EXT. ROXBURY STREET - THE WAR YEARS - DAY
It is a bright sunny day on a crowded street on the black
side of Boston. PEOPLE and KIDS are busy with their own
SHORTY bops his way down the street. He is a runty, very
dark young man of 21 with a mission and a smile on his face.
He wears the flamboyant style of the time: the whole zoot-
suit, pegged legs and a wide brim hat with a white feather
stuck in the hat band.
EXT. STREET - DAY
FOLLOW SHOT. Shorty dodges through the crowd with his
His smile is one of anticipation. He nods to a PAL without
stopping; eyes a COUPLE OF CHICKS dancing on the street, but
is not dissuaded.
INT. BARBER SHOP - DAY
Shorty has his jacket and hat off, his sleeves rolled up. He
is like a surgeon preparing for an operation. His equipment
is spread out on a table: can of lye, large mason jar, wooden
stirring spoon, knife, the eggs. His actions have the
character of a ritual: each thing being done just so, in
He slices the potatoes and drops the thin slices into the
He adds water and makes a paste of the starch.
Behind Shorty is a spirited barbershop conversation. ONE MAN
is getting a haircut; TWO OTHERS are watching (TOOMER, JASON)
one of them from behind a newspaper. A middle-aged barber,
CHOLLY, is doing most of the talking.
After I hit the number that woman
wasn't no good to me at all.
The men laugh.
ANGLE - Shorty pries open the can of lye, whiffs it. It's
good and strong. He pours some in the mason jar, stirring
with the wooden spoon. He cracks the eggs into the mixture
and stirs. He waits as fumes rise and feels the outside of
the jar as it gets hot.
ANOTHER ANGLE - The barbershop SEEN from a door, slightly
ajar. A woolly head, entirely in shadow, peers out.
She says I'm cheap cuz I won't cop
her a diamond ring. Had the
indignation to call me a cheap black
sunovabitch to boot.
And when a black woman call you a
cheap black sunovabitch you've been
called a cheap black sunovabitch.
Cholly is annoyed. It's _his_ story.
Will you let me tell it?
ON SHORTY - He opens the bulky package he has been carrying,
unfolds a large rubber apron and gets into it. Now he dons a
pair of rubber gloves.
He is all ready; one of his hands is filled with a huge glob
of Vaseline. His manner is indignant as if he were asking
the whereabouts of an exasperating child.