INT. COURT ROOM MORNING
Alice, Karen, and Joan stand before the judge.
JUDGE: And what have you done to try to be a fit mother, Mrs. Burkholder; during the eighteen months your daughter has been under the care of the state?
KAREN: I left my husband for starters. I’ve been going to AA, trying to stay sober.
Alice’s eyes don’t move from Karen.
JUDGE: Trying? How trying are you?
KAREN: Two months, your honor.
JUDGE: Joan, what’s your recommendation?
JOAN: It’s always my recommendation for the child to go back to the birth mother, but weekly check-ups are mandatory.
JUDGE: Then Alice will reside under the care of Karen Burkholder beginning June 16 and the first check-up will be exactly one week later and every week following.
INT. COMMUNAL BEDROOM MORNING
Alice packs her belongings. Jackie walks up as she folds her dress. Jackie yanks it from her.
Alice stands and glares.
JACKIE: Look, I’ll hold on to this for you. You know, in case you end up back here.
Joan walks in the room and touches Alice’s shoulders.
JOAN: Don’t worry; you can come back if things get hairy again. Don’t worry.
Alice shakes her head up and down.
INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
Alice washes a fork at the overflowing sink. The microwave beeps, she takes the TV dinner out and, walks from the kitchen into the dark living room.
INT. LIVING ROOM NIGHT
She sits down on the couch and watches the 11 o’clock news. Karen walks in the door, dressed as Cher.
KAREN: Were there a lot of kids trick-or-treating tonight?
Karen takes off her wig.
ALICE: No. We didn’t have any candy to give. I had to sit here in the dark so they wouldn’t come to the door.
Alice looks out of the corner of her eye at her mother struggling to get her coat and shoes off.
KAREN: Oh yeah…next year then. But you should get to bed. You’ve go school in the morning.
Alice leans back on the couch aggressively.
ALICE: No I don’t, tomorrow’s Saturday.
KAREN: Well, bed time anyway, kiddo.
Alice gets up and follows Karen up the stairs. They each go into their separate bedrooms.
ALICE: Goodnight, mom.
Karen shuts her door.