Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Greatest Villains: Act II, Scene 10

Scene X

Open to a small office setup (dim lights) as the MYSTERIOUS MAN talks with the HEAD HONCHO, who’s sitting at the desk.

HEAD HONCHO: Excellent job, Agent Twelve. Already, that blood money has been sent to our missionaries overseas.

MM: (in a gruff voice) And the king?

HEAD HONCHO: I don’t know? Should we bring him in? Do you expect him to talk?

MM: No, Mr. Job, I expect him to die.

HEAD HONCHO: That’s rather harsh, even for you J…

MM: Agent Twelve.

HEAD HONCHO: Agent Twelve, right. Guards!


HEAD HONCHO: Escort Agent Twelve to his next assignment. I’m going to stay here and try to decipher this map we acquired.

CHRISTIAN 1: Yes sir.

CHRISTIAN 2: Ya got it, boss.

HEAD HONCHO: (pulling out a cross necklace he was wearing) For Him.

MM, CHRISTIANS 1 AND 2: (imitating HEAD HONCHO with similar necklaces) For Him.

CHRISTIAN 1 escorts MM offstage, while CHRISTIAN 2 watches them, his back facing HEAD HONCHO. After a little bit of him studying the map, GOLIATH sneaks up behind him, holding the full knapsack above his head.

GOLIATH: If this helps, this wasn’t my idea.

HEAD HONCHO: What the…

GOLIATH knocks out the HEAD HONCHO with the knapsack. CHRISTIAN 2 responds, turning around and threatening GOLIATH with a slingshot. MARTHA and PILATE sneak up behind CHRISTIAN 2. PILATE taps CHRISTIAN 2 on the shoulder and waves hi. He does a politician’s handshake with her, which distracts her enough so that MARTHA can plant a pie in her face. With CHRISTIAN 2 falling over and rolling on the ground wrestling with the pie, PILATE beckons in SOLOMON and JC as MARTHA and GOLIATH drag the two bodies away. JC stands guard as SOLOMON begins searching the desk. He quickly finds the map and holds it up for the rest of the party to see.
          SOLOMON and JC search the desk for anything useful as PILATE, GOLIATH, and MARTHA dodge and chase various other CHRISTIANS. Eventually, MM returns and joins the chase, clearly giving the CHRISTIANS the upper hand. MM and the CHRISTIANS (at least 15 of them) have everyone in the party surrounded at the end of the chase, in a circle, around the desk. MM steps into the circle.

GOLIATH: Request permission to smash their bones into pancakes, sire.

SOLOMON: Not now… we still have an ace.

MARTHA: Whatever it is, just show it already!

MM: Pilate, Goliath, and the former king himself.

SOLOMON: Current! I should still be king. Don’t believe anything I might have told you.

MM: You’re one of many surprises here.  But your time has come. (Pulls out cross necklace) For Him.

ALL OTHER CHRISTIANS: (without moving) For Him.

PILATE: (as MM approaches and starts to circle around them) Now hold on just a minute… look at me. Do you really think you can arrest a public servant like me?

MM: Pontius Pilate. You condemned Jesus to die on a cross. You deserve no mercy. True Christians don’t care about big names.

SOLOMON: That’s an interesting accusation for you, ‘Agent Twelve.’ I know who you are. Take a step closer, and so will they.

MM: You bluff.

MM takes a step closer.

SOLOMON: (holding up classified documents he found) Or do I… Judas?

Everyone freezes. Slowly, MM takes his mask off, accepting the reality that MM is JUDAS, who’s bizarrely handsome.

JUDAS: … how did you know?

SOLOMON: Not from your face, apparently. Plastic surgery?

JUDAS: Several times.

MARTHA: (to SOLOMON) It can’t be… he’s dead. They told me he killed himself, ashamed that he betrayed Jesus to the authorities for thirty silver.

SOLOMON: Around the time of Jesus’s death, there’s a record here of a man, broke and near-suicidal, approaching a newborn organization, begging to find a way to erase what he had done since no drug could do it for him. The pieces put themselves together.

JUDAS: … it’s true. It’s all true. I thought I could escape the crime I committed. Martha should be right; I should have died on that night, the night I sold Him. He will hate me for defiling his name, and I know he’s watching. (To CHRISTIANS) I report that I am no longer fit for duty. (Takes off cross, throws it on the ground) For Him.

He begins to walk away, but is stopped by some CHRISTIANS.

JUDAS: You shouldn’t touch me.

CHRISTIAN 3: With all due respect, sir, we don’t care who you were before coming here.

CHRISTIAN 4: You’re done too much good for us to just stand away.

CHRISTIAN 5: You really want to throw away those good times? Remember Nineveh? Remember the inside job with the walls of Jericho?

JUDAS: Those were some of the best years of my life. But can anyone here look me in the eye and tell me they would willingly serve with such a traitor?

ALL OTHER CHRISTIANS stand at attention and look at JUDAS square in the eye.


JUDAS: Then it is to be. (To the party) Standard procedure is to put you all in ‘the comfy chair,’ but I want to know who organized you and why your map has a pentagram drawn on the old junkyard.

GOLIATH: Oh, that is easy to explain. We are going to get together to be a strike team for the devil, and we were supposed to invite you. Here, read this letter.

GOLIATH gives JUDAS the letter and the map (taking both from SOLOMON’s hand). There’s a long, stunned silence on all parts.

JUDAS: What.

PILATE: What!?

MARTHA: What’s wrong with you!

GOLIATH: I don’t know! You said I should take initiative!

SOLOMON: But not now! Why can’t you take initiative after we tell you to take initiative?

PILATE: Finally, someone’s making sense around here!

GOLIATH: I am truly sorry! Please don’t hurt me!

SOLOMON: So much for the proud brute!

JUDAS: Enough!

The party turns to face him. JUDAS holds up the letter in front of them, folds it twice, and then rips it up. Everyone in the party but JC panics.

MARTHA: What’s wrong with you!?

JUDAS: I won’t allow this deal with the devil to pass. You’re not leaving here until we decide how to finish off The Great Tempter.

SOLOMON: Wait… hold on a bit… thinking, thinking… got it! Judas, what do you want to do to this Tempter?

JUDAS: Destroy him for good.

SOLOMON: But you need to find him first, right? Come on, Judas, this is the perfect undercover mission. We go in, get the gold, and deliver him straight into your hands.

JUDAS: But you know I’ll betray you.

SOLOMON: He doesn’t. I just want his gold. And the chicks. The chicks would be nice too. You can do what you want with Satan.

JUDAS: I’d chance that. But I can’t let you take that evil money from that man.

SOLOMON: And the…

JUDAS: And the evil chicks, yes.

SOLOMON: Oh, but it’s a good thing I’ll be taking his gold! I already explained my brilliant reasoning to Mr. Jacob Caro…

JC: (leaning in to JUDAS) Jus’ go along with it. I’ll explain later.

SOLOMON: … and I won’t be doing any evil deeds for that creature.

JUDAS: … promise?

SOLOMON: (shaking hands with JUDAS, clearly crossing his fingers with his other hand behind him) I promise.

Blackout. End scene.

Cicada-Man: Chapter 5

            The lanes travelling north and south were completely jumbled. David snuck past the procession of bright shorts to the edge of the street, where he could stand and weave past the parked, lusterless cars facing him. He did not have to pant for long before hearing a familiar, booming, “Halt!” from across the street.
            Portia burst right behind an oncoming car, her arms flailing about. Around one wrist, tightly secured, was a deep-blue light blinking on a leather bracelet.
            Cicada-Man bolted right after her, past the car arriving to a screeching halt and honking. David took the time to run towards the sweet bakery across from him, alongside other road-crossers, and then to the corner the thief had turned. Once there, he held his knees and breathed in heavily underneath a circular “Burrito Beach” sign. The crossing guard wielding a stop sign next to a circle of yellow-vested workers around a construction pit only gave him a passing glance. David turned to his right; faux-Portia had already fled to the ramp inside a parking garage, with Cicada-Man, his arms chopping the wind, not far behind.
            He let fly in a gasp of air before galloping through oblivious pedestrians strolling by tinted food store windows. A smudged bus with a Chocolate Dynamo: Truth, Justice, And The AWESOME Way billboard glided past him. Holding his breath past the fumes, David dove down the blistering street towards the vertical green ‘PARK⏎” his boss entered under. He leaned his body against a red and green sign inside after the last long strides. A drifting car slithered underneath the rising bar into the street. His legs were jello.
            “Hey! Canihalpouwitsomthin?”
            That throaty voice came from the smeared window, where a small man with hair blending into his skull inclined towards David.
            Using the wall as a shoulder’s support, David shuffled over to the man. “Yeah, the… two guys… chasing here… have seen them?”
            “Wha? YeahIseum,” the green-polo man gargled out. “Boysllbeboys, huh, ehahahaha.”
            “Come again?”
            “Ok… umm…” David whipped the sweat from his forehead with equally sweaty hands. “Have you… what other entrances do you have?”
            “Uh-huh. And how many floors up is this?”
            “Okay.” David looked at the buildings lined up between the garage and next street, and then craned his neck towards the shadowy ramp in front. He flicked the loose casing of his IPhone rapidly for a few seconds before stiffening in place and pulling the device out.
            “I want you to listen very carefully,” whispered David with a grin escaping on the edges, “to what I’m about to say, all right?”
            The man nodded as David pressed a few buttons on the phone and tapped his foot for the first two rings.
            “Chicago Police Department.”
            “Hey, I just saw some guy chase some girl into a parking garage and I’m really worried about the girl.” David glanced up after hearing a screeching car inside the building.
            “Can you describe them?”
            “Yeah, umm, thin old man with ski-mask, and, and I didn’t get a good look at the girl, but she had a bracelet and the man look pretty angry.
            The bearded man in the window piped in, but lowered his head at David’s motion.
            “Where are they?”
            “The parking garage on North Saint Clair.” David turned to the green and white canopies past the Burrito Beach sign. “I hear Officer Boipelo is in the area, so you can go ahead and send her.”
            “…We’ll send someone over, sure.”
            “Thank you!” David put the phone at his hip and tapped on the window. “If you see that woman again, you stop her, all right?”
            David began a speed walk under the tined window rows of the garage. “Sorry about that.”
            “That’s ok. Let me know if you see them again, Mr. …”
            “Mr. David Tolkien.”
            “Right. And David, what’s the number you’re calling from?”
            As David turned left, dodging lampposts, streetlights, and beggars, he dictated his number, all while creating a quick beat with his shining tight shoes. He was ready at the stairway when he heard the clomping of boots. Through the glass, Cicada-Man sprinted with tipped head, abruptly stopping after he landed on the ground floor and slammed the push-door open.
            “Which way did she go!”
            “She- what, you lost her?!”
            “Perhaps I wouldn’t have if you moved more than your mouth!” He grabbed the portal right before it closed and flung it open, taking wide steps up.
            With a roll of his eyes and a groan, David shook his jeans down the grey streets, sighting under an obscured sun. Once he got back to the dinghy alcove’s address, Boipelo had already arrived.
            “Nice job, sir.” With a hand on her pouch, she began sidestepping up the ramp until a screeching noise up ahead stopped her.
            A bright red pick-up with a broken driver window barreled down the path, just barely dodging the dexterous police officer. The curled-blonde with a tight grip on the enormous steering wheel gave it a twist, swerving a hard left and smashing it into the mirror of a parked delivery van before hurtling down towards the skyscraper cluster ahead.
            Boipelo said some numbers under her breath, then gave a quick wave to David before sprinting back to the 7-11. David took out his iPhone, scrolling frantically for any possible appointments he could be missing while taking glances upward for his mentor. By the time Boipelo sped by again in a whizzing cop car, towards the chorus of beeps ahead and left, David was still digging his hands into his slick hair, stepping aside only for the five men in casual black shifting through the sidewalk cracks. Cicada-Man’s echoing footsteps beat him to David.
            He put his hands on shaking knees, “… this one’s more trouble than I thought.”
            Panicked cries erupted from the street over. They both turned to see the red pickup again, ramming itself down the other lane, slamming its broken headlight against the back tires of parked bikes. One of the wheels wobbled. Nearly every car swerved out of its rampage. Once they were close enough to see the robber’s grimace, she turned sharply left at the intersection, knocking a trashcan into the nearby abode. The fading police sirens started to come back towards the accelerating old car; Cicada-Man began to run after it again.
            “You- you could take a cab, you know!” David shouted.
            Cicada-Man twisted himself into a backwards run after crossing the street of tepid cars. “When have you seen a superhero do that?”
            David’s sigh emerged as a pant. With a few grunts, he shuffled over to the edge of the street and raised his hand in a rapid wave. A maroon cab quickly pulled over so David could open the door and fall into its leather insides in back.
            The wrinkled lady with the deep pink sunglasses didn’t budge until David asked her to follow the red Volkswagen up ahead. She turned to him and affirmed, “The one up ahead?”
            “The one that literally smashed down those trees over there?”
            Looking between the rearview-hung rosary and the speckled GPS monitor, David saw tensionless trees freed from concrete, resting against a spa and a Gyu-Kaku.
            “I umm- well, yes.”
            “Kid, who do you think I am?”
            A thick-eyebrow man who smelt like barbeque ribs knocked on the passenger door. “Oh look. Another customer. What a shame. Get out.”
            Quietly, David emerged, then began to run alongside the wind back to the 7-11. He could hear the sirens from several blocks away approaching. “Cicada-Man!” he cried out, and Cicada-Man was already jumping from a stairway in between buildings and loping back. David backed into the 7-11 and squeaked the floor while sprinting towards the grey-haired cashier.
            “You! I was with the cops, this is very important. Is that mustache fake?”
            “How dare you-“
            The mustache bushel popped out of the man’s lip with a tweak of David’s hand. He barely got out two “Sorry!”ies before the man grabbed his sticky upper lip and howled in pain.
            “Sorry, sorry, I’m really sorry, it’s just… have you seen Terminator?”
            The man nodded on his knees, looking up with watery eyes.
            “Well, then give me your clothes if you want to live.”
            David exited the 7-11 to see Cicada-Man positioned as a baseball catcher, waiting for the accelerating Volkswagen just coming into view. David tapped him on the shoulder and held out a bunched-up set of neon green clothes with baby blue sleeves, topped with a grey-haired bundle.
            “… Are you suggesting one of us become a decoy for a madwoman in a pickup?”
            David’s heels fidgeted while he stared at the ground.
            “Because if you are, that’s brilliant!” A bulky glove covered the clothes with a wide snatch and began forcing the pants over a boot with the sole falling out. “Keep watch for me.”
            David leaned his head into the street. All cars, facing the oncoming wreckage on wheels, had moved to the side. Faux-Portia was hanging on to a limp driver-side door while navigating the wheel with the other hand, stretching her knuckles towards the building David stood at. Her eyes refused to shut for the wind.
            “Look, maybe this wasn’t the best idea.”
            “Perhaps another-“ Cicada-Man had to stop and catch a blown-off mustache before smacking it back on and continuing. “Perhaps another day, we could take more time for ourselves. It is not always a good day to lose, but always a good day to be- generous-“
            Pushing David out of the way, Cicada-Man tore into the intersection with a cry of anguish. Faux-Portia, already passing David, returned the cry and slammed her foot forward. With no yellow-vested men left in the way, the now neon-green man easily dived over a construction cone and rolled into the construction pit, in time for the thief’s car to smother the orange cones and plummet the front of the red pickup into the ditch’s wall. With a metal crunch and the shot of a fired airbag, the car scrunched its hood and halted, tilted in the crater, hissing and releasing oily antifreeze as a fountain.
            David ran over to the gassy hulk and peered down. Amid the burning wheels still digging into the pit, he heard, “I’m ok! Finish the task!”
            With a long exhale, David walked up to the dizzy woman resting her bruised head on the wheel and forced out, “Under the charges of… grand theft auto and endangerment of the public, I place you under citizen’s arrest.” David then slumped into a seat on the ground and apprehended the subject with as little force as humanly possible. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cicada-Man: Chapter 4

David did a little jog to keep up with his companion’s wide steps once they emerged from the 7-11 buried between nose-stinging shops and the overbearing tower above.
            “So what was that all about?” He wiped the midday sweat from his neatly combed hair.
            “…I’m sorry, I didn’t hear that.”
            “That weird question you asked her.”
            Cicada-Man once more directed his answer to the cracked pavement ahead. “I knew there must be more to the perpetrator than misshapen clothes and a bracelet. She confirmed my findings: everyone agreed that the ingrate was quite beautiful.”
            David stumbled on a discorded plastic box, and then moved in front of his tan-skinned friend. “So what was that all about on Planet Earth this time?”
            “I know this may seem strange at first.” Cicada-Man said in a rumbling voice. “But this is not the only sorcerer I’ve done battle with. Surely you remember our first meeting and those obligatory muggers the devil sent!”
            “Obligatory mugg- what does that even mean!?” David’s raised voice squeaked out.
            “If I am in error, I await your own theory!”
            A block of hammering steps and dodging pedestrians later, David looked over to the Sears Tower figurines inside a shop’s streaking window and stated, “Maybe that bracelet messes with the camera, or something.”
            “I suppose searching for that trinket would be worthwhile.”
            “No, no,” muttered David. “He’d have taken it off by now- hang on.”
            Cicada-Man halted instantly, causing the person behind him to bump into his smeared armor. After the stranger murmured and passed, David leaned in, “Why would a master of disguise throw a cinderblock?”
            He was close enough to see trimmings beneath the superhero’s nose. “Go on.”
            “He should’ve brandished a knife and walked out calmly with the cash. Either way, no one would recognize him, so why leave such traces?”
            Cicada-Man brought a tight hand onto David’s hunched shoulder. “Listen; this is all very exciting, but we should move out of everybody’s way.” He swiftly swung David’s shoulder and body into the revolving door, where they were whisked into a golden hallway of elevators, guided by a frayed red carpet.
            “You are right, my fellow hero. This case is not as it seems. If it was to deprive someone of wealth, why only fifty dollars?”
            “He did what?”
            “Did you not see the sign? ‘Cash register has fewer than fifty dollars’?”
            “…That just makes it more confusing. What’s the point, then?”
            “There need not be a point,” Cicada-Man stated. David focused on the red line of his ski mask traveling between his two equally red eyes. “Evil acts for its own sake, and cannot be rationalized.”
            David sighed, “So then what? Are we gonna ask any model we see if they’re a cinderblock short?”
            “Not in those words, of course.”
            “Alright, look. Let’s assume your theory is correct, that this guy appears differently to different people, with the only commonality being beauty. He has a bracelet- that can be easily taken off- as his only identifiable feature. Simply put, he can disappear at will.”
            “And this will stop you!”
            “Look I didn’t expect this! I thought things would be, you know, a little more down-to-earth.”
            “What talk is this!” The secretary at the long hall’s end, behind the false wood desk, craned his neck over to watch. “If evil is let loose by one’s failings, than which is the greater evil? Warned or not, you must always be ready for even the things that do not make sense to you!”
            Two chatting women stepped out of the cinnamon-smelling elevator as David clutched the side of his pocket. Cicada-Man stood, leaning over David, as if to touch his head to the distant ceiling.
            “Doesn’t make sense.”
            “That’s right! Now-“
            “No, no, that’s it. Doesn’t make sense. We might be overestimating him. If he has the power to change appearance, he could be a secret agent or a model or anything he wanted. Why rob convenience stores? And why in such a careless manner? He doesn’t make sense. He’s not doing this for personal gain, and he might not have a master plan.”
            “Evil for Evil’s sake!” Cicada-Man exclaimed.
            “Sure,” David said with a quick wave of his hand. “Now, what was the exchange between him and the cashier?”
            “The cashier claims nothing,” leaned in Cicada-Man, now at David’s height and with tightened hands on his knees. “The other one, however, accuses him of making a pass at the soon-to-be criminal when he attempted to purchase some aluminum foil.”
            “That might be it! And the cinderblock through the window was insult to injury!”
            “Of course! So where should we begin?”
            “…So robbing him might not be enough.” David started to break into a run, “So we need to find him now!”
            Blasting through the revolving door, David found himself back on this shadowy quarter of the city and right in front of Portia. Portia had grown since those high school days where her curled blonde, strawberry-scented hair would unfold onto David’s desk. Even when frowning and navigating the crowded street with hands in pocket, her cheeks still shone.
            “Hey!” David cried after canceling his momentum. She had disappeared into the crowd by the time a padded, tall figure also running from the office building had bumped into him.
            “Who was that?”
            “Just some woman I knew from high school.”
            “That’s impossible-“ Cicada-Man froze and locked eyes perfectly with David. He then tilted his wrinkled face to the peeking sun before bringing his right hand to his forehead, breast, and then both shoulders. “It was a most fortunate omen.”
            “I’ve lost her,” said David, turning to the crowds on tiptoe. “But we just need to find the cashier, and we’ll-“
            David could already hear Cicada-Man shoving through the horde, demanding that they step aside in the name of the Lord. He rolled his eyes, sighed, and then ducked inside to join the chase.