Again, for my advanced creative writing class. Enjoy.
El Castigo (Captain Staggering’s sidekick)
Boltman (African American super villain turned super hero)
Various unnamed retired super heroes
The action takes place in the Home for Retired Super Heroes (HoRSH).
[The living room of HoRSH. CAPTAIN STAGGERING and THE CASTIGO are watching TMZ on the huge-screen TV in the rec room of HoRSH while other superheroes mill about. STAGGERING is in a comfortable chair, CASTIGO is in a worn wheelchair.]
STAGGERING [gesticulates at TV while he’s talking]: Can you believe this shit? Can you believe what Tom Cruise is saying now? He’s comparing himself to the military and he’s a goddamned movie actor. An ACTOR! Can you believe that?
CASTIGO [wakes up after having nodded off]: What? Oh yeah, unbelievable jefe, unbelievable. What he said.
STAGGERING: I know! What a punk. He don’t know what the military goes through, or people like us, saving people’s lives and doing it for something other than a million dollars. He’s a goddamned punk. [looks around the room, lowers voice] And he’s a Jew too, I’m sure. And probably a peter-puffer to boot. That Sorry kid probably ain’t his.
CASTIGO: I don’t know jefe, I’ve heard she’s his, but yeah, Cruise sucks. [puts hands on wheels to roll away].
[STAGGERING puts his hands on CASTIGO’S leg to keep him from moving]
STAGGERING: Don’t go anywhere buddy, it’s almost dinner time. Ha ha haha! Now look at that. There’s that Kardashian whore and her ni…her black husband. Why do we need to see those two? What have they ever done for anybody?
CASTIGO: I guess they’re just famous for being famous, you know?
STAGGERING: That and her sex tape when she was with another colored guy. I tell ya, it makes me glad I’m going to be dead soon. I don’t have to see this crap on my screen anymore and good riddance.
[from in front of STAGGERING and CASTIGO somebody yells “Pipe down, you old bastard.”]
STAGGERING: You shut up Gazerbeam or I’ll pipe you down. Gazerbeam. More like Gazerbum if you ask me, all you did. Stupid eyes.
[The door to the HoRSH rec room is opened by an orderly and the nurse pushes in a hunched-over figure (Boltman)covered in a blanket, in a wheelchair. The nurse gets him to the center of the room and stops.]
NURSE: Okay everybody, it’s that special time again. We get to say hello to somebody new. We have somebody new staying with us. Everybody, say hello to Boltman. [Boltman shrugs off the blanket and straightens up, looks around]
[murmurs around the room from other super heroes]
STAGGERING: Did she say Boltman?
STAGGERING: What the hell? Boltman? Here? This place is for heroes, not villains.
[STAGGERING gets up from his chair and walks over to where people are gathering around BOLTMAN. He elbows his way through the crowd to stand in front of BOLTMAN. ]
STAGGERING: Well hello, Boltman. Welcome to the HoRSH. I hope you enjoy your stay here, where every day I’m gonna remind everybody of what you did and why you’re no hero, no matter what you did later on. I know you. I know who you are and I know what you are and I know you’re rotten to your dark core, and me and CASTIGO here [reaches behind him for CASTIGO, who is still by the chair where STAGGERING was sitting, and is dozing off]…I said CASTIGO here! [CASTIGO snaps awake, slowly rolls his way through the crowd to get by STAGGERING’S side] will be watching you all the time. All the time. You’re ours, boy.
BOLTMAN [looks up at STAGGERING and smiles]: Well, hello Captain Staggering. Long time no see! I’d hoped you could let that water under the bridge stay under the bridge but I guess not. I’ve apologized over and over and over for it, I am truly sorry and I wish you nothing but the best. That was another life for me and since then I’ve seen and followed the light.
STAGGERING: You can take your apologies and stuff ‘em where the sun don’t shine. A zebra can’t change his stripes and you’re a zebra plain and simple. I don’t trust you, never will. I don’t think this wheelchair is even for real, you can probably still run your skinny ass off. I’m gonna get you, man.
BOLTMAN: I’m sorry you feel that way, truly sorry.
[STAGGERING turns away from BOLTMAN and walks away, pushing CASTIGO with him. Everyone moves away from BOLTMAN, the stage lights dim and the spotlight shines on him]
BOLTMAN: It was a long time ago. I was still a punk kid, and Captain Staggering and El Castigo were barely older than me, wet-behind-the ears super heroes. Stagger was just like Superman, all big and strong and dumb muscle. His super power was like he’d OD’ed on steroids and lived to tell the tale. I don’t know how he recruited El Castigo to work with him. Casty didn’t have any super powers but he was like Indiana Jones with the whip, I still have a scar from him. El bastardo. Anyway…as you can guess, my power was super-speed. I know, black guy runs fast, ha ha. Anyway…I’d just robbed a liquor store, second one that day. I needed the money; super villains gotta eat. I was walking across the Quinn Bridge when they finally caught up with me. I was cocky, didn’t think nobody could catch me. Had my back to them, didn’t know they were there, and Castigo slapped that whip around me, held me fast. Shit. Stagger came running up behind him and clocked me one, hard but not too hard, I guess he was afraid of hurting me too much. Still had his whitebread image back then, ya see. So I acted like I was knocked out; easy to do because I’d had plenty of practice doing it with my drunk-ass dad. Bastardo loosened his whip and they gave each other a high-five. I jumped up, pushed Bastardo…sorry, I mean Castigo – it’s ok, we’ve made up since then and he’s cool with me – over the bridge and kicked Stagg’s feet out from under him just like that, he dropped like a sack of potatoes. How was I s’posed to know a beaner like Castigo couldn’t swim? I thought they all could. Anyway…Stagger got up, looked at me, and then jumped over the bridge and into the river to save his partner. I ran away, laughing at them. A little while later, I was moving my game up, robbing a bank, and Gazerbeam caught me, stunned me from behind with his peculiar peeper and kept me stunned until the cops got me and sedated me. While I was in super prison I changed my ways, saw the light, whatever you wanna call it. I changed and started doing good. I guess the press liked my redemption story because they started covering me and ignoring Stagger.
[Spotlight dims, stage lights back on. GAZERBEAM walks over to BOLTMAN]
GAZERBEAM: Ah, don’t worry about him, he’s just a dusty old fart. All he does is bitch and moan all day and drag his sidekick along with him everywhere. Just between you and me, I think Castigo hates him and is waiting for him to die.
BOLTMAN: Hey thanks, GB, thank you. I appreciate the support. I’m not worried about him. He ain’t nuthin’ to me.
GAZERBEAM: That’s all well and good but you best be careful, OK? You never know what a sack of hate like him could do and it’s best not to chance it.
[GAZERBEAM pushes BOLTMAN away and STAGGERING moves to center stage. Stage lights dim, spotlight on STAGGERING]
STAGGERING: Oh no, I can’t take this, I can’t take this. I’m not gonna sit here and let that…that…African-American pull his wool over everybody else’s eyes. This is my place, my house, this is where I belong and I’m not gonna let him stay here. I know he’s still bad, always will be, and he’s here because he wants to take me out. No way I’m letting a colored fella like him take me out, no sir. He’s done.
[STAGGERING moves away from center stage. CASTIGO get up from his wheelchair and walks into the spotlight]
CASTIGO: I’m not really crippled and I don’t really speak with an accent. I’ve lived here all my life and I did good for myself, but then I ended up here and Staggering stuck me in this wheelchair and made me his Mexican monkey. I was just too tired to fight him and now I have to keep up the act or he’ll beat me. He’s still pretty strong, you know. Not as strong as he was but strong enough. [pause] I hate him. I can’t wait for him to die.
[CASTIGO sits back down in his chair and rolls over to STAGGERING’S side, spotlight goes out. BOLTMAN wheels back to center stage. Stage lights back on]
STAGGERING [talking to CASTIGO]. OK, this is what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna go over there to Boltman and push him out of his chair, scare the crap outta him, make him get up and show he’s a fraud.
CASTIGO: Is that really a good idea, jefe? What if he isn’t faking? You’d better be careful, be sure.
STAGGERING: Oh, I know he is. I can tell when he’s lying, which is most of the time. You just let me take care of this, stay back. I don’t want you messing me up.
CASTIGO: Your wish is my command, jefe. You got it.
[CASTIGO wheels to side stage. STAGGERING and BOLTMAN meet at center stage. Other super heroes form a sloppy line at stage rear]
STAGGERING: This is it, Boltman. Time to give it up. I know what you’re doing with that fake wheelchair. I know you can still walk and run just fine. I’m giving you one chance now, get up and show everybody what a fake you are. I’m giving you five seconds before I make you show everybody you’re faking.
BOLTMAN: I don’t know what you’re talking about, man. My legs barely work anymore. Please, just let me be. Just let me be.
BOLTMAN: Please, you don’t wanna do this.
[STAGGERING slaps BOLTMAN hard across the face, making his head snap. BOLTMAN remains in the chair. STAGGERING slaps BOLTMAN again, BOLTMAN’S head snaps again.]
STAGGERING: Last chance, nigger. Get outta that goddamned chair or I’m gonna make it hurt.
BOLTMAN [spits out a little blood, smiles up at STAGGERING] I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do your worst.
[STAGGERING upends BOLTMAN’S wheelchair, spilling him on the floor in a pile. BOLTMAN doesn’t move. STAGGERING stands over BOLTMAN.]
STAGGERING: Get up. Get up, god damnit. I know you can.
[BOLTMAN still doesn’t move.]
STAGGERING: So that’s how it is, huh? That’s how it’s gonna be. OK then.
[STAGGERING kicks BOLTMAN in the leg, BOLTMAN doesn’t move. STAGGERING rears his leg to kick again and GAZERBEAM comes running over. A beam of light shoots from GAZERBEAM’S eyes and hits STAGGERING, freezing him in place. From stage right CASTIGO gets out his chair and snares STAGGERING with his whip and then pulls him to the ground. STAGGERING is still as GAZERBEAM and CASTIGO help BOLTMAN into his chair. CASTIGO gets back into his chair.
BOLTMAN [wipes dust off his legs, crosses them for a moment and then uncrosses them – nobody else sees this]: Um hm, that’s how it is.
[NURSE walks to center stage, puts on a stethoscope and checks STAGGERING for a heartbeat. She shakes her head and then stands up]
NURSE: He’s got a heartbeat but it’s weak. I don’t know if he’s gonna make it. He’s so old and beat up, I don’t think he has much longer left.
[GAZERBEAM moves to center stage in front of STAGGERING. CASTIGO and BOLTMAN get out of their wheelchairs and walk over to either side of GAZERBEAM.]
GAZERBEAM: That’s OK, nurse. I think you’re right. I think his time is over. I hope it is.
[CASTIGO and BOLTMAN drag STAGGERING’S inert body off the stage. Lights dim, curtains close]