No Place Like Home

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

This is a screenplay I wrote for a creative writing class in college.  I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. A pilot for a television show with extremely short episodes? I had to restore it from a PDF I found in my email, and I tweaked it just slightly as I was correcting the conversion errors. Anyway, enjoy. 

No Place Like Home

(After title screen continue with black for a little bit. Cut to a close up on John, a white male of about thirty wearing business casual clothes. He is sitting in a chair like at an airport gate.)

John: (with a start) Where am I?

(Pan camera to Cixot sitting beside John. Another white male, apparently twenty years old, rough and wearing a leather jacket)

Cixot: You’re in hell, Tenth Circle!

John: What?

Cixot: Ha ha, Naw, I’m just kiddin’. (John starts to relax) You’re in the Ninth circle.

John: What?

Cixot: (snorting at his own joke) There is no Tenth circle.

John: I’m in Hell?

Cixot: You’re in hell.

John: Hell?

Cixot: Yes, Hell.

John: Why does it look like an airport terminal?

Cixot: (shrugs and screws up his face in a “hell if I know” expression) I guess you don’t like airport terminals!

John: They’re kind of annoying, I guess.

Cixot: Alright, that’s a start! Welcome to Hell!

John: But – I’m not dead!

Cixot: Died in yer sleep.

John: No I didn’t! I wasn’t sleeping!

Cixot: Like Hell you weren’t (explodes with laughter)

John: I wasn’t! I was

Cixot: (interrupts) Dozin’?

John: A- No!

Cixot: (interrupts)Snoozin’?

John: No! I-

Cixot: (interrupts)Restin’ yer eyes?

John: Shut up! I was just getting a Diet Coke from a vending machine, when I was suddenly sitting in this airport terminal.

Cixot: Hell.

John: (annoyed)Yes, Hell.

beat

Cixot: ‘dja have a dark, disturbed feeling when you saw the vending machine?

John: What? What are you- (realization) wait, actually yes. I had the strangest urge to get as far away from that vending machine as possible, but I just- I just shrugged it off. (disbelieving) It’s not really sensible to go around avoiding things just because they give you bad impressions.

Cixot: As a matter of fact, it is. (flashes a smile) Possessed vending machine.

John: (incredulous) What?

(Camera spins around to face Kyle, a twenty-something fellow, snappily dressed and sitting backwards on the seat in the row opposite and leaning forward, paying rapt attention.)

Kyle: Demon possesses a vending machine. For all intensive purposes it becomes a tool of the devil. Then a mortal uses a tool of the devil, betraying God. Quid Pro Quo, here you are in Hell.

Cixot: (to Kyle)Absolutely right. (to John)Welcome to Hell. (pause, Cixot looks stupid for a second.)

(to Kyle) Have we met?

John: But-but I’m not dead! And what about the bad feeling!? What does that have to do with it!?

Kyle: Second of all, the bad feeling is your soul trying to tell you to, like you said, “Get as far away from the vending machine as possible” God knew demons would try and fool human, so he put little sensors in your souls that would warn you when an object is possessed. Unfortunately, nowadays people tend to ignore that sensor, what with all the hoopla about human reason and what is and isn’t possible. First of all, as for why you’re in Hell before you’re dead, well betrayal takes your soul right away, and you end up here.

Cixot: Shit! (slaps forehead) You’re right! Article 84, Clause 14-B, The sin of treachery is, er, punished instantaneously and without reprieve!

Kyle: Good! I bet you aced Sins 341! Now what’s that clause known as colloquially?

(Cixot stops to think for a moment)

John: But what happens to my body? Do I just, what, collapse in a pile on the ground?

Cixot: Danté’s clause!

Kyle: (to Cixot) Right you are! (to John) A-

Cixot:(interrupts) A demon takes control a yeh fer the rest a yer life.

John: (speechless)

Cixot: (smiles maliciously)We’ve got a screen if you want to see what yer doin’ now.

John: um

Kyle: You don’t want to see.

Cixot: What?

Kyle: Trust me, John, you don’t.

John: How do you know my name?

Cixot: (to Kyle, frustrated and suspicious) Who are you?

Kyle: (to Cixot) Nice to meet you, I’m Kyle. (to John) John, do not look at that terminal, trust me.

Cixot: I’m Cixot. Nice to meet both of you. (incensed, grabs John)We actually were just leaving.

Camera cuts. John realizes with a start that he’s in a booth now with a terminal in front of him.

Cixot: (muttering) Who was that? Kahyle.. Caile… maybe it was Caine? But what about the mark? Caine’s always got that stupid mark!

(Cixot pushes a button on the terminal and it starts up.)

John: Window’s Vista?

Cixot: Shut up. Lets see, start menu… all programs… ah DemonCam!

(Cut to terminal screen. “Please wait while DemonCam connects to server…” On the screen John is walking down the sidewalk finishing his Diet Coke. When he’s done he throws it in a waste bin.)

John: This isn’t so bad.

Cixot: Are you kidding? That was recyclable! Think of all the long-term damage that’s going to cause!

John: (scratches head) I guess that’s kind of evil.

Cixot: He’s just getting started, anyway. He wanted to finish the evil soda.

(John on the screen strolls into a gun store and starts applying for a gun license.)

John: My wife isn’t going to be happy about this.

Cixot: You have a wife? Ooh, this is gonna be great!

(The color drains from John in the airport’s face)

(John on the screen is filling out an application for a gun license)

(Kyle appears and grabs John. Suddenly, they’re in a cave. The camera is behind them, looking at the airport. Huge, black stalagmites and stalactites surround it, one is penetrating the roof, as if the airport had been built around it. Gigantic nuclear coolers stand in the distance, billowing brimstone. John looks around, startled.)

John: Goddammit, that’s so freaky! What’s with all the teleporting!?

Kyle: I don’t know what you’re asking to be damned, but it probably already is at this point, so don’t waste your breath. As for teleporting, Hell isn’t really a physical place, it’s sort of half, maybe three-quarters all in your mind, so you go places just by having the intent of being there.

John: I didn’t intend to be here!

Kyle: That’s the other half. That fella in the airport and I have higher privilege than you here, so we can

take you places just by intending to take you there.

beat

John:(resigned) So this is Hell. Why is there an airport?

Kyle: I should be asking you. You put it there.

John: Huh?

Kyle: You must really hate airports.

John: Not so much, actually.

(Kyle tries to exchange a knowing look with John, but John responds with a look that says “What!?”)

beat

(Johns eyes lazily wander around Hell, but when he turns around to look behind him he gasps.)

John: Whoah! Jesus Christ!

Kyle: Not here.

John: A lake of fire!? (pan to show lake of fire)

Kyle: Yes, that’s a lake of fire. Would you mind terribly stepping into it?

John: What? Yes I’d mind! It’s a lake of fire!

Kyle: That’s the way out of here, John.

John: That’s ridiculous! I’m not going!

Kyle: (sigh) fine.

(Kyle reaches his hand out to the side where it disappears as if behind an invisible wall and types

something. The lake of fire disappears and is replaced by a stretch of volcanic soil with a door standing freely in the center.)

Kyle: Just go through the door

(John pauses for a moment, but starts walking towards the door. When John’s almost halfway there Kyle reaches his hand out and pushes an invisible button. The land disappears and becomes a lake of fire again. John falls into the fire and starts screaming in agony.)

John: AAAAH! FUCK! It burns! THIS HURTS SO FUCKING BAD!!! AAAAAUGH!

Kyle: (shouting from the shore, show the camera distantly) Think of your home!

John: WHAT? AAAAUGH!

Kyle: You’ve got to think of your home, or you’ll just appear in the airport again!

John: FUCK THIS! THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Kyle: Don’t just say it! Do I look like a good fairy to you!? Keep an image of your home in your mind!

Think about what it’ll be like to be there!

John: AAAAAAAUUGH! It burns! It’s hot! GRAAAAGH!

(John sinks into the lake of fire.)

Kyle: (whispers to self) shit.

(John is in the airport)

Cixot: Long time, no see. I brought you the terminal this time.

(Cixot has a television on a wheelie stand. John on the screen is waiting for a bus.)

Cixot: He’s got the gun. He’s going to K-mart to buy the bullets now.

John: Why didn’t he just buy the bullets at the gun shop?

Cixot: He wants as many as he can get for your money. This demon’s an old friend of mine, and he knows how to cause suffering, trust me. Just be patient.

John: Oh, shit! Where’s Kyle?

Cixot: Would you shut up about Caine already? That fucker took my last three victims!

(Kyle appears)

Kyle: Come on, John.

They disappear. Cixot roars in anger and shoves over terminal, which explodes and sets the floor on fire. He screams again and tries a few times to snap his fingers. When finally he does manage to snap them, the fire and terminal scraps vanish, leaving the floor clean and pristine.

Cixot: Fuckin’ Caine!

(In front of the lake of fire)

John: Holy crap! He’s gonna kill us!

Kyle: Don’t worry about that guy, he’s just an imp. He probably thinks I’m one of his superiors playing a prank on him.

John: You’re not Caine?

Kyle: No, I’m Kyle. (sounding it out) Ky-le.

beat

John: So now what?

(Kyle gives John a look)

John: No.

Kyle: Do you want to get out of here or not?

John: So I have to die? Is that it? I die and somehow I end up back at home?

(Kyle nods impatiently)

John: Can’t you just shoot me or something?

Kyle: (Like explaining to a small, not particularly bright child) No I can’t shoot you. It has to be in the lake of fire. The lake of fire.

John: (mimicking Kyle’s tone) Why?

Kyle: The lake of fire is the connector between the circles. Dying by a gunshot wound will just put you right back at your rebirth location every time, but privileged people can send a soul that’s died in the pit of fire to different circles. Then I can override the system a little bit to give you the controls to go to the zeroth circle, i.e. The mortal realm. I’d just send you there myself, but you might end up in the wrong body. Like Cameron Diaz or a fish or something.

John: Hold on. I’m not a complete moron. Circles of Hell? Dante’s clause? I read The Inferno in

sophomore English. The ninth circle isn’t hot! It’s cold!

Kyle: Because Lucifer was blowing wind through it, but you don’t see him here either, do you?

John: What?

Kyle: An awful lot has changed since our buddy Alighieri had his little tour.

John: What?

Kyle: Look, Einstein. I’m not here to explain to you the history of Hell. I’m just here to get you out. Now do you want to get out?

John:…Yes I do.

Kyle: Then start walking. And remember, think of home.

(John starts trudging towards the lake of fire, but balks at the edge.)

Kyle: Come on!

John: This isn’t as easy as it looks! This stuff burns!

Kyle: Yeah, it’s fire! Now hop in!

(Cixot appears, livid)

Cixot: What the fuck are you doin’?

Kyle: Whoah, hold on there, fella. I’m just helping this guy get to the right circle. (to John) Go! Go!

John: (mumbling) There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…

Cixot: You ain’t Caine. I went to Caine’s house lookin’ fer ya an’ he said he’d never heard of a Kyle. Who are you?

Kyle: I’m Beelzebub.

Cixot: Checked there.

Kyle: Mephistopheles.

Cixot: Nuh-uh he’s off duty. Mephistopheles never deals with mortals on Thursdays.

Kyle: This is a special exception.

Cixot: Mephistopheles doesn’t make exceptions.

John: There’s no place like home…

Kyle: Enraha (hoarse whisper to John) Get in there!

Cixot: Are you serious!? Enraha is a giant eyeball! He never leaves that stupid pyramid!

Kyle: (Pauses for a moment)

Cixot: Who-

Kyle: Alright, you found me out…. I’m Lucifer. (Kyle’s eye twitches and he shoves John face-forward into the lake of fire)

John: There’s no place like-whoah!

Kyle: I have returned.

Cixot: That is the stupidest thing-

Kyle: You’d better fucking believe it, Imp. I’m the king of Hell.

Cixot: What? I’m a gog, thank you very much! I worked hard for that title! And you are not the king of hell.

Kyle: Oh, I’m sorry Mr. one-step-above-imp. Hey, where’re your horns?

Cixot: They’re on layaway. I should get them in a week or two.

Kyle: They’re making you pay for your horns now?

Cixot: Well, yeah. We’ve been doing it that way for a few hundred years now. Who are you, exactly?

Kyle: I’m Lucifer! A lowly gog questions my authority?

Cixot: Show me some proof. Lucifer is the size of a mountain!

Kyle: …I don’t need to prove anything to you, Gog. Go on your way

(Kyle looks over his shoulder at John, who is sinking into the fire screaming “THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!” at the top of his lungs)

Kyle: Idiot.

(zoom in on John’s hand reaching out of the lava as it sinks completely in. Suddenly, John is standing in front of a counter with his hand on a credit card. A clerk is looking at him expectantly. He looks and sees a heaping stack of bullet boxes on the counter)

John: Oh! Uh, I’d like to, um, cancel.

Clerk: I’m sorry?

John: I just realized I don’t need (eyes a heaping stack of bullet boxes on the counter) …however many bullets that is.

Clerk: (bewildered) Oh.

John: Bye!

(John leaps away)

Clerk: Sir, you left your gun!

John: Keep it!

John dashes toward the door, but Kyle is standing in the doorway. The automatic door keeps trying to close on him.

John: oh, Kyle! Thanks! Are you, uh, going to be ok?

Kyle: Yeah, I’m fine. That Gog’s pretty confused, though. He’s probably going to get demoted back to imp.

John: That’s too bad.

Kyle: Oh shut up, don’t feel sorry for him. He’s a demon!

John: Whatever.

Kyle: Listen, I just wanted to say you’re the luckiest damned moron I’ve ever met. And I mean that literally. Not everybody gets the slowest Demon in hell to possess him.

John: Well, gee, thanks, Kyle. You’re… what are you?

(Whirring noise of automatic door opening and closing)

Kyle: (screws up his face into a mock smile and puts his hands on his hips) I’m a servant of the Lord.

John: Yeah, right.

Kyle: No, really I’m just a regular guy.

(John is not impressed)

Kyle: Alright, fine. (glares wildly at John, still smiling) I’m Lucifer!

John: (Disbelieves again, but Kyle’s smile disappears. He looks suddenly rather imposing. John doesn’t press the subject)

Kyle: (grins) Well, don’t you have a wife to go see?

John: My god, I was so scared! You have no idea! Thank you again!

(John waits for the door to open wide enough for him to slip past, and runs out. Happy music starts to play.)

Kyle: Oh hey, John. Could you do me a favor?

John: What?

Kyle: If you see ol’ Cixot again, just say his name and tell him to go back to Hell. That oughta take care of him.

(The happy music stops abruptly.)

John: Whoah, whoah. I thought I was out of this!

Kyle: (holding up hands) I don’t really think it’s going to be a problem, I just think you should know. Just in case.

John: Ok, fine. “Cixot?” Just say “Cixot?”

Kyle: No, no his whole name. There’s a weird old rule on the books that if a mortal says a demon’s whole name the demon has to obey their instructions. What actually qualifies as a legitimate instruction has gotten all gunked up in bureaucracy, though, so just stick with telling him to go away. You can be all like “Returne from whence ye came” and stuff if you want, but just “go to Hell!” should work fine.

John: What’s his whole name?

Kyle: That’s a good question. Nowadays demons tend to make their full names entire backwards songs, and then just go by the title. I’m not up on popular culture, though, so I can’t help you with that.

John: (incredulous) So I have to sing an entire song backwards?

Kyle: (defensive) I didn’t say it was going to be easy! Oh, and don’t practice. If you say his whole name while he’s not here, it might summon him.

John: (yelling) I have to sing an entire song backwards on the spur of the moment without practicing!?

Kyle: You know what!? Fine! Fine! You don’t want my help, you won’t get it! There’s no way you’re the one they want, anyway! I’m out of here!

John: What? The one they want!? Oh, no you don’t! You are going to tell me what’s going on, and you are going to tell me

(Kyle vanishes)

John: …now. (camera zooms out to view larger K-Mart area. Everyone is staring at John)

John: What!? What are you guys looking at!? Go away! (mumbles) Ah, what the hell is going on!? Cixot… what song is called “Cixot?”

(Play credits to Britney Spears’ “Toxic” played backwards)

(the song continues a bit after the credits end, and the dialogue starts the second it ends. Close up on the fang-filled mouth of a major demon, complete with red skin, goatee, and horns. Dressed in business formal and wearing tiny glasses at the end of his long nose.)

Namdnas Retsim: …Otherwise known as Cixot. (Zoom out to show whole face while Retsim looks up from his paper) May I call you Cixot?

Cixot: (looking sick with worry) Please do.

Namdnas Retsim: Now, it says here that the soul under your jurisdiction somehow ended up back in

its mortal body.

Cixot: I- I can explain, really!

Namdnas Retsim: (adjusts glasses, looking back down at paper) ahem, you will be glad to know, Cixot, that Neeuq Rellik was returned immediately to Hell unharmed.

Cixot: (slightly relieved, but still quite terrified) I was acting under orders!

Namdnas Retsim: Yes, it’s all here. (slightly amused) From Lucifer himself, I see!

Cixot: It was Lucifer! He said he was Lucifer!

Namdnas Retsim: Perhaps… he wasn’t telling the truth? Did that thought enter your mind, Cixot?

Cixot: He said he was Lucifer! I’m not supposed to question Lucifer! Article 16-A, clause 8,433!

Namdnas Retsim: Settle down, Cixot, it’s all here. You’re not in trouble.

Cixot: (surprised) …I’m not?

Namdnas Retsim: No, no, no…

(Cut to John energetically hugging his surprised wife and children, Retsim’s voice plays over)

Namdnas Retsim: We just need you (cut back to fanged mouth) to get that soul back.

(Cut to black)

By Sam Munk

Science fiction and Fantasy author with a focus on philosophical inquiry and character-driven drama.

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