#2

I wrote this back in July, but reading it now it just seems like a worse version of Maniac.

Actually, that is exactly what I was thinking when I watched the trailer for Maniac. Which is why this was never going to see the light of day.

It was a prompt from a friend. Needed to have a character named Karen, cheeseballs, and a horse — which it does not so, whoops. (I never sent it to him, I probably should or else what’s the point of this exercise.)

Anyway, here’s my attempt at some Philip K Dick scifi shit that I hope to keep working on and maybe expand into something someday. (shrug)


INT. MEDICAL FACILITY

A woman walks into a room with stark white walls. It’s relatively small with abnormally high ceilings. A door closes automatically behind her.

She sits on a chair in the center of the room. Staring at the opaque side of a double-sided interrogation mirror, she presses a button on the arm of her chair and speaks into an intercom.


KAREN
Hello. (presses again) Is anyone there?

No response.

KAREN
(presses button)
Hellooooooooo. (pause)
I still don’t understand why we have to do this in person. Especially when I’m not even interacting with anyone. Isn’t there some sort of, I don’t know, app I could use instead?

Still no response. She presses the intercom button for a third time.

KAREN
(pauses)
So, how does this work? Do I just tell you about him?


There’s a slight whirring noise. A small blue light appears on the other side of the interrogation mirror, so bright that we can see the dim blue glow through the opaque glass. Someone’s there.


A disembodied voice bellows through the intercom speakers.



VOICE
In five minutes or less please describe to us the person you are trying to recreate.
You may begin when ready.


KAREN
Wha-Okay.
(pauses)
I’m not necessarily trying to recreate a person I just, don’t like how I remember him.
(takes a breath) We just used to have this connection…


MARC (VO)
(off-camera)
Cheeseballs?

FLASHBACK

INT. LIVING ROOM - DUSK

Two children, a boy (MARC, 11) and a girl (KAREN, 8), sit on a couch eating junk food and watching a movie.

KAREN
What?

MARC shoves a container of Cheeseballs in KAREN’s face.


MARC
Want one?

KAREN takes a handful, smiling. The two continue watching the movie.

KAREN (VO)
When my mom would go out of town on business trips,
my dad would buy us all of the snacks she refused to let us eat.
It would be four days of eating ourselves sick, watching R rated
movies, and joking about how great it would be if she never came home.

By day 4 I was always waiting anxiously for her to return,
because my stomach couldn’t take anymore TV dinners.
But those first three days always felt like mini vacations.

SOME SORT OF FLASH FORWARD TRANSITION, BUT IT’S STILL TECHNICALLY A FLASHBACK

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Two children, roughly 12 and 15 sit at the kitchen table eating bowls of cereal.

KAREN (VO)
Another time, I had wanted to stay home sick from school, so I asked him for advice.
He said a friend of his had recently shown him how to make his nose bleed.
If I could make my nose bleed bad enough he said that there’d be no way
that our mom would make me go in.

KAREN(cont.)
I immediately said no way. I was desperate to get out of my test that day,
but not desperate enough to fuck up my face.

INT. HALLWAY - MORNING

KAREN(cont.)

So anyway, he goes into the bathroom.
I hear this loud banging noise that I’m assuming is him
smashing his face into something and then he walks out,
makes direct eye contact with me,
and shoves both of his index fingers up his nostrils as hard as he can.
When he took his fingers out, waterfalls of blood were pouring out of his nose.

It was the worst thing I had ever seen.

And he’s smiling like a maniac. As if on cue, my mom walks downstairs,
checking to see if we’re ready for the bus.

KAREN(cont.)
The look of horror on my mother’s face is something I will never forget.
She grabbed my brother by the arm and rushed him out to the car.
They went straight to the ER, no words exchanged.
The plus is that since my mom was so distracted with my brother,
she wasn’t home to see if i made it onto the bus or not.
I didn’t.
And when she asked me about it later
I said I was so traumatized by what had happened to Marc
that I couldn’t go into school that day.


END FLASHBACK

INT. FACILITY

KAREN
(introspectively)
God, I used to hate that story.
I thought it was one of my worst memories,
but looking back on it as an adult I realized it was probably
the nicest thing my brother ever did for me.
Smashing his face in so I had an extra day to prepare
for a test that I still probably did poorly on.
I can’t even remember to be honest.

KAREN sits there in silence for a beat.


KAREN (cont.)
Is that enough? Are we done now?

The blue light turns off and the whirring noise stops. The voice comes back over the intercom speakers

VOICE
Please exit on your right and the receptionist will assist you.


A door opens on the right-hand side of the room, opposite from the side in which KAREN entered. She stands and walks out.

KAREN
(muttering under her breath)
Weird.


KAREN walks down a long hallway with a desk at the end of it. She approaches the desk. On it is a tablet. She places her thumbprint on the tablet, it scans, and then a small vial drops like a gum ball from a dispenser below.


KAREN reaches down a picks it up. The label on the vial reads nothing more than -- KAREN LAITHWAITE, TAKE IMMEDIATELY TO EXPECT RESULTS WITH THE FIRST 24 HOURS. Inside the tube is a needle.


Another VOICE rings out overhead


VOICE
Please insert needle directly into the vein to make sure the serum has the desired result.
Should you require further assistance, please schedule another appointment.

KAREN
Wait, there’s no receptionist. It’s just you again.
What did they do just, change the pitch?

No response.


KAREN
(sighs)
So, this is it then? I’ll just forget everything that happened after?
Forget how much he changed?

VOICE
Yes, but it is pertinent that you have no direct contact with your actual brother.

KAREN
(under her breath)
Well, that shouldn’t be hard.

VOICE (cont.)
The version we’ve created for you should be just fine.
You will remember him fondly.

KAREN shoves the vial inside her purse a turns to exit the building, a skeptical look on her face.


KAREN
(yelling over her shoulder)
Thanks!