A Play by Derek Bacon, John Trussell, Jer Johnson, Andrew Petrarca,
Josh Brandt, and Nicole Weiner.
Proofed and LaTeXified by John Trussell. All relevant typographical errors preserved.
[Scene 1. A floppy disk manufacturing plant. Sounds of machinery can be heard in the background. Standing center stage, his back to the audience is Joe. He mans the floppy disk pressing machine. His job consists of pulling a lever with his right hand, and then removing the disk with his left hand. Material for the next disk is automatically inserted.]
JOE: [barely whispering] Disk ... disk ... disk ... disk ...
[Tom walks on stage. Tom is another worker in the plant. He walks by Joe, and heads off stage again.]
TOM: Hi, Joe.
JOE: [turns his head but continues to work.] Oh, Hi. [He catches his thumb in the disk pressing device, cutting it open.] AaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhH! [This scream should be acted way over the top. We're looking for blood curdling agony here. Something very Pavel Chekov-esque, only more so.] Damn it all to Hell!!!!!!! [If it can be arranged, the Hell should be reverbed to, well, Hell.]
[Lights fade except for a single red spot, which shines on the floppy disk Joe has just cursed to eternal damnation.]
[Scene 1. Chirpy spring music in the background. A software store, Michael walks in and is approached by a salesman.]
SALESMAN: Hey, Mike. What can I do for you today? [This guy IS Guy Smiley.]
MICHAEL: I was looking for a word processor. Is Word Vortex 4.0 in?
SALESMAN: It sure is. [He bounds over to a shelf and grabs a disk. Michael follows.] And you're in luck. Starting today, whenever you buy Word Vortex, the company throws in SpellChecker III for free. [He describes az large arc with the software before handing it to Michael. We're looking for a pseudo-3-d effect, we want the audience to feel like "they are really there!"]
MICHAEL: I don't know. I'd like to think that I can spell by now.
SALESMAN: Yeah, but when you're up late writing that important paper, [Note: Foreshadowing] you'll be thanking your lucky stars that you have this.
MICHAEL: Really? Exactly how does this work.
SALESMAN: Let me show you. [He hops over to the demonstration model. Lots of beeping noises are emitted.]
MICHAEL: What language is that in?
SALESMAN: Oh, that's English. It's just horribly spelled. But watch, pull down this menu, and select Spellchecker.
[SOUND F/X: Whoosh! A peaceful, happy, cleansing whoosh, not the sound of a toilet flush.]
SALESMAN: ... and ...
MICHAEL: Wow! That would be useful. And you say it's free?
SALESMAN: Why yes! Aren't you glad you came in today?
MICHAEL: Yeah, just put it on my tab. Thanks a lot. [He walks out of the store.]
SALESMAN: Come back again.
[Lights fade, subtle cackle in the background.]
[Scene 2. At one end of the stage, sits Michael. He's trying away at his computer, and speaking aloud each sentence as he types it. At the other end of the stage, is Thelma. She appears to have just gotten the `love note' that Michael has written for her. She pantomimes her reaction to the letter she actually got. In the voice over is the Hellchecker. He reads off the letter that actually got sent to Thelma, after Michael sent his note through the spell checking software he just got. The voice of the Hellchecker is deep and throaty and possessed of Satan.]
MICHAEL: Dear Thelma,
HELLCHECKER: I send my greetings, O Succubus Nether-spawn,
MICHAEL: I hardly know what to say.
HELLCHECKER: my spleen overflows with bilious loathing.
MICHAEL: You're the most graceful, beautiful creature I've ever seen.
HELLCHECKER: Never have I laid eyes on such a pustulent, spasmodic, twisted, writhing bag of pus as you.
MICHAEL: You only have to smile and my heart begins to pound.
HELLCHECKER: The sight of your rotting grimace sends my bowels into a churning frenzy.
MICHAEL: When I watch you move, I begin to tremble.
HELLCHECKER: When I watch you move, I begin to twitch.
MICHAEL: You appear in all my dreams.
HELLCHECKER: My nights are haunted by visions of your hideousness.
MICHAEL: I love to look at you.
HELLCHECKER: Your very presence assails my sight.
MICHAEL: Your deep brown eyes sparkle,
HELLCHECKER: Your rheumatic orbs glisten a dead white,
MICHAEL: your lips are luscious,
HELLCHECKER: your gaping maw reeks of rotted flesh,
MICHAEL: and your skin is as white as snow.
HELLCHECKER: and the merest touch of your skin corrodes all.
MICHAEL: You are more beautiful than a rose, but smell just as sweet.
HELLCHECKER: Your bloated carcass exudes the stench of compost.
MICHAEL: Your beauty consumes me, and I can think of nothing else.
HELLCHECKER: EAT ME!
MICHAEL: My mind longs to know you,
HELLCHECKER: I contemplate your genetic origin,
MICHAEL: my soul wants to understand you,
HELLCHECKER: your meaninglessness confounds me,
MICHAEL: my body aches to hold you,
HELLCHECKER: my loins ... umm, yeah ...
MICHAEL: my lips exist to taste you.
HELLCHECKER: to devour your very remains.
MICHAEL: If you would give me a chance to win your heart, I would be forever yours.
HELLCHECKER: Throw yourself at my iron-shod feet and beg forgiveness! Worship me! Be my willing slave!
MICHAEL: All my love,
HELLCHECKER: With nigh-infinite loathing,
HELLCHECKER: Michael. [An evil cackle fades into the background.]
MICHAEL: Oh, I'd better run this through the spell checker.
[Thelma yelps and runs off stage.]
[Scene 3. Thelma is talking to her friend Sylvia about this bizarre note that she just got.]
THELMA: You know that Mike guy? He's kind of nice, at first, but he sent me this letter. He's really a twisted freak. [She contorts her face to express her distaste.]
SYLVIA: This surprises you? ALL men are twisted freaks. [Did we mention that Sylvia was a wee bit militant?]
THELMA: No. He's really twisted. Take a look at this.
[Thelma hands the letter to Sylvia. Sylvia begins reading, then exclaiming certain key passages.]
SYLVIA: Succubus nether-spawn? ... I begin to twitch? ... EAT ME??? You're right. He is a twisted freak. We better warn everyone to keep away from him.
[The two of them walk off stage.]
[Scene 4. Michael's mother is talking on the phone to someone across the stage. The other man is a psychiatrist.]
MOM: Doctor, I'm really beginning to worry about my son, Michael. His letters home have gotten very strange.
SHRINK: Vell, dese things happen, you know? Leetle boys, dey go away to college, und dey grow up. Dey become men. Eet is noting to vorry about.
MOM: Yes, but Doctor. Isn't it unusual for a young boy to grow up into a foul mouthed heathen obsessed with the macabre?
SHRINK: Vhad to you mean?
MOM: Let me read you some of this letter he just sent home.
SHRINK: Sure, vhatever.
MOM: ``Most of my classes are in Rowell Hall, a deeper, darker pit of despair it has not been my pleasure to enter. This is the oldest building on campus. Legend has it that the architect was a raving madman. It is said that, on the night of construction began, he sacrificed four woodland creatures on the dedication stone, thus cursing the building to a haunted existence ever after. This seems to have been borne out, for on the first night after completion, a young woman was slaughtered on the roof. Some claim that her spirit still roams the halls, keening for her lost love ...''
SHRINK: Vell, zat is unusual, but I do not tink it eez anyting to vorry about.
MOM: It gets worse, Doctor, listen ... ``Around the turn of the century, a secret society held demonic rituals on the roof there. They were finally disbanded in 1911, but not before their leader was trapped in the science lab on the third floor. He died when the room exploded in green flame, chanting over and over `volko cinto har raveno bajir moro, Volko cinto har raveno bajir moro, Volko cinto har raveno bajir moro, Volko cinto har raveno bajir moro.''' [As she reads this last part, a demon appears across from her. As she finishes, it begins to stalk her.] It just trails off like that, he didn't even sign it.
SHRINK: Dat is unusual. Has he ever done someting like dis before?
MOM: No, Doctor, this is the first sign of change, but it seems so drastic I got Aaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeee! [The demon has just grabbed her from behind. He rips the phone out and carries her, screaming, off stage.]
SHRINK: [Visibly nervous] Mrs. Walker! Mrs. Walker! Vhat happened? [He tests the phone, then buzzes his secretarty.] Miss Harpwell? Reconnect dat number for me pleez?
[Scene 5. On the Quad. Two guys, Roger and Tony are walking along, talking.]
TONY: Hey, Roger?
ROGER: Hmmmm. What?
TONY: What's going on over there?
ROGER: Looks like someone's getting advised.
TONY: Yeah, but isn't that Michael?
[They stop walking.]
ROGER: Yeah? What could he have done?
TONY: I don't know. Here he comes, let's find out.
[Michael walks on stage, looking depressed.]
TONY: Hey, Mike, what was that all about?
MICHAEL: Leave me alone, ok, guys?
ROGER: Come on, Mike, what'd you do? Tell us.
MICHAEL: I didn't do anything. Leave me alone.
TONY: You can trust us, we won't tell anyone.
MICHAEL: I didn't do anythying. It was bad news from home, all right?! Leave me alone!
[Michael walks off stage, now somewhat angry, as well as being depressed.]
[Scene 6. Michael's room. A computer is to one side, with charts and graphs and Physics books around it. Other furnituer as needed. Roger and Tony enter by the window. Tony trips.]
ROGER: Ssssh! Keep it down. You're going to wake up the whole dorm.
TONY: Sorry. So, where's Michael?
ROGER: I don't know. Maybe in the other room.
[They begin to walk towards the other room. As they do, they walk by the computer, Tony stops.]
TONY: Hey, Mike was working on his Physics. I wonder what his results were like for that lab we did last week.
ROGER: Let's have a look. [They bend to read from the printout.] Hey, what's this?
TONY: Doesn't look like much of a lab report. "Rogo Ternif Cogito Sum, Ico Majer Grendel Mum, Dernak Reen Haiku Ix, Grendel Grendel Grendel Mix!" This doesn't make any sense at all.
[As Tony was reading the previous lines, another demon began to appear behind them. It sneaks up on Tony and Roger, while they talk, until they notice it and run away in terror.]
ROGER: Mike must be worse off than we thought. He can't hand that in, the teacher won't even bother to read it. We beter find him and cheer him up.
TONY: Right, let's try the next room over.
[They turn and spot the demon.]
ROGER: Tony, what the hell is that?
TONY: I ... I ... I ... I don't know. And I don't want to find out.
DEMON: [Growls a bit.]
ROGER: Yeah, Tony?
[The two of them take off for the window. The demon growls louder and runs after them. As they get off stage, sounds of the demon catching up with and rending them to bits.]
[Scene 6.5 Dark stage. A woman in a bikini walks out. She is holding a sign which says "Meanwhile ...". She walks around the stage, making sure everyone can see it. Then leaves.]
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Scene 6.5 can be left out without much loss to the ... ahem ... script.]
[Scene 7. Library. The Shrink from Scene 4 is reading up on his demonology. He appears quite agitated and is turning pages quickly, as if he's found something most disturbing.]
SHRINK: My Gott! [He turns a few pages.] My Gott! [He flips back to the beginning of the book.] My Gott! [He stands up, grasping the huge tome to his chest.] I have got to save dat boy, if it eez de last ting I do.
[The Shrink walks off stage, clutching the book to his chest.]
[Scene 1. Project Presentation Meeting. Michael is in the middle of giving his paper, but something is going wrong.]
MICHAEL: So, the data positron flow is controlled by taking a reading of the data position at each time interval, t. That data position is fed into the data possibility matrix, and sent higgeldy-piggeldy throughout the demonstration network. This ultimately leads to a complete control of every bit of data. Possibly, this can be done with little or no loss to access time for the average user, but in practice, data position requires one out of every four cycles of the CPU.
[A low, rumbling sound can begin to be heard.]
MICHAEL: On the other hand, there is the data possession algorithm. This method of data control relies heavily on the use of DAT and other high speed data storage devices. The data possession algorithm concentrates, not on data position, but data possession, hence the name. That concludes our discussion of the handling of data. Possibly, the next most difficult thing about this subject is the Rigeur Cogito Tranx, Grevel Hang Bar, Lousewart Ix?
[Michael stops, confused by the words in his project paper. He's pretty sure he didn't write them. Before he can recover, a roar erupts from the back of the auditorium. Datapos has arrived. He begins moving through the crowd, spreading havoc and mayhem. Just then, the shrink from scene 4 arrives.]
SHRINK: Oh dear, I tink dat I am too late.
[Michael continues to stare at the rapidly approaching demon, still aghast in disbelief. The Shrink tries to snap him out of it.]
SHRINK: Michael, Michael. You must help me, we must stop him.
MICHAEL: [Finally snapping back out of it.] Wha ... What happened?
SHRINK: You have inadvertantly summoned up a demon from the pits of hell. Tell me, vhat exactly vere you doing, before he arrived.
MICHAEL: Ummmm...reading my project paper.
SHRINK: Dat must have been eet. You must read it backwards.
MICHAEL: You've got to be kidding me. It's more than ten pages, single spaced!
SHRINK: Probably only a portion of the paper is at fault. You could not have gotten through ten pages of demon summoning without noticing, unless it was cleverly disguised. However, there is no time to look for the correct passages, you must begin reading now.
MICHAEL: Ok. Zi Trawesuol. Rab Gnah Leverg. Znart Otigoc Rnegir.
DATAPOS: No! You will not banish me so quickly! I have not yet begun to feed!
[He grabs the document from Michael and throws it to the floor. He then throws Michael across the stage. He moves in for the kill. The Shrink grabs the fallen documents, and begins reading from where Michael left off.]
SHRINK: eht si tcejbus siht tuoba gniht tluciffid tsom tzen eht ylbissoP. atad fo,
[Datapos screams again and turns on the psychiatrist. Through sheer force of will, the demon throws the professor against a wall, but not before the shrink can toss the text back to Michael. Michael begins reading again.]
MICHAEL: gnildnah eht fo noissucsid ruo sedulcnoc taht. enam eht ecneh poissessop atad tub,
[The demon again roars in agony and throws Michael against the same wall that the shrink has collapsed on. Datapos marches closer.]
MICHAEL: Doctor, I think I have it. He shrieks whenever we say something that sounds like his name spelled backwards. Maybe he was summoned by the repitition of the words that sounded like his name in my paper. If we keep saying it backwards, maybe it will banish him.
SHRINK: Eet iz vorth a shot.
BOTH: Sopatad! Sopatad! Sopatad! Sopatad!
[At each instance of his name, the demon stumbles backwards and screams in agony.]
DATAPOS: No! No! Don't Send me back! No! I will destroy you!
[Michael and the psychiatrist continue to repeat the chant Sopatad! Sopatad! until the demon, screaming in agony, dies on the stage.]
SHRINK: Ve have done eet! Ve have done eet!
[Michael and the psychiatrist pick up the pieces of Michael's paper and walk off stage. Lights fade. A red spot appears on the computer that holds Michael's spell checker. Hideous laughter in the distance.]