The L.A. Kid

A homeless but hustling teen poses as a Reed College lit. major to impress the girls but winds up in trouble with the law instead.

15-year old Michael Brown lives under a bridge, but he's no bum: a budding entrepreneur, he plans to go to culinary school and saves for tuition dressed as a Russian General and selling hammer-and-sickle-frosted cookies to commuters under a sign that reads "Reformed Communist: Cookies $1.00 each, Five for $3.00"

After his morning sales, he hangs out at the nearby Star-Bean coffee shop, where, dressed in black turtleneck sweater and beret, he chews on a brier pipe, reads Sartre, and pretends to be a Reed College lit. major named Dorian Gaye as he keeps an eye out for the girls.

He meets Zoe, a budding actress waiting for her big break while working at a local gift shop. A spark ignites, but he is careful to hide his homeless status from her and when they meet again at the coffee shop she suggests seeing Greta Garbo in Ninotchka at the cinema. He tells her his car's in the shop so she arranges to pick him up in hers there.

While she's parking, Michael pretends to be a senior citizen to get discount tickets- he's figured out how to beat the high cost of refreshments as well: he's stowed a Jiffy-Pop container under his sweater and a mini-propane-torch in his pocket. When Zoe asks for popcorn he hides in a men's room stall popping it to the hilarious consternation of others there.

Michael's business plan falls apart when the cops show up demanding to see a vendor's license, and after he gets into it with them, cite him also for obstructing traffic, burning charcoal in an open space (for his cookie oven and bathtub), and even impersonating an officer, culminating in his arrest. One of the baristas from Star-Bean (who hates him because he's jealous, and because Michael never actually buys coffee there, but sneaks in with a Senior Coffee from MacDonald's in a Star-Bean cup) sees this and taunts Zoe when she comes in: "Your boyfriend won't be in today...he's been arrested dressed up like a Russian general and selling cookies under a bridge!"

Zoe rushes to the jail to see Michael but he's still in the tank, being rudely accosted and accused of being "a lousy Commie" by the other detainees. When Zoe asks to see Dorian Gaye, the desk sergeant tells her there's no one by that name, but when she says "A Russian general?" he laughs, "Oh, that guy- that's Michael Brown." When she sees him the next day during contact visitation he comes clean and then confesses his feelings for her when she tells him she'll bail him out and let him stay with her.

The film ends with the two performing together in a Little Theater production of The Battle of Stalingrad, where Michael, back in his Russian general outfit, leads his troops against the enemy as Zoe tearfully bids him adieu.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Starring Roles For:
16-year old boy
Jennifer Aniston
Macaulay Culkin
In the Vein Of:
The Tramp
The Kid
Screrwball comedy
Author Bio:
A native of Johnstown, NY, Robert Tartell has been everything from a factory worker to pilot, U.S. Army officer and practicing Family Physician and brings a wealth of experience to his creative writing. His recent awards include: 2020 Finalist Los Angeles Intl, Film Festival The L.A. KID 2020 Official Selection Los Angeles Intl. Film Festival CLEOPATRA'S REVENGE 2019: Winner Houston Comedy Film Festival Best Short Screenplay THE KID 2020: Finalist HollywoodJust4Shorts Competition CLEOPATRA'S REVENGE 2020: Semifinalist Hollywood Just4Shorts Competition The L.

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Contest Results:
Houston Comedy (First Place, Short screenplay competition) [2019]
Just4Shorts (Semifinalist) [2020]