7 minute script: the power cut

7 minute short films

The Power Cut

Revisions

27 September 09 – First Draft

By

Lisa Sinclair

“The power cut”

INT BEDROOM NIGHT 1.

It was a dark and stormy night… One with an oversupply of thunder, lightning, wind and rain.

We are focussed on a digital clock on someone’s bedside table. The numbers are glowing in the near darkness.

There is an electrical crackle and suddenly the digits go off.

FADE OUT

INT BEDROOM DAY 2

The sun is shining through a crack in the curtain and illuminates two sleeping figures in the bed. They have no idea they’ve overslept. One is DAVID, the other is MICHAEL.

DAVID has major issues with his parents. He gets quite upset when around them and when they’re brought up. He had an unhappy childhood (but didn’t we all?).

MICHAEL had major issues with his parents, but is over them now. The parents AND the issues. His reasoning is that he’s not going to engage with any of their crap. DAVID still engages, which causes friction.

CUT TO

DAVID slowly opens his eyes, and you can see him smile — it was a very restful nights sleep. He focusses slowly on the clock which is now flashing numbers:

04:35

We can see synapses begin to fire by the expression on his face, which turns from general amiability to confusion then to horrified realisation.

He springs upward from the bed and grabs for the mobile, suddenly realising he’s hurt himself with the sudden movement. He doubles-over and falls to the floor, which wakes MICHAEL

MICHAEL is the more relaxed member of the couple.

MICHAEL

(rising slowly from the bed. He smiles as the sunlight crosses his face)

What are you doing?

DAVID rolls onto his back and groans, That really hurt, but in a Man-Flu kind of way. Used to being invincible, he’s a man who complains bitterly at any ailment, much to the amusement of MICHAEL.

DAVID

The power went out last night. We’ve got to get moving.

MICHAEL

Just let’s slow down a minute. What time is it?

DAVID

(short)

That’s what I was trying to find out!

MICHAEL

(reasonably)

By hurting yourself?

DAVID

(hasn’t heard Michael’s statement)

Jeez, this is all I need. They’re hard enough to deal with as it is. I’ll never hear the end of it.

From this exchange, we’ve hopefully established who is the “man” and who is the “woman” of the relationship. For the sake of clarity, DAVID is the man, MICHAEL is the woman. Gender stuff is hard, mmm-kay.

DAVID stands in his underwear.

DAVID

We’ve got to pick up the kids from my mum and dad’s by 9.30!

MICHAEL

So let’s work out the time.

DAVID

Shit! Phone’s died.

He restrains himself, even though he’d like to throw it at the wall.

MICHAEL

It must have some charge in it? Have you done a reset?

DAVID

(frustrated, patronising)

There’s been a power cut. The phone hasn’t charged at all

MICHAEL

Fine, I’ll check mine.

DAVID

If mine’s dead, so will yours–

MICHAEL

Eight thirty. In the morning. We’ve got an hour.

DAVID

(panicing)

Oh SHIT, We’ll never make it to mum and dads in time! The traffic is chaos this time of day!

MICHAEL

(reasonable and calm)

We’ve got plenty of time. It’ll just mean we might be a bit late.

DAVID

They said they were going out at ten! Shit, shit, shit.

MICHAEL

(sighs, patient but not surprised at DAVID’s reaction)

(murmurs)

You get this out of your system

(to DAVID)

I’ll call them up.

DAVID

They don’t like you!

MICHAEL

(in his best terrorist negotiator voice)

It’ll be fine. Really. Just calm down.

MICHAEL dials the number while DAVID reacts with self-imposed impotent annoyance. High levels of passive-aggression here. DAVID is offended that he’s been accused of overreacting. He’s unhappy enough with the kids being at the parents place as it is. but MICHAEL convinced him it would be okay over his better judgement.

MICHAEL

Hi, is that June? It’s Michael here. No, we’re fine, but there was a power cut last night and our alarms got reset. Sorry, we’re running late.

DAVID

They’re going to be impossible to deal with from now on. We’re never going to make it before they go out.

JUNE is DAVID’s mum. And at 80 is slightly dotty. DAVID thinks she’s putting it on and has all the patience of a very impatient man who doesn’t like his parents anyway. If that makes sense.

JUNE

(over phone – she’s not upset by the way)

Oh, that’s okay! Are you both okay?

DAVID

(impatient)

Oh, god.

MICHAEL gives DAVID the evil eye — further cementing his place as woman of the relationship — and continues with the conversation as DAVID sulks.

MICHAEL

No, it’s fine.

JUNE

You’re sure? What happened?

MICHAEL

Don’t know. DAVID says it might have been a power-surge or something.

JUNE

(reasonable)

Oh, I suppose he’d know.

DAVID takes this as meaning the opposite and storms over to the window, muttering.

DAVID

(muttering)

I am so sick of being judged.

MICHAEL has seen DAVID’s reaction.

MICHAEL

Hang on June.

MICHAEL puts his finger on the mute button and calls out to DAVID.

MICHAEL

David.

DAVID

I mean, honestly, she doesn’t even mask the judgement.

MICHAEL

DAVID!

DAVID glances back over his shoulder.

MICHAEL

It’s going to be fine. Really.

DAVID nods, almost believing MICHAEL.

MICHAEL

Okay, We’ll get there in about an hour. Really sorry about this.

JUNE

(over phone)

No, it’s fine. We weren’t busy. It’s lovely to have the boys here.

DAVID

(self-flagellating)

I should have gotten up earlier. How stupid can I have been?

MICHAEL rolls his eyes. just as DAVID turns suddenly.

DAVID

Tell her not to feed them sugar! They go nuts on sugar!

JUNE

(over phone)

Oh David, you’ve told us that a million times. It’s fine.

MICHAEL

(quickly as DAVID is winding up)

Yes, it’s fine June, thanks for that. See you soon.

JUNE

Cheerio!

As MICHAEL hangs up, he marshalls his thoughts. Theyre going like this: 1. David is overreacting. 2. MICHAEL loves DAVID but this is driving him nuts. 3. He knows DAVID is doing his best for the kids but is totally overdoing it.

DAVID

Did you hear that? She just dismissed me. She wasn’t listening. Jesus I wish we hadn’t taken them over there.

MICHAEL works out the first words and with a sigh speaks.

MICHAEL

DAVID, you need to relax. The kids are fine.

DAVID

You don’t know my parents like I do.

MICHAEL

Fair point. What I do know is that by reacting and engaging with whatever bullshit they send to you, you’re perpetuating the problems. You’re keeping the issues going.

DAVID

(passive aggressive)

You don’t understand what I’ve been through. You heard her — she started it.

MICHAEL has to think fast to try to defuse this before it goes any further. He knows the opposite is true, but helping DAVID understand isn’t going to be easy.

MICHAEL

Yes, she said some things. But you can choose not to engage with it. It’s like a war, or better still, a grudge. If one person stops then you can break the cycle.

DAVID

Oh please. It’s too far along for that now. You never had the trouble I had with my parents.

MICHAEL

Now you’re being partonising. I did have trouble. You know full well I had trouble. The same sort of stuff too — we’ve discussed this! The difference is–

DAVID

The difference is you’ve forgiven them

MICHAEL

The difference is that I don’t engage with it anymore. What’s acheived by getting pissy about something my dad says to me? Nothing. We have an argument and I feel like crap for a week afterwards and dive into a bottle. Pointless!

MICHAEL is trying hard to pull back from engaging with DAVID’s energy. He pauses, focusses on the bedsheets and puts his hand on his chest, over his heart to center himself again. Then he meets DAVID’s eyes.

MICHAEL

(calm now)

I choose not to engage. I’m keeping my energy for the things I care about.

DAVID

Easy for you to say.

MICHAEL

To say it, yes. To do it, no.

DAVID isn’t convinced.

MICHAEL

I understand what you’re going through. But what you’re doing is exactly what my mum and dad did to me. It’s what yours did to you.

You’re panicing because you think your mum and dad are going to do to our kids what they did to you. But you don’t realise…

Shit. He’s said too much. This is getting more complicated by the second.

DAVID

Don’t realise what? Go on, say it.

MICHAEL

(he’s committed now, can’t avoid this bullet)

You don’t realise that what you’re doing is what they did to you.

DAVID

(angry)

You’re joking! I don’t believe you!

MICHAEL is committed now, he has to say what he can see is happening.

MICHAEL

You’re overbearing with the kids while they’re at their gran and pops. You’re trying like hell to protect them. You’re trying so hard that you’re smothering them.

DAVID is standing, shocked. He makes to speak, stops and can’t make eye-contact. Finally he makes a decision.

DAVID

I’m going to have a shower.

MICHAEL

(shocked)

David! Don’t walk away.

But David has closed the bathroom door and has turned on the shower.

MICHAEL

Shit.

He could have handled that better, and he knows it.

CUT TO:

INT KITCHEN DAY 3

MICHAEL is frying an egg as DAVID enters, stage left. Michael turns from the pan to face his partner.

MICHAEL

DAVID, I’m sorry

DAVID

(dismissive)

No, it’s fine.

He goes for the coffee, still hot on the bench just as MICHAEL touches his shoulder.

DAVID reacts suddenly, unexpectedly and spills hot coffee on his hand. He’s in a lot of pain and shoves MICHAEL aside as he goes for the sink and the cold tap.

MICHAEL steps back, leans against the wall. He’s quite upset.

DAVID

(cursing)

That really, really hurt.

MICHAEL

Can I see? Do you want a cold pack?

He moves to the fridge and retrieves one of the cold packs from the freezer.

DAVID doesn’t answer and ignores MICHAEL as he steps forward to hand him the pack.

DAVID turns and takes his keys from the bowl on the bench and walks away.

DAVID

I’m going to pick up the kids.

MICHAEL

Oh. I’ll get dressed then.

DAVID isn’t facing MICHAEL while saying this. He’s really hurt by the argument upstairs. Some of the things he may unconsciously know is true, but there’s so much anger in him that he doesn’t know how to stop. So he’s retreating.

DAVID

I need some time…

MICHAEL

(upset)

David! I’m sorry what I said hurt you.

DAVID

(flat)

I’ll see you tonight.

He walks out and we remain with MICHAEL. He is gobsmacked, upset and very disappointed.

We can hear the car starting outside, it revs and the sound dissipates until we are in silence.

There are tears running down MICHAEL’s face as we…

…FADE TO BLACK

 

Author: gotheek

Sometime writer, full time human.