Fitness

written by

Paul W. Rankin

Paul Rankin
+61 422 733 233
hello@paulwrankin.com

EXT. RIVERSIDE PARK. EARLY MORNING.

STEPHEN DUTTON. Upper-middle-class white male (40s) out for his morning run. Square-jawed. Broad shoulders.

The light still blue and milky. River on one side, trees on the other. White earphones in. His expression blank. Lost in ambition.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Keep running.

INT. SHOWER.

STEPHEN DUTTON. Under blasts of steaming water.

INT. CORPORATE OFFICE BATHROOM. DAY.

STEPHEN DUTTON. Straightening his Windsor knot.

ADRIAN CALDER. White middle-class colleague. Similarly fit and handsome. Buttons up his white-collar-and-cuffs business shirt.

ADRIAN

I can’t believe he called it a "jihad". Un-fucking-believable.

Stephen gives a polite smile. Leaves.

EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE. BRISBANE CBD. DAY.

Gleaming high-rise buildings. We lift higher. Silent.

Higher.

Higher.

A CRANE lifts a PALLET. Swinging high above.

INT/EXT. ADRIAN CALDER’S SEDAN. CONSTRUCTION SITE. DAY.

A modern car. Nice but not luxury. Air-con blasting. ADRIAN CALDER cranes around to reverse.

ADRIAN

Thing is, Xi’Chun want commodities down...

STEPHEN DUTTON in the passenger seat. Tapping an EMAIL on his IPHONE.

Adrian eases the car back. Warning BEEPS. Pulls the handbrake.

ADRIAN (CONT’D)

If commodities are down - and going down - they control the valuation.

Stephen taps SEND. Locks iPhone.

STEPHEN

Young padme... Westings leverages against the valuation off projected demand through five years from completion. Which will most likely be delayed, so the bubble pops? Who gives a shit? The city kickbacks crack fifteen percent and Xi’Chun is in for fifty.

Adrian shuts off the car.

ADRIAN

But completion valuation puts it back under...

STEPHEN

And now you see how business is done.

ADRIAN

Fucking A.

They crack open the doors.

STEPHEN

Yeah...

EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE. DAY.

CLANGING. BUZZING. HAMMERING. SCREECHING.

STEPHEN and ADRIAN. Wearing hardhats. Stephen takes his off. He adjusts the strap. Refits it to his head.

The footpath is closed. A HAGGARD WOMAN (50s) carries groceries in GREEN BAGS. She can’t pass. She argues with a TRAFFIC CONTROLLER. He shakes his head.

A SITE MANAGER hands Stephen and Adrian EAR MUFFS.

SITE MANAGER

Need these before you can go in.

They snap on the ear muffs.

INT. DUTTON HOUSE. BEDROOM. NIGHT.

In the EN SUITE. ASHLEY DUTTON. White upper-middle-class wife (late 30s). Warm. Wholesome. Still "wife material" eight years in. In silk slip. Removes her makeup at the mirror.

STEPHEN lies in bed. Reading THE ESSENTIAL NOAM CHOMSKY. There are bedside lamps.

ASHLEY

...It’s still hard to believe that it went unnoticed until fifth grade. And no one really wants to admit that but anyway.

STEPHEN

Yeah she would have had to hide it from teachers and other students and - her parents know now?

ASHLEY

Yeah. They made it known they didn’t want her held back. I think there was a kind of element of shame in it. A cultural thing.

Ashley climbs into bed.

ASHLEY (CONT’D)

I just didn’t want the others to treat her like the "retarded kid who can’t read".

STEPHEN

Well you have approval for the TA now.

ASHLEY

I do. Thank you. Good plan, Mr. Mastermind.

She kisses him. Then again.

She rolls over him. Off the bed.

She throws a RED SHAWL over the bedside lamp. The room is cast RED.

He puts his book down.

She retrieves her IPAD. Taps. ELECTRONICA plays. Thin from the small speakers.

She dances at the foot of the bed. Like in a nightclub. Gives a put-on seductive look.

STEPHEN

My oh my, how can I ever resist?

ASHLEY

You got money big boy?

STEPHEN

You take Visa?

She stops dancing. Sighs. Turns to the doorway.

ASHLEY

Security!

She laughs.

He moves to her. Predatory. Grapples her body.

They kiss. He pulls her back into bed.

More passionate.

He stops. She stops.

STEPHEN

I have the meeting with Xi’Chun in the morning.

ASHLEY

And?

STEPHEN

I wanna be sharp.

He makes a cutting gesture.

ASHLEY

Moneeeeey. Moneeeey.

She rolls off him. He laughs.

ASHLEY (CONT’D)

It shouldn’t make you tired the next day. Maybe you need to see a doctor...?

STEPHEN

I don’t need to see a doctor. It’s just I’m not twenty-one anymore.

She reaches over him for her iPad. Unlocks. Taps. Music stops.

STEPHEN (CONT’D)

It’s the same for a lot of men.

ASHLEY

Too much money. Too much sex.

STEPHEN

Yeah it’s a fucked up world.

He slips the red shawl off the lamp. She taps at her iPad.

ASHLEY

There are children starving in Africa you know?

STEPHEN

Well one of them’s not. Crim?

ASHLEY

His name’s Kareem.

STEPHEN

Yeah. He has a brand new goat. Wouldn’t you love a brand new goat?

ASHLEY

I like my old goat. He still has some mileage in him. He gets good kilometer-to-laundry consumption. Oh my god, I got this game...

IPAD SCREEN. A DIGITAL GOAT rampages through a city. Stephen watches.

STEPHEN

You play as a goat?

ASHLEY

This is the best game ever. You can basically destroy the entire city.

The GOAT smashes stuff.

INT. DUTTON HOUSE. KITCHEN. NIGHT.

STEPHEN opens the refrigerator.

Fully stocked.

He takes out the cold cuts. Turkey. Ham. Salami. Places them back.

He slides a jar of pickles to the side.

Sighs. Searches.

EXT. RIVERSIDE PARK. EARLY MORNING.

Yachts drifting against moorings.

STEPHEN DUTTON. On his morning run. Alone. The air crisp.

The TAP-TAP-TAP of ELECTRONICA in white earphones.

He notices something beyond the trees.

His paces slows. Expression hardens.

He stops. Takes deep breaths. Pauses music. Takes out the earphones and loops them over his neck.

A HOMELESS MAN sprawled asleep on the wet ground. 50 feet away. But something odd.

Stephen looks around. There’s no one else.

He approaches. Slow. Quiet. Staring.

Ten feet away. Clears his throat.

STEPHEN

Excuse me?

Nothing.

STEPHEN (CONT’D)

Excuse me? Hey mate, are you...

A FLY BUZZES around the body.

Stephen. Frozen in fear.

He looks around. Still no one. The body.

Stephen slips out his IPHONE. Unlocks.

He hesitates.

The body.

Stephen slips the phone back into his pocket.

Very slowly, Stephen backs away.

Looking around. Looking at the body. Moving back to the path.

Earphones back in. He starts walking.

Then running.

He empties his mind of this event. Keep running. Focus on the future.

The TAP-TAP-TAP of ELECTRONICA in his ears.

Keep running.

Gives way to THUMPING BASS ("Gosh" by Jamie xx).

Keep running.

CUT TO BLACK

MUSIC KICKS IN

TITLE:

"FITNESS"