Where Threads Come Loose
"Jules & K: The Apartment of the Damned, Part I and Part II

The Recording Script

• Written and directed by Christopher Bahn. Copyright 1996.
• Episodes 30-31 (1997 Edition) of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM October 1995.

• Boss: Johnny Smokes
• Jules, Father Flaherty, Angus MacHaggis: Tony Pagel
• Dave: Dan Grothe
• Announcer, K, TV Roommate Yurgi, Ernest, Esmerelda: Christopher Bahn
• Flamebreul: Rich Dahm
• Paranoiac, Deadhead 2: Adam Pagel
• Phone Roommate Bill: Mark Ellis
• Bert, Jerome: Joel Stitzel
• Deadhead 1, Chad: Mike Helget
• Moonflower: Ali Lozoff
• Soviet soap opera actors: Chuck Tomlinson, Tony Pagel
• Snorer: Gary O'Grady
SCENE I: Cafe Pathetique
Announcer: It's the last week of August, and once again the great herd-like migration of college students is on. This annual event is a yearly ritual that takes place every 12 months or 365 days, whichever comes first, usually, as I said, in the last week of August, which would mean that it takes place, on average, one time per year. (pause) Before I go on, I'd just like to make sure everybody listening is clear on that point. You see, the word "annual" means—

Announcer's Boss: Hey!

Announcer: Clarence, I'm in the middle of introducing the episode.

Boss: I know that. People know what the word "annual" means, you moron. You don't have to explain it to them.

Art by Dan Grothe & Christopher Bahn
Announcer: I don't?

Boss: No.

Announcer: They told me in announcer school to always treat the audience as if they were idiots.

Boss: They did not.

Announcer: They did too.

Boss: I sat behind you in class. They said to treat the audience as if they were people just like yourself.


Announcer: I'm afraid I don't see the difference.

Boss: Forget it, forget it. Just don't go explaining word meanings again.

Announcer: You're the boss.

Boss: Right. Now start over.

Announcer: It's the last week of August, and once again the great annual migration of college students is on. And if you don't know what the word "annual" means, tough luck, buddy, because we at Where Threads Come Loose aren't gonna spoon-feed you like that. You'll have to look it up for yourself the way I did five minutes before rehearsal.

Boss: Stop.

Announcer: What?

Boss: You're still doing it wrong.

Announcer: How?

Boss: How did you ever get this job, anyway?

Announcer: In radio, talent doesn't matter. Only personal beauty.

Boss: (pause) Whatever. You don't have to tell people you're not going to read off a definition.

Announcer: Oh, come on now. You can't be serious.

Boss: Of course I'm serious. You can just assume that people know what the word "annual" means. You don't even have to address the issue.

Announcer: I see.

Boss: Now start over from the top.

Announcer: Wait, wait... But aren't there bound to be one or two people in our audience that really don't know what the word "annual" means?

Boss: (long pause) I suppose so.

Announcer: Well then, what about them?

Boss: What about them?

Announcer: Don't we have a public-service obligation to help them understand what we're talking about?

Boss: No.

Announcer: No?!

Boss: You heard me, buddy.

Announcer: Sir, I simply cannot believe your attitude.

Boss: Oh, come on—

Announcer: It's no wonder people don't trust the media these days!

Boss: Will you just get back to the original announcement you were supposed to be making?

Announcer: Um... I've forgotten what it was.

Boss: Just read the script, alright? From the top.

Announcer: It's the last week of August, and—look, can you explain all this to me again once we're off the air?

Boss: Yeah, yeah, sure. Just keep reading.

Announcer: Will you bring the hand puppets? They make technical things so much more down-to-earth for me.

Boss: Just read the damned announcement already.

Announcer: OK, OK, OK. (pause) It's the last week of August, and once again the great annual migration of college students is on. Thousands of people are all searching frantically for a place to live for the next year, hoping to avoid the scuzzy, cockroach-infested monstrosity and health hazard they were stuck with the year before. But even the people who didn't have a problem with their roommates are moving in late August also. And things are no different down at Cafe Pathetique, where we join Jules Hampton Sykes and his normal friend Dave, as Jules utilizes his entire battery of persuasive powers to convince Dave the two of them should get an apartment together for the next school year.

Jules: So what do you think? We could split rent, and you could do most of the dishes and vacuuming in exchange for the chance to share space with a real live artist!

Dave: No.

Jules: The artist would be me, by the way. Isn't that convenient? You've just got to get an apartment with me, Dave.

Dave: Not a chance in hell.

Jules: (petulant) Why not?

Dave: Jules, I'm telling you this as a friend—I wouldn't live with you if you were the last man on earth.

Jules: What's so bad about me?

Dave: How much time do you have?

Jules: Dave, that's a terribly unconstructive attitude. You're supposed to be the level-headed one.

Dave: I am being level-headed. You'd make a terrible roommate.

Jules: Why?

Dave: I can't believe I have to spell it out for you.

Jules: Because I'm going to expect you to do all the household cleaning?

Dave: That's one reason.

Jules: Because you know I can't be bothered to balance my checkbook and I'll always be late with the rent and utilities payment?

Dave: That's two reasons.

Jules: Because I'm—how shall I put it—

Dave: Conceited and overbearing?

Jules: Because I'm aware of my true worth as an individual and potential greatness even when confronted with mundane facts that tell me otherwise.

Dave: That's three reasons.

Jules: You know, plenty of people would have their feelings hurt if you said that about them, Dave.

Dave: It's only the truth.

Jules: I've never let reality intrude on my self-image, Dave. I don't see why you have to.

Dave: Why don't you room with K? He shares more of your interests.

Jules: Never! Out of the question, Dave. Do you know how annoying he'd be after a few weeks?

Dave: No more than you would be.

Jules: True, but it's not the point. It's not my problem if my personality is grating to other people—but if other people grate on me, that's simply rude.

Dave: I still don't want to live with you.

Jules: I can give you one very good reason to do it.

Dave: What's that?

Jules: What day is it, Dave?

Dave: August 27.

Jules: And when does the lease on your current place run out?

Dave: August 31.

Jules: In-teresting. Yet I believe you haven't been able to find a suitable replacement.

Dave: Well, you know how it is—I just wasn't thinking, and I let things go until the last minute, and—

Jules: And now you're about four days from being out on the street—hm?

Dave: I don't want to live with you, Jules.

Jules: Two can find an apartment twice as quickly as one can, Dave.

Dave: That's true... Alright, alright. We'll get an apartment together.

Jules: Hooray! Dave, you won't regret this.

Dave: We'll see about that. We've got four days to find a place. We'll split up—you take the west side of the city, I'll take the east. Let's get moving.

SCENE II: The cafe
Announcer: Four days later—or, about one-one hundredth of a year later, for anyone who prefers to think of it that way—back at Cafe Pathetique, we rejoin Dave and Jules.

Jules: Any luck?

Dave: No. A couple of nice places, but they weren't in our price range.

Jules: Drat.

Dave: How about you?

Jules: No.

Dave: I really think we should have started earlier.

Jules: I know what you mean. All that walking around door-to-door, there's no way I could have covered half the city in only four days.

Dave: Door-to-door?

Jules: Yes.

Dave: Jules, how exactly did you go about looking for a new apartment?

Jules: I was very systematic. You would have been proud, Dave. I had a plan and a road map and everything.

Dave: What did you do, Jules?

Jules: I started on the 200 block of 4th Street, and worked my way west. I stopped at each house, knocked on the door, and asked the person who answered if they lived there.

Dave: Uh-huh.

Jules: If they said "yes, I live here," then I knew that that place was filled and I moved on. Ideally, what I was looking for was a place where nobody answered the door, since that would mean that nobody lived there.

Dave: Or that whoever did live there wasn't home.

Jules: Yes, I thought of that too. There was no way to be sure. So if nobody answered, I just assumed that they weren't home and moved on.

Dave: Are you telling me that you spent four days basically looking around at random for an empty house, and that even when you found one, you ignored it and kept looking?

Jules: Um... yes.

Dave: Why didn't you stop when you realized your plan wouldn't work?

Jules: By the time it occurred to me, I was too far involved in it to stop. If there's one thing Jules Hampton Sykes isn't, it's a quitter!

Dave: Uh-huh.

Jules: On the other hand, this whole experience has worn me out. I say we jettison the whole idea of an apartment and build a treehouse in a city park.

Dave: No. Haven't you ever heard of the classified ads, Jules?

Jules: No. What's that?

Dave: You're rather amazingly sheltered, did you know that?

Jules: Daddy always told me, when you're born into money you can always pay somebody to have a clue for you. (pause) Come to think of it, it was Morris the Butler that told me that. Daddy always had the help do all the little childrearing tasks like talking with me.

Dave: Whatever. Here, take this section of the newspaper. Look under "roommates wanted," or maybe "rooms for rent."

Jules: Hmm... let's see... Say! This sounds promising: SWF, 30, seeks religious, nonsmoking M for nights of leather and bondage—

Dave: Wrong section. That's not the apartment listings.

Jules: Really? Are you sure?

Dave: Positive.

Jules: I thought the rent looked awfully cheap.

Dave: Start at the top of page 6G.

Jules: Hmm...

Dave: We're looking for something close to campus, about $200 a month in rent, maybe with on-street park--

Jules: Eureka! Look at this, Dave! This ad here, just to the left of the one for the strip club.

Dave: "Flamebreul Towers: the very latest and hippest in apartment living. Be the first one on your block to move out of your block and onto a new block where everybody's the envy of everybody else on the block."

Jules: Heavens, that's impressive! Imagine being so upscale that you even make yourself sick.

Dave: I don't know, Jules. It sounds a little risky.

Jules: Don't be so square! I don't care if it's expensive or inconvenient—if I can make other people jealous just by renting five hundred square feet, any price is too low! Come, come, drain the last of your coffee—we must go see Flamebreul Towers this very instant.

Dave: Jules, we have twelve hours to find a place. If this doesn't work out, we're screwed.

Jules: Don't be silly, Dave. What could possibly go wrong?

Dave: I guess you're right. Let's go.

SCENE III: A trash-filled alleyway
Announcer: One hour later.

(SFX: Factory noises in background)

Jules: Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Mr. Flamebreul.

Flamebreul: Sure, sure.

Dave: Where exactly are you taking us, Mr. Flamebreul?

Flamebreul: To the apartments I got for rent, kid. You simple or something?

Dave: No, no... It's just that we seem to be in the middle of an industrial zone.

Flamebreul: You got something against living fifty yards from a smokestack?

Dave: Of course I do.

Flamebreul: Comm-you-nisss, are you? Toxic wastes made this country great. You see that building over there? That's Flamebreul Industries. I started that company back in '83—it's made me the rich, insufferable, unaccountable bastard I am today.

Dave: What does it make?

Flamebreul: We're in the recycling business. We take hazardous wastes from other factories and combine them with toxic wastes, nuclear wastes, poisonous byproducts and unsold Mighty Morphin Power Rangers merchandise to create something we like to call Ultra-Mega-Toxico Death Powder.

Jules: Really?

Flamebreul: Yep. It's so noxious that only one part in a quadrillion is enough to melt plastic or stain dentures so badly that a powerful cleanser is needed to get back that like-new pearly whiteness.

Dave: That sounds awful. What do you do with it?

Flamebreul: Well, we couldn't find a market for it here in the States, so we ship it to Third-World countries and tell them it's fertilizer.

Dave: That's awful!

Flamebreul: Ha ha ha! Those colonials! They'll never learn!

Dave: That's the most horrible thing I've ever heard! Why do you possibly make that stuff?

Flamebreul: Eh, why not? Somebody's got to.

Dave: But—

Flamebreul: Now here's the apartment you came to see. 5514 Love Canal Road.

Jules: Where?

Flamebreul: Right there. Down that alley. It's a beautiful piece of property, really beautiful. In a certain unique kind of way.

Dave: The one with the overflowing dumpsters and rats?

Flamebreul: Yep.

Dave: You're kidding. Alleys don't have addresses.

Flamebreul: Sure they do—look, right on that sewer grate.

Dave: You've got to be kidding!

Flamebreul: Don't worry, I don't live there. I got a mansion over by Lake of the Isles. It's nice. I'd invite you over if I didn't find poor people reprehensible.

Dave: That's... very nice of you, but it's not what I meant. Are you saying that you expect us—Jules and I—to live in a sewer in a trash-filled alley behind a hazardous-waste factory?

Flamebreul: Don't be ridiculous!

Dave: Whew—for a second there, I—

Flamebreul: Why, you two are both white!

Dave: That's not what I meant.

Flamebreul: You guys will be living in the beer bottles over there.

(long pause)

Dave: What?

Flamebreul: The beer bottles. Over there. That case of empty Bud Light bottles.

Jules: How neat!

Dave: What in the world are you talking about?

Flamebreul: Oh, don't look so surprised. You've seen "I Dream of Jeannie," haven't you? Where Barbara Eden lived in a bottle in Larry Hagman's apartment?

Dave: That's just a TV show.

Flamebreul: Don't act superior just because you're in a radio drama, kid. I'm telling you, genie bottles are the best thing to happen to the housing industry since we invented bribery of health inspectors.

Jules: How does it work?

Flamebreul: It's easy. Just take an ordinary bottle, stand in front of it, cross your arms, wiggle your nose and nod.

Jules: Let me try. (SFX: Poof)

Dave: Jules! Where'd he go?

Flamebreul: Apartment 12. The Sam Adams bottle in the third row.

(SFX: Poof)

Jules: That's incredible! Dave, we've just got to move in.

Flamebreul: It's got the potential to end urban overcrowding once and for all. Just imagine! It used to take an entire apartment building to house 24 people. Now we can just stick them in a case of empties.

Dave: I don't know... I'm not sure I want to live in a empty bottle of Bud Light.

Flamebreul: No problem—it's more expensive, but you can always buy an imported brand. And it's quiet, too, because glass is a great soundproofer.You can get all your studying done at home now without hearing your upstairs neighbors firing guns at your downstairs neighbors.

Dave: So it's a safe neighborhood?

Flamebreul: No, but if you can't actually hear the crime happening, who cares? Besides, who's going to bother robbing an empty case of beer?

Dave: What if they try to return it for the deposit? They could walk away with your entire apartment without even realizing it.

Flamebreul: Uh oh—I hadn't thought of that. (pause) Hey, what's that little kid doing over there? (pause) Hey! Kid! Come back here with that! I've got two mortgages on it! (pause) Damn. Two of those units were empty.

Dave: You mean 22 people just lost their homes?

Flamebreul: It doesn't matter. I've got insurance. They don't, but I do. But the lost rental income... Oh, it just breaks your heart.

Jules: Does this mean you don't have bottles for rent anymore?

Flamebreul: What? No, of course not. Just wait a second here—let me gulp down this refreshing cola beverage. (SFX: Opens pop bottle, drinks, sets it down) There—room for one!

Jules: We'll take it.

Dave: No, we won't.

Jules: (petulant) Why not?

Dave: Don't be an idiot, Jules.

Jules: It's the latest thing in housing, I tell you!

Dave: No.

Flamebreul: I think you're making a biiiiiig mistake.

Dave: I'm not going to live in an empty bottle.

Flamebreul: Weirdo.

Dave: Don't you have any normal housing?

Flamebreul: Depends on what you call normal.

Dave: I want to live in a nice, quiet apartment in a safe neighborhood close to campus, with no roaches or pests or drug dealers. It's not so much. I don't care about the latest in hip housing.

Jules: Oh, Dave, you're embarrassing me.

Dave: Look, I want to live in a regular house with four walls and a roof.

Flamebreul: Alright, alright... I've got a house like that. Four walls and a roof. Not much else, though.

Dave: Good. Let's go see it.

Flamebreul: Last chance on the bottles.

Dave: No.

Flamebreul: Suit yourself. C'mon, we can walk to the place by the time the music between scenes fades away.

SCENE IV: 55141/2 Love Canal Road
Flamebreul: See? That didn't take long.

Jules: No, just a couple of seconds.

Dave: Where is this other place of yours?

Flamebreul: It's just around the corner. It's a wonderful piece of property, really wonderful, really, it is, I mean it. Once you move in, you won't want to leave.

Jules: (still disappointed from last scene) It's not trendy, though, is it?

Flamebreul: Sorry, kid. But it's cheap.

Dave: How cheap?

Flamebreul: For you guys? Oh... about $500 a month. Each.

Dave: I can't afford that!

Flamebreul: What can you afford?

Dave: We set a top price of $300 a month.

Flamebreul: Gee, that's too bad. By the way, what day is it?

Dave: (bristling) August 31.

Flamebreul: (slowly, savoring it) August 31. Well, well, well. Looks like maybe somebody—not mentionin' no names—might be a little desperate, eh?

Dave: I told you, I can only pay $300.

Flamebreul: You'll pay $350 and like it.

Dave: I haven't even signed the lease yet. Don't get so smug.

Flamebreul: I'm just warmin' up, kid.

Jules: Let's see the building.

Dave: Let's back out now, Jules.

Jules: Don't be silly, man. You can find the money somewhere, can't you?

Dave: But—Oh, alright, we'll at least take a look.

Flamebreul: That's the spirit. Right this way.

(SFX: 3 sets of footsteps, which continue until the door opening)

Dave: It looks like the house from "Psycho."

Jules: I don't know... It's more like the one from "Poltergeist." Or "The Amityville Horror." See the two big windows that look like staring eyes?

Dave: Oh, yeah... You're right. Does this place have a "red room"?

Flamebreul: None of that talk—unless you want to spend half your junior year living under a highway bridge. I've had people begging me to let them in this house after a couple of days under the Washington Avenue Bridge. Or worse—I might make you go live in your parents' basement.

Jules: Not that!

Dave: Sorry.

Flamebreul: The red room's in the basement, by the furnace.

(SFX: Door creaks open. Someone is snoring softly but noticeably in the bg.)

Flamebreul: Here it is! Your new paradise, 55141/2 Love Canal Road! Just like Xanadu in Citizen Kane, but without all that dreary opulence or sanitary comfort.

Jules: Are all the front windows supposed to be broken?

Flamebreul: Yeah, it was a common architectural style back when the place was built. The holes in the living room wall and ceiling are from remodeling in the '60s.

Dave: Any plans to fix them?

Flamebreul: Sir, you have no appreciation for decor, do you?

Dave: Forget it. How often does the smoke from the factories drift in?

Flamebreul: Not too often. Once or twice a week, maybe.

Jules: I have to say, the view leaves something to be desired... like trees, for instance.

Flamebreul: That's not true! Here, take this telescope. Point it over to the south-southwest, just between the oil refinery and the slaughterhouse.

Jules: Where? I don't see anything... Oh! Oh, yes! About two miles away, there's a sickly elm surrounded by barbed wire.

Flamebreul: Sure, it's not much, but it's greenery, kid. A good view costs real money—and I sure ain't wasting my money on my tenants!

Dave: Who's the guy on the couch?

Flamebreul: I have no idea. He's been there for years, ever since I bought the place.

Dave: Weird.

Flamebreul: Yeah. He never moves—except one time when we had the couch reupholstered. Then he rolled over onto the floor until we were done, and then sort of crawled back up like a ground sloth.

Dave: Is he going to be leaving when we move in?

Flamebreul: Are you kidding? He comes with the place. Every time I've tried to evict him, he always appears on the couch the next day, blissfully snoring away, as if nothing ever happened.

Dave: Does he pay rent?

Flamebreul: No. But sometimes he eats a few pretzels. (pause) So how 'bout that lease! Is it gonna be my way, or the highway bridge? Ha! That was a joke, kid.

Jules: I'll sign! I love signing things. One day when I'm famous, all this will be worth money!

Flamebreul: That's a nice dream, kid. Here's a pen.

Jules: (signing) Jules... Hampton... Sykes.... Drat. Dave, how many S's in my last name?

Dave: S-Y-K-E-S, Jules.

Jules: Thank you.

Flamebreul: You're next, Dave.

Dave: How come this lease says $400 a month?

Flamebreul: Oh, good heavens. I must have run out of leases that accurately quote the rent estimation I gave you five minutes ago. Guess you'll have to pay the extra $50 a month.... Or maybe I could store some of my factory's fertilizer in the basement for reducing your rent.

Dave: I'll pay the blasted 50 bucks. Let me look through the fne print here first.

Flamebreul: Suit yerself. Here's the pen. Say, Jules, could I talk with you in private a second?

Jules: Sure.

Flamebreul: Let's go into the kitchen and leave Dave here alone. Don't mind us, Dave. And Be sure to include your social security number and a contact number for next of kin. (SFX: door closes)

Dave: Jerk. I'm going to regret this, I just know it. Now let's see this fine print... He's going to throw something in here to rip me off... God, there must be seven pages of 6-point type here.... Oh, the heck with it. It would take me hours to go through all this. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I'll just sign the lease and be damned.

(SFX: Thunderclap)

Dave: Huh? What was that? Why, it's a fine sunny day—what could that thunderclap just at the moment I signed the lease possibly have portended? (pause) Oh, well. I'm sure that it meant absolutely nothing at all.

SCENE V: In the house (Faint snoring under whole scene)
Announcer: The next day, after Jules and Dave have moved all their belongings into the house, Dave relaxes on his couch, being careful not to disturb the guy asleep on it, and admires the view to the south-southwest.

(SFX: Door knock)

Dave: Now who could that be?

(SFX: Footsteps to door, door opens)

Dave: Hello?

Paranoiac: Good evening to you, sir. I'm here on behalf of the Home for Victims of Paranoia. Would you care to make a small donation?

Dave: Ah... no, thank you.

Paranoiac: Oh, please, sir. It's for a worthy cause. We're building a gigantic steel fortress to protect us from those who would destroy us.

Dave: I'm sorry, I'm just a little short this week.

Paranoiac: Just some spare change, sir. It could mean the difference for us between a life of self-respect and total domination by our many enemies.

Dave: Look, I don't have any money.

Paranoiac: (explosive anger) What's your problem, man?

Dave: What?

Paranoiac: They already got here, didn't they? They told you not to donate anything!

Dave: What are you talking about?

Paranoiac: Look, friend—you're the fifteenth person in a row who's refused to give me a donation. What do you call that, huh? I call it pretty suspicious.

Dave: I don't understand you.

Paranoiac: Oh, sure you don't, sure you don't. It's just that it's very convenient for each and every person on this block to be fresh out of spare change when the Home for Paranoiacs comes looking for help, hmm? It all fits into their plan.

Dave: What do you mean, theirplan? Whose plan?

Paranoiac: Ah ha ha! Now that would be telling, now wouldn't it?

Dave: But I'm just asking—

Paranoiac: I've said too much already! I've got to get out of here!

Dave: That's a very good idea.

Paranoiac: Don't try to get on my good side, chump! I know your kind!

Dave: Let go of me!

Paranoiac: Tell them! Tell them I know they're watching me! And I won't be their patsy! Never! Never! Never! Never!

(SFX: Footsteps run away, then tire screech and car horn)

Paranoiac: Hey, buddy! Don't think I don't know you saw me running out into the street! You won't get me that easy! Come back! Don't drive away! I've got your license plate number! (fades on his speech)

Dave: Hoo, boy.

(SFX: Door closes. Immediately there's another doorbell. Door opens.)

Dave: Hello?

Paranoiac: Good day, sir. Could I spare a few moments of your time?

Dave: You again? I'm not giving you any money.

Paranoiac: No, no... This time, I'm just conducting a survey.

Dave: (skeptical) A survey.

Paranoiac: (innocent) Yes. Market research. Door to door.

Dave: Well... OK.

Paranoiac: Great! I'll just pull out my clipboard... Question 1. Do you ever get the feeling that you're being watched by the FBI?

Dave: No.

Paranoiac: How about grocery store security cameras?

Dave: No.

Paranoiac: Minions of the former Soviet empire?

Dave: No.

Paranoiac: Guys named Elmer?

Dave: No.

Paranoiac: Yeah, that makes sense—they're too busy spying on me! (pause) How about game show hosts? Do they watch you?

Dave: I don't feel like I'm being watched by anybody!

Paranoiac: You don't expect me to believe that, do you? This is the 20th century!

Dave: Next question.

Paranoiac: Hmm... if you're not under surveillance, that pretty much cancels most of this form.... Ah—here we go, on page 8. Question 225: Do you have any money?

Dave: What?

Paranoiac: Just answer the question, sir.

Dave: Well... I've got a couple of fives in my wallet.

Paranoiac: Question 226: Could I have some of it?

Dave: No! You said you weren't looking for donations!

Paranoiac: So I lied! Did they tell the truth in the Warren Commission report? Hm? Or how about when they tried to tell us that the earth was round? Do you think anyone would believe that so-called theory if they weren't dupes of the CIA?

Dave: I think you should be going now.

Paranoiac: Last chance, man—give me some money for the Home for Paranoiacs fund, or you'll rue the day!

Dave: Rue the day? Who talks like that?

Paranoiac: C'mon, man... this is hard work, raising money. I can't trust any of the other paranoiacs. I have no proof, but I'm positive they're pocketing their donations and throwing parties whenever I'm gone.

Dave: (firmly) I do not have any money to give you.

Paranoiac: Alright... (SFX: chicken) You forced my hand!

Dave: What are you doing with that chicken?

Paranoiac: You sound just like my mother.

Dave: Answer the question.

Paranoiac: It's not a chicken. It's a mojo hen. I took a class in performing voodoo curses in college before the shadow forces behind the U.S. government got me expelled.

Dave: What do you plan to do with that?

Paranoiac: I'm gonna lay down a big mean voodoo hex on you and your house.

Dave: And I'm gonna call the cops.

Paranoiac: They won't help you! The cops are nothing but helpless pawns of the establishment! Even the loose cannons like Dirty Harry! Trust no one, man. I can't even trust myself. I'm almost positive that I sleepwalk at night and go around spraypainting insulting things about me on the sidewalks.

Dave: Weren't you going to curse me—and then leave?

Paranoiac: Oh, yeah. Anyway, I've got this mojo hen here, whose name is Fluffy, and what I do is I pick her up and wave her around—

Dave: Hey! You're getting feathers in my hair!

(SFX: Wind, spooky noises. Chicken clucks harder too)

Paranoiac: And I say thrice, I curse thee, I curse thee, I curse thee!

Dave: That's it?

Paranoiac: It's repetitious, but it gets the job done. I curse you with—a terrible monster for a landlord! (SFX: Lightning)

Dave: Got one.

Paranoiac: You do?

Dave: Yeah.

Paranoiac: Oh. Then I curse you with—a lazy, pretentious jerk for a roommate! (SFX: Lightning)

Dave: Got one.

Paranoiac: You do?

Dave: Yeah.

Paranoiac: Dry, fly-away hair?

Dave: Look, can we step this up a bit?

Paranoiac: OK, OK... I wave my mojo hen (SFX: Chicken clucks harder) and I curse your house! Roommate after roommate will get on your nerves and borrow your shirts and generally make your life miserable until you go slightly neurotic!

Dave: That's not very impressive.

Paranoiac: It's the best I can do on short notice. Until you give me some money, you'll live in—the Apartment of the Damned!

(SFX: A cavalcade of weird noises)

Dave: Are you finished?

Paranoiac: (calm, polite) Yep, that should do it. You have a nice day now. Here's my number for when you want to give me the cash.

Dave: You're not getting any cash.

Paranoiac: That's what you think.

Dave: Goodbye. Don't come back.

(SFX: Door slam)

Jules: Dave, do you have a minute?

Dave: What's up, Jules?

Jules: I've been looking over this lease—and it is an abomination! We've got to move immediately!

Dave: We have to give the landlord three month's notice.

Jules: What?

Dave: We were desperate, Jules.

Jules: But do you know what this lease says?

Dave: I know, I know. $500 a month is too much to pay for a place this bad. But what else could we have done?

Jules: The rent? I'm not talking about the rent, man! That's mundane and bourgeois and no fun.

Dave: What are you talking about then?

Jules: The prose style, Dave! I can't believe we signed our name to a legally binding document so jejune and drab. I hope nobody finds out, I'll be mortified.

Dave: The poetic value of that lease isn't important, Jules.

Jules: Poetry is always important! And this lease doesn't even rhyme well! Here, I'll give you an example of the kind of scabrous travesty we're forced to live under:
The right of the landlord shall not be denied
To add as he pleases those who liveth inside.
The tenants shall not have no right to complain
When new people move in, no matter if they turn out to be a very, very big pain

Dave: What?

Jules: I know... It's doggerel!

Dave: Jules, do you realize what that says?

Jules: Um... No, I just noticed the surface details. Analysis was never my strong point.

Dave: The landlord can just stick in a bunch of new people in our house whenever he wants to without even letting us meet them! And he's only after their money. He won't care if they're criminals or perverts or psychotic droolers just as long as their security deposit clears the bank.

Jules: Oh, my.

Dave: This is terrible!

Jules: Well, luckily it isn't my problem.

Dave: Of course it is.

Jules: No, it isn't. My name is no longer on the lease.

Dave: But you signed it!

Jules: Yes, but the landlord clipped it off with a pair of scissors. He said it's his policy to encourage people who don't look like they've got a lot of money not to sign the lease, because why take chances suing some schmuck you'll never collect from?

Dave: (aghast) He plans to sue me?

Jules: Yes. He told me, "That Dave fellow, he looks like he's got a lot in the bank, right?" So naturally I said yes. And he said "I think I'll sue him for it all. I won't leave him with one thin dime!" And then he laughed and grinned and stamped his feet with glee.

Dave: I don't have any money! I'm a college student!

Jules: Don't be silly, Dave. Being poor and being a student isn't automatic. I'm in college, and I've got money to burn.

Dave: Your parents pay for everything you do, Jules.

Jules: Well, I wasn't going to tell the landlord that my father is the sole heir to the Hampton Sykes cod liver oil fortune.

Dave: How was he going to get away with suing me?

Jules: The lease, my good man. You see, you didn't bother to read the fine print. You see, it all fits together neatly in the fine print. The landlord explained everything to me. Subsection 4-GG7 makes clear that the person on the lease is responsible for the conduct, rent checks, and damage control of everyone else in the house. Anything breaks, you pay for it.

Dave: Shouldn't that be people on the lease, not "the person"?

Jules: No. Because the landlord isn't going to make the new people sign the lease.

Dave: I'm the only name on the lease?

Jules: Dave, you should be proud! By singling you out, he's treating you like an individual.

Dave: This is so weird... maybe the paranoid guy really did curse me.

Jules: Cursed?

Dave: Oh, this weird guy at the door just now... I didn't think he was serious.... I'll explain later.

Jules: You can't; the episode's over.

Dave: We'll just have to make this a two-parter then.

Announcer: What kind of bad mojo did the Paranoiac work on Dave? What kind of a schlep is Dave anyway for signing the lease in the first place? And what kind of show would make you wait until next time to find out? Find out next time when we bring you the exciting conclusion of "The Apartment of the Damned."