by Jennifer Norridge

Short Film

Have you ever seen a shoe by the side of the road and wondered how it ended up there? This comic adventure follows the turbulent quest of a child's shoe who desperately seeks to escape from his indistinguishable shelf-life and follow his dream of becoming a single, extraordinary sole.

A MAN sits alone on a bench a few feet from the bus stop. He struggles to hold up a large newspaper which hides his face.
He has a briefcase perched by his side, and below the bench we can just make out what seems to be some sort of discarded SHOE.
We get closer.
Someone once said that life is what you make of it, if you want something badly enough you've just got to go out there and get it. Carpe diem, seize the day.
(a beat)
That's bollocks.
A BUS pulls up blocking our view of the bench. The engine vibrates for a moment before slowly pulling out again.
The MAN has gone.
Close in on the shoe underneath.
Look at me, what a sad, lonely, pathetic loser I must look. I had dreams once too you know, ambitions. I wanted to be adored.
The deafening sound of heavy machinery can be heard whirring and clinking; metal wheels, conveyor belts, lights, drill parts - it's all one big confusing mass of factory 'clunkiness'.
A press jolts down into a sheet of black rubber, leaving behind a small shoe-shaped outline. The sheet is moved and another pair of holes are made.
We see the frantic needle of a sewing machine thrusting up and down, a black thread woven into a piece of black material.
Sticky glue is painted liberally onto a small piece of black rubber, all done with precision and endless repetition.
Two small black PUMPS, the sort worn by school children, fall onto a conveyor belt. It moves them through the factory but we can see that they are not alone, but are just one identical pair of hundreds of pumps.
If you're a twin you might understand. There'll always be a part of your soul ingrained on your sibling, and theirs on you. But there's a desire to be different too, to be special, to be...
The Pumps are lifted from the conveyor belt by a pair of hands and roughly jostled into a small SHOEBOX. A layer of tissue paper is folded around them and a lid places on top of the box.
The box is stacked onto a large pile of other boxes.
The same boxes from before are now lined up in a row on a wooden shelf. They all look identical but for a small white label on the front giving the various sizes.
There are several pumps out on a display, each one slightly bigger than the next, but all of them only the right foot.
For weeks I lay there, still, untouched. Dreaming of the day when someone would recognize that I wasn't meant to be here, that I had something special to offer. I was screaming inside, yelling for someone just to come along,
(a beat)
and set me free.
A pair of hands reach up to lift out one of the boxes. They hold it there just for a second to point to the number on the label before the box comes down.
The lid is lifted and one of the pumps is taken out.
We see a small BOY sitting next to his MOTHER in a shoe shop. A SHOP ASSISTANT kneels down in front of him with one of his feet in one hand and the pump in the other. She pushes the pump onto the little boy's foot.
She quickly takes the other pump and fits it onto his other foot.
All eyes turn to the boy's face, awaiting a reaction of some sort, a smile, anything. He SHRUGS his shoulders.
The shop assistant feels his toes through the pumps, gently looking for room. He stands up and walks a few paces to check the fit.
He stops in front of a mirror to look but all we really see is the reflection of the shoes, of though the pumps were admiring themselves.
I was free, I was wanted
(a beat)
I was beautiful!
The Little boy and his mother exit the shoe shop carrying a plastic bag with what is clearly a shoe box inside. Happy with his purchase, the boy starts to swing the bag as his mother continues to pull him around the other shops.
A small pair of feet wearing the black pumps, they are facing forward as though the boy stands facing us. To his side there are more black pumps, almost identical, and then more feet, and more, all wearing the same sort of black shoes.
-- The Black Pumps kick a football in the playground
-- We see the pumps running along a corridor, squeaking as they go.
-- Standing on some newspaper we see a blob of green paint splash down onto the front of the pump.
-- The black pumps twist around the small legs of a school chair, the green paint still visible.
-- The boy sits on the floor with his legs crossed though we cannot see his face. His little fingers pick away at the black rubber trim around the front of the pump.
-- More running around the playground, but this time the pumps are starting to look particularly scruffy.
-- The Pumps are thrust into a wooden shoe rack, a sort of pigeon hole for shoes. There is a label giving each child's name underneath: CALLUM. The Pumps are stuffed inside, barely standing out amongst the other identical pairs of shoes.
Life became a routine, it was the same thing, day in day out, we were puppets. We were slaves.
(a beat)
I knew I had to get out.
-- The Pumps get stuffed inside a small rucksack, though it isn't properly fastened and they stick out of the top when the boy flings it over his back.
The little boy hurries to his mother who is waiting for him by the school gates. They begin to walk home but our attention is drawn towards the rucksack - one of the pumps can be seen peeping out of the top.
As the little boy and his mother approach a road crossing, the PUMP falls from the bag and onto the ground. No one seems to have noticed.
The Pump rests against the kerb of the pavement, recognizable now only because of the green paint. It lays motionless.
Daytime fades to night.
I lay there unconscious for hours, stranded. I never got to say goodbye but it was probably better this way, in just that moment I had achieved the unachieveable...I was free, and the world was my oyster.
The sound of a loud HUMMING can be heard. We soon see the source of the noise, a great big council street cleaner, complete with vacuum and bristled wheels. It makes its way along the kerb, edging closer and closer towards the PUMP.
It hits. The black spinning bristles engorge the pump, swallowing it up like a monster.
The machine shudders, it chokes for a moment before being switched off.
The CLEANER TUTS and rolls his eyes as his machine breaks down. He lifts the front of the cleaning machine, and has a look inside.
He reaches inside and seems to be searching around a little bit before finally pulling out the Pump. He tosses it over his shoulder before starting the machine up again.
The Pump flies through the air and lands right into the middle of the pavement where a MAN is approaching with his pet DOG - a large brown beast who has spotted the shoe falling from the sky.
I battled the beast but the beast won. Darkness took me as I surrendered to my destiny, a stinking, watery grave.
The dog stretches out pulling his owner off track. It's salivating tongue and eager eyes hone in on the pump as they pass and the dog picks it up in his mouth and carries it away.
We see the pump sticking out of the mouth of the dog as it walks along the street.
The dog owner's feet stride alongside him, pacing quickly as though in a hurry to be somewhere, the dog keeps up the pace.
They stop by the side of the road for a moment and the dog starts to chew on the pump. A hand comes into view and battles with the dog's jaw for control of the little shoe.
I believe something great looked down on me that day. A hand from the sky reached out and touched me, as though willing me not to give in, to stay and fight, as though knowing my place on this earth was for far greater things. The Gods saved me.
The dog finally releases the pump and the hand tosses it away.
The Pump lands by the bench we saw earlier, there is an old woman queuing at the bus stop but she doesn't see it.
A MAN sits alone on the bench a few feet from the bus stop. He struggles to hold a large newspaper in the breeze and it hides his face from us.
He has a briefcase perched by his side, and below the bench we can just make out what seems to be some sort of discarded SHOE.
We get closer.
So here I am, tossed aside, cast away from view, too ugly for anyone to even notice me. But I'm alive.
A bus pulls in and the MAN hurries to get on. The bus quickly pulls away and silence returns as it drives away.
Rain drops start to fall but quickly gather pace and as the heavens open, the rain pours from the sky.
We close in on the PUMP, drenched and filthy. Until --
-- A grubby man's HAND picks up the pump.
We see that it is a HOMELESS MAN, his clothes are messy and his face full of knotted hair. He barely even looks at the shoe before shoving it into one of his pockets before continuing along the street in the rain.
The HOMELESS MAN continues through the now empty town, the rain is still pouring but it doesn't seem to phase him.
The streets are empty but for a few cars crawling through the rain, the HOMELESS MAN crosses the street without the care to look both ways as he goes.
He stops by a dust-bin where he reaches inside and rummages through. He pulls out a drinks can, shakes it a little and then throws it back in the bin. He pulls out a discarded sandwich still in its plastic wrapper. He shoves it into one of his pockets.
The HOMELESS MAN staggers towards a small red-bricked bridge that crosses the river. A dirty track runs alongside the riverbank, overlooked by a long hedge and several trees that stretch out towards the water.
There is a blanket and several plastic bags underneath the bridge where the homeless man has set up a make-shift nest for himself. Empty food cartons and cans litter the ground nearby.
He takes a seat on the blanket and rifles through his days takings, tucking into the sandwich and straightening out some discarded cigarettes.
He seems the gentle sort. No one wants to talk to him but he's a survivor, like me. I think this could be the beginning of a new relationship, together we can conquer. Kindred spirits.
He removes the pump from his pocket and looks at it for a moment. He places it against his foot but it's clearly too small for his own feet. He tosses it into the river in front of him.
With a gentle SPLASH the pump rides along the current for a few seconds before being submerged and sinking into the brown water.
The underwater echoes of the river's current seem almost deafening. A rush of water carry the pump away as it starts to sink to the bottom, dragged along the dirt and crap that lines the riverbed.
A small FISH approaches. It looks at the pump curiously for a moment before continuing on with its journey and leaving the little shoe all alone in its muddy grave.
The sun shines down on the riverbank where the fast running river has now drained into a quiet and still stream.
A shopping trolley just out of the clay, making an almost grand epitaph for a familiar figure. There, in the crumbling clay peeps out the toe of a little pump.
A small BEEPING SOUND can be heard.
The base of a METAL DETECTOR stretches down over the river bank and is waved over the shopping trolley. It pulls away before a pair of hands reach down to investigate.
A young MAN stretches down and tries to shift the trolley but it's stuck fast in the ground. He scratches his head and looks around for anything else that might be of interest before finally resting his eyes on the pump.
A light...this must be heaven.
The MAN tugs at the pump, scratching away at the clay around it to dig it out.
He pulls the pump out of the ground and looks at it curiously for a moment as he tries to identify what it is.
He smiles.
Still caked in clay the pump sits still on a white block.
There is a small SIGN on the side of the block which reads: PUMP IN CLAY - DANIEL JONES.
Moving out we can see that there are other pieces of art work dispersed around the large white room. Sculptures, modern art, rare pieces lining the room but none with the same magnificent presence as the centerpiece, the little pump.
Someone once said that life is what you make of it. I've suffered but I've survived and I always knew that I was special somehow, I was born for this, to be admired.
(a beat)
I like to think my twin is looking down on me from heaven, It's important to never forget your roots, they make you who you are. I'm a fighter, I'm a star...
A small group of admirers walk past, admiring the artwork and gasping in awe.
I'm unique!

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