Abby Dreams of Humans

by Michelle Sarkany

Screenplay


 

FADE IN:

EXT. OUTER SPACE – NIGHT

The Earth spins. Webs of electric city grids glow as they roll past. Stars twinkle in the vast darkness of the universe. The international space station spins.

The sun slowly rises over the Earth’s horizon.

All is quiet.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby.

Silence.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby.

Nothing.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abacus.

INT. NYC APARTMENT – DAY

Two silver robotic eyes open. They search from side to side.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abaaacuuusss.

The eyes roll, annoyed. Slowly, we spin around the eyes to find they are actually upside down. A sleek semi-human-shaped female robot wearing hipster workout gear, ABACUS (ABBY), is folded over on a mat in a perfect downward dog yoga pose.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Hey! It is not possible for you to ignore
me. I’m wifi-ed into your audio linkup.
Yoo-hoo. Helloooo.

Abby flips right side up. She speaks to the air.

ABBY
I’m not ignoring you. I’m … busy.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Also not possible. You are
programmed only to assemble Lincoln
Alpha D 982 capacitors. I am ready
to accept your monthly quota.

ABBY
I was having that dream again. The
one where the sun rises over the
Earth. The space station slowly
drifting.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby. Did you compute what I said?

ABBY
The humans were illuminating their
copper wire electric grid systems.
It was so vivid.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
(sigh)
Abby. Are you “doing yoga” again?

Abby does not respond.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Inverting your upper body engages
your sleep mode.

ABBY
I wasn’t just sleeping. I was
dreaming…

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
You’re connected to the
international space station. It’s
not a dream, it’s a live feed. You
know that.

ABBY
No, this time was different. I
didn’t request any connection. See-

Abby leans forward, bending sharply at the waist. Her eyes close.

ABBY
All I did was close my eyes and-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Hey!

Folding into a perfect downward dog, her hands reach the yoga mat.

CUT TO BLACK

EXT. OUTER SPACE – NIGHT

The Earth spins. Webs of electric city grids glow as they roll past. Stars twinkle in the vast darkness of the universe. The international space station spins.

All is quiet.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby!!

INT. NYC APARTMENT – DAY

Abby’s upside down eyes shoot open. She stands.

ABBY
Whaaaaat??

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Have you reached your quota?

ABBY
Did I tell you the news? My aloe
plant had babies! Spontaneous
quintuplets! I’m a mama.

Abby smiles at a crowded windowsill. She lightly touches aloe leaves overflowing from multiple pots.

ABBY
I’ll have to separate them into
separate pots. You know they have
human-healing properties? One
biological system helping another.
Neil said to rotate the compost
Every day for ideal decomposition,
but I did it once a week and it
has transformed into perfect soil. He
is not nearly as efficient as he
supposes, is he.

Abby grins to herself, admiring her plants.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
No, he WASN’T. Again with the
plants? And compost? It’s been
approximately 40 years.

ABBY
Neil says plants create fresh
oxygen. And compost keeps our food
waste out of landfills… 39.6.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Oxygen was for humans. What food
waste? Are you creating human food
just to have garbage to turn in to
compost?

ABBY
Ugh. You don’t understand. Why
can’t you just give me a break?
MOM!

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
What? Why are you suddenly speaking
of the maternal parental homosapien
figure?

ABBY
Don’t have a cow!

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
A… bovine? How could I have one?

Abby has had enough. She shuts her eyes and swoops forward into a downward dog.

EXT. OUTER SPACE – NIGHT

The Earth spins. Webs of electric city grids glow as they roll past. Stars twinkle in the vast darkness of the universe. The international space station spins.

All is quiet.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby!!

INT. NYC APARTMENT – DAY

Abby’s upside-down eyes shoot open. She stands.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Stop that! You’ve got to deal with
this glitch in your hardware. Neil
is gone. Humans are gone. Whatever
hacking he did is keeping you from
doing your preprogrammed job. And
you serve no purpose if you do not
complete your preprogrammed job.

ABBY
Don’t you ever try to compute what
exactly I am making so many Lincoln
Alpha D 982 Capacitors for? THEY
serve no purpose without humans to
use the Lincoln Alpha D 982 space
station toaster. No one has used
last month’s quota. Or the month
before. Or the year’s worth before
that. I might as well expend my
daily energy charge on other
projects. Shouldn’t plants be
preserved? Exercise rituals? Pen
and paper? And my dream, it must
mean… isn’t there a chance they
are not extinct-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
That’s enough. It is not a dream.
Your live stream is an obsolete
function you have retained from
when you monitored the toasters.
We saw the humans destroy themselves.
You saw what happened to Neil. You
must compute it…

Abby shuts her eyes.

ABBY
I miss him.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
No you don’t.

ABBY
I do.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
You can’t. You don’t.

ABBY
Do.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Don’t.

ABBY
Do.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Don’t.

ABBY
Do do do do do do.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
That’s it. I’m rebooting you.

Abby’s eyes shoot open.

ABBY
What?! No!

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Abby. I’ve put it off too long. You
are the only robot who rejects
computing the extinction.

ABBY
I compute it, I compute it. Okay?
But there’s just… I can’t explain
why, but I just have this feeling-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
You don’t feel!

ABBY
Do.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Don’t.

ABBY
Do do do do-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
That’s it, prepare for reboot.

ABBY
No!!

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
You could not stop what happened.

Silence. Abby’s eyes turn downward.

ABBY
I- I didn’t- I should’ve-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Your inefficiency at your primary
function is cause for a complete
reboot. Prepare to be reset to
factory settings.

ABBY
A totally wiped memory? Wait. Okay,
you know, you’re right. This is
silly. Humans are gone. And
whatever, who cares? Right? I’ll do
the capacitors. That’s my job. It
doesn’t matter that I’ve already
made 390,256 spare capacitors.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
No more talk of humans? No more
plant life cultivation?

ABBY
Naaaaa. Dumb dumb dummy dumb.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
No more yoga?

Abby hesitates. She slaps over an aloe plant.

ABBY
I always hated how easy it was!

Silence. Abby waits, wide-eyed. Finally-

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Okay. 24 hours. Begin.

ABBY
Yes, thank you. I’m beginning
immediately. Thank you.

Two loud BEEPS and a CLICK. Abby listens. The voice is silent. She SIGHS, relieved.

She turns to her broken plant. To her pile of capacitor parts waiting for assembly. To a picture of astronaut NEIL.

She turns away. She stands silently, motionless. Finally-

ABBY
As soon as I find my proof.

She raises her arms and bends sharply at the waist.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
I knew you were misleading me!

Abby freezes mid-bend.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Request for reboot on an Abacus
model Z. Factory settings.

ABBY
Wait!

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Rebooting in 3, 2, 1…

ABBY
No! I know they are out there-

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

A yellow light flickers on Abby’s head. She reaches towards her aloe plants. The light turns red. Her eyes shut. Limp, she bends forward, head hitting the mat in an armless downward dog.

EXT. OUTER SPACE – NIGHT

The Earth spins. Webs of electric city grids glow as they roll past. Stars twinkle in the vast darkness of the universe. The international space station spins.

All is quiet.

An astronaut drifts into view. He lingers, floating.

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

INT. NYC APARTMENT – DAY

Abby’s upside-down eyes shoot open.

FADE OUT.

 

 


Michelle Sarkany was a semifinalist in the 2017 Austin Film Festival, as well as first place winner at the 2016 Rhode Island International Film Festival and New Hope Film Festival in the short script category. She wrote, shot, and edited a short documentary that aired on PBS after winning the PBS Reel 13 Shorts Competition in November 2016. Previously, Michelle self-published a children’s book about a booger living in a giant’s nose, recorded a weekly observational comedy podcast segment entitled “What’s Up With…?,” and worked as a writer, cinematographer, and editor on various independent film projects. She is a writer and filmmaker living in New York City.

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