MY ID’S DOING JUST FINE IT’S MY DEBIT CARD THAT’S HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
J. J. W. Mezun ☆ Season 4 ☆ 2016 December 15
- AUTUMN SPRINGER, a thief
- EDGAR WINTERS, a cook
- DAWN SUMMERS, a chemist
- VIOLET AJAMBO, a literary student
- FELIX SPERO, an anthropomorphic cat
- LANCE CHAMSBY, Mayor o’ Boskeopolis
- AGENT PURPLE MOUNTAIN’S MAJESTY, minion to Chamsby
- RAZZMATAZZ & ATOMIC ORANGE, minions to Chamsby
- STORE CLERK
♪ A dash o’ potassium,
A bit o’ onion,
A pinch o’ lithium,
& a sprinkle o’ periwinkle… ♫
¡Ooo! ¡Put it on that red Jack o’er there!
I thought you might be thirsty doing… whatever you’re doing.
Autumn said she didn’t care which cup she gets, so I thought I’d let you pick.
[Nods.] You oughta see the potion I’m making.
I think I’m just ’bout done.
¿What’ll it do?
Well, if it works, it should allow people to switch bodies round.
O, like Wacky Wednesday.
I think ’twas actually called Manic Monday.
Alsowhy, I improved it so that now it’ll let mo’ than 2 people switch @ the same time.
[Nods.] I bet Autumn could use that for 1 o’ her heists or something.
If we can get her to do 1. [Picks up the glass covered in eyeballs surrounded by yellow petals like flowers.] I promise she’s as manic as Sherlock Holmes: 1 minute she’s flat as paper, sitting & gazing @ her computer for hours with a frown, & then out o’ the green, she’s up & bustling.
I guess all o’ that planning isn’t as exciting as the shorter part where you actually do the stuff.
Guess not. [Takes a sip.]
Well, thank you for the drink.
Mmm hmm. Any time.
I brought you some chocolate coffee.
O. Thank you.
[Aside.] Should probably take a drink to be polite.
It tastes good. [Nods stiffly.]
[Aside.] My attempts @ socialization are the equivalent o’ writing Spanish with too many “mente” adverbs or passive sentences with “ser”:
I s’pose it’s passable; but awkward as hell.
[Aside.] Since he’s much mo’ socially well-adjusted, hopefully he’ll have an idea for how this lovely thread o’ ours should continue—or if it should end.
¿Is something wrong?
[Aside.] That’s my voice, but its tone is not right…
Edgar, I think we’ve got a problem…
I take it you’re not Edgar anymo’.
[Aside.] Now this is definitely jarring…
Autumn, ¿is that you?
[To Dawn.] ¿What’d you do?
[Aside.] Hmm… That tone doesn’t work with that voice…
[Smiles.] That answers my question.
How ’bout you answer mine.
[Shrugs.] My best guess is that I accidentally dripped some o’ my potion into yours & my coffee, & that ’twas ’nough to make us switch brains.
Not sure how Edgar got mixed up in this.
I s’pose a drop fell on him.
& you’ll be able to fix this, ¿right?
Well, ¿could you move a li’l, please? I’d like to continue my work.
[Staring @ screen.] ¿Mo’ planning?
[Aside.] I truly wish she’d move a li’l:
I don’t quite enjoy touching my own knee.
Ugh. It’s bad ’nough when I was in that skin…
It must be weird being so close to yourself, huh.
Poker. [Slams mug back down.]
Yeah, you’re Edgar now, so you can’t drink stuff.
Hey, ¿d’you still feel hunger or thirst & stuff?
I don’t know. [Harshly rubs hand o’er forehead.]
[Aside.] Sure feel the lack o’ hair on my head, though.
Well, tell me later if you do or don’t, please.
It’s for my research & stuff.
Part o’ that research is proving that you’re a liar when you say you’re ne’er hungry, ’cause I feel like I’m starving.
[Starts scratching arm.] You also seem to have some nasty rash on your arm. ¿Have you noticed?
You should’nt mess—
[Aside.] I s’pose it makes sense that she’d be less tolerant o’ such… rough activities.
[Turns head.] Still, coming from my own face, that look’s too hard to look @.
[Swings head back to Dawn.] ¿What?
Augh. That reminds me: Felix & Violet are coming later today.
We can’t let them know ’bout this.
You know what a big-mouth Violet is.
I remember nothing ’bout her—
including her name till you said it.
Well, I don’t want her accidentally leaking my breakthrough to everyone ’fore I’ve finished it;
I truly want that SCIENCEBADGE.
¿What are you looking @?
Um… ¿guys? I think something wrong’s happened.
O, come on:
we all know who that is.
I’d recognize that tone from any body.
We’ve switched our brains.
I’m Dawn, as you can tell by seeing this face smile for once;
this is Autumn in your body, as you can tell by seeing your face scowl for once;
& I’m assuming that’s you, Edgar, in my body.
[Looks down @ body.] I think so.
Well, if you don’t want Felix & big-mouth to find out your secret chocolate formula, you’d better hurry & fix this;
’cause there’s no way you’ll fool anyone with you soiling my mouth with that constant smile,
& I’m much too socially stupid to figure out how to be as nice as Edgar.
But just in case, if they do come ’fore I finish, [waves finger ’tween Autumn & Edgar.] try pretending to be him & me respectively.
We could just not answer the door.
That’d be rude.
¿Wouldn’t it be ruder to confuse them with us acting so odd & refusing to ’splain why?
I’m sure I’ll fix us ’fore they arrive, anyway.
I’m sure it’ll be fine.
[Stares @ coffee.] Uh, you don’t mind if I try…
You made it, after all—
& it’s not as if I can drink it.
[Aside.] He seems truly amazed by this taste sensation.
I’d forgotten I can’t taste anymo’ till now.
If I could trade permanently, it’d probably be better.
Even if I might miss tasting food, I can just imagine what it’d be like to ne’er have to worry ’bout stuffing shit into my body & expelling it out,
while Edgar would probably actually derive enjoyment from it—
the stuffing shit in, that is.
Then ’gain, ¿how would I fix my various mental problems with coffee & Dawn’s psycho juice?
If I traded with Edgar completely, then I’d be bereft o’ all o’ my flaws.
[To Edgar.] ¿How d’you know whether a meal tastes good or not if you can’t taste?
I have you & Dawn test them for me.
[Aside.] I doubt my heart has it in it to tell him that Dawn’s & my hearts probably wouldn’t have it in them to e’er tell him his food wasn’t great,
ruining the whole point.
I certainly know that my aforementioned neuroses make me utterly apathetic to “good” taste—
or any o’ this “pleasure” sentiment everyone kept blabbering ’bout.
¡Shit! ¡Quit wasting time, idiot!
Get back to doing the 1 ’scuse you have for wasting food:
typing random queries in Google & hoping you ’ventually luck into a lead to a treasure-hunting spot.
I’m surprised Edgar’s still sitting there @ the end o’ the couch.
What, ¿is he ’fraid o’ getting food on Dawn’s lab jacket?
Though I have to admit, e’en in Dawn’s body, those shaking-chihuahua movements are still conspicuously his.
It turns out I’m out o’ an ingredient.
¿You used the rest o’ the switching potion?
I’m just going to slap up an undo potion.
You have no idea how much it helps when painting.
You’re right there.
This won’t take long, ¿will it?
I’m just going a couple blocks ’way.
Should only take a few minutes.
¿You sure you don’t want me to go?
[Aside.] She probably couldn’t e’en hear you, you’re so quiet.
Probably a good thing.
¿What’re you thinking?
She’s won’t want you to steal anything for her;
you’re the only 1 who finds value in such deranged behavior.
I can’t continue till I get the missing ingredient yet, anyway;
& I wouldn’t want to interrupt your work.
[Aside.] Those upside-down Us don’t belong on that face.
[To Dawn.] You wouldn’t be interrupting anything important, but OK.
Well, hear you later.
[Boskeopolis. Dawn whistles as she clambers down the steps o’ their apartment, only to stop near the bottom floor.]
[Aside.] O yeah: I’m in public now. [She stuffs the hands into the jacket pockets & walks in a hunched gait, scowling down @ the sidewalk.]
No wonder she’s always so depressed:
The only stimulation she gets is the ground.
Though it does give me a better view o’ Autumn’s body…
Too bad this couldn’t happen in summer, when she wears that li’l denim skirt o’ hers…
That’s not to say you’re ugly, sidewalk.
Your lines are quite fetching.
¡& just look @ that curve!
[Aside.] Autumn’ll be pissed if this goes awry.
But I can’t resist.
[Strides through the aisles in the same hunched stance as before.]
I wonder if Autumn would be better @ losing suspicion if she’d have a less sullen expression…
Then ’gain, I’ve hardly e’er seen her on a heist like this—
& from what I’ve seen, she’s usually a’least a lot mo’ energetic.
I have to remember I still don’t know much ’bout this crazy person.
Maybe this is a bad idea.
I’m sure to screw this up.
Hey, ’twas Autumn herself who always said, “No risk, no reward.”
[She stops @ the condiment aisle &, after glancing to her sides; picks up a bottle o’ cinnalmond; & stuffs it into a sleeve. Then she slams ’nother jar down & step backs.
[Loud murmur.] No. It’s not here.
& if not, I’m sure he could think o’ something to do with them—
that kid can cook anything.
[Walks toward checkout counter.] OK. Just need to calm my technocising heart…
Er, Autumn’s, I guess.
[Looks down @ “herself.”] It sure is weird being in her body now.
[She pauses, beginning to blush.]
[Aside.] Jesus. That check-out lady’s headlights are practically targeting me.
Well, 1 o’ them is, a’least—
that other 1 seems to be out.
That’ll probably net her a ticket if she tries walking home like that.
[Swiping cans.] Last time I checked, you couldn’t see the sun ’hind all the clouds.
[Aside.] ¡O, crap! ¿How stupid am I?
I’m s’posed to be Autumn, ¿remember?
That’ll be 388, please.
Yes, Madame. [Stuffs hands in jacket pockets.]
[Eyes widen in panic.]
[Aside.] ¡Poker! ¡I forgot: I’m in Autumn’s body now!
¿Does she e’en have any money on her?
[Nervously, to clerk.] Sorry, Madame;
I’m always forgetting where I leave my stuff.
[Aside.] I swear those heavy-lidded headlights o’ hers are staring right @ my left arm.
[Dawn checks pockets o’ sweat pants, frowning.]
O, Autumn… ¿You have a knife on you?
Please tell me you’ve ne’er used that y—
[Stops with a start.] ¡O yeah! ¿How could I forget?
[Counting them, aside.] This should be mo’ than ’nough.
[Sticks arm out straight as if in an opposite stick-up.] Here you go.
OK. Have a swell afternoon.
You, too. [Walks toward door.]
[Aside.] Wow. I’m surprised that wor—
[Aside.] I ne’er thought I’d miss Dawn;
but e’en if she can be an obnoxious loud-mouth,
it’s less jarring than this silence.
It’s not e’en perfect silence, anyway—
that’d a’least have some comfort—
No, ’stead I have to hear each li’l click o’ my finger on this keyboard
or Edgar clicking each button on that inane game o’ Dawn’s.
It’s like a screwdriver slowly twisting the screws holding up my mind.
& I can bet Edgar’s eying me,
seeing every twitch o’ my mental deterioration.
I’m sure he’s so sorry I’m such a mental case…
so tired o’ being so sorry that I’m such a mental case.
[Muttering as she rises from couch.] Poker.
Wait… I, uh, think I’m s’posed to get that.
It may just be Dawn returned.
She said she’d be back in a few minutes,
& a few minutes have certainly passed.
You don’t think she’d knock for her own house, though, ¿would she?
S’pose it’s better to be safe, anyway.
[Aside.] ¿Why was I so slipshod that I needed him to remind me o’ such obvious factors?
¿Have I gone senile?
[Aside.] I hope he won’t continue acting like that when he answers.
Look @ how shaky he is & how heavily he’s breathing:
I don’t think I’ve e’er seen Dawn like that.
[Sudden burst o’ excitement.] ¡I’m just there!
[Aside.] Whoa. There we go.
Just like listening to partially plugged-in headphones for minutes,
only to finally plug them in all the way.
¡Felix! ¿How’ve you been? [Wraps arms round Felix.]
O… Good, I guess…
[Aside.] ¡O, shit! ¿What am I doing?
I’m s’posed to be Edgar, ¡remember!
OK. Calm down.
They’ve probably seen nothing yet.
This is easy.
You just have to stay out o’ the way as much as possible.
Now, it’d be too late to get up now without appearing suspicious;
So I’ll just pretend that… Autumn had told me to—
[Frantically moves finger o’er mouse.] No, no, no…
I’ll say “she” told me I could use “her” laptop to research some recipe.
This will have the added benefit o’ allowing me to do so,
since it’d be far too suspicious to have Edgar do the cooking in Dawn’s body.
He’ll be stuck entertaining these 2—
which is fine with me.
[Turns toward window.] Fuck. Hurry up & get home already, Dawn.
She’s probably dinking round looking @ some frivolous doodads @ some obscure shop ’gain.
[Aside.] ¡Stop squirming! ¡Autumn wouldn’t act like that!
She’d be as calm as clam dip.
[Aside.] ¡O crap! ¿Who’s she calling?
Uh, huh. Yes, Sir: we got her.
[Aside.] Maybe Autumn’s gotten into worse trouble than I’d imagined.
I don’t dare ask them what’s going on, though.
Guess I just have to hope for the best.
[Sighs.] ¿Why’d I have to do something so stupid?
¿Did I truly think I could just waltz in & steal as easily as Autumn & Edgar do when they’ve been doing it for years?
¿What if I get sent to jail like this? I can’t expect them to stay like this for—¿how long could I end up in jail?
I wonder if I could ’splain to them…
Maybe they’d let me switch bodies ’fore sending me to the clank.
I knew you’d be caught ’ventually.
Justice always prevails ’ventually…
¡& now it finally has you in its grasp!
[Aside.] Don’t giggle… don’t giggle…
I don’t see what you’ve got to be smiling ’bout.
¡I hope you’re not so deluded as to think your precious government will pamper you from your just desserts now!
[Aside.] ¿What’s he talking ’bout?
¿Is that s’posed to be sarcasm or something?
Maybe she & Lance have some strange ritual ’tween them that just seems like hatred & he helps her get out o’ trouble…
But that doesn’t seem likely.
I just don’t know with Autumn…
Hell, for all I know, everything I know ’bout her could be false.
[Points @ Dawn.] Tie her up & take her to the copter.
[Aside.] I guess resistance would be fruitless.
I have to keep in character:
Autumn would just glower calmly throughout the whole ordeal till she has an opportunity to strike back.
Lord knows how I’d be able to do that;
but I’d better find a way.
I do hope we are not too delinquent in our punctual duties.
[Raises a hand a li’l while staring @ Autumn’s laptop, quietly.] Hello, Edgar.
[Also raises hand a li’l & speaks quietly.] O… Hello.
[Reaches hand out to Autumn.] Guten Tag, Sir Winters.
Um, thank you.
[Patting seat next to Autumn.] Please, sit down.
Autumn’s out getting ingredients & should be here any minute.
That resounds the most fortuitous of tidings.
Felix informs me that she customarily effects perilous ladroneous escapades and I hope that she would be generous enough to recite yarns in regards to the most titillating of these exploits.
[Turns to Autumn.] Sir Winters, forgive me for asking, but you are not of the belief that she might be peeved @ my requesting her to commit such an activity, ¿do you?
I recall the previous instance in which I have had the pleasure of meeting her she was, forgive me for saying, as if she had awaken on the wrong side of the pillow, and I must confess my nervous system to be rather frangible to the possibility of weathering verbal reprimand in case she accidentally apprehends offense in my language that was not intended.
[Fidgets, eyes kept on computer.] Uh… I’m sure she won’t mind…
In fact, to be honest…
I, uh, think she might actually be secretly glad to tell people ’bout it—
Though you shouldn’t tell her I said that, though.
And you need not fret, Sir:
[Makes zipping motion o’er lips.] mina läppar are sealed.
If I may apologize for self-aggrandizement, I must elucidate that maintaining clandestine minutiae is a strength of mine.
¿Is this not accurate, Felix? [Nudges Felix in the shoulder.]
[Pauses for a second, then nods vigorously.] O, yeah. Uh huh.
[Rises.] Well, uh… I s’p—guess I’d better start making dinner.
[Autumn strides into the kitchen.]
[Funneling mouth.] Um… If you need help finding anything, just… call. I, uh.
[Laughs.] I, uh, mislocated things… when working on my chemical work & all.
O, I shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything—but thanks.
[Aside.] That’s a howler if there e’er was 1.
[Pauses, gazing round the kitchen.] I don’t e’en know what I should make, much less how.
[Stops on basket holding bananas & oranges.] I s’pose it’d be a give’way if I just served raw fruit—
though they seem to be perfectly good food, anyway.
I don’t know why anyone has to waste scarce time manipulating food in complex ways just to alter such a frivolous aspect as taste.
Then ’gain, constantly stealing purely for pathetic attempts @ self-esteem-boosting is just as frivolous;
so I s’pose it’s a scrub.
¿Why’s the bear in here, too?
¿Did it shoplift?
That’s none o’ your concern.
[Starts pacing ’gain.]
You probably thought you’d ne’er get your comeuppance, ¿didn’t you?
¡Thought you could ’scape justice!
[Turns to Dawn.] Well, let me tell you that one ne’er ’scapes justice.
Jusice always prevails.
[Aside.] This is it!
This is where I should say a sarcastic 1-liner.
[Exhales deeply.] Just need to calm down.
Don’t want to blurt it all out @ once & ruin the rhythm o’ the wor—
¡Now it is time to decide how best you must be punished for your vile socialism!
¡Hey, I didn’t have a chance to talk!
¡That’s not fair!
I s’pose this isn’t too out o’ character for her.
[Continues pacing.] I’m so sorry if I don’t throw ’way justice for communistic delusions o’ “fairness”; [Turns toward Dawn.]
but I’m ’fraid…
You apparently find this quite amusing.
[Aside.] Stop giggling… Stop giggling…
Seriously, though: ¿“communistic”?
¿Is that e’en a real word?
¿Isn’t regular ol’ “communist” scary ’nough for him?
[Aside.] Mmm… Smells like garlic & cologne.
If I weren’t in Autumn’s body, maybe I could lighten this guy up for a chance.
¡Ha! Autumn would definitely pissed if she’d found out I did that to her body.
Then ’gain, I think this guy somberly has a bent poker for her.
All this talk o’ “punishment” tastes o’ some deep-rooted fetishes.
Definitely a creeper.
I just hope that isn’t what the bear’s for…
¿Are you e’en listening?
[Aside.] Aww, & look @ the way his li’l tooth pokes out his li’l mouth like that.
Maybe if I loosened his belt a li’l he wouldn’t feel the urge to creepily tie women up & rant @ them for hours.
It’d be humanitarian o’ me.
’Sides, I might e’en let him be DOM once & a while…
[Throws arms out.] ¡Joan Robinson!
[Aside.] ¿Who’s that?
¿Is that some strange nickname he gives Autumn?
¡This is unworkable!
I work tirelessly as mayor to teach you people morals—
keep in mind, I was being merciful here by giving you a chance to live as an upright human does—
but every time I see further confirmation that Rand was right when she pointed out that some people are simply born good & some are just born evil & you can’t help those born evil.
[Aside.] Man, I don’t e’en need to try pretending to be depressed:
’tween him & Autumn, I don’t know how one could keep from drowning oneself in booze.
[Aside.] ¿What’s his problem?
¿Need any help finding anything?
[Aside.] Must remember: act as Edgar.
Edgar wouldn’t act bitter, no matter how much I’d like to.
You can act, ¿remember?
You haven’t forgotten that, ¿have you?
[To Edgar.] O, no… Everything’s going just fine.
[Aside.] Fuck that static:
I’ll be lucky if I don’t catch this whole complex on fire.
[Leans into Edgar, whispers.] You said ’twas 10 minutes, ¿correct?
[Nods.] Mmm hmm.
¿& then I drain the water in that bowl full o’ holes?
O, it should be fine…
[Aside.] Must remember to act as Edgar would…
[Softens.] Now that I think ’bout it, I know how Edgar would act here.
[Tilts head downward with sad expression, to Edgar.] You’d probably be better off if you didn’t let me cook, since it seems I can’t e’en get that right.
I ne’er can get anything right… [Sniffs.]
O, don’t be silly.
Now you’re acting just like Autumn.
[Whispers.] ¡Shit! ¿What do I do now?
[Shrugs.] Drain it.
It’s irreversibly ruined, isn’t it.
It’ll be fine.
[Aside.] Whenever he says that, what he truly means is, “The objective reality is that you fucked things up, but let’s just pretend everything’s good & hopefully our brains will fall for it & feel positive ’bout ourselves.”
¿Is something wrong, Sir?
I would think that with your triumph o’er both the ponytailed looter & that bear that you’d be far happier.
I don’t know… I think I’m having 2nd thoughts.
[Throws arms up.] What’s the point o’ e’en going through all o’ the work o’ taking vengeance on her when she’s practically withering ’way by herself.
With so much important work I still have to do, now it seems far too pointless to waste my energy on anymo’.
I couldn’t agree mo’, Sir. [Looks ’way awkwardly.]
She’s now just like all o’ the bums who lie round doing nothing, intentionally sabotaging the economy—
with no help from the festering corpse o’ those enablers in parliament…
She’s mo’ a Keating now than a Toohey, not taking anything seriously anymo’;
& now I wonder if I’d been going @ it the wrong way.
I must confess, I believe there may be a slight inconsistency in Rand’s work:
on 1 hand, she seems to argue quite a few times that one should not e’en bother dealing with evil, such as how Roark acts toward Toohey or Galt toward those scoundrels trying to torture him—
& not e’en succeeding, which is the most hilarious part, I must say—
but sometimes she seems to argue that passive acceptance o’ evil is just as evil,
such as the train-crash scene in Atlas Shrugged where Rand wisely stops the story so she can tell the reader how morally just ’twas for those tolerant o’ evil to be killed by their own apathy.
All o’ this uncertainty…
Moral men shouldn’t have so much uncertainty.
[Slams fist.] No.
I keep forgetting:
proper books don’t give you knowledge;
you must extract the knowledge yourself.
As she always said,
there are no contradictions;
if one e’er finds contradictions, one must reconsider one’s thinking.
As unfortunate as the reality may be,
I am but 1 man.
I cannot take on each evil individually.
There are too many duties on my back.
¿Why try forcing nature when the whole point o’ nature is that it’s automatic?
¡Since she is so naturally self-destructive,
I should just let her consume her own evil,
leaving my attention to those evils that are mo’ pernicious,
drilling their roots into the succulent soil o’ man!
[Walks back toward door.] ¡Come! ¡We have a mission to be put back into order!
It must be said, ¡you had no need to serve us in such a royal treatment!
[Quietly, as Autumn sets her plate before her.] O, thank you.
I’m sorry if it tastes terrible…
[Wraps arm round Autumn & pulls her toward him.] Nonsense.
It tastes just fine.
You did a great job.
[Aside.] Damn, he’s doing rather well.
[Nods.] Its taste is most recherché.
[Nods tepidly.] Uh huh.
[Aside.] It’s not ’cause o’ you, it’s not ’cause o’ you…
But maybe it is…
Maybe they’re just hiding the way I bother them with making them make this food for us.
& now I’m probably making Edgar feel terrible ’bout himself.
No, acting that way will only make things worse for everyone.
It’s like Violet says: e’en if you don’t feel confident, you just have to fake it.
I just don’t think I’m as good @ it as everyone else seems to say it is for them…
[Staring down @ the table nervously.] O… Thank you…
¿Are you still worried ’bout Autumn?
[Aside.] Indeed, ¿what’s taking her so long?
I don’t care what distraction she’s gotten into:
nothing should take this long.
Wouldn’t it be great if something serious happened to her.
I’m sure she’ll be all right.
What she’s going through isn’t much different from what you went through.
You 2 are just alike: always worrying ’bout everything.
Both o’ you act as if the world’ll explode if you do anything wrong.
¿Would you mind if I asked…?
¿How you’re able to… act so well through all this?
As I told Autumn before:
I learned from the best.
You are not o’ the belief that she might have been apprehended by the law for a pint o’ larceny, ¿are you?
It has come to my attention that the Chamsby administration has exacerbated its handle on illicit activities with an emphasis on larcenous activities.
[Aside.] O, ¡poker!
¡Please tell me that’s not what happened!
¡Augh! ¡Not tonight o’ all nights, you obnoxious pest!
♪ Take my lead, I’ll set you free.
Follow me, set me free,
Trust me, & we will ’scape from the city… ♫
[Aside.] O, crap.
I hope he didn’t hear me sing.
Autumn definitely wouldn’t do that.
I can already tell by the look Count Draco’s giving me.
[Still staring, bewildered.] I hope I haven’t interrupted anything.
[Aside.] No, this’ll work perfectly with my plan:
just say I was intentionally trying to annoy him here.
[Becomes sullen ’gain, to Lance.] Only me squirming here forever.
I was just wondering if I was allowed restroom breaks,
or if my bladder’s s’posed to pull itself by its bootstraps & warp there while I stay tied here.
[Aside.] This has to work—it’s a perfect plan.
E’en someone as crazy as Lance wouldn’t leave someone tied up when they need to use the restroom.
That’d just be psychopathic.
I’m so sorry my stressing o’er how to look after all o’ you children has gotten in the way o’ your ability to further pollute the world.
[Scowling.] Hey, you’re the cocksucker who’s keeping me locked up here.
I may have stolen a few things, ¡but for god’s sake!
¡E’en criminals have mo’ rights than this!
Yes, & it’s no wonder they keep committing said crimes when society pampers them so.
Well, it just so happens that I’m through pampering you criminals by watching o’er you so closely like you’re my children.
[Snaps finger.] Agents Razzmatazz & Atomic Orange, untie her.
[Smirks.] What, you’ve finally developed the spine to kill me off completely.
I doubt it.
You should know, Cap’n Capitalism, that I’m a far greater threat to myself than you could e’er be.
[Smiles wryly.] I know. That’s why I’m not wasting my time with you anymo’.
[Points toward the door.] Now, you may go.
Beware that we shall be watching you in case you’re so audacious as to try a li’l bit o’ petty looting just to fuel your mindless passive-aggressions.
You know, Lance, I’ll be honest with you:
You don’t outrage me;
You just depress me.
Some o’ us don’t have time to sit round moping for the world to make everything better for us.
[Raises fist.] ¡We have history to make!
[Turns.] Agents, it’s time for us to—¿What are you doing?
[Pauses awkwardly.] I thought you wanted us to sic the bear on her.
[Throws hands o’er head, eyes widening in ire.] ¿Why would I risk something so dangerous, you fool?
We’d better go help him.
[Aside.] I have a’least some good news for Autumn:
there’s a’least 1 other person stressing himself just to hurt others just as much as she does.
[Whispers.] I think we’ll have to go out & find Dawn.
You’d think she’d have called if it took this long.
That’s the thing: I don’t think she can;
I think Lance has captured her thinking she’s me.
[Clutches top o’ head.] This is why I told you idiots to leave me in my storm drain.
Otherwise my problems only spread like the flu,
exacerbating my own.
[Autumn pauses for a minute, & then climbs up on counter & sits, staring down @ hands held in lap.]
No use complaining.
We’ll just have to shoo these 2 ’way & go all the way to Atlas Tower to rescue her—
if she’s there, which is our only hope.
Lord knows how successful this’ll be.
You’ve ne’er worried ’bout that before.
Not for myself.
For you & her, constantly.
’Sides, I have to admit that she’s hooked me on something other than winning & you.
[Trying to cover laugh.] Uh… I, uh, don’t think I’d act like that…
[Aside.] I’m not sure if that’s an authentic reaction,
or if he’s just that good @ acting.
[Stops, to Edgar.] Sorry.
I have to admit, staying in this body is probably preferential:
self-love lacks the negative environmental effects love ’tween multiple people has.
Plus, I’m hoping while I’m in your body that I won’t fall under… the same debilitation Dawn’s psycho juice puts me under while in my own body…
¿What do you mean?
¿Does Madame Springer not possess a cellular phone?
[Shaking head.] Last time I tried, she didn’t answer.
I guess I could try ’gain.
O… Hello, Edgar…
¿Is Autumn doing all right?
[Thumbing on phone.] Um, yeah…
¿How’re you doing?
[Aside.] You can’t leave it @ that.
That’s not interesting.
Remember what Violet always says:
show, don’t tell.
[To Autumn.] I, uh, I know it’s not much, but my boss gave me a bonus ’cause we had a holiday thing & I did extra mascot things.
I don’t think I really deserved it, since it wasn’t that much mo’ work than usual,
but Violet insisted I take it.
¿Is it OK if I ask you how much you make?
O, no. Not @ all.
O, I don’t truly remember.
Violet helps me with my money stuff ’cause she’s so good @ math & all that.
I told her she didn’t have to,
but she insists there, too.
If I’m talking too much, you can tell me to stop.
Violet always tells me I can tell her to stop talking when she talks too much,
but I don’t know why I would, since she’s always saying smart things when she does.
I think I’m actually starting to learn more o’ those complicated words she uses, too.
You don’t think…
You don’t think Autumn might be let down by me, ¿do you?
¿Why would she think that?
Well… She said she was sure I’d improve if I tried…
But I don’t know…
I still think I’m pretty dumb…
& though she’s nice ’nough to insist I’m wrong,
I think I may just be bothering Violet with everything she does for me.
¿What the hell’s wrong with me?
while I sit round fantasizing ’bout self-mutilation for relatively fewer setbacks, Felix & Edgar plod through their screw-ups like nothing.
I mean, ¡I’d have a panic attack if I were a fucking store mascot!
I’d be ready to drown my head in the toilet bowl if I had to have someone help me with simple math… or anything truly.
I’m already ready to shove my head in an oven & turn it on from the mortification o’ taking Dawn’s help;
¿& yet, didn’t Edgar accept the same?
¿Have they no shame?
& yet they’re growing as they subject their bent, ugly selves to the o’erbearing sun,
while I beg to crawl back to my shadows like a crack-addict, eager to wither in peace.
& yet all I do with my self-deprecation is drag them down with me.
When these 2 have relied on me so much,
¿what are they s’posed to think when I try destroying myself?
¿Does Dawn look @ me the same way I look @ Edgar & Felix?
Such poor, pathetic souls…
But that’s ridiculous.
I couldn’t be as innocent as them…
As low as them…
¿Did I, uh… Did I say something wrong?
No, I was just distracted by something.
It sounds like you’re doing gr—
¿Where have you been?
My personal stalker captured me yet ’gain & I had to wait till his Randian bible told him to release me.
¿You want me to give you a different coat?
That 1’s soaking.
[Looks down.] Sorry if I’m getting your floor wet.
Don’t worry, it’s already covered in Kool-Aid stains.
Just come in before you catch pneumonia & we have to venture to some faraway place to find the cure.
I’m fine. [Shivers & sneezes.]
[Averts eyes, aside.] I can’t e’en watch myself.
[Aside.] O, great: does this mean I’ll have to kiss my own body with Dawn’s mind inside.
[Wraps arm round Dawn.] ¿Cold?
[Murmurs.] No. Not truly.
[Tightens hold on Dawn.] You certainly feel cold: you’re shivering.
[Walks o’er to Dawn & reaches arm out.] Good to meet you, Madame Springer. I hope the police did not molest you too severely.
[Smirks as she meets Violet’s hand.] I’m only glad they hadn’t @ all.
[Raises a tepid hand.] Hi, Autumn.
[Frown deepens as she shifts uncomfortably.] O, hello Felix.
¿How have you been?
Uh… ¿& you?
Good for me,
which is bad for a normal person.
[Aside.] I hope I’ve ne’er been so incoherent.
[Looks ’way nervously.] O, I’m sorry…
For the normal people, I hope;
they’re the true victims, after all.
[Aside.] God damn it, Dawn, ¿what the hell are you saying?
I wouldn’t be saying this shit to her.
¿Have you no idea how it’ll affect her?
[Laughs nervously.] Autumn’s joking.
O. No. It’s OK.
I’m not very smart, so I probably just didn’t get it.
Well, [Laughs nervously.], I am of the belief that everyone has equivocations in regards to the arduous subject of burlesques.
You must be hungry, ¿right?
I made spaghetti for us all.
Though it’s not very good admittedly.
I’m sure it’ll be fine.
[Turning up to Edgar.] Forgive me for my ignorance in regards to the message you are tending to deliver subtly.
¿What are you waiting for?
Ask her ’bout her rhymin’ & stealin’ adventures.
[Turns to Dawn.] Forgive me for asking, ¿but would you be too inconvenienced to describe to me a story or two of your larcenous exploits?
If you insist;
Though I can hardly remember any o’ the halfway interesting 1s.
¿What ’bout that 1 where you robbed the bank?
I’m sure you’ve all been burdened by that story already.
It’d make you feel better.
[Glares @ Edgar.] ¿What’re you talking ’bout?
¿Is that more o’ that hippy nonsense you’re spewing?
Thank you. [Kisses Autumn.]
[Starts using laptop, aside.] Fuck it: I don’t care how suspicious it looks:
I’ve already wasted too much time with these shenanigans.
Though I s’pose that’s based on the false assumption that my use o’ this laptop has been fruitful lately & not simply ’nother way to waste my use…less… Ugh.
Well, you do such a good job o’ hiding your splendid mood.
O, Dawn: it’s truly of no importance.
If Madame Springer does not want to discuss activities that very well may be personal, that is no offense on my part.
My mood is a mere reflection o’ my placement in the context o’ the world.
To act differently would be paramount to a dishonesty that I cannot stomach.
[Aside.] ¿Why’s she having me say this inane shit?
I wouldn’t say this.
I didn’t know there was a mood prerequisite for this li’l dinner party o’ yours.
If there is, you should’ve been wary ’nough not to bother strong-arming me into coming.
[Frowns.] You know I didn’t mean that…
After all, the whole point o’ these “li’l dinner parties” is to improve all o’ our moods.
& my point is a simply philosophical note that your method o’ trying to inject giddiness into each other’s minds through spewing mindless pap doesn’t work.
A’least it doesn’t work for me as well as it might for you.
’Course, your courtesy involves insisting ’gain & ’gain that I know less than you ’bout how my own mind functions.
[Aside.] Now I know I wouldn’t say this.
[Puts hand on Dawn’s shoulder, to Dawn.] O, you don’t mean that…
[Mutters.] ¿Would you please ’scuse me?
You truly shouldn’t let me ruin this… whatever you’re doing anymo’.
I’ve been nothing but trouble, anyway.
You haven’t e’en finished your food.
¿You’re worried that I won’t waste more o’ your food?
I’m simply being honest ’bout myself.
I’m not deluded ’bout who I am,
as you seem to want me to be.
I just don’t understand how you can expect me to delude myself without knowing I’m intentionally deluding myself.
[Gasps, aside.] ¡That’s it!
¡I have to say it!
[To Dawn.] Um… ¿Autumn?
[Turns to Felix.] I don’t mean to guilt you with my pleasant being.
Surely you know you had nothing to do with it.
No, that’s all right.
I just wanted to say that I remember a wise person once told me:
People are not…
[Aside.] ¡Rats! ¡I’m messing up already!
[To Dawn.] I mean, a wise person once said:
people can always change into someone different.
[To Felix, struggling through tittering.] I’m sorry, Felix…
It’s just a… silly li’l in-joke we have.
It’d be impossible to ’splain.
Anyway, she’s right:
[Turns to Violet.] Madame Ajambo, if you truly want me to bore you with my stories, it’s no inconvenience to me.
Well, here goes something.
¿Is that you, Autumn?
[Nods, aside.] I can already tell that’s Edgar by his tone.
& thus I take it that everything’s been corrected,
’less some arbitrary wrench’s appeared @ the very end.
[Hops off table.] I’m back in my body.
I can’t thank you ’nough for bucking with this whole ordeal for so long,
& without letting Violet know anything.
[Looks @ Autumn.] & sorry for embarassing you. I guess I got… too in-character for a while…
[Nods.] No problem.
I was actually intrigued by both o’ your abilities to keep up the act so well.
’Twas no difficulty.
[Laughs.] See, I can’t e’en stop.
Well, I think I’m done with the lab for today.
¿Do either o’ you want to play The Lost Vikings with me?
[Aside.] The whole point is to do something different.
After all, if your current condition is a wreck,
then it stands to reason that an operable condition is different…
[To Dawn.] Hey, Dawn…
[Still staring @ ground.] I’m not capable o’ expressing such vague conceptions…
You’d be surprised @ how much harder it is to understand one’s own attributes compared to someone else’s.
I just wanted to thank you for your help.
[Waves hand limply.] O, it’s no problem @ all.
[Laughs.] If anything, I’m surprised you’re not mad @ me for going too far as you.
& anyway, the money you made from all o’ that recycling truly helped.
No, I meant…
I also wanted to thank you for being such a friend to me—
as difficult as it probably is—
& wanted to assure you that I do appreciate your help—
including your mindless cheery bullshit, e’en if I don’t believe in any o’ it.
It’s no difficulty @ all.
& I don’t mind your lobsterness @ all.
’Cause I don’t see it going ’way anytime soon,
psycho juice or no.
[Releases Autumn, but keeps hand on her shoulder.] O, that’s OK.
The last thing I’d want is for you to think you have to destroy yourself to save yourself.
All that matters is that you stop harming yourself.
I doubt that’ll change anytime soon, either…
You said people can become someone new,
but you neglected to mention that it happens slowly.
You have plenty o’ time.