Alec Rossiter
Screenwriter






            REPRODUCTION -- 2nd draft
 
            Short screenplay -- magical realism


           
Peggy's café aquires a new mechanical employee that threatens the
               special relationship she has with her staff and customers.
 
               
Copyright -- Alec Rossiter
 

               THIS SCRIPT REACHED THE FINAL SELECTION ROUND AT THE BRITISH
               INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL.

   
               CURRENTLY SEEKING A PRODUCER AND FINANCE.
 
 
 
               EXT. BARREN LANDSCAPE - DAY

The sun is like a bright yellow egg yolk suspended in the
sky. It scorches a dry arid expanse - seemingly infertile.

Out of place, a hens egg sits upon the hard rocky ground.

WISE LADY (V.O.)
The mythological egg.

A WISE LADY has appeared hunching over the egg - early
forties, cracked dry skin and blonde frazzled hair.
Sweat beads form on her brow.

She stares at the sun - without blinking.

WISE LADY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Our ancestors believed it was a
giant egg yolk in the sky --
worshiped as the god of fertility.

She looks back at the egg and licks her lips.

WISE LADY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
For those who were fertile -- the
midday sun would bake the egg.

SPLAT!!! The egg explodes. It is all over her face.

WISE LADY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
For some -- the sun did break the
egg.

She is too despondent - motionless.

WISE LADY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
And from here the superstition of
infertility was passed down the
ages...

The giant egg yolk in the sky breaks and bleeds yellow across
the sky filling the entire screen.

[Title] 'REPRODUCTION'.



EXT. BACKYARD - DAY

COCKLE-DOODLE-DOOOO! A cock sings.

CLUCK-CLUCK! Hens scatter.

MICHELLE (O.S.)
Peggy!
More eggs!

PEGGY in her early forties is blonde and motherly - she
collects some eggs very carefully in her apron.

QUACK! A pair of ducks waddle past.



INT. EGG CAFE. DAY

Through a back door PEGGY enters an open plan kitchen. She
places the eggs on a counter next to some quiches and cakes.

MICHELLE in her early twenties is tall, leggy, and dark
skinned - she serves up deliciously presented poached eggs on
English muffins and also some scrambled eggs on toast.

Peggy briskly but calmly takes the order around the kitchen
counter to the cafe floor - it is homely and modest in size.

A couple are seated: HUMPHREY in his early forties has a
shiny bald head - YOKO in mid thirties is heavily pregnant.

PEGGY
(Informal to Humphrey)
Humphrey!
(Formal to Yoko)
Good morning Yoko.

YOKO
(Stiff)
Hello.

Peggy serves the plates. Humphrey pierces his poached egg
and the glossy yolk oozes out for his delectation.

HUMPHREY
Perfect Peggy -- always perfect!

Peggy is happy to take the credit and smiles warmly at
Humphrey - she ignores Yoko who is less impressed and instead
turns to GEORGE - in his seventies with a shiny bald head;
grumpy and a bit cheeky.

PEGGY
Usual?

GEORGE
Yes Pegs.

SIZZLE! Michelle puts eggs on the fryer and slices bread.

TINKLE! MRS. BEETON has just entered through the front door
pushing a wheely shopping bag - she is in her seventies and
has a very direct manor. George's eyes follow her.

MRS. BEETON
Got a Duck egg Peggy?

PEGGY
Not had one for a week!

MRS. BEETON
Four hens. And stick this in the
box for me dear.

Mrs. Beeton passes her mail to Michelle.

GEORGE
(Winks to Michelle)
You must stop with all these love
letters!

MICHELLE
Mr. Baxter!

Mrs. Beeton looks nonchalant and Peggy passes her a carton of
eggs.

SMASH! The eggs have dropped to the floor.

Peggy breaks down - WAILING! George rolls his eyes.

PEGGY
Awwwwww!!!!!!!
It was me!!!!!

MRS. BEETON
No -- no dear! It was me...

Peggy runs out of the back door head in hands.

Michelle leaves her eggs on the fryer to clear those on the
floor.

GEORGE
My eggs are going hard!

MRS. BEETON
Hard eggs!

Mrs. Beeton exits discombobulated. Humphrey looks
embarrassed. Unimpressed Yoko pets her pregnant belly.



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

PEGGY is weeping - she casts a lonely figure.
CLUCK-CLUCK...

FADE TO BLACK:



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

TINKLE! BERT enters: mid-forties with academic spectacles
on his shiny bald head - he is very shy and almost robotic.

MICHELLE
(Shouts)
PEGGY!!!!

Bert sits gingerly - PEGGY enters through the back door.

MICHELLE (CONT'D)
Am I alright for break?

Peggy looks at Bert with intent.

PEGGY
Go on then!

TINKLE! Michelle exits.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
She gets away with murder! What
can I get you?

BERT
You have a menu?

Peggy takes a deep breath.

PEGGY
Boiled, baked, scrambled, coddled
fried, poached or pickled...
(Breaths)
Omelette, souffle, Yorkshire,
pancake, quiche, cake or custard?

BERT
Oh -- I -- errrm...

PEGGY
We're all eggs -- and I'm all ears!

BERT
Soldiers?

PEGGY
(Squeals with delight)
Awwww! On the double!!



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

BRRIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG! An egg timer rattles.

CUT TO:

Behind the counter PEGGY removes her apron and tidies her
hair.

She serves two boiled eggs and soldiers to BERT's table.

He appears nervous when Peggy also sits at the table with
him. She hands him a knife.

PEGGY
You don't mind do you?

Bert becomes increasingly anxious with this social encounter.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
It's terribly bad luck for a lady
like me to break eggs.

Bert tries not to snigger and the tension is broken.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
You rotter!

BERT
Your choice of profession is highly
illogical.

PEGGY
You don't always choose your job
you know. Michelle breaks me eggs
for me, she's like a daughter to
me.

Bert tops the eggs with terrific precision then Peggy grinds
some salt and pepper on them.

She blushes as Bert dips a soldier into the steaming yolk and
it spills over the sides. Peggy really can't take her eyes
of Bert as he eats the soldiers.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
And what do you do?

BERT
I am -- redundant.

PEGGY
Oh -- I'm sorry. Made redundant?

BERT
Robots.

PEGGY
By robots!?

BERT
I'm a robotics engineer.

PEGGY
Oh..! How...

Bert now interrupts confidently - almost smug.

BERT
I manufacture robots that
themselves constructed other
robots.
The robots I build therefore make
me expendable -- enabled redundant
as a result of my own industry.

This exotic talk makes Peggy blush.

PEGGY
Oh! How very..?

BERT
(Interrupts with a quip)
It has been suggested I am too
clever for my own good!

PEGGY
Robotics! I don't even have a
microwave...

BERT
I could make you such a basic
contraption.

PEGGY
I couldn't operate such a thing!

BERT
You can build a machine to do just
about anything you know.

Peggy digests this thought as Bert dips another soldier.



INT. EGG CAFE. DAY

On the kitchen counter is a metallic box. PEGGY puts an egg
into a slot - MECHANICAL NOISE. From the other side plops a
perfectly broken egg - the shell discarded.

GEORGE, HUMPHREY, YOKO, and MRS. BEETON look on gob-smacked.

PEGGY
You don't have to crack me eggs for
me anymore do you 'Chelle.

MICHELLE shrugs unimpressed. Yoko is particularly shocked -
her jaw is swinging open.

MRS. BEETON
She can't believe it!

YOKO
Humphrey! My waters!

HUMPHREY
What!?

YOKO
My waters broke!

Humphrey in shock. Hysteria! Peggy particularly uneasy.

MRS. BEETON
Towels!!!
Boil the kettle!

GEORGE
What?

MRS. BEETON
Boil the water!

TINKLE! BERT enters through the front door - bemused.

MRS. BEETON (CONT'D)
Boil the water!

MICHELLE
Call an ambulance!

GEORGE
(Confused)
Her waters have boiled!!!

Humphrey stumbles back - he knocks over a large porcelain egg
displayed on the kitchen counter.
SMASH!!! In pieces on the floor.

PEGGY
Awwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!

George rolls his eyes. Peggy rushes out crying.

YOKO
Humphrey!

Yoko grips the kitchen counter.



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

Peggy cries...

CLUCK-CLUCK...



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

All the customers have gone except BERT who picks up the
pieces of broken porcelain egg - MICHELLE is in the kitchen.

BERT
I'll fix it.

MICHELLE
That's very kind. But -- I'd
better not give it to a stranger.

Bert disappointed.

MICHELLE (CONT'D)
(Guilty)
Really...

On the wall are old framed photographs - pictures of ladies
that look like Peggy all holding the same porcelain egg.

MICHELLE (CONT'D)
It's a family heirloom -- never
broken -- Peggy's superstitious you
see.

BERT
Yes.
Have you tried the machine?

With one egg in each hand Michelle simultaneously cracks both
into a mixing bowl and stares at Bert with indignation.
PEGGY - looking delicate - enters through the back and see's
Bert resigned look.

PEGGY
I'll finish that.

CUT TO:



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

Eggs: WHISK! SIZZLE!

CUT TO:

GEORGE has an omelette on his plate - PEGGY is down cast.

BERT
Michelle told me about the egg.
I'm sorry -- I'll fix it.

PEGGY
Humphrey used to help me with the
odd jobs.
I don't blame him for going with
her.

BERT
(Awkward)
I'm sure it is all in order.

PEGGY
He's got what he wanted now -- a
nice little daughter.

We track across the photos on the wall - Peggy is the last in
the sequence.
Peggy goes to take the broken pieces of porcelain egg - Bert
places his hand on her arm to stop her.



INT. WORKSHOP - NIGHT

BERT sits at his workbench looking at the broken pieces of
porcelain egg - he pushes them aside and draws the outline of
an egg on graphical paper.

CUT TO MONTAGE:

Bert is making something - various complicated robotics...

CUT TO:

Bert stands proudly looking at his creation. Opposite him
stands EGGBOT - a human size robot with a large egg shaped
body - it has human looking arms, legs, but no head.
[It could actually be a person in an egg costume representing
the robot - just the arms and legs protrude from a large
egg.]



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

COCKLE-DOODLE-DOOOOO! A cock sings proudly - he has a name
tag on his neck: 'HENRY VIII'.



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

PEGGY, GEORGE, HUMPHREY, and MRS. BEETON stand gob-smacked.
In front of them stands EGGBOT cleaning the dishes.

MRS. BEETON
I've never seen a robot like that!

GEORGE
At least the service might improve!

MICHELLE
Mr. Baxter!

MICHELLE goes to take a broom leaned against the wall - but
Eggbot snatches the broom away first and starts sweeping.

MICHELLE (CONT'D)
(Resigned)
I'll be on my break then.

PEGGY
(Exasperated)
Michelle!

MRS. BEETON
(Interrupts)
Got a duck egg?

PEGGY
(Snaps)
Not one for a month!

TINKLE! Michelle exits and ignores BERT who enters. TINKLE!
Mrs. Beeton also leaves rather annoyed.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Mrs. Beeton..!
Bert...
You've been so very kind...

Bert pleased.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
But, I've already someone to clean
the dishes, sweep the floors -- you
know...
It just doesn't have the human
touch does it.

Bert now disappointed - Peggy takes his hand.

BERT
I just thought...

PEGGY
You're the cleverest person I've
ever met.
But it is either the machine or
Michelle. She can't be replaced.

EGGBOT POV: A computerised screen monitors the conversation
between Peggy and Bert. Text types onto the screen:
'Its either the machine or Michelle. She can't be replaced.'

BERT
I'll have it destroyed.

EGGBOT POV: 'I'll have it destroyed.' The screen flashes
red: 'ALARM. ALARM. ALARM...'

Peggy hugs Bert.

Eggbot exits through the back. O.S: CLUCKING and FLAPPING.

PEGGY
What is going on!?



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

Peggy rushes to close the back gate that is swinging open.

PEGGY
Calm down!
(Panic)
Henry! HENRY!!!

Peggy looks around the yard - BERT enters.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
The cock! HENRY!!!!!!!
Henry the eighth!

BERT
It's escaped?

PEGGY
My lucky cock!!!???

BERT
The machine!

PEGGY
Where's Henry!?

Peggy looks around the back gate - and closes it again.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Nowhere! He's gone!
My lucky cock...

Peggy cries on Bert's shoulder - he looks very guilty.

FADE TO BLACK:



EXT. EGG CAFE - DAY

[Title] 'ONE MONTH LATER'.

In the window are three signs:

A picture of a cock: 'MISSING'
A picture of a hen: 'MISSING'
A picture of an egg with limbs: 'MISSING'



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

PEGGY and MICHELLE cry in each others arms.

PEGGY
I'm sorry.

MICHELLE
It's okay. Thank you...

Michelle picks up a suitcase and exits.

PEGGY
I knew it. Ever since me lucky
cock escaped - it's just all gone
wrong Bert.

BERT
Business will pick up.

PEGGY
(Angry)
Pick up!!! We haven't had a
customer for weeks!

Peggy takes down the 'MISSING' signs in the window then turns
over the sign on the door so it says 'CLOSED'.



EXT. EGG CAFE - DAY

[Title] 'ANOTHER MONTH LATER'.
A 'FOR SALE' sign has been erected.



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

There are hardly any hens in the yard. QUACK!



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

Painted egg decorations hang on strings and a banner says
'HAPPY EASTER'. PEGGY serves a roast chicken to BERT.

BERT
What's her name.

PEGGY
Amberlyn.

Bert lowers his head.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
(Stands)
Mrs. Beeton!

MRS. BEETON passes by outside - Peggy rushes to the door.



EXT. EGG CAFE - DAY

PEGGY
Would you come in for some chicken?

MRS. BEETON is clearly trying to avoid PEGGY.

MRS. BEETON
Running late.

PEGGY
You join us every year?

MRS. BEETON
Got a duck egg?

Peggy shrugs.

MRS. BEETON (CONT'D)
I must be on my way to the party --
oh..!

She let it slip - Mrs. Beeton rushes off awkwardly.

PEGGY
What party?



INT. CHICKEN FACTORY - DAY

CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK! Row upon
row of hens crammed into small cages.

EGGBOT patrols - following on a chain is the cock Henry VIII.



EXT. RIVAL EGG CAFE - DAY

The cafe front has garish signage: 'BUY ONE EGG GET ONE FREE'



INT. RIVAL EGG CAFE - DAY

A towering pillar of eggs. The cafe is sparse, industrial
and plastic.

Sitting gleefully at a long table is GEORGE, HUMPHREY and
YOKO with a pram. MRS. BEETON enters.

Out of a kitchen door appears EGGBOT holding an enormous
roast chicken - he places it on the table and picks up a
mechanical carving knife.

PEGGY enters - dumbfounded. Silence.

PEGGY
It wasn't me!

BERT enters - petrified. Through the kitchen door, with
plates of vegetables, enters MICHELLE - ashamed.

MICHELLE
I'm sorry. I -- I needed the work.

Peggy breaks down.

BZZZZZZZZZZ..! Eggbot starts the carving knife.

PEGGY
Awwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!
Arrggggggggghhhhhh!!!!

Peggy picks up a chair and throws it at the tower of eggs.
SMASH! SPLAT! Everyone is astonished - egg everywhere.

POV EGGBOT: The screen flashes - 'ALARM. ALARM. ALARM...'

BZZZZ..! Eggbot turns to Peggy threateningly with the knife.

BASH! Bert clonks Eggbot with a chair and disarms him. He
turns the knife on Eggbot. BZZZZ...! Berts face contorts.

But Bert hesitates in destroying his own invention. Peggy
takes the knife and drives it the direction of Eggbot.
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...! CLUNK! CRUNCH!

The baby CRIES.

FADE TO BLACK:



EXT. BACK YARD - DAY

COCKLE-DOODLE-DOOOO! Henry VIII sings proudly.

On a pile of rubbish is the egg breaking machine.

CLUCK..! Hens scatter.

PEGGY (O.S.)
Michelle! More eggs!!

MICHELLE collects some eggs. QUACK! A pair of ducks waddle.



INT. EGG CAFE - DAY

MICHELLE enters through the back door - she puts the eggs on
the counter - then picks up some cooked eggs PEGGY has
served - and takes them to HUMPHREY and YOKO with the pram.

HUMPHREY
Thank you.

YOKO
Thanks!

TINKLE! BERT enters gingerly carrying a gift wrapped box.

PEGGY
Hello.

BERT
(Shy)
Here.

Bert passes the gift to Peggy who is unsure.

BERT (CONT'D)
I promise it isn't mechanical.

PEGGY
Oh Bert!

She unwraps the gift - it is the porcelain egg that has been
expertly glued back together - Peggy is overjoyed. Peggy
takes a spatula and taps the side of a bowl. TING! TING!

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Well -- I'm not much of a speaker --
I just wanted to say thank you to
everyone for their custom over the
years.

Yoko smiles - George rolls his eyes.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Well. And also to say there is one
special person I couldn't do
without.

Bert smiles.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Me-Chelle. I couldn't do this
without you . As a note of me
thanks I would like to give you
something very special to me.

Peggy hands the porcelain egg to Michelle.

PEGGY (CONT'D)
Some traditions just can't be
broken!

Michelle accepts the egg and wipes away a tear.

MRS. BEETON
Got a duck egg?

PEGGY
It's your lucky day Mrs. Beeton

MRS. BEETON
Oh! I love a duck egg!

Peggy cracks a duck egg onto the fryer. Two yolks in one egg!

PEGGY
It's a double!

MRS. BEETON
Would you believe it!

Michelle takes a look.

MICHELLE
Buy one -- get one free!

ROLL CREDITS:

On the wall is the line of old photographs - at the end has
been added a picture of Michelle holding the egg.

END.



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