Echo of Guilt by David Lambertson | Script Revolution

Echo of Guilt

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In the future, Alexa will be Judge, Jury, and Executioner.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Echo of Guilt
A haunting tale in which modern technology serves as Judge and juror.

Despite Alexa’s popularity, convenience, and resourcefulness, I never owned one personally. Sure, you can get an answer to any question and gain access to information with a mere voice command. But there was always something about it I just never trusted. For one, once upon a time when I slept over a friend’s house, her Alexa turned on randomly in the middle of the night and kept playing creepy music. If I was considering purchasing an Amazon Echo before that, I sure as hell wasn’t after. Second, I never trusted its ability to recognize your voice and absorb information. I just always got this feeling that Alexa was ALWAYS listening.

But what if Alexa isn’t only cognitive to your voice? What if Alexa can hear things… that you can’t?

That’s exactly what Drew Jones begins to suspect in writer David Lambertson’s Echo of Guilt.

Set in the near-future, the story begins as Drew Jones enjoys a football game on TV one night at his high-tech secured house, his abode stocked with all the latest innovations in technological appliances. Including the latest version of Alexa, an Amazon Echo Cylinder that projects a hologram while operating. Suddenly, the device turns on by itself.

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
Massachusetts reinstated the death penalty
in the year two-thousand forty-one.

DREW
Damn it… I didn’t ask you any–

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
Qualification for the death penalty requires
the existence of special circumstances.

Just a tad random. “Who the fuck are you talking to?” Drew wonders aloud.

Unbeknownst to him, his Alexa device is indeed communicating with the spirit of a deceased woman named Melanie…

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
… Born December first, two-thousand
and one. Presumed dead, July tenth, two-thousand
and thirty-nine. Cause of death, undetermined.
Victim’s body – not discovered.

Though we can’t hear what the spirit is saying to Alexa, we can get a sense of it through the seemingly random bits of information Alexa continues to spout aloud, further confusing our story’s only living character. But as the information becomes more and more specific, Drew begins to put the pieces together inside of his head, discovering more and more details about Melanie’s death.

Another function of Alexa (in this story as well as in real-life in today’s world) is that it can gain access to and control other electronic devices within the household. And as Drew’s device continues to operate seemingly on its own, other household appliances also begin to “malfunction”, operating on their own… building to a very satisfying ending to this spooky, futuristic take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart – a very loose take, mind you.

Review by Michael Kospiah
Submitted: June 13, 2020
Last Updated: August 9, 2020

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Nicholas Zingarelli's picture
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The Writer: David Lambertson

Hmmm - how does one craft a writing biography for one that has not spent a life writing? I'll give it a shot. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was eighteen. I started writing when I was 56. In the years between I got married, had children, got divorced, got married again, had grandchildren and spent more than thirty years as a Government bureaucrat. Exciting - I know. There is good news and bad news in that. The bad news of course is that I spent my life working at a career other than the one I wanted to have. The good news is that I garnered enough life experiences to make my writing more meaningful than it would have been as an eighteen year old. Despite starting late, I have enjoyed... Go to bio

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