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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.


A hush falls over the packed court room. The JUDGE, a
serious looking 50-ish man, addresses the Plaintiff's table.
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.
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.


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.
Order! Quiet down!
He fixes the plaintiff lawyer with a hard stare.
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.
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.
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.
Counsel, control your client!


                       DEFENSE LAWYER
Sorry, your honor.
The judge addresses the court.
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.
He's still a person! You can't
treat them like property!
She unfurls a banner that reads "DEAD OR ALIVE, SLAVERY IS
Baliffs, remove that woman!
A pair of bailiffs drag her from the court room.
I swear, any more outbursts and I
will clear this court room!
Order returns to the room.
Okay. Let's get on with this
circus. Counsel,
call your next witness.
DWAYNE MILLER (32, African American) sits in the witness
stand. The plaintiff lawyer questions him.


                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Could you state your name for the
court, please?
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.
Yes, that's correct.
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Were you present on the night of
April fifteenth?
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.
All eyes fall on him.
I'm okay.
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
Are you sure?
Yeah, I'm ready.
He takes a deep breath.


We were working the night shift.
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.
Sure is dead, huh?
Martin smirks. Dwayne rolls his eyes.
Poor choice of words, my friend.
Martin looks over the sea of empty cubicles. Save for a
handful of workers, the place is empty.
You think they'll ever bring back
the workers?
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.
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.


                       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.
Which one?
Dwayne points.
Right there.
Martin spots it. An infected stands, motionless, just off
his treadmill, staring straight ahead.
Wierd. They ever do that?
Lollygagging, huh? Not on my
watch, slacker.
Martin heads for the door.
Whoa, hold on partner. Where you
think you're going?
We're supervisors, aren't we?
I'm going to supervise.
You really want to try this?
Gotta learn some time.
Dwayne hesitates only slightly before relenting.


Fine. But you follow my lead. Do
you understand?
You the man.
Dwayne rolls his eyes again as they head out the door.
Martin follows Dwayne's lead as they weave their way through
the sea of treadmills. Each wears a side arm holster.
Over there.
They approach the infected in question. He remains standing,
vacantly looking forward.
Dwayne inspects the machine.
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.
He jumps back, startled.
What'd you do?
Nothing. He just...looked at me.
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.


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.
Those cheap sons of bitches. I
should have known.
Dwayne unholsters his gun and continues to retreat.
What? What's going on?
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.
Oh, Christ.
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.
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.


Already at the exit door, Dwayne watches in horror as a mob
of infecteds envelopes 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.
Dwayne, hands trembling, stares off into space. The court
room is completely silent.
                       PLAINTIFF LAYWER
What do you think happened?
Dwayne looks up, startled.
                       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.
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.
You may answer the question.
Dwayne locks eyes with Beatty.


It was a strike. They were
standing up for their rights.
Beatty leaps from his seat, his face even more red.
You can't tell me you're buying
this load of shit!
Control your client!
The defense lawyer struggles to control Beatty.
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.
Half my work force was wiped out!
What did you want me to do!
He BANGS his gavel repeatedly.
I kept the jobs here, God damn it!
I could've shipped them overseas,
but I kept them here, where they
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.


A pair of hands holds up a newspaper. The headline reads:
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.
Good to be back, huh?
They shake hands.
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.
Thank God we don't have to deal
with those fuckin' zombies
anymore, huh?
They both grin at the remark.
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.
The manager watches for another moment. A BUZZING interrupts
him, prompting him to take out his Blackberry.
Ain't that the truth, man.
He heads off into the sea of cubicles, madly punching
buttons on his Blackberry.


Last thing we need around here is
any more zombies.


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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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