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Thread: Creative Works

  1. #41
    When I think about it that way Seth, Skull Face, Phoenix is the Harry Potter who went dark.

  2. #42
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    1,560
    Wrote something new for my sister. I may rework it a bit still but I like how it came out.


    Old Timey Happiness Good Old Days Sunshine Theater
    By Christopher Hageman

    MOM Wants everything to be ok, all the time. A bit overprotective.

    DAD He tries, but he’s very stressed. Having a bad day, in a bad mood.

    BILLY Young. Happy, when he can be. Perhaps around 10 years old.

    THE TOUR GUIDE Loves, perhaps worships the theater.

    THE DIRECTOR A showman, and the man running the show. A twinkle in his eye.

    THE HERO On air, the archetypal hero. Off air, incomprehensible and weird.

    THE HEROINE On air, the archetypal damsel, also narrator. Off air, listless.

    THE VILLAIN On air, a melodramatic megalomaniac. Off air, painfully shy.

    THE HENCHMAN On air, a bumbling goon. Off air, has lofty pretensions.

    THE STAGE MANAGER Tired of all this.

    THE SOUND GUY Only speaks in sound effects.

    THE COMMERCIAL GUY Commercials, he just loves them!!

    SETTING: A small town radio station.

    AT RISE: Stage is empty. DIRECTOR appears and walks to center stage. He looks around angrily at the empty stage, then looks offstage stage right. He taps his wrist and stamps his foot, and STAGE MANAGER enters wearily, carrying as many chairs/stools as possible. HERO, HEROINE, VILLAIN, HENCHMAN, SOUND GUY, and COMMERCIAL GUY all enter behind him, each carrying no more than their own stool/chair. Everyone starts setting up with a lot of hustle and bustle. They can interact as they set up but should not reveal much of their character. If the STAGE MANAGER has to make multiple trips, so much the better, the DIRECTOR should focus most of his micromanaging on him. Suggested setup: At far Stage Left, 2 stools/chairs for COMMERCIAL GUY and SOUND GUY, facing straight ahead. Slightly to Stage Left of Center, 4 stools/chairs for HERO, HEROINE, VILLAIN, and HENCHMAN, facing straight ahead. Slightly Stage Right of Center, 2 stools/chairs for DIRECTOR and STAGE MANAGER, angled to face the performers but cheated towards the audience. Behind them at far Stage Right, 4 angled stools/chairs. When everything is set up, everyone should take their assigned seat. Everyone stays seated for the duration unless otherwise directed, except the DIRECTOR, who can get up and pace behind the performers as much or as little as they like to. The space between the cast and the stage manager should serve as an informal barrier, no need to mime a door but indicate subtly that this is a barrier if possible. When everyone is seated, the DIRECTOR gives the signal, and the cast assumes their stage persona.

    STAGE MANAGER
    On air!

    COMMERCIAL
    Today’s show is brought to you by John Jay’s Hair Cream! Nobody creams your hair like John Jay! It’s Jaylicious! And now, live from the historic Independence Studio, it’s the Old Timey Happiness Good Old Days Sunshine Theater!

    SOUND
    (Zippy fanfare.)

    HEROINE
    Welcome back everyone! You’ve just in time for the next part of the story!

    HERO
    The story of the good!

    SOUND
    (Heroic trumpets!)

    VILLAIN
    And the bad!

    SOUND
    (Dramatic reverb!)

    HENCHMAN
    And the ugly! Hey, wait!

    SOUND
    (Wah wah wah)

    HEROINE
    And also there’s a woman!

    SOUND
    (Wolf whistle!)

    HEROINE
    We last left our dear hero in a precarious position!

    SOUND
    (Tense crescendo!)

    HERO
    You may have trapped me on this precarious cliff, you scoundrel, but you’ll never win the day!

    VILLAIN
    (Evil cackle) Fool, victory is already within my grasp! The secrets of the Egyptian Mummy’s Curse will be mine!

    HEROINE
    No, not the curse! Somebody do something!

    HERO
    Don’t worry, my darling! All will be well!

    VILLAIN
    All will be doom! Loyal henchman, produce the parchment!

    SOUND GUY
    (Wind whistles through an awkward pause)

    HENCHMAN
    Uh, is that me?

    VILLAIN
    Of course it’s you, you fool! Give me the parchment!

    HENCHMAN
    Ah, yes m’lord! Here it is!

    HEROINE
    Oh no, he has the parchment!

    HERO
    Don’t worry darling, he’s in for a nasty shock!

    VILLAIN
    Why, you dundering dunderhead, this is no parchment! It’s… toilet paper!!

    SOUND
    (Extended dramatic reverb!!!)

    HENCHMAN
    But it’s quilted!

    COMMERCIAL
    Not feeling comfortable in your sarcophagus? Try Thomas Paine’s TP! Thomas Paine’s TP, for common comfort. No Paine, no inflamed! Now quilted!

    SOUND
    (Tada!)

    VILLAIN
    Comfortable and gentle though this may be, it is not the parchment! You blistering buffoon, what have you done?

    HERO
    Twas not him, twas me, thou villain!

    HEROINE
    Oh my, you know I love it when you speak old English! I’m all a-flutter!

    HERO
    When thoust underling was distracted, I didst swap thine cursed document! I have the true item right here in mine possession!

    HENCHMAN
    Well, don’t I feel foolish.

    VILLAIN
    Why you!

    SOUND GUY
    (Bonk!)

    HENCHMAN
    Doh! Sorry master!

    HEROINE
    An ingenious plan my love…

    (The radio drama continues but fades into silence. TOUR GUIDE leads MOM, DAD, and BILLY on from Stage Right.)

    TOUR GUIDE
    And here’s where the magic happens!

    MOM
    Oooh, the magic! Billy, did you hear that? It’s the magic!

    BILLY
    Like a magician?

    DAD
    Yeah, he made my 50 bucks disappear so we could come in here…

    TOUR GUIDE
    And you won’t regret it! Because this is the studio where they make the Old Timey Happiness Good Old Days Sunshine Theater Radio Show!

    DAD
    (Pause) You know, I’m in marketing. I could probably help you with that Encyclopedia of a name.

    MOM
    Oh, stop.

    TOUR GUIDE
    No need sir, the name is perfect! Just like everything here!

    BILLY
    I like the name!

    TOUR GUIDE
    Because you have a pure heart! Let’s sit down and watch!

    (MOM, BILLY, and TOUR GUIDE sit)

    DAD
    He also likes Barney…

    TOUR GUIDE
    (Brightly) Shut up and sit down sir!

    DAD
    Did you just say…

    DIRECTOR
    (Walks over to the group, blustering) Excuse me, we are trying to make beautiful art over here, can you please sit quietly and allow us to create beauty?

    DAD
    Ah… yeah, of course.

    BILLY
    I want to see the beauty!

    DIRECTOR
    Ah, then you shall, small boy!

    (DIRECTOR goes to STAGE MANAGER and taps him on the shoulder, and makes a circular motion. STAGE MANAGER nods and turns and the sound returns.)

    HEROINE
    ...But what will we do now? How will we escape this precious perch?

    HERO
    Don’t worry! I have a plan! Geronimo!!

    SOUND
    (Slide whistle dooooooooooown! Sploosh!)

    VILLAIN
    The fool has jumped!

    HEROINE
    (Screams!) What a brave and foolish thing to do!

    VILLAIN
    No matter! Come, my mindless minion. Take the girl, we shall travel to the bottom and retrieve the precious parchment from the corpse of the fool! (Evil cackle!)

    HENCHMAN
    Yes m’lord! Come along miss, we’re going to see the corpse!

    HEROINE
    No! Unhand me! You fiendish brute! Your hands are so rough!

    HENCHMAN
    Oh, you hurt my feelings miss!

    COMMERCIAL GUY
    Rough skin got you down? Try Pat Henry’s moisturizing sandpaper scrub! The women will say, wow! The fellas will say, hey now! Give me smooth skin or give me death! Now 100% safe! We’ll be right back!

    (DIRECTOR gives the signal)

    STAGE MANAGER
    Off air!

    (Everyone resumes their off air personas. The performers can’t hear the tourist group.)

    DAD
    I didn’t knew they still made shows like… this.

    MOM
    On the radio, you mean?

    DAD
    No, I mean this bad. (Loudly) Anybody heard of Netflix?

    TOUR GUIDE
    (Unphased, Cheerful) Here at OTHGODS, we believe the old ways are best! If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

    DAD
    Oth-gods? Old Timey Happiness… Oh, I get it. Yeah, still think you have an image problem.

    MOM
    Honey, we talked about this.

    BILLY
    I want to know what happens next!

    DIRECTOR
    (Coming back to them) And yes, why should you not? The drama! The danger! The artistic expressions! The pathos!

    DAD
    I can’t believe I paid money for this.

    MOM
    Dear, he’s happy. Let’s not do this.

    TOUR GUIDE
    (After an awkward pause) Would you like to meet the cast, Billy?

    MOM
    Oh Billy, maybe you should stay with us.

    DAD
    For Pete’s sake, we’re already here, just let him go. It’ll be fine.

    BILLY
    I want to meet them!

    TOUR GUIDE
    Your wish is my command! I’m the tour guide, nice to meet you. I love it here! I love it more than anything. And you’ve already met our director, of course.

    BILLY
    Hi, I’m Billy!

    DIRECTOR
    Ah, young master William! There are many great artists named William, did you know that?

    BILLY
    Like who?

    DIRECTOR
    Why, the great Shakespeare, for one!

    BILLY
    (laughs) I like Billy better.

    DIRECTOR
    “Billy” is not the name for a great artist. But you will know this in time, no matter.

    DAD
    Good luck getting Billy involved in art, all he likes is TV.

    MOM
    Well, he’s still finding what he likes best.

    BILLY
    I like the stories!

    DIRECTOR
    Ah, but the story is the greatest art of them all.

    DAD
    Yeah, that’ll help him when he grows up…

    DIRECTOR
    (Eyes DAD unpleasantly, he doesn’t notice) Yes, well, come on master William, we shall meet the rest of the artists.

    MOM
    Oh, I should come along-

    DAD
    He doesn’t need you every second. We talked about this.

    DIRECTOR
    Not to worry, not to worry, all will be well for young William!

    (DIRECTOR ushers BILLY up and over towards the cast. They walk behind the stools. MOM looks over-worried, DAD looks bored. TOUR GUIDE chats at the silently. DIRECTOR and BILLY approach STAGE MANAGER first.)

    BILLY
    Hi there, I’m Billy! What’s your name?

    STAGE MANAGER
    (Startled, didn’t realize they had come in) Oh, no-

    DIRECTOR
    We don’t speak to this one, young William, he is only the stage manager! A simple, quiet tool of the great director - Me!

    STAGE MANAGER
    Please, not-

    DIRECTOR
    We go on!

    BILLY
    Bye! See you later! (DIRECTOR shoots a look at STAGE MANAGER as they walk by. STAGE MANAGER looks unhappy but stays quiet. They walk behind HERO.) I know you, you’re the hero! I heard you doing brave things!

    HERO
    (Very different than his “on air” persona) Oh you know, I like to show the stoppers what for, give ‘em a good run around, it’s no problem to take a leap if you’re king of creation, you know?

    BILLY
    What?

    HERO
    It’s all I can do to stay ahead of the black hearts! They’re always in the corners, weeping on the walls! You have to keep your face on or they’ll get you!

    BILLY
    (Laughs) You’re weird.

    HERO
    Oh, he’s laughing behind my front! But he doesn’t know, not what we know, eh?

    HEROINE
    (Listless) Just stop it. Nobody knows what you’re talking about.

    DIRECTOR
    Yes, young master William, this is indeed our hero and our heroine.

    HEROINE
    Such as we are, I guess.

    HERO
    We’re an elephant! We’re as big as houses!

    HEROINE
    Sure.

    HERO
    We’re as big as the moon! We’re the sun, we’re on fire baby!

    HENCHMAN
    Oh for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention! A kingdom for a stage, princes to act, and monarchs to behold the swelling scene.

    HERO
    Oh aye! The ayes have it!

    BILLY
    Wow, what was that?

    HEROINE
    Ugh, don’t get him started.

    DIRECTOR
    Why that, William, was your own namesake, Shakespeare himself!

    HERO
    The Willy himself! The very one!

    HENCHMAN
    Indeed, forsooth! Twas the Bard, he of Stratford-Upon-Avon! He is the inspiration for my art!

    BILLY
    But you do the dumb stuff in the show.

    DIRECTOR
    Ah, but you cannot have comedy without tragedy! It is true art!

    HENCHMAN
    (Mournful) And perhaps someday we shall stage a production befitting my… classical training?

    DIRECTOR
    Perhaps so! Until then, the children shall laugh at the toilet paper jokes!

    HENCHMAN
    Indeed…

    HERO
    The potty’s the thing, twill catch the conscience of the king!

    BILLY
    And you, you’re the bad guy! I liked when you did the big laugh. I wasn’t scared though.

    VILLAIN
    (Very quiet) Thank you.

    BILLY
    What’d you say? (VILLAIN looks pleadingly at HEROINE)

    HEROINE
    He doesn’t like to talk to people.

    BILLY
    Why not? (HEROINE shrugs. VILLAIN looks at the floor.)

    DIRECTOR
    (Draws BILLY to the side) Well, what do you think of our little cast, young William?

    BILLY
    I don’t get them.They’re supposed to be big and crazy, cool and… better. (Thinks about it) I like them better the other way, not like this.

    DIRECTOR
    (Delighted) So do they, so do they! And here are the last members of our little troupe, our master of sound-

    SOUND
    (Whistles hello!)

    DIRECTOR
    And the man who sets the scene, very important job!

    COMMERCIAL
    And I do the commercials! This conversation brought to you by sweet, sweet commercials! You deserve a break, and should buy some things! Try commercials, today!

    BILLY
    Hi! I’m Billy. I don’t really like commercials… except sometimes they’re funny or weird.

    COMMERCIAL
    I’ll see what I can do for you, Billy!

    SOUND
    (Wacky noise, these guys are nuts!)

    BILLY
    Can’t you talk like everybody else?

    SOUND
    (Wrong buzzer sound!)

    BILLY
    Why not?

    SOUND
    (Long collection of bizarre noises that might, somehow, conceivably tell a story, one with lots of action and explosions. And that’s how it happened!)

    BILLY
    Haha, you’re silly. Why are they the same as they are on the radio?

    DIRECTOR
    Well, they serve a simple purpose William, so there was no need to leave in anything extra.

    BILLY
    Huh?

    DIRECTOR
    Perhaps you’ll understand in time. Now William, how would you like to be in the cast for the next part of the show?

    BILLY
    Yeah, that would be great!! But… do we need to ask my parents?

    DIRECTOR
    What do you think, William? (They look towards them)

    MOM
    I hope he’s ok in there.

    DAD
    Stop, just stop it. This is why he can’t make any friends at school.

    MOM
    I beg your pardon!

    DAD
    We’ve talked about this. You smother him.

    MOM
    Well maybe if you weren’t so… unpleasant all the time!

    DAD
    Sure, it’s my fault. Why not.

    MOM
    We are supposed to be coming together as a family on this trip.

    DAD
    You can’t force people to come together. Just back off, it’ll be ok. Everything will be fine.

    STAGE MANAGER
    Until it’s not. (DIRECTOR gives him a nasty look)

    MOM
    Did you just say-

    STAGE MANAGER
    Nothing, sorry.

    DIRECTOR
    Well, what do you say William?

    BILLY
    We don’t have to ask. I’ll do it!

    DIRECTOR
    Wonderful! (The cast congratulates BILLY as the DIRECTOR positions him to stand in the gap between HENCHMAN and SOUND GUY) Places everyone!

    MOM
    What’s happening now?

    TOUR GUIDE
    Don’t worry about it!

    MOM
    But-

    DAD
    Let him stay in there, he might actually have fun. When was the last time you saw him this happy?

    MOM
    Well… (DIRECTOR gives the signal)

    TOUR GUIDE
    Quiet! It’s starting!

    STAGE MANAGER
    On air!

    COMMERCIAL
    Welcome back to the show! This segment brought to you by Squeaky Betsy’s Grease. When you need to grease those squeaky joints, this should always flag your interest! Grease me up, Betsy!

    HEROINE
    We return to our story at the bottom of the precarious cliff.

    SOUND
    (Waves and wind!)

    HEROINE
    Did our brave hero leap to his death? Or is his story just beginning?

    COMMERCIAL
    The answer brought to you by Washington Floatables!

    HERO
    Good thing I brought my Washington Floatables!

    COMMERCIAL
    Washington Floatables! The flotation devices that never tell a lie, or let you drown! Cross the Delaware today with Washington Floatables! Now available in cherry flavor!

    HERO
    But hark, I know that knave will soon appear, and the ancient parchment will be in danger once again. I must have aid! You there, boy!

    (Everyone looks expectantly at Billy. MOM just looks worried. The pause stretches out and DAD rolls his eyes, disgusted by his child’s helplessness. DIRECTOR makes an encouraging motion.)

    BILLY
    I…

    HERO
    Yes, you there, boy!

    HEROINE
    You see, our intrepid hero had spied a young rascal, travelling by bike along the base of the cliffs!

    SOUND
    (Bike bell!)

    COMMERCIAL
    A Hamilton Bike! The best money can buy. Declare your independence from walking today!

    HEROINE
    Though the boy looked a ruffian, our Hero knew he could trust a young man with such impeccable taste.

    HERO
    Boy! I must trust you with a document of extreme importance! Will you help us?

    BILLY
    (After a short pause, BILLY adopts a cocky, somewhat rough tone, very different than his normal voice) Well what’s in it for me, buddy?

    HERO
    You may act tough, but I know you have a heart of gold! I will trust you, for I must. Take this parchment and at all costs, hide it from the villain that seeks it!

    BILLY
    Not unless I get something for my trouble, mister!

    HERO
    Ah, the follies of youth! I promise, when I return to take the parchment back, I will repay you handsomely.

    BILLY
    (The DIRECTOR nods at this) Alright, but I better not get in trouble with the coppers!

    COMMERCIAL
    Buy Franklin’s Copper Pipes, for all your piping needs! Whether it’s a Pied Piper, a piping hot bowl of soup, or the pipes of freedom, Franklin’s Copper Pipes are for you! Pipe it in, pipe it in!

    (BILLY is thrilled to have provided the lead in for this. He is part of something!)

    HERO
    Alas, here comes the scoundrel himself! Reveal nothing, my boy!

    BILLY
    I’m not your boy, but I’ll play mum for now!

    SOUND GUY
    (Chugging car noises, car doors opening and shutting)

    VILLAIN
    Aha! Fool, you have only slightly delayed your day of reckoning!

    HENCHMAN
    That’s right, uh, we’re gonna reckon you real good!

    VILLAIN
    You ignominious ignoramus! Stop your blather and bring the girl!

    HENCHMAN
    Right, stop the girl and bring the blather. Blah blah blah-

    VILLAIN
    Silence! (Melodramatic) It’s so hard to find good help these days!

    SOUND
    (Wah wah wah, sad trombone!)

    HEROINE
    Unhand me this instant! Somebody doooo something!

    HERO
    My lady!

    HEROINE
    My hero! Are you quite safe?

    HERO
    When you are near, how can I be anything else?

    VILLAIN
    Touching, but stupid! You are in as much danger as ever!

    SOUND
    (Gun sounds!)

    BILLY
    Boy mister, you might really hurt something with that piece!

    VILLAIN
    Begone, vagabond! Trouble me not, street urchin, this concerns not you!

    BILLY
    Alright, I’ll be on my way!

    HEROINE
    And thus, the parchment was delivered to safety… for now!

    VILLAIN
    Take them both, my loyal henchman! We will soon make them give up the ancient parchment, or it shall be curtains for them! (Evil cackle!!)

    SOUND
    (Thunder! Lightning!)

    HENCHMAN
    Can we take them inside? Seems like a spot of rain!

    VILLAIN
    Very well, my simpering sycophant. We go!

    HERO
    You’ll never win, blaggard!

    HEROINE
    Justice shall surely prevail!

    VILLAIN
    That’s what they all say! (Evil cackle!)

    HENCHMAN
    Actually, they all say, oh no, please don’t, arggggh!!

    VILLAIN
    Well yes, they say that later. And so shall you! (Evil Cackle!)

    HEROINE
    Can our heroes prevail? Will the parchment be saved, or used for evil? And what of the mysterious child entrusted with this powerful document?

    COMMERCIAL
    Find out next time, brought to you by Adams’ Windows! When someone needs to open up a window, sit down and let Adams do the work for you! Adams Windows, keep the flies out!

    STAGE MANAGER
    Off air!

    (DIRECTOR starts applauding, and everyone joins in! BILLY is overjoyed.)

    MOM
    That was wonderful, Billy!

    DAD
    Good work, didn’t know you had it in you.

    MOM
    Now just come out of there.

    DIRECTOR
    Well now, he can’t do that, can he?

    DAD
    ...What’s that you say?

    DIRECTOR
    He has the parchment. The story can’t continue without him, so he’s got to stay.

    DAD
    Look buddy, you did my kid a good turn, I’m glad he had a good time, but I’ve put up with enough weirdness today.

    MOM
    (Uneasy) Dear, don’t get overexcited…

    DAD
    I’m not, I’m just telling this guy here that the fun’s over.

    TOUR GUIDE
    The fun’s never over at OTHGODS!

    DAD
    (Starting to lose his temper) Quit it with the Oth-gods, ok? Billy, get your butt our here right now!

    BILLY
    (Unsure) Dad, I...

    STAGE MANAGER
    (Despairing) You don’t understand.

    DAD
    I understand you and I are going to step outside if you don’t give my kid back!

    DIRECTOR
    Oh? What will you do, beat me up?

    DAD
    Maybe I will-

    (As DAD stands up, all the theater personnel, even including the STAGE MANAGER, stand up in perfect unison and stare at him. They all look deadly serious now, except the STAGE MANAGER, who looks miserable. The tension hangs in the air as DAD starts to get a little scared.)

    MOM
    What… what is this?

    (DAD slowly sits down, as does everyone else.)

    TOUR GUIDE
    This is OTHGODS! You should feel glad your son has been chosen!

    MOM
    Chosen?

    ` DIRECTOR
    You see, this is a place for people who need to, shall we say, get away. When we encounter a soul in need of escape, one that yearns to become something other, we… help.

    MOM
    I don’t understand? What exactly does Billy need to get away from?

    DIRECTOR
    Perhaps we should do what you so rarely did, madam, and ask the young man himself. William?

    (Everyone looks expectantly at BILLY, who is clearly conflicted.)

    MOM
    Billy! Come out right now!

    DAD
    What can you possibly be thinking?

    BILLY
    (Bursts out) Why do you always have to be so… you! Why do you fight all the time! Everything would be fine if you would just stop it!

    (Silent pause. MOM and DAD are shocked.)

    DIRECTOR
    (Smoothly) You see, you have harmed this child more than you knew, though you must have known deep down.

    DAD
    You have no right… you don’t know about me, about us! You don’t know anything, you freak!

    MOM
    Billy, please!

    DIRECTOR
    Everyone thinks their situation is special! It’s a story told again and again.

    TOUR GUIDE
    We all need something to believe in! Discover the beautiful wonder of the OTHGODS! Lose yourself in service of something greater than yourself! Lose yourself utterly, forever and ever!

    HERO
    Used to know. Used to know! Had what I needed. One day, different, have you heard? Not the same! Nobody understands. Lost them, lost them all. Now come home, here’s the place! All better!

    HEROINE
    None of it means anything anyway. You end up doing something you hate, but everything else sounds just as bad. If you find something you don’t hate, you might as well hold onto it. It’s better than nothing, if only a little.

    VILLAIN
    (Quiet) Out there… it’s hard. In here… (Looks at HEROINE, pained)

    HEROINE
    In here you can just be someone else. It doesn’t matter who you really are. Who says what’s real anyway?

    HENCHMAN
    To sleep, perchance to dream? Aye, there’s the rub. A dream will not end the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Choose to be, rather than not to be, and wake up one day to find yourself a sad parody of your dream. But better a parody than not to dream at all.

    SOUND
    (Sounds of a happy baby, sound of a car crash, sounds of a lot of meaningless babbling, a great intake of air, then the sounds of a key locking a lock and being thrown away, this last part accompanied by hand motions. SOUNDS waves around their head with a whooshing noise, all the other thoughts have been blown away.)

    COMMERCIAL
    This life brought to you by Paul Revere’s Cure for Emptiness! One if comes slowly, two if comes quickly, but death is coming for us all! Outrun your darkest thoughts with mindless devotion to meaningless activity!

    MOM
    I don’t understand any of this…

    STAGE MANAGER
    I’m sorry, but you won’t. I’ve been here… I can’t tell you how long. They need me to remember some things so I can run the equipment, so they can keep telling their horrible story, but I can’t… I can’t stop, I can’t leave, you don’t know what they do...

    (He looks at the DIRECTOR, who doesn’t bother to look back. Instead, he walks over to the left of BILLY and puts his arm around him.)

    DIRECTOR
    We are here to help the child, not you, and because of that, there will be one chance. The child must choose for himself if he will stay or go.

    DAD
    Fine, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but no child of mine is going to go off with a bunch of disgusting freaks he just met. Billy, let’s go, NOW.

    (BILLY is far from sure about this order)

    MOM
    Billy please… I don’t know what’s going on, but I know you belong with us. We’re your parents, I’m your mother! I love you!

    BILLY
    I… love you too Mom.

    (Everyone is very tense as Billy thinks about it.)

    DAD
    Billy…

    BILLY
    Do you promise it’ll be different?

    MOM
    Yes, we’ll be different! We’ll do anything we have to!

    DAD
    (This is tough for him, even under these circumstances) We can change, bud. We’re not perfect, but we’ll do better. (BILLY still isn’t sure) I’ll… do better. Please.

    BILLY
    You promise?

    DAD
    Promise.

    MOM
    Promise!

    BILLY
    No more fighting?

    DAD
    We’ll do better.

    BILLY
    And we’ll be happy all the time? (He is almost convinced, he wants to believe it)

    MOM
    All the time, every day!

    DAD
    Billy... nobody is happy all the time. Nobody can be, and nobody should be.

    BILLY
    (He is hurt by this. He considers it a betrayal. He turns to the DIRECTOR.) I want to go with you.

    MOM
    Billy, no!! (to DAD) What did you do? You idiot! I hate you, this is all your fault!

    DAD
    Billy, I’m sorry, I lied! We’ll be happy forever, whatever you want!

    BILLY
    (Firmly, doesn’t look back) I want to go with you.

    DAD
    Billy, these people aren’t happy! There’s something wrong with them, they’re not living in the real world! It’s not natural!

    MOM
    Billy please! Please! I love you, don’t go!

    TOUR GUIDE
    (Stands up and grabs DAD by the shoulder, starts to pull him out. DAD struggles but it seems TOUR GUIDE is unnaturally strong.) Thank you so much for touring the Old Timey Happiness Good Old Days Sunshine Theater!

    DAD
    Get your hands off me! Billy!

    TOUR GUIDE
    It’s been our pleasure to have you!

    DIRECTOR
    (Crosses to MOM and starts to push her out as well.) It was so good to meet you. Don’t bother coming back, you won’t find us.

    MOM
    No! No, please, stop!

    DAD
    Billy, we’re sorry! I’m sorry!

    MOM
    Billy!

    (DIRECTOR and TOUR GUIDE shove MOM and DAD offstage)

    SOUND
    (Door slamming and locking!)

    (TOUR GUIDE returns to their stool. DIRECTOR crosses back to BILLY, who looks a little unsure again.)

    BILLY
    I did the right thing… right?

    DIRECTOR
    My dear child, it doesn’t matter. You never have to think about that again. Soon, you’ll barely remember them. Now, would you like to do the next part of the show?

    BILLY
    Ok, sure...

    STAGE MANAGER
    (DIRECTOR gives the signal) On air!

    (Everyone changes to their on air persona, this time including BILLY)

    COMMERCIAL
    Welcome back to the show, brought to you by Jefferson Brand Running From Your Problems! Why emotionally confront those pesky life problems again and again, when you can bury yourself in mindless entertainment? Run From Your Problems! You’ll never regret it, and if you do, bury yourself deeper!

    HEROINE
    We last left our heroes in the clutches of the terrible villain!

    SOUND
    (Dramatic mood!)

    VILLAIN
    (Evil cackle!) You’ll never escape my clutches! Now hand over the parchment!

    HEROINE
    Oh no, somebody dooooo something!

    HENCHMAN
    Duh, what would you like me to do? Do you need a cookie?

    VILLAIN
    Don’t offer them a cookie, you wimbling wastrel!

    SOUND
    (Bonk!)

    HERO
    I wouldn’t give it to you anyway, but the truth is I don’t have the ancient parchment! I gave it to that child!

    VILLAIN
    What’s this? What child?

    BILLY
    This child!

    SOUND
    (Heroic fanfare!)

    BOY
    And now I’m using the power of the parchment on you, you bum!

    SOUND
    (Electrical zapping!)

    VILLAIN
    Noooooo! Foiled again!

    HERO
    Let’s all hear it for the Child! Hurray!

    (Everyone cheers for BILLY, who looks overwhelmingly happy. They jump up from their chairs, celebrate, hug each other, etc, except the STAGE MANAGER. The DIRECTOR pauses to give him a new signal, motioning upwards.)

    STAGE MANAGER
    Off air! Going up!

    (The celebration continues, but BILLY starts looking uneasily towards the door his parents were sent out of. DIRECTOR holds him with one arm over his shoulder, and smiles with just a hint of malice. The motion of the celebration continues around them but the sound of the celebration slowly fades out and is replaced by SOUND creating a loud whooshing sound, which gets louder and louder, as loud as possible, until it’s the only thing that can be heard. The lights grow brighter as well, and suddenly we BLACKOUT. The whoosh stops, and instantly we hear the next lines.)

    STAGE MANAGER
    On air!

    COMMERCIAL
    Welcome back to the show, brought to you by All American Brand Forever! Sometimes you need something that just won’t end, no matter how much you want it to, for all of eternity. That’s when you think of All American Brand Forever! So just remember, from all of us here at the Old Timey Happiness Good Old Days Sunshine Theater-

    DIRECTOR
    We’ll be waiting for you. Forever.

    THE END

  3. #43
    Very good, man. Very sinister flip of the script. And there's something creepy about places like that which I could see something like that happening. Love that their doing an old form of entertainment that you can tell they've been doing a long time . The sounds were used for perfection to tell the real story going on. Liked the assonance of the villain's insults towards his stooge, got a good laugh with it. Also, you surely should write commercials. But man really dug how the commercials began capturing the mood of the real story once it took a turn. I think I can relate to every member of the family, including the dad. Probably the dad more than I'd like. it's hard not to be a spoiler when you're a realist, and man I loved how though trying so hard, he couldn't let go of his view of the world to lie in order to save his son. There's kind of a weird virtue underneath it. lol.

    Also, the real life personas of the cast were very true to life even with the little they did. And they didn't need to do more. I'd watch this on TV. Very, very good. Bet your sister is thrilled with this!
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 08-28-2018 at 09:01 PM.

  4. #44
    The Brain
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    I just hope it's not too dark for a high school production, haha. Really glad you liked it, I was pleased with the way it came together.

  5. #45
    Here's a short story I've been working on in my spare time. This is part one of probably two.


    My Ol’ Boy, Sparky


    Nazi science, James thought. How could he introduce co-workers to the pup when some devil worshippers sowed another head, that of a German Shephard’s, on the Golden Retriever’s upper left torso? Matter of fact, he himself, couldn’t lay eyes on the poor ol’ boy. He’d been afraid of Siamese twins, and of dragons, and of Hydras and of all things with multiple heads. Fear’s hand on James’ heart squeezed him every time he passed his kitchen and refrigerator to entertain the knob on the basement door. A half turn of the knob, a whimper from the silly, once happy face, and a feel that he’d see the additional head creaked and twisted in rapid circles in his mind. He’d run from the door. Sometimes, in bed he heard from the basement growls drawling out, the kind of growls that the ol’ boy never had enough violence in his lungs to do. When he heard the low pitch fuming, he knew it belonged to either a changed Sparky or worse—his eyes widened, he sunk his hands into his covers when he admitted those fierce audible pulses may have succeeded from the large dog’s sown on other set of vocal cords.


    He awakened after a night like the aforementioned, took a butter knife from the kitchen drawer next to the sink, and started spreading peanut butter on his whole-wheat bread, while giving zombie eyes to the boring, brown basement door. His first acquaintances in Rockford, Mark and Jen, would be stopping by. Jen beamed at him at his cubicle when, with his tie uneven, he nervously mentioned his boy.


    “You have a dog. Well what kind?” Jen said.


    “He’s a-uhh Golden Retriever. Just m-me and him live...” he swallowed and finished, “together.”


    Nobody else at the office talked to James, not even Stu his trainer. With his curly hair and paper-racks a-mess, the others at Arnold's Packaging didn’t see him as a fit.


    “You don’t have family or a wife or any kids?” Jen said.


    “Don’t pry.” Mark said, while turned to Jen.


    “It’s just m-m-me and S-sparky. He’s a Golden Retriever.” James said, repeating himself.


    Somehow, Jen’s plumpness in a blue pantsuit laid a blanket over James’ naked awkwardness.


    His days were boring and uneventful, and he knew he’d probably get fired. Stu would come by and tell him to relax— Stu with his bald head and eyes that said, “guys like you come and go.” But his mouth said, “Relax.” Once he mumbled, “Oh, don’t worry, you won’t be working here long, anyway.” He showed him the software for adding items to projects that the floor would use for their manufacturing. Then, he’d say “I’m getting coffee.” Stu never came by to check on him, but sometimes he’d hear him talking about him. “This kid’s a weirdo. And he’s fucking boring. Won’t last a month.”


    Stu would bullshit, in close by cubicles, with old jokes. “You hear Rick got that sodomy charge reduced to tail-gating?”


    “Oh, Stu, you’re terrible,” Donna would say. He’d hear Donna gossip a lot. She especially liked to talk about who she saw on Rockford Mugshots.


    His day consisted of hearing voices from surrounding cubicles: Stu’s and Donna’s and Jen’s. He fell in and out of nervous habits of wrapping his fingers in his un-kept curls. He’d set his head down and think about his dog. He’d run into questions for what Stu gave him to do but would just look at the screen and hope the answer would come. He’d see skirts, belts, bottoms of ties, and zippers on dress pants passing. He’d see little of his boss, Sarah Lee, but she stopped by once. “Look at me, James!” She said. Her chin glowed in the light. It was long and round like her tall body, and it extended from a frown and shoulder length hair. She wore a tie underneath it. “Stu said he put you in charge of the Jones account. Did you see the email! They say they’re getting delayed responses and have zero…ZERO confidence we will meet their needs in a timely manner. We’ve got three months left on them before they pull the plug. I want first thing Monday, on my desk, a written plan of how their needs will be put first over the next three months. I know you’re busy, but answering a customer’s email shouldn’t be difficult!”


    He didn’t know he was supposed to answer emails and really wasn’t very busy but stayed silent.


    “Are you listening, James, this is important!”


    “Yes.” He said.


    The rest of his Friday consisted of Stu around in other cubicles saying “I told James to do it. It’s like talking to brick wall,” and Donna telling Stu that Mark was an ex con and Donna telling Jen that Stu was a homophobe and Donna telling Mark she thinks James doesn’t wash his hair. James never looked at Donna but only knew her by her gossiping.


    But the hi-light came when Jen came by. He didn’t get attention from many people, especially women. Jen said, “I heard Sarah Lee ripped your butt a new asshole.”


    “Yeah, I-I gu-guess.”


    “I was talking with Mark and if it’s ok with you, we’d like to come over next Saturday. I’ll cook. I’m not really that good at it, but I can make some real cool homemade pizza! And besides, we’d love to meet that Sparky you’re always talking about!”


    She showed some pizza weight on her, but James liked the freckles under her strawberry blonde hair when he glanced at them. “Ok.” James said.


    “Alriigghhht, bud!” Jen said.


    James peeked at Jen’s pantsuit as she bounced away. He liked her; maybe because she’s the only one, including Mark, who didn’t threaten him. The unease that Mark would be accompanying her settled in. Just a day after they first introduced themselves to him, next to him at the urinal, he saw Mark’s wide shoulders in a white shirt, extending from his buzzed blonde hair and tan neck. In his glance, Mark’s dress shoes spread wide. Then, Mark looked dead at James, with his teeth clenched and showing. “Stop trying to be cute with Jen, you got it?” Mark said.


    James gazed ahead and gulped.


    “All these women—like Jen, like Sarah Lee, like Donna—they love men like me,” Mark continued, “You need to go to the gym, punk!” Then, before flushing, Mark said, “what’s your story, weirdo? You shoot up a school? Do your parents in? When I got this gig, I realized anybody can pass a background check here; even me!” Then, Mark did something that James had never seen but did feel threatened by. For Mark spit on his own dick and showed him his white, angry teeth, once more.


    On Friday, Jen invited herself and Mark over for next Saturday. However on this prior weekend, on Saturday, he took his boy out front to piss. Instantly the golden retriever stood erect and moved with such force, his arm felt like it jerked out of socket. The leash burned his palm and slipped out of his hand. Sparky took off to the road, hidden by the darkness.


    “S-sparky! Come back, boy…” James said and ran behind him. He heard witchlike cackling and ran in the direction of it. Then, headlights blinded him and tons of steel knocked his breath out. He lay on the road in shock and a car door opened.


    “You, alright! A man’s voice said.”


    “Y-yeah. S-sorry.


    “Sorry? You cracked my goddamn windshield!”


    James stood to his feet, numb in the collar bone, as he looked at the small crack in the black Hyundai civic.


    “Go sit on the curb! I’m calling the police!”


    James stared ahead down the dark road, trying to see or hear a hint of Sparky.


    “Sit on the goddamn curb!” The man shouted.


    “Ok, ok!” James said, looking helplessly down the road, while squatting down to the curb.


    “I was turning on 13th, and he came out of nowhere!” James heard the man saying on his cell phone.


    The Hyundai was pulled to one curb with its headlights on, while James sat on the other side. Finally, blue flashing lights pulled up. The Ford SUV with all its police get up pulled behind the Hyundai. The officer stepped out and talked with the guy.


    “What speed were you driving?”


    “No more than 30 miles an hour! He just ran right in front of me. Cracked my windshield!”


    James stood tall as the police officer approached him with the flashlight in his eyes.


    “Are you alright?”


    He felt pain in his color bone but just shook his head yes.


    “You could have been hurt, pretty bad. You’re lucky.”


    James just shook his head.


    The officer nodded at the scene of the man by his Hyundai, and said “he says you ran in front of him. Is that true?”


    “Y-yes?”


    “Have you been drinking?”


    “No, I don’t drink. I was just chasing my dog. He ran away. Heard some scary laughing and was trying to get him back.”


    “I see. Can I get your phone number and address?”


    James complied, and the officer stepped away to his SUV for some time and came back with a slip. “I’m writing you a ticket here for jaywalking. You can go online and pay it, but the court dates up there if you wish to contest. As far as your dog goes…What type of breed? We can be on the lookout, but I recommend you go home. Matter of fact, I can give you a ride. There’s been some rough characters around this part of town lately. Suspected to be devil worshipers.”


    J
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:25 PM.

  6. #46
    The Brain
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    You have a talent for putting a really visceral sense into your writing. I can feel the horror of something multi headed, I can feel the furrowed brows as James listlessly struggles to muddle through his life, I can feel the twinge of interest and the pull against loneliness when someone speaks kindly to him. And, of course, there's something disturbing beneath the surface, and not very far beneath this time. Hope very much to see the second part.

  7. #47
    Cero Miedo Mystic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    You have a talent for putting a really visceral sense into your writing. I can feel the horror of something multi headed, I can feel the furrowed brows as James listlessly struggles to muddle through his life, I can feel the twinge of interest and the pull against loneliness when someone speaks kindly to him. And, of course, there's something disturbing beneath the surface, and not very far beneath this time. Hope very much to see the second part.
    I second this. There is always something horrible lurking and, worst of all, that horribleness might just be life itself.

  8. #48
    Thanks fellars...spent some time on the feeling there...and time is expensive... the beast in the basement will continue when I get more time... this fellow, James, is his own worst enemy... That's the idea of having a beast in the basement.

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