Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 More Poems

In Defense of Judas
If God truly has a plan,
why do we still fault a man
for killing his fellow man
or aiding in laying hands
upon the targeted man?
After all, is not the one we call
traitor simply following orders?

Rabbits Under The Steps
Some rabbits used to live
underneath the back steps
of the house we rented
when I was a child.
One day, I went outside
and discovered that
our landlord had blocked the hole
with a large wooden stake.
I wondered if the rabbits
would be homeless now
or if they were still inside. 

The Nameless Space
Exhale shallowly in the dissipating light
Watch darkness rise from the corners of the room
Unknown forces at work in the night
Ominous shadows foretell pending doom
Questions of how and why come and go unanswered
Familiar pictures change to things you do not recognize
Bright walls turn black as they are eaten by a cancer
Forgotten nightmares crawl up from the nameless space inside
Hide yourself from sight and avoid touch at all costs 
You cannot say for certain what is true or what is a lie
Stare into the space and all that was real now seems lost
You never saw ugliness until you found these eyes  
Blindness now seems like a blessing to pray for   
But no savior can hear your terror-choked voice 
Blackness spreads closer across the decaying floor
Hear the ugly sounds and try to block out the noise
Your thoughts scream your destiny was not to be in this place
But here you are now, for good or for ill
At the end surrounded and swallowed into that dark space
Take one last breath while you still have the will      


Copyright (C) 2012 by Eric Landuyt

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Microfiction and Poems!

I played piano in the hotel until dusk fell and all the guests had left from under the golden chandeliers.  I looked in the gran piano, the highest key up, which was slightly out of tune during Beethoven's 49th symphony, and found the pass code to CREM.  Several hours later, I was on the roof, staring into the white and yellow lights, listening to faint sirens collide and echo as I jumped.

Shakespeare taught me that a tragic love story needed death and fights and two entwined roses wilting with their thorns intact, still making people bleed even as they died.  But sitting here next to you, I know now, the roses need not wilt, be star crossed, or even be roses because staring at this white bed where I would wait forever while I know I can't do anything about it, is where my heart and thorns die, and I live.  I left my white roses and without a trace and you lost me without even knowing.

It was a shiny red, the kind of fingernail polish smooth red you got.  I took a hesitant bite and a cloying overwhelming sweetness attacked my taste buds as I fell to the ground letting the apple fall.
"Hah, who's the pretty bitch now?"

I needed crutches
Because of you.
Who pushed me
Down long stairwells
Of sorrow.
And watched,
As I fell
To the leeches
Of rumor and gossip.
They sucked me dry
And gave me a belt
And hook.
And you're still
Your skinny frame unable
To carry
Shame or guilt.

I love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love you.
I learned with you,
Repeating the same things
Over and over again made it lose it's meaning,
Until it was foreign
And unreal
And fake.
I'll repeat you in my head
Until you become nothing.
All your faults,
Your weaknesses
Your face
Your hair
Everything you are and were and will be
To dust.
To meaningless things,
Until I lose you for good.

When I was younger, I used to think
Was the most wonderful thing
In the world.
I'm not young

She almost finished her embroidery but like everything else in her life, she cut it out before she could ever end it.

When I was sleeping, I heard you sing Taylor Swift, you, you bad ass tattooed motorcyclist with a thousand healed bruises and a hundred broken hearts.  I heard you call me beautiful, braid and unbraid my hair, pull a blanket over me, stroke my forehead, and you wonder why I'm so tired today.

I wrote everything
my ways
When I wrote it backwards
You couldn't read a thing and I laughed.

Laughter for friendship
Words for knowledge
Love for hurt.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I had to wrestle with this one for a while, but I finally got it into a form I feel comfortable showing to people.  Any and all feedback is welcome.

Heat rises up from the screaming earth
as upraised hands reach for seams in the burning day,
desperate prayers from refugees
who choke back their tears to save the water.
The Servant of the Drought fiercely hordes their sorrows
like a scavenger tearing into a fresh carcass,
gorging himself on all he can while he can
since one never knows when the next meal will come.

Basic desire to survive keeps the exiles alive,
though many mourn for the living rather than the dead.
Some still dream of finding a distant oasis,
but each day the Servant roars in their faces
that there is no escaping the touch of the drought,
only submission to its whims will earn them any mercy.
By instilling much fear and just a sprinkle of hope,
the Servant ensures they will stay one more day.

Some of the refugees have tried to flee,
but they are deafened by shrieking winds
that spit sand into their burning faces
and howl with laughter at their weakness.
Dry skin and brittle bones forget
the difference between blows and caresses
as reality and waking nightmares
become indistinguishable from each other.

Logic and reason shift and reform like sand dunes,
obscuring all signs of a path out of the wasteland.
The Servant relishes the people’s misery
as if their bitter curses were the sweet whispers of lovers.
As they all come to know the ebb and flow of their nightmare,
a precious few are finding ways to ride the tide
and fix their eyes on the open sky for any sign of clouds
and listen to the wind for breaths of the coming storm.

Copyright (C) 2012 by Eric Landuyt

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Second Helpings of Cyanide - Part 5

I've received feedback before that Act II is hard to get through, though I haven't had the reason why described to me. If you feel that way, please let me know in detail.

JULES: Hello, Ms. Cronos! Well, we seem to have a long story to tell you!

MS. CRONOS: It’s all right, Mr. Clifton, it’s all right. I came here after someone shouted at me to shut up to see what the matter was. I’ll try to be gentle with you kids. You obviously have a lot on your plate, putting on this show. You’ve gone through long rehearsal nights, a difficult script, missing props, dropped lines, Marion Cutio, ungrateful kids, bad actors, not getting the raise you wanted, going home to your kids in high school to off and on whining and whining about, “Why can’t we do what we want? Why? Why, why why?” bad days teaching, crew members asking stupid questions, and a full-fledged brawl on the night of my show! MY SHOW! This is the NIGHT, this is my SHOW, and NO ONE WILL TAKE THAT FROM ME!

From behind here SR, SLYVESTER leaps out and puts a bag on her head, though she continues shouting incoherently throughout it.

SLYVESTER: My thoughts exactly… this is my show now.

SLYVESTER takes the sword and brandishes it at CHUCK. RONALD steps in between SLYVESTER and CHUCK

MARION: What are you doing?

RONALD: (winks) Trust me.

SLYVESTER: Step aside. I only have an issue with Chuck.

RONALD: You know, I thought you dropping your ridiculous method acting would reveal a kinder person. Guess what?

CHUCK: He dropped it?

SLYVESTER: You push your luck.

JULES: Hey, umm, could we get Ms. Cronos out of here?

The cast looks at MS. CRONOS, who’s still roaming around with the bag on her head and shrieking.

CHUCK: Nose goes, oh wait I didn’t touch my nose, GOTTA GO!

He sprints towards MS. CRONOS, grabbing her and taking her offstage SR. SLYVESTER and RONALD pursue him.

SLYVESTER: Come back here and fight like a man!

RONALD: Come back! I didn’t finish my heroic sacrifice!

They both exit SR.

MARION: It’s about time we had a moment of peace, isn’t it?

JULES: Not for me. I’ve finally opened my eyes. It’s time to go.

MARION: WHAT? Now? We need you! I can’t do this without you!

JULES: No, I think you need to calm down for a bit. I get it now. What Ms. Cronos said was right… we’ve all done too much. I’ve done enough for myself. (Sighs) I’m getting out of here.

MARION: We can be heroes! We can save this play, and become famous!

JULES: Don’t you get it? You’re… well… arrgh… you’re the problem with this! I mean, not you specifically…

MARION: No offence taken yet.

JULES: …but you’re all overreacting.

MARION: Jules, in case you’ve been gone for a while, Sly tried to KILL Chuck!

JULES: And you knocked him out and decided to kill the play anyways? You couldn’t turn him over to Ms. Cronos and call the cops? I just did so, but I’m too late. Instead, you’re going through all of these ‘heroics,’ and these games until it stops being fun! Look, any energy rush I’d get or you’d get from this isn’t worth it. Personally, I’ve found all I’ve been looking for. I’d like for you to come run away with me…if you leave behind the drama.

A pause. Then…

MARION: You have a point. The whole ‘kill the play’ thing was kind of forced, wasn’t it?


The VOICE FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE AUDIENCE turns out to be the DIRECTOR (preferably played by the actual director of this play), who walks onstage.

DIRECTOR: What have I told you about ad-libbing as an all-plothole-smoothing-cream?

MARION: (as a completely different character) Oh come on, it would change the play at all.

RONALD, SLYVESTER, CHUCK, and MS. CRONOS all enter in with their costumes in different places on their bodies.

SLYVESTER: (as a completely different character) What’s happening?

MS. CRONOS: (as a completely different character) Is something wrong?

DIRECTOR: (insert the name of the actor playing MARION here) was ad-libbing again.


MARION: What? It’s something Marion would do.

CHUCK: (as a completely different character) It’s not like it’s that good of a script anyways.

DIRECTOR: What did you say?

CHUCK: I mean it, this whole thing is a mess. Remember how we foreshadowed a deal beforehand with you and Ronald? The script edits dropped that! Never to be heard of again.

RONALD: (as a completely different character) (speaks rapid Spanish for about twenty seconds or some comedicly appropriate time)

MARION: And what about that great exchange we dropped out? (to MS. CRONOS) You start.

MS. CRONOS: (back in old character) “Is anybody hurt?”

MARION: (back in old character) “No, just a crew member!”

MS. CRONOS: “Thank goodness! I thought it was somebody important!”

MARION: (back to real self) You see? The audience likes it!

DIRECTOR: Audience?

Everyone on stage looks at the audience in sheer terror for a few counts. Then, panic erupts between the actors.

DIRECTOR: All right, everyone, calm down! (does whatever routine he/she usually does to calm the actors down) Ok, I know the last bit of the play forces the Shakespeare connection a bit and makes no sense, but the show must go on! We’re in the home stretch! No one can realize that we were all up here not acting.

JULES: (as a completely different character) Wait, we’re not acting?


DIRECTOR: But to get everybody ready again, we need a distraction. How about Ms. Cronos does that dance I had planned while everybody gets the rest of the stage and costumes back in order?

MS. CRONOS: (back to real self) You mean the dance that was so out of place that we mutinied?

DIRECTOR: Look, we don’t have many options. (refers to the audience) They’re here for a show!

All the actors except for RONALD, MS. CRONOS, and SLYVESTER move offstage to get ready. SLYVESTER goes down to prepare to play music while MS. CRONOS takes front and center stage.

RONALD: (asks a question in rapid Spanish for about five seconds)

DIRECTOR: Next to the box of chicken. Now let’s MOVE IT!

The Boston Pops Orchestra’s version of “Sing Sing Sing,” plays as MS. CRONOS begins her dance and everyone else does a routine setting up props, sets, and costumes in time to the music. Once the song ends, MS. CRONOS takes a bow and exits. JULES and MARION are back on stage.

JULES: Look, any energy rush I’d get or you’d get from this isn’t worth it. Personally, I’ve found all I’ve been looking for. I’d like for you to come run away with me…if you leave behind the drama.

RONALD enters SL.

RONALD: Darn it, I lost them! No heroic sacrifice for me!

JULES: Et tu, Ronald?

JULES leaves SR

RONALD: Huh. That was weird. (To MARION) Are you okay?

MARION: Well, after the attempted murders and hysterics… yeah, sure, okay.

RONALD: Look, Marion, we’ve got to take care of this quickly. Ms. Cronos is out of her bag, and everyone got scattered in this one room where the lights went dark and we tripped on all the props.

CHUCK enters SL.

RONALD: Hang on… hey Chuck!

CHUCK: What now?

RONALD: I have a dare for you…

CHUCK: What, now?

RONALD whispers something into CHUCK’s ear.

CHUCK: No! No way! No means no, and so does yes!

RONALD: C’mon man… it’ll be funny…

CHUCK: But… I’m…. arrgh…

RONALD: Chuck, unless you do so, I don’t think we can be friends.

MARION: Chuck… please think about it before you…

CHUCK: (after a few seconds in heavy concentration and in a furrowed brow) Alright, fine!

He walks offstage SL.

CHUCK: (offstage, behind the stage) Hey audience! Do you want a show?

From offstage, a loud gasp is heard from the audience.

MARION: Did he… (She peeks her head backstage SL, and then takes it out very quickly) You told him to do WHAT?

RONALD: See? I knew it would be hilarious.

MARION: But why…

RONALD: During the chase, I saw some cops prowling around the audience. Chuck’s not as quick as Sly, but I don’t think he can get to him now.

CHUCK: (offstage) Hey! Don’t taze me, brother from another mother! I’ve got my rights, fascist pork rind sandwich! OW! Hey!

The sounds of his shouting gradually die out.

MARION: No, I meant, ‘why have you been doing all of this to Chuck.’

RONALD: ...oh, the manipulation! Well, twisting him into a being dependent on the satisfaction of others may seem despicable, but turns me into a greater being through the realization that all of us are like that, ergo, the enlightenment and truth are both realized and not realized simultaneously.

MARION: … huh?

RONALD: Don’t worry. I understand that you won’t understand.

MARION: … you don’t understand why yourself, do you?

RONALD: (obviously lying) Of course I do! Or don’t, whatever works for me. (beat) (Almost desperately) I have my reasons!


RONALD: I think your buddy got himself into more trouble.


RONALD nods his head to the SL door, which SLYVESTER quickly goes to and looks out of.

SLYVESTER: You… (Moving closer to RONALD, brandishing the sword) You’ve wanted to be a target for a long time… and I’m in the mood to grant your wish.

MARION: (standing at the SL door) He’s lying. I sent Chuck there.


SLYVESTER: I should have known. Now, where was I? Ahh yes… DIE.

He charges at her with a war cry, though MARION sits perfectly still. Suddenly, he steps aside, allowing SLYVESTER to run right past him and to off stage SL. Outisde, the sounds of crashing noises and shrieking audience members pervades the air.

SLYVESTER: (offstage, behind the stage) Ummm…
I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
I am not well: send the police away
from me, and I’ll do in Chuck, er, go then.

Loud shouts and complaints are heard from the crowd in the background. SLYVESTER shouts out random interjections, such as, “I have my rights!” and “There ain’t no justice!” and “ARRRRGGGGHHH!”, but those sounds fade away into nothing after a while.

RONALD: Well that was anticlimactic.

MARION: I know.

MARION begins to walk offstage SR.

RONALD: Where are you going?

MARION: To Ms. Cronos. I’ll own up to what’s happened, at least my part in it.

RONALD: Are you crazy? After all of this, she’s probably nuts enough to lay the entire blame on you. You’ll never set foot in this school, and you probably won’t get a job too.

MARION: Dramatics aside, someone has to do it.

RONALD: I think Shakespeare has gone into your head.

MARION: (laughs) Well, I’ll get it out one day. Want to come with me?

RONALD: Nahhh… um, m­­ore personal growth when I keep running.

MARION: Just keep telling yourself that. Maybe after all of this, you can let me into your house to hide, Ronald. I better go before I faint.

 He begins to leave again.

RONALD: Look, I’m sorry if I was a bit over-dramatic, okay?

MARION: A plague on both your houses! You and Sylvester and Chuck have made worms’ meat of me: I also tried to prove myself, and soundly too: your houses!

He leaves SR.

RONALD: …Well, I guess that’s it with that. Maybe I should get some rest… I feel like a desperate pilot, running on the dashing rocks the sea-sick weary bark of my ship! (He grabs a water bottle from backstage) Here’s to my pain! (He chugs it down) O true apothecary!


RONALD: That Marion is quick. Thus, with a kiss, (he blows a kiss to the direction in which Ms. Cronos shouted.) I fly.

He runs offstage SL.


The stage is bare. MS. CRONOS steps forward center-stage.

MS. CRONOS: Welcome to this year’s production of CYANIDE: THE LOST SHAKESPEARE PLAY, directed by myself and written by ‘William Shakespeare’ and Slyvester Locked, err, William Shakespeare! I understand that there are rumors floating about last year’s production. I can assure you all that there never was such trouble, nor will there be. But, if you would like some assurance, I’d like for one of last year’s actors to read an apology note he prepared about last year’s absent show.
CHUCK sets forward, reading from a piece of paper.

CHUCK: “If we shadows had offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
None of us act in this year’s show,
(Some of us are in jail, you know),
(At this point, Chuck throws away the paper he was carrying)

And in this weak and idle play,
actors may don costumes today,
They will be reprehended:
their realities blended
as one. If my name is not Chuck,
the last show gave us great luck,
Enough to ‘scape the dread path
of drama and Cronos wrath;

MS. CRONOS: Chuck, dear, I don’t think that was in the script…

Else the Chuck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And get away from this play as fast as you can.”

He runs offstage. Blackout.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Second Helpings of Cyanide - Part 4

Here's Act II! For this part, I was hoping anyone interested in commenting could not only focus on what's funny and what's not, but on the strength of the characters. Enjoy!


The stage is now the show’s backstage, fleshed out to show how cluttered with junk it truly is. CHUCK is the only one there sitting down… JULES stands, continuing to practice for his sonnet for CHUCK.

JULES : A land begot with confusion appears
To the blind man who rules this kingdom fair,
And woe is he! For if he had but ears
To know the truth, it’d strip his logic bare!
For in the conflict of good and evil,
Who knows the difference without their signs?
None of you can stop this here upheaval
For now you must watch as the stars align.
Pardon me if my rhyme does offend thee
As the pills to fix one’s blight must so do!
But remember, these shadows are like me,
Their existence is possible by you.

During these sentences, the following pantomime occurs. CHUCK enters, looking happy and unlike the self that the audience has seen so far. RONALD enters, approaching by CHUCK and putting his arm on him. As MARION enters, RONALD whispers something to CHUCK. CHUCK refuses at first, and RONALD crosses his arms and looks away, changing his friendly mood to one of hostility. CHUCK finally gives in and starts to pantomime an argument with MARION in his usual manner. RONALD sits back and laughs. MARION, finally fed up with him, leaves.  CHUCK, finally gaining the scope of what he’s done, looks dejected and regretful. RONALD goes up to him, happy and excited, and shakes his hand. CHUCK instantly goes back into an energetic, happy spirit. SLYVESTER enters, glaring at them. CHUCK and RONALD leave, as SLYVESTER begins to approach JULES.

JULES : So join me! Watch them pursue moonlight daises
And then we’ll laugh, knowing that they’re crazy!

SLYVESTER grabs JULES, who cries out in terror. He pins him up against the wall and ties him up with the rope from his pocket.

SLYVESTER: I heard within your feeble voice a bit
of concern for your Bob… this will not do!
With this rope, you shall be here till the end
of that brute masquerading as your lord.

JULES: Okay, can you just quit it? We’re just trying to put on a show and make it through school ok, and then you barge in and throw a play in Cronos’s face and just take over! We were going to do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead until you talked Cronos into this! So come on now… the whole ‘destroy Chuck’ thing is a cover. But what for exactly?

Silence. Then…

SLYVESTER: Well… it’s only fair, after all of this, that I finally come clean. I really am going to destroy Chuck.

JULES : See? I knew that, if you gave… wait, WHAT?

SLYVESTER: (laughs) I had you going, didn’t I? You might as well sit back… I love this plan so much, I’m just dying to tell someone.  You’ve gone through enough to deserve it.

JULES : You’re planning on killing Chuck…

SLYVESTER: But who would know? I’ve been acting so over-the-top all of this time that no one has suspected a thing of me. You all trained yourself to just ignore me, so no one noticed when, today, my sword is sharpened to the point of being lethal! …wait, did you say killing? No no no, I have no need for that. I just want to cut him up a bit.

JULES : So what’s on that blade then?

SLYVESTER: (looks at blade, smiles) You’ve read your Hamlet, Mr. Clifton.

JULES: I was the only one in class that did…

SLYVESTER: But yes, there is a certain type of poison on the blade. Not lethal, but enough to accomplish…

JULES: So why Chuck?

SLYVESTER: Look, can’t you let a villain monologue in peace? Now I’ve lost my train of thought… ah yes. I’ve put on this blade the exact concentration of poison needed to make him suddenly hurl all the lunches he’s ever had on the entire stage. A few Siberia-sized boils later, and he’ll lose any friends he’s ever gained.

JULES : So… you know him well enough to know how his blood reacts to a certain concentration of poison.

SLYVESTER: A mere study. Nothing important.

JULES begins whistling “What is Love?”

SLYVESTER: Stop that! It’s not like that!

JULES : Alright, Sly, why are you doing this?

SLYVESTER: What do you care? He hates you.

JULES : Maybe not. I think, underneath him…

SLYVESTER: ‘He’s a wonderful human being.’ I’ve heard it before, and I’m sick of it. You don’t like him because he has the potential for a wonderful human being! You like him because it’s funny to hear a seventeen-year-old say, ‘poopy.’

JULES : You hate him for that?

SLYVESTER: Oh, believe me, he’s far worse. He’s symbolic of all that is wrong with this world. Everyone loves him! Everyone!

JULES: You mean Ronald? He hardly counts.

SLYVESTER: Oh, it’s the manipulative one especially. He cheers him on and applauds him everywhere he goes.

JULES : Ok, a bit controlling, but it’s not like Chuck’s made a habit of…

SLYVESTER: You really don’t get it, do you? He acts like this no matter what. You saw how even when he does something completely stupid, he gets attention, gets told it’s ok. When I embarrass myself, it’s hysterical. When he embarrasses himself, it’s heartwarming. Why can’t I be a lovable loser? Why? Damn him! If only I were a better loser!

JULES : Too late.

SLYVESTER draws out the sharp sword.

SLYVESTER: You might want to keep your mouth shut until the end of the play. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Once he throws up all over me, I’ll soon overtake him as a point of pity. They’ll all pity me, and eventually love me, just like they do for Chuck Rolfe… Chuck Rolfe, how I hate him. Him and his ‘superiority.’ He has everything I lack… well, except for money, emotional stability, height, looks, and actual acting chops. BUT EVEN SO!

RONALD enters, in costume, SR, but without makeup on.


RONALD begins walking up to SLYVESTER.

SLYVESTER: So! Vicky without her costly makeup
reveals herself ugly man indeed.

RONALD punches SLYVESTER, knocking him out. He then unties JULES.

JULES : You know, if Cronos sees that, you’re in trouble.

RONALD: (smiles) Can’t wait. Besides, it looked like you needed the hand.

JULES : We better get rid of this guy. If you do that, I’ll warn Marion.

RONALD grabs SLYVESTER and drags him offstage as JULES runs into an entering MS. CRONOS.

JULES : Everyone’s ok no unconscious bodies see ya thanks bye!

He runs like wild from a bewildered Ms. Cronos. After a few counts, CHUCK enters.

CHUCK: Hey, Ms. Cronos, can I talk to you?

MS. CRONOS: Sure. What is it?

CHUCK: I’ve… been trying to get others to laugh with me, for fun. But I saw how much I hurt Marion, and I realized what I’ve been doing to everyone else. I’d like to apologize.

MS. CRONOS: (dismissive, oblivious, obviously with something else on her mind) Good to hear, dear. Now get ready… the final performance starts soon. Break a leg!

She exits SR. JULES then sprints in right afterwards.

JULES: Chuck, hide. I’ll explain later.

CHUCK: Where to?

JULES: Try the girl’s dressing room. No one’s using it for this ‘accurate’ satire.

CHUCK leaves, and RONALD emerges from the other side.

JULES : I told Marilyn what’s going on. Is Slyvester put away?

RONALD: Of course! He’s stored up in the girl’s dressing room No one’s using it for this ‘accurate’ satire.

A pause. Then…

JULES: Umm… about that…


JULES: I… umm… I think I have some lighting cues to take care of! Gotta go!

He sprints offstage

RONALD: Why do I get the feeling that no one knows what’s going on?

MS. CRONOS: (offstage SR) Ten minutes until the show starts!

RONALD: Thank you, ten minutes!

MARION enters SL.

MARION: Is Jules still here?

RONALD: Just ran off. Why?

MARION: Oh, nothing. Now, it’s only a matter of time before Sylvester wakes up. So now what?

RONALD: Can Ms. Cronos lock the room?

MARION: What reason would we give her?

RONALD: We could just tell her the truth.

They both stare at each other for a few counts. Unable to hold it in any longer, they crack up, laughing loudly for a good long time.

MARION: Ahhhh… but seriously, she hates me, and she can’t take you seriously when you’re in costume.


MARION: It was your idea.

RONALD: It was funny until it wasn’t…

MARION: Darn it, I hate this show! But it has to go… hang on.


MARION: Those two characters will swordfight in the show.


MARION: We have ten minutes until the show starts.


MARION: (smiling) And if there’s a disaster backstage… I mean, something REALLY big… they’ll announce at the beginning that there won’t be a show.

RONALD: (thinking about it for a moment)… NO. No way.

MARION: C’mon, cut the drama. It’ll get us into trouble…

RONALD: Too much, really.

MARION: It’s better than my plan B. I’d make a big speech about how I’ll refuse to do it. They can’t go on after that; I’m the main character.

RONALD: No you’re not.

MARION: Well, I should be.

RONALD: Still… Plan A’s not much better…

MARION: Awww… wimping out?

RONALD: You wish! I’ll cut the power, you scatter the actors!


RONALD begins to leave SR when he bumps into JULES entering from SR.

JULES: (caught off guard) I still don’t know where Chuck is! Honestly!

RONALD: Keep it that way!

RONALD exits.

JULES: What just happened there?

MARION: Never mind. Talk with me for a bit.

MARION heads offstage SL with JULES. CHUCK and SLYVESTER enter in from the same way a little while afterwards.

CHUCK: So I’m really glad you’ve decided to listen to me about how I feel.

SLYVESTER: Chuck, Chuck, my friend, it’s all right. I’ve gotten a bit carried away by the show as well.

MS. CRONOS: (offstage SR) Eight minutes!

CHUCK and SLYVESTER: Thank you eight minutes!

SLYVESTER: Say, Chuck, our swordfight is still a bit shaky. Do you want to practice it before we go onstage?

CHUCK: (smiling) Sure, just make sure I don’t kill you.

SLYVESTER: (laughs) Very good, Chuck, very good!

CHUCK grabs his sword from a pile of props in the room and gets into a battle stance. SLYVESTER already has his sword with him.

CHUCK: Vicky, stay back! This deary land of woe
remains an unsuitable place for a
gal like you. So, Herbert, we then must face.
Thou art as strong as Ares is peaceful.

MARION enters SL.

MARION: Chuck! Don’t let him fool you! He really is the villain!

SLYVESTER: You cur! Are you completely feckless, sir?

CHUCK: No, I’d consider myself to have feck,
at least more than in terms of some brains.
I’ll make you Sing, Sing… sing… can I skip that line? It’s terrible.


MS. CRONOS: Six Minutes!

EVERYONE ON STAGE: Thank you six minutes!

MARION: He insulted you, Chuck!

CHUCK: I thought you knew me better than that!

SLYVESTER: This can’t be, if you love that brute Vicky.

MARION: (unwillingly) We do… but that’s all you’ll ever be good for.

CHUCK pauses for a bit. He is genuinely speechless for a moment. After a while, he tries to croak out some words.


CHUCK lunges at MARION, swinging his sword. JULES walks in, oblivious to what is going on, and CHUCK runs right into him. CHUCK stands up right away, and tries to continue his charge, but is tripped again by JULES as he tries to get up. SLYVESTER tosses MARION his sword.

SLYVESTER: (smiling) Aim for the knee.

A improv sword fight commences between MARION and CHUCK. CHUCK swings like a maniac, and MARION, uncoordinated with a sword, barely avoids the blows. While this occurs, JULES stumbles around in a daze, knocking into lights, props, and nearly everything else in his path.

CHUCK: You can’t stop this show!

MARION: Chuck, I’m sorry…

CHUCK: I’ve had eno…

From behind him, JULES puts a full-nelson on CHUCK, giving MARION a break. As the two men struggle, SLYVESTER grabs the sword out of MARION’s hands, eying CHUCK with a sense of victory.

MARION: (trying to grab the sword back) Can’t you just quit it?

SLYVESTER: (finally gaining full control over the sword) Oh, it’s far too late for that. If there’s no god for justice, I will make justice myself!

Suddenly, the lights goes out. All the action stops.

SLYVESTER: Sorry about that, God! You can put the lights back on now.

RONALD: I found the light switch!

CHUCK: Great timing, bimbo.

JULES: Bimbo?

SLYVESTER: Wait, who turned out the lights again?

MARION: It’s okay, everyone! We turned out the lights so that we can explain a few things. Long story short, Slyvester’s trying to kill Chuck.

SLYVESTER: Wait, kill? And besides, you were the one holding the sword.

MARION: So? You have it now.

SLYVESTER: Of course I don’t.

JULES: I did pretty well back there, huh Marion?

CHUCK: I knew it, Herbert! No amount of devilry could disguise your devilry!

RONALD: I don’t think you saw this coming.

MARION: I know you’re lying, Sly Locked.

JULES: What do you say, Marion?

SLYVESTER: Did I lie to you about my plan? I don’t have the sword.

RONALD: Oh, that’s right! Chuck, watch out for Slyvester’s sword. It’s lethal!

MARION: Yeah, great timing Ronald.

JULES: Oh yeah… I forgot! Locked has a lethal sword!

MS. CRONOS: (offstage SR) Three minutes!

CHUCK: Shut up, three minutes!

MARION: Chuck, do you have the sword now?

CHUCK: For now, until I shove it up Herbert’s…

A crack is heard.

MARION: Hey, that’s my skull!

CHUCK: Oh great, he got the stage manager too!

JULES: Darn it!


JULES: Oh nothing.

A slight pause.

MARION: Jules…

JULES: Oh, all right. I lost him.


JULES: The bad guy.

CHUCK: That doesn’t narrow it down…

JULES: Hang on, he said he didn’t have the sword. Who does?


RONALD: (with absolute sincerity) You know, I think I’m starting to enjoy myself now.

MARILYN: Good for you. So, if… wait, do you guys hear that? Sounds like someone’s coming in.

CHUCK: Whoever’s lurking around can leave! If you don’t, I will crucify you upside-down after pulling out all of your fingernails with the stinger of a bee…

The lights go back on. Each of the actors have scattered from their previous position, and SLYVESTER is nowhere in sight. CHUCK holds one sword, and the other one is held by JULES. The last one is held by MS. CRONOS, who’s standing by a light switch on SR.

CHUCK: ...until… until I say a very polite hello to Ms. Cronos!

MS. CRONOS: Hello, dears.

MARION: We are so a duck.