Monday, December 15, 2008

So Close Yet So Far

Carpe (thinking): “So where were we?”

Evil EJ (snidely): “If that doesn’t inspire confidence in the narrative, I don’t know what will.”

Carpe (ignoring him): “At length the end of the day arrived. With an ill-will Evil EJ left his business and took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern, the Brady Pub. Having read the good parts of the newspapers including USA Today’s hilariously unintentionally poor Friday movie reviews, he went home. He lived in chambers that were a gloomy suite of rooms, old enough now and dreary enough. Just as Evil EJ was about to open the mansion’s front door, he saw it.”

Carpe (continuing): “Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow, but had a dismal light about it. It was not angry or ferocious. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath of hot air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid color, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face, and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.”

Evil EJ (unafraid): “That’s it?”

Carpe (continuing): “As Evil EJ looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again. In Evil EJ went, not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap, and Evil EJ liked it. But before he went up to his room, he walked through the rooms closest to him. Bathroom, bedroom, sitting room. All as they should be. Quite satisfied, he went upstairs, entered his room, closed his door, and sat down before the fireplace when he suddenly heard a low moaning sound.”

Evil EJ (getting up again): “Humbug!”

The moaning is now accompanied by faint chiming.

Evil EJ (walking across the room): “It's humbug still. I won't believe it.”

Evil EJ listens as both the moaning and chiming increase in volume.

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Evil EJ (deadpan): “Ah, yes, the obligatory Metallica reference. Perhaps you would like to waste several moments gushing over their four Grammy nominations, eh?”

Carpe (defensive): “Would you rather listen to ‘Carol of the Bells’?”

Evil EJ (firmly): “If you’re wasting time plugging your musical obsession, then I’m done playing around.”

The decision made, Evil EJ opens one of his numerous weapon lockers and suits up for supernatural combat.

Ready for anything, Evil EJ leaves his room. Searching for the source of the noise, he sweeps the interior of the mansion and takes out several minor apparitions with his combat shotgun before running into a familiar figure.

Evil EJ (surprised): “Father.”

Stefano (seeing what the noise was): “Elvis, what in the devil’s name are you doing up at this hour wandering the halls like some sort of crazed ninja?”

Evil EJ (sheepishly): “I’m…I’m hunting a ghost, father.”

Stefano looks at his son.

Stefano (raising an eyebrow): “Sawed off shotgun loaded with rock salt?”

Evil EJ (nodding): “Yes, father.”

Stefano (listing): “Handgun with anti-electromagnetic rounds?”

Evil EJ (nodding): “Yes, father.”

Stefano (listing): “Backup dagger with iron hilt?”

Evil EJ (nodding): “Yes, father.”

Stefano (listing): “Lighter and matches?

Evil EJ (gesturing): “Waterproof and regular.”

Stefano (continuing): “Ectoplasm resistant clothing and crucifix?”

Evil EJ pulls down the collar of his black fleece zip-up to show the cross around his neck.

Stefano (so far so good): “Copy of ‘Exorcisms and Certain Supplications?’”

Evil EJ (proudly): “English and Latin editions. Both memorized.”

Stefano (last item): “‘Encyclopedia of Spirits’ in the original translation?”

Evil EJ thinks for a moment.

Evil EJ (angry at himself): “Dammit, I knew I forgot something.”

Stefano (disappointed): “Elvis, what did I train you for if you cannot even remember the simplest of preparations when confronting otherworldly phenomena?”

Stefano moves over to a nearby bookcase, presses a button, and retrieves a copy of the reference from a stack of books tucked away behind a hidden panel.

Evil EJ (bowing after he accepts the book): “Sumimasen, otousan.”

Stefano (going back to bed): “Konbanwa, Elvis-chan.”

Evil EJ watches his father leave and then resumes his hunt for the source of the moaning and chiming. After several more minutes of searching, he sees a shadowy figure as he rounds a corner. Body tensed, Evil EJ hides behind the edge of the wall and readies his shot as the being moves towards him.

I shot the sheriff
But I swear it was in self-defense
If I am guilty
I will pay

Stupid Voice (bad Jamaican accent): “Don’t be hating, mon!”

Dumfounded, Evil EJ lowers his shotgun as he looks at Good EJ walk up to him wearing fake dreadlocks and a white ‘Visit Jamaica’ t-shirt.

Good EJ (even worse): “Take it easy!”

Evil EJ stares at Good EJ in shock as he holsters his shotgun on his back.

Evil EJ (flabbergasted): “Good EJ, just who exactly do you think you are pretending to be?”

Good EJ smiles at Evil EJ.

Good EJ (plainly as he drops character): “Bob Marley. Your late business partner.”

Aghast at his shiny counterpart’s idiocy, Evil EJ sighs audibly. He then takes off his combat backpack and rummages in it for a copy of the script. Moving over to Good EJ, Evil EJ flips to the second chapter and shows Good EJ the error of his ways.

Evil EJ (pointing): “Jacob Marley. Not Bob Marley, Rainbow Brite.”

Good EJ (taking off his wig): “Ohhhhhh. My mistake.”

Evil EJ (dryly): “You thought nothing of a Rastafarian in the 1840s?”

Good EJ (honestly): “Why not? We live in a very diverse society.”

Evil EJ (irritated): “Heaven forbid you actually read the script and not just glance at it during the commercial breaks of 'Ellen.'”

Good EJ smiles apologetically, and Evil EJ’s eyes widen as he realizes as his wisecrack was correct.

Good EJ (backing up slowly): “But Dennis Quaid was on, and it was really funny. You see, there was a hidden camera, and he went into Starbucks and he was really obnoxiousness saying ‘I am Dennis Quaid-I was nominated for a Golden Globe’ and-”

His patience run out, Evil EJ abruptly pistol whips Good EJ and then reholsters his weapon as he chokes his lighter doppelganger.

Good EJ (unable to break Evil EJ’s hold): “I’m sorry, Evil EJ! I’m sorry! Please stop hurting me!”

Evil EJ (darkly): “I haven’t begun hurting you, you pathetic waste of flesh.”

Carpe (breaking in): “Ah, yes, the beloved part of the classic story where Ebenezer Scrooge strangles the ghost of his old business partner-OH WAIT.”

At the interruption, Evil EJ stops choking Good EJ.

Carpe (reluctant): “As much as this personally amuses me, you’re avoiding the plot.”

Evil EJ (challenging): “You can’t actually expect Sugar Bumps here to genuinely frighten me.”

Carpe (agreeing): “I’ll settle for mild indifference. Now get back on track.”

Reluctantly stepping away from Good EJ, Evil EJ crosses his arms and begins.

Evil EJ (seething): “How now? What do you want with me?”

Taking Evil EJ’s copy of the script off the floor, Good EJ frantically flips through it attempting to find his lines.

Evil EJ (taking the opportunity to skip ahead): “Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”

Good EJ (reading directly from the script): “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men, and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world-oh, woe is me!-and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth and turned to happiness!”

Carpe (seriously): “The spectre raised a cry and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.”

Lacking the proper prop, Good EJ just shrugs.

Evil EJ (shaking his head): “You are fettered. Tell me why?”

Good EJ (apologetically): “I wear the chain I forged in life…well, um, metaphorically, I guess.”

Evil EJ (flatly): “Indeed. Jacob! Old Jacob Marley, tell me more! Speak comfort to me, Jacob!”

Good EJ smiles reassuringly at Evil EJ and moves towards him.

Good EJ (reaching over to hug Evil EJ): “It’s okay, Evil EJ. We’re just pretending. There’s nothing to be scared of.”

Evil EJ (sneering as he pushes Good EJ away): “I’m not actually afraid, you indolent imbecile!”

Good EJ (feelings hurt): “Oh. Um, I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere as weary journeys lie before me!”

Carpe (seriously): “The ghost set up another cry, and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance.”

Good EJ (not really putting enough emotion into it): “Oh, captive, bound, and double-ironed! Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh, such was I!”

Evil EJ (sarcastically): “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob. And annoyingly so.”

Good EJ (still not enough): “Business! Mankind was my business! Hear me! My time is nearly gone.”

Evil EJ (with contempt): “Thank goodness.”

Good EJ (reading): “How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day.”

Evil EJ (with contempt): “Pervert.”

Good EJ (too quickly): “That is no light part of my penance. I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring. You will be haunted by three spirits. Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first later tonight when the bell tolls one.”

Evil EJ (encouragingly): “How about I take them all at once and get this over with?”

Carpe (flatly): “No one’s getting out of this early.”

Good EJ (lacking flourish): “"Look to see me no more, and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!”

Attempting a dramatic exit, Good EJ runs off. At the surprised shout a few moments later, Evil EJ closes his eyes and sighs as Good EJ trips down the stairs.

Carpe (seriously): “And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose, Evil EJ went straight to bed without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant.”

Evil EJ (defiantly standing in place): “No, he didn’t.”

Carpe (giving in): “Fine.

No comments:

Post a Comment