Best Man Boys Radioplay – Part 1

A racing western theme with guitars and trumpets blares.

Beau:    Come and sit and let me spin a tale of the notorious Best Man Boys and their final stand in the town of North Cackallackee, North Carolina.  Known as the wedding capital of the state, the number of receptions and celebrations in North Cackallackee could often reach three dozen before a week’s end.

Preacher:  I pronounce you man and wife.

Audience:  (unenthusiastic) Yay.

Beau:  But the township of Cackallackee, and its rival-sister town in the south, had no inkling as to what went into the making of a fine wedding.  And as such, the people of the Cackallacks came to know the sound of The Stag Horn –

A deep horn rings out.

Preacher:  Oh no.

The audience begins to mutter.

Beau:  – a signal that the Best Man Boys were riding into town.  The Best Man Boys was gang of cussing, drinking, fool-hardy cowpokes that could not stand to attend another boring wedding, and so they took it upon themselves to liven up each nuptial gathering with dancing, singing, drinking, fucking (but not in the street), fighting (but only in the street), and non-ending confectionaries that seemed to float down from the clouds.

Bosco:  Get out of here, preacherman, because it’s time for ME to declare this marriage official; a declaration that I’ll make with this –

A shotgun is cocked and the audience gasps in fear.

Bosco:  – and this.

Audience Member 1:  What is God’s blessed name is that?!

Bosco:  It’s a piñata, a favor from Mexico, and today is its time to die.

Bosco heaves the piñata in the air and shoots it with his shotgun.  The crowd cheers as candy falls from the sky.

Bosco:  Now it’s time for the drinking, and as according to tradition, the bride drinks first.

Bride:  YEE-HAW!

Beau:  Tweren’t a man, woman, or child alive that didn’t relish the sound that low horn and the hooves of the Best Man Boys bursting through the square. All except one man.

Mayor:  I’m telling you, Sheriff Hondo, that the Best Man Boy’s must be stopped.  I did not spend $800 dollars on the finest preacher to come in from Arkansas just to have my baby girl liquored up in her wedding gown.

Sheriff:  Well, Mayor Cummingback, if it’s the gown you’re fretting about, she ain’t wearing it no more.

Bride:  YEE-HAW!!!

Mayor:  Tarnations!  Sheriff, I demand you go out and arrest them boys for disorderly conduct!

Sheriff:  But they ain’t hurting nobody, Gil.  So they get a little rowdy, but the town seems to love them.  People come from all over hoping they’ll get a glimpse of the Boys doing what they do best.  I think if a man wants to spread cheer throughout the town, who am I –

Mayor:  I don’t give two cusses what you think, Hondo, but I run this town and I say you need to run ‘em out!

Sheriff:  But Mayor –

Mayor:  Unless you want to find yourself on the losing end of the next election. I hear that new deputy of yours is a trig and ambitious lad.  Mayhap he’d want to try out a promotion.

Sheriff:  (sighing)  All right, Gil.  You made your point.  But these boys ain’t just fun and games; they carry hard calibers and they know how to use them.  I can’t just go out there right now, guns drawn, with all them people out there. Innocent lives are bound to be hurt.

Mayor:  Oh, don’t worry Sheriff.  I got a plan.

Beau:  And so a trap was laid for the Best Man Boys; an ambush disguised as a false wedding.  When the day came, and the Stag Horn blew, there weren’t nothing to do to save the Boys from the deception.

Sheriff:  It’s the Best Man Boys, boys!

Mayor:  Open fire!!!

Gun battle.

Beau:  Out of the fourteen men that rode into town, only five walked out.  They were told that if they ever returned to their joy-causing ways again in Cackallackee, their necks would be meeting a rope not long thereafter.  And so the last of the Best Man Boys parted ways, defeated and only husks of the men they were.  Most headed out of state, hoping to find some light in another town where they could start news lives away from any wedding planning.  Only one stayed in town, doing nothing but drinking at every open bar at every wedding that would allow him.  Since everyone feared that word would get back to the Mayor, no one ever talked with the man.  But there were a few bartenders that remembered a long ago time when a group of fellas brung jubilation that would reach the ears of the All-Mighty, and so an empty seat and a full bottle were always kept at the ready in the Cackallacks for the remaining member of the Best Man Boys.

The music changes to a slinky guitar riff.

Beau:  And it is thus we find the poor man hisself, living off of a memory outlawed by town ordinance, sitting at bar and drinking whiskey, listening to a hired band that only knew how to play depressing hymns regarding celibacy and cold showers and trying to forget who he once was.  But there is a new song that is about to sung in the Cackallacks, a song of hope, renewal, redemption. And though the first note of this ballad will be played by a young man that no one knows or has ever seen before in the North Cackallackee, the last note of it will be played by blaring of a deep, low horn.

Announcer:    In the next chapter of The Best Man Boys – The Man With The Holey Hat!

cowboys

* Co-Created with Joseph Payo

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Bottle Voices

A house party is in full swing.  In the living room, music plays while people dance.  Many others simply stand about with beer bottles or plastic red party cups in their hands, talking with each other.  Edgar, the person throwing the party, is leaning against a window sill talking to a three others.

EDGAR:  For the most part my roommates are all right, but one of them keeps using my shampoo.  I bought a big thing of shampoo just last week, and it’s almost gone now.  I’ve had to write a message on it saying, “DON’T TOUCH MY SHAMPOO OR I’LL KILL YOU!”

The group laughs.  Another guest, Simon, stumbles up to the group.  He is a healthy drunk, but not fall-down sloshed.  Yet his face is very flushed, and he is sweating a lot.  He reaches the group, who is still laughing, and begins to laugh with them, not really knowing what he’s laughing about.

SIMON: Ed, this is a great party man.
EDGAR:  Thanks, man.
SIMON:  Can you, uh – (Simon stumbles a bit, and catches himself) – can you tell me which way to the bathroom?
EDGAR:  Sure.  You all right?
SIMON:  (distracted) What?
EDGAR:  Are you okay?  You look a little out of breath.
SIMON:  Oh no, I’m fine.  I just took some LSD before coming to the party, and I think it’s starting to kick in.  Just want to splash some water on my face in a quiet room for a moment to get my bearings.
EDGAR: (chuckling)  Bathroom is down the hall and to the left.  Just be careful to not lock the door; the lock gets stuck and we have to slam into it to get it to open.
SIMON:  Thanks.

Simon walks down the hall and gets to the bathroom just as an attractive young woman comes out.  Simon stumbles a little again, braces himself on the wall, and steps out of the woman’s way, bowing as he does so.

SIMON:  Pardon me, m’lady.
WOMAN: (laughing)  Well, thank you, good squire.

The woman walks away.  Simon goes into the bathroom and closes and locks the door just as two other people come up and start to form a line.  While a little muffled, the music from the living room can still be heard.  Simon unzips and starts to urinate.  While he does his business, he glances around the bathroom.  It’s apparent that at least three or four people share this one bathroom; there are different toothbrushes, combs, mouthwashes, hair products, skin creams, etc.  There is even a pair of scissors next to a small booklet entitled How to Cut Your Own Hair in Five Easy Steps!.  Simon goes back to focusing on his current task at hand.  As he finishes, the music from the living room changes to a song with a loud house beat.  In the bathroom, the colors start to intensify.  Simon looks up to the ceiling to the the light bulb changing colors. 

SIMON:  Oh yeah, it’s kicking in.

Simon washes his hands, then fills the basin and splashes his face with water.  He looks into the basin and it sees  dozens of floating lights in the water.  He unstops the plunger and watches all the little lights flow down the drain.  He holds his face and hands over the sink while he looks for a towel.  There are none at the sink, so he turns towards the shower and dries his face with a towel hanging off the shower curtain rod.  As he dries his face and hands, he notices a shampoo bottle that is on a stand in the shower.  Meanwhile, three more people have joined in the line waiting for the bathroom.

The shampoo bottle has a huge label on it with the message “DON’T TOUCH ME OR I’LL KILL YOU!!!” written in huge black letters.  Simon stares directly at the bottle, reading the words over and over again.  He frowns.  He focuses in on the words “KILL” and “YOU!!!”  He begins to hear whispering voices coming from the bottle.

BOTTLE VOICES:   (inaudible whispers)

Simon leans in to hear the voices over the music coming from inside.

BOTTLE VOICES:   . . . kill . . . you . . .

Simon freezes.  His eyes widen in fear. 

SIMON:  What?
BOTTLE VOICES:   We’re going to kill you, Simon.  We’re going to find you in your sleep and we’re going to slit your throat.

Simon gives a small yelp and turns to leave the bathroom, but the door lock is stuck and he can’t open the door.  In the hallway, where even more people are in line and visibly annoyed, the door rattles harder and harder as Simon tries to get out. 

FRONT OF LINE MAN:  (knocking on the door)  Hey, buddy, let’s go, people are awaiting.
Simon let’s go of the door knob and turns back towards the shower.  The shampoo bottle is five times bigger.  It is now black and the writing on it is red and dripping like blood.  The voices coming from the bottle are now lower and more demonic.  Simon backs away into the sink.
BOTTLE VOICES:  You can’t run from us, Simon.  We have your place here all ready.  We will tie up your soul and bleed it dry.  We will take your hope and burn it in effigy to The Beast.  We will eat your heart and rape your mind.  There is no escape.  THERE IS NO ESCAPE!!!

A thundering drum fills the bathroom as a large chorus sings a song of despair and discord, which are really the sounds of the other people in the hallway.

FRONT OF LINE MAN:  (pounding on the door, trying to turn the doorknob)  Hey!  Are you okay in there?!

Simon starts to cry, and begins to grope around the sink, trying to get as far away from the shower as possible.  The bottle is now on fire.

BOTTLE VOICES:  Join us, Simon.  It’s so wonderful here.  Everyone sings chaos.  Everyone dances malevolence.  Join us.  JOIN US!!!

Simon’s hand hits the scissors that were on the sink and grasps them.  He brings them up over his head and begins to scream wildly.

SIMON:  CURSE ME NOT AND BEGONE DEMON!!!

Outside in the hallway, the people in the line hear Simon scream and then a succession of loud noises.  Edgar is walks up to the door.

EDGAR:  Simon!  Simon, are you all right?!  (He turns the knob to find it locked.)  Shit.

Edgar begins to slam against the door with his shoulder.  After a few failed attempts, the door opens with a loud crack.  Inside, Simon is found on the floor.  He is stabbing the shampoo bottle with the scissors.  There is shampoo all over the bathroom and Simon, who is screaming and laughing maniacally. 

SIMON:  ED, DO YOU HAVE ANY HOLY WATER?!

Phil & Rosco Dress Up

It’s Halloween and a costume party is kicking off.  The room is filled with a priest, a clown, gum stuck under a chair, a missing sock, a sexy nurse, a civil war medic, Lenin, Spiderman, etc.  Everybody is having a good time.  Among the people stands Phil, dressed as the back of a horse from a two-man horse costume.  He is talking to a woman dressed as a zombie.

ZOMBIE GIRL:  So you’re supposed to be a horse’s ass, right?
PHIL: (sighing) No.  My friend is supposed to be here as the front of the horse.  He said he would meet me here, but I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.  I’m starting to look like –
ZOMBIE GIRL:  A horse’s ass?

Rosco busts into the party, panting from running because of his lateness.  Yet he too is wearing the rear end  portion of a horse costume.  He grabs a beer from a cooler and walks up to Phil.

ROSCO:  Hey buddy.  Sorry I’m late.
PHIL:  Ros, what the hell are you doing?
ROSCO:  Having a beer after I ran ten blocks to get here.  I know I said I’d be here sooner, but there’s like no parking spaces around this neighborhood.  I parked down on Adams and Vermont and then just booked it here.  I certainly got some strange looks, even for Halloween.  You’d think for a horse costume they would make it easier to run in.  But at least I didn’t have to worrying about what to do with the head . . .
Rosco finally notices which end of the horse Phil is wearing.
ROSCO:  Why are you wearing the end?
PHIL:  Because I said I would be the end so you would get to be the head.
ROSCO:  What are you talking about?  I was going as the horse-butt because I made you shave your head last year so you could be Lex Luthor to my Superman.
PHIL:  Why didn’t you tell me that earlier?
ROSCO:  I wanted it to be a surprise!  Why did you think that I’d screw you out of the cool part of the costume?
PHIL:  Because you’ve been screwing me out of the good costumes for fifteen years!
ROSCO:  Which was why I was gonna be the better man and let you take the lead.
PHIL:  You should have told me!
ROSCO:  You should have trusted me!
PHIL:  (turning to Zombie Girl)  Can you believe this guy?
ZOMBIE GIRL:  (giggling)  You both seem like asses to me.
ROSCO:  (scoffing)  It’s like there’s nothing you can do about that joke. It’s coming, and you just have to stand there.
PHIL:  But she’s right!  We’re just two losers who can’t coordinate now.
ROSCO: (putting his beer down)  Maybe not.  I have an idea.

Rosco edges towards Phil, who just stands there eying Rosco with suspicion.  Rosco slowly hugs Phil, bringing the edges of the costumes together so they look like a horse made out of rear sections.  They stand there, shifting slightly.

ROSCO:  (turning slightly so his tail is pointing at Zombie Girl)  Well?  Do we look cool?
ZOMBIE GIRL:  You look like an abomination.
ROSCO:  We can work with that!

Phil pushes Rosco away.

PHIL:  Get away from me.

Phil storms out of the party.  Rosco leaves in the other direction.  The Zombie Girl stands by herself.  Rosco comes back in.  

ROSCO:  You’re a cute zombie.  Don’t go anywhere.  I’ll be back in a moment.

He finishes his beer in as few gulps as possible, and then leaves.

20 MINUTES LATER

Rosco, dressed as the front half of the horse now, is back as the party and talking with Zombie Girl.  His arms are poking out of the costume, holding another beer.

ROSCO:  – see now I’m just a fucked up centaur.
PHIL: (from the front door)  YOU SON OF A BITCH!

Phil has also returned to the party and is also now dressed like the front of the horse.

ROSCO:  You’ve got to be kidding me.

Phil begins to scream.  Rosco pours the rest of the beer in his costume’s mouth, throws the beer to the ground, and also begins to scream.  They run towards each other and start to fist fight, punching each other in the costume heads.  Everybody at the party starts taking pictures of the two fighting.

20 MINUTES LATER

Phil and Rosco sit on the curb in front of the house.  They each drink a beer while they look at photos on Rosco’s phone of the two of them fighting.

PHIL:  I told you people would get a kick of it.

Oh, You Pretty Things

Four guys sit around a table, playing poker.  A fifth chair is empty, with a hand of cards and very few chips left.  In the background, “Oh! You Pretty Things” has just started playing on the stereo.

Guy 1:  I just don’t see what the problem is.
Guy 2:  He’s a sore loser.
Guy 3:  And he always loses.
Guy 4:  Because he sucks at everything.
Guy 1:  He’s been losing this entire game and hasn’t done anything.
Guy 3:  That’s because he still has some chips left.
Guy 4:  Yeah.  The moment they’re gone, he’s gonna freak-the-fuck-out.
Guy 3:  Defcon 4, empty the missile silos freak out.
Guy 2:  Le Freak, c’est chic, freak out.
Guy 4:  David O. Russel I Heart Huckabees freak out.
Guy 1:  You’re exaggerating.
Guy 3:  We are not and you know it.
Guy 1:  We’ve all known each other since the third grade.  We can’t NOT invite him to hang out.

The sound of a toilet flushing comes from a nearby bathroom, followed by a running sink.  Guy 5 walks out of the bathroom.

Guy 5:  I’m getting another beer.  Anybody want one?

The guys around the table all decline.

Guy 2:  (whispering) I’m just saying next time he comes over, let’s do something that doesn’t involve any kind of competition.

Guy 5 sits down, with a newly opened beer.  They all start playing poker again.  An ante is made, everybody puts some chips in, cards are exchanged, and then the ante is raised.  Guy 5 looks down to his remaining few chips, looks at his hand, breathes a heavy sigh, and throws the rest of his chips in the pot. 

Guy 3:  I call.

Everybody shows their hands.  Not only does Guy 5 lose, his hand is the worst out of the all the hands.  Guy 5 calmly swigs his beer and sets it on the table.  He looks at the pile of chips in the center of the table.  The song in the background hits the chorus and the shot switches to slow motion as Guy 5 suddenly flips the table over.  Chips, cards, beer and pretzels go flying in all directions.  Guy 3 is soaked in beer, while Guy 4 falls backwards in his chair.  A close-up of Guy 5’s face shows him screaming in fury towards the ceiling, with veins popping out all over his head.  The chorus ends and the shot returns to normal.  The table in upended, and everything is a mess.  Guy 5 is panting.

Guy 3:  God dammit!
Guy 2:  This is what I was talking about!
Guy 5:  What happened?
Guy 4:  (getting up off the floor)  You went bat-shit crazy again!
Guy 3:  This was a new shirt!
Guy 2:  This is why I don’t want to invite you to games anymore.
Guy 5:  What?
Guy 2:  You’re always doing this!  Every time you lose –
Guy 3:  – which is anytime you fucking do anything, you spastic bastard –
Guy 2:  – you overreact, do something drastic and ruin the entire day!
Guy 5:  No I don’t.
Guy 2:  Yes you do!
Guy 4:  Every time!
Guy 1:  Come on, not every time.
Guy 3:  Every time.
Guy 5:  No I don’t!
Guy 4:  You don’t even realize you’re doing it, you’re so insane.
Guy 5:  What?  I’ve never done anything like this before.
Guy 2 – 4:  Dude!

Guy 5 looks at Guy 1.

Guy 5:  Is this some kind of joke?  What are they talking about?
Guy 1:  Well . . .

MONTAGE
As the chorus hits once again, a series of slow motion shots show Guy 5 freaking out while playing different games/sports.

– Ripping a frisbee in half.
– Ripping a football in half.
– Ripping a basketball in half.
– Ripping a baseball apart.
– Ripping a tennis racket apart.
– Bending a golf club.
– Throwing darts at the guys, one of which is stuck in Guy 4’s head.
– Choking Guy 1 with a pool cue on a pool table.
– Lifting Guy 3 over his head while playing football.
– Jumping up and down on a game console.
– Chasing after the other guys on a shuffleboard court.
– Tearing the net off of a volleyball court.
– Flipping a table over with a Monopoly board on it.
– Flipping a table over with a Jenga game on it.
– Flipping a table over with a Mousetrap board on it.
– Flipping a table over with Magic cards on it.
– Flipping a table over with Yahtzee on it.
– Flipping a table over with an unfinished puzzle on it.
– Using a bicycle to knock off another cycler passing by after a race.
– Losing at arm wrestling with Guy 2, whom Guy 5 then punches.
– Firing at the other guys on a skeet shooting range.
– A close-up of Guy 5’s face in each of the scenarios with the same look of unquenchable rage on it.

BACK TO SCENE

Guy 5:  I never knew.
Guy 2:  Well, now you do.
Guy 5:  I’m sorry guys.
Guy 1:  It’s not a problem.
Guy 3:  It is a problem.  You need to calm down.
Guy 4:  Meditate.  Do yoga.  Learn to knit.
Guy 2:  Anything but compete.
Guy 1:  Don’t be so hard on him –
Guy 5:  No, they’re right.  I guess I have tendency to overreact.  I work on it.  But in the meantime, listen, why don’t I clean this up and then take everyone out to dinner?  And because I’ve been acting like a dick for all these years, it’s on me.

They all nod that this proposal is acceptable.  Guy 5 picks up the table and poker supplies.

Guy 1:  Who’s going to drive?
Guy 3:  I will; my car’s the biggest.
Guy 4 and 5:  SHOTGUN!

Pause.

Guy 5:  Flip you for it?
Guy 4:  Uhhh . . .  why don’t you just take it –
Guy 5:  No no, I gotta learn to be a fair sport.  (Takes out a quarter, tosses and catches it, and puts his hand over the coin.)  Call it.
Guy 4:  (looking at the others)  Why don’t you call it.
Guy 5:  Okay.  Heads.  (He uncovers the coin.)  Tails.  See?  I’m just fine.  Not a problem.  No tantrum.

Guy 5 walks out.  The rest stand in silence for a moment.

Guy 1:  See?  He’s already getting better –

A car door smashes through the window.  They all look to see Guy 5 ripping a car apart.

Guy 2:  Better my ass.
Guy 3:  My car!

Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger – Part III

(This is the finale of The Captain Solecistic Series.  To catch up, here is Part I and Part II.)

Radio tuning.  It finds a station, where all that can be heard is the sound of a boat on a lake.  Then there is a mechanical whir, a plop, and a grunt.

BILLY-JOE:  Good cast, mmhmm.

More ambient lake sounds.

ANNOUNCER:  And that’s all we have for this episode of “Fishing with Billy-Joe on the Radio”.  Tune in next week, when Billy-Joe almost catches a pike and then has to contend with the horrors of running out of chewing tobacco!  Now, let us wind down from Billy-Joe’s exciting saga with the latest episode of Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger!

A trumpet fanfare.

ANNOUNCER:  When last we saw our hero he had temporarily allied himself with his greatest nemesis, The Librarian, to discover the best route to get to The Jack of Trades, who is holding the town’s single whiskey distillery for ransom.  Luckily for the Captain, the distillery and the library are actually in the same building; something he would have known if his super powers hadn’t stripped him of his ability to read any sort of written symbol representing language!

CAPTAIN:  Or maps!

ANNOUNCER:   Yes, he surely is stupid, and yet his heart is pure and his might is just!  But will he get to The Jack of Trades before the distillery-library goes kablooey?  Will he be able to stop the bomb before it sends the town’s whiskey and book supply sky high?  Will the Illiterate Avenger be able to save the day in time?  We certainly hope so as the producers have had enough of superheroes with powers that make no earthly sense and are about to cancel the show – (breaking character) – wait, what?

PRODUCER:  Just keep reading.

The music changes to an ominous rumble.

ANNOUNCER:  (back in character)  We arrive on the scene inside the distillery, where The Jack of All Trades is talking to negotiators.

NEGOTIATOR:  Be more reasonable here, Jack.  We’ll bring you $500 in silver dollars right now, but we need more time.  Whaddya say, huh?  $500, and you send out just the cheap stuff.  You know, as a show of good faith.

JACK:  You can’t buy me off with 500 dollar coins, copper.  It all stays until I have my money.

NEGOTIATOR:  But there aren’t that many silver dollars in the entire city!

JACK:  Then you best start asking the neighbors for sugar ‘cause I want my money!  And none of this new age gold coins with Sacagewasit on the front!  I want the good old JFK silver dollars.

NEGOTIATOR:  JFK wasn’t on the silver dollar, Eisenhower was.  Do you mean half dollar coins?

JACK:  Whatever, I just want to ones with JFK on them.

NEGOTIATOR:  Those haven’t been struck in more than a decade!  You want us to scrounge up ten million dollars in outdated fifty cent coins?

JACK:  And do it in one hour or else this booze factory is gonna see the hot end of a match.  I have it rigged so that if anything happens to me, the countdown begins and you won’t get in here in time to stop it.  AND MAKE SURE THOSE COINS ARE SHINY!!!

Jack hangs up.

JACK:  Hmmmm, I thought JFK was on the dollar.

CAPTAIN:  MAYBE YOU SHOULD DO A BIT MORE READING!

The sound of objects flying through the air and smacking Jack in the face.

JACK:  Ow!  Who just threw a book at me?!

CAPTAIN:  It is I, Captain Solecistic!  And I have come to foil your plans to rid our fair city of wonderful liquor.

JACK:  Never, you illiterate nuisance.  Don’t come any closer or I’ll blow up this whole place.

CAPTAIN:  Give up Jack of All Trades for you have no hope of winning.

JACK:  I fail to see how throwing books at me is going to stop me from blowing this place up.

Another book flies through the air and hits Jack.

JACK:  Ow!  Stop that!

A gun fires.  Footsteps.

CAPTAIN:  (laughing)  Bullets can’t hurt me.

The gun fires again and there’s a sound of glass breaking.  The footsteps stop.

CAPTAIN:  Jack, you fiend!

JACK:  Every step you take towards me, I’ll shoot another bottle.

Pause.  Then there is one footstep, followed by one gunshot and one bottle breaking.  Pause.  Three steps, three shots, three breaking bottles.  Pause.  Captain then starts to run back and forth to test Jack, and Jack shoots one bottle for each of his many footsteps.  Phone rings, and Jack picks it up.

NEGOTIATOR:  We heard shots and breaking bottles Jack!  What’s going on in there?!

JACK:  I told you people to stay back or there would be consequences.

NEGOTIATOR:  None of my people have moved.  We’re not willing to risk any whiskey; it’s not like they’re people.

JACK:  Then what is this caped moron doing here?

NEGOTIATOR:  Caped?  Oh lord.  Is it Captain Solecistic?

JACK:  Yes.

NEGOTIATOR:  Can we talk to him?

JACK:  It’s for you?

Captain walks over to the phone.

CAPTAIN: Hi this is – (to Jack) – I took four steps by the way.

JACK:  Thanks.

Jack shoots four bottles.

CAPTAIN:  This is the Illiterate Avenger.

NEGOTIATOR:  Cap, could you just sit this one out?  You know the commish doesn’t like you interfering with police business.

CAPTAIN:  Don’t worry about me, good sir.  I can’t stand by and watch my city’s sanity being pushed to the brink by some madman.

NEGOTIATOR:  We just don’t want to lose any more of the hostages than we have to.

CAPTAIN:  Hostages?

NEGOTIATOR:  The whiskey!

CAPTAIN:  Well, by my count, he’s only shot 16 bottles –

Gunshot.  Bottle breaking.

CAPTAIN: 17 bottles.

NEGOTIATOR:  That’s what we’re talking about, Captain!  We know you’re just trying to help, but we need to placate this guy until we can take him out safely.

Pause.  Captain punches Jack, and he falls down.

CAPTAIN:  Taken care of.  I just knocked him out.

NEGOTIATOR:  What?  NO!

A beeping/ticking starts counting down.

CAPTAIN:  Oh look, the bombs started doing something.

NEGOTIATOR:  Is it counting down?

CAPTAIN:  (hesitating)  I . . .  I don’t know.  But given the context of the situation, I would say yes.

NEGOTIATOR:  How much time do we have?

CAPTAIN:  I don’t really know.

NEGOTIATOR:  You mean you can’t read numbers either?

CAPTAIN:  Or maps.  I can tell you that it looks like a stick, a couple of dots, a broken pitchfork and what I assume is a deformed shrimp.

NEGOTIATOR:  Oh my god.  Get out of their Captain, it’s about to blow!  Just grab as many bottles as you can on the way out!  We can sell them to the highest bidder and live like kings!

CAPTAIN:  Don’t worry, sir.  I have an idea.

The sound of captain struggling and then heavy footsteps.

ANNOUNCER:  As the countdown counts down, Captain Solecistic lifts the bomb and carries it away from the town’s liquor supply.  Not being able to take it outside lest he injures the good, hardworking police force, the Illiterate Avenger has only one other choice.

Bomb explodes.  Dust and debris fall to the ground.  And then clapping and cheering.  Captain Solecistic has changed back into Parker Gently and is dictating to Robbie.

PARKER:  With quick thinking, Captain Solecistic lifted the bomb single-handedly and rescued all the whiskey in town.  What was once Ruby City’s Drink n’ Read Book Depository & Distillery is now just Drink n’ Drink Distillery, as the mighty Captain ensured that all the damage was done to the town’s library, who no one ever used anyway.  No one was harmed, saved for an evil Librarian, and may he burn in the depths of the abyss with demonic fire peeling the wicked flesh from his bloody bones –

ROBBIE:  What did you say Mr. Gently?

PARKER:  Nothing, other than that Captain Solecistic has once again saved the day!  You get all that Robbie?

ROBBIE:  Yes sir.

PARKER:  Now let’s go get a drink.

ROBBIE:  But I’m underage.  See my ID?

PARKER:  Uhhhhhhh – (throws card to the ground, slaps Robbie) – don’t contradict your elders, young man.  Now off to the local tavern!

ANNOUNCER:  And that is the conclusion of this chapter of the Captain Solecistic!  We’d like to remind all you young’uns out there that we do not condone giving minors any of the cool, refreshing, fun, will totally make you cool with all the kids in the neighborhood, pleasures of whiskey!  Tune in next week –

PRODUCER:  Maybe.

ANNOUNCER:  – maybe tune in next week for another exciting tale of Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger!

old radio

Phil and Rosco Discuss the Culinary Arts

Phil and Rosco are in the car.  They are drunk, but somehow driving safely.  

PHIL:  Is there any bar in this town that we’re not banned from?  This is a bustling city; there should be new ones popping up all over the place.

ROSCO:  I know.  We have to wait until the school year ends.

Pause.

PHIL:  What?

ROSCO:  Think about it –  a bunch of college kids, just graduated, think they’re all the shit and looking to start their own bar because they know how to run it better.

PHIL: (chuckles) Because they’re tired of paying high prices for watered drinks on club night.  Idiots.

ROSCO:  Exactly.  Fools don’t know that Tuesday is the day to go drinking.

PHIL:  Why do I feel like we’re in a Quentin Tarantino film?

ROSCO:  (pointing) Ooooo!  Let’s get Little Ceasar’s!

FIVE MINUTES LATER

Phil and Rosco are now eating a pizza and breadsticks.  Rosco is dipping breadsticks in a tiny plastic cup of marinara sauce and having difficulty because the car is bumping around.

ROSCO:  I still don’t get it.

PHIL:  Two guys in a car talking about food.  Straight out of Pulp Fiction.

Rosco spills marinara on his shirt.

ROSCO:   Dammit, they need to get rid of these little plastic cups.  They need to give us some professional shit.

PHIL:  Huh?

ROSCO:  You know, those little ceramic dishes that you always see on the Food Network filled with onion soup or something.

PHIL:  You mean bowls?

ROSCO:  No, not bowls.  They have a more –

PHIL:  Not bowls?

ROSCO:  No!  Not bowls.  They have a more exact name, a more specific name.

PHIL:  A scientific name for a bowl?

ROSCO:  Why are you dumber than me when you’re drunk?

PHIL:  Shhhhh!  Don’t say that while I’m driving, you’ll jinx us.

ROSCO:   Oh please, like a cop is going to pull us over in this part of town.

A police car flashes its lights and whoops its siren.  Phil pulls the car over, and looks at Rosco.

PHIL:  You son of a bitch.

One hour later.  Phil and Rosco are in jail, being kept in separate cells.  Each of their arms are hanging out of the bars.  Pause.

PHIL:  Ramekins?

Rosco’s clenches one of his hands in a triumphant fist.

ROSCO:  YES!

ramekins

A Remembered Argument

A man sits on the floor of his apartment, throwing a small blue ball against the wall and catching it as it bounces off.  His face is blank, and he stares off into space, not watching what he is doing.  The sound of the ball hitting the floor, the wall and being caught echoes through the apartment.

(The following scene is only heard as the man replays the events in his head.  We only see the scene through the furniture, objects and aftermath of the argument, as well as hear the sounds [shown in bold brackets] taking place around the argument.  And throughout the entire thing, we can still hear the sound of the ball hitting the wall.)

We see a dinner set up on the dining table.  The meal is over and we see one of the plates is almost empty.  There are two bottles – one champagne, the other sparkling cider – open on the table.  One  champagne flute is standing, mostly full, near the woman’s place.

MAN: [bottle popping open] And a glass of normal bubbly for me . . . [twist-off bottle opening] and a glass of non-boozey bubbly for you.  [Two glasses are filled.]
WOMAN:  I don’t get the normal bubbles?
MAN:  Not when you drink for two.  I won’t be lording it over you; this is my last drink until it’s over.  After that, we can go on a week bender.  We can bathe in the stuff.
WOMAN: Is that what all this is about?
MAN: All . . .?
WOMAN:  The dinner.  The sparkling cider.  The fact that the apartment is clean for once.

The apartment is very clean.  There are rose petals strewn across the floor and table.  On the walls are pictures of the couple: at parties, different locations, laughing, dancing, kissing.

MAN:  This apartment is always clean.
WOMAN:  The fact that I didn’t clean the apartment for once.
MAN:  I walked into that one.  I’m trying to get used to doing more housework for when your ankles are swollen and all you’ll want weird food like ice cream and mustard.
WOMAN: I like ice cream and mustard now.
MAN:  See?
WOMAN:  I’m not a blimp yet.
MAN: Practice.  You want me trying to figure out how to do this once the water breaks?
WOMAN:  Hmmm.  And is the dinner practice too?
MAN:  As well as a preemptive celebration to you saying, “I do.”
WOMAN:  Hmmmm.
MAN:  You said “a week” a week ago.  I realize it was kind of sudden, looking back on it, but seeing as we’re stuck together now we might as well, right?  . . . what?  [The ring is pushed across the table.]

We see the table from a different angle, reveiling the engagement ring that is between the bottles.

MAN:  Oh.  Guess ‘preemptive’ was the word.

We return to the man at the door, bouncing the ball.  His eyes have gotten watery.

MAN:  I mean, there’s nothing saying we have to get married; plenty of people have kids out of it.  I guess I just don’t understand.  We’ve been together eight years, lived together for five.  I just don’t –
WOMAN: Because I couldn’t.  I thought about it, I thought about it a lot, and I was having trouble breathing and  I couldn’t focus at work.  I yelled at my assistant the other day for no real reason. I just . . . I can’t.  I just –
MAN:  Okay.  It’s all right.  Umm.  I love you, that’s all that matters.  If you don’t want to get married –
WOMAN: – it’s not that –
MAN:  – if you don’t want to, that’s all right.  And it’s probably for the best.  We have a lot on our plate right now, and a wedding would just get in the way. As long as you’re here, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves.  Maybe in a few years, thing’ll be different, maybe you’ll feel different and –
WOMAN:  No.  I won’t feel different.  That’s it.
MAN:  What?
WOMAN:  I’m . . . I’m going to be staying with Stacey for the next few nights.
MAN:  What are you saying?
WOMAN:  I’ll give you a call after that and we can figure out –
MAN:  No.  No.  You can’t do this, you can’t walk out.  [The woman gets up and takes her plate with her.]

One place at the table is empty, save the napkin that has been left.  

WOMAN:  I’m sorry –  [Running water.]
MAN:  You can’t just walk out.  Eight years, eight years together.  Were they bad?
WOMAN:  No.
MAN:  Then?  How long have you felt like this?
WOMAN:  Not long.
MAN:  Since I proposed?  [Running water shuts off.]

The woman’s plate and utensils sit on a drying rack near the kitchen sink.  They are still dripping onto the counter.

WOMAN:  Yes.  No.  It was before that.
MAN:  Why didn’t you talk to me?
WOMAN:  We’re talking now.
MAN:  Before now!  This is not talking!  This is not an exchange of ideas to come to a conclusion, to find a compromise, to work it out.  You’ve already worked it out!  [She walks back towards the dining room.]
WOMAN:  Baby, please –
MAN:  Baby!  We’re having a baby together, and you’re walking out because you got cold feet about a wedding you’ve said no to?
WOMAN:  No.
MAN:  No?
WOMAN:  No, that’s not why I have to leave.
MAN:  Then , “No,” what?
WOMAN:  No.  We’re not having a baby.
MAN:  Pardon?
WOMAN:  I’m not having a baby.  [Glass breaking.]

The man’s glass of champagne is broken on the floor.  Tiny bubbles can still be seen in the liquid.  The man at the door wipes tears away from his eyes without disturbing the cadence of the ball hitting the wall.

MAN:  What did you do?  [The woman grabs a towel and walks towards the spill, and starts to clean it up.]
WOMAN:  I’m not ready to have a kid.  I don’t know if I even want to have a kid –
MAN:  So you just up and have an abort – stop cleaning that and look at me!  [The man grabs the towel and throws it across the room.  The sound of something falling, and then of breaking glass.]

One of the pictures of the couple on the way was hit by the towel and fell to the floor, breaking the glass.  The towel sits, half wet with champagne, next to the broken picture.

WOMAN: – and then you proposed, and I couldn’t stand the thought of . . . of this happening, so –
MAN:  Well, it is.
WOMAN:  I just thought –
MAN:  You thought.  You would have known if you talked to me about it.
WOMAN:  You would have just guilt-tripped me into keeping it and into staying and then three, five, eight years down the road I would have wasted more of my life –
MAN:  Wasted?
WOMAN:  That’s not what I meant –
MAN:  What did you mean?
WOMAN:  It was just too much.  If it had just been the marriage, or maybe just . . . I could have managed.  But you just laid both on me –
MAN:  [The man stands.]  Don’t blame this shit on me!  I’m not the one who killed our baby and then tried to sneak away.
WOMAN:  I’m not blaming you.
MAN:  Without one word, not ONE word with me until it was too late to do anything about it.
WOMAN:  It’s my body –
MAN:  And it was my child!  A part of me was in there.  I may not have had to carry the thing, but you can’t say I wasn’t invested.  This isn’t about that.  Yes, I wanted you marry me; yes, I wanted a baby; I would’ve have fought for either of those, would’ve been hurt if you still decided to go that way, but I would have backed off after seeing you, hearing you.
WOMAN:  Please –
MAN:  But you couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me, could you?
WOMAN:  Oh god –
MAN:  Did you terminate before or after I asked you to marry me?  [The woman walks to the coffee table, picks up her purse.]
WOMAN:  I have to go.
MAN:  Why?  Stay here.  Talk to me.  I’m upset as shit, but I can forgive.  I still love you –
WOMAN:  No, you don’t –  [The woman opens the front door.  The man grabs her and turns her around.]
MAN:  I love you.
WOMAN:  You can’t.  Not after this.  I knew you wouldn’t be able to –
MAN:  We can work through this –
WOMAN:  Let me go.
MAN:  Not until you sit down and tell me why.
WOMAN:  I told you why, let me go –
MAN:  Bullshit.  Stay.
WOMAN:  Let me go.
MAN:  Please, don’t.
WOMAN:  Let me GO!  [Slap.]

Seeing a new angle on the man, we see that on one side of his face is a red mark in the shape of a hand.

WOMAN:  I’m sorry.  I can’t stay.  You say you can forgive . . . but you won’t.  You can’t.  I can’t . . . do it myself.  I can’t stay after this, it’s too much.  Let me go.  I’m sorry.  [The door closes.]

We now see the room and the chaos that was caused.  Half of the table is empty, an engagement ring sits alone between two bottles, a broken glass of champagne spreads across the floor, a picture of the couple is broken next to a used towel.  The man continues to hit the ball against the wall.  Cut to black.man-alone-empty-room-2854988828-1s00n2u