The Lotus Eaters

A screenplay for a short film without dialog.



Far below us, a network of grey cubical buildings separated by thin strips of green. That green – trees lining grey lines – roads.

We descend onto a particular grey cube, mirrored windows. Blue skies, partly cloudy, ideal summer day, tons of light.

On one side of the building, freight trucks pack cargo boxes. The blue collar crew fork-lifting the loads in.

We descend into the entrance of the building. Glass doors sliding open. Folks in business attire, coffees in hand, file in.

A security guard greets them as they enter with ease and familiarity.



A labyrinthine sea of cubicles, grey.

We focus in on a single hero, SALARYMAN, 35, average in every way, well-groomed white collar yuppie. Ties, suit, and telephone headset. He stares at a computer screen. The screen has a grid-like appearance of an Excel-like program.

He speaks while reading what appears to be a script, partitioned into a grid-like pattern of cubes.

On his desk, a small collection of figures representing various superhero figures.

Above him, on the cubicle wall, a poster with a motivational saying.

Next to it, an image of a bottle of and energy drink or fruit juice in a tropical-like setting.

Above the cubicle, in giant lettering on the wall, is a duplicate label to the juice.

Salaryman’s eyes are strained, eyes red, staring intently at the screen. The figures on the screen are magnified, zooming in closer, to pixels. Inside the pixels, a tiny quivering of lights turning on and off. Within these quivering lights, a rush of ones and zeros.

Salaryman rubs his eyes. He looks to the clock. It reads 9:35 am. He looks incredulous, and looks up to another clock, a wall clock somewhere among the labyrinth. It’s the same – 9: 35. He slumps back in his chair.

A fist clenches a stress ball repeatedly, the rubber ball flexing back and forth in his fist.

He rubs his neck – we can tell it’s sore.

Salaryman gets up from his chair and puts his headset down. He looks up and sees something interesting.

People are congregating to one side of the office for some reason. He’s curious and heads toward the commotion.

On a side of the office there is a break  room, people are floating in.

He can’t get inside, but looks over some shoulders to a figure.



That figure is ADVENTURE MAN, 40 – chiseled, rugged features, slight beard. He leans casually against a table communicating to a group in rapt attention.

In Adventure Man’s hand, he holds what looks to be a carved stonework, some sort of archaeological find. He puts the stone down.

Salaryman looks to someone next to him who has a phablet or something, scrolling through pictures of adventure man in what looks like a tropical location.

The faces look at Adventure man glowingly, excited, envious, longing. Their eyes light up at the picture, they giggle together.

Adventure man’s hands go into a bag, they return with a little jar.

People lean in. Their business clothes well-preened.

He talks animatedly with his hands about this jar. He opens the jar – inside what looks to be honey.

People pass around paper cups.

Cups filling with water at a cooler.

Drops of the honey go into cups.

Cups being stirred.

People lifting the cups to their lips, drinking the mixture.

One is passed to Salaryman, who wonders what it is. Someone nods to him, smiling – it’s okay, bro, go ahead.

Salaryman looks around him.

Happy faces. Lips smacking. Happy lips. Happy teeth. Happy tongues. Happy people.

Salaryman puts the cup down to the protest of those around him. He leaves the break room.



Salaryman makes his way through the cubicle maze against the contraflow of traffic in the opposite direction, where people are filing into the break room to check out the commotion.

Salaryman makes his way to his desk. He sits.

Someone passes by. He lowers himself in his chair, as if to be unseen.

He reaches for a phone, dials someone, talks into the phone.

We can only hear the cacophony and indistinct chatter of a party getting louder. He has to shout into the phone.


INTERCUT image of a security guard talking on the phone.

Salaryman hangs up the phone. He stares at the phone. He looks at his screensaver – looks like Bora Bora.

A figure, a BUSINESSWOMAN, emerges behind him, smiling broadly, trying not to giggle out loud, tip-toeing into Salary Man’s cubicle. She turns behind her, looks to someone else, waves them on.

A second figure, a BUSINESSMAN, tip-toes into the cubicle.

Salary man senses something, turns around – startled out of his mind.

Businessman has a paper cup, shoves it over to Salaryman.

Salary man pleasantly shakes his head as in ‘no thanks.’

But Businessman insists jovially.

Salary man is panicked, suspicious, like – no I don’t think so! He tries to leave the cubicle.

Businessman laughs, shoves him back into his chair, making him roll back into the desk.

A couple other bodies come into the cubicle.

Salary man struggles to get up, Businessman bitch-slaps him backwards. Hands hold him down.

Their eyes wide and twinkly, giggly with laughter.

A hand takes a cup up to Salaryman’s lips, makes him drink the sauce.

His pained face turns loose, jolly. The sauce … delicious.

The hands leave him. The fight’s left his body, relaxed, eyes pleased.

The bodies leave the cubicle, Salary man gets up. He peeks up out of the cubicle and around the office. All around the office space people are taking apart the cubicles. The walls being smashed to bits. One guy smashing them with a giant fire extinguisher.

Computers and monitors are being piled up in a corner of the floor.

Cubicle walls smashed, thrown to the walls.

Desks flipped over with a bang!

A group of people are barricading the exit. The face of the security guard seen in the window is covered up by extra cubicle walling. A mound of furniture covering the exit.

Salaryman starts in on his cubicle, kicking at the desk. It doesn’t budge. He leaps on top of it and starts kicking down vigorously at it, knocking out the computer.

He takes books, binders of data and dumps them everywhere.

A boss’s office, decorated in tribal kitsch is raided, bodies filing out with drums and rattles.

Somewhere some folks start playing live music – drumming sounds, multiple drums – a primal beat.

Salary man’s phone rings. He answers.


INTERCUT MRS. SALARYMAN on a cell phone.

He talks into the phone, pointing to the drum circle.

Mrs. Salaryman is aghast, shocked. She yells at Salaryman. He laughs, hangs up.

A group of people are standing on chairs reaching the ceiling, knocking out surveillance cameras, whacking them with fire extinguishers and other tools.

A couple of guys are using a copy machine as a wagon, pulling it around the now open office like a stock car race under billowing plumes of paper.

A guy with an office projector swings it around like a giant yo-yo.

A circle of office plants and trees are put in a circle in the middle of the office. Salary man takes his office plant to join the others.

In the middle of the circle, there is Adventure man, now dressed in only his tighty-whities. His body painted with strange symbols, in colored markers. He holds a mop in his hand, dancing to the drums.

Figures join in, jackets and ties dispensed with.

Tailored clothes, shirts come off.

Women in bra and slip, dancing, tossing away high-heeled shoes with great enthusiasm.

A flood of dancers file in to join.

Someone has graffiti’d “God is Love” in marker all over the fruit juice mural.

There is a commotion at the doors.

A group of men, a kind of war party, lipstick on for makeup, their ties wrapped around their heads like bandanas. Their arms taped up, holding slats – repurposed debris from office furniture.

Salaryman joins them, ties his tie around his head like a warrior.

Furniture is removed from the door and the men file out.



The men file into the hallway and overpower a security guard there, holding him down.

Salaryman brings a cup to the lips of the security guard.

The men continue down the hall, entering the stairwell which is marked with a “3”.



Another hallway, identical. The men exit another stair well, which is marked with a “2”. Folks are their moseying around like a normal work day.

The men corner these folks and shove cups in their faces – drink this!



The office lobby. The men exit the stairway, this one marked “L”. As the lobby denizens are over powered, even more men take the lobby. Paper flies in the air, computers destroyed.

The men take a large stick and barricade the door. The automated door comes to a close. They lock it secure.



The men enter what appears to be a sort of factory, a bottling center. It’s filled with giant vats, a conveyor belt. Loader and trucks to load. A large mural of the energy drink on the wall.

Stacks of bottles, giant vats of the drink. An assembly line of bottling energy drinks.

Aventureman brings in a giant jug, people make room for his reverently – like he’s carrying the Stanley Cup.

A ladder is placed onto the giant vat. Bodies line up and down the ladder.

The jug is placed on a table in the bottling center.

The lid is unscrewed from the jug.

The jug is taken, with the hands of the group, and hoisted up, hand to hand, carefully, into a giant vat of the energy drink.

The honey pours into the colorful drink, slightly altering its hue.

The men cheer triumphantly.

Salary man goes to a switch, turns it on.

The conveyor belt moves. The bottles sit under nozzles, are filled with the drink.




The Salary man returns to the office. The open office is considerably more destroyed than before. The party has continued. A couple of small dogs run around, being chased by a goose!

Groups of people laughing, dancing, etc.

Some folks smoking.

Butterflies float by Salaryman’s face, he follows their path – they exit a broken bay window. He goes to the window.



Salary man looks outside. Below the building, a line of police cars. A couple of paddy wagons. Their lights flicker.

A SWAT team in the lot is gearing up.

Salaryman’s eyes focus on the scene below. We see Salaryman’s wife talking to a police officer in a helmet.

A POLICE CAPTAIN with a bullhorn shouting things at the building.

A spotlight starts up, blinding in the eyes of Salaryman.

Sounds of helicopters equipped with spotlights circle the building.

Men line up behind their cars, wielding rifles, guns, etc.



Salary man sees and hears the police captain, ignores him, turns away and recedes into the building.

Overhead lights low, their faces lighted by computer screens, soft glow of lamps as night sets in.

People are sitting in a circle sharing food, breaking bread. Some folks taking a nap, their bodies in repose.

Some folks listen to someone telling a story with rapt attention.

A few people somewhere playing music. Others making love.

Salary man moves through this scene, and walks out of the office.



Salary man enters the lobby. The blocked glass doors, the police lights outside strobe across the lobby.

A truck outside turns its headlights on. It’s blinding to the small group in the lobby, who turn away from the shine.

The lights get closer, the shadows jostling on the walls.

The bodies run from the light, which approaches quickly.

A truck smashes into the lobby, glass, aluminum, debris go flying as the Salary man and others duck away, taking cover.

Canisters of teargas skip across the ground, emitting fumes.

In the distance, in the parking lot, men with shields and gas masks start marching forward.

The figures’ silhouettes highlighted through the tear gas fog, advancing on the building.

Salary man and others run down the hall. The men barricading themselves in the …



Salaryman enters the bottling center, men bolt the door shut.

The bottles move down the belt, going through a maze. A machine screws tops onto the bottles.

The bottles go through a machine which slaps label sticker on them.

The bottles take on an organization, lined up in little rows. The rows becoming larger, eventually taking a square form, which a box is wrapped around them.

The box then is picked up by hands and placed on a stack of boxes on a palate which is on a forklift.

A forklift carries a stack of boxes onto a truck.

The men high-five each other, their faces giddy.



The night scene continues in the open office. The crowd gathered at the window observing the advancing riot cops below. Spotlights waving in the air. Choppers surrounding the building. Bullhorn incomprehensible. Spectators line up from the distance.

Aventureman is among the crowd, he motions to a television mounted on an office wall. It’s off. Someone turns it on.



A NEWS ANCHOR sits at a desk, dapper, strong chin, squared suit. Behind him, an image taken from a helicopter of the building they’re standing in. An office park at night – a live image. Below the Anchorman, the title “Bioterrorist Insurgents: An Assault on Freedom?”


The faces of the tv watchers astonished, angered.

The Anchorman turns to a panel of two other talking heads.

The faces of the tv watchers even more angered, frothing at the mouth angry.

Adventureman leaps to the tv, someone helps him, they rip off the big flat panel.

They carry it to the broken window and toss it outside, the panel flipping ass over teakettle in the wind, landing among the riot cops below.

The cops look up, flashlights in their direction.

POW! – A gunshot in their direction, Adventureman ducks out of the way. That gunshot followed by a few more rounds.

A machine gun lights up … rat-a-tat-tat… at the open floor.

More glass is broken. The group huddle against the back wall, taking cover.

The gunfire stops. But then four commandos emerge from the windows, dangling from ropes, having rappelled down from the roof.

Adventureman’s face in horror – of course, the roof!

The commandos unlatch themselves, and have night vision goggles on, like ninjas.

The commandoes walk slowly, their boots crackling over broken glass.

They aim their automatic rifles at the group, now huddled against the wall, defenseless. Their arms up in a defensive posture.

A hand reaches for the lights – and turns them on.

The jolt of bright light startles the commandos with night vision goggles – who have to take the goggles off.

In the moment it takes them to recover, the group charge the commandos. The commandoes take out one, two of them with judo flips…. But there are too many of them.

One commando gets to his pistol and fires a round. The round opens a wound on a woman’s leg — ah!!

Another commando tries the same, gets his gun, but it’s kicked out of his hand by someone.

Then he grabs a knife instead and slashes out. But he’s tackled from behind, his arm braced. The commandoes overwhelmed by numbers.

Moments later the commandoes are thrown out the windows. Their bodies crunch on the ground.



A group of commandoes in the fog wear gas masks.

Someone brings up a battering ram, like a treasure, like the Stanley Cup.

The group start hammering away at the office doors – BAM- BAM.

The door gets cracked open.

One SWAT COMMANDER looks inside and sees the primitive scene. He motions to a colleague.

A colleague brings up a large barreled gun and hands it to SWAT commander, who then sticks it into the opening and fires three rounds – whump, whump, whump.



Rounds of teargas flop into the open office. The group try to cover the canisters to no effect. Some try to cover their faces with clothes. They start hacking and wheezing on the gas.

The barricade gives way to the battering ram and the SWAT team comes in.

The group, gassed, are defenseless. Visibility low.

The Swat commander gestures to the others to fire.

A fireworks show blasts out of the end of the barrels … ratatatatatatatat… sweeting the room with lead from a dozen machine guns. Smoke mixes with tear gas. The masked faces staring at the carnage. The bodies of the people piled up, mangled, disfigured.

The smoke clears a moment. One remaining figure, half-standing, down on a knee, bloody and wounded. It’s Adventuremen.

His face, bloody, burned, staring at the SWAT commander.

The SWAT commander pulls the trigger on this rifle – click – empty.

The face of Adventureman lights up with a smirk, he starts to laugh.

The SWAT commander pulls a sidearm, a .45, and shoots the Adventureman.

The Adventureman falls down with a thud.

Smoke clearing, flashlights focused on his body, highlighting Adventureman’s final signal – his dead rigid arm extended toward the SWAT team with a bloody erect middle finger.

The SWAT team reloads their rifles and then file out of the office, on to somewhere else.



In the bottling center, the loading of the trucks continue.

The door is being pounded on, men hold it shut.

A forklift lowers a final palate on the truck.

Bodies are being shoved from the door, having lost their grip on things.

Salaryman shuts a truck – it’s full to the brim with boxes.

A canister of teargas is flung into the bottling center. People run for their lives.

The truck starts up a driver shouts for Salaryman to hurry.

The door is flung open, the SWAT team start coming in.

Salaryman, hacking on the tear gas, races to the garage door, racing to the switch. A bullet hits him in the back. He stumbles, but picks himself up again. He continues on, but is hit again. He struggles on … He’s almost there …. His hand reaching up to get to the switch.

The truck honks its horn.

Machine gun fire fills the place. People falling everywhere.

Bullet holes fill the vats, the honey-infused energy drink spilling out everywhere, forming riverlettes of colorful drink. The liquid rolling down, spiraling into a drain in the floor.

Salaryman’s hand reaches the garage door button, and it rises.

Salaryman collapses, dead.

The riot cops have finished of everyone, close in on the truck.

The doors, open enough, the truck gets through. The SWAT fire rounds at it – no use – the truck is gone, into the night.