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.
TITLE: 13 O’CLOCK
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 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”, Will Smith’s smooth voice and the funky beat 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.
NATE’S P.O.V. — BEACHGOERS
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. Ele 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 elvish 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.
On Ele’s right eye.
From Ele’s left eye.
We now find Ele’s face aligned horizontally. As the camera continues zooming out, we see Ele is lying stomach-down on hard asphalt, eyes open and dilated, blood marring her lips. Behind her, a blue car stands crumpled around a streetlight, the windshield shattered where she was tossed through.
Even in death, Ele’s ethereal beauty remains.
A man asleep on a bed.
SUPERIMPOSE: TWENTY-TWO YEARS LATER
INT. NATE’S APARTMENT/BEDROOM — MORNING [TEAL & ORANGE SEQUENCE]
As it hits 6:00 AM, the clock radio beside the bed begins playing UB40’s cover of “I Got You Babe”. Roused from sleep, the figure begrudgingly rises, rubbing a temple as he sits up. As we can tell by his complexion, hair colour, and general facial features, this is Nate, 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 time, Nate gets up and crosses to the window. Opening the shade, he looks out; the sky is barely perceptible between the two buildings across the street.
INT. NATE’S APARTMENT/BATHROOM — MORNING
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, he scrutinizes his doughy, tired flesh.
NATE: Zorro, you look better than ever.
Pulling his weiner free, he turns to the bathtub and empties his bladder.
EXT. BUS STOP — MORNING
A couple hours later, Nate — now washed and dressed for the day — is seated with two others on a bench, waiting for a bus. 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, Nate hurries across to the diner.
INT. DINER/BACK ROOM — MORNING
Entering, Nate goes to punch in. Two servers are standing back there.
SERVER #1: Good morning, Nate.
NATE: (nods) Morning.
SERVER #2: (checks watch) Maybe if you slink in real slow and don’t draw attention to yourself, Ahnold’ll just think you’ve been standing in back all this time.
Nate smirks in response.
INT. DINER/KITCHEN — MORNING
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) 9:00! You know what time it is? (taps watch)
NATE: Bus was late.
ROLFE ARNOLD: We’ve got twelve orders need filling. Get on the grill.
EXT. DINER — DAY
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 — finds him there. Scooching over, he allows the nineteen-year-old down the steps. Taking a stance on the other side of the steps from him, the tall, slim brunette takes out a cigarette pack 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?
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.
INT. DINER/KITCHEN — DAY
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.
EXT. BUS STOP — DINER — DAY
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.
INT. BUS — DAY
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.
Fifteen minutes 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.
INT. NATE’S APARTMENT/LIVING ROOM — DAY
Nate sits in an armchair, eating a TV dinner as he watches an episode of Full House. His expression empty, he shovels mashed potatoes into his maw.