23 INT. RUBY'S KITCHEN. MORNING
The camera pans past the stolen newspaper. The headlines read, 'Government Shake-up. Welfare-Pension Plan Overhaul'
A small radio mounted on a ledge rattles with official voices debating the news.
RUBY is standing over the stove, stirring two hard-boiled eggs in a saucepan. Her mind is someplace else.
FUCHSIA enters, switches the radio over to jazz music. Ella Fitzgerald sings, 'Nice work if you can get it' in the background.
FUCHSIA hoists herself up on the kitchen table and stares at
Ruby in comfortable silence.
You don't have to stir them for
too long, Ruby.
24 EXT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. MORNING.
RUBY and FUCHSIA walk down the busy street to Carl's shop. FUCHSIA is neatly dressed, ready for school. RUBY is in a long skirt and blazer with thick raised heels and stockings, her hair in an attractive bun.
They are both playing, trying not to step on the pavement cracks.
25 INT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. SAME.
Inside the bookshop, a small fire burns in a hearth. Next to it is a reading chair and coffee table with literary magazines. The shop looks more like a personal den than a place of business.
FUCHSIA makes a bee line for the counter. She puts on her father's glasses.
I'd like the latest best seller
by the great Fuchsia O'Roarke.
Madame, you show excellent taste.
I have to go now.
I have an appointment.
Oh. Poo. Wish you could come to
school with me today.
Yuk. Hate school.
They both giggle. CARL'S footsteps are heard coming down the wooden stairs at the back of the shop.
The giggling turns to laughing.
He steps into frame. Sees Ruby.
Oh. Hello, Ruby.
CARL immediately busies himself with a pile of books, stacking them on the shelves.
How are you, Carl?
I told you Fiona would pick you up today.
FUCHSIA and RUBY exchange a furtive look.
QUICK DISSOLVE TO
26 EXT. RUBY'S BACK PORCH. MORNING.
FIONA calls at the backdoor of Ruby's house. She knocks tentatively and calls 'hello'. A cat jumps up to the window-sill and hisses through the glass.
FIONA screams and trips backward.
QUICK DISSOLVE TO
27 INT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. SAME.
Carl confronts Ruby.
You said you were busy today.
RUBY sighs, 'same as it ever was'.
Ruby has an appointment.
The frost on the window melts. The fire in the hearth rages on and beads of perspiration break out on Carl's forehead.
RUBY leans over and softly wipes Carl's brow. It is an old, familiar gesture. He is transfixed for a moment. Ruby holds his gaze.
(deliberately breaking the moment)
By the way, we're taking Fuchsia
to my mother's next weekend.
RUBY stares at him in disbelief.
She turns to FUCHSIA for help.
It's her birthday.
I want her to meet Fiona.
FUCHSIA looks nervous, ready to cry. She hates it like this.
RUBY is confused.
Mother, not Fiona.
Or what? No more pocket money?
CARL sighs 'same as it ever was.' RUBY twitters nervously, like a bird.
But what about our adventure? Fuchsia!
I'm within my rights, Ruby.
RUBY'S face hardens. A small log rolls out from the fireplace and ignites the rug in the hearth place.
He runs to extinguish it.
RUBY hugs Fuchsia tightly, gives her a big kiss and runs out of the shop.
28 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. DAY
CLIFFORD sits back in his comfortable office chair staring out over the city skyline. Like a child, he whirls the chair around once, twice.
A knock on the door.
An immaculately groomed young woman, his secretary, MALA, enters carrying files and a cup of coffee for CLIFFORD.
Arlon wants to see you.
She arranges the files in a cabinet, places some on his desk, with the coffee. She obviously knows her way around and is very comfortable there.
(half under his breath)
What does the little ferret want now?
Someone as desperate as him, I suppose.
Mala, Mala, I have so much work to do.
Poor baby. No rest for the wicked.
So cruel, so callous. Here I am,
working the New Deal, wracking
my brains to find a better way...
MALA isn't paying attention
.. for people like you, like me..
He spins himself again. She smiles despite herself.
And the rest?
Ah, to hell with them.(HE GRINS)
Social Welfare. What do they call
that? An Oxymoron.(HE CHUCKLES)
Oh, cut the crap, Clive. By the way,
your wife called. Wanted to know if
you remembered your son's debating
I forgot. Don't tell her
that. Tell her I have to meet
with the finance committee.
You don't have anything scheduled
CLIFFORD leans into her at his desk.
Pencil something in.
MALA smiles and exits.
ARLON steps in behind her, catches the nuance, smiles thinly to himself. He takes a seat at CLIFFORD'S desk. He throws CLIFFORD a CD ROM.
I've just been to the Minister's office.
So what do you want now, a blowjob?
(ignoring the comment)
Inside that, you'll find all the security
details for accessing cash flow. Here's
your access card. Sign this.
(HE HANDS HIM A DOCUMENT)
The program will be fully operational
in twenty-four hours.
(HE LEANS BACK, SATISFIED)
You know, for a second I
thought they wouldn't sign them over.
Stalling. They make an art form out of it.
Tradescant Inc. You know, to my knowledge,
no other company has pulled off a deal like this.
No-one realised what a cash cow job
placement would be when they de-regulated
the government employment service.
It's not without criticism, mind.
Those jealous little backbenchers whining
about our profit margin. Just because they
couldn't organise a punch-up at a footy club
while we give this system the kick
up the arse it needs.
(carrying on regardless)
Senior staff have two entries, all other
staff have one. You need all five to
access the piggy bank.
So what if we make a reasonable profit?
We're giving the unemployed something
to do with their miserable little
lives instead of getting smacked
out in arcades. I tell you,
crime will decrease, you watch.
Get to know them asap and for god's
sake don't show them to Mala.
And what about you Tyson?
Do you have total clearance classification?
Of course not. Why would I?
29 EXT. CITY SOCIAL SECURITY BUILDING. DAY.
A vagrant sits on the steps of a building trying to share a cigarette with a small dog chained to a post.
RUBY skips past him, dressed in the skirt and jacket.
30 INT. CITY SOCIAL SECURITY BUILDING/ FOYER. SAME.
RUBY enters the building. The atmosphere is tense. The waiting seats are filled to overflowing with social security recipients.
A television plays a soap opera.
The queues are very long.
RUBY takes a number and squeezes into a seat. From her large tote bag she removes a colourful, half-finished woollen jumper and begins to knit.
A MAN in worn jeans, t-shirt and runners is remonstrating with the woman at the counter.
I don't have to take this shit! This
is your screw up.
The man storms off and slumps into a seat.
The soap opera finishes and a news break flashes up showing the TREASURER interviewed by journalists. His face fills the screen, flocked by microphones.
In a surprise decision
today, the government has awarded the
human resource company, Tradescant Inc,
the tender to take over the operation
of the Department of Social Security.
The reporters voice is drowned out by an angry mob in the foyer. Jeers and shouts erupt around Ruby.
Security staff enter from behind doors.
The angry MAN hurls a soft drink bottle at the television, smashing the set.
Three security guards descend on him. They hold him in a headlock and frog march him past RUBY behind the closed doors. Several other guards begin to herd angry clients toward the exit.
A WOMAN at the counter ushers RUBY into a small interview room.
31 INT. INTERVIEW CUBICLE. SAME.
A harangued looking SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK sits behind a small interview desk ruffling papers in a large folder file.
RUBY takes a seat.
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
Joan, you've been on our books for over
(SHE GLANCES AT FILES) twelve months,
is that right?
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
Joan Orleans, single, no dependents, etcetera.
There's not much to say Joan. Except... (SHE COUGHS)
Outside there is another angry roar. The angry man's voice can be heard in the background over the partition.
You're all a bunch of cock suckers.
(HIS VOICE IS MUFFLED OR GAGGED SUDDENLY)
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
(to RUBY- nervously)
I'm not supposed to tell you this,
but unless you want to end up cleaning
old people's toilets for ten
cents an hour you better co-operate.
I don't understand.
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
(glancing at the file)
Joan, you have secretarial skills, you're
computer literate. You should
have been working months ago.
A large crash is heard outside followed by the sound of physical violence.
MAN (OFF SCREEN)
You're all blind mullets swimming in your own
sewerage. We're not fucking lepers. You think
you can change the way people feel
with a stroke of a pen. Screw you.
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
Look, Joan. The free ride's over. New
directives from Head Office. Everyone's
off benefits. It's crisis time.
(SHE CALMS A LITTLE) Tradescant are placing
those with skills on training programs.
Those who want to work are going to have
to fight for it. As for the rest...who
knows? Listen Joan, I like you. I'll
see what I can do.(SHE LOSES COMPOSURE)
I don't even know if I have a job anymore.
A male WORKER opens the interview door, interrupting.
Stop work meeting in the tea room. Now.
SOCIAL SECURITY CLERK
I won't be your case manager anymore.
(SHE EXITS, CRYING) I'm really sorry.
She runs out. RUBY sits alone in the cubicle. She pokes her head outside.
32 INT. CITY SOCIAL SECURITY FOYER. SAME.
The foyer is deserted. The counters are abandoned. Glass from the smashed television and broken window panes lies on the carpet.
Outside, three police cars are parked on the curb.
RUBY sees the angry man pushed into a waiting police van. The affray is over. Onlookers gather around the scene. Police and security guards hold them at bay.
33 INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
The living room is filled with ROSES. JOE sits in his undershirt and firemen's overalls spooning pureed pumpkin from a little plastic bowl into his invalid wife's mouth.
The TV is on. Joe keeps half an eye trained on CHRISTINA, wiping the food from her mouth. From the other, he watches Wheel of Fortune.
CHRISTINA spits her food. He barely notices.
Through his window we see RUBY on her way home in RUBY clothes. She carries a large bunch of beetroot. She stops at Joe's letter box and removes a letter. She looks at it. A frown furrows her brow.
34 EXT. RUBY'S STREET. SAME.
RUBY passes MRS O'KEEFE'S front fence. A large flat-bed truck is parked outside.
RUBY eyes the letter box. No-one is around. She makes a bee line for it. Before she can open it, two large men exit the front door carrying an old sofa.
RUBY keeps walking.
35 INT. RUBY'S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
A fire is burning. The radio is playing some old jazz.
RUBY stands at an easel painting a picture of herself in a field of corn, with a crow on her shoulder.
A small cat-fight erupts. RUBY ignores it.
36 EXT. ANNETTE BENTON'S FRONT DOOR. EVENING
FUCHSIA, CARL & FIONA wait outside the front door of Carl's mother, ANNETTE BENTON'S, impressive house. All three are extremely well dressed and a little nervous.
Dogs can be heard barking inside.
The large door opens. Two yapping silky terriers leap out and hurl themselves at Fiona.
ANNETTE, a well preserved 60 year old, stands in the doorway. She wears a white leisure suit with gold trim. She peers down at her guests.
Fuchsia, darling. What are you wearing?
37 INT. RUBY'S KITCHEN. EVENING.
FUCHSIA is cutting up vegetables. RUBY is watering plants.
FUCHSIA is wearing a homemade koala suit. She opens the fridge door. It contains the beetroot, parsley some strawberries and a magazine.
FUCHSIA produces a huge bunch of parsley.
No! Gum leaves and wild rice.
RUBY claps her hands.
RUBY opens a cupboard. The NUN is waiting, wagging her finger. RUBY closes the cupboard again.
Mrs O'Keefe died, Fuchsia. She had a stroke.
I know. Joe told me.(SHE LOOKS AT RUBY)
It'll be okay.(WHISPERING) She told me
she wanted to fly with the angels.
FUCHSIA gives RUBY a hug.
Are you scared when people die?
Death is part of life too.
I miss them, that's all.
(BRIGHTENING) I missed you last week.
Did you have a good time?
Sort of. Gran had one of her big dinners.
She made Fiona sit next to her all night.
What about you?
I had to go to bed.
I wish you'd been there.
They'd roast me alive, darling.
You would have liked it.
I doubt it.
No, you would. Gran picked a
fight with Carl. Then he
went and hid outside. Then
Fiona got drunk and spewed into the
fireplace. It was excellent.
FUCHSIA opens Ruby's bag and begins sorting Ruby's things. She pulls out a pile of papers. She sorts the newspapers, the paper-back books and the junk mail. She finds a letter marked 'Joan Orleans' with Joe's address on it.
RUBY pretends not to hear.
Ruby? (SHE SPELLS OUT THE NAME)
Joan Or-leeens. Don't they mean Ruby?
No. They mean Joan.
But you said she wasn't real.
She's not. Not really real. Realish.
FUCHSIA looks at RUBY.
RUBY walks around the room, moving vases and paint pots. She stares out of the window.
I can see the first star. I get the wish.
She turns to see Fuchsia staring at her with an odd expression.
RUBY takes a chair and pulls it round to her daughter.
(pointing at letter)
This.. is how I pay the rent.
FUCHSIA picks up the letter and reads the letter-head.
Department of Social Security.
And you're Joan?
And Margaret and Catherine
and Eloise and Cecelia.
No. Not any more. Dianna had
complications. She had to go.
I thought they were for fun?
(draws a breath)
They are fun. Lots of fun.
Are you on a pension? My
friend Zoe's mum is on a pension,
but she only has one name.
Well I have five. Six, if you count me.
But that's the point. They don't count me.
The government. They don't know who I am.
Because I'm lucky. Because my parents
forgot to tell them I was still alive.
FUCHSIA is very confused.
My name was erased from the Government
records when I was your age, by mistake.
It never went back on. Then I left home
and I met Carl. Then you came along.
(SHE HESITATES) Then he went away and
I couldn't get a job, or a
pension. I couldn't even get a
library card. So I made someone else up.
Someone better qualified to get a job.
Like Catherine and Margaret?
And did they?
For a while. Part time, here and there.
Like juggling. But it got harder and harder
to find work so they all went on benefits.
One by one. That's how come
I could afford to feed all our friends.
Can't they afford it?
Not these days. (SHE POINTS TO THE LETTER)
Now I'm not sure what we'll do.
They've stopped all the pension money.
(SHE RIPS OPEN THE LETTER)
The cats surround the table, mewing for food.
FUCHSIA waits, bug-eyed. RUBY reads silently.
What does it say?
It says I have an interview.
Not me, Joan. Joan has an interview.
Do I have to call you Joan, now?
Of course not. I'm still Ruby.
Let's just say Joan is my professional name.
38 INT. RUBY'S LIVING ROOM. MORNING.
RUBY is half-dressed as JOAN and searching for a lost shoe in the living room. She moves piles of books, papers, paintings, and eventually cats until she finds it. She stares at herself in the mirror, enjoying the game.
39 INT. URBAN APARTMENT. MORNING.
CLIFFORD is standing at a bedroom mirror buttoning a shirt and tying on his tie. A satisfied smile crosses his face. MALA wanders past in a bathrobe.
40 EXT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. MORNING.
CARL and FIONA are saying farewell for the day.
FUCHSIA stands nearby, bored and waiting to go to school.
FIONA appears a little agitated. She pecks CARL on the cheek. He hoped for more.
FIONA grabs Fuchsia by the hand and leads her towards her car. FUCHSIA trails behind, waving to her dad.
Don't you ever call me Aunty Fiona again.
41 INT. TRADESCANT INC. FOYER. MORNING.
RUBY enters the foyer, a little overwhelmed by its officious atmosphere. She looks well groomed, attractive. She carries a small leather document satchel. Through the windows a defaced GREENPEACE billboard can be seen outside.
Inside, everything is electronically operated. Security guards man X-Ray detectors scanning handbags and briefcases.
She sees workers stepping through an airport-style metal detector.
She sees them place security cards into slots and pass through the archway.
The foyer is teeming with staff, disappearing into lifts and corridors.
42 INT. REAR ENTRANCE TRADESCANT. SAME.
In a rear stairwell, CLIFFORD slips a personal security card into a scanner and punches in his security number.
The door opens.
43 INT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. MORNING.
CARL is on a ladder, adjusting the bell over his door. He climbs down, turns the CLOSED sign to OPEN and opens the door once or twice to test it.
ANNETTE appears at the door. He turns the sign to CLOSED. She is not amused.
44 INT. TRADESCANT FOYER. SAME.
RUBY approaches the x-ray machine. She places her satchel on the conveyor belt. It travels through. She steps up to the arch. A SECURITY GUARD stops her.
You need a security pass.
I don't have one.
Where do I get one?
The GUARD points to the information counter.
RUBY notices her satchel has hit the end of the conveyor belt and is sitting in a slump on the floor below.
RUBY approaches a WOMAN behind the information counter.
I need a pass.
(scooping up day list)
What's your name?
RUBY stares for a second.
(shaking her head)
Nope, not here.
I have an appointment.
Do you work here?
If you worked here you'd have a pass.
I have a job interview.
No. You need a pass.
I have a letter.
Let me see it.
RUBY looks over to where her bag lies on the other side of security containing her interview letter.
45 INT. TRADESCANT FOYER. SAME.
From a private entrance CLIFFORD appears. He heads for the elevator but notices RUBY remonstrating with the SECURITY GUARD. He watches for a moment.
CLIFFORD approaches the SECURITY GUARD.
From behind the METAL ARCH he speaks to RUBY.
Could I be of some help?
I'm supposed to be here.
I'm sure you are.
I'm Joan Orleans.
Hello, Joan. I'm Clive.
I have an interview today.
Ah! One of our new recruits.
I have a letter from the department.
Can I see it?
Of course. As soon as your minder
gives me my property.
CLIFFORD shoots the SECURITY GUARD a look. He promptly hands over the bag.
CLIFFORD smiles, forgiving the SECURITY GUARD.
Joan beams at CLIFFORD. She hands him the letter.
CLIFFORD scans it.
Joan. Why don't we get you off to
a flying start at Tradescant.
He gallantly produces a security pass, slots it in and turns off the electronic beam.
He winks at the SECURITY GUARD and with a sweep of his arm escorts RUBY through the arch.
46 INT. TRADESCANT CORRIDOR. MID MORNING.
CLIFFORD and RUBY stand outside room 23. He holds her slightly by the elbow.
Here we are.
Not too late.
I hope not. I really want this job.
Really? Fancy working for Tradescant do you?
Yes. Yes I do. Do you think the
supervisor will disqualify me?
I doubt it. He likes charming women.
Don't they all.
RUBY smiles and opens the door.
47 INT. RUBY'S BEDROOM. EVENING.
RUBY sits at a dresser applying makeup. She is dressed in an extravagant but moth-eaten kimono and paints her lips into that of a Geisha.
Outside the rain beats against her windows. Candles burn around the room.
Lightning streaks the sky outside. There is a loud boom of thunder.
RUBY jumps. She stares at herself in the mirror. She smiles, it turns grotesque. She runs a hand over her makeup, smearing it.
Another boom of thunder. The cats howl from another room.
There is a loud crash.
RUBY rushes to the living room.
48 INT. RUBY'S LIVING ROOM. SAME
The easel is lying on the floor. RUBY'S latest painting is ripped through.
RUBY is in a state. She turns around the room, disoriented.
A loud banging on the door.
RUBY runs to the door. She opens it violently.
Another lightning strike.
RUBY sees her mother, HILDA standing there.
RUBY screams and collapses.
Arms reach out to grab her. It is JOE
Ruby. It's okay. It's okay.
He holds her head as she sobs.
49 INT. TRADESCANT DATA ENTRY STATION. DAY.
ARLON steps through a door and scans the room, appraising his staff. His eyes come to rest on RUBY.
RUBY stares at the computer screen, engrossed in her work, tapping on the keyboard.
The camera pulls back to reveal: five, ten, twenty, fifty other staff members in data entry, all busy at their work stations.
50 INT. FUCHSIA'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
FUCHSIA sits at her desk, writing a story. She stares out the window. The CROW lands on a nearby branch. She smiles.
Behind the CROW, FUCHSIA sees FIONA'S car pull up to the busy carpark.
51 EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND. DAY.
FIONA is waiting, leaning on the bonnet of her car. She appears a little agitated. There are no other cars left in the carpark.
The camera pans back to reveal Fuchsia hiding up a tree.
FIONA gives up, climbs into her car and drives off.
52 INT. CITY TRAIN. EVENING.
RUBY travels home on the peak hour commuter. She stands hanging onto a hand rail.
Around her, other commuters are buried deep in newspapers, books and magazines or staring out the window to the grey outside.
RUBY reads the headlines. POLICE ARREST DEMONSTRATORS.
A tall man behind Ruby runs a hand over her bottom.
She quietly places her heel into his ankle.
He grimaces in pain.
RUBY exits the next stop.
53 EXT. RUBY'S STREET. MORNING.
RUBY wanders along the street dressed for work.
A rubbish truck swings by. JOE is riding on the tray.
'Ruby, Ruby, Ruby do you love me?'
RUBY turns to see Joe.
She is delighted. She runs out onto the road and climbs up onto the tray.
Where to Madame?
The station. I have to get to work.
Well in that case, we better get a move on.
He hits the side of the truck.
Carlo, step on it. Ruby O'Roarke
is a woman of the world.
The old truck cranks up and changes gear.
54 INT. TRADESCANT STAFF ROOM. DAY.
RUBY is busy at her terminal.
ARLON appears. He walks down the row of workers. Patrolling. He stops at Ruby's desk.
Settled in then?
Thank you, yes.
Good. Good for you.(BEAT)
I wouldn't want you to over-do it.
RUBY looks at him, questioningly.
I ran a check on your files.
RUBY stifles a look of panic.
You were very lucky to get a
position with Tradescant, weren't you?
RUBY stays calm.
I have to be honest, Joan. You
weren't my first choice.
How'd you do it?
RUBY is unsure how to respond. 'Does he know?'
I needed a job.
ARLON smiles, straightens up and wanders off.
RUBY follows him with her eyes.
55 INT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. EVENING.
RUBY enters the cosy shop.
Inside, CARL and FUCHSIA are sorting a new batch of books.
RUBY, still dressed in her JOAN work clothes, looks very smart. CARL nearly drops his bundle in surprise.
Hello, darling. Ready to go? Hello Carl.
CARL stares at Ruby with a fixed interest. A thermometer on the wall begins to rise imperceptibly. Slowly the windows of the shop start to steam up, just a little. CARL absentmindedly removes his vest and wipes a little sweat from his brow.
I think I might as well let Fuchsia run
the shop. I'm sure she'd do a much
better job than me.
Could I, Daddy?
RUBY remains by the door, looking shy and awkward.
Fuchsia told me you have a job
now. She said you work for the dole.
For the employment company,
Tradescant. Data entry. Nothing special.
It's a start, Ruby.
It's just a job, Carl. Come on,
Fuchsia, we have to take Gabrielle
to the vet.
FUCHSIA exits to collect her coat and bag.
Trouble in heaven again?
The archangel Michael doesn't approve
of other denominations stealing his Kit-E-Kat.
You can have them put down you know.
If people are going to let animals
breed in captivity, they should look
It's not up to you to save every stray.
(interrupting-this is an old argument)
It's not the poor cats' fault that
they aren't wanted.
The thermometre plummets. CARL retreats, shivers, and puts his vest back on.
FUCHSIA appears rugged up in coat, mittens and scarf.
Ready. Bye, daddy. Take good care of the shop.
I will. Bye, beautiful. (beat) Bye, Ruby.
RUBY nods, awkwardly.
56 INT. RUBY'S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
RUBY and FUCHSIA are dressed in artists' smocks with scarves in their hair. They stand in front of home-made painting easels, a larger one for Ruby, smaller for FUCHSIA.
Everywhere cats. A small fire glows in the hearth. There are fresh scorch marks in the old sofa. One of the cats looks particularly singed.
FUCHSIA is giving RUBY a painting lesson.
Ruby, you're my best pupil.
Why thank you, Miss O'Roarke.
Benton. Carl made me
change my name. He showed me some papers.
He said it would be less confusing at school.
For him maybe.
Does it matter?
RUBY starts to paint vigorously.
Course it matters. Your name matters.
You have your own name and it's
Why does it matter?
RUBY grabs her by the shoulders, surprising her.
The fire in the hearth flares.
Because it's who you are. I gave
it to you. You've got to know who you are.
I know who I am. You'd
didn't have a name. Even if you couldn't
say my name.
So do you prefer to be Fuchsia Benton?
No, but it made Carl happy. And Gran.
I bet it did. Next they'll try
and tell you I'm not your mother.
Don't be upset, mummy. I'm me. I'm Fuchsia.
And you're Ruby and Carl's Carl and
Fiona's gone away now, so she doesn't count.
RUBY stares at Fuchsia, waiting for more.
What does co-dependent mean?
I don't know.
That's what Fiona said, 'Carl, you're too
co-dependent for me.'
RUBY starts to paint more freely now. There is a sparkle in her eye.
Fiona did teach me about colour co-ordination.
She said blue and green should never be
seen, unless there's something in between.
Well you know what I think?
(PAINTING A SWEEP
OF COLOUR) Blue and green can do
what they bloody well like.
She daubs Fuchsia on the nose. The two of them shriek with laughter.
57 EXT. PARK BENCH. AFTERNOON.
CARL and FUCHSIA are snuggled up together on a bench waiting for RUBY.
Platypuses aren't birds.
No, they're monotremes.
But they have a duck bill.
And they lay eggs.
I think God was in a good mood when he made
platypuses. He picked a little bit here,
(HE PRETENDS TO PICK A PIECE OF FUCHSIA)
and a little piece here.
FUCHSIA starts to giggle
And another piece here and he stuck
them all together.
God isn't a he.
Oh, all right. She. She stuck them
all together. Great, feminism at
your age. I suppose Ruby told you that?
Ruby says God isn't a he or she,
especially not a man who sits around
checking up on us all the time.
No, that's Bill Gates.
Ruby says God is the way
you feel things. She says
beauty and misery is all a part
of life and you can live with anything
as long as you accept it.
And what do you say?
I think God is like the angels.
Something beautiful to help people
not worry about dying.
CARL is taken aback.
Do you see any Angels, darling?
Of course. (SHE POINTS) Here comes one now!
CARL turns to see RUBY walking toward them from the far end of the park.
She is dressed in a long dress made from soft material. Her long hair is partially piled on her head with long strands trailing down her neck and back. She carries a colourful parasol (slightly torn) and an elegant old shawl.
CARL stops for a moment, staring at her.
FUCHSIA watches him watching RUBY.
Ruby and I went to a concert last week.
Then we came home and hung all
the paintings up so the cats
wouldn't climb over them.
That's a turn up for the books.
I keep telling you, everything is different now.
What about the old women? Are you still
feeding half the neighbourhood?
Ruby says she can't afford as much
now that she has her job.
Don't you mean the other way round.
No. I don't think so.
RUBY approaches. FUCHSIA runs to give her a huge hug.
Darling, I missed you.
RUBY scoops her up and plonks her down on the bench.
She forgets herself and gives him a peck on the cheek.
FUCHSIA'S face lights up.
Let's go for a walk, all three of us!
CARL looks around for an escape. RUBY stares at the trees.
FUCHSIA skips off before they can stop her.
Well, can't hurt, I suppose.
CARL stands and offers Ruby his arm, in a polite manner to cover his nervousness.
RUBY takes a deep breath, stands and takes Carl's arm. They walk towards Fuchsia, who is waving her arms about and cart-wheeling.
58 EXT. RUBY'S BACK PORCH. TWILIGHT.
CARL, RUBY and FUCHSIA arrive home. FUCHSIA skips up the steps, without giving her father a chance to say farewell.
I'll feed the cats.
Relax, Carl. She enjoys it. It won't take long.
CARL drops down onto the porch step to wait. RUBY leans against the railing.
The CROW drops down, sits on the HILL'S HOIST.
Christ, more crows. It's a wonder the
cats don't nab them.
They never would.
Don't bet on it.
I'd stake my life on it.
That's a big claim
RUBY returns the smile. Inside a clatter of dishes is drowned out by the chorus of hungry cats.
She's growing up.
Look! The first star. Make a wish.
You make a wish, you saw it first.
RUBY closes her eyes tight, wishing like a child. CARL stares at her.
A plate clatters to the floor inside. There is brief pandemonium. CARL stands, as if to help.
OFF SCREEN, FUCHSIA calls.
Leave her. She likes to do it by herself.
She's very independent.
I hope so.
Just like her mother.
Not quite. I understand it's
Fuchsia Benton now?
Fuchsia? No. It's Joan now.
Joan, Joan, Fuchsia's got it into her head to be
called Joan now, for some ridiculous
reason. I suppose you put her up to this?
I don't know what you're talking about.
Oh, bullshit, Ruby. It
started when we decided Fuchsia should
get used to her legal name.
Annette and I. Annette wants to
include her in the will. And then Fuchsia
started this Joan business. 'I don't want
to be Fuchsia Benton, I want to be Joan. Like Ruby'.
RUBY looks away to change the subject.
Well perhaps Fuchsia is old enough
to choose a few more things in her life.
Like where she wants to live I suppose?
Well why not? It might leave you a
bit more space for your big-titted girlfriends.
Thanks to you I don't have any
girlfriends at all.
How is that my fault?
Never mind. Fuchsia is not
coming to live with you and that's that.
Do you want to go to court again?
RUBY evidently does not.
Look at this place. It's a disaster
area. It's a catastrophe.
(HE RECOGNISES HIS BAD PUN)
Half the time you don't even feed Fuchsia,
and the other half, it's a food
factory for every pensioner in the street.
FUCHSIA hears the familiar sound of her parents angry voices. She scoops up a kitten and creeps into her room.
What's wrong with a little charity?
Because you can't even afford
a telephone. Christ!
Who would I call? You?
How about an exterminator?
Well that's all Fuchsia needs,
another sterile environment.
Well if you bothered to maintain
this place a little you'd...
I'd what? Get custody? You hypocrite.
It was good enough for us once. Wasn't it?
Until your mother made you an offer too
good to refuse. Has it made you happy,
Carl? Are you happy now that
you have money instead of me?
Drop it, Ruby. Just drop it.
Why? That's the point,
isn't it? Fiona thinks I'm
a prostitute. Well why not? What's wrong
with that? After all, it's not the oldest
profession, Carl, it's the only profession.
Leave Fiona out of this.
Why? She's on the game too, isn't she?
Dammit, Ruby, she works for a living.
We all work for a living, Carl,
only some get paid and others pay with
their lives. Are you getting
your life's worth, Carl?
That's your excuse for welshing all
these years is it? Gainful employment is a
waste of time, to you. Will I tell that to the
judge? 'Your honour, I wish to retain full
custody of my impressionable ten year
old daughter because my wife would rather keep her
daughter in a hippy slum than give
her a proper education.'
RUBY forgets herself and rushes at CARL. He grabs her. Holds her. Tries to pin her hands down and away from his face.
How do you think your mother makes money?
Do you think she's ever done a decent day's work? What
about corporations, multi-nationals,
the Government? For Christ's sake, the whole
stinking lot?(SHE TRIES TO PUSH HIM AWAY)
It's all the same game.
The energy switches. The anger turns to intense, mutual physical attraction. We see how and why they were once lovers. They have an extreme connection.
CARL holds Ruby closer, kisses her once fully on the mouth. She doesn't pull away.
Passionately now, they kiss each other, wrapping themselves around each other.
CARL picks RUBY up. He carries her through the back door, through the kitchen and into RUBY'S bedroom.
59 INT. FUCHSIA'S BEDROOM. SAME.
FUCHSIA stands in her bedroom jumping up and down and making tiny silent claps. She squeezes a kitten.
60 INT. RUBY'S BEDROOM. SAME.
CARL and RUBY move together. It is sensual, familiar. They undress each other. They begin to make love, still a little wary of each other.
The bedroom is lit by candles. They start to flicker in their wicks. They grow brighter, the flames grow longer.
They illuminate the FIRE EXTINGUISHER sitting next to the bed.
CARL and RUBY are on the bed, consumed with each other.
The candles spark and ignite, filling the room with long knives of FLAME.
CARL is getting very excited. The bed ignites.
CARL jumps off the bed, mid-coitus. He picks up a sheet and thrashes it around on the floor until it is extinguished. The flames on the candle wicks also die.
RUBY picks up the FIRE EXTINGUISHER.
Shit, Christ. Jesus! Ruby, why
do you do that to me?
RUBY douses him with foam.
For God's sake, stop it. (SHE DOES) I can't stand
it. It scares me, Ruby. (HE PACES THE ROOM)
Oh, God. I swore I wouldn't. It's hopeless,
it's just hopeless.
CARL hurls himself about the room, falling over, grabbing clothes. He is disoriented and awkward. He storms out.
RUBY curls up in a ball on the bed, hugging the extinguisher and staring at the ceiling.
61 INT. FUCHSIA'S BEDROOM. EVENING.
FUCHSIA sits on her bed with her bedclothes draped around her, cuddling a kitten. The front door slams.
62 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. DAY.
A meeting is in progress. ARLON and MALA are present with three EXECUTIVES.
CLIFFORD is bored. He is standing at the window. He gazes below and sees RUBY sitting outside in a small courtyard attached to the building.
63 EXT. COURTYARD. SAME.
RUBY is sitting by herself on a bench throwing her lunch crumbs to a flock of pigeons. The CROW swoops in and scares them.
64 EXT. RUBY'S BACK PORCH. AFTERNOON.
A pair of legs in long trousers can be seen sitting on the porch steps.
RUBY enters the backyard via the driveway. She wears her work clothes. She carries an over-large zucchini and a new
paint brush in her teeth.
Hey, Joe. How's Christina?
RUBY sits down next to JOE
JOE passes RUBY a cup of tea. A pot sits next to the tea things. He pulls a biscuit from his cardigan pocket and offers it to her.
Not so good, not so good. But,
(HE THROWS HIS HANDS IN THE AIR).. we manage.
I'll come round, Saturday. Do some laundry.
You do too much already. It is enough
that you sit with me, hear my troubles.
I'll drop by anyway, Fuchsia can
come with me.
And see me in my underwear? That kind of
trauma your daughter can do without.
Believe me. So, are you winning
the rat race?
Hardly. I barely have time to
spend with Fuchsia.
Yes, she grows.
And you, do you still have time for you?
My time will come.
Well I haven't had an emergency call
in a while. Does this mean no more..?
(HE WIGGLES HIS EYEBROWS)
Just one little... incident. Last week.
Nobody hurt, I hope?
Just Carl's pride.
And Fuchsia. She must have heard
the ruckus..but not a peep.
Just like her mother.
I'm glad you're here. It's good you give
yourself a break once in a while.
A break, yes. Sometimes it is good that I
go for a walk, clear my head, sit with
a pretty woman. (HE SIGHS. STOPS PRETENDING)
It's not so good, Ruby.
Christina gets worse. Food
she will barely eat. The time it
takes to wash and dress her...
JOE is silent for a moment. RUBY stares into the backyard.
RUBY curls her hand into his. JOE looks into RUBY'S eyes.
She no longer remembers my name, Ruby.
Two tears fall down ether side of Joe's face. RUBY kisses them both, hugs him for a moment.
Her arms drop down his back as she embraces him. She deftly removes his WALLET from his back pocket.
JOE straightens up. Recovering quickly.
This job of yours. They pay you well?
No, (SHE SMILES) but there are
RUBY and JOE laugh despite themselves. JOE stands to leave. He dusts himself off, stretches in exaggerated pain.
We are a nation of clever cattle
wandering voluntarily to the slaughter.
(HE PRODUCES A LOTTERY DOCKET)
I go now to see if I am a
millionaire. What does it say for a
man when his only hope is the lottery?
Come again soon, Joe.
I am such fun, I will come again tomorrow.
(HE TAKES RUBY'S FACE IN HIS HANDS)
Ruby O'Roarke, you are one of a kind.
JOE shuffles off down the drive-way.
RUBY slumps back onto the porch steps. She stares into the backyard. The crow flies low, swoops in and lands on the Hills Hoist.
There are some lurks and perks, eh crow?
RUBY pulls out JOE'S wallet from under her shawl. She pulls out his pension card. RUBY looks up. The NUN also flies low over the backyard.
Wicked, wicked girl.
RUBY throws a stone at her. It bounces off her head.
65 INT. TRADESCANT ELEVATOR. LATE AFTERNOON.
CLIFFORD is walking MALA to the lift. She is carrying a load of paperwork. CLIFFORD presses the button.
How about a quickie in the elevator?
Clive, sometimes you are all charm.
You used to like it.
Before Tyson installed the closed
The elevator arrives.
66 INT. DATA ENTRY LEVEL FIVE. EVENING
Staff are leaving for the day.
ARLON walks past with an attractive young staff member at his side.
Nonsense. I'm delighted to help.
They exit through the glass doors.
The camera pans around the floor to RUBY sitting at her work station. She looks over her shoulder.
RUBY double checks the office. It is empty.
From her pocket, she produces JOE'S PENSION CARD.
RUBY begins to scan the files on her computer. She logs into the tax file section and enters her transaction number. She types in JOE GRIMALDI and SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER and hits return. A warning message appears on her screen accompanied by a loud electronic alarm. 'This is an unauthourised entry- Access denied'.
RUBY jumps, in fright. She checks the office floor nervously. She quickly shuts down the computer and gathers her things to leave.
67 INT LEVEL FIVE ELEVATOR LOBBY. SAME
RUBY is waiting nervously.
The elevator arrives. The doors open. CLIFFORD is standing there.
68 INT. CARL'S BOOKSHOP. EVENING.
FUCHSIA dangles her legs over the counter, kicking it as she swings. CARL is finishing the book-keeping.
Fuchsia, could you find someplace else to sit?
Joan, could you find someplace else to sit?
I'm waiting for Ruby.
For the last time, Fuchsia, she isn't
I don't believe you.
Well take your disbelief to the bathroom
and get cleaned up. Annette will be here soon.
69 INT. ELEVATOR. EVENING
How very dedicated. You're Joan. Aren't you?
RUBY nods again.
The elevator arrives. The door opens to the lobby. They step out. RUBY sees the SECURITY GUARD. She blanches just a little. CLIFFORD notices but covers.
Here, Joan. You're in luck. We can take
a short cut.
He leads her down the side stairwell to his private entrance.
70 INT. PRIVATE ENTRANCE CORRIDOR. SAME
In the dark of the corridor, CLIFFORD produces his security pass.
I asked Tyson about you. He said you were
He also said you wouldn't say boo to a ghost.
Ghosts don't scare that easily.
Is that so? Here we are.
CLIFFORD keys in his number and pushes open the heavy door. A cold gust of wind hits them both.
Glad my car's heated.
Want a lift somewhere?
You're crazy. It's freezing. Get in.
71 INT. ANNETTE'S DINING ROOM. EVENING.
FUCHSIA, CARL and ANNETTE sit in almost silence around the large oak dining table sipping soup. They are all well dressed.
Breaking the silence, Fuchsia lets out a large belch. It makes her giggle.
Amidst the glowering of his mother, CARL works hard not to giggle as well.
72 INT. CLIFFORD'S CAR. SAME
Come on. We can do better than that.
RUBY smiles, a little nervous.
How are you finding the work?
You're a terrible liar, Ruby.
That job would bore the knickers off a nun.
I don't mind.
Really? Wouldn't you like something a
little more challenging?
You tell me.
CLIFFORD swings the car into an arterial road.
Where are we going?
It's too cold to catch a train.
Besides, it's dangerous at night.
It's much warmer in here.
(HE TURNS DOWN THE HEATER) A bit too warm.
Stop the car!
CLIFFORD swerves and hits the brakes.
Before he can stop her, RUBY jumps out of the car. It is raining.
Nothing. I forgot to get something.
RUBY steps away. CLIFFORD stares at her. She leans in again.
I want to learn about computers.
Thanks for the lift.
RUBY walks off quickly in the rain.
CLIFFORD stares after her in the rearview mirror.
73 INT. ANNETTE'S GUEST ROOM. NIGHT.
FUCHSIA lies awake listening to CARL and ANNETTE argue.
She'll never agree to it.
She won't have much choice.
She'll go nuts. Let's wait another year.
No, another year is too late. Another year
in that public zoo and she'll end up
just like her mother. Is that what
you want for Fuchsia, Carl?
Is that what you want?
74 INT. TRADESCANT HEAD OFFICE. DAY.
RUBY appears, dressed as JOAN at MALA'S desk. RUBY looks a little puzzled. MALA gives her the once over.
I'm told to report here today.
I don't think so. We aren't expecting anyone.
RUBY looks around nervously.
Perhaps you better pop back to data entry.
You don't want to get your pay docked.
No. Someone else has my work station now.
I just turned up this morning and they
sent me up here.
Security. They gave me a new pass.
ARLON enters from the corridor.
Well it's news to me.
But not me.
They both turn.
Mala Wilson, I'd like you to meet
Joan Orleans. Joan, Mala.
What's going on Tyson?
Personnel redeployment. A
new training scheme. We're test driving
it up here. With Joan.
Well no-one informed me.
Really. How peculiar.
Clive thought it was a great idea.
Come with me, Joan.
RUBY looks alarmed. MALA is not impressed. ARLON leads RUBY into his office.
75 INT. TRADESCANT HEAD OFFICE. DAY/LATER.
RUBY is sitting at her new desk, sorting papers. The office staff, including MALA and ARLON are busy at work.
CLIFFORD enters from the corridor.
The staff respond, congenially, habitually.
CLIFFORD gives MALA a big smile.
He slows passing Ruby's desk.
RUBY smiles, tries to make nothing of it. It is subtle but MALA notices. So does ARLON.
76 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. SAME
CLIFFORD is sitting at his desk sorting messages. MALA enters.
What's going on?
Another day. Another dole recipient off
the list. How about you?
I think the office is getting a little crowded.
Joan? Relax, Mala. It's a great idea.
We create the scheme, get a little
publicity, brighten up someone's
dreary life. It doesn't cost us a cent.
What's your problem?
We're not a baby sitting club for the
illiterate. We're professionals.
And you are a professional secretary.
With enough qualifications to wallpaper
Then put them to use and get started
on the Premier's conference. Okay?
77 EXT. PUBLIC PARK. DAY.
RUBY and FUCHSIA are wearing overalls and gumboots. They are planting fruit trees in the public park.
This is fun, Ruby. (WATERING A SAPLING)
How old will I be when I can eat the fruit?
Thirteen. I can get a job then.
Now why would you want to do that?
So you can stay home and paint again.
So I can buy you things.
I don't need anything, sweetie.
Then why do you work?
So we can eat. I guess.
Then why doesn't everybody just
stop working and grow food?
RUBY smiles at Fuchsia.
A COUNCIL WORKER sees them from across the park. He shouts at them and starts running toward them.
RUBY grabs the shovel and watering can.
Quick, Fuchsia, run.
FUCHSIA obeys, laughing.
78 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. DAY.
RUBY nervously carries in a tray of coffee.
CLIFFORD, ARLON and the TREASURER are in a meeting.
The TREASURER stops talking when RUBY enters. CLIFFORD waves him on.
CLIFFORD follows RUBY with his eyes.
ARLON notices everything.
RUBY tries not to look at either of them.
The Prime Minister's concerned that
things are moving too swiftly, Clive.
Well what do you expect? He's a
politician for Christ's sake.
Well what am I? Whinnie the Poo? Look,
the public has barely had time to catch its breath.
We're not giving them a massage,
Mike. Our brief was to sort out your
mess and take the heat for it.
ARLON seizes his chance. As RUBY exits he quietly excuses himself and follows.
79 INT. ARLON'S OFFICE. SAME.
RUBY is staring at ARLON'S computer. He steps in behind her.
Can I help you with anything?
(jumps a little)
I was wondering if you needed any
more filing done?
Has Mala run out of projects for you?
Looks like it.
Where is she?
On her lunch break.
ARLON seizes his chance.
Pity. (HE MOVES IN A LITTLE CLOSER)
You must be feeling very happy with
yourself, Joan. Landing a job up here.
RUBY is silent.
Must be that will to work. Hmm?
(HE LEANS IN) I know your little secret,
Joan. (HIS HAND HOVERS ABOVE HER BREAST)
Did a little creative writing on your CV,
I think.(RUBY STAYS COOL) Don't worry.
Your secret's safe with me.(ARLON IS INCHES
FROM RUBY'S FACE) It's a fair exchange.
You look after me, and I won't tell
Clive how much of a half-wit
he's just promoted.(HE SNIFFS HER)
The TREASURER and CLIFFORD step out of Clifford's office. They shake hands.
Good of you to drop by, Mike. Tys! Be a
chap and see the Treasurer to his vehicle.
ARLON ceases his preying.
Certainly, Clive, with pleasure.
The TREASURER and ARLON head for the elevators.
Right. Well, time's money. come into
my office Joanie. We'll see if you
can take care of it.
ARLON hears this interchange. The elevator doors close as RUBY enters CLIFFORD'S office.
80 INT. TRADESCANT HEAD OFFICE. EVENING.
CLIFFORD and MALA and ARLON are leaving the office.
Mala, is that itinerary ready for
the Premiers' conference?
I'll have it on your desk by Friday.
Friday is two days too long.
(SNAPPING HIS FINGERS) Get with it, woman.
The elevator arrives. They climb in.
Clive, you can be such a prick sometimes.
ARLON smirks. The doors close.
The door to the women's toilets opens. RUBY steps out. She heads for ARLON'S office.
RUBY takes a seat at ARLON'S desk.
She turns on the computer. She gingerly lifts up the keyboard and slides out a small key blue-tacked to the board. Checking the office floor, she slides the key into a small disk file in the third drawer.
She levers out a floppy disk and inserts it into the computer. She opens the disk. It contains information about the security access numbers and classifications. RUBY scribbles a few of them down.
She punches in a number. This time the computer makes a fanfare and RUBY knows she has accessed the mainframe.
She produces Joe's pension card again and starts typing his information in. RUBY punches in a code. A screen appears with Joe's file on it.
81 INT. CLIFFORD'S PRIVATE ENTRANCE. SAME.
CLIFFORD has returned to the office. He lets himself in.
82 INT. ARLON'S OFFICE. SAME.
RUBY taps into the menu again. It flashes up NO ACCESS.
83 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. SAME.
CLIFFORD picks up the phone.
84 INT. ARLON'S OFFICE. SAME.
RUBY sees the phone light up. She accidentally knocks a file off ARLON'S desk and drops the file key.
85 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. SAME.
CLIFFORD hears a noise outside. He puts the phone down.
86 INT. ARLON'S OFFICE. SAME.
CLIFFORD steps into the corridor, sees the light. He moves toward ARLON'S office. He sees RUBY, dressed as JOAN.
Well, what in the name..?
Oh God, I didn't hear you come in.
Obviously. What the hell are you doing here?
I'm, I'm just...
Does Tyson know you're here?
(marching over to the screen)
I'm sure he does not.
CLIFFORD turns the screen around to face him. On it is a Tradescant form letter.
He looks at RUBY
I don't understand.
Practicing. I'm trying to improve
my computer skills.
How did you get in?
I hid in the women's toilets.
CLIFFORD begins to laugh. She is harmless.
Hmm, remind me to tell Arlon.
Please don't. He'll sack me. He already
knows I lied.
I doctored my qualifications. Just a bit.
I really needed a job.
Really? You are a surprise packet, Joan.
CLIFFORD recognises a chance when he sees one.
Alright. You can trust me. Ingenuity needs
its rewards. But you can't do this,
Joan, stay late. You'll get me into trouble.
Aren't you the boss?
No, Mala is.(CHARMING) I assume you're
not charging me overtime for this.
(blushing, half laughing)
Of course not. (SHE FLIRTS A LITTLE)
Perhaps I should.(HE LAUGHS)
You're working late yourself.
I, my dear, am a slave to the system.
Always something to be done. Never enough
time. Never enough help. Perhaps I
need to find someone else who likes
to work late. (HE GRINS)
Maybe you have.
CLIFFORD grins like a Cheshire.
RUBY is covering a small key.
87 EXT. TRADESCANT CARPARK. NIGHT.
CLIFFORD leads RUBY out of his private entrance into the Carpark. The cold wind bites.
RUBY clutches her coat tight around her. CLIFFORD gallantly opens the front door for her. She gets in. He climbs in the driver's side. He starts up the car.
So. How about we try this again. Hungry?
88 INT. RESTAURANT. EVENING.
RUBY and CLIFFORD are well into the third bottle of wine and reaching the end of their meal. They share a deadly looking dessert.
CLIFFORD is quite drunk, waxing lyrical and enjoying himself. He sneezes, twice.
Are you unwell?
No, just allergic. Cheap wine, cigarettes,
cats, (WINKS) Pretty women.
So do you like me, like working
for me I mean?
Yes, I like....
I like you. I can talk to you.
(HE GRABS HER HAND) Talk to me, Joan.
Tell me all about yourself.
RUBY takes a breath
Because I want to know everything.
You intrigue me. You know that Tyson thinks
you're pretty hot stuff. (HE WINKS)
I think he wants to sack me.
No, no he wouldn't do that.
You leave it with me. We've just started
to have fun. We don't want you to go now.
RUBY scoops up some dessert and offers Clifford a spoonful. He takes it eagerly but misses a bit.
89 EXT. RESTAURANT CARPARK. NIGHT.
CLIFFORD is fumbling over RUBY up against his car. He is a sloppy seducer, running hands everywhere, too drunk for subtlety.
He tries to kiss her.
She sneaks a hand into his pocket and produces the keys. She presses the infra red button and unlocks the car.
Clive, Clive, I'm getting cold.
CLIFFORD takes the keys from her hands, not interrupting his groping for a second. He opens the back door and eases her into the car. He climbs on top of her.
Hands and legs are everywhere.
The windows are steaming up. CLIFFORD is having difficulty with RUBY'S clothes.
Still cold, baby?
How can you be cold? It's steaming in here.
He buries himself into her neck. He hoists himself and starts to remove his trousers. He gets a strong whiff of Ruby's coat and comes up sneezing.
CLIFFORD sits in the back of his company car with his pants down to his knees, sneezing and choking.
RUBY slides up next to him. Her hair disheveled. Her makeup is smeared. Her dress is askew.
Cats. You've got a cat.
No good, can't breathe. Need puffer.
He points at his glove box. RUBY leans forward. Opens it. Removes the asthma spray. Hands it to him.
CLIFFORD takes deep breaths and inhales the substance.
Not much of a turn on, eh?
90 INT. EUDORA'S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
A cosy, humble room. Old lamps and furniture decorate the place. A small electric fire glows.
In the corner, a scratchy gramophone plays Bing Crosby.
FUCHSIA is dressed in a cape and an old hat. She is dancing slowly to the music.
EUDORA is in her chair.
RUBY enters, carrying a pot of tea and cups on a tray.
No biscuits tonight. Economy drive.
EUDORA & FUCHSIA
Eudora, thank you again for minding Fuchsia.
Not at all. We've had a lovely time.
Eudora, thank you again for minding Fuchsia.
Not at all. We've had a lovely time.
RUBY sets the things down and begins to pour. The gramophone winds down. RUBY sips her tea.
Eudora, when you're dead, can I have
RUBY chokes on her tea.
It's alright. We were just having a
little chat about it.
Eudora says that our bodies are just ships
in the night that eventually run aground and get rusty.
But the soul sails on. That's why
she isn't afraid of dying.
No, it's just the living that gets a
bit difficult sometimes.
(SHE LEVERS HERSELF OFF THE CHAIR)
Nature calls. (beat) More often these days,
I might add.
She hobbles off to the bathroom.
Are you afraid of dying, Ruby?
No, but I'd miss you.
91 EXT. RUBY'S STREET. EVENING.
RUBY and FUCHSIA wander home. FUCHSIA still wears the cape.
It's so late and you haven't done
your homework yet.
Homework? You never make me do it.
I never had to before. Why don't you
like it these days?
You used to do it with me.
I don't have so much time anymore.
You have the same time. You just spend
it somewhere else.
Fuchsia, please understand. I have
to work late now.
With that man?
Maybe you are a prostitute after all.
FUCHSIA runs ahead, her cape flying, leaving RUBY standing in shock.
My name is Joan.
92 INT. ARLON'S OFFICE. MORNING.
ARLON is alone at his desk. He is staring at the computer screen in disbelief. He hears CLIFFORD arriving for the day.
He gets up and closes the door. He returns to his screen.
CLIFFORD sticks his head into the office.
Steady. What's the problem, man?
Nothing. I think.
CLIFFORD notices ARLON'S expression.
Did you run the system last night?
No. Why should I?
Was anyone else here?
No. I was alone. Don't tell me there's
an error in your state of the art program, Tys?
Of course not.
CLIFFORD leaves ARLON staring incomprehensibly at the screen.
93 EXT. RUBY'S STREET. MORNING.
RUBY is rushing down the street. JOE steps out of his driveway and is nearly bowled over.
Hey, Speedy Gonzales.
I'm late for work. Have you seen Fuchsia?
Slow down. You'll kill somebody.
Yes, I have seen her. She came by for some
porridge with Christina. They watched cartoons together.
Then she went to school.
I slept in.
So take a break. You're a
public servant, aren't you? Give
yourself something to do in the afternoon.
Sorry, Joe. Things are getting on top of me.
I can see that. Fuchsia?
I had her last night. Trial basis,
on a school night. I blew it.
You're only human, Ruby.
They want to send her to boarding
school, her Grandmother, Carl.
So say no. You're her mother
for goodness sake.
Where her Grandmother's concerned,
'No', means 'I'll see you in court.'
Ruby. What's going on? You don't
look yourself lately.
I'm okay. I have to go.
I'm late as it is. Thanks for feeding
Fuchsia. (SHE STOPS.
PULLS SOMETHING FROM HER BAG)
Here.(SHE HANDS HIM HIS WALLET)
I found it in the garden. Bye.
She runs off. He shakes his head.
So I'm forgetting things now.
(HE CALLS DOWN THE STREET)
Take the time to smell the roses.
94 INT. TRADESCANT FOYER. MORNING.
RUBY enters the foyer, rushed and in disarray. Outside the remains of the defaced GREENPEACE billboard looks worse. Next to an image of a baby seal covered in oil are the words 'EAT MORE MEAT.'
RUBY rushes for the security arch. She slips in her pass. An alarm goes off. She shrieks.
Calm down. We've had a breach,
changing the locks.
(as if she's stupid)
A security breach. Had to issue new
passes. Everyone got theirs this morning.
Call Clifford. He'll let me in.
Not this time.
Call Clifford. Clive Clifford.
Tell him Joan is
stuck at the gates of hell and wants
to get to work. Do you hear me?
The SECURITY GUARD is taken aback by Ruby's command. He reluctantly leans over, picks up an internal phone and calls. He listens.
He produces a sizable key, puts it in the device and shuts the system down.
RUBY rushes through and up the escalator.
(out of the side of his mouth)
Screwing our way to the top, are we?
RUBY stops, wheels around, slowly descends the escalator taking twice the time as it is carrying her forward. She steps off and confronts the guard.
She says nothing. She just stares at him. He breaks into a sweat.
RUBY steps back on to the escalator and travels up majestically.
95 INT. TRADESCANT HEAD OFFICE. DAY.
RUBY arrives at her office. Pandemonium has broken out.
MALA is standing at her desk. A box of her personal things in front of her.
Around her, pot plants are strewn, pictures are smashed.
RUBY arrives in time to see MALA fling a metal tape dispenser into CLIFFORD'S door, leaving a gash in the wood.
Staff are peeping out from cubicles.
MALA turns to see RUBY standing, staring, open-mouthed.
(to the closed door)
Now that you've got yourself another suck,
you can get her to make excuses to your wife.
She hurls a framed photo at the door.
ARLON sticks his head out. He signals to RUBY.
RUBY takes the chance and slips into his office.
Where the hell have you been?
I slept in.
What's going on?
Clive sacked Mala.
He didn't sack me. I resigned.
She hurls another object at Arlon's office. Scoops up the rest of her belongings and marches toward the elevator.
STAFF applaud her as she goes.
The elevator is delayed.
They keep clapping.
MALA turns on them.
Screw you all to hell.
She takes the stairwell.
Was it Gallilleo, who
said, 'it's better to get
a job on your back than resign on
your knees?' Back to work folks,
the show's over.
RUBY slips into CLIFFORD'S office before ARLON has a chance to stop her.
96 INT. CLIFFORD'S OFFICE. SAME.
CLIFFORD is spinning in his chair. He ducks slightly when RUBY enters.
What was that all about?
Nothing much, just a bit of personnel redeployment.
We had a screw up with the system and Mala
thought her qualifications would serve better
elsewhere. Take a seat, Joanie,
we've got lots of work to do.
RUBY sinks into a seat.
First up, here. (HE THROWS HER A NEW PASS)
That will get you in via the private access.
Mala doesn't need it anymore.
RUBY fingers the pass.
She's left me in the lurch,
sly bitch. Never mind, shit happens.
Joan, I want you to assist me at the
Premiers' conference this weekend.
I can't, not this weekend.
I'm not asking you, Joan, I'm telling you.
(SNAPPING HIS FINGERS) Get it?
But my arse, Joan. I'm doing you a favour.
Whatever you've got on, cancel it. It's not
like you've got kids to worry about.
Book yourself a room at the Sheraton. My wife
will be staying with me, so stay on another floor.
Mala finished the agenda, thank Christ, but
you'll have to bone up.
(HE THROWS HER A WAD OF MONEY) And get yourself
something decent to wear. Two dinners, openers
on Saturday and the wank swank on Sunday.
RUBY stares at the money.
97 EXT. PUBLIC PARK. AFTERNOON.
The sun strains to shine through the clouds.
RUBY lies in Joan's clothes in the damp grass staring above her.
FUCHSIA skips up beside her and plonks herself down on the grass next to her.
Oh Ruby, this is wet!
It's not so wet.
You'll catch a chill.
I like it. Wet and sweet. It's soft.
I feel safe here darling.
FUCHSIA sighs and snuggles in next to her mother.
You beat me.
You beat me here. You're early.
Usually, you're late.
I'm sorry about our fight.
(looking at her daughter)
It's okay, baby.
Joan of Arc, lived in a Park,
above a windy city.
When she looked down, upon the town,
her heart was filled with pity.
What are you saying, darling?
St. Joan. We're reading about her
at school. Anna says..
My teacher. You know.
Of course, darling.
Joan of Arc, lived in the dark,
in a tower made of stone. She met her fate,
burnt at the stake, and suffered all alone.
That's very brutal, Fuchsia.
St Joan died happier than she lived.
Anna said she resurrected her country's
identity by hiding her own. She was valorous.
Valorous and dead.
Better than cowardly and alive.
Do you really believe that?
Yes. I don't know. But
Anna says they couldn't really kill her.
A soldier found God when they burned her.
He went back the next day and found her
heart, still beating.
This is morbid. Let's go home.
98 INT. RUBY'S BEDROOM. EVENING.
RUBY stands in front of the mirror holding another of JOAN'S business suits in front of her. She swaps it for a second- hand evening dress. It doesn't look like JOAN. With the other hand she holds back her hair as she wears it to work.
She drops the hair, then the clothes in a heap in front of her. She stands in an antique silk petticoat. She stares at herself. She looks beautiful and tragic. There is a deep sadness in her eyes.
The NUN materialises in the mirror. The NUN stares hard at RUBY without saying anything. The NUN'S face begins to morph into RUBY'S MOTHER, HILDA.
Leave me alone.
The NUN/HILDA remains.
Still the NUN remains.
RUBY cannot get rid of her. She slams the wardrobe door. The mirror breaks. Shards of glass fall at RUBY'S feet.
She hugs the clothes to her and kneels down, leaning dejectedly against the wardrobe.
Everything's fine, darling.
99 INT. RUBY'S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
A small open fire is burning. Cats laze around the hearth place looking sated.
FUCHSIA is painting a picture of JOAN at work. Her painting shows JOAN in an office window, surrounded by slightly grotesque and over-sized versions of CLIVE, ARLON and MALA.
RUBY wanders in behind Fuchsia. She wears a shawl around her petticoat. She catches Fuchsia's concentration and stares at her daughter and the painting for a moment.
What do you call that?
The Premiers' Conference.
It's not very flattering.
FUCHSIA shrugs, a little sullen.
Fuchsia, it's not my idea to be at
this thing all weekend.
Then don't go.
I'm afraid I have to.
I didn't think you were afraid of anything.
100 INT. RUBY'S KITCHEN. LATER/EVENING.
RUBY and FUCHSIA sit at the kitchen table. A kettle simmers on the stove. Rain falls gently outside.
FUCHSIA and RUBY are cutting out pieces from the newspaper.
FUCHSIA is cutting coloured pictures from magazines and making pretty collages in her scrap book.
RUBY is cutting news items and sticking them in a separate scrap book.
What are you doing?