ATW: 24 (minutes) (Part Three)

Previously on ATW: 24 (minutes)

(Split screen. Nathan is on one side still at his computer. Chris is on the other side knocked out on the floor. The digital time layout says 6:52.)

(Screen cuts to Miguel’s phone beeping again. We hear the toilet flush. Miguel comes out and picks up the phone. He looks at it, and dials out. Nathan answers it.)

NATHAN: Stout.

MIGUEL: You called?

NATHAN: You get my message?

MIGUEL: No, couldn’t be bothered to listen. Just called you back. This will give you a chance to expound some exposition.

NATHAN: What are you talking about?

MIGUEL: In a narrative, when a character gives information that is necessary to back story. It’s called exposition. Just trying to be funny. What’s up? Has Chris gone rogue?

NATHAN: What? You’re very weird today. It’s like talking to Miguel if Chris was telling him what to say.

MIGUEL: Maybe he’s over here with a gun to my head telling me not to warn you that he’s coercing me.

NATHAN: I know he’s not, because he’s in the living room, probably delighting in the knowledge that I’ll never get this done in time. Besides, he wouldn’t threaten your life. He would threaten something that meant something to you.

MIGUEL (altering his voice to sound like Chris altering his voice to sound like Kiefer Sutherland altering his voice to sound menacing): Tell him what I told you tell him, or I’ll eBay your Star Wars action figures.

NATHAN: Ok, now I believe it.

MIGUEL: So what’s going on?

NATHAN: Chris gave me until 7:00 to write a spoof of “A Christmas Carol.” He said we’d shoot it if I was done by then. I called you hoping you could tell me something about the book. When you didn’t answer, I tried writing based on ideas Chris threw out earlier. That’s as far as I got. I found “A Christmas Carol” online, but I don’t have time to scour source material and write. It’s a lost cause.

MIGUEL: Maybe not.

NATHAN: Even if you told me some of the story specifics, I’d need to script out three ghost encounters in a little over five minutes…

MIGUEL: No, you don’t. I wrote a script for a spoof of “A Christmas Carol” back in the Sniffles (sniff) days. Let’s just say that Chris wasn’t interested in shooting it. I could email it to you and you could print it. Chris would never know it’s mine. He’d be obligated to finally make my spoof.

NATHAN: Send it.

MIGUEL: Ok. Give me a moment.

(Miguel sits in front of his computer and types importantly. His eyes grow wide and disbelieving.)

MIGUEL: It’s not here.


MIGUEL: It’s been erased. Whoever did this wants to ensure that the sketch never gets shown on public access.

(Nathan holds the phone away from his face and looks at it funny. He puts it back to his ear.)

NATHAN: Stop being dramatic. Are you looking in the right directory?

(Miguel types importantly.)

MIGUEL: Oh, there it is. Ok, I’ll email it. It should be there in a minute.

NATHAN: Ok, thanks. I take back anything I’ve said about you for at least a week.

(In the living room, Chris is coming too. He holds his head as though it hurts. Nathan is sitting there, but like Miguel Ghost, well, he’s Nathan Ghost.)

CHRIS: Are you going to hit me over the head with a bottle too?

NATHAN GHOST: No. I’m the Ghost of Public Access Present. I’m just here to talk to you about the script that my alter ego is working on.


NATHAN GHOST: Because in my Hell there is no Net Runner.

CHRIS: Ok, fine. I’ll listen. But be quick. I don’t think I’m going to be convinced to do this sketch even if he really did have time to write it. Are you going to show me another scene from my life?

NATHAN GHOST: Yes. A scene from the present.

CHRIS: Ok. I’m ready.

(Nothing happens.)

CHRIS: Um. Ok.


CHRIS: You’re not funny.

NATHAN GHOST: I wasn’t aware I was being funny.

CHRIS: Right. That’s what I said. So why are you even here? You didn’t have to come here to show me what was going on right now. Shouldn’t you show me what everybody else is doing in the present that will teach me some sort of lesson about why I shouldn’t be so grouchy about doing a spoof of “A Christmas Carol?”

(Nathan Ghost snaps his fingers and we see the split screen with the time log. On one side Miguel is typing importantly. On the other side Nathan is staring at the computer importantly.)

CHRIS (voice over): That’s pretty cool.

NATHAN GHOST (voice over): Thanks. Unfortunately, they aren’t talking, so it’s a little dull.

CHRIS (voice over): Yeah. Did you do that with editing software?

NATHAN GHOST (voice over): Yeah, After(life) Effects.

CHRIS (voice over): Looks good.

(Miguel taps a button on his keyboard in a very important way that indicates that he just sent something. Nathan’s computer beeps indicating that he has email. Nathan looks pleased at something. The side of the screen that showed Miguel now shows Chris standing with Nathan Ghost. Nathan stands up and turns on his printer.)

CHRIS: Wait. Nathan didn’t write the script. He’s a traitor to the ATW. He contacted Miguel and got the script Miguel wrote years ago.

(Nathan starts to hit the printer lightly. He kneels down to see if it is plugged in. It’s not. He plugs it in and turns it on again.)

CHRIS: I have no proof that that’s Miguel’s script cos I never read it. If he prints that…

NATHAN GHOST: Wait, look at the screen. It says, “Super Funny Spoof that Chris, My God, Will Love; by Miguel McGinty/Cruz.” As long as he doesn’t clear that information, you have your proof.

CHRIS: He’s sitting down. He’s about to type importantly, and then print it as is. I won’t have to…

NATHAN GHOST: He’s stopping. He sees the authorship coding, uh, information.

(Chris starts to walk toward the bedroom.)

CHRIS: I have to stop him before he highlights the text and hits delete.

NATHAN GHOST: I can’t let you do that, Chris.

(Chris turns to see Nathan Ghost holding the empty 2-liter.)

CHRIS: Nathan Ghost… why?

NATHAN GHOST: It’s part of my orders for the community service. I can’t go back to an afterlife without Net Runner. And there are those in power that want this spoof made. This goes higher up the chain of command than you know. You saw more than you should have. I was supposed to come and just convince you that it was a good idea, but you’re so stubborn.

CHRIS (menacing action hero voice): I’ll show you stubborn!

(Chris runs to the refrigerator.)

NATHAN GHOST: I’ll show you stubborn? That’s your action hero one-liner? That’s sounds like something you’d say to a four year old before you put them in timeout.

(Chris pulls out a 2-liter of Diet Coke. Nathan Ghost gets a look of fear, and starts backing out the door onto the pool deck.)

NATHAN GHOST: What are you doing, Chris? It’s a desperate man who would betray his soda of choice just to best the enemy. You swore to protect your own personal constitution of life rules and self help mottos.

(Chris follows Nathan Ghost onto the pool deck.)

CHRIS: I don’t like having to take these actions, but there are some things that are more important, like public access freedom.

NATHAN GHOST: But you’ve made a mistake. The 2-liter is not an effective weapon unless it’s empty. You won’t drink the Diet Coke. And you don’t have time to pour it out before I’ll knock you out.

(Nathan Ghost smiles maniacally, and moves toward Chris raising the empty Dr. Pepper 2-liter. Chris suddenly spits out a capsule wrapped in plastic that he had under his tongue into his hand. He twists the cap off of the Diet Coke.)

CHRIS: Alka-Seltzer.

(Chris breaks the plastic on the capsule and puts the Alka-Seltzer into the 2-liter.)


(Nathan Ghost tries to rush Chris, but the amazing power of Alka-Seltzer in Diet Coke empties the bottle quicker than anyone could on their own. Once it’s empty he twists the cap back on, and pops Nathan Ghost over the head. Nathan Ghost staggers backward, finally falling over into the pool. Chris pants, looking as though he’s just been through an ordeal, but suddenly he gets a look on his face as though he’s just remembered he must stop Nathan. He turns and walks into the house. He only gets a few feet into the house when he is hit over the head by an empty 2-liter. He staggers and falls back on the couch. He looks up to see himself in a ponytail. He recognizes Chris from the Future.)

CHRIS FROM THE FUTURE: I’m sorry, Chris. I can’t let you stop him from printing that script.

(Chris pulls his cell phone from his pocket and looks at the time. It’s 6:58. Then he passes out.)

(And we wait for Part Four)

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