We hear both Mr. Jellineck and Mr. Noblet
emitting little coughs as the line proceeds into the locker room.
Back in her
classroom, Coach Wolf begins showing a filmstrip to the girls, with this
"Ladies,some of those nosy PTA mothers have brought it to our
attention that we have neglected to teach you a few things -- they're unimportant
things, really -- but you probably should have learned them a while ago. So, let's
just take care of that today, OK?
"First of all, you shouldn't use electrical
appliances in the bathtub or shower. It could kill you.
"Second, the earth -- our
planet -- is round, like a globe, not flat, like this map of the earth.
"And -- ah,
yes -- and, as for the remaining topic we've yet to cover, this
filmstrip will address all of the things you might have been wondering
about. Answers to any further questions can be found...on the Internet.
She then proceeds to show a film entitled, "Growing Up and Liking It,"
which basically lays out (in cartoon form) the bodily changes a girl goes through
during puberty. As the film details certain changes, the camera zooms to
certain girls in the class who have obviously already passed that stage of
development ("Breasts will enlarge" pans to an endowed girl; "Hair will
grow" pans to Jamie, an female exchange student who has a moustache).
Overall, the film is very vague and silly and never uses clinical terms, but
instead refers to a girls' private parts as the "tweeters" and the "woofer"
and a period as "a visit from a special friend."
NEXT SCENE: It's the next morning.
We see Jerri hit the snooze button and roll back to sleep at least four times, while
some crazy pop music plays each time the snooze alarm goes off (her snooze is set to
go off after, say, two minutes, so it keeps going off right away). The camera cuts to
a calendar on the wall near her bed, which has Xs marked through all of the days
until the current day, which has a skull and crossbones drawn on it. Jerri finally
wakes up, looks at the calendar, says "Time to caulk the faucet" and then looks
underneath the covers. She stares there for a little
while and finally says, "That's odd."
The alarm goes off again (Jerri had never
shut if off completely). The song that plays this time is Madonna's "Papa Don't
Preach." The camera shoots to a pensive Jerri, over the lyrics "I'm keeping my baby
NEXT SCENE: Jerri finds her stepmother in the kitchen, where this scene
Jerri: Mom, I've missed something...
Sara Blank: Yes, Jerri. I was
looking at your calendar... Isn't it time you did something with that landfill you
call a hairdo?
Jerri: No, I mean, ah, I'm "late."
Sara Blank: Oh, Jerri, there
certainly is a lot of work to be done there, but it's never too late.
stepmother. Listen to me. My [Jerri makes hand gesture] "special friend" hasn't
visited in a long time...About a month, to be exact...
Sara: Well, Jerri, I'm sure
Orlando has been very busy. You know, with having to learn the language -- and
spending time with people he likes more than you.
Jerri: I'm not talking about
Orlando, stepmother. Oh, forget it!
Sara: Jerri, wait. Here, sit down. You know, I
know that neither you nor I find it easy to talk to one another, and I suppose...uh,
well, that's pretty much...your fault. But, I just want you to know, this is one time
I DO know what you're going through, and, well -- woman to woman -- I'm sure it will
work out fine.
Jerri: I don't know what to say...
Sara: And when Orlando calls
again, and I'm sure he will [winks], let's have him over for dinner. Just you and
your special, Chinese friend... [She pats Jerri on the head, gets up and leaves Jerri
at the table alone]
Jerri (to camera): I'm glad we could have this talk.
SCENE: Jerri is clearly distracted in Mr. Noblet's class. She's doodling in her
notebook, drawing a stick figure but giving it a well-defined, big, pregnant belly.
Then, she starts drawing a family of stick figures following the first, and she keeps
drawing and drawing small stick babies until she and the drawing are out of control.
She grimaces and is out of breath. Mr. Noblet is lecturing on paying attention to
details and to illustrate his point he writes two seemingly identical sentences on
the board. No one in the class is able to say what the difference is. Mr.
Noblet says, "The first sentence is clearly missing a period, just
like -- Jerri Blank..."
Jerri, astonished, looks up from her doodling to see Mr.
Noblet holding a note.
NOBLET: "Note for you, Jerri. Mr. Jellineck needs to see you
sometime today. All of the information I'm about to cover will be on tomorrow's exam.
So, why don't you go see him NOW."
NEXT SCENE: Jerri is in the art room with Mr.
Mr. Jellineck says Jerri seemed distracted in art class that morning and
wants to know if something is wrong. After some creative metaphors and general
misunderstanding, Jerri finally blurts out that she's worried she might be pregnant.
When Jellineck asks if she knows who the father might be, Jerri goes through a
recitation of various male names ("Good times!"), but isn't able to come up with
anyone. Jellineck says there's only one thing
Jerri must do -- and immediately.
Jerri shakes her head in agreement.
You have to go visit Suzie Flowmore, the pregnant girl! She can give you advice,
Jerri -- and maybe even maternity clothes. By the way, can you drop off this homework
for her while you're there?
NEXT SCENE: Jerri rings the buzzer at Suzie Flowmore's
house. Suzie comes out to talk with Jerri on the porch. Right away, it's clear that
Suzie, who is a petite thing, isn't pregnant at all. Jerri is puzzled until Suzie
explains that she's been Flatpoint High's "pregnant girl" the past 2½ years.
She explains: "It's perfect! I never have to go to class, all of my homework is
delivered to me, and to get out of reports I just say I have morning sickness."
Jerri: Hmmmm... Well, what do you do all day?
SUZIE: Not much -- just a little
gambling... For extra spending money.
Jerri: Oh, sure. Like what?
Blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, slots, pool, church bingo,
baccarat, game shows, horses, dogs, cats, lottery tickets, football pools,
pull tabs, cock fights. I made 2 G at a Boy Scouts soap box derby last
Jerri (intrigued): I see...
SUZIE: Where are my manners? Why don¹t you
Jerri enters Suzie¹s house, which on the outside had looked like a typical
middle class, white-sided house, but on the inside rivals a Vegas casino. It is smoky
and dark, except for flashing lights. Jerri sidles up to a roulette
table, shakes a pair of dice, says "C'mon Queen Kismet, mama needs a
bassinet," and the scene fades out.
Jerri leaves Suzie's house (later that evening)
very inspired -- and $300 richer. Although she had spent most of her time up to this
point trying to figure out how she would rid herself of any impending offspring, she
now decides she will carry a baby to full-term, especially if it means more free
time, more gambling and more cold, hard cash.
NEXT SCENE: Jerri, who had met
Orlando at the mall, is now walking into her bedroom at home with him. Jerri is
carrying shopping bags that say "Toys R Us" and "BABY."
Orlando: I can't believe
Jerri: I know, $4.99 for a rice shaker made by some Indonesian
sweatshop worker. But, a baby's gotta' have toys...
Orlando: No, I can't believe
you might be pregnant.
Jerri: Believe it. For the next nine months, I'll be eating,
sleeping and walking for two. I'll be like a kangaroo, with a growing, blossoming
pouch biscuit inside my belly. Hop, hop, hop. (She hops.) All day. All the time....
Oh, who am I kidding? I don't want to have a baby. Sure -- some things would be
Orlando: Like, watching it grow, and caring for it...
whatever. I mean, teaching it tricks and dressing it up for dog shows. But I need my
spaaaaaaaace. I need my elbow room. I don't even have room for a...baby bed, or a...
baby dresser, or...a baby stove in here.
Orlando: Well, you could always move out
into your own apartment.
Jerri: Yeah, and cook and clean for myself, too. That's hilarious.
Orlando: Well, Jerri, aren't you jumping the gun, anyway? You don't even
know for sure you're pregnant yet.
Jerri: Oh, I can feel it. [Rubs her stomach]
Yup--There's something growing in here, and it's not just the spic food from Papa
Pequeños. I am "with child"...
Orlando: Well, you should find out for sure.
goes to her closet to grab a coat hanger and throws it in a duffle
Jerri: You're right, Island boy. Just in
case [referring to the coat hanger]. OK, let's go.
NEXT SCENE: Jerri's on an
examining table. Behind her, a doctor and nurse are discussing a lab result.
Doctor: All right, Nurse Fallopia, what color? Pink? Blue?
The nurse lifts a
test tube from a rack, which is filled with samples from Jerri's body (her "pregnancy
test"). The liquid is a murky, pukey brown. The nurse departs, and the doctor walks
Doctor: Jerri, I'm afraid what you're experiencing is what some people
call "The Curse."
Jerri: Oh, my dear Lord.... "The Curse."... Well, is it a boy or a girl?
Doctor: No, Jerri, you don't understand. You're not having a baby. In fact,
you'll not be able to have a baby anymore.
Jerri: Yeah, right. What did you do in
there? Put a knot in the 'ol tummy tubes? Do I have to pay extra for that?
No, Jerri. You're going through menopause.
Doctor: The cessation of your regular menstrual cycle.
Doctor: The "
change of life."
Doctor: You see, Jerri...
The scene fades out with
the doctor explaining the facts of life to Jerri, with her shaking her head in
seeming understanding after each sentence ("Oh, yeah. Yeah."). The doctor actually
starts at the beginning, possibly sketching out a doodle of the female anatomy on a
pad (Jerri: What's that?), and uses words and phrases reminiscent of the filmstrip in
Coach Wolf's class.
The scene fades in again. The doctor has almost explained it
all to Jerri.
Doctor: So, Jerri, the bad news is -- I know this might come as a
shock to you -- you'll never be able to have a baby anymore.
Jerri: Have a baby do
Doctor: No, you'll never be able to get pregnant.
Jerri: Oh, I've been
Doctor: You'll never be able to carry a baby, to give birth to a baby, to
be "with child."
Jerri: Not even on my "fertile days?"
Doctor: I'm afraid you
won't have fertile days anymore. Your "special friend" won't be visiting anymore.
Jerri: What's the bad news again?
CLOSING SCENE: Jerri is in a hallway at
Flatpoint, looking through a window outside the "Flatpoint High Day Care Center." It
is overpopulated with
babies and toddlers.
Jerri: You know, having a baby must be a wonderful thing. So
many women have done it. In fact, I think that everyone who has had a baby has been a
woman. And I have learned that most of them got pregnant first. Being pregnant, then,
isn't so bad if you want to have a baby. Or, if you want to turn 50 bucks into a cool
G in an afternoon.
As Jerri walks down the hall, she says:
I'm sure going to miss
my special friend. Yeah, right!
FLATPOINT HIGH SIGN: What child is
SIGNS IN SCHOOL:
· Pregnant? We All Have Our Problems
· Don't Be A Baby
· Give Mirth, Not Birth
· A Pregnancy Test Is
One You Should Fail