williamallenpepper

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DAMNED BY THAT EXTRA HOUR

THE SCENE:  A Victorian era London dining room. There’s an iPad on the table and a TV in the corner running a Colbert episode and an empty KFC bucket, but never mind. It’s Victorian if you believe it. You want to nit-pick, write your own damn movie.

Seated around the table are three men with lots of facial hair and handle-bar mustaches – they could be extras from the There Will Be Blood sequel “There Will Be Blood 2: Attack of the Clones”.  The red-headed one, DAVID, pours brandy for the others from a decanter resting on the table on top of an issue of US Weekly. Dammit.

DR. HILLYER: Well, I see George is late again.

TOM: George? Who’s that?

DAVID: I think you mean Bill, Doctor.

DR. HILLYER: Are you sure? Isn’t this the film “The Time Machine”, the story of Victorian era inventor H.G. Wells who builds a time machine in hopes of travelling to a far-flung future where mankind has moved beyond the violence and pettiness of the modern age only to find that in the future, even as late as 1960, human nature really hasn’t changed all that much?

DAVID: No, Doctor. It’s not.

DR. HILLYER: Shit.

A door slams. Elderly Mrs. Hudson wanders in from the set of a Sherlock Holmes movie to scream as BILL enters, collapsing into a conveniently placed empty chair. His clothes are filthy and torn, with just enough of his rock-hard pecs exposed to convey this is a manly nerd, but not so much as to make circa 1960 censors nervous.

DAVID: My God, man! What happened to you!

BILL: It was awful, my friend. Bloody awful.

DR. HILLYER: The Time Machine! Am I right?

TOM: I think he’s supposed to tell us that, Doctor.

DR. HILLYER: Drink your brandy, Tom.

BILL: No, Doctor. He’s right, I must get my story out while it’s fresh.

DAVID hands BILL a brandy.

DAVID: What did happen, Bill?

BILL (exhausted, smiling sadly at his dear friend) I have been ravaged by the whims of fate. Buffeted by the time winds, beaten against the shore of eternity.

DR. HILLYER: There! You see? I knew that BarcaLounger with the sundial on the back was a time machine!

DAVID: Please, Doctor. Go on, Bill.

BILL: It was the first Sunday in November, this very year.

TOM: Two days ago.

DR. HILLYER: Thank you, Captain Obvious.

TOM: I will have you know I served under Captain Obvious in the Boer War. A finer soldier, you’ll never meet. Except you won’t, because he’s dead. Walked right into a clear ambush. Ironically, should have been… obvious.

DR. HILLYER: This is all preposterous.

DAVID: We’re getting off topic here. Please go on, Bill.

BILL: Early that Sunday, I slept the sleep of the dead, tired as I was from the previous night’s labors in my laboratory.

DAVID: Building the time machine, Bill?

DR. HILLYER: I knew it.

BILL: No, actually. I was working on a way to get even meaning out of 140 Twitter characters.

DAVID: But where have you been the last two days, Bill?

DR. HILLYER: Traveling in the fourth dimension, were you?Along with the first three dimensions, which, as we know are height, width, breadth?

TOM: How long have you been waiting to get that in?

DR. HILLYER: Drink your brandy, Tom.

BILL: No. No. That’s not it.

DAVID: You weren’t lost in the time vortex, bearing witness to the glories and depravities of history? Basking in the promise of Earth’s future?

BILL: No. Not at all. Sunday was the end of daylight savings time. I set the clocks back. Could have gotten an extra hour of sleep, but the goddamn cats don’t give a shit about daylight savings time. They want to eat when they want to eat. And they want to eat right NOW. I haven’t slept since.

End Scene

Waits by the phone for the Oscar people to call.

 

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