Brilliant movie idea (Part 1 of 10)
(A few years back I started to write an odd/comedic movie idea down. Every day I would add a small scene and see where it went. It went nowhere. Now it is going nowhere again because I’m on vacation this week, Tortola if you must know, and need to fill up the days. Plus, there has been an uptick of Hollywood-types nosing around the website and I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I’m NOT blockbuster material. Nothing to see here. Enjoy.)
For months afterwards he tried to remember if he’d dreamt anything that night. Anything significant. Something that would give him an idea of the meaning behind it all. He was worried he was buying into the idea that perhaps he was master of time, space and reality.
One clap of thunder seemed to have done it. It had to have been the thunder. Occam’s Razor and whatnot.
They woke up wondering what had happened. The sound of thunder remained loud and steady for what seemed like way too long and the hairs on both their arms stood straight up. They were both so rattled that it took them an extra twenty seconds to fall back asleep.
When they woke up the real rattling began.
His was first.
His drive into the city for work was a bit less congested. And by that I mean there wasn’t another car on the road. Not the usual ‘not another car on the road’ where traffic is light or a car only passes you every few minutes. This was full-blown in-the-flesh not another car only the road.
He was just starting to get creeped out when his cell rang.
“Oh thank god! You’re alive … you’re there” a female voice said. Clay, the ‘he’ I’ve been referring to up until now, quickly checked the caller ID to see who it was that was so happy he was alive.
It was his ex-girlfriend, now close friend that his wife wasn’t crazy about, Denise.
“Is it there too?” she asked.
“Is what there?”
“The people being gone. Everyone is gone!” she managed to get out before the rest was lost in garbled hyperventilating.
Clay was about to tell her to calm down and get a hold of herself and all that such stuff but at that very moment he was looking around and not seeing any people himself.
He quickly toyed with the idea of hyperventilating. It seemed like a very reasonable path to go down.
Instead he pulled the car over to the side of the street. A street that was usually teeming with people but now was completely vacant. Vacant I tell you! Not one single solitary person anywhere to be seen!
Ok, now I’m hyperventilating and I’m not even in the story.
“What the fuck is going on?”
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure which of them even said that. Probably both of them.
Clay got out of his car and walked across a parking lot and into a convenience store. It was as empty as a hooker’s heart.
You might think I’m trying to wedge in some fancy writing to make sure that you stick around for awhile but the truth is it was an expression his wife Patti used a lot so it not only popped into his head but it will begin to give you an idea about Patti.
“Are you still there?” asked Denise.
“Yes, of course. Just trying to find someone else… to see what’s going on.”
Patti popped into his head. He saw her before he left for work.
“Patti’s still here. I saw her less than an hour ago.”
“Well that’s a giant relief” Denise said sarcastically. She was aware that Patti was not her biggest fan.
Clay returned to his car and sat on the hood. It occurred to him that other than the fact it appeared that everyone in the city had disappeared without an explanation it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. The birds made themselves known, perhaps bolstered by the fact that their songs could actually be heard now that there wasn’t any traffic.
Pure conjecture of course.
His mind rifled through a few quick things that could be happening. Maybe he was on a hidden camera TV show. Unlikely, he was sitting in Philadelphia and Denise lived in Chicago. Clearing out one major city for a prank would be hard enough let alone two.
Did everyone leave the planet? Did he not get a letter about it? Did he throw it out by mistake, thinking it was another bill or credit card offer? No way, he rarely watched the news on TV but certainly even sports radio would have mentioned it a few times if everyone was going to be boarding enormous interstellar spacecrafts destined for another world.
All the NBA games would have to be rescheduled.
Clay was out of ideas and before you’re too hard on him or think that he lacks imagination, just put yourself in his shoes a second.
I know, somewhere there’s a reader smugly saying “I would assume it’s a dream and try to wake myself up.” Well good for you. Why don’t you assume that reading this is a dream and go throw yourself down a flight of stairs?
He heard something in his hand and remembered he was still holding the phone. Denise was still hyperventilating.
“Tell you what Denise. Why don’t you look around and see if there are any other people still alive around you. I should call my wife and check in. Make sure she’s ok.”
“Ok…. I’ll give you a call back soon. Please leave your phone on. I feel like I’m going crazy” Denise said hyperventilatingly.
Patti picked up on the first ring and was disappointed to hear Clay’s voice.
“I thought you were Ruth. She was supposed to pick me up twenty minutes ago” and with that launched into a story about how they were going to start Weight Watchers and Ruth needed it more than she did and that she only doing it to be supportive and
“I don’t think she’s coming” Clay cut her off.
Patti did not enjoy being cut off mid-story so she attempted again to launch into a story about how they were going to start Weight Watchers and Ruth needed it more than she did and that she only doing it to be supportive and
“Patti! Ruth isn’t coming! Nobody is coming! Everybody is gone” he interjected again and then heard the connection end.
Not only did Patti hang up, getting cut-off twice in a row was completely unacceptable, but she for a third time launched into the story to herself about how she and Ruth going to start Weight Watchers and Ruth needed it more than she did and that she only doing it to be supportive and god help anyone who tries to interrupt her again. Nothing is going to stop that train once it starts rolling.
A few minutes later Clay’s phone rang.
“Where is everyone?” Patti asked sheepishly.
It might be a little early to be thinking about this but let’s just hypothetically that this story becomes a beloved part of American literature. My name becomes synonymous with great writing and suddenly everybody wants a piece of me.
Ignore what I’ve written so far, obviously it’s not an outstanding start (you might say hyperventilating) and we’re both hoping it gets better. What I’m asking is that you just accept for a moment that it is wonderful and will make me famous. Suddenly the glasses I’m wearing might be worth something one day. I’d certainly pay a little cash to get the spectacles that sat atop Stephen King’s nose as he was writing The Shining and directed the light to the right spot on his cornea.
I suddenly have a new-found respect, borderline, reverence for my glasses.
After telling his wife about his own findings and wondering if he should tell her about the call from Denise his phone rang again.
He answered and found himself having a burst of déjà vu. Another feminine voice seemingly in the throes of a nervous breakdown.
“Oh thank god you’re alive!” the voice finally spit out. Then there was another burst of gibberish. Apparently not every reacts as gracefully as Clay to the reality that everyone has disappeared. He was finally able to calm her down enough to realize who he was talking to.
Tina. Another ex. This one in New Jersey.
“Where is everybody” she inquired at roughly ninety decibels. For those of you unfamiliar with decibels, ninety is about the noise a Boeing 737 makes as it lands if you are roughly a mile away. Loud stuff. I thought about cranking it up to one hundred and thirty decibels but credibility is important to me.
“I don’t know any more than you do Tina” and then, after a long pause “So how have you been?” Clay hadn’t spoken to Tina in going on a year. Her name showed up on his caller ID as Gary so as to avoid any questions from Patti should she somehow see his phone log. And by questions I mean “Why is that whore calling you?”
Tine seemed to skip over the recap of her past years activities and jumped right to the part where she asks where he was and could she drive over and meet him.
After a few seconds he replied “Of course”. He told her he was just heading back home and told her to meet him there. She inquired if Patti was still around and when he indicated that she was Tina sighed in such a way as to indicate that a day that had started with almost everyone she knew disappearing had just gotten worse.
Clay was almost home when his phone rang again. The caller ID said West Plumbing. West Plumbing was Donna. His old college sweetheart.
“Are you kidding me?”