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Sarah had been watching the spider closely before setting it on fire. She didn't mind bugs; after all, they were basically her neighbours, living right there with them at the edge of the universe.


"Stop that" said her little brother Sam, eyes set on the burning creature. But Sarah didn't stop. "I'll call mom" he said to defend himself. 


"So call her" replied Sarah, but Sam didn't, he just watched. 


When all that was left were ahses, Sarah left, but Sam stayed. He blew them away and made a wish upon their dying star.

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(1)    INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM


A mother and her daughter sit together, arms wrapped around one another in a tight hug. The little girl sobs, face hidden in her mother’s scarf.


FEMALE VO
When I was eight, my younger brother was involved in an accident in which he broke his legs. All I did was cry; I was too scared to do anything else.


(2)    INT. UNDERGROUND PARKING LOT


Mother and daughter holding hands, walking to their car.


FEMALE VO
I remember that day clearly:


(2a) FROM INSIDE THE CAR: the back of the ambulance driving and the loud noise of the siren.


FEMALE VO
The way the road look from the passenger seat as my mom drove madly behind the ambulance.


(2b) The crying little girl in the passenger seat of the car.


FEMALE VO
I remember feeling guilty and thinking if I’d been there, how different it would all have been, maybe there wouldn’t have been an accident in the first place.


(2c) Same waiting room as (1), the little girl sitting on her own this time.


FEMALE VO
I remember the waiting room: the smell of clean, the brightness of the white tiles.


(2d) Same waiting room as (1) and (2c), the mother standing in front of a doctor this time.


FEMALE VO
And I remember the doctor: a bald, tall surgeon with his name and profession proudly sewn onto his robe; the arrogant look on his face as he told my mom her son was all good, with some therapy he’ll recover just fine, there’s nothing to worry about.


(3)    INT. THERAPY ROOM


All kinds of machinery needed for the therapy of the little boy.


FEMALE VO
The truth is my brother needed years of therapy. His bones were still new and growing when he broke them and in order for them to grow correctly there were specific exercises he had to do. This was a life changing experience for both of us:


The little boy in a wheel chair is pushed into the room by his mother.


FEMALE VO
He had to change his plans of becoming a sportsman.


The doorbell rings.


The mother looks up.


(4)    INT. HOUSE


The little girl extends her arm towards the door to open it. As she opens the door:


FEMALE VO
As for me, I fell in love with the nurse.


There stands a woman in her late twenties: hair tied up in a braid, wearing a sport outfit and carrying a backpack. She smiles this big, reassuring, sweet smile that is full of love and rainbows and unicorns and all the things that are beautiful in the world and beyond it and we all fall in love with her.


(3)    INT. THERAPY ROOM


The mother sits next to the little boy holding his hands in hers. The nurse sits in front of them, gesticulating as she shows them objects she takes out of her backpack: a scale skeleton, an anatomy book, others I can’t think of at the moment but I probably will later.


FEMALE VO
For the first year of therapy my brother had Bonnie Zinsser every day for five hours all to himself in the room our mom turned into his personal paradise. I didn’t notice I was second in priority because I was too busy noticing miss Zinsser.


(3)    INT. THERAPY ROOM


The nurse, wearing another outfit, helping the little boy with some exercises.


FEMALE VO
What I loved the most of her was how every word she spoke came out of her mouth like she was vomiting rainbows, and I loved that I could understand everything she explained my brother about his body.
(Pause)
I wanted to be him so she’d look at me. I wanted to break a few bones so I’d need therapy with her.


(5) INT. HOUSE


The little girl extends her arm towards the door to open it. As she opens the door:


FEMALE VO
And just like that she was out of my life. No notes, no goodbyes, no chance for me to give her all the letters I’d written her.


There stands an unknown woman—not her nurse, but a woman who looks similar to Nanny McPhee with a few extra pounds and ugly-makeup on. But she smiles, and her smile sweetens her harsh face and humanizes the rest of her.


FEMALE VO
Then there was Estrella Salgado, and those were the longest three years of my life.


(6)    INT. THERAPY ROOM


Estrella Salgado, the mother, and the little boy.


FEMALE VO
When I asked about Bonnie Zinsser she turned her head to look at my mother who said Miss Zinsser had other business to attend to.


(7)    INT. GIRL’S ROOM


The girl holding a box in her hands, melancholically looking out the window.


FEMALE VO
I was heartbroken.


(1)    INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM


The sobbing little girl is sitting on Bonnie Zinsser’s lap and they’re surrounded by a whole bunch of nurses—in fact, the entire waiting room is packed with nurses.


FEMALE VO
In a way, Estrella Salgado inspired me to become a nurse, as did Bonnie Zinsser and every single one of them I ever met in my life. I loved their simple explanations and how they had to interpret whatever the doctors said and turn it into sweet, reassuring words everyone can easily understand. It was something about their outfit and their quiet yet fast walk up and down the halls.


(8)    INT. HOSPITAL – PRESENT DAY


The once little girl now all grown up and a nurse herself.


FEMALE VO
When I was a kid I often thought nurses knew everything.


She’s about to put an injection on a crying little boy. She holds his hands and mouths reassuring words we can’t hear. The boy calms, almost magically. She rolls up his left sleeve as he closes his eyes and takes deep breaths. She cleans the area of the injection, prepares the syringe with the shot and gently pinches the boy’s arm. And the boy doesn’t flinch at all. Once she’s done, she puts a band aid on his arm—he opens his eyes and looks at her in wonder as if to say it didn’t hurt a bit. She smiles a sweet, reassuring smile full of love. The boy stands up and leaves, still in awe. She watches him go with the same smile, then looks directly into the camera still smiling only now it’s at us and can’t help but fall in love with her.


FEMALE VO
Now, I know it too.

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My friends threw a party for me on the occasion of my 24th birthday, and in this party I met a girl, and with this girl I fell in love, and in this love I sunk.


She brought a cat home with her once, and we called this cat Poe, and I kept Poe with me after she left us, and she left for good that time.


Sometimes I lay on bed thinking about her, her legs, her smile, the way her fingers ran through my hair in the morning, how often she cried, what kind of movies made her laugh, how I learned to cook her favorite meals.


Other times I try not to think but it doesn’t work. 

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"... so they declared war on us and I was like no you can't! but they were like yeah we can! and they just, you know, went right ahead with it. But I wasn't agreeing with them and they were still trying to convince me, like trying to buy me or something and I just kept saying no. And then this big ugly guy goes WAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! and they pull out these MACHINE GUNS and go BANGBANBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG! Just! Everywhere! You know! Like everywhere! And destroyed everything! And explosions! And there were aeroplanes all over the place and the army--like all the armies of the world fighting together to defend the planet from an invasion but it was TOO LATE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH TOO LATE! People running and screaming AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! People praying in the park like God save us but, but, but TOO LATE NOOOOOOO! More explosions! Everywhere! And then the planet blew up!"


"Huh... I guess it's a good thing it was only a dream."


"Yeah... I guess."

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It started not an hour ago, but it caught on too fast for anyone to even know what was happening. And then we had to run. Our building, which had been the closest most of us could call home. How many of us would there be left now? I don’t want to look around do a headcount. I can’t avert my eyes from the fire. I can’t look away from our burning building, from the rising smoke. I can’t cover my ears to not her the screams. I’m paralyzed.

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“He rented a house and asked me to come by, spend the weekend with him.”


“Where was this house?”


“Uh, some beach. Took the train to get there.”


“You did know about his… job, right?”


“Of course. He trained me.”


“But you didn’t know about this particular one.”


“No. I also didn’t know it was a trap set for him.”


“But he did.”


“Yes, apparently.”


“And he didn’t tell you.”


“That would’ve ruined the surprise, don’t you think.”


“I’m not here to think. I’m here to ask questions and clarify your situation.”


“Shame. Should’ve pulled that trigger instead, I’d be saving you all this bureaucratic bullshit.”


“It’s the job I’m paid to do.”


“…”


“Now. Tell me what happened when you got there.”


“The usual father-daughter things that happen when a father and a daughter meet after not seeing each other for a few months.”


“Where had you been?”


“Madrid. Nasty business. Had to ask for a pay rise.”


“What about him?”


“Somewhere in South America. Brought me a necklace as a gift.”


“Did you talk about it?”


“Of course not, we’re not stupid. We know wherever we go there might be someone after us to make sure we do our job. Which is very stupid. But we don’t talk about it, we just know.”


“By rumours?”


“…”


“Okay. Moving on. Tell me about the mark.”


“Strauss. Can’t remember his first name. He and his secret boyfriend were spending a secret honeymoon in a secret place. It was a rather romantic and expensive hotel, to be honest.”


“Why Strauss? Alexander is his first name.”


“Ah, yes, Sasha.”


“Why him?”


“He was related to the client’s… enemy. Son, or something like that. The kind of relative you’d do anything for if you were ridiculously rich.”


“And nobody knew about him and his boyfriend?”


“Everyone knew. Nobody talked about it.”


“Did your father tell you that Alexander Strauss was the mark?”


“Yes.”


“Is that why they went after him?”


“After both of us. And no, that was somebody else’s doing. Neither the client nor Strauss’ family had anything to do with it.”


“You did your research.”


“I’ve had a lot of time.”


“How long were you with him at the beach house?”


“Three days. They came for us on the fourth.”


“Tell me about the first three days.”


“It was pretty normal. Breakfast, a walk, lunch at an Italian restaurant, a walk back to the house… we watched an old film, I read a book while he took a nap. Maybe another walk, then dinner. And that’s it. Second day was pretty much the same.”


“And the third one?”


“He told me everything. We got ready. Then we waited.”

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