ATW: 24 (minutes) (Part Four)

Previously on ATW: 24 (minutes)

(In the bedroom, Nathan is watching the printer. It’s printing too slowly for his taste. His cell phone rings. He sees it is Miguel.)

NATHAN: Stout.

(The screen goes to split with Nathan on one side and Miguel on the other.)

MIGUEL: I just had a disturbing visit from the Ghost of Public Access Past. Thanks to the Ghost of Public Access Present, Chris knows I sent you my script, but he has no proof. I’ve deleted all traces of it from my computer, and from my email. You must clear your email, and change the user information on the file to show that the file is yours, and was created today. Then he’ll have to accept it as your work.

(Nathan opens his email, by typing importantly. He hits some keys forcefully to clear all record of the email transaction. He then uses “Save As” to make the file new and originated on his computer. He deletes Miguel’s version and empties the recycle bin. He sighs as though he’s been through an ordeal.)

NATHAN: It’s done.

(The printer stops printing.)

NATHAN: And so is the printer.

MIGUEL: And with only five seconds to spare. Take it to Chris. Hurry!

(The screen shows the seconds counting down until 7:00. The screen cuts to Chris in the living room knocked out on the couch. His alarm clock on his cell phone goes off, and he comes to. Nathan walks into the room.)

NATHAN: It’s 7:00 and the script is done.

(Chris stands up from the couch.)

CHRIS: I know what you did.

NATHAN: But you can’t prove it.

(Chris walks away. He goes to put the groceries away. Nathan watches him for a moment.)

NATHAN: I don’t know why you have to be so opposed to this.

(Chris doesn’t say anything. He just keeps putting things away.)

NATHAN: Look at it this way, Miguel will definitely want to help out on this one. I know you can’t prove why, but you have to admit that it’s at least a good enough rationalization.

(Chris stops putting stuff away.)

CHRIS: Ok, fine. Let me see it.

(Nathan’s concerned look changes to a wary smile. He hands the script over to Chris. Chris takes it and half-heartedly looks at it a little bit.)

CHRIS: Mind if I make a few minor edits?

NATHAN: Of course not.

(Chris pulls out a cigarette lighter, which is odd because he doesn’t smoke, and starts moving the script towards it.)

CHRIS: I don’t like this part right here.

NATHAN: I can just reprint it, Chris.

CHRIS: And I can keep burning them until you run out of ink.

NATHAN: This is so pointless, this arguing. Don’t you see that?

(Suddenly, Chris from the Future phases in)

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: I’m going to have to ask you to put the lighter away.

CHRIS: You hit me over the head. I’m not happy with you.

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: If that sketch doesn’t get made the future is horrible: death; war; pestilence; bad pop music masquerading as art. I was sent back to stop you from catching it on fire.

CHRIS: Are things really that bad?


(The three of them look at each other silently.)

CHRIS: Fine. I’ll stay home from the show tonight, and we’ll get this shaped up and storyboarded.

(Nathan exhales relieved. Chris from the Future stands down a bit. Chris sets the lighter down.)

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: I have authorization to help you with the opening shots if you’ll go get your camera. If I don’t ensure that there is progress toward the completion, I might return to my own time to find that things are still bad.

NATHAN (to Chris): You up for it?

CHRIS: Yeah.


(Nathan turns away smiling. He walks into the bedroom. He picks up the professional grade video camera that Chris has nicknamed “The Jedi Turret Cannon” because of its size. He checks the tape in it, and sees that it contains footage from a previous shoot. He looks to his desk where he sees a blank tape. He walks to it and picks it up. As he turns to leave the room the large camera swings around catching the edge of Nathan’s external hard drive. It falls over and makes a strange sizzling noise. His computer screen goes blank. He sets the camera on the floor and checks the connections on the hard drive. The time pops up on the screen showing 7:05:29. Seconds pass and there is a dawning realization on Nathan’s face.)

(In the living room, Chris from the Future is receiving a transmission in his earpiece.)

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: I just received confirmation from the future that all other copies of that infernal script are destroyed. That’s the last one.

CHRIS: Infernal?

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: You can’t allow that sketch to be made. I was lying to get Nathan too close to his hard drive.

NATHAN (entering the room): Chris, I need to see the script real quick.

(Chris moves quickly to grab the lighter. He flicks it a couple of times, and it doesn’t seem to want to start. Nathan moves to intercept, but it finally lights and the script burns quickly. Nathan has no time to get to it before it is ruined. The screen goes black and the last few seconds tick until the timer reads 7:06. Then the screen goes fully black, followed by the credits.)

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