The Removal

After a few days (actually weeks if I’m honest) of staring at it, twiddling about on the first few pages and then cutting and pasting a few bits here and there the second draft of The Unlocked Project is pretty much ready to go. The main obstacle was the complete removal of anything sleep related and instead going over to Tony’s agoraphobia. The next problem with this was the question as to why any research would be undertaken in making people scared to go outside. I’m still unsure as to if this question is actually answered.

Even after this, the ending still bugs me. I might have to sort that.

It’s around about this time, usually in the process, I’d be handing it out to people to read over and comment. You might as well have a go yourself if you want, comments thread is just below.

INT/ BEDROOM/ DAY

A clean bedroom, white linen bedcovers are undisturbed, metal bed frame and headboard.

Beside the bed is a small, pump operated bottle of alcohol based hand cleanser.

Every door handle in the flat is covered in what look like shower caps.

There’s a table in one corner covered in a clear plastic sheet.

Standing by the sink is a man in his late 20’s. He cleans his hands under the running tap, soaping up to his elbows and in between his fingers. It’s almost surgical. He switches off the tap with his elbows.

He walks over to the curtained window, he pulls and a pair of surgical gloves before pulling the curtains apart. It’s a bright morning, sunlight fills the room.

A knock at the door,

TONY

(Shouting)

Come in Andrea!

Andrea opens the door and walks in.

She takes off her shoes and places them in a small plastic bag next to the door.

She behind to walk forwards.

Tony motions her stop.

He throws her the pack of alcohol rub.

She uses it on her hands.

ANDREA

It’s a lovely morning.

TONY

The answer is no.

ANDREA

You’re not even sure of the question

TONY

I knew it was going to be something like “Let’s try and take a walk outside today Tony”.

ANDREA

And you’re not

She takes a bottle of water out of the bag and places it on a table.

flate,sdch
Accept-Language: enp>

You really should try y’know.

TONY

To much going on.

ANDREA

In here?

TONY

Out there. Cars, people, building, noise. Too much.

ANDREA

You have to get out sometime.

TONY

Not now though.

She takes out a small packet from the bag.

It rattles when she moves it.

ANDREA

(Pointing at the box)

Vitamins, new ones.

Tony picks up the box and looks at the back.

TONY

What was wrong with the old ones?

ANDREA

They don’t sell them anymore.

TONY

Why not?

ANDREA

I don’t know, things just move on. Tony, you don’t go outside so how would you know? It’s the same as the other ones. Probably a different coloured packet.

Tony takes out one of the pills, shoves it in his mouth and then gulps some water.

Andrea reaches into the bag again.

She produces a small booklet of puzzles.

ANDREA

I bought you this as well.

She flips it towards Tony.

Tony completely misses it and it lands on the floor.

He picks it up.

TONY

Another one?

ANDREA

Do you remember the last time you slept all night?

TONY

No.

ANDREA

Do you remember the last time you slept for an hour?

TONY

Combined?

ANDREA

No, just an hour straight.

TONY

In that case no.

ANDREA

You need to keep your mind occupied on something else other than the window. Do some puzzles to pass the time if you’re awake.

TONY

I’m trying to get to sleep and you’re asking me to do Sudoku?

ANDREA

I’m asking you not to stare at a wall all night. Where’s the other one I gave you?

TONY

I finished it.

ANDREA

Where is it?

TONY

It’s over on the table, why?

ANDREA

Not much good having a completed puzzle book and plus…

TONY

Plus?

ANDREA

Recycling.

Tony throws the book towards Andrea who catches it and places it back in her pocket.

ANDREA

Right, I’m going to get moving. Anything else you need?

TONY

Not that I can think of.

ANDREA

Okay, call me if you need me.

Andrea exits the room, leaving Tony flicking through a puzzle book.

  1. INT/ TONY’S BEDROOM/ NIGHT

Tony is in bed, not asleep, just resting.

There’s only the bare minimum of light.

He gets up, walks over to the window, pulls back the curtains.

He sees streets, city lights and cars moving.

He quickly closes the curtains again.

There is a knock at the door.

Tony looks shocked and stands perfectly still.

Another knock

Tony creeps towards the door, getting close to it.

TONY

Who’s there?

A male voice responds

VOICE

I’m here to tell you something.

TONY

Then tell me now.

VOICE

Open the door first.

TONY

Do you know what time this is?

VOICE

Yes, I have a watch.

Tony still pauses.

VOICE

Open the door.

Tony opens the door very slowly.

On the other side is a man wearing dark trouser, a shirt and tie. He wanders straight into the room, pushing past Tony.

VOICE

(Offering handshake)

The name’s Michael.

TONY

(Refusing handshake)

Tony

Michael puts his hand down.

TONY

I’m really sorry, it’s just that I have a thing about…

MICHAEL

About?

TONY

You’ve just come from outside.

MICHAEL

Yes.

TONY

Outside there.

MICHAEL

Yes.

Tony hands him the hand sanitizer.

TONY

Would you mind?

MICHAEL

I haven’t been handling raw sewage or anything y’know.

TONY

Doesn’t have to be that, just anything.

MICHAEL

Ah, it’s like that.

Michael uses the gel on his hands.

TONY

It’s 3am by the way.

MICHAEL

Were you asleep?

TONY

Well, not really.

MICHAEL

I knew that.

TONY

You seem to know a lot.

MICHAEL

I’ve been living opposite for the last few weeks and I started thinking about you.

TONY

Me?

MICHAEL

You never leave the house, you only get one visitor.

TONY

I’m just not that social.

MICHAEL

And that one visitor is a woman. She’s either your Mum who keeps up a good skincare regime or a hooker.

TONY

Excuse me?

MICHAEL

Well which is it?

TONY

Have you just come round here to offend me?

MICHAEL

No, this is a social visit. I am visiting you, I am greeting you in the warmest possible circumstances.

TONY

At 3am.

MICHAEL

At 3am.

TONY

The time means nothing to you does it?

MICHAEL

Does it mean anything to you? You’re never outside to enjoy daylight.

Michael picks up the box of pills.

MICHAEL

What are these?

TONY

My pills.

MICHAEL

It’s nothing contagious is it? Are you in quarantine?

TONY

No, just vitamins.

MICHAEL

Why?

TONY

Because I’m not exactly walking in sunshine right now.

MICHAEL

You don’t need these, seriously stop taking them. Just eat some food or something y’know.

TONY

Thanks for the great advice, shouldn’t you be going?

MICHAEL

Let me show you something.

TONY

What?

MICHAEL

Just follow me.

Michael moves towards the door.

He stands in the doorway gesturing to Tony

Tony eventually follows him.

They walks down the corridor together.

MICHAEL

Just so you know I live right over there.

He points towards a door.

TONY

Great, fantastic.

MICHAEL

Any time you need somebody to talk to, a shoulder, anything you come round right?

TONY

Why are you doing this?

MICHAEL

Doing what, reaching out to a friend?

TONY

I’m not your friend.

MICHAEL

I’m hurt, really hurt. You might not be now but you’ll soon be. Consider something for me?

TONY

What?

Michael opens the door to his flat.

MICHAEL

When was the last time you made it as far as the lifts?

Michael closes the door behind him leaving Tony in the corridor alone.

Tony stands looking around, shocked amazement.

He runs back to his own door, shutting it behind him.

Almost automatically he runs to the bathroom and starts to scrub his hands and arms with a nail brush.

  1. INT/ TONY’S FLAT/ DAY

Andrea and Tony sit drinking coffee.

ANDREA

You left your flat?

TONY

Yeah, there was this guy here.

ANDREA

Who?

TONY

Called himself Michael, lives down the hall apparently.

ANDREA

And he visited you when?

TONY

3am.

ANDREA

Who visits people at 3am?

TONY

He does it would seem.

ANDREA

Why did you open the door anyway?

TONY

I thought I was dreaming it.

ANDREA

And you had to open it to make sure.

TONY

Pretty much. He showed me where he lives.

ANDREA

What do you mean ‘showed you’?

TONY

We were out in the hall.

ANDREA

So you can make it out there then?

TONY

Don’t get too carried away.

ANDREA

Well ignore him, I don’t think anybody should be coming into other people’s homes when they might just be asleep.

TONY

I think he was just one of these crazy guys.

ANDREA

Thin line between crazy and idiot. Where does he live?

TONY

Out the door, turn right, last one before the lifts.

ANDREA

If he knocks again let me know, I’ll be knocking on his door when he’s trying to sleep, see how he likes that.

TONY

He sounds like he’d enjoy the company.

ANDREA

Have you taken your pill today?

TONY

Not yet, I’ll take it soon.

ANDREA

You’d better, you’ll look even worse if you don’t.

TONY

Thanks for the uplift in confidence.

Andrea gathers her things.

ANDREA

That’s what I’m here for.

She leaves the room.

  1. INT/ TONY’S ROOM/ NIGHT

Tony sits alone.

A knock at the door.

Tony goes straight over and opens it.

Michael wanders in again.

TONY

My friend isn’t happy with you

MICHAEL

Who? Your sister?

TONY

She’s not my sister.

MICHAEL

Then it’s okay for me to fancy her a little bit then.

TONY

You’re not here at your usual hour?

MICHAEL

I can go and come back if you want to?

TONY

No, it’s okay.

Michael looks on the table.

MICHAEL

38.

TONY

Sorry?

MICHAEL

38 pills left in that packet.

TONY

Really?

MICHAEL

38 yesterday too, you didn’t take one today did you.

TONY

I forgot.

MICHAEL

And yet you live, amazing isn’t it?

TONY

If you say so.

Michael tilts his ear towards the ground.

MICHAEL

Did you hear that?

TONY

(looking confused)

What?

MICHAEL

(points at the wall)

That!

There is no obvious noise.

TONY

No, there’s nothing.

MICHAEL

When I was a kid I always had a thing for being able to pick up high frequency sounds. You have this high pitched buzz coming from your wall.

TONY

Stop being a fool.

MICHAEL

Look I’m trying to help you here, no wonder you’re not sleeping if this is all your hearing. You might not be hearing it but I’m pretty sure your brain will be.

TONY

How is that even possible?

MICHAEL

Get me a spoon or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Just do it!

Tony searches around for an implement.

He finds a fork.

TONY

I’ve only got this.

Michael snatches it.

MICHAEL

It’ll do nicely.

TONY

What are you…

Michael starts jabbing part of the wall next to window.

TONY

(Shocked)

No, no ,no. You’re getting dust everywhere.

MICHAEL

It’ll just be a small hole, something’s making this noise.

TONY

I’m asking you to stop doing that please.

MICHAEL

It’s minor, a bit of plaster after this and you’ll be fine.

Michael continues jabbing the wall.

Plaster begins to fall down to the floor, gathering in a pile on the floor.

Tony is visibly cowering at this sight.

TONY

I’m going to ask you once more to stop doing that.

MICHAEL

What’s the problem? Am I wrecking your little nest here? Your perfect little room?

TONY

Actually, yes.

MICHAEL

So at no point do you want to know what this noise is?

Tony looks utterly freaked out by all this.

Suddenly Michael stops.

There’s a moment of silence

MICHAEL

There it is, I’m done now anyway.

TONY

There’s what?

MICHAEL

I give you the route of the problem.

TONY

Your problem.

MICHAEL

That’s in your flat, you perfect little flat.

Tony kneels down beside Michael.

Both stare at the wall.

There’s a thick cable running through it.

It connects to a socket.

TONY

You’ve come into my house and ruined a wall purely to reveal an electrical wire.

MICHAEL

It’s still buzzing.

TONY

Because it’s electric.

MICHAEL

What cable do you know in a house that’s this thick?

TONY

I don’t know, how fat is electricity Michael?

MICHAEL

That’s not the point.

He digs some more.

Tony pulls Michael away from the door.

TONY

That’s enough, stop this now.

MICHAEL

Okay fine but I’m coming back tomorrow and we’re finding out what that is.

TONY

It’s a cable, mystery over.

MICHAEL

That’s no cable.

Michael walks over to the sink and starts to clean the utensil.

MICHAEL

Move the bin over it or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Because we don’t want your friend knowing do we?

TONY

Did you not want to think about that beforehand?

MICHAEL

Not when the buzzing was around.

TONY

Was?

MICHAEL

Well, not really, it’s still here. You seriously can’t hear that?

TONY

No.

MICHAEL

Must be some kind of frequency buffering or something.

TONY

Frequency what?

MICHAEL

Never mind, just put the bin over it and we’ll be done until tomorrow.

Michael walks towards the door and opens it.

MICHAEL

Remember, if you need anything then just knock. I’ll be back later.

TONY

Thank you for just turning up to wreck the place.

MICHAEL

You’re welcome.

Michael closes the door behind him.

Tony walks over to his bed and sits on the end of it.

  1. INT/TONY’S FLAT/DAY

Tony is fast asleep on his bed.

He awakes slowly, getting to a vertical basis.

He walks over to the window and pulls the curtains back.

Light streams into the room.

Tony smiles.

He looks down at the bin in the corner, covering where the hole would be.

He walks over and moves the bin.

The hole is still there.

Tony suddenly looks very concerned.

He quickly places the bin back.

The door suddenly flings open.

Michael runs in.

He is clutching a large, plastic toolbox.

He places it down on the floor before shutting the door behind him.

It seems like he’s ran down the corridor.

MICHAEL

Does she know?

TONY

Who?

MICHAEL

Your friend.

TONY

Andrea?

MICHAEL

Is Andrea your friend?

TONY

Yes

MICHAEL

Then her then, does she know?

TONY

I haven’t seen her, I was asleep.

MICHAEL

You were asleep? Like a normal human. This is progress. Can you hear that sound yet?

TONY

I’m still hearing nothing.

MICHAEL

Truly? Well I’ve brought something.

He reaches into his tool kit and brings out a stethoscope.

He puts it in his ears and holds the other end to the wall.

MICHAEL

Certainly buzzing.

TONY

I seriously thought I’d dreamt this.

MICHAEL

No, you were awake, now let’s get digging.

Michael brings out a chisel and starts to hack at the wall.

He suddenly stops.

MICHAEL

You’re not freaking out.

TONY

No, I’m not.

MICHAEL

Definite progress.

Michael hacks away more carefully this time.

A whole piece of plaster falls off revealing a switch.

MICHAEL

I’m flicking it.

TONY

You don’t even know what it is.

MICHAEL

That’s why I’m flicking it

Michael flicks the switch.

The light that filled the room from the window suddenly stops.

The window is filled with static.

The words ‘No video feed’ move across the screen.

TONY

What the hell have you done?

MICHAEL

What was that? When was your window a TV screen?

TONY

It wasn’t.

MICHAEL

Well that’s not what I’m seeing now.

TONY

There were people, cars, lights, everything.

MICHAEL

Not any more. What else in this place is fake?

TONY

Nothing, it’s been here for as long as I have.

MICHAEL

That doesn’t make it real though does it. I knew I could hear something.

Michael starts to frantically look around the flat.

MICHAEL

Reckon we could take the screen out of there?

TONY

For what?

MICHAEL

Because there must be something beyond that.

TONY

I’m not helping you any further. You’ve torn apart enough.

MICHAEL

Scrap that idea, I’m going to mine.

TONY

Oh so now you’re running away?

MICHAEL

All these flats are the same, I want to check my window.

Michael goes storming off through the front door.

Tony flicks the switch again

The light comes back and fill the room.

The screen displays the street outside again.

Tony stares in wonder.

He then runs out of the flat.

  1. INT/ CORRIDOR/ DAY

Tony goes running down the corridor towards Michael’s door.

He knocks first.

TONY

Michael?

There is no answer.

Tony cautiously opens the door.

He is faced with a bare brick wall

Tony looks horrified.

He moves across the corridor to the door opposite Michael’s flat.

He opens this as well.

Again, a brick wall.

A door at the end of the corridor opens and Andrea stands in it.

ANDREA

Tony?

Tony doesn’t say a word.

ANDREA

I know this seems strange.

TONY

You could say that.

ANDREA

You didn’t take the pills did you?

TONY

Got told not to.

ANDREA

You don’t remember much about coming here do you?

TONY

Coming here?

ANDREA

We picked you.

TONY

Who’s we?

ANDREA

You were needed for research.

TONY

You’re trying to say I’m some kind of lab rat?

ANDREA

You’re hardly a rat Tony. We just needed to know.

TONY

Know what?

ANDREA

Can we convince somebody to fear anything?

TONY

Get me out of here.

ANDREA

That wouldn’t be a good idea.

Tony starts to stride down the corridor.

He breaks into a run

Straight past Andrea.

He ends up running straight into a field

Green grass and sunlight.

Tweeting birds

THE END

 

 

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