Saturday, March 26, 2005

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Twelve of Several)

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ACT THREE, SCENE THREE

SCENE: A Prison Courtyard, dominated by a towering Scaffold, upon which His Holiness awaits, along with a Hooded Executioner. A great throng of Newscameramen, Students, and Churchgoers has turned up to watch the Spectacle. From offstage, a Solemn Hymn strikes up, and a Procession of Church Officials appears, leading a Shackled PZ Myers. The Newscameramen train their Cameras upon him.

CHURCH OFFICIALS' CHORUS: Let our purpose never falter,
Gird our resolve sturdily;
As we lay out, on this altar,
Bloody sacrifice to thee.

Lord have mercy on this heathen;
Gather him unto your breast.
Cleanse him of his sinful burthen;
Let him find eternal rest.

Let his spirit fly to glory,
Joyful in its bright rebirth,
Singing out the splendid story
Jesus brought to us on Earth.

PZ MYERS (aside): (Each hymn they sing outpongs the last!
Miltons and Shakespeares, they're not.
Ah, string me up, and make it fast;
I've had enough of this rot.)

PZ is cuffed into silence by a particularly burly Church Official, and herded up the steps of the Scaffold.

CHURCH OFFICIALS' CHORUS (with Renewed Passion): Let this errant soul find slumber
In our Saviour's outstretched arms
Let him rise up, unencumbered,
Free at last from toil and harm.

Having reached the Gallows Platform, the Church Officials stop singing, at last. They step aside, leaving PZ to the tender mercies of the Executioner, who makes an Elaborate Production of hanging a Noose about his Neck. This done, His Holiness steps forward.

HIS HOLINESS: Professor PZ Myers, for the crimes of treason, sedition, and petty theft, you have been sentenced to hang by the neck until you are dead. Have you any last words before we shall carry out your sentence?

Several Newscameramen edge up the Steps for a better angle upon the Proceedings. PZ, ignoring them, addresses the crowd.

PZ MYERS: Who can remember the scent of September,
that leafishly redolent zing?
The jubilant quiver of birds by the river,
puffing themselves up to sing?

A seagull commotion; the tang of the ocean,
the taste of the sea in your mouth,
A mixture of fishes and salt-spray delicious,
And remnants of birds flown south?

The flash of a salmon, the taste of an almond,
the myriad marvels of life?
Who hasn't wondered just where the bear lumbers,
and why swans take only one wife;

Why serpents are heelless, and deserts are eel-less,
and some folks have two extra toes;
why bats roost together, in huddles of leather,
while sloths hang in lonely repose?

The purpose of science lies not in defiance
Of all that is noble and good;
We live to discover, to dig and uncover,
revealing a world understood.

NEWSCAMERAMEN and STUDENTS: We can remember the scent of September,
of schoolbooks, erasers, and gum,
Biology teachers with curious features
lecturing us on the thumb.

CERTAIN CHURCHGOERS: We can remember the scent of September,
of knowledge too quickly forgot;
The droning of teachers, while under the bleachers,
what we did, God only wot!

NEWSCAMERAMEN, STUDENTS, and CHURCHGOERS: Ah, what a disaster! This kindly schoolmaster
hardly deserves such an end!
Is this Christian mercy, convicting on hearsay,
With nobody there to defend?

PZ MYERS: Who can remember (etc.)

NEWSCAMERAMEN and STUDENTS: We can remember (etc.)

CHURCHGOERS: Ah, what a disaster (etc.)

HIS HOLINESS: Will that be all?

PZ nods.

HIS HOLINESS: Blindfold the prisoner!

A Menacing Drum-roll sounds. The Executioner ties a black Hood in place over PZ's head.

HIS HOLINESS: Release the trapdoor!

The Drum sounds again. The Executioner reaches for the Trapdoor Release Mechanism.

A NASAL VOICE, OFFSTAGE: Wait! Wait!

HIS HOLINESS (annoyed): What is this?

The Executioner stills his Hand, for the Time Being.

NASAL VOICE: I bring urgent tidings...from Rome!

HIS HOLINESS: Let him approach.

The crowd parts, to reveal...oh, no! It's the Narrator.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Who can it be, at this late hour? An emissary from the Pope, himself? Does the Vatican rise in defence of Reason? No, it's--

It's...it's...it's a mystery! Who dares interrupt PZ's execution? We shall find out shortly, in the final scene of "Les Myersables", or "The Crucible Tongs".
Conclusion

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