R I A L T O
AJA, (50) brunette, youthful looking of middle eastern descent with crinkles on her eyelids. She looks at the lake out her window. She dries a plate with a white tea towel. a dish with a tea towel.
Two heads, one adult male and one a child, show from the back along a couch in the living room in front of her. The kitchen doors are directly to her left, solid glass with wood trim.
Bugs Bunny is on tv.
SYLVESTER THE CAT
Ok, you rascally rabbit...
Something catches Aja's peripheral vision, something stuck between the two glass doors.
Aja turns left to watch.
An envelope is stuck between the doors, the wind moves it back and forth. It releases into the air.
Aja puts down the dish and walks two or three steps to the door.
She opens it as the envelope gets carried by the wind.
Aja follows it in bare feet
Aja rushes down the stairs.
Steps on the envelope, the kitchen door behind her swings back and forth.
Aja picks it up.
INT. BEDROOM HOTEL SUITE/OUTSIDE VENICE/DAY
Aja's foot lies outside a white sheet, her toes stretch.
Sounds of birds.
A gentle muffled conversation between a man and a young woman takes place near the window.
Wind pushes a sheer curtain against iron windows.
Aja (49) lies partially covered by the sheet, pale skin shimmering. She relaxes her head back on the pillow.
The hills of Ravenna, green, roll beyond the window.
Michael is an athlete with a steady look, late 50s. He looks around Aja rather than directly at her. He rubs her foot outside the white sheet.
EXT/AIRPORT HOTEL TORONTO/DAY
Aja stands smoking a cigarette at the island in front of the front lobby doors. She is joined by a woman (55) short brown hair, slim, fit, who lights one up, Janet.
They stand smoking in silence. Aja butts hers out with her shoe and the woman offers her an open package.
You here on business?
Not exactly. I'm trying to get out of the country. With my son. My X is trying to strand us here but we live in Hawaii.
Nice. Which island?
Oh, it is nice. The Big Island. We've been there for five years.
So why won't he let you go?
He found out I was getting a new passport from my son, who was of course so excited about it. 'I'm legal now!' he says, with all the enthusiasm of a seven year old. My X doesn't care. He tells him dead baby jokes and makes him cry.
That sounds scary.
AJA stubs out her cigarette and they stand together in silence.
Why are you here?
I am a prison warden. There may be a strike by prison personnel. I may need to be inside for the duration of a strike should it come. I'm here for training.
Yeah. One time I was coming home from the grocery store with my husband. I walked to the trunk, opened it and happened to glance across the street where there were four ex convicts from my jail working on my neighbor's roof across the road. Did you know that roofers don't need much training?
AJA shakes her head.
I whispered to my husband to bring in the groceries. I didn't need them to know where I lived.
Did they see you?
Takes a drag.
INT. BEDROOM HOTEL SUITE/OUTSIDE VENICE/DAY
Michael shakes his head and takes the other foot.
She didn't want them to know where she lived.
Michael watches her face.
INT.HALLWAY/BEDROOM HOTEL SUITE/BALCONY HOTEL SUITE/OUTSIDE VENICE/DAY
An older woman in black, stands outside the thick wood door of the hotel room, with a glass of tea on an elaborate plate. She raps the door with her knuckles. Etched birds are in the cornices of the door.
AJA(from the other side)
Aja walks to the door and opens it.
The woman scowls at Michael, who sits on the bed putting on his socks.
AJA (takes the plate)
The older woman frowns and retreats, closing the door abruptly behind her.
Aja strolls across the bedroom.
She kicks her slippers off, sits on a chair hotel balcony. Rolling green hills frame her feet. The sliding glass door opens and Michael sits on the floor with a coffee in his hand.
I remember Tuscany, and driving into Rome, the coastline near Pompeii, the motorcycles whipping by, the drop. This is new.
She sips her tea. Birds fly overhead.
When I was little, my grandmother told me old Europe fairy tales, ones that aren't well known. Did you know that fairy tales are for children, so they know how evil the world is? Like advance notice?
Michael stares at her.
Gondolas on water. A man directs a boat away from an edge. The sun sets on the water and reflects on the buildings.
Shadows fall across layers of gold, green, violet, the peeled walls of art from past centuries.
INT. BEDROOM HOTEL SUITE/DAY
Aja packs her suitcase on the bed wearing a loose silk bathrobe. The phone rings.
She picks it up.
Yes, bring it up. Grazie.
There is a rap on the door. It opens.
A short woman in black SIGNORA COSTELLA carries an embroidered shift dress on a hanger, a scarf draped over the top. Red threads peek out underneath the scarf.
Allora, posso entrare?
Aja steps aside and the Signora enters with the dress.
Signora Costello walks to the closet and hangs it up.
She smiles at Aja.
Una bellissima giornata, Signora.
Signora Costello looks out the balcony doors.
The goddess, Signora, she travels the land, if we see her or not.
Aja tilts her head, looks at her.
Signora Costello walks to the door.
Mille grazie, Signora. Tante bella cose! Allora.
Signora Costella shuts the door.
Aja dials her phone.
Hi Daniel, my sweetheart. How are you? ...Mommy's in Venice....Yes, with the gondolas.
Have you been to one? I have my book.
Aja smiles and walks to her dress.
INT. LOBBY HOTEL/DAY-EXT. HOTEL DRIVE UP
Aja gets into a convertible outside the hotel entrance.
The hills surrounding the outskirts of Venice are rolling and gold this time of the morning.
EXT. CAR/DAY/INT. COTTAGE/DANIEL'S BEDROOM/KITCHEN
Aja's hair blows in the wind as she drives looking straight ahead, the radio plays pop music.
She breathes deeply.
DANIEL POV FLASHBACK:
Daniel sits playing on top of his dinosaur comforter. He plays with pokemon characters, making psssssf sounds with his mouth as he plays. The windows along two walls of the bedroom show tress, their leaves in the wind flying off.
Someone screams and then stops in another room.
Daniel picks up one of the yellow figures and holds it in his hand.
Daniel slips off the bed.
He opens the door slowly an inch.
AJA'S face silhouetted against a darkly lit room.
TOM, (tall, slim build, short cropped hair, fifties glasses frames) walks in front of her, blocking her face.
You and your stupid projects.
Aja looks down and away.
Tom gives her the finger.
Daniel moves away from the door. Shadows of the leaves outside move across his face like camoflage, just a glimpse of his seven year old face, a smile changing to grimace. Eyes watering.
INT. COTTAGE/DANIEL'S BEDROOM/KITCHEN/NIGHT
Daniel creeps out of his bedroom, sliding the door open slowly. He goes to the fridge, walking through strewn clothing on the FLOOR.
He opens the fridge door, which casts a light.
He picks up the milk.
Looks at the wall, now lit. There is a woman's tennis racket, broken in two.
Daniel stares at it.