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Eye level


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Eye level

  1. 1. EYE LEVEL byJosh Vogel 333 W State St. Apt. 5 Mason City, IA 50401 (641) 425-0869
  2. 2. ACT I FADE ININT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAYSTUDENTS wander the locker-lined hall of a school. Atthe end of the hall we see the back of CADE CAVERLY, anaverage high school freshman holding BOOKS. Cade appearsoblivious to KWAN, a short but talkative Korean-Americanstanding between him and a HALF-SIZE LOCKER. KWAN Dude, so not what she meant.LEVI, a fellow classmate fitting the popular jock mold,approaches from behind and purposely BUMPS into Cade -causing Cade to DROPS his books. LEVI (arrogantly) My bad, Teeny Weeny. Didnt see ya.Kwan talks non-stop as he helps pick up books, and werealize socially awkward Cade is very aware of theworld: CADE (V.O.) If you knew both my parents are dwarves, you might think thats why Levi called me teeny weeny. I wish it was that simple.INT. CAVERLY KITCHENS - MORNINGQUICK CUTS of a home designed for varying heights, withSTEP LADDERS, LIGHT SWITCH EXTENSIONS, etc.Cade sits at the kitchen table as his father MARK, toughbut with a mischievous side, reads a PAPER. His WALLETlays on the table. Cades bubbly mother, TAMI, finishesmaking WAFFLES. CADE (V.O.) It all started a few days ago, when I begged my parents not to drop me off on my first day at a new school.Tami brings a plate over to Cade. TAMI Heres your waffle hon.
  3. 3. 2. CADE Why cant I just walk again?Mark looks up from his paper. MARK Maybe we should let him. He might bulk up carrying all those books. (to Cade, with an arm flex) The girls love muscle.Tami shakes her head and cleans up around the kitchen,as Mark returns to his paper. TAMI All these years, and your father still hasnt figured out why I married him. MARK (without looking up) And whys that again?Cade smiles he watches Tami silently slips a TWENTY fromout of Marks wallet. TAMI For your money! MARK (oblivious) Ha!Tami slips the twenty to Cade. TAMI (sotto, to Cade) In case we forgot any fees for your first day. CADE (sotto, to Tami) Thanks mom.Tami brings over another waffle, this time for Mark. Sheproceeds to cut it up for him. TAMI And dont you worry Cade, well drop you right off at the front door so you can get right in and meet some new friends!Tami holds up a piece and feeds it to Mark.
  4. 4. 3. TAMI (CONTD) (to Mark) Do you like the new recipe? Mark gives a thumbs up as he chews. Tami feeds him a second piece. TAMI (CONTD) Unless of course youre embarrassed by us, but I know youre not. (uncertain) Youre not, are you? CADE Of course not! MARK (with mouth full) Of course hes not. Tami returns to the waffle maker, and Mark gives Cade a thumbs down as he spits the waffles into a napkin. CADE (V.O.) Is there a teenager alive not embarrassed by their parents? EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT - MORNING Cade tries to rush out of the CAR, but in his hurry slams his BACKPACK strap in the door. As Cade yanks at it, we hear his mother yell from inside the car: TAMI Wait! As Tami gets out from the passenger side and walks round, Mark ROLLS DOWN THE WINDOW. MARK Whats the hurry bud?Cade opens the car door and frees his backpack just as hismother nears. TAMI Oh pumpkin, dont rush off before I get a chance to kiss you goodbye! Cade begrudgingly leans down so his mother can more easily reach his cheek for a kiss. Tami turns to Mark.
  5. 5. 4. TAMI (CONTD) Mark, take a picture! MARK But Im all situated with my pedal extenders. TAMI Just take it from there then! Mark holds up his SMARTPHONE to take the photo. MARK Move over so I can get a good angle here. TAMI (loudly to Cade) Love you dear. CADE (much quieter) Love you too mom. As Tami walks back around, Mark asks Cade questions. MARK Do you have everything you need? Schedule? Calculator? Contact solution? You know your eyes act up after gym. CADE Its all in my backpack dad. MARK: Good. And dont forget, girls love a little mystery. (sotto, to Cade) Its how I got your mom.WIDEN OUT TOShot of lots of kids staring at the car. CADE Mystery. (sighing) Right.
  6. 6. 5.INT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY - MORNINGAs Cade looks back and forth with uncertainty between aSHEET in his hand and his mini locker, hes taken abackwhen fast-talking Kwan rushes up. KWAN (speedily) Hi, you must be Cade. Ms. Smilie designated me to be your buddy. She said she picked me because youd feel more comfortable with someone close to your height and Im the shortest one in the class, but you arent very short. I think she thought you were a dwarf like your parents. CADE Wouldnt my height have been on my physical?FLASHBACK - ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICEAn uptight administrator, MS. SMILIE, looks over forms. MS. SMILIE Well this cant be right! I met his parents and Im certain its genetic. Well have to order a special locker.RESUME SCENE CADE (looking at locker) That explains it. (then to Kwan) And you really need to slow down when you talk. KWAN Sorry, my parents say I make up for my small frame by erupting like a volcano, only words are my lava. Everyone here has facebook and twitter but I wish blogs were still more popular because you can say so much more with them. (extending hand) Im Kwan by the way.
  7. 7. 6. CADE (shaking Kwans hand) Like Michelle Kwan? KWAN Its a popular boys name in Korea meaning strong, though Im not very strong. Michelle Kwan could probably take me down in one punch. CADE If it makes you feel better, she could probably take me too. KWAN (increasing in speed) Some people here call me Shorty. I dont mind, but you dont have to call me that if you think itd offend your parents. Would it offend them? Theyre dwarves, right? Do you live in a small house? Can they drive? Wait, I saw them drop you off. Can they reach the pedals? Are you adopted? And if not, how come youre not a dwarf? CADE Probably not, yes, no, pedal extenders, no, its not always passed down, and can you please point me to biology before my brain gets crushed by the speed of your sound waves?Kwan points, and Cade walks off in that direction. KWAN (sotto) He made me speechless. (excited) I need to update my blog!INT. CLASSROOM - MOMENTS LATERMR. FARRINGTON stands at the front of the class, handingthe first person in each row a sheet of paper.Cade sits in a desk near the back of the class. Next tohim sits the beautiful RACHEL DOUGHERTY, sweet butwitty. Shes also Levis fraternal twin.
  8. 8. 7. MR. FARRINGTON (dryly) Welcome class to the world of biology, where well learn how fundamentalists prove evolution, simply by being unevolved.Mr. Farrington points in Cades direction. MR. FARRINGTON (CONTD) Disagree? Take it up with Hairy.Cade looks to his side and realizes there is a smallTERRARIUM housing a TARANTULA. CADE (under his breath) Can that thing get out? RACHEL Youre afraid of Hairy? CADE (with shaky voice) No. RACHEL I hear a bite from the Pelinobius muticus can cause spasms and hallucinations.Mr. Farrington overhears and intervenes. MR. FARRINGTON Now Rachel, you know Hairys a Grammostola Rosea, and hes perfectly harmless.Mr. Farrington turns to Cade. MR. FARRINGTON (CONTD) Mr. Caverly, I presume? Would you prefer a seat up front?Cade realizes his classmates are laughing at him. CADE No, Im good.Cade quickly looks back at the tarantula before turninghis nervous attention back to Mr. Farrington.
  9. 9. 8. MR. FARRINGTON Now, biology is full of surprises. Our own Mr. Caverly comes from a unique background himself. Isnt that right? CADE Not really. My moms ancestors are Norwegian; my dad has Irish and German in him. MR. FARRINGTON (befuddled) Im not sure you understood the question.As Mr. Farrington continues talking and goes to write onthe whiteboard: CADE (V.O.) I knew precisely what he was asking.FLASHBACK - INT. RECEPTION HALLA WEDDING RECEPTION. Mark & Tami are dressed as brideand groom with 90s hairstyles, ready to cut the WEDDINGCAKE but struggling to reach it. CADE (V.O.) My parents both have achondroplasia and adapted as necessary, though occasionally something got overlooked.The cake ends up tipping and Tami catches some of it.The couple laugh as she smears frosting on Mark.FLASHBACK - EXT. SIDEWALKA WOMAN in a late 90s outfits looks strangely at a BABYin a STROLLER that at first appears to be rolling slowlyby itself, until Tami becomes visible. CADE (V.O.) It may seem odd my parents have the same condition when over 200 conditions cause short stature, but it is the most common.FLASHBACK - INT. NURSERYMark puts the BABY in a special crib with a side door.
  10. 10. 9. CADE (V.O.) Having a baby that didnt share their condition caught them off guard, but they adjusted.The baby secure, Mark BUMPS his head on the crib. CADE (V.O.) (CONTD) Mostly.RETURN TO SCENEA MALE STUDENT places Hairy the Tarantula on adaydreaming Cades desk. Cades instant reaction is toslam his heavy BIOLOGY BOOK on the spider.His classmates look on in shock that the class pet isdead. Mr. Farrington looks annoyed. RACHEL Watch out everyone. New guys a killer.Hairy crawls out from under the book, and Cade jumpsaway from his chair. The class LAUGHS. MR. FARRINGTON Luckily for Mr. Caverly, survival of the fittest is a misnomer.The BELL RINGS and the students grab their belongingsand exit, with only a nervous Cade and amused Rachellingering behind. CADE (V.O.) Mr. Farrington had a point, but I was beginning to feel like high school would eat me alive...CADES POVThe tarantula is still on the desk with his possessions. CADE (V.O.) ...if spiders didnt get to me first.BACK TO SCENERachel grabs Cades belongings for him.
  11. 11. 10. RACHEL If it makes you feel better, Im absolutely petrified of guinea pigs. CADE (quizzically) Really? RACHEL No.Rachel walks away, and Mr. Farrington returns Hairy tothe terrarium. CADE (V.O.) Id have a better chance of survival with the Donner Party. END OF ACT I
  12. 12. 11. ACT IIINT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAYKwan talks Cades ear off at Cades mini-locker whenRachel walks by, smiling. CADE (V.O.) The rest of my first week was equally humiliating, though I started to feel as if Rachel liked me anyway.Levi walks by and throws a FAKE SPIDER onto Cade. LEVI Boo! CADE (to Kwan) Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!As Levi walks off laughing, Kwan picks off the toy.Seeing it, Cades face turns beet red. It turns evenredder as he sees Rachel turn away to her other friends. KWAN You know, my dads a hypnotherapist on the side. If arachnophobia is a problem for you, Im sure I could talk him into giving my new best friend a free session. He already likes you, you know. CADE He doesnt know me. KWAN Sure he does. He read all about you in my blog! CADE I keep forgetting to check that out. (Hes not) KWAN Ill e-mail you the link again, and Ill also send a link to my dads hypnotherapy site so you can check him out.
  13. 13. 12.As Kwan continues to talk about his dad: CADE (V.O.) I didnt need a hypnotist to forget my fears. I needed a magician to make everyone forget the past two days.INT. PASTORS HOME - DAYA DOORBELL RINGS. PASTOR PAUL DOUGHERTY, 40s, baldingand jovial, walks towards the door. CADE (V.O.) I didnt know it at the time, but my parents were also trying to find friends.PAULS POV - THROUGH PEEPHOLEPaul cant see anyone there and begins to walk off, whenthe DOORBELL RINGS again.RETURN TO SCENEThis time Paul opens the door and is obviously surprisedto see Tami standing with a PIE. TAMI Hi, are you Pastor Dougherty? PAUL I am. TAMI Its so nice to meet you. Im Tami, and my family will be joining your church. PAUL (lightbulb flashes) Ah, the Caverly family. Come in! TAMI Oh, I cant stay, but you must come to our house for dinner tonight. PAUL Im not sure Tami. I have two teens, and its hard to drag them anywhere. TAMI Oh you dont have to tell me. Cade was my height when he was nine!
  14. 14. 13. PAUL (chuckles) Okay. Ill drag the kids to dinner. (trying to not offend) And youre sure you have room in your house for the three of us? TAMI Oh, dont you worry about that! Are house is very accessible by the diminutively-challenged.INT. CAVERLY KITCHEN - LATE AFTERNOONMark prepares food as an exhausted Cade throws hisbackpack down on the table, plopping down. MARK Rough first week?Cade simply nods. CADE (V.O.) Rough? Itd been more volatile than Charlie Sheens bowels after a bender. MARK Did you at least meet any cute girls? CADE One. MARK Just one? When I was your age, I was fighting off the girls. (hushed) Dont tell your mom. CADE Ill just put that one in my back pocket and keep it there until its time to negotiate a raise. MARK See, I knew you were my son. But Cade, Im telling you, you just have to play it cool. Its all about the mystery.Mark turns back to cooking. Cade watches his dad use aGRIP UTENSIL to grab a seasoning out of his reach.
  15. 15. 14. CADE (V.O.) My dad sometimes acted like a ladies man, but it was really just his way of showing that his height had no bearing on his confidence. And he was big into little people pride.FLASHBACK - EXT. SIDEWALKA FEW FRAT GUYS laugh as one approaches Mark holding aLOLLIPOP. CADE He once punched a man in the family jewels for calling him a munchkin. MARK The M words are off limit.Mark PUNCHES the man in the junk, causing the man tofall to his knees. CADE (V.O.) He really is the perfect height for that.FLASHBACK - "SANTAS WORKSHOP"Tami, dressed as an ELF, and a MALL SANTA pour a littlewhiskey into their hot cocoa, then toast each other. CADE My mom, on the other hand, didnt mind playing into peoples stereotypes if it meant some extra shopping money for the holidays.Tami steps through the door of the workshop. TAMI Okay, kiddos, Santas back from break but I dont know how long my seal will hold, so lets get this line moving!BACK TO SCENETami enters the kitchen and sees Cades belongings allover the table.
  16. 16. 15. TAMI Dont leave your books on the table, dear. Were having company tonight. CADE What? Who? MARK Pastor Dougherty. Were going to start going to his church on Sunday. I think his kids are in your class. CADE (to his dad) You couldnt have said something? MARK (shrugging) I thought you knew.Cade picks up his books and starts to hurry off. TAMI Where are you going? CADE (running off) I need to shower! TAMI Hurry, theyll be here soon! (to Mark) You didnt tell him so he could shower? MARK I didnt realize he was a girl. CADE (O.S.) I heard that!INT. CAVERLY BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATERCade takes out his CONTACTS and we see GLASSES sittingon the sink counter.INT. CAVERLY KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATERMark continues cooking and Tami cleans up when they heara car pulling up.
  17. 17. 16. TAMI Thats them; theyre early! MARK (loudly) Hurry up Cade!INTERCUT BETWEEN THE BATHROOM & KITCHENCade sings in the shower - badly CADE (into it) Oh oh, I want some more.Mark and Tami greet Paul and his kids: Rachel & Levi.Rachel smiles cordially but Levi doesnt even attempt tohide his disdain for being dragged along. TAMI Pastor Dougherty, so glad you could make it! PAUL Please, Tami, call me Paul. And these are my twins, Rachel and Levi.Levi rolls his eyes. TAMI (noticing) And arent they both lovely. RACHEL Thank you Mrs. Caverly. Wheres Cade? LEVI So do you guys, like, work at the chocolate factory?Tami automatically extends her arm in front of Markbefore he can do anything. He smiles through his teeth. RACHEL Youll have to excuse my brother. He thinks hes a smart ass, but hes only half right. PAUL (knock it off) Kids.
  18. 18. 17. MARK Its fine. Was just a short time ago we were kids cracking wise ourselves. LEVI (sotto, snickering) Short. MARK Cades showering but will be out soon. (winking to Rachel) And now I see why he wanted to clean up.A spider crawls up the bathroom wall.Mark has returned to cooking. Around the table, Tamientertains the guests. Levi stares at Mark. TAMI That sounds lovely Paul. RACHEL (sotto, to Levi) Stop staring. LEVI (sotto, to Rachel) Ive never seen one in action.Rachel jabs Levi in the leg. LEVI (CONTD) OWW! TAMI Is everything okay? LEVI (grimacing) Yep. Just a spasm. (beat) You were saying?Done showering, Cade goes to grab his towel.CADES POVEverything looks FUZZY but theres obviously a largedark spot on the towel.
  19. 19. 18.BACK TO SCENECade grabs his glasses and realizes that what he sees isa spider. He throws the towel down, runs, and...INT. CAVERLY KITCHEN - CONTINUOUSTami, Pastor Paul, Levi and Rachel continue to chat whenthey hear Cade screaming. Mark turns around. CADE (O.S.) Spider, spider, spider, spider, spider!As everyone elses jaws drop, Mark quickly grabs a DISHTOWEL from the counter and throws it towards the camera.THEIR POVA wet Cade strategically holds the dish towel from hisdad. Hes frozen like a deer in headlights, lookingincreasingly embarrassed. LEVI (O.S.) Someone likes cold showers. CADE (V.O.) And like that, my social life had ended before it begun. So much for winning girls over with mystery. END OF ACT II
  20. 20. 19. ACT IIIINT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY - MORNINGCade walks through the hall as classmates either snickeror turn away. CADE (V.O.) As if it wasnt bad enough my new crush saw me in the buff, Levi relished ruining my reputation.CLOSE SHOT: LEVI LEVI Im telling you, he made Brett Favres look like a horse.BACK TO SCENECade sees a BROKEN RULER, showing just a few inches,taped to his locker. He sighs, then proceeds to exchangebooks for his next class. CADE (V.O.) In the hierarchy of the freshmen class, he was like a Koch brother and I was just a Wisconsin Democrat. He wasnt doing me any favors, and everyone knew.CLOSE SHOT: MR. FARRINGTON MR. FARRINGTON I find it fascinating that only one body part inherited your parents dwarfism. CADE (V.O.) EVERYONE.CLOSE SHOT: MS. SMILIE MS. SMILIE I hear you showed off your assets the other day. If I see you streaking here, I will have to suspend you. (whispers) But if you happen to run by Washington Street, I wont call the police.
  21. 21. 20.RETURN TO SCENECade starts to walk back through the hall. He realizesRachel is approaching behind him, and speeds up. CADE (V.O.) I avoided Ms. Smilie after that, but not running into Rachel proved more difficult. RACHEL Hey Cade, wait up!Cade looks back while continuing to walk quickly andruns straight into an OPEN DOOR. Rachel grimaces, butCade recovers and ducks into the nearby BOYS RESTROOM.INT. BOYS RESTROOM - CONTINUOUSCade wets a paper towel to hold to his face when he isstartled by a voice. KWAN (O.S.) Man, you look awful! CADE (looking around) Kwan? Where are you? KWAN (O.S.) In a stall.Cade finally spots dangling feet. CADE Are you... KWAN (interrupting) Just sitting here. I always get constipated when the cafeteria serves chicken nuggets for lunch. I dont think theyre really serving us nuggets made of chicken. CADE Sometimes its a good thing you talk fast because Im pretty sure there was info in there I didnt want to hear.
  22. 22. 21. KWAN My dad says the same thing sometimes. There were just a few guys in here gossiping about what happened this weekend. I dont think they knew I was here, but Ive already noticed other guys have been calling me Shorty less, so I guess I should thank you. CADE Youre welcome. (beat) How long have you been in here? KWAN Thirty-seven minutes.INT. CAVERLY KITCHEN - THAT AFTERNOONCade walks in, bruised and defeated. Mark and Tamiimmediately notice Cades face. TAMI Cade! What happened? MARK (forming fists) Let me at the guy. CADE Right, because having a dad thats half my height fight my battles would make everything better.Mark and Tami look at each other. Mark shrugs. TAMI Cade, we know its not easy having parents others might consider different. CADE Im sorry, I didnt mean that. Its not you guys. Its Levi. MARK (to Tami) See what happens when you hold me back? CADE Oh no, he didnt do this. I ran into a door. But the other day, what Levi saw...
  23. 23. 22. TAMI What dear? CADE Theyre calling me Teeny Weeny.Mark & Tami are silent a beat then burst into LAUGHTER. CADE (CONTD) Its not funny! TAMI Im sorry honey. Its just... Your dad and I have been called names our entire lives, and sometimes the only way to make it through is to have a sense of humor about it. CADE Like when dad hit a guy? TAMI Your dads a bad example. MARK I think its time we told you the rest of that story.FLASHBACK - EXT. STORE PARKING LOTTami, with shopping bags in hands, heads to the vehiclethat Mark has pulled up to the curb. MARK (V.O.) That wasnt the last time we saw those guy.The same frat guy from earlier nears Tami with anotherLOLLIPOP. CADE (V.O.) Whatd you do?FLASHBACK - MARKS POVMark snaps a photo with his smartphone. MARK (V.O.) I sent a photo to the cops.
  24. 24. 23.PHOTO - FRAT GUY GIVING LOLLIPOP TO "GIRL" (TAMI)FLASHBACK - EXT. FRAT HOUSEA COP has the frat guy pinned up against a door. COP I hear you like giving candy to little girls.FLASHBACK - INT. FRAT HOUSEMUSIC PLAYS at a FRAT PARTY. The same frat guy as beforecomes in and turns down the music, and SORORITY GIRLSstart to gather their things. MARK (V.O.) No charges were filed, but the cops kept their eyes on the frat house. FRAT GUY Where are you going? The cop will drive away in a few minutes. SORORITY GIRL Thats what you always say. Come on girls, were going to the Kappa Tau Gamma house. MARK (V.O.) Those guys never bothered us again.RETURN TO SCENE CADE Great, so all I have to do is frame Levi for a crime. TAMI I think what youre father is trying to say is guys like that will keep harassing you if they know it gets to you. You need to be the bigger man and ignore them. CADE I didnt get that from that story at all.
  25. 25. 24. MARK Cade, what Im saying is you need to stand tall no matter what anybody says. Let karma do the rest.INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - THE NEXT DAYCade, wearing JEANS, sees Rachel coming down the halland tries to crouch behind his mini-lockers door. CADE (V.O.) Despite my parents advice, I still tried my best to avoid Rachel the next day. RACHEL You seem a lot more bashful than you were this weekend. CADE I guess Im just more bashful when there arent spiders around. RACHEL I can go get Hairy- CADE (quick to interrupt) Please dont. RACHEL (amused) So you really were scared. And here I thought that was your idea of flirting.Cade grabs his books from his locker. CADE Flirting? My dad says girls like mystery, but I think the cats out of the bag. RACHEL You mean because of my brothers exaggerations? CADE I havent exactly heard you stopping him. RACHEL (slyly) I have my reasons.
  26. 26. 25.Cade looks clueless as Rachel begins to walk off. RACHEL (CONTD) (turning back) You know, your parents might be short, but they sure gave you some nice genes.Cade, oblivious, looks down at his jeans. CADE Thanks, we got them at the outlet store.Rachel smiles before continuing on her way. Kwan quicklyswoops in from the sidelines. KWAN Dude, so NOT what she meant.Cade thinks about it a brief moment, then smiles as hewatches Rachel walk away - until Levi BUMPS him causingCade to drop his books. LEVI My bad, teeny weeny. Didnt see ya.As we return to the same scene we saw at the beginningfeaturing Cade and Kwan picking up the books: CADE (V.O.) And suddenly I didnt care what anybody else thought about me or my family. Parents may embarrass you at times, but when you embarrass yourself, theyre there for you. And if my parents taught me anything, its that lifes not about size... its about attitude. END OF ACT III
  27. 27. 26. TAGINT. BOYS RESTROOMKwans feet dangle in the stall. KWAN (incredibly fast) I talked to my dad about hypnotizing you and he said hed be up for it, but he needs your parents to sign a permission form since youre a minor. Do you think they would? I know a lot of people think its just a bunch of baloney, which by the way also makes me constipated, but it really can do be useful for people trying to confront their fears. Did you check out my dads web site? Hey, did you ever check out my blog? Do you mind if I write about your incident in my blog at all? I hope not, because I already did.A moment of silence as Kwan realizes hes been the onlyone talking for a while. KWAN (CONTD) Cade? Are you still there? FADE OUT. END OF SHOW