'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Thursday, May 30, 2002 ]

I had an odd lucid fantasy this morning.

In it, I awaken in a white room, wearing white pajamas.

When I get up, I don't feel tired,like I normally do. My bones don't creak, and I don't have that dread that I have somewhere to be.

I stand up, and find a note on the endtable by the bed. It's from my wife.

My Favorite Googly Bear,

Before you wonder what's going on, we're both dead and this is the afterlife.

Oh. Well. That's a corker.
I'm sure you've got lots of questions--it turns out you were right about a whole lot of stuff--just listen to the messages on the new machine...they'll explain a lot.

Love you!


I look across what is apparently our new bedroom, and see the answering machine blinking. I notice that this is some kind of new machine, that burns every message on a minidisc, in case I want to save my messages for any reason. Cool.

Eleven messages.


I hit play.

*BEEP* "Um, hello, Rob, this is John Woo. People keep telling me I should call you, and after reading all of your plays I can see why. Anyway, though I'd invite you to a barbecue at my house on Wednesday--Chow's dying to talk to you about your idea for a Charlie Chan movie, and before you ask, yes, you can play 'Number One Son.' But we'll talk later. Sam Raimi says 'Hi.'" *BEEP*

Ahh! You didn't give me your number, John!

Oh. I have Caller I.D., too.

*BEEP*"Betsy, this is Chuck Jones. Just calling to welcome you here, and tell tell you I've always regretted that I wasn't the one who got to marry you. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that John Lassiter and I are working on something we think you'd be perfect for. Give us a call. Oh, and Hello to Rob, as well. Pete Docter is just dying to meet him for some reason."*BEEP*

Pete Docter, SOOOOOOPAH-genius. Cool.

*BEEP*"Rob. Seth. Me, Takeo, Joe, Luke, Lenny, Mike, Tom, Brian, Baker, Jesse, Potch, Buck, Ethan, Steve, Casey, Alex, and Scott are all getting together at the diner tonight. So...uh...see you there!"*BEEP*

No chicks. Not sure what I should read into that.

*BEEP*"Hello, Betsy! This is...um, er...Eddie Izzard--fancy that! Tim Curry, Madeline Khan, Gilda Radner, Gene Wilder, Gene Kelly, and Bill Bixby are having brunch this weekend. Let us know if you're interested, sweetie. Oh, Rob can come, too. Someone told me he might be the one I'd want to talk to if I wanted to be a big action hero, and shoot guns, and all sorts of macho stuff. Byeeeeee!"*BEEP*

Man, I've always wanted to meet Bill Bixby.

*BEEP*"Hey, Rob, it's Russ. For some reason, the site is really popular here. Oh, but the reason I'm calling is that me, Spudnuts, Cherish, Mrs. Veteran, JSc, Wil, Greeny, Jbay, and Bluesman want to get together tomorrow afternoon, say 1:00, at The Original Pancake House for some big project. This was Colin's idea, by the way--he'll be there, too."*BEEP*

Hmm. I wonder if the wait at the Pancake House is still insane. I feel strangely optimistic.

*BEEP*"Rob, Russ again. We're probably gonna meet up tonight at the diner as well...what? Oh, okay, I'll tell him...Both Cherish and Wil want me to tell you 'Bingo, Fucker!'"*BEEP*

Bingo yourself, bastards.

*BEEP*"Hey, Rob, it's Ethan. Man, you've gotta see the size of the retro arcade they've got here, man. Baker and I are playing 'Renegade,' and he keeps saying you should be here. Catch you at the diner, man."*BEEP*

I wonder if they've got "Ring King."

*BEEP*"Betsy? Regis Philbin here, just letting you know that we've chosen you for 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.' We'll be in touch."*BEEP*

Great, Reege, just in time for money to be worthless.

*BEEP*"Rob, um, this is Chuck Palahniuk. Me, Garth Ennis, Brian Michael Bendis, Doug Reed, Matt Cibula, Alan Ball, Buck Hakes, Tom Fontana, James Yoshimura, Lisa Konoplisky, Evan Hunter, Tim Sandlin, Phil Heckman, George Orwell, Callen Harty, and Rod Serling are putting togther a writing group, meeting every Thursday at some diner that Serling owns. Hope to see you there. Oh, I've got a copy of Lullaby for you, if you want it."*BEEP*

I notice next to the answering machine is a new laptop, thin, light, has a dvd-rom and burner, wireless internet, and already has Final Draft installed.

*BEEP*"Rob. This is Joel Gersmann. I'm just calling to tell you that I'm never calling you again. Oh, and I'm supposed to tell you 'I was wrong.' I don't really get it. I know what all three of those words mean, but I've never seen them togther that way before. Anyway, I have to go. ...What? Oh, that's so infantile! ...I have to go. There's some really weird looking guy with horns here who wants to shove a trident up my ass."*BEEP*

*BEEP*"Hello, Rob and Betsy. This is God. Please come on down to the square. I'll explain everything there. Oh, Rob, your dad wants me to tell you that it's Poker Night at your mother's, tonight. He and Vicki don't know if they're going, but I wouldn't miss it. See ya!"*BEEP*

I shower, dress (there are a pair of jeans and a "New York Fucking City" t-shirt neatly folded in the dresser, as well as the Reeboks from the movie "Aliens," in black--of course ), and head down to the square--which, for some reason, is very easy for me to find without looking anything up or asking directions.

I notice the stores around me...Middle Earth Comics, Four Star Video Heaven, The Snoopy Store, The Cup And Chaucer Bookstore, The Collector's Armory...

Across the street is a Yaohan mall with a food court. I may pick up a Ginseng Up later.

Ahead is the town square.

I see two lines of people. One line is huge, but the other is much smaller.

God strolls up to me. He looks about thirty.

"Hey, Rob."

Hey, God. So what's up?

"The Taliban had suspected nuclear capabiltity. There was a war--they're calling it the '30 Second War.' Very quick. So, pretty much your whole country is here, as well as large chunks of the world here and there. It's all here."

He hands me a booklet called "The Record: 2002 edition."

What's this?

"It's the truth about a lot of things that most of you wonder about. The JFK assassination, The RFK assassination--pretty much all the assassinations are in there. The factoid pages, I think, are really interesting--those have all the stuff that almost happened that you never knew about."

I flip through it...

It says O.J. Simpson--

"--Yeah, that one's a no-brainer, but some people still don't accept it."

There's a whole chapter here on The Gulf War...

"Don't miss the Japanese Internment pages--thought you might find those interesting."

Holy crap! There's a whole section on serial killers! Did you tell--

"I told Betsy--heck, I even bookmarked the Jack The Ripper section. I earmarked The Zodiac Killer chapter for you, too. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised."

This is great...but...


Well, this is Heaven, right?

"It's not Hell. Although we have visitors from time to time who are from there."

Isn't all of the stuff in this book going to upset a lot of people?

"Wellllllll, yeeeeees, but at the same time we're allowed a bit of release--you know, let off some steam."

I notice the two lines, the really long one and the short one.


"This is that letting off steam thing I was talking about. People get to take turns kicking these guys in the asses." He points to the shorter one. "That one's Osama bin Laden."

Whoa. Who's on the longer one?

"You're gonna love this. George W. Bush."

Really? Why is his line so much longer?

God points to the end of the book, to a chapter labeled "2000 to 2002."

I read.

Well, I already pretty much figured the election stuff.

"Look at the end."

I read further.


I keep reading.

Son of a bitch!

"You get it, now?"

I'm getting on the long line, is where I'm getting!

"Hold up, partner. No need."

And God hands me a Fast Pass.

posted by Rob on 9:46 AM | link



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