The story is a brief outline of a screenplay based on a true story. Steven is a quite but capable man who lives for his family. But when trouble comes his way his bullying, domineering, gangster father wants him to deal with it in a manner that can have devastating consequence.
IT ONLY TAKES ONE PHONE CALL
by Simon Morrell
1* The story starts in a suburban middle class housing estate. In a dark kitchen man and wife watch the road outside as if waiting for someone to arrive.
“So this is what you resorted to. This is what you have become. Everything you have fought against becoming”. The wife seemingly chastises the husband.
“There was no choice in the end” replies the husband, Steven.
2* The story flashes back many years previously. Steven is seen as a teenager in a school playground. For what seems to him to be the millionth time that week, he is punched to the ground, just for fun by the school thug. The bullying is vicious, violent and both, physical and verbal.
“Hey, big shot. Where’s the big gangster dad to look after you now? Dickhead!” the bully screams at his victim. Shaking his hurt of, shrugging his shoulders the victim makes his way home. The scene that greets him is not good. His dad, a local ‘wannabe’ gangster and owner of local businesses winces with embarrassment. “You pussy. What’s happened now? Look, we can have this sorted out no problem. Give me the phone, I’ll put a stop to this” he barks.
Steven pleads with his dad to leave it. It is clear violence is not Stevens’s thing. With a look of disgust his dad storms out. Quietly, Steven’s sister pushes something into his hand and walks out without making eye contact. The object in his hand is a leaflet for a local Martial Arts school.
3* The story flashes forward some ten years. Steven is seen as a flourishing Black Belt with his own schools. Success has been hard work but is written all over his face, as with his wife at his side, he celebrates his school’s tournament success at a local restaurant. The room goes quite as a recently released convict enters the room. Making a beeline for Steven, the guests at the table look horrified. As well as a convict, it is the same thug who bullied Steven for all those years.
“Hey Steven. Good to see you” he offers whilst putting a not so friendly arm around him He then whispers is his ear “Tell your Dad, I did my time for him. Kept my mouth shut. Now he has to pay up. Oh, and you can fucking chip in as well. Hear your Schools are doing great right. I’ll be around to collect. Won’t take me long. I’ve bought the house next door to you!” he laughs at both his words and the horror on everyone’s face.
4* We see Steven become increasingly worried by how the thug is draining his business and how the constant threat from the house next door is every present. He becomes afraid to leave the house for fear of confrontation and what he may be forced to do. His wife and friends comment on how he looks ill. Finally he confides in one of his closest and toughest friends, a fighter who is known to have connections. These are the same connections and dealings Steven has avoided, thinking only of his wife and children and how happy they all are.
“Fucking hell Stevie. We can make this go away, you know that. Look, why don’t I make a call........” Steven cuts him off.
“You know damn well it is that kind of solution my father offered people that got me into this in the first place. If he hadn’t have offered that goon a job in return for leaving me alone, then there wouldn’t have been the prison sentence. There wouldn’t be the revenge attacks”.
5* Scenes are shown of Steven’s gym being wrecked. Paint poured all over new equipment. His daughter Jess is harassed in the street and late night phone calls bring terror to the family. Steven is torn between the offers to ‘make it go away, just one phone call and it’s...he’s gone”.
Steven shakes his head, adamant he will not stray to the dark side occupied by his father for so long.
6* Relaxing at home one night, he is startled by the door crashing in. It is his daughter, hysterical and covered in blood. He rushes to her and offers comfort but is enraged. A hugely talented fighter, he can no longer contain his fury. Catching his wife’s eye he bolts from the house, hammering on next doors house. The door is snatched open by the thug and, backed by his gang, they make their way to the outside. Surprisingly the thug looks worried by the sheer ferocity on Stevens face.
“You fucking animal! What have you done!” he screams. He lurches for the thug, who, as a coward tries to hide behind his friends. None of them want to know. “I’ll kill the fucking lot of you!” Steven screams. They scatter at the mild mannered man turned maniac now in front of them. They know of his capable physical skills. They flee inside slamming the door shut. Steven hammers and kicks to door before sinking to his knees. In the pouring rain, he knows what must be done, now his daughter has been hurt he must end this.
He pulls a cell phone from his pocket. “Ok” he says “Can you still make that call? Enough is enough. No one will know right?” he nods at the reassurance he receives from the other end of the line.
7* The scene returns to the wife and husband in the window. They watch as a car pulls up. Quietly, without fuss, two large gentlemen step out. Without even a glance toward Stevens’s house they politely knock on the thug’s door. Muffled voices are heared and then a high pitch plea for mercy. “Too late for that now mate. Business is business but you broke the cardinal rule. You hurt innocent people” Further whimpering is heard as the two gentlemen take him by the arm and lead him to the back seat of the car, getting in either side if him. The car drives away. Back in the kitchen Steven turns to his wife and says “That’s all it took. Years of training to fight and in they end all it took was one phone call”. He leaves the kitchen slamming the door behind him.
Simon is the author of From Bullied to Black Belt and An Everyday Warrior, both true stories based on his own battles with adversity. The former is currently the subject of talks about a major movie. You can visit Simon here