The Return of Couch!

couchWeaving through dead traffic, cars occupied by white petrified snails. Driving themselves to the cemetery, most likely.

I honked my horn, shouting, “Get out of my way ancestor! Got places to be!”

The old ghost car turned to dust on impact with my words. I maneuvered myself as best I could around the inanimate objects placed all about the road.

“What the hell is that couch doing in the turn lane? I have to make a left here!”

I stopped my car behind the couch, and got out to push it from the lane, when I noticed that it was the same bright orange sofa, complete with that late sixties aura and plastic slip cover, that used to sit in my grandmothers house.

I stood there befuddled by the fact that the orange couch currently blocking my path of travel happened to be the very same couch that had killed my grandmother.

“Never thought you’d see me again, did you?” It murmured through its thick plastic sheath.

Shocked, I staggered back toward my car, but before I could make it, the couch jumped high into the air, landing on top of the car, crushing it to bits underneath. I heard it giggling in its sickly furniture accent. I froze in fear. Surely, if I moved, it would crush me too.

“What do you want?” I pleaded.

The couch composed itself to speak, Clearing its spring and stuffing throat. “At first, I wanted equality. Massive integration for all furniture into the workings of society. But I saw how much trouble you had integrating different looking humans into your society, never mind an orange sofa. I don’t have five hundred years to wait around for acceptance, mind you.”

“So, I decided then I wanted a friend. Until I saw how most people treated their friends. So I dropped that.”

“Now, all I want is a name.”

“But you have a name,” I argued, “You are a couch.”

“And you are a person. Is that your name? Person?” It grumbled, contemptuously shifting its weight from leg to leg to leg. “I want my own name!”

I stared at it, trying to think of a name for a couch. An old, orange couch with cigarette burns like tiger spots on the cushions, and highly evolved speech patterns.

I fumbled. What do you call a couch? One that can talk? It sounded like a joke you’d hear on the playground in school: `What do you call a couch that is orange and can talk?’

“Freldegudular Pamistepsuphiga,” I stated confidently, “That is your name, Freldegudular Pamistepsuphiga.”

The couch regarded me for a few tense moments. It was working out some dialogue in its couch mind, I think. After a difficult pause, it said, “You know, I never realized how happy I really was. I don’t want a name. I don’t want friends. I don’t want equality. I was perfectly happy just to have people sit on me!”

With that, it shrugged– a very complex maneuver for a couch, and equally difficult to watch– and rolled off into the sunset.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
(circa 1995)



tracksI was never trying to make any statement, I only forgot to take a shower. I’ve been waiting for so many slow trains and snowstorms, I have no time for hygiene beyond the bottle of mock-perfume air-freshener in the glove box.

Watching as the cars go past slow enough to read their weight limitations and capacity specifications stamp on their steel skin.

I’m cranky from all the chewing gum. I just swabbed down my whole body an hour ago. It took seventeen wet-naps to get me all clean. But the stench is already creeping.

Through the plastic lemon scent and the ammonia that tries to push my itchy eyes out of my head, I can already smell death; the crusty fumes of a man rotting from the inside out.

I know if this train were to ever end, there’s a truck stop up the way where you can shower in privacy. It’s a buck and a quarter for ten minutes. But as far as I can see, an endless procession of train cars, tiny dots on the horizon that gradually grow along the line.

They before me, groaning, smoking and old. I wait and rot. They’re adding new cars on at the front end. The shiny, silver boxes will be rusted and squeaking by the time they pass in front of me. Rotten dilapidated bits of metal that crumble apart, they’ll need to be amputated from the back of the train on the other end, before  slipping over the horizon to die.

I’ve spent the better part of my life this way; sitting, waiting, helpless. I’ve felt heavenly inspirations dissipate and dwindle for the god-damned trains. The moment you know you must move. You hear opportunity knocking in your heart, or has it come and gone again?

Mostly I am resigned to the fact that nothing is possible with the grating hypnotic screech of metal on metal. The gate light and bell alternating left side to right, blinking a regular rhythm at me.

I know the only movement I can make is to climb up into a train care. Like they say, if you can’t beat them, lie down and let them sweep you away. I’ve vowed to never step foot on one, not as long a dim awareness still glows inside my hollowed out, vacuum chamber head. I know where the trains end up, I would rather sit and pensively rot,  waiting for the moment which  will never come.,

I’m trapped, I know. The only escape is to leave my known life behind, abandoning every memory I have and places I’ve been and with whom; giving up every hope and dream I’ve managed to hang on to; up the corrugated metal and steps, to take me where ever the train is going.

There’s nothing else, no option, besides sit and wait and eventually rot away to dust. But I have seen which way those crippled metal boxes go, where they wind up, and I won’t dare to make a move.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter (circa 1995)


LetGoOn a bus headed for the Appalachian Mountains, I found my life in danger due to the man seated next to me. He was wearing one of those illegal Explosion Suits, and by the look in his eyes, I knew it was due to go off at any moment.

I cleared my throat and turned toward him. “That’s a mighty fine suit you have on there.”

“Thanks,” he was sincere but obviously nervous. “It’s made by Bigsby, Kruthers, Smith and Wesson. Cost me a bundle.”

“I can imagine,” I replied.

He was a stocky man, tanned and worn. Black wavy hair dissipating on the top of his head, fading to a bleak shade of silver. His eyes were kind, but the lines surrounding them scrunched and muddled into a map of one man’s broken life. Somehow it had come to this, traveling through the the country by bus, wearing an Explosion Suit.

“I bet when it goes off, though, it’s quite a blast! Must be some sight to see!” I limply attempted conversation, as enthusiastic as I was terrified.

His eyes dropped to stare at his shoes, and he mumbled a few syllables of acknowledgment and agreement.

An uneasy silence sat between us for a few moments before I gathered to courage to ask, “How often does it go off?”

BLAM!!! I must have uttered the trigger phrase; my dumb luck, always saying the wrong thing.

The whole bus explodes and I find myself hurling through the air, high above the Earth. My arms and legs flailing and grasping frantically for something, anything to hang on to.

I was reminded then of my third grade classroom, where I was asked once what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I said, “Fly.”

My teacher, Mrs. Williams, was the first woman I ever had a crush on– the way her cheeks would blush up a rose color and her full lips curl when I came to class late and without my homework, or the tricky gaze of admonishment and silent approval when she caught me out on the playground burning down the monkey bars.

“People cannot fly,” she said. The rest of the class laughing wildly around me. Her eyes burning right into my skin, intimidating. My hands were bloated with sticky sweat, my forehead quickly overheating body. “People cannot fly!”

Oh, Mrs. Williams, if you could only see me now, a couple thousand feet above the east coast, swirling around, twisting in the clouds and probably about to die.

I hope there’s something soft down there to land on…

© Robert Emmett McWhorter


Read the Full Story at

handcodeHave you ever noticed that architecture isn’t really well represented in tattoo art?

The reason I bring it up is personally I am alarmed and somewhat apprehensive about the direction tattoo art is heading. I’m not talking about the avant-garde skin-graft conceptual sculptures they are webbing together with needle and ink in the basement parlors of France and Denmark. I am talking about the very real and very dangerous trend in body art known as Medical Mimicry.


Goat Wisdom

The man came upon a clearing; it was the same as he had dreamed. He wiped a few droplets of sweat from his forehead. Trees stood around the perimeter stretched high and leaning in, a mezzanine of green opening up to the sky.

It took him a moment to see the goat; this he had not expected. He approached the center of the clearing. The goat looked on, aware of the man, but uninterested.The two stood before one another. The man furrowed his brow a few times, squinting at the goat. His mouth opened and closed; a laugh and a scream fought for passage in his throat. Neither could get by.

The goat stared back preoccupied by a slow, circular chewing motion. A few silent minutes were allowed to pass before the man finally spoke.

“Greetings, wise goat, as I must assume you to be, I have been led by a dream to wander the forest and come upon this clearing to find ultimate wisdom.”

The goat stared back with no indication of understanding or even hearing the words; it continued its slow chewing motion.

“I have left my home and my family, my friends and society,” the man let his voice become bolder, “I have come seeking knowledge; truths about this life and its meaning; and questions about what must come after.”

The goat stared back; continued to chew.

“I ask and I beg if you have these answers,” a frustration crept into his words, gaining volume, “Please give me a sign, a gesture, a clue! Wise goat, if you are, I must know where we come from before we are born, and where do we go when we die?”

The goat stared back and continued to chew.

The man’s eye twitched with exhaustion. He felt his cheeks growing flush, and anger swept through him. “I ask you these things, and the reply is silence. I beg, and you simply look on,” the man now was nearly shouting, “I’m afraid my dream has led me astray, for you are but a lowly goat and know nothing of meaning, of life’s wisdom, or certainly what comes after.”

The goat stared back; its face was now still.

Wholly fed up with the man, the goat ate him.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Featured at Eat, Sleep, Write:


My name is Bleek. This is not my real name. But, I can no longer remember my real name, nor do I care to try. All the people I know call me Bleek because of the world I live in.
I try to be happy, but I cannot. People tell me what a wonderful time they’re having, and ‘Ain’t life grand?’ But, I can’t see it. I can’t agree with them.
They speak of sunshine. Even now, as I look through the broken-glass windows of my rotting apartment, up toward the sky– I see no sunshine– only buildings, smoke, and pigeons; and slow approaching storm clouds.
Where is this ‘other world’ everyone else lives in? I do not understand. If I manage to talk with anyone for a minute or two, it feels like receiving a postcard from some exotic paradise.
I creep my yellow skin into a t-shirt, and shuffle out of the apartment. At the end of the hallway, the stairs begin to crumble. I hurry to catch steps before they break; slipping on splinters, cutting my feet wide open. A deep suck of breath and I fall over dizzy– hitting my head on the floor.
I cry out. My face throbs against linoleum.
“Oh, Bleek, you poor thing!” It is Mrs. Porter, my downstairs neighbor, “What happened to you now?”
She drops her purse, and struggles to get me to my feet. “How are you such a clumsy, clumsy man?” She studies my face with a worried smile once I am upright again.
“The stairs broke,” I try to explain, “I cut my feet.”
She looks down at my legs, which are bloodied. I see I have lost a shoe somehow. My foot is scratched and gorged; red and disgusting.
“We best get you to the hospital,” she ushers me toward the front door.
I slink outside. Mrs. Porter is right behind, one arm around me to make sure I don’t go down. Loud claps of thunder rumble toward us. I stand still for a moment. Lightening flickers on the horizon. Heavy beads of water begin their assault on my body.
“Mr. Bleek,” Mrs. Porter says with familiar amazement, “You seem to be completely wet!”
She looks around, and then up toward the sky– toward the windows of all the apartments around us. I look up too. I can just see the cloud. I can tell it is beyond her range of vision.
Mrs. Porter shakes her head. She is astonished. She regards my soaked body, “Some fool upstairs must’ve dumped a bucket of water on you!”
“No,” I shake my head slowly, “It’s just the world I live in.”

© Robert Emmett McWhorter


featured story on Eat, Sleep, Write:

Abraham Presley

Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley happen to run into one another in a barbershop. The barber is so surprised to see the both of them together, he accidentally chops off both their heads, and nervously tries to sew them back on; but ends up switching them around.They leave and go their separate ways without noticing the mix up of heads. The Abraham Lincoln body with the Elvis-head makes it halfway to the park when he notices what happened. After a minute of apprehension and confusion, he becomes excited at the potential and possibilities made available by this combination of Lincoln-body, and Elvis-head.

He rushes around the town performing great deeds; bounding with energy he zips from tragedy to crisis, overjoyed by the thrill of assisting them all. He rescues a cat from a tree; saves children from a burning building; helps an elderly couple across a busy intersection; and then reroutes the road to make it less crowded. He builds a library; streamlines the towns financial structure, saving the towns people tax dollars; and clubs a group of seal clubbers.Filled with the immense sense of accomplishment– not ego driven, a pure feeling of joy from doing good– he walks back into town toward the barbershop, to thank the barber; sincere gratitude for the serendipitous slice and swap.

On the sidewalk near the barbershop, he sees his other half– the Lincoln-headed Elvis-body– slowly shuffling along, with his head down, staring at the ground. It turns its head up toward him in asks, “Where did you go off to?”

Elvis-headed Abraham-body tells his other half of all the things he’s done since discovering the change; regaling in the good he’s done. “I saved a cat from a tree, some children from a burning building, helped an elderly couple across the busy street, and redirected traffic to ease constriction on the road. I built them a library and restructured their finances, and also I pounded some poachers. So, please tell me,” he says to his opposite self, fully anticipating some equally fulfilling stories. “What have you been doing since discovering this wonderful mishap?”

“I went to a theater,” the Lincoln-head with an Elvis-body spoke meekly, grinding a shoe into gravel. “I spent the whole day watching replay after replay of a movie called ‘Dude, Wheres My Car?’.”

 © Robert Emmett McWhorter (feb 11,2004)

Community: Annies Adventures in Wonderland


Annie gets cold feet before her commencement speech. When she takes refuge in the schools ventilation system, it becomes her own ‘rabbit-hole’, leading to a series of surreal encounters.

Thanks to Lewis Carroll and Dan Harmon who created these worlds and characters

Vew in pdf format:



Annies Adventures in Wonderland
by Robert Emmett McWhorter

(1st rough draft May 24, 2013)
(2nd draft/ rewrite June 5, 2013)

Annie gets cold feet before her
commencement speech. When she takes
refuge in the schools ventilation
system, it becomes her own ‘rabbit
hole’, leading to a series of
surreal encounters.

ACT I/ SCENE ONE (Cold Open)

Interior- Study Room F.

SHIRLEY rocks young BEN in her lap, humming a lullabye to try to get him to nap. He is sneezy, fussy and crying.

ANNIE, ABED, TROY, BRITTA, CHANG & JEFF sit around the study room table. Annie wears a blue graduation gown, her cap is laying next to her books and bag. Abed is wearing a ridiculous hat, chatting with Britta. Troy is falling asleep at the table and is trying to prop his own head up. Jeff is loudly eating an apple. Chang sits and just smiles a wide crazy smile. Annie however is trying to study and looks perturbed by the commotion.

You guys, I’m supposed to give this
speech at Three and I’m already
feeling stage-fright. If you guys
aren’t going to be helpful, could
you at least let me freak out in

Sorry Ann…
(as he is speaking his head collapses
into his folded arms, asleep)

What’s up with Troy?

He’s been bunking with a friend in
the dorms. He thought he saw a
mouse in the apartment.

(rolling her eyes)
It was a pair of slippers with
mouse ears.

We went over this when you tried to
order the Disney collectibles,
(wags his finger at her)

So between finals, and rodents and
being away from home, he just hasn’t
been getting much sleep.

Aw, he misses his bed./ Aw, he
misses Abed.

(patting Troy on the head):
Poor little Dorm Mouse.

Camera cuts around the room as awkward and accusing glances are exchanged. Except Chang who still smiles silently and ridiculously.

(he is looking at Chang but changes
his mind mid-sentence and deflects
it to Abed)
your head?

I joined the Hat Club. I have been
routinely dismissing them for the last
four years. But hats are actually a very
versatile way for me to express myself
without having to make eye contact.

You guys!?!? Seriously!?!?

(half-mumbling, half-asleep)
Seriouser and Seriouser.

Annie, seriously, why don’t you talk
to Leonard, He’s been in the running
for Valedictorian for most of recorded
history, he probably has a speech all
ready and chiseled in stone somewhere.

HEY! None Taken!

Ben rouses again, crying, Shirley resumes rocking him and singing an indistinguishable lullabye. The rest roll their eyes. Except Chang.

I can write a speech, Winger. I’m just
a little nervous about getting up and
delivering it in front of the whole school.

(enters speaking):
Just picture everyone naked, that’s what
I always do.
(awkward pause, Deans hand
on Jeffs shoulder)
What were we talking about? Never mind!
I brought an apple for lunch but it seems
to have walked right off my desk. Did
anyone here happen to see it?

(pursing his lips, hiding the
core in his clenched fist)

(looking at Jeff knowingly)
Nope./ Not us.

The Dean throws his hands in the air and exits.

Annie, you’ll be great. You were fine
in Debate.


I mean she performed well. Nevermind!

That’s different. Good versus Evil is easy.
This is personal, this is supposed to be
about MY life and MY lessons and
passing it along to a new generation
of students…
(starting to panic and breathe heavy)

I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on
myself to become valedictorian if I knew
there would be all this pressure to tell
everyone all about it!

Annie I’d be happy to help you, Pierce
actually gave me some good advice on
public speaking.

Shirley I don’t want to ask you you have
been so busy with Ben and the shop and everything. Honestly I don’t want any help-
I just want to go hide in the vents until
graduation is over.

(nudging Troy to rouse him, talking to Abed)
We really gotta figure out some way to
wake Troy up or he’ll sleep right through

Suddenly everyone is talking at once and Annie is visibly shaken and upset. She has begun packing her books away and is trying desperately to talk over the chaos.

GARRETT enters from the back of the room (the door behind where Pierce used to sit) and scuttles quickly through toward the front entrance (library side).

I’m gonna be late! The Deans gonna
have my head!
(ab lib as he runs through the room).

The camera follows Garrett exiting, then we see that as the rest of the group was watching Garrett leave, Annie has disappeared. The camera follows as they look, as a group, from one door to the other. Finally, they turn as a group and look toward the vent, which we see has been recently opened as it is slightly swinging ajar.

# # #


# # #

Interior- Greendale Cafeteria- Hallway.

We follow Jeff as he walks through the cafeteria, past Shirleys Sandwiches- where we see people gathering and flocking around a table advertising “Free Brownies! Eat Me! Try Me!”. Britta and Abed are seen briefly carrying a new tray of fresh brownies to the table.

Jeff moves into one of the schools hallways. He looks smug and strident, taking his time but purposeful. We follow him almost from the side, we can see on the wall a clock as he passes it, showing that it is now past noon.

Jeff passes an open room where Garrett can be seen handing a large stack of flyers to NEIL.

From the Dean, For Shirley, Invitations
and Coupons for her customers for the
Graduation Dance.

Coupons and Invitations for the Grad-
uation Dance, from the Dean, for
Shirley and her customers.

Fine, I guess that will do!

Jeff smirks as he passes the doorway and they are out of view. Soon he passes a vent in the wall near the ground, behind which we can see Annies hair and blue gown for a few seconds, moving quickly in the other direction.

He passes Todd, neither noticing the other. Todd has his back to Jeff as he is thumb-tacking a poster to one of the schools many bulletin boards. We can see a large header, “MISSING!” and a photo of a turtle.

Jeff comes to an open door marked ‘Faculty Lounge’. He makes a quick glance around to see if anyone is watching, and slips inside.

# # #


Interior – Refrigerator.

We see the light come on, the door swing open, and Jeff peering inside. His eye catches something and we he see him reach in and grab a container, marked ‘Dean Pelton’ in permanent marker. He lets a sort of satisfactory grunt escape as he contemplates the container for a moment before shutting the fridge once again.

# # #


Interior- Janitors Supply Closet.

LEONARD is seated alone puffing on an electronic cigarette. He attempts to blow a smoke ring, but lets out only a small mist of vapor.

In the wall behind him we see through a vent Annies body scurry past. She stops in her tracks though as we can see her slowly backing up until her face is almost pressed against the metal grill.


(startled but torpid)
Who are You?

Leonard, It’s me, Annie!

Is that you Annie?

I think so! Although, admittedly, I’m
not sure if I’m really acting like myself today.

Leonard again puffs hard on the e-cig, like a cigar. The device is now beginning to give off a little smoke.

So you’re really not sure are you. Let me
ask you this. When you put on your pants
this morning, whose legs did you put
them on? Your own or someone elses?

I’m wearing a gown, Leonard.

It might be worse than I thought.
Annie has undone the vent grill and opens it. She smiles a little at Leonard and rests her head on her folded arms.

Do you want me to help you out of there?

No. I was claustrophobic when I first got
in here, but now I’m actually finding it
kind of comforting. I can see how Chang
could call this home.

No, I don’t see.
What are you doing in there anyway?

Hiding. I guess. I’m nervous about giving
the big speech where I tell everyone what
a wonderful journey it’s been. And I’m
scared to death to go out into the world
and be the person I have been telling
everyone I am going to become. If that
makes any sense.

Not a word of it.

Annie sighs.

As the scene progresses, the electronic cigarette gives off more and more smoke and it soon becomes apparent that it is defective, if not dangerous.

You’ve never felt like a caterpillar who
wasn’t quite ready to become a butterfly

Leonard shrugs, stoic.

(accusingly, trying to turn the tables)
What are you doing here, anyway?

I started coming in here recently. I got so
tired of the Dean busting me for smoking
in the boys room.

Such a tired cliche.

Tell me about it, but you know Craig Pelton.

I didn’t know you smoke.

The doctor made me give up cigars a
few years ago, but it’s alright now, these
are safe.

The e-cig is spewing gray smoke, the end of it is red hot and slightly bubbling.

I don’t know if I’d say ‘safe’ exactly.

Well… safer.

Still a stretch.

I am getting a little dizzier than usual.
I’m trying to embrace the new tech-
nology, Annie, you have to always
be willing to adapt.
(He fishes an I-Phone from his
pocket with his free hand.)
My kids got me this I-Phone so I can
video chat with my grand-children. I
have pictures of them in here somewhere,
but damned if I can figure it out.

He loses himself for a minute trying to penetrate the Smart Phones mysteries.

I feel like a fake, I guess. I feel
like this whole graduation is a sham.
Most Community Colleges don’t have a
ceremony at all. But the Dean likes an
excuse to have a dance, and I like an
excuse to get up and show off. Maybe
that’s all I’ve been doing all this time.
Being the good girl just for attention.
Doing the right thing just so I can brag
about it.

You’re a good kid, Annie. I wish I had
known someone like you when I was
your age, I might be able to remember
what I was doing when I was your age.

You know, it took me about fifty years to
figure out that I wanted something more
from the world, maybe I had something
more to give. And then I see a young
kid like you come around. You’ve never
been a caterpillar, Annie, you were born
a butterfly. A flower. It would be a crime
to hide you away from the world. We
need more like you.

Now your Dean Pelton, now there is
someone with something to hide, and I
am not judging his lifestyle. I actually like
the guy alright, but he should not be
running a school, hell- he shouldn’t be
running the froyo stand. And do you ever
think he stops to think about what he
deserves? Do you think he ever wonders
if he is a fake? If he is nothing but a fraud?

(the I Phone makes a happy sounding noise.)

Oh! I think I have figured it out! There’s a
button on one side to make them bigger
and another to make them smaller. See?

Leonard holds the phone up to the vent so that Annie can see a picture of a young child expanding to fit onto the screen.


I feel transformed.

He stubs the smoldering and melting mess of plastic into a nearby ashtray and stands to leave.

You’ll be great, kid.

Leonard waddles out of the room, leaving Annie looking somewhat confused, and possibly a little dizzy.

# # #


Exterior- East Lawn- Quad.

A series of quick cuts showing the exterior of Greendale, where a stage is being set up for the Graduation Ceremony. We see students setting the stage, setting up chairs, testing the sound system, etc…

We come to focus on Dean Pelton over-seeing a group of students air-brushing and spray-painting white roses red.

# # #


Interior- The Deans Office.

Jeff knocking on the Deans office door, waiting a moment to ensure no one is inside, and entering.

Once inside he wastes little time snooping, poking, and rifling around. Not ransacking the office, he leaves everything as he found it, quick but deliberate. He goes over the desk, sticks his hand into the coats hanging by the door. He peers briefly into the Deans closet, but shivers and shuts the door.

Jeff seats himself at the Deans desk. He lets out an exacerbated sigh. He swivels around once in the chair.

He then begins going through all the drawers of the Deans desk, top to bottom. When he comes to the lowest, largest drawer, he opens it and has to pause. He stops and just stares dumb-founded for a moment.

We see then from Jeffs point of view the inside of the bottom drawer, upon a bed of grass, staring up at Jeff and chewing, sits a small turtle.

# # #


Interior- Shirleys Sandwiches- Greendale Cafeteria.

In the foreground; on the left we see Chang standing at the cash register, still smiling wide and staring blankly into space; on the right we see a small display table set up with free samples. A sign advertises “Free Brownies! Eat Me! Try Me!”; directly behind and above, in the wall we see a vent.

In the background we can see Shirley bustling about. She alternates from tending to Ben, who sits fussy and sneezy in his stroller, and managing her employees. The shop is apparently very busy, probably more so than usual.

Annie, still within the walls, finds her way to this vent. She stares down at the brownies, looks over at Chang.

Without gaining Changs attention at all, Annie is able to undo the vent grill, crawl out and drop out of sight behind the sample display table.

After a moment we see her hand creep up into view and blindly grasp around the table until it grips upon a brownie.

We focus in on Annie, seated, wedged in really, between the table and wall. She chews and obviously savors the brownie, letting out a little moan.

(patting herself on the thigh)
That certainly won’t make me any smaller.

(stepping suddenly into view, over Annie)
ANNIE?!?! Where have you been, girl?

Oh, Shirley! I don’t think I can give my speech.

Come here, honey. Come here.

Shirley reaches out and helps Annie to her feet. The two of them walk around Shirleys shop, Shirley guiding Ben as he clumsily walks next to her, grabbing, sneezing, saying ‘ba ba’ and generally being a fussy two year old.

All three stop to inspect some work.

(To Vicki who is cooking a stew):
Oh this needs more pepper, hon.

More Pepper?

Definitely. More Pepper.

She and Annie continue on. We see in the background Neil and Vicki are openly hostile, and mocking of Shirley once her back is turned.

Your restaurant has really taken off,
Shirley! We haven’t had anything this
popular in the cafeteria since the Dean
banned chicken tenders.

Well I thank the good Lord for blessing
me, and I do work my… butt off here. But
I love it. Abeds been a big help too in his
own way. His commercials are strange
but people react to them.

Yeah, I saw that latest one. I didn’t really
understand why the cartoon walrus was
talking to Jesus. Or what it had to do with
your sea-food specials.

That wasn’t Jesus. Abed said it could have
been any famous carpenter from history.
(She rolls her eyes as hard as she can.)
But, I know what you mean. I don’t get it,
but the kids love them some Abed. I wanted,
you know, some happy people eating and
maybe dancing to a catchy song about
sandwiches. Abed being Abed said it was
too pedestrian. Pedestrian?! They’re dancing,
not walking!

They stop again at another station where Neil is grilling some meat. Shirley leans in and grabs a small chunk. She tastes, and shakes her head.

Everything the two of you stir up today
comes up bland. Neil? Vicki? It needs
some flavor, some spice. A bit of pepper.

Yes, Chef!

I need your ‘A’ game tonight. I need
everything perfect. I have to make the Dean
as happy as a good Christian woman can
make that man, or he is going to have my
head. Annie, taste this!

Shirley holds the chunk of meat toward Annie, but as soon as it is within a foot of her face, Annie begins to tear up. Annie pulls back slightly but tries to smile politely. Young Bens face turns red, he begins to sneeze and cry. Shirley hands the meat back to Neil, she bends down to tend to the child for a moment. Neil silently threatens the back of Shirleys head with a frying-pan.

Finally, Shirley and Annie and Ben continue on.

It surprised me when you took off, Annie.
I didn’t expect you to have stage fright. I
didn’t think you were scared of anything.
If you need any pointers or maybe just a
sounding board…

I don’t know, Shirley. I should be happy,
you know. Today is a day I have dreamed
about since I can remember. Despite a few
speed bumps, I am graduating from college
at the top of my class. No offense.

Oh Annie, you deserve this.

But I don’t feel like I deserve it, I guess. I
thought by the time today came, it would
feel more real. I would feel complete, like
an adult I guess. But I don’t. still feel like
that same five year old girl playing dress
up in her moms walk in closet.

Oh, honey, there are no plateaus, no
golden ring to reach for. I thought I would
feel it when I graduated from high school,
then when I got married, then when I had
my babies. I thought, you know, everything
will settle in to place and I could stop
growing. I still feel like the little hell-
raiser creating havoc at the rec- center,
but that doesn’t mean I haven’t grown up
an awful lot since then. If I’ve learned
anything at all, I think it’s that if life
does offer you some sort of golden ring,
it will turn into just another hoop you
have to jump through.

Well that’s inspiring!

It’s the truth, Annie. We’re all flawed. We’re
all just kids learning as we go and trying to do
our best here.

I guess.
(finally, she smiles)
Thanks Shirley.

It’s alright to be nervous, Annie. But you’re
really going to be fine. You are the only
one in this school I don’t worry about.

Annie and Shirley hug.

You going to be okay? I have a last minute
meeting with the Dean, baby.

Yes. Go, Shirley. Thanks. I’ll be alright.

By now they have circled the shop completely and are back where we began. Chang is still standing at the register, grinning.

Chang! Find something to do! If you got
time to lean, you got time to clean!

(nods and laughs)
Ha! Good one boss!

Shirley shakes her head and walks off, leaving Annie and Chang alone. Finally, Chang notices Annie standing there.

Annie! You came out of the vents! Did you
like them? I try to keep them nice, I hope
you didn’t stink them all up.

Ew, Chang!

I’m kidding Annie! Me casa you casa!
Everyone is so tense today. It’s like walking
on eggs around here.

Egg shells.


It’s like walking on egg shells.

Are you crazy? You’d cut your feet! Who
walks on egg shells?

I am not the crazy one.

Of course you are. You can’t help it, we’re
all a bit crazy here. I’m crazy, you’re crazy.

What makes me crazy?

Well, you’re here aren’t you? Greendale!

Okay. Well, how do you know you’re crazy?

First of all, el numero ‘A’- Dog’s are not
crazy. Do you agree?


Do you agree?

Fine. I agree.

Secondly of all, numero dose- I am not a dog.

A moment passes as they stare awkwardly at each other.

I don’t think I want to talk to you anymore.
I’d rather find someone less crazy at the

I just told you, we’re all crazy here.
Especially today. The dean is freaking
about the dance, Shirley is stressed about
the dinner. Troy and Abed are off doing
something weird in the study room…

I think I can take Troy and Abed crazy.

She turns and begins to leave without ceremony.

(yelling after her as she leaves)
Go whichever way you want, where ever
you go you’re only going to end up three
deep in crazy people!

Annie does not pause. She crosses the cafeteria, and exits toward the study room.

The camera focuses on Chang once again as he resumes his post. In the background we can see the kitchen a-buzz with life as Vicki and Neil work at a steady pace.

I’m gonna stand here ’til tomorrow.

The wide cheshire grin returns to his face.

Or possibly the day after that.

# # #

Interior- Study Room F.

Troy, Abed and Britta are crowded around their corner of the table. Troy is slightly more awake now, but still sitting with his hands propping up his head. Abed is now wearing a different but equally ridiculous hat, and Britta is wearing a pink bunny-ear cap like Louise from Bobs Burgers.

The table is laid out with cups, pitchers, various snacks and candy; a pile of food and drink veering dangerously close to becoming a mess of wrappers and half-eaten junk food.

A boombox sits nearby blaring out fast, energetic techno dance music. Abed and Britta are dancing their most outlandish dances in an effort to engage Troy and rouse him further.

Annie enters, but stands by the doorway for a moment taking in the sight. She furrows her brow, and waits for them to notice her standing there. But they do not. Abed and Britta continue flailing away.

What in the hell are you guys doing in here?

Abed and Britta stop dancing, Britta turns down the music.

Bringing Troy back to life!

An awkward moment passes.

Troy doesn’t drink coffee, so we were going
to make some tea.

We’re having a Tea Party!

But we couldn’t find any tea anywhere on
campus. So we are warming up some Jolt
Cola and mixing in Five Hour Energy Drinks.
(He smacks his lips)
Because of the caffeine and sugar. And we
bought a bunch of candy, because sugar.

And I made brownies!

Because sugar.

Annie looks around at the table, at the spread. She takes a small brownie and nibbles at it. She considers for a moment the Jolt concoction, but cringes visibly.

Perhaps you would prefer some wine.
(looking around)
I don’t see any wine.

There isn’t any.

Abed! That’s not very nice! Why would you
offer wine if there wasn’t any?

Why would you crash our party?

I’m not crashing! Besides it doesn’t seem
to be doing much good. Troys is crashing!

I’m just resting my eyes.

Yeah, I thought we had him going for a
little while. He might have filled up on
brownies, he seems extra sleepy since
Britta made them.

Annie immediately spits out the bit of brownie she had been chewing.

BRITTA! Are These POT Brownies?

I only have one recipe, Annie!

One big recipe, we had to leave most of
them with Shirley to give out as samples.

(now furious)
How could you think pot brownies would help
wake him up? Everyone knows pot makes
people sleepy, hungry, and susceptible to
Adult Swim. You guys do know the graduation
ceremony begins in less than an hour, and
our families and friends and OH MY GOD!!!
I think you got EVERYONE high!

Yay, senioritis!?

(under her breath)
That actually explains a lot of things.

(to Annie)
Your hair wants cutting.

I am trying to be serious here!

(brief pause)
There’s not going to be a test on this, we
have passed all the tests. We have taken
all the classes, turned in all our homework,
completed all our assignments. And we
passed, Annie! We did okay, some more
so than others. This is OUR day, Annie,
This is YOUR day.

It still feels like I’m under the microscope.
Everyone still expects me to be perfect little
Annie and give a great speech!

Geez, Annie, I didn’t realize you were
really that nervous!

Well I did hide out in the vents all day!
It’s like I can already feel all the eyes on
me. You know in High School the activities
and causes I was involved in didn’t make
me the most popular girl in school, but
having to give speeches about it only made
it worse. Do you know how it feels to have a
whole gymnasium full of your peers roll their
eyes at you in unison? “The nerdy girl did
good. Now why can’t she shut up about it?”.
If being a good person were my true intention
then it should be its own reward. I shouldn’t
need anyones approval.

You gotta talk about it, Annie, or know one will
know. You walk the walk too! People should
know and be inspired. And really, most of those
eye rollers are only jealous. I know I was, Annie.
You called me on my stuff! You made me get
active about my activism!

I guess your right. But I think there is some
middle ground between freaking out in the
ventilation system and holding your own
mini-rave in the study room.

A Rave is a lot like a Writing Desk.
(awkward pause, everyone looks at Abed,
even Troy perks his head up a bit)
Just think about it.

Ooh, riddles!

It might be good to relax my mind for a minute.

Shaa- You think you can figure out Abeds riddle?

I think I’m pretty competent.

Then you should say what you mean.

I do! Or at least, i mean what I say.

That’s NOT the same thing.

That’s like saying “I am what I eat” is the
same as “I eat what I am”.

Or, “I like what I have” and “I have what I like”.

Or, “I breathe when I’m sleeping” and “I
sleep when I am breathing”.

Yeah, pretty much the same thing Troy.

Abed goes around the table filling everyones cup from a water

(to Troy)
Drink up, buddy. Im going to need you now.
It’s time!

Troy throws back his glass in one shot.

(eyes wide for the first time)

More tea, Annie?

I can’t really have more if I haven’t had any.

If you’ve had none, anything is more. You
can’t have less than none.

Maybe you could turn your speech into a
rap. It will make it a lot of fun, and people
will love it! We could help you. We’ll even
get up on stage with you and back you up.
We’ve been practicing. Watch!

Abed jumps up on the study room table, instantly Britta and Troy are on their feet as well. Troy begins beat-boxing a rhythm, incorporating the
techno music coming from the boombox in the background. Britta joins in with her own awkward and semi-rhythmic sound effects.

Twinkle, Twinkle, little Batman/
How I wonder where you’re at man/
You keep us free from crime at night/
But do you have a cure for stage-fright?
Oh, Twinkle Twinkle, little Britta/
How I love your ears a-flitter…

(shouting over)
Abed, Stop!

You want to try?

No, Abed. The world doesn’t want me
rapping. I don’t know how this is supposed
to help.

Abed, Troy and Britta consider this for a moment, all three standing perfectly still and staring at Annie. Then without missing a beat, they break back into song.

Twinkle Twinkle little Annie/
Happy with her little plan-ee/
Hiding out inside the vents/
When the world gets too intense…

He continues ad-libbing, with Troy beat-boxing behind him, Britta dancing in some sort spastic trance. Annie, watches on, she is the only one seated at the table now, looking up at the ridiculous characters dancing over her.

Her face turns dejected- lip curled and eyes welled up. She looks like she has given up, at least momentarily. Her face comes to rest in her waiting hands. She sits barely propping herself up against the study room table. Scene fades.

# # #


Exterior- East Lawn.

People are beginning to fill in, mingle, find their seats. The stage is set with a podium front and center with about a dozen or so seats behind for faculty. One or two teachers have already settled in on stage.

The first few rows on the lawn are for the graduating class. A few students can be seen, in blue cap and gown, meandering around the area, but it’s mostly vacant so far.

Vicki and Neil and a few other students are offering light concessions from a Shirleys Sandwich stand in the courtyard. Business is booming as friends and family and the whole school shows up for the Graduation Ceremony and Annie’s commencement speech.

# # #


Interior- Biology Lab Room.

Jeff walks in briskly, tearing a toy stuffed turtle from its packaging. He places the toy into a bucket sitting on one of the lab tables.

Jeff turns to exit. He retrieves a flyer from his coat pocket, turns it over until he can see a phone number. He begins to dial.

# # #


Interior- Study Room F.

Things seem to have calmed considerably. Abed, Annie, Troy and Britta all sit silently at the table. The caffeine has worn off, or the brownies have kicked in. Troy, once again, begins to nod.

Oh, no, no, no. You gotta stay awake,

Troy tries to shake himself to life. He manually opens his eyes wider with his fingers.

Maybe tell us a story to stay awake.

Yeah, tell us a story, Troy.

And quickly, or you’ll fall asleep during a
dramatic pause.

Alright. Once upon a time there were three


Three sisters named Tillie, Millie and Vanilli…

That was their names?

Yes, and they lived at the bottom of a well.

How’d they survive in the bottom of a well?

They ate butter.

Ew, they’d get sick!

They did, they got terribly sick. Have you
heard this story before?

No. I’m sorry. Tell me about the three sisters
who lived at the bottom of a well.

It was a butter well.

A what?
Instead of drawing water, this well drew butter.

Abed grabs a sheet of paper and a pen from the table.

How could it draw butter?

Like this!

He holds the piece of paper up to the show the rest of them a drawing he has scribbled out of a stick of butter on a plate.

Annie is disgusted. She puts up her hands to show she is done with the conversation. She folds her arms and simmers in silence.

The dean enters. He walks in quick, gathering the surroundings.

What in Woodstock is going on in here?
(he motions for them to leave)
Off with you heads! I need plenty of space
to figure out what the hell is going on in my
school today!

Maybe we can help. You know I aced
Forensics, and Abed is a computer.

Alright. I suppose I could use the help.

The Dean produces a pack of playing cards from his pocket.

All day long people have been acting weirder
than usual around here. And things have
turned up missing all day. Food from the
faculty lounge, a students… pet and also a…
similar pet that I had.

The point is, I think its all related. Im going to
use each of these cards to represent someone
at this school and try to figure out what
kind of games are being played here today.

He lays down the first card, Ace of Hearts.

There. That can be you Annie, and I will be…

He lays down the Queen of Hearts.

Purely random. Doesn’t matter, moving on.
I think we need a card for Jeffrey Winger.

The Dean lays down a Joker.

Purely random. But Jeff is the joker?

(standing suddenly at the doorway)
You guys figured it out. Congratulations.

When the camera cuts back to the table, Abed has taken all the cards and built a card-house.

Jeffrey, have you been taking my food all day?

Yup. Want the rest of this?

He offers the Dean a half-eaten stick of celery, which the Dean at first grimaces at, but finally takes it directly, biting it out of Jeffs hand)

Have you been looking through my office?

Oh yeah.

Jeff seats himself at the table, legs up, hands back behind his head.


What? I thought we were cool like that, Craig.
What’s mine is yours? I get home everyday
to find all my mail ‘pre-screened’, the volume
on your t.v. just happens to go silent when ever
my phone rings, and God forbid I should be
having a private moment with someone, when
we can hear the glass your using to listen
through the wall fall to the floor and shatter!

My hands get so sweaty, I can’t keep my grip.

Where’d you get those socks, Craig? I’d be
interested to see your underwear, but not for
the reasons you would hope. How were you
able to dress up as me dressed up as a
cowboy for Halloween?

The Dean, busted, hangs his head.

I’m not defending what the Dean did, but that
was pretty lousy way to deal with it.

Yes, it was. You are absolutely right. But you
know what, I have tried time and again to talk
to him man to man, but he takes the extra
attention as me starting to like him, and gets
all… Deany.

Ive called, texted, left him messages and wrote
a letter which i ‘c.c.’ed to our Condo Owners
Association and the School Board.

Last week I took him out to try to get through to
him one last time, but he got tipsy and thought
I was hitting on him.

So now, yes, I am throwing an incredibly childish,
completely immature, passive-aggressive temper
tantrum. Something I know our friend, Craig, here
can recognize and react to.

I guess we could set some better boundaries.

Shirley enters suddenly.

We gotta talk, Dean. You hired me to do the
catering and decorations for tonight but you
have been undermining every decision I
make. Why did I go outside to find your
minions painting my white roses red?

Roses should be red, Shirley!

This ain’t no damn wedding!

Fine! I’ll get the white-out!

The room explodes for a second as everyone adds their input to one arguement or another. Neil and Vicki enter, Vicki holding Ben (visibly upset, sort of exhaustedly crying) by his hand, leading him in.

We can’t work like this, you have been riding
us like the Wicked Witch of the West all day

And you left your son in the Sandwich Stand
when you stormed off!

The room erupts again. Arguments overlap and inter-twine, as people engage in side arguments about which topics are more worthy of arguing at the moment.

Todd enters frantic and furious, holding the grey bucket, pulling the toy turtle from inside and tossing it on the table.

I used to have a real turtle! Everyone who
could possibly be involved just happens to be
in this room. Now which one of you took my

Jeff laughs.

You’re turtle is fine, Todd. He’s in the faculty
lounge at the moment having a snack.

You stole Todd’s turtle?

No, I found the turtle locked up in the Deans

You stole Todd’s turtle?

That turtle is school property! he belongs
to the Biology Department.

I found him outside, he was trying to escape
this place. Like any sane person would!

You’re getting cranky Todd, how’s you’re blood-
sugar. Vicki, get Todd some soup, would you?

Oh, Beautiful! Soup!

Vicki protests and it sets the room into another cacophony of yelling and shouting, now getting louder and more intense.

Hey you guys!

No one has noticed that Chang has been sitting atop the bookcase behind where Pierce used to sit.

How long have you been there, Chang?

I come, I go. Sometimes you see me,
sometimes you don’t.

What are you doing up there, Chang, you’re
supposed to be working!

I just love you guys so much, I just had to be a part of this.

Ben Chang, you get down from there this moment or I will kick you out of this school
once and for all!

You can’t kick me out! I live inside the walls!
You’ll have to come and get me!

I’m not going in there after him.

Yeah, I’ve had enough.

The commotion returns as everyone is arguing at once.

Garrett enters short of breath and has to shout to be heard.

Dean! There’s a fire in one of the supply

The arguing continues, everyone is shouting and yelling and none of it is perceptible above the noise. It only makes them try to yell even louder.

It reaches a point where the room is a constant buzz of white noise, no one is even sure what they are saying or whom they are arguing with at the moment. It descends into chaos, and only grows louder.


She has to shout as loud as she can to be heard, and also throws a little fit, knocking over Abeds house of cards.

All of this can wait! Well, not the fire. Garrett
you should probably go make sure that’s
dealt with. But, the rest of this can wait!

Garrett exits.

Clearly, we all have some serious issues with
each other, we all have stuff we need to work
on. I know, at least, I have learned I still have
things to work on. I probably always will. But
that’s okay.

Chang you obviously need more help than you’re
getting, I don’t know what exactly is wrong with
you, but you are wrong. And I mean that as a

Aw, thanks Annie!

Jeff, Dean, you two have some territorial issues
to straighten out. Maybe we could set up some
sort of Neighbor Therapy for you? Britta?

I would be happy to help.

The Dean and Jeff both give a sort of non-committal nod.

And Britta, you should only be helping people
with your words, you shouldn’t be writing any
prescriptions for anyone! Abed, no more Five
Hour Energy. And Troy, no more pot brownies!
And can we let Todd keep his stupid turtle?

Troy, Abed and Britta all agree in deflated acceptance. The Dean smiles and nods at Todd. Todd rolls his eyes.

Vicki. Could you take Baby Ben out to Andre?
Shirley has some things she has to work on
with you guys, but today she has to graduate.

Vicki and Neil exit, leading Ben by the hand.

None of us is perfect. But we can’t fix it all
right now. And we’re not going to harm
anything further by putting some things off
for today. Because this is our day but it is
also MY DAY.
(Annie pounds a fist on the table.)
And today I need this! THIS IS MY DAY!
So you are all going to get dressed and
ready to graduate, and we are going to go
out there with our happy faces on. And for
the next ninety minutes I am ordering you-
Yes, I am ordering you as my best friends
in the whole wide world to act as adults,
and be on your best behavior!

Almost instantly, Shirley, Troy, Abed and Britta are in their caps and gowns. Chang is down from the bookshelf.


Now we are going to go out there and

welcome our friends and our families

and anyone else who came to see. We

are going to graduate from this College

after working so hard for four years. We

are going to accept our diplomas with

pride and dignity.And then you are all going to sit quietly

and attentively while I give my

commencement speech. And you may

laugh and maybe cry, but you will be

inspired by it. And you will all be better

people because of it. Okay?

a moment of silence turns to quiet murmurs as people slowly begin to show their agreement.

Sure, Annie.

Let’s do this.

Go graduate, you crazy kids!

Troy and Abed do their special handshake.

‘Troy and Abed grad-u-a-ting’

Everyone smiles. Some hugs are traded. The Dean removes his glasses to wipe away a tear.

Come on Craig, you promised yourself you wouldn’t cry.


The Dean composes himself and stands to lead them out.

(to Annie)
And you thought you couldn’t give a speech.

Well, I guess I did learn from the best.

(bows slightly, allowing Annie
to go ahead of him)

Okay, just like we rehearsed.

You guys rehearsed this?

Um, there was no rehearsal.

Oh, that’s right. I had a dream it would
end this way.

They all exit the study room. Scene fades.

# # #


Exterior- East Lawn.

We hear ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ or perhaps ‘At Least It Was Here’.

We see Annie, beaming and animated, giving her speech but we cannot hear it. Behind her on the stage, The Dean and Jeff sit with the faculty. In the audience, Troy and Abed, Britta and Shirley are in the front row, hanging on Annies every word.

The camera pulls wider and we can see all of the stage and the audience including all the friends and family and other students in attendance.

Annie concludes her speech. We can slightly hear the roar of the crowd. The air fills with ‘E Pluribus Anus’ caps.

Pulling wider until the camera can take in all of the school, we can just barely hear sirens. Red lights reflect and jump off the schools main building. And just before the scene fades, we see the Fire Engines beginning to arrive.

# # #


Some sort of stop-motion animation, akin to Robot Chicken. We see an ocean and beach, and the scene comes to focus on a Walrus and a Carpenter, lazing on the beach, playing chess, and sharing a basket of oysters between them.

(menacing movie trailer rasp)
The time has come, The walrus said, to
speak of many things. Of shoes, and
ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and
kings. And why the sea is boiling hot, and
whether pigs have wings.

(dancing and sort of chirping)
But wait a bit, before our chat. We’re out
of breath, and feeling fat.

We cannot have a bit of that.

This loaf of bread, is all we need. Now if
you’re ready, let us feed.

But not on us. Not on us. I thought we
had agreed.

Cut us another slice, man, and do it quick!
I’ve had to ask you twice!

This butter is too thick!

‘Tis a shame, to play this trick. They’ve come
so far, to eat so quick.

I weep for you! Oh, Oysters! But, you’ve had a
pleasant run.

(still menacing)
But the oysters did not answer for they’d
eaten every one.

Scene cuts to an interior shot of Shirley’s Sandwiches. A peppy theme song can be heard. Customers dance in and out of view, spinning and jumping with sandwiches in hand. Shirley dances in place in the middle, singing ‘Sandwiches’ which all the customers answer, singing ‘Sandwiches’. This simple call and response is repeated over and over.

(now doing the voice over)
Try our Oysters On The Half Shell. Just
one of many new seafood specials you’ll
enjoy at Shirleys Sandwiches. It’s never
too early for Shirleys! Visit our location on
the Greendale Community College campus
or at

The camera cuts so that we can see we are watching this on a television, we see Shirley and Abeds face reflected on the screen for a moment, until the commercial ends.

So. You like it?

Oh, Lord. No!

Scene fades.

# # #

Advertising Animals

374112_10150475755354595_182892415_nPostcards from the End of the World (excerpt)
Fit 2 Whereabouts, Section VII

You are standing in the sundial garden. It is dark. Presently, you look about you and find that you are enclosed by walls and a high ceiling, you are underground.

You see now a dim, distant light, probably originating in the middle of the giant, horizontal clock. Intently listening, you hear whispering. Half inaudible, silence and rustling of leather, and… something gelatinous.

You are blinded by a sudden light. When you are able to refocus your eyes, you inexplicably find yourself standing in the parking lot of a supermarket, surrounded by shopping carts and cars. You compose yourself, deciding to legitimize your visit by going in and buying something.

“I’ll beat them at their own game.” you mutter under your breath, grinning at old frozen ladies drolly rolling past you with full carts, “I needed to go shopping anyway.”

Entering through the auto-let-in Transec X-ray carbonizing smell-o-vac system, you find yourself surrounded by large, colorful species of advertisements, jumping around their metal jungle, feeding on the weak shoppers; welfare prunes and food-stampers.

These strange animals (known commonly as Andees) are the result of scanning living organisms, such as rabbits and chimpanzees, onto a computer. The mad scientists and IBM jerks mess around with the animals digitized genetics to form new and peculiar animals whose main purpose is to catch your attention at any cost and sell you their clients product, whose name is usually spelled out, along with their logo, in the animals hide.

“Oh, look at the cute monkey! What does it say on his back? Oreo’s? Oh, let’s get some!” Also, some Andees talk.

Wondering around to the pay lanes, you quickly scan the headlines of the newspapers and magazines, only one catches your eye: a news article reporting the mad escapades of several gangs of dogs who, ex-domesticated and forced to earn their own keep, have taken to breaking into humans homes and stealing food and such.

You pause, not stopping but just barely walking with your head turned to read about how some of the dogs had adapted nicely, and were working government jobs, child care occupations, and tobacco farming.

Suddenly, a small green blobby melon-shaped cat catches your eye and immediately starts toward you. You veer to the left, picking up your pace as you head for the produce section. Almost directly behind you is the feline Andee, digitally intent upon making a sale. Vegetables are much safer.

“Hey, darlin'”, the cat purrs from behind you, “C’mon baby, gimme a chance!” On the cats back you see that against its green fur is a patch of purple that reads: “Instant Death brand cigarettes” with their world famous logo; a man intently and calmly contemplating a rather phallic looking cigarette while simultaneously being stabbed, hung, drawn and quartered, guillotined, axe-murdered, drive-by’ed and biochemically annihilated. The cat light up a smoke and offers you one. You decline with silent contempt.

“Have you ever even tried Instant Death brand cigarettes?” the cat looks away and purrs lithely, blowing out sensual blue smoke rings.

“Shut your hole and get outta my face! I’m not interested,” you quicken your pace.

“Aw, come on, you fachin’ hypocrite! At least give it a try before you piss on it and condemn it to hell! That’s all I’m Asking!”

You try to get ahead of it, heading for the onions and apples. More people are being harassed by a large group of dog-like Andees, which is gathering around them, barking and dancing, trying to desperately entertain. But causing the people to freeze in fear, screaming, shitting and pissing themselves.

“Isidro!” you shout, seeing the little man wearing the stores uniform, sweeping up the produce aisle, “Get me out of here!” You see the cat still approaching, but it is becoming nervous because of the ill entertaining dogs. Isidro smiles and nods at you in utter incomprehension.

“Um, uh…¡Necesito me voy!” you say.

“Oh… ¡oh, si!” he drops his broom, still smiling, and rushes over to the lettuce display. You walk up to him and see that Isidro has uncovered a secret passageway behind the bin that hold the lettuce. You stare at him, dumbfounded, as he gestures for you to climb up into the bin.

Quickly, you climb up onto the rack, over the desolate lettuce, crushed, and set yourself down the hole, sliding.

© 1993 Robert Emmett McWhorter