Pink Slip, Marigold War

Story inspired by ‘Gaussfraktarna’ by Simon Stålenhag.

Scene screenplay for the Pictonaut challenge of November 2014.

EXT: PARKING LOT (ERM, CAR PARK), CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA, 2083.

It’s 8 p.m. on the West Coast of America and it’s a humid April night in 2083. We’re in a parking lot in the suburbs that lie outside of Culver City which has now, in the year 2083, been re-appropriated as a key intergalactic freight transport hub.

Three gargantuan cargo spacecraft of Fen-Gnooii origin hover over the urbanised space in the background, but we’re more interested in the foreground. Here, waiting on the wet tarmac of this parking lot by his vintage Saab 900 Sedan, is FLICK FLORES. He’s in his late thirties, has hair in a top-knot, a fake white leather jacket and a pair of retro 3D glasses (he claims they take the edge off bad trips). Dishevelled and ill at ease, he looks and acts like a drug addict because he is a drug addict.

He’s clearly impatient – scratching around at himself, pacing about in a small space – and he’s kept the motor running so he can make a quick getaway if necessary.

He’s waiting here because he’s about to engage in an illicit transaction. He’s waiting on an old friend who, he hopes, will be handing over some drugs. We hang with him and his quiet impatient seething for a few beats…

FLICK

C’mon… c’mon…

And here comes his man. The eerie green lamplights around the parking lot (erm, car park) dim a little as if there’s an energy surcharge and then, in the open space of the lot, there’s a blast of orange electric energy in mid-air. The figure of a man forms out of emptiness in the middle of sweep of luminous bands and then – as the golden light-halos dissipate – he drops to the floor and stands up smartly.

The figure is a smiling, cocksure man – REX J. REYMONT. He’s holding a Fen-Gnooii teleportation virge in his hand and he twirls it and slides it into a special holster hooked onto his belt. Reymont is also in his thirties though is obviously in better health and shape (mental and physical) than his compatriot. He looks unnaturally clean and wears haute couture neoprene clothing, a pair of retro Converse an offbeat unmatching accompaniment to his quite other-worldly look.

He takes a deep breath of the fresh suburban air (actually not very fresh at all) then sighs with obvious satisfaction. Then he looks at Flick and grins widely…

REX

H’yeeeeah. Okay, Flick…

Flick nods, semi-respectfully…

FLICK

Rex. Travellin’ in style, I see.

REX

H’yeeaah, the Fen-Gnooii know a thing or five-hundred-and-thirty-three hundred about fast travel. But hey though…

He waves an arm at the Saab…

REX

Sometimes, I miss me the good ol’ days of wheels an’ axle grease an’ burnin’ rubber, know what I’m sayin’?

FLICK

She’s for sale, if you’re looking…

REX

Nah, Flick friend, I ain’t lookin’. They ain’t got a lot of roads on Fen-Gnooii 6…

Flick is flinching impatiently. He just wants to cut to the chase.

FLICK

Yeah, yeah, well I know what they got a lot of on Fen-Gnooii 6 so how ’bout we just get to it? Show me, now. Wha’cha got for me?

REX

H’whoa h’whoa! Now, Flick, my friend! Why the rush, huh? I teleport over here as a courtesy and then, before one Earth minute’s gone by you’re hustling me without so much as a ‘howdy do?’ or a ‘heya Rex, pal, how’s work in another galaxy treating you?’ What’s happening in those other star systems?’ You hear me?

Flick looks slightly chastened. Rex catches this, looks mildly troubled for his old friend for a moment and then proceeds to try and perk him up…

REX

Ah, Flick, don’t you worry none ’cause I got them things that I know you like. You after that good, good pink stuff right?

FLICK

You got Pink Slip?

REX

I got your Pink Slip. Primo-grade. Real powerful batch, my good lady-alien says. Two hundred grammes in my back pocket and ten kilo blocks in my strongbox back over on the ship. Thought I’d give you a little taster first, get you the rest later.

FLICK

Alright, alright alright.  How much?

REX

For you, s’gonna be seventy-five thousand dollars.

This is a terrible shock to Flick. He double-takes and gags when he hears the high price.

FLICK

What?! Seventy-five thou!

REX

Uh huh.

FLICK

Wha?! That’s, like triple the regular price! What gives, Rex?!

REX

It’s a rare commodity, Flick, and I’m providing an especially rare, personal service. The price reflects that, right?

FLICK

But seventy-five thousand!

Rex’s manner is that of a superior officer lecturing a grunt or a high school teacher breaking it down for an ignorant student.

REX

Well, friend, it’s not just our little world that’s a-hungerin’ for the unique thrill of Pink Slip. You ever consider that other star systems might be itching for the drug and doing business with the Fen-Gnooii? No, you probably never did. Anyways, I’ve got you great quality product and I have to run some pretty big risks to bring it into your neighbourhood. I mean, imagine if I were to get caught by the DEA or Customs Patrols with this on my hands, you feel me?

Flick is just staring at him. He knows that Rex is probably right and that he’s helpless, craving for a fix and in no fit shape to turn the embezzler away. Rex continues right on…

REX

Now, Flick, you know that there’s nuttin’ like this on Earth and that you need it. Need it real bad. I got this stuff – the best stuff – just for you so, c’mon, seventy-thousand dollars, por favor…

FLICK

And that’s for the whole package? The whole damn thing, that in your pocket and the ten kilos you got stashed safe?

REX

For all of it, it’ll be seventy-thousand dollars, three bottles of Grand Marnier, a night out at Ten-Pin Tia’s Bowling Palace and a hand job.

Rex says this deadpan. Flick simply looks back at him with a disbelieving “Are you serious?” expression splashed all over his wan face.

REX

I’m serious. Those Fen-Gnooi, man. Very warm and gentle but, y’know, they only have three fingers and that orangey, scaley texture skin…

Suddenly there’s a tremendous loud booming noise. Rex and Flick swiftly turn to look at the remote horizon. We see that the exterior of one of the cargo spacecraft has been rent apart by a small explosion. Several louder, larger explosions now follow and soon the craft is completely enflamed and then disintegrating, falling to the ground in the distance. The other ships move wildly trying to remove themselves from the area. Back on the parking lot Rex is shaking, realising that something has gone very wrong and that his life is being turned upside down right before his eyes…

REX

Oh no. No!

FLICK

Rex, what is that? What’s happening? Rex?

Rex reaches for the teleportation virge on his belt, looks down at it then looks at the exploding craft and thinks better of it. He eyes at the motor in front of him and then Flick and decides on his course of action.

REX

Okay, get in the car, Flick. Let’s go, Get in the car!

FLICK

But the Pink Slip…

Rex is frantic though and insists, panic pouring out of a man who only seconds ago was a picture of easy calm…

REX

Just get in the car! Do it! Go!

Flick, too afraid to argue and too desperate to resist, does as he says. Both men duck into the Saab and then it reverses back jerkily.

REX

Go go! Hit the gas! Go!

Flick gets it into gear and the car shoots off, skidding its way out of the parking lot (car park) and down the hill, heading towards the city-cum-intergalactic cargo hub that’s now ablaze with flames, noise and the kind of hellish confusion that could potentially pull several star systems into disturbed disarray…

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2 Comments

  1. Pictonaut Screenplay Challenge: ‘Pink Slip, Marigold War’… | ENTER... JAMES CLAYTON
  2. Midnight Freight | The Rogue Verbumancer

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