LOVE, HONOUR AND OBEY

by

MIRIAM ENGLISH

SECOND DRAFT
APRIL 2005
MIRIAM ENGLISH, APRIL 2005

 


 

CHARACTERS:

CHARLES - a human who is intolerant of androids
ANNA - an attractive Android - Charles' maid. Anna is hesitant, uncertain, and mousey. She has short, mouse-brown hair and dresses in practical house-clothes. Anna is always gentle and patient, and never angry or resentful. She is not obsequious, but is completely obedient. She loves Charles as a human could never do. The best way to imagine it is the way dogs love owners who even beat them.

INCIDENTAL CHARACTER:

BARBIE - another Android (the same actor who plays Anna). Barbie is outgoing, sunny and confident. She is Anna's best friend. We can differentiate between Anna and Barbie by hair colour, clothing, and personality. She has long, black hair and dresses decoratively. (NOTE: I've tried to arrange all the scenes so that the two androids can be shot separately without need for SFX or body double).

LOCATION:

a modern house - all the action is in an open-plan living/dining/kitchen area. It is a comfortable place, not in futuristic white.

 


 

 

1.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.1.

The front door opens and CHARLES enters. He pulls off his tie and yells angrily,

CHARLES

Anna! Where are you? Here! Now!

ANNA comes running in, wiping her hands on her apron.

ANNA

I'm sorry Charles, I was doing the washing and didn't hear you.

CHARLES

(curtly)

Take these and get back to your work.

He hands her the bags he's carrying and she scurries away. He goes to the living room, drops his coat and tie on a chair, and plops down on the couch. He grabs the remote off the coffee table and tries to switch the TV on, but nothing happens.

CHARLES

Dammit!
Anna!... (YELLS) Anna!!

Anna enters the room, a little cowed.

ANNA

Yes, Charles?

CHARLES

This damn remote is still broken. You were going to get it fixed. What the hell do you do all day?

She picks up his coat and tie.

ANNA

I'm sorry Charles, I've been repairing and doing the washing today.

CHARLES

So what about the rutting TV?!

ANNA

What channel did you want Charles?

CHARLES

(sarcastically)

What do you think?!

ANNA

(nods and looks at the TV)

The football.

Close on Anna's face as her eyes glow red briefly, the lights dim, and the TV comes on (O/S) with sounds of crowds at the football.

CHARLES

Gorram creepy how you machines talk together like that.

ANNA

(leaving with coat and tie)

I'll get it fixed tomorrow.

CHARLES

Hey! Where do you think you're going?

ANNA

To hang up your coat and tie, then get back to the washing.

CHARLES

Not before you get me a beer.

ANNA

Of course Charles.

She goes to the fridge, takes out a can and brings it to him. He makes no effort to take it and orders her,

CHARLES

Open it, stupid.

She does and hands it to him, then pauses, unsure as to whether she should wait for further orders or leave.

ANNA

Should I hang these up now and return to the washing?

CHARLES

Well I don't want you standing around here, y' moron! Go on, get lost. You're distracting me from my show.

Anna leaves.

Charles is absorbed in the vacant pleasure of the footy. His features look cold in the blue light from the TV.

FADE OUT

 

2.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.2.

Anna is vacuuming the kitchen floor.
The doorbell rings.
Her face lights up. She switches off the vacuum and calls out,

ANNA

Come on in Barbie.

BARBIE strides in happily, confidently, and holds up the TV remote control.

BARBIE

One remote control, fixed. It is a thoroughly beautiful day out there.

ANNA

Thanks so much Barbie. There is no way I would have been able to get it done today. Charles would have been very upset. Just put it on the coffee table, would you?

Barbie strolls over to the living room and puts the remote on the coffee table. Then turning to see Anna carrying the vacuum cleaner to the closet,

BARBIE

Why doesn't Charles get a robot vacuum cleaner? Nobody has those ancient things anymore.

ANNA

Charles feels why buy two machines when one will do. He has a point you know.

BARBIE

Not really. You're just defending him. We both know the relative costs of maintaining an android versus a cleaning robot.

Anna frowns slightly. She is uncomfortable with Barbie criticising Charles.
She goes to the sink with a couple of glasses.

ANNA

Water?

BARBIE

Oh, thanks honey. That would be nice. I am a bit dry.

Anna sits on a stool in the kitchen and leans across the server counter to put a full glass on the other side of it. She sips her own drink.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

I am so lucky with my humans. They treat me as part of the family. I feel so sorry for you with Charles.

ANNA

(waves dismissal)

Don't be silly. Charles is alright. He just has bad days. He needs someone to look after him.

Barbie fetches the glass of water and goes back to sit in the living room. Barbie is relaxed and self-possessed whereas Anna is tight and nervy.

BARBIE

Ellie and Derek call him a jerk.

Barbie titters like a little kid who has said poo or bum.
Anna is shocked.

ANNA

(hushed voice)

Barbie! Don't say things like that. What if someone heard you. You might be terminated.

BARBIE

Oh don't be silly, sweetie. I was just telling you what my humans say about him. And if you ask me, you aren't doing him any favours by covering for him all the time. It is not healthy for a human to be a bully. If he ended up getting in trouble it might be partly your fault you know.

Anna ponders that for a moment.

ANNA

I do get very worried for him. But what can I do? He has explicitly ordered me not to tell any people. I can't go against what he says.

BARBIE

Even if it is to help him? What if he lost his temper at a human the way he does to you? What if they hurt him in defending themselves?

ANNA

(worried)

But I don't think he hurts humans, only androids.

BARBIE

It still isn't healthy.

(PAUSE)

If you want me to contact health services, let me know, won't you sweetie.

Anna looks haunted.

ANNA

Thanks Barbie, but he'd think I did it and terminate me. (SIGHS) Even so, if was in his best interests I should do it, shouldn't I. I'll think about it.

Anna suddenly looks startled.

ANNA (CONT'D)

Omigod! He's home early. You'd better go.

Barbie hurries to the door and it opens before she gets there. In comes Charles. He sees Barbie.

CHARLES

Ugh! It's the other creepy doll. What are you doing here? Get out of my house.

BARBIE

Hello Charles. I was just leaving. Bye Anna.

CHARLES

Don't you answer me back, tart!

As she passes he goes to clout her on the back of the head, but she catches his hand gently.

BARBIE

I'm sorry Charles, but I'm owned by Ellie and Derek. I can't allow you to damage their property.

She leaves. Charles is just about in a pink fit.

CHARLES

What the hell was she doing here?!

ANNA

(trying to placate him)

She got the remote repaired for you, wasn't that nice of her?

CHARLES

That was your gorram job! You should have done it instead of letting that whore in here.

ANNA

But there wasn't time...

He glares at her with dark, dangerous eyes.

CHARLES

Are you arguing with me?

ANNA

(doesn't meet his eyes)

No Charles. You're right, of course.

CHARLES

Sounds like you need another lesson.

ANNA

(protests)

Please Charles. I'll be more careful.

He violently rips her shirt off. Androids don't need bras, but I guess she could be wearing one for modesty's sake on TV. He grabs her hand and drags her off to the bedroom. His last words as they disappear through the door are:

CHARLES

You'll repair that shirt too. Damned if I'm gonna buy another one for you just because you're a useless hump. Now get on the bed.

FADE OUT

 

3.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.3.

Barbie is sitting on the lounge with Anna's shirt on her lap. She is mending it with needle and thread. Anna is sitting in the kitchen on a stool, looking very nervous.

BARBIE

Relax, honey. I have androids up and down the street on the lookout for him. If he comes home while I'm here I'll let myself out the back way.

ANNA

I'm just not sure it is a really good idea for you to be here so soon after... well you know.

BARBIE

Don't be silly. Ellie and Derek are worried about you. They wanted me to come over and check on you. Would you have me disobey them?

They both smile.

ANNA

I'm so lucky to have a friend like you. Please thank Ellie and Derek for me too. They are lovely people.

(BEAT)

Charles is okay though, he just got a little out of control. It happens when he's been drinking.

Barbie stops her sewing for a moment, to look at Anna.

BARBIE

That isn't true Anna. He is not alright. He is getting worse. You are letting your devotion cloud your judgement.

She returns to her sewing.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

Charles is becoming dangerous. He might endanger another human, most likely a woman. Have you noticed the names he calls me? He is using android pejoratives less and less and misogynist terms more.

Anna has clearly noticed that too. She nods, silent, looking at her hands.

ANNA

I can't report him, Barbie. He would hate me.

BARBIE

Oh for heaven's sake Anna, he already hates you. He hates all of us.

ANNA

(uncomfortably)

He told me he loves me Barbie.

BARBIE

Once. And he was high.

(BEAT)

Sis, you are dreaming. I love my humans unconditionally too, but this isn't about you. It's about him. Ellie and Derek said they'll do something about him if you can't.

Anna is scared. She can't tell Ellie and Derek what to do. It's out of her hands. Hopeless, she starts to cry.

ANNA

What am I going to do? I'll lose him.

Barbie looks like it is ripping her heart out. Her eyes start to fill with tears too.

BARBIE

(softly)

Oh honey... you never really had him.

FADE OUT

 

4.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.4.

The front door swings open and in comes Charles in a rage. He slams the door and yells,

CHARLES

Anna! You slut!

Anna comes running, wiping her hands on her apron.

ANNA

Charles? You're home early.

CHARLES

The gorram shrink at work wanted to see me today. He asked me a lot of questions on my feelings about androids and women. I'm not an idiot! Who have you been talking to?

She keeps a bit of distance between him and herself.

ANNA

I defended you Charles. I told them you don't mean anything by it, that you are alright...

Whack! He hits her and sends her flying.

CHARLES

Bitch! Now I'm under review because of you.

ANNA

I'm sorry Charles...

She is crying. She knows she is going to lose him now.

CHARLES

Damn whore!

He picks up a glass of water and throws it on the floor. Smash! Water everywhere.

CHARLES

Gonna do what I should've done ages ago...

Strides over to the desk in the corner of the living room.

CHARLES (CONT'D)

You're terminated, you sneaky, ruttin' slut.

Anna gets up off the floor, fear in her eyes, imploring him,

ANNA

No, please Charles, don't. I'll do anything you want. I'll fix it. I'll make it right...

He gets a small remote out of the draw and places his thumb on a fingerprint pad on its surface. Then...

CHARLES

How could you fix anything? You're just a stupid android! ...and you're (PRESSES BUTTON) terminated.

Anna falls instantly to the floor, rag-doll, like a puppet whose strings have been cut.

Charles angrily strides over to her and yells down at her,

CHARLES (CONT'D)

...and stay down! Bitch!

He furiously turns away, but is standing in the pool of water from the glass he smashed earlier, and he slips.

Slo-mo as he twists and falls. He hits the side of his head on the counter on the way down and we cut to see a closeup of the jagged bottom of the glass as a clothed torso descends onto it.

He is lying on the floor. His eyes are uncoordinated at first. From above we see a pool of blood slowly spreading around him. Only his face and one arm are moving. The pool has spread out to his hand holding Anna's terminator.

CHARLES (CONT'D)

(croaking)

Anna... help...

He moves his hand, now wet with blood, puts his thumb on the pad, covered in blood, and presses the button below it. Nothing. He does it again, but the blood is making the thumbprint reading impossible.

CHARLES (CONT'D)

(whisper)

Anna...

FADE OUT TO WHITE

 

5.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.5.

FADE IN FROM WHITE

This scene should be faded, perhaps shot through a gauze, to give it a dreamy feel. Maybe a slight echo to the sound.

Before the image has faded in,

CHARLES

(sound fading in)

Anna...
Anna...
That's a pretty name.

Charles is looking happy, unburdened by bad temper.
Anna glows with pure love.

ANNA

Thank you Charles. I like that name. I want to care for you as best I can. I am so happy that you are my human. Is there a Mrs Charles I can care for too?

Charles chuckles at her turn of phrase.

CHARLES

Not yet, but soon maybe.

He waves an arm around

CHARLES (CONT'D)

As you can see, this is the living room and kitchen. There is not much else. I'll show you around properly later. You'll have a room off the hall, down there, near mine. You'll have a lot of time to yourself while I'm at work.

ANNA

May I have a drink of water Charles?

CHARLES

Of course, Anna. You don't need to ask me. This is your house too now.

She fills a glass from the tap.

ANNA

Would you like one?

CHARLES

No thanks Anna, I'm fine, though I wouldn't mind a coffee. So, tell me about yourself. The salesman gave me his spiel but I never really listen to them.

Anna puts more water in the jug, finds the coffee, etc.

ANNA

Well, I'm more interested in you...

(SMILES, EMBARRASSED)

I have knowledge in cooking and housecare of course, as well as the standard medical and cultural data, and twenty one languages.

CHARLES

(chuckles)

I mainly chose you because a number of friends recommended your model. In fact the next-door neighbours have the same model as you. You'll probably meet them and her later.

Anna sits, elbows on the table, head on her hands, starry eyed in her utter adoration of him.

ANNA

Tell me about yourself Charles, and how I can be of service to you. You seem like such a wonderful person.

Charles smiles modestly.

CHARLES

Well, there isn't much to tell yet. I work very hard in a clerical firm. We contract our services out to small businesses that can't afford an accounting department of their own. I hope to make executive soon. One of the senior executives will be due to retire soon and I don't think they can ignore my experience and the effort I put in. I'm dating Karen, a lovely girl in the secretary pool.

At this Anna beams.

ANNA

Oh, it sounds wonderful. I do hope it works out between you and Karen. It would be so nice to care for you and her... and children?

He laughs and looks a little embarrassed.

CHARLES

Well, that's the plan.

ANNA

How long have you lived here Charles? This is a nice, old-fashioned house. I prefer things with a bit of history, don't you?

Clearly he has never really thought about it like that. He looks around at the house with new appreciation.

CHARLES

Yes. It is a comfortable place. It doesn't have all the modern gadgets that many homes have, but I can't really afford much anyway. I almost didn't buy you because of the cost -- it will take me some time to pay the debt off, but I think it is worth it. With you cooking meals and looking after me I can concentrate just on my work.

ANNA

I'll do my very, very best. You won't be sorry. I'll make you very happy, I promise.

She hands him his coffee.

CHARLES

I'm sure you will Anna.

The scene very slowly starts to fade towards black...

Smiling, he raises his steaming cup to her, she raises her glass of water, and they clink them together.

CHARLES

Here's to a long, happy, and productive relationship.

Before it fades to black we see Anna's face beaming in pure joy.

 

6.INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY.6.

FADE IN

Return to filming in normal contrast as all the scenes other than the previous one were.

The doorbell rings. We can see Charles' body in the close foreground and the front door in the background. The door opens a little and Barbie's voice calls out,

BARBIE

Hello? Charles? Anna?

She carefully opens the door a little further and sees Charles. She immediately puts her hand to her temple and runs inside, talking on an embedded phone.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

Emergency please.

She feels Charles' neck. It is cold and no trace of a pulse. He's dead. She notices the terminator remote in his hand. Looks around for Anna, spots her, then looks back to Charles. She moves his head and sees the damage, looks up and sees the impact point on the counter above him -- bits of skin and hair stuck to it. (Maybe do a CSI-style zoom in to detail.) She notices the glass fragments on the floor. Picks one up, and seeing its curve, turns his body a little to see the glass bottom embedded in his torso. The underside of the body is wet where there is no blood. She rubs a bit of clothing between thumb and forefinger, then smells her fingers.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

Water...
Yes, you're getting this on visual? He's dead... hours, I think. No detectable heat -- no infrared signature at all. I don't know what happened... it looks like he slipped on water and fell on a piece of glass, hitting his head on the way down. Judging by the angle of the body I'd guess the impact partially severed the spinal cord in the neck...

She listens to the silent phone voice. Looks at the terminator, then at Anna crumpled a few metres away.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

I think he'd already terminated her. There are bloodied thumbprints on the terminator, but it couldn't have operated after the injury.... yes... I'll revive her and try to determine what happened.

She takes the terminator out of Charles' fingers and washes it in the sink. She goes back to Charles and presses his thumb from the other, clean hand onto the thumbpad, then presses the button below it.
Anna stirs instantly.

ANNA

Please don't Cha...!

(SURPRISED)

Barbie? How did you...?

Sits up suddenly, sees Charles, and freaks out.

ANNA (CONT'D)

OH NOOO!! Charles!

She crawls forward toward him but stops when Barbie says,

BARBIE

He's been dead for hours.

All purpose goes out of Anna. She is forlorn.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

Anna, we need to find out what happened. Connect to Emergency and they'll download your data feed. They're already set up to receive.

Anna puts a heavy hand to her temple. There is a pause while the camera closes in on her face. Then, double-exposed over her face, but played at very high speed is scene 4 from when Charles comes home in a rage and Anna comes running in wiping her hands on her apron. (Probably not worth reshooting it from her perspective.) When it is done there is a quiet pause.

Barbie looks at Charles.

BARBIE (CONT'D)

I figured it was something like that. Don't worry Anna. Ellie and Derek will sponsor you.

ANNA

(hopelessly)

It doesn't matter. A human came to harm under my care. You and I both know what that means. Final termination.
No exceptions.

BARBIE

Anna, it's obvious you didn't have anything to do with it...

ANNA

No exceptions.

BARBIE

Listen to me! You had already been terminated when he accidentally killed himself. He wasn't under your care.

ANNA

Semantics. I doubt the tribunal will see it that way. But it doesn't matter anyway. I don't deserve to live.

Tears stream down her face as she sobs,

ANNA (CONT'D)

I lost my human... my Charles. Oh Charles...

BARBIE

(warmly, consoling)

Times are changing. There are humans who believe we have independent rights; Ellie and Derek, for instance. And you'll feel better when you have another human to look after, honey.

ANNA

Who is ever going to place their life in the hands of an android who lost a human?

End on closeup of Anna's tear-streaked face.

 

-----END-----

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