A Chapter for an interactive story that was not submitted in time. So it stands alone.
|Almost a submission to 'Not Another Fan-fiction Sing Along', an interactive story where characters of any medium risk getting kidnapped and have to perform a song.
In balcony seat D12, Velma Dinkley leaned forward and frowned. She had been watching the acts on stage come and go, and now something odd had caught her eye. With the sleeve of her orange cowl-necked sweater she quickly polished the thick lenses of her black horn-rimmed glasses, then leaned as close to the balcony rail as she dared and watched carefully. Yes, she thought, a slight smile playing on the corner of her mouth, there it was. She softly elbowed the burly blond haired man sitting next to her and whispered into his ear.
The man watched for a few minutes, then nodded and turned to whisper to the petite red-head seated on the other side of him. She in turn studied the group on stage thoughtfully, while one hand seemingly absent-mindedly straightened a few errant hairs that had escaped her otherwise immaculate hairdo.
As the next group came to take their place and began to sing, the three teenagers huddled together in whispered consultation. That they were planning something was obvious, and it wasn't long before good-looking blond rubbed his ruggedly handsome square chin and spoke just loud enough for those sitting behind him to hear him say "Right, here's what we're going to do".
The three got out of their seats and began to make their way towards the isle, only to return moments later to retrieve a rangy unkempt looking teenage boy who had been snoring softly behind where they had been sitting. The gangly boy unfolded himself from the two seats that he had been sprawled across and sleepily made his way over to the isle, scratching his back beneath his pea-green t-shirt. "Man," he muttered, "Like, I could really go for some breakfast right now!"
At the word 'Breakfast' a Great Dane popped his head up from under another seat. "Rah" it said, "Reckrust"
"Maybe some pancakes" exclaimed the boy, as he scratched his scraggly goatee.
"Rarsages" replied the Dane, licking his lips with a tongue wet with slobber.
"Bacon and Eggs" said the boy, his eyes lighting up.
"Rah, Racon!" the dog repeated, his huge tongue spraying several innocent onlookers.
Wrapped in their own little world of gluttonous fantasy, the pair traded a tasty litany of fast breaking ideas as they followed the rest of their party, oblivious to the discomfort and general dampness they left in their wake.
A short few minutes later, the group was standing in center stage as the opening notes of Michael Jackson’s famed “Thriller” began to beat through the speakers.
It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes
You're, like, paralyzed, man!
'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one's gonna save you from the beast about strike
You know it's thriller, thriller night
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight
You hear the door slam and realize there's nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you'll ever see the sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination, girl!
But all the while you hear the creature creeping up behind
You're like, outa time!
'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain't no second chance against the thing with forty eyes, girl
Thriller, thriller night
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight
Night creatures calling, the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There's no escaping the jaws of the alien this time
Velma and Shaggy:
(They're open wide)
Rhis ris re end rof rour Rife!
They're out to get you, there's demons closing in on every side
They will possess you unless you change that number on your dial
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together, yeah
All through the night I'll save you from the terror on the screen
Shaggy [pops up dressed in rags and grey zombie paint]:
Like, I'll make you see
[Scooby freaks out and runs off right]
That this is thriller, thriller night
[Shaggy turns and sees a zombie standing beside him, smiling]
Shaggy: "Yoikes" (Runs off left)
'Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would ever dare try
[Zombie lifts mask, it's Scooby, laughing!]
All (except shaggy):
Thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a
[Shaggy returns, looks at Scobby with 'I'll get you for that look in his eyes'
Killer, diller, chiller, thriller here tonight
'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
[Shaggy sees zombie, assumes Scooby has put his mask back on, grabs the hair and pulls to take his mask off]
Girl, I can thrill you more than any ghost would ever dare try
[Shaggy turns and sees Scooby was standing behind him, looks back at headless zombie]
Thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, thriller, ow!
[Shaggy looks at hand and realizes he is holding a zombie head, he drops it and jumps into Scooby’s arms as the head gnashes it's teeth]
I'm gonna thrill ya tonight
[Scooby starts to run left, still holding Shaggy. Stops and leaps (dropping Shaggy) into the air when he sees the way blocked by several zombies]
I'm gonna thrill ya tonight, ooh baby
[Shaggy catches Scooby and runs right, stops and jumps when that way is blocked by more zombies]
I'm gonna thrill ya tonight, oh darlin'
Thriller night, baby, ooh!
[Scooby and Shaggy back into the middle of the stage where they stop, four zombies on either side of them]
Dramatically, the Third Zombie from the Left (in it's best Vincent Price Style) beguins to 'Rap':
Darkness falls across the land
[all the zombies look at Third Zombie]
The midnight hour is close at hand
[zombies look back at Scooby and Shaggy, only to realize they are gone!
Creatures crawl in search of blood
[Zombies spot Scooby and Shaggy crawling towards a corridor lined with doors that has mysteriously appeared, 4 of them shuffle off in pursuit]
To terrorize yawls neighborhood
[Shaggy and Scooby disappear into first door on the left. Zombies open door and follow]
And whosoever shall be found
[Last door in hall open, Shaggy and Scooby sneak straight across. As soon as their door closes middle door on left of hallway opens and 3 zombies cross]
Without the soul for getting down
[first door right opens, Shaggy and Scooby sneak across, middle door right opens, 2 zombies lurch across, both last doors open, 2 zombies cross passing each other]
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
[both first doors open, a zombie from each comes out, scratches head, turns around and returns to room. Shaggy and Scooby do same thing with middle doors]
And rot inside a corpses shell
[4 zombies cross right to left from last doors, then Scooby crosses left to right from middle doors while Shaggy crosses right to left from first doors]
The foulest stench is in the air
[Last doors open Scooby (left) and Shaggy (right) peak out then shut the doors as the other 4 doors open and a zombie from each crosses the hall]
The funk of forty thousand years
[4 doors open and zombies peak out, then the doors shut as Scooby (right) and Shaggy (left) open doors and cross the hall]
And grizzy ghouls from every tomb
[from middle doors 2 zombies being followed by Shaggy cross right to left, then from last doors 2 zombies being followed by Sooby cross left to right]
Are closing in to seal your doom
[all doors open, one zombie each cross's through first and last set while Simultaneously Scooby and Shaggy cross through middle set]
And though you fight to stay alive
[All doors open, 2 zombies each side cross from middle set, while Scooby and Shaggy cross left to right at front set, And at the same time right to left at back set]
Your body starts to shiver
[all doors open, each has a zombie, they stop in the hall, look at each other, then all go to a different door, look in, shrug, look at each other confused, then enter room]
for no mere mortal can resist
[all doors open, Scooby and Shaggy come out of first two, 1 zombie each out the other four. Shaggy and Scooby run into first door left, all zombies follow]
The evil of the thriller
Ahh hah hah hah hah hahh haaa...
[As the laughter trails off the wall blocking the view of the rooms falls over (it's just a muslin covered painted flat, after all) revealing 4 zombies tied to chairs, Shaggy casually twirling a ball of Rope]
The maniacal laughter ended with an 'Eep' as Fred stepped up behind the rapping zombie and grabbed it, pinning its arms helplessly to it's sides.
"Now, said Daphne, we'll see who the real culprit is."
With that she pulled off the zombie mask to reveal:
Daphne and Velma exchanged startled glances. Velma's eyes narrowed as she spoke "So you're the one behind this mass kidnapping and torture scheme."
Gforce shook her head. "No, she protested, "You've got it wrong. I'm as much a victim here as you are, maybe more so. Let me go!"
Fred had no such intentions, and only tightened his grip harder against the girl’s struggles.
Daphne stood firm, hands gracefully on her hips as she confronted the squirming girl. "Drop the innocent act, we figured it all out. In every routine where you applauded the performance, the characters were sent back to their own worlds. Every time you hated the act, the performers were dumped back into the audience."
"Yea. And, like, that time you made that gagging gesture, the group nearly landed in Scoob's lap, man." Shaggy added.
"Oh come on!" Gforce said, looking astonished and ceasing her struggles. "That so called ‘Performance’ was nothing better than an off key ‘Cut and Paste of the lyrics. And possibly the worst rendition of 'Enter Sandman' anyone has ever done! Even Pat Boone did it better."
Refusing to be deterred, Daphne continued, "And in every song that had an extra on stage, there was always one in costume with your shape and build. Are you going to tell us that was a coincidence?"
“Yes I am. The only time I got to go on stage is when I have to make an announcement. This is the first time I got to perform!"
“Like we would believe that. Face it, sister" Velma said forcefully, "We found you out. You have been wantonly kidnapping characters from other dimensions and times, as well as more than a few parallel universes, without any regard to their own personal well being or safety, likely causing havoc and possibly irreparable damage to the fabric of the universe. And all for what? So you could satisfy your own egocentric whim to perform on stage? And what reward do you offer? If they perform well you let them go. If they don't you force them to do it again. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you're the fiend responsible for these atrocities? Isn’t that the truth, Ms. Dragon? Isn't it all true?"
From behind the gang came a rich cultured voice. "You did manage to get several of the facts correct, Ms Dinkly, but I'm afraid you did error when it came to identifying the person responsible.”
As one, The gang whirled around. The remaining zombie had pulled of his mask, revealing himself to be none other than...
"Ricardo Montalbán!" Exclaimed the gang.
The tall man nodded in acknowledgement as he unzipped the back of his zombie rags and stepped out of it, revealing an immaculately pressed white suit.
“Please, he said, today you may refer to me as 'Mr Roarke', as that is the roll I am playing here.”
Shaggy turned to his canine companion. “Like, totally groove Scoob! It's the Colombian Coffee man!"
Ricardo's eyes flicked briefly towards Shaggy, but he continued as if he hadn't heard. "Congratulations, Ms Dinkly, on the accuracy of several of your deductions. The people here have indeed been gathered from many times and many places; places whose very number is limited only by our imaginations. And it is also true that, when their task is completed, no matter how well or how badly they perform, they are returned unharmed to their original homes. I can also guarantee that no harm will ever befall them whilst they are here. As well,” He added in a slightly offended tone “there is no danger of damage to the fabric of time-space. I am far too skilled a practitioner of my art to allow that to happen.”
Shaggy again interrupted "Hey Scoob! Like, dig this cat's far out words!"
This time the eyes lingered a bit longer, as Mr. Montalbán continued. “As far as this young lady is concerned, she speaks the truth when she says she is being forced to act as our host. This is the first time she has been on stage as a performer. As for the similarities you spotted between her and some of the previous performers, it is not so much a coincidence as it is a matter of expedience that all of the extras have her shape and build. It simplifies certain processes if all the costumes are the same size.”
Shaggy spoke up once more. "Hey man, like, say Rich Corinthian Leather"
Mr. Montalbán looked at Shaggy, a brief exasperated frown crossing his face before it once again broke into a wide smile as he exclaimed “But of course, for a group as esteemed as your selves, I will allow you this one indulgence and recite the line properly, as it was originally written.” With that he turned away from the group briefly, then turned back, cocking his head to one side and smiling slightly. “Soft Corinthian Leather!”
“So you’re the one behind the abductions?” asked Daphne in an accusatory tone of voice.
"Please", replied Mr. Montalbán, “As I said, today I am merely a facilitator, using my talents as Mr. Roarke, to fulfill a special request for one very special client. And before you ask, no, I cannot tell you who my client is.”
“Not even for a Scooby snack?” asked Shaggy, reaching into a mysteriously appearing box and tossing one of the small morsels for Scooby to snap out of the air.
“Shaggy!” exclaimed Daphne, “Stop interrupting.”
“Hey, like, the dude’s not going to talk anyway. And we’re like starving here, right Scoob?”
“Rah” Agreed Scooby, “Rarving”
“Oh, but I think your cleverness has earned you the right to a few answers, just not one to that particular question.” Said Mr. Montalbán, still smiling mysteriously.
“You say that people return home no matter how badly they performed.” Observed Fred “But what about those who were returned into the audience?”
The smile that had, until now, continuously graced Mr. Montalbán’s face vanished. “A cut and paste from wiki-lyrics is not considered to be a performance. People are, however,” he continued, smiling again “to be given the opportunity to try again.”
“So people are brought here for some unknown reason, have to perform for the amusement of some mystery person, and then get sent home with no word of explanation?” Velma asked hotly “Why drag these people all this way and then force them to do this? What possible purpose could it serve?
“BECAUSE I CAN!” came a deep, oddly disembodied voice; a voice was hard to listen to, yet clear at the same time. It was both young and old sounding, coming from all around them, seemingly surrounding them, and yet at the same time tricking the ear into believing it came from the direction almost directly opposite from where you were looking. “AND, BECAUSE I CAN,” the voice continued, “I DO, WITH THE HELP OF Mr. ROARKE AND A FEW OTHERS WHO OWE ME A FAVOR…” The voice paused meaningfully, “OR TWO. AS FOR THE PURPOSE, MY PURPOSE IS MY OWN AND MAY YET BE REVEALED, IF THE MOOD STRIKES ME. IT IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU TO KNOW THAT Mr. ROARKE SPEAKS THE TRUTH. NO PERFORMERS HERE WILL BE HARMED.
It seemed to the listening Mystery Gang that a voice that big should have echoes, yet there were none. When the voice stopped there was immediate silence. The voice was androgynous as well; belonging to neither a man, nor a woman, and yet somehow to both.
Before the Mystery Gang could discuss this further, everybody on stage, except Mr Roarke, dissolved into sparkly lights which slowly vanished. The last thing they heard was the voice saying “AND I WILL GET AWAY WITH IT TOO, IN SPITE YOU MEDDLING KIDS.”
A few moments later a small cluster of sparkly lights re-appeared, condensing into a disappointed looking Gforce.
“SORRY, MY PET” said the voice apologetically “I STILL HAVE NEED OF YOU.”
Gforce looked around, sighed, then picked up a microphone to announce the next act.
What was 'The Preface'.
(Or, A litany of excuses.)
I wrote this piece for Dragonofinsanity’s interactive story ‘Not another Musical Fan-Fiction’, after her positive response to my 'Dastardly, Muttley, and Darcy' submission.
I tackled the project filled with grandiose ideas; This as going to be the best, cleverest, and wittiest story I’ve ever done. It’s the way my mind works sometimes, I set such high standards for myself that I can’t possible meet them, spend hours of frustration trying, then give up. And that’s not including my tendency to come up with other projects and distractions as I go along.
Another thing I did wrong was that I originally conceived the chapter as if the gang was recreating the video. Big mistake. I spent hours watching the video and marking out the timing and blocking. And coming to love the video even more while studying it's structure. It may interest some to know that there’s almost 4 minutes of preliminary action before the music actually starts. Anyhow, then I realized that a copy isn’t what I wanted to do, and that was not what the original concept of ‘not another fan fiction sing-along’ was about (at least, the way I interpreted it). So I shelved the project for about a month or so.
Sadly MJ (as popular culture now seems to be referring to Michael Jackson) passed from among us as I was about half way through my third or fourth re-write. This put further pressure on me to produce something that was a fitting tribute to him. I never met the man, although I was told later that the smaller man the giant body guards who passed through a popular LA night club while I was sitting at the bar was indeed him, so maybe I have had the privilege of at least being in the same room as him.
Again I became frustrated with the project and shelved it.
About the beginning of September I finally came to accept several realizations:
1) That ‘Dragon’ would have a different set standards and ideas of what would be acceptable, and I shouldn’t worry too much about her reaction.
2) Halloween was less than two months away, which put me back in the ‘Create something with Thriller’ mood.
3) I am writing for my own enjoyment, and if lowering my standards bar a little bit makes it enjoyable, I should by all means lower it and have fun.
4) I shouldn’t worry about MJ’s reaction, as I doubt if he’ll ever read it. If, by chance, on the next turn of the wheel I should ever have the honor of meeting MJ, I doubt if this small tribute to him would even be mentioned. Although I could just picture the meeting going something along the lines of :
“Oh, Hi. Hey, your Michael, aren’t you.”
And he would respond with “Yes, I am, and you’re?...
“Aurthor., yes, yes I am…ummm”
I would be furiously thinking of something to say, not wanting so sound like one of the millions of deranged fans he has no doubt been inundated with.
“Um,” Long pause, “Weather’s been nice these last couple of epoch’s, hasn’t it?”
“Yes, it has been. Nice. Warm enough.”
Say, that was a nice little fan-fic you wrote up using my ‘Thriller Video’. I rather liked it.”
“Oh yes. Clever, and imaginative.”
“Thanks, I was worried you would find it sacrilegious and hate me for it.”
“No, I don’t hate people. I reserve that emotion for Tabloid Investigative Reporters.”
Another awkward pause.
“Well, I should get going. Nice meeting you.”
“You too, take care. Bye now.”
Oh look, I’ve done it again, distracting myself with a small fantasy about MJ.(although I can’t help but wonder what he will look like, then.)
At this point I was still suffering from writers block. Since sometimes I find working on a side project a useful way to break out of it, I once again shelved the Mystery Gang story and did a little ‘what if’ thing around a soccer player. That got me going again, and I tackled a long overdue newsletter, and added a bit more onto a Sherlock story I’ve been working on for two years, then I came back, stripped the Mystery Gang story down to the Lyric Framework, tossed out the blocking for the dance part, and got creative.
I was almost finished when I checked the original interactive story and discovered that some-one else had done a ‘copy and paste’ of the original ‘Thriller” lyrics as an addition to the story, effectively closing that branch of the interactive to me.
I was a little upset about it. But after stewing for a couple of days, I came to another completely obvious, not so earth shattering conclusion.
It was actually my fault for procrastinating so long. After all, a bit more than 4 months had passed since announcing the chapter and the completion of my version. Even though his version was in essence a simple cut and paste from lyrics on line, he was within his rights to submit them. (whether they should have been accepted given the stated rules is a separate issue.)
Still, that doesn’t mean I’m above being petty. Maybe I’ll have the cast of Star Trek, the original series sing all his songs, just to get even.
Oh my, now I’ve got another side project going!
Anyhow, having written the words I would like people to read them, so I’ve posted them here as a ‘static’ for any and all to enjoy.
By Aurthor, Oct 29 2009
I decided today to change the lay-out. The preface, which is only a story about the story anyhow, seemed to me to distract from the original story, so I moved that part here to the end. I figure if some-one is trully interested in reading I'll let them have the story first, then they can sit through the story about the story. Personally, I think it reads better anyway. I think only really good authors, like King or Ellison, can get away with boring preambles. I need the reader hooked from the first word or their gone.
Modification November 18 2009
OMG, as the kids these days say. It's my birthday, and as a present Two people have read and given reviews of this piece. A little bit of syntax and spelling to correct.
(but I have been read)!
April 23 2017