A screenplay for animated film
Not one, but two main characters share the spotlight in this film. Topaz is an American bellydancer whose identity rests on the fact that her late, great grandfather was a pasha during the Ottoman Empire. Topaz’s cat, “Pasha,” a formerly under appreciated black kitty, grows to believe that he is a Pasha from the Ottoman Empire as well, and that he is entitled to all of the privileges that being a pasha entails.
You can read the play here as the play progresses. Here are the first 27 minutes. More coming soon.
EXT. SWAMP - DAY
Close shot of a dirty, matted and disheveled BLACK KITTY playing with a beetle. As the image becomes more expansive, we see that a large ALLIGATOR is climbing out of a nearby bayou and slowly closing in on the unaware black kitty. We hear RUSTLING sounds coming from the bushes, then slow, deliberate FOOT STEPS.
Just as the alligator opens its mouth, the black kitty is snatched by a pair of dark skinned, manicured female hands, and we see a pair of woman’s feet clad in fancy, jeweled cowboy boots. The black kitty squirms as he tries to reach for his beetle playmate.
A hand painted sign that reads “Kitties for Sale” bedecks a rural house. This is the house where DONNA lives.
INT. DONNAS HOUSE - DAY
The front door opens. MANON, the black kitty’s rescuer, stands in the doorway, holding him in her hands. She is a Creole (In rural Louisiana this means African American/ Native American/ French mix) cowgirl with an hourglass figure, flowing black hair with colorful streaks, long eyelashes, tight jeans, fancy boots and a cowboy hat. Speaking with a rural Louisiana Creole- French accent, she calls out to the resident of the house.
Hey Donna… One of your kitties almost got eaten by an alligator.
DONNA answers off screen, with a raspy voice and country accent.
Just toss him 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 FLUFFY WHITE KITTENS. Manon places the black kitty among them. He is considerably larger than the others. Another kitten. who is out of view, WHIMPERS weakly. The black kitty turns around and looks at a tiny PINK KITTY with huge eyes. He tenderly carries the pink kitty to the mama. The first two kitties glare at him, refuse to budge and continue slurping. One of the kitties has a faintly plaid pattern and the other is checkered, both quite unusual looking, with evil expressions.
The black kitty pushes them aside and sets the pink kitty next to the mama, watching until she starts to eat. He eyes a partially eaten sandwich on the coffee table, stalks it like prey and snatches it in his paws. The black kitty returns to the pile of suckling kittens, lays on top of the plaid and checkered ones, and reclines on his back (belly up) to eat the sandwich, holding it to his mouth with both paws. Donnas angry voice booms.
The black kitty looks up at Donna insolently, with a piece of sandwich hanging out of his mouth. Donna stands over him with her hands on her hips. She is a 55 year old woman with tanned, weathered skin and salt and pepper hair tied into a bun. A cigarette dangles from her lips.
For the umpteenth time, I’m gonna say it… YOU don’t belong here!
The black kitty keeps eating. Donna takes a broom and nudges him toward the door. Dingleberries dangle from his furry bottom when seen from behind. He leaves a trail of shedded fur in his wake. Donna sweeps him out the door, following it up by sweeping out the fur.
Donnas POV from inside the house; The black kitty rolls into the overgrown garden then shakes himself off, and casually ambles away.
And don’t come back!
She closes the door and turns the lock.
EMILY, a child of about 6 years old appears, standing behind Donna. The back door is open behind her. Donna's nose twitches. She turns to look at the child. Emily has tan skin and light eyes. Her 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.
Can I have that pink kitty, grandma? I'll give you a fish for your dinner.
I got a freezer full of your fish.
Grandpa likes when I bring fish.
Well your grandpas not here. Thats why we got too many fish.
Can I have the pink kitty?
What happened to all the other kitties I gave you?
We hear a KNOCK.
Donna opens the door. SHANA stands in the doorway. She is a 19 year old girl, dressed in funky, bohemian clothing. Her curly hair is pink and she wears huge glasses. She is wearing a shirt with lettering the reads "Minnesota."
You lookin’ to buy a kitty?
I'm looking for a bus to New Orleans.
I can't help you.
Emily ducks beneath Donnas arm.
You lost or something?
A tiny but ferocious MEOW is heard. Donna looks down and scoops the pink kitty up with one hand.
You want a pink kitty? She goes with your hair.
(She cackles a cruel laugh)
I have just enough for bus fare.
Ain't no busses to New Orleans around here.
The pink kitty looks at Shana and BURPS.
Shana takes the pink kitty in her hands and snuggles her.
How much is she?
Shana looks at the pink kitty adoringly.
Alright. Give me ten... But hurry up. The train's coming soon.
There's a train to New Orleans?
And it's free. I'll show you where to get it.
Take that fish with you Emily.
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 creole man in a cowboy hat playing accordion.
(looking up at the sign)
That’s my grandpa. He travels all over Louisiana cause he’s famous.
Really? What does “Zydeco” mean?
It’s music. People like to dance to it. You never tried to zydeco?
The WHISTLE of a train sounds, and they pick up the pace. The black kitty reappears, stealthily stalking toward them from behind, then taking a running leap toward Emily's fish. He misses it, then tries again. Shana and Emily fail to notice his presence.
They reach the train, that slows but doesn't stop. It is a freight train with oil barrels and an empty box car, which Emily points toward.
Yo gotta be quick. Else the train's gonna leave.
Shana climbs up. She waves goodbye to Emily, then holds the pink kitty up to say goodbye.
The black kitty's attention is diverted from the fish to the pink kitty. He makes a mad dash for the box car and tries to climb up to join his kitty friend, but misses. The train chugs onward. The black kitty looks around. Emily and her dangling fish walk away toward the horizon.
The black kitty walks down the center of the country road, then sits, with a dejected look on his face.
Manon drives down the country road in her vintage red pickup truck. ZYDECO MUSIC blares.
CLOSE SHOT of the sad black kitty, sitting in the middle of the road, flagging her down with one paw.
Manon’s pickup truck SCREECHES to a halt. She gets out of the truck and faces the black kitty.
You living dangerously kitty.
The black kitty looks at her with huge, sad, golden eyes.
(bending down to face the black kitty)
What am I going to do with you?
Manon pauses to think. She pulls out her cel phone and dials it. The numbers being pushed sound as DINGS. The phone RINGS at the other end.
Hey Topaz… It's me, Manon. Remember you used to babysit me when I was little? Well...I want to help you out. People say you got a mouse in your house... Is that true?
Oh no! It's lurking among your costumes?
The black kitty looks up at her curiously as she lowers her voice and covers her mouth over the phone so her conversation becomes inaudible.
Manon smiles, uncovers the mouth piece and closes the conversation.
(Speaking into the phone)
We're coming over.
Manon scoops the black kitty up, opens the door of her truck, puts him inside, and straps him in with a seatbelt.
The black kitty looks startled at the LOUD NOISE as Manon revs up the engine.
EXT. ON THE ROAD- DUSK
ZYDECO MUSIC blares as Manon drives, speeding down a series of country roads. The black kitty wriggles out of the seatbelt and stands on his hind legs to look out the window. He waves his paw as the truck passes a horse trailer. A big horse nods and NEIGHS back at him.
The red truck bounces through a swamp full of trees and hanging moss, then over a long bridge by the edge of a lake.
As the sun begins to set, city lights turn on. LOUD CARS, MOTORCYCLES and SIRENS become increasingly noisy. A sign reads "New Orleans." With a frightened expression, the black kitty MEOWS persistently.
Manon doesn't hear him and keeps driving into the city. There is a traffic jam. Horns HONK from all sides.
She stops her pickup truck beside a sign that says "No Stopping Any Time” and takes the black kitty in her arms.
Don't worry baby. Long as you do your job you'll be just fine.
INT. WAREHOUSE - EVENING
A door opens and we see Manon, holding the black kitty in the doorway. Spider webs hang behind them. Drips of water, from the ceiling into a bucket, drip between Manon and the scene inside the warehouse.
Manon hands the black kitty to TOPAZ. Topaz's jeweled hands can be seen as she takes the black kitty. The camera PANS down to see Manon's bejeweled cowboy boots.
I haven't seen you in ages!
Not since I was a kid.
Manon looks inside.
This place is beautiful!
I can't. I'm parked in a "No Parking" zone.
But I'll come by another time.
(looking at the black kitty)
He's gonna take care of any critters you got.
About twenty little girls wearing sparkly pink T shirts that read “NOLA Bellydance Stompers," jingly hip scarves, jeans and marching boots with tassels and taps march and tap their feet in rhythmic patterns. The little girls stop dancing when they see the black kitty. He jumps from Topaz’ arms to play with the little girls.
LITTLE GIRL #1 takes him in her arms and the others surround her to pet the black kitty. One of the girls SNEEZES. Another looks disgusted.
LITTLE GIRL #2
LITTLE GIRL #3
Eww! He smells.
LITTLE GIRL #2
The black kitty looks heart broken.
Topaz restores order by clanging a very loud set of finger cymbals. Topaz is approaching 40 years old 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.
Everyone, put your finger cymbals on.
LITTLE GIRL #1 sets the black kitty down. Her shirt is covered with black fur. She unties a small bag that is tied to her hip scarf and takes out a set of four finger cymbals, then puts them on her fingers, adjusting the elastic.
The black kitty sits in the middle of the dance floor with a bewildered expression on his face. The little girls start stepping in unison, practicing a line dance sprinkled with bellydance steps. A blue mouse runs through the crowd of dancing girls, causing screaming and mayhem. The black kitty chases the mouse through the group of girls, then across the warehouse. He returns with the mouse wriggling in his mouth.
Let me go!
The black kitty dodges another drip of water and drops the mouse at Topaz's feet. The mouse makes an announcement.
I'm outta here!
The blue mouse wriggles out of the warehouse by crawling through the gap under the front door.
The little girls APPLAUD, which causes clanging because they are wearing finger cymbals.
The noise frightens the black kitty. He runs beneath a dresser.
The little girls resume their dance. Topaz plays a rhythm with her finger cymbals. The little girls start playing finger cymbals as well.
A BRASS BAND is heard in the distance, getting increasingly louder. The music is in the New Orleans Second Line tradition, with a Balkan brass band flavor. (If permission can be obtained, I recommend the song "Mun-Dun-Gu”, by the Panorama Brass Band of New Orleans.) The band's rhythm matches that of the little girls playing their cymbals.
As the band's volume increases, some of the little girls rush to the fire escape to watch.
Topaz clangs her finger cymbals. The children become silent.
Stay away from the fire escape... Come quietly, single file, down the stairs.
The little girls rush out the door, some getting wet from the drip. They can be heard STOMPING down the creaky wooden staircase. A group of ADULTS in band uniforms waits at the bottom of the stairs.
We see the street below from Topaz's POV, from the top of a twisted metal fire escape.
The children spill onto the street to join the marching band in a "Second Line" parade.
The "second line" (New Orleans style musical street procession) is led by the brass band, followed by the little girls doing their dance routine with finger cymbals. They are followed by a group who dance and wave umbrellas in a synchronized fashion to look, from above, like a flowing snake of umbrellas. More revelers follow, waving white handkerchiefs. Among them are AMINA and Al. Al is Topaz’s brother. He is wearing a "kofia" (Zanzibari) hat. Al’s wife, Amina is from Zanzibar. She is wearing a colorful head wrap. They will appear later in the story.
A funny looking little man in an ill fitting suit (who later appears as Topaz's LANDLORD) yells into his cel phone.
There's a noise ordinance against this sort of thing! Do they have a permit?
No one pays attention to the little man.
Topaz waves at Amina and Al. They wave their handkerchiefs back at her.
After the second line passes, Topaz searches for the black kitty.
Here kitty...kitty! Where are you?
A black, furry paw protrudes from beneath the dresser.
Topaz kneels down, looks beneath the dresser and and tries to coax the black kitty from his hiding place. She brings a plate of fish, then tries to tempt him with a bowl of water and a stuffed animal. He doesn't budge.
Topaz walks to the other side of the dance floor and places the needle of an old phonograph on a vinyl record. A vintage, Middle Eastern style version of the jazz classic "St. James Infirmery", by Gus Vali plays. Slowly, she starts to dance, removing the silk scarf from her neck. The scarf becomes a bellydance veil. She starts swirling it. Slowly, silently, the black kitty inches himself out from beneath the dresser. Topaz is concentrated on her dancing so she doesn’t notice him. There is a tug on the veil. Topaz looks puzzled, tugs back, and keeps dancing with the veil. The black kitty lets go, then jumps up and catches it again. The veil drops from her hands. Topaz looks down and sees the black kitty, rolling 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 then picks up shedded fur. She pets the black kitty.
You need some grooming, little buddy.
Topaz carries the black kitty to a vanity, which contains a set of brushes and a package of tiny, individually wrapped tooth brushes.
Another drip of water comes down from the ceiling into a pail next to the vanity.
She takes a hair brush and brushes the black kitty, resulting in a mound of fur. Topaz then wets the toothbrush in the ceiling drip 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 dignified and handsome Ottoman pasha in full military regalia.
Look how handsome you are!
The black kitty admires his reflection in the mirror.
You look like a little pasha… Do you know what a ‘pasha’ is?
The black kitty tilts his head.
Pashas were important dignitaries of the Ottoman Empire.
The black kitty’s eyes light up. Topaz places a red fez-hat, with a black tassel coming out of the center, on his head. His posture suddenly becomes straight and proud. (From now through the rest of the film, the black kitty will be referred to as “Pasha” and the fez-hat will remain on his head.)
INT. WAREHOUSE NIGHT
Topaz is dressed for bed in a fancy Middle Eastern looking gown, resembling the clothing worn by women in the palaces of the Ottoman Empire. Soft Middle Eastern music, dating back to the Ottoman Empire plays in the background. It is punctuated by rhythmic drips of water throughout the warehouse. She sits at a table and puts the final touches on a costume, gluing rhinestones onto fancy brocade fabric with a glue gun. She takes some glue from a tube and glues smaller stones onto a veil made of delicate silk. Pasha then lays on the project, getting rhinestones stuck to the fur of his belly.
You silly kitty.
Topaz gently picks him up, extracts the sticky rhinestones from his fur and places them back on the fabrics.
When Topaz walks across the room, Pasha zig zags across her feet, MEOWING vociferously. She picks up some veils from the floor and attempts to make her way to the costume rack to hang them up. He pulls the veils down, sits on them and MEOWS again. Refusing to budge.
His demanding demeanor continues as Topaz releases a Murphy bed from the wall. Pasha jumps on the pillow and MEOWS at the top of his lungs.
Topaz picks Pasha up, but he struggles from her grasp. She sits beside him on the bed.
Pasha,lower your voice and show me what you want.
Pasha lets out a little squeak and looks at the pillow. He then lays on his back, head on the pillow, in the middle of the bed.
Topaz sighs, shakes her head and finds room for herself along the edge of the bed. She turns off the light and falls asleep.
Pasha lays, with one eye open as moonlight streams into the warehouse.
He silently steps over Topaz, sneaks off of the bed and pads, to the rhythm of the dripping water, to the table where Topaz’s costume, glue and rhinestones are laid out. He pauses, trying to stop himself, but cannot resist curiously batting the bottle of glue. It tips over, forming a puddle on the table. He sniffs a dish containing rhinestones, which stick to his nose and sparkle in the moonlight. Pawing at his nose, trying to remove the stones, he accidentally tips over the dish of rhinestones, which fall 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 cascade of sparkles. Pasha slips off the table and into the mess.
INT. WAREHOUSE- DAY
As the sun rises, we hear the HORN of a steamboat in the distance, and water dripping in the warehouse. Next to the bed, Topaz’s telephone alarm RINGS with a ringtone of MIDDLE EASTERN MUSIC. Pasha lays beside her. Rhinestoned paw prints on the floor span from the table to the bed. Rhinestones are glued all over the bed, and all over Pasha. Topaz opens her eyes, pushes the snooze button, falls back to sleep, then repeats this action a couple more times. Finally, 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.
Oh Pasha... Just show me what you want.
Pasha looks distraught. Topaz strokes Pasha’s fur, then stops when her fingers get caught in a mess of rhinestones, dried glue, and sheets.
Pasha! What have you done?
Pasha looks forlorn.
Topaz sits up and speaks to Pasha in a firm voice.
What am I going to do with you?
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. We hear dry food being poured into a dish.
The camera switches to Topaz, who is holding a pair of scissors and a vintage electric shaver.
CLOSE UP of Pasha's fur being trimmed, leaving fur and rhinestones stuck to the sheet.
Topaz's cel phone RINGS. When Topaz answers, it is a video call. Her brother, Al's image appears on the screen.
I've really got my hands full. Can I call you back?
I just need to know what time you want to meet?
There is BANGING on the door. Alternately with the DOOR BELL, it gets louder and louder until the telephone conversation can no longer be heard.
Topaz stomps over to the door and opens it swiftly.
Are you going to fix my ceiling or what?
We see the LANDLORD, the funny looking man in an ill fitting suit, in the doorway. He has a scowl on his face.
I heard you got a cat in here.
Yep. He got rid of your ugly little mouse.
I told you the policy. NO PETS!
Well...I have a policy. It's NO MICE!
Let me see that cat.
Topaz slams the door in her landlord's face. She returns to her phone conversation with Al.
Share some of your lawyer expertise with me. My landlord is impossible. What rights do I have?
Not many, unfortunately. The laws are on the landlords side around here.
He should fix my ceiling!
Maybe he wants you out.
We hear BANGING on the door again.
Topaz opens it and hands the phone to her landlord.
Here! Talk to my lawyer.
You mean your brother.
He's an attorney.
Topaz inadvertently turns the phone to face Pasha. We see him on the phones video screen. He is still partially stuck to the sheet and looks silly with a lumpy looking hair cut. His fez-hat is lopsided.
Your sister's been doing that "belly dance" in here again. Clanging those jingle bells and stomping. That's why the ceilings leak.
We don't dance on the ceiling!
(Looking at Pasha)
You call that a cat? Get him outa here!
Topaz takes the phone away from her landlord and closes the door again, locking the deadbolt.
What are you going to do with him?
My landlord? Oh...
You mean Pasha. I need to get Pasha extricated from my sheet.
You need a more far reaching plan. Anyway, take your time. We'll come over later. A walk by the river will do you good.
EXT. BY THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER- DAY
Topaz, Al and Amina sit on a set of cement steps that is partially submerged by the river water. We see the majestic Crescent City Connection bridge crossing the Mississippi.
A variety of boats drift past, ranging from oil tankers to tug boats and cruise ships. A steam boat plays DISCORDANT MUSIC. We hear a TRAIN in the distance.
What are you going to do?
I put an extra deadbolt and piled furniture against the door. My landlord will never get to him.
Topaz. Be realistic. You're going to have to make some changes.
You can't live in a place that rains on your head. And sooner or later your lifestyle's going to get you evicted.
Where should I go?
Open your mind. You can change your life to do anything you want...If your wildest dream could come true, what would it be?
That my landlord sells the building to a tall dark stranger who likes to fix ceilings.
You can do more with your life. Dare to dream!
You mean unrealistic dreams? I'd love to get on one of those boats and go somewhere.
Where would you go?
Someplace far away… Where people bellydance... Where it's part of the culture.
Do these places have a name?
Turkey… you know, to reconnect with our roots.
We're only an eight Turkish.
I know. But I want to go to Egypt too. That’s the epicenter of the bellydance.
While you're at it, go to Zanzibar. My family will welcome you.
OK. I'll add Zanzibar to the list.
Amina and I got married in Zanzibar. That was really a cultural experience.
Talk about dreams coming true! I never thought I would leave Zanzibar, but here we are in New Orleans, looking out at the Mississippi River.
Dreams do come true. You just have to believe in them.
After several moments of silence, Topaz speaks again.
My rent is so expensive. That nixes my traveling dream.
You could move to a smaller place, with a solid ceiling.
I guess... But traveling really costs a lot.
Do you have airline miles?
Topaz scrolls through her phone.
We have a lot of airline miles, don’t we Al?
Amina scrolls through her phone and shows the result to Al.
What happens if you go all these places and they say you you aren’t a real bellydancer?
I would ask them to teach me.
(showing her phone to Al)
We can help Topaz realize her dream.
After some contemplative silence, Al speaks.
What are you going to do with that cat?
INT. WAREHOUSE- DAY
Topaz sits by the window typing on her laptop as boats go by on the Missisippi. BOAT HORNS and TRAIN WHISTLES sound in the distance. MIDDLE EASTERN MUSIC plays in the warehouse. Pasha sits on the sill, looking at her curiously. He has a single rhinestone stuck to his nose.
Pasha, we need to find you a palace... And someone to take care of you while I'm away.
Pasha walks across the computer keyboard, causing a series of BINGS. He crawls into Topaz’s lap, snuggles up to her and she cuddles him. A symphony of water DRIPS is heard and seen across the warehouse.
CLOSE UP of the computer screen. It contains an apartment listing containing a photo of an old attic full of spider webs.
Topaz dials her cel phone.
I'm calling about your ad for an "ugly attic" 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 have lots of rugs and pillows, and a cat named Pasha.
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.
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 down at the counter.
I’d like a sweet tea please.
The young girl we saw earlier in the film, SHANA, with curly pink hair, funky clothes and huge glasses, hands Topaz a glass of iced tea. Instead of a shirt that says "Minnesota", her shirt bears a fleur de lis. (The fleur de lis is a traditional symbol of New Orleans.) A MAN wearing a colorful costume sits at the counter, a few seats away..
Shana, did you find a place to stay yet?
Not yet. I just need a little room, but everywhere I go they say "No pets."
Topaz looks up from her tea.
What do you have?
Just a little cat. But I would never give her up.
Even if all your dreams could come true?
Give me your number.
Topaz sits, sipping her sweet tea. She picks up her phone and sends a text message.
(Looking at Topaz)
When should I come over?
EXT. SIDEWALK ON CONSTANTINOPLE STREET - DAY
Topaz and Pasha (who is now large, with a big beard) pass a street sign that says “Constantinople.” They approach a tilted Victorian home with a sagging balcony.
Pasha… This is your new palace.
INT. TINY STAIRCASE LEADING TO A MINIATURE DOORWAY - DUSK
We hear the KEY TURN and see a CLOSE UP of the 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 of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. OTTOMAN ERA MUSIC plays softly in the distance.
Pasha jumps out of Topaz’s arms and happily explores his new abode, frolicking and sniffing each pillow, curtain and piece of furniture.
Pasha, you have lots of cushions, and three magic carpets.
Pasha takes a running leap onto one of the carpets, causing it to skid across the floor and end in a wrinkled up pile. He sniffs around his new home and settles onto the biggest pillow of all. This pillow resembles a throne.
We hear the door CREAK open
Shana enters, carrying a pink box.
Is he friendly?
Yeah. He just doesn't like people coming to his palace unannounced.
Shana looks at Topaz, then at Pasha curiously.
Pasha, This is Shana.
Shana puts the box on an old trunk and opens it.
And this is Bella.
The pink kitty we saw earlier in the film is now named BELLA. She pops her head out. Pasha's expression is delighted. He runs toward her. Bella shows no sign of recognition. She looks terrified and ducks back into her box. Shana pulls her out. Bella dives under the same dresser that Pasha dove beneath when he first arrived in Topaz's warehouse. Pasha peeks beneath the dresser, but he is now too big to fit. He saunters across the room and reclines on his cushion, keeping one eye open, looking toward the dresser.
INT. PASHAS PALACE- NIGHT TURNS TO DAWN, DAY, THEN TO DUSK
Topaz and Shana sit on cushions. Pasha sits between them as the three figures and wait... and wait... and wait for Bella to emerge.
She might starve.
Do you have a can of tuna?
Will that help?
Topaz leaves the room and enters with an opened can of tuna. She sets it on the floor near the dresser. Bellas nose emerges, then her eyes. Soon, she is sitting by the can, feasting on tuna. We see Pasha's golden eyes, looking on.
Pasha approaches and tries to take a nibble. Bella swats him away.
Bella's never around such a big, furry cat. She probably thinks he's another species.
Well, he is a pasha, a dignitary from the Ottoman Empire.
Shana looks at Topaz doubtfully. Bella's ears perk up. She looks at Pasha. Pasha winks. His fez hat lifts from his head 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 and proceeds to show them to her, one by one, including 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, getting her head wet in the process. Pasha sits on the edge of the tub and watches, taking an occasional sip of water himself.
Pasha leads Bella to a series of cupboards. She shows him how to open them and steal treats. Bella puts some treats in the water dish, then they move on to the kitchen, where there is a freshly barbecued fish on the counter. They share the snack, then continue to explore, eating, drinking, grooming one another, and sliding on the Turkish carpets until they reach the bedroom.
INT. BEDROOM- DAY
Topaz is packing a suitcase full of sparkly costumes, makeup, and finally, she adds her toothbrush.
Just as she is about to close the suitcase, Pasha jumps in and beckons for Bella to join him.
Topaz takes Pasha in her arms.
Pasha, I have to travel to the other side of the world and bellydance. I'll be gone for a few months, but don't worry. Shana will take care of you until I come back.
Pasha looks into her eyes and MEOWS sadly. A tear falls down Pasha's cheek as Topaz gives his beard a kiss and his tummy a rub. She closes her suitcase and walks out the door. Her suitcase is heard THUMPING down the stairs.
Pasha sits with his head hanging low. Bella sits beside him and speaks in a feline sounding voice.
Pasha looks at Bella with a surprised expression.
What can I do to help you feel better?
Pasha looks at her with sad eyes and MEOWS.
You can talk to me... Just try.
Meow...M-d-d-d-Do you know how to bellydance?
Bella tilts her head curiously.
No. But maybe I can learn.
(slowly gaining confidence)
Bellydancers wear sparkles and dance with veils.
Topaz glued rhinestones to silks. I laid on them and wound up with rhinestones stuck all over my belly. It was fun!
Let's open all the cupboards!
I know where Topaz hid the glue.
I'll find the rhinestones.
PASHA AND BELLA
We'll have fun!
INT. PASHAS PALACE - DUSK
They open cupboard after cupboard, finding rhinestones, sparkly fabrics, glue and sequins. Then they pull veils from a rack and start to create glittering works of art, dripping from floor to ceiling with glue and glitz.
MUSIC wafts in from afar, it's volume building slowly, then at an increasing pace.
COLORFUL KITTIES in all shades of green, purple, blue and yellow enter through a window leading to the the fire escape.
Pasha and Bella's shock turns into delight as their new cohorts hang from the ceiling rafters. The colorful kitties play Middle Eastern instruments; The oud, qanun, ney, violin, and an assortment of traditional percussion instruments. A group of JAZZ CATS joins them on the saxophone, trumpets, clarinet and a tuba.
The song switches to “ISTANBUL NOT CONSTANTINOPLE, (circa 1953, by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon). This new rendition would be with a combined Middle Eastern/New Orleans flair. The colorful kitties march through Pashas Palace. Pasha and Bella prance and dance with abandon as glue squirts and sparkles fly.
Shana reclines on an a chaise lounge talking on her cel phone.
I'm kitty sitting on Constantinople Street...Umm, It's going great. But there's more cats than I bargained for.
Shana holds up her phone to videotape the ensuing chaos.
A group of kitties picks up the chaise lounge and dances through the living room carrying it, with Shana riding atop. 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- DUSK
During the last line of the song, the kitties sing “Istanbul!” Pasha, Bella and the Colorful Kitties climb down the fire escape, shimmy down drain pipes and spill onto the street. Glitter and rhinestones rain down upon them. A group of kitties spins 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.
EXT. A WINDING STREET IN ISTANBUL- DUSK
Topaz walks through a maze of streets Istanbul, Turkey. She is dressed in clothing reminiscent of the Turkish women of the Ottoman Empire. Local women on the street wear modern, western attire.
TURKISH KITTIES come out of little kitty houses to watch her.(on the streets of Istanbul, they love cats so much that they build little houses for the street cats.)
A street sign reads "Kumpkapi Street."
A cacophony of voices beckon in Turkish as men try to persuade tourists to eat at their restaurants.
Well fed street kitties roam the street, sit in front of restaurants, follow people, and recline on empty seats.
A handsome WAITER beckons, more convincingly than the rest.
You're looking very...Ottoman. Where are you from?
Why do you say that?
A Turkish woman would never dress like that.
I'm part Turkish.
And what else are you?
French and German, and other stuff too. What about you?
Turkish, one hundred percent... So... Do you go to Octoberfest?
I hate beer!
Parlez vouz Français?
I'm more into my Turkish ancestry... My great grandfather was a pasha.
We don't identify with the Ottoman Empire anymore. And pashas? I don't know anyone who would admit being related to a pasha.
Well...I'm a bellydancer too.
The waiter rolls his eyes.
Have a seat. We've got the best fish... and lots of cats to prove it.
(His attitude softens)
Do you like cats?
I love them!
Really? Do you have a cat?
Whats his name?
Topaz's phone BEEPS. A photo of Pasha, in his little fez hat appears on the locked screen. The waiter looks over her shoulder. She covers the photo with her hand.
Can I have a menu?
Do you want it in Turkish?
The waiter hands her a menu. Topaz opens her Turkish phrase book.
Excuse me...I'd like some fish...I mean balik. And Mezze as well.
The waiter fills Topaz's entire table with appetizers, bread and fish.
A band of Roma (aka "Gypsy") musicians approaches Topaz's table. Their instruments include a violin, a qanun, oud, darbuka, a clarinet and a big drum. They play a traditional version of the famous Turkish song "Mastika." Topaz takes a set of finger cymbals from her purse and accompanies them.
The leader, a big man with the clarinet, compliments Topaz.
Topaz calls the waiter over.
What does Chok Guzel mean?
It means very beautiful.
Topaz smiles and resumes eating her huge meal.
Music is heard coming from the restaurant.
They want you to join the party.