ewhightower

Notes From The Future [reboot]

[8/25 – dates of additional entries, for your reference]

SC 1
INT. DAY — LATE AFTERNOON — NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — JUNE

BLUE SKY, GREEN TREES, BROWN HILLS ARE VISIBLE OUTSIDE A LARGE THIRD FLOOR WINDOW OF CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS; INSIDE IS GRAY CUBICLES. L’S DESK IS ON A CORNER, SHE CAN TURN AND FACE THE WINDOW, BUT RIGHT NOW SHE’S FACING HER MONITOR, CHECKING A SPREADSHEET, COMPARING IT WITH NOTES ON A CLIPBOARD. THIS IS NOT THE FANCY TOP FLOOR, THIS IS WHERE ALL THE ACTUAL WORK GETS DONE.

V stands at the window, looking out.

V: Did I tell you?

L: What.

V: Dr. Whosie wants me to eat the stawberry jello again.

L: Oh shit. Stress?

V: I don’t know. I just have this feeling something’s –

The building rocks, a low rumble passing through. Papers fall, some people cry out in alarm and/or surprise.
V braces herself against a cubicle, L grabs both sides of her cubicle desk.
The tremor passes.
People laugh, sigh, there’s a smattering of applause.Jackson pops up from behind a cubicle. V and L watch this exchange with amused tolerance.

J: That was a 2.4

Surinder pops up from cubicle directly opposite, across the aisle, looking over her wall at him.

S: Bullshit. USGS doesn’t even have it on their –

Ding. Surinder looks at her computer screen.

S (cont.): 2.4, holy shit — how are you always right about this?
J: I hear them.

S: Do you also hear that sound?

J: What sound?

S: Bullshit. That’s the sound of bullshit. Coming out of your mouth.

Jackson tilts his head like a quizzical dog.

L: You know when you do that you look like a quizzical dog.

J: I do? That’s not good.

V: Yeah, come to think of it, you’re a lot like a puppy.

J (delighted): I am?

V: Yes.

J: You have no idea how happy that makes me!! I just said that with two exclamation points!! Now I’m using three!!!

V: Yeah. Hey. Don’t piss yourself there, buddy.

J (sotto voce, looking down, smiling): Yes, Mommy.

V: What?

J: Nothing. I’m … good. … I have to …

Jackson runs toward restroom, smells something and is drawn into the kitchen, then runs toward restroom even faster.
Surinder, V and L watch him. Surinder has a clear crush, sees V and L seeing it in her eyes. She scowls and ducks down below her cubicle wall, out of their line of sight.

A low rumble in the distance.

V: Do you think that’s an act?

L: What.

V: Jackson’s whole —

The rumble is louder, coming closer.
V looks out to the parking lot and pristine suburban hills; we see with her that there’s a visible wave of tree, street light / flag pole shake rolling toward them. Car alarms sounding in the distance, growing closer as well.

V (cont.) … thing.

Quake hits building.
Window cracks.
A scream from behind us.
V turns to see who it is.

CUT TO:

[8/26]

Six hours earlier.

A vintage 1932 Arvin radio plays old-timey music in a small brick patio, enclosed by a wooden fence, next to a cottage surrounded by Redwoods. A steaming cup of coffee sits next to a smartphone on a small patio table which rests, with two unmatching but well-suited chairs, just off center in the dappled light filtering through the trees. There are nine pots of varying sizes on the patio, all growing a variety of plants: Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Mugwort, Thyme. There are more, but we focus elsewhere for now.

Sounds of activity in the cottage: a scrape, a thump, sweeping. Richard comes out of the house carrying a dustpan, the contents of which he empties into a bed of California Poppies. He heads back inside. The music on the radio lowers, playing underneath as a woman’s voice speaks therefrom:

Welcome once again to Miss Leocadia’s Fortunate Juju Hoodoo Show, brought to you each week by the Fortunate Juju Trinket Company, deep in the clever redwoods of Trevarno, California – the town that time forgot – and online at FortunateJuju.com …”

Richard comes back outside with a dog bed, hanging it over the fence and beating dust and dog hair out of it with a carpet beater. As a cloud forms around him, we slowly focus in on the radio:

“ … and by Holy Mole Ministries, the Itinerant Chapel of Traveling Medicinal Sauces, available at any number of mysterious crossroads you may encounter, and on the web at HolyMole.com. I’m your host, Miss Janelle, of Compass Rose Chapel in Humboldt Wells, Nevada, and online at CompassRoseChapel.com …”

With a click, the radio changes stations; guitar followed by Glenn Yarbrough singing just enough of the following that there isn’t a lawsuit,

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea …

Coughing, Richard staggers out of the cloud toward the table, waving his hands to clear the air, smacking the side of the radio. It goes all woo-woo static, he kneels to tune it and his phone buzzes: a text message. Richard ignores, it buzzes again. And again, overlapping. Richard picks up his phone, annoyed, to open message. He can’t: phone reads, UNRECOGNIZED MESSAGE FORMAT.

The fuck?” Richard says, checking the number. Phone reads, NO NUMBER. Richard is puzzled by this.

Radio clicks, playing Miss Janelle at top volume, startling Richard. He turns it down to normal and Miss Janelle continues her introduction as Richard sets his phone to Do Not Disturb and Airplane mode, putting it down and taking his coffee cup inside. We slowly focus in on the phone under the following:

“ … and in just a moment we’ll be joined by our hosts: Miss Leocadia, of the Fortunate Juju Trinket Company, located in Trevarno, California, and Magister Pythagoras, of MagisterPythagoras.com, located in Arkham, Massachusetts … ”

The phone vibrates like a jackhammer, the screen cracking. A face appears on the screen, identity and gender obscured by poor transmission; they’re yelling something indistinct, there are screams in the background, an explosion. One phrase cuts through: “Richard! Answer your phone! You’re running out of time!”

[8/27]

Richard pops his head out from inside the cottage, did he hear something? Sees cracked phone.

Jesus –” He dashes – as best he can in this small patio – to the phone and snatches it up, a plate with two scones in his left hand.

The cracks are gone. Richard blinks. Twice. “What the fuck,” he says, and stands staring at the phone as his favorite radio show continues:

“– as well as our Special Guest, Reverend Doctor Tal of SparklightConjure.com in Suisun City, California. Now let’s go to our hostess with the ghostess, Miss Leocadia. Miss Leo?”

Richard looks up, around. Was it a reflection? He puts the phone back where it was, goes back inside and looks at it from the same place. No appearance of cracks, illusory or otherwise. He comes outside and picks up the phone again.

Thank you, Miss Janelle, what a wonderful introduction. How are things out there in the City of Yesterday’s Tomorrow?” Miss Leo’s voice is familiar to us all, whether we know it or not.

The phone buzzes and Richard yelps, dropping it, catching it, dropping it again. Last-moment rescue, the scones safe.

Miss Janelle is saying, “Oh, things are wonderful here, Miss Leo, thanks so much for asking. Doing a little work, a little thing-thing, getting some wonderful results and just lending clarity and direction wherever I can, giving the gift of the Compass Rose.”

Message on phone:
Reminder that you’re taking Maxwell for the weekend, I have a work thing. Plz confirm

Miss Leocadia, under all that follows: “Truer words were never spoken, Miss Janelle. And – I should thank him, I want to make sure I thank him every week – Reverend Tal has been helping us with our Syzygy Project and he’s building the pages for our sister site: SyzygyQuake.net. So, thank you, Reverend Tal, your professional input as a geologist and astrophysicist has been invaluable.”

Richard says, “Shit. Right. Okay. Sorry.” It’s like he’s apologizing to an actual person.

Phone buzzes again. Richard jumps, scones fall.

Message:
USGS Earthquake Alert:
Today at 9:45 am
1.8
Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area

Distance to: 108 Mi

 

[This is the reboot. Want to read more? Original is here: http://ewhightower.blogspot.com/2012/04/notes-from-future.html

Your comments and questions are welcome here, traveler.]

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: