Yes, I Will Totally Kill a Minor Character for the Sake of a Good Line

I didn’t post much last year, partly because there was so little to post about. A lot was happening, but mostly it was the same stuff that was happening to everybody else. But this past year has been extremely informative on the subject of pandemics, which is important to me because Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise ended with a pandemic appearing in China and entering the United States.

The downside: in a post-COVID world there is no way that Isabel, as soon as she finds herself showing symptoms, wouldn’t call in sick and refuse to come into work, no matter what pleading she was subjected to. Which means she wouldn’t accidentally sneeze into the face of the supervisor who was pestering her. Which means he wouldn’t then die. Which means I won’t get to include the line “You killed him and they’re giving you his job. You now fit the legal definition of ‘Klingon.’”

And when else, in my life, am I ever likely to have a chance to use that line again?

***

I had a thought over Christmas.

One of the things I think I got right in Altered Seasons is that in the not-distant-enough future, nobody uses the word “television” or “TV.” They’re all just “screens.” The latest TVs can pick up not just regular television, but streaming services and sites like YouTube, not to mention games. Basically they’re turning into computers with huge screens, and we use them for a lot of the same purposes.

And for most of us, this is good. The most annoying thing about any TV is trying to figure out how to operate the remote control, or which of several remotes we’re supposed to use. This is because the remote evolved from television technology, and became more cumbersome as the capacity of TVs grew. But already there are such things as wireless keyboards with trackpad and/or mouse, and apps that let you use your phone to operate your TV. These things have the potential to make your TV as user-friendly as your computer, assuming they aren’t doing it already. (I’m on a budget, okay? I can read about this stuff, but I can’t buy it and try it out for myself.)

And yet… there are always those among us who find virtue in self-imposed difficulties. So it occurred to me that in the world of Altered Seasons, there would be people who own vintage TVs from the ‘90s and ‘00s and ‘10s, with old-fashioned remotes where you have to remember which of the many tiny buttons to press to find what you’re looking for. I can picture the somewhat full-of-himself Rome Ross owning a classic Samsung 2009 LED and being very proud of his skill with the remote, and the very practical and unpretentious Isabel having no idea why he bothers.

***

Now that I’ve started watching “The Mandalorian,” Gina Carano* is my new pick to play Isabel Bradshaw in any future Altered Seasons movie. (NOTE: Since then I've learned she has at least approved of opinions which are… look, I don't do a lot of canceling and I tend to assume I've already been canceled and no one's told me yet, but there are opinions I hold, opinions I don't hold but can respect, and opinions for which I have no respect whatsoever, and guess which kind we're talking about. Still, she played the role well. I'm also told she's transphobic, although I've yet to see evidence of this, but if true that would make this next bit really, really awkward.)


I’m pondering the question of whether Elliot Page would still be my actor of choice for the role of Sandra Symcox now that we know he’s, well, a he, but there might be a way of working it into the story:

(Isabel pushes aside the diamond curtain, steps in, stops and blinks. Sandy, now male, is standing with arms extended for a hug.)

SANDY

Hey! How long has it been?


ISABEL

Um…


SANDY

Oh shit, I forgot to tell you. I’ve, uh, changed since the last time we met.

(beat)

It took me a while to figure some things out about myself. My pronouns are he/him… I mean if you, uh, want to talk about me to somebody else.


ISABEL

Okay. Um, what do I call you now?


SANDY

Still Sandy. The name works both ways.


ISABEL

Cool.


SANDY

Shit. You weren’t using me as some kind of female-empowerment role model, were you?


ISABEL

Uh, no, it’s fine.


SANDY

Because at this point, I think you’re awesome enough to be your own role model.

(2-beat pause while Isabel tries to process this compliment)

This isn’t… weird, is it?


ISABEL

Don’t worry. I've given up keeping track of what’s weird and what's not.


SANDY

Awesome. Now, where were we?

(They hug)


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