Author: Nesasio PM
A man and his toy rabbit fight crime. Screenplay adaptation of my short story I Am Thunderbunny. Please note that the Fictionpress wordcounter added about 3000 'words' to the story. IT'S NOT AS LONG AS IT LOOKS.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Humor - Words: 6,962 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 08-09-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2836550
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: There are 3 things to keep in mind for this piece. 1. I wrote it for a screenwriting course in college a couple years ago and it had to be at least 30 pages long. So yes it's long. 2. It's an adaptation of my short story I Am Thunderbunny but you do not need to read the short story to understand it. and 3. There is a character called 'Crime Boss Dude' toward the end. I apologize for being unable to come up with a name for him that I liked. If it bothers you, please feel free to create your own name for him. :)
INT. MOM'S HOUSE NIGHT 1989
A middle-aged woman, MOM, leaves the bathroom and walks down the hall to her bedroom. She gets to her door, opens it, and is reaching to turn on the light when she hears a BOY's voice talking and laughing quietly down the hall.
She sighs, annoyed, and is about to yell at him to go to bed when she hears a strange VOICE talking to him.
Yes, just like that. No, make it blue!
But we already made this thing blue.
Mom is shocked to hear someone else in the house this late at night but since her son doesn't seem to be alarmed, she quietly goes back down the hall, listening to the conversation. She cracks the door open far enough to see her son, a six-year-old in superhero pajamas, sitting in the middle of a large pile of scattered crayons, doodling.
What color should I make her hair?
We haven't used pink in a while.
Oh, pink, that's good. 'Cause pink is for girls.
Mom watches as the boy obediently picks up the pink crayon and starts scribbling on the paper.
She cracks the door open a little further and is shocked to see her son's favorite stuffed animal, a worn-out corduroy rabbit with button eyes and a superhero cape, that he calls THUNDERBUNNY. It is moving around, looking at his drawing and moving his crayons around on the floor. Mom closes the door, calms herself and knocks.
Jack, what are you still doing up?
She hears JACK scramble to get into bed and she opens the door again. Young Jack is in bed, smiling innocently, holding Thunderbunny. The toy appears to be just that. Mom tucks Jack in.
Time for bed. For real this time.
But I was making you a pretty picture.
And that's very thoughtful of you but it's past your bedtime.
Because Mommy said so and little boys should only listen to their Mommy. Right?
Young Jack nods and she kisses him on the forehead and turns off the light. The alarm clock on Jack's dresser reads 8:20 PM as Mom closes the door.
INT MOM'S HOUSE NIGHT LATER
The clock on the dresser shifts to 9:15 PM as MOM sneaks back into her son's room. YOUNG JACK is sleeping, still clutching THUNDERBUNNY. She picks up his unfinished picture, gently takes the toy away from Jack without waking him, and leaves the room.
INT ATTIC NIGHT
MOM sticks THUNDERBUNNY and the unfinished drawing into a box that already contains a number of Jack's other drawings as well as some newsclippings. The last thing she adds to the box is a photo of a much younger Jack posing with Thunderbunny the day he got the toy.
She smiles fondly at it, observing just how sweet and innocent her son looks in the photo and then looking at Thunderbunny in the box, seeing how time has changed the toy, looking worn out and slightly malevolent.
It's time for him to forget you.
She closes and tapes the box shut and pushes the box into a corner, hidden behind a lot of other boxes. With one last look back, she climbs down the stairs. We zoom in on the box and transition to
INT MOM'S DINING ROOM DAY PRESENT
…where we see more boxes. Some boxes are still open, filled with odds and ends. All are labeled with dates and the things they contain, like "March 2001" and "Broken Appliances."
A young man in his mid-twenties winds his way through the maze of boxes. On the walls we see pictures of Young Jack and his mom, happy and obviously close, in a progression from very young (around the age he was in the beginning of the film), to his graduation from college when she's grey-haired and tired-looking and we see that this young man is JACK, grown up. Jack looks around the room and sees all the objects that made up his mom's life, the items and pictures that she loved too much to get rid of.
Mom, why'd you have to be such a packrat?
Jack picks up one of the framed pictures, of his mom smiling at a portrait he drew of her for a birthday present, takes the picture out of the frame, and brings it with him into the kitchen, a well lived-in room missing only one thing: his mom. Jack smiles sadly at the photo, and sits down at the kitchen table where we see a piece of paper and a pencil where he has been writing her obituary.
INT. MOM'S DINING ROOM DAY LATER
JACK goes through a few boxes, pulling out some strange things like a broken lamp, a baseball glove, some lightbulbs, etc. He rolls his eyes at the odd collection all stuffed into the same box and closes it again. He takes the box out of the room, labels it 'Keep' and puts it on top of a pile of boxes he has already gone through, labeled 'Keep'.
Fast forward a bit and the stack of 'Keep' boxes grows.
INT. MOM'S HOUSE – ATTIC DAY
JACK comes up the stairs looking tired, presumably because he has been hauling boxes downstairs for a while. The junk pile in this room has expanded beyond the center of the room and overflows near the top of the stairs.
Jack carries another box to the stairs and trips on a rogue shoe that has fallen into his path. He falls down the stairs, dropping the box and all its contents in a dramatic explosion of weird objects.
At the bottom of the stairs, Jack pats himself down, amazed he's okay. The shoe sits at the top of the stairs, innocently looking down at him.
Yeah, I can take the hint. I'm done anyway.
He opens the door, reaching into his pocket for something that he doesn't find. Jack groans in frustration and leans his head against the doorway.
Jack comes up the stairs, stepping around all the debris. He starts moving around boxes, searching for his lost keys.
Finally, one stack of boxes moves and the keys fall to the ground with a jingling clank. Jack sighs and picks them up, pausing when he spots a box that isn't labeled, unlike every other box he has seen that day.
Intrigued, Jack cuts the tape. He opens the box and a cloud of dust flies up, indicating this is one of the oldest boxes in the house. Jack reaches inside and pulls out THUNDERBUNNY.
Jack laughs, smiling down at the toy as if seeing an old friend for the first time in years.
Man, it's been a while.
He sets Thunderbunny on top of a nearby box and pulls out some faded old newspapers, which he crinkles up and throws into the garbage pile, dismissing them. He reaches in again and pulls out several of his old drawings and paintings, with his awkward handwriting and all featuring him and Thunderbunny saving the world.
Jack chuckles, looking over the drawings for a little while before he sees car lights through the window and realizes how dark it has gotten. He stands up and looks down at Thunderbunny for a long moment before he grabs the toy, checks for his keys, and leaves the house.
INT JACK'S APARTMENT PARKING LOT NIGHT
JACK pulls one of the boxes out of the front seat with THUNDERBUNNY carefully set on top. Jack closes the car door and heads to his door. They pass under a streetlamp and Thunderbunny's button eyes seem to gleam with a lifelike light. Unaware, Jack unlocks his door, awkwardly heads inside, and slams the door behind him, Thunderbunny's staring eyes the last thing we see.
INT. JACK'S CUBICLE INGHAM VALENCIA ADVERTISING DAY
JACK is putting the final details on a sketch he's doing for an ad design. Around the room, some of his coworkers are talking to others about things unrelated to work, most are in their own little cubicles either staring off into space or playing on their computers. Either way, Jack is the only one really working. He erases the figures he has just sketched and pauses, as if waiting for an idea to appear in his brain.
Of course, at that moment, Jack's boss HOWARD peeks into Jack's cubicle.
Slacking again, Jack? This is becoming a habit of yours, isn't it?
(straightens up in his chair)
No, I was just-
(glancing angrily around the room)
That's always the story, isn't it, son? Whenever I'm around everyone's 'just' taking a break or 'just' had a hard night.
Well, now that you mention it-
Listen, Jack, I don't care. This is work. You do work things here. You don't take naps in my chairs with your feet up on my desks when you're working in my business.
Of course, I wouldn't-
(raising his voice, over Jack)
And it insults my intelligence and the intelligence of everyone who works here if you think you're better than your coworkers and can get away with these things when they can't!
The other people surreptitiously look away from the scene Howard and Jack are making, putting down their coffee mugs, minimizing their games and unrelated websites, creating the perfect picture of diligent workers.
Of course not, sir, I'll work on that.
Good, and I expect the new designs on my desk by 5PM.
Of course, sir.
Howard walks away.
Jack stares at the half-finished ad design and glares around at all his coworkers staring at him, talking about him. Annoyed, he pulls out a new piece of paper and starts drawing a picture in the style of his old childhood drawings of Thunderbunny, with the toy an almost unrecognizable blob attacking other blobs.
In this case, he draws Thunderbunny burning down the building and roasting marshmallows over the remains of Howard's desk. Jack laughs, crumples up the paper and throws it into the trashcan. His frustration worked out a bit, he gets back to work.
INT. JACK'S BEDROOM NIGHT
JACK wakes up to the sound of a fire truck siren passing his house. He rolls over, puts a pillow over his head, and goes back to sleep.
INT. JACK'S KITCHEN MORNING
Yawning, JACK walks in from his bedroom and turns on the tv. He digs in the fridge looking for some breakfast as the news plays in the background.
In local news, the main office of Ingham-Valencia Advertising…
Jack bangs his head on the fridge as he hears the name of his company.
…caught fire sometime after midnight last night. Nearby residents reported the fire and firefighters were still working to contain the blaze until about an hour ago.
Jack looks stunned as he watches the report. In the background, a pretty FEMALE OFFICER talks to some of Jack's coworkers.
Authorities suspect teenagers may have intentionally started the fire after a half-eaten bag of marshmallows was found on the scene.
Jack stares at the tv as the rest of the anchorman's report fades and he remembers the drawing from the day before. He looks around the room and finds THUNDERBUNNY sitting on the couch. Jack walks over to the couch and reaches for the toy but thinks better of it.
Don't be an idiot, Jack, it's just a toy.
He goes into the bathroom and puts toothpaste on his toothbrush but he feels like something's wrong; he leans around the corner but Thunderbunny is still there, still normal. He starts brushing his teeth and looks again. He goes back to brushing. Pauses. Still brushing his teeth, he sighs and leaves the bathroom, picking up the toy and throwing it behind the couch.
With that done, he finishes brushing his teeth and turns off the bathroom light. Pulling his fingers away from the switch, he realizes they are sticky. Jack stares at his hand, at the couch, back at his hand, and dives to the couch to retrieve Thunderbunny. He discovers crusty, sticky goo on the toy's paws and face: marshmallow. Jack throws the toy as far away from himself as possible and starts pacing, clearly agitated.
My toy is an arsonist. Of course, why didn't I think of that? It happens all the time. Everyone has possessed toys. You're not going crazy, Jack. Except for talking to yourself. And thinking your toy is alive.
No wonder Mom locked it up in the attic.
Jack stops in his tracks and remembers the box he found.
INT. MOM'S HOUSE ATTIC – DAY
JACK runs up the stairs carrying THUNDERBUNNY and pulls out the box from before. He takes a closer look at the drawings, showing scribble-Jack and Thunderbunny in seemingly ordinary childhood drawings, with robots and them saving cities in flames.
He remembers the pile of trash from earlier and digs through it for the newspapers that were in the box as well. He discovers each drawing coincides with a headline: First Known Robot-Caused Death, Fires Cause $3 Million in Damage: Cause Unknown, etc.
He stares at Thunderbunny. Thunderbunny seems to stare back.
INT. MOM'S HOUSE BATHROOM – NIGHT
A very drunk JACK sits on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet with an empty bottle of vodka next to him. He holds THUNDERBUNNY by the neck with one hand as he pokes the toy in the chest with the other hand.
Now the way I see it, Thudderbuddy, the way I see it, you're just an evil possessed toy. The most evil kind of evil. No, don't you look at me like that. You… you poisoned…my little baby brain and made me draw all those evil things… and stuff.
He stumbles to his knees and fumbles with the container of toothpaste, which he squeezes on the tile floor, drawing Thunderbunny holding a very large knife.
See, this…this is you. You're serial killer evil in a fluffy package. See?
He waves Thunderbunny in the air over the toothpaste-sketch then blinks at it, realizing what he's just done.
He smears the toothpaste with a towel until it's an unrecognizable blue blob of goo and glares at the toy.
Don't you get any ideas you… you… hellspawn.
He passes out. Thunderbunny watches over him, the light from the vanity gleaming on his button eyes.
INT. MOM'S HOUSE BATHROOM – MORNING
JACK is sprawled on the floor, in a drunken stupor. His eyes open as he hears…
Wake up, Jack.
Struggling to focus through his pounding headache in the bright light from the vanity, Jack suddenly realizes THUNDERBUNNY is on top of him, alive and holding a large, menacing knife to his throat.
Good morning, Jack. Did you want me to do anything with this knife or shall I just leave it here?
Could you… could you give me the knife?
Thunderbunny hops off Jack's chest, places the knife in his hand, and watches him with oddly alert button eyes.
Jack takes the knife, curls up in the corner, and flails the knife at Thunderbunny in a vague attempt at being threatening. When the toy makes no move to attack him, he lowers the knife.
What are you?
I am Thunderbunny.
Yes, I know that. But what are you? How are you, you know, evil?
Are you evil, Jack?
No. Of course not.
Then I'm not evil.
Incredibly hungover, Jack doesn't understand. He stares at Thunderbunny, while formulating his next question.
If you're not evil, how do you explain the pictures and the news articles? You killed all those people.
You drew the pictures, Jack. You dreamed them, you made them happen. I am you, Jack, or at least an extension of your powers
I have "powers" now?
You always have, Jack, but since you moved on from playing with me as a child, those powers have been dormant, untapped as a result of whatever mental block you formed as a child to control your gift and prevent you from altering things all the time.
Jack stares at the talking toy like he's still trying to make sense of all this but as Thunderbunny continues, he nods as though he's starting to understand.
Think of me as a physical manifestation of your ability. When you were younger, you couldn't control things until you focused your energy through me. So, Jack, Thunderbunny is this toy but Thunderbunny is also you, you trying to use your abilities with me as your guide.
Even though that means I'm basically talking to myself right now?
(rubbing his temple)
And that's why all this makes sense to me when Earth logic insists it shouldn't?
It's fortunate, really, that you probably always knew, deep down, and were so protective of this toy. Otherwise I think you'd destroy this and never really know what you could do.
So I always had superpowers? Does that mean I need to be a superhero now?
(strikes a dashing pose, flourishing his cape)
Why not? You have an amazing, world-shattering ability to alter reality and an adorable cape-wearing sidekick. Might as well save the day, right Jack?
That's it, I'm never getting drunk again.
Thunderbunny shakes his head and hops out of the room.
A wise decision, Jack, since you probably don't want to wake up this way ever again.
Jack stares at the retreating stuffed animal, closes his eyes, and rests his head on the wall with a groan.
INT. MOM'S KITCHEN MORNING
JACK slowly makes his way to the kitchen table and sits down heavily. THUNDERBUNNY hops up in front of him and pushes a newspaper and a pad of paper/pencil closer to him.
Ready to save the world, Jack?
What do I do?
Thunderbunny points at a story about a bank robbery. Jack reads it but still looks confused.
It'll come to you.
Jack draws the suspect getting caught while Thunderbunny looks on, puffball tail twitching excitedly. Jack finishes the drawing and stares at it.
Wait for it…
INT. JACK'S LIVING ROOM EVENING
JACK and THUNDERBUNNY are on the couch watching the local news. A photo of the bankrobber Jack helped catch comes on screen.
And in an odd turn of events, police report they have the man responsible for Monday's robbery at the First National Bank. A local plumber, 35-year-old Mason White, reportedly turned himself in this morning, as he claims, because the ghost of his long-dead pet box turtle refused to stop haunting his home until he'd confessed to the crime.
In news footage, the FEMALE OFFICER from before can be seen in the background as MASON WHITE and his LAWYER fight their way through a crowd of reporters eager to hear about what caused his sudden confession.
The report ends and goes to commercial. Still shaking his head in disbelief, Jack turns off the tv.
That's crazy, little dude. I can't believe that even worked…or like that.
I was pleasantly surprised myself, Jack. He didn't strike me as the turtle type.
How does stuff like this even happen?
Stuff like what?
People getting superpowers.
That's as much a mystery to me as it is to you.
(rolls his eyes)
Isn't that a little redundant?
So you can't tell me how I got my powers, can you at least explain how they work?
We've discussed this, Jack. You draw the pictures, I help you make them come true…
Yeah, I got that. But how does it all play out, you know, compared to what I draw?
Thunderbunny remains silent, obviously unsure as well.
Jack gets up from the couch and takes out his sketchpad and pencil. Thunderbunny hops after him to get a better view of what he's doing.
I want to see what's really happening when we do whatever it is we do.
What are we doing tonight, Jack?
Jack begins sketching a comic-strip-like image with a few blocks of action. Thunderbunny looks on with interest as Jack draws the toy planting a hidden camera in the room of a man with a strong resemblance to Howard and wreaking havoc on his house. The comic finishes with Thunderbunny recovering the camera and bringing it back to Jack's apartment.
This is a bit of an experiment for us to try. Here're your orders, little dude.
He pushes the sketchbook closer to Thunderbunny.
(inspecting the comic strip)
I have a concern.
Is this for the Common Good or the Betterment of Mankind?
In the long run, maybe.
Revenge. And it'll be a learning experience. For all of us.
Thunderbunny shrugs and continues examining the drawing. Jack turns off the lights and lays down on the couch. Thunderbunny follows him and hops up on the coffee table, his cape billowing dramatically after him. Jack closes his eyes to go to sleep.
Could you do me a favor, little dude? Wake me up when you're finished.
INT. JACK'S LIVING ROOM LATER
A snoring JACK wakes up feeling THUNDERBUNNY bouncing on his chest. He turns on the light while Thunderbunny hops in front of him triumphantly holding a video camera in his corduroy paw.
I am finished, Jack.
I see that.
Thunderbunny hands him the video camera, his puffball tail twitching with excitement. Jack turns on the camera and plays the recording of Thunderbunny's "mission".
In the movie, Howard wakes up terrified to find his bed spinning of its own accord and objects flying around the room and forming into a large roaring monster of dirty clothes and furniture that tries to eat him, scolding him for treating others like crap.
The toy is notably absent from the recording, except for the vibration of someone turning on and turning off the camera. Jack puts down the camera, obviously impressed.
I'm much cooler than I thought.
Thunderbunny claps his paws then gives him a stern look.
Remember what we talked about, Jack
Jack grins, rewinding and replaying parts of the tape until Thunderbunny's stare makes him self-consciously put down the camera like he did something wrong.
I know. "Great Power, Responsibility, Save the World, Hate Leads to the Dark Side". The usual things. It'll never happen again.
Thunderbunny nods in approval.
(looking at the video camera with a pleased smile)
At least not often.
INT. JACK'S CLOSET/BEDROOM NIGHT
JACK digs through a pile of clothes on the floor then looks through all the things hanging up. He inspects each shirt and pair of pants closely, pulling out an odd collection of brightly-colored, bold prints that he throws on the bed. Grabbing a few pieces at a time, Jack stands in front of the mirror in one ridiculous costume after another, trying to look and sound dashing.
(wearing a feathered fedora)
Why yes, I am a superhero
No, I'm not Robin Hood.
He shakes his head in disgust and tries on a different collection of clothes.
(wearing a hippie outfit)
Hey man, don't hurt that guy. We should all love each other, you know? Why don't we try to work this out with hugs, man?
THUNDERBUNNY hops into the room as Jack stalks off again to try another outfit. Thunderbunny looks on with interest as Jack goes to the mirror again, this time dressed as a Jedi. Jack looks at himself, disappointed again.
Well I'm out of ideas.
What are you doing?
Trying to find my superhero costume.
Why do you need a costume, Jack? No one sees what you do.
Jack angrily strips off the Jedi robe and throws it on the floor, leaving him standing in just his boxers.
I know! And that's what bothers me.
Why can't I be famous? I've got awesome powers. I should be rewarded for them.
For one thing, it's selfish and for another, when's the last time you saw a superhero walking around in public?
What about Batman?
Batman is fictional.
So? He wasn't afraid to go out in public. He got his own light in the sky so people knew how to find him.
Magneto wasn't afraid to go out in public either. He got his own cell so people knew how to find him.
Oh, you want to bring X-Men into this? Fine. Nightcrawler got his circus act.
And that's how people were able to find him because there was no line between his private and public face. The point is, Jack, it's safer to stay out of the public eye.
Jack paces back and forth, Thunderbunny watching his moves. It's obvious he agrees at least a little with the toy.
So you're saying I should be like Professor X? Direct things from the shadows with fantastic brain powers and help others in secret?
Yes, Jack. Like Xavier, your powers aren't physical so it's best to stay out of physical confrontation.
Jack sees his rather scrawny body in the mirror, flexes his arms to try and look tough but gives up, acknowledging the truth in Thunderbunny's words.
But then no one finds out what I've done.
Then we're back to square one.
He sits down on the bed, pouting.
There are always other options.
You draw things, Jack. Isn't there some way you can change the world and get famous that way?
Jack looks thoughtful as he ponders this.
I always wanted my own graphic novel or comic series. I could make myself a comic book superhero like I always wanted.
So do that, Jack.
Oh, so you're behind that, little dude, but not the other stuff?
Thunderbunny hops over to him.
Comics are fiction. Think of Jack the Illustrator as your public face. The attention isn't on you, even if you're still fighting crime. People can't make the connection.
Like Peter Parker and his Spiderman photos? Look how that worked out for him; questioned all the time about his friend…
Oh really? How so?
Spiderman was a visible presence in the city and Peter had the only access to him. You will not be a costumed freak patrolling the streets so as far as anyone knows, your comic would all be made up.
Jack dresses in regular clothes. He stands in front of the mirror, sighs, and accepts what he sees.
Does this make me The Illustrator or something?
You could be, but why not stick with Thunderbunny?
Sorry little dude, the name's got to go.
Why, Jack? You used to love it.
That was when I was four and the scariest thing I could think of was thunder.
It's still the scariest thing you can-
Jack throws some clothes on top of Thunderbunny and walks away. As he leaves the room he calls over his shoulder…
The name goes, little dude, and that's final.
INT. JACK'S KITCHEN - DAY
JACK sits at the table thoughtfully looking over the latest pages of his graphic novel. He blows on them a little to dry the ink and hands them to THUNDERBUNNY, who adds them to the growing stack.
At the top of the stack, we see masked criminals dangle from a horizontal flag pole on the side of a brick building.
EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT
The FEMALE OFFICER pushes one criminal into the squad car. She looks over her shoulder to watch, amused, as other officers help two masked criminals down from a flag pole.
INT. JACK'S KITCHEN - DAY
THUNDERBUNNY adds the next page to the stack. It shows more criminals taking an armored car and thinking they got away with it until a bunny-like shadow comes around the corner…
EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT
The armored car speeds down the road. Inside, the criminals laugh at getting away so easily until they hear an ominous growl from the back of the truck. The criminals look at each other and then a giant hand made entirely of money punches through the metal partition and drags them into the back.
EXT. POLICE STATION – NIGHT CONTINUOUS
Spectators talk and laugh as the FEMALE OFFICER and her PARTNER open the back of the truck and find the two criminals tied up and gagged with the straps of money bags.
INT. JACK'S LIVING ROOM - DAY
THUNDERBUNNY hands JACK each page one at a time, and Jack puts them in order, spread out on the floor. He nods his head, implying this is the order he needs, and stacks them all up.
INT. SPACIOUS OFFICE - NIGHT
CRIME BOSS DUDE sits in a dimly lit office overlooking the city with a cigar in one hand and the latest newspaper in his other. The article talks about the increased police success rate in stopping crime and how close they are to shutting down Crime Boss Dude's whole enterprise.
Crime Boss Dude throws the paper down in disgust.
INT. JACK'S APARTMENT BUILDING LOBBY - DAY
JACK gets the mail and finds a letter from a publishing company saying they want to print his graphic novel.
INT. HIGH RISE BUILDING – NIGHT
CRIME BOSS DUDE gets an envelope with a note on top that reads: Something that might interest you. He opens the envelope.
EXT. PUBLISHING BUILDING STEPS – DAY
JACK looks up at the impressive building and braces himself for the important moment. He climbs the steps.
INT. PUBLISHING BUILDING MEETING ROOM – EVENING
JACK, dressed in a nice shirt and tie, sits at a table with several important-looking people with the publishing company. By the shadows stretching across the table, we can see a few hours have passed and the meeting is now wrapping up.
The publishing people all stand and shake hands with Jack.
This is all really great, Jack.
Well, just a few little changes and it'll be really great.
We'll meet back here in a few weeks, discuss the important stuff.
They all leave the room. Jack is pleased everything is going so well. Publisher #3 keeps an eye on him as Jack leaves the building, waving in an overly-friendly manner as Jack walks out the front doors.
INT. PARKING GARAGE – EVENING
Whistling, JACK walks to his car, jingling his keys to the beat until he needs them to open the car. Much to his surprise, the door is already unlocked. Shrugging, Jack gets in. THUNDERBUNNY sits on the passenger seat, staring blankly ahead like an ordinary toy.
They like it, little dude. They like our story.
Thunderbunny says nothing, remaining a toy.
What, not even a "good job, Jack" or "I knew they would, Jack"?
Thunderbunny still doesn't move. Jack dismisses him and turns to toss his jacket in the back seat. Someone knocks him over the head and he falls unconscious.
INT. JACK'S CAR – NIGHT
JACK wakes up in the back seat with his hands and legs bound and duct tape over his mouth. He looks at the driver, a shadowy figure who ignores him. In the passenger seat, THUNDERBUNNY has fallen over and now stares back at him between the seats. Their eyes meet.
EXT. WAREHOUSE PARKING LOT - NIGHT
Jack's car pulls up to the warehouse and the DRIVER gets out. Two other MEN come out of the warehouse and drag JACK out of the car.
INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT
The MEN tie Jack to a chair. CRIME BOSS DUDE emerges from the shadows.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
You must be Jack. It's so good to finally meet you.
Crime Boss Dude pulls up a chair across from Jack and sits down, relaxing like he's having a chat with an old buddy.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
There are some things you know that are of great interest to me, Jack.
He nods to MAN #1, who removes the duct tape from Jack's mouth.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
You know what I'm talking about, I think.
I… I have no idea…
Crime Boss Dude nods at Man #1, who punches Jack in the gut. Hard.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
It's best to tell the truth, Jack. My man here doesn't like when he knows someone's lying to me. So let's try this again. Do you know why you're here, Jack?
Jack eyes Man #1 warily but just shakes his head. MAN #2 emerges from the shadows behind Crime Boss Dude and hands CBD the envelope from before. Crime Boss Dude opens the envelope and pulls out a copy of Jack's graphic novel.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
I believe you're quite familiar with this. We have a mutual friend at your publishing house who thought I might want to see this.
Jack looks confused and then he remembers…
INT. PUBLISHING BUILDING MEETING ROOM – EVENING – FLASHBACK
…PUBLISHER #3 watches him and waves creepily as he's leaving the building.
INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT
CRIME BOSS DUDE
I found it a bit childish, myself, but I was very intrigued that the hero seemed to know a lot of the intimate details of my business.
(leans back in his chair)
Is there anything you'd like to tell me, Jack? Your source, perhaps?
(shakes his head)
I… I don't have a source. It's just a comic. Fiction.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
You see, I find that hard to believe.
MAN #1 punches Jack again, this time in the face.
I'm just the illustrator! I swear I don't know anything!
CRIME BOSS DUDE
Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. You could just be the illustrator but then where did the story come from?
(to his men)
Have you seen him call anyone? Talk to anyone since we've been tailing him?
The DRIVER who abducted Jack steps forward.
He talked to that ugly rabbit of his when he got in the car. Maybe it's wired.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
A wired rabbit?
Man #2 pulls out Thunderbunny and hands the toy to Crime Boss Dude
It's a toy.
Crime Boss Dude inspects the toy closely, trying to find any place a microphone might be hidden then he throws Thunderbunny on the floor and pulls out a lighter.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
Well, Jack, if anyone is listening, they're about to get an earful.
He sets Thunderbunny on fire.
Jack looks on in anguish as the puffball tail turns black, the cape crinkles up, and the plastic button eyes begin to melt.
Crime Boss Dude gets up and walks away.
CRIME BOSS DUDE
Make him talk.
As Jack watches the last flames destroy what had once been Thunderbunny, Man #1 moves forward and punches him in the face.
INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT – LATER
JACK is still tied to the chair, his face bruised and bloody, as his head droops a little. CRIME BOSS DUDE and his MEN sit a little way away, discussing something in inaudible voices.
Jack's head jerks up for a moment then falls back down.
Jack, look at me!
Confused, Jack looks up. He blinks and sees the hazy figure of THUNDERBUNNY sitting on his knee.
Technically I was never alive, Jack. But that's not the point.
There is no point to this. Other than you were right. I shouldn't have been so obvious.
I know I'm right but forget that, Jack! You have to get yourself out of this.
How? I don't think the nice mob boss over there is going to lend me a pen and paper.
You don't need the pen and paper, Jack, you never did. All you need is to focus, want it to be real and it will.
Jack sighs and closes his eyes.
I hope you're right, little dude.
What was that, Mr. Illustrator? You're ready to talk now?
The MEN and CRIME BOSS DUDE walk over for round two. Jack opens his eyes and smiles resolutely up at them.
INT. POLICE STATION – SAME TIME
The FEMALE OFFICER watches, amazed, as a piece of paper materializes right in front of her. She picks up the note that reads "Bring everyone to (address) right now and catch (Crime Boss Dude) in the act. Much appreciated. -Jack."
Amazed but understanding the urgency of the note, she calls to her PARTNER and BOSS.
Hey boss? Come take a look at this.
INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT – A LITTLE LATER
Over the sound of MAN #1's fists hitting JACK's body, CRIME BOSS DUDE hears a helicopter approaching.
The rabbit was mic-ed?
CRIME BOSS DUDE
Even if it was, how could they find us here?
The ghostly image of THUNDERBUNNY appears on Jack's knee again, defiantly glaring up at Crime Boss Dude. Jack follows Thunderbunny's lead.
Don't take it personal. You just messed with the wrong guy.
Crime Boss Dude pulls out a gun and raises it to shoot Jack…
…And the doors burst open and POLICE OFFICERS charge in, the FEMALE OFFICER in the lead.
Put the gun down (Crime Boss Dude)!
Seeing that they are surrounded, Crime Boss Dude and his men surrender quickly, hands in the air. The female officer comes over and unties him.
And how do you fit into all this, Mr….
I've seen a lot of strange things lately. You know anything about that?
You wouldn't believe me if I told you.
(helping him stand up, supporting his weight)
Try me. I've got a lot of questions for you, if you're up to it.
As long as they don't involve punching.
The female officer smiles and sits him down outside the warehouse where a medic quickly kneels next to him to check him over. Jack watches the red and blue lights reflected in the warehouse windows and sees all the police milling about, looking through the crates and things, full of incriminating evidence.
Crime Boss Dude glares at him from the back of a police car. Jack waves before the car pulls away. In its place, Thunderbunny sits, semi-transparent like before and apparently visible only to him. The toy waves and disappears.
Thanks for the help, little dude.
What was that?
Nothing. Just talking to myself.
We pull away from the scene and everything fades to white.
INT. JACK'S BEDROOM – MORNING
The scene starts from white, the bright sunlight streaming in through Jack's window.
The alarm goes off. Jack, still bruised but healing, rolls over and hits snooze.
INT. JACK'S KITCHEN – MORNING
Jack comes into the kitchen, yawning, and turns on the news, digging through the fridge for his breakfast.
INT. JACK'S BATHROOM – MORNING
Jack adjusts his tie in the mirror then peeks his head out into the kitchen to listen to a news report.
-breaking news, police are on the lookout for this man, 37-year-old Michael Roberts, for the kidnapping of his neighbor's 8-month-old daughter. If you have any information…
Jack turns back to his reflection in the mirror, where the ghost-like Thunderbunny is sitting on his shoulder, left ear twitching.
I'm in if you are, little dude.
Of course, Jack.
Jack grins and turns off the light.