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The Cell

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1The Cell Empty The Cell on Thu May 07, 2009 3:42 pm

OnyxDragon

OnyxDragon
The Cell
Short story by John J. Smiley, screenplay by Nathan Weaver


PREFACE
What you are about to read is an adaptation of John J. Smiley's "The Cell." First, please read his short story before reading the adaptation. John agreed to let me adapt the piece and this was the first draft result that I wrote in two days. Let me know what you think, and let John know what you think about his piece as well. It is his story and characters after all. I was just glad to help, adapting is something I enjoy. It's time well spent. Thanks much, enjoy.


EXT. ALEX’S APARTMENT, MORNING. Light, soft MUSIC plays. CROSS-DISSOLVE.

INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BEDROOM. CAMERA pans across the floor, there are various articles of clothing randomly dropped about (both male and female). Eventually the camera finds the bed and ALEX rolling over and looking at the clock, he sits up and looks like he might have a little bit of a hangover. ALEX turns around and sees there is a body in the bed with him, but turned away from him. He makes a face in confusion, as he doesn’t remember the night before obviously. He sneaks around to the other side of the bed and pulls the blanket back to reveal YOUNG LADY’S face. She is drop dead gorgeous, and ALEX is elated. He sneaks back to his side of the bed and looks around the nightstand for something, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for. He goes to his jeans on the floor and pulls a cell phone out of the pocket. He sneaks back to the other side of the bed and takes a photo of YOUNG LADY’S face and sends it to a friend. He grabs some clothes from a pile of dirty ones on the floor and starts to go into the bathroom behind him, but then turns and comes back to YOUNG LADY. He looks about suspiciously, then lifts the blanket up and looks under the “hood.” His eyes open wide with amazement and he silently mouths the word, “Wow.” He reluctantly puts the blanket back down and sneaks off into the bathroom. CUT.

INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BATHROOM. ALEX is dressed and brushing his teeth now, he gets a text message on his phone. He picks it up and reads the following, “That’s what she looked like the morning after?!” ALEX smiles and puts the phone down. CUT.

INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BEDROOM. ALEX quietly, but quickly, shoves some books and papers into a backpack and shuffles out the bedroom door. He stops though, quickly realizing he forgot something. He goes to his nightstand and opens the drawer, inside is a plethora of sheets of paper with notes scribbled on it. He picks one up that reads, “I’m not ready for a commitment. Sorry,” he looks at another, “I hate to run, but I have class. Lock the door on your way out. Call me sometime, 555-7814.” He looks over at YOUNG LADY again, checking to see if it’s worth it. He halfheartedly with a shrug decides “yes,” then places the note on the bed next to her and closes the drawer to the nightstand and leaves the room.

INT. POST OFFICE, DAYTIME. We are seeing into the back of a post office box with a couple of envelopes and a small box. The door opens and a hand reaches in to grab the items. CUT.

INT. POST OFFICE, LOBBY. JOSE looks at the box with a look of excitement, but he’s flustered too. He quickly pockets the box and looks around to see if anyone noticed. No one did. He moves along. CUT.

EXT. JOSE’S HOME, DAYTIME. JOSE pulls up in car, exits and casually enters his house.

INT. JOSE’S HOME. With the door shut, JOSE checks each room to make sure he is alone. He discards the letters as if they were junk mail. Slowly examining the small box, we can see it has not been postmarked. It was placed purposefully into his box; it had never gone through the regular postal system. He slowly removes the brown paper wrapper from around the small square. Setting the clean white box down on the table before him, he holds it steady with one hand while the other carefully removes the lid. Inside a small vial is held steady by a cloud of white cotton. It is certainly the package for which he had been waiting. CUT to BLACK.

EXT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. ALEX enters the school.

INT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. MONTAGE of clips with ALEX in classes and walking to classes, etc.

EXT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. ALEX sits outside going through some homework, a little frustrated/bored he looks up and around and notices LOVELY LADY doing the same. Their eyes lock and they smile; ALEX thinks for a moment, then grabs his stuff and wonders over to her. A short montage of clips show ALEX and LOVELY LADY enjoying each other’s company outside in the sun. Last clip is of them walking opposite directions and they can’t stop turning around to look at each other, eventually ALEX turns away and looks at a piece of paper in his hand that reads, “Tracy: 555-3641.” He smiles at it and pockets it. CUT.

EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, DAYTIME. CAMERA follows ALEX as he walks from car to the front door and enters. CROSS-DISSOLVE.

INT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, DAYTIME. MONTAGE of clips with ALEX working.

EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, NIGHT. ALEX is outside sweeping the sidewalk and emptying the ashcan. He notices DARK FIGURED MAN across the street hanging out. He looks a little concerned/creeped by the DARK FIGURED MAN, but goes about his business. FADE to BLACK.

INT. JOSE’S HOME, NIGHT. CLOSE-UP of HAND turning radio on and up, way up. We hear loud, obnoxious music. The audience then witnesses a series of jump-cut scenes o f dialogue between JOSE and FRIENDS. The MUSIC overpowers the dialogue, and they are completely in PANTOMIME. NONE OF THIS DIALOGUE WILL BE AUDIBLE.

JOSE
(clipboard and pencil in hand) So now that we know what we’re doing, it’s time to delegate responsibilities.

FRIEND 1
But do we really know what we’re doing?

FRIEND 2
What is that supposed to mean?

FRIEND 1
Come on, guys, it’s not like we’re pros at this. I just think maybe we should walk through everything—step by step. Make sure we don’t miss any details.

FRIEND 3
It’s not a bad idea. I’m with him.

FRIEND 2
Whatever.

JOSE
Okay, we’ll let’s do the run-down then. First, there’s the van. It pulls up while Alex is cleaning outside. Second, there’s the bag.

FRIEND 1
(raises hand) Dibs on driving the van!

JOSE
Alright, I want you (points to FRIEND 2) on bag duty.

FRIEND 2
What? Why am I on bag duty? You do the bag, you’re already outside.

JOSE
But I’m across the street.

FRIEND 2
So cross the street when we pull up.

JOSE
I think it’s a lot simpler to step out of the van to bag, then to cross the street to bag.

FRIEND 3
No it’s not.

JOSE
(sighs) Who here thinks I should bag?

ALL THREE FRIENDS raise hands.

JOSE
Alright, (he notes on a clipboard) I’ll bag.


JUMP-CUT. NEW SONG.

FRIEND 2
Why do I get the needle?

JOSE
Because I can tie knots better than you, and you’re the smallest out of the four of us.

FRIEND 1
He does have a point.

FRIEND 2
No, I’m not touching the stuff!

FRIEND 3
Nothing’s gonna happen.

FRIEND 2
You can’t say that, you don’t know that! He could kick it out of my hand and it could get everywhere—and then what?! We’re all infected!

AWKWARD PAUSE as it is obvious none of them have considered this happening before. Finally, JOSE speaks up.

JOSE
Alright, I’ll do the needle.


SILENCE.

JUMP-CUT. NEW SONG.

FRIEND 1
(throwing his hands up) No, I’m not dragging!

JOSE
It’s no big deal, (demonstrates visually with pantomime) you just slip your arms under his arms and lock the inside of your elbows into his armpits. Then, you just pull your fists up like you’re lifting weights and pull. It’s a piece of cake.

FRIEND 1
I refuse to drag the body! I’m not touching him!

FRIEND 2
Dude, you are such a wuss.

FRIEND 1
Oh, I’m a wuss now?!

FRIEND 2
Yeah, you are a wuss, Wuss!

FRIEND 3
Guys, come on…

FRIEND 1
(trying to compose himself) Don’t call me a wuss again.

FRIEND 2
Whatever you say… wuss.

FRIEND 1
That tears it!

FRIEND 1 dives into FRIEND 2 and they begin to tear into each other with blows. FRIEND 3 and JOSE have to jump in and pry them apart. ADLIBS during scramble.

JUMP-CUT.

ALL FOUR are sitting down now, the music is off. They all look at each other, tossing glances as if to ask “Are you ready?” FRIEND 2 has bloody tissues shoved up his nostrils perhaps. Eventually, we come back to JOSE who takes one last glance around at the faces. This next line is audible.

JOSE
(nods) Alright… let’s do it.


CUT.

EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, NIGHT. ALEX is cleaning outside the store, again. He looks across the street and the DARK FIGURED MAN comes up to his usual spot, ALEX smiles and waves to him—as if he’s done this before—the DARK FIGURED MAN waves back casually and perhaps sits on a bench to chill in the night air. ALEX keeps sweeping, but then stops and pulls out that paper that reads, “MARCY: 555-3416.” He leans the broom against his shoulder and dials a number into his cell phone.

ALEX
Hey, this is Alex from the courtyard. I’m off in five. What are you doing? (beat, as he listens—his eyes widen) Ooh… wow.


FADE TO BLACK.



Last edited by OnyxDragon on Thu May 07, 2009 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total


_________________
Nathan Weaver
Literary Anarchy Moderator
www.myemeralddragon.webs.com
www.youtube.com/OnyxDragonLair

I do not do drugs. I am drugs. Take me, I am the drug. Take me, I am the hallucinogenic
--Salvador Dali
https://www.youtube.com/onyxdragonlair

2The Cell Empty Re: The Cell on Thu May 07, 2009 3:42 pm

OnyxDragon

OnyxDragon
PART 2
EXT. ALEX’S APARTMENT, MORNING. He comes out, as does MARCY. They kiss and she goes her way and he his way. They part OFF-CAMERA, one to the left and the other to the right. CUT.

INT. JOSE’S HOME, NIGHT. 3 FRIENDS are sitting on couch. CAMERA squeezes them into shot, they are in a bit of a trance—they all turn and look to their left. CAMERA pans LEFT to reveal JOSE who is standing with his hands in his pockets. He has a similar look on his face, perhaps he slides his tongue through his cheek—a nervous twitch. He looks to them and shrugs his shoulders. CAMERA pans RIGHT and 3 FRIENDS stare for a moment in space, and then nod. CAMERA pans LEFT and JOSE is nodding too. He pulls a key from his pocket and tosses it OFF-SCREEN, CAMERA follows key and FRIEND 1 catches it and holds on to it. He looks at it for a moment, and then 3 FRIENDS get up at once. CUT.

EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, NIGHT. ALEX comes out with the broom in hand and looks over to see DARK FIGURED MAN walking to his usual spot, DARK FIGURED MAN waves to ALEX and he waves back. Just then, a VAN comes pulling up in front of ALEX and parks where there is no parking spot. ALEX shakes his head back and forth, and walks up to the VAN.

ALEX
Hey, guys, we’re closed and that’s not even a parking space—


DURING previous line, DARK FIGURED MAN comes up behind ALEX and pulls a CLOTH BAG over ALEX’S HEAD. He pushes ALEX forward, the sliding door of the VAN opens and FRIEND 2 and FRIEND 3 reach out and grab ALEX—THEY pull him into the van while DARK FIGURED MAN pushes from behind. DARK FIGURED MAN climbs in behind ALEX and slams DOOR shut. VAN slowly drives off. CUT.

INT. VAN. A struggle ensues with ALEX swinging blindly his BROOM around, he hits DARK FIGURED MAN (who is now clearly seen to be JOSE), JOSE falls over. FRIEND 2 and FRIEND 3 stand back, stunned. JOSE has a rope in his hand with the intent to tie up ALEX’S hands.

JOSE
(looking at FRIEND 2 & 3) Well! GET THE BROOM!


2 FRIENDS dog pile ALEX, while dodging his broom attacks. 2 FRIENDs are punching and rough housing ALEX, trying to overpower him to get his broom away. JOSE stands behind them—delegating.

JOSE
Hurry! The broom, get the broom!


Finally after fighting for some time, FRIEND 2 pries away BROOM and tosses it behind him. BROOM hits JOSE. FRIEND 2 and FRIEND 3 now have ALEX pinned to the floor of the van, but he still struggles to break free.

FRIEND 2
The rope! THE ROPE!


JOSE dives in and ties up ALEX’S hands. ALL 3 let him go and back off, thinking that’s the last of it, but ALEX jumps up and begins to run around the van ramming them with his shoulders and knocking them over and kicking at them. ALL 3 just go ahead and beat the snot out of ALEX until finally he caves in and then JOSE ties his ankles together while he lies motionless. ALL 3 fall back and breath heavily, trying to regain their breathe. CUT.

EXT. ABANDONED BARN, NIGHT. VAN pulls up; Alex bagged and tied is escorted into the BARN and tied down to a chair. They take off his bag and he sees the four men standing around him, each has a weapon (crowbar, bat, machete, gun, etc). They are all wearing masks. FRIEND 2 looks straight at Alex’s uncovered face and then turns to FRIEND 3.

FRIEND 2
Let me see that picture.

FRIEND 3
(pulls picture from coat pocket, hands to FRIEND 2) Here.

FRIEND 2 examines the picture and then throws up his.

FRIEND 2
It’s not him!

FRIEND 1
What?!

JOSE
It’s him!

FRIEND 2
Did you even look at the picture? (throws picture at JOSE)

JOSE looks at picture, to ALEX, then back to picture again.

FRIEND 1
Well… is it him?!


AWKWARD PAUSE.

JOSE
It’s not him.

FRIEND 1
For crying out loud!!!


3 FRIENDS adlib irritation and pace about throwing fits.

FRIEND 1
You watched the guy for three weeks, how did you not know it wasn’t him?!!?!

JOSE
This… this isn’t the same picture.

FRIEND 1
(to FRIEND 3) You gave him the wrong picture!?

FRIEND 3
No!

JOSE
No, it was the same guy in the picture, it was just… the lighting was different—darker.

FRIEND 2
You’re an idiot.

JOSE
I don’t need this from you!

FRIEND 2
From me?! What’s that supposed to mean?!

JOSE
I think you know.

FRIEND 3
Okay, okay, okay… (beat) can we just do it anyway?

FRIEND 1
No, we can’t do it!

JOSE
Nuts!

FRIEND 3
You mean we have to start all over?!

JOSE
Nuts!

FRIEND 2
(throws his crowbar, it hits the barn wall, he screams when he does it) This is retarded!!! Just put him under and let’s get out of here!

JOSE
But—

FRIEND 1
Just do it!

JOSE
NUTS!

JOSE walks over to ALEX, puts his weapon down. He reaches over next to the chair and picks up a box, inside is the vial and a syringe. He retrieves the liquid with the syringe and ALEX starts to panic. He starts trying to move away from JOSE in his chair.

JOSE
Hold him down, PLEASE!


3 FRIENDS come over and hold ALEX still while JOSE gives ALEX the shot. FADE to BLACK.

EXT. PARK, DAYTIME. ALEX is asleep on a park bench, he wakes and sits up. He flexes his hand, as if it is having a tinkling sensation. He looks to the prick mark on his arm. His body is sore from the roughhousing, but he doesn’t look too bad.

VOICE OFF-CAMERA
Excuse me, sir.


ALEX looks up and there is a COP in uniform standing before him.

COP
You’re gonna have to move it along; sleeping in the park is prohibited.

ALEX
Officer, I… I was kidnapped and they took me to a barn and I thought they were gonna kill me, but then… they thought I was someone else, so they knocked me out with something in a syringe. I just woke up here.

COP
Not the best excuse I’ve heard, but it’s a little creative—I’ll give ya that. Move it along, sir.

COP starts to walk off.

ALEX
Hey, officer, what time is it?

COP
(looks at watch) Ten-thirteen.

ALEX
Oh, great…

ALEX gets up and runs off. CUT.

INT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, DAYTIME. ALEX comes running in and up to his boss.

ALEX
Sorry… sorry, I’m late. I… it was crazy. I was sweeping outside last night and—

BOSS
Can it, Alex, just get to work.

ALEX
Hey, don’t give me that, something to happened to me!

BOSS
You’re gonna show up late, and then you’re gonna yell at me?

ALEX
No, sorry—look—

BOSS
I don’t wanna hear it, just do your job.

BOSS walks off, leaving ALEX alone with FEMALE CO-WORKER. FEMALE CO-WORKER gives him a look that states, “Now you’ve done it.” That looks just annoys ALEX more, and he is fuming mad now. He slams fist against the wall and kicks it. He then stands, pouts and unwittingly scratches the mark on his arm. CUT.

EXT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. ALEX leans against a tree with his backpack over his arm, he is obviously thinking back over the events of the previous night. He looks frustrated, irritated, confused. He turns and looks to see TWO GIRLS ogling over him. He turns and checks to make sure there is no one behind him, then looks back to them and gives a Harrison Ford smirk. He walks to them. CUT.

INT. JOSE’S HOME, NIGHT. 3 FRIENDS are sitting on couch again; JOSE is sitting across from them. ALL have a look of uncertainty, looking in JOSE’S direction. JOSE kind of hangs his head, but he looks at 3 FRIENDS. He licks his lips, then bites his lower one. They are waiting for something. CUT to BLACK.

INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT, MORNING. We see ALEX’S feet, then legs, slide out of the bed. He rises and walks around the bed, as he walks OFF-CAMERA we can see that TWO GIRLS are laying in bed asleep. CUT. CAMERA is now following behind ALEX as he walks into the bathroom and plants his feet in front of the mirror, CAMERA passes around to the other side of ALEX and looks up into the mirror. ALEX is staring at himself with a disgruntled, confused look because all over his skin he has some breakout. He looks down to his hands, and up his arms. He especially notes that on his arm where the syringe entered, the breakout is much worse. Realizing what’s happened he quickly looks up and has a worried look. He looks out of the bathroom towards TWO GIRLS with a look that states, “Oh, they got me.” ALEX has been given a virus and he just spread it to TWO GIRLS. CUT.

INT. JOSE’S HOME, DAYTIME. CLOSE-UP of JOSE who slowly reveals his smile. CUT to 3 FRIENDS on couch, they burst into laughter and joy. Show several clips set to music of 4 FRIENDS reveling in their achievements. CUT.


THE END


_________________
Nathan Weaver
Literary Anarchy Moderator
www.myemeralddragon.webs.com
www.youtube.com/OnyxDragonLair

I do not do drugs. I am drugs. Take me, I am the drug. Take me, I am the hallucinogenic
--Salvador Dali
https://www.youtube.com/onyxdragonlair

3The Cell Empty Re: The Cell on Fri May 08, 2009 4:00 pm

smiley

smiley
Fabulous!!

http://www.johnjsmiley.com

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