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October 26, 2006

Filed under: fiction»screenplay

Feast of Famine

After writing in that last post about the screenplay that I scribbled out in between Forensics tournaments in college, I went back and read it again, which is always an interesting experience. It's about four college students trying to stop the four horsemen of the apocalypse in a small town--not terribly original or clever. But there are a few bits that I always liked, and one of them was this exchange between Famine and one of the protagonists.

Zach and Famine stare off the porch at the sky ahead, watching as a flock 
of geese fly by. 

	FAMINE
I will have to remember that.

	ZACH
Something for your new world?

	FAMINE
Lots to think about. What to keep, 
what to make different.

	ZACH
I hate I won't be there to see it.

	FAMINE
Maybe you will. Who knows how these 
things work?

	ZACH
Don't you?

	FAMINE
No. Not really. As much as I hate 
to admit it, I probably live in a 
world of much less certainty than 
you do. Think about it: all your 
life you've been taught that the 
laws of physics cannot be broken, 
that monsters and boogie men do not 
exist, that everything is well-
reasoned and rational. Your world 
makes sense. Whereas for us, you 
never know what could happen next.

	ZACH
Sounds exciting.

	FAMINE
It's exhausting. We're tired, all 
four of us. We were created to do 
one thing, and yet for millenia had 
to hold off, wait until we got the 
go-ahead. No matter how much fun 
we've had with our hobbies over the 
years, the real point has always 
been the big event, Apocalypse. 
Now, even if it doesn't work, we 
finally get to do what we do best.

There's a pause as the geese fly completely out of sight, just dots on the 
horizon and then gone. 

	ZACH
So you guys just decided one day, 
hey, why not take over the world? 

	FAMINE
Funny you should say that. 

	ZACH
You're kidding me.

	FAMINE
Hey, we figured we were on a roll. 
People die from famine today, no 
matter what Sally Struthers says. 
And the best part is how Americans  
pretend it doesn't happen. 
Pestilence has diversified into 
pollution, so he's happy as a clam. 
Owns a stock of shares in several 
major oil companies, last time we 
checked. War is in a period of 
steady growth, especially with 
escalating international tension, 
and Death is always a popular 
commodity. All in all, why not 
strike while we're strong? 

	ZACH
I guess I can't argue with that 
logic. Look, how the hell are you 
going to kill me anyway? What are 
you going to do, starve me to 
death? Make me anorexic? Blacklist 
me at Food Lion?

	FAMINE
I prefer something a little more 
subtle. 

He leans forward, and the darkness around him, on his suit, in the 
crevices of his skinny grin, seems to crawl.

	FAMINE
I'm going to eat you, Zach. I'm 
going to swallow you up and digest 
on you for a little while, because 
I'm a very hungry guy and you look 
like someone with some substance to 
you. 

Zach backs away, horrified. Famine grins even wider.

	FAMINE
You'd probably like to think that I 
mean this in a metaphysical sense, 
Zach. I know you like to pretend 
that you're a big-time philosophy 
major with important ideas. So you 
might like to think that this is 
just some nihilistic kick of mine, 
something to scare you. And you 
might be right. 

Famine sits back enough that he can comfortably reach into his jacket, 
pulling out a gingerbread man. Its icing gives it a look uncannily like Zach 
himself. He flourishes it.

	FAMINE
But you might be wrong. 

He looks down at the cookie. Holds it up and squints at it, as if 
comparing its likeness with the inspiration. Then he smiles tightly and 
offers it.

	FAMINE
Care for a bite?

As if dazed, Zach reaches for the cookie, takes it, and holds it in his 
hands. Slowly, he brings it to his mouth and takes off a leg.

	FAMINE
This isn't going to kill you, Zach. 
Not right away. It's just going to 
take you out of the action for a 
little while. Long enough for my 
comrades to remove your friends 
from the picture more permanently. 
When you resurface, you're going to 
have to face the fact that when 
those you really care about needed 
you, you were right here on your 
front porch, not lifting a single 
finger. 

As he eats, Zach gets more and more tired, more and more sleepy.

	FAMINE
It's not about starvation, Zach. 
Never really was. If you do your 
research, the third horseman stands 
for much more that that. I am 
unfairness. I am inequality. I am 
inaction.

Zach pauses, only the head of the cookie-Zach remaining. Famine takes it 
from his limp fingers, places it in his mouth. Zach tries to follow the 
movement with his eyes, but he's too far gone.

	FAMINE
Bon apetit.

He closes Zach's mouth around the cookie.

Blur, and fade to black.

Future - Present - Past