Zeroes: In Loving Memory of Paulie Oldperson

BIG CITY NEWS. INTENSE MUSIC, NEWS ANCHOR, DESK, NEWS OF SOME FLAVOR. MELODRAMATIC AND OFFENSIVELY OVERPRODUCED.

NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Hugh Man. Tonight on Big City News, The Open-Micer, notorious, foul-mouthed supercriminal known for their deep-rooted insecurities, lack of self-awareness, and penchant for crossing lines with all the grace of a beached manatee, hijacked a local softball game this afternoon. After brutally murdering seventy-five year old Paulie Oldperson, the beloved voice of the Big City Little Peoples for over fifty years, The Open-Micer took control of the announcer’s booth and proceeded to torture the several hundred in attendance with a new thirty minute set. Eyewitness reports state that the set was arguably their best yet, but still relied heavily on dated racial humor, misogynistic undertones, and funny voices that weren’t very funny at all. By the time Nightshift arrived and put a premature end to The Open-Micer’s set, eighteen people were already left with severe brain damage, seven had torn off their own ears, and at least forty known fatalities. After thousands of dollars in property damage, the Open-Micer is currently in BCPD custody. But the question remains: why did Nightshift not kill this sadistic monster when they had the chance?

CUT TO:

THE DANK, HEADQUARTERS OF THE VIGILANTE NIGHTSHIFT. REALLY JUST A LAZILY CONVERTED MOTEL ROOM. NIGHTSHIFT BROODS IN A CHAIR. THE NIGHTWATCH (PECKER, NIGHTGIRL, AND DOUG) WATCH BCN.

NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Meanwhile, back at The Dank, the secret headquarters of the mysterious vigilante, Nightshift, crafted from the rodent-infested remains of an abandoned motel under a freeway, our hero broods in his favorite chair while The Nightwatch – Pecker, Nightgirl, and Doug – loyal friends and allies in an unending existential crisis, watch tonight’s broadcast of Big City News.

PECKER: He has a point, ya know.

NIGHTSHIFT: We don’t kill, Pecker.

PECKER: I know, I know. But hear me out…

NIGHTSHIFT: No.

PECKER: I’m going to say it anyway.

PAUSE.

NIGHTSHIFT: I’ll allow it.

PECKER: I get that, as a rule, you don’t kill…

NIGHTSHIFT: We don’t kill. If you work with me, we do not kill. Right, Nightgirl?

PECKER, NIGHTGIRL, DOUG LOOK AT EACH OTHER.

NIGHTGIRL: Yeah, sure. No killing. Just lots of serious, often permanent, life-altering injuries and brain-damage.

NIGHTSHIFT: Doug?

DOUG: I mean… not that I can confirm with any degree of certainty at the moment?

NIGHTSHIFT: Works for me.

PECKER: But The Open-Micer has killed hundreds of people over the years. He killed two of your last four Peckers!

NIGHTGIRL: I really miss Pecker #2.

DOUG: I still talk to #3.

NIGHTGIRL: Aww. How’s he doing?

DOUG: He’s still a bit bitter about not being able to ever walk again, but they’re adjusting.

NIGHTSHIFT: Look. There are certain lines you can’t cross and still come back. If I kill, I’m no better than The Open-Micer, Questionnaire, Ostrich, Murdering Mike, or any of the countless other costumed criminals and maniacs roaming the streets of Big City.

PECKER: Yeah, but even the police use lethal force.

NIGHTGIRL: The military, too.

NIGHTSHIFT: I didn’t become a vigilante working outside the law, enlist orphaned children and my neighbor as soldiers in my one-man war on crime, or squander my family’s vast fortune on an impressive selection of themed gear and equipment just to be compared to the police.

DOUG: You did beat up that homeless guy, though.

NIGHTSHIFT: Vagrancy is a crime, Doug!

NIGHTGIRL: Only because you paid off a dozen people to help pass the “Evict the Homeless” bill last year.

NIGHTSHIFT: (FAKE YAWNS, STRETCHES) Man, what time is it? Oh, wow. Is it that late already?

PECKER: We’re not done talking about this, Bruno.

NIGHTSHIFT: Yes, we are. (HANDS THEM SHEETS OF PAPER) Here are your assignments for tonight.

NIGHTGIRL: (READS) High-risk parkour across the skyline and security detail for Creme Yourself Donuts. Cool.

DOUG: (READS) Water the lawn.

PECKER: (READS) “Keep The Open-Micer company tonight in his cell at Big City Minimum Security Criminal Daycare for Costumed Criminals”?

NIGHTSHIFT: You’ve been slacking off lately, Pecker. There. I’ve said it.