Luke Sabis
Missing Child - portion for web

Missing Child


Luke Sabis & Michael Barbuto

               FADE IN:

               INT. SEDAN - NIGHT

               The SHOT is from the POV of someone sitting in the backseat
               of a sedan, parked in an underground parking structure.

               A LARGE MAN opens the front door and sits in the driver's
               seat. His eyes are seen through the rear view mirror...

                                   LARGE MAN
                         Are you looking forward to it?

Missing Child - Gia's nightmare

The man backs the sedan out and begins to drive, spiraling through the parking structure. YOUNG WOMAN (V.O.) I remember things, at least I think I do, about when I was little. The problem with these memories is that I've never had anyone to tell me what was real and was a dream... The man pulls the sedan into a parking spot in a dark corner. YOUNG WOMAN (V.O.) ...You once asked me, 'what was worse, not remembering or not knowing?' The CAMERA POV follows the man as he opens his door and gets out. He opens the back door and slides in... YOUNG WOMAN (V.O.) I always thought that the two most important things were to remember the beginning and to know the end. LARGE MAN Are you looking forward to it? CUT TO: INT. BEDROOM - MORNING A YOUNG WOMAN gasps letting out a silent scream as she springs up and awake, in bed. The young woman is GIA. She's in her early 20s, dark hair, pretty but a little worn.

Gia awakens in Missing Child

Next to her, a MAN is sound asleep. Gia lies back down. She inches closer to the man for comfort. He puts his arm around her. She tries to go back to sleep as the CLOCK RADIO goes on playing Classic Rock MUSIC. The man, JOE PHELAN, early 40s, lean and rugged, leans over and turns the radio off. Gia gets out of bed. On the floor is a knapsack and a box of belongings; some clothes, a photo album, magazines, etc. She grabs a pair of jeans from the box. Joe picks up a Jump Rope from the floor. INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY Gia turns on the TV. INT. JOE'S BEDROOM - DAY Joe is jumping rope. INT. JOE'S KITCHEN - DAY Gia makes a pot of coffee. INT. JOE'S BEDROOM - DAY Joe does push-ups alongside the bed. INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY Gia sits before a computer. Joe enters. GIA I made some coffee, if you want. He looks through some mail on the dining table. JOE Thanks. Gia goes to the table and pours herself another cup of coffee. She glances at a bill that Joe reads... INSERT LETTER FINAL NOTICE - Account Past Due! BACK TO SCENE Joe notices Gia looking. JOE This credit card is so screwed. I paid the whole thing two weeks ago. I gotta call them, again. He crushes the bill and throws it in the trash can. Gia sits back at the computer. GIA Do you want me to give you some rent money? JOE No, no, no... Not necessary. He stands behind Gia and looks at the computer screen. JOE How's everything goin', here? GIA I'm printing this out so I can look it over at work. JOE Cool. He gives her a kiss. JOE Got the keys? GIA Yeah. Joe heads out the door. The printer beside the computer generates a few pages. Gia gathers the stack of papers. EXT. JOE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY Wearing an iPod headset, Gia exits the apartment and walks along the outside of the two story apartment building.

Gia leaves Joe's apartment in Missing Child

EXT./INT. GIA'S CAR - DAY Gia sips her coffee as she drives her old, slightly dented Honda Accord hatchback. MUSIC plays on the radio. EXT. CORNER STRIP MALL - DAY A few shops reside in a modest sized strip mall. INT. BOUTIQUE CLOTHING STORE - DAY MUSIC plays on the store speakers. The store owner, DEBBIE, folds some clothes. She's blond, attractive and in her 30s. On the floor nearby is NOAH who's about four years old. He plays with a miniature toy car and a model airplane. Gia sits next to Debbie, with a pen, reading through the stack of papers she printed out before.

Gia and Debbie at the store in Missing Child

DEBBIE Aren't you going to do that on line? GIA I want to make sure I get everything down first. INSERT TOP OF PAPER Application for Student Housing BACK TO SCENE DEBBIE You're going to be fine, Gia. A YOUNG COUPLE enters the store. Debbie approaches them. DEBBIE Can I help you? Noah watches Gia go through the application.

Gia and Noah at the store in Missing Child

NOAH Are you going away? GIA I'll come back to visit, Noah. She puts down the papers and sits next to Noah on the floor. GIA I'll write you letters. You and your mom can visit me. It'll be fun. He gives Gia a smile. EXT. JOE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY Gia walks along her building. At a row of apartment mailboxes, she looks through some letters. She sees an advertisement card. INSERT CARD Carpet Cleaning - Lowest Rate in Town She flips the card over... Beneath the words "Missing Child Alert" is a picture of a young boy. Alongside is a photo of the same child, age progressed to teenage years. BACK TO SCENE Gia drops the junk mail into a nearby trash bin.

A Missing Child listing

INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY The TV is on. Gia works at the computer. A KNOCK ON THE DOOR is heard. Gia looks through the peep hole and then hesitates. Another KNOCK is heard. She opens the door to see TYLER JAY, late 20s, good looking in an edgy, alternative sort of way; long hair, tatoos.

Tyler visits Gia in Missing Child

TYLER Gia... She reacts awkwardly as Tyler gives her a kiss. GIA What are you doing here? TYLER Returning your call? GIA You could've just called my cell. TYLER Can I come in? (Gia seems uncomfortable) We can talk about it here if you want... (speaking louder) But this hallway kind of echoes. I thought you'd appreciate some privacy. Gia steps back to let Tyler in. She quickly closes the door. TYLER Whose place is this? GIA I'm staying with someone... My boyfriend. How did you know I was here? TYLER An acquaintance of mine knows someone who goes to that church of yours. He told me where you worked. I kind of followed you. GIA That's very flattering. (beat) Those videos are still on-line. You promised you would take them off. TYLER My programmer's busy at some gaming festival in Japan. As soon as he gets back -- GIA I asked you a year ago, Tyler. TYLER Why do you want them off? Does your boyfriend know? Gia glares at him. TYLER You should tell him. A lot of guys get turned on by the idea. GIA Why are you here? To tell me you're not going to do what you promised?! TYLER I wanted to see how you're doing. I miss you. GIA I'm doing fine. Tyler moves closer, making some contact. TYLER You still look good, why waste it? I got my camera in the car. We can shoot a scene up here. GIA You're a fucking lowlife! I want you to leave. TYLER One more scene, Gia. I'll pay you good -- The sound of a KEY IN THE DOOR LOCK is heard. Joe enters the apartment.

Joe walks in on Gia and Tyler Missing Child

JOE (hesitantly) Hello... TYLER This is your boyfriend? JOE What's going on, Gia? GIA Nothing -- TYLER Sir, Tyler Jay... He extends his hand towards Joe. JOE (shaking his hand) How you doin', Tyler? I'm Joe. TYLER Me and Gia were just reminiscing about the old times. You know how that goes. JOE I hope I'm not interrupting. Joe places his keys on the dining table. GIA You weren't. Joe glances at the computer. He sees Gia's application alongside. TYLER (seductively to Gia) Maybe your boyfriend would want to watch. He can even join in if he wants. Tyler puts his hand on Gia's waist. She looks to Joe for some help. JOE What am I gonna be watching? TYLER Are you one of those church people? Joe GRASPS Tyler by his head and KNEES HIM IN THE FACE, dropping him to the floor.

Tyler goes down in Missing Child

Joe kicks Tyler in Missing Child

JOE Not exactly. Joe pulls out a 9mm handgun. TYLER Is this guy a cop or something? JOE You're gonna wish I was a cop. Joe VICIOUSLY KICKS Tyler who curls up in defense. Gia looks on in shock as Joe drags and kicks Tyler towards the door. JOE Get the fuck out!!! Tyler stares at the gun as he struggles to his feet. TYLER Take it easy, dude! He backs out the door and scurries down the stairs. Out of breath, Joe looks out the window. He watches Tyler rush away outside the apartment. Joe places his gun on the table. He puts his handcuffs and a stun gun alongside. GIA I wasn't doing anything with him. He goes to Gia on the couch. JOE I know. GIA And I wasn't gonna do anything either. JOE I didn't think you would. EXT. PARK - DAY Gia and Joe walk through the park. GIA Are you that passionate when you're out catching bad guys? JOE Nah... When I'm working, it's just a job. I do it for the money. She holds Joe's hand. JOE So, who was that guy? GIA (pause) I used to go out with him, sort of. I attract a lot of assholes. Joe laughs. GIA I should hire you to shoot him. JOE I'm a bounty hunter, not a hit man. She gives him a smile. They sit on a bench. JOE I was lookin' through your photo album. What happened to the pictures from when you were younger? The ones with your parents? GIA I never knew my parents. JOE You know what I mean, your foster parents. GIA I threw them out. JOE Why? GIA They reminded me of other pictures my foster father took. Joe caresses her forearm. GIA I want to put the bad stuff in my life behind me. He touches a birth mark on her arm. Gia smiles as she pulls her arm away. GIA Don't look at that, it's ugly. JOE Nothin' on you is ugly, Gia. INT. BOUTIQUE CLOTHING STORE - DAY Gia and Debbie arrange a rack of shirts. Noah sits nearby, drawing in a coloring book. GIA I'm glad he came home when he did. DEBBIE Don't you think Joe's a little old for you to be getting so serious about?

Gia and Debbie in Missing Child

GIA He's not that old. And we're not so serious. DEBBIE Is he going to join you on your 'big cross country adventure'? GIA He might. (cheerfully) I got an e-mail before. They accepted my application. INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Gia comes in. Joe is sitting at the computer. JOE Hey... She nervously watches him gaze at the screen. JOE I found something on-line that might interest you. GIA What's that? JOE I think I found your family, Gia. GIA What??? JOE Come here... He sits her down before the computer. JOE You gotta see this. They both look at the screen... INSERT COMPUTER SCREEN M i s s i n g C h i l d On the screen is a picture of a three year old girl. The picture is tightly framed, only showing the girl's face. BACK TO SCENE GIA Who's that? JOE That... Joe clicks the mouse a few times. JOE Is you. INSERT COMPUTER SCREEN M i s s i n g C h i l d On the screen is an age-progressed photo of a young woman that resembles Gia. BACK TO SCENE GIA What are you talking about? JOE I came across this website and this picture. I think that's you. She moves closer towards the screen and looks at the picture in more detail. GIA This could be anybody. JOE Look at these other things; the age, the fact that you've never had contact with your real parents. And read down here... 'Elizabeth Whittle was the victim of a non family abduction. Foul play suspected. She is the only...' Bu bu bu... Here look, 'Elizabeth has a birth mark on her left forearm.' Gia touches her birth mark on her arm. JOE It's at least a possibility. (pause) I talked to this man, Henry Whittle. That's the guy, the father. I mean, he may be your father. GIA We've looked at pictures on-line before. How come we didn't see this one? JOE Do you know how many 'Missing Children' pictures are out there? GIA I would've remembered being kidnapped. JOE Do you remember your real mother, your father, anything? You were three years old. Gia gazes at the missing child photo on the computer screen. INT. GIA'S CAR - NIGHT Gia drives through the night, a thousand thoughts racing through her mind. GIA (V.O.) I always imagined what my real parents were like and how they might have raised me. I wondered if my life would have been different. Would it have been better? I got used to the idea of not having parents. If they are out there, maybe they got used to the idea of not having me. (beat) I tried to convince myself I didn't want a family. Uncomfortable in the silence, she turns on the radio to some MUSIC. EXT. DEBBIE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Gia, appearing distraught, stands outside an apartment in the courtyard area. Noah, wearing pajamas, answers the door. Debbie stands behind him. NOAH Gia! GIA Hey big guy... Gia gives Noah a hug. INT. DEBBIE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Gia is on the carpet playing with Noah and his toys. Debbie comes into the room holding a laundry bin.

Gia Debbie Noah Missing Child

DEBBIE It's getting late, Noah. Time for bed. NOAH Can Gia tuck me in? DEBBIE (to Gia) He had a bad dream last night. Gia takes him by the hand. GIA Let's go, Noah. INT. NOAH'S ROOM - NIGHT Gia watches Noah as he crawls underneath his blanket. He appears to be worried. GIA Are you afraid of having another nightmare, Noah? He shakes his head, "Yes". Gia sits on the bed. She sees a model airplane resting on the bedside table. She picks it up.

Gia puts Noah to bed in Missing Child

GIA Do you remember when I bought this for you? NOAH On my birthday. GIA I didn't tell you this before, but there's something special about it. (pause) Inside there's a guardian angel... (he reacts) ...And he's going to watch over you. If you have another bad dream, it'll be okay. Because your guardian angel is here to make sure you're safe and protected. This way you can sleep and have nice dreams. You won't have anything to worry about. Somewhat skeptical, he examines the model airplane. NOAH Where is he? GIA You can't see him but he's there. Noah looks curiously at Gia and then smiles. Gia puts the airplane back on the bedside table. She tucks the blankets snugly around Noah and gives him a kiss. GIA Good night, Noah. She turns off the light. In the dark, Gia stares at Noah for a moment, lying safe and cozy under the blanket. EXT. DEBBIE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Gia and Debbie sit on a step outside the apartment door, in a courtyard area. Debbie fidgets with a cigarette before lighting it. DEBBIE I've been thinking, I might have to close the shop. GIA Why? DEBBIE There's too much competition at the mall. I need more inventory, more displays. I want to spend the money on Noah's day care. It's not fair to keep him stuck in the store all day. GIA You're a good mother. DEBBIE Yeah, with all my wonderful habits. Gia gives a slight laugh as Debbie takes a puff on her cigarette. GIA Noah's growing fast. He's getting so big. DEBBIE He's going to miss you. Gia smiles. GIA I think about what my life would be like if I had my parents, at least my mother. DEBBIE I still have mine. It doesn't always help, honey. GIA Yeah, but you know who they are and what they are. I don't know anything. Debbie observes Gia who still appears to be unsettled. DEBBIE Why are you thinking about this stuff again? GIA (pause) Someone told me they might have found my family. DEBBIE Someone...? Who? Mr. Bounty Hunter? From her pocket, Gia takes a printout of the missing child listing and gives it to Debbie.

Gia shows Debbie the Missing Child listing

GIA He found this picture on-line -- DEBBIE Gia... How many times are you going to go through this? (pause) Isn't it better to think about where you're going than worry about where you might have been? Once you start school, at least you'll have that to focus on. If there's something to this -- GIA I can't get this out of my mind. You know I look through Joe's mail everyday. I keep hoping to see a picture of myself on the back of one of those stupid junk mail ads. Debbie reacts with sadness. GIA I've got to do this, Debbie. INT. PARKING STRUCTURE - NIGHT Joe is leaning against his car in a parking lot. He watches an attractive, well-dressed woman, KATHLEEN, walking towards her vehicle. He steps towards her. JOE Kathleen... She turns to see Joe. He gives her a hug. JOE Get my messages? KATHLEEN I was going to call you tonight. What did you want talk about? JOE You still work at that lab, right? She makes a face. JOE Can I least tell you what it is, first?!

Kathleen and Joe in Missing Child

KATHLEEN I have bills too, Joe. And I've a lot more to worry about these days than your credit rating. JOE I wasn't gonna ask you for one penny. KATHLEEN Then what is it? JOE (his tone darkens) It's more than my credit... And these people aren't gonna just cut my credit card in half. KATHLEEN What do you want from me? JOE A little favor, that's all. KATHLEEN Do you know I almost got fired the last time I did you a little favor? JOE It's not gonna be like that. And I promise it will be worth your while. She gives him a skeptical look. JOE Besides, this time it's for a good cause. You'll be helping somebody out. INT. JOE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Gia sits at the computer. She looks at the age-progressed photo of the missing child. She reads the description... INSERT COMPUTER SCREEN Elizabeth Whittle was the victim of a non-family abduction. FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED. She is the only child of Henry and Ava Whittle. Elizabeth has a birth mark on her left forearm. BACK TO SCENE She stares at the computer screen and lightly touches her arm. Gia rises to her feet and turns on the radio to some MUSIC. INT. JOE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Gia is packing a travel bag. She pages through her photo album before putting it in the bag. She hears the front door open. The MUSIC, playing in the other room, is turned off. Gia sits on the bed. GIA (softly) I will refrain from the path of fools, for they run to evil. I will cast my --

Gia's praying is interrupted in Missing Child

She stops her prayer as Joe enters. JOE Don't stop for me. Gia closes her eyes and whispers to herself... GIA I will cast my lot to the Lord. I will have one purse with him. I will not fear his judgement, but seek comfort there. She opens her eyes to see Joe staring at her. GIA It's a prayer I like. He nods. JOE Packed already? He throws some underwear into a backpack. GIA Where are we gonna stay? JOE Maybe Henry will want you to stay with him... Gia seems preoccupied. JOE ...Or we could find a motel out there for the night. It'll be nice. Joe sits on the bed next to her. GIA What if Henry is my father and that is my family? JOE That's the idea, right? GIA What do I say? JOE What do you wanna say? GIA When I was younger, my foster parents told me my real mother was probably a drug addict or something. I used to be mad at her for leaving me... For never looking for me. I hated her so much. I never knew her but I still hated her. (pause) Maybe it wasn't her fault. Joe caresses her cheek. He kisses her as they lie on the bed. Gia kisses him back, more passionately. The mood rapidly changes to a sexual tone.

Gia Missing Child

Gia almost becomes another person as she moves on top of Joe. She is charged and aggressive. She leans over to the clock radio and turns it on. A PULSATING BEAT sounds out. She unbuckles Joe's belt, confidently taking control. INT. CAR - DAY Joe and Gia drive along a desert freeway. Alternative Rock MUSIC plays on the radio. GIA How far is it? Joe glances at a map. JOE If we don't hit any traffic, we should get there before dark. They continue down the thruway. Joe turns the radio off. They drive in silence for a few moments. Gia puts on the radio again and scans for other stations. JOE You don't like silence, do you? GIA What? JOE Silence. You can't take it. Every second of the day. You got the TV on, the radio... Always some noise to distract you. GIA That's not true. She turns the radio off and sits back. They continue for a few moments without saying anything. Gia stares out the window, watching the scenery pass by. GIA I like music. She turns the radio on again. Joe laughs. JOE Can't be afraid of your own thoughts. GIA Just drive... She playfully hits his arm. INT. CAR - LATER They continue along a smaller road. Gia looks at the map, somewhat confused. GIA Why didn't you Mapquest it? JOE Can't you read a map? She repositions her view of the map. Joe pulls over. He takes a look at the map. GIA If you Mapquested it -- JOE We're doin' fine. It's a little bit further. He hands her the map and gives her a kiss. She kisses him back. JOE Keep your eyes open for 41. They drive on.

Joe and Gia drive to Henry Whittle's house

INT. CAR - LATER They drive down the service streets of a more rural area. Now Gia is reading directions that are hand-written on a piece of paper. GIA Make a right at the fork in the road. JOE Are you sure it's a right? Joe playfully takes the paper from her hands and turns it upside down. GIA If we get lost it's because of your sloppy writing. JOE Next time I'll Mapquest it. Gia takes note of the desolate surroundings. GIA I couldn't imagine living in a place like this. JOE Well... You might have. Gia reacts. Joe spots the fork in the road. JOE Here we go... EXT. CAR - DAY All the homes in the area are nicely spaced apart. They pull into the driveway of a modest two story house. Gia stares, not sure what to make of it. JOE Come on, let's go. They get out of the car. Gia, wearing a T-shirt, rubs her arms. Joe looks at her for a moment and then hands her a sweater. JOE Here... It's gettin' cold. She puts the sweater on. He warms her up by rubbing her shoulder. INT. HENRY'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS HENRY WHITTLE, 60s, silver hair and bearded, peeks through a window curtain at Gia and Joe. With a sense of hope in his eyes, he focuses on Gia. EXT. HENRY'S HOUSE - DAY Gia and Joe approach the front door. Joe looks for a doorbell but doesn't find one. He knocks on the door.

Gia and Joe knock on Henry's door

Henry opens the door. JOE Henry? I'm Joe Phelan. We spoke on the phone. Joe extends his hand and they shake. JOE This is Gia. She stands uncomfortably as Henry looks them over. HENRY Gia... Joe, why don't you come in. INT. HENRY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY They walk into the living room.

Henry welcomes Joe and Gia Missing Child

HENRY I expected you earlier. JOE Yeah, the directions were a little tricky. HENRY Did you find the fork in the road alright? A lot of people don't spot it. They make a left, and there's another fork up near Cripple Creek. They take that one and... (he laughs) just gets messy. Gia carefully watches Henry, his gestures and mannerisms. JOE No, that was fine. We had a tough time finding and gettin' on 41. HENRY Well, you made it. JOE Yeah. HENRY Can I get you folks anything to drink; coffee, tea? JOE Do you have a beer? HENRY Sure Joe, I think I do. Gia...? She stares at Henry. GIA Umm...I'm sorry? HENRY Anything to drink? GIA Water is fine. HENRY (smiling) Easy to please. She watches Henry leave the room. GIA (whispers) He's old. Joe sees that the TV is on. JOE He's like you with the TV on all the time. Gia looks at the TV. Joe notices a shotgun resting on a rack on the wall. Henry returns with the drinks. He gestures towards the TV... HENRY I'm a bit of a news junkie. He hands the beer to Joe. JOE Thanks, Henry. Henry then gives a glass of water to Gia. HENRY Here you go. GIA Thank you. HENRY Please, have a seat. Joe and Gia sit on the couch JOE So what's in the news? Henry sits down and sips from a cup of tea. HENRY It gets worse every day. The president's always fighting with the congress. Now the congress can't decide whether or not to go along with the president. (pause) I'm sorry, I don't mean to get political on you folks. JOE That's okay. HENRY What's that they say... (smiling) 'Never talk about religion or politics.' Henry and Joe force a laugh. Henry looks carefully at Gia and her behavior. HENRY Gia's an interesting name. GIA It was something I chose myself. I didn't want the name my foster parents gave me. He considers her words. HENRY Interesting choice. Both Henry and Gia appear to be uncomfortable. JOE I heard there was some rain in the forecast. Gia studies the contours of Henry's aged face. HENRY I think that passed. I think those weather men like to exaggerate the precipitation. Helps them keep their job. More uncomfortable laughter, then silence... And more silence. Joe and Henry awkwardly look at each other. GIA What happened to your daughter? Henry turns towards Gia. HENRY (pause) Elizabeth... He slowly nods as he takes a sip of tea.

Henry tells his Missing Child story

HENRY It was a Saturday, a cold one. Ava, my wife, was working so I was watching Elizabeth. She was playing in her room with her doll collection, I was trying to fix the darn sink that was leaking in the bathroom. The spindle I got over at Higgins' Hardware was the wrong size, so I had to return it. I took Elizabeth with me. It's in the strip mall off of Point St., you passed it when you got off the 41. I didn't want to bother taking Elizabeth out of her car-seat and putting her back in; she was always making such a fuss about that... Gia listens attentively. HENRY ...So I left her there and went in. When I came out, she was gone. I called the Police, State Troopers... There was a search. They never found a trace. Ava... We both were devastated. Then there were accusations, stories... (he fiddles with his wedding band) ...I think that's what drained the life from Ava. The stroke just finished her off. Gia and Joe exchange a look. JOE That's quite an ordeal to go through. And to have to deal with this for so many years. HENRY To tell you the truth Joe, it's been a while since anyone's come around asking about it. (pause) There have been several people who have claimed to be or to know about Elizabeth. They were mostly honest folks trying to fill in the pieces of their past. Henry gives Gia a smile. From his pocket, Joe takes out the missing child posting that has a picture of young Elizabeth and the age-progressed photo. He hands it to Henry. JOE I got this from the internet. Henry looks at the pictures. HENRY I don't know too much about the internet. JOE It's amazin' what they can do with computers. Henry hands the printout back to Joe. HENRY I'm not too good with computers. (to Gia) Maybe you'd like to look around the house? GIA Yeah... Could I? INT. STAIRCASE - DAY Gia follows Henry up the stairs. INT. ELIZABETH'S ROOM - DAY Henry walks Gia into the bedroom which is in a pristine state. The bed is tightly made. A doll and stuffed animal collection sits neatly organized on a dresser next to a small TV. In the corner of the room is a handmade doll house. HENRY This is Elizabeth's room. Gia inquisitively looks around. HENRY Joe's a nice fella. How do you two know each other? GIA I met him about a year ago, I was out with some friends. He was telling me about his work. I thought it was interesting. He gave me some ideas to help me try to find my family. Then we kind of got involved. HENRY Are you two a... GIA We live together. HENRY (a little shocked) Oh... He's a bit older than you. GIA He's like a big kid. And everybody tells me I have an old soul, so it kind of works out. HENRY I'll bet. She picks up a doll and examines it. She quickly returns it to its original spot. GIA I'm sorry. HENRY It's okay. Does anything look familiar? Gia looks around some more. GIA I don't know... She picks up a teddy bear resting on the pillow on the bed.

Elizabeth's Teddy Bear Missing Child

GIA It's cute. Gia looks curiously at a small price tag, still attached to the stuffed animal. HENRY That was Elizabeth's favorite. She liked to sleep with 'Mr. Bear'. She returns the teddy bear to the pillow. Her attention is drawn to a photograph of Elizabeth on the dresser. It's a full body version of the same photo in the missing child listing, which only showed Elizabeth's face. In this picture, Gia can see the girl's arms. Gia reacts. Henry notices the change in her demeanor. GIA Umm... Where's Joe? INT. HENRY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY Joe finishes off his beer as Gia approaches him. GIA (quietly to Joe) I think we should go. HENRY I don't know what your plans were for the evening but I was getting ready to fix some dinner. I'd love if you two could stay. JOE That'd be great. GIA (to Joe) Can we talk? JOE (to Henry) Do you mind if we... HENRY Sure, sure... You can go out back if you want some privacy. But let me know how many plates I should set. Gia and Joe step out to the backyard. Henry peeks through the window blinds and watches Joe. Henry's eyes shift over and settle on Gia as she walks. Henry takes out a wallet sized photo of young Elizabeth and gazes at it. A hint of a smile comes to his face. He shuts the blinds and goes to the kitchen. EXT. HENRY'S BACKYARD - DAY Joe brings Gia to the far side of the backyard. GIA I saw a picture of Elizabeth where I could see her arm. JOE Yeah... So? GIA Her birthmark is on a different part. She rolls up her sweater sleeve and points to her birthmark. GIA Hers is on the top part of her arm. She starts to walk away. GIA I knew it was a mistake coming here.

Gia talks to Joe in the backyard Missing Child

JOE Gia... Don't say that. He stops her and rolls down her sleeve. He gently takes her hand. JOE You were lookin' at one picture. Maybe the picture was taken at an angle or she was holding her arm in some way that makes it look different. GIA This doesn't feel right. JOE How is it supposed to feel? GIA I don't know. JOE Come here... He brings her closer for a hug. JOE You're scared. I would be too. (pause) We're gonna check this out. There are other ways of knowing. Blood tests, DNA tests... Whatever we have to do to be certain. We drove all this way, you wanna run home because things don't feel right? They continue holding each other as the last of the day's sunlight disappears from view. INT. HENRY'S KITCHEN - NIGHT Henry washes some dishes as Gia and Joe enter. HENRY So, what did you two decide? She looks at Henry, unsure of what to say. JOE We'd like to stay, if it's alright with you, Henry. Henry smiles. Gia stands uncomfortably in the middle of the kitchen. HENRY If you could finish cleaning these, that would help. GIA Okay... Gia begins to awkwardly scrub some silverware. Henry checks the oven. Joe sits in the dining area. HENRY It's been a while since I've had company. It's nice. Henry gets some things from the refrigerator. As Gia washes the silverware, she pricks her finger with a knife. GIA Ow...! Henry rushes over to Gia. HENRY Are you alright there? He sees her injured finger and reacts. GIA I feel so stupid. HENRY Those old steak knives are sharp, they'll get you every time. Henry gets a Band-Aid and iodine from the cupboard. HENRY You should put a little pressure on that. He dries her finger and puts iodine on Gia's cut. GIA (she winces) Ah... HENRY A little old-fashioned but it works. In a tenderly manner, Henry puts a band aid on Gia's wound. She notices a few drops of blood on the kitchen counter. GIA I'm messing up your kitchen. HENRY Don't worry about that. (smiling) It's not a problem. Just be more careful. Gia and Henry look at each other for a moment. HENRY You two can have a seat in the living room while I finish up here. INT. HENRY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Joe and Gia sit on the couch. JOE After dinner we can look at more pictures, or talk to Henry about doin' some of those tests. Gia watches Joe, as if she's studying him... GIA Okay. A cell phone RINGS. Joe pulls out his phone and glances at the display. JOE I gotta get this. EXT. HENRY'S BACKYARD - CONTINUOUS Gia looks out the back window at Joe, who nervously paces about while talking on his cell phone. She then walks towards the STAIRCASE. INT. ELIZABETH'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS Gia goes into Elizabeth's room. She picks up the photo of Elizabeth and studies it closely. She puts the picture down and examines the birthmark on her arm. She sees "Mr. Bear" resting on the pillow and smiles. INT. HENRY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Gia peeks into the master bedroom and notices a photograph on the dresser. She picks up the picture... INSERT PHOTO A photo of Henry with his wife and young Elizabeth. BACK TO SCENE She smiles as she places the picture frame back on the dresser. Gia sees a stack of magazines on the dresser. On top is a copy of "Christians Today".

Henry's magazine Missing Child

She picks up the magazine and sees beneath it is a pornographic magazine. Not just a Playboy or Penthouse but a pretty harsh skin rag. Gia is shocked and embarrassed. She pages through it and sees nude pictures of young but not very happy models. She puts the magazine back and straightens out the stack. HENRY (O.S.) Are you a practicing Christian? Gia is startled as she turns around to see Henry at the doorway. Henry gestures to a Bible resting next to the magazines. GIA Oh...sometimes. I go to church, sometimes. I have some friends who I go with. HENRY I guess then you can consider Jesus Christ your personal savior... 'Sometimes'. (smiling) Dinner's ready. INT. HENRY'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT Henry, Gia and Joe are at the table eating a turkey dinner. The TV news is on in the living room and can be heard slightly in the background. Henry pours Gia a glass of wine.

Joe Gia Henry have dinner in Missing Child

GIA Thank you. JOE This meal is great. Henry looks at Gia's plate which is nearly full. HENRY I'm not sure Gia would agree. GIA No, it's good. I'm not very hungry. JOE You're a good cook, Henry. HENRY I try. Ava taught me everything I know. She used to prepare a wonderful meal every Sunday. He gestures to a plate of dinner rolls and a plate of salt. HENRY 'Bread on the table and salt on a dish'. It was a family tradition of hers that I held on to. He gazes at Gia. HENRY You do remind me of her. Your hair, your lips... Ava was a beautiful woman. Henry and Gia acknowledge a tender moment. HENRY And you took after her. He gives Joe an earnest look. HENRY Ever since Elizabeth could walk, she was always following her mother around. They were very close. (pause) Elizabeth had this way that she'd walk along, it was exactly like Ava. He turns to Gia. HENRY When I saw you out back... It was like I was looking at Elizabeth again. Joe reacts optimistically. HENRY I've waited twenty years for this moment. A day hasn't gone by that I haven't thought of you. Though I had just about given up all hope that I'd ever see you again. And I have you to thank, Joe. JOE You don't have to thank me. HENRY No... Henry rises and leaves the room. Joe is excited with anticipation. GIA (whispers) What's going on? Gia turns to where Henry went. JOE I'm not sure. Henry returns with a grocery bag. HENRY I've stared at this bag for nearly fifteen years. He places the bag on the table in front of Joe. Gia's eyes are fixed on the bag. HENRY After Ava died, I decided to put the money from her life insurance policy up for the reward. Gia reacts to the mention of the reward. She shoots a look at Joe. Henry pulls out a stack of twenty dollar bills from the bag. Joe gapes at it, giddy, almost elated. JOE I didn't think you'd keep this kind of cash in the house.

Joe looks at his Missing Child reward

HENRY Friends thought I was crazy too. (shakes his head "no") Keeping this money here was the safest place. In my heart I knew it would bring Elizabeth back. Excuse me... Henry leaves the room. GIA (whispers) You fucking prick -- Joe puts his hand over her mouth. She twists away. JOE Shhh...! Gia stands. GIA This is why we're here?! JOE Quiet down. Joe leads Gia to the LIVING ROOM. GIA You knew I wasn't his daughter. She starts towards the door. Joe stops her. JOE I told you we're gonna do some tests -- GIA How do you think you're gonna get away with this? He's gonna see my arm. What kind of test could you possibly -- JOE I've got a DNA test lined up. Gia looks as if the life had been knocked out of her. Joe keeps a watchful eye on the kitchen. JOE I got a friend who's gonna do a little favor for me. I show Henry a piece of paper sayin' you're his daughter and everybody's happy. GIA You're only doing this for the money. It's just a job for you. She tries to go towards the door. Joe firmly grabs her. JOE I need this money and I'm takin' it! We can do it nicely. Warm his heart, give him hope by makin' him believe I've returned his daughter. Or I can take that wine bottle and bash his fuckin' head in until he gives it up. (pause) Do you want to see that?! Gia reacts to the rage in Joe's eyes. JOE Help me out on this one, Gia. Henry is heard politely clearing his throat. HENRY (O.S.) Is everything okay? Joe and Gia turn to Henry who stands outside the kitchen.

Henry Joe Gia in Missing Child


For a copy of the full script, contact Luke Sabis at


Missing Child poster