Born at Sea
1 PRISON – MORNING
Sunny countryside surrounds vast prison fencing.
The breeze can be heard. A car pulls up into the foreground.
Out of the entrance, a small figure emerges – he dawdles at the entrance, then heads towards the car.
BEN (32) steps out the car. He has a tattoo sleeve. The figure of AIDEN (28) grows…
AIDEN avoids eye contact until he’s close. They embrace.
2 BEN’S CAR – CONTINUOUS
They are driving, silently, through the countryside.
AIDEN sees farms, crop, livestock for the first time in a while.
He rests his head on the window. BEN keeps looking ahead.
They’re leaving the rural now, small houses start to emerge… They drive through a village.
They pull into a roadside fast food place.
3 FAST FOOD JOINT – CONTINUOUS
BEN’s order is called, he steps forward.
CUT TO: BEN and AIDEN eating at a table, surrounded by colours and noises of children.
Dad said you never tried to call.
AIDEN continues eating.
You guys have a falling out?
AIDEN shakes his head.
Just never got round to it. What’s new with you?
BEN belches loudly.
Y’know, same shit, different day… But, we are, how do I put this… We’ve made some friends, you might say, who are going to help us out.
BEN looks at Aiden suspiciously.
They didn’t wire you or anything, right?
Please… I’m out for good behaviour, that’s all.
BEN slurps his milkshake.
4 HARRY’S BAR – CONTINUOUS
BEN and AIDEN step inside an old-fashioned, modestly filled pub.
An old man, HARRY (60) hobbles around the side of the bar and grips AIDEN’s hand.
My boy, my beautiful boy… [Sarcastic] I thought I’d lost you.
You spend all year thinking of that one?
Please, more chance of us winning than the Championship than his jokes getting better.
A group of six or so men of varying ages walk around to see AIDEN – shaking his hand and embracing him.
One of them hands him a pint, the others are already drinking. BEN reaches behind the bar and pours himself a neat whiskey.
Careful you, don’t want you drinking and driving again. [to Aiden] Three times this shit has driven home completely drunk and still hasn’t been caught.
I can handle one drink.
BEN downs his drink already. One of the group – PETE (38) – protests.
It’s called a toast, Ben, you’re supposed to drink after.
BEN pours himself another and raises his glass.
To Aiden – the something, something, of something.
They chortle, BEN downs his drink. AIDEN takes a small sip of his own, then places it on the side.
If you all don’t mind, I’m pretty tired, might need to head home.
Two others – CHARLIE (42) and ALF (33) – speak up.
You don’t want to finish your pint at least?
It’s all yours.
CHARLIE looks a little offended.
Let the poor boy leave, he’s spent a year in prison for Christ sake.
AIDEN nods appreciatively. BEN clasps him on the back.
Come on, let me show you to the apartment.
I’ll just take the key if that’s okay? Could do with the fresh air.
BEN’s a little taken aback, but hands it to him.
Don’t fuck off for too long sweetheart.
AIDEN smiles and leaves, there’s a feeling of awkwardness.
5 HARRY’S BAR – CONTINUOUS
AIDEN steps outside and looks around, still feeling like he’s in a prison.
CUT TO: AIDEN taking the bus, he’s staring out of the window, he buzzes for his stop.
6 PARK – CONTINUOUS
AIDEN walks to a shaded bench. It’s a sunny idyllic day, dog walkers, families, etc.
He sits down and looks to the ground – slowly slipping off his shoes and letting his feet feel the cold earth.
He looks like he could burst into tears, and looks around to make sure he’s unseen.
7 AIDEN’S APARTMENT – EVENING
AIDEN steps inside a dingy apartment, he plants his small bag of belongings to one side.
CUT TO: AIDEN fixing a small, old TV trying to get it to play – he rests it on a pile of old phone catalogues.
8 HARRY’S BAR – EVENING
BEN – seated with JAMES (22) AND JIMMY (23) – is patted on the shoulder by one of them when someone walks into the bar.
A broad, well-dressed DEALER (30) walks into the bar looking around. BEN approaches him and shakes his hand seriously.
HARRY is serving behind the bar.
BEN leads the DEALER to the back of the bar into an OFFICE. BEN locks the door next to them.
The DEALER pulls out a bag of cocaine about the size of a bag of sugar. BEN holds it up and looks at it.
He puts it on a small set of scales and checks the weight – 22 grams.
BEN walks around to the back of a desk, he opens a safe and counts out £1000.
He hands it to the DEALER who counts it for himself.
You just saw me-
The DEALER looks at him intensely.
DEALER finishes counting and begins to walk away.
That’s the last one we’ll need for a while. Don’t bring any more unless I say.
DEALER nods and leaves. BEN mutters to himself.
Fuckin’ weird one…
9 APARTMENT – EVENING
AIDEN is channel hopping – he’s looking alienated. Commercials, shallow gossiping news reports, etc.
CUT TO: He’s rolling around in bed, not sleeping.
10 HARRY’S OFFICE – EVENING
BEN opens the safe under his desk again – there are bags of coke – he takes each out and counts. 12 bags.
He sees the door is locked and tries a little bit from one of the bags, snorting it off his key.
We see the effect it has on his face – he tidies up the bag and cleans his key.
11 HARRY’S BAR – MORNING
The bar is mostly dead – AIDEN is drinking a pint of water, HARRY is standing behind the bar. They are mid-conversation.
…still, rather have Ben and his boys here, even dealing here, I can at least keep an eye on them that way, make sure they’re not being double-crossed or something when their back is turned. Dunno Aiden, it’s all a risky game, can’t say I’m sad to leave it behind. Too much greed, always too much greed.
HARRY stares nowhere in particular.
When did Ben take over?
Ben, since when did he start running things?
HARRY thinks hard.
Y’know, I’d probably say not long after they put you inside, September maybe? Somewhere around there, said I wanted to quit, one of my boys was going to jail – ‘Fuck it’ I said, if he wants to take over, so be it. So he did.
AIDEN is hardly listening. HARRY rests a hand on him.
You okay, Aiden?
Hmm, yeah, y’know. Adjusting, still getting used to it all again. Need to get round to finding a job somewhere…
Broke my heart it did when they took you, the only careful one of the lot and the pigs caught you of all people…
HARRY shakes his head in disbelief.
I’d leave now if I could… Don’t suppose you or Ben could lend me some cash?
Y’know, go abroad for a bit… See some of the world, that kind of thing.
You’re good here, Aiden. Besides, wouldn’t be able to lend you ought anyway, money’s tight as it is.
HARRY smiles gently and quickly serves someone down at the end of the bar. AIDEN calls over to him.
HARRY hobbles over. They lower their voices.
Ben isn’t supplying where I used to is he?
No, God no, too risky after what happened.
Then how is he even keeping it going?
Do you remember Lydia? Lady who helped me get this pub all those years ago.
AIDEN shakes his head.
Well, she and I kept in touch… Obviously she heard what happened to you, she told Ben she was interested in buying if he was still selling. Anyway, skip ahead 10 months or so to now, Lydia’s currently a lease manager for all these fancy properties. She puts on these extravagant parties for potential buyers, tries to get them to pay as much possible, or at least take an interest, tells them if they paid so much to refurbish they could resell a place and turn a profit…
Can’t these buyers bring their own coke?
I’m sure they could, but Ben to his credit has her convinced he’s selling her the best coke in the midlands. He himself gets it off this Asian chap, quite nice actually, came in just yesterday.
So this is where we are… Our big step up from dealing on council estates is being errand boys to a rich old lady.
He’s getting £100 on the gram; he’s making more of a profit with one client than we ever did with dozens.
AIDEN stops smirking and finishes his drink.
But saying that… He’s reckless, keep an eye on him for me, will you?
AIDEN half nods.
12 LYDIA’S FARMHOUSE – MIDDAY
AIDEN pulls up to a beautiful, perfectly square farmhouse in the middle of the countryside.
He glances around at the surrounding area which seems to be endless fields.
He steps out the car and almost kicks a chicken by accident. It totters away a little distressed.
CUT TO: He’s ringing the door but no-one’s answering, he looks around the side of the house and walks around.
Stables emerge – a dozen or so in a line, he can’t help but walk down them and look at the horses. He pets one.
He keeps walking and sees someone – NATALIE (19) tending to the horse.
‘Scuse me, do you know where I can find Lydia or Ben?
NATALIE turns to him.
She was with some guests by the pool, not sure whether Ben was one of them.
AIDEN goes to walk but turns back.
Which way is that?
At the back of the house.
He looks over and starts to walk away.
CUT TO: AIDEN emerges at the back of the house, voices emerge. He sees BEN is sat with CHARLIE and ALF, and a smart-looking woman, LYDIA (50).
BEN stands when he sees AIDEN, putting his cocktail down.
Speak of the devil…
LYDIA turns to see they embrace.
Can’t believe you stood us up last night, we wanted to see you.
You didn’t hear me knocking?
Just now, you didn’t hear me knocking at the door?
LYDIA walks towards them.
It’s a big place, Aiden, you might have noticed. Sit with us.
LYDIA extends a hand, Aiden shakes it.
How’s it going?
She brings forward a drink.
I’m good, thanks.
It seems strange to be meeting you both. Of course, I was just telling Ben I remember meeting him but not yourself as a child, still a baby I imagine. And your mother, your dear mother was still alive.
AIDEN isn’t sure what to say, he forces a smile.
‘Fuck Cancer’ so they say. Anyway, take my seat, I need to be leaving.
AIDEN takes her chair.
By all means stay to finish your drinks. Don’t forget to come early tonight Ben, before the party starts.
LYDIA leaves, followed by a BUTLER (50s). BEN takes a seat, they watch her go.
She looks like a line of coke would finish her off.
Frankly, she could look like Barney the Dinosaur as long as she keeps paying us.
CHARLIE and ALF laugh.
So what’s the deal here? You get her some coke, she pays you back, you have cocktails in the sunshine, we all start singing Kumbaya?
Much bigger than that, boy.
How rich do you imagine she is?
Well, times that by-
It doesn’t matter, let’s cut to the point of this – she has a party in a couple of weeks’ time, not the little cutesy gathering we’re having here, a big party for a lot of important people.
And you’re going to sell her coke?
We’re selling her a dozen bags of coke, at 22 grams each, at £3000 at bag – that’s £36,000.
AIDEN shakes his head in disbelief.
The price or the amount?
All of it.
Well we’ve been ripping people off since day one so there’s nothing new there… As for the amount, that was her idea, she’s going to host a party of 200. Cocaine, hookers, even some celebrities are going. She’s even promised us an invite, it’s gonna be something else.
How did you acquire so much so soon?
It was far from soon, it’s taken months of individual deals to get this much.
I’m done with all this, this is insane – you haven’t learnt from what happened to me, if anything you’ve done the next worse thing.
Relax little brother, we’re talking one big deal, one more time.
And how many times after that? [Beat] Fuck this.
He storms off. BEN goes to drink from his cocktail unbothered, but follows after him instead.
BEN catches up with him and pushes him against the wall of the house.
You didn’t think to tell me you were done with all this before we’d arranged a party for you? You got some other posse you’d rather be with instead?
AIDEN knocks BEN’s hands off him.
I’m not spending any more time in jail, not for something this dumb. Christ at least with bums on the street it was only the two of you. You know how risky this is? Hundreds of people, you’re out of your head.
BEN can’t help but smirk.
Don’t preach – you’ve been selling for years, probably sold just as much in your time as we will be here.
[Beat] I don’t even have the energy to argue with you, if you’re doing this shit do it without me.
NATALIE walks up to them, holding a saddle.
The fuck you looking for, a picture?
[to Ben] Leave it.
Just keep it down, you’ll make the horses distressed.
She leaves. BEN turns back to AIDEN but he’s already walking.
He keeps walking.
Jonathan Cross was published in this year’s UEA Creative Writing MA Anthology: Scriptwriting