ScriptFrenzy 2011: "Dead and Breakfast", pages 108-114

by Diane Duane

Dead and Breakfast poster

(back to pp 103-107)

[scrippet]
HARRY
(to Joy)
I forgot to call, earlier.

JOY
That’s okay…

HARRY
You forgot something, too.
(hint, hint)

She stares, uncomprehending.

HARRY
I don’t even get to die in a clean shirt!

And Joy finally GETS IT.

The pentagram BRIGHTENS and the HUM increases. Erickson and his Senior Tech are occupied with one of the control consoles. Joy starts hurriedly going through all her skirt pockets. [/scriippet]

[scrippet]

HARRY
Joy!

JOY
Yes, yes, I know!

HARRY
Whatever else it’s been… it hasn’t been boring.

Their eyes lock. But there’s no time to waste. Joy rips open that last “secret” pocket, comes up with the hotel room key —

Just as the switch is thrown at the control panel.

The living people in the pentagram are FROZEN IN PLACE like the Dead earlier. Their expressions are of awful frozen pain. The key is stuck in Joy’s hand.

One by one, the dead trapped with them FLARE into columns of SOULFIRE, are SUCKED into the pentagram and routed to the “assembly line”. Erickson and his Senior Tech glance at this, then turn back to the machinery.

Many Dead in the pentagram RUSH back and forth in horror. But with great effort and pain, one is MOVING TOWARD JOY, avoiding “stepping on the lines” as he comes up behind her. It’s Gunter. Without being seen by Erickson and his tech, he TAKES THE KEY from Joy’s hand.

GUNTER
(painfully)
Now, I think, we burn a bridge or two.

Covered by the other panicking Dead, Gunter MOVES to the side of the pentagram forcefield where Erickson and his tech are standing. Erickson turns from the console once more and strolls idly to the edge of the pentagram. There Gunter is HAMMERING with one fist on the forcefield, splashes of light going up where he hits it. Erickson steps a little closer, watching idly, knowing Gunter can’t get out —

Gunter brings up the hand with the steel key showing between two fingers of his fist and PUNCHES THROUGH the forcefield. The forcefield FLARES. Gunter GRABS Erickson by one lapel and DRAGS HIM ONTO THE PENTAGRAM.

They STRUGGLE. Erickson is trying to stay off the lines so he can keep moving and not freeze like Joy and the others, but also trying to push Gunter onto them. Gunter is doing the same. It’s a battle against time, for Gunter’s starting to GLOW as the pentagram’s power gets to him. If this goes on much longer, the steel of the key will be no use.

But Gunter keeps dragging Erickson toward the heart of the design. Erickson, realizing he can’t stop Gunter, loses it and starts SCREAMING for help. The sound is lost amid the other SCREAMS of the Dead. His senior tech doesn’t hear it happening —

ERICKSON
Harris! Harris, help me! Harris!

GUNTER
(in great pain)
One night — late. One night — too many. But at last — I know how — to say — I’m sorry!

He PULLS ERICKSON DOWN with him onto the pentagram at its center, raises the key and SLAMS it down into the glowing heart of the pentagram’s circuitry.

A huge display of SPARKS AND SUPERNATURAL LIGHTNING erupts from the spot. The Senior Tech now REACTS with shock, but it’s too late for him to do anything. Erickson, TRAPPED by the pentagram’s power, STRUGGLES to get up. Gunter PUSHES HIM DOWN, then turns his head for one last look at Joy and DISSOLVES IN SOULFIRE like the others. Erickson is OBSCURED by more lightning.

Harry and Joy and Doris UNFREEZE and COLLAPSE. They stagger to their feet and help each other RUN off the pentagram.

Just in time! A BLAZING SPHERICAL PULSE runs to the borders of the pentagram’s forcefield and REBOUNDS like a ripple from the edge of a pool back to where Erickson lies trapped at the center. FIREWORKS of released power and magic go up. ANOTHER PULSE of this power FLAMES down the conduits and cables to the assembly line.

Its machines BLOW in multiple small explosions, then one BIG ONE. Lots more SMALLER EXPLOSIONS OF LIGHT come from packing cases, boxes stacked up on pallets, and the computers around the room (all Ericksons of course) as every Erickson chip with a soul in it now gives up its dead. The room fills with LAUGHTER and CRIES OF JOY as all the imprisoned souls are released.

Joy and Harry watch in astonishment. Across the room, GEORGE is released and Doris RUNS TO HIM. Both LAUGH AND CRY as they’re reunited. Not being able to touch doesn’t matter…

The pentagram’s light is DYING. The FIRE at the middle of it, where Erickson was, now FADES. But OTHER LIGHTS now appear as here and there the Dead are ILLUMINATED by an increasing light from somewhere else. Faces transfigured with joy, one by one these Dead turn and walk away, GLOWING BRIGHTER until they VANISH. It’s all that can be seen of each individual “tunnel of light” experience.

HARRY
What is it…?

JOY
They’re going on. Some of them must be real overdue…

The last fires die out of the pentagram, which is MELTED and SHATTERED by the energies that have flowed through it. There’s no sign of Erickson. Only one bright thing remains: a man’s shape — Gunter. The light of him grows constantly BRIGHTER as he slowly gets to his feet.

Harry and Joy walk to him. He smiles as they come.

JOY
Are you all right?

Then they all LAUGH at the absurdity of the question.

GUNTER
Never better. But I have to go. My crew is waiting. And more than my crew. So much more.

JOY
(in glad tears)
Be careful.

GUNTER
Don’t worry, schatzi. I’m not driving.

He reaches out to touch her face. A glimmer of light clings where he touches her, for a moment. Gunter raises a hand to Harry in farewell, a gesture half military, half friendly: then turns and walks away into the light, VANISHING.

All other lights but the normal ones have died away now. The place has cleared quickly: very few of the dead are left. But Pario and Elizabeth rejoin Harry and Joy.

JOY
(to Pario)
I know you’re okay here.
(To Elizabeth)
But you’re still hanging around?

HARRY
I’d have thought you’d want to get while the getting’s good.

ELIZABETH I
My people need me now more than ever, living or dead. Don’t you read the papers?

SIRENS are heard approaching outside.

JOY
What do we do now?

HARRY
Over here, the term is “assist the police with their inquiries.”

He glances with mixed humor and threat at the Senior Tech.

HARRY
I think there’s been some kind of industrial accident. Don’t you?

SENIOR TECH
Uh, now that you mention it, yes.

He hurries off to start making it look that way. Harry GESTURES at George to get lost. Smiling, George EXITS through a wall. Joy and Doris and Harry all wipe their eyes and HUG.

INT. ORMONDE HOTEL BREAKFAST ROOM — MORNING

The next day. Joy, Harry, Doris, George, and various other Dead who’ve remained are sitting together.

HARRY
Well, looks like I’ve got a few days free.

JOY
What about the show?

HARRY
Erickson’s stand is shut down. No point in trying to sell hardware that doesn’t run. Besides, do I even work for them any more?

JOY
You weren’t fired.

HARRY
The boss tried to kill me. That doesn’t count? I think I’ll quit.

JOY
What will you do instead?

HARRY
I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

A small sad smile between them.

HARRY
Anyway, our flight back isn’t until this time next week. We’ve got some time to see the city.

JOY
Have we got enough money?

HARRY
We’ve got everything we need.

They hold hands, and the look between them suggests that Harry’s not talking about money.

HARRY
Doris, how about another couple slices of that steel-belted radial bacon…?

DORIS
Getting a taste for it, are you? I thought you might.

HARRY
George, about those racing tips. Got a hot horse for a newly independent man?

Smiling, George beckons Pario over, pulls up a chair as Harry pulls Joy close.

EXT. TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD — DAY

As Joy and Harry come out of a betting shop, and swing off down the street together. They pass one of the many electronics shops there.

INT. TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD ELECTRONICS SHOP — DAY

On Tvs in the window and in the shop, Sky News is showing a slide with the Erickson logo and the International No-No symbol, a la Ghostbusters, superimposed over it.

TV ANNOUNCER
It was announced today that the receivers have been called in at Erickson Computers, after the apparent failure yesterday of their entire product line worldwide. The company’s world-wide losses are presently reckoned in the billions of pounds, including lawsuits pending for refunds and damages.

The SHOP GUY at the counter is pulling open box after box of a batch of Erickson calculators that just came in: the DELIVERY MAN who brought them stands waiting impatiently.

DELIVERY MAN
(over the TV)
I can’t stay here all day. Can’t I just leave them with you?

SHOP GUY
(over the TV)
Nah. These came in from the factory this morning. Might have this malfunction problem. Busted ones go back to sender with you.

The Shop Guy plugs a POWER CONVERTER into the wall and starts pulling the calculators out of their boxes and TESTING them.

TV ANNOUNCER
— The whereabouts of the company’s founder, Robert Erickson, are presently unknown, but the board of directors of Erickson are assembled in London to handle the crisis, with emeritus partner and former co-CEO Michael Carlyle leading the oversight team. The product failure has been attributed to a computer virus introduced into the manufacturing process at the company’s processor manufacturing facility in London…

The Shop Guy continues TESTING the calculators.

SHOP GUY
This one’s dead.
(tests another)
And this.
(and another)
And this.
(and another)
One good one. All the rest go back to Erickson.

He puts the single good one aside, repacks the others and gives them to the Delivery Guy, who EXITS.

A BROWSING MAN who’s been looking at other calculators elsewhere in the store now comes over and peers at the Erickson.

BROWSING MAN
That one working?

SHOP GUY
Yeah. Nineteen ninety-nine.

BROWSING MAN
I’ll give you ten.

SHOP GUY
You kidding? Thirteen quid, mate, and I’m doing you a favor.

BROWSING MAN
You heard the news. What if it breaks like all those others?

SHOP GUY
Okay, ten…

BROWSING MAN
Let me see it running.

Shop Guy loads in the batteries. As he does, the display (pointed toward the counter) desperately flashes: IT’S ME, IT’S ERICKSON, HELP ME, HELP MEEEEEE…

And as Shop Guy flips it over, the display resets to 0.

EXT. PICCADILLY CIRCUS, DAY

Joy and Harry come out of the Underground. Joy carries a bunch of flowers. She and Harry CROSS to the Burger King, stand for a moment as if examining the menu, then PROP the flowers against the wall. In the distance, BELLS are ringing “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clements…”

PASSERSBY regard the flowers in bemusement. Joy and Harry exchange small somber smiles that broaden, and turn to walk together down Regent Street. Joy starts to drag Harry in one direction, stops uncertainly. They pause: then Harry pulls her along that way, and the two of them RUN OFF like happy kids, the flowers stirring in the breeze behind them.

FADE TO BLACK
[/scrippet]

You may also like