Today, although I "should" be starting a new story/novella to submit to Wormhole Electric in January, I was inspired to write a new blog entry on Hubpages:
Certainly, I've been playing with some ideas for my new story, but sometimes I have to write nonfiction. Actually, I frequently am compelled to write nonfiction.
After that episode, I walked back home from PSU and stopped at the garden of a Buddhist center in my neighborhood. I circumambulated a four-faced gold Buddha statue and gazed at coi and a turtle in the little pond. I shifted from indignation and thinking about what I would write...to equanimity and living in the present moment. It's delightful to have such a place a few blocks from my apartment.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
When I was an undergraduate, I took a scriptwriting class (see previous blog post, Cheers Episode). For the following script assignment, we were to pick a TV show. At first I was going to write an episode for Star Trek Deep Space Nine or whatever the current Star Trek series was at the time, and I went to a friend’s apartment and watched an episode and took notes. But I felt like the only TV show I could comfortably write a script for was Doctor Who. So I asked if we could pick a show that isn’t currently on the air (this was 1993, and the classic Doctor Who went off the air in 1989), and the instructor said yes. So I wrote a Doctor Who script…and had fun.
DOCTOR WHO EPISODE
SCENE: A dark, eerie castle deep in the dense, tangled woods on a gloomy, dark, rainy day, somewhere in Hungary, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Something falls from the sky and lands near the castle. Camera moves in closer—the thing that landed is a spaceship. Camera moves to interior of the ship. A female humanoid, NIRGENDS, messes around with gadgets and buttons inside the wrecked ship. She notices the castle.
NIRGENDS: I wonder if the locals are hostile. It can’t hurt to seek help.
(She gets out of the spaceship and starts heading toward the castle.)
SCENE: Interior of the TARDIS control room. While a boom box plays jazz, the DOCTOR sits on the floor, where he fiddles around inside the consul.
DOCTOR: Come on, old thing. We’re going on holiday in Vienna, whether you like it or not. Don’t tell me I didn’t ask you permission….What’s this cable doing here? It’s supposed to be hooked up over—
(Sparks come out of the consul.)
DOCTOR: Ouch!—here. Well, that shouldn’t have happened….
(The center of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS wheezes: it’s landing.)
DOCTOR: Well, we’ve landed, at least. But I’ve got a peculiar feeling it’s not quite Vienna.
The DOCTOR pulls knob for controlling the screen that reveals the location, and the screen door slides open to reveal the gloomy scene described above. The DOCTOR knits his brows and scratches his head. ACE enters the room. She wears a dainty Empire gown rather than her usual jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket.
ACE: Oy, Professor, how does this look—eh! That’s not how I pictured Vienna.
DOCTOR: Yes, Ace, I’m afraid it isn’t Vienna.
ACE: So ya blew it again, Professor.
DOCTOR: What, me? I never make mistakes.
ACE: You don’t? What about the time—
DOCTOR: Never mind, never mind. Let’s just say the TARDIS isn’t in a good mood.
SCENE: NIRGENDS in front hall of castle, with doors slowly creaking shut behind her. She looks around at stone walls, cobwebs, and crumbling furniture.
NIRGENDS: This may be a mistake….Hello? Does anyone live here?
(BARON YLIETCH appears silently.)
BARON: Yes, this is my dwelling. I am Baron Ylietch. May I help you?
NIRGENDS: I certainly hope so. I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes, and my means of transportation is incapacitated. I would like shelter and a place to repair this damage.
BARON: Ah, your Highness, you are welcome to reside here.
NIRGENDS: Thank-you very much. I wish I could repay you—
BARON: It is no inconvience. Come—I shall order the cook to make your dinner. I have already had a satisfactory meal.
SCENE: NIRGENDS is working on her ship, when ACE and the DOCTOR come along. NIRGENDS is too busy to notice them at first. She takes a shredded circuit out of the controls, and she eyes it with disgust.
NIRGENDS: Beyond repair—shredded! I need to replace it….
(The DOCTOR clears his throat loudly.)
DOCTOR: Ahem. You seem to be having a spot of trouble. Can I help you with that?
(NIRGENDS freezes when she hears a strange voice. Then she looks at the DOCTOR.)
NIRGENDS: Ah, hello. (Rising) I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes.
DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor, and this is Ace.
NIRGENDS: The Doctor? Doctor who—are you that renegade Timelord?
DOCTOR: Yes. Well, my fame has traveled far, hasn’t it, Ace?
ACE: Whatever, Professor.
DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): You’re not from around here…. You know, I might be able to help you repair your ship.
ACE: Come off it, Professor. You’ve got enough trouble trying to fix the TARDIS. How are you supposed to repair a ship you’ve never laid eyes on before?
DOCTOR: Ace! Have a little confidence in me.
(NIRGENDS, who has been fiddling with her ship again, remembers the DOCTOR and ACE. She looks at them absent-mindedly.)
NIRGENDS: Hmm? Ah, yes. I had a rather unsteady landing, and the egression cable is damaged beyond repair.
(The DOCTOR bends down to take a closer look at the cable, and he notices vampire marks in NIRGENDS’s neck.)
DOCTOR: I say, what’s that?
NIRGENDS: What? Oh, nothing, really. This swampy, humid location has many insects, and I was bitten in my sleep last night. Not very pleasant, but it’s a minor inconvenience compared to my ship.
DOCTOR (Still has a knit brow): Ah, yes, of course. Let’s see this cable.
(While the DOCTOR inspects the damaged cable, and ACE explores the little ship, NIRGENDS’s eyes light up as an idea suddenly occurs to her.)
NIRGENDS: Where did this TARDIS of yours land, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Oh, it’s out there in the woods.
(NIRGENDS slips away while the DOCTOR and ACE are distracted by the damaged ship. ACE glances up and notices that NIRGENDS is slipping away. ACE watches her leave, and after a glance at the DOCTOR, creeps behind NIRGENDS.)
(SCENE: NIRGENDS is creeping through the woods and brushing branches out of her path. She finds the TARDIS and walks all the way around it once, before she tries the door; it’s locked. She pulls a little deleebobber out of her pocket and holds it up to the lock. The lock clicks, and the door slowly swings open. She steps inside and stares in wonder at the consul table.
Meanwhile, ACE has been hiding behind a tree and watching NIRGENDS. As soon as the stranger is inside the TARDIS, ACE slips in behind her.)
ACE: Oy! What’re you up to?
(NIRGENDS swirls around to face ACE.)
NIRGENDS: Oh! Just—looking. I always wanted to see the Timelords’ mode of conveyance.
ACE: You’ve got a funny way of going about it. Trying to steal the TARDIS, weren’t you.
NIRGENDS: You don’t understand! I must save my people somehow—my ship isn’t large enough to carry all of them. The ozone layer over my planet is vanishing as we speak. The population has been devastated.
(The DOCTOR steps in behind ACE.)
DOCTOR: Well, why didn’t you say so? We could help, you know.
NIRGENDS: Are you certain? You’d be willing to go to my planet, fill your ship with strangers, and take them somewhere safe?
ACE: Professor, that sounds like an awful lot of people.
NIRGENDS: Only a small portion of the population has agreed to leave. Most of the people don’t believe in leaving their native planet—they claim the great god Norgasbord would not approve. But I have about a hundred followers who depend on me to find a suitable ship for conveying us elsewhere.
DOCTOR: Don’t your people have other ships they can use?
NIRGENDS: We did, but the Fatalists destroyed them all. The one I arrived here on is my own personal ship—they didn’t dare destroy royal property.
DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.
(SCENE: Flat, dry land, an orange sky. Fog. Welcome to the planet Gobbledygook. The TARDIS lands with the usual wheezing-groaning sound. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS step out.)
DOCTOR: Eh, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
ACE: What’s that, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Never mind, Ace. Well, Nirgends—I mean your Highness, here we are. But where is everybody?
NIRGENDS: Oh, dear.
ACE: Let’s get on with it—I can’t breathe this air.
NIRGENDS: They said they’d be waiting here. Are you sure you set the coordinates for the right time and place?
(The DOCTOR and ACE exchange a look.)
NIRGENDS: They may be underground. Come—I know where to go…I hope.
(The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS walk away onto the vast desert. After they’ve left, Baron Ylietch steps out of the TARDIS, shows his fangs, and starts heading in a different direction.)
(The Doctor and ACE follow NIRGENDS toward a hole in the ground.)
NIRGENDS: Here is our temporary dwelling.
DOCTOR: Lovely décor.
(They descend into the hole, which leads into an underground cave. It’s dark and damp, but NIRGENDS takes a torch off the wall and swiftly leads them through a tunnel.)
DOCTOR: Have your people been living in this cave very long?
NIRGENDS: Yes. For most of my life. The ozone layer has been breaking down gradually since long before I was born—probably for centuries. The air has become unendurable.
ACE: That’s awful! I’d be bonkers if I was you.
(They come to a room where maybe a hundred people are together.)
DOCTOR (Aside, to ACE): I’ve always wanted to attend a prehistoric cocktail party.
NIRGENDS: Attention, everyone!
(The crowd gets gradually quieter as everyone looks in NIRGENDS’s direction.)
NIRGENDS: I brought friends who have agreed to help us. This is the Doctor, and this is Ace.
(General murmuring and excitement in the crowd. Some people go up to the DOCTOR and ACE and greet them.)
MERGOS: Hello. I’m Mergos, the Princess’s advisor.
DOCTOR: Nice to meet you.
MERGOS: We sent some people up—did you happen to meet them?
DOCTOR: No, actually. Nirgends said someone would be waiting—
MERGOS: Oh, dear. Yes, Romus and Remiss went above ground. If they don’t show up soon…well, maybe they’re finding some dinner for us. The stock is getting rather low.
ACE: You’ve all been living in this cave, like a bunch of weasels?
DOCTOR: Ace, really…. You have been living like weasels, haven’t you?
MERGOS: We’ve lived in this underground cave for several moons, if that’s what you mean. But what are weasels?
DOCTOR: They’re—never mind. Your princess mentioned this god—Norgasbord. I’m curious—if all your people believed in this god, then why has this small group of people dissented?
MERGOS (A little fidgety): We are the—nonbelievers. We don’t believe that a kindly god would want us to die like this.
FOOGUS (To the DOCTOR): Our people are capable of space travel—or we were until our enemies destroyed our ships—and we believe that since our civilization is capable of leaving a dying planet, we have a right to escape that planet.
DOCTOR: Yes—survival instinct.
FOOGUS: Strange—Romus and Remiss haven’t returned yet. It’s been over an hour.
NIRGENDS: We’d better send out a search party. Who knows what could have happened to them up there. (To the crowd in general) Would anyone care to volunteer?
(Five people volunteer: the DOCTOR, ACE, FOOGUS, and two others, named MAKPECE and JINGEL. They go up to the surface, with FOOGUS and JINGEL leading the way.)
FOOGUS: They were supposed to be somewhere around here….
(They search further, and the DOCTOR finds a dried up bush with something under it. He takes a closer look an realizes it’s two corpses.)
DOCTOR: Oh, dear, Foogus! I think I’ve found your people. They don’t look a bit healthy.
(The others come and take a look. They’re all appalled.)
FOOGUS: The air must be getting worse—they died so quickly.
MAKPESE: We’d better get back.
DOCTOR: This sort of death isn’t caused by the atmosphere. They’ve been completely drained of their blood. This looks too much like the work of a hemophiliac.
FOOGUS: What’s that?
DOCTOR: A vampire.
FOOGUS: A vampire? What is—
DOCTOR: A vampire is an undead creature that feasts off the blood of others. A parasite. Do you see many vampires on your planet?
MAKPECE: Certainly not. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
(Frowning, the DOCTOR turns away. He stands in silence for a minute, as he gazes without seeing. ACE approaches him.)
ACE: Doctor, what’s wrong? What’s this about a vampire?
DOCTOR: After we met Nirgends at her ship, did you see those red marks on her throat?
ACE: Red marks? Yeah, she said they were bug bites.
DOCTOR: A dreadfully big bug, I’m afraid. They were the mark of a Nosferatu—a vampire.
ACE: Cor! You don’t mean there’s a vampire on this planet! But—why didn’t Nirgends end up like these poor blokes?
DOCTOR: Someone wants to turn her into a vampire. I wonder if she’s been offered immortal life. She told us it was insects, but I can’t say how much she really knows. Dear, dear….I have the most unpleasant sense…
ACE: What’s wrong, Professor?
DOCTOR: Foogus said she’s never heard of vampires…Nirgends said there were insects…
(Something flies overhead—something that looks and sounds like a bat. The DOCTOR stares after it for a moment.)
DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’d better have a chat with Nirgends.
(Meanwhile, the other three are looking at the DOCTOR and ACE suspiciously. They whisper among themselves before FOOGUS walks over to the DOCTOR. MAKPESE and JINGEL follow her.)
FOOGUS: Doctor, nothing like this ever happened before you and Ace came.
DOCTOR: Oh, dear. Seemes like it always turns into this. You think we’re responsible for the deaths, don’t you?
DOCTOR: You’re mistaken. How about if we head back to the cave and have a chat with Nirgends over a cup of tea. She may be able to straighten this out.
JINGEL: Oh, no!
FOOGUS: If you take us back to the cave, how do we know you won’t kill all of us?
DOCTOR: If we wanted to kill you, wouldn’t we have done so by now?
JINGEL: We don’t know how the mind of a criminal works.
DOCTOR: I’m sure it doesn’t work like my mind. Look. Just take us back to the cave—it’s important we talk with Nirgends. She could help us find out what’s going on. I don’t care if you threaten us and shove us around. We need to speak with your leader.
MAKPESE (To FOOGUS): He may be telling the truth. If we don’t trust him, we may lose our chance of going away from here.
(SCENE: The search party arrives at the cave full of people. MAKPESE and JINGEL shove the DOCTOR and ACE into the room as FOOGUS speaks. NIRGENDS, meanwhile, has been resting her head against the cave wall, and sitting on a rock. She is very pale.)
FOOGUS: We have found Rumis and Remiss—our visitors killed them.
(Hubbub from the crowd. The DOCTOR and ACE are tied.)
ACE: Ow! Watch it!
NIRGENDS: What’s the meaning of this nonsense?
FOOGUS: We found the bodies of Rumis and Remiss, drained of blood, under a bush. This sort of death never happened before these two came. Don’t you think that’s a trifle odd?
NIRGENDS: I think the Doctor and Ace have been with me all along—until they were with you.
DOCTOR: Your Highness, allow me to make a comment. How did you say you acquired the marks on your neck?
NIRGENDS: The insect bites, Doctor? I don’t understand. I was bitten overnight, while I was staying at the Baron’s castle on that planet—what did you call it? Earth?
ACE: Are you sure about that?
DOCTOR: The Baron? You didn’t say anyone lived there. I assumed…Who was this Baron?
NIRGENDS: Oh, the Baron Ylietch. He was a very kind man. For several nights he let me stay at his home, gave me food and drink, and asked for nothing in return. We’d sit by the fire in the evening…Oh, but this can’t be of any interest to you, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Did you notice anything—peculiar about this Baron Ylietch?
NIRGENDS: Oh, Doctor, you’re being silly.
DOCTOR: Did you ever see him in daylight? Did he ever dine with you? Did he have fangs? Claws? A curious craving for human flesh?
ACE: A funny Transylvanian accent?
DOCTOR: That’s not funny, Ace.
NIRGENDS: You’re not suggesting the Baron is this…vampire…are you, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, your Highness. I’m suggesting exactly that. I’m suggesting he left those marks on your throat.
NIRGENDS: Doctor, this is ridiculous.
DOCTOR: Is it?
NIRGENDS (After a pause): No, it’s not. But it’s too horrible.
DOCTOR: Ace and I will go search for this Baron, if your people will untie us and let us go.
(As she speaks, NIRGENDS begins to untie the DOCTOR and motions to MERGOS to untie ACE.)
NIRGENDS: Very well, Doctor. I’ll go with you.
DOCTOR: No, no, he’ll turn you into a vampire if he bites you once more. You’ll be safer if you stay here.
DOCTOR: You need to rest—to recuperate from your loss of blood.
NIRGENDS: Doctor, I’m going. I’m responsible for this.
(SCENE: Above ground, the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS search for the vampire. They wander around on the planet. NIRGENDS is rather fatigued because of the awful climate and her loss of blood, but she tries to hide it.)
ACE: This is like looking for a stray puppy.
DOCTOR: A poorly behaved stray puppy.
(SCENE: Time has passed. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are still searching. ACE finds footprints in the dust and dirt.)
ACE: Doctor! Look.
(The DOCTOR and NIRGENDS come and look at the footprints.)
DOCTOR: The game is afoot.
(They follow the footprints, which lead them to a hole in the ground.)
NIRGENDS: Doctor, here’s another underground cave. There aren’t very many. Let’s take a look around.
(They descend into the cave, wander through dark tunnels, and come across a makeshift earthbox. The DOCTOR lifts the lid and they see the BARON asleep inside.)
NIRGENDS (After pause): What do we do, now that we’ve found him?
ACE: How about if I stick some Nitro-9 in his box.
DOCTOR: I’m afraid that option wouldn’t help us here, Ace. Let’s get him back to his castle before he wakes up, and leave him there where he belongs.
NIRGENDS: You have a peaceful solution for everything, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Well, almost everything.
(ACE breaks off a stalactite before they go, and she tucks it under her arm. The three of them carry the earthbox out of the cave and head for the TARDIS.)
(SCENE: The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are outside the TARDIS. They set down the earthbox while the DOCTOR unlocks the TARDIS door. NIRGENDS holds the door open while the other two carry the earthbox into the TARDIS. Inside, they carry the box across the control room and place it in a storage room. ACE nails the box shut while the other two go back to the consul room.)
DOCTOR: Destination: Hungary.
(The center column of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS takes off.)
NIRGENDS: I’ll stay with Ace, in case the Baron awakes.
DOCTOR: I’ll be there in a millisecond.
(NIRGENDS goes back to the room where ACE guards over the earthbox. ACE picks up a small wooden stake.)
ACE: The Doctor said you might need this.
ACE: To ward off the vampire.
NIRGENDS: Ah (sighing as she sinks into a chair) I’m still having trouble seeing…the Baron…as a vampire.
(The DOCTOR enters the room and plops down between ACE and NIRGENDS.)
DOCTOR: Here—I’ve got some medicine to treat you for loss of blood.
(The DOCTOR tries to rise, but NIRGENDS holds him down feebly.)
NIRGENDS: Doctor, since this TARDIS travels in time, would it be possible to go back to the moment before the vampire first bit me, and to prevent it from happening?
DOCTOR (Running a hand through his hair): It might be possible, your Highness, but quite difficult—and risky. We’d have to drop off both you and the vampire—otherwise you’d each have a double.
NIRGENDS: A double.
DOCTOR: Yes, a double. There would be the you that I’m speaking to, and another you still in the castle.
DOCTOR: Then Ace and I would have to get back to the TARDIS, set the coordinates for the correct time, and hope the TARDIS gets bacvk to the castle—not only at the right moment, but also before the present vampire harms the present you. Understand?
NIRGENDS: I think so.
ACE: I’m glad one of us does.
DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): Don’t worry—you’ll recuperate; it takes time, you know. Relax.
NIRGENDS: You forgot to say, “Your Highness.”
DOCTOR: Yes, well, it won’t be the first time. Now it’s time for the Doctor to give you your medicine.
(SCENE: the TARDIS lands in the front hall of the BARON’s castle. The DOCTOR and ACE carry the earthbox out of the TARDIS and to another room, where they set it on the stone floor. Meanwhile, NIRGENDS follows.)
ACE: Maybe we should kill him—before he causes any more deaths.
DOCTOR: Ace, do you think that hasn’t occurred to me? I don’t think we should shed unnecessary blood….On the other hand, if he lives, he could cause many more deaths. There could be a village nearby….
(The BARON stirs inside the box.)
ACE: We’ve got trouble.
(The BARON shoves the lid up, tearing out the nails, and the lid clunks to the floor. An unhappy vampire appears.)
DOCTOR: Wake up on the wrong side of the coffin?
BARON: Good evening.
ACE: You’re taking things awfully calmly.
BARON (Coldly, towering over the other three): I have a calm nature. However, my nature seems to have been opposed. How unpleasant. (Turns to NIRGENDS)
NIRGENDS (To BARON): You left these marks on my neck, didn’t you.
BARON: I could make you immortal.
NIRGENDS (As though he never spoke): You have a strange way of treating your house guests. One would expect better manners from an aristocrat.
BARON: I need blood in order to survive. You needed shelter, I needed blood. I thought it was a satisfactory arrangement.
NIRGENDS: I trusted you. I even liked you.
BARON: You have a certain charm yourself. You see, I want to give you immortality.
(As the BARON speaks, ACE comes up behind him. She beats him over the head with her baseball bat. It only makes him angry. He swerves around with a snarl, and the DOCTOR thrusts the stalactite into his chest. The vampire screams and dies. After he’s dead, the three silently stand over the body.)
DOCTOR: Well….You could say something about beating a vampire bat with a bat, if you were the sort of person who’d say such a thing. Of course, I’m not…. Your Highness, are you ready to take your people to another planet?
(NIRGENDS doesn’t answer for a moment; she continues to stare at the corpse. She slowly looks up at the DOCTOR before she answers in a whisper.)
NIRGENDS: Yes, Doctor.
(NIRGENDS nearly faints. The DOCTOR and ACE help her up.)
(SCENE: The camera follows the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS into the cave room that’s full of people. (ACE has changed into her usual ensemble.) The cave still looks like a prehistoric cocktail party, but the guests aren’t having fun. There is a great deal of murmuring when the people see the DOCTOR and ACE with NIRGENDS.)
NIRGENDS: Listen, everyone. We found the vampire—he’s gone. Now are you willing to come with the Doctor to a new planet?
FOOGUS: What happened to this—vampire?
ACE: The Doctor killed him with a stake through the heart. Here’s his jacket.
(ACE holds up the BARON’s bloody jacket. There is more murmuring—this time rather admiring. The Doctor, that is, not the spiffy coat)
NIRGENDS: Who wants to come with us?
(Everyone, except FOOGUS, steps forward.)
NIRGENDS: Well, Foogus?
FOOGUS (After pause): How do I know your…friends haven’t threatened you into saying they’re innocent? How do I know anything you’ve said is true?
NIRGENDS: Have you ever heard me tell a lie? Foogus, you don’t understand. The vampire stowed away on the Doctor’s ship.
(There is a long pause.)
(SCENE: TARDIS consul room. NIRGEND’s people pour into the TARDIS. The people gape at their surroundings in amazement, and they make sundry comments.)
CROWD: Strange…It’s amazing…I want one of these for my birthday…It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside.
DOCTOR (Referring to the last comment): Typical response.
(The DOCTOR works at the consul to take the TARDIS away; ACE directs the crowd through the door that leads to other rooms. NIRGENDS goes to rest up. This is all happening simultaneously. The TARDIS then takes off, and ACE comes back to the consul room.)
DOCTOR: Here we go—wherever we’re going.
ACE: Eh, Professor, don’t you have a place in mind?
DOCTOR: I thought of Castrovalva, but I don’t think the inhabitants would appreciate having strangers come live with them. How about a bit of research.
(The DOCTOR types up something on the computer built into the consul, and something comes up on the screen. The DOCTOR mutters as he types.)
DOCTOR: We want a planet that preferably has no humanoids….A suitable climate….Ah, here’s one—Dysrepsus….temperate…early stages…no human life has developed…plenty of fresh water. I think they’ll like that.
ACE: Here—I’ll tell Nirgends.
(ACE leaves the consul room as the DOCTOR sets the coordinates for Dysrepsus. The camera follows ACE, who enters a room full of plants, vines, and garden benches. Several of NIRGENDS’s people are in this room, and ACE walks over to MERGOS.)
ACE: Oy, the Professor’s picked a planet he thinks you lot’ll take a fancy to. The way it sounds, you’d have to be mad to not like it.
(The TARDIS lands with its usual wheezing sound, and MERGOS listens.)
MERGOS: Oh—are we there already?
(ACE and MERGOS head toward the consul room, as many people do the same.)
ACE: Yeah—the TARDIS makes overnight express seem like a slug.
MERGOS: What’s a sl—
ACE: Never mind.
(ACE and MERGOS enter the consul room, where they see the DOCTOR leaning against the consul table.)
DOCTOR: We’re on Dysrepsus. Are you going to congratulate me?
ACE: Oh, I think you’ve congratulated yourself enough, Professor. You don’t need our help.
(SCENE: the TARDIS almost completely covers a very small island in a large lake. The banks of the lake are miles away, in the distance.)
DOCTOR (Voice over): Ah, let’s not step out just yet.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I just finished revising my novella "The Witch's Familiar" and e-mailed the latest draft to the editor of Wormhole Electric, a new science fiction and fantasy magazine. The stories are published in serial form, divided into seven episodes. If I understand the magazine correctly, an issue with the beginning of the story will be published for free online, and all subsequent episodes are available to purchase as e-books.
What a sigh of relief.
Next I need to do a developmental edit for an Ooligan student and start writing another long story/novella to submit to Wormhole Electric in January, but I've got a cold and will soon be napping.
What a sigh of relief.
Next I need to do a developmental edit for an Ooligan student and start writing another long story/novella to submit to Wormhole Electric in January, but I've got a cold and will soon be napping.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The following is one of the assignments from my scriptwriting class (1993). I remember we were assigned to write a script for the TV show Cheers—specifically with the theme “Cliff swears off beer” or something like that. I wasn’t that familiar with the show, but we watched an episode in class and I interviewed my mother about it. My friend Alice hated Cheers so much (and I relate—the characters are so mean) that she killed them all off at the end of her episode; if I recall correctly, a bomb was responsible.
SCENE: The Cheers bar. SAM, WOODY, and REBECCA behind bar, CARLA waiting on customers, FRASER at a table, CLIFF sitting next to NORM’s empty bar stool and carrying on a conversation with an imaginary NORM.
CLIFF: Hey, ol’ buddy, seen any good games lately?...Yeah? Did they win? 20 to nothing…. That’s amazing, Norm.
WOODY (to Sam): Gee, Norm hasn’t been here for almost a week. I wonder what’s up with him.
SAM: I don’t know, but I hope he comes here before Cliff starts talking to a big rabbit named Harvey.
CARLA: Maybe Norm fell over and he can’t get up. He’s just rolling around on the floor, trying to reach for a beer.
SAM: Could be Vera wants kids again. SHE might have him chained to the bed.
CARLA: Who’d she hire to help her chain him up? Arnold Schwarzenager?
NORM enters, anxiously glancing behind and looking around out of the corner of his eye, as though he thinks someone is chasing him.
SAM: Hey, there he is.
CLIFF: Hi there, Norm. Gosh, there’s two of you. I thought you were just here…
NORM sits at his customary spot next to CLIFF.
SAM: What’ll it be, Norm, the usual?
NORM beckons to SAM to come closer, and SAM leans over bar in front of NORM.
NORM: I gotta have a beer, Sam. NO, make it two beers. No, three.
REBECCA: Norm, are you all right? You’re not getting neurotic on us, are you?
NORM: I gotta have a beer. I gotta.
SAM gives NORM a beer.
NORM: A whole week without beer.
CARLA: Gee, why didn’t I see that on the news last night?
SAM: Some reason why you haven’t had any beer?
NORM: I can’t take it anymore. That woman’s driving me crazy.
CLIFF: What—who’s driving you crazy? Vera?
NORM: No, her mom. Her mom’s visiting us from New York. She says if I don’t quite drinking, she’ll write us out of her will. I haven’t had a drink since she came.
WOODY: Why’s she against your drinking?
NORM: She’s a tea-totaler. Ever since her husband was killed by a drunk driver a couple months ago.
WOODY: Well, that makes sense….
NORM: Just because her husband died, why should I suffer?
WOODY: Yeah, why should you?
NORM: She’s got a bunch of money saved up. I could use it.
REBECCA: Since when are you interested in money?
NORM: Without that money, I may have to go out and get a job.
CARLA: Yeah, I’d like to see that happen.
CLIFF: I wouldn’t let some crazy old hag stop me drinking. She’s not gonna know, so long as you’re here.
NORM: I sure hope not….
CLIFF: What’s that supposed to mean?
NORM: My mother-in-law’s got a built-in radar that goes off when I’m drinking alcohol.
SAM: Hold on, Norm. You’ve got to be kidding. Nobody’s got a built-in radar. That’s impossible.
HILDA, NORM’s mother-in-law, storms in and slams the door behind her. She stands in front of door and glares at NORM for a moment.
HILDA: Aha! I knew I’d find you at a bar! I could sense it five miles away. And you’ve got beer, too! I may have to change my will.
NORM: I—I’m not drinking any beer. (He quickly shoves his beer toward CLIFF.) I—I was just about to order for some cranberry juice. Sam, I’d like a mug of cranberry juice. Make it a keg. On the rocks.
SAM: Ah, sure Norm.
SAM gets a bottle of cranberry juice out from under the counter. He glances at HILDA, makes sure she’s watching, gets out a glass, and pours the juice in clear sight of HILDA.
HILDA: That’s more like it. I’ll have one of those too.
SAM pours HILDA a tumbler of cranberry juice, and she sits near NORM. She gulps the drink down really fast. She then sets the tumbler down.
HILDA: Well, sonny, are you ready to go home to your wife?
HILDA: Just as I thought. Let’s go.
HILDA slaps some money on the counter before she and NORM leave. Everyone remaining is frozen and silent for a moment.
CLIFF: Gosh. Poor old buddy. That’s awful.
WOODY: Yeah, I feel real sorry for him. Want another beer?
CLIFF: Nah, I don’t think I could drink any more, after seeing such a terrible scene….Sure, just one more.
REBECCA: That’s an idea. If Norm can quite drinking—
CARLA: He may quit living.
REBECCA: If Norm can quit drinking, we can all show that we’re strong, self-respecting, self-possessed human beings who can stand on our own two feet. Let’s each give up something.
FRASER: And those of us who are incapable of proving that we’re strong, self-respecting, self-possessed human beings who can stand on our own two feet—can make the greatest possible effort to convince the rest of us that they are strong, self-respecting, self-possessed human beings who can stand on their own two feet.
WOODY: Could you say that once more?
FRASER: No. Why, do you like the rhythm?
WOODY: No, I just…had a piece of wax plugging up my ear.
SAM: Hey, we could do this as a bet. Whoever survives the longest wins twenty bucks. We can all chip in. Let’s see who’s man enough to go through with it.
REBECCA: Or woman enough.
CLIFF: Well, I guess I could give up alcohol. Gee, I sure feel sorry for poor Norm. What are the rest of you going to give up?
REBECCA: I’ll…I’ll give up…chocolate.
SAM takes a huge box of chocolates out from under the counter, drops it on the counter, opens it, and offers it to everyone, under REBECCA’s nose. She stares, grabbing the edge of the counter. SAM pops a chocolate into his mouth and chews, savoring, making “mmmmm” noises.
REBECCA: You are evil, spiteful and malicious. You also have horrible table manners.
SAM: What’s wrong? Not woman enough to go through with this?
REBECCA: On the contrary, Sam. I’m more woman than you’ll ever be.
CLIFF: It’s your turn, Woody.
WOODY: OK, I’ll have the kind with raspberry filling.
REBECCA (Trying to remain calm): He means, what are you giving up?
WOODY: Gosh, I guess I…well…
CARLA: Well? Say it.
WOODY: It’s…I guess it’s about time I give up…my teddy bear.
CARLA (laughing): Your teddy bear! Sure you don’t wanna give up diapers first?
SAM: Ah, come on. Give him credit for honesty.
CARLA: Well, Sam, you know what you’ve got to give up.
CARLA leans over the counter across from SAM.
CARLA: You gotta give up chasing women.
SAM: Hey, wait a minute!
CHORUS: She’s right, Sam. Can’t back out now. (etc)
SAM: Hey, this isn’t fair.
REBECCA: Yes it is.
SAM: You’re all giving up little things….Like chocolate, and teddy bears…. You’re asking me to give up…a way of life.
REBECCA: It’s only temporary, you know. Or aren’t you man enough to do it?
CLIFF: Here, Sam. I’ll make it easier for you. I’ll give up women too.
CARLA: Oh, that makes a world of difference.
SAM: I don’t know…Aw, all right. For now.
SAM notices a stunning-looking WOMAN enter the bar.
SAM: I hope Norm’s mother-in-law goes home really soon…Your turn, Fraser. I’ll be right back….
SAM starts heading toward the WOMAN who just entered, but he runs up against CARLA.
CARLA: Back up, Sam. Keep your testosterone behind the counter.
SAM moves back behind the counter, glances resentfully at CARLA, and then listens to FRASER.
FRASER: Very well, then, it’s my turn. I’m willing to sacrifice. For the duration of this experiment, I’ll refrain from reading Elizabethan sonnets.
SAM: Ah, come on.
CARLA: Good idea. I’ll do the same.
REBECCA: Isn’t there something else you can give up?
FRASER: I do have tickets for Thursday’s performance of Wagner’s Das Ring des Nibelung. (Patting his breast pocket.) I could let my wife go see it without me….No, I couldn’t.
REBECCA: Yes, you could.
FRASER: I’ve been anticipating this for weeks. It’s a Viennese touring company.
CLIFF: We’re all giving up something. Do it for Norm.
FRASER: Ah, well, here. I shall be truly magnanimous, and let one of you enjoy the performance that I shall be unable to attend. Is anyone free Thursday night?
WOODY: I’ll hold it for you.
FRASER reluctantly hands ticket to WOODY.
REBECCA: You only have one ticket with you?
FRASER: My wife has the other ticket. I am willing to let her see the performance without me.
SAM: Should I frisk him?
CLIFF: Nah, we can take his word for it.
SAM: OK, who hasn’t given something up yet? Carla?
CARLA: What is this, Lent?
SAM: I know what you can give up.
CARLA: What do you have in mind—my virginity?
SAM: How about if you quit picking on people.
CARLA: You mean like—be nice?
SAM: That’s right.
CARLA gasps and chokes and carries on. Suddenly she’s perfectly calm.
CARLA: I can do it. No problem.
SCENE: A couple days later. WOODY is behind the counter, hugging a beer mug as though it were a teddy bear. FRASER is reading the libretto of the opera he expects to miss. CLIFF is on his customary stool, where he is drinking apple juice. REBECCA leans against the counter and smokes a cigarette, as she stares at the box of chocolate that is still in the same place. CARLA is serving drinks at a table. SAM is pouring drinks.
CLIFF: This apple juice isn’t bad. It looks like beer in my mug, but it’s so much more wholesome than beer. Fruit juice has all those nutrients in it, and this stuff is all natural. No sugar, no preservatives.
SAM notices a gorgeous WOMAN come in, and she winks at him.
SAM: Apple juice isn’t the only thing that’s natural.
CARLA, approaching the counter, opens her mouth to speak, but doesn’t say anything. She grips a stool as she resists the temptation to be mean.
CLIFF: It reminds me of a family picnic I went to when I was ten years old. My family showed up late and the only thing to drink was apple juice. I drank so much I got really sick and haven’t touched it since…I’ve gotta have a beer.
The WOMAN is at a table, ogling SAM, who ogles back at her while he starts nibbling on chocolates.
CLIFF: Sam, those chocolates aren’t as healthy as apple juice. Chocolates are full of sugar and caffeine, they’re bad for your teeth, and they prolong zits.
SAM pigs out on the chocolates, turning the WOMAN off. A male customer, presumably her HUSBAND, comes in and sits by her, while CARLA notices the way SAM is eating.
CARLA: I could say something about the wrong kind of appetite, but I’m nice, so I won’t.
A CUSTOMER of any gender comes in, sits on a bar stool, and notices the way WOODY is hugging the beer mug.
CUSTOMER (to CARLA): What’s wrong with him?
CARLA opens her mouth wide open, as if to speak, and doesn’t say anything for a moment.
CARLA: Beats me. Want a drink? There’s …a special on Scotch today.
NORM comes in, excited.
NORM gets to his bar stool and thumps his hand on the counter.
NORM: Pour me a beer, Sam. My mother-in-law’s plane left twenty minutes ago. My tea-totaling days are over!
Everyone cheers and rushes to whatever they gave up.
CARLA (Refering to Norm): Better just get him his own barrel with a really big straw.
REBECCA runs to the box of chocolates on the counter and starts pigging out.
CARLA: Gee, I knew I should’ve put something poisonous in those candies.
CLIFF: I’ll have a beer too, Sam.
CARLA: Have some more apple juice instead. It’s healthier.
Meanwhile, WOODY whips out his teddy bear from under the counter and gives it a hug.
CARLA (to WOODY): Had your diaper changed recently?
FRASER checks his watch.
FRASER: Gadzooks! It’s seven thirty—the opera starts in half an hour. Woody, pray give me back that ticket.
WOODY is distracted by his teddy bear.
WOODY: What ticket, Fraser?
FRASER: Don’t do this to me—not now, Woody. Where’s the ticket?
SAM is flirting with a woman CUSTOMER, WOODY turns away to pour drinks for a group of people, and FRASER is trying to be patient while he waits for WOODY.
SAM (to CUSTOMER): How about a bottle of champaigne. At my place. Saturday night.
(CLIFF turns on the TV.)
CLIFF: Let’s see what’s on the news.
While everyone’s goofing around, the news is on the TV and at first they ignore it, until the following report comes on…
TV REPORTER: Tonight, according to Donna Smith, flight attendant for Delta airlines, all flights from the Logan Airport have been delayed, due to severe weather conditions. The fog is not expected to clear till late tomorrow night.
The camera is on NORM. When he hears this, he chokes and spits out his beer. Everyone’s frozen for a moment. The phone rings, and WOODY answers it.
WOODY: Cheers bar.
HILDA (VO on phone): Get Norm on the phone this minute!
WOODY: Norm, it’s for you. It sounds like your mother-in-law.
REBECCA (pushing away box of chocolates): I guess this means we’ve all gotta hold on for another night.
WOODY: Sam, can I take the evening off? I wanna go see the show.
SAM glances at FRASER.
SAM: Sure, go ahead.
CARLA: Hey, Woody, don’t forget your ted—
WOODY: My what?
CARLA: Ticket. Your ticket.
WOODY checks wallet.
WOODY: It’s here.
REBECCA: Are you leaving your teddy bear behind?
WOODY: Yeah, it’s under the counter.
REBECCA: Good. I may need it.
SAM: You don’t need a teddy bear. I’m here.
REBECCA: I’d rather hug a rattle snake.
FRASER: Oh, what a deplorable turn of fate.
CLIFF: Here. You can drink my beer, if it makes you feel better.
SCENE: Same place, the following day. Everyone is doing their usual stuff.
NORM: Sure is great to be back to normal.
SAM: Hey, Woody, did you enjoy the opera?
WOODY: Yeah, it was swell. The first scene takes place under water, with all these mermaids. And there’s a dwarf who steals a lump of gold out of the river, and he gets really powerful because of the gold. The story’s based on German folklore, you see, like most of Wagner’s operas.
FRASER: Well, I’m impressed, Woody. I didn’t know you had the distinctive taste to enjoy a Wagnerian opera.
WOODY: Oh, yeah, Fraser. I got you a Wagner t-shirt.
WOODY holds up a t-shirt illustrated with a caricature of Richard Wagner.
CARLA: That’s gotta be a first.
SAM: So you really liked the show.
WOODY: Yeah, and you should have seen the cookies and cakes they were selling in the lobby. But the best part was the water fountain.
FRASER: There was a functioning water fountain onstage?
WOODY: No, it was over by the men’s restroom. You push really hard on the button, and the water squirts up and gets people wet.
CLIFF: Fun night at the opera.
WOODY: Trouble is, the people who got wet didn’t seem too happy. A couple of ushers had to come along and stop these guys from beating me up.
CARLA: You should go to the opera more often, Woody. Must’ve livened the place up.
WOODY: But I don’t understand. I said I was sorry.
NORM: Pass me another beer, Sam. Gee, it’s just like old times.