Troubleshooting

I apologize for the poor formatting. I will try to figure out a way to make sure everything looks cleaner next time. Sorry, Keegan, your pieces were the guinea pigs.

-Hannah

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Rules Version II, Electric Boogaloo

by Keegan Sims

 

Sound of Law and Order Gavel

LAW ENFORCEMENT ROOM

A stack of papers is on a table in front of CHAD “CHET” HOWARD. BRUCE sets a lunch tray in front of Chet.

CHET

What’s this for?

BRUCE

You’re going to be here for a while, Chad.

Chad props his feet up on the table.

CHET

It’s Chet.

Bruce puts his hands on the table.

BRUCE

Chad, do you know why you’re here?

CHET

I have a feeling you’re gonna tell me.

BRUCE

You’ve managed to violate every single rule.

CHET

I’ve been working on that for a while.

Bruce

Don’t you know what’s expected of you?

Chet rolls his head back and leans forward, placing his legs on the ground in a wide stance.

CHET

(Gradually becomes more and more mocking)

Do not disrupt the learning environment. Follow all school rules. Give cooperation and respect to all adults. Be courteous to peers. Academics are your first priority.

BRUCE

Do you know these because you break them so often?

CHET

I don’t know, Lieutenant Dan, what do you think?

BRUCE

I think we’re going to fix you.

Chet takes a drink of the milk. The side of the carton reads Mind Control: Now with more calcium.

Zoom out to:

Reveal the rest of the LAW ENFORCEMENT ROOM.

A chair, a projector, a screen sit in the half of the room that we have not seen yet. Beside the chair is a desk with a jump rope, tape, and plastic handcuffs.

BRUCE

We’ve developed a treatment plan for you, Chad.

DOC. WATSON pulls the screen down and turns on the projector with a remote. Screen reveals a PowerPoint titled: The Terrible Things You’ve Done and subtitled: The Ludovico Technique©

BRUCE

It’s called the Ludovico technique.

Doc. Watson leads Chet into the chair and ties into place using the jump rope.

BRUCE

This high-tech machine (gestures to jump rope) is here to

show you a couple of videos.

CHET

What kind of videos?

BRUCE

Just watch.

First video begins playing.

CHET

Hey, that’s me.

BRUCE

Enjoy.

Bruce turns the lights out and walks out, shutting the door behind him.

Cut to:

ROOM

Chet walks into a classroom and scrawls “Vandalism” on the whiteboard.

CHET

This is true art!

He throws the marker into the air

CHET

Chaos!

Cut to:

SOCIAL STUDIES HALLWAY

Close-up of the of social studies bathroom door

VOICE

(Falsetto)

Boy, I sure hope that no-one catches us smoking, drinking, and

performing lewd acts in the bathroom.

Cut to:

SCIENCE HALLWAY

Chet is walking down the science hallway.

ADMINISTRATOR

Now, what in the H-E-C-K do you think you’re doing?

Get to the tardy table.

CHET

I’m saggin.

ADMINISTRATOR
Sagging?

CHET

Yeah, I got it down to a science.

ADMINISTRATOR

Well, you look like a fool with your pants on the ground.

CHET
My pants on the ground?

ADMINISTRATOR

With the gold in your mouth, your hat turned sideways,

and your pants on the ground. You think you’re a cool cat?

CHET

Yeah, with my pants on the ground.

Cut to:

CENTRAL FOYER

Chet is talking with two of his friends.

CHET

Hey guys, you wanna leave campus and see my car? It’s parked right outside.

FRIENDS

Sure, why not, bro?

Cut to:

OUTSIDE OF LABAGUETTE

Chet and his friends are admiring his awful vehicle.

FRIEND #1

Cool car, dude. When’d you get it?

CHET

A little bit ago, but I got a new spoiler.

They circle around to the back of the car. A bumper sticker reads SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE.

FRIEND #2

I’m only on Chamber of Secrets!

CHET

Well, it ain’t a secret no more.

Cut to:

MATH HALLWAY

Chet enters through the front doors and walks into a room.

TEACHER

Where have you been? You’re tardy.

CHET

I haven’t been anywhere. Where’ve you been?

TEACHER

I’ve been waiting for you to come give me a tardy slip.

TEACHER goes for one, which Chet doesn’t have.

TEACHER

Wait a minute, you smell like milk. Have you been drinking again?

CHET

(almost childlike)

Nooo. Have you been drinking?

The teacher goes to grab at Chet’s backpack, and he backs away. The teacher makes another attempt to grab at the backpack, and succeeds this time around. She looks inside and pulls out a carton of milk.

TEACHER

I thought as much. Go to the office.

CHET

This is an udder disaster.

Cut to:

ENGLISH HALLWAY

Multiple students are running from door to door tagging each one with printouts of famous paintings, including Soup Cans, Starry Night, Mona Lisa, and The Persistence of Memory.

Teachers peer out of their doors.

TEACHER #1

This is disruptive!

TEACHER #2

Do you have a hall pass?

TEACHER #3

Gang activity!

TEACHER #4

I HATE WARHOL.

Cut to:

COMPUTER LAB

Chet is texting wildly and laughing obnoxiously. Beside him is another student typing rapidly.

TEACHER

Can you please put your phone away?

CHET

Whatever.

He pretends to put it away. He leans over to the student.

STUDENT

(whispering)

You won’t like him when he’s angry.

Chet glances at him, visibly annoyed.

CHET

Shut up. I know you can type faster than that.

The student looks up, frightened. Chet puffs his chest up.

CHET

Get on with it.

He goes back to texting and laughs obnoxiously. Moments later, the teacher returns and smacks the phone out of his hand.   

Cut to:

CLASSROOM

TEACHER

We’ve only had class twice this week, but you’ve missed the homework three times.

How you’ve done that, I don’t know.

CHET

This class is absolute PROFANITY.

The class gasps exaggeratedly.

TEACHER

Did you just use profanity in my class?

CHET

Yeah, what’re you going to do, suspend me?

TEACHER

Yes.

Teacher points towards door of classroom.

Zoom out to:

LAW ENFORCEMENT ROOM

Chet is staring at the projector, wide-eyed. Bruce steps over to Chet and says:

BRUCE

I think you’ve had enough.

Chet nods. Doc. Watson and Bruce unstrap him.

Cut to:

CLASSROOM

Chet is silent in the room, to everyone’s surprise. The other students glance over at him from time to time.

FRIEND #1

What’s wrong with you, bro?

Chet doesn’t respond, only speeds his writing. His friend frowns and turns away.

FRIEND #2

What’s his problem?

Later:

Friends #1-2 are walking down the Social Studies hallway. They see another student and proceed to attack him. Chet intervenes by walking into the middle of it and eating a bag of chips.

FRIEND #2

What are you doing, man?

Chet continues to eat his chips. An administrator rushes up the stairs and grabs Friends 1 and 2.

ADMINISTRATOR
And what are you doing?

Chet shrugs his shoulders, grabbing for another handful of chips.

ADMINISTRATOR
What’s your name?

Chet shrugs his shoulders again. The administrator pulls out a clipboard.

CHET
It’s Howard. Chet Howard.

The administrator flips through a few pages.

ADMINISTRATOR
Chet. Here you are. Right now you have… 45 unexcused absences.

The administrator looks up.

ADMINISTRATOR
That must be a record of some kind. Wait a second. It says that you also have… one excused absence.

CHET

So I guess it’s not all bad, huh?

ADMINISTRATOR
It says it’s signed by Gandalf the Pink. You didn’t even try, did you? I’m not even sure what the consequence for this is. Let’s go, kid.

Cut to:
LUNCH ROOM
The room is filled with the usual lunch chatter. A dull roar echoes around the room. Chet is sitting alone, looking at his tray and shaking his head. A choir of gasps comes from the tables around him, and, above all, a scream is heard.

VOICE
Food fight!!!

Around the room, a flurry of papers is volleyed back and forth. It is pictures of food, and a great deal of the students look mildly irritated that it isn’t the real thing. One of the students picks up a real piece of food and lobs it upwards. It lands on Chet. His face clouds over, emotions conflicting with one another. Eventually, his good side gives up the fight. He stands up on top of the lunch table and lets out a cry.

Cut to:
Central foyer, 4:16 PM
Chet is strolling around the school, a grin plastered across his face. Several administrators speak to him, but are not audible

CHET (V.O.)
They say that the administration has the right to make the final decision on any issue.

The administrators grab his arms.

CHET (V.O.)
And maybe they do. Maybe they have everyone under their thumb. And me?

We see Chet being escorted out of the school.

CHET (V.O.)
I was cured all right.

The screen goes black.

Agitprop

by Keegan Sims

Aneta

    Have you ever watched traffic blur past and slowly come to the realization that you will never know anything about the driver? Have you ever wanted to peer into the lives of the extras that populate the film of your life, to explore the catacombs of their existence, grasping at the walls as you lose yourself in their tunnels and their bridges to a thousand more lives whom you, too, do not know? In one of his moments of vulnerability, our father revealed to me that he wanted to dig up these underground anthills and bring them into the brilliance of the sun. For him, solidarity was strength, but unity was power.

Matvei

Our father compared the family to a familiar food chain: wildflowers wilt without apiarian pollination; grasshoppers require botanic respite; rats starve without entomological sustenance; snakes press for murine nourishment; hawks clamor for serpentine production. But what good does the hawk do? Who depends on the hawk? What right has the gluttonous hawk to usurp the creations of the enslaved, to leech, like a heartworm, off the blood of the unempowered? Much in the same way, we, as a unit, were deprived of a voice with which to cry out against our sponging ancestral wrinkles.To rectify this ultimate perversion of power, he took it upon himself to vanguard us into a new existence. He encharged himself with the daunting task of inverting the familial power system.

My father’s father was at least ten years past the average age. Our family constituted the entirety of his companionship; his wife had gone far earlier and our father’s patience had worn thin years before. Why must he, in his adult life, take care of his own selfish father as well as his children? His father had nothing more to live for. Without a job, or even an inkling of purpose, some bare contribution, with no wife, and no-one to befriend someone so clearly adamant in rejecting the simplest of society’s conventions so why, why was he still here? We saw him as sucking us dry to prolong an unnatural existence. Every life must come to an end, and he wasn’t brave enough to do it himself, so our father had to provide the courage he didn’t find.

One night, with the family gone, and with the hush that he had come to know so well over the years spent rolling into his unjustified accommodation, smoke fluttered into his room. From the kitchen, small crackles and orange flickers danced into view, first flirting with the walls and carpet and then more confidently crawling from the stove they had came from.

After the fire, the devouring and transformation, we were, for the first time in our family’s history, without shelter; a consequence of the revolt against the suppression held by my father’s father. It is true, we existed in his home, but we did not live there. We maintained it, kept what little blood that still ran through it warm, worked like mill horses to prod some heartbeat back into the farmland’s clogged veins, never for more than a brief glimmer of gratitude, faded to his ever-present scowl, whispering for more. Communally, we rebuilt a home, but more importantly, redesigned the family. No longer did the power originate in the fangs of a parasite, a mere hole in the bucket into which the labor of the family was poured and siphoned out without reward, but instead distributed across lines which we drew ourselves, determined by contribution to the ultimate betterment of the family.

Our father received the most justified share.

Askar

    The old way, as our father referred to it, was before my time. It was described as such: traditionally, a worker would build a house to sell it, to make a profit, and to use what earnings he could keep to fund the construction of another house. He put this as a clear example of dressed-up slavery, inferring that once the worker had accepted his fate of endless building, he was no longer in control of his own destiny, but rather puppeteered by men who exploit his labor.

The most basic principles of a civilized school of thought will state that only once those who control the production overthrow those who control the means of production, who reap the benefits but do not work, will arise the utopia promised to us. When the most oppressed may rule and the oppressors ruled will we all have what we deserve. Once the carpenter builds a home out of love of the work, rather than love of money can there be semblance of equality.

Our father built our house to be lived in. He worked until his hands had calloused over to the extent that his thumbs were barely distinguishable. Our family, as he said, drove him to work, what he called a true labor of love. For this reason, we elected to transfer to him the right to guide us into a greater future. For him, the future was one without an eternal struggle between the have and have nots, one where our interests were put first. No longer would the hardest working relative be looked down upon or the laziest rewarded for living off of what others had created. We advanced ourselves underneath his guidance, separated from the agrarianism that we had seen ourselves doomed to by his father.

If a running man attracts some attention, then our family caught the crowd of a marathon. Our way opened the floodgates: every man with a bent back and a heart turned against his oppressor dropped his shovel and came marching in with a raised fist to our commune, looking for a life outside of ceaseless work. Our father accepted every one of them. I learned to treat them as though they were my family, because every man there was a brother in spirit.

We set forth from there. The family expanded, but our progression did not. Our father became increasingly concerned with how we lived. He confided that he felt we were not utilizing our greatest potential and advancing ourselves as rapidly as he knew we could. For this reason he felt that his strength must grow as we did, so not to let our community wither away. We had learned to trust his direction, we had seen what happens when we went our own ways, forsaking all his instruction in some childish need to rebel.

In our community, insurgency became self-destruction, inherently suicidal. The way our father saw it, it was some born-in drive to feel above his peers. Men like that had no place in our way of life.

Yakiv

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That was his favorite saying. That was everyone’s favorite saying. That was his excuse, I guess, for the way he treated his father. In his eyes, his father wasn’t doing anyone any good, so why even keep him around?

For him, life was too crystallized. It was too permanent. He likened it to being born with both feet stuck in the mud. But death, death was plastic. Malleable. You can live your entire life as little more than a footnote to another footnote. But if you go out the right way, then you’re immortal. His father became immortal, you could say, some time in October.

It was his rationale, I imagine, behind the way he built our house. Which isn’t to say he built it himself. He stressed that we must build it together, for the good of the family.

    When I say we, I really mean everyone but him. Under his supervision, of course. His watchful eye, protecting us from ourselves. From imperfections and laziness. We got it right the first time. If it wasn’t good enough to die for, it wasn’t good enough to live in.

    Once we had charged through that mountain with our eyes closed and finally cleared the other side, a famine hit us. It wasn’t like we hit a bad spell in the weather or had a lackluster harvest. I mean, having a disappointing harvest requires there to be one in the first place.

    Our father insisted, for whatever reason, that we stop farming. He said it he was to free us to progress on our own accord. But really, it was just another one of our father’s great leaps away from his father. Another way to kick his old man in the teeth and rub in just how wrong he was. It wasn’t too bad of a famine, at least in his eyes. No-one important died.

    Then came The Dissent, as our father put it. A group of, I don’t know, fifty men decided that they weren’t going to just starve because our father said so. That didn’t last long.

After that, our father just stayed in the house and glared at everyone outside the window. Our sole communication with him became the looks he shot us whenever we made eye contact, which lasted more or less until he died.

I’m not entirely sure how he died, but then again, who really cares?

Iulian

    I cannot express my level of apathy. I wasn’t sorry to see him go. But it wasn’t much of a vindication either.

He died in his sleep. What am I supposed to get out of that? He didn’t go in some gory mess. He didn’t burn out like his father. He had a stroke. What a justification.

I’m sure The Dissenters would have loved that, just as much as he loved them.

They say they don’t know why The Dissenters did what they did, but really it’s obvious. You don’t eat for three days and you don’t know who you are anymore. Our father certainly knew that. No-one close to him knew that. They’re the ones who miss him the most. But I can’t understand why anyone else does.

If you listen to a buzz long enough, does it start to grow on you?

The communals say yes.

I suppose that if you live with a mosquito long enough, after a while, you want him back underneath your skin.

And now where are we? Stuck in limbo until someone thinks to grab the biggest stick and become our new father. Make this revolution permanent again. Then live out the next fifty years waiting until you die on your own or someone speeds the process up for you. But that’s cynical.

Not necessarily wrong.

It just seems like there’s a lot more hate now, but it’s always been there. We’re just more willing to express it. Not to say that it’s not without reason. It’s all deserved. The Dissenters tried to tell us that years ago. Look where that got them. Look where it’s got us.

    Our father relied on hate. We are pushing his kind back with the same measure. Does that make us any better? Or even any different?

Matteos

    People say our father was a heartless man. This is not true.

    He was focused.

He had a problem with the way his father held control over us. But he was not one to yell about his problems and then sit back and return to the old way of life, as some of us were accustomed to. He wished to move forward. To make change.

Our father saw that talking and compromise did not achieve anything and knew he could do better.

Summer.

He and his father had reached their latest ferocity. His father tripped in the manic speed with which our father was running towards our empowerment.

A man pushing a cart. Everything he owned there.

He approached our father and revealed to have heard everything. The anger and disappointment. He related to him his gratitude.

Out from his cart he pulled a flower. It was as wilted, as tired as he was.

He handed it over, then continued down the road.

That man give our father a purpose. A mission. A symbol of the people: dying, but not beyond resurrection.

Our father was not heartless. Instead, his heart had gone out to that man.

János

    Father’s father died. Fire. Love and belief. Way and voice. My voice. Too. So build. Home black and brick broken and leather black. And deserved it, earned it. Because good for us good for me. Where are his thumbs? Where are his thumbs? Worked. Life. And I, rancid. Secreted. Thoughts surround. Yellow stars in black night. Red, now, fades. Crop? Abandon. Rotten, rotted through core. Industry. Inanition. Apostasy. And burial. Window and daggers. Abaddon.

Fellow Creative Writers:

As we all know, the Prathe strongly suggests we publish our final products by putting our grade on the line (yikes). To make passing possible, I’ve made this blog for us to publish on. I know it’s not the prettiest, I’ll try to work on that. I hope that this makes everything easier for you guys. And, who knows, what if somebody sees what we’ve put on here? Here’s what I’ll need you guys to do:

1. Email me your final draft at my student email (hannah.bernard@stu.fayette.kyschools.us) AND tell me in person that you’ve emailed me. I don’t check my email, but I will if you tell me your piece is resting in my inbox.

2. That’s about it.

Good luck, everyone. I hope this makes the project a little less stressful. I will be posting the URL for the blog in class tomorrow (Monday, 1/13/14) and my student email right beside it. Good luck on your projects.

– Hannah