ALIGNMENT

screenplay by C. Taylor

“ALIGNMENT”

 

screenplay

by

c.l.taylor

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

A tall slab of a man, RANDALL, walks down a long aisle of cubicles.

We see him top down, like no one else can.

We see a small balding patch there.

A weakness.

 

In his left hand he holds a cup of coffee.

Two red swizzle sticks jut out from the cup, pointing toward him.

 

There is the murmur of low speech.

There is the mechanical clicking of keys.

In the darkness, computer monitors flicker.

The monitors display numerous, faceless people scattered throughout the city.

 

Randall passes a sign with large green letters which reads WATCHERS.

He turns at a cubicle upon whose gray carpeted covering hangs a name plaque bearing his name:

RANDALL CLARK

 

The cubicle is bare.

There are no photos.

There are no clever posters or sayings hanging from the walls.

On his low, 1950’s style desk sits a solitary lamp.

With a thick pointer finger, he flicks it on, standing momentarily beside his chair.

His face is in shadow.

 

He sips loudly from his cup.

The heat rises from the black mug and momentarily fogs his glasses.

A light flashes, reflecting in the fog of his glasses.

 

He sits with the gravity of a beer gut causing his chair to spin slightly.

He rights it without effort.

He pushes a combination of keys on his keyboard and puts on a headset.

He adjusts the microphone until it is touching his lips.

 

On his computer screen, a nearly shapeless shadow is at the North end of an alley.

The customer is shown as a heat signature, glowing red and orange.

 

Randall uses a rotary wheel on his keyboard to focus the image.

The shape comes into focus.

The shape is MAREN.

 

He clears his throat.

 

Randall pushes a key on his keyboard which reads: ENGAGE

 

RANDALL

Ms. Jameson?

This is Randall Clark.

I’ll be your Watcher tonight.

 

MAREN

(sighs)

Thank you.

 

Randall pushes several button combinations on his keyboard.

Two additional live camera feeds are now displayed on his computer screen.

We see the reflection of the monitor in his glasses.

 

There are two –  not one – reddish/orange shapes displayed there.

 

Randall blinks.

He raises his right hand and touches the screen where the second figure is shown.

He shifts his weight in his chair.

He clears his throat.

 

Could be a miscalibration.

Again.

He pulls up a diagnostic program.

He hits RUN.

A small pop-up message reads WAIT…DIAGNOSTIC 2% COMPLETE…WAIT…

 

His eyes dart back and forth between the diagnostic program and Maren.

He chews on the nail of his little finger.

The nail comes off in a long strip – too close to the quick.

He winches.

The tip of his finger is bleeding.

 

The pop-up message reads WAIT…DIAGNOSTIC 3% COMPLETE…WAIT…

 

He sucks on his finger.

He takes a loud sip from his mug.

 

The pop-up message reads WAIT…DIAGNOSTIC 2% COMPLETE…WAIT…

 

He looks at it.

Looks away.

His crumples his forehead.

Looks back.

Is that right?

It just went in reverse…

 

MAREN

Are you still there?

Is it safe?

 

RANDALL

Ms. Jameson?

 

MAREN

Yes?

 

RANDALL

I’m showing no additional heat signatures at this time.

Please proceed.

 

Randall watches as the woman proceeds down the alley.

 

A figure, BRADY, stands at his cubicle, knocking.

Randall presses a combination of keys on his keyboard causing his monitors to temporarily display a recorded feed.

 

BRADY

Clark. Nice reporting last night.

Your live caps are way over Marshall’s.

Means you’re a shoe-in….

(laughs)

…again.

 

Randall looks annoyed.

He crosses and uncrosses his arms.

He pushes up his glasses.

He forces a smile that turns into a lower lip suck/bite.

His teeth momentarily bared.

Finally, when it’s clear Brady isn’t going anywhere without acknowledgment, Randall clears his throat.

 

RANDALL

Well, it’s this new system. See?

(he shrugs and points at the space occupied by the CPU)

Don’t know how everyone’s live captures aren’t way up.

 

Randall pushes up his glasses and exhales loudly.

BRADY

(scoffs)

Says you.

I hate this thing.

(makes a rude gesture)

Took me a month to learn the last combos.

And that radial shit?

(makes another rude gesture)

Fuuuuuuck–

 

RANDALL

–Sure.

Sure.

 

Brady puts his arms in his pockets as a young woman walks behind him.

He turns to look.

His eyes drift down her body.

He smiles.

His body ever-so-slightly angling to watch as she turns the corner and disappears from view.

He taps the cubicle wall, his attention still on the young woman.

 

BRADY

Catch ya later, ya?

(cocks his finger at Randall)

 

Randall watches him go.

He cracks his knuckles.

He waits a moment, as if anticipating another interruption.

He waits now, afraid of what he might see once the monitors are back on.

 

He takes a deep breath and types a combination of keys on the keyboard.

There, shown in several different angles, the brutal beating of Maren is ongoing.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

 

Maren is being savagely beaten.

Her attacker has discovers the wearable device and has ripped it from her wrist.

He has broken her right hand.

He has broken her glasses by striking her in the nose.

 

Maren lays motionless on the wet pavement.

It’s raining.

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

Randall puts a hand to his mouth which is slowly opening.

He sits up straight in his chair.

He looks around – left, right, wondering if anyone has seen.

His hands are shaking.

 

Randall’s right hand hovers over his keyboard.

Beneath his right index finger is a large red button.

It reads: INTERVENE

 

His eyes glance over the text on his mug WATCHER OF THE MONTH

The text gets closer: WATCHER OF THE

The text gets closer still: WATCHER OF

And again, the text gets closer: WATCHER

 

He closes his eyes, tightly.

 

His finger presses the button.

Once.

Twice.

He begins hitting it repeatedly.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

 

The fistfalls of Maren’s attacker synchronizes with Randall’s click of the INTERVENE button.

Blow and click.

Click and blow.

 

(Cuts back and forth – camera tightens on Randall’s finger and attacker’s fist as one hits the INTERVENE button and the other hits flesh)

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

 

The noise of the clicking drowns out everything else.

 

RANDALL

(under his breath)

Come on…come on!

 

9-11 OPERATOR

This is 9-11.

(it’s a female’s voice)

How may I direct your call?

 

RANDALL

This is Randall Clark.

Watcher number RC333-02.

Assault in progress.

3rd and Pike.

Female victim.

 

Sweat rolls down his forehead and down his nose.

He pushes up his glasses.

A red light flashes on his screen.

He stares at it.

Quickly, he punches in a combination of buttons.

 

RANDALL

Maren?

 

MAREN

Randall?

(she wheezes)

Are you there?

(she coughs)

 

RANDALL

Stay still.

Help is on the way.

 

MAREN

Help…me…

 

Randall stares at the screen as he sees Maren’s orange heat signature joined by another.

He leans forward in his chair.

 

The pop-up message reads WAIT…DIAGNOSTIC 99% COMPLETE…WAIT…

 

The second heat signature pauses.

 

RANDALL

(under his breath, to the screen)

What are you doing?

 

A third heat signature appears.

And a fourth.

They move toward Maren.

 

Randall switches to video feed.

He runs a combination of commands to enhance the night vision feed.

There he sees a handful of people trying to help.

Someone has lifted her head into their lap.

Someone is trying to give her water from a bottle.

Someone else tries to engage 9-11 on a cell phone.

 

Randall puts his hands over his mouth.

 

9-11 OPERATOR

Mr. Clark?

 

RANDALL

(after a moment, his voice quiet)

Yes.

Yes, I’m here.

 

9-11 OPERATOR

An ambulance has been dispatched.

Officers are en route.

Standby while we begin live transfer of your datafeed–

 

Randall’s eyes enlarge.

He looks at the monitors.

He looks at the aluminum CPU casing sitting next to his foot on the floor.

His eyes are darting around.

They catch on the text of the mug WATCHER OF THE MONTH.

 

Quickly, he’s out of his chair and making his way under his desk.

He’s frantically pulling at a cable plugged into the back of his CPU.

 

9-11 OPERATOR

Mr. Clark?

(clicking)

Are you there?

Can you confirm your system is online?

We’re having trouble collecting the datafeed–

 

RANDALL

Oh, um, yes–

(clears throat)

Everything is fine, just fine here.

In his hand he holds a long nylon covered cable, now disconnected from the CPU.

It’s limp in his hands.

He sits beneath his desk.

A large pair of Tanino Crisci adorned feet come into view.

 

BRADY

Dude?

(Brady sees something under Randall’s desk and stoops to investigate)

What are you doing under your desk?

(crouches down)

 

RANDALL

Oh, um…

(he wiggles the power cord)

Just rebooting the system.

Having trouble with the diagnostics…

 

BRADY

(laughs)

Oh, well, shit–

(leans over and grabs a secondary cord, yanking it free)

You want to be sure to get the primary, then.

That cord–

(he points at the cable in Randall’s hand)

–is just the battery backup…in case of power outages.

 

9-11 OPERATOR

Mr. Clark, we’ve collected the last of the datafeed.

Thank you for your cooperation.

An ambulance is now at the scene.

 

Randall sits in his chair.

He removes his glasses and wipes the sweat from his face.

He removes the headset.

 

BRADY

Randall?

(comes closer)

What’s wrong?

(smile leaves his face)

 

Randall doesn’t look up.

His computer monitors blink and reset as his computer restarts.

A small red light begins blinking.

 

The monitor signals an incoming customer request.

These words are displayed on the screen:

 

CUSTOMER: WILLFORD, ANTHONY LEROY

LOCATION:    Jackson & 5th

TIME: 10:26 p.m.

RECORDING: ALW07282024

MONITOR: CLARK, RANDALL

 

The red light continues to blink.

© c.l.taylor | 2014 | No duplication or reproduction without express written consent of author.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s