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THE MINDFOG COMPLEX

By

Mike Doose, Peter Elias, and Bill Moran

© 2005 Michael Scott Doose. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPENING CREDITS

FADE IN:

 

SCENE I Color- (will be slowed down for effect and length)

 

(A dark room, a single flame can be seen with a wood reflection. No faces can be seen, voices are hushed, credits will appear)

 

TRUSSEL

You know why we are here, WILKES?

 

WILKES

Is this about the project again?

 

 

TRUSSEL

More or less, but you must realize, WILKES that your actions have continually failed time and time again.

 

WILKES

But sir–

 

TRUSSEL

I don’t mean to make this personal, WILKES, but unless you do a damn good job, I seriously doubt whether I shall be able to trust you any longer.

 

WILKES

Sir, I have no intention of anything that shall threaten the success of this project.

 

TRUSSEL

Do you remember last time we attempted something like this? You nearly killed us, let alone the target!

 

WILKES

That was Sidney ! I had no control! Besides… She’s probably changed since then.

 

TRUSSEL

Perhaps she has, but that doesn’t change the fact that I need you to be competent and obedient this time. Did I give you this position so you could ruin my empire?

 

 

WILKES

Your empire, sir, has not yet been conquered—

 

TRUSSEL

Wilkes, please shut up. Shall we discuss this plan once more, so that your insolence won’t ruin this again?

 

WILKES

Yes sir.

 

TRUSSEL

It shall only be you and me roaming the earth as free men.

 

WILKES

And Sidney ? Will she as well?

 

TRUSSEL

I have decided to save Sidney as well, yes—

 

WILKES

Will she have time?

 

                         TRUSSEL   

The device will be programmed to give Sidney exactly twenty minutes to prepare after it has been detonated. You are to detonate it on Friday, you know where, there is no need—

 

 

WILKES

Where, again?

 

 

TRUSSEL

Are you telling me that you are prepared to fail once more? You are an incompetent fool!

 

WILKES

Yes, but—

 

TRUSSEL

Do not question my authority, WILKES! You are to detonate it in Shanghai at one in the morning, or eleven in Chicago , where Sidney currently resides. You are to very cautiously complete this task. Are you finished making it?

 

WILKES

You see, sir, I haven’t exactly—

 

TRUSSEL

You mean you haven’t finished it?

 

WILKES

Well—no.

 

TRUSSEL

You haven’t finished it? Aaron, this is not good! There is no excuse for your utter failure!

 

WILKES

I apologize, sir, but this is truly a difficult task.


TRUSSEL

What do you think I pay you for? To complete simple tasks that involve nothing? No! I pay you to work! Again, there is no excuse for this! You are a lazy bastard who receives generous pay for failing his master time and time again!

 

WILKES

Yes, sir.

 

TRUSSEL

You are in Osaka , WILKES! This is among the largest cities in the world. Your laboratory is equipped with the finer technology than world-renowned scientists could ever dream of. It is perfectly well hidden, at the bottom of the Pacific, for heaven’s sakes! How can your project not be completed in the time I have given you?

 

WILKES

Sir, the device will be finished soon. I only need a little more time. I shall finish it. I promise that you will not be disappointed this time.

 

TRUSSEL

You know your task, WILKES.

 

WILKES

Thank you, Mr. Trussel, sir.

 

TRUSSEL

We shall dominate the globe, WILKES. If—and only if—you refuse to fail me again.

 

WILKES

You have my word.

 

(The silhouette of a gun is placed on the wood surface)

 

 

SCENE II Color

 

(Chicago, Present Day)

 

Background Frank Sinatra’s Chicago can be overheard. Subtitles will reveal Chicago, present day. The other character names will be revealed (co-stars). The Chicago skyline, Union Station, Navy Pier, and many other attractions will be shown for 1:05. The scene will continue in Grant Park.

 

MICHAEL

Alan!

 

ALAN

Hey, Mike, did you get the papers from the office?

 

MICHAEL

Yeah, yeah, I did!

 

ALAN

(Breathes a sigh a relief)

Thanks man, I owe you one! My boss’ll happy! Wanna go get some coffee? We can run over to that new café on 5th street .

 

MICHAEL

Yeah, let’s go!

 

END SCENE


[START-END: 17 seconds (23) Our goal is to finish exactly when the song reaches 1:29 (Sinatra sings “On State Street”) We will show Michael and Alan doing different things around town, such as visiting the top of the Sears Tower, driving in their car, etc. If we go into the city during the Taste of
Chicago , which I discourage due to heavy traffic, we will NOT film anything related to this.]

 

SCENE III Color

 

(At beginning of scene, conversation is heard, but not seen. The camera will begin in, for example, the living room and slowly turn in on the conversation)

 

Sinatra’s Chicago fades.

 

(Home of Sidney Watkinson and Marcus Moreno)

 

SYDNEY

All right Marcus dear?

 

MARCUS

Yes. Everything is all right.

 

SYDNEY

How was work?

 

MARCUS

All right.

 

SYDNEY

Did you contact the lawn service? I want them to rid the lawn of these filthy insects!

 

MARCUS

Yes, yes, I did.

 

SYDNEY

This was certainly a mediocre day for me.

 

MARCUS

(Sarcastically)

Why, I can’t imagine my dear wife having a bad day!

 

SYDNEY

Yes, well, you see—poor little Luke, having trouble in school and all—

 

MARCUS

I understand, Sydney .

 

SYDNEY

Luke seems to be having trouble with friends, not to mention—

 

MARCUS

How are his grades?

 

SYDNEY

(Pause)

 Well—not too good.

 

MARCUS

(Sighs)

I’m sorry, Sydney .

 

SYDNEY

Well, it’s not your fault—it seems I receive calls from parents every day, pity calls, spitting apologies at me for allowing their sons to tease Luke—

 

 

MARCUS

Well, Sydney , I suppose—

 

SYDNEY

Yes, you see the severity of this situation!

 

MARCUS

Did his report card come in the mail?

 

 

SYDNEY

Yes, I have it right here

(Shuffles through papers, pulls out white sheet. The two look at it, with Sydney holding it, and then slowly look at each other with contempt.)

(Sighs)

 Well, at least history went all right—

 

MARCUS

Sydney , stop making futile attempts to be optimistic, this is not good! We need to seek professional help!

 

SYDNEY

Marcus, stop that! You know he has learning, well, difficulties, and I think this is something we can improve on, not kill him over!

 

MARCUS

What else is going wrong with Luke, again, dear?

 

 

 

SYDNEY

(Heavy, curt sigh)

Bullies.

 

MARCUS

Sidney

 

SYDNEY

No, Marcus! This is one time in my life I must absolutely stop you! The poor boy is beaten up every other day—

 

 

MARCUS

Sydney , relax! The boy must learn reality! His grades are abysmal, so we shouldn’t pity him for being kicked around a bit! I was teased in school; my friends were, by god, teased too! It is simply a part of life.

 

SYDNEY

(Heatedly)

I wasn’t teased as a child!

 

MARCUS

You were a girl!

 

 

SYDNEY

(Sighs)

 The point is… Luke is struggling not only in his studies, but with schoolmates, too.

 

MARCUS

Oh, honey—

 

SYDNEY

Marcus I am TELLING YOU! THE BOY NEEDS ATTENTION!

 

MARCUS

Well, why are you telling me now? Why not two weeks ago, or a month for that matter?

 

SYDNEY

(Long pause, Sydney looks very grave)

His math teacher just called—she wants to have a conference with me.

 

MARCUS

About what?

 

SYDNEY

(Long pause. Sydney has a grave expression on her face)

She wants to hold him back.

 

(Walks away quickly, looking very professional. Marcus stares back, dumbfounded.)

 

Outside

 

Sydney flips out her cell phone and dials a number.

 

SYDNEY

Please, I beg of you to spare the boy — Luke — yes, well, my husband is an absolute moron - but my son, please—

 

(Luke Moreno is seen entering the driveway)

 

(Quickly)

–I have to go.

 

(Luke Moreno walks into the driveway. He appears muddy and disheveled)

 

SYDNEY

Honey! How was school?

(Camera turns to Luke, then back to Sydney )

 

SYDNEY

Oh, honey, what happened?

 

LUKE

Jack Gracie—

 

(Camera slowly turns away, conversation becomes fainter)

 

SYDNEY

(Barely heard)

What did he do now?

 

: FADE OUT

 

SCENE IV Color

(Alan’s house; Alan is sorting through the mail)

 

ALAN

Hey, Mike, check this out.

 

(Mike comes over. The two look at each other with triumphant smiles)

 

MICHAEL

Ha ha! WOO! God, Alan, where’d you get these?

 

ALAN

Friend of mine, class of ’82.

 

MICHAEL

Ha! Alan, people would pay dozens for seats like these!


ALAN

A sixth row seat at a Cub’s game’s nothin’. Maybe eighty apiece—

 

MICHAEL

Aw, Alan, stop being downright pessimistic! This is the opportunity of a lifetime!

 

ALAN

Yeah, whatever.

 

(Alan continues to sort through the mail as though the last tickets he received was a mere letter. Alan finally finds something interesting and holds it up. The two stare, looking bewildered. The camera zooms in on the letter.)

 

MICHAEL

Open it!

 

ALAN

Wait!

 

MICHAEL

Alan, come on, what the hell are you doing, man?

 

ALAN

It could be a hoax!

 

MICHAEL

So? Open it anyway!

 

ALAN

No, no, no! We can’t.

 

 

 

MICHAEL

What, you expect there’s anthrax in it? (Laughs) You’ve gotta be kidding me.

 

ALAN

(Immediately)

There very well may be!


MICHAEL

All right, I’ll open it!

 

ALAN

Mike, wait—

 

MICHAEL

If there’s anthrax, I’ll be the one to get it.

(Chuckles as he opens the letter)

Alan…

(Speechless)

 Alan!

 

ALAN

What?

 

MICHAEL

Alan—look! You’ve got promoted!

 

(The two look at each other and laugh simultaneously)

Alan runs up the stairs, kissing the letter.

 

*  *  *

 

 

In “living room,” debriefing

 

MICHAEL

Alan, this is excellent news.

 

ALAN

(Still looking baffled)

How did this happen? My boss seems, quite frankly, flustered with me right now.

 

MICHAEL

Aw, Alan, who cares? ‘Slong as you’ve got promoted, don’t argue!

 

ALAN

But—

 

MICHAEL

Now, Alan, we’re going out to celebrate. Invite friends, ask your girlfriend to come along!

 

ALAN

(Frowning)

She’s out of town.

 

MICHAEL

What about your friends and co-workers?

 

ALAN

If I invited my co-workers, do you really think they would want to celebrate my getting promoted? Really, I don’t

think we need a celebration right now, I think we need to shut up and act normal.

 

MICHAEL

All right, let’s make it just you and me, shall we?

 

ALAN

(Acquiescent)

 Oh, all right.

 

 

SCENE V Color

 

A table at a local bar (Name: DJ’s Sports Bar?)

 

 

MICHAEL

(Sounding somewhat tipsy, but not yet drunk, finishing beer)

Ahh. There’s nothing like a good beer. Waiter!

 

 

 

ALAN

(Completely sober)

Mike, I’ll drive home tonight, okay?

 

MICHAEL

Oh, no, it’s fine, I can handle this.

 

(Waiter comes by)

 

WAITER

Can I get you anything?

 

 

MICHAEL

‘Nother beer, if you don’t mind.

 

WAITER

Right away.

 

MICHAEL

So, anyway, Alan, I got the papers, and guess what Alan? Come on, give it a guess! I was looking through the papers

(Sounding more intoxicated)

and guess what? You got promoted! HA HA HA! Jolly old chap, I’m proud of you, mate!

 

ALAN

Mike, tone it down a bit—

 

MICHAEL

So anyway Alan it was great you could get promoted. Mighty fine it was, mighty fine

(Waiter places beer on table)

 Thanks

(Gives waiter a large tip)

(Rather loudly: …)

 A toast to Alan for getting the promotion!

 

ALAN

(Looking around, embarrassed)

Mike, let’s leave.

 

MICHAEL

Alan, come on, I’m having the time of my life!

 

 

ALAN

(Bluntly) Yeah, we’re leaving.

 

 

SCENE VI Color

 

(Begins with car pulling into the driveway, Alan gets out and slams driver’s door. He then opens the backseat door and grabs Michael by the shoulders. He will drag Michael to the front door, open it, and drag Michael upstairs. He will then haul Michael onto the bed, flipping the light off. Alan will then retreat downstairs, muttering “waste of my damn time.” He will relax on the couch, reading a newspaper, possibly putting on his reading glasses. The phone will then ring. Alan will pick it up. Remember, it will be at night, after the bar scene.)

 

ALAN

(Exhausted)

Hello?

 

VO (TRUSSEL)

Is this Mister Wilkes?

 

ALAN

No—

 

VO (TRUSSEL)

I would just like to say I am postponing the detonation until Friday at noon, Chicago time, of course. (Alan glances at his calendar, which notes the day is Monday) Tell Mister Wilkes this is a generous gift, as it will give him more time—

 

ALAN

Who the hell is this? What do you want?

 

VO (TRUSSEL)

Oh, I’m sorry sir, this is a telephone conversation?

 

 

 

 

ALAN

(Looking alarmed)

Is this a joke?

 

VO (TRUSSEL)

 (Unconvincingly)

What? I mean, yes, ha ha, I fooled you.

 

(Hangs up)

 

(Alan looks down at the Caller I.D., which reads “Unknown Caller.” He stares into space, feeling afraid.)

 

 

SCENE VII Color

(Michael comes out of a local delicatessen with a submarine sandwich, which he eats. A gunshot is heard. No person is around, and Michael quickly runs. NOTE: Michael will need to show complete unknowingness that this shot was intended to kill him. WILKES will shoot again, and realize he is out of ammo.)

 

WILKES

Son of a bitch!

 

 

 

SCENE VIII Color

 

TUESDAY

 

(Dinner the following evening)

 

MICHAEL

Hey, Alan, what’s bothering you?

 

ALAN

Michael, I am still angry about that very embarrassing occurrence yesterday evening.

 

MICHAEL

Oh, come on, Alan, I wasn’t that—

 

ALAN

Oh, yes you were, you were as drunk as I’ve ever seen you! You drag me into that bar, then get yourself drunk while I’m sitting there, trying to make an intelligent conversation, or at least some kind of conversation for that matter.

 

MICHAEL

Alan, just relax, I was simply indulging myself excessively with alcohol.

 

 

 

ALAN

Well, it was very embarrassing, so just

(Hesitate)

don’t do it again.

 

MICHAEL

All right, Alan, I’m sorry. Is there anything else you wanted to tell me?

 

ALAN

Well-

 

MICHAEL

Yes?

 

ALAN

I got a phone call yesterday evening. While you were out cold.

 

MICHAEL

And?

 

ALAN

Well — see, it sounded like a prank call, but I’m not so sure…

 

MICHAEL

Ignore it. Whatever it was, prank calls only try to get your attention. Probably some kid fooling around—

 

ALAN

This was no kid, Michael.

 

MICHAEL

(Mysteriously) So who the hell was this person?

 

ALAN

I have no idea! It sounded like a grown man.

 

MICHAEL

Still, you should ignore it. If anything the caller wants to freak you out.

 

ALAN

(Unconvinced)

Okay.

 

 

SCENE IX Color

 

WEDNESDAY

 

(In the house of Marcus Moreno)

 

MARCUS

Luke! Get down here right now, young man.

(Scene switches to a small closet, where Sydney is hurriedly preparing for an obviously busy day. It almost immediately switches back)

 

MARCUS

LUKE!

 

SYDNEY

Marcus, dear, if you want Luke to listen, why don’t you go up the stairs and then admonish him?

 

MARCUS

Sydney ! I’d—

(Stumbling for words)

 I thought you left!

 

 

SYDNEY

No, Marcus, I’ve been here all morning. Besides, why would I leave my husband and son?

 

MARCUS

Well—

 

SYDNEY

As I have suggested, Marcus, why don’t you go upstairs and try to coax Luke?

 

 

MARCUS

All right.

(Off-screen)

 Luke!

(Sydney hurries to a different closet which contains Marcus’ coat, where she opens the pocket, dropping a pen inside. Marcus walks downstairs)

 

MARCUS

What are you doing?

 

SYDNEY

I was—

 

MARCUS

(Walks over to her)

 

What are you doing with my coat, Sydney ?

 

SYDNEY

Oh, nothing! I was rearranging the coats to make them look nicer.

(Marcus looks suspicious)

 

MARCUS

Oh—I see. Well, then, better be off to work.

 

SYDNEY

Remember to put your coat on.

(Takes the coat out as he puts his arms into it)

 

MARCUS

I’ll see you back here around six.

 

(Symbolically, they do not kiss NOTE: Walk past as if about to kiss, but hesitate and don’t)

 

SYDNEY

Good-bye.

(Immediately after door shuts, Sydney flips out her cell phone and dials a number)

 

SYDNEY

Come on, come on, dammit! Oh, yes, hello. Why aren’t we ready yet? What’s obstructing us from getting this thing ready? When will we have it done by?

(Pause)

 Friday?! You mean it simply can’t be done earlier? The only reason I have not divorced my husband is this. If you need just one minute more than this, I — I will not be happy.

 

(Hangs up, looking distraught)

(Luke enters)

SYDNEY (cont’d)

(Pissed off, but not showing complete anger)

 What do you want?

 

 

LUKE

Mom, can you drive me to school today?

 

SYDNEY

No, honey, just walk.

 

LUKE

But—

 

SYDNEY

Honey, can’t you see I am busy?

 

LUKE

(Forlornly)

Okay. I’ll walk.

 

 

SCENE X Color

 

(Once again, a dark room, a single flame can be seen with a wood reflection. No faces can be seen, voices are hushed)

 

TRUSSEL

Any more news?

 

WILKES

Your weapon—and—your project. Completed.

 

 

TRUSSEL

What?! You’ve completed it?

 

WILKES

Gladly.

 

TRUSSEL

(Surprised)

Wilkes, you’re actually impressing me, now we only have to wait three more days. Shall I grant you a reward this time? Let’s see… how does several thousand dollars sound?

 

WILKES

But sir, our currency will be useless once the public has gone mad!

 

TRUSSEL

No, WILKES, you are quite wrong. They will, in fact, become greedier, and therefore kill for money. However, you must realize that they have no idea we will ultimately control most of their actions.

 

WILKES

This plan is flawless.

 

TRUSSEL

(Unconcerned)

Yes.

 

WILKES

It is utterly brilliant, sir.

 

TRUSSEL

Thank you. We shall ultimately dominate the globe. We shall select only the elite to toil for us as slave labor. The others we will kill. You were correct in saying that this project is flawless, Wilkes. This world is rampant with overpopulation. This project will alter just that. This project has been my dream since I was a little boy. This, Wilkes, is The Mindfog Complex.

 

 

SCENE XI Color

 

THURSDAY

 

(The house of Alan and Michael)

 

(Alan will shuffle through the daily mail and find a mysterious letter, which reads, “Mr. Aaron Wilkes” There is no postal address, no street or city addresses or ZIP code, nothing, except this name. Alan will be very ambivalent at this moment—he will not be sure whether to throw the letter in the fire or keep it for later reference. Alan eventually strolls over to the blazing fire and tosses it in)

 

 

SCENE XII Color

 

FRIDAY

 

5:39 A.M.

 

(House of Marcus Moreno)

 

 

MARCUS

Good-bye, Sydney .

 

SYDNEY

Marcus, why are you leaving so early?

 

MARCUS

Important meeting.

 

SYDNEY

Really? Well, good luck at your meeting.

 

MARCUS

(Casually)

I love you.

 

SYDNEY

(Curtly)

And I love you too. Good-bye, Marcus.

 

(Marcus leaves, grimacing. Sydney watches in horror as he pulls out a revolver. She screams and ducks toward the ground. Marcus runs up the stairs and stabs her with a knife. Luke will be nearby, and Sydney will scream, “LUKE!” Sydney wakes up in her bed, in cold sweat. Her clock, (yes, this is creepy), displays the digits 5:39, and, fiddling with it, she realizes the signs (under the clock a subtitle will appear, stating simply, “Friday”. Her heart is pounding wildly. She is breathing fast, and quickly realizes that Marcus is not there.)

 

SYDNEY

Marcus! MARCUS!

 

( Sydney looks in Luke’ room, seeing he is sound asleep. Sydney dashes downstairs and fiddles with her purse, looking for her cell phone. This time, instead of dialing a number, she says to the phone, “Master.” She waits for the dial tone and, conceding, she hurls the phone down. As if realizing something, she states the following line aloud)

 

SYDNEY

(Slowly, viewing CU on the lips)

 My God, where are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE XIII Color

 

(House of Alan and Michael)

 

FRIDAY

7:00 A.M.

 

 

MICHAEL

I’m going to work. Smell ya later!

 

ALAN

Yeah, I think I’m gonna take a day off today.

 

MICHAEL

Why?


ALAN

(In a lying tone)

I don’t feel a hundred percent.

 

MICHAEL

Good enough. I’ll see you back here at six.

 

(Alan reaches for the telephone and dials a number.)

 

 

 

ALAN

Hello? Yes, can you just tell my boss I won’t be here today? I think I am coming down with something.

(Pause)

 Yes. Yes, of course. Yes. Thank you.

(Hangs up)

 

 

(Alan will then retreat downstairs. He will pick up a newspaper and begin to read it. Coffee will be brewing, and Alan will not hesitate to get up and get it. He will sip the coffee on his couch as he leisurely reads the newspaper. Indeed, Alan is not sick. Alan will continually glance toward the clock, nervously checking the time. 7:30. 8:30. 9:30. 11:00. At this point, Alan will flip on the television. This will be a bogus “newscast” that we will create, and Alan will get up to make a T.V. dinner. As he waits and eats, the clock is shown more and more. At 11:55, this is the climactic point. The anchorperson will come on,

live.)

 

ANCHORPERSON

And now to Hannah, in Baghdad , where she will be reporting the current status of the battle between local insurgents and the US .

(Smiles, waits for what may seem like forever)

Uhh, we seem to be having a few… technical difficulties.

(An attendant will rush over and whisper something in his/her ear)

 I am getting reports now that all communication has been cut off from China … yes… Breaking news! The Planet Earth is now undergoing rapid changes. Satellites closely examining China have discovered a faint, green gas covering the city of Shanghai and the surrounding area.

 

ALAN

Oh my God!

 

(Runs to the telephone and dials a number)

 

Michael! Get to our house now! There is an emergency! Bring anyone you can, your mother, my mother, anyone!

 

 

MICHAEL

Whoa, whoa, Alan, what’s going on?

 

ALAN

I can explain later. Just get here, dammit!

 

MICHAEL

Okay. I’ll be right over.

 

 

 

 

SCENE XIV

 

(House of Marcus Moreno)

 

(Sydney Watkinson will dial a number on her cell phone, looking terrified.)

 

SYDNEY

Aaron? Oh, thank God! I had a horrendous night sleeping… yes, what is it? …WHAT? I—how could I—what time is it? Luke is in school… We only have half an hour!

 

( Sydney dashes over to the normal phone and dials yet another number.)

 

SYDNEY

(Sounding falsely emotional)

Is—is this the secretary?

 

SECRETARY

Yes.

 

SYDNEY

(Breaking into fake sobs)

A—a tragedy has occurred.

 

SECRETARY

(In a hard, uncaring voice)

Oh, I am very sorry.

 

SYDNEY

Yes, well, I need to pick Luke up.

 

SECRETARY

Oh, yes, of course, Mrs. Watkinson, however, there is a dire emergency occurring right now, and our children are not allowed to leave the school.

 

SYDNEY

Bitch!

(Slams down the phone)

: FADE OUT (Quickly)

 

FADE IN: (Quickly)

 

(Alan will run down into his basement, literally tearing it apart with his hands. He eventually finds several gas masks in which he places on the table. As he runs upstairs, he greets Michael at the door with an unfriendly expression.)

 

MICHAEL

Alan, what the hell is going on here?

 

ALAN

(Breathing fast)

That prank phone call I got—wasn’t prank. It really was someone attempting to take over the world!

 

 

 

MICHAEL

So this is what you took me out of work for, huh? THIS IS WHAT YOU GIVE ME—

 

ALAN

Trust me, it’s true!

 

MICHAEL

This is the stupidest joke I have ever heard—and I’ve heard a lot!

 

ALAN

But you’ve got to believe me! It’s all over the news, and you must’ve heard it on the radio in the car!

 

MICHEAL

Alright, so we’re all doomed then?

 

ALAN

Not just yet! I have something that might be able to save us!

 

MICHAEL

What?

 

ALAN

Gas masks. My great-great-grandfather wore one of these in World War I. The other one belongs to his friend who died in the war.

 

 

MICHAEL

Well, I’ve calculated we have a little under a half hour, so we need to get moving. Turn on the news.

 

(Alan turns on the news.)

 

ANCHORPERSON

We now have more breaking news. There are less than 25 minutes now until this gas hits Chicago, but we do have some idea of what this gas is. An unknown substance, which is currently being researched, and xanthracite have combined to form a substance that has been found to be likely to attack each man’s brain, possibly killing him. We have performed tests of this compound on rats, which seem to be unsuccessful. All we can suggest is that one remains in an enclosed area, closer to the center of the earth, such as a basement. Many Chicagoans are taking refuge in the Sears Tower Observatory, which is now charging for entry.

 

ALAN

Why does he have to—

 

ANCHORPERSON

And one more piece of advice—whatever you do, stay off golf courses and trees, which are in open areas. That’s the news at noon; we’ll see you—in Heaven.

 

MICHAEL

I’m going out—I’ll see if I can find any news.

 

(Opens door, chaos is eminent.)

 

ALAN

Mike, be back here in twenty minutes. Got that?

 

MICHAEL

We need to get going. Find out anything you can.

 

ALAN

You too.

 

(Checks clock sees it is already 12:10. Alan sits down, pondering, looking distraught. After a minute or so, something revolutionary occurs to him. He checks the caller I.D. on his phone, and calls the number under “Unknown Caller.” Alan listens as a recorded voice gives him instructions.)

 

VO (TRUSSEL)

Begin the antidote by mixing three cups of distilled water with two tablespoons of hydrochloric acid. Heat until boiling, and then add three fig leaves to the substance. (Alan is quickly taking down notes). Add one teaspoon of sodium nitrite, then spit into the substance. Place in a blender and blend. Concentrate the solution, and add…

 

(The audience will know that the voice is continuing, but we will stop it for time reasons. Alan will then go into his basement, and, since his father was a scientist, he has almost all of the materials. He does not, however, have three fig leaves, which he begins to panic about. Alan runs out the door, and on his doorstep, strangely, are three fig leaves laid neatly on the doorstep. Alan picks them up and quickly adds them to his collection of materials. He picks up the phone and makes a decisive call.)

 

 

 

 

 

ALAN

Beth! Do you have any idea what’s going on?

(Pause)

You have an idea? Okay, turn on the TV, channel four.

(Pause)

Yes, I know, but anyway, I can’t explain everything now. The world is ultimately coming to an end! This isn’t just a joke anymore. You are in Kansas City ?

(Pause)

Okay, call this number, ready? (708) 207-1856. Got that? Great. Listen for instructions. You only have about ten minutes. Hurry, Beth!

(Pause)

 Okay. Don’t panic. I love you.

 

(He hangs up the phone, then works on the potion for ten minutes, looks at the clock, which reads “12:30,” labels the potion, drinks it, and passes out.)

 

 

SCENE XV Color

 

(House of Marcus Moreno.)

 

(Marcus is standing next to Sydney , panicking.)

 

 

MARCUS

Sydney ! What’re we going to do? What’re we going to do!

 

SYDNEY

Calm down, Marcus!

 

MARCUS

Where is Luke? I thought he was with you!

 

SYDNEY

(Rolling her eyes) He was. I told him to go to you for his allowance.

 

MARCUS

Where is he, then?

 

SYDNEY

I don’t know.

 

MARCUS

Sydney , what is going on? Why do you seem to flip out your cell phone every minute? Today, you seemed to be so uptight about everything. Sydney , I need to know, did you know anything about this gas attack?

 

SYDNEY

Marcus, I need to tell you something before I do this. I have waited for this moment all my life. I am incredibly sick of you and I have been longing for divorce ever since I married you. I did not marry you, Marcus, because I loved you. I married you because I had to. There are very complicated reasons for this, which would take days to explain, and I only have five minutes.

 

MARCUS

Sydney —what? Did you have anything to do with this—this attack?

 

SYDNEY

I am not at liberty to disclose that information. Now Marcus, please stand still. Marcus, I am sorry I have to do this. Please forgive me.

( Sydney takes a tranquilizer and injects it into Marcus’s skin. He falls to the ground.)

 

SYDNEY

(Dialing her cell phone)

 Everything is in place. When will he awaken?

 

WILKES

He will be out for the next six hours, at least. Is the antidote ready?

 

SYDNEY

Just about.

 

WILKES

I will speak to you later.

 

( Sydney opens the refrigerator door and takes out a flask or canteen. She drinks a liberal amount, and falls to the ground.)

 

 

SCENE XVI Color

 

(The house of Alan. Michael walks in.)

 

MICHAEL

Alan! Alan, where are you?

(Walks around house, sees Alan passed out on kitchen floor. Michael wants to scream, but cannot.)

 

MICHAEL

Alan! What’s happened to you?

(Shakes Alan’s body, sees that he is out cold. Michael then looks at the counter and sees a glass, half-full with a blue liquid, labeled “antidote.” Thinking this is an antidote for some poisonous substance, he forces it down Alan’s body. He then examines the glass, hesitates, and looks outside to the panicking crowds. In the distance is a green gas, quickly bowling toward him. Michael drinks the remainder of the glass and passes out. The electricity in the house goes out.)

 

 

SCENE XVII-Color

 

Saturday

 

Midnight

 

ALAN

(Wakes up, goes over to the kitchen counter. The scene is dark, yet moans and howls can be heard outside.)

The light! It doesn’t work. Michael! Wake up!

(Michael remains on the ground.)

The light! The light! Why doesn’t the light work?

(Alan, delirious, literally falls asleep on the stairs. The crashing of a window can be heard.)

 

12:30 A.M.

 

(Michael awakens)

 

MICHAEL

Alan! Alan, what is going on? Alan? ALAN! Where are you? I can’t see anything!

 

(Michael also falls asleep in the middle of nowhere.)

 

 

SCENE XVIII-Color

 

(Alan awakens)

 

 

ALAN

Michael! Michael, are you there?

 

MICHAEL

Alan, what happened?

 

ALAN

I don’t know.

 

MICHAEL

Were you poisoned?

 

ALAN

No. I created an “antidote” against the poisonous gas.

 

MICHAEL

Did anyone live?

 

ALAN

I thought everyone lived.

 

MICHAEL

Then everyone is fine?

 

ALAN

I believe that those who did not take the antidote went insane.

 

MICHAEL

WHAT?

 

ALAN

Did you hear those screams last night? Our window was broken, as well.

 

MICHAEL

So the people went insane because of that gas? Is anyone all right?

 

ALAN

I doubt it—unless other people called that number, and I don’t know why they would.

 

 

MICHAEL

Would the gas masks have worked?

 

(Alan laughs)

 

ALAN

You’ve got to be kidding me. Those pieces of—well, those antiques from World War One?

 

MICHAEL

How do we find out who wasn’t affected?

 

ALAN

That’s my question. We’ll have to call around.

 

(Michael is pacing about the kitchen)

 

MICHAEL

Alan, don’t you understand the severity of this situation? THIS IS EVERY DAMN PERSON WHO WALKS THIS EARTH! DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS IS A LAUGHING MATTER?

 

ALAN

Calm down, Mike, all we need to do is make more of the antidote, call our friends and relatives, and administer it to them.

 

MICHAEL

But we don’t have enough resources to save everyone.

ALAN

So? We don’t have to save everyone, just so long as we save everyone—we want to.

 

MICHAEL

But don’t you think it would be selfish to save only our friends and relatives?

 

ALAN

Oh, shut up. Just forget about it.

 

(The phone rings. Alan quickly goes over to the phone, where he answers it)

 

ALAN

I’ll get it. Hello?

 

VO (WILKES)

THIS IS A RECORDING FROM THE CHARLES O’LAUGHLIN HOUSE. AFTER THE TRAGEDY YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, OUR SOURCES SAY ONLY A FEW PEOPLE REMAIN FULLY FUNCTIONING. THE OTHERS HAVE SUFFERED SEVERAL BRAIN MALFUNCTIONS. IF YOUR BRAIN IS STILL FULLY FUNCTIONING, PLEASE CALL US. OUR NUMBER IS (630) 325-4062. WE ARE SENDING THIS MESSAGE TO EVERY PERSON IN AMERICA VIA AN ILLEGALLY OWNED TRANSMITTOR, SO PLEASE BEAR WITH US. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.

 

MICHAEL

Who was that?


ALAN

Someone on this earth is sane. This person wants us to call them.

 

MICHAEL

Really? That’s great news. Call them, now!

 

ALAN

Okay.

 

(Calls a number)

 

VO (WILKES)

Hello?

 

ALAN

Hello. This is Alan Guiles. We are sane, and we were wondering what—

 

VO (WILKES)

Thank God! There is someone not affected on this earth! Well, we were just wondering, would you like to meet us tomorrow for drinks?

 

ALAN

Where do you live?

 

VO (WILKES)

Des Moines , Iowa . We were thinking—

 

ALAN

We’re from Chicago ! We only live a few hundred miles away. We can arrange something, I suppose—

 

VO (WILKES)

Do you play poker?

 

ALAN

As a mater of fact, I do.

 

VOICE

We’ve got a real thing for poker out here—do you want to meet us?

 

ALAN

All right.

 

 

SCENE XIX Color

 

(In the car, driving. If the audience catches the symbolism [Alan’s “authority”], Alan will drive)

 

 

MICHAEL

We’re going to their house to play poker?

 

ALAN

What else can we do? Frankly, I’m too tired to do anything right now. Besides, I’m already psyched for a good game.

 

MICHAEL

Do you have the directions to their place?

 

ALAN

Yes.

 

MICHAEL

Do you even know his name?

 

ALAN

He said his name was Brett Greenwood, and there was someone else who called in.

 

MICHAEL

Who?

 

ALAN

The man didn’t specify. It doesn’t matter, so long as we get to know him.

 

MICHAEL

All right.

 

ALAN

Cheer up. We can get to know these people.

 

MICHAEL

Why is no one on the road?

 

ALAN

Because everyone is insane.

 

MICHAEL

Well, then, why is no one acting insane?

 

ALAN

Don’t ask me. I haven’t a clue.

 

(The car pulls into a foreign driveway. Alan shuts the door, goes up with Michael to the front door, and rings the doorbell. A man appears, squinting, surveying every inch of them. NOTE: The audience DOES NOT know that this man is Aaron Wilkes. Possibly, if they are very clever, they will, but we will not reveal this to them until later. We will even alter the accents of the two for the effect)

 

WILKES

(In a New England accent NOTE: This will be continued throughout scene)

Hello! I am Brett Greenwood!

 

ALAN

(Shakes his hand)

 Pleasure to meet you.

 

 

 

WILKES

Come in, come in!

 

(Comes in, sees a somewhat disheveled house, messy in manner)

 

WILKES

So! You two look alike!

 

ALAN

We’re brothers.

 

WILKES

Ah, I see. Have a seat.

(Sits them down at a couch)

Can I get you anything to drink, sir?

 

ALAN

Oh, no thank you, both of us are fine.

 

WILKES

Teetotaler’s, you are. I see.

 

ALAN

No, you see, we’re just not thirsty.

 

WILKES

All right, let’s get cracking, then. Danny is expected to come later—

 

MICHAEL

Err—Danny?

 

WILKES

Yes, he was also supposed to come. He, too, was saved from the disaster.

 

MICHAEL

How did you live?

 

WILKES

My father’s gas mask saved me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, I’d be sleeping.

 

MICHAEL

What?

 

WILKES

The gas produced triggers a brain malfunction, well many brain malfunctions—one of which is the altering of the circadian rhythm, in other words, each person affected changes their sleep patterns, so most will sleep during the day and remain active at night.

 

MICHAEL

What do you mean by, well, remain active?

 

 

 

WILKES

They are more active than you’ll ever be, Mike. They will do whatever comes to their mind, eat ravenously, kill for pleasure and for whatever reason, act very strangely and display very strange behavior toward others. Their sense of pain is virtually absent, as that part of the brain is almost completely obliterated.

 

MICHAEL

So what do we do?

 

WILKES

We ignore them. We may have to kill them, if necessary.

 

MICHAEL

How do you know all of this?

 

WILKES

My father… He died two years back, and left a wealth of information regarding the end of the world. He was a time-tested psychic who knew the end of the world was eminent.

 

ALAN

But how did your father know about this gas?

 

WILKES

He didn’t. He simply knew several methods of ending the world, one of which is this gas. Its chemical formula is so complex even Einstein wouldn’t completely understand it,

WILKES (cont’d)

but it deals with the high concentration of atoms. Otherwise, when the gas was released, not enough of it would be able to affect the world. I estimate that this gas can be compacted into the size of your fist, maybe even smaller.

 

ALAN

Do you really think this is the end of the world?

 

WILKES

The end of humanity, really. If the blokes are too stupid to reproduce, then this is the end. If they do reproduce, their children will grow up to be mentally retarded, and it won’t matter anyway.

 

ALAN

How did the gas disappear?

 

WILKES

It doesn’t, it simply begins to lose its effectiveness. Currently, much of it lingers about in the atmosphere idly, while the remainder of it was captured by—by whoever released it.

 

ALAN

Oh.

 

WILKES

Would you like to play a few hands of poker now?

 

ALAN

What time is it?

 

WILKES

Why does it matter?

 

ALAN

You’re right. Shall we place a wager?

 

WILKES

All right. One thousand for fifty chips.

 

ALAN

Money? Does money matter anymore?

 

WILKES

Of course it does. Those who are insane take money even more seriously than before. They will kill for money. No, we cannot simply steal from them. Besides, their sense of material gain is still intact, as they will still sell material for profit. (Doorbell rings) Oh, that must be Danny. (Gets door) Hello! I am Brett Greenwood; this is Michael Stratter and Alan Forrester.

 

(Trussel is “Danny”)

 

TRUSSEL

Hello. I am Danny Watkinson.

 

WILKES

What a pleasure. Please, come in! You play poker, don’t you?

 

TRUSSEL

I play craps often, but poker—

 

MICHAEL

Pleasure to meet you.

 

(Shake hands)

 

TRUSSEL

You look familiar. Have I seen you at Casino L’Evoire?

 

MICHAEL

Possibly. You hang out near the crappers?

 

(Michael and Alan laugh)

 

TRUSSEL

(Looks at the two with contempt) How…laughable.

 

ALAN

So, shall we play poker?

 

TRUSSEL

I generally prefer craps.

 

 

ALAN

Oh, come on.

 

TRUSSEL

All right, deal me in. Where are we playing?

 

WILKES

In my basement.

 

TRUSSEL

Let’s play, shall we?

 

 

 

SCENE XX-B&W

 

(Scene begins in color. The quartet will walk toward the basement door, which they open, and after the door shuts, the scene will become black and white. When the four get down to the basement, they sit around the unoccupied poker table. The cards are set up perfectly, the chips are distributed evenly. Wilkes sits next to Trussel, Trussel sits next to Michael, and Michael sits next to Alan. A man sits already at the table, with suit and gloves. The man is Marcus Moreno. NOTE: This scene is very suspenseful. We will make the effect very real.)

 

 

 

TRUSSEL

What do we play?

 

WILKES

Hold’em.

 

ALAN

Who is he?

 

WILKES

Oh, yes, he is my mechanic, Marcus. Would you like to play, Marcus? An evening off should lighten your load.

 

MARCUS

Certainly.

 

(Marcus sits between Alan and Wilkes, the cards are dealt by Wilkes.)

 

WILKES

I never did ask you, Alan, how did you survive? And you,

Michael?

 

ALAN

Oh, well you see, I received what I thought was a prank phone call several evenings before. The caller really was the one who created this mess. So I called him back, and the man read an antidote for the gas.

(The camera will do a fantastic zoom-up on Joseph Trussel’s face. He looks extremely worried.)

 

TRUSSEL

What were you doing, meddling with other people’s affairs?

 

ALAN

(Annoyed)

Well, it saved our lives!

 

(Trussel gives Alan a dirty look)

 

WILKES

Now, now, let’s not create conflicting attitudes. Before we play, can I get anyone anything to drink?

 

ALAN

I’ll take a brandy.

 

TRUSSEL

I will, as well.

 

WILKES

Very well. Two brandies. Marcus, do you mind?

 

MARCUS

No, sir.

 

 

TRUSSEL

Change that to a vodka, will you?

 

(Marcus fetches a brandy and a vodka from the bar. Wilkes deals two cards face-down to each of the five players. Wilkes and Alan will light up cigars, but the others will not smoke.) (Alan subtly gives Michael a note. He opens it, and it reads, “I’ll split my earnings with you. Just try and win something” Alan is merely pretending to drink his brandy, when, really, whenever he can, he spits it out onto the cold tile floor, pretending to cough.)

 

NOTE: The plays will be as follows:

A=Ace K=King Q=Queen J=Jack 10=10…

S=spades D=diamonds C=clubs H=hearts

 

WILKES

Everyone ante.

 

Each person throws one chip into the pot. The first cards that are revealed are Alan’s, and it is seen that he has A-S and 10-S. We will see no other cards in this round until after the river.

 

Trussel will bet first.

 

TRUSSEL

Forty.

 

 

Play passes to left, each person says

 

ALL EXCEPT MICHAEL

“Call”

 

Except for Michael.

 

MICHAEL

I fold.

 

(Throws cards onto table)

 

FLOP: A-D, 8-H, 9-C

 

(Trussel examines his cards, looks back to the community, and sits there, counting his chips nervously. He begins with a substantial bet.)

 

TRUSSEL

Sixty.

 

(Alan seems quite undecided. He sits at the table for a long time before stating…)

 

ALAN

I’ll raise twenty.

 

Wilkes and Marcus call.

 

TURN: J-S

 

TRUSSEL

Forty.

 

 

ALAN

I’ll raise sixty.

 

(Michael, already out, stares at the pot dangerously.)

 

MARCUS

I fold.

 

WILKES

I will, as well.

 

TRUSSEL

(With a gleaming smile)

Sixty on top of that.

 

(Puts in six chips)

 

ALAN

All right. I’ll call.

 

RIVER: A-H

 

TRUSSEL

I’ll bet eighty.

 

ALAN

Fair enough.

 

(Places four chips into the pot.)

WILKES

All right, now for the showdown.

 

TRUSSEL

Shut the mouth, Greenwood . Straight.

 

Indeed, Trussel has 10-D and Q-S.

 

ALAN

Take the damn chips. How much did I lose that round?

 

TRUSSEL

(Smirking)

To be precise, you lost three hundred eighty dollars.

 

ALAN

(Sounding less-than-sober)

All, right, deal me in again.

 

WILKES

I will not participate in this round—would anyone like something to drink?

 

TRUSSEL

‘Nother vodka, if you don’t mind.

 

 

 

(Wilkes goes off to the kitchen, where he gets Trussel a “brandy”. In reality, he opens his concealed refrigerator, takes out a bottle labeled “Tonic Water” and pours a glass. He brings it back to Trussel and places it on the table.)

 

This time, Trussel will deal.

 

TRUSSEL

I believe I am dealing?

 

(Trussel shuffles the cards, gives them to Wilkes, who cuts them, and proceeds to pass out the cards.)

 

This time, both Alan and Trussel’s cards are shown, but no one else’s cards are. Alan has A-S A-H, and Trussel have

A-D K-S.

 

TRUSSEL

Kid, it’s your bet.

 

MICHAEL

I will check.

 

ALAN

Sixty.

 

MARCUS

I’m out.

 

WILKES

I am, as well.

 

TRUSSEL

I will raise forty on that bet.

 

MICHAEL

I’m out.

 

ALAN

So, it seems to be just you and me this round, eh?

 

TRUSSEL

Yeah, yeah, kid, keep it movin’.

 

ALAN

I’ll raise you one hundred.

 

TRUSSEL

A hundred? Kid, this is the first round! Isn’t there a limit?

 

WILKES

We never did specify a limit.

 

(Trussel concedes and places five chips in the center.)

 

FLOP: A-C, K-C, 8-H

 

TRUSSEL

Bet’s yours, kid.

 

ALAN

I will check.

 

TRUSSEL

Eighty.

 

ALAN

I see your eighty and raise you eighty.

 

TRUSSEL

All right.

 

TURN: 2-C

 

ALAN

Okay… Twenty.

 

TRUSSEL

I will raise you…forty.

 

ALAN

All right, then.

 

RIVER: 2-D

 

ALAN

I’ll check.

 

 

TRUSSEL

I’ll bet sixty.

 

ALAN

I will see your sixty, and I’ll raise you two hundred. Read it and weep, buddy.

 

TRUSSEL

(Waits for several seconds) I will fold.

 

ALAN

Ha, HA! YES! I’m back in the money, fellers!

 

TRUSSEL

(Short, frank)

 Go to Hell, bastard.


MICHAEL

I believe it is my bet.

 

TRUSSEL

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Kid, lemme cut the cards.

 

(Cuts cards very precisely)

 

MICHAEL

We’ll play Hold’em again.

 

ALAN

(Loudly, sounding drunk) Why not Omaha ?

TRUSSEL

(Silently, to Wilkes)

He’s not really drunk, is he?

WILKES

My guess would be he’s hustling us. Just keep it quiet.

 

ALAN

I’m out this round, folks.

 

WILKES

Are you sure?

 

ALAN

Yeah, I need a quick break. Can I stretch and walk around, maybe grab a quick beer? Come on! Just a beer!

 

WILKES

Why don’t we all take a break, shall we?

 

(As everyone gets up to stretch, Wilkes and Trussel go off to a separate room, where they discuss

 TO BE CONTINUED (WIP)

 

© 2005 Michael Scott Doose. All Rights Reserved.