Swat

by David O'Brien

Short Film
Email: screenplays@bigpond.com

George wants to sit in a park and read his book. The book is about talking with people and that's all Louie wants to do. What do you do when your simplest wish is subverted by a pest? This film won best film and best script at Brekfest Film Competition at the NSW Art Gallery in 1999.

Simply about how George meets and deals with Louie. The storyboard is available and the film can be found on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvESe6ctjOo&feature=plcp

SWAT

EXT. PARK WITH BENCH                       MIDDAY

GEORGE is a bland man in his mid fifties with thinning hair and cardigan, the kind you’d walk past without noticing. He takes delight isolating himself inside a book.
Today he’s on a bench in Parramatta Park and is engrossed in a book.

We hear a blowfly buzzing nearby.

BLOWFLY point of view. We investigate a dirty brown swamp, hover around discarded chewing gum stuck to a fencepost and then move in toward George. We’re getting to him in jagged squares, no real commitment to bother the man but we inevitably do.

George swats us away with his book and tries to continue despite the disturbed buzz of the blowfly.

TITLE:   SWAT

As if out of nowhere LOUIE appears on the bench. He’s in his early twenties and a hyperactive, inquisitive type with a simple but agitated manner and bright streaks of sunscreen on his face. From the first moment he wants to talk with George and won’t leave him alone. He tries reading over George’s shoulder but cannot restrain himself.

LOUIE:
Good book?

George tries to shrug him off, he wants to read, tries to signal that the interruption is not appropriate.

GEORGE:
Uh huh!

LOUIE:
I read a book once.

GEORGE:
Congratulations.

Louie is miffed by the obvious rejection to his offer of friendship. He sits for a moment trying to find something to distract him. Nothing does and George hasn’t moved so there must be some form of approval in his presence on the bench. Surely he wants company but doesn’t know how to get it. Louie decides to befriend the poor old bugger.

LOUIE:
What’s it about?

George wants this pest to go away. He offers a concession.

GEORGE:
What it means to be human.

LOUIE:
Fair bit of scope!

Louie is sure his bright humour will win the day and chuckles to himself. George stoically continues.

GEORGE:
Mmm!

An indecisive moment in which Louie can see he’s not getting far and should leave. But it’s not in his nature.

LOUIE:
So what does it mean?

GEORGE:
What?

LOUIE:
To be human?

GEORGE:
I’m trying to find out.

LOUIE:
Any clues?

GEORGE:
Probably, given the chance to read them.

LOUIE:
Go ahead! It’s important stuff!
Not like the shitty little book I read. It’s about this quiet bloke and he’s reading and this nosey prick comes up and wants to talk to him. Now the bloke on the bench just wants to read, nothing else.
So he ignores him.
But this guy just keeps nattering away like there’s no tomorrow. The irony is the book he’s reading is all about talking to people.
(a beat)
So this Theodore Zeldin, good author?

GEORGE:
(abrupt)
Yes!

LOUIE:
Full of New age crap is he?

GEORGE:
He’s very clear.
(and then)
Excuse me!

George surrenders the bench to Louie and walks abruptly away. He leaves Louie looking startled and hurt.
Was it something he did?
Something he said?
He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.

 

 

EXT. PARK/ UNDER A TREE               AFTERNOON

George lays out his briefcase and blanket on a patch of grass under a tree. He’s settled as he examines the text of his book. Its dust jacket announces its contents.
There’s the distinct sound of a hovering blow-fly.
Louie’s voice intrudes over the buzzing.
The sound of the fly quickly fades.

LOUIE:
A good little conflict is working itself into a frenzy by this time because all the guy wants is a conversation. Now you wouldn’t think that’s too much to ask. But no! Mr Stuck-Up Dick-Head needs to be left alone to read his book. He can’t sway him by being nice and friendly and polite so he stalks him. There’s nowhere the prick with the book can go without the questing guy knowing. Trouble is it’s the sort of thing that can turn nasty. . if you know what I mean.

GEORGE:
Maybe I do!
What is it that you want?

Louie realises his simple story is misunderstood. And the most terrible part is this gentleman is taking it in a deeply personal way. 

LOUIE:
Me?
Sorry! I was just trying to tell you about this book I read.
(and then)
I’ve upset you haven’t I?
I’m sorry!

George realises he won’t rid himself of the pest until he gives him what he wants. It’ll only take minutes of his time then peace will be restored. He sighs and begins but cannot restrain a rising anger. His rights are violated, this pest should leave, he’s held to ransom by some idiot.

GEORGE:
I’m reading ‘Conversations’ by Theodore Zeldin. He says talking with people with whom we have nothing in common seems to be worth pursuing, that humanity is a family that’s hardly met.
I’ll get you a quote.
(it takes him a quick search)
‘Finding something admirable or touching in an incomprehensible or obnoxious person is profoundly satisfying . .’
Does that make sense to you?
Do you find it useful? Insightful?

LOUIE:
Shit yeh!
I know people like that.

GEORGE:
Good!
I recommend the book.
Read it! You’ll enjoy it, it might teach you a thing or two about yourself. You can come here and tell others, the way you do, without invitation. But you’ll leave me out won’t you?

LOUIE:
Yeh!

GEORGE:
I’m leaving now. That alright with you?

LOUIE:
Why wouldn’t it be?

GEORGE:
Just checking.

George snatches up his blanket and briefcase and, without shaking off dust and grass, marches away in an untidy bundle. Louie watches him go and realises things are left unsaid. He shouts after George.

LOUIE:
I’ll get it. .
and read it. . and finish it. Even if I don’t like it.
Thank you!

George turns away, exasperation stuck to his face.
He stands his ground breathing deeply and tucks the blanket under his arm. He has the entire park to himself. There must be somewhere he can spread the blanket. He spots a place and strides toward it. But there comes the darting buzzing sound he dreads.
With it is the persistent presence of Louie.

LOUIE:
Suddenly!
There he is again!
You expected him. You can’t go off without knowing what happens. Stories need to be finished or there’s no point telling them.
They have a talk about the book and the stuck-up type thinks they’ve got some agreement.
But they just shared a grunt or two. It’s a limp ending, doesn’t pay off the suspense we’ve been building. How will he shake him? His appetite’s been given a jolt, he’s hungry to know more. But he’s been pushed aside and that pisses him off seriously.
George waits for more, aware he’s collided with a psycho. He has to handle him with kid-gloves. Maybe he’ll just let him talk until he’s talked out. Then he’ll go away, no harm done. But Louie is saying nothing, just walking alongside.

GEORGE:
Is that your punch-line?

LOUIE:
You’re kidding!
I’m building the suspense for you, feeding the tension, promising a shock ending.
Can’t you sense that?
(he’s suddenly aggressive)
You look smart but you’re like all those other fucking idiots. What if there’s no point?
I might deconstruct. . then I might build and build until. . nothing happens and we’re left with all sorts of questions.
What if there’s no point, no premise, no theme!
What if it’s all stuff.
(beat)
Does life have a punch-line.

It is forceful and threatening.
George is amazed he’s still alive.

GEORGE:
Yes! 
Death.

LOUIE:
That’s right!

George is desperate but too weary to defend himself.

GEORGE:
Go away!

In a blink of an eye, Louie has gone and George can hardly believe it. He’s nowhere to be found and George is in the middle of a vast oval.
How could he do that?

EXT, PARK. TREE BY RIVER                             DAY

George again tries to settle peacefully. He puts his bag and blanket under the tree certain he hears the blowfly. Maybe he imagined it.
He sits down, tentative and edgy but alone.
He checks the branches of the tree expecting to find Louie up there somewhere. Nothing’s there. He settles into his book, falling deeper into the sense of it.

The buzz of a blowfly. George closes his eyes.
There’s Louie in the branches George checked moments ago. And he’s got plenty to say.

LOUIE:
He looks everywhere and finds him. It’s like you and me, life imitating art. . spooky isn’t it? Sends chills down my spine. It’ll be ugly, brutal.
See the guy trying to read hates people. He’s never got close to anyone and when his personality splits in two the evil half comes out and there’s always a brutal murder.
He’s on a deeply personal mission to rid the world of fools, pests and idiots.
He’s chosen this day to begin. Guess what he does next.

GEORGE:
I’ll tell you!

LOUIE AND GEORGE
(TOGETHER)
He reaches into his bag.
A stiletto’s his weapon of choice.
LOUIE AND GEORGE CONT:
He knows how to kill and never hesitates. You never turn your back to this man. But knowing what to do doesn’t always mean you do it and. . .
(realisation)
Oh Shit!

Blood trickles out of Louie’s mouth, his eyes glaze and stare, gasping and dying he sinks to his knees.
There’s a long knife in his kidneys as he flops forward. George withdraws the weapon, wipes it and drops it back in his briefcase, then neatly clips the case shut.
He picks up the book he’s been trying to read and finds his place.

As the shot widens he’s the only person in frame.
George notices the camera and talks into it.

GEORGE:
And for the rest of the day nobody bothered him, he finished his book which was illuminating and went home to tea with his mum.

END CREDITS.

Download Script

Script Submission Form

Sponsored Links