Fair Play

by Jeremy Paterson

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

Fair Play – a gas-station robbery gone awry, and the consequent shenanigans of a loaded gun, turn from a deadly game of survival to the beginnings of a bizarre but finally lucrative friendship.

 

 

 

 

 

FAIR PLAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by JEREMY PATERSON, September 2007

1 INT. SERVICE STATION - 3AM

CLOSE UP of a pistol.

TOMMY (O.S.)

Close but no cigar, friend.

MATT (O.S.)

Listen mate, I apologized, I offered you my sympathies. Do we really need to walk this line?

TOMMY (O.S.)

Like a tight rope.
PULLING BACK, slick TOMMY has the pistol to a careening MATT’s temple, his black beanie slipping to the floor.

Tommy is wearing his 7/11 clerks uniform, torn at the sides, while Matt has on a wrinkled Fubu jersey, the wrong way around. Matt is pressed against the front register, his cheek scorched against a three-week steak and kidney pie.

Tommy, holding down Matt with his left hand, reaches across with his right for the service phone which is off the hook.

TOMMY (CONT’D)

(on phone)
Yeah, I’m still holding...POLICE! Why the hell would I need an ambulance?...I’ve been robbed... what more can I tell you? His friggin’ D.O.B., postal address?
(to Matt)
Hey, robber, where do you live? (on phone)
Whatta ya know, he ain’t saying. Geez.

MATT

Hey, let me tell you something. Mate, just let me tell you something here.

TOMMY

What?

MATT

 

 

 

 

 

PING!

Some people don’t deserve this kinda thing, ya know? Like, they didn’t ask for it or nothin’...

TOMMY

Don’t earn time matey, you’re dealt it.

MATT

Whatever man, I don’t need this pressure...I got girl troubles, see?

 

A mother and her small child stroll through the front entrance, clutching an environmental shopping bag.

Tommy forces the gun into Matt’s palm, holding it against his own temple, his finger concealed over the trigger.

The mother exchanges glances between Matt...then Tommy... then her daughter...

TOMMY

Call the police, ma'am. Hurry!
The mother grabs her child - back out the door in a huff.

Tommy grins, snatching a packet of vanilla cigars from behind the counter, lighting one up with his right hand, holding the phone receiver between his shoulder and neck, Matty still pinned down with his left palm.

TOMMY (CONT’D)

Girl troubles, huh?

MATT

Huh?

TOMMY

You said you got girl troubles.

MATT

Yeah.

TOMMY

What’s her name then?
(on phone)
Yeah! Just like the last three times! Who are you - Centrelink?!
(slams the phone down) Can you believe those guys?
(pause)
Now listen, quit your moping, what’s your girl’s name then?

MATT

...Shondrika.
Tommy takes a heavy puff of his cigar, puffing rings out.

TOMMY

That’s the most ridiculous broad’s name I ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot. An ethnic, ai?

MATT

Indian. And it’s just a name --

TOMMY

Says a lot of things.

 

MATT

Well. What’s yours?
Tommy leans the pistol harder on Matt’s head. Matt yelps. Tommy motions to the badge on his 7/11 T-shirt.

TOMMY

Tommy ain’t it? Like the gun.
(mock pistol with his cigar) POW! You’re Matt, yeah? Matt the Brat.

MATT

Of course, of course...Shondrika’s been gettin’ on my back about stuff lately, ya know? Finding a real job and everything.

TOMMY

She’s right - you have a ridiculously pathetic job. Did you do that census?

MATT

...my mum did it...

TOMMY

Typical. Your mumma musta been swallowed in her seat having to tick your job title, sonny. No one is gonna take a man in your position seriously.

MATT

I dropped out of uni, and believe me it wasn’t just cause I was lazy --

TOMMY

It’s always cause you’re lazy. What you have to learn from this situation, Matty, is to be a man of action. Take chances with you life, and then take responsibility for all your screwups. Excuses won’t save nobody. Trust me.
Matt starts crying - blubbering - like a baby. Tommy slaps him across the face.

TOMMY (CONT’D)

What’re you doin’, Matty? Don’t be no baby here. It’s insulting to my high intelligence.

MATT

Sorry...it’s just that all this talk about being a better man... takin’ chances...it’s kinda hard to swallow, ya know? I mean...I didn’t ask for any of this...

 

TOMMY

You keep saying that Matty, but it don’t mean nothin’. Who doesask for it Matty?Who does?
A POLICE SIREN goes off in the distance.
Tommy peers through the window at the deserted parking lot. POW! Matt’s fist strikes Tommy’s chin with a mighty wallop. Tommy head feet first behind the register.
Matt dives over the counter, reaching down to Tommy. He pulls himself back up soon after, clenching the pistol.

MATT

Gotchya!
Matt raises his arms in relief - so fast that the pistol slips out of his grasp. Tommy leaps up from the counter.

Both watch on with open eyes as the pistol flies through the air in SLOW MOTION as it rises up towards the ceiling, brushing past the fluorescent light, beginning its descent.

Matt and Tommy both dive in the air towards it, through the cat food aisle, a keen eye always remaining on the pistol.

The pistol slams against the drink fridge, bouncing back then landing safely onto a heaving pile of M&M’s. It stays there, the chocolates rustling under its weight.
Tommy and Matt remain at a standstill, a metre from the gun.

TOMMY

You don’t wanna die tonight do ya, Matty? Cause they trained me for this situation. I hope you believe that.

MATT

I don’t believe nothin’ anymore...
The gun slips past the chocolates, falling down again.
Matt has a faster reaction, swimming through the air. He clenches the pistol just before it hits the tiled floor.

TOMMY

NOOOO!
Tommy flings his right fist towards Matt’s face. Matt swerves out of the way, but hits his head hard against a huge box of dry cat food. Tommy leaps on top of Matt.

They wrestle for control.

 

MATT

Not...this...time...

TOMMY

You don’t have the balls.

MATT

AAAAAAAARGHHHHH!
Tommy grapples the pistol, but Matt picks up Tommy by his waist - hurling him through the air - across the room -

Tommy slams butt first into the coffee machine, still clenching the gun. Cappucino froth spurts out everywhere.

Matt grabs at the pistol, so as their hands clammer together, the gun fumbling between their conjoined paws.

BANG!

Matt’s index finger sets off the trigger.
The bullet slides past his ear, grazing its side.

MATT (CONT’D)

Holy crap!
Matt stumbles backwards. Tommy raises his right foot to pummel Matt to the ground, but Matt spins sideways into the aisle parallel, crouching out of sight.

Tommy turns his head sideways, leaning his ear inwards to the parallel aisle where MATT is [but he cannot see him].

TOMMY

Seems we’ve got a stand-off situation on our hands here.

MATT (O.S.)

Seems that way, don’t it?
FOCUS ON Matt. He secretly reaches for a can of cat food.

TOMMY (O.S.)

Hey do you know the term “fair play”? As in to have fair play.

MATT

Yeah...I know that term. INTERCUT between TOMMY and MATT.

 

TOMMY

Well my daddy was always beating on me when I was a kid, and he kept talkin’ about dishin’ out some kind of fair play. Now I was a bit confused myself, so one day I thought I’d look up that word in the dictionary.

MATT

What word?

TOMMY

Fair. I’d look up the word fair.

MATT

And what’d it say?
Matt’s fingers clasp over the can.

TOMMY

Well lots of stuff really...but one of the most common of the many definitions available for this complex and multi-faceted word, stated “fair” to mean “not excessive or extreme”.

MATT

Sounds about right.

TOMMY

Yeah. So anyways, I was thinkin’ then about how my daddy gave me the beatings, and he would say to me “son, this is just some fair play, cause you were a naughty boy”.
(pause)
And then it hit me square on the nose: if that beating was still classified as fair play by my daddy’s standards, then it was only logical for me to assume, that the words “excessive” or “extreme” are truly up to our interpretation.
Matt smiles, the can now firmly within his palm.

TOMMY (CONT’D)

So right now, how about no matter what happens, let’s just call it a bit of fair play. Alright?

MATT

Fine with me...WATCH OUT!
Matt hurls the cat food can into the air --

 

 

BANG!

Oh no!

TOMMY

Tommy shoots the can through its centre --

SQUISH!

Its contents fly over the two in thick squishy splashes.
After the explosion of grimy cat food rain has settled, Tommy and Matt remain standing opposite each other.

Tommy holds the pistol at his side. Matt licks his lips ravenously.

MATT

Chicken.
PING! The front entrance slides open...then closes.
PING! The front door slides open again.
A PUNK leaps inside brandishing a pellet gun. He has on a Ramones shirt, his hair gelled up in thick spikes.

PUNK

FREEZE!
He peers towards the front counter - which is empty...
The Punk turns his head to see Tommy holding his gun past Matt’s forehead - bull’s eye dead on the Punk’s own chest.

Matt smiles. Tommy bursts into laughter.
The Punk edges backwards towards the front entrance.

PUNK (CONT’D)

See you fellas around...
He shifts outside in a jerking motion. The door closes.
Tommy’s lit cigar rolls across the floor to Matt’s feet. Matt picks it up, taking in a gigantic puff.

MATT

(looking outside)
Strange how these things work out.
Tommy raises his gun to Matt, nodding his head.

TOMMY

Yeah...yeah, it’s strange.
Matt grins, flicking the lit cigar at Tommy’s face.

 

Heads up!

MATT

Tommy pulls back. Matt slides his foot across the floor and square onto Tommy’s knee cap with a thundering CRACK!

Tommy slips on the white foam from the coffee machine, landing flat on his ass. Matt grabs the gun off him, jumping backwards aiming it straight on Tommy’s groin.

MATT (CONT'D)

Think you’ll need that where you’re goin’?
Tommy doesn’t reply, huddled into a ball on the floor.

RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING!

Matt glances over at the phone. He steps slowly towards it.

 

Stay.

MATT (CONT’D)

Matt nervously picks up the phone receiver.

MATT (CONT’D)

(on phone) Yeah?...what? Huh?... emergency?...hold up? Here?
Matt glances back at Tommy, who is leaning awkwardly against the drink fridge, his face an odd pit of despair.

MATT (CONT’D)

(on phone)
Think you got the wrong number, friend.
Matt places the handset back down.

TOMMY

Geez. Too right, mate.

MATT

Yeah well you can thank your lucky stars that I’m feeling sentimental this evening. Must be the full moon or somethin’.
Matt turns his back to Tommy, heading outside. He swings back to Tommy.

MATT (CONT’D)

Let’s get outta here. This shift’s over. You can lock up. Keys are in the front pocket.

 

TOMMY

Yeah. Ladies first.
Matt smirks, stepping on the front doormat.

PING!

The door opens. Matt steps outside, Tommy close behind.

MOTHER (O.S.)

That’s him! That’s the guy!
A COP flies across the door outside, body-slamming into Matt’s chest - hurling him to the side of the road.

Tommy leaps back inside the store, toppling onto the floor. Police SIRENS blare out from the parking area.

POLICE (O.S.)

(on loudspeaker) Lean against the wall. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say...
Tommy grins from the safety of the store, scrambling up. He reaches over the front counter, hitting his palm gently against the cash register. It shutters open.

TOMMY

Score one: Matt the Brat. Tommy gun: zero.
Tommy grabs the money inside the register, shoving it in his inside coat pocket. He turns to the side of the counter – on the upper side of the far wall is a photo:

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH – Tommy Turlip

The picture is of Matt, frowning solemnly.
The real Matt [formerly known as Tommy] pulls off a post- it note from the counter, scrawling a note. He rolls half the money into a ball, shoving it and the post-it inside the real Tommy’s [formerly known as Matt] blue beanie.

He flings the beanie inside the counter drawer, on top of a school photo of a pretty Indian girl - SHONDRIKA GUPTA.

Matt strolls through the back door, chuckling to himself. The back door slams shut.
Police sirens still blare from outside the front car park. FOCUSSING ON Tommy’s beanie: the post-it reads “fair play” CUT TO BLACK

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