an original screenplay

by Jill Murphy Long


When two women’s diagnoses are switched – one with a time stamp of only thirty days – they change their lives and in doing so, help others.



Inspirational Drama, Art, Women Empowerment,

 Environment, Sports



“Employee-of-the-Month” Alexandra “Alex” Armstrong is given a permanent, reserved parking spot and a ‘work’ trophy for keeping her insurance corporation in the black.


Her husband Joe is bleeding-heart liberal, who basically works for free. It’s his second career and first year as a public defender.


In between puffs on her suicidal sticks, cafeteria lady Ivy “Vine” Stewart imparts life advice to second graders Caryn and Molly, and particularly Zadie, Alex’s daughter.


On a chance day at a busy hospital, the fatal prognosis is given to the wrong woman with a time stamp of only thirty days.


Now faced with limited days, Alex quits her heartless job and pulls her daughter out of school to give her a different kind of education. She gets rid of her work wardrobe and sells the needless things they have accumulated to build a "beach" for Zadie on their penthouse’s patio.


Inspired by Henri Matisse and his sheer determination in his eighties and while ill to kept making art, Alex emulates her muse and chases her forgotten dream.


At night, she paints her last messages to her daughter on public buildings in the likes of Matisse’s ‘cut-out’ masterpieces. While Alex outruns the police, a freelance reporter manages to get her story.


Meanwhile, Vine still works at the same elementary school her daughter attended. She has no filter – yet does speak the hard truth because she is still mad at God for taking her husband and daughter fifteen years ago.


Each day at lunch, Vine delivers ‘life advice’ that she was saving for her daughter. Soon, the second graders begin to confide in Vine about their silenced situations at their homes.


Vine helps these girls, and their mothers, to get the ‘pink elephant’ out of their rooms. Alex steps in too, but no one knows – not even the principal.

Through art and sports, they build confidence, courage, and community.

Back at the understaffed and overcrowded hospital, a newly-minted doctor discovers that Alex’s original doctor, Dr. Brackett, was actually a successful child actor and still practices his craft – wherever and whenever – he can.


Dr. Brackett goes off script a lot, but only to ease despair and encourage hope. 


When Dr. Morrison discovers his mistakes, she frantically calls both women, although neither answers.


Across the city and on the same day that Alex is recognized, not arrested, for her illegal art and while Vine has stopped smoking, both women collapse and are rushed to the hospital.


Dr. Morrison tells Alex that her health condition is due to anxiety, and being chronically-sleep deprived and severely dehydrated, but also because she’s pregnant.


Unfortunately, Vine cannot escape the final side effects of smoking. She does, however, leave a lasting impact on those she could help in the time that she did have.

Photos by Jessea Grayson

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