Twenty Minute Warning: Script

INT: Quiet Game Store, Two clerks behind the counter, one male, one female. Two men, one around his thirties, one closer to his fifties, are standing in line. A couple stand by the corner, both around high school age, fooling around, more interested in each other than the games.

 

The phone rings, the male clerk picks up the phone, his eyes grow wide.

 

Phone

You have twenty minutes. Choose who dies.

 

The phone clicks off.

 

Fred

I- Uh, well you won’t believe the call I just got.

 

Wendy, the assistant manager, and the person currently in charge of the store, held her hand out for the phone, Fred, the clerk gazes off into space.

 

Wendy

What did they want?

 

Fred

Some freak said that we have twenty minutes to choose who dies.

 

Wendy

Give me that! Hello? This damn thing.

 

She went to redial.

 

Wendy

The phones not working.

 

Fred

Are you sure?

 

No signal.

She held it out.

 

Fred

Should we get help?

 

Wendy

That’s probably a good idea.

Wendy steps out from behind the counter, taking stock of the thirty year old man walking up to the counter.

 

Wendy

He’ll ring you out.

 

Gesturing towards Fred who still looks like he is in a daze. When she approaches the entrance of the store, she grabbed onto the door handle. She seizes up, a discharge of electricity causing her to let go and collapse by the door.

 

Wendy

Goddammit that hurts!

 

Younger man

 

Are you okay?

 

Wendy

The door!

 

She barely mutters out as she sat up, still wheezing, screaming softly.

The man went to touch it lightly, barely placing a finger on it, when he rips his finger back gritting his teeth.

 

Younger

The handles got a current going through it.

 

He got on his knees, he takes off his jacket and puts it around Wendy, he checks her over.

 

Younger Man

Let’s get you to a chair.

 

Wendy

The blinds…

 

Younger Man

What are you saying?

 

She points to the blinds, he looks up and realizes what she’s saying.

 

Younger Man

You mean check the blinds.

 

The six of them, all now silent, look towards the exit, realizing that they are currently trapped.

The phone rings.

 

Wendy

Answer it.

 

She started to recompose herself, Fred just looks lost.

 

Wendy

Fred, answer it.

 

Voice

Eighteen minutes, choose.

 

Fred

Who-Who is this?

 

The phone line ends, the middle aged man steps forward and starts slamming on the counter.

 

Middle Aged Man

Just what kind of shop is this?

 

He threw his hands up in a bout of exasperation.

 

Wendy

Maybe it’s some kind of prank.

 

Wendy looks at her reddened hand, and looks off to the side.

 

Wendy

Maybe…

 

Fred

The voice said we have to choose who dies… in eighteen minutes now.

 

Fred collapses, sinking to the floor, hyperventilating, running his hands over his head, freaking out.

 

Middle Aged Man

I’m calling the police!

 

He pulls his cell phone out, holding it up to his ear, he taps his foot, and then starts to scream.

 

Middle Aged Man

It’s not going through!

 

Younger Man

Calm down, screaming isn’t going to help anyone.

 

The younger man tried to console the middle aged man.

 

Middle Aged Man

Will you shut up? The door’s electrified!

 

He looks around the room, now the couple in the corner seem to be focusing as well.

 

Middle Aged Man

They said someone has to die.

 

The couple tries pulling at the blind.

 

Boyfriend

I’m having trouble budging it.

 

Girlfriend

Try a little harder.

 

Boyfriend

I already told you I am!

 

He finally gave up.

 

Girlfriend

Try ripping them.

 

He shook his head and grabs at the blinds attempting to rip them out of the ceiling.

The speakers on the side of the room blares into life, causing an intense and painful sound, that causes everyone to drop to the ground, holding their hands over their ears.

The phone rang again.

 

Fred

Do I, Do I pick it up?

 

The older man who was yelling rips the phone from out of Fred’s hands; he yells into the phone, but stops the second he raises it to his ear.

 

Middle Aged Man

Who is this?

 

The voice cut out causing the man to scream and attempt to smash the phone. The younger man caught his hand.

Younger Man

Calm down!

 

Middle Aged Man

Are you serious right now?

 

Younger Man

Whatever’s going on-

 

Middle Aged Man

They said, “Choose someone to die!”

 

The middle aged man pushes the younger man, the couple backs into a corner, consoling each other. Wendy sat up, and slowly got to her feet, the younger man helps her up.

 

Wendy

Thank you.

 

She directs herself towards everyone, they look at her, while she talks.

 

Wendy

This is ridiculous, I vote to wait until we get help.

 

Fred And The Younger man

We’re with you.

 

Middle Aged Man

The voice said to choose someone! Let’s give him who he wants so we can get out of here.

 

The Middle aged man’s voice carries an accusatory tone behind it.

 

Girlfriend

I don’t want to die!

 

Boyfriend

Babe!

 

The teenage boy turns around and faces the Middle aged man, getting in his face.

Boyfriend

What’s your deal?

 

Middle Aged Man

If someone’s going to die we might as well get it over with!

 

Younger Man

Will you shut up? No one’s dying!

 

The sound from the speakers hisses out, the phone rings after they recovered.

 

Middle Aged Man

Pick it up!

 

Younger Man

Don’t.

 

The younger man attempts to intercede, but the Middle aged man picks up the phone, both of them hear the voice from the other end.

 

Phone

If you don’t play, then you all die.

 

The line ends, the middle aged man drops the phone, staggering back the rest of them stare at him.

 

Middle Aged Man

The voice… it said if we don’t all play, we all die.

 

Fred

He can’t be serious.

 

Fred attempts to laugh, but no one joins him.

A hissing sound fills the air in the room.

 

Girlfriend

Do you smell that?

 

They all start to cough, eyes watering, a cloudy yellow haze fills the store. The boyfriend wanders over to the blinds, he attempts to claw at them, but collapses. Wendy lifts up the phone, trying to speak, Fred collapses behind the counter. The Younger man rams the door, before being thrown back by a shock.

 

The Middle aged man attempts to pick up a display spilling the games out, he rams it into the door but nothing happens. He grasps at his throat before sputtering out a curse.

 

The girlfriend lays over her boyfriends body, crying, gagging on the gas. Wendy rolls over, screaming with her last breath.

 

Wendy

We’ll play! We’ll play!

 

As soon as she screams, the gas disappeared, replaced by the sound of industrial fans. They immediately recover, getting up slowly.

 

Now they stand in a circle around the counter, all unwillingly to make eye contact with each other for the second. The television above comes on, static, then a silhouette beyond the static.

 

Voice

Do you understand your predicament?

 

Middle Aged Man

Why are you doing this?

VOICE

Patrick, why do you think I’m doing this?

 

Patrick

How do you know my name?

 

Patrick backs into a display, knocking it over.

 

Voice

How about Verne?

 

The Younger man looks up, a scowl on his face.

 

Voice

Lisa, Davis?

 

The girlfriend and the boyfriend take a step back.

 

Voice

Wendy, Fred? Tell me, are any of you actually innocent? Or are one of you guilty? I believe in corporal punishment, pick one or else all of you die.

 

The figure on the screen laughs, making wide gestures.

 

The group all lock eyes, glancing between each other, the clock turns six fifty five on the wall.

 

Voice

Ten minutes left. At seven, someone’s going to die.

 

Act II

 

Fred

Ten minutes?

 

Davis

Guilty? Who’s guilty?

 

Patrick

You have to be kidding me!

 

Patrick waves his arm around out of anger.

 

Lisa

I don’t want to die!

 

Wendy

No one’s dying!

 

Patrick

Wake up! Someone has to!

 

Fred

We almost died!

 

Fred starts to hyperventilate.

 

Lisa

This is insanity! I can’t get a signal!

 

Lisa runs around the room, with her phone out.

 

Patrick

Can someone stop her?

 

Verne

Why do you have to be such an asshole? She has every right to be worried.

 

Patrick

Sure, Mr. Hero. Why don’t you volunteer to die then? We wouldn’t have a reason to worry if you did.

 

Verne

Why don’t you, I haven’t seen you do something useful since this all started.

 

They argued face to face, Wendy steps in.

 

Wendy

Guys!

 

They just step around her, not listening. Fred yells at Lisa, Lisa almost hits the door.

 

Fred

Get a hold of yourself!

 

Davis

Hey, lay off!

 

Davis pushes Fred.

 

Davis

Why don’t you volunteer?

 

Fred

I was just trying to help-

 

Fred threw his hands up in protestation. Davis hit Fred across the face.

 

Patrick and Verne ran over, separating the two of them. Wendy, now growing frustrated, walks over to the counter and climbs up on top. She whistles, everyone stops and looks at her.

 

Wendy

We have eight minutes left! Do we draw straws or should we just sit here and talk?

 

Patrick

What are you going on about?

 

Patrick steps forward, glaring at Wendy.

 

Patrick

Who put you in charge?

 

Wendy

I did. The rest of you were too busy wasting time!

 

She looks back at the screen, the figure still watching them silently.

 

Wendy

I think everyone should vote on this, and we should get to know who we might be killing.

 

Her tone has no emotion behind it.

 

Patrick

This who situation is ridiculous!

 

Verne

We have to face it, no matter what.

 

He climbs up and stands next to Wendy.

 

Verne

My name is Verne, I’m a veteran and I also work at the dealership up the street.

 

Verne laughed, looking around.

 

Verne

I have a sick mother, I take care of, about you? Fred, right?

Verne reaches his hand out to Fred, who now has calmed down slightly.

 

Fred

Gotta kill him now, he’s a salesman.

 

Fred attempted at some humor.

 

Fred

Just a college kid, my names Fred, about the jerk who hit me?

 

Davis

I”m sorry.

 

Davis didn’t look it.

 

Davis

I work at the clothing store, across from here. I’m Lisa’s boyfriend.

 

Lisa

 

I’m Lisa!

 

Lisa steps in front of Davis.

 

Lisa

I also work there, we’re both in High School, senior year. He plays football.

 

Fred

Explains a lot.

 

Davis

Hey, I said I was sorry.

 

Verne

About you, bossy?

 

Verne gestures to the middle aged man.

 

Patrick

What about me? I’m here to pick up a gift for my kid. I’m a chemist, that’s it. About Ms. Bossy?

 

He scoffs.

 

Wendy

My name’s Wendy, I’m a single mother. I work two jobs and go to night school.

 

Verne

How old is your kid?

 

Lisa

Three and a half.

 

Patrick

Will you focus? We’re about to die!

 

Davis

Calm down old man!

 

Davis gets in Patrick’s face.

 

Lisa

Patrick’s right… We have to pick someone. I don’t want anyone to die.

 

She choked on her words.

 

Wendy

Then I vote no one dies. I won’t be responsible.

 

Verne

What about your kid? You can’t die.

 

Wendy

We all have something to lose.

 

Voice

Five minutes left. I’d like to help this along, one of you is a liar. If you all answer my question truthfully, and I’ll know, I’ll add two minutes. Lie and I’ll subtract points. Do you all agree?

 

Wendy, Verne, Davis, Lisa

Yes!

 

Voice

Patrick? Fred?

 

Fred, Patrick

Yes.

 

They finally answer.

 

Voice

You all have something you’re guilty of. Tell the class. Wendy, you go first.

 

Wendy looks around nervously.

 

Wendy

I don’t know who the father of my daughter is. I went through a bad phase and my parents kicked me out.

 

She wipes her eyes, and turns towards the screen.

 

Wendy

Are you happy?

 

Voice

I am. Davis?

 

Davis

Me? I don’t know what-

 

He protests.

 

Patrick

Davis, tell the damn truth!

 

Davis

I got into a drunk driving accident a week ago. I hit something but I didn’t stop and look.

 

He broke down and screamed.

 

Davis

It was an accident! I panicked!

 

Voice

Good answer. Lisa?

 

Lisa

I’m cheating on you.

 

Lisa steps away from Davis.

 

Davis

Lisa? With who?

 

He looks up at her.

 

Lisa

Your coach.

 

She said it under her breathe, Davis leaned in, anger clear in his face, gritting his teeth.

 

Davis

With my Coach?

 

Before Davis could yell again, the Voice on the screen breaks out laughing.

 

Voice

That’s rich, Patrick?

 

Patrick

Nothing to say.

 

Davis

Hey old man! I said my peace after you had a fit.

 

Patrick

I’m not saying anything!

 

Voice

I’m disappointed in you, last chance.

 

Patrick

Fine! I’m selling certain products illegally!

 

Voice

What products Patrick?

 

Patrick

Who the Hell are you?

 

Voice

Let’s just say one of you have personally wronged me. What ingredient?

 

Patrick

Pseudoephrine.

 

Verne

Cold medicine? You mean you’re supplying meth dealers!

 

Patrick

Oh, like you’re so damn perfect.

 

Fred

That’s not all.

 

Fred stood up, his face holds a emotionless stare.

 

Fred

You shortened the ingredients, used something poisonous, my best friend is dead because of you.

 

The all watched Fred, standing on the counter, the voice applauds.

 

Voice

Not your turn yet Fred, but I like the enthusiasm. Verne why don’t you tell us about your service.

 

Verne

Multiple commendations.

 

Voice

Verne, what doesn’t the public know?

 

Verne

Don’t make me.

 

Patrick

Oh what, you’ll saying something worse than the rest of us?

 

Wendy

Whatever it is, it’s okay.

 

Verne

We-

 

Voice

Verne, last warning, no lies.

 

Verne hung his head, he starts talking not making eye contact with anyone.

 

Verne

I thought the town was full of Zealots, a cell linked to a larger target. My commanding officer told us to wait for a transport, and orders. I was in command of a small unit, and I panicked. I killed a young man about Fred’s age. I thought he was going to kill us, he surprised us. I never got over what happened.

Verne’s hands start shaking, Wendy walks over and holds it, he looks up, tears welling in his eyes.

 

Wendy

It’s okay, just breathe…

 

Verne

Just take me, I deserve to die.

 

Voice

Fred!

 

Wendy

Fred, what’s going on?

 

Fred walks past her, his paranoia now replaced by confidence, and a knowing smile.

 

Fred

Yes, I think it’s finally my turn. Guys, looks like we got the confession we needed.

 

He tapped something behind the counter, and two men walked into the room.

 

Wendy

Fred, it was you?

 

Fred

These men asked me, the first time I picked up the phone to go along with this; that’s somewhat a lie. We set this up a while ago, they promised me that they would help me catch my friends killer.

Fred gestures to one of the men in suits.

 

Patrick

This is illegal!

 

Fred

Who said this was legal?

 

Fred stood by the exit.

 

Fred

This wasn’t about going to jail, this was about retribution. Someone’s going to die. I should say, I’m going to die, or Patrick, or Davis. Don’t you think it’s a little too coincidental? Davis why did you come in here?

 

Davis

Lisa said she wanted to get a game. Lisa?

 

Lisa

I’m sorry, I didn’t cheat on you.

 

Lisa takes a step back.

 

Lisa

He was my cousin, the guy you ran over.

 

Patrick

I’m getting out of here!

 

Patrick went to push his way out, one of the two men pulled out a gun.

 

Davis

It was an accident!

 

Fred

He’s still dead! If you would have just checked, you could have gotten help! Do you know what it’s like to watch your best friend die on security footage, slowly?

 

Fred wiped the spot that Davis hit earlier.

 

Davis

I’m sorry!

 

Davis starts crying.

 

Fred

Patrick, why did you lace the pseudoephedrine?

 

Patrick

What are you talking about?

Fred punches Patrick, blood drips from his lip as he gets up.

 

Fred

The reason he was wandering around; was someone gave him a cigarette laced with Meth as a joke. I gave him it… Toxicology said there was arsenic in the meth. Arsenic! We lost track of him…

 

Wendy

Fred…

 

Wendy tried to console him.

 

Fred

No, I’m sorry Wendy. I needed this. Patrick needed a game for his kid’s birthday. His wife is an acquaintance with one of the men, we suggested to come in; since Patrick does everything by appointment all we needed was Davis.

 

Patrick

You son of a bitch!

 

Patrick went to throttle Fred, but the man held his gun out, Patrick steps back, hands up.

 

Verne

How did you know about my service?

 

Fred

I’m sorry, you were just here at the wrong time. I don’t know how he knows. All I know is he had to treat everyone equally.

 

He turns around looking at Patrick and Davis.

 

Fred

Do you either of you volunteer?

 

Patrick

Are you insane?

 

Davis

I can’t!

 

Voice

Times up, who dies?

 

Fred

I do.

 

Fred raises the gun to his head, and pulls the trigger, Wendy rushes to Fred screaming while Verne holds her back. Patrick stands in a daze, Lisa walks to the men in the suits, Davis collapses onto the ground.

 

Epilogue: Ext. Night, outside the store, overlooking a parking lot.

 

Verne sits with Wendy, Patrick is being detained by police officers, they can be seen arguing, but not what’s being said.

 

Wendy

Why did you come in?

 

Verne

Would you believe it if I said I was coming to ask you out? Buying a game was just an excuse, I was working up the courage. And then… This happened.

 

He gestures outwards.

 

Wendy

I’m free tonight.

 

She laughs.

 

Verne

Even after?

 

Wendy

I think it’s time to stop worrying about happened and work on what we can do. I can’t believe Fred kept all this to himself. I had no idea.

 

Verne

Poor kids…

 

Wendy

Patrick’s screwed, the evidence is legal because the cops aren’t the ones behind this. That’s what one of the men said as we were walking out.

 

Verne

Do you think they’ll find out who was behind all this? Davis might get off easy being a minor.

 

Wendy

Maybe it’s best if they don’t find him.

 

Voice

Who said it was a him?

 

They look backwards, and stood up in surprise.

 

End.

 

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