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13 O'Clock (An Original Story) *CANCELLED(?)*


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.



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

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



A panoramic shot of a crowded public beach.



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.


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

Nate is a good-looking teenage 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.


Through the camera’s viewfinder, we see what Nate 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 Nate. 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.


Nate as he takes Ele’s picture.

Lowering his camera, Nate stares at Ele, wistful.


Ele’s face.


On Ele’s right eye.


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.


Ooh, trippin’ man, interested in seeing where this goes.

Not enough people read the EU.



A man sleeping on a couch.



As the alarm clock on the small table beside the couch RINGS, 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.


Entering the small bathroom, flicking the light on, Nate 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.


Nate enters the kitchen. Siings at the small, round kitchen table, drinking her coffee, is his wife, REBEKAH. While overweight and balding, one can still see some measure of attractiveness in Nate. The same cannot be said for Bekah. If she had ever been pretty by even the slightest degree, that prettiness fled years before she met Nate — years, even, before poor eating habits, heavy smoking, and alcoholism turned her into a sallow-skinned, gray-toothed monstrosity even larger than her husband.

Grunting a greeting, Nate crosses over to the refrigerator. After fishing out a can of Coke, he takes a seat on the opposite end of the table. Popping the tab, he takes a swig of the cola. Bekah reflexively leers.


A couple hours later, Nate — 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.


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


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

SERVER #1: Good morning, Nate.

NATE: (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.

Nate smirks in response.


Nate 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 Nate’s boss.

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

NATE: Bus was late.

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

NATE: (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.


Nate, on his lunch break, sits behind the diner, on the back steps. It is while he is sitting there, eating his sandwich, 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 and fishes out a smoke.

BRIANNA: (offers Nate pack) Smoke?

NATE: (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?

NATE: Nathaniel. Everyone calls me Nate.

BRIANNA: Worked here very long, Nate?

NATE: (nods) Close to ten years.

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

Lowering his half-finished sandwich, Nate clams up.

BRIANNA: (ashamed) I said something wrong, didn’t I?

NATE: 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? (uneasy) Why’d I ask that?

NATE: I’m … I … (sighs)

Nate 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?

NATE: Go ahead. (smiles thinly)

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 Nate even antsier.


Nate 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.


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

The bus puts up to the curb.


As the door slides open, Nate and Brianna climb aboard. Locating the nearest empty seat, Nate 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.


An hour later.

Coming to her stop, Brianna leaves the bus. Through his window, Nate 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.


Nate 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.


Nate enters the living room. Bekah sits in the armchair, watching lesbian porn on the TV. Seemingly unaware of Nate’s presence, she continues jilling off to the pair of porn stars performing mutual cunnilingus.

His expression deadpan, Nate leaves his wife to her pleasure.


Entering the basement, Nate flicks a switch. A naked overhead bulb comes to life, flooding the basement with blood red light. He crosses over to a large desk situated against the back wall, where he turns the boombox resting upon the desk on. Alice in Chains’ “Whale & Wasp” begins wailing from the speakers.

Sitting down at the desk, Nate opens the top right drawer and brings out a bottle of glue and pair of scissors. He then opens the bottom left drawer; inside is a stack of paper of varying textures and sizes. Fishing out a 24 x 36 piece of stiff card, he lays it upon the desktop. He then opens the top left drawer; inside are several magazine/newspaper/catalogue clippings. Taking a handful, he tosses them upon the card and begins arranging them in place. Finding a clipping of a woman performing oral sex on another, he juxtaposes it with a clipping of a decayed Jason Voorhees with axe raised high.


So, I’m gonna try and return to working on this screenplay. First, I’ll have to rewrite a fair chunk of what I’ve written already. As is, the characters are too mean-spirited and ugly; it literally stressed me out writing them.


True to my word, I’ve rewritten my prior entries. The heaviest revisions were to the second entry; the tension between characters had been made less verbal, and the son Dwayne has been jettisoned from the plot altogether.


After months of inactivity on this script, I’ve decided I’m going to retool the whole story. Right now, as the story stands, only the prologue pleases me; the rest is mired is human ugliness, and I’m presently tired of writing that kind of stuff. I want to write more hopeful, humanist* stories.

I may retire this thread and start a new one. I haven’t decided which yet.

*“Humanist” as in “emphasizing the value and agency of human beings”, not “humanist” as in “secular humanist”.