And, with this entry, the 52 Week Project is completed! Eric, I can never thank you enough for your constant support and invaluable feedback on this quest. That has meant more to me than most can imagine.
“Bad to the Bone” begins playing. ANOTHER ANNOUNCER steps onstage.
ANOTHER ANNOUNCER: And now, children of all ages, the moment you’ve been waiting for… the Prince of Darkness, the Lord of Evil, the Head Honcho of Horribleness. He’s the innovator who gave us, among other things, pain, freewill, suffering, and burnt toast. He’s pleased to meet you… I hope you guess his name!
As the music kicks into gear, a parade of devil-themed dancers leads in SATAN, who’s strutting down the dancer’s prepared path like a rock star. The dance continues until 0:24 of the song, at which point the music fades out and the dancers dance out.
SATAN: Hey there, losers! Pretty spiffy opening, huh? I don’t like to br… ahhhh, who am I kidding, I love to brag! Worth every penny! The old entrance was getting old… I think “Sympathy for the Devil,” was a bit overused, didn’t you?
No response from the heroes.
SATAN: Well, would you look at this. Wow. What a mood whiplash, huh? One moment, you’re riding high, starting to feel good, then bam! You’re brought down to my level. A real pity, that. But now it’s time for business.
SATAN snaps his fingers, and a HENCHMAN arrives carrying a pizza box.
SATAN: I figured you’d be hungry after the trip, so, being the nice guy I am, I figured this would be a great way to seal the deal. Simply eat a slice and the contract is binding. Oh I can’t wait for all the fun we’re going to have. We’re going to draw all over houses, destroy churches, and completely run over this wasted creation. And, as a special favor to you all, we can start with Judea. Ask yourself… what better way to fill your black hearts than with vengeance? So who’s with me? Don’t be shy, just come on over.
After a while, RAMSES II stands up and walks over next to SATAN (though not touching a slice)
SATAN: Excellent, excellent. Who’s next?
After a while, GOLIATH stands up.
SATAN: … come again?
GOLIATH: Why would I want to go back? This trip has become a disaster, certainly, but did you know what it was like before? I had no real friends! I was stuck with bullies in warclothes telling me to beat up some poor farm boy! The only reason I did not leave was I was too weak to stand up! There are no ‘glory days’ for evil, no pride to be found stepping on others to reach an invisible pedestal. That is what made my old friends fake. I do not care if anyone else joins me… I will find friends on my own terms. I will find them for me.
GOLIATH nervously walks away and stands so that the rest of the group is equidistant to either side. After a while, JUDAS stands up.
JUDAS: You think I suffered back there under Jacob. I felt much worse when I killed the world’s hope for thirty silver pieces. But, with these people, I’ve learned to forgive myself a little. I learned true repentance doesn’t just change you: it changes the world around you by your hand. With The Christians, I made a world I can live in. Whenever I was doing good, with either group, I forgot myself. I almost considered joining you after Jacob, but then I remembered that feeling. I know what I must do… For Him.
JUDAS joins GOLIATH. MARTHA stands up.
MARTHA: “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” I understand it now. The key was in the word ‘things.’ God enjoys it if the things you do create a great novel or a delicious meal, but he really cares about the person you become as a result. I am not a villain for hosting a party; I was a villain for letting the party take over me, for forgetting that people, always fleeting, are what make you. So this quest will not take over me.
MARTHA joins JUDAS and GOLIATH. PILATE stands up and searches for something to say for a long time.
PILATE: … I hate pizza!
He runs over to join MARTHA, GOLIATH, and JUDAS, high-fiving them once he arrives. As SOLOMON begins to stand up, RAMSES II steps forward.
RAMSES II: No. I don’t want your prize anymore, Satan. I wanted to restore my family glory, make Moses forgotten under my new power. But I saw what happened to these brave, loyal people. They’re like the Israelites my father, the pharaoh, bullied into submission. Brother Moses saved them, and I cursed his name like a fool. That’s my family legacy. I don’t want that anymore. I want a new family.
RAMSES II walks over and joins GOLIATH, JUDAS, MARTHA, and PILATE. SOLOMON stands up.
SATAN: Solomon… lie again to your friends, if you desire. But the gold and women I offer you is too great a pull for you to resist. The team is broken, but you don’t have to suffer because of it. Just take a bite, and all your worries will disappear forever.
After a while, SOLOMON takes two steps towards SATAN, and then stops.
SOLOMON: … you sent Jacob after us.
SOLOMON: The man who caught us. Though he’s not even Jacob, but one of your henchmen.
SATAN: … how did you figure that out?
SOLOMON: First of all, that imposter dropping us off at your doorstep is suspicious. Second of all, Jacob didn’t become a trickster “for his entire life…” as he got older, he changed his ways. Now that alone isn’t enough… but you saying, “how did you figure that out?” That somewhat “seals the deal,” doesn’t it?
SATAN: (seething with rage) You…
SOLOMON: But what you said was somewhat true… I lied before when I told Judas I would not accept your deal. I will now fix that. For I learned there’s no shame in falling into evil when there’s joy in picking yourself up again.
SATAN: Solomon, if you dare…
SOLOMON: I am no longer Solomon.
He walks over and joins the rest of his party, standing vigilant between them and SATAN.
SOLOMON: I am Solomon the Wise once more. These people you have hurt are no longer villains. No longer villains… (To group) I call you friends.
The group stands triumphantly together against SATAN for a good amount of time.
SATAN: …have you fools been so intoxicated off of each other’s ‘love’ that you’ve forgotten who I AM!? How DARE you refuse me! ME, who gave you so much! What Jacob did to you is only a TASTE of the wrath I will unleash!
SOLOMON: You’ll have to come through me first!
Suddenly, everything stops as both sides watch JADAU CARO run onstage and meet them in the center.
JC: (panting) Sorry I’m… late, I… had ta… take care of… somethings first.
JC blows a loud whistle. On command, the CHRISTIANS pop out and grab SATAN and the HENCHMAN. One of them stands in front of the evildoers.
CHRISTIAN 6: Good job boys. We’ll read ‘em their rights in the van. (Takes out cross necklace) For Him!
ALL OTHER CHRISTIANS: (still restraining the pair) For Him!
They begin to drag SATAN and the HENCHMAN away.
SOLOMON: Hold it!
They stop. SOLOMON approaches SATAN.
SOLOMON: It doesn’t have to go on like this, Satan… you can redeem yourself and start anew. I plan for us to continue working together and doing good. Will you join us?
SATAN: … perhaps you’re right. I will join you.
SOLOMON: You promise to swear off your evil ways?
SATAN: I promise.
SOLOMON: (to CHRISTIAN 7, who’s standing behind SATAN) Well?
CHRISTIAN 7 pulls out a device she was holding behind SATAN’s back.
CHRISTIAN 7: (reading the device)…yup. Definitely lying.
SOLOMON: Freewill doesn’t mean we have to be stupid. I guess we’ll give you more time to think.
SATAN: Bah! As if! I’d rather swim in this garbage as its king than serve under a loser such as you!
SOLOMON: So that’s a no then. Take him away!
THE CHRISTIANS begin dragging the duo away.
HENCHMAN: Wait! Wait!
They all stop and await a response.
HENCHMAN: … can I have some of that pizza first? It looks delicious!
SATAN: What!? Of course not!
The two of them bicker as the rest of the CHRISTIANS drag them away.
There’s silence for a while, then…
PILATE: We did it!
There’s much cheering and laughing as they all celebrate and hug each other for a the needed amount of time.
JUDAS: So what’s this about us ‘working together and doing good” that I never signed up for?
JUDAS: (laughs) I’m just messing with you. It sounds great!
Everyone else in the group laughs and affirms JUDAS’s position.
RAMSES II: We really owe much to Jadau Caro here… though I don’t know why he’d go and betray his master.
JC: Well, that’s simple. He wasn’t my master at all!
JC removes his gloves and shows up his hands. Everyone stares at them and gasps in shock (except JUDAS).
MARTHA: It can’t be…
SOLOMON: (in exclamation) Jesus Christ!
JC: That’s me all right! Thought tha nail holes would give it away!
GOLIATH: Why did you decide to do this?
JC: Ya guys kept bein’ left out, so I thought that that was the root of tha problem. The devil’s plan jus’ happened ta work with mine.
RAMSES II: Yes, and that hokey accent was to throw us off!
JUDAS: No, he always spoke like that.
The party looks at JUDAS and JC in confusion.
SOLOMON: …you knew…?
JUDAS: From the start. I didn’t know how to act until He gave me a code:…
JC: “Jus’ go along with it. I’ll explain later.”
JUDAS: And that He did.
PILATE: That accent is still bugging me. How can he pronounce ‘brilliant’ correctly, but can’t say the word ‘you?’
SOLOMON: (to MARTHA) Did you know?
MARTHA: No. Somehow I had forgotten. I must have really been lost. (To JC) There’s so much I need to talk to you about! Did I choose the right path? How’s Mary? Is my sister ok?
JC: Guys, I’ll answer anythin’ ya need. But know this first: ya all have the answers ya need ta know. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need ta phone my dad.
GOD: (as voiceover) I get lines in the play? Oh wonderful!
SOLOMON: It’s good to here His voice again… (To JC) But what on Earth is he talking about?
JC: Erm, omnipotent things. Don’t worry about it!
“The Avengers Theme,” from The Avengers plays as SOLOMON brings everyone in the group but JC (who’s closing his eyes in meditation) into an open huddle.
SOLOMON: There are a few things I think we should decide on. I’m serious about us sticking together as a team to help Judea on its feet and fight evil, but we need a name. Not just any name… a name to drive fear into our enemies and inspire those around us. I know just the name. I suggest… The Avengers!
JC: (the music cuts suddenly as he says this) (without opening his eyes) Taken.
SOLOMON: … The Devil’s Rejects?
SOLOMON: Goody Deeds Done Dirt Cheap?
JC: … let’s not.
GOLIATH: I believe I know. The Christians took the symbol of their darkest moment- the cross- and turned it into a symbol of hope by their actions. We can do the same with the word “villain,” a word that haunted us and locked us in place until we met. I suggest… The Greatest Villains!
A pause. Then…
ALL EXCEPT JC: Naaaaahhhhh…
JUDAS: (as he starts to leave) Sorry, it won’t catch on.
MARTHA: (as she starts to leave) Too cheesy.
RAMSES II: (as he starts to leave) Just no.
JC: Well I like it!
PILATE: (as he starts to leave) Maybe next time…
GOLIATH: (as he starts to leave) Well, all right…
Everyone leaves as a group except for JC and SOLOMON. Lights off, spot on JC and SOLOMON. SOLOMON stands awkwardly for a while, until JC opens an eye.
JC: You can head back ta join them.
SOLOMON: You know I won’t be able to go back. Not after this.
JC: Perhaps this is best. My story wouldn’t have much flare ta it if I flopped on ta ground and just died off. It was painful, but… it was a story. No, more than that. A covenant. And that’s somethin’ heavier than gold. But what did you want ta say?
SOLOMON: Well, I just wanted… wow. I mean, I’ve come so far. I just wanted to thank you, but the words aren’t enough.
MARTHA enters and grabs SOLOMON by the arm.
MARTHA: C’mon, Solomon, we’re waiting on you!
JC: That’s how.
MARTHA and SOLOMON run out of the spot together as JC watches approvingly. Spot cut. End scene, end play.
Copyright (C) 2013 by Nick Edinger