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BellydancingKitties.com

Subtitle

The Perfect Pasha

written by Tamalyn Dallal


EXT. LOUISIANA COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

CLOSE SHOT of a dirty, matted and disheveled BLACK KITTY playing with a group of beetles. The image becomes more expansive. A large ALLIGATOR climbs out of a nearby bayou. It slowly closes in on the unaware black kitty. RUSTLING sounds come from the bushes, then slow, deliberate FOOT STEPS.

Just as the alligator opens its mouth, a pair of dark skinned, manicured female hands, with glittering nail polish, snatches the black kitty. The woman's feet are clad in fancy, jeweled cowboy boots. The black kitty squirms as he tries to reach for his beetle friends.

A hand painted sign that reads “Kitties for Sale” rural house. This is the house where DONNA lives.


INT. DONNAS HOUSE - DAY

MANON, the black kitty’s rescuer, opens the front
stands in the doorway, holding the black kitty in
She is a Creole cowgirl. (In rural Louisiana, the
"Creole" means African American, Native American, French, and Spanish mixed heritage.) Manon's figure is hourglass. Her flowing black hair contains streaks of glistening tinsel, as do her long eyelashes. She wears tight jeans, jeweled boots and a cowboy hat. Speaking in a rural Louisiana Creole-French accent, Manon calls to the resident of the house.


MANON
Hey Donna... I found a kitty. You

want him?


DONNA answers off screen, with a raspy voice and country accent.


DONNA
Just toss 'im in the pile. Thanks

honey.


SLURPING AND PURRING are heard as Manon carries the black kitty across a cluttered living room full of knick knacks. A MAMA CAT feeds two large KITTENS. Manon places the black kitty among them. He is considerably larger than the others.

A kitten, who is out of view, WHIMPERS weakly. The black kitty turns around and looks at a tiny PINK KITTEN whose eyes are huge. He tenderly picks the pink kitten up in his mouth and carries her to the mama. The first two kittens glare at him and refuse to budge. One of the kittens has only one eye and his fur markings are faintly plaid. The other's markings are checkered. They are both unusual looking, with evil expressions.

bedecks a

door and her hands. term

The one eyed plaid kitten HISSES at the black kitty. The black kitty pushes the two kittens away from the mama cat. He sets the pink kitty next to the mama.

The black kitty eyes a partially eaten sandwich on the coffee table, stalks it like prey, and snatches it in his paws.
He reclines on his back (belly up) to eat the sandwich, holding it to his mouth with both paws.

Donnas angry voice booms.


DONNA

You again?


The black kitty looks up at Donna insolently. A piece of sandwich hangs out of his mouth. Donna stands over him with her hands on her hips. She is a 57 year old woman with tan, weathered skin and salt and pepper hair tied into a bun. Her ethnicity is nondescript, though predominately of European descent. A cigarette dangles from her lips.


DONNA (CONT'D)
For the umpteenth time, I’m gonna

say it... YOU don’t belong here!


The black kitty continues eating. Donna takes a broom and nudges him toward the front door. Dingleberries dangle from his furry bottom when seen from behind. He leaves a trail of shedded fur in his wake. Donna sweeps him and his shedded fur out the door.


DONNAS POV from inside the house; The black kitty rolls into an overgrown garden, shakes himself off, and ambles away.


DONNA (CONT'D) 

And don’t come back!


She closes the door and turns the lock.

EMILY, a 6 year old child appears. She stands behind Donna. A ray of sun shines in through the back door, which is open behind her. The black kitty peeks into Donna's house through the back door. Donna's nose twitches. She turns to look at Emily. Emily is mixed race/Creole. She has tan skin and light eyes. Her natural African textured golden hair is in two pom pom like pig tails. She wears rubber shrimp boots. A fish dangles from the fishing pole she is holding. Emily's bearing is serious, like a little adult, but she is very much an adorable child.


EMILY
Can I have that pink kitty,

grandma? I'll give you a fish for your dinner.


DONNA
I got a freezer full of your fish.


EMILY
Grandpa likes when I bring fish.


DONNA
Well your grandpas never here.

Thats why we got too many fish. Emily looks down.


EMILY
Can I have the pink kitty?


There is a KNOCK on the front door. Donna opens it. SHANA stands in the doorway. She is a pale skinned, scrawny 19 year old girl, dressed in funky, bohemian clothing. Her curly hair is pink and she wears huge glasses. The lettering on her shirt reads "Minnesota."


DONNA
You lookin’ to buy a kitty?


SHANA
I'm looking for a bus to New

Orleans.


DONNA
Ain't no busses to New Orleans

around here.

Emily ducks beneath Donnas arm to see Shana.

A tiny but ferocious MEOW is heard. Donna looks down and scoops the pink kitty up with one hand.


DONNA (CONT'D)
You want a pink kitty? She goes

with your hair. 


Donna cackles a cruel laugh.

The pink kitty looks at Shana and BURPS. Shana takes the pink kitty in her arms and snuggles her.


SHANA How much is she?


DONNA Twenty dollars.


Shana looks at the pink kitty adoringly.


DONNA (CONT'D)
Alright. Give me ten... But hurry

up. The train's coming soon.


SHANA 

There's a train to New Orleans?


DONNA

Yep.


DONNA 

Emily, show her where to hop on.


EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY

Emily and Shana walk down the road. A tattered billboard stands overhead. It reads “Zydeco Night” and features a picture of a sixty year old Creole man in a cowboy hat playing an accordion.

Emily looks up at the sign.


EMILY
That’s my grandpa. He plays music

all over Louisiana cause he’s famous.


SHANA 

Really? That's cool!

What does “Zydeco” mean?


EMILY
It’s music. People like to dance to

it. You never danced Zydeco?


SHANA

No.


The CHOO CHOO of a train sounds. They pick up the pace. The black kitty reappears, stealthily, from behind. Shana and Emily fail to notice his presence.
They reach a freight train, which slows but doesn't stop. There are a few box cars among the oil barrels. Emily points toward an empty box car.


EMILY
Yo gotta be quick. Else the train's

gonna leave.


Shana climbs up. She waves goodbye to Emily, then holds the pink kitten up to say goodbye.

The black kitty makes a mad dash for the box car. He scrambles to climb up, but misses. He jumps up again, but tumbles to the ground and lands flat on his back on a dirt road. The train chugs onward.

Emily picks up the black kitty, checks him head to tail and looks at his belly. He looks at her with huge, sad, golden eyes.

Manon barrels toward them in her vintage red pickup truck. Her truck SCREECHES to a halt.


MANON 

What happened?


EMILY
He nearly got run over by a train.


MANON
He almost got eaten by an alligator

this morning.


EMILY
My grandma sure doesn't want him in

her house.


MANON
We gotta help him.


Manon pauses to think. She pulls out her cel phone and dials it.


MANON (CONT'D)
Hey Topaz... It's Manon. Remember me?

Well...I want to help you out. People say you got a mouse in your house... Is that true?


Manon looks at Emily and the black kitty.


MANON (CONT'D) 

We're coming over.


She hangs up the phone. Emily gets into the passengers seat of Manon's truck and holds the black kitty in her lap.

Manon gets in the drivers side and revs up the engine.


EXT. ROAD - DUSK

ZYDECO MUSIC blares. The red truck bounces through a swamp full of trees and hanging moss. It crosses a long bridge by the edge of a lake.


The sun begins to set. City lights turn on. LOUD CARS, MOTORCYCLES and SIRENS become increasingly noisy. A sign reads "New Orleans." Emily looks wide eyed and amazed. The black kitty stands on his hind legs, watching intently.

Manon parks beside a sign that says "No Stopping Any Time.” Emily gets out of the truck with the black kitty in her arms.


EMILY
(To the black kitty)

Don't worry baby. Long as you do your job you'll be just fine.


INT. DOORWAY CONNECTING A STAIRCASE AND TOPAZ'S WAREHOUSE - EVENING

Manon's and Emily's FOOTSTEPS ascend the creaky wooden stair case. A door opens. Manon stands by Emily. Emily holds the black kitty. Spider webs hang behind them. Drips of water fall from the ceiling into a bucket.

Emily stares at Topaz in awe. She hands her the black kitty. Topaz's jewel bedecked hands receive him.


TOPAZ
Sorry about the dripping ceiling...


EMILY
Your house is SO pretty!


TOPAZ
Come in. It's also my dance studio.


MANON
We've got to go. My truck is in a

"No Parking" zone.


Emily cranes her neck to look inside. She turns her head toward Topaz and pets the black kitty one more time.


EMILY
This little kitty is gonna take

care of any critters you got.


INT. WAREHOUSE - EVENING

Twenty little girls wear sparkly pink T shirts that read “NOLA Bellydance Stompers." Jingly hip scarves, jeans and marching boots with tassels and taps complete their outfits. They TAP their feet in rhythmic patterns.

The little girls represent a cross section of New Orleans population: African American, Caucasian, Vietnamese, Latin American and Arabic. The soft sound of constant WATER DRIPS adds extra rhythmic accompaniment. The little girls see the black kitty and stop dancing. He jumps from Topaz’ arms to play with them.

LITTLE GIRL #1 takes him in her arms. The others surround her to pet the black kitty. One of the girls scratches her nose. Another looks disgusted.


LITTLE GIRL #2 

He’s dirty.


LITTLE GIRL #3 

Eww! He smells.


LITTLE GIRL #2

Gross!

The black kitty looks heart broken.

Topaz restores order by clanging a very loud set of finger cymbals. Topaz is 36 years old, Mediterranean looking, with long dark hair. She is wearing a fitted Middle Eastern caftan with a scarf tied at the hips and another wrapped around her neck.


TOPAZ
Everyone, put your finger cymbals on.


Little girl #1 sets the black kitty down, unaware that her shirt is covered with black fur. She opens a small bag that is tied to her hip scarf and takes out a set of four finger cymbals. She puts them on both thumbs and both middle fingers. The other little girls put their finger cymbals on too.

The black kitty sits in the middle of the dance floor with a bewildered expression on his face. All the little girls step in unison. They practice a line dance sprinkled with bellydance steps.

A BLUE MOUSE runs through the crowd of dancing little girls. They scream and jump aside. The black kitty chases the blue mouse across the warehouse. He catches him and tries to play, nudging the blue mouse with his paws. The black kitty picks the blue mouse up and cuddles him. The blue mouse escapes. The black kitty picks him up in his mouth and walks across the room. The blue mouse wriggles in the black kitty's mouth. The black kitty walks straight through a drip of water and drops the blue mouse at Topaz's feet.

The blue mouse dashes out of the warehouse by crawling through a wide gap under the front door.

The little girls APPLAUD. Their finger cymbals CLANG. The noise frightens the black kitty. He runs beneath a dresser.

Topaz plays a rhythm with her finger cymbals. The little girls resume their dance, playing finger cymbals as well.

A BRASS BAND is heard in the distance. This music combines New Orleans street jazz and Middle Eastern sounds. (I recommend the Panorama Brass Band of New Orleans.) The rhythm matches that of the little girl's finger cymbals.

The band's volume increases. Several little girls rush to the fire escape and watch.

Topaz clangs her finger cymbals.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Stay away from the fire escape...

Come quietly, single file, down the stairs.


The little girls rush out the door. Some get wet from dripping water. They are heard STOMPING down the creaky wooden staircase.


EXT. STREET - EVENING

TOPAZ'S POV - The little girls spill onto the street and join the marching band. It is a "Second Line" parade.
(In New Orleans, "Second Line" is a style of traditional musical street procession.) This second line is led by a brass band, followed by the little girls doing their dance routine with finger cymbals. A group of adults dances and waves umbrellas in a synchronized fashion. It looks, from above, like a flowing snake of umbrellas. More revelers follow, waving white handkerchiefs.

MR. SWINDELL, a funny looking little man in an ill fitting suit yells into his cel phone.


MR. SWINDELL
I'll bet you don't have a permit!

Ya know, there's a noise ordinance against this sort of thing...I can't wait to make changes in this town!


No one pays attention to him.


INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Topaz searches for the black kitty.


TOPAZ
Here kitty...kitty! Where are you?


A furry black paw protrudes from beneath the dresser.

Topaz kneels down, looks under the dresser and tries to coax the black kitty from his hiding place. She brings a plate of fish, a bowl of water, and attempts to lure him with a stuffed animal. The black kitty doesn't budge.

Topaz walks to the other side of the dance floor. She places the needle of an old phonograph on a vinyl record. A vintage, Middle Eastern style version of the New Orleans jazz classic "St. James Infirmary" plays. (There is an excellent version of this song, recorded in 1962, by Gus Vali. If permission can be obtained, it would be a good fit. Otherwise, there are Middle Eastern musicians in New Orleans who can play it.)

Slowly, Topaz starts to dance, swirling a bellydance veil. The black kitty inches himself out from beneath the dresser. Topaz is concentrated on her dancing. She doesn’t notice him. There is a tug on the veil. Topaz looks puzzled, tugs back, and keeps dancing. The black kitty jumps up and catches the veil. The veil drops from Topaz's hands. She looks down and sees the black kitty. He rolls contentedly in the silk fabric, leaving shedded fur in his wake.

Topaz stops the music and looks at the ball of fur and fabric on the floor.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
You need some grooming little

buddy.


Topaz carries the black kitty to a vanity. It contains a set of combs, brushes, and a package of tiny, individually wrapped tooth brushes. Water drips from the ceiling into a pail next to the vanity.

Topaz brushes the black kitty with a hair brush, producing a mound of fur. She takes a tiny toothbrush and brushes his teeth. She holds him up to the mirror to look at their reflection together. In the reflection we see a painting on the wall of Topaz’s great grandfather, a Middle Eastern man in a red fez-hat, surrounded by cats. An inscription at the bottom of the photo reads "The Perfect Pasha."


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

Look how handsome you are!


The black kitty admires his reflection in the mirror.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
You look like a little pasha... Do

you know what a ‘pasha’ is? The black kitty tilts his head.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Pashas were important dignitaries,

and brave leaders, during the Ottoman Empire.


The black kitty’s eyes light up. Topaz places a red fez-hat, with a black tassel on his head. His posture suddenly becomes straight and proud. From now through the rest of the film, the black kitty is referred to as “Pasha” and the fez-hat remains on his head, with few exceptions.


INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Topaz is dressed for bed in a fancy Middle Eastern looking gown. Soft, classical MIDDLE EASTERN MUSIC plays in the background. It is punctuated by rhythmic drips of water throughout the warehouse.

She sits at a table, putting decorative touches on a costume and gluing rhinestones onto fancy brocade fabric with a glue gun. She squeezes some glue from a tube and glues smaller stones onto a veil made of delicate silk. Pasha lays on the project, getting rhinestones stuck to the fur of his belly.


TOPAZ 

You silly kitty.


She gently picks him up, extracts the sticky rhinestones from his fur and places them back onto the fabrics.

Topaz walks across the room. Pasha zig zags across her feet, MEOWING vociferously. She retrieves her veil from the floor and attempts to make her way to the costume rack to hang it up. Pasha pulls several veils down, sits on them and MEOWS, Refusing to budge.

Topaz releases a Murphey Bed from the wall. Pasha jumps in the middle and MEOWS at the top of his lungs.

Topaz picks Pasha up. He struggles from her grasp. She sits beside him on the bed.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
I used to live with my grandma,

deep in the bayou. (MORE)

She told me her daddy was a real

pasha. The pasha was a kind man. He took care of many, many kitties. That's why I promise, I'll always take care of you...But, I have to show you something.


Topaz unrolls a scroll, made of yellowing paper.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
This is a very old scroll. It was

dedicated to my great grandpa by a great Sultan, before he came to Louisiana.


CLOSE UP of the scroll. The title is in English. It reads "The Perfect Pasha." The rest is written in Turkish.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Too bad I can't read it.


Pasha lays on his back, head on the pillow.

Topaz sighs, shakes her head, and carefully re-rolls the scroll.

She seeks out room for herself along the edge of the bed. A paper on her night stand falls to the floor.

A CLOSE UP of the paper shows that it is an airplane ticket to Istanbul. She turns off the light and falls asleep.

Pasha lays, with one eye open. Moonlight streams into the warehouse.

Pasha silently steps over Topaz and sneaks off of the bed. He pads to the table where Topaz’s costume, glue and rhinestones are laid out. He bats at the bottle of glue. It tips over, forming a puddle on the table. He sniffs a dish containing rhinestones, which stick to his whiskers and sparkle in the moonlight. In an attempt to remove the stones, he paws at his face. The dish of rhinestones tips over and falls into the puddle of glue. He tries to put everything back in place with his paws, but they get increasingly stickier. Glue and rhinestones drip, from the table to the floor, forming a sparkling cascade. Pasha slips off the table, into the mess.


INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

The sun rises. Water drips inside the warehouse. The HORN of a steamboat sounds in the distance.

Next to the bed, Topaz’s telephone alarm RINGS with a ringtone of MIDDLE EASTERN MUSIC. Pasha lays beside her. Rhinestoned paw prints lead from the table, across the floor, to the bed. There is a sparkly paw print on Topaz's ticket to Turkey. Rhinestones stick all over the bed, and all over Pasha. Topaz opens her eyes, pushes the snooze button, and falls back to sleep. Pasha stands on her chest. His fur is stuck to the sheet. He MEOWS loudly, in a high pitch that resembles that of an off key opera singer. Pasha looks distraught. Topaz strokes Pasha’s fur. Her fingers get caught in a mess of rhinestones, dried glue, and sheets.


TOPAZ
Pasha! What have you done?


Pasha walks to his food dish, dragging the entire sheet with him. A pail of dripping water tips over in the path of the sheet. Pasha sits, looking at Topaz in earnest.

Topaz wields a pair of scissors, a comb, and a vintage electric shaver.

CLOSE UP - Topaz's hand hold the scissors that trim Pasha's fur. Fur and rhinestones remain stuck to the sheet.

Someone BANGS on the door, incessantly. Topaz stomps over to the door and opens it.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Mr. Swindell... Are you going to

fix my ceiling or what?


Mr. Swindell looks funny in his ill fitting suit. He stands in the doorway with a scowl on his face.


MR. SWINDELL
I heard you got a cat in here.


TOPAZ
Yep. He got rid of your ugly little

mouse.


MR. SWINDELL
You know the policy. NO PETS!


TOPAZ
Well...I have a policy... NO MICE!

Anyway, you need to fix the leaks in my ceiling.


MR. SWINDELL 

Let me see that cat.


Topaz slams the door in Mr. Swindell's face.


INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Topaz sits by a window. Her laptop is open. She dials her cel phone. Boats float by on the Missisippi River. BOAT HORNS and TRAIN WHISTLES sound in the distance.

Topaz speaks into the phone.


TOPAZ
Is it possible to get a refund on

my ticket to Turkey? Yes. It is for Turkey and Egypt. But something came up... Okay. Thanks anyway.


Topaz hangs up. She dials her phone again.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Hi. I want to speak to the

doctor... To request a note regarding an emotional support animal... I'm gonna take my dream trip that I've been saving for, for years, but I was given a cat... Turkey and Egypt... Hmmm... I'll figure something else out.


She hangs up the phone, sets it on the table and thinks aloud.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
I'm not going to give up my dream

trip. My great grand daddy was a pasha, and I'm a bellydancer. I've GOT to go to Turkey and Egypt.


A piece of paper slips beneath the door. It says EVICTiON NOTICE in big letters. Topaz to the door, picks it up, and turns to Pasha.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Pasha, we need to find another

place to live...And someone to take care of you while I'm away.


Pasha walks across the computer keyboard. A series of BINGS marks his steps. Topaz sits down. He crawls into her lap and snuggles up to her. She cuddles him. A symphony of water DRIPS is heard and seen across the warehouse.

CLOSE UP of Topaz's computer screen showing an apartment listing. It contains a photo of an old attic full of spider webs.

Topaz dials her cel phone.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
I'm calling about your ad. Is the

"ugly attic" still for rent on Constantinople Street?... Yes. I understand. You get what you pay for. What I'd like to know is if there's any hope that it can be decorated like a palace. I'm a bellydancer and I have lots of rugs and pillows... and a cat with entitlement issues.


We hear a DIAL TONE. The DRIPS continue. Topaz sits in silence with Pasha on her lap. Suddenly, the ceiling over the dance floor collapses.

Topaz dials back again.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Um...I'm Topaz. Topaz Thibadoux...

T-H-I-B-A-D-O-U-X. We got disconnected. No. It's not a joke. I'll take your ugly attic.


EXT. VINTAGE DINER - DAY
Topaz sits on a stool at the counter.

Shana, the young girl we saw earlier in the film with curly pink hair, funky clothes and huge glasses works as a waitress behind the counter.

She hands Topaz a menu. Topaz hands it back.


TOPAZ
I’d like a sweet tea please.


Instead of a shirt that says "Minnesota," Shana's shirt bears a fleur de lis. (The fleur de lis is an important symbol of New Orleans.)

Shana hands Topaz a glass of iced tea.

A MAN in a colorful costume sits a few seats away at the counter. (It is normal for people to wear costumes on any given day in New Orleans.)


MAN
Shana, did you find a place to stay yet?


SHANA
No. I just need a little room, but

everywhere I go they say "No pets."


MAN 

What do you have?


SHANA
Just a little cat. But I would

never give her up.

Topaz looks up from her tea and interjects.


TOPAZ
What would you do if you had the

choice between your dream trip and your cat?


SHANA 

I'd choose my cat.


TOPAZ
Give me your number.


Topaz picks up her phone and sends a text message. She resumes sipping her sweet tea.

A phone sitting on the counter DINGS. Shana checks the message. She looks at Topaz.


SHANA
When should we come over?


EXT. SIDEWALK ON CONSTANTINOPLE STREET - DAY

Topaz and Pasha (who has grown large and furry with a big beard) pass a street sign that says “Constantinople Street.” They approach a slightly tilted Victorian home with a sagging balcony.


TOPAZ
Pasha... This is your new palace.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DUSK

CLOSE UP of a vintage key opening a rusty old lock. The door opens to reveal a run down, yet elaborately decorated “palace,” containing the salvaged contents from Topaz's warehouse. Turkish carpets, colorful cushions and flowing curtains give the attic an atmosphere reminiscent of an Ottoman palace.


OTTOMAN ERA MUSIC plays softly in the background. (From this point on, the attic is referred to as "Pasha's Palace.") Pasha jumps out of Topaz’s arms and explores his new abode. He frolicks and sniffs each pillow, curtain and piece of furniture. Topaz ducks her head beneath the low doorway and enters the attic.


TOPAZ
Pasha, you have lots of cushions,

and three magic carpets to keep you busy.


Pasha takes a running leap onto one of the carpets. It skids across the floor and ends up in a wrinkled pile. He settles onto the biggest pillow of all. This pillow resembles a throne.

The door CREAKS open.
Shana ducks her head and enters, carrying a pink box. Pasha scowls.


SHANA 

Is he friendly?


TOPAZ
Yeah. He just doesn't like people

coming to his palace unannounced. Shana looks at Topaz, then at Pasha, curiously.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Pasha, This is Shana.

Shana puts the box down and opens it.


SHANA And THIS is Bella.


The pink kitty we saw earlier in the film is grown up, but still rather petite. Her name is BELLA. She pops her head out. Pasha's expression is of delight. He runs toward her. Bella shows no sign of recognition. She looks terrified and retreats back into her box. Shana pulls her out. Bella dives under the dresser. Pasha peeks beneath the dresser. Pasha is too big to fit beneath.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - NIGHT TURNS TO DAWN, DAY, THEN TO DUSK

Topaz and Shana sit on cushions. Pasha sits between them. The three figures wait for Bella to emerge.


TOPAZ 

She might starve.


SHANA
Do you have a can of tuna?


TOPAZ 

Will that help?


SHANA 

Probably.


Topaz leaves the room and enters with an open can of tuna. She sets it on the floor near the dresser. Bellas nose emerges, then her eyes, and her whole body. She sits by the can and feasts on the tuna. Pasha's golden eyes watch her from behind.

Pasha away.

approaches and tries to take a nibble. Bella swats him


SHANA (CONT'D) 

Bella's never seen such a big,

furry cat. She probably thinks he's another species.


TOPAZ
Well, he is a pasha, a dignitary

from the Ottoman Empire.

Shana looks at Pasha. Pasha winks. His fez hat pops up and lands on his head again with a TINKLING sound effect. Bella nods for him to share her tuna.

Pasha then leads Bella to his pile of toys. He shows them to her, one by one. They make a racket with loud, squeaky toys.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Pasha and Bella chase each other up and down the hallway. They find an old claw foot bathtub with water dripping from the spigot. Bella jumps in and starts to drink. Her head gets wet in the process. Pasha sits on the edge of the tub and watches. He takes an occasional sip of water himself.

Pasha leads Bella to a series of cupboards. She shows him how to open them and steal treats.

He leads her to the kitchen. There is a freshly barbecued fish on the counter. They share the snack, and continue to explore. They eat together, drink together and groom one another.

Pasha shows her his technique of sliding on Turkish carpets. They slide on carpets, into the bedroom.

looks at Topaz doubtfully. Bella's ears perk up. She


INT. BEDROOM - DAY

Topaz packs a suitcase full of sparkly costumes and makeup. Lastly, she adds her toothbrush. Pasha jumps into the suitcase and beckons for Bella to join him.

Topaz takes Pasha in her arms.


TOPAZ
Pasha, I'm about to travel to the

other side of the world, to the lands of the bellydance. Don't worry... Shana will take care of you while I'm gone.


Pasha looks into her eyes and MEOWS sadly. A tear falls down his cheek. Topaz gives his beard a kiss and his tummy a rub.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Aww...You'll be alright.


She closes her suitcase and picks it up. Pasha follows her as she walks to the door.

Topaz kneels down and pets Pasha tenderly.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Now you be a perfect little Pasha

while I'm gone. Okay?

Pasha looks at her. Topaz repeats herself in earnest.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

Promise me you'll be my perfect little Pasha.


Pasha squints his eyes, as cats are prone to do toward humans they love.

Topaz walks out the door and closes it behind her. Pasha sits, hapless.

Her suitcase is heard THUMPING down the stairs.

Pasha's head hangs low. Bella sits beside him and speaks in a feline sounding voice.


BELLA 

Pasha.


Pasha looks at Bella with a surprised expression.


BELLA (CONT'D)
What can I do to help you feel

better?

Pasha looks down with sad eyes and MEOWS.


BELLA (CONT'D)
You can talk to me... Just try.


PASHA 

(Stammers)

Meow...D-d-do you know how to b- bellydance?


Bella tilts her head curiously.


BELLA
No. But maybe I can learn.


PASHA
(Gaining confidence)

W-well...B-b-bellydancers wear sparkles and d-dance with veils. T-Topaz glued sparkles to silks. I-I laid on them and they stuck all over my belly.


BELLA
Let's open the cupboards!


PASHA
B-but I p-promised to be a "perfect

Pasha."


BELLA
What does that mean?.


PASHA
I-I don't know...There's an ancient

scroll somewhere. It has all the instructions.


BELLA
You look for the scroll and I'll

find the sparkles.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DUSK

Pasha and Bella open cupboard after cupboard. Bella finds rhinestones, sparkly fabrics, glue and glitter. Pasha finds the scroll. They pull veils from a rack and sit on them.

Pasha unrolls the scroll.

Middle Eastern MUSIC wafts from afar. It's volume gradually builds. Pasha and Bella study the scroll.

COLORFUL KITTIES in all shades of green, purple, blue and yellow enter through a window leading from the the fire escape.
Upon seeing them, Pasha and Bella's shock turns to delight. The colorful kitties play Middle Eastern instruments; The oud, qanun, ney, violin, and an assortment of percussion instruments.

A group of JAZZ CATS joins them on a saxophone, trumpet, clarinet and a tuba. Pasha raises a paw to get their attention. The colorful kitties fall silent. He holds up the scroll for all to see.


PASHA
Does anyone know how to read this?


DOGU, of the "Turkish Van" breed of kitties wears Turkish men's folk dance attire. He clicks wooden spoons together. After walking up to the scroll, he reads the first part in Turkish.


DOGU
(Reads in Turkish)


PASHA 

What is he saying?


A female "Turkish Van" named Banu, translates. She wears a brightly flowered Turkish scarf wrapped on her head. Sparkly ears peek out.


BANU (Translates)

Love is the glue that holds us together. It is the bond of perfection...

Pasha licks Bella on the head and rubs his head against her.


BELLA
(To the colorful kitties)

I found some glue.


BANU
It also says "Help others so they

can shine and sparkle."


PASHA
That's easy! We have lots of

sparkles, don't we, Bella?!


Bella sprinkles the colorful kitties with glitter. Pasha anoints each of their paws with rhinestones.


BANU
We're not done yet... It says "The

Perfect Pasha" must always tell the truth.


PASHA
Here, on Constantinople Street,

this Pasha always tells the truth!

Dogu clears his throat and speaks up (In Turkish).


DOGU (In Turkish)


BANU (Translates)

He says it's not true.


PASHA 

What's not true?


BANU
It's Istanbul Street, not

Constantinople.


The Colorful Kitties start to play the song “ISTANBUL NOT CONSTANTINOPLE," (circa 1953, by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon). Their rendition of the song has a Middle Eastern/New Orleans flair.

The colorful kitties march through Pashas Palace. Shana reclines on an a chaise lounge talking on her cel phone.


SHANA
I'm kitty sitting on Constantinople

Street...Umm, It's going great. But there are more kitties than I bargained for.

Shana holds up her phone, filming the ensuing chaos.

A group of kitties picks up the chaise lounge and dances through the living room, with Shana riding atop.
Pasha holds a tube of glue in each paw. He directs the music with his paws. The glue squirts into the air in elaborate patterns.
Pasha and Bella prance and dance with abandon as glue squirts and sparkles fly.
The kitties sing “Every gal in Constantinople lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople, so If you’ve got a date in Constantinople, She’ll be waiting in Istanbul.”


EXT. CONSTANTINOPLE STREET, NEW ORLEANS - DUSK

Pasha, Bella and the Colorful Kitties climb down the fire escape, shimmy down drain pipes and spill onto the street. Rhinestones rain down upon them. During the last line of the song, Pasha sings (out of tune) “Istanbul!” A group of kitties spin the “Constantinople Street” sign around to read “Istanbul Street.” Pasha clumsily climbs atop the sign and stands precariously, yet triumphantly on his hind legs. Bella nimbly hops up to join him.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - NIGHT

The scroll lays open on the floor, tattered around the corners.


PASHA
Love is the glue that holds us

together. It is the bond of perfection...


Bella squeezes a drop of glue onto the scroll, next to the first statement. Pasha dips his paw in glitter and stamps it in the glue.


BELLA
A perfect Pasha helps others

sparkle and shine.

Pasha places his sparkly paw print beside the next statement.


PASHA
And he always tells the truth.


Bella squeezes a drop of glue beside that statement. Pasha dips his paw in glitter and stamps it in the glue.

Shana's cel phone BEEPS.


CLOSE UP OF SHANAS CEL PHONE SCREEN - INT. RESTAURANT IN ISTANBUL - NIGHT

Topaz watches a Turkish man dance. He invites Topaz to dance with him. She hands her phone to some one else so they can film her. A band plays in the background. Turkish families watch and clap enthusiastically.

A caption reads "Here in Istanbul, this is not "Bellydance. They call it 'Oryantal Dans.'"

Shana types a comment "I wish I had your life."

Pasha and Bella approach Shana and look at the phone. The phone shows Turkish kitties, roaming freely through the restaurant. One kitty reclines on a table smoking a hookah pipe. Another sits, watching Topaz dance, with a fish in its mouth.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Shana enters with an arm load of groceries. She unloads a dozen cans of cat food, a box of breakfast cereal, milk, and several rolls of toilet paper.

Shana sneezes. She opens a roll of toilet paper, takes out a piece and wipes her nose. The roll falls on the floor and rolls across Pashas palace. Bella chases it and shreds the toilet paper to bits. Pasha watches delightedly. Bella reaches into the package for another roll. Pasha and Bella chase the unraveling rolls of toilet paper throughout Pashas Palace.

Pasha skids on the scroll. He stops to read it.

Pasha looks out the window and sees Dogu and Banu playing in a tree. He walks to the window and calls out;


PASHA
What does... (in Turkish) mean?


BANU
Be generous to your friends, but

know who your enemy is.


Bella chases a wayward roll onto the fire escape. Pasha rolls it down the steps and onto the street.


EXT. CONSTANTINOPLE STREET, NEW ORLEANS - DAY

Mr. Swindell knocks on the door of the Victorian house where Pasha's Palace is located. The door opens.


MR.SWINDELL
I'd like to buy your house. I'll

make you an offer you can't refuse.


A roll of toilet paper hits him on the head. The colorful kitties come from their hiding places, beneath bushes and houses, to play with the toilet paper roll. They make a mess with the shredded paper.


MR. SWINDELL
Everyone on Constantinople Street

is selling. You wouldn't want to be the only one left.


More toilet paper rolls fly down from above. The toilet paper gets caught on branches of oak trees, lands on Mr. Swindell's head and around his feet. Pasha and Bella cavort atop the fire escape.


PASHA
We have so many friends.


BELLA
And you are so generous!


PASHA
I can't imagine having enemies.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

The attic is full of dripping glue, glitter, and shreds of toilet paper, like snow glistening on the floor. Pasha and Bella lounge contentedly on the shredded paper. The scroll lays open beside them, containing a fourth glittering paw print. Shana sits on the floor, holding her cel phone. She shows Pasha and Bella a video.


TOPAZ
Hi Pasha. Hi Bella. I'm in

Istanbul.


A cacophony of VOICES beckons in Turkish. Men try to persuade tourists to eat at their restaurants.


MEN
Gelin abiler, ablalar balığın iyisi

burda.
(Translated in subtitles as "Brothers and sisters come to our place. The best fish is here.")


MEN (CONT'D) Buyunun efendim, balığın isis

burda.
(Translated in subtitles as "Welcome please. The best fish is here.")


So many people call these phrases that it sounds like an echo chamber.
The camera pans a panorama of well fed kitties.

The kitties roam the street, sit in front of restaurants, follow people, and recline on empty seats. These kitties range from black to white, or tabby to orange. No unusual colors. (In Turkey, kitties are so well loved that even the strays are given little houses and food.)

Pasha paws at Shanas phone.


EXT. CONSTANTINOPLE STREET, NEW ORLEANS - DAY

Glitter and glue covered toilet paper, with embedded rhinestones, stretches from the fire escape of Pashas Palace to the sidewalk and street. Colorful kitties walk the strands like tightropes, up and down, to Pashas Palace and back. They play instruments in a festive, circus like atmosphere. Pasha, Bella, Banu and Dogu dance atop a fancy car.

Human onlookers cheer them on. A vendor sells packets of kitty treats. People toss treats to the kitties who catch them in their mouths.

Mr. Swindell stands, car keys in hand, next to the car, yelling.


MR. SWINDELL
I'm gonna get rid of these cats.

They're a nuisance!


Pasha looks up at a cat balanced on one of the strands of glittery dried glue. Dogu says something to Banu in Turkish. Banu translates.


BANU
We forgot to tell you the next item

on the scroll.


PASHA
What is it? Tell me!


BANU
Okay... A perfect pasha is

fearless.


Pasha looks at Bella. He shrugs his shoulders. From upstairs, Shana puts her head out the window, and speaks into a a megaphone.


SHANA
Pasha... Bella... It's time to eat.


PASHA
Come on everyone. Lets eat!


Pasha looks at the strands of glue with trepidation. He takes a deep breath and hops onto a thick strand of glittery dried glue, teetering clumsily. Bella joins him. She climbs gracefully. Colorful kitties follow in a single file line. The strand stretches like a rubber band. It swings from side to side. Pasha hangs on for dear life. The people below shout.


PEOPLE'S VOICES
Look at that! Oh my god! Whoa! No!


Shana runs down the fire escape just in time to catch Pasha in her arms. She looks up. Bella flies toward her. Bellas limbs splay like a flying squirrel. She flies past Mr. Swindell's head and lands in Shanas arms. Bella licks Pasha and they snuggle contentedly. The colorful kitties climb onto the fire escape and into Pashas Palace.

Onlookers APPLAUD.


INT PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Pasha walks past the scroll, which lays open on the floor. He casually presses his paw beside the fifth point.

Shana's phone BEEPS with a notification.


SPIRAL TO:

THE SCREEN OF SHANAS TELEPHONE SHOWING A LIVE VIDEO: EXT. KHAN EL KHALILI MARKET, CAIRO, EGYPT - DAY

Topaz walks through the colorful, carnival like atmosphere of winding streets in the Khan el Khalili marketplace. Shop boys beckon passersby to buy tourist items. All the women on the street wear loose fitting, modest covered clothing. Topaz, dressed in sparkly Turkish historical costume, takes a selfie video.


TOPAZ
Hey everyone. I'm in Cairo.


Shops blare Shaabi (Egyptian street music.) That modern sound is contrasted by a flat screen TV in a shop window, showing a 1970's video of the famous Oriental dancer Nagwa
Fouad performing for former US president Jimmy Carter.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

Look at this... A famous bellydancer danced for President Jimmy Carter!


Topaz films herself with her telephone, approaching a tea seller. He is a tiny elderly man wearing a turban and gallabeya (Egyptian robe) with a giant tea jug strapped to his body. He balances a tray of tiny tea glasses in one hand.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Afwan... Excuse me. Where can I find

bellydance costumes?


TEA SELLER (Indignant)

Bellydance? What is bellydance?

Topaz demonstrates a head slide and a hand circle.


TEA SELLER (CONT'D) Ah. You mean Oriental dance.


TOPAZ Aiwa!...Yes!

I'm looking for Oriental dance costumes.


CUT TO:

INT. PASHAS PALACE, NEW ORLEANS - DUSK

Shana tries on Topaz's collection of caftans and gowns. She takes off each item and leaves them piled on the floor.

Pasha and Bella roll delightedly in the pile.


PASHA
(speaking Turkish to

Bella)


BELLA
What does that mean?


PASHA
It means Count your blessings and

share the joy! 


There is a KNOCK on the door.


SHANA 

Who is it?


An elderly woman's VOICE talks through the door.


VOICE
There's a real estate developer

here. He wants to look at the attic.


Shana opens the door. Mr. Swindell tries to walk through the low doorway, but bumps his head.


MR. SWINDELL
Ouch! I could sue, you know.


SHANA
I'm just kitty sitting. But I'll get you some ice.


The colorful kitties enter, playing their instruments.

MR. SWINDELL'S POV- Sparkles, colorful kitties and Middle Eastern music melt together and become a blur.

He holds his head. Pasha and Bella wrap themselves in Topaz's caftans, gowns and veils, prancing and dancing to the music.


MR. SWINDELL
I think I have a concussion.


COMPUTER SCREEN, SET ON THE COFFEE TABLE, SHOWING INT. COSTUME ATELIER - DAY

Topaz holds a caftan up to her body. She looks at her reflection in the mirror, does a shimmy and a hip drop.

She pulls the caftan over her jeans. A woman ties an elaborately beaded scarf around Topaz's hips. Another woman pushes the button of an old cassette player. Egyptian Beledi (home style dance music) plays. All the women stop working and start clapping, encouraging Topaz to dance. She dances joyously.

Topaz waves at her social media audience. Likes and hearts float up the screen.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Mr. Swindell lays on the couch with ice melting on his face. Shana tries to humor him.


SHANA
Have you heard of Topaz? She has a

lot of followers.


FADE TO:

INT. PASHAS PALACE - DUSK

Mr. Swindell walks toward the door. Shana sits on the floor, surrounded by the colorful kitties, but not Pasha and Bella.


SHANA
Take note little kitties. There is

no such thing as "bellydance." It's "Oriental dance."


Pasha sits on a cushion, wearing a sumo wrestlers loin cloth.


PASHA
Rule number six; A perfect Pasha

educates those around him.

He directs the kitty musicians with a pair of chopsticks.

Bella minces across the room in a Japanese kimono, twirling a Chinese umbrella. The colorful kitties play (and sing) a CHINESE REVOLUTIONARY SONG.

Shana laughs and films with her camera.

Mr. Swindell shakes his head and walks out the door. He mutters under his breath.


MR. SWINDELL
We're gonna tear this place down.


Outside the door he yells, accompanied by an evil laugh.


MR. SWINDELL (CONT'D) Rubble... THIS will all be rubble!


CUT TO:

INT. COSTUME ATELIER, CAIRO, EGYPT - NIGHT Topaz stares at a glittering mound of costumes.


TOPAZ
I need to contact my bank.


She dials her phone.

A very OLD WOMAN peeks her head into the room and speaks to Topaz in Arabic.


OLD WOMAN
(In Arabic, translated with subtitles "You can work... as a dancer.")


TOPAZ
Here in Egypt? I came to learn.


OLD WOMAN
(In Arabic, translated with subtitles; "I'll teach you...To dance in weddings.")


One of the seamstresses hands the old woman a giant candelabra. (This type of candelabra is called "shamadan." It is a traditional accoutrement which specialized dancers in Egypt balance on their heads. The shamadan is used specifically for weddings, and traditionally done by a select few women.) The old woman places the shamadan on Topaz's head and a set of finger cymbals in her hands. Three of the seamstresses play drums and sing a wedding song. The old woman does a few shimmies and drops into the splits.


OLD WOMAN (CONT'D) 

(In Arabic, translated with subtitles; "Try.")


Topaz gives the moves a try but has difficulty and looks awkward. She cannot drop into the splits. The old woman sighs. She takes the candelabra from Topaz's head and holds it up to show her its importance.


OLD WOMAN (CONT'D) 

(In Arabic, translated with

subtitles; "I'll show you how to dance. You dance, make money and buy costumes. Okay? You're going to make more money if you do it right.")


Topaz nods and tries again, repeatedly, until she is able to do the dance.


CUT TO:

EXT. CONSTANTINOPLE STREET, NEW ORLEANS - DAY

An extremely feeble looking elderly man is assisted on his walker by a well dressed woman. Mr. Swindell stands on the sidewalk next to them. He points at the surrounding houses.


MR. SWINDELL
The beauty of this investment is

that, once we buy these houses, 

we can tear them down and build a shiny new shopping mall. 

It will be just like California.


Several kitties ears go up. Pasha, Bella, Banu and Dogu are among them.


BANU
What's a shopping mall?


DOGU
(In Turkish with

subtitles) Where's California?


Pasha shrugs.


PASHA
We have one more point to

translate...Before I become the "Perfect Pasha".


A crowd of colorful kitties surrounds the car. They look up at Pasha. Bella looks at him too.

He says something in Turkish. Banu translates.


PASHA (CONT'D) 

(In Turkish)


BANU
The perfect Pasha never leads his

constituents astray.


PASHA Constituents?


The colorful kitties speak in unison.


COLORFUL KITTIES 

We're your constituents.


PASHA
But you're already stray.


BELLA
Then you're already a perfect


PASHA
The kitties cheer and applaud.


BELLA (CONT'D) 

Let's celebrate.


PASHA 

Let's party!


Pasha and Bella climb inside the car. The colorful kitties climb on top.


A CAR ALARM blasts. New Orleans BOUNCE MUSIC blasts even louder.

Mr. Swindell stomps his way to the car and yells.


MR. SWINDELL 

That's MY car!


Inside the car, Pasha stands in the drivers seat, paws on the steering wheel, pretending to drive. Bella does the "New Orleans Bounce" in the passengers seat. ("New Orleans Bounce" is a type of local twerking dance.)

Mr. Swindell dials his phone.

His car is covered with toilet paper and glitter. Windshield wipers move to sweep toilet paper from the car window. A vendor sells toilet paper rolls, which passersby buy and give to the colorful kitties. Constantinople Street is white with shredded paper. Glue and glitter drip from the trees like rain.

PASHA'S POV- A human hand knocks on the window. Pasha puts his paw on the button to roll it down. A police officer speaks to him.


OFFICER
Outta the car buddy, with your paws up.

(to Bella)

You too pinkster.


Pasha and Bella look shocked as the colorful kitties are herded into a paddy wagon. Shana talks to the officer.


SHANA
I can explain... Just let them go!


OFFICER
Are you the owner of these cats?


SHANA
The pink one is mine... But I'm in

charge of the one with the hat.


OFFICER
You mean the ring leader?


Pasha is put in the back of the paddy wagon. Bella waves sadly as Shana holds her in her arms.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET IN CAIRO - NIGHT

Dressed in covered robes, like local Egyptian women, Topaz rides side saddle on the back of an old, bent up bicycle. The tea seller peddles. He looks back at her while riding into an intersection full of BEEPING taxis and busses.


TEA SELLER 

My name is Ahmed.


TOPAZ 

Forza saeeda.

(Translated to English subtitles that read "Nice to meet you.)


Topaz holds the shamadan on her lap while on the back of the bike.

Topaz's telephone RINGS. She ignores it.


DEAD END OF A STREET, CAIRO - NIGHT

Crumbling apartment buildings line the street. Bright patch work Egyptian wedding tent fabric is draped in front of buildings. Strings of lights hang overhead. Tables and chairs fill the open space. People are sitting and standing. A bride, a groom, their families, plus a band of musicians await.


OUTDOOR WEDDING IN CAIRO - NIGHT

Topaz hops off the bike and removes her robe. Her covered costume is elaborated with sequins and beads, which sparkle under the lights. She places the shamadan on her head. Ahmed carefully lights each candle.

Topaz's phone RINGS again. The screen shows a picture of Pasha in his fez hat. Topaz switches the ringer off and ignores the call.

The "Zaffa (wedding procession) begins, with Topaz in front. She leads the procession then seats the bride and groom on a makeshift stage. With the giant shamadan balanced on her head, Topaz does magnificent shimmies, drops into the splits and does other acrobatic movements.

Ahmed is holding Topaz's loudly VIBRATING phone. He puts the phone in the pocket of his robe. It lights up through the fabric.

Egyptian women do "ZAGAREETS" (ululations that are traditional at weddings.) Topaz dances among the crowd. She congratulates the bride and groom. Ahmed stands guard beside his dilapidated bicycle.

Topaz's cel phone BUZZES with an emergency alert.

Ahmed holds the phone up to Topaz as she dances. Topaz shakes her head and keeps dancing.

The phone keeps BUZZING. Topaz motions for the band to stop. She bows and exits from the stage.

Topaz answers impatiently.


TOPAZ
What is it?...Pasha would never...

He was leading who?... Locked up? What do you mean 'locked up?'...No! Where's Bella?... You kept Bella, but you let them take Pasha?... I can't hurry over. I'm in the middle of a show...I'm in Egypt. Do you know how far away Egypt is?... Okay...I get it. They won't release him without my signature. Forge my name or something... I can't go back now! They'll WHAT?... I'll be on the next flight. Just tell them to hold on...That I'm on my way.


With tears in her eyes, Topaz breaks the news to the Ahmed.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) I have to go.

Ahmed takes Topaz back to the atelier on his bicycle. The streets are quiet and the moon is out.


INT. ATELIER - NIGHT

Topaz addresses the seamstresses and the old woman who taught her to dance with the shamadan.


TOPAZ
(In broken Arabic with English subtitles; "I have to be on the next plane. It's an emergency.")


She hands the shamadan to the old woman.


SEAMSTRESS #1
(In Arabic with English subtitles; "Is it your children?")


TOPAZ 

La...No.


SEAMSTRESS #2
(In Arabic with English subtitles;"Is it your husband?")


TOPAZ
(In broken Arabic with English subtitles; "It's my cat. He's in trouble.")


The old woman looks on with a stoic expression.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
I have to leave right away! Here is the money for my costume... and the

lessons.

The old woman hands the shamadan back to Topaz.


OLD WOMAN
(In Arabic with English subtitles; "It is for you. I give you and your cat my blessings.")


INT. ANIMAL SHELTER, NEW ORLEANS - DAY

Topaz rushes to the front desk, dressed in her dance costume, with the huge shamadan in one hand.


FRONT DESK CLERK 

You're just in time.


TOPAZ
I'm looking for my cat, Pasha. He's

the fuzzy one with a hat.


FRONT DESK CLERK 

Ya mean the rabble-rouser.


Topaz walks behind the glass partition and looks at Pasha. His head hangs low. The colorful kitties are heart wrenchingly pathetic.


TOPAZ
Pasha! You poor baby! I'm coming to

take you home.


FRONT DESK CLERK
You just takin' one? What about the

others?


Topaz surveys the cages of colorful, forlorn kitties. Each one holds an instrument. She looks at them curiously, examining the kitties and their instruments.


TOPAZ 

They're so cute.


A row of multi color syringes, a different color to match each of the colorful kitties lines the counter. Topaz eyes the syringes. The front desk clerk holds up a large syringe.


FRONT DESK CLERK
Just gotta do my job...But I don't

like it.


TOPAZ
I'll take all of them.


FRONT DESK CLERK
Atta girl. Now you just read these

rules and sign the paperwork...Then you can all go home.


Topaz signs the paper.

She taps a ride share app on her phone.


EXT. CONSTANTINOPLE STREET - DAY

A large minivan drives down Constantinople Street with Topaz's shamadan on the roof.

Topaz sits in the front passengers seat of the minivan with Pasha on her lap. Pasha looks out the window attentively. The colorful kitties sit obediently in rows on the back seats. Traffic is stalled. A brass band plays a slow, sorrowful dirge.


TOPAZ
(To the driver)

Why are we stopping?


DRIVER
It's a funeral....You know? A second line.


A horse drawn carriage and many people dressed in suits and black attire, pass in front of them, taking slow steps. A giant photo of the investor is carried in front of the crowd. The investors wife walks in the procession, looking sad. Mr. Swindell is in the crowd, carrying a decorative umbrella.


TOPAZ 

Who died?


DRIVER
I don't know, but with a funeral

like that, it must have been someone important.


Traffic sits, stalled. The music picks up speed, morphing the procession into a celebratory street party.

Near Pashas palace, traffic slows once again due to a protest march. People carry signs that read "We don't want your shopping mall," "Don't tear down the neighborhood," and "Bring the kitties back." Signs in front of the homes read "Not for sale."

The funeral passes through the crowd of demonstrators.

Topaz gets out of the car, in front of the house. She carries Pasha in her arms, followed by the colorful kitties, who carry their instruments. People in the crowd cheer.


INT. DOORWAY TO THE ATTIC - DAY

With Pasha in one arm, Topaz struggles to open the lopsided lock with the other. SHANA'S VOICE calls.


SHANA 

It's open.


Topaz enters, holding Pasha. Glue, glitter and toilet paper still decorate Pashas palace.

Shana sits on the couch, holding a sparkle covered cel phone. CLOSE UP of a cel phone video game containing kitties and exploding sparkles.

Bella lays beside Shana, looking depressed.

Strains of instruments play; First the qanun, followed by the others. The drums begin. Bella perks up.

The orchestra of colorful kitties marches through the door and into Pashas palace.

Pasha jumps from Topaz's arms. He runs toward Bella and nuzzles her. She barely reacts.

Topaz stares incredulously, then composes herself.


TOPAZ
Pasha... Kitties... Before you get

too comfortable, we have a few rules to go over. Shana... I'll deal with you later.


The kitties look at Topaz. She unfolds the paper from the animal shelter.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Number one; They only released you

with the understanding that you will NEVER, EVER go outside again. Any kitties found outside will be taken right back to jail. That means y'all have to stay in here.


The kitties let out a collective SIGH of disappointment.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Number two; Kitties may not have access to the hot glue gun...Nor

the cold glue. No glue whatsoever. Number Three; No glitter. No rhinestones. Nothing sparkly. You must behave like normal, rational kitties...That's what the paper says.


Topaz looks around at the glitter, glue and toilet paper strewn apartment. She picks up the tattered glitter paw print laden scroll.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

(To Shana)

How did this happen? Shana points to Pasha.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) Right...And I suppose he did all of

this?


SHANA
Pasha asked Bella to learn how to

bellydance, then lots of colorful kitties came in with instruments.


TOPAZ
That's a ridiculous story!


SHANA
I have it on video.


Topaz stands with her hands on her hips and a fierce look on her face. Shana scrolls through the videos on her phone. Topaz hovers over her shoulder.

CLOSE UP of Shanas cel phone screen shows footage of the kitty chaos from previous scenes.


TOPAZ
Didn't you try to stop them?


SHANA
No. These videos are worth a lot of money.


The kitties return to the room with a roll of toilet paper. Topaz picks up the roll and holds it.


TOPAZ
(Looking at the kitties then at Shana)

I was having a great time...Living my dream, and you all had to spoil it. Life experiences are worth a lot more than money.


SHANA
You and I can start our own

channel. It'll be a reality show, about our life experiences here with the kitties. We'll call it "The Bellydancing Kitties of Constantinople."


TOPAZ
There's no such thing as

"bellydancing!" It's called "Oriental dance."


We hear the CHINESE REVOLUTIONARY SONG again. There is no music. It is only Pasha's attempt to sing in Chinese. Shana films with her camera.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Not that kind of Oriental, silly.


The kitties are defiant. Pasha follows the kitties into Topaz's costume closet.


INT. WALK IN CLOSET - DAY

Each kitty has a distinctive local New Orleans area accent, such as one from Chalmette, one from Slidell, another from Uptown, and of course, Banu and Dogu have their Turkish accents.


GREEN KITTY
This lady can't boss us around.


BLUE KITTY 

We love bellydancing.


PASHA
Topaz says it's not called bellydancing in the land of the bellydance.


BLUE KITTY
Why should we listen to you?


GREEN KITTY (Defiantly)

Yeah. We're not listening to you.


BLUE KITTY
We're in New Orleans. So we'll call

it bellydancing if we want.


GREEN KITTY
And she can't stop us. Neither can

you, Pasha.


PASHA
B-but... I'm Pasha, so you should

listen to me.

Bella sits close to Pasha. She speaks gently in his ear.


BELLA
Pasha...Other kitties want to be

heard too.


BANU
Let's give bellydance a new name.


BELLA
We can name it after something we

like.


BANU Something delicious!


BELLA
How about... Tunafish!


BANU
Tunafish...That has a nice ring to

it. All in favor of the "tunafish dance," raise your paws.

All of the kitties raise their paws, then Pasha and Bella raise theirs too.

A spoon TAPs on a metal can. Shana summons the kitties.


SHANA 

Here kitties.


TOPAZ 

Pasha...Where are you?


SHANA
Don't worry. He'll come for tuna.


The kitties stampede toward the kitchen.

Shana spoons tuna from a giant tuna can into tiny cat food dishes, each color coordinated to match the color of each cat.


INT. "PASHAS PALACE" - NIGHT

There is a KNOCK on the door. Topaz opens it. Manon stands in the doorway.


MANON
Hi Topaz. How's that little black kitty I gave you?


TOPAZ
Come in. You can see him.


Manon enters and looks around at the threads of glittery dried glue, which make the apartment resemble an art installation. Hip scarves dangle from the ceiling beams and lay across the furniture.

Shana sits and plays with her phone. Pasha and Bella doze by her side.


MANON
Can I pet the kitty?


SHANA Which one?

Manon nods toward Pasha.

Shana makes room for Manon on the couch.


MANON 

(Petting Pasha)

So, this is the little kitty I saved.


TOPAZ 

He's not little anymore.


MANON 

(To Shana) Is the pink one yours?


SHANA 

Mmm hmm.


MANON
She matches your hair.


TOPAZ
I went on a trip. Do you want to

see what I learned?


MANON 

Sure!


Topaz takes down a hip scarf and hands it to Manon. She ties another around her hips.


TOPAZ
Put it on like this.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

Shana, you want to try?


Shana shakes her head and focuses on her phone.
Soft strains of the NEY (Middle Eastern reed flute) begin.

Topaz leads Manon through a few warm up stretches. A slow "CHIFTITELLI" drum rhythm joins the ney.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Start with your feet. Your feet

will move your hips...side to side, and in circles.

She demonstrates hip slides and circles. Manon follows suit.

Shana takes down small hip scarves and ties them around Pasha and Bella's tummies. She takes a hipscarf from a piece of furniture and ties it around her own hips.

Strains of more MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS waft in. It is a seamless blend of Ottoman style Middle Eastern music with New Orleans jazz.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

We can create all sorts of

circles...With the hips, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. 

Then we'll put two circles together to make a figure eight.


Topaz demonstrates the movements. Shana and Manon attempt to follow.

The melodic instruments stop and Middle Eastern DRUMS play full force.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
It's time to shimmy your hips! Make

sure your posture is straight. Use your knees. Right, left, right, left...You're doing great.


Topaz looks at Pasha and Bella and laughs. They are standing on all fours quivering their bottoms and circling their tails to the music.

She ends the class by turning. Manon and Shana turn too. Pasha and Bella chase their tails. The music stops.


TOPAZ (CONT'D)
Shana. Next time, keep your camera

handy.


A BLACK SCREEN WITH A SUBTITLE SAYS "THE CHANNEL, SIX MONTHS LATER."

CLOSE UP OF A CEL PHONE SCREEN

The image PANS across an orchestra of colorful kitties. They play music, seated in formal rows.


SWIRL TO:

INT. PASHAS PALACE - NIGHT

Bella leads a class of female kitties, plus Pasha. They do their version of Oriental dance, called the "Tunafish Dance." Pasha dances out of sync.


PASHA
Okay ladies... I'm gonna show you

how it's done.

Pasha does an awkward movement.

A LAVENDER KITTY with a flower by her ear complains.


LAVENDER KITTY
Ahem... Excuse me. No boys allowed.


A glamorous kitty with leopard spots and a diamond collar chimes in.


LEOPARD KITTY
You should learn to play music instead.


BELLA
The tunafish dance is for everyone. We have

to be inclusive.


LAVANDER KITTY
Well! He's disrupting my flow of

energy. 


Pasha looks sad.


PASHA 

I'll just go now.


BELLA Pasha... Stay.


Pasha walks away. He climbs atop a ceiling beam.

Beneath the beam, Topaz leads several humans in an Oriental dance class. Pasha mopes on the beam. He observes listlessly.


A BLACK SCREEN WITH A SUBTITLE SAYS "THE CHANNEL, TWELVE MONTHS LATER"

CLOSE UP OF A COMPUTER SCREEN

The lavender kitty and the leopard kitty dance a synchronized routine on the channel.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - NIGHT

Topaz leads Manon and Shana in a class with complex combinations and finger cymbals. Shana's glasses frames are rhinestone encrusted. Manon's cowboy hat has an elaborately jeweled band.

Pasha lays listlessly on the ceiling beam, perched above Topaz's class. His dangling paw begins to circle. He lifts it up and studies it in awe. His head slides. He tosses his head from side to side, which causes his fez hat to tumble onto the dance floor below.

Pasha climbs down from his perch. He dances among the women, proudly executing an "Egyptian Basic" step.

Pasha picks up the fez hat and places it on his head. He tips his fez-hat at Topaz and continues to dance. The humans giggle, clap and exclaim "ooh's" and "ahh's."

Pasha sits at Topaz's feet, beaming with pride. Topaz picks him up. She continues teaching the class with Pasha in her arms.


A BLACK SCREEN WITH A SUBTITLE SAYS "THE CHANNEL, EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER"

INT. "PASHA'S PALACE" - NIGHT
Shana and Manon dance with colorful veils.

Pasha, Bella, and other colorful kitties jump and chase the veils. Shana and Manon stop dancing. Pasha and Bella roll gleefully in the veils they have captured. Shana frowns.


SHANA 

Stop the camera.


TOPAZ
Why? They're getting so many

"likes."


Shana walks over to a smart phone on a tripod and turns it off.


SHANA
Manon and I have been talking...

It's time for us to move on.


TOPAZ 

What?


MANON
My credit card has a lot of airline

miles...


SHANA
And I cashed in some of the money

from the channel.


TOPAZ
You mean you want to travel?

I thought you could never leave Bella!


SHANA
She'll stay here with you and

Pasha.


There is a long pause. Even the colorful kitties are silent. Bella looks sad. Pasha puts his paw on Bellas shoulder.


INT. TOPAZ'S COSTUME CLOSET - NIGHT
The kitties watch Topaz pull out two sparkly suitcases.

Topaz sorts through racks of clothes. She tosses a few costumes into the suitcases. Colorful kitties stick their heads out from beneath the costumes. Topaz shoos them out.

Pasha and Bella look on. A colorful kitty plays a heart wrenching tune on his violin.

Shana takes Bella in her arms.

Bella sheds a tear.

A car horn is heard HONKING from the street below.

Manon's phone DINGS. She reads the message and her face falls.


SHANA 

Our ride is here!


Manon dials her phone and speaks into it.


MANON
Oh no! What happened? Don't lose

hope. We'll figure something out.


Manon turns toward Topaz and Shana. Pasha looks up at the three women.


MANON (CONT'D) 

I can't go.


SHANA 

What?


MANON
I don't have anyone to feed my

horses.


SHANA
How many horses do you have?


MANON
I've lost count. But they're

probably starving by now. 


The car horn BEEPS impatiently.


SHANA
Our ride is waiting... Topaz can

take feed your horses.


TOPAZ
Wait! I don't even know what horses

eat!


MANON
They like hay... carrots, and

apples... While you're at it, get some oranges, bananas...

Onions, peppers, and pick up a bag of rice too.


The horn continues to HONK.
Manon pulls out a set of keys and hands them


MANON (CONT'D) 

The key to my truck.


She draws a map on a piece of paper.


MANON (CONT'D)
Your GPS won’t get you to my horse

farm, so you’d better follow this.


Manon takes off her jeweled cowboy boots and hands them to Topaz. Shana and Manon walk out the door. We hear their suitcases THUMPING down the stairs. Pasha watches Topaz. She looks bewildered in her Middle Eastern caftan, holding Manon's cowboy boots in one hand, the keys and map in the other.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Topaz strokes Pasha's beard and rubs his tummy. She scratches Bella on the head.


TOPAZ 

I'll be back soon.


Pasha and Bella look at her with mischievous grins. Topaz puts on Manon's sparkly cowboy boots and heads out the door, closing it behind her.


INT. STAIRCASE LEADING FROM PASHA'S PALACE - DAY Topaz walks down the stairs.
We hear DRUMS, CYMBALS, and a LOUD TUBA.
Topaz turns around and climbs back up the stairs.


INT. PASHAS PALACE - DAY

Topaz opens the door. Rhinestones and glitter rain down from the ceiling. Bella gleefully shoots glue into the air with a hot glue gun. Pasha rolls toilet paper rolls toward the colorful kitties.

Topaz rips off her caftan to reveal jeans, a tank top, and a belt with a sparkly buckle. She puts Manon's cowboy hat on her head.


TOPAZ
You’re coming with me... All of you!


She grabs Pasha under one arm and Bella under the other and walks out the door. Bella has a rhinestone stuck to her nose. The colorful kitties follow.


INT. PICKUP TRUCK - DAY

Pasha and Bella sit on a cushion on the front seat. The colorful kitties hop in back. They recline among the hay and produce.

Topaz gets into the drivers seat and revs up the engine. She switches on the radio. New Orleans style JAZZ is spiced up by the colorful kitties adding their own musical touches from the back of the truck.

They travel across a long bridge, through the swamps and into the prairie.

Topaz, Pasha and Bella bob their heads to the music as they watch the scenery.

The Jazz radio station turns static and morphs into "Swamp Pop," spiced up by the sounds of colorful kitties, who add their own Middle Eastern flair.

Bellas nose twitches. The rhinestone on her nose glimmers in the sun, creating bright rays. She stands up and paws at the window, then paws at Topaz's leg.


TOPAZ (Scolding)

Bella, You deserve to have a rhinestone stuck on your nose.


Bella's agitation continues. A huge billboard with a picture of a famous Cajun style sausage blocks the road. It reads “Hot Boudin." Topaz stops, pulls over, and steps out. The colorful kitties jump out too.


INT. COUNTRY STORE - DAY


CLERK
I could have sworn we had some

boudin left. But for some reason it's gone.


TOPAZ
No problem. I didn't want it that

badly.

Topaz leaves, empty handed.


INT. MANON'S TRUCK - DAY
Topaz waves her hand in front of her face.


TOPAZ 

Pasha. Did you fart?


Bella lays, looking cross eyed and lets out a BURP.

Topaz opens her window. A catchy rhythmic chorus of deep and throaty acapela SCAT JAZZ comes from the back of the truck. Topaz moves to the beat. The camera shifts to the colorful kitties in the back of the truck, hiccuping in rhythmic patterns.

Topaz studies the map Manon had given her as she drives. Increasingly bumpy dirt roads become narrower and more remote.

Suddenly, there is a loud BANG... And a HISS. The truck grinds to a halt. A hand written sign by the side of the road reads “Manon’s Horse Farm.”

Topaz steps out to survey the damage... a flat tire. Off screen, we hear the thunderous STAMPEDE of horse hooves.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) (To Pasha and Bella)

Stay here. Horses are big, and dangerous.


Pasha and Bella appear in no condition to go anywhere.

Topaz looks down and sees dozens of cute little miniature horses surrounding the truck.

She takes a mound of hay from the back of the truck. Some of the horses take large clumps and run to a nearby field. The other horses follow. Topaz takes an arm load of hay and runs behind them.


EXT. SURROUNDING THE TRUCK - DAY

Dozens of hostile kitties with all sorts of stripes and spots, checkers and plaids, wearing cowboy hats and boots, surround the pickup truck. They climb into both the front and the back.

A CHECKERED KITTY hisses at Pasha and Bella.


CHECKERED KITTY 

Whatchya'll doin' round here?


PASHA
(In a shaky voice)

W-w-we're here to feed horses. S-so you'd better scram.


A mean faced, one eyed, PLAID KITTY, wearing a sheriffs hat approaches, riding one of the miniature horses.


PLAID KITTY
(To the checkered kitty)

Sequester them!


Pasha and Bella are taken prisoner by the plaid 'sheriff' kitty. The checkered kitty leads the colorful kitties, clutching their instruments, until they are out of sight.

Topaz returns to the truck with the herd of miniature horses beside her. The passengers side door is open. Pasha and Bella are gone.


TOPAZ 

Pasha! Bella!


She looks in the back, then under the produce, frantically searching for Pasha and Bella.


TOPAZ (CONT'D) 

Where are you?


INT. BARN - DUSK

Pasha, Bella, and the colorful kitties are carried into the barn in rusty cages, on the shoulders of big, mean kitties.

KING, a wizened old cat looks like a much older version of Pasha. He is matted, disheveled, and wearing a cowboy hat. He dozes on a dusty old human sized wheelchair. A sputtering kitty sized oxygen tank makes bubbling noises. King breathes through the oxygen tube.


PLAID KITTY 

Boss...Boss.


King yawns and makes a smacking sound with his mouth.


KING 

What is it now?


PLAID KITTY 

We got prisoners. They was tryin ta sneak onto our land.


King tilts his head curiously as the colorful kitties are removed from cages and paraded in front of him, instruments in hand.


PLAID KITTY (CONT'D)
An' they got strange instruments.


The green kitty plucks his qanun.


CHECKERED KITTY 

That ain't music.


Other colorful kitties join in, playing their instruments in a lovely symphony of Middle Eastern music.

Local Barn Kitties jeer.


BARN KITTIES
That's dumb! We never heard music

like that before.


A striped kitty starts to play a ZYDECO SONG on his accordion. Then another, with polka dots, strums a rub board that's attached to his shoulders and covering his chest.


PLAID KITTY
Ya think ya can do better'n that?


The colorful kitties play even more eloquently.

The Plaid Kitty holds up one paw to silence the Colorful Kitty's song.


PLAID KITTY (CONT'D)
We can dance to our music... Ain't

no one gonna dance to theirs.


BLUE KITTY
(With an oud in his paws)

Oh yeah? Let that pink kitty out of the cage. She'll show you how dancing's done.


The plaid kitty nods at the checkered kitty, who then approaches Pasha and Bella's cage and unlocks it.


PLAID KITTY
Okay Missy. Show us whatcha can do.


Bella exits, puts her hands on her hips and shakes her head.


BELLA
I'm not going to dance for the

likes of you!


CHECKERED KITTY 

You'd better do as he says.


The Barn Kitties call out in unison:


BARN KITTIES 

Dance... Dance.


Pasha emerges from the cage.


PASHA
I'll do the dancing here.


The barn goes silent.

Pasha marches valiantly to the center of the room. He directs the orchestra of Colorful Kitties with his paws.


PASHA (CONT'D)
Hit it... Shik, Shak, and a Shik

Shak Shok.


The Colorful Kitties start to play "Shik Shak Shok." ("Shik Shak Shok" is one of the most popular dance songs in the Middle East.)

Pasha dances, a dignified, masculine version of Oriental dance. A striped kitty approaches Pasha.


STRIPED KITTY 

That dance got a name?


Pasha continues dancing, lost in inspiration.


BLUE KITTY
It's called the Tunafish dance.


We hear vociferous LAUGHTER from the Barn Kitties. A star spangled kitty HECKLES.


STAR SPANGLED KITTY
It looks like bellydancing. Ha ha ha.


The barn kitties laugh maliciously.


STRIPED KITTY
Tunafish dance... Sounds fishy. Ha

ha ha.

All the kitties heads turn in unison. The music stops.

A fish dangles from a fishing pole in the window. Another fish is tossed inside.

An small barn kitten speaks.


KITTEN 

It's a magic dance!


The Barn Kitties run to gobble up their snack. Another fish is tossed towards the band of Colorful Kitties. They gobble theirs too. Pasha stands, looking around.


KING (To Pasha)

Bring me a piece of that fish, will you, son?


Pasha approaches the fish that is being eaten by the Barn Kitties. The Plaid Kitty HISSES at him. Pasha HISSES back and takes a piece of fish. He brings it to King.


EXT. OUTSIDE OF MANON'S TRUCK - DUSK Topaz walks around the truck.


TOPAZ
Pasha... Bella... Where are you?”

She dives beneath the truck to search for them.


Emily, the little girl with curly blonde pom pom pigtails that was in the beginning of the film is now 8 years old. Wearing rubber boots and holding a fishing pole with a dangling fish, she stands over Topaz. Topaz exits from beneath the truck.


EMILY
You lookin’ for something?


TOPAZ
I'm looking for my kitties.


EMILY
There's plenty of kitties in the

barn.


TOPAZ
My kitties were here in the truck.


EMILY
They're probably in the barn... I

saw a furry one.


TOPAZ
With a beard and a little hat?


EMILY Yep. Wanna see?


Emily leads Topaz to a vine covered barn wall. She climbs a hanging green vine, scales up the boards, and peeks through a crack between slats of wood, into the barn.


EMILY (CONT'D) 

Come on up.


Topaz clumsily climbs up a vine, looks through a crack, then slides back down and heads toward the barn.


EMILY (CONT'D)
I wouldn't go there if I was you.


The horses NEIGH vociferously, surrounding the truck full of food.


EMILY (CONT'D) 

We’d best feed the horses.


Emily hops down from the vine. She takes an apple from the back of the truck and starts eating it.

While feeding apples and carrots to the horses, Emily sets aside the best apples and carrots in a bent up metal pan. She picks up a bunch of bananas.


EMILY (CONT'D) 

Horses don’t eat bananas!


She sets aside bags of peppers, onions, and other vegetables.

Emily's grandmother, Donna, who was in the beginning of the film, calls from the distance.


DONNA
Emily! Where’s your grandpa’s

wheelchair?


EMILY
I'm bringin' it, Grandma.

Emily takes the produce and goes into the barn. Topaz follows, holding the fishing pole with a fish on it.


INT. BARN - DUSK

Emily sets the groceries down and takes King tenderly in her arms. She holds his oxygen tank in one hand.


EMILY
This is King. He's my favorite

kitty in the whole world.

Topaz picks up Pasha and Bella and hugs them.

Emily wipes away shedded fur from the wheelchair with her hand. She places the produce on the wheelchair.

Emily carries King and his oxygen tank out the door. Topaz wheels the wheelchair, with the fishing pole and fish attached to it. Pasha and Bella follow.


INT. DONNA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Pasha and Bella sit in the doorway.


PASHA
I know this place and I don't like

it. We'd better lay low. Donna calls from the kitchen.


DONNA
Emily. Where you been?


EMILY
I was helping this lady find her

kitties. And guess what? She brought us groceries!


The weak and raspy voice of Emily's grandpa, ALVIN is heard from another room. He is the Zydeco singer we saw on a billboard in the beginning of the film.


ALVIN 

Where's my wheelchair?


Topaz rolls the wheelchair into a bedroom. Alvin is reclined, with several pillows under his back.

Emily tucks King into a small bed and adjusts his oxygen tank.

Emily and Topaz help Alvin out of the bed and onto the wheelchair. They push him into the kitchen.

Donna serves up plates of blackened fish.

Emily spoon feeds Alvin. Topaz takes her plate to the front porch and shares her dinner with Pasha and Bella.


EXT. FRONT PORCH - NIGHT

Topaz, Emily and Donna sit on the porch eating fruit. Emily cuddles King, who still has oxygen tubes attached. Pasha and Bella hide behind Topaz.


DONNA
We got fur all over the

house...With her grandpa bein’ sick, the doctor said he has to have everything clean.


Pasha and Bella peek out from either side of Topaz. Topaz takes a brush from her back pocket and hands it to Emily. Emily brushes King, until there is a huge pile of fur on the porch. King looks handsome and even more like Pasha than he did before.


EMILY
I’m gonna to make a pillow!


DONNA
You’d better clean up your mess and

get ready for bed.

Emily takes King and the pile of fur inside with her.

Topaz and Donna remain on the porch. The sound of a ZYDECO RUB BOARD emanates from inside the house.


DONNA (CONT'D) 

(Yelling loudly)

You gonna wake your grandpa.


Emily comes to the porch with the rub board and two metal keys. She dances while playing the rub board.


DONNA (CONT'D)
This ain’t no time for dancing.

It’s time for bed.


Emily leaves in a huff. She comes back with her grandpas accordion. She plays a few notes.


DONNA (CONT'D) 

Put that thing back where it

belongs. I told you not to make noise!


EMILY
Grandpa showed me how to play a

song. Wanna hear it?


DONNA 

Put it back!


INT. ALVINS BEDROOM - NIGHT

Pasha follows Emily into the bedroom. Alvin stares into space.


EMILY
Grandpa. Can you play for me?


Alvin doesn't respond.


EMILY (CONT'D) 

Grandpa... just play me a note. I

bet you can do it if you try real hard.


Pasha pads to the window and WHISTLES to the other kitties.

Two kitties enter with accordions. One is a Barn Kitty and the other is from the Colorful Kitties. They sit on both sides of Alvin. Pasha directs. They start to play a melange of Zydeco and Middle Eastern sounds.

Alvins finger weakly presses a note on his accordion. The kitties play the rest. Emily dances, playing the rug board. Alvin plays the same note over and over. His face smiles a crooked smile.


EXT. PORCH - NIGHT

Accordion music and the rug board are faintly heard, from inside the house.


DONNA
Emily's gotta get real. Ain't no

place for music and dancin' in our lives now. And that ole cat with a cowboy hat... He ain't gonna last long. Since that ole cat got sick, the other ones gone unruly. Yep...They all gotta go.


TOPAZ
Do you hear something?


Topaz gets up and enters the house. She picks Bella up. Donna follows her.


DONNA
We had a pink kitty once. One of

them vagabond kids came and hopped a train with her.


INT. ALVINS ROOM - NIGHT

Alvin's finger continues to press the same note. The two kitties with tiny accordions continue to play. Pasha keeps directing from the window sill. Emily dances with the rub board.

Donna, Topaz and Bella stand in the doorway.


DONNA
Well I'll be. I never saw kitties

playin' instruments like that.


Donna looks at Pasha. Pasha pays her no mind and keeps directing.


DONNA (CONT'D)
An' they even got a band leader.


EXT. FIELD - DAY

Two groups of kitties: The Barn Kitties and the Colorful Kitties, ride tiny horses. The Colorful Kitties ride unsteadily. The Barn Kitties are in command of their horses.

Pasha strolls by on a magnificent tiny stallion. He stops beside King's wheelchair. Emily stands behind the wheelchair. Topaz watches.

Bella rides proficiently through both groups of kitties.


BELLA 

Let's have a race!


The Colorful Kitties and the Barn Kitties adjust themselves on the horses and take off running, with Bella in the lead. The plaid and checkered kitties follow close behind.


KING 

(To Pasha)

Why don't you race? It looks like fun.


EMILY (To King)

We're gonna race too!


Emily pushes King in his wheelchair. They pass Pasha. Pasha and his horse overtake King, Then king overtakes Pasha and Pasha overtakes King once again.

King raises one paw.


KING 

You win, son.


PASHA
Are you really my dad?


King looks at Pasha as he takes a puff of oxygen.

KING

Son...

(pause)
Don't ever ask that question again.


Bella beckons from the distance, standing on her horse.


BELLA 

Come on slow pokes!


The Barn Kitties reach her first, then the Colorful Kitties. The Plaid and Checkered kitties fall behind. They look at one another and ride away in another direction. Pasha and King stay behind.


KING
I'm concerned about the leadership

in Kitty Country... Especially when I'm gone... But I think you can handle it.


PASHA
Handle what? Where are you going?


KING
I'm not gonna live forever. No one

does.
You must be brave, wise and kind.


PASHA
And help others sparkle and shine?


KING
Always tell the truth.


PASHA
And educate those around me.


KING
Be generous, but know who your

enemies are.


PASHA 

Count my blessings.


KING
And share your joy.


PASHA
Love is the glue that bonds us

together...It is the bond of perfection.


KING
How do you know so much?


PASHA
I studied an ancient scroll,

written by a sultan during the Ottoman Empire.


KING
Yep. I heard about that

scroll...But you forgot the last part... A great leader doesn't lead his constituents astray.


PASHA
Can we skip that one? Most of them

are strays anyway.


KING

No.


PASHA
Okay... I-I-I'll do my best.


KING
Promise me that, when the day

comes, you'll wear my cowboy hat. Pasha tilts his head with a confused expression.


INT. BARN - NIGHT

A barn dance is in full swing. Local barn kitties play rousing Zydeco music and teach the colorful kitties how to dance Zydeco.

King removes his oxygen tubes and jumps from the wheelchair with a sudden burst of energy. He dances wildly (like the real life "Zydeco Wild Man," Joe Portier, from Parks, LA who is renown for his outrageously unique rendition of Zydeco dancing.) King dances through the crowd of kitty revelers. He keeps dancing for quite awhile before returning to his wheelchair to doze off.


INT. BARN - MORNING
A loud and plaintive MEOW is heard.

Pasha stands on his hind legs. His front paws are on the wheelchair. King is not connected to his oxygen tube. Pasha looks at King in sorrow. Bella sits by the wheelchair, on alert. The barn kitties enter the barn and surround Pasha, Bella and King's body. The colorful kitties follow suit.

The barn kitties start to sing a "Joure." (Joure is a traditional form of improvised singing that, in this case, praises the one who died. It contains call and response, hand claps and foot stomps.)

Topaz and Emily rush in. Pasha nudges King and MEOWS again. King's body lies still.

Emily takes King in her arms and sits on the wheelchair. She holds him as tears stream down her cheeks. Pasha climbs onto the wheelchair and sits beside her. The barn goes quiet.

The plaid kitty approaches with a sneer on his face. His checkered sidekick saunters beside him.


PLAID KITTY
Whatcha gonna do now? He he... You

gonna do everything I tell you to... That's whatcha gonna do.


The plaid kitty and the checkered kitty close in. Emily absently removes Kings hat and places it next to her, on Pasha's head, covering his face. Pasha adjusts the hat just in time to face his adversaries. Perched precariously on the wheelchair, he HISSES fiercely at the plaid and checkered kitties.

The plaid and checkered kitties back up, slowly. They prepare to advance again.

The Colorful Kitties close in on them. The Barn Kitties stand guard, observing.


EMILY 

(To Topaz)

We need to take him to the kitty cemetery.


TOPAZ
Do you have a box?


Emily hands King to Topaz. Topaz stands behind the wheelchair holding King's body.

Pasha and Bella sit, alert, beside one another on the wheelchair. It gives the impression that they are sitting upon a throne.

Emily leaves, then comes back with a red wagon, a cardboard cowboy boot box, and a lumpy home made pillow.


BARN KITTIES (In unison)

Now what?


PASHA
(Addressing the kitties tentatively)

U-u-um...

Bella places her paw upon Pasha's.


PASHA (CONT'D)
In New Orleans, they send their leaders off in style. What's it

called?


BELLA 

Second line.


PASHA
Yes. That's what we're gonna do. A

second line.


Emily approaches, pulling the red wagon, surrounded by six white miniature horses. She places the pillow inside the cardboard box. She takes King's body in her arms and holds him for a moment and places him in the box. Topaz hitches the wagon to the miniature horses, then takes a shovel from the wall. The Colorful Kitties and the Barn Kitties carry their instruments and mount miniature horses. Pasha and Bella lead the way, mounted on miniature horses too.


EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

The procession is led by Pasha and Bella atop their steed. Topaz and Emily walk beside the six white miniature horses that pull the red wagon. Kitties play music, a plaintive combination of Zydeco, Middle Eastern and New Orleans Dirge. They travel from village to village through the countryside. Emily runs in front of Pasha and stops the procession in front of a dollar store.


EMILY 

We need flowers.


INT. DOLLAR STORE - DAY

Topaz and Emily enter the dollar store. The plaid and checkered kitties sneak in behind them and head toward a rack full of cat treats. They deliberately knock items off the shelves along the way.

Suddenly, SCURRYING is heard. The plaid and checkered kitties embark on a chase, winding up with a rat in each of their mouths.

As Topaz and Emily approach the cash register, the plaid and checkered kitties hop onto the counter and face the cashier with the rats in their mouths. The cashier praises the plaid and checkered kitties.


CASHIER
Where did you little kitties come

from?
(She looks at Topaz and Emily.)

We need some good mousers like them around here.


TOPAZ
Would you like to keep them?


CASHIER Why thank you!


Emily places a dollar bill on the counter.


EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

The procession marches solemnly onward. Kitties peer through windows, come out of barns, and hop down from tree branches. Some these kitties bear resemblance to King and Pasha. Many join the solemn procession.

The procession reaches the kitty graveyard. A large headstone sports an angel in the shape of a bearded kitty with a crown on his cowboy hat. Topaz and Emily take turns digging a hole in the ground. Emily lowers the cardboard box into the hole and they use the shovel to cover it with dirt. A group of kitties, both colorful and barn kitties, walking on their hind legs, carries a stone slab. They place it over the grave.

Emily sets the bouquet of plastic flowers upright in a vessel in front of the headstone.

Pasha, Bella, Topaz, Emily, and all the kitties sit in silence. The only kitties missing are the plaid and checkered ones.

A Barn Kitty approaches Pasha.


BARN KITTY 

What do we do now?


A colorful kitty approaches Pasha.

COLORFUL KITTY 

Where do we go from here?


All the kitties sit, looking at Pasha, waiting for answers. The traditional “MARDI GRAS SONG” is heard in the distance.


EMILY
That's the Mardi Gras song!


Pasha and Bella look at one another, then at their constituents.


BELLA
It seems that Mardi Gras is upon

us.


PASHA
King wouldn't have wanted ya'll to

miss Mardi Gras.


The kitties gradually return to good cheer. They mount their miniature horses and exit the graveyard onto a dirt road.

Bellas nose twitches. The rhinestone, which is still stuck on her nose twinkles.


BELLA 

I smell gumbo.


The rhinestone on her nose twinkles again. Bella commands.

BELLA (CONT'D) 

Tunafish gumbo to the left, and

down the road.


PASHA
You heard her...Tunafish gumbo to

the left.


The procession moves down the road. It reaches a house. A woman opens cans of tuna and empties them into a pot of gumbo.

The kitties line up. The woman places a tiny bowl of tunafish gumbo on the ground for each kitty.

Topaz and Emily lead the miniature horses to a nearby pasture where they eat grass.

The procession reunites and moves on down the road, toward the 'Mardi Gras Song.'

The rhinestone stuck to Bella's nose twinkles once again.


BELLA
Crawfish boil straight ahead.


PASHA
Crawfish boil! Follow us.


The procession nears another house. Steam emanates from a gigantic pot. A bowl of boiled crawfish sits in the center of a low table.

Topaz and Emily peel crawfish. They feed tiny pieces of crawfish meat to the kitties. Huge mounds of crawfish shells fill the table. The kitties lay down and relax. Many of them start to SNORE. Bella plugs her ears with her paws. Pasha rouses them.


PASHA (CONT'D)
Let's get a move on...Gotta make

the most of our Mardi Gras. After all, it only comes once a year.


The kitties mount their horses. The procession continues onward.


EXT. SMALL TOWN - DAY

Emily stands at the crossroads of two streets, holding a sign that reads "Stop." Topaz stands behind her, holding a bigger sign that reads “Kitty Crossing.”

A parade of costumed humans with their trucks and large horses waits as the kitties approach the road on their tiny horses.

Topaz and Emily look up. Manon sits atop a camel. She is dressed in Middle Eastern finery. Shana is on the back of a flat bed truck, dancing with a handsome Turkish man. Shana wears jeans and a tank top with a jingly pink hip scarf. She plays finger cymbals.

Pasha tips his cowboy hat at the humans, revealing the fez- hat beneath. Bella waves from atop her horse as the kitty parade marches onward.

THE END