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The Strike (Short)
by David Chase (davidchase@rogers.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Horror   User Review: ****
A work stoppage by an unusual work force prompts a landmark court case.


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



FADE IN:

INT. COURT ROOM - DAY
                                                            
A hush falls over the packed court room. The JUDGE, a
serious looking 50-ish man, addresses the Plaintiff's table.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Are the plaintiffs ready to call
their first witness?
                                                            
A smartly dressed FEMALE LAWYER (40's) waits for nods from
her three male compatriots before standing.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Your honor, I've been granted
permission to speak on behalf of
my fellow attorneys in this class
action suit.
                                                            
The judge nods.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Plantiffs call Martin Baxter.
                                                            
The rear court room doors open, prompting those assembled to
GASP loudly.
                                                            
MARTIN BAXTER (20's?) lumbers in, encircled by a number of
bailiffs, his hands and feet in shackles.
                                                            
The pale blue skin and puffy lips indicate that Martin has
been dead for some time. He wears ratty clothing, and dried
blood cakes his face. His eyes stare vacantly ahead.
                                                            
A bailiff holds a plate with slab of raw meat on it in front
of Martin, urging him forward.
                                                            
The crowd watches in awe as the bailiffs lead Martin to the
witness stand, where they get him seated.
                                                            
A clerk holds out a bible.
                                                            
                       CLERK
Do you...do you swear to tell...
                                                            
Martin reaches out with both hands, but instead of placing
them on the bible, he reaches for the clerk's head.
                                                            
The clerk pulls away, leaving Martin to make a chomping
motion with his jaw. He emits a confused GRUNT.
                                                            

2.

                       MARTIN
Maaarrrggghhhh?
                                                            
CRIES and GASPS ring out from the crowd. A woman faints.
                                                            
The DEFENSE LAWYER, a trim and tanned 50 something man in an
expensive suit, explodes from his seat.
                                                            
                       DEFENSE LAWYER
Your honor, I object!
                                                            
The court room bursts into a chaos of SHOUTS. The judge
BANGS his gavel down, silencing the room.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Order! Quiet down!
                                                            
He fixes the plaintiff lawyer with a hard stare.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Counsel, approach the bench.
                                                            
The defense lawyer sits down. Next to him, GEORGE BEATTY
(mid-50's) leans in and whispers something. Beatty's red
face and rumpled suit indicate the pressure he's been under.
                                                            
The defense lawyer puts up a "let's wait and see" hand as
the plaintiff lawyer steps before the judge.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Counsel, what is the meaning of
this freak show?
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
I'm sorry, your honor, but we feel
this is necessary. As you're
aware, since the initial plague
was contained early on, most
people have never even seen an
infected up close. The jury has to
see all sides of this issue.
                                                            
Beatty jumps up from his seat.
                                                            
                       BEATTY
You can't be serious! He's dead
for the love of God!
                                                            
The defense lawyer pulls him back down. The judge BANGS his
gavel once more.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Counsel, control your client!
                                                            

3.

                       DEFENSE LAWYER
Sorry, your honor.
                                                            
The judge addresses the court.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Since the witness clearly can't
testify, he can't be considered as
a witness. However, I'd be willing
to have him admitted as evidence.
Is that acceptable, counsels?
                                                            
                       DEFENSE LAWYER
It is, your honor.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Thank you, your honor.
                                                            
The bailiffs lead Martin to a seat off to the side of the
room, away from the crowd.
                                                            
A female DEMONSTRATOR suddenly jumps into the center isle.
                                                            
                       DEMONSTRATOR
He's still a person! You can't
treat them like property!
                                                            
She unfurls a banner that reads "DEAD OR ALIVE, SLAVERY IS
STILL SLAVERY".
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Baliffs, remove that woman!
                                                            
A pair of bailiffs drag her from the court room.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
I swear, any more outbursts and I
will clear this court room!
                                                            
Order returns to the room.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Okay. Let's get on with this
circus. Counsel,
call your next witness.
                                                            
 
INT. COURT ROOM - DAY
                                                            
DWAYNE MILLER (32, African American) sits in the witness
stand. The plaintiff lawyer questions him.
                                                            

4.

                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Could you state your name for the
court, please?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Dwayne Miller.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Mister Miller, according to your
statement, you were a supervisor
at Mister Beatty's plant before
it's closure. Is that correct?
                                                            
He looks toward Beatty, who fidgets nervously.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Yes, that's correct.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Were you present on the night of
April fifteenth?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
I was.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Could you recount for the court
the events of that night?
                                                            
Dwayne opens his mouth to speak, but stops short. He
trembles slightly, as if trying to compose himself.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Your honor, could I request a
short recess?
                                                            
Dwayne speaks up suddenly.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
No.
                                                            
All eyes fall on him.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
I'm okay.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Are you sure?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Yeah, I'm ready.
                                                            
He takes a deep breath.
                                                            

5.

                       DWAYNE
We were working the night shift.
                                                            
BEGIN FLASHBACK
                                                            
 
INT. FACTORY - NIGHT
                                                            
Dwayne stands in the factory's office area, absently
stirring a cup of coffee.
                                                            
Martin, looking much more alive, leans against the wall.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE (V.O)
Martin had just recently started,
so I was showing him the ropes.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Sure is dead, huh?
                                                            
Martin smirks. Dwayne rolls his eyes.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Poor choice of words, my friend.
                                                            
Martin looks over the sea of empty cubicles. Save for a
handful of workers, the place is empty.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
You think they'll ever bring back
the workers?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Doubtful. The union's still
stinging over the layoffs.
Besides, why would they bring them
back now?
                                                            
Dwayne walks toward a large window and looks out.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Hey, take a look at number five.
                                                            
Martin joins Dwayne at the window. It looks out over the
huge production floor.
                                                            
On the floor below, hundreds of treadmill style machines
stand in rows. Wiring snakes across the floor from the
machines and into various electrical outlets.
                                                            
On each machine a pale skinned, vacant eyed infected lumbers
forward, causing the treads to roll. Various cuts of meat
hang on hooks, urging them forward.
                                                            

6.

                       DWAYNE (V.O)
We oversaw the power generating
portion of the factory. They'd
just walk, day and night, powering
the whole operation.
                                                            
Martin strains to see.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Which one?
                                                            
Dwayne points.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Right there.
                                                            
Martin spots it. An infected stands, motionless, just off
his treadmill, staring straight ahead.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Wierd. They ever do that?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Never.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Lollygagging, huh? Not on my
watch, slacker.
                                                            
Martin heads for the door.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Whoa, hold on partner. Where you
think you're going?
                                                            
                       MARTIN
We're supervisors, aren't we?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Yes.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
I'm going to supervise.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
You really want to try this?
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Gotta learn some time.
                                                            
Dwayne hesitates only slightly before relenting.
                                                            

7.

                       DWAYNE
Fine. But you follow my lead. Do
you understand?
                                                            
                       MARTIN
You the man.
                                                            
Dwayne rolls his eyes again as they head out the door.
                                                            
 
INT. PRODUCTION FLOOR - NIGHT
                                                            
Martin follows Dwayne's lead as they weave their way through
the sea of treadmills. Each wears a side arm holster.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Over there.
                                                            
They approach the infected in question. He remains standing,
vacantly looking forward.
                                                            
Dwayne inspects the machine.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
The shackles are still locked in.
                                                            
He points to where the infected's arm is cuffed to the
treadmill railing. An electrical wire runs from the shackle
back into the machine.
                                                            
Martin watches the infected curiously.
                                                            
Suddenly, the infected turns and faces Martin.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Jesus!
                                                            
He jumps back, startled.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
What'd you do?
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Nothing. He just...looked at me.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Something don't feel right.
                                                            
Dwayne looks around -- and sees it.
                                                            
One by one, the machines slow to a stop as the infected step
off. The noise on the floor dies down.
                                                            

8.

The lights in the factory flicker.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE (V.O)
That's when it hit me. I couldn't
believe I didn't see it before.
                                                            
A POP sound catches their attention. The shackle on the
infected's wrist opens.
                                                            
Dwayne slowly backs away.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Those cheap sons of bitches. I
should have known.
                                                            
Dwayne unholsters his gun and continues to retreat.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
What? What's going on?
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
It's the power. They've been
powering this whole place,
including their own shackles.
                                                            
The realization hits Martin as a series of POPS ricochets
across the production floor.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Oh, Christ.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
C'mon man! Let's go!
                                                            
Dwayne turns and bolts for the exit.
                                                            
Martin appears frozen by the gaze of the infected in front
of him. He stands rooted in place, unable to move.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Martin! C'mon!
                                                            
The infected suddenly reaches out for Martin.
                                                            
Martin unleashed a small SCREAM. He jumps back, pulls out
his gun, and FIRES a shot point blank into the center of the
infected's head, dropping him.
                                                            
The spell broken, Martin turns and heads for the exit, but
quickly finds his way blocked. The infected swarm on him
from all sides.
                                                            

9.

Already at the exit door, Dwayne watches in horror as a mob
of infecteds envelopes Martin.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
Martin!
                                                            
A blood curdling SCREAM rings out, but is cut short.
                                                            
Dwayne, a look of anguish on his face, hesitates a moment,
before he finally heads out the exit door.
                                                            
END FLASHBACK
                                                            
 
INT. COURT ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Dwayne, hands trembling, stares off into space. The court
room is completely silent.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
What do you think happened?
                                                            
Dwayne looks up, startled.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
What?
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
In your statement, you offered a
theory as to why the infected
suddenly stopped like they did.
                                                            
The defense lawyer stands up.
                                                            
                       DEFENSE LAWYER
Objection. Calls for speculation.
How could the witness possibly
know what they were thinking?
                                                            
The judge considers it a moment.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
We know little enough about how
they think. I'm open to any views
at this point. I'll allow it.
                                                            
He looks toward Dwayne.
                                                            
                       JUDGE
You may answer the question.
                                                            
Dwayne locks eyes with Beatty.
                                                            

10.

                       DWAYNE
It was a strike. They were
standing up for their rights.
                                                            
Beatty leaps from his seat, his face even more red.
                                                            
                       BEATTY
You can't tell me you're buying
this load of shit!
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Control your client!
                                                            
The defense lawyer struggles to control Beatty.
                                                            
                       DWAYNE
That girl was right! You can't use
them as slaves!
                                                            
The court room explodes in chaos. The judge BANGS his gavel,
with little effect.
                                                            
                       BEATTY
Half my work force was wiped out!
What did you want me to do!
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Order!
                                                            
He BANGS his gavel repeatedly.
                                                            
                       BEATTY
I kept the jobs here, God damn it!
I could've shipped them overseas,
but I kept them here, where they
belong!
                                                            
                       JUDGE
Bailiffs! Secure that man!
                                                            
A SCREAM suddenly rings out, silencing the crowd. All eyes
turn toward the far side of the court room.
                                                            
A bailiff lies twitching in a pool of blood on the floor.
                                                            
Martin, his face soaked in blood, chews away on something.
He looks quizzically at the horrified crowd.
                                                            
                       MARTIN
Aaaughhh?
                                                            
 

11.

INT. FACTORY - DAY
                                                            
A pair of hands holds up a newspaper. The headline reads:
"SUPREME COURT TO RULE ON FUTURE OF INFECTED".
                                                            
A MANAGER, dressed in a shirt and tie, folds the paper and
walks toward the window in the office area. A FOREMAN in
hardhat, denim and work boots waits for him.
                                                            
                       MANAGER
Good to be back, huh?
                                                            
They shake hands.
                                                            
                       FOREMAN
You said it.
                                                            
They look out on the production floor, where dozens of
living workers file in. Actual production equipment takes
the place of the treadmills.
                                                            
                       FOREMAN
Thank God we don't have to deal
with those fuckin' zombies
anymore, huh?
                                                            
They both grin at the remark.
                                                            
PRODUCTION FLOOR
                                                            
A pair or WORKERS man their machines.
                                                            
                       WORKER #1
Hey, you catch "The Apprentice"
last night?
                                                            
                       WORKER #2
Nah, went to see "Paul Blart".
                                                            
They immediately go to work.
                                                            
OFFICE
                                                            
The manager watches for another moment. A BUZZING interrupts
him, prompting him to take out his Blackberry.
                                                            
                       MANAGER
Ain't that the truth, man.
                                                            
He heads off into the sea of cubicles, madly punching
buttons on his Blackberry.
                                                            

12.

                       MANAGER
Last thing we need around here is
any more zombies.
                                                            


THE END


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From Brett Killion Date 9/16/2010 ***1/2
Great beginning, it really got me hooked. Well-written too.

From Jack Castleberry Date 12/31/2009 ****
very well written with a funny ending. you got talent.

From Rick McCormick Date 11/5/2009 ****
Very professional. Lots of white, which is what we like to see. Great with economical descriptions and dialogue.


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