Stone Pillow (1985) - full transcript

In an effort to understand the plight of homeless women living on the streets, young social worker, Carrie Lange (Daphne Zuniga) attempts befriending a homeless woman named Florabelle ('...

Well, I'm still here.

Hey, Flora.

Is it cold enough for you?

I can take it.

And also when
I ask you to do something,

please do it, all right?

What is it this time?

I turn my back on that
supply cabinet for one second.

I look back around, 200
cakes of soap are gone...

And all my keys and the padlock.

Women who come through
this shelter, Carrie,

live on the street.

Do you know what just one
cake of soap means to them?

I know.

I want to help.

I just mess up everything I do.

Just keep coming in.

Look, get the door.

What did he say?

He said to get my
head out of the clouds,

to go out and see what life
is really like out there,

or get fired.

Tim's always cranky
on the night shift.

But is that such a bad idea?

What do I... What do I do?

Set up a booth on the street?

I see you're a homeless person.

Tell me about it.

You might learn something.

Take off the nice clothes
and the little pump shoes

and just walk out there.

Real simple.

Just talk to people.

You'll see, they'll answer yo.

Morning, mama.

Well, top of the
morning to you, Daggat.

I got you one of
yesterday's sandwiches.

I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, gee, thanks.

It's hard as nails.

What are you trying to do?

Break what teeth I got left?

Best I could do.

Old lady got herself killed
yesterday just down the block.

Drugged up kids tormenting
her by the look of it.

I can handle kids.

No you can't, mama.
They're mean.

They think they own the world.

So let them be mean.

This is my corner.

It's going to be cold tonight.

It's cold every night.

Don't you have
some place inside to go?

This is my place.

Nothing ever happens to me here.

Bonjourno, Giuseppe.

Bonjourno, Tony.

Bonjourno, Flora.

Gee, I'm glad to see you.

Looks like you've
got a lot to do.

Need a hand?

Yeah, sure, Flora.


Hey, you know I sure like
to see you guys come around.

I just love fruits
and vegetables.

You know, I used to have a
garden and I used to grow...

You, Flora, told us
that story before.



Hey, Tony.

This one don't look so good.

You wouldn't want Al to have
something that looks like that,

would you?

You're right, Flora.

You want it?

Oh boy.

Those are beautiful carrots.

You like carrots, huh?


Hey, you dropped one.

Oh, that sure is a beauty.

- You want that?
- Thanks.

Oh, lemons, lemons... you know
them's a sunshine fruit?

Oh thanks.

Oh, thanks.

Rub it all over you.

Makes you smell good.

Flora, I got a surprise for you.

A surprise?

What do you like better
than anything else?

Mama mia.

It's not cooked or anything.

Well, for me it don't gotta be.

Grazi, grazi.


Here's to you.

New York City water... best
damn water in the country.

Wouldn't you think?

Where'd it go?

What'd you do with that?


Hey, crazy lady.

What you got in there?

Must be something good, huh?

Silverware and junk.

Bet she stole it.

Now stay away from my stuff.

We could put you away, grandma.

Hey, get outta here you bums.

We're gonna get you lady.

Bag lady, why don't
you pick another corner?

Because this is my
corner, that's why.

This ain't no bedroom.

I can sleep on
any street I want.

This is a free country.

You're for the birds.

You crook.

Give me back my bun.

Where's my bun?

Gone, right?

You fed it to the damn pigeons.

I fed it the
pigeons a half eaten

pastry I found in the garbage.

That was my bun.

I'm sorry.

I'll pay for it.

I don't want your money.

I can buy my own bun...
If they let me in.

I'm sorry.

You're sorry, you dodo.

You fed it to the birds.

Watch out.

I thought I told
you to get lost.

No way, grandma.

Get out of here.

Oh boy.

Nobody's safe around
here, especially

in a place like this.

You know if Sonny were
here he'd kill them?

Get out of there.



Stop it.
Come back.


Somebody help.

You miserable, no
good, nincompoop.

- Are you all right?
- Yes.

I'm all right.

Damn little cockroaches
can't hurt me.


Everything I had in the world
was in that bag... my money,

my papers, sentimental things
that I've had a long time.

Yeah, well, kiss it goodbye.

Kiss it goodbye.



Take it.
It's clean.

I washed it myself.

Bet you're a run away, huh?


You're running away from home.

You probably got
your mother some place

worrying about you huh?

You in trouble?


But I will be if I don't...

You wouldn't last a
night on the street.

Men would be after you...
You with your long hair

your you're pretty face.

Oh, what the hell.

It's not my lookout.


Where are you going?

I got things to do.

But you just said that
I would freeze to death

and that men would do things.

Yeah, well you
should have thought

of that before you left home.

You must know a lot
about the streets.


Yeah, I do.

Could you show me a few
things like where to sleep

and how to find food?

Well now why should I?

You just stole my breakfast.

But I didn't know.
I'm sorry.

You're sorry.

You're sorry.
Look, go to the shelter.

They'll give you a
bed for the night

and they'll give you
a quarter to call

your mother in the morning.

Kids, kids.

Are you following me?

Where is the shelter?

Will you take me there?

Why should I?

Because I need help.

You just said so yourself.

Yeah, well you
should have thought

of that before you ran away.

Somebody leaves home,
leaves somebody crying.

Sonny, Sonny.


Who's Sonny?


Who's Sonny?

None of your damn business.

What's your name?

Flora's my name.

Hey, let me tell you something.

You're just too dumb
to be on the streets.

Sonny, Sonny, Sonny.


You need some change, grandma?

I'd rather have a cup of coffee.


Oh no.

I can't.

They won't let me in.

Maybe you could get it
for me right up there?

Oh, I wouldn't mind
two coffees if it

wouldn't be too much trouble.
You got it.

I have to go bathroom.

Hey, you.

Get her.

Get her.
Get her.

Stop her.

Hey where are going?

This is my friend's cart.


I followed.

I had to.

I couldn't let you go.

This here's my restaurant.

I'll get us a bite.


Yeah, look at that.

Smells good.

Looks good too.

Take a sniff.

No, thank you.

What did you say your name was?



Cash and carry.

No cash and carry huh?
Now look.

The first thing we gotta learn
you is where it's OK to eat,

because some cans got
garbage and bad stuff.

But this guy here runs
a good clean restaurant.

You go first.

Take your pick.

Come on.

People pay good
money for this stuff.

We're just lucky
that it hasn't gone

home in some dumb doggy bag.


Half a good roast beef
sandwich with horseradish.

Oh boy.

Aw, beautiful vegetables.

You know, they got
vitamins and minerals.

This guy really
knows how to buy.

Look at this... a
great piece of melon.

Here take it.
It's good for you.

Take it.

Ah, and parsley.

Now, come on.

You need some beef
on your bones.

No, I'll eat later.


Well, in that case, you're going
to have to take it with you.

I think the shelter
is the place for you.

But let me tell you something.

You better eat this stuff
before you get there.

Because once you
get in the shelter,

they take all your things away.

And their food ain't so good.

Tastes like slop gut.


Me, I like vegetables...
Raw vegetables.


Won't you come with me?

You think I'm crazy?

Gonna let them
take away my stuff,

put me in a room of screaming
Mimi's and wash me down

with nit wash that
smells like kerosene?

No sirree.

I'd rather freeze in the street.

Me too.

I'll stay with you.

No way.

I travel alone, kiddo.

Now, go on up there
and ask for help.

I can't.
They know me.

I thought you said you
was new to the city.

And if you've been
on the streets,

how come you're so damn clean?

I lived with a friend.


And he threw you out, huh?

Oh, well... happens
that way sometimes.

They take you in.

They give it a try.

Then they get sick of you and
they kick you the hell out.

Hey, where's Flora?

What do I care?

Maybe I got lucky and she
moved to another corner.

The subway grate's
on your corner.

It's nice and warm over there.

You know old she must be?

Sometimes I think she's not
going to last another winter.


Maybe she's dead.

You're dead you
selfish cheapskate.

Oh sure.

You're such a good guy.

You let her live in your house,
eat from your plates, right?

In a pig's eye you would.

She could go many places
if she'd just take a bath,

get the nits out of her hair.

And I'll tell you, her
time's running out.

You gotta drink lots of water.


Well, now if you're going
to be persnickety, here.

Plain old vinegar.

Toughens up your feet so they
take you where you want to go.

Toughens up your innards too.


You got to learn to eat
lots of raw vegetables.

They're healthy and
they're good for you.


You eat this here carrot...
Good for your teeth,

good for your eyes.

Oh and here's something.


Yeah, for iron.

Two drops a day keeps
the doctor away.

You don't know what
you're missing.

You know, you two
shouldn't stay here.

Trucks pull in to load up.

Fall asleep around here and
they'll squash you like bugs.

Besides a girl got
raped here one night.

Nobody heard her because
nobody was around.

See how he looked at you?

All men see women on
the streets as tramps.

You gotta know how
to protect yourself.

First of all, you gotta make
them think you're crazy.

And you gotta kick them
anywhere, everywhere.

Then you got to bite them,
scratch their eyes out.

Remember, you're
fighting for your life.

Let them all think you're crazy.

Then everybody will
leave you alone, right?

You see kid, you're in a jungle.

It's like a bad dream
but you don't wake up.

Do they think
you're crazy, Flora?

- What?
- Do they think you're crazy?

I hope so.

But I'm not crazy.

I'm smart.

I'm still here and I know
how to protect myself.

Come on.
We got to go.

And you got to wrap up better.

Here, put this on and hide
that beautiful hair of yours.

Come on.

Put your hair all
up underneath there.

Atta girl.

My feet hurt.

Oh, it's so warm in here.

Move it.

This here terminal's
not a bad place to stay.

And I'll show you around
and get you settled

but then I gotta get back.

You know, feet get wet.

And you get big sores
that don't heal up.

It's very important that
you take care of your feet.

You've got to be real careful.

How did you learn so much?

I've been on the
streets a long time.

You had a home once though?

Everybody had a home once.

What was it like?

Oh, it was a farm...
Just a little place.

But it was real nice.

It had wicker
furniture and curtains

and we grew vegetables... good
ones, not like that city junk

you get around here.

How did you lose it?

You don't want to hear
all that sad stuff.

Yes, I do.

Come on.

Let's get out of here.

Somebody's crying.

It's dangerous.

The cops don't come here
but other people do.


That's a baby.

It might be abandoned.

That's not our lookout.

Come on back.

We got no protection.

People will kill for a quarter
if they're hungry enough.


Can we help you?


What do they want?

Food probably.

All right.

All right.
All right.

Come on.

Who's on?

It's OK.

It's Grace.

Now you go straight in and
don't let nobody talk to you.

You hear?

- But what about you?
- No, no no.

Two's too many.

You go first.

Where's your cart?

I hid it.

I've got a special way.

Oh it's so hard pushing that
thing, especially in winter.

You ought to use
a locker like me.

Uh uh.

My stuff stays in my cart.

You find a place yet?

Temporarily without.

How are you feeling?

Oh, so so.

Hurts here sometimes.

If they just let us
sleep once in a while.

Being out is going
to kill you, Flora.

And people are so mean too.

How do you manage at your age?

I got a gift to gab I guess.

You sure do.

Hope you got a cigarette too.

No sirree Bob.

Smoking gets your lungs.

- Flora?
- Oh, yeah.



Just resting.

That young one come in with you?

She's my daughter.

She's from out of town.

And she's got a bus ticket.

Well, hurry up and
then get out of here.

Oh, yes ma'am.

You can come back tonight if
you've got no place to sleep.

Thanks a million.

Well, you're all set now.

You just stay here
and make believe

you're waiting for a bus, see?

And later when it gets dark,
not until, you can go downstairs

and the matron
will let you wash.

You be careful though.

There's some rough
characters there at night.

In the ladies room?

Well, they all
ain't exactly ladies.

Watch out.

You hear me?

Watch out.

Flora, will I see you again?

I don't know, kid.

It's a big city.

Look, I gotta get
back to my corner.

Soon as it gets dark, somebody
will try to steal my spot.

I'll walk you to the door.

You stay where I told
you and do what I said.

You girls just socializing or
does somebody have a ticket?

Oh, sure.

She does.

No I don't.

Somebody's lying.

Better get your story
straight, girls.

Come on.
On your way.

Come on.

I thought I told
you two to scram.

We're going.

We're going.

We're going.

We're going.

Well, no staying
in there tonight.


Did you see that?

Did you see that?

He wanted me to go in
the back office with him.

Well, at least you could
have saved the cans.


You have no idea what
he just said to me.

Oh, hey.

Hey come on.

What are you doing?

We've got no time to cry.

This life is so hard.

I had no idea.

Oh, honey.

Stop that.

It's not so bad.

Don't worry.

I'll find you something.

Look up there.

Here's your pillow.

- I'm cold.
- Lie down.

OK, ladies.

You can't sleep here.

So let's be on our way.

Hang on.
Hang on.

You gotta be careful.

Bad people come here sometimes.

Now stay close to me.
Stay close.

Is this where we stay?

No, no.

Engineer comes
every couple hours.

We'll just have to
rest for a while.

- Flora, are you all right?
- Yeah.

Flora, what's in the cart?


I see how much it means to you.

Sonny's in the cart.


You want to see?

Used to have his picture in it.

But it got lost.


Here's his baby spoon.

I got my mama's
apron down there too.

I used to wear it sometimes
when I made supper.

I used to have more but...
Well, years go by you know.

I wasn't always this.

What were you, Flora?

Tell me.

I had a husband once.

And Sonny.

Couldn't have no more kids
but that didn't matter.

He was so cute.

Used to call me Mommy.

He loved to watch me plant
things in the garden.

And the dirt smelled so sweet.

And Sonny smelled so sweet.
What happened?

Well, Sonny... Sonny
god awful sick.

And I was worried.

Then I got sick.

And they... they took
me off to a hospital.

And all of them
expenses... you know,

the doctors, and hospitals.

My husband couldn't
take it, I guess.

When I finally came
home, they was gone.

They just left?

Never came back.

I worked for a while.

I looked and I looked for them.

I worked in a war plant
and I cleaned houses.

I kept looking but
I never found them.

You know, Sonny would be a man
now... older than you, I guess.

Looked kind of like you
too... had soft hair.

Did he?


Yeah, I lived in a room
and then another room.

And I used to get
a welfare check.

But then it got so
bad, the place I lived.

I was scared to go out,
scared to stay in... people

screaming in the halls.

And no lock on the bathroom
door... worse than a prison


One week, my check
was late and they just

took my stuff like a handful of
crumbs and throwed it all out.

Sonny's picture and all.

I got some of it back...
Lost some but got some.

And then I looked for a new
place, but it was all worse.

And once I was on
the street, there

was no place to get no check.

So I was stuck... stuck
outside with no address.

And I've been there ever since.

And you never heard from
Sonny or your husband again?

Sometimes... sometimes
I see somebody.

But then I think...
So many years,

who would even remember me?

Hey, don't cry.

Too late for crying.


You'd take care of it
for me, wouldn't you?

And you wouldn't
let anybody see it

and you wouldn't
let anybody take it.

And well, if anything
happened to me, you'd have it

and it would be like Sonny
was still here, you know?

Oh good.

Then that's settled.

Well, the engineer
will be coming.

We'd better go.


We got no choice.

Come on.
Come on.

Get up.

What's the matter?

Oh, that stuff I ate.

You mean you're
going to be sick?



Right here.

Right here.

You feeling better?

Weak and shaky with
a terrible headache.

I'm going to go get
you some medicine.

I know a guy who
owns a drugstore.

I'll come too.

No no no no.


I'd better alone.

No, you see, this guy
kind of has a crush on me.

Flora, I'm scared to
death of this place.

I'll tell you what.

Now this here's Max.

They call him a census taker.

And he helps us with stuff...
You know, papers and things.

He knows where everybody is.

He'll keep an eye on you.

Max, this here is Carrie.

She's a friend of mine.

Now you go back to sleep.

And keep a good eye on the cart.

You know why.


- Welcome to the underground.
- Thank you.

- Flora usually travels alone.
- I know.

She told me.

Why'd she bring you.

I was robbed.

Didn't she tell you that?

She said you'd
been on the street.

And frankly, I don't believe it.

You slept in a bed last night.

And you lied about it.


I didn't lie.

She trusted you with her
cart... her whole world.

That's rare among the homeless.

You're not one of them either.

What are you doing here?

I spend a lot of
nights here, trying

to be... trying to be
around when I'm needed,

trying to know what it's like to
be down and out in the richest

country in the world.

13,000 of them in New York
alone and more every day.

That couple over there
lived for 25 years

in an apartment that went co-op.

The landlord wasn't supposed
to harass them to get them out.

But he did.

They still get their
social security

check at a friend's house.

But they can't afford
another safe place to live.

Those two ladies over
there... they're sisters.

And one of them is fine.

The other screams and
cries in the night.

She was sent home from a mental
hospital years ago... supposed

to get treatment, never came.

No rooming house will
put up with the noise.

And the well sister
won't leave the sick one.

So here they are.

That woman over there
got thrown out tonight.

She'd given her welfare check
to the landlord in advance.

And when she got home, all
her stuff was in the street

and all her kids
were in foster care.

Tomorrow or the
next day I'll try

to find her a place to live.

But for now, she's
on the street.

This place here is secret.

Not many people know about it.

Last year, a reporter stumbled
upon it and wrote a story.

All the entrances were sealed
and everybody who slept here

was thrown back on the street.

I'm not a reporter.

What then?

I don't have to answer to you.

Why should you think that I'm
any different from anyone else?

Oh no.
I have bugs.

I have bugs.

That's why.

Remember me?

It must have been
something she ate.



I mean, not that
the girl got sick.

God forbid.

No, good that you came to me.

Well, you were so nice to me
that other time when I passed

out from all the rotten fruit.

And you gave me the
pills, remember?

Well, I only did what any
decent person should do.

I still can't believe how
they let you lay there

and they didn't even
call an ambulance

or take you to a doctor.


I guess they just thought
I was drunk or crazy.

Nobody with any sense
would come near me.

You had a fever.

All I had to do was touch you.

Most people don't really like
to do that, Mr. B. Anyways,

I just thought if you had
any more of them pills.

They might be
packed away already.

You see how it is with me,
the landlord raised the rent

and I lost my lease.


Where will you go?

Where everybody goes to die.


It's nice and
warm there anyways.

I hate it.

Nobody's under 100.

I call it the last resort.

Aw, come on.

I bet there's lots
of nice ladies

there just waiting
for a guy like you.

From your mouth to
God's ears, Florabelle.

Hello, sweetheart.

Pretty young thing, isn't she?

Tramp you reckon?

Too peachy fuzz.

Run away who wants
to be an actress.

I bet she's got some money.

That's not all she's got.

We sure are getting old.

She's got head lice.

You better dip her in
kerosene before you touch her.

Hi, sweet thing.


What are you calling him for?

Won't we do?

She's got lots of money
sewn in these clothes here.

Can we feel?

I have a knife.

Show me.

I've got one too.

What do you want?

I'm sick.

I'm contagious.

You believe that?

They're all saying that.



Thank you.

People our age should say
what they mean, Florabelle.

Time goes by.

A person, even a healthy one,
may be sitting in a chair,

talking and laughing even.

And then in a minute, poof.

We gotta make hay while
the sun still shines.

The sun will shine
in Florida, Mr. B. I

gotta get back to Carrie.

Thank you.

Census taker.

- What?
- That girl.

You leave her alone.

Do not pick on the girl.

Hey Carrie.

Carrie, it's Max.

It's Max.

Carrie, are you all right?

Come on.

Come on here to Ruby.

Come on.

Let me help you.

There you go.

And that don't
hurt none, does it?



You're going to feel
a lot better when

your face is all cleaned up.


Now, come on.

Right here.

Come on.

There we go.



Nice and warm here, huh?


No, no, no, no.

You don't have to talk non.

You just get your
strength back, OK?


Did they harm you in any way?

Did they get any of your money?

They took my watch.

You don't need a
watch down here.

Big clock upstairs if
you got some appointment.

Shouldn't we call the police?


We are not supposed
to be down here.

If they knew that we were down
here, they would turn us out.


Night like this, you'd
have to ride the subway.

And that's real dangerous.

Do you live here?


I wouldn't call it living.

But I guess I do.

I used to have a nice
apartment but it burned down.

And then there was not
another one for the price

so no place to go
but the streets.

Do you have a
family or children?

Do you think I want them to know

that I have come down to this?

Well no sirree lady.

I'm just going to
wait until I can

find myself a nice apartment.

And then I'm going to get me
some of those little cards

that you send out that says
your new address on it.

And then nobody will have to
lose sleep over it, right?

Census taker,
where is everybody?

On your way, lady.

This place is closed.

It's all right, officer.

Just let me talk to
her a minute, OK?

- You know this lady?
- Yeah.

Well then you handle it.

What happened?

The police swept it clean.

They're going to
close it tomorrow.

Where's Carrie?

She got thrown out
with all the rest.

I'm just here trying
to save a few things.

Well, I've got pills for her.

And she was minding my cart.

Oh, well, your cart's
right over here, Flora.



She left it.

She must have been so scared.

Uh, Flora.

She's not what she seems.

What are you talking about?

She's just a kid.

And she's got no place to go.

She's got no place to go.

You can't bring that in here.

I'll only be a minute.

I gotta look.

I gotta look.





Well now, sometimes
they take them

down to the Delano shelter.

Oh, yeah.



Mary Kellen.

Are you Mary?

Are you hungry?

Would you like something to eat?

And a bed?

This is a food chit.

You take this downstairs
and they'll give you supper.

You can decide about
the bed later, OK?

You have to leave that here.

No, no.

We'll keep a good
eye on it, won't we?


Come on.

We can take care of that.

I'll watch it for you.

Everybody leaves
there stuff here.

All right.

Come on.

Right down the stairs.

No, wait.

Come on.

I'll put it in the office.

How about if I put
it in the office?

No one will touch it there.

Look at me.


It's safe here.

Uh huh.

Hold it.

You got a kid in here?

Young girl wearing them
blue jeans, maybe sick?

Well, you can come in
and take a look around.

But leave the cart outside.

No no no no.

Please, please.

Where's the rest of them?

Who are you looking for?

Uh, my... a kid I know.

They said she might be here.

And she's sick.

And I got her pills.

What's her name?

Where's the rest?

I just want to know
if you got her.

Everybody's downstairs eating.

Would you like a hot meal?

Me, eat that stuff?

Hell no.

I just gotta find her.

She's just a kid, like Sonny.

Look, lady.

Why don't you go downstairs,
have yourself a hot meal.

I'll look after the cart.
No way.

No way.

That's how I lost
Sonny's picture.

Well, you are not taking
this down to the cafeteria.

You don't touch that.

- We have rules about this.
- Shut up.

Leave her alone.

Oh you shut up.

I fight my own battles.

Get that up here.

I don't want your food.

It tastes like garbage.

I gotta look for Carrie.

You get that up here.

Out of my way.

I'm going to call security.




Are you all right?

Hey, you look different.

Did they give you new clothes?

How did you get here anyway?

I belong here.

You belong here?

I work on the night shift.

It's my very first job.

But you said...

I just got out of college.

I'm still on approval.

The bus is here.

They said I had to
learn more and that I

had to go out into the field
and learn about the homeless.

You said you was homeless.

You said that.

But I let you.

Maybe I was wrong.

Let me get this straight.

You was just using me, right?

Just picking my brains,
and learning from me,

and laughing at me?

And I felt sorry for you.

I even showed you my cart.

Everybody got your passes.


I can't believe that
I've been laughed at.

I've been used.

Do you know what
just happened to me?

I gave her stuff.

I gave her sweaters.

I gave her boots.

I stuffed her shoes with paper.

And I showed her things.

I went across town and
got her these pills.

I wouldn't do to no dog
what she's done to me.

I... what?

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to
hurt your feelings.


You think what I've been through
in my life a little nothing

like you could hurt me?

Carrie, I want to see you
in my office right now.

I just want to tell you, I can't

believe... I can't believe.

I'm just mad at myself for being
so dumb... so dumb, dumb, dumb.

I went out on the street
like you said I should.

And I hung around and I waited.

And I fed some pigeon.

And you fed that old
lady some hard luck story?

I was robbed.

I was nearly raped
to keep this job.

I trekked all over New York.

I ruined my shoes.

I lost my watch.

I got lice in my hair.

And you lied to her
and you hurt her pride.

No I didn't lie.

I just didn't tell the truth.

Take it easy.


This is a mistake.

It's a mistake.

I'm not supposed to be on here.

My cart.

Will you get your
big fat off me.

- I ought to fire you.
- I know.

I ought to send you right
back to that kindergarten

college you came from.

You think there's something so
different about the homeless?

A few bad breaks, a few
checks that don't come... we

could all be sleeping
on stone pillows.

You ever hear of the
Great Depression?

Strong men jumped out of windows
to avoid with that old lady

faces every day.

Hey ain't you...

Listen there's been a mistake.

I got to get out of here.

I've got... will
you leave me alone?

I got to get out of here.

What do I do now?

Learn your lesson.

Do your job.

Flora's cart.

She'll be yelling all
the way to Brooklyn.

- Brooklyn?
- Yeah.

She's on the bus.

Still complaining about all the
things she did for you, I bet.

She don't want
to go to Brooklyn.

She'd never leave
without this cart.

It's no harm done.

She's better off there
than on the streets.

Look, she'll get a
good night's sleep.

She'll come back
tomorrow for the cart.

You don't understand.

Now, look, Carrie.

Haven't we spent
enough time on Flora?

You got things to do.
Do them.

My cart.

My cart.

OK, girls.

Pile out.

You'll soon be safe in
your nice beddy-byes.

How many this trip?


Tonight you've
got three crazies.

You've got one who
can't talk English

and one who just threw up.

Have a happy.

Oh, one of the
crazies is violent.

This one.

- I don't belong here.
- Come on.

I don't belong with this group.

I don't belong with this group.

This is kidnapping.

I don't belong with a
bunch of screaming Mimis.

Hey listen.

I don't belong here.

I want to go back.

I want my cart.

I'm going to call you in
one by one for an interview.

And you can have your
showers and go to bed.

Is anyone here without a pass?

Are you the boss?

Look, I'm here by mistake.

I don't need no bed.

When's the next bus out?

Would you sit down?

Would you sit down.

Your name?

What difference does it make?

I want to go back.

I can't help you until
you answer some questions.

What's your name?


Flora they call me.

65 and I stopped counting.

Do you have an address?

Do you think I'd be
mixed up in something

like this if I had an address?

Why do you want to know that?

Do you have any cash assets?

Any money?

Oh sure, sure, sure.

I have lots of money.

We put it in our safe
overnight for you to protect it.

We also ask you to pay
for your bed if you can

and if you don't need charity.

I never ask for no charity.

See that?



Well, it helps if you pay
something for your bed.

But that's every bit
I got in the world.

Anyways I don't want no bed.

You want to go
back on the streets?


Then leave.

Glad to.

When's the next bus?

We don't furnish transportation.

If you want to leave, leave.

But where am I?

I don't even know this place.

Hargrove Street, Brooklyn.


Look, there are women waiting
for beds, grateful to be

in out of the cold.

So if you're not,
the door is open.

Just go.

That's just what
I'm going to do.

I'm going to get the
hell out of here.

Have you any idea what
it's like out there?


Take my money.

I'll stay.

But just until tomorrow.

Let's move it, ladies.

This will kill the lice.

I ain't got no lice.

You wash your hair
with that stuff.


Give me my garlic.

What the hell do you
think you're doing?

These clothes have to be washed.

What am I going to do?

Walk around like
a plucked chicken?

You watch your mouth.

You watch it.

Ain't it cute?

One more time, and you get
reported to Mrs. Nelson.

You're in the shelter now.

You got to follow the rules.

This is it.

Not the Ritz, not
the streets either.

Don't make trouble.

Breakfast call at 6 o'clock.

And the bathroom's in the hall.

Don't put the birds in jail.

All the birds will die in jail.

It's OK.

Wonder what they did with
their husband and kid.

Get your damn hands
out of my locker.

She didn't... she didn't know.

She didn't know.

She doesn't speak English.

I don't care what she speaks.

She's not supposed
to be in my locker.

She wasn't in your locker.

It's none of your business.

She doesn't understand.
Don't you understand?

I don't care what
she understands.

What she doesn't understand...
Keep her out of...

What's going on here?

It's none of your business.

Well, I'll make it my business.

I didn't start anything.

I didn't start.

You don't understand.

Move it.

You make trouble one
more time and you're out.

Could you die for that dress?

And the jewelry.

Look at that ring.

You think it's real?


Everything's fake.

I can't believe you guys
all watching this stuff.

You got to beg for crumbs.

And here you are, sitting,
watching those rich people

strut their stuff.

Now what is the
matter with you, huh?

You know what you ought to do?

What you ought to do is
rise up in your rack.

Club them to death.


Tear of their coats
and their rings.

Bust open the doors
of their houses

and eat their nice
little dinner.

And sleep in their
nice little beds

instead of watching this this...

Shut up.

You'll have the whole
place down on us.

Well, so what?

I'm sick of this
old filthy life.

And I'm the sick of
this this this charity.

I want a job.

I want what I had.

I want a decent place of my own.


Well, don't deserve that?

Now look what you've done.


You again huh?
Well, that's it.

No wait.

It's not her fault.

Hargrove Shelter, intake office.

It's Carrie Lang from
the Delano shelter.

I'm trying to reach a woman
who came in on the bus

about an hour ago.

A lot of women
came in an hour ago.

Well, this one
got in by mistake.

Her name's Flora.

And I need to get
a message to her.

It's important.

I can't do that.


They're all put to bad.

The lights are out up there.

Would just tell her
that her cart's all right

and that I will call her
first thing in the morning.

Hey, sorry lady.

This ain't a hotel.


Why do they have to
treat her like a criminal?

It's such a big problem.

People don't know
how to handle it.

Mostly we just do what we can.

Unless it's one on one.

What do you mean?

One person doing
for another person.

You could do for her
if you wanted to.

You could get her
inside, Carrie.


She hates me.

She'd never trust me again.

You saw the way she looked.

How much longer do you think
she could survive out there?

Even if I found a
place, she wouldn't go.

She hates the shelter.

There are other
types of shelters.

Find out about them.

Families that she could live
with, a church or hospital.

There's a lot more
help out there

if you just take
the trouble to look.

Here it is.


Don't you know
how to say thanks?

Sure I do.

Thanks for nothing.




- Nelson speaking.
- Yes.

This is Carrie Lang
from the Delano shelter.

We sent you a woman
last night named Flora.

And I want to make sure
she gets back this morning.

That's impossible.

She signed herself
out last night.

She was unruly.

How could she sign herself out?

Where would she go?

I have no idea.

Maybe she'll show up
here for breakfast.

Call back later and
ask for Mrs. Carter.

I need to know now.

This is a tough job, Ms. Lang.

You let these women get to
you, you don't last long.

Believe me.

I'm off duty now.



Can I help you, miss?
I'm sorry.

This area is off limits.

Nobody's allowed in there.
Thank you, officer.

Excuse me, ma'am?

Do you know a woman named Flora?

I don't know any Flora.

Well, what about a man
called census taker?


Of course I know Max.


Pardon me.

Thank you.

Eat hardy, kid.

Now, if I was a subway,
where would I be?

I'm a public accountant.

I knew they needed
help writing letters,

filling out forms for social
security, things like that.

So I started hanging
out in Grand Central

just offering my services.

Pretty soon I was spending a lot
of time there getting to know

them, sharing their lives.

Makes it hard to come back
to the real world, doesn't it?

Whose real world?


They have the same
feelings you do you know.

I'm sorry.

I always seem to say
the wrong thing to you.


It's just that it's so easy
to see them as different.

The more distance
we put between us,

the less we have to do about it.

Tell me, what will you
do if you find Flora?

Say I'm sorry.

And try to get her
off the streets.

There she is.


I'll get the cart.




You all right?

There's no pulse.

Shes dead, Carrie.




What did she do now?

Can I use your phone?

We need an ambulance.

I'm not surprised.

Get her out of her.

Officer, help.

What's the problem?

Flora's dead.

No kidding.


What's going on there?


Who's in my spot?

No. No, no.

Don't Flora.

She's dead.

Oh gee.

Well, did you get an
ambulance or something?

I'll do that now.

Flora, where have you been?

Oh every place.

Boy, am I hungry.

Aw, gee, thanks.

Well, don't just stand
there like a bunch of dopes.

Get her out of here.

I want my corner.

I'll call emergency.

You can use my phone.

I'll come with you.

Keep your fingers off my fruit.

- Where's my cart?
- It's right here.

We brought it for you.

Please, Flora.

I want to talk to you.

Might as well give up.

You ain't getting no
more help from me.

- I'm so sorry for what happened.
- Oh, yeah.

You're sorry.

I want to help you find a home.

I got all home right there.

I'm talking about a
real home off the streets

where you can be safe.

Forget it.

Please, Flora.

Give me a chance.

You want to do good?

Feed the birds.

There's a million
people on the street.

Help them.

How can I when you won't
even let me help you?

Why do you think I took
the job at the shelter

in the first place?

I wanted to make a difference.

Please, Flora.

Please let me do it for you.

I know you.

I know what you need.

No kidding.

What's that?


Don't need no hope.

What would have given
me hope died years ago.

Look, Flora.

A little place with a garden.

- A garden?
- Yes.

Where you can grow vegetables
again like on the farm.

Where are you going to
find a place like that?

I made some calls this morning.

I called some friends
on Long Island.

They're nice people.

They have a little cottage.

It's nothing big and
it's nothing fancy.

But it's an address.

It's a place of your own.

How am I going to pay the rent?

Saving soda cans?

With an address you
can start getting.

Social Security checks again.

Go away.

Go away.

How can I?

How can I sleep warm
anymore when you're cold?

What if Sonny were here?

What are you talking about?

Sonny ain't here and he
ain't going to be here.

Go away.

I can't.

I want to take care of you.

Wouldn't Sonny want that?

Will you stop
talking about Sonny?

He was my kid.

You ain't my kid.

Yes I am.

I am and you're mine.

You took care of me, Flora.

You wouldn't let me
sleep in the cold.

You found a warm place for me.

Well, that was different.

You was... well I'm used to it.

It's been too long
for me to change.

Now just get out of here.

Just get out of here.

Go away.

You got me all mixed up.

You going?

I give up, Flora.

I don't know what
else to say or do.

I don't know why you
won't at least try.

Maybe I'm all wrong
about what you want.

You have a right to
the life you choose.

If it's there on
that corner then

I guess it's there
on that corner.

Good-bye, Florabelle.


Wait up.

Wait for me.