DISCORDANCE

screenplay by C. L. Taylor

“DISCORDANCE”

 

screenplay

by

c.l.taylor

INT. DIVE BAR – MORNING

 

A man JOHN in a shabby canvas work coat sits alone at the bar.

We’re behind him, slowly pushing in.

His shoulders momentarily tense.

He flicks up the shearling lined collar of his coat.

We see his hands – worn, calloused hands, bruised – obviously working hands.

Quickly, he stuffs his hands into the pockets of his coat, pulling it together, hunching slightly.

 

The bar is empty.

One light shines over a wall-expanse of liquor bottles.

 

We’re closer now.

Close enough to see the shining silvery gray stubble of the man’s close-cropped hair.

Close enough to see the stubble on his cheek.

We’re over his shoulder now looking down at the surface of the bar.

A solid wooden slab. Old, warm, well maintained.

One after another, the man removes his hands from his coat, placing each in its turn on either side of a stack of paper.

 

The page is blank.

The paper is face down.

 

His wedding band catches the light, momentarily glinting.

He taps the pointer finger of his left hand.

Once.

Twice.

On the third, it curls slightly at the joint, his finger touching the edge of the paper.

It stays this way before quickly flipping over the paper.

 

DIVORCE DECREE

 

Is all we read before the man’s hands crumple the paper and hurl it with anger towards the door, awkwardly, but with his left hand.

A sign hangs there.

It is momentarily disturbed as the ball of paper hits it and then falls to the floor.

We see the lettering on the sign in reverse.

It reads:

 

OUT OF BUSINESS

 

JOHN scratches his head.

The only sound we hear – his fingernails scraping through the stubble.

We see his face now as his eyes fix on the door, on the sign.

Mid-40’s, ordinary looking except for a one inch scar under his left eye.

He turns, quickly, back to the bar.

His hands are tightened into fists.

His eyes narrow.

We focus on a black and white photo hanging just below a framed $1 bill.

 

The photo: a child, atop a dapper-looking gentleman’s shoulders, smiles at the camera.

Behind them, the bar in which JOHN now sits.

 

JOHN tucks his chin, his eyes fixed on the photo.

Slowly, he turns his attention to the door.

His eyes drift to the floor.

To the piece of paper.

 

A street lamp, visible through the door’s window, flickers on across the street.

 

JOHN stands, slowly, slightly bent over the bar as he puts his weight there, steadying himself to stand.

He stumbles back.

As he does, we see an overturned, empty bottle of liquor.

He staggers to the door.

Bending, losing his balance momentarily, he collects the wadded up piece of paper.

He opens it, smoothing it out.

He turns, twisting the paper into the light.

 

There is a funnel of light shining on the paper.

It highlights a section which reads:

 

FREDRIK H. FENNING

Husband

 

v.

 

JOHN B. ADDISON

Husband

 

And in the interests of (minor children):

 

Kyle R. Addison-Fenning (Age: 3)

 

JOHN covers his face with his left hand.

Only his eyes remain uncovered.

They are tearing up.

His brow furrows.

He slides to the floor and sits with his hands in his lap, his right leg bent at the knee.

Beside him sits the divorce paper, again turned face down.

He wipes his face and sets his jaw.

 

He reaches into his coat, to an inside pocket.

He retrieves his cell phone.

 

JOHN

Call Freddy.

 

The phone chirps.

A series of tonal sounds follow.

JOHN looks at the image displayed on the large screen of his mobile device.

It is an older man with a full beard.

His eyes, set behind a pair of glasses, smile back at him.

 

JOHN’s CELL

Call rejected.

Do you wish to place another call?

 

JOHN

No…

 

A moment’s hesitation.

JOHN wipes his nose and clears his throat.

He straightens up.

 

JOHN

Yes.

Call Thompson & Thompson.

 

JOHN’s CELL

(Stiffly – robotic, but only just–)

Dialing. Thomspon. And. Thompson.

 

Another series of tonal sounds.

John closes his eyes.

 

YOUNG WOMAN

Thompson & Thompson.

How shall I direct your call?

 

JOHN

Erich Kleineman, please.

 

YOUNG WOMAN

Certainly.

One moment please while I transfer you.

 

JOHN

Sure.

Thanks.

 

A clicking noise.

Shuffling.

 

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

A well-groomed, dark haired man sits behind a grand wooden desk.

He is in most of a three piece suit – pinstriped, expensive.

There is the sound of tinkling water – a fountain?

An exceedingly pleasant chime sounds accompanied by a blue light.

The light pulses.

ERICH extends his right arm and makes a fist.

He draws his fist toward him.

 

ERICH

Hello? This is Erich Kleineman.

 

JOHN

Yes. Erich. Hey.

 

CUT TO:

INT. DIVE BAR – NIGHT

 

Silence.

ERICH clears his throat.

JOHN smiles.

 

ERICH

John?

I was wondering when you’d call.

 

JOHN’s head is down turned. His expression obscured.

He takes his cell phone in his hand.

He pushes off, standing up.

 

JOHN

They showed up.

Today.

An hour ago.

 

Momentary silence.

 

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

ERICH

I see.

 

ERICH gestures.

His face is blank.

A transparent monitor displays the words:

RECORDING

CUT TO:

INT. DIVE BAR – NIGHT

 

JOHN, who has been pacing, stops.

He pummels his fist into the bar.

 

JOHN

Is that all you have to say?

(Mockingly) You see?

 

ERICH

You’re drunk.

 

JOHN

Gold fucking star for you, you little pissant.

 

JOHN is shaking his head.

He clenches and unclenches his teeth.

 

JOHN

I invited you into my fucking home–

–my HOME, you..mother…fuck

 

ERICH

–Look, John…

 

JOHN

–No.

You look, Erich, you piece of shit–

 

JOHN thrusts his pointed right index finger into the empty space before him, as if Erich stands there now.

 

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

ERICH

This is the last time we’re going to have this, or any conversation, John.

You call here again and you’ll spend the night behind bars.

Do I make myself clear?

 

CUT TO:

INT. DIVE BAR – NIGHT

 

JOHN

What gives you the right?

You fucking fuh–

 

The sound of a dial tone.

JOHN looks down at his cell.

The screen is red.

In the middle of the screen, in a clean white font the word:

DISCONNECTED

pulses.

 

JOHN

Fuck.

 

He wipes his face and swipes at the screen with a thick thumb.

JOHN

Fuck.

 

He coughs.

 

JOHN

Call Thompson & Thompson.

 

JOHN’s CELL

Phone. Locked.

Too many attempts to reach party.

Thompson. And. Thompson.

JOHN

–the fuck?

 

He holds out the cell phone to read the screen.

The word WATCHER is there displayed.

Above it rotates the WATCHER logo.

In finer print the alert reads:

 

For your protection, we have blocked the connection to this party. To edit or remove this alert, please contact customer support, M-F, 5:00 am to 4:00 p.m.

 

JOHN

Shit…

 

JOHN’s CELL

Please acknowledge and accept receipt of alert by nodding now.

JOHN’s face is lit up with small circles – projected from his cell phone, targeting regions of his face, awaiting recognition.

 

JOHN nods

 

JOHN’s CELL

Please confirm by saying YES

 

JOHN sighs, his shoulders slumping.

 

JOHN

Yes.

 

JOHN’s CELL

Thank you from your WATCHER network.

WATCHERS.

Keeping watch over you since 1995.

 

A chime sounds.

His phone screen blinks.

JOHN walks to the bar.

He places the phone, screen up, on the bar.

He sits, one ass cheek at a time, on a shaky stool.

 

His cell phone continues to blink.

JOHN looks down and gestures to receive the incoming message.

 

JOHN’s CELL

Addison. John.

A unit has been dispatched to your location.

Violation: VRTL-692-0-15

Unlawful contact.

Violation of restraining order.

Mandatory minimum sentence recommended.

5 years. 6 months.

No contact.

 

JOHN

Fuh-uck!

 

He stumbles off the stool and stands, staring at the phone.

There, on the screen, the city’s Police Department logo is displayed.

Beneath the logo the words

STAY WHERE YOU ARE

 

JOHN’s CELL

Make no attempt to flee.

Failure to comply will result in additional charges.

Do you acknowledge receipt of alert?

Please respond…

 

JOHN stumbles back.

His eyes are wide.

He turns, his footing unsure.

When he hits the door to the back alley he has to put his full weight into it to push it open.

Above the door is a small white and red sign which reads

EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY

 

JOHN’s CELL

Failure to acknowledge receipt of alert may result in

additional charges.

Awaiting acknowledgement…

Please respond…

 

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

 

JOHN stands for a moment as the door closes heavily behind him.

It’s dark, cold.

He flips up the collar of his coat.

His hands find his pockets.

A noise.

A footfall.

Another.

He’s not alone in the alley.

 

MAREN stands there at the mouth of the alley.

For a moment, neither of them move.

Reaching her hand to her mouth reveals the familiar blinking of a WATCHER wearable.

JOHN exhales, his shoulders falling.

 

MAREN begins to back away.

It’s too late.

JOHN is moving fast, closing the distance.

He is on top of her, removing the wearable from her wrist.

It is only when she resists that he feels his fist flying.

 

One.

Her glasses break across the bridge of her nose.

Two.

A splash of blood.

 

JOHN

I’m–

(shakily)

I’m so sorry…

JOHN rises from the woman.

The knuckles on his left hand, his wedding band, glisten with MAREN’s blood beneath the street light.

He is stuffing MAREN’s wearable device into his pant’s pocket as he runs down the alley, disappearing into the night.

 

MAREN

Randall?

(she wheezes)

Are you there?

(she coughs)

 

RANDALL

Stay still.

Help is on the way.

 

MAREN

Help…me…

© c.l.taylor | 2014 | No duplication or reproduction without express written consent of author.

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