The Three Men By Jeff Nottingham
EXT. PLATFORM, STATION - DAY It’s a small town/suburban station with only a platform, bench, and covered shelter. The day is cold, and still, and silent. Somebody is sitting in the shelter, but all we can SEE is their ripped dirty trainers sticking out. We HEAR footsteps crunching through (gravel/snow?). MATTHEW, a young man in his late teens, and PETER (40s), are walking onto the platform at the other end, burdened with heavy carry-all bags. Matthew wears jeans and a thick hooded sweater, a scarf round his neck. Peter is smartly dressed in a long coat. They walk half way along the platform and put the bags down. Peter rubs his hands together and blows into them. Matthew walks a few steps over to the TV SCREEN. He SEES: LONDON HEATHROW | DUE 11:00AM | ON TIME INSERT: Station clock: 10:55AM PETER On time? Matthew looks back at Peter and nods. Peter sits down on the BENCH. Matthew looks along the rail tracks, they stretch out as far as the eye can see. The silence makes it impossible to imagine a train arriving. Matthew’s attention is suddenly drawn to the protruding trainers. As he watches them, they withdraw into the shelter. He steps back and sits down next to Peter. They’re silent for several seconds. PETER Ignore him. Matthew nervously taps his foot to an imaginary tune. Reaching inside his coat he takes out a tobacco pouch, and rolls a cigarette. Matthew pats his coat looking for his lighter. He glances sheepishly at Peter.
PETER (CONT’D) (raises his palms) I didn’t pack it. Take it as a sign to quit. We SEE along the platform, a stream of cigarette smoke blows out from the shelter. Matthew and Peter both see it. Matthew stands up. PETER (appealing) You don’t owe him anything. Matthew gives Peter a reassuring smile. MATTHEW Don’t worry. He walks towards the shelter. Peter watches. INSERT: Clock changes from 10:55AM to 10:56AM CUT TO EXT. SHELTER, STATION - DAY C.U on LIT ROLLED CIGARETTE. We HEAR the crunch of Matthew’s approaching footsteps. REVEAL: ALEX, a dirty, untidy man in his 40s. His eyes lock onto Matthew as he arrives in front of the shelter. Matthew avoids Alex’s eye contact, and sits down beside him. Alex reaches in his pocket and produces a lighter, which he flicks into flame and offers to Matthew. Matthew raises his cigarette and allows Alex to light it. Both men take a drag and blow the smoke out of the shelter. CUT TO EXT. PLATFORM, STATION - DAY Peter SEES both plumes of smoke blow out of the shelter. He closes his eyes. Then opens them and looks towards the station clock. INSERT: Clock changes from 10:56AM to 10:57AM
CUT TO EXT. SHELTER, STATION - DAY Alex reaches beneath his tracksuit top and pulls out an ENVELOPE. He offers it to Matthew. Matthew continues to look out in front, doesn’t acknowledge the letter. ALEX Don’t punish me. MATTHEW You’re punishing yourself. ALEX I’m trying to say sorry. I wrote it all down. Matthew allows himself a curious glance at the envelope. Written on the front it says ’MATTHEW, MY DEAR SON’. For the first time, Matthew looks at Alex and their eyes meet. We HEAR: PETER (O.S) (calling) Two minutes son. CUT TO INSERT: Clock changes from 10:57AM to 10:58AM. EXT. PLATFORM, STATION - DAY Peter gets up and leans down to pick up both bags. EXT. SHELTER, STATION - DAY Matthew looks back out in front of him. Alex shakes his head sadly. We HEAR the VIBRATING rails. Alex stands up and steps forward onto the platform. ALEX Our train’s coming.
MATTHEW OUR train? EXT. PLATFORM, STATION - DAY Peter is walking down the platform, labouring with the weight of both of Matthew’s bags. He can see Alex standing near the platform edge, and sees Matthew emerge from the shelter too. We SEE the train approaching. CUT TO MATTHEW I take the letter, you leave right? Alex nods. Peter stops with the bags, staying at a respectful distance. Matthew takes the envelope from Alex, but the instant Matthew’s hand closes on it, Alex brings his other hand up and holds Matthew’s wrist. ALEX (pleading) Don’t go. The train is nearly there. Peter starts forward to intervene, and Alex drops Matthew’s wrist. Alex walks slowly along the platform towards the exit. Matthew turns towards Peter. PETER Don’t go. They share a fond smile, and hug tightly. C.U - Matthew is saying something to Peter, but all we can HEAR is the TRAIN as it pulls noisily into the station. They slap each other on the back, then Peter helps Matthew to put his bags on board. CUT TO Alex stands by the exit and watches as Matthew climbs on board and the doors slide shut.
As the train leaves, both men wave. Twenty seconds later the train is gone, and the only SOUND remaining is the crunching footsteps of the two men as they walk towards one another. PETER I am sorry Alex. From his back pocket he reveals the unopened envelope and holds it out - we can clearly see â€™Matthew, my dear son.â€™ written on the front. Alex takes the envelope with a shaking hand, tears spring to his eyes. Peter walks towards the exit. FADE OUT
Published on Feb 1, 2011