Saturday, February 5, 2011

Flash Ahhhh!: Episode Five – The Trouble with Rescues

by the According To Whim .com crew

(This Episode by Chris McGinty)

[INT – NIGHT – Taco Hell]

(Nathan and Miguel seem more intent on scarfing down some burritos than saving Chris.)

NATHAN: Well, I thought this story was going to get interesting.

MIGUEL: I remember when this place was an El Redundant Taco House. Now that was some cheap food.

NATHAN: It used to be a Taco Jaco before that, but when they renamed TCJC to TCC, the name lost its appeal.

MIGUEL: Who knew that I was sacrificing taste to eat so cheaply?

NATHAN: Miguel!

MIGUEL (removes his elbows from the table): What? Sorry!

NATHAN: No, not that. What are we doing? Our friend has been kidnapped and we’re sitting here talking like middle aged men.

MIGUEL: He’s not that good of a friend.

NATHAN: But still…

MIGUEL: Listen, we tried. We ran to Chris’s Daytona. He didn’t leave the keys in the car, so we couldn’t give chase.

NATHAN: Who knew that a seemingly minor detail would thwart our plans?

[INT – NIGHT – VAN]

(Chris wakes up wondering if Nathan actually meant this was a rape van, or if that had been a joke referring to some obscure scripted porn passed off as real, or if it had been a typo. He sits up and looks at his captors.)

CHRIS: You can’t rape the willing.

HENCHMAN 1: He has a point. What do we do now?

HENCHMAN 2: We should take him to the boss. He’ll know what to do.

CHRIS: Ah, your boss. Here’s what I theorize that Nathan was trying to do here. The professor in our class seemed to have a keen interest in the rarity of my power, and then very soon after he made that statement, I was kidnapped. Miguel and Nathan weren’t.

HENCHMAN 1: Um…

CHRIS: And you can tell your driver to slow down. I have the key to my car, so my friends can’t give chase. So all that’s going to happen at this rate is your driver is going to get us pulled over, I’m going to scream rape, and your boss won’t be a very happy boy.

HENCHMAN 3: Slow it down, Driver.

CHRIS: His name is Driver? Wow. And you were all literally born Henchman 1, Henchman 2, and Henchman 3. It’s no wonder you ended up in this job.

HENCHMAN 2: I tried a career in programming, but it didn’t work out.

CHRIS: You know what’s funny? I think Nathan was trying to put this story into context of when it was started, but my Daytona was actually gone by then.

(The henchmen look at each other nervously.)

HENCHMAN 1: You have another power?

CHRIS: The power of the editor. Yeah, I was born with it, but until now it really didn’t do me a lot of good. Don’t worry. I’m not one of these evil big time editors who make changes to storylines based on what I want the story to be. I fix misspellings, fix punctuation, make sentences more clear, and watch for continuity issues. That last one is pretty easy in a story like this.

[INT – NIGHT – TACO HELL]

(Nathan’s cell phone rings. He answers it. It’s an automated message that says his cab will arrive in five minutes.)

NATHAN: I think we should take the cab to your house and get your Cavalier.

MIGUEL: My Cavalier? But I haven’t own…

NATHAN: Just roll with it.

MIGUEL: Ok.

NATHAN: I think we should get your car and do something to try to save Chris.

MIGUEL: You know, there is a part of me that actually agrees with you, but our powers aren’t really all that useful for tracking down a captive and saving the captive. I was thinking about the other people in our class, and none of them really had any good powers for rescue missions either, so even if any of them were still at the school, none of them could really help.

NATHAN: There has to be something we can do.

MIGUEL: We could take that professor’s class on using our powers to help society and profit while we’re at it.

NATHAN: But that’s ten weeks long. Chris will probably be dead, raped, part of a government experiment and/or brainwashed army, or any number of other possible outcomes by then.

MIGUEL: It’s the only reasonable plan we have right now.

NATHAN: Ok, but I’ll have to use my credit card to pay for the class.

(Nathan’s phone rings.)

NATHAN: That must be our cab.

(Nathan answers the phone. It’s Chris.)

CHRIS: Your goal clearly states that you are paying down your credit cards and not charging more.

NATHAN: Chris, this is no time for you to be my accountability buddy. Where are you?

CHRIS: I’m in the back of that van, but I can’t see anything, so I have no idea where we’re going. If only I had been kidnapped in an area I’ve delivered pizza in, I could track our progress like Sherlock Holmes.

NATHAN: You still have your cell phone. Does it have GPS that I could track you with?

CHRIS: I’m sure it does, but I don’t know how to set it up.

NATHAN: You had a goal to learn how to use all the functions on your phone.

CHRIS: Nathan, this is no time for you to be my accountability buddy. Listen, I’ll be alright. These guys don’t really know what they’re doing…

(Chris’s voice trails off.)

CHRIS (soft, in the background of the call): Nevermind, they finally figured out to take my phone from me and throw it out…

(There is the sound of wind and an impact, and then the call goes dead. Nathan looks concerned. As he looks at Miguel he sees the cab pulling up outside.)

NATHAN: We have to get your Cavalier and save Chris!

MIGUEL: Then that is what we shall do!

(Nathan looks perplexed, as though he’s never read “Denton, Texas.”)

MIGUEL: You say, “Let’s go.”

NATHAN: Oh, oh. Let’s go!

[EXT – NIGHT – MIGUEL’S HOUSE]

(Nathan sighs.)

MIGUEL: We still don’t know where to go, do we?

NATHAN: No.

MIGUEL: We’re going to have to take that course.

NATHAN (sighing again): That’s $100 between the two of us and then Chris is going to be mad that he didn’t get to go.

MIGUEL: If he’s not dead.

NATHAN: I don’t know. Maybe if the professor was bald, looked like Patrick Stewart, and was confined to a wheelchair. Then it might be kind of cool.

MIGUEL: Well, I wasn’t paying attention in that class anyway. I don’t remember what he looked like. He might have been bald, looked like Patrick Stewart, and been confined to a wheelchair.

NATHAN: I was paying Hermione Granger level attention in class.

MIGUEL: What does that mean?

NATHAN: Not important right now. The point is that there was never a physical description of the professor given, so with simple exposition, I can relay to you that he did, in fact, have a bald head and looked like Patrick Stewart.

MIGUEL: And was confined to a wheelchair?

NATHAN: No, that’s the problem. He walked in. Nevermind, going to see him was a bad idea.

MIGUEL: Wait. If you had read “Denton, Texas” you would know that the narrator is often a character in these stories too. I have an idea. Excuse me, Mr. Narrator. What has happened with the professor since we left his class?

(Well, he picked up his cell phone and called his hench… when suddenly these ninjas broke in to the classroom with baseball bats…)

NATHAN: Ninjas with baseball bats? You’re using your power to overdub the narrator?

(The ninjas approached menacingly and used the bats to break the professor’s kneecaps. Then they lifted him from the ground where he lay screaming in pain, and put him into a wheelchair where he is now confined… walked in with Chris.)

NATHAN: Wait, what was that last bit?

(Nothing. Your idiot friend just made you miss some very important information by making me say some horrible shit.)

NATHAN: Can you repeat it?

(Um, no.)

NATHAN: Great.

MIGUEL: So now that the professor is bald, looks like Patrick Stewart, and is confined to a wheelchair, can we go take his class?

NATHAN: Sure.

MIGUEL: Then that is what we shall do.

NATHAN: Hey ho! Let’s go!

MIGUEL: It’s just, “Let’s go.” You’re singing The Ramones.

NATHAN: Oh, and I thought I didn’t like them.

[INT – NIGHT – THE PROFESSOR’S CLASSROOM]

(The henchmen walk in with Chris.)

PROFESSOR: Ah Chris, so we meet again.

CHRIS: I was just telling the guys that since Nathan doesn’t seem to know that you’re behind this that the thoughts he heard must not have been about who was behind this. Then Henchman 3 pointed out that he had the dampening field going, so whatever Nathan heard was outside of the van.

PROFESSOR: And why do I care?

CHRIS: Well, I thought all along that that was how they would find me, but they have no idea where I am or who is behind this, which leaves me in quite a predicament.

(Chris laughs maniacally.)

CHRIS: Sorry, I just wanted to steal your thunder.

[INT – NIGHT – MIGUEL’S CAVALIER]

MIGUEL: Do you realize that if we had come to this conclusion while we were still at Taco Hell, we could have just crossed the highway and went back to the classroom?

[INT – NIGHT – THE PROFESSOR’S CLASSROOM]

PROFESSOR – What took you so long? You picked him up right here in the parking lot?

HENCHMAN 1: Driver thought that we were going to the Northeast Campus.

DRIVER: My bad.

[INT – NIGHT – MIGUEL’S CAVALIER]

NATHAN: It’s really weird how this radio only plays songs from the 90s when you owned this car.

MIGUEL: It’s an oldies station.

NATHAN: Oh. Have I ever told you that I wish I could be young again?

MIGUEL: Many times.

[INT – NIGHT – THE PROFESSOR’S CLASSROOM]

HENCHMAN 2: I hate to bring up the elephant in the room, sir, but why are you confined to a wheelchair?

PROFESSOR: Ninjas with baseball bats.

HENCHMAN 3: Baseball bats? That doesn’t make any sense.

CHRIS: Oh, that’s my bad. Miguel used the narrator to change the course of events since they left the classroom. I was supposed to use the power of the editor to go back and fix it, but they say to write and then fix things later, so I didn’t get to it yet.

PROFESSOR: I demand that you go back and change it so that I can walk again.

CHRIS: Then I’d have to change everything that’s happened since. I hate rewrites. Besides, I use my powers for spelling and punctuation, not to change story events.

PROFESSOR: What about continuity?

CHRIS: Not a valid enough reason here.

PROFESSOR: If I didn’t need your speed power to carry out my evil plan that I refuse to divulge to you like a blabbering idiot, then I would kill you where you stand.

CHRIS: I’m not the one who put you in that wheelchair! Sort of…

DRIVER: Professor, Miguel’s Cavalier just pulled up outside.

CHRIS: Which you shouldn’t have prior information to know that it’s Migu –

PROFESSOR: Shut him up.

CHRIS: You know, the editor thing must be an innate power, and not a superpower, or your dampening field would be stopping it.

PROFESSOR: Shut him up now!

(Henchman 1 puts a gag over Chris’s mouth. Chris tries to say something about there not being any gag established in earlier scenes, but it just comes out as muffled speech.)

PROFESSOR: Affix him with a power dampening bracelet, and grab two for Nathan and Miguel while you’re at it.

HENCHMAN 2: There is only one left, sir.

PROFESSOR: Damn government-run schools. Put it on Chris. His power is the only one I’m worried about here. Nathan can’t read my mind with the dampening field on in here, and I know how to handle Miguel.

[INT – NIGHT – TCC PARKING LOT]

NATHAN: Damn it, I opened the door too fast and dinged Chris’s car. I told you not to park so close.

MIGUEL: Quit complaining. I opened my door too fast and dinged this black van that’s parked here. I bet they’re faculty. Chris won’t notice. This, on the other hand, might cost me my grade.

NATHAN: Why are we just standing here? Let’s go inside.

MIGUEL: Ok, I’m following you inside then.

NATHAN: We’re inside. Why did you stop?

MIGUEL: You stopped too.

NATHAN: Well, uh… I’m walking to the professor’s classroom.

MIGUEL: I’m following you. Where the hell is the Narrator, so we don’t have to keep announcing our moves?

NATHAN: Probably on break. That’s unions for you.

[INT – NIGHT – THE PROFESSOR’S CLASSROOM]

PROFESSOR: Everything in place?

HENCHMAN 1: Yes.

HENCHMAN 2: Yes.

HENCHMAN 3: Yes.

DRIVER: Yes.

(Yes.)

PROFESSOR: Very well.

(Nathan and Miguel enter the classroom.)

MIGUEL: Why is the narrator a woman all of a sudden?

NATHAN: I’m sure it’s not important.

PROFESSOR: I remember the two of you. You were in my class earlier.

NATHAN: Our friend has been kidnapped, so we need to take your ten week course, so that we can figure out how to get him back with our limited powers.

PROFESSOR: Oh very good, um, you know about taking the class. Sorry about your friend. How will you be paying for the course?

(Nathan thinks about Chris’s phone call earlier and frowns a little.)

NATHAN: With my credit card.

PROFESSOR: Very well. Leave the card with me, so I can process the payment. My hench- um, my student aides, will take you to the special course registration office.

MIGUEL: Special office?

NATHAN: I don’t know. He has that dampening field on, so I can’t read his thoughts. I’m sure it’s just because it’s not a course associated with the college.

(Nathan and Miguel follow the hench- um, the student aides. They walk down a corridor that looks an awful lot like a cave. It is lit by torches burning on the wall. They come to a door on the left.)

HENCHMAN 1: Right through here guys. Be careful of the registrars. They bite.

(Henchman 1 laughs. Miguel and Nathan laugh along to be polite, but realize that it’s about as funny as “working hard or hardly working.” Not thinking anything is up; they walk through the door, which is shut immediately behind them.)

NATHAN (turning startled to the shutting door): Um, something is up.

MIGUEL: I wish you had realized that about thirty seconds ago.

(They look around. They are in a large circular room. The walls are rock and they cannot see the ceiling as the walls go on and on into the darkness. Then they look down.)

NATHAN: Oh shit.

(They see a pool of alligators at the bottom of the cavern.)

MIGUEL: You would think they would have just thrown us in.

NATHAN: They couldn’t risk us overpowering them and throwing them over where they would end up tomorrow’s alligator shit.

MIGUEL: But this ledge is wide enough that we’ll never fall off.

(The ledge starts to retract slowly into the wall.)

MIGUEL: That professor stole this from a movie. I can’t for the life of me remember which movie, or how the hero or heroes got out of it though.

NATHAN: It doesn’t matter. You can use your power to overdub the narrator and get us out of here.

MIGUEL: You’re right. Hey narrator, describe our situation to us.

(You are in cliffhanger like peril on a wide ledge that is slowly retracting into the wall until you are no longer able to stay on it at which time you will fall to a pool of alligators below and die painfully as they rip you apart and eat you.)

NATHAN: Miguel, change the course of events so we can get out of here.

(The best you can hope for is to go into shock upon impact, so that you don’t feel your bodies being torn apart by razor sharp teeth.)

MIGUEL: I’m trying. It’s not working.

(Oh, and one other thing. The weak narrator has been killed and replaced by a narrator who is immune to overdubbing, and Chris is too much of a moralist when it comes to stories to go back and edit you out of danger. Sucks to be you.)

MIGUEL: Weren’t you the one who said you wanted an exciting story?

NATHAN: Yeah, I regret that now.

(End Episode Five)

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