TREADMILLS

by Ben Calder

Short Film
Email: check_messages@hotmail.com

As she leans in to boost the machine another level, she misplaces her foot and falls off in spectacular fashion, colliding with the stationary bike behind her with a humiliatingly loud crash. The young man has now noticed her:

INT. CARDIO ROOM OF PUBLIC GYM- DAY

A young lady, GRACE, early twenties wearing close-fitting jogging gear is running on a treadmill in a public gym, listening to her ipod.

A young man, ROB, early twenties wearing expensive brand name running clothing gets on the treadmill next to Grace’s. Grace gives a subtle double-take, likes what she sees and reaches in to increase her speed on the machine. She looks in his direction more obviously and starts swinging her arms more. She increases the speed again and starts breathing loudly. She increases speed.

As she leans in to boost the machine another level, she misplaces her foot and falls off in spectacular fashion, colliding with the stationary bike behind her with a humiliatingly loud crash. The young man has now noticed her:

ROB
Are you ok? That was quite a fall…
   (Worried)

GRACE
I’m fine, thanks. My ego’s got a pretty big bruise though.
   (Embarrassed)

ROB
You were going pretty fast. I thought you were a legless sprinter who wanted to break the land speed record or something. I’m surprised you lasted that long, especially this early in the day!
   (joking)

Rob helps Grace to her feet

GRACE (LAUGHS)
Yeah. I always have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing. Terrible affliction of mine.
   (smiles up at Rob)

ROB (LAUGHS)
  I’m Rob, anyway.

Rob extends his hand and Grace takes it

GRACE
Grace. Thanks for your help.   


ROB (GRINS)
Well, maybe the experience will help you fall off with a little more finesse next time…

There is a pause while they look at each other.

ROB
I better do some more running before MY brain finds out what I’m doing.
  (smiles)
     

Grace smiles and watches him start running again before putting her headphones back in and leaving the room.

The screen fades to black and onscreen writing in the bottom right of screen reads: SOME DAYS LATER.

EXT. CITY STREET/STEPS OUTSIDE A BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Now clothed in neat casual attire and decidedly unsweaty, Grace walks up the steps of an inner city bar-restaurant, fishing a piece of paper from her bag as she goes.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Walking toward the main bar, Grace is distracted by her bag’s clip and doesn’t notice the barman looking her up and down from behind the bar. It is Rob. She looks up, and is momentarily caught tongue-tied.

ROB
Hi. How you doing? No jogging gear I see.
   (smiles)
  
Grace sits down on a stool and puts her bag and resume on the bar top.


GRACE
No, I’m avoiding running at the moment. Whenever I feel like it I just watch television briskly for a little while.
  
Rob laughs out loud, making Grace visibly more comfortable and relaxed.

ROB
Can I get you a drink? Juice? beer? A coffee maybe? I mix a mean orange-soy-mocha-frappaccino…

GRACE
One of those sounds great. Strictly De-caf and with a dash of lemon thanks.
  (grins)

Rob begins loudly banging away behind the coffee machine, milk and steam billowing every which way. He eventually presents Grace with a Flat White coffee with too much milk and coffee stains on the mug. He spills it on the saucer.

ROB
Voila. I ask you, why am I not head barista round here?
  (smiles)  

Grace sits back and looks at the mug of coffee.

GRACE
I have no idea! honestly.
   (sarcastically)

She takes a sip and tries to hide her face as she winces. Rob laughs. Grace looks at him with a masked smile and says, somewhat flirtatiously:

GRACE
That is, truly, the crappest coffee I have ever had. Thank you very much.

ROB
My pleasure. (Bows) So, Grace, you’re looking for work?

GRACE
    (surprised)
Actually, yeah. How did you know?

Rob nods at the resume on the bar. Grace places her hand on it.

ROB
It’s lucky you came in you know. Ella left a few days ago. When can you start?

This catches Grace unawares. Before she can speak, Rob cuts in.

ROB
Don’t worry, there’re no treadmills here. Just beer taps, some glassware and a coffee machine.
  (waves at the coffee machine)
Grace looks and smiles.

GRACE
Sounds comparatively safe really. I could still impale myself on the taps, slice up my hands or get burnt with hot coffee though…

ROB
I’ll leave that up to you. Come in on Wednesday for a trial shift, say three o’clock?

GRACE
  It’s a date!

Grace hands Rob her resume and he smiles softly at her without actually looking at the paper.

The screen fades to black and there is onscreen writing in the bottom right hand corner reading: WEDNESDAY

INT. BASEMENT STAFF ROOM OF BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Grace is finishing changing into her all black semi-formal work uniform of slacks, collared shirt, black tie and leather shoes.  She walks out of the room, tying her hair in a ponytail with a hair tie that was around her wrist as she goes.


INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Grace is adjusting her uniform as she comes into the main bar. Rob is setting things in place on the surface of the bar and hears her behind him.

ROB
All right, let’s go. I’ll show you how everything works. First the till…

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob is showing Grace the till operations, pointing out various functions. Grace is watching Rob and nodding.

Fade to the next scene.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob is demonstrating how to pour spirits into the ‘jigger’ (30mL measure) and pointing out various spirits. Grace is casually leaning against the bar as he does.

Fade to the next scene

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob is showing Grace where the various red wines are stored above the bar and the white wines in the fridges below the bar surface. Grace takes a keen interest when Rob bends down to show her the white wines in the fridge.

Fade to the next scene.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob waves at the wine glasses hanging above the spirit bottles then turns around and points out the other glassware under the bar.

Fade to the next scene.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob is finishing making a coffee. We see him pour the milk to make another terrible flat white. He presents it to Grace with a serious face and she takes it with a badly disguised grin. They both soon laugh out loud. In this scene, Grace has been leaning quite close to Rob, in his personal space; it is clear that there is some mutual interest between them.

Fade to the next scene

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob and Grace are walking up the stairs together. They are chatting amiably as they walk.

Fade to the next scene

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob is showing Grace the kitchen and where to gather food from, how to check off orders etc.

Fade to the next scene.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Rob and Grace are in the toilet together. Rob is demonstrating how to change the toilet roll. The cubicle is clearly only meant for one person, but neither Rob nor Grace appear to be too uncomfortable to be in there together.

Fade to black

While he has been showing her the ins and outs of the business, it is clear that Grace has been far more interested in watching him than learning how everything works.

Whilst music has been playing over the top of this montage, it fades out as Rob opens the door to the back of the bar-restaurant.

INT. DOORWAY LEADING TO LANEWAY- DAY

ROB
…and this is where you put the empty kegs, as well as all the rubbish and recycling.. (pause)

At this point, Grace and the young man are standing together in the doorway, very close. They are looking into one another’s eyes.


ROB
So did you have any questions? About anything…?

Grace bites her lip and looks at her feet. She then looks up at him, her head tilted.

GRACE
Um… not really. (pause) Well… I was going to ask before but… well. I just didn’t know, you know… if… if you…


The business telephone rings loudly, cutting across their conversation.

ROB
Hold that thought, I’ll be right back.

She nods and gives a closed mouth smile. He leaves to answer the telephone and Grace follows him with her gaze.

INT. BAR-RESTAURANT- DAY

Grace walks in as Rob is talking on the telephone. She wanders over to a couch near Rob and sits down. His last words can be heard:

ROB
Ok. I’ll see you then. Eight o’clock? (pause) all right. Seya.

Rob comes to join Grace at the couch. He leans on the back of a chair.

GRACE (SMILES)
Who was on the phone?

ROB
On the phone? That was just my boyfriend Adam. We’re going to a film tonight. (Pause) What were you about to say?

Grace is frozen into dumbfounded silence as the screen fades to black.

     
END

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