Authors: Elisabeth Wolf
Copyright Â© 2013 by Elisabeth Wolf
Cover and internal design Â© 2013 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover illustration Â© Angela Martini
Internal artwork Â© Angela Martini
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William and Beverly Bierer
(who we call Gammy and Papa)
My mom, dad, and sister suspect that I'm from another planet. They believe that I'm the Alien Child. I'm sure of it. My family is glamorous. The Harrisons are Hollywood royalty at its best, except for me. I've got massively different ideas on how life should be.
My name is Lulu Harrison, daughter of the super cool actor Lincoln Harrison and famous film director Fiona. I'm little sister to fashionable, fancy fifteen-year-old Alexis. My address is 15000 Stone Canyon Road, Bel Air, California (that area between Beverly Hills and Brentwood).
You'd think my life was pampering and parties. Well, it could be, but the problem is, I'm the Not Fitter Inner. I love to garden. The rest of my family loves to groom. I love to bake. They love to buy. I love science experiments. They love strenuous exercise (like yoga or Pilates). Are you starting to understand?
Here's what it means to be a Not Fitter Inner.
Everyone who ever meets my dad or reads about him thinks he's dreamy. They're not wrong. He's got thick, wavy brown hair and forest-green eyes. BUT I have this secret idea he doesn't even know where my room is in the house. I'm one gazillion percent sure he doesn't know the name of my best friend, my favorite food, or what grade I'm in.
My mom is tall, thin, and beautiful. Sometimes she can be the warmest, kindest mom on the planet. But most of the time she's distracted. Being a director, she's used to bossing people around and making sure everything around her is perfect. I don't try to act anything like perfect, and I sure don't want to be bossed around.
My sister, Alexis, is flaw free, or at least that's what she's always telling me. She has thick, dark hair that's always blown out. She has an L.A.-style toothpick body. People constantly mistake her for a young actress. She loves that beyond belief.
Here's how I look: plain. I have frizzy, shapeless brown hair that I never have time to cut or brush. I've got pale skin with overlapping freckles. I'm average height and just a little teeny-tiny bit extra chunky. I sure don't want to look like those walking skeletons you see around L.A. My best feature on the outside is my deep-green eyes. My other best parts that you can't see, like my brain and my feelings, my family doesn't care about. Out of sight, out of mind.
THE REAL LULU
In case you secretly believe being a kid in this family is easy, forget it! Here's what being different means:
Whenever I get stuck going to boring stores with Alexis, I accidentally spray myself with room freshener, thinking it's perfume. She laughs at me.
Even though Alexis commands me to get a two-piece bathing suit, I can never find one that works. Either the top fits and the bottom doesn't, or the bottom fits and the top doesn't. So, I only wear one-piece suits. Alexis laughs at me.
I bring a book to movie premieres. If the movie seems stupid, I sneak-read with an orange clip-on book light. My mother gets mad and sends me out of the theater. Alexis laughs at me.
My mere existence makes Alexis laugh at me, like I'm a walking joke.
Here's who I truly am: that white iris that pops up in the thick, beautiful garden of all purpley-blue ones. That's really a famous Vincent Van Gogh painting. It hangs in the nearby Getty Museum. I'm the flower that just came up the wrong color, but the truth is that painting wouldn't be a masterpiece if it wasn't for the white iris. If Van Gogh just painted all blue and purple irises, zillions of people over the last hundred years would walk by that painting and say, “Nice goopy brush strokes. Very pretty,” and then they'd shuffle past. But that white iris makes people stop and stare, and absolutely, positively know they're looking at a
THE NEW LULU
In one month, it's going to be my eleventh birthday. I'm planning the most
party. There's something about double digitsâwell, real double digits. I mean, that zero next to the one in ten, is, well, zero. It doesn't count. Those tall, straight ones, side by side, have a real meaning, like standing up for who you are. Eleven will be my Best Year Ever! The Harrisons will understand that I'm an important, creative, spectacular member of this family.
Because I live in Hollywood, I'm going to document my story by writing my own screenplay. This is it:
I've never actually written a script before, but everyone in L.A. does (even our dog nanny and pool dude).
Most of all, my parents live, breathe, eat, and work in a world created by scripts. Movie scripts are what my parents read more than anything else. Why not take a shot at one?
So, here goesâ¦
Based On: My Life
1500 Stone Canyon Road
Bel Air, California 90077
[email protected] inLALALand.com
EXT. HARRISON ESTATE GROUNDS, GARDENâSATURDAY MORNING
CUT!! Since this is the first screenplay I've ever written and might be the first screenplay you've ever read, here's some script stuff I wanna explain. Before each scene, I'll show where it takes place by putting “EXT.,” which means whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen outside (exterior), or “INT.,” which tells ya what's gonna happen is gonna be inside (interior). Easy, right? OK, back to: ACTION!!
EXT. FADE IN ON:
The morning sun shines brightly on rows of wilted cilantro plants. LULU, an almost eleven-year-old girl with long, unruly brown hair, stands covered in garden soil, frantically examining her garden. ELANA, a middle-aged Latina with bunned black hair and warm brown eyes, stands patiently, trying to reason with Lulu. Elana wears khakis and a light blue cotton sweater. No-nonsense clothes for her no-nonsense way.
There must be something wrong, because every leaf is wilting and the dirt is bone dry.
Just get the hose and water it. I help you.
WATSON, the Harrisons' chubby pug, waddles up to sniff around the plants.
I've gotta find Hernandez. I think he's here. His crew's still here.
We never gonna find Hernandez. He could be anywhere on the property. We'll get a hose.
No gracias, Elana. We can't just yank out the hose and water. Ya know there's a drought, and we're only supposed to water on Tuesdays and Thursdays before eight in the morning. And the whole reason Hernandez invented the solar-powered drip system is so I don't waste water.
NiÃ±a, Lulu, you wanna have cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and chilies for the salsa you make for your birthday fiesta, you better grab the hose.
(waving her hand around)
He's gotta be here somewhere.
Hernandez cannot make rain, and if he's here, he's gotta make the flowers and big bushes look nice for your parents.
CUT!! I just have to break in here for a quick sec and tell you something about Elana. I call her my “Momny.” That's “mommy” and “nanny” together. Elana's heart is bigger than North and South America combined. When I'm sick with fever, she hugs me like she's never heard of germs. When I get scared, she speaks to me like she doesn't notice. There are times when I make her crazy, like probably right now, but she doesn't let on. OK, back to: ACTION!!
It's my birthday, Elana. Salsa's my
. I want to make the best batch ever, and I want it all to be from my garden. This is really important!
Lulu gives Elana's hand a squeeze as she heads off running down a hilly slope. She darts past the swimming pool and cabana, past the tennis court, herb garden, and rose beds, toward the edge of the Harrisons' estate where ten-foot-high pittosporum plants border the property. The chunky pug tries to follow Lulu but lies down exhausted after a few feet. He'd much rather play dead than chase.
EXT. HARRISON ESTATE GROUNDS, FRONT GATEâCONTINUOUS
Lulu arrives at the front gate of the property, panting and out of breath. She looks in the direction of buzzing, motorized cutters. The sound comes from the tops of ladders propped against the giant hedges.
(yelling over the roar)
HERNANDEZ?! ARE YOU UP THERE? IT'S GONNA BE MY BIRTHDAY, AND I WAS GONNA MAKE SALSA FOR MY PARTY, BUT MY CILANTRO PLANTS ARE WILTING!
CUT!! Just so you know why I'm searching everywhere for Hernandez. He keeps all the leaves, blades of grass, petals of flowers, and tree branches looking ready for a garden magazine photo shoot. His dark, soft eyes look at me the most kind and patient wayâno matter how many questions I ask about watering, seeds, sunlight, bugs, or organic fertilizer. Back to: ACTION!!
WORKER IN TREE
Hernandez's not up here.
GRACIAS! DO YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS?
As Lulu bellows into the tops of the hedges, a pearl-white hybrid Escalade glides silently into the Harrison motor court, through open gates then up the long cobblestone driveway.
PETAL, the driver, LINCOLN, the father, FIONA, the mother, and ALEXIS, the sister, all silently look out tinted glass windows, the kind you can see out but no one can see in. Each of the occupants notices Lulu with her hands cupped to her mouth, bellowing into the thick bushes.
Alexis looks at her parents and rolls her eyes.
EXT. MOTOR COURTâCONTINUOUS
Noticing the car as it passes her on the driveway, Lulu tears off in the direction of the moving vehicle. She waves her hands and arms in an enormous and obvious effort to stop the car.
PETAL, PETAL, CAN YOU STOP? MOM, DAD, ARE YOU IN THERE?
The Escalade pulls into the motor court, stopping in front of the house. A window glides down. Petal sticks her arm out and makes a peace sign.
(out the window to Lulu)
Don't worry. I see you, babe.
Lulu reaches the car. She's covered in garden soil and breathless from her loopy running.
Mom! Dad! Are you in there?
Lulu sticks her head into the open car window, talking as fast as the words can tumble out.
Hi! How was Santa Barbara? Are you home for a while now? I've got a big problem. Well, ummmmm, the problem is part of a surprise I wanna do for my birthday. I really need help finding Hernandez to fix the water dripper so the cilantro doesn't die!
As she runs out of breath, Lulu's voice sputters to a halt. Linc has a slight soft drawl to his deep, smooth voice.
(charmingly mocking himself)
Darling, that's a lot of lines for an actor like me who can only memorize a sentence at a time. I'm still at the “Hi,” and I want to say “Hi” back, and “I missed you,” and give ya a hug.
Linc exits the car and wraps his arms around Lulu. Fiona unfolds her long, lean self from the other side and joins the two, smoothing Lulu's wild hair in an automatic, motherly way.
I see you've been taking care of yourself while I've been gone.
I have, Mom. I've been doing lots of cooking with Elana. I'm planning my birthday party andâ
Alexis stands in front of the house.
About that party! Not sure what dying plants have to do with a birthday party, but you're totally off track.
I don't want to tell you everything because I was going to surprise you guys.
Surprise us now, Lu. You wanted our help with something when we pulled up.
Oh, geez peas! OK. Well, for my birthday, I wanna invite you all to dinner with Elana and my forever best friend, Sophia. I'm gonna make you all personal invitations from pressed flowers. I'm gonna decorate the table with homegrown garden flowers. Sophia and I already designed party hats. And, I'm gonna cook! Everything! A to Z, but, well, nothing I'm making starts with A or Z. My menu's gonna be: homemade chips and spicy salsa. All the salsa ingredients are growing in my organic garden. That's where the big problem comes in because the waterâ
The whole idea is the Big Problem! Look, you already lost me at the hat designing part. And what about those two?
Alexis glances towards Linc and Fiona who bicker in whispers a few feet away.
They don't seem too excited about handmade garden flowers.
(thrusting her chin their parents' direction)
Whatever. Just look at them.
Lulu turns toward her parents. Linc and Fiona carry on their own sharp conversation. When they realize the girls are watching, they stop. Linc saunters over to Lulu and drapes his strong arm around her shoulder.
Like I said, I'm just a not-too-bright actor. So, I'm still stuck on my first line, “Hi, Santa Barbara rocked.”
Lulu opens her mouth to respond, but her mother is already yelling.
Linc, stop with that not-smart stuff! You get a few unflattering reviews, and you believe you're not a smart, thoughtful, inspiring man of your craft. I cannot stand it! I'm never casting you again because I can't handle you off the screen.
(then, in a soft tone to Lulu.)
I'm going inside, Lu, to stretch out after the long car ride.
Linc slinks back into the car. Windows go up.
Hey, Lulu, I'm for you!
Petal gives Lulu a thumbs up as she maneuvers the huge white car out of the Harrison estate gates.
EXT. HARRISON ESTATE, POOLSIDEâSAME DAY
Lulu and Alexis are having lunch at an iron table between the cabana and the pool. The nearby pool house is a smaller version of the main house. The Olympic-sized infinity pool (one without edges) gleams in the sunlight. The water is always hyperclean, thanks to the pool dude, CHIP, who cleans the pool. He wears baggy black board shorts and a faded ZJ Board Shop T-shirt.
As Lulu and Alexis eat, Watson mills about their feet, lapping up food from the floor. A soggy, baggy diaper hangs loosely from his back haunches.
That smelly dog is like a vacuumâhe sucks up everything he can get his tongue on. Can't we eat in peace?! I can't believe Fiona lets you keep this beast.
Watson's allowed anywhere with his diaper, so
live with it.
Watson licks around Lulu's chair.
Look, the puggy even likes the spicy stuff.
Your sandwiches ooze. They're always dripping something red like they're bleeding to death.
Does that mean you don't want a bite?
Lulu lifts her leaking sandwich and waves it in Alexis's direction. Plops of tomato salsa hit the table and Lulu's leg.
Don't even swing that drippy mess near me.
And for your information, it's salsa squished in grilled cheese. My own recipe. I've been trying out different salsas to make for my birthday. There's hot, super-duper hot, medium-mildâ
You mean that Little Chef Lulu Nature Hugger party? Not happening. That's like for a hippy-dippy eco baby.
Being four and three-quarters years younger than you doesn't make me a baby.
For your birthday, let's grow you up.
(thinks for a beat)
I know! How about a premiere party? I'll check soon-to-be-released blockbuster movies. Fiona's assistant can get a print of one, and I'll screen it at the house. I could get about thirty girls into our downstairs theater. I'll get popcorn buckets with your name onâ