English Nonsense Abridged

2 - 22 - 2020

Out Of The Hat 2020:

Setting: The African Jungle

First line: And that’s why we use the Oxford Comma!

Object: Mr. Potatohead

Cast of Characters:

Bunburry P. Bunburry: An aged and broken British aristocrat/con man/cannibal.

Marcus A. Hiragana II: A middle aged slacker/artist/junkie.

Annabelle X. Hiragana: A middle aged musician/postmodernist/badass.

[Notes: Everyone should have notebooks with their scripts in it, because they are in class. Everyone should have a chair. Bunburry needs a ruler.]

[Scene: The African Jungle, 2400 CE. A makeshift classroom has been assembled and professor Bunburry is giving his Survival Lesson Of The Day.]

 Bunburry. And THAT’S why we use the Oxford Comma.

 Marcus. BORING!!!

 Bunburry. Shut up! YOU’RE boring. You boring ingrate. Your rich dead parents (Gods rest them) didn’t pay me enough to keep you alive AND tolerate your constant complaining. Just quit it. None of us like to hear about it.

 Annabelle. Can we please hurry this up? These insects carry disease.

 Bunburry. Look, I didn’t put the bedbugs in the beds, nor did I schedule the fumigation.

 Marcus. We’re in the middle of the jungle, Bunburry.

[Bunnbury snaps, walks directly up to Marcus, and hits him with a ruler.]

 Marcus. OW!

 Bunburry. Is pain boring?

 Marcus. Please don’t hit me.

 Annabelle. Yes, let’s not resort to violence, this class period. Again. More.

 Marcus. What’s your deal!?

 Bunburry. My “deal” is that my job is not only to keep you alive, but to make your life worth living, and nothing makes life more appreciated than an education.

 Marcus. You’re not even a licensed teacher!?

 Bunburry. I am a Master of Liberal Arts, you rube! If you would just pay attention, by mistake even, you would have graduated already!!!

 Marcus. But you’re so BORING!!!

 Annabelle. Professor Bunburry, I respect what you’re teaching us here, but I don’t think having this lesson in the middle of the African jungle is in our best interests. There are snakes, and lions, and honey badgers.

 Bunburry. Well, at least SOMEONE is paying attention.

 Annabelle. So perhaps we could postpone class? Until a space is available?

 Bunburry. No way, lady! Not today! Not like this! I took the time to put together a lesson plan and we are going to get through it!

 Annabelle. Fine. Is there an agenda?

 Bunburry. You know the answer to that!

 Marcus. If you hit me again with that ruler, I’m going to kill you with a gun.

 Bunburry. You don’t even own a gun!!!

 Marcus. I found it buried in the mud, and I’m going to shoot you with it, if you even TRY to hit me with that ruler.

 Bunburry. Don’t tempt me. If you even TRIED to shoot me with a gun, I would kill you with this ruler. I could kill you a dozen times before you hit the ground, clean the body, and have you roasted on a spit by the time it took you to cock that little gun of yours.

 Annabelle. Goodness!

 Bunburry. Goodness doesn’t have anything to do with it! I’ve tried teaching you with words, and books, and exposure to great works, and now I am resorting to physical violence! Marcus, you’re never going to get your degree, if you don’t show some respect! Not to me, but to the process.

 Marcus. I would spit on you but I’m chewing gum.

 Bunburry. Do you really have gum?

 Marcus. No of course not. All my gum is being fumigated.

 Annabelle. Could I please see the lesson plan?

 Bunburry. You may not!

 Marcus. Get on with it!

 Bunburry. I’ve been TRYING to get on with it.

 Marcus. Well go then!

 Bunburry. I am going!

 Marcus. I wish you would!

 Bunburry. I will!

 Annabelle. Could we please stop this? Whatever this is?

 Bunburry. Lesson Plan page 4! Sexual Education!!!

 Marcus. BORING!!!

[Bunburry pulls out a Mr. Potatohead toy.]

 Marcus. I’m listening.

 Bunburry. When two potatoes love each other very much, it doesn’t matter, because they are plants, and we don’t analyze plant emotions. Often, if at all. Because we aren’t that interested in what they care about or feel. We only care if they are large, delicious, and prepared in a certain kind of way. To make more potatoes, first leave them around for a long time, until they develop eyes. Then cut off and bury those eyes in the soil. They will sprout, and at the end of your growing season dig them up with a shovel, clean them, boil them, bake them, fry them, or otherwise prepare them, and then feed them to me. Questions.

[Annabelle raises her hand.]

 Bunburry. Yes?

 Annabelle. Aren’t you deathly allergic to potatoes?

 Bunburry. Am I?

 Annabelle. I thought you were. I seem to remember you showing me some sort of medallion before you swallowed it.

 Bunburry. Ah yes, my medic alert implant.

 Annabelle. There you go.

 Bunburry. Well, then it’s lucky for you that we’re in the heart of Africa and potatoes don’t grow here.

 Annabelle. Doesn’t anything grow anywhere?

 Bunburry. If that were true, I would have a cocaine garden.

 Annabelle. Isn’t cocaine refined coca plant?

 Bunburry. This has nothing to do with Sexual Education.

 Marcus. But what about the potato?

 Bunburry. Ah yes. You are taken in with the power of my visual aid.

 Marcus. I can’t help it!!!

[Bunburry hands the Mr. Potatohead to Marcus, who is happy.]

 Bunburry. I’m sorry about hitting you with my ruler. Even though I can hit you doesn’t mean that I should. Take this child’s toy by way of apology.

 Marcus. Thank you Professor Bunburry. You’re an asshat, and a fiend, but I love you.

 Bunburry. And I you. Both of you. You too Lady Annabelle. That’s why it’s so important that we commit ourselves to getting our college degrees… one of these years.

 Marcus. Is there any way to make it less boring?

 Bunburry. No. I’m afraid not.

 Annabelle. Crumbs.

 Bunburry. I know. It’s hard, being bored for such long periods of time, without our phones or toilets to make life seem valuable. But, I’m telling you both some really important stuff.

 Annabelle. Can we conclude the Sexual Education portion of the Lesson Plan?

 Bunburry. Very well. I think we all learned something valuable. Let’s take a five minute break to itch.

[Everyone swats things and itches themselves for a while.]

 Marcus. I don’t think I need a full five minutes.

 Annabelle. Speak for yourself.

 Bunburry. Bedbugs.

 Annabelle. We’re going to have to burn the mosquito nets or we’re going to get malaria.

 Bunburry. No, if we burn them THEN get malaria. Surely the fumigators know to take down the mosquito nets?

 Marcus. Won’t the bedbugs get into the nets?

 Bunburry. No, I think they live in beds. That’s their whole thing.

 Marcus. I don’t want to get malaria!!!

 Bunburry. No one wants malaria, kid. That’s why we’ve got mosquito nets.

 Annabelle. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

 Bunburry. Are you?

 Annabelle. Maybe.

 Marcus. Can I have some?

 Bunburry. Lesson Plan Page 6: Intervention.

[Bunburry and Annabelle turn their chairs backwards towards Marcus.]

 Bunburry. An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by a group of family and/or friends to get a person to seek professional help for an issue, often substance abuse, unaddressed trauma, or unhealthy behavior. There are a number of methods, we are using the Johnson.

 Marcus. What is this? What’s going on?

 Bunburry. Marcus… we know you’re using heroin.

 Marcus. You sold it to me!

 Bunburry. Yes, I know. It’s hard to live on a tutor’s salary.

 Annabelle. Don’t you get $10,000 pounds a month from the estate?

 Bunburry. Do you know how much a kilo of uncut China white costs?

 Marcus. No!

 Bunburry. And you never will.

 Annabelle. You should stop using it, though. You’re going to kill yourself.

 Marcus. Well JEEEZE everyone! I guess I’ll just quit cold turkey then! Next lesson, I guess.

 Annabelle. Thanks, kid.

 Bunburry. Now wait, cold turkey is a bad idea. But just, you know. Use less of it.

 Annabelle. Make good choices.

 Bunburry. Like a career in the arts!

 Annabelle. Please, Professor. This is supposed to be productive.

 Bunburry. Of course. Of course. Well then, I guess it’s on to the final presentation of your theses. I assume that you’ve both prepared?

 Annabelle. Of course.

 Marcus. Am I wearing pants?

[Marcus checks to see if he’s wearing pants.]

 Marcus. Wait. You can’t expect us to do our final presentations in the middle of the African jungle? I had a Power Point! I can’t PP out here!!!

 Annabelle. But Marcus, the Professor was quite clear that we should be ready to present with or without our technology. He had a whole week of rambling over it. If you weren’t addicted to horrible drugs you probably would remember these important life events.

 Marcus. I just want to know if this is a nightmare.

 Bunburry. Don’t we all? Are you saying that you are taking an F on your final project? It’s worth 1,000% of your grade.

 Marcus. That is an irrational percentage.

 Bunburry. Unreasonable perhaps, but not irrational.

 Annabelle. I will go first.

 Bunburry. Thank you, I appreciate your initiative.

 Marcus. My PP is being fumigated!

 Bunburry. Perhaps the fumigators will return before you have to go? Please, Lady Annabelle.
[Annabelle stands and coughs. Like a lot. In a gross way. She’s probably sick. But, she coughs into her arm, and in doing so models the only reasonable and appropriate behavior in this play.]
 Annabelle. Does anyone have a mint?

[Annabelle shakes down the audience for a mint.]

 Annabelle. I did my final thesis on Postmodernist and Postcolonialism integration using a holistic mixed method transdisciplinary research structure. I will present the first part as a modern dance to tribal drums.

[Annabelle listens for drums.]

 Annabelle. But, it doesn’t sound like the drummers are out there. Probably downwind of the fumigators. I also don’t have my sound cues. So. We will abridge this portion of the presentation with a soundless version of the dance, forced and bizarre in nature.

[Annabelle does her best Joaquin Phoenix Joker Oscar Dance.]

 Annabelle. The next portion of my presentation is a dramatic monologue.

 Marcus. BORING!

 Bunburry. You’ve already lost 900% of your grade for not including your mandatory visual aid, Marcus. Don’t risk your last 100% on percentage demerits.

 Marcus. F U old man.

 Bunburry. 1 percent demerit.

 Marcus. F U in the A.

 Bunburry. 2 percent demerit!

 Marcus. F U in the A with a desert cobra.

 Bunburry. 3 percent demerit!!!

 Marcus. I’ve got 94% left, you villainous swine.

 Bunburry. 93%, now, you demeriterous whelp!!!

 Marcus. I’ll stand. Please, Annabelle, continue your boring presentation.

 Annabelle. Thank you, Marcus. You A hole.

[Annabelle takes a very deep breath and then delivers her Thesis Monologue.]

 Annabelle. Postmodernism posits that the educational, social, and financial structures of the pre-modern era were created absent of any unified or beneficial motivation and situates that theory within a larger understanding and context that all structures created by humanity are mutually imaginary. Postcolonialism operates adjacent to the systemscapes of postmodernism in a number of important ways, and in this effort (and within our research) we combine their ethos and relative disciplines under the flagship term “Postmoderncolonialism”. Educationally postmoderncolonialism is the natural response towards a more educated populous who are allowed unfiltered access to accurate history and can draw their own conclusions about the events presented. Socially, postmoderncolonialism tries to undo the myriad of injustices that occurred within this period by first recognizing these injustices as past, present, and future crimes against humanity. Financially, postmoderncolonialism attempts to create inroads to reparations for historically induced traumas. With our modern understanding of epigenetic trauma it becomes clear that the horrors induced by genocide have long term impacts, and real world costs. Postmoderncolonialism uses interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods to create synergies, solutions, and structures to replace the failed notions of the past. In doing so it seeks to…

 Bunburry. Time!

 Annabelle. What?

 Bunburry. Time! You’re done! 0 percent! It’s awful! F minus. Welcome to summer school. You call that a Joaquin Phoenix Joker Oscar Dance?! Next!

 Marcus. I object!

 Bunburry. No fumigator will save you now, Marcus. Do you want to see if you can get 93% more than your sister?

 Marcus. She stole my PP!

 Bunburry. We covered this with Freud. Two whole semesters.

 Marcus. Where was I?

 Annabelle. You were high, Marcus. You were high.

 Marcus. Am I wearing pants?

 Bunburry. Only you can answer that question.

 Marcus. I don’t want to!

 Bunburry. That’s my secret. I don’t want to, either.

 Marcus. Can’t I just pay you to give me the 93%?

 Bunburry. How much?

 Marcus. I can get you $100 dollars American.

 Bunburry. US money is trash. You’re just offering me pink eye.

 Marcus. They seem like relatively clean bills.

 Bunburry. And what am I supposed to do with them? Burn them for heat?

 Annabelle. For reals zero percent?

 Bunburry. For reals. I’m sorry, Lady Annabelle. No Master of Liberal Arts for you, this year.

 Marcus. Wait, what is my grade, now?

 Bunburry. You took this class pass/no pass, and right now you are not passing.

 Marcus. How much is the final presentation worth?

 Bunburry. 1,000%.

 Marcus. And I have 93%?

 Bunburry. So far.

 Marcus. So if I have any points, I would pass, right?

 Bunburry. Wow. I guess so. It’s at my discretion.

 Marcus. So if I do this, and I get any points, I pass, and you have to give me my degree?

 Bunburry. I suppose it does.

 Marcus. Well. Then, I guess I’ll go?

 Bunburry. I wish you would.

[Marcus gets up.]

 Annabelle. Good luck, Marcus.

 Marcus. I did my thesis on Jeremiah Liend.

 Annabelle. BORING!!!

 Bunburry. -1%!

 Annabelle. You can’t give negative percentages! It’s in the syllabus!?!?

 Bunburry. Fine! Fine! Just shut your commie pie hole.

 Marcus. She’s not a commie you poop eating chicken butt licker!

 Bunburry. Chickens don’t have butts! They have cloacae!!!

 Marcus. One demerit!

 Bunburry. You can’t demerit me!

 Marcus. I just did. Twice!

 Bunburry. You don’t get to manage the percentages! That is not how this works! I am the Master of Liberal Arts, not YOU! You’re NOTHING! You’re a bad joke played out on a slow Saturday night. You’re the butt of an unfunny joke. Ha ha. Big laugh.

 Annabelle. You need to get on with it. This is all awful.

 Bunburry. It’s so boring.

 Marcus. 3 demerits!!!

 Bunburry. Stop! You’re NEVER going to be a Master! Just give your stupid presentation. Without your PP. Here and now and forever. Cast your thoughts into history as a brilliant spear, meant to fell an opportunity within an age unseen and unknowable. Somewhere far beyond our own brief and fragile lives. What is your thesis?

[Marcus does a series of deep stretches and lunges, several deep breaths, and then speaks.]

 Marcus. Who was Jeremiah Liend? The world may never know. All we have are a series of online articles, a handful of boring plays, a few poorly edited novels, and an amusing Google, if the wi-fi is working. Born in Bemidji, Minnesota June 21st 1980, Jeremiah Tavis Liend née Stenerson is an artist with an artistic career that spanned over 8 decades. Without exception, a truly poorly-edited and rambling collection of weird, ultraspecific nonsense. What a painfully sophomoric attempt to communicate with a broken society. What vanity to believe that offering work largely free (and on the internet) would ever create enough money to avoid total financial collapse? After graduating from Bemidji High School in 1998, Liend developed and refined an artistic performance method over the course of 19 sprawling years in education, academia, and the reals world. By 2020 he was totally broke, and selling used copies of his failed novels to strangers on the street, desperate for Pop-Tart money. Until, amid the death spiral of his floundering arts career, he created a monologue of such breathtaking detail, energy, and structure, that it jumpstarted a global artistic renaissance. It also provided a whole new generation of high school speech students an opportunity to pirate it on the internet and unerringly win competitions. It was at that point his meteoric rise to cultural dominance began, with no signs of stopping, until the Great Collapse of 2080. Following the tragic circumstances of those events, only off-brand clones of Jeremiah Liend remained, existing as the alias Q, who is Quaddle, who is Quetzoquaddle, online (within the dumb gestalt of a number of failed social media movements) and in the reals world as the formative consciousness that would eventually galvanize and defend earth from the space fascists of 2311. At least them. Possible more? Who knows how many wars we’re up to by now? What was I talking about? You there, what was I saying?

 Annabelle. This is awful.

 Marcus. Thank you, next question?

 Bunburry. Are you done?

 Marcus. Did I mention being banned from submitting for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in perpetuity?

 Bunburry. I don’t think you needed to.

 Annabelle. What was the PP like?

 Bunburry. There was never a PP.

 Marcus. One more question. You!

 Annabelle. I’m good.

 Marcus. Poops. Well. Thanks for listening.

 Bunburry. Let me tell you something about Jeremiah Liend. I knew Jeremiah. I worked with Jeremiah. He was a great artist and a handsome man. What WERE you talking about?

 Marcus. Great question.

 Bunburry. Thank you.

 Marcus. Jeremiah Liend.

 Bunburry. Right, I worked with Jeremiah Liend…

 Marcus. You said that.

 Annabelle. Look, the fumigators are being eaten by lions!

 Bunburry. Lions!? IN AFRICA!?!

 Marcus. RUN!!!!

[Everyone runs off stage.]

[The End.]