A homeless teen runaway squats on the sidewalk of a busy LA street at night. The hat beside her has a few bills and change in it. She glances up and down the strip, aglow in neon, face desolate as people pass her by. Sheʼs definitely seen some hard times.
A person in a wolf mascot costume walks by her. Her eyes follow it for a second and quickly glance back down. The wolf stops, comes back to her and stares down at her. He pats his pockets like heʼs looking for change and stops, still staring down. She squirms a little.
He breaks out into a big cheer. No words. But all the movements of a typical rah-rah cheer. He points to her and gets her to stand up so he can point at her, clapping, seemingly cheering her on. She stares, dumbfounded. She mumbles thanks, trying to wave him off, but heʼs not going anywhere. She gathers her hat and pack and starts walking, once again waving him off with a sort of implied thanks. But he follows. Along the way, he high fives passerby and keeps pointing at her, cheering her on and trying to get people to clap for her. She glances back, getting creeped out at first and then just angry.
With more than a few people around and the wolf high-fiving some people, she takes off down a side alley. She watches for him, now thoroughly paranoid, and picks up the closest object she could swing: a heavy looking kids train toy with a handle on top. She pants, watching steadily for that wolf to come around the corner so she can pummel the creep. She sees him! And just as she starts to charge him, he keeps on walking. Heʼs not acting like a mascot anymore. And heʼs not looking for her. Heʼs just walking.
She tries to slow her breathing and eventually creeps out of her hiding place to follow him along a couple streets. He heads into a local school gym and she stops just shy of going in, instead seeing the scene inside through the slit of window in the door.
Thereʼs only a slice of the scene she can see but it looks like a normal kid basketball game. One team wears the same jersey as the wolf. The wolf hops in, blocking her view of the court. But heʼs not looking at her. Heʼs cheering on the team.
Half an hour later, sheʼs huddled near the doors. Waiting.
The mascot comes back out and sheʼs about the go up to him, ask him a question. But he removes the wolf head. Heʼs just some middle aged guy, sweating like mad. One of the kids, wearing a ratty jersey, runs up to him and they crash into a big olʼ father/son hug. She stops and looks at them, her face softening. Actually, she might burst into tears. The wolf guy promises the boy a new jersey next season. The boy points to the mascot costume and says, “This is awesome enough!” They continue to chatter about the game while the girl disappears in the night.
She heads to a local bus station. There, waiting one minute. Gone the next when a bus leaves.
In a quaint neighborhood, she sheepishly knocks on the door. An older lady opens it. She stares at the girl, now especially looking like a girl, young and vulnerable, and holds her breath. The girl looks up, tears streaming down her cheeks. The woman sweeps her into a big hug and hauls her inside. All along the walls are pictures of the teen. Itʼs a sort of mini-shrine to the girl and her accomplishments. Her mom keeps holding tight, a huge smile on her face, telling her daughter everything will be alright.
I wrote this on the fly when I saw some Super 8 footage a friend shot in L.A. He asked if anyone had any scripts lying around and while I didn’t have anything ready, I found his footage too inspirational to pass up.