NARRATOR: The following story will be presented as it was reported in this article (holds up article). Some dialogue and events have been fabricated. It’ll sound absolutely bonkers, but trust me on this one.
TRICIA PERKINSON enters, talking on a phone.
TRICIA PERKINSON: Hello, 911! My neighbor’s house is on fire! Please help us, we’re in North Knoxville, across from the school! (nods) Yes? (nods) Oh thank you!
She puts down the phone and runs to the other side of the stage. STEPHEN FORTHMAN, wearing a “I don’t dial 911” shirt, walks in backwards, shooting behind him and screaming obscenities. SOUND EFFECT MAN, seated in the audience, makes firing noises with each pull of STEPHEN’S gun’s trigger.
TRICIA PERKINSON: Stephen? Oh, Stephen, thank god you’re alive! I’m sorry, your house is long gone by now, we have to get out of here!
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: (ignoring her, still shooting and screaming) YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! YOU BETTER GET OUT OF HERE YOU COCKSUCKING SONS OF BITCHES! THAT’S MY FUCKING HOUSE!
TRICIA PERKINSON: … Stephen, are you trying to shoot the fire away?
STEPHEN continues to shout obscenities and fire in front of him. Eventually, a FIREMAN comes in.
FIREMAN: Madam, we need you to move!
TRICIA PERKINSON runs out.
FIREMAN: Sir, step away from the fire!
STEPHEN is still shooting and screaming away. Eventually, FIREMAN tries to restrain him, which STEPHEN FORTHMAN resists.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: NO! I AIN’T GONNA NEED NO FUCKING COPPERS! GGGGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: Excuse me!
All action onstage freezes. STEPHEN’S NARRATOR, also wearing a “I don’t dial 911” shirt, enters.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: (shy) I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately. First, yes, this is me (points to STEPHEN), Stephen Forthman, the guy with the “I don’t dial 911” shirt. Sometimes I get mad. I don’t even mind the loss of my house that much anymore: bridge under the water, and so forth. But everyone’s asking why I tried to shoot out my fire. It’s a long story.
Everyone but STEPHEN’S NARRATOR leaves.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: We’ve always liked guns, my ma and pa and I. One of the earliest pictures they have is of me and my favorite pacifier: an unloaded Stoner M63. L was good, too: I could snipe a tin can from a mile away, which was something we did nearly every Saturday. I’d always laugh when Pa painted the cans red and cried, “AAAAAHHHH!! Ya got me!” in his Commie voice when I hit it: it was worth the passerby glares.
Of course, the cops did a search when I was eight and took off with all the guns. Dad didn’t have guns anymore, so we didn’t have Saturdays anymore. Instead, Dad took to drinking every Saturday night. It eventually became every night… we didn’t know what to do. He didn’t make it to my tenth birthday.
I know it seems kind of sad, but I don’t mind it. He had this quote, this piece of immortality he told me whenever I got too shy. “Son, you don’t have to fear fear. Your fear can make you strong.” So that’s where his mark on Earth is. He might’ve believed in a Christian God, but I figure Lord Darwin has a place for him in his heart too.
So I have this on my mind by the time I’m ten and a month and I’m starting to fall for those feminine tricks I’ve been told about. Mary Louise kept sending me notes and acting very cute, and I didn’t know what to do.
MARY LOUISE and a shyer, younger STEPHEN FORTHMAN enter.
MARY LOUISE: WHY ain’t you readin’ my notes? Do ya think I’m ugly or something?
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: I don’t know…
MARY LOUISE: Don’t ya ever talk to ANYONE?
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: I don’t know…
MARY LOUISE: … are ya homo or something?
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: I don’t think so…
MARY LOUISE: Well, if you ain’t homo, you gotta ask me out on a date! It’s the law! C’mon Stevie, don’t ya like me? Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: And then it hit me. I’ve been letting my fear take over me and turn me into a whimp my entire life, when I could be an Emperor by my might alone. I just needed some way to cope with my fears. The answer came to me in an angelic light…
STEPHEN FORTHMAN pulls out his gun and points it in the air.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: FUCK THIS SHIT!
He fires wildly into the air, accompanied by SOUND EFFECTS MAN’s gunshot noises. MARY LOUISE runs away shrieking while STEPHEN FORTHMAN continues screaming and running in circles, eventually offstage.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: That began a partnership that’s lasted until now. I never went back to a school after that, but that’s ok. They were trying to get me to join a crowd. I don’t care what anybody says, shooting like that felt good. Ma didn’t even mind that I took her gun, she was crying so hard.
For the next couple of ten-years more, my shyness never got the best of me. When I became anxious, I just went with the flow. From the biggest problems…
By this point, STEPHEN FORTHMAN and MS. FORTHMAN are both sitting down at a table and looking over some pieces of paper.
MS. FORTHMAN: I don’t know, hunny. We just don’t have enough for the taxman this year.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: (standing up) FUCKING LITTLE FACIST SHITS!
He starts shooting at the paper, accompanied by SOUND EFFECTS MAN’s gunshot noises. MRS. FORTHMAN screams in shock and runs out.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: … to the most annoying ones.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN, now in a different scene, searches for something.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: Here, kitty kitty kitty kitty… c’mon, the wife will be very upset if you’re not found… c’mon kitty… kitty… kitty… (draws gun) YOU’RE GONNA SHOW YOUR FUCKING FACE YOU BITCH ASS FART CUNT!
STEPHEN FORTHMAN runs around screaming obscenities and shooting everything, accompanied by SOUND EFFECTS MAN’s gunshot noises. He eventually runs offstage.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: There were some troubles, though. In 2002, my brother-in-law Bobby came by to tell me my wife was skipping town. I don’t mind that part, I just don’t get why the brother-in-law was wearing full body armor at the time. What, was she scared or something? I’ve never harmed anyone before, I’m too good of a shot. Anyways, Bobby was nice, though, and wanted to support me, since I always got nervous at job interviews. Couldn’t always trust him, though…
By this point, BROTHER-IN-LAW is sitting on a chair, reading a book, while STEPHEN FORTHMAN holds his chest in pain.
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: Owwwww…
BROTHER-IN-LAW: Will you quit it already! I gave you some Advil, it’ll go away soon!
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: It’s not workin’! Ohhh, I think it might be fatal.
BROTHER-IN-LAW: Look, just wait it out! You can’t fix everything right away, you know!
STEPHEN FORTHMAN: Don’t tell me what to do!
Struck by an idea, STEPHEN FORTHMAN pulls out his gun, looks at it, looks at his chest, looks at the gun, looks up to the audience, and gives them a big, toothy grin.
STEPHEN’S NARRATOR: Well I proved him wrong. My trusty gun showed him there was something wrong with me right away.
Not much else happened until today, when I saw the fire in my house and naturally took that old gun to it. I hope this answers any questions you have. Next time I see you, I hope to have taken several acres in Darwin’s name. Just remember: Your fear can make you strong.
NARRATOR: Moral of the Story: This article (holds up article), upon further investigation, was from a parody site. Many newspapers were fooled, just as you and I were. But this fable’s plausibility speaks volumes about the world we live in… Happy Halloween.
BLACKOUT. NARRATOR lets loose an evil laugh once the lights go out.