Logline: A complacent young man with everyday concerns stumbles upon his intergalactic ancestry.
The necklace is a sci-fi short film in the style of a small town indie movie. It has a whimsical and yearning tone to it as it is about the main character, Dale, escaping complacency. The themes are escapism, suburbia, and the fantastical in the mundane. My intention is the create a script for a short film that a group of friends could film as a fun summer project. The out of body sequences could be animate with stop motion. It has the aesthetics of an early 2000s mall and suburbia.
The Shoes Plus store in the Solano Town Square Mall, March 15, 2010, one in the afternoon.
The interior of the Shoes Plus store is a half-hearted pale yellow, the racks of discount shoes only a little taller than the average person and filled with every shape, color and style of shoe arranged neatly according to size. The hum of the busy mall giving a quite backing to the indistinguishable jangling music being played on unseen speakers. MACK PETERSON, 65 balding man, and only a little bit sleazy, is lounging at the front counter. DALE VAUGHAN, 20, tall broad shouldered but lean, a strong bone structure and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses perched on his roman nose walks around the store idly straightening the shoes on the shelves. He wears the store uniform of dark blue polo and pressed Khakis, he has a battered copy of some obscure 99 cent sci-fi book tucked in this back pocket. His boss calls out from behind the register, asking Dale to watch the store while he’s on lunch. As Mack is walking out the door A WOMAN is heading in, he holds the door open for her and leers at her ass as she passes. The woman, in her thirties, dressed in an all black outfit, scans the store with a look of purpose. Dale, now behind the counter, is leaning on his side reading his book. His concentration is broken when the woman clears her throat and slides a shoe box on the counter. She has a slip of paper in her hand and asks if he has them in a size 6. Dale smiles slightly as he takes the box to the back room.
The backroom is cluttered with shelves covering every wall as well as splitting the room in half with another ceiling tall shelf. It’s a cramped space, the fluorescent light dim and yellow, Dale squints at the box labels. He finds what he is looking for tucked in the back corner of the right shelf. The box is too light, the surprise evident on his face. He shakes the box; it rattles. He hesitantly opens the box, in one of the corners a jumble of chain. He pulls it out and holds it up to see what it is. It’s a pendent of some sort with a gem hanging off it. It’s dark blue and sparkles subtly. At first, he is confused as the what it is, but then he recognizes it.
The image of his grandmother comes to his mind. ALDONA RUAN, 100, regal with the same caramel skin and strong bone structure as Dale, is lying in a casket with the pendant around her neck. Dale, 10 at the time and wearing a black suit, is crying as he leans down to press a kiss onto her cheek. He stares mournfully down at her and the pendant. A woman takes his hand and leads him away speaking comforting words.
A voice brings him back to the present, The woman is in the backroom, impatient. Her voice startles Dale, as he turns around startled his shoulder bumps the shelf, it sways ominously, a few boxes at the top coming loose, his eyes are drawn away from the woman and up to the boxes. Dale hears a hiss, his eyes snap back to the woman who is glaring at the necklace in his hand. The woman demands him to give it to her. Dale looks down at the necklace and then back at the woman, first confused and then suspicious,
The woman pulls out a gun and steadies it on him, it doesn't look like a normal gun, it’s is made of a holographic metal, reflecting different colors every time she sifts. Dale looks around in panic, he eyes the phone at the front desk. He glances at the shelves around him and back at the woman. She growls. He pulls down the shelves behind him as he makes a dash for the phone.
He is almost at the counter when a strange zap fills the air and he falls to the ground. Blood is blossoming on the front of his polo, she has shot him clean through his left shoulder. He shouts as he falls. He is lying behind the counter, the phone just out of reach as he stares wildly up at the woman who towers over him, gun tucked back into her pants, under her leather jacket. She stoops down to grab the necklace from him. He shouts belatedly as she wrenches it from his grasp and steps away from him. He asks who she is but the woman doesn't answer. Instead, she turns her back to him and pulls out a device and begins speaking into it, it doesn't sound like any human language, more like humming, but there are still words. The communicator looks like it’s made of the same metal as the gun. His vision is going spotty and he can hear a rushing in his ears, as the light catches on the pendant, making it sparkle wildly, with a jerk he recalls a memory.
Dale’s grandmother laying in a hospital bed, her caramel skin wrinkled and contrasts with the whiteness of the hospital room. One hand is on her chest, the other is holds one of Dale’s, her voice, weak and slightly accented, as she tells him, “I’m sorry I have to leave you so soon, there is so much I need to tell you.” Ten-year-old Dale looks at her distressed, “What do you mean?” She looks at him with great sadness in her eyes,“You’re not ready yet.” She reaches up with elegant hands and takes the necklace from off around her neck. She presses it upon his right temple. He envisions swirling galaxies, balls of energy, familiar faces, he sees his parents standing next to his grandmother but they do not appear to be on earth and are much younger, there are people who look and dress like the woman, gossamer cities, and a strange sun. He can hear voices: young, old, female, male but indistinct and musical, they are not speaking any earthly language and it almost sounds like singing, it’s a more beautiful version of what the woman in the store is speaking.
He is back in the store, breathing heavily and clutching his wound. He stares up at the woman who is till on the phone like no time has passed. Dale clenches his jaw and with a deep breath staggers up onto his feet and snatches the necklace from her grasp. She whips around with a snarl and backhands him with a loud smack. His head snaps to the side as he tumbles back down, but the necklace still triumphantly clutched his fist. He scrambles back on his elbows, eyes darting up at the phone as the woman is advancing. Trapped between the counter and the woman he looks frantically about and tightens his hold on the pendant. She is almost on him. He shouts starts to glow. The woman halts when sees this and lets out an inhuman whimper. A large blast of light is shot out of the gem, blasting her back. Dale stares down incredulously at it, another light comes out of the orb enveloping his vision.
Everything is silent and dark, a familiar tune comes out of the darkness: the awful jangling store music, the murmur of voices and foot traffic filters in as Dale looks around, he stands by a shoe shelf. He lifts up the neck of his shirt to peer over at his shoulder, no wound but instead, the necklace hanging around his neck. His boss calls out, Dale’s gaze snaps up to his boss. Mack is asking him to watch the store while he is out, in exactly the same words as before. His Boss walks out, Dale staring incredulously after him. As his boss leaves a woman is about to enter so he holds the door open for her leering slightly at her as he passes, a mirror image of what happened earlier in the day. The woman scans the store, grabs a box off the shelf and heads over to him. He looks down at the shoes, then backs up at her, “Oh, sorry, those are the last pair.”
Bio for Dale Vaughan
Dale Vaughan born November 26, 1990, in Fairfield, California. His parents Todd and Arulia Vaughan were astronomers. They died when he was 3, the plane that was taking them to an observatory in Chile crashed. He was raised by his grandmother, Aldona Ruan, a Moroccan immigrant until he was 10 when she passed away. She would tell him fantastical tales of his parent's adventures, the history of ancient civilizations and she showed him the beauty of outer space. When she passed away he was taken in by family friends who had no child of their own, Martha and James Lee. Martha runs a DIY business where she teaches crafting, gardening and scrapbooking, while James works as an accountant. They live in a beautiful two story house that Martha has re-done about three times, surrounded by the amazing garden that she teaches in.
Dale was a dreamy kid, with his nose in a book. He always had friends but never was too attached to them. He never got higher than A- in anything but science, the science teacher Mr.McDonald was a giant jovial man who let Dale use the equipment after school for the science club he started with a couple of his friends. He graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA having read the entirety of his high school library and did a senior prank of putting super strong bubble solution into the water tank.
Having no aspirations or drive he settled for going to the local university, where he has a full scholarship due to his parents being well known and respected scientists. He lives at home still, having no urge to move away from Jame’s amazing cooking and Martha built him a telescope platform on the roof. He works at Shoes Plus to support his book and video game addiction. He volunteers as Mr. McDonald's teaching assistant on the days he has off. Most of all he wants to get a good job that will leave him with plenty of free time to read books.