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The Sheeple

A Pilot Episode

By Rachel M.JPublished 8 months ago Updated 7 months ago 15 min read
11
The Sheeple
Photo by Yasin Arıbuğa on Unsplash

The Sheeple

Because you watched 'The Good Place' or 'God's Favourite Idiot'

Logline: Mark is an ordinary man. He wears a suit. He works in a high-rise office building in Sydney, Australia. He steals his coworker's sandwiches. Mark is normal. So normal, in fact, that some might consider it strange...

FADE IN:

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

MONTAGE. A spritz of cologne settles on a man's chest - MARK. He buttons his business shirt, smooths his hand across a freshly shaven face, and flashes the mirror a dazzling smile. He runs a comb through his hair. Scattered throughout the montage are snippets from popular podcasts, and motivational quotes.

Mark opens his fridge. It's almost empty, but in the center is a very large platter of sushi with a bright yellow sticky note atop. In dramatic bold writing, it reads 'DO NOT EAT.'

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

Mark exits the building onto a busy street. He carries his briefcase in one hand, and the platter of sushi in the other.

INT. TRAIN - MORNING

Mark is on a busy train. He sits in the priority seating, sprawled casually across two seats. Standing in front of him is a man on crutches, and his very pregnant wife. Mark smiles at them in greeting. He drums his fingers on the sushi platter and reads the note, "DO NOT EAT." He appears bothered as if contemplating a serious conundrum.

Mark slouches deeper in his seat, and nurses a bloated stomach. The passenger across from him - a small child - watches him with curiosity. Mark shovels a piece of sushi into his mouth, and the child eyes the now half-empty platter hungrily. Without noticing the child, Mark scoffs down a second piece, and then a third.

Child: Umm... sir, can I-

Over the bustle, Mark fails to hear the child, and casually flicks a stray piece of tuna from his pants. It lands on the child, smack bang in between their eyes. They gasp and then begin to wail.

Mark sighs. He smirks at the passengers standing in front of him - the man on crutches, his pregnant wife, and now a frail old lady - and shrugs.

Mark: Kids, ammiright?

EXT. STREET - MORNING

The now empty sushi platter is shoved into a bin, with the note reading 'DO NOT EAT' clearly displayed on top. On the bottom of the platter is a scatter of bite marks - similar to what one might see on a 2nd grader's favorite pencil. Mark wipes his mouth.

INT. ELEVATOR - MORNING

We watch Mark's reflection in the elevator. He makes a surprised face, and then playfully hits himself on the head as if to say "Whoops, silly me!" He practices different variations of this gesture and mutters to himself.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - MORNING

Streamers decorate a busy office building, along with a wall hanging that reads, "Goodbye Gary!" When the elevator doors open, Mark is calm and collected, but upon noticing the decorations he gapes, and dramatically repeats his gesture as practiced in the elevator.

Mark: Oh no, I can't believe I forgot!

MONIQUE, a sweet-looking woman wearing bright lipstick and a party hat, slides into view on her office chair.

Monique: Did you forget the sushi, Mark?

Mark: I'm so sorry... I left it at home... Today is Gary's last day?

Monique: Yes... you should know this.

Mark: I haven't missed the celebrations have I?

Monique: Yes, it's 10:30. You're two hours late.

Mark: (While shaking his head) Aw man, I'm really gonna miss seeing Gary around here... Such a hard worker.

Monique: You're the one who got him fired.

Mark: (Solemnly) Such a hard worker... I can't believe I'm never going to see him again.

Monique: Actually he doesn't finish until 5-

A booming voice cuts Monique's comment short. STEVE, A broad man in an immaculate business suit saunters down the hallway. His arms are thrown wide, and his grin is infectious.

Steve: Mark-ie! My man!

Delighted, Mark throws his arms open in return, and in doing so, flings his briefcase into the air. As if on instinct, Monique ducks, and the briefcase frisbees over her head, past the hall, and into the cubicle of an unassuming old woman, SUZANNE, where it collides with her, and knocks her to the floor.

Mark: (Without skipping a beat) My man!

They embrace and pat each other on the back with great vigor.

Steve: (Playfully) The old ball-n-chain giving you a hard time again, is she?

Monique: I'm his secretary, not his wife.

Mark: Aw, man... I can't believe I missed Gary's going away party! And I forgot the sushi. I let everyone down.

Steve: Gary... Who's Gary?

Mark: You know, Gary!

Monique: He's been in the company for 12 years.

Steve: Gary... nope... doesn't ring a bell!

Mark: Hard working Gary!

Monique: Your desk is next to his.

Steve: Hm...

Mark: Gary the hard worker?

Steve: ... Mmm... nope! Sounds fake. Anyway!

Steve pats Mark on the back and gives him a sympathetic look.

Steve: Don't beat yourself up about it, mate, you've done your best. Gary will forgive you.

Monique: He got him fired.

Steve shoots Mark another pair of finger guns. As he leaves he absently pulls the top of Monique's party hat. The elastic stretches, and snaps back into place, leaving the hat sitting like a horn on her forehead. She blinks, dazed. Mark shakes his head in admiration as Steve walks away.

Mark: (Beat) Anyway... what's on the agenda today, Monique?

Monique: How about you start by apologising to Gary? I got him this.

Sitting on Monique's lap is a 6-pack of beer wrapped in a red bow. She passes it to Mark.

Monique: It's his favourite. You can apologise for missing his celebration... And for getting him fired.

Mark: Right, right, right...

With a charming grin, Mark accepts the 6-pack, and winks.

INT. GARY'S CUBICLE - MORNING

GARY - a middle-aged man with wide eyes - types at his computer. On his desk is a framed photograph of him, his wife, and his dog. A slice of chocolate cake sits beside him, which he picks at while he works. Mark slides his hand over Gary's shoulder.

Mark: Gary!

Gary: Markie, my boy!

Gary stands and pulls Mark in for a tight hug. He notices the beer.

Gary: Is that for me?

Mark: You didn't think I'd forget, did you?

Gary: No, no, no.

Mark: Whaddya say, wanna celebrate? Crack these open?

Gary: Oh no, I couldn't possibly.

Mark: C'mon! What're they gonna do, fire you again?

INT. LUNCH ROOM - MORNING

Balloons scatter around the lunchroom. The table is covered with an array of platters, although most of them are empty. Gary chugs a beer, to the displeasure of Monique, as a group of workers sing, 'ten, nine, eight, seven." On the count of 6, Gary slams his empty beer can on the table, and the crowd goes wild.

Mark smiles amicably at the scene, and as the commotion dies down, he continues his conversation with a group of co-workers. Although we can't hear him, we see him repeat his "Whoops, I forgot the sushi!" gesture, and it is met with a round of raucous laughter.

Mark: I don't even know what I'm going to do with all that sushi!

Office worker: You could bring it tomorrow-

Mark raises his glass, cutting off the office worker, and yells,

Mark: Another round!

A mixture of jeers and groans sound throughout the lunch room, and Gary perks up with a cheeky smile.

Gary: No, no I really shouldn't...

Monique: He really shouldn't.

Steve: C'mon G-dawg! (Singing) Here's to Gary he's our friend...

Those who were in favor join in on the song, "And when we drink with Gary, he gets it down in ten!" Easily convinced, Gary picks up a second beer, and begins to chug, "ten, nine, eight, seven..." After a final swig, he slams his beer down, and the crowd roars.

INT. MARK'S CUBICLE - AFTERNOON

Mark's desk is well-kept. Pencils sit in a holder, each one chewed excessively. A photo frame sits to the left, and inside is a picture of green pastures, as if someone had purchased the frame as a gift, and had forgotten to fill it. Mark types, and observes his coworkers.

Gary, who appears intoxicated, rolls up next to him and silently pulls a can of beer from his coat. He leans over, holding back a giggle, and Mark pretends to not notice him. He hovers the can by Mark's ear, and then pulls the tab, causing a loud popping sound.

Mark: Oh!

Gary laughs, but Mark, unsatisfied with his own reaction, straightens himself back into his seat.

Mark: Sorry Gary, sorry... let me try that again.

Mark picks up his briefcase as if getting ready to leave, and as he spins on his heel, he feigns surprise upon seeing Gary and flings his briefcase into the air. As he does so, Suzzane, who is nursing a head wound walks out of the sick bay. The briefcase thwacks her, and she crumples to the ground.

Mark: (Without noticing) Gary, you cheeky dog, you!

Gary: (Laughing) You don't have to put in all the effort for little old me.

Mark: Are you kidding Gary! It's your last day, it's the least I could do.

Gary: (Sighs) Yep...

Gary sits deeper in his chair and takes a sip from his beer. He looks around surreptitiously, then pulls a second can out of his jacket, and slides it onto Mark's desk as an offering. Mark gapes, playfully scandalised.

Gary: What, what're they gonna do, fire me again?

Mark snorts in approval, then pops open the beer and takes a dainty sip.

Gary: Yep, I sure am gonna miss this place.

Mark: (Solemnly) Mmm.

Gary: A lot of memories here...

Mark: Mmhm.

Gary: You know, they never did tell me why they were letting me go...

Before Mark can respond, Steve appears behind Gary, carrying a slither of chocolate cake on a saucer.

Steve: G-dawg!

Gary: Stevie!

Steve: Working hard, or hardly working?

Gary laughs, and Steve pops a barely there crumb of cake into his mouth. He notices the can of beer sitting on Mark's desk.

Steve: Drinking on the job, are we?

Mark lifts the can to his lips and takes another delicate sip.

Mark: You know me.

Steve: (Whilst slapping him on the back) My man... (pause) So, what's the plan, Gary?

Gary: I don't know... spend some time with the wife. Suppose I'll have to get a hobby...

Mark: Or a side hustle.

Steve: (While chewing) Mm- e-commerce.

Gary: Yeah...

Steve: Drop shipping.

Gary: Yeah I was thinking maybe...

Steve: Non-fungible-tokens.

Gary: Mm. Fungible... yep... uh-huh.

Steve: Mm... anyway, don't beat yourself up about it man. Just relax, spend some time getting to know yourself, ya know? You'll figure it out. What's meant to be will be.

Gary: Mm... yeah, yeah!

Steve, who appears immensely proud of himself leaves Gary with a pointed-finger gun.

Gary: (Dazed) Right, back to it then.

As Gary wheels himself away he appears to be deep in thought. We hear him mutter 'commerce' and 'tokens' to himself as Mark pulls out a notebook. He flips through the pages - each one filled with blurred notes - and eventually lands on a page labeled, 'Steve.'

Under a list of phrases, Mark writes, "Don't beat yourself up, mate."

INT. OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Mark strolls down the hall and into the lunch room. The excess food has been stored in the large glass fridges, and Mark considers the leftovers. Eventually, he decides upon a salad sandwich clearly labeled, "Derek." He takes it from the fridge, then without removing the cling film, takes a bite.

DEREK, a gangly man, stands in the doorway.

Derek: Hey man, can I get your opinion on-

Mark side-eyes Derek, and continues to nibble on his sandwich.

Dererk: Is that my sandwich?

Mark: What can I help you with, Derek?

Derek: Dude... what the f- (pause).

Derek leans in closer, and squints. After a moment, his eyes widen in horror. Mark continues chewing.

Derek: Is that... are you eating the clingwrap?

Mark: Don't be wasteful, Derek.

INT - OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Mark wipes at the sides of his mouth, looking satisfied. He flicks through his notebook as he walks, and then makes a B-line to Monique's desk. She is tapping away at her keyboard and is intensely focused on a phone call. She doesn't notice Mark's arrival.

Mark: Hey.

Monique jumps.

Monique: Jesus Mark. (Whilst covering the receiver) I'm on a phone call.

Mark: Sorry, sorry... that wasn't...

Mark turns around, as if to leave, then suddenly spins around and shouts,

Mark: Boo!

Monique jumps again, this time dropping the phone.

Monique: What the f-

Mark laughs a full-belied laugh.

Mark: (While wiping away a tear of joy) Aah, an oldie but a goldie.

Monique: (Whispering angrily) Mark, this is an important call, so unless you have something important to say...

Mark: (Absently) Yep... anyway... what's got you so jumpy, hmm? You really need to relax... I know... you need one of these... takes the edge off.

Mark pulls a can of beer from his blazer and slides it surreptitiously onto her desk. He taps his nose and winks. Monique merely stares, dumbfounded.

Mark: Hey - it was Gary's idea. He's a cheeky dawg that one.

Monique ignores the beer, and attempts to continue her conversation.

Monique: (Into the phone, apologetically) Sorry about that.

Mark: Yep... I sure am gonna miss that guy... You know you really shouldn't beat yourself up so much, Monique? You're such a hard worker, like Gary. You should relax! Take some time off. Let's say you and I go for a drink sometime, after work.

Monique goes silent and raises her brow.

Mark: Say no more, say no more. You're a busy girl, I wouldn't wanna get in the way of you and your work.

Monique smiles tightly. As Mark makes to leave, Monique releases an exhausted sigh and mutters another apology into the phone. Steve walks past and notices the beer sitting on her desk.

Steve: Drinking on the job, Monique?

Monique: Mother f-

Monique slams the receiver down, and storms into the lunch room.

INT - MARKS CUBICLE - EVENING

Mark types furiously at his computer. As people start to leave, he throws them playful expressions as if to say, "This work isn't gonna finish itself!" He takes a deep breath and slouches. When he checks his watch, it's just after 5.

He walks down the hall. Gary has fallen asleep at his desk and is wearing two party hats like devil horns. Mark nods his approval. Steve, who is sucking on the end of his pen, appears to be deep into his work. Mark walks past, and throws him a knowing look as if to say "You gotta do what you gotta do."

Monique stands at her desk, massaging her temples. The receiver dangles limply from its cord, and the phone holder is in ruins. Upon seeing Mark, she purses her lips.

Monique: I'm heading home. There are leftovers in the fridge. I divvied them up. Yours is labeled.

Mark: You're too good to me, Monique.

Monique: I know.

Mark: Don't work yourself too hard, okay?

Monique: I always do.

Mark: Take the edge off.

Monique: What-

Mark subtly edges the beer, now sweating condensation, toward her. In a moment of frustration, Monique picks up the can and lobs it across the room. In the background, we see Suzanne, who is exiting the sick bay while nursing a dual head injury. A resounding 'thunk' sounds through the office, followed by Suzanne crumpling to the floor.

Mark: (To Monique) Say no more, say no more... I'll get my leftovers and go.

Mark turns for the lunch room but then pauses as if struck by a thought. He raises his finger to Monique, but her withering glare makes him decide against speaking.

Mark: Say no more.

INT. LUNCH ROOM - EVENING

Mark opens the fridge door, and picks up a container of leftovers labeled 'Mark'. Next to it is a second container clearly labeled 'Derek'. After a brief moment of contemplation, he takes that one, too.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - EVENING

As Mark heads toward the elevator, he realises that he is missing something. He returns to the hallway, where his briefcase still lies, and picks it up.

Whilst whistling a happy tune, he strolls to the elevator. He swings his briefcase in one hand and carries his containers of leftovers in the other.

As he waits for the elevator doors to open, music begins to play...

The elevator doors ding and Mark hops inside. He turns to face the camera, and as he does so, the doors close on his placid face.

INT - MARKS APARTMENT - NIGHT

Mark slumps through the front door. He kicks his loafers off and arranges them in his shoe rack. He places his keys in the keyholder and then opens the freezer door. It's stacked with microwave meals. He selects one at random and then pops it into the microwave. It spins - and the light from inside paints the wall a soft yellow. As Mark waits he stares blankly into the distance.

We see through Mark's apartment window. There's a couple walking their dog on the street below, and a family watching t.v. Mark pulls his curtains closed, and blocks himself from the outside world. He falls onto the couch and turns on his t.v. He flicks through the channels, which alternate between scenes of t.v. static.

Time passes, and the television screen is blue. Mark rounds the couch and drops what remains of his dinner into the trash. The packaging is littered with bite marks. As he heads to the bathroom, his suit falls to the floor.

He showers, and the heat begins to fogs the mirror.

We watch his feet as the faucet turns off. He steps out, and we catch a glimpse of his smooth torso. We see his back in the mirror, and in the reflection is what appears to be a trail of zigzags descending his spine. It looks like a zipper. Mark stretches his hands behind his neck and prepares to pull the zip tag.

Mark: (Silently, to himself) Don't beat yourself up, Mate...

The camera fades to black.

CREDITS

Satire
11

About the Creator

Rachel M.J

Magical realist

I like to write about things behaving how they shouldn't ~

Instagram: Rachel M.J

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (7)

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  • Yuly Yulyan4 days ago

    This is fantastic!

  • Amjad Ateih Dib7 months ago

    sister from where you get the ideas to write , can you accept me student in your school ?, well done sister

  • Denise E Lindquist8 months ago

    Good job!!😊💕

  • Cathy holmes8 months ago

    Oh, this is great. So well done. Good luck in the challenge.

  • Excellent pitch and great fun , well done

  • Gerald Holmes8 months ago

    This is a great pitch and great idea. I was laughing the whole way thru this. Well done.

  • Caroline Jane8 months ago

    Oh Rach. Yes!!! And the winner is...!!! Truly excellent. Really funny. I would absolutely watch this. Well bloody done.

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