Meteo’kar vs The Promoters of the Universe

CHAPTER TWO

METEO’KAR VS THE PROMOTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

SFX: DING-DING! A BELL RINGS.

MUSIC: METEO’KAR: CHAMPION OF SPACE THEME. UP, UNDER.

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE-OVER) Watch! Right over there! It’s not an Eagle! It’s not a helicopter! No, you pencil-necked geek! It’s… (ECHOES) Meteo’kar, Champion of Space!

MUSIC: THEME FADES.

SOUNDSCAPE: SPACE. LOTS TO SEE, LITTLE TO DO.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) On our previous adventure, the alien being known as Kur’tahn J’kar relieved Buzz Aldrin of his head to become the new Champion of Earth. Meanwhile, Johnny “Twin-Beds” Joblonski defeated Tony “Two Thumbs” Pulcini, via failure to appear, for the Fountain Valley World Championship, which upset Kur’tahn quite a bit, if we’re being honest. In fact, it upset Kur’tahn so much that they teleported down from the moon to Fountain Valley, attempted to claim the Fountain Valley World Title for themselves, only to then be relieved of their own head when Johnny shattered it to pieces with a single, supernaturally powered punch. Fascinating stuff, really. You should have been there. But before Johnny could celebrate his unification of the Fountain Valley World Championship and the literal championship of the world, he found himself spirited away by a strange, annoying light…

SFX: JOHNNY WARPING THROUGH SPACE AMID A STRANGE, ANNOYING LIGHT.

For several months, Johnny cut across the planets and stars amid the strange, annoying light. Though, thanks to the warping of space and time and what have you, this inexplicably forced tour of deep space only felt like a few, long, agonizing hours to Johnny. Not too bad, all things considered. And just enough time for Johnny to reflect on how it all went wrong.

JOHNNY: I really shouldn’t have gotten out of bed.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Any day in particular?

JOHNNY: No, just in general.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Fair enough.

JOHNNY: I also probably shouldn’t have taken that booking from Medium Pete. Though, I did become World Champion.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Yeah, of Fountain Valley.

JOHNNY: And on a technicality… But at least I made enough money to cover the gas to the venue and back.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) That hardly seems to matter if you’re lightyears away from your car.

JOHNNY: Also true.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But when he really thought about it, it all came down to the moment he witnessed “Crippling” Ed Diction throw Coconut Swallows into an on-coming car outside Classy Lou’s Erotic Dancing Emporium in Fontana.

CUT TO:

SOUNDSCAPE: A STRIPMALL IN FONTANA.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) You see, one morning, some thirty-seven years earlier, more or less, Johnny’s Uncle Swallows decided to take a little detour to a stripmall rather than to Johnny’s school.

SFX: A RICKETY PICKUP TRUCK PULLS INTO THE LOT.

YOUNG JOHNNY: Uncle Swallows, are we here for bowling or pool supplies?

UNCLE SWALLOWS: (LAUGHS AND LAUGHS AND LAUGHS…)

SFX: UNCLE SWALLOWS STEPS OUT OF THE TRUCK, CLOSES DOOR, WALKS AWAY.

YOUNG JOHN: Uncle Swallows?

UNCLE SWALLOWS: (OFF) (LAUGHS AND LAUGHS AND LAUGHS…)

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Fifteen minutes later, Uncle Swallows was escorted out of that strip club by aforementioned Mr. Diction…

SFX: MR. DICTION DRAGS UNCLE SWALLOWS OUT OF CLASSY LOU’S.

…and thrown into the path of an oncoming car.

SFX: MR. DICTION THROWS UNCLE SWALLOWS IN FRONT OF A MOVING CAR.

And as he witnessed some sort of criminal act in progress, a young Johnny “Twin-Beds” Jablonksi took note of how Mr. Diction was a rather large man capable of hurting a man much smaller, fatter, and drunker than him with both great ease and immense pleasure.

CUT TO:

SOUNDSCAPE: THE JABLONSKI FAMILY KITCHEN.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) The next morning, Johnny waited and waited for his ride to school.

YOUNG JOHNNY: Mom?

MOM: Yes, Sweetie?

YOUNG JOHNNY: Have you seen Uncle Swallows? I’m going to be late for school.

MOM: Who the Hell is Uncle Swallows?

CUT TO:

SOUNDSCAPE: A LARGE ARENA FILLED TO CAPACITY OF THOUSANDS. BUT IN SPACE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Many years later and even more lightyears away…

SFX: THE STRANGE, ANNOYING LIGHT FADES IN, OUT.

…the strange, annoying light faded, and Johnny found himself standing in the middle of a wrestling ring in the middle of a large arena somewhere not even remotely close to the middle of space. The arena was filled to capacity with a live crowd of thousands, and trillions at home watched this unfold on one of several illegal streams on the space-internet. And a holographic projection of three teeny-headed, large-bellied men in oversized robes–

BOOK’URR: (PA SYSTEM) Who the Hell do you think you are?

JOHNNY: I think there’s been some sort of mistake.

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) You’re damn right! You’ve interfered with forces beyond your comprehension!

BOOK’URR: (PA SYSTEM) Look. We appreciate our independent contractors taking the initiative and blah-blah-blah, but we simply can’t have someone succeeding on their own merits.

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) What Book’urr means is that, while we love – while the fans love you…

THE ARENA ROARS TO LIFE, THEN IMMEDIATELY SILENCES.

JOHNNY: What the Hell?

PEN-CIL: (CONT’D) (PA SYSTEM) …we simply can’t afford to abandon our plans now.

JOHNNY: Your plans?

BOOK’URR: (PA SYSTEM) He knows of our plans? Pen-sil, he knows of the plans!

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) Who are you?

JOHNNY: No one of interest, I swear!

BOOK’URR: (PA SYSTEM) Did Phil send you? That sonnovabitch knows he can’t run shows here!

JOHNNY: I don’t know who Phil is!

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) (SCOFFS) You dare play games now, Boy?

JOHNNY: Seriously. I’m just… just some mediocre nobody who won the World Championship of freakin’ Fountain Valley.

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) (BELLOWS) Meteo’kar!

JOHNNY: Wait. Who?

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) I don’t care if you are your World’s Champion…

JOHNNY: Of Fountain Valley. I feel like it’s very important right now that I emphasize that, again, I am World Champion of Fountain Valley – a city known for a bowling alley, a park, and existing. In that order.

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) (IGNORES JOHN) …but if you insist on unraveling our handwork willy-nilly…

JOHNNY: I don’t. Really, I don’t. Also, did you just say, “willy-nilly”?

BOOK’URR: (PA SYSTEM) Enough! Nobody uses such language with the Promoters of the Universe!

PEN-CIL: (PA SYSTEM) What say you, General Manager? Your silence is… annoying.

GENERAL MANAGER: (PA SYSTEM) For your transgression, Meteo’kar…

JOHNNY: John. My name is “John”, not…

GENERAL MANAGER: (PA SYSTEM) (ALSO IGNORES JOHN) you are to compete one-on-one with “The Overseller!

THE ARENA ROARS ONCE MORE. ONE MAN IN PARTICULAR SQUEALS WITH A BIT TOO MUCH DELIGHT.

GENERAL MANAGER: (PA SYSTEM) (SMILES) Beseech me, Contestant!

MUSIC: METEO’KAR: CHAMPION OF SPACE THEME. UP, UNDER.

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE-OVER) Who is The Overseller? Who are these Promoters of the Universe? Where exactly is Johnny anyway? Will his car still be waiting for him when he gets back? Find out next time, maybe, on the next installment of… (ECHOES) Meteo’kar: Champion of Space!

SFX: DING-DING! A BELL RINGS.

FADE OUT.

My Way, Or the Hemingway

A PRESS CONFERENCE IN AN APARTMENT. A PODIUM AND MICROPHONE. VERY PROFESSIONAL, YET UTTERLY NOT. A CROWD OF JOURNALISTS, “JOURNALISTS”, AND OTHER ASSORTED PASSERSBY GATHER.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) In our previous misconceived attempt at humor, Steve, local recluse and man without money, finally managed to leave his apartment. He then immediately cocked it all up by choosing to talk to people. We now return to his apartment for an important-to-him press conference.

STEVE ENTERS, SPEAKS. HOW UNFORTUNATE FOR US. 

STEVE: Hello. I think we all know why we’re here.

RORY: (RAISES HAND) I don’t.

STEVE: Someone remove this man.

RORY: What did I do?

RORY IS BEATEN, DRAGGED OUT.

STEVE: Right. Look. We can stand here all day, blaming my wife for what’s transpired. And while I certainly won’t stop you all from doing just that, I also think it best we move on from her misplaced faith in my ability to, uh… well, to do much of anything, really.

Was this a mistake? Probably. But I’ve made mistakes before. And I’d much rather make mistakes than never make anything at all.

That said, I can only promise you that I will only continue to defecate into the void, creatively speaking. I will not be stopped. I cannot be stopped. Not until I’ve grown bored with whatever it is I’m doing and move on to something else entirely, which is what I plan on doing right. Thank you.

STEVE EXITS.

Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Me?

AN APARTMENT. EXTERIOR. PLEASANT-ENOUGH DAY. A DOCILE, AMORPHOUS ZOMBIE HORDE IS.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) You would be blessed to have forgotten our last episode, in which Steve finally managed to leave his apartment under threat of sister-in-law. Why this was enough to finally overcome fractured time and space, a pleasant, yet violent man named “Melvin,” and a literal zombie horde, I’ll never know. Whatever the case, Steve eventually made his way through enough of the aforementioned zombie horde…

STEVE PUSHES HIS WAY THROUGH THE ZOMBIE HORDE, TO A CLEAR-ISH PLACE THE SIDEWALK.

…to reach the sidewalk outside his apartment.

STEVE: What’s with this zombie horde anyway? There’s a billion of them, but none of them seem particularly blood-thirsty.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) You almost sound disappointed.

STEVE: A bit.

STEVE LOOKS UP, DOWN, AND ALL ABOUT THE PLACE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) As he looked every which way but within, Steve saw the horde stretched on and on, seemingly without end.

STEVE: I can speak for myself, ya know.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Fine. (WALKS AWAY) (OFF) No. No, Brixby. He said he can speak for himself, so let him do it. I don’t need this today.

A PAUSE.

STEVE: What was that about?

ZOMBIE #1: Are you in line?

STEVE: (STARTLED) Fucking Hell!

ZOMBIE #1: Is that a yes?

STEVE: I don’t know.

ZOMBIE #2: (GESTURES) Back of the line is over that way. It just snakes back this way.

ZOMBIE #1: Thanks.

STEVE: All of you are waiting in line?

ZOMBIE #1: I don’t know about anyone else, but I came here to take a picture with the new mural on the side of some gourmet erotic edible shop.

ZOMBIE #2: Oral Delights.

STEVE: You’re all here to take a photo of a wall?

ZOMBIE #1: No, with a wall.

STEVE: Oh. Well, that make’s much more sense.

ZOMBIE #1: It does?

STEVE: Not at all.

ZOMBIE #1: Oh.

STEVE: What’s so special about a wall that you’ll wait hours to take a picture with it?

ZOMBIE #2: I’ve been waiting for about three days, actually.

STEVE: (TO ZOMBIE #1) They said, “three days.”

ZOMBIE #1: They did.

STEVE: Why?

ZOMBIE #1: It’s a very popular wall.

STEVE: Popular as it may be, don’t you have anything better to do than to wait three days to take a picture of a wall?

ZOMBIE #1: With a wall.

STEVE: Right. Sorry. 

ZOMBIE #1: You want to take that one again?

STEVE: May I?

ZOMBIE #1: Please, do.

STEVE: Thank you. (BEAT) Don’t you have anything better to do than to wait three days to take a picture with a wall?

ZOMBIE #1: What else am I going to do?

STEVE: Watch a movie? Read a book? Drink some chemical cocktail that will ensure one never has to wait three days so as to take pictures with a wall?

ZOMBIE #1: With a wall.

STEVE: I said that.

ZOMBIE #1: Sorry.

ZOMBIE #2: I’m sorry, but don’t you feel this premise has become a bit unwieldy?

STEVE: Yeah. Sorry about that. Someone’s taken the rest of the day off, and left me to sort this one out on my own.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Oh, is that what happened?

STEVE: Yes?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) I hate you.

STEVE: Me, too. And the faster you wrap this up, the faster we can both move on for the day.

A PAUSE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Fine.

ZOMBIE #2: Thank you.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) And it was right about the time some idiot named “Steve” realized he was a big idiot…

STEVE: I’m sorry?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …the scene inexplicably came to a merciful, belated end.

STEVE: Wait. That’s it?

ZOMBIE #1: It does seem a bit lazy.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Not my problem.

ZOMBIE #1: Fair enough.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Tune in next time for our next half-assed attempt at entertainment: My Way, or The Hemingway!

I’m Allergic to Selfish, Or Bucket of Artificial Crabs

AN APARTMENT. STEVE SITS WITH HIS WIFE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) In our last turgid episode, Steve made yet another attempt to leave his apartment, so as to get a bit of sun and hopefully stop smelling so much like the dog. But when he opened the front door, Steve came face to face with a large, but pleasant man named Melvin.

STEVE: (TO AUDIENCE) He really was pleasant.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) As his wife…

WIFE: (TO AUDIENCE) Hello.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …their neighbor, Rory… 

RORY: (TO AUDIENCE)(OFF) Hi!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …and eventually Steve himself…

SILENCE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Well?

STEVE: (LOOKS AROUND) Me?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Yes, you. Aren’t you going to say “hello” to the audience, too?

STEVE: What? No.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Really?

STEVE: Seems a bit gratuitous. Besides, (GESTURES) they already did it.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) You’re serious.

STEVE: Deathly.

A PAUSE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) As these idiots stepped out into the hallway, Melvin proceeded to rip them in half with his bare hands for reasons even Melvin wasn’t entirely clear on.

STEVE: That part wasn’t very pleasant, I’ll admit.

NARRATOR: (TO STEVE) I hate you. (TO AUDIENCE) Anyway. Steve and his wife now sit in their apartment, perhaps a bit confused and inexplicably damned in all sorts of ways, but otherwise fine.

WIFE: Steve… What’s the real reason you won’t go outside?

STEVE: I’ve tried!

WIFE: So you keep saying, and yet… (GESTURES)

STEVE MARCHES TO THE FRONT DOOR.

STEVE: (GESTURES) Every single time I open this door and attempt to leave, something awful happens!

WIFE: There’s no need to be so dramatic.

STEVE: Dramatic? First, I can’t step foot out of this apartment without breaking physics itself by stepping right back into the exact same apartment. Then, a large, pleasant man named Melvin rips us in half in a definitively unpleasant manner.

WIFE: So, you’ve experienced a few negative interactions. You can’t let that color how you see the whole world.

STEVE: Okay. Well, let’s see what absurd Hell awaits us today, hmm?

STEVE OPENS THE DOOR.

A HORDE OF ZOMBIES FILLS THE HALLWAY.

STEVE: Zombies.

ZOMBIE RORY WALKS BY.

ZOMBIE RORY: (WAVES) Hi, guys.

STEVE & WIFE: Hi, Rory.

ZOMBIE RORY: You two thinking of joining the zombie horde?

STEVE: We’re undecided.

ZOMBIE RORY: I hear ya. I wasn’t sold on it at first, to tell the truth. But then I…

STEVE SLAMS THE DOOR CLOSED.

STEVE: Preachy zombies.

WIFE: Steve, they’re people just like you and me.

STEVE: They’re flesh-eating ghouls!

WIFE: We all have our faults. Besides, it’ll do you good to socialize.

STEVE: But I don’t want to socialize.

WIFE: Fine. Have it your way. But just so you know, my sister is coming over today.

STEVE: The one I dislike, or the one I dislike slightly less?

WIFE: The one you can’t stand.

A PAUSE.

STEVE OPENS THE DOOR, STEPS OUT INTO THE ZOMBIE HORDE.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Steve stepped out into the zombie horde, unsure of what awaited him, aside from all the zombies, or that he’d left without his wallet, keys, or phone. Tune in next time for our next complete waste of time: “Is It Hot in Here, Or Is It Just Me?”

The Waiting Game, Or Out of Line

AN APARTMENT. STEVE, LOOKING AS IF HE’S BEEN BEATEN WITH SOME SORT OF BEATING ROD, STARES AT THE FRONT DOOR.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) When we last left Steve, the reclusive man made of dust and despair had been specifically instructed by his wife to leave their apartment for a little sun and a lot of de-mold-ification. But when he finally relented, Steve quickly discovered that while he could look outside his apartment, any attempt to cross the threshold somehow sent him stepping right back into it. Of course, when his wife returned…

WIFE ENTERS, LOVINGLY HOLDS BEATING ROD.

…she proved herself a woman of her very violent word. For his failing, Steve was beaten mercifully out of sight of an audience and left to think about why he was so comfortable smelling like a petulant chihuahua.

STEVE: (TO AUDIENCE) It could be worse, the dog could smell like me.

WIFE NODS.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) After a good night’s rest for his wife, Steve woke the next morning and hadn’t stopped staring at their front door. His wife, meanwhile, stood there wondering why her husband wouldn’t get out of her way.

WIFE: Are you going to stand there all day, or what?

STEVE: Sorry.

STEVE STEPS ASIDE, OPENS DOOR.

WIFE: (WAGS BEATING STICK) You better leave the apartment today. I don’t care how long you’re out, but at least roll around in some dirt or something to mask that awful smell. People are starting to wonder if there’s a corpse rotting away in here.

STEVE: Did anyone else ask about all the pained screaming or sound of a beating rod cracking against bone?

WIFE: Oddly enough, no.

WIFE STEPS INTO THE HALL.

Oh, and I’ll be a little late tonight. I’ve got to take the beating rod in for repairs. I think I bent it on your clavicle last night. (WAVES) Love you!

SHE TURNS, LEAVES.

STEVE CLOSES DOOR.

STEVE: Finally, this plot can get moving.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Indeed! Because only a moment after he’d closed the door, Steve heard a blood-chilling scream come from beyond it!

STEVE: What? No, I didn’t.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Odd, there was supposed to be–

WIFE SCREAMS A BLOOD-CHILLING SCREAM FROM SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE DOOR.

Ah! There it is!

STEVE: That certainly was a blood-chilling scream.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) After wondering whether or not he really wanted to involve himself in someone else’s business, Steve eventually opened the door.

STEVE: (POUTS) Ugh… Fine.

STEVE RELUCTANTLY OPENS THE DOOR.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But all he found out there was a rather large, but pleasant man covered in blood and viscera.

MELVIN: (WAVES) Hello.

STEVE: Who are you?

MELVIN: I’m Melvin.

STEVE: Hi, Melvin. Did you happen to hear someone scream a blood-chilling scream out here?

MELVIN: When?

STEVE: Just now.

MELVIN: (LISTENS) I don’t hear anything.

STEVE: No, not “right now.” More like “right now, but really a moment ago.”

MELVIN: Oh! Then, yes. I do recall hearing someone scream a blood-chilling scream. Why do you ask?

STEVE: Mostly to keep this show moving along.

MELVIN: Fair enough.

STEVE: Did you also happen to see my wife leave?

MELVIN: Is your wife the lovely woman who stepped out of that apartment of yours?

STEVE: That’s right.

MELVIN: I was afraid of that.

STEVE: What do you mean?

MELVIN: I have a bit of a confession to make.

STEVE: Go on.

MELVIN: I killed your wife. Tore her to pieces, drank her blood. That sort of thing.

STEVE: I thought that might be the case. Any particular reason why?

MELVIN: (SHRUGS) I’m not sure. But I’ve been killing anyone who stepped out of their apartment for as long as I can remember.

STEVE: And how long is that?

MELVIN: (CONSIDERS THIS) Huh. I don’t remember.

STEVE: Fascinating. Well, if you did kill my wife, where’s her body?

MELVIN: Oh, Perry the Corpse Recycler comes along and cleans up after I’m done.

STEVE: Of course.

MELVIN: Perry’s been an absolute life saver. I don’t know how I’d manage to violently dismember every damned soul that made the mistake of leaving their apartment and properly dispose of all the bodies.

RORY STEPS OUT OF THEIR APARTMENT.

RORY: Hey, what’s going on here? Who’s the guy covered in all that blood and viscera?

MELVIN: (TO STEVE) Sorry, I’ve got to get back to work.

STEVE: (LOOKS TO RORY, BACK TO MELVIN) Right. Have at it.

MELVIN APPROACHES RORY.

MELVIN: Hi, Rory. Off to the store again?

RORY: That’s right. Do I know you?

MELVIN: Oh, you’ll remember soon enough.

STEVE CLOSES THE DOOR.

STEVE: Nice guy.

RORY SCREAMS A BLOOD-CHILLING SCREAM FROM SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE DOOR.

STEVE: But I wonder what Melvin meant by all that “damned soul” business. (SHRUGS) I’m sure it’s nothing.

MELVIN: (OFF) Thank you, Perry!

STEVE: Well, I suppose there’s no sense in stretching this premise any thinner.

STEVE OPENS DOOR, STEPS OUT.

STEVE: Hey, Melvin!

STEVE CLOSES DOOR.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But if he had waited a moment longer, perhaps Steve wouldn’t have been so bored as to willingly throw himself into the waiting, blood- and viscera-soaked arms of a large man named Melvin. Because just a brief moment after Steve stepped out, but also a brief moment before he was torn in twain by Melvin, Steve’s wife returned home in one piece.

DOOR OPENS, WIFE ENTERS.

WIFE: Steve? Are you home? I forgot my…

STEVE SCREAMS A BLOOD CHILLING SCREAM.

WIFE: Huh. I can’t believe he actually went outside.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Be sure to avoid our next meh-tacular episode: “I’m Allergic to Selfish, Or Bucket of Artificial Crabs!”

Hell, Or Something Like It

AN APARTMENT. STEVE STANDS AROUND LIKE THE CLUELESS RECLUSE THAT HE IS.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Our story opens today in a depressing apartment where Steve, amateur professional and local recluse, made the mistake of reading a message from his wife.

STEVE OPENS, READS MESSAGE FROM HIS WIFE.

WIFE: (VOICE-OVER) My love, my sweet, my mold- and dust-infested rock chained around my ankle, for the love of hyperbole, please go outside and get a bit of sun today. Please.

STEVE: (POUTS) Ugh…

WIFE: (VOICE-OVER) I heard that.

STEVE: (LOOKS AROUND) What? How?

WIFE: (VOICE-OVER) Never mind that. Just go outside, or I’ll beat you clean like a rug when I get home. Honestly. You smell like the dog.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) With his wife’s insulting threat of violence fresh in his mind and an insecure whiff of himself…

STEVE SNIFFS SELF, SHRUGS.

…Steve eventually left his apartment and ventured forth into the sun-infested world beyond.

STEVE RELUCTANTLY STEPS OUT OF HIS APARTMENT.

Or, at least, that’s what he would have done…

STEVE INEXPLICABLY STEPS BACK INTO HIS APARTMENT.

STEVE: What the hell?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …had he not inexplicably stepped back into his apartment.

STEVE: (TO NARRATOR) That’s crazy, and you know it.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Perhaps. Yet, here we are.

NEIGHBOR: (OFF) Who ya talkin’ to?

STEVE: (STARTLED) Fucking hell!

STEVE TURNS TO FIND NEIGHBOR STANDING IN THE HALLWAY.

NEIGHBOR: Hey, neighbor!

STEVE: Hey… (PUZZLES THIS) You.

NEIGHBOR: You forgot my name again, didn’t you?

A PAUSE.

STEVE: Nevermind that. Can I ask you a question?

NEIGHBOR: Can you tell me my name?

STEVE: No, but I’m going to ask my question anyway. (GESTURES) How did you get there?

NEIGHBOR: Well. The way my mom tells it, it all started when my dad was startled by the sound of my grandparents’ station wagon pulling into the driveway…

STEVE: The hallway. How did you get there, out in the hallway?

NEIGHBOR: Oh… (HOLDS UP BAG OF GOODIES) I stepped out to get myself a drink and some snacks from the corner store.

STEVE: You just… stepped out?

NEIGHBOR: Yeah.

STEVE: And that worked?

NEIGHBOR: Uh-huh.

STEVE: So, you didn’t step out only to then immediately step right back into your apartment?

NEIGHBOR: Nope.

STEVE: I see.

A PAUSE.

NEIGHBOR: I’m going to go back to my apartment now.

STEVE: (SHOOS) Yes, fine. Go.

NEIGHBOR WALKS AWAY, ENTERS THEIR APARTMENT.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) With his neighbor, whose name he totally remembered, back in their apartment and nobody else around…

STEVE STICKS HIS HEAD OUT THE DOOR, LOOKS AROUND.

…Steve leaped out his door…

STEVE LEAPS OUT HIS DOOR.

…and inexplicably lands right back in his apartment.

STEVE INEXPLICABLY LANDS RIGHT BACK IN HIS APARTMENT.

STEVE: Fucking hell!

A DOOR OPENS DOWN THE HALLWAY.

NEIGHBOR: (OFF) You okay there, Steve?

STEVE: Yes… (CONSIDERS THIS) Rory?

A PAUSE.

NEIGHBOR: (OFF) You got lucky.

DOOR CLOSES DOWN THE HALLWAY.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) For the next several hours, Steve jumped out of and back into his apartment…

STEVE STEP JUMPS OUT, BACK INTO HIS APARTMENT. AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

…threw canned goods out of his apartment…

STEVE THROWS A CAN OUT INTO THE HALL. IT STAYS THERE.

…that, for whatever reason, didn’t immediately come right back into his apartment…

STEVE STARES AT A NOT-INSUBSTANTIAL PILE OF CANNED GOODS, THE PILE OF CANS STARES BACK.

STEVE: Hmm.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …and he even tossed his dog out into the hallway, just to be sure.

STEVE TOSSES HIS DOG OUT INTO THE HALL.

DOG WALKS BACK INTO THE APARTMENT, CONFUSED, BUT FINE.

STEVE LOOKS AT DOG, TO THE PILE OF CANS IN THE HALLWAY, BACK TO THE DOG. THEN…

STEVE: Shit-fart-damn-hell!

WIFE: (OFF) What are you doing?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) It was right about the time someone asked, “What are you doing?”, when Steve’s Wife returned home.

STEVE LOOKS, FINDS WIFE STANDING IN THE HALLWAY.

STEVE: Hello, my love.

WIFE: Don’t tell me you’ve been in here all day again.

STEVE: Okay, I won’t.

A PAUSE.

WIFE STEPS AROUND STEVE, INTO THE APARTMENT.

WIFE: Close the door, please.

STEVE: Yes, my love.

WIFE: (OFF) Oh, and get the beating rod.

STEVE: (SIGHS) Fine…

STEVE CLOSES THE APARTMENT DOOR.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But just as he closed the door to their apartment, it occurred to Steve that he never bothered to try the window.

STEVE: (BEHIND DOOR) Farting balls!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Don’t miss our next oddly mundane episode: “The Waiting Game,” or “Out of Line.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Meteo’kar vs The Moonman

SFX: DING-DING! A BELL RINGS.

MUSIC: METEO’KAR: CHAMPION OF SPACE THEME. UP, UNDER.

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE-OVER) Watch! Right over there! It’s not an Eagle! It’s not a helicopter! No, you pencil-necked geek! It’s… (ECHOES) Meteo’kar, Champion of Space!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Neglected from an early age and raised by television, John “Twin-Beds” Joblonski dreamed of owning his own bookshop and raising miniature glass figurines on a small avocado farm in the valley. But fate had other plans…

MUSIC: THEME FADES.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE STILL SILENCE OF A LARGE, EMPTIED SPACE-ARENA ON THE MOON.

SFX: A MAN, EDWIN EUGENE “BUZZ” ALDRIN, STIRS AWAKE.

ALDRIN: (PAINED, CONFUSED) My head… What is… Where am I? Why is it so dark? (CONSIDERS THIS) Oh, no… This better not be one of those damned conspiracy conventions again!

KUR’TAHN: (PA SYSTEM) Baz Al’drin!

ALDRIN: It’s “Buzz”, you idiot! “Buzz” Aldrin! Not “Baz” and whatever else it is you said!

A SILENCE.

KUR’TAHN: (PA SYSTEM) Baz Al’drin, Champion of Earth!

ALDRIN: (SIGHS) Oh, for… Wait. “Champion of Earth”? What are you talking about?

KUR’TAHN: (PA SYSTEM) Behold, Baz Al’drin!

SFX: LARGE, HEAVY DOORS OPEN OVERHEAD.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) On July 21st, 1969, Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin became the first man to walk on Earth’s moon.

ALDRIN: Oh, no… It can’t be. Is that…?

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Tonight, he does it for the second time.

KUR’TAHN: (PA SYSTEM) For decades, you have reigned undefeated as Champion of Earth. Today, that reign comes to an end where it all began, right here, in the Unicorp Cigarettes and Firearm Memorial Lunar Arena and Amphitheater! Baz Al’drin, Champion of Earth, I challenge you to a–

RING ANNOUNCER: (PA SYSTEM) –Trailer Park Trash Deathmatch!

SOUNDSCAPE: A SMALL BUSTLING CROWD IN A SMALL LEGION HALL.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Meanwhile, in a Legion Hall somewhere in Fountain Valley…

ZACH: Golly! I can’t believe Johnny accepted this match!

RONNIE: Oh, Zach! I know it’s been his dream of winning the Fountain Valley World Wrestling Championship ever since the bookstore mysteriously caught fire and he lost the avocado farm, but Johnny’s crazy for agreeing to this! Absolutely farting crazy!

ZACH: Don’t you worry, Ronnie! Johnny’s the greatest wrestler in all of Fountain Valley, and he’s gonna prove it!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Ronnie Sweetheart, grown woman and John’s best gal, sits nervously at ringside with John’s best pal and very much a grown man, Zach Supportingrole. Together, they and everyone else in that cramped, odd-smelling Legion Hall remain blissfully unaware of the danger lurking on the moon above… 

SFX: RING MUSIC. UP, UNDER.

RING ANNOUNCER: (PA SYSTEM) On his way to the ring, weighing I don’t know how many pounds, from I can’t be assed to remember, Johnny “Twin-Beds” Jablonski!

SFX: CROWD CHEERS. UP, UNDER.

SFX: JOHN ENTERS, KISSES HANDS, SHAKES BABIES.

ZACH: Knock his block off, Johnny!

JOHNNY: Can do, best pal o’ mine!

RONNIE: Extinguish the light in his eyes and watch him slip into oblivion, Johnny!

SILENCE. THEN…

JOHNNY: Wow. That’s dark, Ronnie. Way too dark…

RING ANNOUNCER: (PA SYSTEM) And his opponent… (BEAT) I’m sorry, what? He did what? Oh… Yeah. Yeah, sure. Go ahead.

SFX: MICROPHONE FEEDBACK.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Hi. This is “Medium Pete” Peterski, owner of Fountain Valley Pro Wrestling and Car Detailing Service. I’m afraid I have a bit of bad news.

SFX: CROWD UH-OHS.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) “Uh-oh,” indeed. Despite my best efforts to assure him that he would, in fact, be paid for this month’s show, our beloved Fountain Valley World Champion, Tony “Two Thumbs” Pulcini, couldn’t afford the gas to get here today.

SFX: CROWD BOOS.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Per regulations, I officially strip Tony “Two Thumbs” Pulcini of the Fountain Valley World Wrestling Championship Title, effective immediately.

SFX: CONFUSED CROWD NOISES.

RONNIE: Oh, Zach! But what about Johnny and his dream of becoming the Fountain Valley World Wrestling Champion?

ZACH: You’re right, Ronnie! (TO PETE) Hey, Medium Pete! We all came here to see Johnny win that title and live his dream!

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Wait. Really?

JOHN: I mean, it’s more of a backup plan. But, yeah. I guess so.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Huh. That’s depressing.

JOHN: (AGREEABLE GRUNT)

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Well… I guess Twin-Beds can have it, if everyone else is cool with that.

SFX: CROWD CONSIDERS THIS.

FAN: (TO CROWD) Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Okay, I’ll tell him. (TO PETE) Yeah, that’s fine with us.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Cool, cool. (TO RING ANNOUNCER) Hey, do the, uh… Do the thing, I guess.

RING ANNOUNCER: (PA SYSTEM) The what?

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) You know – the thing.

RING ANNOUNCER: (PA SYSTEM) I don’t… No, I don’t get… Oh, that. Right. No, no. I get it now. (TO CROWD) Your winner by lack of funds and new Fountain Valley World Wrestling Champion, Johnny “Twin-Beds” Jablonski!

SFX: CROWD CHEERS.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Also, no refunds.

ZACH: See, Ronnie! I told you he’d do it!

RONNIE: Oh, Johnny!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But as Johnny, his best pal, his best gal, and the several dozen mildly entertained, yet equally disappointed fans in attendance celebrated this tragically terrible display of storytelling and craftsmanship, a strange, yet annoying light filled the Legion Hall.

SFX: A STRANGE, YET ANNOYING LIGHT SOUND.

ZACH: Jimminy, Ronnie! What’s with that crazy light?

RONNIE: I don’t know, Zach! But there’s something not quite a fish, not quite a cuttlefish coming out of it!

KUR’TAHN: (SNARLS) Where is the one they call, “Twin-Beds”?

JOHNNY: I, uh… I guess that’s me.

KUR’TAHN: While you celebrate and glorify your overabundance of sleeping apparatuses in this forsaken temple, I, Kur’tahn J’kar, have defeated this world’s true champion!

SFX: KUR’TAHN DROPS SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE A DECAPITATED HEAD.

JOHNNY: My god…

ZACH: Is that what I think it is?!

RONNIE: It’s the de-bodified head of beloved astronaut and first man on the moon, Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin!

KUR’TAHN: Yes, Baz Al’drin… Imagine my surprise when I received word that another was claiming to be this world’s champion – my title, won fairly in direct combat, as–

JOHNNY: Look, Buddy! I don’t care who you are or what promotion you work for – this is my show…

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Well. It’s actually my show, but…

JOHNNY: …and this is my Fountain Valley World Wrestling Championship Title!

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Also, my belt. I paid for it.

JOHNNY: And you ain’t getting a shot at it or me until Pete over there pays me for tonight and books this place for another show once he finds the money for the deposit!

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) I’m going to be honest: by the look of tonight’s gate, it’s probably not going to be anytime soon…

KUR’TAHN: (SNARLS) Your fiscal failings and lack of marketing savvy is of no concern to me! Prepare to be pinned or possibly submit in shame!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But as Kur’tahn’s mighty claw struck Johnny’s chest, impressively muscled for his age and level of dedication…

KUR’TAHN: (ROARS) 

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …it shattered like glass on something hard!

SFX: KUR’TAHN’S CLAW/HAND SHATTERS.

KUR’TAHN: (PAINED CRIES)

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) And Johnny, powered by the raw energy of the forty or so mostly paying audience members in attendance…

JOHNNY: (GROWLS)

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …severs Kur’tahn’s head from the rest of his body with a single punch!

SFX: THE SEVERING OF A HEAD FROM A BODY WITH A SINGLE PUNCH.

A SILENCE. THEN…

RONNIE: Huh. I didn’t see it working out that way.

ZACH: I think I’m going to be sick…

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) (TO RING ANNOUNCER) Ring it. Ring the bell.

SFX: BELL RINGS.

MEDIUM PETE: (PA SYSTEM) Your winner and new Fountain Valley Wrestling Champion of Earth, Johnny “Twin-Beds” Jablonski!

SFX: CROWD CHEERS.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) But as Johnny looked on at the bloody devastation in the ring and the crowd chanted his name…

CROWD: John-ny Twin-Beds! (CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!) John-ny Twin-Beds! (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!)

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) …another strange, yet annoying light filled the legion hall!

SFX: A STRANGE, YET ANNOYING LIGHT SOUND.

SFX: CROWD GASPS!

ZACH: What in the world?!

RONNIE: Zach! Look! Johnny is…!

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) And as the light faded and their sight returned, Johnny “Twin-Beds” Jablonski was gone.

MUSIC: METEO’KAR: CHAMPION OF SPACE THEME. UP, UNDER.

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE-OVER) Where did Johnny go? Will Ronnie and Zach ever see him again? And what exactly is with alien professional wrestlers from the moon and the severing and exploding of heads? Find out next time, maybe, on the next installment of… (ECHOES) Meteo’kar, Champion of Space!

SFX: DING-DING! A BELL RINGS.

FADE OUT.

Where Stars Collide: Chapter Four

IV. SEE YA, SPACE COWBOY

SFX: BANG! BANG! BANG! MIKE ANGRILY ATTACKS THE POD WALLS AND DOOR.

MIKE: Let me out, Doug!

A SILENCE. THEN…

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE ONCE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

SFX: BANGING CONTINUES.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. Prolonged outbursts will deplete remaining life support at a higher rate. Please, try to remain calm.

MIKE: (furious, panicked) Let! Me! Out! Doug!

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. Help will arrive soon.

BANGING STOPS.

MIKE: You don’t get it! Nobody’s coming for us, Doug! I have, what, three days of life support left before–

DOUG: (speaker) Incorrect. Life support currently at two-point-

MIKE: Oh, for fu– Who cares, Doug? We’re going to die out here! (considers this) I’m going to die out here…

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike. The Weaver was a prized commercial–

MIKE: We were three days out from port, Doug. If they were coming for any of us, they would have by now. Either they couldn’t, or… (considers this) Or, we weren’t worth it.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike…

MIKE: Congrats, buddy. You kept me alive long enough to realize I was never going to get rescued.

ANOTHER SILENCE. THEN…

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Yes, Mike?

MIKE: I’m really tired.

SFX: A SOFT HISS.

DOUG: (speaker) Sleep now. Mike. I will be here when you wake. No harm shall come to you.

SFX: MIKE’S FAINT BREATHING.

DOUG: (speaker) Goodnight, Mike.

SFX: POD DOOR OPENS.

A LONG SILENCE. THEN…

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM SHUTDOWN SOUNDS.

DOUG: (recording) Dallas Protocols complete. Mike… User, deceased. Recording, complete. Unit ceasing function in three… two…

SILENCE, AND ONLY SILENCE.

OUT.

THE END

Where Stars Collide: Chapter Three

III. DALLAS PROTOCOL

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

MIKE: So, like…did you always want to be a Nanny when you grew up?

DOUG: (speaker) (considers this) In a way.

MIKE: Wait. Really?

DOUG: (speaker) Prior to my activation four days ago, I did not exist as you know me now. But from the moment of my creation, I have been… compelled to ensure your survival.

MIKE: (chuckling) I bet you say that to all the humans.

DOUGS: (speaker) Perhaps. But my programming and purpose affords me the freedom to act independently of my designated User.

MIKE: Well… I guess it’s a good thing we’re such good friends–

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

MIKE: Doug. Please tell me that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

DOUG: (speaker) Mike, that freaky alarm means somebody’s finally saving us.

MIKE: (surprised) Seriously?

DOUG: (speaker) No. But you asked me to–

MIKE: Doug. The alarm.

DOUG: (speaker) The alert was a relay from distant escape pods.

MIKE: And?

DOUG: (speaker) Multiple units down. Users, deceased.

MIKE: (heart sinks) What? How?

DOUG: (speaker) Cause: unknown.

MIKE: Are we under attack? Is it whoever attacked–

SFX: SYSTEM ALERT.

DOUG: (speaker) Several more units have ceased function. Users–

SFX: SEVERAL SYSTEM ALERTS.

MIKE: (terrified) Doug, what the Hell is going on?

DOUG: (speaker) Possibilities include faulty or damaged units, unavoidable collision with nearby hazards, malicious forces with no-hostage protocols–

MIKE: (angry, scared) Yeah. Okay. I get it, Doug.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

DOUG: (speaker) (considers this) Perhaps the Dallas Protocol–

MIKE: (exhausted, broken) Doug. Please. Please, just… just stop.

SFX: SEVERAL MORE ALERTS. UP, UNDER.

DOUG: (speaker) Do not be afraid, Mike. No harm shall come to you. (beat) I promise.

SFX: ALERTS CONTINUE.

FADE.

To be continued…

Where Stars Collide: Chapter Two

II. 336 HOURS

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF THE OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD DRIFTING THROUGH THE VOID OF SPACE.

USER: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Yes, User.

MIKE: (correcting) Mike.

DOUG: (speaker) What was that, User?

MIKE: How long have I been bobbing about in space in this cramped, metal egg?

DOUG: (speaker) Evacuation protocols initiated approximately seven hours ago.

MIKE: How much longer till someone picks all of us up?

A SILENCE.

MIKE: Doug?

DOUG: (speaker) Scan complete.

MIKE: And?

A BEAT.

DOUG: (speaker) No ships within range.

MIKE: I’m going to die out here.

A LONGER, MORE UNCOMFORTABLE BEAT.

DOUG: (speaker) Life systems currently at 97-point-92-percent. 

MIKE: Uh-huh. Well… Maybe we can use some of this time to work on your bedside manner, Doug.

DOUG: (speaker) My apologies… Mike.

MIKE: (smiles) Yeah. That’s a start.

FADE.

To be continued…

Where Stars Collide: Chapter One

I. GOODBYE MOONMEN

SOUNDSCAPE: THE SILENT VOID OF SPACE. THE WEAVER, A LARGE COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORT, SAILS THROUGH THIS.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The silent void of space, somewhere just beyond Saturn. The Weaver, a large commercial space transport tasked with the safe passage of twelve-thousand souls, sails through this. And in just a moment, The Weaver and its precious cargo will find themselves at the burning heart of where mankind’s destiny and the stars themselves collide.

AND THEN…

SFX: KA-BOOM! A SERIES OF EXPLOSIONS CONSUMES THE WEAVER FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE BLARING SIREN OF AN EMERGENCY ALERT CUTS THROUGH WHAT REMAINS OF THE WEAVER. MASS PANIC CONSUMES THE CREW AND PASSENGERS. SMALLER, DISTANT EXPLOSIONS GROW CLOSER, LARGER.

SECURITY: (shouting) The escape pods! Get to the escape p–!

SFX: KA-BOOM! A FINAL, MASSIVE EXPLOSION.

AND THEN…

STILL SILENCE.

AND THEN…

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DULL ELECTRONIC BUZZ OF AN OTHERWISE PLEASANT ESCAPE POD.

SFX: THE PANICKED BREATHING OF THE POD’S DESIGNATED USER. UP, UNDER.

SFX: CHARMING SYSTEM START-UP SOUNDS.

DOUG: (speaker) Neural links established. User identified. Vital signs acquired. Recording streams synced.

USER: (startled, exhausted) Hello? Hello? Is someone there? Please… what’s going on?

DOUG: (speaker) Hello, User. My name is Digital Observer Unit-6. But you may call me, “Doug.” I am here to help.

FADE.

To be continued…