Static and the high pitch whine of radio channels changing. Bits of music can be heard, along with some Spanish, but then the radio clicks in on its wanted destination.
NEWSMAN: . . . and they never did find the other shoe. That’s it for tonight’s evening edition of Newest Nightly News at Night. We’ll be back at the same time tomorrow. And make sure to catch our midday edition, the Daily Data Deadline Dispatch. I’m you’re host Phillip G. Rubenfelderheimerloben, bidding you a good night. Now stayed tuned for the latest installment of The Adventures of Captain Solecistic, the Illiterate Avenger! But first, a word from our sponsors at Blunt Briefs, makers of the underwear that don’t mess around with small talk.
A jingle plays.
ADVERTISER: BUY OUR PRODUCTS!
The same jingle. Silence. Then a horn plays a small fanfare.
MAN 1: The world is full of criminals and corrupt philanthropists.
MAN 2: They take our money, burn our houses, replace our jobs with robots and eat our babies.
WOMAN: Is there any one that can help us?!
NARRATOR: This sounds like a job for –
EVERYBODY: (with echo) CAPTAIN SOLECISTIC!
NARRATOR: That’s right, CAPTAIN SOLECISTIC, THE ILLITERATE AVENGER! When Ruby City’s top reporter Parker Gently accidentally angered Thoth the Egyptian God of Language by urinating on the reference desk in the library while drunk, he was cursed by having his ability to read stripped away! But the same curse also granted him super strength, super hearing, mild toenail fungus, and an unquenchable thirst to fight crime! Now he battles the forces of evil and stands for what is true and good and happy and . . . stuff. But he must keep his new powers hidden away or else! What adventure will he get into today?!
The music changes from the theme to a jaunty tune. The sounds of a newsroom.
NARRATOR: We find our hero in the office of the Ruby Bugle’s editor-and-chief, Dirk Harpoon, dictating his latest story.
PARKER: “ . . . and he’ll never be able to abuse the good people of Ruby City ever again.”
CHIEF: That’s a great story Gently, but it needs to be written down! I can’t remember my wife’s name, let alone an entire story!
The phone rings.
CHIEF: (answering) Yeah?
RECEPTIONIST: It’s Barbara on 3.
CHIEF: Who? I don’t know a Barbara.
RECEPTIONIST: It’s your wife –
Dirk hangs up.
CHIEF: You used to write all your stories down, then you suddenly stopped. What’s the skinny on that?
PARKER: But chief, it is written down. That’s why Robbie is here.
ROBBIE: (popping out from behind Parker) HI YA CHIEF!
CHIEF: Jesus the Lord Slurping Soda on the Cross, I didn’t even see ya kid.
PARKER: You get all of that Robbie?
ROBBIE: Yeah, I got it all Mr. Gently, but you sure do talk fast. My hand’s cramping all up.
The sound of someone slapping Robbie.
CHIEF: Shut up and be grateful. When I started in the business, I acted as an eraser when they printed a mistake. 5000 copies of the Bugle corrected by me and my tongue. And did you hear me complainin’?
CHIEF: That’s right! The ink was made with lead back then and I would pass out before I could say a word. Not that it mattered as my tongue would be useless for the next thirteen days and the fumes from the machines did a number on my memory. (Pause.) What was I just talking about?
PARKER: You were saying how much you liked my story.
CHIEF: Oh yeah. But start writing it down!
PARKER: Don’t worry chief, I got it covered. (to Robbie) There’s a good boy; here’s a condom.
ROBBIE: Gee, thanks Mr. Gently. And it’s new!
PARKER: Now walk that story to the printer.
ROBBIE: I won’t just walk there Mr. Gently, I’ll run!
Robbie leaves. A door opens and closes.
CHIEF: What a slow news day! Nothing is going on around here!
NARRATOR: Just then who walks in? Why it’s none other than –
A knock. The door swings open.
PARKER: Stacy Bateman, top columnist at the Ruby Bugle and currently having a torrid love affair with yours truly.
STACY: I hate that you say that every time I walk into the room, Parker.
CHIEF: What is it Bateman? I’m busy talking about how nothing is going on.
STACY: Turn on your radio, Chief, you’ll want to hear this.
A radio is turned on.
REPORTER: This just in! A terrorist calling himself ‘The Jack of Trades’ is threatening to blow up a local building. Here’s an excerpt from his message to the police now:
JACK: I demand the city hand over to me ten million dollars in unmarked silver dollars by the end of the day, or I will blow up Ruby City’s beloved bourbon distillery!
The chief falls over.
PARKER: He’s fainted.
REPORTER: At present, there are no authorities at the scene as they all have mysteriously fainted after hearing the message. It seems that Ruby City’s whiskey days are coming to a close.
The radio is turned off.
PARKER: We have to do something!
STACY: But what can we, masters of the written word, do to stop a mad man like that? In these situations, the ability to read and write doesn’t mean a darn.
The sound of more people falling over.
STACY: Oh no, it looks like the art department has heard the news. I’m to go and help.
PARKER: Reading doesn’t mean a darn? Well, this looks like a job for –
An explosion, and a trumpet flare.
CAPTAIN: – CAPTAIN SOLESISTIC, THE ILLITERATE AVENGER! I have to stop The Jack of Trades before it’s too late. The radio says he’s at the bourbon distillery, so I only have to look at a map!
He unfolds a map. Pause.
CAPTAIN: Damn. I forgot that maps must be read. This villain is more dastardly than I thought; always one step ahead. It looks like I’ll once again need to turn to my old nemesis to help me in my quest to help save the city.
NARRATOR: Who is this mysterious nemesis? And can the Captain trust him, or will he be betrayed? Who is the Jack of Trades, and why does he want to blow up all the sweet, lovely, life-giving whiskey? Will the Captain be able to find his way to the distillery before it’s too late? (pause) You might want to get on that, by the way –
CAPTAIN: Oh. Right. Up, up, and to places!
Sound of a glass breaking as the Captain jumps through the window.
NARRATOR: For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next week for the exciting conclusion of CAPTAIN SOLECISTIC: THE ILLITERATE AVENGER!!! Now a word from our sponsor.
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Radio clicks off.—Script to be concluded next week. Created with Time For More Cake; check out his blog. —