Contesting - Part 4
A sequence of revelations bring the most shocking object yet
The following is the fourth part of an original series I’m writing and releasing exclusively as a serial to my audience on Substack.
It’s the pre-story to a thriller set in the not-too distant future.
A WOMAN and a MAN wake up in a room, wearing only their underclothes. They have no memory of who they are or how they got there. As they dialogue, faint memories of a common past materialize, as do strange objects that become clues to the tragic story of their arrival in the room. when start to piece together their history and the tragic events of the outside world, their quest for understanding becomes a fight for survival.
A WOMAN in her later 40s
A MAN of the same age who, like the woman, cannot remember his name
Paid subscribers can access behind the scenes audio notes from Andrew on the making of Contesting.
Contesting Part 4 - Outfitted
WOMAN A body bag.
MAN It can’t be.
She steps closer to it.
Wait, what are you doing?
WOMAN I want to see what’s inside.
MAN But it might be a body.
WOMAN That’s usually what they’re for.
MAN Leave it alone. It’s...
MAN No, it’s more than that.
She slowly unzips the bag, peeks inside. He braces himself.
WOMAN Well, what do you know. No body here. It’s clothes.
MAN Maybe it’s our clothes.
She brings it to the centre into the light.
Maybe they're gonna let us out of here.
She reaches in to pull out two sets of prison coveralls. One blue, one pink, fit to their respective sizes.
WOMAN I don’t think so. You’re the attorney. What do these look like to you?
He hands the pink one to her.
This seems like a sexist cliché.
MAN You gonna put yours on?
WOMAN I don't know.
MAN It'll keep you warm.
WOMAN I don't like the optics of it.
MAN What optics?
WOMAN Us putting them on.
MAN We don't even know who's watching us - that is if anyone is watching us. Plus, I'm cold. My balls have crawled up into my abdomen and are quickly making their way to my armpits to keep warm.
WOMAN If we put them on it's like we're admitting to something.
MAN We are. We're admitting we're cold.
He pulls on the suit.
[Yelling to whomever] Whoever's out there, I'll just have you know that by putting on this jumpsuit, I'm confessing to my coldness and nothing else, in hopes that my balls will once again return to their intended place.
He models it for her, strutting around. She reads the number on his chest (which also appears in lettering on the back of the jumpsuit).
WOMAN Number 00011. You look like a prisoner to me.
MAN And I look like I could use a partner in crime. They're warm.
He grabs his crotch, feels around exaggeratedly, mimes relief.
Really warm. [To his balls] Welcome back, boys! [To her] Look, you're shivering. Stop being so darn stubborn.
She reluctantly puts the coveralls on. She starts to rub her arms and legs when outfitted. Finally she stands content.
MAN That's better, huh? Number 00013. Lucky number.
WOMAN I thought you weren't superstitious.
MAN You said that, not me.
WOMAN I did?
MAN Yeah. Before the smoke. You think we were really married?
She looks at her ring finger and rubs it.
WOMAN Yes, I do.
MAN But that we're not anymore?
WOMAN Question is... Why did I leave you? For unfaithfulness?
She looks around the room, expecting an increase in lights.
MAN Who’s to say you're the one who filed for divorce?
WOMAN Let’s be real here.
MAN Excuse me?
WOMAN [Toward the darkness] Irreconcilable differences?
MAN [Toward the darkness] She was unfaithful to me?
MAN Refusing conjugal rights? [Beat] I can't think of any other reasons. Why else do people divorce?
WOMAN You're the lawyer.
MAN And what about David? He's... he's yours.
WOMAN You don't know that.
MAN David, he's mine too. He’s our son.
THUD and more lights. A sign board with her number, unlit, appears.
WOMAN This is a bad dream. For all we know, we're making all of this up!
MAN You were pregnant, with David, when the nuke went off on the Champs-Élysées in 2026.
THUD and more light. A board with his number, unlit, appears.
WOMAN How can you know that? I don't know that.
MAN You're the mother of my child.
THUD with increased light. An electric chair appears.
WOMAN What is that?
WHAT IS THAT?
MAN We both know.
WOMAN How did it get here?
MAN I don’t know.
WOMAN What's that doing here?
MAN It's for us!
WOMAN How do you know that?
MAN Look at the leather straps.
WOMAN What do you mean “us”?
MAN Look at our numbers on the wall.
MAN Look at the numbers on our backs.
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