24. LIVING ROOM
Dave’s parents are watching TV, Dave enters with a serious look on his face. He stands between them and the TV, and takes a deep breath.
DAVE: Mum, um, I need to talk to Dad for a few minutes, so, er, do you mind at all?
MUM: No, go ahead.
Dave’s mum does nothing but continue to sit and watch TV. There is an awkward silence. Dave and his father exchange looks.
DAVE: Ahhh... Dad, could you come into the kitchen with me?
DAD: [FROWNING] Sure thing.
He rises and they cross over to the kitchen, and sit down at the table.
DAVE: [TRYING TO KEEP VOICE LEVEL] Now look dad, about the other day... When I was talking about moving out and the HSC and everything?
DAVE: You see, I wasn’t thinking of moving out because I thought you guys were going to kick me out.
DAD: [SURPRISED] What?
DAVE: My friends and I, well... we decided to move out at our own free will.
DAD: [ASTONISHED] What do you mean?
Dave is starting to crack under his father’s incredulity.
DAVE: Well... we want —
DAD: [PASSIONATE] Are you saying... that after all this family has done for you... you... want... to leave?
DAVE: [ANXIOUS] No! It’s different from th—
DAD: Your mother and I – well, me anyway - have raised you since you were born, Dave, and have been there for you all the time. I’m not like those other dad’s! I came to your school for your plays, took interest in your activities. [STARTS TO WEEP] Do you think I deserve this?
This is still serious. He’s heartbroken, and his son is riddled with guilt at what he is doing to his own dad.
DAVE: [TRYING TO STAY FOCUSSED] Look, dad, you HAVE raised me for all these years! But there is a time when... I will raise my own children... I mean, buy a new house. [TO HIMSELF] Stupid easily-forgettable poster.
DAD: [GETTING ANGRIER] How can you do this? I just can’t believe this Dave! There is no way you are moving out of this house! Doug leaving was bad enough, and I'm not letting Callisto have another bad example.
DAVE: Dad, she's with her friends at the Gold Coast...
DAD: Never mind that, Dave. There is no way you are leaving your family alone like this! You hear me? Just go to your room!
Dad is trembling with a mixture of rage, betrayal and fear.
DAVE: [DESPERATE] But the thing is: we probably wont even—
DAD: [coldly] Just go.
Dave falls silence. He turns and walks away silently. Dad holds his head in his hands, sobbing with emotion.
25. DAVE’S ROOM
‘Touched’ by Vast plays over this scene and the following. Dave enters his room and slumps down on his bed, facing the window looking out at the city. It is a glorious sunset. Dave slowly looks down to see a framed photo of him, his mum and his dad. Dave drags his gaze up to the window again, holding back tears.
26. ANDREW’S HUT
Andrew is slumped in front of the TV, looking upset. He looks around the hut and sighs again, and then plays TV roulette. The Good Life comes on. Andrew looks slightly interested, but then switches off the TV, and sighs. He rolls over, looking lonely and cold.
27. NIGEL’S ROOM
Nigel lies in bed, flipping through a magazine. At first, he seems completely content, then he frowns. We see the article is called THREESOMES – WORTH IT FOR FRIENDSHIP? Nigel chucks the magazine away and scoops up another one. He flips through it, but is no longer interested. He chucks it away and then slumps on the bed, sighing. There is a framed photo of the Happiness Patrol, gathering dust. Then, he gets up with a firm expression and leaves.
28. VIDEO STORE
The music slowly dies out. Dave sits at the counter, legs up, reading a comic book entitled "The Unintentional Adventures of Rob the Peeping Tom." His boss Parker, a creepy character who mumbles a lot, walks in through the door. He spots Dave and does not seem to react.
PARKER: [CASUALLY] Working hard, Dave?
DAVE: [STILL READING] Hell no.
Dave looks up and sees that it is his boss talking to him. He instantly flips into a more dignified pose and ditches the comic.
DAVE: Oh jeez, sorry boss! I thought you were anyone else.
Dave winces and smacks his forehead.
DAVE: Mr. Parker, do you think I could get the rest of the day off? I’ve been pretty stressed lately and I would appreciate it a lot.
Parker is dangerously interested.
PARKER: What is the problem Dave?
DAVE: [SLIGHTLY UNNERVED] Well, my friends and I went to go looking for a place to live, and there is, like, absolutely nowhere in our kind of price range. So anyway my dad... well, my dad and I just had a fight and I’m pretty down.
PARKER: Why don’t you try my neighbors place?
Dave is about to say no, when it hits him.
DAVE: ... your what?
PARKER: My neighbor, she just passed away recently, after that incident with the chainsaw. We have huge apartments down our way. This one is going for dirt-cheap.
DAVE: [STARES AT HIM] You serious?
PARKER: You’ll be right down the hall from me. Quality places these are, and they are hard to find these days.
Dave stares at him.
DAVE: [SLOWLY] Right. Down. The. Hall.
PARKER: [BRIGHTLY] Yep!
DAVE: [SLOWLY] Right. Down. The. Hall. From. You.
Parker smiles charmingly. For him. To us it looks like the Phantom of the Opera at the dentist’s. He writes on a scrap of paper and hands it to Dave, who doesn’t takes his eyes off his boss.
PARKER: Look, you can take the rest of the day off. Here’s the address of the place. Go check it out.
DAVE: Gee, thanks boss.
Dave exits, a customer comes to the counter, Mr. Parker heads towards him. The customer instantly back away from Parker as he approaches, pausing only to put his video back in the tray before running for it.
Dave is running down the street looking at the piece of paper. He stops in front of a huge apartment building. Some one is quietly being sick on it, to the left.
He enters the building.
Various corporate artworks are hung around the place – including what appears to be a dead body skewered into the wall with a shard of metal. Dave walks through looking around, he then enters the elevator.
Swanky, with mirrored sides and easy-listening rock music playing. The doors sighs shut and Dave looks at the paper.
DAVE: [READS] Level 19, apartment 4.
Dave presses the button for 19. Immediately, the lift speaks in a dead-sounding, synthesized voice.
ELEVATOR: Level 19, going up.
Dave laughs at the voice, and then stares at the buttons for a long time. There are a lot of them, all in gothic roman numerals. He looks at each one in turn, but there are so many, he has hardly reached the mid-section of the control panel before the doors open. A bland corridor lies ahead. Dave rises and is about to leave, but a thought strikes him. He turns and presses the buttons in a random order.
ELEVATOR: Level 18, going down.
Dave chuckles, then frowns as the doors close before he can get out. He is stuck. The elevator begins to descend, and the voice begins to speed up, faster and faster.
ELEVATOR: Level 17, going down. Level 16, going down. Level 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9...
It is so fast we can’t understand it. Dave tries to press the emergency stop button, but it electrocutes him, and then the control panel explodes, the lights go out and Dave screams.
We see the indicator for the lift is at 16, before dropping down in a second to the first floor and then blinking. There is a muffled crash, and then the doors spring open and Dave drops out, on fire slightly. He frowns and crosses to the next lift, and presses the open button. The lift explodes. Dave turns to the next one, which opens to show a sign saying OUT OF ORDER, YOU SAD, PATHETIC WANKER! Dave opens the final lift. A sign says DITTO.
DAVE: Ah crap.
31. LEVEL 19
We pull out from a metal plaque saying 19, to see the door to the stairs opening, and Dave staggers inside. He is soaked with perspiration and utterly exhausted. He stumbles past several doors, and stops at 4. A sign says. INQUIRIES ABOUT APARTMENT? SEE RICK THE LANDLORD, GROUND LEVEL APARTMENT 1. Dave sighs and head back the way he came. As he enters the stairwell, he trips and screams as he tumbles out of sight.
32. DAVE’S ROOM
Dave wears a neck brace, and has treatment for nose bleeds. He dials on a portable phone, looking tired. We cut back and forth from Andrew’s hut as the conversation continues.
ANDREW: [ANXIOUS] Hello? Is that the police? Listen, I’ll tell you what I told the pizza company. I ordered it 34 minutes ago; the guy only said half an hour! I ask you: is that sane? Is it?! GOD DAMN IT, ANSWER ME, PIG!
DAVE: Once again, dude, it’s just me.
ANDREW: [SUSPICIOUS] Who’s me?
DAVE: I am!
ANDREW: Oh hey, have I told you what happened to my pizza?
DAVE: [HASTILY] Anyway, I’m calling you to tell you I found a new place, it’s going for really cheap man. We’re in!
ANDREW: What about that subnormal invertebrate? Still living in his underground base staffed entirely by metal women?
DAVE: What? Uulungid Caloovin?
ANDREW: No, our, er, our little pickled sheep?
DAVE: You mean the science project in year 9?
ANDREW: I mean Nigel.
DAVE: Oh, I haven’t told him yet.
ANDREW: Good. Let the damn loser just sit there, waiting, endlessly thinking of a time when he could have actually got his own apartment, but was ultimately defeated by the fact he is an arse hole! Oh the irony, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
The doorbell – the tune of The House of the Rising Sun – chimes for a moment. Dave’s Mum wanders into view, head bopping along with the tune. Finally, when the music ends, she opens the door. Nigel stands there, clearly in the middle of trying to look cool.
Nigel coughs, awkwardly, then makes a weird hand sign.
NIGEL: Westside, Mrs. Restal.
Mum stares at him just long enough to make Nigel squirm, then smiles.
MUM: Hello, Nigel.
NIGEL: [TAKES DEEP BREATH] Is Dave home?
MUM: [THINKS] Yep, yep he is. I’ll just get him for you.
Mum, without moving, shouts at the top of her voice. Nigel is practically thrown off his feet by the volume.
MUM: DAVE! YOUR LITTLE MATE NIGEL IS HERE! [SMILES] He’ll be down in a minute, don’t you worry.
Nigel looks up from the ground at her, freaked.
NIGEL: Sure, whatever, ma’am.
34. DAVE’S ROOM
DAVE: Listen man, just make up with him, as if it was a big argument anyway?
ANDREW: Did, did you miss the last six years? You didn’t understand he always thinks he’s right and everything he says is bull? "The sun revolves around the earth, the earth revolves around my mojo." "I am into girls." "Gasoline starts to taste good after a few buckets, I promise." It’s all crap!
DAVE: Anyway, just come with your cash all right?
ANDREW: Yeah, what’s the address?
35. LIVING ROOM
Nigel sits down carefully on the couch, clearing running through some kind of speech in his head. He is awfully tense – struggling to maintain his ‘cool’ persona. Mum, however, is as cool as cucumber.
MUM: I heard you three guys are going to be moving out soon, is that right? [CHUCKLES] Oh, you stupid, foolish little men. Have you learned nothing?
NIGEL: Excuse me?
Mum looks at him.
NIGEL: Uh... Nothing. Is Dave going to be long?
MUM: [SHRUGS] No idea.
NIGEL: I so believe you.
MUM: Anyhoo... [LONG PAUSE] When my husband and I moved out together my parents didn’t like it either. Of course, we weren’t married then.
Nigel laughs insecurely.
NIGEL: Really? That’s nice.
MUM: [CAUGHT UP IN HER OWN STORY] Why they were bickering at me about money problems and about a... a bond and such. Why, of course, back in the day bonds didn’t cost as much, but nevertheless you have to be cautious.
NIGEL: Well, thanks for...
MUM: [IGNORES HIM] My old friend Torie – her name’s Victoria but she wears braces, so we HAD to call her Torie – well, she rented a place out and put a bond down. The next thing you knew, her friend Jamie had flooded half the house and – and this is the bitch - poor old Torie had to pay for it all! Now it isn’t as easy to flood houses today. The advances in plumbing in the last... well even ten years have been astronomical, don’t you think?
NIGEL: Yes, well, I just wanted...
MUM: Did I tell you about the time my cousin tried to trim his toenails, blindfolded? Well, soon afterwards, HE moved out of home as well. Well, bits of him did. My parents complained THEN, too. Do you know what I’ve learnt from all this: Parents are ALWAYS complaining. Do what you want to do, be what you want to be, yah. Oooooooo.
Dave walks down the stairs. He tenses slightly. Nigel, seeing an escape route, leaps up into the air and runs across to him. Mum watches them, clearly not in the least-bit embarrassed about eavesdropping.
NIGEL: Hey. [SOTTO] Help me, please.
DAVE: [SOTTO] With my mum or your life?
Nigel stares him right in the eye.
NIGEL: [SOTTO] Either suits me fine.
36. OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT BUILDING
Andrew is leaning against the wall, next to the guy who is still being sick. P-Æ.J. is lying on the ground nearby, not moving. Andrew has a small rucksack with a dead rat hanging from it.
ANDREW: So I said to her, "Maybe you’re the figment of someone’s imagination." She said it was ridiculous. I said, "We may just be two sides of the same coin. I might even be hallucinating you: a mean-spirited manifestation of myself complete with a pathetic alter ego. What are you telling me about myself, you cruel caricature? That I am my own worst enemy?" You know what she said?
The guy vomits again.
ANDREW: She just told me to admit I hadn’t done my homework. Honestly! Teachers, man! You put up with them every time you can be bothered to turn up for school, and they just abuse you! And not in the interesting way, either, I...
Nigel approaches, frowning at the sight of Andrew and the vomiting guy.
NIGEL: [SUSPICIOUS] You. What are *you* doing here?
ANDREW: [EXASPERATED] Dave told me to meet him here, and he has told you to, but somehow he forgot to tell us that the other was coming. So damn predictable. Don’t you watch ANY TV?
NIGEL: [ANGRY] So what is your problem anyway? I can’t believe this.
ANDREW: [ANGRY] What? How can you say that--?
Andrew breaks off as a beautiful girl walks out of the building. She is holding a fast food bag, while taking bites of a hamburger. We switch to Nigel’s perspective he is staring at her, while sexy music is playing. We switch to Andrews perspective he is staring at her while a theme song plays in his head, "If it’s chewy and yummy, it has to be Speedy Burger!"
ANDREW: Excuse me, madam...
BOTH: Do you mind sharing your buns?
The woman looks extremely insulted and kicks both Nigel and Andrew in the groin, knocking them to the ground.
WOMAN: You sick creeps!
The woman storms off as Nigel and Andrew lie there, in comradely shock that their elaborate chat-up line failed.
NIGEL: Whoa, I did not see that coming!
ANDREW: [NODS] Hell yeah.
NIGEL: I tell you this.
NIGEL: She so wanted me!
ANDREW: [NODS] Do you know how close I was to snatching that burger?
Nigel nods, frowns, and picks something up off the ground.
NIGEL: Check this out! She dropped a chip.
ANDREW: [PICKS UP COIN] Cool! I found five cents.
They look at each other meaningfully. Romantic music starts, and it reaches a crescendo as Andrew and Nigel swap their finds.
ANDREW: [CRYING] Oh, Nige...
NIGEL: [WEEPING] Oh, Anthony...
They burst into tears and embrace each other. The music stops with a sudden ‘off the record’ type noise, and the duo pull apart immediately.
BOTH: [MANFUL] Nope, we’re not confused. Never was. Never will!
Dave crosses the street and looks down at Andrew and Nigel, who, if not best friends, can now stand to be on the same continent as each other once more. Dave smiles hopefully.
DAVE: Hey. So, fellas, everything all right now?
ANDREW: Yeah, we’re cool. We just discovered the art of commerce.
Andrew eats the chip, and then rises. Nigel turns to Dave.
NIGEL: [SOTTO] Heh, I so ripped him off.
DAVE: Well, let’s go inside, shall we?
37. APARTMENT 3
Slowly the door swings open to reveal the guys staring in front of them. They slowly enter the room.
NIGEL: Wow, this place is great! Think of all the women I could seduce here. Think of all the girls I could seduce here. Think of all the sheep I could seduce here. [SIGHS AND GRABS HEAD] Just stop thinking, you moron!
ANDREW: Wow! Look, there’s an old TV guide on the floor!
He runs over to it and scoops it up.
ANDREW: "Seinfeld: 7:00." [AMAZED] Wow. How old is this?
DAVE: Not that old. I can still remember when it was on.
ANDREW: Yeah, it’s a good thing it ended. Always leave them wanting more, that’s what I say. [LOOKS THROUGH GUIDE] This is a vintage one. I might even be able to sell it!
DAVE: Huh? What did I tell you guys? The only drawback is that Parker lives down the hall.
Andrew moves to run for his life. Dave stops him
DAVE: Don’t worry, he spends most of his time away at the greyhound races – he hates his wife.
ANDREW: With a personality like that, who wouldn’t?
NIGEL: I can’t believe you still haven’t told your dad, Dave, I mean what is he going to do when you are not there?
DAVE: [FIRMLY] I *am* telling him Nige, as soon as he gets here.
ANDREW: [SHOCKED] What?
DAVE: I’ve invited him over. You see you were right, well not *you*, in particular. Anyway, he just has to accept it, I’m all grown up now and I have to move on. [PROUDLY] This time I will stand up for myself, I won’t let him get the upper hand on me.
We see the hand knocking on the door. We pull out to see it is Dave’s dad, looking very annoyed. He knocks again, but there is no answer. Dad tries the door and it opens. He pushes it open and enters.
Dad enters and looks around. There is no sign of the gang. He tries the toilet and the kitchen, then notices the open window. Wind blows the curtains. Dave crosses to the window and looks out it. We see his POV: On the street down below, the trio are racing down the street heading for the entrance to a train station. We cut back to Dad.
He turns and sees, written on the wall in texta is: I’VE GONE. SORRY. BYE. We cut back to the guys as they disappear down the escalator.
RUN END CREDITS