Script for a film short
Much of the action depicted in this screen play follows what is being said in the voice over narration. So this script will not be laying out all the various camera angles and scene changes specifically. The narrative is mostly in the first person, in the guise of the main character Phil “Sharkie” Donaldson, and everything depicted is through his eyes and perspective:
Before I begin here is my personal disclaimer, much of what you are about to hear and see should be taken with a grain of salt, as I have certain biases that tend to skew my outlook on things and other people. Nevertheless, having admitted to that failing I will not intentionally mislead you. Perhaps slant things in my favor a little bit, but seriously who doesn’t do that? Especially, when they are talking about themselves and how they relate with other people they don’t happen to like. So in fairness to the truth, I once again repeat, everything you are about to hear and see, should be taken with a grain of salt. If you think I’m being too tough on someone, or saying something that is too harsh, you’re probably right; but only 50 percent of the time, rest is spot on accurate. I leave you to figure out which is which.
By the way, my name is Phil Donaldson, but most people at the Senior Center call me “Sharkie”. Well, actually only the guys in the billiard room call me that. Most of the other people here at the center, mostly elderly women, don’t call me anything; as they just pretty much avoid me and don’t care to know what my name is. To them I’m just another geezer walking through the front doors every morning, carrying his pool cue in a case. You see, being a pool player I’m considered to be riffraff here, as I spend most of my time in the center's billiard room, playing 8 Ball or 9 Ball with all the other riffraff, i.e. other pool playing old bachelors like myself. Some of the ladies at the center look down upon us. I don’t blame them, we don’t really contribute much to the running of the place. Not in a voluntary sort of way. It’s all the old ladies who really run things here. We, being the “pool players” that we are, are just here to play pool, not do any actual work or upkeep in the facility. Volunteerism is just not in our nature. We mostly leave that to the hired staff and/or the volunteers, i.e. all the old ladies and their henpecked husbands, if their henpecked husbands are still surviving, to accomplish all the stuff that needs doing around here. Most of us in the billiard room aren’t even married. That’s it, no boss, i.e. no wife, to tell us what to do. Seriously, would any wife worth her salt, permit her retired husband to spend most of his time during the day just playing pool? If any of these boys in the billiard room have a wife, I’ve never seen her. Therefore we are not very participatory around here as we have no wives to force us to be otherwise. We don’t want to ballroom dance on Wednesdays, we don’t want to call out numbers on Bingo Tuesdays, we don’t want to participate in Dancersize Thursdays, or do the Mambo on Mambo Mondays. We just want to play pool and do that everyday; except Saturdays and Sundays, when the center is closed. I hate Saturday’s and Sundays. I suppose I could go to the Anaheim SC on Saturdays, but I burned by bridges there when I insulted one of their more obnoxious regulars for criticizing my pool shots in a game of 8 Ball, just one time too many. I’m very prideful sometimes and being so I have endeavored never to darken Anaheim Senior Center’s billiard room door ever again. I warned that little squirt there three times to stop riding me, but he just wouldn’t take the hint.
Oddly enough, my moniker, “Sharkie” is a bit of misnomer. It implies that I am a pool shark. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are no pool sharks here at the Senior Center in Garden Grove; as no one ever plays for money. We only play for the love of the game. Besides if any real shark ever came into the center, he be shown the door on the double quick as soon as he started flashing his wad around. The old ladies who run the place would 86 him in a New York Minute. That’s not to say gambling doesn’t occur here. There’s the Tuesday morning bingo game and I think the pinochle crowd bets slyly on side when old biddies aren’t watching. And I’d be willing to bet real cash money myself that those old biddies themselves play penny ante during their private little bridge parties, that no one else is invited to; but no money ever changes hands in the billiard room. It wouldn’t be tolerated; not only by the old ladies, but by us pool players ourselves. We’re all strictly amateurs. We don’t want hustlers moving in on our territory. Besides no self respecting hustler wants to hustle a bunch of cheap old geezers living off their SSA. You know come to think of it, I’ve been playing pool for some 30 or more years now, long before I ever became AARP eligible and I don’t think I have ever even encountered a real pool shark. Not once. I’m sure they exist, I’ve just never run into one.
While we continue to hear this voice over narration we see Sharkie stroking billiard balls into various pockets on a green felt pool table effortlessly. He plays his cue stick like Jascha Heifetz played his Stradivarius. Well, maybe not that good, but he’s pretty good with a pool cue.
I have played pool all around the OC. Pool halls, sports bars, but now that I’m considered to be somewhat elderly, I just play at various Senior Centers in Central Orange County and you know something, they all play pool differently; at the Senior Centers that is. For instance, in Anaheim, you can’t stir up a game of 9 Ball to save your life. Those Anaheim boys, I say boys because the girls, i.e. old ladies there in Anaheim don’t ever go into their billiard room either; unless they have something else on their minds. Like when they want to lay down the law, just because they can. All these centers are matriarchal societies. And those matrons never let you forget that. But I digress. Anyway those Anaheim boys will have nothing to do with 9 Ball. And they play a really weird form of 8 Ball; very dictatorial about it too. Don’t ever go there and suggest they play 8 Ball in the usual fashion. The way they insist on playing it, you have to sink the 15 ball into the south side pocket and 1 ball into the north side pocket, that is if you want those two balls to stay sunk. You can put the 1 and 15 balls into another pocket, but then they get spotted right back onto the table again. Now in the Fullerton SC, the boys there play a similar form of 8 Ball, but the side pocket rule is reversed, you put the 1 ball into the south side pocket and 15 in the north side pocket, or is it the other way around? Either way Anaheim and Fullerton, in regards to the 1 and 15 ball rule, are the exact polar opposites of each other. Actually Anaheim does Fullerton one better by insisting that you sink the 8 ball into the exact same pocket you just sunk your last ball before the 8. Therefore there is no such thing as a fast game of 8 Ball in Anaheim. It can take forever to sink the 8 ball into a specific pocket.
By the way, I would like to take this opportunity to categorically state that we pool players don’t like to discriminate against the ladies at any of these facilities. They, the ladies, just don’t seem to like to play pool for some reason, either that or they just don’t want to hang out with a bunch of pool playing old bachelors such as ourselves. There is one lady here that doesn’t mind associating with all of us riffraff here in Garden Grove. She even likes playing pool. And there is something else about her. She isn’t even a senior. She’s in her mid twenties, or maybe her early thirties. And even better than that, she’s a absolute babe. I think she likes to hang out playing pool with us because we never hit on her. That would be kind of creepy; like putting the moves on your granddaughter.
Nevertheless, Mandy is such a cutie pie and whatever Mandy wants, Mandy gets, but not without some resistance. The old battle axes who control the coffee supplies in the lunchroom are not overly impressed by Mandy’s natural good looks and vibrant personality, and won’t give up the complimentary coffee to her without giving her some serious third degree scrutinizing; as in, “who are you and why are you in this facility trying to get our free coffee?” So we sneak it back to her in the billiard room on a regular basis.
There’s always some kind of trouble brewing around here. Things can get pretty tense in the billiard room sometimes. You never know what might set some old geezer off. I have never seen any actual physical violence erupt but I almost did yesterday. One old codger forgot who’s turn it was and was insisting that it was his. In fact, he was quite adamant about it and started acting out. His opponent was trying to reason with him and calm him down, but the old coot just wouldn’t except the fact that it wasn’t his turn; until the calming voice of reason interrupted the shouting match and politely informed Donny, that’s the forgetful old coot’s name, that he had better sit down and let his opponent, Norman, take his rightful turn. Donny instantly and obediently sat down for that calming voice of reason belonged to Harry Lewis. Harry rarely says anything, but when he does everyone in the room listens, immediately. There is something very scary about Harry, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s that big scar he received from a knife fight. It starts from just above his blinded left eye, and then runs down the side of his cheek to the corner of his mouth? That is one long nasty looking scar. Of course it is only conjecture that that scar, along with his blinded left eye, was the result of a knife fight. Nobody wants to ask him for verification. When we look into Harry’s face, mostly while playing against him in 8 Ball, we all pretty much try to pretend we don’t see his scar, or his blind eye. At least I don’t. I try not to stare at him too much, but it’s almost impossible not to sometimes. It also makes me uncomfortable when I best him at 8 Ball. I have visions of him breaking his cue stick, over my head and then stabbing me with the broken and splintered ends. He has never done that to my great relief. In fact, he has never said or done anything that I could say was even impolite; at least not to me. Nevertheless, that ugly scar and bad eye, sure give him a look of dangerous malevolence, which, oddly enough, makes him very good at settling disputes in the poolroom; one way or the other. So far, it has only been one way and not the other; nobody wants to see the other way. Even the coffee Nazis, i.e. the battle axes who control the coffee supplies, are afraid of Harry. They never lecture him when he goes into the lunch room to collect his morning coffee. Everybody is afraid of Harry, except the aforementioned Mandy. She is not afraid anyone. Mandy just looks at Harry right in his good eye and smiles and he smiles right back at her. That will be the only time you will ever see Harry smile, when he’s looking at Mandy. Harry has bad teeth. Mandy doesn’t seem notice them either.
Last month one of the more stringent coffee Nazis elected to show us again who really runs the place and incurred into the billiard room and demanded Mandy produce proper credentials as to her exact age and if not meeting the proper age criterion be personally removed from the center. I suspect the coffee Nazi did not see Harry sitting by himself in the far corner of the room, for she seemed quite shaken and surprised to hear his quiet yet somewhat menacing voice say the following:
We now see Harry talking to the coffee Nazi, but we continue only to hear Phil the Narrator’s voice as he is now speaking in the second person.
“She’s not going anywhere”, said Harry.
“And why not?” Answered the coffee Nazi trying not to look frightened..
“She is my caregiver”, lied Harry.
“And what care, pray tell, does she provide you?” Scoffed the now incredulous coffee Nazi.
“She helps me remain calm”, answered Harry, slightly gritting his teeth.
The regular narration continues at this point.
That would be the last time that particular coffee Nazi entered into our billiard room, thanks to the American Disabilities Act and that big ugly scar on Harry’s face. Not forgetting his blinded left eye, of course.
The other night Mandy invited me, Harry and another guy who plays a lot at the Center named Dustin, to a local sports bar. She was curious to see how we would fare against all the young turks who usually haunt that establishment. We dusted everyone who challenged us. Those young guys kept getting in line only to fall with great repetition by the wayside. The only 8 Ballers any of us could be bested by were ourselves. I guess if you play pool everyday, even at a senior center, you are bound to get pretty good at it. Mandy fared better than anyone else, not loosing a single game of 8 Ball. No wonder she likes to hang out with all us old riffraff at the senior center. We sharpen her skills. And do so out of sight of her main competition. We are like her secret weapons. All those young guys at the bar didn’t know what hit them. She took them all by surprise. She knew all of them too, their names, their strengths and their weaknesses. She’s very good at trapping her opponents with safeties.
After we got back from the sports bar, Mandy convinced all three of us to enter into an open tournament with her that requires no league affiliation. All they want from contestants are their entry fees. No divisions either, except male and female, otherwise everyone, young, old, experienced, inexperienced, whatever the ranking, or no ranking, against everyone else. There is real prize money involved too. And you don’t have to win to see some of it. You just need to place high enough. Her plan is that we all agree to split any prize money we make between the four of us. I wonder if that is legal? Even if it is, it doesn’t sound very ethical. I usually know how to say the word “no”. Ordinarily I never have a problem withstanding peer pressure, but not when the peer is a sweet young lady, with a pretty face and a nice warm smile. Mandy sure likes to play the angles and not all of those angles are found on a green felted table. I wonder, could she be a shark? A real one? No. She’s too nice.
Close up on Mandy’s face as she looks into the camera and smiles sweetly.
While the credits are rolling the scene changes to the next day. We now can hear dialogue from the other characters, especially Mandy’s. However her fun loving, easy going demeanor has now changed to that of a task manager. She is teaching billiard drills to Phil “Sharkie”, Dustin and Harry. There are several quick action shots of her putting the three men through their paces.
Hit lower with left English Harry. No left English. (shot of Harry’s ball strike). You’re hitting too hard. (shot of Harry hitting the ball again) That was too soft. Do it again. (shot of another ball strike) Again Harry. Draw the cue ball back to the left. (Shots of Dustin and Phil’s ball strikes) You guys really need to work on your cue ball repositions.
Narration (what Phil is thinking to himself at the moment)
Why is Mandy being so bossy. I don’t like being bossed around like this.
No Phil, use left English like I showed you.
Phil still thinking to himself
If I wanted to be bossed around by a woman I would have married one.
Mandy is then approached by Jerry, another pool player in the billiard room.
Hey Mandy, want to play a game of 8 Ball?
Sorry Jerry. Maybe tomorrow. Right now I got to get these boys ready for a tournament. Hit lower with left English Harry. No left English.
Shot of Harry looking angry at Mandy with his good right eye. She takes no notice and continues on with her coaching. Shot of her setting up a ball striking drill for them to master.
Watch, I want you guys to hit low on the cue ball and draw it back to the left for reposition. Just like this.
Mandy demonstrates the reposition cue ball drill over and over again.
Fade to black.
(Actually the copyright date should read 2014 not 2016 as generated automatically below) jp.
© Copyright 2016 Jim Pack. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Humor
Short Story / Humor
Short Story / Humor
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