Dvorak: Act 2
Prologue (or, “Our First Mission”)
INT. SHOT: MAIN MEETING ROOM. The camera is centered on the television, which is surrounded by what looks like Christmas lights. A sign saying “The Pizza Show” hangs over the television. CUE MERENGUE MUSIC.
Welcome back, sports fans, to The Pizza Show!
ROSA ELENA MEIRA QUERIDA steps in from RIGHT. She is dressed in a low-cut rainbow dress and has a hairbrush in her hand. Her hair and makeup are impeccable. She speaks to the camera, using the hairbrush as a faux microphone.
I am Rosa Elena Meira Querida, and I am your host for this fun filled show. What is The Pizza Show, you might ask? Simple! We take our special guests and put them through ridiculous antics to see just how far they will go for a pie of pizza! In traditional ‘girls rule, boys drool’ fashion, I’d like to thank Miss Rifka Ivanovna Moscavitz for being our cinematographer today.
RIFKA IVANOVNA MOSCAVITZ’S voice is heard off camera.
Affirmative, Miss Rosa.
Now. Our first victim -- I mean contestant is the youngest member of our troupe, Mr. Xiao Jian Liang, preferably known as Jen. Today, he’s going to show us some of the hot up and coming fashions here at QWERTY headquarters!
The camera turns LEFT to an armchair. MATSUMOTO TAMASINE is seated on the armchair proper, goggles around his neck, while JASON JONES is perched on one of the armrests. BOTH BOYS are dead asleep.
Start acting enthusiastic.
Are we done?
(opens one eye, as he was never asleep to begin with)
Oh, we’re so enthused.
You’re next if you don’t start cheering.
TAMASINE starts clapping, although it is without fervor. JASON rolls his eyes. The camera pans RIGHT to ROSA, who looks to her right.
Any time now, Jen…
XIAO JIAN LIANG’S voice can be heard OFF CAMERA to the RIGHT.
Come on, Rosa, I look ridicu-
(flip of hair)
You look obviously fabulous in that stunning attire!
(still off camera)
I WON’T do it!
ROSA loses her patience and steps off camera to the RIGHT.
Tu es un pequeño palo de golf molesto -- now get your derriere out there?
CAMERA SHAKES. ZOOM in on ground, then REFOCUS on the middle of the room. CAMERA ZOOM on the five foot tall brown paper bag that now sits in the middle.
(off camera, laughing)
That’s Jen? What did they do to you, Didi?
(from inside the paper bag)
It wasn’t my fault, Tamaniichan!
(now back on screen)
Just look at how lovely he is!
The BAG shakes.
Come on, Rosa! I want out of here!
Okay. Do you want to get out of the bag now?
Wait -- not on camera!
Come on, Jen, it will be fun!
You have got to be kidding me…
All right. Fine. If you want it that way…!
ROSA pulls JEN out of the bag. JEN squirms as ROSA sits him on the floor. HE is eleven years of manipulation at the moment, dressed in a bright pink dress with a white apron, white tights, and pink Mary Jane shoes. There is a pink bow in his short black hair. Makeup is all over his face, most of it missing the mark -- a clear indicator of the struggle JEN has gone through against ROSA.
(turns to the camera)
Isn’t it beautiful?
Then sit down, Jennifer, and we’ll have some tea.
ROSA ushers JEN to the corner at the LEFT. There is a SMALL TABLE there with a traditional party tea setup there. CAMERA stops, and RIFKA IVANOVNA MOSCAVITZ enters the frame and sits at the table.
(off camera, to TAMASINE)
You know, dude, we’re gonna have to do the same thing in a few minutes, unless we sweet talk our way out of this.
Who said I was getting you out of anything?
ROSA forces JEN into a chair and straps him to it with duct tape.
And thus begins the Fifteen Minute Tea Party of Doom! Will Jen survive? We’ll be right back after this commercial break!
There is a noticeable BREAK in the recording. The SCENE jumps to the end of the fifteen minutes. JEN is still strapped to the chair, albeit tired and messy. ROSA is sitting next to him, and looks at the CAMERA as it ZOOMS in on her.
Welcome back! It was rough, but our contestant, Jen, made it through the Fifteen Minute Tea Party Of Doom!
Both TAMASINE and JASON can be heard clapping off camera. JEN struggles to get free from the chair and tips it over, landing on his side.
Way to go, Jen.
You sure knew how to survive that, Didi.
Well, since Jen survived our troublesome little scheme, he gets...A BOX OF PIZZA!
RIFKA comes on camera and brings a BOX of pizza. She sets it by JEN’s face and opens it so he can smell it.
Breadsticks and hot sauce! My favorite!
(turns to camera)
Our first contestant has survived! Now, who will be the next to face our wrath as a contestant?
I pick Tama.
Wait -- what?
Sounds good to me!
ROSA runs offscreen. RIFKA, JASON and JEN (still on the floor) cheer as ROSA leads TAMASINE across the SCREEN to the RIGHT. The CAMERA shakes as it is freed from its tripod.
This is gonna be good.
The CAMERA goes through a door to the right, across a hallway, and to another ROOM, all painted in purple. RIFKA stops the CAMERA just inside the cracked door.
Okay, Tamasine, what shall I find for you?
Look, Rosa...can’t we think this through? Or at least make Jason go first?
Hm, let me think...I don’t think so. Get in the closet and put this dress on.
Hey! The last time you forced me to do anything, I got kissed by you in front of a crowd of people, and I’d like it if I’m not embarrassed any more now than I was then --
What are you saying, Tama dear? You want me to kiss you? That’s so sweet of you.
That’s not what I’m saying at all --
What in blue blazes is going on down here?
The CAMERA turns to the left, down the hall, and settles on SARAH DEALEY, the leader of the Dealey faction of QWERTY. Her face turns sour, and she starts running toward RIFKA, yelling at the same time.
Do you have any clue what you’re doing? This is a gross misuse of QWERTY resources! Turn that off right now!
SARAH reaches for the CAMERA and grabs it with one hand. There is a scuffle, then the video CUTS TO BLACK.
“How many times have I told you?!” Sarah glared at the five kids whom she had gathered in their main room. “Stop making my job harder on me than it needs to be! You took the only working video camera the faction has from its rightful place in the closet, you have destroyed this meeting room that we so thoughtfully put together for you, and --” She stopped short, looking Jen over, before continuing. “I do NOT even want to know what you did to Jen.”
“She did it,” Rosa said from her place on the chair.
Rifka rolled her eyes, seated on the ground. “We all know it was Jason.”
Jason almost got up from his spot on the couch. “I had no say in this, dude! None!”
“Regardless.” Sarah looked around the living room-esque meeting area she had put together for the group back in July, after they had arrived in headquarters. The “Pizza Show” sign was still hanging over the television she had gotten straight from New York City.
“I would have expected better than this from the five of you,” Sarah continued. “Especially with Matsumoto as your de facto leader.”
All eyes went to Tamasine, seated on the couch by Jason. He shrugged. “I got outvoted. Didi wanted to do it.”
“Is this true?”
Jen nodded. “I was the one who found the video camera, but Rosa and Rifka came up with the game. They said they had pizza…”
Sarah finally lost her composure and chuckled. “Okay, okay. I’ll let you off the hook this once...just next time, ask. Okay?”
“Okay,” five voices chimed back.
“Now.” Sarah didn’t exactly smile, but she did seem to have a look of contentness on her face. “I’ve been discussing your training with my boss, and we’ve agreed you should be sent on your first mission.”
The air in the room changed. Rosa and Jason cheered, Jen hugged Tamasine, and while Rifka looked a bit nervous, she accepted it as reality.
“Now,” Sarah said, “here are the details. The world in question is part of a collision, but this job will be quite simple. World Y-MH-928-A is colliding with world Y-MH-928-B, which is a template. Can anybody remind me of what a template is?”
Jen raised his hand. “A template is an empty world, devoid of life,” he said. “If given the chance to choose between an inhabited world and a template, QWERTY never chooses the template.”
“Correct,” Sarah said. “So on this mission, you won’t need to worry about rewriting reality. All you need to do is go to world Y-MH-928-A, find a guardian, and make sure they stay by your side. A few things will probably shift, but you’ll take the guardian to limbo on the last day to sign off and that’s it. No problems. But just in case, I’ve assigned somebody to go with you.”
A familiar face popped her head into the room from the back. “Guess who!”
“Isabel!” everybody cheered as Isabel Gonzalez stepped into the room, penguin socks and all.
“As you know, Isabel has been training to become a solo operative in QWERTY,” Sarah continued. “Her routine will be much like this, operating with templates. She will lead your team on this mission as her final test before graduation from this program. Don’t give her any trouble.”
“Got it.” Tama saluted at Sarah. “We won’t let you down. You can count on us.”
“All of us,” Isabel said with a smile.
Sarah nodded. “Good. I wouldn’t want it any other way. You’ll start first thing in the morning. Now...shall we start the survival strategies?”