A few coworkers take their breaks, and realize they have some missing information.
|INT. OFFICE - DAY?
Wage slaves toiling away in a typical American cubicle farm.
We settle on one in particular, SMITH. As he types, his
watch alarm goes off.
ON WATCH: COUNTDOWN TIMER STARTS AT 15 MINUTES.
Time for my break.
JOHNSON, SMITH's coworker, looks at his own watch as it goes
The two walk off to...
INT. BREAK ROOM - CONTINUOUS
The break room, currently with one coworker sitting alone at
a table, reading a magazine and eating a microwave burrito.
SMITH and JOHNSON get their food from the fridge and sit.
After several seconds, SMITH speaks.
So, don't tell anyone, but I am
going to start looking for a new
Good luck. Better be careful not
to let management find out.
I don't care. I gotta get out of
this place, even if I don't find
another place first.
How do you think you'll pay your
bills if you get fired?
I can make it work from savings
until I find something new. My
rent is only...
He stops and furrows his brow in confusion. JOHNSON looks
I don't remember how much my rent
That seems like an important detail
Yeah, it does. How much is your
JOHNSON thinks for a second.
Hm. Come to think of it, I can't
remember, either. Is your place
nice? Maybe you can figure it out
I... I'm not sure. What about
You know, I can't actually picture
my... apartment? House?
I'm pretty sure I have an
apartment... and a roommate.
The other coworker, WILLIAMS, has taken notice of the
I think maybe I live with my
Maybe I do, too. Maybe the person
I thought was a roommate was my
father. Or mother. I can't seem
to remember what they look like.
JONES, English, walks into the break room.
Hey, do you remember the place you
live? Or your parents?
I think I have two? Parents, not
places that I live.
Well yeah, everybody has two
Right... right. But I mean, I
think they're both still around.
Well that's good.
Ok, doesn't it strike anyone else
as strange that we don't remember
these things? I mean, these are
pretty major details about our
lives. We're certainly going to
have to know where we live when we
get off work.
When do we get off work?
Everybody falls silent.
Well, we get off work at the end of
the day, right? Standard work day
is nine to five, so... we get off
work at five?
That seems reasonable. What time
SMITH looks at his watch.
My watch just counts down until my
break is over, then it counts down
until my next break.
The others all make general noises of agreement.
Maybe there's a clock in here.
They all look around, but there are no clocks in the break
The computers don't have clocks.
What about cell phones?
I don't have one
Neither do I.
More agreement walla.
Ok, that is definitely weird. I
mean, this is the 21st century, I
think, and we all know that
everybody in the 21st century has
cell phones, especially young white
collar workers in America.
Are we in America?
I assume so. We're all speaking
English, and we have American
That's true. But every office has
one non-American worker.
Hey, I am an American citizen, I
think! I was just born in another
country, probably, although I can't
remember which one.
England, probably. Because of the
That makes sense.
So, we are probably in America,
right? And we can probably safely
assume it's a city, because that's
where most white collar jobs are.
Our accents, most of them, are
fairly non-regional, so that's no
Let's check our pockets! Maybe we
have something that will tell us
who we are.
Well, we know who we are, we just
don't know where we live... or
where we're from, or... any details
about our lives.
But we know our names. Right?
Everybody falls silent.
Of course we do. My name is...
Let's check our pockets.
They all empty their pockets onto the table. Each of them
has exactly one thing: a company ID.
Mine says "Williams". That's all.
No first name.
"Jones". No wonder I couldn't keep
up with myself!
"Smith". Aw come on, really?!
BROWN walks in.
Hey you! What's your name?
BROWN fishes his company ID out of his pocket and looks at
Don't you think it's weird that you
had to look at your company ID to
see what your name is?
I don't know, man, I just want to
eat my sandwich and get back to
Well, where do you live? Where are
you from? What's your parents'
Look, you guys can have your
conversation, just leave me in
BROWN goes to a separate table.
This doesn't make any sense. We
don't have anything else in our
pockets. No wallet, no gum. No
driver's licenses. I mean, how did
we get here without driver's
Maybe we took public
All of us? And we don't have any
money. And no transit passes, or
day passes. Even if we took public
transport here, how are we going to
How can we answer that when we
don't even know when we get off
When did we start work?
The group looks at each other. BROWN is increasingly
annoyed, trying to ignore the conversation.
Guys, I don't remember ever being
anywhere other than here, either at
my desk, or here in the break room.
I remember a supply closet once. I
BROWN looks up at the mention of the supply closet.
Ok, I'm getting a little tired of
all this "I think" business. All
we have to go on is what we
remember. In the absence of
contradicting information, we
should just assume that what we
think our lives are like is the
They all express their agreement.
Does anybody remember the start of
the work day today? Or, the day
they were hired?
My earliest memory is of working
here. And I'm sure that in that
memory, I'd already been working
here for a while.
And not just working here, but
actively on the job...
...or on break.
Well, we can probably figure out
how long we've worked here. I
mean, we take a fifteen minute
break every four hours, so... how
many breaks have we taken?
You think so?
Does that seem high?
I was thinking two.
It's definitely more than that.
They all kind of...
Brown! Do you know how many breaks
I told you, I don't want in on
this. I just want to earn my
WILLIAMS eyebrows go up at this.
Do you even remember ever getting a
Just leave me out of it.
Do any of you guys remember getting
All in all, payroll disputes seem
like a pretty petty grievance, in
light of our general predicament.
No, think about it. If we've been
working here, steadily, for as long
as we can remember - for all
practical purposes, for our entire
lives - but have never received a
paycheck... We've been working our
whole lives for no pay. You know
what that's called.
Guys... we're slaves.
BROWN stands up and goes toward the fridge.
You guys are going to get into
There you go! What kind of people
get in trouble for asking
You're rocking the boat. Rocking
the boat is how good employees get
I remember people. People who got
You don't even remember how long
you've been here.
No, but I do. I remember people.
I think. I'm sure. In the absence
of contradicting information, I'm
sure I remember people who got
fired. Good people. People I
liked. They were my friends.
What were their names?
I... I don't... remember...
Ok, so they got fired. So?
It's like Williams said. If this
is all we ever remember doing... if
this job has been our whole life...
what does it mean to be fired?
Something drops noisily to the floor behind them. They look.
BROWN has dropped a yogurt cup and sunk into a chair.
BROWN stares into space, stricken.
I remember. I remember a girl.
What girl? Outside?
No. Here. She worked here. A
couple cubicles over from me. We
started out giving each other
little glances around the walls.
We flirted in the break room. It
escalated. We took to making out
in supply closets. I think I loved
her. I think... we loved each
In the absence of contradictory
information... we were in love.
What was her name?
I don't remember.
She got fired. Management found
out about our relationship, and
Why just her? Why not you?
I told them. She didn't want to.
She said she was pretty sure there
were rules against office romances.
But I said, maybe there isn't. We
don't really know anything about
this place. We noticed all the
things you guys have noticed. I
said, even if there is a policy,
maybe there's a special exception.
Maybe we could fill out a form. I
said, we should be honest, and they
would reward that. They would
reward our honesty. She begged me
and begged me not to tell them. I
told her I wouldn't. I promised.
But I did tell them. They didn't
seem to care. I asked them not to
let her know. They said it would
be our secret. I went back to
work, and she was called up. She
never came back. They called me
back in and said they fired her,
but that I would be kept on. As a
reward. For my honesty.
Several seconds of solemn silence pass.
I forgot about that. Forgot all
about it. Forgot it ever happened.
Forgot she ever existed. I went
back to work, knowing that if I
kept my head down, didn't ask
questions, and did my job, I would
forget about her. And I did.
Until now. So thanks.
BROWN goes back to sit at his table in silence.
Hey, I just realized. I think I'm
You guys are cool with that, right?
The rest half-heartedly nod yes.
This is all very... Kafkaesque.
What does that mean, "Kafkaesque"?
I think I've heard it before.
It's... kind of like "Orwellian",
but more... metaphysical and
philosophical. Not as political.
Something bad is happening here.
You guys all know that, right? We
need to... do something. Find a
way to stop it.
There's just one problem with that.
Do you remember your last break?
Do any of you? I don't. Who's to
say we haven't had this
conversation before? Maybe we have
this exact conversation every
Well... maybe we do. But that
doesn't make it any less true. We
need to remember, and we need to
Ok, so, what ideas do we have?
Maybe we can hack the company sys-
WILLIAMS' watch alarm goes off. He looks at it.
My break is over. I have to go
back to work.
WILLIAMS starts to leave. SMITH grabs his arm.
Williams, don't go out there! We
need to fight this!
My break is over. I have to go
back to work.
Ok... ok, Williams, go back to
work. But whatever you were about
to say? Try to hold that in your
mind. Remember it. Hack the
company. Remember that. Bring
them down. Remember that.
Remember this conversation.
Remember us, Williams!
SMITH lets WILLIAMS go. WILLIAMS goes back to the cubicle
Guys, I don't want that to happen
None of us do. We can't forget.
But what can we do?
I'll tell you what I'm going to do.
I'm going to get myself fired.
Brown, don't. You know what...
what that means.
Maybe. Maybe not. We're just
assuming. None of us knows
anything. If getting fired just
means losing a job, it means I can
leave this goddamn building. I can
find out what my life is really
like. Find out who I am, where I
live, where I'm from, who my family
is. Or, failing that, I can start
building those things. And I can
find her. And if getting fired
means... well, then it's still
better than this. Whatever is on
the other side, even if it's
nothing, it can't be worse than
this. But if leaving this job has
even the slightest chance of
letting me find her... I've got to
You don't even know her name.
No... but I barely know my own
name. Maybe "Brown" isn't even my
real name. Maybe it's just a
convenient placeholder. So, I'll
think of a convenient placeholder
for her, too. "Susan"... I'll call
her "Susan". And I'm going to hold
on to that. And I'm going to
remember her face. And the way she
felt. And I'm going to get fired.
I'm leaving this place. I hope you
guys... I hope you find your Susan.
BROWN stands up and starts toward the break room door.
Brown. Good luck.
SMITH and JONES nod their concurrence.
You, too. All of you.
Now what? I have no ideas.
Take a number and get in line.
JONES lights up.
Number! I think I remember a phone
Possibly... yes! I'm sure of it!
There's a phone out in the hall!
I'll go try it!
JONES turns to leave.
Don't lose yourself out there!
I won't. I'll keep you guys in my
JONES leaves. SMITH and JOHNSON are left alone in the break
You're not gay, are you?
I don't think so.
Too bad. You're very attractive.
Their watch alarms go off.
My break is over. I have to go
back to work.
They both exit the break room. The camera follows them, then
drifts away through the cubicles.
FADE TO BLACK.