WORD

 

 

Word: opening

Silence, the screen is dark with only a faint image of something in the far background which slowly moves towards us as the focus slowly reveals Paxcalibur floating flat in space. The image is still very faint. Then these words from the Gospel of John appear, line by line, and then recede and fade away:

"In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God..."

 

Paxcalibur comes closer into view then but only the end of the hilt and rear view of the peace sign circle of brass is seen at first and it's hard to tell what the thing is. But then Paxcalibur slowly turns upward revealing its whole form and peace sign where the blade would otherwise be sharp and pointed. As this happens the screen becomes progressively brighter quickly turning into a brilliant white flash--like a nuclear explosion--which then fades and out of which resolves the image of Bluto the cat pricking up his ears as he hears something.

INT. An older apt. "bluto", a fat longhair cat is at his kitty bowl in the kitchen. He trots purposefully from the empty kitty bowl through the hallway where the light in blinking on an answering machine to the front room. He jumps up to the window sill and sits buddha-like except the end of his tail whips back and forth, the only sign of his eagerness. He looks out expectantly.

Cindy:

a young female Princeton graduate student in Sociology. (Imagine a young Reese Witherspoon type)

Camera follows Cindy on her bicycle as she peddles up to the front entrance of her apt building. Cindy's listening to her ipod and we can hear a bit of rap song in the background as she puts her bike in the bike rack by the entrance steps.

We hear faintly:

"How many times you got to hear, How many times you got to hear to the word to understand, How many times you got to hear..."

Cindy pulls a grocery bag out of the bike's basket and fishes in her pockets for her house key while she holding the grocery bag. She finds the key and comes into her apt where Bluto immediately swarms around her feet making it difficult to navigate to the kitchen.

CINDY:

Dammit! Get out of the way, Bluto, you porcine blobous blob. You'll get your kitty food. It's not as if you're starving to death, fatso. Just hold your horses.

Cindy puts the groceries away and feeds Bluto. She notices the answering machine light blinking and goes into the hallway to hear her messages.

Ruthie

another Princeton Sociology major and best friend of Cindy. She's very smart too, like Cindy. (think Scarlett Johansson)

Hi Cindy. It's Ruthie. Are you going to Donna's party on Friday? Call me if you are. Hannah and are going and I need company if you know who shows up and gives them a bad time. Call me soonest.

Mark: a student at Princeton's publications

Ms. Johnson, this is Mark Farrington at the university publications dept. The manuscript you want to have published in the Sociology Journal needs to be in Word Perfect format. You've used some other format and we can't open it. Please re-submit the paper and include the word count. We need to know how many pages of text there will be when your paper is properly formatted. After we receive your revised manuscript it should be about a week before it's published. If you have any questions, please call me at 555-3033.

 

CINDY: TALKING TO BLUTO AS SHE HEADS FOR HER DESK in the living room.

Damn! I knew it was a mistake to use Sis' FrontPage for word processing. Now I'll have to redo 30 pages. God, I hope those graph images transpose without having to do each one individually. Word count..what a pain in the butt!

 

Int. Cindy's bathroom off the side of her bedroom where Cindy's come out of the shower and put on a long t-shirt to sleep in. She crawls into her bed and stares up at the ceiling..fade out

INT. Cindy's bedroom at night. It's dark but we can see her tossing and turning in her sleep.

 

moving aerial view of Princeton, new jersey, home of Princeton University. camera glides in focusing in on the Princeton campus.

Prof. Hall's sociology classroom. A documentary movie about Navajos is ending. The final scene shows a very old Navajo woman at her loom weaving a Navajo rug. Dialog from the documentary:

Old Navajo woman talking as she weaves

All the treads show somethin'. They tell about us. See this fat one here? See how it get thinner there? That's my clan. Fire clan. Was powerful clan back when I was a little girl. Now..almost gone. Each tread grows or gets small. It all depends. Time tells all. Spider Woman knows. She weaves Her web and we follow the treads..

Cindy is in class and watches with rapt attention. Ruthie sits next to her doodling in her workbook and not paying much attention.

Terry Lockhart: a Student in class

Prof. Hall, is it true Spider Woman controls the Internet? You know, the worldwide Web?

Terry's comment arouses some laughter around the room. Cindy rolls her eyes.

PROF. HALL

Just have your assignments in by Monday, class. And Mr. Lockhart? I do hope you can manage to put your wit to better use. This assignment will count for a third of the grade for this course. I will see you all on Monday.

Cindy gets up from her chair and starts to file out. Ruthie follows her.

RUTHIE

See you at lunch?

CINDY

Yes. That old Navajo woman. You know, she reminded me a lot of my aunt Renee who makes fabric wall hangings. Beautiful homespun yarns all woven together to form a whole picture- a story--like that old woman's.

Don't wait up for me. I've got errands to run and will be late-ish.

 

INT. Princeton university's cafeteria. Two friends of Cindy are sitting at a table looking out watching Cindy as she heads through the cafeteria entrance and comes to their table. She's been listening to her ipod again from which we can just barely hear the same rap song we heard before playing. We hear more of the rap song:

"How many times you got to hear, man, to understand?

How many times you got to hear the word, man, to understand?

He's here, She's there. Their square, don't care and in your goddamn hair. It's unfair but there--It--is--the truth, Word, man, How many times you got to hear to understand? How many times.."

The sound fades away as Cindy turns her Ipod off and sits down with her friends.

CINDY:

Hi guys. Where's Sami, Hannah?

Hannah- an Israeli student, a physics major and good friend of cindy's. (Imagine French actress Isild le Besco) Cindy's friend Ruthie is also at the table.

 

Hannah

Sami will be here any minute now. You're looking frazzled, my dear. What's up?

RUTHIE

Yeah, Cin, you look tweaked.

CINDY:

It's my Thesis topic. I still don't have one and I have to turn in a thesis topic by next week. Trying to find a Sociology research project that uses my math skills isn't so easy. Why did I ever quit math I do not know. Well, yes, I do know but trying to come up with a way statistical analysis can be used to predict human behavior is so big, so broad in scope, I just got to find a way to narrow it down to a single ever so important issue. Glorified bean counting. Not your most sexy of master's thesis topics, I'll tell you. I could have been computing Mars landings or tracking missiles for the Pentagon, but noooo, I had to go and want to use math to help people get along. Why? Why bother. Who cares..(Cindy frowns)

HANNAH

Oh, we care. We care oodles, my dear. You will find a suitable topic, I am sure of it. One that will make the world stand up and take notice. A Noble Prize, I can see it now. All you have to do is pick it out of thin air, Cindy, and scholars will swoon and fame and fortune will come knocking at your door. All you have to do is just say the word and angels will buzz your long lost research topic right in your ear.

CINDY:

You think so? I am so discouraged right now. I just can't think of any...words....words..

(Cindy stops talking and stares straight ahead)

 

Meanwhile, Sami shows up at the table and immediately hugs Hannah and starts kissing her passionately. Sami is a Palestinian student at Princeton majoring in Physics. He and Hannah are lovers although their parents do not know this.

Sami

Ahhh, my favorite Zionist land stealer and her friends. Ruthie, Cindy..hi.

HANNAH

And my favorite Palestinian terrorist. Help us find Cindy a suitable research topic for her thesis project.

Sami

How can I help? I know nothing of sociology. It's physical things I am interested in. I leave the study of human behavior to you sociologists willing to suspend scientific tools and truth.

RUTHIE

But Cindy's one of you. She's a math whiz, for Christ's sake. Why she took a Sociology major is anyone's guess....Cindy?

CINDY:

Cindy hasn't said anything and continues to stare out. They look at her expectantly. Suddenly she mumbles

It's words...

and she gets up from the table and heads for the door. They watch her moving faster as she leaves the cafeteria and starts to run across the campus plaza towards the Sociology Dept. building. Hannah, Sami, and Ruthie stare in silence as she disappears from their view.

Sami

What was that all about?

RUTHIE

I think a light bulb just went off in our dear Cindy's head. She's got herself a thesis topic, a great big important research project, I can just feel it. I know her. I bet she's going right now to run it past Prof. Hall, the Sociology Dept. head.

The three friends left at the table start talking about her as the camera moves up from the table and overhead and out of the cafeteria, following from above Cindy's pathway to the Sociology Dept. building.

 

Prof. Hall's office. Cindy bursts in and immediately starts talking.

CINDY:

Prof. Hall? Do you know of any sociological studies that link word usage with actual human sociological behavior? I think I've got an idea for my thesis topic but I need to know if anyone's done it before me. And you would know. It's linking written words, actually counting words, with real historical social behavior. I got this idea that you could count..

 

Prof. Marjorie Hall

She's an African-American no-nonsense type of person. (Imagine Alfre Woodard)

Hold on, Cindy. Slow down. Now what in the world are you talking about? Counting words? What's that about? This is Sociology we're talking about, not mathematics. Your topic choice for your thesis is due next week so you can't be wasting time now with frivolous notions. Focus, dear. You need to focus. Did you submit that paper for publication in the Sociology Review?

CINDY:

Yes. Well, sort of. I've got to redo the text format but that shouldn't be a problem.

Prof. Hall, I know how it seems to you right now but give me a couple of days. This idea is something I have to check out further before I drop it. I need to talk with a computer programmer and maybe some others to figure out if I've got something here to work with. I just got the idea today and I know it's raw and maybe a wild-goose chase but something tells me I've got something really important in this word count business predicting human behavior patterns. I think it could be..like a new tool for predicting major events like wars before they happen. But I also know it could be too big for just me to handle. Just give a until Friday to work this out.

Prof. Hall

Cindy...short for Lucinda?

Cindy

Uh, no...Cinderella... (she blushes)

PROF. HALL

R-right. Cindy, like I said,

you really don't have any time to waste chasing rainbows right now. You just got this wild idea today and you need to think it through more. But you've got to hurry up, girl. Find out what you need to and come see me on Friday. If you find out your research topic is not appropriate for this course, that gives you the weekend to come up with one that I can approve.

CINDY:

Thanks, Prof. Hall. I won't let you down. I'll see you Friday.

 

Ext. Front of the Sociology Building. Cindy coming through the doors and stops and stares out for a minute and then sets out determinedly down the steps.

Int. Cindy's apt. She's at her computer when the doorbell rings and cindy lets ruthie into her apt.

RUTHIE

Hi.

CINDY

Hi..didn't mean to space out and leave you guys at lunch today but I got a brainstorm. A doozy. That rap song I was listening to did it. "Word, man, word". It just came to me. Word count. Count words.

Ruthie

I don't see what that has to do with picking a thesis topic. I know you're into statistics but it is a Sociology course you know.

Cindy

It is sociology. It's statistical analysis. That's part of Sociology. I want to count words that people, human beings produce. I want to link the number of times words are used to actual social events to see if there's any patterns that can be used to predict future events. Like war for example. Or economic recession or Depression, stuff like that. Instead of tracking how money flows through the financial world, we'll be tracking word flow, how words are flowing through our social lives and directing our behavior. Who knows, maybe this is a new and better way to predict the stock market.

Ruthie

Pardon me for being dense but I don't get it. How's it work?

Cindy

How's it work? Word count, Ruthie, word count. Like in TV ad ratings or market shares, the more times a product's name, it's words mind you, the more people buy it or watch it. Numbers of words heard or viewed equals future real human behavior activity. I want to simply count the number of times key words are being used or have been used and then match the word tallies against what actually happens. I'm thinking of focusing on the words "war" and "peace" because they're so important to us. say that word "war".

Here, let's fantasize that your most excellent and brilliant friend Cindy here has such a good theory to test she even convinces some big shot corporation to fund expensive time on some big main frame computers like the government has. Ok, imagine we've got a computer program that allows us to scan zillions of documents searching for key word usage. Now imagine that we have access to the Library of Congress's total inventory of American literature from..oh, let's make it 1850 to 1860, the decade leading up to the Civil War. Imagine that we've got a software program that can scan all the old periodicals and published books, songs, anything reflecting popular culture at the time to see how many times the word "war" has been used. Say we find a pattern that shows the word "war" being used more and more frequently between 1850 and 1860 until the Civil War actually breaks out. Then we do the same thing for published literature before WW.I and WW II and the Korean War and Vietnam, always looking for any repeating patterns. Say we do find a pattern, one that..oh, say when the word "war" reaches a..call it a "saturation point". The word count for "war" reaches this saturation or critical point and then actual war breaks out within a year, or a month, a week...see how it works? What I'm thinking I've got is maybe a statistical tool for predicting major social events.

Ruthie just looks at her as if she's lost her marbles.

Cindy

Yes, I know it sounds pretty loonie tunes now but the thing is, we'll never know unless somebody tries it out--sets up a computer program model to see what happens. This is like an idea that's once out of Pandora's Box, cannot be stuffed back in. If I don't do it, somebody else will, I just know it.

But I can see I'm going to have to show how the theory works. I mean visually show people. They've got to be able to see these changes in word count. So I've got to create a visual graphic model that shows the progressive changes in the number of times words are used and corresponding actual human activity. I'll be looking for repeating patterns so that hopefully a real predictive sociological tool can come out of this research study.

Why are you shaking your head like I am crazy. Ruthie, this is for real! Hmmm...Prof. Hall's not convinced either. She seems pretty skeptical of my utterly brilliant idea too. I could see "crackpot" written all over her face too when I told her about it. She's given me a couple of days to reconsider reminding me about the topic deadline next week. It will be one ambitious sucker of a research project that's for sure. It'll suck the University's money and my time ...and others..I've got to find a way to narrow it down..

RUTHIE

You better get a second or third opinion, Cin. I dunno...sounds like you're going way out on a limb with this thing that even your Prof. doesn't think has merit. Not a good sign..

CINDY

Oh, Ruthie! Can you trust me? I've got something here, I just know it. I'm really excited to begin. Me, I got a brilliant idea, well, maybe a brilliant idea. Who would've guessed? Anyway, I'm stoked! I've been getting all sorts of ideas now about how to go about setting up a research project around this but here's where we start...yes, "we". I need input and maybe even a team. A fellow sociology major wouldn't be a bad idea since I'm long on statistics and short on sociology. I'll need a computer programmer whiz too, and a literature brain. And a physics brain to help me. I need to phone Sami..

RUTHIE

And Hannah's a literature major. I think she's going into library science too. That should help you. She'll probably be at Sami's. She always is. Speaking of Sami and Hannah, are you going to Donna's party?

CINDY

You mean will be I be coming to Donna's to help you punch out old what's-his-face if he shows up and hassles Sami and Hannah again? Don't worry, I'll be there. And if Saul does show up, you and me, we take 'im out. Sound good?

 

EXT. Sami's apt. Sami and Hannah are just arriving. Sami opens the door and hannah follows him in.

Int. Sami's apt. Hannah spends most of her time there and not at her own dorm. Sami puts tea on to boil and turns to speak to hannah who has sat down at the kitchen table.

SAMI

What did you make of Cindy today? Right there one moment and then..poof! She's struck with lightning, zones out and walks off.

HANNAH

If I know Cindy, she's had a brainstorm. Probably about her thesis topic. You notice that she went directly to the Sociology building. Probably to see Prof. Hall to run her topic idea past her. Hall's pretty strict. Cindy's got to have a thesis that fits within the Dept.'s scope and Cindy's got a tendency to overlap several disciplines. I hope she's not just spinning her wheels..

(the phone rings)..

speaking of which..

SAMI

Hello? Cindy! We were just talking about you--behind your back of course. How's our favorite campus starry-eyed lunatic in search of the divine light of thesis-dom? Have you found your Holy Grail yet?...Oh really. And she's ok-ing it? Well, sounds a risky entry at so late a date......I don't understand, my work is with physical objects and force fields. How can I....oh, yes, fluidics, fluidics for graphic display of word streaming. Hmmmm! How novel! Only a mathematician sociology student like you would have thought of it. Well, yes, I do know him-slightly. Yes, I will introduce you to him. He's a nice guy-not snobby at all and he's good. If there's a way to do it he'll know.

HANNAH

What did Cindy want?

SAMI

Oh, the usual. Sleep over and orgy. No, she wants me to introduce her to Prof. Phillips, the fluidics expert in our Physics Dept. Seems she's got this hot idea of for melding language usage, word counts actually, with the physics of fluids in motion. Sounds way too complicated for a sociology study but who knows. Maybe our Cindy is onto something..

Int. Donna's house party. Cindy and Ruthie arrive and are greeted by donna.

Donna: Prof. Hall's T.A. (imagine Gretchen Mol)

Cindy, Ruthie, so good of you to come. I wasn't sure you'd show up, Ruthie, considering the last time. I don't know if Saul is coming or not. I didn't invite him but then again I didn't invite him the last time. Well, just forget about him, have a good time! Sami and Hannah were asking if you were coming. Shoo! Go mingle, you two!

CINDY

Thanks, Donna. We'll talk to you later. You probably heard about my brain spasm of a thesis research topic from Prof. Hall. I'll tell you about it later..

Cindy and Ruthie start to make their way through the party-goers, all Princeton grad students and younger teachers. Cindy finds Sami and Hannah and starts talking to Sami.

CINDY

Sami, did you happen to contact Prof. Phillips?

SAMI

You mean the fluidics guy..Yes, I phoned him and told him what little I knew about your project. He's a good dude. Said you should just come to his office or lab sometime. But he wanted to know why? Why would fluidics have anything for a Sociology thesis..

CINDY

Well, I need someone to help me figure out a way to transpose my word count theory into a computer graphics model and I'm seriously thinking fluidics might help me. In one of my undergraduate physics classes he gave a demonstration of how the flow of fluids can be made to mimic computer chips--it seems it's possible to use fluid flow, like water or air, like it were electrical signals. I know this sounds weird but what if the fluid flow were words, a flow of key words that actually interacted with each other in a predictable way. Oh, it's the math in me that can see this but it is hard to explain. That's why I need a visual display of what I'm talking about.

SAMI

Well, Prof. Phillips is your man. If anyone knows fluidics in this country, he does. Interesting idea, Cindy. Crazy as can be, true, but still, it's interesting.

HANNAH: (elbows sami)

Don't listen to him, Cindy. It sounds fantastic. I'm interested already because cataloging, if not counting words, is going to be my life's work. My dear, you must keep me informed of your progress.

CINDY

Oh, I will, Hannah. You can "count" on it! Actually, this research project is really starting to look more and more like it needs a team, a team effort and that's not going to work for my thesis project unless I can get some special consideration from Prof. Hall and the Sociology Dept. But I'm thinking that if my theory works, if it can accurately forecast human behavioral patterns, I just might be able to convince some corporate big shots to bankroll the research needed, especially the mainframe computer time that is sky-high. God knows Princeton won't pay for it. All I can hope is this thesis project might be preparing me for my future employment.

HANNAH

And that cannot be a bad thing, no? Uh, oh, look who just arrived.

Saul, is another Princeton grad student. He arrives and is not so warmly greeted by Donna who takes his coat and hangs it up without a word. Sol looks around the room and spies Hannah with Sami. He winds his way determinedly through the guests until he's close to them. Sami and Hannah try to ignore him but he's too persistent and confrontational.

Saul

Ahhh..our own little Middle East terrorist and his lovely if traitorous moll. How charming. Sami, Hannah..

SAMI

Buzz off, Saul. No one here is interested in your political views or anything else from you.

Sami grabs hold of Hannah to move her past Saul but he blocks their way.

saul

I've made a phone call to your parents, Hannah. They know now..about you and Sami. And I can tell you they don't like it one bit, just like me. I'm..

HANNAH

You ass! Leave me and leave Sami alone! No one here is on your side on this one, Saul. They don't care if Israelis and Palestinians are friends. In fact, they love it, they love us. You, on the other hand, are not so much loved.

Saul

You're setting a dangerous precedent for our people, Hannah. This..Palestinian, has no business being with you. He's a danger, they're all dangerous..

Cindy and Ruthie see Hannah and Saul arguing and come quickly over. Ruthie pushes Saul away from Hannah.

RUTHIE

Just beat it, buster. Leave these two alone! They're in love, you two-bit Zionist moron. If Israel and Palestine were filled with people like Hannah and Sami, there'd be no conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Just leave them be!

SAUL

You're not Jewish. You wouldn't understand.

RUTHIE

Who told you that? I am Jewish, Ruth BERNSTEIN, you putz! Not all of us are deranged like you, you know.

Ruthie continues to shove him away from Hannah and Sami. Then the four of them, Hannah, Sami, Ruthie and Cindy head off to a couch and chairs to sit down. Saul with a pissed off look just fades into the crowd of guests. The four friends keep talking.

HANNAH

So how's it coming, your grand research project? Bitten off quite a bit, haven't you, my dear? Physics, statistics, literature, combining the disciplines..for what? Can you handle it all? I don't think I've heard of a more ambitious thesis project.

CINDY

Yeah, it's a big whopper meal, that's for sure. But dammit! I've got something with this word count business, I just know I do and I'm going to stick to it if at all possible...which it may not be. Prof. Hall could bring it all crashing down before I even start. I saw her today and I've still got to convince her that yours truly, a lowly Princeton grad student, is capable of bringing it off. She's not convinced. She wants me to confirm the project's worthwhile by seeing if I can actually rope in high powered help, like Prof. Phillips, the fluidics guy, and a top computer programmer who I've still got to find. You guys know of anyone?

SAMI

Well, why don't you just go over to the computer programmers and ask for help? It's a straightforward computer programming problem you want solved, so they should know what you need for your project.

CINDY

You're right. Monday I will pound on their doors. Gaaahk! I've been thinking about this stuff so much my head hurts! Come on. Let's Party!

They get up and join the other guests, some of whom are dancing.

Ext. Cindy is walking up the steps of the computer sciences building. She enters the building.

Int. Prof. George Handley's office in the Computer science Building.

Prof. Handley

Oh, hi, Cindy. I got your message. Well, what is it that you need to see me about? Something about computer programming I would imagine..

CINDY

Yes, Prof. Handley, it is about programming. I've got this idea for a research project that needs a computer program that can scan books and periodicals that have been digitally recorded to look for key words, to look for the frequency of usage of these key words. I know the documents would all have to be on digital file for a computer to read them but I'm thinking of the major information libraries online, like the ones libraries and universities use.

Prof. Handley

You'd have to have access to a large mainframe computer, Cindy, to do what you want to do. Yes, a word recognition program would not be too difficult but it's the volume of literature that you need to go through that is so daunting. That will be the hard part for you. Getting access to such large libraries isn't easy, especially if they find out you want to access their whole inventories. That will necessitate using a mainframe. Or two, or three..Too bad you don't work for NASA or the Pentagon..Is there any way you can use a smaller inventory of...of words to get what you want?

CINDY

Not really. The more volume of words, the more likely it is that I'll find patterns, repeating patterns. Hmmmmm. I knew that was going to be the hard part--getting access to computers that can do what I need. Well, I'm working on it. I do have an idea of how to maybe get some help financially with the computer time I need.

PROF. Handley

Well, that's a start. Cindy, you should talk with Prof. Braniff. He has actually worked on word recognition software..for Google, I believe. If you don't mind, I'll give him a heads-up about your project but you should talk to him yourself. And Cindy? I do wish you luck in your endeavor. Come back again and tell me how you fare with the big boys. And, someday, explain to me how your theory works. You've mentioned counting words but to what effect? No, you don't have to go into it now. Come back and see me again, another time.

CINDY

I will, Prof. Handley, I will. And thanks for your advice. Who knows, I may even follow it..

Cindy picks up her books and briefcase and leaves the Computer lab room.

 

Int. Princeton university Sociology teacher's Lounge. 12 or so professors sit around the room with two or three teachers grouped together and talking quietly with each other. Prof. Hall, Cindy's thesis counselor, is answering questions from fellow teachers.

Prof. Millstead

Your student Cindy seems to be making the rounds of all the depts. here at Princeton. What have you got her doing, Betty?

PROF. Handley

Yes, Margie, my friend Carl Phillips at the Fluidics lab said she talked with him. She's got some idea about transposing the number of times words are used into a fluidics graphic display. Carl says it's a unique idea and may have some potential. But potential for what, he doesn't know. Predicting the future? Prof. Hall, are you teaching your students to be psychic readers these days?

PROF. HALL

No, no, that's not it at all, George. Cindy's a natural mathematician who just happens to like working with people as well. Statistical analysis will be her field but I must say she may have let her math skills lead her to a false assumption about language and society. She thinks she's got a way of using simple word counts for predicting human group behavior and major events. She's bound and determined to try her theory out and, frankly, I do have grave doubts about her project but..in the "interest of science" I am not going to stand in her way. Future prediction..from a sociology student.

Prof. Grayson is sitting near them but doesn't say anything while the others talk but we can see when they mention "future prediction" he's suddenly quite interested in their conversation.

Int. Prof. Grayson's office. He makes a phone call

Prof. Grayson

Frank, I've got something you people might be interested in. No, not right now but it may prove to be something later on, something of "strategic concern" you might say in your people's lingo. Then again, it might be nothing but I've got a hunch it isn't. I'll keep you posted....the usual arrangement..

Int. Hannah's parent's home in a suburb near Tel aviv

An older man's apoplectic face contorted in rage fills the screen.

Moshe

I forbid you to see that, that ARAB! You cannot do this, Hannah. You cannot, cannot..complicate our lives this way. No, repeat, no, absolutely no more will you be seeing this Sami Aziz. I will..

HANNAH

Abba, calm yourself. You'll have a stroke. I'm in America, not Israel and these are not the Middle Ages. I am not Juliet hiding with Romeo from their parents. We love each other but we will not be cursed with parents who are incredibly backward! Put Mother on. I will talk to you later when you're more human.

Miriam: Hannah's mother

How are you? Ignore your father. Ach! what I have to live with day in, day out. You should be glad to escape. How are your studies coming? Did you decide on a thesis topic? I know that was on your mind when you last called. Speaking of which, your mother worries when I don't hear from you.

HANNAH

Mother, It's only been a week since I phoned last. I've got a lot on my mind right now so forgive me..but can you do something with Abba? I won't be ordered around. I'm 25, an adult and I served my time in the IDF like all the rest. I'm a student now and this is America. Sami and I like it here where all that Israeli-Palestinian madness barely touches us--although it has, hasn't it? Saul warned us he'd tell you and Father about Sami and I.

Oh, Mother (substitute Israeli endearment term here) Sami is so wonderful! And we share so much in common over here. In Israel we probably would never have met socially. Certainly never allowed to become, well, lovers. We don't even know if we want to come back. Everybody is from someplace in America and we are just like other students. There's no real social barriers here..except in my own parent's house! What is wrong with Abba!

MIRIAM:

I don't know, Hannah. Sometimes, I think sometimes your father forgets he's not in the IDF anymore. 30 years. Enough for anyone to serve Israel. He should relax, enjoy his old age..most of the time he does but sometimes..sometimes he forgets how young people are, how he himself was, when I first met him--he was so daring--and handsome! But no, I don't much like it either--your friendship with a Palestinian boy but I can understand how it could happen--over there in America.

Hannah, this is serious business you have going with this Sami fellow. Your father is right to warn you of consequences neither of you can see right now--because love blinds us, no? I will speak to your father. (Whispers) I will call you again later when you father has calmed down and thinks more clearly. We both love you, darling Hannah. Know that my daughter. Life is so full of surprises, isn't it!

 

Int. Prof. Carl Phillips fluidics lab in the physics dept. building. Prof. Phillips hears a rap on his door.

Prof. Phillips

Come on in, door's open.

CINDY

Hi, Prof. Phillips. I wanted to see you about my thesis research project. I'm trying something new out-least I think it's new--and it involves, ah, word streaming, you could say.

Prof. Phillips

Well, I'll be glad to help if I can but I'm not sure what you're getting at. What's this word streaming you're talking about?

Cindy

I'm thinking of a way to create a visual way of seeing how word usage can predict human behavior patterns. This may sound strange but I got this idea that these word streams could be comparable to the way fluids work. I know from my undergraduate physics course that fluidics is the study of fluids in motion and I was just wondering if it would be possible to make a kind of moving graphic display, like a flow chart that uses word streams, streams of the same words or clusters of words and how they might interact with each other as they flowed through time. I know that fluid streams in motion can be influenced by other fluid streams. I understand you could even make a fluidics computer with on and off gates and switches that acted like computer chips directing the flow of electrons but in this case, it would be words.

PROF. PHILLIPS

Cindy, you see this plastic gizmo? This is actually a fairly sophisticated amplifier only instead of sound amplification it uses streams of liquids-that part shunts more liquid or less into the main stream which increases or decreases its volume and rate of flow. Note nothing is used here but flowing liquids yet we can make these liquids behave quite like electricity in wires and even computers. Now your idea seems to be wanting to reproduce what these streams of liquids do but with, words? Hmmmm. I just don't..

CINDY

Professor Phillips, here's how I'm seeing it work. A software program has scanned volumes of appropriate texts for the time period I want to study and made a word count of key words. My research project topic of study is the Great Depression. We have lot's of economic models for how the Depression happened but as far as I know, no one's thought to study how people talked about it, wrote about it while it was occurring, in terms of sheer volume of key words, like "recession", "bankruptcies", "foreclosures", "stocks down", etc, etc. As a sociology major I'm thinking society might be telling itself what was going to happen by the volume of these types of key words they used in written material, newspaper reports, periodicals, even books and songs.

PROF. PHILLIPS

Yes, I can see where you're headed with this but, tell me, how did you imagine to, ah, visualize these word streams?

CINDY

Well, I was thinking the word count per unit of time gives us a volume amount which then could be depicted as a flowing word thread among other word threads with the width of the thread band showing its comparable strength with other word stream threads. As key words appear and move together through time they influence each other, sorta like that fluidics device you've got there. For example as the Depression looms on the horizon in 1929 and the years following perhaps the "bankruptcies" word thread shows itself getting wider and wider but then we see between 1935 to 1939 we see the word stream "recovery" or "new business starts" growing fatter while the "bankruptcies" word thread gets thinner.

I'm trying to keep the variable as simple as I can yet still reproduce a visual model of actual social change that has the capacity to predict such a major economic change in society as the Great Depression. One could extrapolate future events from the way these word streams grow or decrease or change with interaction from other word streams.

PROF. PHILLIPS

Sounds might ambitious, Cindy. You're going to need powerful word recognition software and some serious funding to get the kind of stats you will need to set up a working visual model.

CINDY

I'm working on that, Prof. Phillips.

 

Ext. Physics Building. Cindy comes out of the entrance and down the steps where she sees ruthie walking towards her.

CINDY

Hi. Wanna come with me to see a wizard of computers? I've got to talk with Prof. Braniff in the Computer Science dept. who maybe can help me design the humungus word scanning programming this Word project's going to need.

RUTHIE

Sure. I don't have any more classes today and I'm supposed to be your helper? or advisor? or something? Without pay, of course, knowing you to be a poverty-stricken waif sleeping in a cardboard box off-campus.

CINDY

Shhhsh..I don't want to even think about money but I have to...and I am working on it. I'll work something out, like I told Prof. Phillips. I've got an idea that maybe some big fat corporate think tank might be interested in my project. So next week I'm going to sell my soul to the devil and go see the RAND corporation. But right now I've got to see if I'm lining up my ducks in a row or not. The computer word scanning programming is crucial.

RUTHIE

No need to sell me, Cindy. I've heard through the campus grapevine that Prof. DEREK Braniff is way cute. But I'd come anyway, Cin, just to be close to my friend, the campus genius..

Cindy gives an ironic snort and they move off towards the Computer Science Building.

 

Int. Prof. Derek braniff's office in the computer science building. The door is open as he sits at his desk working on class papers. Cindy and ruthie come to the door and cindy knocks. Prof. Braniff looks up. Ruthie sizes him up. He too, gives her a second look.

Prof. Braniff

Hi. Come on in. What can I do for you gals?

Cindy

Hi, Prof. Braniff. I'm Cindy Johnson and this my friend Ruth Stein. We're Sociology majors and I'm working on my Masters thesis, which is why I'm here.

Ruthie stands behind Cindy obviously taking a serious interest in Prof. Braniff.

Cindy

Prof. Braniff, my thesis project involves statistical analysis of word usage in written publications for given periods of time. Basically, it's a word counting system that follows and records how many times key words are being used by writers whose works are published. I might as well tell you the main idea behind my project which is seeing if there's more that a correspondence to the number of times words are being used and actual social behavior stemming from those words. My theory, coming from my math background, is that it may be possible to extrapolate future word usage by analyzing past word usage patterns. Future word use may be a way of predicting future human activity and behavior.

PROF. BRANIFF

Hmmm. I see. Well, maybe I don't. I don't get how this word counting would tally with what happens all that directly. People say and write all sorts of things but most of it's hot air, fantasy, never happens, people just talking.

CINDY

Yes, that's true but when words get published they usually are tied in to real events more directly. My theory is that we all respond to the higher word counts and bypass lower ones. But it's only a theory. I need to test it out and that's why I need a computer programmer whiz, which I hear you are. Can you help me create a software program that can scan and catalog millions of words? I hope to get access to the whole Library of Congress's digitalized inventory.

PROF. BRANIFF

Yes, that could be done. Actually not all that difficult to do. There are already software programs out there that do similar tasks. Google and other search engines use word recognition systems. This would be a refinement of that. But it would take time, computer time, mainframe computer time, Cindy, and I'm a working professor. I wouldn't begin to have the resources to use the mainframe computer time your project would need.

CINDY

Well, like I'm telling everyone it seems, I working on that. Right now, it's just great to confirm from you my basic word search program could be done. I'll get back in touch with you, probably next week some time when I've got more information. Thanks, Prof. Braniff.

While Cindy and Prof. Braniff talk, Ruthie is looking at Braniff in a subdued but sexy way. He too, glimpses her way as he talks with Cindy. Cindy and Ruthie walk out of Prof. Braniff's office.

 

Computer Science building hallway. cindy and ruthie walking along after seeing prof. braniff. Ruthie teases cindy.

RUTHIE

"I'll get back in touch with you..." Oh, sure you will. You're just so touching, Cindy, and Prof. Derek is just so, so touchable..

CINDY

Oh, shut up. I saw you making goo-goo eyes at him.

RUTHIE

Well, somebody has to. Ms. sex-dead here won't. How long's it been since you were with someone, anyone, huh?

CINDY

I can't get anybody, at least anyone I'm attracted to. I'm too intimidating. Any guy that wants to keep up with me, can keep up with me, is not going to be doing his own thing-which I need to respect him. At least that's the way it's always been for me--since high school.

Ruthie

(looks somewhat shocked)

You mean...surely you can't mean..what I think you mean? You're a virgin? My God! How did that happen? You're 25 years old, woman! What's the matter with you?

Cindy

I don't know. I just can't help being me-brainy and full of ideas, and that seems to scare the bejesus out of guys. I tried being "normal" with a few guys I dated but it didn't do any good. I guess I'm cursed to save myself for God and country..oh well..some day... Right now and for the foreseeable future, using my WORD program of course, I have to concentrate on this project. No distractions. I don't have that much time to organize all the things that must be done.

 

int. Fbi headquarters. Assistant director Frank castle talks with agent patricia wells.

Frank Castle

I got a call from our contact, Prof. Grayson at Princeton University yesterday. It seems there's a bright young Sociology grad student there who is trying to set up a word processing..uh, program I'd guess you'd call it, that scans published literature looking for patterns of word usage that could possibly predict future events. Anyway, that's what I've been told about this. I need more information so I want you to go to Princeton and find out what you can about this young woman, Cindy Johnson, and her project.

As you may or may not know, ever since Einstein taught at Princeton along with some other top level scientists involved with the Manhattan Project, we've been keeping tabs of any major research development that might have national security implications. Prof. Grayson seems to think Ms. Johnson's project might be one we should watch. I don't know enough about computers or Sociology to know what to think about this but I'm going to find out. Through you, Agent Wells. You've got some real science courses in your background before you joined us and maybe you can see what this is all about--and if it warrants our interest.

I want you to start keeping tabs on this Cindy Johnson and her project. Keep me posted as to her progress and any significant results. Her project is not all much removed from the kinds of spy data collecting we and the CIA and NSA use. Her work could have strategic value to us and we don't want her walking away with it to give to some university sociology department when it could be used for national security purposes.

Go up there and see what you can learn about Cindy and her project.

Agent Wells

Sounds intriguing. Am I to make direct contact with this Cindy person? or just do a quiet investigation--background check, questioning her teachers and friends, or do we keep it strictly undercover?

FRANK CASTLE

Agent Wells, I trust your judgment. This whole thing might be a wild goose chase--or it might lead to something important. Prof. Grayson's no fool and if he thinks a graduate student at Princeton is developing a method for predicting major social change events, well, that's enough for me to send you there to find out what's going on.

AGENT WELLS

I will do my best, sir. I will be ready to go whenever you want me to. When should I start?

FRANK CASTLE

I've got you booked on a flight going out tomorrow morning. Rose has your tickets. Call me after you've settled in up there.

Agent Wells gets up and walks out of Frank Castle's office and past his secretary Rose who silently hands Wells her tickets as she passes.

 

INT. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY'S CAFETERIA. Monday morning. Cindy's friends are at their usual table. They're watching cindy put up a sign on a counter that runs along the cafeteria wall. The sign says "Sign" on it and has a string with a pen attached to it with a clipboard below for signatures. After she's done putting up the sign she comes over to her friend's table and sits down.

RUTHIE

What are you doing? What's that sign for? A petition or something?

CINDY

Nope. It's a little experiment to show how word count can effect our behavior. Today, this is Monday, I put up one sign for people to see and sign their names in if they want to. Since there is no petition to sign, only a place to put their names, they may or may not want to sign. I think some people will sign just because the sign says for them to do it. No other reason. But there's more to this experiment than that. Tomorrow, I put up 5 signs, each with an arrow pointing to clipboards to sign their names or whatever. Wednesday, I put up 10 signs along that wall counter. Thursday I put up 5 again, then on Friday, one.

I'm betting that we'll see a few signatures the first day, more the second day, still more the third day, then less, and less again by Friday. I'm expecting a kind of bell curve response pattern but who knows. This experiment is mainly for me and you guys to see what my Word project is about.

SAMI

Well, I'm going to sign my name right now. Will that screw up your statistics?

CINDY

No, not at all. It's random choice who signs and who doesn't when they read the sign. Only just don't sign in the next days just to mess up my data. Sign only if you would have anyway.

Sami gets up and goes over to the wall and signs his name to the clipboard sheet.

RUTHIE

So..you're saying the more signs prompting us to sign, the more signatures..like the more times we see the same word in the newspaper the more likely people will be doing what that word says? Or represents?

CINDY

Something like that. I'm going to be collecting the signatures at the end of each day this week. We'll see if I'm right or not.

Sami comes back to their table and sits down.

HANNAH

Did you sign your life away? I am not going to sign. Just because you signed. See? What does that do to your experiment, Cindy? Does it matter why we choose to sign or not sign?

CINDY

No, not really. All I'm looking for is word count. Reasons for putting words down, or names in this case, isn't a factor. "Quantity, not quality" as we mathematicians would say, is what I'm after. Figuring why people do what they do would be a nightmare for statistical information gathering.

HANNAH

Cindy, someone from the FBI has been asking about you. This Agent Wells approached me and Sami too I think later on yesterday wanting to know about your Word project. I just told her that's it's your thesis project and I didn't really know much about it. Sami said more or less the same thing. I think you've alerted your government somehow, or somebody's talked to them. Sami, what did Agent Wells say to you?

SAMI

Same thing. Wanted to know what Cindy was up to and if she had more cute and loveable and very innocent Palestinian friends like me. I think Cindy and perhaps all of us are no longer flying under the radar. Cindy, you've been spotted. I don't know how it is here but where I come from this isn't good news.

CINDY

They can look all they want. I'm not doing anything illegal, or subversive. I've got too much to think about as it is to begin worrying about the FBI. As long as they don't interfere with what I need to do, this Ms. Wells can snoop around all she wants. I've got nothing to hide.

Cindy starts to get up from the table.

Cindy

Ruthie. You coming? Class starts in 3 minutes. Let's go. I'll see you two at lunch, no, tomorrow morning. I have to see Prof. Hall at noon today. See ya..

Int. PROF. HALL'S OFFICE. Now on familiar terms, Cindy comes right in and sits down.

CINDY

I got confirmation from Prof's Phillips and Braniff that my basic theory is do-able. A computer word search program can be set up and a digital fluidics word streaming model can be too. Problem is--money. Lot's of it needed--especially for mainframe computer time usage. I'm thinking of going to the RAND Corporation to ask for funding for this project. God knows I need money neither I or this college has for my project. What do you think?

PROF. HALL

Cindy, this has got to be the biggest thesis research project I've ever a student attempt. If it weren't for it's perhaps great potential to predict social behavior so that society can plan ahead using the data your program reveals, I would have scotched your project right at the beginning. But now, we do have to see what your Word theory produces. No one else has come up with such a novel way of tracking social activity and it just might do what you think it can--predict social change before it happens. So yes, go where you have to to find financing for your project. Try other think tanks. I'd say give the government agencies a shot too but there, I'm a little hesitant. A woman from the FBI came here wanting to know what I knew about you and your project.

She might be looking at your project the wrong way and see some sort of weapon in the making that the government could use.

CINDY

I will be careful, Prof. Hall, but it's hard to imagine the government coming to Princeton for one graduate student's science project.

FADE OUT

 

Int. Prof. Hall's office. She's counseling cindy on her project again.

PROF. HALL

How's it going, Cindy--your WORD project, I mean.

CINDY

Very good, Prof. Hall. I've talked at length with Prof.s Handley and Prof. Phillips. Prof. Handley thinks a software word recognition program could be done fairly easily because they already exist. Google uses them as do all the big Internet search engines. Prof. Phillips thinks a fluidics model might work too as a way of graphically displaying the WORD program. But both of them have warned me that my main problem is going to be money. WORD needs time on a big mainframe computer and they're not cheap to use--or even get access to, for that matter.

PROF. HALL

Prof. Grayson called me this morning asking more questions about your WORD project. He said he might know some people who could help finance you which is pretty damn remarkable, given that you're only a grad-student. But you don't get into Princeton if you're dumb and I know you're not. In fact, you're about the most promising Sociology student I've ever had. Anyway, you need to talk to Grayson.

CINDY

I will. Thanks again for your advice and patience with me, Prof. Hall, and thank you for the compliment. Possible funding, that is good news.

Cindy gets up and leaves Prof. Hall's office.

 

Int. hallway leading to Prof. Grayson's office. Cindy goes to his door and knocks.

PROF. GRAYSON

Come in. Oh, hi. Cindy, is it?

CINDY

Yes, Prof. Grayson, Cindy Johnson. Prof. Hall told me that you might be able to help me find funding for my thesis research project.

PROF. GRAYSON

Well, perhaps. I do have contacts with several foundations and have on occasion made recommendations to them for Princeton students. There's one foundation, the Ballinger Foundation, that I'd like to contact for you, if you want. They're much like the MacArthur Foundation and give more or less unconditional grants to people they feel will contribute to the general knowledge base of humanity. From what I hear, your WORD project may be of interest to them. Shall I contact them and perhaps arrange a meeting for you?

CINDY

That sounds wonderful, Prof. Grayson. I was beginning to think my WORD project was impossible but actually it's coming together much faster and easier than I anticipated. Having enough funds would allow me to get WORD going probably within a month or two.

PROF. GRAYSON

Well, give me a few days and I'll relay what I find out to you through Prof. Hall, your thesis advisor.

CINDY

Sounds good, Prof. Grayson. REAL good..

 

Int. Princeton University cafeteria. Cindy's friends are at their usual table. On the wall where cindy is doing her little word experiment there is only the first sign still up. Cindy comes over to their table and sits down. She's got the signature sheets with her.

SAMI

Let's see those. (he takes the signature sheets from Cindy, looks at them and passes them around to the others)

RUTHIE

When you put them in order, Monday through Friday, it does sorta look like a bell-curve distribution--except there, Wednesday. There's a big dip in the number of people who signed.

CINDY

The cafeteria was closed Wednesday morning through lunch. That's why there's less signatures. Otherwise, it's following a typical bell-curve--the more signs up, the more signatures--less signs--less signatures, even though anyone who signed could have signed only one of the clipboards. And look at the way the signatures are distributed across the row of signs and clipboards. The boards closest to the center and first sign got more signatures while those farther away have less. Hmmmm! Oh, well, some other Sociology student will have to figure that out. Me, I'm on my way to becoming a big-time researcher! I'm going to meet with this foundation that Prof. Grayson arranged who may fund my WORD project!

HANNAH

Wow! That is news, Cindy. Well, good luck with them. We will be rooting for you. I think your WORD project is marvelous and deserves a try out at the very least. Let us know what happens.

CINDY

I will. And I promise I won't forget all you little people at the Nobel Prize award ceremony.

FADE OUT

 

Int. conference room of the ballinger foundation. a group of distinguished looking older people are at the conference table. Cindy sits facing them.

(Dr. helman,

(spokesman for the Ballinger Foundation group)

Cindy Johnson? Prof. Grayson has told us about your remarkable WORD research project that you are doing for your Masters degree. He's also informed us that your project needs more funding than Princeton can allocate. We assume you yourself haven't the funds either. We'd like to help but first we need to know if you've contacted anyone else for funding yet. Have you?

CINDY

Well, I was about to. I thought my WORD project might be of interest to the RAND corporation or maybe one of the other corporate think tanks. I was planning to contact them this week but then I heard from Prof. Hall, my thesis advisor, that Prof. Grayson suggested I contact you people. Which I have.

Dr. Helman

Good. That's good. I think we can help you, Cindy, only like every granting foundation we require you follow some fairly simple and straightforward rules if we are going to fund your project. For one thing, we must insist on as little information as possible leaking to the public, the press, or anyone before your project's finished and you've finalized your research results. This means mum's the word about WORD, to anyone not directly connected to your project. And that includes family and friends, Cindy. Under no circumstances will talk about WORD to anyone outside of Princeton University staff. Do you think you could work under those conditions?

CINDY

I think so, Dr. Helman. I don't want anybody stealing my idea either so I don't see a problem there. But are you saying that once my project's completed that you, the Ballinger Foundation, will have all rights to my work?

DR. HELMAN

No, no, not at all, Cindy. We're only concerned that you are able to finish your project without undue interference. Once you're finished our role is finished too.

FADE OUT

 

Int. Hallway of the Computer Science building. Cindy and ruthie are going to Prof. Braniff's office which is open and they go right in. Ruthie eyes Prof. Braniff as Cindy talks.

CINDY

I got funding, Prof. Braniff! We can go ahead and start putting together a word recognition program for WORD.

PROF. BRANIFF

That's wonderful, Cindy. Kinda amazing, really. I don't know of too many grad students who are getting the kind of support you are but then again I haven't met that many smart go-getter women in my life..(he eyes Ruthie as he says this)

CINDY

You'll have to tell me what you need for payment for the software program and then I can set up time on Princeton's mainframe. Will it be able to handle all the data processing WORD will need?

PROF. BRANIFF

I think so. The Biology Dept. is using it for gene sequencing DNA studies which means it's processing billions of bits of data.

FADE OUT

 

Early evening. Int. Prof. Phillip's fluidics lab. Cindy has got her software word recognition program by now and they're trying it out on Prof. Phillips fluidics computer display.

PROF. PHILLIPS

I think it's ready to go, Cindy. Let's see..

The large LCD monitor screen lights up and we see what look like different colored strands of a rope forming together into a three dimensional bundle. The bundle of strands is constantly changing shape in small degrees as do the strands themselves.

ProF. Phillips

Wow! That's quite a sight! I've linked us into the Library of Congress's digital data base and the Internet. What we're seeing is the daily activity from news feeds and the Internet primarily. That thick strand there--that must be the name of the President being used. He's been in the news most every day since his election...that strand must be Iraq or Afghanistan...Amazing..

Both stare in wonder at the display screen.

Prof. Phillips

No one's ever seen this. This is our culture before our eyes here, what we think about, write about and do. Cindy, you may have hit on something nobody's ever thought of. Word Count. Who would have guessed.. Where on earth did you ever dream up this idea?

CINDY

(blithly) Oh, a little spider woman came and sat down beside me..and a hip-hop gangsta song gave me the Word..

Prof. Phillips

Well, whatever that means. Still it's impressive that a grad student thought of this. Tomorrow, let's give WORD a chance to perform. We'll pull out the live feed and put in the Library's data from 1920 to 30 to test your theory.

 

Int. Cindy's apt. Cindy and Ruthie are in the kitchen. Cindy's cooking dinner for them.

CINDY

You know, Ruthie? This WORD project is going along like somebody's rolled a red carpet out for me. So far, no real hitches or snags--and now I got all the funding I need to do it--do it right with no need to scrimp and save and cut corners. It's almost too good to be true. Part of me is waiting for the roof to cave in--or something. I'm just not this lucky.

RUTHIE

Sure you are. And besides, you don't need luck. You've got brains and that's why this is going so smoothly for you. Everyone loves a genius. Or they should..

CINDY

If only..still I can't help but be a little paranoid that Ballinger or somebody's going to pull the rug out from under me and I go splat on face. Hell's bells, WORD might not even work. Well, I'll know something by tonight. Tonight Prof. Phillips and I are trying WORD's ability to predict the stock market crash in 1929 using word counts going back ten years prior to the event.

RUTHIE

Sounds fascinating. I'm not kidding. Can I come and see what you guys are doing?

CINDY

I wish you could, Ruthie, but that's one of the Ballinger Foundation's grant stipulations. I'm supposed to keep mum about WORD until the project's finished. I'm not even supposed to be talking to you about it.

RUTHIE

That sucks. Odd for a grant foundation to be so secretive about the work they fund. Oh well. You're lucky to have them footing the bills for you.

CINDY

Yes indeedy. Which is why I'm going along with their request and keep my good friends like you away from WORD for the time being.

 

INT. COMPUTER SCIENCE LAB ROOM at night.

Prof. Phillips and Cindy are looking at the WORD monitor screen. Then Prof. Phillips goes to the computer and starts typing in commands. The LCD monitor screen goes blank while he's typing and then shows another bundle of word strands like before but this time the bundle form is stable.

PROF. PHILLIPS

Look. There's 1920 to 1930 and there's Oct. 29th, Black Friday, when the Stock Market crashed. Now with your program we should be able to predict Black Friday before it happened by seeing how the word streams interact. If we stop at September we should be able to extrapolate from the given key word data, "bankruptcies", "foreclosures", "recession", "Depression" and so forth whether or not these words increase of decrease in number which reflects the strength or weakness of the economy.

Prof. Phillips finishes typing and we see the WORD bundle has been slightly shortened. Dotted lines appear and project forward from the front end of the bundle representing the closing months of 1929. The computer image then shows the dotted lines being gradually swallowed up by the WORD bundle moving forwards in time sequence. The match is perfect. The dotted lines are perfectly congruent with the individual WORD bundle strands. Cindy and Prof. Phillips stare at it a while then look at each other.

PROF. PHILLIPS

Well, there it is. Proof that you're right. One can extrapolate from word counts what's going to happen next. Cindy, you are truly a genius. This is just incredible. We'll try going back three months prior to the event and see how the extrapolation and word stream vector analysis does. We should be able to see...

CIA agents looking like Arab terrorists crash into Prof. Phillips lab and grab Cindy. Prof. Phillips is hit over the head by one of the terrorists and goes down. Other terrorists grab Prof. Phillips' computer generating the LCD display for its hard drive containing Cindy's Word program. Cindy is dragged out of the lab and down the hall to an exit door in the Physics Building. The terrorists open the door, about to make a run for it to a van waiting for them when Agent Patricia Wells steps in front pointing her big gun at them.

(AGENT WELLS)

Freeze! That's far enough! Lower your weapons-NOW!

The terrorists stop and look at her, deciding what to do next. One raises his gun and Agent Wells shoots him in the thigh.

AGENT WELLS

The next bullet goes higher. Put your weapons on the ground. Do it slowly and do it now.

Agent Wells turns to her back-up FBI officers.

AGENT WELLS

Put them in and find out who these jokers really are. Cindy, you'll have to come with us. I warned you before some seriously determined people might be more than a little interested in your pet project and now you see I was right. Accurate future prediction without psychic mumbo-jumbo. Who wouldn't be interested. Now you've see some of the nastier types out there. There'll be more. Btw, I'm a peach compared to them. No cloak and dagger stuff for the FBI. Well, not much anyway. Look, Cindy. I'm not here to be your enemy. You need someone on your side now because you've got something way too attractive to powerful people. You need protection. I know who does this type of work (indicating with a nod to one of the phony Arab terrorists being hauled off by other FBI agents)

I'm keeping the assignment given me to keep an eye on your project but now I'm adding protection of you and those associated with you on this project to my brief.

CINDY

Thanks, Ms..Agent Wells. My head wants to believe things like this only happen in the movies but logic tells me you're right. Whoever controls society's information controls that society. I promise you I will start looking both ways before getting out of bed from now on. (shakes head)

 

Int. darkened room. We can only see someone's head in silhouette. The shadowy man is on the phone talking.

Shadowy Man

GODDAMMIT! What a cluster fuck that was! What went wrong? Everything! That bitch Wells snatched her right out from under us. Yes, yes, I do know how important this is but surely it could only be the purist beginner's luck if her Word machine thing found out about the Four Horsemen. ..Of course I will..no Avi, you can't really imagine that we do not have our eyes and ears within the FBI, do you?

FADE OUT

 

Int. Ruthie's apt. Her doorbell rings and she goes to the door and opens it to find Cindy standing there looking forlorn with dirt on her clothes.

RUTHIE

OMG!..What happened to you!

CINDY

They found out. They came and tried to kidnap me. They had guns, Ruthie. They looked like Arabs to me but I don't know..they weren't students, that's for sure.

RUTHIE

Well, get inside and tell me what happened.

They go into Ruthie's living room and sit down.

RUTHIE

You want a drink? I've got some brandy somewhere. You need something stronger than pot.(She gets up to find the brandy for Cindy)

CINDY

Thanks, Ruthie. I came here because I didn't want to go to my place alone tonight...What happened? The sky fell is what happened. Well, it happened right after Prof. Phillips ran my Word software for the first time tonight. Oh, Ruthie! It was sooo beautiful. I had no idea it would actually look so, so gorgeous! Anyway, we're looking at the display on Prof. Phillip's big LCD screen and in come these terrorist types waving guns and they grab me. They knocked poor Prof. Phillips out cold and hauled me out with them to the hall and the exit door. We went out the door but this FBI woman was waiting there on the other side, like she knew they'd be coming out that way. She shot one of the terrorist and then they took the Arab guys or whoever they were, I guess to lock 'em up or whatever the FBI does with such people. This FBI woman, Agent Wells I guess her name is, reads me the State Secrets Act more or less. I'm to stay put and mum under FBI protection for the time being..Ruthie..the government's taking over my project...what do I do?

Ruthie

God! No wonder you looked like your best friend died. For you, he, or it, did. WORD is your baby! Damn them!

Cindy

(sighs). Actually, now, in a way I'm relieved. The FBI woman who's been checking up on me these last few weeks, Agent Wells? Well, Agent Patricia Wells is now our best friend. "Trish"?, has been appointed to be my guardian angel whether I like it or not and I've got to say that since tonight I'm thinking I like it. Seems I've built a honey pot with the WORD project and now bad bears are coming to steal it...some very bad bears. This project just got going so fast I didn't have time to really think about the consequences if the WORD program worked. And it did work, Ruthie, oh my, did it work! Predicted Friday the 13th down to the day if we can precisely calculate word count for each day of that week in October, 1929. We didn't have a chance to check the results because the goons came in then.

RUTHIE

I'm just glad they didn't get you and you're ok. Boy..nothing like hearing your best friend talk about surviving a black ops snatch to take my mind off that term paper I've got due. I'm starving..wanna eat?

CINDY

No, no appetite. I'm too stressed out but this brandy's good. I'm glad I can count on my friends. Agent Wells seems ok so I am going to follow her advice. I guess things are going to be different now. God, who knows if Prof. Hall will let me even continue. But I've got to. This thing is really important.

FADE OUT

 

Int. Cindy's apt. Agent Wells is there to give Cindy a CD containing spy data Wells has gotten somewhere.

AGENT WELLS

Here is some data I want you to run on your WORD program sometime soon. It may contain information why the CIA tried to kidnap you and WORD.

CINDY

Where'd you get it?

AGENT WELLS

You do not want to know. Trust me on this one. I'm taking the responsibility because I can't trust the FBI chain of command any longer on this one. There's a hidden agenda operating, something super secret because even the CIA doesn't know about it. At least not anyone there I know or my boss either. Something's going on at levels above our pay grade and I aim to find out what that something is. These people are really afraid your WORD program could reveal their plan whatever it is.

Anyway, add this data sometime soon the next time you run WORD and see what you get. Phone me immediately if you find out anything.

CINDY

Sure, Agen..Patricia. I was thinking of doing another test run using data four years prior to the 9-11 attack and four years afterwards but we can delay it to add this new data. It's time to give WORD a real task to perform instead of second-guessing what's already happened.

FADE OUT

 

 

To be Continued...

 

 

 

 

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