The Job: Wrestling with Myself

A PODCAST, THE SORT WITH NO BUDGET AND SOME WELL-INTENTIONED, PASSIONATE HOST COMPLETELY OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT. MARK JOBBERSON IS SAID HOST.

MUSIC: A FRUSTRATINGLY LONG, ASSINGLY ANNOYING MIX OF PUBLIC DOMAIN FAUX ROCK AND ASSORTED PRO WRESTLING-RELATED CLIPS AND SOUNDBITES. UP, UNDER.

MARK: Coming to you live from The Crow’s Nest, I’m “Mild” Mark Jobberson, and you’re listening to Wrestling with Myself, the number one professional wrestling podcast according to people who exclusively listen to this podcast.

MUSIC: OUT.

MARK: This week, we’ve got for you a full review of “Isn’t This Depressing,” the latest monthly live event from It’s Not a Hobby, It’s a Business Championship Wrestling; a look back on the life and career of the five-time Car Wash and Hot Wax Champion, Nipples McSweeny; my Top Ten list of the best places to buy discount, oversized bootleg pro wrestling tee shirts; and an exclusive interview with my neighbor, Terrold, about the time he almost became a pro wrestler, but didn’t.

But first, a message from this week’s sponsor – Joe Bear’s Pro Wrestling Ring and Gear Rentals. (READS) Do you have too much money? Have you watched professional wrestling a time or two? Don’t you wish you could spend all that money you should save for rent and necessities on your own professional wrestling show? Well, with Joe Bear’s Pro Wrestling Ring and Gear Rentals, even the biggest sucker can afford to put other people’s health and safety at risk for the chance at making a buck. Joe Bear’s Pro Wrestling Ring and Gear Rentals, because why should trained professionals with any degree of knowledge and experience with this sort of thing have all the fun?

CUT TO:

A BUMPER. SOMEHOW OF EVEN WORSE QUALITY. STOCK MUSIC UP, UNDER. 

PLEATHERDADDY: I’m The Pleatherdaddy, and you’re listening to this guy’s podcast.

MARK: (OFF) It’s the “Wrestling with My–”

PLEATHERDADDY: (OFF) Look, I already said what I said. Can I get my five bucks, or is this going to turn into a thing?

CUT TO:

THE PODCAST. SORRY.

MARK: Moving on to our first segment this week, an in-depth review of “Isn’t this Depressing”, the latest monthly event from It’s Not a Hobby, It’s a Business Championship Wrestling, live at the public indoor basketball court at Glockenspiel Park. While originally scheduled to begin at two in the afternoon this past Saturday, some minor technical issues ultimately delayed the show until eleven o’clock that same evening. Once the police dispersed and the show was allowed to continue, the first match of the evening finally took place, featuring Dilby Largebottom and Fatty Tightshirtandsweats in a Gluten-Free Bear Claw and Jellyroll Deathmatch–

SFX: A KNOCK ON A WINDOW.

SFX: MARK LITERALLY CRANKS HIS WINDOW DOWN, HARD, FAST, AND LOOSE.

MARK: (OFF) Hello, officer. What seems–

OFFICER: (OFF) We’ve had some complaints about someone publicly pleasuring themselves in this parking lot. You wouldn’t happen to know–

SFX: MARK STARTS CAR, SPEEDS OFF.

What’s That In Your Hand?

STEVE: Hi there. Welcome to “What’s That in Your Hand?” the only show that dares to ask, “What’s that in your hand?”

Our guest today is Randy Sexpants, local newspaper thief and public nudist. Thank you for making time for us, Randy.

RANDY: Oh. Please, call me, “Derek.”

STEVE: No.

RANDY: You’re no fun.

STEVE: That’s certainly what my wife tells me.

RANDY: She does?

STEVE: Maybe. Anyway… (SHAKES SMALL BOTTLE)

RANDY: What’s that in your hands?

STEVE: This, Mr. Sexpants, is a bottle of Chlamydia LaPierre’s Old Fashioned Tactical Blinding Spray. Would you like a demonstration?

RANDY: (SHRUGS) Sure. Why not?

STEVE SPRAYS, PAINFULLY BLINDS HIMSELF.

RANDY: (TO AUDIENCE) Morons: they wander our streets, blinding themselves with Tactical Blinding Spray for reasons we will never fully understand. But for as little as nothing a day, you too can stand idly by and watch in bewildered bemusement as a moron blinds themself with Tactical Blinding Spray for reasons we will never fully understand.

STEVE: I think I need a doctor.

RANDY: I’m sure you do.

Of Libraries and Brothels

STEVE STANDS BEHIND A SHOP COUNTER FOR SOME REASON. CUSTOMER ENTERS.

CUSTOMER: Hello, I’m here to pick up my dry cleaning.

STEVE: I’m sorry, but this is a brothel.

CUSTOMER: A brothel?

STEVE: Did I say brothel?

CUSTOMER: Yes.

STEVE: Oh. Well, I meant to say library.

CUSTOMER: So, this is a library?

STEVE: Afraid so.

CUSTOMER: But I came here to pick up my dry cleaning.

STEVE: Whatever gave you the idea we were a dry cleaners?

CUSTOMER: Aside from the sign on the building that reads, “Most Certainly a Dry Cleaners”?

STEVE: Yes.

CUSTOMER: Well, aside from that, I suppose it’s because that’s what’s written in the script.

STEVE: It is?

CUSTOMER PULLS OUT A COPY OF THE SCRIPT.

CUSTOMER: Right here, see?

STEVE: Huh. Would you look at that… This whole conversation is in this.

CUSTOMER: Yes, and look at this.

STEVE: (READS) “Dry cleaners.”

CUSTOMER: Dry cleaners. Precisely.

STEVE: I feel like a complete idiot.

CUSTOMER: I know, I read ahead.

STEVE: Funny, isn’t it?

CUSTOMER: No, not really. What am I supposed to do about my dry cleaning?

STEVE: No, no. I mean having everything we say and do laid out without any say in the matter, and us left utterly incapable of straying from our predestined roles and fates.

CUSTOMER: That sounds utterly terrifying, actually.

STEVE: Not as terrifying as the notion that, according to that script of yours, we simply cease to be after our little chat abruptly concludes. What becomes of us? Will we ever see the warmth of the summer sun? Will we ever know love?

CUSTOMER: Will I ever get my dry cleaning?

STEVE: No, probably not. But what’s dry cleaning in the face of the oblivion that awaits us both?

CUSTOMER: Maybe we can simply walk off this set together, never look back, and open a Library and Brothel somewhere far away.

STEVE: That’d be nice. But…

CUSTOMER: But what?

STEVE: I’m afraid this is where it all–

BLACKOUT.

The Hour of Our Demise

STEVE: Hello, and welcome to “The Hour of Our Demise.” Our guest this week is Juliandro Fries, notorious bedwetter and fabled garden dweller, who recently passed away next week after discovering they couldn’t fly. This came several hours after discovering they’d left their passport at home, returned home to fetch it, and later drowned in an unrelated ungated carpool incident. Thank you for joining us, Juliandro.

JULIANDRO: Excuse me. Did you just say I’m going to drown next week?

STEVE: Not everything is about you, you know.

Stalking with Jim

ANTHONIO: Good evening, and welcome to “Stalking with Jim.” I’m Anthonio “Tony” Tonedeaf. Jim is currently serving three and four-fifths years as a Republican Senator.

Our mark tonight is heterosexual pornographile and amateur soup can label collector, Dreward Fictional-Character.

DREWARD: Look at you. Is this how you choose to spend what precious hours you have left in this life, hmm? Going around town and making snide remarks about strangers with silly names? Well, I didn’t choose my name, thank you very much. It was bad enough when the children in school used to poke fun and beat me with toilet seats, and even worse when the teachers joined in. But for a grown heterosexual pornographile to find himself unable to walk about town without some insipid little whatever you are forcing me to be apart of your failed attempt at achieving the attention your parents failed to provide you in your formative years is simply a firm slap and twist of the nipple too far, thank you very much. You must see yourself as quite the silly silly-person, don’t you?

ANTHONIO: No, not really. But I feel better about my lack of ideas and creativity. 

Cry Baby

A HOSPITAL NURSERY WINDOW. A NEW PARENT STANDS THERE, LOOKING IN AND COOING AT THEIR CHILD. STEVE JOINS THEM.

STEVE: Hi.

PARENT: Hello.

STEVE: Which one’s yours?

PARENT: (POINTS) That one’s my sweet, little Tifferly.

STEVE: (WINCES) Oh…

PARENT: What do you mean, “Oh”? And what’s with that look?

STEVE: I’m sorry. It’s just… How long does she have?

PARENT: I beg your pardon?

STEVE: (POINTS) Tifferly. Poor thing looks like she’s got something awful. I hope it’s not too contagious.

PARENT: My Tifferly is perfectly healthy!

STEVE: (LOOKS AT TIFFERLY, BACK TO PARENT) She is?

PARENT: Okay, Mr. Comedian. Why don’t you point out yours, and we can see how you like it.

STEVE: My what?

PARENT: Your baby, obviously.

STEVE: Oh. I don’t have a baby.

PARENT: You don’t?

STEVE: Heavens, no. We wouldn’t be so cruel as to do a thing like that.

PARENT: I’m sorry?

STEVE: No, the wife and I agreed a long time ago that it’d be utterly selfish and cruel of us to knowingly force such a thing on a child.

PARENT: Force what on a child?

STEVE: Life, of course. Doesn’t get much worse than that, you know. INumber one cause of death, last I checked.

PARENT: What are you talking about? You’re alive, aren’t you?

STEVE: Don’t remind me. It takes about all I have these days to preoccupy myself with anything but perpetual intrusive thoughts of a life sentence of endless scrutiny, social engineering, and shifting demographics that will forever leave all of us broken and forgotten in favor of yet another, younger generation of replaceable cogs and widgets in some rich person’s idea of a utopian serfdom.

PARENT: I see… Well, if you don’t have any children, then why the farting hell are you here?

STEVE: I make high-stakes bets on the future of these kids.

A PAUSE.

PARENT: What sort of bets?

STEVE: Oh, you know… “Who will survive their gun-infested high school and attend college?”; “Who will suffer a tragic illness before the age of five?”; “Who will be left with no retirement or hope for a humane end as they slowly and painfully slip ever closer into the cold embrace of death in that dumpster behind a stripmall laundry mat?” Those sorts of things.

PARENT: Those stakes certainly are high.

STEVE: Hell of a world we live in.

PARENT: Right. Well… (HANDS OVER A WAD OF CASH) Let me put a thousand on Tifferly not making it to college. The poor thing has complete idiots for parents.

Loitering in a Parking Lot

STEVE LOITERS BY SOME DUMPSTER IN SOME CORNER OF SOME PARKING LOT.

STEVE: Good afternoon, and welcome to Loitering in a Parking Lot.

Today, I’m loitering in the rear lot of Calvin Carson’s Town Center and Outlet Mall with former teen musical mistake and current owner of a used, moderately priced sedan, Jessie Innuendo. Thank you for joining me, Jessie.

JESSIE APPEARS FROM BEHIND THE DUMPSTER.

JESSIE: Your toilet won’t flush.

STEVE: Is that what you were doing behind that dumpster?

JESSIE: Are you the cops?

STEVE: Not that I’m aware of.

JESSIE: Then, yes. That, and some blow I found back there.

STEVE: I’m so happy we get to spend time together like this.

Adia: Reuben, or Out

ADIA, A MASSIVE BUDGET BIN, CYBERPUNK-LIKE PORT CITY ALONG THE PACIFIC. NEON-LIGHTS. DENSE SMOG, DENSER PEOPLE. CHEAPLY MADE SCI-FI WONDER MACHINES, VEHICLES, AND OTHER NEEDLESS EVERYDAY EVERYTHINGS. ALSO, EVERYONE’S POOR.

JANUARY EMBERS, CONSPICUOUSLY ARMED TO THE TEETH AND LOOKING DOWN THE SCOPE OF A RIFLE, CAMPED ATOP A ROOF OVERLOOKING A LOCAL DELI. SIBIL, A LITERAL DISEMBODIED DIGITIZED VOICE, IS RIGHT BY HER SIDE… IN A SENSE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The place, a rooftop on the south side of Adia, a neon-soaked, smog-choked port city along the Pacific. Too hot to hold, too wet to… to, uh…

JANUARY: Sibil?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Too wet… because it’s always raining all the time when it isn’t too hot. But sometimes, also both.

JANUARY: Sibil.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The shock of pink hair with suspect fashion sense and her eye trained down the scope of a rifle is January Embers, bounty hunter by day, but also by night.

JANUARY: Sibil!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: Do you mind?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I’m bored.

JANUARY: I’m working.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re always working.

JANUARY: And you are always talking.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I’m literally a voice in your head.

JANUARY: Aren’t we all just voices in each other’s heads?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) (CONSIDERS THIS) Fair point.

JANUARY: Look. I get it. But do you have to narrate everything?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Once you find my, uh… me… bio-me?

JANUARY: If I ever find you…

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) When you do, you can upload all of this to her. To me. To us? Whatever. It’ll be like I was here the whole time. Which I am. Sorta.

JANUARY: I don’t think you’re processing dying very well.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) And I don’t think you’re being very considerate of your best friend’s feelings right now.

JANUARY: You really need to move on.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Move on? I’m not a ghost, January!

JANUARY: Sibil, you died. What’s the big deal?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) (SCOFFS) “What’s the big deal?”

JANUARY: Wasn’t that the whole point of this A.I. back-up gimmick, so death is every bit as meaningless as life?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) We still don’t know for sure that I’m dead.

JANUARY: You died. Learn to cope. I did.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Oh, I’m sorry. Is that what this is? Coping?

JANUARY: Yes?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re on a rooftop waiting to kill a guy as he comes out of a deli.

JANUARY: I am waging a one-woman war on the evil that plagues this godforsaken city so that nobody else suffers the same fate as my best friend turned literal ghost in the machine and eternal pain in my ass!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You kill people for money!

JANUARY: Also money, yes.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) That’s hardly a moral crusade.

JANUARY: That’s why I called it a war. Wars are for money.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I mean, so were the Crusades. I think.

JANUARY: At least I have a hobby. Making a difference in my community. Maybe.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Yeah. No, you’ve totally convinced me.

JANUARY: I don’t need to rationalize my grieving process to you.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Why? Because I’m not the real Sibil?

JANUARY: Wow.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: No.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) It is, isn’t it?

JANUARY: You need help.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) What?

JANUARY: I am perfectly comfortable with who and what you are, and I am fortunate for our friendship to live on…

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Aww.

JANUARY: …in some twisted mockery of sentient life.

A SILENCE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I hate you.

JANUARY: You love me.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I wish I was never backed up.

JANUARY: Well, you were. And, for whatever reason, had yourself mailed to me.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Who else was I going to pick?

JANUARY: I don’t know. Why did you take off for a year and not say anything to me until I set your password?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I told already, I don’t know.

JANUARY: And I told you I was working. So, can we please not do this right now?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Can I go back to what I was doing?

JANUARY: Yes. Fine. Whatever.

ANOTHER SILENCE.

Sibil?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) The moment’s passed.

JANUARY: (GROANS) Oh, my god. Will you please shut up until I put a bullet in this guy? I’ve been up here all night.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) So have I?

JANUARY: Yes, well, only one of us has to sleep. And I’d like to be in bed before Chuck starts with his morning aerobics. You know I can’t fall asleep once he starts playing Cyndi Lauper.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I hate classical music.

JANUARY: Agreed. But at least he’s finally doing something about his health, ya know?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) Oh, for sure.

JANUARY: I mean, it’s a real big, positive change for him and I want to be supportive.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) You’re still killing people for money, though.

JANUARY: Yes, and I’d like to get paid sooner. So, will you please shut… Oh, there he is now.

ACROSS THE WAY, A MAN STEPS OUT OF THE DELI EATING A REUBEN SANDWICH.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) That reuben he’s eating sure looks tasty. Think we can get one once we’re done here?

JANUARY: You don’t eat.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) No, but I like to–

BANG! JANUARY BLASTS A HOLE THROUGH THE MAN’S HEAD, KILLING HIM.

JANUARY: (SIGH OF RELIEF) Finally!

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I can’t tell where his head ends and the sandwich begins…

JANUARY: (CHUCKLES) I know, right?

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) If I had a mouth and a stomach, I’d be sick.

JANUARY: Is that a pass on the reuben, then?

YET ANOTHER SILENCE.

SIBIL: (DIGITAL) I didn’t say that.

Bill’s Boards

STEVE: We’ll return in just a moment to, “I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This.” But first, a completely different sketch.

CUT TO:

AN ANNOYING RADIO AD. THE SORT YOU HEAR ON A MORNING COMMUTE AND WISH YOU COULD GET FAR AWAY FROM BUT IS SOMEHOW PLAYING ON EVERY STATION.

OTHER STEVE: Do you have a business, service, or assorted flavor of ponzi scheme? Do you need to reach the least amount of people possible in the smallest radius imaginable in a world that has long since shifted to a global digital marketplace? Do you want to piss away what few marketing dollars you can afford on an eyesore of an advertisement sure to be forgotten and left in tatters in a matter of weeks or eventually covered up by another monstrosity nobody will give the time of a day, except, perhaps, in the form of a sullen sigh of disgust?

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

If so, then you need a Billboard! And here at Bill Billiamson’s Billboards by Bill Billiamson, we’re eager and turgid to take your money in exchange for a billboard designed and abandoned by Bill Billiamson, son of the legendary billboard creator, Bill Billiamson. Organic, inedible, made of one-percent recyclable materials, loose fitting, mint-flavored, smooth, yet rough, California sober, and an Ohio seven, our billboards are sure to be a waste of every dollar.

Bill Billiamson’s Billboards by Bill Billiamson: Because the internet is a strange, mysterious realm of techno-wizardry.

The Job: “Cheapshot” Sandors

A STRIPMALL PARKING LOT.

SETH: (VOICE-OVER) This job isn’t for everyone, you know. It’s given me a lot, but it always gets its cut. Always.

CUT TO:

SETH “CHEAPSHOT” SANDORS, A MISSHAPEN POTATO OF A MAN SEEMINGLY DRESSED FOR HIGH SCHOOL GYM CLASS AND HOLDING A LARGE, HEAVY TEXTBOOK.

BARRY: I’m Seth “Cheapshot” Sandors, and I’ve been a pro wrestler for twelve years.

CUT TO:

SETH BEHIND A DUMPSTER.

SETH: I’ve lost friends and loved ones to this business, actually. I mean, I know where they are – they haven’t just disappeared into thin air, or something. Obviously.

Well, for example: My sister once hit me with her car for a chance at a free trip to Classy Lou’s All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. She didn’t get it, unfortunately. And she hasn’t answered my calls… or responded to my lawyer’s attempts to get her to pay my hospital bills.

And then there was the time my one-time best friend slept with my girlfriend just to get a psychological upperhand in a match I wasn’t even involved in. (BEAT) Which, now that I think about it, doesn’t make too much sense, really…

A SILENCE.

Oh, check this out…

SETH REVEALS SEVERAL DISTINCT SCARS.

(POINTS) This is where they replaced one of my ribs with a titanium rod for some reason. This one is from the time I took a VCR to the back of the head during a “Be Kind, Rewind” match. And this, uh… this is from an unruly class of twelve–year olds who all decided to throw their desks at me for asking them to, please, put away their phones and stop recording my crying from all the mean things they were saying to me. (NERVOUS LAUGHTER) Middle-schoolers, right?

ANOTHER SILENCE.

Anyway. I couldn’t go back to teaching middle-school English after that. (BEAT) Literally, I wasn’t allowed back on campus. But I also saw it as an opportunity to take my natural ability to absorb inhumane amounts of physical, mental, and emotional abuse and make something of myself. It’s all about making those opportunities for yourself.

That’s why I’m here, actually.

JOE, A MAN IN A WHEELCHAIR WITH A MAKESHIFT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BELT, PASSES BY.

Sorry, I’ve gotta clock-in real quick.

SETH SNEAK-ATTACKS JOE WITH THE LARGE, HEAVY TEXTBOOK.

(GESTURES) Come on! Come on!

REFEREE APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE.

SETH PINS AN UNCONSCIOUS JOE WHILE A HORRIFIED CROWD WATCHES.

(TO REFEREE) Oh, stop staring and do your job!

REFEREE: (LIGHTLY SLAPPING THE PAVEMENT) One! Two! Three!

SETH STANDS, HOLDS UP THE MAKESHIFT CHAMPIONSHIP BELT IN VICTORY.

ANNOUNCER APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE.

ANNOUNCER: Your new Calvin Carson’s Town Center and Outlet Mall Champion, Seth “Cheapshot” Sanderson!

EVERYONE LOOKS UPON THIS IN SILENT CONTEMPT.

Toilet Humor

AN EMPTY VOID.

A. FAILED: Good whenever, and welcome back to, “We Had Time to Fill.” I’m a failed thought experiment.

Tonight, we’re here in a vast, empty void to speak with professional recluse and fictional construct who will inevitably and invariably be misconstrued as a personal attack on some random lunatic who absolutely, positively must make everything and anything about themselves regardless of the context or subject matter, Mr. and/or Mrs. Impacted Bowels.

IMPACTED: (WAVES) Hello.

A. FAILED: Tell us a bit about yourself.

IMPACTED: I’d rather not.

A. FAILED: Fascinating. Impacted, is it true that you have not relieved yourself, in a fecal sense, for nearly two years? 

IMPACTED: That’s correct. It’ll be two years next month since the last time I defecated, excreted, or dunged.

A. FAILED: Disgusting. Is this for business or pleasure? Or perhaps for some sort of turdish world record?

IMPACTED: (CHUCKLES) If only. No, it all started two summers ago, when I discovered, while sitting on my toilet, of course, that other people were deeply invested in the whens, whys, and hows of my feculence.

A. FAILED: And how did you come to discover this, exactly?

IMPACTED: They told me.

A. FAILED: They told you?

IMPACTED: In a sense.

A. FAILED: In what sense does one possibly communicate that they wish to be involved in another’s bowel movements?

IMPACTED: In the sense that my neighbor at the time stood in their bathroom above mine, along with several of their friends, and began drunkenly commentating and cackling aloud about how they could hear my turdlacious activities. That and the assorted blogs, vlogs, podcasts, commentary tracks, and an illustrated newsletter that they’ve released in the time since.

A. FAILED: Are you sure such voracious fecalphiles didn’t simply find the sound or smell to be amusing? I mean, no need to kink shame these days, right?

IMPACTED: Perhaps. But funny sounds, smells, and sexual deviancy aside, I did find it rather uncomfortable to perform such things without proper compensation.

A. FAILED: Those cheap bastards.

IMPACTED: Cheap bastards, indeed. So, I set out into the world to find a place in which to unburden my butthole, if you will, in relative peace and quiet.

A. FAILED: And that’s what has brought you here to a dark and endless abyss?

IMPACTED: Eventually, yes. I’ve spent countless hours on the toilets of friends and family, squatted above a variety of portable chemical toilets, swam in the waters of Huntington Beach, and even once glimpsed into the vile hauntings and slitherings of a gas station washroom. And yet – and yet! – none manage to provide either the necessary ambiance or lack of microphones and cameras that I prefer when releasing that sloppy, ooey-gooey mess which weighs me down.

A. FAILED: And have you finally found that ambiance and lack of recording equipment?

IMPACTED: Well, I did until you all blipped into existence.

We’ll Have Nun of That

MOTHER SISTER, A NUN, SUNBATHES WITH A FULL COOLER OF BEER. FATHER BROTHER, A PRIEST, ENTERS.

FATHER: Good morning, Mother Sister.

MOTHER: Good morning, Father Brother.

FATHER: Do you happen to have any more of those domestic infants in stock?

MOTHER: Oh, dear. Who talked to the papers this time?

FATHER: No, no. It’s not that sort of thing.

MOTHER: Thank Heavens.

FATHER: No, there’s been another baptismal drowning.

MOTHER: Again?

FATHER: Afraid so.

MOTHER: When did this happen? How are the parents?

FATHER: Just a moment ago, actually. (GESTURES) The parents are still waiting. They think I’ve gone to the toilet. So, I’m in a bit of a hurry. If you’re out of stock, any of the younger orphans should do.

MOTHER: You can’t just swap that dead baby for another one.

FATHER: Why not?

MOTHER: The parents might notice.

FATHER: Don’t be ridiculous.

MOTHER: It’s true. I saw it in a documentary.

FATHER: What documentary?

MOTHER: (CONSIDERS THIS) I forget.

FATHER: Well. It’s still worth a try. So, do you have any you can spare?

MOTHER: Yes, I think so. But I can’t help feeling this is a bit wrong.

FATHER: Wrong?

MOTHER: Yes. Sinful, even. (GESTURES) He’s watching, you know.

FATHER: Who’s watching?

MOTHER: God, of course.

FATHER: (SCOFFS) Come now, Mother Sister. No need to bring religion into this.

MOTHER: Fair enough.

FATHER: Besides. Where in the Bible does it say a nun or a priest can’t replace one drowned child for a different, less unalive one for the sake of skirting responsibilities? Hmm?

MOTHER: I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. It’s a fairly big book.

FATHER: Yes, well, I’ve skimmed through the admittedly large book, and I’m mostly certainly there’s nothing of the sort in there.

MOTHER: Feels like a strange oversight, doesn’t it?

FATHER: It does.

MOTHER: (SIGHS) Oh, alright.

FATHER: Wonderful.

MOTHER: Any particular make or model in mind?

FATHER: Whatever’s fresh. Nothing too ripe.

MOTHER: I think I know just the one.

What in the Silent H?

A COLLEGE LECTURE HALL. PROFESSOR JIGGLE NIPPLESON SPEAKS. THEIR ASSISTANT SITS ON A NEARBY STOOL, DRESSED IN A SILLY COSTUME.

PROFESSOR: Good evening, class. I am Professor Jiggle Nippleson, and welcome to tonight’s special lecture on subverting expectations. (GESTURES) Aiding me tonight is my assistant, Craigbert. (TO ASSISTANT) All set, Craigbert?

ASSISTANT: (NODS) I think so.

PROFESSOR: Wonderful.

PROFESSOR SHOOTS ASSISTANT DEAD.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE. THEN…

Now. As you can see, Craigbert never even suspected that I would casually execute them without hesitation.

CLASS OOHS AND AAHS AS THEY SLOWLY GET IT.

You might be asking yourself, “Is Craigbert really dead?”… or, “Can I learn to do this myself?”… or perhaps, “Do they have a book I can buy?”

The answer to all those questions, I’m happy to tell you, is “yes.” Yes, I do have a book you can buy, and it is very, very expensive.

CLASS CHEERS.

Right Step, Wrong Foot

A REPORTER SPEAKERS TO US LIVE FROM A SMALL FAMILY BARBECUE IN A PARK.

REPORTER: (TO AUDIENCE) Good evening. I’m A. Work of Fiction, and welcome to the biggest mistake of my life.

Our top story tonight: a local family is shocked, sickened, and shamed by the startling revelation that I’ve shit my pants.

EVERYONE SNEERS, GAGS, DISPERSES.

Who am I? Where did I come from? And what compels an otherwise healthy, grown adult to defecate – publicly – in their pants – and at a family barbecue, of all places.

WIFE: (CONCERNED) Honey? Is everything… (SMELLS IT) (GAGS) Oh, my god…

REPORTER: (TO AUDIENCE) Joining me tonight is my wife, Insert Name Here, in her first public appearance since learning I’ve shit my pants.

WIFE: (DISGUSTED) What is wrong with you?

REPORTER: (TO WIFE) I hate your father. I always have.

WIFE: (GETS IT) Oh. Well… (SHRUGS) Be sure to clean up when you’re finished.

WIFE WALKS AWAY.

REPORTER: (TO AUDIENCE) I’m A. Work of Fiction, continuing to shit their pants live from my Father-in-Law’s retirement party. We now return you to another complete waste of time.

Rocket Biologist

BLIFFEN SCRAGGMEISTERMAN minds his own farting business.

JEFFERNY BOWELSCRAPINGS enters.

JEFFERNY: Bliffen?

BLIFFEN: Yeah?

JEFFERNY: Got a minute?

Bliffen considers this, then checks his watch for an uncomfortable length of time.

BLIFFEN: No. Why?

JEFFERNY: I wanted to run some of my new bits by you before I hit up the open mic tonight.

BLIFFEN: The one at that dive bar in the bad part of town with all the skinheads, or the one at the perpetually empty pizza joint that smells like unwashed feet?

JEFFERNY: No, this one’s inside the unisex restroom at the cougar bar.

BLIFFEN: You’re not going to do more of that self-deprecating topical nonsense, are you?

JEFFERNY: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

BLIFFEN: You know damn well what I mean – “Have you read a newspaper?”; “What’s the deal with hair?”; “Did I mention my lackluster genitals and failed personality?”

An uncomfortable silence.

JEFFERNY: Do you want to hear it or not?

Another silence.

BLIFFEN: Come with me.

Bliffen leaves, Jefferny follows.

CUT TO:

Somewhere else. But this place has a full, possibly horse-sized SACK in it.

Bliffen and Jefferny enter.

JEFFERNY: What is this?

Bliffen hands Jefferny a stick.

BLIFFEN: Here.

JEFFERNY: What’s this for? Why is there a full, possibly horse-sized sack in here? Do you have a dead horse in there?

BLIFFEN: Don’t be ridiculous. Where would I even get a dead horse?

JEFFERNY: Then what is it?

BLIFFEN: Look. I’m not a rocket biologist. All I know is that we live in a perpetual Hell of endless news updates, instant gratification, and people’s need to masturbate in public about things they don’t even understand. (gestures) Also, I found him that way.

JEFFERNY: You could just say you don’t want to hear my bits.

BLIFFEN: Jefferny… If I didn’t want to hear your bits, I’d go down to the mic and ignore you to your face like everyone else.

JEFFERNY: Fair enough.

BLIFFEN: By the time any of us drives out to some show in an abandoned industrial park or a shiatsu laundromat that serves tree bark smoothies, millions have already pleasured themselves into a frothy rage over headlines to news stories they never read. They don’t have the energy to laugh at your reheated takes on cold, stale topics.

JEFFERNY: Uh-huh.

BLIFFEN: So, I came up with this. Whenever I feel the bubbling urge to excrete some pithy, yet witless thought on something topical, I come here and have at it for a bit. If I haven’t forgotten what I was going to say by the time I’m done, then I’ll go down to some dark, depressing place and tell a joke.

JEFFERNY: Does it work?

BLIFFEN: More so than my topical humor.

JEFFERNY: (shrugs) Worth a shot.

Jefferny hits the sack with the stick.

SACK: (pained grunt)

JEFFERNY: (yelp)

BLIFFEN: What?

JEFFERNY: It made a noise.

BLIFFEN: And?

JEFFERNY: I thought you said you didn’t have a dead horse in there.

BLIFFEN: He’s clearly not dead.

SACK: (grunts)

BLIFFEN: See?

JEFFERNY: How is this any better than topical humor?

BLIFFEN: It’s not. But at least this way I don’t have to go outside.

Paper Bag Critic: Last Scene w/ Dacota Wittacee-Nottakay

We now return to The Last Video Store On Earth with CINEMATICO MAGNIFICO, already in-progress. 

CINEMATICO: Welcome back to The Last Video Store on Earth. I’m Cinematico Magnifico.

Our next segment is “Last Scene w/”, in which I finally leave this godforsaken place to locate, tag, and interview the feral and semi-domesticated artists and entertainers lurking and crying in the dark corners of Southern California.

Today’s quarry is writer, director, and amateur ear-wax collector, Dacota Wittacee-Nottakay.

Enjoy.

CUT TO:

A hillside somewhere in Riverside, but not anywhere near a farting river. Cinematico joins DACOTA WITTACEE-NOTTAKAY beneath a tree.

CINEMATICO: (voice-over) I found Dacota sitting in the shade of a large oak set against the weed and bramble choked hills of Riverside. A tee-shirt with only the word “fart” printed across the front and a rather snazzy pair of jeans belied a lean frame. Long hair masked dark, expressive eyes. And his beard smelled of honey and cilantro.

I first met Dacota when he was performing standup comedy in a sports bar within a bowling alley within a nice place to live. Now, I watched on as he needle-felted small figures of people he had never met, yet loved all the same.

CINEMATICO: What consumes you to transmute such magnificently bizarro creations to life?

DACOTA: (incoherent mumbling)

CINEMATICO: Fascinating.

Dacota… There’s a discussion to be had as to whether or not – as well as to the possible whys – audience are a bit hyper-sensitive to material that challenges them these days. But I also believe there’s a discussion to be had regarding those who make such material being equally quick to deny or deflect responsibility. Has there ever been a time where you’ve regretted a joke, scene, or some other moment in your work, or perhaps felt you’ve outgrown your older material?

DACOTA: (incoherent mumbling)

CINEMATICO: I’m sorry to hear that. Perhaps others can glean something from such a tragic loss of life and limbs.

Dacota… May I call you “Dacota”?

DACOTA: (incoherent mumbling)

CINEMATICO: Wonderful.

Dacota, you’re a fellow cinephile. Have you ever felt betrayed or cheated by a film, and if given the opportunity would you set fire to those involved?

Dacota reaches into a small sack, releases a hummingbird.

CINEMATICO: (voice-over) But before answering my question, Dacota reached into a small sack at his side and released a hummingbird.

Cinamtico watches the bird fly off.

And as I watched the hummingbird vanish off into the otherside of the 91, the bearded man who smelled of cilantro spoke these words of wisdom:

DACOTA: (incoherent mumbling)

Cinematico turns back around to find…

Only a note and a needle-felted figure of Cinematico where Dacota once sat.

CINEMATICO: (voice-over) When I turned to thank Dacota for his time, he was gone. In his place, a needle-felted figure of me and a hand-written note. The doll resembled me, and had what appeared to be a time and date written into its pattern. The note explained the doll foretold my death and prayed I make use of the time I had left.

CINEMATICO: Shit.

CUT TO:

The Last Video Store on Earth. Again.

CINEMATICO: Dacota Wittacee-Nottakay is still at large, and is considered personable and charming.

Up next after the break, we take a look back at the 1997 seminal box-office disaster, “I’m a Middle-Aged Werewolf,” featuring John Jablonski and Maggie Sex-Pun.

What a Waste

BILLARY: Gentlies and Ladmen, has this ever happened to you?

Billary eats a bit of candy, throws the wrapper on the floor.

They chew on and on for a bit. Then…

Enter HILLIAM.

HILLIAM: Biliary, what are you doing?

BILLARY: (chewing) Sorry. Chewier than I expected.

HILLIAM: No. What is this that you’re doing?

BILLARY: (still chewing) Well, Hilliam. I’m demonstrating the latest mass-produced consumer monstrosity from Unicorp to this fine sampling of human capital stock.

HILLIAM: Human capital… What are you talking… (finally notices the audience) Oh. It’s one of these things then.

Biliary finishes chewing, swallows.

BILLARY: That’s right.

HILLIAM: But what’s that got to do with you littering like some lazy, littering… whatever?

Billary pulls out a broom and dustpan, sweeps up and disposes of the aforelittered candy wrapper in a nearby bin.

HILLIAM: Fascinating.

BILLARY: Indeed. And for only twenty monthly payments of eleventy dollars, this fascinating bit of modern contrivement – the Unicorp Monoticon Un-candy-wrapper-the-floor-ifier Home System – can be yours!

HILLIAM: Only eleventy dollars?

BILLARY: Not a penny more. Except for taxes, shipping, and any potential fines, fees, and court costs.

HILLIAM: The Hell you say.

BILLARY: The Hell, I do, indeed, say.

HILLIAM: But, Billary…

BILLARY: Yes, Hilliam?

HILLIAM: Why not toss the candy wrapper right into the bin instead of on the floor?

BILLARY: What?

HILLIAM: If nothing else, it seems a lot cheaper than eleventy dollars a month.

BILLARY: It’s for lazy people?

HILLIAM: Of course. But even the least financially-minded lazy person isn’t likely to bother cleaning up their own mess, even with the uniquely unimpressive cleaning power of the Unicorp Monoticon Un-candy-wrapper-the-floor-ifier Home System.

BILLARY: I spent a life savings on this.

HILLIAM: A life savings?

BILLARY: Well. Your life savings, if you want to get into specifics.

A beat. Then…

HILLIAM: (defeated) Shit.

On the Other Hand

A professional, wholly un-sexual massage parlor. MASSEUSE masseauses CLIENT.

MASSEUSE: Can I ask you something?

CLIENT: Will it help speed up this sketch?

MASSEUSE: Very much, yes.

CLIENT: Ask away.

MASSEUSE: Thank you.

CLIENT: Get on with it.

MASSEUSE: Right. Well. Would you like a happy ending?

CLIENT: I’m sorry?

MASSUES: I’m asking if you would like me to conclude our currently professional, wholly non-sexual exchange by…

CLIENT: Get on with it.

MASSEUSE: Is that a yes, then?

CLIENT: What? No. I mean… (puzzles this) No, no.

MASSEUSE: Are you sure?

CLIENT: (considers this) Not really. But this isn’t that type of show.

MASSEUSE: That’s a shame.

CLIENT: (to audience) It really is.

For a Good Time

The men’s room beneath the pier of a bustling California beach. HOST stands outside a stall, speaking to a camera. MURRAY ETTA is somewhere inside the stall, softly sobbing.

HOST: I’m Anatomically Incorrect, and welcome back to “Who Are You, And What Are You Doing in Here?” This week, we’ve come all the way out to the men’s room beneath Santa Carla Pier to speak with our guest, Mr. Murray Etta from Murrieta.

Host opens stall door.

Murray, pantsless, sobs therein.

MURRAY: Who are you, and what are you doing in here?

HOST: That’s correct.

MURRAY: How exciting!

HOST: I hope we haven’t caught you in the middle of something important.

MURRAY: No, no. I just come in here to be alone and cry.

HOST: Would you mind sharing your deeply personal emotional conflict with us and our viewing audience?

MURRAY: Oh. Not at all, not at all.

HOST: Wonderful.

MURRAY: You see, I just found today that I’m…

HOST: Dead? Dying? Pregnant? Your own brother?

MURRAY: Left-handed.

HOST: My god. I never knew.

MURRAY: Me either. Not until I went to my best friend’s funeral this morning and had to sign the registry. When I caught myself instinctively reaching for the pen with my left hand, I… (sobs).

HOST: Have you sought medical attention?

MURRAY: I demanded my best friend’s widow drive me to the emergency room the moment it happened. But all they did there was ask me a bunch of questions like, “What is wrong with you?” “Do you have health insurance?” and “Where are your pants?”

HOST: You weren’t wearing any pants?

MURRAY: Not after the fright I had. Imagine living to my age and having to learn something so horrific.

HOST: I suppose I’d soil myself, too.

MURRAY: Exactly! Thank you. My wife.. Sorry – my ex-wife wasn’t so understanding.

HOST: She divorced you at your best friend’s funeral?

MURRAY: She saw that pen in my left hand and smelled that mess in my pants… Well. We both knew it was over right there and then. Fifteen years and two-and-a-half children right into the trash along with my disgustingly soiled pants.

HOST: How depressing.

MURRAY: Heartbreaking, really. I just purchased those damned pants.

Walk the Room

KELLY enters her dark home, finds a man, MR. MUSIC, sitting at her kitchen table. She’s oddly not surprised by this.

KELLY: I don’t have any money. (gestures) Look at this place. You can tell I don’t have any money.

MR. MUSIC: I’m not here to rob you.

KELLY: Kill me?

MR. MUSIC: No.

KELLY: Serve me papers?

MR. MUSIC: What sort of life do you live?

A beat. Then…

KELLY: What do you want?

Mr. Music pulls out a GUN, sets it down on the table.

KELLY: I thought you said you weren’t here to kill me.

MR. MUSIC: This is for me.

KELLY: You’re going to kill yourself in my kitchen?

MR. MUSIC: I didn’t want to be alone.

KELLY: Bit dramatic. Why make such a show of it?

MR. MUSIC: Would you have preferred walking in on the end result?

KELLY: Fair point.

Kelly seats herself across from Mr. Music.

KELLY: Why my kitchen?

MR. MUSIC: You’re not going to call the police? Try to stop me?

KELLY: Do you want me to?

A silence. Then…

KELLY: Why my kitchen?

MR. MUSIC: (shrugs) One kitchen is as good as another.

Another silence.

KELLY: Why are you doing it?

MR. MUSIC: Does it matter?

KELLY: (shrugs) One reason is as good as another.

MR. MUSIC: I thought you’d be a bit more upset.

KELLY: Oh. So, you can think about someone other than yourself?

MR. MUSIC: Not often enough.

KELLY: Are you scared?

MR. MUSIC: Yes. But I’m more afraid of it not being the end.

Kelly stands.

KELLY: Well. Whatever you decide, don’t take too long deciding it. I’ve gotta get up in the morning.

MR. MUSIC: You’re leaving?

KELLY: Nothing I say or do can stop you. But if given the choice, I don’t have to sit here and watch you do it.

A final silence. Then…

Kelly leaves, turns out the lights, and goes to bed.