Volume 6, Issue 1

MEATS OF EVIL
By Kurt Becker


INT. EVE’S HOUSE, BEDROOM – MORNING

Darkness. A PHONE is RINGING.

EVE
(Muffled)
Shut up. Shut up. Shut up...

The RINGING STOPS. Then STARTS AGAIN.

EVE
Damn it.
A light comes on, illuminating a cramped, messy bedroom filled by a bed, dresser, and nightstand. Various articles of clothing cover the floor while posters adorn every inch of the walls. A teenage girl, EVE, sits up in bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She wears a stud in her nose and has short, jet-black hair that she’s tied into a ponytail with a rubber band. She sits, blinking her way to consciousness while the PHONE CONTINUES TO RING. Eventually, she answers it.

EVE
Speak.

INTERCUT WITH: INT. JEAN’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - SAME
A large bedroom dominated by a canopied bed and filled with expensive furniture. Floor-to-ceiling windows stare down on a verdant green lawn. Another teenager, JEAN, stands talking on a cordless phone as she picks through a closet filled with expensive, designer clothing. Curly, auburn hair falls down to her shoulders, framing her pale, freckled face.

JEAN
Oh my God! I’ve been calling you all morning! Where have you been?
EVE
Well, Jean, I was lying here last night thinking of purple elephants until Queen Mab rolled by - cricket-bone whip and all – and when I woke up, you were yelling at me for sleeping in.
JEAN
Queen who?
EVE
Shakespeare. Never mind. So what’s up?
JEAN
When are we leaving?
EVE
Leaving?
JEAN
It’s Saturday.
EVE
Is it, now?
JEAN
You remember our plans for Saturday?
EVE
Of course.
JEAN
You said you’d join me if I went to Heartland Farms?
EVE
Uh-huh...
JEAN
The re-education facility? The one set up by that activist group?
EVE
Go on...
JEAN
Eve, I asked you two days ago!

CUT TO: INT. SCHOOL, CAFETERIA – DAY – FLASHBACK

A noisy, greasy-looking, school dining room filled with the sounds of KIDS YELLING and SILVERWARE CLATTERING. Eve and Jean are seated alone at the far end of a table. Eve is reading a magazine, oblivious to the world around her.

JEAN
Want to go to Heartland Farms this Saturday?
EVE
(Not listening)
Sure.

CUT BACK TO: INT. EVE’S HOUSE, BEDROOM – MORNING

EVE
Shit.
JEAN
See you in ten.
Eve hangs up.

INT. JEAN’S HOUSE, BATHROOM – SAME
A posh, carpeted washroom adorned with spotless white porcelain and sterling silver.

Jean looks in a mirror as she puts on makeup.

INT. EVE’S HOUSE, BATHROOM – SAME
Plain white tile. Peeling wallpaper. A bathtub with yellow rings and a torn shower curtain.
Eve gets ready for the day. She dunks her head underwater in the sink, runs a comb through her hair, gargles once, and calls it good enough.

INT. JEAN’S HOUSE, BATHROOM – SAME
Jean stands, waiting for a set of curling rolls to warm up.

INT. EVE’S HOUSE, KITCHEN – SAME
Eve peruses the contents of a refrigerator. Her choices are limited to Slim Jims, cheese, and Miller Lite. She discovers an apple and closes the door.

EXT. JEAN’S HOUSE – DAY
An elegant, two-story Tudor-style mansion with a big driveway and a blue Volkswagen bug sitting outside. Jean exits the house and gets in the VW.

EXT. EVE’S HOUSE – SAME
A single-story, vinyl sided-domicile with lawn gnomes and a solitary pink flamingo guarding the front walk. Eve sits on the front stoop, eating her apple.

The SOUND OF A CAR APPROACHING is followed by SCREECHING BRAKES as Jean’s VW squeals into frame; knocking over several trashcans as it stops on the curb.

INT. CAR – DAY
Jean is driving. Eve is looking out the window.

JEAN
Where’s your mom at?
EVE
The latest “Woman’s World” reported a Sean Penn sighting in Williamsburg. She and a friend left at dawn this morning.
JEAN
Did you see “Mystic River”?
EVE
No.
JEAN
It was okay.
EVE
So, what exactly is a “re-education facility”?
JEAN
It’s like a children’s museum; they have all these informational displays and programs aimed at promoting vegan and vegetarian living.
EVE
Great.
JEAN
You’re not going to feel left out. They encourage people of all diets to attend.
EVE
Since when have you been a vegetarian?
JEAN
Long enough.
EVE
You went to a steak house for your brother’s birthday.
JEAN
And I’ve since changed my ways.
EVE
It was last week!
JEAN
Just trust me. You’ll love it.

INT. HEARTLAND FARMS, RE-EDUCATION CENTER - DAY
A dank and dimly lit room. Bare florescent bulbs illuminate A GROUP OF TOURISTS standing behind a metal railing. The sounds of MOOING can be heard from somewhere nearby. This, along with the SUDDEN ROAR OF A BUZZSAW and PEALS OF HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER, make a few people look around nervously. Eve and Jean stand at the front of the crowd. Jean is reading a pamphlet titled “MEAT IS EVIL” with rapt interest while Eve just looks bored.

EVE
Can we go now?
JEAN
Did you know Heartland Farms is the largest Vegan Activist center in Eastern Pennsylvania?

HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMS and the ROAR OF A BUZZSAW echo from nearby.

EVE
I wanted to go to the mall today...
JEAN
(Reading)
Listen to this: “Converts to a meatless lifestyle include Paul Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow, the late Peter Sellers, David Duchovny...”
EVE
(Checking her watch)
If I kill you and steal your keys, I can make it there by four...
JEAN
Can you at least feign interest?
EVE
Jean, Hitler was a vegetarian.

From overhead, a loudspeaker WHINES with FEEDBACK and SPITS STATIC.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.)
We at Heartland Farms want to thank you for participating in our re-education program today! Please proceed out back through the double doors for the final portion of today’s tour!

EXT. SLAUGHTERHOUSE YARD - DAY
Sunlight beams down. The tour group emerges into a small, fenced-in, dirt yard outside the faded, red wooden walls of the slaughterhouse. As they move further out into the yard, the stink of manure and burnt meat makes several people cough.

EXT. CHUCK WAGON – CONTINUOUS
A faded, grease-stained chuck-wagon is where the stench emanates from. Coming closer, we can see a charcoal grill where dark lumps resembling burgers crackle and pop. The proprietor of this culinary eyesore is A FAT COOK DRESSED AS A PIG wearing a chef’s apron and hat. He beckons the group closer.

EVE
(To Jean)
What the hell is this?
JEAN
(Reading pamphlet)
“The Final Temptation poses recruits with a choice; either forgo the pig’s offer and convert to a vegan diet or indulge in the carnal pleasure of edible murder.”
EVE
You’re kidding me...
COOK
Come on, sinners! Eat!!
Everyone looks at the grill. About a dozen burgers spit grease and sizzle over hot coals. Some people look back to the slaughterhouse doors, remembering the tour. Others mumble, ashamed, and back away. A few cry and curse the pig’s lack of compassion. Eve steps forward and addresses the cook.

EVE
What’s the purpose of this?
COOK
Choose, child! Choose and be damned!!
EVE
This is ridiculous...
(To crowd)
Is this how vegetarians are born? Do you just let asshole pigs yell at you until you submit?
JEAN
(Whispering)
Eve, please...
EVE
No! I’m sick of this fascist guilt-trip.
(To Cook)
How much for a burger?
COOK
The price is your soul!
EVE
Fine, whatever.
The cook flips a burger onto a bun and hands it to Eve.
COOK
Thus you taste the meats of Hell!
JEAN
(To Eve)
What are you doing?
Eve takes a bite. The rest of the tour group stares at her in shock.
COOK
How does it taste?
EVE
Burnt.
COOK
That is the taste of sin!
EVE
(To JEAN)
You want one?

A CRYING GIRL behind Jean and Eve pushes her way to the front of the group.

GIRL
(To Eve)
What is wrong with you?!
JEAN
I’m sorry. She’s carnivorous.
EVE
Huh?
GIRL
Were your eyes closed back there? Do you know what you’re eating?
EVE
No. I am completely ignorant of where meat comes from. Please tell me. Jean notices how the horrified disbelief on the tourists’ faces has been replaced by a growing anger. That, and how she and Eve are being slowly surrounded.

GIRL
(To Eve)
Y’know, some of us learned a valuable lesson today.
EVE
Funny. I didn’t.
GIRL
What are you doing here?
EVE
Getting a free lunch.
GIRL
Why, murderer, WHY?!
EVE
Because I’m hungry.
COOK
Hungry for sin!
EVE
Look, it’s just a burger.
GIRL
Well, you’re just a bitch!

Without hesitation, Eve punches the girl in the face. Pandemonium ensues.
Eve grabs the tongs from the grill and begins chucking still smoking burgers at the tourists.

EVE
Whores! Filth! Swine! Did you doubt me? Did you doubt my power?

Some flee, others take cover. Everyone screams. The cook flails his arms and bellows nonsense.

COOK
You have to pay for those! Security! Drop the tongs! ALL WILL PERISH!

Eve wings a burger at the cook. It hits him in the face and he goes down.

COOK
Oh my God! MY EYES! MY PRECIOUS EYES!!

Jean grabs Eve’s arm.
JEAN
Run, you psycho!

They run for it, vaulting the wooden fence and heading for...

EXT. THE ROAD – AFTERNOON
The sun paints the clouds in hues of orange and red. Eve and Jean walk back along a rural two-lane road surrounded by corn fields and sporadic farm houses.

EVE
At what point during the past week did I ask you to introduce me to ignorant cultists?
JEAN
It was just something I thought you’d be interested in!
EVE
What? A cult?
JEAN
It’s not a cult!
EVE
Tell that to the guy in the pig suit...
JEAN
Did you like any of it?
EVE
I liked throwing beef at people. I don’t know about the rest.
JEAN
It was supposed to be educational.
EVE
It was. I learned that idiots are powerful in groups.
JEAN
Why do you do this?
EVE
Do what?
JEAN
Throw every idea I have back in my face?
EVE
I don’t know. Stop coming up with stupid ideas.

Jean speeds up, walks past Eve, and continues down the road.

EVE
Jean! Come on! I was kidding!
Eve follows, trailing behind her.

EXT. ROAD – LATER
Still dusk. Jean’s car is parked along the roadside, resting on the remnants of a gravel driveway leading to nowhere. Jean sits inside her dark blue VW Bug, staring angrily at the dashboard. Outside, Eve shouts at her friend through the window and tries in vain to open the locked door. She curses and pounds on the glass.

EXT. ROAD – LATER
Eve sits on the ground, tossing stones into the road. Jean rolls her window down enough to speak through.

JEAN
What time is it?
EVE
Almost six.

The window rolls up again. A pause. The passenger door opens. Eve stays where she is for a moment before getting into the car.

INT. CAR – LATER
Jean and Eve drive in silence. Eve turns on the radio. LOUD MUSIC BLARES. Jean turns it off. Eve turns it back on. Jean responds by switching it off. On. Off. On. Off. This continues until Jean smacks Eve’s hand. Eve responds by smacking Jean’s face. They exchange blows as the car swerves.

EXT. MALL, ENTRANCE – EVENING
A huge, concrete eyesore ringed by marble columns and asphalt. Jean and Eve stand at the entrance, watching people filter in and out of the massive glass doors in front of them.

EVE
You coming?
Jean says nothing.
Eve heads towards the doors. Jean waits a moment before following.

INT. MALL - SAME
A deceptively sterile, brightly lit testament to the great empire of commerce. Jean and Eve follow MOTHERS WITH SCREAMING CHILDREN, groups of TITTERING YOUNG GIRLS, and BALDING OLD MEN. This flow of human traffic carries them past various shops filled with useless amenities and lit by garish fluorescent lights.

INT. MALL, FOUNTAIN – CONTINUOUS
They stop at a fountain bordered by palm trees and an escalator; a crossroads. Jean sits down on a bench.

EVE
Fine. Eve walks away.

A MAN IN GLASSES, wearing a faded t-shirt two sizes too small, sits down next to Jean. He clutches a bag of clothing and BREATHES LOUDLY through his mouth.

INT. MALL, CLOTHING STORE – SAME
A kitschy, cramped store stocked with loud and exotic clothes. Eve examines a rack of shirts. Nearby, TWO BLONDE GIRLS talk on cell phones as they shop. Eve looks up at their incessant CHATTERING to find the girls facing the store’s entrance, where a YOUNG MAN stands, talking on a cell phone and waving stupidly at the girls. They wave back, making UNINTELLIGIBLE GIGGLING SOUNDS as the young man responds with equally annoying GRUNTING NOISES.

Eve just stares.

INT. MALL, FOUNTAIN - SAME
Jean watches TWO YOUNG BOYS hitting one another with foam bats. Over and over again.

INT. MALL, MOVIE STORE - SAME
A dank, dimly lit hub for electronic media. Racks of movies and related paraphernalia line the walls. Eve watches a bank of nine or so TVs set into the wall. On every screen are various movies showing ridiculously buff, screaming men with guns kicking Nazis and clutching American flags amidst numerous explosions.

INT. MALL, FOOD COURT - SAME
A cavernous room comprised of advertisements and greasy burger huts. Amidst a sea of loud, feasting people, Jean sits. Next to her, a FAT WOMAN gorges on fast food along with her equally FAT HUSBAND. TWO DIRTY CHILDREN run by, chasing a chicken.

INT. MALL, MUSIC STORE - SAME
A simple, oblong room filled with rows of CDs. Eve examines a rack of “New Releases” from a slew of seemingly identical bands. She looks up to see three signs dividing the store’s selection into “Rock/Rap”, “Rap”, and “Country”. Next to Eve, A WOMAN WITH SAGGING FEATURES argues with A PORTLY MAN over a CD. They make ANNOYING SCREECHING SOUNDS; like vultures squabbling over carrion.

INT. MALL, FOOD COURT - SAME
Jean sits alone, drinking a Slushie. Eve approaches and joins her at the table. A DIRTY CHILD runs by, chasing the same chicken. He is pursued by a WOMAN WITH A HORRIBLE PERM clutching a SECOND DIRTY CHILD. Eve and Jean watch them go.

EVE
I love people.
JEAN
You find what you were looking for?
EVE
No.
(Pause)
I’m sorry.
JEAN
Me too.
EVE
It’s cool. Are you hungry?
JEAN
Oh, that burger didn’t fill you up?
EVE
(Gags)
Vegans need to learn how to grill.
Jean laughs.
JEAN
Come on, I’ll take you to Denny’s.
Jean gets up.
EVE
How about Eat ‘N Park?
JEAN
I thought you hated that place?
EVE
Well, I mean... They’ve got a salad bar.
(Pause)
If you like that sort of thing...

Jean smiles. Eve gets up.
EVE
What? I’m just saying, is all...
JEAN
Thanks.
EVE
Come on, let’s get out of here. This place smells like children and Pine-sol. They leave the food court.

EXT. MALL, ENTRANCE – EVENING
Eve and Jean exit the building. Nearby, TWO SECURITY GUARDS try to subdue a CRAZED MAN WAVING A BUTTER KNIFE. As Eve and Jean walk by, a THIRD GUARD runs in from off-camera and tackles the man. A BOY HOLDING A BALLOON watches the two girls as they leave.
FADE OUT.

ROLL CREDITS.