Screenplay: Absolute Value

Absolute Value

In the beginning…

Some people say Money is Power. Everybody says Time is Money, but Math is Money, too, baby. There are even some people who say E equals m c squared, a relation between the energy in a given mass and the speed of light, and to them we say maybe the idea of math itself is equivalent to the distance travelled by light divided by the squareroot of energy over mass. Wait, lemme check the equations. c squared, huh? Showoff. I’d better get this right; Pens and pencils still aren’t as good as the power of free ginger ale.

Absolute value!

The thing is, more money, more time, more math, more anything, really, just means more potential for the presence of energy, which is absolutely immeasurable since it doesn’t yet exist anywhere outside your imagination. As a result, the systems of events in a person’s life are left wanting for  novelties and become stale, sort of like an inbox that hasn’t been read yet.

Warping, rolling, folding – what*ever* you want to call it – the exact energy quotient of a programmer who’s coding a foldspace app into reality, making the equations themselves take form? Oh, it’s possible, alright. You could see it as an infinite-loop memory leak in the universe itself, causing an influx of programmers into our lonely universe; a white hole vortex to a singularity’s black nothingness. The two actually aren’t all that different. Is it all just a fanciful theory or the most powerful idea in the physical universe? You be the judge.

“Do me next.”

Basically, matter generators, or white spheres in their theoretical form, only require the exact numerical total energy-level of the object in question in order to literally warp it’s components into reality, or assemble it out of thin air, and are made completely possible by mathematically converting and translating unit terms of higher order values in the dimentional measurements of random objects. Turn a point into a cube, a square into a 16-dimentional mind-fuck. Like an anthropomorphically transmogrified banana, it’s weird but possible. The only limit is your imagination and a hefty serving of computation. You can even make things disappear and invert into negative dimentionality. All you have to do is take away the absolute values, and everything fades to black.

Generalizing reality never felt this uncertainly good.

Hamza is creating a banking app in his free time, right out of college. The app characterizes all the goods in a market and measures their values in order to virtually simulate approximations of their nature and balance the budget. He has just run out of funds. The math is so complicated that he gets crazy good at what he does, and starts hoping for a better solution to life, but he’s broke and can’t afford a Chemistry book for the atomic radials in his equations.

Hamza walks over to lay on the bed with photographs of Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Ian Curtis posted on the walls, listening to Elliott Smith’s “You’re Just Somebody that I Used to Know” on his radio alarm. “I love their lives more than I love mine,” he thinks to himself morosely as he turns off the sound.

His phone rings. It’s his mother. Again. He talks to her on speaker while walking around his apartment mindlessly.  He lies to her about money and work and looks into an empty fridge before telling her he’s eating well. The fridge is full of condiments and nothing else.

“Don’t forget to feed the cat,” she tells him before hanging up.

After flopping back down in the chair at his desk, he calls up his buddy, Jack. With a little wheedling and begging, he gets his friend to commit to loaning  him the money, as he doesn’t have the software full-coded yet, so he can’t turn a profit yet by generating objects. His friend stops by for a visit.

“That doesn’t look like a 3d printer to me,” Jack says, looking at the handheld device dubiously.

“No, but it will work,” maintains Hamza.

“Look, you expect me to believe that this freaking toy can do that?” he exclaims.

“Come on, I’m serious here, all it needs in order to work are well-made gyros and known k-value levels of accuracy for the resonator and medium. Believe me, this handheld can do the job. I spend all my money on tech.”

“Yeah, well, it looks like you could use a meal. Anyway…I’ll help you out, but I’m going to stick around to see it through, ok? I don’t want you spending my money on ginger ale.”

“Look, once I get this book, I’ll have all the ginger ale in the world at my disposal,” insists Hamza.

They climb into Jack’s car and head to the bookstore. After much work, they succeed in finding the right section in the enormous warehouse.

“This one has a hot professor on the cover!”

“Yeah, but this one has actual lab experiments.”


At the register, a brief argument ensues as Hamza has second thoughts.

“Why couldn’t you just give me the card to buy it online?”

“I don’t want that on my credit history. I have a reputation.”

“Well, it’s five times as much here as it was online.”

“At least they have a buyback program.”

“Yeah, well, they’ll only give you half of what it costs to get it online.”

“It’s what it’s, buddy. It’s what. It. Is. Closed economies and whatnot…once the online store pushes out all the retailers, it’s a simple matter of raising their prices to stick it to us.”

The cashier gives them a dirty look as she hands them a receipt and they leave the store to back to Jack’s place.

Hamza looks through the book while Jack looks up friends on his social media account and watches stock quotes with youtube videos running in the background. After a few minutes of reading, Hamza realizes that the book doesn’t get into quark level information.

“This doesn’t have what I need. It doesn’t blow. It sucks.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well there’s a difference. If it was just a lot of work, it would blow. This actually consumes my soul in the process, so it sucks.”

Jack refuses to shell out for another book. After hearing Hamza’s heartfelt plea, he says they should just break into the university to “borrow” (steal, borrow, you get the picture) a better book, since the place is loaded from co-op book sales and football money, anyway. They both agree it’s for the best, since there’s probably such a fine selection.

Don’t I know you from somewhere?

On the way to the university, which is a short walk down the street, they run into someone familiar. It’s Trixie, Hamza’s old Biology classmate, who he still carries a torch for.


“Oh, hey, Hamza, I just bought a new shirt, do you like it?”

She joins them to walk. “Oh hi…Yeah, where’d you get it?” he replies uncertainly.

“Just down the street at Cream. So what are you two up to, huh? Aren’t you going to introduce?”

“Oh, sorry. This is my friend Jack, from the Business program.”

Jack blurts, “We’re going to lab to steal a book. Wanna come?” and she gives them a sly look. Laughing, she joins them in order to keep them out of trouble.

They go past some fountains and a parked with a police car writing a ticket next to it. There’s no sign anywhere declaring the spot to be illegal.

“Should we cross the street to avoid attention?” Hamza asks nervously.

Trixie reveals her personal feelings on the topic. “I always get even more weirded out when guys cross to the other side of the street at night in order to avoid scaring me at night.”

“Good point. I guess we’ll just play it cool, then.”


When they get to the right building on campus, they had for the stairwell and sneak into the laboratory.

“I would rather have a Chemistry book written by a physicist.”

They access the computers in the Physics lab and find that the university Physics department already has some kind of  software built for a really old device that’s stored in the back room. It’s the size of a small tuba and looks like it was built half a century ago. It does what Hamza’s machine does, but appears to run on an outdated format.

“Look, guys, there’s someone still logged into this old piece of crap.”

“Who cares? Where’s the bookcase anyway?”

“That’s not how I roll.”

/rolls chair up to console

“Hey, this is the same equation I’ve been working on,” Hamza says as he scrutinized the tables on the machine.

Halfway through Jack’s  announcement that he found something that might work sitting on the bookshelf, Hamza warps a plate of Pecan Pie, complete with Vanilla Ice Cream on the book, and he loses it all over the floor.

“The fuck did you DO?” shouts Jack.

Subatomically Restructuring Cake



























Hamza exclaims, “It worked! This thing is for ripping, popping, pasting, wrapping, raveling, warping, assembling, fabbing, pulling, whipping-in, plotting, requisitioning, jamming-up matter into macroscopic objects.” he reads, as he looks through the catalogue on the device. “They have everything!”

They find the console is unsecured and they upload the tables of energy level balances, numflux step arrays, and D variable tables for an array of various objects onto Hamza’s handheld device.

“A rosebush! You shouldn’t have!” Trixie preens, after one suddenly wraps it’s way into being by her side.

“37 gigajoules.” declares Hamza.

“Do me next!” begs Jack.

“No way, Jack, I’m just gonna scan you. Let’s see… that’s 118 gigajoules. Have you been working out?”

He smiles.

“Check this out, guys, a cat is only 2,” Trixie exclaims. “Those lazy little fucks!”

While looking through the tables, they find that their professors listed. After a moment of confusion, Hamza realizes the truth: “The professors are just figments of spacetime called in by the software before each class to give lectures!”

“How come it doesn’t call in anyone who can actually speak English, man?”

“I don’t know, Jack, taxes, payscales, India, you know how it is. You’re missing the point.”

“We could sell this for millions!” breathes Trixie in disbelief.

Hamza warps in a pile of gold bullion.

Laughing, Trixie says, “Alright, then, nevermind, Newton!”

“You know your physicists, Trix. I’m impressed,” he beams.

“Personal hero…” she explains.

When they get board of making things appear, Hamza says, “Look, this is pretty much negative entropy, so we’d better go easy on it.”

“You mean if there’s some kind of a conservation effect?” asks Trixie.

“You’re not talking about national parks, are you?” says Jack.

“Nah. We’d better clean up after ourselves.”

They denature everything they’ve requested back into constituent molecules by entering the inverse values that were used to call them in, and go to the cafeteria so they can get food and work out the details.

Do you want fries with that?

The campus cafeteria is right next door. Trixie gives a sheepish look after her expired meal card is rejected, but that’s resolved by a quick trip to the bathroom with Hamza’s device. She hands the lunch lady a $100 and tells her, “Keep the change.”

As they pass through the line, Jack looks at his taco and says, “I want mayo on this.”

“Gross!” exclaims Hamza.

“It’s cool dude, we can sweat it later,” says Trixie with another sly look. “I’m just going to scan myself, get stuffed, then reload.”

“Not gonna happen, Trix,” Hamza says.

“Aww, come on, why not?” insists Trixie.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea just yet,” he advises.

“Well, ok, but don’t hold out on me!”

“I won’t,” he assures her, “but there’s still something bothering me about the device back at the lab. I just realized that the professors couldn’t possibly have homes, and I would guesstimate that after teaching every class, they get ground into burger for the mess hall.”

Trixie spits out her hamburger. “I knew I should have stayed a vegan.”

“It seems that all of life’s problems are already pretty much solved because of this thing. The three of us…all of the other students…we’re kept around by faculty just so the university can keep sponging from the public and bringing in horny co-eds for the people who have physics lab access to sleep with. Look at the catalogue’s databanks, they’re full of them,” he says earnestly, showing them the device.

“You mean they’ve been scanning students!?!”

Things get serious. “I mean, the guy in control of this thing is essentially a power-hungry administrator, and everyone knows they’re just button-pushing monkeys to begin with.”

“Let’s take him out. We can sneak into his place and waste his ass with bonafide space-age tech from this thing. With this much power, he could hurt a lot of people. He pretty much shadow owns the science department, and has the entirety of creation at his fingertips. We should open source it.”

“I’m in. My mother’s been telling me I should volunteer for the public good more often.”

“Hello, Operator?”

They sit down in a booth and use a mobile, remote virtual console link they set up with the physics lab to look up the person who is in charge of the account. They find out he has the website for a social media account open on the computer, and discover he’s a total thug impersonating a professional. The site is plastered with club-scene antics and obscenities. Jack gets out his phone and calls him.

“Hello? Yes, Mr. Lao? This is Thomas with Argyle Spa…I was just calling to tell you about our free month of wonderful spa services,” he lies, as Hamza and Trixie giggle furiously.

“Yes, sir, I’ll just need your address so we can send you the coupon booklet.”

Jack writes down the address, on his napkin, grinning from ear to ear.

Let’s roll

After some planning and strategy, they roll in an energy dampener to mount the device, since Jack recalls Fourier Analysis from a business calculus class he attended.

“It was taught by – who was it? Oh, right! That German dude whose…the one whose name was actually ‘Koch.’ It had nothing to do with business, but he was tenured, so… You know how it goes. I wonder what happened to him…”

Hamza crosses himself and says, “Rest in peace, meatload.”

“Are you Catholic or something?” asks Trixie.

“Hell no, I just went to church a few times with my friend when I was little. My knees still hurt!”

“That’s cool, no need to pray this time around.” says Jack, and he flashwarps a professor in to the room and then immediately denatures him out of existence again.

“HEY! Watch it with that thing.”

“I wonder if they’ll start a religion for this guy…he was just brought back from the dead. Too bad he didn’t get a chance to say anything. No biggie, though; I already aced his class.”

After placing the device in the dampener they’ve designed and added to the catalogue with other elements on the list, they warp in a better handheld capable of rolling in even more accurate devices. In a moment of brilliance, they set it to upgrade itself with the algorithm recursively. The finished product looks sleek, feels heavy, and sounds more focused. After making three of them, they agree that they should be ready to go.

When they get to the thug’s house, they peek inside through a window. The house is packed full of expensive entertainment devices, junk, and odds and ends. It’s a total mess.

“Honeeeeey, where did you put the remote?” asks a bored woman, sitting on the couch with a strange man laying down next to her.

They hear the sound of a device ripping from a different room.

“Nevermind, I found it,” she says.

The newly-warped-in remote is thrown onto on a pile of remotes in the corner.

“I think they have a ripper,” says Trixie.

“Let’s go, while they’re distracted,” whispers Hamza and the three of them pile in through the window.

After a brief scuffle, with temporary distraction from a marching band they call in to cross in front of the house, Mr. Lao’s device gets trashed. Hamza, Jack and Trixie decide to rip in an auto-piloted car  from a navigation project on the device titled ME942B. They tie up the thug, his girlfriend, and the quiet guy who was still sleeping on the couch, and the three of them are sent to the countryside.

Life is the Party

When they’re done, our heroes go to the campus park, and call in truckloads of ridiculous shit, including a bubble blower, hookah, strippers, DJ, hot tub, food, and even a chainsaw and gigantic ice block to carve out a huge shot-glass. They party with the whole school there .

Hamza asks the DJ, “You having fun, man?”

Ther DJ ays meaningfully, “It’s all under the table,” raising his eyebrows and pointing with both hands under the booth.

Two girls in bikinis giggle under his equipment.

“Well, do we need more ice or anything?”

“More redheads!”

“You got it.”

Three redheads are warped in and immediately walk off as the DJ holds his arms out in smiling, openmouthed defeat.

“Awweee, come on!”

The redheads walk to where Trixie is standing.

Trixie gestures in a friendly manner and asks, “And who might you be?”

The first one says, “Don’t ask me, I just got here! What is this place?”

Trixie, feeling self-conscious, changes the subject.

“Uhhh, wow, I like your hair… I guess red is in.”

The second girl pipes in, “I’m naturally blonde.”

“Huh. How do you get it that color?”


“Are you kidding me? We can get you anything! Have you ever tried Tyrian purple? Lemme pull it in for you!”

The third redhead exclaims, “Whoa, is it edible? I’ve never tried sea snail before.”

“What do you mean whoa? I’m not slowing down for anyone!” Trixie gloats.

She points to the other side of the park, where Jack is standing next to a birdcage with a penguin in it, and pulls in a monster rally truck, engines revving.

The three hoot and holler before look at one another, and laughing redhead one says, “Yeah, you’re right, let’s cut loose!”

Majority Rules

Meanwhile, a friendly-looking stranger approaches Jack and tries to start up a conversation.

“Uhhhh…hey…so what do people say during these things?”

“Usually just, ‘What’s your major?’, or something dumb like that.”

“Oh, well I’m Marjorie. I’m in the Culinary School.”

“I’ll bet you’re out of a job within a month,” says Jack gravely.

There’s an awkward pause.

”Look, is that Mel Gibson?”

“Oh, no, we didn’t call him in, he lives down the street. I met him at an event here a couple years back.”


The Night In Too-Shining Armor

Trixie finds Jack eating a Hot Pocket.

“Hot Pockets? Really?”

“What? These things are great!”

She tells him she’s glad she met him.

He throws away the Hot Pocket and leans in for a kiss. As they kiss, there’s a loud pop followed by a high-pitched shrieking noise like a kettle boiling. People start running past them and screaming, and tripping over. The shit has hit the fan. A rippling vortex on the lawn is swirling and growing around a high density singularity that has appeared.

“I haven’t done error checking yet!”

A student is standing next to the vortex, frozen in fear and pressing buttons on one of their devices.

“Please tell me you didn’t put a negative in?” Hamza bellows.

The student tries to assuage him. “I’M SORRY! I’LL FIX IT! I HAVE A MASTERS AND I WORK IN IT!”

She admits she played with it, inverting the field by entering an obscenely large random negative value of some random object she doesn’t remember.

She runs off, scaring a nearby flock of bats into taking flight, and leavs behind a few people who are curious about the disaster.

“Never underestimate a user’s stupidity,” cautions Jack.

They call in a particle detector to find out more about the strange vortex, with the help of other students at the party who don’t run away. Things quickly start growing gray and the light dims as the ripple spreads and things disappear. They have to hurry because the black hole is actually operating nothing like anything they’ve seen before. The surrounding area looks pale and gray, and a faint glow rims its edge. The only thing saving them is what the scanner reveals to be ‘Abyadwalad radiation’ flowing around the tear in reality, releasing it’s own reflected energy into their environment. They don’t have very much time to get it right.

A student wearing a blogging t-shirt suggests calling in Stephen Hawking.

“No, dude, it would take to long to get an answer out of him. Anyway, he just focused on spheres in his physics work, just because his nurse had huge tits.”

A sketchy pair who introduce themselves as CG animators looks at the readout on the scanner and chime in,

“Did someone say tits? That’s an nth squared order system of equations with maximally computed geometrical verteces. We’re all gonna die! I can’t do that AND, check my work, AND wank off in ten minutes.”

“Are you kidding me?!” says Trixie. “Look, we need help. Just don’t wank off, ok?”

“I guess there’s people getting Fs in grade school for a reason.” muses Jack.

“Well, we will just have to generalize it,” Hamza says with a grim expression.

Two Heads Isn’t Really That Much Better Than One

They don’t have time to code in a solution mathematically since the hardware is hard to operate on the handheld. They can’t type in the information fast enough and their ripping device has limited input space. In a rush, Hamza very quickly pulls up and warps in an entire new city from the catalogue, exactly like their own, in order to get help from himself.

“Why couldn’t you just warp in a new bluetooth keyboard? I’m getting all existentially ennui-ey,” says Marjorie.

“Dick,” announces  a second observer wearing army fatigues.

Trixie snaps, and sarcastically sneers, “How eloquent!”

The observer says, “Don’t get me started, I know 30 words for it,” before Hamza admits,

“Look, I’m not that sensetive.”

They warp in a set of communication devices to conference with themselves.

While Hamza tries to work out details with his double, Marjorie giggles, and says, “It looks like garlic.”

Hamza gets serious. “You’re probably right, but it’s almost like it has no relation.” His copy responds, “If we approximate the waves in the collapsing space to just a surface effect of something that is actually rippling like an eternal, self-propogating, spud-like, seedless,” and then they both say together, “fluxually dividing infini-garlic that gets BIGGER AND BIGGER…”

The two work ferverently and are able to account for the growth of the phenomenon over it’s short existence enough to call in the correct counter-image to cancel the effects of the vortex.


They take a breather once the anomaly disappears. Still on remote conference with them, Trixie and her double freak out at the same time when they climb into a racecar to go home and everyone realizes they’ve overwritten and wiped out the entire neighboring part of the city and suburbs.

Hamza and the guy in fatigues from the party log into a real-time orbiting military comm satellite to download a datadump of the city and overlay and reintegrate it with the geographical historical maps to get a calculation of the the needed energy signature.

“I had no idea those satellites were so good.”

” They can count the ridges on the change in your pocket and tell you how much zinc is in them, bro.”

They replace everything that had been lost, with a few…upgrades.

“I’ve always wanted to do it with twins,” the ROTC goon fantasizes.

“I think you’re going to need a scheduler at this point, bro,” says Jack.

A rollercoaster passes through the roadway beside them.

Hamza warps in a scheduler, and says, “That was easy.” She pushes him aside.

“Whoa, I was here first.” he protests in a flash of anger.

“Hipster,” she responds, before suddenly disappearing, only to be replaced with a pair of twins that look remarkably like Ellen Page.

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