TASM Lab - Christopher's Grace

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The Till Action Science Media Laboratory presents:

Christopher's Earthquake

I started this cheery number about four years ago. Every so often I think about it. A couple of melody fragments also exist.

This rock opera is about a man who is buried alive in an earthquake for two days with a female co-worker. Underground they can only feel each other's hand and hear each other's voice. After they are unearthed, the man (Christopher) falls into a coma. The woman (Grace) becomes an agoraphobic due to her earthquake experience. This renders her incapable of holding a job. She traps herself in a marriage with an abusive drunk (Henry) who convinces her that he's the only man who will ever love her in her paranoid, useless condition. Grace imprisons herself with her son, Thomas, in their home under the custody of the sauced Henry.

In the next part, Christopher awakes from his coma eight years later with the only thought on his mind being Grace, who was his only thought for the eight years he was asleep. He loves her and he can't stand to let one more wasted moment go by.

Christopher runs to Grace at her and Henry's home and professes his obsessive to her. Overwhelmed by his affection and her long, lost hold on reality, they consumate his desire in perhaps the only loving moment Grace has felt. Henry, Grace's abusive husband, comes home to find them in bed and promptly kills them both. Disgusted and confused by his actions, he shoots Thomas in the head before ending his own life. Curtain.

After "Thing & Nothing", I was sure that "Christopher's Earthquake" would be the next one. I'm glad I was derailed, as this one may have been too similar to "Thing & Nothing" (and then what would I have learned?). Looking over this now, I realize that "Beautiful like me" was originally slotted here.

Keyed below are some script fragments from "Christopher's Earthquake". They would have drastically changed after the music was constructed. When I read these, I can remember the music I had envisioned. Hopefully that will still be true if I ever decide to finish this.

Christopher's Earthquake


Christopher: A 28 year old financial research associate/ franchise restaurant/Bear Creek office guy who is caught in an earthquake and then spent 8 years in a coma
Grace: a female co-worker
Henry: Grace's drunk, unemployed husband
Thomas: Their child
The Chorus
The News
Humans caught in the earthquake

1. The Earthquake (Skies fall down)
Christopher, Grace, the Chorus, The News, The Emergency Crew
An earthquake strikes and a small office building is collapsed, leaving many dead and many trapped under rubble. Christopher and Grace were at work in marketing department for stubby's sub shop or some such profane task. Maybe its a bomb.

Christopher Down the ceiling comes, the ground dies in a sound, and kills the humans. Co-workers scream for shelter. How could an earthquake come when there is so much work to be done?

Human 1: my children can't hear me

Human 2: Jesus, help me

Christopher The floor caves in, the walls crumble to dust.

Human 1: My computer hasn't been backed up in four weeks.

Human 2: The white board hasn't been copied

Chorus This isn't the time to worry about work, son. Your life is at stake, your breath is almost done.

Christopher The tectonic plates roll without concern or fear. The volcanoes blow and choke, fractured streets, the building shrieks, dust to dust, death to death, care nor pains. Deconstruct without human care. Land, love lost in seconds a bomb goes off and my heart wraps concave The News Just in, A small earthquake hit the southern coastal area minutes ago. Although typical for this area, an office building and a bridge were near decimated in its awakening...

Christopher Down the cieling falls and kills the people. The ceiling crashes down and lands on me...

Chorus The ceiling falls and crushes Christopher, he's buried beneath the wreck

Human 1: My kids haven't even started camp yet!

Human 2: Hide! Hide or you will never live!

Christopher That time ago, five minutes ago, before I was covered with six tons of wreck. I was telling my admin to edit the deck, some bullshit deck which I think was shit, what a dick to edit a deck that was so much shit and now she's dead. Under the wreck. Under the shit. Dead Shit. Why didn't I give her more time off? She might not be dead. I'm not dead. I wish I was dead. My god, does this hurt. I think that's her hand. I hope she makes it…

Chorus Christopher, you are trapped, like you've never been trapped before. The building is upon you, the building is on you and Grace, but Grace lives too.

The news Although officials have no official statement, over 50 people have evacuated the collapsed building, an estimated 15 are assumed to be presently still trapped, most can be assumed dead...

Chorus the sky is falling, the world is falling in on you...

Christopher Is this my tomb? Cinder blocks and cubicle walls surrounding myself, pressing my flesh, sucking my air. I'm sucking my air. My arm is numb. Do I still have an arm? Why is it so dark? Why am I so still?

Chorus You are trapped, Christopher. You trapped under the stone. Trapped under burden, poundage of one thousand dead. The dead are safe, scream horror, survivor you.

Christopher This has become a framework for my demise. We were going to be rich. Is this what an earthquake does? Is this what an earthquake cost? My god, I'm bleeding. I've never bled so. I can't see, its so dark. No. No. Can't anyone hear me scream? Am I screaming? Am I screaming?

Chorus Christopher, there are only two still alive. You are the survivor, and your Grace<, your admin Grace.

Christopher Can you hear me? I'm trapped! Can anyone hear me? I can't move! Help! Help me!

Chorus The fire fighters, the agency crew, search for bodies living, for bodies at all...

the news Emergency crews have been searching through the damage of today's destroyed building, and after five hours have found only 10 bodies of the now assumed 15 people to be in Mungquack tower during this mornings tragedy. Medical staff are still present hopeful that at least someone has survived

Christopher Can anyone hear me? Can anyone hear my voice? Can anyone understand what I am saying? Is there no one here to read my mind? Are my whispers being eaten in the dark, are the stones, and cublicled halls, and bathroom walls, the paper clips and xerox bins, and smith Coronas and pots of Kona, Intel machines piled atop me, Management sandwiched in between, absorbing my scream. Murder by this nature, swallowed by fracture, Help me, please. I'm trapped under here godamn it!. Help!

Chorus Trapped under the wreck, Seven hours trapped under the weight. Losing blood, losing sight.

Grace Christopher, I'm here. I'm trapped here. Can you help me? Christopher, Can you help me?

Christopher I'm trapped too, Grace. I'm bleeding to death. I'm going to die soon. Are you OK?

Grace I'm fine. My leg is broken.

Christopher What has happened? Why am I in so much pain?

Grace: I don't know. The walls collapsed. An earthquake perhaps.

Christopher Did you get the edits done on the report?

Grace No. I didn't get a chance.

Christopher That's OK. They weren't critical.

Chorus: Grace and Christopher are trapped under the wreck. They are going to live, but they will be forever changed.

Human I: It was only hours ago we were working like we always do…

2. Christopher was working with Grace A brief flashback to the few minutes right before the quake or bomb hit. He is dictating menu items. They are unrealized lovers. (didn't mean to touch your hand)

3. The Walls Fall down

Mayhem ensues again. The walls fall down pinning Christopher and trapping Grace in a small dark space.

4. Slowly Bleeding

Christopher and Grace are trapped for ten hours under rubble. The only voices they can hear are each others. Grace promises Christopher that she will take care of him. Christopher is slowly bleeding to death

5. The Rescue Crew Comes

Christopher breaths his seeming last breath as the rescue crew finally unearths the two. They are pulled separately, Grace seeing a "dead" Chris wisked away

6. Christopher Falls Into Coma

7. Beautiful like me, (If you could touch the sky)

Grace watches Chris in the coma and sings to him in memory of his consciousness?

Seven Years Later

Seven years pass. Grace, now afraid to leave the house since the accident, is married to a drunk Policeman or 7-11 robber named Henry and has a 6 year old named Thomas

8. The Fridge is Cleaned (I Quit)

Grace is cleaning out the fridge (reminice of Sub shop talk) She is sick of home, her husband, her fears and her life

Grace: Why did I have Henry buy this coleslaw? When all it would do is rot? When did they spill the orange juice, and leave it here to dry? This refrigerator, is the mitigator of so much toil and grief, I hate to see it so unclean, I hate to have to clean. But I do it anyway. Why did I have Henry buy this meat, when it was meat we'd never eat? Why does Brian put the container back, when it's just an empty sack?
I can't stand this house much longer, I can't live this life much longer, I can't clean this fridge forever…
Why does Henry have to keep so much beer? Why does he buy this when the money is so tight? Why does Henry keep so drunk? When times are tough, he's not enough to make me believe I should stay alive, after all the time, I've survived
I can't stand this house much longer, I can't live this life much longer, I can't clean this fridge forever…
I quit, I quit. I stopped giving a shit. About him. About this. About me. I'm sick, I'm sick. I'm sick of living this. There's only one place for me (underground) But I'm scared, I'm scared of taking my life, killing myself. If only that bomb had taken me. Henry would kill me if he saw me cry. My son would miss me if I were to die. But I wouldn't die, because Henry lies, when he says I'm worth nothing to him. Henry lies, when he swears, I deserve the abuse I get. But I guess that's the lot I get, when I don't ever leave. I can't stand this house much longer, I can't live this life much longer, I can't clean this fridge forever…
I quit, I quit. I stopped giving a shit. About him. About this. About me. I'm sick, I'm sick. I'm sick of living this. There's only one place for me (underground) But I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm cared of taking my life, ending it all. If only that bomb had taken me. Look at this coleslaw. It smells like a shoe. I guess it gets out of the cold, because it's old, and tired of being fresh.

9. Dad Comes Home Drunk (if you don't stop complaining...)
Henry comes home knocked to get the money out of the cookie jar and Grace> bitches him out. Henry, sick of her complaining, tells her to shut up and they argue. Grace insist they are running out of money. He gets his gun because he's going to work, proving that he can make more.

Are you tired of being fresh, sweets. Are you sick of all this shit like me? But why do you complain, when I'm the one who pays. Taking care of Brian and you is my biggest pain.

Grace: Henry, you're drunk again, aren't you?

10. John, Please Put the Gun Down

Grace accusses John of being fired two weeks ago, which he was. John gets really pissed and starts waving his gun around and being generally scary. Grace is sobbing...

11. Daddy, Why is mom crying?

Little Brian comes in. John puts the gun in his pocket, but isn't finished.

12. If I Didn't Love You (Would I Put Up with This?)

John becomes righteous about his love for Grace. What kind of man would put up with and support a woman who was afraid to leave the house for fear of bombs? He slams the damn door and empties the cookie jar when he leaves (presumably to go back to the bar)

13. If I was a Big Red Truck

Grace is left to sob about her sorry-as-shit life. Little Brian sings a freaky song about being a Big Red Truck so he could safely take his mother away.

14. Christopher Lives (Can you hear me, Angel?)

15. Hello Grace, It's Been A While

16. I'm So, So Tired

17. I've Loved You for Years, My Goddess

18. ...But My Husband...

19. There Exist Only Us

20. Dad Comes Home

21. Dad Shoots Christopher

22. Dad Shoots Mom

23. Sirens Arive (The last two shots)

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