As revenge for years of bullying, a depressed office worker hires a hitman to have him killed in front of his co-workers, but it has to be quick and painless, and he mustn’t see it coming.
Five sentence synopsis
Jeff is a kind, good-looking, intelligent young man, but he repulses people without explanation, and one day reaches the logical decision that he has nothing to live for. As a health and safety officer with an allergy to pain, Jeff is afraid he would mess up his own suicide, so he hires a monosyllabic hit man to kill him when he isn’t expecting it, right in front of his loathsome colleagues. Awaiting the hit, Jeff develops a laissez-faire, childish attitude to his work, and this change in behaviour gives him unexpected confidence, admiration from his colleagues and extra responsibility from the boss. Uncertain why his suicide-by-proxy is delayed, Jeff becomes drawn to a beautiful yet unstable lush who, in a moment of clarity, figures out why nobody likes him, although she herself is attracted. Suddenly having job prospects and a whirlwind romance, Jeff decides life is actually worth living, but finds himself unable to contact the hitman who is still out there somewhere and under Jeff’s own orders to have him killed.
Screenplay, dark comedy, 111 pages.
Why I’m qualified to write this
15 dues-paying years in a typical office environment, which is where much of the inspiration for this piece came from. I remember sitting in a meeting one afternoon and thinking, “Kill me now…” Chances are you’ve done that as well.
Five reasons why this could be a success
- Many people have hypothetically wondered how they would kill themselves – this script shows them how it is and isn’t possible.
- A different angle on a popular theme – people are often hired to kill others, but not by the victim themselves.
- A light look at quite a dark subject, without descending into farce.
- Features a romance in which opposites attract, keeping conflict high during the courtship, with the cheese staying firmly in the fridge.
- Pokes fun at the mundane office life that millions can relate to, though few if any would have the guts to behave as badly as the main character (despite how much they’d like to).