Anathema Pt. 6

EXT. AROUND THE FIRE AT THE CAMP. ETERNAL NIGHT.

Thad stands around the television with TWO POLITICIANS, both

of whom look to be wearing what used to be very nice suits.

The men appear to have psychologically separated themselves

from the dreary world they currently inhabit and have taken

to arguing perpetually about politics. The Two Politicians

are currently engaged in one such argument — Thad appears

doggedly suspicious of their opposingly dogmatic arguments.

TITLE IN: The Childish Question

CONSERVATIVE

Well, certainly I agree with that!
It’s no small wonder that we stand
here in captivity under the rule of
a government founded on illogical
religious principles. Only
egregious evil can result from such
a system.

LIBERAL

You can expect nothing better from
a society that refuses to bequeath
its own citizens with basic human
rights such as retroactive
abortions and animal marriages, but
surely it’s true that of all the
egregious evils perpetrated by
this, our American race, the
perpetuation of Capitalism is the
most regrettable.

CONSERVATIVE

So say you; born and raised under
the affluence afforded you by the
sweat of long dead ancestors who
labored tirelessly for Capitalist
ambitions, the very ambitions that
built this, our once great nation.
Who are you to lash out at the hand
holding your silver spoon?

LIBERAL

It is the duty of the well-informed
to rise up in opposition against
any injustice, regardless of
personal biases.

THAD

Um, if I might interject, uh, just
so I don’t get lost… What
injustice exactly?

LIBERAL

(projected with pride)

I have learned of the great
injustice of wealth inequality
perpetrated by the proprietors of
Capitalism in my study of the
liberal arts: the stepping stone by
which we may reach enlightened
social justice!

Thad gives the LIBERAL a puzzled look.

LIBERAL

(condescendingly)

Perfect economic equality, of
course.

CONSERVATIVE

(rolling his eyes)

Again with the damn Socialism!

THAD

OK… and how exactly do we get
this “equality”?

LIBERAL

By taxation of the rich and
entitlement to the poor, obviously.

CONSERVATIVE

(sarcastically)

Isn’t that your answer for
everything?

The liberal flashes a smart-ass sarcastic smile at the

CONSERVATIVE — like a “screw you” expression shared between

adolescent siblings.

CONSERVATIVE

And what of the middle class,
exactly?

LIBERAL

We, the middle class, are
disparagingly poor in relation to
the rich executives, so they ought
to bear the weight of the
impoverished population — it’s only
fair.

THAD

Uh, pardon me, “we”?

CONSERVATIVE

(matter-of-factly)

Ya, he means the three of us.

The Conservative moves his outstretched index finger in a

circle.

CONSERVATIVE

Both of us are definitely middle
class, I mean, you may be poor, you
certainly look that way, but who’s
to say. Regardless, none of us are
rich, that’s the point.

Thad appears flabbergasted at the fact that neither of these

men believe themselves to be rich, despite the fact that

they are very obviously not middle class. Thad’s mouth POPS

OPEN as if to offer up a retort to the Conservative, but he

stops just before speaking. Thad turns to the Liberal

instead.

THAD

OK… so let’s assume the rich
don’t want to pay — what then?

LIBERAL

If they should refuse to pay their
fair share, it is the government’s
mandate to force their cooperation
or drive them from our country.

CONSERVATIVE

(sarcastically)

That’s just great! Drive all the
heads of industry out of our
country and bankrupt our economy
even worse!

LIBERAL

They can’t leave — we won’t let
them.

CONSERVATIVE

(sarcastically)

Ya, I’m sure that the richest and
most intelligent men in the world
can’t figure out how to get out of
the country.

LIBERAL

Not with their money they can’t!

THAD

(interjecting)

So the plan is hold them captive
with their fortunes as a ransom?

LIBERAL

Precisely. It’s only fair that
their fair share be extracted. You
made it sound a lot worse than it
actually is.

CONSERVATIVE

“Worse than it actually is”?! This
captivity and extortion you’re
suggesting is no kind of justice,
social or otherwise. The equivocal
“fairness” you presuppose in giving
government the power to impose
economic equality is blatant
Socialism!

LIBERAL

Slapping a label with negative
connotation onto a good idea is
little more than fear mongering in
hope of discouraging any challenges
to the status quo. Perhaps American
Socialism might be better than
American Capitalism, who are we to
say without having tried it?

CONSERVATIVE

In all your education, you have
never learned a thing! Reality is
not some subjective construct we’ve
created in a classroom. History
cries out against the inevitable
downfalls of Socialism at every
turn!

LIBERAL

You put your trust in history, but
is it not true that history is
written by the victors? Such an
arrangement breeds only
contemptuous misappropriations to
the defeated. I will gladly accept
the subjective truth of my own
experience over someone else’s.

CONSERVATIVE

Such a standard refuses the
objectivity afforded us by the
divine guidance this country was
founded on!

LIBERAL

Ha! Just a minute ago you were
decrying that same “divine
guidance” as “illogical”! Let’s not
forget, that same “divine guidance”
has inspired us to kill millions
with Atomic weapons and ravage our
environment in pursuit of fossil
fuels that we use to pollute our
air. Verily, there is no god and
there is no objectivity. There is
only experiential subjectivity and
the government who balances
everyone’s subjectivity into useful
laws and programs.

CONSERVATIVE

Your usage of the term “useful” is
mismanaged massively. Say what you
will about your precious Socialism,
I know it to be a terrible evil.

LIBERAL

Your ability to discredit the
opinions of your opponents is twice
as applied as your ability to offer
a viable alternative.

CONSERVATIVE

The Free Market is not only a
viable alternative, it is the
natural disposition of human nature
- your value is determined by your
ability to provide some good or
service to someone else.

LIBERAL

Commodification! That’s all you
conservatives talk about! What
about the inherent value in human
life?!

CONSERVATIVE

The same inherent value present in
all those helpless babies you
liberals murder on a daily basis?!
And weren’t you arguing for
retroactive abortions of young
children just a moment ago? Don’t
lecture me on inherent value!

LIBERAL

Don’t change the subject! You damn
Conservatives just want to hold us
in the working class underwater
until we drown!

CONSERVATIVE

You “in the working class”?! You
haven’t worked a day in your whole
life!

LIBERAL

I’m damn-near the epitome of the
working class! I worked for
everything I’ve ever had — I’ve
even the calluses to show for it!

CONSERVATIVE

The only calluses you’ve ever had
came from those childish
“Archaeological Expeditions” your
father paid for you to attend in
college, you pricey ponce!

LIBERAL

Ha! Not much substance coming from
the oil-fortune playboy!

CONSERVATIVE

I worked more in one summer during
grad school than you’ve worked in
your entire life!

The conversation has devolved into a shouting match one

might liken to a middle school locker room argument being

held in the center ring of a semi-pro wrestling show.

Thad spots a vendor off-screen peddling beverages. Thad

signals to the man and buys a glass bottle of Coca-Cola from

him. The argument piddles on as Thad drinks his Coke.

LIBERAL

Well, I can imagine it was quite
hard for you to keep the books in
your air-conditioned office -
especially trying to keep track off
all the illegal workers your daddy
had trucked in!

This comment has struck a deep nerve with the Conservative,

engaging his well-hidden Texas accent.

CONSERVATIVE

You Commie-sonofabitch! My daddy
would flat knock you out if he
heard you talkin’ ’bout his
business like that!

The confrontation has also elucidated the fast-talking,

sniveling whip of a voice the Liberal has hidden away for

many years.

LIBERAL

Oh ya?! Well my daddy would sue him
so quick you’d have to go live with
those dirty Mexicans your daddy
ships in!

TITLE IN: My dad could beat up your dad.

The two men start fighting, leaving Thad by himself aloof

amongst the scrabble.

THAD

But what about economic policy?
…Gentlemen?

THAD

(to the camera)

Politicians, huh?

EXT. ALLEY FURTHER ON. ETERNAL NIGHT.

Jess and her Father are walking down the alley away from the

camp. Jess’s Father has a black bar hanging over his mouth

censoring him. He is wearing a shirt that reads, “I AM

FILM”. All of Jess’s Father’s dialogue will be presented as

subtitles and not spoken.

TITLE IN: The Glean.

Jess is walking beside her Father, staring at the ground in

front of her.

JESS

…That’s why I came to see you. I
know it’s pretty childish and I’m
sorry for wasting your time — I
just need to know…

FATHER FILM

It’s your time that’s being wasted,
kid. If you’re looking for advice,
you’d better go speak to your
mother. I hear her gallery is doing
quite well these days — not that
she cares.

JESS

Mom was never in it for the money.

FATHER FILM

That’s where she went wrong — it’s
always been about the money. Pretty
colors on a canvas doesn’t mean
shit if nobody buys it.

JESS

(sarcastically)

Wonderful sentiment coming from
you. How many sequels about fuzzy
animals and super heros did you
greenlight? Oh, that’s right, all
of them.

FATHER FILM

You’re still upset about that
little project you and your
boyfriend thought up, aren’t you?
Forgive me, darling, but nobody
wants to see a film about killing
yourself and the end of the world,
it’s fuckin’ depressing.

JESS

Husband, for your information.

FATHER FILM

Congratulations.

JESS

And pardon me for having some moral
and artistic principles to stand
on. But I guess you wouldn’t know
anything about that, now would you?

FATHER FILM

I certainly wouldn’t know anything
about wasting two years writing a
film nobody would produce. Must
have gotten that from your mother.

JESS

Fuck you.

They both walk a few steps in contemplative silence.

FATHER FILM

The truth is, your mother and I…
it stopped being fun.

JESS

How d’ya mean?

FATHER FILM

I worked my ass off to get to the
top. I wasn’t about to sit at home
and pretend like I wasn’t famous.
Your mother, she was all about the
“art” of it. She didn’t seem to
understand that sometimes you have
to make something that people are
actually gonna buy. I was cleaning
house at the box office and all
your mother could talk about was
how I was “selling out”. I fed a
family of four, paid the bills, and
you all had nice things, how your
mother thought that was a betrayal,
I’ll never understand. She took you
and left. I moved on. Life sucks
and then you die.

JESS

And in twenty-four years you’ve
managed to see me how many times? I
count three.

FATHER FILM

Look, kid, I’m sorry you grew up
without a dad, I really am, but the
fact of the matter is, I’m a busy
man and you’re not all that
interesting.

JESS

I don’t even know why I
came…Everything they said about
you is true. You’re a miserable old
bastard and I’m making it my life’s
goal to be nothing like you. If I
never see you again, it’ll be too
soon.

Jess turns around and starts walking back down the alley.

EXT. AROUND THE FIRST ALLEY FIRE. ETERNAL NIGHT.

Jack is standing around a television playing the fireplace

video with a crowd of condemned people gathered around. The

crowd is somber and quiet. The people in the crowd seem to

have accepted their fate, even appearing thankful to be

enslaved. Jack’s anger and frustration is brewing deep

inside him like a violent volcano ready to blow without any

concern for repercussions. A YOUNG WOMAN standing around the

television begins to reminisce in a quiet, slightly

guiltily-detached manner.

YOUNG WOMAN

…it’s kind of like a dream
really. I remember we were driving,
my brothers, my parents, and my
grandmother, and me. Driving on
this highway that stretched on for
what seemed like an eternity and I
can’t recall exactly what had
happened, but alongside the highway
there was this huddled mass of what
I guess you might call aboriginal
children carrying a man on this
beautifully ornate stretcher. The
man was very fat; fat to the point
of vulgarity even. And in that
fraction of a moment as we passed,
I could have sworn that I had
locked eyes with one of those
native children and in a single
moment it was as if we coexisted on
opposite sides of the fence of
history, each trying desperately
not to see our own reflection in
the others eyes. And the feeling I
get now, when I think about that
little boy, is that the spirits of
both my ancestors and my decendents
had somehow coalesced in that hot
desert mirage and it gives me this
deep uneasiness I can’t explain…
I don’t know why I felt I should
share that. I’ve never told anyone
- living or dead. It just felt like
the right time…

There is a momentary lull for reflection. A well-dressed man

on the fringes of the group confidently steps into the inner

circle around the television, this is the PSYCHOLOGIST. His

physical tone is self-appreciating and condescending.

PSYCHOLOGIST

In my practice I used to treat
cases like your’s nearly every day.
It’s a simple case of empathetic
guilt. You feel guilty for refusing
to stop and help the young boy who
was in pain. You walk through life
searching for people in need of
saving and then imagine yourself to
be equals with them so that you can
attribute your success to personal
drive and wit rather than luck or
inherited preference. This makes
you feel like quite the martyr
which saves you from having to
actually follow through with your
savior complex. Convenient enough
for a child of the entitlement
generation. Entitled to feel bad
for the whole world from your moral
pedestal and entitled to do nothing
about it, on the grounds of having
hardly survived pseudo-equivalent
trials of your own. All the Ritalin
in the world could not keep your
generation from persistently
spouting off wildly contradictory
self-valuations from your social
networking rooftops for all the
world to hear! How can we expect
anything less than our current
situation -

He lifts his hands to indicate the alleyway in general.

PSYCHOLOGIST (CONT.)

- from a nation given over to
children wearing earbuds having
drug-induced hallucinations out in
the desert somewhere and trying to
make sand and bong-resin into
public policy?!

The Psychologist strikes a nerve with Jack, who can no

longer remain silent.

JACK

(biting sarcastically)

And I suppose it’s our fault you’re
stuck here?

PSYCHOLOGIST

Well, it certainly isn’t my fault!
I’m a self-made man. I worked for
25 years putting myself through
school and building the most
reputable psychiatric practice on
the entire East Coast. I’m the
goddamn American Dream personified!

JACK

And how exactly did the
personification of the American
Dream end up here?

PSYCHOLOGIST

I was cheated.

YOUNG WOMAN

Ha! And he accuses me of
hallucinating!

PSYCHOLOGIST

For your information, I have been
on a daily regiment of
anti-psychotics for 12 years — I am
most certainly not hallucinating.
Jack chuckles in a who-the-hell-made-this-guy-a-doctor
manner. Jack’s frustration has turned into a kind of
ludicrous curiosity.

JACK

So who cheated you, then?

PSYCHOLOGIST

My business partner. We had put a
substantial investment into
providing high-risk sub-prime
mortgages. Damn Wall Street shmucks
sure know how to get outta Dodge.
Woke up one day to find he’d moved
to the Cayman Islands, leaving me
and the other investors to foot the
bill!

The Psychologist spits at the ground in disgust.

PSYCHOLOGIST (CONT.)

Shmuck!

JACK

So you were making a profit off of
selling people on loans you knew
they were gonna default on?

PSYCHOLOGIST

I never forced anyone to take a
loan. If they’re foolish enough to
dive head-first into financial
disaster, someone has to make money
off them and it might as well be
me. A man has the right to an
entrepreneurial spirit, doesn’t he?

JACK

Last time I checked, being an
entrepreneur was about providing
people with something they can use,
not tricking them into burying
themselves under unsound loans.

PSYCHOLOGIST

Well I hate to break it to you,
Sunshine, but it’s a jungle out
there and this tiger has to eat.
Jack is infuriated.

JACK

Ya know, people like you — assholes
like you — are the reason why this
country is the way it is! You walk
around like you own everyone around
you, like we should give you some
kind of medal for valiantly
teaching us all a lesson about
finances by heroically dicking us
out of our hard-earned money!

Jack’s tone has risen sharply; he is YELLING. The crowd is

now eying Jack and considering his accusations. The

Psychologist senses danger.

JACK (CONT.)

I bet that half the people in this
camp defaulted on loans because of
people like you!

GRUMBLING IN THE CROWD confirms Jack’s assessment.

JACK (CONT.)

And we all sure as hell paid the
taxes to bail your asses out when
the government stepped in!

The CROWD RESPONDS IN RESOUNDING AGREEMENT.

JACK (CONT.)

You people are the reason we’re all
in this situation, ya bunch of
greedy bastards!

The crowd is transforming into a mob. Jack is slowly

advancing toward the Psychologist accusingly. The crowd has

joined in and is closing around them. The Psychologist is

now in slow, full retreat.

PSYCHOLOGIST

Hey, come on guys, I understand
you’re upset. I promise, I never
would have…

MOB

Liar!

PSYCHOLOGIST

(pleading)

I swear! I never sold any of you a
loan…an-and, and I wouldn’t have!
You’re all good, hard-working
people!

The mob isn’t buying it.

PSYCHOLOGIST (CONT.)

Please, don’t do anything you’re
gonna regret. I’m a good person, I
swear! I wouldn’t do anything to
hurt you guys, I really wouldn’t!

MAN #1

My brother took one of your loans.
He got so depressed when he
defaulted that he blew his head
off!

MAN #2

Murderer!

PSYCHOLOGIST

Now wait a minute, I never…

JACK

(interrupting)

All you want is our money! You
wanna bleed us all dry while you
eat filet mignon! Well here, you
can have my money, I hope you choke
on it!

Jack has a handful of cash from his pocket that he stuffs

into the Psychologist’s mouth. Jack seems satisfied to have

made his point, but the crowd has devolved into a full-blown

mob. The mob seizes the Psychologist, holding him down and

forcing money into his mouth. Jack attempts to stop the mob,

but they refuse to listen to him. After a moment, the

COUGHING AND SPUTTERING of the Psychologist STOPS. As the

mob clears away from his body, Jack steps forward to see

that they have choked the Psychologist to death.

JACK

Can’t you see?! This is just one
man! He was a prisoner just like
all of you. Sure he was an asshole,
but killing him didn’t fix
anything. His death didn’t set you
all free.

The mob stops for a second. Hive mind moment.

MAN #1

He’s right… This guy ripped us
off, but who decided to bail him
out when he defaulted?

MOB

Father Sam.

MAN #1

And who refused to bail us out when
we defaulted?!

MOB

Father Sam!

MAN #1

And who let us gamble away what
little money we had left and then
made us prisoners in this camp?!

MOB

(chanting)

Father Sam! Father Sam! Father Sam!

MAN #1

So… Who do we kill?!

MOB

Father Sam!

JACK

Hold on now, I didn’t mean…

The Mob CHEERS ANGRILY and storms into the casino, trampling

the body of the Psychologist as they move on to their next

target. Jack is flabbergasted and stumbles away from the

scene to find Thad and Jess.

EXT. CAMP OF THOSE WITHOUT HOPE. ETERNAL NIGHT.

Thad is standing by the television, watching the Two

Politicians from earlier wrestling around on the ground.

Thad now has a soda and a box of popcorn that he is pouring

into his mouth periodically. Jess walks into the frame from

the left. Thad shoots her an inquisitive look. Jess shrugs

apathetically.

JESS

We can talk about it later.
Thad nods in a kind of understanding that looks more
experienced than the overly-concerned nod that a short-term
boyfriend might offer. He knows her.

Jess moves in closer to Thad. They are now both staring at

the fight with an apathetic amusement. Jess reaches for the

soda and takes it out of Thad’s hand. She takes a sip and

replaces it. Jess reaches out again and digs her hand into

the popcorn box. Her action breaks Thad’s concentration,

drawing his eyes to her hand in his popcorn box. She pulls

out a handful of popcorn and starts eating. Thad’s eyes

shift to Jess’s mouth as he forms an are-you-serious

expression. It takes Jess a moment to realize that Thad is

staring at her. She shoots him a confused glace as she puts

another piece of popcorn in her mouth. As the kernel hits

her tongue, she realizes the very serious offense she’s

committed. Her expression turns to a toothy ouch face.

JESS

I didn’t mean to, I swear!

Thad releases a huffy sigh and playfully forces Jess’s hands

together in front of her, cupped together. He proceeds to

pour the popcorn from the affected area into her hands. Thad

takes a look into the box and then shakes a bit more of the

popcorn out onto the ground for good measure. Thad inspects

the remaining popcorn and decides he’s satisfied enough to

resume pouring it into his mouth. Thad and Jess both stand

there eating popcorn and staring at the fighting men.

Jack stumbles into the frame, obviously trying to remain

cool and collected despite the fact that he knows they need

to leave immediately.

THAD

You almost missed the fight, man.
Popcorn?

Thad and Jess’s eyes remain trained on the fighting men,

Jack doesn’t even glance at the fight.

JACK

We should take off, we’ve got a lot
of driving to do.

JESS

Let’s watch the rest of this fight.
I can drive, I’m not even tired. A
few more minutes won’t hurt.

THAD

You shoulda seen it, man! The
conservative landed some big
punches early, but the liberal’s
been wearing him down with his
ground game. Skinny guys fight till
they’re burger!

JACK

(impatiently)

That’s great, man, but we gotta
roll!

Thad and Jess finally break their staring and look at Jack.

JESS

Are you OK, Jack? What happened?

JACK

We just gotta go! Like now!

THAD

Chill out, Jack. What happened?

JACK

(frustrated)

We don’t have time!

THAD

(worried)

Jack, what the hell happened, man?!

JACK

I started yelling at this guy and
all of a sudden this mob breaks out
and somehow we killed the guy and
then “Ra! Ra! Let’s go inside and
kill this other guy!” and I’m like,
“Whoa, maybe not the best idea.”
and they’re like, “Screw you, we
like murdering.” and now I’m here
and I’d like very much not to get
murdered, so if we could leave now
I’d really appreciate it.

THAD

Well… Alright then. I guess we’ll
get going.

Thad tosses the popcorn box at the two men wrestling.

THAD

Keep workin’ fellas, midterms are
right around the corner!

The trio begin walking rapidly out of the alleyway.

TO BE CONTINUED. PT. 7 TOMORROW.