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13 O'Clock (An Original Story)

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I made a promise to myself that I was going to start concentrating on writing original screenplays. Here I am, following through on that promise. This is 13 O’Clock, my first ever wholly original screenplay not set in/based off someone else’s universe.

The synopsis: In the summer of 1995, Ele Draven – a beautiful teenaged girl – was murdered along with the rest of her family, their killer never caught. Nathaniel Reisner, a boy who had an infatuation with Ele but never actually met her, was one of the last people to see her alive. Fast forward to 2017. Nathaniel is a wreck – trapped in a menial job, married to a woman he doesn’t love with a child he never wanted. After his aunt dies of a stroke, Nathaniel takes the trip to his old childhood home to tie up loose ends, put his aunt’s belongings into storage, put the house up for sale, etc. It is while he is staying there that he encounters a time warp – a time warp which transposes him in the body of his teenage self in the days leading up to Ele’s murder. Finally, Nathaniel has the chance to prevent Ele’s murder, but he can spend only one hour each day in the past – the paranormal non-hour of 13:00 AM – leaving him little time to establish a rapport with Ele and figure out a way to save her and her family from an untimely end.

The germ for this story was born in 2005/2006, when I came up with the idea of someone moving somewhere on Earth where 12:59 AM is followed by 13:00 instead of 1:00, 13:00 being some non-hour between the two hours where preternatural phenomena would occur. I never could get that idea off the ground, though; I just couldn’t develop it into a good plot with good characters. In the last couple weeks, though, inspiration finally struck. I’m a fan of The Twilight Zone, I enjoy John Hughes-type romantic dramedies, I enjoy Hitchcockian thrillers, and I have a deep nostalgia for the '90s, so why not write a surreal romantic dramedic fantasy thriller set in the '90s?

I dedicate this screenplay to Laura Bertram, my favourite actress, one of the most beautiful women in the world, and my current muse. The character of Ele was created with her in mind – a character I hope would’ve been worthy of being played by her.

This post has been edited.

My Episode I re-write. / My Episode II re-write. / Dreams of a Randy Git-Fiend

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FADE IN

On the face of a 12-hour analogue clock, which ticks rhythmically.

Just as 12:59 transitions to 1:00, the cogs and gears of the clock lock up, causing the second hand to dance back and forth between the two seconds, trapping it in the infinitesimal void between hours.

TITLE: 13 O’CLOCK

FADE TO

A panoramic shot of a crowded public beach.

SUPERIMPOSE: AUGUST 1995

EXT. BEACH – DAY [NATURALISTIC COLOUR SEQUENCE]

It is late noon, and the summer sun in the bright blue, cloudless sky casts its full light and heat down on the Earth, baking the naked sand and sending the water coruscating with silver fire. The beachgoers spend their leisure time on the shore or in the water, the former sitting or lying on beach towels, shielded beneath large umbrellas or basking in the strong sunlight, the latter wading around casually or engaged in play with family/friends/pets. From a radio somewhere plays The Motels’ “Suddenly Last Summer”, Martha Davis’ husky voice and the otherworldly instrumentation lazily carrying across the sultry air.

CUT TO

NATHANIEL REISNER standing on the beach, far from the water, apart and away from most of the other beachgoers.

Nathaniel is a good-looking teenaged boy, about sixteen or seventeen years old. His hair is dark auburn, unkempt and shaggy. His lean body, uncovered save for the pair of sandals and khaki shorts he wears, is ruddy on every inch of his exposed skin. In his hands he holds aloft an expensive Nikon camera.

NATHANIEL’S P.O.V. – BEACHGOERS

Through the camera’s viewfinder, we see what Nathaniel sees: a little girl drawing in the sand; a woman working sunscreen into her boyfriend’s back; a plump, bald, mustached man in round sunglasses reading a romance novel; children splashing around in the water. Nathaniel snaps a couple shots of them all.

With a swivel of the camera, we now find ourselves gazing upon ELEONORA DRAVEN. Eleonora – Ele, for short – is a teenager close in age to Nathaniel. Attired in a white bikini and paisley beach wrap, she sits in the sand close to the water, leaning back on her hands as the tide comes in, the warm water rolling over her toes. From this angle, her image magnified through the telescopic lens, it’s impossible not to recognize the magnificent beauty this young woman possesses. Her blond hair – long, straight, full – cascades down her back. Her eyes – a rich, chocolate brown – are large, expressive. Her ears, ever-so-slightly prominent, are almost elven in appearance. Her nose, neither large nor small, is perfectly straight. Her jaw, strong yet feminine, frames full, luscious lips. Her expression, pensive, serves only to enhance her natural loveliness.

CUT TO

Nathaniel as he takes Ele’s picture.

Lowering his camera, Nathaniel stares at Ele, wistful.

CUT TO

Ele’s face.

ZOOM IN

On Ele’s right eye.

ZOOM OUT

From Ele’s left eye.

We now find Ele facing straight forward. As the camera continues zooming out, we see Ele is lying on a carpeted floor, blood marring her lips. Beside her her parents and younger brother lie, also bloodied and still. As forensic officers converge on the figures – taking photographs, readying to collect evidence – it becomes all too certain that Ele and her family are dead, victims of violent murder.

Even in death, Ele’s ethereal beauty remains.

This post has been edited.

My Episode I re-write. / My Episode II re-write. / Dreams of a Randy Git-Fiend

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CROSSFADE TO

A man sleeping on a couch.

SUPERIMPOSE: TWENTY-TWO YEARS LATER

INT. REISNER HOME/LIVING ROOM – MORNING [TEAL & ORANGE SEQUENCE]

As the alarm clock on the small table beside the couch begins to RING, the figure begrudgingly rises, rubbing a temple to ward away his lingering sleepiness as he sits up. As we can tell by his complexion, hair colour, and general facial features, this is Nathaniel, now somewhere in his late thirties. Beneath the folds of fat and receding hairline, one can just perceive the handsomeness his unripened youth promised him.

Checking the clock to get the time – 4:00 AM – he gets up and crosses to one of the windows. Opening the shade, he looks out, past the suburban landscape to the cityscape rising in the distance beyond. The sun lurks just beneath the horizon, colouring the lower sky yellow while remaining hidden from view.

INT. REISNER HOME/BATHROOM – MORNING

Entering the small bathroom, flicking the light on, Nathaniel crosses to the sink and medicine cabinet overtop it. Peering deep into the mirror before him, scrutinizing his doughy, tired flesh, he then turns on the faucet to wash his face.

INT. REISNER HOME/KITCHEN – MORNING

Entering the kitchen, Nathaniel goes to prepare his coffee. Filling a kettle, he places it on the grimy stovetop to heat up. Finding no clean mugs in the cupboard, he fishes a dirty one out of the sink and hastily washes it before reaching for a canister of instant coffee.

CUT TO

Some minutes later.

Nathaniel sits at the small, round kitchen table drinking his coffee when his wife, REBEKAH, staggers in. While overweight and balding, one can still see some measure of attractiveness in Nathaniel. The same cannot be said for Rebekah. If she had ever been pretty by even the slightest degree, that prettiness fled years before she met Nathaniel – years, even, before poor eating habits, heavy smoking, and alcoholism turned her into a sallow-skinned, gray-toothed monstrosity even larger than her husband. Lurching over to the table – powder blue nightgown two sizes two small for her overlarge frame, hair a frightful black tangle – she takes a seat on the opposite end of the table.

NATHANIEL: (deadpan) Morning.

REBEKAH: (surly) Fix my cup.

EXT. BUS STOP – MORNING

A couple hours later, Nathaniel – now washed and dressed for the day – is sitting with two other people on a bench, waiting for the bus into the city. Agitated, he takes a gander at his watch; the bus is running late.

EXT. BUS STOP – DINER – MORNING

An hour later, a bus pulls up across the street from a diner. Climbing off the bus, Nathaniel crosses the street, hurrying over to the diner.

INT. DINER/BACK ROOM – MORNING

Entering the diner, Nathaniel goes to punch in. Two servers are standing back there.

SERVER #1: Good morning, Nate.

NATHANIEL: (nods) Morning.

SERVER #2: (checks watch) Uh-oh. 8:21. Maybe if you slink in real slow and don’t draw attention to yourself, Ahnold’ll just think you’ve been standing back in the corner all this time.

Nathaniel smirks in response.

INT. DINER/KITCHEN – MORNING

Nathaniel slips on an apron as he slips inside the kitchen. Already at the grill are three cooks, including ROLFE ARNOLD, the diner’s manager and Nathaniel’s boss.

ROLFE ARNOLD: (irate) Reisner! You know when your shift starts? (taps watch) 8:00! You know what time it is? (taps watch)

NATHANIEL: Bus was late.

ROLFE ARNOLD: The bus is late three out of every five goddamn days!

NATHANIEL: (shrugs) Sorry. Service out of Downsvale isn’t the best.

ROLFE ARNOLD: Then you should move – that or learn to drive! Chrissakes – almost forty and you still haven’t your fuckin’ driver’s license! (shakes head) We’ve got twelve orders need filling. Get on the grill.

EXT. DINER – DAY

Nathaniel, on his lunch break, sits behind the diner, on the back steps. It is while he is sitting there, eating his sandwich casually while looking straight ahead at nothing in particular, that the door behind him opens and one of the servers – BRIANNA, a tall, slim, nineteen-year-old brunette who wears her long hair back in a ponytail – finds him there. Scooching over, he allows her passage down the steps. Taking a stance on the other side of the steps from Nathaniel, she takes out a pack of cigarettes out of her pants pocket and fishes out a smoke.

BRIANNA: (offers Nate pack) Smoke?

NATHANIEL: (smiles) Thanks. I’ve enough vices.

Slipping the pack back in her pocket, she takes out a lighter and lights up, taking a deep drag.

BRIANNA: Nathan, right?

NATHANIEL: Nathaniel. Everyone calls me Nate.

BRIANNA: Worked here very long, Nate?

NATHANIEL: (nods) Close to ten years.

BRIANNA: Ten years? God, how old was I? (beat) Third grade – nine years old.

Lowering his half-finished sandwich, Nathaniel clams up.

BRIANNA: (ashamed) I said something wrong, didn’t I? I didn’t mean to imply anything –

NATHANIEL: No, no, you didn’t. I was just … thinking back, how long it’s been. (beat) It has been a while.

BRIANNA: (reserved) You like it here? (beat) Why’d I ask that? You must. You’ve worked here so long.

NATHANIEL: I’m … I … (sighs)

Nathaniel resumes eating his sandwich. Brianna smokes her cigarette. The silence between them is palpable, uncomfortable.

BRIANNA: (takes out iPod) Is it alright if I … listen to this?

NATHANIEL: Sure.

BRIANNA: If it’s rude –

NATHANIEL: You’re not. Go ahead. (smiles thinly) I should probably get one myself.

Placing the earbuds in her ears, Brianna turns on the device and calls a song up from the playlist: “California Gurls” by Katy Perry. Brianna has the volume turned up too high; it’s enough to make Nathaniel even antsier.

INT. DINER/KITCHEN – DAY

Nathaniel is at the grill, working hard to keep up with the steady stream of orders which keep coming in, wiping a sheen of sweat from his face on a sleeve before it can drip into the meals he’s preparing.

EXT. BUS STOP – DINER – DAY

The work day has come to an end. Both Nathaniel and Brianna stand waiting for the bus. They exchange a short, uncomfortable glance and smile.

The bus puts up to the curb.

INT. BUS – DAY

As the door slides open, Nathaniel and Brianna climb aboard. Locating the nearest empty seat, Nathaniel slides down into it, leaving the spot beside him open for Brianna. Instead of taking him up on his implied offer, she sits down beside a middle aged woman three seats over. Crestfallen, Nathaniel looks himself over; he wouldn’t want to sit close to an overweight man reeking of a day’s worth of sweat, either.

CROSSFADE TO

An hour later.

Coming to her stop, Brianna leaves the bus. Through his window, Nathaniel watches her walk on down the sidewalk toward home. For a brief instant he considers waving farewell, but it’s already too late to put thought into action; he’s no longer in her line of sight and the bus is already pulling away.

EXT. REISNER HOME/FRONT YARD – DAY

Nathaniel finally arrives home. The Reisner home is a decrepit hovel in such a state of grievous disrepair that it doesn’t warrant renovation; it warrants complete and utter demolition.

Hearing the low but noticeable THUD of heavy-bass music playing through the walls of the house, Nathaniel GROANS as he steps onto the front porch.

INT. REISNER HOME/LIVING ROOM – DAY

Nathaniel enters the living room, where he is greeted by a cacophony of Gucci Mane crashing from a boombox at full volume. Rebekah sits in the armchair, seemingly oblivious to the racket surrounding her as she watches the TV with closed captioning on. Their son, DWAYNE, sits on the couch, reading a magazine to the throbbing beats of the noise. Like his father, Dwayne has red hair. Like his mother, Dwayne is quite homely. Unlike either parent, Dwayne is rail-thin, without a trace of noticeable fat anywhere on his fifteen-year-old body.

Crossing over to the boom box, Nathaniel turns the volume down to near-tolerable levels.

DWAYNE: (irate) I was listening to that!

NATHANIEL: It was too loud.

DWAYNE: Not home two minutes and already bitchin’!

Jumping up, Dwayne swaggers over to the boombox and cranks the volume back up. Just as quickly, Nathaniel dials it back down.

DWAYNE: (angry) Asshole! Fuck off!

NATHANIEL: It’s too loud!

DWAYNE: Suck me off, fatass faggot!

Dwayne gets Gucci going full blast again, daring his father with a nasty leer to try turning it down again. For his part, Nathaniel stares daggers at Dwayne, a dark, murderous rage he dares not loose brewing inside him.

NATHANIEL: (enraged) I’m going out again. Don’t expect me back for a while.

At that he turns and leaves – leaves to put as much distance as he can between this antipathetic son, apathetic wife, and pathetic dive he loathes with every fibre of his being before he explodes.

EXT. DOWNSVALE – MONTAGE

Nathaniel spends the next five hours walking through the town of Downsvale. From the streets to the shopping centre to the back roads he treks, allowing his pent-up rage to dissipate, praying silently to come across something, _any_thing which’ll provide him the means to escape the empty, lonely, miserable existence he leads.

EXT. REISNER HOME/FRONT YARD – EVENING

By the time Nathaniel returns home, the sun has set. The house, shrouded under the curtain of night, is black, a telltale sign that all within have retired to sleep. Nathaniel SIGHS with relief.

INT. REISNER HOME/KITCHEN – EVENING

Nathaniel sits at the table eating a microwave dinner with disinterest.

INT. REISNER HOME/LIVING ROOM – EVENING

Sitting down in the armchair his wife had occupied short hours before, Nathaniel changes channels to a pornographic station. As he watches Melody Jordan take it from behind, he unzips the front of his jeans and whips out his modest member.

After he has relieved his tension, deliberately leaving a mess behind for Rebekah, he retires to the couch for the evening. Curling up into a fetal position, he closes his eyes, willing himself to a dreamland far from the waking world and its demons.

This post has been edited.

My Episode I re-write. / My Episode II re-write. / Dreams of a Randy Git-Fiend

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