Where Disappearing Goes

Snow falls. Like sheets suspended and lowered it blankets the ground, ubiquitous. It comes down through the forest, skirting by outstretched branches and their needles and cones. Accumulation hushes the frozen soil, piling on and pressing down slowly, a soft suffocation.

The trees shoot up from the grip of snow, defiant. Their spread, miles in each direction, is incomprehensible, tamed only by elevation in the highest – hallelujah. Each layer reveals the unknown, feared in its own right, but terrifying when uncovered as identical. More and more trees, towering overhead, lain out on all sides as a tunnel without direction, and the only new thing is that falling snow.

It fills the tracks left by the men, passing through the woods. Their breathing and boot steps huff and crunch through the quiet.

One man is sick. He coughs into his fist and rubs the spit into his overcoat. His beard is gnarled and wet.

The other is wide-eyed and determined. He carries a length of rope at one side, and a compass at the other, leading.

The wide-eyed man looks over his shoulder at the sick man lagging behind. He pauses and waits. Hunched, the sick man stumbles forward and then stops. He wills his breath to slow, to cease. He stares at the white ground, listening. Just as he is to become a statue he lifts his weary head and spies his partner.

The two men share a look, and the sick one grunts, wipes a clump of matted hair from his eyes, and waves the wide-eyed man forward with a feeble gesture. The wide-eyed man obliges. Holding back a warm smile, he wraps the rope tighter around his gloved hand and carries on.

Labored breathing fills the air. The journey continues.

If only for a moment. In a slow-motion tumble the fevered man falls over in a heap, billowing fresh powder in plumes. His impact is muted by the mass of flakes infesting the air, jumbled and hurrying towards the floor. He lets out a whimper and his wide-eyed compatriot swivels around to see him.

He is a dog in the snow, barreling toward the fallen man, diving to his side. He grabs him, hugs him across the torso and brings him up and alive. Peering into his face he grabs his doughy cheeks, thick with beard, and implores him to snap back to life. He shakes the man, and the man recognizes him. There is more left in him, but not much.

-

The wide-eyed man places his shoulder against the sick man’s chest, gathers his strength, and lifts mightily. His knees crack under the weight. Each breath becomes a puff of smoke, hanging in the air like wandering ghosts before disappearing into the ether. He stares into the assault of snow and envisions a path sheltered from above, illuminated before him. He lets his boots do the carrying.

At the top of a small rise the wide-eyed man stops for a moment and sees a break in the trees below. The snow has stopped and he can hear the faint trickling of flowing water. Somehow his eyes get wider. They both stand there, resting and listening to the creek below. He releases his partner and stretches his back and legs. The sick man begins to lower himself with the greatest care and sits down. Gathering up his knees he brings his body together and keeps warm. For a moment he just shivers and stares down at the creek.

Looking right and looking left the creek wanders off the mountain and off toward somewhere. The bank on which the men are perched polished off a sizeable portion of open space where the creek could breath free of the hemline of the trees. It is easy to imagine a shovel-wielding god carving out its path, angry at the spawning of the trees and wishing it had never birthed them.

The wide-eyed man gives a long look to the seated sick man. He grips the rope and chews on the insides of his lip, hesitates and then asks the sick man if he is ready. The sick man coughs into the snow sending flakes scattering. Adjusting his legs he does not reply. He stares past the creek on into the darkening forest beyond it.

Kneeling, the wide-eyed man places a hand on his companion’s back, patting it twice, making a dull packing sound against the leather of his coat. The sick man looks up at him and feigns strength. His eyes betray him. The sick man is unconvinced. He is at the end of his line. The wide-eyed man grabs his hand and shoves a shriveled piece of mapping paper into it. He points to the creek on the map. He points to the creek below. The sick man sucks in a deep breath and attempts to hoist himself. His partner rises with him, but he pushes off, claiming independence. He brushes the snow pack from his body and without a word he starts on down the bank.

The flowing water is visible as traveling bubbles just beneath a layer of ice and at open patches along the stream. Up close the frozen engineering is evident – white lines and fissures etched out on the surface in evolving detail.

The men travel along the edge, moving towards the mountains, up and around the rocks resting on the shoreline. At calculated intervals the wide-eyed man kneels down and brushes away some snow from the surface, examining the cold gray world underneath.

Far gone from their initial trail it begins to snow again. The men look skyward. In this open area it’s impossible to tell where the light hue of the sky becomes the falling flakes. They are just there. And as they walk upstream the sick man notices something protruding from the ice, something odd. He looks at his wide-eyed partner with something resembling excitement. Could it be?

At the oddity they strain to see through the foggy surface of the ice. And suddenly it becomes certain. The protruding thing is a boot, and the boot leaps to legs and so on until they see the face of the fallen man. The wide-eyed man gets on his knees and brushes the dirt and snow off the space above the iced man’s face. His eyes are closed and his face has lost its color. His hair is shorn and it doesn’t look the way the wide-eyed man remembers. He places both palms against the ice and finds the iced man’s shoulders. He stares at the blank expression locked in for all time.

Behind him the sick man closes his eyes. He turns away and coughs, puts a hand on his forehead and stares off into the forest. His knees shake and his breathing picks up. He looks back at the wide-eyed man on all fours, catching a glimpse of the iced man peeking through under his left arm. A branch cracks in the forest and leaves its tree. He shudders and shuffles his feet to higher ground.

The wide-eyed man’s stare is broken at the sound. He lifts his neck to the sick man and sees the backs of his knees up the bank. He shouts for him to come take a look, to pray with him and send the iced man on his way, but the sick man shakes his head.

And the wide-eyed man pounds his fist on the ice. He bores his vision through the ice and forces his energies to the man, but the ice does not crack. His beard shakes and his face tenses and reddens as he again slams his fist to the ice. He screams at the man beneath the ice and demands that he awaken. He holds the rope in front of his face as an object of removal, of safety, of aid. He hisses at the iced man that he should be buried at home, even if it means being drug through the snow. He pounds and pounds and pounds his fists at the ice until they are red and numb and he can no longer pound them. He relents, drawing his gaze to the sick man motionless on the bank.

The sick man is holding back tears and inhabiting a world of elsewhere, his glossy eyes fixed in place. His breathing is slow and shallow again, barely perceptible amongst the trickling of the stream and the burking of the falling snow. In his daze he does not hear the wide-eyed man running at him; does not have a chance to duck him as he is tackled from behind. Sick and helpless he is wrestled to the ground, faced pressed into the deep cold.

The wide-eyed man grips the rope with purpose and forces it on the sick man’s neck, pulling it tight against his throat. There isn’t much of a struggle, for the sick man just doesn’t have the strength in him. He gasps for air and thrashes his body instinctually, but the movements are languid and his breaths already choked with phlegm. The wide-eyed man drills his knees into the small of his companion’s back and treats the rope as the reins of a riding horse. Their violence takes them deeper into the snow and exposes the naked earth, concrete and ashamed.

The wide-eyed man’s wide eyes are glossed like the sick man’s and his stare is off in the forest. He holds the rope long after the sick man’s life is gone, until he notices a stain of blood on the snow ahead of him, coughed up in the last of the sick man’s struggle. He lets go of the rope and his body leans backward from his lengthy exhale. He is exhausted and sweating, and so he takes his jacket off and throws it over his dead companion.

Down at the creek he takes a last look at the iced man and nods. He drags the sick – dead – man, his face shrouded with the jacket, to an open slot in the ice and slides him into the water, pushing hard and leaving his feet exposed to the shins. Moving to a boulder near the water’s edge he scrapes a great deal of snow off of it and sends it flying to the frozen creek. It scatters on the surface and covers the iced man’s pale visage. He does the same to the dead man, and then brushes himself free of any snow on his own person. Satisfied, he pulls the compass from his pocket and throws it as far as he can down the stream. It skips on its landing and settles somewhere far out of his vision.

He starts up the virgin embankment towards the new forest, but not without pausing first and saying No matter which way I would have gone, you would have only been a burden.

And with that he wanders into the unknown.

Stumble It!

You’re A Real Live Wire

“I’m a real live wire” by Kent St. John. Portrait of David Byrne, solo artist and lead singer/guitarist of Talking Heads. Listen to Talking Heads, and watch the film “Stop Making Sense” directed by Jonathan Demme.

You’re A Real Live Wire
by Kyle Dickinson

I’m staring at your house
Wishing it were mine
But you don’t even live there
Just don’t have the time

Rather, you’re:

Washing windows on skyscrapers
Reaching out
To touch new air

Dancing down mine shafts
In shiny shoes
Hair slicked with coal

Meditating on busy sidewalks
Everyone walking around
Registered but unremembered

Floating through space
Taking off your astronaut’s helmet
Shouting
To ears that won’t hear

I’m here
Staring into your house
Reflection in the window
Puts me at your table

And I feel
Alone
Unlike you
Inside your head

Stumble It!

To The Lady Who Stole The Parking Spot That I Was CLEARLY Waiting For At Costco

Fuck you.

Seriously. Are you stupid? Do you not understand the rules and etiquette of a crowded Costco parking lot? You are insane. Or you better be insane. There better be something wrong with you: mentally or physically or neurologically or something. This is bull shit.

Do you know how long I have been driving around this parking lot? 10 minutes at least. Who knew that Costco would be so crowded on a Thursday at noon? I didn’t. Yes, I know Costco has $1.50 hot dogs and those berry smoothies for really cheap, but still. I don’t know who I’m more mad at: Costco for not having a bigger parking lot; or you for being so incredibly stupid.

On second thought – It’s you.

Are you unable to see the distinct flashing of hazard lights? I had them on, and they were meant to be a signal that said, “I’m waiting for this fucking parking spot.” Do blinking lights not register in your pupils? You know, maybe they don’t, because you’re so damn old.

Yes, I went there. Agism is not beneath me. It’s a relevant accusation in this situation. This time you’re stealing my fucking spot at Costco, but next time you might be plowing right IN to Costco, hell bent on getting a year’s supply of metamucil and Old lady vitamins, uncaring of the countless pedestrians and Costco workers being crushed beneath your boat car. Get your grandson to do your shopping for the sake of this town. That is, if you haven’t already severed that grandparental bond with your lack of presents, your constant say agains, and your oppressive old lady farts (don’t act like you can’t hear them).

Alright, wow, I lost my train of thought here. What was I yelling at you for? I’m kind of out of breath because I had to park a half a mile away just to get my big bag of peanuts, my soaps, and some fucking samples at this place. God damn. Okay, yes, now I remember. You’re the bitch that stole my spot. Don’t you walk away from me. This is serious. Ma’am…what are you…don’t call the police…I NEED MY PEANUTS!


Stumble It!

Caged Coastlines

Caged coastlines
None more sad
Than sequestered sand
Manicured and abandoned
Restlessly reflecting the moonlight
Guarded against the machinations of men
For what?

Nothing more soothing
Tranquil and organic
Than a wet beach at night
Soles damp and caked with sand
Dancing along the edge of evolution
Swells make waves meet rocks for eternity

One ceaseless unfathomable entity teems with life
Bringing death
Erosion eats
Adds mass to its gurgling stomach
Without understanding satisfaction

Violence on this end of the phone
Placid code bounces off satellites
The unseen is always preferable
When reverberations finally come to kill

Angry like the agreed upon faces of its creator and its children
Flexible in its dormancy
Harboring the worst
For one big blowout

You try to cage us
But you are foolish
Our fingers extend to lengths you cannot comprehend

caged_coastlines_small


Stumble It!

To The Guy Who Low-Fived Me Today While I Was Running

I know it might have seemed cool at the time, but I just…look…I don’t…

Okay. I’m just going to say it.

I didn’t really want to low-five you.

You know what? I’m not even sorry. I was just too rattled to not slap your hand. I feel violated, really.

I saw you coming towards me, looking super pumped to be running, wearing your muscle shirt, sunglasses and spandex shorts, and I was just going to nod my head at you. Just a good old head nod acknowledging the fact that we were both human beings running for exercise. I thought that was enough. Oh, how wrong I was. Just as I was gearing up for the head nod you come out of nowhere, lower your left hand, and put on your best “LET’S DO THIS!” face.

I freaked out. In the split second between me recognizing that you were going for the low-five and me putting my hand down to consensually hit yours I thought, “There’s no way you can’t high five this guy. He looks so pumped. It will be awkward if you don’t do it. He might stop and say something like, ‘Why didn’t you low-five me, bro?’ Um…uhhh…DO IT NOW, KYLE! THERE’S NOT MUCH TIME LEFT!”

And in that instance I was able to identify with rape victims everywhere. I even heard you whisper AWESOME as it happened. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. Shame on you. You knew that societal rules made it impossible for me not to smack hands with you; it would have been rude. Especially since we were both running for exercise.

So, Guy Who Low-Fived Me While I Was Running, I may have said “yes” by submitting to your extended, open hand, but I am telling you right now that the feeling of elation you felt as our palms met was not, by any stretch of the word, mutual.


Stumble It!

Wilshire Boulevard

Wilshire Boulevard. No sunglasses. I am always forgetting them. And always regretting it. The constant blinding is still new to me. Sidewalks grasp trees that don’t belong. I wonder where they were seeds.

Two men in ties and slacks stand outside their office building, staring at two trees elevated in a concrete planter as if they had happened upon them for the first time. They point at the beautiful mess of branches and squint to get a better look. What are they so interested in? Are they wondering how such a mighty being could look so frail?

I am walking aimless; hands in pockets, unable to find a bookstore. The office men and their demonstrative display below the trees distracts me and I am struck blind by an apparition.

She is crying and angry with me. I pretend not to notice her, turning to look at something across the boulevard. I am not blessed with grace. My feet tangle beneath me and gravity propels me against the towering walls of the office building.

With her speed my ghost floats to me and holds the tip of a knife to the small of my back. I am taken hostage. She wipes her nose.

I kiss the structure, closing my eyes. She whispers and I don’t hear a word, but her tone is wicked. She is in control. With the butt of her knife she knocks me unconscious.

I wake up screaming. Upon investigation I find that my feet are firmly encased in a concrete slab at the base of some building. I might be on Wilshire Boulevard. I also might not be. The sun is out and I assume that at least one day has passed. My apparition is nowhere in sight. I am unmoving, mercilessly stable, and lost all the same.

It’s hot. The sunglasses mistake is becoming more infuriating than before. My pale skin is pink, but I know it will blister soon. The thought of this nearly makes me pass out. I am hovering outside my own pathetic figure.

That is, until a maintenance worker comes to spray me with his hose. The crystal stream hits me, shining optical diamonds as it reflects off the killing sun. I lap at the water like a happy dog, drooling. Soaking wet, I am satisfied.

As night falls I curse the maintenance worker. Bring me blankets! I am freezing!

I am also burning, or at least my legs are. Cramps have set in, and I decide this is Karma. Hoping to quell the stabbing in my quadriceps I attempt to sit, but my Tibia threatens to snap against the high and tight cement. I can’t do anything right.

A few drunk couples watch my failure and laugh. I admit that I look funny – out of place – but I don’t believe their laughter is necessary. They scurry off and I am left alone in the moonlight.

Just another tree.

tree-trunk_small

urban_tree_small


Stumble It!

We’re Back…

It’s been nearly 8 months since our last post. What can we say? There are excuses, but not one of them is good.

Instead of updating you on the past, we are heading straight for the future. There will be a new post later today, and as often as possible in the coming days, weeks and months. We aren’t planning on any structured post dates, and we’ll be mixing up the way we do things. While there will always be collaborative art/writing posts, we aren’t making them a necessity. The Unlimited Freedom Castle will now, more than ever, live up to its name. Any creative impulses we have, individually or together, we will post here. No guidelines and no restrictions.

We look forward to sharing ourselves with you…if you’ll have us back.

- Kent and Kyle

Stumble It!

Rainbows!

Dear World Leaders,

We are in the in the midst of an economic crises not seen since The Great Depression. At least that’s what I’ve seen on TV. Well, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this, and I know what to do. I know it doesn’t seem like there is an easy solution, because usually, there never is. Until now. It really is simple, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.

All we have to do is find the end of the rainbow.

Everyone knows that lying at the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold for the taking. Well, supposedly it belongs to a leprechaun, but I haven’t seen any real evidence of that. What I do know is that there are thousands (millions?) of rainbows cropping up everyday, and we are stupid to the plentiful riches that await us.

click image to view fullsize

rainbow_task_force_small

Right now is the perfect time to set our sights on the rainbow market. Even if the leprechauns do rightfully own the gold, what are they going to do with it anyway? Those little bastards can live in trees or under rocks – we have mortgages to pay! If we want to be fair, we can work out some sort of exchange with them, but they need to know that they won’t survive without us. If the world keeps going to way it’s going, the leprechauns will be the first ones we eat when we run out of food – you can bet on it. They probably taste like chicken, and even if they don’t, a little barbecue sauce makes ANYTHING taste good. Am I right?

So, here’s the plan: Rainbows appear AFTER it rains; it rains when there are clouds in the sky; weathermen can predict cloudy weather. Bingo. It’s all right there. We come up with a rainbow probability index. RPI. We put together a special “Rainbow Hunting” task force, and send them to the areas with the highest RPI’s. How much easier can it be? The gold already comes in a pot, so it’s not like there will be any digging or wrangling involved, and I assume the pot has a handle, so it’s already easy to carry. The Rainbow teams could just be one guy for all intents and purposes. And if the pot is really heavy we can just give him an Jeep or something. That’s the way I’m seeing it.

The most insane part is that at this point we don’t even know how big these pots of gold are; they could be fucking KETTLES for all we know! The fact is that we know practically nothing about this ripe financial miraclemaker, and we are getting poorer and looking stupider every day because of it. Scientists could be called on to study the ratio of rainbow size to amounts of gold in the pot. Maybe the bigger the rainbow, the more coinage at the end of it? Who knows! Maybe it’s an inverse thing, where the smaller the rainbow, the bigger the pot of gold. Probably not, but we’ll never know until we get our hands dirty!

There’s no time like the present, gentlemen. The gold is there now, but someday it might just disappear. No one really knows what causes rainbows in the first place, so how can we be sure that they won’t just stop existing one day? We can’t be sure, and so we must act in a timely manner. This is my plea to you.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Citizen

Stumble It!

Saint Kitty’s Day

Saint Kitty

When the worldwide economic collapse reached the bottom of its bottomless pit, and then kept going, causing every nation of the world to be in debt to entities which did not exist and who were, themselves, in debt to the giant financial black hole in the middle of the acidic Atlantic Ocean, all seemed lost…but there was still hope.

When Global Warming became Climate Change, which was stupid so they changed it back to Global Warming, and soon Global Hottening, and then Earth Melt-Fest, and finally Holy Christ Everything Is On Fire and Simultaneously Under Water, the people of our Planet screamed in terror, and while their vocal chords were scarred their voices were not gone, and in their blackened lungs was cradled a tiny pearl of optimism. We would not go down without a fight.

When the world was at its most bleak, when poisonous rain clouds grew ever darker and giant volcanoes filled the sky with lightning and lava, and even regular people wanted to commit suicide because life was truly meaningless, all was not lost.

No. The world did not lose its hope until it became evident that the population of domestic kittens was dwindling to numbers so low that scientists were predicting extinction within a matter of weeks. This was when the candle in our hearts was blown out.

It is said that when the world heard the news of future kitten extinction every human being, as well as most intelligent primates, immediately imagined a world without fluffy balls of love and simultaneously began weeping. This is the only known case of 24 billion human beings crying at the same time about the exact same thing. Even babies were crying about it, only at the time they could not know they were crying about it, but years later when asked about their most traumatic memories, 13 out of 10 people who were babies at the time said they remembered the vivid image of thousands of burning kittens jumping off buildings and really high counter tops. Some people even started throwing up and crying at the same time.

Young, adorable kittens were the only form of pure joy left in our dying world. Drug supplies had run out, sex was impossible, and ice cream had been reduced to a sticky stain on the linoleum floor of every sheltered kitchen in the world. In ashen streets throngs of people, sometimes numbering in the thousands, could be seen crowding around a single kitten, waiting silently for it to meow or curl up into a ball and nap the cutest nap you’d ever seen. Interaction with a kitten, even from a distance, could produce up to a week of pleasant memories, helping to ward off even the worst of depressions.

But the silent waiting did not last long; people were losing hope by the handful. Survival instincts seized the masses and selfishness became modus operandi. Kittens were the new gold. A kitten could get you a seat in The White House, or Buckingham Palace, but in actuality it didn’t matter – both had been burned down, plundered and desecrated, spray-painted over with the human race’s dying words: “1 Kitten = 1 Thousand Days of Happy”.

Rumors spread of secret circles and lone, mysterious men searching for the remaining kittens in hopes of creating singular utopias, living out their last dying days in a kitten-induced state of happiness. Several countries began broadcasting still-images and videos of kittens on every screen available. Times Square was no longer a bastion of consumerism, but instead a giant 6th grade kitten collage plastered in the middle of Manhatten. The sights were beautiful, but the underlying message was haunting: Our last hope was disappearing.

Day by day the kitten population was dwindling. Those fur-balls left wandering their ruinous homelands were fewer and farther between; while those held hostage in the dark caves and solitary basements of the most powerful men were nothing more than pornography, their captors unwilling to negotiate for even a single session of kitty conception. It seemed as if the Earth would die a slow, painful, and kitten-less death.

And then he appeared.

Known only as “Saint Kitty”, this lone, shadowy “super-hero” burst forth from wherever it is that he was hiding and brought with him a revolution, nay, a REVELATION of ecstasy, of unbridled joy, of Heaven on Earth. In the only known picture (above) that exists of “Saint Kitty” he can be seen in the way that any witness to his march would describe him: a suave, fucking-awesome badass, hovering over a sea of kittens, with endless lightning sparkling in his sunglasses, and brandishing his silver “Kitten Protector” for every cowardly Judas to see. With his horde of felines bequeathed to our sad lands, he disappeared, never to be heard from again.

So it is, that on this day, Saint Kitty’s Day, we celebrate our return to prosperity. Formerly St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th was replaced with St. Kitty’s day when everyone realized that Valentine’s Day had become useless, because people no longer enjoyed the company or relationships to be had with their own species. As we wait for science to figure out how to combine Kitty DNA with our own, we can only hope that enough of us are still alive to pro-create with those creatures that we truly love.

Stumble It!

Scenes from The Terrific Tale of Joseph Zipperpin

Scenes from:
The Terrific Tale of Joseph Zipperpin,
The Academy Award-Winning,
Best Film of Ever

INT. SOUND STAGE – DAY

A dark hallway leading to the lit sound stage. Deep, heavy breaths. The camera is focused on the back of an man walking onto the stage.

The sounds of an audience clapping become louder and louder, filling our ears as we follow this individual out to the stage and a trio of podiums. He stands behind the middle podium.

The camera swings to face our individual, and we see that he is a dashing, twenty-something male in a suit. The stage is now the familiar site of the game show, JEOPARDY! Our handsome man writes his name on a screen in front of him, and the camera moves in for a close-up of the front the podium as his name appears:

JOSEPH ZIPPERPIN

We hold on the name as our host, Alex Trebek, welcomes the audience and television viewers. The show begins.

THE PREVIOUS CHAMPION: Let’s start off with “ANCIENT HISTORY” for $200.

ALEX: The Trojan war took place in this century.

Our man, Joseph Zipperpin, rings in, but we…

CUT TO:

EXT. MOUNTAIN CLIFFS – STORMY EVENING

Ancient Greece. A man is climbing up a mountain, straining with each reach for another rock.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: I must get to the Oracles!

He makes it to the top of the dark mountain, and an area like where the oracles are in the movie 300. Lightning crashes. Wind whips the man’s forest-thick beard. In front of him sit three ghastly “oracles”. One of the three oracles is hairier and shorter than his companions, and talks with a thick New Orleans accent. We recognize him as JOSEPH ZIPPERPIN – he nods at the camera.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: O Wise Oracles, I must know when this Great Trojan War will be over.

JOSEPH: It will end sometime before it becomes 1,100 years before Jesus Christ will be born.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: What?

JOSEPH: To give you a round about date I would say 1,167 B.C.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: B.C.?

JOSEPH: Before Christ. Didn’t I just say that?

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: What is Christ?

JOSEPH: I think you mean whom.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING MAN: I am greatly confused…great Oracle!

JOSEPH: Oh, this is going nowhere.

Joseph gets up and gives the man a roundhouse kick to the face and he begins to tumble down the mountain. Joseph high-fives the other oracles.

CUT TO:

INT. SOUND STAGE – DAY

Back at Jeopardy.

JOSEPH: What is the 12th Century, BC?

ALEX: Correct for $200

JOSEPH (whispering to himself): I was just 12 years old.

***

INT. SOUND STAGE – A LITTLE LATER

The part in Jeopardy right after the first commercial break: a little chat with the contestants.

ALEX: Well, Joseph, it says here that you’re…well, why don’t you tell us how old you are?

JOSEPH: I’m 3,100…but I look a lot younger.

The crowd laughs, and so does Alex. He shakes his head, and moves on to the next contestant.

Joseph just smiles, sheepishly. If he wasn’t so fantastic looking you’d think he was a moron.

***

INT. JEOPARDY GAME SHOW STAGE – DAY

It is the middle of the Double Jeopardy round. Joseph has $20,000 compared to the other contestants who each have $0. They look pretty pissed actually. Anyway, it is obviously his turn to choose because no one else has gotten any right.

JOSEPH: I’ll take World War II Ra-tions for $1,600.

The special sound of a DAILY DOUBLE rings out.

ALEX: Remember, Joseph, each correct response will end with the letters “T-I-O-N”. What will you wager?

JOSPEH: I’ll make it a true daily double.

The audience gasps. Alex loosens his tie, and throws his cue cards in the air.

Joseph stands there, as blank as ever.

ALEX: These camps were used to incarcerate Jewish and other prisoners of the Nazi Army.

Joseph rings in, but we

CUT TO:

INT. CONCENTRATION CAMP BARRACKS – NIGHT

Joseph Zipperpin, looking about 30 or so, sits on a bunk carefully reading “The Metamorphosis” under the moonlight that shines conveniently on his page. He hears the sound of footsteps coming towards him and puts the book down, pretending to sleep.

A Nazi officer comes to his bunk.

NAZI (in a very loud whisper): Wake up, Jew!

Luckily all the other prisoners are in a deep sleep, and no one else wakes up.

Joseph turns towards the man, who is boiling with anger.

NAZI: I could hear you turning the pages of your…BOOK!

Joseph gasps and winces.

JOSEPH: I…I…I’m sorry.

NAZI (calming): Don’t be.

Joseph brings his head up to look at the officer, he looks confused.

NAZI: Bring it out from under your pathetic blanket…and read to me!

Joseph grins, stupidly. The Nazi officer cozies up next to Joseph, and he begins to read.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SOUND STAGE – DAY

Close-up on Joseph.

JOSEPH: What are “concentra-TION camps?”

ALEX: That is correct!

The crowd erupts with applause.

Joseph smiles shyly, thinking back on those old reading times…

***

ALEX: This is another word for happy.

Joseph rings in and we

CUT TO:

INT. CONCENTRATION CAMP BARRACKS – AGAIN

Joseph and the Nazi Officer from before have loud intercourse, and kiss passionately. Luckily all the other prisoners, and Nazi guards, and Hitler are in a deep sleep.

CUT TO:

INT. JEOPARDY – STILL THE SAME

JOSEPH: What is gay?

ALEX: Well done, Joseph. You’ve answered every question on the board. It’s almost like your life was made up of the answers from this show. Simply poetic. I can’t think of a better subject for a movie. We’re on to Final Jeopardy next…

***

INT. SOUND STAGE – 20 WEEKS LATER

Joseph is still on the Jeopardy. He is just unstoppable. A force of nature. Zipperpin-Mania has captured America’s attention. People in the audience wear shirts with his face on them. A teenage girl holds up a sign that says “WILL YOU MARRY ME, JOSEPH?” with a big red heart on it, and lipstick marks. She could not know what is about to happen.

It is FINAL JEOPARDY. The theme music plays as our contestants write down their answers.

On the far right of the screen is an OLD MAN wearing a Nazi uniform; the swastikas are huge. He is tied with Joseph for the lead. This has never happened before. No one has even been able to ring in for the past 20 weeks. Something special is in the air.

The Old Man keeps looking at Joseph and nervously smiling. Joseph doesn’t notice, and feverishly writes down his answer.

The music ends; it’s the moment of truth.

Joseph’s answer is revealed: What is The Metamorphosis?

He breathes a sigh of relief and looks at the Old Man, who reveals his answer: What is The Metamorphosis? (with a smiley face drawn next to it, and one of those hearts with an arrow in it)

All of a sudden, Joseph realizes who the Old Man really is…

FLASHBACK – CONCENTRATION CAMP – NIGHT

Joseph and the Nazi hold each other as Joseph closes the book he was reading…”The Metamorphosis”.

END FLASHBACK

JOSEPH: Heinrich? Is it really you?

HEINRICH: Yes, Joseph, it’s me. Ever since I saw your face I knew I had to get on this show. I never would have been able to do it if you hadn’t told me your life story, and also taught me how to read!

JOSEPH: Oh, Heinrich, it’s been so long!

They run to each other, and kiss for about a minute. It seems like its going on forever, when all of a sudden…

BATMAN CRASHES THROUGH THE SOUND STAGE CEILING! He punches Alex Trebek in the face!

BATMAN: Why the hell wasn’t I invited? I’m Batman!

In the mayhem, a zombie of Richard Nixon wearing Italian shoes walks on to the stage and takes a bite out of the unconscious Trebek.

RICHARD NIXON ZOMBIE: I’m drunk and I love hamburgers!

Batman, being a hero, kicks Richard Nixon in the face and his head flies off.

BATMAN: Even though I wasn’t invited, I still support the right for two men to get married! Let’s wed these two men right now!

Wedding music kicks in.

BATMAN: By the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you: husband and…

BANG! A gunshot rings out.

It’s CLINT EASTWOOD! And he looks angry!

CLINT: I WILL NOT LET AMERICA DIE!

Batman and Clint Eastwood fight, and the stage gets set on fire. The crowd leaves in a panic and Joseph slowly walks backstage, crying.

He wipes his eyes and standing in front of him is…the ghost of his mother.

JOSEPH’S MOTHER: I told you that life would always be unpredictable, and that you’d never know what was gonna happen until it happened to you. The future will always be a mystery of things that we can’t know until it’s not the future anymore, but the past. Like a bag of groceries that someone else bought for you and put on your table, you never really know what’s in there. Don’t you ever forget that, Joseph.

Joseph smiles again.

JOSEPH: I love you, mama.

FADE OUT.
Joseph Zipperpin
click image to enlarge


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