Where Threads Come Loose
"Jules & K: Poetry Slamming

The Recording Script

• Written and directed by Christopher Bahn. Copyright 1996.
• Episode 11 of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose (originally episode 17 of 1997 Edition)
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM, December 1994
• Engineered by Dan Grothe, Christopher Bahn and Rex Wilhm

• Jules Hampton Sykes: Tony Pagel
• K, Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Christopher Bahn
• Dave the Normal Guy: Dan Grothe
• Thatcheresque Poet, Floyd: Griffin Lund
• Edna Mae Vinetrooper: Larisa Bahn
• Julia Kristeva: Molly Smithson
• Leonard: Adam Pagel
• Audience Member/Sycophants 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5: Larisa Wolters, Adam Pagel, Molly Smithson, Griffin Lund and Chirstopher Bahn

Author's Notes
• Besides certain sonic improvements to the 2003 remaster of this episode, there are a couple of script changes, both of which I think are improvements. First, a new version of the "Icky Roommate" poem, and second a recasting of the Morrissey scene at the end.
Narrator: Today on Where Threads Come Loose we return yet again to Cafe Pathetique, the place everybody who's nobody hangs out. Foremost among those looking for lives in all the wrong places are our heroes, those would-be poets and embittered rivals Jules Hampton Sykes and K. But Jules and K are in for more than they bargained for when they decide to go... "Poetry Slamming."

Art by Dan Grothe & Christopher Bahn
SCENE I: Dinkytown
(SFX: Street noise, which runs throughout this scene.)

K: Hello, Jules.

Jules: (surprised) Aaah! K, what are you doing here?

K: I might ask you the same question. What's a so-called poet like yourself doing walking out of a comic-book shop? Why don't you read serious literature?

Jules: Comic books can be serious! Look at "Maus" by Art Spiegelman—it won the Pulitzer Prize! And, um... "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" won the Nobel Prize for Literature!

K: It did not!

Jules: Did too!

K: Alright, I'm convinced.... so what did you buy?

Jules: (mumbles)

K: What did you say?

Jules: The Amazing Spiderman, issue 305, I said, now get off my back.

K: Excuse me.

(uncomfortable pause)

Jules: A dreaded sunny day!

K: Well, let's go where we're happy!

Jules: I'll meet you at the cemetry gates. Keats and Yeats are on your side!

K: No, no, no, I meant, let's go to a poetry slam! They're having one over at Cafe Pathetique tonight.

Jules: Good gracious, a poetry slam? That'll be full of pretentious people!

K: Reading awful verse aloud.

Jules: Probably in bad lighting, with overpriced drinks.

K: So do you want to go?

Jules: I can't, I'm busy. I'm trying to develop a mature style of poetry.

K: Well, it doesn't start for another two hours.

Jules: Oh, I should be finished by then.

K: Good. I'll bet you fifty dollars my poem gets more applause than yours.

Jules: You're on! Last time they threw rotting fruit at you!

K: They did not! That was just a performance artist who got out of control.

Jules: (sing-song mocking) Anything you say, K!

K: Mark my words, Jules Hampton Sykes, by the time this night is through my poetic genius will have made your pitiful attempts to master the rhyme scheme look like... um... I can't think of a good metaphor.

Jules: Simile, actually, since you used the word "like."

K: Whatever. That's not important. What is, is that I'll win our bet, Jules!

Jules: I'll bet you fifty dollars you won't.

K: You're on!

Jules: Good. See you at the cafe, then.

SCENE II: Cafe Pathetique, later that night
(The poetry slam is well underway—cafe ambience fades up, and we hear one of the poets reciting:)
Thatcheresque Poet: I walked in agony 'cross the moors
My hunting dogs did smell thy spoor
And soon the hunt for love was on,
Oooh ooh baby, yum yum yum. (JULES BEGINS HIS LINE HERE.)
You fought my love with tooth and nail
you nearly had me thrown in jail
But soon you saw I'd not be denied
I caught you, tamed you, made you mine
We swooped through the sky, a pair of doves
I bloodied your scalp with my tough love
Then rushed thee to room of emergency
Tra la la la, tee hee hee.

Jules: Why, Dave, hello! Fancy seeing you at a poetry slam! Mind if K and I sit down?

Dave: Sure, guys.

K: Ugh. Whoever's reading now is simply awful.

Jules: She's brilliant, K.

K: Are you kidding? She's shamelessly derivative.

Jules: Brilliant.

K: Derivative.

Jules: Brilliant.

K: Derivative.

Jules: Brilliant.

K: Derivative.

Jules: Brilliant.

K: Derivative.

Dave: Stop it, both of you. She's almost done.

(Thatcheresque finishes reading, applause comes up, Jules yells "encore" and K boos.)

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Alright, alright, that's enough from you, siddown. (applause dies down) I'd like to thank everyone for coming down to Cafe Pathetique's sixth bimonthly poetry slam—but I won't, because I hate being around people like you. (applause) Once again, the ground rules—first, everybody who signs up gets to read no more than two pages' worth of poetry. Any more than that, you're gonna make the rest of us sick. Second, due to the stupefyingly poor quality of some of the poetry at our other poetry slams, under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to read poetry about the following subjects: bunnies, puppies, classic-rock guitarist Carlos Santana, former President Herbert Hoover, bananas with brown spots on them, the act of laying awake wondering to oneself about the terrible existential angst that plagues our society these days—

Jules: Drat. That cuts out at least two-thirds of my material.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee:—Charles Manson, the 1959 Cadillac DeVille, the poet's own mother, cardboard, epidermal meningitis or anything having to do with the state of Idaho. And last but most important, the seven large men with clubs wandering around the tables will be enforcing—and I do mean enforcing—the five-drink minimum. Are these ground rules clear?

Audience: Yes, Mr. Surly Coffeeshop Employee.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Good. Our next poet is Edna Mae Vinetrooper.


Edna Mae: (with bored sarcasm) This poem is titled "An Open Letter to My Icky Roommate." (pause)

     Thou playst thy stereo much too loud
     Thy lack of good hygiene has the neighborhood wowed
     Thou borrows my stuff all the time with no warning
     My toothbrush is missing since yesterday morning
     Thy dishes be dirty, piling up in the sink
     Thou art a big jerk, driving me to the brink!
     There canst not be nothing said in thy defense
     Get out! Hie thee hence! And go live with your parents!

(Jules gives out a frightened scream and collapses)

Dave: My God, Jules has fainted!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: OK, that's enough, stop reading. Sorry, folks, obviously some of this material is too intense for this audience. Is that guy alright?

Jules: Yes, yes, I'm fine... But that line about moving back in with your parents... brr! It chilled my very soul!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Whatever. Let's move on to our next poet, Julia Kristeva, the acclaimed scholar and writer in the French school of criticism. She'll read a selection from her 1982 book, "Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection," translated very badly from French to English by Leon S. Roudiez. I will translate from Mr. Roudiez's English into English English.

Jules: Oh, I've read her before.

K: She's totally opaque.

Jules: Dense.

K: Convoluted.

Jules: Nobody I know has any idea what she's talking about.

K: She's brilliant.

Jules: Sheer genius.

Kristeva: When the eyes see or the lips touch that skin of the surface of milk, I experience a gagging sensation, and still farther down, spasms in the stomach, the belly; and all the organs shrivel up the body, provoke tears and bile, increase heartbeat, cause forehead and hands to perspire.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I drank some spoiled milk, and it was gross.

Kris: Along with sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that milk cream, separates me from the mother and father who proffer it.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I hate my parents. They make me drink gross things.

Kris: "I" want none of that element, sign of their desire; "I" do not want to listen, "I" do not assimilate it, "I" expel it.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I spit the milk out.

Kris: But since the food is not an "other" for "me," who am only in their desire, I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself within the same motion through which "I" claim to establish myself.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I am the milk, the milk is me, I am the milkwoman, goo goo goo joob.

Kris: That trifle turns me inside out, guts sprawling; it is thus that they see that "I" am in the process of becoming an other at the expense of my own death.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I'm not sure what that meant... keep reading, Julia.

Kris: During that course in which "I" become, I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: After I spit out the milk, I got sick and threw up.

Kris: Mute protest of the symptoms, shattering violence of a convulsion that, to be sure, is inscribed in a symbolic system, but in which, without either wanting or being able to become integrated in order to answer it, it reacts, it abreacts. It abjects."

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I don't like bad milk. It makes me gag. It was gross.

Jules: Somehow, she doesn't seem as brilliant anymore.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Thanks, Julia. (SFX: applause) Our next reader is Floyd D'Goatee, who'll be doing a performance art piece entitled "Democracy-a-go-go."

(SFX: applause)

Floyd: Thanks, guys. You rock! I originally wrote this piece for my political science class, but the prof was kind of a fascist and gave me an F because I was supposed to write a five-page paper on the American two-party system. It's called "Democracy-a-go-go," but I guess you knew that. My friend Leonard is gonna help me out by juggling coconuts while I play guitar.

Leonard: I'm ready, Floyd. Let's rock the house.

(SFX: terrible, non-melodic guitar plays underneath Floyd's recitation.)

Floyd: (kind of sings, at least it seems like he's trying to sing) "Democracy is pretty cool. You can vote for anybody you want to and it's OK and they'll let you and stuff. Last year I voted for Kurt Cobain for state auditor, but he didn't win, but it was still cool." Here's my guitar solo. (SFX: more bad guitar)

Leonard: Floyd, stop jumping around, you're going to make me lose control of these coconuts!

Floyd: Whoooaa!

(SFX: Loud crash)

Leonard: Look out!

(SFX: whistling noise like an incoming missile, followed by a loud BONK)

Jules: Ouch! That hurt!

Floyd: Oops. Sorry, Jules.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: OK, that's enough for you guys. I'm the only one allowed to inflict pain on my customers.

Floyd: Fascist.

Dave: Jules, are you OK?

Jules: Oh, I feel all woozy... I can't remember anything! All my poetry, it's all gone!

K: That's wonderful! I mean, how terrible for you, Jules.

Jules: I'm supposed to read next! How can I go on if I can't remember any of my poems? Blast that coconut.

K: Just make something up on the spot.

Jules: I can't do that!

Dave: Sure you can, Jules. It won't be any worse than your real poetry.

Jules: Don't rub it in. Let's see... um... I've got it! (in a very Jules voice) "When it's time to rock the funky joint, I'm on point. When it's time to rock the funky jam, I'm the man."

Dave: Ah... no. It's been done.

Jules: Alright, alright... I'm concentrating... (SFX: Another whistle from an incoming coconut. This one lasts over a couple of lines, growing more and more audible until it hits.)

Dave: Jules...

Jules: Don't interrupt! I'm achieving greatness right before your very eyes.

Dave: But Jules, there's—

Jules: Hush... I've been robbed of my poetry by a quirk of fate come falling from the sky —

K: It was a coconut.

Jules: (ignores K) I'm awaiting a second piece of heavenly inspiration, although I hope it isn't as painful.

Dave: Jules, look out!


Dave: I tried to warn you.

K: I thought Floyd was kicked off the stage. Where'd that coconut come from?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I threw it.

Dave: Why?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I was aiming for K. I thought maybe I could knock the poetry out of both of 'em.

Dave: No such luck. It looks like Jules has thought of something.

Jules: Mirabile dictu!

K: Gesundheit.

Jules: No, no, no... I've just thought of the most marvelous poem! Step aside, I must read! I must bring this to the public!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Hey, buddy, siddown! I haven't introduced your sorry ass.

Jules: Later! I've had a revelation!

Audience member: (mocking) Go, Gerald!

Jules: Don't call me that! Who said that?

Audience: (low chant, gets progressively stronger) Ger-ald, Ger-ald, Ger-ald, Ger-ald, Ger-ald, Ger-ald...

Jules: It's Jules now! Stop that, you guys! I changed my name to Jules Hampton Sykes! It's more impressive! Why aren't you guys impressed? Come on, stop calling me that.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Alright, you scum, stop picking on Gerald.

Jules: Jules.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Whatever. You guys in the audience settle down now. There's gonna be no open mocking of any of tonight's poets, unless my back is turned or you let me go first. Got it?

Audience: Yes, Mr. Surly Coffeeshop Employee.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Right. Now, here's a young beret-wearing lad who's been to Cafe Pathetique's last three poetry slams. I'm always glad to see people return to these open readings, because it usually means they're too dense to stop coming back. So without further ado, here's one of the densest poets I know... Jules Hampton Sykes.

Jules: Um... Thank you, my good man.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Don't mention it, Gerald.

Jules: Ooh! Don't call me that!

Dave: Gosh, K, Jules is having a pretty rough time up there.

K: The crowd can tell when someone has talent and when they don't.

Dave: You're up next, laughing boy.

K: Ha! I have nothing to fear from this crowd. (crowd starts chanting Ger-ald again)

Dave: Whatever you say, K. I'll get the paper bag ready so you'll have something to wear when you slink away from the stage.

K: Oh, thank you, Dave, that's very thoughtful of you.

Dave: You just don't get it, do you.

K: Get what?

Dave: Nothing.

K: No, what?

Dave: Just drop it, K. Jules is about to start reading.

Jules: Alright, alright, if you people can't be quiet, I'll just start reading my poem right now. It's called "The Circus Animals' Desertion" and I think you'll like it. It's part of my new "mature" style. Ahem. (The chanting trails off and stops somewhere in the first or second line, as Jules' poetry soothes the mob)

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last, being but a broken man,
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.

(Dead silence for two or three seconds. Then wild cheering and applause break out)

Jules: (absolutely dumbfounded) They... they liked it. The audience actually liked my poem! They liked it!

K: I think I'm going to be sick.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Well, if you are, go do it on table 14. They've been sitting there all day without ordering anything.

Dave: Look out! Jules is coming back from the stage.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: And the fans are converging on him!

Jules: Thank you, my public! I couldn't be what I am without the love of you fans!

Audience member 1 (AM1): Mr. Hampton Sykes! Mr. Hampton Sykes! Can I have your autograph?

AM2: Jules, sign my tattoo!

AM3: I want you to have my children!

Jules: Have your children?!

AM3: Yes, they're in day care. They need to be picked up at four.

Jules: I can't do that! Hey, come back...

AM4: Touch me! You can heal my leprosy!

AM5: Yes, lick my face!

AM2: Heal my sore bunions!

AM1: He's stepping down off the stage!

(screams of joy, a la Beatlemania)

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Hey, pal, you'd better get out of here, before your loving fans tear you apart.

Jules: But they adore me! They'd never harm someone who touched their souls like I just did—Hey, leggo of my hair! Ow! (Jules continues to make pained noises as the audience fights for him!)

AM1: I got a piece of his shirt!

AM2: Me too! This'll be worth money someday!

AM4: He touched me! I'll never wash again!

AM5: I want some of his hair!

AM2: Is that collectible too?

AM3: I'll get my trimming shears!

Jules: Get away from my head!

AM1: Let's hoist him up on our shoulders and parade him around the neighborhood!

Jules: Ouch! What are you doing? Put me down this instant!

Audience: (fades out as they leave) Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules! Jules!

K: I suppose this means I don't win that $50 bet.

Dave: Jules Hampton Sykes is a success—I think I need to go home and lie down.

SCENE III: Cafe Pathetique, the next day.
K: Hello, Dave. May I please sit down?

Dave: Sure, K. You look pretty worn out.

K: I couldn't sleep at all last night. I kept thinking about what happened to Jules at the poetry slam... Horrible.

Dave: K, Jules has finally started to write good poetry, and people responded to it. You're just jealous.

K: But I've been trying just as long as he has to be a good poet! It's not fair! I've dreamed of being like that... Sometimes when I'm alone I practice what I'd say to people if I ever wrote something good.

Dave: Uh-huh.

K: I'd say "Thank you, I'm glad you liked my poem." I'd say, "Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed my poem. Please, let's be friends."

Dave: K, please, I'm starting to feel guilty for you.

K: I'd adopt kittens. I'd start a homeless shelter.

Dave: K, you don't like homeless people.

K: Well, no I don't, the filthy beggars, but I'd become a better person if I was a better writer!

(Jules' next line starts now)

Dave: I don't even want to get into this, K. Hey, what's that sound?

K: Oh, no... It's Jules.

Dave: So it is! He's coming this way.

K: My god, he's still got that huge entourage.

Dave: Looks like he's gotten them under control, too.

K: How can you tell?

Dave: Well, that sedan chair they're carrying him on was my first clue.

Jules: This one's called "He Reproves the Curlew":

O curlew, cry no more in the air,
Or only to the water in the West;
Because your crying brings to my mind
Passion-dimmed eyes and long heavy hair
That was shaken out over my breast:
There is enough evil in the crying of the wind.


Sycophant 1: Oh, Mr. Hampton Sykes, that was wonderful!

Jules: Yes, I know. Lower my chair to the ground, good folk. I wish to visit with some former acquaintances. Dave, K, you may kneel.

K: Hello, Jules.

Dave: I never thought I'd say this, K, but you were right about Jules.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Hey, what do you people think you're doing? Get this sedan chair out of my coffeeshop!

Sycophant 2: Kneel before Mr. Hampton Sykes! He's an artist!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Not in this lifetime, he's not.

Sycophant 2: But you heard his poetry last night! You know the emotive power he controls!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Listen, pal, I'm having another in a long, long string of bad days, and I don't need you to tell me—

Jules: Locke sank into a swoon;
The Garden died;
God took the spinning-jenny
Out of his side.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: (deeply affected in spite of his natural spite) Why... why... that was beautiful, Mr. Hampton Sykes! Where did you come up with such a delightful image?

Jules: Where got I that truth?
Out of a medium's mouth,
Out of nothing it came,
Out of the forest loam,
Out of dark night where lay
The crowns of Nineveh.


Jules: Thank you, my flock. Ah, it's good to be back in my old haunts. This is where I got my start, you know.

Dave: Jules, you started yesterday!

Sycophant 3: Don't question Mr. Hampton Sykes!

Sycophant 4: He is a light in our lives!

Sycophant 5: He is filled with wisdom!

K: He's filled with something, alright.

Jules: I came by to gloat about my latest stroke of good fortune. I got a telephone call this morning with some glorious news—I've been asked to open for Guns'N'Roses on their stadium tour!

K: What?!

Jules: It's true! Axl Rose himself asked me. And MTV wants me to make a video to play during "Beavis and Butt-head."

K: But MTV doesn't play poetry!

Jules: They will with mine! The masses have raised me up, K. Too bad you can't join me here on my lofty perch.

Dave: Jules, just because you're an overnight sensation doesn't give you the right to be mean to K.

Jules: I am not being mean, I'm simply putting him in his place. I wrote a poem about it, in fact. It's called "To a Poet, Who Would Have Me Praise Certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine."

K: Now, Jules—

Sycophant 1: Can we hear it?

Sycophant 2: Oh, please, let us hear it!

Sycophants: Oh, please, please, please Mr. Hampton Sykes?

Jules: (stringing them along to milk their praise) Well... I don't know... Oh, alright...

K: Jules, I will not sit here and tolerate this abuse!

Sycophant 4: Silence, you sniveling vermin! You're not fit to lick Mr. Hampton Sykes' shoes! That's my job! (slurping noise)

Jules: Please, you're embarrassing me. You people be nice to poor K. He's only a small fellow.

Sycophant : Sorry, Mr. Hampton Sykes.

Jules: Tish. You must have sympathy for the weak-minded. It's not his fault he's not as sublime as me. Peel me another grape.

Sycophant : Right away, Mr. Hampton Sykes.

Jules: Don't be so downhearted, K. I wrote a poem just for you.

K: Oh, how thoughtful of you, Jules.

Jules: Yes, I know. It's called "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come To Nothing."

K: Stop it! That's enough! Go off and be a rousing success, see if I care. Just don't do it around me.

Jules: K, K, K, K, K, K. If that's the way you're going to be, then I'll go. I'll bring you back a Guns'N'Roses T-shirt. Now, my good people, let's be off! While we walk I'll read you my latest poem. It's called "The Second Coming."

Sycophants: We love you, Mr. Hampton Sykes! (they begin chanting "Jules!" again as they go)

Jules: Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

(slight pause after Jules' departure fades down.)

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I never thought I'd live to see the day. The public adores him! And his poetry's wonderful! It stirs something in my soul.

K: I didn't know you had a soul.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I don't. That's the weird thing about it. But you know, there's something very familiar about his poetry...

K: Oh, that's not important. Let's talk about me instead. What am I going to do? I can't let Jules just go off and realize his dreams! It would ruin me! I'd spend the rest of my days drowning my sorrows in sour latte in second-rate coffeeshops, struggling to find a rhyme for "orangutan" and wondering, "why?"

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: That's what you do now. Except for the second-rate coffeeshops bit.

K: No, this is more like third-rate. But it's the principle of the thing. It just wouldn't be seemly for me to let Jules enjoy his good fortune. If only there was some way to bring him down to earth... Wait a minute! (SFX: Angelic music swells) I'm getting an idea! I'll... I'll... (SFX: Music cuts off abruptly) No, that won't work.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: K, what you need is a plan. A cunning, devious, amoral plan cooked up by a mean-spirited scoundrel with a cruel streak, whose sole enjoyment in life comes from seeing the suffering of other, weaker human beings.

K: Yes! Yes! If only I knew someone like that.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I'm talking about me, you idiot.

K: Oh, yes! You're a right bastard. I'd forgotten.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Tch. You slave and toil at your life's work and nobody appreciates you for it.

K: I know, I have the same problem with my poetry.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: K, your poetry isn't any good. That's why you're jealous of Jules.

K: Oh, yes, that's right. But why do you want to help me bring Jules down? You actually enjoyed his poetry!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Maybe I'm just irredeemably mean. Don't look a gift scorpion in the mouth.

K: Right.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Now, look. Jules only started writing good poetry after he got beaned by a coconut at the poetry slam yesterday.

K: Yes.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Well, you've seen Gilligan's Island, haven't you?

K: Oh, every episode! That Alan Hale is a genius!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Well, if somebody gets hit on the head with a coconut on that show, and they get... oh, for instance say they get amnesia. Now, they've only got half an hour to resolve the problem, and they can't let the Professor lose his memory permanently.

K: Good heavens, no! He's the only one who knows how to work the transistor radio! I know how long it took me to figure out how to use one.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Right. So in the last five minutes, the scriptwriters bring out—and here's the big payoff—

K: (expectantly) Yes?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Another coconut.

K: Another one! Who'd have thought it? But isn't that overkill?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: No, no, it ties everything up real nice.

K: But what are the odds of finding another coconut on a deserted tropical island?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I know, it's a stretch, but you've just got to trust me.

K: Well, this is all well and good, but what does it have to do with my problem?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: (sighs) I'll spell it out for you very plainly, K. (SFX: Angelic music fades up) You go to Byerly's, and you go to the fresh produce section. Then, you... (SFX: Angelic music grows to a scene-changing crescendo, then quickly fade out over the rest of the nefarious plan)

SCENE IV: Cafe Pathetique, the day after the next day
Dave: Give me a large coffee, please.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Sure! Heh heh heh heh.

Dave: What are you snickering about? Anytime you start chuckling, something nasty's about to happen.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Just a little surprise for Jules.

Dave: Oh, god, where is he? I've got to go make sure he's alright.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Keep yer shirt on, buddy. He's on his way here.

Dave: What for? He's got no reason to come back. He's going to make millions on tour with GNR.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: I called and told him he'd won a free discount coffee card. I was lying, of course, but it was just a means to get him here.

Dave: What for?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Look over by table 12.

Dave: How did you fit a catapult in this building? And what's K doing with it?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: It's my nutty scheme to knock Jules back to normal. See, the catapult's full of coconuts, and since I told K to set it up over there in the nonsmoking section, Jules will never think to look there.

Dave: You've got a fiendish mind. Remind me not to get on your bad side.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: All I have are bad sides.

Dave: That's true.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Get ready, K, here comes Jules!

Jules: (fades up as before. We only really need the last line or so, just to show that Jules was reading again.) This is entitled "The Witch":

Toil and grow rich,
What's that but to lie
With a foul witch,
And after, drained dry,
To be brought
To the chamber where
Lies one long sought
With despair?


Jules: Hello, my good man. Where's my free coffee?

K: Alright, Jules, say your prayers!

Jules: K! What are you doing?

K: Committing grievous bodily harm. I've got fifty-three coconuts in this catapult, and one of them's bound to knock you back to being senseless.

Jules: Good heavens, we've been tricked! Run, my followers!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Wait a minute! K, drop those coconuts! I've always wanted to say that. Jules, I've suddenly realized where your poetry comes from! That is, where you've stolen it from.

Jules: (defensive) I don't know what you're talking about. My poetry comes from the unbounded depths of my creative spirit, of course!

Sycophant 1: You're such a dreamy genius, Jules.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: No, it comes from Yeats. To be specific, the third edition of "William Butler Yeats: Selected Poems and Three Plays," edited by M.L. Rosenthal, a copy of which is sticking out of your left coat pocket.

Jules: Damn, you found me out.

K: Then that whole thing about getting amnesia from getting hit on the head by a coconut was nothing but a ruse! A clever deception!

Sycophant 2: Oh, Jules, you were so misunderstood!

Jules: (the sycophants murmur their agreement as Jules says this speech) Yes, yes, it's true! I stole all my poetry from Yeats. I just wanted to be loved for me, for who I really was deep down inside. Naturally I had to use someone else's words! And what's wrong with that? A little plagiarism never killed anybody. What's so immoral about a little bit of grand theft intellectual property?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Don't ask me, I don't have any morals.

K: If only Morrissey was here! He'd know what to say!

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Morrissey? Do you mean Steven Patrick Morrissey? Former lead singer of the Smiths and the patron saint of pretentious coffeeshop poets everywhere?

K: Yes, that's the one.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: He's not here now, but he did leave something in case of an emergency like this. Here, let me just break this glass. (SFX: Glass crash) See, it's a Morrissey Ball. Ask it any question, then turn in upside down to reveal the answer.

K: Mr. Morrissey, what do you think of Jules plagiarizing William Butler Yeats like he did?

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Let's see... "Reply hazy"... No, wait! He's quoting his song "Cemetry Gates"! ... "If you must write prose or poems, the words you use should be your own. Don't plagiarize or 'take on loan.' There's always someone, somewhere with a big nose who knows, and trips you up and laughs when you fall." (pause) I don't know how he managed to fit all those words on the little plastic floaty thing in the middle, but I guess that's why he's a musical genius.

Dave: Words to live by, Jules.

K: Oh, you're such a wise man, Mr. Morrissey! Thank goodness you spoke up about people ripping off verse by some of the world's most famous poets... Without you to stand guard, nobody would ever have caught on! Although I don't have a big nose.

Jules: What am I going to do now? Nobody will take me seriously now that I'm exposed as a plagiarist!

Dave: Oh, I don't know that your fans will be that unforgiving. Jules, I hope you've learned a little lesson here today.

Surly Coffeeshop Employee: Who are you, Ward Cleaver?

Dave: Shut up. Jules, you're going to have to go back to your own poetry and work at making it as good as the poetry you were stealing. Remember what Yeats himself said, in his poem "The 19th Century and More":

Though the great song return no more
There's keen delight in what we have:
The rattle of pebbles on the shore
Under the receding wave.

Jules: Why, that's very inspirational! I mean, not as good as "The Bridges of Madison County," but it's up there.

K: I don't get it.

Jules: Don't you see, K, Yeats is talking about how fun it is to visit the beach during the summertime!

K: The beach! Ugh! There's no decent espresso there!

Dave: No... Sorry, guys, that's not quite what Yeats was talking about. He meant that even if you lose something very important to you, life is still full of joys.

Jules: Oh, a moral! How cute!

K: What's so great about rattling pebbles?

Sycophant 1: Mr. Hampton Sykes, we've decided we're no longer aesthetically pleased by your poetry anymore.

Jules: Just because it's not mine? This is no time to get mercurial!

Sycophant 2: In fact, Gerald, we've decided we're going to make you undergo a critical backlash. Of the worst kind.

Jules: Now, now, my good people, I can explain...

Sycophant 3: I've got the rope.

Sycophant 4: Good. We'll hog-tie him.

Sycophant 5: Then we'll tar and feather him.

Sycophant 1: Then we'll force him to watch 10 hours of pre-recorded Willard Scott weather forecasts!

Sycophant 2: Then we'll get mean. (Angry grumbling from Sycophant s continues under next few lines until they finally get Jules.)

Jules: Now let's not be hasty... K, do you still have those coconuts?

K: Yes. Why, was there some reason you wanted them?

Jules: Of course, you fool, I want to bean my supporting fans into unconsciousness!

K: What's in it for me?

Jules: Anything! Anything! I'll give you my leatherbound edition of Percy Shelley! Cost me $45! My hardcover copy of Much Ado About Nothing, autographed by Keanu Reeves!

K: I dunno...

Jules: Well, name your price, man! They're almost upon me!

K: I want your copy of The Amazing Spiderman, issue 305.

Jules: Damn you, K! I'll never part with it—aaaaaaah!

(Sycophants carrying Jules off, chanting "Ger-ald." Jules screams.)

K: Ah, the fickle winds of fortune. I only hope Barney the Dinosaur crashes as hard when his time comes.

Dave: Well, K, we can always dream, can't we.