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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2248660-GROWING-BRAINS
Rated: E · Script/Play · Contest Entry · #2248660
two paleoanthropologists go to darkest Africa to discover how we got clever?
Growing brains

by J Paul Fellows


FADE IN

         INT: THE BAINS TENT. AFRICA, MIDDAY

A very ridiculously heavily pregnant COLLEEN BAINS is laid on a camp bed, naked and in distress. Her husband BRIAN BAINS dressed as a victorian explorer is fussing over her, and not being very helpful. A European trained African MIDWIFE was trying to take control of the situation. But only speaking to colleen.

                   MIDWIFE

         How could you have possibly let things get this bad. Haven't you been getting your prenatal check-ups?

                   COLLEEN

         Yes I had my last one, two months ago

                   MIDWIFE

         And what did they say?

                   COLLEEN

         That everything was fine. But that we might like to be near the hospital for the birth. Just in case.

                   MIDWIFE

         Well you're in labour. You're nowhere near a hospital. And there is no way that baby is going to fit through that birth canal!

                   BRIAN

         You can't talk to my wife like that.

                   MIDWIFE

         I've spoken to my colleagues, and a paediatric surgeon will be later this afternoon. However, I have been instructed to offer you a caesarean section performed by me. Please note this is a major operation, and I am only a midwife.

                   BRIAN

         Don't take this the wrong way but she'll wait, won't you dear.

                   COLLEEN

         What are the babies chances

                   MIDWIFE

         That baby. That birth canal. I am sure that if you try for a normal birth it will kill you both.

                   COLLEEN

         What is the risk to the baby if you proceed with the caesarean?

                   MIDWIFE

         Most of the risk will to you. An unskilled surgeon. And in unsanitary conditions.

                   COLLEEN

         Do it.

CUT

INT: HOSPITAL, MATERNITY POSTNATAL UNIT, A WEEK LATER.

Colleen is laid on a hospital bed showing off her scar. Baby HERB is in the cot beside her. JAN a journalist and friend for the New York steampunk clubs, is sat on the edge of her bed chatting/interviewing her. The OTHER FAMILIES in the ward are each totally self-absorbed. A NURSE is reading something at the nurse's station.

                   JAN.

         And she sewed you back up, one layer at a time from the inside to the out?

                   COLLEEN

         And a good job she made of it. You are going to....

                   JAN.

         Interview her. Already done. And she's picking me up tonight to show me where the good clubs are.

                   COLLEEN

         Fast of you. Be sure to give her a kiss. From me.

                   JAN.

         Any chance of a photo for the magazine

                   COLLEEN

         you've got lots of pictures of us

                   JAN.

         They are for our friends, they are used to seeing you without any inhibitions. The Newyorker requires slightly more modesty from its famous scientists.

Just then the baby starts to cry Jan looks in the cot wondering what was the correct way to pick up a baby with such a massively oversized head.

                   COLLEEN

         Be a dear and pass Herbie here

Before she can react, the nurse moves in scoops up the baby and deposits him on Colleen's stomach. Its huge head face down between her tits.

                   COLLEEN

          They do it like that to make him strengthen his neck muscles.

                   JAN.

         May I suggest that cute little powder grey number it makes you look quite cute and fairylike

                   COLLEEN

          It's all right. My baby was born with sixty per cent more brains than anyone else. So he needs a bigger head to hold them. At least this settles Dan's question grey or green. My little man is pink

                   JAN.

         Don't even joke about that. I'm a respectable journalist and a friend. And I can tell you a quote like that could haunt the both of you for the rest of your lives.

                   COLLEEN

         I may not be a journalist but I'm a big girl I can guess the type of thing the tabloids will say. Brian is writing up the report on our field studies, ready for publication. When it gets published the tabloids will go into a feeding frenzy. So I would be grateful if you can get the basic truth out there first.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT: UPTOWN NEW YORK STEAMPUNK CLUB. NIGHT

Brian and Colleen Bains are on their way to a steampunk club that they are members of. Colleen, from this point on dressed after Colleen Manassa Darnell. Brian always in a functional version of steampunk.
They enter the club

FADE TO CAPTION

The caption reads AND NOW IT'S TEN MONTHS EARLIER.

FADE IN

INT: STEAMPUNK CLUB. LATER

The usual STAFF and REVELLERS are winding down at the end of the night. Colleen, Brian Jan, DAN and GORDON are sat talking. All a little drunk

                   GORDON

         To the dark continent and all of the mysteries you will uncover there.

                   JAN

         I still don't understand...

                   BRIAN

         It's simple. The strata that we will be digging used to be a lakeshore. Where early humans lived at about the time that we suddenly got smarter. Better tools. Bigger brains. And we will find the proof of why that happened.

                   GORDON

         Good man

                   DAN

         I'm telling you man it was space aliens. Little green men, coming down here messing with our dna. I'm telling you man they are green, not grey. They only look grey because people see them at night or by the light inside their spaceship, which is the same as the light from their red dwarf sun.

                   BRIAN

         It was about this time that the de novo geans for the neocortex appeared

                   COLLEEN

         I hope not. if it's ET. We'll never find proof.

                   BRIAN

         We might find a crashed flying saucer.

                   GORDON

         They can fly millions of miles through deep space. But they're hopeless at parking, they crash every time.

                   JAN.

         I mean I know it wasn't called America but the ground was here, wasn't it? Just dig down to the right level and...

                   COLLEEN

         Ok. I think you've had enough mead

                   GORDON

         I think we've all had enough. Barkeep more mhisky and wead....whisky and meads.

                   COLLEEN

         They've closed the bar.

                   DAN

         Then we'll take this party somewhere more convivial.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

INT: A MODERN AIRPORT AFRICA MID MORNING

The Bains's arrive in Africa looking like impossibly glamorous Victorian explorers. Brian stops to manually adjust the polarization of his glasses

CUT

EXT: DIG OFFICE/VISITOR CENTRE THAT AFTERNOON.

HAPPY ADRIAN the excellent director of the Oldupai research project comes down the steps, smiling as he greets the Bains's

                   HAPPY

         I did not understand why you did not want to use the guest suite that we keep for visiting professors. I understand now. The last of Your student diggers arrived yesterday and are housed in the barrack block. Your tent is set up around the back, for now, we can move it to the site tomorrow if you still want.
         There is no food allowed any were on site except the kitchen and dining room. And I can not stress this enough!
          If you are going to sleep in the tent Mr Bains, you need to reread the guide section on the local wildlife. Particularly the section on Cedric.

                   COLLEEN

         Cedric?

                   HAPPY

         Cedric the grey, I could tell you all about Cedric. But it is better that Mr Bains sees for himself, he should have done it before he bought a tent. We will be clearing the brush from the first parcel of your allotted research area this evening.

CUT

EXT: AFRICAN BUSH. EARLY EVENING

The LOCAL MEN are using fire to clear the brush. Their CHILDREN are making a game out of catching the small animals that were being flushed out by the fire. Small items seemed to go straight to their mouths, their MOTHERS watching the children, with baskets ready in case they caught any meal worthy game. The Student diggers, Happy and the Bains's were watching and having a briefing

                   BRIAN

         Tomorrow we will do a proper field survey, but for now, we will follow on behind those men in case they expose something that needs to be protected.

                   VOICE OF A LOCAL MAN

         Cedric

The local women laugh as all of the male diggers move behind their female counterparts.

                   COLLEEN

         Where?

Happy pointed him out.

                   COLLEEN

         So that's a honey badger. He looks cute. Not at all scary.

                   HAPPY

         His not, if you stay six feet away from him don't threaten him or startle him and don't carry food with you then, you'll have no problem.

a little girl offers Colleen and Happy a large locust each Happy takes one and eats it Colleen copies.

                   HAPPY

         I used to love catching these as a boy. Did you notice that the kitchen bins all have padlocks on them? Do you know how we finally managed to stop him from breaking into them....we stopped putting waste food in them. There's not much he can't break into if he puts his mind to it.
          A couple of years ago he chased a German of the continent. A diabetic avian geneticist named Smyth, he was here as a base to collect samples of bird poo. He insisted on carrying a chocolate bar with him. Once Cedric made the link him to chocolate. He had to leave before Cedric tore his leg off to get at the chocolate.

                   COLLEEN

         Bird poo?

                   HAPPY

         He had a theory that there is a parasite of birds that infects insects causing them to not escape from a fire so that the birds eat the cooked insects and the parasite could complete its life cycle.

                   COLLEEN

         Like Toxoplasma Gondii in cats and mice

CUT

EXT AFRICA VARIOUS TIME OF THE DAY

A montage of scenes: With Colleen becoming more noticeably pregnant with the passage of time
Colleen checking samples. Brian instructing the students. Colleen playing with the children. Clearing the next parcel, colleen and the children catching and eating insects. Brian and Colleen watching Cedric.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

INT: HOSPITAL OBSTETRICIANS OFFICE. MORNING.

Colleen and Brian are sat opposite young Dr Smith

                   DR

         I will make you your next appointment for two months' time. You should be due about two weeks after that. And I would recommend that you stay near the hospital after that visit until the baby is born. Especially as he going to be a big one. Do you have any questions?

                   BRIAN

         What about her pica?

                   DR

         I've told you it's not pica Pica is the eating of things that have no nutritional value. Insects are packed with nutrients. Pound for pound they contain more omega 3 and 9 than any oily fish. It is probable that the eating insects by our ancestors is part of the reason we now need oily fish in our diet today. They are also packed with protein and vitamins.
          My offer still stands I can make an appointment to see a parasitologist. But as far as I can see mother and baby are both in perfect health.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT: AFRICA OUTSIDE THE BAINS TENT. MIDDAY.

Brian is outside the tent as the midwife pulls up and gets out of her car

                   BRIAN

         Quick she's gone into labour. She's not due for two weeks.

FADE OUTSIDE

THE END

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