4:30 PM, Friday, May 13th, 2011 PULP ARK
PULP ARK settled into a groove pretty quickly, everyone eager to meet fans, but visiting with each other and hammering out ideas and making suggestions as well. Then a newsboy walked in hollering 'EXTRA! EXTRA! followed by two people who set up a magazine on a stand, and began going on about mystical happenings, disappeared authors, and things that go bump in the night. A few minutes later, a black suave stranger with a gun strolls in followed soon by a black clad progeny of the Nazi party and her pet boy...Yup, you guessed it, the first act of Pulp Ark's original Pulp Play THE CASE OF THE BLOODY PULP had begun!
THE CASE OF THE BLOODY PULP, written and directed by Tommy Hancock is a Pulp Play that went on throughout the entire convention in the midst of the regular flow of the event. Although pictures were taken, none have surfaced at this time and will be posted when they do. In lieu of that, however, I will be posting the acts of the play in the order they were performed right here! So without further ado...
Newt the Newsboy-Alex Hancock
Merlin Montgomery-Tommy Hancock
Benita Isadore Magready (Bim)-Shannon O'Cain
Simon Sanders, The Rogue-Brian Coltharp
J.C. Givens-David Jones
Nikola Deveraux-Tanya McClure
THE CASE OF THE BLOODY PULP
(Scene opens with Newt the Newsboy walking around room, holding up papers, shouting)
NEWT: Extra! Extra! Read All About It. Famous Rare Pulp Magazine on Display at Pulp Ark today! Explorer Merlin Montgomery does it again! Bloody Pulp supposed to be cursed, here at Pulp Ark! Extra! Extra!
(Scene shifts to focus on Merlin Montgomery, famed explorer and Benita Isadore Magredy, Bim to almost everyone standing near b getting ready for the display.)
MONTGOMERY-There, everyone should be able to get a good look at it as they walk by, but not touch or snatch it. We’ve given the bloody pulp a nice bit of attention.
BIM-Too much attention if you were to ask me. More than that bit of ink and paper deserves.
MERLIN (laughs) I understand, Bim, but this yellowing print and fading words is a piece of history. Not only is it the only existing piece of the work of JC Givens left, there’s all the stories surrounding ir.
BIM-That’s for sure and certain what I mean! I’ve tagged along with you long enough to know that anything that is hexed, vexed, damned, or cursed should be destroyed, shredded, shot, and buried! Like that little ugly statue we found in Georgia, you know, Merlin, in that abandoned sani-
MERLIN-BIM! That’ll be enough. I’m sure this won’t turn out to be that kind of fiasco.
MERLIN-You don’t know how this will be! I mean you might know more than most since you are an expert in most forgotten languages, but that would mean you’d have to be able read it. Can you?
MERLIN-Yes and I see where you’re going. The stanza at the beginning of Given’s story. The one that has the header-IF YOU CAN READ THESE FOUR LINES, THEN SHE WHOM ALL FEAR WILL ALLOW YOU THE REST OF THE STORY’. And to answer your question, no, I can’t read them.
BIM-Well, who could for Queen’s sake? Just a lot of gobbledy gook thrown together.
MERLIN-It has similarities to ancient Sumerian and a hint of Lemurian, but I can’t even begin to untangle what it says. No one else can either. I’ve had experts look at it after the experts you had look at it. And, if legends to be believed, the secrets within the story hinge on reciting that stanza. If you can’t, its just an averagely written story about a writer turned detective who gets into a scrape over an ancient manuscript.
BIM-Except it isn’t! You know the kind of busybodies and baddies that have been after this scrap of story, Merlin!
MERLIN Quiet, Bim! It’s time to announce the display.
(Merlin at this point calls attention, gets up in front of crowd and begins to give a speech concerning THE BLOODY PULP and explains the rumors behind its writing as well as the fact that its author JC Givens vanished the day it was submitted to be published and how the publishing house printed one copy and burnt to the ground. Merlin’s speech will end…. With..)
MERLIN-And although we do have the single copy of the magazine containing ‘THE BLOODY PULP’ here on display for a limited time, author JC Givens disappeared 61 years ago and has not been since since-”
ROGUE- UNTIL TODAY!
(Attention turns to Simon Sanders, also known as The Rogue, standing at the far side of the room from Montgomery, and Bim. He is suave, debonair, not greasy and slimy, very much James Bond like, but of highly questionable morals)
BIM- Well, if it isn’t Lucifer’s stepson? Let me at-”
MERLIN-Easy, Bim…not yet. He’s not shown his cards in this hand yet and you know how The Rogue likes to hop fence.
BIM-Hop fence? After what he did to you in Jamaica over this bloody book?
MERLIN-(As the Rogue steps up) Hello, Simon.
ROGUE-Ah, Merlin. It’s so good to see that you escaped those fanatical snake worshippers and their pet in Jamaica.
BIM-And the zombies! Don’t leave out the zombies! I oughtta-
ROGUE-Ah, yes, Miss Magredy. I’d say it was good that you escaped as well, but I actually rather hoped that giant snake was picking its fangs with your bones.
(At that point, Bim breaks loose from Merlin and charges the Rogue…from out of nowhere, he pulls a gun that stops Bim in her tracks. Merlin pulls the gun from her holster, both of them now pointing pieces, with Bim in the middle)
ROGUE-Ah, now my dear Benita, we both know that I won’t let you get close enough to me to do you any good.
BIM-Of course you won’t, not after the beatin’ I gave you in Timbuktu!
MERLIN-We also know, Simon, that I’m a better shot than you are. Faster, too.
ROGUE-True, but your friend and confidant stand between us, Merlin. We can’t shoot for risk of shooting her.
MERLIN-Speak for yourself. Everyone’s got spots they can be shot that won’t kill them. Thin, fleshy spots that won’t even barely slow down a bullet.
BIM-NOW JUST WAIT A BLOODY MINUTE!!
ROGUE-(laughing) Do not worry your monkey like head, Bim. As much as the world would thank me for ridding the world of a nuisance, I didn’t come all the way from Jamaica to Arkansas with a side trip to Turkey to shoot you.
(While all this is going on, Merlin is studying the older man behind The Rogue. He walks up to him, looks him over and over, then steps back and at this point says
MERLIN-Well I’ll be Dented and Gibsoned! It…it can’t be… Rogue, what is all this?
ROGUE-Oh, my friend here? Why, he’s the reason I’m here. As a matter of fact, Merlin, he’s the reason you and all these nice people are here. Found him living in a cave system in Turkey with a bunch of monks. (He turns, like a circus ringmaster and shouts) Ladies and gentlemen and those who think you are, allow me to introduce myself. I am Simon Sanders, adventurer-
ROGUE-I’m also known in many circles as THE ROGUE, an unfortunate epithet I assure you. I am here today to bring you one of the greatest mysteries of the modern day, right here to your doorstep. Yes, true believers and skeptics one and all, please welcome to speak about that rotting piece of periodical there that he himself wrote….looking just as spry as he did the day he vanished…JC GIVENS!!
JC GIVENS Uh…um…hello. I…I have not left a cave in Turkey since I was spirited there by an order of ordained men dedicated to the safety of our world known only as THE MONKS in 1940. I would not be here now, except that..The- Mr. Sanders in his own way (The Rogue holds up the gun and smiles) spirited me away from there.
I know there are many questions and much confusion. First, let me say I am…sorry. I was a fool in years past, a man riding the wave of his own hubris and talent, believing that he could do anything he wished and daring anyone to tell him differently. I dabbled and played with beings and powers that no one had any business even thinking of. And I did more than think of them.
Everything this gentleman (pointing at Merlin) said about the story in this magazine is true. It is more than just a made up tale. It holds a great secret. It is not simply fiction. It is a prison. A genie’s bottle, if you would, holding something much more ominous, more evil than any imagined genie. When I first wrote it, I hoped to capture this…thing…and use it for my own ends, to basically have anything I wanted. But in the years I have been with The Monks, I have learned and been shown things that would melt most men’s eyes and I can tell you that the four line stanza, which holds the key to open the story up…can never be read by anyone who knows that language. That stanza also holds the key to destroy the…evil that would be unleashed, but not even I can make sense of the antidote to this poison. I began writing that story to be a God…I wrote the last word of it knowing that I would be a prison guard…hopefully keeping what lives within my words and thoughts trapped there forever.
That is why (he pulls out a lighter and lights it) that I must do this. I must destroy the bloody pulp.
NIKOLA-One does not think so, my aging flower.
(GIVENS drops the lighter, falls forward, either after a shot or a knife in the back...and from behind him Nikola Deverueaux and her right hand man, August, step up.
BIM-Bloody Queen of crazy herself!
ROGUE-Now, that wasn’t part of the plan, was it, dear? You paid me more money than Midas to bring him to this backwater town to kill him?
MERLIN-Simon…you’re..working for Nikola Devereaux…I knew your morals were barely visible..but..she’s…pure evil.
ROGUE-And unbelievably filthy rich to boot. Sorry, Merlin, but even I have to work where I can get it, economic downturn and all that.
NIKOLA-Yes, Merlin (she approaches Merlin) he is like all men…weak, drawn to money and desires, no different than any of their kind. But you, in all the times we have met, you…still intrigue me like no other.
MERLIN-That’s funny, Nikola….because you disgust me..Even more than your insane father and twisted mother did.
NIKOLA-(SLAPS HIM HARD, then laughs) Ahhh, words of hate and spite are songs of life and love to my blackened soul. Please, Merlin, say such things again. Don’t tease a girl.
ROGUE-Nikola, you’ve put us in a spot here. Backwoods or not, this burg has local authorities that will be here soon. Bodies tend to draw them out, even the body of a man missing for sixty years. But why kill him? You needed him to read that stanza!
NIKOLA-No, I do not. Not if what August has told me is true. August, come.
NIKOLA-Tell me again what you have just learned. Speak, August, Speak.
AUGUST-Yes, Madam. A piece of parchment has been discovered that can be used to decipher the stanza. And because you control all you wish to, Madam, you have arranged for that parchment to arrive here tomorrow.
AUGUST-Good, August, good. Now all we must do is be sure we have the pulp magazine in our hands. And wait.
BIM-Merlin, tell me you’ve got a plan.
MERLIN-You remember why I never lose at cards, Bim?
BIM-Because you’ve read the deck and the players before you sit down to the table.
MERLIN-Right…and taken steps to insure I win before the first chip is thrown. Just like today! NEWT, go, kid. NOW!
(From a crouched position where he’s been the whole time near the magazine, Newt the Newsboy jumps up and snatched it just as NIKOLA is reaching for it. He grabs it and runs from the building.)
NIKOLA-August! Go! FETCH THE BLOODY PULP! GO!
MERLIN-What about you, Simon? Her purse strings are still tied around your neck.
ROGUE-I’ve got the money, she’ll have a deuce of a time getting it back. Besides…I liked the old man. Death doesn’t bother me, but I liked him.
NIKOLA-No matter. August is well trained. He will find that little urchin.
MERLIN-Don’t bet on it, Nikola. Newt will blend in with any kid in a school yard, any dirty faced boy on a playground. He’ll vanish.
NIKOLA-No, passionate Merlin. He will die. And unfortunately, so will you if you do not stay out of my way! (she leaves the building)
BIM-Well, let’s get after the lot of ‘em then! (And out she goes)
MERLIN-What about you, Simon? Switching sides?
ROGUE-Not just yet. Let’s say I’ll be Switzerland for a bit. Find something to read here, maybe. (winks at her as she leaves)
END ACT ONE