A short screenplay concerning friends who become victims to racial conflict.
|1. INT. MARK’S VAN – DAY.
A 45 year-old father, MARK CAMPBELL, drives his 10 year-old son, DAVID, to his South East London school in his ageing white transit van. MARK is well-built and stern looking. He sports a Chelsea football t-shirt. DAVID is similarly well-built, yet behind his forceful appearance lies a peaceful child. Both are white. The two look straight ahead, never making eye contact. A prolonged spell of silence ensues.
(still looking ahead)
You’re joining the football team today right?
No more watching those stupid films. I’ll be damned if my son spends his days sat on his arse watching rubbish.
DAVID remains silent.
What are we having for dinner tonight?
I don’t know.
What time will you pick me up later?
Five O’clock, make sure you’ve had a shower and ready to go. Don’t you dare be late.
The van comes to a stop as it reaches DAVID’S school. As they reach the gates, DAVID spots his classmate RAJ NABEEL. RAJ is skinny, fairly short and of Asian origin. RAJ smiles as DAVID goes to wave at him. DAVID hesitates, lowering his hand slowly.
Don’t you talk to that boy, you
The young boy exits the van without saying goodbye. MARK drives on around the corner, until a traffic jam brings his vehicle to a standstill. He forgets to press his foot on the clutch, thus the van stalls. He hits down hard on the steering wheel.
2. EXT. SCHOOL PLAYING FIELD – DAY.
DAVID finishes his football training for the afternoon. The final whistle is blown as DAVID trips up over the ball and it rolls into his own net. He is covered in mud. Whilst walking across the playing field he spots RAJ again. Uninterested in interacting with his team mates, he runs over to RAJ, who is on his way home.
Hi Raj, how’s it going?
Since when did you join the football team?
Today. My dad made me.
You don’t wanna play?
No, you know I hate football. He wants me to play sports and not watch films. He thinks it’s lazy.
How can doing something you love be lazy?
I know. He just doesn’t see it that way.
Hey, do you wanna go to the cinema?
Well my dad said he’s gonna pick me up, but he’ll probably be hours yet. So yeah let’s go!
What do you wanna see?
That new Steve Martin film Tiger Trouble looks
pretty funny, fancy seeing that?
OK, but remember how much Cheaper By The Dozen sucked!!!
True! But you have to admit the first Father of the Bride was pretty funny.
I suppose, and Bowfinger wasn’t too bad either. But we both love Eddie Murphy so we had to like it right?
They walk out of the school gates, still actively discussing film, towards the cinema.
3. EXT. BUSY STREET – DAY.
MARK is working in a large dugout on a busy street. Cars stream by as he hacks away in his hole with a pickaxe. His co-workers converse and laugh with each other, paying him no attention. In a moment of absentmindedness, MARK accidentally slams his pickaxe into an exposed water pipe. His co-workers’ smiles fade as they shoot him enraged glances. Water gradually begins to fill the hole. He squints and gradually raises his head to the irate reception of his co-workers.
4. EXT. OUTSIDE CINEMA – DAY.
DAVID and RAJ stand at the entrance to their local cinema. Their eyes light up as the gigantic letters spelling TIGER TROUBLE beam down at them. They both glance around the side of the building. They spot a side door that allows staff and supplies to enter the building. They give each other a fiendish look.
Shall we try it?
The boys mischievously tiptoe around the perimeter of the building until they come to the side door/staff entrance.
5. INT. CINEMA – DAY.
They sneak inside to find a large looking member of staff turn around and peer down at them.
What do you think you’re doing?!!!
DAVID & RAJ
6. EXT. OUTSIDE CINEMA – DAY.
The boys sprint out of the side door, yet RAJ stops and pulls DAVID back. He rolls his eyes as to signify another attempt. DAVID grins as they carefully tiptoe back into the cinema, this time unseen by any staff.
7. EXT. SCHOOL CAR PARK – DAY.
MARK exits his van and looks across the bare playing field in hope of finding DAVID. He spots the FOOTBALL COACH packing up the sports equipment into his car, and gestures with his arms as to question the whereabouts of his son. The FOOTBALL COACH simply shrugs his shoulders and continues packing.
8. EXT. OUTSIDE CINEMA – DAY.
The boys emerge from seeing the film TIGER TROUBLE.
That film was so bad! They so wouldn’t have let the tiger stay with the family in real life! It would have been locked up in a zoo!
Totally! And I so knew that the police chief was going to fall in love with the zoo lady! It was crap! We could make something better than that!
We should! I’ve got a video-camera back home!
That would be so cool!!! Let’s do it!
We’ll have to wait cos I’ve gotta go home now, but I’ll see you tomorrow right? It’s Saturday so can I come round early?
DAVID and RAJ separate as they begin their journeys home.
9. INT. DAVID’S HOUSE – NIGHT.
DAVID returns home. The house is rapidly getting old, with battered furniture and rotting wallpaper. As he enters the messy kitchen, he glances at various bills that scatter the floor, some of them saying FINAL NOTICE. He looks up to find MARK sitting at the table, only a small light next to him prevents him from being in total darkness.
Where were you?
I was playing football.
Don’t lie to me!
MARK points toward DAVID’S bedroom door.
Get to bed!
GET TO BED!!!
DAVID walks into his room, terrified. MARK lowers a plate of cold fish fingers and chips to DAVID’S door.
FADE TO BLACK.
10. EXT. OUTSIDE RAJ’S HOUSE - DAY.
DAVID arrives at RAJ’S house on his bike. RAJ emerges from the house. He walks over to DAVID.
DAVID smiles as he picks out a large, slightly outdated camcorder from his rucksack.
Cut to the boys frantically riding their bikes in various costumes, from cowboys to medieval knights, filming their playful actions and swordfights. We see them laugh heartedly as RAJ trips over his oversized costume (an event that is caught on camera).
11. INT. PUB – DAY.
MARK sits alone at his local pub, slowly sipping his pint. His co-workers sit at a nearby table, laughing amongst themselves. He overhears them talking about his accident yesterday.
Do you have something you want to discuss?
They all turn and face him.
You mentioned me?
Only your lack of efficiency.
All co-workers laugh, ridiculing MARK. MARK storms forward.
What the fuck would you know?
What are you doing? You’re a fucking disgrace Mark. We’re fed up with your shit, we’ve all got problems. You’ve got a kid to raise, yet you think getting drunk in here is the way to do it? I’ve got four girls and I manage to be the father they deserve; why should you be any different? It’s getting dark; do you even know where he is?
CO-WORKER 1 leans forward.
Sort yourself out.
MARK stands silently, ridiculed in front of his co-workers. He then turns towards the door and sprints out of the pub.
12. EXT. OUTSIDE PUB – DAY.
MARK runs out of the pub and gets into his van.
13. INT. MARK’S VAN – DAY.
MARK drives around the local neighbourhood in an attempt to find his son.
14. INT. RAJ’S HOUSE – DAY.
DAVID sits and eats dinner with the NABEEL family. He actively participates in the general meal-time banter. The family laugh throughout.
15. INT. MARK’S VAN – DAY.
MARK spots his son’s bike lying on its side outside of RAJ’S house.
16. EXT. OUTSIDE RAJ’S HOUSE – DAY.
Seeing that the front door is ajar, MARK exits the vehicle and runs towards it.
17. INT. RAJ’S HOUSE – DAY.
MARK storms in the NABEEL family having dinner. He furiously finds his way into the dining room, where he is met by the shocked and frightened glances of RAJ’S FAMILY.
Who are you?!! What are you doing in my house?
Can I offer you a seat?
(looking up at MR NABEEL)
I’VE COME TO COLLECT MY SON!!!
Before any of them can do anything, MARK drags his son off his chair and runs outside to the car. DAVID clutches his rucksack with all of his strength. The front door slams shut.
18. INT. DAVID’S HOUSE – NIGHT.
MARK bursts in through the front door, cradling DAVID in his arms. DAVID’S rucksack falls from his shoulders. Tears fill MARK’S eyes as he enters DAVID’S room and throws him onto the bed.
We don’t need anybody else. We’re fine as we are!
But we do Dad; you don’t take care of me at all! Raj’s family are so nice. I don’t feel scared when I’m with them. And you’ve ruined it all! Why can’t I be friends with them? Why not? No wonder Mum left.
19. INT. DAVID'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Flashback - DAVID'S MOTHER cries as she turns her back on her husband and son, both of which stare as she exits through the open front door.
20. INT. DAVID'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Cut back to DAVID'S room.
I HATE YOU!
MARK throws DAVID’S bag out of his bedroom into the living room. It hits the wall violently. We hear a large object inside the bag smash.
MARK says nothing as he exits, slamming the door so hard that the sound of the collision echoes throughout the house. He knocks the assorted cups and plates from the kitchen table, crying frantically. He begins to pound the wall with his fists.
MOTHERFUCKER…HOW COULD HE…fucking…
He falls against the wall, sobbing and exhausted.
21. INT. DAVID’S HOUSE – NIGHT.
A short time has passed. MARK is now sitting on the sofa, staring at DAVID’S rucksack, which lies on the floor opposite the TV. MARK reaches out and picks up the bag, opening the zip. Inside he finds a recordable videotape marked KNIGHTS CASTLE CRUSADE: PART 1. Removing the tape from its cardboard sleeve, he inserts it into the video player. DAVID slightly opens his door, just enough so that he can peer through at his father’s actions. MARK hits the play button on the remote and is almost instantly drawn into the make-believe world of the heroic knights, played by DAVID and RAJ. MARK sits on the sofa, witnessing their shared friendship and creativity. He begins to sob into his hands. DAVID opens his door fully, allowing MARK to see him. The shattered man looks around at his son, and for the first time in recent memory, smiles. His glazed eyes continue to cry as DAVID walks up and sits on the sofa next to him. They watch the remainder of the film together.
FADE TO BLACK.
22. HOME VIDEO – DAY.
We open on the raw footage of a different home video, still featuring DAVID, this time dressed in a cowboy suit. The camera watches him move round, brandishing a toy revolver.
Aaaagh! They’re after us!!! Prepare for
RAJ enters the frame, dressed as The Prince of Persia, sporting an oversized headscarf courtesy of his father. He is holding a large toy sword. We hear an adult laughing from behind the camera. It is MARK.
(laughing - from behind camera)
Go!!! Save us all!!!
He pans the camera around, as we see the two boys run across an abandoned field, laughing and shouting, their mock weapons high in the air.
FADE TO BLACK.