'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Wednesday, December 31, 2003 ]

Another lucid fantasy.

The fantasy, like most of my fantasies, starts with an unoriginal idea.

In this one, I have one of those Twilight Zone watches that stops time. I press a button, and FWEEP everything stops.

Right away, I quit my job.

Having pretty much no guilt, I decide not to steal money, but things I need.



Computer equipment and an entertainment center.

I reach a higher consciousness, and gain a moment of clarity. This power I have is a gift. I should do something to help society.

I kick around the idea of fighting crime, but I'm not crazy about the idea of confrontation. And how do you stop crime with this power, anyway? You'd have to know where it was going to happen.

No, it requires too much thought, and I'd rather just get to it.

I flip on the television and see that President Bush is about to give a speech.

They're live.

Unsure what I'm going to do, I freeze time--FWEEP--and head out the door.

It's quite the drive, but since I have all the time in the world, I drive to Washington, D.C.

After finding the White House, I walk into the press room area, and see that the president is about to walk on stage. Like everyone else, he's frozen in time.

I can't waste an opportunity like this.

As far as the rest of the world understands it, George W. Bush walks into the press room totally naked.

The TV audience only sees the screen suddenly go black.

For safety reasons (I don't fuck with the Secret Service if I can help it) I don't unfreeze time until I get home. I can only imagine what's going on in the press room.

Bedlam, one would hope.

I smile. I may have saved a nation.

Only not.

The majority of the press stays quiet--all cameras and equipment confiscated right then and there. Those who bother mentioning the incident only say that the conference was canceled, but won't say why.

A tape of the incident that one reporter sneaks out is broadcast on the internet, but it's dismissed as a fake.

This pisses me off.

But there is a ray of hope. They'll have to have a conference again.

They do.

Once again, our president walks out to greet the crowd.

And once again, he's naked.

Earlier, as I am cutting the predisential blue tailored suit of of him, that security is now much more visible.

This particular conference is in a totally different press room, too.

And this time, it does make the air.

Only when it's reported on, people comment on it in a strangely positive way.

Rush Limbaugh comments that not only is this a marker of Bush's superior sense of humor, but adds that Clinton would never have had the guts to pull such a move, or else we'd have seen it.

Ann Coulter adds, "and, I'll tell you, he is in wonderful shape, don't you think?"

Fox News Network doesn't go so far as to call it a bold move, but they don't not call it one either. It's referred to as the President's "statement."

On what, no one will say.

I'm staggered.

The White House releases a statement to the press that the incident was "neither intentional nor unintentional, but beside the pointm" and adds, "that we shouldn't lose sight of what President Bush said that day."

The fact that he said nothing at the press conference, and simply scampered away like and earwig seems to occur to no one.

I freeze time, steal a suit, and sneak back into the White House. Amazingly, they're having another press conference.

Walking around, I see President Bush, once again about to greet his public. He looks quite nervous, even while frozen. An advisor is whispering in his ear.

Okay, this has got to be fast.

Walking up close, I unfreeze time to hear some of what the advisor is saying. I figure five seconds is enough time before I'm spotted.

I unfreeze time.

The advisor is saying, "--rry, Mr. President. If it happens again, just go with it. Act like you planned the who--"



Looks like it's time for a change in tactics.

The President does not walk out naked. He is visibly relieved.

"Well," he says, "what can I say?"

He nervously laughs, and adds reading from the TelePromTer, "I'm just glad you can see me speak as I'd prefer you to. I'm much more comforable like this."

He stops reading when he sees the faces of the press.

He feels down, unconsciously.

Yup, he almost seems to say, still clothed.

He looks down and sees what everyone else sees.

President George W. Bush is in a full Nazi dress uniform.

"You have to put this in context," Bill O'Reilly screams at a phone-in guest, "President Bush was clearly making a comment on his true feelings on Nazism. He knew we were all expecting him to come out there naked, and, going against our expectations equated being a Nazi with being fully naked."

"He certainly does keep you guessing," Bernie Goldberg adds. Later on he grouses about how the liberal media will turn this into a bad thing.

I'm furious for a collection of reasons, not the least of which is because finding a Nazi uniform, much less one that fit Bush, was a bitch and a half. Belatedly, I realize that a KKK outfit would have been easier to fake and easier to get on.

Sadly, all press conferences have been cancelled so I won't get another shot.

Unphased, I freeze time and wander around the White House.

I find the Oval Office, but it's empty.

I remember an episode of "Benson" where they suggest that somewhere along the wall is the secret executive bathroom, its door flush with the wall.

I walk around the room, my palm feeling the wall as I go.


A panel opens, and there he is, President Bush, we meet again, only this time he's in mid-taking-a-dump.

The stress from my little crimefighting excursion seems to have given him constipation. He's really trying to sqeeze it out, as I can see by the lines on his head.

I'm amazed at my luck--I was only looking for the bathroom so I could pee.

Luckily, I find a full coffee pot and use that.

As I urinate into the president's coffee, I notice outside the White House, up in the front, is a news crew. Form the radar dish and the woman with the mike in front of the camera, I figure they're doing a live feature of some sort.

I look around the office, and figure if I check the mail room, they're sure to have a dolly. Just behind the desk, however, I see exactly what I'm looking for.

And sure enough, CNN is standing in front of the White House, talking about how sooner or later President Bush will have to start giving speeches again, when suddenly, horribly, right behind them, live and on national fucking television, President George W. Bush is taking a shit on the American flag.

Startled, Bush panicks.

But gravity is not on his side today, and he falls backward into his own filth.

The cameras rush over to him, and one Secret Service Agent, out on his smoke break, sees the mess and calls for backup.

I freeze time and get out of there.

"I think what this shows, really, is that our president, after all that's happened in his term, is still getting enough fiber in his diet," Sean Hannity says, with no detectible trace of irony. "And good for him," he concludes.

"We'll be back after these messages," Alan Colmes adds.

I put my foot through the television screen and walk out of the Best Buy, fuming.

Son of a goddamn motherfucking son of a BITCH! What the fuck does it goddamn take?!?

I decide to throw in the towel, when I look in the paper, and I see, buried on page 14, the current death tally of Gulf War II. Over five hundred of our men. Countless other citizens.

I look at the front page and see a carefully cropped photo of the President's contribution to our national colors, placed next to a photo of him, smiling. The headline reads, "President Shows Press What He Thinks Of Saddam."

I'm gonna get you, Smirky, I say out loud to the newspaper. It's an election year. You have to come out sometime.

Let's play, motherfucker.

Let us play.

The months go by slowly. My imagination is running low, but I'm strengthen with the knowledge that as long as this time seems to me, even with me being able to freeze time, for Bush, it must seem longer.

Among my character assassination attempts:

I find an irrefutable link between the Bush and bin Laden families, in the form of several files in the president’s desk. I send copies to every newspaper and news station, but nothing happens. I send them anonymously to Michael Moore. This helps, but not as much as you'd think. Moore's critics and discreditors scream louder than he does, and it's all but forgotten.

I place a startled President Bush at a KKK rally. The story in the paper the next day says that Bush was part of a complicated sting operation. When it's discovered that many of the KKK members there have been friends with Bush since high school, it's explained that the sting was very involved, indeed.

As the president is about to kiss a baby, he finds his mouth on the penis of a well-known Hollywood actor. Although this happens front of cameras, all White House officials collectively pretend it didn't happen. On talk shows, when it is brought up, the questioner is invariably shot down by the host, who screams, "isn't this just the sort of bottom-feeding journalism that makes all of us look bad? If this happened to Clinton, you'd all be singing a different tune!" Even the gay press seems to wish it not to have happened, as there are some people no group truly wants as a member.

The well-known Hollywood actor goes on to work with Michael Bay.

I find security tapes showing Gearge W. Bush snorting cocaine as early as a couple of weeks ago and send them to news stations (just out of habit at this point) as well as various websites, including ifilm.com and “The Smoking Gun.” The tapes trickle out into the public, but the mainstream press assure the nation that the tapes are actually several years old, and taken long before Bush became President. Even though the tapes are time-coded, clearly take place in the oval office, and a large desk calendar is clearly visible, the public seems to buy it.

This continues on for the rest of the year.

When Bush accidentally reads the N-word off a teleprompter during a speech, no one in the press seems to hear it, and his numbers with the African-American community don’t get any smaller. They don’t get any higher, either, but there you go.

When Bush enters a live debate in blackface and wearing a necklace made from human ears I collect from cadavers, it isn’t noticed at all, except by Al Sharpton, who everyone ignores.

By the time Bush addresses the nation on live TV wearing an evening dress and sporting a mohawk, it’s as much an indication that I’ve run out of ideas as anything.

It is the final day of the Presidential Debates, and so, of course, I go. This may be my last chance.

I am about to freeze time when I stop for a moment and take in the situation.

Although the other candidates are more well-spoken and clearly smarter than President Bush, he seems to be doing well. Even after all I’ve done, he’s still doing well.

I freeze time and walk up there. Looking Bush in the frozen eye, I am defeated.

Fine, I say. You can keep this country. They deserve you.

I walk out of the debate and see a woman wearing a Pro-Choice pin. For the hell of it, I remove the pin and put it on Bush’s lapel.

The next day, President George W. Bush is impeached.

The Democrats win the election in a landslide.

Our troops are brought home.

The economy goes back to normal.

I celebrate by ordering myself a pizza and taking a nap.

posted by Rob on 7:16 PM | link
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[ Thursday, December 25, 2003 ]

Happy Decemberween, everyone!

Or, you know, whichever holiday you subscribe to.

posted by Rob on 12:49 PM | link
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[ Tuesday, December 02, 2003 ]

This is part three of a short play I wrote with Buck and Doug.

For part one, click here.

For part two, click here.

And, onto the conclusion of..."Positive Outlook."


Oh, I’m sorry, was there something in our agreement about whisking you off to safety? As a matter of fact, no, I don’t recall saying anything like that!


But – but -


That's why they call it a “devil’s bargain,” babe. But don’t worry, you’ll have your leather corset – oh, yeah, which reminds me.

(SATAN gestures, assuming one can “gesture” with one’s head, and DR. ROBERTHEIMER starts to shake violently. Finally, she rips off her lab coat to reveal a leather corset, bustier, and thigh-high boots. She also pulls her glasses off and her hair out of the bun. She is now one sexy mama.)




(whose voice has now become a sexy, husky come-hither lilt with sexy mannerisms, as if she’s in a softcore Playboy video. She touches herself suggestively as she talks.) I really must protest. That was very – (She notices what has become of her voice) and I want my voice back, immediately. This is very unprofessional. (She notices how much she is fondling herself) And stop this touching at once!


See how accommodating I’m being? I went and threw in all this other stuff, no extra charge!

(DR. ROSARIO is pushing frantically on the microwave’s buttons, trying to make the countdown stop. STEPHEN is transfixed by the new version of DR. ROBERTHEIMER – who continues to be unwillingly lost in a haze of sexuality.)


Yeah, and it’s not as though I don’t appreciate that part, but – really, now.

(Dr. Robertheimer trains her sights on Stephen, suddenly. She sidles over to him, seductively.)


Oh, well, if we’re all going to die, I want to go out with a bang.


I just want to go home.


And Jairkov?


No, I was just gonna watch some TV.


Yeah, Satan?


You may have your Zagnut.

(Stephen reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Zagnut.)


Wicked! Thanks, dude!


Actually, it was in your pocket the whole time.


(Suddenly spiteful, to Stephen) Ha! In your FACE!!!

(Stephen just looks at him and eats the Zagnut.)


Hey, Satan?


Yes, Jairkov?


If you’ve been transmuted into flesh, doesn’t that mean that you’ll be vaporized, too?

(Satan suddenly looks ill.)


Oh, balls.


So, fix the stress fracture.


I can't. When the air is this heavily ionized, I have no telekinetic powers.


We could reverse the polarity on the accelerator.


It would take hours just to get the generators online.


So we can't get out of this through telekinetics or conventional physics.


We're fucked!


What about metaphysics? If I can logically prove the non-existence of Satan, then none of this ever happened.


Better minds than you have tried, jerk-off.


Jairkov. It's worth a try, Stephen.


Alright, but stop rubbing my thigh. I can't concentrate. Okay, since you introduced yourself as Lucifer, I can presume we're operating in a Protestant Christian theology, correct? Therefore, your existence is defined by your relationship to Jehovah. If he doesn't exist, then you don't exist. Accept the premise so far?


What a big premise you have.


Thank you. Please take your hand off my ass. Satan, you've actually met the big man. Would you describe him as omnipotent, all-powerful, capable of all-things?




Would you describe him as omniscient, all-knowing, all-seeing?




I see. Omnisicent, and omnipotent. When's his birthday?


He doesn't have one.


So he can't throw himself a party?


Could if he wanted to.


Could he throw himself a surprise party?


Could if he wanted to.


Would he be surprised?


No, he's omniscient.


Then it follows that there’s something he can’t do, right?


Um, yeah.


Therefore, he can’t be omnipotent. Omniscient and omnipotent are mutually exclusive in the same universe. Therefore, the God you have posited simply cannot exist! (to DR. ROBERTHEIMER) And please get your tongue off me.


Oh, don’t be stupid. That’s just a trick question, like “if God can do anything, can he make a rock so big he can’t lift it?” You expect some meaningless pseudo-philosophical grade-school paradox like that to –

(Meanwhile, SATAN’s head has been vibrating wildly in the microwave. Now, there is a popping sound and SATAN disappears in a cloud of smoke. Pause.)


Well, I’ll be damned.


That’s looking increasingly unlikely, actually. Hey! The alarm stopped ringing!

DR. ROSARIO (thinking it through)

Well, I suppose since Satan doesn’t exist, there’s no way he could have caused the breach in the reactor. So, none of what we’ve experienced ever happened!

(STEPHEN is looking at DR. ROBERTHEIMER, who is still a leather-bound slut mama, and whose behavior has continued completely unchanged.)


Well, then… what about her?


What ABOUT me, big boy? Want to do some highly theoretical research back in my lab? (She tongues STEPHEN wildly – he does his best to fend her off.)


Somehow, she is immune from the effect from having lived through the events at their source! Which would also be why we both remember Satan’s being here! (worried) You do remember Satan’s being here, right?


Dude, Satan was here?


Ah. The ripple effect. (scribbling something on his hand, frantically) Soon, I will forget, too.


Forget what?


No idea.

(They both look at DR. ROBERTHEIMER, who abruptly freezes in mid-tongue.)


(backing off) Um. Ahem. (she looks at both of them, confused.)


We’re just as confused as you.


Excuse me. (exiting, to herself) This isn’t my corset from home...?


Wow. All these years of working next to her, I never noticed how freakin’ hot she was.


I just started here, and I noticed right away.


Well, I… (suddenly, he notices the writing on his hand. Reads.) “Disable alarm system before activating microwave.” (As if suddenly realizing) Ah! Excuse me. I need to disable the alarm system.




Because I’m gonna summon Satan. Duh!




Oh, uh, forget I said that. (He waves his hand over Steven’s face, but Steven just looks at him blankly. Annoyed that he actually can’t magically can’t wipe the memory of other with his mind, Dr. Rosario leaves.)


(He opens the microwave and sees a black lunchbox with a radiation warning sticker on it.) Huh. (He shuts the microwave, shrugs, and turns it on. A MINOR LIGHTSHOW, SOUND AND FURY, and the microwave pops open again.)

(Inside the microwave is the head of Satan again, absently picking his teeth with his tongue as he suddenly notices Steven.)






You live in the microwave?


(Looking around) Apparently.


(After a long moment) Well, THIS explains a lot.

posted by Rob on 9:48 AM | link
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