Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flash Ahhhh!: Episode Eight – Hella Cool Helipad

by the According To Whim .com crew

(Part One by Nathan Stout)

[INT - SAFE HOUSE - NIGHT]

(After finishing up every crumb of his freeze-dried meal, Nathan joins Paul, Angelina, Miguel, and a somewhat put-out Chris in Paul’s home theater.)

PAUL: I have a ten-minute lost Star Wars Episode 6 segment that I was given by George Lucas himself that I thought we could all relax to.

MIGUEL: Excuse me.

(Miguel steps out to the restroom to clean up.)

CHRIS: That’s fine and dandy, but could you explain what’s going on with me, the government, and such?

PAUL: All in good time.

(Chris huffs and sits back in his chair.)

MIGUEL: Ok, I’m good, let’s do this.

PAUL: Excellent. Angelina, could you start the footage please?

(The screen lights up. On the screen, a young George Lucas moves in front of the camera, talking to one of the actors.)

MIGUEL: Excuse me.

(Angelina pauses the film while Miguel steps out again.)

CHRIS: At this rate, we will be here all night. Can you at least tell me how you knew about me and the government guys?

PAUL: Well, you haven’t been exactly blending into the background. A speed freak, that’s what they call your kind, is big news. I have friends planted all over the place... building managers, investment brokers, building management investment brokers. You name them. I know them.

MIGUEL: Ok, sorry about that.

(The footage starts up again, and someone switches on a light sword. Nathan quickly leans into Miguel’s ear and whispers to him.)

NATHAN: Margaret Thatcher, naked, on a cold day.

MIGUEL: Nope.

(The film stops again and Chris turns back to Paul.)

CHRIS: I don’t understand. What use can someone who is speedy be to someone like you?

(From far off there is a loud noise. Angelina yells from the projection room.)

ANGELINA: Ut oh! Looks like we have company!

NATHAN: Good thing Miguel isn’t here.

PAUL: Someone broke the lock?

ANGELINA: Quick, follow me.

(Angelina moves towards the screen and presses a concealed button. The screen moves aside.)

ANGELINA: Quick, on the elevator. We need to get to the roof.

(Everyone moves onto the elevator. It quickly moves up, and a hatch opens onto the roof.)

ANGELINA: Quick, onto the helipad.

(There is a glass helicopter pad at the end of a somewhat tall flight of stairs on top of the safe house. How we missed seeing this earlier is anybody’s guess.)

NATHAN: There’s no helicopter here.

PAUL: Not to worry. I have a pal that works for Re/Max. He is ballooning in as we speak.

(There is a ruckus below and several people in black move onto the roof. One of them is in a wheelchair.)

CHRIS: Look what the cat dragged in cause it couldn’t walk on its own?

NATHAN: THAT was in very poor taste.

(The professor looks up at the group on the glass helipad.)

PROFESSOR: Come down, Chris.

CHRIS: Come up.

NATHAN: Ouch.

PROFESSOR: Fine.

(The professor’s wheelchair rockets up off the roof to everyone’s astonishment. Its boosters shoot it about ten feet higher than it needed to. It lands hard on the helipad. Bolts pop, and metal snaps, as the stairs fall away. The whole twenty by twenty foot helipad wobbles on its middle pole support.)

PAUL: I knew I shouldn't have had the helipad waxed yesterday.

(Everyone slides from one end of the pad to the other. The professor’s wheels are locked, but he slides as well. Everyone lets out gasps and shouts as they slide about, trying to keep away from the professor who is now wielding a syringe of something.)

NATHAN: Eeeeeee.

PAUL: Ohhhhhhhhhh.

ANGELINA: Uuuurrrmmmmm.

(Everyone slides back and forth, trying to stay on their feet, everyone getting dangerously close to the edge time and time again. The g-men below are mesmerized and don't seem to move.)

PAUL: Everyone try to spread out, don't group up, balance the pad!

(Everyone tries to spilt apart, and slowly the rocking decreases. The bending metal noises subside.)

PAUL: Good, good. Now don’t move.

(Everyone is standing, legs and arms spread out, with the exception of the professor.)

NATHAN: Ouch.

(End of Part One)

(Part Two by Chris McGinty)

[EXT – NIGHT – HELIPAD]

(The group stands very still on the helipad. The professor keeps his wheelchair very still.)

PAUL: Ok, what is our situation here?

NATHAN: We’re currently standing atop the safe house on a freshly waxed, and horribly slippery, helipad. To make matters worse, all the supports have broken making it nothing more than a potential death trap like a Chess board balanced on a pencil that if toppled could easily kill, maim, or at the very least pin the pieces, in this case living human beings that are us, below the shattered debris of the helipad.

PAUL (sighing): That’s what I thought. So it’s pretty bad and probably can’t get much worse.

CHRIS: Can I interject?

PAUL: Unless Chris has something to interject that will make matters worse.

CHRIS: We seem to have a commercial break coming up?

NATHAN: A what? A commercial for what? We have no sponsors.

CHRIS: For next week’s episode.

NATHAN: How could one writer possibly know what is going to happen next week when this week isn’t finished?

(A set of string instruments play at tense leading out music and the scene fades to black.)

[INT – NIGHT – COMMERCIAL BREAK]

(Things are intense in this week’s episode of…)

CHORUS: Flash Ahhhh!

(It makes the viewer wonder how the writer will resolve the situation. There are so many different possibilities. He or she could find an ingenious way for the characters to solve their own problem. He or she could drop down the Machine of God (Dues Ex Machina) to get the characters out of the predicament through means that are not devised by the characters. He or she could just let the helipad fall killing everybody off and creating an unsatisfying end to…)

CHORUS: Flash Ahhhh!

(But what would be the fun in that? And besides. The writer of Part One thought that he or she might throw the writer of Part Two a curve ball by writing Part One of the next episode already. Why don’t we look at a few choice scenes? The screen changes to see the following segment of Episode Nine.)

(Chris is standing in the midst of g-men, when the professor rolls up.)

PROFESSOR: Now enough of this nonsense. Would you please come with me?

CHRIS: Whatever.

(So we see that Chris survives! And so does the professor… eh. And what about this scene?)

(There is a sudden loud crash on the top of the van. Sparks fly inside around the perimeter and the roof suddenly flies away.)

PROFESSOR: Christ!

(Angelina soars down into the van and kicks the professor’s wheelchair. The back doors of the van pop open. The ramp and the professor slide out. The ramp extends down to the road, and the professor rolls off doing sixty on the freeway.)

ANGELINA: Shut up if you want to live.

(Chris begins to open his mouth to protest that he wasn't going to say anything anyway since what he just witnessed was about the coolest thing he’d seen since the helipad incident. Angelina drops coiled rope around him to his waist. Agent 2 stares in disbelief at what just happened.)

(So we see that Angelina survives, and that there was a reason to survive given this mysterious “helipad incident” that the writer of Part Two must figure out. We also see that the professor can’t pronounce “Chris.” And then there is always the matter of this scene.)

(Chris doesn’t get to finish what he was saying because he is yanked bodily out of the open van roof into the darkness.)

NATHAN: THAT was the coolest thing I have seen all day!

(Nathan was tugging Chris into the balloon’s basket).

CHRIS: What about the helipad?

NATHAN: My eyes were closed for most of that.

(Here we see that we have no answers about the “helipad incident” except that Paul’s buddy from Re/Max, who may or may not be named Dudley, must have arrived with the balloon, provided of course that this isn’t a different, entirely unrelated balloon. We see too that the writer of Part Two, whoever he or she is, has quite a chore to get from where we left off to where we will pick up next week on…)

CHORUS: Flash Ahhhh!

[EXT – NIGHT – HELIPAD]

(Paul looks at Chris.)

PAUL: Sucks to be you.

CHRIS: Thanks. Ok, I have an idea, but it’s going to take everyone listening to me.

NATHAN: Oh, not this “listen to Chris” nonsense…

CHRIS: Would you rather take your chances with the helipad sliding off the building and potentially killing, maiming, or pinning us under the debris?

NATHAN (sulkily): No…

CHRIS: So everyone agrees to listen to me to the most minute detail?

EVERYONE: Yes!

CHRIS: Ok, Angelina, I need you to flash your boobs.

ANGELINA: I’ll take my chance with the killing, maiming, or pinning us under the debris in that case.

CHRIS: Ok, nevermind. I just now thought of another plan that might work. But it’s good to know that you don’t value our lives. Ok, something Nathan said before the commercial break got me to thinking. What we have here is merely a Chess board balanced on a turtle.

NATHAN: I said pencil.

CHRIS: Fine. Fine. But we’re not listening to you right now. We’re listening to Chris.

NATHAN: I’m starting to agree with Angelina about the killing, maiming, or pinning us under the debris.

CHRIS: As an expert on the game of Chess…

NATHAN: Wait, wait. How is it that I’ve known you all this time, we’ve played so many games, and I don’t know this about you?

CHRIS (clears throat): As an expert on the game of Chess, I will instruct us with moves that will bring us all safely to the center of the helipad, where we can wait safely until Paul’s friend from Re/Max, who may or may not be named Dudley, can get here with the balloon.

PAUL: His name is Dentre, like the street that houses the old Munchie Shak.

CHRIS: Cool. We’ll worry about that when Dudley gets here. Paul, I’m going to need you to move behind the professor.

(Paul starts to move.)

NATHAN: Wait! Paul don’t!

(Suddenly the helipad starts to shift the wrong way, and everyone finds themselves starting to slide on the waxy slick surface.

EVERYONE: Ahhhh!

(Paul manages to get enough of a foothold to get back to the point were the helipad balances.)

NATHAN: Chris!

CHRIS: What!

NATHAN: I didn’t remember you knowing how to play Chess, so I read your mind. Do you realize what you were doing?

CHRIS: Yeah! Once Paul was behind the professor, we would flip the professor over, and he would be on our side.

NATHAN: You’re thinking of Othello!

CHRIS: Oh yeah! You’re just mad that I always beat you.

NATHAN: Admittedly.

CHRIS: Ok, I got this. Chess is the one with the pawns, knights, Rooks, Rands, Lunks, and Annies.

NATHAN (rolling his eyes at Chris’s stupidity): You forgot the king and queen.

CHRIS: Oh right, Scott and Lancer.

(Nathan sighs very heavily. The helipad moves slightly, signaling that he should avoid excess exhaling for now. Chris, now knowing what the hell game he is playing, starts to move everyone to the center of the helipad in a precise fashion that even impresses Nathan. Once they’ve made it to safety, they can’t all help but hug and laugh. Even the professor joins in this elated celebration.)

PROFESSOR: I’m so happy to be alive, but for purposes of full disclosure, I will still come back to try to hippie-nap Chris.

CHRIS: It’s understandable.

(Suddenly they hear footfalls on the stairway.)

PROFESSOR: Wait, my g-men/government agents were ordered to stay in the rape van, or whatever it’s called, so who is coming up the stairs?

MIGUEL (his voice coming from the stairway): I’m ready to see some more of that amazing lost Star Wars footage, where did everybody go?

NATHAN: Oh dear lord!

CHRIS: Miguel! Don’t walk out on the helipad.

(Miguel walks out on the helipad.)

CHRIS: So much for everybody listening to Chris.

NATHAN: To be fair, he wasn’t out here when we agreed.

(The helipad immediately starts to shift. The group in the center holds tight hoping that their joint weight will keep them from sliding, but soon they feel the sliding begin. It’s right at that moment that they hear a voice yelling from above them. They all look up to see a Re/Max balloon approaching.)

CHRIS: Dudley!

PAUL: Dentre!

NATHAN: Dude!

ANGELINA: Daddy!

(Everyone looks at her.)

CHRIS: Really?

ANGELINA: No. Everyone was saying things that started with D. That’s the first thing that came to mind. I have daddy issues. And we’re still sliding, so this is no time to worry about that.

(Dentre lowers a rope. Paul is closest and goes first. Nathan is closest now and goes next. Now Angelina gets on the rope. Just as Chris is reaching for the rope the professor starts to roll. He grabs Chris and they go sliding along the helipad together. Miguel is captivated by the balloon, and is trying to figure out how he might get to ride on it. He doesn’t see Chris in the Professor playing bowling ball to his 7/10 split. They collide and the wheelchair rolls down the stairs with Chris and Miguel embracing in the professor’s lap… think Scooby-Doo as opposed to homo-erotic.)

CHRIS AND MIGUEL: Zoinks!

(They end up rolling down the stairs, into a hall, in and out of doorways in the hall in a crazy assortment of zany positions… again, think Scooby-Doo rather than homo-erotic.)

CHRIS AND MIGUEL: Zoinks again!

(Finally, they roll out of the house and find themselves standing in the middle of Agent 1, Agent 2, and Agent 3… you might as well think circle jerk. The agents are thinking it.)

MIGUEL: It’s so long and dangling!

CHRIS: What? Miguel!

MIGUEL: The rope from the balloon. If we grab it as it passes, we’ll be saved.

(The rope comes close enough, and Miguel grabs it. Chris reaches out, pushing the professor who goes rolling away. Before he has a grip on the rope, the agents grab Chris and throw him to the ground. Chris stands and looks up at the balloon floating away, and realizes that while he has somehow managed to reach the part where Episode Nine starts that it isn’t exactly the best circumstances.)

(End Episode Eight)

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