One page screenplay explains the 1980s! “The Bargain.”

Okay, here’s another ‘shut up and play your guitar’ posting. 

I originally submitted two scripts to the 2016 One Page Screenplay competition in LA.  The first one — “Bargain” won the contest! The other one placed.

The short script for “Bargain” is copied below. But you can read-along while it is performed (a clickable video reading). The role of Ronald Reagan was delightfully performed by Peter Nelson.  Poor sound quality, but nicely done.

 Definitely sci fi… and it explains two mysteries from the 1980s… the weird US decision to invest in absurd Space Shuttles… and the fall of the USSR… a coincidence that’s finally explained! And sure, this’d make a great short-flick.

And yeah, blogger won’t take Final Cut proper script formatting. So sue me. Or else… enjoy!




David Brin


We zoom closer during credits, glimpsing hints that this is the 1980s.


A BUTLER puts a silver tray and mug on a coffee table before RONALD REAGAN.

RONALD REAGAN.   Ah, two marshmallows. Thank you Benson. Do close the door as you leave.

BUTLER.    Yes Mr. President.

A big, old, mahogany-boxed TV announces “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson!” Reagan leans in, switching to a channel that seems all static. Highlights flicker across his face.

RONALD REAGAN      It’s me. I’m getting your signal much better now that Carter’s damn solar panels are off the White House roof. We’ll nip that fad in the bud.

The TV flickers. Out of the static, a WARBLING SOUND seems almost like an eerie VOICE.

REAGAN  Yeah. The deal you offer. . . might some call it. . .well. . .kinda treason?

The flickers accompany uncanny, static TV VOICE tones that seem to dismiss that likelihood.

REAGAN       Easy for you to say! You won’t be down here, taking heat if the press finds out. Like the Marine barracks bombing. . . or Iran-Contra.

The staticky TV VOICE offers reassuring tones.

REAGAN.      Only my friends call me ‘Gipper!’  You guys backed the commies! Without your economic and technical support, the Soviets would have collapsed long ago!

The TV VOICE warbling from the TV sounds ominous.

REAGAN        Don’t you dare try threats on me! Sure, you could trigger a war down here. That’d keep us out of space. But other aliens would notice! Genocide is against —

Now the TV VOICE comes across as soothing.

REAGAN     Well.  Okay. It’s a deal. You’ll pull the rug out from under the Commies. . . and I’ll take down the American space program. Fritter it away on ‘shuttles.’

The TV VOICE sounds agreeable. Maybe smug.

REAGAN       But won’t someone add two plus two?  Connect the dots? 

The TV VOICE is cajoling now.

REAGAN    Yeah, they’d just call this a figment of senility. You’re right about us humans. Gullible to the end. (a beat). …  Now tell me more about this thing called “Reality TV”. 

    …Who are these Cardassian aliens, again?

            THE END

©2016 David Brin

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