“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good. Now.” — Marcus Aurelius
INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
THE CAMERA PANS across the dimly lit room, starting from a lamp on the piano in the corner. There are toys everywhere, upturned chairs, tennis balls, a guitar flung across the sofa, dog-eared books. The mess only a child could have made.
THE CAMERA PULLS BACK, out of the patio doors, across the balcony to the street outside, across a small garden and to the apartment building opposite. The facade of the building is windows and patio doors, MOSTLY shuttered closed.
THE CAMERA MOVES DOWN towards the left side of the building. There is a light on in one of the apartments. THE CAMERA MOVES TOWARDS the apartment, inside a shadowy figure moves in silhouette behind a light net curtain.
THE CAMERA PULLS SLOWLY BACK across to the apartment opposite.
INT. LIVING ROOM – NEXT MORNING
ALICE (still 3, nearly 4) sits eating breakfast at a round table. On her left is APOCALYPSE DADDY (a two week old beard, a little red eye, wrinkles forming), slumped over his coffee. On her right is APOCALYPSE MOMMY (still looking like Elizabeth Taylor) peeling an orange with all the poise of a yoga teacher. It is a breakfast scene playing out in a million places across the world where people are fortunate enough to have such luxury.
Daddy, can we read seven books today?
Apocalypse Daddy slumps a little further down into his coffee.
Sure we can. I think it’s Mommy’s turn to home-teach today though. Hey Mommy?
‘Fraid not. I have fitness with Joe Wicks at nine followed by a HIT class with Tim Taylor at ten. I’m then going to do a virtual tour of The Guggenheim at eleven before I have lunch with the girls on Zoom at midday.
Apocalypse Daddy slumps a little further down. And falls off his chair. Apocalypse Mommy and Alice laugh.
(from under the table)
And this afternoon?
I’m going to the New York Zoo with Sophie at two followed by a cooking class with Gordon Ramsey at four. I’m going to try and fit in a yoga class with that woman off the TV before drinks with the girls on Zoom at seven. Could you bath the kids?
Int. Alice’s bedroom – later
Alice and Apocalypse Daddy sit on the bed reading “Ada Twist, Scientist”. They are both eating ice-cream. Judging by the wrappers littered across the bed, it’s not the first. Apocalypse Daddy looks at his watch.
C/U watch. It reads 10.04
Daddy, where does Ada Marie live on the world map.
Apocalypse Daddy leans sideways and points to America with his ice-cream cone.
America. Across the Atlantic Ocean, over to the Eastern seaboard, past New York, Boston. They’re probably from California.
It’s a place. Here.
Apocalypse Daddy points to California with his ice-cream.
And Cinderella, where does Cinderella live on the world map?
She is from… Do you know what a stereotype is Alice?
No, where is Cinderella on the world map?
I want to say Stockholm, but I think that might be type casting Cinderella.
Alice drops her ice-cream on the bed, stands up and faces the world map.
Where is Kevin the Koala from on the world map?
Oh that’s easy, Australia. We’ve done enough fairytale inspired geography for now.
Apocalypse Daddy stands up.
Will you get the binoculars out of the case? Meet me in the living room.
Int. Living ROOM – MOMENTS LATER
Apocalypse Daddy is sitting on a wicker chair at the living room window. Alice walks into the room, walks around, over and through the mess of toys, books and musical instruments and hands Apocalypse Daddy the binoculars. He immediately lifts them to his eyes.
What are you doing Daddy?
The CAMERA MOVES IN until Apocalypse Daddy’s head and the binoculars fill the screen.
INT. apartment opposite – night
A man wearing an N95 mask is maniacally packing a suitcase, ramming clothes in without even folding them! He stops and glances up towards the net curtains.
INT. LIVING ROOM
Apocalypse Daddy quickly lowers the binoculars and reaches for a can of beer on the floor by his chair. He takes a long gulp, then raises the binoculars again.
Int. ApARTMENT OPPOSITE
The man closes his suitcase, stands up and walks out of his living room. The BINOCULARS PAN HIM as he goes into the kitchen and washes his hands. Then washes his hands again. Through the view of the binoculars we follow the man into a bedroom. He opens the wardrobe door, lifts clothes. It is not clear through the binoculars but he takes a small black object and puts it in his pocket. He then goes back to the kitchen and washes his hands.
INT. LIVING ROOM – Next morning
The breakfast scene from the previous day is repeated. Apocalypse Daddy is watching Alice as she drops toast on the floor. He seems a little distant this morning. Apocalypse Mommy is talking, but we can’t hear her.
Apocalypse Mommy’s voice becomes audible mid-sentence.
…then at three I have a tour of the Tate Modern, they have a new exhibition on the life cycle of food in modern art. After that I have HIT class with TT the PT and then drinks with the girls –
I think the neighbour is up to something.
(perplexed at being interrupted)
What do you mean?
Yes Daddy, what do you mean? He is up? Up where, in the sky like a kite? Where does Snow White live on the word map Daddy?
I saw him last night –
You saw him? Are you a pepping tom now?
What’s a pepping tom?
No, I was just looking at the neighbours with the binoculars. If you think about it, now would be the perfect time to commit the perfect crime. No cops, no people, lots of cleaning products. You could just go to the hardware store, buy eight bags of lime and say you need to scrub your door handles.
Can I have some chocolate?
Alice starts sobbing uncontrollably.
int. LIVING ROOM – night
Apocalypse Daddy makes himself comfortable in his chair by the window. He opens a beer. The house is quiet. The only time it is quiet. The middle of the night. He raises the binoculars to his eyes.
INT. APARTMENT OPPOSITE
Through the binoculars we see the same man as the night before, his back to the camera, obstructed by a sofa. Is that a rope in his hands? He bends down and drags something heavy, stops, stands. Then tries again.
INT. LIVING ROOM
Apocalypse Daddy lowers the binoculars, tenses with fear. Raises the binoculars again.
INT. APARTMENT OPPOSITE
Half of a man’s body can now be clearly seen lying on the floor, blood pouring from a head wound
INT. LIVING ROOM
Apocalypse Daddy lowers the binoculars.
Nobody is going to believe me.
To be continued…