Chapter 6

Corpse

Part Jump

Part A
Part B

Transcript for Chapter 6

Transcript for Chapter 6A

Title page features Amber dressed in her usual style, with a light-colored long-sleeved top and a pleated skirt. She's striking a pose with a hand on one hip and the other hand behind her head, and she's grinning like a movie star. The chapter begins at the bottom of the title page.

PopChromatic

Chapter 6 - Corpse

Opens with Justice hurrying down a dark hall. In the background we can see a crowd of Bouquet contestants hanging around in a brightly lit room. Justice is leaving them behind. He reaches a door temporarily labeled "Recording Room B." He glances behind himself, checking to make sure no one's looking, before letting himself into the room.


The room is a temporary recording set-up; large partitions separate it away from the rest of a much larger area. Inside is quite dark; most of the light comes from several monitors through which the contestants can be viewed while they perform. A female sound engineer, CANDACE, sits at a table and mans the controls. Harrison sits on a chair behind her; he smiles at Justice as Justice comes into the room.

Justice: Dad, what are you doing here?

Harrison studies a file of one of the contestants.

Harrison: Same thing as you, I'm sure.

He holds out a plateful of sushi toward Justice, offering him a piece.

Harrison: Sushi?

Justice, instead of taking one piece, grabs the entire plate along with his dad's chopsticks.

Justice: Yes.

Justice proceeds to scarf down the sushi while Harrison looks on in frustration. He sighs.

Harrison: So, where were you all afternoon?

Justice freezes in surprise, his cheeks full of sushi.


Flashback.

We're in Harrison's office at the studio. The office is dark, but some light is coming from an open door in the back. Voices come from the other room.

Voice 1: We can do this if you want, but if anyone ever finds out it'll be a breach of your non-disclosure.

Voice 2: Don't worry.

The next image is a selfie Amber took of herself and Justice. We see that the room they were in was actually Harrison's private bathroom at the studio. They're grinning and holding a lot of Harrison's personal toiletries and items, like his monogrammed electric toothbrush, his toothpaste, and his shaver. In the background of the picture we can see Harrison's toilet.

End flashback.

Justice grins, embarrassed and nervous.

Justice: You don't want to know.

Harrison keeps reading the file he's holding, unflappable.

Harrison: Just don't do something that's going to make me have to assign you a handler.

In the background, Candace is at work. We can see on several of her monitors that a girl has stepped in front of the microphone and is now being recorded.

Voice from monitors: Hi, I'm Amber Smith.

Justice: Hey, Amber's up.

Justice and Harrison give their attention to the monitors.

Amber stands at the microphone, smiling cutely. She's still wearing her idol babydoll and the white gerbera daisy in her hair. We're watching the whole thing through a monitor.

Amber: I'm fifteen years old, and my life-long dream is to join Bouquet.

Justice smiles.

Justice: [She really is too cute for her own good.]

He gets thoughtful.

Justice: [And she doesn't look like she's had any bombs dropped on her recently. I wonder how Jade managed to hide from her while they were waiting to sing.]


Music begins to play in the speakers that are in the room where Amber is performing. Amber dances and starts to sing her solo, smiling hugely and sincerely the entire time.

Amber: The world is watching while my dreams are coming true. I'm preparing for my destiny...

In a close-up shot, Amber points right at us and winks.

Amber: with you.

Justice: Just what I expected. Her voice is so clear and uncomplicated it should blend right in with our other voices. And it's sweet enough to carry a ballad on its own, assuming we can impress the emotion onto her.

Harrison: That's the problem though, isn't it? The young ones don't have the life experience that translates into a powerful ballad.

Justice is facing his dad while he talks, but Harrison's attention is mostly on the file he holds.

Justice: Yeah, but acting training should help with that.

Harrison: Maybe.


Amber finishes her song with both hands held out in front of her in a welcoming pose.

Amber: ...and I'll be your flirty flower!

The photographer, Evan, stands behind the cameras and lights and holds a clipboard with a list on it.

Evan: Okay, thanks for your performance. Jut leave through that door on your left and there will be a member of staff to do an interview with you.

Amber: Thank you!

Amber leaves through the indicated door; there's a sign on it that says "Interviews" with an arrow pointing out. Evan goes to a different door and opens it. He calls the next contestant.

Evan: Jade Smith!

Justice is relaxed back in a chair with a leg crossed over the other at the knee. His arms are crossed and he's smiling, a bit amused.

Justice: [Cool, it's Jade's turn. I winder if Ilsa was really able to get her into some-]

A girl walks into the performance room; all we see is the lower part of her legs. She's wearing black high heels and patterned tights. Justice suddenly sits up straight in amazement.


Page six is a one-panel, full shot of Jade after her makeover. Her hair is styled in a messy ponytail, similar to the one she was wearing on the previous day. But the ponytail is much more beautiful, with soft curls. Instead of the dull black color, her hair is medium-toned and glossy. It's tied with a white ribbon. She's wearing a tank top with pinstriped shorts, and over that she has on a flowy translucent top that shows the clothes she's wearing underneath it and leaves her shoulders bare. She's also wearing thigh-high stockings with a large, high-contrast geometric pattern; they leave about four inches of her thighs bare. Jade's face is wary but not terrified.


Justice looks quite impressed with the improvement in Jade's style. He's leaning forward in the chair and his eyes are wide.

Justice: Whoa, nice!

Harrison's expression is a little more dubious.

Harrison: Who made the call to change her hair?

Justice: Me. That black was washing her out.

Back in the performance room, Evan gestures to one of the cameras.

Evan: Go ahead and introduce yourself to the camera.

Jade stands in front of the microphone.

Jade: Jade Smith, fifteen.

EVan makes a note on his clipboard.

Evan: And which song are you going to sing?

Jade looks away, angry and disgusted.

Jade: Flirty Flower.

Transcript for Chapter 6B

Chapter opens with Harrison and Justice reacting to the news that Jade is about to perform "Flirty Flower."

Harrison: Why would she pick the same song as her sister? It's not even a good fit.

Justice cringes.

Justice: I think it might be the only one she knows.

Music begins to play and Jade sings.

Jade: The world is watching while my dreams are coming true. I'm preparing for my destiny with you. If I'm coming on strong, it's just 'cause I want you to see me.

Justice thinks.

Justice: [That's funny. I didn't expect her voice to sound so much like Amber's, but I guess it makes sense. Jade's tone is rougher, maybe, but that's just her attitude leaking in.]

Jade continues.

Jade: Watch me twinkle, watch me shine...

Justice winces, like he's hearing something unpleasant.

Justice: [She's not exactly on key, but Dad can fix that. Other than that, she's pretty good for someone who didn't know yesterday morning that they were going to be performing.]

Through a monitor, we can see the top half of Jade as she sings.

Justice: [She might not like to sing Bouquet songs, but she's definitely been singing along with something.]


Justice: [The problem is her energy. She doesn't have any.]

The shot pulls back, and now we can see that Jade's posture is slack and her expression is bored. She's beginning to get to the end of the lyrics she actually knows. Justice looks thwarted and unhappy.

Jade: Your love is...uh... so amazing, or...

Justice: She looks like someone who's just trying to get through her audition so she can go back to sleep. And that's not going to work.

Harrison is completely unimpressed. Justice looks at him nervously.

Harrison: You've got yourself a corpse, Justice. A corpse who doesn't know that lyrics.

Justice brings his fingers to his forehead and closes his eyes.

Justice: [Oh, man. How am I supposed to talk my way out of this? The unknown quantity was always whether or not she would blossom in front of the camera. I wish I still didn't know.]

Harrison and Justice are shown in silhouette from the monitors. Harrison is standing up from his chair and Justice looks at him.


Harrison claps Justice on the back.

Harrison: Don't worry about it. You can find the girls, but you can't predict how they'll act once they get a mic to themselves.

He starts to head out the door, But Justice stops him with a word.

Justice: Wait.

Harrison glances back over his shoulder.

Harrison: For what?

Justice's face goes very intense; his eyes burn with determination.

Justice: I'm not finished with her, yet.

Justice walks around the partitions that separate the viewing area from the performance area. His father can be heard calling after him.

Harrison: Justice!

We see Jade from Justice's point of view as he steps out from behind the partitions. Between Justice and Jade there are also a camera on a tripod and a flood light on a tall stand. Jade stands on a white back drop and continues to sing listlessly.

Jade: I wanna be...

She glances over while singing.

Jade: your flirty, flirty flow-

Justice watches her with his arms crossed in annoyance.


Jade squints. The music continues to play in the background.

Jade: What are you doing here?

Justice steps in front of the camera and uses it to talk to Candace; from Candace's point of view, his face is all up in the monitor. He looks angry.

Justice: Candace, would you cut the track?

Jade puts one hand on a hip.

Jade: You're being incredibly rude. I'm singing, here.

Justice: You're not singing, you're dying.

Jade: That's not nice.

Justice: I'm serious. Can't you try having a little fun with it?

In closeup, Jade's eyes get so angry they're bordering on scary.

Jade: Fun?

We see Jade's entire furious face.

Jade: I'm wearing the heels, Justice. My thighs are exposed for the first time in ten years.

She pushes Justice back against the wall and jabs him in the chest with a finger.

Jade: I've done everything you've told me to, and now I'm not having enough fun for you? Are you aware that you're an arrogant, misogynistic piece of-

She begins to rant, and most of the words she uses are not printable.

Jade: censored you're a *censored Don't make me censored, you censored in the censored**


Jade pants for air after she finishes her rant. Her cheeks are flushed from the exertion. Evan is surprised. Harrison's expression is unreadable behind his glasses. Justice is holding his arms in front of his face and upper body for protection.

Justice: Are you done?

Jade's arms are crossed.

Jade: No. You're ugly.

Justice: Thanks.

Jade: Would you please explain to me how I'm supposed to have fun with something that I had to be forced to do?

Justice: You could start by imagining that your sister's future depends on your ability to look like you're enjoying yourself. And before you start cursing me out again, think about what I'm telling you. Right now, Harrison has a whole stack of girls that he likes better than you. And you already know that Amber is second-tier. If you want to help her, you have to be good.

Jade faces away from him while he lectures her.

Justice: Not just better than all the other girls, but so much better that Harrison passes on all his other favorites and takes Amber in order to get to you. Do you understand?


An image depicts Jade and Amber in a make-believe foot race with the other Bouquet contestants. Jade runs with all her might, teeth gritted and sweat pouring down her face. She's holding Amber by the wrist; Amber looks oblivious as she is pulled along by Jade. They're almost at the finish line, but several determined girls are gaining on them from behind.

Justice: You can't just win the race. You have to drag Amber across the finish line with you.

Back in reality, Jade still won't face Justice.

Justice: And Harrison's not even going to let you get to Round Four on the strength of the song you just performed.

Jade glances back at him.

Jade: I barely know the song.

Justice: I know, but you're thinking too much about your voice. Your voice won't be the thing that Harrison is paying the most attention to when he watches this.

Jade laughs triumphantly.

Jade: Ha! I knew it!

Justice: Would you listen to me? I'm telling you, he wants to see your personality. The real thing. And right now you're giving me the personality of wallpaper.


Jade isn't crossing her arms in defiance, now, as much as in self-defense. She looks vulnerable and a little embarrassed.

Jade: I didn't think I was giving you anything. I didn't even know you were back there.

Justice looks away, guilty.

Justice: Yeah, well... [Better not to tell her who else is back there, too.]

Jade: So what am I supposed to do?

Justice: Have fun with it, like I said. Whatever makes it fun, jsut do it.

Jade puts her hands on her hips and grins at him like a jerk.

Jade: Fine. I'll pretend I'm performing at your funeral.

Justice: Whatever works.

He makes his way back around the partitions and out of the performance area.

Justice: Start it again, please, Candace.


Justice walks back into the darkened viewing area. His dad was watching the entire interaction.

Harrison: Is it me, or did she just call you a fish-licker?

Justice: Something like that.

He grabs an office chair and swivels it around, and then he sits on it backwards. He scoots up next to Candace so he can watch the performance up close. In a monitor, Jade is waiting to try again; the light from the monitor illuminates Justice's serious face. Harrison is sitting in the row of chairs behind Justice, watching. Justice sends out a little prayer to Jade before the music starts.

Justice: [This is your last chance, Jade. Don't blow it.]