April 25, 1998
Everyone writes a setting on a sheet of paper, passes it; we write one character description, pass; another character description, and pass. So each person has a setting, and two characters. Each person then writes all the lines of character #1. We pass again, and the next person fills in all the lines for character #2.
(Setting:) In a bakery. The walls are caked with dough.
Character #1: a very little boy name Diana the Beautiful, who hates getting his hand dirty.
Character #2: his Aunt Bea, owner of the bakery. Bea doesnt understand Dianas dirt hatred and just wants to make more muffins.
AUNT BEA: Pretty bird, let your fingers make the dough into feather-lined dancing robes while ecstatic muffins puff out of your eyes.
DIANA: Oh the dough, the dough, no, no I wont -- (does a pirouette in the middle of the bakery floor).
BEA: (embracing Dianas legs) Without your caress, the dough will die and the muffin pans will go deaf, and your feet will become mutes. You hold still while I take your fingers.
DIANA: But Auntie Bea -- I want to DANCE the filth of bread. It turns my stomach.
BEA: Pretty bird, it turns your beak into a fearful o. And oh, your cape is falling to the ground while your dough dies.
DIANA: Auntie, look out! Theres a locust -- (looks horrified. pulls out pale pink gloves and puts them on).
BEA: (with the locust bouncing on her knee) Little locust, let your fingers make the dough into feather-lined dancing robes while ecstatic muffins puff out of your eyes. My pretty Diana bird, you are my bird while my Diana the Beautiful chokes with her raw air.
DIANA: I dream of a sterile room, lined in white enamel where I can dance with the other boys. (digs a peep hole in the dough caked on the window. He is wistful.)
The roof of a brownstone in Boston.
1. an unemployed pigeon with see-through hands
2. a humane society officer
OFFICER: Okay, budgie, lets hear it.
PIGEON: Well, officer, I was just hangin out, yknow, not causin anyone no harm...
OFFICER: Yeah, well, thats not what them little old ladies down there in the park whove been getting walloped with some very well-aimed birdseed been sayin.
PIGEON: No! I swear that wasnt me! Ask anyone! Ask that squirrel over there, for instance...Hey squirrel! (the squirrel runs up a tree, frightened). I swear it wasnt me!
OFFICER: Listen, I know organized crime when I see it. I been working this beat for twenty-six years. I seen mean old bulldogs, fat cats, all kindsa stuff. And down at that there pound, a pigeon of your description gots his picture hangin on the wall. Says his nest is home to a very mean co-llection of bookish birdies. Id like to examine those hands o yours, see if they match the prints all over the wings o that dead angel they found near the canal.
PIGEON: How could I possibly, if I cant even see my own hands, and I cant even touch my own wings, and I cant even fly home without a map, and I certainly dont know how to read. Like my momma used to say --
OFFICER: Speaking of which...
PIGEON: Yeah, well, I guess our mommas have an awful lot in common. To bad we dont got any brotherly love. Im gonna call my lawyer.
Setting: an ant colony
1. a meek zebra
2. the queen ant
AMZ: Excuse me, your highness, but --
TQA: STOP. Ive had a long time to think when I climbed the rock of lesservoi and pondered the order in whcih to do things. What you should do is start at the end and finish at the beginning. Rearrange your plans.
AMZ: Well, I guess I could switch them; Ive become rather accustomed to the order in which they currently present themselves.
TQA: Try it and youll like it. The people of Spain and Tahiti believe that is the way things work. Im trying to spread the word in Idaho as well.
AMZ: Im not sure if your dominion stretches that far, your mercy. And do you speak Spanish or Tahitian?
TQA: Neither. But I do speak a mean pig latin.
AMZ: Oh my!
TQA: Do I surprise you so? I suppose you came to ask me advice on your plan beginning at the end with your scratched scratches. Where is the little scritch?
AMZ: Yes, thats exactly what I meant. Right there between the hoof and the shinbone.
TQA: Ahhh. You can either sever at the kneecap with this hacksaw oro I can have my workers cut of the dern thing.
AMZ: With a hacksaw? Id prefer a Qtip!
TQA: Dont second guess the Queen. Clean/cut. Theyre both C words. Worker boys -- go! Worker girls - munch!
AMZ: Ouch! Stop that! Call them back!
TQA: Your mouth is saying No, no, but your eyes are saying Yes, yes!
AMZ: Thats not what I meant!
TQA: YOu speak in so many ways at once.
AMZ: Dont ask! Look up toward the --
Setting: a shoestore
1. a little piggy (toe)
2. a salesperson kind of like Edward Scissorhands, only with one of those foot-measurers for hands instead of scissors
PIGGY: Wee wee wee wee--
EDWARD: Ah yes. And how was the market?
PIGGY: (nervously) Wee wee wee wee --
EDWARD: Charming. Yes, it is wonderful.
PIGGY: (nervously and tersely) Wee.
EDWARD: Oh, well get there eventually. How are your brothers?
PIGGY: (quietly) Wee wee wee.
EDWARD: Oh, these?
PIGGY: (frightened) Wee!
EDWARD: (laughs) No, no. Just a bizarre boating accident when I was a child.
PIGGY: (squirms fitfully) Oui!
EDWARD: I miss my mother too.
PIGGY: (quietly and wistfully) (Sigh). Wee wee.
EDWARD: Disturbing. Now, lets get going on our (wink, wink) little transaction.
PIGGY: (startled, loudly) WEE!!! (PIGGY trembles with fright.)
Setting: The lower east side. A small Manhattan basement apartment. Its dark because the only working light is a small dim flickering flourescent ceiling bulb.
1. A small, white man with small eyes. He is middle-aged, with a pronounced slouch. He is wearing a polyester pants suit and a short-sleeved shirt (button down, pale blue). He has a snail tattooed on his right inner forearm.
2. A fancy-shmancy lepidopterist that got stuck hanging from the broken water pipe after a determined hunt for the white-pansy-Elvis butterfly.
MAN WITH SMALL EYES: I dont believe you.
LEPIDOPTERIST: Well... Do you have any better ideas? ... How do you think I ended up here?...
MAN WITH SMALL EYES: No, I dont believe you.
LEPIDOPTERIST: It was and accident, to be sure. The white-pansy-Elvis butterfly is rare, very rare indeed, and would have made a valuable addition to my collection of Rock & Roll butterflies. I once chased one for a year through the Amazon. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw one fluttering around in rush hour traffic on Second Avenue. And then to my dismay when it got caught in the AC intake...
MAN: You mean to tell me you followed it in here? Why, I havent seen a butterfly around here since...
LEPIDOPTERIST: February 14, 1983, I know; it was a blue-tulip-McCartney escaped from my lab in the Bronx when Don Mattingly slugged a homer through my window. I chased it all the way downtown on the subway, but then I missed the stop.
MAN: Thats right. The Yankees were having a pretty good season, and I had just met my gal Marsha. But thats none of your beeswax. Get out of here.
LEPIDOPTERIST: I cant! Im stuck to the pipe!
MAN: Im telling you...
LEPIDOPTERIST: Look, what am I supposed to do? I dont want to be here any more that you want me to. Like it or not, were in this together.
MAN: Well, were goingn to get you off that thing. Do I gotta call the cops?
LEPIDOPTERIST: Ha! Call the cops? And tell them Im stuck to what?
MAN: Look, I dont know who you are or why you picked me to hassle with, but take your linen slacks and your pansy bugcatcher and get out!
I am typing this from the multimedia lab while Verbatim continues writing at Verbatim house! -- Leslie
Setting: The place is a very tiny dark shack, locked from the outside. The two characters are inside the shack.
Joe Miser - Early thirties, paranoid, studies explosives (their use and construction).
Mr. Rogers, of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Joe Miser: I see your bomb. It wants to make my bomb.
Mr. Rogers: Wont you be my neighbor? I rode Trolley over to your cabin to bring you a treat.
Joe: But your shoes are too shiny. They make your sweet greeting sound so insincere in the bright light. Your shoes explode when you smile at me.
Mr. R: Why, Ive never had that happen before. . . Actually, my friend, I was just about to change my shoes. May I use your closet?
Joe: Smile at me again. I love you for the fabric of your clothes-the seductive tweed of your suit jacket, the scented silk of your tie. When I take them off of you, they will make a Miser-suit bomb. You will throw it at me because you do not love me.
Mr. R: You are my neighbor, my special neighbor. It makes me want to sing a song: Oh my special neighbor. You are my friend. But you cannot be my special friend. May I use your closet now?
Joe: Oh, you do not love me at all and you want only to steal clothes for your beloved Trolley. Oh, we will die here together.
Mr. R: It is true that we are here together. I brought you a treat because I know its hard to be scared and all alone. [He sings:] Everybody is scared sometimes, everybody cries. You are my neighbor, wont you have some pie?