yearzerowriters

The A-TEAM and the end of everything [WARNING: SPOILERS]

In Gupter Puncher/Oli Johns on June 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

There’s a list that will be the end of everything.

Ten specific questions made by someone unknown which when asked will do the thing I just said above.

Some people suspect it was made by China. Some believe it doesn’t exist. Yaphet Kotto believes it was aliens. Or the alien.

But, wherever it came from, it is real.

Joe Carnahan first heard about it after the test screening of the A-Team movie in Pasadena. He got back home and there was a message on his machine.

‘Questions are coming. Run for life.’

But he didn’t run. He’d finished the film and was pretty happy with what he’d done, and the Pasadenans seemed pretty happy too. And how bad could these questions be anyway?

 __________________________

Bradley Cooper was at the junket trying not to eat pizza.

It wasn’t easy. Every room he went into, every interview, the guy asking the questions would offer pizza. As if they couldn’t stand the idea of him having abs. Which they couldn’t. He knew that well because he’d tried to offer pizza to Mark Wahlberg one time, when he had abs. But…Wahlberg, man, he was like a monk with his body. An ascetic to a fucking annoying degree, didn’t he ever-…

 _____________________________

Meanwhile, in the seventh interview…

Interviewer: Great movie, super fun…

Cooper: Thanks, man. We all had a great time on it.

Interviewer: …but there’s a rumour going around…

Cooper: Rumour?

Interviewer: Yeah. Nothing concrete, but…

Cooper: What rumour?

Interviewer: The questions…

Cooper: Huh?

Interviewer: …they’re coming for you.

Bradley had heard something about this from Carnahan. Well he’d heard it from Carnahan’s agent as Carnahan himself had fled. No one knew where, but there was a note he’d left on his maid:

‘Fleeing from the questions. Don’t look for me.’

Cooper had asked his own agent about these questions, and the guy had gone white.

“But it’s not-…why would they be after you?”

“I don’t get it. What is this?”

“You don’t know the questions?”

“No. Do you?”

“Shit, Brad…”

And the agent had told him to do like Carnahan and run. Run for his life.

But Bradley Cooper hadn’t run, and now he was at this junket almost single-handedly promoting the film.

Fucking Copley…

See, Sharlto Copley had fled too. Him and Cooper weren’t the closest in the world…in fact, Copley had bugged the shit out of Cooper during the whole shoot, always changing accents, stepping on his lines…and that two-man scene they had near the end, that wasn’t right…Copley fucking about with the Kevlar mask, trying to be funny, while Cooper played straight, trying to put some…fuck, he didn’t know, something a little substantial into the whole thing…

Fuck, where was he?

Copley, that’s where. Cooper hadn’t got a phone call or a message from him. He’d got a pigeon. The guy was a fucking nut and had sent him a pigeon, with a little tissue in its claw:

‘I don’t really understand why Joe Carnahan fled, but if he’s fledding then I’m fledding too. Join us?’

But Cooper hadn’t joined them, because he didn’t understand a fucking word of anything. What were these questions? And who was asking them? And what was so bad about them anyway?

He got into the elevator to get the fuck away from the junket and that’s when he found out.

Next to him was a guy with glasses and a notepad, and a t-shirt that said ‘Boo.’

“Hey,” Cooper said.

The guy didn’t say anything back. He just flipped the notepad and showed what he had.

Cooper squinted and read the page.

“What the-…”

The elevator stopped and Cooper ran out screaming…

“The questions!!”

“Huh?” asked the car park attendant.

“The fucking questions!” Cooper shouted back, his ass already halfway to Hong Kong.

 ___________________________

So, yeah, Cooper was alone in that junket.

No Carnahan, no Copley. No Jessica Biel.

INSERT:

STUDIO MEETING

The heads of whichever piece of shit studio put out the A-Team movie sit round a large table in identical suits. Underneath the suits each one of them is sweating like a pig.

The head guy has his head in his hands. It almost sounds like he’s crying.

Then he lifts his head up and says:

“Fuuuuuuuuuck…”

“Is it Carnahan, sir?” one of the sweating suits asks.

The head looks at him.

“Biel.”

The whole room sighs.

“Who cast her? Who?”

“Carnahan?”

“No…no…it wasn’t him. It wasn’t-…I don’t know. Fuck.” The head gets up and points a finger upwards. “We cannot let her near the promotion. Cannot.”

END INSERT

 _____________________________

So, Biel was told to stay at least five hundred yards away from all promotional events. And she did.

But what about Liam Neeson?

Well, no one knew where he was. He wasn’t picking up, and he wasn’t on FuckBook. Did he know about the questions? No one knew. No one knew anything.

And the other dude? Quinton Rampage Jackson?

They tried to get him involved but he wouldn’t do it. No particular reason either. He just wanted to stay at home and have some “fucking peace and quiet.”

[In truth, and no one would ever find this out, Jackson was having an anxiety attack. He’d had them ever since he’d started fighting in that Ultimate Championship thing. The first fight he’d had, he walked into the ring, looked at the other guy and thought, fuck me, that guy’s big. And no matter how many times he looked at himself in the mirror and saw his own brick shit house body, he always believed the other guy to be way bigger. It got so bad, he even thought Copley was more ripped than him. Fucking Sharlto Copley. And if you still don’t know who any of these people are then you’re really at the wrong fucking site.]

So Jackson was freaking the fuck out back at his house, and the only one left was Cooper, who had just run for his life out of the hotel car park.

__________________________

A day later, the studio was desperate.

“Fuck,” the head guy said. “Who else we got?”

The other suits all thought ‘Biel’ but didn’t say anything.

“What about the bad guy? Pete Wilson?”

“Patrick Wilson?”

“Yeah, that one. Can we get him?”

The answer was no, they couldn’t get him, because Patrick Wilson wasn’t alive anymore. The day before he’d heard the rumour about the questions and then he’d got a phone call from Carnahan telling him how fucking serious it all was, and after that call he’d thought to himself, this feels like the kind of thing I should kill myself over.

NOTE:

Ever since he was six years old Patrick Wilson had fantasized about killing himself. But he had never done it. There was always something that had to be done first.

“I’ll just do Little Children then I’ll do it.”

“Fuck, Hard Candy, chance of a lifetime. I’ll do it after.”

“Watchmen? You fucking serious? Shit, but I was planning on-…fuck it, I’ll do that after.”

“I never really watched the A-Team, but…shit, if I’m gonna kill myself I might as well have some fun first…”

And after the fun, he’d started looking seriously, diligently, for a reason to end it all. And that’s when Carnahan had called.

So, after he’d heard all about the urban legend of the questions, he’d hung up, said ‘Woot de woo’ and jumped in the shower with a pen knife.

And despite telling everyone he’d ever met about his suicide ambition, people still said they couldn’t believe it and he’d seemed like the happiest guy in the world.

Which he was, in the shower…he was over the fucking moon that he wouldn’t have to spend one more second on this shitty fucking planet.

So Wilson was out, and who else?

Biel?

No, they wouldn’t have it. They couldn’t. Not after what happened on her first junket.

 _______________________

THE FIRST JUNKET:

The Rules of Attraction. Dir. Roger Avary. 2001

Interviewer: So, did you enjoy the film?

Biel: I dunno, I guess. I mean, it was a film and I was in it and…yeah, I guess.

Interviewer: How did you prepare for your role?

Biel: Sorry?

Interviewer: How did you prepare for your role?

Biel: Role?

She turns to her helper.

Biel: I don’t get it. What does he…

Helper: Role means your part. Your character.

Biel: Oh.

She turns back to the interviewer.

Biel: I told the director I wouldn’t show my tits.

Interviewer: Excuse me?

Biel: The role…I have tits. You see? And I didn’t want to show them so I said to him…actually I wrote him a note…and I wrote, I won’t show my tits. And he came back to me and, like, speaking to me, he said okay. And I said okay back and it was all cool and okay and…so like, yeah, the thing about my…y’know? My…what?

She turns to her helper.

Helper: Character…

Biel: …my character…the thing about that was like, yeah, I have tits, but I don’t want to show them to people…like, they’re my tits, right, they’re not yours and why should you get to see them…so I had to make a stand and say to him, hey, I like art, art is cool, but I don’t want to show my tits to people. And, like I said, he said to me, okay. And I said okay back and everything was, like, okay and cool, y’know, from that point on.

 ________________________

So no matter how bad it got, they couldn’t use Biel.

And that meant they couldn’t use anyone. Everyone was either dead, missing, or amazingly stupid.

__________________________

So the press shut down and the A-Team came out to a 25 million opening weekend, which was okay considering the zero promotion, and the studio breathed a sigh of relief that the whole mess hadn’t crippled them. And pretty soon everyone forgot about Joe Carnahan and the questions.

Everyone except the A-Team.

None of the cast could forget what happened, not while it was still hanging over them.

And the one who had it worst of all was the guy pulling all the strings. The guy with the camera, the script, the ideas. Joe Carnahan.

Ever since he’d left the note on his maid, warning everyone, he’d been on the move. Every day he would get in his truck and drive to a different town. Sometimes he would cling to the underside of his truck and pay someone else to drive. It was his very own version of On the Road, and he was Kerouac, only he wasn’t driven by wonder and awe, he was driven by fear.

And the fear got so bad that every night he would wake up sweating, and every night he would get a towel and lay it on the bed to protect the sheets, just so no one would know this kind of thing was making him sweat so bad.

And every day he would tuck the gun into his pants and prepare himself for every corner and every gas station and every thumb on the side of the road.

And the funniest thing was…he didn’t even know what these questions were. Were they really so bad? Shit, how could they be? They were words, not weapons. But still…how bad?

_________________________

Well, after a few months on the road, pulling back into LA as quiet as a ninja, he found out.

Standing outside the café he stopped next to was a man with glasses holding a notepad and wearing a t-shirt that said ‘I scared the shit out of Bradley Cooper.’ And after approaching the man, gun behind his back, and asking him what the deal was with the t-shirt, he figured things weren’t worth the panic he’d given them.

 _________________________

In the café, he sat opposite the man with glasses, tapping his gun against the table leg. The man was now wearing a different t-shirt. ‘I ended Patrick Wilson.’ And Joe Carnahan couldn’t figure out when he’d changed, but fuck it, those questions…

“Hit me, man. I don’t care anymore. I’m ready for anything.”

“Then you know what these questions mean?”

“No fucking clue, but I figure it won’t be the end of everything, right?’

The man smirked.

“We’ll see…”

Before the man could begin, the café door swung open and three men walked in.

“Coop! Rampage! Copley! Shit…”

“We came back, boss…” said Bradley Cooper, taking a seat next to Carnahan.

“Yeah, brother, we couldn’t let you hang alone,” said Rampage Jackson, sitting behind them and looking over, his arms shaking a little.

“Hey Joe, buddy…I don’t even know what my personality is anymore, but I’m here for you, a little anxious, but hey, this all seems cool enough,” said Sharlto Copley, sitting next to Jackson and putting his face down against the seat cushion.

“Cool.” Joe Carnahan looked at his boys, at Coop. “Shit Coop, what happened to your eyes?”

“Nothing, man. Just haven’t been sleeping well, that’s all.”

“Shit, man, you look like Gary Sinise.”

And it was true, Cooper did look a hell of a lot like Gary Sinise, and if you don’t know who he is then all you need to know is he looks really fucking tired.

“Okay.” Carnahan turned back to the man with glasses, who was wearing another t-shirt. ‘I mind-fucked Joe Carnahan and brought him to his knees.’

“Shoot.”

And these were the questions:

Man: In the movie, Patrick Wilson is very serious in his first scene, You know, the one at the base with the general and Liam Neeson? But later, he makes jokes about sweating like a whore. Was this intentional?

Carnahan: I don’t know, man. It was all Wilson. I wasn’t even there.

Man: You didn’t write the character?

Carnahan: Yeah. No. Wait, I don’t know. Is this a trick?

Man: No trick. I’m simply trying to understand why Patrick Wilson seems like two different characters in the film.

Cooper: Listen, man. The whole Wilson thing…it’s a conceit. You know that word?

Man: Yes.

Cooper: Yeah, so…conceit. Wilson was a conceit.

Man: I don’t understand.

Cooper: Shit, Boss…

Cooper puts his hand on Carnahan’s shoulder.

Cooper: Conceit, right?

Carnahan: I don’t know, man…

Cooper turns back to the man.

Cooper: Conceit.

The man smirks.

Unknown to everyone, Australia disappears off the face of the earth.

Man: Okay, next one. Why is there a tank on that plane?

Carnahan: The tank scene…?

Cooper: Which plane?

Man: Yes, the tank scene. It seemed like a gimmick.

Carnahan: Bullshit, man. That was the best fucking scene in the whole movie.

Cooper: Damn right.

Carnahan: Why are you even asking that question? It’s stupid, a stupid question. There’s a tank because…right, sometimes there are tanks on planes. It’s not supernatural, it’s a tank, in a plane, getting from A to B. What’s the fucking problem?

The man smirks.

Africa gets sucked up into space and the rest of the world panics.

Cooper: Your questions are all hype, man. I gotta say, I’m almost disappointed.

Carnahan: I know. It’s a fucking movie, you know? Get over it.

Man: Next. Why does Liam Neeson play the devil?

Carnahan: Huh?

Man: BA Barracus wants to be non-violent, yet Neeson turns him back to violence. He even quotes Gandhi. And then BA picks up a man and smashes his head on the ground. This is filmed in a heroic light. Why?

Carnahan: Because, my simple friend…because…

Cooper whispers ‘Gandhi’ in Carnahan’s ear.

Carnahan: …like my good friend Gandhi said eons ago… it’s better to be non-violent if you’re-…no, wait…it’s better to be violent if you’re…if you’re…

Cooper: A violent dude…

Carnahan: …right, a violent dude…if you have violence in your heart. Right, Rampage?

Rampage Jackson doesn’t answer because he is no longer there. Cooper, Copley and Carnahan get up and look around and find him shaking under the table.

Rampage Jackson: Can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope…

Carnahan: Krist, Rampage, you okay?

Rampage Jackson: Can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope, can’t cope…

Carnahan tells Copley to get him outside and calm him down. Copley follows orders and puts Jackson on his shoulder and carries him out.

Man: It seems your movie philosophy is bullshit.

Carnahan: Bullshit. I mean, that’s bullshit, you’re bullshit. Our philosophy’s fine. It’s perfect.

Man: You quote one of the worst Gandhi sayings in order to get a guy who doesn’t want to be a killer to kill again.

Carnahan: No…he likes it. He likes doing that shit. It’s the character, man. You’re fogging things up.

Cooper: These questions are a piece of shit, boss.

Carnahan: I know, Coop. But he’s not getting anywhere.

Cooper: I know, boss. He throws them up, we knock them down. Remember my conceit answer?

Carnahan: Yeah, we’re walking it, man. Stroll in the fucking park.

Carnahan turns to the man and repeats ‘stroll in the fucking park.’

The man smirks.

Bradley Cooper reverts to the Bradley Cooper of five years previous and returns to nothingness. Instead of a man, there is now a white blur.

Carnahan: Coop?

Man: He’s done.

Carnahan: Man, what did you do? What did you fucking do?

Man: I didn’t do anything. Your answers did.

Carnahan gets up and tries to grab the man by the neck, but as he does so the neck disappears. He tries to grab the guy’s arm but then there’s nothing there either.

Carnahan: What the fuck?

The man goes back to his usual form.

Man: I have no neck or arm or body. Not really.

Carnahan: I want to go home.

Man: You have no home.

Carnahan: Huh?

Man: Your home got pulled into the Sun. Now, one more question.

Carnahan: This is bullshit.

The man smirks and clicks his fingers and suddenly Carnahan is floating in Space watching his house drift towards the Sun. Next to him is the man, still with his notepad, wearing a t-shirt that says ‘This is really, really happening…really.’

Man: Would you like to stay here for the next question?

Carnahan can’t answer. He can’t breathe.

Man: Fine.

He clicks his fingers and they return to the café. No one seems to have noticed what happened. Outside, Copley and Jackson are gone.

Carnahan: What is this, man? This isn’t real…

Man: Final question.

Carnahan: I don’t want any more questions, man. Please…

Man: Near the end of the film, there is a sequence in a car, with Patrick Wilson and the other bad guy. Wilson wants to kill him, but his henchman is inept and it all turns to some kind of bizarre slapstick. Now what I want to know is…what the fuck were you thinking?

Carnahan has noticed the disappearance of Copley and Jackson, and is shaking, muttering and all the other kinds of shit you do when you’ve just been floating in Space.

Carnahan: Man, which car? Wilson? I don’t know, I don’t know…

Man: In one ridiculous scene you drain all the power out of Wilson as a bad guy. You turn it into a comedy. A comedy that isn’t funny. I repeat, what were you thinking?

Carnahan: I don’t…I don’t…who are you, man? Who are you?

The man smirks.

The rest of the world explodes.

A few days later, on a piece of wood floating somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, near where the coast of California used to be, the studio head says to the shark eating his leg, “fuck it, A-Team 2, brother. Make it happen.”

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