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Adriana Ross

Blank Space Competition

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Locker # 224 is a cluttered space with a desk, a bed, a table and one chair. There is a camera mounted on the ceiling with a green glowing light. Dana, dressed in a jumpsuit, is intensively working on something with a solder gun. The locker/room is full of computer parts and other electronic gadgets. She is fixing some part of a tiny electronic device.  A beeping noise comes from a speaker inside the locker. Dana picks up a steel box and a cane and taps to the door. The door slides up, revealing a large transport machine with green and red lights in the corridor. A door opens inside the machine and Dana places the steel box into it and removes another steel box from the machine. Across from her, inside locker #106, an old man is also placing a steel box into a machine. He looks up, smiles and calls out “Hi Dana, How’s it going?” “Not too bad. Same time tomorrow?” “That’s a date”. The door of her locker closes and the machine rolls down the corridor and stops at another locker. Dana sits on the bed.


One by one all of the lights in each locker and in the corridor shut down with an electric snapping sound. Inside different lockers there are various inhabitants, elderly, middle aged, children. Inside Dana’s locker the light shuts off, and the camera switches over to infrared mode. She moves to the wall and carefully pries off a small square panel under which there is a mess of complicated wiring. She puts on a headset with a microphone and attaches a number of leads to some contacts in the wiring. She hears human voices issuing detailed commands.


Inside locker #287 Theo is busy cutting small cubes from a large block of yellowish looking substance with a knife. There is a stack of square containers next to him into which he places each small cube, and then carefully seals the container with a plastic strip that he melts into place. He then places the sealed container into a steel box. After a few minutes Theo hears a beeping noise. He takes the steel box and goes to the door. The door opens and he places the box into the machine that is waiting there and removes another steel box. Theo sits down on the bed. After a moment the light inside the locker switches off.


It is night and Dana is again listening to the radio traffic. She clicks the talk button on her microphone and says “Agent ME923 requesting protocol A453, material transfer unit 224 to 287, GMT 15 hundred, unit 287 to 224 GMT 18 hundred, please confirm.” She waits a few seconds and then hears “ME923 protocol A453 confirmed.” She takes off the headset, picks up a steel box and waits by the door. The door slides up and the greenish red light from the machine illuminates the locker. Dana places the steel box into the machine and then climbs on top of it. She rides on the machine as it makes its way through the dark to locker #287. Theo hears the beeping and wakes up. The door opens, and Theo sees Dana reach out to touch his face. Theo takes a box out of the machine and Dana jumps into Theo’s locker. The red green light of the machine illuminates them, and the door closes. Dana opens the steel box and takes out a small electric light and a box of dominoes that look homemade. They talk excitedly while Theo retrieves a number of small square containers and a bottle of red liquid. Dana sets up the dominoes as Theo serves the food and drink.


A transport machine makes its way down a corridor with Dana on top. When it arrives at locker #224 the door opens and Dana jumps and retrieves her steel box. The door closes, the machine rolls away, and Dana gets back into bed.

The next morning the door of locker #224 rolls up and Dana exchanges the steel boxes as before. She tilts her head towards the locker across the way. The door is rolled up but Dana hears no voice because the locker is now empty inside. Dana is perturbed as her door rolls shut. She is listening to the radio traffic again. At a certain point she pushes the talk button and says “Agent ME923, status inquiry for unit 106.” There is a pause, some other traffic, and then she hears “ME923, unit 106 is protocol A17.” After a short pause Dana says “ME923, clarify protocol A17”. Dana then hears “ME923, protocol A17 occupant terminated.”  Dana remains still for a moment, and then slowly removes the headphones.


Dana visits Theo at night through the ventilation ducts between the pipes. The large yellow block of food that Theo is supposed to cut up has not been cut at all. Dana feels around and notices that there are a number of stacks of empty containers, more than there should be. Dana asks Theo what is wrong, and Theo tells Dana that he is losing his eyesight and can no longer see clearly enough to work. Dana is worried that Theo might get into trouble because Theo’s production has gone down. She reassures Theo that everything will be OK because she will teach Theo how to work even if Theo goes completely blind. Theo feels better, and after a few games Dana returns to her locker.


It is night again, and Dana is listening to the radio. After a few minutes she hears “MZ129, protocol A17 pending on unit #287”. She presses the talk button and says “ME923, clarify status #287.” After a short pause Dana hears, “#287 status is A17 in 39 hours 14 minutes”.


Knowing that Theo is going to be terminated, Dana disguises herself as Theo and moves Theo to her locker through the ventilation ducts. She waits in Theo’s locker at the appointed time. The door slides up and a special machine which is really nothing more than a chair on motorized wheels is waiting. Dana sits down in the chair which moves off and enters a corridor she has never visited before. There is a locker at the end of this corridor. The machine enters this locker, the door closes, and we hear the sound of a huge turbine powering up. Dana opens her cane and pulls some wires out of it. She cracks open the wall panel, attaches the electrodes, and just as the turbine reaches peak power and is about to fire, Dana pushes a button on the cane and the entire compound is plunged into darkness.


Dana and Theo are inside Dana’s locker, laughing and playing games. They are both blind but they are together and in their love they are everything…and nothing for those outside. 

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