Adia: Reuben, or Out

ADIA, A MASSIVE BUDGET BIN, CYBERPUNK-LIKE PORT CITY ALONG THE PACIFIC. NEON-LIGHTS. DENSE SMOG, DENSER PEOPLE. CHEAPLY MADE SCI-FI WONDER MACHINES, VEHICLES, AND OTHER NEEDLESS EVERYDAY EVERYTHINGS. ALSO, EVERYONE’S POOR.

JANUARY EMBERS, CONSPICUOUSLY ARMED TO THE TEETH AND LOOKING DOWN THE SCOPE OF A RIFLE, CAMPED ATOP A ROOF OVERLOOKING A LOCAL DELI. SIBIL, A LITERAL DISEMBODIED DIGITIZED VOICE, IS RIGHT BY HER SIDE… IN A SENSE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The place, a rooftop on the south side of Adia, a neon-soaked, smog-choked port city along the Pacific. Too hot to hold, too wet to… to, uh…

JANUARY: Sibil?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Too wet… because it’s always raining all the time when it isn’t too hot. But sometimes, also both.

JANUARY: Sibil.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The shock of pink hair with suspect fashion sense and her eye trained down the scope of a rifle is January Embers, bounty hunter by day, but also by night.

JANUARY: Sibil!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: Do you mind?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I’m bored.

JANUARY: I’m working.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re always working.

JANUARY: And you are always talking.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I’m literally a voice in your head.

JANUARY: Aren’t we all just voices in each other’s heads?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) (CONSIDERS THIS) Fair point.

JANUARY: Look. I get it. But do you have to narrate everything?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Once you find my, uh… me… bio-me?

JANUARY: If I ever find you…

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) When you do, you can upload all of this to her. To me. To us? Whatever. It’ll be like I was here the whole time. Which I am. Sorta.

JANUARY: I don’t think you’re processing dying very well.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) And I don’t think you’re being very considerate of your best friend’s feelings right now.

JANUARY: You really need to move on.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Move on? I’m not a ghost, January!

JANUARY: Sibil, you died. What’s the big deal?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) (SCOFFS) “What’s the big deal?”

JANUARY: Wasn’t that the whole point of this A.I. back-up gimmick, so death is every bit as meaningless as life?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) We still don’t know for sure that I’m dead.

JANUARY: You died. Learn to cope. I did.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Oh, I’m sorry. Is that what this is? Coping?

JANUARY: Yes?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re on a rooftop waiting to kill a guy as he comes out of a deli.

JANUARY: I am waging a one-woman war on the evil that plagues this godforsaken city so that nobody else suffers the same fate as my best friend turned literal ghost in the machine and eternal pain in my ass!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You kill people for money!

JANUARY: Also money, yes.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) That’s hardly a moral crusade.

JANUARY: That’s why I called it a war. Wars are for money.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I mean, so were the Crusades. I think.

JANUARY: At least I have a hobby. Making a difference in my community. Maybe.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Yeah. No, you’ve totally convinced me.

JANUARY: I don’t need to rationalize my grieving process to you.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Why? Because I’m not the real Sibil?

JANUARY: Wow.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: No.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) It is, isn’t it?

JANUARY: You need help.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: I am perfectly comfortable with who and what you are, and I am fortunate for our friendship to live on…

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Aww.

JANUARY: …in some twisted mockery of sentient life.

A SILENCE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I hate you.

JANUARY: You love me.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I wish I was never backed up.

JANUARY: Well, you were. And, for whatever reason, had yourself mailed to me.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Who else was I going to pick?

JANUARY: I don’t know. Why did you take off for a year and not say anything to me until I set your password?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I told already, I don’t know.

JANUARY: And I told you I was working. So, can we please not do this right now?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Can I go back to what I was doing?

JANUARY: Yes. Fine. Whatever.

ANOTHER SILENCE.

Sibil?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The moment’s passed.

JANUARY: (GROANS) Oh, my god. Will you please shut up until I put a bullet in this guy? I’ve been up here all night.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) So have I?

JANUARY: Yes, well, only one of us has to sleep. And I’d like to be in bed before Chuck starts with his morning aerobics. You know I can’t fall asleep once he starts playing Cyndi Lauper.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I hate classical music.

JANUARY: Agreed. But at least he’s finally doing something about his health, ya know?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Oh, for sure.

JANUARY: I mean, it’s a real big, positive change for him and I want to be supportive.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re still killing people for money, though.

JANUARY: Yes, and I’d like to get paid sooner. So, will you please shut… Oh, there he is now.

ACROSS THE WAY, A MAN STEPS OUT OF THE DELI EATING A REUBEN SANDWICH.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) That reuben he’s eating sure looks tasty. Think we can get one once we’re done here?

JANUARY: You don’t eat.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) No, but I like to–

BANG! JANUARY BLASTS A HOLE THROUGH THE MAN’S HEAD, KILLING HIM.

JANUARY: (SIGH OF RELIEF) Finally!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I can’t tell where his head ends and the sandwich begins…

JANUARY: (CHUCKLES) I know, right?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) If I had a mouth and a stomach, I’d be sick.

JANUARY: Is that a pass on the reuben, then?

YET ANOTHER SILENCE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I didn’t say that.