The 17th Minute

Stuart Beveridge

INT. HALLWAY – DAY.

A bright, well-kept hallway. On the wall are a several, neatly arranged, framed photographs of JULIE, a well-dressed mother, in her mid twenties and TOM her young son (now aged 7) with his bright orange hair. An elderly gentleman wearing a claret football scarf. One of the gentleman in his middle-age, with the same scarf, stood next to a young JULIE. All bright, joyous pictures. Markings on the kitchen door jamb show TOM’s growth spurts. Through the door JULIE is busily, but precisely putting away pots and toys. In another room children’s TV can be heard, Hansel and Gretel is on.

JULIE
(Calling out)

Come on you. Turn that off and get those teeth cleaned. I’ll not tell you again.

The TV turns off, the radio in the kitchen is playing.
Take That’s – Want You Back.

Tom enters the kitchen.

TOM
I already done them mummy.

JULIE
Did.

TOM
Uh?

JULIE
Did.
You did your teeth. Not, done
them. And it’s pardon not, UH?!

JULIE ruffles TOMS hair.

JULIE (CONT’D)
Anyway, good job, thank you. Now, pop your shoes and your coat on. We’ll catch the 22.

TOM leaves the kitchen as JULIE puts the last of the plates away.

V.O. LOCAL RADIO PRESENTER
Big day today. Are you a Claret or a Blue? Why not get in touch, let us know?

I, of course, have to stay impartial. In a totally unrelated matter, next on 102.6 RF-FM, Mr Blue Sky by ELO.

JULIE switches off the radio.

JULIE
(Under her breath)
Knob head.

JULIE grabs something from one of the draws and joins an excited TOM jumping in the hall, his fingers in the shape of guns.

TOM
Pow! Pow! Pow!

JULIE
Quit it! What have I told you
before about guns?

TOM stops jumping, bottom lip out in grumpy faux sadness.

JULIE (CONT’D)
There’ll be no guns in this
house. Got it? Now do you want to
go to watch football or not?

TOM
Yes mummy.

Sorry mummy.

JULIE
Good. I’ve got something for you.

JULIE unravels a claret scarf, puts it on TOM’s shoulders.

JULIE (CONT’D)

This was Gramps’ scarf. He wanted you to have it.

TOM
WOW.
(Suddenly saddened)
I wish Gramps was coming today.

JULIE
So do I little man, so do I.

CUT TO:

INT. BUS – DAY

TOM is sat very closely to JULIE. The bus is ram-packed with football fans of all ages, all in the claret of Rainford Town. JULIE is looking out of the window, a thousand miles or several years away.

TOM
(Joining in with the
passengers)
Rainford Town la la la
Rainford Town la la laaa

TOM nudges JULIE

TOM
Come on mummy.

JULIE
(Coming out of her daze.)
Oh.
(Joining in, smiling,
looking lovingly at TOM)
Rainford Town la la la
Rainford Town la la laaa

In the moments when he’s not joining in the singing TOM is looking round briskly, wide-eyed. Taking it all in. Outside the crowds are growing larger as they get closer to the ground.

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE FOOTBALL STADIUM – DAY

An old traditional stadium. Chanting fans bustle and barge passed. The Match-day board shows ‘Rainford Town welcomes Rainford United Kick-off 3pm’. The cry of the PROGRAMME VENDOR can be heard over the chanting.

JULIE and TOM walk over to the programme stall.

JULIE
One, please?

PROGRAMME VENDOR
£2.50 please love.

A hand taps JULIE on the shoulder. It’s MIKE, similar age to JULIE, but chavy by comparison, as if JD Sports had thrown up on him. Big brand logos, sovereigns, tattoo on his neck. Buzzing.

JULIE turns to MIKE, shock at first followed by wary, recognition. A phony smile.

JULIE turns to the VENDOR, wide eyed.

JULIE
Thank you.

JULIE takes a deep breath and pauses for a beat too long, before turning back to MIKE

JULIE (cont’d)
MIKEEEY!

MIKE comes in for an embrace, MIKE’s is strong and forceful, JULIE’s loose and the look on her face tells us she’s not comfortable with it. They part.

MIKE
(Rattling off questions as
if he’s on whizz)
Oh my days! I didn’t think you’d recognise me. You’ve changed. Things must be going well for you? I mean… How are you? Damn! You look fine. How long has it been? Who’s this little geezer?

TOM is hiding behind JULIE’s legs, JULIE unconsciously puts a protective arm out to keep TOM there.

JULIE
Stop it! Of course I recognise you. It must be at least 8 years, if you’ve not met Tom.

TOM pokes his head out to look at MIKE

MIKE
(Over the top fake posh
voice)
Hello Tom, an absolute pleasure
to meet you.

MIKE holds out a hand to shake. TOM retreats. MIKE pulls a white paper bag from his pocket and opens it.

MIKE (CONT’D)
Wanna cola drop, lad?

TOM emerges from behind JULIE and takes a sweet. Smiles, then snatches another

JULIE
TOM! You’re not to do that. Ok?
Sorry Mike.

MIKE
(Laughing)

No problem. Top man. You can keep them if you like.

MIKE high-5s TOM and gives him the sweets. Tom giggles.

JULIE
Mike! Right, that’s enough. We need to make a move.

JULIE takes TOM’S hand tries to get away. MIKE deliberately obstructs their path and smirks as they pass.

MIKE
(Increasing in volume as
they walk away)

Me and your mam and the lads used to come up here every Saturday, Tom. Good times.
(Mockingly laughing)
Everyone really liked your Mum.
(Almost shouting)
Here Jules! You know Jake’s out
now, don’t you?

JULIE stops suddenly in her tracks, the blood drained from her face. She grabs TOM’s hand tightly.

MIKE (CONT’D)
(Still shouting)
I’m sure he’d want to meet Tom
too…

JULIE picks TOM up and hurries away. In the background MIKE pulls his phone out to make a call.

CUT TO:

INT. FOOTBALL STAND

A tight crowd of fans stand in the terrace. Bouncing, cheering, singing. JULIE is rather anxiously looking around, her arm around TOM’s shoulder.

JULIE
Mummy’s not feeling very well, I think we should go home.

TOM
(Stubbornly)
NO!

TOM wriggles away from JULIE

TOM (CONT’D)
You said I could. like my mates do with their dads. You promised.

JULIE crouches so she’s at his height, holding the ends of TOM’s scarf. Like she’s straightening a tie.

JULIE
Tom, please? We’ll come back
another d…

The crowd noise rises in excited anticipation. There’s a surge towards the front. JULIE is knocked off balance and falls. GOAL!

The crowd erupts. Bodies leaping everywhere. TOMs gone. Silence. JULIE’s face is a picture of panic as she frantically tries find TOM.

Back on her feet JULIE pushing past people. Turning left and right. Her mouth is making the shape of her screaming TOM’s name. He’s nowhere to be seen. She spots a single cola drop on the steps. Further up another one.

STADIUM ANNOUNCER
Goal scored after 17 minutes, for
Rainford Town, number 8, Tom
Rooney.

The crowd go wild again. JULIE pushes through, up the steps, looking at the floor for the next cola drop. She sees a boy with bright orange hair, being hurriedly carried over someone’s shoulder, out through one of the gates.

JULIE
(Screaming)
TOM! TOM! TOM!

CROWD
(Chanting)
Roooooney! Roooooney! Roooooney!

 

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