Video script: Will Shortz is Slipping

I believe I’m mentioned this before. It’s something of an experiment of a video for 3LR about a man doing a New York Times Sunday crossword. It doesn’t really go well, due to his own incompetence, and his friends’ kibitzing, although he blames it on the erstwhile Mr. Shortz.

Also, his friends have the power to travel through some wormholes through space and… well, not time. Just space. And probably they’re not wormholes, but I’m not sure what the technical term would be. I hope that it will be cool to watch, though.

“Will Shortz is Slipping”

JAKE is sitting on his couch, doing a New York Times Sunday crossword.

JAKE

31 across. Egg dish. 8 letters. So… not souffle.

JAKE ponders, but to no avail.

JAKE

Bugger. 34 across. Cheese that’s made backwards? C’mon, Shortz!

TOM’s scene pops in. Tom is in a kitchen, cooking.

TOM

Jakey!

JAKE

(Distracted) Whatup, Tom?

TOM

Just whippin’ up a frittata.

JAKE

Ooh! Frittata! That’s it!

TOM

Crossword? Lame!

TOM snaps his fingers, and Matt’s scene pops in. Matt is in front of a playground with a tall tornado slide (whose top ends out of frame) and a floppy rider thing near the edge of frame closest to JAKE. You can hear kids playing, but not see them. MATT is disoriented, but he recovers quickly; this kind of thing happens a lot.

MATT

Wha? Oh. Stop saying I’m lame!

TOM

Howdy, Papa.

JAKE

Way to breed, Matthew.

MATT

I’m not lame. You’re just jealous that you don’t have a beautiful wife with whom you could theoretically have constant sexual relations with if you weren’t both so tired.

As he’s talking, MATT walks to the floppy rider and begins riding it; as his head goes out of frame, it appears in JAKE’s.

TOM

Matt, I’m a man-whore.

JAKE

And I’ve got two hands.

JAKE looks up.

JAKE

That’s reasonably distracting.

MATT

It’s not my fault.

TOM

It kind of is.

MATT

No, 51-down. Bacall wasn’t in Porgy and Bess.

JAKE

Then who?

RYAN’s scene pops in. Ryan is doing some doofusy home workout thing, complete with neon sweatbands.

RYAN, TOM, and MATT

Bailey!

RYAN

Pearl Bailey. Emmy and Tony winning actress.

TOM

How can you do the Times crossword but still be so ignorant?

MATT

And just for your edification, Bess is traditionally black.

RYAN

Porgy too.

JAKE

Porgy too?

MATT

It’s not Shortz’s cleverest clue.

JAKE

Well… if you’re so smart, where are your kids?

MATT looks around

MATT

Crap.

MATT begins exploring, looking for his kids. He’ll explore his own area, but he’ll then also move to other zones. Periodically, he can call out his kids’ names, Madison and Brayden. And ultimately, Savannah.

TOM

Hey, Jakey. 54 across.

JAKE

What about it? Hevea product? (he pronounces it “Heavy-ya”

RYAN

Hee-vee-ya.

JAKE

Hee-vee-ya? What is that, like, some kind of Greek goddess?

MATT

I should have used two.

TOM

Three.

MATT

Three?

RYAN

Yeah, three.

MATT has to think about this.

MATT

Aw, crap. Madison! Brayden! And Savannah! Shoot!

JAKE

Don’t shoot your kids. (A sudden brainstorm) Magnum!

TOM

(Mock frustration) Not magnum.

JAKE

What, Trojan, then?

RYAN

Trojan?!?

JAKE

It fits!

TOM drops a superball, which falls through his scene and into JAKE’s.

TOM

Oops.

JAKE

Gosh darn it, Tom, why are you dropping your little rubber ball at me.

RYAN

Yeah, Tom, gosh darn it.

RYAN begins shooting rubber bands at TOM, although they too drop down onto JAKE.

Meanwhile, MATT walks from the playground set into JAKE’s. He’s holding an inflated bike inner tube, which he drapes around JAKE’s shoulders.

MATT

Have you seen my kids? I’ll trade you this curiously rubbery tube made of rubber.

JAKE

I’m kind of distracted. (To himself:) Hevea? Darn it, Shortz.

RYAN

You might as well just move on. Unless you’re watching a Davis Cup match.

As he’s talking, RYAN finishes his workout and walks into TOM’s zone to swipe some food.

TOM

Hey!

TOM gives RYAN a good-natured shove. He falls backwards through his own zone, down the slide in MATT’s, and into JAKE’s.

RYAN

It wasn’t that good anyway.

TOM

Shut it!

TOM takes a cupful of water and dumps it; he’s aiming at RYAN, but it douses JAKE instead.

JAKE

Come on! This isn’t You Can’t Do That on Television!

RYAN

75-down.

RYAN exits JAKE’s zone as he says it.

JAKE

You Can’t Do That on Television singer? That clue sucks, Shortz.

MATT, by this point, is in RYAN’s zone.

MATT

Morissette!

JAKE

Smart-ass!

JAKE points at the two zones above him. He shakes them, causing MATT and TOM to shake too and lose their balance, and then switches their position. Upon switching, Matt looks offscreen to the left.

MATT

There you are! Madison! Brayden! And… you! You almost got Daddy in trouble.

MATT runs offscreen to the left.

TOM

Aww.

TOM tries to follow MATT to the left, but when he reaches the edge of his screen, it’s a solid wall. He bumps against it and falls. RYAN climbs up to TOM’s zone to check on him.

JAKE

Man with power over space and time: Jake!

JAKE snaps his fingers up and then to the side. As he does so, the two now empty zones disappear.

RYAN

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s Thor. 81 across.

JAKE gives him a look of venom, and then, maliciously, snaps his fingers up and diagonally. The zone with TOM and RYAN disappears.

JAKE

Will Shortz is slipping.

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