arts & music

Hark To The Future: A Cautionary Screenplay

by Cheney — September 29, 2015

Vintage View Finder Kenzie



A modest living room – reasonably tidy except for an area around a 1970’s-era brown couch, which is festooned with unfolded laundry, a laptop, two books, mail-order clothing catalogues, a crumpled stack of receipts and innumerable hair ties. Amongst the clutter sits our protagonist, bathed in the glow of a television displaying the closing credits of an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

CHENEY, 31-year-old female, wearing purple yoga pants and a black Microsoft Virtualisation t-shirt. It should be noted Cheney is not a Microsoft Virtualisation geek, or “Veek” as the shirt proclaims, but merely wears it because her boyfriend got it free from a tech conference.

One more episode?

She glances at her phone, which shows 10pm.

OK, just one more.

As Cheney reaches for the remote, there is a loud bang, a shower of sparks and a puff of smoke. As the smoke clears, we see another Cheney standing at the foot of the couch.

GHOST OF CHENEY YET TO COME (GOCYTC) is mostly identical to Cheney, except slightly transparent and obviously angry. She is wearing a wrinkled button-down shirt, a skirt that clashes with the shirt, and a laddered pair of tights. Her hair is simultaneously oily and dry.

Goddammit Cheney! I’m getting sick of your bullshit!!

ARGH!! Who are you?! How did you get in here?! Am I drunk?! I only had one beer tonight! Ugh! Getting old is the worst!

You’re not drunk, just lazy. Maybe if you were drunk, I’d cut you a break for dropping the ball. And I’m you. From the future. Obvs.

Oh. Wait, if you’re from the future – why aren’t you wearing a mecha suit?

Because I’m from the future that exists only 24 hours from now. Form-fitting power armour still eludes the human race at this time.

That’s a shame. You look awful. But if you’re me tomorrow, why haven’t you had a decent night’s sleep and a shower by now?

I’m you! If I look awful, you look awful! And it’s your fault! Come with me!

GOCYTC seizes the shocked Cheney, who turns slightly transparent too and floats with GOCYTC up and out of the living room. They glide through a gradually lightening evening sky before coming down into another room of the apartment, looking down from the ceiling.

Hey, that’s me! I mean, us.

They observe another Cheney, sleeping peacefully in bed.

Correct. It’s now 8am, tomorrow morning.

8am?! Why aren’t I up yet?

Because you watched four episodes of Drag Race last night. You kept putting off going to bed until you reached the point where you were too tired to get off the couch. It was after midnight by the time you turned off the TV. Let’s not even discuss how half-arsed your teeth-brushing routine was.

As they watch, the sleeping Cheney rolls over and reaches for her phone, sleepily glancing at the time. She suddenly sits bolt upright in bed and struggles to get up quickly, getting tangled in the blankets. She frees herself and leaps out of bed, tripping over a full laundry basket as she heads for the hallway.

Because you didn’t do anything to help your future self last night, you’ve awoken late and confused. You don’t have any lunch or snacks to take to work. Your stuff is spread across three different handbags, which you haven’t consolidated. You have very few clean clothes.

They both watch as Cheney struggles through her morning routine, pulling clothes out of the laundry hamper, trying to find a pair of matching shoes and accidentally spraying herself in the eye with dry shampoo.

Ouch. I meant to get up early enough to wash my hair.

Any hope of that was lost at the start of that third episode of Drag Race.

Well, at least I’m off to work. It’ll get better from here.

Don’t count on it.

Further scenes of chaos are observed. Cheney forgets her staff security pass, and has to sign in, getting a visitor’s pass with a broken clip. She is late to a meeting, where her boss eyes her wrinkled ensemble and shakes his head in disappointment. We see her choking down a dry, overpriced sandwich from the staff café. She has to stay at work late to finish a report, missing her dance class. On her way out of the office, her broken visitor’s pass flies off her shirt and hits a small child in the face, making them cry.

I…I had no idea it was going to get this bad. I’ll fix it, I’ll do better. No more TV after tomorrow.

Don’t you understand it’s too late? Your actions last night set off a chain of events that cannot be stopped! Cheney will lose her job due to persistent slovenliness! She’ll get diabetes from all the carb-heavy lunches she has to buy because she no longer brings anything from home! She’ll keep putting off doing her washing until all she has left is a pair of too-short pyjama pants from the 90s and a sequinned ballgown!! Sure, she’ll be up to date on the latest season of Drag Race and be well-versed in internet happenings. BUT AT WHAT COST?!?!!!

I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t know. I DIDN’T KNOW! Just give me a chance to fix everything! I’ll do it now! I PROMISE! PLEASE!!

Cheney’s sobs are still heard as the picture fades out.


Cheney is asleep, talking and thrashing around in a dream, her limbs flailing.

Sorry! Sorry! Promise! Won’t…do it again. No more…TV. No more screen…time…after 10pm. Don’t…don’t. So…sorry.
Ugh. Ugh.
(looks around)
God, what a terrible dream. I had such awful, awful hair.

Cheney reaches for her phone again, showing that it is still 10pm. She gets off the couch and stretches, reaching for the remote to switch off the TV.

It’s getting late. I should sort some shit out before bed.

Cheney gathers up a number of handbags, and begin looking through them, making a pile of things she will need in the morning.



Editor’s note: Photo credit for Kenzie on Flickr.

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  • Bridget

    Hahaha this is hilarious! I was just discussing this very thing to a friend of mine…