Fiction Writing: Instaladong Kopya

In case it’s not immediately evident, this screenplay (of sorts) was inspired by Jason Laxamana’s sci-fi thriller Instalado. It’s my own take on the world he built – a brief snapshot of a what if.

Here we go.

SCENE: There is a dentist’s chair in the middle of an abandoned factory floor, set on top of plastic sheeting. Plastic curtains surround it on all sides. Inside the enclosed space, metal tables with computers, electronic machinery, medical equipment and electrodes can be seen. An IV bag is hooked up to a stand. ALIVIA is sitting on the dental chair – tired and afraid at whats to come. PETRUS is sitting on a chair nearby as he counts up the money in a black bag at the foot of the dental chair.

ALIVIA: It’s all there.

PETRUS: Of course. (he zips the bag up) So, everything’s in order! (he stands up and starts to put his gloves on) Time to lie back and join the future!

ALIVIA: S…sigurado kang safe to?

PETRUS: (sighs as ALVIA lies down) Ano nanaman ang pinoproblema mo? (wipes her wrists with alcohol and straps her into the restraints)

ALIVIA: Nabasa ko…ung sa EduCo-

PETRUS: (grabs her chin and yanks her violently till they’re face to face) Putang ina! What the fuck did I tell you, huh? (lets her go) Do. Not. Fucking. Compare me with those second-class hacks!

ALIVIA: (coughs and turns away) Sorry, doc, sorry. Please. I was just…

PETRUS: (talks reassuringly, as if nothing happened) Look, Alvia, I’m not just stuffing your brain like some deadbeat insta center, mmm? (fixes her hair and applies the electrodes) I told you: what I’ll do for you will make those tryhards look like baseline losers! We talked about this.

ALIVIA: Yeah, its just…

PETRUS: (sits down in front of her) You’re scared. Gets ko. (pauses) Look, if you’re having second thoughts, iwan mo na lang ung sampung libo for my time, and you can walk…

ALIVIA: (panicky) No, no no no, doc, please. Please. I’m okay, really. I…I need this.

PETRUS: (looks at her with his head cocked to one side) You sure? Last chance, teh.

ALIVIA: (nods) Universal package, right?

PETRUS: (smirks and stands) Yup! I told you: those insta centers, (starts fiddling with the computers) there we go, are one point oh. Kaya mga yan, nasisiraan ng bait, nagkakabrain stroke. You can only…relax, Alivia. Chill ka lang.

ALIVIA: Yeah. (lies back and looks up) Bakit ba nangyayari un doc?

PETRUS: (smirks even wider) Looking good. You’ll feel a low buzz, pinipicturan lang natin ung utak mo. (pulls the chair up and sits as he rolls up ALIVIA’s sleeve and locates the IV injection point) Because those incompetent fuckheads insisted on front-loading the brain with years of raw academic bullshit in hours. You see, the brain (inserts the IV needle) can retain much more information if its refined and imprinted properly without any side effects. You rush the system, you burn out that little noggin. Simple lang naman, except people wanted the easy way. (seals it up and looks at ALIVIA) Feeling good?

ALIVIA: (nods) Yeah doc, ok naman.

PETRUS: Good! Good. (checks the feet restraints) So these dickheads, nagbabayad ng one hundred thousand minimum (chuckles to himself) just to have your basic academic course shoved into the brain. Which is fucking stone age kagaguhan compared to this. Why fuck around with that shit when you can ditch the filler and simplify everything, eh? (stands up and checks the computer) Aha! Want to see what makes you tick?

ALIVIA: Uh…

PETRUS: (pulls the monitor closer with the display of the brain) Tada! The neural network that runs the person known as Alivia de Castro. Pretty bog-standard eighteen-year-old Filipina. (points at the language center) Some Tagalog, some English. Some basic motor coordination, high school education, that boyfriend you keep talking about. (ALIVIA flinches at the mention but PETRUS doesn’t notice) But I’m going to turn little old gra-gra you into a shining kopya! (grins) Instas 2.0, leaving all those stupid punyetas in the dust. (waves the pointer around the brain) American English, Mandarin, Korean, and I’ll throw in Spanish as a freebie! Plus communication skillsets, body language…

ALIVIA: (smiles weakly) S..salamat doc…

PETRUS: (grins and waves, miming the TV ads) but wait, there’s more! Personality reinforcement, identity augmentation, and the works! Out goes timid, tired, poor little Alivia, and in comes confident, sexy, successful A-li-vi-a! (stands up and pulls the monitor back) All for a fraction of what the average insta would cost! Boom, panis. (makes fingers guns and winks at ALIVIA, then pauses to look at his hands before shaking his head and typing)

ALIVIA: Uh… (hesitates, embarrassed) Doc…

PETRUS: (looks up from the computer) Mm?

ALIVIA: Uh…pwede bang, uh…magpadagdag ng pang… (scrunches her face up in barely-suppressed disgust) pang-seks?

PETRUS: Whoa whoa whoa. (spreads his hands out) As in, bedroom arts? Teka lang, you hated that ah. What’s wrong? (sits next to ALIVIA in mock sympathy)

ALIVIA: (looks away and sniffles, holding back the tears) Si Gilbert… nakikipagkita siya dun sa isang babae…insta daw…lagi na siyang nagpopost about them online. I think…he’s…

PETRUS: There there. (pats ALIVIA on the head) I understand. Let me check. (walks back to the computer and types) Nothing like a newly-minted sexually experienced girl like you to keep your man’s libido all to yourself, eh?

ALIVIA: (nods and watches PETRUS expectantly)

PETRUS: (fiddles and types) Pwede. Pwede. (nods to himself) I could give you the baseline knowledge, muscle memory na lang ang kailangan mo. (looks at ALIVIA) Blow jobs, vaginal contractions, anal muscle control, the works! (smiles from ear to ear) Sige, I’ll throw it in na rin, no cost. But that’s the max na, ha?

ALIVIA: Sa..salamat po doc. Salamat talaga! (nods, teary-eyed)

PETRUS: We really have to work on that. (finishes typing) All set, my little kopya-to-be. Now relax. This will… (looks up)

(The curtains part, CYN nodding to PETRUS before closing the blinds.)

PETRUS: (smiles) This will take a while. When you wake up, di mo makikilala ang dating ikaw. (gently pats ALIVIA’s cheek and looks at her from head to toe as if she was a mannequin on display) You look great. Absolutely great.

ALIVIA: (nods as her eyes slowly close)

(PETRUS makes sure everything is in order and makes one last check.)

PETRUS: Here we go. (starts the program, then steps outside the blinds)

(CYN turns and kisses PETRUS deeply for several moments before they part, the desire in their gaze evident.)

CYN: That’s always weird. (her mouth twitches upward in a shadow of a smirk)

PETRUS: Hmph, of course it is. I should never get used to kissing myself. (he picks up a tablet) Progress?

CYN: Mr. Kim just paid up for his order, plus extra. (PETRUS looks at her questioningly as she taps his tablet) Except he wants forty kopyas, not thirty.

PETRUS: Jesus fuck. Forty? Fuck. (runs a hand through his hair) When are they flying in? Lahat sundalo ang kopya?

CYN: Mmhm. (flicks the tablet’s display) Next week.

PETRUS: Fuck. (runs his tongue along his teeth in thought) Kaya. (nods to himself) Kaya. (looks at ALIVIA) The things I do for the mob. And her?

CYN: (shakes her head in regret) She’s a … (watches PETRUS stare at his hand) no-go. Yellow. Di kaya ng utak niya for a full overwrite.

PETRUS: What? Fuck. Fuck! (massages his eyes) Fuck!

CYN: (walks up close) It’s okay…

PETRUS: (explosively waves his arms and walks away) It’s not okay! Punyeta! I can’t find candidates fast enough! (stares at his hand) I’m having tremors again. I can’t have tremors again. Did I take my meds? (looks at CYN) Did I?

CYN: Petrus, relax. Relax, okay? (pulls him close and rubs his back) Relax. You’ll find another blank (points at herself) like this one, okay? (takes his hand and puts it on her breast) Look at me. Look.

PETRUS: (looks up) When did I last back myself up? Kelan? Kelan ung huli kong kopya? (eyes look around wildly)

CYN: Two days ago. Petrus, listen to me…. (gently holds his head)

PETRUS: (lets CYN pull him close, his eyes wildly wandering) I have to back up now. I have to. I can’t afford to die. Not yet.

CYN: Shhhh. It’s okay. You’ll back yourself up and we’ll finish with this one. You can have her look naman for other candidates. She’ll do whatever you tell her. You’ll live. It’ll be alright.

PETRUS: (nods) Okay. Okay.

CYN: (smiles) That’s the spirit. Come on, let’s get started. (leads PETRUS off camera)

(screen fades to black, then slowly lights up. ALIVIA is standing, her body language confident and sexually charged as she runs her hands all over her body, seemingly experiencing its sensations for the first time. PETRUS walks in, and she looks at him, her face lighting up in delight.)

PETRUS: Hola, Alivia. Welcome back to the-

ALIVIA: (walks up to PETRUS and french-kisses him deeply, her free hand cupping his crotch. She speaks with a general American accent from this point onward) Mmmmm, doc, I feel amazing… (smiles and runs her tongue along her lips)

PETRUS: (grins) I can tell. (turns as CYN enters) I believe you remember my assistant, Cyn?

CYN: (smiles and eyes ALIVIA from head to toe) Miss de Castro.

ALIVIA: (walks up to Cyn, smiling as she moves in for a kiss) Call me Ali.

CYN: Mmmmmm. (smiles and gives ALIVIA a quick kiss) Not yet, Ali. I’m still on the clock.

PETRUS: (clears his throat) Indeed. Cyn will brief you on your supplementation for the next two weeks, and I expect to see you next week for a followup check. Try not to have too much fun in the meantime, mm?

ALIVIA: You got it. (winks and walks away arm-in-arm with Cyn as they laugh)

PETRUS: (watches them walk away, then sits and pulls up ALIVIA’s original brain scan) Now then, let me see what nuggets I can find in this. (starts to type as the scene fades out)

THE END

(NB: Instalado is the work of Mr. Jason Laxamana. This is just fanfiction that I wrote up, in case it wasn’t obvious already. Enjoy, and if you plan on using this in other media, please let me know first. All I ask for is credit, anyway.)

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