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…