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Calcified

Calcified was written in response to the question, "What would happen if a kidney stone grew out of control and took over the world?"

Calcified

 

By

 

Tarl N. Telford

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT  HOSPITAL - DAY

 

TICK STUDDARD (20's) nervously enters the solemn compound.

 

INT  HOSPITAL - FRONT DESK - CONTINUING

 

The NURSE eyes Tick coldly.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Hi. I'm here to see Dr. Orson about a kidney stone.

 

                                    NURSE

            If you're the freak who's been calling about medical souveniers, forget it.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Oh. No, I mean, I have a kidney stone. I've got an appointment with Dr. Orson.

 

The Nurse frowns as she dials the telephone.

 

                                    NURSE

            Kidney stone here to see Dr. Orson.

                        (to Tick)

            Go that way. Fifteenth room on your left.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Isn't there a number on the door?

 

At her angry glare, Tick steps back.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Thank you. Really.

 

INT  HOSPITAL MOVIE ROOM - CONTINUING

 

Tick opens the door to find DR. ORSON and his associate, DR. WELLES, frowning at an X-RAY.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Dr. Orson, I'm here, just like you wanted.

 

The LIGHT in the hallway goes dark as the door closes. Tick scarcely takes notice.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            Ah, Tick, I'm relieved that you came. This is my good friend and associate, Dr. Welles. He's specializing in kidney stones.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I didn't think there was anything special about them.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            To the contrary, my young man, kidney stones are a fascinating realm that science has not yet begun to explore. Did you know that there are some in the medical community who have said on record that kidney stones constitute the next step in human evolution?

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            Dr. Welles, we don't want to frighten the boy. He's nervous enough as it is.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            Biologic intelligence explains many of the gaps in Darwin's Evolutionary Theory. How does the body fight infection? It is not a conscious decision. How do we know when and how to grow?

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            It's in the genes. Our DNA.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            So science says. And I believe you, I do, but -

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            I don't. The body has intelligence. The body contains memories from countless aeons ago, when our first genetic ancestors climbed up out of the primordial ooze. Before that, the chemicals that compose our DNA, they remember the compounds in the rocks and the earth that we developed from.

 

Tick moves to the door. Dr. Welles blocks his exit.

                                    DR. ORSON

            It sounds radical, I know, but I believe that Dr. Welles has stumbled onto a find of great medical significance.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Are you saying -

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            I'm saying that your kidney stone could very well hold the memories of the human race. The whole earth, even.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I'm leaving.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            I'm afraid that is quite impossible right now. You see, we are more than five stories beneath the ground. The light that went off in the hallway when you closed the door - there is no way out without us.

 

Tick sits down on the lone chair in the room.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            What do you want with me?

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            Only to learn from you. From your stone.

 

Dr. Orson moves a movie projector into position.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            This film was recently unearthed from a medical vault in the American Midwest. We believe that this research has been wrongly subverted by shadow elements of the government to forward their nefarious ends.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I want to go home.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            If you leave now, you will die. The kidney stone within you will grow and grow and grow -

                                    DR. ORSON

            Shh. The movie's starting.

 

A 1950's style education film flashes on the screen.

 

                                    NARRATOR

            Kidney Stones: Friend or Foe? This film will delve into the scientific and mythological significance of this painful, and often fatal, medical condition.

 

Tick's eyes grow heavy.

 

                                    NARRATOR

            Kidney stones are deposits of calcium, often chalky white in appearance. Could you imagine having a piece of blackboard chalk growing inside you?

 

The screen blurs, and the narrator's voice becomes thick and slow.

 

                                    NARRATOR

            Some consider these creatures to be aliens growing inside, determined to take over the world.

 

INT  HOSPITAL MOVIE ROOM - DREAM

 

Tick wakes up with a start. The film projector flaps its loose end of film around and around.

 

The room is empty, but muffled VOICES come from outside. Tick creeps to the door and opens it just a crack.

 

INT  HOSPITAL - CORRIDOR - CONTINUING

 

Dr. Orson and Dr. Welles argue over an X-ray.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            We can't keep the boy a secret any longer. The military must have him.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            Not until I finish my research. That stone holds the key to every medical condition that has plagued mankind at every step of evolution.

                                    DR. ORSON

            I will not have you subjecting the boy to any more tests. All you want is a cure for your own disease.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            What? How did you -?

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            That's right. You shouldn't leave your medical journal laying around any more. I know you have a kidney stone growing inside you. It eats at you, like a piece of chalk, devouring your insides.

 

Dr. Welles grows pale. He steps backwards, losing his composure.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            No. I will find a cure. That boy is the answer.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            I've done my own tests. By all rights, you should be dead any second now.

                        (looks at watch)

            Any second.

 

Dr. Welles coughs spasmodically. He heaves, falling to his knees. He chokes, and pieces of CHALK fall from his mouth.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            Oh, yes. I know the work you have done, but this time, self-experimentation only left you dead.

 

Dr. Welles rolls to his back. His stomach bulges, as if something strains to come out.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            Oh no. Please, help me.

 

Behind the door, Tick watches in horror as Dr. Welles writhes in agony.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            Help me.

                                    DR. ORSON

            You are beyond help, Dr. Welles. Good bye.

 

Dr. Welles' stomach splits open, spraying chalk dust everywhere. A hand holding a CHALKBOARD ERASER bursts out.

 

Tick SCREAMS. He locks the door behind him.

 

Dr. Orson pounds on the door.

 

                                    DR. ORSON (O.S.)

            You can't run, Tick. It's growing inside you. It will feed on your thoughts, your fears. It will grow and consume you. It will consume us all.

 

Tick opens a closet door to find an X-ray machine. He stands in front of it and looks down. The Kidney Stone is the size of a grapefruit.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            No. This can't be happening to me. Yes, I drank milk as a child, but that was because I wanted to grow up big and strong.

 

Tick looks around for an escape.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            There's no way out. I can't go out in the hall. I can't. But there's a voice inside me telling me I should. That's the only way out.

 

Tick opens the door. Dr. Orson is gone.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Hey, voice, you were right.

 

                                    VOICE

            Take me home.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I will take you home, little voice. I'll call my girlfriend, Eunice. She'll know what to do.

INT  APARTMENT - EVENING

 

Tick paces nervously. He flips through the channels at warp speed. On the remote, a WHITE POWDER appears.

 

The DOORBELL rings.

 

EUNICE GARDENER (20's) holds two grocery bags full.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            This is really weird, Tick. Your refrigerator is usually packed.

 

She opens the fridge door - it's empty. She turns to Tick.

 

He's chugging a gallon of milk.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            You're gonna end up hurling. I didn't spend my money just to watch you spew.

 

Tick slams the empty jug on the counter.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            More. I need more.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            What's with you, Tick? You drink lots of milk, but this is just a little beyond -

 

Tick shovels ice cream into his mouth. He clutches his head and screams at the brain freeze.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            That's it. I'm taking you to the doctor.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            No, please, Eunice. I'm okay.

 

He eyes the ice cream in her hand.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            No. I'm not letting you -

 

Tick grabs the ice cream, but Eunice keeps hold of it.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            Tick, stop it! It's mine!

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Mine! Need. Hungry. Voice hungry.

 

Tick wrestles Eunice over the sofa and across the floor before wresting away the carton of ice cream. He pushes Eunice away and shovels it in again.

 

Eunice wipes away chalky white powder off her clothes.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            Tick, you're starting to scare me. You're getting really pale.

 

She puts her hand on his forehead. It comes away covered in white powder.

 

Tick tosses the empty ice cream carton aside and chugs another gallon of milk.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            More.

 

                                    EUNICE GARDENER

            No. Tick, something's wrong with you. I'm calling 9-1-1.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            NO!

 

Tick grabs Eunice. She suddenly freezes solid. She falls backwards, covered in white powder.

 

Tick gasps in horror.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            Eunice! Oh no. I've got the calcium touch.

 

He grabs the telephone. It crumbles into white powder.

 

EXT  APARTMENT - NIGHT

 

Tick staggers across the street. A car HONKS and skids to a stop. Tick sobs in terror.

 

                                    DRIVER

            Hey, buddy, you okay?

 

Tick grabs him, and he turns chalk white. His clothing falls down on top of a pile of calcium powder.

 

Tick screams and staggers away, leaving chalky white footprints behind him.

EXT  BARREN WASTELAND - DAY

 

Tick stumbles across the white sand and falls face down.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I've killed the entire earth. My kidney stone destroyed everything. It's all my fault.

 

He closes his eyes and turns to stone.

 

                                    VOICE

            And so I waited. And dreamed. I, Stone, remembered the ages before when the stones slept. Now I shall wait again, and dream.

 

INT  HOSPITAL MOVIE ROOM - REALITY

 

Tick snaps awake.

 

                                    NARRATOR

            And so some geologists surmise that excess calcium in the earth actually caused all the ice ages and effectively destroyed all life.

 

Tick snaps off the projector.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            That's not true. It was all just a dream. A dream, I tell you.

 

Tick points to the two Doctors.

 

                                    TICK STUDDARD

            I don't want to hear from either one of you. And you

                        (points to Dr. Welles)

            I'm onto you. I'm not going to be your guinea pig so that you can cure some self-inflicted kidney stone for research. I am my own person. I won't destroy the world.

 

INT  HOSPITAL - FRONT DESK - CONTINUING

 

Tick walks toward the front door. The Nurse calls after him.

 

                                    NURSE

            Don't go out there. It's a horrible accident. A truck carrying chalk and one carrying talcum powder crashed, and ... it's a mess.

 

EXT  HOSPITAL - CONTINUING

 

Everything is coated in a white powder. Accident victims lie still, covered in white. Everything is silent.

 

Tick screams and runs blindly away.

 

INT  HOSPITAL MOVIE ROOM - SAME TIME

 

Dr. Orson and Dr. Welles frown at the X-ray.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            I think that was a little uncalled for. We were only trying to help.

 

                                    DR. WELLES

            This latest X-ray shows that his kidney stone has stopped growing for now.

 

                                    DR. ORSON

            As long as Tick stays away from any extra calcium, I think he'll be okay.

 

INT  MINI MART - NIGHT

 

Tick stares at the dairy display. He licks his lips as he looks at the milk. Glances around, opens a gallon, and chugs it.

 

                                    VOICE

            Yesssss ...

 

                        FADE OUT:

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