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Charades
by John (rdmazer@bama.ua.edu)

Rated: R   Genre: Comedy   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

This short screenplay is a very rough draft of one I hope to have finished by the end of December. At the University of Alabama (yes, I know, forget you read that), Tom Cherones, the director of the first 80-something episodes of Seinfeld, will be teaching a production course in which the students will cast, direct, and edit a short film. I am not eligible for the class, as I don't have the proper credits, but to determine what they will be shooting they are holding a screenplay competition for which all students here are eligible. Thus, much of this is regional, but aside from the locations, the references should still make sense in the context of the dialogue. Some of the formatting is incorrect, and it is incomplete. Much of it will need to be trimmed so that it can meet the 20-30 page criteria. Regarding that, it is already quite apparent to me the first scene that will have to go, but I just wanted to include it in case anybody goes particularly wild over it and feels it just has to stay. Anyway, constructive criticism of format and content would be greatly appreciated, including some ideas as to how to end it.


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. DORM ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Craig uses his computer on his otherwise empty desk in his
otherwise empty room. Brown boxes are piled. The room is a
double, and neither mattress yet has any bedding. The door
opens and Craig stands with a smile. His roommate enters,
followed by his mother. Craig opens his mouth, but before he
can get a word out his roommate turns to his mother and
speaks to her in French. Craig smiles and nods, showing the
palm of his hand as a sort of wave. He returns to his
computer. His roommate opens the window. Craig quickly
looks at him as he does this and then turns back to his
computer. His roommate rolls out a rug made of something
resembling grass. Craig glances at this, then back at his
computer. An older guy enters the half-opened door. He has
a slight Southern accent.
                                                            
                       OLDER GUY (to Craig)
Hey guys, my name’s Walker. I’ll
be your RA for the year. I don’t
know if you’ve noticed but I’ve
sorta got a cowboy theme goin’
around the floor so feel free to
call me Texas Ranger!
                                                            
The young man laughs, offers his hand to Craig to shake. He
leaves. Bugs fly on and around Craig’s face as he continues
to use the computer.
                                                            
 
INT. DORM ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Craig wakes up to an alarm. He flails his hands around
behind him to turn it off, but he doesn’t have an alarm;
it’s his roommate’s. His roommate continues to sleep while
Craig stares at him. Craig creeps out of bed and stands for
a moment. He inches towards his roommate’s side of the room
and starts to extend his arm. His roommate shuffles. Craig
runs back to his bed. His roommate gets out of bed, puts on
his shoes, and exits, leaving on the alarm. Craig jolts
upwards angrily.
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
Craig takes notes.
                                                            
 

2.

EXT. QUAD - DAY
                                                            
“Get on Board” signs are abundant. Tables are lined up next
to one another. Each one has a tablecloth with a banner in
front of it, advertising a diverse selection of student
organizations. Craig wears a nametag. He approaches a stand
with a banner reading “College Democrats.” Another kid with
a nametag reading “Nick” walks up next to Craig. On the
other side of the table is a boy with a suit and tie.
                                                            
                       ADS REP
Craig. Nick. Donald McCarthy,
nice to meet you both.
                                                            
Craig offers Donald his hand, but Donald ignores this and
puts his hand on Craig’s shoulder.
                                                            
                       DONALD
You’re freshmen?
                                                            
Craig nods.
                                                            
                       DONALD
Excellent. It's always good to
see new students taking an
interest. Would you consider
yourselves members of any
political parties?
                                                            
Craig shrugs in confusion.
                                                            
                       NICK
      (proudly)
I'm a conservative.
                                                            
Craig looks embarrassed. Donald notices this and redirects
his attention towards Craig.
                                                            
                       DONALD
You don’t have to answer.
Obviously you’re for a better
America. And if you’re for a
better America, you’re kinda shaky
about the way things are goin, ya
know? Let me get you some
information.
                                                            
Donald hands Craig several brochures.
                                                            
                       DONALD
There are absolutely no
obligations, unless you’re
            (MORE)

3.

                       DONALD (cont'd)
informed, educated, and want to
change our school’s mascot for a
better America.
                                                            
Craig is confused. Donald turns towards someone off-screen.
                                                            
                       DONALD
What’s that? Yeah, sure, gimme
one second!
                                                            
Donald makes his way off-screen.
                                                            
                       DONALD (to Craig)
I have faith in you, Craig. I
look forward to seeing you at our
first meeting on Monday at 6:30 in
the student union.
                                                            
Donald walks off. Craig looks around for Chris to no avail.
A man, similar in stature to Donald, approaches him.
                                                            
                       MATT (to OS Donald)
      (shouting)
Donald, I just hear you claim to
have faith in something?
                                                            
No response. Matt smiles.
                                                            
                       MATT (to Craig)
I'm sorry, "Craig?"
                                                            
Craig nods apprehensively.
                                                            
                       MATT
Matt Worth, president of the
United Republicans of America,
Tuscaloosa chapter. Noticed you
talking with my friend, Donald.
Good guy. Good guy. A little…ya
know, a little out there, but, a
good guy.
                                                            
Matt smiles for a long time.
                                                            
                       MATT
Let me ask you a question. Would
you expect your parents to throw
you in front of a moving car?
                                                            
Donald approaches.
                                                            

4.

                       DONALD
No, he wouldn’t expect it. That’s
the problem when they do.
                                                            
                       MATT
Even if he knew, it's not like
he'd do anything about it.
                                                            
                       DONALD
Yes he would. He'd be prepared.
                                                            
                       MATT
Yeah? What would he do?
                                                            
                       DONALD
He'd say, "Parents, I'm onto you.
Now , I'm your son. So don't
throw me in front of a moving car.
Okay?"
                                                            
                       MATT (to Craig)
Look, forget all this. It was a
rhetorical question anyway, which
means I already know the answer to
it, but…I see something in you. I
see someone who is willing to
trust those who hold his best
interests at heart. Now America
has a glorious past, am I wrong?
                                                            
Craig shrugs.
                                                            
                       MATT
Now we as UA students have to ask
ourselves how to preserve the ways
of the past for future
generations, and a great way to
start would be to embrace the
school’s mascot.
                                                            
                       DONALD
Oh no you don't, Matt. It's an
elephant!
                                                            
                       MATT
And?
                                                            

5.

                       DONALD
It clearly represents the school’s
longstanding favoring of the
Republican Party. Even on a
simple level it promotes
inequality, which as we all know
is inherently Un-American.
                                                            
                       MATT
No, you're un-American!
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       DONALD
It gives you a clear edge in
promoting the United Republicans
across campus, like tricking 3,000
people into coming to one of your
meetings because you put an
elephant with a football on your
flyers!
                                                            
                       MATT
It's just a coincidence.
                                                            
Craig is now physically caught between the two.
                                                            
                       DONALD
Craig, I’ve said it before and
I’ll say it again with great
confidence: I believe in you. Vote
to disband the school’s mascot.
                                                            
Donald slaps his organization’s sticker on Craig’s shirt.
                                                            
                       MATT
Look at me, Craig. To uphold our
country’s glorious past into the
present and future, show your
support for our mascot.
                                                            
Matt slaps a sticker on Craig’s other shoulder. Craig walks
away as they continue to argue.
                                                            
                       DONALD
A coincidence? I can’t believe
you pulled that. Thinking people
don’t believe in coincidence!
                                                            
                       MATT
Problem with you, Mr. Thinker, is
that you’re all think and no act.
That’s what I do. I’m an actor!
                                                            

6.

A girl with a notepad approaches.
                                                            
                       GIRL (to Matt)
Would you like to sign up for the
theater program?
                                                            
                       MATT
God.
                                                            
                       DONALD
Ooh, lemme see that.
                                                            
As Craig leaves, hands slap stickers all over his body.
                                                            
 
EXT. FERGUSON PLAZA - DAY
                                                            
Various stickers cover Craig's clothes, many of which are
contradictory. He resigns to a bench. He stares at the
ground. A group is heard talking in the distance.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Well I guess that’s true, but I
don’t think the abundance of beer
on campuses is why college is in
itself a flawed system.
                                                            
Craig looks up.
                                                            
                       NORA
I just thought college parties
would be a bit more refined before
I—
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Okay, I was reading Beckett, and
his premise is that language is a
flawed form of communication.
                                                            
                       BARTON
Oh…oh, I get it, sorta like
Chris’s ass?
                                                            
Group laughs.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I swear, Barton, even though
you’re a bastard, your humor
carries a depth.
                                                            
The group passes Craig. Chris's shoe falls off. He does not
notice.
                                                            

7.

                       CHRIS
Ok, Barton, answer me
this…professors use language to
express their ideas to us,
correct?
                                                            
                       BARTON
Sure.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Would I be wrong in saying that
tests are comprised of language?
                                                            
                       BARTON
Fuck Chris, don’t pull some crazy
shit on me.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I love it when Chris uses the
Socratic method.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Now if what I’ve said is true, it
follows that college is a flawed
form of education.
                                                            
                       BARTON
So what should the professors do,
dance at us?
                                                            
They all laugh.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
We'd get just as much out of it.
                                                            
                       BARTON
Oh, by the way, your shoe's over
there.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Oh! I didn’t even reali—
                                                            
The group looks back. Craig holds Chris's shoe in his hand
with hope.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Oh, thanks man. You’re a
lifesaver.
                                                            

8.

                       BARTON
Lifesaver?
      (to Craig)
Don't mind him; he's not a fan of
the whole language thing.
                                                            
Group laughs. Chris pauses and looks at Craig’s
sticker-filled shirt.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Nice style, man.
                                                            
Chris’s messenger bag is shown. Decorated with buttons with
various catchphrases, it resembles Craig's shirt.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
It’s an interesting statement. I’m
Chris. Barton’s the one you
should have to be told to not have
to mind.
                                                            
Craig looks puzzled.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
He's in remedial English.
                                                            
 
INT. PATY DINER - NIGHT
                                                            
The mood is cheerful. Barton, Nora, and Amanda eat fries.
Chris and Craig eat cheeseburgers. Amanda takes out a
camera.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Ok, Craig, I need your picture
since you're the new...inductee.
                                                            
Craig half-smiles as she takes it.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Alright! Cool. Check my blog out
later tonight.
                                                            
                       NORA
So anyway, Chris lost our bet so I
made him wear my belt all day.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Yeah? How was that, Chris?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
      (sarcastically)
Ya know, I kinda liked it.
                                                            

9.

                       AMANDA
I never knew you had that side to
you.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Who would’ve?
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Did you feel like you for the
first time in your whole life?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
I felt like…like a new me.
                                                            
                       NORA
I’d hate to see the effect my
pants would have. Ya know, the
ones with the diamonds?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Oh yeah. Those. You plan on
wearing them tomorrow?
                                                            
They all laugh, breaking the sarcasm.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
      (coming off a
       laugh)
No, but seriously, gays are pretty
cool.
                                                            
Silence. Everyone is confused.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
I mean, we’re laughing and stuff,
but we’re really all on the same
level.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Oh, definitely.


                                                            
Craig is still confused. Trying to revive the laughter,
Chris chuckles in spurts.
                                                            
                       BARTON
Well, don’t go broadcasting that
message at Bryant-Denny.
                                                            

10.

                       CHRIS
Oh, god. Idiots here. Yesterday
I was using the stall in my
floor's bathroom--
                                                            
                       BARTON
Doin a little of the sit-down,
sit-down?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
What?
                                                            
Pause. Barton laughs softly in self-deprecation. Amanda
and Norah both laugh at this. Amanda eyes Craig at the tail
of her laughter. Craig smiles politely.

                                                            
                       CHRIS
I was in the stall because I get
nervous at the urinals—
                                                            
                       NORA
God, you're so neurotic.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
      (happily)
Yeah I know! And written on the
toilet paper dispenser in very
elegant sharpie is the beautifully
poetic mantra, “The South Will
Rise Again!” It’s like-
      (puts his flat
       hand to his lips,
       as if telling a
       secret)
-"Hey buddy, not quite."
                                                            
                       AMANDA
But that's nothing new.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Okay, but then...somebody crossed
the comment out, drew an arrow
next to it, and wrote “Idiot.”
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Nice.
                                                            

11.

                       CHRIS
So I don’t know; it made me kinda
optimistic about the direction of
the campus.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Oh, definitely.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
But then I thought, wait a
minute—I feel all comforted
because I have representation in
Paty’s bathroom graffiti battle?
                                                            
Nora and Amanda laugh.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
It’s like…this important message
through such immature means. I
wanted to tell the guy, ya know,
“Buddy, there’re slightly better
ways of going about this.”
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Too bad you don’t know who the guy
is so you can’t actually tell him
that.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah I know, that’s why I wrote it
on the toilet paper dispenser.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       NORA
Huh?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah, and I didn't have a sharpie
so I had to go back to the room to
get one.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Huh.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
And by the time I got back some
guy was using the stall and I had
to wait like 10 minutes.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
You just stood there and waited?
                                                            

12.

                       CHRIS
Well, what else am I going to do
on a Saturday night?
                                                            
Amanda laughs, again eyeing Craig. Craig smiles again.

                                                            
                       NORA
Knowing you, I bet you had to wash
your hands after the second trip.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
What makes you say that?
                                                            
                       NORA
Cause you're so crazy!
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Oh.
                                                            
                       NORA
Did you not?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
      (lying)
No I did. And knowing you, you’re
probably going to make it into
some ordeal.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       BARTON (to Chris)
So if all you were doing was
pissing, how could you see what
was written on the toilet paper
dispenser?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
It was on top. Why are you so
intent on proving I was shitting,
Barton?
                                                            
                       BARTON
Cause I can just see why you’d
want to cover it up.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
K, well I appreciate it.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            

13.

                       AMANDA
So, anybody see The Daily Show
last night?
                                                            
 
INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Craig sits alone at his computer. He’s on Amanda’s blog,
which has a picture of Craig looking unenthusiastic with the
heading, “Coolest Guy Ever!” Craig half-looks at the site
with equal enthusiasm. A message pops-up that reads
something like, “No wireless connections could be found.”
Craig fiddles with the wires, but it is to no avail. He
jerks the wires. Still no result.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (mouthing)
Damnit.

                                                            
A puzzled look grows over his face.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (mouthing)
Damn...It.
                                                            
His eyes widen.
                                                            
 
INT. STUDENT SERVICES CENTER - DAY
                                                            
Craig enters in a state of panic and walks up to the desk.
An already annoyed employee awaits. He hands her a note
reading, "I've just realized I can't speak. Please help."
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE
Hm. Okay. I'm going to give you
the Student Services' email
address. That way you can contact
us.
                                                            
Frustrated, Craig studies her.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (writing)
"My internet is not working."
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE
Uh huh. Well computer support is
right up this hill...
                                                            

14.

A second employee enters from the back room.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
What's the problem?
                                                            
Craig points to his note.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Oh, don't have him go to computer
support for that.
                                                            
Craig looks relieved.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
There're plenty of working
computers in the library.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
No, I'm kidding!
                                                            
Craig sighs.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
How did this happen?
                                                            
Craig shrugs.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Yeah? When did you...notice?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (writes)
"I don't think I've spoken since
I've been here."
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Yeah. Um, what you need to do is
see a doctor. You a freshman?
                                                            
Craig nods.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Okay, you know where the hospital
is?
                                                            
Craig shakes his head in embarrassment.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Ew. Um, ok. Let’s see. Go up to
University Boulevard. You know
where that is?
                                                            

15.

Apologetically, Craig shakes his head again. Employee 2
looks down and breathes out.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
      (hissing)
Damnit. Whew-kay. Alright, head
up to the Quad. You do know the
Quad?
                                                            
Craig smiles and, after some hesitation, nods timidly.
                                                            
                       EMPLOYEE 2
Okay, walk past the Quad until you
reach a major street. Walk left
on that road and it’ll eventually
be on your right. It’s a big
building with a huge sign. Okay?
                                                            
Craig nods.
                                                            
 
EXT. FERGUSON PLAZA - DAY
                                                            
Craig sits on a bench. He dials a number on his cell phone.
His mother picks up.
                                                            
                       CRAIG'S MOM
Hey, sweetie! How’s everything
going down there?
                                                            
Craig strains to speak. Three females walk up and talk
amongst themselves. They giggle.
                                                            
                       CRAIG'S MOM
Crraiiigg?? What's going on?
                                                            
Craig's face is red as he tries to force the words out. The
girls giggle louder.
                                                            
                       CRAIG'S MOM
Okay, Craig. Nice to talk to you.
                                                            
More giggling.
                                                            
                       CRAIG'S MOM
      (cheerfully)
Glad you're having fun, whatever
you're doing. Stay out of
trouble.
                                                            
The girls walk away and Craig sits, staring ahead in
frustration.
                                                            
 

16.

INT. PATY DINER - NIGHT
                                                            
                       BARTON
The thing I want to know is, when
it comes to abortion, why are
conservatives such pussies?
                                                            
The two girls laugh. Chris laughs while Craig points to his
own gaped mouth and shakes his head.
                                                            
                       CHRIS (to Craig)
I know, I know. He’s crazy.
                                                            
                       OFFSCREEN EMPLOYEE
Chris!
                                                            
As Chris rises, Craig grabs his arm while opening his mouth
wider and shaking his head violently.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah, man, you'll get used to him.
                                                            
Chris leaves. Amanda smiles at Craig. Craig looks at her
intently and points to his mouth. Amanda laughs. Chris
returns with a cheeseburger. Craig envisions a waiter
pouring the group cups of poison from an obvious, cartoonish
bottle, and they drink without noticing.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
How's your spam sandwich?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
See, I’m working my way up to
being a vegetarian, so the less
actual meat the better.
                                                            
                       NORA
I'd rather eat meat.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Really?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Why?
                                                            
                       NORA
Coz look at it! It’s fake,
processed crap; just a bunch of
random shit mashed together to
give the impression of
something…authentic.
                                                            
Amanda eyes Craig.
                                                            
 

17.

EXT. OUTSIDE PATY - NIGHT
                                                            
The group walks in twos. Amanda walks over to Craig.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
You seem authentic to me.
                                                            
Craig shakes his head.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I sometimes worry I'm not.
                                                            
Craig shrugs neutrally.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Aw, that's sweet.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Can you...feel people?
                                                            
Craig rubs Amanda’s shoulder. Amanda doesn’t respond to
this, but just keeps walking. Craig looks confused. Amanda
turns to him.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I think I can. You ever get that
feeling that you just know
somebody? That somehow, even if
you are in a foreign place and
totally disconnected with
everything you ever knew to be
true, one person can make you feel
like you’ll never be alone?
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I feel that with you, Craig.
                                                            
Craig nods slowly.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Well I better go. I hope I didn’t
freak you out or anything. I have
a tendency to do that.
                                                            
Craig forces a smile.
                                                            
 

18.

INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Craig enters his vacant room. His roommate's rug is gone.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Hm.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Hm?!
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
I can...my voice. Oh my god.
That's amazing.
                                                            
His roommate enters. Craig is ecstatic.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Hey, man. Something very
different about the room here!
                                                            
Infected by Craig's mood, his roommate smiles.
                                                            
                       ROOMMATE
Yes, had to go.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Hey...you can speak English!
                                                            
                       ROOMMATE
Little.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
So...what's your name?
                                                            
                       ROOMMATE
Stefan. You?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
I'm Craig.
                                                            
Pause.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
So why'd you get rid of the rug?
                                                            
                       ROOMMATE
Pricked feet.
                                                            
Slightly annoyed, Craig nods.
                                                            
 

19.

INT. THEATER CLASS - DAY
                                                            
Craig struggles to take notes. He raises his hand.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (pointing to the
       board)
What's a Deuce Ex Machina?
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Well, in modern times it’s taken
on the definition of an improbable
device in a work of fiction that
appears abruptly to resolve a
situation.
                                                            
The student in front of Craig scoffs. Craig scoffs back
mockingly. The student turns around. He is identical to
Craig. Craig stares for a moment in shock.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Who are you?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Your better half.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
So...I'm schizophrenic?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
No. And wrong term.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Whatever.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
What do you mean, "Whatever?"
Don't you take Psychology?
                                                            
Craig looks around.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Sorry, I have ADD.
                                                            
Craig notices people looking at him and talks quiter.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Can we talk about this later?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
No. I'm your Deuce Ex Machina. Or
however you pronounce it.
                                                            

20.

                       CRAIG
Where've I...?
                                                            
Craig 2 begrudgingly points to Craig’s notebook. Craig
looks down and reads for a moment, then looks back up.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Really?!
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Are you an idiot?
                                                            
Craig looks around again.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Sure, now please shut up.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Listen, aren't you happy? I'm
here to solve your problems.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Should I tip you?
                                                            
Teacher makes his way over to the duo.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Guys?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (whispering to
       himself)
Oh, god.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
What's the conversation about?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Sorry, my twin wanted to sit in
and I told him, “Ok, but you
better not talk,” and now…
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
I'm his Deuce Ex Machina.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Well, well. Class, we have a
special guest with us today. It
appears…
                                                            
Teacher points at Craig and twirls his finger.
                                                            

21.

                       CRAIG
Craig.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Craig’s Deuce Ex Machina is in
attendance. Guys why don’t you
head on up to the front.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (whispering)
No no no no no. Can we
just…what’s uh…
      (pointing to board)
what's...
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Come on, get up there.
                                                            
Craig 2 smiles. Craig is sweating. They walk up to the
front.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
So, before a Deuce Ex Machina can
resolve your problems, you need
problems that require resolving.
Craig, what’s your dilemma?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (looking down)
He's here.
                                                            
Scattered laughter among the class. Craig grins.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Up until yesterday he couldn't
speak.
                                                            
A student raises his hand. Craig is red and looks sad.
                                                            
                       STUDENT
Did you go to the hospital?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
He couldn't find it.
      (whispers)
Didn't know where the Quad was.
                                                            
Scattered laughter.
                                                            
                       STUDENT 2
What the hell?
                                                            

22.

                       CRAIG
I didn't know the little grass
patch had a name.
                                                            
                       STUDENT 2
Still, you go to school here.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (looking down)
Yeah.
                                                            
                       STUDENT 3
So, if he can talk, why are you
here now?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Excellent question. First, Craig,
allow me to inquire
                                                            
                       CRAIG
No.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Why do you think you weren't able
to talk?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Um...well, I assume now the rug.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
The rug? What about the rug?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
I don't know, allergies?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
God, okay, his roommate has this
rug...
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Stop, stop. Please. Stop.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Class, I am here because, while
his physical symptoms no longer
present themselves, the mental
cause remains.
                                                            
Craig rolls his eyes.
                                                            

23.

                       CRAIG 2
As he stands before you, looking
harmless, in his mind he judges
you all.
                                                            
                       STUDENT 2
Like how?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
He thinks you're too confident.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
That's ridiculous!
                                                            
                       STUDENT 2
      (laughing)
Man, I'm not confident. You're
just a pussy.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
So true.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
      (smiling)
Huh. How about me?
                                                            
                       CRAIG
I'll speak for myself: I think
you're very...teachery.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
If by that you mean unable to
seperate a performance from a
lecture.
                                                            
Craig puts his hands over his face.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Oh my god. Oh my god.
                                                            
Teacher approaches Craig, smiling.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Craig.
                                                            
Teacher pulls Craig's arms away from his face.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
      (theatrically)
It's okay. I promise. It's
always...okay.
                                                            

24.

                       CRAIG 2
He thinks these things because
he’s scared. He makes no attempt
to improve anything, just sits
back comfortably and ridicules.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Okay, so what should I do about
it?
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
Well...well, that's slightly
harder. Gimme a second.
                                                            
Craig 2 starts to sniffle.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
I uh, I have no idea. I have no
idea at all.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Stop. Being sad. Please.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
I can't help it; I suck.
                                                            
Student 3, looking sad, gets up from her seat. The teacher,
sitting on the desk next to her, reaches his arm out to
block her.
                                                            
                       TEACHER
Let them be.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
No you don’t. You were just being
honest. And loud. Just…plan your
delivery a little better next
time. Think constructively,
instead of…you know, airing a
checklist of my flaws and personal
thoughts to a classroom of
students.
                                                            
                       CRAIG 2
I will. I promise. I'm going to
lead a new life!
                                                            
Craig 2 triumphantly marches out of the room. The door
closes behind him. The class applauds. Craig shakes his
head, and tries to hide a smile.
                                                            
 

25.

INT. PATY DINER - NIGHT
                                                            
                       CHRIS
So I'm gonna shoot a movie.
                                                            
                       NORA
Really?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
I like...just thought about it
earlier today.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
That's so cool. What's it going
to be about?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Well that was the hard part. But
I decided to base it on my
bathroom experience.
                                                            
                       BARTON
But it'll be more like one of
mine.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
I just thought, ya know…gotta do
what I can to get the message out
there.
                                                            
                       NORA
So what's the plot?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Well, I didn’t want it to be
exactly what happened. I wanted
it to require a little
imagination, so I've decided to
have it star
      (giddy)
a tennis ball.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
A tennis ball?
                                                            

26.

                       CHRIS
Yeah, what happens is this tennis
ball goes, or I guess rolls, into
the bathroom, and notices on the
stall it says “The South Will Rise
Again,” but it’s been crossed out.
So he goes to his room and gets a
sharpie and then goes back into
the bathroom.
                                                            
                       NORA
Huh?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah, but somebody’s in that
stall, so he has to wait for like
10 minutes.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Huh.
                                                            
                       NORA
You don't think a tennis ball will
be distracting?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Pff. If people don't get it,
that's their problem.
                                                            
                       NORA
I thought you wanted to
communicate a message.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah, well I’m not going to start
compromising my vision for some
idiots.
                                                            
                       NORA
But couldn’t some of those idiots
be the people you want to reach? I
mean, that’s it? You gonna refuse
revision, too?
                                                            
                       CHRIS
It's called integrity.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
It sounds surreal. What's the
tennis ball supposed to represent?
                                                            

27.

                       CHRIS
      (spinning 2 of his
       fingers around
       each other)
Well, it's like a cycle.
                                                            
No reaction. His fingers spin slowly.
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I get it!
                                                            
                       CHRIS
You do?
                                                            
                       AMANDA
Yeah, coz…okay, you’re trying to
get a message out there, but your
own needs, which include making
the character a tennis ball, ruin
that message. So it’s a cycle,
which is what the ball represents!
Your need to make him a ball is
the cause of your problems, but it
also represents those problems,
like you’re aware.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yeah, yes. Yes.
                                                            
                       NORA
So it started out as a way to
promote tolerance, but then it
stopped being that because you’re
trying to show off--
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Well...
                                                            
                       NORA
--but you’re making fun of
yourself for it, so it’s fine!
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Yes! Yes! Thank god!
                                                            
                       AMANDA
I'm excited! Let's go get some
tennis balls!
                                                            
                       NORA
Target?
                                                            

28.

                       CHRIS
Target it is.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Um, I don’t really feel like going
to Target, so I think I’m just
gonna…sit this one out…if that’s
okay?
                                                            
Long pause.
                                                            
                       CHRIS
Dude, when did you become such a
dick?
                                                            
 
INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Craig sits at his computer. Suddenly, the internet cuts
back on. He immediately receives an instant message that
reads, “hey, this is amanda,” from user (). He responds,
“hey.” She responds, “hey, what was with you today?” Craig
looks away from the computer.
                                                            
 
INT. DORM ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Craig wakes up to the sound of his roommate getting out of
bed. He half-opens his eyes and can barely make out his
roommate's head as he walks into the hallway.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Stefan.
                                                            
Stefan closes the door behind him.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Stefan!!
                                                            
Craig panics. He shuffles through his drawer and retrieves
a tape recorder.
                                                            
                       CRAIG (into tape recorder)
Hello? Hello? Am I crazy?
                                                            
He plays the tape and his voice is clear. He runs to the
door and opens it. He shouts. Stefan stands at the
entrance and stairs plainly. He has no ears.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
Stefan?
                                                            
Stefan tilts his head.
                                                            

29.

                       CRAIG
What the--
                                                            
 
INT. DORM HALL - DAY
                                                            
Craig passes a floormate who also has no ears.
                                                            
 
INT. DORM LOBBY - DAY
                                                            
Craig scurries out of an elevator and runs into two people
missing ears. They stare at Craig for a moment, and then
reach for his ears. He runs away.
                                                            
 
EXT. FERGUSON PLAZA - DAY
                                                            
Craig approaches a mass of people, all of whom have no ears.
He picks up a newspaper. A series of article titles flash,
including "Earless on Campus: What's happened to us?" "Sign
language classes booked," "Students buy brail for some
reason," and "Marie Antoinette delights!"
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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