INT: (Black and white) Facing a classroom door from the
inside. A man comes up to the door and opens it. He is wearing
a teacher’s suit. His name is Mr White but this is not his
real name. He is actually called Thorn. The students do not
know this. He walks in and takes off his jacket, putting it on
the chair on the left side of the room. As he walks across:
Thorn: Alright, good morning. How are we all today?
The class is unresponsive, both vocally and facially. The
smile droops slowly from Thorn’s face.
T: Right, well…
He clears his throat, trying to keep his dignity after that
brief awkward moment.
T: Last week, we talked about how direction affects how the
friction acts on the object, yes?
The class is, again, unresponsive. He pauses with his hands
raised in his gesture before turning to pick up the pen on his
desk. For a brief moment he holds the pen, staring at it. He
takes off the lid. At this moment:
INT: A car. Close up of the ignition. A key is being taken out
of it. The driver puts his head on the seat and straightens
his back, sighing. Centred shot of the front of the car shows
20 YEARS EARLIER
In the car is the driver, a younger, fresher-faced Thorn and
the passenger, his partner, named Jones. We are back in the
car. Thorn turns to Jones.
T: Hey, Jonesy.
They continue looking out the front window.
T: What’s the time?
J: Time you got a watch.
T: Original. Well done, did you come up with that one
J: No, actually your dad told me to tell you that, right after
he caught me in bed with your mum.
T: Wow, you’re on fire right now, well bloody done; you’re the
comic genius of our time.
J: At least I have a watch.
T: Yeah, speaking of which, who gave you that watch?
T: How are things?
Jones makes a “so-so” gesture with his hand.
T: What’s up?
J: It’s not that big a deal.
T: Why? What is it?
T: Come on.
Jones says nothing and looks nonchalantly out the window.
Thorn begins to say “Come on.”
INT: Classroom. Thorn is looking at a student with his arms by
his sides. The next line is intercut with Thorn’s past self
saying the same line.
Thorn: Come on!
The student struggles to make eye contact.
Student 1: (weakly) I don’t know, sir.
Thorn: Right. Well shut up then. Maybe if you listened once in
a while you’d know the answer.
He turns back to the board and continues writing.
Thorn: Okay so if this is the coefficient, I would now like to
know the speed at which the particle will travel down the
The students start scribbling on their whiteboards. Thorn sits
down on his chair. He takes his thermos and pours a small
amount of coffee into the lid. He drinks slowly. As he is
INT: The car. Thorn is drinking out of a hip flask. He
swallows and screws back on the cap.
J: She’s into feminism at the moment.
T: “Into it”?
J: Yeah, she’s friends with a load of them at work. Well, they
all say they are but they’re probably just doing it for the
sake of it. Like it’s “in” or something.
T: Sounds awful.
J: Yeah she’s reading books about it and everything.
T: Feminism isn’t exactly feminism though is it?
J: That doesn’t make any sense.
T: What I mean is that there’s a difference between feminism,
i.e. equality for women and men, and plain sexism against men,
saying they’re all pigs, horrible people, and all that girl
power stuff. That seems to happen more and more nowadays.
J: Well, I guess.
T: Look, think about it like this: a girl says to a guy,
“Sorry I’m not interested in you, I just like taller guys”,
nobody bats an eyelid, in fact, most girls would applaud that,
“you go girl” and rubbish like that. But a guy says to a girl,
“Sorry I’m not interested in you, I just like thinner women”
and everyone loses it. It’s completely acceptable for women to
turn away men based on physical appearance but not the other
Jones looks at Thorn slightly impressed.
T: Double standards, all I’m saying.
J: That’s because women worry about their appearance more
often than men so if a girl is discriminated against for her
appearance it hits harder.
T: Well, you could put that down to women thinking
differently. Which they do. Guys put things into little boxes
and keep everything separate, meaning they think more
straightforward and calmly about things. Women don’t do that.
They either just have everything laid out in front of them or
they try to put stuff into boxes and onto their shelves but
the shelves break. Sure, it means they can think more
critically about everything and all, but their shelves just
aren’t strong enough to keep the boxes on. They’re using some
rubbish Ikea shelves, we’ve got designer.
J: Ikea’s not that bad.
T: Are you kidding? I once bought a bedside table from them,
right? I was putting it together and these screws needed to go
in the side. I found out that the screws I had been given in
that labelled bag weren’t the ones in the instructions so I
had to go back to Ikea and ask for a bag of the specified
screws. I get home to put the screws in and they don’t fit. I
then find out that the screws I had been given were right and
it was the instructions that were wrong. Put the table
together, three weeks later it collapsed, do you know why?
T: The screws came out.
J: What’s the point of this story?
Thorn leans to switch on the radio. As he presses the button
on the dashboard, we:
INT: Classroom. Thorn taps the “enter” button on the keyboard.
He continues tapping it, frustrated. He sighs and makes
annoyed gestures at the computer. The same embarrassed student
from earlier notices and sits up.
S 1: Sir, do you need some help?
Thorn doesn’t fully turn around to answer.
T: No, no I’m fine, just get on with your work.
He wiggles the mouse but the computer is seemingly
unresponsive. He gets up and goes to the projector, checking
it is on. Two students are chatting. He looks at them.
Student 2: You’re so wrong, it was boring and stupid.
Student 3: You’re just saying that because you didn’t get it.
The camera zooms on Thorn’s face; he looks as if he is
remembering a half-forgotten dream more clearly. The voices
S 2: I totally got it.
S 3: Oh yeah? What was it about?
INT: The car. The two men are arguing.
J: It was about evolution.
T: Okay, tell me how.
J: That big monolith thing was there for every major leap in
T: Didn’t the visuals blow your mind and make you think, “Wow,
how did Kubrick do that?”
J: Okay, first of all, calling him Kubrick instead of “the
director” just makes you sound more pretentious than you
already are, and second, for the time those effects were great
but a) it’s aged badly and b) the story, if there is one, is
terrible. It drags for so long.
T: That’s not true, the story is astounding. It’s so
perceptive about things like the rise of machines and man’s
dependence on them.
J: Okay, thematically, there’s some interesting ideas
presented in it but if I’m going to hear these ideas and
listen and invest in them, I expect to be engaged with the
thing which is presenting them to me, which I wasn’t with
T: But it’s one of the greatest films of all time!
J: No, it’s one of your favourites.
T: Oh yeah, and what’s your favourite? If I we listed our
favourite movies, I’d probably say 2001, The Shining and… I
don’t know, Star Wars or something, whereas you would say
(mockingly) “Oooh Pulp Fiction, Pulp Fiction and Pulp
J: But that’s a great film!
T: Not as great as 2001!
J: Oh shut up, 2001 is just a pretentious piece of crap that
acts like it’s really clever when it’s not.
T: Oh, and Pulp Fiction isn’t?
J: Absolutely not. It’s intelligent but it’s also funny,
witty, exciting, engaging and well-written. And besides, if it
was a top three, it wouldn’t just be Pulp Fiction, it would
probably have Airplane or something in there as well.
T: Oh my god, there is no hope for humanity. You’d put
Airplane above classics like The Godfather or… The Godfather
J: Well you don’t exactly make a compelling case for either.
T: You’re telling me you would rather watch an admittedly
amusing comedy over one of the most sweeping epics of the
modern age, the American Novel on the screen? Second-rate
trash over a first rate masterpiece?
J: I, Samuel Alan Jones, in the year of our lord 1998, openly
admit that I would rather see Julie Hagerty giving head to an
inflatable auto-pilot than see Michael Corleone blowing
someone’s brains out in a diner.
Thorn sits back in his chair, exhausted at the conversation.
T: Is it really October already?
T: God… Alright, we should get going. Where did they say he
was going to be?
J: Just coming round that corner on his way back to work after
T: Alright, let’s go.
He pulls the handle on the inside of the car door. We:
INT: Classroom in 2018. Thorn is opening a drawer in his desk
to get out some papers. He roots through and comes across a
small photo. He flicks past it momentarily and then pauses,
going back to it. He pulls it out of the drawer. It is of him
and Jones 20 years before. He shows a flicker of a smile
before putting it back in his desk. He gets up and picks up
the pen, taking off the lid, ready to write.
T: What’s the date today, anyone know?
Student 4: 5th October
Thorn pauses for a moment. He wheels round to the board. We:
EXT: A street near the car 20 years before. Thorn has a hammer
in his hand. He is bent down with a man underneath him and the
hammer raised above his head. Jones is kneeling next to the
man (Williams). Jones pulls Williams’ hand out in front of him
onto the floor and spreads his fingers.
T: You obviously don’t understand that when he gives you a
loan, he is not only giving you a large sum of money, very
generously I might add, but he is also placing into your hands
his trust. You broke that trust so now we break your fingers.
Williams: Look, I can get that money back to him! I wouldn’t
kill me if I were you!
T: Mate, how many times do you reckon we’ve done this? Do you
know how many times people have said those exact words to us?
Every job is the same and we always tell people the same
thing: If you wanted to keep your fingers, you shouldn’t have
lost the bloody money!
J: What makes you different from all of the others? HEY?!
Williams smirks slightly but the two do not see.
T: Alright, which finger do you want to lose first?
W: Whichever one you hit, it’ll be painful!
T: Alright then.
W: For you.
T: Oh what are you gonna do?
W: Go ahead, break my fingers, we’ll see what happens!
T: Wish granted.
He raises the hammer higher and brings it down out of shot.
INT: Classroom in 2018. The whiteboard pen hits the board and
begins writing. When Thorn is finished, he steps back and
looks at the date. 5/10/18. Exactly 20 years to the day since
the job which put him here.
T: Right can someone give me the answer to number 1?
He looks around at the class and nobody has responded.
T: Jones, can you give us the answer?
Jules: It’s Jules, sir.
Thorn is taken aback.
T: Yes, of course. Sorry.
Jules: I don’t know the answer, sir.
T: Okay… no problem, Jones, no problem.
T: That’s what I said...
He continues scanning the class for students who may wish to
answer. He decides to simply tell them.
T: Okay so here-
He points to something on the board, hitting it with his
EXT: The street. Thorn is running around a corner, placing his
hand on the wall on the corner to keep his balance. He is on
the phone, an old mobile phone.
T: I don’t care what it takes, get me out of this!
T: No, Jones is… he’s gone.
T: He’s from the other crew, he must be!
T: I don’t know why, probably to get us out of-
He suddenly realises.
T: I did this. No, no, no, me and Jones had to take out some
other hitman ages ago just to get rid of him, sever loose ties
and all that! They must be doing the same thing with us!
McCarthy sent us to get hit!
A gunshot rings out. Thorn contorts his body to move out of
INT: Classroom, 2018. Obviously. Thorn is visibly annoyed.
T: Come on, who threw it?
T: Own up or you’ll all be staying here at break!
There is a short pause.
T: Jones, was it you?
Ju: Yeah, it was! And it’s Jules! My name is Jules!
T: Right, would you like to just step outside please?
He gets up and walks slowly to the door. He opens it.
INT: Small meeting room. Thorn is sat inside. A taller man has
opened the door. He closes it behind him. He sits at the
Man: Your name is not Thorn anymore. You do not live here
anymore. You will be relocated to a small town in Wales where
you will stay for the remainder of your life. You cannot have
any kind of connection to anyone here: family, friends,
He looks at Thorn waiting for a response. Thorn simply looks
mournfully at him.
M: Well, yes…
He clears his throat.
M: Alright, so you took a maths A-Level which will finally be
put to use here.
Thorn leans back out of shot.
INT: The corridor outside the classroom. Thorn walks into
shot, facing Jules.
T: Okay, do you know why I sent you out?
Ju: Yes, Mr White.
T: Okay. And you’re not going to do it again?
Ju: No, Mr White.
T: Okay. You know you have potential that’s going to waste
whenever you stand out here. You could do something impressive
with your life and every time you stand out here that chance
is becoming smaller and smaller. Please don’t let all this
work go to waste. Okay, get back inside.
Jules turns to walk in. He pauses.
Ju: Sir, are you okay? You seem a bit off?
T: Yes, of course… everything’s fine.
Jules pauses and walks back into the classroom, leaving Thorn
out in the empty hall. The door swings closed.