Friday, 16 November 2012

Memory Games - Screenplay




After Memory Games was published, I had several inquiries from people interested in adapting the story as a short film. None of these came to fruition, but I was inspired to write a screenplay myself. 

 MEMORY GAMES - Screenplay

FADE IN:
INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM — NIGHT

CELINE faces the large mirror of an old-fashioned vanity. DANIEL embraces her from behind, kissing her neck. He opens her shirt,revealing her white bra. She watches suspiciously as he moves his hands down from her breasts to her waist, and begins unfastening her jeans.  She grabs Daniel's fingers. 

CELINE
Your hands are cold.

DANIEL
Yeah. We’d better get into bed.

His silhouette is barely visible in the darkness until a glare of headlights sweeps into the bedroom from the street, catching Daniel in their photographic flash. 

CU - Daniel’s face in the mirror – concentrating intensely.

CELINE
We should talk first.

She tries to push his arm away, but he holds onto the waistband of her jeans.

DANIEL
You’re not starting that again,
are you?

Celine shrugs and begins rebuttoning her blouse. 

CELINE
Did you know that Alan Winston was
one of them?

DANIEL
Don't start again.

CELINE
You remember Alan Winston, don't
you?




DANIEL
No.  I don't remember Alan‑fucking‑
Winston!
(Beat)
This is a crock.  Sometimes I wonder
what you'd really do if I failed one
of these tests.

CELINE
Kill you.

Daniel chuckles, silently and mirthlessly.

DANIEL
Yeah, sure you would.

He turns her to face him, undoing the buttons she just fastened and opening the front clasp of her brassiere. He cradles her heavy breasts in his hands, pinching her nipples between his knuckles. 

DANIEL
Would a Morph know that you like
it when I do this?

CELINE
Probably. Since it’s not the kind
of thing you’d store in your
long-term memory. And even a Morph
should be able to tell when I’m
not in the mood.

As he kisses her neck, he starts to pull down her jeans. She squirms away with a surge of terror.

CELINE
Stop.

She pulls her blouse shut.

CELINE
Look, I might not kill you, but I
will not be with you anymore. At
least until you tell me about Alan
Winston.

DANIEL
(Shaking his head)
We worked with him.

CELINE
Which department?

Headlights light up the room again allowing Celine to see how angry he is. He walks to the window to look out.

DANIEL
They’re finally here.

CELINE
Who?

DANIEL
Must be morphs, since they’re the
only ones who drive cars anymore.
          (Beat)
I called them, when you started
freaking out.  We'll never catch
this woman by surprise, I told
them.  Might as well take her now.

Celine cringes and then scowls.

CELINE
That’s not funny.

More headlights illuminate the room. This time, it stays lit. Celine walks up beside him and stares out.

DANIEL
If you send me away, you'll never
make love to another man.  You'll
never be sure about anybody or
anything. You'll be afraid of living.

CELINE
Aren’t we all?

DANIEL
I’m not.

Celine takes a deep breath, and turns back. 

CELINE
I've lived alone for half my adult
life, Daniel.  I'll survive.

He doesn't speak for a long time. 

DANIEL
But will it be worth it?

CELINE
At least I’ll be alive.

DANIEL
If you call that living.

She walks past him into the hallway, and turns back to look at him.

CELINE
So. We were talking about Alan
Winston.

DANIEL  
I'm not playing tonight, Celine.

Daniel walks up to her and puts his hands on her shoulders.

CELINE
Suits me fine.  Neither am I.

He watches her go down the stairs.

INT. LIVING ROOM — NIGHT

Celine is sitting on the couch, fully dressed again. There is a fire in the fireplace and tall lit candles on the endtables. She stares at a framed photograph in her lap, not looking up as Daniel enters the room.

Daniel sits down beside her, wearing a look of boyish contrition. When she finally looks up, her eyes are filled with tears.

CU - The photo is of Celine hugging an older woman.


CELINE
I wish there was some way I
could make sure she’s still
alive.


DANIEL (shrugging)
She’s had a hysterectomy, so
they can’t use her womb. She’s
probably fine.

CELINE
You think the breeders die
during child...or...
whatever-birth?

DANIEL
It’s all bullshit. Urban myth.
Stuff made up to explain things we
don’t have answers to.

CELINE
Shirley Dougall down the street
says she saw one being born.
Bursting out in a big mess of blood
and guts.
(Beat)
So the other stuff is probably true
too.

DANIEL
(sighing)
What stuff?

CELINE
How negative emotions at the time
of 'conception' spoil the pre‑natal     environment. Maybe as long as I stay
scared and avoid sex, I’m safe. 

DANIEL
Or maybe you just keep yourself from
ever enjoying life again.

CELINE
Did you enjoy getting drunk
and staying out last night?

DANIEL
It’s been a long time.

CELINE
Where did you find booze?


DANIEL
That bottle of Scotch Marcel
was saving for Sandra.

CELINE
The one he wasn’t gonna open
until she came home?

DANIEL
(Beat)
Who really believes she’s coming
home?

CELINE
When you didn’t come home last night
I thought I’d never see you again.

DANIEL
It’s hard enough to sneak home
after curfew when I’m sober.
(Beat)
I need you, Celine. You're all I have.
(Beat)
I thought you felt the same...

CELINE
We don't love each other. 
(Beat)
We only stay together because we're
afraid to find someone else.

DANIEL
But I love you.

He puts an arm over her shoulder and tries pulling her toward him.  But she stands up, stares him in the eye and practically hisses her ultimatum.

CELINE
Then answer my questions.

DANIEL
I’ve always been shitty with names.
You know that. All I have to do is
put a face to him. Gimme a kickstart.




CELINE
(shaking head)
Alan Winston. Medium height. Sort of
stocky. I think he was into
weightlifting or something.

DANIEL
Wait, wait, wait.  He was...an analyst
from Systems Support.

CELINE
No, that was Ernie Williams.

DANIEL
Ernie, Alan, what's the difference?

CELINE
Alan was the expenditure coordinator
from Investment Administration.  He
and Gary from Payroll were known
as the two musketeers cause they
couldn't keep their swords in their     scabbards.
(BEAT)
What did Gary always tease you about?

DANIEL
(BEAT as he thinks about it
then he gives her a big grin) 
It was about you.
(BEAT)
He was jealous that I’d won the hand
of the fairest damsel.

CELINE
What would you have done if he said
something to your wife?

DANIEL
(shrugging)
Never thought about it.

She gets quickly up off the couch.

CELINE
I want you to leave right now.



DANIEL
Come on.  I'm only teasing.  I
wasn't married. 
(Beat)
I figured that if you could dredge
up a cast of characters to test my
memory, I could play the same game. 
(Beat)
To show you how stupid this whole
thing is, how willing you are to
believe everything you hear from
everywhere.
(Beat)
Except from me.

Celine rolls her eyes. 

CELINE
Well, you argue exactly like Daniel.

DANIEL
I get so tired of this crap!
(He punches the couch cushions           angrily.)
Now come sit down.

He sighs and waits, when she doesn’t respond, he stands up, walks to the closet and gets out his jacket.

CELINE
Where are you going?

DANIEL
Back to my brother’s. Maybe he has
some scotch left.

Celine walks up behind him.

CELINE
Look. It’s too risky. They’ve been
patrolling the neighbourhood.
(BEAT)
You don't have to leave just because
we're not going to make love. If
you really need me, if you love me,
why can't we just sit and talk?



DANIEL
Because you'll just be playing memory
games the whole time. Trying to trick
me into slipping up.
(Beat)
You know what I just thought of?
(Beat)
What if the Morphs have found some way
to erase chunks of our memories? If
real people start forgetting things,
then we wouldn’t be able to tell if
one of us has been affected. 

Celine stands, nodding as he speaks. Then she suddenly snaps to -- getting a look of disgust on her face.

CELINE
Why would they do that?

Daniel turns to face her.

DANIEL
To make us afraid of each other.
Maybe they even started the story
about morphs having incomplete
memories just to fuck us around.
The less we trust each other,
the less likely we are to mount an
effective resistance.

CELINE
What resistance?

DANIEL
Precisely.

CELINE
Your bafflegab isn't going to work
on me tonight, Daniel. Goodnight.


He turns and leaves without further protest.
She looks as though she’s about to call him back, but instead, watches the door close behind him.





INT. LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Celine, in her housecoat, makes tea with a kettle she heated on the fire. The candles have melted down to short stubs. There is a furtive knock on the door. Cautiously, she peeks out the window, then she opens the door. Daniel slips in, looking scared and dirty. There is an encyclopedia open on the coffee table, displaying a small drawing of Santa Claus. Above him in the column is a sand dollar. 

DANIEL
You were right. There are too
many in the neighbourhood. They
almost got me.

Celine peers out through a crack in the curtain, then looks back at Daniel, who is still catching his breath.

CELINE
Want some tea?

He looks up at her gratefully.She fills the teapot and lowers in a well-used teabag on a string, then takes the kettle to the kitchen. When she returns with a cup, Daniel intercepts her,putting his arms around her. She wriggles violently away and he puts his hands out placatingly.

DANIEL
I’ll leave again if you want.

He stands sideways in the kitchen doorway. Celine pauses as she is brushing past him into the living room.

CELINE
(Abruptly)
No. 
(BEAT)
I’ve been thinking about what
you said. Were you serious about
them tampering with our memories?

Celine walks to the coffee table, lifting the book to display the spine.

CELINE
The letter "S".

He walks toward her and she looks down at the trail of muddy footprints.


CELINE
Shoes.

DANIEL
Sorry.

CELINE
If you are a morph, they bred you in
the same barn Daniel was raised in.

He takes off his shoes and leaves them by the door.

CELINE
I want to see if there's anything
I've forgotten. Anything I should
remember.

She opens the big book to the middle. 

CELINE
South Dakota.

DANIEL
I think you should look for
something a little more obscure.

She flips back through it. .

CELINE
Slipperwort?
    
He takes the book from her and flips to the end.

DANIEL
Tell me about Stone Mountain.


CELINE
I don't...c'mon, Daniel,
that’s too obscure.  Nobody's
ever heard of Stone Mountain.

Daniel puts the encyclopedia back on the table in front of her.

DANIEL
One of the world’s largest
granite masses. The Confederate
Memorial is carved into the
eastern slope, for Christ’s sake.
(Beat) 
The figures of Robert E. Lee,
          Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson
are carved into the mountain.  You at
least remember Mount Rushmore, don't
you?
    
Celine nods mutely. 

CELINE
It’s not...I mean...I’m Canadian.

DANIEL
Don’t you remember the reports from
the Olympic Games in Atlanta?

CELINE
I never watched sports.
(BEAT)
Give me another one.

He flips through the pages.

DANIEL
Then who's Snorri Sturl-uson?

CELINE
A famous medieval Norwegian writer. Ha!


Daniel nods, impressed as Celine reclaims the book

CELINE
Now it's my turn.

 Reluctantly, he hands it to her.  She flips through several more pages

CELINE
The Suez Canal. Where is it?




DANIEL
It's in...Arabia or somewhere
in the middle east. It connects
the Mediterranean with...some
other big body of water. The
Indian Ocean, the Red Sea,
something like that.

 Nodding, Celine turns some more pages. 

CELINE
How 'bout the Spanish Inquisition?

DANIEL
And how about those Blue Jays.
    
CELINE
Come on.  I'm serious.  You’ve
know absolutely nothing about
the fucking Spanish Inquisition?

DANIEL
(shrugs)
It was in Spain.

CELINE
Good start.  What else?

DANIEL
Something to do with religion,
Christians being persecuted or
something?

CELINE
Come on, Daniel.  It was the
Christians who did the persecuting.

DANIEL
Maybe that's why they never talked
about it much in Catholic school.

CELINE
Hmmmm... Somehow your ignorance is
more convincing than your knowledge
would be.

DANIEL
History was never my forte. I
preferred Sex Education.

Celine laughs as he kisses her neck. 

DANIEL
That's the thing about memory. How
can you ever be sure about something
you've forgotten?

CELINE
Good point.

He kisses her lips as she speaks, muffling the word "point".  She kisses back.

He pulls her to her feet.

CELINE
I was so scared when you left.

DANIEL
So you’re glad I came back?

In response, she kisses him deeply. He undoes her housecoat.

CELINE
Not here.

He takes her hand and leads her up the stairs.



INT. BEDROOM -- NIGHT

They are in bed together. She looks concerned as he slides his hand down between her legs.

DANIEL
I love you. 
 
CELINE
I need you.

DANIEL
I know.

Daniel’s eyes glint unnaturally as he enters her.

— End —

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