INT. PETROL STATION SHOP. DAY.

AVRIL is behind the till, looking dazed. Natasha is the other end of the shop, purposefully mixing up the immaculately arranged drinks fridge. The glass doors open and MARK enters, smiling, and walks confidently straight to till. He’s a little older than AVRIL, wearing dark jacket and glasses, and he winks at her as he approaches.

MARK

Alright, Av.

AVRIL

Oh, hello, Mark. How’re you?

MARK

Great, how are you? Looking forward to tonight?

AVRIL

Hm?

NATASHA stops muddling the drinks, and looks round.

MARK

Yeah, well – it’s pretty much all set to go, just wondering when I can get those sparklers off you?

AVRIL

Hm?

MARK looks pointedly at the sparklers on the till next to AVRIL.

MARK

Kids won’t come without sparklers!

AVRIL covers the sparklers with her hand.

AVRIL

I don’t think I have any sparklers for you, Mark.

MARK

(playfully)

You sure, Av?

AVRIL takes the sparklers and backs into the staff room behind the till.

NATAHSA

Probably gone to get them. The sparklers.

MARK

But they were on the till.

NATASHA

Better go help her, Mark. You stay here.

INT. STAFF ROOM. DAY.

AVRIL is facing away from the door and NATASHA. On a table there is AVRIL’s earlier cup of tea and half eaten shortbread biscuit.

AVRIL

I hate fireworks, Natasha.

NATASHA

Yeah?

AVRIL

I hate the noise. That screaming noise.

NATASHA

Of the fireworks?

AVRIL

I guess. Why would Mark ask me to see fireworks with him?

NATASHA

Mystery.

AVRIL

It seems so insensitive. I thought…

AVRIL looks at the sparklers in her lap.

AVRIL

Are these really his?

NATASHA

I reckon so.

AVRIL

Well – you give them to him, Natasha. I don’t want to even talk about fireworks. I thought he was such a nice man, Natasha.

INT. PETROL STATION SHOP. DAY.

NATASHA comes out of staff room. MARK is still waiting, forcing a smile. She hands him the sparklers.

NATASHA

Sparklers for you.

MARK

Thanks. Where did Av go? Is she okay?

NATASHA

She’s not feeling great.

MARK

Will she be okay to come tonight?

NATASHA

Mark, these thing are beyond my control.

MARK tries to look inside the staff room.

NATASHA (CONT’D)

Yeah – you better go, Mark. We’re pretty busy at the moment, see.

MARK looks crestfallen.

MARK

Ok.

NATASHA

Bye, Mark.

MARK leaves, looking uncertain. NATASHA glares him out.

INT. PETROL STATION. DUSK.

AVRIL is organizing the cans that NATASHA earlier shuffled. She shoots occasional nervous glances at the darkening sky.

NATASHA

So. Staying in tonight Av?

NATASHA approaches the chocolate bars in front of the till and begins disorganizing them.

AVRIL

Yes.

NATASHA

Would you mind doing tonight’s shift, then? Only, y’know…I might watch the fireworks.

AVRIL

Do what you like, Natasha.

NATASHA

Okay.

AVRIL

What were you saying earlier, Natasha? About Marmalade?

NATASHA

Oh, nothing, not really. Just about how its funny you forget why you do things. Like, forgetting why you’re really scared by something. Or holding a grudge so long you forget why.

AVRIL’s eyes shoot back and forth from the sky, to the cans. They do not rest on NATASHA.

AVRIL

Mm.

NATASHA

And then, what it’d be like if someone reminded you about all of it. If you’d not be really scared by that thing anymore.

AVRIL

Maybe.

NATASHA

Or if you’d let your grudge go.

AVRIL

Yes.

NATASHA

Or maybe it’d just reinforce it. Make you more scared. Make you begrudge someone a bit more. Maybe.

AVRIL

Do you know how these cans got so muddled, Natasha?

NATASHA continues to disorganise the chocolate bars in front of the till.

NATASHA

I don’t, sorry.

INT. PETROL STATION. DUSK.

NATASHA, wearing her hat, heads towards the door of the petrol station. She glances back at Avril, whose eyes are wide with fear, transfixed by the sky.

NATASHA

See you later, Av.

AVRIL

Bye.

NATASHA

Uh. You’ll be alright, yeah?

AVRIL

Mm.

EXIT NATASHA.

EXT. PETROL STATION. DUSK.

NATASHA mounts her bike, and looks back worriedly over her shoulder. A car passes by, and throws an empty can out of the window. It hits the petrol station’s sign and makes a bang, unnaturally loud. AVRIL shrieks. NATASHA turns to see her fallen on her knees, clutching the back of her head in the cannonball position.

NATASHA

Ah, no…

NATASHA gets off her bike and makes to go back to the petrol station.

INT. BOX ROOM. DUSK.

NATASHA roots through the ‘PHOBIA ORIGINS’ box to watch the memory she has given to Avril. She comes to the ‘Fireworks’ file, which has ‘McBride, Jessica; Who works at the local pound shop,’ written at the top of the paper. She watches the memory.

EXT. BONFIRE NIGHT. NIGHT. 1983.

A 3 year old girl, JESSICA, is watching a boy of around 8 play with a sparkler. He is a little distance from her, and closer to the fireworks then she is. Suddenly, a stray firework shoots sideways and hits the boy’s face. JESSICA watches him curl up and scream with pain, in unison with the fireworks.

CUT TO:

INT. BOX ROOM. DUSK. PRESENT TIME.

NATASHA winces at the violence of the memory. She goes to search through the room. She reaches the boxes of ‘FIRST TIMES.’ We see ‘smoking,’ ‘lying,’ ‘kissing,’ and ‘tasting earwax.’ NATASHA stops at ‘Watching Fireworks.’ She skims through the files of the cardboard box until she finds ‘Meddle, Avril: Who is always found working in the petrol station shop, including evenings and weekends, because Natasha is too lazy to.’ NATASHA frowns. She looks at the memory, which is this time attached to a small bottle of gin. Memory plays.

EXT. FIELD. NIGHT. 1975.

Fireworks go off over head. A 5 year old AVRIL giggles as they do.

AVRIL’S FATHER

This is great, right, Av? I’m going to get something hot to drink in a bit. You want anything?

INT. BOX ROOM. DUSK. PRESENT TIME.

Memory fades. NATASHA looks dubiously at the small bottle of gin. As she leaves the box room, the door dissolves into the wall behind her.

CUT TO:

INT. PETROL STATION. DUSK.

AVRIL stands, tear streaked, behind the till.

AVRIL

What time do the fireworks start, Natasha?

NATASHA

Shortly?

AVRIL

Shortly?

NATASHA

Well, a little while.

AVRIL

A little while?

NATASHA looks sheepish, and offers the gin.

NATASHA

Uh. Something for your nerves?

AVRIL swigs from the bottle. Looks suddenly calmed.

AVRIL

What time is it?

NATASHA

Like, three.

AVRIL

Oh, right. I have a little while, then.

NATASHA

Before what?

AVRIL

(with a new sense of assertiveness)

Before I go to the fireworks, Natasha. Because I haven’t had a Friday evening not working here for a month.

NATASHA

Why don’t you go early?

AVRIL pulls a face of disbelief at NATASHA

NATASHA (CONT’D)

I don’t mind. Really.

AVRIL

I thought you desperately wanted this evening off?

NATASHA

Yeah, well, not really. Not as desperately as you want to see Mark.

AVRIL

Well. Don’t you want to see the fireworks?

NATASHA

I reckon they’re kind of dangerous.

Pause, before AVRIL decisively goes into staff room, and comes out pulling on a green coat.

AVRIL

Well, look, I’ll see you tomorrow. Nine ‘o’ clock.

NATASHA

Yeah, right. Nine thirty sharp. Have fun with Mark.

AVRIL smiles as she leaves the shop.

INT PETROL STATION SHOP. NIGHT.

A woman walks into the shop, nervously looking over her shoulder at the dark sky. She is in a plain looking work uniform, consisting of black trousers, white shirt and name tag, which displays the phrase ‘JESSICA MCBRIDE – HAPPY TO HELP!’ She winces as a firework goes off in the background.

JESSICA

Hey. Do you sell earplugs?

NATAHSA

Um. Don’t reckon so, sorry.

JESSICA.

Are you sure? I’ve been looking all over the village.

NATASHA

I could check the stock list. I think that’s…I think it’s in the drawer with the profit graphs and that…frick, I’m going to have to unlock the…where did I put my keys?

NATASHA begins rummaging through her pockets, reaches into her breast pockets, and remembers she put a memory in the form of a chocolate biscuit there. Pulling the contents of her breast pocket out, she sees a small pair of ear plugs, brand new and unopened.

CUT TO:

INT. BOX ROOM. DAY.

FLASHBACK: NATASHA is watching the memory of the postman, going down hill on his bike.

BACK TO:

INT. PETROL STATION SHOP. NIGHT. PRESENT TIME.

NATASHA

Weird.

JESSICA

Hm?

NATASHA

Well –

NATASHA reads JESSICA’S name badge.

NATASHA (CONT’D)

Well, Jessica, would you like these?

NATASHA hands over the ear plugs.

JESSICA

Have you used them?

NATASHA

Nope. Definitely not.

JESSICA

Well, thanks, how much?

NATASHA

Completely free. No charge. All yours. Take them.

A firework makes a screaming noise in the background. JESSICA frantically puts in the ear plugs. Then smiles broadly, in a way similar to NATASHA’s previous memory-induced smiles.

JESSICA

(shouting)

Thanks!

NATASHA

That’s alright.

JESSICA looks determinedly at the fireworks erupting outside. She smiles at NATASHA before leaving, with a certain confidence in her walk.

EXT. PETROL STATION. NIGHT.

As the fireworks explode overhead, a faraway crowd’s cheering can be heard, which seems more aimed at JESSICA than the fireworks themselves. Fade to muffled sound – as if through ear plugs.

Advertisements