Diane M. Johnson - screenwriter
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Excerpt of the Month:

Turf War

This is a scene that takes place after 'odd gnome out' Shamus gets trapped by lawn flamingos (led by Floyd) across the road from the yard he belongs in. And because of it, prim proper neighbor Petunia finally meets slovenly sad sack neighbor Owen.
THANKS goes out to HILARY WALKER for her flamingo photograph. You can check out her work at redbubble.com

In the main garden, Mordecai gazes mortified across the road. Lined up on either side of him is the rest of the gnome community, all staring with open mouths at 


-SHAMUS- 


EXT. OWEN’S PLACE 


The flamingos sleep. Shamus twists and bends to pull his pinned trousers free, ends up mooning the gnomes across the road with smiley face boxers. 


Various gnomes gasp. Mothers shield the eyes of laughing pointing children. 


Shamus blushes, readjusts his trousers, sits back down humiliated. 


A CAR approaches. 


The flamingos bobble. 

The car closes in. 


The flamingos teeter. 


The car zooms up. An arm hangs out the window, cocked and loaded with a baseball. The rider whips that ball.

 

Shamus sees the incoming pitch. He stretches for it, minding his pants. It’s a catch to make a short stop proud. Shamus grins until-- 


SCREECH!

 

The car skids to a stop. 


The flamingos startle awake. They look at the stopped car. 


A LONG HAIRED TEEN pokes his head out the passenger window, his eyes huge. 


LONG HAIRED TEEN 

Did you see that? 


DRIVER (O.S.) 

Dude! Absolute fail!

 

LONG HAIRED TEEN 

No, man. The little gnome dude. He- 


The long haired teen scrutinizes those lawn ornaments. The flamingos stare, stone silent. Shamus sits like a well sculpted rock, the baseball on the ground beside him not far from the baseball pitched on the previous day.

 

The driver’s hand pokes out of the window and tousles the teens hair.

 

DRIVER (O.S.) 

Weak arm, little bro. Team’s never 

going to let you pitch with a throw 

like that. 


LONG HAIRED TEEN 

No, he... It-... It’s my lucky 

ball. 


DRIVER (O.S.) 

Then go get it! Quick before someone sees you.

 

The long haired teen steps out of the car. 

FLOYD 

Peck his eyes out! You hear me? Peck peck peck- 


EXT. PETUNIA’S PLACE 


The front door opens. Petunia steps out, hums a saccharine tune, a stack of mail in her hand. She stops short when she sees the long haired teen, who stops short when he sees her. 


The teen panics. He dives back for the car, slams the door behind him. The driver speeds away. 


Petunia shrugs. She heads for her mailbox. She stuffs the letters inside and flips up the flag. 


She spots the display of flamingos and gnome across the road, and squints at it in uncertainty. She cleans her glasses, squints through them again. 


LATER 


At the garden. Mordecai and the others perfectly still in their same line. Petunia kneels in front of them and paws them as she counts. 


PETUNIA 

One, two, three, four, five... 


LATER 


Still counting... 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

...thirty seven thirty eight, 

thirty nine... 


LATER 


Still counting... 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

...sixty! Sixty one, sixty two... 


LATER 


Still counting... 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

...ninety eight, ninety nine... 


She looks around. Fingers fumble through roots, stems and dirt to come up empty. 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

Ninety nine. Hmph! 


EXT. OWEN’S PLACE 


Petunia’s hand raps against the door. Owen pulls it open. He stares through bleary eyes. Not a hello. Nothing. 


PETUNIA 

You have my gnome. 


Still nothing. Petunia points to the figurines. 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

My gnome. I collect them. I have a 

hundred, and there’s only ninety 

nine. I checked. 


Owen stares at the gnome among his flamingos, oblivious. He 

shrugs.

 

OWEN 

It’s yours? Take it. 


He tries to close the door, but Petunia won’t have it. 


PETUNIA 

Well, Mr. Grunion! How did he get 

there? 


OWEN 

Maybe the boyds[birds] did it. 


Petunia huffs as Owen tries to close the door again. 


PETUNIA 

Mr. Grunion! Mr. Grunion, did you 

take my gnome? 


He continues to stare, perplexed by her insistence. 


OWEN 

Look here, Mrs.- 


PETUNIA 

Miss. 


OWEN 

Miss. Miss... 


PETUNIA 

Petunia. I’m your neighbor across 

the street. 


She smiles and offers her hand. He ignores it. 


OWEN 

Miss Petunia- 


PETUNIA 

Whipple. Miss Whipple. Petunia 

Whipple. 


OWEN 

Miss Whipple? I have a very busy 

day. So you can take your gnome, 

and- 


PETUNIA 

And what? 


A snarl quivers in Owen’s upper lip. He gets it under 

control. 


OWEN 

A very busy day, ma’am. Please, 

take your gnome. 


PETUNIA 

It’s nice to finally- 


The door shuts.

 

PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

-meet. Oh. 


Disappointment evolves into being miffed. Petunia grumbles. 

She heads toward the road, oblivious to Owen watching her 

from between the slats of closed blinds. 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

What a rude man! Absolutely rude!

 

She scoops Shamus up and continues her rant. 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

Every winter he migrates down here 

without so much as a “hello.” Not 

so much as a “nice to meet you, 

Miss Whipple. Can I borrow a cup of 

sugar?” 


She stops beside her mailbox and notices that single, vibrant 

flower for the first time. 


PETUNIA (CONT’D) 

Will you look at that. I’d almost 

given up hope. 

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