Overload

Brandon Brockshus. Middle Iowa Film Group. 8 June 2016.

Sound

Black screen. Radio static. Through the static, bits of jazz, voices, tabloid talk show.

“What do women really want in bed? We’ve got that and more at 8.”

“So, this morning my guy walked in on me, and I was, you know, watching porn, and he got all upset…”

Heavy metal music

“The book of Revelation tells us there will be a great reckoning…”

Smooth R&B

“fanatics in the middle east have captured another city, the story at 11”

Upbeat pop

“are you having trouble losing those last five pounds? Try lipid-ex elixir, it worked wonders for me”

Old time gospel

“Jesus said, ‘And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Static. Plunge through water. Oscillating hum of binaural beats.

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A woman’s voice. “How did I get here? Have I been asleep? What does all this mean?”

Her eyes open. “Who are you?” Black screen.

Sight

A screen pops and fizzles ‘on’ to a grainy, time stamped video recording. The same woman is sitting in front of the camera with wet hair wearing a bathrobe.

“This is day 5 of the sixteenth week of my study in sensory deprivation paired with binaural beats. The psychometric tests have been improving exponentially, and cognitive recall is up 300%. The paranoia has worsened, but more astonishing is the realization that I can now access repressed memories. This realization came nine hours into last night’s session. There are many small patches and some alarmingly large patches of time that were previously blocked from my conscious self. I now know that I did things not of my own volition- things I did not remember doing before last night’s session… Consider this a confession of things I know I did without consent. October 6, 1997 I pushed a man onto the tracks of the E line as it pulled into the World Trade Center. May 23, 2004 I stole a Glock 23 and planted it in the luggage of a young Persian man on his way to the Des Moines International Airport. I lost fifteen months in 2008-09 during which time I gave birth to triplets and nursed them before four men in suits took them away. I’m sorry… I ended the session with that memory and began my usual tests…”

A pounding at the door. “What the…” She rises and answers the door. We do not see the person at the door. “I knew it was only a matter of time.” An arm rises from behind the door. Its hand is holding a handgun. Gunshot. The woman spins and falls. The shooter approaches the camera. Video static.

Touch

A hand reaches onto the screen, pulling the video out of full screen, opening a menu, and deleting the video. We zoom out with the hand to reveal the shooter. There is a picture of him, the woman, and their parents on his desk. He moves to a reel video projector (or record player) and starts “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” as sung by Virginia Bruce in Born to Dance. He sits to watch (listen), and falls asleep.

The man is walking down the street, gently grazing his fingertips across people’s hands. At his touch, each person turns with a glazed expression and changes direction to do something strange or bizarre. One man takes a can of processed cheese and crackers from his jacket and passes them out to passers-by. A woman starts dancing with passers-by, clinging to their necks, whispering in their ears, and laughing. Two people start playing patty-cake in the middle of the street, enjoying it like children. A man goes home and starts an argument with his wife. He becomes abusive. She scrambles for a gun in the bedside table drawer. He takes it from her, shoots her, then himself.

The shooter wakes up, and his eyes focus. The reel (record) is finished and clicking. He turns it off then walks to a closet. He presses his hand to a hidden pad in the back of the closet, and a door opens to a white, fluorescently lit room. In the room is a table filled with forensic evidence, a corkboard with crime scene photos, and a white board with lists of names, places, and corporations. There is also a full chemistry laboratory with various consumer products and a hydroponic vegetable garden.

Taste

The camera turns back onto him now in full personal protective equipment (PPE). He turns on an audio recorder.

“It has been eight weeks, three days since my sister was murdered in her lab. I am no closer to finding her killer or knowing why she was killed, but I can’t escape a feeling of familiarity surrounding this case. Also, the dreams are becoming more vivid, and I’m starting to suspect there is some truth in them- as strange as that sounds. A week before she died, Verity begged me to start a vegetable garden using seeds she had left over from her research at the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry using only rain water and non-commercial nutrient sources. I laughed and said her conspiracy theories would be the death of her, but something in her eyes made me take the seeds. Since her death, I’ve been eating only from the stockpile of food she gave me, following her notes on nutrition. I also started the damn garden using her instructions. Things are… different now. I’m learning and making connections faster. Her conspiracies don’t seem so crazy anymore.” He puts down the recorder, tends the garden, picks up and starts to eat an apple, then turns to the whiteboard. He sees something- a new piece to the puzzle. He strips off the PPE and rushes out the door.

Smell

The shooter walks with purpose, but confused. He knows where to go but is unsure of what to do. He goes through a shopping mall, where he is sprayed by cologne and perfume samples. As other people are sprayed, they react (laughing, etc) then go into a store and buy fad, expensive, unneeded items. The shooter is aware of this, but no one else finds it strange. He is noticed by men in suits and earpieces who chase him into and through a sewer. They fight. The shooter is very quick. He disarms and dispatches each of the men while unarmed. He does not kill any of them.

He finds a lone white chrysanthemum at the exit of the sewers, smells it, and exits to a trash dump. He is walking with renewed purpose now, the mum in his lapel. Some way into the dump, he comes across a beautifully kept flower garden with a woman dressed all in white. She stands and turns from her gardening and greets him, “Hello Brother.”

Oversight

The shot pans around and out, goes digital hazy, and blinks out. A man’s voice, “The siblings are reunited as you foretold. They will know the truth.” The shot pans away from his face, over his shoulder to the Oversight Supercomputer. (Two yellow HAL9000 -like eyes). OS responds, “Do not fear, they will never be free.”

Slow fade to black. Binaural beats. Static.