Where Threads Come Loose
"Jules and K: The Lost Kafka Notebooks Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV

The Recording Script

• See Part I

Announcer: Last time, you remember, our poets Jules and K went off on a quest to find the fabled lost notebooks of Gunther Kafka, the less-talented fourth cousin of Franz Kafka. On the advice of a disembodied voice and K's Pocket Guide to Deservedly Obscure Literary Figures, they're headed for Floppy Junction, Mississippi, Gunther's last known residence. But since they lacked transportation, Jules craftily tricked Bert and Rollie, a couple of tough bikers who hang out at the crime-ridden Smoky Hoodlum Biker Bar, into, um, lending them a motorcycle and sidecar. Bert and Rollie quickly figured out they'd been duped, and now are following our poets in order to recover their Harley and break the spines of Jules and K. Meanwhile, at Cafe Pathetique, the surly coffeeshop employee convinced Leonard to go save Jules and K's lives, since nobody else at the cafe could be bothered to do it. And now, we rejoin the action, as Jules and K, unaware of the creeping danger racing after them, speed down U.S. Highway 61.

Art by Dan Grothe & Christopher Bahn
(Highway noise, occasional honking as people pass Jules)

Jules: Oh, K—look at the leaves! Aren't they lovely this time of year?

K: It's the middle of winter, Jules.

Jules: I know that. But if you look closely , sometimes you can see one or two leaves that haven't been buried under the four-foot snowdrifts.

K: Jules, we did not come on this trip to look at leaves! We're on a quest.

Jules: Can't we do both?

K: Not the way you watch leaves! You're only going ten miles an hour!

Jules: I'm trying to enjoy the scenery. When I'm an old man passed out in the gutter, I want to have sweet memories of youth to bore my relatives with.

K: But we're on a highway! Haven't you noticed the people honking at us?

Jules: If they're so caught up in the corporate world that they can't appreciate nature—

K: It's a question of speed limits, Jules. What if we get pulled over for going under the posted minimum?

Jules: So what?

K: We're in a stolen motorcycle! And I've only got a learner's permit! Together, that probably means thirty, forty years in jail!

Jules: When you drive, then you can go 55 if you want.

K: You're being unreasonable. And the speed limit is 65, by the way.

Jules: Don't pick nits. When we make Gunther Kafka famous, we'll be able to abolish the speed limit.

K: But Jules, we've got more than a thousand miles yet to go! It'll take weeks at this rate!

Jules: And your point is?

K: Why did we bother to steal a motorcycle if we could have just walked at the speed we're going?

Jules: Walk to Mississippi? Hmmm... I wonder what that would have been like...

(SFX: Harp glissando)

Rollie: What do you want, punk?

Jules: Your shoes, my good man. We're the valet parkers, and we need you to give us your shoes.

Rollie: Take care of this bozo, Bert.

(SFX: Bones crunch)

Jules: Aaagh... my spine...

(SFX: Harp glissando)

Jules: No, K, you're right. Walking would have been out of the question.

K: Well, go faster then.

Jules: Alright, alright, it's not as we're being followed or something.

(SFX: Speed increases)

Announcer: Meanwhile, on Interstate 90 heading west...

(SFX: Highway ambience)

Rollie: Rev it up to 90, Bert! We're catching up, I can feel it!

Bert: OK, Rollie. (SFX: Rev) Rollie?

Rollie: Yeah?

Bert: Why did those two poets steal our Harleys? We didn't do nothin' to them. We did not steal, nor kill, nor even take their name in vain.

Rollie: Bert, I know it's hard for you to understand when bad people do bad things. But I think there are two possibilities.

Bert: Like what?

Rollie: Well, first, the two poets might have been desperately in need of transportation. Like for instance, they might have been sent on a cross-country quest by a disembodied voice to recover some lost treasure, like say some unpublished notebooks.

Bert: That sounds important, Rollie.

Rollie: Sure—in theory, their quest could be so important that the act of stealing our bike is justified by righting the greater wrong of bringing fame to an obscure genius.

Bert: Does that mean we can't beat the poets up?

Rollie: Yeah. That's why I cling to my second possibility: That the poets are simply a manifestation of the breakdown of law and order in American society. There's nothing morally wrong with killing someone if he's inconvenienced you at some time in the past.

Bert: A sound philosophical framework! Let's go kick some ass!

Biographer: Hello. I'm Tiger Ironsides, and this is a Gunther Kafka Minute, the first of a series aiming to highlight the vital literary importance of this deservedly obscure man of letters. Gunther Kafka, the fourth cousin of Franz Kafka, was born in 1881 in Vienna, Austria, again the next year, and finally got it right the third time in 1883. He grew up in the same house with Franz, and spent almost his whole life languishing in the shadow of his more talented relative, consumed by jealousy and later a microbe easily cured today with penicillin. The Kafka family genes must have been bursting with writing talent to have produced not only Franz, of the immortal "The Trial," "The Castle" and "The Metamorphosis," but also Gunther, who wrote the immortal... ah... well, never mind that right now. Even when they were babies, Gunther was envious of Franz's writing ability, and it didn't help to have their respective mothers living under the same roof:

(SFX: Two babies crying)

Gunther's mother: Oh, listen to my poor Gunther crying! He must be hungry!

Franz's mother: Yes but listen to Franz! His bawling expresses not only hunger, but an existential dread of life in a mechanized world where humans are merely tools of the totalitarian state! Plus he needs to be changed.

Gunther's mother: Oh, yes... Why can't my son be so talented?

Biographer: When Gunther was five, his parents enrolled him in elementary school. He made few friends, was terrible at sports—

Gunther's mother: Gunther, catch the ball! (SFX: It hits him in the face)

Young Guther Kafka: Ugh!

Gunther's mother: Oh dear... I'll get a tourniquet.

Biographer:—and spent most of his free time being beaten up by ruffians on the playground. In other words, he lived a perfectly normal childhood. In fact, it wasn't until he was a teenager that Gunther began to achieve the levels of malaise and dread that make all good writers great. More about that on the next Kafka Minute.

Announcer: Meanwhile, Bert and Rollie fill up with gas. That is, they fill their cycle, not themselves. Just clearing that point up.

Attendant: That'll be twelve bucks.

Rollie: I can't pay you.

Attendant: Excuse me?

Rollie: I said I can't pay you. I don't have any money.

Attendant: You didn't plan to just drive away, did you?

Rollie: No. First my brother was going to take all the money out of your cash register.

Bert: And a few candy bars.

Attendant: You can't do that!

Rollie: I'm sorry, sir, but I have no choice. You see, in a society that doesn't provide a living wage for all socioeconomic classes, the underprivileged are forced to turn to crime as a means of survival.

Attendant: Hey! Tell this big thug to let go!

Rollie: I'm afraid that's not possible, sir. You're about to learn about the dark side of capitalist society.

Attendant: He's hurting me!

Rollie: Break his spine, Bert.

(SFX: He does so. Att screams)

Rollie: There had to be a better way.

Bert: I just love doing this.

Rollie: OK, OK, that's enough, Bert. Now go get the money and we'll hit the road.

SCENE XII: A Kafka Minute
Biographer: Hello. I'm Tiger Ironsides, with another Gunther Kafka Minute. Every writer has his or her formative years, and Gunther was no exception. As a teenager, Gunther fell in love with writing, and scribbled away during every free minute, and even some minutes that weren't free—

Gunther's Mother: (SFX: pounding on door) Gunther! You've been in there for almost an hour! What are you doing in there?

Young Guther Kafka: I'm writing a short story, mother!

Biographer: And the strange thing is, he really was. For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

SCENE XIII: Jules and K
(SFX: Highway ambience)

Jules: K, put that notebook away! How can you drive a motorcycle and write an poem at the same time?

K: But I'm trying to write an ode to the open highway! The wind through my hair, the rolling hills, the endless billboards for casinos! I can't write an honest account if I'm not actually experiencing it at the time I write it.

Jules: (grumpily) Oh, alright. But if you don't go faster, we'll never get to Gunther Kafka's Lost Notebooks.

K: But Jules, you were just complaining about having to go 65 mph!

Jules: Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, K.

K: And yours is one of the smallest!

Jules: Now hold on—

K: Never mind, I'll put away the notebook. I don't see why you suddenly want to rush. Those notebooks have been missing since 1924.

Jules: But what if somebody else is looking for them? If we're late, we may never lay our hands on them!

K: Oh dear... I hadn't thought of that. In that case, speed is of the essence! I'll go 67.

Jules: Very good. (SFX: Rev)

K: But I have to warn you, Jules: Lateness runs in my family. My uncle Frank was late for everything.

Jules: Really?

K: Oh, yes. He was even late for his own funeral.

Jules: Now how did he manage that?

K: Well, he hadn't died yet, you see.

Jules: Oh, dear.

K: Yes. We had balloons and a cake and everything, and then he had to go ruin it.

Jules: The sheer gall. That must have been quite a downer, Frank turning up alive.

K: My father was very angry, because he'd rented the coffin by the hour, and any delay came right out of his wallet.

Jules: He rented it? What was he going to do when they buried it?

K: He hadn't quite worked that part out yet.

Jules: Hmm... Oh look, K, here comes the turnoff for Highway 45.

Biographer: I'm Tiger Ironsides with another Gunther Kafka Minute. The lack of attention scholars have paid to Gunther Kafka's poetry and prose is inexcusable, despite the fact that he wasn't really a very good writer and they would have been wasting their time. No other marginally talented relative of a master of literature has created such a bold testament to the human condition since Clyde Shakespeare's "Billy and the Magic Lantern" wowed 16th-century London. But Kafka also had a social conscience. His work was among the first to explore the all-too-common human obsession with nose hair. His poem "Stop Me, I'm Bald," a harsh, unyielding critique of the Hair Club for Men's failure to develop an aesthetically pleasing nostril toupee, led to legal reform in his native Vienna. The new laws were not precisely what Gunther had wanted: They placed a sentence of death on makers of bad toupees, and Gunther had simply asked for a refund. But there is no doubt that without this legislation, hats would have been much more common. For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

Announcer: We catch up with Bert and Rollie in a truck stop in Montana, as they settle their bar tab.

(SFX: Spine breaking, screams)

Rollie: (sighs) Dear, dear me. It pains me to be trapped in such a cycle of violence.

Bert: Why don't we just stop killing people then, Rollie?

Rollie: Bert, life isn't always what you want.

Bert: But I want to kill people, Rollie.

Rollie: Yes, Bert, but you're not like most people—you've never lost that childhood innocence that lets you pull the wings off of flies without getting a bad conscience.

Bert: Ha ha! I like to kill.

Rollie: Y'see, for me, I can't take no pleasure in killing.

Bert: Why not?

Rollie: Killing is morally wrong, Bert.

Bert: Oh. Sorry, I always forget that.

Rollie: So when I kill, I have to get satisfaction from other things—like making sure it's done cleanly, and I'm not leaving behind evidence for the cops. In other words, a job well done.

Nellie: Hey—you two!

Rollie: Yeah?

Nellie: Ain't you Bert and Rollie? The biker brothers from Minneapolis?

Bert: Who wants to know?

N: Don't you remember that bar fight in Tulsa four years back?

Rollie: I'll be darned—It's Nellie the Burglar!

Bert: Nellie! C'mere, you big lug! (SFX: Spine-breaking hug)

Nellie: Aaagh! Put me down!

Rollie: Bert! Bert, ease up, she's a friend!

(SFX: Hug stops. Nellie gets her wind back)

Bert: Sorry.

Rollie: Nellie the Burglar, what are you up to these days?

Nellie: Not much. Been robbing a few banks every now and then. I'm always on the lookout for a way to violate parole.

Rollie: Well, howzabout hookin' up with us? We're gonna beat up some punk poets for stealin' our Harley.

Nellie: Well, kickin' butt's a far cry from bank robbery, but—Ah, what the hell.

Rollie: Great! It'll be just like old times—Bert, Rollie, and Nellie the Burglar out on the open road!

Bert: Let's go to the bikes!

Biographer: I'm Tiger Ironsides with another Gunther Kafka Minute. In 1904, when Gunther was 20, he began keeping a diary. The experience not only changed his life, but became his major contribution to world literature—that is to say, they completely disappeared. Thematically, the diaries covered a great deal of ground, offering Kafka the chance to show us his unique perspective on life as a pre-war European intellectual.

Young Guther Kafka: March 20, 1904. I am a sick man. I am a spiteful man. Actually, I feel sick more often than spiteful, but the sentences scan well together. It's a great pickup line, too, although I find that "what's your sign" gets me fewer drinks in the face.

Biographer: Kafka also documented his experience as an existential philosopher.

Young Guther Kafka: June 4, 1904. I spent most of yesterday brooding, even though I was in a good mood. I felt I needed the practice. I could not think of any truly great worries, like waking up transformed into a gigantic insect—a pox on Franz for thinking of that first! So instead I brooded on my lifelong fear of unfrosted cupcakes.

Biographer: But Gunther was also a man of the business world. Like his cousin Franz, some of his most powerful writing tells of his deadening experience in the modern workplace.

Young Guther Kafka: July 7, 1904. Once again, my employer humiliated me in front of the entire office. This time, he shoved frozen halibut down my shirt while quizzing me on the multiplication tables and then declaring all my answers to be wrong.

Kafka's Boss: Three times five, Kafka?

Young Guther Kafka: Ahh... Seven!

Kafka's Boss: Wrong!

Young Guther Kafka: The great fool, what does he know of science? I'd complain to upper management, but all they ever say is "if you could stuff halibut the way he does, you'd run the company!" On the bright side, I've been offered a job as a test victim for biological warfare experiments. The hours are good.

Biographer: Last but not least, Kafka's diaries speak eloquently of his rather pathetic social life.

Young Guther Kafka: July 23, 1904. Went out again with Q, L, R and R Jr. Again I wondered why none of my friends will tell me what their real names are. We went to the new combination Italian restaurant and automotive oil-changing service that opened across the street. I ordered the $2.99 all-you-can-eat special, but the waiter asked us to leave because the restaurant has a $3 minimum. We left no tip.

Biographer: For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

(long pause)

Announcer: (mouth full) Wha—You're done? (swallows) Sorry, I was eating a sandwich. I thought that last segment was going to be longer. (pause) Ah... We really aren't ready for the next scene yet—lots to do backstage, scenery to move around, costume changes, that sort of thing. In radio drama, you're never finished. Let's see... uh, let's go now to another one of those Kafka time-filler things.

Biographer: Hello. I'm Tiger Ironsides, with another Gunther Kafka Minute. Gunther was insanely jealous of his cousin Franz's wild success, despite that none of Franz's books began to sell well until after they were both dead. The Kafka family, in fact, thought Gunther was the better writer, a decision reached one day at the dinner table by a coin toss. But of course it was Franz—scrawny, pathetic, little Franz—who became the Big Enchilada of European letters. One reason for this is, in retrospect, quite obvious. Gunther had a terrible phobia about publishers, and buried most of his poems and stories in a cardboard box in his back yard rather than submit them to magazines. Each time, he'd crow:

Young Guther Kafka: Another story finished! Any day now I'll be famous—and on my own terms! Eat your livers, Barnes and Noble!

Biographer: Surprisingly to him, this strategy did not pay off. Even still, Gunther went to great lengths to copy Franz, often wearing a rubber mask of his face and demanding to open his mail. For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

Announcer: 12 hours later, three-quarters of the way to Floppy Junction, Jules and K stop off for a refreshing bite of quality fast food.

K: Large French fries, please.

Fast Food Drone 1: Would you like fries with that?

K: What?

Fast Food Drone 1: Would you like fries with that?

K: But I ordered fries!

Fast Food Drone 1: Fries... More fries... Fries... More fries... (SFX: Over rest of line, an electric shortout builds to a full sizzling overload) Does not compute... Does not compute... Danger... Danger... Fries... Fries... (Repeats "fries," the word becomes unintelligible as FFD melts down)

K: Oh, dear... His head's on fire, Jules. We'd better go to the next register.

Jules: Very well.

Fast Food Drone 2: Welcome to Planet Lard. May I take your order?

Jules: Give me a cheeseburger with extra pickles, please.

Fast Food Drone 2: Would you like fries with that?

Jules: No, but I'm in a hurry, so step on it.

Fast Food Drone 2: Step on it... (SFX: Squish) 84 cents please. Thank you come again.

Jules: (Strangled noise of frustration) Argh...

K: Let's just forget about the burgers, Jules.

Jules: You've got my vote. Let's hit the road.

Announcer: Later, we join Leonard as he stops at a truck stop somewhere in the vast wasteland that is the state of Iowa.

(SFX: Highway ambience. Skateboard skates up to foreground, then skids out)

Leonard: Ouch. There must be a better way to stop your skateboard than just falling off it. I hope I can find those bikers soon. I've been on the road for hours. Wait a minute! Those motorcycles parked over there—they couldn't possibly belong to anyone else! I've found Bert and Rollie! (SFX: Suspense horns) Oh my god, oh my god... what do I do? I don't have a plan... What would Elvis do? He'd probably start singing. (sings off-key) "Love me tender, love me true, feed me something new..." (Pause) No, I'd better just go into the truck stop.

(SFX: Restaurant ambience)

Rollie: I still think we should headed south on I-12.

Nellie: I-12 goes east-west, you damn numbskull!

Rollie: I don't follow the mainstream rules, man.

Nellie: Maybe it's time somebody else led this bike gang! Somebody who knows how to find two beret-wearin' goons and mess 'em up good!

Bert: You insult my brother! I break your spine!

Nellie: Not while I got my switchblade, you don't! (SFX: Switchblade opens)

Bert: (disconcerted) Hey—that looks sharp!

Leonard: Excuse me! Hello. My name is Leonard.

Rollie: What the hell do you want? You're breakin' up a perfectly good knife fight.

Leonard: Well, um.. You see, I was sitting over here eating my breakfast, and you guys looked so friendly I just had to come over and meet you.

Rollie: Friendly?

Nellie: Us?

Rollie: What the heck you wanna talk with us for, kid? We're mean.

Leonard: (gulps) Yeah? (pause) Me, too.

(Bikers laugh)

Nellie: You don't look mean.

Rollie: Look at my brother Bert here—he's mean.

Bert: I'm mean! One time I shot a guy just for calling me on the phone while I was watching a Barbra Streisand concert on cable.

Leonard: Wow—that's pretty mean!

Nellie: I'm Nellie the Burglar—I'm meaner than mean is mean! I rob banks although I don't need the money! I do it just for kicks. One time I knocked over a bank in Tucson armed only with a pair of safety scissors and my rank, odorous breath.

Leonard: Wow, man. That's pretty mean.

Rollie: That's nothin'! I'm the meaniest mean that mean could be. I'm a dangerous vandalist.

Leonard: What do you mean?

Rollie: You know those hot-air hand dryers in public restrooms?

Leonard: Yeah?

Rollie: You know how every time you see one, somebody's cleverly scratched off the instructions so that instead of saying "Press Button," it says "Press Butt"?

Leonard: Yeah?

Rollie: That's me! I've singlehandedly vandalized fourteen thousand of those suckers all across this great country of ours.

Leonard: Wow! Are you the one who adds the witty instruction to "wipe hands on pants"?

Rollie: You bet, son! I told you I was dangerous! Don't you go messin' with me!

Leonard: Wow... That's totally impressive! I want to join your gang of evil bike thugs! I'll be bad to the bone, I promise!

Rollie: You ever committed any crimes? We're looking for that sort of thing in an employee.

Leonard: (lying) Um... Well, last week I was walking down the street, and I was, um, there was this guy, and I, um, (sudden insight) I strangled him to death! Yeah! That's plausible, isn't it? I choked a guy to death for no reason!

Nellie: You did what?

Bert: I break his spine!

Rollie: Bert, get my shotgun!

Leonard: (panicked) What? What? What did I say?

Rollie: Son, you better listen careful. We got a code in this biker gang. Some crimes we commit, and some we don't. We shoot people, we stab people, we run people over with pickup trucks. But we don't take kindly to stranglers.

Leonard: Oh, um, gosh... I forgot. That wasn't really me after all. I was lying.

Rollie: (not fooled) No kidding.

Leonard: Please let me become one of your hoodlums! My parents would be so proud!

Rollie: Well... Do you know how to ride a Harley?

Leonard: Um... Lemme think... No.

Rollie: Well, what kind of punk are you, anyway?

Leonard: What kind of punk? That's easy! I'm a skateboard punk!

Nellie: You lie!

Leonard: No, it's true! I've been a spiky-haired sullen teenager for years! Honest!

Rollie: We don't believe you.

Leonard: It's true! Watch, I'll prove it. I'll try to do a jump off that sidewalk curb.

Rollie: Well... alright, go ahead.

Leonard: Here goes!

(SFX: Skateboard hits a jump, then Leonard crashes painfully into a couple of garbage cans.)

Leonard: Ouch.

Nellie: He's a real live skate punk, alright.

Rollie: OK, kid, you're in.

Leonard: Thanks, guys.

Rollie: Whatever. We still gotta figure out where them poets are going.

Leonard: They're headed for Floppy Junction, Mississippi.

Rollie: How do you know that?

Nellie: Yeah—the only people who'd know where Jules and K were going would be one of their friends.

Rollie: Which would make you a spy!

Bert: Want I should break his spine?

Leonard: No, no, it was just a wild guess! Don't kill me!

Rollie: Floppy Junction, eh? Well, it beats driving around at random. To the bikes! We're startin' the countdown to mayhem time!

(SFX: Cheers, then cycles rev up)

Leonard: Can somebody help me up? I think I bruised something.

Biographer: I'm Tiger Ironsides with another Gunther Kafka Minute. Kafka's visionary work did not gain immediate acceptance from his contemporaries. Even Kafka's major supporters—many of whom, it must be said, lacked rudimentary reading skills—had to admit that he combined the clarity of Samuel Beckett with the depth of John Grisham. However, this did not stop Kafka from moving in the circles of the major writers of the time. He gained the respect of James Joyce after convincing him not to name the main character in "Ulysses" Willie Willie Wowserpants. He later befriended P.G. Wodehouse by convincing him that the character of Jeeves would be better as a butler than as the original concept, a one-legged whaling captain who went around smearing people with rotting ambergris.

Jeeves: Arrr! I be Jeeves!

(SFX: A wet smearing sound)

Young Gunther Kafka: Let's call that one a first draft, ja?

Biographer: Still, all this didn't help Gunther in his lifelong struggle with Franz for fame. In fact, it wasn't until Jules Hampton Sykes and K took a trip on a motorcycle that—but I'm getting ahead of myself. For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

(Highway. Motorcycle drives up, stops.)

K: Jules! Look at that sign!

Jules: "Dangerous Gulch Ahead 4 Miles."

K: No, no, below that one.

Jules: Oh, yes! "Floppy Junction, Ahead 6 Miles"! K, we're nearly at the end of our quest!

K: This is wonderful. Go stand by the sign, I want to take a picture.

(SFX: Biker gang ambience fade-up starts here. Leonard is screaming.)

Jules: Alright.... K, look behind you.

K: What is it?

Jules: Do you see those three motorcycles coming this way?

K: Oh, yes—it looks like one of them is towing a skateboarder.

Jules: What a strange thing to do.

K: Jules—that skateboarder—isn't that Leonard from Cafe Pathetique?

Jules: Why, so it is!

(SFX: Biker/Leonard at top volume.)

Leonard: Aagh! Guys, please, slow down! Aaaagh! (SFX: Cycles stop) Wow—what a rush.

K: Leonard, what are you doing here?

Leonard: Oh—um, hi, guys.

Rollie: I thought you said you didn't know the poets personally, Leonard.

Leonard: Oh—um, well, you see, um... Boy, I really should have had something planned.

Rollie: What are you talking about, kid?

Leonard: Um... Stop right there! I'm a hero! You can't kill Jules and K with me around!

Rollie: (sighs) Bert, grab him.

Bert: I'm gonna break your worthless spine, punk.

Leonard: Aaagh! Jules, K, help me!

Jules: K—aren't those the bikers that we, um...

K: Took the motorcycle from?

Rollie: Yes, we are.

Bert: We have come to kill you.

K: Oh, dear...

Rollie: But first we must know—why did you steal our Harley?

Bert: It was an heirloom from our dear mother!

Rollie: You made us very sad.

Jules: Oh, dear.

K: We're so sorry. But we had no choice!

Bert: Impossible! Socrates insisted that Man, the rational animal, was endowed with free will!

Jules: But we had a greater purpose to fulfill.

K: Yes—we're trying to right a past wrong!

Rollie: Two wrongs don't make a right.

K: But we're after some Lost Notebooks that could change the world!

Bert: Really?

Jules: Yes.

Rollie: Lost Notebooks, eh? Is there any money in that, do you suppose?

K: Could be. We're willing to reimburse you for the use of your cycle.

Jules: It's just that we were so short on time when we left.

Bert: Are you thinking what I am, Rollie?

Rollie: Yeah.

K: So we can be friends after all?

Bert: What? No!

Rollie: We're still going to kill you, but then we're going to find those notebooks ourselves.

Bert: Then we'll sell the movie rights and make millions!

Jules: You fiends!

Bert: Time to break your spines.

Jules: K, let's get out of here.

Leonard: Wait! Don't leave me here!

Jules: Just a moment, Leonard!

(SFX: Bonk)

Bert: Ow! That fat poet hit me with a hardcover copy of the collected works of Shelley! I'm losing... consciousness...

Jules: K, start the cycle!

K: Hop on, guys!

(SFX: Their cycle revs and roars away)

Rollie: Nellie—go follow 'em! I'll be right behind you!

(SFX: Another cycle roars off)

Jules: Leonard, what's this all about? Who's this person following us?

Leonard: Those big biker thugs figured out that you guys stole—

K: Borrowed—

Leonard: Stole their motorcycle, so they came to beat you up.

K: What are you doing with them?

Leonard: It's a crafty ruse!

Jules: From you? I don't believe it.

K: If it's so crafty, how come we had to rescue you?

Leonard: Well, actually the surly coffeeshop employee put me up to it.

K: How insulting! They think we can't take care of ourselves!

Leonard: Actually, dude, they know you can't. They have a betting pool going on how long it takes for the bikers to catch you, and your odds of escaping alive are 600-to-1.

Jules: We'll show them! Who's this chasing us right now?

Leonard: That's Nellie the Burglar. She's a dangerous robber. She told me that she knocked over a bank in Tucson armed only with a pair of safety scissors and her rank, odorous breath!

Jules: A bank robber, eh? K, do you have that jar?

K: Yes... Here it is.

Jules: Leonard, take this jar and unscrew the lid.

(SFX: Lid unscrews)

Leonard: OK.

K: OK! I'm going to slow the bike down and let Nellie the Burglar catch up to us. When she does, Leonard, I want you to scoop out the stuff in that jar and throw it at Nellie the Burglar.

(SFX: K slows down, Nellie catches up)

Jules: Now, Leonard!

(SFX: Wet, squelchy sound)

Nellie: Aaaagh! I'm all sticky! I can't move! It's like glue!

(SFX: Crash)

Leonard: Whoa... How did you make Nellie the Burglar all sticky like that?

K: Robber cement.

Leonard: Oh. Of course.

Jules: K, we're still being chased by those other two.

K: Yes—they're gaining on us, too. Damn these highway speed limits! How's a law-abiding citizen supposed to get away from bike thugs?

Leonard: We're all gonna die! And I wanted to be a hero! (starts crying)

Jules: K, I've got another idea. Pull over by that dangerous gulch we saw coming up. I've got a plan.

Biographer: I'm Tiger Ironsides with the very last Gunther Kafka Minute. In 1921, Gunther Kafka had become frustrated that he, unlike Franz, was too untalented to become a successful writer. He left Vienna for parts unknown, taking with him most of his voluminous collection of unpublished diaries and manuscripts. Unconfirmed reports say he spent much of the 1930s in Australia under the pseudonym Big Rolf O'Malley. Some say he died. Some say he was in North Dakota, which amounts to the same thing. Other people say he found a home in the hearts and minds of young children, but was forced to move when the rent was raised. Only one thing is sure: Nobody knows where Gunther is now. And if you're like me, you don't care. For Where Threads Come Loose, I'm Tiger Ironsides.

K: Alright, Jules... we're here on a ledge, away from our motorcycle, seemingly defenseless and cut off from any decent escape route. What's your plan?

Jules: Very simple—we tell them we're sorry!

K: We what?

Jules: We just say "I'm sorry I stole your motorcycle, it won't happen again."

Leonard: Man, I don't think that'll work.

Jules: It won't?

K: No, of course not! You've just sealed our doom!

Leonard: We're gonna die!

Jules: Calm down! Calm down—let's look at the bright side. Sure, we're waiting on top of a high cliff to be killed by motorcyle thugs. But look at the lovely clouds!

K: Gosh—you're right. It's very peaceful.

Jules: Like being in the woods. Leonard, do a loon call.

Leonard: (makes a strangled, ugly sound)

K: Aaaaaah. Yes, this is the life. It reminds me of the tranquility I felt during my time as a philosopher and hermit on Walden Pond.

Jules: I didn't know you'd done that.

K: I didn't.

Jules: Then why are you talking about Walden?

K: It was just a Thoreau-away line.

Leonard: I don't get it.

K: Never mind. Jules, what are we going to do? Any minute now, that bike gang will catch up to us!

Jules: Don't worry—maybe they won't kill us very much.

K: Very much?! Jules, that's the dumbest—

Leonard: Quiet! Here they are!

(SFX: Bikes drive up, stop)

Rollie: There they are! Bert, you have a moral imperative to go over there and kill those three. Then we can go home.

Bert: I will break your spines!

K: We're dead!

Jules: Don't give up hope, K! We're not dead yet!

K: We're not?

Jules: No. We've got at least five minutes before we're dead.

K: I guess that's a kind of consolation...

Leonard: Does this count as a cliffhanger ending?

Jules: Quiet, Leonard.

Leonard: Sorry.

Announcer: Are Jules and K really dead? If so, how will they possibly find the lost notebooks of Gunther Kafka? And how interesting will the next episode be with a couple of dead guys for main characters? There's only one way to find out—call the scriptwriter at home and bug him! Ha ha, no, just kidding—you'll have to tune in next time, like everybody else, for the exciting third part of Jules and K, Stanza X: The Lost Kafka Notebooks!


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV