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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Behind His Mask

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  4. PETER reads a phone message.


  5. PETER (V.O.) : Today is the Ching Ming Festival. The COVID-19 social distancing requirement has prevented us from greeting each other at our common ancestors' graves.


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And apart from our ancestors, I've been remembering my former and late boss Bertie. Every waking moment and experience can be splendid.

  8. Noting something.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Today is April 4 - Children's Day.


  10. Remembering.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was a kid, I felt good that a day is dedicated to children. Then, children were very much on their own and nobody really cared. I've learned to make things happen myself rather than to wait for others' mercy.


  12. Peter checks another phone message and taps the screen a few times.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Quora Admin has provided me its Space option. Should I create my own Space? Will my Space be able to attract hundreds of thousands of followers? And so what?

  14. Thinking and typing again.


  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Let me name my Space as Peter's Creativity, share my yesterday's screenplay about Bertie, and get it started on Children's Day 2020 - as a childish thing, hoping for a compounding effect.


  16. Entering Peter's WIFE.


  17. WIFE: Our daughter will prepare food for herself. Let's go out and have something.


  18. PETER: I'd like to go to that herbal store to use some of the coupons I bought earlier for some herbal stuff for us too.


  19. Act 2


  20. EXT/INT. HERBAL STORE - DAY


  21. Seeing it opening from a distance, Peter looks happy.


  22. PETER (To his wife): It's a going concern.


  23. FLASHBACK


  24. EXT. HERBAL STORE - DAY


  25. Looking at the herbal stuff in signboards, Peter makes a call.


  26. PETER (To phone): Should I buy their discount coupons to pay for the stuff that you asked me to buy?


  27. WIFE (O.S.) (From phone): No.


  28. At the cashier, a woman STAFF#1 (50s) engages Peter. He pays a $500 note in exchange for a book of coupons and gets some changes.


  29. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  30. Placing the bags of herbal stuff and the booklet on the table, Peter explains to his wife.


  31. PETER: I think it's value for money. It's years before the coupons expire. I also want to help boost the economic activity and make the retail people happy.


  32. WIFE: I'm just worried that the store might close a lot earlier than the expiry date of the coupons.


  33. END FLASHBACK


  34. Arriving, Peter's wife does the orders with woman STAFF#2 (50s).


  35. STAFF#2: $281 in total.


  36. After counting the $20 coupons, Peter's wife gives staff#2 the used booklet .


  37. WIFE: You count - 14 coupons.


  38. As staff#2 is counting, Peter's wife gives her a $1 coin. Then we hear the sound of a cashier machine. Staff#1 presents Peter with a big bag of stuff.


  39. STAFF#2 (To Peter's wife): Would you like to buy another booklet of coupons? You can choose a complimentary bottle of herbal tea.


  40. Peter's wife reaches for her purse.


  41. WIFE: I'd like to have a bottle of water chestnut and sugarcane water.


  42. As staff#1 passes the bottle to Peter, she makes a remark.


  43. STAFF#1 (Smilingly): And the husband has to carry all the stuff like a coolie.


  44. The masked Peter smiles joyfully, and all can hear.


  45. STAFF#2 (Happily): Why are you smiling so happily?


  46. Peter smiles again behind his mask.


  47. PETER (V.O.): Three reasons. First, few would use the term "Coolie" these days. When I was a kid, someone predicted that if I was to become a coolie, I'll be a head coolie. Second, I'm carrying a sweet burden, doing something for my family. Third, my wife would like to contribute to revive the retail industry - all these are good stuff.


  48. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  49. Putting down the stuff on a table, Peter checks his phone mails.


  50. PETER (V.O.): Oh, I've got an online assignment.


  51. Peter types on the phone.


  52. INT. MINI-STUDY - DAY


  53. Peter slows his pace on the computer keyboard.


  54. PETER (V.O.): Oh, I don't have any inspiration. I feel tired.


  55. Peter goes to the sleeping room like a sleepwalker.


  56. INT. SLEEPING ROOM - DAY


  57. Peter wakes up.


  58. PETER (V.O.): Oh my god. I've slept!


  59. Peter checks the time.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh! I slept for an hour and a half. When did I last enjoy such a luxury? Have I missed anything?


  61. INT. MINI-STUDY - DAY


  62. PETER (V.O.): Now, I've the inspiration.


  63. Peter types fast on the computer keyboard.


  64. With a drink in hand, Peter's wife passes by and remarks.


  65. WIFE: So you've waken up.


  66. PETER: I didn't see you buying that drink.


  67. WIFE: While you're sleeping, I've gone to the market alone and bought it.


  68. Peter nods.


  69. Act 3


  70. INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT


  71. The TV is on, broadcasting news: flags are at half-mast to mourn the dead in mainland China and Hong Kong due to COVID-19.


  72. PETER: This is what smart governments should do to show they care, whether dead or alive.


  73. Another news story. US Navy captain was cheered by his crew as he was standing down.


  74. PETER (V.O.): This reveals how bureaucratic the US Navy is. They only act timely to stand down the Captain!


  75. Pondering.


  76. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): COVID-19 is uprooting the world, civilly, politically, economically, socially and culturally.


  77. Reflecting.


  78. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): From a kid to a senior citizen, I've been preserving my childish spirit into old age, never losing my enthusiasm and care on any matter lightly.


  79. FADE OUT.


  80. THE END


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