Day Zero

by Bob Zeidman

One day, a small group of people discovers that the world will end the very next day. How do they each react?

Sara. Sara's dream starts out very realistic, then becomes more and more bizarre. It is a "religious" type dream with traditional, bearded saints and a godlike figure who is a kindly old man who breaks the news to Sara that the world is about to end. Lots of symbolism here. Sara wakes up, frightened. She is in bed with Mike. Mike also wakes up. He somehow also knows that the world will end tomorrow, but can't remember having a dream. Sometimes he thinks he did, but it has faded and he can't recall it.

Greg. Greg. has a dream that starts out realistic, but then things become more and more bizarre as "the answers to the cosmos" are revealed to him using computer graphics and special effects. He wakes up, dazed, then rushes out to his laboratory, excited. Gina. We don't see her dream. She is confused. This has disrupted her routine. She tries to resume it, washing, getting dressed for work, eating breakfast, etc. Finally, walking out the door, she breaks down and begins to cry.

Jim and Theresa. Theresa wakes up, looking concerned. She turns to her husband, Jim, who at that instant wakes up. She whispers, questioningly, "Jim?" He says softly, "I know." They embrace.

As they get dressed, Mike and Sara talk about Sara's dream. They are both confused. They discuss it quietly at first but it grows into a yelling match. Sara sees it as a religious experience - perhaps a judgment day. Mike thinks that is ridiculous. As they argue, neither one realizes that their beliefs are too strong to be changed. Mike storms out of the house.

Gina makes a phone call to her ex-husband, Tony Agreste, getting ready for work. She tells him she has something important to tell him and Barry, their son. He says it can wait. She says it can't, almost hysterically. He is concerned about her uncharacteristic "loss of control" and realizes that it must be something important. He agrees to meet her for a picnic in the woods, where their first date was.

Mike, Mark, and Greg. meet at work. Greg. is already there, working diligently. They talk about their dreams. Mike is confused and wants to know what's going on. Mark is convinced it's true and decides to live the next 20 years in one day. He asks if anyone wants to join him. Greg. says he's staying at the lab. He dreamt that the sun is going to go supernova. No one has ever seen a supernova this close. The discovery would be exciting. Mark laughs and heads out. Mike and Greg. stay and talk. Mike thinks it's ridiculous and says how there will be no one left to appreciate Greg's work. What's the point? Greg. replies what's the point anyway? We'll all be dead sometime. This is what I enjoy. They argue, unable to convince the other. Mike leaves, with Greg. excitedly taking notes and measurements.

Gina, Tony, and Barry all meet for this picnic. Tony and Barry are confused and try to find out what's the matter. Gina refuses to answer, instead pretending that they are a loving family. Yet her need to be in control is still apparent as she gives gentle orders.

Mark in New York. It's dusk. Mark finds a car dealer and leases a Ferrari. He drives off to a bar. Inside the bar, he orders drinks and hits on women with stupid lines like, "The world is ending tomorrow. Wanna fuck?" They all turn him down.

Mike finds Sara in a church after having found a note from her. She is much calmer, spending her time praying. At first, he tries to join her, finding comfort as she has. But as they talk, he raises questions about God and religion. She gives the typical replies, "It is God's will, etc." and seems obviously satisfied and calmer. He, however, gets more and more furious, finally telling her, "No punishment could be worse than living in Heaven while my friends were suffering in Hell." He leaves. She looks after him, sad that he doesn't understand and continues praying.

Mark finally meets an exotic woman, Jennette. They make love in some strange locations. He pulls out a condom, then thinks, what do I need this for? He throws it away.

At Gina's picnic, everyone is getting more irritable. Tony insists on knowing why she needed them together so desperately. She replies that they need each other, they love each other. Barry starts crying. Tony gets angry and tells her that he doesn't understand why after 4 years of marriage and 2 years of divorce why she is suddenly acting the ideal mother and wife. What is she trying to prove? You can't make up for 6 years of failure in one day. He takes Barry and storms out. Gina is mad, staring after them. Slowly the anger changes to regret as she breaks down and cries.

Mike encounters the MacDonalds, an elderly couple. He somehow knows that they know about the impending end. He asks them, frantically, why? Why is this happening? Don't you know from your dream, they ask? Mike doesn't remember his dream. They explain that it's not important why. It's just something that's happening. Things are not good or bad until someone makes it so. They've lived their lives. Whatever happens, happens. They're happy.

Mark, after finishing a particularly exhausting round of lovemaking decides to get into his car for a drive. He offers a ride to Jennette, but she declines except for a ride back to her apartment. He takes her back, kisses her, and tells her he had a great time. In fact, 10 years worth of good times. She asks him if he'll call. He says he doubts it. She gives him a hurt look. He tells her he'll try, then zooms off. Mark zooms off on a wild ride through the streets of upstate New York. The police see him and give chase. He sees them, hoots and hollers, and presses on. He leads them through a wild chase until they finally catch him. They tell him they're going to lock him away for a long, long time. He begins laughing hysterically as they give him looks that say he's crazy. Eventually, his laugh dies down and he sighs. It's been a great 20 years today.

Mike is wandering through a park, thinking about his colleagues and all of the people in his life. He's pacing like he's trying to put together a puzzle. We see snippets of all the other people as they try to face the end. He looks around at all the people, the animals, the children, etc. He looks up and screams "Why" which echoes as the scene freezes, then fades.