Terms & Conditions by Anthony Cawood | Script Revolution

Terms & Conditions

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A desperate dash to answer a call of nature leads to an unexpected diagnosis and a fight to survive.

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Terms and Conditions
A desperate dash to answer a call of nature leads to an unexpected diagnosis.

Technology is so smart these days, isn’t it? It kinda started off with the smart phone, which took me a few years to accept and adjust to. I didn’t even know what a “smart phone” was at first, though I was told that my flip phone wasn’t considered one (that was in 2014). Then everyone started getting smart TVs and soon after, I started seeing smart microwaves, toasters, ovens, refrigerators and even fireplaces.

In Anthony Cawood’s short “Terms & Conditions”, the story centers around a smart TOILET. Now, I had to Google this, but there are already smart toilets on the market. Though most are simple – they pretty much just save water and electricity – there’s a bunch out there that have foot and seat warmers, bidets, touch-screen remotes, built-in speakers to go along with built-in radios and MP3 players… you name it.

But the smart toilet in this story is, well… smarter. Imagine a toilet that can actually run tests on your urine with almost-immediate test results. Doesn’t really sound too far-fetched, come to think of it. It will only be a matter of time when these kinds of smart toilets are used to perform instant-result drug tests and possibly even medical tests, giving patients a diagnosis and prognosis within minutes…

Which is pretty much what the toilet in Anthony’s story does. Set in the near future, possibly the late 2020’s, we open in a shopping mall where we follow 70-year old Ted Lawson, who has one goal in mind: to find the nearest bathroom. He’s gotta go and he’s gotta go BAD.

Finally, after finding one, he hurries into the nearest cubicle and unleashes a stream that could crack a windshield. But, as he finishes up, something strange happens.

TOILET
Good afternoon Ted Lawson.

Ted spins round in shock, sending droplets over the walls.

TOILET
Thank you for choosing a MediScan cubicle,
we appreciate your custom.

Ted thinks he’s on one of them hidden camera shows at first – which would be the creepiest hidden camera show ever. But he soon finds out what exactly he walked into.

TOILET
… I am the MediScan cubicle.
Your sample is now being analyzed.

Ted taps the light, harder.

TED
Sample?

TOILET
Urine sample.
(beat)
The Terms & Conditions are on
the door if you wish to re-read them.

In a rush to relieve himself, Ted unfortunately did not read the terms and conditions posted on the door before entering.

Ted tries to leave but finds himself locked in until the MediScan toilet finishes analyzing his urine sample for results – results that he probably would’ve preferred to find out about from an actual doctor. And as Ted receives the horrible news, he soon finds out that MediScan isn’t only cleared to run tests and deliver results – it’s also allowed to perform a “service” that’s apparently legal in the future. I won’t give away the fun of it (or horror in this case), but let’s just say Ted signed something without reading it, allowing this frighteningly blunt robot toilet to perform what it was programmed to do.

For some reason, while reading the toilet’s dialogue, I kept hearing the voice of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Which kinda sent chills up my spine despite the screenplay’s fun nature – well, fun up until the horrifying conclusion. A very unique and original story, this would be a very memorable film to watch unfold on screen.

Review by Michael Kospiah
Submitted: July 9, 2020
Last Updated: August 1, 2020

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The Writer: Anthony Cawood

Award-winning screenwriter with one feature produced and a further four features optioned or in pre-production. In addition to features, over forty short scripts produced/sold/optioned - including ten filmed. Also occasionally pens screenwriting articles, interviews with writers and filmmakers, and even a short story or two. You can find out more at www.anthonycawood.co.uk Go to bio

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