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Sal’s Gin and Grits

Opening scene; ext shot, Sal’s Gin and Grits. This is a dingy building on an urban street, windows heavily barred and with thick blinds blocking any view of the interior. A door of re-enforced steel is locked. Surveillance cameras cover the sidewalk.

Second shot: the alley entrance. Teens, boys and girls, dressed in cheap clothes, but ones that reflect current fashions. They’re carrying on fragmented conversations in between looking at their phones or tablets.

1st boy: Crap! I never knew she said stuff like that!

2nd boy: Like what? Grabs his friend’s phone

 3rd boy: OMG, I can’t believe she got away with that.

Girls cluster around the device, then walk away with scornful laughs. We’ve been knowing that since we were eight.

As the girls turn away, we see the boys are looking at Judy Blume’s Forever.

A younger girl runs around the corner of the building: (gasping for breath) Cops!

2nd boy bounces tennis ball hard against the back door.

Scene Two: Inside Sal’s Gin and Grits

Sal, the owner, is sitting behind the bar. She’s a heavy-set woman in her fifties, wearing thick pancake and a sweatshirt that says, MARA . A cappuccino machine and tea samovar are on the shelf behind her. She’s looking at a tablet, but frequently scans the room to see if anyone wants refreshments.

Forty or so patrons sit around tables. They range in age from eight or nine to eighty or ninety.  All are looking at tablets. They are quiet for the most part, although every now and then one or more of them is excited by something they’ve seen on the screen in front of them. On the far side of the room, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Sonny Payne and a few others are sitting near their instruments,  but they are reading or chatting quietly among themselves.

The noise of the tennis ball against the back door galvanizes the room. The musicians begin playing a fast number. A big overhead TV starts broadcasting a football game. Sal rips off her sweatshirt, revealing a tatty velvet top that covers her massive bosom only with the aid of safety pins.

A set of shelves drops down behind her, covering the cappuccino machine and samovar with shelves of liquor bottles.

A second later, the steel front door is opened with police wielding giant battering rams.

Sal: Why, Detective Mulligan, what brings you here? Want some of my – grits?

Mulligan: You know damned well why I’m here, Sal. You’re operating an illegal library.

Mulligan:  (snatches a tablet from a girl and reads) Are you There, God? It’s Me, Margaret! This is the fifth time we’ve caught you serving Judy Blume to a minor.

He grabs her discarded sweatshirt. MARA. Make America Read Again. Might have known.

(picks up another tablet) Felix Ever After! We warned you to give them something wholesome, like Gone With The Wind. You should be ashamed of yourself. And you’ll get fifteen to life to think of your shame.

The room is swarming with cops. They grab Jack Lemmon’s bass and shake it. A copy of the 1619 Project falls out.

Cop: Hands behind your back, Pervert!

Mulligan: Adults, you’re off to holding cells. Your kids are going into foster care where they will not ever have to read another line of print.

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