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The Desperate Measures Setting.

Updated on October 10, 2014

The Desperate Measures Setting.

INT. Flat. Day.

A deserted flat, neat and tidy, no one's home. A man and woman come crashing through the front door, unable to keep their hands off one another. The man is leaning into the woman, kissing her forcefully, he is tall, dark haired and handsome, well dressed in a shirt, tie and trousers. The woman pulls away, she is young, attractive and wears a blouse and skirt, she is full of confidence about her looks.

Woman

Are you sure want to do this?

Man

(Grinning)

SIMON says, get undressed!

She rolls her eyes, starting to unbutton her skimpy blouse, a name tag reading "Lisa" glints in the sunshine.

Lisa

It's a good job you're a demon in the sack babe! 'Cos your patter is shit!

Simon

Tell that to the wife! Then perhaps I'd get both of you... at the same time!

She pauses with a dissatisfied frown.

LISA

I'm easy, but even I've got limits! I'd tell her a few home truths too... involving telling her to leap off a high outcrop of rock, mainly...

SIMON

... A cliff?

Lisa

Whatever gets her out my way...

She drops the blouse, grabs Simon by the belt buckle and pulls him forward. They head into the living room, kissing passionately, Lisa undoing Simon's trousers. They fall onto the sofa, Simon hurriedly removes his shirt. Simon's obscures Lisa as he leans down, kissing her neck and body. We see Lisa's face, enjoying the kisses, eyes closed. She opens them and screams.

Lisa

Fucking Hell.

Simon freezes, shocked, staring at Lisa, horrified.

SIMON

It ain't the wife is it?

Lisa slaps him on the shoulder.

LISA

Get up!

A nervous Simon stands, pulling up his trousers and tucking his bits in. Nervous cornered animal chagrin turns to curious, annoyed surprise.

SIMON

Who the fuck are you?

A young, disheveled man, average height, slim, fidgeting with fear, stands in the archway leading to the kitchen. Tattered hoodie and jeans are heavily stained and torn. He scratches his head absentmindedly and folds his arms. Simon edges towards the young man.

SIMON

OI! Can you hear me? Who the fuck are you?

Trembling, the young man, face red, nods towards Simon.

Youth

Caught with your erm, trousers down eh... ? Nowhere to erm, go now, mate!

SIMON

(Baring his teeth)

That's it!

He grabs the young man by the scruff and tries to forcibly remove him. The youth laughs awkwardly.

YOUTH

I take it you don't want me to join in then?

SIMON

(Manhandling the youth)

GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!

The two men tussle in the kitchen, Lisa watches on, worried. Simon suddenly freezes and backs away into the living room, the youth follows, gun in hand, all trace of nerves vanished.

YOUTH

That's it. Wind ya neck in ol' man!

Simon pauses, hands in the air. The youth gestures to the sofa with the gun.

YOUTH

Sit, boy!

Simon darts to the sofa and sits down, Lisa remains frozen.

YOUTH

You too, bitch!

She sits next to Simon, huddling close to him, they watch the gunman fearfully. He is gloating in his power.

YOUTH

(Falsely gushing)

Aww! Don't you two look adorable...

(Dashing forward and squatting before the flinching couple)

... You mesh so well together! It's a shame your union is an affront to God!

Simon and Lisa glance at one another, jumping at the youth's cackle.

YOUTH

That's it. Gaze adoringly into one another's eyes! All you see are empty marbles, because your lust is void.

The youth drives the gun into the side of Simon's head and Lisa screams, Simon freezes in terror. The youth leans into Simon's face, snarling.

YOUTH

IS THIS SATISFACTORY TO YOU?!

BEAT.

Simon frowns, gently pushing the gun from his head, thoughtful.

SIMON

Actually... no. This doesn't feel right.

(Turns to Lisa)

Does it?

Lisa shrugs. The youth pauses, then stands, indignant. Demeanour changing from cocky thug to reserved, well spoken and snooty.

YOUTH

It feels right to me...

(Scoffs)

I'm doing what I'm supposed to, you may not be, but...

BEAT.

The room freezes.

Beat.

Now Simon stands in front of a cowering youth and Lisa, holding the gun in his hand.

SIMON

I TOLD YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER!

The couple cringe on the sofa, grizzling in fear. Lisa stops and stands, shaking her head.

Lisa

Now this, this, is definitely wrong!

Simon wavers, hesitates and lowers the gun.

SIMON

You sure?

The youth gets up, annoyed.

YOUTH

What the Hell is going on here? Things are getting a tad too ridiculous for my liking!

He turns around, examining the room, stares at the ceiling. Everything goes white.

Cut To. INT. Living Room. Day.

Another woman walks into the room. She is of similar age to Simon. She has a washed out complexion and wears baggy, comfortable clothes. A look of defeat radiates from her face. She glares at Simon.

SIMON

(Shocked)

GEMMA?

Gemma

(Hateful)

As GEORGE said, Simon, caught with your trousers round your ankles!

A wide-eyed Simon looks between the youth (George) and Gemma, like a rabbit caught in headlights.

SIMON

What's going on?

GEMMA

(Coy)

Don't you know darling?

(Sweetness evapourates)

A good old fashioned sting, that's what!

Lisa stands next to George, the cat that got the cream. Lisa winks at the stunned Simon, his gaping mouth falling further as Gemma kisses George passionately. Lisa laughs.

LISA

I think the term we should use here is... GOTCHA!

Simon is dumbstruck and drops down on the sofa, he clutches his head.

SIMON

You've all had me.

George

In a nutshell.

LISA

... You don't wanna know what's in his nutshell!

GEORGE

(Grimaces)

... Anyway... remember the loser who shoplifted some cider from your supermarket a few weeks ago?

SIMON

That was you, I guess? I'm not in the habit of getting acquainted with the detritus we throw out of store...

He cuts short as George waves the gun casually.

GEORGE

Guns don't like being taken the piss out of! They don't have to take it like everyone else!

SIMON

(Looking at Lisa)

Why are you doing this?

LISA

Money. Why else babe?

SIMON

(Frowns)

Money?

She sits down beside him and takes his hand in mock sympathy. Simon snatches it away.

LISA

You brag in bed after, darling...

GEMMA

... Has to make up for his shortcomings somehow...

Simon glares at her, Lisa hides her smirk.

LISA

And "loose lips, sink ships," babe. Add your forthrightness in bed, as well as sticking me in the office, doing admin at work, to cop a feel and fuck when you liked, well. My blonde bimbo head has a lot of time to work things out.

GEMMA

And I only had to find 2 willing, eager and young assistant's.

SIMON

(Shocked)

You hired them?

GEMMA

Exactly! See, your problem is Simon, you think with your package too much. Do that once too often, that becomes the only head left!

Simon is shocked, he cannot believe what's happening. Eyes tear back and forth between the three people. He shakes his head.

SIMON

I'm sorry, what's the point here?

Lisa, Gemma and George pause, confused.

GEORGE

What's this now?

SIMON

What is this? None of this makes sense! That's what this is?

GEMMA

(Exasperated)

We're explaining it aren't we?

Simon gets up, angry.

SIMON

Sorry, it's not good enough, it's not working.

He walks towards the front door, they try to grab him.

Three of them

You're spoiling it!

Simon fends them off, pointing an accusing finger at them.

SIMON

No! This is it. This was supposed to be about me, but now it's all focused on you's lot! Well you can have your fun, I'm off!

He storms over to the front door and walks out, only to walk into exactly the spot again. Lisa, Gemma and George watch, wide-eyed, as if aping Simon's expression.

GEORGE

What just happened?

Simon sneers at them.

GEORGE

What are you three up to?

All Three

Nothing!

GEORGE

Well what's going on?

GEMMA

How should we know that?

Simon gives her the middle finger and walks out the front door, only to reenter again. He grows increasingly angry and impatient.

SIMON

Are you taking the piss?

GEORGE

Are you? Why do you keep going in and out?

SIMON

I'm not! I can't leave!

LISA

Fuck off!

She looks at George and laughs, Gemma is unimpressed.

GEMMA

More games, Simon?

SIMON

I could ask you that you vindictive bitch.

Gemma slaps him, Simon barges past her.

SIMON

I'm getting away from you arseholes if it's the last thing I do!

He storms through the flat and opens the backdoor. Only to reappear at the same spot once more. Lisa, Gemma and George are still standing there, jumping out of their skin when he enters.

Gemma

(Angry)

I knew you were fucking me about! You've sneaked back round to the front!

George

What, that quickly?

Simon throws his hands in the air.

SIMON

Think I'm messing with you? Want me to prove it? Follow me.

He walks into the living room, Lisa and George follow.

GEMMA

Don't fall for it, he's bullshitting ya!

She stands alone for several seconds. George and Lisa materialise beside her and Simon enters the front door. Lisa and George are twirling, shocked at being dumped back in the same place. Simon is furious.

SIMON

For fuck's sake!

LISA

This is freaky!

GEORGE

Right, what's going on?

The foursome search the flat. Testing the exits several times in a row. The same thing happens, Simon enters and Lisa, George and Gemma await him in the hall. Gemma shrieks and leaps back as though shot, panting against the wall.

GEMMA

What's happening?

SIMON

Believe me now?

She throws her arms around Simon and buries her head in his chest.

GEMMA

Oh Simon! Do something please?

Lisa looks on, puzzled.

LISA

You just hated each other's guts a minute ago.

Gemma glowers at Lisa.

GEMMA

I happen to be, uncomfortable, in enclosed spaces!

George is squinting at the ceiling, uncomfortable, edgy, he grips the gun with both hands.

GEORGE

(Looking at the gun)

Why do I get the feeling this is as useful as a water pistol now?

SIMON

There we go mate, that summed you up to a tea! Put that on your headstone!

George raises the gun, walking over to Simon, pressing the barrel to his forehead, Simon with no room to shrink away.

GEORGE

Shall we have a demonstration of how real this gun is, eh? Give it a test drive?

Lisa struggles with George.

LISA

This is not right, we wouldn't be here otherwise.

George wrenches his hand free and runs into the living room, the other three follow him. They pause in the living room, maintaining distance from George, waving the gun at them frantically.

GEORGE

I can't be stuck here... let me out of here!

LISA

George, calm down! I know you're claustrophobic...

GEORGE

SHUT UP!

He walks up to Simon, Simon cringes, covering his face.

GEORGE

Let me out of here!

SIMON

I can't!

GEORGE

LET ME OUT OF HERE RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

He presses the gun into the side of Simon's head.

GEMMA

Please, don't!

George hesitates and lowers the gun.

GEORGE

Something's wrong.

He raises the gun and fires, nothing happens! Simon straightens, everyone looks as the gun as though it's not deadly.

SIMON

This is ridiculous, now we can't even die?

GEMMA

Do you want to do die?

SIMON

We all do at some point, right?

GEORGE

Stuck here, most definitely.

He drops the gun and begins looking around the room, searching for something.

GEORGE

Do you feel that?

LISA

Feel what?

George doesn't answer, intent on the ceiling.

GEORGE

(To the ceiling)

Is someone there?

SIMON

(Whispers to Gemma)

You traded me in for him?

GEMMA

(Glares at him)

Shut up! George, what's wrong?

George holds his arms out, imploring the ceiling.

GEORGE

What are you going to do? WHY ARE YOU KEEPING US HERE?

After several seconds of silence a bound A4 file drops to the floor. All 4 gather round it.

SIMON

What is it?

No one answers, he goes to pick it up, George stops him.

GEORGE

Why should you read it first?

SIMON

It's my fucking place that's why.

LISA

Is it?

She snatches the file and opens it, reading aloud.

LISA

Welcome actors, to The Construct. Several months ago, each one of you signed a contract to enter into a new, experimental acting opportunity. You are now serving the whims of an individual who is paying for your services.

GEMMA

What?

SIMON

BULLSHIT!

Lisa hands them a sheet of paper each, it is a contract with their photo and names on. Each one experiences a flashback where they are sat at a desk signing the contract.

GEORGE

What have I done? I've signed myself up as a virtual slave!

LISA

"Virtual" being the operative word!

Gemma is examining the document.

GEMMA

It says we get paid on completion of our service... good money too. This is alright, I haven't had a paid acting job in ages.

SIMON

So let me get this straight, we are computer generated, shut in someone's mind, acting - literally! - on their whims?

GEORGE

No fucking way I would have signed this! Someone's made me!

He glares at the other three and dives for the gun. Simon chases after him, they wrestle for it. Gemma backs off.

LISA

What are you wrestling with it for, it's useless. It's clearly a fabrication of this "place," right?

She sits down on the sofa, the file is missing from her hands. Simon retrieves the gun, pointing it at George with a sadistic grin on his face.

SIMON

Tables have turned now you little shit! Here's how a winner fires a gun.

He pulls the trigger, but the gun falls from his hand instead of firing. Lisa tuts in annoyance.

LISA

Didn't either of you listen? The controller of this reality won't let you kill one another.

SIMON

(Turning to Lisa)

How do you know... ?

He notices the file has vanished.

SIMON

Where's the file?

GEMMA

(Frowns)

Where's your contract?

Lisa shakes her head, watching each of them with contempt.

LISA

Ain't it sunk in yet?

She relaxes on the sofa.

GEORGE

You're the controller of this reality?

Lisa winks, firing an imaginary gun with her index finger an thumb.

LISA

Quick off the draw you are babe.

She gets up, circling the other three, lioness sizing up her prey.

LISA

Now listen, I came here to try out the new updated version. Where you can immerse yourself in the drama, instead of sitting back and watching proceedings. Unfortunately, they ain't ironed out the kinks yet, which was why things kept changing. Why you, Simon, couldn't leave the house. But never mind. Just to let you know I'm about to reset things. Then we can all get back to normal, okay?

SIMON

(Snarls)

Far fucking from it!

He aims the gun at her, Lisa smiles condescendingly.

LISA

Simon, please. You know it...

The gun fires, hitting Lisa in the forehead. She drops to the ground, everything goes white.

Cut To. Nothingness.

Gemma, George and Simon are standing amid glaring whiteness, looking around desperately, their confusion and fear the only thing animating this void.

SIMON

What have I done?

GEMMA

(Grabbing Simon by the collar)

If you've doomed us to fucking limbo, I'll...

Voice from Everywhere

Please wait while the reality reboots.

The three look up, expecting more information, none comes.

GEORGE

How long for?

There is no answer.

Lisa'S Voice

Ready everyone? Here goes round 2!

Before they can protest, they are back in the flat. Gemma is screaming. Clutching Lisa's body, bullet wounded all too real. George rushes to Lisa's aid. Simon drops the gun to the floor, wrestling with horror and regret, sinking to his knees. Everything pauses.

Cut To. INT. Bedroom. Night.

Lisa is alone in her room. She shakes her head with frustration and turns off the "Mind Entertainment" iPhone App, removing the electrode from her brain.

LISA

(Annoyed)

Seems a waste of time if you ask me. Give me TV any day.

She turns off her bedside lamp and settles down to sleep.

© Brad James, 2014.

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