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!”