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Analogic

The following screenplay is a tribute to those with mental disabilities, such as high-functioning autism, who find a creative means to overcome their malady.

By Eric BergquistPublished about a year ago 19 min read
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Screenplay by

Eric Bergquist

Additional Thanks to Manny Rios Alers, Morgan Cefalu, and Collin Roasseau

BLACK SCREEN:

SUPERIMPOSE:

“’IF YOU ARE CURIOUS, YOU’LL FIND THE PUZZLES AROUND YOU. IF YOU ARE DETERMINED, YOU WILL SOLVE THEM.’

-ERNO RUBIK”

1 INT. ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM - DAY 1

A young CUBIST BOY sits playing with a Rubik’s Cube in back of a class of his peers. The rest sit, all in their various colored T-shirts, attentive, while he remains preoccupied with the cube.

A young TEACHER stands at the front of the room. Hearing the CRINK of the Rubik’s Cube, she suddenly turns around.

Jacob, fixated on the toy...

TEACHER Jacob...

Before long, he starts to notice the eyes of his classmates all on him. Looking around, he final notices the teacher.

TEACHER (CONT’D) Jacob! Can you answer the question?

A startled look from Jacob.

The teacher shows reasonable concern.

The boy looks around nervously, unable to answer.

TEACHER (CONT’D) How many times are we going to do this? Do we have to call your mother?

Jacob remains silent.

With a look of disapproval...

TEACHER (CONT’D) Can someone help him?

A number of his peers hands shoot up. Jacob sits with a defeated look.

Motioning to return back to the toy...

2 INT. COLLEGE CLASSROOM - DAY 2

JACOB, now college age, sits in the back of his class. In his hands is none other than a Rubik’s Cube.

PROFESSOR Okay, class. We will pick up this discussion next class.

A quick glance to Jacob in the back from the PROFESSOR.

The students leave, Jacob taking extra longer to put his things away, as if trying to keep them in a discernible order. On a corner of his desk sits the cube still.

SAMANTHA, a sweet look to her, sits a desk behind to the side, still writing in her notebook.

A look of frustration.

SAMANTHA I just don’t get it.

Jacob overhears and looks over his shoulder. Leaning over, Jacob peers at what she has in her notebook.

JACOB It’s quite simple. To get the number of permutations, just do the number of parts factorial times the number of orientations to the same power and that should give you how many different ways everything can be arranged.

SAMANTHA You mean like combinations?

JACOB Not technically, but sure.

SAMANTHA Oh, thank you! That helped a lot. I’m Samantha by the way.

Samantha extends her hand out. Jacob hesitates for a moment and shakes it.

JACOB Jacob.

SAMANTHA Nice to meet you. Is that a Rubik’s Cube?

Jacob turns around to the Rubik’s Cube still on the corner of his desk.

JACOB Oh yeah...

Jacob grabs the cube and hands it to her.

SAMANTHA These are cool. Even though I never really get these things.

As she speaks, Jacob quickly eye’s her making absurd twists with the cube.

JACOB Hey! Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Samantha puts both her hands up in alert.

SAMANTHA I’m sorry. I messed it up- didn’t I?

Jacob grabs it out of her free hand and she willingly lets him.

JACOB You can’t just rotate it in any way.

She looks at him befuddled.

JACOB (CONT’D) See, these have 54 different faces. The Rubik’s Cube is made up of 21 parts; or 26- depends how you look at it (pauses) -some call the middle pieces one because they don’t move- (continues) 12 edge pieces, and 8 corner pieces. You can rotate the edge pieces and not rotate the corners but you can’t rotate the corners and not rotate the edges. You rotate them randomly, and there’s about 43 quintillion different ways you can arrange it -that’s 18 zeros. Only one way is probably how you want it.

SAMANTHA I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to mess it up.

Students from the next class suddenly start to pour into the room and the two begin to get out of their seats.

3 INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY 3

The two step into the hall side-by-side now and Samantha turns to Jacob.

SAMANTHA Thank you for helping me with the problem. (perking) I hope to see you around.

JACOB (subtle) Bye.

Samantha walks off. Jacob, a pondering look, stands in the hallway by himself now.

4 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 4

Jacob, on the side of his bed...

JACOB I really don’t know what to think of this girl! I mean, she’s incredible!

MICHAEL, Jacob’s roommate, stands now fixing his hair in the mirror.

MICHAEL Whatever you say man.

Jacob, offset, returns to an upright position on his bed and starts twisting away at the Rubik’s Cube.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) Are you going out tonight? There’s this one party down the street. It’s going to be epic.

JACOB Ehh, not particularly concerned about parties or any of that.

MICHAEL Dude, you haven’t gone out at all this semester. You gotta get out for once and enjoy yourself a bit.

Jacob continues with his Rubik’s Cube, shaking his head lightly.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) Listen, tonight I’m going to comeback with someone, so can you try not to be here?

JACOB When will that be?

MICHAEL I don’t know, but you can stay in the common room or something.

Further silence. Jacob repeatedly solves, scrambles, and re- solves the cube at a seamless pace.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) Agree?

Nods reluctant.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) Thanks. You got anything going on with any girls?

Jacob gives him a crooked look.

JACOB Yeah, kind of.

MICHAEL Yeah?

JACOB There may be something with Samantha.

MICHAEL Dude. You’re way over thinking it. She was just being nice to you. Girls don’t think like that. And the Rubik’s Cube thing? That’s not attractive. Heck, I can’t even bring girls back here because of that.

Jacob sits with a weakened look.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) Look, I need to go. But remember what I told you.

Jacob nods and the roommate walks out.

Jacob makes a few alterations to the cube until the blue side is the only side finished. Staring on, it slowly consumes his frame of view.

5 INT. COMMON ROOM - MORNING 5

Grey, blue light drearily pours in through the window as Jacob sits up on the couch, blankets over his lap, with a depressed look.

He reaches for his backpack leaned up against the side.

6 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 6

Jacob sits two rows away from the window, bleak light streaming in with a blue look to the space. He meekly twists about the Rubik’s Cube now as the professor walks around the room passing back tests.

A test is dropped on the corner of his desk- a failing grade.

7 INT. HALLWAY - DAY 7

Jacob walks down the middle of a dimly lit hallway, the lockers a particularly blue color, twisting the cube about still.

Students to the sides can be seen avoiding him.

8 INT. DINING HALL - DAY 8

Jacob sits eating alone at the end of a long stretch of table. The dreary light from outside continues to come in.

Other students around can be heard saying how it’s been dreary out all morning.

9 INT. LOBBY AREA - DAY 9

Jacob sits now on a couch toying with the Rubik’s Cube, a kid next to him in all shady colors blasting music through his head phones. Behind them is a blue wall.

Leaning forward, Jacob stares at the one completed blue side of the cube.

Suddenly breaking this apart, Jacob begins to construct the red side of the cube.

Putting the final red piece in place, down from here, out of a warmly lit hallway, enters none other than Samantha. She is wearing mostly red.

Jacob suddenly lights up at the sight of her.

SAMANTHA Hey, how are you?

JACOB Hey. I’m... good.

SAMANTHA Still have the Rubik’s Cube?

A gesture from Samantha.

JACOB Yeah.

He tilts the cube out. Standing stopped...

SAMANTHA You done the stats stuff yet?

Jacob, awkwardly looking at the cube paused.

JACOB Nope.

SAMANTHA I really don’t get it. I’m not so good at that stuff.

JACOB (pauses) Well, if you need help at all, I mean, I can help you or tutor you.

SAMANTHA Oh, really!? That would be really great!

JACOB It’s no problem.

SAMANTHA Oh, thank you! We’ll plan a time to meet up then. I’ll message you later.

JACOB Umm, okay!

SAMANTHA I’ll see you later!

Samantha walks off.

JACOB See you!

Jacob sits, astounded.

10 INT. HALLWAY - DAY 10

Jacob walks confidently down the middle of a warmly lit hallway now, the cube away in a netted pocket of his backpack.

A group from a greek organization walks by with all red shirts on.

11 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 11

Jacob sits near the window now, fist under his chin looking out. The day has gotten nicer out with blue skies visible.

A smirk forms as he looks out.

12 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 12

Jacob walks in and sits down at his desk behind his computer screen excitedly.

Shortly after, his roommate enters with an intrusive BANG.

Dropping his backpack next to his desk, directly opposite Jacob’s, the roommate plops onto his bed.

The backpack falling over into Jacob’s space, Jacob looks down at it annoyed for a moment. Suddenly, a ping comes from his computer.

On the screen, a message box is open. In it- “HI!” Jacob looks intently at the screen now.

On it, he is now looking at an album of Samantha’s photos.

In the message box now- “OKAY, LETS PLAN FOR 4:30 AT THE LIBRARY”

Jacob looks down from this with a smile and starts fidgeting with the cube again.

He now completes the orange side of the cube by itself.

Jacob stares down at this biting his lip, the orange light from his desk lamp now evermore present in the space.

13 INT. LIBRARY - DAY 13

Jacob sits now, legs together, on a small couch in the library alone, the walls and all else surrounding him appearing orange. He appears to be trembling nervously.

He exhales. Closing his eyes, he starts moving his head back and forth.

A student wearing an orange shirt suddenly walks up to him.

STUDENT Excuse me.

Jacob opens his eyes and looks up at him.

STUDENT (CONT’D) We usually use this space for studying.

Jacob appears thrown off by this.

JACOB Oh?

STUDENT Can we have it please?

Jacob shrugs his shoulders.

JACOB I, umm. I don’t know...

STUDENT (annoyed) Whatever man.

The student walks off, leaving Jacob looking flustered.

SAMANTHA (O.S.) Hey!

Jacob looks across to her, smiling nervous.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) So I can only meet for a little bit tonight.

JACOB Oh.

SAMANTHA (perky) So we’ll have to plan to meet again maybe tomorrow night. Now, I really just want to be ready for the test next week.

Jacob appears to show a flush of relief.

Opening notebooks, Samantha looks at him.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) Everything alright?

JACOB Yeah- yeah...

Jacob leans in to look at what she has.

14 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 14

Entering the room, Jacob quickly plops down on his bed with a look of fulfillment.

Pulling out the Rubik’s Cube, Jacob starts fidgeting with it again.

Completing the green side, he suddenly overhears his roommate on the phone, opposite side of the room.

MICHAEL (O.S.) Jenny? The other night? Nah man, I dropped her off... dude nah, I dropped her off... I dropped her off...

Jacob, with a sly look, looks off in his roommate’s direction and then returns to his Rubik’s Cube shaking his head.

15 INT. COMMON ROOM - DAY 15

Jacob and Samantha sit together in a room surrounded by green walls. He opens a green notebook and points to his notes for Samantha.

JACOB So you see, if you have this many colors than you can arrange them in this many ways-

Samantha, looking down at the page, eyes wide...

SAMANTHA Wow...

Jacob smiles.

16 INT. COMMON ROOM - LATER 16

The two stand at the entrance to the common room.

SAMANTHA Thanks again for all your help!

JACOB It’s no problem. (pauses) You know, if you want to meet again maybe tomorrow to go over it a little more, we can do that.

SAMANTHA Oh really? I didn’t want to suggest that because I didn’t want to take up too much of your time.

JACOB Oh no, its totally fine.

A gleaming smile from Jacob.

SAMANTHA Oh. okay!

Samantha begins to walk off.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then.

Jacob remains standing in the doorway.

17 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 17

Entering his room, Jacob goes immediately to his desk. Turning his display on, an email is open-

“HI JACOB, I STILL HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED YOU’RE PAPER. PLEASE TRY TO GET THAT TO ME SO THAT I CAN GIVE YOU A GRADE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”

Changing windows, Jacob peers at a message box now. In it- “SO, WHAT TIME DO YOU WANT TO PLAN FOR?”

Jacob sits pondering.

18 INT. DORM ROOM - LATER 18

Jacob sits in his bed with his notebook rested on his knees.

On a page filled with statistics notes, in the middle, a line of arrows pointed up, down, left, and right with “RUBIK’S CUBE ALGORITHM” underlined above it, Jacob circles a note he made at the bottom.

“ASK HER OUT?”

Picking up the Rubik’s Cube from the side, Jacob moves a single row in place to complete the yellow side of the cube.

Jacob looks at this with a stale face.

Dropping the notebook down onto his bed, in the light from his desk lamp the pages appear to have a yellow look.

19 INT. LIBRARY - DAY 19

Jacob sits now at a table in the library as people around passively go about their business, the area with a yellow tint.

Jacob spots Samantha walking up to the table now, books in her arms.

JACOB Hey!

SAMANTHA Hi.

Jacob looks to the books she’s holding.

JACOB Oh, I can get those for you.

SAMANTHA Oh, umm... okay.

Samantha shows a confused look as he grabs the books from her and puts them on the table for her.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) Thanks.

Opening up her notebook, she looks to a specific part on the page.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) So, do you remember how to do this?

JACOB Oh, umm, well let me see.

Leaning in to look at her notebook, he moves awfully closer to her.

Samantha looks visibly uncomfortable by this.

20 INT. LIBRARY - LATER 20

Both sit silent now, looking at their own notes.

Jacob edgily continues to tilt his head in her direction.

Suddenly...

JACOB So, umm... so, when I first offered to tutor you before... what did you think of it?

SAMANTHA Umm... I thought it was really nice.

JACOB I mean, umm... did it mean anything to you?

With a slightly perturbed look...

SAMANTHA No, not really.

Jacob nods his head a small amount. Sitting now in silence, his head remains angled down in her direction.

Suddenly motioning...

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) Umm, I have to go now. I’m kind of getting tired.

She quickly gathers her things and starts to move around the table. Stopping, she turns around to Jacob.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) Thanks again... though.

Jacob sits, a look of anxiety in his face.

SAMANTHA (CONT’D) See you.

She walks off. Jacob remains sitting quiet, alone, his notebooks still laid out on the table as they were.

21 INT. HALLWAY - DAY 21

Jacob walks down the middle of a yellow tinted hallway now, the cube away in a netted pocket of his backpack.

A group from a greek organization walks by with all yellow shirts on now.

22 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 22

Jacob sits near the window now, fist under his cheek looking down. The blinds are closed and the yellow tinted fluorescents seem to overpower the space.

Jacob bites his lip as he looks down.

23 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 23

Up front stands the professor now lecturing to the class.

PROFESSOR Okay class, make sure to study for the exam for next time we meet.

The students now pour out. As Samantha passes Jacob’s desk, he now looks to her.

JACOB Hi.

SAMANTHA Hey.

She continues along.

After a moment, Jacob walks up to the professor.

Noticing Jacob...

PROFESSOR (cheerful) Jacob.

JACOB Hi professor.

PROFESSOR So, you think you’re ready for the exam?

JACOB I think so.

PROFESSOR So what can I do for you?

JACOB (pauses) So, I’ve been doing some tutoring.

Jacob makes little eye contact now.

PROFESSOR Oh? Good for you!

Jacob nods his head in agreement, still looking away.

JACOB Professor? When you were in college, how did you deal with relationships and balancing work? I mean, friendships, relationships, stuff like that?

Jacob looks up now.

PROFESSOR What do you mean?

JACOB I just struggle a lot.

PROFESSOR Well, a lot of us struggle, we’re all busy people.

JACOB It’s just, dealing with relationships. It’s a lot to handle.

PROFESSOR I think the idea is to just not let that affect you too much.

Paused, Jacob nods his head.

24 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 24

Jacob walks in and sits down at his desk behind his computer screen.

Across the room, his roommate now lies on his bed with a videogame controller looking at an illuminated screen.

Turning his display on, Jacob looks intently now at the screen, scrolling.

And then he sees it- “IN A RELATIONSHIP”

Jacob finds himself leaning back now, off from the screen.

Looking down to the Rubik’s Cube on the corner of his desk, he slowly starts fidgeting with it again, destroying the completed yellow side.

After a moment, he suddenly lets the cube drop, careless, over the top of his hand onto the desk and now drops his head into both his hands, tensed.

25 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 25

Jacob sits two rows away from the window, colorless light streaming into the space. The professor walks around the room now, giving his lecture.

Jacob sits with a defeated look.

26 INT. DINING HALL - DAY 26

Jacob sits eating alone at the end of a long stretch of table. A contrast of black and white makes up most of the lighting scheme now.

27 INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT 27

Jacob sits now on his bed, meekly twisting the Rubik’s Cube about.

Entering the room with an intrusive BANG again, the roommate walks over to his bed, dropping his backpack next to his desk. The backpack immediately falls over into Jacob’s space again.

Slamming the Rubik’s Cube down on his bed, Jacob starts walking over to the backpack.

Grabbing the bag, he suddenly chucks it at the wall to the side of his roommate’s bed.

The roommate suddenly sits up in his bed in surprise.

MICHAEL What the fuck man!?

Jacob gives him one quick glance and then returns to his bed, laying down, and returning to his Rubik’s Cube.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) What was that?

JACOB You’re just stupid!

MICHAEL Well, I’m not the one here with the Asperger's. At least I’m not the one failing my classes and shit. Acting fricken insane.

Jacob sits, not looking at him.

Michael returns facing forward, ready to lie down again.

MICHAEL (CONT’D) (to himself) Fucking little shit.

28 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 28

Jacob sits in class now, taking a test. He is nearly the last in the room. Looking over his shoulder, he sees that Samantha has just finished her test, picking it up.

Noticing Jacob, she makes brief eye contact and continues along without saying anything.

Jacob slowly watches as she walks up to the front to hand her test to the professor, walking out.

29 INT. CLASSROOM - LATER 29

Jacob walks up to the front of the room now and hands the professor the test. He holds the Rubik’s Cube in the opposite hand now.

PROFESSOR How’d you think you did?

Jacob shrugs his shoulders. A look of defeat.

JACOB I don’t know.

PROFESSOR Well, you always have disability services. We both know you’re qualified for that.

JACOB Yeah, I’ve thought about that... it’s just that, its not like I’m struggling to learn the stuff. It’s just... like, recently I became really interested in this girl and it’s just, I get caught up in that stuff. That’s not something that tutoring can teach you out of and I think that’s somewhere where disability services fails.

PROFESSOR I think the thing is, you shouldn’t let people determine how you think. You have a whole number of different ways to look at things. You don’t have to stick with just one.

The professor looks at his watch.

PROFESSOR (CONT’D) Sorry, I’d love to chat about this further but I have to attend to another class now.

Jacob nods his head and the professor walks out with the stack of test papers.

Jacob stands now at the front of the room still. Lifting up the Rubik’s Cube in his hand, the white side alone is already completed. Twisting this, he purposely scrambles the cube now, placing it down on the desk.

Lifting his head up, he suddenly hears the CRINK of a Rubik’s Cube.

Turning around...

30 INT. ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM - DAY 30

Jacob now stands in front of a class full of elementary school kids, all attentive, all wearing various colored T- shirts. Looking to the back, he sees none other than the cubist boy focused on his Rubik’s Cube.

With a look of realization, Jacob relaxes himself.

He begins walking up to the little version of himself.

JACOB It doesn’t really matter what’s going on in your head up there or that you have a diagnosis.

Crouching down in front of the boy’s desk, the boy remains preoccupied with the cube.

JACOB (CONT’D) It doesn’t matter how much I can argue or yell at you. You just think different. To you, everyone else might as well be the ones with the disability.

Jacob stops now, looking down.

JACOB (CONT’D) What matters is, if I can get myself to think a certain way, then perhaps you can too.

The young Jacob now finishes the Rubik’s Cube and finally looks up from the toy. Older Jacob now lifts his head as well and the two make final eye contact.

CUT TO BLACK

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