Shaking the System

burning paper 02

INT: OFFICE – MEGACORP – BY A WATERCOOLER

Bill is a male in his mid-thirties meticulous in his grooming and conservative in shirt and tie. Fred has dishevelled hair and looks moderately unkempt but passable by regular office standards.

BILL

So can you believe she ate that?

FRED

Well 50 grand. You wouldn’t?

BILL

I just don’t get why people would do anything for…

Sharron, mid-thirties woman who is attractive and out-of-place in office dress. She walks past Bill and Fred. She smiles in a subtle yet flirtatious way at Bill. He avoids eye contact.

FRED

 That’s how people get restraining orders against them.

BILL

 I wasn’t…

FRED

 It’s been two years, man.

BILL

I…

FRED

 Pussy! Well I better get back to pretending to work.

Camera follows Bill back to his cubicle. He’s about to begin working when the Boss arrives. Boss looks and walks with a strong air of arrogance and wears a gold watch. He slams a box of papers on Bill’s desk.

BOSS

I Bob…

BILL

 Bill.

BOSS

 What?

BILL

Hi.

BOSS

 Right, so anyways. I’m going to need you to go ahead and do your usual.

Sharron walks up behind and mimics shooting the boss in the back with a shotgun.

BILL

 [SMIRKNG]

Sure.

BOSS

 This is not a laughing matter. It’s on your ass as much as mine if…

[Pauses and fixes tie]

BOSS (CONT.)

Just get it done.

Boss turns around and finds Sharron studying the leaves of a nearby plant. He looks sceptically at her, opens his mouth to speak and then leaves. She winks at Bill and then walks off in the opposite direction.

INT: MEGACORP BASEMENT.

Bill slams the box on the floor and then lets out a

groan.

Sharron sneaks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder like a vaudeville character. Bill jumps and stumbles backwards. Sharron runs towards him and kisses him.

BILL

That was…

SHARRON

Nice?

BILL

 Unexpected

[Shakes his head]

BILL (CONT.)

And nice.

Sharron peers over his shoulder to look at the box.

BILL (CONT.)

(Frazzled)

I thought you said we couldn’t at work. You didn’t want anyone to…

SHARRON

(Rolling her eyes)

C’mon Billy don’t be like that. I just want to wait till it’s official, you know?

BILL

I know but…

SHARRON

 So what’s in the box?

BILL

Oh, just old rubbish.

SHARRON

 Old rubbish that the company needs you destroy because they know you’re too nice to look inside. Forever the good guy Bill. Too much of a gentleman to even press a girl to…

Sharron sidesteps Bill as he awkwardly attempts the shield the box like a child might from a parent. She opens it and starts flipping through the files.

BILL

 Please don’t…

He makes a feeble attempt to stop her

SHARRON

Fuck…this is serious. This is really goddamn serious.

BILL

I’ve gotta just destroy it.

SHARRON

I thought this was corporate accounts. Call girls and coke bills. But this…

BILL

 What

He edges closer and peers over her shoulder.

BILL (CONT.)

What is it?

SHARRON

It’s the company’s finances. The real stocks.

BILL

How’d you know. They’re the real…

SHARRON

Duh, I’m an accountant.

She looks through the files in the folder with an increased sense of agitation.

SHARRON

 They’re going to fuck a lot of people if they hide this. We’ve gotta get this information out there.

BILL

 No we can’t. They’d know it was me. They’d fire me, and they’d look at the cameras. They’d fire you too.

SHARRON

  I don’t think that you realise how big this whole thing is. It’s a lot bigger then you and me. They are going to get away with fucking murder here if we let them.

BILL

[Childlike]

 But…

SHARRON

 C’mon you’re the archetypal nice guy. You can’t let them get away with this shit.

BILL

 But what do we do? Go to the Police?

SHARRON

 [Sarcastically]

Yes we go in there and we tell them that we have a massive case of corporate crime. Then by the time they get anything together these guys-that-are-being-fucked-now’s grandkids might see a court date.

BILL

 Well what then. Walk up to the CEO and shout ‘Gottya!’

Sharron

 The media.

BILL

 Media? Yeah, like that Snowden guy?

SHARRON

 Yeah.

BILL

 Who’s currently hiding in Russia and wanted for treason?

SHARRON:

Well this isn’t the fucking government we’re exposing. It’s just a private corporation. They got nothing on us.

THE GLOBE – CENTRAL OFFICE – DAY

Jack, a reporter, late-twenties, dressed flamboyantly and has a five o’ clock shadow. He sits at a desk piled high with a mess of papers. He’s on the phone to his wife.

JACK

Jesus Christ Jane there are other Preschools. I know [pause] Einstein didn’t even finish [pause] I know, I know. Look I’ve a call on the other line. I’ll see you at home. Love you, yeah, yeah. Bye.

Presses phone for other line.

JACK (CONT.)

Jack Jones, Globe. How can I help you?

CUT TO:

Bill holding phone, visibly nervous, with voice distorter.

BILL

[USING VOICE DISTORTER]

I have some information.

JACK

 Who the fuck is this? SAW?

Bill and sharron have a brief tussle with the phone. Bill eventually takes it back as Sharron holds the voice distorter.

BILL

 Sorry. I have some information that you might be interested in.

JACK

 OK, well phones are never the best way of doing this. Hang on a sec.

Jack looks at his calendar and sees ‘DINNER WITH GARY AND LINDA: 7’ and rolls his eyes.

JACK

 It just so happens that I’ve a cancelation in my schedule. Can you make 7 at Gino’s on 247th?

BILL

 Sure. Thank you very –

Jack cuts him off and speed dials a number on his phone.

Jack

 Hey baby, yeah sorry I’m not going to be able to make dinner tonight [ pause] I know what I said but [pause] If I don’t get a good story soon then any reputable Preschool will be out of the question.

INT: ITALIAN RESTURANT – NIGHT

Bill and Sharron sit at a table with wine in front of them. Both are dressed in high collared overcoats. Bill looks visibly agitated and Sharron is bursting with excitement.

BILL

 He won’t show. I just know he won’t. People in these situations never show. They just don’t.

SHARRON

Will you just drink your wine and chill. We’re doing the right thing here. We need to tell somebody.

Jack enters the restaurant and stand in the doorway looking for a sign.

SHARRON

 That’s him.

BILL

You sure?

She pulls up a photo of Jack from The Globe’s Website on her phone and shows it to Bill.

SHARRON

 Wait. How will he know who we are?

BILL

 I didn’t think about that.

SHARRON

 Damn, me either.

CUT TO:

Jack looks at his watch, does a quick sweep of the restaurant once more and turns to leave. Bill runs towards him and almost into him in an attempt to be seen.

CUT TO:

All three sitting at the same table in the restaurant. Jack stubs out a cigarette into the nearly full ashtray and then lights another.

JACK

Well if what you are saying is true – and you can get me that evidence – then we’re all so far into the shit that we’re going to need scuba suits.

BILL

 So you won’t help us?

JACK:

This is the kinda shit that tears down corporations, sends CEO’s to court and rains down rivers of shit on any poor son-of-a-bitch who once begged some change from a person involved.

BILL

So you won’t help us then?

JACK

 Of course I’ll help you.

SHARRON

 But you just –

JACK

 I just described any journalist worth shit’s wet dream to you! This is a game-changer that we have right here!

BILL

 So you’ll run the story.

JACK

 Provided you give me the proof I need and you bet your balls I’ll run the story.

Jack slams the table and laughs.

JACK (CONT.)

We’re gonna crucify those corrupt fucks.

Jack stands up and walks away. He then pauses and turns around quickly.

JACK

Forgot to say, come to the office anytime tomorrow. Tell them that you’re working with Jones and you’ll be fine.

Jack pats Bill on the back hard and exits.

SHARRON

(Seeing Bill’s leg shaking)

You still don’t have to you know.

BILL

 I want to. I just hope we can trust him.

Sharron squeezes his leg and he kisses her.

INT: GLOBE CENTRAL OFFICE – DAY

JACK

 No, sweetheart I don’t think that a three year old can exhibit signs of latent homosexuality,

 [pause] uh huh uh huh…

Bill enters cautiously with a box of notes. Jack indicates for him to take a seat.

JACK (CONT.)

Well just put the clothes back on the Barbie and tell her that – I don’t know – people don’t like it when you take their clothes off. It was just a sugg… [pause] listen I’ve gotta very important meeting now. [pause] Yeah that one. OK. Love you.

BILL:

 You’re wife?

JACK

[Like he’s saying how lovely she is]

 The woman that closes the fucking vice further around my balls each passing day.

(Long pause)

So is that the stuff?

BILL

 Yeah, should I…

Jack indicates that he should put it on the desk.

JACK

(Peering inside the box)

 So this is everything?

BILL

 Everything I’ve got yeah.

JACK

You do know when the shit does finally hit the fan then it’ll be too late for any of us to grab an umbrella.

BILL

 I know that.

JACK

 It’s your blood that they’ll be looking for. The big dick lawyers. It’ll be that girl who’s boob you grazed in junior high at the dance taking the stand about how you sexually assaulted her. That –

BILL

 There’s no skeletons, don’t worry.

JACK

 Oh there doesn’t need to be skeletons at all. They’ll make them. Just remember that!

BILL

 You know what. I’m darn sick of hearing about what they’re going to do. I don’t care what they’ll do. I care what they’ve done already. Scamming all those innocent people out of their life savings. It’s just not right I tell you.

Jack

Nobody’s talking about wrong or right here. We’re talking about legal and illegal. The two don’t mean the same thing.

BILL

 Well then count me on the side that’s right. To hell will legal and illegal.

A Reporter is standing outside a courtroom holding a microphone and facing the camera.

REPORTER

 I’m standing outside the Supreme Court today where a historic court case is unfolding as we speak. The Accused, Mr. William Walters, is facing sentence in one of the greatest acts of domestic terrorism of our time. Mr. Walters is accused of leading and controlling the Free People’s Movement, or FPM for short. I’m speaking with Agent Smith of the FBI on this matter.

The camera changes to show a middle-aged graying man in a black suit looking stereotypically like an FBI Agent

REPORTER (CONT.)

Mr. Smith, what exactly is Mr. Walters accused of?

AGENT

Well Trisha, there are a number of serious charges facing Smith. However, the greatest offence – for which, if Mr. Smith is convicted, he faces the death penalty – is to destroy the Wallstreet Stock market using a computer virus.

REPORTER

 And his accomplices? What has become of them in this web of deception and crime that they have spun?

AGENT

 There was a female – believed to be Smith’s lover – however she committed suicide in her house soon after the allegations were made public. Further there is a reporter. A Mr. Jones, who we apprehended and led us to Smith. He is currently on Death Row having been convicted of charges that we await the verdict on with relation to Mr. Smith.

REPORTER:

 And what do you believe the relationship to be between Mr. Jones & Mr. Walters?

AGENT

 We believe that Jones was using his journalistic abilities and knowledge to supply Walters with sensitive information for his Anti-American, terrorist cause.

REPORTER

One final question before we return to the studio. How do you react to the protesters who say that this trial is a farce because Walters got too close to some corruption in government office?

AGENT

(laughs)

 Utter nonsense.

REPORTER

 And the reportedly forged suicide note? Or the conflicting evidence in the forensic report?

AGENT

 This interview is over. No comment.

Agent removes his microphone

CUT TO:

INT: NEWSROOM STUDIO

A News anchor sits behind a news desk looking away from the camera and then pulls a deer in the headlights look at the camera.

ANCHOR

A bomb exploded in Eastern Afghanistan early this morning at a busy marketplace killing seventeen and…

INT – PRISON CORRIDOR

Bill wearing a prison uniform looking beaten down. He now has a maine of unkempt hair and a long scraggly beard. Two Prison Guards lead him down the corridor in chains.

GUARD ONE

I taught they’d commute it to life. You know with no priors and all.

GUARD TWO

Yeah, but you know judges. They fucking hate hippies.

He looks towards Bill

GUARD TWO (CONT.)

No offence.

Bill murmurs something inaudible in response.

INT: PRISON CELL

Jack bounces a ball against the wall of his cell repeatedly. He too has grown a big beard and has dishevelled hair. Inaudible voices can be heard. He walks to the cell door to listen. The Prison Guards open the cell door and lead Bill in. They bolt the door behind them and exit.

JACK

[Smiling]

Mr. Straight-laced you’re looking a bit scruffy round the edges.

BILL

 They wouldn’t let you shave neither?

JACK

 Still won’t. My balls have never been so fucking furry.

Both laugh. However Bill’s laugh turns hysterical.

JACK

 Jesus dude, it wasn’t that funny chill the fuck out.

BILL

 [Through the hysterical laughter]

 We won.

JACK

 What?

BILL

 We god darn well won.

JACK

 How in the name of Mary’s vag do you figure that one? Shackles and champagne don’t really go hand in hand for me dude.

BILL

We’re getting the death penalty for doing nothing. Sharron’s dead. There are protesters banging down the walls.

JACK

 Yeah. And that all adds up to sweet fuck all in my book. We’re still facing the fucking death penalty as terrorists.

BILL

 Don’t you see? They’re scared. They need to get rid of us because they’re scared. We shook the whole god darn system. And eventually it will tumble.

JACK

 Yeah, maybe, while we’re fertilizing a fucking field.

BILL

[Laughing Hysterically]

 We won. We shook their whole system. We won. We won.

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