Where Threads Come Loose
"Frank's Esteemed Monster

The Recording Script

Art by Dan Grothe
• Written and directed by Christopher Bahn. Copyright 1996.
• From episode 3 of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose (Originally episode 6 of 1997 Edition)
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM, February 1994.

Audio Excerpt
Right-click on the bold link to download: The Creation of Ramon

• Frank Smithers: Christopher Bahn
• Mildred, Frank's wife: Jordan Jackson
• Jim Paxton, Frank's neighbor: Chuck Keller
• Ygor, Frank's son; the Monster; Gene Miller, Frank's other neighbor: Tony Pagel

Author's Notes
• This story shares an episode with "The Wake-Up Service."
EPISODE INTRO: There's always one guy like Frank Smithers in every neighborhood. People like Frank always park on the street because their garage is too full of tools and how-to books and half-finished projects to admit anything as mundane as an automobile. The Franks of the world are often a one-stop shopping trip for neighbors who need to conveniently "borrow" a hammer or a lawnmower or what have you, and our Frank is no exception. It's a heavy burden for people who love their tools, and some Franks just can't handle the stress. Our Mr. Francis Smithers decides to regain his tools and his self-respect in a decidedly novel manner -- the novel being, in this case, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Without further ado, we present our fable for the day, a little story we like to call "Frank's Esteemed Monster."

SCENE I: Frank's house. The garage.
(SFX: Outer door opens, closes)

Jim: Hey Frank! How's it going?

Frank: (a bit startled; he didn't hear Jim come in) Oh! Oh, hi, Jim. I'm doing fine, just making a shelf. I bought a new set of drill bits and I wanted to try them out.

Jim: I suppose you'll be wanting me to return your drill then.

Frank: When did you borrow my drill?

Jim: Oh, I snuck in last night after you were asleep. I didn't think you'd mind.

Frank: Of course I mind! Why do you think I lock the garage at night?

Jim: Ha ha ha! Frank, you can't think I'd want to steal your tools! I wouldn't steal anything from my bestest bowlin' buddy!

Frank: No, you just borrow permanently. How did you get in? There's a padlock on the door.

Jim: I borrowed your keys last Friday during bowling night and made an extra set.

Frank: Jim!

Jim: Frank, I was only thinking of your family's safety. What if your house caught fire?

Frank: Yes, I certainly wouldn't want any of my tools to be burned up. You could at least have told me you were going to make a set of my keys.

Jim: Well, you were averaging 200 points a game. I didn't want to bring up the issue of fire safety when you were on a hot streak.

Frank: (dryly) Thanks, Jim. Where's my drill?

Jim: Hey Frank, I just made a pun! Hot streak, fire safety -- get it? (whoops with laughter)

Frank: Very amusing, Jim. Where's my drill?

Jim: Whoo... ha ha... hot streak.

Frank: Jim.

Jim: Right, right, your drill. Here you go.

Frank: Jesus, Jim, what did you do, chew on it?

Jim: Noooo... Just a little accident in the kitchen. With the, um, salad shooter.

Frank: Uh huh.

Jim: You know I've never been very handy myself. That's why I never bought my own set of tools.

Frank: Whatever, whatever, just give me the drill.

(SFX: Outer door opens, closes)

Gene: Frank! How's it going?

Frank: (sarcastic) Oh, Gene, you're just in time. I almost got to use my own drill. Here, catch. Drill like a madman. But have it back by Thursday because the Hendersons have it on reserve.

G: Heeeeeeey, pal'o'mine... is that any way to treat your bowlin' buddy?

Frank: Did the two of you work together on this act?

Gene and Jim: No! No no no no...

Jim: We just read what's on the script like you do.

(SFX: Slap)

Gene: Shhh... You're breaking the fourth wall.

Jim: What fourth wall? This is radio!

Gene: It's an industry term, moron, and cut it out! The audience is trying to suspend its disbelief.

Jim: I'm sure they're suspending something.

Frank: Stop it, you two. We're not even out of the first scene yet. It's bad enough you keep borrowing my tools, but then you break the fourth wall and I don't have anything to fix it with.

Gene and Jim: Sorry.

Frank: I'll start again... Drill like a madman. But have it back by Thursday because the Hendersons have it on reserve.

Gene: Heeeeeeey, pal'o'mine... is that any way to treat your bowlin' pal?

Frank: Did the two of you work together on this act?

Gene and Jim: No! No no no no...

Gene: By the way, are you using that hammer?

Frank: The one I'm holding in my right hand as we speak? The one practically begging me to pound some nails this new shelf? NO! Of course not! Here! Anything else you want?

Jim: Your table saw?

Frank: Sure, sure. Go for it! Satisfied? Would you perhaps like to dismantle my house for scrap lumber? Hmmm?

Gene: Oh, no thanks Frank, that won't be necessary at this point in time.

Jim: But we'll keep the offer in mind.

Frank: You two have no conception of sarcasm, do you.

Jim: Well, it isn't written into our characters --

(SFX: Slap)

Jim: Ow!

Frank: Fourth wall.

Jim: Sorry.

Frank: Now if you two will excuse me, I have a shelf to build using nothing but my bare hands and ... and ... and this screwdriver!

Gene: Say, I need a screwdriver.

Frank: OUT!

Jim: Alright, OK, we're going. (pause) Bowling tonight, big guy?

Frank: (cheerily) With bells on! Wouldn't miss it for the world!

Jim: Great! See you there, Frank.

(SFX: Outer door opens, closes)

Frank: Aaaargh! This is the last straw. If I can't get my tools, I'm gonna get my revenge. Now where's that son of mine? Ygor! Ygor, lad, come here once!

(SFX: Inner door opens, closes. It's a different door this time, because it's going to the inside of the house)

Ygor: Yes, master?

Frank: I got a project I want to work on.

Ygor: Yes, master.

Frank: Don't call me that. I'm not your master, I'm your father.

Ygor: Yes, master.

Frank: Alright, whatever.

Ygor: What kind of project are we working on, master?

Frank: Never you mind! Now go in the house and get your chemistry set and your mother's sewing kit. And a shovel.

Ygor: Right away, master.

Frank: And be quick about it!

(SFX: Inner door opens, closes, short pause, it opens and closes again.)

Ygor: Here is the equipment you required, master.

Frank: Put it in the car, Ygor. We're going grave robbing.

Ygor: What, again? It took us weeks to get through the leftovers last time.

Frank: No, no, this is for something else. It's going to be a black day for all those who've crossed me, son. The Good Book says that thou shalt not covet in thy heart a desire for thy neighbor's Black and Deckers, and today my wrath is gonna rain down all over this suburb of the unholy!

Ygor: I thought the forecast said sunny and mild for today.

Frank: Shaddup and get in the car, Ygor.

Ygor: Yes, master.

SCENE II: Frank's garage, later that day
Frank: Okay, drag that last body over by the wall, Ygor. We're just about ready.

Ygor: We certainly got a good deal on the corpses, master.

Frank: Well, I had that two-for-one coupon from the Sunday paper. It really pays to look through those advertising sections.

Ygor: You still haven't explained why we needed them.

Frank: I'll tell you while we set up the operating table and the enormous lightning rods.

(SFX: Sounds of light construction over the next few lines)

Frank: Ygor, I'm going to tell you a family secret. Our last name isn't really Smithers.

Ygor: So what? I didn't know it was Smithers.

Frank: You didn't? What did your mother tell you?

Ygor: She never said. She just mumbled.

Frank: That's because she's ashamed. Ashamed that I turned my back on our true family name and the heritage that goes with it. We are not the Smithers family, Ygor. We belong to a much stranger clan -- some have called us bizarre, morbid, even evil! But with that strangeness is a legacy of power and fear and discoveries into the ultimate mysteries of life itself!

Ygor: We're related to the Kennedys?


Frank: No. Not the Kennedys.

Ygor: The Jacksons then. I always wanted to be a Jackson. (sings, and quite badly) "ABC, Baby now one two three" --

Frank: Stop that! We're not Jacksons -- we're Frankensteins! Descended right from Victor himself!

Ygor: I thought he was a fictional character.

Frank: Yes, he was. That made things hard for the relatives named in his will, but luckily we got all that straightened out years ago. But what really matters is that as Victor's direct descendant, I own the patent.

Ygor: The patent on what?

Frank: On the monster!


Ygor: Oh. I was hoping for something more interesting.

Frank: Oh, come on, son! How can you beat a stitched-together reanimated monster for excitement?

Ygor: I was hoping for cute puppies or bunnies or something.

Frank: Oh, stop being such a wimp.

Ygor: Master...

Frank: Yes, Ygor?

Ygor: Is this... male bonding?

Frank: Why... why, yes, I suppose it is! It's quality time! (suddenly confused) What else am I supposed to do during quality time?

Ygor: Um... you could ask me how school went today.

Frank: That seems like a dumb idea.

Ygor: No, really, I'm told it works quite well.

Frank: Well, alright... How was school today, Ygor?

Ygor: Okay, I guess. We played kickball.

Frank: Kickball, eh? That's m'boy, gonna be a sports hero when you get older and have corrective surgery on that hunchback.

Ygor: I'm not a sports hero yet, master.

Frank: Did you get picked last again?

Ygor: Worse.

Frank: What could be worse than being picked last in kickball?

Ygor: They picked three imaginary people and then made me sit out.

Frank: Hmm... Well, after I've taken care of the neighbors, we'll sic the monster on your classmates. Deal?

Ygor: Thank you, master!

Frank: Where's yer mother?

Ygor: In the house.

Frank: (yells) Hey Mildred!

Mildred: (yells back) Yes, Frank?

Frank: Come here once!

(SFX: Inner door opens, closes)

Mildred: What is it, Frank?

Frank: Dear, it's time I brought up some old history. Do you remember the night I proposed to you?

Mildred: How could I forget? So romantic... You hired a band to serenade me under my window...

Frank: To the song from the "Old Home" cottage cheese commercials.

Mildred: Oh, Frank, sing it again!

Frank: (sings) Old Home, listens to the people, we do things the Old Home way...

Mildred: Oh, Frank, I'm swooning!

Frank: Ah, the good old times... but that's not why I brought that up. The day we were engaged, I told you about certain ... things ... in my family that at the time I thought should be forgotten. Buried. Left for dead.

Mildred: Frank -- are you saying that --

Frank: I have a wonderful surprise, dear! Look over by the anti-freeze!

Mildred: Oh, Frank! A pile of corpses! I'm so happy for us!

Frank: Yes, dear. Today, we are no longer Smithers! We are Frankensteins!

Mildred: I'll go crank up the Wurlitzer.

(Music: Bach's Toccata & Fugue flares up, then fades down a bit and continues throughout the rest of the scene.)

Frank: Thanks, dear! Ah, son, your mother always knew how to set the tone for a good reanimation.

Ygor: Yes, master.

Frank: Now to work! Ygor! Scalpel!

Ygor: Scalpel!

Frank: Arm!

Ygor: Arm!

Frank: Liver!

Ygor: Liver!

Frank: Heart!

Ygor: Heart!

Frank: Torso!

Ygor: Torso!

Frank: Torso!

Ygor: Torso!

Frank: Torso!

Ygor: Torso! (pause) Why do you keep repeating that?

Frank: I just like the sound of it. Leg!

Ygor: Leg!

Frank: Other leg!

Ygor: Other leg!

Frank: Brain!

Ygor: Brain!

Frank: Good! Now hand me some thread -- not that tacky stuff! Give me the good thread. Now watch carefully. You'll want to know how to do this when you're older. Always stitch from the inside and then flip the limb around. That way it won't show as much. Here, you try it.

Ygor: Thank you, master!

Frank: Well, you've got to be able to teach your kids how to sew a body together someday.

Ygor: How's this?

Frank: That's just fine, son. Throw the sheet over it. Now it's time for the electricity! Hit the switches, Ygor!

Ygor: Yes, master!

(SFX: Two switches are thrown, and electricity buzzes for a few seconds.)

Frank: Now the most important part -- the overacting!

Ygor: I thought we'd been doing that all along.

Frank: Shh. You're breaking the fourth wall. Watch how dad does it. Live! Live, my creation! Arise and walk!

Monster: Rrrrrrrrr.

Frank: Yes! Arise! Arise from the dead and take ye my vengeance upon thee! (pause) You don't technically have to use words like "ye" and "thee", but I think they add a nice classical touch. It all depends on your personal style.

Ygor: Yes, master.

Frank: Arise and live!

Monster: (roars get more distinct, and the last one is the monster's full-fledged yowl. Unfortunately, it is not scary at all, but kind of cute and endearing.) Rrrrrrrrr. Rrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrroooooaaaaarrr!

Frank: That doesn't sound right... He's supposed to be scarier than that. Take off the sheet, Ygor.

Ygor: Master.

Frank: (aghast) What happened? This monster was supposed to be seven feet tall! It should be big and gnarled and horrible!

Ygor: He's so cute!

Frank: (realizes where the problem probably occured) Ygor... you mentioned cute puppies and bunnies earlier.

Ygor: (evasive, but knows Dad's on to him) Well, in passing, yes, master, yes I may have.

Frank: Did you give me the right body parts?

Ygor: Well, you see master, you, um, at the operating table, you never specified human body parts --

Frank: Aaaaargh! Ygor, what have you done?

Ygor: I've, um, I've... I'm sorry, master, I just couldn't help myself!

Frank: This is a disgrace. Instead of a beast, we've created a stuffed animal. Victor is turning in his grave.

Ygor: Actually, master, we dug him up earlier today --

Frank: Hush.

Monster: Roooaarr!

Ygor: Awww...

Frank: Stop that! We'll just have to make do with what we've got. Monster, can you understand me?

Monster: (scared and tentative) Roooaarr!

Frank: Hmmm... I can't tell what he's saying.

Ygor: I can, master! He wants to know what his name is.

Monster: (a short "yes-that's-what-I-said-alright" noise) Roooaarr!

Frank: Name, huh? I don't know what to call him, he's not at all what I expected. I was thinking of Gort or something like that, you know, something fearsome. He looks more fearful.

Monster: (scared and tentative) Roooaarr!

Ygor: He is fearful, master. He doesn't understand how he got here, and he's scared.

Frank: Ach, how humiliating. You're supposed to instill fear in others, not the other way around!

Monster: (intimidated) Roooaarr!

Ygor: He says he'll do his best. He wants to please you.

Frank: Good, at least he's not disobedient. But what to call him... Hmm... I can't think of anything.

Ygor: How about Ramon?

Frank: Ramon? That's a terrible name for a scary monster! But... then again... Oh, the hell with it. Ramon it is.

Monster: (pleased with his name) Roooaarr!

Ygor: He likes it! He likes his name! Oh, joy!

Monster: (now quite happy, because he's made friends with Ygor) Roooaarr!

Frank: Calm down, both of you. Here comes Jim Paxton. Let's see how much scaring you can do.

Jim: Frank! How's it going? Say, do you have a Phillips screwdriver? I lost your other one --

Frank: OK, Paxton, you've borrowed my screwdriver for the last time!

Jim: What are you talking about, Frank?

Frank: I'm talking about revenge is what I'm talking about! I've been working on a little something that'll put an end to my unending torment at your nefarious hands --

Jim: I just want to borrow a screwdriver!

Frank: Shut up. I've been wanting to do this for weeks -- and now, I finally created my instrument of retribution!

Jim: What are you talking about, Frank?

Frank: I'm talking about this! Go, Ramon!

Monster: Rooooooaaaaaaar!

Jim: (it's-so-cute voice) Awwwwwww!

Frank: No! No, damn you, it's supposed to be like this -- (scream of terror) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Monster: (scared) Rooooooaaaaaaar!

Frank: Not you.

Jim: (it's-so-cute voice) Awwwwwww!

Frank: Come on, Jim, I'm tryin' to kill you. Try to get into the spirit of the thing, will you?

Jim: I'm sorry, Frank. How's this? (gives very half-hearted yelp) Aaaa!

Frank: (surly) Alright, alright, fine.

Jim: Are we still on for bowling Friday?

Frank: Well, I dunno, I've got a lot of cleanup to do in here...

Jim: Hey, buddy, what's gotten into you lately? First you try to kill me, then you renege on our bowling night?

Frank: I suppose I can clean up on Saturday...

Jim: That's the spirit.

Ygor: Master...

Frank: Not now.

Jim: So how about that Phillips screwdriver, Frank?

Frank: It's in the tool chest.

Jim: You know, I could use a --

Frank: (steps on last couple of J's words) -- could use a tool chest, yeah, yeah, take it, see if I care, my life is meaningless.

Jim: Thanks, you're a real trooper, Frank.

Ygor: Master...

Frank: Not now.

Jim: So I'll see you tonight at the lanes, Frank!

Frank: Yeah, sure, whatever.

(SFX: Outer door opens, closes)

Ygor: Master!

Frank: What? It can't be anything important, like the monster suddenly growing fangs or anything. I need a drink.

Ygor: He's gone!

Frank: Who's gone?

Ygor: Ramon!

Frank: Who cares? Let him go! I'll be the laughingstock of the whole family. Can't create anything but a... a Frank'n'Cuddly monster.

Ygor: That's not fair! He was a kind little soul, worthy of respect.

Frank: Pfagh. Respect. Frank's esteemed monster. What a horrible pun.

Ygor: Now you're breaking the fourth wall, master. Look here, Ramon left this note: "I cannot help the way I am. I was born soft and cuddly. Please do not hate me for what I am about to do. I will run far far away from here until I find a lonely place where I can live alone and bear the cross of my existence by myself, where I do not give people a warm glowing feeling inside just by being near them, where people do not feel compelled to give me big hugs or a hearty Hi there! No existence is worth that. Goodbye forever, Ramon the Very Small Furry Monster."

Frank: Well, somebody sure feels sorry for themselves today!

Ygor: Yes, master.

Frank: Oh, hell, you better go find him. Otherwise this episode is going to end to an unhappy note, and this is supposed to be a comedy.

Ygor: It's kind of a black comedy, though.

Frank: So you don't want to go get him?

Ygor: No, I'm just saying it would still fit the mise en scene.

Frank: Look, Ygor, we're kind of pressed for time. The show's almost over.

Ygor: I'm going, I'm going, I just wanted to point out other options.

Frank: Just go, Ygor.

Ygor: I'm gone.

(SFX: Outer door opens, closes)

SCENE III: The garage
Narrator: We regret to inform you that this particular episode of Where Threads Come Loose has run out of time. In the interest of plot continuity, we offer the following synopsis of the ending: Ygor eventually does find Ramon, and the monster is reunited with his reluctant creator in an enormously moving and heartstring-pulling scene. You would have wept aloud, I swear on my mother's grave. Anyway, after that Frank's neighbors are suddenly and without warning kidnapped by aliens, and through a little-known loophole in the local property tax laws, Frank is given ownership of both their houses. Ygor and Ramon go to New York and found a highly successful ballet company, and everybody lives happily ever after -- oh, except, of course, when the atom bomb destroys the city and everybody is vaporized. It's too bad we ran out of time, because that would have been a really spectacular special effect. Anyway, that's what happened, and this is the end of the episode. Good night.