By Nick Sansone
Honorable Mention, Prose, Create | Encounter 2023
Download Would've, Could've, Should've to read it in its original screenplay formatting:
This short screenplay was initially written as a sort-of knee-jerk reaction to news I received this past summer that one of my favorite teachers from high school was arrested on child seduction charges stemming from an inappropriate relationship he had with a female student. Needless to say, I was absolutely devastated by this news and even more-so after hearing that several of my close female friends from high school who had this teacher were not surprised by it. Seeking to understand and empathize with their perspectives and effectively kill the vaulted image I had of my former teacher for more than a decade, I was inspired to tell the story of a young woman named Michelle, a fictional character who stands in for any young woman that man made a victim. Set mostly within the day before she is scheduled to testify at a court hearing to determine her former teacher's sentencing, this screenplay seeks to capture the emotional turmoil of child grooming, sexual abuse, and stolen innocence on one particular young woman years later while pointing a path forward toward healing and advocating for justice to be served.