So I just threw together a quick little story that’s a sort of reverse adaptation. Usually, the written word precedes the visual story — in film, play, or digital video. But here, I’ve tried to create a story (that hopefully stands alone) adapted from one of my favorite short films, Evol by Chris Vincze. I’ve embedded the video below, but it looks better and doesn’t have ads on Vincze’s site.
Rick Warden was the only one.
Maybe you know what it’s like – to take tentative steps out into the world, weighed down by the inevitability that you’ll discover once again that you are completely and utterly alone. Such was Rick’s predicament as he wandered the streets of London one gloomy fall day.
Who knows when it had started? It had just happened gradually over the course of years. Once, Rick spotted two girls talking on their cell phones, staring at the displays of two different shop windows a mere ten or twenty meters from each other. Rick eavesdropped on them both and came to realize they were talking to one another. But they had no idea. Where are you? one asked. I’m on the street window-shopping, the other replied. Oh, me too, the first said. And they chuckled and continued on, oblivious to the world around them.
Soon after that, the trends started. People spent less time at home and more and more time at their offices, their schools, or their shops. They stopped conversing. They still spoke to clerks and waiters, but they only sent written messages to the ones they “loved” over cell phones and computers. Sometimes, they met, dated, and broke up with their “lovers” without ever having laid eyes on each other, without ever having touched.
As if that all weren’t strange enough, then people began doing everything backwards. Literally. It started among the celebrities, who, you certainly know, had to set themselves apart from the little people, even if it meant discomfort or inconvenience. But soon everyone was doing it.
Everyone, that is, but Rick. He held out, maintained his old ways, refused to fall in line. Not that anyone noticed. Nobody ever noticed. It was like people didn’t see each other at all, like everyone had become those two girls window-shopping downtown.
But then he saw her. She was sitting at a lone table outside a nearly empty café, moving distinctly forward. They locked eyes.
It was embarrassing almost, to be seen like that – really seen. They couldn’t look at each other. She covered her eyes with her newspaper; he attempted to walk backwards like everyone else.
It was no use, though, to pretend. So they waved sheepish greetings to one another across the bustling, backwards pedestrian mall.
She was the first to let down her hair, so to speak, performing wondrous feats of forward-movement like drinking through a straw. It was like magic to see her orange juice disappear. How absurd. The world had once been a place of such wonder on a daily basis.
She folded a paper airplane, tossed it into the street. And miracle of miracles, it flew.
Rick took a tentative step forward. Could he really be himself?
She nodded, smiled.
Rick laughed. He tried a dance step or two. It had been so long since he’d seen anyone so comfortable in her own skin, proud of her own quirkiness, unafraid to be silly, to go against the grain of the world’s movement.
And that’s when the magic really began. Without words – without cell phones or email or text messages – they were suddenly on their first date. She conjured teacups from somewhere – without talking to a waiter, mind you; he conjured a suit and tie and a daisy. He moved toward her, confident in his steps.
But then she was gone. Disappeared.
He found only her shoes on the ground, left behind like Cinderella’s. Was it silly to think of fairy tales? Perhaps he’d been naïve.
And yet, just as quickly, she reappeared, in a gorgeous suit of her own.
They danced in the street. No one paid them any notice. They danced unashamed amongst the throngs of backward pedestrians. They twirled and spun and dipped and held each other close. And they did it all forward. Their love, you might say, was the only forward thing in the world. And when she kissed him, slow and sweet, it was the only kiss in the world.