something for the weekend

STUART: (from darkness) Do you ever have any regrets?
BEE: Every once in a while, I look outside and I see something…might be a bird, or a rabbit, or even just a ray of sunshine…and I miss being out there. But you know what?

(lights come up on the BEE, who sits in a jail cell lifting weights.
outside the cell is STUART, who takes notes as the BEE speaks)

BEE: I know I did the right thing. I did what I had to do. So no, I don't have any regrets.
STUART: Let's start with the beginning. Tell me about your childhood.
BEE: Not much to tell. My father was just a working stiff. My mother was a different story. She had high standards…either you were hot shit, top of the pack, or you were just another guy who punched a clock and didn't mean anything.
STUART: What did you do when you left home?
BEE: Odd jobs. Nothing in particular. I just wanted to settle down, have a piece of honeycomb to call my own.
STUART: So…ah…why did you turn to crime?
BEE: I always meant well, but…I don't know. I had a hot temper when I was younger. One day, there were these two kids who tried to wreck my hive for kicks. I mean, that hive was all I had in the world. So, I tried to reason with them…
STUART: Using an axe.
BEE: Well, 'axe' was at the top of the list of conflict resolution strategies. I didn't realize they'd organized it alphabetically, not by effectiveness. It was a mistake. But, you know…situation like that, who's going to take the bee's side? I did what I had to do to protect…well, anyway. Yeah.
STUART: And you went to prison for the first time.
BEE: Yeah. I got out early, though. They were looking for volunteers to be guinea pigs for an experimental serum made everything you say come out in rhyming couplets.
STUART: That doesn't sound so bad.
BEE: Yeah? Take a dose and try ordering some Chinese food. I got my ass kicked by General Tso himself.
STUART: You met General Tso?
BEE: Oh, yeah. Turns out the chicken was like his hit single. He's really proud of his work with beef, but it doesn't get the press.
STUART: What happened then?
BEE: I did some work as an anti-drug spokesman. The government figured the best way to reach the youth was to have a giant bee rap to them. That's why absolutely no one in the world does drugs any more. Turns out the answer didn't have anything to do with social pressures or emotional anomie in modern consumer culture, just insufficiently hip PSAs.
STUART: What happened then?
BEE: A drug dealer tricked me into ending a sentence with the word 'orange'. I had a brain aneurysm. Nearly died. Replaced the rhymes with alcohol. Kept going on week-long benders where I'd battle giant robots and destroy entire cities. I wrecked Cleveland once, but nobody noticed the difference. Got pretty jaded about everything. Spent some time wandering around the country. Everyone's got problems, though. Everywhere you go, someone's looking for an answer. The police were after me because I broke parole, so I had to get out of sight. I met a mad scientist who decided he could do more evil working as a parking attendant, so he had a going-out-of-business sale, and I bought his time machine. Traveled a bit. Met some interesting people in the past. But when I went to the future…have you ever heard that ethical dilemma about killing Hitler as a child? Well, there was this poet…really bad. Unbelievably terrible. In 2012, he drew this analogy between sex and canola oil that was so awful, it actually opened up the gates of hell. Satan enslaved humanity for eternity waxing Joan Rivers' back hair. I had to stop him.
STUART: So you killed the poet?
BEE: No. I cut off his arm. Now he writes poems about his missing arm. Tends to use it as a metaphor for the lost innocence of youth. Also tends to spill ketchup more often.
STUART: And that's when you wound up in jail?
BEE: Yeah. They gave me consecutive life sentences. The judge was pretty tough. Some of the life sentences aren't even my life. I've got to live Danny Bonaduce's life next.
STUART: But you still don't have any regrets? You feel you did the right thing?
BEE: Look. Terrible art is dangerous. I don't mean cheap, disposable pop stuff. I'm talking Jay Leno. I'm talking Monica Lewinsky jokes. I'm talking pretentious student-written plays that fail so miserably at being insightful that you wonder if genuine insight can even exist. It's not okay. They spray-paint the walls of your brain. They get you afraid to express an actual emotion for fear that it'll be as hollow and contrived as all that terrible stuff. Someone has to take a stand. You look like a bad guy for it, but everybody's got to give something. I wasn't born with Marvin Gaye's voice, so I do what I can.

STUART: Don't you ever get mad about being locked up? You saved the world and they rewarded you with life in prison.
BEE: No. There's no use getting worked up. I've been a lot of places, seen a lot of things. I had an amazing ride. I made my peace. It's over.
STUART: I think I've got enough for my article. Thanks for your time, Mr Bee.
BEE: No problem, kid.

(STUART exits. the BEE keeps lifting weights. cut to MAYOR SHITHEAD and AIDE)

MAYOR: They did a wonderful job on my carpet.
AIDE: They certainly did, sir.
MAYOR: It's so clean, you can almost see your own reflection.
AIDE: Yes, sir, you can.
MAYOR: If you're a shaggy red man, that is.
AIDE: That's spectacularly funny, sir.
MAYOR: Let's do something nice for the public. I'd like to put a smile on the faces of all those hard-working people out there. They deserve it. Life is hard enough without smiles.
AIDE: It certainly is, sir.
MAYOR: Let's pass a new law.
AIDE: The public loves a good law, sir.
MAYOR: Take dictation. As Mayor of this fine city, I do hereby declare that…ah, what the heck. They're going to think I'm a big softie. I do hereby declare that from this point forward, stupid people shall be allowed to live.
AIDE: Wonderful law, sir.
MAYOR: You like it?
AIDE: It's very moving. Just one small problem, sir.
MAYOR: What is it?
AIDE: Well, stupid people already are allowed to live.
MAYOR: They are?
AIDE: Yes, sir, they are.
MAYOR: They're allowed to roam free?
AIDE: Yes, sir.
MAYOR: Jesus, man, why hasn't anyone told me about this?
AIDE: Terrible oversight, sir. I blame myself.
MAYOR: We've got to take immediate action. Cry havoc.
AIDE: Havoc, sir.
MAYOR: Have we got any dogs of war?
AIDE: I'm afraid our most recent budget focused on education, sir.
MAYOR: We blew money on education? With stupid people on the loose? Jesus, man. This is not good.
AIDE: An atrocity, sir. (phone rings) Mayor Shithead's office. (pause) A flood drowning several people uptown?
MAYOR: Tell them we've already got one and we don't want it.
AIDE: Sorry. We're not interested in a flood at this time. (hangs up) Well, sir?
MAYOR: Stupid people, running amok. Jesus, man.

(cut to the BEE in jail. a WOMAN is pleading his case)

WOMAN: You don't understand how bad these sculptures are! She uses real prunes! And nude models from the old folks home!
BEE: I'm sorry. It sounds like a really bad situation, but there's nothing I can do. Wish I could help.
VOICE: (offstage)Time's up.
WOMAN: Thanks anyway. (exits)
VOICE: (offstage)One more visitor for you, Bee.

(FUTURE GIRL enters)

FUTURE: Greetings, heroic insect of the world's past.
BEE: Future Girl! What are you doing here?
FUTURE: I bring grave tidings. There is a serious disruptance in the timestream.
BEE: What's going on?
FUTURE: I will explain on the way. Come.
BEE: I can't. This is a prison, Future Girl. I'm not allowed to leave. Besides, I'm retired. I'm…(FUTURE GIRL whispers in the BEE's ear. the BEE is shocked) Oh my god.

(cut to VICKI and CHET, who sits at a keyboard)

CHET: Alright, Vicki. Here's your note.
VICKI: (pauses, then nods) Got it.
CHET: Take it to the streets, girl.
VICKI: (singing) If you're lost you can look and you will find me…
BOTH: (singing) Time after time.
VICKI: (singing) If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting…
BOTH: (singing) Time after time.
VICKI: (singing) Time after time. (pauses, speaking) That one's for anyone who's ever had a dream. Thank you.
CHET: (rapt admiration) You've still got it, Vicki.
VICKI: Thank you, Chet.
CHET: It's a shame your gig up north didn't work out. I just want you to know…you've got a voice like sunshine parting the clouds. It's…ah, damn. I'm getting sloppy.
VICKI: I've made mistakes. But every time I'm lost, I return to the music and I am found.
CHET: Let's run "Mama Said Knock You Out".
VICKI: (singing) Don't call it a comeback! I've been here for years!

(MILT enters)

MILT: Chet, Vicki. Sorry to interrupt. Can I have a moment?
CHET: Hey, boss.
MILT: Listen. I've got Frankie booked at the Best Western in Canistota this week, so there's a new opening act. Chet, would you mind playing musical director?
CHET: I'd be delighted to.
MILT: Thanks. They're an interesting bunch of guys. This one could be huge.
CHET: I'll do my best.

(cut to the MAYOR and the AIDE)

AIDE: (answering phone)Mayor Shithead's office. (listens)Mm-hmm. (listens)Mm. (hangs up)Sir, I have two pieces of very bad news.
MAYOR: Give them to me in reverse alphabetical order.
AIDE: Alright, sir. Many short-sighted citizens are protesting your "bowling with homeless people" program, sir.
MAYOR: That's the welfare state for you. Offer them honest work, they'll just stay on the dole. (sighs)Guess we'll have to go back to midgets. What's the next piece of news?
AIDE: Well, sir, there's been an escape at the prison.
MAYOR: If those savages want to ice-skate, that's their own business.
AIDE: No, sir. An escape. A break-out.
AIDE: The worst, sir.
MAYOR: You don't mean…
AIDE: I do, sir. Sincerely.
MAYOR: Not now. Now, of all times…get me Bronson.

(cut to STANFORD BRONSON and TAMMY. they are staring offstage)

STANFORD: Okay, little duck! I understand that the pond on the other side of the street must be very exciting to you, and I'm going to do everything in my power to get you over to that pond, but you're going to have to work with me here.
TAMMY: You've got to save my duck, Mr Bronson!
STANFORD: Nobody's heading for the big bread crumb in the sky. Not on my watch. I'm Stanford Bronson, crisis negotiator, and I'm in charge now. Duck! How are you? I've made arrangements for someone to take you over to the other pond. Stay calm, duck. We're going to work this out. (a quack)Consider it done. Anything you want. Just don't cross…(a quack, a car noise, and a splat)Shit.
TAMMY: My duck!
STANFORD: Well. This is a losing streak.
TAMMY: My duck!
STANFORD: Look, the duck was depressed, okay? It was behaving irrationally. There was nothing I could do.
TAMMY: My duck!

(STANFORD sighs and shakes his head. the AIDE enters)

AIDE: Stanford Bronson?
STANFORD: That's me.
TAMMY: He killed my duck!
STANFORD: She drove the duck to it.
TAMMY: Did not.
STANFORD: What can I do for you?
AIDE: I'm from the mayor's office. We have a…sensitive situation on our hands,.
STANFORD: Look, you might as well pull in some rookie. I'm washed up.
AIDE: Perhaps. But you may be the only hope we've got. Come on.

(the AIDE, STANFORD and TAMMY walk to the jail cell, where the MAYOR waits)

MAYOR: Stanford Bronson?
MAYOR: Thank you for coming. I'm Mayor Shithead.
STANFORD: Mayor Shithead? Of the Boston Shitheads?
MAYOR: No, the Pennsylvania Shitheads.
STANFORD: Oh, those Shitheads.
MAYOR: Who is the little girl?
TAMMY: He killed my duck.
STANFORD: Section 8 Line 17 of the Scruffy Orphan codes says, as a crimefighter, I have to bring her along wherever I go for the duration of the case.
MAYOR: I wrote that law. Personal favorite of mine. Anyway. I assume my aide briefed you on the way over. Are you familiar with the Bee?
STANFORD: Of course. Former public enemy number one. Admittedly, there's less competition in the giant insect criminal charts, but still.
MAYOR: That bee is a dangerous killer. Bronson, we need you to bring him in.
STANFORD: Sir, I…(pauses)Alright. I'll do it. But we do this my way, understand?
MAYOR: Whatever it takes. By any means necessary. (exits, with AIDE)
STANFORD: (enters the cell)First off, let's recreate the scene of the crime..

(with the door closed, STANFORD tries several routes of escape:
trying to fit through the bars, playing with the door, etc)

TAMMY: My duck was going to be a movie star and eat ice cream.
STANFORD: Look, kid, I…wait. That's it. Duck! (steps back and walks around the cell) That's how he escaped. This bee is smart. He could have jumped this joint any time he liked. Why now? What's his motive?

(cut to the BEE and FUTURE GIRL)

BEE: Tell me one more time what I'm up against.
FUTURE: Such a collision – of total soul and total anti-soul – would act like a spiritual particle accelerator, and because the destructive nature of component pieces, the atom smashes will produce what called 'strange' quarks. When strange quark comes with the common 'up' and 'down' quarks from normal atom smashes, they will form a 'strangelet.' If the resulting strangelet contains more strange quarks than ups or downs, it will have negative charge. Negative charged strangelet would trigger relentless process of electron-positron pair creation. The strangelet would strip away electrons of any normal atom it touched and absorb the exposed nucleus. The process would continue until all matter was converted into strangelets. In other words, all matter would be eaten. No more soul. No more anything.
BEE: I have no idea what you just said, but it sounds bad.
FUTURE: Also, it will cause a paradox if humans find out about strangelets this early in history. You must stop the collision without allowing them to find out.
BEE: I don't know if I'm up to this.
FUTURE: Heroic insect of ages past, we believe in you. Many people remember your heroic. You must cease the catastrophe. It can be done by you.
BEE: (sighs) Then let's save the universe one more time.

(cut to STANFORD and TAMMY)

STANFORD: (dials a phone) Mayor Shithead? Bronson here.
MAYOR: (offstage) Bronson, finally. Have you got him yet?
STANFORD: I'm on the trail, sir.
MAYOR: (offstage) Any means necessary, Bronson. I'm granting you a license to kill. Stop that bee.
STANFORD: Yes, sir. (hangs up) You know, I've always wanted a license to kill, and now that I've got it…something's weird about this. Something besides the axe-wielding giant bees. I'm starting to think Shithead may not be on the up and up. (calling offstage) Replay that tape of the bee talking to that the journalist.
BEE: (offstage) Situation like that, who's going to take the bee's side? I did what I had to do to protect…well, anyway. Yeah.
STANFORD: That's it! Did you hear it? He stuttered.
TAMMY: My brother stutters when he sees girls. Once he ate a whole pizza by himself and then he got sick! (falls asleep)
STANFORD: That giant bee's inspirational rhyming couplets helped people across the world get clean. He had mad flow. He wouldn't stutter unless he meant to do it. Listen.
BEE: (offstage) I did what I had to do to protect…well, anyway. Yeah.
STANFORD: Protecting someone, Bee? What are you protecting them from?

(cut to CHET at his keyboard)

CHET: Here's your first note.
CHET: Not quite there. Try it again.
CHET: (slowly)Okay.

(GENGHIS, MING, and FUG – the Mongol Horde – enter one by one)

GENGHIS: (singing) You are fire.
MING: (singing) Hot fire.
FUG: (singing) I want back. Now!
GENGHIS: (hitting MING) No sing tenor! I tenor! You alto!
CHET: Guys, guys. Settle down.
MING: (sulky)I smash tenor.
CHET: Let's set that aside for now and work on the "Oklahoma"/Beach Boys medley.
GENGHIS: (singing) Oh, what beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day…
MING: I smash beautiful morning.
GENGHIS: (singing) I have feeling, destroy everything in my way…
MING: (singing) Wouldn't it be nice if you stronger, then smash rocks all day long…
CHET: (exasperated) Cut. Take five. (sighs) It don't come easy.

(cut to FUG. VICKI enters)

VICKI: Chet, I'm thinking purple with the gold tiara for tonight, what do you…oh.
FUG: Hi.
VICKI: Hi. (long pause) What are you doing here?
FUG: Singing. You?
VICKI: The same.
FUG: Mm. (long pause) How you been?
VICKI: Oh, you know. You?
FUG: Okay.
VICKI: What are you up to?
FUG: Go back to roots. Trash small clubs.
VICKI: You here with the guys?
FUG: Ator not come. Says reunion tour dumb.
VICKI: Mm. (long pause) Well.
FUG: Yeah. (long pause) Fug miss you.
VICKI: Oh, no.
FUG: Miss you like beef. Is hole in heart only fill by you.
VICKI: I can't do this right now…
FUG: Please. Give second chance.
VICKI: I can't…
FUG: More than words.
VICKI: (tearful) I've got to go. (exits, followed by FUG)

(GENGHIS and MING advance on CHET)

GENGHIS: Play funky music for us.
CHET: We don't have time to rehearse any more, guys. It's almost showtime.
MING: You play funky keyboards for us. Our set. Great balls.
CHET: Look, I put all I've got into Vicki's set, I don't think I'll have it in me to…

(FUG brings VICKI onstage. she is bound and gagged)

MING: Play or we smash.
CHET: Smash what?
MING: (pointing at VICKI) That!
CHET: What?
MING: That! There! We smash!
CHET: I'm sorry, guys, I have no idea what you're talking about.

(MING roars in frustration. the MONGOLS confer)

MING: Play twenty questions.
CHET: Is is a fruit?
CHET: A person?
MING: Yes.
CHET: Is it blues guitarist Junior Wells?
CHET: I'm fresh out.
VICKI: (FUG ungags her) Chet! Help! (FUG restores the gag)
CHET: Vicki!
GENGHIS: Now. You make us funky.
MILT: (offstage) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Snowmass Colorado. Tonight, for your entertainment, we are proud to present…the Mongol Horde!

(the MONGOLS clear their throats and prepare to sing. the BEE enters with an axe)

BEE: It ends here.
MING: Bee!
CHET: (looking to the sky) Thank you, Otis.
BEE: Let the girl go.
FUG: Can't. Is bound by chains of love. Real chains only for symbolic.
BEE: Step away from the keyboard.
GENGHIS: No. I sing Marvin Gaye.
BEE: The hell you will.

(GENGHIS and the BEE circle each other. FUG guards VICKI. MING stares into space)

GENGHIS: We not so different, you and me. I like smash. You like smash.
BEE: There's a world of difference between you and me, Genghis. Right vs wrong. Good vs evil. God vs the devil. Mongol Hordes do not sing Marvin Gaye.
GENGHIS: Join me. We rule world together.
BEE: Never.

(the BEE and GENGHIS clash. the BEE wins and holds his axe to GENGHIS's neck)

BEE: Yield, Genghis. It's over.
MING: (noticing something offstage) Stealth mode!

(the MONGOL HORDE all put on baseball caps)

BEE: What are you…


STANFORD: Drop the axe, Bee.
BEE: Don't be a fool.
STANFORD: I'm Stanford Bronson, crisis negotiator, and I'm in charge now.
BEE: Bronson, the fate of the entire universe is at stake here.
STANFORD: I'll be the judge of that.
BEE: These are not innocent civilians! This is the Mongol Horde!
STANFORD: Looks like a bunch of kids in baseball caps from where I'm standing!
BEE: Don't do this, Bronson!
STANFORD: Stand down, Bee!
BEE: I can't do that!
STANFORD: Stand down!
BEE: I can't do that!

(as they yell, CHET rises. he wanders around, searching, and finally
comes to MING, whose baseball cap he knocks off. MING yells)

TAMMY: Look, Mr Bronson!
STANFORD: The Mongol Horde!
TAMMY: My daddy said the Mongol Horde was just a metaphor and people don't come to see metaphors!
STANFORD: Your daddy is a very stupid man. So, Genghis. We meet again.
GENGHIS: Memories.
BEE: You've got to trust me, Bronson. The Mongol Horde cannot be allowed to sing.
STANFORD: You've got to trust me first. Step away from the barbarian.

(the BEE hesitates and then steps away)

STANFORD: The National Guard is on their way. Take my vest. It'll get you past them.
BEE: How did you know where to find me?
STANFORD: Two things. Turns out Shithead was sending large payments in beef to a PO Box in Canada that was registered to Mr Fire Hot. Then I knew what Shithead was up to. He figured as long as stupid people were running amok, he might as well try to eliminate the smart people. It'd be quicker. Then I tracked down an old acquaintance of yours. I noticed you'd been sending checks from jail every month to a single address. The resident of that address also received a check earlier this week that was postmarked Snowmass, Colorado. Someone you've been protecting for many years, Bee.
BEE: You…no. It's been too long. I've sacrificed…let it slip…she doesn't…

(LOLA enters. she is a woman-sized bee)

LOLA: Yes, I do. Come home, Bee.

(they embrace. "Love Child" by the Supremes begins to play)

STANFORD: Get out of here.
BEE: Thank you.
STANFORD: No. Thank you.

(the BEE and LOLA exit. STANFORD unties VICKI)

CHET: Good song.
VICKI: (smiling)You're not so bad yourself, Chet.
CHET: You make it easy.
STANFORD: You going to behave, Mongols?
GENGHIS: Will behave.
MING: Get jobs in retail.
TAMMY: My duck is still dead.
TAMMY: I forgive you.
VICKI: Truth, justice, and a little soul.
MING: Smashing big rocks too.
STANFORD: Been a pleasure working with you.
CHET: Yeah, well, it ain't been a bad ride at that.


something for the weekend by marc heiden april 2000