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

Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger – Part II

A radio clicks on.  Static is heard, as well as a high-pitched whine as the radio tunes to a good station.

ADVERTISER: . . . and you’ll never have to worry about blood stains again.  Now stayed tuned for the continuation of Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger, and remember that when the Captain needs to deal with those pesky bodily fluids, he uses Uncle Popee’s Excrete-A-Gone for the stains.

A trumpet fanfare.

ANNOUNCER:  Look up – er, down, at the street.  Who is that masked man, dashing through traffic and knocking over hot dog vendors with the greatest of ease?  Why, it’s none other than Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger, the superhero with the heart of a warrior, the strength of a giant, and the inability to read even the simplest instructions on a box of Poptarts that even a mentally challenged, blind 7-year old could read.

CAPTAIN: (from a distance) Hey!

ANNOUNCER:  He also has super-hearing!  In last week’s adventure, the newest villain to plague the streets of Ruby City, The Jack of Trades threatened to blow up the town’s whiskey distillery if, thereby crippling the entire adult male population, if his demands were not met.  The Captain dashed off to stop him, but he was foiled once again when he could not comprehend a map of the city.  Now he must consult with his greatest foe if he is to find a way to win the day!

LIBRARIAN: (stamping a book) And this is due back in two weeks.  Enjoy!

The sound of glass breaking.

CAPTAIN:  It is I, Captain Solecis –

LIBRARIAN:  Oh lord, not you again.

CAPTAIN:  Yes, me, Captain Sol –

LIBRARIAN:  Why can’t you leave us alone?!

CAPTAIN:  Captain –

LIBRARIAN:  First, you come and pee all over my desk, then you get struck by lightning, completely frying my computer, and now you’re over here every week asking for help reading every single piece of paper you find.

CAPTAIN:  Not every week.

LIBRARIAN:  EVERY WEEK!  And every time, you come through the window because you’re too stupid to read the signs pointing to the front door!  Huge glass windows are expensive, you know?!

CAPTAIN:  Well –

LIBRARIAN:  And you always hit me after I help you.

CAPTAIN: (boisterous laugh) Yes, we have fought many battles, and while you are a dastardly foe, I have always won in the end.

LIBRARIAN:  My medicals bills are stacking up –

CAPTAIN:  But I am not here to regale your patrons with our past encounters.  Now, I need your help to stop the newest villain threatening this city.

LIBRARIAN:  I’ve started to talk to a lawyer –

Captain slaps the librarian.

CAPTAIN:  I know you loathe me, and I you, and someday we shall fight until one of us is no more, but dammit man, there are more important things to worry about!  Don’t you listen to the radio?

LIBRARIAN:  There are no radios allowed in the library.

CAPTAIN:  The Jack of Trades is threatening to blow up the town’s whiskey supply, and I need your help to stop him.

PATRON:  The distillery?!

The sound of many people in the library fainting.

LIBRARIAN:  What the hell?

CAPTAIN:  (taking out a map) You may be a pretentious, smarmy bastard and I hate everything you stand for, but you’ve done fair by this city.  Let us join forces.  Read this map, and help me find the distillery so that I may stop the Jack of Trades before it is too late.

LIBRARIAN:  Oh god.

CAPTAIN:  Yes, call upon your evil and ancient eldergods, and call forth your powers to decipher any written language.

LIBRARIAN:  You really are stupid.

CAPTAIN:  You know all my abilities to comprehend any written symbols has been stripped away!

LIBRARIAN:  You’re not dumb because you can’t read, or at least not just because you can’t read.

Captain knocks a lamp off a desk and onto the ground.

LIBRARIAN:  Hey!

CAPTAIN:  We don’t have time for this!  That distillery is going to be gone soon, and I need to know where it is!

LIBRARIAN:  It’s right next door, you moron!

CAPTAIN:  What?

LIBRARIAN:  If you had opened your eyes before jumping through windows and knocking out all the men in the library, you would have seen that the distillery is the building right by this one.

CAPTAIN:  Oh.

LIBRARIAN:  The distillery is the company that funds this library!  That’s why we’re called Ruby City’s Drink n’ Read Book Depository.

CAPTAIN:  I always wondered about that.

LIBRARIAN:  The two buildings are even attached.  There is a hallway down the east wing that heads straight into the main show room of the distillery.

CAPTAIN:  By Jove!  I can use that hallway to sneak into the distillery, giving me the element of surprise!  Your powers and ancient knowledge helps save the city once again.  But the time for your wily incantations and archaic wordsmithing is over, and the time for brazen action is at hand.  Farewell, my greatest foe.  Today we have found a common ground and have become allies, but I swear someday I shall destroy you and your confusing building of . . . confusion.

Pause.  Captain slaps the librarian.  Pause.  Captain knocks another lamp to the ground.  Pause.

LIBRARIAN:  Get the hell out of my library.

Captain runs off.

NARRATOR:  And so Captain Solecistic is off!  But will he get to the distillery in time to stop the Jack of Trades, or will the distillery –

LIBRARIAN:  And library!  We’re attached, you know.

NARRATOR: Will he be able to save the distillery and library before the Jack of Trades incinerates it?  Will the Captain be able to find the east wing without being able reading any of the signs posted in the library?  Will the Librarian press charges against the Captain for breaking yet another window?

LIBRARIAN:  YES!

NARRATOR:  Tune in next time to find out the answers on Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger!

Fanfare plays.

A continuation from last week’s script.

Captain Solecistic: The Illiterate Avenger – Part I

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 –

Theme music.

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’?

ROBBIE:  No.

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.

Pause.

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!

CHIEF:  NO!

The chief falls over.

STACY:  Chief!

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.

Dramatic music.

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. —