Monday, August 20, 2018

THE MAN UPSTAIRS synopsis

LOGLINE
Give away your pennies, and you get more pennies that can start small miracles, which lead to bigger ones.

PITCH

Almost like manna from heaven, pennies come to nine-year-old Coral Graf, who lives on the Upper East Side of New York City. Always wanting to cause good in the world, she gives the pennies away, hoping to create a larger miracle. Interestingly enough, whenever she shares her pennies with others, she always gets more coins. The stream of pennies never stops and neither do the miracles with them. 

SYNOPSIS
Nine-year-old Coral Graf lives on the Upper East Side of New York City with her father and mother in a red brick, high-rise apartment with many neighbors. Her father owns a local deli with Jewish delicacies that all the neighbors love. At least three days a week, her mother is a telephone operator at the Empire State Building. Ever since Coral was a baby, The Man Upstairs dropped pennies through the heating vent. At first, her father yelled at The Man Upstairs, explaining that he didn’t want the pennies. When The Man Upstairs continues to drop the pennies, Mrs. Graf sets out a tin can to collect them. She decides that the family should give away the money to needy people in the neighborhood. After the Grafs grow tired of giving the pennies away and want to keep them for themselves, The Man Upstairs stops dropping them. Believing in the power of small miracles to create bigger ones, Coral insists that she must give the pennies away. Later, when Coral places the tin can under the apartment vent, more pennies come out, faster than ever before. The Man Upstairs only drops pennies when someone from the Graf family gives the coins away. From that day on, Coral is in charge of the pennies that fall in the tin can from The Man Upstairs. She promises never to hoard the pennies, but to do good with every penny. The more pennies he gives her, the more she gives away. She might even be a millionaire; all because The Man Upstairs knows she will keep her promise.

When The Man Downstairs steals Coral’s pennies from The Man Upstairs, she tiptoes down the apartment stairs with her tin can, knocks on his door, and demands her pennies back. Slowly, the door cracks open and an ugly hand drops a pile of pennies in the hallway—the same hand that reached through the heating vent in the apartment floor to steal pennies from Coral’s tin can. When The Man Next Door tries to spend Coral’s money on frivolous junk during his Saturday morning sales calls, she eats desserts and watches TV cartoons instead, saving her money for The Man Across the Street, who needs to pay his rent, and The Man Around the Corner, who needs hot coffee. Of course, Hanukkah candles that Coral buys with her pennies from The Man Upstairs cause the rent to be paid for The Man Across the Street, and the daily cup of coffee from Coral to The Man Around the Corner causes him to leave his cardboard box on the street and take a job at her father’s deli. During Passover, Coral decides The Man from Central Park, who is sick and living on a bench, must visit the emergency room so bad things can “pass over” him. After explaining to the doctor that The Man Upstairs is paying for the visit with money from her tin can, The Man from Central Park has an affordable doctor bill, and he is well. 

More certain than ever that she has the power to cause small miracles, Coral makes an impromptu appointment with The Man from The Synagogue, a Rabbi at Fifth Avenue Synagogue, and explains to him that she has been receiving pennies from The Man Upstairs. Coral’s father warns her that The Man from The Synagogue might not understand her relationship with The Man Upstairs. He says not everyone has enough faith for miracles to happen and that Coral herself is a miracle. Although Coral gives her latest batch of pennies to the Synagogue, the Rabbi tells Coral that he enjoys the baked goods from her father’s deli, and she has quite an imagination. He compares her pennies to manna from Old Testament stories. He tells her that her good deeds are mitzvahs, where her actions show what she believes. When she asks the Rabbi to talk to God for her and ask God where to give her pennies, the Rabbi again says that she has a wonderful imagination. He reminds her to keep the Sabbath and tells her that he must get back to work. She asks the Rabbi to let her know what he does with her money and insists that her pennies came from heaven, believing The Man Upstairs gave her enough pennies to change the world. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Donkey Riddles: The Story of Puzzles and Problems

If you meet a donkey on the side of the road, 
Make sure to ask him to speak to you in code. 
Yes, donkeys talk a lot in languages galore. 
There are many topics that you can explore. 
Ask the donkey to tell you a simple riddle. 
If you feel inclined, you can play him like a fiddle. 
Then you will know the riddle, and you can share
With neighbors and friends, when they’re acting square. 
Riddles are tricky, and you have to think twice. 
Sometimes it’s like lying and that’s not very nice,
But riddles make you think far beyond yourself,
Or the books that are sitting on your lofty shelf.
So stop and tell a donkey “hello” from time to time. 
Donkeys have a lot to say and even speak in rhyme.

Copyright 2018 Jennifer Waters

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fishtail: The Story of a Girl with a Summertime Braid

Each summer when you sit by the swimming pool, 
And you try to find a bit of shade to keep cool, 
Listen to the tales of fish in the open sea.
They might involve you, and they might involve me.
I like to braid my hair and tell stories aloud. 
I’m so good at spinning tales that my family is proud. 
The normal-type braid, I don’t ever do.
Fishtails are my favorite, let me braid one for you.
The fairytale will have a knight or a valiant king, 
And a princess that has a song to sing. 
An evil rotten witch is always a must,
But her plan in the end will need to go bust. 
The king saves the princess in the castle on a hill,
And love will win out, even if hope seems nil. 
Why don’t you braid a fishtail with your own hair?
I’ll listen to your story, it only seems fair. 
But a warning to tell you, fishtails have the charm. 
Other types of braids might bring you alarm. 
They have no story-magic or fancy at best.
Use your heart to practice fishtails; you will be blessed.
Divide the long hair in two larger sections, 
From which you take the outermost selections. 
Criss-cross the hair until you reach the end. 
By the end of the story, make a brand-new friend. 
You could braid three-strand or French braids all day, 
But none will bring you characters in a play. 
Three-strand braids use three sections to make one, 
And it stays together until you make it come undone. 
A French braid is classy but requires an accent,
So do Dutch braids which are having advent. 
Waterfall braids look good in long hair. 
Four-strand braids have a certain flair. 
The simple solution seems to be rope braids, 
Where two strands are twisted in double shades, 
But once again, none of these braids have tales. 
Only fishtails have stories that involve whales!
I’m listening to your fable as you make a braid,
Like fins in the sea, fishtails are handmade!

Copyright 2018 Jennifer Waters