A Killing Time
“All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe
This macabre, nightmarish journey into the inner fear’s of one man, starts out with the Poe quote. Stephen Nichols stars as Jim, a writer who looks for what will terrify him and others. “In every mind there runs a line between what is seen and imagined, but mostly it lies untouched,” and the narrator suggests that perhaps it’s better left that way. Jim looks deep inside himself, into the darkness and he makes it into a story.
After pitching his story to the editor, Kessler he is turned down. When he speaks to his friend Whitey, he tells him Kessler gave him another story to write about missing people and empty coffins. Whitey warns Jim that, “If you think about something long enough, it comes to life like noises in the dark.”
They go to the grocery store to get cigarettes and Whitey’s old girlfriend, Eileen is the clerk. Something is wrong with her, she acts like a zombie and doesn’t seem to recognize either of them. They notice she has a needle mark on her arm. Jim pulls an angry Whitey out of the store.
Later, Whitey tells Jim he is going back to see her. Jim notices strange things going on in the club he works at when he sees his boss shoving less than perfect employees out the back door to someone and demanding better help. The next morning Jim gets a call that Whitey is dead. He is told he died from a heart attack but he notices a needle mark like Eileen’s on his arm. Jim goes back to the grocery store and the clerk there tells him that Eileen never worked there. He starts following and watching as a van delivers zombie-like people to businesses. While one such person is delivered, a voice announces that the employment agency needs to go back to the hospital to pick up a new delivery.
Jim is grabbed from an elevator and injected. We hear an off key melody being played over and over again in the grocery store as a completely oblivious Whitey ignores his customer. The man calls out to Jim who is standing in the isle in a zombie like state. The short ends with the statement, “If you think about something long enough it comes to life like noises in the dark.”
Jim – Stephen Nichols
Whitey – Del Zamora
Eileen – Donna Garen
Store Clerk – Eric Stoltz
Kessler – Leslie Morris
Director – Damien Harris
Screenplay – Damien Harris and Patrick Aumont
(Based on “The Late Shift” a short story by Dennis Etchison)