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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1630511-Button-Day-Script
Rated: 13+ · Script/Play · Dark · #1630511
Teenager Laura Krandell finds herself taking part in a strange event known as Button Day.
A Note For The Reader: If the spacing or look of this post is not to your liking, please email me for a copy of the screenplay should you wish.

Button Day

Scene One: Titles
Setting: Grassy Field During Sunset
Characters: None

The film fades in from black to a normal American countryside. There are endless fields, horses, cows. It's a simple land in a complex world.

Text (Bottom; Fades In/Out): Button Day

Scene fades to black.


Scene Two: Laura Awoken/ What Is Button Day
Setting: Laura's Bedroom
Characters: Laura Krandell, Laura's Father

Screen is black.

Laura (Voice): My father woke me up, something he hadn't done in ages, since I was a child.

Scene cuts to Laura's POV, sound muffled and vision blurry and out of focus. Within seconds, all of these are resolved to normal, and we see Laura's Father opening her curtains.

Laura's Father: Come on, you. Time to wake up.

Scene cuts to Laura, slowly positioning herself in a sitting position, being careful to cover herself with her blanket.

Laura (Voice): I was suddenly sure that I had slept naked and he had seen me, but to my relief I was wearing my baby-blue pajamas. God, what was he doing in here anyway? (Scene cuts to Laura's Father, admiring the view from her window.) Outside, I could hear a lawnmower running, perhaps in the next street, and what could’ve been birdsong. Something just didn't feel right.

Laura's Father: Hey there, glad to see you awake. It’s Button Day, remember? Get dressed and put something nice on, we're leaving in an hour.

Scene cuts to a wide angle of the room, Laura removes her blankets and sits on the edge of the bed.

Laura (groggy): Dad, what the hell? Couldn’t you just knock? What if I’d slept nude?

Laura's Father (not looking, preoccupied with the outside world): Oh, you’ve nothing I haven’t seen before. I am your father, after all.

Laura: Not the point, Dad. (she squints, rubs her eyes, and gets out of bed. She suddenly remembers something her dad had said) Dad, did you just say ‘Button Day’?”

Laura's Father (laughing, crossing the room to the door): Well, yeah. What, did you forget? You were only talking about it last night.

Laura (frowning, not understanding): Wait - what? What are you talking about?

Laura's Father (laughing, exiting the room): Get dressed and hurry downstairs, breakfast is almost ready.

Laura walks near the door, standing for a bit with a confused look on her face.

Laura (Voice): Something was wrong here. It was a fine way to start the day, really. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I was already getting weird shit.


Scene Three: Laura Dresses/Breakfast
Setting: Laura's Bedroom; Krandell Dining Room
Characters: Laura Krandell, Laura's Father, Laura's Mother, Laura's Brother
Note: Scene begins with clean cut from Scene Two

Scene cuts to Laura, she is getting dressed. Most of it is obscured due to the framing or lighting. This goes on for a few seconds.

Laura (Voice): Familiar sounds floated up to me from downstairs: pots and pans rattling, the TV on low, the muffled tones of my family talking to each other. A short, harsh laugh – my brother. No doubt laughing at the TV. It seemed almost as if I were in a dream, some sort of trance that I might wake from any minute.

Scene cuts to Laura zipping her pants and buttoning them. It then cuts to her face, with a look of confusion still upon it.

Laura: Button day?

Scene cuts to downstairs, Laura's Mother is washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen while humming a tune to herself. Laura's Father and Laura's Brother are sitting at the table, eating toast. There is a plate set for her. Laura walks into the room, looking around, and sits at the table. She then looks oddly at her brother.

Laura (Voice): My brother was wearing a crisp white shirt - and he never wore shirts. I doubted that he even owned one. This had to be on of my fathers.

Laura: What’s with the shirt?

Laura's Brother (with a mouthful of toast, his gaze never leaving the TV): It’s Button Day, isn’t it?

Laura's Mother (turning around from her work and scolding him): Don’t talk with your mouth full, son. And Laura, you could dress a little better than that. At least make an effort.

Laura (Irritated): For what?! Oh wait, let me guess. Button Day! Am I missing something here?

Laura's Mother (rolling her eyes and returning to her work): Don’t be so childish, Laura. It doesn’t suit you. Please make sure you get changed into something else before we leave.

Laura (scoffing): I wanted to see Michael today. I’m not going with you, sorry. (Without missing a beat, everyone falls silent and stares at Laura.) What's everybody staring at?!

Laura's Brother: Are you crazy?! You can't go out today, you're coming with us!

Laura's Father: Laura, you made plans? Today, of all days?

Laura (dull anger): Yes, I made plans! What the hell is going on this morning? (Everyone remains silent, staring at her before she finally pushes her plate away and jumps out of her seat) You know what? Forget it.

Laura's Mother: Laura, stop this, right now! You knew perfectly well what we were doing today. It’s been planned for a long time. Now you can just call Michael and tell him why you’re not seeing him.

Laura: That’s just it, what do I tell him?! I don’t know why I can’t go! It’s just you telling me I can't!

Laura's Brother: It's Button Day, that's why!

Laura: Button Day? What are you all talking about? I’ve never heard of Button Day! You’re all acting like-- (she suddenly has a realization that her family is playing a practical joke on her, and she begins playing along) Very funny, guys. You really had me going there.  (she turns and heads to the front door, grabbing her coat)

Laura's Mother: Laura! Please be back in an hour, we can’t leave without you, okay?

Laura (opening the front door and walking out): Yeah, yeah, I wouldn’t want to miss Button Day.


Scene Four: Walking to Michaels/The Blonde
Setting: Road, Michael's House
Characters: Laura, Michael, Blond Girl
Note: Scene begins with clean cut from Scene Three

Scene cuts to Laura walking down her driveway.

Laura (Voice): The short walk to Michael’s house gave me enough time to feel guilty about how angry I had gotten with my family. As I'd gotten older, my temper had shortened. I planned on apologizing later. I had an hour, right? Wasn’t that what my mother had said?

Scene fades to the outside of Michaels house, Laura is walking up to the front door. Suddenly, Michael walks out the front door, shirtless with a shocked expression on his face.

Laura: Hey, what’s wrong?

Michael (Slightly angry): You shouldn’t be here.

Laura: What, did we fight? Apparently I didn't get the memo.

Michael (confused): You told me this was your family’s Button Day?!

Suddenly, there is movement behind Michael, as blond girl walks out the door in only pajamas, putting her arm around Michael.

Blond Girl: Go home.

Laura (Holding back tears): Michael...?

Michael refuses to even look at her, as he takes Blondie by the hand and walks back into his house. Laura begins crying as she turns and runs.


Scene Five: Men Are Bastards/Button Day Explained
Setting: Laura's Room
Characters: Laura, Laura's Mother
Note: Scene begins with clean cut from Scene Three

Scene cuts to Laura walking fast down her hallway and into her room, tears streaming down her face. She collapses on her bed, crying loudly. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door that is met with silence. After a few seconds, the door opens and Laura's Mother walks in, sitting on the edge of Laura's bed and comforting her.

Laura's Mother: I know, I know. Let it all out. (she begins stroking laura's hair) Men are bastards, aren't they?

Laura (sitting up and welcoming her mothers embrace): You know?

Laura's Mother: You’ve just come back from his place in floods of tears. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happened.

Laura: He’s got himself a blond. A blond! I’ll bet that’s why he wanted me to dye my hair!

As she begins crying again, her mother kisses her forehead and gets up.

Laura's Mother: There, there. Come on. Let’s get you changed for our trip.

Laura (through tears, somewhat surprised): So we are going out?

Laura's Mother (walking over to Laura's closet and picking out clothes): Of course we are, silly! Here we are, this is a nice blouse. Your best, I think. Put this on, I want us looking our best for our Button Day.

Laura (Voice): My stomach rolled lazily. I suddenly remembered Michael mentioning Button Day, too. This wasn’t a joke. This was real. It was all real, and I didn’t have a clue what was happening.

Laura: Mom, listen to me a minute. Something here is very wrong.

Laura's Mother (comforting again): I know. You really liked him, I know you did. It’s terrible that he’s upset you, on this day, of all days.

Laura (somewhat panicking to get it all out): That’s just it, Mom - I don’t know anything about Button Day. I’ve never heard of it, and since this morning I feel as if I’m the only one who doesn't have a clue what's going on!

Laura's Mother (sighing): Well, to be honest, I’m no expert. I know it was the Governments idea to combat overcrowding, but other than that...

Laura (interrupting): No, no. I mean at all. I’ve never heard of it.

Laura (Voice): There was an uneasy silence, in which my mother looked at me for a long time. Her mouth was set in a hard line. When she finally spoke, her voice was calm.
Laura's Mother: I know you’re upset, so I’ll play along with your little prank, okay? Just get changed - here’s your blouse - and I’ll see you in the car in five minutes, okay? We’re waiting for you.

As Laura's Mother walks out of the door and shuts it, Laura bursts into tears, using the blouse she is holding as some kind of comfort.

Laura (Voice): My mother walked away, leaving me alone and frightened, my best blouse in my trembling hands. I felt so alone and helpless, like the weight of the world was crashing down on me. Was I truly in some kind of Hell? What had I done to deserve this?


Scene Six: Nice Clothes
Setting: Laura's Room
Characters: Laura
Note: Scene begins with fade cut from Scene Three

Scene fades to Laura undressing/dressing, applying makeup and fixing her hair. Dressing/undressing is semi-obscured by angles and cuts. A soft and yet haunting piano piece plays in the background.

End Scene

Scene Seven: The Car Ride/Lucidity
Setting: Laura's Driveway, Krandell Car
Characters: Laura, Laura's Mother, Laura's Father, Laura's Brother
Note: Scene begins with clean cut from Scene Three

Scene cuts to a car backing out of a driveway and beginning to drive down the road. The scene cuts to the inside of the car. While everyone else is happy and carefree, face blossoming with happiness and color, Laura is in the back. She is dark, gloomy and upset. Looking out the window, as if she could suddenly burst into tears.

Laura (Voice): The next thing I knew, I was in the car. Everything was flowing by in a fluid, carefree motion that made me feel more and more uneasy. I could see everything in absurd detail, slowed down to super slow motion. (as she lists things off, the camera cuts to them) The fluff on the back of my mothers headrest. A bit of stubble that my fathers razor had missed. A crack in the pavement as we passed. I suddenly felt more lucid than I had ever felt in my whole life, yet I was unable to speak, trapped inside my own body with the weight of the world still on my shoulders. It was as if I were a puppet, walking on strings made from fear’s own web. Somewhere deep inside, I was still clinging to an ocean-battered rock of hope, a charred crater of sense that told me that this was all a massive joke, a huge, elaborate hoax. As we pulled up outside the white, box-like building, squat and stern, that hope faded.

Scene cuts to the Krandell family car pulling up to an official looking building.


Scene Eight: Government Property/The Receptionist
Setting: Government Building (Interior/Exterior)
Characters: Laura, Laura's Mother, Laura's Father, Laura's Brother, Receptionist
Note: Scene begins with clean cut from Scene Three

Laura's family exits the car, chatting and talking. Laura exists with a desolate and frightened view. She follows her family as they walk into the building. After entering the door, they are greeted by the Receptionist.

Receptionist (Working on computer, flashes a smile as the family approaches): Can I help you?

Laura's Father: Hi, we’re the Krandalls, Here for our Button Day.

Receptionist (pointing off to her side): That way, sir. Just keep walking.

Laura's Father (leading his family through): Thank you.


Scene Nine: The Wall/Ultimatum
Setting: Government Building (Hall of Names, White Button Room)
Characters: Laura, Laura's Mother, Laura's Father, Laura's Brother, Government Officials (3)
Note: Scene is basically a continuation of the previous scene

As Laura's Father leads his family down the hallway, Laura notices they are all looking at the walls, so she does the same.

Laura (Voice): Names, there were names on those walls. Hundreds and hundreds of names, thousands of names, one after another. Hogg. Wilson. Carpenter. Buxton. Bell. Palmer. Rowe. Brown. The list went on, seemingly endless. I was so preoccupied wondering if out names would join them that I didn't even notice when we walked into the bleak, white room.

Scene cuts to a large, white room. In this room there are four small, waist high pillars, each with a red button on the top. Beyond them is a desk, with three Government officials seated at it. The Government insignia hung on a huge banner over it all. Laura's family each steps up to a button without a second though. Noticing she is the only one left out, Laura does the same.

Official 1 (Bland, he has done this many times): Krandall family. The Government has deemed this to be your Button Day. We thank you for your sacrifice to your country, and to your people. Your names shall join the list of those in the Long Hall, in your honor.

Laura's Father: We're proud.

All three of Laura's family look as if they may weep with pride.

Official 2: Then please, in your own time, push your buttons. May God be with you all.


Scene Ten: The Family Goes/The End
Setting: Government Building (White Button Room)
Characters: Laura, Laura's Mother, Laura's Father, Laura's Brother, Government Officials (3)
Note: Scene is basically a continuation of the previous scene

Laura's Father (comforting): I’ll go first, to show you how easy it is. (He pushes the button and it gives a click.)

Laura's Brother and Laura's Mother watch with smiles on their faces, while Laura watches with a look of horror. Blood begins to pour from her fathers eyes, nose, ears and mouth. It runs down his shirt, over his belt, and down his trousers. It splatters onto the floor. Suddenly, her father begins spasming and collapses onto the floor, dead. As his body crumples to the floor, Laura's Mother and Laura's Brother look at each other and smile, pushing their buttons at the same time. They turn to Laura, blood seeping from their eyes and noses, tricking from their mouths. Laura looks as if she may scream in utter terror as they collapse as well.

Official 3: Miss Krandell?

Laura (Voice): I noticed the officials eying me. Did I have a choice, could I turn and run? Did it even matter. It took me seconds to decide, but it felt like an eternity. This was the end.

Official 1: Miss Krandell, overpopulation is destroying our towns and cities. Your country needs your action today.

Laura breathes heavy, her brothers hand twitches with the last of the nerve impulses. Official 2 stands up at his desk, looking at Laura.

Laura (Voice): I looked one last time at the button under my fingertips. It was smooth, red, pushable.

Official 2: Humanity has called, Miss Krandell... Will you answer?

Cut to black


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