A TOUCH OF COLOR

INT. UNFINISHED PENTHOUSE – NIGHT

JOE MESSIAH, 34, sits in the center of the disheveled living area staring at an easel holding a stark white CANVAS. In one hand he holds a PAINTBRUSH; in the other a PALETTE full of stale paint.

SERIES OF SHOTS

A) Joe raises the brush and dips it into the paint.

B) Joe paints a burst of red at the center of the canvas.

C) Joe traces lines of black and violet that look like sound waves emanating from the red splotch.

D) Joe scratches three white birds onto the top-right corner.

END SERIES OF SHOTS

Joe Messiah sits in the same position as before. The canvas is untouched. His fingers slowly uncurl and the brush and palette both fall to the floor.

Joe looks toward the floor-to-ceiling windows at the end of the room, where sunlight is beginning to trickle in from over the surrounding skyline. He swallows uneasily and looks toward the door.

There’s knocking.

Joe walks toward the door and grips the knob with a shaky hand. A beat. Joe wrenches the door open and steps back.

A GIRL, age eight, steps through the doorway with an air of authority. She looks at the canvas and then looks up at Joe with narrow eyes.

GIRL

I am displeased. I wanted something beautiful. You have given me nothing.

Joe begins to shake and grips at the air.

JOE MESSIAH

Please . . .

The girl tightens her gaze.

JOE MESSIAH

(continuing)

. . . Please! Just give me one more chance!

Joe falls to his knees, pleading before the little girl. She regards him with distaste and then stares at the empty canvas once more.

GIRL

I have given you a week, Messiah, and you have produced nothing in this time. Why do you deserve another chance?

JOE MESSIAH

I don’t know… Please!

GIRL

One more night.

(a beat)

One more night, Joe Messiah, and if I am not satisfied come morning, I shall keep her forever.

— adapted from The Canvas

— originally posted in The Scenic Route

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