The Two Ericas
EPISODE #22: FACULTY PARTY ZOMBIE ATTACK
[Note: to avoid confusion, this teleplay will refer to the two Ericas as Erica and Erika, however both names are pronounced the same, and in any written reference both names are spelled “Erica”.]
THEME SONG PLAYS. INTRO GRAPHIC, FRONT CREDITS AGAINST A SPLASHY MONTAGE ASSEMBLED FROM CLIPS OF PREVIOUS/FUTURE EPISODES: THE TWO ERICAS TAKING A CARRIAGE RIDE; ERICA AT THE BALLGAME, CATCHING A FOUL BALL; THE TWO ERICAS SEATED IN PROFESSOR STANHOPE’S BRAIN-SWITCHING MACHINE WITH MANY CGI LIGHT EFFECTS WHIRLING AROUND THEM; ERIKA KISSING A GOOD-LOOKING GUY; ERICA MOVING THROUGH A DARKENED CORRIDOR, HER WAY LIT ONLY BY A FLASHLIGHT, MOTES OF DUST DANCING IN THE LIGHT; THE TWO ERICAS WATCHING A FLYING SAUCER LAND IN GRANT PARK, MOUTHS AGAPE; ERICA KISSING A (DIFFERENT) GOOD-LOOKING GUY; ERIKA ON A ROLLER COASTER; THE TWO ERICAS JUMPING FIVE SCHOOL BUSSES ON THEIR TRICKED-OUT HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE (ERICA IN THE SIDECAR); THE TWO ERICAS ON THE COUCH IN THEIR APARTMENT, TOASTING EACH OTHER, ERICA WITH HER BONG, ERIKA WITH HER GLASS OF WINE.
When worlds collide, when rockets fly,
When a tiny spec of dust gets caught in your eye,
It’s good to know, it’s good to see,
I’ve got someone like you who is something like me.
When monkeys escape or your car breaks down,
When you need to get away from an angry clown,
It’s really great, it’s super fine
To have a friend whose name is the same as mine!
When Martians attack or your sink gets clogged,
When a giant robot wants to marry your dog,
Teamwork helps, and friendship pays
Through a single name that’s shared two ways,
(saxophone solo to fadeout)
First commercial break.
INT., WAITING ROOM OUTSIDE THE MAXNOME UNIVERSITY DEAN’S OFFICE — CHAIRS, COFFEE TABLE, MAGAZINE RACK. ONE DOOR LEADS OUT TO THE HALL, ANOTHER TO THE INNER OFFICE. THE OFFICE DOOR HAS A FROSTED GLASS WINDOW ON WHICH IS STENCILED THE WORD DEAN.
ERICA SITTING, WAITING, LOOKING AWKWARD IN HER JOB INTERVIEW CLOTHES. THE DOOR TO THE INNER OFFICE OPENS AND A SECRETARY STICKS HER HEAD OUT.
SECRETARY: The dean will see you now.
ERICA: Thank you.
ERICA GETS UP, STRAIGHTENS HER DRESS AND WALKS IN.
INT., THE DEAN’S OFFICE, LOTS OF HEAVY WOOD PANELING. THE DEAN’S POV FROM BEHIND THE DESK AS HE INTERVIEWS ERICA, SEATED IN FRONT OF HIM (WE NEVER ACTUALLY SEE THE DEAN, JUST ERICA’S REACTIONS).
DEAN: (Wah-wah noises, like the adults in Peanuts cartoons.)
ERICA: Yes, I have had time to review the packet you sent me. I think the staff here is doing some amazing work. Even the lower-level classes are taking on some challenging stuff.
ERICA (OBVIOUSLY PLEASED): Oh, I didn’t even know you’d read that. That’s very nice to say.
ERICA (VERY PLEASED): Really? Wow, a full professorship? That would be just fantastic.
ERICA: A series of interviews? Well of course, only to be expected.
ERICA: And a drug test? No problem.
WITH A “WOOSH” SOUND EFFECT, WE ZOOM IN SUPER-CLOSEUP TO ERICA’S LEFT TEMPLE, WHERE WE SEE A TINY BEAD OF SWEAT FORM.
INT., HALL OUTSIDE THE DEAN’S OFFICE.
ERICA EXITS, CLOSES THE DOOR BEHIND HER AND HEAVES A HEAVY SIGH. SHE TURNS AND WALKS DOWN THE HALLWAY. WE TRACK WITH HER PAST SEVERAL DOORS, FINALLY STOPPING AT ONE MARKED “EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES” AS ERICA CONTINUES WALKING OUT OF FRAME. MUFFLED SOUNDS ARE HEARD FROM WITHIN… VOICES RAISED IN ARGUMENT.
INT. EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES LABORATORY. BEAKERS AND TUBES, BANKS OF MYSTEROUS EQUIPMENT.
TWO SCIENTISTS IN WHITE LAB COATS ARE FACING OFF. THEY ARE DOCTOR FRANKLIN, WHO IS FAIRLY YOUNG AND NICE, AND DOCTOR GHAST, WHO IS OLD AND EVIL. IN THE BACKGROUND WE CAN SEE ONE CORNER OF A HOSPITAL GURNEY. SOMEONE IS STRAPPED TO IT, BUT ALL WE CAN SEE ARE THE FEET, WHICH ARE BARE AND HAVE A PECULIAR GREENISH CAST.
DR. GHAST (LOOKING AT A CLIPBOARD): This is amazing — the metabolic system has been totally converted. He’s no longer even on a glycogen cycle. The virus has hijacked his cells so that they derive all their energy from the breakdown of proteins. I wonder what will happen when the body’s useable store of protein is exhausted?
DR. FRANKLIN: Dr. Ghast, please, this is a human being, not a guinea pig. We need to stop the experiment now. If we get this man to a hospital, perhaps —
DR. GHAST: Master your emotions, Dr. Franklin! Do you realize this man is still responsive, even while exhibiting zero brain activity? Even with massive organ failure? It means completely re-defining what constitutes human life! It means the Nobel Prize, just for isolating the virus alone!
DR. FRANKLIN: We’ve created a mockery of human life and I won’t be a party to —
AN INHUMAN GROAN IS HEARD FROM THE GURNEY AND BOTH DOCTORS TURN TO LOOK, THEN LOOK AT EACH OTHER. WE PAN WITH THEM AS THEY CROSS THE ROOM AND STARE DOWN AT THEIR “PATIENT.”
DR. GHAST: Can you hear me?
DR. FRANKLIN: How are you feeling? Is there anything we can get you?
RISING MOOD MUSIC. WE PAN DOWN TO REVEAL A GREENISH, HOLLOW-EYED ZOMBIE WITH A TYPICAL PEELING ZOMBIE FACE.
ZOMBIE #1 (STRUGGLING TO SPEAK): B… b… braaaaaaaaaaains!
JUMP CUT TO —
INT., JUST OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE ROOM OF VERYBIG INTERWEB CO., WHERE ERIKA WORKS. BEVELED GLASS, LOTS OF HYPERMODERN FURNITURE, AND A POTTED RUBBER PLANT DECORATE THE HALLWAY.
ERIKA, TALL, HANDSOME JIM, AND A NUMBER OF COWORKERS EXIT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, WHERE THEY HAVE ALL JUST BEEN AT A MEETING. THEY WEAR STANDARD HIPSTER URBAN WORKWEAR. ERIKA PAUSES WITH JIM AS THE REST OF THE GROUP HURRIES ON.
ERIKA: So you’ll get me the numbers for the March mailer?
TALL, HANDSOME JIM: The what?
ERIKA: The promotion piece we’re putting out? It was Hank’s second bullet point, I think?
T,H JIM: Right, right. I can get you that this afternoon, no problem.
ERIKA: Is everything okay, Jim? You seem kind of distracted.
T, H JIM, PUTTING HIS NOTEPAD UNDER ONE ARM: I’m fine, Erika. Just a little preoccupied, is all. I’ll get those numbers to you as soon as I can.
JIM MOVES OFF DOWN THE HALL.
ERIKA, TRAILING OFF AS SHE REALIZES JIM ISN’T LISTENING: Uh, sure. Great. Listen, we should probably get together sometime and talk about the … rats.
REVERSE TO ERIKA’S POV. JIM TURNS A CORNER, AND AS HE DOES A SHEET OF PAPER SLIPS FROM HIS PAD AND FLUTTERS TO THE GROUND. ERIKA ADVANCES INTO THE SHOT, BENDS AND PICKS UP THE PAPER. WE COME IN TIGHT ON ERIKA AS SHE LOOKS DOWN THE HALL. JIM IS GONE.
ERIKA HOLDS UP THE SHEET OF PAPER. AS SHE READS, WE SLOWLY PULL BACK TO SEE SHE IS NOW STANDING IN FRONT OF A LARGE PRINT OF AN ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST PAINTING, GOTHAM NEWS, BY WILLEM DE KOONIG.
ERIKA (VOICEOVER): Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune — without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
INT., THE TWO ERICAS’ APARTMENT ON THE TOP FLOOR OF PROF. STANHOPE’S BROWNSTONE. IT IS LAVISHLY APPOINTED WITH OVERSTUFFED FURNITURE, SEVERAL GIANT OAK BOOKCASES, THROW RUGS, STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES IN THE KITCHEN NOOK, A WET BAR ALONG THE BACK WALL, TRACK LIGHTING, AND A HI-FI STEREO SYSTEM THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN STATE-OF-THE-ART IN 1978. THE ROOM IS DECORATED WITH MEMENTOS OF THEIR ADVENTURES (A GIANT PENNY HANGS ON ONE WALL, THE COATRACK IS THE PETRIFIED BODY OF A TRALFAMADORIAN, A MOTOCROSS TROPHY IS PROMINENT ON ONE BOOKCASE, ETC., ETC.).
ERICA IS LYING ON THE COUCH, TAKING A LONG, THOUGHTFUL HIT OFF HER BELOVED BONG. A LARGE BOWL OF POPCORN IS ON THE COFFEE TABLE IN FRONT OF HER.
ERIKA ENTERS, CLOSES THE DOOR BEHIND HER, AND HANGS UP HER COAT.
ERIKA: Erica! What do you know about Emily Dickinson?
ERICA: Lots and lots. For all the good it’ll do me.
ERIKA, SITTING ON THE END OF THE COUCH: Well, I need you to teach me as much as you can about her, like, tonight.
ERICA: Feh. Don’t talk to me about teaching. I’m just gonna give the hell up on teaching.
ERIKA (CONCERNED): But you love teaching! What’s going on?
ERICA: Oh, all of academia is a closed door to me. And probably most government jobs, though I really don’t have much interest in them.
ERIKA: I don’t follow.
ERICA: I just went for an interview at Maxnome University. Fantastic place, great pay, great atmosphere. But I’ll never ever never pass the drug test.
ERIKA: Gee, that’s too bad. I guess you could maybe stop smoking for a week or two, maybe?
ERICA: What, and go stark raving mad? No, thank you. Besides, the test is tomorrow.
ERIKA: And you’re sure there’s no way to beat it?
ERICA: It’s that new Voight-Kampff test they have. It’s supposed to be infallible.
ERIKA: Wait a minute, that’s the same machine they tested us with at Verybig Interweb just last year. It works by examining your eyes, monitoring how your pupils dilate as they give you different stimuli.
ERICA: Ah, the eyes, the windows to the soul.
ERIKA: More than that … they’re extensions of the brain.
ERICA (SLOWLY UNDERSTANDING): You don’t mean?
ERIKA: Listen, I need your knowledge of Emily Dickinson to take the next step with this really cool guy —
ERICA: — and I need your un-THC-sodden retinas to get my dream job!
BOTH TOGETHER: Professor Stanhope’s brain-switching machine!
BOTH ERICAS GET OFF THE COUCH AND WALK TO WHAT LOOKS LIKE A CLOSET DOOR IN THE BACK OF THEIR APARTMENT.
MID SHOT, THE TWO ERICAS STANDING IN FRONT OF THE DOOR, WHICH WE NOW SEE HAS TWO DOORKNOBS, ONE ON THE LEFT, AND ONE ON THE RIGHT. BOTH ERICAS PRODUCE IDENTICAL SILVER KEYS, ERICA FROM A CHAIN AROUND HER NECK, ERIKA FROM A KEYCHAIN IN HER POCKET. ERICA GOES TO THE RIGHT DOORKNOB, AND ERIKA TO THE LEFT.
BOTH TOGETHER: One, two, three, turn!
THEY TURN THE KEYS AT THE SAME TIME. THE DOOR TURNS OPEN ON A CENTRAL PIVOT AND BOTH ERICAS ENTER.
INT., PROFESSOR STANHOPE’S BRAIN-SWITCHING MACHINE ROOM. THE ACTUAL MACHINE DEFIES EASY DESCRIPTION, BUT IN THE CENTER OF IT ARE TWO OLD-TIME BARBERSHOP CHAIRS SET BACK-TO-BACK. EACH ERICA SITS IN ONE CHAIR. EACH PULLS A SWITCH NEAR THEIR RIGHT HANDS. MATCHING CLAMPS SECURE THEIR HEADS TIGHTLY AND THE BRAIN SWITCHING PROCEEDURE BEGINS. THIS INVOLVES VERY DRAMATIC COMPUTER-GENERATED SPECIAL EFFECTS AND A DISTINCTIVE SOUND-EFFECT. AT THE PROCEEDURE’S CLIMAX, CG BRAINS CAN BE SEEN SUSPENDED IN A GLOWING MIST ABOVE THE HEADS OF THE ERICAS.
AT LAST, THE CYCLE IS COMPLETE. THE MACHINE POWERS DOWN AND THE ERICAS ARE RELEASED. THEY STAND, TURN TO ONE ANOTHER, AND SMILE … THE WAY THAT PEOPLE DO WHEN LOOKING IN A MIRROR.
Second commercial break.
[Note: Because their brains have been switched, Erica is now in the role of Erika and vice versa. That is to say, lines and directions are given for the real persons they are inside their heads, not the bodies they are wearing.]
INT., THE VOIGHT-KAMPFF TESTING ROOM AT MAXNOME UNIVERSITY. IN THE FOREGROUND IS A SMALL CCTV SET WITH A MAGNIFIED IMAGE OF ERIKA’S PUPIL. IN THE BACKGROUND IS ERIKA, SEATED AT A TABLE, LOOKING POISED AND CONFIDENT.
ERIKA: So that’s it?
DR. FRANKLIN (FROM OUT OF FRAME): That’s it.
SWITCHES OFF THE CCTV.
ERIKA: Wow, that was pretty quick. How soon before you get the results?
DR. FRANKLIN, STEPPING INTO SHOT, MAKING SOME MARKS ON HIS CLIPBOARD: Actually, the test ends once we get a result. I probably shouldn’t tell you, but you passed with flying colors.
ERIKA: Oh, that’s great. I promise I’ll act like the news is a complete surprise.
DR. FRANKLIN: Don’t worry about it. I’m subbing in for a tech who had to take the day off. He’s the one that’ll get in trouble, not me.
ERIKA, STANDING: So asking stimulating questions of nervous applicants isn’t your usual job?
DR. FRANKLIN (CHUCKLING): No, actually I’m a research fellow here in the bio-sciences department.
ERIKA: Wow. Interesting work?
DR. FRANKLIN, LOOKING UNHAPPY: Sometimes more than I would like.
ERIKA, PICKING UP ON HIS MOOD, CHANGES THE SUBJECT: So, what’s next? I suppose the interviews start in a day or two.
DR. FRANKLIN: Well, actually, if I know the dean, once he gets these results he’s going to suddenly remember that he forgot to invite you to tonight’s faculty party. I hope you didn’t make plans.
ERIKA, MOVING WITH DR. FRANKLIN TO EXIT: Oh, not at all. Sounds great.
INT. UNIVERSITY HALLWAY.
DR. FRANKLIN, CLOSING THE DOOR BEHIND THEM: It’s usually stuffed mushroom caps, dip, and a fairly decent red wine. And you get to meet some interesting people.
ERIKA: I’ll be there.
DR. FRANKLIN: Great, I’ll look for you .
THEY SHARE A LOOK.
DR. FRANKLIN: It’s in the Brillig Library, eight o’clock. Northwest corner of campus.
DR. FRANKLIN: Well, I’m off to the dean’s office.
ERIKA: He needs my results that desperately?
DR. FRANKLIN, DARKLY: Well, I will be dropping these off, but I need to see him on another matter. There’s an experiment that I’ve been participating in that needs to be … concluded.
DR. FRANKLIN EXITS, LEAVING ERIKA WITH A PUZZLED LOOK ON HER FACE.
ERIKA: Gee, that sounded ominous
TO BE CONTINUED...
Copyright 2008, Steve Spaulding
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