My father died in March, don’t I get a bereavement period?
On the Moderator, looking almost bored, leans his cheek against his fist.
We had to terminate that policy. Too many people were murdering their loved ones to remain in the collective.
On the holoscreen above John; the photo collage has changed photos, now we see John practicing the flute, in an archery class, whittling wood.
“You’re a hobbyist, Mr. Condit. Every year you pad your feed with silly diversions.”
On the Moderator, looking serious.
You know we have limited resources in the collective. Anyone who doesn’t post significant life events each year has no place here.
John rushes forward as two large bailiffs race to restrain him.
Don’t send me into the Wasteland! Please--
(linked – burst)
I beg you!
The bailiffs have John by either arm and are dragging him away from the council members, who are all on their feet in alarm.
I have friends who get married just to divorce the next year. All to post a life event! You must see it.
They’re hamsters on a wheel!
We’re stationed over the council member’s shoulders, now seated, as the bailiffs drag John out the door.
At least they’re moving, Mr. Condit.
The council finds you are not living your life to its potential and must be purged.
The Moderator and Parker stand in front of a large wall in a wooded area. They’re dressed casually both in sunglasses. Two armed guards stand beside them, also in sunglasses.
It’s still shocks me that some people would rather die than live a meaningful life.
John walks toward us, his head bowed. He has changed into dark clothing and wears a backpack. He’s flanked on either side by armed guards wearing sunglasses.
PARKER (off panel)
I only wish we had learned the secret to utopia before destroying half our world, sir.
The Moderator and Parker have parted for John to pass. The wall behind them is in the process of opening to allow John out. Through the crack in the wall we see only light. John covers his eyes, having never seen sunlight this bright.
The Moderator hands John a black book. John, still dazed by the light, looks surprised by the gift.
Die well, John Condit.
Parker leans in close to whisper to the Moderator.
What’d you give him?
A journal. He liked to write.
On John walking towards us through a scorched desert wasteland, devoid of life albeit a few skeletons. In the distance behind him the massive wall of the collective and buildings therein. We should be able to make out the refraction on the dome that covers the collective, protecting the inhabitants from the strong sun.
“Maybe in death he’ll find the meaning his life lacked.”
John treks through the desert, his sleeves torn off and used as head wraps. He still wears the backpack but it looks less full.
JOHN CAPTION (in handwriting on lined paper, from his journal)
Day 9. Water ration gone. Endless desolation. Did the Moderator think it would be ironic if I used this pencil to kill myself?
John kneels beside a stream, whittling a stick. He’s shirtless, his face is scruffy and he looks trimmer.
Day 21. All my hobbies seem to be coming in handy.
John fires a bow and arrow at a fleeing deer. His pants are cut short, his chest broad, his beard thick.
Day 45. Radiation levels must be low. Flora and fauna seem healthy.
On John, lounging beside a tree at dusk. He’s dressed in animal fur. A small campfire burns beside him. He writes in his journal with the nub of a pencil.
I’ve lost track of the days. The Moderator must know the truth of the wasteland. Far from a waste, for me it provides what I've always wanted…
Tighter on John, the journal resting on his lap, his hands by his side. His head back as he drifts off to sleep, a genuine smile curving his lips.
…An uneventful life.