license, keys, phone, cash, and a credit card.]
TURNER. Did your husband buy you that phone? [She nods.] Gimme. Here, keep the pepper spray, trust me. Now give me back the purse, I’m taking it back to Jersey and tossing it in the dumpster. If I can get a GPS in there, so can somebody else….So now they can’t track you.
JULIA. But you can still find me….Give me the picture of Lily! [He digs it out of the purse and gives it to her. She looks at it.]
TURNER. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without that bag of dirty underwear. [He sits]
JULIA. So, a glass of wine for Inspector Javert?...
JULIA. What is going on? Have you told them where I am?
TURNER. No. I haven’t done anything, because I don’t understand what’s going on here.
JULIA. So there’s nothing I can do, to make this go away. To make you go away.
TURNER.[looks at her] There are some things I won’t do. There’s a line I won’t cross.
JULIA. [catches him looking] How flattering. What, do I smell bad?...“Gee, poor Julia, she wouldn’t be dead right now if her ass had just a little more mojo….” [it hits her; she’s incredulous] Wait – there’s a line you won’t cross? You’re seriously thinking about handing me over to the Hunter boys so they can beat me to death, but you’re not willing to do The Nasty with me, because that’s immoral, right? That’s the line you won’t cross. Wow, they’re gonna put up a statue of you in the park. [she’s laughing as he says…]
TURNER. It does sound stupid when you put it like that --
JULIA. – Yep. Right up there next to Doctor King. Profiles in courage.
TURNER. Lia –
JULIA. [hard] Why don’t you hop down off your high horse. I live in the gutter because I have to, to stay alive, but you chose to live like this….Way back when, you put on your police uniform because you thought you were going to spend your life helping people. So who are you helping now?...Doing this for money…how does it feel?
TURNER. [eager to change the subject] Your whole family said all along that you can’t be trusted. They’re lying to me too, but why should I believe you? How does any of this make sense?
JULIA. [incredulous, angry] My husband is insane. Since when do crazy people have to make sense?...What made me so nuts was there was no way to predict when he was going to go off and hit me. He could go off for any reason, or no reason, any time.
TURNER. So what set him off?
JULIA. I tried to figure out what set him off, give him what he wanted. It was sheer terror. And guns all over the house. I finally stopped wearing necklaces so he would stop trying to choke me with them – I cut my hair so he wouldn’t pull it out.
TURNER. So he hit you, what, every night? People would have noticed.
JULIA. You don’t get it, do you? After a while I was so afraid, he didn’t even have to hit me. When he pushes me, kicks in the bedroom door, locks me in a room, breaks things, I know what’s next…. He tears my clothes, threatens me….
TURNER. I knew guys like that on the force. I’m at a friend’s house once, watching the Jets game, him and his wife, they’re arguing about something stupid, and right in front of us, he interrupts his wife, he insults her, he wags his finger at her, he walks away from her when she’s talking. And when she says something, he stomps, he yells, he swears, he grabs her, he pokes her….
JULIA. And what do you think happened to that girl after you left?...I’ll give you a minute to think that through….
TURNER. I didn’t want to know.
JULIA. Exactly. You were deaf and dumb. The problem isn’t just the guy who hits his wife, it’s you, turning the other way. Hitting a woman, hitting anybody, it’s everybody’s business, it’s a freakin’ crime, you were a cop, what am I missing?
JULIA. So the wife, she was supposed to be your friend too….How do you even look her in the eye, knowing that you’re just letting this happen?
TURNER. Good question.
JULIA. But in the end, my husband didn’t even have to raise his voice. He was just grinding me down, using that nasty sarcastic voice. For me that constant grinding was even worse than getting hit, because it was day after day. And then I would get upset and he starts ragging on me, like it’s my fault for being crazy and hysterical. I could barely feel my own feelings.…. So I tell myself “I need to try harder to please him…I’m worthless, I can’t do anything right.”…
TURNER. So, no romance…
JULIA. You mean sex. Who do you think called the shots there? You think I ever said “no”? His notion of sex was just [looking down] marking his territory.
TURNER. But come on, you never left, for years….
JULIA. You’re damn right. Any time I tried to break free, go to school, go to work, put away my own money, he went nuts. He would take my keys and my phone, the car battery, he put in a nanny cam to watch me. I had a curfew!
TURNER. Still – was it all bad, all the time?
JULIA. Every once in a while, after he broke one of my bones maybe, we’d have a little honeymoon, he was in love with me all over again. Even then it was all about what I had to do. I can hear him now: “I can’t change unless you change too, you have to forgive me, how long are you going to stay mad? Stop hanging around with those friends who keep badmouthing me!”
TURNER. But seriously, no one in that whole town could help you?
JULIA. You have no idea how alone I was. He picked and chose our friends -- anyone who might challenge him or defend me was cut out of the herd. He drove a wedge between me and my old friends, and then he said he was the only one who loved me.
TURNER. So everyone around you was on his side.
JULIA. And I started to blame myself, doubt myself -- “Why am I the only one who sets him off? What’s wrong with me?” Any time I talked to any man, any time I left the house, he was liable to start screaming that I was cheating. And I didn’t want to admit I made a mistake, marrying him. Especially to my mother the Church Lady – “you made your bed, now lie in it” ….
TURNER. I gotta tell you….the more I know, the less I know.
JULIA. Listen to that voice in your head. Like me, when that little voice in your head says “it’s time to get the hell out” – hit the road. Woman’s intuition is the best thing there is. I had to remind myself – “You’re not imagining it, and you’re not crazy.”…[looks at him] Do you believe me, or not? Are you going to throw me to the wolves, or not?
TURNER. So your name is Julia, but once you left New Jersey you shortened it from Julia to Lia. Was that supposed to make it harder for me to find you?
JULIA. It had nothing to do with you, it’s all about my daughter. I was named Julia after the Beatles song. I loved that song. Then when I realized the song was all about John Lennon’s mother, who abandoned her child when he was young….I just really didn’t want to be Julia anymore.
TURNER. So you haven’t even seen Lily in…
JULIA. Almost a year.
TURNER. [reaches into his pocket] I’ve got a better picture of Lily, she’s grown quite a bit in the last two years…
JULIA. [emotion turning to anger] Please. Just stop….You’re not my friend, okay? You’re just the guy who hasn’t gotten me killed yet. [pushes her plate away] Give me the picture! [He does, and she looks at it. He throws a bill on the table] What’s with the Benjamin?
TURNER. Your husband’s paying for dinner, don’t tell him.
JULIA. Don’t worry. Damn, should have had that steak.
TURNER. Why Milwaukee? You’ve been in half a dozen cities already, but you’ve stayed here.
JULIA. [deadpan] I love their beer….No really it’s a…a job I found here.
TURNER. It’s okay, I already know about the women’s shelter.
JULIA. I can’t leave those girls right now. And that’s all I have to keep me going. So don’t make me hit the road again. Leave me alone. Please. You people already have my daughter, isn’t that enough? You won.
TURNER. Hunter won’t give up. That’s why I came tonight. Like I said, I’m not the only guy he hired to hunt you down. They’re on the road now….Lia, when I first found you here, I told your husband about you sleeping in Ray’s bar, the strip club.
JULIA. Okay….[suddenly wary] And what else?
JULIA. [terrified, livid] You didn’t.
TURNER. I’m sorry….
JULIA. You told them about the shelter! Didn’t you?
TURNER. Lia, you can’t go back to that shelter –
JULIA. I have to go back there!
TURNER. Lia –
JULIA. God damn it! [runs out]
TURNER. Holy shit. [runs out]
PART TWO. A WOMAN’S SHELTER, DAY.
Milwaukee, a women’s shelter, Julia on the phone, looking out the window.
JULIA. Emily -- Where are you and the girl, are you safe? …Is he with you now?... [Emily and Zoe Duncan, and Tara Watson enter, Emily holding up her cellphone, smiling. Zoe is about ten.]
EMILY. He calls almost every hour. He puts a chalk mark on my tire and checks my odometer, so he can see when I go out.
JULIA. I got a mechanic friend who will see if there’s a GPS in your car. You have your panic bag packed? Clothes, documents, the works?
EMILY. Almost done.
JULIA. You went to court again, right?
EMILY. First time he got probation, it was a joke. The court put my new address in the court papers and set him free on bail without telling me – he was on my doorstep the next day!
JULIA. But this time the judge finally issued the restraining order –
EMILY. But my husband just ignores it; buying guns, harassing me, showing up where he isn’t allowed, hanging around the daycare center, to try to scare me, and then he told the cops he didn’t understand the rules, or it was a coincidence, or he missed seeing the kids.
JULIA. [holds Emily’s hand tight] Tell your boss about Wayne – he might show up at your office. Get new bank accounts and credit cards, your own phone, send the bills to a PO box.
EMILY. I gotta get a real job….I’m trying the trick where you steal a dead girl’s birth certificate …
JULIA. No, no! Get a name change and a new social number. Stay legal. And stay off the drugs.
EMILY. But you break the law all the time…
JULIA. [progressively more agitated] I’m already beyond the law. I’m being hunted by a rich man and his brother’s a cop. I can’t ever go into a courtroom. But you, stay clean. If he ever hits you again --
EMILY. Jesus, slow down. It’s not like this is the last time we’ll be talking this through….[sees the look on Julia’s face] Oh, man, what happened?
JULIA. Sorry, it’s nothing, it’s…complicated….If he hits you again, go to the doctor and the police, make sure there’s evidence and witnesses, pictures, torn clothes. Stay calm when the police come, and when you’re in court. The system isn’t always fair.
EMILY. How hard can it be to nail him, really?
JULIA. Listen up, Emily: OJ Simpson. OJ killed his wife, he left DNA evidence all over California, and he still walked….So if Wayne beats you in court, keep fighting: he’s trying to wear you down….[She crosses to Zoe.] You must be Zoe. I’m Lia. I have a girl about your age. [She takes Zoe by the hand, looks at her for a long moment, touches her hair.] I’m sorry, am I freaking you out?
ZOE. Not too much…[smiles] It’s okay.
JANE. [enters] Are you Miss Lia?
JULIA. Yes, where’s your family, sweetie?
JANE. [unsteady, she sits] My father’s in Texas.
JANE. My Mom disappeared a year ago. My Dad hit her a lot so she ran. Then he started hitting me. And then [looks warily at Zoe] some other stuff. I ran away to Chicago and a policeman told me to come here and find you.
JULIA. Christ, does the whole world know where I’m hiding?
JANE. They said you could find my Mom.
JULIA. Your Mom is trying really hard not to be found.
JANE. [upset, murmurs] Oh my God --
JULIA. We’ll just have to try a little harder. Wow, you look like you’re going to pass out, when did you eat last? Or sleep?...
JANE. I really am hungry.
JULIA. Emily, I’m sorry –
EMILY. What, are you kidding? We’ll talk later. [Jane gets up and staggers] I got this. [to Jane] Baby, we’re going to see a doctor, and then pizza.
JULIA. That’s perfect, I shouldn’t be on the street right now.
EMILY. [looks warily at Julia who shrugs helplessly; to Zoe] Come on, baby. Stay close to Mama. [Emily, Jane and Zoe leave the shelter.]
JULIA. [grabs Tara] God, girls like this just kill me…So Tara, you’re Emily’s friend, right? Okay, are you really going to stick with her?...[looks at her] You’re one of us. Aren’t you?
TARA. How did you – …lucky guess. That’s twice now – I thought I was so hard to read, and here I am, I’m the big E on the eye chart. My husband thinks I’m at the obgyn.
JULIA. Let’s start with your friend Emily. A real friend will hang in there when things get rough, and so far she doesn’t really have any friends like that. Dealing with all this is going to wipe her out – building a new life, new home, new school, new job.
TARA. I’ve been helping her to keep her chin up. A lot of Chunky Monkey.
JULIA. Be patient and listen to her. Don’t talk down to her, she needs to make her own decisions. And don’t pass judgment on her – she’s going to have people criticizing her for not leaving sooner, and people criticizing her for leaving at all….Help her to be a good mom. She’s got a little girl…
TARA. Are you okay?
JULIA. [deep breath] Help her to hang tough when she starts to weaken, when she’s thinking about letting him back into her life. Put yourself between her and him. You tell her every day: “It’s not your fault, you didn’t deserve this, and you’re not alone”. Every day.
TARA. So how do you do this every day?
JULIA. Well, after tonight, I probably won’t be able to work here at all, so Emily is going to need you….Emily and Zoe, this is an easy one. [picks up files] When these girls come in, it’s not just to cry over the cuts and bruises. They bring in their baggage. So every Saturday night, I’m Oprah, I get all their problems. [flips through files] Sexual problems, rape, drugs. Drinking! [laughs] They actually come to me for advice on drinking…. Money problems, jail, guns…
TARA. Problems with the kids?
JULIA. Absolutely….Cheating, migraines, eating disorders, mental problems, stalking….It’s like I live at the end of a long country road – the only people I see are the ones who are totally lost….I can see them coming a mile away. This guy says “she lied about me hitting her, she hit me” -- wife beater. They go to counseling, they make promises… nothing changes. They spend years grinding you down, until there’s nothing left. [Green enters.].…Oh thank God. [sees the look on his face] Greenie….what?
GREEN. Remember the Walker girl, you put her in your safe house? Her co-worker wanted to bring her some clothes? Well, she’s actually Walker’s new girlfriend, she was helping him track down his wife and our safe house. The Walker girl showed up at the station -- lucky we were open.
JULIA. So the safe house has been blown?
GREEN. Yeah. Everybody in town knows where it is now.
JULIA. Dammit! There’s two girls we have to put on the railroad.
GREEN. The railroad…?
JULIA. The railroad….Don’t ask. You’re a cop. You don’t get to play this part of the game.
TARA. Hey. You need an extra set of wheels?
JULIA. [looks hard at her] Yeah, thanks, come on. Not at the safe house – I’ll come back here to the shelter first.
GREEN. Here, I can follow you over….
JULIA. You’re a cop! What happens if some bonehead lawyer forces you to testify about the railroad? You give up the railroad, or you lose your job and your pension.
GREEN. Lia –
JULIA. [touches his cheek] Sweetie, thank you, but really, get the hell out of here. I’m on this one. [kisses him] Here’s a kiss for the baby….[He leaves; she picks up a handful of files, then throws them] Damn it! [exit]
BAILEY [on her personal cellphone] Yes, sir, adult white female, she coded on me, bled out. If you could get Children’s Services up and running…I know it’s late, but there’s a little girl I can’t find…
AN APARTMENT – NIGHT.
Julia is drunk in Anna’s apartment. Sound of a liquor bottle falling but not breaking. Through much of this scene, Turner and Julia are talking to each other through a door which still has the chain on; alternatively you can use an apartment intercom or cellphones. Turner does not go all mushy in this scene; he doesn’t do “mushy”.
TURNER. Are you alright in there? [She picks up a baseball bat, opens the door with the chain on. She picks up the dropped bottle and sits next to the door. ]
JULIA. What the hell do you care?...Just another liquor bottle bites the dust. Drinking to yet another victory. So you came to the circus to see the freaks? [Turner sits in the hallway outside the door. ]
TURNER. [firm] You are not a freak….A freak. Everybody said you were nuts -- even you think you’re nuts. After all they put you through, you’d have to be a little crazy not to be a little crazy, but if they persuaded you that you were the one who’s really off the beam, then they beat you after all.
JULIA. What do you mean “they”? Go away. [sighs] There’s nothing left for you to take. [looks at the bottle, blows on it, making a noise] I’m empty.
TURNER. No you’re not. It wasn’t bad enough that he beat you, ground you down -- he made you believe that you deserved it. There’s nothing wrong with you, you don’t need fixing, you need…healing. You’re just somebody who didn’t want to be hit anymore. You’re not a freak. You are…what’s the word…[he chuckles] a miracle, that nurse was right. You could be a force of nature, like a tornado. I can’t wait to see what the hell you’re going to do next.
JULIA. Yep, I’m just what every man dreams of….I’m not normal.
TURNER. Normal is boring. You are never boring….I think maybe you are a little crazy: no matter how many times you’ve been hurt, you can still…love people, more deeply, than anybody I ever saw. I saw that at the shelter. You can’t help yourself, loving people. You just never learn. …Look at those scars of yours. Half a dozen detectives couldn’t hunt you down. An entire town tried to crush you, but they couldn’t. Hate didn’t kill you. Love and heartache didn’t kill you. But loneliness? Loneliness will kill you. [Julia starts going to pieces. ] You know all about being lonely, don’t you? You’re tough, but you’re not hard on the inside. The really hard people can survive being alone, but you’re not one of them.
JULIA. Please stop.
TURNER. You’re dying, out here….
JULIA. Please! Make it stop!
TURNER. You have a whole crowd waiting, back home-- you have more friends than you think. When I was asking about you back in Jersey, a bunch of those people told me to go screw myself, they covered for you. Open up and let them in. You are not alone anymore….All those girls on the railroad, you’re propping them up. But who’s propping you up?
[Emotionally, Julia has completely lost it, a long-overdue catharsis. She gets up, slams the door, catches her breath. Turner gets up to leave. Still holding the bat, she slides the chain off, opens the door a bit, peers at him. She backs into the apartment. He follows her.]
JULIA. [waves the bat] You came to my house??…. Who the hell are you?
TURNER. I am pleased and a little surprised to see you alive….Look at that face. Real tears. [mock scolding] This is the second time I’ve seen you cry. Let this be a lesson -- you’re just not tough enough for your life of crime. What a cream puff. [She is stunned for a second, then sees him smiling slightly, and busts out laughing.]
JULIA. Yeah, I’m a real weakling….But I can take a punch.
TURNER. Laughing and crying all in the same day. This is a miracle….How long has it been since you laughed? [She sighs and shrugs.]
JULIA. [picks up the bottle] My anesthesia. [a spasm of pain, she puts a hand on his shoulder and leans a bit] Oh shit!...My ribs, can’t breathe….Like an idiot I ran all the way to the safe house, for all the good it did. And then you made me laugh – yeah, it’s been a while.
TURNER. Julia. The woman at the safehouse. I heard.
JULIA. [still shaky] Yeah. She had a daughter. Five years old. No one knows where she is. So today, this is nothing -- tomorrow morning I get to go find the daughter. And then…I get to tell her about her mom…I promised her I would keep her safe. [starts to lose it again]
TURNER. Who were you, before all this? What did you want? They took all your plans, they took everything you ever dreamed about, they took everything away from you, and turned you into this. I mean, look at you, you’re a jungle animal, answering the door with a baseball bat, beating people up in the street, sleeping off your hangover in the cellar of a strip club….
JULIA. Thanks a lot, you really picked me up there.
TURNER. I think your husband, turning you into that [gestures at her] that was even more terrible than just beating the crap out of you. The real you – must be somebody amazing, and he just threw her away. Is Julia still in there somewhere? [She is wiped out; she faces him, still holding the bat; he carefully remains in the doorway, or possibly they sit side by side.]
JULIA. I don’t know. I don’t remember who I was – I disappeared and nobody even noticed. Maybe this is all that’s left of me, after your boss ran me through the grinder.
TURNER. No. Go back and figure out who you are inside, under all the armor. Find your own road, and then figure out who you want to take with you….I really want to see you climb out of that cocoon, and be something… beautiful.
JULIA. Yeah, right.
TURNER. Show everyone what you showed me… Always boxing outside your weight class, and you’re still on your feet. Kind of. Ten years, you carried this crap all by yourself. I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do.
JULIA. [weary] Hooray for me.
TURNER. You showed some serious James Bond moves. That stunt with the two cabs at the Atlanta airport, six detectives had you cornered, and you disappeared. Who do you think you are, the girl with the dragon tattoo?
JULIA. Yeah, I read that book. Libraries, free entertainment!... The dragon tattoo girl, the crazy bisexual kickboxer super-genius hacker millionaire biker babe with photographic memory?...I can barely turn on a computer, I’m broke, if I had any brains I never would have gotten into this mess, and I’ve been beat up more than anyone I know.
TURNER. And no motorcycles…?
JULIA. Yeah, like I don’t spend enough time in the ER. I spend a lot of time on the Milwaukee County bus, real sexy. And tattoos are stupid – it would just make it easier for you people to find me. And I’m not tangling with Russian spies, serial killers, Nazis, bikers…..just my husband. All I have in common with the tattoo girl is, I have bad luck and [waves the bottle, possibly, and sets it down] I drink – it’s a big club.
TURNER. Maybe your luck is finally changing. [holds out a handkerchief] Wipe your eyes. [After a second, she does, pocketing the handkerchief.] You’re a New Jersey housewife, and you’re the coolest person I know. Housewives are cool – who knew?
JULIA. Funny, a new dream has popped into my head: a nice boring dream. Nursing school. I spend half my life in the ER, either I have broken ribs, or I’m helping some other girl in the same jam. I already know more about bruises than the Packers’ trainer. What about you? This can’t possibly be what you dreamed of doing….
TURNER. Lately I’ve been thinking about giving up this work entirely. I hear they’re hiring in the San Francisco police.
JULIA. So you’re going to rejoin the human race. Bravo. Sounds like somebody really wants that statue in the park…
TURNER. Right now, I’d settle for being able to look in the mirror in the morning, so I can shave.
JULIA. I want to be normal, boring. I don’t want any more adventures. I want to go home.
TURNER. Which is…where?
JULIA. I can’t believe I’m actually taking your advice. You gave me that picture of Lily, and it just hit me. I need Lily like I need…oxygen. It’s time to get my girl back. And since you screwed up Milwaukee for me….Go tell your boss. I’m coming home. [She points the bat at him.] Out.
TWO APARTMENTS -- DAY.
Alternating -- Emily talking to the audience, Wayne talking to Emily, David talking to Julia]
EMILY. When I got married, I learned a lot about myself that I didn’t know before.
WAYNE. The trouble with you is you’re nagging, whining.
DAVID. Blowing it up out of nothing.
WAYNE. The trouble with you is you’re over-sensitive, overreacting.
DAVID. Pushing my buttons!
WAYNE. The trouble with you …
DAVID.I know what you really mean by that.
WAYNE. You say you’re sorry but you don’t mean it.
DAVID. You’re rude, you dress like a tramp.
WAYNE. You don’t think.
DAVID. A slob.
WAYNE. Shut up – you just don’t listen.
EMILY. He’s a take-charge kind of guy.
DAVID. You’re trying to tell me what to do??
WAYNE. My house, my rules. No wife of mine…
DAVID. I wear the pants in this house.
WAYNE. I’m the king and this is my castle.
DAVID. You’re lucky I’m here.
WAYNE. And what did I tell you to do?
DAVID. I know what’s best for you.
WAYNE. I take care of you, and you owe me. I’m teaching you a lesson.
DAVID. This is for your own good.
WAYNE. Where have you been?
DAVID. Who did you see?
WAYNE. Where do you get these ideas?
DAVID. Who are these friends you’re hanging around with?
WAYNE. All they do is badmouth me!
DAVID. I’m taking your keys.
WAYNE. What do you need money for?
DAVID. What do you need a job for? Your job is right here!
EMILY. And somehow he’s never put a foot wrong.
DAVID. But baby, it’s not my fault.
WAYNE. Baby, I was drunk.
DAVID.I was abused when I was younger.
WAYNE. I lost control.
DAVID. Of course I lied, you get mad when I tell the truth.
WAYNE. Of course I lied, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.
DAVID. I never did that, there’s something wrong with your memory!
WAYNE. You’re imagining things.
DAVID. Sure I have other women, but that doesn’t mean I’m cheating on you.
WAYNE. What’s the big deal?
DAVID. I was only joking.
WAYNE. You have to forgive me.
DAVID. You made me do it!
WAYNE. I did it because I love you.
DAVID. It’s what you deserve.
WAYNE. You’ve got to give me another chance.
DAVID. This isn’t my fault, this is your fault, it’s you who don’t treat me right, like all the other women in my life.
WAYNE. You’re hysterical.
DAVID. You’re crazy.
WAYNE. You’re the only one who thinks there’s a problem – so what’s wrong with you?
EMILY. The day you walk out can be quite an experience.
WAYNE. I can’t live without you.
DAVID. I decide when this relationship is over.
WAYNE. I’ll hurt myself.
DAVID. I’ll hurt you.
WAYNE. I’ll hurt the kids.
DAVID. No one will believe you.
WAYNE. I’ll cut off the child support.
DAVID. I’ll wreck your job and your reputation.
WAYNE. Nobody will ever love you like I do.
Emily stands and speaks quietly.
EMILY. You’re damn right, nobody will ever “love” me like that.
She looks at him.
EMILY. Never again. I won’t allow it.
AN APARTMENT – NIGHT.
Milwaukee again. Julia and Anna on couch, eating Chinese, drinking wine.
JULIA. [looks at TV in front of them, throughout the scene] You know, Anna, five-ten years now, either I was trapped in my own house, or running all over the country, you know how many honest-to-God friends I’ve had, the whole time?...You’re it. The only one….
JULIA. No kidding -- to me, you are just plain…beautiful, top to bottom, inside and out. I mean, the parts that really are beautiful, those demonic eyes of yours, and [waves her hand] all that other stuff.
ANNA. What in the world…? What do you mean, “other stuff”?
JULIA. When you come home to me every night, curling up in front of the TV, that’s when I’m happy. I actually feel normal here with you. A vacation from reality.
ANNA. How much of that wine have you had? I told you, girl, you need to dial it back…. Alright, what’s going on?
JULIA. I’m saying goodbye. I’m not doing a good job of it. I have to go find my daughter. I’ve got a battle on my hands. [gets up, picks up duffel bag] If you like to get a bet down, the smart money says I lose. But I can’t hide anymore. Vacation’s over.
ANNA. Baby, you can’t just get on the interstate like that, let’s go out somewhere –
JULIA. [deep breath] No, then I’d have to say goodbye to you twice – I can barely handle this one… [She leaves.]
Tara is sitting, looking into a bedroom mirror, Emily and Green behind her, also looking into the mirror. Tara is possibly brushing her hair, or putting makeup over a black eye.
TARA. I just can’t believe how bad I screwed this up…
EMILY. Tara, are you really going to make me give you the speech? The “It’s not your fault” speech?...Here, look at this magazine. Pretend that this picture is Ethel, the worst wife in the world. She’s in the Guinness book.
TARA. Ethel? That’s Angelina Jolie, dude.
EMILY. I know, but pretend it’s Ethel. Worst wife in the world, she drinks, she smokes, she tokes, the house is a mess, the kids are a mess. She spends money like a drunken sailor, she sleeps around, she even hits her husband. She is the worst wife in the world.
EMILY. The point is that even the worst wife in the world doesn’t deserve to get hit. No woman deserves to get hit. And you’re not Ethel, kid. No matter how lowdown he tells you you are, no matter how lowdown you think you are, you’re not Ethel. There’s no way in the world he can beat you over and over, without persuading you that you deserve it. And persuading you that you’re Ethel. But you’re not.
TARA. He tells me I’m worthless, and when I look in the mirror, that’s pretty much what I see.
[they all look in the “mirror” facing the audience]
GREEN. I see a woman who has survived in a man’s world since the day she was born.
EMILY. I see a woman doing the hardest job in the world, marriage, with the worst possible partner.
GREEN. I see a woman dealing with the worst possible betrayal…
EMILY. The man who promised to love her above all, becoming her worst enemy.
GREEN. Doing all he can to make all her choices painful, impossible.
EMILY. I see a woman who survived the betrayal of friends and family, a woman who survived the judges who didn’t believe and the cops who didn’t care –
EMILY. [smiles] Except for Greenie….I see a woman who brushed off broken bones and burns and bruises that would reduce most men to blubbering idiots.
GREEN. I see a woman who has come closer than almost anyone, to the very real threat of death, without collapsing.
EMILY. Like a war veteran, only she isn’t getting any medals for her heroism.
GREEN. I see a woman who has been held hostage by a terrorist for years, without falling apart.
EMILY. A woman who has had to live like a fugitive, without collapsing.
GREEN. A woman who did it!
EMILY. She escaped!
GREEN. Turning her whole life upside down, new home, new work, new school.
EMILY. That’s enough stress to kill most normal people.
GREEN. Even though she was totally unprepared for all this -- she didn't get to go to "I Married a Psychopath" boot camp.
EMILY. I see a woman with more capacity for patience and self-denial than a church full of nuns.
GREEN. If I had to go on some dangerous spy mission in a hostile country, this is the woman I would take.
EMILY. Because she can do anything, solve anything, endure anything.
GREEN. You couldn’t write a book about her life because no one would buy it, it’s too incredible. [points] Angelina Jolie would have to play her in the movie, but she’d need months in the gym just to keep up with all the stunts.
EMILY. I see a girl who…blossomed, a long time ago, and she’s ready to blossom again…Don’t be rolling your eyes at me!...Now come out to the kitchen, so we can polish off the last of my husband’s bourbon.
TARA. [perks up] I’ve never got drunk on Bourbon before.
EMILY. [wary] Oh boy. [they’re off to the kitchen]
A COURTROOM – DAY.
A courtroom, New Jersey, Julia waiting, with a titanic hangover; Sarah enters.
JULIA. Sarah! Christ, what are you doing in New Jersey?
SARAH. I’m here to bail you out of a jam, again. Ray – the bartender? Told me to give you this [kisses Julia] I know Ray’s a rotten old bastard, tossed you out of the bar….
JULIA. Sarah, I gotta tell you, I adore Ray. Even in that crappy little strip club, he made sure that everybody there treated the girls with respect, and if you broke the rules you were out on your can. I wish Ray could run the whole country that way.
SARAH. [like a campaign ad] President Ray! Half-price Bud for Happy Hour! [smiles]
JULIA. Please, God, don’t even talk about beer. I have a hangover that could kill you and three more like you. [Olivia Reid, female lawyer, enters.]
REID. [shakes Julia’s hand] Mrs Hunter, Judge King will be here any minute. We need to talk afterward. Remember, cool and calm. [Judge King enters, all rise. ]
JULIA. Ohhhhh, God.
KING. Everybody sit. Alright, for now, I’m going to try to handle this case informally, otherwise we’ll be here forever. We’ll start by discussing custody for… [consults notes] Lily Hunter. Mrs Hunter has a list of witnesses on her behalf….
JULIA. [aside to Reid] Witnesses on my – what the hell happened?
REID. I’m not sure myself. Somebody put in some sort of amicus maybe. It sounds like they’re on your side, but I have no idea who it is.
KING. Alright, Ms Reid, could you go find these witnesses of yours?
REID. Your Honor, I don’t even know who these people –
KING. Well, I’ve got a list, I’ll reel them off for you. Sarah McIntosh, Andrea Jackson, Emily Duncan, Adam Turner, Molly Kincaid, and also…Lily Hunter. [The last five enter, Turner suffering in a shirt and tie; Emily accompanied by her daughter. Molly comes last, escorting Lily and planting her in a chair in the witness box; Lily, 10, has a coat over her shoulders.]
KING. Could I have that police report please? [Molly hands it to her.]
LILY. Hi Mom.
JULIA. Lily!...Why is she here in the hearing?
REID. [grabs Julia’s arm] Don’t talk to any of the witnesses. Your husband’s lawyer has already been making noises about witness tampering. These guys know a lot about witness tampering.
JULIA. I can’t even talk to Lily?
REID. Especially not Lily….There’s been a development. Now don’t panic….[Molly takes off Lily’s coat to reveal a cast on Lily’s arm.]
JULIA. [frees herself from Reid and points] What happened to your arm, is it….[she figures it out] David. Where. Is. That. Bastard. Where is he! [Reid grabs her arm again.]
KING. I beg your pardon?
REID. [rolls her eyes] “Cool and calm”….
JULIA. “Don’t panic”?? Have you lost your mind?
REID. [aside] Calm down, the judge is already wondering whether you really are insane. Your husband’s not here. [looks around] Neither is that lawyer of his. They might actually be in criminal court downstairs, getting booked….
MOLLY. [to Lily] So, tell me again, is this one the humerus bone or the radius?
LILY. [rolls her eyes] Duh. That’s the ulna bone. And that is a Monteggia Fracture. First he broke the bone, and then it twisted. I have got the coolest scar. [Zoe sits next to Lily and shows Lily her Nintendo. Tara sees them, smiles, and looks over at Julia who nods, still in a state of shock. ]
KING. Officer, I’d like to see Miss Hunter in my office. [Julia reacts.] Not you, the girl. [King, Kincaid exit. Lily takes a step toward Julia, stops, gives Julia an intense stare for five seconds, closes her eyes and opens them again.]
LILY. Just. You. Wait. [she half-smiles, exits]
JULIA. What in God’s name happened to Lily?
REID. I didn’t want to go over this with you until we were in private. Word got out that you were coming back. Lily insisted that your husband let her see you. Your husband went berserk. Total Visigoth. [smiles] Lily doesn’t put up with any crap. She went straight to her teacher…
JULIA. And the school called the police.
REID. Yep. None of this “I fell off the swing” bullshit. Lily’s heart is as big as all outdoors, just like yours, but she inherited her ruthlessness from her father, tough luck for him….Lily gave a two-hour statement to the police, she spoke in complete, organized paragraphs, she never repeated herself, she never made a factual error. She’s the most amazing witness I’ve ever seen. And she never cried.
REID. [looks at witnesses] Wow, you said you didn’t have any friends in this town.
JULIA. I’ve been gone for a while….[looks at Turner] Turner rounded up the witnesses, didn’t he. I don’t need him to fight my battles --
REID. Sounds as though he’s been watching you take care of business for a year. I think he got tired of watching you do it all by yourself. I do know Ms McIntosh took a bus all the way from Milwaukee -- Turner used a little of the Hunter money. [smiles] I think those guys are going to ask for their retainer back. [Julia watches Turner take off his tie and exit.] Oh, I met Turner in the hall, he told me to tell you – look in your bag. [Julia does, finds a package, and a note which she opens.]
JULIA. Oh my God, I can’t right now.
REID. That’s what you have a lawyer for. [reads] “Julia. It was pretty sloppy, leaving your bag out in the open again. The witnesses weren’t really for the judge. They were for you. To show you, you are not alone…..PS You stopped wearing necklaces because of him. In the little box…”
JULIA. [opens it] It’s a necklace.
REID. “A pendant with the letter J. Because there’s nothing wrong with being plain old Julia. And it’s time to put on the necklace again, because you’re a beautiful woman, and nobody’s going to hurt you anymore. You can stop hiding and looking over your shoulder. You’re free. You can let it all go. You don’t need that armor anymore. Adam Turner”…Wow. This is the guy who hunted you down?
JULIA.[looks at her bag] That sneaky sumbitch. [Molly reenters.]
MOLLY. Mrs Hunter, your husband is being arraigned. That daughter of yours – Jesus! – she talked the judge into giving you temporary custody.
REID. If you cross the state line with Lily, let me know.
MOLLY. The judge didn’t even need to talk to the other witnesses – your daughter made the sale all by herself.
REID. I’ll bet.
MOLLY. Lily really, really wants to talk to you.
MILWAUKEE PUBLIC LIBRARY -- DAY.
Library, Lily, Julia and Jane in an internet café near the main desk, a table with a globe. Jane’s back is to the door. Julia watches the door.
LIBRARIAN. [answering the phone] Milwaukee public library…
JANE. Lily, thanks for all those books. You’re about the best friend I’ve had, next to your mom.
LILY. No sweat, dude. [points] I’m still trying to score a copy of Half-Blood Prince. [exits]
JULIA. So the new foster family is a little better?
JANE. Anything was better than the last family.
JULIA. Well, I’m going to see if I can do something for you. Just wait here for a bit, okay?
[Turner meets Julia, they look at each other for a minute.]
TURNER. Who’s the girl?
JULIA. That’s Jane. She’s one of my girls. I’ve been working on her case all year.
TURNER. How are you sleeping?
JULIA. Long as Lily is in the next room, I sleep like a baby.
TURNER. I talked to Molly back in Jersey. Your husband’s probably going to get off with probation and rehab. He could even fight for custody of Lily.
JULIA. Oh God…
TURNER. I checked around, and your husband brought in a new detective, he worked narcotics in New York and then quit the force. Actually he’s more of a legbreaker than a detective. He’s got a whole team. They’re playing hardball now. Desperate people do stupid things. And they know you used to live here in Milwaukee.
JULIA. Seriously, they didn’t catch me the first time, they won’t catch me now…
TURNER. Lia! [softer] Lia, the guy who fractured your sister-in-law’s skull? I think this is the guy.
JULIA. Oh. [Turner goes to the globe and reaches to the far side.]
TURNER. Lia, I’m reaching to the other side of the world here – I don’t know what country my finger is on, but go there. Seriously. Some place where you don’t get bars on your phone. If not for yourself – do you want this gorilla within a thousand miles of Lily?
JULIA. Where’s Lily?
TURNER. Still looking for Harry Potter….See the big Ford in the parking lot? The guy behind the wheel is just sitting there.
JULIA. Turner –
TURNER. Julia, I think they’re already here.
JULIA. Turner. Having you been using credit cards? When you rented the second car in Chicago?
TURNER. Oh shit.
JULIA. Great. They’re not hunting me, now they’re hunting you, to find me. This is my husband’s way of telling you, you’re fired. What, are you back to trying to get me killed again?....Turner, I’m sorry. Seriously, I’m sorry.
TURNER. Okay, it’s time to use the judge’s cards.
JULIA. The cards?...I keep telling you. There’s one more thing I need to do here in Milwaukee. Before we go…. Can you find Lily?
TURNER. You know, you go to the movies and they try to scare you with monsters, terrorists, drug dealers, serial killers….And all the time, the scariest guys are all around us, in our own houses, guys like your husband.
JULIA. Fine you convinced me, I’m scared. Go find Lily….Now! [Turner goes to the back of the library. ]
JULIA. [to librarian] You know the women’s shelter downtown, right?
LIBRARIAN. Actually I do.
JULIA. And the safe house we used to have?
LIBRARIAN. Yeah, I heard about that.
JULIA. Is there a back door to this place?
LIBRARIAN. What do you -- [it sinks in] Oh….[picks up the ringing phone] Public library….Officer Hunter, what can I do for you?....Julia Hunter? [looks at Julia who shakes her head] I’m not sure I’ve ever met her, so I couldn’t tell you, could you describe her to me?....Sorry, it doesn’t ring a bell, I see a hundred people a day….But good luck, Officer….I hope she’s safe. [hangs up, thinks] Meet me back by the bathrooms. [Librarian goes to the back; Turner and Lily enter]
TURNER. Okay, Lily, let’s see how smart you are. A few weeks ago I got a package from Judge King. [pulls out envelope] Social Security cards, all three of us have the same last name now! Can you tell me why?
LILY. Actually I was kinda hoping for that. That’s the first smart idea I’ve heard all day. [Turner and Julia take a long look at each other]
JULIA. And why would that be?
TURNER. Don’t get carried away, just because I’m the first guy in years who didn’t treat you like dirt. I don’t want to see anybody run you through the grinder again, not even me.
JULIA. [rolls her eyes] Jesus Christ. Those bastards beat me like a freakin’ piñata for seven years and then hunted me like an animal. And you think you’re going to jack me up more than they did? [laughing] You better call for backup, Mister Five-O. You’re not afraid you’re going to hurt me, you’re afraid you’re going to hurt me and then I’m going to kick your ass….I know you think you’re so big and tough, but I’ve seen you in action, remember? You’re a cream puff. [touches his chest; serious] The only way you can hurt me is by losing my daughter. I don’t need to give you the big speech, do I? About keeping her safe? My sister in law, Kathy, last month I went to her gravesite. You understand me?...We’re out of time. Pick a city.
JULIA. Pick a city!
JULIA. Pick a city that isn’t right around the corner from my husband!
LILY. Mom. San Francisco. [looks at Turner]
JULIA. [looks hard at him] Can you find me there?
TURNER. I think so.
JULIA. Can you find me there before the legbreakers do?
TURNER. Let’s find out.
JULIA. Remember, never even say the words “San Francisco” out loud. Not to anyone, not even to our friends. No hotel reservations, no tickets, nothing online, no credit cards [glares at Turner], no phone calls ….Nobody can figure out our plan, if there is no plan.
TURNER. Okay, Lily, think it through again. Why do we all have the same last name now?
LILY. [pauses] Boy am I stupid. You didn’t want to have the same name as Mom. You wanted to have the same name as me.
TURNER. [nods] So if something happens to your mom, you come with me. You don’t have to go back to your dad. He might break your arm all over again, just to find out where your mom is.
LILY. Yeah. [looks at Turner for a long time, then nods]
TURNER. I have to tell you now, I’m pretty strict, about bedtime, about dating…
LILY. Yeah, and wrapping you around my little finger will take me…how long?
TURNER. Maybe two days. [they smile] Bonus question, Lily. I’m taking two of the IDs. Why?...Your father’s men are coming right now. They’re looking for all three of us, or else you and your mom together, a mom and a daughter. What’s the one thing they aren’t looking for?
LILY. [to Turner] You and me together. [to Julia] Mom….no, no!
JULIA. Lily, tonight, you and Adam are getting in a car and heading south. I’m getting on a bus heading west.
LILY. Mom, what are you talking about –
JULIA. Sweetie, we don’t have time. They’re coming now. We’re taking different routes to San Francisco. That way they can’t get us both all in one fell swoop.
TURNER. Just remember, this is your idea, not mine. I think you’re nuts.
LILY. I think you’re nuts too.
JULIA. See, already the two of you think alike!....Turner, you were a cop, right?
JULIA. And you still pack a gun, right?
JULIA. And that’s why you’re the one to protect Lily.
LILY. Okay….Now I get it.
JULIA. Listen, I stayed alive all those years, just trust me….And Adam? It wasn’t just that you didn’t treat me like dirt. You dragged your feet, looking for me. You had a million chances to throw us to the lions…If you couldn’t even give me away, you could never give away Lily.
TURNER. You make me sound like your guardian angel. You never needed me for all this. You saved yourself. Just like Lily did. I gave you a “get out of jail free” card, you should have run all the way to China. Instead you went back to Jersey, right into the lion’s den. And all by yourself, you got your girl.
JULIA.[to Lily] And I’m coming to get you again….
LILY. Mommy –
JULIA. I need you to hang tough and do your job.
LILY. My job?
JULIA. I need you to help Adam find me in San Francisco, before those other guys do….Okay?...Turner, swear to God, if you mess this up…
TURNER. Hey, I’m not afraid of what you’re going to do, I’m more afraid of Lily. Look what she did to her own father in that police station…Seriously. I don’t know why you did it this way, you don’t need me for this trip.
JULIA. [looks at him] Come anyway….[smiles] You said you wanted to see what happens next…?...[a bit derisively] Or is there some line you can’t cross?....We’re splitting up tonight. After we go to Ray’s.
TURNER. They know all about Ray’s! It’s too dangerous!
JULIA. We have to do something. At Rays. Something…incredible….
RAY’S BAR, MILWAUKEE.
ZOE [enters] Gimme a whiskey, Mister. [Emily and Tara follow]
RAY. What the hell is going on? We close in ten minutes.
EMILY. They told us to be here at closing time.
RAY. Who told you?
[Julia enters with Turner, Lily, Jane]
JULIA. Hey, Ray.
RAY. [takes a long look] Just go easy on my beer supply, for once. [Julia hugs him]
TURNER. Adam Turner. This is Lily. [Zoe and Jane play with a Nintendo, Jane with her back to the door]
RAY. Used to be a cop?
TURNER. How can you tell?...Never mind.
RAY. Beer’s on me. If you’re taking care of Julia you need it.
SARA. [entering with Misty] Hey, Ray, can we shut down the….oh my God! [They hug Julia who groans] And hey, you’re sober!
JULIA. [marching to the bar] Not for long!
SARA. So why are you back in Milwaukee?
JULIA. [smiles] You’ll see. It’s a surprise.
SARA. Hang on a minute, I’m almost done with my homework. [Lily follows Sara]
TARA. [to Turner] Mister Turner!
TURNER. So you didn’t get on that bus, then?
TARA. I got a lawyer instead.
TURNER. Rock and roll.
BAILEY. So you’re Turner, the great white bounty hunter?
TURNER. What’s it to you?
BAILEY. I’ve been trying to figure out whose side you’re on.
TURNER. Yeah, me too.
BAILEY. Well, just in the last three days, three different guys came nosing around our headquarters.
TURNER. Out of state plates?
BAILEY. [nods] Looking for Julia. Bringing Julia to Ray’s was just plain crazy, get her out of town tonight.
TURNER. I told her, she insisted on coming here tonight.
BAILEY. Okay, something we need to do real quick. [exits]
TURNER. So when can we go?
JULIA. Not yet! I told you!
ANNA. [enters with Chinese food] Just ain’t a party without General Tso. [Anna and Julia look at each other and then hug]
LILY. [holding the physics textbook] No, no! You’re using the wrong formula! This is centrifugal force.
SARA. [scribbling] Centrifugal…
LILY. Yeah. That trick you do with those tassels of yours? Centrifugal force….At least you have tassels.
SARA. Don’t worry, kid. Your tassels are coming soon. And then things are gonna get really interesting.
LILY. So Mom, why are we here?
JULIA. [Green enters] Greenie, what happened?
GREEN. Lia, today would be a good day for you to play the lottery. Your luck is ungodly.
JULIA. [beams] About time too. And your timing is perfect.
GREEN. Who says I can’t help with the railroad?
LILY. Mom, what’s wrong?
GREEN. So you didn’t tell them?
JULIA. Hell no. It’s a surprise. I was working on this thing for months.
JULIA. Just. You. Wait.
LILY. I have the meanest mom ever.
JULIA. [points to Turner’s envelope] Gimme that…[to Jane] You know what blood money is?
JULIA. On behalf of the Hunter family, I want you to have this…
JANE. What the…[looks inside] Oh my God!
JULIA. Hold onto it, in case we get separated…or something….
[Bailey and Mrs. Wheeler enter, behind Jane; Wheeler stands behind Jane’s chair]
JANE. Separated??...[looks at the money] You’re not going to leave me all alone?...Where are you going?
JULIA. Where are you going?
WHEELER. You best get yourself out of that chair, Texas, I got the drop on ya.
JANE. Mom. [she turns] Mommy! Mommy! [runs to her mother]
JULIA. Green, Green, Officer Green! You are the bomb! The ab-so-lute bomb! [Bailey exits]
GREEN. [they high-five] Well, you did all the grunt work.
TURNER. Where did you find her? [Julia glares at him] Never mind.
JULIA. Once in a while, I manage to bring one home alive.
LILY. [crying] I have the Coolest. Mom. Ever!
TURNER. [laughs, hands her a hankie] Another girl who can’t stop crying.
LILY. Oh shut up…..
JULIA. ….[looks at Jane] Now we can go.
TURNER. See, I was right. Deep down, you’re total mush, like a country love song.
JULIA. And I love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. You wanted to know the real me? Total girly girl….Might as well warn you now.
LILY. How big is San Francisco?
JULIA. Shh…Big….Christmas under the Golden Gate, baby!...Time to go now. [Julia hugs Lily, Julia groans]. Easy on the ribs, baby. [Lily crosses to Turner]
GREEN. [looking out front window] Bunch of cars rolling into the parking lot.
BAILEY. [reenters] Back alley’s clear. Let’s make this quick.
JULIA. Turner. [they look at each other] You know I’m trusting you with…
TURNER. I know.
JULIA. You know I can’t keep breathing if I don’t get her back –
TURNER. [nods] Like oxygen….Try to get some sleep on the bus. [Lily and Turner run out the back with Bailey ]
JULIA. [center stage with her duffel bag; deep breath, pulls on her Packers cap, or possibly a Niners cap] Run, baby, run. [exit with Green]