The scene opens on Veronica, an 18-year-old high school student, as she sits in her darkened room. Her bed is littered with school books, notepads, tissues and scrunched up papers … including a term paper she recently got back from her teacher. Despite all her efforts, Mr. Pullman has given her a failing grade and the teenager is devastated. She sits slouched over, in the middle of the bed, with a boxcutter in her hand, tempting fate by tracing the blade back and forth across her skin. The door knocks, startling the girl.
A tea kettle whistles. Mr. Pullman, dressed comfortably at home, comes into the kitchen and takes the kettle off the stove. He pours himself a cup of tea and, poking his head around the corner, yells up to his wife that’s he’s going to spend some quiet time alone in his study. He still has so many papers to grade.
The man walks into his study and sits down on the couch, a stack of papers neatly organized in front of him alongside his grading pen and laptop. You get the sense that he is very organized. He picks up a paper and begins to go through it when the door knocks. Surprised, he walks over to the door and opens it to reveal Veronica standing there. She has cleaned herself up and is neatly dressed, a stark contrast to how she looked before. When he asks what she is doing at his house, the girl invites herself inside and informs Mr. Pullman that she needs to speak with him. It’s urgent. He shuts the door and follows her back inside, cautiously looking over his shoulder to see if his wife has heard. The house remains still.
He invites the girl to sit down on the couch and takes a seat on his arm chair, giving adequate distance between them. He asks again what she is doing at his house on a Friday night. How did she even get his address? This is generally not considered acceptable by school policy. Veronica apologizes for the intrusion and, speaking very politely, asks her teacher if he can simply explain to her why he gave the failing grade on her term paper. Mr. Pullman takes a breath before launching into his explanation, highlighting all the historical inaccuracies she gave and hinting that he suspected plagiarism. Veronica stares at him coldly, asking him to repeat himself several times. She picks up some of the papers he has neatly stacked and belligerently asks if these are plagiarized as well. She starts to randomly read them and make comments as she throws the papers around his room. Frustrated, especially when she starts to rip up pages, Mr. Pullman grabs her wrist and throws her back down on the couch. He orders her to stop and tells her that his wife is upstairs. She cannot just come into his house and disrupt everything like this because of a bad grade.