Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writer Wednesday:"Recycled Prisoners" by: Liz Kingsbury McKeown

Writer Wednesday


A Short Sci-Fi Script by 
Liz K. McKeown


Three women stand by a massive bulletin board in what looks like a large conference center. They wear clothes from the 1980s. BRENDA, a Junior Leaguer, has perfect hair, perfect nails, comme il faut clothes and makeup. LESLIE, a sorority girl, has bigger hair, but not a beehive, expensive looking clothes with a sorority pin about seven inches above the left breast. ROBIN, 16, a cute cheerleader with pony tails, brings up the rear. She wears a megaphone pendant and a charm bracelet with a big heart charm in the center. Her cheerleading uniform consists of a short pleated skirt and a short sleeved sweater.

The women look like they’re staring at a blank bulletin board, but as they tap the board with one finger, three profiles of male concentration camp prisoners with photos appear.  

Robin points to the photograph of a Northern European looking man with piercing gray eyes. He has a red triangle on his uniform indicating political prisoner. He stands out next to the photographs of two young men with the Star of David on their uniforms.

ROBIN: We are so not serving him again. He freaks me out.

LESLIE: Can you say Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

ROBIN: How come the Rosensweig brothers don’t act like that?

BRENDA: They must have worked out their post traumatic stress. It says here that they don’t have to come back again. (Brenda’s well-manicured index finger indicates the data.)

LESLIE: I wonder why staying in Heaven always involves enduring abuse.

ROBIN: I wonder why I can only remember a few scenes of my life in the
Auschwitz Men’s Camp.

BRENDA: Since we’re all dreaming, we can go to the Hall of
Records and see all we want of our past lives in the camps.

LESLIE: And when we wake up, we’re lucky if we remember anything.

BRENDA: My husband’s associate is a neuropsychologist. He says that if you don’t
move once you wake up, you can remember your dreams.

ROBIN (wistfully, looking at Leslie): Only in my dreams …

LESLIE (chiming in, smiling at Robin): As real as it may seem …

ROBIN (smiling back): It was only in my dreams.

BRENDA: Shall we?


The front gate of the Camp looks the same as others in the World War II Documentaries,
except one feature: an electronic scanner with a speaker. The three women approach the 
scanner. The mechanical voice in the machine says: "Present inner left forearm.” All do, in turn.

Brenda inserts her arm: We see a sparkling concentration camp tattoo. 

The other two follow suit. The gate door opens and the women file in. 

As they enter, all three of them tap their left collarbones with their right hands, as
they do, recycled nametags appear. They are blue and white striped felt in the shape of the recycled logo. All three have a small Star of David on them, their names and camp numbers on them that match the sparkling "tattoos" on their arms. The three turn left, knowing the way.


They all enter a small wooden building with a long table laden with fish, meat, 
three vegetable dishes, breads, gravy, sauce and hors d'oeuvres. Further down are 
several tempting deserts. The three women look the table over. 

BRENDA: This should suit any taste. 

LESLIE: We prepared their childhood favorites last week and the week before.

A MALE PRISONER, BOGDAN, about 30, appears like a genie. Robin jumps. Startled,
the other two women jump slightly, and gasp with their hands over their hearts.

BOGDAN: Steak! Prime rib! New russet potatoes! Parsley! Butter!

ROBIN: Hang on. Let me try this time, guys.

Robin CLAPS twice for each item Bogdan rattled off. Two choices of meat, already sliced, the potatoes with the parsley and a small bowl of melted butter appear on the table.

BOGDAN: Steamed asparagus … and cut off the ends, damn it!
Make sure they’re all cut in one inch pieces! Lemon wedges, no seeds!

Robin closes her eyes and claps twice. A tureen of asparagus, a dish of lemon wedges
also appear.

LESLIE: How about the rolls and desert. Will they do?

BODGAN: (Smiling) What am I in the mood for?  Hmmmmm. French bread. Baguettes, already cut in one inch slices, already buttered, a thin layer of butter, make sure you get
all the slices evenly buttered.

LESLIE: Allow me, girls.

Leslie closes her eyes and claps twice. The desired bread, buttered properly, appears.

BOGDAN: Recycled lapdogs, all purebreds.

He looks at Robin. She has her hands behind her back and wags them back and forth.

BOGDAN (Cont.):  And the puppy is wagging her tail. Robin! Roll over and play dead!

Robin lies down and rolls over. Two other prisoners appear. FELIX AND HERSCHEL ROSENSWEIG are in their late twenties. Felix, the oldest, waves his arm at Bogdan in a disgusted manner. Herschel helps Robin to her feet. Robin smiles and nods at Herschel.

FELIX: Bodgan, Bogdan! The girl comes to do us favors! 

BRENDA: It looks as if your menu has already been decided. (Laughs superficially). But, you're welcome to add anything that appeals to you.

The two brothers look over the table, look at each other and turn to Brenda.

FELIX: Changes, we haven’t. 

HERSCHEL: Let’s eat.

LESLIE: Beverages, gentlemen?



Leslie clears the table, Brenda pours coffee, Robin claps the dinner food away and only
the desert items remain on the long table nearby. Leslie approaches Herschel.

LESLIE: What can I bring you for desert?

HERSCHEL: Two strawberry tarts, please.

Leslie serves Herschel. He smiles, nods.

BRENDA: And you, Felix? What’s your pleasure?

Felix points at the crème brulee and then at a chocolate desert.

FELIX: I don’t know what they’re called, but to me, they appeal.

BRENDA: (serving the crème brulee.) Crème brulee. (serving the chocolate desert) Death by chocolate, excuse the expression (laughs superficially).

Robin approaches Bogdan.

ROBIN: And you, Sir?

BOGDAN: I don't see anything I like. Conjure up some ice cream.

ROBIN: What flavor? 

BOGDAN: Ice cream with cherries on it!

Robin claps and a dish of vanilla ice cream with fresh pitted, split cherries on it appear.

BOGDAN: No, cherry ice cream with cooked cherries in a sauce!

Robin claps and a bowl of cherry ice cream with warm cherry pie filling appears.

BOGDAN: What? No whipped cream?

ROBIN (good naturedly): My bad.

Robin claps and the whipped cream appears.

BOGDAN: Make sure the whipped cream has a hint of vanilla and sugar mixed into it, or
I won't eat it.

Robin claps and the correction to the whipped cream is made.

ROBIN: Ta dah!

BOGDAN: You forgot my espresso.

Robin claps and espresso appears in a small cup with a matching saucer.

BOGDAN: And, one more thing …

Felix, annoyed, looks up sharply from his second desert. He raises his left hand,
flips it disgustedly.

FELIX: Enough, already! Settle down. 

HERSCHEL: We’re practically done with desert and you want to make a fuss.

Herschel finishes off his second strawberry tart and wipes his mouth.

BOGDAN: All I want to do is eat and be waited on.

Felix and Herschel finish up eating. Brenda claps away the dishes to leave a clean
tablecloth, while Bogdan eats heartily.

FELIX: I can have two be my audience, tonight.

Brenda and Robin take their seats across from him and listen attentively.

HERSCHEL: And, Leslie? You are me tonight?

Leslie nods, sits across from Herschel. The two hold hands and close their eyes. They are oblivious to their surroundings. Little silicone caps appear over Leslie’s fingertips. Her body tenses. She shivers and her teeth chatter and her grip tightens on Herschel’s hands.

While Bogdan sips his espresso, Felix addresses Leslie and Brenda.

FELIX: Before Hitler, I was perfectly satisfied with my life, we were not wealthy,
but I do not recall any problems. None! 

NARRATOR: Like beating swords into plow shears, a place of torment and despair can 
become a place of healing and love. All you need is the desire to help, a bed and
a pillow.



Liz Kingsbury McKeown is the author of Jan of Cleveland, currently available on, soon to be re-released by Write More Publications. McKeown is also an editor and the Publicity Manager for Write More Publications, as well. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. LOVE the posting - Smiles - Liz Kingsbury McKeown

  2. Beautiful! I've been Tweeting up a storm!