Four Hundred Wasted Meters Tom 7 Webstuffs

Four Hundred Wasted Meters
A Play in Three Fits
With Guest Star Sir Isaac Newton

By Tom Murphy 7
(in Physics class)


A six-sided box with six holes in him.

A ghost-white floating head

A policeman of universal jurisdiction

An Outsider

A demoness

Some Squeezy Stuff

An arm's length of fishing cord.
Twenty five ducks
A Very Large Duck

Our fearful hero

A little Girl
Fit the First
Fit the First: A Good Cross Section

[Scene 1: Isaac Newton, floating in Blackness, reading from a scroll in a false English Accent]

Newton: Newton's third law of dynamics: Every action has an Equal and Opposite reaction. (Fade out)

[Scene 2: Chalk and Earth are floating in Blackness, both "facing" the audience as if they are going to introduce themselves. As they talk, they slowly move from talking directly to the audience in a drone to arguing directly with each other (though Earth remains calm). Earth is situated so that we can see holes in 4 of his faces, but not the others]

Earth: There are six holes in me; one for each of my faces.
Chalk: Therefore I deduce that you have six faces.
Earth: I concur and validate your deduction.
Chalk: I further infer that you have one hole in each of your faces.
Earth: Ah, you miscalculate. Though you see four of my holes in four of my faces, leaving two holes and two faces, you cannot know that one hole occurs in each of those two faces.
Chalk: Alas, I am mistaken. You have two holes in one side then?
Earth: No. In each side I have two holes.
Chalk: Now you miscalculate!
Earth: No miscalculation occurred. In fact, I have four holes in each of my remaining sides.
Chalk (Chalk is facing Earth by this point): You're mad!
Earth: I speak no lie.
Chalk:Clearly you must have one hole in each side, or two holes in one side and none in the other!
Earth: And so I have both.
Chalk (thinks): Even if I believed you, that still only makes three holes in each of those sides.
Earth: You are forgetting the not-hole.
Chalk (vaguely facetiously): Oh, I guess I am.
(Earth turns back to face the audience, as if the matter has been settled)
Chalk: What not-hole?
Earth: The hole that isn't there when both holes are in one face.
Chalk: That doesn't count!
Earth: Why not?
Chalk: It's not a hole!
Earth: Sure it is. Why, what do you think it is?
Chalk: It's... I don't know! Nothing! It doesn't exist!
Earth: Exactly; that's why it's a not-hole. I have a big hole, I have a small hole; then I have two holes. I have a hole that exists, I have one which does not; then I have two holes.
Chalk (infuriated): This is infuriating!
Earth: No falsehood escapes my lips.
Chalk (excited, suddenly realizing that he has got Earth trapped): You tell a not-falsehood? Then you tell a falsehood?
Earth (Very matter-of-factly): Yes.
Chalk: Hear that? (points at Earth and shouts to audience) He's a liar!
Earth: I accede, I am a liar. I am the sort of liar who does not lie.
(Chalk suddenly gets an even better idea)
Chalk (points at a man in the audience): Earth was talking shit about your mom! (turns to look at Earth for agreement) Earth?
Earth: I was.
Chalk (grinning): Also -
Earth: I feel I must clarify for this gentleman; I was talking shit about his mom, but in the manner of not- talking not-shit about his not-mom.
Chalk (laughs, as in "a-HA!"): Liar!

Enter FORCE.
Force (forcefully; Force is some sort of authority): What are you two arguing about?
Chalk: Earth is a liar.
Earth: I am a not-liar.
Force: What is the problem then?
Earth: It is a not-problem.
Chalk: He is telling lies, and has admitted it!
Force: I think that he is telling not-lies.
Earth: Not-truths are not escaping my not-lips.
(Chalk thinks, as eyes are on him to continue)
Force (after a moment): Let's go back to the holes, then.
Chalk: Fine.
(Force removes himself clandestinely while the other two are talking.)
Earth: As I was saying, I have six holes in each of those two sides.
Chalk: I thought you said `four'!
Earth: I did.
Chalk: Why has it changed to six now?
Earth: I have one not-hole, as I have four not-holes, as I have six, as I have an infinite number.
Chalk: What?
Earth: There exist an infinite number of not-holes, and an infinite number of those reside on my remaining two faces.
Chalk: Oh. But wait - you said, "as I was saying." but before you were talking about four!
Earth: I was.
Chalk: What are you saying, that four and six are the same?
Earth: Yes.
Chalk: I suppose you'll claim that six is a not-four?
Earth: I would claim that, but they are even more closely related. A six is a very large four.
Chalk: You can't do that!
Earth: Why not? I have a small hole, I have a big hole. I have a small four, I have a big four.
Chalk: But four means four!
Earth (puzzled): Why?
Chalk: Because... because it just is! Four is four!
Earth: That's not a very good reason.
Chalk: I've had enough of this.
(Chalk starts floating towards Earth, and despite Earth's pathetic attempts to keep him from doing so, finally enters through one of the holes)
Earth: Get out of there!
Chalk (muffled, from inside): Now I've seen all the faces, and you have exactly one hole on each face.
Earth: Hole killer!!
Chalk: I didn't kill anything! Your twelve holes were never here!
Earth: Ravager of cavities!
Chalk: They never existed!
Earth: Obliterator of indentations!
(Chalk floats timidly out of one of the holes)
Chalk: I-
Earth: Effacer of perforations!

(FORCE enters suddenly again)

Force: What are you two arguing about?
Earth: Chalk's knowledge of my two hitherto invisible faces has caused 12 possible holes to lose existence.
Chalk: It was an accident!
Force: Accident or not, you've committed holeslaughter.
Earth (quietly, as the others talk): Those poor little holes... and the not-holes! (sniffles)
Chalk: The holes never existed, though!
Force: They existed as not-holes.
Chalk: Well, I've just made them not-not-exist!
Force: You've made them exist, then? Where are they?
Chalk: No, no, a not-not-hole is not the same as a hole.
Force: No?
Chalk: Yes, that's right, I've just made them more nonexistent.
Force: And you think they don't mind that?
Chalk: No, I don't think they should, no.
(Force abruptly pulls out a gun and shoots Chalk. Chalk's guts spray spectacularly)
Force: Well, then you won't mind either.
Earth (quickly becoming more like his previous demeanor): Knowledge of the location of the holes has been obliterated, thus the holes have reverted to their original state.
Force: Not entirely.
Earth: Perhaps I miscalculate. What do you mean?
Force: Well, the audience knows.
Earth: Ah, right, well we'll kill them on the way out.
(Scene begins to fade)
Force (points to someone in the audience, very nonchalantly): Your mom is a fucking asshole.
(Scene is fully faded, a man (ostensibly the same one) shouts, "My mom is DEAD, man!") Fit the Second
Fit the Second: A Cleaner Spoon

[Scene 1: Isaac Newton, floating in Blackness, reading from a scroll in a false English Accent]

Newton: Newton's first law of dynamics: An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by external forces.

(Fade out)

[Scene 2: Vapid and Clyde are standing in a nursery. There is a cradle. There may be a portrait on the posterior wall, which is painted in friendly pastels. Vapid is evil, Clyde just looks like a Regular Mom. Clyde tickles the baby as Vapid stands ominously nearby. After a few seconds, lights dim on everyone but Vapid, who steps forward to address the audience. These two pronounce (special) Capitalized Words in some distinctive way. The whole conversation has a seamy wrongness to it]

Vapid: I am an evil demoness. Here is one of my minions, Clyde, and here is her child.
(Vapid walks back to Clyde and son, lighting returns to normal)
Clyde: What say you, O High Vapid?
Vapid: Have I mentioned, Bishop Clyde, that in order to enter the Queendom of Vapid, you must train your offspring in the teachings of the Temple of Vapid?
Clyde: It goes without saying, Lord Vapid.

(Bean wanders by in the background, surveying the scene casually)

(fade out)

[Scene 3: Clyde is watching Squeezy (her son, who is now maybe 6 years old) ride a bicycle with training wheels on a Sunny Autumn day. Everything is very normal looking except for the fact that it is sickeningly family-like and happy, and also except for Vapid who is standing nearby dismally. Bean is sitting on a bench and reading a newspaper]

Squeezy: Mommy, look, I'm riding it by myself!
Clyde: That's wonderful, Squeezy!
Squeezy: Thank Vapid for bicycles! Thank Vapid for Life Itself!
(At this point Vapid approaches the two. The lights become evil and demonic and maybe there is a fire lighting effect around them. Vapid stands with her hand raised above the two, facing away, like "kiss my hand, mortals")
Squeezy (obviously not understanding many of the words he is using): Oh High Lord Vapid, we Pay Homage To You and Worship You For All You Have Brought Us.
Clyde: May your Vapidness Pervade The Entire Universe.
(Squeezy kneels in some sort of bow that's nondenominational as we know it; apparently endemic to Vapidism)
Squeezy: Oh Vapid, She Who Hast Created the World.
(Clyde joins in here and they say the prayer together. The lights smoothly get ultraviolet and the fire effect becomes more pronounced)
Squeezy & Clyde: Your Evilness is Like No Other. Thou Hast Always Wrought Truth, Thou Hast Permeated Our Existence With Dark, May We Hope To Enter The Queendom Of Vapid Through Our Tribute To Your Temple.
(Vapid retains her pose, and after a while, whispers):
Vapid (whispering): You forgot the last line.
Squeezy & Clyde (hastily, for they are worried that Vapid is angry with them): Sic Locutus.
(Rapidly the lights return to normal. Squeezy is suddenly full-grown)

(Bean stands from the bench and folds the newspaper. He sets it on the bench and approaches the two; Vapid has disappeared in the interim. During this scene, Clyde detaches herself from Squeezy, and allows him to defend his faith on his own)
Bean: What is this?
Clyde: My son and I were praying to the Almighty Vapid.
Bean: Why?
Squeezy: We mean to enter the Queendom of Vapid through our reverence for Her Highness.
Bean: What is that?
Clyde (apparently quoting Scripture): The Queendom of Vapid is the most Evil Place. On the Ethereal Plane, it Transcends the Worldly Light and Achieves Total Darkness, a place where Evil Pervades All.
Bean: Evil? Why would you want to be evil?
Squeezy (confused): What do you mean, why? Because evil is good. It is good to be evil.
Bean (confused, upset): What? You do know what `evil' means, right?
Squeezy: Yeah. It means... you know, Evil.
Bean: Evil is the exact opposite of Good!
Squeezy: No it isn't.
Bean (angry, begins to say): Yes it is!
(But is cut off by FORCE entering, who finishes his sentence, "yes it...")
Force: Isn't. It is not.
Bean: Who are you??
Force: I am Force. Do not assume that Squeezy has the same definition of `evil' as you, but investigate further, this is good.
Bean: How can I, he says that Evil means (imitates Squeezy's voice) "you know, Evil".
Force: Then ask him what he does to exemplify his Evilness.
Bean: What do you do that makes you Evil?
Squeezy: Well, I pray to Vapid, and I read the Scriptures, and I go to the Temple.
(Force disappears again.)
Bean: That's it?
Squeezy: I... yes, that's it I suppose.
Bean: No human sacrifices or drinking blood or anything?
Squeezy: No! No, of course not!
Bean: Oh... Hmm... so why exactly do you want to be Evil again? I mean, Evil with this particular Demoness?
Squeezy: Her Highness Vapid is the Demoness! No other Demoness could have created the Universe, Created the Human Race In Her Evil Image, be Lord Of All Creation, Perform the Thirty-Seven Evil Miracles -
Bean: What Miracles? How do you know she did all this stuff?
Squeezy: It is written in the Scriptures! (conveniently produces a copy from his back pocket and hands it to Bean)
Bean (takes the book, flips through it): These pages are all blank!
Squeezy: Ah, only Those With True Faith can read the Scriptures.
Bean: This is preposterous!
Squeezy: It is so. (nods slowly)
Bean (flips through the book to a random page in the center, and shows it to Squeezy): What does this page say, right here?
Squeezy (takes a moment): "... And Lo, She Spake Upon Her Subjects, `Thou Shalt Carry Thy Evilness To Far Away Lands, And Thou Shalt Imbue them with The Teachings of The Temple Of Vapid, And Thou-..."
Bean (furious, turns around and rips a page out of the book where Squeezy can't see. He turns back around and shows the page to Squeezy): What does this one say, huh?
Squeezy (a little bit upset that Bean tore up his Evil Book, but still polite and restrained): I don't know.
(Bean is about to go, "A HA!")
Squeezy: The magic ink must have leaked out when you ripped it.
(Bean is speechless. He gets red in the face, and is about to shout, but calms down.)
Bean: Well, okay, what happens to a non-believer like me? Where do I go instead of the Queendom Of Vapid?
Squeezy: You go to heaven.
Bean: Heaven! Well, sounds pretty good to me.
Squeezy: No, no, heaven is an awful place.
(Bean "keeps a stiff upper lip" and nods slowly to himself)
Squeezy: It's filled with all sorts of hideous angels and light, and there is No Evil there.
Bean: It doesn't sound so bad to me.
Squeezy (thoughtfully): You would benefit from the Teachings of Vapid.
(Suddenly VAPID, somewhat out-of-character, runs onto the scene.)
Vapid (urgently): Quick, everyone, let's jump off a bridge!
Squeezy, Clyde: Okay!
(SQUEEZY, VAPID, and CLYDE all jump off the front of the stage. Squeezy and Clyde scream on the way down; there may be a noticeable absence of screaming by Vapid).
Bean (standing alone, a little in shock): Well, I guess this is heaven.
(Very shortly, Vapid climbs up and hoists herself up the front of the stage. As soon as she is up, she pulls off her face and clothes and reveals herself to be Force. It is unclear if Force was always Vapid or if he was only impersonating her for the Jump-off-the-bridge scene)
Force: Quick, let's go get a beer.
Bean: Okay.
(They begin to walk offstage, fade to black) Fit The Third

Fit The Third: Missile Command Arrives

[Scene 1: Isaac Newton, floating in Blackness, reading from a scroll in a false English Accent]

Newton: Newton's second law of dynamics: When acted upon by an external force, an object accelerates inversely proportional to its mass in the direction of the force.
(Fade out)

[Scene 2: A smallish office on a Pretty High floor. Just a desk (with a porcelain flowerpot atop it, and flowers) and a window are there, as well as a large lever with a red knob on the end. Smock is sitting at his desk in a superhero costume, shaking a shoebox violently and laughing sort-of disturbingly evilly (and I mean actually evilly, not like Squeezy-brand EvilTM) The box has a miniature Squeezy and Bean and Vapid et al in it, and they are screaming very faintly. Mindy, a young girl, walks melancholically to Smock's desk. She is carrying a nondescript Russian Nesting Doll (one of those dolls that split in half and have another doll inside which also splits in half, etc.)]

Mindy (holds up her doll, which is about six inches tall): Mister, have you seen my Russian Nesting doll?
Smock (suddenly sets the box down, adopting his super-hero voice and posture): Oh, yes, very pretty.
Mindy: No, mister, I mean. have you seen the next one? The bigger doll one that I put this one into.
Smock: No, I'm afraid I haven't.

(Mindy leaves, only slightly more melancholy than she arrived)

(Smock stands and walks to the window. He stands there, looking out over the city, with his hands on his hips in a superhero pose)

Smock (to himself, but still with a Superhero voice): I, Smock, must protect my city from EvilTM.
(There doesn't seem to be much evil going on outside the window, so he turns around and begins to walk back to his desk. As soon as he does, the window shatters with a spray of glass and a loud thump. When he recovers from ducking he spots a brick with a note tied to it on the ground; it was thrown through the window by some miscreant)
Smock: What's this? (He picks up the brick and unties the note, reads from it) "Pull the big lever."
Smock (furrowing his brow and walking towards the lever): Huh. I've always wondered what this does.

(He pulls the lever, and the walls of the office building lift up to reveal a slightly larger office. This one is exactly the same; another window and another lever (his desk remains). There is also a duck, named "A")
Smock (a little surprised): Uh.
A (ominously, for a duck): I am Capital A, I control this room.
Smock (it's just a duck; he stands tall and regains his booming voice): I'm sorry, but I am Smock, and I am defender of this city. I uphold Law and Order.
A (very ominously): *I* control this room.
Smock: I'm going to have to ask you to leave, perhaps find some other city to-
(Smock is interrupted by his body being transformed into a Banana)
Smock (VERY surprised): Um.
A: I told you so.
Smock: Are you like, God, or something?
A: You could say that. I know everything, I am all powerful. I can do anything I want.
Smock: I never believed in God.
A: Believe it, kid.
Smock: Okay, okay, I believe. Will you change my body back, please?
A: No. Why should I? You are but insignificant debris.
Smock: But... surely you can spare a moment.
A: Nope. You could never spare a moment for me.
(Smock seems depressed. He sulks for a very short time, and then the new window shatters from a brick being thrown through it. Smock waddles over and looks down at the note)
Smock (to A): It's for you.
A (walks over and reads the note): It says, "Pull the big lever."
(A walks towards the lever)
A: I've always wondered what this does.
(A pulls the lever, and the walls lift up to reveal another larger room as before; with new lever and window, and a new duck, named "B")
B (ominously): I am Capital B, I am the master of this realm.
Smock: You too!
A (angrily): *I* am master of this realm!
B: No, I am.
(Smock's body is transformed back to normal. A becomes very upset and changes Smock back into a Banana. B frowns calmly and changes Smock back to normal and A into a teddy bear)
Smock (in awe): Thanks, man. So, you're Really God, then?
B: Yes.
Smock: Who is this `A' character, then?
B: He is god of your room, perhaps, but not god of Everything -- like myself.
Smock (thinking, for he is brighter than it may seem): Hmm, let me ask you a question: "Do you believe in God?"
B (insulted): No, of course not! Why, that's the stupidest --
(B is interrupted by his window shattering and a brick flying through it)
Smock: I think that's for you.
(B, still insulted, muttering "why I NEVER!" etc., goes and picks up the brick and reads it)
B: It says, "Pull the big lever."
(B pulls the lever. The walls lift up, another window, another lever, another Duck, named "C")
C: You don't believe in me, eh?
(C points a menacing finger at B and he spontaneously explodes)
Smock: I suppose you're the Real God, then?
C: Yes, of course. I am Capital C, I control this realm.
Smock: With a name like `C', wouldn't you think that there are at least 23 more of you?
C: I don't understand what you mean. How can there be anything more powerful than me? I am God. More power than I possess is outside my comprehension.
(His window is smashed by a brick, which he reads, and goes to pull the lever. At this point, things get very hectic; walls are raising and windows are smashed and levers are pulled and Gods are Blown Up and Turned Into All Manner Of Things. All of this happens within the course of a minute and is rather Spectacular. Finally, a Very Large Duck appears, his name is `Z', and the commotion (most of it, except for the ex-God bunny rabbits hopping around and Charred Ashes smoldering quietly) settles down)
Z (most ominously of all): I am Capital Z, I am The End.
Smock (stumbling around; his limbs have been changed into some variety of produce): That's it, you're really the last one? The God of Everything?
Z: That's it.
Smock: Surely you must believe there is more?
Z: No, I'm it.
(Mindy wanders up to Z. She was really there all during the commotion, asking all of the quasi-Gods if they had seen her Russian Nesting Doll, but she never got the spotlight)
Mindy: Mister, have you seen my Russian Nesting Doll?
Z: Yes, Mindy, I have it right here.
(He Produces a very large doll -- which looks just like the ones she already has -- and hands it to her. Mindy pieces it together and is very happy)
Mindy: It's finally done! Thank you! (She runs off gleefully)
(Smock glances at the window impatiently, waiting for it to smash open. An uncomfortable bit goes by, Smock walks over to the window and glances out of it; he shades his eyes with his hand to peer because he apparently can't see anything. He waits some more, nothing happens. The set is basically silent)
Smock (confused): That's really it?
Z: That's it.
Smock: Oh.
(Fade to black. As it fades out, we hear glass breaking as if Z's window is being smashed by a brick. Suddenly, the lights fade in to see that Smock has accidentally dropped the flower vase from his desk onto the floor. He says, "Sorry, that's me," and the scene fades back out)

Fit The Fourth

Fit the Fourth: What We Thought

[Scene 1: Isaac Newton is being thrust from offstage into the floating blackness. He is speaking in his standard (not false-English) accent in low tones to someone offstage, saying things like, "I don't have any more laws!" and "I can't!"]

Newton (clears throat, embarrassed, uses false English Accent again): Um, I'm terribly sorry but I only prepared three laws for this. I thought this play was only three fits.
Force (who silently appeared very mysteriously next to Newton): It is. (shoots Newton in the head)

(Fade to black)


<------ Back to Tom's Carnage Melon Page