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PARALLEL UNIVERSE

Starts with two NASA people talking before launch, one astronaut, one a scientist

Greg – NASA Astronaut(FILLED)
Peter – NASA Scientist(FILLED)
Colonel – Head of Government Space Division

Doris – Wife of Greg(FILLED)

—–

How do you think Mr. Pebbles is feeling?

My guess is somewhere between indifference and terror.

Don’t all emotions fall in that range?

Well yes. I said it was a guess after all. I don’t like making bold predictions.

We all know you’re a pussy, Greg, you don’t have to beat around the bush.

Well, isn’t Mr. Pebbles one too? A pussy?

He prefers to be called a Feline-American, but that’s besides the point. It’s true Mr. Pebbles is a puss, but only in a technical sense. The truth is, he’s likely the bravest astronaut we have.

Yes, it’s kind of embarrassing really.

Oh, I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself Greg, there’s a reason he’s your captain, and it has little do with you.
The fact is, the feline race is the most nonchalant species on the planet. It’s that ambivalence that allows Mr. Pebbles to deal with the mental stress of living in outer space.

Is that your scientific opinion, doctor?

Well, I’m a scientist. Do I have any other kind?

***

blast off, Greg goes into space, but halfway through the comm fizzes out

***

Houston do you read me? Houston?

(meow)

Mr. Pebbles, we’ve lost contact with Houston, what do we do?

(meow)

Something’s wrong with our comm system, someone needs to go fix it!

(meow)

Don’t you get it, if we lose contact with Houston, we’ll be flying half-blind out there!

(meow)

Goddamnit you stupid cat, say something! SAY SOMETHING!

***

bright light, fade to black. Greg wakes up in a hospital bed

***

Greg, congratulations on the mission. I hear it was resounding success.

Never mind that Peter, I need to tell you something. It’s about Mr. Pebbles.

Ah, he should be meeting with the President shortly. He’s receiving the Medal of Freedom, you know.

But that’s what I’m saying, he doesn’t deserve any of it. Not the medals, not the cereal boxes…for Christ’s sake, he’s not even a real astronaut!

What do you mean? Did he have problems piloting the shuttle?

Trouble? He’s a goddamn cat, of course he had trouble! He can’t even hold the throttle for crying out loud, not with those thumbless paws!

Now Greg, what did I tell you about envy and jealousy…

I’m not jealous! This is a matter of competence! You sent me into the dead of space under the command of a mindless furball!

Mind your rank. That’s your Captain you’re talking about.

The point is, I could’ve died up there!

And yet if it weren’t for Mr. Pebbles, you’d be dead right now.

What?

I read the report, Greg. You lost control of your emotions and blacked out. Meanwhile, your captain, despite having loss contact with Houston, safely guided the shuttle back to Earth. So you tell me who’s the real astronaut.

But that’s impossible…

Listen Greg, you’ve had a tough time of it. Get some rest.

Peter…maybe you’re right. To be honest, I thought you’d all lost it, putting a cat in space. But maybe I’m the one who’s bananas. Maybe I’m the one who can’t cut the mustard.

I have no idea what you’re saying Greg, but if you’re hungry, there’s sandwiches in the break room.

***

So what do you think, Colonel?

I think this whole thing stinks, Peter. Every astronaut we’ve sent up there has come back with the same story.
So you tell me, what’s really going on? 

I don’t have an answer. And it’s not like Mr. Pebbles to say something. He’s far too dignified to talk ill of his peers.

Then what is it, Peter? How is it every human that goes up there ends up in a rubber room?

I don’t know. But Greg seems to be in fine health. All that’s left now is to send him home and hope for the best.

***

Greg, you’re back! Is everything all right? What did the doctors say?

Everything’s fine, Doris. I’ve been fully cleared. They say the best thing for me now is a little R and R.

Oh, that’s wonderful news!

Yes, it is. By the way, I saw a strange billboard downtown on the way here. Advertising something called “Coca-Cola.”

The Coke sign? Why, it’s been there for ages. It really is an eyesore.

That’s odd. I don’t remember it being there.

I’m surprised you remember anything, given what you’ve been through. Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll fix you up a hot cup of Folger’s coffee.

Folger’s? What’s that? You know I prefer Slocum’s Joe.

That’s news to me. You’ve been drinking Folger’s coffee every morning for the past 10 years.

Have I? Something’s not right here. First the billboard, now the coffee…

Greg, you’re fine. It’s probably just fatigue. Or some bizarre side effect of being out in space. Besides, the most important things are all here, just as you remember them.
Don’t let an old billboard and a cup of coffee end the world for you.

But what if it’s not just that? What if there’s other things that have changed? More important things like baseball, pin-up girls, and that thing you do with your tongue!

Relax…everything’s just fine. How about I boil you up some hot chocolate instead, and tomorrow, after you get a good night sleep, I’ll make you breakfast in bed.

Bed? You know damn well I prefer to sleep on a hammock! Jesus, it’s like I don’t even know you. Which means something’s definitely wrong. Very, very wrong.

But what could it be?

I don’t know. But I’m turning myself in for a psychiatric evaluation. Let’s just hope they can fix me before it’s too late.

***

They put him in Parsons?

I don’t blame them. Granted, most of the things he said were harmless. Bizarre, but harmless. He kept asking for a Nuka-Cola, whatever that is. I gave him a Coke and he practically spit it out. Still, that kind of behavior isn’t grounds for locking him up, but his fixation with the captain is another story.

Oh, how so?

He’s under the impression Mr. Pebbles was a cat. Can you believe that? He thinks NASA would not only recruit cats for their space program, but have them lead humans on the missions.

Ha, as if cats had anywhere near the emotional intelligence as dogs. 

I tried to explain it to him, Colonel. I even showed him Mr. Pebbles’ spacesuit. Clearly made for a Canine-American. But there’s no reasoning with a crazy person. In fact, you should hear who he thinks is President.

It can’t be any crazier than the one we elected. Speaking of which, I’ll need to brief President Domino in the morning. I’ll expect a full report by then.

Of course, Colonel.

 

 

Future Commercials

Horizon Airlines

University Credit Union

Be sure to visit our flagship store in West Roxbury, now carrying our entire line of merchandise.

Explore Walk

People. Power. Perfect. Mass Fusion.

Bridgeway Trust

Commonwealth Bank

Taboo tattoos

The Unstoppables

Faded Glory Laundromat

Mass Fusion – Total power for Boston by Boston

Red Rocket Gasoline -Drive in Fly out

Blue Zip Car – It’s lightning fast!

 

LONE GUNMAN STORY 2

Narrator – FILLED
Stranger – FILLED
The Kid – Male, Young
Townsman – Male(Filled)
Thug – Male

This is the part they don’t tell you. Because whether they fought the law or wore the badge, lived for vengeance or died in its wake – the characters are bound to the story. But the people, people like the stranger – they have to keep on living. So they walk on outside the margins, through dust and darkness, hoping to write their own end.

The town was separated into two factions. A local gang who wanted to rule the town, and a developer who wanted to tear it up. Caught in the middle were the people, forced to choose between a town they didn’t like and one they didn’t know.

So we pit ’em against each other, and let ’em pick each other off.

It’s not that simple kid. Both sides know they can’t afford a war. So they ain’t gonna start one until they know they can win.

So we tip the scales somehow, get one side over-confident.

And who’s gonna do that? You?

Maybe. I’ve been practicing you know. I’m a pretty good shot.

Heh, so you say.

The stranger listened to the conversation and smiled to herself. The kid had the right idea, but the wrong man. No one in the deadlands knew a thing about him. But the stranger, she was someone with a face and a name. It was written on posters all through the west. A rogue bandit, female, shot and killed a sheriff – wanted, dead or alive. So when she offered up her services to the highest bidder, it wasn’t long before both sides made their pitch.

You really her? You the dame who killed Blackjack Bill?

I’ve killed a lot of men. Not all of ’em deserve a name.

And what about you? You gotta name?

Doesn’t matter. You aren’t hiring a whore. You’re hiring a gun. And if you want mine, then you’ll pay my fee.

The man met her price, and the two sides went to war. True to her reputation, the stranger tipped the scales. She brought the fight to the gambling houses and the brothels, to the liquor dens and the back alleys. All around her bullets sang and men died, until the entire town was swept up in a fog of gunsmoke. And all the while she kept her eye on the kid, practicing his shot, wanting nothing more to bring morality and justice to a war that had neither.

In time, there was only one side left standing. The war was over, but the consequences were just beginning. The stranger knew she still had one last act to play.

What do you want, kid?

I’m here to bring you in.

You sure about that?

It’s what’s best for the town. You’re the only thing standing in the way of peace.

You’re gonna have to kill me then. You think you’re fast enough? 

To be honest, I don’t know. But I know I gotta try.

Hmph. You got guts, I’ll give you that.

You know, I heard stories about you. They say the sheriff you killed was a bandit, and those wanted posters are all lies. And part of me even wanted to believe it was true. But after what I’ve seen here, I know now you’re nothing but a cold-blooded killer.

That’s right kid. I’ve killed more men than you can count. So unless you want to be another notch on my belt, I suggest you draw.

The poster said dead or alive, but it could only end one way. The stranger did her best to play the part, pulling the gun from her holster just a split second slow, letting the shot echo through her body before she dropped it. That was the plan all along. If the stranger was the one who tipped the scales, then it was the kid who would bring the balance. Because in her heart she knew that if the town wanted to survive, they needed someone better. A sheriff to uphold the law. Someone worthy of a name.

 

end music

MIDDLE CLASS ANNIE TRAILER

(Filled)The acclaimed Broadway musical, Middle Class Annie, is now in theaters! Watch the barely hard luck story of a suburban girl who, despite being unable to improve her lot in life, is just too well off to have any right to complain. 

for the song, download and time it to this instrumental track, so everyone is singing in unison.

if you need help with the timing, I made this. Ignore my off-key singing, it’s just for timing – please listen to the actual Annie song for pitch/key, but because the instrumental may be different the track below should help timing wise

(song)

It’s a middle class life for us!
It’s a middle class life for us!

‘Stead of riches,
We get ripped!

‘Stead of welfare,
We get whipped!

It’s a middle class life!

Got no wine to speak of, so,
It’s to the liquor store we go

TV Dinners
An’ traffic jams

Jury Duty
for Uncle Sam!

It’s a middle class life!

(conversation)

Annie, we can’t afford to buy you a pony, you know that.

But daaaad, I really want it.

What about this toy pony? It’s moderately priced and meets your expectations halfway.

Okay. I guess that could be fun.

(song)

Don’t it feel like the picket fence is bootiful
While the grass is looking kinda brown?
When your life is forever stuck in neutral,
I don’t know if I’m feeling up or down!

(conversation)

I got straight B’s dad!

Way to make use of your middling education. Keep that up and you might become a retail manager like your dad.

But didn’t you want to be quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys?

Yes, but I learned to compromise.

What’s compromise?

It’s a spoonful of sugar mixed with with two teardrops of disappointment. That’s what it means to be in the middle class.

Can I get out of the middle class someday?

Not unless I put you in an orphanage and some billionaire adopts you. But what are the chances of that, ha-ha-ha!

(song)

A butler we never see,

A butler? What’s that? Who’s he?

No one cares for you a smidge
When you’re neither poor nor rich
It’s the middle class life!

That’s Middle Class Annie, coming to a theater near you!

 

 

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