PRAIRIE HILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Three high school seniors are casually seated around a small round table in a cramped journalism office. No windows, stained carpet. NATHAN PACE, a tall scrawny 18-year-old wearing a red flannel shirt, is staring blankly at his black and white composition notebook. The three students are brainstorming for a lead story for their school newspaper. The school administration is threatening to take away the funding for the paper. PACE So...Does anyone have any ideas? Any at all? (anxiously taps pencil on notebook) (pauses) We’ve been here for three hours now, and no good ideas? After a few more minutes of awkward silence, BECCA PAINTER, a short girl with long brown hair, smiles widely and her face lights up. PAINTER (starts to speak quickly) Has anyone ever noticed that one Japanese teacher? What’s her name? That old one with the crazy white hair and the weird kimonos? (edges closer to the table) PACE Uh...You mean, Mrs. McMurrer? PAINTER Yes! Her! I think it would be interesting to do an undercover story about her. JEANETTE WALL, an outspoken blond girl wearing black thick-framed glasses, gives Becca a look of confusion WALL Why would students want to read about her? She’s nuts. (raises eyebrows) PAINTER I’m convinced she lives at the school. Not like spends all of her time her, like actually lives at the school.
PACE (laughs nervously) So are you suggesting we stalk a teacher? PAINTER Well, I mean, sort of. I guess. We could go undercover and stay here really later and investigate what she really does late at night! WALL (with excitement) Our newspaper’s first investigative report! PACE Ummmm. This is kind of risky, guys. Not only could we get in trouble, we could also get her fired if it’s true and we reveal this. (sighs) PAINTER (stands up from chair) We are journalists! We have freedom of speech! No one ever reads the school paper. Let’s give them something to read about! WALL Come on, Nathan. I really think this could work. PAINTER I know, I know. It’s risky. We could get caught, we could get in trouble. But that’s half the fun! Pleaseeeee? Both girls lean forward on the table and widen their eyes. PACE Ok. OK! Fine. We’ll do it. For the sake of the paper. PAINTER I promise it’ll work out! This will turn our paper around! If it’s as good as I’m imagining, we might even win an award!
PACE (inaudibly muttering to himself) God, I hope so. If this story goes down, I go down. This story could make or break me as editor-in-chief. The two girls exit the room with excitement and talk about all of their ideas for the story. Nathan closes the door so he is the only one left in the publications office. PACE (talking to himself) For the sake of the paper.