Miners is a Short Film script for one actor.
by Karl Walsh
INT. Meat Locker. Day
Through the icy mist we see large hardly discernible pink shapes hanging in rows, over the sound of refrigeration unit hum we can hear shuffling footsteps and JACK a working man in his late forties walks into shot looking nervously in the direction from which he came. His breath can be seen condensing in the frozen air.
! ! ! JACK
! Right, O.K. what now?
He looks around him, and hugs himself for warmth.
! Jesus christ!
Jack walks into the mist out of sight, after a few
seconds he looms back out of the fog and stares directly
He sits down on something frozen.
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (cont.)! ! ! !
Right, what time is it?, (he looks at his watch shakes his head and chuckles to himself)
Twenty three fuckin years, look at these hands, these
hands could have taken me to the top of the world, top of
the world, d’you know that? top of the fuckin world.
(Jack spars with the camera)
But instead I dug coal. I drilled and shoveled enough
coal to light up Wakey on my own. Never mind Eddy! Jeez,
he could have emptied that pit in a shift, he was
dangerous that guy , what a guy, he was a proper miner,
Miners, that’s what we were, we thought we’d be Miners
for ever , until it dropped on us! well, yeah until the
whole damned thing dropped on us.
Sam Renten! S. J. Renten, the bastard! he had two
choices, classic, two simple choices. On the one hand the
pit, the town, a thousand families, the hopes and dreams
of thousands, you get the picture, and on the other hand,
on the other hand, he had an accountant! Ha! a fuckin
accountant! Ha, Ha! Twenty three fuckin years! and
then… my wife…,
(Jack is about to tell us something but changes his mind.)
Generations of us worked down that damned hole. His
profits had fallen, He hadn’t made a loss, he just hadn’t
made enough profit! !
what is enough? do you know what enough is? ‘cos I don’t!
He could have had a chauffeur somebody to drive him, but
he liked to drive himself, used to like to wave to the
men like he was one of us, yeah that feels just great,
you’re so tired you can hardly walk and you’re just about
to spend another fourteen hours underground working like
a slave and some idiot rides by in a Rolls Royce and
gives you a cheery little wave!
!!!!!!!! Boy that was so great for morale, Ha, Ha! Well, there was no one there to wave to when he left, just empty streets and the last rays of the sun shining through that stopped pit wheel, shining on his gold rolex watch (shakes his head) Man, that was a nice watch.
So you wake up at five thirty and you get up and go,.
Ridiculous, the whole lot of us all dressed in our best
suits , which didn’t amount to much, trying to look
smart , two hours before the job center even opened! all
these men , each one of them capable of lifting up the
side of a house, standing in line ready to be, what do
they call it? deskilled? yeah, deskilled. Retrained to
sell burgers or work in an office or something, I mean,
we couldn’t even touch that stuff , man our fingers were
too big! we didn’t know one end of an office from the
other for christ sake!
You know Fast Eddy could take the top off an egg with that shovel of his! the top off an egg, the cocky bastard. He said to me “Jack, why did we have to be coal miners, why couldn’t it have been diamonds in that mine? then we could have been somebody eh!” Yeah, you could’ve been somebody Eddy…! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
(Jack is lost in thought.)
But there weren’t any diamonds in Wakey, just coal. So we did what all last year’s men do, we walked the empty streets until we were thirsty and then we drank until the money was gone, no, it didn’t take long. ! Our problem was that we only knew how to do one thing, we knew how to dig. Just, how to dig. My father always said that there were just two things a man needed to know. One, how to dig and two, where to dig.., … and it was then that it came to me! the problem was the solution! Ha, Ha! you see, we knew how to dig! and I knew where! there were diamonds in Wakey and they were just lying there waiting for men who knew how to dig, how todig….! ! ! ! ! ! ! Eddy didn’t need convincing, he just looked at me with that crazy look he always had and I knew that our street walking days were over…. We were going to the graveyard!
The secret of a good pit is the shuttering, the timber
you use to shore it up, get that right and you’re safe
the shaft can go on for ever. Eddy was an expert we were
making a good fifteen yards a day, in from the low side
beyond the wall, man he was fast, we worked at night
because no one ever goes to a graveyard at night. People
are so superstitious, God, the Devil, ghosts and
goblins… (Jack tries a half smile) it wouldn’t have
mattered if we‘d worked days but we were both used to the
night shift any way, yeah, we were back on nights! !!!!!!
It was good digging in the main, not like the rock we
were used to, good digging, we were happy again, even
before we struck… you know… the first seem….
! Black Screen. The sound of refrigeration unit hum. The camera pulls out to reveal the dark pupil at the center of Jack’s left eye.
! ! JackCont. A wooden box, rotted like…., a brass handle, Eddy was there first and I was glad of it, yeah he was welcome to it. After all that time you wouldn’t think it would stink like that, would you? and up above ..”Here lies Hetty Arnold, Beloved wife, Mother and Grandmother of…” We had her engagement ring, her wedding ring and her rosary beads! her fuckin rosary beads…. They all had rosary beads, even the ones that had nothing else, even the very little boxes had rosary beads in them. We collectedalotofbeads.!! !
Miners…., some of the boxes we opened man, we knew the
people in them. One of the guys was my old next door
neighbor, the miserable bastard! he never did give me
that porno back! We got fifty quid for his watch.
We used to sell the stuff to this guy Jackson I knew from way back, I met the guy when I was in a bit of trouble, when my wife went, the cops suspected me, you know? but they couldn’t prove a thing.!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! !!!!!!
Any way this guy was in for receiving, he’d buy anything but he was a thieving bastard, !! ! ! ! ! It was like squeezing blood from a stone, but one time he seemed really interested in a ring we got, he was looking real closely at it and I suddenly remembered where it came from, we were selling him his own mothers wedding ring! He thought he got it cheap.
(Jack hugs himself against the cold)
No, we worked away, always digging, doing what we did
best and every morning we came out of that pit a little
bit richer. We used to scout out the yard during the day
and head for the richest looking tombs you know, the ones
with the biggest crosses on them, man “X marks the spot!”
You know some of those stones have got graffiti on them,
kids and spray cans, like lovers names carved in trees.
They come into the grave yard to mess with each other,
you know, ‘do the deed’, makes me sick. Some people got
no respect for the sanctity of marriage you know what I
Digging through that earth was like going back in time.
Every new box we opened was just a little bit older than
the last, by nature of how people were buried there you
know, in nice neat little rows…
(Jack looks behind him)
INT. Meat locker. tracking shot of rows of pink shapes hanging there in the icy fog.
! ! ! ! ! Jack. Yeah every one we opened was a little easier…, a little softer, more rotted. We were digging back in time through the history of the town. Un-fuckin-believable! we were digging through our ancestors! generations of miners who had turned to coal. Shop keepers, builders and joiners, nurses, teachers, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers…, still born babes…, priests and whores…, Yeah, and people we both knew, all on the level, all under the ground, side by side in neat little rows.
Tracking shot of rows of frozen carcasses hanging in the
! ! ! ! ! Jackcont.s.o.
! Then something happened, it was like we’d dug our way back to the depression. These people had been buried back in the thirties, there was nothing there. They had lived with nothing and died with nothing.! ! ! ! ! !
There were no diamonds left in the mine, just bones and
dust, bones and dust.
At the end of the last row of frozen corpses Jack
suddenly looms out of the fog.
! ! ! ! ! Jack
I mean, yeah there were still a few gold teeth, but man they’re pesky things to get out, you should try that some time.!! ! ! No there were no diamonds left in the mine.
What to do ? and then, wonder of wonders Sam Renten’s
wife ups and dies! the pit owners wife! we couldn’t
believe our luck!
You know I used to think that maybe Susie, when she
wasn’t with me , well that she went to him, You know,
Renton, him being so rich n’all..
No… anyway… ! Straight away we started a new shaft direct to that old family vault. Man we whistled while we worked! you should have seen Eddy dig, God he was quick. You know he could do that trick, the one where you hold a coin in your hand and he could swipe it before you could even think of closing your fist!
He was a fast little bastard! Anyway, the millionaires
wife… You know what was in that tomb when we got there?
You won’t believe it, yeah you know what she had?…
We worked the best part of two weeks to get to that
grave! nothing I tell you, plastic fuckin rosary beads ,
some people have got no fucking respect! we were pissed
off man, what a bastard, what a bastard.
You know my ex is in that yard, yeah, my loyal little
Susie. I made sure she got everything she deserved.
(Jack becomes very still and distant before launching back into his tale.)
He had this huge house, you wouldn’t believe it, I mean,
gold rolex aside, money!… but he was on his own, you
know? shuffling around in these little carpet slippers ,
the great God of the pit, captain of industry. You’d have
thought, if he missed his old wife so much, he’d have
sent her to her grave with more than just plastic beads!
but man was he tight! He seemed a lot smaller and older
too, little thin faced guy making a single cup of
I had my pit helmet on, the torch comes in handy, and jeez was he surprised to see me! I just wanted to talk to the guy, ask him about his wife n’all, maybe find out something, something about Susie… but he kind of panicked me. We both panicked I suppose, but I was the one with the fucking shovel! Ha, Ha! yeah, I was the one with the fucking shovel.! ! ! ! ! ! !
Eddy just thought it was a stroke of luck, us already having dug the pit and he just dived right in there like he always did. It didn’t matter to him that I might have some sort of claim you know? !!!!!!!!! ! I knew what he wanted of course and I suppose I could have took it when I bashed the old bastards skull in, but I’m no thief, I’m a miner you see? An honest days work for an honest days pay that’s all I ever wanted… that and Susie. Yeah, no…, anyway, Eddy wanted that gold rolex watch! He got it too, how he beat me to that watch I’ll never know!
That was one thing about Eddy, he never gave me a chance, you know? what ever he wanted he just went ahead and took it,! ! ! ! ! ! evenifitbelongedtosomebody else….
(Again Jack is lost in thought.)
He never wanted to share the stuff out properly, finders
keepers that sort of thing, you know? He just didn’t know
how hard I worked for that watch, he could be an awkward
bastard, really awkward. Thought it was funny to take the
piss out of me , You know? asking me the time n’all,
“what time is it Jack?”
My wife could be awkward too, liked to go out on her own,
into town, I trusted her though, ‘course I trusted her…
Then I found out! She’d been seeing some guy from the
pit, ‘course I knew by then it wasn’t Renten. The old
She said we were “wasting our time, life was too
short…” … Her’s certainly would be! Yeah life can be
!!!!!!!!!! And up above there was graffiti on the graves , no ‘Beloved wife of Jack…’ just ‘Susie forever!’ sprayed across the stone.
He couldn’t leave it alone “What time is it Jack?”, “Hey
Jack, What time you got?” Like that. we kept digging but
he’d really lost it I mean no fuckin respect you
know?….. “hey Jack what time is it?”
(In an instant Jack leaps up, produces a shovel from nowhere and smashes it into the camera. Everything goes black.! ! ! !
Seconds later when the light comes up Jack is laughing
directly at us condensation is coming of his body and
mixing with his breath in the cold.)
!!!! ! I said “what do you think about that funny guy?” Ha. Ha! yeah that shut him right up, ha! silenced the little bastard, “ not so fast now”!
It just kind of came to me, …It was Eddy! I knew it was
someone at the pit but I didn’t know who and then when I
saw him take that watch away from me I just kind of knew
he’d taken Her away from me too.
(Close up of Jacks wrist and his beautiful gold rolex.)
Nice isn’t it? look at that. Any way without Eddy around I could dig where I liked. No “can’t dig there Jack”, no “Its too dangerous Jack” he always made excuses about going to our side of the yard, said there was too much sand, ! ! …that it was unstable you know? but I think he was just chicken, too scared of going anyway near her, but I thought it might be nice just too see her , you know, just see her again.
Anyway my digging was just as good as Eddy’s
(He takes the watch off and admires it, he starts to weighitinhishand! ! ! ! ! ! ! bouncing the watch up and down in his hand looking directly at us.)
Do you want to know what time it is? Ha. Ha! do you want
to know, eh? do you want to know how much is enough? eh?
go on ask me anything….
(He is grinning and chuckling hysterically to himself,
feeling the weight of the gold in his hand.)
Anyway I dug my way back to Susie, through the sands of
time! they say you can’t go back, but you can! right back
to that box! and do you know what was in it? Sand! Ha,
Ha! the sands of time! the whole damned thing had fallen
through, caved in, ha! collapsed Ha, Ha! just like it
caved in on me!
Suddenly, out of nowhere a bloody red arm darts out and
grabs the watch before Jack can close his fist.
Jack is shocked into silence and stares in terror passed
the camera at the bloody specter of Fast Eddy. The roar
of flame now drowns out the hum of the freezer The door
The light from the fire outside plays on Jacks face as,
in tears, he follows Fast Eddy back into HELL!
!!! ! ! ! ! ! THE END