05/06/2016

For Annabelle Part III


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Let's continue...


INT. SUPERMARKET - DAY

Backpacker walks through empty aisles, there's no one around and nothing on the shelves.

It could be that the place is abandoned, but the lights are on.

Backpacker makes his way to the back of the shop to a customer support counter, behind this stands a woman, thirty-something, CLERK.

BACKPACKER

Hey, what is going on?

CLERK

Hello, how can I help you?

They look at each other, a strange moment of chemistry and understanding. She seems to like him.

Why? Don't ask me!

BACKPACKER

What happened here?

CLERK

Same as what happens to all the places around this end. All cleared out.

BACKPACKER

But here you are.

CLERK

We still sell stuff, we just keep it out back. It's easier to control that way.

BACKPACKER

What you got?

CLERK

What do you need?

BACKPACKER

I'm not sure.

CLERK

Well you better make your mind up quick, we've got a long line here.

Backpacker looks behind him then back to her. She smiles, he's not so amused.

BACKPACKER

There's no one here.

CLERK

And I doubt there will be until the middle of next week.

Backpacker looks at her for a weird moment. She's not phased though.

CLERK

You hear about the new factories that are going up?

Backpacker shakes his head, no.

CLERK

They're going to make Luten.

BACKPACKER

What's that?

CLERK

It's like... uh, you know LSD?

BACKPACKER

I know of it.

CLERK

Well, it's basically LSD in a shampoo bottle.

BACKPACKER

Shampoo bottle?

CLERK

Yeah. You know, the spray on type.

BACKPACKER

(too serious, too sure of himself)

I only ever squeeze shampoo.

The Clerk is taken aback a little.

CLERK

Sounds like you've got an opinion on the matter.

Backpacker shrugs.

CLERK

Well anyways, the stuff's not for your hair, it seeps through your scalp and does this thing to the bone... well, I don't know exactly, but it gets to your brain somehow and gives you a crazy hallucinogenic high.

BACKPACKER

And it's legal?

CLERK

Sure.

BACKPACKER

How does that work?

CLERK

Something to do with the safe chemical situation or whatever goes on inside... the composition.

BACKPACKER

You sell it here?

CLERK

No. You should see what the stuff does to people. You watch the news?

She waits for Backpacker to shake his head, no.

CLERK

There was this bit on this guy. I think his name was Robinson-Jones. At least that may have been his surname, something common, forgettable. He owned a ranch, way out west, but in the middle of nowhere. He had one of those fractal triatrope-metres, a huge thing, you know what I'm talking about...

Backpacker nods, yes.

CLERK

He figured himself the Galileo type. Up, way into this vast region of empty space he thought he found this floating mass of water. Well, by the way it was explained, it was more like an ocean a billion times bigger than the sun or something, just passing through space.

BACKPACKER

A floating ocean in space?

CLERK

Uh-huh. He reckoned that if you could bounce a J-wave through it and off of a black hole it'd set up a stream. Um... well, like, a transpiration stream. The source would be the body of water and the sink would be a white hole. But where the fuck are the white holes, right? According to him... everywhere. Government conspiracy and such, you know. Skip ahead ten years -

BACKPACKER

How long ago was this?

CLERK

Well the bit I'm about to tell you happened not three weeks ago.

BACKPACKER

How old are you?

Head cocked to the side, she looks at him, then decides to ignore the question.

CLERK

Ten years later he's constructed what he believes is a J-wave emitter. But, to send the wave he has to haul the thing all the way out to the coast. Why? Who knows. He also had to take the fractal triatrope-metre. So he needed a truck. How does he get it? He murders seventy-two people. Guess how...

BACKPACKER

A bomb.

CLERK

Boring. He pushed a hotel off a cliff.

BACKPACKER

Why?

CLERK

To get the truck. Anyways, he got twenty miles from the coast before BOOM, got by the T-C-C-I. They installed an implosion device in one of the bridges, took down the truck and then took him alive. Then, public execution. Do you know how cheap those implosion devices are?

Backpacker shakes his head, no.

CLERK

Cheap. They put one in his ear and one up his nose, you know, the old fallopian twist bit. Then, TSHH, mess everywhere.

BACKPACKER

Do implosion devices boom or tshh?

CLERK

They don't make noise. Anyway, moral of the story, don't do Luten. The guy had actually been in the region where the precipitate naturally -

BACKPACKER

I'm still not sure about the whole hotel bit.

CLERK

Don't you watch the news?

Backpacker shakes his head, no.

CLERK

Anyway, I'm not sure if that's how you say it anyway. Some just say Luten, but apparently it's French so it's more like...

(bad French accent)

... Luten.

She laughs to herself.

BACKPACKER

Before, you said we -

CLERK

What?

BACKPACKER

Like five minutes ago, you said we: we still sell stuff. Who else is here?

CLERK

No one right now, it was just a collective me: me, myself and the store.

He looks around.

BACKPACKER

So there's no one in this place and nothing in it?

CLERK

Isn't that just poetic?

BACKPACKER

In what sense?

CLERK

I don't know, just sounded like there was something existential to be said.

BACKPACKER

You think about death a lot?

CLERK

How would you judge that? How much does the average person think about death? How much do you think about death?

BACKPACKER

It depends on how you look at it. If everything a person does is to survive then we're always thinking about death. On a subconscious level maybe.

CLERK

Everything we do is to survive? What about suicidal people?

BACKPACKER

To commit suicide is what the mind sees as the best way to deal with life. That to die would be better for the self than to live.

CLERK

And you know about committing suicide?

He looks at his wrists.

BACKPACKER

Maybe not.

CLERK

Well, that'd be no way to do it anyway.

BACKPACKER

And how should you?

CLERK

If I were to do it? Drown myself.

BACKPACKER

That's horrific.

CLERK

I mean, you might panic.

BACKPACKER

It'd be as painful and scary as shit.

CLERK

Not as bad as cutting your wrists.

BACKPACKER

And you know about cutting wrists?

She holds up her wrists, no scars.

BACKPACKER

A gun to the head. Easiest way. No worries. Over in milliseconds.

CLERK

Not if you fuck it up.

BACKPACKER

Must be hard to do.

CLERK

Anyway, to drown is to be in control. It lets you be conscious of your decision until the very end.

BACKPACKER

You do it your way. I'll do it mine.

CLERK

You going to buy anything at all?

Backpacker shrugs, the coins and bullets clank.

CLERK

What have you got in there?

BACKPACKER

Marbles.

CLERK

Why are you carrying marbles around?

BACKPACKER

Just in case.

CLERK

What do you even do with them?

BACKPACKER

Play.

CLERK

Never have I ever played with marbles.

BACKPACKER

Well... what can I say?

There's a silence between the two.

Backpacker kneels down so the Clerk can't see him.

CLERK

What are you doing?

She leans over the counter to see him untie his laces.

BACKPACKER

You remember being a kid?

CLERK

Bits.

She watches him take off his shoes and bag.

CLERK

Where have you been?

There's clumps of red sand in the grooves of his sole.

BACKPACKER

Hunting. I hunt ducks you see, I use marbles to draw them in. Acts as an aphrodisiac.

She isn't going to bother taking that seriously. She leans back so she can't see him.

CLERK

Do you remember being a kid?

He unzips his bag. There's a click. He then stands, his shoes off.

BACKPACKER

Not at all. Why?

CLERK

You asked first... what's with the shoes?

BACKPACKER

Too many questions with you.

CLERK

You are sort of going off on one.

BACKPACKER

I've been walking all day. My feet hurt.

Clerk stands on her tiptoes, no shoes, no socks, to look over the counter at his feet.

BACKPACKER

Gum. Do you sell gum?

She nods and turns to go out through the STAFF ONLY door behind her.

BACKPACKER

The sweet stuff, nothing minty.

She nods again and goes through the door.

Backpacker runs off to the side.

After a few moments the Clerk comes through the door again with a box of gum.

As she does Backpacker slides back to the counter.

BACKPACKER

You should have a go.

CLERK

I'm not wearing any socks.

She puts the box down on the counter.

CLERK

(opening it)

Just one?

BACKPACKER

No, two. How much?

CLERK

Point five currency.

BACKPACKER

All together?

She nods, yes.

BACKPACKER

I paid one o nine earlier. And for one pack.

CLERK

(putting the gum down)

Well, now you know where to come.

Backpacker is about to go for his pocket, but stops, turns to side so the Clerk won't see his gun and then fishes out a coin.

He puts it on the counter, takes one pack and pushes the other toward the Clerk.

BACKPACKER

Here, we'll play a game.

She takes the gum, slightly confused.

BACKPACKER

Whoever can blow the biggest bubble.

CLERK

All right.

BACKPACKER

But you have to use the whole packet.

He opens the pack and starts taking the foil off the sticks of gum.

He piles all the sticks on the counter whilst the Clerk puts them in her mouth one by one.

CLERK

Is there a time limit?

BACKPACKER

I haven't even started yet.

He unwraps the last stick pushes it in the pile then shoves it in his mouth.

CLERK

That's nasty.

BACKPACKER

What?

CLERK

I have no idea how clean that is.

BACKPACKER

Doesn't bother me.

CLERK

All right, you can't say I didn't warn you.

BACKPACKER

Warn me? The gum was already in my mouth.

CLERK

What can I say?

They chew for a moment.

CLERK

You done?

BACKPACKER

Almost.

CLERK

You know, I learnt to blow bubbles with gum when I was nineteen.

BACKPACKER

That's absurd, I must have been eight.

CLERK

I swallowed gum when I was little... oh you don't need to hear that story.

BACKPACKER

Tell it.

CLERK

Time. Go.

She starts blowing a bubble. Backpacker follows.

Backpacker's is steadily growing when Clerk's pops. Without hesitation she pops his too.

BACKPACKER

Ahh, you motherfucking cheater.

CLERK

I've never fucked anybodies mother, thank you.

He gives her an unreasonably stern look. She just smiles.

BACKPACKER

How often is this place cleaned?

CLERK

No idea.

Backpacker turns around, spits his gum out and kicks it down the aisle.

He cocks his head as if to say 'beat that'.

CLERK

I don't think so.

BACKPACKER

Who's going to fire you?

CLERK

I'm not wearing any shoes.

BACKPACKER

Use one of mine.

She looks over the counter at them.

CLERK

I'd rather not.

BACKPACKER

Come on.

CLERK

All right.

She hops over the counter, spits then kicks her gum, it goes further than his.

She gives a smug bow.

Backpacker jumps back on to the counter, being careful to ensure that the Clerk doesn't see his gun.

CLERK

Look at you, it's like you own the place.

Backpacker shrugs.

BACKPACKER

What do you do all day?

CLERK

Practice kicking gum...

Clerk sits up on the counter next to him.

CLERK

Other than that, I mean... everyday is different.

BACKPACKER

Different?

CLERK

Well, not like: playing football one day, going to war the next, playing ping pong the day after and then go out to be a shrimpin' boat captain a few weeks down the line. Simple, small differences.

BACKPACKER

I don't know how you do it.

CLERK

You just don't get bored.

BACKPACKER

You seemed pretty bored when I came in.

CLERK

To seem and to be are two totally different things. Anyway, to feel bored is to assume you're meant for so much more than what you're getting.

BACKPACKER

Like your expectations are too high?

CLERK

Not really, just that you consider yourself the centre of the universe.

BACKPACKER

Well, we might as well be.

CLERK

Who's we?

BACKPACKER

Me, you, everybody.

CLERK

We're not all that flawed.

BACKPACKER

Who said anything about flawed? What I'm talking about is perception. A person can only ever exist in their own head. To assume that you aren't the centre of at least your universe is to question reality.

CLERK

That's absurd, reality has nothing to do with perception. It just is. Like... fact, you know.

BACKPACKER

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Fact is simply something a person can't seem to disprove.

CLERK

So everything is just theory? Nothing holds weight or validity?

BACKPACKER

Exactly.

CLERK

Then how can the mind function? Without tangible beliefs, well, maybe not beliefs, but... truths, facts of life, the mind has no way of dealing with the world.

BACKPACKER

It can't, and that's why we tell ourselves we are at its centre, we are omni-causal -

CLERK

I don't think that's a word.

BACKPACKER

Well it makes sense nonetheless. Anyway, if we don't believe we matter and that our perception or outlook are final, then nothing has meaning.

CLERK

So all that is, is a product of one's mind. How do you explain human interaction?

BACKPACKER

What do you mean?

CLERK

How can we communicate if we are all that matters?

BACKPACKER

Physics, chemistry, biology.

(pokes her in the head)

I poke you in the head, you feel it.

CLERK

But, what about this: talking, understanding?

BACKPACKER

I push air out of my mouth, the air between us vibrates, your ears pick it up, your brain interprets the messages. Physics, chemistry and biology, that's all.

CLERK

So science not only explains everything about people, but also means nothing because it's just... all theory, waiting to be disproved?

BACKPACKER

Exactly. This very conversation demonstrates that. You don't seem to be believing in everything I say, so you're trying to prove me wrong. A person can say anything and there will always be another to question that and call bullshit on the whole matter.

CLERK

I suppose I should be disagreeing with you now then.

BACKPACKER

If you want.

CLERK

(shocked)

Free will?

BACKPACKER

What?

CLERK

So you're saying that the world is what we will it to be? We do what we want? I choose what's fact and what's bullshit?

BACKPACKER

The world may be what we will it to be, but then you have to ask yourself: are we what the universe wills us to be?

CLERK

Like fate, or god?

BACKPACKER

Possibly neither, maybe just science. Physics...

CLERK

... chemistry and biology...

BACKPACKER

We are all products of a process that happens because of scientific law.

CLERK

But science is a product of human perception. We use it to quantify and label phenomena and occurrences as fact.

BACKPACKER

I mean, to ask that, is to go around the loop again. Reality versus perception, reality versus perception: what came first the chicken or the egg.

CLERK

The dinosaur.

(laughs)

BACKPACKER

What does that mean? God? A creator? Is that what you're saying?

CLERK

No, just that dinosaurs pre-date either the chicken or its egg. Evolution, natural selection and such...

BACKPACKER

Whatever. What I meant was... what is of more significance? The chicken or the egg? Not, what came first? I mean, that's what that question asks, right? What matters more... your mother or your daughter, your father or son.

CLERK

But, in truth the answer is neither, it's whoever you're not.

BACKPACKER

That's not what I was going to say.

CLERK

It makes sense though?

BACKPACKER

I suppose?

CLERK

If you're a kid, that means you, the egg. If you're a parent that... does not mean you, it means your kid... shit, what was I saying?

(thinks for a moment)

Ahh, if you're an adult, then it's you, the chicken that matters.

BACKPACKER

Assuming you don't want kids?

CLERK

It probably didn't make sense anyway.

BACKPACKER

No, I think I can agree, well, maybe. But the kid, if they're looking forward, would presume the chicken, which they are not, is more important. I don't know, I don't mean to put words in your mouth. Maybe it's just dependant on whether you're the universe or a person.

CLERK

Major problem there. You're implying the universe can perceive, not that that's wrong, I get the metaphor. It's just that what you said results in: what matters more? The perception of people or the universe? Which is then a question of valid intelligence.

BACKPACKER

In short, I don't think we can think our way around, out or through this problem.

CLERK

That seems to be the way it is.

BACKPACKER

That kind of gives some kind of answer though. It's either that what we perceive or how we perceive isn't at a high or comprehensive enough level yet, or, what we understand is controlled by some mystic being.

CLERK

There we go. Make it seem like we formulated something worth saying.

BACKPACKER

Mystic being though... not sure about that.

CLERK

You said it.

BACKPACKER

I don't know. You got the time?

CLERK

No, it's near the end of the day though, I'm probably going to close soon.

BACKPACKER

How'd you work that out if you don't know what the time is?

CLERK

I'm a little hungry, I get hungry around closing time.

BACKPACKER

More like you just want to leave.

CLERK

What can I say?

BACKPACKER

I suppose this is where I say... 'well, it was nice talking to you'. Then we shake hands and say our -

CLERK

Our goodbyes, right? Then you turn and walk away, sure you won't look back, but still conscious of the urge to. Then you realise, you don't know my name, but, you're a few steps from the door. Can you turn back and ask my name? Can you take my hand and tell me I'm beautiful? Tell me something about the wind and the sand and the sky? Make up something fanciful and romantic about the stars. Something clever, but understandable. Something not completely original, but well disguised and put together? Will you keep my hand and walk me home? Can you effortlessly get us to the bedroom? Can you get laid tonight... tune in tomorrow -

BACKPACKER

Who's talking about getting laid?

CLERK

Me... well, you... but in your head.

BACKPACKER

In my head? In your head you mean.

She smiles, just looking at him. Is he going to catch on, is he going to ask her name? They look at each other for a while, both unflinching.

BACKPACKER

I suppose I have to ask your name now.

CLERK

You have to walk away first.

BACKPACKER

You'd have to say goodbye f -

CLERK

Goodbye.

She tries to tease him with her gaze, he shows no reaction to it.

CLERK

It was nice meeting you.

BACKPACKER

The pleasure was indeed... all mine.

He hops off the counter and shakes her hand.

He's about to let go and turn away, but she keeps a tight grip.

BACKPACKER

Don't you remember? This is the bit where I walk away.

CLERK

You seem like a bit of a smart ass. I think you'd walk away and not turn back. I don't know, maybe to prove a point to yourself and to me about how unpredictable and worthwhile you are. But, in the meantime you're gone and I'm here.

BACKPACKER

So?

She pulls him in close, holding his hand near her crotch. Backpacker keeps his eyes on this, she doesn't seem to notice her doing so.

CLERK

So?

BACKPACKER

So, what?

CLERK

You would have left me?... all alone.

BACKPACKER

I wouldn't dare assume you need or want me.

CLERK

Oh? And why's that?

BACKPACKER

Presumption can get a man in to trouble. It's worse than talking too much. The risk of saying and doing something stupid is just so high.

CLERK

There's very little that you could do wrong. Maybe let me take control...

She leans in slowly and gently kisses him. He gives into her, but has his guard up.

BACKPACKER

I won't...

She kisses him some more.

CLERK

Won't what?

She plants a trail of kisses from his mouth to his neck.

BACKPACKER

Annabelle... err...

CLERK

I get it.

She looks into his eyes, then wipes her thumb across his eyebrow.

CLERK

Maybe my name's Annabelle?

She kisses his brow.

BACKPACKER

Doubt it.

She leans her head back and pulls his head in so he can kiss her neck.

CLERK

How can you be so sure?

She plays with his hair as he kisses her neck.

BACKPACKER

It's not something I'm willing to explain.

She presumes he's teasing, and decides she's going to tease him back.

CLERK

I guess I'm going to have to...

She pushes his hands to his chest.

CLERK

... let go.

Backpacker looks deep into her eyes, he has an idea, it shows on his face. He smiles at her. She smiles back excitedly.

BACKPACKER

Maybe...

He takes her hands.

BACKPACKER

... if you came down here.

He pulls her down and spins her around, crossing her arms across her chest.

She pushes back against him, then takes his hands, placing them on her breasts.

Backpacker puts his mouth to her ear.

BACKPACKER

I'm going to need a hand for a second.

She giggles, letting his hand loose.

He rubs it down her body then goes for his gun.

BACKPACKER

Close your eyes.

She does.

BACKPACKER

I'm going to step away. Don't feel too lonely.

She smiles with anticipation.

Backpacker takes a step back then aims the gun at the back of her head.

He almost pulls the trigger...

But instead, he laughs at himself.

Keeping the gun close to her head he steps in.

BACKPACKER

I'm sorry... please turn around.

She does, seeing the gun, whites of her eyes flashing, throwing herself down, ducking out of the way.

Before she can make the slightest move Backpacker grabs a handful of her shirt and slams her back onto the counter.

BLAM

Her whole body is strained backwards, she can hardly move. Backpacker keeps her like this.

She starts to scream.

CLERK

SOMEONE!!!

Backpacker puts the gun between her eyes.

BACKPACKER

(right in her face)

STOP!

She's silenced.

That was the most aggressive thing Backpacker has ever done, at least in his eyes. He feels bad and so calms himself.

She looks up at him, petrified.

BACKPACKER

I'm sorry it's just so unbecoming. Wouldn't you agree?

She says nothing, they just look at each other. Clerk, with pure fear, shaking in his grips. Backpacker, just as he was in normal conversation.

He looks at the gun, smiles, then takes it away from her face.

BACKPACKER

I want you to know that this isn't because you are a woman. I know it may seem that way. This has nothing to do with anything apart from the fact that you're human. A human by a till.

Backpacker casually leans against her. Clerk is surely in pain due to the position she's in, but that's the last thing on her mind.

Backpacker straightens his hair out and starts playing with hers.

BACKPACKER

I love your hair. Very nice... Anyway, how do you want to do this?

She thinks he means rape. She goes nuts, she spits in his face, screams, trying to fight him off.

She manages to fight off her back and on to her feet, but is slammed back down on to the counter.

CLERK

Keep your fucking dick -

He squeezes her cheeks and puts the gun in her mouth.

BACKPACKER

If I wasn't going to fuck you then?... I don't know... what I meant was, how are we going to kill you?

Without hope, she starts to cry.

Backpacker takes the gun out of her mouth. She turns her face away.

Backpacker is hit with an apparent sadness, whether it's genuine or not, we'll never know.

BACKPACKER

Ludwig Van Beethoven... you know him?

She has no response to offer.

BACKPACKER

It's at times like this when Ludwig Van is most helpful. For cases like yours I mean. Ode To Joy, it, er, you know...

(singing)

Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum dum-dum-dum-da-daaaa da-da. I've always found the title strange though because I've never heard joy. So who's the ode to, you know? Personally, I always hear pride and fear. No one wants to hear joy anyway. It's one of those emotions that doesn't work well with an art form like music. There's just too much personality and to be joyful is... ugh. You're asking too much from the audience, you know. It's hard to find your own joy in another person's is all I'm saying. The real emotions that get us... well...

He watches her cry for a moment before putting the gun to her head. She cries harder, begging.

BACKPACKER

Shh...

She calms.

BACKPACKER

I suppose it's called Ode To Joy because that's where pride and fear come from. Pride, away, positively. Fear, away, negatively. For you, the best way to think about it is, pride, toward, negatively. Fear toward, positively. That's if you care for empathy at all.

Backpacker looks down at her with respect, with some strange admiration of her character and situation.

Her cries simmer down into silent sobs.

He waits a while and then...

BANG

Blood oozes across the counter, onto the ground.

He lets her go. She slips down on to the floor with a dull thud and in an awkward position.

He stands by her, watching the blood spread.

Backpacker puts the gun on the counter, in her blood, and then positions her in the fetal position like she were sleeping.

Backpacker then kisses the hole in her head as if to say goodbye, then picks up the gun, shoes and bag.

He opens up the cash register and goes on to load the coins into the bag.

He checks each coin, as if looking for something specific, before putting it in.


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