Time Well Traveled

by christypaul2013

INT. BEDROOM MORNING

A steam-punk alarm clock RINGS. A lanky hand toggles its switches and levers. It stops.

LUIGI, a gawky inventor/imagined showman, leaps out of bed, already tuxedoed.

He adds a cape and top hat as he exits.

INT. KITCHEN – A LITTLE LATER

Luigi feed-bags a bowl of cereal. He notices someone watching and smiles apologetically.

He sets the bowl on the table and frantically spoons cereal.

INT. INVENTING ROOM – LATER

Luigi pulls back grand curtains, revealing a giant window overlooking a beautiful city.

Above the window is a row of clocks from different timezones.

On a WALL CALENDAR, Luigi marks off a circled, highlighted, exclamation-marked day: today.

He double-checks a blackboard covered in equations, then slides over to a METALLIC BACKPACK hanging on the wall.

He straps on the backpack. It lights up.

Arm rests extend. On the left: a dial that goes from PAST to FUTURE. On the right: a single RED BUTTON.

Luigi gives an unseen companion a thumbs up. The backpack goes dark. Luigi spins to see the backpack and knocks it against the wall. He cringes.

It lights up again, brighter than before.

Luigi breathes a SIGH of relief and races out of the room, waving to his companion – a small, inanimate ROBOT.

EXT. SIDEWALK STREET CORNER – LATER

Luigi stands on a soapbox, proudly displaying his new invention. A SIGN reads: LUIGI THE TIME TRAVELER!

A piece of paper reading: 12:00 SHARP! is taped over numerous others.

A small crowd has gathered.

Luigi holds up a HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD NEWSPAPER featuring the same street corner on the cover. He points to himself and then to the picture, implying that he will go back in time to appear in the picture.

The crowd looks incredulous, but one 5-year-old LITTLE GIRL is spellbound.

Luigi smiles at the little girl and checks his watch: 12:00. He salutes the crowd and presses the red button.

3…2…1… A FLASH OF LIGHT.

Luigi opens his eyes to reveal: he is standing in front of the same crowd.

Embarrassed, he tries again. 3…2…1… FLASH!

Same crowd.

Frustrated, he tries again.

This time, the crowd is smaller.

He tries to corral the crowd again, but to no avail.

He shrugs off the backpack and shakes it angrily.

The little girl leaves, disappointed.

Luigi spots a PAWN SHOP across the street and slumps off towards it.

EXT. PAWN SHOP – CONTINUOUS

A sign on the pawn shop door reads: Back at Noon. Luigi pounds a tiny fist at the door.

A large man opens the door and points to the sign.

Luigi gently lifts his wrist to prove that it’s after 12:00.

The man pushes Luigi’s wrist back at him to show that the time is 11:52. Luigi is flabbergasted.

The large man closes the door in Luigi’s face.

Luigi turns the dial to FUTURE and is about to push the red button, when he hears the CRIES of a woman and a cat.

He sees an elderly WOMAN staring up the side of a building and rushes to help her. She SCREAMS and points up.

Luigi holds his arms out to catch the falling cat… and misses.

The woman is horrified, then angry, and beats Luigi with her purse.

Luigi apologizes between blows. Then suddenly, an idea!

Luigi turns the dial to PAST and pushes the red button again. Three more seconds of beating, then: FLASH.

EXT. SIDEWALK – 3 MINUTES PREVIOUS

Luigi blinks off the bright flash and sees the woman fretting in the same place as before.

He calms her down, then dashes up the apartment building and flings open the cat’s window.

The cat flies off the ledge. The woman SCREAMS.

EXT. SIDEWALK – 3 MINUTES PREVIOUS

FLASH! Luigi marches up to the woman, stands in the exact position the cat fell the first time, holds out his arms and waits silently.

The woman is confused. The cat falls into his arms. She hugs her cat tightly and nods her thanks to Luigi.

As the woman walks off, Luigi is heart-warmed. He leans on his arm rest and hits the button. FLASH.

EXT. SIDEWALK – LATER

CLOSE ON NEWSPAPER

Headline: “TIME IS MONEY!” Photo: Three bank robbers have their hands up.

EXT. BANK – DURING ROBBERY

The robbers are surrounded by Luigi and a large police force.

One of the handcuffed robbers GROWLS at Luigi. Luigi cowers and hits the button.

FLASH.

EXT. SIDEWALK – LATER

CLOSE ON NEWSPAPER

Headline: “MR. INSTANT REPLAY!” Photo: Luigi is a referee.

EXT. FOOTBALL STADIUM – DURING GAME

Luigi appears in FLASHES around the one-yard line.

He reappears before the crowd, says something incomprehensible, referee-style, then raises both arms.

The crowd ROARS. He closes his eyes to take it all in.

FLASH.

EXT. SKYSCRAPER HELIPAD – LATER

CLOSE ON NEWSPAPER in someone’s hands.

Headline: “LUIGI THE MAGNIFICENT, TODAY!” Photo: Luigi poses with an empty skyscraper helipad.

The person drops the newspaper to reveal: Luigi standing in the same position, posing for photos.

Luigi feels a tug at his sleeve and looks down to see the 5-year-old girl. She holds up a picture of a woman.

He points at the girl, then the picture, as if to ask, “Is that your mommy?”

The girl smiles and nods.

He looks around and gestures to ask where she is.

The little girl does not know how to reply.

She turns to leave. Luigi tries to hand her the picture, but she refuses it.

Worried, he stands to follow her, and sees a NUN take her by the hand.

Luigi rushes to ask the nun about the photo.

The nun whispers something into Luigi’s ear. He looks at the little girl, heartbroken.

INT. INVENTING ROOM – DUSK

Luigi sits in a chair, slumped over with his chest to his thighs. He picks up the mother’s picture in one hand and a newspaper clipping about the accident in the other.

He stands up.

On his blackboard, he writes out: 1 year/3 minutes.

He goes to work, scribbling furiously until he has it. He steps back in disbelief.

A circled number: 178,776

int. inventing room – A little later

Luigi stomps around the room grabbing his hair. He can’t. It’s not possible! But, maybe… No! He’ll never make it!

He stops, looks at his robot doll. SIGHS.

FLASH.

EXT. BUS STOP – LATER

Luigi sits at a bus stop bench. He breathes a heavy SIGH and pushes the button. 3…2…1…

ext. bus stop – IN THE PAST

FLASH.

It’s raining.

FLASH.

It’s burning up. His clothes shrink.

FLASH.

He steals a passing child’s paddle ball.

FLASH.

He smacks himself in the eye with the paddle ball.

FLASH.

Black eye. Bored. A baby sticks a lollipop in his hair.

FLASH.

He wakes up. Oh, crap. He melts down.

FLASH.

Huge smile. Focused.

FLASH.

He grabs his wrist and SCREAMS in pain.

FLASH.

Bored again. Wrist brace.

The FLASHES accelerate into a white blur.

EXT. BUS STOP – ONE YEAR AGO

FLASH.

He spots the GIRL’S MOTHER. She’s about to cross the street.

He leaps off the bus bench to save her, but his legs are asleep, and he stumbles and falls into the road.

From the ground, he sees the girl’s mother turn back to help him.

The light changes.

He sees trucks coming from both directions and frantically tries to wave her off the road.

The truck HONKS. He covers his head in terror.

SCREECH! Luigi is uprighted by the mom. The truck swerves and HONKS its horn again.

She raises a hand to the truck, then checks to see if Luigi is okay.

She GASPS sympathetically and holds up a large piece of his backpack.

Luigi’s eyes go big, then he shrugs it off, too enamored with the mom to care.

She GIGGLES at his disheveled appearance.

INT. BEDROOM – A YEAR LATER

The same alarm clock RINGS.

A woman’s hand dexterously turns it off.

The girl’s mom yawns as Luigi enters the room holding breakfast.

She smiles at him. He sets the tray across her lap.

The little girl runs into the room carrying Luigi’s robot doll and jumps on the bed.

She frantically motions towards the door, tugging on Luigi’s sleeve.

Her mother holds up a pausing finger, then presents a massive strawberry.

The little girl stuffs it into her mouth with one bite, then scurries out of the bedroom and down the hall.

Luigi and the girl’s mother chuckle together, share an intimate glance, and Luigi gets up to leave.

INT. INVENTING ROOM – LATER

The little girl crosses off the circled, highlighted, exclamation-marked day: today.

She delivers tools to Luigi.

He helps her tighten screws and bolts.

The backpack lights up. He slips it on and grabs the girl’s hand.

FLASH.

EXT. SIDEWALK STREET CORNER – LATER

The family, each in their own top hat and cape, stands on the street corner.

A small crowd has gathered.

Luigi turns the dial to PAST and holds up three fingers to the audience.

The little girl notices a small switch at the base of the backpack. The backpack is set to DEMO.

She toggles it to ON and grabs Luigi’s hand. 3…2…1… FLASH.

EXT. TRIASSIC FOREST – 200 MILLION YEARS AGO

The family is transported to the middle of an ancient forest.

GROWLS, ROARS and HISSES echo through the trees.

The family stands, wide-eyed and frozen.

FLASH.

A Short by Christy.

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