Oh God, Helen!

Here is a short film that I wrote in ten minutes and will never make:



KEN BIRMINGHAM, a Re/Max agent, carries his suitcase through the automatic doors of a large international airport. LIGHT, PLAYFUL ORCHESTRAL MUSIC plays as he:

— checks in at the ticket counter and hands his suitcase to the TSA screener

— sends his shoes through the x-ray, while walking through the metal detector

— has his bag searched by a TSA screener

— is wanded and frisked by a TSA screener

— hurries to his gate, arriving at the last minute

— finds his seat, crammed in next to HELEN, a slightly-overweight, middle-aged woman.



The airplane takes off. Although Ken sits in a window seat, he doesn’t watch the scenery. Instead, he stares amiably at Helen.

Helen COUGHS, scratches herself.

Ken clears his throat. Helen ignores him.

My name’s Ken.

Helen ignores him.

Ken. My name is Ken.

Helen looks the other way.

(she disguises her speech as a cough)

…Helen? Nice to meet you, Helen.

Helen turns back to Ken. She smiles a flat, lifeless smile. She stares at him.

I’m a real estate agent. What do you do?

Helen says nothing. She continues to stare. Her creepy smile grows broader.

A flight attendant walks down the aisle. Ken attempts to wave her down.

Excuse me, could I have a glass of…

The flight attendant ignores him and walks past.

…orange juice?

Helen still stares at Ken. Her smile is now a full-blown grin. Her eyes are dead and emotionless.

Ken forges ahead, trying to make conversation.

I’ve been all over the country this week…

Ken may be imagining it, but he could swear that the corners of Helen’s mouth have started to split open.

Just the nature of the business… I’m more a… a property manager, really…

The corners of Helen’s mouth have definitely begun to tear open. The splits now run down both cheeks, leaving jagged gashes that make her grin even wider.

(he chuckles nervously)
In fact, this is my third flight this week!

Ken laughs, hoping that Helen will laugh too, but he elicits no reaction at all. Her cheeks continue to split.

Ken looks out the window. Another airplane has pulled up alongside them.

That plane is very close, isn’t it?

Helen says nothing. The splits in her cheeks now reach back to her ears. She makes a quiet rattling sound, like a dying lizard.

Ken peers across Helen and out the window on the other side of the plane. There is another jet there, too. One of its engines is smoking.

There’s… there’s something wrong, isn’t there?

Helen CHUCKLES. Her chuckle sounds like evil itself.

Listen, uh… Helen…? I’m–I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to offend you, but I…

Suddenly, the top of Helen’s head flips open, unhinging her jaw and leaving her tongue lolling at a disturbing angle.

Ken loses his breath in shock.

Helen’s throat GURGLES. She stands up.

All the passengers watch as Helen walks in slow motion to the front of the plane.

She pulls the emergency release handle on the door. There is a powerful gust of air as the door is ripped off. Oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, but the passengers are transfixed by the vision of Helen, the top of her head flopped backwards, as she hops nimbly out of the plane and is sucked into the already-smoking engine of the plane flying next to them.

The engine of the neighboring plane explodes into a fireball momentarily, but then burns out and returns to perfect working order, just like new.

Ken stares, dumbfounded.

The flight attendant offers Ken a glass of orange juice.



Ken guides a PROSPECTIVE BUYER through an obscenely ornate mansion in Miami. He speaks absentmindedly, as if he doesn’t understand any of the words he is saying.

…and of course the kitchen comes fully-equipped with the latest in appliance technology. Granite countertops, and–

The prospective buyer interrupts.

It’s a beautiful home.

Ken has to think for a moment before he comes up with the right answer.

Yes. Yes, it is.

You find this work interesting, then? Real estate?

Ken looks out the window and thinks for a long moment. He says nothing.

The prospective buyer grows uncomfortable.

Ken turns back and stares at the prospective buyer, wordlessly. He smiles, with dead eyes.




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