Monday, March 14, 2005

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Six of Several)

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SCENE: The steps of the Library, at night. The Doors have been sealed shut by a Complex Arrangement of Chains and Bolts, which rattles Ominously in the Wind. The windows have been Boarded Up, with many Religious Slogans written upon them. The Orchestra strikes up a Tense Thrumming as PZ Myers appears on the scene, carrying a Lantern and a Blow-torch. Various Students follow, and, of course, the Narrator.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Act Two, Scene Two: in which our plucky protagonists ascend the Library steps, bookbags held PROUDLY ALOFT!

A nearby Church Bell strikes Twelve.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Ah! The hour is at hand!

The Narrator scurries offstage. PZ Myers Mounts the Steps, holding his lantern aloft in Exultation.

PZ MYERS: Only these chains stand between us and paradise! (He rattles the chains on the Library door.) Ah, for this is the true paradise, right here on earth--who wants to wait for some cherub-cluttered afterlife?

Assorted Cheers and Affirmations rise from the Assembled Students

PZ MYERS (singing): I never forgot Star Wars,
that old, optimistic sci-fi;
Darth Vader, lightsabers, the Force,
explosions that lit up the sky.

I always remembered that age;
my very first desktop PC,
those mutated mice in their cage,
the man with the cool robot knee.

Ah, think of the red Speak and Spell,
its comforting mechanoid drone;
newsmen who raced to foretell
a shoebox-sized portable phone.

We were all promised Utopia,
a shining millennial fair.
When did religious myopia
strip these, our boyhood dreams, bare?

PZ switches on his blowtorch, and hacks at the Chains on the Library Door. They begin to fall away under his assault. The orchestra Swells in a Moody Fashion, and a Tense Secondary Theme creeps in underneath. The Stage-Lights dim slightly: the moon has gone behind a Cloud. PZ keeps on singing, but now Various Students have joined in, Expressing their Fears.

PZ MYERS: I seem to remember a craze
for everything shiny and new;
for masers and lasers and rays,
and crystals in boxes, that grew.

NERVOUS STUDENTS: What dread premonition!
I fear for our mission.
What terror, what worry!
Professor, please hurry.
What shufflings, what rustlings!
Did you hear a scuffling?
This darkness spells trouble,
Let's go, on the double!

PZ MYERS (cutting through the remaining Chains): Go straight for the textbooks and slides!
Let's seize back the future we'd planned!
Tonight, we will turn back the tides;
We'll replant our flag in the sand!

PZ kicks the Chains from the Doors without particular Ceremony.

MISS JOHNSON (panicking): Wait! Mr. Myers!

PZ MYERS (jubilant): We've waited long enough! This is our moment. Now, let - there - be...light!

He flings open the great Double-Doors. There is, in fact, light, emanating from the various Torches and Lanterns held aloft by the Churchgoers who were waiting Inside, led by His Holiness. An audible Gasp goes up from the Students.

PZ MYERS: We're betrayed!


PZ and his Students attempt to Escape, but are thwarted by more Churchgoers, appearing from the Wings, and surrounding them on every side. A pair of Burly Churchgoers seizes PZ, forcing him to kneel before His Holiness

HIS HOLINESS: Had you taken to your knees in prayer,
Instead of venturing where microbes dare,
You would not find yourself prostrated there.

CHURCHGOERS: (Had he taken to his knees in prayer,
Instead of venturing where microbes dare,
He would not find himself prostrated there.)

PZ MYERS: Had I taken to my knees in prayer?
Had I--

He stops Singing, and Shouts at the Grand Inquisitor

PZ MYERS (spluttering): Prayer? How about Thou shalt not steal? Those books were University property!

There is a brief Hubbub of Student Agreement, quickly suppressed by the Churchgoing Mob

HIS HOLINESS: Had you taken to your knees in prayer,
then you would understand,
That all you see; these books, these walls, this stair,
are property of God.

PZ groans loudly. His Holiness turns his back, proceeding Offstage in a Haughty Manner. PZ is removed after a Rather Less Dignified Fashion, by the above-mentioned Burly Churchgoers. As the principal players leave the Stage, certain Churchgoers set Fire to the Library.
Part 7


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