THE STRENGTH OF A MAN - 30 Minute Short Film


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    THE STRENGTH OF A MAN - 30 Minute Short Film

    Hi All, I apologise for the format issue.
    G.

    The Strength Of A Man


    FADE IN:

    EXT. JOHN RADCLIFFE HOSPITAL - WINTER - DAY


    SUPERIMPOSE: “2005”

    Snow falls. Slow, heavy snowflakes create a beautiful white carpet. The air is clear and cold. IAN struggles to push himself in his wheelchair.

    GRETA attempts to help him. He thrusts her hands away. Angry and stubborn, he wheels himself forward into the building, his handsome but pugnacious face determined.

    INT. RECEPTION AREA - NEUROLOGY DEPARTMENT – MOMENTS LATER

    Ian and Greta sit next to each other in a full waiting room. The clack of heels and the squeak of rubber-soled shoes echo through the ringing phones and mumbled talking. Greta seems relaxed and reads a magazine. Ian fidgets and eyes the flickering fluorescent lighting above him balefully.

    IAN
    Look. Will you look at them? It's as if they are all waiting for sentencing. Look at their faces. My God.
    (to himself)
    A death sentence.

    GRETA
    (not listening)
    Hm-hmm. Yes Ian, yes.

    Ian wheels himself to the water dispenser and drinks. He slams the plastic cup into the bin before heading to the receptionist and aggressively staring her down. She doesn't budge and seamlessly ignores him. Ian finally concedes and returns to Greta in a huff. His face remains flushed. He glances at his watch and bites his fingernails.

    Greta finally reacts and turns to put a calming hand on his shoulder.

    GRETA (CONT’D)
    Breathe.

    IAN
    Deja vu.

    GRETA
    What do you mean?

    IAN
    This place, Gret. This exact place. I am literally right back to where I started.

    GRETA
    Yes, and I look at it romantic. It's like our love is full circle.

    IAN
    No Gret. It means that all these years of hard work were bullshit. I am right back and worse off than before.
    (a beat)
    Me and all these pathetically poor people, all waiting for sentencing.

    Ian’s eyes begin to well up, and his voice breaks.

    GRETA
    You don't know this yet.

    Tears begin to slide down his cheeks, and he wipes them away angrily with his sleeve.

    Outside the large windows, the snow has started to fall even heavier, making it difficult to see beyond the swirl of white.

    BEGIN MONTAGE – VARIOUS

    MUSIC CUE: "Say Something" by A Great Big World, Christina
    Aguilera.

    A) INT. PHYSIOTHERAPY GYM – DAY (1995)

    Ian sits on a plinth, holding onto Greta. She instructs him how to transfer into his wheelchair. They are in a hug position. Eye contact. A spark flies. Ian smiles shyly. They lose their balance, as Ian falls on top of Greta. This time they break out in full laughter; their eyes gleaming.

    B) INT. PHYSIOTHERAPY GYM – DAY (1995)

    Ian completes his physical therapy exercises flawlessly. Greta observes and claps. Ian shows off his strength by popping a wheelie and spinning around. Both are incredibly happy.

    C) EXT. EXOTIC BEACH – DAY (1996)

    Ian and Greta watch the sunset and hold hands. A “JUST MARRIED" sign hangs on the back of his wheelchair. Greta leans across and kisses his cheek. She mouths “I love you;" their faces beam with happiness.

    D) INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM – DAY

    Greta pushes the new furniture around as Ian points out instructions with authority. Greta puts her hands on her hips and attempts to look unhappy. Ian holds his hands out in apology, and she rushes to him and jumps onto his lap. They embrace and kiss passionately.

    D) EXT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, DRIVEWAY – DAY (199

    Ian is dressed smartly in a suit and tie. He pushes himself with confidence into an adapted Chrysler van. He kisses Greta through the open window before driving away by himself using hand controls. Greta watches him leave with pride and apprehension.

    E) INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM – NIGHT (2001)

    Ian and Greta sit huddled on the couch flipping through a baby name book. Ian points at one. Greta looks disgusted and shakes her head no. She points at another. Ian rips the books out of her hand and tosses it, as he playfully pulls her close.

    F) EXT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE - AFTERNOON (2002)

    Ian finds an injured bird on the front lawn. He gently picks it up. The bird's legs look damaged. It reminds him of him.

    G) EXT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE - BACKYARD

    Ian puts the finishing touches on a bird sanctuary out back. He smiles at the little bird peeking its head out from a cushioned box on the table. He's starting to recover.



    END MUSIC. END MONTAGE.





    INT. CONSULTATION ROOM – DAY (PRESENT DAY)

    PROFESSOR WHITTINGTON-SMYTHE sits, studying his notes. He gets up to greet Ian and Greta.

    PROFESSOR
    Mr. Jeffries. So good to see you, come in.

    They shake hands.

    PROFESSOR (CONT'D)
    Mrs. Jeffries, looking as beautiful as ever, please sit. So, how are you?

    Ian points to a display of scanned images of spinal vertebrae lit up by an LED x-ray viewer on the wall.

    IAN
    I take it that is me? That mess?

    His face is pale, and his eyes blink rapidly.

    PROFESSOR
    Straight to the point as always, Ian. Yes.

    He gets up again, straightening his colourful bow-tie and looks at the image thoughtfully.

    PROFESSOR (CONT’D)
    This is an enhanced close-up of the breakage of your C1 through to C6 vertebrae.

    IAN
    So, what is causing my loss of movement?

    PROFESSOR
    Well now, that is tricky to explain. But, do you see this plate here? This was put in place to secure your damaged spine after your accident in 1994.

    The Professor pauses in thought. Greta squeezes Ian's hand.

    PROFESSOR(CONT’D)
    Well,this is where your problem is. Do you see this, here? This crack has developed after eleven years. And it is now compacting your spine here, in this area. Well, I believe this is what is causing your trouble.
    (silence)

    IAN
    Okay, but can you fix it?

    PROFESSOR
    It's tricky, and complicated. But I believe it can be corrected, yes. By removing this part of the plate. It's like - imagine a plumber clearing out a blocked pipe.

    He sits down and pulls out a pointer which he uses to point to a specific spot on the LED screen.

    PROFESSOR (CONT’D)
    If I remove that cracked area, the blockage in the canal will open and allow the spinal fluid to flow unimpeded. Just like that.

    GRETA
    You, you make it sound so simple. But how dangerous is it?

    IAN
    Yes, exactly. What does that mean in practice? And please don't say, "it’s tricky.” This is my life we are talking about here.

    GRETA
    You will have to excuse him, Doctor. He has been dealing with so much.

    PROFESSOR
    No need to apologise, I understand. Look, Ian. You have been losing your movement and sensation in your hands. Well, the tingling in your arms means that this loss might continue.

    IAN
    You mean I could lose everything.

    PROFESSOR
    Yes. There is technically a chance it won't continue to worsen, but. Well. There aren't any indicators of that. The tingling means the nerve damage is continuing to grow.

    GRETA
    (hesitantly)
    Please, Doctor, but what is your advice?

    PROFESSOR
    Well, the way I see it you have two choices. Let me operate and stop any further loss of movement or do nothing and hope that there is no further deterioration.

    IAN
    So, this operation could let me keep the feeling in my upper body?

    GRETA
    Whatare the risks?

    They stare at the scan as if willing an answer.

    PROFESSOR
    Well, I am not God. And I am not a betting man, but I have
    (MORE)
    confidence in my ability. I've managed dozens of successful surgeries similar to this. It is risky, but it's your best bet.

    Ian continues to stare in a trance at the LED viewer. Greta concentrates on her hands in her lap. The silence is deafening.

    IAN
    How long do I have?

    He corrects himself as he looks at Greta.

    IAN (CONT’D)
    We. How long do we have to decide?

    PROFESSOR
    The sooner we operate, the better chance we have to limit the damage.

    EXT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE - BACKYARD - EVENING

    Ian works peacefully in his bird sanctuary, fixing one of the feeders. There is now an entire family living there. The original bird, now fully healed, chirps and lands on Ian's knee.

    Ian continues to work diligently, smiling at the bird.

    IAN
    Yes, my little warrior, keep fighting.

    The bird happily chirps and flies away.

    Ian reaches up to lift a large slab of wood. His face drastically contorts. Something isn't right. He looks at his arms but can't seem to control them. They spasm and the wood falls. It slams down onto him, knocking him and the wheelchair back. A loud thump is followed by a stifled chirp.
    IAN (CONT’D)
    (calling out)
    Greta!

    Ian lays helpless next to his toppled chair. Very still feathers peek out from under the chair.

    INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER

    Greta tends to Ian, who's better but tearful from the trauma. He loyally holds the dead bird in his lap. Greta wipes his face.

    GRETA
    It’s getting worse. Isn’t it?
    IAN
    I saved him, only to kill him. I'm such a fool.

    Greta grabs Ian's chin and makes him look her in the eye.

    GRETA
    You can do this. Its time.

    INT. INTENSIVE CARE WARD - IAN JEFFRIES’ ROOM – DAY

    SUPERIMPOSE: “SIX MONTHS LATER"

    Greta slouches in a high-backed chair, and her head droops. She's dishevelled, and her pale face and red-rimmed eyes open and involuntarily drift shut. She hears a familiar clack and springs to attention. She winces inwardly.

    ISABELLA (O.S)
    Where is he? Tell me where he is?

    ISABELLA enters the room. Her erratic screaming contrasts her chic and poised persona. She rushes to Ian’s side to hug him. Then steps back a pace and covers her mouth with her palm. Her eyes are wide in disbelief.

    ISABELLA (CONT’D)
    Oh my God, what have they done to my baby boy?

    GRETA
    He wouldn’t breathe for himself after the operation. So, they left him attached to this.

    Greta points an accusing finger towards a large ventilator machine where an array of plastic tubes ends up attached into Ian’s throat, who sleeps.

    ISABELLA
    For how long? Has he woken up? Oh, my God. Ian told me that this was supposed to be a
    straightforward operation. Dr Smythe called me. Why didn’t you call me?

    GRETA
    Well, Ian told me you were in Africa. And I thought it would best…

    ISABELLA
    Oh, never mind. Where is this doctor? I need answers. Now.

    Isabella leaves the room faster than she entered, without a sideways glance towards Greta. Greta is non-plussed by her behaviour and sighs deeply. She holds onto Ian’s hand, then grasps her hanging cross and begins to pray silently.

    CUT TO:

    INT. CONSULTATION ROOM - DAY

    Isabella stands over the seated professor. Her face is angry, and he looks intimidated.

    PROFESSOR
    Look, Mrs. Jeffries. Unfortunately, this was always a possibility. When we removed the plate, his C3 vertebrae collapsed. I tried to put a stent in, but it wouldn’t hold, I’m sorry to say.

    ISABELLA
    English, doctor. What does that mean in plain English?

    PROFESSOR
    I am sorry. I apologise. But we must wait until Ian wakes up. It is impossible to measure his diaphragm function until he wakes up.

    The professor hesitates.

    PROFESSOR (CONT'D)
    However, I should warn you. He might never be able to breathe for himself again. I’m sorry.

    ISABELLA
    Yes, I see. And so, you should be.

    She turns around before leaving.

    ISABELLA (CONT’D)
    Oh, and doctor. I suggest you change that silly tie. You look like a clown.

    Isabella leaves the room. The professor watches her go with relief, tinged with guilt.

    DISSOLVE TO:
    INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, BEDROOM - DAY - SUPERIMPOSE: “ONE YEAR LATER”

    KATRINA, the carer assists Ian as he tries to sit up in bed.

    KATRINA
    Do you need to suction?

    Ian breathes with the assistance of a portable black ventilator machine which is attached to a long, plastic white pipe that goes to a trachea tube in his neck. "NIPPY 3+" is written on it, and it makes a loud but regular whine and hiss as it pumps air into him.

    IAN
    (with difficulty)
    Yea.
    Ian nods sullenly.

    Katrina takes a suction tube and attaches a sterile connection from next to the bed. She receives another nod
    from Ian. They work in unison as she removes the trachea tube and he tilts his head back. She inserts the suction tube and removes phlegm build-up from the back of his throat. The beeping alarm of the ventilator quiets as the trachea tube
    is re-attached. The whine and hiss continue.

    KATRINA
    Better?

    IAN
    Compared to a minute ago, yes. Compared to everyone else in the world?

    KATRINA
    (smiles)
    I think you're better than last week. I hope you have been doing the exercising?

    IAN
    Exercises, Kat. Yes, every day. It's a very fascinating regimen
    (MORE)
    of trying to lift my pinkie with my mind. And this is as good as it's going to get for me.

    KATRINA
    No, Ian. Do not say this. You have wife and friends who love you. And, mother. Although, I see Greta was crying this morning. What you said?

    IAN
    Gret thinks. She said we should have a baby. She says being a father would give me a new-found purpose.

    Katrina continues to adjust Ian's sitting position in bed.

    KATRINA
    A baby! Yes, a baby. That is excellent idea. We need more laughing in this house.

    IAN
    Ah, so you're on the side of the insane. Well for us realists, things aren't so bright.

    Ian turns his head away.

    IAN (CONT’D)
    You can say nice things like 'love' all you want, but at the end of the day, babies need a
    (MORE)
    father. A father is there to teach a kid to ride a bike or how to through a rugby ball… That’s what a father does. Tears run down Ian's face.

    IAN (CONT’D)
    And I. I can't do any of that, Kat.

    Ian looks at Katrina dejectedly. She stands with her hands on her hips. Lips pursed.

    KATRINA
    You are good man, Ian. A very kind man. But you're start to self-pity yourself. You need to stop feeling bad for yourself.

    Ian looks down, somewhat humbled. Katrina realizes she was a bit harsh with the truth.

    KATRINA (CONT’D)
    All right. Now start smiling or your friend is going to think I abuse you.

    That gets a small smile out of both.

    CUT TO:

    INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, STUDY – LATER

    Ian sits in front of his PC. He dictates into voice-activated software which allows him to control and write on the computer.

    He seems uncertain, frowning and his eyes narrow at the outlined words that read “My Doubting Soul.” In the background, Greta sings.

    Ian then hears the booming voice of PIETER. He hears the mix of the two people he loves most, and his face relaxes into a smile.

    PIETER (O.S)
    Halo? Wee man? Hey, Wee, where are you?

    GRETA (O.S)
    He is in his hovel, Piet.

    PIETER (O.S)
    Jeez, I guess he doesn’t want to see me. Hey?

    Pieter enters the office. His smile is big and genuine. He crosses the study and rubs Ian on the head with his knuckles, chuckling.

    PIETER (CONT’D)
    There he is. Howzit, man? What you up to? Still writing, huh? What you got here?

    Pieter studies the words that Ian has written and the grin on his face fades.

    IAN
    It’s nothing, just a poem I have been dabbling with. Something I had to get off my chest. So, to speak.

    PIETER
    Readit to me, then.

    IAN
    It’s nonsense, really. Go call Greta and we-

    PIETER
    No, Ian. Read it for me. Please.

    Ian composes himself, then starts to read the poem. He is hesitant at first.

    IAN
    I will no longer dip my head into your cassock,
    to sip this poison from your tannic cup.
    Where is God, you promised to guide me?

    Each day I awake with sweat and shivers,
    in hope to cope my sadness and despair.
    To trust – not, judge his mysterious ways.

    I can no longer kneel and beg from your hassock,
    to eat the diarrhoea from your dirt-ridden fingernails.
    (MORE)
    Where is God, you promised to guide me?

    As he continues to read, he grows with anger and animation.

    IAN (CONT’D)
    Frightened and alone I stare into an abyss, dizzy and disorientated by what is to come. Only dark possibilities, vacated, confront me
    Still, here I sit, beneath your black collar,
    spitting venom, with demands you cannot riposte.
    Where is God, you promised to guide us?

    For my body and soul are twice battered black,
    yetmy burden remains resolutely intact.
    To doubt God, you say who loves me

    They are both silent.

    PIETER
    Jeez, Wee Man. That’s some deep, dark shit. Fun way to start off the visit.

    He chuckles but looks at his friend, concerned.

    PIETER (CONT’D)
    Are you good? You okay?

    Ian nods and offers a shy smile, the words catching in his throat.

    IAN
    I told you. It’s nothing. Really. Just, you know? I can't stop being angry.

    Pieter smiles a little, ponders the situation, and then laughs heartily and releases the tension.

    PIETER
    Ya, well. I don't blame you. You have lots of things to be angry about.
    He takes Ian’s microphone off his head and looks him in the eyes.
    PIETER (CONT’D)
    But the thing is, the anger doesn't get you anything. I miss you mate. You used to be the one to rally us all. No one quits under Ian!

    Pieter ruffles Ian's hair, who instinctively shirks back. He looks up and catches Pieter's eyes. Understanding. They laugh together.

    PIETER (CONT’D)
    Come on, boet. Let’s get you out
    (MORE)
    of here. I think a few cold beers are called for. Hey?

    Pieter clumsily drives Ian’s electric-powered wheelchair out the room, banging on everything in sight. Now they both roll with laughter.
    INT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE, DINING ROOM – LATER

    Ian, Pieter and Greta sit around the dining room table, all somewhat drunk. Empty wine bottles and a spread of half-eaten bowls of food cover the table.

    PIETER
    Greta, you always feed me too much. Thank you.

    IAN
    Tell me about it. Look at my gut.

    GRETA
    Nobody forcing you to eat it.

    Pieter chuckles and raises his glass before finishing the contents. He smacks his lips and pats his stomach.

    PIETER
    You’re a lucky guy, boet. She can be my wife any day. I tell you.

    ISABELLA (O.S)
    Whowants me as their wife?

    GRETA
    Hija de puta, Ian. She doesn’t even knock. I told you, tell her not to come today.

    IAN
    Sorry Gret, but you know she schedules her Saturday for me.

    GRETA
    I know now why you don't want a baby, it’s because you've never stop to being one.

    Greta stands up angrily as Isabella enters the room. It is clear she has been drinking.

    ISABELLA
    Hello, everybody. Is that Pieter Piper I see over there? Well hello, handsome.

    PIETER
    Mrs. Jeffries, nice to see you.

    ISABELLA
    Having a party? Without me?

    She kisses the men and ignores Greta.

    IAN
    Sorry, Mum, this was supposed to be a small lunch. I didn’t expect you till later. I would have invited you, but–

    GRETA
    You don’t always have to apologise, Ian.

    Greta stomps out of the room.

    ISABELLA
    What’s her problem? She is always so tetchy.

    IAN
    Now Mum. We agreed. You guys were going to be nice. Okay?

    Pieter gets a decanter and pours a large glass.

    PIETER
    Hereyou go, Mrs. J.

    ISABELLA
    She acts like I should be making an appointment to see my own boy.

    Isabella casts a disapproving eye across the table. She sips her drink, then smiles mischievously to Pieter.

    ISABELLA (CONT’D)
    Do you know Pieter, that I could have been Miss Scotland if I hadn’t been pregnant with this boy? Look at him? So handsome. My baby. My beautiful baby boy.

    Greta returns and makes space for dessert.

    GRETA
    Tiramisu, for everybody. My mama’s recipe. Eh Viola.

    ISABELLA
    We usually clean the table before dessert, Ian.

    IAN
    Stop it, mum.

    Greta serves a large portion, her face grim.

    GRETA
    Pieter, help yourself. Ian, is this enough? Would you like some Amarula on top?
    ISABELLA
    Greta. Should you be giving him so much sugar? You know his doctor said he should count his calories.

    GRETA
    Well, at least I give him things that he enjoys.

    ISABELLA
    What do you mean? He got the
    (MORE)
    best of everything from me before especially when he was normal.

    IAN
    Yes, and he is right here. Thank you very much. And I am normal and not a bloody baby anymore… I do have a brain to make my own mind up. Yes, Greta, put some.

    PIETER
    Greta, this isdelicious.

    Isabella pokes a finger into the cake and tastes it. Her face is dramatic like she has been poisoned.

    ISABELLA
    Yuck, way too much sugar.

    GRETA
    Vaffanculo… Ian, I can’t take this. The same every week, every month. Every year.

    Greta bangs the plate onto the table. Jabs a finger towards
    Isabella.

    GRETA (CONT’D)
    Conyo. This bitch of a mother has no respect. For me or you.

    IAN
    Easy, Gret. She was only poking fun. You know that she is always-

    GRETA
    No. No more. She comes to visit you far and few between. Always drunk and always it’s me, me, me. Followed by complaint after complaint.

    She smashes the plate against the wall, her eyes wild.

    GRETA (CONT’D)
    It’s enough… I can’t take any more.

    ISABELLA
    Well, I never. Ian you should not let her speak to me like that. Disgusting, I can never understand what you see in her. She is-

    IAN
    (shouts)
    She is right. Mum. She is right. Look, I think you should go.

    ISABELLA
    But-

    IAN
    No, Mother. No buts… You need to leave. Now.

    PIETER
    Ya, come, Mrs. Jeffries. I think we need to give these guys some space. What you say I take you on a date, hey? It’s been a while since I’ve dated such a lekker-looking chick. Come on? What do you say?

    IAN
    Cheers, Piet. Sorry about all this.

    Pieter takes Isabella away. She is crying. Ian and Greta are left alone in silence. Greta starts to clean up the mess. She cries.

    IAN(CONT’D)
    Greta. Leave it. I will ask Katrina to help. Gret, what’s wrong? This is not like you? Sit, please. What’s wrong, Darling?

    Greta takes her time. Eventually, the tears stop, and she sits next to Ian.

    GRETA
    I don’t know if I can stay here no more, Ian.

    IAN
    What? Greta. Don’t talk nonsense-

    GRETA
    It’s not nonsense. I mean it. You have changed. We have changed. We want different things. You and me.

    IAN
    I have been dealing with a lot, Gret-

    GRETA
    Oh,and I haven’t?

    IAN
    Sorry. Of course, you have. But it has been so hard. I have lost everything.

    GRETA
    You still have me, Ian. And everything is always about what you've lost and how you have nothing. That makes me feel like nothing.

    IAN
    Gret, I’m sorry.

    GRETA
    I can't. I know our situation is shit. I know YOUR situation is shit. But we have to move on at some point. Make the best of it.
    (MORE)
    You've totally stopped trying. And your poems. You hate everything now.

    IAN
    (angry)
    That is supposed to be private.

    GRETA
    Nothing is private in marriage, Ian. Why you don’t come to mass with me? The Padre will help you. Help us.

    Ian’s face twists like he has bitten into a lemon.

    IAN
    (hesitantly)
    No, Greta. I believe God doesn't want anything to do with me anymore. And maybe, just maybe the devil isn't finished.

    GRETA
    Let me show you something.

    Ian pauses.

    IAN
    What? I don't-

    GRETA
    Stop. You don't even know what it is and you're already negating it.

    Ian realizes she's right.

    IAN
    You're right.

    She starts to drive him out towards the backyard.

    IAN (CONT’D)
    No. Stop. You know I can't.
    GRETA
    You haven't been out here in almost a year. You need to start facing your fears. One by one. I think you'll be very surprised by this.

    Ian opens his mouth in protest, but then closes it and lets himself driven out.

    EXT. IAN AND GRETA'S HOUSE - BACKYARD - CONTINUOUS

    Greta wheels him into the sanctuary. It has been completely fixed up. An entire family of birds hop around chirping happily.

    GRETA
    See. They moved on. It's possible.

    He looks at the happy bird family in wonder. His thoughts start to drift away.

    DISSOLVE TO:
    INT. OFFICE - DAY

    SUPERIMPOSE: “TWO YEARS LATER”

    Ian sits in front of his PC. He considers the words he has written, his face stern and severe. He says the words “The End,” and they appear on screen. His shoulders relax, and he closes his eyes.

    IAN
    Kat, are you there?

    KATRINA (O.S)
    Yes,coming. One moment. Is everything okay?

    IAN
    Yes. I think I’m finished here. Can you take me outside now?

    Katrina enters the room, breathless. She is dressed in a short, flowery summer outfit. She looks stressed.

    KATRINA
    You will give me a heart attack today, Ian.

    EXT. GARDEN - DAY – MOMENTS LATER

    The sunshine is glorious, and the sky is blue, without clouds.

    Katrina pushes Ian into a shaded gazebo next to and overlooking a barbecue area. The surrounding garden is green with many flowering plants.

    KATRINA
    Is this good? Not too much sun?

    IAN
    Perfect. Thank you. Oh, and Katrina. Thank you for everything. You’re a star.

    KATRINA
    (smiles)
    I am going to bring the food then we can get this barbecue started.

    Ian watches Katrina go back into the house. A tear slides down his cheek.

    GRETA (O.S)
    Katrina, have you helped Ian out of his office?

    KATRINA (O.S)
    Yes.He is waiting outside.

    GRETA (O.S)
    Okay, I won’t be long.

    Greta appears, looking radiant. She pushes a colourful pram with a beautiful, chubby baby girl.

    IAN
    There they are, my beautiful girls.

    GRETA
    Oh yeah, what’s this? Have you been crying?

    IAN
    Just happy tears. I’m just. You know?

    GRETA
    Yes, well maybe young Isabella can sit here next to Papa and cheer him.

    Greta disconnects the top of the pram and places the baby on the table so that father and daughter are face-to-face. Ian looks at the baby for a while, smiling with content.

    IAN
    Hello, my beautiful girl. How are you this wonderful day? Is that so? You don’t say. Just as mouthy as your grandmother.

    PIETER (O.S)
    Howzit. Where is he?

    IAN
    (talking to baby Isabella)
    He is right here. Yes. Yes, he is, right here.

    PIETER
    Wee Man. Oh, you’re all here. Howzit, Greta.

    He gives Greta a kiss before leaning over the baby.

    PIETER (CONT’D)
    Hey, hello my beauty. Don’t you start hanging around dirty old men like this one?

    Pieter rubs his knuckles on Ian’s head. Laughs. Then gives him a kiss on the cheek and a gentle hug.

    PIETER (CONT’D)
    So, is your mum coming?

    GRETA
    No. No, not today. I phoned her to say you boys wanted a private get together.
    (laughs)
    She said she had a date anyway and couldn’t make it… God bless that man!

    This sets everyone into laughter.

    PIETER
    So, shall I get this party started? Where is the charcoal? Hey you Katrina! Come on man. Let’s get some cold beers out here.

    Katrina playfully punches Pieter, and he engulfs her in a bear hug. Greta comes next to Ian and Isabella and puts her arm around his shoulders. She leans down and kisses him softly.

    GRETA (whispers)
    Happy?

    Ian thinks for a moment. Looks around at the people he loves and nods. A big smile on his face.

    IAN
    Yes, my love. Very happy. Now kiss me properly.

    They kiss each other with tenderness as Isabella watches on, oblivious to everything that is surrounding her.
    FADE OUT.

    END.
    G.

  2. #2
    I must say I like this a lot. I am not much of a critiquer, I will admit that. I do remember the poem, you workshopped it earlier
    Do you have any real plans to get this filmed? To send it in?

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