LAST EDITED ON 08-02-07 AT 09:06 PM (EST)
Brother and Sister, Yin and Yang by cahaya
Pan to sunny, nouveau riche suburban California, to the long, wide driveway of a million-dollar two-story stucco-theme house. Zoom in on a red 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 with a couple of surfboards mounted on the roof pulling into the driveway. After a closeup shot of the car profile and Ford logo, a teenage boy and girl hop out of the car, enter the house and into the brightly lit plushly furnished living room with cultural artifacts on glass-topped end-tables tastefully populating much of the room.
While the teenage girl in a California teen-style summer dress sits on the couch, deftly sending messages from her cellphone, the teenage guy in jeans and a Green Day concert t-shirt disappears and then returns with a bag of certified organic chips and Evian bottled water. Both guy and girl look attractive, and we notice a clear physical similarity between the two. The body language between each other has an uncanny likeness, yet a distance, that tells us they're brother and sister, possibly twins.
A woman's voice sings from upstairs. "Patricia?"
Switch camera to wide sweeping stairs with original Asian and African cultural objects and arts hanging along the high-ceiling stairway. Workout-ready mom hops and skips down the stairs, obviously in a rush. "Dave called."
Patricia's already glum expression turns into a grimace. "Ok, mom."
Mom either doesn't notice or doesn't think it's a big deal as she rushes for the front door. As she opens the door, she has two more action items to unload from her already overworked multi-tasking memory. "Don't forget to take the trash out tonight, Patrick. Dinner's in the microwave." Without waiting for a reply, she disappears behind the massive front-door which slams shut in her haste.
"Take out the trash, take out the trash," Patrick cynically mimics his mom.
Patricia: "Oh, cut it out, bro. That's, like, easy stuff. I've got bigger problems."
Patrick: "Dave again?"
Patricia: "Yeah. Dave wouldn't even notice me in the garbage can, much less take me out. Anytime he calls here instead of my cell phone, it means, like, he doesn't really want to talk to me. It's all a fake."
Patrick: "Like I've got it any better with Andrea. We were doing great and then, pfft. I don't understand girls."
Patricia: "And I don't understand guys."
Patrick: "Well, guys understand guys."
Patricia: "And girls understand girls. (Pause, as if thinking of something.) Wouldn't it be nice if we could switch for a while, bro? So we could figure this stuff out?"
Patrick: "You and your weird ideas, sis. But, yeah, it'd be cool to be a girl for a while and listen to all the real girl talk. Maybe I could figure Andrea out that way. She's so hot, I'd do almost anything to be with her."
Patricia: "Almost anything? Really? I'd like to figure Dave out too. I have an idea."
Patrick (eying Patricia suspiciously): "Ok, what are you thinking?"
Patricia gets up and walks halfway up the stairway. On the wall is a small Chinese mural of a man and a woman swirled around like a yin-yang or '69', but without any physical contact. Patricia gently takes the small mural down and shows it to Patrick.
Patricia: "Dad said he found this in Hong Kong. He said that this mural is about a twin brother and sister, like us. The story is that they wanted to switch bodies. It's supposed to be magical and it's supposed to only work for twins."
Patrick: "Oh, that's a bunch of hocus-pocus."
Patricia: "But would you do it if we could? Maybe for, like, a few days?"
Patrick: (snort) "Yeah, maybe. But that's all nonsense."
Patricia: "Dad said that all a pair of twins had to do was read these characters over here, together, three times in a row. Then, after falling asleep and waking up together, the twins find themselves switched. To undo it, they read it one more time together. After that, it won't work anymore. Dad also said there was a mysterious saying he couldn't figure out - 'twice unhappy, twice switched'. He actually believes in that stuff and warned me not to even think of even trying it."
Patrick: "You serious? Like, no way. I know you learned Chinese at school, but not magic!"
Patricia: "Well, if it doesn't work, no harm trying right? I'll probably have to read it in the Mandarin court dialect. But let's do it upstairs in case Dad shows up early from his anthropology conference."
Patrick: "Oh, all right. If it makes you happy. You always get me in trouble, y'know?"
Patricia: (sassy tone) "That's because I'm older than you."
Patrick: "Only by three minutes. And those had to be the longest three minutes of my life. Let's go upstairs and get this over with."
With Patricia carrying the mural and Patrick following behind her, they go upstairs (and past the blank spot on the wall where the mural used to be) and into Patricia's neat, spacious and well-decorated bedroom. They sit on Patricia's bed, facing each other cross-legged, with the mural on Patricia's lap. Wordlessly, Patricia looks at Patrick and Patrick nods.
Patricia: "Here's how it reads: shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn. Now say it once by yourself so you're sure you've got it right. And then we'll do it together three times. shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn."
Patrick: "shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn."
Patricia: "Right. Now, on three. One, two, three..."
Patrick and Patricia together: "shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn. shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn. shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn."
Patrick looks baffled and anxious as nothing happens.
Patricia: "Don't worry, we need to take a nap and wake up together first. Then, if this works, we'll be switched. Maybe we should lie down like those twins in the mural here."
Patricia puts the mural down on her nearby desk, takes a pillow from the head of the bed and puts it down at the foot of the bed and lies down. Patrick lies down with her in the opposite direction, both of them curling around each other but not touching. Suddenly, they both drop into a deep sleep.
(Special effects of brother and sister asleep in modern bedroom, transforming into an ancient Chinese bedroom setting with cushion sets. The room slowly swirls, the pair swirling with it, then fade out, leading to sunlight.)
Back in the modern California suburban bedroom, the girl wakes up first. She yawns, rubs her eyes and stretches, eyes suddenly opening as she realizes what she is wearing. "Omigawd!" In a panic, her hands first grab the summer dress she is wearing, and then slowly up to her softly rounded chest and then quickly back down to her soft, but empty crotch. She reaches over to the guy lying down next to her and shakes him roughly. "Patricia! Patricia!"
The guy wakes up and, still in a blur, asks, "What is it, Patrick?"
Patrick (the girl): "Look!"
Patricia (the guy) looks at Patrick (the girl) in a moment of silence. Then Patricia jolts up and her hands move over her flat chest and only takes a brief glance down below to confirm that something is there that wasn't there before. She looks up at Patrick.
Patricia (almost nonchalantly): "You look weird as a girl, Patrick."
Patrick (still in a panic): "I don't like this, Patricia. It's like, not me. Or you."
Patricia: "Didn't you want to try this out so you could find out what girls are like?"
Patrick: "Not now. I, like, thought that hocus-pocus stuff wouldn't work anyway. But being in your body freaks me out, sis. And you being in mine freaks me out even more. Let's switch back before we screw something up."
Patricia: "Yeah, I think you're right. This feels too weird for me to want to even see somebody. It's like what I had up here went down there and it's, like, more crowded down there than it is in a bra."
Patrick: "Keep your hands away from there or it'll get even more crowded, sis. Heck, I feel weird even calling you sis, with you in my body. And when mom and dad come home, we'll flub up and freak them out too. As soon as one of them shouts one of our names, the wrong one of us will come running."
Patricia: "I think you're right. We couldn't keep up this charade very long at all. Let's undo it now."
Patrick: "Ok. What was that phrase again?"
Patricia: "shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn. Are you ready? Same deal, except just once this time."
Patrick: "Got it. shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn."
Patricia: "Ok... three, two, one..."
Patrick and Patricia: "shua-ng ba-o ta-i tì huàn."
As before, they both lie down and quickly fall asleep as if drugged.
(As before, special effects of brother and sister asleep in modern bedroom, transforming into an ancient Chinese bedroom setting with cushion sets. The room slowly swirls, the pair swirling with it, then fade out, leading to sunlight.)
Shot of stairway, with mural still missing. Sound of front door opening, footstep getting louder, then the twin's mom enters the shot, looking puzzled at the missing mural.
Mom: "Patrick? Patricia? Are you home?"
The shot follows mom up the stairs, into the hallway. She peers into Patrick's boy-teen bedroom, which is empty. Then she opens the door to Patricia's bedroom and at first looks puzzled, and then shocked.
(Closeup shot, zooming in at mom's face, centered on her mouth.) Then mom loudly screams.
Quick shot of birds in the trees in the yard suddenly fluttering out of the trees.
Return shot to Patricia's bedroom, moving and zooming towards Patricia's bed. On the way, the shot passes over Patricia's desk and the mural sitting on top of it. The mural has changed, and only a glimpse shows why. The twins in the mural look out of place, too modern in dress.
The low-angle shot moves to the bed and sitting there, awake, still in the stupor of sleep, are the bodily profiles of brother and sister in Chinese dress and...
(Moving shot upwards towards from their legs and chests towards their faces.)
A Sharnina Production